Saturday, October 25, 2014
Anyway, seems the princess is ready to continue her long lineage.... Vet wants to keep her for 7-10 days to make sure no more infection is going to raise it's ugly head... but, truth is, with all the vaccinations and drugs we've pumped in to this here puppy over the past 13 years.. it'd be hard for the common cold to survive... really...
Okay... it is true that Kathy and I have been driving each other crazy...waiting for the call.. Ok maybe not crazy but at least and mostly nuts. I admit, I'm not much of a nurse.. and Kathy has been the model patient (according to her... and I'll leave it at that, seeing as without her kind navigation I'd be driving in circles for months... talk about circumnavigating).
Okay.. the plan.. First a STATUS REPORT:
THE BOAT: (SV Shannon's Spirit) is tidy and clean and has a new bottom. She's going back into the storage yard Monday morning. We'll see her when we see her and, if not before, then next October.
THE TRUCK: (MV Chuck) is going well for an old guy. Threw a hub cap the other day, but it didn't even slow him down. He just looks more like an old Mexican "gentletruck" now. Anyway, he's ready to go... and he's getting fabulous mileage, like loads more since he's not carrying the weight of our load and towing Lucy (svelt thing that she is).
THE TRAILER: (TT Lucy) doesn't even know she's waiting for us... but she is.
KATHY: Her knees are getting better each day... as is her pain level. We've had to replenish the first aid kit, and have a new respect for burn pads, non-stick gauze pads, and good adhesive tape... and, she's rarin' to go too.
CJ: as always
MISS SOPHIE: came through todays surgery (sewing up her back wound) with bells on and, if there's no sign of infection in 7-10 days, will be released for travel to her Canadian vets who are waiting to fix her leg.
THE TRAVEL PLAN (remember plans can change):
Monday - Oct 27 We'll head north, across the border to Esplendor Resort in Rio Rico. (we'll stop at the vets for a puppy dog hug on the way through.)
Tuesday - Oct 28 We'll drive to Yuma and book into the Microtel Hotel. We'll stay there the following day and night while we ready the trailer and we'll enjoy a visit with our friends MJ and Leona,
Thursday - Oct 30th We'll drive across to the Patagonia Lake State Park and we'll stay there until we get the call Sophie is ready to travel. Once we get the green light we'll be able to hop across the border and pick Sophie up. We'll bring her back to the State Park for a day so she can catch her breath... and then we'll head north... Likely up the I 5 and/but watching the weather and road reports so as to, hopefully, avoid any snow and ice along the route.
So, that's our plan for now.... or at least the best we can offer you. It's all good and there's sunshine ahead. We feel very lucky to have found a good Vet in Mexico and to have a wonderful Vet at home.(Sophie's glad too :-) Will let you know if plans change, but that's where we are today...
Hope all of you are well and enjoying your life. Here's wishing Nick a Happy 30th Birthday (on the 24th).... Love you all... CJ
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
I’m sure you’re dying to know how Miss Sophie, The Princess, Sophia the wonder dog and PS is doing…. Well, she may have a wee infection but the Vet says she’s doing very well. She sent another video showing Sophie, up and responding to the staff… even asking to go out if I’m not mistaken. It’s clear to us that she has not only bonded a little with the staff, but she’s been teaching them to speak her language. You can see the video here.
Some of you have asked why we haven’t been up in Nogales with Sophie. There are a few reasons actually… the first, and foremost, is that if we were sitting outside in the waiting room all day… so that we could have a wee visit with her from time to time all we’d be doing is exciting her when she’s fragile and disappointing her each time we left. And then there’s Nogales itself. A border town in Mexico (which is not a good thing these days) and even the Vet and her husband feel it would be dangerous for us and our truck to be ‘staying’ in town… Now add the fact that the sailboat is half repaired and in need of some of our tlc before we can leave it to come home… and you see the situation.
