A day of hard labor

2012-05-20-20-30-02

2012-05-20-20-06-01While these photos don’t necessarily show it, Maureen and I spent a long day working in the yard around the house today. Maureen cleaning out the pond and bringing back the lustre to the rocks we so carefully laid out for the waterfall … Me taking on a few things including more lawn reclamation and tackling the mess that the garage/workshop/shed/catch-all has become.

This very well built Shelter Logic “Garage” has served us well. It’s been a workshop, a storage shed, and more and even survived Hurricane Irene. It did get a little airborne in one corner – which knocked over most of the tools inside, including a VERY heavy compressor, but it has really held up well. My plan is to empty this out over the coming week, pick it up and move it to the back side of our Shelter Logic Greenhouse.

I’m redesigning the driveway, parking and garden area to create a new space to park our Motorhome – and besides, the Garage was not meant to be in this location permanently anyway.

Lots of work coming this week .. stay tuned!

Categories: Connecticut, Life On The Farm, News and Updates | Tags: | 1 Comment

The Grass is Too Damn High!

2012-05-17-15-32-14

2012-05-17-15-32-21Spring has certainly sprung here in Southbury! It’s been nearly 2 years that Maureen and I have been away – and it is nice to be back at home again. There are soooo many projects to start, re-start, finish and dream about. One of the first projects is getting the lawn back under control.

The last time the lawn was mowed was probably about 9 months ago. Luckily we had a few months of fall and winter, but spring is here for sure, and the Grass is Too Damn High!

Unfortunately our trusty John Deere lawn tractor is out of service right now, but my brother Mike was kind enough to lend us his Simplicity Tractor. After a few hours this afternoon, we’re starting to get the lawn back to normal . Still quite a few hours to go, but on our way …

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Car Trailer Mods

2012-05-17-11-56-00

Now that we’re back at home in CT for a while, there’s a LOT of work to do. Today’s project – add some rails to the car trailer so that I can use it for the dump, home depot runs, etc.

I built some basic sides out of wood that I had leftover from, or destined for other projects. I’m sure the sides will evolve from here, but it’s a start, and was good for a trip to the transfer station today.

Categories: Connecticut, Modifications, News and Updates | Leave a comment

Battery Box Repair

2012-04-29-13-38-49

Photos of the work to repair our damaged battery box. This is a semi-temporary fix that offers much better support and protection than the straps and board.

Eventually this pressure treated wood box will come out and we’ll have the original box re-fiberglassed and reinforced. That will come when we can “give up” the motorhome for a few weeks/month or so to the body shop – they’ll get this and some other repairs to our rusted compartments done.

Categories: Fulltiming, Modifications, News and Updates | Leave a comment

Maya and the Rawhide Dance

Happy Spring and De-Winterizing to everyone!

I thought I’d take a moment to update on Maya’s great progress since the Pit Bull Attack and provide a little comic relief on her behalf.

From a health perspective, she’s doing really well. Her disolveable stitches are nearly gone and her fur is starting to grow in and covering up her scar. We’ve been going out on walks again, now that she isn’t under “house arrest” and that really makes her happy. Unfortunately we’ve run across some dogs that we don’t know on some of our walks, and that caused her some stress, so we’ve still got some work to do to get her over that hump.

Overall though, she’s a ROCK STAR and making a great recovery.

Her and Brody are still great “siblings” – having fun with each other, aggravating each other and at the end of the day, great friends.

For a little comedic value, I thought I’d share this video I shot today of Maya’s Rawhide Dance. Occasionally we’ll break out a rawhide bone for each of them to chew on, and as you can see, Maya has a lot of fun with her’s.

We’ve still got a way to go to get our girl back on track, but we’re all getting there!

