Monthly Archives: January 2021

Miss Karma Update . . .

Miss Karma seems to be doing pretty well. She’s eating some and not throwing up, so that’s big improvement. But right now the only thing she seems to like is some of the shredded chicken that Jan gets from HEB. But it’s a start, I guess.

The only real problem is that twice a day I have to give her an antibiotic by squirting it in her mouth with a syringe. She doesn’t not like that.

But she’s only gotten one claw in me so far.

Jan and I watched the pilot episode of Resident Alien last night and really liked it.

Dark in some places, and hilariously funny in others. Think Robin William’s Mork, if Mork came to Earth to wipe out mankind.

Or think ‘Fish Out Of Water’ if the fish is the shark from ‘Jaws’. Check it out.

We’re still waiting to see what Holland American is going to do about our Alaskan Cruise that’s supposed to start May 18. Right now all of their Alaskan cruises are cancelled through ‘mid-May’. So we’re checking every day to see about any changes.

We’re supposed to make the final payment by Feb. 17th, so we’re just holding our breath.

So it’s:

Spanish Flu
Japanese Encephalitis
Lyme Disease (Lyme, CT)
German Measles
West Nile Virus
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)
Norovirus  (Norwalk, OH)
Marburg Virus Disease (Marburg, Germany)
Valley Fever (San Joaquin Valley)
Guinea Worm
Zika Virus
Ebola (Ebola River, Zaire)
Hanta Virus (Hanta River, So. Korea)
African Sleeping Sickness
Montezuma’s Revenge
And finally . . . Chinese Food!

But China Virus is racist?

Who Knew?

Thought for the Day:

“The hardest thing in the world to understand is income tax.” – Albert Einstein



January 29, 2013

Blindsided . . .

I finally got a chance to call Fan-tastic Vent and they pointed me in the direction of the wiring going to the reversing switch, which makes sense since I was using the reversing switch when the fan motor quit.

So I took out the screws and dropped the bottom of the fan so I could get to the switch contacts. My first thought was to unplug and replug the wires on the switch several times to clean the contacts. After this I tried the fan once more and, it now worked. Another thing fixed.

One down, a bunch still to go.

Jan spent the morning and afternoon catching up on “Downton Abbey”, the PBS series about the lives of the residents and the staff of Downton Abbey, a large manor house in England. Kind of an updated “Upstairs, Downstairs”. The story starts in April 1912 with the sinking of the Titanic, and the loss of the family heir.

After hearing a lot about the show Jan starting watching the other day. PBS has already shown the first 4 episodes of this, the third season. But we found out that PBS is streaming the past episodes on their website, so she spent part of yesterday and today catching up on those 4 episodes. Then, looking on Amazon to see about buying the first two season on DVD, we were happy to discover that for Amazon Prime members, we can stream all the episodes of the first two seasons for FREE. And even better, it’s available in HD.

So Jan watched episode 1 of season 1 this afternoon and will continue watching them until she’s caught up.

For my part this afternoon, I finally got a chance to rehang my restrung day/shade that I had finished last week.

Here’s what it looked like after I removed the valance.

Blind Reinstall 1

I laid the valance down on the bed and then screwed the shade to it. And here’s what it looked like with the valance and shade reinstalled.

Blind Reinstall 2


I did have to fiddle with the string tension a bit where it ties off at the bottom of the valance. Too tight and the added effort to lower the shade may wear and break the strings. Too loose and the shade may not stay up.

And here’s how it look after I was done.

Blind Reinstall 3

One down, 2 to go.

Later, Jan and I headed out about 5:15 for errands and dinner. Our first stop was at the Dickinson Police Department to get Jan’s fingerprint cards redone. Hopefully this set will take, and she’ll be ready to go if we gate guard again later this year.

Then heading up to the Baybrook Mall area, we made a stop at Charming Charlie, a place that sells beautiful costume jewelry on the cheap. Most bracelets are $10, with some a little more, but all very nice quality.

Jan’s first visit to Charming Charlie was when we were up at The Woodlands with Brandi and Lowell this past Saturday, but it didn’t end well.

She bought a couple of bracelets, including a red-beaded one she really liked. However the next morning when she was cutting the price tags off, she accidently cut the elastic cord that the large beads were strung on, and suddenly, no bracelet. Just a lot of beads bouncing around the rig.

So tonight she wanted to get a replacement, and wouldn’t you know it, she found another one she liked too, and just had to have.

Funny how that worked out, isn’t it.

We met Chris, Linda, and Piper at Chili’s about 6:45pm for dinner, and had our usual great time, and a good meal.

It was really windy on the way home, and we got back just ahead of the rain. There’s a cold front coming through and it’s supposed to be down the low 50’s tonight. Much better than the recent nighttime temps of high 60’s, low 70’s.

Thought for the Day:

Sometimes freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is about all that we ask for.



January 29, 2014  

Hitting the Road and Flooring it . . .

Today was another day filled with client stuff so I headed out about 10 AM, finally getting back to the rig about 3:30. I did stop off at our storeroom to pick up our big 10’ x 20’ tarp and our chop saw. I also got Powerball tickets on the way home.

Shortly after I got home Jan and I headed back out to have dinner at Hooter’s since we both needed a hot wing fix, and their new ‘Triple Dog Dare” sauce, their hottest, really hits the spot.

After that it was a quick stop at Wal-Mart so Jan could pick up the ingredients for her world famous spaghetti sauce. The it was home just in time for another great Galveston Bay RV Resort sunset.

Galveston Bay Sunset 4

Later, about 8 PM I fixed us K-Cup Hazelnut Cappuccino which we had along with some of the Nestles’ Toll House cookies Jan made this weekend, as we caught up on ‘Person of Interest’ episodes on the DVR.

Now, as far as ‘hitting the road’, Jan is. Tomorrow afternoon I’m taking he up to Brandi and Lowell’s to spend the weekend. While she’s there, she’s going to make her spaghetti, which is why the Wal-Mart stop.

As for why she’s going up there, it’s to get her out of my hair. Well, maybe a hair reference is not the best one in my case, so let’s just say it’s to get her out of the rig for a few days.

