No Blog Today . . .

I was out with clients all day, out for dinner with friends this evening, and then back out with clients until about 11pm.

I’ll catch up tomorrow.

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Cartoons and Artwork . . .

We didn’t do much today. Just hunkered down and hoped we wouldn’t blow away.

Due to the cold front coming through, yesterday’s high was 74, today’s was 58, we had high winds most of the day. At one point, the Weather Channel said the wind was blowing at 25 mph, with gusts to 40. Talk about Rock N Roll. And it’s supposed to go down to the mid-30’s tonight.

Our friend Gina posted this cartoon on Facebook that tells the story about Weather in Texas.

Weather in Texas

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Worked on a few projects, mostly today. Printed out 1200 address labels for a client, and decided that I want to redo the tie-downs for the strings at the bottom of the Day/Night Shades. This is because this is where at least two of my shade’s strings were broken. It looks like that over time the strings are rubbed in two.

But the good news is that it looks like I may not have to completely restring the last two shades because the strings just broke at the tie-downs. I’ll fool with it tomorrow.

The new Denso 26” wiper blades I ordered Monday from Amazon came in at Brandi’s today, so I’ll pick them up tomorrow and get them installed. I’ll probably use Rain-X wipers on the toad again. Those, along with using Rain-X Wiper Fluid, seem to do a good job of keeping the windshield clean and non-squeaky.

My very talented great-niece Stahlie posted some of her recent artwork today.

Stahlie's Art

Although it looks like it might be done in oils, it’s actually done on the computer using Autodesk Sketchbook.

A commenter ask if it was done in watercolors. Stahlie said “No, she doesn’t do watercolors because they don’t have an “Undo” button.”

I like the way she thinks.

For dinner we finished off the homemade Chicken Vegetable Soup from a couple of days ago. Still very good.

Tomorrow night we’re getting together with Lillis and Dick Palmer again for dinner at King Food.

Then on Friday night, it’s probably our last visit to the Alvin Opry.

Busy, busy, busy!

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Thought for the Day:

Some people are like Slinkies. Good for nothing, but they do make you smile when you push them down the stairs.

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Blindsided . . .

I finally got a chance to call Fan-tastic Vent and they pointed me in the direction of the wiring going to the reversing switch, which makes sense since I was using the reversing switch when the fan motor quit.

So I took out the screws and dropped the bottom of the fan so I could get to the switch contacts. My first thought was to unplug and replug the wires on the switch several times to clean the contacts. After this I tried the fan once more and, it now worked. Another thing fixed.

One down, a bunch still to go.

Jan spent the morning and afternoon catching up on “Downton Abbey”, the PBS series about the lives of the residents and the staff of Downton Abbey, a large manor house in England. Kind of an updated “Upstairs, Downstairs”. The story starts in April 1912 with the sinking of the Titanic, and the loss of the family heir.

After hearing a lot about the show Jan starting watching the other day. PBS has already shown the first 4 episodes of this, the third season. But we found out that PBS is streaming the past episodes on their website, so she spent part of yesterday and today catching up on those 4 episodes. Then, looking on Amazon to see about buying the first two season on DVD, we were happy to discover that for Amazon Prime members, we can stream all the episodes of the first two seasons for FREE. And even better, it’s available in HD.

So Jan watched episode 1 of season 1 this afternoon and will continue watching them untill she’s caught up.

For my part this afternoon, I finally got a chance to rehang my restrung day/shade that I had finished last week.

Here’s what it looked like after I removed the valance.

Blind Reinstall 1

I laid the valance down on the bed and then screwed the shade to it. And here’s what it looked like with the valance and shade reinstalled.

Blind Reinstall 2

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I did have to fiddle with the string tension a bit where it ties off at the bottom of the valance. Too tight and the added effort to lower the shade may wear and break the strings. Too loose and the shade may not stay up.

And here’s how it look after I was done.

Blind Reinstall 3

One down, 2 to go.

Later, Jan and I headed out about 5:15 for errands and dinner. Our first stop was at the Dickinson Police Department to get Jan’s fingerprint cards redone. Hopefully this set will take, and she’ll be ready to go if we gate guard again later this year.

Then heading up to the Baybrook Mall area, we made a stop at Charming Charlie, a place that sells beautiful costume jewelry on the cheap. Most bracelets are $10, with some a little more, but all very nice quality.

Jan’s first visit to Charming Charlie was when we were up at The Woodlands with Brandi and Lowell this past Saturday, but it didn’t end well.

She bought a couple of bracelets, including a red beaded one she really liked. However the next morning when she was cutting the price tags off, she accidently cut the elastic cord that the large beads were strung on, and suddenly, no bracelet. Just a lot of beads bouncing around the rig.

