Saturday, October 31, 2015

What's For Dinner?

What in the world do you cook for dinner when the best cook in the West is staying at your house?  THAT is the question of the day.  I'm kind of a one trick pony and we had that two days in a row.  

Here's a picture of the garlic bread we had the other night.  I TOLD you it turned green!  Really, that's not mold ... it's garlic!!  There just seems to be a gremlin sitting on my shoulder.
While I pondered the dinner situation, I unpacked the speakers I ordered and climbed up the ladder to install them.  It took awhile to figure out I needed to turn the screw so the plastic piece would hook on the ring in the ceiling.  Trying to hold the speaker with one hand while flattening the end of the wires with the other and pressing down the button to open the hole to receive the wire ... I really needed another hand!!
I finally climbed up another step where my head was smashed against the ceiling and held the speaker with my arm, leaving my hands free ... kind of.  After several tries, I succeeded in getting the wires connected, but couldn't let go of the speaker.  These things are really heavy.  I finally got it up against the ceiling where I held it in place with my head and one hand, using the screwdriver to tighten the connections.  SUCCESS!!!
It took me fifteen minutes to figure out how to tune my receiver to music and make it go throughout the house.  Uh Oh .... I don't hear anything coming out of the speakers.  Every other room seemed to work as I moved the wall sliders up and down, making it louder or softer.  I know NOTHING about this kind of stuff, but I'm hoping since the slider on the wall nearest these is missing, that it must be connected before they will work.

Back on the internet, I ordered what I hope I can install in the wall, attaching it to the six available wires ... and have music from ALL my speakers.  Not that I ever listen to music in the house ... I don't.  Even if I never get them to work, at least I don't have holes in my ceiling that people always point to!!

My dinner dilemma was dispelled when Miss Terry said Nick wanted to take us to Applebees.  Thank the heavens for small favors!!  As I have said in the past, our claim to fame in these two small towns I live near is Applebees.  This is the best restaurant around ... second best is Colonel Sanders!!  Costco, if you count lunch.

They were pretty crowded, packed to the gills in fact, but it wasn't too long before we received our food.  I ordered the All Day Brunch Burger, since I've never had a burger with a fried egg on it.  What a novel idea ... it was DELISH!!  WAY too big for me, so I brought half of it home, along with most of the sweet potato fries.  In fact, we ALL had delicious burgers!
The most exciting part of the day was when we drove in the driveway to find my garage lights brilliantly blinding us!!  I programmed them in the morning for dusk to dawn and they WORKED!!  I think I should turn them off for the rest of Nick and Terry's visit however.  They look like a helicopter spotlight on their rig and will probably make sleeping difficult!

It's my favorite time of the year ... HALLOWEEN!!!  I usually decorate the place to look like a graveyard, which is loads of fun.  This year, the thought of cleaning it all up and packing the stuff away, just didn't sound like lots of laughs.  At any rate, I hope you enjoy the trick-or-treaters at your house!!  I'm ready with a big bowl of candy!!

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Secret Is OUT!!

