Whither Fall?

Fall and Summer seem to be duking it out here in south Texas. We’re still having high 80’s in the daytime, and then mid-50’s at night.

Make up your mind!

For dinner tonight, Jan and I tried a place we haven’t been to in at least 30 years, Dickinson Seafood.

They have a wide choice of Grilled/Blackened dishes, with Jan and I both getting the Blackened Catfish with Shrimp, starting with a really good salad and homemade Ranch.

Dickinson Seafood Salad

Dickinson Seafood Catfish

Everything was really, really good, and we won’t wait another 30 years before we go back. Especially since it’s so close by.

Our favorite waitress at our local Denny’s has a mother who’s really into Arts & Crafts, and Jan has bought a number of her earring creations. But now Stacy’s mom has segued with the times and is now doing masks. So Jan picked out these two Halloween-themed ones.

Denny's Halloween Masks

Jan said they’re really soft and very comfortable.

Jan asked her about Christmas-themed ones and Stacy said her mother was looking at fabrics. I said I hoped to hell that we weren’t still doing this at Christmas.

Florida, and now Tennessee have both dropped all restrictions, and hopefully Texas won’t be far behind.

I realized that I’d never blogged our Anniversary dinner at the Galveston Saltgrass Steakhouse, which has become our favorite steak place, not only for the great steaks, but also for their Wedge Salad.

Galveston Saltgrass Wedge Salad

Along with Jan’s favorite Filet,

Galveston Saltgrass Jan's Filet

and my usual Ribeye.

Galveston Saltgrass Greg's Ribeye

All delicious.

We don’t usual get a dessert, but figured it was a special occasion, so we split a piece of their great Carrot Cake.

Galveston Saltgrass Carrot Cake

And I guess since I had mentioned it was our anniversary when I made the reservation, we got a candle on it, too.

 

 


October 1, 2010

Today’s post was eaten by a bug.

Today’s post was eaten by a bug in the blog software.

It was a quite interesting blog too, with many astute observations on the human condition.

But I don’t feel like retyping it.

Maybe tomorrow…

Or Not.

 

 

Gate Guarding on a Pipeline Gate in South Texas


October 1, 2013

Jan says I can run with Scissors now . . .

Bobby, our inside guy here at the frack site, says the way this job is going it might be Christmas before they wrap things up. Maybe.

Certainly bodes well for us to be here until we leave for Houston on the 23rd of November. But we’ll see.

Yesterday, Monday, was our Day Off from the gate. Officially it was to celebrate our 46th anniversary this past Saturday. Unofficially it was to quell Jan’s cabin fever. This was the first time she’s left the gate since we got here five weeks ago.

Michelle, our replacement guard, showed up right on time, and by a little after 1pm we were on the road to San Antonio, about 60 miles away.

Jan said she was ‘giddy”.

Our first stop on our Day Off was the Alamo Quarry theater complex to see the “The Family”, starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Tommy Lee Jones. Based on the previews we thought it looked “cute” and “funny”. Well, it was very funny, even hilarious in some places. But “cute”, not so much. I mean, it’s about a mob family in the Witness Protection Program. What could be funnier? Well, if you look up “dark comedy” in the dictionary, there should be a review of “The Family” there.

BTW does anyone still look up things in the dictionary, since the Internet? I mean everyone pretty much has their phone with them all the time. You have to go hunt down a dictionary.

Jan and I both really liked the movie, but be forewarned. It’s very graphic, very violent, and very bloody in places. But funny.

I did say it was funny, didn’t I?

Our next stop, about 3 miles away, was one of our favorite San Antonio restaurants, Magic Time Machine. They have great steaks, and an entertaining waitstaff. I mean a salad bar in a car, what’s not to like.

Magic Time Machine 2

And here’s my beautiful sweetie!

Jan at MTM

After a great meal, plenty of leftovers, and a Happy Anniversary serenade from the waitstaff, Jan and I headed out for some shopping. Our first stop was a Joann’s Fabrics to get some heavy duck cloth to redo our director chairs. After three years in the sun, they’re starting to come apart at the seams, so I’m going to recover them.

