Daily Archives: October 25, 2020

The Sweet Spot Ends . . .

First off, Jan wants to thank everyone for the many Birthday wishes from family and friends, via Facebook, Email, Blog comments, and Text.

However, there were some questions about my posts on the Blog and Facebook mentioning my sexy Cougar and her Boy Toy, and the Sweet Spot.

Saltgrass Galveston 20201025 Birthday Girl

Jan is 345 days older than me. I was born on October 5th and she was born on October 25th, but a year earlier. So we’re now ending that sweet spot where every year for 20 days we’re the same age.

When we were dating I had thought that she might be older than me, because I was ahead in school because I skipped the 1st grade and started directly in the 2nd. And I knew Jan was behind a grade due to a bad car accident when she was 7. Bad enough that she lost a grade and even had to learn to walk again.

But I learned at a young age that you never ask a woman how old she is.

And actually, she didn’t know she was older than until we went to get our marriage license at the courthouse. I think she stood there for a few seconds with her mouth open, rethinking the whole deal. But then, apparently she just said, “What The Heck!” Or words to that effect.

But it worked out for the best. So for 345 days a year I get a sexy Cougar and she gets her own personal Boy-Toy.

Am I a lucky guy, or what?

For her birthday meal today, Jan decided she wanted a repeat of our Anniversary meal down at the Saltgrass Steak House in Galveston.

But when we ordered, she broke one of my cardinal rules. You don’t order steak at Red Lobster, you don’t order spaghetti at Cracker Barrel, and most importantly, you don’t order fish at Saltgrass.

But it’s her birthday, so what can I say.

But, as usual we started off with our favorite Wedge Salads, always delicious.

Saltgrass Galveston 20201025 Wedge Salad

And actually, I think these should more accurately be called ‘Half Salad’ since it’s more like a half head of lettuce than just a ‘wedge.’ But I’m not complaining.

Then Jan went off the rails by ordering the Redfish with Grilled Shrimp and Lump Crabmeat, all covered with a Lemon Butter Sauce.

Saltgrass Galveston 20201025 Redfish

That’s the Redfish in the back, with the last of her salad in the front of the photo.

And it looks like Jan made a great choice, since she said it was delicious and may be her new go-to dish there.

Of course I went with my usual 16oz Ribeye with the Grilled Green Beans.

Saltgrass Galveston 20201025 Ribeye

Medium Rare, and as tender and juicy as always.

And to finish up, though we don’t usually get a dessert, the siren call of their made-in-house Pumpkin Cheesecake was just too strong to ignore, so we succumbed and split a piece. And it was just as good as it looks.

Or maybe better.

Saltgrass Galveston 20201025 Pumpkin Cheesecake

And after that delicious, and BIG meal, we decided to walk along the seawall for about a mile before finally heading home.

Saltgrass Galveston 20201025 Beach

As Jan said, “An incredible, delightful day!”




Almost Done In Elkhart

October 25, 2009

Happy Birthday…

First off I want to wish my beautiful bride a very very Happy Birthday!

We left the rig about 10 am to go to breakfast at Cracker Barrel.  Jan really likes their blueberry pancakes.

After breakfast we drove over to M & M Fabricators to check out the route.  We’re taking the rig over there tomorrow morning to have the new shocks put on and I wanted to be sure I knew where it was before taking the coach over there.

After that we stopped off at Walmart for a few things and then headed for another drive out in the country.  We were trying to get pictures of some swans we had seen the other day, but no luck.

But we did see a lot more great fall foliage. 


We headed out about 5 pm to the Outback in Mishawaka for Jan’s Birthday, finally getting home about 7:45 pm.  Another great day here in Elkhart.



Wintering Over In  Houston

October 25, 2010

Wind and Wings . . .

Brandi sent over a photo of Master Landon enjoying this weekend’s Oklahoma game. He’s certainly dressed for it. He looks like they just scored.

