Friday, November 26, 2010

After Thanksgiving Catch-up

Thanksgiving is over for this year and we hope that it was a pleasant holiday for everyone. Helen and I had a quiet day which was very nice. The day before Thanksgiving we had our son, P.T., and his sons, Keaton and Kyle over. It also turned out to be a very pleasant day, except that Keaton beat me very badly at the game Connect Four.

When the kids came over we saw an odd reaction from Sandy. We really don't know her yet and are careful about her interaction with our grandchildren. She didn't react in any way we expected. When Kyle came in, Sandy cowered and started shaking badly. Then she ran in my bedroom and jumped on my bed, something she has never done. Jodie and Coco are regulars on my bed and I have placed Sandy there a few times, but we could never get her to jump up on her own. Kyle really terrorized her! It's particularly amazing because of all our grandchildren, Kyle is the mildest mannered of them all.

Jodie and Coco made the most off all the attention they got from P.P. and the kids and hovered over them as long as they were getting all the attention that they crave. Poor dogs hardly get any attention from Helen and me. Ha!!! When everyone was involved in other projects Jodie and Coco hid out in my bedroom. You'll see that Coco has designs on my pillow. I hope she doesn't drool.

Although a certain amount of time was spent playing Connect four, there were other things that had to be done. Keaton brought the supplies to build a bird house to qualify for a Boy Scout Merit Badge. P.T. and I gave him a few pointers, but he had to do all the work. It is preferred that he use hand tools rather than power tools and I'm more set up for power tools. I had two hand saws, but you couldn't even cut yourself with either one, so Keaton and I went up to Lowe's and bought a new one. The two old ones went out in this morning's trash. Keaton got all the pieces cut and the bird house is ready to assemble at next Monday's meeting.

While we were working on Keaton's project, Kyle was inside helping Nana with her project, which was getting ready for the feast. Helen put him to work breaking up the bread for the stuffing and Kyle did and excellent job. Later on, Nana took him to see the latest Harry Potter movie while the rest of us stayed home. Keaton conned me into a game of Connect Four and he beat me badly. He tried to get me in another game, but I'm not in his league. Sometimes we older folks will "throw" a game to make the kid feel good. That was not the case. And as I continued to fall behind I tried all the harder to close the gap. Losing is one thing. Losing very badly is quite another. Keaton has always impressed me with his prowess. Years ago he saw me using a pipe cutter and he wanted to try. He did a perfect job on his first try based on seeing what I did.

The kids are getting much bigger and it was a real joy having them for the day. We're going to make an effort to do this more often and I'm thinking of another project for Keaton.

P.T., Kyle, and Keaton playing Connect Four

Still at it.

Nana's helper, Kyle, helping prepare stuffing.

Birdhouse Project

Making a birdhouse must be hard work!!!

Escape from the mayhem.

More of the same.

Oops, is this your pillow?

The real P.T. (Paul, Jr.) revived.

With Thanksgiving over, Helen was determined to use some coupons at Bealls. It was going to be hard enough to fight a sea of aggressive women, but first she had to get ready. Jodie was sticking with her to the end. Helen couldn't get her shoes on as Jodie hung in to be scratched. She was careful to keep her head up as failure to do so generally gives Coco the opportunity to quickly slip in and slobber the face with her tongue. I sat on the floor laughing and keeping my eye on Coco. sandy walked over and "washed" my face while I avoided Coco. I can see that Sandy is part of the pack and the three are in cahoots. One will distract me while another sneaks in for the kill.

Helen, trying to get ready to go shopping.

With things back to normal, sandy can relax.

OK, that's my blog for today. Be careful if you go shopping. Be careful even if you don't.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Lazy Sunday Afternoon

I'm sitting here with just about enough energy and ambition to write a blog, as long as it's not too long. Ever have one of those days?

The three dogs are now in the pool after having a session of fetch. Sandy has come a long way with the fetch routine. She will chase the ball and bring it back, but she still will not drop the ball. However, she quickly gives up the ball if you take it from her mouth. Then she's ready to chase it again. Being considerably younger than the other two, she has a lot of energy. She doesn't run, she "floats" across the yard with a dainty gait much like a deer. It must be the ears. They must give her front end a little lift when she runs.

I took care of the transmission fluid leak at the radiator and now I only have one more leak to chase down. There were two coolant leaks coming from the front of the engine at the radiator ends, and one small leak coming from the rear of the engine, near the top and back under a multitude of wires, hoses, cables, and more. Looking up from underneath I can see where the leak is running down the side of the engine onto my face, but I cannot locate the source. I have a plan to use my laptop and my webcam to look where I could not possible see from above and I'm hoping it will be:
A. Something easy. and
B. Something accessible

I should be working on it today, but..........but......... I just can't come up with an excuse, I just don't want to do it today.

