Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Hospital, Yard work and an Offer

I managed to pick up whatever bug this is going around - no doubt from Brad who was sick with it for 2 weeks... I only had it for a week but I had other complications it turns out... I just kept thinking it would get better eventually as it did for Brad, but I had symptoms Brad didn't have. Now keep in mind that many years ago I had a stroke and it took me 3 days to get to a Dr, I don't go to the Dr unless things are dire.

So Sunday night, having intended to go to the Dr on Monday morning I was in such a bad way that I had Brad take me to the ER at Royal University Hospital at 11pm. I hadn't slept for a week, hacking, blowing, unable to swallow. I was given some ice chips to help while I waited, after hours in the waiting room we got put into a room an hour later we said to hell with it... by now it was 3am and City Hospital ER opened at 5am, maybe they could help me. So I stopped by the desk to ask for another cup of ice chips before I left. The nurse assured me the Dr was coming momentarily so we returned to wait. Within 5 min he was there, same guy we'd seen wandering around the last several hours. He did get me sorted in short order and they took some blood work to CYA and sent me packing with a 4 day prescription to clear up my throat. It did.

RUH Emergency

While we were waiting to be seen in ER, Brad went out for a smoke (vape). He got to talking to a guy, turns out there is a thing about Vaping... if the nicotine level is too strong it can effect your throat. Monday morning, I researched and found this website with nicotine levels from a large assortment of cigarettes available in Canada. They don't print it on the package anymore!

I had been vaping at 18mg of nicotine for 3 weeks... most cigarettes come in around 10 - 14mg... oops. Knowing that the vape comes in 0mg, 6mg, 9mg and 18mg I realized that what I needed was 9mg so I went back to the vape shop and the same kid was working, I explained what had happened (he was the one who told us at a pack a day we would need the 18mg) and that it put me in the ER. Not in a nasty way, just so that he wouldn't make the same mistake and potentially kill someone down the line with nicotine poisoning.

Content with that, I started doing 9mg and blended the 18mg & 9mg for Brad giving him a 13.5mg. Yesterday I realized that I was low on the 1 bottle of 9mg I had so went back to the vape shop for another and I also wanted two 0mg to blend with the 18mg which would then give us more 9mg once Brad was ready to reduce again.

The Manager happened to be working so I explained to him what happened with the ER and too much nicotine, he advised he would be discussing it with the kid we dealt with. Again, not nasty just making sure the kid understood the importance of what he is selling and how it can affect a person's health. The Manager asked me a couple of questions and it turns out there are two different coils for these vape machines... a 0.60 and a 1.20... the .60 is for a straight to lung inhale (crazy to me) and the 1.20 is for more of a cigarette inhale (this is us). The kid sold us the .60's.... effectively turning our 18mg into 36mg!!!! Holy Mother of God! That's like 6 cigarettes in 1.... No wonder I got so damn sick and couldn't swallow.

The Manager has sorted us out and while Brad (and I) are not impressed that this happened, at least the problem was acknowledged and dealt with to save anyone else from being adversely affected.

We've been puttering around the yard here at Brad's Mum's while she has been away on vacation and got quite a bit of weeding done, put some grass seed down as the lawn was getting some bare patches and even touched up some staining on the deck. I've been too sick until Monday to do much of anything and with Brad's back/neck problems it was a very slow process.



We got an offer on our house!!!!!!!!!!!!

Late Monday we received an offer from our Realtor for our house that we have on the market. So excited! Anyway, it was low as you might imagine (well we expected it anyway, because of the state of the market in our locale), so we have countered. We are waiting to hear back from them as they made the offer and then had to leave on a business trip abroad. Their realtor assures our realtor that he will be able to contact them once they have arrived at their destination and that they are expecting a counter.

Meanwhile another woman was checking out our house so our neighbour took her in to see it. She loved it and apparently intends to contact our realtor to have a proper viewing with her husband.

None of this changes anything until it does obviously, but its a glimmer of hope and after everything we've been dealing with, we'll take it. So nice to get some good news for a change. I've even gone so far as to start thinking of what we will do once the house sells.... no spoilers though.

