Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More Doggie and Construction News

Sunday was a real scorcher in more ways than one. It seems to me (and probably scores of others) that this year’s heat wave is hotter and lasting longer than last year’s. And it’s not because I’m living in my RV. I did last year. Plain and simple, it’s hotter. A few hours ago, it was 95 degrees. Now we’re down to 85 and it’s 7:20. A quick reminder to myself—I’m in Mexico!

Now for the way more than one. For the past two weeks Mindi has been in heat. Yep. Despite being spayed a year ago, this is her second heat. Her character has changed completely. Sunday, Humberto was here helping me with carpentry jobs. I never thought that a female dog in heat would detect testosterone… duh… she did. And before I’d realized what was happening, she was attacking her sibling Tina (probably in an effort to claim the poor lone testosterone bearer for herself). Then Tasha and Queenie got into the foray and it was a rather scary outbreak of canine revolt, all ganging up on Mindi. She gave as good as she got. The hose put an end to it, but not before Mindi had suffered a couple of bites; from whom? I have no idea.

I hardly slept that night. My vet had given me calming tabs made of natural ingredients that were quite effective. For the dogs, not me. But I had to double the dose for Mindi. And she had to be separated from the others. At 5 in the morning sleep eluded me completely. I felt so bad and sorry for my poor dog who probably had no idea what was happening to her… and I had no idea where to turn for help.

Here, I’m not sure if it’s governed by the state, there is a PERRERA. This is a woman who will collect dogs who live on the street or elsewhere and present a menace to the population, human or other. They are usually euthanized. I was given her number by MY veterinarian. She also gave me the number for Proteccion Civil, a body of officers who take care of problems other than criminal ones. However, they must have been busy with the Wine and Cheese Fair, held here annually for one week, ending next weekend. I never got an answer. As far as MY vet was concerned, she claimed to be out of town.

I frankly did not know where to turn. So I prayed to be inspired. As I went to bed and again as I woke up at 5 A.M. In calm, quiet expectation, I waited for some kind of an answer and got the impression that I should wait until 7 A.M. and call Control Canino. I hadn’t thought of that one. It’s a public veterinarian service in San Juan del Rio that had spayed both Mindi and Tina a year before. I did. I immediately got an answer from the lady in the office, who incidentally remembered me and my dogs. I explained the situation and asked for advice. She said that I should bring Mindi that very day, and that the veterinarian would perform adequate surgery for free, since it had been the same vet who’d spayed both of them.

Can I express how incredibly grateful I was for this piece of news? I’ll leave it to your imagination. The female vet in town had said that she’d need ultrasound (quite pricey) to localize what pedazo, or fragment of an ovary, had wandered off somewhere. We were talking here of $$$$. I had to find transportation and called Jimena who said that a friend, Yvonne, would gladly take me there. Here’s another benevolent angel who helped in my time of need. I must have been kind to a lot of people in a past life. A lot of people are superbly kind to me in his one!

Later on Monday, (yesterday? but it feels as if it had been l o n g days before)  I took her to San Juan and she was operated later that day, or very early today (Tuesday) and I could pick her up around 2 P.M.  I did. The vet wanted to explain what had occurred. He said that she had suffered from quite a rare ectopic syndrome, in which a small non-malignant tumour forming on an ovary will travel and seek refuge and attach itself elsewhere post-spaying. It  had happened here, on a kidney. Later fed by the blood stream, that fragment took on the characteristics of an ovary and produced estrogen, precipitating a rut season. He then showed me the culprit, remarking that it was a good thing that I’d had her checked for surgery while in heat, a suggestion denied earlier by MY vet. It made for swelling of the “false organ”, which in turn made it easy to find, without ultrasound. I was shown it.

Now here’s the good part. Spaying or neutering at Control Canino costs about 25 dollars per dog. That’s what I had paid. But because this complication came up after the surgery, all that I had to pay was the cost of the anesthesia, which came up to 100 pesos, or about 8 dollars! And to top it all, the vet took the time to explain all to me, unhurriedly and gently.

Mindi is now home but separate from the other dogs. Tina growled at her upon arrival, this despite the fact that she’d been forlorn without her sibling, and Mindi replied the same way. All of it within the first 30 seconds. But the estrogen now in her body should slowly dissipate within a week to 10 days. The vet could have given her an injection of progesterone to neutralize the estrogen, but it would have fostered signs of a false pregnancy and brought on more complications. So, all’s well that ends well. At least for the next 10 days. Macho dogs were soon at the gate… unwelcome suitors.

