And I have a job!

Started my new job.  I don't want to post on the blog where that is for privacy purposes but I have a job and that's the main thing.  I definitely am breathing a little easier.  Today is my first day and have learned quite a bit.  I'll be working Monday through Thursday, which is great because that means I can volunteer at Best Friends on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Speaking of volunteering, I was able to get to Best Friends last week.  I worked in parrots on Tuesday morning, feral bunnies on Tuesday afternoon, cats on Wednesday morning and back to parrots on Wednesday afternoon.

Working in parrots was awesome!  Most of them are there because the owners didn't know what they were getting into; whether that refers to the noise level, messiness, or amount of attention needed.  It's really sad.  These guys have so much personality and are so smart.  A good portion of them are self-pluckers.  This is usually due to stress.  Charlie is a very, very pretty girl.  She has to wear a sweater over some bandages to keep her from continuing to pluck her chest.  She usually greets people with a smile and a head tilt that says, "Love on me please."  Cody is a type of African Gray and has a really extensive vocabulary.  He also has a sense of humor.  I got to give the birds that were outside a shower on the afternoon that I worked there.  As I started Cody's shower, he started "coughing" and when I was getting ready to finish, he gave me a good, "ACHOO!"  The environment at the parrot garden is wonderful.  The birds have cages on the inside but usually get to go outside during the day.  Those birds that don't have as many issues get to hang out in aviaries with their buddies.  These aviaries are really big and are equipped with misters.  Remember, the natural habitat for these birds is usually a humid jungle or rain forest.  The cages on the outside are around a fountain and have their own shade.  There's also a gazebo in the middle of the aviaries and outside cages.  All of the birds have plenty in their homes to keep them busy.  I even got to make some foraging toys while I was there.  If anyone is interested in helping, they could always use foraging toys.  You can get ideas if you google foraging toys for parrots.  Just make sure to use unshelled raw almonds.  Let me know if you're interested, I'll get you an address.

The feral bunnies were interesting.  They came from a hoarding situation where a woman not only had a whole lot of bunnies, she wasn't taking care of them.  They were not interested in being pet but some were curious and would come check me out while I was helping clean one of the runs.  I found out that all bunnies have a parasite that attacks their nervous system; it just lays dormant until triggered.  Most bunnies can go through life and never trigger this parasite.  The most common trigger is stress.  So, needless to say, some of these bunnies had triggered their parasite.  The way this manifests is a head tilt or loss of control of their back legs.  The head tilt causes problems with balance and being able to see where they are going.  The loss of control of their back legs means they usually are dragging themselves through their own waste.  These bunnies along with some of the other medical-needs bunnies are in a yurt while the others are outside in runs.  The runs are actually pretty cool.  They're set up so that the bunnies can be as normal as possible but they can't dig out (they try) and they have things to burrow under like straw bales, little igloo doghouses, etc.  They get fed very nutritional rabbit food but they also get fresh vegetables of some kind each day.  These guys are separate from the other bunnies but are still adoptable.

I got to work with two different rooms of cats.  There are several building in Cat World.  Each has indoor and outdoor areas for all of the cats with a centralized kitchen/laundry area.  These areas are all equipped with lots of comfy beds, plenty of things to climb on, and even rafters for the cats who aren't ready to socialize.  The first room in which I worked was the cats with "special" personalities.  Really, they're just moody cats.  I fit right in.  :)  I helped clean but got to help socialize the cats as I went.  Some were more vocal than others.  Miss Dot usually has to be the first to be loved and gets upset if she's not.  She's not quite blind but pretty close.  You would never know.  She is so pretty and has these huge eyes.  You just have to look for the telltale tail switch to know when to stop petting.  After I was there for about an hour, some of the other cats decided I was ok and asked for some attention.  Kyra is this dainty, mostly black cat that looks like the cats in the Egyptian hieroglyphics; long, thin face with this amazingly long tail that is usually straight up in the air.  She meowed at me from a cat tree.  As soon as I got close enough, she was climbing on my shoulder.  I sat with her for about ten minutes and meanwhile, even the shy kitties were coming up to get loving.  Kyra was VERY upset when I put her down.  I also noticed she was an instigator.  She knew each cat's buttons and was not afraid to push them.  There was another cat, I unfortunately don't remember his name, he had no control of his back legs.  This did not stop him at all.  As a matter of fact, when we were playing, he was faster than most of the others.

