Brakes, biopsy and being happy

Another step closer to departure . . . .

8:30 a.m. I park the Perfect Tow Vehicle in a NOT-handicapped space.  The PTV is in for an electric brake controller.  I point out to Arturo, the mechanic, that the oil light is on although there’s plenty of oil in the engine and the oil pressure is fine.  I also mention the ever-present engine light, which the repair guy at the dealership said was “an emission system leak..” . . . this according to the idiot-light code, not eye-balling or testing.   Arturo nods his head, says something I can’t understand, and sets to work.

I settle in for a long summer’s wait. 

I’ve got my 25-cent senior discount coffee and my kindle to keep me happy.  Good thing, because it’s three-and-a-half hours before Arturo reappears with the ticket.  I’m still happy because the labor for everything is $100+ less than what the dealership quoted me.

Arturo tells me he didn’t detect any emissions leak, so he reset the engine light.  Yay.  As for the oil light, he suggests I get the oil changed, and when I do, make sure I “don’t get a cheap Fram filter.”  Okay, thanks for the tip.  I ask him to show me how the new brake controller operates, so out to the PTV we go.  He hooks up a tester.  “This is just like hooking up your trailer.  So get in and we’ll pretend you’ve got the trailer hooked up.”

I hop in. 

Immediately I’m happy to see the controller is in a good position to the right of my right knee.  Arturo explains the green light that changes to orange to red and how to adjust the amount of braking applied by the trailer brakes.  I experiment with changing the adjustment and watch the needle on the tester move accordingly.  A very good, little, on-the-spot, Arturo tutorial.  (Say those last two words five times fast.) Now I know how to use the controller and I’ve also got a pretty good handle on Arturo’s accent!

I pay the bill and step outside to return a call to the dermatologist’s office.

The lady on the phone tells me that they have the results of the biopsy done on my nose last week.  Oh no, here it comes.  Unfortunately, it isn’t the least-of-all-skin-cancer evils (basal cell).  Rather it’s the next step up, a moderately evil skin cancer known as squamous.  The lady says I need to have the MOHS procedure (layers of tissue removed until all gone).  I tell her I’m leaving the area Aug. 13th, so could it be scheduled before then?  She says she’ll see what she can do and call me back.

Oh darn!

I admit I’m a bit squeamish about the squamish, so to speak.  Another needle in the nose, ugh.  After a few minutes adjusting to the idea, I get my perspective back.  To be in your sixties, no pills to pop every day, feeling pretty good, and the biggest worry is a little dot on the nose?  Of all the things that could be wrong with me at this stage in my life, I’ll take this and be glad.

Major change of topic alert!

Today is the day to say goodbye to Janie.  I can’t do it!  Not today!  I text my friend who’s at work asking to postpone.  Since I now know I’m here in this house until the 13th, what’s the hurry?  I want as few days as possible for the crew and I to feel the pain of her absence from this house. I’m hoping being on the road will distract us.  All that’s necessary is a few days before we leave to make sure she’s going to adjust to her new home.

It’s now the hottest part of the day — good time for a movie!

Too bad Redbox’s selection is so crappy.  The title isn’t even worth mentioning.  I know, whaddayaspect for a dollar?


I apologize for the lack of photos.  You don’t need to see a brake controller and my squammy old nose.


About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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14 Responses to Brakes, biopsy and being happy

  1. Stephanie Smith says:

    I still don’t understand why she can’t go with you 😦 You haven’t even tried it. You could always take them and then if it doesn’t work out find her a home then.


    • rvsueandcrew says:


      I appreciate your concern.

      Emotionally it seems I should just scoop up all three and take them with me and somehow make it work!

      However, rationally, it doesn’t seem wise. This is hard to understand when you’re not the person living with them, when it’s all in the abstract. They look smaller in the photos that they really are. I wonder if I could function with all three in such a confined space (Every day is not a sunny day.) Also I have to be able to control these dogs at all times. That includes noise. How do you keep three dogs quiet when they hear a noise at night? It’s going to be a challenge with two. I can see us kicked out of campgrounds.

