Monthly Archives: October 2023


Happy Halloween!


Today was another nice, quiet stay-at-home day, with temps never making it into the 60’s and probably down to the high 30’s tonight. And last night’s 45° meant we turned on our heated mattress pad for the first time this season.

Since we now have a few kids here in the park, we did stock up on a little candy, but no one showed up. Well, a pizza delivery guy did knock, wondering if we ordered a pizza. Somehow someone ordered one without giving them a site number, so he was just going from rig to rig trying to deliver it.

Talking about Halloween, I thought I’d repost these photos showing Brandi’s yard in a past year.

Brandi Halloween 2021-1

Brandi Halloween 2021-2

Looks like Houston is getting another Area Code in the next year or so. 621 will join 713, 281, 832, and 346 sometime in 2025.

The first area code, 713, was assigned in 1947, joined by 281 in 1996. Then, with the explosion in cell phones, 832 joined the fray in 1999, followed by 346 in 2014. And 621 is only supposed to last another 9 years.

I was wondering how many area codes there are in the US, thinking they’ve only got 999 possibilities. Thought it’s actually less since you’ve got the 15 or so Toll-Free 800 type numbers. But it turns out there are only about 350 area codes in use right now, so they’ve got a ways to go before they run out.

Saw this sign at a place selling cigarettes.

Is this like saying that McDonald’s makes their food as addictive as possible so you’ll buy more?

BTW According to the CDC, more people die each year from obesity-related causes than from smoking-related ones.

Saw this Viking Helmet costume for dogs at HEB the other day, and wondered how it would look on Karma.

Viking Kitty!

Happy Halloween!


And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

October 31, 2009

Pumpkin Cheese Bread…err…Cake

Today was our last full day here in Elkhart, IN.  We’ve been here almost a month and we’re starting to get a bad case of ‘Hitch-Itch’.  It’s time to hit the road.

And since we’re hitting the road tomorrow,  today was cleaning day…along with trying to find a place for everything.  When we stay in one place for a while, it can be a challenge to get back in the groove of packing up to travel again.

Around 2 pm Michele Henry of Phoenix Commercial Paint came by to look over our rig.  She had been at the park visiting and I wanted her to check out our rig because I want her to do some repair work/painting for us when we’re here next year. I’ve seen a number of rigs Michele has painted and she really does quality work.

Then about 3:30 we headed out to Bob Evans for a going-away meal.

A little later, we had some dessert.  It was a Pumpkin Cheese Bread, or Cake.

It is fantastic!  And here’s the recipe.

It’s called a bread, but it’s really a cake. The cheese filling is cream cheese.

October 31, 2010

Rocky Horror and the Monkey . . .

Brandi sent this photo over of Landon in his first Halloween costume. He seems pretty happy with it, although Brand said he didn’t seem to really like the hood.

Landon in Monkey Suit

Jan and I have finally started walking again. Last year we were up to about 3 miles a day, but since we started back this past Wednesday we can tell it’s going to take a while to get back there again.

A little before 11 am we headed up the road a few miles to La Brisa Mexican restaurant for their great breakfast buffet. We met our longtime friends Bob and Maria Sutton, and we ended up spending almost two hours just talking.

Then, after breakfast, it was off to Walmart for some groceries before heading home.

By the time we got home it was after 2 and it seemed like a good time for a nap.

And I was right. It was!

At 5 pm we started watching that perennial Halloween favorite, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. At least it’s a favorite if you’re weird and a little twisted, like Jan and I.

Or, in my case, a lot twisted.

Tonight is Jan’s big TV night, with Amazing Race and Desperate Housewives, two of Jan’s favorites. Not being a big fan, I usually just go into the bedroom and read.

Tomorrow I have to meet with several clients so it should be a busy day.

October 31, 2011

Absolutely Nothing Happen Today . . .

Well, very, very little, anyway.

When I got up I had a call from the RV/MH Hall of Fame about a problem with their computer system. I’m not sure why, because it’s the same problem I fixed last Monday before we left Elkhart. I guess I’ll have to wait and see next Monday.

Other than that, it was nice and quiet. We just read, watched TV, and played on the Internet.

Our daughter Brandi called about 5:30 to say HI, and that was about it.

Like I said, very, very little.

October 31, 2013



Well, it’s Halloween tonight, including here at the gate. Actually I started giving out candy right after midnight. Jan said it was funny to watch the big, burly truck drivers squealing over free candy just like little kids.

And we even decorated.

Halloween on the Gate

Mister just stares at the spider and growls really low, but he’s not afraid of the pumpkin. In fact, he decided he could take it out, and he did. After sitting on the table and looking at it for a few minutes, he made a flying leap about three feet up and three feet out, sunk his claws into it and rode it down.

The pumpkin is made of corduroy and stuffed with foam and he had no trouble breaking the string. It’s hard to imagine a cat this big can jump that high and that far, but he did. Then he just sat on the ground with it between his front paws and looked at it like he was expecting the pumpkin to make a run for it so he could chase it. But after a while he just left it lying there and jumped up on the table and went back to sleep. Mission Accomplished.

Today was grocery shopping day at the Wal-Mart in Pleasanton. As you probably remember from a couple of blogs ago, there was a computer screw-up with Jan’s prescriptions and I ended up not actually paying for them when I checked out. I told the pharmacist that I would settle up with them when I came in today. I offered to give them a credit card number right then, but she said when I came in would be fine.

Well, after paying for my prescription today I went over to the pharmacist’s window to take care of Jan’s bill, only to find out there was no longer a bill to take care of. He laughed and said the computer at the home office was yelling at them twice a day wanting to know why the prescriptions were gone from inventory, but not showing as paid in the system. The pharmacist said he took care of it and don’t worry about it. I mentioned that I had offered them a credit card number over the phone, and he said there was no way to enter that into the system. He said consider it an early Christmas present. So Merry Christmas to me.

The McDonald’s in Pleasant needs to be burnt to the ground so they can just start from scratch with a whole new building and crew. And it’s not just once, it’s every time I go there.

Whenever I get groceries in Pleasanton, I always bring back lunch, either from McDonald’s or from Sonic, or sometimes a split order like today. Stopping first at McD’s, I ordered an Iced Caramel Latte for Jan, 4 Pumpkin Pies as desserts later in the week, and three of the Apple Slice Packets for me. And it took 26! minutes from the time I placed my order until I walked out the door. I saw two groups walk out because they couldn’t get waited on.

In contrast, at the Sonic down the road, I ordered a Chili Cheese Dog and an order of Ched’R Poppers for Jan, and two Corn Dogs and a 44oz Coke Zero for me. And it took 6! minutes ’til the girl had the order at my truck. Now that’s service.

This evening (Thursday) one of the big tanker trucks didn’t turn wide enough and broke our gate.

Broken Gate

He ran up over it and smashed the side of it flat and also tore down some of the fencing. He talked with his company and said they’ll have someone out Friday morning to see about fixing it.

Wrapping up, it now looks like we may not be here quite as long as we thought. Yesterday the new company man told Jan he thought we would only be needed for another week and a half to two weeks, when they’ll be finished up at the frack site. The only question is how this will work for the other two pads that have tankers coming in all day and night carrying out crude. Supposedly they will lock the gate (well, not now until they fix it) and every truck will have to unlock it and then lock it behind them, going and coming. Don’t know how that’s going to go over.

Anyway, it’s possible we’ll be off this gate as much as two weeks before we plan to leave, and it’s probably not worth it to move to another gate for just two weeks. And I’m not sure if Jamie at GGS would want to anyway. So if we do leave early we’ll probably head up to either the Lake Medina or the Colorado River Thousand Trails park until we’re supposed to be back at Galveston Bay RV Resort on the 24th of November.

But, as always, we’ll see how it goes.

October 31, 2014

Could Be Worse . . .

Could Be Raining!

But 38° will be bad enough. At least the wind has pretty much died off. But unfortunately, according to the Weather Channel, it’s supposed to be the coldest at about 7am tomorrow, just when my Sweetie comes out to relieve me. And even by noon it’s still supposed to be in the mid-50’s.


