Thursday, March 31, 2011

Base Plate for the Toad

I have been doing some research on base plates to add to the new Honda CRV.  What I was looking at was the installation instructions for installing the things.  Not that I want to try and do it myself, because I think that should be left to the professionals, but rather to see how much butchering is necessary to get them installed at all.

By butchering, I refer to the act of chopping the crap out of the front end steel and fascia of the car in question.  But also, in some cases the instructions require the removal of the actual steel bumper that is underneath the models rubber fascia.  Just seems to me that removing the heavy steel cross bumper mounted on the front of the steel unibody work is not in my best interest.

Now I understand that this bumper piece is replaced with the cross bar of the base plate that is installed, but my concern is that the car was crash tested with the manufacturers steel bumper in place.  And has not been crashed at all with the aftermarket base plate in its place.

But there is no perfect world, as leaving the original steel bumper in place then requires it to be remodeled with a saws all.  I wonder if folks understood what took place with the installation of these plates, they would allow it to proceed.

Anyway, I decided to use and purchase a Blue Ox base plate.  They leave the original bumper in place, but cut both ends off about a 1/4 of an inch.  But also they cut away two of the mounting blots on each side were the new plate is slid in along the sides of the frame structure.  They do add four heavy mounting bolts thru the frame to secure the base plate.  It adds a cross member of solid steel below the original bumper that is in addition to the original structure.  Some of the original bolts are reinstalled thru the plate and into the original nut plates as well, making the assembly become  one piece.  Not something that was hung on as an after thought.

It is my opinion that once installed, the plate needs to be left on the car for the rest of the car's life.  Removing it, does not replace the mounting structure that was cut away to install it in the first place, and therefore leaves the front bumper much weaker in a head on crash.

I was even thinking I could almost do this myself, until I read that there were oil cooling lines that needed to be repositioned, and that an airbag sensor needed to be removed and reinstalled in a different location.  OK, that does it, setting off the air bags in a brand new car is not an option!! I don't have any liability coverage that would cover that kind of thing.

Well now that that decision is made, where do I get it installed?  I called Blue Ox up in Nebraska.  And no I don't want to come up there 4 hours each way to get the work done.  Well low and behold they use a trailer sales place right here in Olathe, and they assured me they had much experience with the work.

Calling the shop here revealed that their man has thirty years of experience in all things related to hitches and towing.  The deal was cast and the order is in to Nebraska.  Once it arrives, we will set up the time for installation.

In the end, it only cost about $250 more including the sales taxes to have it done professionally and the peace of mind that brings is worth it several times over....

Retired Rod

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

All over the place!

The snow went away, so it must have been over freezing today, but the sun never peeked out all day.  That's what I like about going to Arizona during the winter, the sun seems to come out almost every day.    I have been to Arizona three out of the last four years, with the fourth being South Texas.  In Texas three years ago, we had days where the high temperature never was over 42, so it was back to Arizona!

But with out snow, it seemed warmer when I headed out for the afternoon.  It was still in the 40's though, and I have evidentially become accustomed to it now because I wasn't as cold today.

I do have to make sure that everyone knows that I do not actually have a 4G aircard from Verizon.  I am simply reporting the reviews that I have read on the internet from folks that have them.  I haven't experienced connectivity problems personally, but have rather only read about them.  Of course the Verizon reps denied any issues with their equipment.  And they pointed out that the $50 price for 5 Gb of data for monthly service is designed to attract new customers to their fold.  That is why they flat out refused to give me the price.  I wasn't buying a new card, and I wasn't a new customer.  Do you have any other problems we can take care of today?  If not, we will be glad to talk to you on your next visit!   Click!

I only went over to Wal Mart this afternoon to purchase  a few groceries and toiletries like we all do, but any trip to Wal Mart seems to take a bunch of time, because you have to go all over the store and look at stuff you didn't know you wanted to look at.  And in honor of Rick retiring his T shirts a couple of weeks ago, I bought several of my signature light gray shirts.  After Rick said his were getting thin, I got to looking at some of mine..........

Biscuit got a new airplane cable tie out harness, with snap rings on each end from Pet Land where we bought her.  And our picture is on the wall with all the other photos of dogs they have sold.  And true to form, they had a big bunch of pure bred dogs in there for sale again today.  When I got back here this afternoon, I took her out and hooked her up on the 20 foot lead.  She thought she was free and began to run away!  Until she reached the end of the cable.......Yank!   She is big enough now that she won't be hurt by that as easily.  Perhaps she can be tied out some this year, and go exploring in the back yard more on her own.  But we won't leave her outside unattended,  we promise.  She just needs to be able to go out and go potty without her mommy along.  She is very much a mommy's dog right now.

And tonight we are watching another watch show on the TV.  One of the long time presenters for the show has departed the Shop at Home TV network, and this is their first set of presentations without him, so we are all interested in how that will go.

Another exciting day here in KC.........

Retired Rod

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Snow in KC

Sunday afternoon we had a sleeting rain that turned to snow here in KC.  Then it began to accumulate on the ground!  Drat, its supposed to be spring!  Then when about two inches was on everything it went cold and froze for the night.

So this morning everything was white out when we got up.  It wasn't until mid morning that the temps went up above freezing and then it began to spit rain.  I think we made 40 by mid afternoon, but there was no sun.  I drove over to Wendy's for a burger, but it was dark cloudy and damp cold. 

I stayed in next to the electric heater all day, and did computer stuff.  Loyce left once, but I never asked her where she went.  I was busy arguing with the Verizon folks trying to understand the new air card rules.  The reviews of their 4G USB cards are terrible, claiming that they don't stay connected and if they do, it takes a 4 bar signal.  Reviewers say do your self a favor and don't order this.  But you have to order it to get the $50 plan for 5 Gb.

What?  Can't I just use my old card and get the $50 plan?  Why, no sir, you can't!  You can't get it with a 3G card either.  And you have to sign up for 2 more years to boot!.  We went round and round on the phone.  Finally I hung up and called back just to get a different CSR.  Same story.  A salesman told me that I had to call the loyalty office, which he connected me to.  Same deal must use 4G card.  But they don't work, and we don't have 4G here in KC yet.   We went round and round, until the lady just hung up on me!  Verizon may have the best coverage, but their CS is terrible!

