Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wallpapering Buddies

In late May of every year, up until now, Arch and I threw a "bring your own lobster" party for the neighbours. The lobster season ends in our area on May 30 so a season ending feast seemed appropriate. Everyone arrived with their lobster and the "experts" argue about how to cook them. About 25 to 30 people attend and a great time is had by all.
Is this watched pot going to boil?
Cooked and ready to eat
Arch makes it easy for everyone by chopping the claws
About 5 years ago one neighbour emailed to say he met a couple new to the neighbourhood and could they be his guests at the party. Of course, I said, everyone is welcome. Then, on the night of the party, the neighbour who issued the invitation was unable to attend and did not notify the people he had invited. So they showed up, lobsters in hand, to a party where they knew no one and were horrified that their host was not here. Needless to say we invited them in and they have been great friends ever since - although they must tolerate being called "the party crashers" at subsequent parties.
In 2009 we went to California with them for a golfing, hiking and exploring holiday
That couple was Norman and Susan and they are our volunteer wallpaperers. (I don't think that is a word, but, you get my drift.) They came last Sunday for the first round of wallpapering and spent all day working away in the "Adventure Bus".

They work well together, don't you think? Norman called it a bonding experience. And the wallpaper looks great. Really freshens everything up. You can see it on the wall behind Susan, below. Left click on the pictures for a larger view.

 I sure am glad we invited them in that day 5 years ago. Thanks guys.

They ran out of wallpaper. More has been ordered and I will post more pictures when to job is finished.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's all About the Mattress

We've spent hours trying to decide on a new mattress for the motorhome. We have a king size bed now that was very expensive and we love so deciding on something for the motorhome is a big deal to us. We've been looking at memory foam but it is incredibly expensive. Thought about a sleep number bed but then we read a blog post by Nina at Wheeling it . So much for that idea. Then yesterday we received a Groupon for a Memory Foam Mattress, all components made in Canada, at an amazing price.

So we headed into Sears to try out the memory foam mattresses. They had three different ones, at three different prices, all over $1500, just for the mattress. All very comfortable. So we came home and purchased the Groupon and ordered a queen-size deluxe mattress.  We've purchased groupons in the past - mostly for golf - and had great success with them. They have always been accepted without hesitation and been very good value so we are looking forward to receiving the mattress. I'll let you know what we think when it arrives.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tara's Story

Several people have asked about Tara. (We find it encouraging that rvers all seem to be dog lovers). Tara's story is a long one.

She came to live with us from the SPCA in March 2004 when she was 4 months old. The people there told us that she and her brother were found abandoned in a field. Likely discarded by a puppy mill because they were not perfect.

At the SPCA her name was Eve.  Our grand niece immediately changed that to Tara, her favourite name. The first year went very well, Tara is a loving dog who gets along with everyone, especially children. She does a great job as the greeter at Bay Hammocks.
She loves to sleep on the bed
Then the first accident. Tara is a country dog, accustomed to running free around our almost 2 acre property. One day Arch was walking her on a leash in a small town when she saw another dog across the street. In her excitement she broke her leash and raced across the road to say hello. And was hit by a van driven by a woman with three children on board. Tara received a cut on her leg, was a bit banged up but otherwise OK. The children were very upset. After calming the kids they and their mom drove Arch and Tara back to his sister's home where we cared for her leg. All was well that ended well. We thought.
Checking Princess out
Then Princess came to live with us. Tara was fine with this addition to the family, Princess would have preferred a family where she was queen and king of the castle. One night we were away at different events and Tara and Princess were home alone. Arch got home first and discovered that Tara had found a large bottle of Anicin and eaten the whole thing. As we had already learned that Tara will eat anything that fits into her mouth we scoured the house before we went out & thought it was free of any problems. The only thing we can think of is that Princess found the bottle of pills under the bed and in playing with it rolled them out where Tara could get them. Or maybe she was deliberately trying to get rid of Tara. Who knows? With Princess, anything is possible. A trip to the emergency vet (how lucky we are to have such a service) where they induced vomiting and fed her charcoal (apparently the charcoal absorbs the foreign matter in her stomach before the body does) and all was well.

Then we were awakened one night by Tara having a seizure. Panic set in and we called the emergency vet service. A few questions later it was diagnosed that it was likely epilepsy. Which was confirmed by our vet the next day. After a long period of experimentation with medication, and some very scary seizures, her epilepsy is now somewhat controlled and she only has seizures once every 3 or 4 weeks and we have learned to live with them and accept them as being a part of what makes Tara, Tara.