The wind today was pretty bad, enough that it kept pulling out the big nails that stake the canopy legs to the ground. The problem is that the caliche that the pad is made from is so hard I can’t drive the nails in very far before they actually start to bend.

Canopy Stake Nails

So what I did was use my biggest drill bit and just drilled a 6 inch deep starter hole to get it far enough down to hold. Seems to be working so far. I did also have to cut one side loose of the windbreak at the rear of the canopy. I installed it with tie-wraps so all I had to do was just snip a couple of them and then install new ones when the high winds die down.

I ordered something from Amazon the other day, and once again FedEx came through. Last week they delivered to the Gate Guard Services Yard on the Interstate feeder two miles out of town. It’s completely out in the country, no buildings around, just a gate entrance to a dirt road, and a 3’ x 3’ sign on the fence post.

So today they delivered to:

Greg White
Gate Guard Services Gate
Simpson Road
North Zulch, TX

Jan said the guy drove up, asked if this was the Gate Guard Services Gate, handed her the package, and drove off. Easy Peazy.

Finally got a shot of Landon in his Halloween costume, complete with a helmet this time.

Landon in Space

Though for some reason I was expecting one of those old 50’s Space Patrol bubble helmets.

space patrol helmet 6

But this’ll work.

October 31, 2015

Well, that was fun . . .


It’s amazing, and scary, how fast the weather can change, going from good to very, very bad in just a few minutes. Like these RV’ers at the River Ranch Campground in New Braunfels, TX.

They went from this,


to this so quickly they didn’t have a chance to leave.

River_Ranch_CG 2

Notice the 5th wheel that didn’t even get his slide in.

We’ve driven over this campground on I-35 a number of times and always remarked how beautiful it was, located right on the Guadalupe River. But having seen in the past how fast a river can rise, it always made me a little queasy. And it doesn’t even have to be raining where you are. But ten miles upstream it can be a whole ‘nuther story, with the water level rising 6 to 8 feet in just a few minutes and heading downstream to you.

Our hearts and sympathy go out to all affected by this storm.

In comparison, my little adventure this morning doesn’t even rate, but at the time it did keep me busy.

After on-and-off slow, drizzling rain most of last night and early this morning, it finally let up, and when I checked the radar about 3am, there was nothing to be seen. But a new, much more powerful storm announced itself a little after 5am, with a big WHUMMP!, as a sudden wind gust tried to pick up the canopy. Within seconds it was pouring down, heavier than any rain we’ve had since we’ve been here. And the wind didn’t let up either, but if anything got worse.

We’ve had storm damage to our canopies before, so my preparations have evolved over the years.

This was at our second gate in 2012, about 2 weeks into our first gate-guarding adventure.

We were following a Marathon drill rig, and a tornado was sighted about 5 miles away. The Company Man came and told us to evacuate to the Tool Pusher’s trailer, which was an oversized cargo container tied down to the ground.

Gg 23

So Jan and I crowded in with about 30 of the crew to wait out the storm. Jan had wanted to bring the cats, but I had said No. Mister would have been fine, but Emma would have freaked out.

When the storm passed and we went back to the rig, this is what we found.

GG 22

I was actually able to repair the canopy frame and get it all back together with a little work.

Then last year, in 2014, a downdraft hit us in the middle of a bad storm, leaving us with this.

Canopy Damage 2014

Notice that it’s just crushed in from the top. With the canopy shredded, this is when I started using a tarp instead, much stronger than the thin canopy fabric.

And the fact that a new canopy was $80, and would take 10 days to two weeks to arrive, and I had a tarp in the back of the truck didn’t hurt either.

This year I did things a little differently. The canopy frame, which survived last year’s storm, is staked down, and also weighted down with 4 – 50 pound containers of water. Then the tarp is just laid over the frame, and not really tied down to it, but it too is tied off to stakes in the ground.

This lets the tarp give some, and lets the wind blow through without trying to take the frame with it. And based on this morning, it was a pretty good plan.

When the storm first hit, I bundled all the electronics into garbage bags and stowed them in the truck out of the way. Then I just waited it out, keeping an eye on things. We did have a couple of gusts that got under the tarp and billowed it up with a loud SNAP!, but it all held together.

I went inside a little after 6am when it looked like things were dying down, and luckily, by the time Jan went out at 7, it was pretty much over.

We only had 48 vehicles through the gate today, the big majority of them water tankers taking out water from the Flowback. As far as the Flowback itself, we only have a crew of six running things, three on the day shift and three on the night.

During the week, there’s always a bunch of management types passing through, but it seems they don’t work weekends. Much the better for everyone, I’m sure.

Our grandson Landon has apparently decided on a career in Law Enforcement. Here he is walking down to receive his diploma after Academy graduation.

Officer Morrison

And here he is with his first ‘collar’.

Officer Morrison and Prisoner

A recidivist candy-napper if I ever saw one. Kitty does have a kind of wild look in her eyes. Must be high on sugar.

Love those mirror shades.

October 31, 2016

A Rogue Plug-in . . .

I didn’t finally get Sunday’s blog posted until about 3:30 this afternoon due to a rogue plug-in in my WordPress setup.

The problem first appeared about 1am this morning when I finished the blog and began to upload it. About 5 seconds into the procedure, I would get an error message that said ‘500 Internal Server Error’. Now I didn’t think much of this at the time because I see it every now and then. But usually I just wait a little while, try it again, and it goes through with no more problems.

But not this time. I continued to try it about every 30 minutes until I headed back home at 5am, still with no luck.

Thinking maybe it was a laptop problem I tried it again from my desktop machine in the rig with no better results. So I went to bed. And that was it until I got up about 11:30.

At that point, though, the first thing I did was to check with the real estate office (the lady owns also owns the RV park) to see if our absentee ballots had come in. But no luck yet.

I spent the next hour or so trying to figure out what the baseline problem was. Finally, I decided to just use WP’s built-in editor to publish the blog. And after copying and pasting the blog text into the editor, I began to upload the photos into the Media folder so I could then paste them into the blog.

And that’s when the problem became obvious. When I tried to upload the photos, I immediately got an HTTP Error message. And got it over and over again, no matter whether it was GIF, JPG, or PNG, and no matter how large or small, I even tried to upload a 5 byte text file with no luck.

First things first, I logged into my Godaddy account to check the file permissions on the Images folder. If the permissions had somehow gotten changed to Read Only, then no new files, i.e. photos could be written to the folder. But the permissions were fine.

So having reached the limit of what I could do from my end, I put in a call to Godaddy Tech Support . . . and was told there was a 37 minute wait. That’s what I get for calling in the middle of the day. Usually I’m calling at 2 in the morning and I get right through. But Godaddy has this neat feature where they take your phone number and then call you back when there’s a tech available.

When he did call back, he was immediately able to recreate the problem on his end, which is always a  relief. I told him nothing had been changed or update in the last week or so. It was just working fine Saturday night and not working Sunday night.

So we went down the list, with Mark the tech guy trying different settings and then I would try to upload an image. He even temporarily changed out the Brava theme for another one. And nothing worked until he turned off all WP plug-ins. And then suddenly it worked. Now to figure out which of the 40 odd plug-ins was causing the problem. Lucky for us, the plug-ins are listed alphabetically and the rogue began with a ‘C’ – CAPTCHA for Login.

As soon as we turned that one off, everything worked again. But why was it causing the problem?  The CAPTCHA is one of those plug-ins that makes you type in the letters from a distorted graphic. Like this.


It took some sleuthing, but we finally figured out what happened. Well, kind of.

Turns out the CAPTCHA plug-in pulls its graphics from the company’s website, and it looks like the company went out of business yesterday, and the website is gone. So we know what was causing the problem, but we never figured out why it was keeping photos from being uploaded to the Media folder.

But it’s fixed and I don’t care. But now I need to find a new CAPTCHA program, hopefully one that won’t shut down.

Originally tonight was supposed to be my last scheduled night of gate work, but just as I hung up with Godaddy, Todd texted me to let me know I’ll be working at this gate again tomorrow, Tuesday night. Said he didn’t know yet about Wed, or any further along.

So we’ll see.