Okay, I admit I was a little skeptical when Nick Russell said he could fix my garage lights.  We've all read his blog where he has Miss Terry doing most of the technical stuff.  I did feel considerably better when he told me in his former life, he went to Electrical School.  Maybe Miss Terry won't have to be prepared with a fire extinguisher after all!!
First thing in the morning, the lights came off the walls and he tested the wiring from one end to the other with an electrical meter.  I might add ... DON'T DO THIS AT HOME ... unless you're pretty proficient in electricity!!
The culprit seemed to be the ceramic socket, so we headed off to Home Depot to buy parts and pieces.  The dust-to-dawn feature was toast.  It was then that I saw a BIG light bulb pop up over Nick's head.  What if we put a programmable timer in the wall switch?  Perfect solution ... we will bypass all the control stuff and just wire the lights to turn on, then program the switch.
Just to be sure, Nick tested every single new socket before tearing apart each fixture ... no use rebuilding the entire thing just to have it not work.
What a team!!  Between Miss Terry and Nick, every fixture got an overhaul, cleaning and test before and after repair.  Talk about thorough!!  I just stood back and looked pretty, but paid VERY close attention.  Turns out these lights aren't all that complicated after all.  Scary because you can get shocked, but not like my vision of rocket science.
With a new ceramic socket wired in, they put everything back together and tested it again.  It WORKED!!!  Not that I was skeptical or anything!! 
With Miss Terry and Nick BOTH on the ladders, they installed the lights back on the wall while I cleaned the glass and installed the decorative part.  
I hate to dispel all the rumors about Nick's repair capabilities, but it's OUT now!!  I do believe he could fix anything electrical!!  Next up was the light switch replacement with a timer.  Of course before I got the package open (the one the salesman gave me that I didn't pay attention to) I noticed it could not be used with LED lights.  A second trip to Home Depot and we were ready to dismantle the wall switch.
You know how these things go ... the guy who wired this house didn't have a conference with the people that made the switch, so the wire colors were all wrong.  After I read and reread the instructions, Nick finally picked up on one little sentence, switched a couple of wires and HALLELUJAH it worked!!!  Course now we have to spend a couple of hours figuring out how to program the thing.
Aren't they beautiful??  I'm so excited to have security lighting along the really dark side of my garage.  Sorry Nick ... you're secret has been revealed!!  Course he couldn't have done it without Miss Terry and my help, but you get ALL the credit on this job.  
They both get even MORE credit for braving my dinner table.  Things don't always go right in that department for me.  I had a hole dug just in case, but it wasn't needed this time.  Ribs from the smoker, mashed potatoes, salad and garlic bread.  Except for the blue/green garlic, it was pretty tasty. How could that be you ask?  I have NO idea.  We melted butter in a pan, added fresh minced garlic and it turned blue/green.  Tasted fine though, as long as you didn't look before you took a bite.  I mean really, WHO does this kind of stuff happen to??
I can't tell you how grateful I am to Nick and Terry for their expertise at turning my house back into a safe haven.  Even Jonathan has become a Gypsy Journal reader and a big fan of Nick.  They had some up close and personal time after dinner.  When I mentioned I needed newsprint for his cage, they found a bundle of old papers they were going to throw out.  Just doing my part recycling!
Now that I know the REAL Nick Russell, I'm going to walk around my house and see if there's anything ELSE he can fix ... with Miss Terry's help of course!!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner??

Miss Terry, internationally known chef and author is coming to my house for dinner.  YIKES!!  And she's bringing husband Nick, better known as the Rain God.  (Sorry, I couldn't help myself!)  As you all know, Nick is an internationally known writer too!!

I'm sure everyone who reads my blog knows Nick and Terry Russell of Gypsy Journal fame, the newspaper for everything RV.  We spent a lot of time kite flying on the Oregon Coast this last summer and have become good friends.  Nick has read all about my misadventures, including not finding suitable help around my house, and volunteered his and Miss Terry's services on their way South to sunnier weather.  

When they finally arrived, the rain had stopped and the sun came out.   In a matter of minutes Terry, with her expert directional skills, had Nick backing on a serpentine course to the designated parking spot, missing trees, lawn and landscape.  
At that point I should have walked away, but Terry and I got to talking while Nick set the jacks and started moving the slide out.   I copied this picture from Nick's Blog where you can read all about it!!
Nick wanted to get right to work and see what the light problem was, so I drug out the ladder and dismantled one of four garage lights.  They are all adjustable to either motion sensor controlled or dawn-to-dusk.  One works on one setting, one stays on ALL the time and the other two don't work at all.  I've already been told I have to replace all four, an expensive proposition.
I unscrewed the fixture, but being scared to death of electricity, Nick removed the wires and we took one down.  Don't let him tell you he can't fix anything, because this guy knows electricity!!  Of course so does Miss Terry, but Nick took the Head Electrician position on this job.  I was just amazed at how they tested every wire all along the fixture to see what the problem was.  

I even learned how to use an electrical meter to test for juice at every section.  The final decision was the ceramic plug the bulb screws in to was getting power TO it, but not THROUGH it.  So Nick sprayed it with a magic concoction called Strike Hold and we let it sit overnight.  It may just be corrosion and crud on the contacts.  If not, we will run to Home Depot and buy replacement ceramic sockets and hopefully I'll be back in business.  Wasn't I amazed to see how simple these lights really are and exactly how they work.  It's not rocket science after all.
After pulled pork sandwiches and salad for dinner, we discussed my other two problems ... my home internet service and the Sprint MiFi I use on the road.  CLEAR has been my provider, recently purchased by Sprint, who has told me this antenna with my unlimited data will no longer work as of November 6.  I have to purchase a Sprint unit along with a new two year contract and pay almost twice the price with LIMITED data.  Today I'll check out Verizon and AT&T to see if I can get just internet service at my house (without the phone service) and what the cost will be.
I also got a letter from Sprint saying this device I use on the road will no longer work as of November 6.  This Sprint device does NOT work at my house ... never has.  The perfect solution would be a MiFi that I can use at my house AND on the road.   So if I get a new device from Sprint (no more unlimited data) at a much higher price per month, is it going to work at my house??  That's the million dollar question.  I am actually willing to pay $100 a month if I can be guaranteed the device will both work at my house AND on the road.
In the meantime, Nick will check with his buddy Greg ... the guru when it comes to all things router and internet, to see if we can come up with a solution.  

