Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

For the first time in like, forever, there is good weather for Memorial Day and we can't be in our woods? Bill is missing musky fishing something fierce. We were going to be heading to Webster Lake in Indiana Monday night and staying a few days at a campground that had boat rental. Well that got shot down as 1) the big generator is acting up and sounds like a very, very loud scream when you turn it on and 2) Bill needs to get a physical before July 31 in order to keep his Badgercare and 3) Prime now decided to send us to Ohio instead of finishing up in Chicago (not that we have a problem with NOT being in Chicago!).

We are in Joliet IL right now at the Empress Casino campground which is only for over 21 so no screaming kids running around on ATVs or golf carts like we normally have to put up with on Memorial Day! It is so very strange to just turn on the coffee maker in the morning without first going outside and having to get the generator out. Also strange to be able to use water and not have to worry we might run out or fill the tanks too soon. We have basically been boondocking for 6 months except for the two nights we were in Pickerel. We also are able to turn on the air and leave Dozey in the rig when we leave instead of dragging him along with us all the time. So except for the issue that I will mention later in this post, everything is going well. It is amazing how something so common such as automatic electricity and water which everyone takes for granted can make life so much easier!

We received the letter from Badgercare saying that Bill needed a physical to keep his insurance after we had left Wisconsin in April...thanks so much State of Wisconsin. So last week I began calling around to doctors near the Illinois border. No one wanted to schedule an appointment if he was not going to be a permanent patient. I then tried hospital clinics, walk in clinics, occupational clinics you name it and no one would do a physical. Aurora in Kenosha even said that they were scheduling physicals for next JANUARY right now! Finally one of the places recommended the Community Clinic in Kenosha. So I called them. Yes, they could get him in next week but not at the first appointment.....you need to go TWICE to get a physical. What a bunch of bull....that way they can charge the insurance more. But at this point I really had no other option but to schedule with them.

In order to get everything done and get to Hamilton OH by June 4th we are leaving here Monday night and heading up to the Cummins repair shop in La Grange IL. We will stay there overnight and they will work on the generator right away at 7am on Tuesday. We then have to drive up to Kenosha as Bill has his first appointment at 2pm. We are planning on boondocking in the Walmart parking lot so he can go to his physical the next morning at 11:30am and I can have an eye exam right there at the Walmart at the same time. We then have to head south to Hammond IN so Dozey can have his blood work done to make sure that the phenobarbital is doing what it's supposed to at 4pm. And people wonder why I am such a strong proponent for health insurance? We shouldn't have to jump through hoops and have to get everything done in Wisconsin if we can't be there due to employment! If we could get affordable insurance we could have this done anywhere in the country with no problems. I haven't yet posted on my narcotic/USPS issue but will in a few days which is another ridiculous issue that we have to put up with until 2014.

So unfortunately Bill will not be able to get a few days of fishing in as we have no choice but to get his physical now in case we are not anywhere near Wisconsin before July 31. He is now scheduled through June 18, hopefully with a good crew. He worked with a couple in the last month that normally do the Petsmart job and they are scheduled through December. He spoke with the Project Manager at Prime who said that he will probably be sent to either the Petsmart project or a JC Penney project after that. Of course we just don't know where.

That is the hardest part for me to schedule work when I don't know where we will be. You probably have noticed that there have been more posts in the last couple of weeks. That is because I was not able to do much work in inner city Chicago as neighborhoods that looked "normal" to me were said to be dangerous and I just didn't want to take any chances. The one Target that we were at that everyone said was in the worst area looked exactly like the other areas! But everyone from security guards to Target employees to the temps that Bill had said it was really bad. Now that we will be in the suburbs of Cincinnati and Columbus as well as smaller towns I will be able to get some work done too.

I may have to make a trip back to Wisconsin to get things out of the Oshkosh house as it has been placed in pre-foreclosure. Supposedly Chase feels that they can sell it and get their money out of it so they may not give us a loan modification. It doesn't help that my brother has only paid us $600 this calendar year. He is running a bar in Green Bay and "has not been paid yet". Besides trashing Bill's credit rating there will now be the expense of me having to possibly go back and take care of his mess. Well, he will be losing more than just a place to live as I have told him to leave the keys for the truck and his cell phone as well. I am so tired of being walked over by family....never again.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wrong Schedule

It seems that the Georgia office sent us the wrong schedule yesterday. Good thing I didn't schedule any work or other appointments in the Detroit area! Here is the new schedule. The only thing that may change is that we may have to stay in Chicago and do the store set for June 3rd and 4th and then head over to Ohio and be there for the store on June 6th.

June 1 & 2 Dublin OH
June 3 & 4 Hilliard OH
June 6 & 7 Columbus OH
June 8 & 9 Mansfield OH
June 10 & 11 Massilon OH
June 13 & 14 North Canton OH
June 15 & 16 Akron OH
June 17 & 18 Wadsworth OH

Dairy Cow Abuse

I had thought that I was updating a post that I had put here on the blog but I realized I had put in on my Facebook page and not here yesterday. Even so, this is an important case due to all the dairy farms we have in Wisconsin. In my opinion the bastard should have been charged with felonies but we will take what we can get!