We have altered our plans somewhat tho’. We were originally going to stay in San Carlos working on the boat until we got the call Sophie was ready to travel. We’ve realized that would be a two full days then before we’d be able to pick her up (one day to tidy up and lock up here, and one day to drive up). Soooo, our latest draft plan is….. we will spend this next week working hard on the boat. We will then put it back to bed until next season, tidy up our rented house affairs, and head north. We will stop in Nogales long enough to give Sophie a hug and stir her all up :-) and then we’ll keeping going.. .north to Yuma. We will recommission Lucy (you remember Lucy the trailer) and bring her back to Patagonia Lake just north of the border crossing at Nogales… and then we will rest and wait. When we get the call Sophie’s ready we’ll be only an hour away. We’ll be able to cross over and pick her up, receive all our nursing instructions, and have her back at the trailer within a few hours. And then we can start our journey home from there… already two-three days closer than if we’d started from San Carlos.
So that’s the plan (today). Only time will tell. Kathy’s knees seem to be a bit better but they are the worst skinned knees I’ve ever seen. We’re pretty sure she and Sophie will both have scars to show off along with the story to tell. So Kath needs a rest too and hopefully she will get that rest over these next couple of weeks.
So for now, know we are healing and we have a plan (of course :-) Will let you know, when we know, what dates we will begin our trek north. Take care everyone… and if you stop for coffee in a Mexican gas station, please don’t forget to carry a big stick. TTFN CJ
Friday, October 17, 2014
You folks can’t know how special it is to hear from you at this time of extra-ordinary (even for us) stress and chaos. Some of you have been so bold as to suggest it’s following us… we can only scream a resounding “NO!” to that suggestion… and do what we can to turn this year around.
Before I go any further, I want to thank Al. He noticed the font was getting very small… and for those of us with aging eyes.. well, stand back, I just found the Font button and hopefully this is better.
Now then, you have all been so wonderful… writing to express your horror and concern and support… we are so thankful for the dear friends and family we have… without which this would be something very different. I know you’re waiting to hear how the Princess is… the Vet hasn’t called us yet today, but she sent us another video last night showing PS out and about on a leash, hopping along like a three-legged wonder with her bright red bandaged leg just kind of ‘coming along for the ride’. We’re pretty sure we even saw a little tail wag… not a big one, but a little one, that was so uplifting it made us laugh (and then our eyes leaked again.. oh well).
Kathy called the office yesterday morning and spoke with the Receptionist (who doesn’t speak a word of English, but she did her best). She told us there is no sign of infection (as far as she knew). The staff are cleaning the wound and re-dressing it each day, and they are going to keep her for four more days. That’s pretty much what the original plan was and, barring any unforeseen change, it means that we should be able to pick her up on Tuesday (the 21st) and high-tail it north. Our journey home will be faster and more direct than the journey down. We’ll probably go up I 10 to where it meets the I 5 and then continue N/NW from there. We figure, with a bit of a tail wind, we might make it home in 7-8 days… But first we’ll spend two days in Yuma, apologizing to Lucy, waking her up and preparing her for the trek home.
Most of you have asked how we’re doing and specifically how Kathy’s injuries are healing. She’s a trooper too and her knees are the worst part…. they were quite literally skinned off and weeping, but are finally starting to look a wee bit better. We bandage them every night so she doesn’t stick to the sheets and then we rest them and air them during the day (as much as possible, except when her other duties call). Speaking of other duties… we have not just been sitting around moping. No sirree, we have been hugely busy going about the business of concluding the paperwork for having a boat in Mexico (not an easy task these days), watching over George, Edgar, and Francisco who (under the supervision of Eduardo) have been working on the boat bottom. The bottom had blisters, and needed to be sand-blasted and then re-surfaced (in layman's terms). It’s a large job, not cheap, but in the end we will have a boat with a newly surfaced bottom, that should last us as long as we feel like sailing… and hopefully longer. There are other jobs that need doing too, repairs we discovered inside that, had our plans stayed firm we would be working on now in preparation for launching the boat. But, that is not to be; and so we head north with Miss Sophie, determined to give her the balance of life she so richly deserves (for putting up with us of course).