Somewhere in there I did check into the internet site for Johnson County realestate tax, and found out the amount that we need to pay for the second half of our taxes, and went to the bill pay service and scheduled the payment so I wouldn't forget about it like I did last year!

What else are you going to do on a cold, dark and rainy day?  Play Angry Birds?  Yeah, I did that too!!

Retired Rod

Monday, March 28, 2011

Noodles and Family

Well now, I see I have succeeded in stirring up both sides of the issue about the Canadian Prime Minister, which I did not intend to do.  But what I was trying to understand, was that in Canada, an election can be called any old time.  Here in the US we have a set pattern of dates that govern when elections take place.

So in my US trained way of thinking, it is an election out of the clear blue, but in Canada that seems to be the only way that a change will come about.  The second thing that I have to come to grips with, is that there are four fairly large political parties, not two.  This forces some folks to form coalitions in order to get things done.  So I have been reading about these things in the last couple of days.

The one thing that I think is much better about the Canadian system, is that the whole thing will be over in 6 weeks.  That limits how much money a candidate can spend on a campaign, and limits the exposure to that never ending bunch of TV commercials berating the opposition.   How do we get that installed down here in the US?  As US citizens, I am sure we don't spend enough time understanding how things go in Canada.

Again it was family day here in Kansas, as our older son and his wife arrived mid morning for a visit.  The two grandkids were raring to go when it came to the toys we keep here at our house.

I was in the middle of making egg noodles from scratch, like my grandmother and mother used to do.  My mother's family was from the farm, and she worked in the kitchen while the men were in the field, and chicken and noodles was one of the staples.  I watched her make the noodles on many a Sunday morning, so in her honor, I made noodles like she did today.

The recipe is so simple with just flour eggs milk and salt.  Rolling them out with a wooden rolling pin and waiting for them to dry.  She used to cut them and hang them on the noodle racks, but we don't have such an item in this household anymore.

Most of the big pan of the noodles were gone in a short jiffy, once I declared it was ready to eat.  I used the boxed chicken broth as the base stock for the chicken.  Like mother, I boiled the noodles in plain water first, and drained them once they were cooked thru.

Chris and I had to go drive the new Honda around for a while, comparing it to the Accord that they have as their family car.  And not much has really changed since their car was made.  The CRV is taller and heavier and drives firmer, but some of that is because it is much newer as well.

We also messed around with the watch collection and the latest acquisitions, talking about features and sizes and so forth.  Watches are so subjective, as what one guy likes, the next fellow thinks is too big or gaudy.  So we don't always agree on the appeal of a piece.  But he is always nice and doesn't look at me with that "What the heck did you buy that for?" look!

And we didn't play Angry Birds one time today!!  Enough is enough, LOL.

Retired Rod

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Keep me out of the computer store.

Today I decided that I had had enough of the computer mouse that had the bad wire on it.  Sometimes it would be alright and I could control where the little arrow went and then the next time things would go all bonkers and screens would open that I had never seen before!

At first I didn't recognize what was happening to me. But eventually I wised up that the mouse was the culprit.  So off to Hypertech where we purchase all this aftermarket stuff.  And they had the cutest little Logitech wireless mouse for under $20.  The receiver thingy looks like a thumb drive only smaller and plugs into a USB slot on the back of the computer.

The mouse is optical and does not have a ball in the bottom.  It only uses one AA battery and is quite small. No more wires to deal with.  Man was I in the dark ages.

But then I got to looking around in the store,,, , , , , and this 22 inch Viewsonic 1080p monitor began to call my name out!!!!   Buy me, I'm under $200.  Buy me, Buy me, Buy me!!!!!  What's a guy to do?

So tonight I am looking at this LCD backlite monitor that is brighter than ever like my lap top, and it is wider than all the web sites and will play DVDs in 16x9 and and and.....

I should stay out of the computer store....... its as bad as watches!!

Oh and I discovered that there were a number of levels on Angry Birds that I just thought I had cleared, and really I had skipped over them.  What?  that won't do.  So tonight I started in on that project!  LOL.
It isn't anything to accomplish, but its there, and I can't rest till its solved!

I still have to go find all the golden eggs and then I will have the original game completed.  But you know the game does just what it is supposed to do.  Teach you to run your phone!!!  With the touch screen, that you are not familiar with when you first get the thing.  And you don't even realize that it is happening to you.

Tonight it is freezing outside here in KC, and we had snow flurries most of the day.  It never stuck to the ground, but I had to run the wipers and clear the snow from the windshield as I was driving to the computer store.  Is spring ever coming?

And tonight, I am wondering about all my Canadian friends and if they are in more of a hurry to go vote for the next prime minister.  I think they said May 2nd, so most of you will be back by then.  But didn't you just do that for Mr. Harper?  I do not really understand the Parliament and its procedures so one of you might explain this to me.  What is no confidence?  Heck if we had that rule our President would be out of office in about three weeks.

Retired Rod

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Back home

After my over night stint with the medical profession, I am all taped out tonight.  They don't let you sleep much, so today I zonked out in the chair for most of the afternoon, not giving much to report here on the blog.

Perhaps when I have a complete nights sleep in a bed, my attitude and ideas will return for yet another blog of interest.  I did manage to play all of the levels of Angry Birds as a past time, in the last 30 hours or so, so if you want walk thrus on certain screens.......  Well go look em up on the internet like I had to.......

Bet you thought I was gonna pass out advice on the game didn't you?

Do not play marathon Angry Birds, the little phone screen will make you go blind!  That's my advice!

Retired Rod

Thursday, March 24, 2011

More Doctor stuff and another Watch

A busy day full of appointments and errands.  And then late in the day another collectable watch arrived.  And yes, I know I have a problem with watches.

At the close of the big spring forward watch show event, a signature watch was offered for 450 lucky folks that got in early on the purchase.  Lucky for us, or perhaps the watch sales people.... But it was a limited production run and a brand new movement........

