Thursday, November 29, 2012

You Touch It, You Own It


Elvis and Sophie. How did we get here?


We learned a valuable lesson this week, one that we will remember for many years to come. You touch it, you own it. And now we are the proud owners of these little balls of fur. It was not in our plans, but it happened and we are accepting it.

I had a serious case of “postpartum depression” the first few days they were with us, so even though Jim wanted to keep them, he tried to find a shelter to take them to. Unfortunately the Rio Grande Valley is not a very pet friendly place. Every time we go somewhere we see dead cats or dogs along the road, and many people just dump unwanted pets and don’t have them spayed or neutered. The only shelter we found that would take them took in 45,000 animals last year alone. That is an unbelievable number of unwanted animals, and the majority of those were euthanized.

Cinderella Pet Rescue will put them up for adoption but we have to foster them and get them spayed, neutered and vaccinated before they will try to find them homes. We haven’t even had them a week yet and we are already very attached to them so I doubt that will happen. But at least we have that option if they drive us absolutely crazy!

When they’re awake they are always under foot so we have to be very careful where we step.


A quiet moment watching TV on dad’s lap. They are precious.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Two Cats Too Many


So we had to work this morning, coffee hour and helping decorate the clubhouse for Christmas. Debbie babysat Elvis, and while she was there  one of our neighbors came by with another kitten. This morning her dog, that she adopted from Cinderella last spring, tried to go after it under a pile of limbs in the same vicinity as Elvis was found yesterday. She couldn’t keep it and didn’t know who else to bring it to. Wow, another lucky day for us.

I am trying to get the word out in hopes of finding them a good home other than ours.

Elvis, asleep on a heating pad in a Kleenex box.


One of our neighbors is a retired vet and came over to have a look at them. He thinks they are about 4 weeks old, is pretty sure Elvis is a male and the other is a female.

We haven’t named this one yet.


Right about now I am overwhelmed and am no longer answering the door ;)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black (bird and cat) Friday



Took a nice bike ride this morning and saw hundreds of black birds on the power lines. You have to be careful where you park around the Rio Grande Valley. The birds especially like to hang out on the lines around shopping centers. Sometimes late in the afternoon they are so loud as to be deafening, and if you park under them you may come out to find your car covered in white.

We stopped off at the fitness center to lift a few weights on the way back from our bike ride. When we returned home we were greeted by a few of our neighbors holding a tiny gray kitten they found on a woodpile behind the RV park. Knowing we are cat volunteers at Cinderella, she thought we could foster it until it’s old enough to be adopted. How could we say no to this sweet little face?


I can’t tell you how much we really don’t want a 4 or 5 week old kitten to take care of, but what can we do? Elvis is now asleep on Jim’s chest on the bed. Not how we thought our day off would turn out!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lots Going On But Nothing to Write Home About



We’ve been back at Bentsen Palm Village in Mission, TX for three and a half weeks now. Being new workampers has kept us busy, along with volunteering at Cinderella Pet Rescue.

It’s not just cats that greet us at Cinderella.


Last week we attended two more Welcome Home Rio Grande Valley Activity Directors Boot Camp events. The first was at Fireman’s park in McAllen, to show off the new park and 8 mile bike trail. There were several tables from local businesses promoting their products, and the McAllen Welcome committee served Border Buttermilk, which is tequila and Country Time pink lemonade mix. No one knew how the name came about, but it was a lot better than real buttermilk!

At the event in downtown Harlingen I won a two night stay at the Marriot Courtyard in Harlingen, which we will probably include in a raffle for the activities fund. Not that there’s anything wrong with Harlingen, but I can’t see any reason to go there and spend a couple days. They do have a Bass Pro Shops, some nice little stores and restaurants downtown, and nearby birding areas.

The activities at Bentsen Palm Village officially started Saturday morning with coffee hour, and a movie Sunday night. This evening is our first Margarita hour, followed by a busy Thanksgiving day setting up and cleaning up after the dinner.

Last night the park managers invited all the volunteers to a great dinner at Agave Restaurant. They even had music and some of us danced after a few Margaritas.

Our very nice managers, Juanita and Guy. They gave each of us a framed picture of ourselves and a Christmas ornament.