Over these past few days we have been unloading Chuck into a rented storage locker. There’s also the first load we carried down. And… there’s the gear we have stored in Mazatlan. We decided (just today) that we were far enough along with what we could do (given our departure day of Tuesday) that we should get on down to Mazatlan and pick up our gear that is stored there. We leave tomorrow morning, in Chuck, to drive to Mazatlan (about a 10 hour drive). We’ll be staying at our old haunt the Mar Y Sol Bungalows, and Liana has kindly agreed to come in on Saturday to open the store for us to collect our stuff. It will be a nice break and it will also feel good to have all our gear.. finally.. under one roof – awaiting loading onto the boat.
As for Shannon’s Spirit, she will be moved to the storage lot once the bottom work is completed. Sophie’s recovery is going to take quite a while so, we’re hoping that sometime, maybe, I can slip away and come back to complete some of those projects awaiting us. Time will tell. First we have to get home, help Sophie through another operation (on her leg) and then find ourselves a new home.
Over these past two weeks, we also lost a dear friend… a woman who meant a great deal to us. We are missing her and mourning her loss and wanting very much to get home to support her husband… also a dear friend.
So, who knows what the next few months will bring… but we figure as long as we keep closing the door behind us, and moving forward, we will succeed and life will calm down and peace and love will prevail… what do you think??
HA HA just kidding…. it’s now tomorrow, er today.. make that Friday, Oct. 17th. Late last night we contacted the Nogales Vet to see how Miss S was doing… Turns out there is now signs of some infection and she needs to take a culture and identify the varmints causing the infection. Then she will be able to tailor Sophie’s treatment to fix the exact problem. It also means she’ll need to stay in Nogales (Sophie that is) for at least another two weeks. So,,, the sad news is, she’s not out of the woods yet and we can’t leave on Tuesday as we’d planned. The good news is… we have this house rented till month’s end and will stay and work on the boat, moving towards prepping SSpirit for the next sailing season in the Sea of Cortez.
We’ve just arrived in Mazatlan, having driven 11 hours to get here.. We’re here to pick up our gear and visit with some friends. Will head back up to San Carlos on Sunday or Monday. So for now…. plse keep your fingers crossed for the Princess… she really is a tough little thing and we feel confident she will sail with us again. There’s just too many beaches left to explore…
Adios for now amigas y amigos. Take good care… and make every day count. Arms around you… CJ and K
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
I wish I was writing to tell you we had a great trip up to Yuma, collected our gear, put Lucy to bed for the winter, and had a trouble-free border crossing. I wish I could tell you we were happily ensconced in our San Carlos home, working hard on Shannon’s Spirit in preparation for a fabulous cruising season. Oh how I wish I could tell you these things. But, I cannot.
We did have a good trip to Yuma and we did pick up our gear and put Lucy to bed. And, on Saturday morning, we even crossed the border without any difficulties, got our new Visas and the TIP for the truck. It was early in the morning and we hadn’t had our coffee so we decided to stop at a Pemex/Oxxo (gas station / store) about 20 miles south of Nogales. That’s when the day fell apart. That’s when our journey crashed to a halt. That’s when everything we had been planning fell away.
While I was in the store getting coffee, Kathy put on Sophie’s leash and lifted her out of the truck. They had taken only two steps when, out of no where, a large black dog attacked Sophie from behind. Kathy was able to hang on to Sophie but she and the dog engaged in a battle… Kathy’s goal – to save Sophie, the dogs goal – to very obviously ravage and kill her. This is not one of my stories. This is real, so real we are haunted by the visions every hour. So real we are both in shock and Sophie is at a Vets hospital in Nogales, fighting for her life.
