Along for the ride:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Disaster Magnets?

It's been a week now, since we first collapsed to sleep, surrounded by cardboard boxes, in our new home. So far, two houses have burned to the ground and two dead bodies have been found in a nearby park. There's a high likelihood that idiots playing with fireworks, on a hot and windy afternoon, ignited the long dry buffalo grass on the hillside and that wildfire devoured the houses. There were loud explosions when the propane tanks went up and news photos showed blackened rubble and barely recognizable skeletons of family cars that never had a chance to leave their garages. Sirens, firetrucks and helicopter rotter-blades provided the sound track to which danced the pillars of black and, later, white smoke. Prelude to the Fourth of July.
The bodies appear to have been a murder-suicide. It seems callous to feel relief, but as sad and difficult as that must be for all concerned. It is a self-contained crime. There are no retaliations or repercussions that might affect us. There is no unidentified murderer on the loose.
Our house is a "Fifties-Modern" box with windows. It's all on one level and has mature trees shading the front, creating a cool privacy set-back from our cul-de-sac. Children play in the street in the afternoons, fighting for turns on their scooters and making up imaginary games, for which there is, as yet, no "App" or "i".
my desiccated bird of paradise flowers stand scarecrow sentinel, waiting their chance to flourish now that someone will be watering them again.
This house comes with a secret treasure, barely mentioned in the advertisement. There is an enormous workshop on the property that will allow The Artistic One to organize his hoard and play two-fingered torture on his piano without driving me crazy. It also means that the double garage is mine, for laundry,  garden tools and dog supplies. There will be shelves around the perimeter and a table or two that can be for ongoing projects of my own. Imagine that!

I had a very sad task on early on Sunday morning. Abby-Rose's adoptive Mom, Barbara, called from Hawaii where she was on vacation with her adult children and their families. Her dog-sitter, Valerie, had told her that Abbey wasn't doing well and she was going to see the emergency vet. Barbara asked me to accompany them and see if I thought Abby could make it through another two days until Barbara could get home to be with her.
I got in my car and drove to meet Valerie and Abby at the vet's, leaving a u-haul truck, our muscle team and a stupefied husband in my rear view mirror. As I headed out, I put out Mayday! calls to two good girlfriends. At 8am on a Sunday morning they dropped everything, left their homes and families and came to take over the helm of The Move-Boat for me.
Abby-Rose needed to be given The Final Rescue. She was not a young dog when she was pulled from the shelter, at the eleventh hour, and she spent almost a year with me in training, before going to live with Barbara. She had three really good years and found and gave a lot of love during that time.
After a long phone consultation with the vet, pet-sitter and myself, Barbara knew that she must let Abby go. I thanked her for adopting Abby, for loving Abby and for releasing Abby from all discomfort. 
I cried my way back home to hugs from my champion girlfriends and sympathy from my employees who knew Abby, as she always came to work with me. I was glad of the distraction of boxes and moving in need of my attention. Little did I know...

For now, the garage is crammed with paintings and boxes that our employees unloaded randomly when we left them alone to take TAO to the hospital during the move. TAO had fallen full length on Friday and, seemingly, escaped major injury. That Sunday, two days later, when I returned from saying farewell to Abby-Rose, he was sitting pathetically in a chair, with an elbow swollen like a cantaloupe. He didn't want to leave our crew without supervision, until the truck was packed to exploding point and we'd made it to the new place to show them what came next. By then, it was mid afternoon on a Sunday and we were lucky to be able to get a Doctor's appointment at the last minute. The doctor sent us to X-Ray, with a follow-up referral to orthopedics for the next day.
Monday morning dawned with TAO's wrist now as swollen as his elbow. The orthopedic department called to try to schedule us a day later, as they were slammed after the weekend. It was a case that couldn't wait, due to TAO's age, past reconstruction surgeries to restore that arm and hand, after a severe crushing trauma long ago, and regular prescription of blood-thinners. The medical assistant heard me out and put us on hold to go confer with someone who could write up an appointment where she had no time slots and no authority to bend the rules. We were asked to come in right away and told that they would somehow fit us in, leaving a red-flag at reception to get another x-ray as soon as we arrived.
The Technology in Ortho. had a Monday morning moment in reaction to us arriving, and we were shuttled to the main hospital radiology department in a small electric vehicle with a parking security officer as make-it-work chauffeur. We boarded the more official shuttle bus for the return trip back to the consult.
As strange as it may sound, we were happy and relieved with a diagnosis of internal bleeding as the cause for the swelling. The fall had caused movement in joints that had long been fused by arthritis. The seepage had nowhere to go and wrist and elbow expanded painfully. TAO cannot take any anti-inflammatory meds, so his fall-back treatment is ice and elevation, with some gentle exercise to keep things circulating. It's a slow process but much better news than we had feared. Surgery of any kind would be a nightmare.
Since then, our first painting has been hung and we've carved pathways through the boxes, between kitchen appliances.
We've managed some pleasant meals on the covered patio. It's so much easier when everything is on one level.
The cat has adapted well. She's located a spot where she gets a cooling breeze, out of sight of the aggressive mocking birds that are entirely focused on dive-bombing her and squawking loud warnings that there is a feline in "their" territory. 
We're exploring a bit, trying new trajectories to see if we can duck traffic jams on our increased commute. We've been carpooling, although we don't agree on temperature control or radio stations. Air-conditioning on for me, window open for TAO etc. 
We shot home early today to meet the cable guy and receive delivery of the last pieces of furniture that were in storage since the flood.
I'll be hitting the road in the opposite direction soon to drive another hour to my regular Friday ride, then drive back home once again. Little bits of the new plan are shaping up, but it's still far from perfect. We'll work it out, I'm sure.
As they say here: "It's not our first Rodeo".....Did I mention we now live on Palomino Drive?


