Monthly Archives: December 2023

Happy New Year 2024!

We got a text from Rob, our park owner, this morning. Besides the amount of our January rent (different each month due to electricity usage), he also said that, depending on the weather, they’ll be pouring concrete over a two day period. So they’re getting close. But Jan noticed something, and now we both want to know.

How are rigs going to get up on these pads?

Due to flood rules in this area, all new construction, including these pads, has to be elevated over 2 ft. above the surrounding land. All this even though this area did not flood even during Hurricane Harvey back in 2017.

And if they build ramps for the pads, then they’ll extend out into the roadway, blocking it. So maybe they’re going to raise the level of the entire road. But then that will block our site.

So I guess we’ll see.

Lunch today was at Kelley’s Country Cooking up in League City, with Jan getting her Turkey & Dressing, along with Mashed Potatoes, Carrots, and Green Beans ( not shown).

While I got the Chicken Fried Steak with Cornbread Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, and Candied Yams.

I didn’t get a good photo, but the CFS fills up half the plate. And it was all delicious.

But what I got was the regular-sized CFS.

This is their Super Texas-Sized CFS.


Even with the smaller one, I had half to take home for another meal.

The new struts for our bed came in today, so hopefully tomorrow or Tuesday, I’ll be able to get them installed.

Shouldn’t take too long, but you never can tell.

Tomorrow we’re going to have lunch at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, our all-time favorite pizza place. This since we first ate at the original one in Brooklyn, NY. And we’ve been hooked ever since.

Thought For The Day:

I’m not making any New Year’s Resolutions this year.

I’m fine. It’s the Year’s that suck.

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

December 31, 2012

Happy New Year !

New Year

After a quiet morning with coffee and conversation, we headed out about 12:45 for clients, a movie, and dinner. Well, that’s the way it started, but not the way it turned out.

After spending a couple of hours with two clients, we were planning to catch a 4:45 movie and then have dinner. But we decided we wanted some Landon time instead as we hadn’t seen him since Christmas.

When we got there Landon was still napping so I tried to help Lowell with a VPN problem he was having. His company requires him to communicate with the company computer using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection for security.

Before he and Landon went to Oklahoma after Christmas it was working fine, but now back home, he can’t make a connection.  These VPN connections are always kind of finicky to set up, and Lowell said he had to spend some time on the phone with Tech Support to finally get it working initially.

I tried several different tricks I’ve used in the past, but with no luck. This VPN is a little different in that it uses an RSA SecurID card to authenticate the user.

RSA Card

The SecurID card generates a constantly changing 6 digit code that must be entered during login along with Lowell’s 4 digit pin. I’ve seen problems with these in the past when they get out of sync. I finally suggested that Lowell deleted all the VPN software and just start from scratch with the installation.

By this time everyone was hungry so off we went, and since everyone wanted steak, it was back to Outback again. Jan and I just ate there the night before last but had no trouble going again.

But just like last time we had a great meal, but not so great service. So I guess our last visit wasn’t a fluke. Brandi especially was upset because she worked there for several years in the 90’s while she was in college and hates to see this.

Saying our goodbyes at the restaurant, Jan and I headed back to the rig to celebrate the arrival of the New Year in our normal fashion: falling asleep before midnight even arrives.

Happy New Year!

December 31, 2013

It’s Official . . .

Since Jan’s sore throat wasn’t too much better this morning, she made a doctor’s appointment for 10 AM, and $300 later, we found out she has

wait for it . . .

wait for it . . .

wait for it . . .

wait for it . . .

wait for it . . .


Yes, it cost $300 to find out Jan has a bad cold.

After dropping the prescriptions off at Sam’s Club, we headed over to The Egg & I to have breakfast at one of our favorite places. One thing we like is that they have a number of favored coffees available, including a great Toasted Hazelnut.

Jan always orders the Blueberry Pancake. Yes, I said Pancake, not Pancakes.

This is why.

Egg and I 3

It covers 3/4 of the plate!

And they also make the bacon just like she likes it.

She calls it ‘Glass Bacon”. Because it shatters when you touch it.

Leaving breakfast we drove over to a client’s office to check out closing the books for the end of the year. Then it was on back to Sam’s for the prescriptions.

After that it was back to the rig for the day. And the night.

We had originally planned to get together with some friends for New Year’s Eve, but with Jan still under the weather, we’ll stay in tonight.

December 31, 2014

I’m Finally Getting My Sweetie Back Home . . .

I was up about 9 this morning so I could head out at 10:30 down to Brandi’s in Katy to bring my Sweetie back home. Jan had been Landon-sitting since Monday morning because he’s out of school this week and Lowell and Brandi both had to work the first part of the week.

I got there about 12 noon, and after a little while, Jan, Landon, and I drove into Memorial City Mall which is on I-10, just inside the Sam Houston Tollway. We were taking Landon there to have lunch at the food court and then let Landon check out the new kid’s play area called Frolic’s Castle. Billed as the world’s largest indoor mall play area, it opened in October 2014 and has been busy ever since. But first up was lunch at the food court, with something for everyone.

Landon had the Chicken Nugget Kid’s Meal from Chick-Fil-A, Jan had a Burrito from Chipotle, and I had a Chile Cheese Hot Dog from Nathan’s Famous. Then for dessert, Landon had ice cream from Marble Slab, and Jan and I split an order of Pecan Cinnabites from Cinnabon. Like I said, something for everyone.

After lunch we walked around to the play area, but ended up taking the long way due to some dicey directions. But as far as Landon was concerned, it was worth the walk.

At over 3000 square feet, it can hold over 160 kids and adults. Inside the 3 story castle, there are slides, tunnels, and plenty of things to climb on.

