Wednesday, April 30, 2008

We brought home two!

I was up at dawn which is still only 6 AM here in the Midwest. But my son came at about 8 to get me. We car pool up taking only one car with the idea that we will have to drive something additional home.

After some breakfast at the local Quicktrip, and 5 gallons of gas in the Prius, we were off to battle the traffic to the Northeast corner of KC. By the way, that is the first gas we put into the Prius since I purchased 7 gallons in Des Moines last Saturday. We didn't fill it up, so we couldn't calculate the mileage.

Needless to say, it does remarkably well on mileage. Somewhere around 50 in all around driving. Unbelievable!

We arrived about 9AM and got our bidder badges. You put your ID card into a machine that reads it and assigns a bidder number. It prints a number tag on sticky back paper to stick on your shirt. No bidder badge, no entry into the auction floor.

It seemed as though it was over almost before it started. I took car number three in auction lane 7 and Chris took number three in lane 1. Bang Bang.

That was what we were after, and it spent the money we planned to spend. A half hour into it and we were done. We spent the rest of the morning driving the first new car back to the garage, and then the second back. It is about 30 miles each time so we saw lots of highway.

We got a 2008 Toyota Corolla and a 2008 Nissan Altima, both nice cars with about 20K miles on them. The Corolla is black and the Altima is midnight blue. The blue is really sharp.

We spent the rest of the day delivering cars to local repair shops and picking up a title in the very Northwest part of the city, out by the airport. In short, we drove all over heck. Gas crunch? What gas crunch?

I think I will stay home tomorrow! But it was fun to get over to the place and be successful in our endeavors.

On another note, we still have not seen the sprinkler man to start our installation of the watering system. In all fairness, it has rained a lot and he has not been able to work on new systems as much as he would like. But we are becoming restless. Our yard looks like the dickens since we are all marked up with the buried pipe markings and flags and are not able to mow anything.

So tomorrow, we will get the mower out and mow around the flags as well as possible. Perhaps poison some dandelions and such. Can't wait forever.

It has been a long time since 6 AM so I will end this here and crash for the day.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tired Tonight

Went to the repair facility at the RV lot and explained our problem. They were not too reassuring about how they would fix the problem. Seems the walls of the feather light unit are mostly foam board. And they do not hold screws or fasteners too well.

"We're going to have to call the factory, send pictures, get the representative out here." I heard all of these phrases at one time or another as he talked it through in his mind. "You'll have to leave it!" "It will take several days to get them to respond." Sounds like it will be warranty, anyway.

So I asked where he wanted it parked. Seemed as though there was a rig in the spot he had in mind. "Well , dump it right here." he said. Then he turned and walked away, and did not return.

Now that is the difference between this dealer and the one in Texas. They didn't even sell the unit to me, but they helped disconnect it from my truck. Almost to the point of doing the whole thing themselves. Here they just walk away, and let you do everything. So fine, I dumped it off the hitch and left.

After a three hour trip, I was back in KC. Time to go preview cars. We were out there for four hours. This becomes very much like work. Another 2,000 cars in the parking lot. But we picked some to try to buy. Hope it goes better than last week.

I'm killed as I sit here in the chair. We did have a good Bar B Que sandwich at Oden's BBQ, in Belton. We went thru the list, and choose the cars we liked, over the meal. We left the restaurant at about 9PM.

Tomorrow will be more challenge and fun. Come back and see how we did!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Prius Delivered, RV to Lake Ozark

At about 9 AM the Toyota was delivered to the car lot. Or should I say the warehouse. I haven't really clarified the fact that we do not have an actual parking lot style used car lot. No nothing like that. Its a warehouse! With an office in the front.

We have two large garage doors on the back of the building and at least 2000 square feet of concrete floor. The facility is one large room with mercury vapor style lighting and red iron building supports. It is insulated and heated.

So you can't drive by and see the cars with, 05 or SALE, in the window. We primarily are focusing on the internet to advertise the cars for sale. Like and We are relying that most folks do not go driving around to shop for a car. Not with gas at $3.50. So if they do not find it on the internet, they just do not know we have it. We have many lots all around us and for the most part they seem to be customer poor. Desolate parking lots, with the same vehicles that haven't moved in weeks.

We have been parking one car out by the mail boxes with a for sale sign in the window. Generally a lower priced car, as that is the demographic of the Belton, Mo area. Right now it is a Honda Oddesy that seems to be too expensive for every one that calls about it.

It is cheaper than the other vans in the listings so it should go one of these days. Or maybe not.

I am at the lake place tonight as I have an appointment to take the RV in tomorrow. We purchased the Travel Trailer here in the lake area at Quality RV. We have an issue with the seat back of the dinette. So they are going to look at it.

I left the KC area about 4 PM and arrived here about 8PM. I didn't drive very fast, pulling the RV, while coming down here. Gas is high enough without pushing it. Just rolled along on the back roads at 50 to 55. It is mostly narrow roads, but I often use more than my share of the road when towing, except when meeting another vehicle. Many of the bridges are single lane, with yield to oncoming traffic signs.

