Family . . .

After a quiet, do-nothing morning Jan and I drove over to Dickinson to have lunch at Los Ramirez Mexican.

At that was it for outings, today. However we did get our trips booked for the next couple of months.

Saturday, December 12th Jan and I making the two-day trip up to Athens, AL to visit relatives, mainly my Aunt Virginia, who been wanting us to come for several months. We’ll spend the night going and coming in Slidell, LA like we did last time we made the trip.

Coming home, we’ll get back the evening of Sunday, the 20th.

Then January 1st, we’re all heading up to Kingsland for a big family weekend get-together at Chris and Linda’s. And it looks like they’re all ready for us.

Chris Christmas Tree 2020

Chris Christmas 2020

Chris Christmas 2 2020

Even the dogs.

And speaking of dogs, looks like Landon has also gone to the dogs.

Landon Asleep with Jack and Baxter

Jack certainly looks comfortable, with Landon laying on Baxter.

Several people have asked how Jan and I like our new 3” mattress topper. Well, we like it a lot.

It’s much cooler than our old 2” version, which not only was thinner, but also didn’t have the gel-infusion, the thing that is supposed to keep it cooler. And if sure seems to work.

Plus the extra thickness is really nice too. And unlike what some of the reviews said, it’s not so thick that it’s hard to ‘climb out of’, as one review said.

Classic Brands 3-Inch Cool Cloud Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper With Free Cover, Queen

And even nicer, it doesn’t ‘travel’. Though our old one had ‘non-skid’ rubber fabric on the bottom, it still would move over time. So much so that we ended up safety-pinning it to the box springs underneath. But this one stays right in place with no pinning.

A great buy. And it was only $68.

And now this:

Prior to SARS-CoV-2, deaths were coded using the Medical Examiners’ and Coroners’ Handbook on Death Registration and Fetal Death Reporting, 2003 Revision.

If someone had COPD and then got influenza and died, the cause of death was COPD.

But with COVID, the CDC changed all that. Now if someone with COPD got COVID, or was presumed to have COVID, and died, the cause of death was COVID. The Covid Alert #2 on the CDC website told health practitioners “COVID-19 should be reported on the death certificate for all decedents where the disease caused or is assumed to have caused or contributed to death…If the decedent had other chronic conditions such as COPD or asthma that may have also contributed, these conditions can be reported in Part II.”

This graph shows the difference between the two ways of coding deaths.

Covid Deaths Before & After

So maybe this explains yesterday’s blog post that showed no real excess deaths. In many cases it’s just susceptible people dying from the China Virus rather than heart disease, cancer, or other respiratory diseases.

So why the change back in March?

Thought for the Day:

It’s never a police state until the police come for you.




November 29, 2010

Monterey’s and Monday . . .

Jan and I left the rig about 12:30 heading for lunch at Monterey’s Little Mexico, but as soon as I cranked up the engine, I noticed I had a “Check Engine” light, or at least my truck’s equivalent, which is the outline of an engine. It wasn’t flashing which meant it wasn’t immediately serious. I checked my oil level and added a quart, though it wasn’t low enough to be a problem.

I then decided to get out my code meter and check what the code that caused the “Check Engine” light in the first place. I keep my meter in the center console so it’s always handy, it was just a few seconds to hook it up and check the code.

And the code was . . . P0442.

Well, that tells me a lot. But a quick look in the accompanying guide told me it was: “Evap leak monitor, Small Leak Detected.” And that jogged my memory. The last time I saw this code it was a gas cap problem.

One time it was a defective gas cap and the other time the cap was just loose. A quick check showed that my cap was loose this time too. I last got gas about 4 days ago so I guess I just didn’t get it tight enough.

While the code reader was still hooked up I went ahead and cancelled the “Check Engine” light. It would eventually go out by itself but it might take 3 or 4 engine starts to do it.

And starting up the engine showed the code was gone, so that was the problem.

Then leaving Monterey’s I discovered another problem. I was missing one of the my credit cards. I had not used it at all today, but I had used it yesterday. I thought I might have left it at Mackey’s where we ate lunch yesterday, but remembered I had used it later at Wal-Mart.

But since I was already close to my client’s office I decided to go ahead and take care of him before heading down to Wal-Mart.

Finishing up with my client and getting down to Wal-Mart, I went straight to Customer Service to see if they had my credit card.

And they did!

I’m still not sure how I lost it. Normally I put in right back in my billfold. The only thing I can figure is that when I was putting up my $40 cash back, either it fell out or I dropped it.

