Social distancing is my uber skill

03/20/2020 I am not going to say I’m practicing social distancing because I have it mastered already. I do not like crowds or large groups of people. This is not new, it’s my normal. The older I get the more I realize I don’t have a need to be with a lot of people, I chose who I want to be with rather than be thrust in a group of 20-30 or more people that I really don’t know or care to know. I have a few years left in my life and only want to spend it with the people I like, not once a week or once a month friends. I have no need for that.

Bill was here for 10 days, I told the dogs he was coming but all they heard was blah blah blah. I took Max to pick him up in Phoenix. Max was super excited. When we got home I had Bill let the other two out of their crates and they went batshit crazy. He sat down on the chair and was totally mauled. Gringo even added the special loving touch and humped his shoe.

Bill is the tan pants under 200# of dogs.

He got all of the Honey-Do list done which was fabulous. He: put the dresser together, put the trundle bed together, fixed the lights, took down the saltwater pool box, hung 2 huge Cool-a-roo curtains, figured out the accent night lights in the yard, added new timers to them and to the filter. Moved the desk which weighs 11 tons, hooked up the batteries for the electric couch since we have no outlet close by. He moved the washer and dryer out so I could scrub under them and replaced the guts in the master bath toilet and added some RAM to my slow laptop.

Dog loving while hanging the blinds.

This made my computer so much better, it was booting up so slow I hardly used it.

I found a local nursery online that wasn’t far from the house so we went one afternoon. It was huge but it was also a mess. There was trash everywhere, broken pots floating in with the koi, totally overgrown with weeds, buildings falling down, I was not impressed. Most of the cactus looked good but the other stuff was pretty much dead. They did have some interesting things laying around but I didn’t buy anything. Doubt I will return, I can’t stand places like that.

Cactus fence posts

Becoming part of the landscape

This was the cleanest building that we saw.

An old cash register.

Cholla, these things can stick in a dog so easily.

This is the same type of cactus we have. Ours is huge and a bird is nesting in it.

Reminded me of sea creatures.

Innovative hose holder

I almost bought some Rosemary but didn’t feel like dealing with it.

While he was here I decided I needed some houseplants so I bought 2 nice pottery pots at Lowe’s and got a Dracena and a Sansevieria (snake plant). Bill helped me pot them and bring them inside. I would like a few more indoor plants. At one time when I lived in a cabin on the Loyalsock Creek in PA, I had over 80 indoor plants. I spent all my time at greenhouses, I was obsessed.

Sansevieria

Dracena

Bill took a LYFT back to the Phoenix airport. His flight was at 12:40AM and I detest driving in the dark. He got home just in time to be on a small island that has shut down. Many tourists are stranded there, the Canadian flights came empty to take the Canadians home but the US carriers haven’t done that yet, I read that they will soon begin to pick up US travelers that are stranded. People think being stranded on a tropical island would be the shits. Well, it’s not. Granted they have not run out of toilet paper and eggs like in the US but they have the island on lockdown right now. People are to stay at home. It amazes me how many people don’t pay attention to the rules and have their own little pool parties. Stupid. The craziest thing to me is the government saying there are no reported cases on the island. REPORTED is the keyword here. A few weeks ago, when this was just getting to the US but was all over Europe, 20,000 people (from all over the world) came on cruise ships in one day. They shopped in local stores, they were picked up by locals who do tours, they went to the beach and bought from locals working there. You tell me none of those 20000 people were asymptomatic. HAH. The virus was more than likely passed on to a local and then taken back to the colonias where the majority of the homes have no running water and rarely have soap and never have hot water or hand sanitizer. These are the people who don’t have rolls of toilet paper stacked in their pantry. The colonias are where many elderly people live and Roatan also has a very high number of diabetics on the island, they are more prone to this disease. The Corona Virus is there and anyone who thinks it isn’t is just kidding themselves. No cases and no reported cases are two entirely different things. I hope for the best for the island, I have many gringo and island friends there and Bill is there too. I am constantly telling him to stay home as I watch on FB the gringos having parties and ignoring the orders to close their businesses down. I hope I’m wrong about the virus but realistically, I find it so hard to believe it’s not on the island. 

