Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Final Saga of ‘Black Tank’ Vacuum Generator Rebuild – What a “OOPS” We Avoided

At home in Holiday / Tarpon Springs area

Vacuum Tank Generator Pump with Elbow

Ok, this is the last of the vacuum tank generator rebuild post…I thought I had posted the end a week ago, but there was a “TWIST” in all of this, which I just feel must be shared.

Elbow leading to Black Tank

This “elbow” had a leak right where it connected to the vacuum pump…the end not connected leads to the black tank, so looking above it was the joint attached to the pump.  As I said previously, the person at Home Depot gave me the wrong gasket.  Last week I took the elbow off, and took it to Ace Hardware, no luck finding the right gasket.  So I ordered a gasket from Amazon…but it was too small also.  So I took the entire elbow to Home Depot (last time I only took the old gasket to Home Depot), and I ended up getting a beveled Slip Joint Washers and nutslip joint washer (pictured right).  Of all the gaskets I looked at and purchased…and I lost track of how many types I looked at, let alone purchased, this gasket seemed to be the best prospect...fairly tight fit, and looked to me like it would work.  NORMALLY a slip joint washer goes on the pipe that the sticks out of the locking nut…but that is not how this setup works.  The nut attaches to a threaded pipe, and there is no way to get to the white pipe that comes out the other end of the nut….all of that is glued in place as part of the elbow. Had there been easier access, I would have tried various gaskets which I purchased...but I wanted to put it back together just one more time and not many times, hence the long search for the right gasket.

Getting the elbow out was an easy task…putting it back in was much harder than I expected.  When I put it on last time, I already had attached it to the pump, as shown in the first picture.  I really did not want to have to take the pump back out…but yesterday (Tuesday) I lost both of the washers trying to reach into that crowded area and attach the elbow to the pump and to the line to the black tank.  GRRRRR!   Today I bought three packages of washers, two per pack.  But I had the CRAZY idea of trying to see if I could attach the elbow without a washer as a test just to see if it was possible.  As I do this, the elbow slips out of my hand, and back behind the entire vacuum pump generator tank with NO WAY to get to it without taking off the vacuum pump.  DOUBLE GRRRRRR!  (But mom, you would be proud of me…all I said was CRAP….that means I just have to lick the soap and not take a big bite of it had I said the “S” word!)

Vacuum Generator Pump sitting on and attached to the tank

The above picture I showed in a previous blog….to remove you undo the bolts shown by white arrows (and loosen the ones behind it in corresponding positions), then undo the white nuts shown by red arrows (the one on right is the elbow which is now behind the entire motor and tank).  DuckbillDoing this, I was then able to move the motor toward me just a few inches, turn, and provide enough room to get to the elbow.  As I do this, I look at opening of the dark pipe created where the left arrow is and what do I see???  To my HORROR, I see that the duckbill (pictured right) is facing the wrong way!!!!  Oh my goodness….there is NO WAY any solids would be able to pass through a duckbill which is facing the wrong way!  HOLY CRAP!  (Yes mom, I know that deserves a bite of soap…thank goodness they did not have Tide Pods when I was a kid!

Thank goodness I dropped that elbow back behind the tank…we would have been up to our necks in poop before we got to California, that’s for sure.  It was easy to put the duckbill in the right way, and I double checked the other three duckbills, which were all facing the right way.  I attached the elbow to the pump motor assembly, and I put the motor back, attached all the pipes, reconnected an electrical wire that came loose as I tightened everything, and I am happy to say that all is working.  Turn on the switch, the green light comes on within 30-45 seconds, you flush, the green light comes on again in 30-45 seconds, you turn off the switch.  Also, no leaks!  Job is finally done.  We should be good for another few years now….four weeks from tonight and we should be on the road again.

