Friday, April 30, 2021

More Play Than Work

I'm still running in "fix-it" mode.  It's really too bad they don't build more Condos around here.  I think it would be SO much easier to just call the Super and have things magically repaired.  Especially when it comes to the sprinklers.

Water is cheap .... I have my own well.  Electricity to keep that well pumping is NOT.  I constantly have to waver on the line of watering the lawn enough to keep it semi green, versus the $$$ going out the door.  I had an early appointment yesterday, so I wrote the gardeners a note and left them two new sprinkler heads.

Interestingly enough, the guy at Horizon Sprinklers told me different ones put out more or less water.  I've been going there for 12 years.  No one ever told me this.  So I bought the ones that would put out the most water in the least amount of time.  

SO ... the gardeners hooked up the first one, but didn't put the dirt back in OR adjust where it sprayed.  I'm not kidding ... it must be rocket science to fill in a hole.  On the second repair, they broke the line it screws in to.  Nope ... not kidding there either.

They left ME a note that someone would come fix it "later".  It makes me want to scream, so I tried sewing as a distraction.  That always ends up with me on the floor.  I mean seriously, how could you not want to get down and play when Cooper does this and barks at you?  He likes to be UNDER things (we are completely under the sewing table), or at least roll the B A L L under things.  We aren't allowed to SAY that word, we can only SPELL it.

 Several hours later I looked out the door.  Uh oh ... the guy fixed the sprinklers and even filled in the holes, but never knocked on the door.  I went outside and turned the sprinklers on to see how they work.  OH LOOK!!!  I'm watering the neighbors roses 45 feet away, not to mention their entire driveway!!

Big sigh ... as I tried the second station.  It was doing a great job of keeping MY concrete driveway and walkway wet.  How nice!!  

I grabbed the little screwdriver gizzy that came with the sprinklers and tried to figure out how to adjust them.  In no time, I was just as wet as the driveway.  I was finally able to adjust them ... kinda sorta ... so most of the water went on the grass.  They still need adjusting, but at least they are good for now.

Back to playing under the table for awhile.  Cooper is so zoned in on that ball that he doesn't even look when I call his name six times!!!  Selfies are not in his repertoire.

I spent the next three hours grumbling over this thin fabric for which I have NO pattern.  I only have a quick secretive photo I took at the shop.  There was a little mistake in figuring out how to make it happen, which resulted in the light colors being 2" shorter than the dark.  More grumbling ensued.

I THINK I'm halfway there.  Now to make the second half mirror the first.  Hopefully there won't be as much grumbling on this section.

In other great news, no critters have been sighted in the last couple of days.  YAY!!!  That means I'm free today to wander off downtown in search of those khaki pants I need for the Elks official "wear".  I have no doubt it will be in vain, but at least I can say I tried when they ask why I'm wearing Levis!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Hot Water and Beef

Well ...... absolutely nothing exciting happened yesterday.  Oh wait ... they picked up my garbage bins at 5:30 am.  That's always good for a few barks from the puppies.  I paid a few bills ... that's always fun because it requires balancing my accounts, the last thing an actual accountant really wants to do!

I checked the game camera to find two videos of me turning the camera on and off.  I'm hoping that means there have been no midnight visitors to the back yard.  Of course that doesn't keep me from making my security guard rounds before letting MY critters outside.

I messed with my back for a few hours, trying to stay sat as long as possible.  I'm about half way there.  Le me just say there will not EVER be any on-the-knees floor scrubbing in my future!!  This is really a pain!

Here was an interesting factoid to come across.  In Arizona, I shop the sometimes expensive Safeway.  If you have their app, you do receive free and discounted stuff, which of course I do.  Here, I shop Save Mart.  That's the one that had no meat under $8.99 a pound, with the good stuff around $12.  Costco is in the same boat.

Wasn't I surprised when I stopped in for a dozen eggs at my little neighborhood Mexican grocery store.  Interestingly enough, it's owned and run by a lovely Asian family, not that it matters.  I did a drive by the meat section just to see.  Whoa ... they actually have whole chickens, unlike Save Mart!

Then I spotted this huge beef loin roast for $2.99 a pound!!!  WHAT???  How can they do that when Save Mart is $8.99 a pound?  Yes I'm sure it's not PRIME quality beef, but who cares?  Okay, I admit this is part of what I feed Cooper with his sensitive stomach.  I actually keep half of it for my tacos and cut the rest up for him.  This will last at least two weeks.

Don't blame it on prime beef (that's the good stuff) ... neither Safeway nor Save Mart sell prime unless it's a big holiday.  They have CHOICE beef.  This actually could be one step below choice, but it tasted pretty darned good to me and was plenty tender since I cooked it in my Instant Pot!!

While I forced myself to sit on the couch all day, I contemplated my hot water heater on the rig.  My other motorhome had on-demand hot water ... meaning there was no tank to mess with.  Now I have THIS monster to confound me from A to Z.  