I’m still walking the dogs daily, my tendinitis is pretty much healed. I swear using the kinesiology tape helped me, YouTube videos showed me how to apply it. YouTube is amazing. I couldn’t get the front mats out of my car (kind of dark in the garage) so I YouTubed how to get them out, duh. It was so easy, even in the semi-dark when I realized what to do.

I alternate which dog goes first on our walks and figured out the easiest way to remember. When I walk one, the other 2 go in their crates. When I return I put the leash in the front, middle or back of the crate so the next morning I can figure out the order.

Gringos crate, he was first this morning. He’ll be last tomorrow.

Max was second, he’ll be first tomorrow. He always poops on his walk, just love carrying that steaming bag around.

Barrio was last today.  He’ll be second tomorrow. See, there is a method to my madness.

Being my OCD self, I decided to change from all the colored scrapbooks I have to plain black binders. This was more of a task than I thought it would be as I had to punch holes in all of the page protectors so they would fit in the new 3 ring albums.

I had 17 12X12 scrapbooks full of memories.

Now I have them in 7 new books. I just ordered one more because one is overly full. I also ordered some binders for my 8.5X11 books and my 8X8 scrapbooks. All black, all the same except the 8X8 isn’t available in a 3 ring so I just ordered black. I posted on one of the local pages that I had 17 scrapbooks free for the taking. They were gone in 15 minutes.

I saw my first Arizona scorpion on the wall above the dog food dishes. It was dead as soon as I squashed it. I called the pest control right away and they came and sprayed.

Me 1, scorpion 0.

Things are beginning to bloom, spring is on the way. I can’t wait to be able to get into the pool, it’s still 64 degrees.

New growth on the trunk

Growth all the way up the tree, can’t wait to see what it looks like in a month.

New shoots all over.

Cactus babies

Palms

different type of palm

My oldest granddaughter Alexah was to come and stay with me for 2 weeks but I doubt that is going to happen. She was coming on April 1st. I had all sorts of things planned to do with her, even bought tickets for an event in Scottsdale but I’m pretty sure it will all be canceled.

The boys were all in dog training classes. Max went Saturday, Gringo Friday eve and Barrio on Not helping much at all. The classes have been postponed but at the last class, Max sat with his back to the room and stared at the wall for the full hour. The teacher cracked up every time she looked over at him. Maybe he was social distancing, who knows?

And there you have it. I’m going to take the dogs outside for a while then curl up and read.

If you know anyone interested, here’s a link to our house. It’s a really crappy time to be trying to sell a house! https://www.youtube.com/embed/Mx1HH2FLC3I

 

 

And here I am.

 

 

Jan 31, 2020  So there you have it. Starting a new decade in a different house, in a state I’ve never lived in and somewhere that I don’t know anyone in the city I’m in except my cousin, who I have not seen for 30 years. It’s just me and the boys. Roatan was just not where I wanted to be anymore and I’m fortunate that I was able to leave.

We had a rather difficult trip here with the dogs, American Airlines suck, to say the least.  After filing 5 complaints and getting zero responses I just posted on their FB page, Yelp, Twitter and Trip Advisor. I’m not done either, going to get some more email addresses and send them off later tonight.  I won’t go into the details except to say when we made reservations on the phone, they would not allow me to pay to take my elderly cat on board. When we got to the Roatan airport the American agent said we were given incorrect info and could take her on board but I did not have the proper carrier.  As a result of that, she died the day we arrived.

Bill, the dogs, cat and I spent 10 hours in the Dallas Fort Worth airport. We could have gotten 2 hotel rooms (2 pets per room) but with 3 dogs and their crates and a cat and a crate, three big suitcases and 3 carry-ons it would have been more stressful getting to the hotel than staying at the airport.

