Getting My McRib Fix . . .

About 1pm I headed out to check in on a client and straighten out a couple of problems they were having. Turned out to be “Operator Error” with a new employee.

Then it was back to Lowe’s to double-check a price I saw yesterday. I was confused because they had the price of an 8 foot 1” x 6” listed as $6.97 and a 10 foot piece of 1 x 6 was $5.97.


Turns out that the price difference is due to the fact that the 10 foot pieces are slow sellers, so they’re priced cheaper. Great for me.

Then it was off to the bank to make a deposit. I keep meaning to stop off and get a replacement debit card, but never seem to remember it until I’ve left the bank. My old one is getting kind of flakey and some machines won’t read it. Maybe next time.

Next I went across the parking lot to the Kroger’s to pick up a few things, and while I was there I decided to get a coffee at the Starbuck’s located in the store. And that was a big mistake.

I go to Starbuck’s regularly, but in all those years I’ve never actually had their coffee. Not once. Actually I normally get a latte of some sort, usually a Cinnamon Dolce Latte. But this time I decided to have a coffee.

You ever go into a diner about 4 in the afternoon and get a coffee that tastes like it was brewed up at lunch and then sat there on the hotplate cooking down to a sludge with the flavor and consistency of burnt crankcase oil.

Unfortunately this wasn’t that good.

I can only assume that this was an anomaly, because otherwise I’m going to start selling the coffee I make and run them out of business.

Getting back home about 4pm, Jan and I headed back out to a nearby McDonald’s so I could get my McRib fix, before they disappear again.

As far as McRib trivia, the sandwich was developed in the early 80’s as a Chicken McNugget replacement. McNuggets were so popular that McDonald’s ran into a chicken shortage for several years. They just couldn’t buy enough to keep all their franchisees supplied. So the McRib was offered to take up some of the slack.

I’ve also heard that McDonald’s waits to bring the McRib back each time for when pork prices are at their lowest, at least that’s the way it’s worked since 2005. Then when prices rise too much due to the demand, they discontinue it for the year.

Hmmm! McRib!

On another note, I put out Jan’s birdfeeder the other day and it didn’t take long for the birds to find it. But this year the feeder has some new visitors.

Birdfeeder Ducks 1


Lots and lots of ducks.

Birdfeeder Ducks 2

Knowing the way ducks eat, it’s going to be fun? to try and keep them all fed.

Thought for the Day:

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed – and hence clamorous to be led to safety – by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." — H. L. Mencken


My nose was running and my head was sweating . . .

After our usual morning routine, Jan and I decided to have lunch today at King Food, our favorite local Chinese place, and they really did it up right today.

We always order the Chicken in Hot Garlic Sauce with Jalapenos, and get it XXXXX spicy. And the cook was on his best game today. Readers know how much Jan and I like spicy food, and me more than Jan.

And when a dish is really spicy, my nose starts running and the top of my bald head starts sweating. And my head was sweating so much today I would swear I was back on the gate when it was 116 degrees.

After toweling off, we headed off to a client’s so I could drop off my monthly bill and double check that they had received the online orders that I had faxed over.

Then it was on to Lowe’s to check out their lumber prices for my upcoming trim project. And it looks like I’ll be getting it here as they have a better quality of lumber at a cheaper price. You can’ t beat that.

Our next stop was Wal-Mart to get some Wal-Mart stuff, and then next door to Sam’s Club to pick up Jan’s prescriptions. Ended up having to wait for about 20 minutes because they had trouble getting one of them transferred up from the Wal-Mart in Pleasanton, TX that was last filled while we were on the gate.

Then after a stop by Brandi’s to pick up our mail, we headed home for the day.

Yesterday I listed the network shows we watch, so Jan said I should also list the non-networks. So here goes.

Shows we both watch:



Warehouse 13

Dr. Who


Rizzoli & Isles

And these are shows that just Jan watches.

Sister Wives

Pioneer Woman

The Fabulous Beekman Boys

Welcome To Sweetie Pie’s

Trisha’s Southern Kitchen


Rachel Ray

Paula Deen

Not My Mama’s Meals

Home for Dinner with Jamie Deen

Thought for the Day:

You don’t notice it’s a police state until the police come for you.


Unforgettable . . .

After the usual coffee and spending the morning goofing off, I spent the afternoon fighting Homegroups, Access Controls, and Permissions.

