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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Homeless but Happy!

Just about a week remains before Layne and I hit the road again, heading north to Oregon and Washington for final visits with family and friends. It makes for a bittersweet road trip as we realize just how long it may be before we see these loved ones again. With our residency papers now filed, giving us what our attorney calls “an active file,” the odds are good that we will be able to remain in Costa Rica until next summer’s rainy season sends us back to the States. So we will treasure the moments we have in the coming few weeks with the special friends and family members on our itinerary.
      One very special friend, my beautiful Morgan horse Indiana Mojave, remains behind here in Northern California. At twenty-four years of age - twenty-three years with me and Layne - he is now retired and living comfortably in a wonderful boarding facility nearby, Blue Star Boarding. Sadly, the increasingly painful arthritis he has developed in various parts of his body have slowed him down considerably, but most days he still seems to enjoy life, despite his discomfort. His “herd” consists of two mini-horses, Espresso and Joker, and they share a pasture next to a number of flashy Arabs and a Paint horse or two. It’s a great home for Mojave, run by a woman and her husband who are totally devoted to their horses, most of whom they bred themselves. Judy has emotionally adopted my boy and cares for him with great dedication, far beyond the boarding fees we pay. I feel incredibly lucky to have her as his custodian. Still, it’s sad to think that when I return, Mojave will be another year older and his condition will likely have worsened. At that point, I may face a very tough decision.
         Finding Blue Star Boarding last fall was one of several events that made our move to Costa Rica possible. It was almost as if all the stars aligned to make it feasible for us to pursue our dream of trying out the Pura Vida lifestyle in a tropical paradise. First, we lost our dearly beloved dogs, the black lab Whoopie and our Sharpei/Shepherd mix Emily. Although “the girls” were elderly, 12 and 13 respectively, we were still stunned and deeply saddened when Whoopie’s leg shattered beneath her one day (bone cancer probably, the vet said) and then three months later, sweet Emily just faded before our eyes. In her case, the vet guessed an internal bleeding tumor had made her very anemic and forced us to put her to sleep.
         With the loss of our girls, we realized that the three-month Costa Rican experiment was now possible - IF we could find the right home for Mojave. We had tried him in several situations, three different handicapped riding programs and as a lesson horse at another stable, but none of those worked out. Because of the arthritis, he just couldn’t do the work. Then as if by magic, we saw a flyer at the local post office advertising a new boarding stable just up the road. A visit to the facility and a chat with Judy was all we needed to know that this place was perfect. Instead of being alone in pasture, Mojave would have a field full of friends and a caretaker who was willing to give him his medicine morning and night. Hallelujah!
         The final piece of the puzzle was finding someone to rent our house while we spent time in Costa Rica. Yet even that challenge seemed predestined to be easily accomplished. One phone call to a local property manager was all it took: she “just happened” to have a couple moving down from Oregon with four horses. Our property, already set up for horses, was just what they needed. We signed the papers and suddenly, we faced a looming deadline to pack up and move out! How we managed that in just over a month, after 14 years in residence there, is a miracle. But that short timeframe also explains our jam-packed barn, filled with boxes, couches, futons, tables, chairs, mementoes and oh, so much more. So this summer has found us traipsing back and forth to the barn, considering what to pack and what to leave behind, selling a few things and giving a few things away.
         Although we’re officially “homeless,” good fortune has continued to shine on us as we have been able to house-sit for friends who themselves were traveling. Helping out by caring for their property, gardens and animals has certainly been a boon for us by providing us free housing. We hope to return the favor when they come to Costa Rica for a visit. Our little chalet in Atenas is well situated to serve as home base for visitors touring the countryside. So as we prepare to say goodbye to California and all its memories, we feel great anticipation for our return to Costa Rica and the fine new friends we have made there. Stay tuned for the further adventures of Kat and Layne, homeless but happy!

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