Sunday, August 30, 2009

Before & after


Our laundry area is more or less back in order now, with a new floor, coat of paint, and shelving. There is still some drywall and trim repair to do here and there, but it's tidy enough. And now that we've painted that end of the kitchen, we'll have to paint the rest. Yesterday was a three-hardware-store-trip day, but we have our washing machine back, and a place to put all the stuff that was dumped all over the house for the past two weeks. And the hellmouth to our crawlspace is once again closed.

So meanwhile, I am trying to get rid of some stuff that we don't need, and my new favorite thing is Freecycle. The Freecycle Network™ is "made up of 4,799 groups with 7,192,000 members across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills."

Seattle's group has about 20,000 members. Here's how it works: You post either "Offered" or "Wanted," with a description of the item and your neighborhood. It must be free, the receiver picks it up, and you must make individual arrangements to have your item picked up (not just "it's on the front porch, y'all come and may the first one win!"). Once the deal is done, you post an updated "Taken" or "Received" notice. Volume is probably 50 notices a day, but sent in 2-4 aggregated digests.

I appreciate that people come pick my stuff up, which makes it way easy. But mostly I love the emphasis on redistributing our crap to where it will get used - keeping things out of landfills, reducing the natural resources used to produce new items, helping people live frugally. And it appears that nearly any piece of crap will get used by somebody. Oh the obvious stuff, like futons and dining room tables, baby clothes and moving boxes, bicycles and textbooks - that goes in about ten minutes. But some of the things definitely have more niche appeal: two dozen egg cartons, multiple broken vacuum cleaners, antique fiddle cases, half-used containers of everything from cat litter to over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.

I've unloaded three things so far: an ergonomic exercise ball, The Structure from our recent Canadian trip (even with full disclosure about the tear in the mesh, caused by dog lunging at elk), and the seven planks of discontinued-color marmoleum which we bought and then could not use after all on our kitchen floor. All claimed (by email at least, not picked up) within an hour. The couple of times I've tried to claim something, I've never been the winning non-bidder. Stuff moves fast in the freecycle community.

So I'm getting bolder and planning to list some more esoteric stuff. The unopened bottle of extra-strength Zantac generic that I accidentally bought at Costco. Unused paint. Who knows how much of my crap would be a delightful find to somebody else?

I've heard that the IRS is unsure what to do about this increasing movement towards freecycling and the related practice of time/skill bartering. In theory, there should be tax implications to all this, but how could they ever police it? That kind of tickles me too.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The need for Freedom

No, this post probably isn't about what you think.

When we got back from our vacation, I was all ready to tear into my various jobs with all the laser-like focus and high-charged enthusiasm of one who had been recharging for a month. Alas, as I have amply documented here, various life dramas arose which, while all completely manageable, turned my life into a herky-jerky existence in which I was constantly erasing things from my calendar and replacing them with "vet" or "contractor" or "take VW in AGAIN." I just could not get into a groove.

Yesterday, at the part-time job that I never talk about here because I can't find a way to do so with the appropriate degree of discretion, the internet actually went out for two hours. Two whole hours! And you know? I think I got more done in those two hours than I have in the whole two weeks that we've been home.

So maybe my heavily interrupted life cannot be entirely blamed for my lack of productivity. Perhaps, just perhaps, I am also my own biggest interrupter, too easily lured by the distractions of the internet. Sure, I've turned off those instantaneous email alerts. But still. Especially now that I have recently and reluctantly joined my friends in Facebook. And for the job-that-shall-not-be-named, I think I may have to break down and learn about this whole Twitter thing. Dangerous interruption territory.

So at least at home, I think I need to resort to a little program that I downloaded several months ago, when I was trying to put in some focused effort on my book project and discovered that Writing is Hard. Freedom for Mac allows you to disable Internet access for a set a period of time. Once you activate Freedom, and tell it how many minutes of Freedom you would like, the only way to get the Internet back is to reboot your computer. Which is doable, of course, but is enough of a barrier to pretty much eliminate the urge to cheat. Once Freedom is activated, it does not even allow you to open Freedom again until your Freedom time is up.