So tonight she wanted to get a replacement, and wouldn’t you know it, she found another one she liked too, and just had to have.

Funny how that worked out, isn’t it.

We met Chris, Linda, and Piper at Chili’s about 6:45pm for dinner, and had our usual great time, and a good meal.

It was really windy on the way home, and we got back just ahead of the rain. There’s a cold front coming through and it’s supposed to be down the low 50’s tonight. Much better than the recent nightime temps of high 60’s, low 70’s.

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Thought for the Day:

Sometimes freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is about all that we ask for.

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As Roseanne Roseannadanna says . . .

“It’s always something.”

Just about the time I’m getting a handle on my rig repairs, the fan motor in our bathroom Fan-tastic Vent fan quit. The cover will still open and close, but the fan will not run in either direction.

It died when I wanted to change the fan’s rotation from OUT to IN. I turned the fan off using the rotary speed switch and then changed the Direction switch from OUT to IN. When I turned the fan back on, it didn’t start.

So I turned it back to OUT and tried again – still nothing. No matter what I tried after that, nothing got the fan running again. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to give a Fan-tastic a call today.

Next up, I’m stepping in it once again . . .

Recently the Government announced that women were going to be allowed in front line combat units, including Special Operations Groups, i.e. Delta Force, Navy Seals, etc.

Personally I think this is a really, really bad idea, but here’s someone a little closer to the situation who also doesn’t think that women in front line units is a good idea. Be sure and check this out.

I have a bad feeling about this.

Next it was time to squirm under the rig (and I do mean squirm) and replace the rubber bracket on the air bag proportioning valve.

The broken bracket looked like this.

Airbag Rod End

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After loosening the clamp I pulled the old piece off and slid the new bracket on. And after tightening the clamp, it looked like this.

Airbag Rod Bracket 2

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Scrunching over a bit, I loosen the bolt holding the other piece of the broken bracket, and reattached the new one connected to the rod.

Airbag Rod Bracket Closeup

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It ended up looking like this on the lower end,

Airbag Rod Bracket 3

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and this where it attaches to the valve.

Airbag Rod Bracket 4

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Job done. I think it took me longer to get under the rig and back out than it did to do the actual repair.

I’ll probably wait until tomorrow to crank up the engine and confirm the rig comes up on the air bags.

Two tools I got for Christmas really helped with changing out the bolt holding the rubber bracket. There was not a lot of room to maneuver up there, even to get a socket/ratchet combo in position.

But these Channelock Ratcheting Wrenches made it easy-pezy.

Channelock Wrenches

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To hold the other nut without rounding off the edges, these Kobalt Magnum Grip Pliers really fit the bill. Wide open or completely closed, the jaws always stay parallel. Nice.

Kobalt Pliers

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After cleaning up, I headed out for a few errands, with my first stop being the Dickinson Police Station to see about getting Jan’s fingerprint card redone.

After she had it done the first time last April at the Sheriff’s Office in Floresville, TX for her gate guarding Security Guard’s License, the state waited for almost 4 months to tell her the fingerprint card needed to be redone.

So I checked with the Dickinson Police and they said she could get it done there. Another thing on the schedule for later this week.

Next up was a stop at Taylor Automotive on Hwy 3 in Dickinson to follow up with them about getting the rear wheel seal replaced on our RV.

When I was under the RV last week looking at the air bag problem, I saw the passenger’s rear wheel had some oil leakage, so I wanted to get it fixed before we hit the road in 3 weeks.

Leaky Wheel Seal

I talked to them last week about having it done this week, but in one of those ‘doh!’ moments that wives are known to give their husbands on a regular basis, Jan suggested that rather then packing up and taking the rig in, and then coming back to the park, and then leaving in 3 weeks, we should just get it done on the 18th as we’re leaving here.

Sounds good to me.

So after confirming that it was OK if I went ahead and got the seal ahead of time, I told them we’d see them on the 18th of February.

Rear Wheel Seal

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Last it was a quick stop at Kroger’s to pick up some fresh vegetables for tonight’s Homemade Chicken Vegetable Soup. After checking out the selection I ended up with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and snow peas to go with some of the chicken breasts we poached last week.

Put it all in the Crock-Pot along with some Chicken Stock and a few hours later, soup’s on.

Hmmm, hmmm, good.

Getting home I went on the RVChassisParts website and ordered the wheel seal from them for $55, not a bad price.

While I was online ordering things I also ordered the 26” Denso wiper blades for the rig. Fleetwood sells them for $40 each, but Amazon has them for $18, so Amazon it was.

I never got to the Day/Night Shade reinstallation today. Maybe tomorrow. Also never got a chance to call Fan-tastic Vent. Again, tomorrow.