October 31, 2017


We were hankering for some Mexican food this afternoon, and normally we would have headed over to Dickinson to Monterey’s Little Mexico. But that location hasn’t reopened since the Harvey flooding.

So our next choice was the location up Hwy. 6 in Alvin, so off we went about 1:30. We were also hoping we might run into some of the other location’s employees, and we did, finding one of the managers working there.

We got our usual Chicken Tortilla Soup and Beef Fajita Nachos, both just as good as the other location. In addition we were told that the Dickinson location will reopen in March. Not sure why it’s taking so long, but at least it will reopen.

After lunch we drove over to Webster so Jan could stop off at Half Price Books and browse for a couple of things she was looking for.

Then after a quick stop at my client’s to pick up a couple of things and then headed off to look at awnings.

I had found a place on the Web that looked like they might be able to make the new awnings for our rig. But when we drove by the address we couldn’t find any sign of them. So I’ll give them a call tomorrow to see if they’ve moved. They do carry the Sunbrella fabric that I want to use.

Next, coming down I-45 and heading for home, we decided to check out a few RV parks along the way. First up was Space City RV Park just off the Interstate below League City. The last time we were here was 4 or 5 years ago, and although it’s improved since then it’s still not very high on our list for an extended stay.

Then it was on down to Dickinson to check out Bay Colony RV Park. We have friends who used to live there and it seemed nice. And it still is. Very neat, with no trash and junk scattered around.

Last up was where we almost stayed down here, Safari RV Park. But lucky for us, our friends Janice and Dave Evans told us about Petticoat Junction. Safari turned to be a mostly rundown mobile home park, with some trashy-looking RV sites thrown in for good measure. Definitely not for us.

Coming home I decided we better get some Halloween candy for all the expected Trick or Treater’s. So we pulled into the Victory Lakes HEB to stock up.

And of course when you’re stocking up on Halloween candy, always be sure to buy candy you like too. In our case , Mini Snickers is the candy of choice.

And what do you know, but here it is 10:30pm and not a trick or treater in sight.

Can I plan, or not?

Brandi sent over this photo of Landon’s Halloween costume, courtesy of his uncle Chris. It’s hard to tell in the daylight, but all those buttons light up and flash in different colors. Also note the mechanical motors on his legs and knees.

Halloween Landon 2017

Brandi said he won the neighborhood costume contest.

Tomorrow it’s back to work, with El Pollo Loco chicken that I’ll pick up on the way home for dinner.

October 31, 2018


Happy Halloween!

In the Halloween theme, Brandi sent over a couple of photos of her family’s costumes.

Here’s Landon in his school’s winning costume parade.

Landon's Robot Parade

I do like the unicorn right in front of him, though it looks like she’s thrown a shoe.

For her part, Brandi and her friends won the ‘Most Entertaining’ prize at her office for her Mariachi Band.

Brandi's Halloween Marachi Band

I was wondering why she wanted me to bring my/our trumpet when we came up to Katy on Sunday. In fact, it’s kind of a family heirloom.

I got this Olds trumpet in 1960 when I joined the Junior High Band at Foley High School in Alabama. Then years later, I played it in high school, and a couple of college bands. Normally I played guitar and some keyboards, but some songs like ‘Ring of Fire’ just cry out for a trumpet.

Then Brandi took up the horn in high school and carried on the tradition.

So, is Landon next?

After putting it on hold Monday and Tuesday, today’s rainy, gloomy weather was perfect for a big batch of Jan’s famous chili.

Jan's Chili 3

Tomorrow we’re getting together with Miss Piper for dinner and then we’ll go by and pick up her Schwinn Mongoose bike from the Bike Barn where I left it Saturday for a flat tire repair and a tune-up.

As expected, I didn’t hear anything from Snider Transmission today, so I called Enterprise Rental and extended the Malibu for another week. Besides I’m having too much fun driving it.

If we didn’t need more room to carry stuff, I might actually consider getting a Malibu for our new toad. Blue Ox does make a baseplate for it and the Dinghy Guide does say the 2018 model is towable. But only the 1.5 L engine without Active Shutters.

I had to Google what Active Shutters are, but now that I know I don’t understand why it would make any difference if the car had them or not.

Active Shutters are a feature that opens and closes ‘shutters’, kind of like blinds behind the grille and in front of the radiator. When the system senses that the outside temps aren’t too hot, or the system is not under heavy AC use, it closes the shutters to make the car more aerodynamically smooth, increasing fuel mileage.

Otherwise, in hot temps, they stay open.

Of course, back in the day, we did this with some cardboard and duct tape.

But as I said, I don’t understand what all this would have to do with towing. Otherwise, all you have to do to tow it is to remove a couple of fuses.

But however this works, it does seem to. So far I’m getting 31.1 mpg, about twice what I get in the Dakota.

October 31, 2019

The Downside To . . .

Losing Weight.

I’ve had a number of reports from readers that they aren’t receiving the blog via an email link. I’ve been looking at the problem but no luck so far.

The Subscriptions are handled by the Jetpack plugin, and I don’t really have a lot of control over it. About all I can do is to turn the service on and off, and view the email addresses of the subscribers. I can not add or delete anyone. Only you can do that to your own entry.

Stay tuned.

Jan and I headed up to Webster about 1pm, first for brunch at Snooze, and then on to my client’s to pick up the new oil filter adapter for our rig.

Rig New Adapter and Gasket

Right now it looks like the weather this Saturday or Sunday might be good, so we’ll see how it works out.

Then it was on over to WalMart/Sam’s for some supplies, but getting back to the truck, Jan realized she had lost her opal ring. She had been showing me how loose it was on her finger due to her weight loss, and it didn’t help that it was so cold today. So somewhere between Snooze and WalMart it had come off her finger.

Opal is her birthstone and I had given her this ring for Valentine’s Day 2013, and it was one of her favorites. So we backtracked our route through WalMart and also checked Customer Service, all with no luck. Then it was back over to Snooze to check there.

However all I could check there was the parking lot, since they closed at 2:30. And with no luck there, I’ll call them tomorrow.

Jan was, of course, pretty upset, but I assured her it was OK, and that now I had something else to give her for Christmas. That’s because I got it on Amazon.

Jan's Lost Opal Ring

Opal Ring

Made in England, it’s solid sterling silver, and had 3 real Australian Opals, but it can be replaced with no problems. As I told Jan, it’s only money.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned how I had ordered Jan one of these Foam Tablet Holders to make it easier for her to read her Kindles when she’s sitting or lying down.

Tablet Prop

It has 3 different angles, one better for sitting in your lap, and another for reading while lying in bed. And a third one in between.

It comes in 5 different colors, and it’s only $11.99. The only downside is that it actually ships from China and took almost 2 weeks to get here. But it is Free Shipping.

Jan liked hers so much, and knowing how much time Landon spends on his iPad, we immediately ordered him one.

Landon Tablet Pillow

And Brandi says it’s a big hit.

Glad he likes it.

October 31, 2020

Hot & Spicy . . .

We’re now in what passes for Fall in Houston, with sunny days in the low 70’s and nights in the high 40’s. Really nice, but unfortunately it never seems to last as long as we want.

Back the first part of October Jan ordered another Halloween shirt to add to her holiday repertoire.

Halloween Last Jan Shirt

The Facebook order page said it would be shipped within 3 days, and should arrive about 7 days.

Well, No.

It finally showed up yesterday, October 30th. But at least she got to wear it on one day, today, on Halloween.

Jan and I headed up to Webster about 1:30pm to have brunch at Snooze once again. It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve been there. and since then, they’ve installed large self-standing glass partitions between the booths which now allows them to bump up to 100% seating capacity.

Jan got her usual Bravocado Toast,

Snooze Bravocado Toast 3

while I got the Shrimp & Grits, with a side of fruit.

Snooze Shrimp & Grits

Really good as always..

Then it was on down the road to the nearby Dunkin Donuts for something hot & spicy.

So what’s ‘hot & spicy’ at Dunkin Donuts?

How about a yeast cake donut with Strawberry Icing infused with Cayenne Pepper and Ghost Chili Pepper spices, and coated with Red Sanding Sugar?

