Daily Archives: December 1, 2023

The End Of An Era . . .

It seems that almost all the magazines of my youth have faded away.

I devoured each monthly issue of magazines like:

Mechanix Illustrated

Popular Electronics

Radio Electronics

Electronics Illustrated

And now Popular Science is gone. At least in magazine form.

Publishing monthly starting in 1872, it does live on at websites and in podcasts.

This leaves only Popular Mechanics still standing.

I still remember in late 1974 receiving the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics, highlighting the Altair 8800, the first, real home computer.

And I was hooked. Having spent a semester programming on an IBM 360 in Fortran at Vanderbilt University in 1967, I was anxious to get back to computing.

And that started my life on a new career path that continues to this day.

And it looks like an era may be ending for Jan and I. Buried in an article about Titusville, FL where we met in 1967, and talking about the demolition of the Searstown Mall there, was this paragraph.

The two other locations slotted for redevelopment back then were the Miracle City Mall—which was transformed into the outdoor retail hub Titus Landing several years back—and a patch of land on the west side of U.S. 1 just south of State Road 50 that the city hopes could one day become condominiums.

That ‘patch of land’ is almost certainly the former location of Florida Wonderland, the somewhat seedy amusement park where we first met when we were both working there.

Searstown Mall was only a year old back in 1967, and Jan and I went there often on dates, especially the Lum’s Restaurant out in front. Lum’s was known for their hot dogs steam-cooked in beer. Yuumm!

And now it’s all gone.

Tomorrow we’re having lunch at Twin Peaks, our first time in a while. Our favorite server, Sylvia said she’s looking forward to seeing our Christmas sweaters.


It’s supposed to be 75° tomorrow. How about Christmas T-Shirts?

Thought For The Day:

Self-respect: that secure feeling that no one, as of yet, is suspicious.

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

December 1, 2010

You learn something new every week . . .

First off, we’ve got a great photo of Master Landon going to visit Santa at the mall in HIS Santa Suit.

Brandi said that, unlike a lot of kids who cry sitting on Santa’s lap, Landon started laughing out loud when Santa tickled him under his chin.

Landon in Santa Suit

Now what did I learn new this week?  Two things.

First, I CAN lose two credit cards in one week.

I mentioned the other day how I somehow lost/left my credit card in a Wal-Mart. I’m still not sure what happened. I swiped my CC and remember putting it back in my billfold and then taking my cashback and putting it in my billfold. I can only guess that the card fell out. But I got it back the next day from Customer Service, and I’ve been checking my account, but no unknown charges have come thru. So, no harm, no foul.

The second thing I learned is that when an ATM now takes your card, it doesn’t keep it.


Yesterday, I stopped at a Wells Fargo to deposit a check from a client. These new ATMs have a feature where you can just stick the check in the slot and it reads it and deposits it. No deposit slip, nothing.

But, unlike any ATM I’ve used recently, this one took my card. Every other one I’ve used recently you stick your card in the slot and then pull it back out. So I was surprised when this one just sucked my card in.

Then I had trouble getting the ATM to take my check in the slot. The little door wouldn’t open. Finally, after cancelling the deposit, and then telling it again I wanted to deposit a check, it worked.

But I was already running late for my next appointment, and in a hurry, I forgot my credit card was still in the machine, and I didn’t realize it was missing until last night at dinner. And then I remembered what I had done.

So I thought no problem. I’ll call the bank tomorrow morning and we’ll run by and pick it up on our way out of town.


When I phoned the guy at the bank and asked if I could come by and pick it up, he just laughed and said “Well, you can, but it wouldn’t do you any good. It’s in about 500 little tiny pieces.” Apparently the banks don’t service the ATMs anymore. The armored car companies do, and to keep anyone else from getting your card, the machine just chews it up.

Who Knew?

He said I could come by any Wells Fargo and they can issue me a new card instantly. So I’ll do that later this week.

Before we left for the Texas Hill Country this morning I got these great photos of the Bayou and some wildlife.

What’s hard to see in this first shot is the bird on the piling right in the center of the photo.

GB RV 1201

A little tighter shot shows it’s a Great Blue Heron.

GB RV 1201a

And here’s an even closer on it. A beautiful bird.

GB RV 1201b

And here’s an Anhinga, another local water bird. It’s low tide and he’s sitting on part of a submerged boat.

