It’s That Day Again . . .

The One That Jan Usually Forgets.

First up, lunch today was the last of the Rudy’s BBQ from yesterday.

I mentioned yesterday about our missing USPS package and how a gentleman at the Santa Fe PO said he’d get it moving.

And he kept his word. This morning I found this on the tracking page.

And then this afternoon, the tracking said it was on its way and would be delivered tomorrow.

We’ll see. As usual.

Tomorrow we’re having lunch at Gator’s, then haircuts at CostCutters, and finishing up at Wal-Mart.

* * * * *

To make things go quicker, I thought I’d just repost this post from 2023.


Today is our 57th Anniversary. Well, the Anniversary of the day we met in Titusville in 1967.

While Jan lived in Titusville after her father retired from the Air Force there, I was just down from my home in Alabama bumming around for the summer. I had been staying with my aunt and uncle over in Sanford for a week or so and was checking out the want ads for a summer job.

The one that attracted my attention was one looking for someone to take care of the animals and do the performance shows for the tourists at Florida Wonderland, a Titusville tourist attraction. And even better, it included room and board.

So on Monday, the 3rd of July I made the 35-mile trip over to Titusville, and found the place right on US A1A and the Indian River at Hwy 50.

Florida Wonderland Sign

florida_wonderland_aerial

While the main part of the attraction was on the other side of the road, I was going to be working at the Marine Life Center across the road and right on the Indian River.

Florida Wonderland Marine Life

Originally started by Johnny Weissmuller of ‘Tarzan’ fame in the late 50’s, it was then known as Tropical Wonderland. But somewhere along the line, Johnny faded away and it became Florida Wonderland, and was owned by the Kirk family, one of whom, Claude Kirk, was then Governor of the state.

I started on the 5th of July, and besides doing the animal acts for the public, I also took care of the two porpoises, the two manatees, the 15ft alligator, the large elephant seal, a large tortoise, and a number of other animals. And that meant keeping the 100 pounds of fish that were delivered each day iced down so it wouldn’t spoil.

Noticing that there wasn’t an ice machine there, I was told to take a couple of buckets over to the Miss Kitty’s Saloon and bring back the ice from across the road as I needed it.

“Saloon”?

Besides the carnival rides, petting zoo, and other attractions, they also had a Western town, with bank robberies, gunfights, and other Western stuff. And of course, what’s a Western town without a saloon? In this case, Miss Kitty’s Pleasure Palace & Saloon, soft drinks only, of course.

Miss Kitty's Pleasure Palace

And of course, every ‘Pleasure Palace’ has an ice machine.

So, 57 years ago today, I walked through the swinging doors carrying my two buckets to find several young women dressed in period clothes. But the one that caught my eye was a tall, long-legged strawberry blonde.

Here’s her photo from the year before.

And here’s a photo from 8 years later. Still a tall, long-legged, beautiful strawberry blonde.

Jan and Brandi 1975

And here she is today. Still beautiful.

And that’s how it all started.

But it almost didn’t start, because it took me a week or so to get her to go out with me. Luckily I’m persistent. And I think management wondered why I needed so much more ice than usual.

Today I’d probably be called a stalker.

She said later that she thought I was just another ‘stuck-up college guy’. Well, I don’t know about ‘stuck up’, but I was in college, was skinny, and had hair.

And I drove a ‘65 Triumph Spitfire like this one. Except mine had a rollbar and a white racing stripe down the center since I had previously competed in SCCA races.

1965 Triumph Spitfire

So, in looking back, Jan and I have had 57 years together because I didn’t want fish to go bad.

It’s always the little things.


Thought For The Day:

So This Is How It All Started


Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2009 – Monticello

2010 – Benini Galleries and Sculpture Ranch

2018 – Favorite Cousins And BBQ8 

2019 – To Apple, With Disdain

2020 – More Piper And Pizza

2021 – Sous Vide Ribs

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™


July 5, 2009

Monticello and Appomattox…Not!

