Daily Archives: July 2, 2024

A Trackball Mouse . . .

Today being a Stay-At-The-Rig day, I spent the morning assembling a new storage unit for Jan. It’s a CubiCubi 5 drawer dresser and it will go between the refrigerator and the dining table. Up until recently, a chair was in that space, but the dresser is a perfect replacement.

A really nice unit.

And we had a couple of things come in from Amazon today.

First up was a trackball mouse.

Back in the day, Logitech made a great one, and I used one for a good while until it finally died. But when I went to buy another one, I found Logitech no longer made that model. And according to numerous reviews, the replacement was an unmitigated piece of C**P.

So pulling the dead one out of my junk box, I was able to repair it enough to keep it limping around for another few years until its demise was permanent.

Nulea Trackball Mouse

And according to the reviews, it’s a worthy replacement. And after using it for a few hours, I concur.

The other order was a repeat, these Rechargeable LED Flashlights.

We ordered a pair of these about 3 months ago and really liked them.

Though at $36 a pair, they’re a little expensive, they’re very bright, and the built-in rechargeable batteries last a lot longer than the standard ones. And when they start to run down, just plug them in.

A great buy.

The Great Wolf Lodge, being built up in Webster, has had its opening date repeatedly moved closer. Originally set to open in December 2024, it was later moved up to November, and then October, and on to September. Then couple of months ago, Aug 29, leading into the Labor Day Weekend was the date.

And now it’s August 7th, with their Job Fair to hire 600+ people starting up on June 29th and ending on July 13.

Tomorrow we’re heading downtown about 10am, first to have lunch at Katz’s Deli once again, and then it’s on down to the Medical Center area for Jan’s follow-up doctor’s appointment.

Then coming home, and not wanting to go out on Thursday, the 4th of July, we’re going to stop off at the Rudy’s BBQ up in Webster to bring on BBQ. After all, it’s not really the 4th without BBQ.

Thought For The Day:

Just to Clarify, As If It’s Not Already Obvious, I’m Built For Comfort, Not For Speed.

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2009 – Jamestown and Yorktown…and Yorktown

2011 – I’ve got Good News and Bad News 

2017 – What A Difference 34? Years Makes

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

July 2, 2009

Jamestown and Yorktown…and Yorktown

Today was our last full day in Williamsburg, VA and we wanted to tour the Jamestown Settlement of 1607, you know, Captain John Smith, Pocahontas, and all that.

And we also wanted to tour the Yorktown Battlefield, one of the last big battles of the Revolutionary War.

But first, we had to move our coach.

When we made our reservations we knew we might have to move into an overflow site for our last day, since they were full.  We were hoping they would have a cancellation so we wouldn’t have to move, but no such luck.

The overflow site had 30 amp power and water, but no sewer.   No problem for just one day.

We moved with no problems, until I tried to plug into the power connection.  As soon as my EMS (Electrical Management System) tried to put power to the coach, it shut down because the voltage dropped to 98 volts.  I went to the office and told them about the problem and they said they’d look at it while we were gone.  So we headed out to the Jamestown Settlement about 10 miles down the road.

They have a very nice complex here, consisting of a museum/exhibit building,

Jamestown Settlement Museum

a replica Powhatan Indian village,

Replica Powhatan Indian Village

Powhatan Hut Interior

replicas of the 3 ships that the colonists used to come to Jamestown,

The "Susan Constant"

The “Susan Constant”

The "Godspeed" and the "Discovery"

The “Godspeed” and the “Discovery”

and a replica of the settlement fort itself.

Jamestown Settlement

Jamestown Settlement

Jamestown Settlement Buildings

Jamestown Settlement Buildings

The biggest building in the place was the church, which was also the community meeting area.

Jamestown Church

Jamestown Church

I can only imagine that the pews were so hard and uncomfortable to keep you from falling asleep during the services.

Jamestown Church Pew

Jamestown Church Pew

Jamestown Dedication

Jamestown Dedication

After lunch at the Red City Chinese Buffet, we headed out to the Yorktown Battlefield.

