Daily Archives: January 14, 2024

I HotWired It . . .

After draining a mug of Cinnamon Hazelnut coffee this morning I was outside looking at my water pump problem once again.

I had been thinking overnight about the possibility of the problem being with the pressure switch. So first I tried to adjust the pressure switch using a 5/64” Allen wrench.

But even though I turned it through a 180° arc, nothing changed.

So next up, I decided to cut to the chase, so pulling the two red wires that connect to the pump, I used a paperclip to short the two connectors together.

And ‘Voila’, I had a running pump.

So the problem is actually the pressure switch. But to double-check I turned off the shore water and had Jan turn on the water pump switch in the bathroom and them open the lavatory faucet, and we had water flowing.

Then I had her turn off the pump switch and the water stopped running.

So now I have a way to use the water pump while our shore water is turned off during the upcoming two nights of 25° weather.

But now how to fix it permanently.

I could, of course, just replace the pump, which I already have, or more cheaply, I could return the pump and just replace the pressure switch for $20.

But all that will wait until after the freeze.

We headed out about 1pm to first have lunch at Jason’s Deli for the first time in a good while.

Jan got her usual Ham Muffuletta and a cup of Broccoli Cheese Soup.

I normally would get the Southwest Chicken Chili, but Jason’s dropped it a while back, so I just got a bowl of the regular Chili.

Still good, though.

Along with the chili, I also got the Salad Bar.

Finishing up a really good meal, we headed right down the feeder for our weekly HEB visit.

And that was it for this weekend.

Now on to the Big Freeze.

Thought for the Day:

Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had. – Michael Crichton

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

January 14, 2012

Fajitas and Soup . . .

Jan and I left the rig about 11 this morning to meet Brandi, Lowell, and Landon at the Texas Tea Room for lunch. Landon was his usual lovable self and we had a great meal.

Landon at Texas Tea Room 2

Landon with his daddy. Look at those beautiful blue eyes.

Landon and Daddy at Texas Tea Room

After a fun lunch with Landon et al, Jan and I headed over to Texas Art Supply so she could find a large set of crayons. Then it was on to Brandi’s to pick up our mail.

Then on the way home, we stopped off at Monterey’s Little Mexico again for more Chicken Tortilla Soup to eat with the leftover Beef Fajita Nachos we didn’t eat last night.

Getting home, the day was so nice that we spent some time outside. Jan fed the birds and then set out in the sun for a spell while I worked on a few things. First off I cleaned the battery terminals on the truck, and then plugged in my new power window unit just to be sure it worked before installing it sometime next week.

Next I worked on tracing the door lock wiring on my truck so I can fix the problem with the alarm not turning off when I unlock the door.

Later we came inside and caught up on some TV that we had recorded on our DVR. We were down to about 20% so it was about due.

All in all, a very nice day.

January 14, 2013

Cloudy, Cold, Wet, Damp, Flu – Blah . . .

We’re now into our 5th day of cold, rainy, miserable weather. Today’s high was 45 with a low tonight of 37. Then tomorrow it’s 40 and 35. And of course don’t forget the intermittent rain.

And even better, we’re looking at another week of this.


I had appointments with several clients this morning, but that got cut short due to the flu.

Not me. Them.

But since it’s been about 10 days since I’ve seen them, and the incubation period for the flu is 1 to 4 days, I should be OK.

So far they’re the only ones I know with the flu, so I hope my luck holds.

I didn’t get the flu shot this year, and haven’t gotten one since the mid-60’s. I’ve had the shot twice and both times I got sick. The last time I had to be hospitalized for 10 days.

So now I depend on the kindness of strangers. I figure that if everyone else gets their flu shots like they’re supposed to, then I don’t need to get mine.

So, get your flu shot today.

My continued good health depends on it.