      Another thing is the fact that this is not a road trip or even an extended vacation. It is the rest of my life, as long as I can sustain it, and I’m aging every day. I have to think of all situations that pop up in life: What do I do if I have to go to the hospital? Finding accommodations or favors from strangers for two dogs is hard enough, near impossible for three. What if I cannot afford shots and heartworm and flea/tick medicine for all three? Who goes without? What if I have the flu or other ailment that leaves me sick in bed for a while. I’m alone. Instead of two dogs needing to be walked, it’s three. The road trip to FL confirmed what I suspected . . given only two hands, three dogs are very difficult to control. I see hit-by-a-car scenarios. None of these dogs would win a ribbon for obedience.

      Believe me, I’ve pondered this for years and I always come back to the same decision, as hard as it is. I never would have adopted a third dog if I knew then my plan to vagabond.

      Finding an excellent home for a mature dog is not easy. My friend, her husband, and Romeo can provide love, companionship, security, and all the rest of her needs in an ideal environment. Fortunately, Janie is the type of dog who loves everyone in the whole world, not just me.

  2. Reine says:

    I disagree with Stephanie. You KNOW the friend and home you will be taking Janie to. We own a Casita and I think three dogs, especially one of them Janie’s size will be too crowded, your dog pen isn’t high enough to contain Janie and she wouldn’t be happy living on a leash. Finding a home for Janie once you’re on the road would be especially difficult and harder on Bridget and Spike too. You’re making the best decision for Janie BECAUSE you love her, not because you don’t.

    Sorry to hear that the news for the nose isn’t as good as expected but we’ll continue praying for a positive outcome SOON.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you for your prayers, Reine, and for weighing in on this decision. I know you can understand Stephanie’s point of view on this, as do I. In weak moments, I too think, gee, why don’t I just take her and see?

      But I know in my heart and mind, it would not be good.

  3. Bob Giddings says:

    Let me commiserate on the squamous cell carcinoma. I have had 5 MOHS procedures for that in the last year, all on my hands. The procedure is mild as cancer treatments go, but it is no joke. They cut the cells out with about a half inch circle removed from the top layer of the skin, BUT healing it up properly required a 2 or 3 inch long cut with the sides brought together with stitches. It was only a two week ordeal with the hand (each time), and a very light scar.

    I can’t imagine how this works on your nose! The skin there is already tight, and there’s all that cartilage to avoid/repair. My nose is hurting right now just thinking about it.

    Even if you get in early for surgery, I think you may be looking at another delay of your trip to Rice. Maybe you should do that first, and find a nice place to heal up with painkillers fairly near your dermatologist/surgeon. Perhaps even work something out to stay in your house a little longer. Or maybe visit a sister’s driveway.

    Healing up won’t take forever, but it might seem like it.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Bob. Sorry you have to deal with this also.

      I’m at this very moment waiting to hear from the surgeon’s office. We’ve played phone tag several times since yesterday.

      I was told when given the results of the biopsy that it would be done in a way that wouldn’t leave a scar. That doesn’t tell me what I’m in for.

      So I wait. and wait. and wait. Waiting is my specialty. Thanks again for the suggestions and the “heads up.”

      • Bob Giddings says:

        What? No scar? What’s the point then?

        I was just thinking a real scary scar and maybe an accessory eye patch would obviate the perceived need for a pistol. You could just swagger into any campground you chose, flick a thumb across your nose like Bruce Lee, and hoarsely whisper a la Jack Palance: “See this hyar? I got it in a knife fight with the LAST !@#%! guy that gave me trouble!”

        You might even make little matching eyepatches for all the crew! Would that be a step too far? Even tatooed bikers might happily give a crew like that a wide berth. Have you considered a mangy parrot that curses freely in 3 languages to perch on yer shoulder? Well, maybe a parakeet…

        Bob, already anticipating the comic book.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Oh, Bob . . . You really know how to cheer a gal up.

          No, I think I’ll skip the eye patch and just scratch my nose til it oozes all over my shirt.