Now that I’ve elaborated on Mindi’s canine crisis, I have no more time or energy to talk about the construction. So, see you all tomorrow with good news about the construction! I’m off now to have a good night’s sleep.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Queenie News

Just a short post as it’s hard to remain in the RV with over 90 degrees. The bodega keeps cool but has no electric power. I heard from the veterinarian. The lab is in Mexico City, so takes a bit longer.


Strange how, in the period of waiting to hear what could be wonderful news or devastating ones, I pushed it away from my mind, but especially from my heart. Then when I heard, a great weight was lifted from my whole body (yes, physically) and I breathed the greatest sigh of relief I’d ever expected. I had not realized how vital to me was to know that my Queenie would stay with me for more years, without pain and a debilitating illness. So my big girl will, I hope, live to her full life expectancy of 12 years. She’s now 9 years old but her body was used for many years as a puppy machine. When I adopted her, I promised her that from that point on, her life would take a turn for the better. I would have hated to be made a liar!

For all who sent positive thoughts and vibes, THANK YOU!

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Facebook, I Changed my Mind

When I went on Facebook this morning, I realized that I had made a mistake. Realized that I already have enough on my plate with the plans, the construction, and my four dogs. Realized that I do keep in touch via my blog. Realized that I still enjoy the more intimate way of communicating either by phone or email. Realized that I had missed Skype so much that it may have influenced my decision to hook myself to Facebook. Realized that communications via Facebook, because they can be viewed by virtually millions, do present a threat to my privacy or else, must remain superficial. Admittedly, my blog is a form of revealing myself to the world, but I have to be found first. And comments and email do keep me in touch. But, more than anything, the trite and superficial do annoy me. A lot. How’s that for realizations?

So I’ll unhook myself from Facebook. For the third and last time.

Therefore, please ignore my request for help with Facebook. I shall remain anonymous and it suits me just fine.

A heartfelt “Thank You” to my friend Allison whose email was instrumental in shining the light on this. And thank you to my readers. I appreciate your comments. My last realization is that if one topic interests you, you’ll share with your comments. No comments? Probably it is that indulged in addressing myself to myself only.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Excuses… Excuses – and News About Tasha

That’s about all that I can offer at this point. Excuses.

I had been looking at FaceBook for a while now, but shied away from learning one more thing. What… I’m 72! My head is already swimming, crammed as it is with all sorts of things.  I’ll agree that many might not be so useful at this point in my life, but just the same… there’s only so much space, right? Already, I’m learning a new language, a new way of living, a new culture, construction standards in Mexico, alien terms, and over all, new almost everything. On top of it all, I’m designing a little house for my ‘old age’, as if most of my life wasn’t already behind me, yet feeling different, as if age didn’t matter at all!

Huh… does it?

So, I’ll confess to my ignorance and my fumbling. I haven’t the foggiest idea how to communicate via FaceBook, although I’d love to. Can I link my blog to FaceBook? That would be great, but how?  How transparent are my personal data? How personal are my contacts? I feel a bit overwhelmed, worried about privacy, and it doesn’t happen that often. Perhaps staying with what one knows best is safer.

So these are my excuses. Anyone can be of help? I’d appreciate it, so much.

About Tasha:- I’ll have to stop going to the vet!

It reminds me of a dear friend from Montreal, Olive. She was special. An Italian from the U.K. whose father had died some time before, she had been fascinated by my daughter, Nathalie, perhaps a bit envious. Having 3 boys whose ages went from 12 to 17, she was simply dying to have another attempt at having a daughter. But, she had to go to Scotland for her father’s passing away. She stayed away for 3 months. Her husband, Ralph, was a seriously married fellow who took his fidelity vows to heart (as did she, I know).

Well… when she returned, fireworks were the order of the day, or the night? She soon found herself pregnant and, afraid to confront her physician who had advised against another pregnancy, kept mum about it for over 3 months. When she finally went, he advised against all unnecessary efforts, on account of her health problems and her age at 41. She promised to be totally obedient. But, let’s not forget that she was Italian! She respected his admonitions as much as she could but was so thrilled at another chance of perhaps having a daughter, that she thought she’d keep visits to her doctor to a minimum. Next, she went when she was already 5 months on the way, if not over. A short exam showed that there were more than one heartbeat heard. Twins on the way?

