Monday, November 24, 2014

The Poison Ivy Saga Continues


Wesley Chapel, Florida (high 85, low 68)

The weather is crazy.  It was cloudy and warm yesterday and rain and thunderstorms are possible for the next 3 days.  We’re hoping not to get anything severe.  Yep, I think this is going to be a wet and cool winter.


Thanks to everyone that offered  suggestions and moral support for Al and his latest bout of poison ivy.

The other night we tried a poultice made from turmeric and lime juice.  It seemed to help him that night and he did pretty well the next day. If he developed another itchy spot, I’d smear more of the turmeric on him.  The next day,  I went to the store and replenished my supply of turmeric thinking we had found the magic cure.   Of course that would be too easy.

That night it started driving him crazy again. He felt like it was internally as well as externally. He was getting the heebie jeebies and also getting extremely irritable.   I made another paste with my new turmeric and lime, but this time it burned his skin and and didn’t seem to relieve the itch or the heebie jeebies.  I wondered if the new turmeric I bought was more potent.

The worse he became, the grouchier he got and I was ready to strangle him.

We remembered (thanks to a comment yesterday from Jan) a product we had called Zanfel.   Our friend Barry gave Al a sample tube a a week or two ago.   Al used it once, but at that time he wasn’t having a big problem with the PI and he forgot about it until Jan reminded us.  Anyway, long story short, he had a little left in the tube and decided to try it again.   It stopped the itch and the heebie jeebies and he slept all night.  Yay!   of course he took 4 Benadryl)

We found some Zanfel at the grocery store, but the darn stuff is $40 for a 1 oz tube!   We hoped we could find it cheaper online and we did. I ordered two tubes for $20 each. Still a little expensive, but if it helps, it will be worth it.

While researching reviews for Zanfel, I found a review from a guy who gets PI constantly from his dogs.   That caught my attention since Al seems to get it the same way.    Anyway, this guy said he discovered another product called Mean Green.  It’s an industrial strength hand cleaner.   It has some of the same ingredients as Zanfel, and  has been working well for this guy preventing/stopping poison ivy.  He showers with it every day and has kept the PI at bay all summer.

Finally, we have hope.   People don’t realize what Al goes through with poison ivy.  He gets it 15-20 times a year I would guess.  Most bouts aren’t as bad as this one.

I’m posting this info on the blog because I know Al is not the only one that is a poison ivy magnet. 

Mean Green Hand Cleaner   I went ahead and ordered two jars.  $20 each and $12 shipping.  The shipping was the same for one jar as two, so I ordered two jars.  If it doesn’t help the PI, it will clean our hands!   I’ll let you know how it works.  It’s a 60 oz jar.

I can’t say for sure how it works, but there were several positive reviews about it and it’s worth a try for us.  It’s an industrial strength hand cleaner.





Zanfel has great reviews, but is almost $40 for a 1 oz tube.  I found it on E-bay much cheaper, so if you’re susceptible to poison ivy, you might want to have some on hand.

I ordered 2 tubes of this too, but in the meantime, we’re going to buy another tube.  We found it at Walmart for $35. 


We’re hoping the Mean Green will work so that Al can bathe with it and that it will prevent future break-outs. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cold Snap and Poison Ivy….again


Wesley Chapel, Florida (high 75, low 70)


Burrrrr.   It has been cold here in Florida.  A few days ago a freeze was predicted, but fortunately it didn’t get quite that cold.  For some reason, Florida cold seems colder than elsewhere.  

They are predicting a very cold winter, and I believe it.  It’s already been usually cool here in Tampa, and it’s even chilly in the Keys with lows in the 60’s.   We are wishing we could be in the Keys now, but with Al’s upcoming rotator cuff surgery and the fact that we have our Keys lot rented for December and January, I guess we won’t be going anytime soon.   :(

Al’s surgery has been moved up a week, and we’re hoping for someone to cancel so that he can get it done even earlier.  Currently, it’s scheduled for December 23.  I don’t think he will have a merry Christmas!   He’s going to need some healing time before we head to the Keys, but we’re hoping to go early in February.

Right now, he is still battling poison ivy.   He had it numerous times last summer and finally figured out he got it from petting a neighbors dog.  It got worse when we got back here.  We found what we think was a poison ivy plant growing on our lot.  I removed it, dug all the plants near it and also removed a lot of the dirt and mulch from around the plant. That hasn’t seemed to help.  He feels miserable with what he describes as the “heebie jeebies.”   He is extremely grumpy.   :(   

Supposedly, you cannot get poison ivy without touching the oil from the plant, but they also say it can become airborne when someone mows or weed whacks.   I believe Al can get it by being near it. 

I’ve been looking for some Octagon soap like Sherry recommended.  I wish I had known about it when we were in Georgia because I haven’t been able to find it around here.  Maybe Whole Foods will have it.

He went through one dose of Prednisone and it seemed to help, but as soon as that wore off, came back.  I’m not sure if he can get another prescription so soon, but I guess we’ll have to check with the doctor if he’s not better Monday.  