(If you missed my work on rebuilding the Vacuum Generator Pump, see these blog postings….A 'Dirty' Job but Someone Has to Do ItUp to my Neck in …; and Dirty Deed is Done, AND IT WAS …

Friday, February 16, 2018

Flowers Surprise ‘Again’

At home in Holiday / Tarpon Springs area

Marcia's Valentine Flowers

Every year, this being the 8th Valentines Day that we have known each other, I have surprised Marcia with flowers…although one year we were out-of-town so the surprise happened a few days later on our anniversary.  I had the flowers delivered on the 13th, 1-800-Flowers again.  It was perfect…Marcia took her afternoon nap around 3 pm, the flowers came around 4 pm, when she came out she saw the ‘box’ and nearly fainted again.  Earlier she said, “WOW, it's nearly Valentines Day!”  I said, “Oh, that one snuck up on both of us this time….”, and just went about my business.  It worked…she had no clue that I knew it was Valentines day...I had ordered her flowers 10 days earlier.  😀

Marcia's Valentine Flowers

The next day the flowers always look better…as she says, “Hey, I just got up, you have no business taking my picture!”  Hey, it’s Valentines Day, pictures are in order!

Marcia's Valentine Flowers (Skruffy is jealous)

Can you see it in Skruffy's eyes?    “Hey, mom got flowers, don’t I get anything?????”

Of course, the day was soured by the senseless shooting down in southern Florida.  Our hearts go out to those who lost love ones, prayers for those who are still fighting for their life. 

Union Washer

Went by the motorhome today, took out the elbow running from the Vacuum Generator towards the Black Tank.  (If you missed my work on rebuilding the Vacuum Generator Pump, see these blog postings….A 'Dirty' Job but Someone Has to Do ItUp to my Neck in …; and Dirty Deed is Done, AND IT WAS … ) Took it over to the ACE Hardware, and to my disappointment, they did not have the right gasket.  They did have an “O-Ring”, which was the right size, but not really what I needed.  I bought it anyway, 85 cents, just in case.  Went over to another ACE Hardware, and they had the same collection as the first ACE Hardware…but I decided to try a slip joint washer…it was only 59 cents, and it was 1/4 inch too small.  I got to thinking about it, I decided to go back home, get on the Internet, and try and find what I really needed.  Did some research, found what to search for, and found that Amazon has what I need, it is called a “Union Washer”, and it looks just like the one I took out a few weeks ago when I did the original work.  It measures 1-1/8 inches on the inner diameter, and 1-5/8 inches on the outer diameter…perfect!  Should be in on Monday or Tuesday, and then we will be in business. 


Marcia had her first visit with her new Neurologist, and we came away from that appointment feeling like we had really scored.  We both really like this Neurologist, and he suggested that we have another set of MRI tests done, along with some X-Rays, and some tests in his office “just to get a snap-shot” of how she is doing.  Results of the MRI and X-Rays are in, and he said that her MS has not progressed and all he saw in her neck was a bit of arthritis.  The office test are next week, and then she just has her mammogram in early March followed by another meeting with the Neurologist for a short “results of your test” meeting, and we are done for the year...then we start packing up the motorhome, and we plan to leave on Wednesday, March21st after church.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Life with a Diabetic Dog

At home in Holiday / Tarpon Springs area

Skruffy in her (Marcia's) Chair

It has been 18 months since we nearly lost little Skruffy and found out she was a Diabetic Dog.  A “LOT” has happened in this past 18 months, all for the good, thank goodness.  Of course, it has not all been “REAL GOOD”, but considering what others have gone and are going through, it has been good.


Hill's Diet Diabetic Food

Skruffy eats twice per day, with little to no treats in between.meals.  Well, ok, she gets a little bite of bacon, or other meat when we eat at Breakfast or at Dinner, but when I say little, it is less than an ounce per day.  At Sandy and Arny’s house, she gets Pork Treats, where I have fried up some pork strips, freeze for future treats, refrigerate for the next few days treats.  Arny gives her one in the morning, Sandy gives her one at 4 pm.  Since she gets WAY MORE exercise in their backyard than she does her in the condo or on the road, it compensates for these protein treats.  Both breakfast and Dinner, now at 8:30 am and 8:30 pm, she gets 3.5 ounces of food.  1.5 ounces of the dry, WD Hill’s Diet (bag in middle above), and then 2 ounces of a mixture of canned WD Chicken Stew and ID Chicken Stew.  Right now it is 2 parts WD stew to 1 part ID stew.  The canned food is placed over the dry food, mixed together, and then she eats.  And when this girl eats, she eats as if there is no tomorrow…she gobbles…she devours….she is not a lady when she eats.  When finished, she will come back to me…looks at me, then go back to her dish and lick it clean again.