Today is our last full day here at Small Country Campground before we move up to Reston, VA for a week in the Washington, DC area.

We woke up to 65 degrees and rain this morning.  Well, one out of two isn’t bad.

We took the toad about 20 miles up the road to Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.  It was a very beautiful drive up into the hills getting there.

One thing I finally did find out is how to pronounce ‘Monticello’.  I had always heard it pronounced both ‘Mon T Sell O’ and ‘Mon T Chello’.

In fact, just last month I saw a program on the History Channel that pronounced it ‘Mon T Chello’.

However, at Monticello, they will tell you that it is pronounced ‘Mon T Sell O’, and that some people there get upset when it is pronounced the other way.

Because of the rain, I couldn’t get any decent pictures of the outside, so these two are from the internet.

East Front of Monticello

East Front of Monticello

West Front of Monticello

West Front of Monticello

We were only allowed to tour the rooms on the bottom of the 3 floors.  The other two are apparently too hard to access via the narrow staircases.

Thomas Jefferson was really into the latest gadgets, which I guess is why he’s one of my favorites of the Founding Fathers, along with Benjamin Franklin, for the same reason.

We had some time to walk the grounds after our house tour, even though it was lightly raining.

We saw Mulberry Row, a 1000-foot line of mulberry trees that line the plantation gardens.

Mulberry Row

Mulberry Row

We were told the gardens are laid out just as they were in Jefferson’s day.

Monticello Gardens 1

Monticello Gardens 2

We also enjoyed the museum and exhibits on Jefferson’s life and times.

After eating lunch in Charlottesville, we were ready to head to Appomattox Courthouse, until we discovered it was almost 70 miles away, in the opposite direction of the RV park.  And it was already almost 3 pm.

When I looked at the brochure it said it was about 25 miles away.  But I now realized that was from Richmond, not from Charlottesville.

So we decided to call it a day and try to come back on our way back from Nova Scotia later in the year.

More tomorrow from Reston, VA…


July 5, 2010

Benini Galleries and Sculpture Ranch …

Today we drove over to Gina’s about 12:30 so could finish up the deck project. And by about 4:30 pm everything was wired up and tested.. And it all worked perfectly.

A little later we headed back over to the Italian Garden restaurant, and, as usual, it was delicious. Jan had a pizza this time, Gina had the spaghetti with red clam sauce, and I had the Chicken & Shrimp in a bacon-dill cream sauce. All of this with their great fresh hot bread.

Heading back to Gina’s after supper I finished up some last-minute repairs on some things, and then we headed back to the rig for the night.

Yesterday, I had a teaser about this sculpture on US 290 a couple of miles west of Johnson City, TX.

It turns out that the bull sculpture entitled “Marathon” is part of the Benini Galleries and Sculpture Ranch about 5 miles off the highway.

So here’s a sample of the diverse artwork.

“Marathon”

Scuplture 1

“The Blue Saint”

Scuplture 2

The next two are actually wind sculptures that rotate, whirl, and twirl in the breeze.

Scuplture 3

Scuplture 4

“Rancher Memories”

Scuplture 5


July 5, 2011

Seattle Delayed . . .

We were up about 9 to get ready to take the ferry to Seattle, but as it turned out, it was Jan’s turn to be sick, so we’re putting the trip off until tomorrow.

Since it’s been getting warmer the last few days I went ahead and put up the solar screens on the front windows to help keep out some of the heat. The first few days here we didn’t need the AC, but we’ve had it on the last couple of days. And since we’re on 30 amps here, we can only run one AC, so it needs all the help it can get.

We’re still enjoying our new Winegard Automatic satellite dish, and it’s working great. I did find out that it only needs the 12 v when it is finding the satellite. After that, it can be unplugged.

Winegard Carryout

Jan wanted to get a pedicure this afternoon so about 1 we headed out to take care of that. But our first stop was lunch at Arby’s before finding a nearby nail salon and dropping Jan off.