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Vicious Dog Hearing Today … and Results

Maya, 2 weeks after being attacked by a Pit Bull

We had our vicious dog hearing today and the result went as well as could be expected. As the hearing and results are open to the public, I have no qualms about stating the results here. The hearing was comprised of 3 members; the chief of police, a representative of the RI SPCA and a 3rd member from a neighboring cities Dog Officer.

The hearing opened with the panel reading the rules and regulations of the hearing, as well as the text of the statute and potential requirements should the dog be labeled as vicious. Each side is then allowed time to present their case and a verdict returned afterwards.

We arrived well equipped with copies of the police report, my statement of events, copies of vet bills and procedures and photographs. I was allowed to give my statement of events, followed by Maureen and then our neighbors.

At the end of testimony the panel then began to talk about the potential requirements and came back with a 3/0 ruling that this was a vicious, unprovoked attacked and that the dog was to be labeled as vicious. The panel also came back 3/0 on the following restrictions:

  • The dog has been labeled vicious and will carry this determination for the rest of its life.
  • The owners must maintain an insurance policy of at least $100,000 on the dog and also list the city in the policy. This, like a bank that is listed on a car insurance policy, ensures that if the policy is updated or cancelled, the city is notified.
  • The dog must be micro-chipped.
  • A sign stating “Vicious Dog On Property” must be placed on the propery and be clearly visible from the street. The sign must state Vicious Dog,  not just beware of dog.
  • The police must be notified if the dog is loose.
  • Any time the dog is off of the owners property (walks, etc), it must be leashed and muzzled.
  • The dog must be leashed or on a tie-out any time it is outside on the owners property.
  • The dog must be spayed.
  • If the owners move, they must notify both the current and new police departments.
  • The owner cannot sell or give the dog away.
  • The dog is not allowed to be present in any dog parks.

What is important about these requirements is that a failure to heed them will result in arrest of the owners and potential criminal charges filed. These restrictions are not optional for the dog owner.

The requirements that were declined by the panel at this time are:

– a requirement for a six sided (top, bottom and locking sides) enclosure for the dog when it is outside
– euthanizing the dog

We were not asking for the dog to be euthanized and are happy with the results of the hearing.

Unfortunately the pit bull owners weren’t completely truthful during the hearing and were trying to deflect the attack on Maya and myself saying that the pit bull did not come out and attack, but rather was sniffing around our dogs and then became scared and attacked.

Even with that false statement, the 3 member panel determined that even *if* that was the case, sniffing around another dog is not an act of provocation and does not justify the attack that happened on Maya.

The neighbors stomped out of the hearing as the panel was stating that the hearing simply was to determine whether the dog should be labeled as vicious and to retrieve the funds we have spent on injuries, surgeries, etc that it would have to be a civil matter or “we could just talk to the neighbors” – at which time they proceeded to walk out of the room mumbling derogatory comments towards/about us.

To ensure due process, the owners can appeal the ruling of the panel to a Judge. They have 5 days to decide on whether or not to appeal and if they do, the Judge can choose to modify the ruling of the panel by decreasing or increasing the requirements, including an order to euthanize.

So onto the next steps … it’s too bad that it has to be this way and that they are acting with hostility and contempt towards us.

Categories: Fulltiming, News and Updates, Pit Bull Attack, Rhode Island, Travel | Leave a comment

A really bad day – attacked by a Pit Bull

2012-01-24-23-21-29The title kind of says it all …

Today Maya and I were attacked by a pit bull. We were introducing ourselves to our neighbor at our home in RI when their pit bull came charging out of their house and viscously attacked Maya, our 9 month old puppy. I’m intentionally keeping the details quiet here on our blog, but I will say that the attack was completely unprovoked and that while injured, Maya and I are doing ok.

At 1:14 am my adrenaline is still running and I’m nowhere near ready to go to sleep, so I’m taking the first overnight shift with Maya since we need to keep an eye on her and the shunt that she had put in during emergency surgery today.

Here are a few photos of the injury Maya sustained, as well as a few of the bite and puncture marks on my hand.

