Thursday, October 27, 2016

Skruffy & Bubba back home again

Skruffy & Bubba at Arny & Sandy's

These two are doing very well…although they miss their morning view of Sandy and Arny’s sliding glass door because they know as soon as the curtains are open, it was Uncle Arny time!  Sorry kids, but it will be a few more months before you see that view again.  Arny and Sandy were very good about not giving treats to Skruffy, but making her think she was getting a treat.  Each morning, Arny would give her about 1 oz of cook pork loin that I provided to him, while Bubba got a special treat that they provided.  At 4, when Sandy got home, she traditionally has given them both a she would give Skruffy about 1/2 oz of pork, while Bubba got his afternoon treat.  Around 7 pm, they would give Bubba his last treat, which Skruffy never saw and never knew about.  It all worked out great!

R to L: Pixie, Ouzo, Bubba

Bubba was overdue for a haircut, and I had enough on my plate, so I took him to Petco on Thursday.  Al, who has worked there for a couple years now and has cut Bubba at least four times now, did another wonderful job.  Here Bubba is hiding behind his cousins Ouzo and Pixie.  Bubba stays at his Uncle Mike and Aunt Sandy’s house since the Condo does not allow pets.  At Mike and Sandy’s (two Aunt Sandys …one in California and one in Florida), Bubba lives with his two cousins, Pixie and Ouzo.   Ouzo is about a year old, and is a “puppy” still, though in an adult body as far as Bubba can tell. 


Ouzo wants to play and play and can’t understand why Bubba (who is nearly 12 years old) doesn’t want to play too.  In fact, Bubba might need to be neutered again…he seems to have been showing his teeth and even nipping at the jumping around Ouzo…which is just not like Bubba to show aggression.  Here (above) Ouzo won’t sit still for a picture, which I was lucky to get this slightly blurry shot here. I think he wanted to sniff and lick the camera.

Bubba far left, Ouzo middle, Pixie

Pixie is a very active dog, though mellowed out now compared to two years ago.  Here she is standing on the arm of the couch.  She “LOVES” to run along the top of the couches, along the arms, jumping from one piece of furniture to another.  Off to the far left is Bubba still sitting there with the seemingly “uninterested” look on his face…but he knows all that is going on, and Ouzo is learning that Bubba does not want to be bothered.

Skruffy with her service vest and phone   Skruffy with her service vest and phone

Skruffy, of course, is a Service Dog for Marcia and stays in the Condo with us, despite the feelings of the Condo Association.  She has kept her weight down, sitting right at 14.2 pounds.  Above she is showing off her Service Vest, which we attach a cellphone (in the pink holder) to when I leave Marcia alone in the Condo.  The vest is so loose the cell phone does not sit comfortably on her as it did before.  So far Marcia has not fallen while I have been away, but if so, Skruffy will be right there by her with the Cell Phone for Marcia to call me, or call 911 depending upon the severity of the fall. 

Skruffy showing off her smaller tummy    Skruffy

Skruffy is trying a different food mixture.  Since her sickness in Alaska she has been eating a mixture of ground Turkey or ground Chicken cooked up, with Hill’s Prescription ID and WD canned food, a bit of pure pumpkin, and brown rice all mixed together.  Up until last week, I would make a batch of food which would last for six meals (3 days).  Now I have replaced the ground chicken/turkey and the brown rice with WD dry food.  I now mix a can each of WD and ID with a good tablespoon of Pumpkin, and at meal time, I put 3 oz of dry food in her bowl, add 3 oz of the canned food mixture, and at breakfast I also add an ounce of cooked pork loin broken up into many pieces.  I mix it all up in her bowl, and she eats it all down.  Even without Bubba here as competition, she just gobbles all her food down…always has.  I have to adjusted her insulin just a bit, and things seem to be going well with her.  The food passes through her real quick, which is key to her not absorbing too much sugar.  At least we don’t have to worry about her sneaking over to Bubba’s food dish while we are here at the Condo.

AlphaTrak Tester

Back in Alaska we ordered the AlphaTrak 2  testing kit with extra test strips and “pokers” from Amazon, and had it delivered to the Vet’s office in Soldotna.  I have been testing Skruffy at least twice per week, after getting the initial curve test back in July.  A curve test requires testing her about six times through the day from right when she eats, and every 60-90 minutes after until I get her curve of when her blood sugars stop going down and start to rise.  It takes her 5-6 hours to bottom out, so when I do check her, I typically check her about 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours after she has eaten to see how low she is at.  Most of the time she checks out in the 120 to 220 range, which is good.  A few times she has been under 100, two or three times it has been under 60, which is too low.  If she is under 100, I give her some Enercal high calorie gel, about as much as I put toothpaste on my toothbrush, and this raises her blood sugars back up.   Sometimes she is in the 300 to 500 range, which is too high.  When ever she is too high, I test her the next day and she normally comes back to the 200-300 range, or lower.  When there is a change in her food, as we are going through now, I test her more often, and make slight adjustments to her insulin if needed.  Currently I am giving her 2 1/2 units at breakfast, and 2 units at dinner, which is were she was a week ago before the change was made.  She has handled this food change real good.