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Thought for the Day:

“You can ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.” – Ayn Rand

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Home is where Landon is . . .

Today was another travel day, but it started with Jan and I meeting Lowell, Brandi, and Landon at Pappasito’s Cantina up in Webster at 11am.

Pappasitos

Jan always has the Shrimp Enchiladas, and didn’t break with tradition this time either. Brandi and Lowell split an order of Beef Fajitas, while I had their delicious (and large) Grilled Chicken Taco Salad.

Pappasito's Grilled Chicken Taco Salad

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Landon had his favorite Mac N Cheese, but he also had a lot of grilled onions that came with Brandi and Lowell’s fajitas.

He loves to put the end of the onion in his mouth and then suck it in like a strand of spaghetti.

Landon eating onions

Landon eating onions 2

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After a really good lunch, we piled back into Brandi’s car and made another 50 mile trip, just like yesterday. But today we ended up west of Houston, between Katy and Fulshear to check out the area where Brandi and Lowell are considering buying a house.

The area they’re looking at is called Churchill Farms, and is located off of FM-1493 between I-10 and the Westpark Tollway/FM-1093.

This one, the Capri, is one of the two models that they’re looking at.

New House 1

One thing neat about this model is that as you see when you walk in, it’s a two story model that doesn’t really look like one. In addition, they plan on getting the optional 1 car garage added to the left side of the house. The model above has an office behind the large glass windows in the front, where the two car garage would normally be.

New House - Entryway

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Just as you come in the door is what will be Lowell’s office, although it could be a 5th bedroom if you wanted.

New House - Office

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A dogleg to the left leads you into the dining room, kitchen, living room area.

All we could say was “WOW”!

New Home - Dining Rm Kitchen Living Rm

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Down by the windows and to the right is the master bedroom.

New House - Master Bedroom

The closet on the left here is just a small, secondary one. The master closet is through the bathroom and it’s enormous.

The master bath is very large, although I couldn’t get a good angle to show it.

New House - Master Bath

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This is one of the two “Jack and Jill” bedrooms, which are bedrooms, usually for children, separated by a common area, sometimes a bathroom, or, as in this case, a play area.

This one was decorated for a girl, and when we told Landon this was going to be his room, he looked around for a few seconds, and then ran out, yelling “No, no, no”.

New House - Jill Bedroom

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He then ran through the play area and into this room, and said “This room Mommy, this one.”

New House - Landon Bedroom

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And here’s the playroom in between the two bedrooms.

New House - Playroom

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And here’s the bathroom for the two kid’s bedrooms.

New House - Landon Bathroom

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This is the patio and the backyard. Part of what you see here belongs to the model next door.

New House - Backyard

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Going up the stairs,

New House - Stairs

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you find the the living area. It could also be configured as a media area.

New House - Upstairs Living Area

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And here’s the upstairs bedroom,

New House - Upstairs Bedroom

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and the attached bathroom.

New House - Upstairs Bathroom

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One thing that was interesting was a hole cut into the wall separating the upstairs living space from the attic area, and then glassed in.

This lets you see the heavy foam insulation sprayed between the rafters, and also between the studs in the outside walls.

New House - Attic

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To show how efficient this insulation is in keeping the attic cool,

Attic Chocolate Bunny2

note the chocolate bunny rabbit sitting on the rafters. Apparently it never gets hot enough in the attic to melt the bunny.

Attic Chocolate Bunny3

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So this model that they’re looking at ends up being either a 4/3/3 with the office, or a 5/3/3 without.

All in all, a very nice future home.

Ideally they would like to be in the house by Christmas, but it’s much more likely to be the first quarter of 2014.

And of course, we still haven’t been able to agree on the location of our concrete RV parking pad, complete with full hookups. We’ll have to discuss it further.

Getting back to the rig about 4:30, we saw this large cabin cruiser/small yacht sailing into Dickinson Bayou for Galveston Bay. Nice!

And, No, Nick, you can’t have a boat.

Yacht on the Bayou

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Tomorrow I’m going to try to get the day/night shade I restrung last week finally installed, and since the parts came in for my air bag proportioning valve repair, I going to try and get that done also. But that one kind of depends on whether we get rain or not.

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Thought for the Day:

“When Injustice becomes law, Resistance becomes duty.” Thomas Jefferson

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Jasper’s & More . . .

After a nice, quiet morning with our coffee, a little before 3 Jan and I headed up to Brandi and Lowell’s to meet up for a 50 mile drive up to the Woodlands area to have dinner at one of Lowell’s favorite places, Jasper’s – The Woodlands.