Since the truck and the trailer are much too large to get down the steep hill behind the lake house, they are parked about a quarter mile back up the street. This is our housing association sewer plant lot. I cleared this with the builder on the phone, before blocking the drive way. He said that no one is using the lot right now. Just go ahead and use it like you own it.

I am all by myself here in the house, and it is quite quiet. Deathly still. And cold. Forecast low here tonight is 33. So I buckled under and started the heat.

I will see what there is to learn about the broken seat in the morning. Wish me luck in convincing them to fix it under warranty......

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ham Fest and a Car Ferry

Where do I begin? When we had the last Prius Hybrid Toyota, we had only one car and several customers that were interested. The first guy with cash took it. But now we have found another car in the central Iowa area. A year older but really clean.

So I was ferried to Iowa by my daughter in law. We went and looked at the car and bought it on the spot. She went back home and I stayed to spend the overnight in Urbandale. A suburb of Des Moines where the Ham Fest was to be held.

So I went to the Sunday swap meet, and saw folks that I hadn't seen in the last two years. Seemed like we talked and talked and talked. But then we are ham radio folks that talk on the radio to complete strangers, so talking to friends that we haven't seen in some time is a piece of cake.

Five hours later, we left the arena as the vendors were packing up their booths. But we weren't done, as we moved to the local Mexican restaurant and had lunch together. It was 2:30 PM before I was back on the road.

This was the first time that I had a Prius on the highway. I normally drive a Pickup and often with the 8,000 lb travel trailer on the back for ballast. So this 2,800 lb car is really small and light. It drove just fine, once I became used to the quick steering.

When I was putting around the city, I never exceeded 35 or so, and the computer calculated 53 MPG as an average. I was taking it really easy, trying to maximize the numbers.

Once on the Highway, I zeroed the computer to start over on the highway mileage. At 70 miles per hour, I was getting 42 to 43 MPG. Using the cruise control, the mileage locked right in and seldom varied.

After reaching KC and the slower speed limits of in town freeways, the mileage began to increase. Once the traffic caused coasting behind the car in front, and speeds of 50 became normal, the gas engine began to cycle on and off.

When you are driving on electric only, its like these are free miles. That vastly increases the average MPG. It jumped up to 45 for the overall trip, using a little over 5 gallons of fuel for the trip. Under $20 for Des Moines to KC!

I have to go give it back tomorrow! I wonder if the car will last at the car lot for the week? It could be gone quickly.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Night

Here it is late at night again. Where do these days go? I stonewalled the car lot today, and never went anywhere close to the place. It becomes overbearing when you are really not an employee, but rather just a helper.

Again we had the grand kids for the day and that stretched into the evening as both the son and daughter in law had to work late on a Friday night. As a realtor, there are no set hours, so my son can be called into the office, or go show something at almost any hour.

So when the customer just got off of work, thats the time you go to work.

I went to the ham club meeting and the pizza parlor, afterwords. The meeting tonight was put on by a highschool student as he explained the class project of a robot. They had six weeks to design and build the machine from scratch. Then it is entered into the locals, regionals and then the finals in Atlanta.

He had the whole presentation on his Apple notebook which was connected to the overhead projector. He did as good of job presenting the project as any of the adults could have. This kid will be an engineer, just as soon as he completes his high school and college. And that will only be a minor slow down in his progression.

So much fun to watch a young man develop into a major success. Now I get home and we are looking at a car to buy in Des Moines. This is becoming overwhelming! But I don't mind.

So in the middle of the night I am reading the blogs for the day and writing this one. I am looking forward to going to the Hamfest in West Des Moines on Sunday. Question becomes, will I be looking at cars in the area first. Better get off to bed just in case I'm on the road earlier, than I realize.....

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wow We didn't get a thing!

We spent all day Tuesday looking at which cars to buy and all morning Wednesday bidding on the good ones, and didn't win a single auction. So most of the good cars we had, are sold and there are no new ones to get ready for next week.

Man who would of thought that would happen. Of course, you can buy all the 15 to 20 MPG cars that you want, for very reduced prices. That's because nobody wants them. SUV's and Pickups are available by the bucket load. All of the used lots are full of them. So they send them to the auction. Where they aren't worth anything, because no one else can sell them either.

So in my family, we have two SUV's and a pickup. They aren't worth a thing to trade in. Even though the pickup is an 07. But surprisingly enough, the diesel truck that I would need to pull a fifth wheel, is not that depressed in price. Seems that because most folks that buy a diesel one ton, have a specific job for that truck, that can't be done by anything else. So the demand for that, while somewhat soft, is still good enough to keep prices fairly high.