I think I'll just go to my room and finish my Baldacci book.

Have a safe weekend.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Staying Busy

I got an email last night asking me to check out a Labrador Retriever that some people want to turn over to Lab Rescue. It called for me to drive out and verify that the dog was a Labrador Retriever or at least look significantly like one. So I drove over to Homosassa to see the dog and was pleased with what I saw. Cody was well behaved, didn't jump, didn't act hostile around me, and in fact, he was well mannered.

The two pictures above are of Cody, the dog up for adoption. The picture below is of Paula Dean, a greyhound that is a permanent fixture here.

And the picture below is of a little cutie that plays with all the dogs.

The people are actually giving up their son's dog as he is very busy and not around all the time and the parents feel that Cody deserves more. The parents have their hands full with rescued greyhounds, most of which have health issues that will preclude adoption. I think they have a total of six dogs that require daily medical care, so I can see how they have their hands full. In addition, they're caring for a granddaughter. I do wish them well and hope we can help them out.

The two pictures below are of Lorena's new-to-her motorhome which I believe she got last year. It's not a big Class A, but it is worlds apart from the van camper she used to have. She is quite the adventurer, heading out across the continent in search of warmth and fellow campers. She is completely undaunted by some of the possible problems that keep others at home.

Lorena left yesterday morning heading for an oil change and greener pastures. She hasn't gone very far and suggests that we get together next week for dinner some night. She is quite the character and very self sufficient. When I got up, the extension cord that we used to run power to her rig was neatly coiled and sitting in the step to my motorhome.

OK, I've run out of good news. The radiator that I replaced is not leaking. That might be because pressure doesn't build up. Why, you ask? Well, probably because I didn't replace the radiator cap. It was near there before Helen took the car out yesterday, so I expect the cap is someplace between here and Walmart. The other not-so-good news is that one of the transmission fluid connections is leaking and I'm now working on that. I'm trying to do it without taking too much apart, but that is always futile for some reason.

I got a comment from Sam about how nice it is to work when you have the tools and the work place and he is correct. Some years ago Helen's Dad passed away Christmas Eve. It was a terrible time for the whole family, especially Helen and her Mom. Our station wagon, which was out only car, was going to be needed for transportation the day after Christmas and the muffler was gone. I had a new one on hand and had to spend a good part of Christmas Day installing it. The temperature was well below freezing and snow was blowing under the car. I was working in the yard as we had no garage. I could only work a few minutes at a time before my fingers would not work. I'd go inside and run my hands under warm water for a while, then go back out in the cold and snow. When I think of those days, my complaints now are frivolous

OK, I've been taking it easy for too long and it's time to go back in the garage.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I got the radiator replaced in the Lincoln this afternoon, but it was only after a lot of problems. The good news is that I didn't curse, not even once. I had a very difficult time getting the old radiator out and considered more than once to cut it out in pieces. Finally it did come out and I took a breather before continuing the job. Actually, I took many breaks because I find if I continue for too long when frustrated, I will invariably do something foolish that I will regret.

Finally it wa time to put the new radiator in and it would not go in. I walked away and did some reading, then I went back. Again I was met with an impossible situation and quit again. After about four or five false starts, I went out and the darn radiator slipped right in! I have no idea what I did right or what I was doing wrong. The steps went very well after that and soon the job was done. I am thrilled to have that behind me. Now I can take the rest of the night off.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Connecting with friends

Yesterday our friend Lorena dropped in for a visit. Lorena comes from New Brunswick, Canada and we first met her at an FMCA rally in Brooksville. That's just a few miles south of us in Hernando County. Although Lorena has chosen the southwest the last two years, she's going to take her chances in Florida this winter in the hope that it will not be a repeat of last winter. Her camper is a new-to-her Class B that is worlds apart from her old one. This is a LOT more comfortable and roomy than the last.

Today we also had Rita and Barb over from Homosassa. They have met Lorena in the past and they all get along well. Helen dug into our freezer and came out with halibut and salmon that we brought back from Alaska. Salmon and halibut on the grill is still kind of new to Helen, but she did a fantastic job! The salmon was very good, but the halibut was superb. In addition, we had smoked salmon dip and that just added to the gourmet meal.

Lorena from Canada

Barb and Rita from Homosassa

All three partaking of the smoked salmon dip.