Egret 1201

We got on our way to the Hill Country a little before 10, first stopping at Chris’ to drop off some paperwork, and then we headed up I-45.

We got to Fischer, TX about 2:30 pm, after making our usual stop at the Buc-ee’s in Luling for a bathroom break. We had come up to visit for a couple of days with our friend Gina who lives on a 600 acre cattle ranch near Fischer.

After catching up on things, about 5 we headed out for supper over in Wimberley, a nearby small town. We wanted to eat at the Cypress Creek Cafe, that had now reopened.

But before we even got in the restaurant, Jan found a moose at the gift shop next door. At least I think it’s a moose.

Jan and Moose

In the restaurant, and looking at the menu, I noticed they had Buffalo Wings in Mild, Hot, Very Hot, and … Devil’s Breath!

And yes, it was printed in red with the exclamation point. And after the name it had “Signed Waiver Required”. Then underneath it said it was made with Ghost Chilies, the hottest peppers in the world.


I had to have them.

The Ghost Chili, or Bhut jolokia, or Naga jolokia, has been rated between 855,000 and 1,041, 427 Scoville Units, the heat rating for chili peppers.

By comparison, Tabasco Sauce rates at 2500 – 5000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units), and regular jalapenos rate at 5000-10000 SHU.

And they do make you sign a waiver, but you don’t get a certificate like you do when you have the Atomic Wings at Quaker Steak and Lube.  Bummer!

And to add insult to injury, when they bring out your platter of 12 wings, they sprinkled them with red pepper flakes. Oh Boy!

The waiter said they came 6 to 8 to an order, so I also got a bowl of tortilla soup, while Jan got the Chicken Fried Chicken and Gina got the Chicken Fried Steak.

But 12 wings turned out to be too much food with the soup. Jan ate one or two wings and I ate 6, along with my soup, so we had 4 to take home.

Now for my review. They were hot, but I’m not sure it was hotter than the Blazin’ sauce at Buffalo Wild Wings, nor as hot as the Atomic Wings at Quaker Steak.

What was funny is that it was a different kind of heat. It did meet my two main criteria for hot stuff…the top of my bald head starts sweating and my nose starts running, but it didn’t make my lips burn like the new XXX Obscene sauce at Hooters. They tingled, but my lips didn’t burn for several hours like with the XXX.

But all in all, it was an interesting experience. I’d always wanted to try Ghost Chilies, but this is the first place I’ve seen them on the menu. I’d have them again.

Getting back to the ranch we found Gina’s raccoons waiting for us on the porch. There were three babies who came running over to me, sitting up on their hind legs wanting to be fed. I got this photo of one trying to figure out if my shoe was food. At least I hope it was my shoe and not my foot.

Me and baby raccoon

A little later Jan sat out with Gina as even more came in to be fed. Gina said she’s had as many as 20 at one time.

Gina Racoons 1

She puts out large pans of dog food and water. These two appear to be washing up before their meal.

Gina Racoons 2

And they really like peanuts. Here’s Gina hand feeding one of the babies.

Gina Racoons 3

That’s about it for today. More from the Hill Country tomorrow.

December 1, 2011

UPS and King Food . . .

This morning after coffee I was feeling really industrious, so I decided to wash several months of road grime off the truck. I don’t want to take it through a car wash until I get the window fixed, so I get to do it by hand.

About 1pm I headed up to Brandi’s to pick up my client’s two UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) units that finally came in. When I checked the tracking this morning, it said the package was out for delivery at 3:19 am.

3:19 am?

This is the email our son-in-law Lowell sent concerning my package.

A Large U-Haul truck with 2 uniformed UPS guys squeezed into the cab that was full of dozens of boxes parked in front of the house at 11am. Both guys got out & unloaded about 50 boxes from the rear of the truck into the street in front of our mailbox looking for the packages for this address. They came up empty handed & re-loaded everything to head to their next stop. They will be back waaayy laaaateerr today once they come across the pkgs destined for our house.

Guess we now know the meaning “External Factors”

But as it turns out they came back a little later with my package, so after picking it up I headed over to my client’s to install their new UPS units.

One install took a lot of time due to the fact that the plug was behind a ‘ginormous’ cabinet that I had to take a bunch of stuff out of, and off of, before I could move it. And then of course put it all back in the right place.