Loyce now has the four year old and the one year old grand daughters on a full time basis. They are coming over at 8 AM and staying the entire day. So our house is a full time daycare. Since I have been going to work every day at the car lot, I haven't been much, or any help. So she has been pooped out at night, when they go home. Ahhh retirement!

But tomorrow is another ham club meeting on Friday night, and I have another Hamfest up in the Des Moines area on Sunday. So we have many activities here to occupy our time. Loyce will not go with me on the ham activities, so perhaps she will nave some free time. We will not have much rocking chair time, but that is for when we get old right?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

More Cars

Yesterday was again, Tuesday car auction preview day. So we spent most of the afternoon and evening looking at the cars for sale. We have picked several to see if we can win them. But if the price goes too high, well you have to let them go.

If you can't sell the cars at a reasonable profit why buy them? So today will be another adventure.

I also went with the younger son to look at two houses, that are on the market her in Overland Park. He has some customers that need a medium priced home. So he looks at a bunch to select the ones that may work for them.

So I have to blast out of here now and I will have more to explain later in the day!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Warm and Sunny

We hit 80 degrees on the back yard thermometer today! Yippie Skippie! It was nice to actually warm up for a while. We had that temperature in Texas several different days in February, but have not experienced it since.

But it is not to last. The forecast says it will rain off and on the rest of the week and never get that warm again. By Friday we will struggle to make 60. Boo Hiss! Can you tell I'm ready for it to warm up and stay that way?

We still have not seen hide nor hair of the sprinkler installer! Man its been two weeks since we gave him half of the money. He did eMail that we are the second job out on his schedule. And would be here in 3 to 6 working days if it didn't rain. Which is is supposed to do off and on for the rest of the week.

If it continues to rain then we really do not need to water the yard anyway, right? But we do need to mow the grass to make it even and fertilize. If they dig it right up after the fertilizer and week killer treatment, then that would be lost. So we just look like we have the worst yard on the block. With hundreds of flags all over the place marking the underground pipes and wires.

We were the head babysitter today, as the daughter in law started a new job this week. We will have two of the kids thru the first of the month. And then just the youngest girl after that. We will see how that goes, but it ties us to a work schedule more that I would like. Oh well, its the grand kids you know!

So that the happenings from her in KC.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Weekend Camping

Friday was the day to load up and head out. We hadn't used the travel trailer since we came back in late February. Much of the freezable stuff had been loaded out, and had to be gathered and reloaded.

It rained almost all day. So there wasn't any time that was good to get the rig. Since I had never been to this park before, I went out with the truck to look it over and get the sites. I picked three in a row and paid for them.

After placing the green cards on the posts, I headed back for the camper. It never did stop the nasty drizzle. We set up in the rain, and the temperature was never above 42 degrees. Why are we doing this?

Saturday brought sunny weather, but still too cool for no jacket. But then I had the Hamfest radio show to attend. I left the campground about 7:15 and encountered about 6 hens and one tom, turkeys. I slowed and drove right thru the flock. The tom was skittish, but the hens seemed not to see the truck as any danger. They live too close to town and are more used to people.

The radio show included folks from all over the KC area as well as people from Iowa, that I hadn't seen is several weeks. So a good time was in the making. I also ran into one of the folks that we met at Rockport Texas last winter. We went to dinner with them the night before we left for Kansas City. Alex came walking up and inquired how I was, and completely surprised me.

It is amazing how small our world is. And I do remember him telling me he went to this hamfest each year, as it gave his wife a chance to see relatives in the suburbs to the South of town.

Once back at the campground, I encountered a kite club that was having a festival of kite flying. Huge kites the size of cars were flying on the college grounds. When I went to take pictures of these, I found my battery was dead in the camera. Bummer!

The size and bright colors of the kites, made for quite a spectacle. The kites are too large to actually fly by themselves. Rather, they inflate like giant wind socks. On a line that stretches above, they have a parachute style wing that provides the lift to keep them aloft. So they are truly huge.

The kites attracted hundreds of cars, and folks were dragging their kids to the grounds in front of the Community College. Traffic in the streets was at a standstill. Parking was non existent.

Back at the campground, internet was not to be found. I tried to see what might be available, Saturday afternoon. I set up the repeater router on top of the rig, and scanned the area. I did see several wifi access points but none were open. Since cracking wep codes is none too legal, we refrained from that activity, and went without. Two days without any internet at all! A record for me in the last several years I'm sure.

We had the campfire on Saturday night, and Sunday morning biscuits and gravy with pancakes and eggs. Always seems to be better at the picnic table in a campground. Especially when it is still too cold for the flies or mosquitoes.

So tonight, everything is washed up and back in the storage lot for another week. But......the 2008 camping season has officially been opened for the Ivers clan......

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Camper Repair

Not our RV but rather the younger son's 19 foot Rockwood. Seems that the last time they were out, there was a big storm and the lightening was in the electrical system at the state park. Something was fried and the battery has never worked since.