I think we all had a good time as the conversation was lively and there were no disruptions. The three dogs tried to muscle in to get a lot of attention and they succeeded most of the time. Fortunately, all three ladies are dog people.

On the personal front, I'm still slathering on medicated goo. Geez I hate the feeling of that cold glop sitting on my skin. At least the rash is looking much better, but no one can venture a guess as to what has caused it. I think they want me to get it cleared up so I can take that medicine that caused it the last time, just to make sure of what the cause is.

I'm making little headway on the replacement of the Lincoln radiator. I had to remove the lower hose and I was pretty sure that it would mean a soaking with coolant. I was right. The hose was lower than any other point and I got pretty wet. It'a good thing that I have more coveralls. I'll have to put a major effort into the project tomorrow.

While I was looking at Lorena's camper this afternoon I noticed that the right front of my motorhome was looking very low. What a surprise! The tire was totally flat and the bead separated from the rim. I lifted the front end with the levelers and got the tire off the ground. Luckily, the tire bead pulled back against the rim and I was able to seat the tire with air pressure. I pumped the tire up to 75 pounds several hours ago and when I last checked it was holding steady. Don't you just love an intermittent air leak?

Well, that's about all for now.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dumb and Dumber

To see my latest blog, go to the Jodie Coco site, where I posted it in error. See how my day is going?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Picking up some loose ends

Our little break in the routine ended when we arrived home Friday afternoon. We had a good time visiting with my brother in Palm Bay and seeing so much of his family again. Ricky owns three homes in Palm Bay, two of which are rental properties. His older daughter, Tammy, and her boyfriend, Mike, did a major remodeling of one of the homes. Built in the 1950s, it needed a lot of work and they did a most excellent job. A completely new kitchen, floors, walls, ceiling, lighting, cabinets and appliances. It looks like a brand new home. They also did considerable work in the rest of the house including major upgrades in the bathrooms. Mike even talked Ricky into vinyl siding on the outside and the results are amazing.

The house Ricky kept for himself and Linda is the best of the three, naturally. It is newer and Ricky had done a lot of work on it over the years. It abuts a park and the morning sun rises over the small pond in the park. If I were able to take the following picture in the early morning it would show the sunrise.

Having the house in Palm Bay, Linda did not feel safe without a guard dog to protect her so last year they got Mya.

Don't let her size fool you. She can be a terror! Plus, she can really raise a ruckus.

Ricky was thrilled that he would be in Florida so close to Cape Canaveral for the last space shuttle launch which was supposed to be on November 1st. Then it was moved to the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and eventually it has been put off until the end of the month. Since Ricky has to be back at work in Boston tomorrow, he will have to watch it on TV. Helen and I have been more fortunate in that we have traveled to the east coast three times and each time we got to see the shuttle launch. Sometimes it was 20 minutes late, but we were never shut out.

In Palm Bay, we stayed at the Breezy Palms Campground. The choice was easy to make from home. The first campground we looked into had a NO DOG policy. Ugh!!! When I called the lady at Breezy Palms I inquired about our dogs. She said that if they were well behaved and we cleaned up after them there would be no problem. The have a dog walking area at the rear of the park, but when we got there she said that as long as there were so many empty spaces we could walk them anywhere if we cleaned up. The dogs actually preferred the dog area at the rear. On the way to the dog area, we passed by the motorhome in the following picture.

I don't know what year Winnebago is represented here but I'd guess about 1990. I also realize that they were sometimes referred to as "land yachts". However, the radar has me puzzled. Can he drive in fog with the radar on? Perhaps he pilots his rig through the salt flats of the western US. I also noted that he has a TV antenna rotator, so when he gets to his destination he can mount his large antenna and aim it from a console inside the camper. I'm stumped! Unfortunately, there was never anyone there during the week we stayed.

Now I'm down to Sandy. Not much has changed since we adopted her. She has been growing since we first picked her up at the shelter. She had no concept of play and would watch as Helen would toss the tennis balls for Jodie and Coco. Then she would run with them, and eventually she learned how to beat them to the ball as she is considerably faster than either of the labs. Now, Helen has her dropping the ball and then fetching it again.

She not only plays with our dogs, now she has started to initiate the play and we find our two mattress muffins getting more play and more exercise. The three have been a pack for sometime and they get along extremely well with nary a growl between them. Jodie and Coco have never been aggressive in any way and Sandy is the same. She is just a natural fit into our house. Riggs, this is for you. Sometimes when we get home, Jodie would greet us with something from the floor or couch, generally a shoe. Sandy quickly picked up the same habit, only more so. She will bring us something even if we just come from another part of the house. The other day I got up and was greeted by Sandy with the TV remote. Usually she will give me the shoe or sock that she has, but that day she wanted to play. I had to chase her to get the remote back and I was hoping she wouldn't put too much pressure on it. It was unbroken and now does not sit where she can get it.