Ohio dairy farm worker charged with animal cruelty
By MEGHAN BARR (AP) – 15 hours ago
CLEVELAND — A dairy farm worker was charged Wednesday with 12 counts of cruelty to animals after a welfare group released a video it says shows him and others beating cows with crowbars and poking them with pitchforks.


The video was recorded in an undercover investigation at Conklin Dairy Farms Inc., said Mercy For Animals, a not-for-profit group that publicizes what it calls cruel practices in the dairy, meat and egg industries and promotes a vegan diet.

The video shows workers holding down newborn calves and stomping on their heads. It shows one worker wiring a cow's nose to a metal bar near the ground and repeatedly beating it with another bar while it bleeds.

The charged worker, Billy Joe Gregg Jr., 25, was jailed in Mechanicsburg and was to be arraigned Thursday, Marysville prosecutor Tim Aslaner said. The Delaware, Ohio, resident didn't have a lawyer, the Marysville Municipal Court said. A telephone number listed under his name was disconnected.

Each cruelty to animals count he faces has a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $750 fine. Conklin Dairy Farms, a fourth-generation family operation based in Plain City, condemned the video footage and said Gregg was fired on Wednesday. It said it was cooperating with authorities. "We will not condone animal abuse on our farm," the dairy said in a statement released Wednesday. "We have launched our own internal investigation into this matter and will be conducting interviews with everyone on our farm who works with our animals."

The sheriff's office said the investigation was ongoing and may result in further charges.
Investigators are reviewing about 20 hours of raw video footage the animal welfare group says it secretly recorded at the farm between April 28 and Sunday. Sheriff's deputies were called to the dairy to provide security while Gregg was fired. When deputies asked why Gregg was being fired, they learned about the video, which had been presented to the Marysville prosecutor's office on Monday. "We hadn't even seen the YouTube video," Chief Deputy Tom Morgan said.
Morgan said there are three to four people featured in the video. He said the footage shows Gregg punching and striking cattle in the face and various parts of their bodies with metal pipes and pitchforks. "We've got a lot of video that has to be reviewed," he said. "And we have to identify who all is involved."


Last year, Mercy For Animals, which is based in Chicago, released a video showing workers at an Iowa egg hatchery tossing male chicks into a grinder. Industry groups said such instantaneous euthanasia was a common practice because male chicks can't lay eggs or be raised quickly enough to be sold for meat.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Yes, We Hate Chicago

Granted we are rednecks from the northwoods but if you have tons of people standing on the street doing absolutely nothing why in the world can said people not pick up the garbage that they are walking through and standing in? Parts of this city make me embarassed to say I am an American as such trash and filth is something that Bill and I have always associated with the Third World countries we have been in such as the Dominican Republic and Honduras. They say Chicago is a city of neighborhoods and there is pride to be from a certain neighborhood but it sure doesn't look that way to us if you can't even pick up the trash that is lying around!

And we thought beggars on the off ramps in Phoenix were a rarity but I guess it was just our naivety showing. The beggars here don't stay on the side of the road but walk right through traffic and up to your car window with a cup in their hands. We even saw one guy in a wheelchair that was positioned in the middle of two straight lanes of traffic with a sign and a bucket. We then shopped the McDonald's on the corner where he was sitting and he even came inside the restaurant and went from table to table! That is a bit much in my opinion. Granted there are many, many people that need help in this recession but how do you know that they don't get into a better car than you that is parked on the other street and drive home to a better house than you in a better suburb? There have been exposés done on the very practice. At least some of them try to do something for the cash and sell bottles of water for $1. I bet that doesn't fly very well in January here.

So all in all I have no answers for the problems that plague Chicago and this country obviously. But just because you are poor does not give you the excuse to live like slobs. In that atmosphere it is no wonder people never do better in life. I look at some of these neighborhoods and know that if I personally lived there I would not have any dreams, hopes or aspirations. I would feel an all encompassing sense of hopelessness and wouldn't care about anything no doubt. The first step should be to clean the place up! We will not be sad to leave here and go to the Detroit area although that is probably not much better at least we will be in the suburbs and not the city center.