So after checking in with my healthy client, I headed over to the house to check the mail. I was hoping that the door switch to fix the washer had come in, and it had. Of course I still have to pull the washer out of the wall to fix the ‘no-heat’ problem, but I’d rather only pull it out once to fix both problems.

Leaving the house my next stop was Fry’s Electronics to pick up a new computer for a client. Fry’s is starting to run out of Windows 7 machines, so I hope they hold out until Jan and I leave here next month.

Getting back to the rig, Jan and I headed back out about 4pm to first have dinner at Chili’s and then on to Kroger’s for some groceries. Then it was home for the night.

Tomorrow I play Splendide Repairman.

January 14, 2014

Never Again . . .

Another beautiful day in the neighborhood. Jan and Mister and I sat outside and enjoyed our coffee. Well, Mister didn’t have coffee. He just enjoyed licking himself.

But we all had fun.

I took the day off from chores and worked on some computer things for a couple of clients. Still working on the laptop that was infected with the Conduit Search problem. I’ve got most of it cleaned out, but there’s still a ‘poison pill’ left in there somewhere. After Conduit Search is removed, everything works, but it keeps trying to come back. SuperAntiSpyware is blocking it, but warnings keep flashing up which gets to be annoying very quickly. But I’ll find it eventually.

Conduit Search is one of those programs that you usually infect yourself with. It normally gets installed because you didn’t check carefully when you installed another piece of software. You need to read all the fine print in the “Terms and Conditions”, and at the bottom of the install screen, usually a number of check boxes that if you don’t uncheck them, you get all sorts of junk along with the problem you wanted.

Conduit Search is not a virus per se but is usually referred to as a PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program), though I think the acronym should be Positively Unwanted Program.

Running the paid version of either SuperAntiSpyware or Malwarebytes should protect from this being installed on your system. Note I said the ‘paid’ versions, because the programs have to be actively running to do this, and only the paid versions allow this.

FWIW I run the paid versions of both. They don’t conflict.

For the record, these are the “protection programs” I run.

AVG Free Virus Protection
ZoneAlarm Firewall
SuperAntiSpyware – paid version
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware – paid version
Glary Utilities
Microsoft Security Essentials

If you have any questions about any of these let me know.

About 1 PM Jan and I headed out to have lunch at

King Food and then some errands. After lunch I made a client stop for a few minutes to update some software. I’ll be back here Saturday night to do some stuff that can’t be done in the daytime when they’re using the system.

We next decided to check out the Wal-Mart down in Texas City, and Jan said “Never again”. Traveling around so much, we’re used to finding Wal-Marts with different layouts, but this one looked like someone had just scattered the rows out at random. It was the screwiest layout I’ve ever seen.

As Jan says “Never again”.

January 14, 2015

Hot Stuff . . .

Jan and I headed out about 10am with our first stop Katz’s Deli in the Montrose area for lunch around 11:30. We always try to eat here when we’re in this part of town, and it never disappoints.

We always start out with some of their complementary pickles and coleslaw.

Katz's Coleslaw

The kosher pickles are the kind that you bite into with a big ‘crunch’. Jan doesn’t really like pickles, but she really likes these. And the coleslaw is also unique, as it’s sliced rather than chopped, and has a very spicy, but a little sweet, dressing.

Jan had a Tuna Salad Sandwich with a cup of their Broccoli Cheese Soup, and I had a Rueben on Grilled Rye with a cup of their Corn Chowder.

Katz's Rueben

Leaving Katz’s, our next destination was about 15 minutes away with a stop at iBurn.

IBurn Store

Our son-in-law Lowell turned us on to this place, and has given me several items he got there for us,  but this was our first time to actually visit.

The place is ‘Hot Stuff’ heaven with row after row of bottles, bags, and boxes of the hottest concoctions you can imagine. I was like a kid in a candy store, believe me. And I came away with $30 of hot stuff. Yummm!