But, hey. I get paid by the hour.

After finishing up, I headed home, and then a little later, we picked up Dennis & Kathy Brophey from their site and headed up to Clear Lake to have dinner at King Food.

We had a good time getting to know Dennis and Kathy, and the usual great meal from King Food.

After we left the restaurant we drove around and showed Dennis & Kathy the area, finally getting home a little before 8pm

December 1, 2012

Burning Chrome . . .

Our son Chris came over about 11 to fix my stuck tailpipe problem.

To recap, my rig’s chrome tailpipe extension rusted out and while we were at the Thousand Trails in Batesville, IN, back in September, I decided to install the new one that I had actually ordered while we were gate guarding. But I ran into a problem getting the old one off. It had been jammed into the muffler pipe so far that I was unable to get it out. I tried penetrating oil, banging on it, heating it with a torch, etc., all with no luck. So I decided to put it off until we got back to Houston.

And with the right tools it just took a few minutes. My son used a Sawzall reciprocating saw and a metal cutting blade to quickly cut the old extension off flush with the muffler extension. Then he put the saw blade into the muffler pipe and cut a slot into the remaining piece of the extension.

Tailpipe 1

After that it was easy to use a pair of pliers to twist and remove the old piece.

Tailpipe 2

Then it was just a few minutes to clamp the new extension into place and the job was done.

Tailpipe 3

By now it was time for lunch, so Jan, Chris, and I headed up to Bacliff to have lunch at Stomp’s Burger Joint, probably our favorite local burger place.

Stomps 5

Stomps 1

Stomp’s has some of the best burgers around, and is always crowded. And in addition, their onion rings are fantastic. I don’t know what they do differently, but they’re like no place else.

Stomps 4

After lunch, and saying our goodbyes to Chris, Jan and I headed into Webster for a couple of errands.

First stop was to pick up some pants I had altered, and then it was on to Lowe’s to get a new toilet seat for the rig.

The old one had the finish coming off in a couple of places so we wanted to get a new one. Jan said the finish is coming off because of all the hot, spicy food I eat. And she might be right.

Our last stop before heading home was Half Price Books for Jan to look for a new calendar.

Then it was back to the rig for the night.

December 1, 2013

Resting Up and Wrapping Up . . .

Today was pretty much a rest-up day from yesterday’s Texas Renaissance Festival visit. Actually we seem to be doing a lot of resting up lately. Resting up from 3 months on the gate, resting up from Thanksgiving, resting up from . . . Well, you get the picture.

But we were rested enough to want breakfast this morning so about 10:30 we headed out for the breakfast buffet at La Brisa right up the road on 146. They have one of the best breakfasts around with a combination of American and Mexican dishes. Great!

Afterwards we drove around for a while to check out changes in the area before heading over to Chris and Linda’s to drop off some of Jan’s sausage balls that we forgot to give them after Thanksgiving.

Our granddaughter Piper told us the other day that she’s still on course for her medical education. January 14th she starts a 10 week course to become an EMT. Then next it’s on to Paramedic school. She then plans to use her employment in these fields to help fuel her further schooling. They will also count as clinical hours during these classes.

Piper at TexRenFest

Sounds like she’s really got her career on track. And beautiful to boot.

We also heard from Jim and Linda Mossman, the couple who took over our gate when we left November 23rd. Sounds like they’re not any busier so far than we were. You can check out their blog here: Jim and Linda’s Travels. I’ve also added their blog to the blog rolls here.

I’ve been looking over our travels this past year, which completes our 6th year of full-timing. We did 7,779 miles this year for a total of 60,386 miles for the 6 years.

This means our coach, a 1999 American Eagle,  now has a total of 124,897 miles on it, and so far she’s still going strong. (fingers crossed). Our toad (truck) now has a little over 208,000 miles on it, 107,000 that we put on it since we bought it in the fall of 2007. Of course this doesn’t include the 60,000 miles it’s been towed behind the rig, mileage that doesn’t get recorded on the truck’s odometer.

All in all, a nice year, and I think we’re all ready to go again next year. Well, the truck’s in the shop, but I’m sure it’ll be ready too. (Well, I hope.)

Tomorrow it’s time to get back to work with a client visit or two. Hopefully we’ll also hear something about the truck from the shop.

December 1, 2014

I Don’t Feel So Bad Now . . .

