All about Comet (and Shadow because he must be mentioned)

I thought I would clear some things about about my dog.  This way things I’ve said before and will say later will make more sense.

My Shadow died in January, 2013.  My heart died.  Shadow was important because he picked me and decided I was his human forever.  I was alone, feeling unloved and unlikable and this beautiful little dog full of so much life fell in love with me.  A child is forced to be with his or her care takers, Shadow picked me and I never could fathom that he was mine.  He was my baby.  Shadow loved clothes and sauerkraut.  When he wagged his tail his whole body wagged.  All 22 lbs of Shadow was tough.  Shadow injured a pit bull who started a fight with him.  Shadow feared very few things.  We used to play a game where I would poke him with the broom and he would tackle it.  When we lived in my little studio apartment we had a neighbor and friend, Tim, who would go let Shadow out when I had to work long hours.  When I came home to pick Shadow up from Tim’s apartment, I half expected to see the two of them swilling back a beer and watching football.  Tim was Shadow’s buddy.  I would have died and killed for Shadow.  He was a powerful little dog.  When Shadow died my mother, a conservative Christian who believed animals don’t have spirits, said that Shadow had gone to heaven.  Shadow was not just a dog, he saved my life.  His short life will always be honored.

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I suppose my attachment to Shadow is unique and some people might think it is unhealthy or even disturbing.  Anyone who didn’t love Shadow is disturbed.  Cliche as it is, I didn’t think I could ever love another dog.  However, in full cliche tradition, I did find another dog to hold my heart.

Comet’s name was Riley.  I changed it.  I was browsing dogs on craigslist and I saw his funny but cute face.  Even though I longed for another dog, I did not know if I should get one, but I knew this strange and adorable dog was mine.  The people I bought him from were “re-homing” him for $65 and could not keep him.  A neighbor had left him “temporarily” with them and they could not handle another dog among 4 children, a cat and another dog.  I consider Comet a rescue dog.

Comet’s namesake is Comet the Wonder Horse from a one-season-wonder, 90’s campy TV show called The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.  Good show.  The people I bought him from said that he was just a year.  I think he was closer to 6 months because he grew an awful lot for a little dog of a year old.  Most little dogs are full size at the age of 10 to 12 months.

In honor of Shadow, a lover of traveling, I decided Comet and I would go on my epic road trip.  Birch Bay Hostel was a test run and a way for him to be better socialized.  The experience was filled with growth for both of us.

While we were at the hostel, I decided to train Comet to be a service animal.  I have bipolar, which counts as a mental disability.  To make a dog a service dog, one must have a legit, diagnosed disability and the dog must preform a specific task relating to that disability.  Much of my issues with my bipolar have come from the fact that I cannot remember to take my medication.  One of my medications has to be titrated up to the full dose.  Therefore, I made my life easier by training him to remind me to take my medication.  According to the ADA, that legally makes him a service dog and he can go basically anywhere with me.    While it is true that I wanted to be able to take Comet anywhere, I really do need help remembering my meds.

service animal 2

For the record, Comet is a lucky little bastard.  He has terrible separation anxiety.  Not only do I work at home and am able to be with him most of the time, he can also go with me most of the time.  However, we will be working on him staying calm while left behind in a crate.

Comet’s service status also opens up a new possibility for our road trip.  We will be taking greyhound.  I will pack a backpack and Comet’s crate and we shall go.  This will be an epic adventure.

My next task is to find a good backpack.  I was thinking a Kelty backpack like this:  Any suggestions for good backpacks?  It has to be water resistant, easy to carry, high quality, under $200 (I’m super poor ok?), big and girly colored.  Yes, the pink or purple is a must.

I also have to take Comet to the vet and make sure he is perfectly healthy and get him microchiped.  He needs blood tests and parasite protection for a year.  I need decent walking shoes, a decent camera, back up money and more before I can figure out where I will go.

I will take greyhound to a hostel that will let me and Comet work there on work exchange and write to support myself as I go.  When I can go, I’m not sure.  Maybe next month, maybe in a few months.  I’m not even sure how long this will take.  Yet, it’s happening and I’m excited.


Goodbye Birch Bay!

My youngest brother came to pick me up at the hostel.  We had a lot of fun.  I took him around Birch Bay, took him to eat pizza in the casino and showed him why I love the Birch Bay Hostel so much.  I even took him to the bay to pick up rocks as he is a huge lover of collecting rocks.  He has a rock tumbler and occasionally sells his rocks.

