Daily Archives: February 1, 2021

Way To Go, Gwen!

This beautiful young lady is Gwen Robinson Bennet, our great (or grand) niece, depending on your predilection. She’s the granddaughter of Jan’s sister Debbie, and lives up in St. Charles, MO.

Gwen Graduation 3

She graduated from high school on Wednesday, Jan. 13th, and started college the next day. A very smart young lady.

Over the years we’ve watched her grow up, from a little cutie like this,

Gwen and Jan

well, two cuties above.

To this,

Gwen 2

and this.

Gwen Concert 1

Congratulations, Gwen!

Problems For The Digital Age:

Love hurts! Man reveals hackers demanded $1,000 ransom to release his digitally locked chastity belt – forcing him to use bolt cutters and cutting himself in the process!

Thought For The Day:

The biggest step in any relationship isn’t the first kiss.
It’s the first fart.



February 1, 2010

Two Weeks From Today !!!!

The Hitch Itch is getting bad!

We plan on leaving two weeks from today on 2/15. Although it may slip a day or so due to scheduling the on-site RV Mobile Repair people to come out and change the oil / filters/ belts, etc., on the rig.

I’ve also been trying to get a bunch of things repaired / upgraded, etc., but the weather is just not cooperating.

So far, I’ve replaced a leaky water tank fill valve and a leaky water heater pressure relief valve.

I’m in the process of replacing a broken cable on our house battery bank, and painting some rust spots on the framework that holds the batteries.

I’m also going to replace my headlight bulbs and adjust the aim, lubricate my PacBrake exhaust brake, replace a leaky tire pressure sensor, fix a balky roof vent fan, install a new door strut, and about a hundred other things.

Unfortunately, it’s been rainy and/or cold for the last several weeks which has put a real crimp in things.

I had also planned to pull up the carpet in the front part of the coach and put down Allure laminate flooring. However, Home Depot decided that this was not to be. I placed my order on 1/6 and was told it would arrive on 1/15, leaving me a month to get it installed. No problem.

On 1/15 I was told it was on its way and would be here on 1/18. On 1/18 I was told that it had not really been shipped and was actually back-ordered and would not arrive until 2/10, maybe.

At best that’s only five days before we plan on leaving, and of course, it may not show up in time. If it does show up, I’ll take it with us and install it on the road. If not, there’s always next year.

Sure am glad that I didn’t go ahead and rip the carpet up before the flooring came in!

On better news, it looks like we’ll be cutting our travels short this coming year by about 2-1/2 months, and return to Houston the first part of September instead of right before Thanksgiving as usual.

The reason this is good news is that we’re doing this to try and be here for the birth of our 2nd grandchild. As I tell people, we try to have a new grandchild every 17 years or so.

And it’s working out perfectly. This one is due on September 7th, which is the same day our granddaughter Piper turns 17.

And here’s our daughter, Brandi, on the left, and our granddaughter, Piper, on the right. Although they’re often mistaken for sisters, they’re really aunt and niece, since Piper is our son Chris’ daughter.


I’m hoping for a boy, but everyone else apparently wants a girl.

My thought is that we’ve already got one of those and she turned out great.  So let’s try the other one. But we’ll see how it works out.

More later…

February 1, 2011

Pelicans and Moose and Bears, Oh My . . .

8 Days and Counting . . .

Well, the weather around here has just gone to the dogs, if the dogs are Alaskan sled dogs, that is.

One of the reasons we spend the winter here in Houston is because we expect warm weather, not 4 nights in a row in the low 20’s, yes, the low 20’s! With the possibility of snow on Friday.

But the cold weather did make the morning’s coffee even better. Then Jan and I spend some time going over our schedule since we plan on leaving one week from tomorrow. There’s still a lot to be done and people to get together with before we hit the road.

I spent the rest of the morning pulling up carpet in the front of the rig. It’s slow going because it’s very thick and tough, and hard to cut through, so it’s taken longer than I thought. Lucky for me though, it’s not stapled down like in some rigs.

On a different note, I collect mascots. Or at least pictures of them. We’ve seen them all over the country, and I’m always amazed at some of the paint jobs.

These pelicans are here in Seabrook, TX, right up the road from us.

Pelican Mascot 1

Pelican Mascot 2

Pelican Mascot 3

This one’s really a stork, but I’m not sure why, though.

Pelican Mascot 4

Pelican Mascot 5

Pelican Mascot 6

This one’s out in front of the Seabrook Hooters. I think it would be better if it were a female pelican.