And then we discovered a slight problem.  There are two Yorktown’s.

One is called Yorktown Victory Center.  This is the one that is advertised everywhere, and that we had bought tickets to when we bought our Williamsburg and Jamestown tickets.

But when we got to the area we found that the actual Yorktown Battlefield was not the Victory Center, but was a National Park run by the National Park Service.  And of course, had a separate admission fee.

But it was really worth it, walking the grounds, climbing the earthworks, and looking out over the actual battlefield.

Yorktown Battlefield

Yorktown Battlefield 2

Here Washington, Lafayette, and the French Navy offshore surrounded the British Army under Gen. Cornwallis, and pounded them to pieces with cannons and mortars, and then attacked the British lines until Cornwallis surrendered his 8,000 troops on Oct. 19, 1781.

This was the last big battle of the Revolutionary War, although the War itself dragged on for another 2 years.

We did have an interesting talk from a guide about living and dying during the Revolutionary War.  He talked about the clothing the soldiers wore, the food they ate, the weapons they used, and the medical care they got, but probably wished they hadn’t.

Yorktown Seminar

While we listened to the guide, a furry visitor came out of the bushes beside us.  The large groundhog looked around and then started grazing on the grasses.  He didn’t seem too worried until about a dozen screaming kids went running for him, and then he skedaddled back into the thick bushes.

Yorktown Groundhog

Groundhog 2

And finally, we drove the 7-mile loop that circles all the different positions and battle areas.

After this, we headed over to the Yorktown Victory Center, which turned out to be basically a museum complex about the Battle of Yorktown, but not really near the battleground.

They did have an interesting timeline display covering the lead-up to the Revolutionary War.  The other thing they had was a replica of the town of Yorktown.

Yorktown 1

Yorktown 2

Yorktown 3

After we finished up at the 2nd Yorktown, we headed back to the coach, stopping off at Hooters for another hot wing fix.

Arriving back at the coach we found we still had power problems.  They apparently hadn’t sent anyone to look at the problem. After I talked with the office, they said they’d send someone.

In the meantime, I started to try to improvise something by pulling power through an extension cord from a nearby empty sight.

But while I was doing that, I started up the generator to run the A/C’s because the coach was pretty hot.  I hadn’t done it earlier because the people at the next site were in a tent and my generator exhaust was pointed right into their tent.  But they had gone out for the evening so it was OK.

The first plug I tried wouldn’t work because it had a reversed hot/neutral and my EMS wouldn’t accept it.

The 2nd plug I tried seemed to work, for a few minutes, and then suddenly my EMS unit went ‘WHOOOMP”! and just died.

Great!  Now I couldn’t get any power to the coach from the shore power.

And now the generator sounded different.  In checking I found that I had lost half the feed from the generator, so some outlets wouldn’t’ work, and only the front A/C was getting power.   This just gets better and better!

I had heard there was a way to easily bypass the EMS, but I didn’t know how and it was too late (10 pm) to call anyone.  And of course, the neighbors next door showed up, so I had to shut down the generator.

So we would have to try to make it through the night using just the vent fans to keep us cool.  Luckily it was supposed to be fairly nice so hopefully, it wouldn’t be a problem.

I still don’t know what happened to the EMS, but I’ll try to find out more tomorrow.

July 2, 2010

Wet, wet, wet…

Well, we really lucked out. When I went down to the park office this morning, they said that with all the rain we’ve had and are supposed to have, we didn’t have to stay on day-to-day, but could go ahead and sign up through next Wednesday. Yeah!

With the 4-5 inches of rain we’ve had the last few days, I’m really glad we’re parked on gravel, rather than grass or dirt. The way the ground is soaked it might be fun trying to get out of here.

We had put out our ‘Honey Wagon’ placard on the windshield so we were happy to see them show up early this morning. We’re allowed to run our grey water out on the ground, but our black tank was starting to get kind of full.

We picked up Gina about 1 pm and drove into San Marcos for lunch and shopping. Lunch was at Furr’s Buffet. Furr’s used to be a cafeteria, but is now a buffet, even though you still go through a line, You can go back through the line as many times as you want, though.