The next stop was at my client’s in Pasadena to deliver her new computer. But in trying to get it set up, I ran into a problem. She has an older keyboard she likes, and by older, I mean it has the big AT connector, the one that’s about the size of your thumb. But for her last couple of computers, we used a AT to PS2 adapter like this:

ATPS2 Keyboard Adapter

But computers these days no longer have PS2 Keyboard/Mouse connectors on them, so I needed another adapter, a PS2 to USB like this one:

PS2USB Keyboard Adapter

But after checking a nearby Office Depot and a Best Buy, with no luck (they didn’t even know what I was talking about) Jan and I headed down to Clear Lake to the Fry’s Electronics, who of course had exactly what I needed.

Finally getting the computer set up and configured to her liking, and after I fixed a couple of problems on her laptop, Jan and I headed for home. We quickly decided to put our El Pollo Loco visit on hold due to how late it was, And after looking at the traffic delays on Sigalert , we decided to have dinner along the way and wait out the traffic. We looked for a Texas Roadhouse, but couldn’t find one along the way so we ended up at a Saltgrass Steakhouse.

Luckily for us, we got there just before the rush and were seated immediately. Our steaks and steak accessories were just as good as our last visit to the one in Conroe, and we had enough leftover to bring some home.

Our last stop was a nearby Kroger’s for a few things as well as gas for $0.79 a gallon (with my $1 a gallon Kroger’s Card discount).

Heading home, we found the traffic was gone, and we were able to do the speed limit all the way, getting home about 8:45.

Tomorrow afternoon is supposed to be sunny, so maybe I can get some stuff done outside. We can only hope.

January 14, 2016

Are You A Winner?

On the PowerBall front, as I thought, the prize made it up to $1.6 Billion right before the drawing last night, and yielded three winners. And the California winner didn’t even have to buy his ticket. His boss gave it to him.

A multi-millionaire, who owns 80 assisted living facilities in California, bought 18,000 PowerBall tickets and gave them to his employees, and one of those tickets was a winner.

I guess now it’s possible that the employee might be able to buy out his boss.

Quite a few blog readers emailed me about the odds of winning the top prize, and how that works. Here’s some info I posted here in a comment, and also in several forums online.

Actually, the odds of YOU having a winning number never changes, no matter how many people enter.

It’s always one in 292,201,338. This is based on the possible number combinations derived from the first five numbers 1 to 69, i.e, 11,238,513,  and the Power Ball number that goes from 1 to 26.

And so 11,238,513 x 26 different Power Balls gives you 292,201,338 chances.

But two things do change as people buy more tickets as the jackpot increases.

1. The pot IS more likely to be won by someone. The more tickets, the more combinations sold, the more likely a winner.

2. And the chances of there being more than one winner also increases.

I heard yesterday that over 85% (it was 90% at the time of the drawing) of the possible number combinations, i.e. the 292.2 million, had been sold. Thus there is an ~85% chance that someone will win. But for an individual, it’s still one in 292.2 million.

Statistics are funny things and often run against ‘common sense’. For example, if you flip a coin, and it comes up heads 10 times in a row, it is no more or no less likely to come up heads again, i.e. a 50% chance.

And just because you buy 10 tickets rather than one, it doesn’t noticeably increase your chances of winning. Yes, you are 10 times more likely to win, but that just means you have a 1 in 29.2 million chances of winning.

Later we headed out to have dinner down in Columbus at Los Cabos Mexican Restaurant, a place we really like.

Along the way, we found that diesel at the Colorado County Co-op had dropped another 5 cents a gallon, to $1.75. This past Sunday, it was $1.85, and then yesterday, it was $1.80. Ten cents in 5 days is a big drop.

As with previous visits, everything was delicious.

Coming back to the park, we made a stop at the hardware store in downtown Columbus, and then Brookshire Bros. for some supplies, before getting back home a little after 6pm.

January 14, 2017

We May Have To Move . . .

Now the Oil Patch picks up,

when we’ve only got a month left down here.

