Key West: a new challenge

practicing in the pool at U/WSS in Key West

Yesterday I spent some time chatting with my Dad about his memories from the Underwater Swimmers School. As he was explaining how different parts of the SCUBA equipment work he came up with and idea that is both exciting and scary. He wants me to take a SCUBA class. That is not something that I’ve ever thought of having on my bucket list. While the thought is kind of scary and invokes claustrophobic images in my head, I think it would really give me some insight into this history and even other volumes of my Dad’s Navy experience. So I’ve add finding a class to my to do list for the week.

I’ve been working on writing at least 500 words on this project everyday. It is rather haphazard now but I’m doing it and that is a very good thing. My parents are heading back to Idaho tomorrow. I’d hoped they would stay down until the end of next week so I could get with my Dad some more but my Mom really want to get back home. They will be back in a couple of weeks.

I had no idea where this story project was going to take me when I started. It is stretching me in so many ways I never imagined. It is good to learn and do new things especially as I get older. I don’t want to get so old that I’m not willing to try to do new things. What ways have your family story projects helped you to learn new things?

Pupdate: Yakira in Florida

Yakira by the pool at her new house

Yakira arrived safely in Florida on Tuesday after an uneventful flight across country. She seemed to handle traveling in cargo without any distress. She was quickly sharing wags and kisses with her new family. It feels good to know she is exactly where she belongs. Yakira also known as YaYa greets Sharan with licks on the face. She is loving going for walks and they have snuggled on the couch for naps. Yakira’s happy energy is the perfect addition to her new household.

Yakira and Sharan

Yakira and Apex after a romp in the backyard

Pupdate: Yakira at our house

Dune, Emma and Yakira by Karen Fuller

I know dog posts are supposed to be on Fridays but you will have to indulge me this week. We got Yakira here safe and sound late last night. I guess it was actually early this morning. It has been so much fun to have the three girls (Yakira, Dune and Emma) here today. They have been great together. Emma is especially smitten. Dune no so much but they are getting along great. Sometimes Dune is a bit jealous and sometime Yakira wants to exert her own brand of dominance.

Yakira got to see three of her favorite people. My friend from college, Lisa and a fellow puppy raiser, Karen stopped by. Yakira also visited our neighbor Virginia. All our pups have had a special place in their hearts for Virginia but Yakira even more so.

Karen who is between dogs took Dune home with her for a puppy visit for the next few days. I miss Dune already and boy the house is quiet without her, even though we still have two dogs here. I didn’t realize how much energy Dune brings to our household. She is kind of like Banta in that.

We will be up very early in the morning to get Yakira to the airport and checked in at least two hours before her flight. It has been a treat to have her here. I can’t wait for her to get to Florida and start her new life there. She has a bright future ahead.

Pupdate: Yakira, Dune & Emma

Yakira’s first Halloween

The biggest thing this week on the puppy front is having the plans in place to get Yakira to her new home in Florida. Her journey starts tomorrow when a generous puppy raiser will pick Yakira up from Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Sunday morning they will drive her to Ontario, Oregon where we will meet them. It will be a super exciting moment to see Yakira again. We will head home as soon as we can get back on the road. Dune and Emma are joining us on the trip so it will be fun to have these three girls all together in the car.

Monday, we get to spend the whole day with Yakira just hanging out at home, having fun and taking lots of pictures. I’m sure a few of Yakira’s friends will stop by to see her too.

Tuesday morning we take Yakira to the airport for the last leg of her journey to Florida. She will arrive late afternoon to a very excited and loving new owner and an amazing extended family. I can’t wait to hear about her new like and see photos of Yakira and Apex together.

This week Dune had her first official eval. It went pretty well. She had some trouble with not wanting to lay down for our CFR (Community Field Representative) and her toe nails need trimming.

Emma is a fast growing, happy little puppy. She got all her shots last Friday and so now has lots more option socializing. Emma is a wonderful combination of calmness and confidence.

 

Pupdate: Yakira

Yakira at six months

It was kind of strange today, realizing that it has been a week since we got the news that Yakira had been career changed. The first few days after that were kind of crazy. We had decisions to make about her future. Since Yakira was a guide for less than a year it was our responsibility to decide what should happen. Saturday morning the perfect placement for Yakira came to light. Yakira is going to live in Florida and join Apex’s extended family. Apex’s handler, Sue was chatting with her mother about Yakira and the inspiration hit that Yakira would be the perfect companion for Sue’s mom. Sue called us to find out if it was possible and we said yes and agreed that it was a great idea.