In the meantime, I’ve been online looking for natural remedies.  I came across a recipe for a paste made from turmeric and lime juice.  I smeared it all over his chest area and it might be helping. Fingers crossed.  At the moment, he’s not itching and has no heebie jeebies.   Yay!  I also found a recipe for a milk mixture made with turmeric.   We’re going to try that to see if it helps him internally.

I’m hoping he can get over this before the surgery, because I don’t think he needs the pain from rotator cuff surgery along with poison ivy.

If anybody has any other home remedies, or suggestions, please let me know.  We’ll try anything.   Poor guy is miserable and he’s making me miserable too.    :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dr Appointments and Cold Front


Wesley Chapel, Florida  (high 55, low 32)


They have been predicting a very cold winter this year, and I  am starting to believe it.  We got snow up in Georgia on Halloween and since we’ve been back in Florida, it has been an unusually cool November. We don’t usually get our cold weather until late December or January.  Up until today, the weather has been real nice, but a cold front is moving in today bringing us freezing temperatures tonight.   Brrrrr……wish we were in the Keys, but it’s also getting “cold” tonight there too.  (62 degrees)

Al is still dealing with poison ivy and sore shoulders.  He can’t seem to get rid of the poison ivy,  We are wondering if there is more growing nearby.  Last week we found a small plant growing on a tree on our lot.  I pulled it, and tossed it in the trash.  Unfortunately removing it didn’t seem to help, so yesterday, I put on gloves and dug up all the old flowers and mulch that were around that tree.  He sprayed the area with Round up, and today, we’re going to throw some mulch down.   Hopefully that will eliminate the problem.  He’s been miserable.  He’s been getting the “heebie jeebies” all the time and they make him very grumpy.   (poor me)

As I mentioned in a previous post, he  also injured both shoulders, again.  He’s already had three rotator cuff surgeries and it appears at least one more is on the horizon.  Last week was spent seeing a doctor and getting MRI’s done.  Yesterday, we went back to the doctor and it was confirmed he has a bad tear on the right shoulder and a small tear on the left shoulder.  He got a cortisone injection on the left shoulder. We’re hoping that will help.

He has surgery scheduled for December 30.  We were very disappointed that we couldn’t get anything earlier, but we’re hoping somebody cancels and we can get it done earlier.  We want to get back down to the Keys in February, but the late surgery date may delay that.  : (


On another subject.  I hope you all have had a chance to watch the two part television series called The Man who Killed Usama Bin Laden. It was narrated by the actual Navy Seal who pulled the trigger.  It was excellent and really makes you proud of our military, and especially the SEAL teams.  

Sunday, November 09, 2014

We’re Back in Tampa


Wesley Chapel, Florida (high 78, low 52)


We are technically in Wesley Chapel, not Tampa, but it is a suburb just north of Tampa, so consider it Tampa.   We have a nice site here,  some friends in the park, the weather has been lovely, but we are really missing our beautiful mountain retreat and hating the big city living.

Our backyard.


We lived in Tampa for 30 years and are  pretty tired of this area.  The traffic is horrendous.  The drivers are aggressive and there is plenty of road rage.  No one stops for red lights.  You must plan for 5-6 cars going through the light on red before you proceed.  It takes 30 minutes to drive 5 miles because of all the lights.  Ah yes…. welcome back to Tampa.  If it weren’t for my mother, we would not be here.    (do I sound grumpy?)

We made the entire 554 mile trip in two days, which are PDD days for us.  ( for new readers, the term PDD was coined by our blogger friend Sherry.  It means Paul Dahl Disorder.  Paul is one of these drivers that can drive 500-600 miles every day)

We went straight through downtown Atlanta on I-75 around 11pm.  The traffic was fairly light, so we breezed right through. 

We spent the night south of Atlanta, near Perry, Georgia after a 243 mile drive from Blairsville.  Al wasn’t sure he could drive the remaining 316 miles in one day, with the pain he’s been having in his shoulder, plus a raging case of poison ivy. It was all interstate driving, so we had plenty of places to stop and apply pain creams and anti-itch gel. :)  Poor guy.

Al has been battling poison ivy since before we left here in July.  When we got to Blairsville, he had several more bouts of it.  We finally realized our little doggie friends were picking it up and transferring it to Al.   He has been suffering on and off all summer long, and got another dose shortly before we left.

He has every cream and pill known to man for itch relief, but nothing works very well.  

As soon as we got back here, and he went outside to set up, it started getting worse.  He seems to get it internally as well as externally, and he describes the internal feelings as “the heebie jeebies”.   He gets extremely agitated and itches all over.  He’s pretty miserable, (and grumpy). 

We weren’t sure if it was the old stuff he brought from Georgia, or if there was some around here, but it was getting worse.

He had a problem here before we left and we assumed that it might be growing across the pond/marsh. He doesn’t have to touch it to get it.  We checked around the back of our site and found no poison ivy.

