We Own a House in Florida

Loggerhead Turtle at Camachee Marina in St. Augustine.

It’s been a busy two days for me.

The day finally got here were I had to go and sign a forest worth of papers. Yesterday (Tuesday the 31st) I went to the title company and spent about 30 minutes signing both my name and Linda’s. I had to do a power of attorney for her since she is in Washington. I had to wait another 45 minutes or so till the title company got the funds from the lender. Seems like the lender was busy doling out funds for lots of closings since it was the end of the month.

I then drove the new truck back to the boat and loaded up some tools to take to the house. We have not owned it for 24 hours yet and here I am doing house projects. Please someone stop me! Really, we are having the flooring replaced and there is a built in shelving unit that needed to be removed before any flooring work could get done.

Not even 24 hours and I am starting a project.
Nice to do the laundry without needing quarters.
Another turtle in Camachee Cove Marina.

Planning the Winter Route

Juvenile rough collie siblings getting exuberant after a grooming.

I took the dogs to the groomer to get cleaned up in preparation for attending a birthday celebration for Jason, our son. They came home frisky. Their coats are beautiful. Their black hair shines. Following is a minute video of them playing after they came home. Nothing that interesting, except their coats are lovely.

My contribution to the celebration was the dessert. I opted to bake a rum cake that I last made for Regis’ 21st birthday. While making the glaze, I noticed clumps and wondered what chemical reaction was going on with the butter, sugar, and water. It turns out, I melted the spoon. Fortunately, I had enough rum to try again. There are now two things I do not have to pack: the spoon and the strainer.

Clover has been so good lately that I let my guard down. I let the dogs run free at the large property where Jason’s celebration took place. The dogs had a great time and listened well. They did not take off and came when called. I took them to the dog park today, planning to not go in if there were too many dogs. If there were, I was going to walk the dogs through the fields instead. When I arrived, there was no one there. It was 25 degrees when I woke up this morning. Perhaps the cold chased everyone away. The dogs had a great time and particularly loved the frozen puddles. As we were leaving, I did not put Clover’s leash on her to get to the car. I usually leash her but do not have to leash Raven. He will not leave her. When she exited the dog park, she turned right (the car was left) and took off at high speed with Raven following her. Although I called and whistled, it was clear she was on a mission of adventure and was not going to pay attention to me. I knew I could not chase them and had to hope they would return on their own, but I was concerned about how far they were venturing. Then I noticed a man with a German Shepherd at the edge of the parking lot not far from the collies. He whistled to them and they immediately came. I was able to approach and the two dogs came to me. The man told me that if his dog was off leash, the dog would have taken off with the collies. When will I learn to not trust Clover? She lures me in with good behavior and then Bam! She is not like my last five dogs and I have to get with the program.

This particularly concerns me because I am planning the cross country trip from Washington to Florida with the two dogs by myself in the Jeep during winter. We are leaving in 2 1/2 weeks. I have a couple routes planned depending on the weather. The shortest and preferred route will take us through Snoqualmie Pass. This would be ideal because after the movers load everything on February 15, the dogs and I can spend the night in Seattle with Jason and Dan and get a good start the next morning. I have that entire route planned knowing where dog runs are located and towns with lots of pet friendly hotels. The dogs will need more exercise than I can provide walking them, so I need to find safe places for them to run. When we came this way last March with Dart, he could barely walk, so exercise was not a priority.

Snoqualmie Pass is often unpassable. We had to avoid it when we came to Washington last spring because it was a mess and the Tesla did not have the appropriate tires. We came down the Columbia River Gorge but still had to go through mountains in Oregon. They are not as bad as Snoqualmie Pass, but they have their weather issues.

Whether I do Snoqualmie Pass or the Gorge, I still have to go through those Oregon mountains. If they are an issue, I will have to go down the coast into California until I hit warmer weather and then turn east. It is a lot longer, but could be the best option.

When I cannot sleep, I lay awake thinking about all the things I should be prepared for to make this trip. I usually travel with Regis and he is my personal MacGyver. He can figure just about anything out. Sometimes I am helpful and even occasionally find solutions before him, but there is no question he would eventually get the solution but not me. Because I have two dogs who are not yet ready to get their Canine Good Citizen Certificates, especially Clover, I am a little concerned about traveling in winter. Otherwise, I would not not be concerned.

I plan to have warm weather clothes for me no matter what we encounter so I can be outside with them easily. I will have all their food and carry jugs of water. I will have snacks for me. I will have jumper cables, a blanket, a pan and brush (which comes in handy to dig out of snow), and ropes that I can use to tether the dogs if needed. As I put my list together, with only so much room in the car, I would love feedback from you about anything you think I should be sure to include. Regis’ first response to that question is an ice scraper. Got it. I had to use it today to scrape the INSIDE of the windshield. I have never had to do that before, so I do not understand what’s up with that.