Kathy here…. as Carolyn said, we are both still in shock about what happened last Saturday. It is so incredible how quickly a day can change from one of celebration to one of complete horror and a fight for survival. I remember how it started. I had just clipped on Sophie’s leash, picked her up out of the truck and set her down on the pavement beside me. We had just begun the short walk together, she at a close heal, as we headed to a patch of scruffy grass over at the side of the Pemex parking lot, as CJ went into the adjacent OXXO store for coffee. It was then that I felt the presence of another dog up close behind us. Knowing that a surprise approach from even a friendly dog is never a good thing for Soph, I tugged on the leash, pulled her closer to me, and turned around to command a firm “no!” to the other dog.
It was a black, medium sized dog, and it looked like many other street dogs we had seen in Mexico over the last three years. Looking back, I’m pretty sure there was a fair dose of pit bull in there, but that wasn’t my first thought. I wasn’t even that concerned at first. But the dog ignored my presence entirely and snarled at Sophie, who snarled back. Microseconds later, the black dog had grabbed Sophie on her back, somewhere near her tail and she was yelping. I yelled louder and before I knew it I found myself on my knees, on the pavement , a few feet behind our truck, with my right arm wrapped around Sophie’s waist, my hand up under her chest, holding on for her dear life, while the black dog snarled and tugged and tried to pull her away from me. His teeth were firmly locked on to the loose skin of her back and he attempted that side to side motion that dogs at play use with their humans at the other end of a pull toy.
In the midst of the panic I noticed another, smaller, brown dog standing just off to our right, about 5 feet away. It was a spaniel cross, watching us intently, but thankfully, amazingly, did not even attempt to get involved.
I was screaming now, as was Sophie, and I know now that if I had let go for even an instant to hit, or punch, or kick that evil dog… he would have had her. With his powerful jaws he would have held her and shook her until something snapped. At one point, incredibly, he lost his grip for just a moment and I tried to scoop her up. But before I could get her out of his reach, he bit on hard again, somewhere under her tail this time, on her right haunch. At this point I could feel Sophie giving up and I went into a complete panic, unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life. “Help me! Somebody please help me!!” I had the terrible, desperate feeling that this was the end and there was nothing that I could do about it. Then, out of nowhere someone appeared beside us, made a motion of some sort and said something loudly in Spanish…. and then…. suddenly…. Sophie was free. It was a man, I think. I can’t see his face, but I remember his voice, asking me “are you OK?”. With the adrenalin and the abrupt arrival of relief, my voice exploded…. “F#*K!!… “ Then…. “Oh, sorry, yes, I think I am. Thank you.”
I carefully picked up Sophie and tried to hold her in a way that wouldn’t disturb her wounds. The rip on her back was massive on such a little body. I could see open flesh on her back and some blood under her tail, but not a massive amount. At first I thought that those viscous teeth had ripped into her anus. Fortunately, the vet later found that not to be the case. The blood was from puncture wounds on her right haunch.
As I carried Sophie over toward our truck and the OXXO store, several people approached us, speaking earnestly in Spanish and offering to help. They tried to direct me to the restroom, making washing motions, with their hands and opening the locked turnstile that is in place to collect each customer’s 5 pesos before entry. In broken Spanish, I tried to tell them that I could not use contaminated water on these wounds and that “mi amiga”, (my friend), “una mujere “ (a woman) , was in the store, and to please call her. Not understanding me, they kept asking did I need “agua” (water) and one of them went in the store and came out with a gallon bottle of pure water. I finally made it to the store, pulled open the door and shouted “Carolyn!”, “Carolyn! Sophie’s been attacked!”. With huge relief, I heard her voice, and then she came running out to us.
CJ back… having just read Kathy’s story. It’s her first real recanting of the event. We’re both still… well, still in shock I guess. I can’t begin to describe the pandemonium. People trying to help, no one speaking English and our meagre Spanish hampered by adrenalin and panic. Several people helped us. Some were staff from the store, and one woman and her two teenage daughters (who spoke a little English) really helped us by finding a Vet… the nearest one… (20 miles back up the highway in Nogales) They even called ahead to tell them we were coming. And so, numb with shock, we put Sophie’s skin flap back in place as best we could and wrapped her in a blanket. Kathy held her tight while I drove north to the Vets. It seemed like hours but in about 30 minutes we were there, they were waiting for us, and they took us right in. The Vet was wonderful. She even called in her brother to translate as he spoke English.
