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Isa's Story

September 21st, 2018

A Quick Update

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

The wedding was lovely and fun with a lot of laughter and all kinds of good things. My niece looked gorgeous and the family members I had some concern about were on their best behavior so bail money was not necessary. Hotter than anything and Nevada, bless their pointed little heads, still allow smoking inside particularly in casinos so the weekend was a misery for my respiratory system. Better now that I’m home in clean air, even if there is less oxygen.

Yes, I had to turn up at jury duty Monday – brutal morning (plane was more than an hour late getting in Sunday night). GPS had me drive right past the courthouse without bothering to mention it so I was late and flustered. But I did get excused just after lunch after much whining on my part. So success!

Picked up Roxy from boarding and drove home with the mantra “I just want a nap …” repeating through my head. Made it home and slept for a whole half-hour until someone decided we needed protecting. I had to get up anyway to go to an appointment and then pick Wallee up from my friend’s house.

My return that evening gave me further evidence that Roxy has made up her mind to stay in her roundup. I had been gone for maybe two hours and came home to her greeting me at the car. She was out having punched a(nother) hole through the wire. Clearly she had not been home long enough to ensure the perimeter was sufficiently secure to remain in the roundup. Tuesday and Wednesday when I got home from work – in the enclosure as has become the new normal. So there’s that.  I do wish I knew what changed her mind. As always, the Roxinator’s English skills are severely lacking.

And I am pleased to report that I came home to a fully functioning refrigerator, ice and everything! Even the water leak in the bathroom stopped while I was gone. Sadly, it has now redoubled it’s efforts. Anyone know a plumber? I think perhaps a betting pool should be started on whether or not I survive the winter in the trailer. Or possibly what will break next. Seems like someone should make some money on this fiasco.

So there’s the answer to your burning questions about my weekend!

Lots of love to you all!

Teri, the Roxinator and Angel Isa

 

September 13th, 2018

I would like to report a minor miracle

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

Okay, in my world it’s rather a major miracle but know your audience: this doesn’t and shouldn’t qualify as major with this crowd – these things are subjective.

Drum roll, please …

Roxy, Don’t-Fence-Me-In, Roxinator has remained in her round up on a daily basis for the past week and a half. Six days last week and two and half (so far) this week. I have now moved beyond the shock and awe of this dramatic change and can only conclude that she has made up her mind to stay inside. I have no doubt that if she wanted to get out, she would. I say this to remind myself not to take her continued confinement for granted, particularly if someone should pay me a call. But I will happily take this new situation and call it miraculous.

Otherwise, I know it’s been a while since I updated so here are some tidbits:

This happened a while ago before the miraculous decision mentioned above:

Not there when I left for work and was when I came home so the incident occurred during daylight hours. Therefore, doubtful that it was anyone other than Roxy. I have made what amends I could to the Raven Spirits.

This is not a great picture but I think it tells the tale of hysteria at the nerve of someone (not me) being at the trailer. Who would have thought the table would hold her weight?

A friend asked for pictures of the inside of the trailer. I took one of the bedroom and then someone needed to pose. Camera shy, she is not. Although I do wish she smiled more often.

This cracks me up – I have no explanation. It took quite a bit for her to get into this situation/position:

And in case you thought it was all dogs and no play, a friend and I went to a local lavender farm this past weekend (no dogs allowed).

This is a (not great) older picture from before we moved but it appears I’ve not previously offered it for your entertainment. She is standing on top of an ottoman I had tied down to block the dog door so she wouldn’t wake prince charming on weekend mornings. Something very exciting/alarming was going on outside.

And looking at that picture I realize how much she’s changed since we moved; so much happier, calm(er) and way more confident. She is so much more her goofy self now and that makes me happy.

In non-dog related news, I’ve started talking to house designers, working out who to hire to build the house-to-end-all-houses, otherwise known as my dream house. This has me more or less freaked out, mostly for financial reasons. One large financial component is the necessary septic system which will tricky/impossible on my rocky sloped land and do you think I can get a septic company to call me back? Sheesh. Baby steps will keep me off the ledge. Or the hillside as the case may be. Speaking of hillsides, here’s a video of the property with a brief cameo of someone you’re familiar with.