I caved in really early on and ordered one of the even more limited white dial versions that was sold out almost immediately.  I even put it on value pays.  I am sick, I know!

Anyway that one is an expensive little bugger, since it is a tic tock mechanical chronograph.  The movement was designed in 1973 by a company that no longer exists Swiss Valjoux and has not been changed much since.  It is now produced by the swiss ETA company.  But new this year it is also produced by Sellita of Switzerland as a latest offering.  But it isn't any cheaper when they make it either, it just adds more production and availability..  This watch has the Sellita movement.

Generally folks that encase these movements have names that are recognizable, like Omega, Rolex, Oris, and Tag Heuer.  But then they charge prices in the several thousands of dollars.  If I had purchased one of those, then I really would have a big problem!

This is called a Reserve Pro Diver Scuba, and I grabbed it since there were so few made.  I am not under any illusion that it will be worth any more money in the future, but perhaps it might be more rare.  It is just collectable, like I said.

The rest of the day was spent doing a pre Doctor's visit, as I have to go have some more medical services in the next couple of days, and will be away from my post here at the keyboard for that time.  I will have my cell phone with me, and hope to keep up on some of the blogs during my absence.

See you in a couple of days!

Retired Rod

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Acquiring more than the key at the Toyota Dealer!

First lets take a minute and answer the Honda, US manufacture question.  Yes it was assembled in Ohio, but also it has 60 percent US and Canadian parts in it as well.  The 35 percent that did come from Japan, is the transmission.  Reading between the lines would tell me that Honda doesn't like US transmissions, but that would just be a guess.

So if 60 percent of the parts and all the labor are provided here in the US and Canada, I'm fairly certain that were keeping jobs here at home.  Anyway thank you for all the good thoughts about the new Toad!

But speaking of jobs, and cars, yesterday I went over to Toyota with the Camry.  I needed a new key.  The one with the fob built into the key head. It was $231 before it was cut and programed.  Total cost $310.  Moral of the story is don't loose your key!

I lost it last fall as we were packing out to go to Arizona.  We simply cannot find it and we have been in every location in the whole house and motorhome!  You know it is here somewhere, but that is the problem, Somewhere!

But the rest of the story is that the dealership was feeling bad about charging me so much, so the car jockey kid went and washed my car.  But he didn't take the magnetic mount ham radio antenna off the back trunk.  And of course it wound all up in the brushes and scratched the dickens out of the trunk and left rear quarter panel.  He didn't even bother to put it back on the car he just handed me the new keys.

GRRRRR!  I was steamed, and the ticket writer fellow didn't understand what was wrong!!!  We had a rapid discussion, while I tried to explain that all those scratches and dings weren't there about three minutes ago.

Of course there is no one available to fix it today, so I have a nice appointment next Thursday to see if they can fix it up.  I am certain that they will do a little buffing and call it good, but I will have to be a tiger to get it right, I am sure.

I was already cringing over the cost of the key, and then they damage the car!!  It wasn't too good a day at the Toyota dealership.

Other than that, things have been about normal around here today!

Retired Rod

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

DMV my second home!

It got up over 80 here today, and it felt really nice and warm!!  I thought about me teasing Rick about 80s not being warm, or frying pan hot!  as he put it.  Well it was a nice relief from the 50s, but I see we are headed right back to those 50s mid week!

Today was another day at the DMV for me!  Those of you that have read the blog for several years will remember that we used to trade a few cars over in Missouri, with my son as the owner of the lot.  We wised up and quit it one day when the market handed us our behind!

But last week I had to get out the old skills and try to trade Loyce's old Ford Escape.  It was called a 2005, but we purchased it in the summer of 2004 on an early model revision release.  It was just short of 7 years old.  But it never spent a night outside in its life, and hasn't been driven in the winter for the last 5 years.  It looked almost new.

Since Loyce had declared that she wanted to ride in the motorhome last month when we were coming home, and that wasn't a passing fancy, we needed a Toad!  That would be Towed for my non RV readers.  Now there are many cars that can be towed, but none that we owned.  And I read numerous horror stories about the new Ford Escapes and their transmissions burning up.  So...

We decided that we should join the crowd and purchase the most popular Toad!  A Honda CRV.  It seemed small to me, but at 3,300 pounds, it is what we need to be pulling with the front engine diesel. So after several hours discussing "the deal" I signed the offer, and we now have a CRV in the stable.

Ya, I know we have too many cars, and I don't seem to be getting rid of any of them, but at least this was a trade, and didn't increase the count.  But in Saturday's mail we got the MCO.  The manufactures certificate of origin.

Now here in Kansas, that means that we have to go pay the sales taxes and the license fees over at our DMV.  And we all know how I like them!!  And true to form, when I got there, I had to wait about 20 minutes to get to a window.  At the window, I learned that the dealership hadn't included Loyce's name on the back of the form, which caused time bombs to go off and the sky began to fall!

They printed several forms that needed to be filled out and signed by Loyce, who of course didn't come with me.  So I had the pleasure of driving back home and having her sign everything.  Once I returned, I didn't have to wait in line again!  They had put my ticket number on hold, which allowed me to jump to the front of the line, which was much longer by now.

Once I had disposed of all that dirty old money, I didn't even have new tags.  The dealership had transferred the plates when we picked up the car last week.  I guess we did have a new registration to put in the glove compartment, and a promise that the state would mail the title in 6 weeks!

The rest of the afternoon was spent over at the Toyota dealership, but I will explain that tomorrow as this is way longer than usual already.

Retired Rod

Monday, March 21, 2011

Heading back home.

Another ho hum driving day, as we loaded up the car and headed out back to KC.  I wasn't in a hurry, and kind of loped along at 60.  We use the two lane roads, and much of the way the speed limit is only 55, so 60 is pushing it a bit.

But the sun was shining, and we were having lively discussions about nothing in particular.  But neither of us went to sleep, LOL.  Well, I was driving, so perhaps it might have been bad if I went to sleep.

