Friday, October 21, 2016

How Much Is Too Much

The temperatures are still in the 90's and I am looking longingly at my sweatshirts.  The forecast has been saying 80's for next week but when next week gets here, it changes to 90's.  As far as I can remember, the weather is always chilly for Halloween and all of the princesses and thinly clothed ghouls must shiver while hunting down their candy.  My other reason for wanting the weather to change is my tired wardrobe.  Either I pull out the long-sleeved shirts or I buy something new.  I'd rather not spend money on clothes besides something from the thrift store now and then. 

So, my veterinarian just called and offered to do Jimmy-dog's pheochromocytoma tumor removal surgery for $3,000-$3,500.  The estimate from the specialist was $5,000-$7,000.  The reason she recommended going with a specialist initially was because she was worried that the adrenal tumor had latched on to the vena cava.  Since the ultrasound showed that it had not grown that big yet, my vet is willing to try the surgery.  She has never done this surgery specifically, but she has removed other tumors.  I had decided not to do the surgery because it seemed too risky and I didn't want to pay $7,000 with only a dead dog to show for it.  But now that my vet is all excited about doing it, I'm considering it again.  It would leave only $1,000 in my emergency fund but it wouldn't take that long for the fund to recover as long as there weren't more costly emergencies in my immediate future.  I was planning to use that $3,000 next year to speed up my mortgage repayment plan if nothing important came up. I think something Important came up.  It seems like I should do it so that he will feel better.  I don't really know how he feels except that he drinks a lot of water and has to pee a lot.  I'm hoping that it will fix his bloating issue, help him lose weight, and reduce the strain on his back.  I think I've talked myself in to it, at this point.  Surgery would be November 8th.  I'm already a nervous wreck.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Plumbers, Dogs, and Other Things

Last week, at work, I happened to see that the toilet was plugged.  I didn't think much of it and, after several attempts, managed to unplug it.  There are only two other women in the office but I didn't want to ask them who plugged it so I didn't say anything.  Later on, one of them mentioned that the plumber had arrived to unclog the toilet.  Um, I already unplugged it.  No one told me they had called a plumber.  The plumber fussed around in the bathroom for 30 minutes and then presented the bill.  $179.  The toilet was unclogged but he snaked it and put the camera down it just to be able to charge something, I guess.  I'm really glad I didn't have to pay for that.

On Saturday, I took my dog, Sassy, to the vet for her Valley Fever test.  Her titer finally went down from 1:64 back to 1:32 where it was a year ago.  That is good because we were concerned that the medicine wasn't working and she would have to take the more expensive medicine.  Now that the VF seems to be under control, I have to decide if I want to try to get her adopted.  She was supposed to be a temporary foster but her knee replacement and VF took much longer to stabilize than I expected.  I think she would like a family with more people in it.  She loves attention and she doesn't get much with me as one of 5 dogs.  I think I will try it and see if I can find the perfect family for her. 

After the vet, my nephew and I went to volunteer at the cat shelter again.  He likes the kittens and I prefer the friendly senior cats and "GI" cats (the smelly cats with bowel issues who are in the back room and don't get many visitors).  Turns out 30 minutes in advance is not enough time for allergy medicine to block all of the histamine receptors.  He had a mild allergy attack but it wasn't as bad as before.  Next time he will take a pill at least an hour before. 

Then we went to dinner at Culvers and I used my gift cards so the total was $1.08 because I wanted cheese curds instead of fries.  When we sat down, an employee came over and offered us ice cream sundaes.  She couldn't locate the people who ordered them and said she was going to toss them out.  I happily accepted them since I had not ordered any ice cream.  One I ate and the other I took home and froze for another day.  My nephew had ordered a mint brownie sundae and had to go find it because the people working there had left it sitting on the counter.  It seems that the person making the sundaes was slow and by the time they brought the ice cream out, the other food had already been delivered to the table and the table number had been retrieved, thus, orphaned ice cream. 

