Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Back in (under) the saddle again!

Alternatively titled; "The Best Laid Plans"...

We ended up cancelling our trip to Branson. Dottie bathed Angel on Monday (the 2nd) so she would be clean when she went to the kennel and so it would be done before the family 4th of July celebration. The dog seemed fine that afternoon. The next morning she couldn't use one hind leg. Having slept in 'til noon on Tuesday, we didn't realize there was a problem until too late in the afternoon to get her in to see the veterinarian, and she didn't seem to be in pain. We thought somehow perhaps her hip had been dislocated in moving her around during her bath; at almost 12 years old, we both cried ourselves to sleep that night and the next thinking that this "was the beginning of the end". I've watched her eyes change a bit these last few years and know the day is coming, but I'm not ready to deal with that yet! Wednesday Angel hobbled and had trouble getting up if she laid down on her "bad" leg, but truly enjoyed the family party (lots of sirloin scraps finding their way to her). For the first time ever she even hung around the doorway during the fireworks instead of hiding in the other end of the house!

Thursday I called and cancelled our reservations because there is no way we were putting her in the kennel when she was like that, and there was no way we could take her with us. She was starting to put weight on the leg again, and when we spoke to the vet he said he thought it might be a knee problem rather than a hip, and for us to withold food after 6 pm and bring her in the next morning at 7 so he could check her and do x-rays. As the day wore on she was doing better and better; we were almost afraid the examination would make things worse...

Friday we took her in and he worked her hip and knee joint and said that it was arthritis and that probably it was just the tub that set it off. He said that he had found a Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM product that seemed to work very very well for dogs in this situation. We knew James Coburn had taken up acting again after finding MSM helped his arthritis, though it's parent drug had some side effects we read about as we were researching options before Dottie had her hip and knee replaced.

The vet pointed out that at almost 12 she is well towards the end of her lifespan and that he has had dogs taking this longer than she will most likely live with no adverse effects. So we bought the medication and he refused to let us pay him for the office visit, the hour of his time we took, or cancelling the 3 day kennel stay!

That weekend we kept Dillon and Talia for two nights, built a couple of models and on Sunday took them to the Natural History Museum at KU. Photos will be posted later...some of it they loved, some they found boring, lol!

By Monday Angel was so much better that Dottie decided we could do a day trip to Springfield, MO if we let Angel out around 8AM and let John put her out on his way home from work and again around 10 if we werent' home. We left about 8:30 and were in Springfield for lunch at "Hemingway's" (one of the top restaurants in Springfield, conveniently located inside the Bass Pro Shop there). When I rebuilt some of my reels this spring I used the last of some of my spare parts I've had for years, and didn't have a replacement for another, so when we had planned our Branson trip we had planned to stop there so I could restock rather than try to order over the phone.

There is a "World of Wildlife" museum adjacent to them; it is a walkthrough habitat with turkeys, pheasants, grouse and prarie chickens, doves, and probably 50 other smaller bird species flying loose in a "natural" setting. There are bobcat, river otter, beaver and aquariums with most of the fish species of North America as well. I wish I had taken the Nikon...if the family vacation we are planning for next summer comes off then we'll be stopping there with the grandkids and I will!

We left around 6:30 headed for home, and got home just after sunset. Quite a daytrip!

Wednesday found me measuring the roof of the garage and going to Lowe's to buy shingles, edging, underlayment, etc.. Got that all home and unloaded and found out they had put rain in the forecast for Thursday so we called Bill and told him to stay home with Laura instead of coming in from Lawrence to help; I had thought I could do it in 4 days by myself, so with his help 3 should be a breeze.

Thursday I tore off the old guttering and facia and soffet boards and tried to gather tarps to scrape the 3 old roofs onto, went to Lowe's to buy the lumber to rebuild them and make a stake bed for my pickup.

Friday we started before 7 peeling up the old ridge and starting to do the tear off. The first casualty was my grandfather's ATS&F coal scuttle; the weld where the handle joined the shovel cracked. Dottie made the trip to Lowe's to buy two replacements; she made a lot of those trips over the weekend!

By the time all the old roofs were off, the rotten decking was pulled and everything loaded in the truck it was too late to go to the landfill. Dottie took Bill home, and I figured up what I needed for replacement decking, cleaned up and went to Lowe's.

Saturday found me cutting the first replacment board around 6:45 AM. Up the ladder to attach it; perfect length, two inches too narrow. It seems Dad used 1x10's on one side, but 1x12's on the other.

I cut some scab rafter ends and put them in while we waited for the landfill to open, then we went and unloaded my truck. My half ton Chevy weighed almost 7400 across the scales...

Lowe's on the way home for 1x12's; the rest of the day was lost scabbing in rafter's and replacing decking. Around 6 we got the first piece of underlayment up and Bill and I were both fried (90's and humid, and I don't deal with it like I used to).