Next, we went to Sam’s Club for our prescriptions and some other stuff. Leaving there I ran into Lowe’s to pick up a few more electrical box connectors,

Then it was on to Walmart for more shopping.

Coming back to Gina’s about 5:30 pm we came across the large flock of turkeys we saw the other day. This cellphone photo isn’t the best, but it does show how large the flock is. I counted over 30 before they disappeared into the tall grass. There appeared to be 4 or 5 adults with the rest being young ones.


We finally got back to the rig about 6 and were done for the day.

July 2, 2011

I’ve got Good News and Bad News . . .

The operation was a success but the patient died.

I related yesterday about my electrical problem. Everything was still pointing to my Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS).

Power in an RV can come from 3 different places: Shore Power, the onboard diesel generator, or the battery/inverter system.

The ATS is the unit that decides where the power is coming from, and then switches to that source to power things in the coach. The generator takes precedence. Even if we’re plugged into shore power, if the generator starts, the ATS will switch to it.

Research last night said the goto guy on these units is Kevin Mallory with CruisingAmericaRV in Celina, OH. As it turns out, I know Kevin. We met at a Rally in Celina two years ago.

Called him and he answered on a 4th of July weekend Saturday. Great!

He led me through taking the unit apart and checking the 5 fuses down at the bottom of the unit.

Here’s the rat nest I was working in. The panel with all the relays is hinged on the left side and lifts up. The 5 fuses are underneath there.

Transfer Switch

But as I was threading my hand down thru the cables, I noticed that one of the two 2″ x 2″ transformers on the circuit was sitting sideways hanging off the edge of the board.

I picked it up and it was loose. It was a fairly heavy transformer only held on the board by the 4 small leads soldered to the board.

Bad design. Something this heavy should have been ziptied to the board.

At this point, I didn’t bother checking the fuses.

Here’s the culprit.

The Culprit

Kevin had already told me that the only way to bypass the transfer switch to get power to the coach was to undo the shore power coming and the transfer switch output to the breaker panel and splice them together.

And that worked!

Now that we have power again, I’m probably going to rewire things using plugs and receptacles so that I can manually switch between shore power and generator when I need to just by unplugging one cable and plugging in another.

So instead of having an ATS, I will have an MTS (Manual Transfer Switch).


That’s the Good News!  We have power back.

The bad news is that now my Inverter has died. Since it’s part of the same unit as the ATS, I don’t know if it’s part of the same problem or what.

As I said yesterday, It’s always something.

Once again, kudos to Kevin Mallory of CruisingAmericaRV for helping me out on a Holiday Weekend.

July 2, 2013

Waiting for Godo . . . err, Pizza.

This morning started off with our usual coffee, but not much else. Neither of us were planning on catching any seminars this morning, so we just took it easy most of the morning.

About 1pm I took Jan over to the Crafts building for one of her classes while I came back to the rig to take a look at why our Starlight’s Smart Light RV Porch Light isn’t working. I know it’s not the bulb because the status lights aren’t blinking.

These Smart Lights are really nice. They replace the patio/porch lights on the side of your rig and are motion-sensitive and light-sensitive. You just leave it turned on and if anyone comes near your rig, the light comes on. So if you are coming back to your rig after dark, as soon as you get close, the light comes on to show your way. In the daytime, only the status lights blink.

Starlights RV Light

So getting my ladder out of the truck, I grabbed my multimeter and screwdriver, and climbed to pull the light off so I could check the voltage coming into the unit. And as it turned out, the 12-volt line was good. So the Smart Light was bad. This is unusual. I installed this one in 2010, and mine are 5 years old and working fine.

So I took it all the way off, cut the wires, and took the unit over to the rally vendor area to see what he wanted to do with it. And we talked it over, he went down to the Coil and Wrap booth and got a new one for me to install.

The new ones are really nice, with a much brighter LED bulb and a more sensitive scan pattern. Getting back to the rig it only took me about 15 minutes to get the new one installed and ready to go.