I guess I just lucked out.

Right now as I’m posting this I see it’s –30 degrees in Fairbanks, and the high tomorrow is supposed to be a blistering –19.

Isn’t Global Warming wonderful just wonderful?

That’s about it today.

Thought for the Day:

“Restaurant bathroom doors should be identified with the words, “Men” and “Women.”

Silhouettes and cartoon drawings of sombreros, bowler hats, puffy skirts and sitting doggies do not provide enough information for drunks.”

November 29, 2014

Almost Home . . .

but not quite.

I left the rig about 1pm this afternoon, expecting a smooth, easy trip down to the Clear Lake area from Conroe. It was after all, Saturday. But of course, it was after all, Houston.

There were two bad accidents on I-45N coming out of downtown Houston, and of course, everyone on my southbound side had to slow down and gawk. Then south of downtown, my Garmin GPS’ Traffic Alert system warned me of a 45 minute delay on the 3.5 mile stretch between Sam Houston Toll Way and FM 2351. But luckily I was able to detour off and bypass the problem.

As soon as I got to Chris’, Jan and I headed out for a couple of errands, first to the storeroom to go through some Christmas stuff for the rig. Jan’s decided to do a live tree in the rig this year, using a small Norfolk Pine, so she wanted to dig out her moose Christmas ornament collection. She actually has enough moose ornaments to decorate the 9 1/2 foot tree we had in the S&B. Luckily that won’t fit in the rig.

Chris has done a great job cleaning out the storeroom, so hopefully we can get rid of it by the end of the year.

Our next stop was to drop off some pants to be hemmed, but it turned out they closed at 3pm, so we’ll try again another time.

Our last stop was to check out the new Fresh Market that recently opened across from Baybrook Mall. It looks to be a combination of a Whole Foods and a regular Grocery Store, pretty nice with a lot of fresh-made salads and stuff. We’ll check it out further when we have more time, but now we needed a Starbuck’s fix. So we headed across the parking lot to the nearby one. And due to an order screw-up, we both have a new favorite Starbuck’s favor. But it looks to be short-lived.

I ordered my usual Cinnamon Dolce Latte, but due to the cashier’s bad handwriting on the side of the cup, the C dl looked like C pl to the barista, not the first time this has happened, she said. So what I got was a Chestnut Praline Latte, one of their Christmas Special Flavors. The barista quickly realized her mistake and gave me my Cinnamon Dolce, and I got to keep the Chestnut Praline too. And Jan and I both thought it was delicious. At least for as long as the Christmas season lasts.

About 5:45 we met our friends Bob and Maria at King Food for dinner. We’ve known them since mid-80’s when we met in a computer store, so it’s always good to get back together when we’re in town. And Bob had another batch of his fresh-roasted Peruvian coffee for us. Always great.

I mentioned that Jan was dog sitting here for one of Chris and Linda’s dogs, PJ

PJ the Dog

and the two guest dogs, Walker

Walker The Dog

and Coco.

Coco The Dog

Jan said they’ve all been pretty good, with no real problems. But apparently Walker’s a chewer, so he and PJ go outside when we leave for a while.

Tomorrow afternoon we’ll head back to the rig by way of Brandi and Lowell’s. Hopefully our South Dakota tag stickers will be there, especially since my current ones expire tomorrow. Here’s hoping.

Wrapping up, I just realized that tonight will be the first time I’ve spent the night in this house since we moved out January 1st, 2007. We moved into an apartment down the street so we could remodel the house prior to selling it as part of our journey toward full-timing that began January 6th, 2008. But plans changed along the way, and we ended up keeping the place with Brandi moving in first, and then Chris, Linda and Piper last year.

Both of them made nice improvements along the way, and the house looks great.

As I was typing this, I realized that I keep calling this place our house, and not our home, even though it was our home for 30 years. But it’s not our home any longer.

Our rig is our home, and will be for the foreseeable future. We just enjoy the vagabond lifestyle too much to give it up.


Thought for the Day:

Scientists say that infants are already as intelligent as they’re ever going to be. The CPU and RAM are already there; they lack only data on their hard drives.




November 29, 2016

Patsy and Karma . . .

For Black Friday I did get another new toy, something I’ve had my eye on for awhile, but didn’t want to pay the $70.

It’s a cup holder mount for a cellphone or tablet.

iKross 2-in-1 Tablet and Cellphone Extended Cup Mount Holder

Although I really haven’t had a chance to try it out, so far I like it. It’s sturdy and heavy, considering it’s made of plastic.

