March 15, 2015

Good Weather Makes the Mind Wander

I actually believe that winter is officially over here in the 'tropics' of Southern Indiana. It's 58° right now on a bright sunny Sunday and a forecasted high of 68°. Although in past years I have seen weather like this in mid-March and have a snow storm weeks later ... in this case I am believing the "global warming" stories and am planning that the 2015 spring is here for good.

Not a lot going on as usual. Not really a lot to blog about, so this is just a short update for the past few weeks.

About 10 days ago when the snow was so high, Heidi did what she rarely does, she peed on the concrete. That was a blessing in disguise. As I was about to pour water over the urine to get it off the concrete, I see a puddle of blood in her urine. This poor basset hound is having a rough winter.

By the next morning we were at the vet to check that out. She had a urinary tract infection and the vet said it was not surprising with all she is going through. With a weak immune system, the infection didn't surprise him. He sold me some Baytril tables that she ate like candy for the next 10 days. Within 24 hours of the first two tablets, she was back to her normal self sprinting around the house after her first trip outside in the morning. I could tell she was already feeling much better.

The vet was happy with the improvement she saw on her skin. This is not clearing up her skin as fast I want nor as the Atopica did back in November and part of December. At times she looks like she is improving and by the end of the night, she looks no better than last October when this skin rash mess started.

Very frustrating to say the least.

The weekly shots of RESPIT are increased on schedule by .1ml until we get up to the 1ml weekly injection. Basically that is an immune program that fights all allergies that are geographic location specific. It will take almost 140 days before any improvement will be noticed. Still, it is not damaging to her kidneys or liver that long term steroids would do nor the reports of what long term Atopica would do. So I guess the wait is worth it, even though that is hard to do.

We have just passed week 6 of the treatment or as of today it's day 46 days out of 140 before noticeable results.

Would her skin problem heal or be a potential problem with location changes, environmental changes, while traveling?

Temperatures are getting high enough for me to finish the last few things on my list of house 'to do'. These things on the list have been held off until the temps get warmer. There are a couple of things I will have to wait until the ground dries out. The ground is extremely saturated with the melted snow and then two days of rain this past Thursday night and all day Friday. I'm not thrilled about getting under the house to inspect, especially with a rising water table. It's not a crawl space under there but a huge dirt hole about 4' deep and I have seen it after there are heavy rains.

As every spring, improving weather generates mind cell activity. I start thinking of traveling, and it has happened every spring since 2012. Of course two of those three years I was still working, so it wasn't possible long term. Last year I was very close with the Chevy pickup truck I had bought and the search for the right trailer. I only kept that truck for a month and a half before buying what I really wanted ... the Toyota FJ Cruiser 4x4. I still love that vehicle.

I still cannot understand why it seems to be so important what I do or don't do to some readers of this blog. I've always done what I want, not what someone else tells me to do, even at work. I've never followed the path of the yellow brick road and white picket fences around the 2-car garage house... or even the plans required to move up the corporate ladder. All of my moves have been location/recreation first ... job second. That is until this last move back to Indiana in 1994, that was job related. Even then I've pretty much followed my own path.

Based on just a few past comments and emails I have received, my traveling decision seems to be more important to them than me ... I find that very strange.

So, yes I am talking and thinking of traveling again ... dogs and all. I am also seriously considering selling the house and moving west and have thought of that most of the winter. I just need to complete those 2-3 things on the 'to do' list that I've been needing warm weather to complete. Then I can turn the house over to an real estate agent. I don't need to be around to sell the house. With no mortgage payment, I can leave the house empty, put my furniture, computers and bikes in storage and hit the road. They can show and sell the house empty. That seems to be my most consistent thought.

I still think it would be a quick sell based on price, size and location. There are not a lot of good quality houses around here in the price range of the asking price. It would make a great house for a young or older couple. The area has extremely low property taxes and the house requires little maintenance but more than I am wanting to do. I'm just not into the normal house maintenance that is required with ownership.

I've looked at, and for houses in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah recently. Once again I can't really make a decision where to go until I could get there and check the areas out. I am also not sure I want to be a homeowner once my house would sell. I'll decide that later.

I had a friend wanting to buy my Mini Cooper and all was looking good until she couldn't find someone to give her a loan. That seemed strange to me because she works where I did and is paid well. Two income family with two kids and a house. After she later told me that she had just had transferred $20,000 of credit card debt to a loan, the answer was pretty obvious.

The Mini Cooper will sell quick after I detail it, get the winter grime off of it, park it down by the highway for all to see with a for sale sign on it. I will also list it on Craig's List. Over the past few months of my blogging vacation and reduced computer time, things have getting downsized again, some detailed inch by inch house cleaning, and some minor repairs fixed.

Computer time has still stayed low. I survived the winter using little heat as possible, thus heading for a big refund in May for overpayment of my utility bills. I pay a fixed amount every month and then settle up every May. My vehicle license plates are due in April as well as my property taxes ... so basically all of the small stuff will be taken care of for the year before I hit the road.

Before next spring I would expect that my legal residence would change. With my military retirement health plan, TriCare, luckily ObamaCare is not an issue for me. With that not being a factor I can still have about any state I want as a legal residence for full time traveling.

All I know is I am tired and have been of the daily routine living where I do and the responsibilities of home ownership.

