And the road goes on forever...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Changing Things Up

Living where nights remain relatively balmy during fall and winter we find we entertain a lot once our entire neighborhood is back in residence during “the season”. One thing I have really grown to miss since selling our home in Bend and living in the RV and the park model is not having a dishwasher. I don’t view washing dishes several times daily as an evil household chore, but I do particularly miss having one after having dinner companions or throwing a party which means a pile of dishes, pots, and pans which take me hours to clean up, wash and dry. I’ve wistfully told Marc that I wished I had a dishwasher enough times now that he finally got the message and is determined to figure a way I can.

For those not in the know, everything done in RVs and park models is done in miniature scale as compared to normal household fixtures. Appliances are narrower, furniture is small scale, cupboards lack adequate household depth; even water heaters are normally only five gallons! We were smart enough to upgrade ours however, so this park model sports a 20 gallon model so we eliminated one immediate concern. However, there just is nothing to be done about a cabinet whose depth is only 20.5 inches when a normal dishwasher needs at least 25.5 inches.

Looking at our quasi-bar configuration, that cabinet sits in the only and rightful area for placement of a dishwasher so Marc is determined that he can probably unbolt it and take it apart and take it into a cabinet shop where they can carefully cut it to expand it. This is a little too convoluted to explain in these pages but the gist of the thing is that it will then require a new countertop in the entire kitchen. Currently there is wood-wrapped Formica in the kitchen and on the separate built-in buffet. Our thinking is that we will put in new tops done in tile which can then also be run up as backsplash, which I have also desperately needed behind the stove. It will also be necessary to run tile down the end piece which currently houses our heater (and an open hole which we’ve never been able to fix) which has to be removed due to the dishwasher! We’ve not gotten far enough long to figure out where the heater can be reinstalled. It could be near to impossible to try and match the factory wood and stain so tile seems like a better option for this end cap. The look should be a great improvement and I will get my dishwasher!

Unfortunately, gaining a dishwasher forces me to lose my only large cabinet for pots, pans and bake ware so it has been a mad scramble of rearranging and eliminating in order to find room (mainly in the buffet) for these items.

The changes haven’t only been about me and my wants—I agonized for several months over something a little over the top to get for Marc’s present for our upcoming anniversary. We normally don’t exchange gifts at any point during the year and haven’t done anything in years to celebrate our day. Marc hasn’t had it easy giving up his toys this year and since he has developed a passion for baking bread, smoking meats, and just cooking in general I thought about what I might be able to contribute to the kitchen to make it more workable for him—OK, us.

Is this over the top enough? Ah-ha—it hasn’t arrived as yet, so stay tuned next week to find out his surprise!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Derby Settles In

Marc made it home with our new family addition late Monday evening. To ease her into things, he spent the night with her in the RV so she wouldn’t be exposed to our cat Tucker right after her traumatic week of travel and staying in various strange houses along the way. After that, we traded off and I took Derby and he took Tucker until we decided to introduce them later in the week. Meanwhile, Derby had a chance to look around after she would come out from hiding under or on top of the bed.

She made quick progress and soon grew to love early mornings out on the screened in front porch where she discovered the asparagus fern much to her liking. Since she was eating it and using it for her bed I finally needed to move it before she destroyed the entire thing. She also got much better with me, almost ceasing entirely her aggressive lashing out and now shadows me throughout the house as I go about my tasks. She hasn’t warmed up to Marc quite as much but I really do think she tends to be a one-person cat and must have transferred her attachment to Rachael over to me.

The jury is still out on the two cats together. They haven’t come to outright cat fighting yet but she often hisses at Tucker as he goes about trying his best to ignore her presence. She remains curious about him though and won’t let him far from sight despite feigning indifference.

This morning we moved the large cat condo from the RV into the park model and although it takes up a lot of space we can ill afford, it has already become Derby’s haven as she sits atop it and gazes out the window and tries to squeeze her ample rear end through the almost-too-small holes. Every cat we’ve owned has loved this thing and now it looks to be making Derby feel right at home.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Days Fold In to One Another

To beat the heat I have started doing my morning walk after only my first cup of coffee by about 5:30 a.m. It is starting to get light at that time but not enough that the bats are entirely back to their caves in the mountain, so they swoop low over me chasing the last of their meals as they head en masse east before the first rays of sunlight hit. Due to the tropical monsoon dampness now present, the desert smells are sharper and assault my nose with varying degrees depending upon topography and land features. The vegetation of the low-lying washes always put forth more pungent flavors. It’s quiet out this time of morning and I am often the only one out walking, but not always. For the resolute, everyone now walks well before 7 a.m. or not at all.