Jim, wearing his dragonfly ornament and singing YMCA. He’s pretty funny after a bit of tequila!


We found out that Nikon is claiming our camera was dropped so they won’t cover the warranty repair. They even sent a photo of it. We will be the first to admit to dropping and breaking more than one camera over the years but this is not one of them. So Jim has been researching cameras again in hopes of finding a great bargain with all the Black Friday sales. We aren’t finished with Nikon yet and they are sending the camera back but we have never been satisfied with it anyway so we will probably buy something else.

Our camera did NOT have this crack when we sent it in. Jim suspects an employee put the screw back in too tight after opening it and it cracked, but it is our word against theirs.

Nilon camera 

More animal news. We saw a bobcat on the Mission bike trail the other afternoon. He just stood there and looked at us for a couple minutes and walked away. Guess they are used to seeing people. Of course we didn’t have the camera.

Two more cats got adopted yesterday from Cinderella, Rosa and Isabel, another two of our favorites. The good thing is that a fulltime RV couple staying in our park adopted them so we’ve already visited them once and they said we can come by to see them anytime.

These photos are from the Cinderella Pet Rescue website.


Isabel. They are the sweetest two year old sisters.


Jim is back at the dentist in Mexico today and he should have a new tooth when he gets home. He took Patty, one of the guest services volunteers, with him. She needs some dental work but has never been to a dentist in Mexico and is very apprehensive. Hopefully going with Jim will put her at ease.

Guess I’ve caught up on our week. We wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, whether you eat turkey or tofu!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Cinderella Story



We arrived at Cinderella Pet Rescue at 8:45 Saturday morning to pick up the cats we were transporting to Petsmart for the big cat adoption event. It was not an easy task trying to identify and catch the eight from the back cat room that we were to take. Pretty Peaches was hiding out in a covered cat condo along with 3 others, including feral Ozzie, who detests people and will hiss, bite and scratch to keep us away.

We couldn’t believe they all managed to fit inside that tiny space. I opened a can of stinky cat food trying to entice them out, but they were smarter than that. Deb, one of the other volunteers, finally got a broom and held back Ozzie with the handle while she got her other hand in to grab Peaches. It wasn’t pretty, but we finally got them all in carriers and loaded in the car. On Jim’s second trip to pick up a couple more carriers he found that Rosa, one of our favorites, had somehow managed to escape from her carrier and was walking around in the back of the car. At least she didn’t jump out, since he had left the hatch open. We knew it was going to be a long day at that point!

You can imagine it was a very vocal group of kitties on our 11 mile drive to Petsmart. When we arrived the other volunteers were in the process of setting up the pens, so we helped them put litter boxes, blankets, and water bowls in each one before we got the cats out of the car and into the proper cage. Each cage had a “CATFAX” sheet with a picture and information about their history.


Normally the fee is $80 to adopt a cat, which have all been spayed or neutered, tested to be sure they are feline leukemia negative, and up to date on all their shots. For Saturday only the fee was $25, in an attempt to thin out the large number of cats at the shelter.

The day was fairly successful, as seven cats of the nineteen were adopted. We must admit it was harder than we thought to see some of our favorites being taken away by strangers, especially so soon after losing Quincy.

               These are the lucky ones who found new homes.

    Sylvester and Molly               Pedro                            Powder

Cinderella Pet Rescue

       Shadow                 Jim’s favorite, Muffy            Peaches

This was the first time Cinderella did a big cats-only adoption, and the volunteers put in a lot of hard work to pull it off. They did a great job! 

Yesterday Jim and Debbie went to the dentist in Mexico while I went to Cinderella to take care of the remaining cats. It was sad not seeing Muffy, Sylvester, and Pedro, three of my favorites, but I now have a couple of new ones tugging at my heartstrings, Lazarus and Geoffrey.




Wonder which ones we will fall in love with next week? It will be a miracle if we leave here next spring without a cat!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

South Padre Island, TX



We spent Friday at South Padre Island with the Welcome Home Rio Grande Valley RV activity directors boot camp group. 2 people from each park could attend, and since the other activities people have dogs and didn’t want to be gone all day, we figured it was a good excuse to visit South Padre. It’s close to a 90 mile drive from here, so we left at 8 to register and get to the Birding Center for the 10:30 guided tour.