March 03, 2015

Yes There Was a Post That Disappeared

Last week I posted that I was back to blogging. Even Greg made a comment on that post ... so it was there on the blog at one time. A few hours later, I deleted it. I can only guess I deleted it because I didn't want to start blogging again. I've enjoyed my time off the computer. After 3 years on this blog I still wonder about the reasons to continue since I am not traveling right now, nor did I buy an RV.

I should have left that post up I guess because I can't remember much of what I had written. I see a few blogs I follow, their authors are either taking a blog vacation, writing less frequently and a few have even disappeared without a trace. Since people still email me asking about Heidi's condition, how are the hounds, etc ... I feel an obligation to keep blogging. Yes, I've discussed this here a few years ago and came up with the same answers.

I really do enjoy writing and posting photographs.

So, here's an update ... with possible duplicated information from last week's post that I deleted.

All the hounds are great. Heidi is slowly improving with weekly injections of RESPIT, 40 days of Ivomec and a "no grain" diet. She does not get her normal morning treat of a "Milk Bone. Her treat now in the morning is a hand full of her 'no grain' dog food, while Winston and Sadie continue to eat their "Milk Bone" treats without any skin issues. All of them are eating Taste of the Wild dog food.

Contrary to the rest of the country north of me and to the northeastern coast, my winter has been pretty mild. Temperatures became really cold just a couple of weeks ago. We had our first major snow dump of about 4" a couple of weeks ago, followed up with 3"-4" more a few days later. That is not a lot of snow, unless you are a basset hound and your legs are shorter than the depth of the snow ... then it could be a problem.

By the end of the week more snow came, so it was higher than Winston's legs. I pulled the snow shovel out and cleared out a path for him and Heidi.

Since Heidi doesn't like temperatures lower than 55° and if the ground is wet with rain or snow ... that is not an option ... she follows the dry mulch under the overhang and around the bushes for her bathroom duties. She is out just long enough to get the tanks dumped then sprints back to the door to be let in the house. A nap soon follows.

We tried the baby socks to keep her from licking off the zinc oxide lotion .. didn't work. She had the socks off within 30 minutes of me putting them on. Constant battle that she eventually won. Luckily the vet gave me liquid zinc oxide to use and it's working out much better. I will post later about her change in treatment in January and February.

Sadie in the meantime could stay outside in that snow and single digit temps forever. I have to call her or go out to get her back in the house. Her latest hobby is chasing birds that came back to Indiana a few weeks too early, expecting spring time weather. I do remember a few years ago it was t-shirts and shorts weather the first week of March but I really doubt that will happen this year ... in fact, not a chance of it happening.

As I said before, during my blog vacation I got a lot of things inside the house finished that were on my "to do" list. I have a couple of more things to do once the weather warms up. I've read a lot of books, took some afternoon siesta's, played some Mahjong and watched a few movies ... all with the computer off. The majority of time was spent doing more downsizing, cleaning every inch of the house inside, rearranging what was left and trips to the recycling center.

I'll have more photos to post as the weather becomes warmer. I'm not really an outside person when the temps are below 20°. Basically the hounds would rather sleep most of the time when it's freezing outside.

March 02, 2015

Oil Comes Within Smell Range

January 22, 2015 I stepped outside on a clear sunny afternoon to the distinct strong smell of petroleum. I will not write what my first thoughts were. Later glancing at the local small town paper online, there must of been other residents with the same thoughts as I ... because they had printed a short story on what that smell was. It was only three oil well STARTUPs and the smell should go away in a couple of weeks, no danger to the public.

That was what the newspaper said. I had my doubts.

This is nothing new to the 'tropics' of southern Indiana, its common to see them scattered throughout the farm country, just not within range of my house.

So just last week, I step outside on a bright sunny day with the temps hovering around 12°, when I have that familiar smell again. I go back to my local paper online to find a new updated short story dated February 25, 2015 ... a couple of paragraphs ... a spokesman from Citizens Energy Group states: "they expect the odor to dissipate in the coming weeks as the well start-up process concludes".

That was the same thing he said in January. It looked like the article was cut and pasted with only the publishing date changed.

My curiosity got the best of me. Saturday morning, even with winter storm warnings for later that day were announced, I poured a cup of coffee in my travel mug, picked up my camera and went to find the location of oil wells. Based on looking at the map, it was within a 3 mile radius of my house, SW of me.

I drove over to Hwy 57 and headed south, keeping my eye out for the county road sign 275S and after turning left I was going to be watching for 275W but I didn't need to do that. Before I even made a turn onto 275S I could already see the small oil operation that was set up. Last month the paper said they were setting up 3 wells. Just last week they said they were setting up 3 new wells and that was the reason for the smell. I stopped the FJ, rolled down the window and counted 10 of them within eyesight. I guess they are turning  them up 3 at a time??

I didn't have a wide angle lens to capture all of them I could see, but I could see they went as far as the eyes could see ... more than 6 of them that the newspaper mentioned. I took a photo of a couple of them to show the distance between them. All the wells photo'd were pumping.

I have googled for more information on oil drilling in general. I am asking friends and blog readers that might know about the oil drilling process, how often can I expect that strong smell of petroleum (sulfur) whipping through my neighborhood in future months. A few local friends have said this is a "no brainer", they would move if they smelled it for just one day.

The problem I have is not only the smell but between the months of April to November, I have my windows open every day/night at the house. I hate to think that out of the blue I will have to put up with that strong petroleum smell during a beautiful summer day and evening.

Is this the point I put the "House For Sale" sign up and leave it up?