I am in a position to be flexible on the way back and can settle with the dogs somewhere if the weather requires it. If I am in trouble, our furniture will likely encounter the same setbacks. If not, Regis is at the other end to accept the furniture if I do not arrive in time. I do not expect that, but it could happen. Regis has some stuff on the boat he can bring to the house in case I arrive with the dogs before the furniture. That is the most likely scenario. Because it is winter and stopping to see the sights along the way is not going to be possible, it is more likely I will arrive before the furniture. We will make it work.

Downtown living

Pulled into the ST. Augustine Municipal Marina yesterday (26th) to start a 30 day stay. With the upcoming closing on the Florida house, getting access for the flooring contractor, and taking delivery of a ford maverick, I needed to be stationary with the boat. I am 300 feet down the dock from shore so I have easy access to get business things done. Plus I can hit the restaurants up from time to time. Even hooked back up with some locals I met during my last stay here. Great folks, they live in the middle of the historic district and come down for happy hour at literally the corner bar. The gentleman lives in one of the oldest houses down here. How neat is that! The gentlewoman owns a house a couple blocks away from his. One of those on a small ally with a balcony over the street! so cool.

My view downtown. Treasury building on the left, tall building.

So everything is in place for closing on the Fl. house, just have to wait for the appointed time to sign the papers.

Night time view. last days of “the nights of lights” here.
Night time close up

Coyotes Maybe?

The krakens got riled up about some animal sounds in the woods behind our house. They can be heard in the video below. Are these coyotes? If not, what are they?

Nosework

I have been training the dogs to do canine nosework. The dogs are required to find a specific scent. They are beginners, so there is lots to learn. They are enthusiastic about this sport. I train them separately and sometimes together. I probably should not train them together, but they have so much fun and its easy to do when they look like they need something to occupy their active minds. The video below shows them working together to find a scent hidden in the living room. There are other games we play which includes hiding the scent in one of many bowls. We will move to closed boxes once we move. I do not want to purchase a bunch of boxes to box up and move. You will note in the video that the dogs have trouble with traction on the bamboo floors.

I’ve been a little rough with my comments on Clover lately, so I want to say that she’s a great dog. She’s not as bad as I make her sound. She’s smart and that’s the blessing and the problem. She needs a job. The best agility/nosework/canine sport dogs need a job. I’ve had a rough week for health reasons and have been struggling keeping up with their needs including readying the house for showings. I sat the dogs down the other day and had a “talk” with them explaining how much I needed them to be helpful partners right now. No kidding, they have been angels ever since. I got this idea from the book Kinship With All Life by J. Allen Boone. Whether that’s what helped, I do not know. I just know things are better.

I had walked the dogs together a few days ago and had to come back home early because Raven was nuts over a guy in his driveway. I do not know why he went nuts. He occasionally does that. I will have to note whether it happens when Clover is with us or not. Today, I walked the dogs separately and they were well behaved. The most interesting thing is there are large work trucks on our street cutting back the vegetation on the sides of the road and running it through a large chipper. Raven did not blink an eye walking past the activity. Clover was next for a walk and I was certain she would be unhappy. Rather than avoiding the trucks, I went in that direction to see if I could get her to walk past the activity without going nuts. She did just that. My son has a story of him using a small chipper at his house while the dogs were staying with him and Clover hid and had to be coached back into civilization. That was not the dog today.

As for the health stuff, I woke up with a lot of pain in my mouth last week. I’ve had great teeth, so this was new for me. I went to the dentist and he said I completely cracked my tooth from grinding my teeth. This is an ongoing problem with me and I often wear a guard on my teeth at night to help out. Anyway, it was infected and for the first time in probably 25 years or so, I had to take an antibiotic. He planned to refer me to a local surgeon to remove the tooth and get my mouth ready for an implant. I’m in the middle of a move across country and do not have time for this. I have not been feeling well and then a headache set in that will not go away. I decided to let him remove the tooth and figure out what to do regarding an implant when I get to Florida. He removed the tooth yesterday. I came home and spent a miserable afternoon feeling a little sorry for myself. I have no business doing that considering all the REAL issues other people in the world have to deal with. Yet, I wanted some comfort food. I could not chew easily.

