Monthly Archives: April 2016

There was an episode of “Andy Griffith” in which Howard Sprague moved to a Caribbean island and was living in a grass shack drinking rum.

I think that Howard looked like this in that episode:


This is me, during our last Cabo trip. For some years, we were alternating – Cabo one year, and Isla Mujeres the alternating year. Last year was supposed to be Isla, but we wound up moving to Montana (you might have heard) and that used up money, time and energy that we would have needed to hit Isla for three weeks.

So this year, even though Ethel is training for (and has already signed up for!) a Half Ironman 70.3, and I’ve got a Half in June and a mumblemumble (we don’t actually use the term Ironman in this house, unless we’re referring to a Half – if we’re talking about a Full, we just mumble incoherently rather than let the phrase “Ironman 140.6” pass our lips) in August, we’ve already set aside three weeks for Cozumel.

Cozumel is NOT Isla – it’s not the sleepy town that we’re used to. Heck, when we go to Cabo, we don’t go to Cabo San Lucas, which is “drunks naked on the beach covered in whipped cream” Cabo; we go to San Jose del Cabo, which is “walking on the square and buying empenadas from the little old lady with the cart’ Cabo. And Isla is like that, only moreso.

But this trip is in July, rather than the April or August/September trips that we’ve taken before, and the problem is that Isla will be even sleepier in the hotter months, which means – probably nobody at the English-speaking AA meetings. So we decided to drop down the coast to Cozumel instead.

Cozumel has a lot more people, and it has the cruise ships stopping in – but it does have a lot more meetings, and a lot of diving, as well. We’ve gone through AirBnB to get a condo owned by a local, and we’re hoping to miss the crowds and stick to the local areas….

Now, when I started typing this, I started watching the aforementioned Andy Griffith episode…and now, 7:52 into the episode, Howard has bought his ticket and is headed for St Benedict’s – “land in Trinidad, and get there by boat.” And the thing that talked him into it, really, was Andy’s assumption that “nobody really does that sort of thing. People talk about it, but they don’t do it.”

My friend George Ritter once told me that “Lots of people talk about moving to a ski town, but nobody ever really does it.”

Today, they delivered seven trees from the nursery – now I get to dig a bunch of big holes and plant them. I get to do that in between working, and meeting my service commitments, and training for a MumbleMumble, and paying my mortgage, and then I get to take care of the trees, and paint the house….

….Okay, Ethel. Just let me know when you’re ready. We’ll go live in a grass shack 🙂



As far as I can tell, about six to eight weeks ago, I must have been thinking.

I really don’t need to be more specific than that, do I? It wasn’t the “what about” that caused me the problem – it was the “thinking”. Or maybe I should say that I wasn’t thinking about God, or about my family, or about what I could do for others – I must have been thinking about me, and about what I thought I wanted or needed.

And, as a result, I now have a problem.


This is Abby, my problem child.

I call her that because, as far as I can tell, I must have been thinking that I didn’t have enough problems, and needed to add one. Because I certainly have done that.

As those who follow this page will know, we picked Abby up just over five weeks ago, at RezQ Dogs in Dodson, MT. She came home with us scared out of her wits.

The “scared” is largely gone now – we’re left with the “out of her wits” 🙂

Abbilicious alternates between skittish and just plumb goofy, with the “goofy” getting more and more play time. She’s talkative and playful, and learning a lot, and doing very well indeed! She is a lot of fun, and it’s heartwarming to watch her change and grow.

There are still some confusing aspects about this relationship, though – for one thing, she doesn’t seem to have much of a relationship with ME. She’s pretty much always with Ethel – because Lucy is pretty much always with Ethel.

According to our trainer, Abby sees Lucy as her comfort, and me as her structure.

I’m not sure exactly what that means in theory, but in practice it means that I feed Abby, and train her, and make sure that she gets outside, and walk her, and give her treats, and brush her fur – and the rest of the time, she follows Lucy around.

I don’t know if she’s ever going to be my dog, but she is, certainly, my problem 🙂

Which is what I’m talking about – I’d forgotten how a dog rearranges one’s schedule. When I wake up, I don’t just grab my coffee and take my morning time – everything gets rearranged depending on whether or not Abby gets up when I do – and since both of the dogs eat breakfast, the morning also depends on whether or not Lucy gets up, as we want to make sure that they eat at the same time.

During the day, I have to remember that there’s a dog with a bowel and a bladder who doesn’t yet know how to tell me that she needs to go outside – sometimes I miss the timing, and then I get to clean stuff up. And she needs to be walked and exercised, and she needs to be trained.

I really don’t mind doing any of this – but it means, again, that things have to be rearranged. And that is pretty much the nature of a problem – it means that something has to be done or addressed differently.

And I can’t remember any time recently when I said to myself “I have too much free time, and not enough to do.” 🙂 …but I must have said that very thing to myself, and my self listened, and arranged things…like this 🙂