And that brings us to the ‘flooring it’ part of the title. Friday morning my son Chris is coming over and we’re finally going to install the Allure vinyl laminate flooring in the rig. Yes the same flooring I’ve been threatening to install for about 3 years now.

Allure Flooring

Allure seems to be perfect for RV’s. It’s actually a rubber-based product that looks and feels like wood laminate. But because it’s rubber, it’s completely waterproof. Great for when your slide seal springs a leak. And also, the planks are very flexible, at least compared to wood laminate. Again perfect for driving your floor down the road at 60 mph.

We chose a lighter color, Oak, because our cabinetry is also light, and a dark color would tend to make the space seem smaller.

With Chris here, and Jan gone, we’ll be able to pull all three Captain’s chairs out and then pull the base mounts up which will make it much easier to lay the flooring with less measuring and cutting. We are only replacing the carpet in the front of the rig, leaving the tile flooring in the rest of the rig, as it is.

Hopefully we can finish it off Friday and Saturday because Chris doesn’t want the project to cut into his Super Bowl time on Sunday. To me that just gives him more incentive to work faster.

It’s a win, win.

Thought for the Day:

Why would anyone want to get married?
About half of all marriages end in divorce.
The rest end in DEATH!!!

January 29, 2015

Finally. It’s About Time . . .

Jan and I really like being back at Colorado River. Although we like Lake Conroe for all the shopping and places to eat, we like the park itself better here. It’s not as busy, the sites are bigger and there’s not as much traffic.

Colorado River with Nick

And of course we like it better because Nick and Terry are here, too.

Well, it finally happened today. The new sites are open at Galveston Bay RV Resort, and we will be heading down there on Wednesday, the 4th of February. Since we plan on heading for Tucson and the Escapade on March 1st, we’ll have not quite a month there. But it will make things more convenient for our doctor’s appointments next month, instead of having to drive down from Conroe or Columbus.

Several people asked me about my air compressor after I mentioned replacing the hose the other day. Mine came from Sears, but they no longer sell it. But apparently it was made by Porter-Cable and it’s still sold on Amazon for about $105.

I bought mine in 2010 and, except for the hose, it’s still going strong. And it has no problem taking rig tires up to 120psi in just a few minutes.

Porter-Cable Air Compressor

PORTER-CABLE 150 PSI Air Compressor

For dinner tonight, Jan used the convection over to heat our leftover Grimaldi’s Pizza from the other night. We always get the Large (18”) one, and take home half of it for later. And it’s still delicious heated up.


Thought for the Day:

The executive who works twelve hours every day will be successful, and be fondly remembered by his wife’s second husband.



January 29, 2016

Potatoes and Mushrooms . . .

This morning started off with short quarter mile walk . . . just over to Janice and Dave Evans for delicious cinnamon rolls. So that kind of cancelled out the walk.

We sat around for a while, talking and then made plans to get together tomorrow afternoon to have lunch at the Potatoe Patch. Supposedly it’s a lot like Lambert’s, at least they throw rolls at you like Lambert’s does. The menu doesn’t look as extensive, but it does look good. So we’ll see. (And yes, that’s the way they spell Potato.)

After we made the quarter mile walk back to the rig, (still probably not far enough to walk off the cinnamon rolls though) we left the rig about 12:30 heading for the Escapees Park over in Livingston. We were going over to see Ben and June Tyer. I’ve known Ben since the 1990’s since he was my Air Conditioning instructor at San Jacinto Community College.

You all know how much I like to work on stuff. Well, I knew electrical and electronic stuff, carpentry and construction stuff, and a bunch of other things. But I didn’t know much about the compressor side of AC stuff. The electrical side, yes, but not the Freon side.

So I started taking night classes working toward an Associate Degree in Air Conditioning Technology, and Ben was one of my main instructors.

Ben had been having trouble setting up his email under Windows 10 on his new laptop, and though I had tried to help him out over the phone, he still couldn’t get it working. So I thought we’d drive over there today before we head back to the Colorado River TT on Sunday.

Getting to Ben and June’s about 2pm, it only took me about 30 minutes to get his computer straightened out and then I ran a couple of ‘cleaner’ programs, CCleaner and Glary Utilities, on his laptop to speed things up. We then spent the rest of the time talking about RV’ing and traveling, pretty much what all RV’ers talk about when they get together. Finally, a little after 4pm we said our goodbyes and headed out to visit some more nearby friends.

Back in 2014, when we were staying at the Wilmington OH Thousand Trails, we met up with the Boggs Family, Davy, Kelly, and their daughter, Odie, of the Boggs Family Ministries. We got together at a good Mexican restaurant in Lebanon, OH and had a really fun time getting to know one another.

The Boggs travel around the country in their beautiful Prevost Bus holding revivals at local churches. They even have their own tent if need be.

Boggs Bus_thumb[1]

And this is Davy, Kelly, and Odie.

Davy Boggs_thumb[1]Kelly Boggs_thumb[1]Odie Boggs_thumb

Davy                                           Kelly                               Odie

We had a great time catching up on the last couple of years, but finally had to part company a little after 5pm so they could get ready for tonight’s service. Then on Sunday they’re heading down to Sweeney, TX for another revival there.

Really nice people doing great things. Hopefully our paths will cross again soon.

For dinner, we decided to head over the Florida’s Kitchen, a downhome, catfish and BBQ type place that Chris and Charles Yust of C and C RV Insurance fame, had introduced us to a couple of years ago.

Jan loves mushrooms, so we started off with a small basket of their fried ones.

Florida's Fried Mushrooms_thumb[1]

That’s Small?

Then we both got the Small Catfish Dinner.

Florida's Catfish Dinner_thumb[1]

I’m starting to detect a pattern here. I’m sorry, but four big pieces of catfish does not a small dinner make.

In fact, because I was getting the SMALL dinner, I also ordered BBQ sausage link so I wouldn’t be hungry.

So, how big is the BIG catfish dinner.

But after the Fried Mushrooms, (and the salad that came with the dinner) I only ate 1 piece of fish, about half the fries, and 1 piece of sausage. And with Jan about the same, we had three take-home boxes to go with us.