Domestic Violence and Pets

Domestic violence is bad enough but when a woman (or a man) can't leave a situation because the family pets will be the next in the line of fire it is that much worse. Please vote for the PAWS (Pets and Women's Shelters) project which is in the running for a $250,000 grant from Pepsi. The PAWS project through American Humane gives shelters grants that allow them to take in both victims and the victim's pets.

http://www.refresheverything.com/petsandwomensshelters

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Heatwave in Chicago

The last two days have been killer as far as heat and humidity go. We had planned on getting an RV Park when the heat got too bad not only for us but also for Dozey and the Monsters as it is not good for Doze to get too hot as that can bring on seizures. Well, there simply are NO campgrounds within 40 miles of Chicago. I searched all over and we even considered getting a hotel room but as we are near Midway they want $89 or more a night and don't allow pets so that kind of defeats the purpose. So we run the big generator with the AC to cool things down a bit and then run the little generator most of the time with a small fan. We take cold water and dumped it on Dozer and just are hoping that the weather will break. Today is somewhat cooler and hopefully it will stay that way. We have 2 more nights until we go to Joliet and the campground at the Empress Casino. By then the weather is supposed to be back in the 70s like normal.

Bill lost his crew again! First he gets a call that one of them got a new job and wouldn't be in on Sunday night. So he calls his boss who says that he can't get temp help on a Sunday. So he worked with only 2 crew and himself Sunday night which for a store the size of Oak Lawn should have had probably 5 or so. Then on Monday another member calls and says he was offered a full time job and has to be back in Michigan by Tuesday so neither he nor his brother will be in. As Bill was sleeping I right away call his boss and the decide he will run with temps to finish the project as there are only 4 stores left. It's great to have 4 temps but when they don't know what they are doing it makes it all the harder on Bill as he has to tell them everything. When he came in at 7am this morning he said that he will give them tonight to show they have some initiative as there was a lot of standing and SITTING around last night. No way would I be letting them SIT while I am running around working for the entire 8 hours! But Bill doesn't like to make waves that way so hopefully tonight they shape up. This project that Bill is on is very physically demanding on him so this job is nothing that he will be able to do for the next 20 years. He goes through 4 or more bottles of water a night and never even has to pee! He has lost weight again and has to use his belt in his pants to keep them up. Or he could just wear them that way and fit in fine down here.

Speaking of Targets, this one is the strangest we have every seen building wise. When we first drove up we couldn't figure out where the store was as it all looked like a parking garage. It is a two story Target with a parking garage underneath. There are escalators to take customers up and down and there is a down escalator that you hook your cart into to take purchase to your vehicle.

We must be on a roll as far as security goes as yesterday we had an Oak Lawn police officer stop by to see what we were doing in the parking lot as they had a complaint of an RV in the lot with garbage all around it! The cop looks around and doesn't see the garbage and just tells me that people have nothing better to do. Bill thinks it's incredible as the whole CITY has garbage all over it and someone is worried about us having a bag of garbage next to the rig? Incredible!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Navy Pier


Yesterday we took a drive into downtown to Navy Pier as the Green Festival was going on and I have wanted to check that out for three years now. We are located south of Midway Airport right now so we passed by it on Cicero Street. When a plane is coming in from the south it is definitely right above the street and not very high up either. It rather looks like the plane is going to land right on top of you. The drive in was rather quick and easy but of course on the way back we hit stop and go traffic all the way.

Navy Pier itself is neat in a touristy kind of way and is the Number 1 tourist attraction in Chicago. Parking in the ramp was a flat rate of $24 no matter how long you stayed and they must have made out like bandits yesterday as one ramp was already full by noon and we had to go to the 5th floor to find a spot in the other. They have a nice set up though, with pay kiosks on the ground floor where you can pay for the parking. Then when you leave you just put the ticket into the slot, the gate opens and off you go. That, of course, was the only fast and efficient thing in the whole area. You are able to rent bikes and 4 person bikes on the pier but I think it is a disaster waiting to happen. The bikes are weaving in and around the pedestrians and someday somebody is going to lose control and smack into someone and hurt them badly.
We decided to take one of the boat tours that you can find on the pier and Bill wanted to go up the Chicago River into the city rather than out on the lake. Tickets were $28.50 a piece which I found to be a bit steep for an hour boat ride but after all it's Chicago. The bad part was the tour guide blabbling the entire time about architects and architectual eras. The good part was seeing the skyscapers up close. We don't care how high you live in your glass enclosed penthouse, we still wouldn't want to have to deal with your traffic and congestion as well as the weather off of Lake Michigan in January!

video

Friday, May 21, 2010

Chicago - And They Wonder Why We Call Them FIBs?

Ok, maybe that is not totally fair as I have met some nice people here in the Chicago area but definitely NOT the majority. Many people seem suspicious, paranoid and not friendly at all. One big issue I have is that we can't take Dozey to a dog park as you have to have a certificate from a Chicago area vet and a permit for $30. They obviously are not wanting visitors with pets!

Friday I went to work and decided as it was really difficult to try and filter locations throughout the city as I really don't know the area at all. So I found myself in some very interesting neighborhoods in the southern inner city. For about 4 hours I don't believe I saw anyone with my same color skin. The stereotypical guy drinking out of a paper bag in a doorway on the street was seen more than once. All in all I did not feel comfortable at all driving around these areas and getting out and going into the stores.

