Thursday, October 25, 2012

One More Pet Halloween Contest

I am going to be more prepared for the Pet Halloween Costume Contest coming up this weekend. No more toilet paper costumes. It is so great to have pets included in Halloween for those of us who don't have small children anymore. No, they don't get to actually get candy but those cute pets bring smiles to everyone's faces.

Seymour and Zooey will have a few different costumes from which it choose, but most will need a bit of alteration. Just like with women's clothes, a size doesn't necessarily mean it is the same measurements across companies. Zooey is usually an extra small and Seymour is a small. A few of the extra smalls fit Seymour and some are too small for Zooey. And you can't usually try them on in most stores, since stores like Target or Walmart don't allow dogs. When is that going to change? I still believe that if a dog is in a carrier, they should be allowed in stores. Most places in Europe allow dogs in stores and even eating establishments. Let's get progressive here!

Anyway, we will have pictures to post after the contest on Saturday.

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Taking the Dogs to the Pet Parade

I didn't realize the Pet Parade was this early in October this year but decided to make a quick costume for Zooey - out of a doggie tee shirt and toilet paper! I used a some trim, a glue gun, some kind of white tape I found in my tool box and some double sided tape. I am just glad I didn't try to do this for my kids when they were young.

Seymour already had a surgeon costume, so I decided to make Zooey a nurse. I was going to be the patient with fake bloody gauze/ toilet paper around my head. This was going to be fun!

This morning, I gathered up our costumes, a roll of tape and headed to the parade to register. I put on the dogs costumes in the car and noticed that Zooey's toilet paper and tee costume looked much better in the house than in the bright sunlight. When I went to put the toilet paper strip around my head, I found that the roll of white tape I brought was actually plumbing tape - doesn't stick. Not sure why it was in my first aid box!

So, we finally were dressed and headed down to register for the parade. Seymour doesn't particularly like crowds, big dogs or music. Zooey is afraid of everything. I ended being the only pet owner who had to carry their dogs in the parade. It takes away a bit from the costumes when you can't quite see them. As I was carrying Zooey, her glue started coming off. Then her toilet paper skirt started looking like it had been used. Seymour lost his pants. I am not sure if anyone took pictures of us, but we were a motley little group.

Finally when the parade was almost over I decided to skip the judging and call it a wrap. Overall, the dogs were good but we were done. It was also starting to drizzle and that would be the end of our nurses costume.

But here is what they looked like as we waited for the parade to start.
Zooey had not started to fall apart yet.

Seymour as a surgeon before he lost his pants. I didn't notice Zooey under Seymour until I looked at the picture!

Although parades aren't their favorite thing, they tolerate them for me- and for the treats they know they will get. There is one more pet costume contest at a local nursing home in 2 weeks. That should give me time to re-do Zooey's costume, minus the toilet paper.

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Location:Wimberley, Texas

Saturday, October 6, 2012

End of Trip To PA

I was "dead man driving" the last day or so of the trip and it took me 2 days to feel well enough to write. We all got sick on the trip home and mine seemed to worsen as the days went on. My daughter thinks it was stress and I'm sure it had something to do with it, but I'm not stressed now, but still sick.

Traveling with a 21 month little boy who was also sick and hurt (fell and put his teeth through his bottom lip) was a challenge. I think he might be able to be an opera singer since he has a very high pitched scream he practiced often on the way home. We tried playing my dog relaxation cd hoping it worked with kids. Although the kids weren't impressed with it, the dogs and the grown-ups seemed to be a bit lulled. In spite of the craziness of driving with 2 adults, 2 kids, and 2 dogs in my Prius, we are all still friends, so that is a good outcome.

Our last night on the road was spent at the newly remodeled Motel 6 in Texarkana. No extra charge for pets. Rates were $35/room plus tax. We again got separate rooms. Motel 6 is now decorated in a minimalist style with some kind of non-carpet flooring. I missed the frig and microwave, but appreciated how clean it looked. Seymour and Zooey were pretty comfortable, too.

Wednesday morning Shannon and the boys were ready before I was even up - everyone was eager to get home! We packed up or I should say "stuffed the car" and made our first stop about 15 minutes later to get coffee and diet coke for the ladies. I've lost track of the stops we made but Shan said she would drive through the night to get us home. The 4 year old was easy to travel with but he did have to pee at inopportune times like after a gas or food stop. Luckily Shan found an app for the iPhone that told us what was at each exit, so we were able to find bathrooms pretty quickly.