Incidentally, Brad started his new medication about a week and a half ago and all is well on that front.

Friday, 25 May 2018

10, 9 and 5



I have been 10 days now without a 'cigarette', I am using a vape - not one of those ridiculous things the kids are using that looks like a bong... but a much more subtle vape gadget - more age appropriate, if there is such a thing. That sounds ridiculous, I know. I was not interested in Vaping because what I'd seen were just these bong looking things and that just isn't - well, it isn't me.

Image result for vape aspire breeze
The Aspire Breeze is the one we chose


Image result for vape
This is the one some of the kids are using... note the difference.

Anyway, 10 days now and while I am still getting the nicotine that my body craves, I do not have the smoke aspect and have actually noticed a difference in my lungs. Not that I was having lung issues, but considering I've been sick... I'm surprised by the noticeable difference I'm feeling.

I'm finding the last couple of days that I'm not connected to the thing as much as I was in the beginning. I was carrying it everywhere with me. The kid at the vape store did say that would happen. "You'll be tied to it for the first while and then you'll notice you start to leave it sitting around"... he was right.

Brad has started to integrate his vape in with his cigarettes, he's pretty concerned about switching but is completely impressed that I have had no indication of any trouble with it. No 'nic fits', no moodiness, no nothing...

The machines cost $35CAD each, the vape juice was $25 each (I expect 1 will last us a month) and then you also have to buy replacement atomizers... I don't remember how much they were but roughly $15 for 5... also expected to do 1 person a month. Considering we were spending approximately $900CAD on cigarettes a month (WOW putting that in print is shocking)... I'd s,ay we can manage $40/month...

The trick will be to reduce our nicotine levels as soon as possible before the price of this stuff goes up.......

9 Days ago we switched Robbie to a raw diet. I know I've mentioned before about sweeping up a chihuahua every day that falls off this dog and it drives me crazy... In another life I had a dog on the raw diet and absolutely loved it but when we got Robbie we knew we were going to be in the middle of nowhere so I put him on Kibbles & Bits knowing I could get it anywhere.

At the time the raw diet was still relatively 'new' on the market and wasn't easily accessible. In the coming years I forgot all about it. Now that we are back in civilization it was brought to my attention once again. I wasn't completely convinced that it would be enough to make a difference considering the amount this dog sheds.... I was shocked. Within about 3 days we started to notice a difference, and honestly, there is still some minor shedding going on but considering how bad it used to be.... I believe that over time it will disappear. It's only been 9 days and we can't brush anything off of him anymore so after a month..... I'll keep you posted.

The other benefits to the raw diet are that the dog doesn't smell like a dog... you know that smell, I'm sure... not that Robbie stinks, but if you get real close... anyway, in another week of so I will take him for another doggie wash and see what happens... Also, because the dog/cat is using all of the nutritional value of the meal, his poops are only a fraction of the size.... not exactly dinner conversation, but a bonus I thought I'd mention. There are other benefits if you want to check into it but these are the ones I can think of without looking it up.

I am on Day 5 of being sick. It totally sucks. My throat feels like there is a razor in there and I have a hell of a time swallowing. I've found that hot Jasmine tea really helps but there is only so much I want to pee in a day.... I've been basically drinking Jasmine tea back to back all day until just after supper... then 2 Advil helps for a while and another 2 Advil before bed allows me to fall asleep - at least for a few hours. Also, chocolate... seems to coat my throat and offer some relief for about 10 minutes. Handy if I'm just trying to get through until an appropriate time that I can take some Advil.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

I don't get sick

We had my oldest good son over for burgers the other day, though Brad was still sick he was feeling much better.


We took a drive on Sunday to Gardiner Dam on Lake Diefenbaker to check out a campground not too far from there and while it looked relatively okay, it wasn't quite what we were looking for - spoiled, much?. We will however, keep it on our list should we not find such a place as we want in SK.