It's past my bedtime by now, but UPS delivered my two speakers to cover the remaining holes in the ceiling, so we unpacked them and took a look.  It took a few minutes to figure out how they attach to the hangars in the ceiling, but this looks like an easy fix, if I can only find the ends of the wires I need to connect.  The hardest part will be trying to figure out the receiver and actually turn the music on to see if the speakers work.  
We had great fun trying to figure all this stuff out.  There's nothing like a challenge to get your blood moving!!  Now comes the BIG question .... what's for dinner???

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


So you KNOW who's coming to dinner, right?  I've known for sure since about 2:00 am when the downpour began.   Friends Nick and Terry Russell are in California, having just come from rainy Oregon and they are bringing the weather with them.  The rain seems to follow Nick everywhere!!  In this case, it's a good thing, since it's the end of October and I think this is our second rain of the season.  I guess I can turn my sprinklers off now!!

It was Magic Kingdom night at the Elks ... time to endure the onslaught of fanatic Bingo players.  Not a big crowd last night, but a rowdy one to say the least.  "Don't Touch My Cards" returned and I can only assume he didn't like my looks.  The Castle Lawyer touched and counted ALL his cards without a peep from him.  You just never know what the reaction will be from night to night.

We give out little red tickets for a drawing twice a night, the prize being pull tabs.  There are five little tabs you pull off (kind of like lottery scratchers) where I think the maximum you can win is $10 from a box of 10,000 cards.  Those aren't very good odds, but you would think it was worth a couple hundred at least, by the actions of the players.

Even though I'm constantly saying "hang on to those red tickets" ... not only do they drop them, but leave them on the tables for someone to steal.  Last night one lady took her receipt and ticket, putting it in her left hand under the bingo cards, then proceeded to accuse me LOUDLY of not giving her a red ticket.  "It's with your receipt" I said.  NO IT'S NOT!!  GIVE ME A TICKET!!  Yes, she was screaming rather loudly when I caught a glimpse of it in her hand.  "It's in your hand" ... NO IT'S NOT as she stuck her other hand out at me.  "Your OTHER HAND" I said quietly ... "look in your other hand".  She turned around and stomped away with no apologies of any kind.  So WHY do I volunteer for this job??
The rest of the night went fairly smoothly as the Castle Lawyer manned the cash box and I watched three innings of the World Series in the back room.  What a game THAT was!!  As soon as I got home I turned the TV on and it was still going!!  FINALLY Kansas City got a run and won the first game.

The first time the Giants won the World Series when I was a season ticket holder, my friend and I followed them around the country to all the games.  I have to say Kansas City fans were a fun loving group who made sure we were involved in all their antics.  I couldn't be happier for them!!

As I checked my email, I unexpected received my estimates from the landscape guy.  Amazingly, they were half of what I thought.  The lighting of course is the most expensive, but I'm getting four times what the last guy put in ... LED's no less ... at about the same price.  Hopefully he will be able to light up my life before I leave for Indio in January.  Everything else will have to wait.  When I learned the sprinklers run twice as long (thank you Lynn) and will jump my PGE bill through the roof, that project got the red pencil.  I'll just have to be more creative and remove the back lawn.

In the middle of all that, I finished stitching together ANOTHER quilt called Hawaiian Waters.  This one will probably be donated to the local Veterans Organization to be raffled off for their fund raiser next year.
Time to get my act together ... I've got lots of cleaning to do before company comes, and I need to dig a small hole in the back yard, just in case!!  You will be surprised to hear that Nick is going to help me with some electrical work.  Scary you say??  Not at all.  We've discussed it before at length and he really knows his stuff.  Besides, Miss Terry will be standing by with a Mac The Fire Guy fire extinguisher!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Can You Smell It???

