12/27/2020 One year ago today I was a stressed mess. I was leaving Roatan the next day with 3 big dogs and my cat, moving to Arizona. It was a tough decision to leave the island, somewhere I thought I would be forever, but, it just didn’t fulfill me like I thought it would. I was bored and unhappy. There is more to life than going out to eat and Mega Paca. I helped Nidia and Because We Care for several years and enjoyed every minute of it but I needed more.
I traveled to the states over Halloween, 2019. I spent a week in Pennsylvania with friends and family, then flew back to Phoenix. I met with a realtor there, I think we looked at 20+ houses in 1 day. I didn’t like any of them. Then I drove to Tucson and rented an Air BnB and looked at properties there for 2 days. I saw one I really liked but it was at the tip-top of our budget and needed soooo much work. I knew I would not be happy there because things needing to be done is a constant mental battle for me. I would have been crazy there in two months. I wanted someplace that was one level and had a pool and a fence for the dogs. I found nothing in Tucson. I stayed in Tucson and drove to Casa Grande, about 90 miles N of Tucson, and looked for 2 days at houses there. The first day I saw a house that I liked a lot. It checked all the boxes, beautiful pool, one floor, move-in ready. I looked at several more that day, nothing. I met the realtor the second day and we looked at some more, but I didn’t find what I was looking for. I asked if we could go back to the house on Castle Dr again. One more look and I knew that was the place. I talked to Bill, made an offer (I had already been pre-approved before I even went house hunting), we went back and forth over the price and mutually settled on an offer. It was happening.
I flew back to Roatan and started packing. That was pretty crazy. I went through stuff for the next month and a half, packing everything into boxes and plastic tubs to be shipped by Hyde. The plan was Bill would fly with me to get me situated, plus only 2 animals per person, he would stay for a week, then he would go back to Roatan and start fixing up the house to get it on the market. In the week he was here we bought a car, new living room furniture, 3 new bedrooms sets with mattresses, a computer and a TV. We didn’t have internet yet when Bill left to go home, nor did I have any furniture. The furniture came the day after he left, as did the internet.
After that I started ordering pots and pans, raised dog food dishes, patio furniture, rafts, anything I could think of that I knew I didn’t ship. It was starting to come together. The dogs were loving the pool and I was walking them daily, sometimes twice a day, 7 miles total. All the walking in improper shoes killed my foot and ended up rupturing a tendon, that I still have not had surgically repaired. And it still hurts, a LOT. Since Bill arrived I got a cortisone shot and took a few weeks off from walking to give my foot time to rest. The tendonitis has settled down, but I still have the ruptured tendon to deal with.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I do NOT know if I would have made it almost a year alone without the dogs. Yes, they are a lot of work and expensive to properly care for but I would not change one minute of my life spent with them. They totally own my heart.
Bill came again in March and we got some things taken care of, he fixed things, put a bed together and lots of other little jobs that were awaiting his expertise. He left on March 12th, arriving back on the island the 13th. Two days later the island shut down and remained closed until October. Thank you COVID. No tourism at all, totally killing the economy of Roatan. The people mainly work in tourism and they had nothing. There was no government help for them, no welfare, nothing. And Covid rapidly spread through the island. Mid October the island opened up to flights from the mainland and some small flights from Miami on American. Bill was still stuck there, with a dog.
In the meantime my kids came to visit, it was great seeing them. My dogs were not thrilled with Chance’s pup Kylo, but the rest of us loved him. We were a little crowded but we made it work and it was fun.
Bill found some great people to rent our house until it sells so he started cleaning out his stuff for his move to Arizona. We were planning on him being here by Thanksgiving but that came and went. I had Thanksgiving with my friends. Bill was busy crating his tools and the remainder of the stuff we didn’t ship when I moved, all the while the island was getting hammered by rain and the poor mainland was flooded by the two super hurricanes that both hit close to the same spot. Villages washed away there, they will never know how many people perished.
The plan was for him to leave December 5th with Highway in tow. The big problem was, none of the airlines were transporting dogs in cargo. We had no choice but to make him a service dog and bring him that way. There was no other option. It worked out well but it was a hard trip for Highway. He’s 8 years old and is missing a hip joint. When I saw him get hit by a truck on the island on Jan 19, 2013, (and picked him off the road and took him home) it obviously destroyed his hip joint. We moved him back to the states in March of 2013 and had him neutered. They did blood work, knowing they would need it for his soon to happen hip surgery. However, his white blood cell count was so high they had never seen anything like it. They did it again and also tested him for Leishmaniasis, Ehrlichia, Cushings disease. Negative for all diseases but the WBC count was still off the charts. They sent his results to a vet school in Spokane, one in Texas and Florida and I sent them to my niece who was studying to be a vet at Virginia Tech. Nobody had any answers, they were shocked just like us. Our Vet referred us to Seattle. It was a specialty vet clinic. They did more tests on him, nothing showed. The next option was a bone biopsy. They said it was a very painful experience for the dog, it was not definitive and it was over $2000.00. If we had done that, we were close to spending 5 grand on him. He could walk and run like the wind, he limped occasionally but when he was tearing in circles he was not hurting. We decided he had been through enough, we were getting ready to leave the US and decided to let him live the rest of his life in peace. Eight years later, he is still an idiot but can run, spin in circles and walk a mile with no problem. We made the right decision and there was no way he was staying behind.
I picked Highway and Bill up at Phoenix at 10:30 PM on Dec 5th. Bill had a nasty Honduran cold. Believe me, they are different than a regular cold. I don’t know why but they are, maybe the mold and mildew, the jungle atmosphere, who knows but they are a badass cold. Bill slept in the guest room because I did not want to get sick. Our oldest granddaughter was supposed to come Dec. 14th for a week. That didn’t work out because our youngest granddaughter, Chloee, got covid, so no traveling for Alexah. I was really bummed out, I had so many things planned for Alexah and I to do. But as usual, things happen for a reason. I got Bill’s crud. After a week of feeling nasty I started myself on some cephalexin and prednisone. I am finally getting over it, a few more days of weaning off the prednisone and I’ll be good to go. Thankful you can buy all kinds of meds OTC on Roatan.
I had my dogs in crates when Highway arrived, not knowing how any of them would react. They had not seen each other for almost a year. Highway smelled each crate, not very excited but the boys were. Their tails were slapping the crates and they were crying. I let them out one at a time. Highway was snarly and snippy with them but he had just endured a very long day. The next day things were much better, he even started humping poor Barrio again. Luckily, that has stopped.
So here we are, Christmas has come and gone, the dogs made out like bandits, as usual. I went way overboard with dog toys, because I could. They’re still dragging them all over the house.
I baked 3 different kinds of cookies and yesterday Bill and I cooked a huge turkey with all the fixings. We took a plate of cookies to my friend Nick, he’s a disabled Vietnam vet, confined to a wheelchair so I am always taking him cookies, bread, soups and salads. We invited him to dinner but he was going with some other neighbors. He’s a super nice guy.
The dogs are still swimming, which drives me crazy because they stand outside the glass door and shake. Our water is so hard that the door is always covered with water spots. Bill plans to put in a water softener and a reverse osmosis. I’m sick of buying bottled water, I drink a gallon a day and hate the tap water. And yes, I pee a LOT.
Arizona is not our final resting spot. It’s too hot here and we want more land for the dogs. We plan to buy a motorhome and go check out some areas, dogs in tow. Once the house in Roatan sells, we’ll get rid of this place and move on. Places to go, things to see.
We wish you all a happy healthy and less panic-driven, non-restricted 2021.
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