Pelican Mascot 7

These bears are in Easthampton, MA, a small town near Chicopee, MA, where Jan went to High School. These are just a few of the over 30 bears they have in the town. They even have a BearFest every year.

Bear 1

Bear 2

Bear 3

Bear 4

Bear 5

These moose are in Coeur d’Alene, ID.



This one looks like he’s in the habit of wandering off.


And finally, these mermaids are in Beaufort, SC where we lived in the early 1970’s when I worked for the Department of Defense.

Mermaid 1

Mermaid 2

Later we left the rig about 4 pm to pick up our granddaughter Piper and then met our friend Maria at La Brisa for dinner.

Then after that, Jan, Maria and Piper attended the visitation for Jackie Chattin, a friend of ours from the Alvin Opry who passed away this past Saturday.

More tomorrow. Our time here is growing short, and there’s still a lot to do.

Thought for the Day:

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.



February 1, 2012

Rockport and RAM . . .

We’ve had a lot of rain the last couple of days around here. I figure though, it’s just passing through heading down to Rockport and Mission, so I hope it well stay down that way

This morning Jan and I had our Doctors appointments for the year, and $916 later, we’re just fine. Heck, I could have told her that for a lot less money, but this is the only way to get our prescriptions written so we don’t have much choice.

After we left the doctor’s, we stopped off at the Egg and I for breakfast about 10am. Then it was on to my client’s to check and be sure the UPS Shipping system was working OK.

Last night I had upgraded it to the 2012 version and also moved it from an XP machine to a new Win 7 machine, and I wanted to make sure it actually would ship a package. I didn’t want them to start trying to do shipments this afternoon and find out it wouldn’t work.

And I’m glad I did. There was a problem with the label printer that didn’t show up until you tried to print an actual label. But I was able to get it figured out and working OK I guess because they didn’t call me this afternoon.

Leaving there we stopped off at Wal-Mart for a few things before heading home. Or at least trying to.

When we tried to leave it was pouring down so hard you couldn’t see the cars in the parking lot.

But finally it slacked off and we headed home, for a while at least. On the way our son Chris called and we set up dinner with him, Linda, and granddaughter Piper at Mario’s up in Seabrook for about 5:30.

When we got home, I found Mister in my chair doing his best Jabba the Hutt imitation, and giving me that look that says. “WHAT?”

Mister the Hutt

After dinner and a quick stop at a client’s, we went by Brandi’s to pick up the 2GB of RAM that had come in for a laptop I’m working on. After cleaning all the viruses and malware out, it was still glacially slow. Turns out it only had 640MB of RAM in it. But bumping it up to the max of 2GB really makes it run.

Today we had to get up early for 8am doctor appointments, tomorrow I have a 9am client appointment 45 minutes away, and Friday morning we have to take Brandi to the airport at 8:45.

This is getting up early is getting old quick. Stop it!

Thought for the Day:

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. – Prov 22:3)



February 1, 2013

Two Down, One to Go . . .

Catching up on Yesterday.

A couple of things arrived in the mail. One was the two extra thermal fuses that I ordered so I would have a spare in case one blows again in our washer/dryer. Ordinarily I wouldn’t worry about it since the one I bought locally cost around $18, and if I ordered one from the Splendide supplier they’re $40. But I found them through Amazon for $2.69 ea. So I ordered two.

I figured I’ll need another one sooner or later.

I also received the pair of Denso 26” wiper blades for the rig I ordered, also from Amazon. Fleetwood sells them for $40. Amazon had them for $18. Nice.

I headed out about 12:30 on an afternoon of client stuff. First stop was a client that’s still running XP on a computer I built for him in 2006. It does what he needs and he sees no reason to upgrade, but as it turns out his power supply finally gave up the ghost after 7 years.

Had a little trouble finding an ATX power supply locally, since all machines use SATA now, but I finally tracked one down. I’ll deliver it on Saturday and get him up and running again, hopefully for another 7 years.

I got back to the rig a little before 4pm, just in time to pick up Jan and then our friend’s Dick and Lillis. We were taking them to our favorite local Chinese place, King Food.

Dick and Lillis

You’re always nervous when you take someone to a place you’ve highly recommended, but it turns out that they liked it as much as we did.

We got home about 7:30 and then I had to turn right around and go back up to Webster to do some computer stuff for a client that can’t be done during the day when they’re working.