Our next stop was a three’fer, Sam’s Club, PetSmart, and Wal-Mart. It seems like we always need more ‘stuff’. Apparently it is not possible to have too much ‘stuff’, even living in an RV.

After a great day, and finally heading home about 9:30pm, we stopped at a Pilot/Flying J along the way to get a coffee. And a blueberry scone, as it turns out.

Don’t laugh. I think overall I like Pilot’s coffee better than Starbuck’s. And it’s certainly a heck of a lot cheaper. We both had coffee/cappuccino mixes, with Jan having Pumpkin Spice coffee and Pumpkin Spice cappuccino, while I had Hazelnut coffee with Caramel White Chocolate cappuccino. Pilot keeps their coffee fresh made 24 hours a day, and throw it out before it sits too long.

Lucky for us, (and our diets) the Cinnabon bakery was closed for the night so we were able to resist the temptation. Yes they do have a kiosk there that makes fresh, hot Cinnabons. And it’s located right by the front door, and you walk in and the smell just overpowers you.

That’s just cruel.

We got back to the gate about 10:45 and found Michelle had everything well in hand. Before she left we set it up with her to come back on the 22nd of October so we can take off for our birthday’s, both of which are in October. And then since we leave the gate a month later, that will probably be it for this year.

Today, Tuesday, we had a couple of visitors at the gate. Blog readers, Margaret and Rich Bergen were visiting San Antonio and wanted to get a first hand look at the gate guarding life for when they start full-timing in a couple of years.

Margaret and Rich Bergen

We had a very nice visit and hopefully we’ll meet up again on the road in couple of years.

Finally, as far as the whole ‘scissors’ goes, my 65th birthday is in a few days, so as of yesterday, I’m officially on Medicare, so now I’m allowed to run with scissors again. It was really a pain only being able to walk with them before.

When Jan and I retired and hit the road six years ago, we decided that since we were both healthy and had no real medical problems, we would just forego the whole health insurance thing and take our chances. And for us, it worked out fine. However, your mileage may differ.

So now, where I used to pay about $300 for my yearly checkup and tests, I get to pay $1200 a year for the same thing. Yay!

———————————————————————————————————

The World According To Student Errors:

Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advise. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock.

 

 

Gate Guarding in East Texas On A Multi-Pad Gate


October 1, 2014

One Down . . .

And Two to Go.

Today starts our 2nd month on our gate here, or at least our 2nd four week period. Hopefully we’ll have a relief guard for a day sometime this weekend to give us 10 hours off. We always try to get away once a month for a break, but it’s been hard to schedule up here. Down in the Whitsett area, there are a number of people who do nothing but relief guarding, and they stay booked up. So it would be a real opportunity for someone up here.

Our resident dog came by for a visit again today. This is the first time I’ve seen him in a couple of weeks, as he usually comes by when Jan’s outside.

Gate Guard Dog

He lives around here somewhere and just comes by to visit every once in a while. He comes right up to us, waits to be petted, then takes a couple of drinks of the water Jan has put out for him in a cup. Then he comes back over for some more petting, just standing there looking at you until you do, and then turns and leaves, stopping only to pee on our Stop sign as he goes.

One thing I didn’t talk about in yesterday’s blog was the people coming through the gate lost. Blog reader George Keefe calls them ‘lost soles’, but in many cases it seems they’re just a victim of bad directions.

One guy about 3am the other morning showed up in his tanker truck looking for the Patterson rig which his written directions said was the first rig on the right. So he came to our rig which was the first one on the right. But the Patterson rig is the first one on the LEFT, which he passed two rigs back.

In other cases, the directions are just bad. I’ve looked at some of these that drivers show me, and to paraphrase Wolfgang Pauli, they’re so bad, they’re not even wrong. I couldn’t even get here using these directions and I know where I am.

All of these guys have GPS in their trucks, so why aren’t they just given the GPS coordinates? Seems like it would be much better.

And while I’m ranting about gate stuff, a lot of these guys have difficult names, or heavy accents. So you would think that after going through gate after gate every day, and having to spell their names over and over, they would write it on a card one time, and just hand it to you. But Nooooooo!

I signed up for the free 30 day trial of Amazon Unlimited today. I was getting ready to purchase two $4.99 Kindle books and noticed they were available FREE under Amazon Unlimited. And since the new service costs $9.99 a month, it made sense to sign up.

