Monday, June 26, 2017

The Sh!@# Sandwich

Photo credit: Steven Groves from Denver, CO, via Wikimedia Commons

You know how "they" (whoever they are) say bad things happen in threes?  Well, I must be an over achiever, because it seems the sh!@# has hit the fan across the board lately.

I'm going to try not to sound like a whiner - I'm striving for straight up documenting the crap reality that's happening at the moment.  Which I've come to fondly refer to as the sh!@# sandwich.

I was joking with a friend the other day about how our sh!@# sandwich has 3 different kinds of cheese, fancy bread, 4 different kinds of meat, etc.

Not only have we moved from one side of the country to the other, (which alone comes with its share of stress) we've managed to check off way too many other boxes.  Now, for my unnecessary visual aid:

Our new home, the dog's health, my health, the seemed to keep piling on.

The abbreviated version is that we bought a new home and immediately discovered a persistent, mysterious, musty smelling odor.  We thought a new dehumidifier in the basement would do the trick.  No such luck.

The dehumidifier was our first attempt at mitigation, and we quickly racked up a laundry list of further attempts at solving the problem:
  1. A commercial grade ozone air purifier similar to what's used to clean the air after  severe smoke damage
  2. Strategically deploying pouches of activated charcoal (an odor absorber)
  3. Having the pipes professionally hydro-jetted to blast out any built up mold and funk (a drain snake with a pressure washer attached the the end)
  4. Dumping live powdered enzymes that eat organic waste like mold, grease, hair, food particles, paper, cotton & sewage down all the drains 
Everything we've done to get a handle on the odor has helped enormously, but there's still a faint smell in the air.

We're giving it a little more time for the enzymes to eat their way through any residual funk and hopefully fully take effect, so here's hoping.  It's been exhausting.  And stinky.  No one wants to live in a musty house!

While dealing with the house smell, we found a lump on Cheety's tail that turned out to be a malignant mast cell tumor.  Cue the hysteria here.

He had surgery to get it removed - along with 4 vertebrae in his tail - the poor thing.  He still has his signature curly tail, but it's significantly shorter.

He's high as a kite and more than a little freaked out about it in this picture

Then the Jeep crapped out, and the cherry on the cake was breaking out in hives from below my neck to my knees.  That was stupendous.

But as these things go, we're back on the upswing.  Pathology came back on the pup and he's all clear.  Low grade tumor, completely removed, little chance of future spreading. Can I get a hallelujah?!

Hives are long gone and I'm no longer trying to itch my skin off. Wouldn't wish that one on anyone.

Jeep was fixed without a heart attack inducing price tag.  Well done my trusty, 14 year old bag of a car!

The lovely house odor is getting better, but I'm calling that one still pending!

So all in all, things are starting to look up.  Dare I say we might be over the hump?  Good Lord, I hope so.  We already have enough fancy cheese on our sandwich!

Ta-ta for now.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Loneliest Road in America

Final mileage count
We're on the other side of our fifth Coast Guard move...hallelujah!  It wasn't nearly as long as some of our other massive, cross country road trip moves over the years, but it was still quite a haul.

We made a slew of stops along the way to visit family, took out a bird and a snake in the road kill tally, and ogled at this massive, geographically diverse country we call home.

We started our journey on the aptly named  "Loneliest Road in America."  Also known as US-50.  That nickname was news to me, but after traveling on it, I can't argue.

These road signs were dotted periodically all along the way through Nevada & Utah

As we trucked along, the word that continually went through my mind was isolated.  There isn't a damn thing anywhere around you on the loneliest road except the sage grass and distant mountains.  Think High Plains Drifter scenery.  Minus Clint Eastwood.

Not a whole lot out here!

It was a little less lonely with these characters, I have to say.

The landscape in Nevada and Utah was a departure from most of the other incredible scenery we've seen during our time traveling and moving around the country - and just as awe inspiring as the green mountains of Kodiak and stunning blue mangrove shallows of Key West.

The take-away?  We live in a beautiful world!  Cliché, sure.  But, that doesn't make it any less true.

On this trip, we alternated between camping in the Cricket, spending the night in hotels, and plopping down with family along the way - which was from Sacramento, CA to Arlington, VA for those who may not know. 

Our first stop was in Eureka, NV.  That one was...unique.  It was a strangely dead town.

And I don't mean that it didn't have entertainment.  I mean it was literally like an old west, abandoned town.

The main drag was deserted, forgotten storefronts, neglected buildings, and an eerie sense of a place that's been cast aside.  The kind of main street where tumbleweeds blowing down the road wouldn't seem out of place.

We managed to find one spot open for dinner called The Owl Club.  First time in a long time I'd seen a place that still allows smoking inside.  I forgot how gross that can be.  Guess it jives with the whole wild west vibe they had going on.

So naturally, we got take-out and brought it back to our room. Plus, we had the boy and I don't think The Owl Club would take kindly to Pugbulls at dinner.  Despite the fact that they have excellent table manners.

Along with the deserted old west feel, there were some beautifully restored and historic buildings.  Talk about dichotomy.  I think this one was a courthouse, or town hall - some kind of government building.  It was striking amidst the dilapidation surrounding it.

On our way out of town the next morning, we found a cute little coffee & breakfast joint right at the edge of town.  We had a few surprisingly good egg sandwiches at their picnic table before hitting the road again for day two.

Not a bad start to our trip.  And now I have to share the Nevada-tastic roadside art we saw.  Yes...that's an Elk, a Bighorn Sheep, and a bench all sculpted from horse shoes.  It was pretty cool!

After our first overnight in Eureka, it was back to the loneliest road toward Utah.  Whoever gave US-50 that nickname was was spot on.  I think Clint Eastwood would agree.

Ta-ta for now.