more photos from our first journey…


our journey back from trip one…

…lord knows i’m old and rusty, i’ve been around the bend and back…said, seen, heard, and experienced some crazy, messed up, extraordinary, spectacular, and awe inspiring shit.

this journey pushed me completely through my comfort zone and pulled me out the other side. i can’t reiterate how much i value having had buggs my co-pilot and j**s my “invisible friend” always with me.

i will say that spokane is an interesting place, maybe one day i will go back and explore. it’s weird. it seems like it’s built in layers that spiral. it confused me, but i was tired.

my customers paid me by personal check, so, i set off to find a us bank to deposit them. i was in search of a drive through atm. it was hot and i had buggs in the car. google took me to five different locations, all inside of grocery stores.

i was tired. i was frustrated. and, i’m relatively sure that i was talking to myself, as i checked my mirrors, looked behind me, and backed carefully out. suddenly, there was yelling.

i parked, got out, and saw that i had backed into someone, who was trying to speed behind me. yeah, interior of new to me car fouled, exterior of new to me car dinged. luckily, the guy and his daughter were nice to me and i didn’t cry.

i will say that when i was standing outside of the car that day exchanging information, it was the first time that i felt my lower back go out and the pain of the nerves running down my legs into my feet. i just thought that it was ms.

i remember that i was irritated and worried about what to do and where to go. i was cranky with j**s. i just decided to drive to kennewick, wa. it was familiar, as my grandma and grandpa used to live there.

kennewick was two hours from spokane and i just wanted to get there. i was tired. i knew that i had been cranky with j**s. i was listening to music and planning our next move in my mind. it was dark. i wasn’t really paying much attention to how fast i was going.

and, i saw him hiding in the median, as i sped past. i saw the all too familiar lights in the mirror and then heard the wail of the siren. it was a connell, wa sheriff’s deputy.

he was cute and sweet and kind. he let me off with a warning, if i promised to quit speeding. he told me that it was mule deer migration season and he didn’t want to see me lose a battle with one. i liked him!

buggs and i arrived at our deluxe accomodations at the kennewick wal-mart. we slept for a bit, woke up, and there within view was a us bank with a drive through atm. i couldn’t believe my eyes.

we decided to get a couple of cheap cheeseburgers at mcdonald’s and i got a large iced coffee with two extra shots of espresso. i took buggs for a potty walk and we watched several feral kittens scatter, as we passed the dumpster. it made me think of s***h.

i wasn’t sure where to go or what to do. i had placed repeated bids for other jobs, over and over…nothing was working out. j**s texted and we talked. she helped me to see that i had fulfilled my original mission, which was to transport my charges safely to spokane.

she told me that at the end of any mission, the troops rally and return to base camp. she helped me to realize that i needed to go back to my base camp and rest for my next mission.

j**s sent me on my way with a song, “my little traveler,” by death cab for cutie. she said that it was apropos. buggs and i pointed our car onward toward pendleton and la grande, or.

i was driving a lot, so, i had made it a point to wear my compression stockings, since i’m prone to blood clots. somewhere along the way, i became aware that they were really hurting my ankles, feet, and toes. i couldn’t stand it any longer.

i saw a mcdonald’s up ahead in la grande, or. i pulled over there and must have really been a sight. wearing shabby, baggy, drooping clothes…old lady, nude compression stockings…and, slip-on, checkerboard vans.

i parked, jumped out of the car, and began the task of peeling the nearly, melted-on stockings off of my legs and feet.

and suddenly, i was very aware that i was “that lady.” she’s around fifty, shabby clothes, support stockings, talking to herself, and looking slightly crazy.

in that moment, i made a mental note that if i was going to be a fifty-year-old cougar, from now on, i was going to own the hell out of that shit.

i’m pushing myself even harder, getting a new wardrobe, and always looking my very best for myself and for others that i may cross paths with throughout my day.

more tomorrow…

the rest of the first drop-off of pets…

…so, as i drove through the pitch black gorge, unable to see, big trucks all around i felt something wet splashing on me. i couldn’t figure out what it was, because i couldn’t see anything. then, came a familiar ammonia smell, cat urine. there was a pissed off puss throwing his pee on me (the owner did not include a litter box.). there was nothing that i could do.

i drove on. next came a god awful smell from the backseat…the cats. and then, as if on cue, all five cats began howling and caterwauling, which in turn got buggs and olivia barking. i was tired and frazzled and went with the first thing that entered my mind. i began singing religious songs from my childhood. mind you, to drown out the cats, i was nearly screaming.