The first night we were at the Target a security guard pulled up and said the mall manager wanted to know if we were "shopping". I said, "No, we are staying here over night." He said you can't, I said we have permission from Target management. Obviously that held some sway because when he left he said he would be back after the manager decided "what to do about us". I guess they realized they could do nothing. Then Friday evening another pickup pulls up by the rig honking it's horn. I go out and this time it is an older white guy who asks if we are "setting up camp". I again explain that Bill is a contractor and we stay in the store lots. He turned out to be ok except for the fact that he got me all paranoid about the area the store was in saying to make sure we take care and lock the doors. So Friday night while Bill is in the store it was raining pretty heavily and then a very thick fog developed. I was on edge thanks to the security guard and every time a car went by I was tense. Bill got done about 2am and just as he got in ANOTHER security guard pulls up, knocks on the door and asks if this was our rig. Ah...no....we just saw it along side the road and thought we'd take it home...anyway, he proceeds to tell us that there is no overnight parking and we would have to leave. Bill is being polite but I get POd and get up and go to the door, as it was I, in reality, that he woke up in the middle of the night. I tell him that we are cleared by Target management to stay in the lot and if he had a problem I would call the "real" police. So Einstein security guard gets on the radio and asks about us. I am not sure what was said but all of a sudden he goes, "Have a nice night" and leaves. NOT "I'm sorry for waking you up at 2am to be a PITA. Have a nice night". Of course not.

So we leave Saturday morning and come to the next store in Oak Lawn just to get out of that area and the manager at this store can't believe we, or rather I, stayed alone all night in an RV in that area. I didn't feel that uncomfortable considering there was security all night but I guess it goes to show that even though you have a Target, Starbucks and other higher end stores in an area, looks can be deceiving.

Endangered Species Day - May 21st

Today May 21st is Endangered Species Day....what can you do to help?

According to the National Wildlife Federation there a quite a few ways to show your support as this year it is more crucial than ever.

•The BP Oil Spill continues to gush oil into fragile marine and wetland ecosystems, threatening sea turtles, sperm whales and other endangered and threatened species in the Gulf. Also at risk is Louisiana's state bird, the brown pelican, which was deemed "recovered" and was removed from the Endangered Species list just this past fall of 2009.

•Shell Oil is pushing to drill in Alaska's Chukchi and Beaufort seas--newly-designated critical habitat for polar bears, which were listed as "threatened" last year.

Go to
http://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/What-We-Do/Endangered-Species/Endangered-Species-Day.aspx and do what you can to be part of the solution!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pet Food Container Recycling

For those of you with pets Purina has a new program at ttp://www.togetherwecanrecycle.com/. For every pledge between now and May 31st Purina will donate $1 to the Keep America Beautiful program. Buying in bulk is best but this works if you can't!

And while you are browsing check out the site that the information came from -- http://www.recyclebank.com/ --- where you can earn points to redeem for prizes from taking positive green actions...it's a win win!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Organ Donation

http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20100502/GPG0101/5020666/Wisconsin-transplant-needs-88-died-last-year-while-waiting-for-organs

I came upon a sad story that in the State of Wisconsin last year 88 people died while waiting for an organ transplant. I believe that is just shameful considering the fact that once you are gone you cannot use your organs but there is someone, somewhere out there who will be given new life from your generosity. It is something that is on my mind due to the number of miles we drive now and you never know what the next curve will bring. I would be much happier knowing that my gift gave someone else the chance to spend a few more Christmases, or a lifetime of Christmases, with their loved ones.

So Bill and I have gone to the website http://www.yesiwillwisconsin.com./ to let it be known that our wishes are to donate our tissues, organs and eyes in the event of a tragedy. Granted we both had orange dots on our licenses, but that was not legal and binding. Below is the statement from the website about the legality of signing up and the fact that it is irreversible unless revoked by the donor before death. All in all, we believe it is a great program as it takes the responsibility for the decision away from the next of kin so there can be no arguments if two parties disagree about donation. Hopefully registries such as this will help to ensure that no viable organs go to waste and as such, many more lives can be saved.

By submitting this registration I affirm that I am the applicant described on this application and that the information entered herein is true and correct to the best of my knowledge. This registration will serve as a record of gift as outlined in Wisconsin state law. A record gift, not revoked by the donor before death, is irreversible and does not require the consent of any other person. It also authorizes any examination necessary to ensure the medical acceptability of the anatomical gift.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Another Area to Cross Off

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michigan_City,_Indiana

In Michigan City we boondocked at the Blue Chip Casino which is right near the waterfront. Not a horrible area but it has one of the worst laundromats I have ever been to....90% of the equipment was inoperable and the place was dirty and run down....I really, really hate not having a washer or a place to line dry the laundry! We had wanted to visit the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore but the weather would not cooperate. All the rain has caused quite a bit of flooding and an increase in my pain of course. Hopefully we will be able to catch the park in some better weather. The casino itself is nice and we each received a coupon booklet that included a Buy 1 Get 1 Free Buffet which was very good.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calumet_City,_Illinois