Imagine me trying to do this alone. 3 dog, 1 cat crate, 3 checked bags and three carry ons PLUS 3 dogs and a cat.

Max, always a lap dog.

Bill was desperate for sleep.

Me. I just wanted to charge my phone so I could order a mattress and other stuff on Amazon. These three dogs were so well behaved at DFW. All night long in an unfamiliar place with random people and big floor polishing machines. They were excellent.

DFW rules says if you have an animal that was traveling with you they must be on a leash. My dogs were perfect angels the whole night. I took them outside across to the parking garage at least eight times, begging them to go potty but it smelled too much in the dog relief area and they wouldn’t go. I even found an area with grass in it and crawled up on the wall and got the dogs to come up too, still no potty. And it was COOOLLLDD out.

While back in the airport I had Barrio with me and went in to the bathroom to fill up their water bowl. It must have been 2 AM, I had nothing to eat and was cranky as hell. A homeless woman came into the bathroom schlepping all her shit in cardboard boxes and bags. She yelled at me to get my dog out of the bathroom. She yelled at the wrong person, I explained that my dog had a paid for ticket and he had every right to be with me. Then later on I was sitting on the floor, charging my phone while ordering a new mattress on Amazon (isn’t that when you order mattresses?) and she came by again wanting to go into the bathroom. The boys were laying down, nowhere near the entrance. She yelled at me to get my dogs out of there, I suggested she find another bathroom if she couldn’t fit in the entryway to this one.  Later I saw her sleeping in a chair and was tempted to have the dogs go wake her up but she looked pretty insane and I didn’t want anything to happen to the dogs. Crazy assed people.

The agent who wouldn’t allow Emmy to fly in the cabin booked us on the 7:15 AM flight out of DFW to PHX. Dogs being allowed to travel is very dependent on ground temperature at all airports. We NEVER should have been booked on that flight. The nice AA agent in DFW put us on the next flight and did not charge us the $200 fee per ticket to change the flights because it was an AA agents error.

We ended up on the 9AM flight but the damn plane had a mechanical issue so we sat for 50 minutes before the freaking maintenance crew came. It took them 3 minutes to fix the plane. The whole time I was freaking out about the animals. I was in an aisle seat and the young man next to me really needed two seats, as he took up most of mine. I was unable to have my left arm in the natural position, I had to hold it in front of my body, there was nowhere else to put it and there was not an empty seat on the plane. The young man could not fasten his seat belt either, none of the flight attendants even checked. Thankfully we had no turbulence or I would have been flattened.

We arrived in PHX an hour later than scheduled. We were in constant communication with our friends (we met them on Roatan but they live in PHX). They graciously offered to meet us and take us to our house AND to let us use their extra car for the week Bill was here. We were headed to the baggage claim when they met up with us. Bill and Dave went to over sized cargo and got the dogs, Kerry and I waited for the luggage. Once they got the dogs out of their crates they took them to the dog relief area at PHX and I guess they all exploded their saved up waste and were very relieved to do so. Emmy was not doing well at all. She was almost limp, the trip was too much for her. We made it to the house, Bill had 2 of the boys, I had Barrio in Kerry’s car. Once Dave opened the gate and I took the dogs leashes off they were in the pool in a heartbeat.

First swim in their new pool.

The realtor came with all of the keys for us. Soon after that Kelly came. She planned to be at the airport but I didn’t see any reason when we could fit everything in the 2 cars we had. Kelly came to the house with everything you could think of that we would need. She brought towels, paper plates, water, wine, snack trays, fruit, garbage bags, screwdrivers, you name it, she brought it. She also brought a queen sized blow up mattress because my mattress wouldn’t be delivered for a few days.

