We’re writing to tell you the unfortunate news that our cat Booie was put to sleep on Thursday, April 20th, early in the morning. He was 17. Since we’ve been grieving, we’ve procrastinated putting this on the C.C. blog--probably because it makes it “real” in a new way. We hope to make a video soon, talking about our experience with him in the RV--for instance, he was so smart, he would use the big bedroom mirror as a tool to watch us and himself (only a few animals are smart enough to do this, and it's rare in cats)!
Tracy: Chris and I had traveled that day, and drove to Yuma, AZ. It was only after arriving that I noticed Booie acting like he had a bladder infection (actively going in and out of litter box with little to no results). And the closest after-hours clinics were either in Phoenix, San Diego, or Indio--can you believe it? All so far away! We chose Indio, and drove the 3 hours (6 round-trip) to get him there.
Found out his urinary tract was blocked, which is quite serious. His tract was blocked before in 2005, and I think he ultimately got through it because he was very young and healthy. It took 2 separate times to get unblocked, and overall it was a difficult time. He's been on a special diet since then.
Chris: I met Booie in early 2008, when Tracy and I started dating and immediately took him into my heart. The smartest cat I ever knew, he had a big personality and was kind-of the King of our group. He will be remembered as an important member of the Crew and will live with us in spirit forever.
Tracy: Booie was my Fur Family / Animal ‘Guardian Angel’ support through major life changes: I went back to college to complete my B.A., quit drinking alcohol (which was good, as I was a fairly serious problem drinker), continued with school and got a Master's Degree, met and married Chris, and started this RV lifestyle (among other great things). And now, since we started RV'ing, after I realized that I'm an Empath, Booie helped me in learning to not only manage it, but to be in service with it.
He came into my life at the 'right' time, and is exiting at the 'right' time. As much as I am in pain, I am in an equal if not greater state of Gratefulness.
Though Chris and I have been living in the coach for about 3 months now, we have yet to really do any big interior upgrades or renovating. That changed recently, when I worked on re-designing the toilet room and bathroom! They both previously had this horrible vinyl wallpaper with strange miscellaneous splotches of brown placed on it (such an unfortunate design to have in the toilet room, because...well...brown smears?).
One thing I discovered about the painting process (having no previous experience) is that it was pretty difficult! Particularly the taping. Urg. Ugh. Ouch. Having to contort myself to tape off all of the corners of cabinets, nooks and crannies was a workout.
Researching how to do it was another level of confusing; different websites said conflicting things! From what I can tell, if you want to paint over RV vinyl wallpaper, use an oil-based primer like Kilz. Then, in theory, you can use whatever paint you want (though I read it's really important to get as high-caliber as possible). The primer seemed to kick ass, but it was mighty fumy. I had to keep sticking my head out of the room to get some fresh air.
For the toilet room, Chris wanted a paint color that was fun and quirky, so we decided on purple! Not wanting it too be too dark a shade, we decided on a lighter purple that was just the right shade of quirky, and I loved the name--“Magic Wand”.
It's just a shame that it turns out that I ended up severely disliking THE COLOR.
Oh, did I just put that in all caps? I meant to italicize it and underline it too. THE COLOR is its own entity, like THE BLOB. What was nice in theory was, in fact, an assault on the eyes and senses. It actually made me feel sick to spend much time in the room, or was that just my fever talking (Yes, I actually ending up painting the room the first time while having a severe cold/fever)?
At any rate, something needed to be done with the visual atrocity that was now our toilet room. So we painted 3 of the walls a neutral beige/light brown (the same color we used for the bathroom) and kept one purple as an accent wall. I then decided decided to do a stencil design on two of the walls...how did I get here?
I am not a crafty person, and don't enjoy this process...or am I? Do I?
My continued projects of adding some back splash and decorative tile in the bathroom beg to differ!
My timely RV Life Realization:
The RV'ing lifestyle opens one up to new experiences, which leads to discovering new abilities. I really wanted to do this, and I felt determined to try it myself. It was scary--could I do it well, and have it all look half-decent?
I experienced quite a few of pushing-myself-off-of-the-high-dive-moments, in which I just had to brace myself, hold my breath, and just jump into it. Then, once you're in it, it's better (as is usually the case, yes?), and I actually found out that I'm pretty damn good at it, for a first-timer, if I do say so myself!
So get out there! Try something new. Discover new abilities! More updates on the window valences and kitchen back splash coming in the not-to-distant future!
Chris and I brought a friend couple to a favorite downtown restaurant the other night. They were visiting our new motor home, and hadn't been to Petaluma before.
“I didn't didn't know Petaluma was so cute,” we heard from each of them.
It really is. Many other towns in Sonoma share this same sort of quality...which is a sort mix of vintage and modern, artsy funk with a tasteful aesthetic. All mixed in with green mountains, farm and coastland. And the name: Petaluma. Just saying it makes me want to grab myself in a hug, or dig my fingernails into my cheeks because of the high cuteness quotient in it.
Since I've begun this new life of RV'ing, I've found myself saying that I've said that Sonoma and the Bay Area has spoiled me for other places. However, I hope that isn't the case, and that I'll always find charming and beautiful areas everywhere. I did find myself very attracted to the Palm Desert/Palm Springs area (and wrote about it's bewitching beauty here):
But, I digress.