People have said they empty it after every trip.  Is that necessary?  This guy, to keep from screwing on a garden hose every time, has added this heat proof faucet if you will, to drain the tank.  Looks reasonable.  So here's my question.  If I drain it, how do you fill it back up?  How do you know if it's full before you turn it on, because apparently if it's not, it will burn up almost instantly!!

To make it even MORE confusing, I spent an hour reading the book about my rig.  This picture obviously shows an on-off switch.  I've looked not once, but THREE times and there is NO on-off switch on my hot water heater.  What's up with that???

I finally gave up the ghost and watched smugglers get caught at the border on TV before checking out Josh Gates in New Mexico looking for UFO's.  You know, the really important stuff!!!

In the meantime, I'm going to try NOT to read all those Facebook posts about things breaking on these trailer-type rigs.  They are beginning to scare me!!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

One Thing I'm Terrible At

Of course there are MANY things I'm not good at, but the one that stands out most to me is fabric selection.  Some people, like Cindy Warner are just amazing at this expensive endeavor.  My Arizona neighbor Shirley is another one.  

I, on the other hand, am terrible at it.  I pick all these fabulous fabrics, cut and paste, only to find they don't look good on the wall.  If I showed you what this REALLY looked like, you would go blind with the dizzying array of lose-your-balance-and-fall-over busyness.  I was off to the quilt shop to find something to fill in the blanks.

As most of you know, this little section of Highway 99 in California is the roughest in the nation.  To make it worse, they moved the lane over 4 feet to the right to allow for construction of the NEW lanes.  That makes it even MORE rough, if that's even possible ... so much so that I actually went the 55 mph speed limit in my truck to keep my teeth intact.

Fifteen cars passed me going at least 65 in lanes barely wide enough.  Where the heck are the cops?  The next section of freeway construction I had to go through was half as long before my turnoff.  SEVENTEEN cars passed me like I was standing still ... while I went 55.  

I never do anything like this, but I actually sent an email to the Highway Patrol.  Where are you guys???  The main substation is actually close by.  Believe it or not, they responded with "we are just shorthanded.  Thank you for driving the speed limit."  Okay then, I guess since there are no cops around, I'll just go as fast as the traffic and pretend I'm playing MarioKart!!  

Teeth still hanging in there, "you have arrived at your destination".  I'm like a kid in a candy store.  I want one of EVERYTHING!  Of course I was INSTANTLY sidelined by this quilt.  I admit, this is a sneaky picture.  You aren't supposed to take pictures unless you buy the material ..... which I did after walking around the entire store three times finding NOTHING of what I was really after.

When I got back home, driving 70 the entire way (heh heh heh), I was again on the search for all things RV.  The more I read about fifth wheels, the more gadgets I need.  The three long screens on the bottom will cover up the holes behind the fridge.  Unlike a household fridge, this one has access to the outside meaning it will become a housing project for wasps, which I seem to have an abundance of.

Next on the list ... for whatever reason, Grand Design sewer clean outs all seem to leak.  That means when you take the cap off, you are covered in lovely perfume before you can even attach the hose.  I noticed this happening when I got home.  

There wasn't anything but water in the tank (lucky me), but the valve had leaked enough to get me wet when I removed the cap.  THIS will allow me to remove the cap and attach the hose while remaining dry even with the leaky GD valve.  I hope it works because it's expensive!!

I'm sure there will be more MUST HAVES, but for now I'm good to go ....... until I see something else!!!

In the meantime, this new critter cam seems to be not as sharp as the last one.  Here's a picture of kitty kitty climbing a 7' tall fence with almost a single bound.  It's amazing to me how athletic kitties can be.  He just crawls right up the fence using his claws.  What an acrobat!!

There has been so sign nor smell of the civvy cats.  I'm hoping they have moved on to better hunting grounds.  I am NOT however, counting my chickens.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Always Test Drive Your Guest Shower

 It was a busy as a bee kind of day.  I usually have trouble finding something to do, but yesterday things kind of fell into place.  At last I was able to pop my back ... half way.  I'm in much better shape I'm happy to say!

Of course it didn't last too long.  I had just been sitting on the patio when I went inside and got distracted.  A mere thirty minutes later I exited the back door to find THIS!!!  WHAT?  This wasn't there 30 minutes ago!  How in the world can they do this that fast?  

I even got out my tape measure!  This little bugger dug up a hill 15 inches across and 3 inches high.  Count them, that's FIVE HOLES!!!  I guess this is payback for smashing all his tunnels in the flower bed.

Time to test drive the shower for my guest of the day.  I hooked up a garden hose and turned the water on full blast.  Yup ... the shower works just fine.  Too bad someone left the water on and it overflowed, flooding everything.