Then I headed off for some errands. My first stop was Wal-Mart where I was looking for the plugs and receptacles I need to finish bypassing my transfer switch so I can easily switch back and forth between power sources. Not finding what I needed there, I was off to Lowe’s where they had exactly what I needed.

My next stop was Radio Shack where I was looking for 50 feet of dual RG-6 cable. It’s two cables molded together as one for hooking up dual satellite feeds.

RG-6

But they didn’t carry it here so I’ll have to try somewhere else. Finally picking up Jan a little after 3 we headed home

Jan was feeling better by 5 so we headed out to the Family Pancake House where we ate on Sunday morning. Good again.


July 5, 2013

Humphrey’s . . .

A little after 5pm we all headed out for dinner. After some back and forth, we ended up going back to Humphrey’s once again. This time, rather than a burger like last time, I had something similar, but different. A Bacon Cheeseburger Salad, with hamburger meat, bacon, and shredded cheese, on top of a good salad mix with spicy ranch dressing. And of course, sliced pickles and a small side of fries.

Really good.

Later, after sundown, I went outside to check out my new lights. And I was really surprised how much brighter and whiter the LED bulbs are compared to the old ones. And it stays on for about a minute, just like I wanted.

Here’s the latest pic of Landon’s 2nd cousin, Zoe Nadeau. A real cutie, and growing every day.

Zoe Nadeau 6

Tomorrow I have a few more chores I’d like to get done before we leave here on Monday.


July 5, 2014

Counting Down . . .

We again sat outside this morning with our coffee, muffins, and Mister for an hour or so. Really, really nice.

While we were outside, Dick Schell came by with his dog Murphy and invited us over to look at the remodeling he and Phyllis are doing on their rig.

So, leaving for our drive over to Shipshewana about 2pm we stopped off at Dick and Phyllis Schell’s beautiful Super C.

Dick and Phyllis Schell's Rig

It’s a Haulmark, built on a Freightliner chassis, and is really nice.

Getting into Shipshewana, our first stop was E & S Sales, an Amish bulk food market, that we like to visit every time we’re here in Shipshewana.

Mister's Dog Bait

I thought about buying Mister one of these big bags of rawhide dog bones. Figured he could use them as bait to attract dogs. Kind of like hunters set out out feeders to attract deer.

After a stop at the Red Barn Shops, a collection of small individual shops, selling arts and crafts, we headed over to Goshen to have dinner at South Side Soda Shop. But they were closed. I had called Thursday to check, and was told that they would be closed on Friday, but open on Saturday and Sunday.

They lied.

So we stopped and had dinner at the Chili’s between Goshen and Elkhart, and everyone really liked their meal. Applebee’s needs to take a lesson from them.


Brandi, Lowell, and Landon are visiting Lowell’s parents up in Paul’s Valley, OK this week and it looks like Landon’s having a ball. Between sparklers and the waterpark, they’re keeping him busy.

Landon on the 4th of July

Landon on the 4th of July 2

Landon at Water Park 1a

Tomorrow, Sunday, is our last full day in Elkhart for this year. We leave here Monday morning for the Indian Lakes Thousand Trails near Batesville IN for a couple of weeks, then moving on to the Wilmington OH TT for a couple of more weeks before starting our trip back to Houston for Landon’s birthday on the 23rd of August, and then Gate Guarding after that.


July 5, 2015

Last Day in Verde Valley . . .

Jan always records the CBS Sunday Morning show and then we watch it later. Like I’m up early enough to watch it live. Anyway, one segment this morning was about Pie Town, NM and Pie-O-Neer Pies

We stopped in Pie Town and ate at Pie-O-Neer as we headed back to Texas for Brandi’s wedding in June 2010. You can read about it here. June 13, 2010

I finally decided on Cherokee Landing for our two-week Thousand Trails stay in Tennessee starting July 20th. Based on the reviews, it was more a matter of picking the least worst rather than the best one. So we’ll see how it goes and let you know.