Landon at the OU game 4

Although today, the 25th, is Jan’s birthday, the whole family got together Sunday night at King Food, our favorite local Chinese restaurant. We’ve been eating there for over 30 years, and we’re on our fourth owner. King Food has always been a place for our family get-togethers, in fact we normally all have dinner there on Christmas Eve. Of course, as usual, Jan hogs all the Landon time. But it is her birthday, after all.

Jan and Landon at King Food

As far as today goes, it’s been really windy here the last couple of days, with wind gusts in the 30’s. But today it got even worse, with gusts between 45 – 50 mph. Luckily the wind was coming right off the water head on to the rig, so it was not rocking the coach too much, but the small awnings were making so much noise I finally went out and let them in.

Today was a nice, laid-back day. We headed out about 3 pm for Jan’s 2nd birthday meal, this time just the two of us, at Chuy’s, a really good new Mexican place up in Webster. I had a cup of their Tortilla Soup, and then we split the Mex-Cobb Salad. A great meal.

Next it was on to Sam’s and then Wal-Mart for some supplies, and then home to the rig. Like I said, an easy day.

Now back to the rest of Saturday’s Wings over Houston Airshow.

One of the highlights was the demo flight of an F-16 Falcon, also known as a Viper.

With almost 30,000 pounds of thrust, the F-16’s positive thrust to weight ratio means it’s one of the few planes that can stand on its tail and accelerate straight up.

This photo shows the F-16 in a “High Alpha” pass. “High Alpha” stands for high angle of attack. In this mode the plane is moving horizontally at only about 100 mph. The engine thrust is the only thing keeping it in the air. If the engine were to quit, the plane would just fall.

It’s really amazing to see this plane come putt-putting by, and then lower the nose a little bit, pop the afterburners, and then accelerate straight up out of sight. I couldn’t even get my camera to change focus fast enough to track it as it climbed.


Next was a demo flight of the F/A-18 Hornet, the Navy’s do-it-all fighter/attack plane. It was designed to replace the aging F-14 Tomcat fighter, and the A-6 Intruder and A-7 Corsair II attack planes.

The F/A-18 was actually derived from the loser for the F-16 contract. But the Navy doesn’t like single engine planes flying over water, so they took the YF-17L, and from it, developed the F/A-18.


Here’s the F/A-18 Hornet doing a carrier landing configuration pass. Note that the tail hook is down.

FA-18 Tailhook

And here it is doing its version of the “High Alpha” pass.

FA-18 High Alpha

Of course, the Navy demonstration team, the Blue Angels, flies the F/A-18.


Finally, we had an F8F Bearcat / F/A-18 Heritage Flight illustrating the last of the Navy’s prop planes, and their latest jet.

F8F FA-18 Heritage Flight

The most amazing aerobatic demo of the day was from Sean Tucker and the Team Oracle biplane. Specially designed for aerobatics, the plane is built from Kevlar and carbon fiber, and weighs only 1200 pounds. Coupled with an engine of over 400 horsepower, the plane can do things that no other aerobatic plane can do.

This one is the “Corkscrew”

Biplane Corkscrew

I told Jan that when I was flying we called some of these maneuvers ‘crashing’


This one is called the ‘Helicopter’. Although you can’t tell from this photo, the plane is just hanging on its prop, hovering in mid-air. The only thing that limits this is that the engine will eventually start to overheat due to lack of airflow.

Biplane 2

Not much new can be said about the Thunderbirds, the Air Force’s demonstration team. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

TB 1TB 2TB 3TB 4TB 5TB 6TB 7TB 8TB 9TB 10TB 11TB 12TB 13

One of the interesting displays at Ellington Field, not related to the airshow, is one of NASA’s two retired ‘Vomit Comets’. Built from KC-135  (Boeing 707’s) tankers, they were just two of the latest in a long line of “Weightless Wonders”, as NASA tried to call them. Of course everyone else called them ‘Vomit Comets”. The one here at Ellington was flown until 2000, and was also used in the filming of the movie “Apollo 13”.

Vomit Comet

The planes produce about 30 seconds of zero-gravity by flying a precise elliptic flight path that looks like this.