But boy, was it good!

Heading back through Livingston on the way home, I stopped at the RaceWay and got gas at $1.469 a gallon, the cheapest I’ve seen so far without some sort of discount.

We got back to the rig about 8pm after a fun day. Then tomorrow it’s more fun all over again.

Isn’t RV’ing the life!

Thought for the Day:

For Odie Podie:

Heck is where people who don’t believe in Gosh, think they’re not going.



January 29, 2017

Sheer Perfection!

Today was grocery shopping day, and our first chance to check out what turned out to be a very nice HEB.

But our first stop was Whataburger of course, for lunch.

Whataburger Perfection

Sheer Perfection!

A #6 Double Meat Whataburger Jr. with cheese, bacon, tomato, mayo, mustard, pickles, and onions.

Jan’s #6 is a little different, with cheese, tomato, ketchup, mustard, and grilled onions.

Note: No ketchup on mine. I’m a purist. Ketchup belongs on French Fries, not on hamburgers or hotdogs.

After leaving Whataburger our next stop was the Donut Palace for a couple of their Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Croissants. These make a perfect meal for dinner on the gate.

Donut Place Crossiant

And their Twists and other donuts are delicious too.

I got to the gate about 5:15 expecting to find it very busy, but found that it had been pretty dead all day. Apparently they broke the frack.

Or at least they broke something on the frack. We seen it take hours or sometimes even days to get running again so we’ll see how it goes.

Yesterday we had ask a company man to bring us a light tower down here to this gate. The actual gate entrance isn’t real wide and a lot of the big trucks were worried about coming through at night since it was so dark in that area.

Barnhart LIte Tower

But the lights really brighten up the gate entrance now.

I’m still having weird problems with the phone service here. It varies all over the place, but no matter what I still can’t make or receive phone calls. However I can get the Voice Mail for a call I never received.

Plus I can usually send email and text, but not always. Sometimes I have absolutely no service whatsoever, sometimes I have 1x, sometimes 3G, and sometimes 4G.

And sometimes it says “Emergency Calls Only”. So who knows.

Thought for the Day:

”Friendstalker” was one of the early names considered for Twitter. I think they made the right choice.

Just like one of the early names considered for Starbuck’s was Pequod’s.



January 29, 2018

Soup and Soup . . .

Back at work today, I spent the first part updating the paper catalogs with all of last week’s many changes. Then I spent pretty much the rest of the afternoon setting up the website so that at 12:01 am Thursday morning the sales banner and all the sale prices will become active on the site. At least I hope so.

If not, I’ll still be up so I can do it manually if need be.

Right before I headed home we got the proofs from the mailing list company for me to approve. I double-checked everything and then sent back the approval. Still don’t know yet exactly when they’ll go out though. Hopefully soon.

On the way home I stopped off at the Jason’s Deli on Bay Area Blvd to pick up Jan one of their Nutty Mixed-Up Salads.With chicken breast, organic field greens, grapes, feta, nuts, dried cranberries, raisins, pumpkin seeds, organic apples, we both have had this salad in the past, and it’s really delicious.

Jason's Nutty Salad

But this time I had still had a bowl of El Pollo Loco’s Chicken Tortilla  Soup left from our last visit so that was my dinner tonight.

El Pollo Loco Soup

It’s amazing how loaded with chicken this is. And really good, too.

As it stands right now, tomorrow we’ll head up to Pasadena to have lunch with our friend Julie a the Monterey’s Little Mexico there. Can’t wait to have some of their great Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Yep. That’s Chicken Tortilla Soup two days in a row. What’s your point?

Thought for the Day

Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose. – Bill Gates



January 29, 2019

That’s Going The Wrong Way . . .

Jan and I headed out for lunch et al. about 1:30, with our first stop at the Cheddar’s up in Clear Lake. Cheddar’s is one of our go-to places, no matter where we are in the country, and we’ve eaten at them all over too. And as usual at places we frequent, we both have our favorites.

Jan got her usual Key West Chicken and Shrimp with Green Beans and Carrots  as well as some of their Bourbon Sauce.

Cheddar's Key West Chicken and Shrimp 2

My fav is their Vegetable Plate, which comes with a Bowl of the Chicken Tortilla Soup,

Monterey's Chicken Tortilla Soup

as well as 4 veggies and a croissant . All for $7.99. Obviously I like the Green Beans and Carrots, just like Jan.

Cheddar's Veggie Plate 3

A really great deal.

Finishing up, we stopped off at my client’s to pick up my saline eye drops that I left there yesterday. While I was there I noticed that the ‘95 Mustang Front Passenger Window glass I had order off eBay for my client, had arrived. My client wasn’t there, but when I mentioned it to Jennifer, the office manager, she said, “But isn’t that a Thunderbird, and not a Mustang?” And when I walked over to the corner of the parking lot, she was right.

In my defense, I didn’t know what vehicle he was ordering the window for. And in his defense, he owns over 20 vehicles, including two Studebaker Avanti’s. I guess it’s easy to lose track.

Our next stop at the El Dorado WalMart for a few things, including 3 gallons of Shell Rotella 15W-40 oil for the rig. I’ll need two gallons to top off my oil level, and then one gallon to fill the new LF9009 filter after I drop the old one to get a better look at the problem area.

Then it was on toward home, with a stop at the Costco on the way to fill up the truck.

When I last got gas a week or so ago, the price was at a low point of $1.67. But as I mentioned in the blog a couple days ago, when I saw the increases at HEB and WalMart, I checked Costco’s price in GasBuddy and found it had jumped 2¢ to $1.69. But by today, it had jumped another 5¢ up to $1.74. This is going the wrong direction.

Don’t know if this is due to the turmoil in Venezuela, or what. But I have a bad feeling about this.

Then after a stop for lottery tickets, and then the PO, we got home a little after 5pm.

As I mentioned yesterday, the oil filter and wrench I ordered from Amazon, was delivered via Amazon themselves. And the order that came in today was also via Amazon.

And according to the tracking, the hard drive coming into tomorrow is also coming by them.