Frolic's Castle 5

Frolic is the name of the green dragon who owns the castle. I kind of figure the castle is just a trap for tasty little kids to become dragon snacks. Kind of like the gingerbread house.

But that’s just me.

Frolic's Castle 1

Frolic's Castle 2

Frolic's Castle 3

And it certainly kept Landon entertained. He disappeared into the castle and didn’t come out for almost two hours. Jan had to call him several times to get his attention.

Frolic's Castle 4

Before we left Landon wanted to ride the big Merry Go Round that they have at the entrance to the food court.

Memorial City Mall MGR 1

Though for some reason, neither Jan nor Landon seem to be too happy to be on board, or have their picture taken.

Memorial City Mall MGR 2

Finally about 4:30 we all headed back to Brandi’s and Lowell’s for supper. She had fixed up a big pot of soup with veggies and ham and chicken. Really, really good. Especially in this cold, wet weather.

We got back home to the rig a little after 7pm and Jan fell asleep almost as soon as she hit the sofa. It’s hard work taking care of a 4 year old.

Me, I’m just happy to have my Sweetie back home.

Tomorrow it’s back to work on my chore list. First up will probably be finishing the power converter install.

December 31, 2015

New Year’s Eve . . .


Jan and I headed out on our walk this morning, but this time with company. Our friends, Garland and Valencia Scott, drove over from their site in the ‘E’ ring in their golf cart and did the 1 mile circle with us. Then when we were done, they did another round, while Jan and I had our coffee and waited for them to return.

When they got back we sat outside and talked for over an hour before they headed home. We plan on doing this again Saturday, and then get together for dinner later that evening.

During our walk we passed this coach that I couldn’t identify right off the bat. It looked brand new, and the name of the side was Solitaire, something else I didn’t recognize. Usually that means it might be a Canadian rig,

Beaver Solitare 1_thumb[5]_thumb

But as we got around to the front, I saw this.

Beaver Solitare 2_thumb[2]_thumb

It was a Beaver motorcoach, a brand that I thought had been out of business for a while. But it looked so new, I figured the brand name had been resurrected, like Country Coach is being brought back.

But a little Googling told me different. Beaver has been dead since the 2009-2010 timeframe and no new Solitaires have been built since that time.

So this is just a very well-preserved 5 – 6 year old coach. Really nice looking

About 4pm Jan and I headed out for dinner, hoping to avoid all the wild and crazy guys out there tonight. We had decided on China Delight, a place that our friends, Ed and Debi Hurlburt, had introduced us to a couple of weeks ago.

China Delight 1_thumb[2]_thumb

I had the Spicy Mandarin Chicken (their definition of ‘Spicy’ is not mine),

China Delight 2_thumb[2]_thumb

and Jan had the Chicken Volcano. I would have gotten a picture of hers,  but it looked exactly like mine, except for the Bell Peppers (they give Jan migraines).

Of course I’m always packing a jar of Volcano Dust Pepper Flakes in case ‘Spicy’ food doesn’t live up to its name.

Volcanic Dust_thumb[4]

Tomorrow we’re heading down the Clear Lake area to meet up with our son Chris and his family for dinner, as well as take care of a couple of other errands.

Then Sunday we’ll make the trip back over to Colorado River Thousand Trails for the next two weeks. I think this time we’ll give the ‘fabled’ shorter route through the countryside a try, going through Egypt, Magnolia, Hempstead, Bellville, and beautiful downtown Cat Spring. It’s about 14 miles further, and according to Google it will take about 45 minutes longer. So we’ll see how the trip goes.

December 31, 2016

An Unexpected Gate and A New Year . . .


Happy New Year to all our Family and Friends!

I was up about 1:30 pm today and got coffee started while we tried to decide where we were going to eat for our New Year’s Eve Celebration.

We finally decided on Gratton’s Cajun Kitchen out on US80 coming into Karnes City. We hadn’t been there yet, but the Yelp reviews were excellent and food pictures looked delicious. But when I double-checked the hours I saw they closed at 3 pm on Saturdays. So we dressed quickly and headed out the door.

But as we drove out toward Karnes City we began to get a bad feeling. Almost every place was closed. Only Bella Sera and Flashburger were open.

We had thought we might use Partner’s BBQ in KC as our backup place, but as we passed it, it too was closed.

And so was Gratton’s when we finally got there. So it was back to Bella Sera and their great pizza, so not all bad.

Even better, when got there we found our next-door neighbors and fellow gate guards, Bill and Meredith just getting ready to order. Turns out they had been planning to have dinner at Partner’s BBQ, and also ended up at Bella Sera.

Bill and Mereidith

Fun people, great time, good food. Not much more to say.

Guess I have to apologize to the Russians over ‘hacking’ my dashcam.

I kind of have an idea what’s happening with it. I’ve noticed over the last month or so that as I’m driving along, the dashcam screen will pop on.

Now, it’s set so that when you first turn the ignition on, it starts recording with the screen staying for 3 minutes. Then the screen goes off so it’s not distracting, but the unit keeps recording.

I wondered if the screen coming back on had anything to do with my problem. In troubleshooting equipment, if you have one weird thing happen, and then another weird thing happens, more than likely the two weird things are connected.

So as I left the gate this morning I waited for the screen to pop back and then noted the time. Later this afternoon I looked at the dashcam video and sure enough there was no video recorded after the screen popped back on. This explains why the video started up again as we were leaving the movie Wednesday night. When the unit is turned off and then back on, the whole cycle starts over again.

So now I just need to figure out what’s causing the problem to happen to start with.