What you end up with is a series of arcs across the sky generating short bursts of zero-gee. It is estimated that the planes have flown over 58,000 parabolas.

The other KC-135 was retired in 2004 and now resides at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, AZ, where we saw it this past February.

That’s about it for today.

Thought for the Day:

“Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Remember this, as it may offer a way to make him your friend. If not, you can kill him quickly and without hate.” – Heinlein



Back On A Gate

October 25, 2014

What Goes Around, Comes Around . . .

First off, Jan wants to thank everyone for their warm birthday wishes. She really appreciates it.

And Jamie, our Gate Guard Services supervisor, called a little before 9am this morning with a birthday present for Jan too. And it was just what she’s always wanted.

A New Gate.

But it ‘s kind of an old gate. Or at least close by. So, by 9:45 we were on our way down to the Cavender’s in Huntsville, TX, about 65 miles south, to pick up F.R.C. shirts and pants.

So why were we buying F.R.C.’s to wear when we just left a gate because we didn’t want to wear F.R.C’s? Well, the F.R.C’s we didn’t want to wear were the heavy coverall jumpsuit things, and as it turned out, there was a miscommunication somewhere along the line between the oil company and GGS, and we didn’t have to wear the coveralls, just F.R.C. shirts and pants. Which makes a lot more sense since we would have been the only people wearing the coveralls other than the guys who actually work on the rig.

And even better, GGS is reimbursing us for them.

And in another strange turn of events, we’re almost back at our old gate.

Our road has always had two gate guards. The first gate covered the first two pads and then all of our traffic too. Then we handled our part of the traffic again. It never made sense since we all worked for the same oil company.

The guards at the first gate left on Wednesday, the day after we did, since they didn’t want to wear the coveralls either. But as it turned out, the couple who replaced them didn’t work out, So here we are, a little over half a mile from where we started back at the beginning of September.

The real downside to all this was that Jan missed out on her birthday day over in Bryan/College Station today and dinner at Outback. But we tried to make up for it by having lunch at one of her other favorite places, Chili’s in Huntsville, while we were there.

We’re also trying to set a relief guard for Wednesday or Thursday of next week for a make-up day for Jan’s,

Coming back up to Buffalo, we stopped off at the Buc-ee’s in Madisonville to get some coffees and to stock up on Cranberry Nut muffins.

We pulled out of the Buffalo GGS yard about 3pm and were at our new gate by 4:15. Scotty, our GGS support tech, showed up about 30 minutes later to move the trailers around to better fit our rig.

Now we just have to get everything set back up. But at least the view is better here.

New Gate View 1

New Gate View 2

Brandi sent over Landon’s T-Ball Team photo.

Landon Baseball Card

Note he’s the cool one in the shades.


Thought for the Day:

Freedom isn’t free. It has a very high cost.



Winding Down On Our Carthage, TX Gate

October 25, 2015

I’m How Old?!

First off, Jan wants to thank everyone for the multitude of Birthday Wishes. It did much to relieve the shock when she figured out how old she is today.

Today actually ends the 20 day Sweet Spot where every year we’re the same age from my birthday on the 5th of October, to her birthday on the 25th. Then tomorrow she goes back being a cradle-robber once again.

Think she’d be offended if I got her a T-shirt like this.


I guess I’ll find out tomorrow morning when she reads this blog. If there’s no blog tomorrow night, then you’ll know what happened. She was offended.

We’re finishing up our 3rd full day of rain, and everything is just soggy and wet. We don’t have any roof leaks in the rig so that’s not a problem, but with the high humidity it’s all just damp.

As you can see by this radar screenshot we’ve pretty much stayed at the outer edge of the storm front all this time. We’re that little blue dot right in the center.

Radar 10-25-2015

So we’re getting the slow, steady rain without a lot of wind, although it did kick up a bit this afternoon, but not in any canopy-threatening amount.