Sophie’s assessment included several x-rays and discussion amongst the staff as well as with us. As you may know Sophie, Miss Sophie, The Princess, PS… is not a puppy. No, she has 13 years of livin’ life under her belt. She is a sailor, a track star, and a comic. And she just adores her fold out camp chair. She is a trooper in every way… and, without this kind of an incident, has at least two good years ahead of her.The back injury was the most serious and required immediate attention. After being cleaned as best as possible, Sophie was taken in to surgery and sewn back together. The Vet told us that the leg does not need to be dealt with immediately. In fact it will require specialized surgery to create new ligaments for the knee… surgery that could wait. First, the back injury and puncture wounds need to be clean and dealt with. Drains are installed to allow the skin patch to clear and now we wait. We wait to see if Sophie will escape serious infection. If she does, the Vet feels she will be stable enough to travel in ten days. So, provided she’s still with us, next Tuesday (the 21st) we will be picking her up and high-tailing it home to Canada for her knee surgery. Sadly, a small sailboat in Mexico, is not the right place for a princess to recover (as much as she’d think she could recover just find thank you very much, sitting on her chair on the beach at Isla San Francisco). We must be the bad guys and take her home in order to give her a fair chance.
So, while our girl is in Nogales, recovering from major surgery and fending off infection (her leg is now splinted and she can even stand on it, sort of… the Vet sent us a video). We are back in San Carlos tidying up our affairs here. The boat will need to be put back to bed (once the bottom work is done) and our gear needs to be stored, etc., etc., etc., We’ll get it done and be ready to travel early Tuesday morning. I should also tell you that Kathy saw first a Doctor in Nogales and then we checked in with one here, in SC. Her knees are pretty messed up but are beginning to heal, and her forearms are looking much better. It’s the trauma of the whole thing, the re-occurring night and day mares, and the deep sadness that this should happen… that we are dealing with now.
Who knows what the next little while will bring… but we will do what we can for Sophie…. and will let you know when we know, what the next chapter of ‘life’ holds.
Well, it’s now Oct. 14th. The internet connection has been down since yesterday morning. It’s up now but still unreliable so, while we have the chance… we’re trying to give you a post and an update. Sophie continues to improve… at the same time we are all waiting to see if the skin will survive and/or infection will kick in. We continue preparations for leaving here and are happy to report that, finally we have acquired a Temporary Import Permit…. for the ‘new’ ………………………Sailing Vessel….Shannon’s Spirit. It’s a huge deal, and will be the subject of another Blog post… something to learn for others ‘changing’ vessels at sea’.
For now, we wait…. with fingers crossed… will update you when we know what our plans are… for now they are as firm as tapioca pudding.
To all of you from all of us… please… live each day, love each day, and each other. From our hearts to yours. CJ and Kathy (& PS)
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Yup, we’re going to get out of Dodge before the rains hit the roads… we need to go to Yuma anyway…it’s a good time to get it over with. We’ll leave tomorrow and be back here as soon as we can and after any ill effects from Simon have passed by; likely by next Thursday or Friday.
Now some of you might think this is just a sneaky way to get to visit Esplendor Resort again and I’d have to admit we’ll be staying there… oh darn :-) Maybe this time we’ll figure out how to use the pool… maybe hide Miss Sophie under a large sombrero or something… :-) or dress her up like a cactus and make her sit and stay.
Anyway, just wanted to let you know our plans… in case you’re following the weather ‘n all.
Take good care of you and yours… adios for now.
