Finding The Fun Of Moving

Isn’t he cute!

There aren’t many things in life that can prepare you for a move of mammoth proportions, being a military wife is the only thing I can think of that could prepare you for the move we just did; however, being retired military and moving across the country is another story all together.

We moved from Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Maine (we haven’t decided on a city yet). It was a 6 day 2K+ mile drive to get to Maine. Our longest day in the car was almost 12 hrs, and the shortest was 6 hrs. Looking back on it now, it’s a wonder that Hubby, the dog, and myself were able to stand each other by the time we pulled up to our hotel in Augusta, Maine.

There were a few unforeseen things we encountered as we were in the final press to get out of Colorado that shook our plans to their core, but thankfully the military prepared us to get through the unexpected. Two weeks before the day we planned to drive out of Colorado

Planning; Derailed

There aren’t many things in life that can prepare you for a move of mammoth proportions. Being a military wife I felt at least somewhat prepared for such a move. My husband had moved to England and back, and I had a couple of military moves under my belt, so I figured we were set and had planned for all unforeseen. Remember the saying, ”want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”? Keep that in mind.

We moved from Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Maine (we haven’t decided on a city yet). It was a 6 day 2K+ mile drive to get us to Maine. Our longest day in the car was almost 12 hrs, and our shortest was 6 hrs. Looking back on it now it’s a wonder that Hubby, the dog (Chaz), and myself were able to stand each other by the time we pulled up to our hotel in Augusta, Maine.

We had carefully planned the whole trip, from what to have by packed by when, to exactly where we could and would stop along the way for me to be able to eat. Looking back maybe we planned things to closely. The issues cropped up two weeks, almost to the day, before we were to leave.

We had reached the pinnacle of Hubby leaving his job, he’d given them 2 months notice and at last the day had finally arrived. We planned a mini vacation to get away from the boxes and chaos at home for a few days to decompress before the craziness of the new few weeks hit. We got back from that short trip and we to grab a bite to eat. Hubby got junk food (Arby’s) while I went to my favorite salad place for a dinner salad (Modern Market). The following Morning (Monday) Hubby woke early with a tummy ache. Knowing he had eaten junk food I told him to get the heating pad and to lay down. A few hours later, with a cup of tea that should have helped, if it was from dinner the night before, Hubby wan’t better. After careful consideration and a call to the nurse… we were off to the ER. Eight hours later…hubby was in surgery for a hot appendix. Yeah, I felt really bad after realizing that was the issue.

After surgery he felt much better, but he was told 6 weeks of no lifting anything that weighed more than a gallon of milk. I called our move organizer while we were waiting in the ER and thankfully they were able to schedule packers to come in and finish packing us out, because I had my hands full keeping hubby in bed, resting. One week after surgery we moved into a hotel so we were more comfortable while the house was mostly void of furniture.

Everything progressed as planned, until the day we were scheduled to drive out. Our dog got so stressed out about hubby being sick, my being stressed taking care of everything because hubby couldn’t, and still trying to work (thus I wasn’t sleeping much). The dog is very attached to me, I’m the one who’s home with him all day, I feed him, and he sleeps (quite literally) on me at night. So this, probably more than anything, really stressed him out. We got everything on our pre-move check list done, and got into bed for our final night in Colorado, and the dog was up twice in the middle of the night with diarrhea.

Leaving, Finally

Saturday, the first day of our journey, was our longest day on the road. We were up at 0600 and on the road by 0700, it was supposed to be a 7.5 hr drive to our final stop of the day. We got some coffee and some food and we were off, our first scheduled stop in 2.5 hrs so hubby could walk around and the dog could release himself. Half an hour later the dog was asking for a break, it was a good thing we stopped as the accidents from the night before were not a two time thing. Nope his tummy trouble took our 7.5 hour day and turned it into a 12 hour day. Poor little guy. Thankfully as they day wore on he improved. He got 12 hours of my either holding him, or him sleeping on his pillow next to me. We figured he just needed a little momma time.

The rest of the trip was rather uneventful, by day two Chaz was fine and our planned stops were more attainable. Off we went. With one major thing that had to be dealt with. Hubby was not allowed to lift anything, so guess who loaded and unloaded the car every night. You guessed it… me! Hubby had to hold the dog and endure the looks of disgust from those around us, very few of them offering any sort of help to me. I felt sorry for him, but that the same time there was nothing to be done about it. And as the days wore on I got rather good at it, if I do say so myself. Though by the fourth day we were happy to allow the porters to help when we had them at our disposal.