Next, I went to the "incontinent" room.  These cats either can't make it to the litterbox or choose not to use it. That's fine, that's their choice.  We just have to clean a little more.  Anyway, I went outside and immediately Pounce decided I was going to sit down and pet him.  He almost made me cry; he could not get close enough to me even though he was in my lap and on my chest.  He had his paws around my neck and his head on my shoulder.  After about 15 minutes, it was time for his medicine.  About the time I put him down, I was told he sometimes pees on people when he's being pet.  I kind of had expected that but luckily, he did not pee on me.  :)  All of these cats are so special and all they want is someone to pay attention to them.

I figured out that I can hit each section within three days of each week.  I learned that it's best to work in dogs on morning and cats in the afternoons (air-conditioning).  So, that's the plan for the next few weeks at least.  I'll hit dogs, cats, parrots, horses, piggies, and bunnies.  I'm very excited.  There are no pictures right now but be sure I'll post some soon.  That's it for now.  Talk to everyone soon!!



Once I arrived in Kanab, I was anxious to just stop moving.  I dropped off the Uhaul dolly and pulled into my spot at Anasazi Village.  I have been told several times over the last week that I have the prime spot in the park. Before I could even get out of the RV, one of my neighbors was coming over to say hello.  Her name is Beverly, she is from Louisiana but has been here for ten years and has a dachshund named Shotsy.

The park owners were very nice and arrived shortly after I pulled in to help me hook up.  I wouldn't have power until that Monday but I was able to get everything else set up in anticipation of that.  Ray and Sharon are the park owners.  They lived in the park when they first bought it and seem to be interested in what goes on in the park.  They are sort of picky about each RV/trailer's appearance and stop by often to mow the grass or help with repairs or maintenance.

Rick and Michelle, two doors down, stopped by while we were getting the RV stabilized.  They are from Washington but have lived in Colorado and Arizona over the last two years.  Rick used to be in the Navy for a short period of time.  They have two dogs; Osa - a lab and rottweiler mix and Bella - a pit bull.  Both girls are big babies and very loveable.  Rick has proven to be a HUGE help with the RV.

I went the next morning to get the things needed for my water hookup.  The people at Tru Value are awesome.  I told them what I was needing even though I had no idea what I was saying and one of the women grabbed everything within just a couple of minutes and had it put together within another couple of minutes.  Went back to the RV to hook everything up and found that I had a couple of leaks.  The first was easy, just had to turn off a valve.  The second was the toilet.  I had to go back to Tru Value to get a plug.  By this time, Rick was helping me (thank goodness).  Everything seemed ok by that point.  Even turned on the refrigerator which could run on propane and battery until I had power.

Next day, we found out that my water heater leaks.  It had since stopped leaking on the outside of the RV, but I found this morning that it is leaking under my flooring.  Not sure what I'm going to do about it but I'll figure something out.  Also found out once the power was on that my inverter does not work.  This means that my batteries are not being charged and so they run down in about four days or so.  The fix for this right now is to charge my batteries every four or five days until I can afford a new inverter.  I know all of this sounds bad but I've gotten a better outlook in the last few days and it will all work itself out one way or another.

I found out very quickly from several sources that it is very difficult to get a job at Best Friends.  That's ok though, I knew that was a possibility.  I've talked to several people that moved here just like I did and have had difficulties finding jobs period.  Luckily, Rick and Michelle have been invaluable in sending me in the right directions to find a job.  Several people mentioned that I should apply at Abundant Life Academy; a christian academy for troubled youth.  Since it was mentioned several times, I applied.  I've interviewed there and at a veterinarian's office.  Got the phone call from the vet's office this morning that I didn't get the job but they also suggested that I would be a good fit for Abundant Life.  Seeing a trend?  I'm going back to Abundant Life today to see if I can get an update.