After that, we went to Home Depot and I bought 6 more bags of bark mulch with the rebate card I got from buying paint last month.  $20 for bark leaves $60 on the card for more shopping later.  NO MORE SHOPPING until I get the final inspection on my barn-shed (just so that it can exist on my property, not the inside inspection).  Really, I have procrastinated long enough.  I need to get out there, post my address so the inspector can find it, measure the distance of the turn-off from the main road so I can give good directions, and post the building permit on the outside of the barn-shed so that the inspector can see it.  Then call for the inspection.  It makes me nervous because the inspector said he couldn't find the address last time and the phone number I left didn't work even though he had supposedly been out there once before for the grading inspection.  I just need to do it and stop worrying about it.    

Thursday, October 6, 2016

If I Can't Grow It, Buy It

Last weekend was my weekend to relax, only it didn't happen, at least, not a lot.  On Friday, I took my mother a new flat screen TV to use as a monitor for her Chromebit computer.  The monitor that I had purchased was big but we had two issues, there is no audio jack in a Chromebit which meant I had to buy a Bluetooth speaker.  The sound quality was terrible and the charge cord broke.  I thought about buying a better Bluetooth speaker but then realized that I should have purchased a TV (build in speakers) in the first place.  Originally, I paid $100 for the HDMI monitor and $20 for the Bluetooth speaker.  The flat screen TV cost $125.  The sound is great!  No more fussing with charging or Bluetooth connectivity.  Secondly, the video buffering made watching any video impossible.  I don't know if the TV fixed this problem because it doesn't seem like it should make a difference, all I know is that the TV has no problem playing videos.  Problem solved.  I now have an extra HDMI monitor and I am hoping that my nephew can use it for the gaming computer he wants to buy.

On Saturday, I spent the morning killing weeds with a shovel.  I knew I was over-doing it but the weather was nice and I wanted them dead.  After that, I went out to fix a plumbing leak for the tenant at the mobile home.  I got it all fixed but in retrospect, I should have used a larger diameter pipe for the faucet section.  No leaks though.  

I arranged for the neighbor to bring over 300 more gallons of water.  The tenant should be able to contact the neighbor when he needs water now.  I think we have a reliable system in place.  The tenant had been cleaning and rearranging the back storage room.  While this is a good thing, I had to calm my inner-control freak since nothing was where I had put it.  All that organization from last year was gone.  I moved almost all of my stuff out to the barn-shed in a big un-organized pile and I will deal with it when I have some free time.  At least the barn-shed is vermin-free, so far. 

On Sunday, I was really sore from the weeding and moving boxes.  I had another $10 off $100 coupon and a $100 gift certificate to Home Depot.  My plan was to buy 22 bags of mulch to keep the weeds at bay.  First, I stopped at the carpet aisle to see if I could find an inexpensive piece to put in the dog area.  They love to roll around on carpet and it is easy to sweep off plus it blocks the weeds.  I found a small piece for $20 but then I saw it.  A 6' x 12' piece of premium fake grass.  I have been wanting some fake grass for a long time but the cost was too high.  This was on clearance for $104.  If it is durable, I can take it with me when I move.  I dragged it to the cash register because I didn't have a cart and happily paid for my new doggy grass carpet.  After putting it in the truck, I went back and got 4 bags of mulch for the other areas.  I think I need at least 6 more bags of mulch.  That will have to wait for another trip to Home Depot.

Back at home, I unrolled the grass and the dogs came over to investigate.  Much sniffing and rolling commenced. 

 I can actually sit down with them in the yard now.  Jimmy-dog even hobbled over and sat on me while I petted him.  They say that fake grass gets too hot to walk on in the summer.  We shall see.  We have many months to enjoy it before summer comes again.  