Even though my days vary between clients and tasks, there has developed a flow to my weeks that has them quickly slipping past. That’s ok; it will be nice to be around the bend from Yuma’s oppressive summer heat so I already look forward to the fall and winter. Although I am now tied to the desert as surely as if I had shackles around my ankles, so far my business gives me enough pleasure that I have been able to temper my need and yearning for escape. At some point though (I can feel it building) I will need to see some trees and real mountains and terrain that isn’t all rock and sand.

Marc will return soon with our new cat and some quasi-plans to perhaps get the front of our lot gated off so we can hope to contain our cats on our lot and not have them wandering. Tucker, given the heat, has learned to stay close, hiding under the damp coolness the Pigmy palm affords but only for about an hour every morning then he too is ready to relax beneath the air conditioner, snoozing his day away. By that time, I am off as I am most mornings, to make my elderly lady her breakfast and chat with her to get her day started. She has even been asking me to come over on Saturdays, effectively making a six day work week for me but I still get enough breaks that it is not a problem. She says she misses me when I’m not there! Surely, that’s some sort of job security….

Saturday, July 9, 2011

If Karma Works, I Should Be in For Good Times Soon

Even though my own service helping out seniors has been keeping me fairly busy, I haven’t given up on my desire to continue with my volunteer work with Helping Hands, a wonderful organization worthy of so much praise for all they do for so many. I typically devote at least 3-10 hours a week to their cause. They serve over 720 seniors in the greater Foothills area of Yuma and their volunteer numbers fall off drastically during summer since many who volunteer are seniors themselves, winter visitors who fly the coop so to speak during the heat. Consequently, they can really use the help.

Yesterday I had a light client day so was cleaning the RV when I got an emergency call asking me to quickly help out an elderly lady whose air conditioning had failed. I needed to pick her up from her home, transport her to an assisted living facility, whereby she would be taken by someone else half way to San Diego where her daughter would pick her up from there. Over her protests that it shamed her to have to ask for such help, I reminded her that Helping Hands is there for instances such as this and that we were glad we could be of service to her. With our heat index now hovering daily at over 115 degrees, it wouldn’t take long to put a senior such as herself in dire straits inside a dwelling with no air conditioning!

On another note, Marc and I were asked by our daughter this week to take in her errant former cat. Through the recent divorce and Rachael’s subsequent move to a rental which would not allow pets, she thought her former husband would be able to keep Derby until her situation improved. Unfortunately, he too found it necessary to move into a place where pets weren’t allowed so he gave the cat to some friends. Derby was chipped as a kitten so when she escaped last week and was found wandering the busy highway in Troutdale, Oregon and turned in to the animal shelter by a Good Samaritan, it was my daughter they called. Distraught and horrified, Rachael asked if we could possibly consider taking her in so they wouldn’t have to turn her in to the animal shelter.

Now understand, Derby is a one person cat with an attitude, so this is no light request. She is nothing at all like what I would want for my own pet and we certainly weren’t looking to add a buddy to our lovable hunk of mellow yellow, our golden boy Tucker.

But with a daughter in meltdown over Derby’s real possibility of euthanasia, what’s a parent to do?

Marc will be returning with a new pal—one who so far is so ungrateful as to only hiss at him. Rachael brought her over to Bend and is trying hard to ease the transition for a cat who has obviously suffered major trauma in the past few weeks and months. I wonder what my golden boy is going to think when she walks in. Maybe she will provide interest for him to change from his now-normal summertime posture:

I nearly feel like a grandparent must when asked to babysit the grandkids when they had other plans. Do you do it or not? I told my daughter she’s going to owe me for this but we can’t stand the fact of beautiful Derby not having a chance at life. Tucker, did I tell you you’re going to have a new baby sister? Rescuing seniors and cats--that's me!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Into the Tropical Monsoon Season

Seemingly in one fell swoop we entered the monsoon season here in Yuma last night. Yesterday’s high temperature of 115 degrees only faded to about an 85 overnight as suddenly winds started gusting sustained at between 20-30 mph and I could hear banging and clanging throughout the yard as stuff blew over. This morning dawns slightly cloudy with the gusting winds still pushing the palms around, and with a jump in humidity from 5% yesterday to 48% this morning I feel like I’m in the tropics! There is always softness to the air with such a humidity level, which I’ve missed living in the desert, so maybe the monsoon will have a silver lining after all.

I wrapped up a very busy week with my seniors and picked up three new clients. More and more I feel as though my business is underway and the response to the job I do has continued to be a very positive reinforcement that I am on the right track. The old truism “find a need and fill it” was never truer.

Marc hasn’t quite made it to Oregon as yet; he has been visiting with old friends, enjoying cool to moderate temperatures, nightly barbecues and probably a few Crown Royals around late-night conversations. He needed the break. Lucky guy—I think he even plans on seeing an old friend in Coos Bay so he will definitely be feeling a little of monsoon air himself at the coast.

Our forward forecast has temperatures moderating just a bit as I head into another busy week. Will today at 108 seem cool as compared to yesterday’s 115?