Also I said yesterday that the 3 minute video files from the dashcam are 50 MB. But when I checked I saw they’re more like 120 MB. The file sizes get big quickly with HD video.

As far as the Unexpected Gate, I got a call from Todd about 10 minutes after 5 pm this afternoon, just a little while after we got back home from Bella Sera.
Todd: “Uh, why aren’t you on your gate?”

Me: “Because you texted me last night telling me I was off tonight and then moved me to another gate tomorrow night.”

Todd: Oh Crap!

Me: “You know, just like I worked for two nights at the other gate, then you gave me a night off, and then moved me here.”

Todd: Oh Crap!

Me: “If you need me to, I can be out there in about 20 minutes, no problem.”

Todd: “I’ll call you back and let you know.”

And he did.

And so now I’m back on the gate, which is completely dead, with no vehicles expected all weekend. Fine by me.

One thing I did do before I left the rig for the gate was grab my AirCard’s external antenna. It’s a flat plate about the size of your hand and has no powered amplification.

Freedom AirCard Antenna

But it does make a difference.

I was hoping it would make my 3G data signal a little better here on this gate. As I mentioned, I have no phone service here, but just OK data through my Aircard. But it does slow down and just stops sometimes.

USB 720 AirCard

It plugs directly into my AirCard and I just hang it out the window.

And it definitely makes a difference here. And since I had pretty much the same problem at the other gate, I’ll take it with me there too.

December 31, 2017

Brandi’s On The Move . . .

HappyNewYear (1)

Wow! It turns out that a number of our blog readers also suffer from BPPV, actually more than I had imagined.

I don’t feel so lonely now.

I haven’t started the ‘canalith repositioning’ exercises yet, but probably will tomorrow. I’ve been trying to determine which side is affected. In my case it seems to be my right side. At least turning to my right gives me the most vertigo, although I do get a little when I turn to the left.

I’ll see how it goes, I guess.

A little after 11 this morning Jan and I headed up to meet Brandi, Lowell, and Landon at La Finca, our favorite Mexican place in the Katy area.

While Jan had the Beef Fajita Nachos, I tried the Marcos Salad, a souped-up version of a taco salad.

La Finca Marcos Salad

This one comes with large chunks of Fajita Beef and was really good.

After lunch Jan and I followed Brandi et. al., over to their new home.

The reason we’re up here, and the reason Jan is Landon-sitting for the next several days is that Brandi and Lowell are selling their house.

They’ve had it on the market for a few months, and now have a buyer. Although they love the present one, they’re looking for something a little smaller than the almost 3800 square feet, but they want a bigger backyard, big enough for a pool. The house they’re in now might hold a lap pool, but that’s about it.

You can scroll through the listing of Brandi’s Old House here.

They close on January 15th, and since they want to take their time looking for their new one, they started moving into a rental home where they’ll be for the next year. It’s not far from their old one, but in a different subdivision. On the other hand it’s only a block from Landon’s school, so he’ll be able to walk in nice weather.

Here’s a photo of their rental house.

Brandi's Rent House 1

They just got the key this morning and are going to spend the next couple of days moving all the small stuff over. Then they’ll get a mover for the big stuff in the next week or so. So while they’re doing this, Jan will keep Landon occupied and out of the way, they hope.

Leaving Jan to ride home with them, I headed back to Santa Fe and the rig. I did make a few stops along the way, first at the nearby Kroger’s for gas, using some of my fuel points for a 20¢ a gallon discount.

Later coming into Clear Lake I stopped off at my client’s to close out the books for December and 2017. I also did some backups to cover the last year too.

Then finally getting to Santa Fe I stopped at the Valero for Powerball/Mega Millions tickets. With PB at $440 million and MM at $343 million it’s worth a few bucks.

I had hoped to get my new awning mounted tomorrow, but with a forecast high of 35°, I think I’ll pass.

December 31, 2019

Sometimes The Easy Stuff Is The Hardest . . .

After a quiet last day of the year, about 3:30 Jan and I headed over to Yummy Yummy for a late lunch. As I mentioned yesterday we had originally planned to have dinner at Saltgrass and then head over to my client’s to install the new computer. But Jan still didn’t feel like wasting a good steak dinner on crippled taste buds. But Hot & Sour Soup sounded good to both of us.

I’m pretty much over my cold, but I’m still having trouble getting my right ear to clear and stay clear. Right now they still keep popping in and out..

While I’m on the downside of my cold, Jan is still in the middle of hers, with the coughing the worst part, especially when she’s trying to sleep. But she did feel good enough to go ahead and come to my client’s with me

After running the End of Month, End of Year reports on the old computer, I plugged in a flash drive and copied over the 30GB of POS data, and a bunch of other stuff. This much data took about 45 minutes, and then I set the new machine in place of the old one.

Now I was ready to copy all the data over to the new machine, which only took about 20 minutes, since the read speed of the flash drive is much faster than the write speed. And after finishing moving all the data over, everything checked out.

Now for the easy part, and I’d be done. Just install the Canon 530 Laser Printer and I’d be done. All I had to do was plug in the USB printer cable and let Windows find the right drivers and set it all up.


Well, No.

After I plugged in the USB cable a window popped up and said the printer was installed and ready to go. But it wasn’t. When I tried to print a test page the system told me no drivers were installed.

So I started over. And started over. And started over. And sta . . .

Paul Simon says, “There’s 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover!”. Well, there’s not quite that many ways to install a printer, but a bunch.

And it actually took me about an hour to work through a lot of possibilities until finally one worked.

And after testing the printer, I was finally done.

Sometimes the easy stuff is the hardest.