Plus, I could just roll it up and store it in the shed June through August.  Sometimes I buy things and they don't work out, but this time, I am very pleased with my purchase.  Time for some picnics with the dogs!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Mortgage Update for September 2016

Since I have had some large vet bills and last month's $1,000 A/C repair bill for on my rental property, I decided to reduce my monthly extra mortgage payment from $1,200 to $800 this month.  I need to make my maintenance/dog/auto fund grow back to a more comfortable $3K level.   It shouldn't be too hard unless I can't resist going ahead with all of the projects that are floating around in my head for my property. 

Extra payment:  $800
New mortgage total:  $28,138
Pay-off time at $1,200 extra/m:  1 year and 7 months

The weather is a little cooler now and I could be painting and building steps and putting up gutters and buying more water collection tanks, and....  No.  I don't need it yet.  But every time I get a $10 off $100 coupon from Home Depot, I want to BUY more stuff!  The only things I should do out there don't involve money.  I already bought the paint so I could do that.  I also need to put up address signs so that the building inspector can find the place for my final inspection.  If you remember, the last time I called for the final inspection (I think it was last May or June), the inspector said he couldn't find it.  I guess he doesn't know how to use Google maps.  I will try to make it as easy as possible for him this time since I want to pass the inspection and close the permit until I am ready to add electric to my barn-shed later on. 

My nephew is visiting my sister in California for the next week and a half.  Last weekend I took him to get a free haircut from the high school hair cutting class.  It turned out pretty good.  Then to test out Allegra allergy medicine with the cats at the shelter.  It worked!  After an hour, there was no reaction.  Then to the thrift store to buy two dress shirts because he grew out of his except for his white one and I want him to have other color choices, plus, I am hoping my sister will take some senior photos of him while he is there so that we can include them in his graduation announcements. 

His Monday flight was delayed an hour and then 10 more minutes, and then 10 more, prompting me to call Southwest to make sure he wouldn't be stuck in Denver overnight if he missed his connection.  The airline replaced the plane for his flight which improved the time to only 1 hour late and he was able to make his connection without incident.  My brain is decompressing while I have this break from being guardian of a human being.  I'm not totally off-duty though.  I added minutes to his Tracfone, scheduled a windshield replacement on the truck that he drives, just sent in his college registration fee and we will be filling out his Federal financial aid form by Skype this weekend.  We keep moving towards the college goal little by little. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

First Quarter

Last day of Quarter #1!!!  1/4 of the way through senior year of high school.  Remembering back to my high school days, senior year went by pretty quick.  It was exciting to get to the finish line and then anti-climatic when it was over.  I went to community college and floundered for the first semester, excelled the second semester, and then went off to a four year school.  Floundered again, and found my footing, graduated, floundered, floundered, floundered (that's my new favorite word), went back to community college, and finally got on a career path.  As soon as I got a "real" job, I started reading early-retirement books.  Work for 10 years and then retire!  It didn't quite work out that way.  I've been working in the engineering/drafting field for 17 years now.  I'm much closer to my goal though.  Retire by 50?  More realistic.

My nephew goes off to visit my sister on Monday.  He will spend 12 days in California and I will not have to hear "What's for dinner?" or have to say "Is your homework done?" for all that time.  The next quarter will go quicker.  He will have more extracurricular activities for choir and youth group.  Thanksgiving break is coming soon and then he will go visit his Minnesota relatives for Christmas break.  I keep telling him that he should stay and get a seasonal job over the break but he's just not motivated enough.  Maybe next year when he is a poor college student he will appreciate the benefits of a holiday job. 

The weather is great.  Still a few days in the upper 90's but the temps are going down.  My garden is looking very green but not producing much.  I grew my first 2 zucchini!  I know a lot of people say zucchini is really easy to grow but it isn't so easy in the desert. 

 I got four acorn squash.  The gourds are not producing anything yet and if they don't get any female flowers soon, I don't think I will get any gourds.  The tomatoes don't have many blossoms.  The sweet potato vines are doing great.  Last year I used the sweet potatoes to grow new sweet potatoes but didn't eat any.  I have at least 6 mini watermelons growing from volunteer plants.  And the pomegranates are starting to fall off the tree. Usually they aren't ready until the end of October but we had such a warm spring, some of them got an early start. I got more free seeds from the seed library for cool weather plants but I don't have any space to plant them until the squash and watermelon have died.  