Top of the day to you .... and a BIG Happy Birthday to my friend and mentor DAN CHANCE!!  You all know there aren't many people in this world I trust, but this guy is at the top of the list.  He and his wife Patty and I have been long time friends and I'm thrilled we all keep having birthdays.  Without them, I wouldn't be in the RV business at all.  I know Patty is cooking an amazing dinner and I'm sure it includes a big fat CAKE!!!

With the final decision that my printer was in it's last death throes, I trotted off to the den of inequity that sucks money from your pocket the second you cross the threshold ... COSTCO!  Unfortunately there aren't any other options unless I order something on-line and take the chance that after using it for basketball practice and upon arrival at my house, it will actually work!!

There were three choices, this one being the winner at $130.  It does everything and is wireless ... can't be too hard to set up right??
Wrong ....  I am forever optimistic however as I began the download of the drivers from the internet. There's that connection problem again.  It even KNEW I was going to have a problem because the screen said, "If you have a problem, click HERE".  Perseverance prevailed however, as after SIX hours, I finally got it to download and install on my computer.  The connection to the internet was a little easier, you just let the printer itself find the router and type in the password.  EUREKA!!  After SEVEN hours, it was up and working.

This printer is even set up to print your own Christmas and Birthday cards.  I think I'll practice on one for Dan, but really, don't expect a card from me for Christmas, because I'm sure it will take a year to figure out how to print one!!
I never go to Costco without blinders on ... you can spent a LOT of money there, especially if you are single.  Everything comes in sizes for a family of eight.  The good news is I only have to make one trip a year!!  Paper towels were on my list, but since I don't have anyplace to store them, they will remain on the floor for now.  I think I can stuff six in the RV!!  Same goes for the Ziplock bags and I now have enough chicken in one package to feed the entire neighborhood.
By then it was time to get the ribs and pork shoulder on the smoker.  Hope springs eternal here too as I seasoned them up the night before, left them in the fridge, then brought them out to warm up before going in the smoker.  
Five hours later ... can you smell it??  Wonderful juicy porky goodness!!  The smell wafted around my house, through the kitchen and into every corner of my wardrobe.  I always wondered why I got those strange looks at the Elks Magic Castle.  So here's the thing with smoking meats .... you have to be good enough, or maybe smart enough, to adjust the cooking time by the weight of the meat.  Unfortunately, there's nothing in writing and everyone just has to wing it!!  Eventually you figure it out ... I have a long way to go!!
Lucky for me, I kept my mouth shut and kissed the dog, putting the BBQ Gods on my side.  The ribs came out perfect!!  Now if I only had some BBQ SAUCE to put on them, I would be in Seventh Heaven!!  RATS!!  How did I forget THAT??

The shoulder stayed in the smoker until a quick check at 6:00 am, 18 hours later.   Hmmmm a little overdone it seems ... actually, black as a chimney!!  Good thing I decided to do a test drive.  I let it sit on the counter for about 20 minutes and spritzed it with apple juice, before cutting off the top layer of fat and MY OH MY!!!  It's PERFECT!!  Melt in your mouth tender!!  Now that's MY kind of breakfast!!
So what am I going to do with all this porky goodness?  The ribs are going to the Magic Castle to the Guards who deserve so much more, and the pulled pork will remain in the fridge for company.  Tomorrow I'll throw on two more racks of ribs and hope the BBQ Gods smile on me again!!  

Monday, October 26, 2015


It's a guessing game today!  How many people can guess what's going on now?  Gosh, if it's not one thing, it's another!!  I suppose that's just so I don't get TOO bored sitting at home!!

But first, here's my friends lawn she just had changed out to a waterless irrigation system.  This is what I'm looking to do in my back yard.  I'm not sure of the dimensions of this renovation, but my area is 48 feet long and 18 feet wide.

I spent a couple of hours yesterday drawing up what I thought might work, then drug every garden hose I have to the back yard and placed them around the edge in a curvy manner.  It's really hard to tell if I will like it in the end, but if I don't, it won't matter, because my plan is to move anyway.
I found a great book by Sunset Magazine, giving me lots of tips about low water plants.  I'm going to put that into play immediately as I replace ten the gardener killed.  I'll also replace the drip emitters with ones that put out much less water.  I can't go too "Arizona" in my yard, as it doesn't work well with the architecture, keeping the sales price in mind, but there are lots of grasses that look nice and are weedeater resistant!!
Since I actually have company coming at the end of this week ... you don't hear THAT often ... I figured I better test drive some smoked ribs, since I've never done those before.  My plan was to have that wonderful lasagne that's still in the freezer, but I can't remember if I put onions in the recipe ... and onions are OFF the menu.  