A little before 4pm I drove back over to the Cam-Plex to pick up Jan after her classes. While we were there, we talked to Chris and Charles Yust of C & C RV Insurance to set up a place and time for dinner tonight with us.

So about 5:45 we all headed down to Old Chicago Pizza again. Since it was so good the other night, we wanted to try it again. And it was trying.

We all got there a little after 6, just in time to miss Happy Hour. We got seated in the outside patio area, placed our orders, and talked over the day while we waited for our food.

And waited. And waited. And waited.

Our food finally showed up about 7:15, a hour and 15 minutes after we got there. It turned out that our order ticket and our food got separated in the kitchen and we went hungry. But when it finally came, it was still good, and we did have a lot of good conversation while we were waiting.

Even better, the manager comped part of our checks. so it pretty much worked out OK.

July 2, 2014

Back Home . . .

As great as sleeping in late in our own bed for the first time in 5 days was, Jan still woke up with a migraine. Of course, taking her Sumatriptan damps the migraine down fairly quickly, but she’ll still feel kind of washed out the rest of the day.

And then of course, there may be the 2nd and 3rd day rebound headaches. We’ll see how it goes.

In the latest example of extreme global warming, the high here in Elkhart today was 74 with an expected low tonight of 53, and tomorrow, 71/47. And that goes on for the next several days.

Because it was so nice, Mister spent most of the afternoon outside sleeping in one of our chairs. He’ll stay out for several hours and then come and bang on the screen door. When we let him in, he’ll visit the litter box, grab a snack and some water, and then bang on the screen to be let out again.

Smart Cat.

About 4:30 we headed out for one last visit to Flipping Cow, our new favorite burger place here in Elkhart.

I debated having the Hunka Hunka Burger Love this time. It has two Steakburger patties, peanut butter, jalapeno jelly, smoked bacon, and pepper jack cheese on a toasted pretzel bun, but I ended up going with the same one I got last time, The Stella Moo.

It has two steak burger patties topped with smoked beef brisket, jalapeno bacon, onion straws, pepper jack cheese, and Alehouse BBQ sauce on a toasted wheat brioche bun. Then I added tomatoes, jalapenos, spicy mayo, and sweet heat pickles, And this time I got the ‘Cow Chips’ instead of Fries.

Flippin' Cow 2

It’s easy to see (and taste) why this burger was voted the best burger in Elkhart County and is one of two finalists for the best burger in the Michiana area. I know which one got my vote.

We had talked about making a DQ run after dinner, but we were too full of burgers, so we put it off for another time.

July 2, 2015

K-Cups and Colorado River

I think I’ve finally got a handle on the whole Arizona CCW thing. Looks like all I have to submit the paperwork with a photo, two fingerprint cards, a copy of my Utah CCW, and some money, and then just wait a while. Almost easy, Peazy.

Yesterday morning when I was making coffee, I accidentally broke a chunk out of the bottom of the carafe of our Hamilton Beach Flexbrew coffee maker.

Hamiliton Beach FlexBrew

We got this 2 or 3 years ago when we needed a new coffee maker, and since we wanted to also try the whole K-Cup thing, this one seemed a good choice. But using it for the next several months, confirmed what I had already thought.

At least as far as I’m concerned (Jan too, for that matter) it is impossible to make a good cup of coffee using a K-Cup. It’s always too bitter. I tried a bunch of different brands of coffee in the K-Cups, all with no luck. But it turns out it wasn’t just the K-Cups.

The Flexbrew has an option so that you can put your own coffee grounds in a K-Cup replacement so you can make a single cup of your own coffee. But what I found was, using the same amount of coffee and water, if I used the K-Cup side, it was bitter and not very good.

But if I ran that same amount of coffee and water through the regular brewing mechanism, it came out tasting as good as usual. So for that reason, I haven’t even used the K-Cup side in over a year.

So after I cleaned up the glass, I checked Amazon to see how much a new carafe would cost. And it was about $30. Wow!  So since we were going to Wal-Mart this afternoon, I thought I’d wait to see what they had.

