Providing clarity

I guess I’ve been unclear about what is going on with Houndstooth Hall and its residents, so I’ll paraphrase and add to some some answers I gave on Instagram.

We were only out of our house the first couple of weeks after the flood (that is when we stayed at Lynne’s with our dogs and Tim’s dogs). During that time, demo was done on the floors and walls, all our ruined furniture and appliances were put on the curb, and what we saved was put in storage. We have kept most of what was salvageable of our furniture in our house (Debby and Tim lost basically everything; we were not as badly flooded in the house). Dehumidifiers ran constantly in the house and apartments, and everything was sprayed with various products to reduce any chance of or eliminate any mold. We also had to have some repairs done to our gas line. We were busy during that time dealing with the paperwork and bureaucracy resulting from all the property and our two cars being flooded. Both cars have since been replaced. Debby’s truck was unaffected because it was higher up than our cars.

Tom, Debby, and I have been living in the house since mid-September on plywood floors, with no sheetrock or insulation on all the lower walls in the house. We did have to leave again for five days when the fence was replaced because the dogs couldn’t go outside, so we stayed at Lynne’s again.

Tim was living remotely–for the first week, where he was housesitting when the flood came, because his clients couldn’t fly back into the city. His car was not affected because that area didn’t flood. Then for several weeks he and his dogs lived in a house provided by a generous RPM volunteer which she was getting ready to put on the market. Then Pixie and Penny came to be with us for another couple of weeks while Tim and Pollock stayed at the Secret Unicorn Sanctuary. But he’s been back in Fox Den for a while, and Debby will hopefully be able to move into Fairy Cottage with her dogs this weekend.

Completely unrelated and prior to the flood, Lynne put her house on the market and it sold a couple of months after the flood. So she and her dogs have been staying with us until she moves into their next residence after Christmas.

Since it took our contractors about three months to repair the apartments, you can guess how long it may take before our house is completed–they will start on that next week, we hope. At that point, Tom, our dogs, and I will be living mostly in one half of what pre-flood was my home office with all our surviving furniture in the other half while in the rest of the house: our insulation and drywall is replaced, then new subflooring and flooring, then wood trim and doors replaced and painted, then the lower kitchen cabinets pulled and replaced and painted. Then we will be back in the other rooms of the house while the office is repaired and new subfloor and floor put down there.

So we have basically always resided here, it just isn’t very pretty with plywood floors and exposed walls, and we lost a lot of furniture and personal things. But we didn’t lose the house, and we didn’t have to be out of it for very long. The dogs LOVE having missing lower walls, as they have many secret passages into and out of rooms. As bad as it looks and as strange as it is to have most of our belongings in storage, at least we’ve been home.

It will be a home undecorated at Christmas, and that is fine.

I’m not doing enough networking

I’m too busy to remember that I have a fundraiser going on, and so far, I’m the only person who’s contributed to it because I’m a terrible networker. I also know it’s a tough time of year when most people’s budgets are already strained, so I’m not surprised or even disappointed. This is just reality. If you’re able to help, please click here.

Sunday we pulled a tiny puppy from BARC–he and his brother, actually–only to hear from his foster that he wasn’t doing well. She was so worried that she took him to one of Houston’s best ER vets, and Tim went by to visit him later. He has parvo. Today he’ll be transported from the ER vet to one of our veterinary partners who has pulled many parvo puppies through for us. Tim sent this photo of him.

Parvo always hits me hard because I’ll never forget Pollock and his sister Ruby’s littermates. They were the first litter of puppies pulled by RPM from BARC, and they were to be fostered by Hanley’s mom Laura. Since she had to be out of town for a few days, Tim took them (and I shared photos of all of them in several blog posts in September 2013), then they went to Laura’s after she returned. Big Guy became sick and was held back the day the rest of the litter including Pollock (he was Little Guy then) and Ruby were loaded on the van and were on their way out of town. Laura got a call from the vet with bad news: Big Guy had parvo. So the rest of the litter were pulled off the van and came back to The Compound. The deal was that all the puppies would stay with Tim. If they got sick, they’d go to the vet, where two vet techs were fiercely committed to caring for them. Then if they made it, they’d go to Laura’s until they were well enough to travel.

One by one, each of those puppies got sick and died because of parvo despite everyone’s best efforts to save them. Ruby was the only one who got parvo and pulled through, and Laura adopted her so she could get her strong and well. Little Guy never left Tim’s and never got parvo but did get his new name, Pollock. There was no way after all that loss Tim could let Pollock travel to Colorado. They were meant to be together.