Sad, I know, that intelligent and hardworking people should have to resort to this kind of externally imposed willpower. It's easy to find numerous testimonials professing that Freedom has saved someone's personal, professional or creative lives. "To say that it's changed my life is an understatement!" "I would never have finished my [book, album, article for prestigious publication] without Freedom."

Much as I love it, this is what the Internet has done to us. We've had to invent our own Internet Mom who can force us to turn that damn thing off and finish your homework.

Monday, August 24, 2009

My latest mantra

A quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, courtesy of a recent guest preacher at church. It's taped to my bathroom mirror because man, I really need to read it every evening and morning.

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

If anyone knows the specific source of this quote, I'd love to know it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Stupid parasites

Nelly's gut is rife with a parasite that doesn't normally affect healthy adult dogs. So no, the vet said, we shouldn't have to worry about Toby getting sick too.

Ha! Within four hours, that assessment was proven oh so wrong. We spent all night letting Toby out. He was one uncomfortable puppy.

So after a second trip to the vet, our kitchen resembles a pharmacy:

And I am once again home-bound for the day. With neither dog able to go more than 2 hours without a bathroom break, and two dogs...well, you do the math. Until the meds kick in, somebody is always poopin' around here.

Unfortunately, this particular parasite never leaves their system. It's a nasty little single-cell bugger, and if I understand correctly, it gets inside the cells that line the intestines and literally causes them to explode. My poor dogs' intestines are being dynamited from within. It's often present in dogs, but usually only makes them sick if some other illness or stress weakens their system. Their bodies need to learn how to keep it under control on their own, once the meds help fight back this onslaught, and for the rest of their lives, we'll have to pay attention to the health of their digestive flora and immune systems. So in a weird way, it's good news to have Toby sick too, because that indicates an unusually virulent form of the bug, not an undetected immune system problem in Nelly, which would have been more worrisome. Silver linings!

We also got a chuckle out of the chart notes from Nelly's ER visit. The emergency vets are awesome, but you can tell they're working fast, and this leads to the occasional unintentional humor in the chart notes:

Pertinent History: Nelly presented for evaluation after having diarrhea for the past 2 days. She had multiple episodes of diarrhea in the house today. She traveled to Canada for a month of camping recently. The other dog in the house is not having diarrhea. Nelly is otherwise an apparently healthy cat.

Who knew! She's been a cat all along. It sure explains a few things.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sometimes, three is NOT a magic number

Today I got home from work to find that Nelly had [warning: discomfiting material] splattered the house with explosive diarrhea. We know it was Nelly because she'd had some symptoms yesterday. This morning I left the house with a nagging feeling that she might be sicker than we thought, but I just couldn't bring myself to up-end yet another day of work for a personal emergency. There was the whole water heater thing. I was scheduled to take Eva in for service today (an amusing anecdote on THAT follows), after blowing off the garage twice at the last minute already: once because I had to drain my leaking water heater, and then a few days later when I just completely spaced it. I couldn't face making a last-minute cancellation call to them AGAIN, because I hate looking like a ditz. I know, pride goeth before a fall (or in this case, before a house full of poo).

Anyhoo, that turned out to be a poor choice.

So Enrico has bundled her off to the emergency vet, which is clear across town, and most likely a three-hour excursion, minimum. He immediately volunteered to do it, because by the time he got home I had, as he put it, done the worst task (namely, the cleaning of poo - our hardwoods will never be the same). So it seemed only fair. And I have to say, karmically speaking, he kind of owes me on this one, after that one time that I had to take Nelly to the emergency vet in the dead of night while he was out of town, oh, and, let's not forget THAT OTHER time when I again had to take BOTH dogs to the emergency vet while he was out of town, on the same day our car broke down and the house across the street burned in a massive middle-of-the-night conflagration. You see the trend here?

The other trend? Is the whole trouble-comes-in-threes thing. There was the aforementioned veterinary emergency/car trouble/arson day. And then a couple years ago there was the broken finger/car accident/house burglary combo. So my question is: Does the water heater/van repair/veterinary emergency count as three? Because the van repair wasn't really an emergency, it was pretty much expected. The price tag was much higher than anticipated, so maybe that counts; but it's not entirely clear, and now I'm on edge, waiting for the third shoe to drop.