Kerry and Dave left their second car for us to use while Bill was here, Dave even brought tools along in case Bill needed to put things together or whatever. So thoughtful. What a blessing, we didn’t have to rent a car.Kelly was still here. I kept checking on Emmy and she was not getting any better, she couldn’t stand up. I just had a gut feeling that she was not going to make it. A few minutes later I went in to get her, thinking we could take her to a vet but she had passed away. Just what I needed, two days of travel from hell and my cat dies the day we arrive. We found a vet and took her there, they said she had passed and could handle the remains for me. Poor Emmy cat, she was 13 years old and had a good life. I miss her.

So began my life in Arizona. Bill was here with me for the first week, we had to find a car for me and get furniture. I don’t remember any of what we did the first few days. One day we drove to the Phoenix area and looked at cars. We saw a few but one I really liked, a  2015 Honda CR-V.

The car is perfect for the dogs, good shape, 78000 miles. We bought it. It seemed like we were gone for so long I wanted to get home to the dogs, they were still stressed being somewhere new.

My new wheels.

Barrio and Gringo. I bought them new beds for their crates, first time they used them Barrio ripped a hole in his. Stressed I’m sure. I got some material and patched it.

Max, dead to the world, having doggy dreams.

I had to call the furniture store and verify the time they would be here on Sunday. We still had no internet at the house and neither AT&T nor Verizon work in the area we live. I had to drive to where I got a signal and call them. While I had them on the phone I ordered a bedroom suit for the guest room too, why not, as long as I was already paying a delivery fee. I sat by the Cowboy Church and had a great signal.

In front of the Cowboy Church.

I had Bill change all the smoke detector batteries so that I wouldn’t be trying to silence one going off on the 18′ ceiling in the middle of the night. He also changed the bulbs in the fans and I washed the glass covers, new filters on the furnace and hung some hook things in the laundry room. I was struggling to keep the kitchen island clean. A battle I did not easily win. We were taking turns walking the dogs. Bill did most of the walking until he left, then I took over.

Bill was here a week, he went home on the 4th. It was me and the dogs, a new TV and new laptop but no internet to use either. The furniture was delivered Sunday and the internet guy came Monday. Finally, things were moving along. All I had to do was figure out how to use a smart TV. Remember, I have not watched TV on a TV since 2013. This was a whole new world getting signed into all of my accounts on the TV. Yikes! It took lots of curse words, a few Whatsapps to Bill and a call to Amazon, but I got it.

I was walking all 3 dogs at the same time, three times a day. After being knocked down twice by them getting all excited and strangling my legs with the leashes I realized something needed to change. At my age I’m just one fall away from a broken hip and I don’t have time for that! I took the boys to be evaluated by a dog trainer in the area. She evaluated them individually and said they were all suffering from anxiety. Probably. She also said NOT to walk them all at once because I had no control over anything and also to stop using a choke chain. I bought 2 harnesses from her (Gringo and Barrio share). They are made by Canine Equipment and have a leash hook on the chest and one of the leashes fastens on to the Martingale part of the harness on the top of the neck. They don’t choke the dogs, they can’t get out of them and it gives me the control. So now I’m walking each of them individually two times a day. I did not sign up for her classes though because her website says $100/ dog for 4 training sessions but because my dogs are older it’s $250/ dog. I would visit with her an hour a week and she would evaluate what the dogs learned and tell me what to work on. So I was paying her to train me, which I understand is the actual thing that is done but I didn’t want to be trained by a piece of paper, I wanted a trainer watching. What if I’m training the wrong way? So $750 for 1 hour +/- for 4 weeks. No thank you.

Suicidal dog walking.

I bought one of these for 3 dogs. It didn’t work at all. I should try to resell it on Amazon.