In getting back to that attractive-but-hard-to-define quality of Petaluma, let me tell a little story that happened a couple of days ago:
I went to a local car wash to get Menti (our 'toad' car) cleaned inside and out. As I'm waiting to pay for the service, I see this rooster walking around the lot. A very handsome rooster. Not just any run-of-the-mill rooster; this proud guy was gorgeous. Look at that feather color!
So, of course I had to ask about him when I paid, and the owner told me a bit of a back story. He showed up a short time after her father (the previous owner of the carwash) had passed, and made the place his. Many of the customers are charmed by him. He even has a chicken as a mate. The two of them have 'free reign' (relatively speaking) of the place, and are a staple there.
She also added that the rooster can get aggressive in protecting his mate or if others/children get too close/try to touch him. to me. I mean, it looks pretty clear to me that one should keep a distance—there is nothing about his demeanor that is cute or cuddly.
At any rate, I just love that: the rooster mascot and his mate of Raintree Car Wash.
And what's a post about Petaluma without including art? And wow, there's some surprising stuff that you can come upon.
W-O-W! I couldn't get enough of it. I wanted to just stay in there, hold a meeting, eat lunch; sleep. It's such a treat for the eyes and the senses. And it's just hanging out there on the sidewalk, in an unassuming shopping area with sandwich shops and home improvement centers, instead of in the courtyard of an art museum.
Ah, Petaluma—such a mix of old and new, quaint and modern; nostalgic past and exciting future!
We've come a long way, baby (561 miles to be exact! :).
We are back in our 'hometown', Petaluma, CA, which is in Sonoma County/North Bay Area, and it is good to be back (in large part because that means that our new-to-us motorhome has successfully made it back)!
Yes, 'Mel' (the name of our coach) has made the maiden voyage, and is doing very well now that we addressed all of the major problems.
Despite the fact that it took over 3 times as long as we thought it would and experiencing some pretty major inconveniences, we feel in our heart that it truly all worked in a pretty great way. We had the time to absorb/incorporate all the change happening/new RV lifestyle, and learned A LOT from the Palm Desert RV shop owner (and new friend) --giving us more than enough know-how to function well in said RV lifestyle!
Chris has taken to it all like a duck to water (in many instances—because of his research—knowing more about something than those more experienced), and enjoys 'talking shop' with RV neighbors about engine power, abilities, etc. He also drives it very well.
This is, of course, after an initial scare after leaving the Palm Springs area (read about it here). Boy, that day was something. We were all set—gassed up, tow car in the ready, final tweak on a 2nd toilet seal done that morning (there was a water leak, no sewage, easy fix). I was worn out, chomping at the bit to get moving back to Northern CA, and when that 'Check Engine' light came on, I about lost my mind!
But, I digress. The focus on this post is that we are in 'our neck of the woods', so to speak, and we are thrilled to see the Beauty that Northern California is known for (can you handle all of this daydream-inspiring blue sky and perfect green fields?):
“Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.”, Hunter S. Thompson
Chris and I drove to the Salton Sea area today, while waiting for our new Michelin tires to be put on the coach. This is the final fix/upgrade that we are doing until we get back in the Bay Area—and then (fingers crossed) only things of the upgrade kind! Chris' work space, water filtration system, some deep cleaning and painting, too.
I was excited to go: I've wanted to for years, ever since I saw 'before and after' pictures and heard it's backstory. It used to be quite the “It” Place To Be in the '50's, too—starlets and movie stars, etc., with a beautiful beach, boating, resort lifestyle, etc. Now it's a bit of a wasteland; moody and mysterious. It's fascinating to me, the rise and fall of something.
Quick and imprecise summary for those who want/need it: it came to be because a river that was being diverted ran amok from the original plan, and before it was corralled again, it had dumped a bunch of water for two years into the Salton basin. Later, farming and irrigation runoff was added to the mix (fun!). The salinity gradually raised, different types of fish that were introduced have died off, and the general ambiance of the lake and surrounding area soured. If no intervention takes place, it will gradually continue to increase in salinity and kill off the remaining fish—I hope that those in government, nature conservation and 'other' can decide upon and implement a positive solution.
I was surprised to find out that it's a major spot for birdwatching! “Somehow this odd accidental lake, with its prolific fish and nearby fields, has become one of the most important migratory bird habitats in the U.S., if not the world. Millions of birds representing more than 400 species can be spotted here, including endangered brown pelicans and Yuma clapper rails. Snow and Ross's geese arrive from the Arctic; blue-footed boobies cruise up from South America. Why? Perhaps because in southern California there's no place else to go.” (http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0502/feature5/fulltext.html)
We could smell it as we drove closer to the area...definitely fishy. And with a weak pulse—totally empty and abandoned in parts, others burnt and demolished; yet there is still a community, houses, cars.
Chris and I got out of the car and walked around a bit. The look of certain places there are shocking, like something out of an apocolypse movie, I half expected to see a zombie shuffle around the corner. At one location, I came upon something truly near and dear to my heart: a found art piece. A pair of sunglasses wired to a smashed loudspeaker, made to look like a mouth. It's crusted with time and sand. Chris remarked that it looked like the character from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Hunter S. Thompson), and he's so right! I added a bit of a stick to make the cigarette and holder...perfect!
So Hunter adds to our list of [unofficial] mascots, riding with us on the dashboard, and helping to guide our adventures!