To strip it down to a minimum, she kept her appointments to once a month, at most. The next time, since more than two heartbeats could be detected, she was told that she… possibly… well, almost certainly… was carrying triplets! Things were getting serious. At that point, I told her, facetiously, that she might as well refrain from further visits to the doctor since every time she went, he’d find another baby!

Close to her 8th month pregnancy, a fourth baby was indeed found. She then had to be hospitalized until the babies were to be born. Hers were the first quadruplets born at the Royal Victoria Hospital ever. Long story short, she had three other boys and one GIRL! She was ecstatic! I couldn’t help but tease her about her apparent lack of balance. Six boys for one girl? That’s a lot of hard work!

To make a long story short, she did survive the birth of quadruplets but sadly, did not live for more than another 5 years. Fortunately, Ralph eventually met a wonderful woman, an exceptional one and a teacher on top of it, who not only was a loving partner, but took over the care and education of these four precious children. But that’s a long time ago.

Now, back to Tasha. Every time that I go to the vet, she ages by more than 1 to 2 months at a time! I went today for her second immunization. After a thorough examination, the vet declared that, given the advanced state of growth of her teeth, she was at least 7 months old! What? From a puppy barely alive some 12 weeks before, we’re now looking at a half-grown German Shepherd? The vet said that, given her state of extreme emaciation and lack of vital nutrition for weeks, if not months, she was making up for time lost.  That, she is! I’m not complaining. Just wondering how such a tiny puppy could have survived until she made it to my door for… what… weeks if not months without the basic necessities for survival? One wonders how much pain exists in the world for simple survival alone… I’ll admit to shying away from that thought as much as I can.

If she wasn’t sent to me, I’ll eat my hat! My girls are so accepting of her. And I do love her so much. I just pray that, although I’m ready to help yet any other animal in need, I can fit him or her into my growing brood. Wasn’t it said that one will not burdened with more than one can handle? I hope this saying will hold true for now.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Love Discovering New (to me) Talent

I was surfing the net for I don’t recall exactly what when I stumbled on the site Australia’s Got Talent. Curious, I clicked on this link and heard this young man (or should I say boy?) sing. I was absolutely enchanted. What a voice! To try Nessum Dorma at age 15 for an audition is either incredible chutzpah or incredible talent. I found it to be the last. Should you be as captivated as I was, I think you’ll want to watch his second performance or even more. I did and still can hardly believe it! This boy is so phenomenal that I keep going back to his performances to convince myself of it…

Mark Vincent audition Australias Got Talent 2009

Anyway, I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Dream Becomes a Project–Tasha Now

Years ago, I had read that once a dream is given a deadline it becomes a project. Which is to say that it’s okay to buy lottery tickets but to bank on hitting the jackpot is a pipedream, not a project.

When I decided a little under two years ago to move to Mexico, I had only a vague idea of what awaited me. First, I was travelling in a 28 feet long motorhome on roads that were at times quite narrow. The trip itself was, at times, harrowing. I was heading towards the central part of the country, not at all sure that it would be my final destination. I did not know the language. I did, however, have a clear idea of what I wanted to accomplish. Find a small lot on which I could boondock while I paid for it, then build my own small house. At the time, I had given a very serious thought to Oaxaca, particularly Teotitlan del Valle, a few clicks from the city of Oaxaca. It struck me as an art centre where the indigenous artisans were still creating pottery, tapestry, etc. as had their ancestors for centuries. I had a contact there. But nothing else.

In some ways, it might have been construed of as a pipedream, seeing that I had exhausted almost all of my savings and was living on little more than social security. Preposterous, you might say. However, thanks to Peter whose page on Tequisquiapan had looked quite alluring, I had high hopes starting out in Tequisquiapan. For those who have followed my blog, you’re already aware that I was in for a rude awakening. After that rough beginning, I was thinking of settling in Oaxaca where I’d hoped to find my small lot, when I met with some compatriots who invited me to spend what I had decided was my last night in Tequisquiapan. The rest is history.

After a little over a year boondocking on my lot in Santillan while I paid for the lot,a deadline is finally set. While Santillan is technically part of the municipal district of Tequisquiapan, it is a small pueblo a few miles from the city proper. Almost a mirror image of what I was hoping for in Oaxaca. The week from May 30th to June 3rd, the maestro and his helper will be here to prepare the lot for the excavation. They were here for a couple of days building the ramp over which trucks delivering materials will pass. The thickness is graduated from about 6 inches to almost a foot right under the gate. It is reinforced with a double layer of metal grating. The 2 weeks or more of curing time will then be over. I’ve ordered a large load of sand and one full load of gravel to be followed by stones for the foundation.