Yesterday we went to "The Cove" for chicken wings with Barb and Rita. They stopped by at first to discuss cameras and have screen covers put on the lcd screen of their cameras. They have the same as I do and we are all learning to use them bit by bit. I had a few less than successful moments with mine on the east coast, but I'm learning. I had a single lens reflex camera years ago and forgot that if you are not in AUTO, you have to watch what you're doing. I was careless and I have the poor pictures to prove it. Barb and Rita are off to some botanical garden in Alabama to put some practice time on theirs.

On a personal note, I was having a few problems related to my stomach stapling more than 12 years ago. Recently I was put on a strong dose of Prilosec and I also had two iron infusions. All was going well until just before our vacation. On the last couple of days we had the pups I was outside with them, but not very long and mostly in the shade. I got a terrible sunburn on my arms just below the elbow. It was a very bright red and sore. When it started to peel, it spread down toward my wrist and up toward my shoulder, where I got no sun. I also got it on the back of my thighs where I also got no sun. Medically, I'm stupid, but thankfully I have Helen who is medically astute. She wanted to know what I was taking that was new. I of course said "nothing". Helen persisted and asked about the new medicine and iron infusion and I said "Oh, that".

We got on the computer and looked up the side effects of omeprazole. Sure enough, the side effects include sunlight sensitivity and flaky peeling skin. I will meet with the prescribing doctor on Wednesday to see what's what. I suppose I could turn Helen on him, but he really seems nice enough. I'll keep you informed.

That's it for now.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Palm Bay, Florida.....continued

Yesterday we headed out to the Brevard County Zoo with my brother, Ricky, and his wife, Linda. We stopped on the way to have breakfast at Perkins and I think everyone was pleased.

The Zoo is not on the same scale as major zoos, but what they did have was done well. Our first destination was the giraffe area, but the noise coming from the primate island was overpowering. It turned out to be a Gabon, a large ape who certainly could howl.

One noisy SOB!!!!

Here Ricky and Linda are leading the way to the giraffe exhibit, which is the big draw of this zoo.

Crackers are available here and the animals know just how to get them. Their tongues are awesome and I watched them take crackers from children by sticking their long tongues through the net and grab the cracker as if the tongue was another hand.

Macaws are always a colorful addition to a zoo.

Ricky and Linda feeding Lorries. It was a strange feeling to walk across the enclosure feeling one crawling up my back. I had no food, and it soon left me for greener pastures.

Linda, Ricky, and Helen trying to lure a giraffe close enough to feed.

The resident White Rhino. The picture does not do justice to his size.

In the evening, we got together with Ricky's family for dinner at the new Texas Roadhouse in Palm Bay. Every time we visited in the past we ate at the Texas Roadhouse in Melbourne. The new one in Palm Bay is closer. I was delighted to find that there is one in Brooksville now.

These characters from right to left are: Ricky, Linda, my nephew, Todd, my niece, Tammy, and Tammy's friend, Mike.

Two more days and we'll head back to Inverness.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Growing Family

Our family of two people and two dogs has been supplemented with the addition of another dog. Sandy is now part of the family and part of the Jodie-Coco-Sandy pack. Oh, I said that we would not be adopting another dog, but even as I said so, I knew that Helen had her heart set on this foster pooch, and I knew the eventual outcome.

Sandy is a special dog who has had a rough time in her young life. When she first came to live with us she was so afraid of everything and everyone. It has been two months and she has come out of her shell with us. She is still extremely shy and afraid of strangers. I thought it would be a shame to uproot her again with another family. She is a dear dog. She travels MUCH better than Coco or Jodie. Gentle to the extreme she is a real joy to have around. We could hardly refuse to adopt her when she had obviously already adopted us.

It reminds me of the time we went to adopt Jodie. There were about five adoptable Labs there, but Jodie made it known that whatever we did and whichever dog we chose, she was going home with us. We never regretted her choice. Later, when we wanted to get another dog, Jodie didn't get along with any that were available at the time. Later still, we were told about Coco and they met outside Pat's house in New Port Richie. After a quick sniff and some tail wagging Coco was on the way home with us. Last week, Sandy had to go to the vets for booster shots. When Helen and Sandy returned, Coco and Jodie greeted her like she had returned from a long absence. Sandy has just joined the family, but she has been part of the pack for weeks.