I'm sure Nelly is fine, by the way, in case you are fretting about her. She probably has giardia or something. Dogs eat stupid shit; sometimes they get sick. It's only a big deal because they are (relatively) small and dehydrate quickly. I'm just glad it didn't happen while we were on the road.

Speaking of which (I know, this is too long and rather rambling, and I should probably break this out into two separate entries, or perhaps just shut up, but such is my state of mind at the moment), I did indeed take Eva in for a check-up today. As expected, she needed an oil change, air filters (engine and internal) and replacement of pretty much all her fluids. That wasn't a surprise, though just as everyone has warned us, it's crazy expensive to do anything to a Volkswagen. The special fairy-dust VW transmission fluid? Literally costs seven times as much as any other kind of transmission fluid. And they have to do this whole elaborate thing to change it. So it costs $350 fracking dollars. But since the transmission is kinda important, and we know it's a weak spot on this model, we gritted our teeth and told them to go ahead and do the work.

An hour later, the shop called me back.

"We just got your van up on the lift," he said, "and the underside is completely caked with, like, an inch of mud. The wheel wells, struts, underside, everything. Totally coated."

"That doesn't surprise me at all," I said calmly. "Like I explained, we spent a lot of time on gravel roads."

"Seriously, it's totally encased in mud. I'm surprised you didn't have any alignment problems. Where exactly did you go, anyway?"

I explained where we went. He thought that sounded cool. He expounded a bit more on the unbelievable extent of the mud.

"So, can you clean it off?"

"Well, yeah, we have a power washer that can do the job. But we think it's going to take about an hour, so we're going to have to charge you for labor."

"That's fine, I understand."

This was followed by a bit more of [Dude! the mud, THE MUD!], and when I hung up the phone, I cracked up. I envisioned every single mechanic in the shop - and this was a large place, not the two-man hole-in-the-wall we took it to before; Volkswagon Guru Man was on vacation - anyway, I envisioned every guy in the shop standing underneath the lift, gazing up in awe at Eva's belly. You ever seen that much mud? Not me. No way, me neither. Man, that's the most mud I have frickin' EVER seen underneath a car.

When I picked her her, I asked if this impression was correct, that this was indeed The Muddiest Vehicle they had collectively ever seen. The guy chuckled, and didn't really answer. But then he leaned forward conspiratorially, and said in hushed tones, "You ought to see the guy who did the work. He is filthy."

So I guess I made up for the fact that I blew them off twice, by providing them with a tale that they can relate for years to their spellbound children and grandchildren. The mud, THE MUD!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What I want to hear from the president

Today I'm supposed to be on a "conference call" on health care reform with the President - and tens of thousands of other people. I have opinions on many of the details of health care reform, of course, having worked in that field for many years. The current state of the debate makes me inexpressibly depressed. But here's what I yearn to hear.

"More than sixty years ago, Americans decided that people have the right, after 50 years of labor, to lay down our work; and to do so with dignity and some measure of security. In making that commitment to ourselves and each other, we lessened the human suffering and nagging fears that haunted our forebears: the fear of ending our days in destitution; the prospect of unending labor beyond the time when bodies can endure it; the economic need for women to bear as many children as possible to ensure caretakers during old age.

"And thus, we created the concept of retirement. Certainly the systems we established along with it are not perfect; they must be adapted as times change, and are on shaky ground right now, requiring our attention. Moreover the promise of retirement does not absolve us from the duty to contribute our own part to that security, to save and plan and take responsibility for our circumstances. But the underlying promise, that of the right to lay down one's burden in old age with dignity and peace of mind, is now enshrined in our culture, and we are better for it.

"We have before us the opportunity to make a similar leap, a collective covenant of equally momentous import. We can create a life for our children and grandchildren that is free of many of the fears that haunt us: fear that our illnesses and injuries will go untreated; knowledge that we live ever on the edge disaster, should our health coverage disappear due to unemployment, illness, divorce, widowhood; dread of the next unexpected jump in our health care premiums, and the associated painful financial choices; terror that we will be bankrupted and become a burden to our families simply because we got sick.

"We have the opportunity to create the concept of health care as a right - not without our own responsibilities and duties, to share the cost, to care for our bodies, to plan for our future and take responsibility for our circumstances. But a right nonetheless, and one enjoyed already by people around the world. We can walk away from the fear and instead embrace the idea that people should be cared for when they require it, with dignity and some measure of security. We, and the generations that follow us, will be better for it."