I need a bigger garden.  I have plans for a bigger garden after I move out to my property.  I have 4 acres.  Of course, taming it will take money.

Plans for this weekend?  My nephew and I will pull weeds in the front yard, go get a haircut for him at the cosmetology school (only $6), visit the cats at the cat shelter to see if Alegra allergy medicine is better than Claritin, cook something (maybe zucchini bread?) and take a nap.  Such grandiose ambitions!  

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

And More Bills

I was beginning to think that the property tax bills wouldn't show up this month, but, guess what showed up yesterday?  My 3 tax bills. 

One for my rental house: $1,500
One for my mobile home property: $1,000
One for the adjoining acre to the property: $350

The bill for the actual mobile home arrives later and it is usually only $100.

I estimated $3,000 for my property tax so it looks like I am within my budget.

The house I am living in now has an escrow fund for the property tax so I don't worry about that.  Once I pay off the mortgage I will have to pay that myself.

And, guess what showed up in my inbox?  My rental house rent statement which is a negative $185 for this month.  Ugh.  I was hoping it wouldn't spill over in to next month.  The bill for replacing the control board on the A/C was $1,065.  I hope it lasts a long, long time.  $650 of the rent payment goes towards my extra mortgage payment but I won't have it this month.  After I pay the property tax bills I will see if I want to borrow from that fund or skip the extra payment this month.  I could pay the property tax in 2 installments but I like to pay it all at once and get it over with. 

My ailing dog had another vet visit last week.  The vet wanted to try a medicine called DDAVP (also called Desmopressin).  For some reason, no one in that office is very good at finding the best price for meds.  First, they called in the prescription to a local compounding pharmacy.  If you don't know, and I didn't know before I had dogs, a compounding pharmacy takes a drug and changes the dosage or method of administration, for instance, taking a powder and turning it in to a beef flavored suspension at a puppy dosage.  They do this for humans too, although, I don't think humans choose the beef, tuna, or chicken flavorings.  The compounding pharmacy was out of the medication that I needed.  This is where it gets complicated.  The vet tech told me to go buy it from Walgreens and take it to the compounding pharmacy.  But Walgreens needed a prescription so the vet tech called it in.  I went to Walgreens to pick it up but they had misplaced the prescription and it wasn't in the computer.  The pharmacist found the paper but then we were all confused by what I was supposed to be buying.  Turns out I was supposed to buy nose spray from Walgreens and take it to the compounding pharmacy to turn it in to eye drops for my dog, except we didn't know that then.  I happened to ask for a price because Walgreens had to order it anyway and they said $216!!!  I knew it was going to cost $50 to compound it so I was discouraged and left without ordering.  I called the vet office and the person who answered the phone did a better job of explaining what I was supposed to be buying and the whole nose drops to eye drops thing.  

I did some searching on the internet and found the drug at Diamondback compounding pharmacy in Phoenix where I already get my Valley Fever medication for my other dog.  My request for a quote came back at $78.  I can't compare the price because I don't know the quantity that I was going to buy from Walgreens but I am pretty sure $78 is the better deal and it doesn't involve me driving across town, it will be mailed to my door.  I called my vet to make sure it was the correct drug and dosage and they called in the prescription.  Whew.  All this just to alleviate my dogs excessive thirst problem.  I sure hope it works and doesn't cause other side effects.