About 3:30 we headed out for dinner down in Camp Verde down to Crusty’s Pizza, a regular stop when we’re here at Verde Valley. We love their Baked Spaghetti and always get a couple of the dinners to go.

But this time we decided to get a pizza to eat in as well. Since the dinners come with salad, and salad doesn’t freeze well, we had the salads with the pizza.

Crusty's Salad

A really good salad, though I would prefer less iceberg lettuce and more romaine.

We got a medium pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms, Italian sausage, and meatballs.

Crusty's Pizza

Really, really good, with a lot of flavor. And with the big salads filling us up, we even had a couple of slices left over to for breakfast on the road in a few days.

Getting home, we vacuum-sealed the Spaghetti Dinners and froze them.

Crusty's Pizza 1

As you can see these things are huge, and when divided in half, one dinner feeds both of us when combined with a little bread and salad.

* * * * *

We had a couple of comments to yesterday’s blog concerning Jan’s and my ‘eating’ habits, or maybe ‘eating out’ habits, specifically, our stopping at another restaurant on the way home from the first one.

On average, we probably eat out every other day or so. On the in-between days, it may be leftovers from our eating out, or Jan may fix something. But it’s up to Jan.

When we retired and hit the road in February 2008, we both retired. From whatever we wanted to retire from. And that includes Jan fixing meals. Jan’s a good cook, I mean, I was skinny when we got married. But now she cooks when she wants to cook. And if she doesn’t, we eat out. It’s up to her.

As far as stopping at one restaurant on the way home from another, we stopped at Hog Wild BBQ  to pick up some BBQ to freeze and take with us on the road.

Hey, it works for us.


July 5, 2016

It’s Scary When Your Cat Can Tell Time . . .

With today’s temps pushing 100°, I’ve really been happy with the performance of the new Coleman Mach 15 AC unit that we installed last August

The old Coleman Mach V was still working, but seemed to have lost its oomph. I probably could tried topping off the Freon, but I really wanted a bigger unit that handled the Texas temps a little better.

And going from a 13,500 BTU unit to a 15,000 BTU one, plus a stronger fan, really makes a difference. Today, with the thermostat set at 75°, and the outside temp at 99, the unit was still able to cycle on and off all afternoon. So it’s doing its job. Nice.

Unlike a lot of other RV parks, if we hadn’t looked at the calendar, we would have never known it was the 4th of July weekend. No golf cart parades, no fireworks, no nothing. Of course the whole ‘no fireworks’ thing was probably due to the ‘Absolutely No Fireworks! signs posted around.

We did drive down to the river area Sunday on the way back from Schobel’s and there were more people down there, but I’ve certainly seen the park busier on non-holiday weekends in the past.

After I mentioned about getting a 30-day gate code here, and wondering if they had annual and employee codes, Barbara Spade, friend and Ranger here, confirmed that they do have both annual and employee codes, as well as remotes.

Miss Karma can apparently tell time, or maybe her stomach can. Every day at 4:30, plus or minus about 5 minutes, she comes out from wherever she’s been sleeping, (usually on the dashboard) parks herself in front of Jan, and starts meowing.

It’s dinner time, and she knows it. Scary!

The WE Channel has been running a Law & Order marathon tonight, starting with the very first episode in 1990. Either I didn’t see these at the time, or I’ve completely forgotten them in the intervening 26 years, I imagine it’s the latter, but it’s like watching a brand-new show. The first thing I noticed is that everyone is smoking, and that Chris Noth looks about 18.

But one thing that kept bugging me was the opening musical theme. It just didn’t sound right. But after a couple of episodes, I finally figured it out.

it’s in the wrong key. And it’s in the wrong key because they’ve sped it up.

And they’ve sped it up to make it shorter so they can cram more commercials into the hour.


July 5, 2017

It’s Always The Little Things. . .