 South Padre Island trip November 8, 2012

The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center is a 3 year old non-profit organization designed for education and wildlife viewing. The building itself is quite impressive, with a 5 story viewing tower, an auditorium where we watched a short film about the wildlife on the island, and 3/4 mile of boardwalk over the wetlands of the Laguna Madre Bay.

Displays in the visitor center.


The boardwalks.



Viewing Tower.


Of course the main reason people go is for the birds. There are also 4 resident alligators, which refused to show themselves to our group.

We saw our first reddish egret.


Several great blue herons.


Lots of brown and white pelicans.


And a roseate spoonbill, only the second one we’ve ever seen. It’s that pink bird in the middle. As you can see our high zoom camera is still in the shop.


From there we had time for a quick lunch before our Dolphin Watch/Eco-Tour at Breakaway Tours.


The 2.5 mile bridge to South Padre.


It was opened in 1974, and on September 15, 2001 was hit by a barge which caused the center to collapse, causing 5 vehicles to plunge into the bay. 8 people, including the Port Isabel fire marshal, were killed. Only 3 survived. Happening just  a few days after September 11, it was initially thought to be a terrorist attack.

Having lived close to Pensacola Beach for so many years, we’ve seen our share of dolphins, but it’s always fun watching them swim and play in the water.


Soon after we headed out, one of the deckhands threw out a large net that dragged behind the boat. After about 45 minutes they pulled it in and put the contents into a large cooler filled with bay water. Most of the fish appeared dead but he said they were just stunned and would be released after the presentation. I guess that is the “eco” part of the cruise, but it wasn’t something we had any interest in. Just seemed cruel to us.

After the cruise, the group went to Louie’s Back Porch for a free fried seafood dinner and live music. We passed and made our way back to Mission. South Padre is your typical beach resort with lots of high rises and souvenir shops, but it has plenty to offer in the way of nature with the Birding Center, Sea Turtle, Inc (unfortunately we didn’t have time to go there), water sports and miles of national seashore just north of town. We’re glad we had the opportunity to go, but it’s not a place we’ll be returning to any time soon.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sometimes It’s Good to Stay Busy


We’ve been crazy busy this past week, which has been a good thing to help take our minds off of Quincy. Visiting with these guys at Cinderella a couple times has also helped. They are always happy to see us.


Could be because we were bearing treats, but I think they truly enjoy human companionship.


We’ve taken a liking to Lazarus, a new cat since we were here in March. He was hit by a car which broke his left front leg. Not sure about the history but it wasn’t repaired and isn’t much use to him. He hobbles well on his other three legs, though, and kind of drags that one along. Don’t know why we’re attracted to “broken” cats. I think Jim would have brought him home the first time we saw him, but he is a biter. Loves to be petted but when he’s had enough he gives no warning, just swings his little head around and bites. And bites hard! We need to figure out a way to break him of that nasty habit or nobody will want to adopt him. He is a good looking boy, though.


On Monday we had to get an early start in the clubhouse to help get all the furniture and everything in the cabinets moved to the porches so the cleaning crew could get in there. They did the hard stuff like floors, windows, screens, ceiling fans, etc. Later that afternoon we cleaned everything and put it back. Although the clubhouse doesn’t get used much over the summer, it was amazing how dusty and dirty everything was.

While the cleaning crew was busy at work, Jim and I went to Cinderella for a couple hours. When we got in the car, Jim noticed the back passenger window was shattered. There wasn’t even a chip in the glass.


We had gone to Sam’s Club to get some supplies and then ate dinner at BJ’s Brewhouse the night before. Debbie was with us and sat in the back so she would have noticed it for sure. Anyway, Jim found a glass place that could replace it that afternoon. Of course they also scratched the paint, got dirt on the seat, and didn’t put the door handle back on properly. Jim was busy looking at the new glass and didn’t see all the other issues until he got home, which meant another trip yesterday to get things fixed.