CellphoneTablet Holder 1

CellphoneTablet Holder 2

We have a GPS in the truck, but often use my Galaxy S5 phone to find someplace local. Then Jan has to hold it, or I set it up on the dash or down on the console. Plus when we’re traveling a longer distance I like to use my Samsung Tab 4 tablet to run Waze to monitor accidents and other problems in front of us. So this looks perfect.

Mounting in the truck, I found that rather than keep up with two different size holders, the tablet holder turned vertical holds my S5 from the top and bottom with no problems.

The base expands to fit pretty much any size vehicle cup holder, even the large ones in our truck. And it’s still only $20.

We’re going into San Antonio for the day on Thursday so I’ll let you know how it works after that.

I mentioned last week that our Dodge Dakota truck was approaching 250,000 miles and that we might hit that mark on our trip back to Katy for Thanksgiving, but we didn’t quite make it.

But I did watch it roll over coming back from my gate last night. So 250,000 miles and still going strong. And that 250,000 doesn’t include the 75,000+ miles being towed behind the rig, since when it’s in neutral tow mode, the odometer doesn’t register.

The only real problem is a broken exhaust manifold bolt. When you first start it up you can hear it chuffing slightly due to the exhaust manifold leak. But in about 5 minutes, the leak seals due to the heat  expansion and it’s fine. When I ask my mechanic how much it would take to fix it, he said between $300 – $800, depending on how many other bolts broke off during the repair, and recommended just leaving it alone until it got much worse. And so far it hasn’t changed.

Miss Karma continues to surprise us. She has several different cloth fuzzy mice of diverse colors, including mouse-brown, and one with pink stripes. Although at times she will bat one or more of them around the rig, usually she has them all in a pile on the floor in the kitchen.

Karma mice

If you try to tidy them up by putting them all in a small box, she will get them all out again.

So this morning right before I left for the gate at 5am, Jan was packing up my lunch and I looked down at the mouse pile and noticed that Karma now had two brown mice.

And one of them was moving slightly.

She had caught a mouse in the rig and apparently decided it should be stored with all her other mice. And she seemed somewhat upset when I threw the no-longer moving one outside. I guess she planned on saving it for a snack later, since she had just been fed. I assume a container of Meow Mix Shrimp and Tuna tastes better than mouse.

Still don’t know if I should put out the traps or just let Karma have all the fun.

Today’s (and tomorrow’s gate) are a little busier than yesterday, but not by a lot. At least right now. A Marathon guy came in about 3pm and said there would be 60! trucks coming in as a convoy and to just let them in without logging so they don’t back up onto the highway and for a mile down the road.

Sounds good to me.

I guess I didn’t make Todd too mad yesterday getting lost on my way to a new gate, since he texted me another gate for this Sunday. Nice

Unfortunately it’s still on Day shift but I’ll take it.

Wrapping up, Patsy, my old babysitter, has a new book out that was just released today.

The Whole Town’s Talking: A Novel

I call her Patsy, but you probably know her better as Fanny Flagg.

And yes, she was my babysitter when both our families lived in Gulf Shores, AL in the late 50’s. Patsy’s parents owned a small amusement park there when my parents had their motel there.

She’s about 4 years older than me, and when our parents would get together, Patsy (Patricia Neal, her real name) was tasked with keeping me in check.

I doubt she was too successful, knowing me as well as I do.

Check it out.

Thought for the Day:

“Everything must be made as simple as possible. But not simpler.”
― Albert Einstein




November 29, 2018

The War Continues . . .

I met the beautiful Miss Piper this morning about 10 for breakfast at Snooze, her first time, my second there. There were tables available outside where Jan and I sat last time, but it was just in the high 60’s and windy, so I waited about 10 minutes for one inside

And as it worked out Piper showed up just a couple of minutes after I got seated. Actually I was surprised to see how busy they were on a weekday morning, but it may just be the ‘new restaurant ‘ syndrome. We’ll see in a couple of months.

Miss Piper at Snooze

Miss Piper had the Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Tomato Soup,

Snooze Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

while I again went with the Shrimp & Grits and fruit.

Snooze Shrimp & Grits 3

My Shrimp & Grits was as good as last time, with just perfect spicing. And Piper said hers was really delicious. I guess so, since she ate every bite.

I really enjoyed getting together with Piper, since it’s been a good while since I had her all to myself.

The gas war continues. Costco and Sam’s are now at $1.89, while yesterday our local HEB dropped from $2.12 to $2.01, to match the WalMart across the street.