And what I quickly found out is that I could buy a whole new coffee maker for a lot less than a new carafe. In fact, they had this Mr. Coffee 12 Cup Programmable, normally $28, for less than $20 on a 4th of July Rollback.


And this one also had the brew strength selector that we liked on the Flexbrew. So we came home with a new coffee maker that made us great coffee this morning.

It seems like I’m always being surprised by how Wal-Mart takes care of their customers. Back last Friday when we got home from a Wal-Mart run, I found that we were missing a couple of items. Since they were the last two items rung up and they weren’t really big, I figured they were just left at the bottom of a bag and didn’t make it into our cart.

We didn’t get back to WM until yesterday so I took the receipt to Customer Service to see if I could get my $9 back. When I told the guy what had happened, he turned around, grabbed a large file card box, and then flipping through it, found a copy of my receipt.

When a customer leaves any items at the checkout, the receipt for them is turned over to Customer Service to wait for them to come back. When I asked, he did say that even without the receipt, they would refund the money, unless it was a big-screen TV or something. Nice service.

Later in the morning, I spent time on the phone making reservations for our next couple of weeks after we leave here this coming Monday. Our first night will be in Sun Valley, AZ, then 2 nights in Albuquerque and 2 nights in Amarillo, and then 4 nights in Pauls Valley, OK.

After that we don’t have a hard date until August 14th at the Colorado River TT for Landon’s birthday, so the in-between time is still up in the air.

Wrapping up for today, my great-niece Stahlie has put up a new website for kids who don’t really like history. Called Adventurous History, it looks like she’s off to a great start with a very nice-looking site.

Besides being a real history buff, she’s also a great artist.

Stahlie - More Art

Stahlie's Art

Keep checking back to her site as she adds new material.

July 2, 2016

Summer is Here in Texas!

Well, the high here today was 95°, with a 97 forecast for tomorrow. And then it’s 8 straight days of 99° or above.

More likely ‘above’, knowing Texas in the summertime.

One thing I’ve noticed here at the Colorado River TT this weekend is that it’s not nearly as full as I expected for a long holiday weekend. Of course, I haven’t checked down along the river, but up here at the top of the hill, it’s not near as busy as I’ve seen it on a normal weekend during the last couple of months.

Of course, since we’re usually not here during this part of the summer, I don’t know what’s actually normal for now anyway.

After yesterday’s post about the new The Momentum Machines Autonomous Grill Master that makes 400 burgers an hour, blog reader Richard Schell wondered if I thought this might be a solution to all my problems with our orders at the Whataburger up in Carthage while we were gate guarding last year.


I said it certainly came to mind especially since we’ve had mistakes at both the Whataburger in Columbus and La Grange. At some point, you might begin to think that the common factor here might be us.

But when we’re in Conroe we eat at Culver’s a lot, and they’ve never messed up our order. Not once. So it’s not us.

Landon and his family are up in OK spending the holiday weekend with Lowell’s parents, so Landon’s getting his fill of ‘Granny’ time, his name for Lowell’s mother. (Jan’s ‘Landon name’ is ‘Nana’)

So today Landon and Granny got to spend some time together at Chuck E. Cheese.

Landon at Chuck E Cheese3

Looks like fun.

July 2, 2017

What A Difference 34? Years Makes

Jan was still a little under the weather so we bowed out on watching Landon play Hockey down in the Sugarland area, but we did get this photo of Landon and his cousin Gwen.

Hockey Landon and Gwen

Then afterward they saw the new Despicable Me 3 movie. Jan and I are hoping to see it soon, too.

Landon and Gwen at DM3

Friday, when everyone went to San Antonio, they had a great time doing the Riverwalk and, of course, the Alamo.

Robinson's at the Alamo

Otherwise, we didn’t do much at all today, with Jan mostly reading while I worked on the new knife website.

It’s coming along, but slowly, due to the large number of PayPal cart buttons that have to be created and installed. Also still waiting on some new photos and answers to some questions from the client.