The big problem as usual, turned out to be upgrading the UPS shipping software. Every January they come out with the new version, and every January it turns out to be a real pain. Something always doesn’t work right.

This time it turned to be a problem with configuring the Remote Workstations located on other computers around the office. The setup sure doesn’t work like it used to, and there’s nothing in the instructions telling me how to do it differently.

About 11pm I gave up and headed home. I’ll call UPS Tech Support tomorrow and see what the problem is.

Back to Today.

I left the rig about 11:30 for more client stuff, and some errands. On the way home I picked up some MegaMillions Lotto tickets, and mailed Jan’s fingerprint cards back to Gate Guard Services for Jan’s Security Guard License.

Then I stopped and filled up the truck and WOW!  A week and a half ago when I filled up, gas was $3.09. Now it’s $3.29.


Getting back to the rig, I took a look at the Day/Night shade on my side of the bedroom. And it turned out to be a simple fix. The barrel tie-downs on both sides had cracked letting the cords loose, so I was able to quickly repair things without having to restring the shade. Took me longer to take it down and put it back up than to actually fix it.

So that’s two down and one to go. Only the living room one is left.

About 5pm Jan and I headed out to meet some friends at the Kelley’s Country Cookin place in Alvin for dinner. Really good food.

Then we all headed over to the Alvin Opry for a great show. Since we’ve only got a little over two weeks left here, this will probably be our last visit for this time.

Thought for the Day:

The duty of a Patriot is to protect his country from his government. – Thomas Paine



February 1, 2014 Uncategorized No comments

Four Years in the Making . . .

or The Installing, as it were.

Well, I’m getting pretty sick of this. I’ve had to get up at 7 AM two days in a row. And even worse, when I came out into the living room this morning, the flooring elves had failed to appear once again. I’m not leaving out snacks for them ever again.

So it looks like my son Chris and I (mostly Chris) will have to finish up the floor today. And by ‘finish up’ I mean, finally start actually laying it down.

And yes, this project did start 4 long years ago. But it’s Home Depot’s fault. I originally ordered the flooring on 12/6/10. It was supposed to in by 12/15, leaving me two months to get it installed before we headed out for the year. But that was not to be.

The flooring finally came in on February 12th, three days before we were supposed to leave. So 2010 was out. 2011 has faded into the mists of time so I’m not sure what happened.

But 2012-2013 was going to be THE year. I was going to do the floor during all the spare time I had while we were gate guarding. But gate guarding consisted of guarding, sleeping, and eating, so that didn’t work out either.

So here it is, 2014, and today’s the day.

Here’s the first section laid out. When we’re finished, there will be a nice transition strip covering the joint between the tile and the flooring.

Allure Flooring Install 7

Since we have to start from the edge, but want to be sure that the flooring seam runs straight from front to back, we left some slack around the edges to allow us to adjust things when we had built out to the middle. But Chris did such a great job measuring, we didn’t need to adjust anything.

The Allure flooring we’re using glue strips on the each edge and one end that hold everything together. But the strips do make it kind of difficult to trial-fit pieces without them sticking together prematurely.

Allure Flooring Install 4


Right before Chris laid each strip down, I lightly wet-mopped the area with a sponge mop to pick up any last debris that might get under the tile.

Allure Flooring Install 10


I will come back later and fill in the area behind the pedals so the flooring will go all the way to the firewall.

Allure Flooring Install 11


Here the front section is completely done. Yaaah!

Allure Flooring Install 12


And here’s the finished product. We’ll set the two front chairs in place on Monday afternoon after I finish the area under the dashboard.

Allure Flooring Install 13


And here’s a close-up of the floor.

Allure Flooring Install 14

Chris did a great job, especially getting it all laid in one day. And I want to compliment myself on my great job as supervisor, which consisted mainly of handing him things and otherwise staying out of his way.

The reason I supervised is that one, I knew he would probably do a better job, and two, since you have to lay the strips down in a certain order, only one person can really be working on it at a time.

At least that’ my story and I’m sticking with it.

It’s Official!

At the upcoming 54th Escapade in Goshen, IN this coming May I will be giving my seminar on Gate Guarding entitled “Gate Guarding for Fun? and Profit”.  Jan and I will be imparting much of the hard-won knowledge that we’ve accumulated gate guarding for 7 months the last two years. Hopefully we can tell you things we wish someone had told us before we started.

I don’t have the date and time yet, but I will let you know. Looking forward to seeing you there.