Calumet City was a stop that we were worried about due to reported violence. We don't really need someone thinking we are rich as we have an RV and trying to break in some night while Bill is in the store! But it didn't turn out as bad as expected. Granted I felt like a minority while in the mall and at a couple of other shops but the area the Target was in was fairly safe. It is right on the border of Hammond IN and there were quite a few Illinois people crossing over the border and stopping at the first gas station as gas was $3.09 in Calumet City and $2.84 in Hammond. Al Capone once owned a getaway home in Calumet City and after prohibition was repealed Calumet City had the largest amount of liquor licenses of any city in the country. Calumet City was also the birthplace of "Joliet Jake", John Belushi's character in the Blues Brothers and the orphanage they were trying to save was located there also.

This area and style of living is just definitely NOT us. I guess it is better to be able to cross places you'd like to live off of your list as you can't live everywhere rather than find tons of places you would like to spend more time in! We have spent the last few days in some rather populated, dirty, run down areas with people crammed next to each other like sardines and very little green areas anywhere. Going to the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond for a shop last night we passed by an oil refinery and I could feel my chest get tight and I had a hard time breathing....how do people live with that day in and day out? I met a guy at an Aldi shop and he said that if he could get out of northwestern Indiana he would. Unfortunately I guess he can't and either many other people can't as well or they just are afraid to take that step....or of course, maybe some of them like city living. To each his own but I am very glad we both agree it is not for us!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

When Will It End and Who Do We Trust?

The Cover-up: BP's Crude Politics and the Looming Environmental Mega-Disaster

By Wayne Madsen
www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19068

Global Research, May 9, 2010
Oilprice.com

WMR has been informed by sources in the US Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Florida Department of Environmental Protection that the Obama White House and British Petroleum (BP), which pumped $71,000 into Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign -- more than John McCain or Hillary Clinton--, are covering up the magnitude of the volcanic-level oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and working together to limit BP's liability for damage caused by what can be called a "mega-disaster."

Obama and his senior White House staff, as well as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, are working with BP's chief executive officer Tony Hayward on legislation that would raise the cap on liability for damage claims from those affected by the oil disaster from $75 million to $10 billion. However, WMR's federal and Gulf state sources are reporting the disaster has the real
potential cost of at least $1 trillion. Critics of the deal being worked out between Obama and Hayward point out that $10 billion is a mere drop in the bucket for a trillion dollar disaster but also note that BP, if its assets were nationalized, could fetch almost a trillion dollars for compensation purposes. There is talk in some government circles, including FEMA, of the
need to nationalize BP in order to compensate those who will ultimately be affected by the worst oil disaster in the history of the world.

Plans by BP to sink a 4-story containment dome over the oil gushing from a gaping chasm one kilometer below the surface of the Gulf, where the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and killed 11 workers on April 20, and reports that one of the leaks has been contained is pure public relations disinformation designed to avoid panic and demands for greater action by the
Obama administration, according to FEMA and Corps of Engineers sources. Sources within these agencies say the White House has been resisting releasing any "damaging information" about the oil disaster. They add that if the ocean oil geyser is not stopped within 90 days, there will be irreversible damage to the marine eco-systems of the Gulf of Mexico, north Atlantic Ocean, and beyond. At best, some Corps of Engineers experts say it could take two years to cement the chasm on the floor of the Gulf.

Only after the magnitude of the disaster became evident did Obama order Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to declare the oil disaster a "national security issue." Although the Coast Guard and FEMA are part of her department, Napolitano's actual reasoning for invoking national security was to block media coverage of the immensity of the disaster that is unfolding for the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean and their coastlines.

From the Corps of Engineers, FEMA, the Environmental Protection Agency, Coast Guard, and Gulf state environmental protection agencies, the message is the same: "we've never dealt with anything like this before."

The Obama administration also conspired with BP to fudge the extent of the oil leak, according to our federal and state sources. After the oil rig exploded and sank, the government stated that 42,000 gallons per day was gushing from the seabed chasm. Five days later, the federal government upped the leakage to 210,000 gallons a day.

However, WMR has been informed that submersibles that are monitoring the escaping oil from the Gulf seabed are viewing television pictures of what is a "volcanic-like" eruption of oil. Moreover, when the Army Corps of Engineers first attempted to obtain NASA imagery of the Gulf oil slick -- which is larger than that being reported by the media -- it was turned down.
However, National Geographic managed to obtain the satellite imagery shots of the extent of the disaster and posted them on their web site.

There is other satellite imagery being withheld by the Obama administration that shows what lies under the gaping chasm spewing oil at an ever-alarming rate is a cavern estimated to be around the size of Mount Everest. This information has been given an almost national security-level classification to keep it from the public, according to our sources.