Back around 1983 or so, Jan’s sister Debbie, her husband Jim, and the kids Jason, Tana, and Christina came down to visit us in Friendswood. While they were there, we got this photo of our kids and Debbie and Jim’s.

Old Family Photo

Left to right: Tana, Chris, Jason, Brandi, Christina

Well, a couple of days ago the kids surprised us with this redo.

New Family Photo

Especially funny is Tana with the same blank expression on her face.

Really neat, and a wonderful surprise.

Not sure about tomorrow yet. We may go into the Katy to have breakfast with everyone before they head for home. But we’ll have to see how the timing works out.

July 2, 2018

Hotwiring . . .

I was up kind of early this morning, especially the morning after a long trip day, but I had a lot to do.

First up was a call to the Onan Tech Support guy to follow up with some more questions, only to find out that he was out all week for the 4th holiday. Bummer!  But Google being my friend I found another Tech Support number and gave it a call

The new guy was a lot of help, answered all my questions, wasn’t talking on a crappy speakerphone that kept cutting in and out, and wasn’t nearly as curmudgeonly as the first guy.

He confirmed that I should be seeing 12vdc on the line coming from the controller box to the governor actuator, and that if I didn’t it would keep the genset from starting and/or running.

So getting off the phone, I went outside to unbutton the generator and find out what I had on that line. And it turned out to be no voltage at all.

Well, this brightened my day, since I thought I had a workaround for this possibility. One that might get me running. Since the actuator needed 12 volts, I’d just give it 12 volts directly.

So using a couple of heavy-duty alligator clip leads, I hotwired it with 12 volts coming from the power connection on the back of the solenoid and the other lead loose so I could touch it to ground to energize the actuator box.

Onan Generator Hotwiring Actuator

And a trial run produced a loud ‘clunk’ from the box that I hadn’t been hearing on previous tests. Things were looking up.

But not for long. When I had Jan crank it over, nothing had changed. Just ru-ru-ru.

Oh well. It’s back to the drawing board, or the phone, as it were.

By now it was about 2pm so I got cleaned up and Jan and I drove next door to visit my Aunt Janis, who owns this RV park, along with her son Wes

Aunt Janis

We were happy to hear that another of her sons, Jimmy and his wife Beth, were visiting from Florida.

Jan Calvin -Jimmy

I didn’t get a good photo of Beth. it came out too dark to use.

In one of those strange coincidences, we found out several years ago that Jimmy had gone to school in the 70’s with my client back in Houston. Small world.

Finally about 5:30 we said our goodbyes and headed over to Huntsville to have dinner at Rosie’s Cantina, a place we always eat at at least once when we’re here.

We were kind of surprised to find the place so busy on a Monday night, but then realized this is essentially a holiday week with the 4th being on Wednesday.

I had the Beef Fajitas for One and had leftovers. Really good with the meat tender and flavorful.

Rosie's Cantina - Fajitas

Jan had her usual Pollo Loco.

Rosie's Cantina Pollo Loco

Also very good.

Tomorrow it’s back on the phone with Onan, and more relative visits.

July 2, 2019

So That’s What It Is . . .

Today would have been a good day to stay at home, since it poured down all night, and into this morning, and afternoon. But we needed groceries, and of course, wanted lunch at Snooze as usual.

Don’t know if a lot of people were taking this week off, but Snooze wasn’t near as busy as is normal on a Tuesday, but the better for us. Snooze is one of those places that will text our cellphone when your table is ready, and I left my phone back at the rig.

And of course, Jan seldom carries her phone with her anyway.

When we had breakfast at Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Table, Jan got her usual Avocado Toast, but she was kind of disappointed in Magnolia Table’s version vs. the version she gets at Snooze.

Here’s Joanna’s version,

Magnolia Table Avocado Toast

and here’s what she gets at Snooze.

Snooze Bravocaod Toast 3

And yes, at $9.50, Joanna’s is about $3 cheaper, but Jan thought it didn’t really measure up to their other dishes.

Next up was a quick stop by the office, and then across the street to the H.E.B for more of that delicious Lola Savannah Texas Pecan Coffee.