I don't know how in the world they do that.  Surely they are spitting out dirt right and left.  At least he's gone for awhile.  In the meantime, now I know why I have all those bare spots in my back lawn.  These guys must have been having a heyday while I was gone.  Now I also know why some of my garden flowers are dying a horrible death.

I didn't exactly thank them when I shut the water off, resulting in a nice shower for me.  I've never been able to figure out WHY these things are on the end of my faucets.  Are they some kind of pressure relief valve?  Turn the water off too fast and it comes squirting out the side, blasting you to at least a 50% degree of wetness.  

Has anyone seen these before?  I've taken two off the outside faucets and looked for replacements, but so far I haven't found anything similar.  Just wondering why they are there.  When you unscrew the end piece, it looks like a regular faucet.  They all leak terribly, so I would like to find replacements if I really need them.

Since I was already wet, I went to take a shower in the guest bath.  I had just sealed the grout in mine and the 24 hour wait was on.  Let me say you should always test drive your guest bathtub/shower.  I've not used this one since I bought the house.  

It took me ten minutes to figure out HOW to switch from the faucet to the shower head.  I should have called Cyndae since she uses it regularly.  It does have a shower curtain, but truly that doesn't contain any water.  I got blasted in the face the second I turned the knob since hard water had made the jets spray every direction except down.

To make matters worse, the water never really got hot.  What's up with THAT?  Once I got out, it took me 15 minutes to clean up all the water that was everywhere but in the tub.  I'm certainly not doing THAT again!!

In the meantime, I finally received the second screen for the 5th wheel.  Although it took me a few tries to get that tiny little spring on the bar to hold it in place, this one fits.  After finding a wasp nest in the heater vent on my other rig, I decided these were a must have.  I've got two other openings that need to be covered, if I can find the screens.  At something like $6, these are a cheap investment.

I spent the afternoon running in and out the front door checking on the sprinklers.  Turn one section on, then run to see if all the water was going where it was supposed to.  Run back to turn it off, then fix the sprinklers.  Repeat ... twelve times.

At last after replacing sprinkler heads, I relaxed on the couch and took a gander at my $20 flowers.  Surprisingly, they are still doing VERY well.  I even catch a whiff of roses every now and then.

Since I've started three quilts and have gotten nowhere, I'm off to the quilt store today.  That should give the gopher plenty of time to rebuilt his castle and shore up the moat.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Slow As Molasses

That's how it went this morning as I was trying up upload that video.  I finished my entire cup of coffee before it finally showed on the screen.  Many times my days go like that, and yesterday was a good example.

Have you ever watched that baseball game with the other team up in the 7th inning, hitting home run after home run until the score is something like 117-2?  It's just the longest two hours EVER!!  I started off by scrubbing the shower floor and lower walls.  I didn't get far before my back went kaput and I could barely stand up.  Well that's not good!!!

I'm very diligent about doing my own chiropractic adjustments, which only seem to work when sitting in the old Class A rig in that perfect position so I can reset the bones.  Sadly, no other chair seems to do the trick.  No worries, I'll try both my Jeep and truck.  One of them will hit the reset button for me I'm sure.

In the meantime, I had ribs in the fridge that needed to hit the smoker.  I hobbled all bent over with one pan at a time to get them going.  The heavy iron table keeps the door shut tight since this variety does not have a latch.  

Time went by just like that baseball game.  I spent way too much time on my phone, meaning my bill will increase, along with 35 trips to the fridge.  That resulted in one batch of homemade ice cream.  Just what I need ..... more sugar!!  That's probably why you see the big mess of grease on the ground.  When almost done, I wrap the ribs in foil and return them to the smoker.  

These ribs were rather plump like me, causing all that fat to melt.  Wish I could do that.  Anyhoo, I picked up the package too fast and it all ran out on the ground.  That ought to bring a lot of skunks around, not to mention the fox!!  The dogs went crazy as I shooed them back in the house.

During the long wait for rib perfection, I received one of my orders.  They call this a flying insect screen for the hot water heater exhaust.  For me, it works to keep the wasps OUT of the place best known for catching them on fire.  

Too bad it doesn't fit.  It's WAY too big at 8.5" x 6".  As happens sometimes with Amazon, they gave me a refund and told me to keep it.  Rather than throw it away, if you could use this, let me know and I'll send it to you.  I had them on my other rig and they worked great.  No wasp nests were found.

In the meantime, still waiting, I began the hole digging process to replace the sprinkler head that waters my door and the gardeners did not fix.  I now have a nice hole at my front door, perfect to catch that burglar sneaking around the yard.  Or maybe a skunk!!

At long last the bell rang and the ribs were done.  Two big slabs that I cut into four pieces came off the racks and into eating range.  Too bad for me these do not work well in the aluminum pans.  The cleanup was epic.  

On the other hand, I ate half of this slab in the blink of an eye.  Five hours of tending, testing and tasting for five minutes of eating.  With pork like this, who needs that expensive beef??