Luckily we’re still staying inside since we still don’t have anyone coming to our site, just the frack water guys running the pumps for the pad up the hill. And that totaled 3 trucks today. I don’t know if the Flowback crew just gave up or washed away.

The Weather Channel has tomorrow forecast as ‘AM Showers’, but they’ve pretty much turned out to be congenital liars through all this. So we’ll just have to wait and see. Of course they show more rain next weekend as the remnants of the Mexican hurricane come north, so it starts all over again.

Since it was her birthday, and we’ve had nobody come in today, I decided that Jan needed a Birthday Dinner out, so we headed into Carthage about 4:45 for another visit to The Jalapeno Tree. This was our third time here, so we knew what we wanted from the start.

But being Jan’s birthday, we started off with a drink, and not the wimpy White Sangria we had last time, which was really just Moscato wine diluted with several fruit juices. No, this time we tried a Tijuana Tea, made with Tequila, Rum, Vodka, Gin, Fruit Juices and Coke.

Tijuana Tea

And based on the punch it had, I think it was only 3 or 4 drops of Coke.

But it was really, really good.

Since what we had last time was so good, we did a repeat with Jan’s Beef Chile Rellenos,

Jalapeno Tree Chili Relleno

and my El Diablo Jack Beef and Chicken Fajitas.

Jalapeno Tree Fajitas

Topped with Bacon, Sautéed Mushrooms, and Monterey Jack Cheese, it doesn’t get any better than this. And Jan said her Rellenos were some of the best she’s had.

Since we’re still in Wait and See mode, we don’t know what we’ll have tomorrow. But the longer it takes for Flowback, and then the Workover Rig to come in, the more likely we are to make it to our preferred leave-by date of November 22nd.

But you never know.

Thought for the Day:

Five Rules of a Gun Fight:

1) gun beats no gun
2) fast beats slow
3) a hit beats a miss
4) bigger holes beat small holes
5) many holes beat one hole

October 25, 2016

Extra Fluffy . . .

First off, another Happy Birthday to my Sweetie Jan. She said to thank everyone for all the kind greetings and wishes. She really appreciates it.

On our way to and from the gate every day we pass a large Valero/Stripes convenience store / truck stop / gas station. In fact it’s the one that we stopped at to top off the diesel in the rig on our way into town last Wednesday.

So Jan thought we might stop off on our way home this morning and pick up a couple of tacos for breakfast and lunch today. But getting there was a problem. In fact, getting anywhere was a problem this morning.

You’ve heard of Pea Soup fog? Well this was more like Mashed Potatoes fog, and it was hard to see more than about 20 feet in front of you. I had a lot of trouble just finding the turn-ins to the place.

But getting inside we were amazed at how busy the place was, with a 24 hour taco bar called Laredo Taco Company. They have 12 different Breakfast Tacos, and about 30 different lunch selections, including tacos, burritos, and plates.

Every thing is made fresh every day, and your tacos, etc.,, are made to order. This 5 to 6am timeframe is when all the oil workers are either going to work, or getting off from work. And apparently they all stop here.

We each got a breakfast taco to eat there, and then a Beef Fajita Taco for lunch later this afternoon. Both were really good, and we’ll go back for sure.

After creeping through the fog, we were back at the rig a little after 7, and in bed a few minutes after that.

Later in the afternoon I talked with Nancy, the lady that owns the RV Park to double-check her business address. She had said we could have packages and mail sent there with no problem, and we can either pick it up there or she will bring it with her when she comes by. Very nice of her.

I mentioned last night that I had been watching old TV shows on MeTV and Cozi TV, both over the air channels in this area. And one specific show was a Perry Mason from 1959.

In B&W, the episode, “The Case of the Bartered Bikini”, concerned the fashion industry and problems with competitors stealing designs, specifically, swim suit designs.

And of course this necessitated several scenes with models walking around showing off the suits. And one thing quickly became very obvious.

Based on today’s standards, these fashion models were fat, overweight, chunky, or extra fluffy, as Jan and I like to say. They would probably be laughed off the catwalk today. And this wasn’t just bad casting.