Categories: Fulltiming, News and Updates, Pit Bull Attack, Rhode Island | 5 Comments

Home Depot RAISING Regular Sales Prices During Holiday Appliance Sale!

We’ve been driveway boondocking at our Cottage in RI for since early October … visiting with friends, doing some maintenance, making some updates and as (un)luck may have it, replacing some major components in the house. But, that is a post for another time.

Home Depot Original Price on Amana Range that's on Sale.

Amana Range on TheHomeDepot.com - This is a scan of the page I printed when I made the purchase. Note the price of the range is $449.00

What we have been planning to replace for some time is the current stove and oven combo. The kitchen in this house is a small room and has a small 20″ electric range/oven. It’s worked out just fine for the last 20 years, but the stove had seen its better years and it was time to replace it. We’ve been looking around for a new one checking all the big box stores, and decided on a 20″ Amana Freestanding Electric Range from The Home Depot.

Bookmark to Amana Range for sale at TheHomeDepot.com

This is the bookmark that was set in my browser. I checked this link every few days

We had to make some other updates, and repairs to the house before we were ready to buy the new stove, so I added it as a bookmark in my browser. Not just a typical, bookmark the page and it ends up in the list with every other bookmark that you hardly, if ever, go back to – but rather, this was an “in my face”, every time I open my browser bookmark .. and for me, that’s a lot of every day.

 
As we knew this was the stove we were going to buy, I clicked over to the page every few days to see if it the price went down or if it was on sale. Sure enough as the holidays came around The Home Depot added a new sale: 10% off appliances $297 and up. This was great! We were far enough into finished projects to order the new stove and now it was 10% off, a savings of $44.90, had free delivery and free old appliance take away. On December 13, 2011 I placed an order for the new stove. We paid $449.00 for the stove, $28.29 in sales tax, then received a $44.90 discount/coupon, for an end price of $432.39.  This was right within budget for a new stove for this kitchen, it would fit perfectly and was a clean match for the fridge and cabinet colors.

Amana Range Order Receipt from TheHomeDepot.com

This is our order receipt for the purchase of the Amana Range on 12/13/2011. Note the unit price of $449.00, from which we received a discount of $44.90 during the sale period of 12/1/2011 - 12/21/2011

On December 15th, 2011 we received delivery of the new stove from The Home Depot. The delivery was great, the 2 man crew very pleasant and professional and we were 100% satisfied with our purchase.

Two days after delivery, on Saturday December 17th, I decided to delete the bookmark from my browser bar. I had no use for it anymore and it’s a bookmark with a long description, taking up a lot of browser “real estate”. For whatever reason, I decided to click on the link before deleting it and saw that The Home Depot RAISED the regular price of the  20″ Amana Freestanding Electric Range that we just had delivered two days earlier. It’s the same range, the same part number, the same bookmark link – but it was now listed at a regular price of $269.00, instead of the $249.00 I purchased it at four days earlier AND the date of the sale is still the same. When we purchased the stove the sale dates were 12/01/2011 – 12/21/2011 … and the sale dates on my bookmarked page were still the same.

 

Everything about the bookmarked page was the same, including the “Shoppers who viewed this item purchased” box on the right hand side of the page. The same freestanding ranges were shown and just like the Amana we purchased, the pricing on the “Shoppers who viewed this item purchased” ranges had increased as well.

Amana Range from TheHomeDepot.com - regular sales price is raised while it is on sale

This is a screen capture of the item bookmarked at TheHomeDepot.com. The regular price for the all the ranges on the page INCREASED while the items are on sale

I don’t usually get up on my soapbox very often, but this all feels very unethical to me. Sure if I bought the stove this weekend, I still would have paid less than the regular price that I had originally seen it advertised at, but is it really right, ethical, or legal to raise the regular selling price of an item in the middle of an advertised sale period?  And from what I can see, the price on at least 4 items that I have previously viewed.