This will go in the smoker about noon today, with the ribs being done in 5 hours and the pork shoulder (pulled pork) coming out 20-22 hours later.  If all works well, I'll do it again Thursday or Friday.  I hope it doesn't become a big HALLOWEEN surprise!!!  At least no one will question why I'm digging holes in the back yard .... it's Halloween, right!!
Did you figure it out yet?  The click click chunk brrr click click??  It's my wireless HP 8000 printer. What can you expect for $89?  This is the same printer I used at the County where I worked, with no problems whatsoever in eight years, except the price of the ink refills, which came to a pulling-my-hair-out $99.  

Possibly the problem is that I just don't use it enough!  To begin with, the wireless part worked until the warranty expired, and then I had to carry my computer to the desk and plug it in.  Ever since I got home however, it hasn't worked at all, even when plugged in.  It clicks and chunks like crazy.  I've tried unplugging it from 20 seconds to two hours, with no success.  Good grief Charlie Brown!!  It's not even three years old!!  
So today it's Costco time where I hope to find a cheap replacement.  The HP I have in the rig cost less than this one, it also scans (this one doesn't) and has lasted through four years of road vibrations.  Hopefully I can find another just like it.

I lost my apple juice sprayer for the pork (keeps it moist while smoking) to the trash can because it quit spraying ... no surprise!  Those never seem to last long either!!  So I'm off on a treasure hunt around my house to see what I can find as a replacement!!  Stay tuned for the outcome of the GREAT RIB SMOKEOFF!!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Beach Party!!

You thought I was laying out on the beach with a marguerita or two?  Well I should have just arrived in Maui for my annual two weeks of rest and relaxation, but with no one to take care of my babies, I had to cancel this year.  Sniff sniff!!  No worries however, there will be plenty more years of relaxing once I find a trustworthy petsitter.

I'm thinking maybe I can offer free RV parking with a 50 amp hookup and water.  There's a sewer dump too if you have four to five lengths of hose.  Course there's not really much to see around here, and no restaurants to speak of except Micky D's and Taco Bell.  This might be a hard sell!

With no Beach Party on my schedule, I whipped up this quilt called BEACH PARTY that I picked up in Tucson last year.  So much sewing ... I was burning up the fabric highway like crazy!  There are actually 50 different fabrics in this one, with lots of straight sewing that went fast.
With only college football on the tube, I got bored.  Except for the occasional foray into the kitchen for food, I sat at the machine all day.  Now if I can just find a reputable quilter.  The problem I run into is that it takes several months to get a quilt back ... and I'm usually gone upon it's completion.  Most businesses aren't willing to let it sit in their inventory for three or four months until I return.  Guess I just have to buy that long arm quilter!!

I can't stand another day being inside, so it's time to hit the road ... in my BIG TRUCK ... to see if I can find those AGM batteries!!!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

My Truck Returns!!

Parked back in her warm little garage, my baby has returned home, glowing nicely and no longer thirsty from a malfunctioning fuel regulator.  This has been my all time favorite truck.  She pulls my big horse trailer loaded with three horses and hay, not to mention all the related saddles and gear, as well as a queen size bed, all my clothes and an array of cooking items.  Did I mention I also have a GREAT horse trailer?

If I go camping without the horses, the back seat folds down and makes a nice bed!  I love this truck like I'd love a husband, if I had one!!  Maybe I love my truck a little too much!!

The total bill came to $1398 which I tried to pay with my credit card for air miles.  I'm not sure how this new CHIP in your card is supposed to work ... does it make anything safer?  I think the vendors just don't have to push any buttons.  Anyway, it did NOT work and they refused to rerun it.  I spent 20 minutes trying to get a knowledgeable bank person on the phone, who finally explained that their new chip reader wasn't working.  That went over like a rope under my horses tail!!

The counter girl then had to enter everything manually and print out a paid slip.  Apparently everyone's chips are not alike!!  It's a good thing it worked, because you wouldn't really want to try and hold my BABY hostage!!!
When I got home, I proceeded to check the water levels on my motorhome batteries.  I was totally shocked when I opened the door and found a huge mess of battery acid everywhere.  They were just cleaned two months ago and I was given specific instructions about NOT overfilling them which they said was the problem.
I haven't added ANY water!  Look at this nasty mess!!  I put on my gloves and checked the water levels ... they are fine.  To have this cleaned up will cost another $90 ... and that will be the third time in twelve months.  I know those AGM batteries are expensive, but I think I'm going to bite the bullet.  I'll use the money I was going to spend on the lawn sprinklers!!