Then it was off to WalMart for the majority of our groceries. I had hoped that the prescriptions I had put in to refill would be ready, but No.

Both WalMart and Sam’s Club recently updated their apps, including their prescription renewals. But in doing so they seemed to have really screwed up our accounts.

Jan and I had separate accounts with both stores, but now our accounts have been combined in some cases, and other past prescriptions no longer appear in our histories.

It worked fine before, so why do they keep having to ‘improve’ it?

Just leave well enough alone. Please.

Then our last stop was at Kroger’s for some of Jan’s favorite Sugar-Free Bread and Butter pickles.

And of course, once we were on our way home, it started pouring down once again. But luckily by the time we got back to the rig, it had tapered off to a light drizzle.

So That’s What It Is.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been under the weather with a lot of back/leg pain. I had attributed it to lifting our truck’s wheel/tire combos back into place after doing the brake job on the front wheels a couple of weeks ago.

But the more I thought about it, I realized that I’ve actually had this same problem for years. And it’s probably due to one of my many misadventures during my wild and misspent youth.

And according to my ophthalmologist, that same misadventure is probably also behind the Fuch’s Dystrophy problem with my left eye.

But I was finally able to put a name to it. It sounded like Sciatica.

And looking over the 10 Symptoms of Sciatica online, I have approximately 8.5 of them. Luckily I don’t suffer from #10, which is the complete loss of bladder and bowel control.

Jan’s also happy about this, too.

So now I’ll try to get an appointment with my doctor for next week.

July 2, 2021

Nobody . . .

I’ve now got a timeline laid out for our Rib Fiesta this weekend, starting Saturday with cutting up the rib racks into 4 rib sections, powdering them in the rub/brown sugar/salt mixture, placing them in vacuum bags, adding 3 drops of Wright’s Applewood Smoke, and then sealing them up.

Then I’ll marinate them in the fridge overnight before setting them up in the cooker Sunday afternoon for the 24-hour cooking cycle. To speed things up I’ll start off using hot water from the faucet, which at 130°, will give it a big jumpstart up to our 150° cooking temp, rather than starting at the normal 80°.

Then about 30 minutes before the 24 hours is up on Monday afternoon, I’ll fire up our Weber out on the patio, and the ribs will go on the grill for basting with sauce for a final char.

Hopefully, they’ll look somewhat like this.

BBQ Ribs Sous Vide

Going into work this morning, I saw a bumper sticker on a car talking about stopping crime. Which made me think about Crimestoppers.

Nowadays, they’re pretty much known for offering rewards for tips that lead to the arrest and conviction of criminals whose crimes are selected and highlighted in their online pages.

But back in the 1990-2000’s they were also known for the crime reenactments that were shown all over television. They used actors from local colleges and theater groups for the criminal stand-ins, but they finally shut this down due to a problem.

People would recognize the actors on the street and report THEM to the police, getting them arrested, not the real criminals.

But anyway, back in about 2003, I had left Tech Services at the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) and was now Webmaster for the School of Business there. And somehow I got roped into doing one of these.

Hopefully, it wasn’t typecasting, but I was the guy picking up young girl hitchhikers, and then raping and killing them. My victim du jour was a cute redheaded student that I had worked with on several projects before so I knew her pretty well.

The premise was that I would be driving along and then pick her up. I then would reach over, lock the doors, put my hand on her leg, and say, “Nobody rides for free”. (And no, I didn’t write this script).

Then the camera would cut to her terrified face.

We ran over this a couple of times, working on camera angles, etc., before we did a take for real.

When we were rehearsing, I had always put my hand on her knee since she was wearing shorts. But when we did the take and I put my hand on her knee, and before the camera cut to her leg, I guess she wanted to make things a little more realistic, so she reached down and slid my hand up her bare leg almost to her crotch.

Startled, but trying to keep going, I leaned over, and in my best menacing voice, said my lines.

But it came out as, “Nobodwy Wides Fowr Fewre”, said in an Elmer Fudd squeak.