Catching up on Sunday:

After a long night spent fighting Walker the Dog for space on the couch, I woke up tired. He would curl up at the bottom and then slowly stretch out until he was taking up most of the sofa. and all of the blanket. Once when I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I came back to find he had worked his way under the blanket until he was completely covered. So when Jan got up about 7am, I went in and got a couple of hours of sleep on the single bed where she’d been sleeping.

When I finally got up about 9:30 Jan and I headed out to have breakfast at The Egg and I, our favorite local breakfast/lunch place. Besides the good food, they have a really great Hazelnut coffee to go with it, so it’s always a go-to breakfast place for us.

After a great breakfast, we drove over to Tuesday Morning so Jan could pick out Christmas cards. She’s always found the best deals on high-end cards there, so it’s the first place she checks.

Next it was my turn with a trip across the Interstate to one of my favorite places, Fry’s Electronics. I could wander around in here for hours . . . and have a few times. But this time I was here for something specific, a microSD card for my latest toy.

RadioShack QuadCopter

It’s a remote control quadcopter, only about 5-3/4 inches from blade tip to blade tip. And even better, it has an HD quality video/still camera built in. And even better, better, is the fact it only cost me $9.95. Which is probably why it didn’t come with a memory card, and I had to supply my own.

I got this quadcopter at RadioShack, where originally it listed for $79.95, but they had it on a Black Friday Sale for $34.95. But I had a $25 off coupon on any purchase of $35 or more. So I also bought a battery for $1 to get me over the $35 limit.

They tried to sell me microSD card for it, but it was way too expensive. Which was probably the idea they had in discounting the quadcopter.

But while I was in Fry’s getting my memory card, I found another new toy.

Swann Atom Quadcopter

Another quadcopter. But while this one doesn’t have a camera, it is kind of special . . . It’s only about 3 inches blade tip to blade tip. Here’s a comparison.

QuadCopter Comparison

And this one was only $12 with a $10 mail-in rebate. I wonder how much smaller they can make these.

By the time we got back to the house, Chris, Linda, and Piper showed up from their trip, so after getting hugs and goodbyes, Jan and I headed up to Brandi and Lowell’s to pick up our mail and have dinner before we headed back to Conroe and home.

We decided not to all go out for dinner, but instead Lowell and I went to bring back sandwiches from Phillies Cheesesteaks, which actually is right next door to Little V’s Vietnamese Bistro, our favorite place there.

And these Cheesesteaks are the real thing. The guy who owns the place used to work at Pat’s in Philadelphia, which is one of the two places claiming to be the originator of the Cheesesteak, the other one being Gino’s, which is right across the street from Pat’s.

He started out trying to find a local bakery that could duplicate the sandwich rolls from Philly, but had no luck. So for a while, he flew in flash-frozen rolls from there, but now he brings in frozen 5 gal buckets of dough and has a local place bake them fresh. He says that they taste as good as back in Philly, and the many customer reviews on Yelp and other places seem to agree.

And for our part, the Cheesesteaks and Cheese Fries we got were really great. Another place to go back to.

After getting our second round of hugs and goodbyes and collecting our mail, Jan and I headed back home a little before 7pm. I was happy to see that our South Dakota tag stickers had come in, since the ones on the truck and the rig expire today.

We got home about 8pm, both glad to be able to sleep in our own bed, with me very happy that I don’t have to fight a dog for the blanket.

Now to today:

After our morning coffee and muffins, Jan and I headed out for lunch and some errands, with our first stop being the Conroe Sam’s Club to drop off Jan’s prescription for Anastrozole, her replacement for the Tamoxifen breast cancer drug she had so much trouble with. We’ll see how this one does.

Next, with the dreary, rainy day, Jan decided she wanted a bowl of her favorite Creamy Tomato Soup from the Twin Peaks ‘breastaurant’, about t0 miles south on I-45. And who am I to tell her ‘No’.

We’ve only eaten at the Twin Peaks down in Webster, so we were surprised to see how much larger this one was.

Twin Peaks Conroe

It’s two story, and really nice inside, with every booth having their own TV screen. Jan, of course, got her Tomato Soup, and I got my usual Venison Chili,

Twin Peaks Venison Chili2

and we split an order of the Pulled Pork Sliders.