i “sang” for three hours straight. i was a half hour away from spokane, in somewhere called ritzville. i needed gas and i needed to use the restroom. one my way to the cashier, something told me to pick-up some paper towels and i did. i filled the gas tank, opened the car door, and went to get inside.

buggs was rather frantic and i quickly realized why. he had had diarrhea all over my driver seat. i couldn’t and didn’t get mad at buggs. i was mad at myself. i was glad that i picked up the roll of papertowels, cleaned it up the best that i could, and stuck a blanket it on it.

we arrived in spokane at 0600, 24 hours since we began driving the day before. i dropped off 4 cats and 1 dog, received payment, and tried to deliver the “pissy cat,” the one who covered me in urine. however, no one responded. j**s told me to get a room and let the owners come to me to get the cat.

i took a bath and soaked. buggs slept. j**s talked to us through the whole day, making sure that i got sleep, had my feet up, and stayed hydrated. i bid on jobs and looked into having my car detailed. other than taking buggs out to go potty, we never left our room.

tomorrow, i will write about our journey back from our first trip.


what i learned from our journey…

i learned to prepare for everything. bring tarps and scotchguard seats. haul charcoal and coffee to absorb odor. bring paper towels, baby wipes, two cases of water, extra dog food.

i learned to avoid areas that get absolutely no reception. i am so happy that i listened to my gut and wrote out a list of my meds and emergency contacts and had my advanced directive with me.

i learned to keep a list of friends and contacts on me for areas that i may be travelling through, as to go and visit and possibly stay.

i absolutely know to have buggs completely vaccinated and have all of my meds with me.

i know that i am at my most vulnerable when i am tired. when i’m tired emotions come out and reason flies out the window. i don’t care about anything except for buggs when i’m tired.

i made some twenty calls that night from the columbia gorge. r*****d was the only one who answered. yes, he motivated me onward utilizing anger. two of my high school friends replied by text the next day, as did my sister and j**s.

i have to say that i never in a million years expected the kindness, compassion, and all out patience that she demonstrated with me. she was able to talk to me in terms that i easily understood and could apply to myself and my situation. she didn’t fix my problem magically…however she did give me a magic wand…to use to figure out what needed to be done and then i could do it. she listened to me. she supported and encouraged me the whole way there. she gave me ideas, songs, lyrics, jokes, etc. i felt cared for, happy, secure, and special.

yes, i could have made it through this journey without j**s, but i would never have learned as much, valued her input and advice as much, had as much fun, or felt as blessed to have had her with me. she had a way of calming and soothing my spirit. she had a way of connecting with me when i was thinking about her. she is important to me. she is an anomaly.

i have enjoyed having a really good and close relationship with buggs. he was really the reason that i was always alert and aware and awake, because i was finally a “parent” again with the singular purpose of keeping my “child” safe during our journey. i trusted him to alert me to strangers, when sleeping in parking lots and truck stops. he was/is my co-pilot and companion. we will have many more adventures in the future.
we are back in nevada now from our second journey…which was henderson, nv to south lake tahoe, ca to portland, or to puyallup, wa to gig harbor, wa to bremerton, wa to ellensburg, wa to laurel, mt…travelling through six states: nv, ca, or, wa, id, and mt.
on the way back to nevada…our route was laurel, mt to bozeman, mt to west yellowstone, mt to idaho falls, id to salt lake city, ut to cedar falls, ut to overton, nv to henderson, nv…travelling through six states: mt, wy, id, ut, az, and nv.
i have tons of photos to share and go through…and so many stories and adventures to tell from just two journeys…it’s felt like two years shoved into about four weeks…i’ve gotten hurt/sick and healed. i have hiked, walked, carried, moved, hauled, driven, perservered, talked, laughed, cried, explored, adventured, documented, and have seen things of great beauty, mystery, and magic. my breath was stolen on hundreds of occasions.
i haven’t allowed my challenges or depression to stop me or slow me down. with buggs by my side, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish. i remember this extraordinary woman once telling me that she may end up resenting me, because i may hold her back or not be able to keep up with her. now i wonder, if she could keep up with me and if she could…i would surely give her that piggy back ride…
photos and stories to come…

this journey has been a real eye-opener…

this journey has been a real eye-opener…and i say journey, because this was no trip. i learned vital life lessons and about myself as a person, and i received unexpected kindness, support, advice, and encouragement from someone that i’ve never met.
this journey with it’s high highs and low lows has forever changed aspects of me.