Back here in KC, I made my self busy applying the license tags that I had acquired the other day in Miller county Missouri.  And since I was in the mode, I hoped on the Motor scooter and drove over to the storage lot where we store the utility trailer.  After a quick moment to try and find why the gate was open, I stuck the sticker on that plate as well.

I never found anyone in the storage lot after riding around the place twice.  Someone must have left and not closed the gate.  It has a lock and a chain, so I locked the place up.  This lot is in the older part of town, and is not nearly as secure as the lot we keep the motor home in.  But the motorhome lot is 4 times the price.  Those cameras cost money.

Back here tonight, I sat and watched the last night of the spring forward watch event.  It ran for the last 4 hours.  I was reading the internet blogs for most of the time, but every now and then, something would catch my eye.  Glad that's over with for another year!

Another day in the retired life!

Retired Rod

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Yak Yak Yak!

When family gets together, it is yak yak yak!!!  LOL You would think we hadn't seen each other for months.  Well now wait a minute, weren't we just gone for three months?

So even though it rained and we couldn't do much outside, and it was in the low 50s all day we talked on and on.

We had a nice breakfast and then later some lunch.  We headed out for some shopping in the middle of the day at the malls, which is the past time here at the lake when rain chases everyone off of the water.

I'm not sure where the day went, but it is gone and we are all tired!  Perhaps from all the talking and talking!  Its good to catch up with your kids and grandkids!

Retired Rod

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A day at the lake.

OK, I added a picture of the Lake Cabin!  The lake is off in the distance on some other fellows land.  But he only shoots at folks he doesn't know.  Sept when he's drunk, and claims he don't know no one.

Our younger son Ben arrived tonight.  We had taken two of his kids with us yesterday, so he has the third and youngest grand daughter along with him tonight. They were all tired tonight, and didn't go down to sleep in the strange place too well.  But then that is kids.

Today was another day to battle the DMV over here in Missouri.  I license a pickup truck here at the lake place, but Missouri allows two year license tags, and this is the second time we have purchased since it was new, so that means the truck is four years old.

Again I had to prove insurance, so it was off to the Insurance office first to get the little card.  Then the card had to be taken to the license bureau.  In Missouri the license bureau is privately owned and is political as in a favor of the politician that is currently in office.  The democrats won in this county last fall, so the license bureau is back at the old location from two years ago.  Every state has its idiosyncrasies.  At least there was very few folks in the office, and I had no wait at all.

Personal property taxes are charged by the local county court house, and we had to go there today as well. We declared the jet ski that we traded for last fall.  That tax bill will come before Christmas, but there is a $200 fine for not declaring the property at the court house  in the beginning of the year.  Now those two errands are out of the way.

Otherwise we played around with the grandkids and Loyce took them shopping with her for most of the morning.

This will be a family together type of a weekend!

Retired Rod

The header picture was taken in Arizona, at the Az State University Arboretum and is a portrayal of an early settler's cabin.  You can see the reader boards near the left side of the lean to stable.  But I routinely depict it as our lake cabin here in Missouri.  Many folks have this kind of an opinion about Missouri, and I often play along with it in fun!

Friday, March 18, 2011

To the Lake!

We have headed of down to the Lake of the Ozarks for a few days that are not turning out to be as good of weather forecast as we had planned.  But it is good to get the cabin opened up and the cob webs chased out.

We were lucky enough to find thing just as we had left them last fall.  We turn off the water at the entrance, and leave the electric heat on at 50 degrees.  With the electric heat, you don't have to worry about pilot lights blowing out or any other such calamities.

On these travel days, there is really not much to explain, since all we do is pack up back in KC, and load it all in the car and drive for three and a half hours.  Missouri seems so timeless as we drive thru the countryside.  Almost all of the junk cars are still abandoned in the same farmhouse yards from last fall, LOL.

It was 75 degrees when we arrived here this afternoon, and we opened the place up to fresh air and opened the plumbing to fresh water.  We are in the habit of running a bunch of water thru the pipes and water heater, when we arrive, since the old stale water needs to be sent down the drain.  It probably doesn't do the septic system much good to have a lot of water thru it like that, but we are on a common system that has ooodles of houses on it.

Depending on whether we get the promised rain, tomorrow may take on several opportunities, none of which includes the spring cleaning we should be doing for the new season.  But then there is all summer to do that stuff anyway!

Retired Rod

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The latest watch came.

About the most significant thing that happened today is that the post lady left a key in my lock box to the bigger package box down at the bottom of the mail pedestal.   Yea!  My latest acquisition from last weekend is here!

It is completely different than most watches you see out there.  I took a picture with the new phone and emailed it to myself.  I just held out my arm and took the shot.  It is too close and the phone doesn't focus that close very well.  The flash kept reflecting off of the crystal, so I ended up turning off the flash and using the available light.

The phone is only 5 megapixel, so the shot isn't too clear but I'l load it anyway.

This is a stainless steel watch that is encapsulated in polycarbonate.   It has a soft and supple polyurethane strap.   Ya its kind of like a rubber strap, but much softer and doesn't cause your arm to sweat.

But what is fun, and causes me to show it on the blog, is that this is a mechanical watch like we wore years ago.  It has been skeletonized, where the frame that holds all the gears and escapement wheel have been cut away to showcase the "tick tock" movement.

This particular movement is a Japanese Citizen Miyota, from the popular Citizen watch folks.  Invicta purchases these movements and installs them into the watches that they make.  The watch was also available in a Gold plated version, but I had to search my soul to decide which was nicer.  In the end the silver color is more subdued and does not stand out as much, so I ordered it.

This is also called an automatic, as it is self winding while you wear the watch.  The movement of your arm causes a weight to swing around in the back of the dial, and that winds the spring.  Because of the skeleton design, there is no date wheel or other complications that when skeletonized would obscure the moving gears.  It is just a simple three hand watch.

It is kind of fun to sit and watch the big second hand go around smoothly, and not jump from minute to minute, as we have become used to with the quartz movements.  I know I am nuts to sit and watch an escapement wheel swing back and forth, but so be it!