One thing funny did happen while Jan was out in the lobby waiting for me. I’ve mentioned before that they’ve had problems with possums getting into the building’s attic. Actually it can be a real problem around this area.

When I worked for the University of Houston-Clear Lake, we had a 3 story building that had raccoons and possums running around in the ceilings. And earlier this year, we had a possum fall through the ceiling into Jennifer’s office and then trash the place.


So while I’m working, I heard Jan squeal. And when I got out there to check on her, she had her feet up in the chair with her, pointing down the hall behind her. She said a possum had come down the hall past where I was, cross through the lobby past her, and into the next office.

December 31, 2020

A White Christmas ???

No, but it was a White New Year’s Eve in Fredericksburg, TX. Big, fluffy flakes.

Snow In Fredericksburg 1

Though it didn’t really stick, it was nice for a while. And we heard that parts of west Texas got 18 – 24 inches. Yikes!

The WiFi is pretty sucky here and keeps going in and out, so I’ll try to catch up tomorrow night from Kingsland.

December 31, 2021

Happy New Year . . .

Happy New Year 2

Work today was a real snoozefest with absolutely no phone orders or walk-ins. But I got some nice Internet surfing done, so it wasn’t a total loss.

And it allowed me to rest up for our big New Year’s Eve celebration. And that consisted of an early dinner at Los Ramirez and then back home before dark, just in time to start hearing the snap!, crackle!, pop! of fireworks from all around us.

And unlike a lot of pets, Karma could care less about the noise and just slept right through it.

A wild night, or what?

Jan got her usual Pechuga Rellena,

Los Ramirez Pechuga 1-05-20

while I got my fav Beef Fajita Taco Salad.

Los Ramirez Beef Fajita Taco Salad 5

The perfect end to the year 2021.

Looks like we may have dodged a bullet during our recent Branson trip. Literally.

Man charged in double homicide at Branson Famous Dave’s BBQ.

This happened in the parking lot at the rear of the restaurant where we ate twice.

December 31, 2022

Glad We Did It . . .


Though normally we wouldn’t need a reservation for Saltgrass Steakhouse at 5pm, I figured that New Year’s Eve would probably be different. And I’m glad we did.

They were already on a wait when we got there but with our reservation we were seated immediately. And as usual the service was great and the steaks even better.

What was interesting was how quickly they were turning the tables around. They had busboys standing around the sides of the dining room watching. As soon as a table started to get up, the workers were slowly walking toward the table. And as soon as the diner’s backs were turned, the guy had the table cleared and wiped down in about 30 seconds. There were also managers walking around with iPads logging when the table was clear, and about a minute later new diners were being seated. Neat to watch.

Finishing up, since Saltgrass didn’t have Pumpkin Cheesecake any longer, coming home we made a Marble Slab stop for their delicious Coffee Ice Cream. Of course we both like it mixed, Jan’s with Amaretto, and mine with Peanut Butter.

The perfect end to a nice day and an OK year.







Over 500,000!

Up from last year’s over 350,000 visitors to our blog last year, this year’s total was a little over 500,000.


They were from 86 countries, including Hong Kong, Brazil, China, Ukraine?, Russia, Singapore, Germany, South Korea, and a bunch more. But still nothing from North Korea or Antarctica.

Come on, North Korea. Just because you live in a tyrannical dictatorship doesn’t mean you can’t drop by and say Hi once in a while.

And Antarctica is the only continent we haven’t heard from. I know it’s cold down there, but I know you’ve got Internet.

A lady in Florida is suing The Hershey Company for “false and deceptive advertising”. She wants over $5 million because ‘she bought a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins for about $4.49 in October’ and they didn’t have a face on them.

I’m sorry, but who just looks at a Reese’s Peanut Butter anything for long enough to notice it doesn’t have a face?


Kelly thought the chocolates “contained a cute looking carving of a pumpkin’s mouth and eyes as pictured on the product packaging,” but she did not find any “artistic carvings” when she opened the wrappings, according to the suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

“Reese’s what are you doing! Look at the picture on the packet. It’s like a pumpkin with faces and a little mouth — then you open up the packet and you are presented with that monstrosity,” one YouTuber said.

So she’s upset that her Peanut Butter Pumpkin didn’t have a face on it. So how long was she going to stare at the face before she ate it?

And she’s going to be sorely disappointed when the pumpkins she grows from these seeds don’t come pre-carved. And with a hat.

And don’t even get her started about where Moon Pies really come from.

Jan wants more Turkey & Dressing so we’re having lunch at Kelley’s Country Cooking once again, which location to be determined later. Then afterward we’ll stop off at the office to close out the month and the year on our bookkeeping software. Normally I would just do it from home by remoting in, but when I double-checked today, I couldn’t get into that computer. I can remote into the other two, but not that one. Don’t know if it’s off-line, or just off.

Guess I’ll find out tomorrow.

Finishing up, here’s a neat video showing closeup videos of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 landings.

Lunch today was Monterey’s Little Mexico, then moving on to Wal-Mart, and then finishing up with Caramel Mocha Lattes and the P.O.

A Nice Day.

Thought For The Day:

They say it is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable, but how about a compromise like moderately rich and just a little moody?

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

December 30, 2010

Stegosaurs and Yummy Fingers . . .

Jan’s foot is doing a lot better today. It’s still sore, but at least she can walk on it without too much pain.

Since Jan’s heel was better we rescheduled last night’s dinner for tonight. And since Brandi gets off early today, we were able to make it for 5:00 to hopefully beat the crowds.

The weather wasn’t much better today, so I didn’t get anything else done on the wheel well flanges. Hopefully tomorrow will be a little better.