when we began, i was wide-eyed and believed that although i was rushed…i was ready and excited to take photos, to blog, to explore, and to text like a capable person, who was enjoying a roadtrip. i was confident in my driving abilities, my critical thought process, my ability to stay calm under pressure, my spatial packaging eye, and my navigational skills.

i did so well as i drove from nevada to california, staying with buggs in a denny’s parking lot. it was the plan all along and i was proud of myself and buggs for making it those ten hours, we set the clock and went to sleep. the next morning we would be picking up “bear,” a cat in fremont. then we would point our car toward walnut creek and pick-up four more cats a a dog. i had told the girl’s before hand that i knew how to stack and could fit everyone, no problem.

we arrived and all was as i had envisioned. stack of cats, “olivia’s” bed and olivia, and buggs and his bed. we rolled on. i will say that hauling animals is a tedious task. one never takes into account how many times pets will have to go potty or drink water.
i was tired when i left henderson, bleary eyed, and i guess that i never thought that my fifteen pound dog would be so afraid and uncomfortable at first.

we began driving up northern california stopping at beautiful landmarks to take potty walks and photos and feed and water the cats. i sent each owner a photo of their pet, at each stop. i also stopped to play the lyric game with j**s or send her a photo of landscape that was not the desert. we kept each other going. her through work and me through driving tedium.

at lake shasta, this began to change. what began as a carefree fun, epic adventure became a hassle, a worry, a realization that i was solely responsible for people’s beloved pets, threw me for a loop earlier and now, as i was smelling sonething foul coming from the back seat. it was pitch black, there was no where to pull off, and a cat was “throwing” urine on me. i couldn’t see and was surrounded by big trucks. i sang religious songs to the animals until i was able to pull over and began calling everyone i know.

only one person answered, r*****d. he called me a fucking moron and that was the one thing that i needed to carry me on to spokane…anger is an incredible motivator for me and i was pissed off, all of my charges arrived safely. my car became unsexy, but i was told that “we” would make her sexy again.

that “voice of reason,” never left my side. sure, she went to bed and to work, but she was there for me, like no other ever has been, or probably will be. she wanted to know because she cared. it was always beyond me, even after four months i didn’t and don’t get it. she is there for me and i try to be there for her, too. i want to be there for her, someone that she can count upon for anything.

that morning of august 25, a hysterical kw, who could take no more, asked for guidance. j**s understood that i needed a game plan fast. she told me to get a hotel room and wanted me and buggs to get clean, eat, and hydrate. she wanted me to rest. she said, “we will make a plan when you wake.” i was so tired and so thankful to have a plan.

j**s checked in with us throughout the day and gave us many valid options and solutions for continuing on our journey. buggs and i checked out and tried to figure out where to sleep and where to go. i wasn’t my amiable self, i was angry. i didn’t respond to j**s. i just wanted to drive from spokane to pasco. (i had backed into a car in spokane and got popped speeding in connell, but was just given warning.).

we slept in the wal-mart parking lot. buggs woke up and j**s had not left a text. we were driving to mcdonald’s when she sent me a death cab for cutie lyric. it melted my heart and once again, i was asking the captain for wisdom. she let me know that my mission was successful and that after every mission the troops return to their base camp. she absolutely got me and gave me exactly what i needed.

she gave me an answer and qualified it, utilizing something that i would understand. she is the only one that offered me smart real world suggestions. she cared enough about us to know where we were and where we were going. she wanted to see me be a success for myself. she allowed me to fix my own problems, but offered suggestions and guidance.

i appreciate her and someday, i wish that she would consider becoming my travel partner…

part one only

back with buggs…

…”reunited and it feels so good!!” my god i missed my co-pilot!! i would find myself in room 3479, reaching out to pet somebody that wasn’t there. i found myself wanting to talk to him and watch his ears and facial expressions. i found myself saving a small piece of turkey sausage for him.

and then, it hit me hard. i was very lonely, sure…but, i was completely alone. i was sad, absolutely…because i was alone…completely alone…singular. no one at all familiar, no one. i received encouragement from friends on facebook, which made me feel much better. i received messages from the girls, that helped too.

r*****d called me once. my sister and p**l texted me. neither my dad nor my therapist answered my text messages to them. buggs was not there, neither was p**l, he is a roofer and was roofing. it’s really hard to give an emergency contact, when you just don’t have one. to clarify, i’m not having a pity party. i’m stating the facts.