Brandi and Lowell are going to a 40th birthday party tonight for Brandi’s BFF, and the theme is The 70’s. Everyone is supposed to dress the part, and it looks like they’re ready to go.

Back to the 70'

Peace Out!

Thought for the Day:

Have you ever looked at someone and just knew the wheel was turning, but the hamster was dead?



February 1, 2017

Two Weeks From Today . . .

Two weeks from tonight we’ll be parked back at the Colorado River Thousand Trails park in Columbus.

We’ll be there for two weeks, mainly getting our doctor stuff out of the way for the year. But we have a lot of other things we want to do and people we want to see before we leave for Tucson sometime around the 10th of March.

That is, if I’m not still stuck in the mud here. I didn’t get a chance to try moving the rig forward today, so it’s put off until tomorrow. I haven’t been sleeping well the last couple of days so I just didn’t feel like doing it today. Luckily it looks like the forecasted showers will hold off another day too.

In fact today I was so discombobulated that I left the rig this afternoon without my phone, my watch, and my wedding ring. So I keep rubbing my ring finger where it’s missing from.

I’m also missing my phone because at least I could usually get email and text, even if I can’t make phone calls. I say usually, because sometimes I get nothing for an hour or so, and then email and text are back.

And my 3G aircard is useless here. Right now it’s showing that I’m connected to a 3G signal and I have Internet access, but I can get absolutely no data of any kind through it.

However two miles south of here I show 4 bars of 4G with phone calls, data, and text. And my aircard works great. And 5 miles west of here on the actual frack pad, everything also works great.

I’m starting to wonder if there’s some sort of interference in this immediate area that’s causing the problem. I’m thinking along these lines because 3 different wireless vehicle alarm systems are also flakey, including our normally very reliable Mighty Mules. They will work fine for a while and then just quit for hours and then start up again, very similar to the phone problems.

This is one case that really makes me miss the old-fashion gas station bells that Gate Guard Services uses. They pretty much just work.

There is a large production facility across the street from us with a lot storage tanks and trailer office buildings. And there are also several 100 foot or so radio towers back behind the site, with microwave dishes on them.

And although none of the dishes point directly in our direction, a mis-tuned or leaky amplifier could be blanketing our area with enough RF radiation to overload local receivers, no matter what the frequency. If I had a spectrum analyzer I could try and track it down, but no such luck.

Anyway that’s my theory and I’m sticking with it.

When I came back in to the gate this afternoon to relieve Jan, I also had to apologize to her. When she came in at 5:30 this morning she was visibly shaken and upset. When I ask her why, she said it was so foggy that she couldn’t see the road most of the time and it scared her to death.

I told her that she should have just driven slow and easy and she’d be OK.

But when I headed back to the rig on the same path a few minutes later, I ended up ‘visibly shaken’ too, and probably scared ‘half’ to death.

You just could not see the road. But it was not from the fog directly, but due to the condition of the road. Along about 10 of the 16 miles trip, there are no road markings at all. Not center line, no edge strips, no nothing. Just asphalt.

And with the fog, there was no way to really tell where the road edge stopped and the shoulder (and the ditch) started. In some cases the only way to tell was the ride got rougher when your wheel went on the shoulder.

It took me over 50 minutes to make the normal 20 minute trip.

Sorry, sweetheart.

On final note, Jan has another admirer on the gate. A little after 6pm a guy was leaving in a company truck that I didn’t recognize, so I assume he was from the new workover rig that came in yesterday.

He asked me what happened to the cute blonde that was here earlier?

I said I sent her home, and he questioned, “She’s your wife?”

I said, “Yep, for almost 50 years now.”

“Damn, you rob the cradle?”

I said, “Nope. It was kind of the other way around.”

“So she was, what, 12 when you married her?”

And then before I could say anything, he said, “Hell, are you from Alabama?”

Before I could tell him Yes, he drove off.

I’m gonna have to keep a closer eye on that girl.

Thought for the Day:

In the 1940’s, Dr. William Sewell built an artificial heart using parts from an Erector Set.

And I thought I was doing pretty good to build a 3 foot tall Ferris Wheel.



February 1, 2018

It Didn’t Work . . .

Jan and I headed out about 2:30 on our way to meet our friend Lynn at the Texas Roadhouse over in Pasadena, but we detoured by our son Chris’ to let him pull the oil pressure sensor connector and Strike-Hold it.