If you know me, you know they had me at “Ghost Chili Pepper’.

Dunkin Donuts Ghost Pepper Donut

But it was not to be.

They had already sold out for today. So we came away with a Pumpkin donut for each of us. So I may stop off Monday morning on the way to work to grab one.

Next up was a Harbor Freight stop, a WalMart stop, and a Costco stop for gas at $1.51/gallon, before finally heading toward home. But we made another stop getting back into Santa Fe.

The Cowboy Coffee shop had opened at last.

Cowbody Coffee

We’ve been watching this place slowly come together over the last few months. And it often seemed to be just sitting here with nothing happening for long periods of time.

But they were open today, and already with a line. So we had to stop and get a couple of coffee drinks to go with our Pumpkin donuts, with Jan getting, what else, a Pumpkin Spice coffee, while I tried the Gingerbread version. Both really good.

And talking with the owner who took our order at the window, I found my suspicions confirmed. They were always waiting for the many various building inspectors to show up, sometimes waiting for weeks, a problem I’ve heard about repeatedly.

Santa Fe is just not that large, so what were the inspectors always doing? Or as I told her, she just didn’t find the right palm to grease.

But at least it’s open now.

Finally back home about 5pm, it was a very nice day!

October 31, 2021


Another shot of our daughter Brandi’s work team costume effort.

Brandi Party Poopers 2

Brandi is the second pile of poop from the right.

And on the subject of Brandi, we met her and Lowell up at Aster Farm to Table near their home in Katy.

Brandi had made a reservation which really helped since they were pretty busy. But even then we had to wait almost 30 minutes for our food since the kitchen was so backed up.

And they had no coffee or tea, or several other things, because of shortages and slow deliveries. In fact the coffee/tea truck is now expected tomorrow. But everything was delicious and worth the wait.

Jan had the Strawberry Mango Salad with Grilled Chicken.

Aster Farm To Table Salad

I had the Big Texas Breakfast with a little bit of everything including probably the best-tasting waffle I’ve ever had.

Aster Farm To Table Breakfast

And Lowell said the same thing since he had something that included a waffle too.

After lunch Brandi and Lowell headed back home while Jan and I drove back up Mason Rd. a couple of miles to pick up a couple of chicken dinners at El Pollo Loco to have tomorrow night. Then we headed down to Brandi’s for a while to check out their Halloween decorations.

Brandi Halloween 2021-1

Brandi Halloween 2021-2

Wish we could have seen them at night. Everything lights up.

October 31, 2022

Don’t Bother . . .

Hopefully I’ll get back to our Wings Over Houston show this past weekend, but in the meantime, I’ll leave you with these two videos.

Check’em out.

Don’t bother buying a PowerBall Lottery ticket for tonight’s $1 BILLION drawing. I’m certain that one of my 10 numbers is going to be a big winner.

You heard it here first. And you’ll know I won if there’s no blog tomorrow night.

As I’ve mentioned here before, I always get the Annuity Option, rather than the Cash Value. This is because, as far as I know, Texas is the only state that requires you to specify which you want when you buy your ticket.

In the case of this $1 Billion prize, if you take the Cash Value option, you will receive $497.3 million before taxes. So you give up $502.7 million, so over half of the $1 Billion.

Then they’ll take out 24% for Federal Taxes, leaving you with $377.9 million. But that’s just the initial Federal withholding. When you settle up with the IRS on April 15th, you’ll owe another 13%, or $64.6 million, leaving you with $313.3 million.

And of course if you live in a state that, unlike Texas, has a State Income Tax, you could lose as much as another 10.9% like in New York state, you’ll give up another $54.2 million, leaving you with $259.1 million.

However if you take the Annuity Option you get the entire $1 Billion, spread out over 30 years. And before you ask, yes, you can leave it to someone in your will.

In the case of this $1 Billion prize, the first year’s payment would be $15,051,435 minus the $3,612,344 IRS share leaving $11,439,091.

Then every year the payout amount increases by 5%, giving you a final payment after 30 years of $61,953,748.

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure that there’s really anything Jan and I could do with $313 million that we couldn’t do with somewhere between $15 and $60 million a year, plus more to leave to the kids.

This Halloween night I thought I’d leave you with this video of Brandi, Lowell, and Landon’s front door, all ready for the Trick or Treaters tonight.



















Jan Was Right . . .


I finally finished filling out that 6-page Texas Device Registration Form and got it sent off. Since they didn’t have a form that could be filled out online, I checked out several programs to let you edit/fill out PDF forms. But none of them worked as well as the free one built into Dropbox. Very intuitive and easy to use.

Check it out.

This afternoon I drove by the house that we had hoped to see the other night just to get a look at it in the daylight. And it’s pretty impressive.

I wish we had been able to see it at night.

Jan and I were listening to old songs on Alexa over the weekend and somehow ended up on Pat Boone’s Moody River from 1961 and started disagreeing on some of the lyrics, specifically “Moody river, more deadly than the ****** knife”

Now I always thought it was ‘greatest’, but Jan thought it was  ‘vainest’.

Well, my first question to her was what the heck is a ‘vain knife’. She said she didn’t know, but it was ‘vainest knife’.

And she was right.


And the funny thing is nobody else, including Chase Webster, the guy who wrote the song, knows what it is either. The original lyric was ‘sharpest knife’, but when he was recording it, the ‘P’ in ‘sharpest’ kept causing a ‘POP’ on the audio track. And rather than using a new filter or another mic, Chase just changed ‘sharpest’ to ‘vainest’.

Why he picked ‘vainest’ no one knows.

And when Pat Boone went to record it a few months later, the music company actually double-checked to be sure that was the correct lyric.

Now my thought is why didn’t he use ‘greatest’ like I thought it was?

Turns out that there are entire websites devoted to misunderstood song lyrics.

60 Famous Misunderstood Song Lyrics

“I can see clearly now, Lorraine is gone”.
Correct lyric:
“I can see clearly now, the rain is gone” from Johnny Nash’s ‘I can see clearly now’.

“Then I saw her face, now I’m gonna leave her”
Correct lyric:
“Then I saw her face, now I’m a believer” from The Monkees’ ‘I’m a Believer’. Actually written by Neil Diamond.

“Kicking your cat all over the place”.
Correct lyric:
“Kicking your can all over the place” from Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’.

Looking through the list, some of them are pretty funny.

But a couple of famously misunderstood songs don’t show up on any list I found.

One is the infamous Louie Louie (yes, no comma) from 1963. Written in 1955 and released in 1957 by Richard Berry (not Chuck) and the Pharaohs, it came into its own in 1963 when it was recorded by The Kingsmen, finally peaking out at #2 on the Billboard charts in 1964.

The Kingsmen’s version with its “ragged”, “sloppy”, “chaotic”, “shambolic, lumbering style”, complete with “manic lead guitar solo, insane cymbal crashes, generally slurred and unintelligible lyrics”

was ripe for misunderstood lyrics,

 leading to the rumor that the lyrics were intentionally slurred by The Kingsmen—to cover up lyrics that were allegedly laced with profanity, graphically depicting sex between the sailor and his lady.

And in fact the FBI began a 31-month investigation into the lyrics, and finally

concluded they were “unable to interpret any of the wording in the record.”

But that still led to the song being banned on many radio stations, which of course just increased its popularity with the kids.

And even more strange is the fact that Louie Louie is listed as the most recorded rock song in history, with somewhere between 1600 and 2000 recordings.

Groups like The Beach Boys, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Otis Redding, The Kinks, Frank Zappa, Jan and Dean, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, and even David McCallum of Illya Kuryakin fame. And of course NCIS.

And the reference to Jefferson Airplane above leads me to the next song, one of Jan and my favorites, White Rabbit. There are several lines in there that apparently even the band members disagree about the lyrics.

When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead

What the heck is that supposed to mean? And it really doesn’t scan right either.

But it’s still a great song, and it was written by Grace Slick who sings it.

BTW there’s even a name for misunderstood song lyrics. They’re called Mondegreens.

Why, I don’t know.

But it’s probably called that because someone misunderstood the real name.