Outside ramp

Sand and gravel ready for the cement mix. They had to be dumped in the front to leave enough room on the lot.

Sand & gravel

Here, no large cement truck is called in to fill in the basement foundation of the house. Everything is done by HAND! As the construction progresses, even it it’s at a snail pace, I’ll post both photos and comments. Since I’d had my little adventures finding masons who, one after the other, had to be dismissed, I’ll share Pete’s masons a week per month. The excavation will take place on June 20th followed with building of the foundation.

In a recent post, I had mentioned how I was astounded by the veterinarian’s declaration that Tasha had to be at least 5 months old since her adult teeth were almost all in. I figure that at this time, she’s probably about 6 months old. Here are photos taken when she arrived so tiny that she looked to be about 6 weeks old…


… and now as she is 11 weeks later. Hard to believe how much growth she’s done in such a short time!

Tasha, 11 weeks later






Monday, May 16, 2011

A Quickie of Good News and Unsung Angels

Queenie was operated on today. Two rather large (to my watchful mind) incisions. She had to be carried out physically to the rear of the van and brought up into it. Same coming back home. That’s 125 pounds of unwilling weight. Fortunately, Cole, a young and very helpful neighbour, came with his wheelbarrow and between the three of us, Cole, Peggy and I, we managed to bring her to a bed I had made for her in the bodega, which happens to be much cooler than the RV. I kept a watch over her all afternoon and she finally managed to get up on shaking legs towards 4 pm. A few bites of apple and mango helped restore come vigour, not that much, but some, and by the time it was doggie supper time, she was ok to come into the RV. The two tumours have been sent to a lab and the pathologist will have some answers this coming Friday.

Mindi has been insufferable with her woebegone expression and her constant lookout for a way to roam. I took her to the vet as I was picking up Queenie and asked for help. I’d hate to resent my sweet dog whose fault it is not; but neither is it mine. However, she was really obnoxious. I was ready to beg for help, but did not have to. She was given an injection of hormones to “cancel out” her heat, to my immense relief. With a prescription for natural tranquilizing pills twice a day, she could survive this one heat without making everyone crazy around her, herself included! Before the next one hits us, she’ll be undergoing surgery to remove whatever particles of her ovary are causing this much hardship to the poor dog and her keeper.

Here, I want to officially recognize the unsung angels that we encounter in our hour of need. Peggy has been one of those and I can’t say how much I appreciate her help with my ‘girls’. And young Cole who never fails to help with a smile on his face. These two have been my unsung hero angels.

As a final note, let me state that traveling solo as a senior woman to wild and wonderful places, one often encounters these angels who somehow appear out of nowhere and quietly lend a hand, looking for nothing more than heartfelt thanks. Sometimes, one hits the road with a rather jaundiced view of humankind. It had been my case. However, it’s been my experience that the road, rather than being filled with would-be criminals, more often than not reconciles oneself with humankind as, at times, people virtually spring out of nowhere and come to one’s rescue. And here, I need to stress the word “kind”, as one encounters many acts of kindness from our fellow humans. If I was to reckon what experiences have been the most meaningful to me, it would be these acts of kindness that reconciled me with my shared humanity. 

These experiences, although often brought upon oneself by bad luck, have their silver lining in that they make one proud of being a member of the dominant species, humankind and our fellow humans.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Too Much Running Around

I have tried I don’t know how many times to get to my blog, obviously without much success. There has been too much to relate it in a short blog, but here goes…

About Tasha: Took her to the vet for her shots and was told that far from being about 3 and a half months old, she’s at least 5 months! Her extremely emaciated state and her dreadful condition were more a witness to her previous suffering than to her real age. Poor little tyke; it brought me a lot of pain to realize how hard her short life had been. But she’s growing in leaps and bounds. More pics when I can get my act together, given a little more breathing time.

About Queenie: A few months ago I had noticed a lump that appeared at first like a protuberance from an ingrown hair. Then it began growing. The problem is that I have no means of transportation and to ask a cab to accept such a massive animal was asking too much. Fortunately, Peggy, who is a dog lover as I am, helped me. I was concerned because of a rather rapid growth of the lump in the past couple of weeks. She’ll be undergoing surgery tomorrow, after which the lab will check its source. I’m praying it’ll be only a benign cyst.