About 1:30 Jan and I drove up to La Grange for a Wal-Mart run, our first WM visit since we got back to the Houston area a couple of weeks ago.

Going through withdrawal. Or at least Jan is.

We found out this morning that we lost another RV friend, Judy Benson, to a long bout with cancer. We first met Judy and her husband, Pat in 2008 when we were workcamping in Fairbanks, AK, and have kept in touch ever since, including visiting them at their home in Draper, UT, just south of Salt Lake City, in 2010.

Pat and Judy

Then they surprised us in 2014 with a visit to one of our gate-guarding locations near Bryan/College Station when they came by with their daughter.

Pat-and-Judy-at-the-Gate

Pat passed away a year ago this coming Saturday, with Judy passing almost exactly a year later, on the 4th. Our condolences to the family. They will both be missed.


July 5, 2018

Happy ‘Belated’ 4th of July . . .

Especially To All The Veterans.

Statue Of Liberty 4th of July

We appreciate your service to our country.

Today, the 4th, was a very nice do-nothing day here at the Rancho Blanco RV. We had BBQ and we never even left the rig.

Besides the Lawler’s BBQ we brought home from my aunt Virginia’s last night, we had some leftovers from Sonny’s, Rendezvous, and Jim & Nick’s to add to the feast. Then for dessert, we had some delicious sweet ripe cantaloupe also from my aunt.

We still have not brought the TV upfront or put the DirecTV dish out. And somehow we don’t really miss it. Jan does have one show that she really likes that starts back up next Tuesday after we get back to Houston, so maybe then.

We’ll see.

Regular readers know I always have a backup plan . . .  for everything. Kind of like the old saying, “Be polite to everyone you meet, but have a plan to kill them if necessary.”

And I have one for my generator problem too.

I now seem to have two problems with signals coming from the controller board on the genset. Last summer I lost the the START signal coming to the solenoid/starter from the controller board. So my backup plan was to wire in one of those remote starter switches you use when tuning up your car. So now it’s push down the GEN START button on the dash and pull the trigger on the remote.

So when I discovered that I didn’t have 12 volts coming from the controller to the governor actuator, I was hoping another kludge would get me running. So I jumpered 12 volts directly to the actuator while Jan cranked it over.

No luck.

I’ve got a couple of more things I want to check, but now that I seem to have lost two signals from the controller board, for the starter and the actuator, I’m looking at the possibility of a dying controller board.

And a new board looks to be about $1500 from Onan-Cummins. Ouch!

Of course, then I would be looking at putting that amount of money into a 19-year-old unit that could easily die from something else expensive . . . the very next day.

So here’s my backup plan.

Predator 8750

Predator 8750 Generator

It’s a 7 kw (compared to 7.5 kw for the Onan) running watts generator from Harbor Freight. The online reviews seem to be pretty good, and at 22” x 23” x 27’ it’s smaller than the Onan, and at 183 pounds, it’s about 240 pounds lighter than the Onan.

It has a 240-volt twistlock plug that could be wired up for the rig, giving me about 30 amps per leg vs. 35 amps for the Onan, so not a lot of difference. Especially since our Coleman 15K BTU unit only draws about 15 amps, and our 13.5K BTU one draws even less.

It also comes with a 120 volt 30 amp twistlock receptacle, 4 GFCI protected 120 volt receptacles, and a 12volt output.

Even better, it has electric start if you hook up a 12-volt battery to it. But I won’t need a separate battery since I’ll just use the 12v line that comes into the Onan starter now.

It uses standard unleaded gas, and the 6-gallon tank will run the unit for 10 to 12 hours, probably longer than we’ve ever driven in a day.

I still haven’t given up on the Onan generator, but I’m prepared.

The power went off about 10:15pm last night and stayed off until a little before midnight. Then it went back off a little after midnight, so finally, I gave up, posted the No Blog Tonight message from my phone, and went to bed.