Yesterday, after 2 long weeks of being sick, Brad finally woke up feeling normal. This was exceptionally good news since I woke up sick yesterday!!! Yup, unreal. I'm not nearly as bad as he was but my throat feel like its in a vise and I tire very quickly. Not sure why I'm tiring because I'm not congested and breathing isn't an issue at least at this point but I guess all my internal 'fix it bugs' are busy trying to get me fixed. 

I don't get sick. Almost never. But when I do...... Fortunately, at least as of day 2 it isn't too bad except sore throat and tiredness. 

Friday, 18 May 2018

Much ado about nothing

We've been ridiculously busy - doing nothing, really. It has been such a welcome nothingness after the last few months of craziness.

We have literally been sitting around the house, ( in fairness, Brad has been sick for 2 weeks - some bug going around the Dr tells us) we went for a drive around the city to see all the new neighbourhoods that have popped up since we left 13 years ago and we went for a drive in the country just to see the sights.

I have transitioned easily to the Vape, Brad hasn't started his yet because he's sick and the Vape is not disposable... he has a lot going on at the moment.

He went to the Dr because he is still having hostility issues having come off that medication a while back and she has given him a new prescription which is not so difficult to come off of should he need to in the future but should still help him with the day to day stuff.

So he is currently: sick, awaiting the start of a new medication and planning to switch to the Vape. Given what his body has been through these last couple of months, he doesn't want to push anything so we've been taking a rather laissez-faire attitude to all of this.

I appreciate that this makes for a boring Blog and we appreciate those of you who are hanging in there while we get through this.

Good news is: the RV windshield has been approved by insurance and ordered by the installers so we await word of its arrival and appointment to install.

We have begun looking at what we'll do once Brad's Mum returns from her holidays (leaving today for 2 weeks and mid June for another 2 weeks). I have found a new app which has great filters for finding places to stay in an RV and we will be taking a couple of trips to check out some of them in the Jeep. Saskatchewan backroads are questionable at times and most campgrounds are dirt/mud so we want to make sure of where we're taking the rig before we actually go - and we have time so road trips are in our plans.

I will further discuss this new app once we've checked into its usefulness.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Mother's Day Trip

We have decided to bite the bullet. We are going to attempt to quit smoking...


We each now have a 'Vape' and while I'm not promoting vaping because frankly to me it's just as bad and possibly worse given its limited time on the market, making it an unknown entity possibly worse than cigarettes, but we need to do something. We've both been puffing about a pack a day and that is just insane... appreciably it has been a stressful time lately but neither of us is happy with how much we've been smoking lately. We are both feeling the effects of this, so... I figure, right now we have nothing to lose by trying to wean off using a vape.

Yesterday was Mother's Day so we took some time to chillax. Jumped in the Jeep and drove down to Elbow, SK. It's a quaint little town and we seem drawn to it a lot. Not quite a 'resort or beach town', but it has a couple of restaurants and some shops. We stopped for lunch at our usual haunt and then headed down to the beach.

The coolest part of Elbow, to me anyway, is The Sod House. You'd almost think this would be a prairie staple but its the only one I've ever seen in these parts.




Very quiet this time of year but in no time it will be packed. Yesterday, we had the beach to ourselves and even got Robbie to go in the water (he hates water) to fetch a stick.

Robbie and I

Only others around were across the water also enjoying a quiet beach.

Deserted beach

Jeep in the background on the grass

Robbie in the water - a rare occurance

Ready to go Mum

Trudging through the sand back to the Jeep

Brad bringing up the rear

My husband is awesome. Taking us to the beach even though he's been really sick the last several days - hence the bunny hug in 25C temperatures.  I hope the sunshine and fresh air will help him feel better. It is massage day today, but last night he was sure he wouldn't be able to go. If your sick they advise not to get a massage, something about the massage spreading it throughout your body....

We drove around to check out the RV 'Resorts' in the area...

Definitely not The Ranch

Seriously, thankfully it was dry but you can clearly see that isn't always the case, and what a mess.

Boating and Marina 

18 Hole Golf Course

Sailboat on the left, Pontoon on the right

House Boat dock -- which got me to thinking....