Moving is stressful, change is stressful, and all that stress can be over-powering.  The key is to breath, the goal is to endure, and the final product is to be enjoyed.  More to come.  Who knew getting a new doctor in a different region could be so much work.

It was gorgeously green, and far too sunny and hot for my liking.

Have Puppy Will Travel

When life gives you lemons…

What do you do when your allergies are getting worse, you have a dog, and it is becoming imperative that you travel more than half way across the country to more copacetic location to look around and find out where you’d like to land? Why you get an airplane approved pet carrier, calming meds for the dog, and you plan to take a week of vacation to go out to look around. Of course.

A recent visit to my allergist gave me a lot to ponder as I am having allergic reactions when I physically shouldn’t be able to react.  The simple answer, my allergies are far worse that we originally thought, and we need to rethink our options for treatment.  And when the allergist asks, “So what happened to you moving to Maine? Why hasn’t that happened yet?” You have to face the reality that life where you are is not your best life. And you need to get your butt in gear to make the move happen.

While we have been diligent in setting us up to be able to move at a moments notice, we hadn’t been out there to look around the areas we’d been pouring over on the internet.  Let’s face it, the internet can only do so much to convey exactly what you are getting yourself into.

And more lemons…

Now be prepared when planning to travel with your pet. I called United and asked about pet relief areas in the most popular connection air ports, after an hour on the phone with United asking questions, I then had to call each airport individually to see if they had pet areas. Thankfully we found one that had pet areas within the secured area of the airport at Dulles, and I was able to find flights through Dulles that would allow us time to take Chaz to these areas between flights without giving an excessively long layover.

Most airlines do not offer you a way to book your pet for travel online.  I booked our flights, picked out our seats (paying more for an upgrade to economy plus for more carry-on room) and then had to call the airline to add the dog – which canceled our seats, so I had to pay (again) for the seat upgrade, and my first charge for the upgrade will not be refunded until after we’ve returned from the trip.  It’s three hours of my life I can never get back.  So word to the wise, book the flight, but leave the seats alone just call the airline and get the pet booked, then get your seats. Save yourself this headache.

Make Limoncello…er…lemonade

Then I had to start planning on how to get the dog through the plane ride.  I talked to the Vet, and got meds.  I’m a huge fan of benadryl for calming the dog down, it turns out that might not be the best option all the time. So, the Vet suggested Tradozone, and that we do trial run while at home to make sure he handles the meds, and that we know what he should act like when he’s on them. Then I ordered the travel carrier.

I will say this about the carrier, there are a lot of them. And I have never been so thankful for a very small dog.  Sherpa has a guarantee that their bag will fit on the plane (or they’ll pay for any missed flights).  I got the large, even though Chaz is much smaller than the measurements for the carrier.  However, it gives Chaz plenty of room to move around if need be, and it offers a small storage area for treats.

We are leaving the carrier out so Chaz can get used to seeing it and smelling it.   Then we did a test run with the meds to make sure they worked correctly, and lasted for the correct length of time.  So, a drugged dog who is spending quite a bit of time in a travel carrier is what the weekend before the trip looked like.  Chaz handled the carrier fine, we even zipped him in.  It took a bit but he was able to lay down and sleep. The good new is that the dog did fine on the meds, though he wasn’t a fan of hubby handling him. The meds solidified the fact that Chaz is a Momma’s dog.

I also got some collapsable bowls for Chaz to drink from while we are traveling. And since they depict Chaz correctly, he is after all a Super Dog, I couldn’t resist these.

Now to find meds that will keep hubby calm on the flight.  I kid! kind of!

And drink it all up…

While we have often traveled with Chaz in tow, we have never flown with a dog, so this is going to be quite the experience.  Add into the situation his issues with food, and it’s going to be a fun time.

Yes, he is still battling his sensitive tummy.  We have a plan to test for food allergies when we get back. In the meantime we will be adding fish to his diet to see if that increases his appetite a bit. The good news is that I don’t think his tummy trouble is caused by a sensitive or stressed out nature.  The meds did not make him want to eat.  Check that possibility off my list.

We connected with a realtor in Maine, and are picking out some properties to look at while we are there.   Now I have to get through a week of work and planning for the trip while hubby is out of town for work, then we have one day to pack and get ready for the big trip. Chaz is a little vindictive about being on meds, once they began wearing off he started having deliberate accidents in the house. Right in front of me, he didn’t even try to hide it.  This week is sure to be fun.

To follow our travels with Chaz and just my complicated life in general look me up on:

Instagram @thecomplicatedtraveler

Twitter @complicatedtrav

Facebook @The Complicated Traveler

 

 

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The Land of Enchantment

Being from New Mexico I can say this, they have the best red chile sauce anywhere and their sunsets are amazing.

