Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Technical Tuesday...The Ears Have It...

It was Mother's Day, 2008. 

I approached Gman and told him that I wanted something for Mother's Day.

This surprised him--because when I want something, it is usually a powertool or something and he just says "buy it".

When asked what I wanted, I told him I wanted a Tank.

His surprise turned to shock!!!  Talk about the ultimate powertool!!!!

Not THAT kind of tank!!!!  THIS kind of Tank...

I found him at Petfinder.com.  He was at Furry Kids Refuge in Lee's Summit, MO.  They are an organization that rescues animals from abuse and high kill shelters and houses them in foster homes.

We lived in Augusta, KS (near Wichita, KS) about 3 hours away.

We adopted a black pug from Furry Kids the year before as a companion to our fawn pug.  He was wonderful, but I really missed my big dog.  I had been looking at the Furry Kids and kept coming back to Tank.

So, I called Furry Kids to inquire about Tank.

Having pugs and cats, I needed to be sure that Tank was good with both.  As it turned out, Tank was fostered at the same home as Tango was, so they had already been together.  Furry Kids tested Tank with cats and found him to be good with them as well.

The pugs, Gman and I took a ride to Lee's Summit (Near Kansas City, MO) to meet Tank.  He was 160 lbs of sweetness!!!!

It was love at first sight!!!!  I mean, who can't love this face???? 
You may have noticed him on my posts???

Here he is all dolled up for the NASCAR races in this pic--showing the colors of his favorite driver...

and here he is on "his bed"

Actually that is OUR queen sized bed--just in case you are having trouble envisioning the size thing...

He uses the bed during the day when Gman and I are not in it.  Otherwise, he has chosen this as his bed...

Back to the story...

We were told that he had an ear infection and was on medicine.  If we wanted to wait, they would complete the treatment and we could pick him up then, or we could take him along with his meds if we chose.

Well, having had dogs for a long time, ear infections and meds were common and not a problem.

We headed home.  He was the greatest dog!!!!  Wonderful riding in the Durango--you could forget he was even back there!!!!  I have NO IDEA who could have given up this dog, but MY LUCKY DAY!!!!

So, we started out with me cleaning the ears and administering antibiotic tabs along with ear ointment.   I am sure it hurt him.

When the meds were finished, he seemed fine, but within a short time the infection came back.

I took him to my vet to check the ears and came home with more ear wash and drops.  This happened many times.
Tank was starting to run from me when I approached--I mean, after all, I was just hurting him.  For about a year.

Drops, antibiotics, washes, even anesthesized deep cleaning. 

And the infections continued to come back or not even go away completely!!!!

We dropped more than $2,000 on his ears trying to get them cleared up!!!!  I was at my wits end!!!  My poor baby was uncomfortable and was getting more and more leary of me--who kept hurting him...

With nothing to lose, I turned to the internet.  I googled "canine ear infection cure" and found a LOT.

I began reading about ear infection horror stories in which people reported that they couldn't even stay in the same room with their pet due to the overwhelming stench!  One even reported that their vet wanted to remove the ear canal!!!!  ARE YOU KIDDING???!!!!!

Then, I found out about a miracle called Zymox.

Zymox is a homeopathic enzymatic solution that you put into the ear.  You don't clean the ear because the enzymes need something to "eat".  The enzymes are 3 enzymes found in milk.

It comes in two formulas--with and without hydrocortizone.

Given Tank's ears, I chose Hydrocortizone to reduce the inflamation and the itching.

You just put the solution in the ears beginning at twice per day and let it do it's thing!!!!  Easy Peasy!!!

AND NO PAIN to Tank!!!

Within a week, his ears were beautiful and clean and perfect!!!!

Given that his ears are so large and heavy

he is prone to infections.  Especially around May and October when the allergens are running rampant through the air. 

Now, when his ears get itchy (like last night) I just grab the Zymox and treat the ears right away.  Within a short time the itching is calmed and in a day or two, the enzymes have done their job and cleared out the gunk!

