After a very enjoyable visit to California, Arizona and New Mexico, I'm back on home turf. My garden greeted me with the above orchid blooms from plants I've been babying for about a year. Such a warm and pleasant welcome!
On a less positive note, the house/pet sitters I left in charge while gone were a major disappointment. The neighbors on three sides bent my ears about what went on in my home while I was out. Pets were left unattended for days, people came and went constantly when the sitters were here, my washer and dryer were made accessible to strangers as a laundromat, and they sunbathed nude in the back yard for the gardener and all others to see. A very sensitive issue for this small, very religious neighborhood. My furniture was shredded by my frustrated felines, left indoors alone for days, and my washing machine is no longer functioning. It was used so heavily it overheated and burned out the switch and connections. Minor articles of kitchen cookware and alcohol from the bar seemed to have marched off. My choice of sitters was a regrettably poor one. I thought the couple I enlisted were good friends, but they were just good at pretending to care. It all came down to their having fun and letting the chips fall where they may. These same people have successfully marketed their services upon returning to Boquete after a brief attempt to establish themselves in another country. Word is they've logged several other assignments with expats in the area. My only hope is that they respect these new opportunities more than they did mine. I could have hired a vet to come and live with my cats for less than what these people have cost me.