Jaspers

Jasper’s is the brainchild of Kent Rathburn, an award-winning chef, with 4 other highly-regarded restaurants in Texas. He trained in Paris at the famous Le Cordon Bleu Institute. But even more important to our tastes, in 2008 he beat out famed chef Bobby Flay to take the Iron Chef America crown.

We started off with a really delicious Shiner Bock Beer Cheese Soup, maybe the best soup I’ve ever eaten.

And yes, that’s popcorn in the soup, and it adds a nice crunchy texture to the dish. A novel touch.

Jaspers - Shiner Bock Beer Cheese Soup

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For our entrées Brandi and I had their award-winning Ribs, Jan had the Crab Cakes, and Lowell had the Prime Rib. And we all agreed how good it was

Jaspers - Ribs

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For a light dessert, we tried out their “mini’s”, small, about the size of a shot glass, but just the right amount.

Jan and I split the Caramel Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream. Brandi also had the Bread Pudding, while Lowell had the Butterfinger Creme Brulee.

The perfect end to a fantastic meal.

After dinner we had planned to take in a nearby movie, but realized that we were so full that we’d probably all just fall asleep.

So instead we just walked around the Market Street area and took in the many high-end shops and stores. Jan and Brandi made a stop at the Baby Gap store for some new jammies.

Market Square - Woodlands

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Jan’s sister, Debbie, sent over these shots of her granddaughters (our great-nieces). Below is Ella, new addition, Annisten, and Avery Jane. Really cute kids.

Avery Jan & Ella & Annisten

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And this little beauty is Gwen.

Gwen 2

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Thought for the Day:

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

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The Original Gun Grabbers are back . . .

and it worked this time about as well as the first time.

The first unofficial battles of the Revolutionary War, The Battles of Lexington & Concord, took place on April 19, 1775 because the British Government wanted to seize our guns, gun powder and other military supplies.

But due to good intelligence on the British plans, the colonials were ready, dispersing the supplies among many towns. And the rides of Paul Revere and William Dawes alerted the countryside so that the colonial militias were ready and waiting. Ironically some of this excellent intelligence is speculated to have come from Margaret Gage, the New Jersey-born wife of General Gage, the military governor of Massachusetts, and commander-in-chief of the troops in the Boston area. I guess you can take the girl out of New Jersey, but you can’t take New Jersey out of the girl.

The series of running skirmishes that made up the battles left the colonials the decisive victors with 49 killed and 39 wounded against British losses of 73 killed and 174 wounded. It also punctured the vaunted superiority of the British Army, and set up the perception that the colonials had a chance to win their independence.

But this time the gun-grabbers came in the form of a British company, Reed Exhibitions, who runs the Eastern Sports and Outdoors Show, one of the largest shows in the US, and held every February in Harrisburg, PA.

But this year, Reed Exhibitions, decreed a couple of weeks ago, that any sales, display, or even mention, of so-called “Assault Weapons” or high capacity magazines was forbidden. They even banned vendors from displaying the logos of companies that made these items.

The boycott started slowly with some vendors dropping out because they had contractual arrangements with some of these manufacturers to sell and display their products.

But this first few were just the small snowball that precedes the avalanche. And an avalanche it was. And it culminated with all the major sponsors, like Cabela’s, Gander Mt., the NRA, etc., dropping out, except for Progressive Ins., all the celebrity performers, and finally the major vendors, like Smith & Wesson, Mossberg, Ruger, and Thompson.

Finally throwing in the towel, a couple of days ago, Reed announced the cancellation of the show, costing them millions, and costing the Harrisburg area an estimated $80 – 100 million to community businesses from the 250,000 visitors that were expected to attend. Reed said when announcing the cancellation that only 170 of the over 1000 vendors had dropped out. If that were true, then why cancel. I’ve seen an online list of the dropouts, and it runs on for pages, a lot more than just a 170.

Sometimes it’s better if you just keep your mouth shut.

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Under the heading of yesterday’s Random Act of Kindness, a 93 year old WWII vet and former Marine Elbert Wood returned from a doctor’s appointment to find his home vandalized and sprayed with red paint by a couple of teenagers.

Houston KTRH talk radio host Michael Berry mentioned the incident on the air and said that someone should help this guy out. In just a few minutes his phone was ringing off the hook.

By 1:30 pm people had dropped off $50,000 in checks made out to Mr. Wood, and he had commitments from a number of companies to completely remodel his house.

Plus the last time I heard the amount of checks was approaching $75,000.

The two teens were caught later that day and a couple of days later, the father of the boys came by to apologize.

Just goes to show you what people can do when they join together.

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Thought for the Day:

Trusting government with power and money is like trusting teenaged boys with whiskey and car keys,

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