Why does Microsoft make it so %$#$ hard to allow one computer to talk to another? All I wanted to do was let one machine access the QuickBooks data file on another one.

I spent about 3 hours wrestling Homegroup settings, Access Control settings, and Permission settings. rebooting, resetting, and then trying it all again.

But finally I got it working, and the client was happy, and I get paid by the hour so I’m happy. Apparently they’d already had two other people try to get it working with no success. It’s always nice to have a client tell you, “We sure are glad you’re back in town.”

By then it was about 4pm, so after dropping off some pants to be hemmed, I headed back to the rig to pick up Jan for supper.

We ended up at the Chili’s up in Kemah (or as Nick spells it, “Kema”). I tried their new Spicy Chicken and Sausage Soup, and it was really spicy and really good. Glad I’ve got a replacement for my previous favorite, Chicken and Green Chili, that they’ve discontinued. The waitress said I was the third person this weekend to complain about them dropping it.

Along with the soup, I had my usual Caribbean Salad with Chicken, while Jan had her usual Margarita Chicken. Do you sense a pattern here?


Finishing up, I was happy to see that only one of the TV shows we watch has been cancelled, and that was 666 Park Avenue. I think the problem was that it started slow, building up the suspense before things really started happening, and then it really got good. But by then it was too late.

They only did 13 shows, so I’m sure we’ll be left hanging like so many times before, when other shows have been cancelled.

I remember reading a while back that if they cancelled shows in the 70’s like they do today, shows like MASH and All in the Family would have been cancelled before they became successful. Both didn’t become popular until they went into summer reruns and people found them.

FWIW these are the network shows we watch pretty regularly. I’m sure I probably missed a few, but this is most of them.

What do you watch?


The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Arrow (CW)

Elementary (CBS)

Nashville (ABC)

The Neighbors (ABC)

Malibu Country (ABC)

Fringe (Fox)

2 Broke Girls (CBS)

The Amazing Race (CBS)

Bones (Fox)

Castle (ABC)


Grimm (NBC)

How I Met Your Mother (CBS)

Last Man Standing (ABC)

The Mentalist (CBS)

The Middle (ABC)

Mike & Molly (CBS)

Modern Family (ABC)


Once Upon a Time (ABC)

Person of Interest (CBS)

Suburgatory (ABC)

Two and a Half Men (CBS)

Body of Proof (ABC)

I was glad to see that another show I liked “Unforgettable”, that got cancelled, is coming back after the first of the year.


Thought for the Day:

I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. – Robert Heinlein


Liquipel . . .

or Second Verse same as the First.

So yes, today was pretty much like yesterday. Goofing off in the morning, and then clients and errands in the afternoon.

My first visit was to another long term client who needs a couple of new computers and a laptop, and wants them installed, billed, and paid for, before the end of year. Tax Stuff.

Then it was on to another client to take a look at some network problems he’s having. Since he didn’t tell me what his problem was to start with, I’ll have to come back later with my test equipment. Looks like he’s getting some noise or interference on his lines that I’ll have to track down.

My next stop was at Home Depot to get prices on some 1×6 boards for my replacement trim project on our house. Looks like I’ll need about twelve 12 foot planks.

Then it was off to Brandi and Lowell’s to pick up the Thanksgiving leftovers that I forgot yesterday. Took some more time to look over the trim job on the house. Now all I need is to get the paint that I’ll need

Before heading home, my last stop was at Kroger’s to pick up my winning Powerball ticket. It’s now up over $500 million and may be higher by the time of the drawing tonight.

Getting home, Jan and I headed out for supper at Monterey’s Little Mexico, another of our favorite local places. And yes, that does make two nights in a row I’ve had Chicken Tortilla Soup for dinner. So what?

Lastly, on the tech front, I’ve come across something for those of you who keep dropping your cellphones in the toilet.

And you know who you are.

It’s called Liquipel, and for about $60 they will completely waterproof your phone. Your phone is placed in a vacuum chamber and a nano-coating is deposited in vapor form on your phone. They do iPads too.

The only problem I see is that you’re without your phone for a week or so.

Check it out.


Thought for the Day:

“We lost our corkscrew in the wilds of Borneo and were forced to live on food and water for many days” – W.C. Fields


Back to the Old Grind . . .

Kind of.

I realize some people might not consider living and traveling fulltime in an RV the “Old Grind”, but sometimes it seems we never have as much free time as we did when we worked fulltime.