This has been another big bill month and it isn't even half way over.  It is months like this that make me worried about leaving my stable job and paycheck.  Simplifying is going to be the key.  I don't think I can financially handle more than two pets at a time.  The others (and you know there will be others) will have to be fosters so that the rescue pays for medical treatment.  Rental houses cause me stress even though they bring in income.  If I can arrange my finances so that the rental income is discretionary instead of needed for bills then that may be alright.  I have too many vehicles and I will remedy that after my nephew goes to college.  Oh, and speaking of college, my nephew got admitted to the college of his choice which also happens to be the school that we visited last spring where his parents met.  Only 11 short months until he is a college student!  Am I living in the future too much?  I think so.   Next month will be all about the FAFSA federal financial aid, grants, loans, and scholarships!  What an education I am getting. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Summer is Losing Its Grip

September.  The weather has cooled some.  Not cool enough to use the oven, but enough to be cool at night so that I can sleep well.  My dog who drinks a lot has been sleeping through the night too so I don't have to let him outside to pee at 1am.  His walking has improved somewhat on the Tramadol so I don't have to help him stand.  We had a vet appointment last night and his blood pressure has come down on the medication.  The vet is going to look in to other medications we can try.  For now, we will just wait and see.

Only 2 1/2 weeks left of the first quarter of my nephew's senior year.  He gets a 2 week fall break between quarters and will be going to visit my sister in California like he did last year.  She will help him write his paper for his video game designer career presentation which is due at the end of the year.  She also says she has work for him to do to earn money for his computer fund.  He has $250 so far but I think he will need at least $550 for an Alienware computer depending on if he wants to risk buying a used one.  We took a pile of books to sell to the used bookstore last weekend but they only paid 50 cents a book which came to a whopping $4 for the ones they wanted.  

He was disappointed and so was I.  I will be donating or selling the rest of them on Ebay/Amazon instead. 

The tenant in my mobile home does not complain which is good except when I start wondering if no news is bad news.  So far, it is all ok.  Home Depot had a rebate on paint, $40 off a 5 gallon bucket, so I bought 2 buckets.  Obviously, since I have already spend my surplus money for September on previous vet bills, I am borrowing money from my mortgage repayment plan but this deal was too good to pass up.  I got 10 gallons of paint for the same price (after rebate) as I paid for 5 gallons the first time.  5 gallons was not enough paint and I thought the original yellow color was too bright.  This time, I bought a much lighter yellow and 10 gallons should be plenty of paint for the second coat.  

My tenant will have plenty of painting to do for me.  It's a good job for him because I don't need to be there to supervise.  I hope to take a day off while my nephew is gone to continue cleaning out the storage room of the mobile home.  If I bring everything to my house and put it in the living room, I can sort and toss/give/sell more easily.  At least, that is the idea. 

I added up my debts and assets, like I do every month, and it is motivating to see how close I am getting to my goal.  I love dreaming about all the projects I can do after the mortgage is paid off.  I get ideas from blogs and vlogs and add things to my Amazon wish list like a gas-powered water pump and a Berkey water filter.  For now though, I should stay focused on de-cluttering.  On Saturday, I am taking my foster dog to an adoption event.  If he gets adopted, I think that would count as de-cluttering.  Aww, sorry foster-dog.  You know I'm probably going to keep you forever.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Mortgage Update for August 2016

Well, my emergency fund is low but I made another $1,200 extra mortgage payment anyway.  I mean, how could I pass up this month when I was so close to breaking into the $20,000's?  The total is now $29, 197.  Estimated payoff in one year and 8 months but I am pretty sure I am going to have to skip next month's extra payment or just make a small one.  The A/C unit at my rental house has been acting up.  It is only 3 years old so I was hopeful that the warranty would pay for repairs but the repairman said it is the main control board that needed to be replaced and that isn't covered by warranty.  I don't have the final bill yet but it is at least $650.  That means the $850 that I get in rent will go to pay that bill instead of going towards my extra mortgage payment.  I do have a maintenance fund but with this month's vet bills, I raided it with the intention of paying it back over the next few months.  A small set-back but nothing major.   