During the first couple weeks of November, the Welcome Home Rio Grande Valley has a “Boot Camp” for activities people from the RV parks. They allow 2 people from each park to attend each event, so yesterday I went with Debbie to the National Butterfly Center. It’s just a mile down the road from Bentsen Palm Village, and one of the places we never visited while we were here last year. The director told us all about the center, we walked the trails, and learned how to make butterfly feeders out of logs with an interesting mixture of ripe bananas, beer, and brown sugar.

Inside the visitor center.


Outside, lots of butterfly watchers and photographers.


This is why everyone comes.




They also have a very nice birding area along one of the trails.


We also went back to the dentist in Mexico where I got my teeth cleaned and a good report. Dr. De la Rosa told Jim his gum healed too well so he had to cut it some more and he has to go back again next week for the final abutment. We also both had our annual physicals and are awaiting blood test results which we trust will be fine.

Between all this we’ve been riding our bikes and working out, and trying to get some chores done around the rig. Tomorrow we’re planning to go to South Padre Island for an all day Welcome Home RGV event and Saturday we are spending the day at Petsmart in McAllen for the big cat adoption. We’ll be transporting 8 cats in our Subaru and a couple of the other volunteers are taking 11 more. We’re hoping at least some of them will find homes. I’ll keep you posted!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hanging in There


Just want to thank everyone for the kind comments and emails we received regarding the loss of Quincy. Our little house is very empty right now and it will take some time to get used to not having a cat around. I must admit, though, it is nice to have a bit more space after getting rid of his litter box, bed, cardboard box, food and water dishes and toys. When you live in less than 100 square feet, every little bit helps.

We did go to Cinderella Pet Rescue for a couple hours yesterday morning. Neither of us had any desire to bring a new cat into our house but it was fun to see how some of the kittens had grown and meet the new additions to the shelter. I will start going there regularly on Mondays. Our sweet little buddy Pedro is still available for adoption. Sadly only 3 or 4 have been adopted since we were last here in March.


Jim’s Mexican dental appointment went well and he now has a healing abutment over the implant. Next week he will get the final abutment and impressions for the permanent crown. The turnstile fee to enter Mexico went up to 50 cents from the spring, so if you go to Progresso it costs $2 to park on the US side, 50 cents to get into Mexico but still only a quarter to walk back into the US.

We haven’t done a whole lot yet as far as work is involved. We’ve had a couple meetings and inventoried supplies that we need to restock before the activities get underway in less than 2 weeks. Jim helped assemble picnic tables, and I helped clean up the library and file books. On Monday we are washing everything in the cabinets of the clubhouse. Debbie is also working in activities but she is doing the bookkeeping, calendar, scheduling, etc, while we and 2 other couples will be doing the physical labor. At least it will keep us out of trouble for awhile.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Petless in Mission



Our pal Quincy had been doing very well since the dental surgery about 2 weeks ago. His appetite was great and he seemed to be enjoying life. That all changed this morning.

He began panting with his mouth wide open and was in obvious distress. We took him to the vet and on the way he threw up 4 times.

He seemed to do better and they found nothing obvious so we took him home where he hid in the closet all day. Gayle fed him by spoon later this afternoon and he immediately threw up again and he was very lethargic.

Back to the vet and we learned that his kidney failure had gotten significantly worse than it was three weeks ago. To the point, that he was nauseous and not feeling well. Also despite what we had thought he had actually lost more weight even though he was eating well.

There really was no positive outcome at this point.

It is too late to make this short but he didn’t make it back home with us.

He was a very gentle cat and quite the goofball to use a friends term. He got off to a poor start based on his condition when we picked him up at the Humane Society about 10 years ago but you would never tell by his disposition.

He and Oreo were great friends.

1 (2)


We truly enjoyed his company in the past 14 months since we murdered Oreo and I think he enjoyed ours more.

He has especially had a good time here at Bentsen Palm these few days. We let him roam around the site at will and he seemed to really enjoy himself.

He was a handsome boy and will be truly missed.


We knew this day would come and planned on not getting another pet to see what that would be like. It will be the first time for us in almost 30 years.

Gayle starts helping out at Cinderella tomorrow. I had planned on going but now think I will give it more time so I don’t take something home.

Pets are our children and their loss leaves holes.