I was slow as molasses to retrieve the camera, forgetting it was even out there.  In return, it was slow as molasses uploading this video.  You will see why my first thought was OH NO ... here we go again!  

I could see something black on black walking along the fence.  After much scrutinization, I've determined this is the kitty kitty kind, not the stinky kitty kind.  It's hard to tell, but it's walking away, meaning there's no big skunk tail blowing in the wind.

I've increased the settings to get better pictures, so I will see what saunters by this morning.  I even left a nice piece of turkey lunchmeat as a treat.

NOW ..... it's ribs for breakfast!!!

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Now You See It ... Now You Don't

I wish I could say that about the skunks and gophers!!  Alas, they are still roaming free in my back yard zoo.  I suppose it's a good thing they only come out at night when I'm at least TRYING to sleep.  I'm sure I heard them laughing at me, which is why it took two hours to nod off last night.

I didn't really have much on the day's menu.  I'm still working on the shower.  Trying to get old grout clean is a chore.  I've no idea what possessed me to start THAT project.

The next Now You See It, which you don't because I didn't take the picture, was the hitch on my Jeep.  Since I'm not towing it any more, there's no use leaving my hitch attached just so someone can run into it. On second thought, that actually would protect the plastic bumpers they now put on cars.

It really wasn't hard to figure out and came off in three big pieces.  This was a Roadmaster hitch, one of the easiest I've ever seen as far as hooking and unhooking a tow vehicle.  Not that I really need any more junk in my garage, but I think I'll keep it for awhile.  

Okay, I know that's a trait I got from my Dad.  Keep absolutely EVERYTHING because some day you may need it.  That probably explains the 40 pair of Levis I have in my closet that I wore in high school.   No, I'm not kidding. 

I have to say it was rather a messy job.  This hand is clean compared to the other one.  I did have a moment of oh-that's-cool when I finally figured out how to turn the hitch to remove it from the frame.  People who invent this kind of stuff are magicians!!

With that done, I wandered the house looking for something to keep my brain occupied.  That involved trying to figure out why I got a phone call that my Arizona garbage service would be turned off if I didn't pay.  I knew I had a credit, I just had to convince THEM of that.  

Another hour went by double checking on Amazon refunds.  It's why I hate ordering stuff on-line.  Like the screen to keep wasps out of the hot water heater vent that was 2 inches too big all around.  By the way, Amazon has finally gotten the memo about sending small stuff in boxes big enough for a body.  I'm now receiving all their packages in cheap thin brown paper bags.  I'm pretty sure they are saving a bundle on THAT!!

Suddenly the doorbell rang.  IT'S HERE!!!  My replacement camera.  I have to say all of these cameras are pretty cheaply made.  At least this one came from the U.S.  Also inside the box was a letter from the owner of the family owned company.  It said they were having trouble staying alive in today's economy (with covid and all) and please write a review on Amazon to help keep them in business. 

Apparently that worked, since there are well over 4,000 reviews for this camera.  I'm hoping it works as good as they say.  

Also while scanning through the maze of paperwork I discovered my rechargeable batteries cannot be used.  That's weird!!  So I loaded it up with 8 regular AA batteries.  I now wonder if that's why the OTHER camera went haywire.  Something about the rechargeable batteries??  Who knows.  

It also said to remove all the little plastic covers over the lenses, which I did.  I wonder if there were plastic covers on the old one.  I double checked.  Sure enough there was still one hanging on.  Nice of them to let me know I should have peeled that off.  It was probably there, but in Chinese instead of English.

I am now back to scanning the jungle that is my back yard to see just who might be invading Cooper and Jessie territory NOW!!  I'm keeping my fingers crossed since I haven't smelled any eau-de-skunk lately.  I'm hoping I DON'T see them!!

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Gopher Revenge

I must say I'm loving the weather here.  Cool down to 45 at night and only up to the low 70's during the day.  Mostly I love it because neither my heater nor AC units are running causing my electrical bill to skyrocket.   Especially in light of the fact that PG&E is now going to charge everyone in the state for the cost of the lawsuit they lost over the fire that burned down an entire town.  

Anyhoo .... I wandered out in the back yard to double check on the ant hills.  Yup they are still GONE!!  Wait .... what's this?  Another gopher hole, this time in the flower bed.  

And another .... and ANOTHER!!  FIVE GOPHER HOLES!!!  It's the revenge of the gophers for flooding their little castle in the grass.  There were so many holes, I thought it might be the skunks.  Nope ... it's gophers.  

So I stomped on each and ever one, finding the line between holes and smashing them with relish!!  Now I have all these depression trails in the flower bed.  Oh well, better than gophers.  And so the NEW war begins!!!!  I've no idea how to fight these guys other than watering them until they move to my neighbor's house.  You know, they are just too cute to come to some demise.

