Wednesday, May 18, 2016

RV Temperature Alert for Pets, and Fun on the Island


Wesley Chapel, Fl  (high 90, low 68)


Things are about the same here. 

Our friend Cindi is still in the hospital.  The doctors are waiting for some test results and then hopefully she will be released and can recover.

We still have her dog Kujo.  He is doing well and seems happy.  We love dogs.  We love other peoples dogs, but we don’t want a dog.  Cats are so much easier.   He is a good dog, but he’s a dog, and we don’t want a dog.




Now that we have the boat here, we have been taking every opportunity to use it.  With the hot Florida weather, we always worry about leaving the cats alone inside the motorhome.  If there should be a power outage, or the AC quits, they could quickly overheat and could die by the time we got home.

We  have a camera set up in the motorhome and I can look at the thermometer inside the coach from my phone and check on the cats.   It is a great thing to have, but requires internet and of course I have to remember to check.  I began searching for an alternative that would work without internet, and that would send me alerts if the temperature got too high.  I finally found another system that will do the job. You set the alerts for the high and lows you want and it will send you a text if the RV gets too hot or cold (yeah right).  

I found this gadget here:  Cell Sign Technology

Here is what it looks like.


I’m not exactly sure how it works, but it has a Sim card inside and works much like a cell phone does for texts. You have to purchase the unit, which is $119.  Then you pay $13.50 a month for the sim card alerts.   You can cancel at any time and there are no contracts.  It’s well worth the money for my peace of mind.  We love our kitties and would feel horrible if something were to happen to them while we were gone.

It does not require internet, but you do have to have some sort of cell signal in your area.

It plugs into an outlet and is only about the size of a cell phone. If the power goes out, or the temperature gets too warm, it will send you a text to notify you of the problem.  You can also text it anytime you want to know the temperature, or to double check that it’s working.   With this and the camera, I feel pretty comfortable leaving the cats alone for the day.

So, now that we have the cats (and dog) covered, we can feel safe going out in the boat.   Smile  The dog stays at home with the cats when we go boating and so far, so good.

We managed to get out twice last week and both times the water was clear, blue and beautiful.  From where we store the boat, we have a short three mile run down the Anclote River in Tarpon Springs, out to Anclote Key.  It’s a beautiful barrier island right off the coast.   The past two times we’ve been there the water was as clear and beautiful as I’ve ever seen it.

We anchored right off the beach where we could wade over to the island.

There weren’t many people when we go there, but they started arriving later in the afternoon.

We had two manatees hanging around all day. That’s pretty unusual for that area and I worried about them with all the boats around.

The picture isn’t real clear, but the dark spots are manatee. They were right in front of our boat by our anchor.




We saw a school of Snook hanging around all day and another boater saw a huge Tarpon (fish). 

We saw this crazy boat.   It is one boat, but looks like a combination of two different boats. 

Crazy boat




This boat apparently went to Anclote Key and never made it back.  The black thing in is a mercury motor.  The island is growing constantly and the last time we were there the boat numbers were no longer showing. It will be covered up completely probably by the next time we go out.  It’s interesting to watch how islands form and change over time.


capcized boat on Anclote


Isn’t that beautiful?



We took a long walk along the beach, and picked up a few shells.  There have always been a lot of shells there.


We’ve been to Anclote Key hundreds and hundreds of times and it was rarely like this.











After out second walk, we headed back towards the boat and found we weren’t alone anymore.

We almost couldn’t see our boat from the others that decided they needed to park right next to us.


We are the little boat with the blue top in the middle.   There was plenty of beach area, but for some reason they felt the need to park right on top of us. 

This is what it looked like when we left.  Smile






Shortly after we got back to the boat, we got another visitor.  It’s an island hopper from Tarpon Springs….AKA cattle boat.  YIKES!  Look at all those people!



This is going to be a rainy week in Florida, so it looks like no boating for a few days. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


Wesley Chapel, Fl


Well, first of to the good news:  There is no good news.  Smile

On to the bad news:

In a previous blog here I mentioned that we were trying to get an old friend of mine to live in with my Mom to assist in her care. It was to be a win-win situation to help both Cindy and Mom.  May 1st was supposed to be the day Cindi moved in. 

Cindi is a long time friend, who has had some health and financial problems. She needed a place to stay and we need a part time caregiver for my Mom to give us a little break and hopefully to allow us to escape the Florida heat and get back to the north Georgia Mountains the  some this summer.

We were still planning on having the caregivers from Visiting Angels take care of Mom 6 hours a day, which is what her insurance policy allows.  The plan was to have Cindi fill in the gaps and allow us a bit more freedom.

Cindi  had been trying to get moved out of her apartment, and in the moving process we started to realize she had some very, very serious health problems.  She was trying to get moved and didn’t want to take the time to see a doctor.  She is one of those people who Obamacare was supposed to help, but sadly, didn’t.  Her premiums went from $93 a month last year, to $289 a month this year, which was more than she could pay. If anyone needed cheap health insurance, it’s her. The problems  became more serious to the point where I was afraid she might die but she refused to go to the hospital. I finally contacted her family and her son finally was able to force her to the ER.

Once she went to the emergency room, they quickly realized things were serious and admitted her.  She’s been there since Wednesday and things are grave.   If any of you would send some good thoughts and prayers her way, I would appreciate it.  She needs all the help she can get.

