Friday, December 31, 2010

I am guilty of......

Not adding to my blog in quite a while. There has been a lot going on, but not stuff that I'm willing to share on my blog. Lets just say that there have in the extended family that make things a bit tense this year. The last Christmas that we had that was this bad was 35 years ago when Helen's Dad passed away on Christmas Eve. That should give you some idea about how our Christmas was.

Another thing that strictly applies to me is that I HATE THE COLD!!! I hide in the house with a couple of sweatshirts on and a woolen cap on my head. I drink hot coffee, tea, cocoa, or soup throughout the day trying to keep my core temperature up. My preferred activity is staying in bed with a number of blankets over me as I pretend to be a hibernating bear. When we get mornings in the teens, it just does me in. When I find that it's warmer in parts of Alaska than it is here, I gnash my teeth. Then I check out RV.NET Forum and find out how well the camping is going in Mexico and I really start to sulk.

The news is full of all the atrocities that are occurring in Mexico in the drug corridors and some of the border cities. That may be true, but many RV'ers are traveling the first thirty miles or so in a caravan and then depart for their area of choice. I understand that tourism is WAY down and those that go are getting the royal treatment. Waterfront sites with all the amenities for $400.00 a month. This is for a site in a prime campground. My electric bill here will approach $400.00 this month due to the exceptional cold. The pictures I saw with people frolicking on the beach make me want to be there.

According to the weather gurus, the coldest part of the winter will be in December. We'll see, but I hope it's true. Helen was working on the plants outside and we saw some freeze damage on plants that have never seen damage before. The odd part of this is that with the coldest winter ion eons, we've had the hottest summer since records have been kept. Still, 2010 is expected to be the third hottest year in history. Hot is OK. We'll be heading north of the border when the hot weather comes. Someplace in Canada has just the right temperature in the summer.

That's all the griping for now.

Wishing all a Healthy, Happy, and Prosperous 2011

Friday, December 17, 2010

Alaska Gold Rush

Tonight Helen noticed a new program on the Discovery Channel. Alaska Gold Rush follows a group from Oregon trying to strike it rich in Alaska. We were amazed to see that it's a golf field that we visited in July of this year. In fact, I mentioned it in my blog of July 20th. The going was rough, even in my little Jeep, and to see these people crossing a bridges that terrified Helen is awesome. The jeep with the two of us would weigh close to 4000 pounds. Helen noticed how a lot of the planks on the bridge were rotten or missing. These guys were hauling a 100,000 pound rig across the bridge. The bridge creaked and groaned, but didn't fail.

Later they towed their travel trailers in and again I'm in awe. There was barely enough room to drive my Jeep. How that drove in all their equipment without severe damage. Their claim runs down to a river and they showed their neighbor on the other side of the river.

This is the neighbor across the river, where we were on July 20th.

Another view of the neighbor's place, no one at home when we were there.

We were told that there were a few people still working the gold fields even today. Most noted is a woman who lives out there year round, coming into "civilization" to sell her gold and buy supplies. We saw one operation that was still operating under the blue glow of a huge tarp. Again, we could see the evidence of recent work, but saw no one. Thinking back on it, I don't know if there was someone back in the woods with a gun, waiting to see if we would molest his claim.

It's just funny to be watching a TV program and discover that we were right there.

The group from Oregon doesn't seem to be too attuned to life in the wilderness. A black bear came into camp and took a box of graham crackers let out by one of the kids. The men are SURE that it's a grizzly and a menace to the group. Shooting a bear is not allowed unless it is truly a menace and these guys have convinced themselves that it is so. I find it funny because at the first sight of a human, the black bear makes a quick exit. Only interested in the crackers, when the crackers were gone, the bear had no reason to stay. When one of the men spoke sternly to the boy who left the crackers outside, his father came to his aid and told the man to leave his son alone. I guess that back in the lower 48, he backed up the boy if a teacher had a complaint.

It will be interesting to watch this program evolve. So far, they don't seem to be too capable of sustaining themselves in this area.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I guess were all experiencing an exceptional cold spell. The weatherman says the severe cold covers much of the nation. Still, we expect a more moderate temperature here in central Florida. It is not so!

These pictures were taken in my back yard, but it is not typical of the area. Let me explain. There are two kinds of heat pumps. There is the most popular one with a unit inside the house that supplies the hot or cool air, and there is another unit outside that dissipates the heat or cold as required. In the summer, The cool air will be pumped in the house, and you can feel the heat blowing from the unit outside. In the winter, it will be cold air on the outside. This is an air to air system.