I went out for an hour or so this afternoon to check in on a client and then drop some stuff off at the storeroom.

Brandi sent over this photo of Landon checking out his yummy fingers.

Landon Yummy Hand

Love the Stegosaurus shirt and the camo pants. And he’s got my hairline too. That’s my boy!

We left the rig about 4:30 to redo our missed dinner last night at Pappasito’s Cantina.

We had a great time and a great meal. It was our first time to see Landon, et. al. since they came back from Oklahoma over Christmas.

Even got a good Landon pic of my own.

Landon Pappasitos

We got back home about 6:30 just ahead of more rain.

Tomorrow I’m going to take Jan over to Brandi’s to Landon-sit while she and Lowell work on putting down laminate flooring in the master bedroom. I’ll run errands and then come back to the rig and work on stuff around here.

December 30, 2011

AT&T Merry-Go-Round . . .

This morning Jan and I headed out about 11:15am to meet Brandi and Lowell at the Texas Tea Room. Landon was at daycare so Jan and Brandi were going to have a girl’s day out and do some shopping, while Lowell had joined us from work and would be going back.

At the same time, I was going back to the same two clients as yesterday. The first one was to make a final decision on the new computers, and the second was to get back with AT&T on converting that client’s static IP DSL account to dynamic IP’s. And this time I had the paperwork to hopefully get the problem resolved.

And get it resolved I did it


But to get this far I had to get on the AT&T Merry-Go-Round.


Yesterday I started out with DSL Tech Support, moved through DSL Residential Sales, and then segued into DSL Business Sales, why I don’t know. But without the needed paperwork, there was where I stalled out.

So today I started back in Business Sales. But after going round and round there, I ended up back in Residential Sales, where, after 25 minutes of them going back and forth between themselves, they decided that they couldn’t make the change in that department. So they transferred me to U-verse Internet Services.

Huh! They don’t have U-verse. Just DSL. So after finally convincing them of this, it was back to Business Sales.

Who then sent me back to DSL Tech Support.

Where’s Malcolm when I need him?

But finally after going round and round in Tech Support, I found someone who could take care of the problem.

Well, at least they could schedule it to be done.

On Wednesday, January 4th by 5pm.

And I have an Order Number to boot.

So now I’ll just wait till Wednesday afternoon and go by the house and check it out.

And probably have to start back over again.

We’ll see.

Finally about 3:30 I headed back over to Brandi’s to pick up Jan, but they were playing on the computer, so it was about 5pm before we headed home.

Along the way we decided to have dinner at Floyd’s Cajun Seafood, our favorite local Cajun place.

We started off with a dozen raw oysters, one of Floyd’s specialties. And when you order a dozen, you get 13. And these were really big, too.

Raw Oysters

Jan and I followed up our oysters with steaming bowls of delicious Shrimp Gumbo, pretty much the best in the area. The one place that’s equal is Mulate’s in Breaux Bridge, LA (now Pont Breaux)

After a great meal we headed home, and on the way I made a call on my Garmin GPS.

Yes, my GPS. My new Garmin has Bluetooth and that makes it really easy to do hands-free calls.

Tomorrow we’re going back over to Brandi’s a little before 2pm to babysit Landon so she and Lowell can spend New Year’s Eve up in Katy with her BFF, Shawna, and her family. They’ll spend the night and be back sometime Sunday.

We will have our hands full. And by ‘We’, I mean Jan.

December 30, 2012

Still Nothing from Antarctica . . .

Well, we did it!

We pretty much did absolutely nothing again today. We didn’t even leave the rig. Nice!

This was fine with me as I’ve been fighting off a low-level cold for the last few days. Just nasal congestion, no cough, no sore throat, nothing else. And for feeling under the weather, what could be better than chicken soup?

Well, Chicken Tortilla Soup, anyway. I shredded a couple of the chicken breasts I had poached a few days ago, and put them in the slow cooker along with some of the liquid from the poaching, and another container of chicken stock. After it started getting warm, I added containers of Monterey’s salsa and Pico de Gallo, along with some extra cilantro.

Then it was off for a very nice nap. It’s been a cold, dreary day here. I don’t think it even got out of the 40’s. Cold, but just perfect for a good nap.

Up a little after 4 pm, I dished out the soup, added some shredded Monterey Jack cheese and crumbled tortilla chips, and we sat down to some delicious Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Later, Jan made some fantastic Baked Kale by taking fresh kale, spraying it lightly with olive oil, sprinkling it with salt, and then baking it in the convection for about 10 minutes. It comes out crispy, crunchy, and delicious.

Try it.

I got my yearly blog report from WordPress today and it was a real eye-opener.

In 2010 we had 56,000 visitors to the blog. And last year we had 133,000.

But this year we jumped to 174,000 visitors with them coming from 144 different countries.

And still no one from Antarctica. I had visitors from the other six continents, just not Antarctica. I keep hoping that someone down there at one of the research stations would check in sometime. Just once, OK?

For some reason I had only 147 visitors from Mexico, but 233 from Brazil. And 2 from China and 1 from Nepal.  Nepal?

We also had 62 from South Korea, but 0 from North Korea.

Hey, just because your country is an oppressive dictatorship, doesn’t mean you can’t check in once in a while.

December 30, 2013

No Better, But No Worse . . .

Brandi sent over this photo of the final wrap-up of Landon’s Christmas. Originally Lowell, Brandi, and Landon were going up to see Lowell’s parents in Oklahoma the day after Christmas, and Santa had left Landon’s Hug Me Elmo there waiting for him. But plans changed so Grannie and Papa sent it down here to him

Landon and Elmo

Looks like they’re going to be inseparable.