The Smell Of The Day Is: Cranberry

Thought for the Day:

Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate Halloween. I guess they don’t appreciate random people coming up to their doors and ringing the bell.

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

October 30, 2009

It’s a Duesy!

Today was an early day…a VERY early day.

We got up at 5:30 AM and left the rig in our toad about 6 am on a 130 mile trip south to Decatur, IN.  We wanted to be there by 9 am to take the American Coach factory tour at their plant.  We left early because the weather was pretty bad, with a lot of rain and wind. With all the wind, I was glad we weren’t in the rig.

But before we hit the Interstate, we stopped off at McDonalds for a quick breakfast sandwich.

We got to the American Coach plant in Decatur about 8:45 am, right on time.

We were really surprised to see how full the parking lot was, considering the condition of the RV industry.

American Coach Factory

After filling out a form, a gentleman named Tom came by to be our tour guide.  Unfortunately we were not able to take pictures inside the facility, but it’s really amazing how the RV’s are put together.

In this case, American Coach starts out with a pre-built chassis/engine combination from Spartan Chassis that looks like this.

Spartan Chassis

These are complete ready-to-run units just waiting for an RV to be built on top of them.

The floor and the walls are built up from welded aluminum tubing that forms a single unit. Then the carpet/tile/wood flooring is added and the cabinets/furniture are installed. Finally, the roof is put on and the rig is moved into the paint area to be painted and striped.

It takes about a week from start to finish to build a rig and roll it out the door.  They are presently building about 30 rigs a week, around 1500 a year, and at this point business is increasing by about 5 more rigs a month.  Good news for the RV industry.

Our tour took a little over an hour, and after it was over, we drove over to American Coach Service to buy some parts for my coach.

Leaving there, we headed about 30 mile south back to Celina, OH where we were a month ago for a rally.  We wanted to eat lunch at  La Carreta, a Mexican restaurant that we really enjoyed while we were there.

After lunch we started back toward Elkhart, stopping in Auburn, IN to visit the Auburn – Cord – Duesenberg Museum.

Founded in 1874, the Eckhart Carriage Company was a successful manufacturer of horse-drawn carriages. Frank Eckhart had not only the foresight but also the engineering ability to steer the buggy company into the “Age of the Automobile.” His Auburn Automobile Company prospered, particularly after E.L. Cord was brought in to run the business. Cord was both inventive and astute, and in 1929 created his own company, which, among other things, bought out the Duesenberg Automobile Co.

Despite the enthusiastic public response, sales were disappointing. The estimated production figure of 500 cars per year was never matched and eventually only 481 Model J’s were constructed. Being extremely expensive, the Model J was popular with the rich and famous. Among the owners were many greats from the showbiz industry like Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, James Cagney and Greta Garbo. Various kings and queens were Model J owners as well. Part of the Duesenberg legend is based on the many famous owners.

Styling and engineering failed to overcome the fact that Cord’s vehicles were too expensive for the Depression-era market and that Cord’s stock manipulations would force him to give up control of his car companies. Under injunction from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to refrain from further violations, Cord sold his shares in his automobile holding company. In 1937, production of Auburns, Cords and Duesenberg’s ended.

The building that now houses the Museum was the original Art Deco headquarters/showroom of the Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg automobiles, and it’s beautiful in its own right.

ACD Building

And the inside is even more outstanding.

ACD Building 2

ACD Building 3

ACD Building 4

ACD Building 5

ACD Building 6

ACD Building 7

I won’t bore you with all the details. I’ll just show you pictures of these beautiful automobiles.










ACD 19

ACD 10

ACD 11

ACD 12

ACD 13

ACD 14

ACD 15

ACD 16

ACD 17

ACD 18

Leaving the museum we drove back to Elkhart through more heavy wind and rain.

And arriving back about 5 pm, we immediately headed out to dinner at Ryan’s with friends.

Tomorrow we start getting ready to leave here on Sunday afternoon.

October 30, 2010

Alvin Opry and BBQ . . .

As I said in last night’s post ( actually, this morning) we didn’t get home from the Alvin Opry until about 1:30 am. We usually go out for something to eat at IHOP afterward, and it’s always a great time.

Last night the theme was Halloween, of course, and all the performers were dressed in costume. And, as usual, everyone was great.

One of the things that makes the Alvin Opry stand out over most other opry’s is the house band. Several of them have been studio/stage musicians for big-name bands, but they’re all great.

This picture is another example of the caliber of the band. This photo shows 3 generations of music excellence.

On the left is Louis, the grandfather, in the middle is Matt, the grandson, and on the right is Tommy, the son and father.

3 Generations

We plan on going back to the Opry on Nov. 12th. It’s another of our favorite shows, called Legends. Performers dress up as famous singers and sing their songs. Many of them are dead-ringers for their idols.

In this photo Mister couldn’t find a box to curl up in yesterday, so he found somewhere else.

Mister in Ladder

As far as today, about 12:30 pm we headed up to our storage unit to work with our son Chris to clean out some stuff so we can put more stuff back in it. He’s moving soon and needs to store some more things.

After making some headway, about 4:15 pm we met Chris, our granddaughter Piper, Brandi, Lowell, and Landon at Spring Creek BBQ down in Victory Lakes. Our daughter-in-law Linda had to work so she missed out on the fun.

This meant both Piper and Jan got in some Landon time.

Piper gets upset when I take so many pictures so she wouldn’t smile for this one, even after I threatened to Photoshop a mustache on her.

Landon and Piper

Landon has recently started smiling and giggling, and here’s a good shot. I tell everyone he looks like me because we both have the same hairline.

Landon Smiling with Jan

After a great meal, we got home about 6 pm and settled in after a long day.

October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween . . .

I stayed up really late reading last night (this morning, actually) so I didn’t get up until almost 11. It went down to 27 here last night so sleeping late in a warm bed was definitely not a problem.

Lowell sent over some more pictures of Landon trick or treating at their church. He didn’t quite know what to make of the giant banana.

Landon Trick or Treat Banana

The reason the doorways looked like this is that they’re fake, set up in a wall so the little tykes can go trick or treating without all the walking.

Landon Trick or Treat

Even with that, ‘some’ trick or treaters pooped out early.

Giraffe is down

We tried Skyping a little after 3 with only some success. We lost the connection several times, and even when it worked we didn’t have very good bandwidth so we only got a few good snapshots.

Video call snapshot 404

Video call snapshot 414

One unexpected treat was when our son Chris,

Video call snapshot 412

his wife, Linda,

Video call snapshot 409

and our beautiful granddaughter, Piper, showed up.

Video call snapshot 410

So we got to talk to the whole family. We’re really looking forward to seeing everyone in about 3 weeks when we get back to Houston.

Video call snapshot 413

About 4 Jan and I put Mister out on his lease and walked the garbage over to the dumpster. We tried to sit out for a while, but with the sun getting low it got to be too cold, so we came in for the night.

October 30, 2012

Lady & Sons . . .

A little before 11 I called Paula Deen’s restaurant “The Lady and Sons” to get a reservation for this afternoon. Jan wanted it to be our last meal here in Savannah. About 11 Jan fixed us a light lunch of cheese toast. We didn’t want to be too full for Paula Deen’s.

Finally about 3:15 we headed into Savannah for our 4pm reservation at Paula Deen’s. I figured we would need some extra time to find a parking place, and I was right.

But after two trips around the block, I actually found one right across the street from the restaurant.

Lady and Sons

As with our visit here in 2009, we had the buffet once again, with the same delicious results.

Fried Chicken, Basted Short Ribs, Beef Pot, and 10 different southern-style veggies, all wonderfully delicious. I would swear they don’t have a can opener in that kitchen. The green beans, collard greens, corn, black-eyed peas, etc., all seemed to be fresh, not frozen or canned.

And then there was dessert.

After a great meal, we checked out the gift shop and I found the perfect shirt.

Paula Deen's Eating Shirt

Note that if you look carefully, you’ll see it comes ‘pre-stained’. My kind of shirt.

Leaving Paula Deen’s we made a Wal-Mart stopover before heading home. As soon as we got back I went ahead and hooked up the toad to the rig and then put away some things to get ready to travel tomorrow.