My son’s birthday was a little over a week ago and his partner’s parents, who live on the Kitsap Peninsula with me, suggested throwing a little celebration for Jason this Saturday. I offered to bring the dessert and planned to do a rum cake that I baked for Regis when he turned 21. I do not think I have used that recipe since. So, I had a yellow cake mix box in the house. I made the cake batter for the yellow cake and set down to eating that sloppy goop in my hurt mouth. The sad part is, I ate it all. Not in one sitting, but in less than 24 hours.

When I told Regis what I had done, he thought I had included the rum in the batter. I did not make the rum cake recipe in full. I only did the yellow cake batter. I’m sure he was happy to hear that but he was still aghast that I would eat the WHOLE thing. I did. It did not make the pain go away, but I actually slept good last night. I feel much better today. I had to get more cake batter so I can make the full recipe for this weekend. I’ve successfully lost some weight over the last couple of months and I think I just reset the clock!

One last thing, I took Raven to his third pre-agility training session today. In the first session, it appeared that Raven did not realize he had back feet. He was clumsy. Today, he was a different dog. He raced through every obstacle because there were treats at the end. He acts like I do not feed him. I know Clover does not let him eat, but I make sure he gets his food. You can see that he is not a starved animal. Yet, he acts like he is in agility class. I thought the collies would be slower than working with Dart, my sheltie. Today, Raven showed me the speed a rough collie can put on when motivated. The worst/best part was he was so enthusiastic, he could not shut up during the entire class. He wanted it to be his turn. I had to walk him, do things with him, distract him, so the other dogs could run the obstacle until it was our turn. Dart was never like this, so this is new for me. I am excited that he is enthusiastic but does it have to be so noisy?

Losing My Mind

I spent my career in the tech industry and it was chaotic and difficult. Technology changes rapidly, there are large development projects to manage quickly, etc. I have been enjoying a retirement without all that drama.

Now, we are in the process of purchasing a house in St. Augustine Florida which brings all its stuff with it. I am trying to get the house listed and sold in Bremerton. Between those two things, its crazy. Meanwhile, I have two juvenile collies to try to make model canine citizens with mixed results.

Recently, I googled to get Stanley Steemer to come clean my floors. In that process, I think I clicked on a link that was not Stanley Steemer, started filling out the information, realized it was not the right link, and backed out. I then made an online schedule with Stanley Steemer. I got a text about when I wanted to schedule a cleaning and I said I already had one at a specific time. The texter said something like I’m sorry. On the day of the scheduled cleaning, I got a text from Stanley Steemer they were on their way. About a half our later, I got a call from another company that said they were on their way. What? How did I not miss that? I got it so only one company showed up. Stanley Steemer did an amazing job, wow.

I started Raven in pre-agility training recently and he did well. I was happy to see his improvement over our last training effort a couple months ago. Clover was scheduled for nosework but the instructor got sick so we missed this weeks class. I worked with both dogs on the agility training and Raven is so focused on food he can’t stop looking at my hand. He does well, but I have to work on this. Clover did not go to pre-agility training and when I took her out to try what I learned with her, she aced everything. She is focused on the challenge and praise. They each have their strengths and it will be fun to work with each of them.

I let the krakens out to go to the car with me so we could go to a local park to walk. They have been wonderful about coming to the car and getting in. Not today. They took off to explore the neighborhood. Being herding dogs, I was pretty certain they would return but was concerned they would venture to a nearby busy road and get hit by a car. While I was trying to decide whether to get in the car to look for them or wait in the driveway for them to come back, I saw them head down the driveway. I caught up with them in the backyard and told them to come and did so with great enthusiasm. They had the most amazing adventure. No walk in the park for them.

Life would be easier if I was not such a restless soul that had to keep moving all the time. I do not know why I am that way. It makes for amazing life experiences but it is sometimes exhausting. I’m hoping to narrow my focus when I get to Florida so I do not try to continue to do more than makes for a good life. Regis will probably chuckle at this because he has spent his life asking me why I can’t sit back with a glass of iced tea and just enjoy.

I would argue that I usually do enjoy and I have enjoyed all the many experiences I have been blessed to have in life. Nevertheless, I exhaust myself. Now that I am no longer a “young spring chicken”, I think I have to slow down my insanity. I would not have changed any choices I have made for anything. I have had a great life with great experiences and met wonderful people along the way and that’s what it is all about.

I recently went to a reception where someone took a photo of my and our son, Jason. I do not have many pictures of the two of us, so this was special.

Linda and her son Jason.

Worst Dog

I hate to label a post worst dog, but I do not know how to make it sound better. Clover is a nut case. She’s a good nut case, but a nut case nevertheless. I recently sent Clover to Seattle for a couple nights stay with Jason and Dan while I kept Raven with me. Both dogs were quiet and lovely. Without each other, they are well-behaved dogs.