I know I could probably clean this up myself, but that involves taking all those cables off, followed by a good chance that I won't get them back on in the same order.  (Big sigh)
I figured to stay out of trouble for the rest of the day, so I locked myself in the sewing room and went to town on my latest quilt.  It was going along smoothly until I got to the widest border and was short 20 inches of fabric.  It's a good thing I can take things in stride ... okay MOSTLY I can ... because THIS is a biggie!  

I immediately grabbed a scrap with the information on the selvedge, got on-line and ... thank you Missouri Star Quilt Company ... ordered one yard.  Another catastrophe averted!!
I spent the rest of the day on the couch with the puppies.  I figured if I just sat there and didn't move, nothing else could happen to me.  It was a good idea, but just as I turned off the TV and headed to the bedroom, the neighbor's party began ..... AGAIN!!  This time it wasn't as bad ... not as many cars or screaming people.  After the last guy left, burning rubber half way down the block around 2:30 am, it quieted down enough for sleep.  I'm sorry, I just don't know what the heck is wrong with people nowadays!!! 

I'm going to go fix breakfast and go back to sleep ... if the puppies will let me.  Maybe if I just stay in bed, the day will go smoothly.  Night night!!

Friday, October 23, 2015

You've Got To Trust Somebody!!

I've discovered over the last few years that there are only a few people in my life I can really trust, most of them being my RV friends.  Isn't that interesting?  And why do you think that is?

I found out my housekeeper might have had a party or two while I was gone.  This is the friend that has been babysitting my parrot Jonathan.  Upon return from my last trip, I went over to see the family and my baby bird (I've been gone just four months).

Have you seen those before and after pics at the Sheriff's Department?  You know the ones I'm talking about ... wasn't I shocked when that's what met me at the door.  I listened quietly through two hours of complaining and blaming before I took my bird and left.  Another three hours over lunch (she never took one bite) and I'm sad to say my trust wanes.  If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck ....... what little trust I did have, may have just flown the coop.

Car dealerships are the same in my book ... always out to rip you off from my experience.  It's not like there are a lot of diesel mechanics in my town, even though this is (or maybe WAS) an Ag area.  Luckily, with the advent of the internet, reviews are available on most everyone.  Taken with a grain of salt for sure, but if they are all bad, you can't help but be wary.  I haven't gotten my truck back yet ... parts had to be ordered from Reno ... hopefully today will be the day.  I feel pretty lost without it!

I was so excited about my landscape guy, installing lighting and fixing my sprinklers, until I got a message from my high school bestie who reads my blog, asking who I was getting an estimate from.  YIKES!!  It's the same guy she used, who took forever, didn't do a good job and overcharged her.  

Lynn is definitely trustworthy, so now I'm having big time doubts about the work to be done here.  As far as the sprinklers, she said they use less water, but run twice as long.  My PGE bill is already sky high ... so I guess that plan went down the tubes.

As for the speakers in my ceiling (I need to fill in the remaining two holes), I called the local store where I purchased all the others at $100 each (installed) and got a bid of $200 each, just for the speakers.  Good grief!!  A quick call to another dealer didn't end any better when he told me he wanted $100 just to drive to my house to see what kind I had.  I did him one better, I sent him this picture.
Once he told me what it was and the price of $129, he tried to sell me the next step up for $175 each. You just can't trust salesmen, so I went on-line and ordered two speakers for $125 each, delivered to my door.  They come with installation instructions, so I should be able to figure out how to fill this hole.  Even if I don't hook it up, the hole will finally be covered!!!
In the meantime, I've been sewing away happily ... it takes my mind off the fact that I'm becoming paranoid about every repair and service person I have to deal with!!
My favorite quilting store with the best-in-the-west quilter is closing down this week.  Here we go with the trust again.  After spending so many hours cutting and sewing these babies (one of the best I've done as far as being exactly on point) you don't want to give it to any Joe Blow to quilt.  Hmmmm .. maybe they will sell their quilting machine to me!!!
But WAIT!!!  There's one more!!  My internet quit yesterday, so I called CLEAR, my provider.  For the hundredth time, they told me my service would end November 6 and I needed to go to Sprint and get a new device (Sprint bought out Clear).  I asked the girl who could hardly speak English, you know the one, if they also bought the towers.  If so, then their wireless equipment would work.  If not, Sprint doesn't work at my house.  Lucky for me, she told me they DID buy the towers, but it would be years before all the towers get switched over to Sprint's equipment ... meaning I would buy their stuff, sign a two year contract and it wouldn't work.  Are you kidding me??  