As you can see, Skruffy is doing real well.  And so far she has been real good staying at the Condo alone when we go to church on Sunday and Wednesday.  Her fear of staying alone is starting to go away.  She does not like it when we leave, but when we return she is not barking and barking, even when we open the front door.  She is excited to see us, and with that excitement she will give out a few little barks, but that is it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Settling in at the Condo, Car Fix(es)

Sink Hole compared to Condo

Two years ago we come home and very quickly a sinkhole develops very close to our condos.  This picture, shared back then, shows the red arrow where the sinkhole was, and the green arrow which points to the condos.  Of course, all the road work and sewer work has been finished for a good 18 months now.

Our Condo

Our condo is way at the other end of the condos where this green arrow is at.  Well, when we got home and did our initial unpacking, I took the RV over to the RV/Mobile Home park for two nights before I put it into storage.  I made the comment, “So, any sinkholes open up while we were gone?”  Surprised when he said yes, just that week a very small, possible sinkhole opened up.  Well, our first Monday home and I hear the helicopter overhead again, and yes, the news had broke about the small sinkhole close to the where the large one swallowed up a car two years ago!  So far, nothing else has happened with this one, and it seems to be a non-issue.  Bad news though…assessment on our Condo went down by $10,000…good news, Property Taxes went down by nearly $200.  With no plans to sell it, not much of an issue UNLESS a sinkhole opens up on Condo property.

Generic Motorhome

When it comes to unloading the motorhome, I sometimes wish we just had a toy motorhome and our journeys are in our mind.  It is a lot of work, for both of us.  I bring things in, Marcia unpacks most of the bags and boxes.  We (she) runs everything from the kitchen that she can through the dishwasher, and if it is to go back into the motorhome, then to the spare room it goes until loaded before we leave.  All bedding, towels, etc. get washed.  There is always a lot of laundry to do too.  And then there is the huge shopping trip to restock the shelves and the fridge and freezer.  And the number one thing to get done fast when it goes into storage is  that I take the motorhome fridge apart and clean it very well, and prop the doors open so that mold won’t pop up.  All the fridge shelves are brought to the condo and washed in the dishwasher, and stored in the spare room.

This is a section of the HHR exhaust which includes not one, but two Catalytic Converters.  There are also two o2 Sensors hooked into the pipe.

HHR Exhaust where it connects to manifold
This area here (left) is where it connects to the exhaust manifold.  There is a flexible area which allows the pipe to move with the vibration of the road.  It is this area which broke, and our HHR sounded much more like a motor speedboat, or a kids street race car. We have a good repair shop near us, and I took it there last Tuesday just for them to look at, and they ordered the parts, including both o2 sensors, and did the work this past Friday.  There goes another $700.

Joe's Auto Repair and Curtis Transmission, photo off Google Maps

Joe’s Auto Repair and Curtis Transmission are all one business.  Joe retired a little over a month ago, and now Jim is the owner…but he has kept all of the staff, has made some improvements in the office, including a new computer system and the hiring of another girl, Nichole, to work alongside her older sister Misty.  Misty is something else…she is very knowledgeable about cars, is very friendly, has a good rapport with the service staff, with the new owner, with the customers, and with the various parts house staff that she is constantly calling to line up parts.  She stands at around 5' 2", and can sure handle herself...told me today that she had a Black Belt when she was like 14 years old.  I can not say enough about how good this place is.  And it is nice to be able to start up the car without thinking that we have awaken all of our neighbors...however I have already ran over three older ladies who couldn't hear me coming as I drive through the condo complex!

2009 HHR Transmission

When I was at Joe’s Auto Repair and Curtis Transmission on Friday Jim, the new owner, mentioned that at 130K, I should have the Transmission Fluids changed, unless I has already done that recently.  We bought the HHR back in 2011 from a Pine Bluff Arkansas Chevy dealer as a used car…it had been a rental car.  The salesman told me that they had changed all fluids, filters, hoses and belts…and I can hear you all saying, “Ya, but salesmen lie nearly as much as politicians lie.”  Well, in this case the salesman was named Gary, and was my youngest son’s baseball coach, and I knew that Gary was an honest person.  He told me that he had seen the work order and was confident it was done.  Above is a 2009 HHR transmission outside of the engine.  Along the bottom you can see the flat area…that is what they take off to get to the transmission filter.  The tech who worked on it today told me that the fluid looked real good…had color, had no sludge, and no shavings.  THAT folks is GREAT news.  It means that the Chevy place in Pine Bluff really did change the fluid and filter as promised, and also that our transmission “should” be in fine shape…good to go for another 50-75K miles.  All I have left now is to replace a tire (front right, the front left blew out last year…will put these on the back and move the back to the front and replace them next year.)  It seems that there is always something…

Next…update on Bubba and Skruffy.

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