Twin Peaks Pulled Portk Sliders

One thing I quickly noticed about the Venison Chili was that the meat was not finely ground. It was much chunkier than the Twin Peaks in Webster, so I asked our waitress about it. She said each restaurant grinds their own venison, and the manager here likes it chunky like that. And he’s right. It really is better.

Leaving Twin Peaks, I saw something that made me feel not so bad about my little ‘Oops’ the other day at the Escapees Park in Livingston.

Twin Peaks Stuck Truck 3

Twin Peaks Stuck Truck 1

Twin Peaks Stuck Truck 2

I’m not exactly sure how he managed to do this, but at least I had the excuse that I was backing up at the time.

He did this going forward. And I bet he didn’t expect to have it spread all over the Internet, either.

After a quick stop at Home Depot for a few things, and then Sam’s Club to pick up Jan’s prescription, we were home for the day.

Tomorrow will probably be a stay-at-home, rest-up day. But then again, it might not.

December 1, 2015

Drones and a Slingshot . . .

I awoke this morning to the delicious smell of a big batch of Jan’s Chili simmering in the Slow Cooker, foreshadowing a great meal later today. Only a couple of other things are better to wake up to.

Although the rain seems to have gone away for a few days, it’s leaving behind weather in the 30’s for a while. Probably have to break out the 2nd heater here in the rig.

Of course it could be worse. We could still be sitting outside on the gate wearing gloves, three shirts, and a hoodie sweatshirt, surrounded by four heaters.

Later in the morning I put in a call to the Escapees office up in Livingston. Yesterday, Cyber Monday, I had tried to sign up for their ‘3 year membership for $100’ special, but their website wouldn’t let me make the purchase.

I had the offer in my cart but when I tried to login and pay, it wouldn’t let me. It first said my username and password didn’t match. But because I used RoboForm to store and retrieve my passwords, I knew this wasn’t possible.

So I next clicked on the ‘Forgot Password?” link and entered my email address. But when I clicked ‘Send’ the system told me my email address did not exist in their system.

Well then, why did they send the ‘Renew Your Membership’ to that ‘non-existent’ address?

So my next option, since I was not ‘in the system’, I thought I would just Register all over again. But when I tried that I was stymied once again.

The system then said that my ‘non-existent’ email address, the one that didn’t exist in their system, was already registered in their system, so I couldn’t register under that same email address.

So I called to see if they could get it all straightened out. At first they had problems too, but finally, by erasing everything in their system concerning me and my membership, they were able to manually reenter all my info and get me set up again.

And they were nice enough to let me still have the Cyber Monday special price.

On the subject of the Escapees, the next Escapade, the 56th, is up in Essex Junction, VT next July, and as it stands right now Jan and I will probably be giving our Gate Guarding for Fun? and Profit seminar once again, just like we did this past March in Tucson.

Hope you can be there too.

A few days ago we followed one of these 3 wheel bikes, a trike, coming into the park.

Slingshot Trike 1

Really neat looking.

Then yesterday, dropping off the trash on our way to The Woodlands, we saw where it came from. Looks like a nice custom-made trailer.

Polaris Slingshot Conroe

A little Googling showed it was a Polaris Slingshot SL, from Polaris of snowmobile/ATV  fame. With 173 hp., a backup camera, and a six speaker stereo system, it’s got a little of everything. Even Bluetooth.

And as Sheldon says, everything’s better with Bluetooth.

Personally, I think for $25,000+, it should have a removable roof or top of some sort for bad weather. But that’s just me.

I’ve been following the latest news on Amazon’s newest delivery methods. Houston is now on the list of cities where their One Hour / Two Hour delivery service, Prime Now, is now available. Unfortunately it’s not in any zip codes where I get packages here yet, But soon, I hope.

Of course the method everyone’s talking about is their much-vaunted Prime Air drone delivery service. For more info, check out this humorous video that explains how it’s supposed to work.

So we may see Amazon drones overhead any day now. Of course, some people have described this as ‘Skeet Shooting for Presents’.

So your Christmas may depend on how good a shot you are.

December 1, 2016

McGriddles and GaGa . . .

Jan and I were on the road for our day trip to San Antonio a little before 10am. But our first stop was the Dollar Tree in Floresville.

Jan was looking for a couple more large clamps that she originally got at the Dollar Tree in Conroe, TX. But with no luck, we drove to the other end of the strip center to check out the Dollar General. But we struck out there too.

