Travels With Oso con Migo
Odyssey In America
OAE On The Road Again, Summer in the Conways
1 August Days of Wine and Grasses
Friend Franck from France is visiting several companies in the States to
inquire about work. Franck visited me last one winter
in AriZona. Before he arrived here I only just had time to do a laundry
since Ian left. Busy-busy. During the past week we went tubing on the Saco,
walking in the Redstone quarry, looking for dust and other allergens. Between
wheezes and sneezes Franck translated The Cat Drag'd Inn brochure into
French. Now I am all excited about having it translated to Dutch or German!
Franck brought a bottle of fine French Beaujolais which I have had to hide
in the wine cellar to keep it away from Sarah Le Chat Domestique.
Thought for today: We are masters of our thoughts and we are slaves
to our words.
8 August... War of the Weeds
The presence of Spider Mites in The Cat Drag'd Inn has been confirmed by
a botanizer at the local nursery.
An all out frontal attack of Spider Mites was the diagnosis as the causitive
agent in the demise of the English Ivy on the galley table and perhaps
also the leafy weed on the shelf above the sleeping loft in First Class
I have just now replaced those plants with others that are not only
presently alive but also more resistant to Spider Mites. We'll see.
Little mites, smaller than no-see-ums, that drift in the air, the botanizer
said. They make some people sneeze.
18 August... Perseids and Sunspots
The first of the swamp maples down along the river snapped to brilliant
red in the cold the week before this current hot spell. Now we are on the
cold side of the wave again. Sleeping last night started with no blankets.
At first pee one blanket. At second pee two blankets. By morning I was
about ready to turn on the heat. It will go like that. Each wave getting
deeper. My water tank is empty again so I will fill that today and maybe
next week I will have to empty the bilge again. Not easy with the bus in
drydock. I have to call a honey wagon. Thinking about investing in a macerator
pump. Then I can spray the stuff around on the yard to feed the grass.
I have recently been using some of my collected plate blocks for postage.
It seems that all my childhood stamp collecting was in vain and the plate
blocks are worth less than face value to any stamp dealer now. What use
to be nine cent AIRMAIL are now but a fraction of the current first class
rate. But I've not tried writing to anyone over seas. I should give it
a try. Half a dozen antique sellos en la carta should liven up the day
for postal workers along the letters' way.
Thought for today: If electricity comes from electrons... does that
mean that morality comes from morons?
It would seem so, eh?
And for the day before: Reading whilst sunbathing makes you well-red.
I'll drink to that. My tan is holding up with occasional naps at the
river and on the cloudy days under my gro-lights.
meteor shower was not as good as I remember from last year. I did see a
few but the sky has been rather hazy with the heat. Little Jon sent this
photo of the solar disk showing a rather large cluster of sunspots. Looks
like a close up of the spider mites on my English Ivy. Perhaps this could
explain the state of the economy. They certainly are wreaking havoc with
high frequency communications. A cluster this size might be visible to
the naked eye but you'd have to be careful not to get in trouble for indecent
And speaking of space and childhood and collections: How many rememeber
this earwig from the Kirk and Spock days of Star Trek?
23 August... Where is the Karma in all of This?
All things happen for the best!
I keep telling my Self that but of late it is really testing my faith.
I am having a harder and harder time with this idea.
Not well. But then it could be worse. There is little point in complaining.
I try to make light of the situation and beg my way out of it. But it is
hard when at every turn one is taxed and penalised for being a different
person, for living different to the main stream way. Despite what the adverts
say about thinking outside the box, Society has no place in its charity
for the extraordinary.
Thought for today, an age old question: Why do we spend so much to
cover that beauty? To counter the covering of nudes in our nation's
capitol see the portfolio of an artist
named Tedder. Stunning. Right up there with Faucon, Sturges, and Mann.
27 August... Space Age Materials Gussy-up this old bus
The engine room is panelled with new soundproofing backed by thermal insulation.
It is looking like a foil covered space capsule back there. The choice
has been made for which engine tho it was more a matter of compromise over
what would fit than what would do the best job. It comes down to a matter
of space. For the power to size ratio the best choice for the weight of
the bus would be to go back to the original configuration which used a
Detroit Diesel two-stroke, probly a 6v71. But they are dirty, smelly, noisy
motors. To achieve that power with a four-stroke Diesel we would have to
either extensively modify the width of the frame to accept a larger v8
or to lengthen the shape of the body--extend the engine room cowling--to
accomodate the length of an in-line six. The largest motor we can install
in the present arrangement of frame and cowl is a 10L Caterpillar. That
will provide about 25-40 more horses than the 8L Detroit and should be
pretty close to but just shy of the recommended power to weight ratio for
It remains to pay for all this but I'll deal with that later. My mechanic
would rather have me owe him the money than to pay interest to mastercard.
I agree with that! It also gives him a strong claim on my time to return
here and work for him next summer.