Oh… almost forgot there have been so many directions to go around!  Mindy has her second heat since her being spayed. A small particle of an ovary was apparently left behind, triggering hormonal changes. She’s miserable and keeps trying to jump over the six foot fence. Unfortunately, she’s been successful a few times and I’ve had to run around to get her back. I’m so petrified of her being mounted by a bigger dog. Or for a big dog jumping over the fence and Queenie making mincemeat of him. The vet will do an ultrasound once her heat is over and try to locate what’s been left of her ovary so as to remove it.

The ramp under the gate: Pete’s two masons were here to build it over a couple of days. Had to dump the sand and gravel on the street side and it brought a number of masons wanting to work. Although I’m far from a Southern Belle, still I had to converse a bit rather than dismiss them outright. That took quite a chunk of my time.

The water heater: Michel had removed it some 15 months ago intending to have the leak from a tiny hole soldered. But it’s an aluminum body and when the gent tried to solder it, the hole grew and grew. Finally Michel took it back to his shed where it stayed for all that time. I actually thought he’d thrown it away. I had resigned myself to cold showers during those months… But last week, he rediscovered it and tried to have it fixed. It was. But to re-install it was time consuming. Michel hates dogs so I was busy trying to keep them from going near him. It appeared to be fixed. The water heater. Not Michel’s hate of animals.

More about the water heater: Like all fixtures on an RV, everything has to be done to minimize weight, which means plastic in lieu of metal. The water connections blew out flooding the RV FOUR TIMES!!! First, Michel came in. Then another flood and I called the plumber. Fixed? Not exactly. I got two more floods. Humberto, Lupe’s son, attempted to fix both connections and I’m hoping that this last one will remain fixed. Michel had installed two metal elbows to facilitate connecting the pipes. However, it appeared as if the heat from the heater via the elbows managed to weaken the connection. With Humberto’s last visit a few minutes ago, we agreed to tape the %&?@#%!! of the $%#@*&? pipes. There’s enough teflon tape inside, electric tape and duct tape outside to hold back the Titanic. Another flood and I’ll get back to cold showers. I’m loath to spend anymore on the RV now that I have construction plans and masons to do them right.

To end this dismal showing of a post, I do have good news. The two masons are charging me $2400 pesos a week, for the two of them, and they are superb workers. The maestro took one look at my plan and said that he didn’t need an architect, it was so clear. I’d made it to scale on quadrillĂ© paper, one square per one square meter. I even marked the trees, the RV, the bodega and my clothes lines! How’s that for exactness? In the next couple of weeks, I’ll review my plan with Pete and I guess I’ll be good to go into building my casita! And at long last publish it to a post.

More pics to come. First Queenie. I hope that she’ll be OK. 9 years old is considered a senior age for such a big dog. But she’s been so precious, both to me and the three orphan girls. If you have a couple of minutes, could you pray for my big girl and the little ones.

Your words of support would mean a lot to me with all my doggie troubles. I do feel for them and pray that everything will turn out fine, with time.

Monday, May 9, 2011

How Dr. Wm. Glasser Helped Put me on the Road–Part Two

If you haven’t read Part One, just scroll down to the Search box and type in ‘Dr. Wm. Glasser, Part One’. You’ll have to scroll up for the answer.

In Part One, I delineated what Dr. Glasser terms our Quality World. This quality world consists of the pictures of people, of things, of ourselves, and of our beliefs that we seek to fulfil throughout our life.

The natural sequel to this proposes that ALL WE DO FROM BIRTH TO DEATH IS BEHAVE.

We choose what we are doing. Therefore, we are the victims of OUR bad choices or the beneficiary of OUR good ones.

In rereading my previous post, I realized that I had made a mistake in putting the previous sentence in the negative. The heat got to me, I guess…. To continue:

The 10 axioms of Choice Theory 1

The only person whose behaviour we can control is our own.