This morning I did website stuff for a while and then went back to poring over the Onan service manual trying to get a handle on the sequence of things during startup. As part of this, I’m making a list of questions to ask them.

I didn’t feel so bad last night when I went outside to check if all the power was off, or if it was just me. I ran into a couple of other guys doing the same thing. And neither of their generators worked either. The guy next door in the big, brand new 5th wheel said his generator cranks and runs, but never puts power to the coach. I told him it was probably a transfer switch problem and he said, “What’s that?”

I think he was just as new as the RV. So I explained it to him, and told him it was probably part of his inverter and he should check for a blown fuse or popped breaker.

The other guy had a 2016 Expedition, and his generator wouldn’t even crank. So it’s not just me.

A little before 1pm Jan and headed over to my cousin Anna Jean’s (CuzAnna) house to see her and her sister Marjorie and her husband Walter who were meeting us there.

Anna Jean Margorie and Walter with Jan

My mother, Anna Jean, and Marjorie were all first cousins, so I guess that makes us second cousins. Anyway, we had a great time catching up on all the family and near-family gossip, and even about my ex-girlfriends here, with some good and some bad stuff that happened to them.

We talked for about 4 hours until I think we all started getting hoarse. When we finally headed out I noticed all the beautiful Tiger Lilies covering her side yard.

Anna Jean's Tiger Lilies

Really striking flowers.

Getting back on the road we make the 15-mile trip south to Decatur to have dinner at another of our favorites, Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ, a local institution. And listed as one of the 10 Best BBQ joints in the US.

The walls are covered floor to ceiling with plaques, and big trophies like these

Big Bob Gibson's Awards 2

Big Bob Gibson's Awards 3

are scattered around the dining room.

I had the 2 meat combo plate with ribs, pulled pork, beans, and turnip greens, And as usual I had leftovers.

Big Bob Gibson's Combo Plate 3

while Jan had a 1/4 white meat chicken dinner with beans and a side salad.

All really delicious, and well worth the trip down here.

Then coming back up to Athens, we made a quick WalMart stop and then it was back to the rig.

Hope the power stays on tonight.


July 5, 2019

With Disdain . . .

I hate Apple products.

Unlike most days at work where I get to do things I enjoy, like play with computer stuff,  I spent most of today doing something I hate, i.e. working on something Apple . . . actually anything Apple.

Which today meant trying to set up my client’s new iPhone 8+. Went round and round several times just trying to get the Apple ID configured and everything updated.

Just a real mess.

My feelings actually started with disdain though, before moving on to hatred. The ‘disdain’ started back in the early days of the Macintosh when a reporter asked Steve Jobs why the Mac had a one-button mouse while the PC mouse had two.

Jobs said the average user was too stupid to operate a two-button mouse.

But my disdain metamorphosed into pure hatred when I actually had to repair them. In 1998 I was doing tech support at the University of Houston – Clear Lake. We were an authorized Apple Repair Center since we had so many Apple products.

At that time Apple was the go-to computer for pretty much anything to do with computer graphics, video, or desktop publishing, so we had 100’s of units scattered in classrooms all over campus.

One product we had a number of was the Apple Color LaserWriter, probably the only printer that needed regular oil changes. There was an open pan at the bottom of the printer inside the case, kind of like a cookie sheet, that held a layer of very slippery silicone oil.

This oil was used to keep the fuser clean and had to be changed out at stated internals, which was almost impossible to do without spilling some on the floor. Which then created a hazardous area and had to be surrounded by orange cones. This was due to the fact that the oil made the floor so slippery it was like trying to walk on ice.

Plus if someone bumped the table holding the printer, oil would splash out from the open pan and onto the floor, again creating a hazardous area, surrounded by orange cones.

Another Apple product that we had to repair was the 21” Studio Display Monitor like this one.

Apple Studio Display Monitor

Steve always seemed to have favored esthetics over function and reparability, and one of his favorite peeves was to not have any visible screws or fastenings on the outside of the case.