I don’t know yet if this constitutes a long-term pattern, but I do like the Real Time Tracking that Amazon gives you.

Anybody want to buy a used 1995 Mustang Front Passenger Window?

Thought for the Day:

Some things are too coincidental to be a coincidence – Yogi Berra



January 29, 2020

DUNS . . .

Yesterday it was eBay. Today it was Dun & Bradstreet.

We’re in the process of having some topical anesthetic solutions made up by a chemical company that we haven’t dealt with before, and they want a Dun & Bradstreet DUNS number to check us out.

So we gave them our DUNS number to check us and the company came back with a lot of questions, because the information they were seeing did not match what we had told them.

And when I went online to the Dun & Bradstreet and entered our DUNS number, I immediately saw what they were talking about. Much of our info looked to be mixed in with another company’s, and what there was of ours was corrupted, with typos and misspellings.

In fact it was so screwed up that when I tried to get authenticated so I could log in and correct the info, we couldn’t  answer their questions because we didn’t know the ‘correct’ incorrect answers.

So I spent most the day on and off the phone with the D&B people trying to get this straighten our. And with no luck so far.

A couple of days ago I saw that Amazon was having a nice sale on their Amazon Firesticks, both the regular and the 4K versions. And since we’re doing more and more streaming of TV and movies, I thought I’d take advantage of the sale.

Amazon Firestick4K

Amazon Firestick 4K

The regular version, normally $40 is now going for $25. But I went with the 4K version, which is usually $50, but was on sale for $35, a $15 savings. And even better for my renowned cheapness, this is one of those Amazon products that allows you to pay for it with no-interest payments, so $7 a month for 5 months in this case.

No, I don’t really save any money, but the longer I can delay giving people my money, the better I like it.

Although the Firestick duplicates many services that we already have on the SmartHub on our Samsung 43” TV, we do get some extra stuff, the thing I’m most interested in is the voice remote feature.

Firestick Remote

Rather than click a lot of keypresses using the TV remote on the SmartHub, Jan can just say, “Show me CuriosityStream”, and it will go straight to it.


I also signed us up for the free Pluto TV streaming service. And although it also duplicates at lot of the SmartHub and Firestick channels, what I’m interested in are the many dedicated channels, especially long-running TV shows. There is a Leverage channel, a This Old House channel, a Dog The Bounty Hunter channel, and what will probably be our favorite, a Classic Dr. Who channel.

And it all free!

Thought For The Day:

Predictions can be dangerous. Especially about the future.




No Blood Involved . . .

Karma the cat, as opposed to Karma the destiny, has been under the weather the last couple of days, pretty much barfing up everything she eats. But what’s strange is that she seems to feel fine, had plenty of energy, grooming herself, jumping up in the window, and she doesn’t seem to have a fever.

Karma CloseUp

But today being the 3rd day, I took her into the Santa Fe vet clinic. I called ahead to try and get an appointment, but I was told they were booked until Monday. BUT I could bring her in as a Walk-In . . . for an additional charge of only $71.50!

And when I got there, there was only one car in the lot and one lady inside just leaving.  So how were they booked up? In addition, I was called in after only about 5 minutes.

I was kind of worried about how Karma would react to all this. She can be very ‘bitey’ when she’s not happy. And ‘scratchy’ too.

But she was actually pretty calm when they weighed her (14#), and especially when they took her temperature. And while I had her there I also asked the vet to take a look at her eyes.

And $150 later they could find nothing wrong with her. Her temperature was normal, her stomach felt fine, and everything else was normal.

So they ended up giving her some fluids for dehydration (though she did not seem dehydrated, an anti-nausea shot, and an antibiotic that I’ll give her twice a day.

And a treatment plan for another $550 for MRI’s, X-Ray’s, etc., if she doesn’t get any better.

The vet also could find nothing really wrong with her eyes. She doesn’t have cataracts, and her pupils react to bright light, which I’ve noticed. He said he couldn’t see to the back of her eyes, but he suspects a problem with her optic nerves.

So we’ll see how she feels tomorrow.

Along with Karma, Jan was kind of under the weather today, so about 4 I went over to Los Ramirez to pick up dinner. Delicious as always.

Our son Chris called today and said that Miss Piper started her Psychological Counselor job with the Austin Police Department’s 911 division this past Tuesday.

Hopefully we’ll have more info soon.

Thought For The Day:

Sometimes you just have to close your eyes, count to ten, take a deep breath, and remind yourself that you wouldn’t look good in prison stripes, and just smile at the idiot and walk away.



January 28, 2011

VOIP and Allure . . .

12 Days and Counting . . .

This morning started out with coffee, and our friend Maria calling a little before 10 with a computer problem that took a while to figure out.

After that I packed up the 4 sensors that I’m returning to Doran in a Priority Mail envelope and did a online shipping label so it’s ready to go. We’ll drop it by the P.O. on our way to dinner tonight.

Next I spent some time talking with my new client, and the VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) company that they will be getting their phone service from.

A little later, I went outside and worked a while  on double-checking and touching up the caulking on some seams. I started on installing the check valve in the water pump line to prevent the shore water backfilling the fresh water tank through the pump, but ran out of time due to Jan needing to get her shower. I’ll try to finish it up this weekend.

We left the rig about 4 pm to meet our friends Bob & Beth at the Hibachi Grill up in Webster.

On the way we stopped off at Dues RV & Camper in Dickinson to buy a new shower hose inline on/off valve, but they didn’t have one.

The Hibachi Grill & Buffet recently opened in the old Ryan’s building with a Chinese buffet and Hibachi grill. Thus, the name.

Once again, the ratings on turned out to be very accurate. It was really good with maybe one of the biggest selections of food I’ve seen. And everything was hot and fresh.

Saying goodbye to our friends, we headed home, stopping off at first Lowe’s, and then Home Depot, where I finally found my valve. The old one had been leaking and dripping for awhile, so this will take care of that.

Getting back home, I went online to rent a 16 ft Budget Truck (I wonder if I still remember how to drive something that short) to haul some of my mother’s furniture up to a friend’s consignment shop. Hopefully they will be able to take some or all of it off our hands so I can stop paying on this storeroom.