Why isn't this what the debate is about?

Monday, August 17, 2009


...for the subfloor does not need replacing. So says the contractor, who's a former roommate of a friend, so I have a high degree of trust in his assessment, especially since it means no business for him. "You really don't want to open that up," he said, "because the minute you do, dollar bills will start flying out." Hehe. He did recommend some ways to reinforce it before we lay new flooring, because three whole layers of the plywood came up in that nasty hot-water stew that was brewing down there.

And...admire! Our tankless heater is in. It is SO COOL. Here it is, with dogs included for scale.
The heater, as you can see, sits outside, where it can produce constant hot water, though not instant hot water since it has to travel from the heater to the various plumbing fixtures. They were very particular about explaining that to me, since apparently many people confuse "continuous" with "instantaneous," and are disappointed to learn the difference. The water is heated by gas, though like our furnace it requires an electric switch, so it can't make hot water during an electrical outage. In this sense there's a drawback relative to the tank model, which still holds a certain amount of hot water even with the electricity out. However, apparently you can run this thing for a limited time off a large battery, like the backup power supplies for computers. So if we really wanted to prepare for disaster - we could buy one of those. Along with a year of freeze-dried meals, and enough ammo to fend off the zombie army.

Inside the house is a little control panel and thermostat:

And, here is the scariness that is The Place Formerly Known as the Water Heater. Eventually, this will be a lovely and handy storage area. Right now, it's a freak show. The three holes in the floor probably saved our bacon, because they allowed much of the leaking water to drain into the crawl space. Right now, they are an inviting portal for the rat army, which frankly concerns me much more than the zombies. Hopefully it will dry out by the weekend so we can close it up.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The home repair roller-coaster

Ready or not, we are entering one of those phases of home repair/improvement. Which seems like the vibe of the times; several people we know have been preparing to sell their homes, and doing zillions of projects.

The water heater leak may require repair to the subflooring. The tankless water heater means we've freed up space in the kitchen which, once it's dried out and repaired, can become much-needed storage space. Plus we'll pull up the adjoining washer and dryer, and check/repair/replace that flooring as well. (I finally have a reason to install some marmoleum!)

So this will be the impetus to do the myriad other cosmetic fixes in the kitchen that have been waiting for critical motivational mass: Patch the drywall above the dishwasher from the re-plumb job (5 years ago), touch up the drywall and paint the trim from the window/door replacement (2 years ago), and repaint the whole damn thing.

I will just say, what lurked beneath the leaking water heater was the most disgusting thing I've seen in my years as a homeowner. It wasn't anything interesting; just 60 years of linoleum and plywood, stewed into a gelatinous, reeking oodge by the hot water. Even after I'd cleaned it up yesterday, I felt so dirty that I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the house. We hadn't yet put away all the stuff from the big trip, and then the heater episode caused more items to be displaced, so the house was just cluttered with crap, from end to end. If things get too cluttered I simply cease to function properly until it's brought under some kind of control. Cousin Flora likes things tidy.

Meanwhile, the arson house property across the street is looking quite tidy! They've cleared it, leveled it, and have dug holes for the new foundations. I'm very curious to see what these houses will look like.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

How do normal people manage?

I am largely self-employed, and work out of our home three days per week. So when things happen, like the hot water heater leaks and needs to be replaced, I usually take care of it. I call contractors, meet contractors to get estimates, arrange to be at home while work is being done. I spend two hours draining the hot water tank because holy crap, water is bubbling up through the hardwood floor in the next room, so apparently this can't really wait a few days after all. That sort of thing.

And every time this happens, I think - What do families do when all the adults work outside the home? How do you take care of these kinds of things without a household member who can spend the day at home on no notice, ripping up four layers of soggy linoleum and writing breathtakingly large checks to contractors? Or taking the pet to the vet, or the car to the mechanic, or whatever? It's a marvel to me, really.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Woke up this morning...

...and heard the sweet, sweet sound of bulldozing. The arson house across the street is being torn down.

The demolition guy told me it will be down in an hour, and completely gone by end of day. Then they'll start pouring foundations for the new houses.