I have a couple of choices ... pay for Comcast TV along with internet (I have Direct TV), pay for an ATT home phone along with the internet (I don't need a home phone) or hire HughesNet to tack a big dish on my house roof and charge me for all the equipment, along with a contract.  Good Grief!!!!

When I talked to Dan about my diesel engine, his final words were that I've got to trust SOMEBODY!  I guess I've been taken advantage of so many times, despite my vigilance, that I'm gun shy!!  If Prince Charming ever does show up, I doubt he will pass the background check!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Replacing My Old Parts!!

You know how it is when you get older ... your parts wear out and need to be replaced.  Like this old rusty car in the Arizona dessert, some of my engine parts need to be repaired.  When that little check engine light comes on, you better get yourself to the nearest hospital for a checkup.
It seems my controllers are all out of whack, not allowing enough fuel to my engine.  It's been running pretty rough for the last year.  Since I'm always running ten degrees hotter than everyone else, the doctor thought the gizzy controlling THAT feature may need some adjustment too.  Gosh it sucks to get old!!!

By now you probably all know I'm talking about my 2005 Chevy Silverado truck, right??  Actually I could probably use a tuneup too, but yesterday, it was my truck that was feeling under the weather.  It hasn't been serviced in a year, mostly because I'm always gone.  Last time it was a hefty $1500 which included a front bearing assembly ... kind of like a knee replacement.

This time the check engine light resulted in a glow plug code.  Ladies, have you seen that Cold Engine Start switch on your RV or truck?  Diesel engines don't have spark plugs like gas engines ... they rely on compression to ignite the fuel.  When the air is cold, that won't occur, so this little glow plug lights up and provides the heat for combustion to happen.  That's about the extent of my diesel engine knowledge!!  I really wish my dad had included me when it came to overhauling equipment.  I could save myself a LOT of money.  At any rate, that little glow plug module quit working to the tune of $371.

The next problem, running really rough, turns out to be the fuel pressure regulator.  If the engine isn't getting enough fuel, it runs terrible and will eventually leave me stranded somewhere.  Okay, I admit I cheated.  I called Dan Chance about this one!!  The BAD news is that all this will cost me another $1500, once you throw in an oil change and a fuel filter.
With only 97,000 miles on her, she's only a third of the way through her life.  I actually checked on the prices of new ones and almost had a heart attack.  That definitely would have put ME in the hospital.  $65K for your run-of-the-mill Chevy truck (this one cost me $40K).  I suppose since I don't have horses I probably don't need a truck, but it will come in pretty handy when I pack that 28 foot horse trailer for my move!!!

Sell it you say?  Not a chance.  I'm a truck girl from waaaaay back.  I love my Jeep for towing behind the rig, but for freeway driving, it's not my choice.  I'd much rather feel the safety of my BIG CHEVY TRUCK!!!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Magic Kingdom Doesn't Disappoint

No, I'm not talking about the Disneyland Magic Kingdom, it's the Elks Magic Kingdom where I go to receive my weekly dose of sarcasm, friendship and bad attitude from the Bingo players that haunt the dungeon of our building.
It has taken the Castle Lawyer and I years to whip this bunch of peasants into line.  Upon our arrival in the dark ages, the peasants ruled the land with an angry fist.  There were lots of free bingo game cards flying around, many fights, screaming matches and general mayhem before we arrived to take charge, and that was just from the KING, not to mention the peasants!!

Being two strong willed single survivalists, it didn't take long to convince the King it wasn't worth the fight.  The peasants were another story altogether.  I've never seen so many innovative ways to cheat.  If they would put that much energy into a job, they would be rich, instead of spending their grocery money on gambling!!

We KNOW who the cheaters are, despite their protestations to the contrary, and so are extra cautious every time they come to the table.  The problem arises when they bring in new peasants who think they can rule this kingdom like they do the other two games in town.  It's not happening here baby!!  WE rule with an iron fist and a baseball bat!!