So giving up for now, we segued over to the McDonald’s right next door for some breakfast. I tried the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese McGriddle this time instead of my usual BE&C Biscuit. Thought the McGriddle was OK, but a little sweet for a breakfast sandwich, at least for my taste. I still like the biscuit version better. McDonald’s does do good biscuits.

Our next stop was the Sam’s Club on I-37 just inside the 410 loop for several things. Most important was a new set of frames for my eyeglasses. I manage to break, bend, twist, or sprain a set about once a year, so it’s lucky that Sam’s has been selling my same frames for over ten years. So while we’re at Sam’s I just drop off my old glasses at the Optical Dept., do the shopping, and then come back in 30 minutes to pick up my glasses, all nice in a new pair of frames. And it’s only about $50, well worth the price.

Then when we went to check out I was told that I needed to renew my membership since it expired Nov. 25th. I knew this wasn’t right since my membership always renews in May, and I had renewed it at the Conroe Sam’s around that time. Then I remembered that there had been a problem with the renewal

Turns out the store manager was taking care of it, and got confused since I was bumping my membership up the Business Plus at the same time I was renewing. He took almost 30 minutes to get it done and finally told me that he wasn’t going to charge me at all.

But as it turns out he still apparently messed up because he only managed to renew me for 6 months, not the full 12. When I asked them to go back in my history to confirm that my renewal date has always been May, they saw the problem since they don’t actually offer 6 month renewals. With that straightened out, our next stop was the nearby Target for a few things that Jan needed.

By the time we finished it was 1:15 so it was on down I-37 to the Alamo Quarry theater to make the 2pm showing of J.K. Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. The first of five Harry Potter prequels, it tells the story of how one of the magical books mentioned several times in Harry Potter came to be.

We both really liked the movie, which was in 3D. Great characters, great effects and a good story. The 3D was also very well done, with none of the ‘dodging the spear thrown at you’ stuff you sometimes see. But you would swear that the butterflies flying in front of you were only about 12 inches from your face, and you should be able to reach out and touch them.

If you liked the Harry Potter books and movies, you’ll like this movie.

One thing that happened right before we walked into the theater to sit down is that the alarm, and I do mean alarm, went off on my phone. I have a very LOUD ringtone set to alert me about a text from Todd, our SiteWatch supervisor, because it usually means a gate job.

In this case it was a new gate, and a change. Originally I was supposed to work at Davila 5 on Sunday. But now I’m working Saturday AND Sunday at another gate. One called Moczygemba 1H.

So now I have a question. Why don’t people with somewhat normal names have gates named after them? Now usually the name has some reference to the landowner, or the mineral rights owner. But what’s with these names?

So far this year we’ve been at

Solge Kinkler 5
Brysch Jonas
Davila 3,4,5
Davila 5,6,7 (Still don’t understand this one.)
Zaesle Eckols 2

and now

So how come no Jones Smith 1,2,3 or Johnston 3H, 4H, 5H?

When the movie was over, we made the 10 minute drive over to the Magic Time Machine to meet up with our long-time friends Jim and Peri Dean.

Jim and Peri Dean MTM

They read in last night’s blog that we were going to be in San Antonio today and hoped we could get together. So Jan asked if they wanted to meet us at Magic Time Machine, and they said yes.

Jim and I both got the Ribeye,

Magic Time Machine Ribeye

while Peri and Jan both got the New York Strip. And a good steak was had by all.

For blog readers that may not know, Magic Time Machine is character theme restaurant, where all the waitstaff dress up like characters from books, TV, movies, or entertainment.

In the past we’ve had Wonder Woman,

Magic Time Machine 4

and even the Joker,

Magic Time Machine 5

so you never know who (or what) you’re going to get.

But tonight we had Lady GaGa as our server.

Lady GaGa MTM 1

Lady GaGa MTM 2

She was probably the best server we’ve ever had there. She took really good care of us, got all our orders perfect, and she sings good too, giving us a couple of song and dance numbers.

We were having such a great time they literally had to sing us out the door.

Hopefully we’ll get to see Jim and Peri again soon.

Tomorrow it’s the Chicken Fried Steak Fingers/Fried Catfish lunch at Barth’s, a few things at Wal-Mart and HEB, and then we’re going to drive out to this new gate so I won’t have to try to find it in the dark at 5:30am Saturday morning.

