Daily Archives: December 31, 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 Realtor.com 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.