We’ll have a 325 mile run to Heflin, AL tomorrow, before we end up in Athens, AL on Thursday, where we’ll stay for 3 or 4 days visiting relatives.

October 30, 2014

I Can Fly!

At least that’s what it feels like.

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, but forgot to mention in yesterday’s blog, we had a relief guard come in today so we could have some time off to celebrate Jan’s recent birthday. We had planned to do it last Saturday while we were off the gate and parked at the Buffalo GGS yard, but then all of a sudden we had a new gate and the day on the town had to be put off.

We had scheduled our relief to be here for 10 hours, from 9am to 7pm. Since Jan relieved me from my overnight shift at 7, I grabbed a quick nap for about 90 minutes to be ready to go at 9. Unfortunately the relief guard didn’t show up until a little after noon. If I had known, I could have gotten my usual 4 hours. I think I’ve mentioned that on my gate sleep schedule, I sleep 4 hours twice a day, from about 7:30am to 11:30am, and from 6:30pm to 10:30pm. This works for me and I have no problem staying on it indefinitely.

But by 12:30 we were on our way with our usual first stop at IHOP for breakfast, except by now it was lunch, so Jan and I both had sandwiches, hers with fries, and mine with their new Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup. But the soup was apparently so new they were completely out of it, so I opted for a salad.

And I was very pleasantly surprised. Although I ordered it with Thousand Island, and it came with Ranch (no biggie), there was not a shred of iceberg lettuce to be seen. Just 4 different kinds of greens, diced tomatoes, and sweet purple onions. Really good. Along with my Double BLT sandwich, I had 4 cups of coffee to keep me awake. Either the caffeine or running to the bathroom will do the trick, one way or the other. Or both.

After a nice relaxing meal together without one of us having to jump up at the sound of the bell and log a truck in or out, we drove over to the local Cavender’s to see if I could exchange one of my FRC shirts.

When we did the rush purchase of our FRC clothes last Saturday at the Cavender’s in Huntsville I was happy to see that they had FRC T-shirts. They were soft and felt just like my regular T-shirts at home, unlike the button-up shirts that were much heavier, much stiffer, and almost felt like they were made of light canvas. Unfortunately they only had one T-shirt in my size, so I had to also get one of the button-up shirts too.

So while we were in BCS today I thought I see if the local Cavender’s had T-shirts in my size. I had never worn the button-up one, or even taken the tags off, but I no longer had the receipt since we had to turn that into the company to be reimbursed for the almost $600 we spent.

But since the shirts were Cavender’s house brand I figured I might have a shot, and indeed, they said no problem. But problem. They also had no T-shirt FRC’s in my size. Now I normally wear a XL or a XXL depending on how it’s cut across the shoulders, but they had none. They had boo-coos of M and L’s, but no XL or XXL’s. They did have one XXXXL that I tried on in desperation. But I wasn’t that desperate. It hung down below my knees, and was so big I could have worn it as an off-shoulder party dress.

Have they seen the guys that work in the oil patch? There just aren’t that many M and L guys out here. At least they didn’t have a bunch of S’s. There aren’t many of them guys out here either. Smarten up, order more XL and XXL’s. There’s a reason you’re out of stock.

So, giving up, I was starting for the front of the store when I saw a dark blue shirt stuck in among check-patterned button-ups. And pulling it out, I had found the fabled XXL FRC T-shirt. Success! And I only had to pay a difference of $5.41. Nice.

Leaving Cavender’s and checking Google, I drove over to a nearby AutoZone store to get a new flasher unit for our toad. I noticed a couple of days ago that my turn signals were completely dead, as well as the emergency flashers. So after checking the OK fuse, a new flasher was in order.

And order it, I did. And it wasn’t a $5 flasher unit either. No, Dodge, in their infinite wisdom said ‘why use a simple flasher when we can use a $70 ‘flasher control module’. Ouch.

And, as I said, it had to be ordered. So now I’m driving around waving my arm out the window, signaling turns. Does anybody even learn these anymore? I mean, they either look at me funny, or just wave back. With my luck some guy will think I’m flashing gang signs. And not from his gang.

There was a Tractor Supply Store next door so we stopped in for a copy of Countryside and Small Stock Journal, one of Jan’s favorite magazines. And No, I’m not sure why either. Of course, I read Model Railroader magazine, so I can’t say much.

Well, I can, but it usually just gets me in trouble. Doesn’t seem to stop me though.

Then it was on to Home Depot for a Husky Faucet Nut Wrench, needed in my continuing quest to replace the lavatory faucet in our bathroom. It looks like this,

Husky Faucet Nut Wrench

and is used to remove a plastic nut like this,

Faucet Nut

that holds the faucet to the countertop.

Now, why these nuts are so tight, I have no idea. I replaced this faucet 5 or 6 years ago, and I know I only hand-tightened them, but hand-untightening them is not working. And neither is using a regular basin wrench. I can grab the nut, but there’s not enough room to get any leverage to turn it, or use it any kind of breaker bar to get it loose.

But this should do it. What the photo doesn’t show is that at the bottom there’s a 3/8 socket so you can use a ratchet handle to break it loose.

Our next stop was Sam’s Club for a couple of prescriptions, and while we were there I picked up a 32GB micro SDCard for our new Galaxy Tab 4. I had ordered one from Amazon when I ordered the Tab, but didn’t realize the Tab used the micro card instead of the standard one.

Then after gas at $2.65 a gallon, and a stop at Wal-Mart for supplies, we headed over to Outback Steakhouse for Jan’s Birthday dinner. And of course, when we think Outback Steakhouse, we think . . . chicken and pork?

Well, we do. Jan’s favorite dish there is their Alice Springs Chicken, with mushrooms, cheese, and bacon. She might have ordered a steak there a few times, but in the 20+ years we’ve been eating at Outback, she almost always gets the Alice Springs Chicken.

And I’m just as strange. I usually get their inch thick pork steak, really good with their orange marmalade-horseradish sauce. And since we had a late lunch, we had leftovers to take home for another meal.

As far as flying, I’ve been wondering why I’ve been so tired the last few days. Sometimes it’s hard to even lift my feet. I mean, the gate’s busy, but no busier than usual, so why am I pooped?

Well, walking past the shoe department in Wal-Mart today clued me in. When I got my new boots the other day, I got the steel-toed version. These suckers are almost 1-1/2 pound heavier than my other boots. And that’s 1-1/2 boots each, for a total of 3 pounds. There’s a big hunk of steel in here. Doesn’t sound like much, but put it on your ankles and you’ll see.

So when I put on my other boots tonight, it felt like I was walking on air, with a hop, skip, and a jump thrown in for good measure. I guess that’s why athletes train this way.

Finally, from the ‘just when you think it couldn’t get any worse’ department, the forecast temperatures here on the gate for the next two nights have been revised . . . downwards.

Instead of the 41 and 39 degrees they said yesterday, now they’re saying 38 and 37 degrees.

Wonderful, just wonderful. (Sorry, I don’t know how to punctuate sarcasm)

October 30, 2015

Here Comes . . .

Well today, which was supposed to be Sunny and 80 two days ago, turned out to be Cloudy, Rainy, and 65°. But overall, not really too bad.

We did have a fairly heavy drizzle for several hours later in the afternoon, but with no wind to speak off, it actually was kind of nice. Then about 4 the rain tapered off, finally coming back for a couple of hours later this evening. And tomorrow looks to be about the same.

Apparently when we weren’t outside a lot last week, we had several bovine visitors to our canopy area.

Cow Visit

I found hoofprints in the dirt actually under the canopy. Last year Jan had one come right under the canopy while she was sitting there. So I guess they’re just curious. At least they’re not being made into cheap shoe laces.

Besides the cow pic, Jan also got a great shot of the sunrise through the trees.

Gate Sunrise

I think she really likes the new Panasonic FZ70 Camera we got.

*  *  *  *  *

If you live in the Houston Bay Area, or are at all interested what’s going on there, or what new stores are on the way, check out our friend Barbara Cutsinger’s Business Development Update from the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership (BAHEP).

