AT&T Merry-Go-Round . . .

This morning Jan and I headed out about 11:15am to meet Brandi and Lowell at the Texas Tea Room. Landon was at daycare so Jan and Brandi were going to have a girl’s day out and do some shopping, while Lowell had joined us from work and would be going back.

At the same time, I was going back to the same two clients as yesterday. The first one was to make a final decision on the new computers, and the second was to get back with AT&T on converting that client’s static IP DSL account to dynamic IP’s. And this time I had the paperwork to hopefully get the problem resolved.

And get it resolved I did it

Maybe

But to get this far I had to get on the AT&T Merry-Go-Round.

Twice.

Yesterday I started out with DSL Tech Support, moved through DSL Residential Sales, and then segued into DSL Business Sales, why I don’t know. But without the needed paperwork, there was where I stalled out.

So today I started back in Business Sales. But after going round and round there, I ended up back in Residential Sales, where, after 25 minutes of them going back and forth between themselves, they decided that they couldn’t make the change in that department. So they transferred me to U-verse Internet Services.

Huh! They don’t have U-verse. Just DSL. So after finally convincing them of this, it was back to Business Sales.

Who then sent me back to DSL Tech Support.

Where’s Malcolm when I need him?

But finally after going round and round in Tech Support, I found someone who could take care of the problem.

Well, at least they could schedule it to be done.

On Wednesday, January 4th by 5pm.

And I have a Order Number to boot.

So now I’ll just wait till Wednesday afternoon and go by the house and check it out.

And probably have to start back over again.

We’ll see.

Finally about 3:30 I headed back over to Brandi’s to pick up Jan, but they were playing on the computer, so it was about 5pm before we headed home.

Along the way we decided to have dinner at Floyd’s Cajun Seafood, our favorite local Cajun place.

We started off with a dozen raw oysters, one of Floyd’s specialties. And when you order a dozen, you get 13. And these were really big, too.

Raw Oysters

While we were there, our friend Nick Russell called to chat, but it was just too noisy, so we told him we’d call on our way home.

Jan and I followed up our oysters with steaming bowls of delicious Shrimp Gumbo, pretty much the best in the area. The one place that’s its equal is Mulate’s in Breaux Bridge, LA (now Pont Breaux)

After a great meal we headed home, and on the way I called Nick back on my Garmin GPS.

Yes, my GPS. My new Garmin has Bluetooth and that makes it really easy to do hands-free calls.

Tomorrow we’re going back over to Brandi’s a little before 2pm to babysit Landon so she and Lowell can spend New Year’s Eve up in Katy with her BFF, Shawna and her family. They’ll spend the night and be back sometime Sunday.

We will have our hands full. And by ‘We’, I mean Jan.

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Thought for the Day:

It seems like often when Congress makes a law, it’s a joke, and when they make a joke, it becomes a law.

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Ribs and Haircuts . . .

Nick Russell called this morning and said that his Kindle book murder mystery, Big Lake, has sold almost 30,000 copies so far this month, and there’s still two days left to go. It’s really taken off.

After yesterday’s kind of laidback day of just reinstalling the washer, today was much busier with a long list of client stops and errands.

My first two stops were with client’s.  At the first one I wanted to get AT&T to change them from a legacy static IP account to a regular dynamic IP account, and also save them $40 a month.

But as it turned out I didn’t have all the account info so I’ll have to come back tomorrow and try again. It would be nice if I didn’t have to go to their home to do this, but I’ve found it goes a lot easier if I’m calling from the phone number on the account when I’m trying to make changes.

My next client stop was a quick visit to talk over the two new computers I’m getting for his office.

And now it was errand time.  My first stop was Lowe’s to return some extra duct pieces that I had on hand in case I needed them for the washer install. Then It was across I-45 to Sam’s Club for a few things.

After that, it was time for my semi-annual haircut (no jokes, please.) I’ve been using this same barber for about 15 years, and it’s nice just to walk in, sit down, and not even have to tell him how I want it cut.

Next, after stopping at Kroger’s to pick up some coffee creamer, I went next door to Chase Bank to deposit a check, and also order two new Visa Debit Cards for Jan and I. Our old ones, mine especially, are so worn that they won’t scan reliably anymore. Unfortunately we can’t keep our old numbers so I will have to update a number of online accounts with the next number.

My last stop was our storeroom to drop off the furniture dolly I had used for the washer repair and pick up the Christmas ornament storage boxes so we can take down the Christmas tree.

Finally about 4:15 I was headed back to the rig. On my way down I-45 I passed by Spring Creek BBQ and decided I had a hankering for ribs for dinner, so getting back to the rig, we turned right back around and headed out to Spring Creek. And as usual, really good ribs, and the veggie sides are excellent too.

