December 15, 2016

I'm Rambling While It's Freezing Outside

Due to the temps being in the "danger zone" for being outside, the hounds and I have not done much outside except for THEIR occasional pee breaks .. I just wanted to make sure I was clear on that and there is no confusion about me and pee breaks.

So buckle up, because I have stories, comments, opinions popping out of my head today and I'm not sure if it's because of the wind chill factor of -3° outside as I start this or all of these old pictures bringing back memories and the stories that went with them. Anyway I was digging through my picture files so I could post more than the three pictures from today ... the memories were rising to the top of my brain cells.

Sadie is having the hardest time of all of us today. She doesn't understand the concept of a wind chill factor. All she knows is she has not been on that first walk of the day and she is anxious today, can't relax. Not only is she giving me the 'stare down' to walk but it seems like every I get up out of my chair she is doing the 360° dance thinking we are finally walking.

I have a lost bird in all of this freezing weather. I can hear him him/her chirping but I can't find him/her to take a picture. So the picture above with the feeling of 10° and feels colder than that (-3°) will have to suffice.

With only three pictures taken today I knew I needed more than that to post on the blog. I had a some things I was going to write about anyway but after looking through the old picture archives I may forget what I was originally going to write about.

{Warning:} Some of these pictures will be duplicates from past posts but new to some readers, plus a few new pictures to long time readers.

This next picture is the first HOUR that Stella was at our house, the day I brought her home. It was a hot August 30th, 2015. I didn't want her to run away so I had her on a 80' tether anchored out in the field. She explored as far as the tether could reach and seemed pretty happy with her new surroundings.

Sadie on the other hand wasn't so sure what was happening. She knew before Stella arrived that she was the 'leader of the pack', authority passed to her from Winston after he retired and just wanted to lay in the sun sleeping. By that first night, Sadie wasn't really sure if Stella was going to take over her spot in the 'food chain'. Stella wasn't Stella then either ... her name was 'Dipstick' because of her blackish tail.

Since Dipstick and I had only known each other for about six hours that first night, she didn't just jump up on the couch like she normally does now but found her a spot where no hound had ever laid down before ... west wall beside the speakers, while they were playing some tunes by the Grateful Dead.

Since we are talking 'first days' this was Heidi about 5 years younger, much better health and 20 pound heavier than now. I had bought the new hound bed at Costco right before I was to meet Heidi's foster mom. I was buying her through the GABR (link upper left). I had forgot about the one hour time difference, even though I was still in the same state. I decided during the one hour rate to run over to their Costco and buy a bed and some dog food. Heidi wasn't Heidi then either ... her name was Lucy. She told me all about it as we started our 4 hour drive home on a very hot June day.

Of coarse Heidi only spent one night on her new bed. Sadie initiated the "Bloodhound Property Laws" (linked right sidebar) and decided that bed was her new bed ... it was pretty obvious where Heidi had been sleeping prior to her arrival here in 'the tropics' ... she didn't hesitate that second night to jump up on the bed and take the open spot next to me, and even the pillow ... she has slept there every since.

This is the earliest picture I have of Sadie. I had a lot of puppy pictures of her but in my infinite wisdom I re-formatted my hard drive on a Windows PC thinking I had backed up everything a few days prior in 2008. I was mad to see that was not true and I had lost every picture of Sadie's first year along with all my other pictures.

It didn't take her long to let me know she really was a bloodhound and that she would be running the house from now own and not only that ... the 'Bloodhound Property Laws' were in action so the furniture was hers, not mine. That has also continued for over eight years.

She did one strange thing, and something none of my other hounds did ... she liked to sleep on hard surfaces with little or no blankets. When kept in the indoor kennel, she would scratch the blankets back to lay on that black plastic floor.

That is until she took over Heidi's new hound bed. She only decided to sleep on this blanket pictured below, one afternoon because she saw Winston sleeping there. According to the 'Bloodhound Property Laws', it was now her blanket. She bothered Winston enough that he got up and moved to the living room to continue his nap on the couch.

She was and has always surprised me. Nothing tops the time on one Sunday morning where the hounds came back inside after their first trip of the day outside. I am not sure what she ate, or what bit her but these bumps were everywhere from her head to her tail. A little Benadryl took care of it within thirty minutes.

It's not a first day picture but this time of year is bringing back some pretty sad memories. If you go by the date it was December 19 last year where Winston hurt his back when he got up that Saturday morning and totally lost use of his back legs. The vet ran needles down his spine a few hours later without even a flinch from Winston. He was paralyzed.

That vet suggested to put him down if he didn't respond to his medication by the following Monday. I needed a second opinion so I went to a different vet that had different ideas. We worked a couple more weeks until January 5th when I had to euthanize. He had a bad last day/night and got a lot worse. I know all about 'letting go', and all the other stuff on how I should feel .. but almost daily this past year I catch myself wishing he was still here.