December 1, 2017

House Crunched and Legacy Boxed . . .

I spent almost all of today entering a lot of new products into the website and the catalog. A lot of new stuff came in yesterday so I had to take photos of each one, write up descriptions, get a catalog number assigned, and then get it all entered online and in the catalog.

The website part is actually pretty easy, but with the catalog sometimes I have to find room by moving other products around, hopefully without adding pages which would shift things around in the Index.

Coming home I stopped at the Victory Lakes HEB for gas at $2.08/gal. It’s nice to see the price creeping down, since it was $1.99 or lower right before Hurricane Harvey.

Back at the rig, Jan and I headed right back out to have dinner once again at Pho 20. Since it’s so close it’s become our ‘go-to’ place for a really good meal.

As we’ve done previously, we both started out with the House Crunch Salad, but rather than sharing as before, we decided we each wanted our own.

Pho 20 House Crunch Salad

Then it was on to an order of their Shrimp Spring Rolls, but with their really hot ‘J’ sauce instead of the usual peanut sauce.

Pho20 Shrimp Spring Rolls

Jan  said she’s working her way through Pho 20’s chicken dishes, this time their Hibachi Chicken with Ginger and Mustard Sauce.

Pho 20 Hibachi Chicken

So far she’s had the Orange Chicken, Curry Chicken, Lemon Grass Chicken, and the Chicken Vermicelli Bowl, so she’s off to a good start. Next up, Teriyaki Chicken and Sesame Chicken.

I, of, course, am still stuck in my Jalapeno Chicken rut. But a really good rut it is.

Pho 20 Jalapeno Chicken 3

After we got settled in at home, we went through 2 more carousels (160 slides) of our old slides, winnowing them down to the ones we want to have Legacy Boxed. At this point it looks like we have maybe 2 more carousels worth to go. Then I can get started scanning all the old photos we have.

On the repair front, I’m working on two problems:

I think our PowerMax power converter is slowly dying. It seems to only be putting out about 12.3 volts. If I turn it off, it will come back up at 13.2 volts, but then quickly drop off to 12.3 again. I bought the unit through Amazon in December 2014, which comes with a 2 year warranty. Which would mean that I was out of luck warranty-wise, but I bought an additional 2 years for $9.95. So I’ll fool with it a little more and then contact Amazon.

My other problem is with Direct TV, maybe. Recently when we’re watching TV the video will just go black for 3 –5 seconds, with the audio going away as well. The first thing I did was to swap inputs between the Direct TV DVR and our computer. But the problem was still around, so it’s not the TV inputs, but it still could be the TV itself, or the DVR.

To narrow it down, tomorrow we’ll keep the TV on the computer video and see if the problem occurs then.

I’ll let you know.

Hopefully a quiet weekend is in store.

December 1, 2018

Too Close . . .

Well, that didn’t work.

I lifted up the bed this morning, removed my Endoscope, and then tried my ‘Wyze Cam on a stick’ idea. And although I did get pictures, they weren’t of much use because I couldn’t the camera far enough away to really make out what I was seeing.

The frame rail is only about a foot from the oil filter mounting so I couldn’t move the camera any further away . I had more leeway back and forth, but then where I wanted to see was blocked by other engine parts. So now I guess I’m back to square one.

Just as soon as I figure out where square one is.

When I mentioned yesterday that I would lose about 2 gallons of oil every 400 miles or so, one of our blogs readers commented that surely I must have meant ‘quarts’ and not ‘gallons.’

Nope, it’s GALLONS.

My engine holds 26 quarts of oil, or 4½ gallons. So if it were only 2 quarts low, I wouldn’t even notice it. And even being 1 to 2 gallons low, the only thing I notice is that my oil pressure drops from the normal 60-62 psi down to around 55-57.  According to Cummins, as long as it doesn’t get below 50 psi, no problem. Just don’t go any lower. LOL.

I have a new hobby. It seems like I regularly get phone calls ‘spoofing’ a number close to mine, only differing in the last 4 digits. Now normally I just ignore these and they go away, never leaving a voicemail. But a couple of days ago, I decided to try a new tack.

I answered the call with “Investigative Task Force, Fraud Division. Go for Jackson.”