A second type of heat pump is the air to water or geothermal heat pump. The big advantage that I have is the efficiency of the unit. In the summer, the hotter it gets, the less efficient the air to air heat pump becomes. You can understand that when you are trying to cool the outside unit with 95 degree air. Similarly, in the winter you are trying to get heat out of 30 degree air. In my heat pumps, we cool and heat with well water, which is 73 degrees year round. Even paying the electric to pump the water, it's still a lot less expensive than the other kind.

A by product that we have is the water that runs through the heat pump, and this we have running a couple of sprayers out in the woods. The sprayers work whenever the heat pumps are operating, which is almost constantly when it's so cold. It's this spray that you see in the trees and bushes behind our home. A few years ago we had an extended cold spell with temperatures as low as 15 degrees. After a few days, there were several TONS of ice hanging from the trees. Icicles 2 feet in diameter at the top were hanging from the trees and I was surprised that no limbs were brought down. I guess it's because the icicles went all the way to the ground without tapering very much. They were actually columns of ice extending from the ground up to the trees.

In talking with the neighbors about the bobcat in the last blog, they mentioned that the beautiful feline was trying to get water from the bird baths. Unfortunately, they were frozen. They said the cat headed toward our property where the water from our aid conditioning/heating system runs every day. I'm not surprised. We see crows by the dozens crowding in for water. Squirrels, rabbits and many other birds are also seen there. One morning I saw a handsome buck drinking and it was a perfect picture, or would have if I had a camera. Since it has been very dry for so long, many animals manage to come around sometime during the day or night. If I had some discipline, I'd sit by the rear window in the early morning with my camera.

Now that I've completed this blog, I realize that, by comparison, we're not to bad off compared to some past years. As I get older it's getting easier to complain. Of course, as I get older I dislike the cold more and more.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

This morning's surprise

When I finally got up and checked my email this morning I was surprised to get this picture from the next door neighbor. For the last few nights, our dogs have been barking quite a lot in the woods out back. We had no idea at what they were barking, but they would be at it for 10 or 15 minutes or more. We have deer from time to time, but they quickly jump the fence and it's all over, 30 seconds at best. I know that we have coyotes in the area and suspected that it was some coyote on the other side of the back fence. The picture of the bobcat came as quite a surprise. Marlis and Gunther, our neighbors mentioned that there were a few deer in the back yard before the bobcat appeared. We have found deer tracks within a few feet of our house, but never suspected a bobcat. Here I've cropped the picture, but the beautiful animal was only a few feet outside the pool enclosure.

How I love animal pictures and Helen and I have many. However, there is no substitute for being at the right place at the right time, and prepared.

As for the cold HAS BEEN COLD!!! But, not as cold as predicted. In our location, we often encounter temperatures 4 or 5 degrees below the predicted low and they predicted a low of 18 to 20 for this morning. It got only to 22, so as bad as it was, it could have been worse.

I seem to be plagued be a number of small leaks that I cannot locate. Helen's car still has a coolant leak that I cannot find. My Jeep requires addition to the coolant from time to time although there is no sign of leakage. Last month I had to have the pool pump fixed as the shaft seal leaked. The pump man said that it was caused by the pump running dry. I apparently have an air leak on the suction side of the pump. When the pump shuts off, air leaks into the pipes between the pump and the pool and the water drains out of the pump. I ran a hose to a connection on the pump and turn on the water each time I start the pump to ensure that there is enough water to prime the pump without damaging the seal. Last night I wanted to run the pool pump so I wouldn't have any frozen pipes to fix today. I turned on the water and started the pump. I DID NOT SHUT OFF THE WATER SUPPLY!!! Helen woke me this morning with the news that the pool was about to overflow. I immediately knew the reason and went out to the pool pump in my bare feet to shut off the water and open up the outside discharge. By the time I read the paper the pool level had dropped to the correct level.

I'm wondering what I'm going to screw up today.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

We're going to the dogs

During one of the nicer days Helen and I took the three dogs for a walk on the hiking/riding trail that runs the length of Citrus County. It's a very nice place for taking the dogs, riding a horse or bicycle, or simply walking. The scenery is nice as it winds along several ponds.

Three girls behaving well!

Still behaving well!

Giving Dad a hard time!

Dad!!! We really want to go in the pool!!!!

Sandy had the first heart worm shot this week and because of that, she cannot run with the other two dogs. We have to keep her quiet with no running or other high activity with the other two. It gets difficult because she has a lot of energy and is ready to play at any time. She is often the one who instigates play, getting Jodie and Coco to go along with her. She'll come to me and give me a long woof, then Jodie and Coco will join in and the noise becomes deafening. When we take the dogs outside, Jodie and Coco have the run of the property, but Sandy goes out on the leash. She wants to join the other's, but this is the way it has to be for a while. Next month she gets two more shots on successive days and she will have another month of little activity.