And the Display Monitor was just such a beast. The rear cover was just a rounded dome that was press-fitted onto the chassis. The factory service manual listed the tools necessary to remove the cover as 4 strong metal fingernail files and 2 dozen wooden popsicle sticks.

Yep! 2 dozen popsicle sticks!

You were to jam a nail file into the seemingly air-tight seam, hopefully making enough of a gap to be able to wedge a popsicle into the opening. You then proceeded to work your way around the rim, jamming and wedging as you go, just like changing a big truck tire.

Oh, and the reason you need four fingernail files? It’s because you’ll break at least two of them working your way around the rim.

But the manual neglects to tell you one important thing.

The dome is essentially spring-loaded as it’s pressed on at the factory. So at some unknown-to-you point, the heavy dome comes loose, flies across the room, and of course, smashes into a brand-new, VERY expensive, LED monitor, knocking it to the floor in pieces.

Then, of course, there’s the infamous ‘melting’ G4 Cubes.

Mac G4 Cube

The G4 was a small (7” x 7” x 7”) computer that also illustrated another of Job’s pet peeves. He didn’t like cooling fans or the noise they made.

So the G4 depended on convection cooling for the components, pulling air in at the bottom of the case and exhausting it out through the top grill. Now that may have worked in mild San Francisco, but not in the Houston area.

The much higher humidity here, even in the air-conditioned buildings, meant that the whole convection cooling thing just didn’t work very well. And the heat buildup made the grill on top of the case start to sag and crack.

Oops!

Happily, for this reason, and lack of expandability, killed the G4 off in just a couple of years.


July 5, 2020

Good And Crispy . . .

After I posted the blog last night I realized that I had forgotten to post the photo of the two beautiful young women I ran into at Grimaldi’s yesterday.

Grimaldi's Pizza Jan and Piper

Well, actually I brought them with me.

You can’t have a 4th of July weekend without BBQ, so this afternoon Jan and I had a late lunch at the Spring Creek BBQ over on the Interstate. Delicious Baby Back Ribs as always, as well as a basket of their really good, crispy Fried Okra.


July 5, 2021

Sous Vide Ribs . . .

OK, relax, people!

No, we’re not in distress. And No, that’s not a ‘Pride’ umbrella either.

The flag pole doesn’t really have a top or bottom to it. You just assemble the 3 sections and then the flag itself has ring clamps on it that slide along the pole and then tighten down.

What I didn’t notice was that as I was trying to keep my balance, standing on the top step of the stepladder, trying to get the flag pole fastened to the umbrella pole, I had gotten it upside down. And since the flag itself was kind of wrapped around the pole, neither of us noticed it later either.

Patio with Flag

A little before 3pm we were in the final countdown to our ribs with 1 minute to go.

Sous Vide 1 Minute

Coming out of the vacuum bags, and patted dry, our ribs looked like this. And actually they were already very tasty and completely done.

And I was happy to see that water in the cooler was still clean and clear which meant that none of the bags had leaked.

Sous Vide Ribs 1

Basted with sauce on the meaty side first, they were on the Weber grill getting a nice char on the outside.

Sous Vide Ribs 2

For the next 20 minutes or so, it was back and forth, basting each time, building up that crunchy outside that Jan and I both like.

Sous Vide Ribs 3

And a few minutes later, they were on our plates, along with loaded potato salad and Bacon & Bourbon Baked Beans.

And the ribs were just as described in the recipe. Tender, juicy, but not soggy. Almost fall-off-the-bone, but not quite. A crunchy sweet crust on the outside and moist on the inside.

In other words, they were DELICIOUS!  Have-Again and Again delicious! And actually very easy to do, all things considered, since a lot of the time was spent double-checking things as I went along.

Next up, Ribeye’s and Sirloin Strips.

This Just In:

In a major announcement that has shaken the computer community to its core, Microsoft has revealed that in the upcoming Windows 11, the dreaded Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), the screen that tells you that your computer has thrown up its hands and died, will now be BLACK!