Much as I dislike going to Home Depot, it was time.  I think it has to do with the fact that you park at the ENTER door, walk clear to the far end of the store to find your items, check yourself out (only one cashier here) and go out the OUT door to find you are parked clear across the parking lot at the ENTER door.  I walk at least a mile every time I go there.

THIS time I parked at and went in the OUT door.  They don't care for that much ... going against the grain and all.  They also said I had to wear a mask, so I put it on and pulled it down under my chin.  The sign didn't say I had to wear it on my face.  I know, I'm a rebel.

I spent the rest of the day ... literally like 5 hours ... cleaning out the cracks in the shower walls.  This was an epic job requiring the use of a grout brush and a hair dryer.

Once super clean (and I knew very dry) I re-caulked the outside seams.  Luckily I didn't cut off too much of the tip and did a pretty good job, if I do say so myself, only because I read the directions that said to cut the tip at an angle.  

I even got pretty good at smoothing with my finger.  Sadly, that finger had my longest nail on it, which is now stuffed like a jalapeƱo with cream cheese.  Boy is that caulking hard to get off!  By the time I got done, I had it all over my fingers, palms and even my elbows.  It peals your skin off when you discover it after having dried.  Ask me how I know!! 

My repair job looks 100% better than before and since it's especially made for bathrooms, guaranteed to be waterproof, it should do the trick.  When it dries, I will begin the mega chore of cleaning the tile grout and sealing it not once, but twice with this stuff.  

Hmmmm I better read the directions to see if this is waterproof.  I forgot to check.  I'm also VERY happy that the other shower is in a bathtub that does NOT need to be caulked.

I wonder if gophers have all these housing repairs since their little abode got wet in the last flash flood!!  The weather forecast says there will be more flooding VERY soon!!

Friday, April 23, 2021

Did You KNOW???

What a beautiful morning to sit on the patio and contemplate the world.  If it weren't for the fact that my coffee is no longer made and my stash will soon disappear, I would have had three cups.  No one was burning trash, I haven't smelled any skunks in a week and the garlic drying has begun.  That smells OH so good!!

Which reminded me, I require a trip to Costco.  I don't go often because I spend too much money, rarely getting out the door for under $300.  It doesn't help that all their serving sizes are for a family of eight.

Hoping to get a parking spot close in, I arrived at 9:30.  Wait ..... the door is open?  Their website said 10:00.  I asked at the door.  Did you know they open at 9:00 for seniors over 60?  I just might be taking advantage of that more often!  How nice to wander the uncrowded aisles, gather up my purchases and hit the checkout station where they actually have REAL people checking you out.  In fact, they have added EXTRA checkout stations.  

Here's one of my boxes of yummy stuff.

Unfortunately their meat is usually expensive, but it's the best in town.  If they had something under $9.00 a pound, I would have purchased it.  Instead, I got hot dogs and baby back ribs for the smoker.

What's that you say?  Oh no .... no .... there was no ice cream in that box.  It's dusters.  Just dusters for the massive amount of furniture cleaning I do.  These will probably last two years!

Here's another did you know.  Did you know Costco has these raspberry crumble cookies now?  Heaven I tell you .... they taste like Heaven to me.  Crumbly shortbread with a bit of raspberry filling and dusted in powdered sugar.  Most of these will be kept in the freezer for special treats, like when I actually dust something, which means I'll be dusting more often!!

Next up I had to make a run for sprinklers.  The big one in front of my sidewalk has decided to water the front door.  That's not good since it's varnished.  I've had to skip that station for a week now, meaning the grass is a lovely shade of brown.  

I expected the gardeners to fix it, but of course they didn't have any sprinklers.  These guys have become the mow, blow and go troops.  I tried watering that area with a little sprinkler I have, but it's not helping.  I suppose today I'll have to do the repair myself.  Naturally I have no idea how to adjust it, so I'm thinking I need a bathing suit for when I have to jump in front of the spray to protect the door.

On the way home, out in the middle of Nowheres-ville, there was a young kid selling flowers on the side of the road.  NOT a great location for this kind of thing.  I passed by the first time, noting he was very well dressed, wearing a mask outdoors, and sitting on an upturned bucket.  He waved and I waved back.

All the way to the sprinkler store, I gave him credit for standing out in the sun selling flowers.  On the way back, I went out of my way to return to his corner.  About six cars passed him by, but he waved anyway.  I stopped mid road and waved him over. 

He was so polite and nice ... the flowers were $15 and $25.  I told him I was impressed with him standing out there all day trying to make a buck.  I bought the smallest size and gave him $20.  He was very appreciative ... nice to see in kids nowadays .... told me to have a good day and God Bless.  It sure makes your day to run in to a kid actually trying to make a few bucks legally.  I might have declined if he wasn't so clean cut and sharply dressed.  No, the flowers were not worth that much, but I smile every time I look at them, thinking about that young kid.