About 8am this morning, my Tab tablet chirped, and I was awake enough to check it out, hoping it was a gate job. But it was just a reminder to pay a bill. Bummer. Then a couple of minutes later, another chirp, now a text, and now a job.

And a job that looks to have a major effect on us.

The gate is north of Westhoff, a little over 40 miles from here, a little less than an hour away. But it does have a lot of plusses . . . steady employment. There’s a good possibility. that this gate could keep us BOTH working until we leave Feb. 15th.

But it was a scramble this morning. By the time we knew where and when, it was almost 8:30. And we were supposed to be at the gate by 10am. Yikes.

But we were showered, dressed, and out the door with enough time for a McDonald’s stop, and we got there at 9:59am. To find no one waiting for us. We had beat Todd, the shack, the generator, and the potty. In fact it was after 10:30 before they showed up. Well, not the potty.

Brownie points for us.

Barnhart Gate

Today it’s only a one-person gate, at least today. Jan and I shared the Gate Guard job at the entrance right off the highway, working from 10am to 5pm. Then tomorrow, we turn around to night shift, with Jan working the shack at the entrance, and me working at the pad, about 5 miles in, and out of my truck.

So two paychecks.

This should hold for a week to two weeks. Then after a break for a few days, the frack will start, and with 4 holes should last until we’re scheduled to leave. But this will mean another shift change for us.

The job will drop back to just the shack with Jan and I on opposite shifts, days for her and nights for me. Not easy, but doable for two or three weeks.

So two paychecks.

That’s the plusses. Now the minuses.

The distance, of course, is one. It’s about twice as far as our farthest gate, with nearest big town, and Wal-Mart, being Cuero.

This is why we might move. There is a small RV park in Westhoff, that looks OK. It looks to be a worker’s camp, just like ours now. Not as nice, i.e. no Wi-Fi, or free laundry. In fact no laundry at all. So back to using our Splendide.

With 3 big free washers and dryers, and located 50 feet away, Jan had gotten used to using the park facilities, doing one or two loads and not five or six. But the park cost is less than 1/2 of what we’re paying here, so that’s a plus too.

Another minus is again, no Verizon phone service at the gate. Don’t know yet about the RV park location. I do have text and data, though. So it’s workable, I guess.

BUT the possibility of the move is probably going to be decided by whether or not we have Verizon phone service at the RV park. So we’ll see,

If we do move, it will be during the short downtime before the frack starts up.

The other minus is that although Jan is exempt, I will have to wear the full FRC regalia, including steel-toed boots, hardhat, and safety glasses. YUCK!

As least it’s cooler now.

Finishing up, I want to thank all of you for your RV park suggestions from yesterday. I’ll try to get them combined and compiled as soon as I can, but it may be a few days with all the job stuff that’s come up.

January 14, 2018

Crazy Chicken . . .

I really did plan to do the awning today., The weather was perfect, sunny and in the low 50’s with no wind.

Bu business intervened. I spent the morning and early afternoon mocking up website designs for a couple of possible new clients.

Separately, two people approached me recently to do sites for them, and I’ve found that it’s easier to get a sale by having something to show them to start with.

I’ll know more in the next couple of days.

A little after noon, Jan’s urologist called to see how she was doing, and also to say that based on some later test results that came back, he wants to put her on Keflex for the next four days until after the Lithotripsy on Thursday afternoon. Said he’d call it into Wal-Mart and we could pick it up. This is the second time he’s called to check up on Jan, and on a Sunday too. Very nice.

About 4pm Jan and I headed up to Clear Lake to have dinner and pick up the new script. We hadn’t been to El Pollo Loco for a while so that was our first stop.

We first discovered them in 2008 when they were only out in California, so it’s nice to see them heading east finally.

Jan and I have both been trying to cut down for our New Year’s Resolution so we’ve been watching our calories. And it’s amazing the difference between different items.