Uhhh? Isn’t that racist, now?


July 5, 2022

Landon-Sitting . . .

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, Jan snagged a last-minute Landon-sitting gig up in Katy at Brandi’s, so we headed out about 10am to meet her at the Cheddar’s on the Sam Houston Tollway and Westpark.

Brandi said that she didn’t want lunch, so we got there early to have lunch beforehand.

Jan got the Blackened Whitefish with Steamed Broccoli and Green Beans,

Cheddar's Blackened Fish 20220705

while I got my usual 4 Veggie Plate,

Cheddar's Veggie Plate 20220705

starting with a House Salad.

Cheddar's Salad 2

And of course one of their delicious Honey Butter Croissants.

Then Brandi showed up about noon and whisked Jan away and I headed home.

After letting it cool off outside for a while, I went out and installed my new window regulator in the Dakota. So now I have a working driver’s side window once again. I’ll reinstall the door panel in the next couple of days.


July 5, 2023

The One Jan Usually Forgets . . .

Today is our 56th Anniversary. Well, the Anniversary of the day we met in Titusville in 1967.

While Jan lived in Titusville after her father retired from the Air Force there, I was just down from my home in Alabama bumming around for the summer. I had been staying with my aunt and uncle over in Sanford for a week or so and was checking out the want ads for a summer job.

The one that attracted my attention was one looking for someone to take care of the animals and do the performance shows for the tourists at Florida Wonderland, a Titusville tourist attraction. And even better, it included room and board.

So on Monday, the 3rd of July I made the 35 mile trip over to Titusville, and found the place right on US A1A and the Indian River at Hwy 50.

Florida Wonderland Sign

florida_wonderland_aerial

While the main part of the attraction was on the other side of the road, I was going to be working at the Marine Life Center across the road and right on the Indian River.

Florida Wonderland Marine Life

Originally started by Johnny Weissmuller of ‘Tarzan’ fame in the late 50’s, it was then known as Tropical Wonderland. But somewhere along the line, Johnny faded away and it became Florida Wonderland, and was owned by the Kirk family, one of whom, Claude Kirk, was then Governor of the state.

I started on the 5th of July, and besides doing the animal acts for the public, I also took care of the two porpoises, the two manatees, the 15ft alligator, the large elephant seal, a large tortoise, and a number of other animals. And that meant keeping the 100 pounds of fish that were delivered each day iced down so it wouldn’t spoil.

Noticing that there wasn’t an ice machine there, I was told to take a couple of buckets over to the Miss Kitty’s Saloon and bring back the ice across the road as I needed it.

“Saloon”?

Besides the carnival rides, petting zoo, and other attractions, they also had a Western town, with bank robberies, gunfights, and other Western stuff. And of course, what’s a Western town without a saloon? In this case, Miss Kitty’s Pleasure Palace & Saloon, soft drinks only, of course.

Miss Kitty's Pleasure Palace

And of course, every ‘Pleasure Palace’ has an ice machine.

So, 56 years ago today, I walked through the swinging doors carrying my two buckets to find several young women dressed in period clothes. But the one that caught my eye was a tall, long-legged strawberry blonde.

Here’s her photo from the year before.

And here’s a photo from 8 years later. Still a tall, long-legged, beautiful strawberry blonde.

Jan and Brandi 1975

And here she is today. Still beautiful.

And that’s how it all started.

But it almost didn’t start, because it took me a week or so to get her to go out with me. Luckily I’m persistent. And I think management wondered why I needed so much more ice than usual.

She said later that she thought I was just another ‘stuck-up college guy’. Well, I don’t know about ‘stuck up’, but I was in college, was skinny, and had hair.

And I drove a ‘65 Triumph Spitfire like this one. Except mine had a rollbar and a white racing stripe down the center

1965 Triumph Spitfire

So in looking back, Jan and I have had 57 years together because I didn’t want fish to go bad.

It’s always the little things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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