And while I’m on family photos, here’s one of Zoe Nadeau, our daughter Brandi’s husband Lowell’s sister’s daughter’s daughter.

Hope you got that. There’ll be a short quiz afterward.

Zoe Nadeau 8

Jan’s still under the weather, but not really worse. She still has the sore throat, but it doesn’t seem to have gone any further yet.  But just to be sure, if her throat isn’t any better by tomorrow, I’ll take her to the Dr. to have it checked out.

About 3 PM I headed out for some Chloraseptic Throat Spray from Kroger’s and a big batch of Chicken Tortilla Soup from Monterey’s Little Mexico.

Chicken Soup is good for a cold, right? Even if it does have tortilla strips and jalapenos in it, too?

Jan says the Chloraseptic Spray seems to help so we’ll see about tomorrow.

The temp never got out of the 40’s today, with 30’s set for tonight. And it looks like it will stay that way for the next week or so.

Later this afternoon Jan and I were watching one of those Mega RV Shows and saw this one.

It’s called the Decoliner, and has been described as what Flash Gordon uses on his vacations.


Although it looks like it was built in the 30’s, it’s a recent Randy Grubb creation. Handcrafted from aluminum, and built on a 1973 GMC Motorhome chassis, combined with a 1950 White Truck cab, it has that full-on Art Deco look.

Decoliner 2

And, yes, it can be driven from inside the cab, or from the flying bridge up top.

Decoliner 3


Here’s a short video that explains more about it, including how the remote steering works. Sure wouldn’t want to be driving it up top and hit a bump and have that telescoping link come loose.

And it can be yours for only $500,000.

Got some good news from Amazon on the Kindle Paperwhite I recently ordered. Originally they said I would not receive it until the week of Jan 6-10. But now it should be here Saturday the 4th.

And it’s now shown up in my Kindle device list on Amazon so I can already send books to it, even before I receive it.   Neat!

December 30, 2014

Out of Luck . . .

After not getting to bed until about 2:30 this morning, I creaked out of bed around 10am. ‘Creak’ being the operative word. I haven’t been this sore in a long time.

Between leaning over the compartment under the bed and getting up and down a lot as I worked on the transfer switch install, and then lifting out the old Source Manager unit, my back may never be the same.

But once I was up and about, I started back in on my chore list. First up was to replace the leaking hose of our kitchen pull-out faucet nozzle. But I quickly hit a snag.

The universal hose replacement kit that I bought at Lowe’s the other day did not have an adapter that fits my nozzle. But that may be because the package of adapters looked like it had been opened already. Whatever the reason, this hose wasn’t going to work. So back to Lowe’s it goes.

Next up, I wanted to finish up the power converter install under the bed. But that didn’t work out either. I discovered I had forgotten that I needed to add a 120volt outlet underneath there to plug the power converter into. So more parts are needed.

So now it was on to project number 3, replacing the bathroom faucet. I had the faucet so I was ready to go.

Until I tried to get down on the floor and found my knees wouldn’t bend for that. Oh, well. There’s later for that.

So I was off to Home Depot for parts and to get a new hose kit. Getting there I found they had the same hose kit as Lowe’s, and this one didn’t look like it had been opened. So I got that one as well as the electrical parts I needed. I’ll take the other hose back to Lowe’s later in the week.

Getting back home, I saw this 5ver driving around looking for a site. Really nice setup.

Neat 5th Wheel

Getting out the hose kit, I found I was still out of luck. There was no adapter in the kit that would fit my nozzle. The faucet is an American-Standard, but I guess it’s not standard enough. So now both of them have to go back, I guess. And it’s back to the drawing board for the hose.

As far as the electrical stuff, it was getting late in the day, and I would have to turn off the power, so that can wait also. There’s always tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, I’m going down about 10:30 to get Jan and we’ll spend the afternoon with Landon before we come home tomorrow night. We had originally planned to spend the night there at Brandi’s, but that’s changed, so we’ll be coming home.

December 30, 2015

Repairs – Updated and Upcoming . . .

With 54° and not a lot of wind, we were able to do our 1.04 mile walk this morning without getting rained on. And this time, since we were doing the same 1 mile route, we worked at increasing our speed, dropping from a little over 31 minutes per mile to today’s 27:45 minutes per mile.

On our walk we noticed that the park is much fuller than we’ve seen it recently, with few openings. Guess a lot of people are back on the road after the holidays.

I had started the coffee right before we left, so when we got back I toasted up our pumpkin/lemon bread and we sat outside for a while, the first time in a good while that the weather had been nice enough.

Later I worked on a couple of chores, and planned on a few more. When I was at Lowe’s yesterday getting the longer screws and White Oak Pickling Stain for Jan’s “Oh Sh?t Handle”, I also checked out plumbing access panels to cover up the holes that I had to make in the bedroom wall behind my shower when I was repairing the leak.

I was looking for just a plain plastic cover, but all I’ve found so far are ones that have an access door as part of the cover.

Plumbing Access Cover

Since I don’t plan to open the panel any time soon, I’d just as soon not pay the extra money for a door, especially since if I do need to get in, I can just take out the 4 screws.

I’ve checked Lowes and Home Depot online, as well as Amazon and Google without luck. So next I’ll check out that really good hardware store in Columbus when we’re back there next week.

As an update, all of my recent plumbing repairs, i.e. the toilet ball and seal replacement, the lavatory faucet replacement, and the repairing of the shower leak, all seem to be holding up with no further problems.

You can relive my plumbing repair saga here

Coming up next, I’ve got another electronic repair to take care of, this time replacing the cracked glass screen on my son Chris’ Galaxy S5 phone.