After getting Clover back, life became chaotic as usual. I do not walk the dogs together often because they are “bad” when they are together. I try it occasionally only to be reminded it’s not time yet.

I’ve been training Raven in pre-agility and Clover in nosework, but when I get home, I do both with each of them. Raven is not nimble on his feet, yet, so agility is a little tough for him. He loves nosework. Clover is nimble on her feet and loves a challenge, so working on agility at home is fine with her. I do not have an ideal training situation at home, but we are doing the best we can and the dogs love any training I will do with them. I particularly love watching them do nosework. I hide a scent and they have to find it and they are enthusiastic in doing so.

Clover continues to keep Raven from his food. Today, I brought the food bowl in by the computer so Raven could eat and kept Clover away. Here is the clip of Clover whining because Raven has access to food. I do not know why he adores her.

Our house in Bremerton is listed and when there is a showing I have to make the house clean and then leave with the dogs. Recently, I felt sorry for them not having enough activity and took them to a local dog park during a showing. I have had issues with dog parks and Clover has been attacked twice, so I did not do this lightly. Interestingly when we arrived, there was another collie and it turned out to be Raven’s and Clover’s sibling. Way cool except the dog had food issues. When the owner offered a treat to Clover, Ellie attacked her viscously and Clover fought back. We had to drag them apart. Yegads! If your dog has food issues why are you offering treats to other dogs in a dog park? This is the third time Clover has been attacked in a dog park which means its over, no more dog parks.

I recently saw Raven and Clover having a great time over something they were sharing in their mouth which turned out to be a cleaning rag. I set out to find something that would appeal to them without ruining my stuff. I found these little animal toys that are long with no stuffing and it worked perfectly.

I get a kick out of Clover. She is a crazy little girl until she crashes and then she sleeps with her feet up in the air. Regis asked if she was drinking too much wine.

One of our blog followers suggested the dogs feed off each other and I think she is spot on. Together, they can be obnoxious. Separately, not so bad. I think she is absolutely right. Now, I have to figure out how to deal with the pups together in spite of that.

We are settling on a house in Florida on January 31 in St. Augustine Shores. Regis has been bopping around in the boat between transient stays at slips and anchoring locally. He may have a permanent slip around April. He managed to get a 30 day stay at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina around the time of our settlement. His job is to handle the St. Augustine end and get the flooring replaced before we arrive.

In addition, we have our usual crazy stories about our life. When looking for a vehicle to tow behind our small RV, Regis landed on a Ford Maverick hybrid but it was not obtainable. We wound up with a Kia Soul that lived its useful life being towed behind the RV. But, with me moving back to Florida with Regis, it either had to be shipped or sold and I sold it. Regis looked at a Ford Maverick in Florida, not a hybrid, but was happy with it. I looked to see if I could find a Maverick nearby to make sure the dogs could fit in the back. No way was that possible in a regular Ford dealer. Mavericks cannot be had. I found a used one at CarMax in my favorite color in Puyallup. I had to leave the house for a showing, so I dragged the dogs down there with me to check it out. The CarMax folks expected me to want a test drive and I said I only needed to check the back to make sure the dogs would fit. I think they were ready to send the truck home with me. I poked my head in the back, said “it will do” and now can you send it to Florida. I do not think my customer rep knew what to say. They released my hold on the car and Regis got the Jacksonville CarMax to grab it and it is on its way to Florida. It’s beautiful. If I am successful in showing my obnoxious dogs in future dog trials, it will be perfect.

Dawn & Dusk Fort Matanzas anchorage

I have been snapping cell phone pictures of some sun rises and sun sets to share with Linda to help her work thru the Washington state rain and gloom.

I’m going to share them here as well.

Sun rise Ft. Matanzas. It was cold! 37F degrees(about 2C) note the fog just above the water.
Dusk Ft. Matanzas after a chilly day.
Dawn Ft. Matanzas

Dawn & Dusk Pine Island anchorage

I have been snapping cell phone pictures of some sun rises and sun sets to share with Linda to help her work thru the Washington state rain and gloom.

She said I should be posting more so here I am sharing the pictures.

Dawn over the GTM at Pine Island
Dawn over the GTM at Pine Island
Dusk at Pine Island. Very low light but wanted to catch the heron who walked about 300 feet from shore to get here. He fished all the way, very shallow water here.
Dusk at Pine Island.

Journey Take 2

Regis, rightfully, made some critical suggestions regarding my last post with a journey video. He suggested adding the places we visited and not looping the same song. In addition, I found some video from the trip in another place. Therefore, I have a new video of our journey with place names embedded, additional video, and no annoying loops of the same music.