  1. All we can give or get from other people is information. How we deal with that information is our or their choice.
  2. All long-lasting psychological problems are relationship problems. A partial cause of many other problems, such as pain, fatigue, weakness, and some chronic diseases-commonly called auto-immune diseases- is relationship problems. I do personally have a problem with this one…
  3. The problem relationship is always part of our present life.
  4. What happened in the past that was painful has a great deal to do with what we are today, but revisiting this painful past can contribute little or nothing to what we need to do now: improve an important, present relationship.
  5. We are driven by 5 genetic needs: Survival, Love and Belonging, Power, Freedom, and fun.
  6. We can satisfy these needs only by satisfying a picture or pictures in our quality worlds. Of all we know, what we choose to put into our quality worlds is the most important. The most freedom we ever experience is when we are able to satisfy a picture or pictures in our quality worlds. If we put pictures in our quality worlds that we cannot satisfy, we are giving up freedom.
  7. All we can do from birth to death is behave. All behaviour is total behaviour and is made up of four inseparable components: acting, thinking, feeling, and physiology.
  8. All total behaviour is designated by verbs, usually infinitives and gerunds, and named by the component that is most recognizable- e.g. – I am choosing to depress or I am depressing instead of I am suffering from depression or I am depressed. Another one that gave me a problem. Some genetic traits are beyond our power to correct without help, even with the best of intentions and the greatest of willpower.
  9. All total behaviour is chosen, but we have direct control over only the acting and thinking components. We can, however, control our feelings and physiology indirectly through how we choose to act and think. Understanding that we cannot directly control our feelings and physiology, only our actions and thoughts, free us to avoid what we cannot control. It is not easy to change our actions and thoughts but it is all we can do. 

I would like to add that what precedes makes this post much longer than I would normally want. But for me, these axioms opened such a wide door in determining what my personal freedoms and responsibilities were that I put these axioms integrally. I hope that they might help others.

Assessing the Needs


More willing than most to take risks = low need for survival.

Less adventurous = higher need for survival. I equated survival with security in my decision to leave the Seniors apartment, and NOT that I ever considered that I was putting my life at risk by full-time RV’ing. I had more accidents living stationary than on the road, where I had none. This is an important point.

Love and Belonging

Willingness to give compared to family and friends = higher need to love. Such as, few but very close friends, low need for belonging.

Need world to be filled with people one gets along well with = high need for belonging.

For example, lots of people in quality world but not close to any of them = high desire for belonging but lesser desire for love.

Few people and not close to any = low desire for love and belonging.


Need to be right or have own way = high need for power, as having the last word.

Not caring much about having own way – low need for power.


If you can’t stand the idea of following rules, conforming, or even staying in place or with one group of people long = high need for freedom.

If it doesn’t bother you to follow rules or to conform = low need for freedom.


If you enjoy learning and laugh a lot when you do = high need for fun. If you’re sort of the entertainer of the class = higher need for fun.

If you don’t want to make too much of an effort at learning and depend on others for enjoyment = low need for fun.


I’ll venture an educated guess here. Most, if not all, those who yearn for trekking and roaming have a higher need for freedom and a lower need for survival. Not that I equate full-time RV’ing with survival, but more with the (at times dubious) assurance of security. To me security begins with knowledge of and confidence in oneself, adaptability and flexibility, and willingness to learn.

To paraphrase Socrates, a character in “The Peaceful Warrior”, I’d say that there are many ways of being rich. One is to work harder and get all the toys one’s heart desires. The problem with this one is that we sometimes confuse needs and wants, or desires, and end up increasingly dissatisfied with life… but with a ton of pricey toys. And awfully tired.  The other is to recognize one’s genuine needs. Usually, these can be satisfied much more cheaply than all one’s desires. A question of adaptation.

I’m sharing all this because Dr. Glasser did in fact contribute to my recognizing some basic needs that could not be fulfilled by remaining in the security of the seniors’ apartment. The price was too high. In the end, taking to the road for some years, ending up in Central Mexico and building my own house, met with those basic needs of mine that had never been met otherwise. Thanks to Dr. Glasser, I acquired a new concept of myself and found happiness and fulfilment. Not rich in $$$ but rich with life.

I highly recommend it.

Note: 1.- Quoted from Choice Theory, Dr. Wm. Glasser.Comments in italics mine.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Trips to Town – With and Without a Toad

For the first 2 or 3 years after I’d begun full-time RV’ing, my only means of transportation had been the RV. This presented no problem just as long as I kept moving. I would stop in a town that had free potable water, a self-serve laundry, a grocery store, propane gas, a service station. If I was lucky, I’d also find a dumping facility and a second-hand bookstore. A couple of hours and that was it. When stationary however, this meant a full day per week attending to day-to-day necessities factoring in the distance between the LTVA and the city.

I had spent one short season at Slab City near Niland, California and found shopping, laundry, etc. relatively easy, although some distance away. There were a couple of convenience stores in nearby Niland, free water, a dumping site for a small fee, gas and propane, and even the use of a library. For a full line of groceries including meat, I would go to Brawley at the Von’s, or to El Centro, some miles further. This meant breaking camp with the risk of either leaving “stuff” accessible to opportunistic pickers, or risk losing a favourite site. I avoided leaving anything behind except a clean site.

Then I began wintering at Imperial Dam LTVA, at times alternating with Quartzsite, opting for up to a seven month stay for a season fee of $180. The sticker permitted me to alternate between 7 or 8 LTVAs. At Imperial Dam and Quartzsite, a site marked with an outside rug and a couple of chairs or even just 5 gallon jugs filled with water would usually guarantee that I’d find my site free when I’d return. Once a week I’d spend a full day doing chores, which meant breaking camp, securing the site, and manoeuvring in town for suitable parking, etc. Quartzsite had limited shopping options but Yuma or the Foothills, AZ were ideal. Both sported a Supercentre Walmart (a one-stop-shop) and a public library. On the plus side, I’d do my shopping and secure the perishables immediately while on the parking lot. Same with the laundry. Upon return, I’d dump sewage and refill my fresh water tank. These were included in the seasonal fee.

Then a bylaw presented me with a thorny problem. It was forbidden to leave a pet in an unattended vehicle. Technically, an RV is a vehicle. But it’s also a residence. I couldn’t leave the two dogs I had then behind. Where? So, I’d usually leave early enough to find a shady spot, kept all windows open for cross-ventilation, and the blinds down to avoid direct sunlight and plenty of water. One day a security man gave me a warning. Next time would be a fine and the risk of having my pets picked up and moved to the dog pound. I argued about the vehicle-residence with him, the impossibility of leaving my dogs behind, and finally proposed that I’d run the generator to air-condition the RV. Regrettably, this was not an acceptable option. The answer seemed to be to get a toad.

I had often envied those who had one and just left the RV and pets behind. So I got one. Although a bit concerned at first about the total length of RV and car while on the road, it ended up not a problem, really. I’d pack stuff in the car and that was a plus. Also, once boondocking, it made my full-day shopping much easier but still presented a few unexpected hiccups. I worried about my dogs, a Rottweiler and a German Shepherd, left behind in the shade under the awning. There were coyotes and roaming burros. Admittedly, parking was a breeze. Keeping perishables and frozen items was a tad more dicey. And space was restricted. I’d had an Extend-a-Stay installed, which allowed me to have a couple of propane tanks connected to the RV, in addition to the main tank. The contraption bypasses the main tank, which I’d use only as an emergency source of propane. I’d use almost exclusively the two tanks and have them refilled on my shopping day. Here in Mexico, the installation proves also valuable since I can have both the stationary and portable tanks filled when the truck comes by.

In my most recent years of boondocking, with only Queenie, I let go of the car. Parking it in Calgary where parking fees are the MOST EXPENSIVE in North America ($300. a month!) was prohibitive. So I sold it. I had a rack installed behind the RV to accommodate the gas tanks and while in the South, I’d run the air-conditioner before parking in the most recondite places I could find. Queenie is not a barker so she wouldn’t attract attention with all blinds down. Even downtown Yuma, I usually found a spot beneath a tree. Let me state that invariably, I’d return to the RV with Queenie’s environment more comfortable than the outside, even in the shade. I wish that I could advocate for one or the other option. Both have pluses and minuses.

While travelling, Walmarts were a good option for overnighting as they are usually reasonably close to the highway. But they are bound to respect the local bylaws that forbid overnighting, even on their own lot. I got their Atlas that lists which stores allow overnighting. I found that, increasingly, towns and cities forbid RV parking ANYWHERE but an RV park. And these are very costly for the right to find oneself packed between other RVs like sardines in a can. And don’t let me get started on the regulations… Boondocking seems to have become an ongoing search for suitable places.  I suppose it should be noted that he boonies are by definition usually outside residential areas. In conclusion, I found that I’d usually bypass the cities and towns and find more lenient spots to park the RV for the night.

Now that I “boondock” on my own lot in central Mexico, I’m happy to report that I have solved these problems. Now, I have to choose between building the house or buying a vehicle. Money can only go so far. I’m going for the house.

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