The Corps and Engineers and FEMA are quietly critical of the lack of support for quick action after the oil disaster by the Obama White House and the US Coast Guard. Only recently, has the Coast Guard understood the magnitude of the disaster, dispatching nearly 70 vessels to the affected area. WMR has also learned that inspections of off-shore rigs' shut-off valves by the Minerals Management Service during the Bush administration were merely rubber-stamp operations, resulting from criminal collusion between Halliburton and the Interior Department's service, and that the potential for similar disasters exists with the other 30,000 off-shore rigs that use the same shut-off valves.

The impact of the disaster became known to the Corps of Engineers and FEMA even before the White House began to take the magnitude of the impending catastrophe seriously. The first casualty of the disaster is the seafood industy, with not just fishermen, oystermen, crabbers, and shrimpers losing their jobs, but all those involved in the restaurant industry, from truckers
to waitresses, facing lay-offs.


The invasion of crude oil into estuaries like the oyster-rich Apalachicola Bay in Florida spell disaster for the seafood industry. However, the biggest threat is to Florida's Everglades, which federal and state experts fear will be turned into a "dead zone" if the oil continues to gush forth from the Gulf chasm. There are also expectations that the oil slick will be caught up in the Gulf stream off the eastern seaboard of the United States, fouling beaches and estuaries like the Chesapeake Bay, and ultimately target the rich fishing grounds of the Grand Banks off Newfoundland.

WMR has also learned that 36 urban areas on the Gulf of Mexico are expecting to be confronted with a major disaster from the oil volcano in the next few days. Although protective water surface boons are being laid to protect such sensitive areas as Alabama's Dauphin Island, the mouth of the Mississippi River, and Florida's Apalachicola Bay, Florida, there is only 16
miles of boons available for the protection of 2,276 miles of tidal shoreline in the state of Florida.

Emergency preparations in dealing with the expanding oil menace are now being made for cities and towns from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Houston, New Orleans, Gulfport, Mobile, Pensacola, Tampa-St.Petersburg- Clearwater, Sarasota-Bradenton, Naples, and Key West. Some 36 FEMA-funded contracts between cities, towns, and counties and emergency workers are due to be invoked within days, if not hours, according to WMR's FEMA sources.

There are plans to evacuate people with respiratory problems, especially those among the retired senior population along the west coast of Florida, before officials begin burning surface oil as it begins to near the coastline.


There is another major threat looming for inland towns and cities. With hurricane season in effect, there is a potential for ocean oil to be picked up by hurricane-driven rains and dropped into fresh water lakes and rivers, far from the ocean, thus adding to the pollution of water supplies and eco-systems.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

South Bend Indiana Area

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Bend,_Indiana

Bill had a cluster of Targets to do in the greater South Bend area which includes Granger, Goshen and Elkhart. The area was especially hard hit during the recession as there were several large RV manufacturers located here, some of which did not survive the downturn. There is a large Amish population in the area so Dozey had fun grrring at the horses. South Bend, of course, is the home to Notre Dame University and I expected the city to be a bit more upscale than it was, but it was mostly blue collar neighborhoods. We were trying to get a better tour of Notre Dame the day Dozey was having his seizures but it was probably just as well that we couldn't as it was finals weeks and the students were all moving out and there were parents and U Hauls everywhere. I was able to pull in a faculty lot and get a picture of the yellow dome.

South Bend was the home of the former Studebaker company before it closed in 1963. It has also been the home of the College Football Hall of Fame since 1995 but will see that leave in 2010 and move to Atlanta. It is the birthplace of Nascar driver Ryan Newman, football coach Jon Gruden, and film director Sydney Pollack.

At our first Target in Granger we got into the parking lot and right by us found a pair of Canada geese who had for some reason decided to make their nest in one of the parking lot islands. Investigation found out that Canada geese normally return to nest in the area where the female learned to fly. So possibly the Target parking lot was at one time a marsh. It also says that she sits on the nest for 6 weeks to 2 months. I gave the male some bread which he ate but I did not see the female eat anything. Hopefully this pair can hatch their eggs and move the goslings to safer territory without losing too many of them to cars tearing through the parking lot!

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Dozer

After staying on a once a month seizure schedule since he began having them last July things turned pretty ugly on Wednesday night. Bill left for work about 9:45pm and about 10pm he had his first seizure while lying on the bed. He soaked all the blankets down to the mattress so after getting him calmed down (somewhat) I changed the bedding and got him back up with me so I could cuddle with him so he knew he was ok. Of course, that was the time that the parking lot cleaning truck had to come real close to the rig with it's lights flashing and every train in northwestern Indiana had to come by on the tracks near the Target with their horns blaring. So he paced and tried to get into small spaces as he has been doing lately after a seizure. I had just gotten off to sleep when he had another at 2am. Where the urine came from I have no idea but he soaked the bed again. Changed the bedding again and this episode actually calmed him down. I called the 24 hour emergency vet in Mishawaka just to make sure I shouldn't bring him in. They said to just watch him and call my vet in the morning as it sounded like he had calmed down.