He returned the battery because it was bad last fall, but the folks said it was OK! But they refunded it just the same. So today we bought a new Interstate Deep Cycle RV-Marine battery to reinstall. Trouble was it still didn't make the stuff in the rig power up. If you plugged into the AC with the shore power cord, all was well and everything seemed to run fine.

So we disassembled the inverter. Took the whole thing off the wall and traced the wiring back down through the floor and underneath the rig, back to the tongue where the battery is in its box. Everything seemed intact.

Time for the meter! The inverter was providing 14 Volts to the main fuse board, but switching it off proved that there was no battery voltage. The red wire went out of the back of the inverter and into a wire loom, and then trough the floor. Underneath it ran to a 4 inch square metal wiring box with a screw lid on it and came out the other side. From there it went through a fusing device with two posts on it with hex nuts holding wire terminals.

I finally found battery voltage on the wire that went directly to the battery. But no where else. So I suspected the circuit breaker fuse. Disconnecting the battery and measuring continuity through the breaker proved it to be making contact. Humm!

I took the lid off the electrical box along the frame rail and found an extremely large wire nut with four wires in it. Wire nuts on 12 Volt circuits?

To make a long story shorter, I reconnected the wire nut after cleaning the wires and wrapping them around each other. Then reinstalling the scotch lock style nut. I carefully re taped the entire joint and replaced the cover. But this box is not water tight and the water from the road splashes directly on it.

I also took the circuit breaker off and banged it on the vise in the garage. Then I hooked it up to a battery pack and ran a ham radio with it. The transmitter pulls about 15 amps and it held in there just fine.

After putting the whole thing back together, everything works. So who knows which connection was bad? Or is it the automatic circuit breaker, that was reset as I whacked it on the steel vise. Better go see if we can find another replacement sometime soon. I spent the next hour trying to draw too much current through the system in order to cause another failure. It worked like new.

Now all of that is to set the stage for the family going on its first spring outing this weekend. To Longview Lake, on the South East side of Kansas City. It is between the towns of Grandview and Lee's Summit. Not really even out of town. But it will be fine for checking things out and getting the cobwebs out of rigs that have been stored all winter.

Of course ours has been stored for about seven weeks since we got back from Texas, but watch, we'll be the one with something broken!

So tomorrow we go get set up on this camp ground. I'll fill in the details as I learn about them.

Oh and we have the big Ham radio Hamfest in the Shriner's temple on Saturday morning. But the campground is closer to the location than here at home. Just have to get up early!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Back in KC again

It is a common rule that the nicest day at the lake is always the day you have to go home. And today was no exception. It was 75 and sunny. But the wind was blowing fairly heavy. Well not like the Rio Grande Valley but brisk none the less.

I didn't have any urge to start the boat for two reasons. First the boat is covered with winter dirt and dust. So it needs power washed. But the lake water is so full of mud that using it to wash the boat would add dirt, not remove it. And the wind would have made any attempt at boating, cold and difficult to navigate.

Pontoons are like a cork on the water when you try to dock them in the strong wind. So I passed for this trip. We will be back in two weeks to take the trailer in for repairs. So maybe we can string the necessary hoses and wash everything then. We do have an electric washer for the dock, and boating toys, but you get as wet, as the object that gets washed. So that is for another day.

So we left around 1:00 PM, driving back the country route. No interstate and mostly state highways. You get to see a lot more of the country that way. Its not necessarily faster, but it is shorter in distance.

I was really hoping that the sprinkler guy had started the yard project, but there was no sign that he had been here, when we got home. Will have to call and see when that will begin. They will give me the run around.

A slow day, but then sitting and watching the lake from the porch, is never too bad of duty. Not much happening this early in the season, but it will pickup in a week or two.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I was right! The lake is too full. The spillway is open. At least three and maybe four gates are open and running water over the dam.

This is an old fashioned dam that has the spillway right on top of the dam. It is held back by eight giant gates that are lifted by large cranes. The cranes ride on railroad tracks back and forth across the top of the dam. They open the gates over the generators, with the Northern most crane. The Southern crane is used for the spillway doors.

I have never been present when they were opening the gates, so I can not report how that process works. We went into town over the US Highway that is about 3 miles down stream. But as we crossed the river, you could see the water was up significantly and running fast. Peering back at the dam, confirmed the gates were open.

When we returned from town, we went over the dam road and got our windshield wet from the over spray of the falling water. When you drive over the dam, it is completely impossible to see the gates and the waterfall, as it is right under you.

We bought our travel trailer here in Lake Ozark, well, two towns South of here in Linn Creek. The seat back of the breakfast nook, has pulled away from the wall and is loose. So since it is under warranty, we went there to discuss the problem today. I didn't have an appointment, so I need to bring the trailer in in two weeks. And then the only reason they will work me in, is because I bought it there.

Its spring and everyone wants stuff fixed now! So we began to look at fifth wheels. They have a massive inventory of them. Several brands. They have the Keystone stuff and the Jayco stuff, and another brand that I didn't attach a builder to, but they were cheaper. And then they have Carriage.