Then next I started ripping up the carpet and pad in the front area of the coach. I going to replace it with Allure laminate flooring. Allure, sold by Home Depot, is just the thing for RV’s since it is a thick, slightly flexible rubber laminate that looks like wood. The flexibility makes it perfect for the coach, and being rubber-based, it’s not bothered by water.allure

The carpet is so hard to keep clean, and has a few stains (cat barf – ) that just won’t come out. Last year I rented a carpet steamer/cleaner that helped some, but this will take care of the problem permanently.

I’ve noticed the new coaches we’ve looked at all have either ceramic tile or laminate instead of carpeting in the living room. Now I know why.

That’s it for today. I’ve got more carpet to pull up.

Thought for the Day:

Live the life you have imagined. – Henry David Thoreau



January 28, 2012

Last Day . . .

For anyone who needs their Landon fix, I got some shots of Brandi and Landon when we all had dinner at Floyd’s Cajun Seafood the other night.

Brandi and Landon at Floyds 1

Brandi and Landon at Floyds 2

A couple of cuties!

Next, it was on to Wal-Mart. I mean, what’s a day without Wal-Mart?

Besides a few and various sundries, Jan and I were looking for a kitchen cart. She really enjoyed having an extra work surface in the kitchen when our washer/dryer was out waiting for parts in December.

So, after doing a lot of checking, we decided to take a closer look at this one. And after seeing it, we bought one home. It looks like it will fit between my computer chair and the dining table chair just fine.

Kitchen Cart

Then it was on to Fry’s Electronics to pick up some new LED Christmas lights. I’d noticed the other day that they still had some in stock and I wanted to replace the old ones in the light ball I made Jan a couple of months ago. Some of them had already started burning out. LED’s are supposed to do that.

LED Light Ball

It’s about 12 inches in diameter and hangs in the front window of the coach. Jan saw another rig with something like it a few months ago and wanted one too. It looks pretty good.

Next we drove around the area to sightsee some more, including NASA and around Clear Lake and back.

Heading back east we stopped at a Buc-ee’s to get cappuccino’s and gas, before then heading east on FM517 out to San Leon and April Fool Point to check out some RV parks in the area and also Topwater Grill, a really neat seafood restaurant right on Galveston Bay

TopWater Grill

Finishing up our trip, we got back to the rig about 5 to rest up for a couple of hours before heading out about 7 for our dinner.

And we ended up at La Brisa.

You can’t go wrong with Mexican.

Thought for the Day:

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” — Thomas Jefferson



January 28, 2013

As Roseanne Roseannadanna says . . .

“It’s always something.”

Just about the time I’m getting a handle on my rig repairs, the fan motor in our bathroom Fan-tastic Vent fan quit. The cover will still open and close, but the fan will not run in either direction.

It died when I wanted to change the fan’s rotation from OUT to IN. I turned the fan off using the rotary speed switch and then changed the Direction switch from OUT to IN. When I turned the fan back on, it didn’t start.

So I turned it back to OUT and tried again – still nothing. No matter what I tried after that, nothing got the fan running again. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to give a Fan-tastic a call today.

Next up, I’m stepping in it once again . . .

Next it was time to squirm under the rig (and I do mean squirm) and replace the rubber bracket on the air bag proportioning valve.

The broken bracket looked like this.

Airbag Rod End

After loosening the clamp I pulled the old piece off and slid the new bracket on. And after tightening the clamp, it looked like this.

Airbag Rod Bracket 2


Scrunching over a bit, I loosen the bolt holding the other piece of the broken bracket, and reattached the new one connected to the rod.

Airbag Rod Bracket Closeup

It ended up looking like this on the lower end,

Airbag Rod Bracket 3

and this where it attaches to the valve.

Airbag Rod Bracket 4

Job done. I think it took me longer to get under the rig and back out than it did to do the actual repair.

I’ll probably wait until tomorrow to crank up the engine and confirm the rig comes up on the air bags.

Two tools I got for Christmas really helped with changing out the bolt holding the rubber bracket. There was not a lot of room to maneuver up there, even to get a socket/ratchet combo in position.

But these Channelock Ratcheting Wrenches made it easy-pezy.

Channelock Wrenches


To hold the other nut without rounding off the edges, these Kobalt Magnum Grip Pliers really fit the bill. Wide open or completely closed, the jaws always stay parallel. Nice.

Kobalt Pliers

After cleaning up, I headed out for a few errands, with my first stop being the Dickinson Police Station to see about getting Jan’s fingerprint card redone.

After she had it done the first time last April at the Sheriff’s Office in Floresville, TX for her gate guarding Security Guard’s License, the state waited for almost 4 months to tell her the fingerprint card needed to be redone.

So I checked with the Dickinson Police and they said she could get it done there. Another thing on the schedule for later this week.

Next up was a stop at Taylor Automotive on Hwy 3 in Dickinson to follow up with them about getting the rear wheel seal replaced on our RV.

When I was under the RV last week looking at the air bag problem, I saw the passenger’s rear wheel had some oil leakage, so I wanted to get it fixed before we hit the road in 3 weeks.

Leaky Wheel Seal

I talked to them last week about having it done this week, but in one of those ‘doh!’ moments that wives are known to give their husbands on a regular basis, Jan suggested that rather then packing up and taking the rig in, and then coming back to the park, and then leaving in 3 weeks, we should just get it done on the 18th as we’re leaving here.

Sounds good to me.

So after confirming that it was OK if I went ahead and got the seal ahead of time, I told them we’d see them on the 18th of February.

Rear Wheel Seal


Last it was a quick stop at Kroger’s to pick up some fresh vegetables for tonight’s Homemade Chicken Vegetable Soup. After checking out the selection I ended up with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and snow peas to go with some of the chicken breasts we poached last week.

Put it all in the Crock-Pot along with some Chicken Stock and a few hours later, soup’s on.

Hmmm, hmmm, good.

Getting home I went on the RVChassisParts website and ordered the wheel seal from them for $55, not a bad price.