While we were there we got a look at his new (OK,  old) bike project. It’s a 1998 Yamaha V-Star 650.

Chris Bike 1998 V-Star

One thing noticeable is this piston as the gear shift knob. I assumed it was a real piston, but Chris turned it out of a solid block of aluminum on his metal lathe . . . which he also made himself.

Chris Bike 1998 V-Star Shifter

This is his main ride, a Yamaha 1900.

Chris New Yamaha 1900

Chris let the engine cool down for about 30 minutes before he took a crack at it. The biggest problem was getting the connector unlatched and off.  But once he did, he sprayed it, latched it back on, and then Jan and I headed over to Pasadena to meet Lynn.

And within a few minutes, I could tell that cleaning the connector didn’t fix the problem. So now we’re looking at the oil  pressure sensor again. Stay tuned.

Jan and Lynn worked together years (mid 80’s to early 90’s) ago at Medical Center del Oro Hospital up near the Astrodome, Since then Lynn has been in the marriage business.

As Minister Lynn Turner and Associates, she and her group of ministers travel all over to perform your wedding for you. She has some funny stories about weddings performed in prisons and other strange locations.

But my favorite story was when the groomsmen wheeled a coffin down the aisle on a hand truck, the coffin swings open and the groom steps out . . . in full Dracula regalia. Now Lynn had no idea this was going to happen, so she was wondering what the bride was going to be wearing . . . Bride of Frankenstein, maybe?

But the bride was just wearing a standard bridal gown. What’s up with that?

Jan and Lynn at Texas Roadhouse

We had a great time seeing Lynn again and we want to do it again soon.

Coming home we made a Wal-Mart stop before getting home a little after 7pm.

Tomorrow’s kind of open since I’m not working, so we’ll see how it goes.

Before we headed out this afternoon, I set up Drop-In on our Alexa Echo and Dots. This lets us use them as intercoms between each other. It just takes a couple of minutes to configure them and also give each one a location, i.e. Bedroom, Living Room, etc.

Then you just say, “Alexa, Drop In on Bedroom” and you’re in a two-way conversation. Then when you’re done, you just say, “Alexa, stop.”


The Word of the Day is:

Thought for the Day:

After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it.” – William S. Burroughs.



February 1, 2019

A Nice Long Chat . . .

My sale prices went online on the website right at midnight. Or I assume they did, since they were there a little after 1am when I checked. What didn’t work for some reason was that the banner ads did not switch over. So I had to do that manually, but that only took a couple of minutes, so no problem.

Of course we’ll see what happens when it’s all supposed to go back to normal at midnight on 1 March 2019.

I spent a good bit of the day at work adding a lot of new products to the website and the catalog, but I also got the a new hard drive installed in the webserver. Luckily I was able to hot-install it without shutting down the server. Once I get it configured I’ll use it to do regular image backups.

I did have a nice long chat today with Cummins Tech Support concerning rig’s oil leak, and he had actually seen something like this. It seems that if the thin rubber gasket around the edge of the filter is not thoroughly wetted down with oil, it can dry rot and very tiny pieces can stick to the mounting flange when the filter is removed.

LF9009 Gasket

Then when the new filter is installed this can be enough to cause a small leak under the pressure of the engine’s oil system. When I questioned whether or not losing 2 gallons in a couple of hundred miles qualified as a ‘small leak’, he laughed  and said a large leak would pump all the oil out in just a few minutes.

When I asked about why we did a 90 minute test drive at highway speeds with no leakage, he said that the heating and cooling of the filter during the test drive could have reseated it slightly enough to cause it to leak the next time.

So at least now I’ve got an idea of what might be wrong, and where to go from here.

For dinner tonight we had our leftover El Bosque meal from yesterday. Combined with some of our own vegetables, it was almost as good as yesterday. Almost.

Tomorrow evening we’re headed up to Pearland for the 2nd Annual Tony Booth’s Birthday Bash. Tony is a long-time friend of ours from our Alvin Opry days, and we try to catch up with him when we can.

Tony Booth 2019 Birthday Bash

Tony has played with Buck Owens, Gene Watson, and many others, plus has had a number of charted hits over the years, as well as a number of ACM (Academy of Country Music) awards, including Most Promising Male Vocalist of The Year  in 1972.

Really looking forward to it.

Beforehand we plan on having dinner at the Monterey’s Little Mexico there in Alvin. Always good.

Thought for the Day:

Why is it that once you’re over the hill, it seems like you begin to pick up speed.

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