We went to the Peace Arch park and I went to Canada willingly this time.  Comet again peed on Canada.

Pictures from Peace Arch Park:

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Note: The last picture is my youngest brother Zachery.

Thursday we left.  My cold kept getting worse and worse as time went on so the drive was miserable.

I always knew I would leave the hostel but somehow I always envisioned it going on without me.  The fact that it is closing due to some petty rivalries is sad.  Some people are trying to save the hostel but at this point I do not see it happening.

Comet and I are back at my parent’s house.  I am still fighting my cold and trying to decide what is next.  Portland is where I stay until at least after January 20th.  Zachery turns 21 on January 20th and I don’t want to miss that.  I will be trying to make as much money writing as possible and will hopefully find another hostel in a new place.  I don’t care where I go, so long as I’ve never been there before.

Going out part 2

I dropped more than a nickel into the slot machines.  Luckily none of the nickels were mine.  I honestly was disappointed.  I thought they’d have some actual old fashioned nickel slot machines but they were all mechanic.  Can you tell that was my first time in a casino?  Ed insisted I keep playing and he paid for it.  I had planned to go out, eat dinner with this guy and play a couple dollars on a slot machine.  Instead, he ended up spending about $150 (including dinner and gas) and winning about $500.  He played some weird version of poker called Fortune something-or-other and got 2 straights in a row.  Anything I played lost of course.

Now I am about to describe a situation I seem to find myself in often.  I was under the impression that we were going out as friends.  Right now I’ve no desire to date anyone.  Romance is the last thing on my mind.  I am about to go on my epic road trip.  Guys are their neediness are not what I want at all.  Because of this in my eyes, a straight male might as well be a gay male or a straight female because I’ve as little interest in romance as I do in growing a second head.  As the night went on, Ed got more and more grabby.  He wasn’t getting anything from me at the end of the night but I did not feel bad since he ended up winning a decent chunk of money.

When we got out to the car he wanted to get a hotel room and go out the next night.  When I said no, I needed to go back to my dog, he wanted to stay in my bed or me to stay in his.  He kept trying to feel me up and kiss me.  I let him kiss me but nothing more.  I get the feeling that he wanted a Caucasian notch in his belt not that he really liked me.  My theory is that because I am full figured like many Hispanic girls, I am attractive to Hispanic men but exotic because I’m pale and Irish looking.  Regardless, I’ve left my slutty stage behind and I’ve no desire to be one more skin color for a guy to tick off his list.  He kept talking about how he wanted to move to Oregon and get a house with me.  Little do my parents know that if I wasn’t so picky, they could have a grandchild within the year.  Yuck.

I brushed him off as gently and firmly as possible and he left the next morning.  If I’d known I was going to catch his cold from him I would have been a little more forceful.


Going Out

My last few days at the hostel seem strangely slow and fast.  I’m excited that my brother will be here soon and sad to leave.

Whining Section:

I’m also under a lot of strain to find some more freelancing gigs.  I’m about ready to go back somewhere where I have to pay rent.  My dad charges me $200/month.  Even though that is very little, it is a lot when you aren’t making anything.  I’m bored, I need writing to keep my mind working.  I want to be making money with my writing.  Somehow the making money from writing seems to make my degree worth something.

I’m also stressed because I hate it at my parent’s house.  I’ve lived here free for three months in a comparatively nice environment.  My parent’s house is icky, cluttered and I am often treated like dirt.  I’ve gotten used to being treated like an intelligent human here.  It’s hard to go back to dealing with being yelled at and treated like a subhuman.  I will only be there a month or two but that is long enough to be miserable.

Whining over:

I am about to go out for the first time since I got here.  I’m actually perfectly happy to stay at home and watch TV.  I have plenty of writing and writing job searching to keep me occupied.

The reason why I am going out is because a gentleman, Ed, who is staying here is about to leave and he wants to take me out to have fun.  We are going to go to the casino.  I don’t want to gamble but I’ve heard the food is awesome.  Besides, I’ve not been in a casino before.

Gambling seems like an awful waste of money.  Sometimes when I am out I put $2 into a video poker machine to watch it disappear.  This action serves to remind me that gambling is a bad idea.