Since arriving in Kanab, I've used my time to get acclimated to the air and elevation, organize my home, and look for a job.  I like my neighbors and the town has more to offer than at first glance.  I've walked each morning from my side of town to the other and took some pictures the other day.  These aren't very good because it was cloudy and I wasn't really in the mood but here you go:
This is the sign at the front of the park.  The whole town uses the southwestern type decor; some going the way of cowboy while others go the way of native american.
This is the cop that sits on the main road going into town.  He's a mannequin but it seems to do the trick with the tourists.  I asked how Kanab could afford to have a car sit there all day and I was told it was an old car that they don't use anymore.  When I was driving into town, I saw a sign at a convenient store that let me know there is a subculture of rednecks here.  It said, "Guns, Lotto, Ammo, Beer".  If that isn't bad enough, they evidently sell t-shirts with that slogan.  Doesn't instill a lot of confidence in the local safety.
This is a southwestern thing.  Each town picks a relatively central cliff or hill or mountain and puts the first letter of the town name on it.  I believe these are done with rocks.  Unfortunately, I haven't found a spot where I can get a picture of this without other crap getting in the way.
This originally housed the library but now is the museum and an art gallery.
This is a view of downtown.  Kanab is pretty much surrounded by cliffs.
This statue is in front of the movie set museum.  Kanab is known as "Little Hollywood" and a good portion of old westerns were filmed here.  For some reason, they decided this horse was going to be male and it cracks me up that they made sure it was anatomically correct.
There are these placards along Center Street.  Anyone that was somewhat famous that shot a movie here got a placard.  There is one for John Wayne and another for Don Knotts.  There are lots of others and I'm sure Daddy would know most of the names.
Just so no one thinks that Kanab is completely desert-like, this is a picture of one of the side yards at the park.  The lane is also lined with trees and my RV is shaded through most of the morning.

That's all for now.  I have a few more pictures than what I've included here.  If you want to see them, feel free to go to http://pcpinkston.shutterfly.com .


Made it!

So, for those who weren't unfortunate enough to hear the mishaps of my trip to Utah, here you go.  I began my trip out of Macon on Monday the 31st.  Amanda was gracious enough to agree to help me get the car on the dolly; I towed the Saturn using a Uhaul dolly.  Well, she wound up doing much more than that.  Because I was running late and wound up doing 2 trips of last minute stuff instead of 1, Amanda used that time to organize my things in the RV and put them away so that I wouldn't have any projectiles hitting me in the head.  So, after a big slobbery kiss from Ringo (the dog), I was on my way at 11:00 am.  Keep in mind I wanted to leave at 0700 and I still had to get gas.

Did great through the first 250 miles which put me in BF, Alabama.  If you don't know what "BF" stands for, email me or text me and I'll tell you.  Anyway, rolling down the highway at about 4 in the afternoon, I smell that radiator smell and before I can react, there is a lot of smoke coming from the engine area.  I finally get to the side and know that I have overheated.  When I open the hood, I notice that the overflow tank is a plastic jug taped to the spot where the factory overflow tank used to be.  It is empty.  So, because I was smart and paid for roadside assistance through the insurance company, I call them.  Well, they immediately start looking for someone to tow me.  In the meantime, a Jefferson County Sherriff pulls up behind me.  As he's walking up to me, I can already tell he's a good ol' boy.  This could be a good thing or a bad thing.  Luckily, it turned out to be good.  Of course, I got the look of "why the hell are you traveling by yourself".  As he's looking under the hood, a fire rescue truck pulls up......then a fire truck......then another fire truck.  Evidently, someone had called in and said that I was on fire.  These guys evidently had nothing better to do because they kept me company for the two hours it took for the tow truck to show up.  This tow truck was actually at the request of the sherriff.  He talked to the insurance company, told them to let him handle it, and called this guy to bring fluids.  We put some water and antifreeze in the radiator.  The mechanic asked that I follow him to his shop so that we could make sure there were no leaks and he would replace the overflow jug with another.  Thankfully, there were no leaks.  However, in the midst of him fixing the overflow jug and lecturing me on why I shouldn't be traveling alone, he received another callout.  He was gone for an hour.  When he returned, he fixed the jug, told me the best local gas station, gave me his number and requested I called him when I got where I was going.  A little weird but I figured he was just a big softy.  While I was filling up at the gas station, he shows up.  Come to find out, that whole waiting time and stalling session was because he was wanting me to spend the night in that town so he could take me to dinner.  I quickly hung up the gas nozzle, paid, and left.