We hope to have a big grand kid weekend here this weekend, as they are out of school on spring break.  I wonder if I am up to it?  Happy St Patty's day!!!!

Retired Rod

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Moving sideways!

I can't help but wonder why I am falling off of the chair, but as I look at the watch on my wrist, it is after midnight.  This time change stuff still has me all screwed up.  My insides do not think it is that late.

Today I spent even more time messing around with the new phone.  Tonight, I even had to read some of the owners manual, because I couldn't figure it all out on my own.  Some things are just not intuitive on this  little fellow at all.

I was driving down the road, and the phone rang, and I could see it was Loyce calling, but tapping the green button would not answer the phone.  What?  Of course there is no green button, but just a icon that opens up on the screen of a green button.  And reading things in the owners manual (Gasp) points out that you do not tap the button, but rather you place your finger on it and drag it right to the edge of the screen.  Who the he!! came up with that one?

Likewise I could not determine how to get the phone out of sleep mode, once the screen goes dark.  I had decided that touching the "on" button on top brought back the back light, but the phone was locked.  It had a lock button that was illuminated as well.  Again dragging this button off of the screen to the right, undid the lock.  Messed with that one for much of the day, and never got it figured out!!!

Why do manufactures do stuff like that?  Is it just for the cool factor?  Not cool!

The rest of the phone seems to be more straight forward, and I am becoming better at typing on the little keyboard that comes out of the drawer on the bottom.  I tried the screen keyboard, but my big fingers are a real crap shoot as to which key will actually be entered onto the message.  I have done a lot of back spacing!

I ran most of the battery out messing with "Angry Birds" (game), as our oldest son's girls came over for grandmother babysitting this afternoon.  I stayed a while, but then ducked out on some made up errands. I sort of drove around looking at cars on car lots, as we are thinking of finding something that we can pull behind the motorhome.  Loyce has casually said she would like to ride in the coach rather than drive the extra car.  Well there goes the motorscooter on board trick.  And I'm sure there is nothing casual about the suggestion.

I came back in time to find that it was nap time, and I had to be real quiet, but I just left again instead.

Tonight, I have again been watching the time changing watch shows on Shop NBC.  It just runs on the wall as I do other things, but if something catches my eye I will suddenly drop stuff and watch.  I haven't purchased anything since last Saturday night, when I caught a fairly cheap item for $159.  I didn't need that either, but it was something I have never owned before, so I caved in and ordered it.

They have shown so many expensive items, that I really lust for, but I'm staying in the no buy zone if at all possible.  If I was a gal, and they were shoes, I would need a bunch wouldn't I?  Well maybe not.

Retired Rod

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Phone

Warning a bunch of technobabble to follow.....  Eyes will glaze over.... So here goes.

It didn't matter what I did all day, or that we had the grandkids over here and Caden got a new electronic watch from Wal Mart that he and grandma picked out together.  He was proud, and it had all kinds of pushers on it on all sides and did a bunch of stuff.  Happy Birthday Caden!

I was out getting a sandwich, and driving around looking at stuff I shouldn't be looking at, and while I was gone the UPS driver brought it!!!!

The G2 HTC phone that is.  Stay calm now, Rod.  Its just a phone, nothing special.  Ya right!

I had it out on the table and the plastic off in a jiffy.  Since it is a GSM phone, it has a SIM card to identify itself to the network.  I pulled the old one out of the Blackberry and slipped it into the pocket next to the battery.  I had to read the booklet enough to get it turned on, and now I have already misplaced it.

It booted and seemed to come on, but it was a bit slow.  This is 4G?  But I kept messing with it.  I got the GMail account loaded into the phone, because it is google, most of the preloaded apps run with the gmail signon.  My google email showed right up and it seemed to be a deal.

But then I needed to put my regular email address in so I could get my email off of the cable system.  That was causing me some pause.  I knew that I had a pop3 server, and knew its address, so I put that in.
And it didn't have any encryption so I answered none for that.   But what was its port?  I took what the system had guessed, and it seemed to signon to the download.

But then the upload SMTP side started to cause me fits.  I went round and round, typing password and address and encryption types mostly guessing.  But it kept choosing port 577.  Heck I have no way of knowing that.  So I had to do something very un male like and call the tech over at the cable company.

We walked right thru the selections, and he said use port 25.  And no encryption,  and type the entire email address including the part after the @ sign.  Of course he's done it hundreds of times with us callers, and bam, it signed on!!!!  Happy dance!!!!

Well I thought I was home free, as I had a data plan and everything should be good to go.  Uh, not exactly.  The sim card has the phone book, but I can't see it.  But hey lets download Angry Birds and see if the connection works.

I got it downloaded and began to play a few levels.  Darn that is a addicting game.  But when I came back and began to surf the internet it all came to a stop.  What??  Said I needed a plan!  But I have a plan for data!  Well,,,,,, not the right plan.  I had to give in and call again, this time T-Mobile.  What gives with this plan?

It seems that I had a blackberry plan, and it was $24.95 with data and SMS messages.  But now I have a HTC G2, and it needs the new $29.95 plan and it doesn't come with messages.  Well that's OK turn them off because I never use them anyway.  We use instant messaging in this family!!

Oh and the nice lady walked me thru the steps to import my contact list from the sim card too.  I still have a bunch to learn there, but it looks like the blackberry had a much superior contact register to this G2.  And I will miss that part, unless there is more to the contact register than I can figure out on my own here in one night.

As soon and the nice lady turned on my revised plan, the downloads came right back, and the speed increased a bunch too.  But now it is way late at night, and I need to hang it up for now.

I'm about cross eyed looking into that small screen for several hours anyway.  But it will read blogs while in the car waiting for the misses in a quilt shop!!!!!  So what's not to like about that?

Retired Rod

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sunday and nasty weather.

Well the scooter ducked his self right back into the shed last night and this morning started out really gray and overcast.  I mean nasty going down weather that proceeded to get worse all day.  I went out Wal Mart shopping in the middle of the afternoon and it was about 40, but damp and 40.

It was kind of a bone chilling afternoon for us fellows that spent the winter out in Arizona.  The rest of the folks around here just shrugged at me, and said so...