CJ and Kathy
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Indeed… we have arrived. Left Yuma (a little late but a lot lighter on the shoulders… will explain later) and headed east to a place called Rio Rico. We’d never heard of it, but good friends of ours highly recommended the “Esplendor Resort at Rio Rico”, and wow… were they ever right! Thank you so much Ron & Dal, Esplendor is absolutely “esplendid”. With its old world charm, beautiful gardens, lovely pool, and wonderfully warm and welcoming staff, we really had to tear ourselves away this morning… could have stayed for a week. But leave we did. We hit the trail at 0620 hrs., determined to be early at the border, when it was still too cold for officials to want to stand around talking.
We were ready though. We had our papers for ourselves (Passports, health records, prescriptions for our medications and letters from our Doctors). We had the papers for the Princess (vaccination records, ownership papers, microchip paper, rabies certificate, worming proof, International Health Certificate – from a Vet in Yuma for $125 US, and a letter from the Vet regarding her medications). We had the papers for Chuck the Truck (registration papers and Mexican insurance papers); we had done it all… even gave away a ton of great food from our fridge and cupboards to the cleaning staff at the last two hotels. And guess what…
We rolled up to the truck crossing about 0645 hrs., as planned. There were maybe two officials on duty. We drove slowly up to the kiosk and, as we were just about to arrive… THE GREEN LIGHT CAME ON !!!!! and we were waved through. Just wait, it gets better. As we continued on down the road, heading for KM 17 where we had to stop to get a Temporary Import Permit for Chuck… cuz we know we’ll be driving down to Mazatlan sometime towards the end of this month… well as we were driving south and talking about the double-jeopardy caused by the second red/green light at KM 17… we realized that WE DIDN’T NEED TO STOP!!! because #1 our Visa’s from May (when we went down to buy the boat) are good until November 20th… and #2 we don’t need a TIP for Chuck until we’re going down to Maz… so we could get it on our way back from our second trip to Yuma (and when there’s a lot less stuff in the truck to have to search through if we get the red light. What a huge sigh of relief was launched by all. So we just kept driving, giggling like school girls and very happy with the way things turned out. No doubt, if we hadn’t prepared all of our papers (did I mention we’d even sorted out receipts for the new gear we were carrying?)… if we hadn’t done all that.. we would have, for sure, been pulled over. So it all worked out.
About the only bad thing that happened on the entire drive here (besides the extreme heat) was that at one point on the highway (where there was one lane blocked off due to construction) an impatient truck driver (now… the speed limit was 60 KMH, we were doing 80 KMH, and well… he blasted by us doing at least 100 KMH). And, as he passed us his tire clipped one of the orange stanchions, flipping it up into the air and then right into the front of Chuck. Kathy was driving and did a great job of keeping a steady hand and maintaining our course… Chuck took it like a brave guy, right on the chin, and then he just stomped all over it as it passed under us…. Only damage, thankfully, was to our emergency brake cable which has been pulled out and rendered useless. We’ll get it fixed as soon as we hook up with our mechanic.
And so, here we are in our rented house. Signs of weather damage from Hurricane Odile are obvious. The lovely sandy beach a block from the house, is now a rock strewn collection of gravel and bits of wood, etc. But there are other beaches around and we’ll find one for Sophie as soon as we can. We meet with Eduardo at the boat tomorrow to either begin the bottom work or set up a plan after studying the weather. There are thunderstorms predicted for Sat/Sun here and we’re not sure what that will mean to the work on Spirit. For now, we need to rest. We’ve unloaded Chuck and piled the bins and stuff around about in the house… and we’ll be up early tomorrow to be at the shipyard by 0800 hrs.
In case you’re wondering, it was about 100 degrees when we arrived this afternoon, and it’s now down to the high 80’s. the Forecast for tomorrow is High 90 / Low 81 and for Saturday High 90 and low 79.. The killer is the humidity. It’s 50% today and tomorrow… and 85% on Saturday… :-(
Will let you know how that goes when the heat and sweat induced moments of hysteria and hallucinations calm down. :-)
Take care everyone…. Kathy promises… photos tomorrow… until then.. adios… CJ