Barely visible in the pic there is a deer just left of the road

So my thinking? Wouldn't it be awesome if we could winter in California and then return to Canada and summer in a sailboat - the sailboat being what originally started our RV life, Brad's dream.

Lake Diefenbaker is over 800 sq km. A massive lake that you could do some awesome sailing on without freaking out your wife! Keeps us close to family too. Perhaps we could buy a lot in town and build a smaller version of our current house.... Anyway, we need to sort out some stuff before we go worrying about that just yet. Options, options....

There are a ton of lakes in Northern Saskatchewan but there are always forest fires up north so being in the South Central area would be better, I think.


Saturday, 12 May 2018

Jeep Then and Now

The way she was


Lifted version

Lifted and new tires/rims

Now, I know a lot of you will say it doesn't look any different.... and I would agree. However, to Men it seems like a whole other world.... apparently.

It is harder to get in to thats for sure, and the black rims certainly give it a different look but was it worth the money? I don't think so... but then, I'm 'just a girl'. 

In any event, it is done and I'm glad of it.

Shout out to Kal-tire on Faithful Avenue.

I have now listed the original tires and rims with built in TPMS on Kijiji and hope we can sell them to recoup some of the cost of this 'procedure'...

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Lifted

First thing yesterday we needed to have the Jeep over to Tiger Automotive for the lift kit by 8am. Since we were over there, we decided to text my son and see if he was available to open the gate at shop where he and my brother work so we could put the RV in the yard.

On Sunday we had driven the RV to the windshield repair shop and dropped it off so they could take the necessary measurements to order a new one on Monday morning. This is an insurance claim so not out of pocket, for a change. Unfortunately, we weren't able to leave it for too long as it is a shared parking lot.

Timing the RV move to the shop was difficult because both my son and brother's jobs are pretty much 24/7 so its hard to pin them down to a time. However, he was oddly available so we took advantage of the opportunity and moved the rig over. Only problem with this park spot is the potential for mice... we'll be doing some kerfuffling today around the rig to hopefully protect it. I have already stuffed holes with steel wool but every little bit helps considering all of our stuff is in it and I'm sure as hell not emptying it out just for a few weeks.

Brad wants to make some inquiries about a proper RV parking spot today, so I'll call around for an indoor storage, however, getting the RV out of the yard will be just as complex as getting it in was... and when we were driving in and I made calls, you may recall there was nothing available...

Brad went for his weekly massage and before he returned Tiger Auto had called to say the Jeep was ready... so we scooted over there to pick her up...

Lifted 2 inches

Our tire and rim guy called to say he could move us up a week and get them put on on Friday, bonus!




Monday, 7 May 2018

Two days without problems

Its been a really quiet weekend... the whole weekend!

Absolutely nothing went wrong on Saturday, we went for breakfast with my oldest son Lee and Brad set to sprucing up his Mum's deck. (We love her deck it is very large and is closed in with screen to keep the bugs out -a necessity in SK).

Sprucing

Watching Daddy work


We went to a few places to find a good deal on a lift (levellers) and new tires and rims. Finally settled on where to have these done. So Tuesday morning the Jeep goes in for a lift.

Supper out at our new favourite Vietnamese place just up the road from Brad's Mum's.

Meg and Brad


On Sunday we had to drive the RV to the windshield repair place (Insurance job), so they can take the necessary measurements on Monday morning. Brad asked me why I was stalling going to get the RV and I realized that I was quite apprehensive about even leaving the house since Saturday was our first non-bad-news day in what seems like months.... but it all went well. We need to movie it to a park spot today.

Yeppers

Last night we had a date night, went to see Game Night. Not our usual kind of movie and I don't know what demographic Hollywood is catering too these days, but Holy Hell there is only crap at the theatres... We enjoyed the movie and would even suggest you see it if there isn't anything else you fancy playing.

For anyone just joining us, in the last month we have had the engine blow on the yellow Jeep, the tranny went on our white FJ Cruiser and the windshield cracked on the RV. Plus a few other problems you can go back to read about... welcome to our life, enjoy the show.