Through our journey to see Hubby’s parents we are taking the longer route through New Mexico to stay with some of my family, and so I can get my sopapilla fix on.

This is a very important thing as they are typically fried in oil I can’t have and they just aren’t ‘right’ in Colorado.  I never get a golden pillow of delight begging me to grab the honey jar and meld them together in the perfect after dinner treat.

Instead, when ordering sopapillas in Colorado, you get one of two things: a rock hard pillow that could possibly chip your tooth if bitten into or a flat and floppy piece of…square dough…at least I think it’s dough. Another downside to Colorado’s sopapillas is that they come with cinnamon and sugar, strawberries and whipped cream. And if you are brave enough to ask for them plain with honey the look you get is one reserved for tourists who “don’t know what a sopapilla is”.

It’s so annoying that I stopped asking for them at the end of a meal at any “Mexican” restaurants in Colorado.

Thus our trecking 4hours (round trip) out of our way so we could stop in Albuquerque at the corner of Lomas and 16th Street where Monroe’s is located.

While I can’t eat any of their meats, their red chile cheese enchiladas and sopapillas are just what a New Mexico girl needs when she’s in the area.

If you are planning a trip to Albuquerque give them a call 505-242-1111 and talk to them about your allergies. If you don’t have allergies and simply want to taste a plate of pure heaven stop in and see the lovely folks at Monroe’s on Lomas.

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A Day In The Life: Chaz’s big adventure

Life of late: 

Poor Chaz has had a rather rough time of it, of late.  We’ve sold our house, we lived in our house on an air mattress with a folding table and camp chairs while waiting for our closing date (after it has been changed…I did have it all planned out until…), and now we have moved into a hotel while we wait for the dust to settle and for us to figure out our next move.  More to come about that in a later post.

So we were living with the bare basics, really it was a glorified dorm room.  All we were missing were the cinder block and bare wood ‘book cases’ and posters on the wall.  Honestly a dorm room probably was a step up as we were on an air mattress instead of a futon.

In an effort to keep to a routine, we did our best to have dinner around the same time each night and I even did my best to cook every now and again.  This leads to our latest vet visits with Chaz.

Remember the folding table?

When you combine a folding table and camp chairs with short people and food, you get a great comedy sketch set up.  Add into that mix trying to eat tacos and you get a recipe for disaster when you have small dog with a sensitive stomach.

Yep, meat was spilled.  It bounced off the dog, and never had the chance to hit the floor.  Chaz’s reflexes are just too strong.

While we expected the after effects, we didn’t expect them to last for almost two weeks.

The day we vacated the house we took him to the vet for his tummy issues.  They did some tests said he was OK and sent us home with instructions to keep him on a rice and boiled chicken diet, and to keep him as calm as possible.  So we had a friend over for dinner on Friday and then the Kids as usual on Sunday.  We dealt with the one accident at 2 am, and carried on as normal.  And then…

Today the vomiting started.  Now I’m ok with humans when they have physical ailments.  Blood, vomit, doesn’t matter I’m good, but when it’s an animal…all bets are off.  So there is our poor five pound multepoo being sick on the kitchen floor of the hotel, and I’m sitting across the room gagging.  Hubby couldn’t help but laugh.  And I really couldn’t blame him. I’m sure I was a sight to behold holding my breath, and nose and gaging all at the same time.

Several times today we have been faced with this dilemma, and I finally had to call the vet (again) to see what we should do.  Aside from hoping he’d eat and drink some water, giving him another tummy pill and waiting until they could see us tomorrow.  There really wasn’t much we could do.

Just when you think you’re going to have to go to the ER…

Then suddenly at around 6pm, the dog started eating and drinking his diluted chicken broth. By 9pm he’d eaten all of his food, and was ready to play.  And now I’m faced with the dilemma of going to be on time, or staying up incase we need to get him outside in a hurry.

I got him some probiotics, for dogs, from the health food store and he got his first dose in when he finished his bowl of food tonight.  So I have that to factor into the equation.

I always thought having pets were easy, until Chaz.  When a dog, and I assume a cat, has tummy issues all bets are off.  But you can’t help but love them even more.

Chaz has decided that we are going to bed.  Otherwise his whining will keep hubby awake.  Sigh!  Here’s hoping for the best, and a good nights sleep.

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A Day In The Life: Houdini

What do you do with a little dog who has a sensitive stomach when you need to shampoo the carpets?  Why you use the baby gate and coral him upstairs!