And the laughter went on for almost 10 minutes. Every time it tapered off, someone would look at my bright red face and it would all start over again.

It wasn’t too long after this, and maybe because of this, that all these video reenactments went away.

Unfortunately I was never able to get a copy of this, so I’m hoping it’s lost forever.

I mentioned a couple of months ago how the magnolia trees around here were blooming like crazy, more so than I remember in the past. And I wondered if the big freeze back in February had anything to do with it.

And now it seems that maybe the same thing is happening with the crepe myrtle around here.

Crepe Myrtle 2

Crepe Myrtle 1

Again, I don’t know if the freeze had anything to do with it, but I don’t remember them being like this before.

July 2, 2022

A Proud Nana and PaPa . . .

Brandi sent over the results of Landon’s 6th grade STAAR (State of Texas Academic Readiness) testing for the Spring 2022 period.

In Reading he scored an 1852 against a state average of 1589, rating him in the 99th Percentile and the Master Grade Level.

And in Math he scored a 1772 against a state average of 1619, rating him in the 88th Percentile, and again at Master Grade Level.

Way to go, Landon!

About 1pm Jan and I headed over to Gator’s Bar & Grill for lunch once again. We were just here last Tuesday, when Jan fell in love with their new Keto Birria Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Pizza.

Gator's Birrria Pizza

So we were back here just four days later for more.

For me, I went back to a past favorite, the Blackened Chicken Sandwich with Bacon, PepperJack Cheese, and Texas Toothpicks.

Gator's Bar & Grill Blackened Chicken Sandwich

And of course, their delicious Waffle Fries.

And unlike last time, we were both too full to split one of their Keto Blueberry Muffins.

Next up I dropped Jan off to get her hair done, while I went by the local UPS store to send back the wrong window regulator that I got from Amazon the other day. And by coincidence the right one was delivered this afternoon.

So hopefully later this weekend.

Then it was on over to HEB for this next week’s stuff.

Another day, another Amazon gadget.

Universal Sink Stopper

Universal Sink Stopper

Came across this replacement sink stopper and ordered one for our bathroom sink. It replaces the regular insert and works a lot better. And it doesn’t leak down like the old one.

Though this is also posted below, I thought I put it up here too.

Back around 1983 or so, Jan’s sister Debbie, her husband Jim, and the kid’s Jason, Tana, and Christina came down to visit us in Friendswood. While they were there, we got this photo of our kids and Debbie and Jim’s.

Old Family Photo

Left to right: Tana, Chris, Jason, Brandi, Christina

Well, a couple of days ago the kids surprised us with this redo.

New Family Photo

Especially funny is Tana with the same blank expression on her face.

Really neat, and a wonderful surprise.

July 2, 2023

Well, This IS Texas After All . . .

After a quick stop at the Alvin Home Depot for a couple of more bolts for my latest project, lunch today was at the Kelley’s Country Cookin’ right down the road. And we both went with some new this time.

Jan got the Sunday Special Texas-Sized Chicken Fried Chicken, along with Green Beans, Buttered Carrots, and Mashed Potatoes.

For my part, I stayed with the whole Chicken Fried concept, getting the Super Texas-Sized (yes, that’s the way it’s listed) Chicken Fried Steak, starting with a Salad,

and then the pièce de résistance,

and a big plate of fries.

All Texas-Sized, of course.

Delicious, and I think we had more to take home than we ate here.

Next up was our usual Sunday HEB stop, but a different one this time, the one over in Friendswood for a change.

Then coming home, I made a stop to cash in some small PowerBall and MegaMillions tickets to buy more.

As I had hoped, putting up the Reflectix on the windshield and side windows made a big difference, letting the A/C actually cycle on and off, even though the outside temp was in the mid-90s.

Finishing up, what would the 4th of July be without BBQ, so tomorrow we’re having lunch at the Rudy’s BBQ up in Webster, planning on getting enough extra to have plenty leftover for Tuesday, the actual 4th. That way we won’t have to leave the rig at all and get out in all the holiday traffic.