I guess we’ve just traded one kind of fulltime for another. But we have a lot more fun.

We did get to sleep in this morning at least, the first time in a week or so. Although we were on vacation, so to speak, last week in Marble Falls, no one slept late. Landon wakes up about 6am and it’s pretty hard to sleep after that.

I did get up about 10 and then spent the rest of the morning drinking coffee and working on some client computer stuff.

Galveston Bay 77-2

But it’s a lot easier working when this is the view out the front of the coach.

Finally about 1:30 I headed out on some errands and a client visit. My first stop was the bank to make a deposit, and then it was on to the client’s office to take a look at that bad computer.

It was an older one and it looks like the power supply died, since it wouldn’t power up at all. This computer was one of several office computers that had been replaced a while back. But the client was still using this one  because it had Windows XP on it, and he had some old office software that wouldn’t run on anything after XP.

He said he still had a couple of others in the back, so I told him to bring one up. My first plan was to swap the power supply module out, but then it occurred to me that it would be quicker and simpler to just swap out the hard drive instead, and that’s what I did. So my client was back up and running in about 10 minutes.

My next stop was Brandi and Lowell’s to pick up the mail that came in while we were in Marble Falls, and then it was on to a nearby Kroger’s to fill up the toad with gas.

What in the world has happened with gas prices the last couple of days? Last Sunday when we got back in Houston I filled up with diesel for $3.53 a gallon. Today it’s $3.69 at the same station. And this past Tuesday I filled up the truck for $2.98, today it’s $3.09.

It looks like the prices are going up as the stations get fuel deliveries because I found a few stations still selling at $2.99, one of them being the Kroger’s here. But the Kroger’s about 5 miles away is already up to $3.09.

And it was good to find out that my magic Kroger’s Rewards Card still works. Actually it’s a Fred Meyer’s card we got in Alaska in 2008, but Kroger’s owns Fred Meyer’s so it works here too.

The magic thing about it is that it ALWAYS gives the $ .10 a gallon discount. Normally you have to purchased $100 of groceries to get the one-time discount, until you buy another $100 worth.

But I discovered when I got back from Alaska that with this card I get the $.10 every single time. Like I said, it’s magic.

I got home about 4:30, picked up Jan, and we headed out to La Brisa, a really good Mexican restaurant right up the road, for our usual great meal.

Coming home I got a call from another client, wanting to know if I was back in town, and could I come by tomorrow afternoon.

Like I said, back to the Old Grind.


Thought for the Day:

"Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority." – Thomas Huxley (1825-1895)


Back home again . . .

We left our Lake House Thanksgiving retreat about 8:30, but before we left Marble Falls we wanted to have breakfast at the Blue Bonnet Café.

First opened in 1929, it’s served the likes of President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, Ethan Hawke, James Lovell, Lyle Lovett, Texas Governor Rick Perry and First Lady Anita Perry, Willie Nelson, Darrell Royal, Roger Staubach, and Chuck Woolery.

August company indeed.

We really lucked out getting there when we did, since we got seated immediately. By the time we left, the line was out the door.

Besides their delicious food, especially breakfast, they’re also well-known for their pies.

Blue Bonnet Cafe Pie

So yes, there’s about 9 inches of meringue on that pie.

After saying our goodbyes with Lowell and Brandi, and getting our Nana and Papa hugs from Landon, we all headed back home.

Our first stop was at our favorite Buc-ee’s on I-10 at Luling. Landon had enjoyed playing with some marbles in a game left at the lake house, so Jan got him a set while we were there.

After a second stop at the Flying J in Brookshire, we got back to the rig about 3pm and found that Laura Lee had done a great job taking care of Mister and Emma.

Tomorrow it’s back to the grind with clients and chores.


Thought for the Day:

"Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life." — Herbert Henry Asquith


Brisket, Ribs, and Cobbler, Oh My!

Today, being our last day here in Marble Falls, started off in a relaxing way, but picked up as the day progressed.

It began with us out on the dock watching Lowell, Brandi, and Landon tooling around the lake in the paddleboat, while drinking our Starbuck’s coffee that Lowell had picked up earlier. I told Lowell we were getting spoiled and now expected him to deliver coffee to us every morning at the rig. He said “No”.