He had a really bad first night back in Tampa, so he went to the doctor to get a prescription for Prednisone.  The good thing is, it’s taking his mind off of his painful shoulder!

Yesterday morning, we were outside and Al happened to notice a small plant that we feel certain was poison ivy.  I took a few paper towels, covered my hands and pulled it out.  Barry and Stephanie took it to the trash for me.  I made Al go inside, and shut the windows!   I took a bucket of soapy water and poured on the area where it was.  I don’t know what good that will do, but it was the only thing I could think of.

We stayed in most of the day, and he seems to be a little better today.  It may be the Prednisone, or it may be that we removed the source.  It’s nice to wake up and not hear any complaining.   :)     Poor Al.


Still missing our mountains, but also dreaming of the Keys!

from sunshine key bridge

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Snow in the Mountains



Blairsville, Ga, (high 50, low 27)

I can’t remember the last time we’ve been anywhere where the weather was cold as it was yesterday.  The high temperature was only 37 degrees.   The wind was whipping all day long, with the occasional strong gusts that shook the motor home.  The sun never came out, so that made it even worse. 

It was too cold for the heat pumps, but fortunately our two little quartz heaters kept us nice and toasty all day without having to run the furnace.  Our furnace is our least favorite option for heat.  It’s noisy, and the dry air bothers our sinuses.   We turned the furnace on a few times, just to make sure it still worked and to heat up the basement.  We also kept the bay heaters turned on all day.

Today should be a better day.  The sun is already coming out, so we’ll soon be getting some nice free solar power!

We went up to the local favorite Jim’s Smokin’ Que yesterday for some bbq and Brunswick stew.  Afterwards, we decided to take a drive to check out the snow at higher elevations.

Brasstown Bald mountain is the highest peak in Georgia, so we headed that direction.

Despite the wind and cold, there was still some pretty color.


The higher the elevation, the more snow we saw.

snow on the mountains

It looks so cold up there.

snow on the mountains

It was a pretty ride.

snow on the mountains



snow on the mountains


We got up to Brasstown, we discovered the road leading to the visitor center was closed because of all the snow on the road.

snow on the mountains

It’s a pretty steep road with sheer drop offs, so I guess that was a good idea.  I’ll bet it was pretty from the top of the mountain.

snow on the mountains

A lot of other people had the same idea, I guess.


Someone made a snowman!


It was a small snowman. Can you see it?

Al with snowman

This guy was going hiking.   Burrrrrr

going hiking

These people were having a snowball fight. Notice the snowball I caught in midair?

throwing snowballs

We didn’t stay too long, because we turned the heaters off while we were gone and the little darlins were probably freezing.  :)   Just because they have fur, doesn’t mean they don’t get cold too.


snow on the mountains

This is a view of our campground.  You can see the trees are getting pretty bare.

Rivers Edge

There is still some nice color around the campground though.


Right across the street from our lot.

Rivers Edge


Our lot.

Rivers Edge lot 49 fall color

Since it was so bitter cold yesterday, we got nothing done in our preparations to head south.  We we won’t be leaving tomorrow.   Al still needs to drain the waterheater and washing machine in the cabin.  The hot tub also needs draining, cleaning and winterizing.  Hopefully the weather today will be more conducive to working outside.

We love our little home in the mountains, but I think it’s time to head south.

What do you think?

saltwater pool at Venture Out

Saturday, November 01, 2014



Blairsville, Georgia (high 40, low 25 with snow flurries)


Well, we got our wish. 

Last night around 11pm, it started to snow.  Big fat snowflakes, and lots of them. Baxter sat on the window ledge for the longest time watching them fall. He was so cute.

Al and I were pretty impressed to.  It has been a LONG time since we’ve seen falling snow.

I got up several times during the night to see if we had a blanket of snow on the ground.  We didn’t, but it snowed a little off and on during the night.

This is what we see outside our bedroom window this morning.


Unfortunately, it didn’t stick to the ground, but I guess that’s good because at least the roads won’t be slippery.  We have our hearts set on some Brunswick Stew from the local BBQ, Jim’s Smokin Q. 


I was afraid to walk onto the deck.  It was very slippery.


The poor birds are hungry and the birdfeeder was full of snow.  Al has since remedied this situation and now there is big fat dove sitting there.




After almost 4 months here in Blairsville, we have really settled in, and so we have a lot of preparation to do to leave.

We worked around here most of the afternoon yesterday, reorganizing, and moving things around.   We still have to winterize the hot tub and cabin water systems.   That didn’t get done yesterday, and now today, it’s cold and very windy outside, so that won’t be a pleasant job.

The patio furniture all goes into the cabin, but now it’s all wet.  

I guess we won’t be leaving tomorrow.

Okay.   We’ve seen snow, we’re over it.  If it’s not going to snow enough to cover the ground, then I’m ready for the sun to come out and the wind to die down.  Some sunshine  and warmer temps are starting to sound kind of nice.

It is definitely time to head south.

Merikay and Craig, aren’t you glad you left when you did?


Maybe we should be on the Overseas Highway?



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