But then in doing so, I discovered there was a 30 day free trial, so even better.

In case you don’t know about Amazon Unlimited, it features over 700,000 books that you can read free, as many as you want, and as many at a time as you want. So you might want to check out the free trial. You’ve got nothing to lose, and you can cancel anytime.  You can go here Amazon and then click on Amazon Unlimited on the right hand side of the menu bar.

Verizon is apparently working on our data service around here. It’s been going on and off a lot, especially at night. But when it comes back on, it’s much faster than it was last week.

At first I thought I was having trouble with my Cradlepoint router WiFi, so I tried the Hot Spot on my Galaxy S5 phone with the same results. So hopefully it will settle down soon.

_________________________________________________________________

Thought for the Day:

“A little rebellion now & then is a good thing.” – Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to James Madison, Jan 30, 1787

  

 

I have not been posting any of these relevant Mister blogs due to his illness, which at the time was diagnosed as diabetes. But unfortunately it turned out to be the other illness with his symptoms: Pancreatic Cancer.


October 1, 2015

Mister, R.I. P.

There’s a Mister-shaped hole in our hearts today.

Although it was mentioned as only a slight possibility at the beginning, it turns out that Mister’s diabetes was caused by a combination of pancreatic and liver cancer.

When I got up at 11 this morning and was going to give him his insulin shot, I found him lying on the bathroom rug, awake, but unable to get up. In fact he couldn’t even raise his head.

I went ahead and gave him his shot, and then bundled him up, and left for the vet. With tears in both our eyes, I told Jan when I left that I might not be bringing him back. But I was encouraged on the 15 minute drive to see Mister perk up a little and look over at me, with silent meow.

But the news at the vet was all bad. His blood sugar was down to 31, way too low from last week’s 416, which was way too high, and he had lost another pound, down to 7.2. That’s less than a third of what he weighed six months ago. And once he was in a good light, it was easy to see how jaundiced he was, on his ears, gums, and even his eyes.

The vet said that they could give him glucose and IV fluids, and maybe get him back on his feet for a day or so, but he’d probably be back in this condition by Sunday or Monday. She said the severe jaundice was an indication that his liver had pretty much shutdown, and there was really nothing else that could be done.

Driving back to the rig . . . alone, was probably the longest 15 minute drive I’ve ever made.

At least I was there to hold him.

We’ve had Mister since the fall of 2006. I was at a client’s office, waiting to see the doctor about some computer problems he was having, and it was such a nice Fall day, their door was propped open.

Suddenly this cat pokes his head in the door and looks around. Then seeing me, he walks over, jumps up in my lap and starts nuzzling me.

I was hooked.

The office secretary said he been around for a month or so, and she thought he stayed behind the Chinese restaurant on the next block. I always joked that he was lucky he didn’t end up on the menu.

Anyway, that night at supper I was going on and on about this cat, and finally Jan said, “Greg, do you want to bring this cat home?”

“Un-huh.”

So that’s how Mister came into our lives, and quickly made himself at home. In fact, he never went back outside for over a year. I guess he figured he was done with living outside and wasn’t going back.

He had obviously been somebody’s pet, since he had been fixed and knew what a litterbox was. He quickly made himself the Alpha animal in the house, letting Emma, our other cat, and Tullie, our border collie mix, know who was boss now.

When we hit the road in our RV a little over a year later, Mister made himself right at home. He either slept on the dash, or in Jan’s arms as we traveled, and was always the first one out the door when we arrived at a new park.

He was the only cat we’ve ever had who would walk on a leash. In fact he seemed to like being on the leash. When he went outside the rig, he would stop at the bottom of the step and wait for me to snap it on his collar.

He became so popular on some of our gates that truck drivers would stop and have their picture taken with him.

This is about all I can do right now. I’ll probably have more Mister anecdotes later.

_______________________________________________________

Thought for the Day:

Mister Asleep on the Gate2

    

   

At the Conroe, TX Thousand Trails


October 1, 2016

Well, I Confirmed the Problem . . .

When I got up at 11 Janice Evans was over visiting with Jan, so we all sat around for awhile together talking.