The weather here has been abnormally cold. We expect a low temperature of around 20 tonight. Some plants are indoors and others have been covered for over a week now. The weatherman in Tampa reported last night that there may be wet snow in the counties north of Tampa. That's us! They are still saying that this winter will not be as bad as last year do to El Nino or something. December is SUPPOSED to be the coldest month of the winter. That's great, except it's not even winter yet. It also hurts when they tell us that our morning temperature will be lower than the morning temperature in parts of Alaska. Another year that I regret not putting a fireplace in the house when it was built. I do have a wood fired sauna in the cabana and I have been known to get a fire going there and sitting in the ultra warmth.

Until later.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cold, colder, coldest...

Tonight we will be in the third night of a cold spell. 32 degrees Sunday night, 23 degrees last night and expect even lower temperatures tonight. OK, I've had enough!! I'm ready for spring. According to the weatherman, this is a good sign because the winter forecast was for the coldest weather to occur in December, becoming more moderate through the rest of the winter. He also said that we didn't get the really cold weather until January 6th of last winter. Can we trust them? Even colder weather is expected next week. I was in bed last night when it dawned on me that the very cold weather may harm some systems in our motorhome, so around 1:30 AM, I went out and put the heat on. I set the thermostat to 40 degrees, so I won't be using too much propane.

Helen took Sandy to the vets this morning to continue on her heartworm treatment. We've had her on heartworm preventative and antibiotics leading up to today. Helen dropped her off at 8:30 this morning and she picked up Sandy at 4:00 this afternoon. Other than the small patch that they shaved for the injection, she seems none the worse for wear. The difficult part of this is that for the next two months we have to strongly curtail her activity. No running. No playing with Jodie and Coco. Every trip outside has to be done on the end of a leash. In a month she goes back again for a two day visit, getting one shot the first day and a second shot the next. In addition, she has to be placed in a cage if we decide to go out. I feel bad for here because she is a very lively dog and has become the activity director of the pack. She's the first to want to go out and lets us know with a low, long woof. Then, Jodie and Coco get on the bandwagon and soon the barking will deafen a person. We are fortunate that the problem was caught early, before permanent damage could be done and the vet says chances of success are about 98%.

We will keep you posted.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Three Weeks before Christmas and all through the....

OK, It's been much too long since I've been camping and I'm getting a little daffy. Besides that, temperatures to 27 here in the sunny south don't thrill me. AND, temperature down to 20 are forecast in the next few days. Guess I'll have to add some heat to the motorhome as I do not winterize. Who thought you'd have to winterize here in Florida?

The pool is COLD, 59 degrees, but the dogs (Jodie and Coco) love it all the same. Sandy grabs one tennis ball and keeps it in her mouth the whole time they're out. I have to wash it off afterwards because it is SLIMY. Ugh!!! I go out from time to time to throw the balls and toys in the pool. They want to play in the pool, but they want to play in the pool with ME!! So I toss everything in the pool and that gives me some free time.

Helen is in Christmas mode and is decorating the tree. We have ornaments made by our grandchildren in recent years as well as a couple made by our sons so many years ago. In addition, Helen has seen fit to purchase tree ornaments from far away places that we've traveled to. From Labrador to Mexico and from Alaska to Key West, there are ornaments on the tree. I help by moving the heavier pieces of furniture, but mostly I help by keeping out of the way.

Below is my rendition of "Rockin' around the Christmas tree".

I suppose some of you are starting to doubt my sanity. Not a problem, Helen can confirm that I'm as nuts as I appear to be. A few minutes ago I mentioned to Helen that I was going to go to Walmart later this afternoon. She wisely counseled me that it was Sunday and Walmart would be a madhouse. Of course she is right.........again.

With Helen dedicated to Christmas decorating, I'm the chief cook and bottle washer. I will rely on my old fall-back dinner, paskeddy. The sauce is simmering and my taste buds are going into overdrive. I guess it's best not to go food shopping in this condition.

Well, the quadrupeds are getting restless, so its time to hose off the chlorine and dry them off. I have a system where I use my air compressor and an air nozzle to remove most of the water and then use a towel or two to finish the job. The only problem is that they both love the process, so as I'm blowing down the first, the second is trying to get under the air stream, and that's OK. However, as I'm doing the second, the first tries to get under the air and I end up spraying water back on her. So now I have to do one and see it to completion, then put her inside.

