Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We did not get far

Angel in better days

We are at Henderson Beach State Park in Destin, Florida
(map), a mere ten miles or so from the Fort Walton Beach Elks lodge. While we'd not stayed here previously, the park was familiar to us because this is where we came to dump our tanks in the middle of our Elks stay last year. Back then, one of the beach parking lots here was occupied by emergency management as part of the oil spill cleanup.

We're here because it is just three miles from the vet's office. Actually, the vet is less than a mile from our spot here, but it's a full mile in the other direction to get back to the park entrance -- not only the vet, but a handful of shops and restaurants are tantalizingly close, with no way to get to them other than the two-mile round trip.

We spent Sunday afternoon in the parking lot at the Petsmart. Angel had a 2:30 appointment, and by 3:30 or so they decided to keep her for the afternoon to run a battery of tests. Realizing it would be dark by the time she was released, I called the park to check on site availability. Good thing I did, because the gate closes at 4:45, and I needed to get a gate code and site assignment from them.

The vet kept Angel till 5:30, and one of the things they decided to do was administer barium for a follow-up x-ray Monday afternoon, to ensure there was no blockage in the digestive tract. It was past 6 by the time we walked out of the Petsmart, and we decided to just walk across the parking lot to Olive Garden for dinner before heading to the park.

We had only paid for a single night, and with a 1pm checkout we packed up, emptied the tanks, and relocated to the beach parking lot to await our 3:30 follow-up appointment. In hindsight, we should have just paid for two or three nights up front, because it was naturally dark again by the time we were finished Monday and we came right back here. I called them again just before the office closed and they put us right back in this same site, a pull-through with 50 amps and a clear shot to our satellite.

One of the blood samples they took on Sunday was sent to an outside lab for a hyperthyroidism test, and the earliest they expected the results was yesterday, so when I rolled down to the gate to pay I extended one more night to today, reasoning the test would not be ready by checkout time. As it is, we still have not heard the results and it is already 11am on Wednesday. We want to stay nearby until the results are in, in case the test is positive and she needs to go back in for additional treatment. In the meantime, we are continuing to give subcutaneous fluids, and are having to force-feed her with a medicine dropper.

When it rains it pours, and in addition to all the drama with the cat, our week and a half of relaxation came to an abrupt end with several things breaking since our arrival in Destin. It started with the printer, which crapped out right in the middle of shipping all the items we sold on eBay over the last few days. It printed several labels just fine, and then all of a sudden the black ink (but not the color) started getting unreadable. Changing to two different spare black ink tanks had no effect, and it turns out to be the print head which bit the dust.

It's a shame, because I had just replaced a broken gear on the drive mechanism about two weeks ago, and with the printer working better than ever, I stocked up on ink tanks. The drive gear cost me $10, way cheaper than replacing the printer, but a new print head for this model is a whopping $78 -- more than many brand new printers. Reluctantly, I bit the bullet and dropped $50 on a whizzy new Brother all-in-one model that copies, prints, scans, and faxes (should we ever have a land telephone line). Of course, it's three times as large as the diminutive Canon "travel" model which broke, and I had to rearrange the entire equipment rack to fit it in. On the plus side, it is networked, so we can now print right from our chairs rather than having to set up the little travel model and hard-wire it to a computer each time we need to print.

On Monday, after relocating to the beach parking lot with no issue, the bus refused to start when we got ready to leave for our afternoon vet appointment. It took me less than five minutes to trace the problem to the fuel pressure switch that disables the starter once the engine is running, and I was able to start it by jury-rigging around the switch, so we were on-time for our appointment. Yesterday I ordered a replacement switch at the O'Reilly's in town, which was supposed to arrive 7:30 this morning. Of course it was not there when I went to pick it up, so I wasted a ten-mile round trip (and very cold) scooter ride.

After our Monday afternoon appointment it was again dark and we walked across the street to Miller's Ale House for dinner before returning to the park. When we came back to the bus, one of the smoke detectors had lost its mind and was making a low-volume, high-pitched squeal (much higher than the actual alarm sound). Turns out both smoke detectors were made in October of 2001, and they have a ten year life, so it was off to Home Depot yesterday for a pair of replacements. I'm hoping nothing else breaks between now and when we finally leave Destin.

In a short while we will clear out of the campground and head to the beach lot until we get the thyroid results. I am hoping that they will come in early enough for us to clear out of town and continue on our merry way, with any needed follow-up care at a different Petsmart in another town.


  1. Hope Angel is OK. We just had the little girl dogs teeth cleaned , know about vet bilkls! Hoping to see you and Louise next month!

  2. Wow, when it rains, it pours, doesn't it? Here's hoping that Angel is comfortable today, and that your bus issues continue to be minor and easily solvable.

  3. stupid ? but do you give her bottled water?if not it might be a good idea..


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