Did great for the next 1,000 miles.  Wasn't even too hot; the dash air doesn't work.  When I finally crossed the New Mexico line, I told Verlene (the RV) that we would stop at the next gas station.  The gas stations were pretty few and far between.  I found one and stopped long enough to eat some lunch and let Verlene cool off.  I wasn't back on the road 15 minutes when she decided to overheat again.  The mechanic in Alabama had been too worried about asking me to dinner that he forgot to put a tube in the jug so that the radiator could pull fluids.  So, the radiator was only able to get rid of fluids....into the jug....which filled up.  Guess what, even if your radiator has fluids, if it can't get rid of fluid, it overheats.  I knew what I needed was just the plastic cap for the top of the jug and a tube to go down into the jug.  By this time, it's 8pm.  I'm on old Route 66.  Everything closed at 5.  I called roadside assistance, they wanted to call a tow truck even though all I needed was a piece of plastic.  So, I said, "No thank you", pulled the car off the dolly and drove to the next exit to look for this piece of plastic.  Of course, the people that were open didn't have it.  I go back to the RV completely defeated, called roadside assistance and they had me towed.  I spent the night in a auto repair shop's parking lot.  The next morning, as soon as they opened their doors, there I was.  I can't even imagine what I looked like nor what they were thinking.  Thankfully, there were no judging looks and the man who helped me was extremely nice.  He pulled the plastic piece I needed from a junk car on their property - tube included - and taped everything together for me.  I was back on the road.

About halfway through New Mexico, I noticed the winds were definitely strong.  This is on top of the winds created by the semis that were flying past me.  All of a sudden, I'm climbing.  Verlene didn't like this.  She started hesitating.  Finally, it was bad enough, I had to stop again.  This time, I called a local repair shop and they said if I could make it to them, they would not charge me the callout fee - $150.  Luckily, I was able to do this.  It was determined that I need a new fuel filter.  Also, I was told that I didn't have an auxiliary fuel pump.  I learned A LOT about car parts on this trip.  The lesson was this - the gas tank is in the back of the RV on the driver side.  The RV is 30 feet.  The sole fuel pump is in the front by the engine on the passenger side.  So, the fuel pump was having to work overtime just to get gas to the engine; add gravity on the inclines to that mix.  Yeah.  Not pleasant.  The mechanic was very honest though and said I could make it, it just would be slow going and at that point in the trip, it wasn't worth getting another fuel pump.

I crept my way through the rest of New Mexico and got into Arizona.  80 miles from my destination, in Marble Canyon, in the middle of the day, the dolly decides to get a flat tire.  I'm kind of glad no one was with me at that point because the sailor definitely came out in me at that moment.  Words came out of my mouth that I'm not even sure are really words.  When I calmed down, I called Uhaul.  The woman on the phone was a complete idiot.  It took every ounce of energy I had to not be mean to her.  When she finally figured out where I was (I had given her the exact highway and mile marker), we had been on the phone for 30 minutes.  When she called back with the contractor that would be changing the tire, I was told it would be another hour and a half.  So, I decided this was yet another hint that I needed to stop and look around me.  What I saw was beautiful.  Here you go:

So, I finally get back on the road....remember, I only have 80 miles left.  I'm talking Verlene through it.  Remember the fuel pump issue?  Well, it is aggravated by the fact that the intake from the gas tank to the fuel line is high.  This means that if I'm on an incline, the gas can't get to the line if it's less than 1/4 of a tank.  Guess where my gas was.........3/8 of a tank.  Guess what kind of incline was next..........REALLY FUCKING INCLINED.  (sorry Surelle, it was aggravating).  I really didn't think I was going to make it.  Later I find out that I was climbing out of a side part of the Grand Canyon.  I finally made it to the top and there was a gas station.  I swear there was this ray of light from the heavens shining down on this place.  I get a little gas; by this time I only had 40 miles left.  Yep, you read that right, it was 40 miles of an incline.  Not happy.  Anyway, I get some gas and happen to see that the overflow jug was leaking.  Look in and it's full again.  That's ok, this gas station also had a repair shop attached.  I go in and ask if they could dispose of antifreeze. Nope, "we're a state park and have no where to put it and if we improperly dumped it, animals would lick it and die."  No shit.  So, I got back in, told Verlene we would coast as far as we could and if we didn't make it, we would get towed in the rest of the way.