Terry Huntington, the falsely accused model/heroine of the story, was Miss California USA 1959 before going on to win Miss USA 1959 the same year as the show. So she was probably everyone’s vision of beauty at the time.

And I noticed this same thing a few years ago when I ran across a showing of Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello’s 1963 ‘Beach Party’ movie on satellite. The first of seven films, it was filled with hot surfer chicks parading around in skimpy (for the time) bathing suits.

And once again, they were all . . . fluffy. Let’s go with fluffy.

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But apparently the beholder’s standards can change.

Finishing up, I don’t know what it is about gate guarding and sunsets, but we’ve seen some really spectacular ones over the years. And this evening was no exception.

Salge Gate Sunset

Jan called to alert me to this one since the way my shack is positioned I can’t normally see it.

I told her I had ordered it special to cap off her birthday.

I don’t think she bought it.

Thought for the Day:

“Everybody knows how to raise children, except the people who have them.” –  P. J. O’Rourke

October 25, 2017

Happy Birthday To My Sweetie . . .


Today is my Sweetie’s Birthday, and she wants to thank everyone for all the many Birthday Wishes.

One of her presents she won’t get until we’re down in Clear Lake tomorrow and we pick it up at my client’s.

But this was today’s gift.

Tso 4

We’ve been wanting to see TSO for a good while, but we’re usually gate-guarding that time of the year, so this year’s our chance.

About 1:30 I went outside to take care of a few travel chores, with the first being to check the rig tire pressures. One thing I really like about these Hercules Ironman tires is that they just don’t leak down. Seems like I only have to adjust the pressure twice a year or so, just for the change in temps.

When I replaced our Sumitomo’s a couple of years ago, I chose the Ironman’s due to the fact that I saw so many sets on the trucks coming into our gates.  And so far they’ve been great for us.

Next up was to rewire the taillight cable on the rig, I had done the truck end about a month ago, and since we’re going to be towing tomorrow I couldn’t put it off any longer. For some reason I couldn’t convince Jan to made the 80 mile drive down through downtown Houston following the rig.

Rig Taillight Repair 1

This time I did remember to stagger the crimp splices so the flex conduit doesn’t look like an anaconda after a big meal.

Rig Taillight Repair 2

Toad Tailight Repair 2a

Finishing up I added water to the rig batteries to top them off.


About 4:15 Jan and I drove into Conroe to meet up with a bunch of other couples. We were eating at Joe’s Italian Restaurant, a place where Debi and Ed Hurlburt have been eating for years. And it turned out to be really good.

We both had salads with Ranch.]

Joe's Italian Salad

Jan had the Chicken Alfredo,

Joe's Italian Chicken Alfredo

while I had the Spaghetti Carbonara.

Joe's Italian Spaghetti Carbonaro

Both delicious and enough to take home.

Then they brought out a piece of cheesecake birthday cake for Jan,

Joe's Italian Jan's Birthday Cake

and we all sang Happy Birthday to my Sweetie. Thanks for setting that up, Debi.

Joe's Italian Happy Birthday Jan

We had a large group which ended up spreading out to an adjacent booth.

Joe's Italian Group

Finally we headed home with a quick stop at the Wal-Mart for a prescription, getting home about 7:30.

Tomorrow we’ll head down to the Petticoat Junction RV Park in Santa Fe, where we’ll stay for the next couple of months at least.

The Word of the Day is: Salubrious

Thought for the Day:

You shouldn’t be checking out at the Wal-Mart Pharmacy unless you’re also picking up a prescription. Getting soap and deodorant along with your 20 grocery items doesn’t count. Just sayin’.



October 25, 2018

The Birthday Girl . . .

Happy Birthday to Jan

First off, I want to wish my beautiful wife Jan a very happy birthday.

You’ve made the years just fly by. It seems like only yesterday I was trying to get you to go out with me.

I Love You More Every Day!

We left the rig about 12:30, heading over to Dickinson to pick up our rent car from Enterprise. I got one for a week to drive while our truck is at the transmission doctor.