Ironically, I have two contractors coming to bid on the water heater job later today, and since our house is slightly quirky to find, I gave them both the same advice - "We're right across from a burned-out arson hulk. You can't miss it."

Ah well. After two years and three months, I will not miss it AT ALL.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back to work and life

Yesterday we went back to work. So far, so good. It appears we still know how.

Meanwhile our hot water heater seems to have sprung a small leak, so I'm back in the deep end of the pool of life - dealing with contractors. Oh, we could just run to the hardware store and buy another tank, and it would be cheaper and quicker; but I'd like to take the opportunity to go tankless. That takes a bit more work. It's eligible for an energy efficiency tax credit, though, so at last we may be able to take advantage of the stimulus!

I can tie myself up in knots trying to understand the environmental angle on this one. Switching to tankless probably means switching from (our current) electric to gas; so because our electricity is produced "clean" out here in terms of CO2, we would be increasing our carbon emissions rather than decreasing them, which seems bad. But we'd be using a lot less energy overall, since water tanks spend a lot of energy heating the water while it's just sitting around. And Enrico makes compelling though slightly confusing (to me) arguments that in the big scheme of things, we'd still be helping by switching to the tankless, even if it's burning gas.

So we'll see what I learn. Last of the estimates come tomorrow.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Photo themes

Yes, we are home! Some end-of-trip reflections may follow...But for now, between unpacking, we've been labeling photos while we still remember what they all are (a pretty complete album is now up on Flickr). I've noticed a couple of themes. For example, Enrico has become quite the accomplished wildflower photographer:

Or for example, there is the series Toby under a picnic bench.

Or Studies in Napping.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Endings and ironies

It's ironic that after driving nearly as close to the Arctic Circle as we could by road, we ended our trip in the warmest place in all of Canada. It's also ironic that on our last night we found ourselves in circumstances seemingly without lodging; after visiting the most famous national parks on a holiday weekend, only now did we have to consider simply parking in a field for the night. And, having spent weeks visiting the places of my great-great-grandmother Sarah's life, it's ironic that we ended up being pulled, almost against our will, to a place that was never even on our itinerary, but is in fact the place where Sarah died.

But once again, I get ahead of myself. I know I posted already since Yellowknife, but now that I have real bandwidth and time, I think I'll revisit some of that territory with some photos while bringing things up to date.

We left Yellowknife, and made two ferry crossings, back across the Mackenzie and then across the Liard River. These are not the big, fancy ferries of Washington state, but little and nimble boats that cut across the current and deposit you on unceremoniously on dirt roads where buffalo roam.

En route from Yellowknife to Fort Simpson, we stopped at a beautiful park called Sambaa Deh Falls.

Then, at last, we made it to Fort Simpson! Where so much of the family story happened! We sat on the spot where my great-grandmother and great-great-grandparents looked out for many years on the Mackenzie River. The original fort isn't there any more, but the site is marked. Everyone except me took a dip in the river. We also saw the Anglican church, St. David's, which started as a mission at the old trading fort.

But it turns out that you can't see the Camsell Mountains from the road, and the town of Fort Simpson is small and fine but not very scenic, and the mosquitoes were brutal on the dogs. Fort Simpson is on an island, but one of the channels around the island has been filled in to build a road; this created a big marsh which is a virtual mosquito factory. Even the The Structure couldn't keep them out.

So, we left a little earlier than planned. From there, we went to Fort Liard. Sarah and Julian lived at Liard for several years, and four of their children were born there. On that route we went from the relatively flat but impressively vast forests, to rolling hills with the peaks of the Nahanni Mountains in the distance. On the way, we visited another lovely but bug-filled park called Blackstone.

On we went to the BC border. After driving on a really sucky gravel road - and believe me, we covered our share of gravel roads on this trip - we crossed the northern border in to BC. The hills were rolling and beautiful, with mountains in the distance. Check out the pavement!

Eventually, we got on the Alaska-Yukon highway, and drove to Fort Nelson in BC. My great-great-uncle Philip once wrote about a dogsled trip from Fort Liard to Fort Nelson at Christmas in the 1890s. Our trip was just like that! Only our dogs were passengers rather than beasts of burden. And it was summer instead of winter. And, we weren't living on moose lard.