Carriage makes four levels and they had three of them. Man this place has a bunch of trailers. Now mind you our Jayco is not even a year old, so trading it in would be financial disaster. But I've done dumber things before, so we looked at the new ones.

This can get pricey really quick. It seems that 33 to 36 feet is the norm here, and the weight is about 15K or more. That means a new truck as well. Oh my what am I looking at theses for?

I didn't bother to get a brochure, and came home quickly, but the damage is done. We'll have to sleep on that thought for several nights, before we could commit to such a path. We need to decide what we would be doing with the unit, rather than letting it sit for weeks on end.

So as I sit here looking at the dam from the full side, I can't see the water mist, because it is three miles away. But not much of the concrete wall is visable, just the road railing. We are full, but only half the gates are open. You can bet they think they need the level down, as the spring rains have only begun.

April showers bring May flowers, but we have no where to store those showers....

Monday, April 14, 2008

From the Lake

If you look at the picture that is at the top of the blog, your are looking at the view from my easy chair. And I can sit here and waste the day looking out over the lake.

The difference in that picture and today is the level of the lake. As you look down to the waters edge next to the docks, you will see bare ground. Or lake bottom that is not covered with water. Today the water is back up to the sea wall and the lake bottom is no longer exposed.

The AmerenUE folks regulate the lake level by using the water to generate electricity. The generators are very old. The dam was built in the mid 1930's and technology has long since passed this facility by. They maintain the dam and generate all they can to provide money, for overall upkeep. I often wonder if it is worth it now days.

So in the winter they use as much water as is possible to make electricity. The lake becomes very low. The feet on the bottom of my floating dock will settle into the mud. The lake bottom is mostly gravel so the feet sit upon the bottom and do not dig in. At that point you hold your breath, that the draw down is almost over. The dock will break itself in half from its own weight, should the water go too low.

Today the water is back up on the sea wall. We have had flooding conditions in South East Missouri, for the last several weeks. We are full, but not overflowing. This is too quick in the spring to be full, so I'll bet the generators are running full time. Should April and May prove to be excessively wet, the spillway doors will need to be opened.

AmerenUE does not like to do that as they are loosing water that could be used to generate funds. Ooops I mean electricity.

And the tree is down. It was up by the road but fell between the houses. It ripped my wire antenna for the HF rig right out by the roots. It is on the ground under the remaining part of the tree.

The neighbor cut the stump up and drug it up the hill. Took his truck and threw it in a ravine somewhere. No I didn't ask where. He cut the trunk into chunks but just left them where they fell. His fireplace is gas, and he doesn't want the wood.

Now he thinks the tree was mine, and it was, "on the lot line." Since he quickly removed the stump, there is no way to say whose tree it is now. He can't carry the logs up, and neither can I. The hill is about 60 degrees steep, and is beyond even standing upright. when it comes to paying to have someone come and remove the remains, the tree will be all mine. Or the bill anyway.

Because the neighbor lives here full time, he is naturally one step ahead of us. There is a second bigger tree that is dead, and clearly on my side of the property line. The neighbor wants that removed as well, but again the bill is all mine. I think I see the pattern.

We are sitting and discussing our options. Seems like pay now and pay later.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Were Done

I finally have the taxes were I can mail in the extension. I wouldn't say their done as they are never done. But I am going to file the states and pay the Federal estimate extension and call it a day for now.

The investment companies like to mail out amended 1099's all the time, so you are never done. And if the IRS thinks something is not right, you start again. That's why they don't get it until mid summer. They run out of budget to review things in mid July.

So now we have a call that a tree is down at the lake house, so we are headed out to see the damages. The message on the phone, says that it missed the houses. So now we go look for ourselves.

Can't spend too much on the tree service since we just mailed it all to the IRS.
Ha Ha!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Another busy day

I see it is after midnight as I start to write about what was now, yesterday. And a very busy day.

I started the day by going with my younger son Ben, on a real estate tour. He is a realtor, and on certain days does tours of all the houses, available for sale in a certain area of town. We have a nicer area of Southern Kansas City, on the Kansas side of the border, by the name of Leawood.

Today or I mean yesterday now, was $450 to 500K houses in Leawood. Or more like how the other half lives. Most of the houses were unoccupied, but some were listed for sale, and occupied by their owners. They of course require an appointment, which we had. So off we went.

Reviewing all of what we saw was beyond the scope of this blog as we toured about a dozen homes. It is fun to see the many decorating themes, of the more expensive homes. Folks spend a lot of money on their living quarters. And some of the stuff you wouldn't give house room. But remember, we were supposed to be looking at the home itself and not the decor.

Sometimes it is hard to separate the two.