To change to a better subject ... what about my "issues" as some people have called them, with my cars habit/addiction? I thought I remembered many of them but after looking through old pictures I may have had more vehicles than I can remember. These pictures are not all of them either, just a few of them.

This was my first 2003 Z4 that got me addicted to that make of car. It's one of those "I should have never sold it" and one of the reasons my current silver one is sitting outside my window and was just driven yesterday.  It's hard to find this color combination for a Z4 .. yes, I sold it on impulse with an offer I could not refuse.

Are there any other cars where I sold them in forty seven days or less? Well not this 2011 Kia Sorrento but it didn't last longer than three months in 2014. I didn't have it long enough to take many pictures if any at all but I had time to mount new tires on it along with a brand new OEM cargo mat, new floor mats and a cargo net. I needed the new tires to get up my driveway in the snow AN HOUR AFTER I BOUGHT IT !!!!!

Earlier before I made the purchase I asked the salesman if I could drive this car up my driveway with snow and ice. I even held up my iPhone showing him a picture of the driveway taken that morning to use as a reference. He told me that the Kia's whopping 4-cylinder engine, FWD could make it up my 100' driveway in snow and ice without any problem ... he knew that "because my mother-in-law drives her Kia Sorrento every where in the snow". That is not why I bought it because the more he talked the more I felt my hip-waders filling up at a rapid rate ... if you get my joke.

Besides that maroon color 2003 Z4 (I happened to like that color on the Z4 just not on the latest FJ), the other vehicle that I kick myself in the butt for selling was my 1994 Chevy 2500 LT truck. I saw it downtown last month doing just what the new owner told me in May 2014 he was going to use it for ... towing a trailer with a lot freshly cut wood on it.

It had a V-8 engine and could have towed any trailer I wanted or the full size bed would have been good for an Arctic Fox truck camper. The truck already had heavy duty springs. Yet there were not have been enough room up in the cab for three hounds, especially two bloodhounds. At the time it was hard for two bassets and one bloodhound to ride with me up front.

I sold that white truck because at the time my 'hair was on fire' about downsizing, buying a trailer and hitting the road in May 2014. I stopped in to just visit with my friend that has the used car lot. While we were talking they brought out this 2006 Chevy 2500HD 4x4 from the garage to the sales lot. I told him to start the sales paperwork and have it ready by the time I got back from a test drive.

It was a fantastic truck that I traded possibly less than forty-seven days to buy the 2007 Blue Toyota FJ. The FJ was something I had always wanted ... I have not looked back in my records to get an exact number of days but I know it wasn't much longer than a month. The car lot that took it in as a trade for the FJ, sold the truck within two days.

For you new readers, your may not be familiar with my history of trading and buying cars. This next picture is before I knew any of you online and way before I even thought of blogging let alone writing on a blog.

Let me introduce you to four vehicles I owned at one time, sometime around 2004 I think maybe even 2003. Going clockwise from the bottom left ... that is a 1965 Standard VW Bus, behind it is a 2002 Jeep Liberty that I bought new, to the right moves to my 1960 Single Cab VW Pickup and in front of that is a 1993 Mazda Miata LE, where they made only 1,500 of them. It was black with red leather interior.

One thing about that 2002 Jeep, it was jinxed. I've never had luck with the two jeeps I've owned while living here. This was one of them. Within it's first 1,500 miles a deer running down a hill crashes into the side of my new Liberty ... that's what I get for going to work on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

It doesn't stop there.

A few weeks later while driving to a vet 40 miles away to pick up Max (basset hound) after surgery, I am sitting at a stop light in a small town almost at the vet office, when one of those old 1970's 100ft long and heavy as a tank Oldsmobile's drives into the back of me like I wasn't even there. She was talking on her cell phone.

Ask me how I know she was talking on a cell phone??? I know she was talking because as I stepped out of my car to look at the damage, she opened her door to tell me everything was okay and nothing was damaged ... while standing with a cell phone attached to her ear .. talking. I was just happy she used the same company I did for car insurance and I was paid quickly.

I'm not done with the Jeep ... LOL ... are you still with me??

Since the new Jeep Liberty had been ran into, it needed a new rear door and window. Two weeks later as I have driving that same Jeep home from the dealership body shop with a new rear door and new rear window ... 10 miles from home a dump truck in on-coming traffic decides it has that one special rock in the back their truck that can fly out of the dump truck and hit my front windshield perfectly .... I now need a front window replaced.

NO!!!!  I am not done with the jeep .... I've only driven this 2,500 miles, it's new !!!! All of that stuff happened within the first 2,500 miles for the brand new Jeep Liberty.

A year or two later, I am not sure, but I do know that 22,000 miles later I hear a loud clicking sound coming from the engine. My co-workers at the time were all 'gearheads' in their spare. Each one tells me in different discussions "it's your timing belt".