While this isn't the leap he took to get out from behind the gate, it still shows how easily he can fit through the railings.
While this isn’t the leap he took to get out from behind the gate, it still shows how easily he can fit through the railings.

Until he realizes he small enough to fit though the railings of the banister, and squeezes through to the stairs to come see what all the racket is about.  The shampoo, while harmless after it dries, is not something  I want on his feet for him to lick off and make him sick.

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So I gathered all of his toys, and placed them in his bed at the foot of our bed, and locked him in our bedroom.  Houdini hasn’t figured out how to escape from the gate when placed against a solid wall, yet.  I dread the day that happens.

Here he is with all of his toys, in his dog bed and he looks upset that they are there.
Here he is with all of his toys, in his dog bed and he looks upset that they are there.

Inspiration To Travel

I recently read an article by annaeverwhere about traveling with chronic diseases and other medical issues. It really put into perspective my allergy issues.  While mine do not physically show, thankfully, they can be the cause for some very public displays of panic. However, since she isn’t letting it slow her down it has given me a little more spit and vinegar where my adventures are concerned.

We have had our home on the market for the last month or so, and each time we show the house I have to take the dog with me…after a whirlwind clean up of the house so it is show room ready, and I head for the nearest store that allows animals, or I head to the Air Force Academy so I can walk Chaz .

Today I have a showing and I’m thinking, if I cover up properly with sun clothes, and heading out to be a sightseer to areas I typically avoid because of the sun. Hopefully there will be new photos to take and no need for allergy meds.

It is just nice knowing that there are others out there, traveling and leading full lives in spite of their medical conditions.

While I do not travel on the same scale as Anna, for me just going out of the house is huge feat most days.

 

(This post was written a few days ago, go HERE to read about our adventures in Garden of the Gods.)

A Day In The Life: Another Opening, Another Show

What’s a dog to do when momma is leaving and taking him with her?…Why he hangs on tight and enjoys the ride of course.

Chaz has had quite a few interesting days in the last few weeks, and this week is proving to be more challenging than either of us thought.   I have not only moved things around on him, again, but we are going it alone this week while my husband is on travel.

So not only am I stressed all ready, but now I’m in hyper drive trying to get my To Do list done everyday, I also have to get us out of here on time when I need to for a showing, which doesn’t help his tummy troubles.

At this point even cottage cheese isn’t a guarantee for him to eat.  You know he’s stressed when even cottage cheese can’t tempt him.

Chaz and I as we headed out to Garden of the Gods. Doesn't he look enthused?
Chaz and I as we headed out to the Garden of the Gods. Doesn’t he look enthused?

So when we left for one of our showings we headed out, not to a store with lots of people and carts (stress for both of us), but to the great outdoors.  We drove to Garden of the Gods.  A wonderful tourist attraction here in Colorado Springs.

Thankfully it was partly cloudy so I got a little bit of a break from the sun. Sadly the place was packed for a Monday, no parking to be found near the famous rocks.  So I settled for a spot in lot 12, and we headed out into the great unknown…for him, I’ve been there many times.

Garden of the Gods is a huge tourist attraction here in the Springs.  Large looming rocks, red in color, that seem to come from no where. If you look closely you can see distinct shapes with in the rocks, like kissing camels. While there are many legends attached to them, they are a great place to get out and walk around, rock climb, or just take a slow drive through.  I had intended to park in the first lot, but it was at capacity, so we did the slow drive for a bit.

Once I found a spot to park, Chaz got antsy to get out and walk.

Chaz ready to get going on our walk.
Chaz ready to get going on our walk.

So I sprayed him to protect against ticks, and off we went.  It was a nice walk to a little path, that we took for a little bit.  Chaz took the walk like a champ, he got a little nervous when other people would join our path, but otherwise he just trotted along happily sniffing all the different smells we came across.

On to the red path, sniffing his way along
On to the red path, sniffing his way up the incline.

I was very thankful that the people looking at the house didn’t linger, because the sun came out and even more people began appearing on the trail.  We turned around quickly and headed home. It was a nice time out of the house, but it reminded me of just how stressful being outdoors can be. Especially at popular touristy places.

I can, thankfully, keep track of when the doors in the house are open and closed thanks to an app that works with our home alarm system.  So when I saw the people looking had arrived at the house we didn’t hang around for too long, which turned out to be a good thing as several smokers drove past immediately after we had gotten in the car to return home.

a collage of the photos I took on our walk. It is surprisingly hard to get 'good' photos when a dog is pulling on the leash.
a collage of the photos I took on our walk. It is surprisingly hard to get ‘good’ photos when a dog is pulling on the leash, even if its only a five pound dog.

