Where’s the only place with worse government bureaucracy than the US Federal Government.
Try the Chinese Consulate.
We got there about 10:30 to drop off the visa paperwork for my great-nieces, Darby and Stahlie for their upcoming trip to China. First off, it would help if the clerks handling my paperwork spoke better English than I speak Chinese. And I think most of my Chinese would probably get me slapped. It was funny though, that there were a lot of Asians in line who were having the same language problems that I was.
It would also help if the instructions on the Chinese website about how to get a visa actually matched up with what the clerks want.
We had planned to do a same day pickup, but despite what the website says, they don’t offer that anymore. And since this was not a last minute application, we were told to pick up the visas next Wednesday. So we’ll have to make other arrangements to pick them up.
Finally leaving the Consulate, we drove a few blocks away to have lunch at Katz’s Deli, a Houston tradition.
A spinoff from the famous Katz’s Deli in New York City, it’s a favorite of ours here in Houston.
Where else can you get a real Rueben like this? And this is only the half sandwich lunch special.
Now that’s a Heart Attack on a Plate.
Our next stop was the Interstate Batteries store. Both my engine batteries and my house batteries started to die at pretty much the same time. My engine batteries were AC-Delco 1150’s and were in the coach when we bought it in December of 2007. They appear to have been installed a couple of years earlier.
My house batteries were installed by me in March 2008 to replace the weak Trojan 105’s that were in the coach when we purchased it. At that time I installed 4 Interstate U2400’s that I’ve been very happy with. So based on this experience, I wanted to use Interstate’s again.
First up, before replacing the engine batteries, I switched off the master disconnect in the engine compartment.
My engine batteries are on a swing-out frame that makes them easy to get to. And the coach has these connection buss’ that make it really easy to disconnect the wires.
Just unscrew the four nuts and you can lift off the connections.
Next, I removed the old batteries and cleaned the frame.
Then it was just a matter of setting the new batteries in place, made easier by the built-in carry straps. Next I fastened down the retaining frame.
I’m replacing the AC-Delco’s with Interstate 31-MHD’s. They’re a little lighter, slightly smaller, but have 925 CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) instead of the 700 CCA of the AC-Delco’s. Smaller, lighter, and more power. You can’t beat that.
After getting everything tightened down, and the Master Disconnect back on, I went inside and fired up the Cummins 350 to be sure it’s ready to go on Friday.
These are the 4 Interstate U2400 6V batteries. Since we very seldom boondock and I’m cheap, I’m going to try it for a while with only 2 batteries.
I pulled all four out (these suckers are heavy at 75 pounds a piece.) and then cleaned the plastic tray.
Getting the batteries out and separated, I discovered something interesting. Only one of the four is really bad. Three of them read 6.2 volts, but the fourth one read 4.5, and it’s kind of swollen.
I had already planned to keep two of the old ones as placeholders, so I kept two of the good ones. You’re normally not supposed to put old and new ones together, so I just wired the two new ones into the system. But I may experiment a little when I have time. All I have to do is connect two cables to add them back online. We’ll see how it goes.
About 6pm Jan and I headed up the road to have dinner at Hruska’s. We’d heard how good their burgers were, so good that they were even written up in Texas Monthly. So we had to give them a try.
On one level they were very good. I mean this Double Bacon Cheeseburger was over 5 inches high, and it was all fresh and hot.
But the disappointment was that it was overcooked to the point of the meat being almost crumblely. Jan had ask for hers well-done and the clerk said they’re all cooked well-done. So I don’t know if we just got ones that way overcooked, or this is the way they all are.
Maybe we’ll have chance to try them another time.
Thought for the Day:
I had the right to remain silent… but I didn’t have the ability.” ― Ron White