For instance, if you get the individual-size Chunky Guacamole it’s 220 calories. But if you get the same size with chips, it’s 980 calories. Or the Creamy Cilantro Dressing is 320 calories, but the Light Creamy Cilantro Dressing is 70 calories, a big difference. And it’s hard to taste difference

So by choosing carefully from the menu, all of this was only 820 calories.

El Pollo Loco Meal

That’s two pieces of their chicken, two sides of steamed broccoli, a small Tortilla Soup, and a Classic Chicken Salad. And I couldn’t finish all of the salad.

And besides coffee and an apple later, that was it for the day.

And it was really good.

January 14, 2019

I Was His First . . .

I’ve installed and set up Jetpack so the blog email function should be working now. If not, you might try re-subscribing using the using the requestor at the top right of the blog.

Wrapping up 2018

In yesterday’s blog I covered our Christmas get-together at Brandi’s on Sunday the 23rd. And after seeing Brandi’s brisket, several readers ask for the recipe, so here it is. And it’s really pretty simple

10 pound brisket
1 bottle of
Allegro Original Marinade

Put the brisket in a pan.
Cover it in the marinade.
Cover the pan
Cook it at 250° for 6 hours

Easy Peazy!
Though I might try it with the
Hot & Spicy version of the Marinade.

For most of the last 40 years, we’ve eaten a family Christmas Eve dinner at our favorite King Food. But since we’d already had our family Christmas, it was just Jan and I this time.

Since I’ve already posted many pics of KF food, just know that our Hot & Sour Soup, Crispy Honey Garlic Chicken Wings, Chicken in Hot Garlic Sauce with Jalapenos, and Special Fried Rice, was as delicious as always.

Christmas Day we decided to head out to the movies to see Bohemian Rhapsody, the Queen biopic. We both really enjoyed it, though they did play fast and loose with some of the timeline.

But all in all, a really good movie.

As I said, Brandi’s brisket was delicious, but it was Christmas after all, and Jan had to get her Turkey and Dressing fix, so Thursday we were off to Cracker Barrel, meeting Miss Piper, for their really good T&D.

Sunday the 30th found us up in Sugarland, first eating dinner at the Floyd’s Cajun Seafood, starting with a dozen raw oysters,

Floyd's Raw Oysters

along with Shrimp Gumbo, Grilled Catfish, and Grilled Veggies.

Then it was right down the road to the Smart Financial Centre to see Mannheim Steamroller.

Mannheim 1

And, unlike last year’s Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert, I didn’t have another attack of BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo). And except for a couple of small attacks over the next few days, I’ve never had a reoccurrence of the problem. And I don’t know what caused it then, either.

We both really enjoyed the concert, but were surprised to find that it was a much smaller production than TSO.

In fact the touring company consists of only 6 musicians. The rest of the orchestra consists of about a dozen musicians hired locally at each stop. And I think the only equipment they travel with is a snow machine for that real Christmas spirit

Mannheim 3

And while the light show with Mannheim was nice,

Mannheim 2

Mannheim 4

Mannheim 5

it really didn’t compare with the light show put on by TSO. With multiple stages overhead,

TSO 12

enough lasers to take on the Deathstar,


TSO 11

gigantic flame pots, and enough speakers to make your fillings rattle, and you could feel the heat.

TSO Flame Pots

it was a totally awesome experience.

But as I said we also really liked Mannheim, with of a homey, intimate feel. They did mention that this performance was the last one of the season for them, starting back on November 9th, with a show almost every night.

But actually like many similar shows, there are two touring companies for Mannheim, a Red Unit and a Green Unit, that lets them cover more cities.

All in all a great time.

New Year’s Eve found us at a wild party at a local restaurant. Well, actually we had an early dinner at the Saltgrass Steakhouse up in Webster. We both had our usual Wedge Salads and steaks, but, since it was New Year’s Eve, we splurged a bit and split a Pecan Pie Bread Pudding. Party Hearty.