Did I mention that Zymox is only about $15 online????  Yep!!!!  All those dollars I spent on his ears and $15 took care of him!!!!! 

Tank and I agree...

Zymox is a MIRACLE!!!

And now, Tank and I are both resting comfortably!!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mother of Invention Monday...Single Wide...

It is said that necessity is the mother of invention and as I travel, I see a lot of evidence of inventiveness and creativity.

When you pull the old single wide off of the lot, what are you left with?
A patch of ground with some cement and a sewer pipe along with a big old heap of skirting right?

But, in the spirit of Mother of Invention Monday, these people did this...

Just take the skirting and build a fenced in area with some gravel walkways...
Add some old tractor parts, an old wheelbarrow and...
Finish off with some deer statuary...

And a birdhouse...

See it right next to the tree on the red and white striped pole?

And you have reduced, reused and recycled in the spirit of Mother of Invention Monday...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Scene From Alfred Hitchcock...

It was a fine evening. 

The sun had shone all day and the weather was warm enough to leave the door open on the mother ship. 

The dogs and I decided to spend the evening basking in the lovely breezes while I tried out my new anti-gravity lounger.  Ah, the halcyon days of spring...

Yeah, I know the halcyon days are of summer, but this spring day, it was so lovely and I am not a hot weather person, preferring spring and fall to the heat of summer or the cold of winter, so my halcyon days happen in spring...

I looked up and saw some birds come in to roost in the trees that were visible over the roof of the mother ship.

They were these giant black birds with rather unpleasant bird voices.   Oh well, it was such a beautiful evening all creatures were welcomed with open arms...

Then, I saw some fluttering and in came some buddies...

And then some more...

Then, more and the trees were filling up...

And still they came, raspy, crow voices cawing...

The skies were filled with the big black birds...

Then, it became so quiet you could hear a pin drop.
All of a sudden, they seemed to have some infighting (or maybe the tree was so full that the branches were beginning to bend under the weight of the ever increasing flock) so some of them took flight to the trees over our heads...

All of a sudden, Tango, who was sleeping in my lap, jumped up and became agitated...

What is it little Tango?  Is Timmy stuck in the well?
Oh, sorry!!  Wrong show!!!
It's Okay Tango, I said, lie down and go back to sleep--they're just silly birds like Heckle and Jeckle I soothed...

More flew in overhead and the noise grew and grew...

 Uh, and grew!!!!   Now I knew what they felt like when the birds were flocking in during the movie, The Birds!!!!

Tango leaped up again and this time, I felt it too!!!!

The birds....

Not only were they LOUD...

They pooped right on us!!!!!

We ran for the mother ship, but not before being pelted several more times!!!

For the next several evenings, right around dusk, those little devils would come in and christen everything around!  It was too windy to put out the awnings, so we would head inside when we heard them coming...

Now I truly know the meaning of the term "Dirty Bird"--and so does Tango...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oh Black Water, Keep On Rolling...Technical Tuesday

Today is as the title says, keeping the black water moving...

When we purchased Little Blue, the Technician went over everything about him AND I learned a neat new tech tip which I will share with you...in a minute...

In case you haven't figured it out, I am speaking of the loo, water closet, crapper, potty, toilet...whatever you want to call it.  It works a bit differently in a camper, whether large or small--they are all similar in a camper.  Many campers don't realize this little fact--and live to regret it--in a BIG way!!!!!

First, when you connect the sewage (black water) to the sewer line in the park, be sure it is tight.  If it isn't, be prepared to jump!!!!  AND LEAVE THE GATE CLOSED ON THE CAMPER!!!!  Unlike your house, the camper has a holding tank.  DO NOT just open the gate and let the sewer drain as it would in a house. 

This will cause the liquids to run out and leave the solids behind to build up and dry out like a huge pile of stinky cement which will cost you a LOT of money to have removed!!!

So, leave the gate closed. 

Now, use the toilet chemicals.  No, these are NOT just to make a lot of money for companies.  They are necessary!!!   They break down the waste products and keep the holding tank clean and running smoothly--not to mention that they keep the odor at bay.