By mid afternoon we found ourselves back in the town on the Missouri side where the older brother has the car lot. So we went to the local Mexican restaurant, where we ate chips and salsa. Oh and a Chimichanga or two also. This is an old Pizza Hut that is now painted in Mexican colors, and has the most authentic food since I left Progresso Nuevo.

They make the exact same Camarones al Mojo de Ajo, that I was ordering down there.

After the lunch, I transferred from Riding with Ben, to going with Chris. He has purchased a used Toyota Prius, which is quite a find. There are waiting lists for the new ones and they are in demand all over the country. For various reasons, he managed to talk the local Toyota dealer out of this used one. Now he has to clean it up and get it ready for sale.

We traveled back North to the airport area, where I went to see the car, yesterday. This time with both of us in one car as Chris drove the Prius back to the lot.

After returning home, it was Ham Radio Club night, and I was late getting to the local church for the meeting. We had an informative get together, and adjourned to the God Fathers Pizza parlor for the after meeting, meeting. Or the annex meeting as they like to call it.

I do not know what they like to talk about for so long, but it was almost midnight when I got home. Maybe I did a lot of talking too. The day has been over 13 hours since I left this morning.

Man this retirement thing is worse than working!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Doctors Office

I never like going to the Doctors office. They ask all kinds of questions that can't be printed in this blog. And they want a pint of blood each time. Well maybe not a pint, but it seems like it took forever to get a couple of test tubes full.

So getting up and going in without any breakfast was a pain. The appointment was at 9, and I had to go without eating before hand. But then 9 stretches to 10, as they put you in the little room and just forget you are there.

Even though all is well with everything, they feel obliged to change the medicines you take all around. So tonight I do not know what new prescriptions will be faxed to the mail order house to be filled. Or how much any of it will cost. Its just out of my hands, completely.

Maybe that is the part that is disconcerting, it is out of my control. So I will have to wait about a week to see what new prescriptions are mailed to me. And then understand the dosing instructions written on the bottles.

When I returned home, Chris called and wanted me to go look at a car up in the North part of Kansas City. A dealership up by the Airport. Its about 30 miles each way to get there. Once there, I took pictures of the vehicle and brought them back to his computer. He has since agreed to purchase the car.

Sure hope I didn't miss something obviously wrong! That would be bad!

So I sit here tonight, wondering how the labs will turn out from the Doctor. You really do not want them to call you, since that would be only if something is really wrong. And different pills may cause things to go wrong, when they are OK now. Its not fun being diabetic.

Did not work on the Tax Return again today. Man I am bad about that. Just hate it so much, that I can't seem to bring myself to finish the thing.

So I sit here reading everyones blogs, and contemplating if we will ever be able to go back on the road.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hanging Close

They upped the price of gas another 12 cent on Tuesday, so we have to hang close to the house. Just going to the neighbourhood Wal-Mart is more than a mile each way. So us tight fisted senior citizens opt to stay home.

Well actually I worked on the Income Tax again today, looking for payments and deductions in the checkbook. But nowdays with online bill paying I review those records as well.

Since I do not like doing my own taxes, I get sidetracked easily and today was no exception. Once the car auction began at the local lot, I had to tune in to see what some of the beauties that I had driven yesterday would bring.

Basically if it is small and made in Japan or by an oriental car company, it is deemed to be good and sells for much more than its worth. Especially if it gets good gas mileage. Otherwise, used cars are very soft. The bigger and more gas inefficient they are the less they are worth.

So a 60K Cadillac SUV that is three years old, struggles to bring 12K. It would appear that all big cars will end up as salvage, before they loose their usefulness. I own a truck and two SUV's, so I should probably just throw them out.

But as RVers, we need a truck to pull the rig. And guess what, even at $4 a gallon, the big diesel pickups remain expensive. I struggle to understand.

All the utility companies are coming and marking our yard for their buried wires and pipes. We have paint lines all over our yard. So that must mean the sprinkler guys are coming. Maybe soon. But it still rains. And rains.

I thought this morning we were going to have a nice day, as the sun was out for breakfast. But I went out with the dog and quickly realized, it was only 40 out here. By noon the sun was gone, and the rain came back, late in the afternoon.

If the ground is wet and muddy, the sprinkler is for another day. Or several days later, after it dries out a bunch.

And the forecast is cold and rainy for the next three days. Even down to freezing on Sunday night. Burrr.

I know, its that darned global warming!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tuesday at the Car Auction

Tuesday is the day that everyone goes and previews the cars that will be auctioned tomorrow morning. There were 1600 cars at the last count this afternoon, but more will show up before tomorrow.

There is no way that you can look at all of these vehicles. The task is like going and looking at all the cars in the Mall parking lot. You have to select the ones you are interested in looking at from a list and then go to that parking spot. Generally it is OK to drive the cars around the massive lot, to see how they drive.

So we will pick out an older car and use it to go look for other cars. Problem is that none of the cars have much gas in them. So the game is to find one that has enough gas as to not run out. We were driving a 1999 Camry this afternoon and it had a good heater.