Bill got home about 5am and Dozey went out to greet him. Bill went in to bed about 6am and left him on the couch. I was woken up a little after that with Doze having another seizure, this time on the couch. And this one again had him pacing and panting. I decided just to stay up as we really had no blankets left anyway. Dozey and I left for the laundromat and $25 worth of laundry later came back to get Bill up. We decided to go to and see Notre Dame and left Target with Dozey in the back of the truck. We were on the freeway around 4pm when he went into another. Thank god that Bill was driving so I could try to get in back to hold him down. Normally it would have been just Doze and I and I would have panicked driving and him going into one.

We pulled off and decided to get him to a vet right away. I went into a Pilot and asked people there if they had a vet they would recommend nearby. I called the closest one and they said that they would stay open for us until we got there. So if you are even in South Bend Indiana and need a vet I highly recommend the Clayview Animal Clinic on Hwy 31!

I called and had our vet in Oshkosh fax all of Dozey's records that by now resemble a small library. The vet looked him over and we discussed the options. In order to stop the clustering of the seizures we made the difficult decision to put him on phenobarbitol which is a barbituate that is routinely used in cases such as this. Unfortunate side effects include weight gain, lethargy and peeing and drinking more. We also are taking him to Dr. Doug who has a vet clinic in Hammond IN and is the moderator on the RV.net pet group that I am on. He had a full blood test and the results came back with only a small elevation in some liver enzymes in one of the tests which the vet said is nothing to really worry about.

So we may need to take him to a neurologist and have scans done or we may just stay with the meds. He has to take a pill every 12 hours which can be a joy in trying to get it down his throat. Bill has come up with a technique of putting it on top of a crunchy treat so he can't tell the pill is there as it is crunchy too. Since starting the meds at 6pm on Wednesday night we haven't seen any sign of an oncoming seizure. We are both wishing it could be different but I can't watch him go through them as it looks like I will lose him any minute while he is in one and there may be one he doesn't come out of. Also, considering our track record with cancer we should be totally grateful that this is what we have to deal with and not that!

May 8th - Pet Cancer Awareness Day

I just wanted to share two stories that I wrote for the RV Pet group as there are so many of us on there who have gone through what we have and hopefully someday there will be more answers and greater cure rates..

http://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/vet-breaking-news/2010/04/30/petco-and-blue-buffalo-join-forces-to-battle-pet-cancer.aspx


Mickey

Mickey came into my life on January 25, 2002 when I met Bill. She had been a gift to him from his kids. She was the kind of Golden that would cry when you came home and wag her butt around crazy! I brought 3 cats into her life which she stoically accepted at first and then became cuddle friends with one, Amiga. At that time it was Mickey and the Monsters when we talked about our babies. When we went out of town and couldn't take her (we didn't have an RV then) we dropped her off at my parents and my mom made her pancakes for breakfast! LOL..we have a picture from my mom's house of her intently "watching" TV..she was a spitting image of Mandy, a Golden I had grown up with so my parents doted on her.

Early in 2003 we noticed she had problems breathing. We took her to the vet who thought it may be blastomycosis which is a fungus that can get into lungs of people and animals when there is the perfect storm for it to be created. We treated her with $10 pills but she kept going downhill. We finally had to take her to the emergency vet one night and they put her on a respirator. They then told us that it was cancer and it was all through her. I kept thinking there was something that I could have, should have seen or done but I've come to know that we unfortunately lose 60% of Goldens to cancer.

Bill could not say the words so I unfortunately had to be the one to tell them we had to let her go. Besides saying those exact words last year about my beloved Tigre, who we also lost to cancer, that has been the hardest thing I've had to do in my life especially since I felt it wasn't really my place to make the call but it had to be done.

Afterwards Bill refused to discuss the possibility of a new dog. He internalizes grief and clams up. I finally made the decision almost a year later to just get one whether he approved or not. We came home in January 2004 from Florida and I had Dozer all ready to be picked up. Bill was not happy but in an hour it was forgotten. In memory of Mickey Dozey still wears her collar...a bit frayed but "in the family". We have Mickey's TV picture in the rig along with our current monsters and she will always, always be remembered and is waiting for us at the bridge I know.

Tigre

I hope I am not being a space hog here but I, unfortunately, have two stories to tell and I am sure there are some of you who do too. This is very cathartic as I have never really sat and put down in words just what they have meant to me....

Tigre came into my life at a time I was really mixed up and not sure if I was coming or going. I had always loved cats but my parents did not so I never had one growing up and when I got on my own I really didn't have animals in my 20s as I was moving around so much. At that time it would have been more of me worrying about inconveniencing ME rather than worrying about THEM so it is good I remained petless.

