Monday, June 17, 2013

Senior Pets


I adopted my teeny kitten in Trinidad in 1999 when she was four weeks old and named her Sloopy.  Since she was feral, I spent extra time with her so that she would bond with me and be a good pet.  It worked, and she's a very affectionate cat, on her terms.

Earlier this year, I noticed a lump near her shoulder and took her to the vet.  This is where she shows her true feral colors.  She crouched in her cage in the back seat and  yelled all the way to the vet's office.  In the waiting room, she was quiet.  She was fine in the exam room.  Until they opened the door and tried to get her to come out.  Not a chance.  They had to raise the back of the cage and basically pour her out.  She came out hissing. 

I always bring a heavy beach towel to the vet's office because I know that there's no way a stranger is going to touch her, even in her own home.  In a strange place, she doesn't want to be touched by anyone, including me.  She's just in survival mode.  By the time the vet tech put on long, thick gloves and tried to hold her still so the vet could check out the lump, she was growling and hissing at me.  Kitty swearing.   After all, I was the one who brought her to this torture chamber and allowed these people to manhandle her.

After the vet checked the lump, they let her walk around the room and crouch in a corner, glaring at everyone.  As we talked, the vet looked at me and said, "But, is she a good pet?"  It was humorous, in a way, because no one would believe that she was an affectionate pet if they had seen that display of wildness.  I explained that she's was always fine at home and even though she's stubborn and wants everything her way. 

She and I have been together for over 13 years.  Recently, I've been noticing that she sleeps more than usual.  She's still climbing all over the place, but I've noticed that she sometimes has trouble jumping on the bed or sofa to be with me.  On some occasions, she misses the first time and then sits down with a confused look on her face to contemplate why she didn't quite make it up on the sofa.  Then she tries again and makes it the second time.  She's also more vocal if there's not enough food in her dish.  In her mind, the last half dozen little pieces of food are not worth eating - she wants a big pile!

I know she's getting old and I'm going to lose her one day.  It will be a very upsetting time and I'll swear, yet again, that I'm not having any more pets.  Then, one day, I'll see a tiny little kitten that desperately needs a home - and so the cycle will begin again.

Betty Karl

Monday, June 10, 2013

Lost in Georgetown, Bahamas

Georgetown, Bahamas is a gathering place for cruisers who come down from the northern states, stay for a few months and then go back to the northern states for the summer months.  Some cruisers do this year after years, but a small percentage of adventurous cruisers go further south to the island chain.

Because cruisers keep coming back year after year, it's a very social place.  Cruisers are a social bunch anyway, but while staying in one area for months at a time, it becomes more social than usual.  There are multiple beaches in the area, Volleyball Beach and Hamburger Beach are a couple popular beaches.  Yes, there is volleyball at Volleyball Beach and there is food at Hamburger Beach.  There are cookouts on the beach, get-togethers at the local eateries and happy hours happen on lots of boats in the different anchorages. 

There are multiple anchorages in the area and as many as 500 boats at any time during the season.  Unless you're paying strict attention, or have your GPS with you, this could be a problem getting home after dark with the forest of masts that don't look familiar, especially if you've had a few.

Cruisers usually have their VHF radios on when they're home and awake.  It's like a party-line, everyone can hear what you're saying.  One night, we were home having a quiet evening and it was probably about 10 PM.  A call came on the radio requesting the location of a certain boat.  After listening to numerous conversations with a few other boats, we learned that the owner of the boat mentioned had been circling the area in his dinghy and couldn't find his way home.  One of his neighbors took pity on the guy and went outside to signal him with a flashlight.  Turns out he wasn't even in the general area, but did find his way eventually.

Everyone we saw the next day was chuckling about it and teasing the poor lost soul.  We shared our secret of finding our way home - we had put reflective tape around the top of the mast.  That works well, we found it helpful a few times.  Of course, that's assuming you remember to have a flashlight with you.

Betty Karl

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Car Dings!!

You're right - the photo has absolutely nothing to do with car dings - but it's prettier than car dings....

Last year, I was driving around in a 1996 Toyota.  It had served me well for 5 years but I knew the time was coming that it would need work done on it.  Expensive work.  The car was homely, basic white with gray interior - not fifty shades of gray, maybe only one or two.  The body was in decent shape, not very many dings in the doors, no dents, just a bit of rust around the top of the windshield.  I parked it anywhere and didn't worry about it getting dings in it - after all, it was old.

I had been searching for a car to buy and I found a 2006 Toyota that was in pretty good shape, mileage that was considered low today but years ago, would have been considered high.  It had a couple dings on the body, but everything seemed OK.  They even replaced the steering rack when they noticed the boot on it was ripped. 

So I bought it and it came home with me the same day.  Since then, I've been taking better care of it than I did my old white Toyota.  The color is called Desert Tan, which I consider a gold, with light brown interior.  I have probably washed it more times in the past 8 months than I ever washed my old white Toyota.  I've even waxed it. 

Usually I park way out in the parking lots and hike to the entrance of stores.  Sometimes I don't, when I'm in a hurry.  I try my friend's theory - if you park between two cars and you're only going in for a short while - you'll be OK because usually the same two cars are still there when you come out.  Well, maybe it works for him - but it hasn't for me. 

I don't know how this car seems to collect so many dings from other people's car doors.  One of them even scraped the paint off and made a slight dent in the driver's door.  I left it in airport parking last month and a few new ones appeared, I had no control over where it was parked. 

I don't know if people are more careless than usual.  Maybe it's because people are fatter than they were 20 years ago, and they can't get out of their cars without damaging other cars.  Maybe people just don't respect anything anymore.  I'm not sure what it is, but this car has collected more dings in 8 months than my homely looking car did in 5 years, and it was parked anywhere it was convenient. 

It's depressing.  I wanted something nice for a change and I can't have it.  Times like these, I wonder what I did in my previous life - I must have had one hell of a time!

Betty Karl