Well so... is the fact that it is now raining and has been for the last several hours and the temperature is 34.  The weather map has all that nasty pink mixed rain and snow all over the KC area, and they are saying it will turn to all snow before morning.

I knew coming back here in early March wasn't a good idea!  Oh well we'll live thru it.  But shoveling is not going to happen.  It will have to warm up and melt on its own!

Sunday is family day and my older son came over with his daughter Claire.  They hung out with us for several hours.  We did what all family folks do, discuss everything that has happened since we were together the last time.  Chris and I dug thru the watch box and tried on several models that he hasn't seen  since last fall.

Claire and grandma disappeared up into the upstairs bed room for quite a while, and eventually came down with a birthday present for Claire.  She had a new doll and a big smile.  I think it was a success, given that we have been informed tonight that the doll has been fairly  inseparable with its new owner all day.

Lets hope the snow isn't over our hips by morning.

Retired Rod

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Scootering kind of day.

We are going into a rainy period here in KC, and it will be cooler every day until the later part of next week.  So today was the day that I needed to get the motor scooter back out of the garage.

I had to dig the cycle pants and jacket out of the coat closet up in the front of our house.  They came in from the motor home, and like everything else got put away.  But once everything was assembled, and breakfast was behind me, it was off on the scooter.  Temps were in the mid 50s so at highway speed it was still cool.

Since Biscuit had her groomer visit yesterday, it meant that I also needed to get a hair cut.  In a humorous note, my barber shop is next door to the dog shop over in Missouri.  And the dog shop has actually been there much longer than my barber shop.  For a number of years, the shop next to the dog groomer was vacant, and when my barber found that he had to move out of his old location, things just fell together.  So I almost get my hair cut at the same place as the dogs, LOL.

Its about 10 miles over there, so it was a nice morning ride with the scooter.  It was bright and sunny without wind, but it was under 60 so still cool at speed.  I am great friends with the barbers, and many of the men that go their are full of pee and vinegar, so we have a good time as we get cleaned up.

After noon, I rode back over to the house for a few moments, but then on to the Petco to get another heavier  dog reel to walk Biscuit with.  It was adoption day, and they had a bunch of black lab puppies, that had paws bigger than my hands at about 6 weeks old, so how big will those guys get?

I hung around for a while playing with the puppies and all the people that they attract.  But I finally pulled myself out of there, and headed over to my son's house.  Unannounced!

I was just going to stop by for a minute, but little did I know they were having a party for Melissa's mother.  It was her birthday a few days ago, and they were all eating pizza and soft beverages.  The kids were running all over the house and screaming at the top of their lungs.  And we adults were ignoring them so they could.

So after over an hour of party crashing, I managed to say bye to everyone and head out again on the scoot.

I rode on for a while and went thru the Heritage Park, here South of our home.  We don't have any leaves on any of the trees, but the park was still busy as folks were walking on the paths and others were fishing in the lake.  I kind of putted around the park at slow speed, because there was a park ranger on duty making himself available for park patrons.  Especially those that choose to go fast in his park.

After that, I decided that a cheese burger was in order up at the local Wendys.

When I got home, with a full stomach, a nap ensued.  And tonight I have been watching the Invicta presentation on the time change weekend special shows. Watches will be presented all night.

You did remember to set your watch and clocks forward to the new time didn't you?

Retired Rod

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Trying to be like Rick!

As I was looking at Rick's web site today, I noticed that his commenter's comments all showed up in a row nicely under the blog.  But on this web site the comments were in a little click  footer under the blog topic  that said something like      Comments  3.  And you had to click on it in order to bring up another window that wasn't big enough to read any of the comments that folks had left.

What possible motivation do people have to leave any comments if they have to go thru all of that?  So I started to see if I could change something to be like my buddy Rick.  I poured over all the settings looking and looking.  I found the button that opened things in a separate window and changed that, but still every time I went to my blog, I was still presented with    "Comments   2"  and you had to click on it to see any of the comments, but now under the blog.

I began to tear out my hair.  What does Rick know that I can't figure out?  I was frustrated, and thought about giving in and emailing him a question about how he does it.  But the day progressed and I got called to other stuff.  Then later in the day I was back at the computer.  Now how does this work?

It eventually dawned on me, that when I was calling up Ricks site, I was doing it from my dashboard where each individual post is presented daily as he posts it.  But if I just called up his blog with the root web site  without any specific daily post title, I got the "Comments 21" bit on his site too.

When I am requesting my own web post, I am requesting without any specific days title appended to my request.  Going back and selecting a specific post caused my comments to all show up neatly under the day's post.  So we are doing it like Rick, but I'm not seeing it that way.

I wonder how many hours I spent on that?

In other happenings, Biscuit thought her trip to the Groomers was all a big play session, and only wanted to see the nice people over at this new place in the world.  From my perspective, they didn't hardly remove any of her long hair that we sent her over to get buzzed.  $40 out the window, except that her nails are now cut and she has a nice bath.

Loyce thought it was OK, because she still looks like the puppy that we have had all along.  But we both think they took about an inch off of her, so that was a good thing.  She wasn't scared a bit, to go over to the groomers, but we didn't ask if the lady at the groomer had a dickens of a time holding her while she was cut.  I think we already knew the answer to that and they probably earned every penny of the money we paid.

Today was a sunny and mid 60s day here in Kansas, and a nice reprieve from the 40 something days we have been having.  Trouble is that it was a "once only" day, as we are to plunge back into the cold and rainy stuff this weekend and next week.  Will spring ever arrive?

Retired Rod

Friday, March 11, 2011

An all over the place day!

Well I guess that I am totally outnumbered here on the blog.  I LIKE technology, and I am not apologetic about it!  I want the latest of everything, and will spend hours on end messing around with it until I get bored.  Then I go out and ride the motorscooter!  So I plan to cause more eyes to glaze over while I explain the new phone.  When I get it next week.  Get ready, maybe I can convert some of you phone call only folks.  Well maybe not........