My last electronic repair, about 2 months ago while we were still on the gate, was to replace the charger port on my ASUS laptop. You can revisit that one here.

But this repair has a booby-trap attached. If I’m successful, the repair will only cost about $10, which is the cost of this repair kit.

Galaxy S5 Glass Kit

Front Outer Glass Lens Screen Replacement For Samsung Galaxy S5 + Adhesive Tape + Tools Kit

But the glass screen is glued to the LED/Digitizer screen and has to be VERY carefully separated, using a heat gun/hair dryer and an infrared thermometer to monitor the temp as you go.

But if I’m not successful, and break the LED screen, the new glass screen/LED/Digitizer kit is about $150. So I’m going to be VERY, VERY careful.

You can check out the upcoming repair sequence here.

I’ll pick up Chris’ phone on Friday when we’re down in the Clear Lake area on Friday, and then try to get it back to him on Monday or Tuesday when we’re back at Colorado River TT.

He’s borrowed a phone from a friend and will transfer his number to it for a couple of days so he won’t be without one.

Tomorrow we’ll walk again, as long as the weather holds. Should be OK but you never know.

As far as tomorrow night, we’ll probably eat out, but early to avoid all the celebration fun and games.

December 30, 2016

Now We Know . . .

Tonight will be my 2nd night here at this new gate. Last night I texted Todd to ask if this new one was a TFN (Till Further Notice) gate or a one-night stand. He texted me back, “TFN”.

Of course the gate I was on Monday and Tuesday was also TFN, and it only lasted two days. So we’ll see after tonight I guess.

One thing this two day (so far) gate has in common with the last two day gate is that the cell service just plain sucks. Sucks, as in just plain doesn’t work. Text is OK, and both the 3G on my AirCard and 4G on my S5 phone are usable. But I can’t make or receive phone calls at all here.

At the other gate I couldn’t make a phone call from inside the shack (it has sheet steel walls) but I could go outside and get a connection. But here, nothing.

If I had my ladder here I guess I could climb up on the roof and hold my phone up in the air like Robin Williams in ‘RV’. But then with my luck trucks would start rolling in.

But I was confused at first when I got to this new gate and had the same problems as before. The two gates are off different roads heading out in different directions from Kenedy. But when you look on a map the gates are only about 5 miles apart as the buzzard flies. (why is it always crows? Give some other animal a chance.) So we’re probably still on the same tower.

Another thing different about this is that when you make a call, all you get is silence. No ringing, no noise. And then after about 15 seconds it just disconnects. And it’s the same on incoming calls too. Jan said that when she tried to call me yesterday, it was just dead silence on her end, no ringing, and never went to voice mail.

Hopefully they’ll get it fixed soon, or I’ll get a new gate, with the ‘new gate’ probably the most likely.

I had hoped to have some dashcam footage for you from our trip to San Antonio this past Wednesday. As we were coming north on US 281 approaching the Alamodome and the Tower of the Americas, I was in the second from the right lane. A lady in an SUV in the far right lane was slowly passing me (I was doing the speed limit). When she got where her rear door was about even with my front bumper, she just started coming over.

Now it wasn’t like her lane was ending or it was an Exit Only, she apparently just wanted to be where I was. I couldn’t move over because I had someone coming up on my left, so I slowed down slightly and leaned on the horn, really wishing that I had the rig’s air horns onboard.

She never even flinched, never jerked the wheel, or even looked around. She just kept coming.

Finally I had to stand on the brakes for a couple of seconds to let her in front of me. She was so close that I could see nothing lower than the bottom of her rear window, probably only a inch or so separation.


But when I eagerly checked my dashcam footage the next day, it wasn’t there. Or that time period wasn’t, anyway.

My dashcam is set to record in 3 minute seamless segments. If you make the segments longer, you can end up with files sizes that are just too big to handle for editing. As it is a 3 minute segment of HD video is about 50 MB.

So the last segment I had was us getting back onto 281 about 16:30, maybe 8-10 minutes before the incident. Then it picks up about 20:20 just as we’re leaving the movie theater. And looking at the file timestamps, there are no other files missing.

So the only thing I can figure out is . . . that I’ve been hacked . . . by the Russians, of course. Who else could it be?

So who can I expel?

I figure that I wasn’t supposed to see the lady in the SUV, who’s actually a top-secret Russian spy. So they had to erase all evidence of her existence, including my dashcam.

Yeah, that’s the ticket. Or at least that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

Otherwise I have no idea why those, and only those, particular files vanished.

On another note, one thing I’ve noticed at the last two theaters we’ve been in San Antonio is that the individual theaters in the complex no longer tell you what’s showing inside. They just have the theater number that corresponds to the number on your ticket.

I guess this is to keep kids from buying a ticket for ‘Finding Nemo’ and then sneaking into an R-rated movie, and to keep people from migrating from movie to movie. Otherwise they could get accidently stuck in ‘Sponge Bob SquarePants’.

That movie was so bad that all three of us fell asleep, me, Jan, AND Landon.

On the Food Front, Jan made up a big batch of her super hot & spicy chili this past Monday, but with everything going on, today was the first chance to try it. And believe me, it aged well.

It’s always a good sign if my nose starts running and the top of my head starts sweating. And this was a VERY good batch.

Yesterday we had our Magic Time Machine leftovers as steak sandwiches using the bread they gave us with the meal, as well as the rest of our baked potato that Jan fleshes out with more sour cream and fixing’s.

Magic Time Machine Leftovers

Just about as good as the original.

Brandi sent over this pic of Landon on Christmas morning.