Chemicals come in many varieties from tabs to liquids.  I even found these tabs...who comes up with these names????  Cute.  At least until I thought about my potty having drinks...
I prefer to use the little packets of chemicals.  I am not sure why I started using Campa Chem, but so far it has worked splendidly for me.  One packet does about 30 gallons of holding tank.  My holding tank on the 5th wheel is 90 gallons, so I pop 3 of the packets in (4 in summer when it is really hot and uh, stinky) along with a bowl of water for each packet and I am ready to go.
When I purchased my first camper, a teacher who had lived in a camper that I was looking at told me that they found through trial and error that each time you flush, hold the lever for a count of 1 mississippi, 2 mississippi, 3 mississipi.  This obviously fills the tank much quicker, but it also creates a good vortex to wash out the solids when the time comes.  Good idea!!! 

And it has worked for us as well...

The next thing is toilet paper. 
There are several brands of toilet tissue made specifically for campers.  You can find these at camping supply stores, Wal-Mart and other places and you will pay about $3 and up for 4 tiny little rolls.  Okay.  Enjoy!

However, if your money tree is not in season at the moment, you can try regular tissue that specifies that it is made for septic tanks.  I like Scott Tissue Big Rolls.  I have been using it for 2 years now and no problems at all.
DO NOT USE CHARMIN!!!  Remember several years ago when they showed the Charmin which they wet and put a toy elephant on--and the elephant didn't fall through?  This was to show how strong it is.

And it is...

Too strong!!!! 

It doesn't break down like the others and will surely clog up your tank. 

I have had several plumbers through the years tell me never to use Charmin even in houses, but definitely not in septic tanks as they will clog up and you will have to have it augered and pumped out.  Of course a couple of them chuckled and said that they just LOVE Charmin because it keeps them in business!!! 

So, watch your control panel and wait for the tank to fill--or when you are moving the camper--either way...

This is my  control panel.  You can see that I am about 60% full at this time (3 of the 5 lights are lit).  When it gets to 5, I will empty the tank. 

I have found that when my tank is getting full, it will begin to kind of bubble when flushed.  I know then that I need to empty the critter.

So, we are now ready for the cool tip that I got from the technician at Loveall's when I got Little Blue.

When you are ready to move the camper, put your chemicals in the toilet like normal and then add a bag of ice just before you go.  The ice will slosh around and dislodge any solids, cleaning the tank as you drive!!!!  How cool is that????!!!!!
Ice...it's not just for drinks anymore!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mother of Invention Monday...

It is said that necessity is the mother of invention and as I travel, I see a lot of evidence of inventiveness and creativity. 

Today's mother of invention is this

Need some of those reflectors for your driveway?   How about using the shiny backs of your CD collections?

Kinda makes me want to know which artists got sacrificed?  Prince?  Spice Girls?  Train?  Surely not Michael Buble!  Kinda makes me want to trespass just to take a look!  :)

You know, as I think about it, the reduce, reuse, recycle phrase might be new, but the concept is as old as man...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Welcome Little Blue...

We recently decided that a new RV was in order.  Uh, well, perhaps I should say an additional RV.

We decided that we would like to have a more mobile unit to pull with the Durango.  Our original thought was that this would be perfect to stay in when we went to KS to see our son and visit our doctors.  Having 3 dogs makes options limited.  We do have friends who have full RV hookups at their barn and we always have a great time with them.  We call them Big Daddy and Big Mamma.  This is another story though.

So, we set a price that we wanted to pay and went in search of our "Vacation Home". 

We found a 1970's beauty that had no title and only SOME busted pipes, one that was about 100 miles away that looked good, but needed new tires due to checking and was a bit larger than I thought I wanted to pull with the Durango, and the cute little honey that suggested with was a honeymoon/hunting cabin.  Oh my!!!!  I think the gun rack put that one right up to the top of the list!  There was the one that had the "pretty blue curtains that enhanced the windows"--not a lot of info other than that on that one. 