Huge thank you to all those readers who made encouraging comments during this hell we've been through. It has been a pretty rough road and (knock on wood) we hope its over... I know I shouldn't get cocky yet, and I'm really not but 2 whole days... its a light I'm holding on to.


Saturday, 5 May 2018

So....

Thursday morning Brad drove Deuce over to the Jeep dealership just a few blocks away, but just before he got there - the serpentine belt shredded.

Fitting background

The Shop Foreman took a look at it and said it would likely be a few days before they could get it in to put a new belt on it. Aaargh, good thing we didn't give Carey his car back yet.

Brad had a hair appointment at 1pm so we drove over to the north end of town. While he was in there the mechanic called to say that the crank had been shredded too. Engine will need to be replaced or rebuilt. Wow, this just keeps getting better and better.

When we considered that we'd now have to spend several thousands on the engine, still had the lift kit issue and the daytime running lights, not counting whatever else they found wrong during the 2 safety inspections it needed to pass... Well, there was an F word in there somewhere but lets just say we decided to get a new Jeep!

We went to Auto Clearing because it was close to Brad's hairdresser. We made a deal on a 2017 Jeep hard top (we wanted soft, but could buy that later) in which they would put the tow bar assembly on the front for towing, talked to the financing guy and he was going to process it right away and likely hear back Friday morning. We decided not to say anything to anyone about getting a new Jeep because who the hell knows with banks...

Friday morning, we had been approved and needed to go over there to sign paperwork and leave a deposit for the work to be done. Huh? Brad was VERY concerned about this deposit BS but off we go.

He asked the finance guy why there was a deposit, guy said they would be doing a lot of work to the Jeep and we could then decide not to buy it. Brad said we would buy it first and then they could do the work... well, that caused quite the kerfuffle... they said the work was not part of the deal!... the salesman was brought in on his day off. Oops, Don the salesman says, I F'ed up... THIS was not our problem... the deal is the deal, where they going to stand by the deal or not.

Not.

We walked out.

Now, had we provided the deposit they would have done the work and then said oops, that wasn't part of the deal..... and we would have been screwed. Fortunately, my husband wasn't born yesterday - me, I probably would have paid the deposit and been screwed.

Anyway, with a sour taste in our mouths we drove across town to Dodge City. I went in to find a salesman, and point blank told them we were not interested in any bullshit, was there a salesman who could sell us a car without any?... Gary Polishak.

We drove a few Jeeps... one was yellow, lifted, 4 door, winch, all the bells... I loved it as you might imagine if you've been reading this blog for awhile. But during the drive, it was terrible, real bad shimmy at 100 and just felt like the shocks were gone the rest of the drive. Not to mention it looked to be around 1/2 the size of our RV... waaaay too big.

So... we made a deal on another.

Introducing, our new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK Sport

We don't think we'll name this one. Other than Jeep.

This deal closed at 5pm last night with no fuss, we made it to SGI before close and got a new plate for her. Today I will put all our bells and whistles into it and find places to put everything... my most favourite thing to do, actually. But first, my oldest good son is coming over and we're going to take him out to Broadway Cafe for breakfast. Brad's treat.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Deuce is running, if a little wild

My bestest ever brother got the Jeep sorted yesterday... the gasket came in late morning and he went to pick it up and got right at it. We certainly appreciate all the effort my brother has put into helping us out with this Jeep, it hasn't been an easy couple of weeks.

It still has a knock so Brad wants to take it to the Jeep dealership and have them take a look. The boys think the knock is in the lower engine area, my brother was doing the top of the engine. Honestly, it sounds the same as it did in Aguanga to me... but boys and their toys...

Not that I was actually in the engine compartment, but I did start it while they listened... it's not a Cadillac it's a Jeep... but we'll take it to Jeep just to make sure.

While my little brother (he's 6'4 and I'm 5'4) was doing the Jeep, I went to Bell.

Turns out that because we are on a special 'loyalty plan' the guy at the local Bell store (Brian) wasn't able to do what I needed done so he called his help desk, who then had to call their help desk, who then called the super duper help desk techy guys and after about 2 hours they called me with my new number.