My new mattress came on Thursday. It had a very dirty cover on it so I drove to the cell phone reception area and called Amazon. The rep said no problem, put it back in the box and we’ll issue a call tag for it. I said, “wait, what? Put it back in the box, that’s impossible.” He said maybe a neighbor can help. Twenty neighbors could not get a mattress that came compressed to 6″, wrapped by a machine and put in the box by a machine. The mattress was now 10″ thick, 20 if folded in half, the way it came. He could not understand that. He suggested I put it in my car and take it to UPS. I said NO. He got a UPS rep on the line and I explained to her and she said, “it is impossible to get that back in the box,” Thank you. The Amazon rep suggested I get a bigger box from UPS and ship it that way. I thanked him and hung up. The next morning I went out by the field (cell phone reception area) and called Amazon again. Rico realized there was no way to return the mattress and offered me a good credit. I took the credit. Seriously, stuff it back in the box, hysterical. Now that we have internet my google voice number works but AT&T, Verizon and TMobile do not work here.

Bill wrestling with Max.

I’m the blue speck. Luckily the furniture came two days later.

I like the mattress, it’s comfy and not too soft. The dogs seem to like it too, they are all sleeping with me. They are all also following me to the bathroom. All 3 of them get in the little “toilet room” area. Barrio always knocks the TP off the holder.

My toilet buddy. Every. Single. Time.

My feet are killing me, walking 5-6 miles in my $40.00 Skechers. After my last walk of the day when I take my shoes off, I can hardly walk, my calves and ankles hurt a lot. My friends said to go get good shoes so I drove to Chandler to The Walking Company and got fit for new shoes. I ended up with Abeos. After a quick trip to Costco to see how much money I could spend in 10 minutes flat, I came home.

Seriously, I could have spent more. Four bags of dog food, towels and 3 bags of cheese, all for less than 3 bags of dog food on Roatan.

I came home, changed shoes and we started walking. By the end of the day on Thursday I had clocked 6.6 miles. Not bad for a formerly sedentary old lady. My ankle pain was still very violently protesting my walking, even with new shoes. Friday I cut my trips short, just under 6 miles, Saturday even shorter, just over 5 miles. Today, Sunday, we are not walking. I have to give the feet a break and allow my ankle to heal, new shoes won’t fix an old injury. The dogs were bummed but I am happy to report they are all using the ledge at the deep end of the pool. They have it figured out.

Max is not eating very well, he misses Highway and Bill. A LOT. Highway was his Alpha and Bill is his daddy. He’s depressed. I have been doing everything possible to get him to eat, buying canned and freshly made dog food at the store, scrambled eggs, cheese, yogurt. He eats half and then lays by his dish and drives Barrio and Gringo crazy because they want to eat his food. Tonight I actually SPOON FED him. Yes I did. He ate it too.

This is a Palo Verde tree. They are all over the neighborhood. The name is Spanish and means green stick. The bark of a palo verde tree is green because it’s filled with chlorophyll. Unlike most trees, this plant gets a lot of photosynthesizing done through its bark. It is the state tree of Arizona.

Agave or century plant. They are called century plant because they are thought to take 100 years to bloom. This is not true, they bloom in about 20 years.

Caught this when I went out with the dogs to pee. Wait. I went out with the dogs while THEY peed, I did not.

Morning sky over the desert.

Me and my shadow.

A back path behind our hood, it backs right up to the desert. I’ve never seen anyone walking here. There are 2 nasty dogs in a yard (high block wall), can’t see them but can tell by their barks one is small and one is large. The other day Gringo and I were walking like normal and the dogs were both barking like crazy, Gringo was getting all freaked out. Then the dogs started fighting. Believe me, I know what the sound of a dog fight is. I was freaking out but there was nothing I could do.

