Pina’s footsteps usually wakes us up in the morning. She’s either walking between the loft area and GT’s bedroom, or making her way down the circular staircase to retrieve her yellow ball. She comes back and cuddles up to anyone who is still in bed.
On weekdays, Anna’s gentle alarm goes off. Close to 8 am, GT takes a shower.
“Good Morning, good morning!” He cheerfully greets us as he sashays down the spiral staircase wearing a pressed dress shirt over a white undershirt. His cologne fills the air. Tina and I are downstairs working remotely on our laptops. Half of the dining table has been converted to a makeshift work station complete with 27 inch monitors and keyboard trays. We greet him back.
He straightens the handkerchief in the right pocket of his navy blue suit hanging on one of the dining chairs. In the coat closet/supply room, he knots his tie using a hanger at the back of the door. He puts it over his head then tucks it under the collar. He wears the matching pants to his suit, cinches it with a leather belt then slips on a pair of dark tan leather shoes. His transformation is complete. He emerges from the tiny room, executive persona in place, ready to face the another day at the 5-star luxury hotel where he works as a Finance Director.
“Kailangan maghanap-buhay, ulit!” he says as he scrolls through his mobile phone to check his work emails.
(It’s time to head back to work!)
On the days that he doesn’t have early meetings, he takes Pina for a brief morning walk then fixes a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast. Skippy and Welch are his go-to brands. I once offered him a bottle of peanut butter from Naturalia when he ran out. He declined. “Walang lasa,” he confesses. (It is bland.) He washes the knife and the small plate. He bundles up with a navy blue puffy jacket over his suit and slings his black back pack on his shoulders.
“Bye, Mommy Marls. See you later!”
I get up from the chair and we give each other a kiss on each cheek.
“Have a good day, Geets!” I replied.
He is out the door on or before 9 am.
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“Kuya! Sabi ko na nga ba babalik ka para sa dinuguan ko!” (I knew you would come back for my dinuguan!)
We are at Cabalen, a small Filipino store on Jouffroy d’ Abbans less than a 10 minute walk from GT’s apartment. We turn around to see a woman with a big smile on her face, delighted to see him there. Last week, she convinced him to try her cooking. He was skeptical since he previously bought the savory pork blood stew but it had an earthy taste to it. In Tagalog, we described it as “malansa.” But, she was persuasive. He also wanted to support the store so he gave it another chance.
“In fairness ha, masarap siya,” he commented while eating it for dinner one evening this week along with a plateful of rice. (To be fair, this is good).
“Ate, tama ka diyan!” (You are right!) He replied to the woman. He bought another batch of dinuguan for the week. He asked her if she offered other dishes. She walked toward the cashier counter only to find out that the beef tapa she cooked this morning had sold out.
“O, sige, Ate. Babalik ako next week ha!” (Ok, I will come back next week!)
We bought eggplants and baby bokchoy for the vegetable kare-kare. (Vegetable peanut stew). He picked up a can of coconut milk and a package of dried taro leaves for a dish called Laing. Other items included a bag of mung beans and a few other Filipino condiments. We made our way down a small staircase to peruse the snacks. The original Clover Chips were out of stock so he settled for a bag of the barbecue-flavored one.
Prior to the store opening in his neighborhood, GT used to commute to Chinatown for his provisions. What a relief it was to not have to do it anymore. Even if the prices were slightly higher, he didn’t mind it at all. Again, he emphasized that he wanted to support the store so they can stay in business for a long time.
It’s Saturday morning and we have an appointment at the vet at 9:00 am. My iPhone tells me it’s 8:30 am. I walk over to GT’s bedroom to wake him up. We’re dressed in 15 minutes. Pina jumps and spins around as she hears the clinking of her chrome dog collar. Her tail is wagging furiously. Tina, GT and I squeeze ourselves like sardines in the tiny elevator to the ground floor. As soon as the hefty black iron gate opens, Pina takes a few steps outside and pees. She wanders away from the cul d’ sac and finds a spot to poop. My left pocket is stuffed with poop bags. I carry at least four. Last year, when I was new to all this, I made the grave mistake of only bringing two. Pina decided she wanted to take a third dump near the ATM machine next to GT’s apartment. I ran out of bags. I was about to walk away when I heard an elderly woman shouting behind me. I didn’t understand a word she said but I knew she was chastising me about the poop. I scrambled to find something in my backpack. Luckily, I found a small piece of thickish paper that I used to scoop her mess. Since then, I made sure to double the number of poop bags in my pocket.
GT attaches the leash and Pina takes the lead. We make a left at Rue Legendre, cross Rue de Rome then a right on Rue de Batignolles. As we turn the last corner before the vet office, Pina hesitates. GT tugs at her leash encouraging her to continue walking. This time, she walks beside him.
Dr. Edouard greeted us as we entered the exam room. GT tells him that Pina has had three seizures since her surgery. He is concerned. He takes her weight, pokes and prods at her ears, legs and abdomen. He checks his computer for her most recent bloodwork. He says she is not exhibiting anything unusual. GT provides him with more information. Two days ago, she was lethargic. She didn’t move from the couch when GT attached the chrome collar around her neck. The behavior was unusual. On her midday walk, she did the same thing. It wasn’t until Tina placed her orange carrier bag on the seat next to the couch that she jumped on top of it. We placed her inside the carrier and walked to Parc Monceau. Once we arrived, we took her out of the bag. She was able to walk for 45 minutes around the park and back to the apartment.
I noticed she was warm yesterday, I said to Dr. Edouard. He took her temperature. The reading came back normal. He doesn’t know why the seizures occurred. But, his hunch was that Pina might be experiencing side effects post surgery. He assured GT he wasn’t worried about it.
“Should Pina exhibit another seizure, then I will probably prescribe medication,” Dr. Edouard advised.
GT pays for the consultation through the glass-encased administrative table. We stop at Jean Paul Charbonnier, an artisan boulanger, on Rue de Batignolles on our way home.
“They have the best ham and cheese croissant here,” he said while waiting in line. The savory options were a particular draw to him. After a few minutes, he came out empty-handed.
“Ay, naubos na,” he shrugged in disappointment. (They ran out of stock).
Piña is the cutest!
Hope that PIna will get better soon !