06/25/2020 By the time I get this posted it will be 6 months that I’ve lived in Arizona. I never thought I would feel stranded in my new hometown, but I do. Not to the extent that Bill and my friends on the island are feeling, only allowed out one day every 2 weeks, but stranded nonetheless. I can go to the stores when I want to, mask-wearing is required, but I am allowed out.
The idyllic, previously non-covid infected island of Roatan has more cases than they can currently handle, Honduras as a country, is a shit show. The country is/was very unprepared for a virus like this to hit an already besieged, impoverished place. My heart aches for everyone there, ex-pats and islanders alike, they’re all living in a strange new time, cut off from the rest of the world. The Governor and the congressman, Dino and Ron, have been working nonstop dealing with a very unstable main government, very trying times.
Nobody knew in January that mid-March would become a house of horrors for the world. Bill was here visiting for a week and left the 12th of March, the island, and the world as we knew it shut down soon after his return to Roatan. We are all hoping and praying that the virus can be contained and that the people living there can soon start making some money. Remember, there is no unemployment or welfare. If you’re out of money, you’re out of money. Nidia (BECAUSE WE CARE, SOL, ROARESCUE, LIVE AGAIN MINISTRIES) and MANY MANY other organizations have been supplying food as fast as they can get money to buy it. Food is a continual need, it’s gone in 5 days. If anyone is interested in donating please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, it’s been the boys, me and my sucky injured ankle. My ankle has not healed so I went to a new foot doc. He took Xrays, nothing broken (good) but he thinks I may have torn a tendon(s) so I had an MRI on Saturday. I see the doc again on Thursday. I’m still walking the dogs 3 miles a day and many days end up with 5 or 6 miles a day after cleaning or going shopping.
I got my sewing machine out to do some alterations to the waterproof covers I got for the chairs the dogs sleep on and the tension was all screwed up. I posted online and was given a name so I called and got their address and took my machine over.
The day after I got it back, I decided to fix my swim skirt and the chair covers. I did the swim skirt, tried it on, it was ok, then started on the chair covers but ran out of elastic. I put the dogs in their kennels and ran to Joann’s and then to Michaels to get elastic and some other stuff. I also stopped at the grocery store. After I got home I realized I had gone all of those places in my SWIM SKIRT. OMG.
The last time I took the dogs to the vet my A/C stopped working on the way home. I called a local garage and scheduled an appointment. They said my condenser had a leak and I needed it replaced, $500.00. I knew we got an extended warranty on my car so I called the dealer and they said it if was indeed a bad condenser, it was covered. I drove it up there and dropped it off. They gave me a 2020 Honda Civic loaner car. Nice car but it was so low I practically had to get on my hands and knees to get out of it.
That was a Tuesday. They called the same day and said it was covered. PHEW!! The following Monday they called and said the car was ready. I was so grateful to have my car back. For Honda to do the work it was double what the local shop would have charged. When the warranty expires, I will not be going to the Honda dealer for repairs.
I’ve been cooking/baking a lot more than I did the last 7 years. I made 2 pans of 5 cheese lasagna (no meat), almond biscotti dipped in chocolate, blueberry zucchini muffins. Problem is, I’m eating it too.
My friend Laura gave me 2 pork sirloin roasts so I cooked them and made pulled pork. I have a lot of it in the freezer, it will last for awhile and is so good. Yes, I eat pork, it’s white meat.
I’ve also been cooking for the dogs. Beef liver is cooked in the crock pot in the garage because I can’t stomach the smell. Then I cook spinach, peas and carrots, beans, lentils and zucchini in a huge pot and add the liver when it’s cooked. They love it and all of their skin issues are clearing up.
I have a huge cactus in front of my bedroom window. I was not particularly fond of it until it did this:
I want to give a special shout out to my friend Cole. Cole was working at Blue Island Divers on Roatan when I did my refresher course. I got to dive with him several times, he is an absolute fish and has a great love for the ocean. He is now in Boca Raton, Florida running a camp for kids called Bubble Blowers Kids Camp. They are learning all about snorkeling, diving and caring for the underwater environment and making sure the beaches are kept in a pristine condition. If you’re in the area and have kids, this is a great thing for them to do. Cole is a PADI certified dive instructor and will instill in your kids his love for the ocean. Check him out HERE
So, here we are 6 months out, not a damn thing has changed. I have done nothing really exciting at all and I’m bored. My only guilty pleasure is Amazon and I have really cut down on that because I don’t NEED anything. I’m hoping Chance and his girls will be able to come visit this month, that will at least be some company. Things aren’t looking good for Bill getting off the island anytime soon, which really sucks, especially for him. One day out every two weeks is pretty damn sucky and there is nothing he can do about it. Keeping fingers crossed the island can get a grip on this virus and figure things out so the people can get back to their lives and welcome visitors again.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.