Saltgrass Pecan Pie Bread Pudding

January 14, 2020

Wings, Wings, and Steak . . .

Our only real activity today was Jan and I traveling over to Pearland this morning to have lunch with Bonnie, Jan’s long-time friend and a former coworker. She and Jan worked together about 30 years ago at the old Medical Center Del Oro Hospital, up in the Houston Medical Center area.

Jan and Bonnie at Saltgrass

We took her to our favorite Saltgrass, the one in the Pearland area, which turned out to be her favorite too.

It was really good to see Bonnie again, and look forward to doing it again soon.

January 14, 2021

Then What’s The Point?

Jan and I headed up to the Webster area for another visit to Snooze, our favorite local breakfast-breakfast place, well, as opposed to Denny’s, which is our favorite breakfast-dinner place.

Jan loves their version of Avocado Toast and says it’s the best around.

Snooze Avocado Toast

For my part, I got my usual Shrimp & Grits, with a side of Fruit.

Snooze Shrimp and Grits and Fruit 2

Then it was on up to the Ace Hardware for a few things before finally heading back to the rig.

I had originally planned to get back under the rig to try and wrap up my oil leak problem. But it was still too wet back there, so I’ll see how it goes this weekend.

Elsewhere on the repair front, a few days before we made our New Year’s trip up to Fredericksburg and Kingsland in our new (to us) Jeep, the AC/Heater blower lost all speeds except HIGH.

Luckily this is pretty easy to diagnose since if the blower runs on HIGH, that means that it’s OK. And it’s highly unlikely that a problem with the speed selector switch would affect all 4 speeds. So that leaves the blower resistor pak. Which turns out to be an easy fix, at least in the Jeep.

It’s located right behind the glove box. Just open the door, pop the side latches and there it is.

Jeep Blower Resistor Mount

Then it was just a matter of unplugging the cable, removing the resistor pak,

Jeep Blower Resistor

screwing down the new one, plugging the cable back in, and I was done.

Next up on the repair list is to replace the Jeep’s Driver’s Door Window Actuator Motor. It’s been getting noisier and noisier, and sometimes doesn’t want to completely unlock the door. So I found I could buy a new one for about $135, or get a used, tested, guaranteed one for $43.

Jeep Door Latch Actuator

Guess which one I got?

And it looks to be pretty easy to replace. At least according to YouTube.

January 14, 2022 Uncategorized

Kingsland Get-Together . . .

Had a smooth trip up to Marble Falls. Had dinner with Chris and Linda over in Kingsland.

Brandi, Lowell, and Landon got in about 8:45pm

Piper and Derek will be in tomorrow.

Really looking forward to getting everyone together.

January 14, 2023

Great Wolf & Flyway . . .

Today was nice and easy, with lunch at Monterey’s Little Mexico, and that was it.

Nice and easy.

Some more info has been released about the Great Wolf Lodge going up in Webster. It will have 532 rooms and a 95,000 sq. ft. indoor water park, plus a smaller outdoor one.

Great Wolf Lodge and Water Park

It’s supposed to be open in mid to late 2024.

But big as it is, Great Wolf Lodge is just a small part of the Flyway at Clear Creek development adjacent to it.

Flyway At Clear Creek

That’s Great Wolf at the top-center-left of the above photo.

From the Internet:

The 80+-acre destination development will fuse the indoors with the outdoors with best-in-class dining and entertainment venues amid a walkable, inviting atmosphere with a boardwalk, event lawn, and unique amenities. Flyway takes patios to the next level, creating walkable spaces and allowing visitors to extend their stay and visit multiple venues. Visitors can purchase drinks from any establishment, stroll along the boardwalk, talk amid the trails, and enjoy the natural surroundings.

Looks like a lot going on.

Tomorrow’s probably going to be Denny’s for lunch and then HEB for the week’s stuff.