While I was online ordering things I also ordered the 26” Denso wiper blades for the rig. Fleetwood sells them for $40 each, but Amazon has them for $18, so Amazon it was.

I never got to the Day/Night Shade reinstallation today. Maybe tomorrow. Also never got a chance to call Fan-tastic Vent. Again, tomorrow.

Thought for the Day:

“You can ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.” – Ayn Rand



January 28, 2014

Sheets to the Wind . . .

The high today was 50 degrees at 1 minute after midnight and it just went down from there. The sleet started about noon and the temperature dropped down to 30 and stayed there the rest of the afternoon. We’re looking for about 26 degrees tonight, but into the mid 40’s tomorrow so things are looking up.

Because the weather was so crappy we stayed home today and just enjoyed the time together.

For dinner Jan fixed our version of Skyline Chili’s Chili Spaghetti Four Ways.

Skyline Chili Ways

She mixed a can of Skyline Chili with a bag of our homemade chili from the freezer, put it over spaghetti, and added shredded cheese. It would have been Chili Five Ways, but I forgot the onions until it was too late. As usual, really good.

Jan and I have really been enjoying Sleepy Hollow which just wrapped up its 13 episode 1st season. And happily it has been renewed, a fate that other series we really liked, i.e. 666 Park Ave., have unfortunately avoided.

I like being surprised by well-written plot twists, something that seems missing in a lot of shows, but Sleepy Hollow has enough surprises to keep me entertained. A creative re-telling of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow with Ichabod Crane, plus George Washington, The Headless Horseman, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and switching back and forth between Revolutionary War days and the present, it’s non-stop.

Now, on to the sheets. When we spent the night at our daughter Brandi’s on Christmas Eve, Jan fell in love with the soft sheets Brandi had on our bed and wanted to get some for us. Brandi said they were 1000 thread count sheets that she got on Groupon.

So I started researching high thread count sheets, and found that any thread count over 400-600 is kind of just advertising hype, because looms don’t hold more threads than that. What they do is twist several fibers together and use those in the count. So two fibers twisted together and then wove on on 500 thread loom becomes a 1000 thread count sheet. The biggest difference is the type of fibers used and whether the sheets are percale or sateen, with sateen being the softest.

So I got on Amazon and after some research, came up with these.

Milani Sheet Set

Striped QUEEN Sateen Sheet Set

They’re listed as being 1500 thread count which probably means 3 fiber thread on a 500 thread loom. The reviews were pretty uniformly good except for some who were upset about the depth of mattress the fitted sheets will handle. And even they’re not $200, they’re not $100, or not $50. They’re $25 for a set of 1 fitted sheet, 1 flat sheet and two standard pillow cases.

So we took a shot and ordered a queen size set from Amazon, knowing we could return them if we weren’t happy. We also order a set of two king size pillow cases as well, since we have two king size pillows and two standards.

When they came Jan washed them and we put them on the bed. And they’re a big hit. We really like them. They’re very soft, but not slick, and have a kind of microfiber feel.

Very nice. We plan to order a second set.

Thought for the Day:

As Mae West said, there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing.



January 28, 2015

It Works!

We were both up about 7am this morning to get ready for our trip back over to the Colorado River Thousand Trails. We didn’t plan on leaving until around noon, but since we wanted to have breakfast at Cracker Barrel before we left, and also had some bank business to take care, we wanted to allow plenty of time.

After taking down our Winegard Carryout Satellite Dish and stowing it away, I dumped a bottle of Diesel Kleen into the rig’s fuel tank. I started using Diesel Kleen a few years ago on our first gate guard job. One of the drivers told me about it, and said his company had done a test trial with about 50 of their trucks, and were now using it in all 600+ vehicles. Said they were showing a solid 5-6% increase in mpg, along with cleaner injectors. So I try to dump in a bottle every 4 or 5 fillups. Only cost  $6-7 at Wal-Mart.

We headed off to Cracker Barrel about 8:15, and based on our Wed. morning breakfast there three weeks ago, we didn’t expect them to be very busy, but they were pretty slammed. So much so that it took a lot longer to get our food this time. But we weren’t in any real hurry, so it was fine.

But for whatever reason, our bank business took a lot longer than expected too, So by the time we got back to the rig and we pulled out, it was a little before 12 noon. The last time we were parked at this site, I was able to hitch up and pull out and go. But this time the people next to us, in a truck camper, had pulled the picnic table over into their site, and right out next to the road. So I was afraid if I pulled out hitched up, I’d hit the picnic table with our toad. So we hitched up right down the road and were on our way.

The trip was pretty standard, with no slowdowns, just the usual amount of Houston traffic. But there were two highlights for us.

First off, along the way we hit 130,000 miles on the coach, about 67,500 miles of it ours. At 130,000 miles, ‘Beauty’ is just getting broken it.

And secondly, we found out the new transfer switch I installed about a month ago actually works. Every time we’ve traveled since I installed it, it’s been cold and rainy so we haven’t needed the AC’s, but today we did. So right after we got on the road, I fired up the generator and a couple of minutes the AC’s came on and ran fine the entire trip. It Works!

We were both pretty hungry, so after we were set up, we headed out to have dinner at Los Cabos, our favorite Mexican place in the area. Actually it’s our only Mexican place in the area, since we’ve never eaten Mexican any where else.

Not sure what’s in store for tomorrow, but I’m sure it will be interesting.


Thought for the Day:

Abnormal is so common, it’s practically normal. – Cory Doctorow



January 28, 2016

Zip Lines and Fishing Line . . .

Jan was pretty much on the mend today, with just that remaining blah, post-migraine feeling. But by late afternoon, she was much better and felt like going out. So about 4pm we headed into Conroe to have dinner at Culver’s, a favorite of ours.

I don’t know what they do different with their meat, but when you bite into a Butterburger, you get a much, more ‘meaty’ taste. Don’t think it’s just the ‘butter’, but it’s certainly a better taste.

Really good.

Coming home, I made a quick stop at the nearby Academy Sports to pick up some high-test fishing line to restring our day/night shades.