The dogs continued to ride in their bed in the front seat where Shan's feet were supposed to be. Zooey was pretty quiet the whole ride but was eager to get out when we stopped. She is afraid of the beeps from the iPhone when Shan plugged it into the cigarette lighter, so we all had to yell and cheer to cover the sound of the beep. The boys seemed to enjoy that spontaneous 5 second celebration.

Seymour had a few times where he got up and I'm not sure where he was going, but I'm assuming if a door or window was open, he would have decided to walk the rest of the way. Not sure what was going through is mind. Maybe his ears were hurting from the high pitched screams.
We went through a number of places where there was construction, slowing us down to 0 mph. Once my GPS asked if I wanted to switch to pedestrian mode! I have never seen that before. Did it think that we just abandoned the car and took off walking carrying the GPS? I'll admit, it would have been faster.

We made our final stop outside of Waco because The baby was starting to fall asleep and we needed to stop for food and a break before he conked out. Then we headed toward Austin and took the bypass with the 80 mph speed limit. I had trouble getting my car to go that fast but when we finally reached that speed, I noticed that my MPG decreased to 39. It had been as high as 48 but on the way home, was mostly around 43. So, driving that fast really hurts financially. But we were all ready to be home, so it was money well spent. Every time we stopped the dogs looked up at me as if to say "Are we home yet?" It was nice to finally say YES!

They did not eat well on the trip. They ate most of the snacks I bought but wouldn't eat their dog food. When we got home they both made up for it. Seymour ate about 4 meals the first day home - both his and Zooeys. I had to finally hold him so Zooey could eat. They were both really happy to be home. And the rest of us were, also.

Love my little guys.

Kisses are always welcome.

Next year is my parent's 70th Wedding Anniversary. It is going to take me that long to recuperate!
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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Here is the Commodore Hotel. I didn't get a pic from the inside before I messed it up. It was cute and comfortable.

This is just one shot of the town. Very quaint but the shops were all closed last night and we will hopefully be leaving before they open this morning. Time is now Central Time so we are leaving a little later than yesterday.

We are all sick. My meds didn't help and I heard Shan and the boys also coughing. This should be a fun day!

I am sitting in the cafe attached to the hotel waiting for breakfast. Shan is packing. We are still hoping to be home in 2 days, weather and sickness permitting.

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Location:Our Hotel in Linden Tenn

Day 2 Driving back from PA

We headed out at about 9:30 am and quickly stopped for a large coffee and Diet Coke. We both needed our caffeine! I have decided to do all of the driving so Shan can entertain the boys. Pax is pretty easy since he is almost 5 and is obsessed with his Power Ranger toys and books. Gibby is not quite 2 so he is more of a challenge. I woke up with a sore throat so am pretty sure a full blown cold is on its way.

It rained just about all day with spots of fog and heavier rain so we couldn't use Rest Areas to allow the boys to run around and get rid of some energy. We decided that McDonalds was the next best idea to try since they often have indoor play areas. Unfortunately, we didn't find any with play areas. We pulled into a few but left when they didn't have the play area. We finally just picked one that wasn't attached to a gas station and let them run around inside while I walked the dogs in the drizzling rain. Our goal was to go at least 400 miles today.

Soon the low tire pressure gauge lit up again. I stopped and checked and the back passenger side tire was a little low. Shan looked online and found that sometimes that gauge needs to be reset and found directions to do it. I decided to unload part of the trunk to get to my air machine hickey and put some air in the tire. The low air gauge went off. Hopefully there is no other tire problems the rest of the way home.

When we got into Tennessee there was a wreck on the freeway. We sat for about an hour and when we finally could move, we saw a wreck between an 18 wheeler and a motorcycle. Unfortunately and sadly, it didn't look good. We went less than a mile and we were stopped again. I am guessing it was another accident because the rain had been pretty heavy. I set my GPS to do a detour and we got off the freeway and got on some back roads.

We passed some cute small towns and were still miles from a main road - and hotels when we went through a town called Linden, Tenn. We both really loved the artsy look of the place and passed an old hotel. Shan used her trusty iPhone to look it up and their website said it was an economical place to stay for travelers. I called and found that rooms were $59 a night and dogs were allowed, free of extra charge. We turned around and headed back to the hotel. I will add pics tomorrow. It had an attached restaurant, also.