Last weekend, we stayed home and enjoyed not having to go anywhere.  I made waffles and chocolate chip cookies.  I really like having a full stove/oven instead of the little 2-burner stove that I had to use at the mobile home.   When I get electrical wiring for my tiny house it will definitely be able to connect a normal size stove/oven.  It is still too hot to actually use the oven so I cooked my cookies in the toaster oven.  The results were the same, yummy cookies.  The lack of rain and hot weather has made the weeds die off.  Something is blooming that I am allergic to because every time I go in the backyard to water the garden, my nose starts to run.  I think it's the grass that is going to seed.  I finally cleared off the side table where I put my mail.  That made me feel like I accomplished something.  And I cleaned off the items that I brought from the mobile home but that made me nostalgic and I started digging around in the boxes in my back room.  Total allergy attack time.  I didn't find the book from my childhood either.  I did find the storybook records from my childhood and my mixed tapes from 1989-90.

Ahh, nostalgia!

   I don't have a record player and I haven't tried to play the tapes.

I am not in the mood to make the kind of tough decisions to keep, sell or toss.  My plan is to deal with all of that after my nephew has gone to college.  80% of this stuff should not move to my tiny house.  I would have to buy another tiny house just for my stuff.

Anyway, three day weekend coming up!  Yeehaw.  We are going to visit my mother on Sunday and my nephew will be working on his research paper on Monday.  Other than that, I have no plans yet. I will just enjoy my time off. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Hot Dog Wheels

My dog has wheels.  He hates his wheels.  I suppose this will take some getting used to.  I found this used dog wheelchair through the Best Friends Mobility website.  I don't think it was used at all because the wheels were set up as two left sides and it took a hammer, pliers and WD-40 to loosen the bolts so I could fix it.  I suspect the previous owner of this rig got too frustrated putting it together and sold it.  It took me two hours to put it together and I haven't even adjusted it for my dog yet.  It isn't much good indoors since the wheel span is too wide.  He gets snagged on everything.  I intend to use it for walks so that he can go with us on our usual route.  He isn't paralyzed yet, just very weak in his back and hind legs.  

After researching wheelchairs for a while I decided on this Sitgo model because it is hinged and suppose to allow the dog to sit and lie down.  We will see if he can get the hang of it.

In mobile home news, my tenant ran out of water so I had to ask the neighbor if I could get water from his water meter.  The water meters are a mile away and people who have them will haul water to their homes as needed.  I was planning to use my two 55 gallon barrels to make 2 or 3 trips so that I would not have to bring water out from my house, 30 minutes away.  My very generous neighbor offered to bring 500 gallons of water over in his tank.  It was 100 degrees again and we were all sweating but he brought the water and I was thrilled.  Then he went to start his super-duper water transfer pump which would have emptied the tank in 15 minutes, and the rope broke on the starter.  Ugh.  We managed to get the water out with gravity and my little, slow sump pump.  It took an hour and a half.  I was so fried by that time.  My main reason for going out there was to clear out my stuff from the storage room where the (now dead) mice had invaded.  I only got one box and one bag, my head was pounding, and my nephew needed to be picked up from his school event so I left.  I'll go back in a couple of weeks.  

This week Chase bank updated their website and now I can't access my account.  It is driving me crazy.  I usually check my account a couple times a week.  It's almost the end of the month and I need to move some money around.  A call to customer service got me nowhere.  They put in a trouble ticket 2 days ago.  Still no answer and no access.  I could get to my account on my smartphone briefly, but not today.  It is unsettling to be cut off from my money.  I need to know if I have enough for my extra mortgage payment this month.  Vet bills + wheelchair cost around $2,000.  I can absorb that if I spread it over a couple of months.  Next month is my biggest bill month though because of property taxes.  Sure, I could pay half the taxes now and half in December but December is not a good month for paying bills.  I like to get taxes paid and out of my head for another year. 