Business Development Update – Issue 57

It comes out every couple of months and gives you all the news ‘business-wise’ about what’s going on in the Bay Area. If you email Barbara at the address on the Update, you can get on the list to get the latest copy when it comes out.

Jan and I were happy to see that we’re getting both a Grimaldi’s Pizzeria and a Torchy’s Tacos in the Webster area, two of our favorite places.

Today was Wal-Mart/Whataburger day, so it was off to Carthage about 11am or so. While at Wally World, I was looking for hose washers and made the mistake of stepping out into the garden department. And stepping through the automatic doors was like stepping into a seasonal Twilight Zone.

All of a sudden I was in the middle of Winter Wonderland Hell. There was Christmas music blaring over the speakers, trees rotating and flashing, Santa’s inflating and collapsing, helium-filled snow globes floating overhead, and fake snow stuck to everything.

It was hell, I tell you.

I made a U-turn right back through the door. I didn’t need hose washers bad enough to brave that.

Can’t they at least wait until after Halloween?

Next up was Whataburger for our lunch, and it was déjà vu all over again. I got the same young lady as last week. But this time I’m prepared. I’ve printed out exactly what I want, and what I want on it.

She looks at the paper, starts punching keys, and then asks, “Do you want Pickles and Lettuce on this?”. In my head I’m screaming, “Do you see Pickles and Lettuce ANYWHERE on that piece of paper, but my mouth calmly says, “No.”

“What about Mayo?”

Mouth, calmly, “No.”

Head, screaming, “NNOOOOOOOO!”

Then after another 15 or 20 seconds of keypunching, she asks, “Do you want anything else?”. I calmly point her to the bottom of the paper where my sandwich is listed. She looks it over, starts punching keys, and then asks, “Do you want Mustard, Ketchup, Pickles and Lettuce on this?”

Again, mouth, CALMLY, “No.”

I won’t repeat what I was screaming in my head.

Finally we’re finished, I pay, get my receipt and cups, and walk toward the drink dispenser, checking over the items on the receipt.

She put Mayo on Jan’s burger.


Then I noticed people staring at me.

I think that one slipped out.


October 30, 2016

I Would Have Ask For More Money . . .

If I’d Known I Was Going to Have to Chase Cows and Dodge a Brahma Bull.

This is Sunday nights blog for 10/30/16. I couldn’t get it posted last night from the gate, so here it is now.

The gate I’m on now is slow, very slow, with only two trucks coming in yesterday to drop off one of them, and then the other truck leaving with both drivers. And tonight two trucks left about 6pm that had come in on the day shift. And that will probably be it for tonight.

But what I do have is lots and lots of cows. And one VERY big Brahma bull. This gate, which is right off the highway, is in the middle of a cow pasture, a well-populated cow pasture. And yesterday evening about 6:15 I saw movement out my right window. Suddenly I realized I was in the middle of a large herd. And right about then is when the earthquake hit.

At least that’s what I thought it was until I looked back over my left shoulder and out that window. The VERY large Brahma bull had walked between the guard shack and the potty trailer and then decided that this would be the perfect place to scratch his itch.

But finally the bull wandered off just in time for one of the motion sensor alarms to start going off intermittently. Looking out the door I could see the reason why. There were several cows down by the sensor setting it off. Apparently unlike my Mighty Mule alarms that only sense metal, these also sense beef.

Our sensors are kind of kludged together, being a large orange traffic cone with 3 foot stake jammed in the top. The sensor itself is zip-tied to the top of the stake. Crude, but effective.

Unless of course a cow decides it’s her favorite new play toy. This became apparent when the alarm started up again with a constant beeping. Sticking my head out the door, I saw this.


One of the cows was kicking and head-butting the sensor cone, knocking it around the roadway. After listening to the beeping, I decided to just walk down the road, run the cow off, and get the cone back.

But as I passed the generator trailer and then my truck, I heard a loud ‘SNORT’ off to my right. And there about twenty feet away, stood Mr. Bull, who again snorted and then pawed the ground a couple of times while looking right at me.

Now having come out on the losing end of bull-me interaction when I was a vet assistant back in high school, I decided the cow could play with the cone all she wanted.

A while later I saw the bull mosey pass the shack and head off in the other direction out across the field. Thinking this might be a good time to retrieve the cone, I walked out of the shack only to see there were now 3 cows fighting over the cone. So figuring the bull was now off in the other direction doing . . . well, bull stuff, I headed down to get the cone back. But it didn’t work this time either.

As I got within about 50 feet of the cows, one of them, like a dog with a big bone, grabbed the stick in its mouth and took off down the road, being chased by the other 2 cows. Or maybe they were running interference and blocking for her.

At this point I don’t know anymore.

At first I was thinking I would just follow the cow down the road until she got tired and dropped the cone. But realizing this would put me out in the open, with Mr. Bull somewhere back behind me, I jumped in the truck and took off after the cow, who was now several hundred yards away.

But the cow didn’t seem to want to relinquish her new toy, so I ended up driving back and forth across the road and out into the pasture, trying to herd her back toward the shack. Finally she gave up, dropped the cone, and took off across the field. Probably to tell Mr. Bull how mean I’d been to her.

But when I got back to the shack, I found more havoc had been wreaked. Both the Sign-In boards had been knocked over along the marking cones.


Well, at least they LEFT the cones this time.

In last Tuesday’s blog, Extra Fluffy, I commented on how standards have changed in how women’s weight is perceived. Referring to both a 1959 Perry Mason, with bikini models, and the early 60’s Beach Party movies, I noted how today these women would be considered at least ‘chubby’, if not plain overweight, according to today’s standards.

And it’s still happening today.

This is Miss Iceland, Arna Ýr Jónsdóttir.



She’s was competing in the Miss Grand International pageant in Las Vegas when she was told by the pageant staff that she had no chance of winning because she was too fat, and her shoulders were too broad.

So saying, “Miss Grand International doesn’t deserve my face, body, personality or heart.”, she quit in disgust.

Good for her.

Wrapping up, we had a lot of nice comments, both on the blog and on Facebook, about the neat robot Halloween costume that his Uncle Chris made for Landon.


What Brandi didn’t realize until later was that the big yellow button in the middle of the suit is actually a ‘Fart’ button. When you press it, it lights up and makes a ‘fart’ noise.

Who knew robots could fart?

I guess it’s a guy thing.

October 30, 2017

Lending A Hand . . .

Work today consisted mostly of making up and printing out labels for the many products that my client sells.

All my new Avery labels came in on Saturday so I was able to print out all the rest of them.

As I mentioned before, if you want to do anything printing labels or cards, then you need to download a free copy of the Avery Design & Print program. Very powerful and easy to use.

Tonight after I got home I fixed us hot dogs made with Nolan Ryan’s Angus Beef dogs. And they’re big enough to hang over the end of the buns.

Hot Dogs

I like mine with mayo, spicy mustard, and relish. I first line the bottom of the buns with cheese and then toast them in the toaster oven until the cheese is melted and the buns are a light brown.

Jan likes hers with ketchup, spicy mustard, and relish. The other way I like mine is New York Style, with sauerkraut, spicy mustard, and grilled or raw onions. Both ways are good.

We still don’t have our Facebook emoticons back, although several of our friends say they do. Under a post we used to be able to hover the mouse over the Like button and then see a range of different emoticons, laughing, crying, etc., but for a while now our only choice has been to ‘Like’ a post or not.

So how about y’all? Do you have the emoticons or not?

In the past I’ve done several blogs talking about the rise of 3D printing. In the beginning, the printers used high-density polyethylene, also known as HDPE. Or as you know it, milk jug plastic. So not very strong. But led to some really fun-looking toys.

3D Toy Sub

But things are changing fast.

One advance was 3D printing in molten glass, leading to these art pieces. From this beautiful vase,

3D Molten Glass Vase

to this massive glass chandelier.

3D Molten Glass Chihuly-Chandelier

The other advance is now to be able to print in actual metal, specifically guns. The first ones were essentially ‘one-shot wonders’, looking more like a toy, and only able to fire a couple of shots before they came apart.

3D-printed-gun-Liberator-006 -2

But now guns can be printed in real metal, leading to this Colt 1911 .45 caliber replica. Certainly not a ‘one-shot wonder, it’s been fired over 5000 times with no problems.