H20 Express Fishing Line_thumb[3]

I found this 80lb. test line for a good price that is supposed to resist abrasion, so I’ll give it a try after we’re back at Colorado River TT next week. Then after a quick Kroger stop for a few things, we were home by 6pm.

While on the subject of fast food, we got a number of comments on our recent KFC blog. One reader’s wife was even working in a dry cleaners when the Colonel brought in six of his seven white suits in to be cleaned. He was wearing the seventh.

Another thing that I think we did differently back then is that we processed all our chickens by hand. Never frozen, the whole chickens arrived in iced-down 50# crates that went right into the cooler.

Then using a bandsaw we sliced up each chicken into 9 pieces, 1 breast, 2 ribs, 2 thighs, 2 legs, and 2 wings. Then the pieces went into a marinating tub and back into the cooler overnight. They were then dropped into the breading right before they went into the fryer.

The menu was a lot simpler back then too. In fact, except for sides, there were only five different items on the menu.

1. A  2 piece Snack Pak with Mashed Potatoes and a Roll

2. A  3 piece Dinner with Mashed Potatoes, Cole Slaw, and a Roll

3. A  9 piece (one whole chicken) Family Pak

4. A 15 piece Bucket

5. A 21 piece Barrel

Much simpler than the myriad of items they have today.

Our friend Jim Guld recently posted this video of a roller coaster zipline combination.

Looks like a lot of fun.

And, although I don’t think it’s the one above, there is one near Kissimmee, FL.

Jan’s said she’ll do it with me this year when we’re in Florida in a few months. Looking forward to it.

And if you want to buy your own RollerCoaster Zipline, here’s the company that will sell you one.

Just the thing after you win the next big Powerball.

Thought for the Day:


1. “They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach. It was very distracting for my husband who just wanted to relax.”

2. “On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food.”



January 28, 2018

Farm To Grill . . .

After a quiet morning, about 1pm Jan and I drove up to see Brandi and Lowell’s new house in Katy since they got moved in last week. Since they dropped over a thousand square feet from their old house to this one, they’ve got a lot of leftover furniture that they’ve going to have to put in storage for a while, while they’ll spend the next year looking for a new one in the same general area

About 3:15 we all headed over to the La Centerra area to have dinner at a new place called Dish Society Their claim to fame is being a farm to grill restaurant using as much local supplies as they can.

Lowell had the Shrimp and Grits, while Brandi had the Citrus Glazed Salmon. Jan had the Grilled Chicken Breast with Balsamic Bacon Brussels Sprouts and Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

I had the Chicken Make Your Own Salad where you choose your own ingredients from a list of about 30, including Sunflower Seeds, Candied Pecans, and Goat Cheese.

All really good, but you don’t get any photos because I left my phone at home.

When we were in Apache Junction last March and April we visited our other favorite farm to grill place, and in this case the farm is a little closer, as in right out the backdoor, so I thought I do a rerun of that.

Leaving Wal-Mart, we made the 20 minute run over to Gilbert to have an early dinner at Joe’s Farm Grill, another of our favorite places here in the Apache Junction area, and also featured on Triple D with Guy Fieri.

We’ve eaten here a number of times, and it’s always been great.

Joe's Family Grill 1a

And today was.certainly no exception.

Joe's Farm Grill

We each got our favorites, with Jan’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Cheese, Grilled Onions and Avocado, along with a side of their Asian Slaw on the right, while I got the Sonoran Dog with a side of their Fried Green Beans with Pesto on the left. The green beans are fantastic and big enough to share.

And of course we couldn’t leave out a big glass of their homemade Strawberry Lemonade, made from strawberries and lemons grown right here on the property.

Joe's Farm Grill Strawberry Lemonade

In fact, much of the fruits and vegetables used in the restaurant are grown right here on the adjacent farm. And actually the restaurant itself was built around the family home built in the 1960’s.

Joe's Farm Grill Land

All of the brown and green areas are the farmland next to the restaurant.

And here’s our 2nd visit, right before we left for Las Vegas.

After having tried the Garlic Pesto Fried Green Beans last time, and loving the pesto, Jan got the Pesto Chicken Sandwich with Swiss, Roasted Red Pepper, Grilled Mushrooms, and farm-made Pecan Pesto, as well as another order of the Pesto Green Beans for us to share.

Joe's Farm Grill 2

While instead of my usual Sonoran Dog, I got the Gouda Garlic Bacon Burger Stack.

Joe's Farm Grill 2 Gouda Bacon Burger

Made with half pound THICK burger (all natural, fresh, chuck, cooked pink),bacon, roasted garlic, imported Gouda cheese, grilled red onion, beefsteak tomato, pickles, house made Caesar dressing, on a toasted bun, it was a complete feast. In addition we both got salads as our sides.

Wrapping up, as we were driving up to Brandi’s,  minus my phone, I got to thinking that if I did have car trouble, I couldn’t call ANYBODY, even if I borrowed someone else’s cell, or used a payphone. I no longer knew anybody’s phone numbers.

I couldn’t call Brandi, Chris, our SafeRide Road Service, or anyone I knew. So I’m going to print out a list of important numbers and keep it in my wallet.

Now if I can just remember my wallet.

Thought for the Day:

If you need to be a lawyer to know the law, then the defect is in the law, not in the citizenry. 



January 28, 2019

A Worrisome 46 Minutes . . .

Today is the 33rd anniversary of the Shuttle Challenger explosion.

I was working at Johnson Space Center and had just come off a 16 hour night shift that ran long due to some equipment problems. And since I was dead tired, and the launch was not for another almost three hours, I went to bed. I was planning to get for this one, but slept though it, the first launch I had ever missed.

But as it turns out, our daughter Brandi, who was12 had stayed home sick that day, and was watching when the Shuttle exploded. So she called Jan at work and said, “Mommy, the Challenger broke!” So Jan told her to go wake me up.

And that kicked off six months of long hours and confusing requests from Washington, doing video support for the Rogers Commission inquiry into the Challenger .

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.” – President Ronald Reagan.

Early this afternoon I went to the Amazon site to check on the delivery status of my rig oil filter and filter wrench that were supposed to arrive today.