Tomorrow I get to visit our manufacturing plant in Mexico.  it is always fun to see the people that I talk to on the phone.  I should bring candy.  Maybe mini-Twix.  Chocolate always helps international relations. :)

Monday, August 15, 2016


Last weekend I did everything I could to avoid doing anything  in public.  Sure, I could have done a million things but I just wanted one day where I didn't have to get in my car and go anywhere.  I got up at 7am, fed the dogs, pulled some weeds, watered the squash plants (free seeds from the seed library!) and went back to bed for a nap.  

Baby squash plants.
The overgrown yard. Nice and green for a change.
My little weed-eating egg producing quail.
Then I got up and made fried quail eggs, bacon and tater tots.  Then there was laundry, the weekly sweeping of my bedroom, and sporadic web surfing.  At 6pm, it was less hot so my nephew and I hacked at the weeds in the front yard so that the neighbors don't think I've abandoned the place.  My nephew is saving his money to buy an Alienware computer so I pay him $10 per hour and he is semi-enthusiastic to help out.  After an hour, I made chicken alfredo for dinner and then I started watching Meet Joe Black because I knew my nephew would be so bored that he would do his Calculus homework (it worked).  It was a pretty nice day besides the heat and the sweating and sneezing from the weeds.

Three more weeks until my next 3 day weekend.  Yes, I am wishing away my life again.  In other news, my niece, the one that helped my fix up my mobile home last year, is going to Austria next week for a semester.  It is the same program that I did 23 years ago.  Wow, that was a long time.  It was an awesome experience for me and I hope she has a great time too.  I am looking forward to her updates since she will have a computer there and wifi.  When I was there we had to use pay phones and no one had a computer.  I even had a camera with film that had to be developed and then it broke and I ended up just buying postcards which really aren't the same as photos.  Technology has changed so much.  

I have no after work chores this week until Friday when we are going to the dinner theater so that my nephew can write a review for his school assignment. It is an amusing play but too long to sit through after a long day at my desk but I will do it for him.  At least they have good pizza so that's a plus.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

If I Do, If I Don't

I took another half day off to take Jimmy-dog to the vet.  He had two appointments today, first at our regular vet for blood pressure and then to the surgery consultation.  They took 5 blood pressures and some were normal and some were high.  I'm beginning to wonder if their machine is broken.  The surgeon was not happy with the grainy ultrasound images that the other vet sent over so he had his own technician check the tumor.  Good news is it isn't invading the vena cava yet.  Bad news is with Jimmy-dog's heart murmur, the surgeon does not think he will survive surgery.  He would be willing to try surgery with an anesthesiologist which adds another $2k on to a $3-5k surgery with no guarantee that he will survive or that is will fix his issues. The cost is high but I had to think, if the surgery was free would I go for it? No, the odds do not sound good.

The surgeon suspects that the weakness in his hind limbs is from a different issue, a degenerative disk in his spine and it may eventually cause paralysis.  He came to this conclusion after feeling Jimmy-dog's spine and at one point Jimmy-dog yelped and turned to bite him.  So, I think we should focus on treating his symptoms.  His lack of mobility is his worst problem at the moment.  It has improved with pain medication.  Maybe there is more they can do to help him with pain management.

So, that's the Jimmy-dog update.  While I was in the vet office it was pouring rain outside.  I emailed the tenant in the mobile home and asked him if the gutters that we put up last Saturday were working.  He said they were 98% good.  It was so hot on Saturday that we just tacked the gutters up and he was going to add more gutter hangers later on.  He hasn't finished yet.  I even got my nephew to get up early on a Saturday to help hang gutters by paying him $10 and hour.  He is saving for an Alienware computer for gaming AND homework.  We only put gutters on one side of the mobile home, approximately 60', but any water collection will help.  Next step, gutters on the small shed, the barn-shed, and the green house.  The water tank that we connected to it was filling up.  It only holds 125 gallons and I told him that he should transfer the water to a larger tank now because we are supposed to get another storm tomorrow.  When I was there on Saturday, I noticed a new stain on the ceiling.  That means water leak.  That's another thing for my to-do list.  I don't have to do it myself per-se but I need to go out there and show him where the roof patch and tools are and perhaps supervise because I don't want him falling off my roof or anything. 