I'll make this long story short ... the Jeep Dealership service manager accused me of using the wrong oil filter on my oil changes ... that is ... until I brought over every dealership receipt showing THEY did all my oil and filter changes. They did NOT replace the timing belt while they had the chance .. they replaced the $8 plastic clip that worked with the timing belt tensioner.

I came home that night, got online and found a nice 2000 Toyota 4Runner at a JEEP dealership up by Indy. We had barely just enough time to complete a test drive and sign the paperwork right before the lights went out at 9pm.

LOL ... I told you in the 2nd paragraph you better hang on.

Back to that 1960 VW Single Cab pickup ... fantastic in the snow due to the low gear ratio. I use to have strangers stop by the house that saw it sitting on top of the hill as they drove by. They were wanting to swap out their dune buggy transmissions for the one I had in the VW because it had a lower gear ratio and would be great in the mud or sand for them.

I sold it really by mistake. One Sunday morning I posted it on a VW site at a very high price, just to see what kind of interest I would get, never expecting to sell it ... it sold within 45 minutes to someone in Florida. I guess my sales prices wasn't high enough.

I won't bore you with all the details in my processes to buy or not buy RVs, or trailers ... but just ONE story. After a lot of research I was planning on buying this Starcraft AR-ONE trailer. It's the same trailer that Gary Ramsey still uses today, living full-time on the road.

I walked in that day after talking to them the week before with my check in hand and ready to tow it home with my H3 Hummer. I would have taken it the week before but they needed time in their busy schedule to prep it for delivery. As I walked in the man I needed to talk to was helping another customer. While they talked I went outside to look at the trailer .... 20 minutes later ... I changed my mind !!! I told him I had changed my mind, got in my Hummer H3 and drove home.

Nothing struck a memory cord for this next picture. I just happened to see it while looking through a folder I have called "My Pictures". Hussong's wasn't in this nice of shape in 1977-1980 as it had the more authentic look to it. I can't say how many days and nights I spent there down in Ensenda MX, Baja California but it was enough we seriously considered buying a place on the beach even with Mexico owning the land. A great place even today.

It's days like these in 'the tropics' of southern Indiana that my mind drifts to places like this ... I can almost feel how warm it is looking at these pictures but my iPhone weather app is still saying "it feels like" 16° outside a little after 4pm. Still too cold for a walk today.

No more pictures but I still have a little more rambling to do if you are still here.

It's been one of my most productive days and full of good news in my eyes. Some information might be helpful to those that have Directv or own a 2012 Mini Cooper S Countryman.

Let's start with the car first. Whenever I trade cars I look at it's CarFax but that doesn't tell you everything that has been done with maintenance or repairs. It does tell you some of the places they had that type of work done along with phone numbers. All I needed was the last seven to eight characters of the Mini Cooper's VIN.

No bad news, as nothing needed repair with the past owners. Only two recalls were done. The great news is when I called the local Mini Dealer (90 miles close), they told me that Mini had extended my warranty for 10 years or a 120,000 miles for the fuel pump ... 7 years or 84, 000 miles for the water pump. I am sitting here at year 5 and just turned 59,000 miles. So those were two things after reading the owners forum I thought I might want to save my money for in case I needed them replaced in the future.

I mentioned a few months ago about Directv's protection plan where I had been paying close to $100 per year and never used it. The last time I ever needed service help was in 2008 after straight line winds destroyed their satellite dish. So to me that was $800 I've paid over 8 years that I never used. That money would have been better invested at the local casino 50 or so miles away, and preferably a craps table. Plus it would have been a lot more fun.

I had been holding off canceling that protection plan because they would remind me I would lose my free upgrade to their Geni Receiver. With that I could record five games/movies/shows all at the same time. I really wasn't interested in that nor did I care about the 1Tb of memory.

That extra memory would only lead me to the same problem I have now with a 500Mb DVR being full of ballgames that I don't want to lose if I switch out receives.

So I cut the cord to the protection plan ... why? What if 'Murphy's Law' shows up tonight and my system breaks right before college football bowl season? Well ... IF that were to happen and I were to call for repair service, Directv's customer service rep will offer me to sign up for that protection plan again, effective immediately, for free repair service. The catch is I would have to keep the protection plan for twelve months moving forward. Not a bad deal that they do not advertise. Plus I like to gamble I guess.

It's still freezing, too cold for a hound walk and besides ... Sadie gave up and joined Heidi and Stella for a long afternoon nap on their camping sleeping bag I bought them for the Utah trip in June 2015. Plus they have formed an attraction for my Marmot sleeping bag.

It could have been 'movie night' tonight but instead we will be watching the Seattle Seahawks game on NFL Thursday Night.

All is good here in 'the tropics' of southern Indiana.

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