Because we had 2 phone numbers from our old locale and I only wanted one of them switched right now, and because of the loyalty program... this caused all kinds of kerfuffle. I offered to sit on hold while the Bell guy dealt with a couple of customers - thats how long it was taking.... eventually he suggested that we didn't need to sit and wait, they could just call me when it was finished.

Off I went to Staples where I picked up a cheap wifi printer, Yay! Bell called while I was at Staples to give me my new number, there were 4 different number attempts but because of the kerfuffle everytime they went to grab the chosen number it was already snapped up.

Just as I was leaving Staples, Brad called to ask me to hurry home because his Mother had locked him out about 10 minutes after I left. Poor guy had been stuck outside for a couple of hours, so he raked the lawn again and set the sprinkler to it.

After supper my brother called to say the Jeep was done and we drove out to pick her up. Took her straight to Golf's Car Wash and made her all pretty once again. While Brad washed Deuce, I washed my son's car and vacuumed all the dog hair out of it.

Deuce

Son Carey's car

Remnants of Robbie

We can likely take it back to him today but given that we already did that once, I think I'll wait until we've been to Jeep at least.

The Federal safety inspection only allows 45 days to get it done... we're quickly running out of time and we have to have Daytime Running Lights put into her yet... not to mention the whole lift kit issue that we still have to deal with. I figure I'll take it to CT and ask them outright if we have to go through all that to take the lift out and then put it back in after. Likely we will. Bureaucracy (bureau crazy) at its finest.

But at least the tranny is okay! Thats something, right?!

PS There were a few comments I didn't reply to over the last few days. I apologize, I did read them just couldn't get to replying.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

All parts should be in

Okay so we spent several hours yesterday trying to find a head gasket for this Jeep. No big surprise, none of the parts shops had one. Earliest was this morning out of Edmonton.

So we ordered one, took the head in to the machinist who promptly twisted the bolts out by hand -- yup, we didn't need to remove the head at all which would have saved the need for a new gasket. Suffice to say that was frustrating, but typical of how our year is going so far.

We bought the new bolts from the machinist also and took everything (except gasket) out to my brother's place.

This morning, my brother is going to get the gasket and put it in. He will call us when its ready. I think its fair to say that having additional people around has been a distraction.

We have a bunch of other errands to do which we have been putting off because of our 'when someone is doing something for you, you should be there' upbringing... (we are both English).

Anyway, this Jeep as you know has been a nightmare and there have been other family things happening which has made for a difficult few weeks.

Onward and upward.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

The proverbial drawing board

So yesterday we picked up the new cam shaft positioning sensor and headed out to my brother's...

He got the engine finished, and there seemed to be a knock coming from the bottom of the engine but he didn't think it was a big deal so we drove the Jeep to Saskatoon, had an oil change and radiator flush and rushed back out for the supper that my sister-in-law was cooking for everyone.

After supper my brother decided to go take a listen and see if he could find anything wrong with the Jeep that would cause this knocking. While this was going on I went to my nephew's soccer game with my sister-in-law.

When we returned the boys were still sodding about with the Jeep and according to the 'book', the proper torque on the bolts (rocker area) is 105 inch pounds... he had them set to 20 so thinking that could be the problem he was tightening them................. Crack!

Broke a bolt in the head -----

Having taken the entire thing apart again it turned out that 3 bolts had broken.... OMG.

Apparently, having been 15 odd years since he did anything mechanical, he forgot to convert the inch pounds to foot pounds..... ie. it should have been 8.75 not 105! Hence the broken bolts.

It took until 11pm last night but he got the head off once again and we loaded it in the car (we had already returned the car to my youngest son and my niece drove me in to pick it up right after the crack occurred about 8:30pm).

So this morning Brad and I are taking it to a machine shop to have the bolts removed, pick up a new head gasket and some more bolts and heading out to the acreage again to get it all put back together.

Also worth noting is that we have decided to get residency in Saskatchewan. More on that later.

Please, if you are a regular reader of this blog... cross fingers, toes, eyes, legs, everything you can find that we can get this damnable Jeep sorted out today. Thank you.

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