We had been supposed to take a one hour rail excursion on Sunday with John and his family and my sister; Dottie called everyone to cancel, as there was no way this was going to be done by noon! This was the first anyone else knew of what I'd been up to.

Bill wanted to start fresh in the morning, and that sounded good to me! We went in the house to clean up and eat, and found them saying it was going to rain in about 2 hours with a chance of hail! So much for 3 dry days in a row!

I have a 60x30 tarp I used to use in the winter if I had to work in the driveway; I could attach it to the front of the garage and run a kerosene heater under it so I didn't have to leave the boat out in the weather (it has wood under the carpet). We draped it over the garage and used the bundles of shingles to weight the bottom edge. We finished and Dottie hadn't been gone for 5 minutes on her way to take Bill home when the rain hit. It poured for about 45 minutes, then tapered off and quit about 45 minutes later.

Sunday we started at 6:30 again, on the side that would be in the sun first, trying to work fast enough to stay in shade. No such luck! Between laying the felt, then the edging, and unwrapping the shingles to let them dry after the rain, we had about 1/3 of the first side up at noon when John showed up. I had been trying not to bother him, as he works 60 hour weeks too often, sometimes more, and needs his weekends to recuperate. Thank goodness he did, because it was about 98 and humid as can be. He had done some roofing before, so we started taking turns on the roof so someone could cool off while 2 of us worked. By the time 2 more hours had gone by the two of them wouldn't come down anymore because they were so worried about me in the heat.

The first side was done between 2 and 3; there was a break to eat and then they started up the second side. I bucked shingles up the ladder and was the gopher, and they had me set the flasing for the stovepipe, but made me stay down the rest of the time. I figured out that the last roof I helped Dad with I was 16 and he was 43 and he never did another; he always paid someone else. I understand why now, though I couldn't have paid someone for the tear off and replacing the old 1x's, they'd have wanted to plywood it, and the budget just wasn't there for that!

Dottie and I cut the ridge shingles and they went down just after dark with the help of a 500 watt quartz light I clamped to the boys swingset on one side and my drop cord lying on the other.

I feel very guilty about them doing so much of this; Dad is supposed to be the cavalry coming to the rescue, not the other way around! I went back to work last night and my aches and pains had aches and pains. My feet were killing me, my hands are (still) swollen and I have bruises I had no idea how I got. I hope the two of them are bouncing back better than I am! Yesterday I went back out and did some things before work and got warmer than I wanted to; today I slept 'til 1 and haven't set foot outside yet!

I still have facia and soffet to replace, and then new guttering to buy and put up. Before I do I need to replace my grandfather's 50 year old aluminum ladder and it's mate I've had for 30 years as the side braces are giving out and the idea of landing like a pancake doesn't enthuse me!

Thank you for all the kind wishes and comments during my absence; hopefully tonight when I get home I'll be with it enough mentally to start catching up with all of you!

I hope life has been kind in the meantime!



Von Krankipantzen said...

HI! Welcome back!

I know of which you speak. I spent the day at my bro's place picking up old shingles and putting them in the rent-a-dumpster. The bro and SIL re-roofed their whole house themselves including new plywood! What a lot of work. Since they still have the rented scaffolding and safety harnesses they are doing all the scraping and prep to get the house painted.

Who said summer was for relaxing?

Hope poor Angel is doing ok. Poor muffin.

Lori said...

So that explains it! (Your absence, I mean - talk about busy!)

Sounds like you are having a productive summer. I hope that Angel is feeling better daily. Pets are such an important addition to a family. I think we all dread those days when they leave us.

Glad things are going well for you..welcome back!

Heidi said...

Welcome Back Alan.. Hugs~

I'm such a dog lover and I hope everything will be ok with yours and the medication will help.

b o o said...

sorry to hear about angel, hope she feels better soon.

you are quite the handyman eh? and you have been missed HUGS

ConnieJane said...

WOW... and I thought you were on a grand vacation!

Vacations usually mean less work and more fun! You made me tired just reading. l can't believe there wasn't a fishing story in all that.

Hope Angel is getting better daily. Darn pets have a way of stealing your heart don't they?

YEARS and years ago we went to a wildlife place in Springfield. Guests drove through and the animals roamed freely. There were signs everywhere to stay in your car and keep your windows closed. But, I smoked so I ever so slightly lowered my window. While I was watching somehing out the other side of the car an ostridge stuck her head through that little space. Scared the shit out of me!

Glad you're back to blogging Alan.

dragonflyfilly said...

wow, i'm exhausted just reading about all that work!

but the day trips sound like fun, and yes, i would not have been able to leave Angel either.