Its 38 over here on the wireless thermometer.  Ya it is connected to the outside unit with a 400 Mhz transmitter that communicates the data back to the display setting here on my end table next to my chair.  But then you expected that!  So its tooooo darned cold to go ride the motorscooter, so I have to stay inside and study the internet.  Or a new phone!

Lets see, do I look at the laptop with windows 7 or do I use the desktop with linux.  So yes I use two different operating systems.  Never been an Apple fan since way back in the Apple II days, so I don't use that laptop.  But more because it costs more than the windows stuff.  And I am CHEAP! Linux is Free!

I have continued to do some research on Verizon's air cards, but the reviews of the new 4G stuff is not good.  They drop the connection and cause a reboot all the time.  And the connection takes up to 4 minutes to reestablish.  Then you are dropped again in almost less time.

There are only 38 cities where 4G works and KC is not one of them.  So I am not hurrying to upgrade that device until the reviews come back a lot better!

Today was one of those days that didn't give me a lot to talk about, since I spent a lot of the morning on the phone with my stock broker trying to decide a strategy for what we perceive to be an upcoming correction due to high oil prices.  I'm not sure we came up with a plan other than sell the stuff that is overpriced and subject to the most correction, and then ride it out.

In the afternoon I went and had another Doctor's appointment and got some positive results.  That hasn't made me feel any better tonight as far as symptoms, but my mind is more at ease.  Oh and he doesn't like my Wendy's habit either, Gypsy!  But then I told him I had completely given up all coffee, and he just stared at me!

How the heck did you do that? He finally inquired.  I said just cold turkey one day when it caused my Gastric Reflux to go over the top crazy.  He offered that there wasn't any way he could get thru the day without coffee.  So see even the Doctors have their vices!

It was after 4 PM when we got back here at the house, and I still had to mail the latest Watch I received back to the Invicta people.  I think it was a much older item that was a hold over.  It seemed to have a bad battery, as it was just running sloooow.  But they only have the send it back plan, as opening the case at my jeweler would void their warranty.  So I sent it back!

Biscuit has an appointment for another puppy cut at the groomers here in KC tomorrow.  She is undaunted by this fact, even thou Loyce explained it to her.  She obviously doesn't know the word groomer yet.  And maybe that is just as well.  She has never been to the groomer we use here in KC before, because we left here when she had only been with us for about 2 weeks.

But she is more than twice the size now, and has a bunch of hair that needs to be buzzed off.  Since she is older, and it is becoming more toward spring, I think she will get a shorter cut this time.  She grows out almost like a flash, so we are not worried about how quick it will get long again.

Loyce has begun to take her on fairly long walks around our neighborhood, and that should help her learn to follow along on a leash.  The long walks tire her out more and then it is about all she can do to keep up.  But only then, she will walk at your side, without pulling all the time.   She'll get it, but it will take some more time, for sure.

So that's about it from here in KC, but if it would warm up some, my son Chris wants to go camping!  Since we have lived in the coach all winter, I'm not sure his mom wants to go along!  LOL

Retired Rod

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Technical Stuff

Ya know that I like all this technical stuff and talking about it on the blog.  I hope that for those of you that don't like it, I can simplify it enough that your eyes don't just glaze over.

So with that said, I feel I should answer some of the questions from the comments.  So here goes!

Loyce called it a Blueberry too for the longest time, so Gypsy you aren't alone.  And our kids would roll their eyes and laugh outright at her perceived stupidity.  She does this just to get them to react, most of the time.  And she was as broken hearted as anyone when she dropped her phone in the little dab of water and it died before her eyes.

And for Sam who uses his phone just to make calls and receive them, it is a slippery slope when you begin to use the smart phone applications.  Take a picture or two, and email them to yourself for the blog.  It ding dongs and you look down at the email from your kids miles away from your laptop.  And then you get an instant message about your grandson catching the biggest fish of his young life and a picture too.     How do you go back to just making phone calls.

And yes Laurie, we also bought a really cheapie phone from Wal Mart to replace Loyce's drown phone.  With GSM phones, you just take your little card out of the back of the broken phone and put it in the new one.  You have your phone book and everything, instantly!  That had an unforeseen outcome as well, because she began to use my phone with email to look at all the emails and instant messages.  Since we are literally never apart, we could really almost share one phone anyway.

And also, I only had to extend the contract on the phone on my line for 24 additional months.  The plan did not change, and the monthly price did not change, save for the next three months having to pay $55 additional for the new phone.  But the phone is $499 outright, so my $219 price defers almost $300 onto the upcoming 24 months of billing.  So about $15 of my monthly bill is to pay for the phone.

So I have decided that I want to learn even more features and applications on a phone that is virtually a laptop computer that will be in my pocket all the time, no matter where I am.  This will have a price that will be more than before.  But I won't need to buy an I pad and a air card or mifi to connect it up.

And lastly, the no contract phone.  They are the cheapest way to go on all this stuff.  It is always cheaper to purchase your equipment up front.  Freddy points that out correctly.  He only pays for the actual air service that he has subscribed to for the month that he has paid.  He can quit at any time.  He can buy a new phone at anytime.  It is the best way, if you can and want to own your own equipment outright.  In fact much of the world overseas works just this way.  It is here in the US that we seem to want to do everything on credit.  But don't get me started on that one!

We have several family members that were and are on TMO and that is why we stay there.  But my DIL Melissa has a no contract phone, and swears by it.  I just didn't want to lay out the $500 bucks all at once to purchase a new Android phone.

Are your eyes glassed over yet?

Another medical day here for me, will it ever end?

Retired Rod


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cell phone trouble

Last night as I was shutting stuff down to head off to bed, I looked down and noticed that the screen on my blackberry was glowing an errie shade of gray.  What gives here?  I turned the phone off, and back on.  No change except that it goes out and comes back on.  Nothing brought back the logic on the screen that I was desperately looking for.

This was not good, but I just shut it down and headed off to bed.  In the morning, nothing had changed, the dreaded gray screen was still there!