I spotted this one as I was driving down the highway...

and the NASCAR fan in me went a little nutty--however, I couldn't figure out how to pull it with the Durango--perhaps it could have pulled the Durango???  Well, right team, wrong driver...

Then I called Loveall's in Columbia, MO.  I talked to Dan who told me that they didn't have anything in my price range at the moment, but one was going to be coming in as soon as the owners could get it out of their muddy yard if I had time to wait. 

Sure.  Didn't need it til April probably.

Dan sent pictures of the unit just to wet my appetite.  Actually, he was very nice and kept in touch the whole time.  I was definitely interested!

On March 9 he called to tell me that the camper would be in the next day.  Thursday is the day that dad and I deliver Meals On Wheels, to I told him we could be there after 2:00.  Dan said he would hold it for me and once I saw it, I bought it.  Dad and I had a great time looking at the camper I bought and at some big toy haulers they have in the lot.

There were a couple of things that needed to be done to the camper and I was able to pick it up on Friday, March 18.  My hubby, who had been working in Dallas, was working from home and able to go with me to see what I bought as was my brother Tom.  ;-)  He really liked the camper and after working from home for a few days, we decided that not only would the camper be a good vacation home, it would be a good office for him to work in!

The people at Loveall's are just GREAT!  From Dan Oswald who sold it to us to the business office to the technicians--they ALL show pride in workmanship and are there to help in ANY way possible. 

This is the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of the AWFUL experience I had with Camping World in Strafford, MO when I purchased the 5th wheel.  If you want to know how terrible Camping World is, just go here to read my story of THAT!  Phhhttttt!!!  Still makes me hissssssss...

Back to Loveall's who are GREAT!!!!  The Loveall's tech went over the whole camper with us bumper to bumper on the outside and then all the way through the coach--making sure that all questions were answered and not trying to hurry us along or anything!

Then, they went over how to hitch the camper properly with the weight distribution hitch and the sway bar and we were off!

I would truly recommend Loveall's to ANYONE!!!!  Go see Dan and tell him I sent you!!!  Then, take it to Kan-Do Kampground for a nice vacation!  (Unapologetic commercial here!!!!)

Originally, I was going to drive it to KS in April and leave it there, but when we decided it would be a good office and then decided that it would be a great guest house too, we spoke with the owners of Kan-Do Kampground who said we could park it on the same site with our 5th wheel. 

This is the site and I figured it would fit inside of the fence just fine if I changed some of my "stuff" around.  I measured and moved the burn ring and picnic table.  I measured between the tree and the satellite dish to see if I could drive between them--Durango is 7 feet wide, 8 1/2 feet between the tree and satellite dish--okay.

I have dubbed the new camper "Little Blue".  Why?   It just came to me.  It is much smaller than the big guy there and has blue on the interior, so Little Blue it is!

So, meet Little Blue...

He's a 24 ft Rockwood and he fit perfectly into the yard...see the fence surrounding it?

This is how it looks when you enter

He has a queen bed in the front

The bed raises up on hydraulic jacks to provide a lot of storage

There is a kitchen in the middle with a nice two door refrigerator and a pantry
There is a 3 burner stove
and a double sink

along with a microwave and drawers and cabinets that have solid wood fronts--nice in a smaller camper!
Across from the kitchen is the dining area

The table goes down and it turns into a double bed (if the two people are smallish).  This would be hubby's desk as well.

There is a bath in the back with a sink

and a closet with a hanging rod for clothes to the left of the sink
Of course there is a potty

and a shower with a little tub

One of hubby's favorite things is the stereo with cassette and CD which has speakers throughout the coach

Everytime he goes into the camper, he turns the stereo on--just for fun!  

Tango, Frank and Tank gave it two paws up

My fellow campers who are just popping back out to their campers were sure surprised to see TWO campers this year!  It sure started some speculation and conversation.  Several came over for the grand tour and to chat.

Some gave us nicknames like Garrett Corner, Garrett Compound, The Compound--who knows what else.

We call it Garrett Square and Home...