I’m not a fan of walking in the hood, especially when the kids are all out and about. The dogs need more socializing. I found a lady 30 minutes south of here who has great references and is reasonably priced and I am with her for the whole lesson. She will work on socializing all of the boys so they’re not afraid of everything. I keep telling the kids in the area to NOT run up to the dogs, they don’t like it. I ask them to stand still and let the dog sniff them, most are respectful but there’s always an asshat kid in the bunch, like the one who zooms back and forth past Gringo with his scooter. He can see it terrifies Gringo. I’d like to knock him on his ass but I won’t. I’ve decided to walk early, once the kids are on the bus and again before they get home. Sundays are going to be no walking days. When school is out the only time I can walk them is really early because of the heat. I always try to get them to poop before we walk because I don’t particularly like carrying a bag of steaming dog shit with me on my walk. I was getting pretty good at pooping them prior and then all hell broke loose. When Gringo goes to poop here it takes him a freaking fortnight. I know this because I hold a flashlight for him to go. However, when out on a walk he can make a colossal pile in less time than it takes for me to realize he’s squatting. All of the dogs recently started sneezing, a LOT!! I talked to my friend Kelly who lives here and has dogs and she said, oh yeah, allergies. They were doing a lot of grass sniffing last week, normally they don’t do that, they stay on the sidewalk. Then Barrio started with the sneezing and soon they all were. I find myself saying Bless you to my dogs. I’m hoping it’s only temporary. Five days later, they are still sneezing but not as bad, Gringo and Barrio are much better, Max seems slower to get over it so he has a vet appt. on Friday. I have them all on Zyrtec. [Update: Max is on antibiotic and a cortisone drug for his allergies and they are doing a complete CBC checking for tyhroid, diabetes, erlichia, any and everything. He walks 2 miles a day and he’s gained 10#’s. something isn’t right. I sure hope for the insane price I paid for these tests (I’m sure not in Honduras anymore) that they find something.]

Friends of mine in Pittsburgh asked for my address, I was hoping they were coming to visit. They weren’t but they did send me 3 gifts: They sent me Maldon salt so the house would always have flavor, bread (gift certificate for a great bakery) so the home will never go hungry and wine so the home will always have Joy and Prosperity. Thank you Andy and John. Now come visit.

I had never heard of this salt until I got it as a gift. You do not use it to cook, only on the finished product. Read about it, it’s fascinating. Each salt piece is like a tiny pyramid. I’m hooked!

My friend who allowed us to use her car for a week came down from Phoenix and had lunch with me. We went to a great spot called Creative Cafe. Excellent fresh food. Today my island friend, Cindy Darby, who now lives in Nevada came to visit me and I took her to the same restaurant. She loved it too. My crates from Roatan are arriving tomorrow at 8 AM. My neighbor will help me open them and then Cindy is coming back down on Thursday to help me attempt to set up house. I have no idea what is even in the crates, guess I’ll find out soon. (update: crates arrived and are open. I have to wash every piece of clean clothes that I packed because it sat around so long in the humidity, then being on the boat, disgusting mildewy smell.) That had the dogs and I all gagging yesterday. I have 75% of it put away. Still lots of laundry to do.

When I moved back to the states I was looking forward to real recycling. Well, guess what? They don’t recycle here, there isn’t even anywhere to take my recyclables. That totally sucks.

Just a few final photos and I’m off to visit with Dr Teal and a bathtub.

I HAVE A BATHTUB!!! First tub bath since 2013. What a luxury.

Saw these on Amazon so I got some, they are fabulous and have all different kinds.

I ordered some Croc felt slippers. I just wanted something to slip on my feet when I was done walking. Well, they are like walking on cardboard but Barrio seems to enjoy carrying them around.

This was the tag on the Croc slippers. Do you wear your bedroom slippers specifically on escalators? Really? WTH is up with this tag?

Since this has taken me almost 2 weeks to write, I’m going to wrap it up. Update on American Airlines, they refunded half of the fee for us transporting all 4 animals, almost $500.00. The squeaky wheel does indeed get oiled.

AND, I’ve been here one month already, I have not cleaned up any gecko poop nor have I had anyone come head on at me on a curve on a hill while driving. I hear no compression brakes, I got my AZ drivers license in 10 days, it cost $10.00 for 5 years, I did not have to go to the Sudan for testing and my license plate arrived already, No more manana.