Ed is very bothered by the fact that I do not have a boyfriend.  Having a boyfriend for me right now would be foolish.  I’m about to go on an epic adventure across the United States.  This adventure might take months or even a year or two.  I can’t expect some guy to wait for me somewhere.

Well, we shall see how this goes.  Maybe I will drop a nickel into a slot machine.

Saying goodbyes

Note: So far any comments made on my blog were sent to the spam folder.  I am not sure what is and isn’t spam.  If anyone posted a real comment, I’m sorry it got deleted.  I am pretty sure they were all spam but I don’t want to be mean.

About a month after I arrived at the Birch Bay Hostel, we got a letter from the Whatcom county Parks and Recreation department saying we would have to close December 31st.   The reason for the closing is not entirely clear to me.  There seems to be a sick rivalry between the hostel and the camp, also run by the Loin’s club, that surrounds the hostel.  (I mean sick as in the disturbing what-is-wrong-with-you-people sort of sick.  Not the sick as in really awesome sort of sick.)  That rivalry seems to be mostly on one side but I’m not entirely sure.  I walked into the mess.  The only thing to know is that the hostel is closing in a few weeks.

As the hostel gets ready to close and as people move on, I feel strange watching them go and knowing that I will be leaving soon as well.  Not all of the partings are on good terms and some of them are sad.  I know I’m on to a new adventure soon but I will still miss this adventure.

The first parting was the family with the little girl.  They left a week or so before Thanksgiving out of anger because I made it clear that the hostel was not just their place to run.  They did not seem to get the concept of a hostel and somehow seemed to think it was a house they were renting and allowing others to stay in some rooms.  They were horribly rude and accused me of many untrue and unreasonable things.  I will not get into all of it but needless to say, if they had not left I might have kicked them out.  They bent and broke too many rules that I let go for me to put up with abuse.  They went to go live in a trailer with the former assistant manager of the hostel.  I did not expect this to go well as I had heard very few good things about this woman.

The next people I lost was actually due to the previously mentioned guest.  An older couple stayed in the hostel while waiting for their house to papers to get straightened.  Their names are David and Baron.   Comet and I went there one day and then also for Thanksgiving.  A couple days before Thanksgiving I found out that the family with the child had paid a week’s rent to the old assistant manager and she sold the trailer from under them and they were out in their car.  I have to admit, I did not feel sorry for them.  Their behavior was atrocious and such behavior typically comes to an unpleasant end.  It is true, I can be somewhat cold.

The first time Comet and I were at their new house, Baron was very excited to let Comet run around in the back yard.  Comet ran about gleefully.  Unfortunately, not all of their yard is fenced.  I thought I was doing a good job keeping an eye on Comet.  Suddenly I noticed that he had wandered off.  I called him and he obediently came to my call.  The only issue was that he was covered head to paws in very smelly manure.  I was going to hose him off but it was far too cold.  Instead, I ended up throwing him in their tub and washing him with shampoo.  He couldn’t run around their new house like that.

I adore David and Baron.  Baron seems to have been mentally damaged by some chemicals she ran across in the Navy.  Spending time with them was like spending time with affectionate parents.  Not that my parents are not affectionate but I rarely feel like I get any approval from them.  I’m not even sure they, particularly my dad, support my choice to work as a freelance writer instead of a normal job.  I’m so tired of working under someone else’s thumb.  I was meant to be a freelancer.  I felt accepted by David and Baron and they are almost exactly the age of my parents.

Thanksgiving was lovely.  I drank alcohol on Thanksgiving for the first time in my life.  (My parents think alcohol is evil.)  Granted it was probably one shot of rum, but still a new experience.   but the next day I learned that the family with the devil’s spawn child was going to move in with David and Baron.  I cannot go over there and visit David and Baron as it would be awkward.  I worry as I foresee them staying with David and Baron until one group becomes upset and it blows up into a big thing.  I feel a little abandoned.  I have abandonment issues.  I have almost as intense of abandonment issues as my dog who has extreme separation anxiety.

The next person who left me was Delores.  Her semester at school is over and she went home to be with her family.  I’m glad she gets to go home with her family but I miss her.  We bonded over our annoyance of the devil’s spawn and other issues with the adults in that family.  Delores spent most of her free time watching TV with me.  I was perfectly happy to hang out and watch TV as I almost always ha the television on in the background while I am writing.  Delores always tried to get me to eat.  I eat plenty and as a bigger girl, I am trying to eat less and lose a little weight.  Luckily for me, the medication I just restarted taking makes me lose weight.  I’m not obsessed with being thin, I just want to be at a healthy weight for me.  However, Delores is one of those people who wants everyone to eat and be merry.