That's the end of my Sunday mumblings.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Sunny South

Yeah, it's sunny. It was also 27 degrees this morning in west central Florida. I really hope that this is not going to be a repeat of last year, which was the coldest winter in this area since they started taking data. Last winter I sent in my payment for the FMCA rally in Brooksville in February. That's only 25 miles or so from our house, so it's not a long trip. We never went! The temperature was dropping to 17 degrees several nights and I just couldn't leave my nice warm home to traipse around the rally in the cold. We MAY go this year, but we will be the ones who register when we get there, but only when we know it's not going to be so cold.

I finally updated my profile picture to include Sandy. This could be a major production as it's difficult to get a picture where all the participants look good. In each picture, it seems, someone is blinking, moving, or looking away. We had our friend Rita over to take the picture and I showed her how to take continuous pictures. When she pushed the shutter release button the camera took 10 pictures in about 10 seconds. We were able to get the ONE acceptable picture we wanted.

Rita and Barbara were over to take the picture and also to work on the cameras. They have the same cameras that I do, Canon Rebel T2i DSLR. Connecting to the computer we were able to put their names and other info into the memory of the camera. When you look at a picture and check the properties, in addition to all the information about the picture, you will also find the name of the photographer and a contact phone number. If the camera should be stolen, it can be identified by the information in the memory and possibly returned.

I also showed them how to set the camera for continuous shooting where the camera sound like a machine gun as it takes pictures at almost 4 per second as long as you keep the button down. It's a great feature for taking those pictures like we took, trying to keep the three dogs in position so that everyone looks good and I'm smiling.

Later we went up to the new Olive Garden that opened up a few weeks ago. We all had the soup and salad and the bill for the four of us came to less than $40.00 including the tip. That's a pretty good deal.

Well, it's cold enough that the dogs don't want to spend too much time outside. Sandy is usually back first, but doesn't do anything to get our attention. Coco will sit by the side lite and if we don't see her soon enough, she will scratch. Jodie doesn't scratch. Jodie will make a noise to let us know that she wants to come in. Sometimes it's just a low growl and sometimes it's a bark. The barking depends on how she badly she wants to come in. This morning she barked very loud three times before I could get the door open. She's getting to be a softie as far as the cold is concerned. She's a lot like me.

Stay safe and stay warm!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Body Waxing

Helen has been complaining about the rough hair I have on my chest and after all these years I decided to do something about it. I know something about bikini waxing as I saw a movie called "Bikini Car Wash", but I don't need bikini clad girls to do the job for me. It was really not too bad, a little messy, but not too bad. I did the body parts I could reach myself and Helen helped me with the rest. I have to tell you it was very nice getting my back done.

Helen seems pleased with the result and I like the difference, too. My pants slip on very easily and shirts just glide over my torso as I put them on. This is so good I may do it every week. This time we used paste Simonize, but I may look for something with more carnauba wax. I may even try Turtle Wax cream.

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.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Our Anniversary Hostesses

We'd like to introduce you to the two ladies who treated us to an Anniversary Dinner at Carrabba's. You know me as the chubby, bald one on the far left and Helen next to me. On the right, nearest to the camera is Rita Lang, photographer extraordinaire. Behind Rita is Barbara Kennedy, the chef of their house and the baker of the best coconut cream pie ever made.

Carrabba's Restaurant is Helen's favorite and she had Pollo Mama Rosa, a chicken dish. To be honest, I don't think Helen has ever tried another dish there. The service was great and Rita even ordered an Anniversary desert of ice cream and coated pecans.....delicious!!! As I said before, we had a great time with great company and we can't thank them enough.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

43 years and counting

Well folks, Helen and I celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary today. 43 sure doesn't feel that long, yet it's difficult for me to remember my life before Helen became a part of it. Our good friends, The Barita Girls, Barb and Rita took us to dinner at Helen's favorite restaurant. It was a very, very special time. The food and service were perfect and the company could not have been better. I think that Barb and Rita are now officially family.

You're probably wondering how an old SOB like me caught a hot chick like Helen. Scroll down and you will see that I was not always a fat, bald old man.

Helen's Dad, Russell, getting ready to walk Helen down the aisle.

Here's the happy couple. Please notice the hair. No, not her's, MINE!!!!!

Our ride to the reception. It seems like I have a bit more chin(s) than I remember.

You can't see below, but we're getting ready to cut the cake. When we got to the part where the bride feeds the groom and the groom feeds the bride, we did not get off on the wrong path by smashing the cake in each other's face. Helen was and is too classy to play that game.

And here we are in my '65 Le Mans convertible, heading away from the reception and off to a week on the Maine coast.

Two years ago we revisited some of the places we visited in Maine and were so surprised to see all the changes in just 41 years. Of course, coastal property anywhere is prime real estate and I think that it's even more so along parts of the Maine coast.

I can't thank Rita and Barb enough for making this anniversary one of the most memorable in the last 43 years. They are thoughtful through and through.