when they had me fill out the consent forms for admission and procedures…i made sure that they knew that i was “dnr.” i never again want my life “saved” by a ventilator. it changed me profoundly. i am not the same person that i once was. save the cpr for someone else. just let me go…

i thought long and hard about buggs and where i would want him to go…to be loved, cherished, and cared for. i made a short list of people that i knew would love him and care for him in my absence: p**l, w***y, s***h, j**s, g***e, and l***a. i knew that he would be loved, pampered, and spoiled by them.

there was one person who was generally, always “there” for me, both night and day. and although we have never met, she is/was always there for me and vice versa. she is an er nurse. she is smart and calm and very soothing. j**s has been both a comfort and a blessing to me.

yes, i know…i have a long history with “catfishes.” don’t worry! i have verified that j**s is indeed, a “real” person. i am however, still on “self-imposed,” relationship restriction. (just so that everyone knows, i “broke up” with that therapist. she turned out to be more destructive to me, than beneficial.). i am choosing to be single and waiting.

to me, it doesn’t really matter if i ever meet j**s or not. yes, i do want to meet her, but it is not absolutely necessary. we have a great friendship that works for both of us. we listen, share, laugh, cry, and just enjoy each other’s company. she gave me great advice in the hospital and helped me to make good decisions and choices for myself.

albeit, i did not tell her that i listed myself, as “dnr.” i guess that even though she’s an er nurse and comes across this shit everyday, she’s a fighter. she believes in fighting to hold onto life, until the bitter end. i suppose that i was ashamed or embarrassed about my choice and sharing it with her. i figured if something happened, she would be notified.

maybe, i sound cold hearted or calloused, with my own life…judge me if you will. but, until you sit with someone in agonizing pain, who wished that they had never chosen to sustain life, prolonging the inevitable with a feeding tube, because that’s what made the family most comfortable, with the death process…you will never know or understand where i am coming from.

already having my life sustained once and being forever changed by the experience…i never ever want that for myself again. death does not scare me. i am unafraid to die. however, i am afraid to live with certain conditions, which i have discussed before. no, i am not talking about taking my own life here. i am talking about surrendering to the natural process of death and dying.

one hundred years ago, people just died of natural causes. their bodies just gave up for one reason or another. they were not kept alive by others, who could never even begin to imagine what goes on in one’s mind as a body that has gone into full surrender mode (soul preparing to leave body) and then, is mechanically or physically reversed to become alive and thrive…speaking as one who knows…if there is such a thing as hell, my mind was engulfed in hellfire and brimstone.

anyway, i ended up being torn between two exes, both of whom i thought were the best fits to give, buggs, kindness, love and care. w***y, because she already knows him, loves him, and is bonded to him. and, s***h, because she is very in tune with pet behaviors…she can spot changes in diet and health…and, she provides exemplary medical care and nutrition for optimal health and wellness.

so obviously, nothing bad happened or went wrong. i am among the living. although released from the hospital, i am in an extraordinary amount of pain. having never suffered from back pain a day in my life, i suddenly cannot make a move involving any kind of movement generated from my lowerback. these movements include: getting up and down from seated or laying position, shifting, sitting up straight, standing, walking, sitting, and standing.

i am in a great deal of physical pain, but yet, i am with, buggs. buggs is my comfort. he is my co-pilot, my companion, my family. i can be happy and grateful, wherever he is. because even though i have no “real home” to speak of, i have my dreams and my goals and my buggs. i have found that home is wherever, buggs, is. and for right this very moment, buggs, is in montana.

guess what…

…still fucking here in room 3479 of the cardiac unit. i’ve been here since friday, the fifteenth and i am livid. everyday i feel that i’m jerked around one way and then another.

i explained my symptomsl when i arrived, that i couldn’t feel my legs or feet…i was dizzy and nauseous and exhausted. somehow that statement was reduced to, “chest pains” thus the cardiac unit.

yesterday i was examined by an awesome neurologist, who had some really interesting ideas. she convinced me to stay last night, so that i could have lumbar puncture today.

well, i woke up this morning and the nurse told me that i couldn’t have my lumbar puncture until tomorrow, as the xarelto that they started me back on, had not left my system yet.

and, blood getting into the spinal cord when being punctured could cause paralysis. so tomorrow after 0830, i will have both procedures. the stress test and the lumbar puncture.

if either thing turns out bad, i get to prolong my stay, but i am sure that everything will be just fine. no worries…just cabin fever and missing my buggs!!