All I heard on the other end was, “Ah . . . Ah . . . Ah . . . ‘Click’

Kind of reminds me when, back in the early 80’s, I was spending two weeks of every month out at the White Sands Missile Range, the location of the backup Space Shuttle Landing Site for the first half dozen or so missions.

On one of these trips, Jan called and said she was getting obscene phone calls late at night. So I asked, “Anything interesting?”

“No. Kind of boring, really. He’s not very good at it. Too much heavy breathing. But he’s calling at 2am and waking me up.”

Thinking about what to do, I remembered the new phone services we had signed up for a couple of months earlier, i.e. Caller ID, 3-Way Calling, and Call Forwarding, and thought that might be a solution.

I told Jan to look up the non-emergency phone number for the Galveston County Sheriff’s Dept. and then when she goes to bed to forward our number to the Sheriff’s number. And of course, don’t forget to change it back in the morning. So she did.

Some of you may remember that when you did this, and you were home when someone called, you would hear a half-ring before the call was actually forwarded. She said she heard two separate half-rings the first night, one the second night, and no more after that.

Problem solved.

While we’re on the subject of phone calls, while I was getting gas at Costco yesterday, I got a call from a client who I hadn’t  heard from in 15-20 years. Or so I thought, since her name came up from my Contact list.

But when I answered it,  it wasn’t Marcela. Instead it was Charity at Bay Area Surgicare concerning Jan’s upcoming cataract surgery next Thursday. Guess the number got reassigned sometime in the past.

And following up getting gas at the Costco for $1.84 yesterday, today Sam’s Club one-upped them with $1.79. Wow!

How about that!  A four subject connected segue.

December 1, 2020

A Two Heater Night . . .

Last night was our first really cold one here, all the way down to 34°. Well, I know that’s not cold for a lot of you, but here it’s pretty chilly.

Pretty much a two heater night, so I plugged in our 2nd Lasko heater to keep the coach from getting too cold overnight. I normally set them both for about 60°. Then it’s pretty quick to warm things up in the morning.

And it looks like we’ve got a string of 30’s and 40’s coming up for the next week or so. Well, we’ve got two more smaller heaters in our storage room if we need them.

Jan and I headed out about 1pm for lunch at Dickinson Seafood again. Blackened Catfish, Grilled Veggies, and a Side Salad.

Dickinson Seafood Catfish 20201020

Always delicious.

Then after a WalMart shopping sojourn, we headed home, with a stop by Cowboy Coffee, for, well, coffee. At least for me.

A Large, Large, Cold Blended Sugar-Free Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Cowboy Coffee SF PS

A real frou frou drink, but really good.

Jan tried a Chai Tea with Steamed Milk for the first time and really liked it too.

Tomorrow morning we’re heading down Galveston to have breakfast/brunch at the Sunflower Café, a favorite of ours. We’re meeting up with long-time friends, Jim and Peri Dean, and another couple to be named later.

Really looking forward to it.

December 1, 2022

It Doesn’t Sound Good . . .

Lunch today was at Twin Peaks once again with our fav server Sylvia. Jan got her usual Chipotle Chicken with Double Broccoli.

Twin Peaks Chipotle Chicken 20220816

I got the same thing I got last time, a bowl of Brisket Chili,

Twin Peaks Brisket Chili

and an order of their Mini Crispy Beef Tacos.

Twin Peaks Crispy Mini Tacos

And of course, big goodbye hugs from Sylvia.

Then it was on up to the Kroger’s on El Camino to pick up a couple of prescriptions for Jan, and then a WalMart stop before getting home about 4:45.

The replacement switch for Jan’s cordless vacuum came in today, a day early. And the repair itself took about 30 seconds.

Cordless Vacuum Repair Switch

I just had to switch the two leads to the new one, press the switch, and it worked.

However it took me about 30 minutes to get all the parts crammed back into the case and the screws in. There wasn’t a lot of room in there.

I finally got a call yesterday afternoon from Roland, the guy who’s looking at my Jeep, and it doesn’t sound good.

Both the Jeep engine, and the possible repair.

He said that they got it started and it’s got internal problems, more than just a problem with the head or head gasket.

And it that’s what they actually find, then we’re looking at rebuilding the engine. But we’ll have to wait and see.

Tomorrow we’re meeting Peri & Jim Dean, and his sister and BIL at Jimmy Changas for an early dinner.

Really looking forward to seeing them again.