The worst was last night, a guy who didn't want us to touch his cards.  It's bad luck he told me.  Sorry, I have to count the cards because so many people try to cheat us by putting game cards inside packs (as I picked them up).  I touched them again, just because I could, and then I touched every STACK of cards just to run home the point.  It makes NO difference whether I touch them or not!!  I touch the cards of everyone that plays here, and funny, we still have winners to the tune of $5,000!!

I thought he was going to punch me, when the King came up and saved the day.  At 6'3" and 250 pounds, the peasants instantly have a change of heart.  These ladies run this game ... go somewhere else if you don't want to follow the rules!!

The rest of the night went well as we ushered in people in wheelchairs and walkers with their oxygen bottles in tow, the Alzheimers patient who can't remember what number was called and the grandma of 98 who can't stamp her numbers fast enough to keep up ... oh, and the complainer who hasn't won a game in the four years I've been there, but still comes to play every single week.

Any way you look at it, it's our weekly dose of torture ..... and it makes me SO happy to know I'm healthy and alert with lots of hobbies to keep me busy!!  Were it not for the friendship of the King, the Castle Lawyer and the Guards, I'm sure I would find something much more interesting to do with my time!!  The up side is that 100% of the profit goes to LOCAL charities and our Elks Veterans Organization.  That makes the torture pill a little easier to swallow!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Let There Be Light!!

This light fixture dangling from my patio made me nervous.  I know nothing about electricity, other than it can shock you badly, so to see this hanging around, ramps up my blood pressure.  Since I'm in the process of switching my household lights to LED and was a couple short, I figured to find a replacement for this at Home Depot.

I stood in the aisle for at least 20 minutes, looking at all the possibilities, when I noticed they had one hanging like mine.  Eureka!!  I discovered I could actually just replace the white part, not the whole light.  It looked like the socket was easily removed from the unit without disconnecting any wires.  After all, it's the brackets on the white can that broke.  Maybe I can do this!!!
The hangars weren't exactly the same, but I figured if I shoved it up into the can, it would hold.  For $7.00, it was worth a shot.  
It was easy to unclip the socket from the top of the old one and reattach it to the new.  I can't believe I'm actually doing this!!!  I'm fixing a LIGHT!!!
It wasn't as easy as I thought to get it to stay up in the can ... the little arms probably aren't in the perfect position, but it stayed up when I let go!!!   It even stayed when I screwed the LED bulb in.  I hid behind the door as I flipped the switch ... and VOILA!!  Let there be light!  It worked!!  I was so excited I did a little celebration dance!!
With my tallest ladder, which still isn't really tall enough for me, I hung on to the walls and cabinets while installing LED lights in the kitchen.  The number of lights in this house is ridiculous, to be sure!!  You can see that the one in the middle is still an old CFL light, not putting out near as much light as the other three.  The living room is even worse with seven lights and five speakers.  Crazy, right??  
I'm only replacing lights in the areas I use most, since these run about $8.50 each.  Yes, I'm taking every single one with me when I move!!!  With LED's, I can actually turn my lights on and see what I'm doing.  All this time I've been sitting in the dark because I didn't want a $200 PGE bill!  It's pretty much the beginning of my billing cycle, so I'm anxious to see if there's any difference in the usage.

My attempt to fix the garage lights failed miserably.  They can all be set as dusk-to-dawn or motion detectors.  Out of four like this one, one stayed on all the time and one worked with the motion detector.  At Home Depot, I picked up three little socket things with dusk to dawn detectors ... just screw them in the socket, then add a bulb like normal.  I thought maybe the detectors went bad in the light fixture.  I guess I did something wrong, because now only ONE light works on the motion detector part, and my entire garage area is pitch black!!  Geez Louise!!!  I need to take a course in electricity!
In case you were wondering about landscape lighting, this is the total amount of light at the front of my house at night.  Not the best for security, right??  Hopefully that will be fixed with some new installations by the landscape guy.
I'm hoping Terry and Nick Russell will be able to stop in on their way to Arizona this winter.  Nick says he DOES know electricity and can maybe rewire/repair and otherwise fix my garage lights.  I offered a 50 amp hookup with water and told Terry I'd go one better, the laundry will be open 24/7 with no quarters required. It sure would be nice to see them again before they head off into the sunset of Arizona.

It was a lovely 57 degrees this morning with highs in the 70's ... MY kind of weather, just in time for Magic Kingdom night.