  1. You've sure been busy. I like a house on one level. It makes everything easier. The perks of extra personal space for each of you is wonderful.

    So sorry to hear about Abbey. She sounds like a treasure. It's hard to lose our best friends. She will be missed by all who loved her.

    Good luck with the rest of the move and I hope that arm heals quickly.

  2. Grey Horse, Abby was with me the longest as she was the most difficult of my charges. Training leads to intense bonding. She was a great dog and led me to a great friend in Barbara. Unfortunately, the downside of fostering over time is the sad news as some dogs leave us to go to the Rainbow Bridge.

  3. So sorry about all your mishaps, but I LOVE the look of your house. Where exactly is it? I hope all goes well from now on.

    1. Frances, disaster management is one of my skills. We're just on the north-East edge of San Jose, CA. Only 25 miles from where we were but a whole other commute away. Yesterday we tried crossing a bridge to see if it was an easier way home.

  4. So sorry to hear about Abby Rose. Ay least at the end she had a good life and is now on the Rainbow Bridge. Your house looks wonderful, but them I've always been attracted to mid-century design.

    1. Stephen, I'll always mourn, for the people left bereft, as much as the dogs. Abby did luck into a future she was never destined to have thanks to a great rescue organization who gave her a chance and a wonderful woman who loved her wholeheartedly and learned to work with her to keep her in good dog mode.
      The house pleases me. It's American, not trying to copy anything else.

  5. Good grief, does anything ever go smoothly for you?
    So sorry to hear about Abbey and TAO's arm. Fingers crossed that it'll be easier from here on in.

    1. Tails, for sure, I couldn't make this stuff up:(

  6. I am so sorry about Abby and sorry for you and might know that you have given a dog the chance to have a good life, but it doesn't ease the pain.

    I hope TAO's arm improves steadily - and that you get the chance to haver that double garage to yourself!
    We're building a new house up in the cafetal above this one...all on one floor and on a flat area to ease mobility. I have earmarked the 'garage' as the place for all the stuff Leo drags into the house.....he has yet to hear of this.

  7. Helen, huge progress in the wasteland/garden today. Tomorrow, after riding, I must force myself to work in the house. I have to find the iron. we're getting desperate:)

  8. Moving often has a sting in the tail . This time , it's been doubly hard .
    But , as always , you're staying amazingly upbeat about all the work . The house looks ideal , really ; spacious and secluded , yet not isolated .
    I hope you husband's arm heals quickly and you perfect the commute . Then you can both relax and enjoy the rest of the summer .
    And , though Abby Rose wil be missed , you have the comfort of knowing that she had a lot of love and a good end , thanks to you all .

  9. S&S, You covered every point. You're right. It all has a positive side. We're enjoying the potential:)

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  11. What an epic post, my friend. I well remember Abby and her adoption because my precious rescued OES Abby had the same name. Both Abbys were sheer wonders and gifts to we who shared time with them. I am so glad you could be there for her, and the way it all worked out is...well, as I said, epic. Your move, all the help, TAO's horrible pain, the fires.....good lord you need a break. Settle down with kitty and ride out the miserable noise a'coming (I hate this holiday for what it does to our animals)...and have a peaceful summer in your beautiful home there on Palomino Drive. It sounds like you were destined to be there! Take good care.

  12. Looks like a great house and I love the idea of only one floor!

    So sorry to hear about Abby, but three years of love to a dog is worth more than we can ever imagine. Bless her heart, and those who loved her.

    Wish AO well for me. Glad to know the injury wasn't more serious.

    Keep your smile on. As things settle in I hope you will be wearing it more and more every day.

  13. Jean, I got rear-ended on the way to a BBQ on Saturday but had a fabulous bonding ride on a new horse on Sunday. it all balances out.

  14. Palamino Drive. Love that. Gee, so glad nothing is going on in your life. Whatever will you do when you can sit and sit. Hope you are closer now and enjoying that new abode.

  15. I am so sorry to read about your husband's injury and poor Abby. It's so heartbreaking to let the dog go even when knowing all the good reasons for it. It does sound like it was absolutely the way to go though. I hope TAO's arm heals well.

    I must say, I love the look and sound of your new house, perhaps not to much the bodies being found in the area! How are you managing with your riding in this whole chaos of the move and troubles?

    Palomino Drive :) Perfect.