28 August... La Gata esta La Rubia
is piling up that Sarah La Gata conmigo Mesquite is really not a calico
after all. She is secretly a blond in disguise. On more than one occasion
she has brought in toys to play with and, as with Ian, leaves them laying
around, some in pieces, for me to step on. I am forever picking up after
her. Except that sometimes her toys pick themselves up and wander off.
She will watch them get a little ways and then pounce, or she will come
round later and look at where she left them and then ask me where I put
her new toy this time.
Last night, just as I was brushing my teeth, she came bounding in with
her latest aquisition. I can tell now without seeing by the distinctive
mouth-full purr "Look-what-I-brought-you" sound. But by the time I got
out of the head and grab'd a potholder--I keep one handy next to the fire
extinguisher for capturing squirmy squirrils--she'd let go her new toy
under the driver's seat.
We shook out the curtain, pulled out the chart drawers and CD file,
lifted the laundry bag off the brake pedal, poked and prodded and shined
a light. Nothing under there but a blond cat looking back at me asking
--Where did it go? Great! I get a cat to keep the mice out of the bus and
she brings them in.
With La Gata patiently poised under the pilot's perch--waiting with
baited breath I suppose--I locked the cat door and left the bridge in disarray.
It had been a long day of projects and I didn't even spend my usual time
reading in bed. Just sleep.
Some three hours later that aforementioned purr startled me awake. Sarah
La Gata conmigo Mesquite La Rubia jumped onto the bed and just as I opened
my eyes and the light she drop-kicked her mouse between the goal posts
of my feet and then pounced after it. Too late cat. The mouse was gone.
Down between bed and board. It was about this time La Gata's true colours
Between her clawing and my lifting we raised the mattress. No mouse.
Then, together, we saw the critter stagger across my pillow in what had
to be a desperate attempt to avoid further unwilling participation in this
game of cat and mouse. La Rubia looks at me: --That doesn't look like the
same one I brought in, she purrs.
05 September... The Cat Drag'd Inn is Looking for a Patron of The Arts
And also if you know of anybody with a lot of money laying around, someone
who is looking to be a benefactor, sponsor, patron, &c, I am getting
to be desperately in need of some serious support. I know I'm not the only
one who has been wiped out by the vicissitudes of life and the greedy war
mongers but that on top of this failure of my driving force has left me
in dire straits. Help is needed and soon.
07 September... Gangsta Cat
Sarah La Gata conmigo Booger Mesquite La Rubia Scarface is
her name now. She has in the past fortnight been chased in perhaps once
too often by a fluffy grey cat, larger than her. From his behaviour I would
say a Tomcat. Now it looks like she has turned and fought back and has
a scar for her medal of accomplishment. Or maybe one of her meals of chipmonk
decided he was not interested in serving her menu. The scar curves from
under her right eye down towards her whiskers. Two new names in one letter.
10 September... Leonardo at Work
Yesterday a gendarme from the local constabulary came to tell me, ask me
really, to put some shorts on. Seems "the neighbors" complained about my
nates showing when I was painting on the roof whilst wearing only a pareu.
They should be so lucky. I have to learn whether I am in violation of some
ordinance or if it is only that someone is taking offence. Perhaps I come
under the heading of "attractive nuisance". Maybe I will have to educate
these neighbors but I don't know who complained.
The roof is done white (except for my sunbather mural) and the yellow
first coat is done all the way round. Today I will start the blue. Next
week a second coat of yellow. Some of the paint has puckered and other
parts went on so thick and sticky that it was pulling the fiber out of
the roller. From a distance she looks great!
12 September... Huff and Puff and Blow Your House Down
Last night the wind blew and it developed into another of those I should
have known better situations. The whole day was like that. In the morning
I commenced to paint until the rain began and so I stop'd and put up a
tarp and continued to paint. I was done with the front, all the intricate
brush work between the lights and trim, just retouching a few sags in the
tacky paint when the wind blew; a dust devil wound itself up and hopscotched
across the yard. Now the front of the bus has more fuzz than the front
of my face, more sand than a sidewalk after an ice storm. The wind blew
all afternoon and I moved this and that to keep this and that dry all the
time ignoring the tall ladder standing against the side of the garage;
the ladder I've been using to gain access to the roof of the bus. The ladder
that I have said to my Self more than once is only standing on one leg
whilst it leans nearly straight up against the garage. Finally, about bedtime,
the wind blew a big finale gust and that was followed a great cymbal crash.
Thirty-two on my gust-o-meter. The crash was the ladder coming down on
There is a tear a foot or so deep along the bead where the cloth connects
to the frame. Easy enough to fix without having to take it all apart. But
still... How does that song go? When will we ever learn...
13 September... This Can't Really Be a Friday
late there has been some encouragement. My second letter to benefactors
has engendered one gift that doubles everything realised from the first
one. Now I have recovered the towing expense of getting the bus back to
Conway. The new insulation for the engine room is in place, the wiring
and plumbing redone, and the paint on the outside is about finished. Perhaps
today I will commence second coating the yellow. Still looking for an artist
to paint my mural on the roof. And of course still waiting on the motor.