Yes it was only 44 degrees out there and raining, with the wind blowing. Not too pleasant of an afternoon. This really becomes work after a while, as you are not looking at, or buying cars for yourself, but rather trying to second guess what someone else might like to buy. And it is expensive if you are wrong!

You cannot believe how pitted out some of the cars are, when they are traded in. People can really be pigs. Cars that are driven by women, can often smell of perfume and cosmetics. Folks that smoke heavily, leave an otherwise nice and clean vehicle unserviceable.

Other than the used car gig, we spent a quiet morning over breakfast and spent some time studying the internet this morning.

It rained last night during the Championship basketball game, and continued all night. This morning it looked as though it would end mid morning but that never happened.

The overcast and cold day messes with you spirit to accomplish much of anything.

We did have the gas company come and mark the buried gas line with paint and flags in the grass. So we are heading toward the sprinkler installation. But the rain will add days before it will be dry enough to begin.

Perhaps tomorrow will be nicer...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Kansas is National Basketball Champ

From seemingly loosing in the late second half, Kansas survived by fouling the Memphis team repeatedly in the last minutes. Memphis shot poorly at the line, and a last second three point shot from Kansas, tied the game.

In overtime, the Jayhawks never looked back. And again the town erupted into fireworks. There does not seem to be as many parties tonight. Its the work week and everyone is headed into the office tomorrow. Gotta cool it. But this is a happy town tonight.

Most of you know that we are from Iowa and really never rooted for Kansas, but it is easy to get caught up in their success, when you live among so many of their graduates. We are very happy for the school and its students and alumni.

I had a down kind of day yesterday as I didn't feel all that well. Seems as though I catch a hacky cough from the grandkids, when I spend time with them. It is my lack of immunity from the diabetes, more than anything the kids do. They do attend school and carry many more bugs than we adults seem to. And I am really sensitive to it.

I did go with Chris over to the Adessa auction, this afternoon. We looked over this weeks crop of cars coming off of the lease programs. Chrysler has hundreds of lease program cars there, and it seemed as though half of those were Jeep Libertys. They will go for good prices as there are so many of them. Can't possibly be that many buyers. Especially since a Liberty's gas mileage isn't so great.

We didn't see anything that we couldn't live without. Sales of cars are really slow right now, and the new manufactures have all kinds of programs on to assist in new car sales, so used becomes even slower.

Other than spending about an hour on the phone trying to get a Doctors appointment for this week, that was my day. There's another big boom in the sky. The natives are restless tonight.

Hope you enjoyed the game....

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Fireworks and Parties

Its 12:30 AM and the fireworks have subsided. The sirens are farther between wails. But the reality hasn't sunk in for most of the Jayhawks here in the Southern reaches of Kansas City. The news on channel 5 was nothing but the win. No other stories were reported.

We went to my son Ben's house for the big game. We had Hot Wings and Beef Burger made rites. The booze was mixing liberally. And the game began. We were amazed to see the Jayhawks streak to an opening lead that was 32 to 10 in the first 10 minutes.

We knew it wouldn't last after the halftime, and UNC came charging back, but somehow Kansas held them off. In the end it was North Carolina that ran out of gas. So Kansas won by 18 points.

I think I said in this very blog, that UNC seemed unsurmountable. But thats why we have to play the game. What team will show up on any particular night. Kansas definitely brought their "A" game tonight.

The real story was the numerous parties going in all the neighborhoods and the eruption of fireworks from back yards all over the town. For a state that does not allow the sale or possession of such contraband, it is amazing that the sky lit up madly right after the win.

Sirens of police cars, zoomed up and down the streets chasing bad guys and party goers. In Lawrence, the main street thru downtown was jammed with people, as the police must have cordoned off the cars.

The overall sentiment seemed to be one of payback for Roy Williams. Former Kansas coach, who left Lawrence for UNC after promising that he would never leave the Jayhawks. Yes they are bitter, that he dumped them. But he's got his payback now.

The Jayhawk faithful have struggled to right the ship, sailing thru mighty muddy waters. But they never seem to win the really big ones. So now they are in the final game, but Memphis overhauled UCLA. Is it possible that Kansas could win just one more? Again, which team will show up in San Antonio on Monday night?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Another day in the retired life.

But I was busy all day! Doing what? I don't remember. Wasting time obviously. And I am so good at it.

I worked on some bills in the morning and then went to the car lot to help Chris. I had an older TV set here that I donated to the cause. He has hooked up a camera so he can see the office when he is in the back warehouse working on a car.

It has a microphone and he can hear the buzzer on the front door thru the TV. But there was no buzzer on the door either, so we installed that as well.

I didn't go over in the morning because he was busy with a customer. Seemed like the afternoon just disappeared. But the electronic stuff now works as advertised. I did some of it and Chris did some.

Since I got back home, I have fooled around all night with this time waster. The laptop I mean. It's 12:30 and I am ringing off for the night.