I was living in an upper apartment with my brother and a friend of mine when the downstairs neighbor kids found a young cat. They really didn't have the money for her so I decided to take her. As I was teaching Spanish at the time I went with that theme to find a name for her. Tiges was like a little koala bear in that she liked to be held and would cling to me. She had one side of her paws and mouth white and the other black. At that time I wasn't thinking and didn't get her spayed right away so she ended up having 2 litters when my brother couldn't stand her screaming at night and would let her out. I finally wised up and took her in to get fixed. Good did come out of the 2 litters and I now have 2 of her daughters - Amiga from the first litter and Gata Lu from the second.

When Gata Lu was just starting to walk I was in a leg brace as I pulled my quad. I accidentally stepped on Gata Lu who, of course, screamed bloody murder. Tigre came at me like a demon cat and attacked my head where I had fallen. I threw her off of me and she came right back! Talk about mother bear instincts, but I don't blame her at all as I had injured her baby. That was the only time she was anything other than loving and sweet.

After meeting Bill life became more settled. Although he had never really liked cats, he learned to! He called Tiges the "Michael Jordan kitty" as she always sat with her tongue sticking out!

In early winter of 2008 Tigre got "an ear infection"...or so says the vet that we took her to. We had moved 2 hours up north and had changed from our trusted vet to have someone closer. We treated her "ear infection" for over a month until one weekend between Christmas and New Years I realized I hadn't really seen her for a while. I found her under the bed and had to pull her out. In 48 hours a huge tumor had grown on the right side of her face and she was bleeding out of that ear. We immediately rushed 2 hours south to the emergency vet. She clung to me like a baby koala for the entire ride. We checked her in and the hospital started doing tests. Being the holidays everything took forever. On New Year's Eve I got the call that it was melanoma.

I, being me, had been frantically researching anything and everything I could online. This was about the first time I posted on this board. I had been just a lurker previously. Everyone here was as helpful as they could be. I found a study going on at the University of Wisconsin - Madison Veterinary School for cats with melanoma and I made plans to take Tiges there. We drove back down to get her but when I saw her I realized it was too late. She had a feeding tube, she couldn't walk...the cancer was too widespread...I know you probably think I was being selfish in taking her to the cancer program but I was also hoping they could find out more information for those of us who will go through this in the future...also for the fact that I have two of her daughters.

I painfully made the decision to let her go to the bridge. The pain of this has not entirely gone away yet as I am bawling as I write this and read all of your tributes. It is my greatest wish that somehow this monster can be eradicated so no one else has to go through what we have. Just the fact that there is now an Awareness Day and walks going on is a step in the right direction.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Holland and Saugatuck Michigan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holland,_Michigan

Holland turned out to be a very nice town but very long from north to south as it is located along Lake Macatawa which then turns into Lake Michigan. Around the downtown area people have tulips planted in rows on their terraces for blocks. It looks really nice now although many of the tulips seem to be almost past their prime already. Another casualty of global warming? They may need to move the festival from the first and second weekends in May to late April if it keeps getting warmer. Other interesting Holland facts are that in 2010, Holland was ranked the 2nd healthiest/happiest town in the United States by the Well-being Index and that the city is the home to the church that kicked off the trend of the "What Would Jesus Do?" bracelets in 1989.

http://www.tuliptime.com/

We had thought to stay on Saturday for the Tulip Festival but as it was only the first weekend of it, there was only a craft fair and Dutch dancing in the park. Of course besides touring the tulip gardens. Bill was not too keen on any of those activities so we decided to head south along the shoreline and see what else there would be to do on his only day off. So we left in the early afternoon and found Mount Baldhead and the city of Saugatuck.


http://www.michigan.org/property/detail.aspx?p=b9024

I am not sure if we were crazy or not, but we decided to climb up the new stairs to Mount Baldhead....all 282 of them! Here was the view looking up which was rather daunting.


And here is the view from the top about a half hour later!

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And finally the view heading back down. We could have gone down the other side which headed to Oval Beach and was a straight down drop of pure sand but it was too far to walk back to where the RV was parked.


http://www.saugatuck.com/index.asp

We definitely loved the Saugatuck/Douglas area of Michigan. It was BY FAR the best place we had been in the lower part of the state, no doubt due to the location on the water.

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It reminded us a lot of Fish Creek in the Door with the shops and restaurants along the water. There were cars parked EVERYWHERE and we can just imagine that if it is that busy the first weekend in May, Memorial Day must be a zoo. The houses along the water were awesome with some being built up on the bluffs. There were a couple of straight up driveways that there is no way they can be used in the winter. All in all if we had to live in lower Michigan, this would definitely be our area of choice. Unfortunately there are no RV areas right in Saugatuck -- if you have an RV you need to go either north to Holland or farther south to one of the state parks on the shore. We stopped at one private campground that was open as many places aren't opening until May 15 and we didn't want to pay $27 to $35 plus the $12 entry fee to a state park, but this park wanted $44 for one night. That much for a circular park with really no amenities. So we just decided to head on to the Target in Benton Harbor and save the fees as we will definitely need to have hook ups later in the year when we need to run the air. Benton Harbor is our last stop in lower Michigan and then we are on to Indiana on Monday.