Landon Christmas 2016

He looks like he could be one of Santa’s elves himself.


It’s official. Now we know that TFN apparently means TWO days. Todd just texted me that I’m off tomorrow and then Sunday back at the same gate I was at the first two days this week. The ‘other’ gate with the bad cell service.

And the rattlesnakes.


So it looks like Jan and I will now get to do all our wild partying on New Year’s Eve.

December 30, 2017

Self Diagnosing . . .

I’ve mentioned the health problems I’ve been having the last couple of weeks, actually the last 10 days.

It started in the early morning of December 21st when sometime during the night I rolled over and experienced a short burst of vertigo. But I didn’t really remember it until the next morning when I set up on the side of the bed and suddenly thought I was on a carnival Tilt-A-Whirl. And I like the Tilt-A-Whirl.

I was suddenly so dizzy I couldn’t even stand up without falling off to the side. but the real problem was the nausea and urge to vomit. I’ve never been seasick or airsick so this was new to me.

By holding onto the wall and door I was able to make it to the bathroom and then out to the living room to talk to Jan, The problem with getting sick today was this was the day for our Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert at 3:30. And at that point I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to go, much less drive.

Going back to bed I did check my blood pressure which was 128 over 88, so I was sure that it wasn’t a blood pressure problem. And later in the afternoon the vertigo was gone, but I still felt kind of blah, but well enough to go to the concert.

Then this past Wednesday it hit again, but not as bad, and with no nausea, but still didn’t feel well enough to go in to work. And again, by the next day it was pretty much gone.

So now I want to know what the heck this was. And a little Googling pretty much nailed it.  I have BPPV, or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.


The signs and symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) may include:

  • Dizziness
  • A sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving (vertigo)
  • A loss of balance or unsteadiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

My symptoms to a ‘T’’

The problem is caused by small particles breaking loose in the inner ear and then drifting into the semicircular canals, which usually happens while you’re lying down. It’s fairly common with about 200,000 new cases a year.

The fix is a series of ‘canalith repositioning’ exercises done three times a day. Hopefully this will help. I’ll let you know.

BTW if you want your own Tilt-A-Whirl, you can go here and get one for only about $250,000, complete with low-boy transport trailer.

Tomorrow Jan and I are heading up to Brandi’s for lunch and also to drop off Jan so she can Landon-sit for a couple of days. I’ll drive back up on Tuesday to pick her up, so Karma and I will be batching for a couple of days. Hopefully we’ll survive.

I played around with my new Alexa Wand some more this afternoon, finally ordering something through it, hopefully getting my $20 rebate doing it.

In the latest Global Warming news, Niagara Falls is frozen over,

Canada Deep Freeze

and parts of the US are colder than the surface of Mars.

December 30, 2019

Steak Delayed?

Our original plan for New Year’s Eve was for Jan and I to have dinner about 4pm at Saltgrass, and then head on over to the office a little after 5 so I can close out the month and the year on the Point of Sale program, and then after copying all the data off, I’ll replace Jennifer’s Win7 computer with a new Win10 model. Then I’ll copy all the needed data over to the new one.

But Jan seems to have contracted the ‘cold’ or whatever that I’ve been fighting off, she’s reluctant to waste a Saltgrass steak dinner when she’s under the weather. So right now the whole dinner thing is up in the air. Otherwise it might be lunch at Yummy Yummy’s. We’ll see.

Then Jan and I will try to stay awake long enough to see the Ball Drop in Times Square. And that’s at 11pm here. Heaven forbid, we should try to actually make it to midnight.

One of Jan’s favorite gifts this Christmas was this heavy bag that Brandi gave her.

Jan's Landon's Artwork Bag

The really special thing about it is the artwork on the side. It’s actually an original drawing done by our grandson, Landon.

Jan's Landon's Artwork Bag 2

It’s not traced, or copied. It’s completely original and done from scratch.

Wrapping up, I think Lowell enjoyed holding Jack in his lap when he was a lot smaller.

Lowell and Jack

December 30, 2020

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve . . .

New Year

Not much blog today since we’re leaving so early tomorrow for Fredericksburg. And the weather just keeps getting better and better.

Tomorrow there it supposed to be 37 and 28, with a 100% chance of rain. What’s kind of funny though, is that there’s no mention of snow at all. At least on the weather channel forecast.

But Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in Kingsland look nice. Sunny with 50’s in the daytime and 30’s at night. And NO rain. So sitting out around the firepit making S’mores should be nice.

Really looking forward to it.

December 30, 2021

Not Much . . .

Since I was a little under the weather today, it was just a quick out and back this afternoon.

First was our Ultimate Omelets at Denny’s for lunch.

Denny's Ultimate Omelet 20211230

Then a stop at Sam’s Club for a few things, and then home.

December 30, 2022

Over 350,000 . . .

JetPack/Wordpress just sent over the year-end stats for our website, and we had over 350,00 viewers this past year, from 75 countries. Countries that include China, Ukraine, Russia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea, for just a few.

And these countries cover six of the seven continents, leaving only Antarctica without a visitor. But our long-time friend Chris LaClaire is taking a cruise down to that area later in 2023, so hopefully she will be able to visit our website and give us that last holdout.

So, thanks guys for all your support!

Tomorrow afternoon, at 5pm, Jan and I are celebrating New Year’s Eve by having dinner at our local Saltgrass Steakhouse, and who knows, we might even have an alcoholic beverage. Or at least split one.

Then, since it’s the end of the month AND the end of the year, I’ll stop off at the office to close out the books, and hopefully start up the 180+ MB download of the 2023 version of the UPS software.