Currently I spend most of my time with Stephanie.  A transgender who is staying at the hostel.  (I only mention her as a transgender because she looks and acts male but has a female’s name and prefers she as a pronoun.   I am pro gay rights and honestly don’t really often consider a person’s gender or sexual identification.  I don’t care.  People are people are people.)  We watch TV most of the day.  I am of course writing or looking for new writing jobs a good part of that time.  Comet really likes Stephanie and she feeds Comet wheat thins and pizza crust a lot.

My little alien dog wanting to play:

My little alien

Everything sucks because I am excited to be going home but I will miss the hotel, Stephanie and even Ken.  My brother is going to pick Comet and I up.  Zachery, my brother, is staying here for 2 or 3 days and then we are going back by way of Seattle.  We are going to visit my friend who visited me in October and see the Space Needle.  I am going to take a red chair back with me.  The red chair is the most comfortable chair in the world.  I often sleep in this chair.  Comet loves it also.

I feel a weird sense of dread and excitement.  This adventure is hard to leave.  As the days of this adventure come to a close I find myself cleaning to it.  Comet will miss this place.  I will miss this place.

Comet and his Chair:

Comet ontop of his chair       Comet's chair


Aww… Delores just called me to see how I am.  I feel loved.  🙂

Video of Comet running around.  This is why he will miss the hostel…it’s his jungle gym. (This link goes to my facebook)

Comet playing

Canada’s Mexico

Being about a 15 minute drive from Canada, I’ve been given to understand that the United States is Canada’s Mexico.  People come from Mexico to the United States all of the time to work under the table.  They get paid less then minimum wage and don’t have to pay taxes or anything else on their earnings.  Apparently people do the same thing coming from the US to Canada.  Therefore Canada is very sensitive about Americans going into Canada.  I’ve heard horror stories of people getting held for 1 to 3 days at the customs office.

Because of that and my lack of a passport, I had no desire to even try to go into Canada.  Additionally, everything in Canada is more expensive and people from Vancouver, Canada are snotty I am told.  I have no business being in Canada.  The only place in Canada that I want to see is Prince Edward Island.

Nevertheless I was taken to Canada against my will.  The other Lesley and I were on our way from the food bank to the grocery store (I seriously just wanted cottage cheese) and she took a wrong turn and landed us in Canada.  I had Comet with me as the food bank and the store in the evening are good low key places to take a service animal who is getting used to public places.

There we were driving up to the border.  I kept saying that we needed to turn around but the only ditch exits were too small for that stupid truck.  We went up to the gate without passports or any desire to go to Canada.  Worst yet we were in the Nexus line, which I’d also heard that Canadians were particularly emotional about people going through the Nexus line when they didn’t have a Nexus card.

The man at the gate directed us to the customs office after asking if we had weapons or anything else illegal in the truck.  All of which we denied having.  As we were walking into the building, Lesley realized that she did in fact have a pistol in the truck.  The pistol was not registered and hadn’t been fired in 30 years.  Not only that, she had it shoved behind her seat in an unreachable spot.  In all likelihood the pistol never would have been found, however, Lesley told them all about the pistol.  She was arrested and I was told I could go home.

That left me with two big problems.  1. Lesley was diabetic and needed her medication and 2 how the heck was I going to get home?  I called Ken the hostel manager to come get me and bring Lesley’s meds.  Luckily Ken has duel citizenship between Canada and the US so he was able to come into Canada and leave with little issue.  Comet and I waited about 15 to 20 minutes before Ken was able to reach us.  The agents told me that I could take my dog outside if I needed.  That’s right, Comet totally peed on Canada.

Ken brought Lesley’s medication and drove me back to the hostel.  We had to stop at the American customs where they asked me why I was trying to go to Canada.  Again I explained that all I’d wanted was some cottage cheese.  They wanted to know what was my relation to Ken.  We explained that he is the manager and I am the assistant manager of the Birch Bay Hostel.  I carried Comet from Canada to the US.


Finally I was safe at home at my hostel.  When Lesley got back she explained how she had a court date in Canada on charges of weapon smuggling into Canada.  The weird thing is that they will give her a temporary citizenship so she can go to court.  Oh Canada, thou art weird.