We have spent the last week trying to figure out the logistics of getting Yakira from Oregon to Florida. Not an easy task because there are no direct flights making it too long for Yakira to go by cargo. 18 hours in a crate is just not a good idea. So the current plan is to get Yakira to us in the next week or so and then send her by direct flight to Florida. There are a few possibilities and if those don’t work out we will drive to Oregon to pick her up. I’m excited to have Yakira stay with us for a day or two between the legs of her cross-country trip. I’m just as excited for her to get to Florida and get adjusted to her new family!

 

Key West – Underwater Swimmers School

Underwater Swimmer School - class photo - Key West, Florida

First Underwater Swimmers School Class 1 November 1954

I’m working on a history for my dad about his 20 years in the navy. This is a huge project but right now I’m focusing on the years he was stationed in Key West as an instructor at the Underwater Swimmers School there. He is going to a reunion in May and he wants to take this chapter of his history with him. I’m struggling with getting this together and time is slipping by on me. I think it is the writing that is my road block. Writing is not one of my strengths but I don’t see away around it. Putting together histories for my mom is easier in many ways. She doesn’t expect much in the way of narrative. She is looking more for a gathering of documents, photos and letters. My dad wants something readable. Which is ultimately what I want to. I just feel very inadequate to write it.

I have lots of photos and documents. I have a few memories from my dad so far. I have a rough outline of how I want to structure the book.

  • Prologue: brief history of diving and scuba in the US Navy
  • Chapter One: organizing of the Underwater Swimmers School
  • Chapter Two: first class
  • Chapter Three: challenges
  • Chapter Four: successes
  • Chapter Five: ongoing improvements
  • Epilogue: maturing of the Underwater Swimmers School

To get moving forward I’ve made the goal to do some sort of rough text for the chapters, one each day, this week. I did some research today on history of scuba and the navy. Tomorrow I will work on chapter one.

What do you do to help you work through mental or emotional blocks? Do you have any strategies to help me move forward?

Photos from Florida

Apex at the Office with a Christmas tree

I love it when I see that I’ve gotten mail from either Apex or Banta’s handlers. Tonight I had one in my inbox from Florida. It was photos of Apex from Christmas. We sent all the puppies in our lives a nylabone wishbone. As puppies they all loved the wishbone shape the best. In a previous email Sue said he was enjoying the bone but was mostly tossing it around and chasing it. Banta’s handler said that she really liked it better than another nylabone she had because it was smaller and her mouth fit around it better. Well anyway Sue sent photos of Apex with his wishbone and one at work with a Christmas tree. So here they are.

Apex on the couch with his wishbone
Apex chewing on his wishbone

Spelling Lessons Needed

We got the following email today from Apex’s handler. Part of her job is helping with a grade school. Emails like this just make my day!


GoodAfternoon,
Ijust returned from working in the K-4 class where “your son” sat in the lap ofa child.  The child knew he was a LAB (he has one at home)  and toldApex that “he should know how to spell by now.  He was not a LAP dog andto get off”.  Needless to say – the adults in the room roared and Apexlooked as if to say “What?”  (we- the class- had been working on aspelling lesson)
Tooprecious…

Couldyou please provide spelling lessons in the future?

Good News!

Apex using his blanket as a pillow while hanging out at the hospital with Sue’s Dad

Sue called to day with great news. The pathology came back today and the results were good. They got clean margins. That means that they got all the cancer! They will be watching him closely but everything looks good. They super glued his incision shut now that they know that they don’t have to go back in. The staples will come out on the 30th. I found out that when Apex went in for surgery they had decided that if when they got in there the cancer was into the bone they would take his leg and if it had progress further they would go ahead and put him down. Oh that must have been such a difficult decision to make. I’m sure that it was the right thing to do but it must have been so hard to send me to surgery knowing that she might not see him again.

I’m so grateful and feel so blessed that Apex has made it through this challenge in such a good way. It turned out that his having an ear infection was such a great blessing. If he hadn’t gone into the vet when he did the outcome of this would probably have been much different. Yeah Apex! Heal quickly you strong handsome boy.

Update on Apex’s Surgery

Apex in All his Glory in the middle of the bed

We got this email on how Apex’s surgery went today:

The vet called and she is done with surgery today.  She removed a melonballer sized of muscle from his leg.  The pathology report will be what tells us if she got it all or if it was encapsulated or not.  If not- we will go back to surgery on Tuesday if need be.  For now – I am going to get him and take him home.  He will be on pain meds for the weekend so he should rest and heal.  I have a to-do list that I can tackle while I am home with him.
I will let you all know more when I get home from the vets on Tuesday night.
Thanks for the prayers !