The latest on the fence ..... my Contractor buddy called to discuss the fence while his fence contractor was in his office.  Lumber will not be available for several months.  His suggestion (which is what I asked for initially) is to replace all the posts and reuse the 7' tall panels.  It's what I originally requested when they said it would not be feasible to nail all those old splitting boards back on the fence.  

That works for me, so now it's just a waiting game for the posts.  Maybe, just possibly, the price will go down by the time they are received, but I'm not holding my breath.

In other news, I ordered a new critter cam, this one with a three year warranty.  Today I will clean the trap.  Look out skunks, I'm coming for you.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

The Saga Of The Fence

Maybe not as bad as the skunks, but I don't know whether to laugh or cry.   It doesn't help when you have an unhelpful neighbor.  The original owner of the property to the left in this picture watered those big trees for days on end.  You can tell by the white wood on the fence.  That of course caused all the posts holding it up to rot off.  When the winds came, it fell over.

This picture was taken by my other neighbor (the nice one) in December when it fell over.  The corner of MY yard is the dark fence on the right.

I called the insurance company immediately.  You've already heard the tale of the adjuster coming from Texas who gave the insurance company a repair estimate of $35.  No, not kidding.  When I made the emergency trip back in February, he was supposed to meet me to resolve the problem, which of course he did not.

At long last after many phone calls, the insurance company told me a few weeks ago that it would pay $4,500, based on DECEMBER'S price of wood.  Subtract $1,000 for depreciation and another $1,000 for my deductible and I got a whopping $2,500 deposited in my account.

Now comes the bad part.  Since then, the price of lumber has doubled and even tripled.  Safeco Insurance refuses to pay a dime more.  I called a contractor buddy and got a fence contractor recommendation.  My friend said the going rate for fences was $50 a foot.  I almost had a heart attack, assuming the repair would be about 100 feet worth.

You're going to love this part.  That estimate would be for a 6 foot tall dog-eared picket fence.  MY fence is 7' tall and will cost twice as much.  Add to that the measure of 181 feet of fence that will have to be replaced.  Yup your math is right, that comes to $9,050.  Just to be sure, I hit up Google Earth to measure.

To replace the fence like it IS will be over $12,000.  FOR A FENCE!!!  And it doesn't even include concrete to keep the skunks out!!  OMG ... well I said some other bad words, but you get the picture.

SO ... the fence will be dog-eared picket style (not matching any other fence on the property), 181 feet worth for a grand total of $7,800.  Will the neighbor be paying his share?  That would be a BIG FAT NO.  It appears the fence is on my property and he's a jerk.  Needless to say, the "pretty" side of the fence will face ME!!  So much for my tax refund and half my travel account.

Maybe, just MAYBE the lumber company can get a shipment in by the end of May.  You saw that picture on Facebook where one sheet of plywood was $95??  That's how scarce lumber has become.  

Just to keep me minimally distracted so my heart rate would go back down, I gave Mr. Cooper a haircut.  It's definitely not his favorite activity, but he sits very still while I chop right and left.

He's such a sweetheart.  He blends so well with the carpet, sometimes I can't find him!!

On the other skunk front, it appears the critter cam is toast.  It took 5,226 still shots the last time out.  Apparently there is a glitch that is not fixable.  Gosh, this one didn't last very long.  I'll be ordering another Bushnell like the one at the Arizona house.  Yes I have to.  I'm becoming very nervous about what is roaming around my house at night.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Adding Insult To Injury!

Did you ever just want to throw in the towel??  I'm there.  Here's the latest hole in a long line of skunk trains entering my yard.  This time they were nice enough to dig a big hole right in the middle of my lawn.  I apologize in advance to all the animal lovers, but I'm buying a kill trap.  

I've spent every morning that I'm here for the last year going out with a flashlight before I can let the pups out.  It puts me on edge every single day making my blood pressure rise considerably.  I'm pretty much done.

Just to add insult to injury, the gophers have joined in the let's-make-her-scream-in-agony assault on my back yard.  This was a VERY big hole that leads to what I'm sure is a million dollar condo traversing my entire yard.  I ran water full blast (which usually works) down the hole for thirty minutes.  It never filled up.  It must be my magnetic personality that draws all the horrible critters to my yard.  UGH!!!

There was a little sunshine in my day yesterday when the Castle Lawyer called and said we should have lunch at the castle.  You remember the Magic Kingdom of Bingo?  It was total coincidence that the King happened to be in attendance, so we caught up on all the latest game plays.  

That's when we discovered that apparently the County rep lady in charge of sending "those" numbers (you know what I mean) to the State, has been sending the wrong numbers, meaning we were locked down longer than we SHOULD have been.  I wonder if maybe  that was NOT a mistake on that person's behalf.  Needless to say people aren't very happy.

Anyway, the crowd will again resume the most fascinating addictive type of gambling at the end of June.  That is if we can again corral the castle characters into coming to the castle and cajoling the carefree to spend their cash.  By the way, NO MASK REQUIRED.