It was a confusing time - we were heading east in order to hook up with the Rocky Mountains, which at that point were actually to our West. We seemed to change time zones several times a day. Just when I got used to hills again, we found ourselves in the absolute flat of Alberta, at a surprisingly wonderful park called Saskatoon Island, where the Trumpeter Swans live.

Then we headed back into the Rockies. We'd cut short our time up north by four days, so we figured we'd spend that in the mountains. First we stayed a night in Grande Cache, near the Willmore Wilderness area to the north of Jasper. On our way into Jasper we stopped at a pretty little provincial park, William Spitzer, with a lovely lake.

Then we spent four nights at a campground right near the town of Jasper, and did several lovely hikes, including Mt. Edith Cavell.

Some of the rivers are glacier-fed and therefore silty; others are stream-fed and clear. When the two come together, it makes a great two-toned effect - as seen here where the Athabasca and Maligne join forces. You can see the grey Athabasca further back, flowing with the clear-blue Maligne.

The wild flowers were out in force, and Enrico took many fine photos of them. We also saw elk and mountain goats up close and personal.

Then we started down the Icefields Parkway, the road from Jasper to Lake Louise. That was a great day. We had a beautiful waterfall hike in the morning, and then about halfway down the road you get to the Columbia Icefields. This is a massive sheet of ice that sits in a big bowl between high peaks; and it feeds multiple glaciers, sliding their toes down the mountains. Hordes of people visit there, and take snow busses onto the ever-retreating Athabasca Glacier. Despite the crowds, it's quite a sight, and we hiked to a high ridge across the valley to get a view of the ice.

That night we stayed at a simple but lovely campground, also facing the ice fields from across the
valley. The heat broke at last with a night of thunderstorms, and the next morning Eva registered 44 degrees F as we made an early walk without the crowds up to Athabasca glacier, amidst swirling fog. Markers show just how far the glacier has retreated over the years. We stopped at the year I first visited the glacier, as a teenager in 1982, and also the year my dad was born.

It was clear the clouds were here to stay, according to the forecast. So instead of stopping for a couple of days in Yoho National Park, we kept going as far as Glacier National Park, with a stop at some more fabulous waterfalls and lakes.

Glacier, a lesser-known park, is not actually in the Rockies, but in the Columbia Mountains - the source of the Columbia River is there. The peaks are steep, and it rained on and off all evening. Toby took up his new favorite place under the picnic table - "I'm going to have to build him one of those when we get home," Enrico cracked - while Nelly retreated to her cave to sleep off all those alpine hikes.

From here we decided to head south, through the Okanagan. We've never visited the Okanagan - a dry interior region that continues into Washington as the Okanogan - which is the "fruit basket" and wine-producing region of Canada due to its warmth. A woman at the Glacier campground suggested a place to stay - "But you do realize," she added, "that everything west of here is on fire, right?"

We had certainly noticed the smoke, but lacking in news, we hadn't heard about the extent of the fires. We started south through the Okanogan valley, which is actually very Mediterranean in a way. Dry hills, surrounding long blue lakes. Canadians come here from all over in order to get overly hot, and then cool themselves off in the water. Wineries abound. I don't have any good pictures, though, because the whole thing is draped in grey smoke.

We made a stop in Penticton, which happens to be where my great-great-grandmother spent her final years, living with her eldest son Ned who did quite well for himself as one of the early orchardists in this area. I spent a little time at the local museum. It's so different here from either Winnipeg or Fort Simpson - I wonder what Sarah must have thought of this place, so warm and dry.

Then we drove nearly to the US border to the town of Osoyoos, to the campground run by the Okanagan Band right on a lake. Osoyoos has the highest average temperature in all of Canada. It's basically a resort town - and by the time we got there at 4 in the afternoon, there was not a campsite or hotel room to be had. So we were faced with either heading into the States that night - into the most sparsely populated part of Washington - or just parking Eva somewhere for the night. But we learned there was one pet-friendly room left at a Super 8 back in...Penticton. Fate really wanted me to end the trip where Sarah ended her days. Weird, but there it was.

It's a bit anticlimactic. We envisioned one last night sleeping in Eva, on a lovely lake where the dogs could have a good long swim to wash the dust out of their fur. But it's all good. Tomorrow, we head home.