Neither Tim nor I put that story on our blogs back then because it was too painful. RPM was new and that was a tough part of the beginning. Now more than 25,000 transported dogs, cats, and pigs later, no one connected to RPM ever forgets the ones we lose. So many of them come off the streets and out of the shelter sick and broken, and that’s why we say we rescue, rehabilitate, and transport. The financial impact is huge, but that’s part of RPM’s commitment. We don’t pull only healthy animals. We pull animals in need. Thanks to our rescue partners and their compassion and commitment, we’re able to do our best to get them healthy before they travel. Thanks to our donors and grantors, we’re able to pay for it.

All that is to say that I was already emotionally invested in today’s little puppy even before I realized his name (given to him by my records partner at RPM, Lynn), which is Frisbee. That reminded me of the late Rob Edler (person belonging to Mlle. Renee, another amazing rescue dog). His LJ user name was Cody Frizbee Jr. I felt moved to contribute to little Frisbee’s medical bills because of Rob and Renee, Ruby and Pollock.

I hope he makes it.

World AIDS Day

This photo was the runner up to my Photo Friday “Twilight” theme. The red ribbon on the jacket of Eclipse has always reminded me of the years and years I made and handed out red ribbon pins to coworkers, friends, and strangers. This year, the red ribbon is packed away in storage. The newsletters I used to write, and the blog posts I used to publish, about HIV and AIDS are no longer necessary because if you are already using the Internet, you can find all the local resources and global information you want or need at your fingertips.

But for those of us with longer and more personal memories, this never stops being a day to reflect on those lost, hope for the best for those who still struggle, and feel gratitude for those who stay well thanks to the efforts and sometimes downright fury of the ones who went before them.

The theme of World AIDS Day this year is “Increasing Impact through Transparency, Accountability, and Partnerships.” One of many things AIDS/HIV has taught us is that we are stronger together, and that we must never be silent in the face of catastrophe. AIDS/HIV transcends borders, politics, race, religious belief, gender, sexuality, age, and national origin, and so must we in eradicating it.

And for the ones I love still–Steve R, Jeff C, John M, and Tim R–I continue to wear my red ribbon pin each year on December 1 in honor of them.

NaNoWriMo

Now that National Novel Writing Month is almost over, I wonder if any of my friends participated and how they did.

I, of course, don’t even have time to write short emails. However, every night before I go to sleep, I write scenes in my head between two of my favorite characters. Usually that helps me drift off, but there are the nights that the scenes interest me so much that I may as well be up writing; I’m certainly not falling asleep.

But staying up all night writing would wreck my health and mess with my day job, which I happen to love. So…

At least I hope my friends and favorite writers are finding time to create, and it sounds as if some are. I wish you much success!

Early birthday

Lynne’s birthday is not until Monday, but since we were all together on Friday, we decided to go out to dinner. The restaurant allowed me to bring the cake I baked and even held it in the cooler until we were ready to surprise her with it. Or we tried to surprise her, but it was an adult who shall remain nameless, not the nine-year-old, who blurted out the surprise. Said nine-year-old was too busy making me laugh.

Fortunately even without the surprise factor, the cake was a success.

Happy Thanksgiving!

As you may remember, this is my favorite holiday and the meal I most love to cook. This year we couldn’t really entertain since our house is still in post-flood stage. And even though Lynne has sold her house and most of it is packed away, she still hosted Tom, Debby, Tim, and me along with Jess, Laura, and her grandchildren Lila and Isaac.

I provided a hen and dressing along with cranberry sauce and gravy.

Debby cooked field peas, green beans, and a pan of brownies.

Lynne set out a feast: two kinds of sweet potato casseroles, a Cajun fried turkey, corn, potatoes au gratin, mashed potatoes, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. She also had pumpkin pie, apple pie, and chocolate chip cookies.

Wishing a happy Thanksgiving to all those in or from the US, and just a day of thanks for all my friends in other countries. I’m certainly grateful for my friends, family, and the many good things in my life. No silly flood can take that away.

My rudder


This is Mauricio with the puppy Hitchcock. Mauricio is the Foster and Rescue Coordinator at the city shelter, BARC. I say he is my rudder because he always steers me in the right direction.

He is the go-to person at BARC for so many of the things that make RPM run and run smoothly. I don’t know what I’d do without him.

Mauricio is funny, talented, and has a true understanding of animals’ personalities and needs. Sometimes he drives for RPM, and when he does, he takes amazing photos from the road. He loves his family and art. I feel so lucky that RPM brought him into my life. He’s one of my heroes.