Then the next accident. Again, we were out. The house had been scoured for anything Tara could get into and I thought all was well. There were 3 - 300 gram bags of chocolate chips on the kitchen counter. I put them up high where I thought she could not reach them. Wrong! We arrived home 2 hours later to discover she had eaten them all. How she got to them we do not know - did Princess have a hand in this one too?? Another trip to the emergency vet. By now we are calling them the "Midnight Vets". Stomach pumped, more charcoal, an overnight stay and all is well again.

Then the worst of all. Tara was swimming in the ocean in late May. When the water in the north Atlantic is really cold. But she loved it and went swimming often. This time she was out over her, and Arch's, head when she had a seizure and went under the water, head first. Arch, who is not a swimmer, took off his shoes and went to get her. He managed to grab her tail and haul her in to shore. Where he gave her artificial respiration until she started to breath, then got her in the car, brought her home to get me and off we went to the Midnight Vet. There they put her in an oxygen kennel where she stayed overnight. We picked her up the next morning and delivered her to our vet and she spent that day in the oxygen kennel. Then we brought her home where she quickly returned to normal. Now she only swims in lakes, attached to her leash. She is very cautious and does not go out very far.
This lake is shallow so she doesn't need her leash
After this all was well for about a year. Then she started to limp. After several trips to the vet it was determined that she had a torn ACL in her right back leg. TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) surgery was required. Following the surgery was a 3 month recovery period. As Tara sleeps in our bedroom we had to carry her - all 85 lbs. - up and down stairs until she was able to manage them as she would not consider sleeping down stairs alone. This was difficult but we managed by using a harness on her front end - Arch lifted her here  and I balanced her with a towel under her hind end.

One month after she recovered from this she was running for a stick when she fell. Arch knew immediately what had happened and loaded her in the car to go to the vet where it was confirmed. The ACL in her left hind leg had torn. More surgery, more carrying her up and down stairs, but, she recovered well and was fine for a few months.
Tara came home immediately after surgery because of her epilepsy
Now she is favouring her right front leg. We are not sure that we understand the problem but her spine is degenerating and the condition is progressive and not curable. She takes pain medication and, while she limps, she is happy and loves to go for short walks and accompanies Arch everywhere he goes. And she still delivers the paper each day.

So now we just go day by day, accept her as she is, and hope she will be joining us on our great adventure.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Some Adjustments are Easy

Some Not so Much

Arch and I grew up in Nova Scotia, went to university in Quebec and lived and worked in Ontario for 39 years. Montreal still feels like a second home and we loved living in Ontario. We made great friends - whom we miss.  But, we never quite felt like we belonged there.

So when we "retired" in 2003 we moved back to Nova Scotia, built our retirement home and plunged into life in Nova Scotia.

Some adjustments were easy. We love being with our families, living in a neighbourhood where we made great friends and running a business in such a business-friendly environment.

We rapidly learned to chat with people whether we knew them or not. To look people in the eye and say hello when we get on elevators. To be more polite and gracious when driving (Arch still finds this a bit of a challenge). To stop for jaywalkers, no matter where they step off the curb. We love the fact that when you call a business you still get a person on the phone - unless it's a bank, of course. We were amazed when we went to get our Nova Scotia driving credentials and, when we did not have all the papers we needed, the woman serving us said " don't worry about that - I will call the company and get the information I need later" and gave us our plates. And then, the person issuing our drivers licence asked us to smile for our photos and offered to take a second one of me when the first wasn't very flattering! We quickly changed back into Nova Scotians.

Except for one thing. We have still difficulty with is how long it takes to get things done. All this sociability is a time killer. I cannot head for downtown Halifax, make four stops on the way, and still get there in the amount of time I expected to. You cannot quickly run into a store here, purchase something and get out quickly. You must wait while the cashier chats with the person in front of you - there always seems to be time to admire a new baby, chat with a child, discuss the weather, etc. etc. Or, the product you want must be ordered.

So that is where we are with the motorhome renos. The floor is done. The wallpaper is ordered and will arrive in 10 days. The upholstery is being done - I have been told this could take up to 2 months. TWO MONTHS!! To upholster two dining chairs and recover 6 valences! The same with the side curtains. So we are in waiting mode.

One really good thing. Great friends have volunteered to do the wallpapering for us. Can you believe it? They volunteered! Needless to say, we are taking them up on their offer.