 On my return home, I spotted two guys jumping over my locked gate by the RV.  Really?  It's broad daylight.  Come to find out, just before I ran over them, it was the guy I called to repair my wind-blown-down fence.  It's not good news that the measurement came to 181 feet.  I'll tell you about it tomorrow!

In the meantime I've ordered a few items for the rig, including these chocks.  I have two nice ones from the old rig.  I was pretty concerned when I saw the box these came in.  It was HUGE.  True to Amazon however, inside was a box 4 x 4 x 6.  What?

Apparently they made a mistake and sent me the chocks for the Tonka truck that lives next door.  They cannot seriously think these will work, right?  I require big honking tough muscle-bound chocks, not these kiddie toys.  They will be going back to Amazon's sand box.  

In the meantime, I'm shopping for traps.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Another Success Story

My stories that end in success are usually few and far between.  When they happen, I dance around the house woohoo-ing to the puppies who look at me like I'm the crazy lady, then completely ignore me.  Such was the case with the chicken, and now with my handyman skills.

I decided to do the baking first.  That usually comes out reasonably tasty since I'm using my tried and true recipe for Hawaiian banana bread.  It was a little iffy when I discovered the only crushed pineapple I had was a huge can of the off-brand variety.  

I used half, which even at that was too much, and hoped for the best.  BEST BATCH YET!!  This came out so moist and delicious .... Jonathan the parrot will love it.  Of course I end up eating the majority, but my excuse is "it's for the bird".

While making myself presentable for the UPS driver ... who cares, right? ... well that would be me!  Anyway, while looking in the mirror, I happened to notice it was hanging a little crooked.  Upon further inspection one side looked like it was loose from the wall.

After trying to tighten it up, I realized the screws holding the bracket on one side were coming completely out of the wall.  Oh my gosh!  This is a very heavy mirror.  I crawled up on the counter to get a good hold of it before removing the screws, but of course I had the wrong screwdriver.  Three trips later I finally got it down.

You know those little gizzies that you punch in the wall, then put the screw in?  It was broken in half, so the only thing holding it up was a little sheetrock.  It's a good thing this didn't fall on the counter and shatter!!  Luckily I found another slightly larger thingie ... okay, it was HUGE ... that I had to hammer in place.  It's not going anywhere NOW!!!

It took quite a bit of wrangling, but I got the mirror back in place and screwed down tight.  Wow ... another success story in the same day!!

The failure of the day came with the critter cam.  After searching on line, this brand (my first cheapie one) apparently has a defect that eventually causes it to run constantly, which is why I'm getting 798-1200 videos every morning.  I reprogrammed the thing, changed all the settings and tried again.

No luck.  If I don't want to spend hours every day looking at nothing, a new critter cam will be required.  I'm giving it one more shot today.

The next success story came about because I required water in the fifth wheel toilet to keep the seals in good shape.  You guys definitely know what I'm talking about.  I grabbed my coffee cup from inside, filled it with water and dumped it in.  It's PINK!!!  OH NO!!!  They told me they drained and cleaned the fresh water tank.  I tried it again, just to make sure.

Well that was a disgusting thought!!  Here I used it for three days.  No, I never drink the water, I'm a bottled water girl.  But I did brush my teeth with it.  YUCK!!!

And so the sanitization procedure began.  Here's how it works on this rig.  You move all the little switches according to the pictures, then mix up 1/4 cup of bleach per 15 gallons.  So a cup of bleach went into my 5 gallon bucket which I filled with water.  Hook up a hose like this and hit the pump button.  It actually sucks the bleach water into the tank and I didn't ruin my Levis by spilling any!  

Then you hook up the water supply, switch the little button things around again and fill the tank.  Easy peasy.  There was also something about opening the faucets to let air out of the tank as it filled.  I left it for three hours before crawling under and behind the tires to pull the dump valve.  That sure was in a difficult to reach position!!

That of course flooded the entire driveway.  In a flash I noticed a tsunami of ants coming up out of the cracks.  NOOOOO ... they immediately headed up the electrical connection to the rig.  In a nanosecond there were billions I tell you!!  I made a run for the Home Defense spray which gave them a knock-out punch.  If there are any left today, I'll be dropping Amdro down into their little holes.  

By the way ... ANOTHER success story ... I think I finally won the war with the big red fire ants.  The last three days I've checked, I have not seen a single critter walking about.  I'm still not counting my chickens however ... I'm sure they will be back!!

HAPPY DANCE times three!!!

Monday, April 19, 2021

A New Discovery!!

No new critters roaming around my back yard, at least not yet, only because I have yet to inspect the camera.  It's not quite as much fun trying to wade through 900-1000 images.  I have no clue why it's doing that, but I hit the erase-everything button and set it up again to my specifications.  We shall see what happens.