Heading home we stopped off at a nearby PetSmart to pick up a new kitty litter scoop. Then it was back to the rig for the night.

Tomorrow we’re meeting Brandi and Lowell at Texas Tea Room for lunch and then a few more errands, with a side trip back to my client’s home to try AT&T again.

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Thought for the Day:

Behind every successful rancher is a wife who works in town.

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I Love It When A Plan Comes Together . . .

It was nice to wake up to another sunny day this morning after all the rain we’ve had lately. Especially today’s the day I’m going to reinstall our Splendide washer/dryer after the dryer fan repair.

By the time 1pm rolled around, I couldn’t put it off any longer.  So I started outside by removing the dryer exhaust vent cover.

Washer Install 1

My big problem was how to hook up the exhaust hose to the back of the washer. The other hoses, hot and cold water inlets and water drain, and the power cord, were all long enough to be plugged in with the washer still out in the hallway. But the exhaust hose was not long enough to reach.

When I talked to American Coach Tech Service they suggested that I cut a hold in the bottom of the cabinet above the washer and reach down. But this seemed like a lot of work to me so I came up with another plan.

Washer Install 2

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My plan was to tape together two yardsticks lengthwise and then run it in thru the outside vent. I would then insert the yardstick into the dryer vent outlet to keep things aligned as I pushed the washer into the cabinet.

Washer Install 4

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Mister decided to help me by supervising from the top of the washer, but his 25 pounds just made it harder to move.

The string taped to the top of the washer is used to hold the drain hose up out of the way so it doesn’t get crimped as I push the washer in.

Washer Install 3

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After getting the washer into position, Jan was able to help me tilt it up and get it started in the opening.

Washer Install 6

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If I had it to do over, I would have sprayed lubricant on the base of the cabinet to make it easier to slide the washer into position.

Washer Install 7

But after a lot of pushing and shoving, I finally got it into place.

Then I went outside and, with the yardstick and a flashlight, I moved the end of the exhaust duct into position where it was seated in the dryer exhaust connector. Certainly a lot easier than cutting a hole in the cabinet above.

As Col. Hannibal Smith says, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

But before I put the doors back on and install the retaining strip, I wanted do a few wash loads to check everything out. And Jan immediately took me up on it and ran two loads through with no problems at all. Great!

I rested on my laurels for a few hours, and then a little before 5 pm, Jan and I headed up to Stomp’s Burger Joint in Bacliff to meet up with Jan and Dave Evans for dinner.

Jan and Dave Evans

They’ve been reading our blog for a while and when they saw we were in the area, they wanted to get together. Turns out we have a lot in common, not just RV’ing.

Jan worked for the US Post Office for many years, and at one time delivered mail to our subdivision, but not to our street.

And her husband Dave is an instructor at Texas A&M’s Fire School, and probably taught my son sometime along the way when he was a fireman in Texas City, TX.

We really had a fun time getting to know Jan and Dave better, and hopefully we’ll be able to catch up with them again soon.

On a final note, I’m now pretty certain that it was the Garmin GPS FM Traffic Receiver/ Power Cord that ran my battery down Christmas morning since I’ve not had another problem with the battery.

Live and learn.

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Thought for the Day:

No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.

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Tea Rooms and Toaster Ovens. . .

I was up about 9am this morning because Jan and I needed to head out about 10. She was meeting up with our granddaughter Piper to the spend the day together, and I had to drop a new laptop off at a clients.

I dropped Jan off at Piper’s about 10:30 and then headed over to my client’s. I had picked their new laptop before Christmas to get it configured with all the software they wanted on it. The problem started when I got there and they had a whole new list of software to install, and it had to be done today since they are flying to California tomorrow morning.

But the real problem was that almost all of this software needed to downloaded, and most of the files were really large. And their connection was really, really slow.

So 5 hours later I finally finished. But since I get paid by the hour, it was all good.

In the meantime Jan and Piper had headed out for their day together. Their first stop was the Texas Tea Room for lunch, our favorite tea room in this area for soup and sandwiches. Hopefully Jan and I will be able to eat there before we leave.

Their next stop was to do some shopping during the after-Christmas sales. Piper is a  sharp shopper and they picked up some great bargains along the way.

Next up was a movie. They’d decided to see the new Matt Damon movie, “We Bought A Zoo”. Based on a true story, although in real life it happened in England,  it tells of a family that bought and rehabilitated a small zoo. They both liked it and said it was ‘touching’.

By the time they were done with the movie I was finished also, so I met them back at Piper’s, and then Jan and I headed home with a stopover for dinner at Kelly’s Country Cookin’ in League City. Jan was hoping they would have Turkey and Dressing (cornbread, of course), but unfortunately they didn’t. They did, however, have the next best thing – Roasted Chicken Breast and Dressing.