Lake Paddleboat 1o

Lake Paddleboat 2

Lake Paddleboat 3

After a nice, slow morning, we got ready to head down south about 60 miles to have ‘lupper/linner’ at one of our all-time favorite BBQ places, The Salt Lick BBQ. In fact we all like it so much, Brandi and Lowell had their wedding reception dinner there in 2010.

Lowell, Brandi, and Landon were driving straight there, but Jan and I left earlier because we were making a detour a little further south to pick our friend Gina. Gina lives on a 600 acre cattle ranch near Fischer, and we always get together when we’re in the area.

Salt Lick BBQ 1

We got there about 1:45 and found the usual large crowd waiting for a table. But it was even more busy when we were here last February.

Brandi and Lowell had beaten us there by a few minutes and already had us on the list, but even then they said it would be a 30-45 minute wait.

Salt Lick BBQ 2

Our wait turned out to be about 40 minutes so I guess they split the difference. But this place is worth pretty much any amount of wait.

This is one of the 3 pits they have in operation, cooking up Beef Brisket, Pork Ribs, Sausage, and Turkey. That is a lot of good meat there.

Salt Lick BBQ Pit2

They have your BBQ sandwiches and plates, but with a two meat combo plate with all the fixin’s being priced at $15.95, the best deal is The Family Style Dinner.

For $19.95 per person (Landon was free), they bring out platters of Brisket, Ribs, and Sausage, along with Beans, Potato Salad, Cole Slaw, and Bread, and then just keep it coming until you say “No Mas, No Mas”, or just explode, whichever comes first. None of us has ever exploded, but it’s been close.

And strange as it may seem, no matter how full we are at this point, we always seem to have room for their Homemade Blackberry Cobbler, Peach Cobbler, or Pecan Pie. We usually get a Cobbler Combo, which is half Blackberry and half Peach. And of course it’s got to be a la mode with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla.

By the time we finished up, dropped Gina off, and got back to the lake house, it was after dark.

A long day, but well worth it.

Tomorrow we’ll head back to Houston about 9am, but first we’ll stop at the famous Blue Bonnet Café on our way out of town.


Thought for the Day:

"I’m just glad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling on his face and not Gary Cooper." — Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in "Gone With The Wind"


Turkey Day + 1 . . .

This morning started out on the deck with Starbuck’s coffee, compliments of Lowell’s early morning run, though really it was Lowell, Brandi, and Landon who went. Jan and I were still asleep.

Actually even Landon slept in, since he didn’t wake up until about 6:45am.

We’d all decided that that today was going to be a do-nothing day, and it pretty much was. A lot of reading, resting, napping, and enjoying the view on the deck went on.

About noon Jan and Brandi put out the leftovers and we made another pass on all that delicious food, but it seems like we still haven’t made a big dent in it yet.

And after turkey it was nap time again.

About 3pm we all headed over to the local Wal-Mart to pick up some things. We were wondering how the Black Friday crowds would be, but although it may have been busy by small-town Marble Falls standards, for us it just a not-so-busy Saturday in Houston, so we were in and out relatively quickly, at least for us. But we were still there over an hour.

By this time we were all starting to get hungry, and by hungry, I mean we wanted some Mexican food. And the best place for that is The Maxican. And yes, that’s the way it’s spelled. We’ve been eating here for a number of years, pretty much every time we’ve come up here, though usually it’s closer to Christmas.

Jan had the Nachos, and I had the Marsha Special, which is a Poblano Pepper stuffed with Chicken and Cheese, and then covered with a Chipotle Cream Sauce. Really good.

Coming home we stopped off at Walgreen’s so I could get some cash from their ATM. They had a Chase Bank ATM so I wouldn’t have to pay a fee. And since we’re going to eat at Salt Lick BBQ tomorrow afternoon, and they don’t take credit cards, I’m going to need some of the folding stuff.

Tomorrow will be our last full day here, and we’ve enjoyed it so much, it’s going to be hard to leave Sunday morning. We all agree that we want to come back here again.


Thought for the Day:

If you’re going to tell people the truth, be funny or they’ll kill you. — Billy Wilder


Happy Thanksgiving . . .


This morning started real early for some of us. Landon gets up very early, 6am this morning, so no one stays asleep long. Lowell went down to the local Starbucks and brought us back coffee so that helped some.

And yes, Starbucks was open from 5:30 to 9 this morning, and Lowell said they were pretty busy, too.

Jan and Brandi, with Lowell and I helping, got the green bean and broccoli casseroles started, with Jan also working on the cornbread dressing.

