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Issue #8 · Jul 15th, 2022

The Kill Zone

Nomad Life · CH 17

An armchair travel story about Skutull's surgery, feeding lambs, and tiny roads.


ur ferry from Holyhead, Wales docked in Dublin late afternoon. We were nervous about crossing the border into Ireland with Skutull for two reasons. First, Skutull had undergone foot surgery a week earlier and was still healing. Second, the language the Irish government used on their website was extreme with regards to importing animals. There were a host of requirements for entry, such as notifying their agricultural department, undergoing worming treatment 1-5 days before arrival, and having a fully updated vaccination record. It wasn’t the requirements, but the consequences of failing to meet all the requirements that worried us. Quoting their website, if you fail to meet all entry requirements “your pet may be euthanised.”

Like most of our travel worries, our fears did not become reality. We entered the country easily and smoothly. Skutull was not euthanized! Hooray!

We had to find vets both in Dublin and later in our Irish travels to treat Skutull’s healing foot. The vet that did the surgery in London originally told us Skutull would be back to normal in ~10 days, but that was not the case. Not even close. It took a full month before his wound fully closed and his bandage sores healed.

Skutull was in good spirits most of the time. The vet prescribed him a cone of shame, but he was a good boy and listened when we told him not to lick his foot or remove his bandage, so he never had to wear it. The hardest part for him was that he couldn’t play with his toys or run. I could tell that he was feeling bored and bottled-up during his recovery...

Message from Zack

Hello from Colorado! Skutull and I have moved down from the mountains back into town (and the summer heat!) and Shelby has ventured off to Norway for a solo adventure.

Our last hiking before moving back to the plains.
Our last hiking before moving back to the plains.
Skutull always finds a lake to swim in.
Skutull always finds a lake to swim in.

We originally booked an Airbnb near Boulder on a farm for the month of July. I was excited to live on the farm because the listing mentioned they have a greenhouse, which is something I've always been interested in owning someday but have never had the opportunity to explore.

We had a two-night gap between when our rental in the mountains ended and when the rental on the farm started, so we stayed at my parents' house for a couple of nights. We weren't their only house guests. My parents were hosting a pro golfer who plays on the Korn Ferry Tour, which is the PGA feeder league. His name was MJ Daffue and we loved getting to know him. He ate dinner with us every night and even gave me a golf lesson one evening. He's already earned enough points this season to move up to the PGA Tour next season, so we're looking forward to watching his rounds on TV in 2023.

Skutull and I moved into the farm later that week. On our welcome tour, the host told me that the furnace was broken, which meant they had no AC. They'd already tried once unsuccessfully to fix it and were hoping to get someone booked to install a new furnace the next week, but he wasn't sure when the issue would be resolved. It was pretty hot inside, and that was on a day when the high was only 85F. There were days in the forecast later that week that were supposed to be 100F.

Also, there was no greenhouse and the host acted like there had never been one. Not sure what was going on there, but I wouldn't describe the property as a farm.

About an hour after moving in I noticed that I'd been blowing my nose a lot. I took Skutull on a walk and everything cleared up, but as soon as we returned to the unit, the runny nose came back. As the night progressed, my eyes and throat became scratchy. I found out that they have a cat that isn't listed on the Airbnb listing because it only comes inside a few times per week, but I'm allergic and somehow dandruff must have made its way into my living quarters.

When I got out of bed the next morning, I realized that I might need to pivot my plans. My allergies weren't terrible, but they were bad enough that it would have been uncomfortable for a long stretch. When I added in the summer heat with no AC and a few other small issues, I knew I couldn't live there for a month. Especially since I work from home and would have spent +20 hours per day inside the unit.

So Skutull and I packed our stuff into the car for the third time that week and moved back in with my parents. We didn't get our money back for the rental since all long-term Airbnb rentals have a "Strict" cancellation policy that offers no refund, but my parents aren't charging us anything to stay with them so the cost to stay at either place was the same.

Skutull and I are enjoying life at my parents' house. He gets to run around with their two small dogs, Bella and Roxy. While they look to him for protection, he's a huge chicken when thunderstorms roll through and sometimes seeks Roxy for comfort and wisdom.

Skutull cuddling Roxy when thunderstorms scare him.
Skutull cuddling Roxy when thunderstorms scare him.

Skutull and I's favorite spot in the house is my parents' new golf simulator. I like taking 10 minutes at lunch to hit a few balls and Skutull thinks the turf makes for great traction to kill his toys.

Skutull's “kill zone” that he permits us to also use as a golf simulator.
Skutull's “kill zone” that he permits us to also use as a golf simulator.

I dug my guitar out of storage when we returned to Colorado at the end of May. I used to play a lot in high school, but hadn't touched my guitar in a decade until about two months ago. I've enjoyed rediscovering my love for music and Skutull always appreciates a new bed to nap in, though I think he gets jealous of the attention I give the guitar.

 skutull uses my guitar case as bed

P.S. Here are my favorite links since last time

  • Movie: Vanilla Sky - an older psychothriller starring Tom Cruise
  • Playlist: This is Johnny Cash - my singing coach told me recently that he thinks I'm a bass, so I've been exploring the music of modern bass singers in pop music (there aren't many!).

Enjoy the journey,

Zack Thoutt Signature
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