The back storage room where the cats used to be has been invaded by a mouse or mice.  That just kills me because we worked so hard last year to clean everything.  My tenant offered to bring two mouser cats that he had at a friend's barn.  I said an enthusiastic yes.  Maybe these cats won't disappear like my cats did.  So, now I need to organize the storage room again and remove anything that can be knocked over by cats chasing mice.  I want the cats to have easy access to all hiding places.  At first the mouse invasion kept me up at night thinking about what they could be ruining but now I have accepted the situation as helping me downsize.  After all, that was my goal for this year, right?  Get rid of stuff so that I can sell my house and move in to my tiny house after my nephew goes to college next year.  I just hadn't planned to tackle these jobs until it was at least in the 80's again.  But, mice wait for no one and I must go save my stuff and my sanity and get those chores done now.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Price of Compassion

A lot has been going on and I haven't written about it because when I finally get in to bed at night I just want to play Bejeweled and snuggle with the dogs until I go to sleep.

1)  I was so confident that my nephew would get his license (yes, he did) and be able to drive himself to school thus enabling us to stay at the house instead of traveling back and forth to the mobile home so that he could ride the school bus like the did last year, (run-on sentence alert) that I got a new foster dog. 

He is a 12 year old long-haired Chihuahua with Cushing's Syndrome (like my other dog has, or so I thought).  He is a bit of a brat when it comes to food and not wanting to go in the bedroom at night but otherwise, he is very soft and cute and his vet care is covered by the rescue.  Maybe he will get adopted even with his age and issues.  This does mean I will eventually have to take him to PetSmart adoption events.  He got neutered last Saturday so I don't have any more excuses except lack of time.

2)  Someone in the dog rescue group asked me if I could provide temporary housing for a handyman and his 2 dogs who were getting evicted at 1pm that day.  I have been burned before when believing sad stories but I decided to take a risk and help someone again.  He had references and I printed out a standard lease along with some extra rules for the mobile home.  He was thrilled to have a place for himself and his dogs and he has busied himself with the list of projects I gave him for fixing up the mobile home and property.  The biggest challenge has been organizing the projects and finding time (and money) to buy the materials.  After I dropped the foster dog off at his neuter appointment last Saturday, I went to Home Depot to buy gutters and attachments and wood boards for the steps.  Originally, I had planned to drive out to the property immediately but it was so hot I went home, took a nap, picked up the foster dog at 2pm and then my nephew and I went out to drop off materials.  This Saturday I plan to go out and help install the gutters.  We have had a lot of rain this week and none of that water is being collected.  It's a shame.  And also, he needs water to flush the toilet, so, gutters are the #1 project.  I had planned to start these projects in the late fall when it would be cooler but now the gutters can't wait.

3)  My black and tan dog (the one that I did the DNA test on and found out he is a bloodhound, Austr. shepherd, Austr. cattle dog, and chow chow) was diagnosed with Cushing's Syndrome last year.  

He has gotten worse in the last 2 months and can barely walk.  I took him to the vet again yesterday and the vet says he has a Pheochromocytoma tumor which has some of the same symptoms as Cushing's but the best course of action for this tumor is surgery.  I have a surgery consultation next Tuesday.  I have no idea how much that will cost or how much I am willing to spend.  I guess it depends on how long they think he will live if the surgery is a success.  Usually, dogs are diagnosed when they are around 12 years old but he is only 7.  If I could buy him another 5 years, that would be awesome, but I don't want him to be miserable.  One of the reasons I did the DNA test when I did was because I was worried that he wouldn't live long.

So, to sum up, I have no money and no time but I do have someone to work on projects for me.  That is a bit frustrating.  I'll get through it even if it means adding a few months on to my mortgage repayment plan.  That is why my plan is flexible after all.