We sat down about 1pm for a Thanksgiving meal of Honeybaked Ham and Turkey, Cornbread Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Broccoli-Cheese Casserole, Heavenly Hash, and Rolls.

Thanksgiving at the Lake

Then for dessert, we had the Pumpkin and Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pies we picked up from Brother’s Bakery and Café yesterday on our way into town. We pretty much all stuffed ourselves silly, of course, but boy was it good.

Then after lunch we all spent a good bit of time sitting on the dock just enjoying the sun and the nice breeze. And of course Landon’s antics as he ran around.

Landon at the Lake 1

Landon at the Lake 2

Landon at the Lake 3

About 6:30 we all headed into Marble Falls to see the Christmas Walkway of Lights they have set up along the banks of the Colorado River.

The last time Landon was here he was only about 4 months old so it was all new to him. And he really enjoyed it, pointing at everything and naming them.

Marble Falls Lights 1

Marble Falls Lights 3

Marble Falls Lights 4

Marble Falls Lights 5

Marble Falls Lights 6


Landon had so much fun tonight we may have to take him back again.


Thought for the Day:

"Only two things are necessary to keep one’s wife happy. One is to let her think she is having her own way, and the other is to let her have it." – President Lyndon Johnson


They Want Us Back . . .

After having a breakfast of the Buc-ee’s Sausage and Cheese Kolaches we picked up when we got gas last night, we headed out for Marble Falls about 8:45am.  We made a brief stop at Brandi’s to pick up the cooler with the perishables, since we had more room in our truck, and then we were back on the road.

Our first stop was in Brookshire about 80 miles down the route at the Flying J, with the second one at the Buc-ee’s at the Luling exit on I-10. These two stops are the same ones we’ve been stopping at for years, even in the RV.

About 10:30 I got a call on my cellphone that I didn’t recognize. It turned out to be from one of the supervisors with Marathon Oil that we had worked with this past summer. He wanted us to take over a gate for them, and sounded really disappointed that we weren’t gate guarding right now. Guess this bodes well for us getting another gate next year.

This stop was also where we left the Interstate and headed north on US-183. A little later we got on the new TX 130 Toll Road that took us on into the outskirts of Austin. The thing that really makes this Toll Road worth it is the fact that the speed limit is 85 mph. Nice!

Then we hooked up with SR-71 and headed west. This is where we ran into our first traffic problem. SR-71 starts out as a limited access 4 lane divided highway but deteriorates into a 2 lane road with a stoplight. This means that the traffic starts to back up at the light, such that it took us 20 minutes to go just a little over two miles.

But finally we were out in the country for the last 30 miles. We got into Marble Falls about 2:30 and first stop was Brother’s Bakery and Café. Brandi had called ahead to reserve a couple of their pies for our Thanksgiving, a pumpkin and a chocolate bourbon pecan. We know they’ll be delicious because Brother’s is the bakery that did Brandi’s wedding cake a couple of years ago, and it was great.

Then it was only about 15 minutes to our rental lake house. As advertised, it’s right on the water and really nice.


Jan and I got unloaded and then took it easy for an hour or so until Lowell, Brandi, and Landon showed up.

Since everyone was getting hungry, we all headed right back down the road to a place we saw on the way in, the Farm House Restaurant. And it turned out to be a really good idea.

The Farm House Restaurant has been famous in the Texas Hill Country for more than 30 years, and has hosted customers such as Willie Nelson, Tammy Wynette, and Tommy Lee Jones. We all had Chicken Fried ‘Something’. Lowell had steak and the rest of us had chicken. And we all agreed it is was some of the best Chicken Fried ‘Something’ we’d ever had.

Getting back to the house Landon played for a while before it was bath time. And since the two bathrooms here have only showers, Landon got his bath in the kitchen sink. He was a little unsure at first, but quickly decided he liked it.

Landon with Fig Leaf

I had to add the fig leaf to the photo to avoid any legal problems.

Watching Landon running around the house while Lowell and Brandi were trying to get him dressed and down for the night, really brought back memories for Jan and I.

When Brandi came back out of the bedroom, hot on Landon’s heels as he ran squealing down the hall, I told her that watching all this brought a phrase to mind. When she ask “What phrase?”, I said,

“Payback’s a Bitch!”

For some reason she didn’t think it was as funny as Jan and I did.


Thought for the Day:

Procrastination is (I’ll finish this later)