The last time we rented a car was back in 2013 and we got a Hyundai Elantra. I was hoping this time, though, that I would get something else since I blogged at the time that it was the most uncomfortable car I had ever driven. The seat backs were kind of curved in a semicircle, so if you had wide shoulders you couldn’t fit into it without sitting to one side or the other.

So when I pulled up to the location I was happy to see a Chevy Malibu waiting for me.

Enterprise Malibu

Turned out to be very comfortable, and a lot of fun to drive.

Now that we had a replacement ride, our next stop was Snider Transmission back over in Santa Fe to drop off the truck for them to look at.

Kenny (Snider. It’s a family business) remembered my call and said they’d check it out and let me know.

Then after a quick stop at the local Dollar General, we headed up to Webster for Jan’s Birthday dinner at Saltgrass Steakhouse.

We only have an alcoholic drink once or twice a year, so today seemed like a good time. Jan got an Amaretto Splash,

Saltgrass Birthday Girl

while I got a Ginger Peach Lemonade, made with Vodka, Peach Schnapps, and a Fiery Ginger Liqueur.

Saltgrass Ginger Peach Lemonade

A very hot and spicy drink. Just my style.

We started off with our favorite Wedge Salads,

Saltgrass Wedge Salad 6

then Jan got the Center-Cut Filet (she started eating it before I could get a photo),

Saltgrass Center Cut Filet 2

while I got my favorite Ribeye.

Saltgrass Ribeye 5

But the pièce de résistance was this made in-house Pumpkin Cheesecake.

Saltgrass Pumpkin Cheesecake

Really delicious. Very thick and flavorful. And in season, you can buy whole pies to take home.  Something to think about.

Waddling out after that fantastic meal, we headed across the Interstate to check out the new Costco. We bought our membership before we left for Florida, but it didn’t open until while we were gone.

It’ll take us a while to find our way around, though it is laid out similar to the Sam’s Club up the road a piece.

One thing I did notice, and it just may be a opening special, is that they have regular gas for $2.29, about 20 cents cheaper than any other place around.

Then on our way home we made a quick stop by the PO to check the mail, but only had some sales flyers.

Tomorrow, back to work.

Thought for the Day:

Soylent Green

October 25, 2019

Happy Birthday to My Sweetie!

The yearly sweet spot is over and I’ve got my cradle-robbing cougar back.

Happy Birthday to Jan

Spent most of the day at work going round and round with UPS WorldShip Tech Support trying to install the Remote Station version on a new computer. The installation does just fine up until I connect it to the Master Workstation and the install immediately stops and says, “The installation cannot continue due to version incompatibility issues.”

But no one can figure out what’s not compatible. It’s exactly the same versions of Win10 right down to the latest update, and the same versions of WorldShip. So what the heck is ‘incompatible’?

Even worse, Tech Support has never heard of this error. At least I think that’s what he said. His accented English was probably worse than my accented Indian.

So I’ll have to pick this up again on Monday.

As soon as I got home this afternoon we headed back out for Jan’s Birthday Dinner. Originally she had said she wanted to go to Floyd’s Cajun Seafood, but sometime during the day she changed her mind and decided on Saltgrass and steak. Fine by me.

And it was as delicious as usual, especially the Wedge Salads. And the steaks, of course.

Later, after we got home I started working with my 800 and 2000 grit Emery paper on the base of my oil filter adapter. And I think I may need to start with a lower grit, maybe 200 or 400.  Some of the residue of the old gasket is really baked on, and in places it looks like the surface is actually pitted. and it’s not coming off very easily. So I’ll get some more emery paper this weekend.

But as as usual I have a backup plan. If I’m not satisfied with how it polishes up, I can just order a new one for about $75.

So we’ll see.

Thought For The Day:

So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men. – Voltaire




Happy Birthday to My Sweetie !!!


Jan !st or 2nd Grade

Once again, for the next 345 days, you’re my Sexy Cougar and I’m your Boy Toy.

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