Now for the update on my living situation because I am here solely for your entertainment: Overall holding steady at “nearly functional.” I am working at getting the trailer ready for winter (with certain full-time RVers’ input). Looking at the list and my current rate of progress, I should be ready by about May. I’m also close to purchasing and setting up solar panels (cost is causing some hesitation) so I have a more reliable (and larger) power source than swapping batteries out and schlepping them to the car parts store to be charged more or less weekly.

For reference and clarification of the following story, the batteries are my only power source. Without it/them, the refrigerator, the lights and the water pump do not work. No showers, no dish washing and a frig full of rotten food. After the sun goes down and without a working battery, functionality plummets.

And that questionable functionality blew up last night. The battery that was currently in use faded out, more or less on schedule, at about 8:30 pm. Out in the dark with a flashlight, I hooked up the allegedly freshly charged battery. My helper and I went back in the trailer, lights were on, and I started to wash the dishes. The lights began to dim almost immediately and I was getting no more than a trickle of rinse water. Another ten minutes and even that little was gone. Battery was completely dead. Finished the dishes by flashlight.

Put my make up on this morning by flashlight – not my best work – and carried the dead batteries to the car parts store (also in the car: the contents of the refrigerator for storage in the office frig for the duration). The service guy tested the battery and it was trashed. No idea why, not that it matters.

Still under warranty so I have a brand spanking new battery in the back of my car. Hopefully, I will remember to bring the food home this evening. I have a stickie note reminder so maybe.

In addition to the battery thing last night, I’m leaving tomorrow for the weekend to attend my niece’s wedding. Further complicating this trip (not counting spending three days with family – always dicey), I have been summoned for jury duty beginning Monday morning at more or less zero dark thirty. I may not have to turn up but won’t know until Sunday but given how things have been going, I’m betting I will have to show. This plethora of unknowns for Monday has completely bollixed my previous plans for Monday as a day off for general post-trip regroup.

I realize, typing this up, that it doesn’t sound like all that much but it has just about done me in. Y’all have been wondering where my breaking point is (as have I) and we may have found it. At this point, my stress level is rather high, mix in a family wedding and I may need bail money. You have been warned.

So that’s our current status/what we did over the summer. More of course as it unfolds.

On an entirely separate note, a while ago I got an email from Snapfish saying that if I didn’t place an order, the pictures they had stored would go away. There are only a few and most of them are in other places but I spent $3 and ordered a couple of prints. They were pictures I’d not seen for a while so I will leave you with these:

I do wish she was smiling in those first two pictures but one can’t have everything. I miss her every day.

Love and hugs to all. I hope you have all had a great summer!

Teri, the Roxinator and Angel Isa

July 17th, 2018

The Roxinator: Don’t Fence Me In!

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

Almost two months on the property in the trailer, I thought it time for an update.

First thing I did was to build an enclosure for Roxy. Not very big, admittedly, and I will enlarge it as time allows. I have explained this to her ad nauseum but it matters not. I have repaired and/or reinforced the Roxy Roundup on an almost daily basis so any Roundup expansion has been delayed. As is, it’s not a bad space – she has a couple of beds and a good deal of shade, water and toys. I do need to buy or build a dog house for her as monsoon season has started and seems to be serious about it this year, at least so far. Nonetheless, she refuses to stay put.

Her escape maneuvers have led us to this:

Oh that face!

Have you ever seen such pathos? Such abuse at the hands of a mean-spirited human? She pulled a nail completely off/away from the nail bed. And while I have no evidence one way or the other, I am quite certain she did it ripping a hole in the wire fencing.