I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon working on more stuff for the new website, still trying to get the shopping cart page formatted to look like I want it to.

About 2pm Jan and I headed out to the Conroe Wal-Mart to pick up her prescriptions, and some other stuff, before heading back home for the day.

We’re having a family get-together at Brandi’s in Katy tomorrow afternoon at 1, with Chris, Linda, and Piper also there, so we were picking up some of  this stuff for that.

Getting back home I finally got to work on my washer repair, with the first task to get the water out by opening the lint drain on the bottom right of the unit. I pushed an empty kitty littler bucket up underneath the opening and unscrewed the filter door.

And a lot of smelly water came pouring, smelly because it had been trapped in the washer since Thursday morning. After dumping the water down the lavatory, I decided to check the idea that the problem of the washer being stuck in the wash cycle was caused by a bad discharge pump.

So I moved the timer to the SPIN position and pressed the ON button. At first it stayed in the wash cycle, but then after a moment or so, it started spinning. So the pump problem was still a valid one.

When I did open the lint drain I was hoping to see something stuck in there that indicated a clogged pump, but no luck with that, unfortunately. And it was easy to see that although the washer was spinning, the water in the drum being spun out of the clothes wasn’t being pumped out either. So I’m left with a pump problem.

There are basically three possible problems with the pump.

First up is the easiest one. The power wire feeding the pump has come loose.

Second, the new pump has died. This pump was already a kludge, since the original ones aren’t made anymore. Because of the circumstances of how I got this one I doubt I’ll be able to find another just like it. But I should be able to find a similar one that I can also make work. Still not a big problem.

But the third possibility is more worrisome. That would be if the pump is just not getting the signal to turn on, which means the problem is buried in the washer somewhere which makes repairing the problem more . . . well, problematic.

So we’ll see. Next up now is to actually pull it out of the cabinet, but with our road trip down to Brandi’s tomorrow I probably won’t get back on it until Monday.

After having our leftover El Bosque from Thursday night for dinner tonight, Jan and I walked next door to Janice and Dave Evans’ to sit outside for a while. When we got there some other friends, Richard and Karen Headley, were just leaving, so we didn’t get do more than say hello and goodbye. But hopefully we’ll have a chance to talk a little more next time.

After a while Jan and Janice went inside their Monaco Dynasty to look at something, leaving Dave and me outside talking. Since it was quiet and not a lot going on around us, I went back to our rig and brought Miss Karma back over with me.

I had just bought her a better harness and wanted to see how she would do outside for a while on a lease. And she did very well, sometimes staying in my arms, or in the chair next to me, and sometimes on the ground.

But finally she started getting a little antsy, so I took her back to the rig. But it was pretty good for the first time outside in a good while.

Tomorrow, fun with the family.


Thought for the Day:

“To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” – Teddy Roosevelt

  

 

Again at the Conroe, TX Thousand Trails


October 1, 2017

Back To Conroe . . .

Although today was moving day, back over to the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails. But since it’s only about 45 minute trip, we weren’t in any hurry.

Jan was up at her usual 7, but I lounged around until about 9 before I got up.Then I spent an hour or so prepping us to travel in the afternoon.

Then a little before 11, Jan and I headed east into Coldspring to have the All You Can Eat Turkey and Dressing at the Paradise Grill, where we were meeting up with Debi and Ed Hurlburt.

Turns out that in addition to the Turkey & Dressing, they also had Fried Chicken, Chicken Strips, and Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, as well as about 10 different vegetables, and even desserts, all for only $11.95

It is a buffet, and AYCE, but it’s not self-serve. The lady behind the counter gives you what you ask for. And if you want more later, your waitress brings it to you at your table.

Paradise Grill Turdey and Dressing

Here I’ve got Turkey & Dressing, a Chicken Strip, Cornbread Dressing, Mashed Potatoes,  Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows, White Butter Beans, and Green Beans.

And as it turns out that one platter full was actually All We Could Eat, and we didn’t even have room for dessert.

Really great food, and we’ll definitely come back here again, that is, if we ever come back to this park. As usual we all sat around talking for over two hours before we all headed back to the park.