She said it was really good, and being from Kelly’s, of course there were leftovers.

On another note, Jan is really enjoying the Christmas present I got her. A new Black & Decker Toaster/Convection Oven.

She had made a comment about how nice the one that Nick and Terry Russell bought recently, and she also likes the one our daughter Brandi has, so I surprised her with this one.

B&D Convection Oven

It’s all digital and big enough to cook a 12” pizza or toast 6 slices of bread at one time.

As far as my Christmas present, my new Garmin nuvi 1490LMP GPS, goes, so far I really like it. I want to play with it for a while longer before I give a review.

It looks like tomorrow is when I’m going to try to reinstall the washer back in its cubbyhole. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Thought for the Day:

What ISN’T in the news is often more important than what IS.

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A Glorious Day . . .

Today we never even left the rig.

We just did absolutely nothing all day.

It was glorious!

So to make up for the short post today, here’s a rerun of our trip to see a Space Shuttle launch in May of 2009.

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Now I’ve got the Complete Set…

Originally posted on May 11, 2009 by ourrvadventures

Well, it’s official.

I now have the complete set.

I got my first one on March 30, 1982 and it took me over 27 years to get the second one. But I finally did it.

I now have been at both a Space Shuttle launch and a Space Shuttle landing.

I worked on the Shuttle program at Johnson Space Center for ten years from 1978 thru 1987, but never was actually at a launch at the Cape.

In March 1982 I was part of the landing crew at the backup landing site, Northrop Strip, White Sands, New Mexico when the 3rd Shuttle mission, STS-3 landed there, the only time a Shuttle has landed somewhere other than Florida or California.

STS-3_landing

The Shuttle landed at White Sands because the landing strip at Edwards Air Force Base in California was covered with water due to recent heavy rains, and the landing strip at Cape Kennedy in Florida was not yet operational.

Coincidentally, before the landing, a movie called “Wrong is Right” was being filmed at White Sands. The White Sands area was standing in for sands of Saudi Arabia. And the movie crew was staying at the same Holiday Inn in Alamogordo, NM that we were.

It was a real kick to go down to the hotel bar every night after work and sit around drinking with Sean Connery, Katherine Ross, Robert Conrad, John Saxon, and Leslie Nielsen. And later I got to fix Katherine Ross’ hair dryer since she was staying in the hotel room next to mine. But that’s another story.

And now I have a Shuttle launch under my belt.

We’re presently parked in Homestead, FL, about 30 miles south of Miami. Friday we’ll be heading down for a few days in the Florida Keys. So we were glad that we were still close enough to try and see a launch.

We left our park in Homestead a little after 6am this morning and got to Titusville about 11:30am, a trip of about 250 miles. We also took some extra clothes with us in case the launch was delayed over the 3 day launch window and we had to stay at a motel. But we lucked out.

The launch went off as scheduled at 2:01:56pm and we had a great spot to view it from. And one that had a lot memories for Jan and I.

Jan and met in Titusville almost 42 (now almost 45) years ago where she lived, and I was working for the summer. We would go out to this fishing pier outside downtown Titusville and make out. We spent a lot of time there.

Make Out Pier

Unfortunately there is not a lot of the old pier left, but Jan and I are still going strong, and it made a great viewing area for the launch.

And we had a lot of company!

Launch Crowd 1

Launch Crowd 1

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Here are some pics of the launch. The first one is from NASA. The rest are mine.

Shuttle Launch

Shuttle Launch 2

Shuttle Launch 3

Into the Clouds

Shuttle Launch 3

Shuttle Launch 5

Shuttle Launch 6

Shuttle Launch 7

And about 30 seconds after the launch, the shock wave and the roar from the engines washed over us. It was fantastic.

Well, that was it. A real thrill for Jan and I, I tell you.

And tomorrow, if the weather holds, we plan an airboat ride thru the Everglades.

Stay tuned…

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Thought for the Day:

If an expert says it can’t be done, get another expert." – David Ben-Gurion

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Merry Christmas to All . . .

Merry Christmas 2011

Our morning started when we left the rig a little after 10am. Well, we left the rig, but not the park.  The battery in the truck was absolutely, completely stone-cold dead. Not a peep when I turned the key.

Luckily the toad is parked right next to the battery compartment in the rig, so it didn’t take too long to drag out the jumper cables. But since the battery was completely dead, it took a few minutes to get enough charge into it so the engine would turn over and start.

The battery’s only a couple of years old and I’ve had no indication of any problems with it. The only thing I’ve done different is last night I left the power cord of my new Garmin GPS plugged in.