Shame on you The Home Depot!

 

Categories: Amana Range, Fulltiming, Kitchen Renovations, Modifications, News and Updates, Raising Prices, The Home Depot | Leave a comment

Accidental Fulltimers?

We were having a conversation last night with some friends of ours and the subject of RV’ing came up along with a question of how long we were going to be “boondocked” at our family home in RI. I got to thinking, and we all started discussing how Maureen and I have mostly been full-timing it in either a Travel Trailer or our Motorhome since September of 2010.

Sure, we’ve spent a few weeks here and there at home in CT and now in RI, but for the most part, we’ve been living the life of  Full Time RVers for the better part of 13 months. It started last September when my brother and sister-in-law were gracious enough to let us borrow their 30′ Zinger Travel Trailer. We needed a place to stay while helping a family member go through a terrible illness … the home was too small for us to move into, so we needed some extra space. We lived in the travel trailer from September 2010, through a cold northeast winter and up until early May 2011. The Zinger was a very tight space for the three of us (Maureen, Gene & Brody), but it was a TREMENDOUS help to us at the time.

After returning the Travel Trailer we started talking about finally getting a Motorhome of our own. We’ve been talking about it for nearly 2 decades and finally decided that life is full of curve balls and we should just “suck it up”, get our first Motorhome and start doing the travelling that we’ve been talking about for years. So in June of 2010, we purchased our “new to us” National RV Sea Breeze and have been spending the summer and fall travelling, visiting (and driveway boondocking) with family and friends. Who knows what the coming months will bring, but after the spending the last 13 months living in one trailer or another, I think that we’re at least “Honorary” Full Timers.

 

 

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Battery Compartment Damage

I was taking a look at our steps the other day – they have a bit of play in them sometimes when you step on them. I think that it’s because they haven’t extended fully before someone steps on them – but anyway, I bent over to take a look at the mechanism and was horrified at what I saw underneath!

The back corner of the fiberglass battery box had broken away and was sheared nearly across the whole back of the box. The house batteries were tilted down and had I not emergency/temporarily addressed this, I am pretty sure that we would have been driving down the road wondering why we lost power all of the sudden – because the batteries could very well have fallen out!

We’ve been on the road since early September and I know that the batteries were not like that when we left, or at other places in our travels. I’m not sure when this damage happened, but it must have been over the past couple of weeks.

I’m very glad that we were visiting with some family as I had access to a few things/tools that I would normally not have access to while travelling. I have the bottom of the box strapped up now, and we did do about 150 miles of travel yesterday and it all seems ok for the immediate time – but now I need to come up with a better, permanent fix.

While I was under there devising and implementing the fix, I noticed that the screws that hold the molded battery box to the front door frame all “missed” their mark when they were installed 5/6 years ago. The installer/builder at NRV got the screws through the outer door baseplate, but when they “hit” the molded battery box they all shifted downward, so they did not make any contact with the battery box – that totally explains why the steps had a little shimmy in them when you stepped on them.

Regrettably this just another one of the poor workmanship areas that I have found the longer we own this coach and do work/maintenance on it. I still do feel that the NRV coach as a whole is nice, but I’m finding quite a few areas where things just weren’t checked or put together quite right. The squeaky dash drove me crazy when we first got the coach and I spent an afternoon taking the entire dash out to find the squeaks that were resolved with only a few properly placed and installed screws and bolts.

For this temporary fix I drilled 2 new holes in the box above the batteries, used a piece of wood underneath the box and strapped it all the way around. I also added a couple of small metal straps to the board *just* in case the strap loosens up – so that the board doesn’t become another flying projectile down the road.

While fiberglass is relatively strong, I am really surprised that the entire battery box is fiberglass with no other means of added support. Poor design in my mind.

Off to the drawing board for a permanent fix

Categories: Modifications, New Hampshire, RV Tech, Travel | 2 Comments