3D Printed Metal Gun

But on a new note, this is 7-year-old Hailey Dawson.

Hailey Dawson

And this is her 3D printed hand.

Hailey Dawson Hand

And this 3D printed hand allowed her to throw out the first pitch of Game 4 of this year’s World Series.

Born with Poland Syndrome, Hailey is missing 3 fingers on her right hand, and has an underdeveloped thumb and pinky. This means she can not really grip anything with that hand. So a prosthesis was in order.

But there was a problem. A prosthetic hand costs about $20,000, and someone of Hailey’s age would need a new one every six months or so. Probably too expensive in the long run. But 3D printing is changing all that.

Right now Hailey is on her eighth hand, with each one costing about $5,000, and the price is dropping fast. Even better, at this point, when Hailey outgrows her old one and needs a new, larger one, the design software can resize the models and a new hand can be printed overnight.

You can read more about Hailey’s story here.

And here:

I think we’re going to be amazed at what’s coming down the pike with 3D printing in the next few years.

October 30, 2018

Decisions, Decisions . . .

Really looking forward to our El Bosque get-together with RV friends, we were out the door about 11 am, a little earlier than needed because I wanted to make a quick stopover at my client’s in Webster to go over some things.

Then it was back on I-45 for the ~70 mile run up to Conroe and El Bosque. And believe me, our 2018 Chevy Malibu rental car makes the trip a LOT more fun. I’ve been really impressed by the handling and acceleration of this car. Especially in the mid-range.

When you punch it at 40mph to accelerate up to 70 to merge into traffic, it’s really startling. I’m assuming it has the standard engine, which means it’s a 1.5 liter, 163hp turbo 4 cylinder with 184 lb-ft. of torque, and a six speed automatic.

But whatever it has, it really moves out. I even made Jan squeal a couple of times.

There are only a couple of things I don’t like about it though, both small. First, the Cruise Control buttons are just not very well placed. Unlike our Dodge Dakota, I have to move my hands on the steering wheel to either Set or Resume the wanted speed.

The other one is the Auto Stop feature. It’s supposed to shut the engine off while you are sitting at a stop light, and then seamlessly start up again when you take your foot off the brake and go for the accelerator.

But it doesn’t. It stumbles, stutters, and hesitates, making you think it’s going to stall. It never does, but it’s annoying. Of course it could just be out of adjustment. You can slip it into Neutral and it won’t Auto Stop, but then remembering to put it back in Drive doesn’t always happen.

After a fun trip, we got there about 12:45 to find Ed and Debi Hurlburt waiting for us. Among other things, Ed runs the RV Tips Facebook group, now with over 134,000 members. If you’re not a member, why not?

And Debi, not to be outdone, runs Debi’s RV Cooking on FB, with over 13,000 members.

We were still getting our hugs in when Wil and Cyndy Olsen showed up. After getting everyone acquainted, we asked the hostess to seat us in a back corner since we were prone to get rowdy. Luckily she listened to us.

Jan ordered the Shrimp, with Chicken and Beef Fajitas, kind of unusual for her.

El Bosque Shrimp Chicken Beef Platter

Although these were listed as Jumbo Gulf Shrimp, they looked more like the Rock Shrimp we saw so much recently in Florida. But whatever, Jan said they were delicious.

I thought I’d try out their version of the Beef Fajita Taco Salad.

El Bosque Beef Fajita Taco Salad

And although it was pretty good, it didn’t compare to the ones I’ve been getting recently at Los Ramirez Mexican Restaurant

Los Ramirez Beef Fajita Taco Salad 2

And at $11.95 it was over twice as expensive as the Los Ramirez version.

But the food was more than outdone by the friends.

El Bosque Group 2

That’s Wil and Cyndy closest to the camera, and then Ed and Debi. And then, of course, my Jan.

Finally, we said our goodbyes to everyone, and Jan and I headed south for home, getting back a little after 5pm.

Decisions, Decisions . . .

Snider Transmission called me this morning with an update on our Dodge Dakota problems. And as I thought, after 282,000+ miles, the transmission is just plain worn out and will need a complete rebuild. But he said the rest of the truck seems to be in pretty good shape.

Told him I’d call him back and Jan and I talked it over.

First off, if we don’t do the rebuild, we’ve got a dead truck. There’s no way to get it back the way it was, i.e. able to drive it around at 40mph, unless it’s rebuilt. So then we’ve got to find something new to drive, something towable.

When we started looking for a possible toad in 2007, we spent about 2 months before we found the Dakota. So we’d be looking at 2 MONTHS of car rental, which would total a large percentage of what the transmission rebuild is going to cost.

The problem with finding a replacement is three-fold. Finding something we want/like, finding something we want/like that’s towable, and finding something we want/like that’s towable, and that Blue Ox has a base plate available for.

So there’s a lot of back and forth between and, the Motorhome Magazine Dinghy Towing Guides, and the Blue Ox website. All in all, very time-consuming.

I think we’ve pretty much resigned ourselves that we’ll be replacing the Dakota in the near term, but getting the transmission fixed will give us some breathing room while we’re looking, and we can take our time finding something, without rushing into it.

If we later use the Dakota as a trade-in, we probably won’t get all the money out of it that we put in on the rebuild, but I think the total equation balances out in our favor in the long run.

So I called Snider back and gave him the go-ahead. He said it might be ready by Friday, but probably Monday. So I’ll get the Malibu for another week. More fun!

October 30, 2019

Back At It . . .

I spent most of the day at work playing catch-up since I was out on Monday.

Part of the time I was looking on the web for some new banana plugs for the Electrode Cords I make and we sell.

TES Electrode Cord RED

We’ve had a few cords sent back where the plugs came off. It looks like they’re just pulling on the cord rather than the plug and actually breaking the 18 gauge wire, and not my solder joint.

So I found these that use two set screws.

New Banana Plugs

One screw locks down the wire and the other one locks the insulation in place, for extra strength. They should be in tomorrow so I’ll pull all the ones in inventory and refit them to the new plugs.

And then we’ll see.

I was happy to see that my new oil filter adapter was shipped out this morning via FedEx and should be delivered tomorrow. So I know what I’ll be doing this weekend, I guess.

Since winter is coming on, (it’s supposed to be a high of 50 tomorrow and a low in the 30’s – 40’s tomorrow night) Jan’s in the mood for new leggings, and her first batch came in today.

She got these Nightmare Before Christmas ones,

Nightmare Leggings

these Starry, Starry Night, Dr. Who ones,

Tardis Leggings

and these Mixed Paisley ones.

Paisley Leggings

But the ones she’s really forward to coming in are these Moosey ones.

Moose Leggings

Really neat.

Our South Dakota tags expire in November, so I ordered them online and they’re coming in the next few days. Wanted to be sure I have them on the rig before we head up to Kingsland next month.

October 30, 2022

Witchy Poo Earrings . . .

Lunch today was at Dickinson Seafood, a place we used to eat at quite often, but somehow it fell off our radar.

We started off with the salads that come with our meal.

Dickinson Seafood Salad

And then it was on to what we came for, the Blackened Catfish & Shrimp.

Dickinson Seafood Catfish & Shrimp 20221030

Really good.

And it’s back on our list again now.

Then it was on over to HEB for our weekly HEB stuff, and then home for the night.

Yesterday, coming home from the Wings Over Houston Airshow, we decided to check out a new Mexican place in our area, Barcenas. Though this location is new to our area, we’ve eaten at their Bay Area Blvd. location for years since it was right outside our subdivision where we had our house for almost 40 years.

That one was really good, and so is this new one.

Barcenas 20221030

Jan had her usual Tex-Mex Enchiladas,

Barcenas Tex-Mex Enchiladas 202210310

while I got the Tacos de Carnitas, with marinated pork tenderloin.

Barcenas Tacos de Carnitas

Really good, and just what we need. Another good place to eat in our area /sarc.

Jan has a lot of Halloween-themed earrings. In fact I think she has more pairs than there are days in October.

Jan's Witchy Poo Earrings

But I think these Witchy Poo ones are my favorites.