Back at the park, I took a couple of bags of garbage down to the dumpster and then tried to pay, for the 3th time.

So far no one has come around to collect the rent, even though I’ve talked to her several times. She just says, “I’ll check the amount and let you know.” What’s to check? It’s 11 days times $14.50/day = $159.50.

So that’s what I left in an envelope on the little office door, along with someone else’s envelope, probably from the people who came in yesterday afternoon and then left this morning.

But when Ed talked to a guy last week, he said he would be by to pick up the money on Saturday for both of us, but he never showed. He also said the rate was really $45/day? And he wasn’t going to do Passport America anymore since he was losing morning on it.

Not sure how he;’s losing money, though, since counting us and the Hurlburt’s, he only has about 10 rigs in the park’s 31 spaces. So between the two of us he’s raked in over $250. And we certainly didn’t use that much power or water,

Sounds like a profit to me.

Tomorrow’s another Clear Lake day so I’ll be on the road about 9:30.

  

The Word of the Day is: Anathematize


Thought for the Day:

Don’t you just hate it when the voices in your head argue with your imaginary friends.

 

 


October 1, 2018

Make It Sew . . .

First off, Jan and I want to thank everyone for the many 51st Anniversary wishes we received from so many people. We appreciate the many kind thoughts.

Work today consisted mostly of getting prep stuff done for my 3 week absence, burning CD’s, printing out product labels, etc. I also ran some diagnostics on the computers and cleaned the gunk out. Hopefully everything will hold together while I’m gone.

But even though today was my last ‘work’ day, I still have to go back by tomorrow for a couple of things. Initially it was just going to be to pick up a last minute Amazon order, but then USPS changed that.

We have a large piece of equipment that we need to ship back in the original box that the new one came in. But when it came in, it was held together with nylon strapping, and it needs to be shipped back that same way. Otherwise it will be just too flimsy.

But we don’t have any strapping equipment, so I put in an order for a set from Amazon on Friday.

It consists of a strap tensioner/cutter,

Nylon Strapping Tensioner-Cutter

a crimper/sealer,

Nylon Strapping Sealer

a box of the crimps,

Nylon Strapping Crimps

and 300’ of the nylon strapping.

Unfortunately the USPS didn’t make the delivery until about 30 minutes before I was supposed to leave for the day. So I was hoping that I could figure out how to do it in the short amount of time I had left.

But due to the instruction sheet’s Picasso-like drawings, and the text description in both Taiwanese and something that I think was suppose to be English, but seemed more like random words thrown at the paper, I couldn’t figure it out in time.

I told my client that I’d take care of it when I came back by tomorrow, and that there was probably a YouTube video showing me how to do it.

And there was. In fact it used exactly the same equipment that I had ordered.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-JwQq8hHHs

And like most things it’s really simple once you know how.

 

Recently I slipped up and spilled the beans to Jan. And it was all because of the Viking Sewing Machine I had gotten set up and working for her.

I know how to sew.

Every summer, when I was 9, 10, and 11, I spent a couple of months with my grandparents on their farm in Athens, AL. Riding horses, herding cows, bush-hogging pastures on the old Ford tractor, swimming in the pond, and sewing. It was a blast.

The only reason I didn’t do it after I was 11, was that we moved to South America the next year when I was 12.

Oh, and girls. I discovered girls.

Well, maybe ‘discovered’ isn’t quite the right word. I mean, it wasn’t like they were missing or anything, and I found them. It was more like, like they suddenly ‘looked’ different, better somehow, more ‘interesting.’

OK, that was a strange detour. Now back to sewing.

Of course I learned to sew on my grandmother’s machine, one like this.

Singer Sewing Machine

And yes, it was still treadle-operated.

My grandmother taught me to hem pants, sew on buttons, repair tears, etc. And my sewing stood me in good stead when I was away at Columbia Military Academy, and then college.

But I gave it all away when I decided that I wanted to hem two pair of jeans that I recently bought. And they turned out pretty good.

Blue Jean Hem

Jan wasn’t too sure though, because I guess I do them a little differently.

I put on the jeans and my shoes, and then fold up the bottom like a large cuff until I get it like I want it. Then I use binder clips around the bottom to lock it in place. Next, taking the pants off, I carefully turn them inside out and make a cuff the same length on the other leg.