For a normal power cord this wouldn’t make any difference, but this is not a normal power cord. If also contains an FM Traffic Receiver. This receiver picks up traffic data that can be displayed along your route to show you traffic conditions ahead, i.e. congestion, wrecks, detours, etc. I assume that as long as the cord is plugged in, the receiver is active.

I’ll know more tomorrow when I try to start the truck again.

Finally about 15 minutes later we were on our way up to Brady’s Landing to meet all the kids.

Brady's Landing 2011a

It’s really good to have the whole family together for Christmas.

Brady's Landing 2011

While we were eating Brandi showed us pictures of Landon with the new tricycle that Santa brought him this morning. He’s pretty happy with it.

Landon Tricycle 2011a

After finishing our great meal we all headed our separate ways to spend Christmas Day. Brandi, Lowell, and Landon headed out to Katy to spend the day with her BFF Shawna, and her family. The rest of us just headed home.

Everyone waited around to see if I would need a jumpstart, but no problems. I still think it was the Traffic Receiver, but I’ll see tomorrow.

On the way home we stopped by Brandi’s to pick up some laundry and let out Kitty, their 105 pound Black Lab. She was very happy to see us.

We got these pictures of Jan’s sister Debbie’s family. From left to right, that’s Debbie’s daughter Christina, daughter Tana, Tana’s daughter Gwen, daughter-in-law, Laura, her daughter Ella, her husband, Jason, and their other daughter, Avery Jane.

Debbie's Family Photo

Our Christmas afternoon consisted of a very nice nap and then a light dinner of potato skins, Jan’s Sausage Balls, and some of Chris’ Habanero Jelly spread over cream cheese, and used as a dip for crackers. For dessert we had a selection of Jan’s Christmas cookies, along with coffee made with the fresh beans and bean grinder that Chris and Linda gave us for Christmas.

All in all, a really great Christmas Day.

And Jan and I wish everyone out there a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Thought for the Day:

"God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever."

— Thomas Jefferson

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Christmas Eve in Texas . . .

We woke up this morning to more heavy rain, a continuation of the previous day’s downpour. I know they need the rain around here, but it’s really getting soggy here at the park.

Jan and I left the rig about 11:45 heading to Brandi’s to meet up for our trip up to Katy, TX for lunch at Smashburger, and then the 3pm Christmas Eve service at Brandi and Lowell’s church, Crosspoint Community Church.

It was pouring down all the way, but we made good time to the Smashburger on Eldridge. This was our first time there, although Brandi and Lowell have eaten there several times

We all pretty much agreed that we like Smashburger better than Five Guys, especially the Smashfries. The burgers are hand-formed and generous-sized. Even Jan’s well-done burger was moist and juicy, and the fries were something else.

Although they have regular plain fries, their Smashfries are really different. After frying, they’re lightly tossed in a rosemary, garlic, olive oil mixture. And they are delicious!

I also tried an order of their Veggie Frites. These are whole green beans and carrot strips, flash-fried for about 15 seconds and then seasoned and served with ranch dressing dip. Really, really good!

We got to the Crosspoint Church a little before 3pm and found seats in the very crowded chapel where we met up with Brandi’s BFF, Shawna’s family. Crosspoint is a Lutheran church, heavily steeped in music, both old and new.

The service opened with Silver Bells from Trans-Siberian Orchestra, then through Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Joy to the World, and many more, ending up with Silent Night and Jingle Bell Rock. Quite a repertoire.

Crosspoint Church

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One of the soloist was Brandi’s BFF, Shawna shown at the mic in this photo.

Crosspoint Shawna

After a really good Christmas service, we headed back to Clear Lake to meet up with Chris and Piper at King Food. Unfortunately, Chris’ wife Linda had to work, so she couldn’t be with us.

King Food on Christmas Eve has been White (now White/Morrison) family tradition for almost 30 years. In 2004 we even watched it become a white Christmas that night as it started snowing while we were there, giving us a couple of inches of white stuff.

After our usual great meal, we all headed over to Lowell and Brandi’s to open presents.

You should have seen Landon’s eyes light up when he saw his new horsey. He immediately jumped on it and quickly learned to squeeze the horse’s ears that make him gallop and whinnie.

Landon Christmas Horsey

Miss Piper’s eyes also lit up when she saw her new HP laptop. She’ll be going off to college soon and she needs something better for her classwork.

Piper's Laptop

Finally about 8pm we headed home after a long, but fun, day. Tomorrow it’s time for another family tradition. Every year for a long time we’ve always had either Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner at Brady’s Landing up on the Houston Ship Channel.

So we’re looking forward to another really good meal.

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Thought for the Day:

The penalty for not participating in politics is you will probably be governed by your inferiors.

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