But i know how poor Angel must feel, although unlike me, she probably does not do a lot of whineing, eh?

But, nice to see you back in Blogland,
cheers for now,

robin andrea said...

I'm glad to see you posting again after a long "vacation." It always amazes me how long home-projects take. We plan for two days, but it always stretches to three or four.

Hope your Angel continues to improve and respond to the meds.

TaraDharma said...

Best wishes for Angel...it is indeed very difficult to watch our beloved animals going downhill.

Welcome back to blogging!

ZBTzahBTzoo said...

Holy smokes, you're busy!

Recently had a little chat with our vet about glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM. Barkley is ... 10? 11? Seems to be feeling a little stiff lately.

MSM is actually an organic compound prescribed as a dietary supplement -- meaning it occurs naturally in many foods, in small amounts. It isn't as if the vet is prescribing pharmaceuticals, which I mention only to assuage any concerns you may have about side effects. I think it's lovely that many veterinarians are now suggesting dietary treatments for our animals!

I take glucosamine chondroitin (no MSM) to keep my 45 year old joints from barking at me. It's perfectly safe, and I've never experienced any side effects.

Angel is blessed to have such a loving family.

Nancy Bee said...

I'm happy to hear about your Angel. It's good that you could put off the...well you know...

I wasn't so lucky though and I still miss my Lush very much.


I'm lucky to have another dog who keeps me busy and she's a lovable little thing.

I saw your comment over at Hill's and I thought I'd drop by.

Nice place you've got here!

Life is good!

dragonflyfilly said...

hi alan,
thanks for stopping by...nice to chat after so long...

i have a new post up, at Flamingo's Hideaway, at last, and i would really appreciate some feedback, (thanks)

cheers for now,

Barbara said...

So, when are you going to start leaping buildings in a single bound? I too suffer from the delusion that I have super powers. I leave it to my best friend to remind me that I am not only human but over the hill human.

I briefly toyed with the idea of replacing our roof myself but then I got her to slap me around until I came to my senses. I'm going to get estimates.

Funny how things worked out for your day trip that you landed at a Bass Pro. (grin) My nephew works at the Bass Pro in Vaughn so I know it's sort of like the Disneyland for outdoorfolk.

So glad to hear that Angel is doing better and I'm so very glad that you are back!

Writer Mom said...

Angel IS blessed to have such a loving family.
Tom tries to be a compassionate pet owner, but animals on his farm as a kid either worked or ran away from bullets.
Poor guy.
My oldest pup just turned six. This post made me think in terms of healthy living for her, giving her some healthier final days. She's a Jack Russell and we always get in trouble by the vet for her weight.
Now that we're on the new farm, she gets a lot more running in, as her breed so desperate needs. Can't seem to keep ahead of the hot spots on her bum region, however...more than you wanted to know, I'm sure.
Strange breed, Jack Russell. I grew up with mutts who rarely had any genetic issues.
Taking care of old arthritic dogs is good therapy, I think. Really forces us to slow down and cherish who we have in our lives, pay back that unconditional love.

Geeze louise, your roof project!
I can only hope my kids are as helpful in twenty years. Tom does NOT do well in heat. He loses mental capacity and would bash his thumb at every hammer.
I need to get up on the roof and squeegie the sunlights. I'll be very careful not to put my foot through the roof. Last major project around here was the fuse box getting converted to an electrical panel. Took three men, lots of crawling under the house, a couple of cracks in the TV room wall because they were pushing the panel so hard, and an entire Saturday.

MO sounds great. Springfield, he?
Not too far from us.
I hope your hands are feeling better.

dragonflyfilly said...

How's Angel doing?

kath said...


I am exhausted just from reading this!

glad you are back... and sending energy to Angel.....

HAR said...

So happy to see you post. I was hoping you were o.k. and luckily you are.
Your family sounds so nice to help you out with the heavy work on your roof. I imagine you have been there for them too.
I was afraid to keep reading when you were discussing Angel.Thank goodness she is better and you managed to take a nice trip and re stock all your fishing needs. Maybe in August you will get some more fishing in!

No_Newz said...

Welcome back! I am thrilled Angel is feeling better. Our animals become like our children, don't they?

Reading about the construction and the back and forth to Lowes was familiar to me. I got sick of running back and forth into Osage so I sent my old man. Even though I gave him detailed directions, you'll see this that and the other thing on your left and right... He had the balls to stop into Home Depot and ask where Lowes was! LOL! No class I tell ya!
Have a great weekend!

Green tea said...

I am so glad Angel is doing better.
We had our Andre (black min. poodle)
for 15 years and I wasn't ready then either.
We are now petless..maybe someday we will get another friend.

But dear Alan you now need a vacation to get over your vacation :D
I hope you can soon take that trip to Branson.