Then I sew a straight stitch around the cuff, about 3/8” from the bottom. Now, if I’m happy with the length, I do the other side the same way. Once I’m happy with everything, only then do I cut off the excess cuff folded under.

Now I use a zig-zag stitch to seal the cutoff edge. Finally, being the ‘belt and suspenders’ kind of guy that I am (literally and figuratively) I do another zig-zag stitch halfway between the other two. This hem ain’t coming out.

I’m probably doing my own sewing from now on.

Tomorrow we’ll try to finish up all the get-ready-to-roll stuff still on our list before we head out on Wednesday morning.


Thought for the Day:

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

 

 


October 1, 2019

Climate Questions . . .

Today was pretty just a lunch and some errands day. After our meal at Yummy Yummy we headed up I-45 with a quick stop at our local Rudy’s BBQ to pick up another bottle of their Coarse Black Pepper.

Rudy's Black Pepper

Since I like a lot of pepper on my salads, we go through a lot of this, but this is probably our last purchase of Rudy’s pepper. For years this bottle has been $4.99, as it was back in February when we got the last one. But today the price had jumped to $10.99. Yikes!

Then it was Wal-Mart for prescriptions and ‘stuff’, and then finishing up at Sam’s Club for a couple of more prescriptions.

Questions to ask about the Climate:

1. Define the “correct” temperature range for the planet.
2. Define the “correct” humidity range for the planet.
3. Define the “correct” mean sea level for the planet.
4. Define the “correct” amount of precipitation for the planet.
5. Define the “correct” makeup of the atmosphere.
6. Define the “correct” level of CO2 for the planet. Show how you arrived at that `calculation.
7. Define the “correct” amount of sea ice at the N/S poles.
8. Define/explain past glaciation and subsequent warming without any input from humans.

One another topic under this subject is the fact that due to all the melting ice in the Arctic and the Antarctic islands in the Pacific are supposedly disappearing under the waves, and it’s even flooding in the US where it hasn’t flooded before.

As far as the sinking Pacific islands, here’s the Sydney, Australia harbor at high tide in 1878 and 2018. Note that the heading is sarcasm.

Sydney Harbor Climate Change

And here’s a high tide mark etched by Sir James Clark Ross in Port Arthur, Tasmania in 1841.

British Pacific High Water Mark 2

Not a lot of change, seems to me.

In addition, modern tide gauges located at Hobart and Spring Bay on either side of the Port Arthur site, on the same coast, show no sea level rise since their installation during the 1980s.

Also I heard a guy call into a national talk show a few years ago whose family has owned land on the Atlantic Ocean north of Boston, MA since the late 1700’s. He said there’s a gazebo right at the water’s edge that’s there since the early 1800’s and the ocean is no closer now than when it was built.

And as far as the local US flooding, in many (most?) areas, much of it can be assigned to ‘subsidence’. Subsidence is where the land sinks due to the removal of too much groundwater from the aquifers underlying the area.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, parts of the Houston-Harris country area have sunk between 10 and 12 feet since the 1920’s, with some areas still subsiding as much as 2” per year. And there’s this.

“Spring Branch, where Interstate 10 and Beltway 8 meet, has dropped 4 feet since 1975. Jersey Village, along Route 290 and to the west of Beltway 8, is almost 2 feet lower than it was in 1996. And Greater Greenspoint, where Interstate 45 intersects with Beltway 8, has given up about 2 feet in the last decade alone, according to USGS data.”

No wonder flooding has increased.


Thought For The Day:

Don’t argue with an idiot. People watching may not be able to tell the difference.

2 Responses to Whither Fall?

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Lovely anniversary meal…looks all done to perfection!!  Happy for you guys!!  Having fun all the time eh?  At least when not fixing something broken!!

  2. Thanks for reposting the blog with our picture. It’s been 7 years all ready since we met you guys when you we gate guarding. It’s been the best 7 years ever. Retiring, gate guarding, traveling, and life in southern Texas. I’ve followed and gotten so may tips from you and Jan. Congrats on 53 years. Let’s hope the future for as all continues as wonderful as the past…❤🥰❤

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: