A year in the desert.

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.

The boys eagerly awaiting their nightly treats, a Pedigree dental stick. Max does circles and jumps he gets so excited. Amazingly, they have really helped clean the dog’s teeth.

Blow up Christmas decorations are something I struggle to wrap my brain around. Especially when the whole neighborhood looks like a mass murder took place.

This is Mary, Jesus and Joseph.

Dead. All of them.

Murdered in broad daylight.

Max always makes sure there is not a speck of food left in the bag.

Bill giving them their dental treats.

I was laying in bed reading. Highway got a little close.

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 day we arrived in Casa Grande, Dec 28th, 2019, the realtor brought a bottle of Champagne. We’re not champagne drinkers by any means but I was tired of it being in the fridge so we had pineapple pancakes and champagne Christmas morning.

Max doesn’t know what to play with first.

An abundance of toys. Highway on the ottoman, Max, Barrio and Gringo (L-R)

Gringo making a decision. NOT.

Barrio and his bone. He sat here like this for 20 minutes because I yelled at him for carrying my hand weights around. Barrio does not like it if I raise my voice or scold him at all. He’s a total Mommas boy.

His favorite thing is to carry a toy. When I let them out back he grabs a toy before he goes out the door. EVERY TIME.

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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Instead of shoes, I collect masks.

08/28/2020 Holy crap. Five months (thanks Jeanette) and Christmas will be over. This year has sucked for the whole world. I’m so over all of the political stuff, the riots, the protestors trashing the cities. I’m just done with it all. When does it all end? I have made a conscious effort to stay off of FB and anyone posting political BS I unfollow them immediately. It’s poison, social media will ruin the world, if it already hasn’t. I could go on but then I would be like everyone else, shoving their political views in other people’s faces, so I won’t. It’s just too much.

I have done pretty much nothing this last month. It’s been hotter than the gates of Hell here. I am up before the sun to walk the dogs. I am looking forward to 80 degree days in a few months.

Bill is still stuck on the f%$#ing island. Roatan is closed to the outside world. The people living there are only allowed out one day every 2 weeks, still going by your residency or passport number. For some idiotic reason, the people in power in Tegus believe this is the way to handle the COVID crisis. What they don’t understand is that the people in the villages are carrying on life as usual, people are still getting together, having parties. It’s ridiculous. This is another sore subject for me, another reason I have distanced myself from FB.

I had the MRI on my foot. Unfortunately, I have a ruptured tendon that is like a C shape below my ankle. If a tendon tears in half, many times it will self-repair. When they rupture they split in the middle and need to be surgically fixed. The doc said I would be off my feet for 2 months. HMMM. Not an option for me right now. Soooo, he fit me for a brace (it’s being made) that I will wear in my shoe. He knows I HAVE to walk the dogs and has given me a 3 mile a day limit. I usually end up with more miles, due to cleaning pool, vacuuming and scrubbing this big assed living/dining/kitchen/hallway room. I hate to even type those words as I am ignoring the filthy floors for a bit. I just scrubbed 2 weeks ago and you would never know it.

Getting the brace cast

I am still making dog food about every 3 weeks. I started wearing plastic gloves because I JUST CAN NOT TOUCH THAT LIVER. I am terrified of what it feels like. The rest is easy but the meat grosses me out. They love it and their skin is all cleared up, hardly any scratching or digging at all. They are each getting about 1.5 cups of dry food and 1 cup of liver and veggies (split peas and lentils cooked first, then add frozen peas, green beans and spinach and fresh carrots and zucchini) daily. The vet wants them all to lose some weight. I recently took Max back to get his T4 levels checked for his thyroid. Max weighs 75# and he jumped up on my lap and sat there for 45 freaking minutes. My legs were dying.

Chance and the girls are not coming this summer. I am so bummed but it’s probably for the best. I want to see them all so badly but I want to do it safely. He took the girls down to Denver for a few days to hang out and have a change of pace. He’s such a good Dad, Chloee pretty much lives at his place, she’s his hockey buddy too, they love the Rapid City Rush team. Chance has a cat named Luke and he just got a puppy (he’s KILLING me with photos) named Kylo. He’s an Australian Shepherd and a Lab mix. I swear I can smell puppy breath in the pics Chance sends me. It is T O R T U R E. There is nothing I love more than puppies.

Kylo and Luke. They are getting along really well.

Trace is back in the mountains again. He recently completed the Bulger List, which is summiting the 100 tallest peaks in Washington state. He is the 77th person to complete this feat. Pretty cool. He took some awesome photos that I shared on FB. He is happiest way off in the mountains with the goats and the fog. He’s still living south of Seattle, which is a political mess and he’s working for REI.

One of the photos Trace took while completing the last two summits.

I took the boys (individually) to Villago Park to walk around the lakes, It’s 1.01 miles around both of them. It was pretty early in the morning. Max whined the whole mile, Barrio looked over his shoulder, he doesn’t like anything (ducks) or people behind us and Gringo whined most of the time too. I’m not sure why I bother, maybe it’s just a change of scenery for me.

Barrio is terrified of the ducks.

Reflections on the lakes are so pretty.

One-handed cell phone shots.

I’m not much of a TV person. Bill and I stopped getting cable in 2003 and never started again. I never turn the TV on until after 7 PM, sometimes it never gets turned on. Recently my friend Laura told me about a show on Hulu called The Biggest Little Farm. It’s a true documentary that has won many awards. Take the time to watch it, such an amazing show. I’m still into Schitt’s Creek and can watch it over and over again if I can’t find anything else to numb my brain for an hour or two. Trace messaged me last night and told me to watch The Last Dance, a show about Michael Jordan. Trace and I were huge Bulls fans and watched every game. Michael Jordan is the best BB player ever, his professionalism and hard work made him a great role model for many young athletes. Another show I started watching is called The Business of Drugs on Netflix. I knew the Sinaloa Cartel were a rich bunch but I had no idea just how rich they were. A real eye opener.

I’ve been trying to find things to do besides haunt all the Goodwill stores in Chandler, Az. I have found some awesome stuff there but really don’t need more “stuff.”

I found this kit on Amazon and ordered it. It’s tiny plastic diamond cut pieces that you stick to an adhesive color by number picture. I counted the number of dots in the first one that I did and it was 11,070 dots. I had to go buy readers to see to even do it. It was tiring to do but fun at the same time. I got one done and have one to go.

Just getting started

Almost done

Now I need to figure out how to frame it. I’ve already started the second one.

I also finally finished my first scrapbooking project in years. I bought the cinch machine a few months ago and lacked any motivation to finish what I started. Today I decided was the day to get it done. I’m not sure the binding is correct but it works and I’ll learn from my mistakes.

Cover. Kind of lame, I just don’t want to spend a fortune on scrapbook stuff, it is so expensive.

Binding

A few inside pages

This is the Cinch machine that I bought. It puts holes in the pages. Then you hang the spine on the side and load the pages.

Once the pages are loaded you put it in the back of the machine and press the lever, that “cinches” the wire binding.

I’ve been taking on some manly projects around here, like cutting the branches off the palm trees out front. If they get too low to the ground, besides not looking nice, they attract scorpions. Speaking of, they are coming to spray for them again tomorrow morning, so far I’ve killed 2 inside and found a dead one in the garage. I detest scorpions.

See the pokey parts on the stems? They are so sharp!

Full can of palm fronds.

Olivia bought me 2 Starbucks Christmas mugs at least 10 years ago. I used them year-round because they made me think of Olivia. While still on Roatan, the dogs knocked one off a chair arm and it broke. Just the other day I hit the other one on the side of the sink and it broke. These 2 mugs have been used every day for over 10 years. I was devastated that I broke it, ruined the whole damn day.

The dogs all had a swim today and are napping. I think I might just join them for a bit. Haircut is at 10 on Friday, can’t wait. I’ve decided I’m going short because many times I don’t get in the pool because I don’t want to deal with my hair. I’m looking forward to a new do, I hate wearing my hair the same for years on end. No more ponytails for me.

A few sunset, sunrise photos. The sky is so pretty.

Cotton candy colors

Partial rainbow??

Thought for sure we would get some rain this evening. We didn’t.

I even did a rain dance. Not a damn drop.

I look forward to the US returning to some normalcy so my friends can come and visit and I can see my boys and the girls. It’s been way too long.

Fingers crossed for Roatan, they are still hurting, no income for most of the islanders which means no food for their families. It’s a bad situation. Nidia is trying, but she can only do so much.

I’m honestly afraid that the rest of this year will last for 341 months. I’m so over everything.

Peace out and stay safe.