Or I'll still be sitting here in the morning........

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Signed the Sprinkler Deal

The rewrite of the ongoing sprinkler proposal, doesn't add much clarity. I did receive an email that began to say what they intended to do. So I printed it out and labeled it as an addendum. Then I signed the whole mess.

Now the ball is in their court. If they come out before all the flags blow way from our yard, we will see how well they follow the plan. I did take pictures of the flags, just for our records.

So with that job complete, I headed to the car dealership. There is a bar bee que across the street from the office, and we have promised ourselves to try it. So today was rainy and cold, with not much on the agenda, which made it a bar bee que day.

The place is called Odem's, and is old wooden knotty pine like inside. The food was excellent. We just had beef and pork sandwiches, with fries. The meat was moist and came dry, which allowed us to add the Sauce.

When we didn't order their beans, which they considered signature, we got a complementary side because they wanted us to make sure we tried them. Good, with shreds of meat in them. Too much sweet for this diabetic.

We went to the auction later in the afternoon and picked up yet another car. This was an older Ford Taurus that is more of a junker, but it was cheap.

Actually, it is a fairly clean car but it has ooodles of mileage on it. It will make a runs good type of car for someone needing just basic transportation.

This evening has been a chill out type of night, with lots of computer time. Not much happening here but we didn't get any snow like the friends back in Iowa reported tonight on Skype.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

No Blogs Today

I went all day and didn't read a blog. Now thats a first. But all that means is I have to catch up later. But today was more of a day of rest from everything. I didn't go to the car lot until late afternoon,, and then only to take a few photos.

I did study the bid on the lawn sprinkler system in the morning, but came away without knowing any details about what I was purchasing. Essentially, the bid did not tell me much of anything about how many zones, or what kind of spray heads would be in the zones.

So I called and asked about what I might be getting. They said that they will lay out the coverage as they install the system, and that they guarantee total yard coverages when they are done. So how do they know that It will cost $4,600 bucks, if they do not even know how many zones or heads they are going to install?

I am to get a revised quote, and the fellow had me out counting the flags that he stuck in the yard. He didn't even write down what he had planned. Oh, and he usually takes pictures, but his camera had a dead battery.

But I am into this by three weeks now, and will get the installation in the next two weeks, so I hate to start over from scratch. Everyone is clamoring all over these folks, to get started now that it is not freezing at night. So just having the guy on board, with a commitment is significant.

As an accountant, I have a sense as to how a business should be operated. And the yard guys do not match the expectations I have. But then that is how they became yard guys. Ya I know, I am way too critical.

But just in case, I will come back and re read this, when we have to dig the whole works back out of the ground, because of poor planning.

Otherwise, I went to a Ford dealer today to look at the new super duties. They are no different than the one I was bidding on yesterday, but you would get to choose the options if purchased new. So I was learning about the options, and looking to see which dealer had what. I know I shouldn't be doing that, but then one of these days I'll be too old to go RVing.

So without resorting to a discussion of the pork chop dinner or the weather, (sunny and 60), thats our day here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Busy Two Days

I have spent the last two days in the auto auctions here in KC. I went to see Chris in the afternoon yesterday, and from there to preview cars at the first auction.

And wouldn't you know it there was a 2008 Ford 250 Diesel with 12,000 miles on it right in the middle of the lot. And it was clean as a button. That would haul the RV like it wasn't there. So we got up at 6:30 today, and went out there at 8. The auction began at 9 and the truck was number 6.

Wouldn't you know it we right away got into a bidding war with another guy, that thought he just had to have it. We had studied the market, and had a top number that we felt we couldn't exceed. This other fellow took us to that number in about 6 bids, back and forth.

He only out bid us by two hundred bucks, but we felt he was prepared to go much higher, if need be. We could have run him up a bunch more, but when you are up around 40K this can become serious right fast. So we just quit and let him have it. Maybe there will be another one in the next few weeks.

Dang I hate to let him win like that, but dollars prevail over my ego. Besides at some point, he is the nut case, for giving too much.

We went on to the second auction this afternoon, and previewed cars until 7 tonight. We have several that are a possibility, but then price will be everything in those auctions as well. I don't plan on being involved in the actual bidding tomorrow. But if successful, I will have to help go after the cars.

I will say that folks have no idea how much work it is to have, and present clean used products on a used lot. There is a lot of just disgusting cars for sale. They are mostly beyond any and all efforts to resurrect them from export to the third world.

And for those few vehicles that are desirable, there are a hoard of bidders, driving the prices beyond what normal folks are willing to pay.

So much for the car dealer thing. I haven't had time to have any other experiences, to relate in the blog as we spent 8 hours yesterday and 12 hours today at this work. But I am learning a new trade that is much different than the accounting gig that I worked at for thirty years.

And I do not even have a new truck to show for it. But then diesel did go over $4 a gallon today here in Kansas. There seems to be no limit...........