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Another Day, Another Kludge . . .

Recently the dryer part of our 21 year old Splendide washer/dryer quit drying. Well, kind of.

The heater part was still heating, but the blower part quit blowing. So I pulled the unit out of its cubbyhole and popped the top off. Then the first thing I did was to spin the little fan on top of the blower unit, expecting it to be seized up like the last one was about 10 years ago. But it spun freely.

So maybe the motor was burned out. But when I checked the continuity across the motor terminals, I got the 7.5 ohms that the manual specified. So I hooked my voltmeter up to the wires coming into the motor. And got only about 50 volts, not the 120VAC I was expecting.

Tracing the wires back, I found they went right to the timer switch that directly controls the dryer. So now it was time to get on the phone with Westland Sales, the Splendide tech support/parts people to ask some questions, and order a new 88°C thermostat.

When I told the guy my problem he first ask me if the dryer timer was working and counting off the correct amount of time. When I told him yes, and that it was also turning on the heating coil like it was supposed to, he told that it was a known problem and that the contacts inside the timer had started to come apart. And he said that new timers were not available anymore, which is what I already figured.

And that even if I did find one, it was really a PITA to change out. Then while I had him on the line, I ordered a new thermostat from him. Which they did have in stock.

The reason I was replacing was that I noticed that one of the terminals was kind of loose and burnt-looking. And when I got it in a few days later and tried to pull the wire off, it just came apart like this.

Dryer Thermostat 1

So I took out the two screws holding it in, leaving just this.

Dryer Thermostat 2

And then popped the new one in place and fastened it down.

Dryer Thermostat 3

But while I was waiting on the thermostat to come in, I worked on my blower problem. The first thing I did was to put 120VAC directly to the motor to test it, and it worked.

And after thinking about it for a while I came up with a solution. A kludge, but a solution. I wired a power cord directly to the motor terminals like this,

Dryer Switch Wiring

and then ran it out the back panel of the dryer.

Then I plugged it into the same outlet the washer is plugged into through one of the these Alexa WiFi controlled switches.

TanTan Alexa Computer Switch

Now when Jan uses the dryer, she just sets the timer on the panel as normal, and then says, “Alexa, Dryer On’ and the blower motor starts up. Then when the clothes are done, she just says, “Alexa, Dryer Off’.

And if she forgets and leaves the blower running for a while it won’t hurt anything. Plus as soon as you open the washer door, you can feel it blowing so it’s hard to miss.

A kludge, but it works. And I didn’t have to spend $1300 for a new one.

At least not yet.


This was just last year when I was in the middle of my first, and so far only, sciatica attack.

July 6, 2019

So Far, So Good . . .

About 4pm Jan and I drove over to the Victory Lakes/League City Denny’s for dinner/breakfast.  Normally I just have the 2 eggs, bacon, English Muffin, and fruit, but for some reason I’ve had kind of a sweet tooth the last week or two, so, uncharacteristically, I went with the Cinnamon Roll Pancakes.

Denny's Pancakes

Really good, but I think I’m in Sugar Overload Mode.

Then it was across the street to WalMart for a couple of things, but mostly for a temporary TENS unit like this one.

IcyHot TENS Unit

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve got one on order from Amazon that should be here on Monday, but after reading all the raves online from people with Sciatica using a TENS unit with great success, and having such a rotten time trying to sleep last night, I didn’t want to wait two more days.

Getting home, and unusual for me, I opened the box and read the directions. But then I am connecting my body up to a battery.

But it turned out to be pretty simple. Just connect the control unit to the electrode patch, stick it in place, turn it on, and press the + button to set the output between 1 and 63.

I increased the level to about 15, to the point where I could start to feel it. But it was not a shock but more of a vibration, or buzzing. The unit runs for 30 minutes and then shuts off. They recommend letting the battery rest for 5-10 minutes before restarting.

The unit seems to cycle in 15 second intervals, starting slow and light, and getting stronger and quicker.

I did start it up, and laid down for a couple of hours, and felt fine. But tonight will be the real test. I’m going to bump it up to 30 and see if I can get through the night without the burning pain?

We’ll see.

By the way, I also picked up a package of the refills.

IcyHot TENS Unit ReFills

Turns out the refills are just new electrode patches to use when the sticky wears off the first one. Seems like that’s what duck tape should be for.

Also, when I was checking this unit out online, I found a wide variation in pricing. While WalMart had it for $28.88, Walgreen’s had it for $39.99. And WalMart has the refill pack for $9.88, at Walgreen’s it’s $15.99.

So shop around.

If these things work, I’ll probably use both of them at various times, especially since the IcyHot version has no wires to get in the way when I’m out and about.

Thought for the Day:

Nobody realizes the tremendous energy I expend every day merely to appear normal.



It’s Always The Little Things . . .

Today’s our 53rd Anniversary. No, not that one. It’s the one that Jan always forgets. More down post.

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.

On the WuFlu front, according to the CDC, due to 10 consecutive weeks of a declining percentage of deaths, COVID-19 is close to losing its epidemic status in the U.S.

Coronavirus deaths in the country have nearly reached a level where the virus will cease to qualify as an epidemic under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rules, the federal agency reported on Friday.

The CDC qualifies a disease outbreak as an “epidemic” if the number of deaths attributable to the disease exceeds a certain percentage of total deaths per week. That threshold for pneumonia, influenza and COVID-19 fluctuates slightly depending on the time of year, ranging from around 7% at the height of flu season to around 5% during less virulent months.

CDC data indicate that deaths from those ailments began skyrocketing in the country around the second week of March, hitting a peak around early May and then plummeting quickly after that.

Though infections are significantly up in some places, deaths throughout the country have remained flat, due likely to several factors including a younger cohort of infections as well as improved treatment methods.

Does this mean we can all come out of hiding now?

And I know this makes me feel so much better about wearing a mask all the time.

WuFlu Mask Warning

How about you?


Since I couldn’t decide which past July 5th blog to post, you get two of them tonight.

The first one is from 2017, and the second one is from 2009.

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 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.

Several blog readers ask for more about how Jan and I met in Titusville, FL.

Well, 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


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 12ft alligator, the large elephant seal, a giant tortoise, and a number of other animals. And that meant keeping the 100 pounds of fish that was 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 to across the road as I needed it.


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, soft drinks only, of course.

Miss Kitty's Pleasure Palace

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

So, 50 years ago today, (53 now) 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, well-built redhead.

And that’s how it all started.

But it almost didn’t start at all, because it took me almost two weeks or so to get her to go out with me. Luckily I’m persistent, though today I’d probably be called a stalker.

And I think management wondered why I was needing so much more ice than normal.

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, skinny and had hair. And I drove a ‘65 Triumph Spitfire like this one.

1965 Triumph Spitfire

But mine had a rollbar because I sometimes did SCCA racing.

But in looking back, Jan and I have had 50 (53) years together because I didn’t want the fish to spoil.

It’s always the little things.

July 5, 2009

Monticello and Appomattox…Not!

First off, I want to wish my beautiful bride a Happy Anniversary.

42 years ago today (53 years now) we met for the first time in Titusville, FL where she lived at the time, and I was working for the summer.

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

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

Thought for the Day:

Curve: The loveliest distance between two points. – Mae West


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