Cindi has a little dog named Kujo.  He had been her son’s dog, but one of his pitbulls attacked Kujo so he wasn’t able to go back there while Cindi was in the hospital.  So….guess who has Kujo? 


On to the ugly:

Somewhere in the process of trying to help Cindi move, trying to get her to the emergency room, and our normal mother care, I end up with a rash on my neck.

I didn’t think much about it at first.  With all the poison ivy Al has gotten over the years, that was the first thing I thought of. It wasn’t painful at first and wasn’t spreading, but it looked like poison ivy. After nearly a week a friend looked at it and suggested it might be shingles.  I had never even considered that because the pain wasn’t as bad as I expected from Shingles.

I made a doctors appointment on about day 6 of the rash. She took one brief look at it and confirmed I had Shingles.  By this time, I was having some pain.  It was just a small patch on the side of my neck, but occasionally I would get a stabbing pain which fortunately only lasted a second, but was intense when it occurred. It was painful to the tough and my clothes rubbed against it, but other than that, it wasn’t too bad.  

The doctor gave me an anti viral drug, and some meds for pain.  I never needed the pain meds (so far)  but I’m not prepared to say I have it licked just yet.   At this point, I consider myself extremely lucky.  Our friend Barry got it a few years ago and was in so much pain that he was completely disabled for months.  This is a guy who rides mountain bikes and has taken many bad falls.  He’s not one to cry uncle due to pain, but shingles kicked his butt.

I had heard many horror stories about shingles and would have gotten the vaccination, but Al doesn’t think he had chicken pox and I understood that if I got a shingles vaccine, he could get chicken pox from me.  

We learned you could get a blood test to check to see if you’ve ever had chicken pox.  Al got the test and we will know next week for sure if he has had it or not.  If he hasn’t, then he can’t get shingles.  If he has, then he will be getting a vaccine.

My doctor told me in exactly 365 days, I need to get a shingles vaccine.  Apparently, I can’t get it for a year. Having shingles does not make you immune from getting it again, according to my doctor.

I got off lucky, (knock on wood) but most people do not.  I would recommend everyone consider the vaccine.  My Mom got one for free under Medicare and her Tricare military insurance. Many different supplemental Medicare policies will cover it from what I understand. I think it’s about $300 without insurance, but it is probably worth the money.  So far, I have been very, very lucky.  My pain so far has been minimal and the rash is starting to clear up and hopefully go away. Most people aren’t that lucky.  Our friend still gets pain on a regular basis.

We have gotten out on the boat, so we have been able to have a little fun mixed in with all the trauma.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

It’s a Small World


Wesley Chapel, Fl

Our recent short trip to the Keys was to pick up our boat and also to reconnect with my long lost cousin Anne.

We accomplished both of those tasks and I posted some pictures of Anne and Jan on my last blog post.  If you missed it, you can click Here

One of the comments I got on the last post was from Gin and Syl,  long time fulltimers and regular bloggers in the past.  Many of you will remember them.  It turned out that Syl saw the picture of Anne and Jan and recognized them from their past lives in North Carolina.    Small world, isn’t it?   Gin and Syl wanted to reconnect with Anne and Jan, so I passed along their email address.  I’m sure by now, they have reconnected as well. It always amazes me how small of a world it is sometimes. 

We are happy to have our boat here, and safe and snug in its new home in the marina.  We kept our boats in the high and dry marina years ago, so we knew the drill, but had forgotten how very nice it is to have someone else do all the work for you. I think we are getting spoiled.

Once you arrive, the forklift driver is notified and in minutes your boat is in the water waiting for you. The deck hand secures the boat, assists you getting in, and must wait until you leave before he can resume his duties.  When you get back, he is there waiting at the dock to catch the boat, assist you in getting out and then guides it onto the forklift.  How nice!  They put the boat on the outside rack so that you can unload your stuff, rinse the motor and wash the boat.  Once you are done the boat is then put back in the storage building.  We had forgotten how nice that was!

We’ve been out a few times now but haven’t ventured too far. 

We’ve seen two sunken sailboats.


We assume they were moored offshore and for whatever reason filled with water and turned over.



There are plenty of osprey nests this time of year and you can hear the babies screaming for food.



Yesterday we parked  away from all the other boats, just offshore near the Anclote Key lighthouse.


We were all by ourselves until some idiot decided we needed neighbors.  He made all kinds of waves, anchored right next to us with his loud music, and then proceeded to smoke their stinky cigarettes.  We finished our lunch and moved.  Grrrr…a big ocean and he had to park right by us.

We found a nicer spot right along the sandbar at Anclote Key.  Boy has that island changed in the 15 years since we’ve been there.  It was not recognizable and we had spend many hours there relaxing after morning scuba diving or spending the entire day there if it was too windy to go offshore to dive. 

In the past, we would usually be the only ones on the island during the weekdays.  It’s certainly not that way anymore.  This was a Tuesday.  I would hate to see a Saturday.


Anclote Key

They even have big charter boats from Tarpon Springs loaded with people to spend time on “our island.” 


Anclote Key


We anchored just offshore, read our books, napped and watched dolphin hunting for food.

dolphin at Anclote Key


We have had other issues that have been keeping us landlocked.  Sometimes when it rains, it pours.  More next time.