I honestly don’t know which are worse the early morning showings or the early evening showings – but there is one good thing about the early morning showings…I have a good excuse to go get coffee.  You are shocked to read that, I know.

For one particularly early showing I found the grit to get out of bed, and out the door…Nemo’s!

I’m not a huge fan of Starbucks coffee, it will work in a pinch but if I have another option I will gladly go out of my way to get my morning coffee.  Nemo’s is my favorite go to spot for coffee outside of my kitchen.  They have organic coffee, coconut milk (they have other milk alternative if you require them), caramel (a must for me on hectic days, don’t judge), and on a day like this when I have the dog… a drive through and one of Chaz’s favorite dog biscuits.  Everything we need to have a successful start to our day.

Though I’m not sure how much of Chaz’s love for their dog biscuits is the biscuit and how much of it is all the attention he gets when he gets the biscuit.  Sometimes I really wish I could read his mind to figure these questions out.

Chaz is content after consuming his dog biscuit, and I have my coffee (with caramel a real treat for me).
Chaz is content after consuming his dog biscuit, and I have my coffee (with caramel a real treat for me). Check them out 2114 East Pikes Peak Ave, tell them I sent you.

Inside their mismatched tables and chairs make for a relaxed atmosphere where anyone, no matter your height, can find a comfortable place to sit and enjoy their coffee. They also boast bookshelves filled with books of every genre. Something that is very important to book worms like me.  If you aren’t like me…someone who takes books with her every where she goes – and is very thankful that someone invented the e-reader because her back is much happier when she isn’t carrying real books with her everywhere she goes… then Nemo’s is the place to be, a good book a great cup of coffee…what more could a person ask for?  Plus they have lots of goodies and most of them are made in house.

Hubby would recommend the sausage breakfast burrito, it’s his favorite regardless of the time of day. As for me I would recommend their caramel swirl coffee, I like it iced or hot with coconut milk.  It’s so incredibly wonderful!

Their motto, and it is so true their coffee with power you through anything.
Their motto, and it is so true, turtle power will get you through anything!

So with my turtle power in my system I feel just about ready for anything…provided it isn’t too out there. Ha!  Our life is so hectic right now, it’s hard to think about adding too much more to our plates.   However, our getting out there and seeing the area means I’ll have more adorable stories about Chaz’s adventures for you.

A Day In The Life: General Choas

So I was talking with the groomers the other day about what a challenge it is to get Chaz to eat his food.

But Mom...
But Mom…

Picture an adorable two year old, batting their baby blues at you as they shake their head ‘no’ at the food put before them. You know they need to eat, and yet you just can’t make them do it.

Now add into that picture a dog who refuses to eat to the point that it makes him sick. I’m not one for feeding my dog human food so something had to be done. That has been my life with Chaz since the detergent incident of 2016.

Back story: After a long field and track trip, we got home and our pet sitter  dropped the dog off. Hubby started on laundry while I sat on the couch with my feet elevated trying to relax a bit when I heard hubby say, “Chaz just licked up some detergent” but it didn’t register just how bad of a situation it was.

Come 3am and the realization of the situation hit, the disgusting smelly reality, hit.

A vet visit, and 10 days of enticing a dog at high risk of ulcers to take his meds and eat, and our lives have never been the same.

The here and now: Chaz is on a low fat GI diet (known as a prescription diet), something easy for him to digest. He refused to eat the generic vet brand so I sprung for the good, Royal Canine, stuff.

And still he wasn’t eating even half of his daily caloric quota. I was at a loss. Bribing won’t work, tuna only works sometimes, even coconut oil (his favorite at tooth brushing time) wasn’t enticing him enough to get the food down his throat.

So when the groomer suggested cottage cheese, my jaw hit the floor. I don’t eat a lot of dairy because of my anaphylaxis, it just exasperates an all ready intense reaction, so I never even considered dairy as a viable option.

She said that she had a boarder who wouldn’t eat if the parent was gone, just wouldn’t do it. So a vet she works closely with suggested a dollop of cottage cheese on the food. It helps calm the digestive tract down so the food is more palatable.

I went out and bought a small thing of low fat cottage cheese as soon as I got the dog home. And do you know what? It worked! While his evening feedings can still be a bit testy, his morning meals go much smoother. At least I know he is getting some nourishment every day. It’s no longer a hit or miss situation.

The one downside is that his breed is known to be hyper. And while I thought he was hyper when he was barely eating… He is definitely more hyper now that he’s eating more regularly. There is an up side to everything right?