Unfortunately diesel doesn’t seem to be enjoying this drop. It’s pretty much at the same price it was back in October when we were last traveling in the rig.

And of course if the price of oil goes too low, then it starts to hurt the drillers/producers. Supply and demand.

Landon got his first ride on the Space Mountain roller coaster today and LOVED it.

Brandi et al at Disney

Brandi also remembered that Space Mountain was her very FIRST roller coaster ride back when she was a little girl visiting her grandparents in Titusville.

Finishing up, don’t know if this guy disconnected his airbags, or they got used and not replaced, but he definitely doesn’t like them.

No Airbags

What’s kind of funny is how the whole airbag thing came about. First up were seatbelts in the late 60’s/early 70’s. But people weren’t using them enough to satisfy the government.

So they required auto makers to install seatbelt interlocks, where the car wouldn’t start if there was weight in the seat and the seatbelt wasn’t fastened. So you had to belt in bags of groceries or suitcases. Or even to back the car our of the garage to wash it.

So people started just fastening the belts and tucking them into the seat, or just disconnection the interlock all together.

So then the government had a better idea. Let’s set off an explosion in your steering wheel or glove compartment to inflate a canvas bag at 200mph, and hope it won’t kill you.

But it did kill people, in many cases by decapitation, especially children and small adults. So now we’re back to airbags AND seatbelts, so you can’t end up too close to the airbag when it goes off.

And just in case, all small children (in fact under the age of 13) are supposed to be in the back seat. But this causes problems too, especially with mothers of babies. They find it almost impossible to not keep checking the rearview mirror, or even turning around to look at them. So more accidents.

And it’s also maybe what’s led to the recent increase of babies in the backseat left in hot cars to die. In many cases this seems to be a parent who normally doesn’t drop the baby off at daycare, going in to work and literally forgetting that the sleeping baby is back there. And this is possibly acerbated by the high/wide headrests that many cars now have, again for safety reasons.

I know on the 2018 Chevy Impala we recently rented that it was very difficult to see any thing in the back seat due to the width of both headrests. And it was also a problem when I would look back over my left shoulder to double-check the blind spot before I  changed lanes. The headrest was wide enough that It showed up in my peripheral vision, making me think for a second or so that there was a car there.

Such is the Law of Unintended Consequences.

And don’t even get me started on the ‘safety features’ that the government has now required on new gas cans.

Thought for the Day:

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” – Samuel Adams




November 29, 2019

A Nice Thanksgiving . . .

As you know, Jan has been at our daughter Brandi’s up in Katy since last Sunday. For the first part, until Wednesday, she was Landon-sitting while he was out of school for the week.

And now since Brandi, Lowell, and Landon went up to Cleburne, TX to have Thanksgiving with friends, she’s been Kitty, Baxter, Jack, and Moshi-sitting, while I’m back at the rig in Santa Fe. But of course we couldn’t miss out on Thanksgiving together so I drove up to Brandi’s Thursday morning so we could have Turkey Day Dinner at the Katy Cracker Barrel.

We got there early, about 10:30, and I dropped Jan off at the front while I went and found a parking spot in the back. I figured we’d probably have long wait since pretty much all of the front porch rockers were occupied and there was a lot of people milling around.

By the time I got back to the front, Jan was just getting to the front of the line to check in. When we were told 15 minutes, Jan asked again because she was sure the young lady must have said 50 minutes. But she said 15 again as she entered our info on her iPad.

But then just as we turned around to go back outside, we heard, “White, party of 2”. And it was the us Whites, too.

And the kitchen was really pumping out the food, because we had our plates in only about 10 minutes.

Cracker Barrel Thanksgivig 2019

It was as delicious as usual, with of course, the only ‘real dressing’. In case you’re wondering, that’s Cornbread Dressing. And Cracker Barrel’s version is so good we occasionally get a couple of pans of it on other holiday’s

We were full and done in less than a hour. And it was only $12.99, and that included our drink and dessert. And no dishes to clean up, either.

Brandi and Lowell managed to get their Christmas trees up before they left, though they’re not decorated yet. In fact Jan says that there are 8 big tubs of decorations stacked around.

And I did mean ‘trees’ plural.

There’s the big 16’ foot version in the living room,

Brandi 2019 Big Christmas Tree

and the smaller, white one in the dining room.

Brandi 2019 White Christmas Tree

Quite a setup.

Now, on to Christmas!

Thought For The Day:

“A Little Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing.
So Is A Lot.” – Albert Einstein