Sunday I spent all morning adding a second layer of fencing, reinforcing the wire that she tears through like butter. I had her in the roundup while I was working to both keep an eye on her and keep me company. She knew exactly what I was doing – whined at me a good deal of the time. I finished that up, let her out and went on to another project. Here is where y’all can judge me as a bad mom: I let her wander loose on the property when I’m outside with her. She mostly stays close by. Not to mention that on days when I’m at work all day, she rarely spends more than ten minutes in the Roundup and wanders the hillside(s). Generally, locking her up seems to me to be a moot exercise.

I hear her go full guard dog “I’m going to eat you” and I scamper over to prevent mayhem. There’s a guy posting a notice on the empty house next door and she is taking exception to his presence. I restrain her but since I’m trying to get electricity to the property and there are one or two potential problems with the size of the easement on that lot, I want to talk to this guy. He agrees to wait while I put her in the (newly reinforced) Roundup so we can carry on a conversation. I go back and explain what I’m trying to do. Less than three minutes later “someone” bounds up with renewed threats of immediate consumption of the stranger danger. I grab her and shout/finish the conversation with the guy. He leaves and I chuck her into the trailer while I fix the hole she dug under the fence. For the record, I left later in the afternoon to go to a friend’s for dinner. She was out when I got home. Twice in one day.

And yes, I’m a bad mom. I didn’t fix that hole. It was late when I got home Sunday (and raining) and raining when I got home Monday. Let the punishment fit the crime.

So this morning, I put her into the Roundup and drove off. I stopped at the bottom of the driveway to grab the mail and continued on my merry way. About a block down the road I see movement in my side mirror — she is chasing after me. I stop and try to get her into the car. She bounces at me a few times “isn’t this a good game, mom?” and then turns around and gallops back up the driveway.

Well okay then. I get in the car and proceed. Another quarter of a mile, maybe more, and again movement in the mirror. I stop and this time she it willing to get into the car, breathing hard. I was doing 15-20 mph so she had to work to catch up. I turn the car around and take her home. Block the hole with a plastic bin and boulder. I have zero confidence that held more than ten minutes but it was enough so I could actually leave for work. And yes, all of this with the bandage on her foot. We shed the cone of shame relatively early (and it is shredded) – remarkably, she’s not bothered/chewed on the bandage. She might start today. I reinforced it with duct tape this morning and I suspect it smells funny and needs to be removed.

So that’s our on-going adventure/game. I did win one battle (I will never win the war). I built one of these about six inches in diameter along the base of the fence (called a “gabion”). Mine’s not nearly this pretty.

The ground is so rocky it’s impossible to pin the fencing down and this worked (heaven knows there’s more than enough rock around for this). It’s tied to the bottom edge and she can’t budge it. To date she has either torn a hole in the fencing (now reinforced) or dug under where I don’t (yet) have a gabion installed. Silly me, I thought the trees would be a deterrent. I can’t say as I know what my next step is.

Otherwise, I think Roxy is happy at our new home. Her confidence has increased and she only rarely goes into full guard dog mode. Our old house required massive guarding 24/7. I’m starting to figure out my way around living in an RV and its “unique” challenges. I’m probably as organized as I’ll ever be living in 200-odd square feet. I’ve started on the research for building the house but don’t really expect to break ground until next spring. Getting electricity to the lot is taking about three times as much money as I had expected/completely made up so I need to save up some dollars. Short of winning the lottery, that’s the plan.

Here are a couple more pictures of the property:

The first one is sort of where the house (might) will be. The other is the view from where I will have the mondo deck built.

In other news, it’s July (that’s not the news part) – anniversary of Isa’s diagnosis and amputation. Hard to believe it’s been two years since then and yet it feels like a lifetime ago. Made taking Roxy to the vet, two days after Isa’s ampuversary, rather poignant. Some days, one simply keeps putting one foot in front of the other.

So that’s about all I have to say for myself. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer.

Love

Teri, Wallee, the Roxinator and Angel Isa

June 15th, 2018

Operation: Roxy New Home

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

This will be a long, long post – forgive me. But remember, y’all asked for it! I keep trying to shorten it and it just gets longer.

As we all have known for some time, Roxy needed a new home and sooner rather than later.

I put the house on the market March 9, a ton of showings and got a full price offer seven days later. Closing was set for April 30. So far so good. I started packing.

I’d been looking at properties since December, everything in the county in my budget. As much as I would have liked to move into some sort of already-built building, such a creature simply did not exist. Maybe with another $500,000. HA! So I decided to move into a travel trailer (a la Wyatt Ray) on a piece of land and build something later, when the dust had settled. After accepting the offer on the house, I figured I’d maybe better make a decision on our new digs sooner rather than later. Picked a place in Cerrillos (twenty-odd miles south of Santa Fe): 9.5 acres, septic, electric, telephone and water all in place. The down side: a ton of junk on the property, including a mobile home that had seen better days, and a “driveway” in rough shape. Rough enough that it wasn’t going to be possible to remove the mobile home until the road was repaired. Couldn’t repair the road until I owned the place and no bank would loan me money with the mobile home on the property. Anyone else see a problem?

And that was just the beginning of the problem(s). The primary issue was that the seller did not have title to the property. One would think, having been on the market for approximately three years, that someone might have looked into the status of the title but evidently not. A compromise could have been worked out giving me a place to live while the title issue was sorted. We suggested any number of variable scenarios all within the ballpark of rational and fair. However, every proposal was met with a quasi-hysterical response from the seller and/or her broker, followed 24 hours later by a rational one. This went on for several weeks. In one email the seller’s broker said it had gotten too complicated and she was out of the deal. The seller and I could sort it out ourselves. One day, I received a forwarded email from the seller’s broker that said, among other things, I could “limp along” with the hole in the septic tank until the title issue was resolved.

That was the last straw for me. I was pondering my options and went into the ladies room to continue pondering. All the best pondering is done in the ladies room. And there on the floor was a penny! My Angel Isa sent me a penny to let me know that it was all going to be okay and that it was okay to run (screaming) away from this particular piece of land. So I terminated the purchase agreement (final) on April 25th. Closing on the house remained set for the 30th.

“Regroup” may be an understatement. Went through the listings all over again, everything in the county remotely in my budget that had water in some form or another. That didn’t yield much, but a couple new possibilities. My agent spoke with the brokers on those properties and realistically it came down to one viable property east of Santa Fe: 1.7999 acres with a well drilled already, but no electricity or septic. Also a better option as it’s in a much a better hood than the previous property, therefore a better investment, and a much, much shorter commute. Went to see it (gorgeous!) and put an offer in on April 24 and set a May 8 close date on the assumption the seller would carry the note as had been offered in the listing.

Movers came April 27 and moved the bulk of my stuff into a storage unit currently stuffed to the gills. Included in that move was Roxy’s chair.

My Chair!

That was bad enough but she still had the couch. Then, on the 28th, ReStore came and took away the couch. This left her with nothing more than her dog bed (holes patched with duct tape). Talk about side eye, hers was at a Meg-a-Star level.

As scheduled, we closed on the house on the 30th.

Late that night we got a counter offer on the property – purchase price was agreed on but the seller was not willing to carry the note. That meant I had to find a mortgage, inevitably with an institution that would require at least 30 days to process the loan. And I’d already lost a week waiting for this guy to tell me he wasn’t willing to carry the note. Arguh!

For better or worse, I rented back the house for a week and we had to be out on May 6. At least somewhat worse, because as my friends were helping me move and “someone” was locked in the backyard, “someone” mangled the screen door – viciously, vindictively, and with malice aforethought. No time for repairs – I left the new owner $30 and the few parts that were salvageable.

May 6 rolls around and we are, essentially and technically, homeless. I had purchased a 25’ travel trailer off Craigslist, older and perhaps less than ideal (in hindsight). Moved said trailer into a campground not far from the property. For reasons obvious to the studio audience, Roxy could not be left alone in the trailer all day while I was at work. Even when I was there, we had a bit of an issue as the neighbors were six feet away and frequently had dogs of their own. I was sure we were going to get kicked out of the campground but she wasn’t even the most obnoxious dog there! She has spent every work day since May 6 at doggy daycare. The good news is she’s gained a lot of confidence, has started playing with the other dogs and is generally enjoying herself. And is very, very tired at night, hooray! Her separation anxiety is even a teeny tiny bit improved.

Not too long after settling into the campground, I sent an email to my agent outlining one or two timing issues that had come to my attention. I was leaving on vacation on the 26th – the trailer absolutely had to be out of the campground before then. I couldn’t/can’t move the trailer with my little car so have to find assistance – always complicated and inevitably the other party has their own timing issues. The loan wasn’t set to close until June 8 and what the hell was I going to do with the trailer. I (pretended) to be calm and asked if maybe we could revisit getting a pre-close occupancy agreement so I could get the trailer out of the campground and onto the property.

She suggested we ask the Bank Guy if he would write an email saying the loan would be approved, no problem, and then she thought it would be okay to approach the seller about an occupancy agreement. Bank Guy responded and suggested an entirely different scenario – the bank would give me an unsecured loan (for far less than the original mortgage) and I would have to come up with the cash for the balance of the purchase price. Then, later when all is calm(er), we could close on the mortgage, refinancing the unsecured loan.

With that financing scenario, I was able to close on the property on May 16. As of today, we still haven’t closed on the mortgage proper and I may have to rattle a few cages. But the difference between 12% and 6% interest is enough to get my attention and start hollering. Bank finally sent me a copy of the May 17 appraisal today. First movement I’ve seen from them since I signed the unsecured loan documents a month ago.

My friend that had towed the trailer to the campground opted out of moving it onto the property. I can’t say that I blame him – steep driveway, super tight turn around. Many, many ways for it to go horribly wrong. I got lucky and found a hauling company – Trailer Guy thought it could be done for a relatively reasonable fee but he couldn’t get to this part of town until the 22nd. I was able to stay longer at the campground (still pre-Memorial Day weekend) so that part worked out remarkably well.

As is to be expected, the 22nd saw the first storm we’d had in 54 days. Trailer Guy (and his son) and I scampered around getting the trailer unhooked and packed up while eyeing massive black clouds. I shoved Wallee into the carrier and loaded her, the plants and other potentially breakable stuff into the car.

I don’t know how, I almost didn’t think it was possible, but Trailer Guy backed that trailer all the way up the steep drive and into position. When all done, I noticed a tire track less than two inches from the edge of the road, he cut it that close. He said afterward it took every ounce of skill he had to get it done. An awe-inspiring and impressive maneuver. Miraculously the rain held off.

After that, Wallee and I went back into town pick Roxy up at daycare. As we hit city limits, it was clear the sky had recently opened and attempted to drown the city but, as is normal here, the storm had moved on. (“If you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes.”) In what I consider the first “lucky event” of the afternoon, I was able to pick up a prescription at my doctor’s office before they closed at five. Before you judge me for considering that lucky, remember these sorts of things are relative. Grabbed Roxy and we headed home.

In the second “lucky event” of the day, I opted for taking the frontage road rather than the freeway. It started raining and traffic was a little slow but overall tolerable. As we gained a little elevation, there were three to four inches of snow/hail on the ground. I looked over at the freeway and three lanes of traffic were completely stopped. I said many, many prayers of gratitude for not being there. A little further on, I could see the fire trucks and ambulances. The hail had caused an unknown number of cars to go sliding all over creating mass havoc.

We got to the top of the hill, all hail and/or signs of rain are gone, and the clouds are breaking up. There is a HUGE rainbow! Which arguably could be said to end at our new home, these things being subject to interpretation. And we all know who sent that rainbow. (Thank you, my angel!)

We got to the property and halfway up the drive there’s a deer in the middle of the road. Roxy didn’t quite know what to think or do – started to bark and stopped, looked at me, looked at the deer. Barked. Snuffled at me and barked again. She had no clue what it was or what should be done about it but some action was undoubtedly called for. And why on earth was I not doing something?

That was our magical homecoming, all three of us in the car together. I’m clinging to it as a good omen.

Home Sweet Home

Somehow I got packed on Friday and left for Virginia/North Carolina bright and early that Saturday. I’ll leave others to elaborate on the trip, and mostly my pictures suck, but I had a great time. Vacation was badly needed and probably saved those last three brain cells.

Got home late Saturday. Got up Sunday morning to find the refrigerator had stopped working at some point mid-week (frozen raw dog food stored for an unknown time at 60-70 degrees = very unpleasant). I elected to ignore that issue for the moment and went and picked up Roxy and Wallee from their various accommodations. In case anyone is worried that Roxy has changed her destructive ways, while I was inside picking up Wallee, Roxy was waiting in the car and attempted to pull herself through the partially open window, breaking the side mirror and putting impressive claw marks into the housing of the mirror. I was not pleased – $70 for the new mirror.

So that’s the back story.

There is a well on the property and, as it turns out a well pump ($12K I didn’t have to spend – woo hoo!). However, the gizmo that allows me to hook the trailer up and get actual running water inside remains MIA. The well guys are scheduled to come Monday (18th) to install the thingy and clean out the holding tank (currently green and icky). In the meantime, I have a couple of one-gallon jugs that I fill at the office and schlep home. The last shower I had was in North Carolina – how to win friends and influence people.

Also on the “missing utility” list is electricity (necessary to run the well pump for starts, not to mention other niceties like refrigerator, lighting and the ability to charge one’s cell phone). In the interim, I purchased a stupidly expensive gasoline-powered generator to run the well pump. As a bonus, the noise of the generator stresses both Roxy and Wallee out completely (okay, me too but at least I understand the trade-offs). If you ask them, the world is certainly ending.

I am in talks with the local electric company and they are supposed to have an estimate to me by the end of this week. All bets are that I will faint dead away at the sight of said estimate. Assuming the money can be found, I should have electricity four to five weeks after giving them a deposit. Stay tuned.

The vacation frig debacle was due to an empty propane tank – easily resolved. But evidently, and this was news to me, RV refrigerators running on propane do not work when it gets hot outside. This seems a massive design flaw but no one asked me. So I have been “functioning” out of an ice chest for the past week and a half. As of yesterday, the frig is working again (temp dropped below 85). But for how long? How much food can I throw away in the “Is the Frig Working Today” game?

I built an enclosure last weekend for Roxy, hoping to end the constant daycare bill and dragging her all over town. Damn near killed myself in the heat. I left her there for a couple of hours on an experimental, first time basis. Came home to find she had climbed/jumped the fence and was laying contentedly in the shade of the trailer. I am really happy and proud of her: she didn’t wander off (or if she did, she came back) and nothing bad (appears to have) happened. Somehow it didn’t occur to me that maybe if it was too hot for me to work in the space, it might be too hot for her to stay there. So now I get to rebuild it this weekend in a different and shadier location.

Now a month into RV living and I’m finally starting to figure it out and get settled. Formerly living in 1,400 sq. feet and moving to roughly 200 sq. feet takes some adjustment. There are a couple of sub optimum quirks in the trailer design that I continue to question but will eventually conquer. Or they’ll conquer me – probably even money on that. Wallee has been content to become a full-time inside cat – surprised the heck out of me. At dusk, she sometimes thinks maybe she’d like to go out but I think she’s not really convinced.

I think Roxy likes the trailer and the land. Many, many interesting smells!

So there’s the update – I think you can see why it’s taken me so long to post. I’ve been a bit busy.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

Love to all

Teri, Wallee, the Roxinator and Angel Isa

 

June 8th, 2018

We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

One year ago today I brought a beast into my house that threatened to eat me for the first two to three days. Happy Gotcha-Versary Miss Roxy!!

Much to update everyone on, although a certain number of you have heard it already. Things are starting to ease up now so I can start typing it up.

We should have water next week!

love to all,

Teri, Wallee, the Roxinator and Angel Isa

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