Syringes and Insulin

With each meal, she gets her insulin shot.  Currently she gets 4 units at breakfast, and 3.5 units at dinner.  About once or twice per week I test her blood sugar.  She has been in the 80-160 range most of the time…rarely she is under 50, less rarely she is just over 200.  I will adjust her insulin just a half of a unit when that happens, either cutting breakfast down to 3.5, or increasing dinner up to 4, then after a few days go back to the 4 units in the morning, 3.5 in the afternoon.  There is no saying WHY it fluxuates…perhaps she ate a bug out in the lawn….perhaps she laid around too much during the day.  I have given up guessing.  But for the most part, she is between 80 and 140, which seems to work for her.

Where to Buy

PetSmart and Walmart

The dog food is purchased mainly at PetSmart….the insulin and needles mainly at Walmart.  Lately, I have run into glitches with both.  PetSmart will only have the diabetic food only if it has a Banfield inside it.  The first time I got the food, I had to show the doctor’s prescription, the one I got in Alaska, in order to get the food.  They made a Banfield card that I now show at the register…it says, “Discard by 2/7/20”, and worked fine…until the last time I got the food in Sacramento.  The gal says, “Your card does not say the right expiration date on it.”   I said, “Yes it does, it says it is good until the 2020.”  “NO”, she says, “It should say all four numbers of the expiration year on it…you need to go talk to the Banfield people.”  I guess it is only good for 6 months, so for half a year, I was using an expired card….the last two digits were inadvertently cut off of the card. But to me, it sure looked like it was good until 2020 since it is written as “2/7/20”   They said that the next time I see the vet (in March) to ask them to write a prescription which is indefinitely.  I said, “You know, Diabetes does not just “VANISH”, I don’t understand….”  “Yes”, she says, ‘it is just the rules…sorry.”  GRRRRRR   Well today I go into Walmart to get some more needles.  I always try to keep two bottles of the Novolin on hand, and one bottle lasts two months…even longer except I toss out the rest after two months.  I have one full bottle, plus the one I draw from…so all I needed was the needles.  That box you see above is empty…I only had four or five needles left.  I don’t like being that low.  Anyway, I go into Walmart and the lady says, “You need to have proof that you bought the Novolin here at Walmart.”  WHAT?  I have NEVER had a problem getting the Novolin or the Needles…what am I to do?  The prescription that I got in Alaska is back in the RV, 10+ miles from this Walmart.  Thank goodness the Pharmacist came and let me have the box “this time”.  In March we go back to the vet, and I will have written proof that Skruffy is a Diabetic Dog, and that the Diabetes will not go away.  GRRRRRRR.   And I JUST DON'T GET IT...why does she need a prescription to get Diabetic Dog Food anyway?  After all, this stuff is NOT CHEAP!  Why anyone would want to feed their dog this unless it was sick is beyond me...BUT, they require a prescription in order to have the great honor of spending lots of money for this food???   And then there is the new needle rule at Walmart....

Mapl of Syring Needle Exchange, 2014 from 

...above is a map of FREE NEEDLE EXCHANGE cities in the USA where druggies can get free needles to allow them to put their Heroin or whatever into their veins.  Yet I am jumping through hoops to put Insulin into my dog to keep her healthy.  Go figure.... 


Skruffy on her (Marcia's) Chair

There are two signs you want to watch for…..If she drinks and pees a lot, then her blood sugar is high.  If she is lazy, lethargic, she is low.  The problem is the latter…as she gets older, she is more lazy, more lethargic due to her age.  NORMALLY, she will jump up onto this chair, even with the pillows on it.  Sometimes, she want so to be helped up on it. 

Skruffy's bed and Skruffy's (Marcia's) Chair

“IF” she does not want to jump up, she with either get into her little bed between the chairs (I am sitting in a chair in the foreground outside of the lens of the camera above), “OR” she will simply just lay down in the bed, with or without the blanket there.  (The blanket is used more by me than by her, and was given to Marcia by mom a few years ago…and a new blanket was given to Marcia this year so I get to use this one.)  For the past two nights, she was asleep in this bed, and when I went to bed she was hard to wake up to go to bed too…so we thought that perhaps her blood sugar was low…but today it was just over 200, so it was not low.  Go figure…..

Arny and Sandy's

I think she was just dreaming of better times…when she anticipated getting up every morning so that she could BARK, RUN AROUND THE YARD, and JUST be a DOG…