And I found something new – A button on the Track Package page that said “Click To Track Your Package in Real Time”. And here’s what I saw.

Track Package 1

And a little later I saw this.

Track Package 2

A couple of minutes later I saw the map icon on my street, so I walked outside, and about 10 seconds later, this pulled into the parking lot.

Amazon Delivery Van

And I have a couple of more things arriving tomorrow that look to be coming the same way. Neat.

A little after noon, and after the office manager said she was finished processing last night’s website orders, I took the server down to move it over to the new UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) that came in last week. I had plugged it in after it came in last Tuesday to let it marinate before I put it online.

So this morning I first shut down the website and then the server and moved the plug over to the new UPS, and booted the server back up and waited for it to initialize and come back online.

And waited . . . and waited . . . and waited.

Becoming more and more anxious as the minutes elapsed.

The reboot time does vary though. Sometimes it’s back up in 5-10 minutes, and once it was a little over 20 minutes. But it has never taken 46 minutes before.

And since it’s a Centos 6 Linux server, there’s not a lot you can do but wait. So I don’t know if it was checking the integrity of, or repairing the databases, or what, but it finally popped back up and was working fine.


Several readers asked what the girl was holding in my niece Stahlie’s Blood Moon artwork.

Stahlie Blood Moon Pic

I’m not absolutely sure, but I think it’s a telescope. You know, for looking at the moon. Though it is kind of bent, I guess.

Thought for the Day:

If you’ve never met the devil on the road of life, it’s because you’re both heading in the same direction.



January 28, 2020

It Broke!

Thirty four years ago this morning I was sound asleep, and our 12 year daughter Brandi, who was home from school sick, came in the bedroom crying and said, “Daddy, It Broke!”.

Still groggy, I said, “What broke, sweetie?”

And she said, “The Shuttle! It broke!”

Thinking that maybe they had cancelled the launch due to the weather, I came into the living room and saw this.

Shuttle Smoke Trail

I was home asleep because I had just come off an 18 hour shift getting all my equipment checked and double-checked, getting ready for the mission. I had gotten off at about 7:30am and come home and went to bed. Ironically this was the first launch that I had not stayed up for, or been awake for.

I was in charge of the Field Sequential Color Converter, necessary because at that time, due to limited bandwidth on the TV downlink from the Shuttle, all ‘color’ TV was sent down as field sequential video, not the standard NTSC video format used by the TV networks and many others.

Similar to the old rotating color wheels used as Christmas lighting, each black and white camera on the Shuttle had an actual rotating color wheel in it, with red, green, and blue filters on the wheel. As the wheel turned at over 1000rpm, the camera sent down sequences of red frames, green frames, and blue frames.

Ending up in Bldg. 8 at JSC, I converted to standard NTSC video and then sent it out to Mission Control, the other NASA centers,  the TV networks, and the rest of the world.

NASA used this method up until about 1995, while use of this method of color generation dates back the the Apollo Moon Landings, for the same reason, restricted bandwidth. If you ever saw something moving fast or thrown, and there seemed to be a ‘comet tail’ following the object, then you were watching field sequential video.

And showing that even old ideas can be useful, the field sequential color, first developed in the early 1900’s, was actually the first commercial color TV system set up by CBS and used in the US, but was replaced by the non-mechanical RCA  NTSC version in 1953

Over the years a lot of different stories have come out about what caused the Challenger Disaster. And like many accidents, there was a cascading sequence of small causes, any one of which if it had been removed would have prevented the explosion.

In this case, the two main causes were politics, and just plain bad luck.

Here’s how it went.

First up, the politics part.

Why were the SRB’s (Solid Rocket Boosters) segmented to start with?

NASA and Morton-Thiokol wanted to build the SRB’s at the Cape, but politics dictated that the Shuttle project largess be spread around to other states, including Utah where the SRB’s ended up being built, done to secure the vote of the state’s congressional delegation for the Shuttle project.

Unfortunately, because a non-segmented SRB was too large to be transported due to tunnel and overpass clearances, they had to be segmented.

So no segments, no gaskets to burn-thru.

Now the sequence of small items.

They had had gasket burn-thrus before, but the gasket always melted and flowed into the gap, sealing the leak, as it did this time.

1. It was an extremely cold, wet winter in Florida.

2. Technical problems kept the Shuttle on pad longer than usual, letting moisture build up in the SRB joints.

3. Freezing weather at launch time.

4. There was an SRB burn-thru on Ignition as had happened before

5. After a second, the gasket flowed and resealed as it had numerous times before.

6. No more problems until throttle-up after Max-Q.

Max-Q or Max Dynamic Pressure occurred at about 35,000 feet and was caused by the increasing speed of the Shuttle vs. the decreasing air density. Decreasing, but still enough to overstress the Shuttle at that speed. At this point the SSME (Space Shuttle Main Engines) are throttled back to about 65%. The SRB’s are also designed to reduce thrust as well.

7. Then just as they throttled back up to 104% power, the highest upper air wind shear ever recorded buffeted Shuttle and rocked the entire stack. The stack is the term used to describe the entire Shuttle at launch, i.e. the Shuttle itself, the ET (External Tank), and the SRB’s.

8. This rocking of the stack reopened the previous burn-thru.

9. SSMEs gimbaled over to offset for the loss of thrust from that SRB.

At this point, if nothing else had happened, the Shuttle would have proceeded into orbit with no further problems

So the First Bad Luck was:

Extreme High Winds at Throttle Up

And the Second Bad Luck and the Primary Cause:

Unfortunately the burn-thru was located on the minority portion of the arc opposite the ET (External Tank). If the burn-thru had occurred on the ~ 300 degree arc not opposite the ET, the shuttle would have achieved orbit with no problem. The slight loss of thrust from the SRB burn-thru would not have been a problem.

It was only sheer bad luck that the burn-thru occurred where it did, and no other reason.


No politics, no segments. No wind shear, no burn-thru, no explosion.

It was just that simple.

Shuttle Challenger Crew

Thought For The Day:

Lord, grant that I may always be right, for thou knowest  I am hard to turn. ~ Scotch-Irish prayer



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