I pulled into Kanab, UT at 3 something in the afternoon on Friday, June 4.  I cried.  I will NEVER drive across country in an old RV that I know nothing about by myself EVER again.  However, I made it and realize that those things did happen for a reason, even if I'm not exceptionally grateful for the reasons.  Didn't really make any interesting stops nor eat any really interesting foods.  Didn't take many photos because I didn't want to mess with Verlene's flow while she was running.  Next time, someone else is driving (I'll take Dramamine) and it will have to be a brand new RV with an auxiliary fuel pump and a factory overflow tank.....no disrespect to Verlene.  :)

I'll update later with details about Kanab and what I've been doing since here.


New Beginnings

So, this is my first post.  As I said in the introduction, this is a new chapter in my life and several people suggested I start a blog.  Back in December, I applied to Colorado State to their Counseling PhD program.  My plan B at that time was to go to Best Friends (see links) in Utah to work for a year while I reapply.  I was denied at Colorado State because they accepted only 5 of the 274 applications.  Plan B was implemented.  Looking back now, I'm wondering if I applied to Colorado State so that I would have this Plan B.  Who knows?

The plan to go to Best Friends was prompted by my research goals.  I would like to further research and implement methods in the area of using companion animals during therapy sessions with people.  I think we can do much more that what is currently happening; which is having the animal present but not really implementing the animal in any way.  I have the Psychology degree and will eventually have the PhD, I need the applied animal behavior experience.  What better way to get that experience than to go to Best Friends?

If you don't know what Best Friends is...what's wrong with you?!  :)  If you don't know, go to their website.  They're wonderful and amazing.  I was able to visit a couple of weeks ago.  I went there in the hopes of getting an interview.  That didn't quite happen but my purpose and desire to go there were further strengthened.  The sanctuary itself exceeded my expectations and trust me, the expectations were high.  The town turned out to not be as bad as I had imagined.  It's small but there is more there than I had expected.

My job at Wesleyan was cut a little short (a whole nother story) so I have procured a part-time position at the farm at Hephzibah Children's Home.  For those behind the times, I worked there in 2007.  I loved it but couldn't handle the fact that there was more work than time and I wasn't getting paid enough.  We're going to leave it at that.  This time around, it definitely will be part-time.  I've learned a valuable life lesson from my previous stint at Hephzibah and while working at Wesleyan; I cannot do it all.  I spent a lot of time and effort at both places, neglecting my own health, with no real happy ending.  I hope to not let this happen again.

Back to the move - I have purchased a motor home.  For those that know all the RV/Motorhome terminology, forgive me, I'm not there yet.  My motor home is a 30 footer 1986 Mallard Class A.  I have no idea what that means but it's nice and clean and will do just fine.  This is good considering I will be living in this motor home once I arrive in Kanab.  This will save me money as the average rent in Kanab is $500 a month and an RV site in town is $200.  The RV site fee includes utilities.  The motor home really only has a little less square footage than what I am in now so it really won't be a huge adjustment.  Plus, whatever happens, I'm ready to go.  :)

I'd like to briefly mention my visit to Vegas en route to Kanab.  It was awesome!  I spent the day with Lia.  I took over for her when she left Wesleyan.  She and her husband and 2-year-old, Chloe, live in Vegas.  Lia is also expecting a second baby and will probably have it any minute now.  I show up at her house around lunch time.  Chloe and I bonded over fresh strawberries while Lia pulled amazing treats out of the oven and fridge.  She also made some whipped cream while we were standing there.  After lunch, a minivan holding a 2-year-old, a very pregnant woman, and a very carsick me pull into Red Rock to go hiking.  We wound up doing about 2 miles; which according to Lia was the kids' hike.  It was beautiful and it was so good to see Lia again and be able to spend some time with her.  On a side note, those of you who know me know that I don't especially like being around children.  I immediately loved Chloe and would do anything for that child.

OK, enough ramblings for now.  I leave on the 30th so I'll probably only do one more entry before I pull away from Macon; then the real fun begins.  :)