The hotel was built in 1939 and was restored. It has 12 rooms, all with antique looking furniture but still has a frig, microwave and flat screen. We ordered our food in the dining room but the boys were too wound up to sit and eat, so they asked if they wanted to watch cartoons in the other dining room. So we schlepped our food in there and the boys ate while mesmerized to the T V. Whatever works.

I went to the grocery store a block away to get some cold medicine, I took some Theraflu but obviously it wasn't the night time version because here I am at 3 am writing my blog - and coughing. At least the dogs are asleep beside me.

Because of the traffic and our detour, we didn't quite make 400 miles so we have about 830 miles to go. But the detour was a great decision. This out of the way town is a wonderful find.

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Heading Home from PA

I don't know how we did it, but we fit 2 adults, 2 kids, 2 dogs and all our luggage in my Prius! But just barely. Here is the trunk:

We headed out Sunday before noon. Shan's husband noted that one of our tires were low. We thought it was due to the extra weight in the car - we did eat a lot while we were there. But, it turned out to be a leak from a nail or something. Within an hour or so of leaving, my car showed the low tire pressure symbol. I pulled over and checked. It was at 20 pounds where it should have been about 35 pounds. We tried to use Shan's iPhone and Siri to find a tire place but finally pulled in to a gas station to ask. They sent us to an auto parts store that didn't fix tires but told us where the Good Year shop was. I bought Fix a Flat to help get us there. At Good Year, I decided to just get 2 new tires, since I had been worrying about the tread on my tires. Probably over kill but when you have 1500 miles to drive with an important group of people and dogs, you want to be safe. It took about an hour but was worth it. The grand kids were pretty good but Gibby was tired and cranky so there were fits of crying.

I had the dogs in a crate and bed on the floor in the back seat and asked the boys not to throw things on them. What was I thinking? By the time we got to the tire place, Zooey was so stressed, she was panting and trying to get away. I had never seen her like that. So, we put the dogs in a bed on the floor in the front, taking up feet space for Shan. She was nice enough to let them share that small space with her and Zooey and Seymour calmed down.
Luckily they are small dogs!

The weather was dry and sunny so driving was pretty easy, but we only drove about 180 miles total. Still had 1201 miles to go when we stopped. We ended up at the Super 8 where I got us separate rooms. I was tired and needed some rest and the dogs appreciated a little time away from the rambunctious boys. Unfortunately, Shan's room was on the second floor with no elevator but we were on the first floor near the exit door - and a nice grassy field for the dogs to walk. And they didn't charge us extra for the dogs although it was posted that it cost $10 extra per pet. Seymour and Zooey both slept with me instead of in their bed and I sure didn't mind. This was the first bed I had slept in in over a week. I had been couch surfing in PA.

BTW, our gas mileage coming to PA was about 45.2 mpg for the first 2 tanks of gas and went up to 48.5 for the last 2 tanks. Coming back, so far it is about 43.5. Heavier load and wind coming back.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Summary of Pennsylvania Visit

With no wireless access in Pennsylvania, I will summarize the trip. Overall, Seymour and Zooey were a big hit. Both my friend and my sister would take care of her, if needed.

I had to constantly watch Zooey especially so she wouldn't walk around my Dad's feet since he has very poor eyesight, but he seemed to like them.

Zooey was a little afraid of all of the kids and hid behind chairs when she could. All of the grandchildren were sweet and good with the dogs, except for a few flying balls and cars!

We loved getting together with everyone. This was the first time we have all been together so there was much talking, laughing and just catching up. This is a family picture we took after my Dad's 90th Birthday party.
It includes my parents, my brother and sister and their families and me and my family. Great memories.

My sister and her husband got in on Friday and they enjoy gambling. So, Friday night we were celebrating my daughter's Birthday and I mentioned wanting to go to the casino, which was an hour away. Of course they agreed so we stepped up the pace of the cake cutting and headed out. Only my sister won, but we had a great time; didn't get home until 2:30 am. Shan took care of the dogs.

I have a few more Pennsylvania stories I'll cover later. We are on our way home and need to get moving. So glad to be going home!

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