  4. Denise says:

    I just found your blog, and I feel as if I’m reading through the next 5 years of my life! I’m 58, live in Texas, and plan to retire at 63 and hit the road. A few similarities: enjoy being alone, former teacher, divorced, 2 older sisters but no brothers, children married and wonderful grandchildren, Honda Odyssey, 2 dogs, love Tioga George, saving up for full-timing, dream of the adventures that are calling my name. And…I can’t wait to sell my house, get rid of all this stuff, and buy that very special RV that’s waiting just for me.
    I sympathize with your sadness over giving up Janie, but you’re being responsible and loving. I’m sure she’ll enjoy her new home.
    Things I’m enjoying on your blog:
    (1) your adventures with your GPS–not sure I’m making use of all of the features on my TomTom; (2) hints on how you’re outfitting the PTV; (3) comments on getting your dogs ready for the road; and (4) the fact that you graciously reply to so many of your commenters.
    I’d love to see lots of pictures as your RV adventures get going. Remember, those of us still working are living vicariously through you!
    We Texans welcome you to the Lone Star State as you pick up your new home. Safe driving!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Wow! Your life IS so much like mine going back to when I was 58 and dreaming. Welcome to my blog, Denise! I’m happy you’re here!

      I planned to retire at 63 also, then it appeared possible and smart to retire at 62. Those years prior to retirement are not wasted. You’ll fine tune exactly what you want for an RV and how you will execute your Plan. Your comments sound like me (“I can’t wait to sell my house, get rid of all this stuff . . . “). We apparently have many similarities in personality, life choices, and tastes. Quite remarkable . .. and a former teacher, too!
      Believe me, I know all about living vicariously through blogs. I think my visits make up a large portion of Tioga George’s six million hits.

      I appreciate your thoughts on the Janie decision. I just visited your blog for the first time . . . what beautiful shelties you have! The blog design is lovely, too. Makes mine look so ordinary in comparison, but I’m going to fix that SOMEDAY WHEN I HAVE MY CASITA! (I’m not shouting, that’s exasperation.)

      I haven’t done much with the GPS as I’ve been sticking to a short radius around my house these days.

      Thanks for telling me what you enjoy about the blog. It is very helpful to know! Sometimes when I finish a post I read it and think: Now why in the world would anyone be interested in that! There will be lots of photos once I’m on the road and have my Casita. . . . Oh, will that day EVER come!

      You Texans are a friendly bunch! So nice of you to share details about your life, Denise.

  5. Mumsy, Chancy and Crew says:

    Sorry about the news on your nose biopsy. I hope the treatment will be one that is not time consuming and gets rid of that thing for good.

    I see you are still making great progress getting things ready for your departure.

    You will be in my thoughts and prayers when it comes time to say goodbye to Janie. I know that is not going to be easy for you. I completely understand why you found her a home though. You are very lucky to have found her a loving home and her new family are lucky to have her. Hugs

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yeah, the nose thing is not something I anticipated this close to my departure date. As Bob wrote, I may have to adjust my plans once again. If I don’t get going soon I might as well change the blog name to stucklikegluesue and her canine crew!

      Thank you, as always, for your kind words.

  6. Stephanie Smith says:

    You’re right of course about Janie.. It just seemed sad to me because I knew you were sad but you have obviously thought a lot about it and you know yourself and your dogs and I don’t. Her new home sounds great as well. You obviously are making the right choice for all of you and I’m sorry I let my emotions butt in..

    I also have to have a MOHS procedure in October. Mine is right under my eye and the thought of it gives me the creeps! My husband had one on his leg and it was a piece of cake but on the face – scary! I look forward to hearing how your procedure goes.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Stephanie!

      No need for an apology! I understand completely where you are coming from. You obviously are sensitive to animals which I admire. Believe me, the same thoughts have bounced around in my head, too.

      It surprises me how many people have had the MOHS or are going to have it. I know, it is scary to think about someone performing surgery on your face. I’m not going to think too hard about it!

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