Yesterday's 628 images resulted in nothing, although I have to admit, looking at a 1/2" square first frame is a little tough to see.  If it looks like something, I click on it to enlarge.  Nothing is a good thing in this case.

About an hour later it dawned on me I hadn't seen my kids running around the house.  It's like when you have REAL kids and all of a sudden you notice it's just too quiet.  Here's what I found in my bedroom.

Here's the culprit, caught in the act!!!  Next time I'll put the clothes IN the basket instead of on the table.  Cooper will do anything to "hide" his ball.  What can I say ..... he's weird!!

Here's the NEW DISCOVERY!!  I love smoking meat for meals, although I achieve perfection maybe every third try.  What I DON'T like is the cleanup.  Oh my goodness the scrubbing, rinsing, scrubbing mess you end up with.  It takes an hour to clean up the racks alone.  

Why did I not discover this before???  I had two chickens not even close in weight.  I googled how long to cook them.  The directions said to place them in foil pans.  DING DING DING!!  The lightbulb went on.  If I smoke them THIS way, I won't have the cleanup.  Will wonders never cease.

I have to admit it takes a little longer.  Four hours was the target when it was time to stick them with my handy dandy thermometer.  Wait ..... what is THIS?  I found in my overflowing kitchen drawer, the timer/thermometer I purchased some time ago and have never used.  

I thought to just take it's temperature, but suddenly it dawned on me it had an oven-proof cord so I could poke it in the chicken and check the temp from outside!  Oh my goodness I did a little happy dance.  Not one but TWO big discoveries on the SAME DAY!!

It took another hour to reach temperature, but doesn't this baby look delicious with a capital D??  I let it rest foil covered while I cut up the smaller of the two.  This was the most tender, delicious, moist smoky chicken I've ever had.  Forget that expensive steak, I'm cooking THIS from now on!!

Cleanup was tough.  I threw the pans in the garbage.  Woohoo!!  One went in the freezer and the other will be meals for today!!

And so it's time to again check the game camera to see what roameth my back yard.  Today I'm dragging a bag of it-got-wet and is now hard as a rock bag-o-cement to the big hole in the hopes of discouraging my nighttime visitors.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Strangers In The Night

It's interesting to see what lurks around your house at night.  That's why I always set my alarm, although the only thing we usually have is porch bandits.  Of course there was that time I caught some boys peeing in the bushes on my front yard ... and of course the coolest bandit of all, a raccoon!!

I sat on the patio for awhile in the morning, trying to come up with strategies for ridding myself of the midnight black and white bandits.  At least my roses are happy campers!!

Possibly the consensus that I wander the back yard in my tux might work, except I would be picking foxtails out of my pants for days.  I tried the raw egg enticement ... in fact, TWO whole eggs in the very back of the trap, hoping the weight in one's mouth might set off the trap.  Nothing ..... I got nothing.

Finally I decided to check the camera again.  For some weird reason, of which I have no clue, it recorded 928 videos.  I'm not kidding ... what the heck is wrong with this thing???  I double and triple checked the settings, which were all found to be correct.  The next three hours were spent trying to figure out how to see which ones actually recorded something.

That's when I found this.  Look for the eyes.  What in the world?  Must be a kitty cat.  Maybe a raccoon.  Skunks aren't that tall.  Truly, nothing that big can get in my back yard.

Take another look!!  Talk about being surprised!!  This is a fox!!!  There's no WAY!!  Apparently he doesn't like eggs either.  Very wary this little guy.  Talk about strangers in the night.  I haven't seen a fox since 1995 on the ranch!

I spent the next hour walking the entire perimeter to discover how in the world it could get in my yard.  Finally, at the very end on the opposite side from the skunk tunnels, was a huge hole, almost completely obscured by weeds.  THIS hole was coming from the OTHER neighbor's side where the goats live.  I've no idea how it gets in their yard since it is surrounded by houses.  Will wonders never cease.  Now I have to be extra careful with the puppies.

After that exciting find, shopping for dinner was a big letdown.  Tri-tip, one of the cheapest meats there is, has a price of $7.99 a pound.  Too bad we aren't still in the cattle business.  We would be RICH!!  Not really, the two middlemen (slaughter houses and grocery stores) get all the cash.  We were lucky to sell our beef for 50-75 cents a pound.  

I passed on all the beef and found two $8.00 chickens for the smoker, along with two-for-one pork loin at a reasonable price.  My dinner plans changed to chili verde.  I don't make it often, but when I do ..... it's YUMMY!!!

Next on the menu ... smoked chicken!!  I'll be working on that for several hours today, giving me lots of time to think about how to get rid of the skunks.  I'm thinking maybe I'll set up a feed station out FRONT of the house that will keep them occupied until they forget about the back.  

The alternative is to keep trying to catch them, leave them sit in the cage all day, then drive in the dark to some back pasture to let them go.  That's assuming of course they will LEAVE the cage.  SO MUCH FUN!!!