With The Cat Drag'd Inn all gussied up like this I am going to
have to redo all the photos in various web pages and brochures. I may have
to consider even a new name for she no longer looks like something the
cat indeed drag'd in. Once we get this new engine installed she will be
something "The Cat" is pushing along. ;->
The one part of leaving here that I am not looking forward to is the
cleaning up after. In the past two months I have really spread out.
Boxes and tins, bikes and ladder, garden implements galore, all strewn
and stacked in the little alley between bus and garage. And that is not
to mention all the paints and brushes and rollers. At least the latter
stuff I will not have to pack when the time comes.
15 September... Circular Thinking
My experience with unemployment and food stamps has likewise been enlightening.
It does not pay to be a good guy and live off your savings for more than
a year before applying for unemployment benefits. I have so eroded my salary
base that they use to compute the weekly benefit amount that I get practically
nothing. For the food stamp programme I am not poor enough yet to qualify.
Too old to be the sort of specialist prospective employers in my field
find desirable and not old enough for benefits. I can get USDA food for
the elderly but not food stamps for the indigent. As long as you have a
car--which you need to get cross town to the inHuman Services office--then
you have too many resources to be indigent. At least they agreed not to
count The Cat Drag'd Inn as a Recreational Vehicle; they agree with
me that she is a Residence Vehicle. On the other hand: If you live in a
bus then how can you have a street address? (It is the little number on
the parking meter.) Round and round...
17 September... What's the 10-code for Cat Down?
Sarah La Gata just came in with a gaping wound on the front of her right
elbow. She has had several altercations with someone out there in the past
week and now has a scar on her nose and another on one of her hind feet.
Those are not too bad, not more than a claw scratch. But this one is an
opening the size of a quarter. Probly should have stitches. It will have
to wait till morning. According to the local vet emergencies are optional
at extra cost. Probly that doubles the cost of the first stitch. Sarah
will have to tough it out for the night. I declined to declare a state
of emergency when the vet said just that alone would cost fifty dollars--just
the declaration mind you. Not counting exam, sedative, stitches, and most
likely some confinement and follow-up care. No medical insurance for me
and certainly none for La Gata.
18 September... La Gata is Keeping Herself in Stitches
This morning her leg is swollen and she seems to be even more in pain.
At least she is quite a bit limping and crying. Off to shop for a vet.
Later... Sarah La Gata has just returned from surgery to put her back
together. She has/had a most unfortunate cat-asstrophy. The front of her
elbow is shaved and has eight stitches and a drain. Probly used up at least
one of her nine lives. I find my Self overly concerned, not least for the
expense; she is gonna have to catch a lot of mice to make up for this.
I have to keep her confined for two weeks and then restrained for a month
more. There were bite marks that would tend to indicate she was in a fight
with some other animal so she had to have a rabies booster and will have
to be restrained for 45 days. We have to return to the hospital Saturday
to have the drain removed and I have to give her a pill twice a day. "Just
squeeze her jaws so and then push the pill with your finger over the back
of her tongue." Ya! Right! I'm gonna put my finger between those jaws?
24 September... Happy Autumn, the S.A.D. Season
Dark here this morning. Been staying dark later and getting dark earlier.
Too earlier. Dark at breky, dark at supper. Promoting S.A.D. and I am SAD
enough already. Hard enough to take a shower in the cold--now it is dark
Twenty-six days to go before my absolute latest departure goal. Paul
says --Plenty of time. Right Paul. But then again his procrastination has
allowed me lots of time to complete other projects. The bus is looking
good. The worst part of her spiffy new colour scheme is that the dust shows
more. That, and now I shall have to redo the photos for my resume and brochure.
I'll have to try repainting the pictures instead of taking new ones.
Fryeburg Fair starts this coming sunday, the 29th, however this year
I will be staying here to push along Paul. Hoss Traders Flea Market is
next weekend already. Where has all the Summer gone?
5 October... Does this Caterpillar have Black and Yellow Stripes?
The new motor is promised to be delivered early next week so things are
looking a little brighter on that front.
Sarah La Gata, a.k.a. "Frankencat", has about ei8hteen stitches. The
wound did not close properly after a fortnight of healing so the vet had
to open it further to expose new edges and then sew her up again. She looks
like a lampshade. She has to wear this Elizabethan collar to keep her tongue
away from the wound.
The good news is that the vet did not charge for this visit. Thank you
very much Fryeburg Veterinary Hospital. That is worth about three weeks
of groceries and driving for me. In the meantime poor Sarah La Gata is
wandering around trying to back out of the collar she is obliged to wear
to keep her from licking away the new stitches. She canna get her head
into the usual cranies and so is bumping into things and getting her food
all over the floor.
I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to
myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and
diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier
shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered
before me. --Sir Isaac Newton
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Copyright © 2003, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , 03813-0144.