I messed with the phone for a while and realized that only the screen was gone, the rest of the phone seemed to be operating normally.  But the screen was totally gone, and I had no idea why.  I needed a new phone!  I wasn't prepared to make such a decision, as I had several months left on my contract.

All morning was spent first of all deciding if I was staying with T Mobile or leaving for Verizon.  For months I had said I was going to Verizon, but that was much more expensive, and requires that I can tether a phone into my router, or the laptop and eliminate the air card in order to have those funds for the increased cost.  Verizon now has it setup so that it costs $20 above your data plan to get 2 Gigabytes for tethering.  Or else you have to Root the phone and install software that is not from Verizon.   And yes I know that you can run Apps that will allow tethering without rooting, but word is that Verizon is working on ways to find folks that are doing that.  This is nuts, because your $30 for the data plan pays for 5Gb, but if you don't view it on the phone, but rather view it on another device you are throttled back  two 2Gb and the cost in now $50.  What?

So it appears that I will be replacing my Verizon aircard with a 4G model sometime quite soon.  That will reduce the cost from $60 to $50 and keep my 5 Gb limit irrespective of the phone.  I did learn that you can now get 10 Gb for $80.  That would be good for someone that archives a lot of pictures, or has a really bad You Tube habit.

So after having made the decision that I needed a new aircard and would only casually be tethering the phone under certain circumstances, using  a non authorized app hoping not to get caught, then the decision to stay with my historically low priced T-Mobile plan was easy.  But now I need a new phone.

I decided on the HTC G2, which wasn't hard since it is the newest and fastest available from TMO.  But since my contract wasn't up, I was being charged a penalty by the web site for early contract renewal on the old phone.

This makes us two for two on our Blackberry's not making it the full two years.  We have lost them both.  One to the swimming pool toy bucket with a small amount of water left in it, and now the screen on the second phone.

I started studying the internet on blogs about the G2.  One young man gave out a customer service number on his blog and advised that I need to ask about contract resolution.  And then bring up the loyalty factor that I have been a customer for many years, and several contracts.  It worked!!

The phone was suddenly $50 cheaper, which eliminated the early termination fees that the website was charging me and also had the phone cheaper too.  The next thing I knew, I had value pays over the next four months like I was buying it on QVC or ShopNBC.  I only had to pay one payment and the sales tax and shipping today!  How could I beat using their money?

It will still take several days to ship and receive this new phone, and I can only answer calls with my old phone by pressing the green button and saying hello.  If I am very careful about pushing the little buttons, I can also make a call as well.  Holding down the speed dial letters will also still make those calls for me.  But Dang it is frustrating to have the email bell dinging away and not be able to look at the email.  And no Instant Messages, and no Facebook, and No............

The rest of the day didn't amount to much, after I got all that decided!

Retired Rod

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Doctors and Motorhome parking

More Doctor business took most of our morning here in KC.  We are getting transitioned back to the KC Doctor from the Mesa Doctor!  Kind of boring stuff, but required now that we are back on the home ranch.

Well that tired me all out, when we got home, so I sat down to read the morning blogs, and Loyce left to go on some errand.  ZZZzzzzzz.  Dang I hate it when that happens.  How did I get so old and worthless?

Of course some errant caller decided to ring our phone all ten times before it went to voice mail, rocked me back into the land of the living.  And not too much after that Loyce came back with Biscuit and turned her loose to jump all over me.  Awake now!

Sometime after that  we learned that the phone call was the fellow over at the storage place wanting to know if he rented the space behind me, could I still get parked.  Well,,, in a word, no!  So I called him but this time only got his answer machine.

By now it was beginning to be late in the afternoon, so I stopped by that sandwich shop on the way over to  Storage Mart.  We rode around the lot trying to decide where to park the motorhome so he could rent the spot behind it.

We decided on a spot on the end of a row next to a class C that is about 30 foot long.  I can slip in and out easily from there, but I wasn't sure the class C could get out.  I have met the owner of that rig last year and he seemed to be a nice fellow, but that was before he found himself parked in.  Time will tell.  So we are now on the end of a row where we can just depart at will.

Upon returning home I found my daughter in law and her two grand kids to be here terrorizing Biscuit.  Or was she terrorizing the kids?  Well they were all wild anyway, and grandpa just sits over in the corner watching the whole deal.

Days are somewhat without interest here when we are home.  But then that is how retirement is.

Retired Rod

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sunday stuff

Biscuit wants to thank all of her supporters for their nice comments and concerns.  And she wants to report that she went for a walk again today with her mom, and after some time began to settle down and not pull so hard on the leash.  Well after a mile or so anyway.

This afternoon, our oldest grand daughter came over to the house and she and Biscuit were inseparable for most of the afternoon.   Ema wants a dog in the worst way, but her parents do not agree, since they already have three kids, and see the dog as another thing that needs to be taken care of.  They have cats, but they tend to do a better job of taking care of themselves.

As far as myself, I spent the day on the computer watching the watch sale, and reading books.  There was absolutely nothing productive here as far as accomplishments.  I did spent time on the phone and on skype with my son and a good friend up in Des Moines.  Somehow the day seemed to just slip away.

Funny how that can happen, almost without my knowledge and control.

Retired Rod

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Biscuit is still Biscuit

I have neglected to write about Biscuit for the last couple of weeks, and Penny down there in Conroe, Tx keeps reminding me to get on the stick.  I don't have any current pictures of the dog, because I am lazy and haven't taken any.  Not just of Biscuit, I haven't taken any pictures since we have been back.

Biscuit rode out to Arizona as a 10 week old puppy, and consequently does not remember anything about her home here in KC.  As far as she was concerned, the motorhome was her home.  And the lot we were parked on in Valle Del Oro, was her outside world.

She was more than shocked to find that the motorhome actually moved when we left Mesa.  She rode in the car along with Loyce, and was very needy about riding along.  She would have nothing to do with her crate in the car, and had to sit right on Loyce's lap for the first three days that we were traveling.  

Things didn't smell right when we got out of the car to go potty, so she refused to go.  She wasn't even going to get out of the car, but her mommy made her.  It was so bad, that the first day she had an accident in her bed on the floor of the car, rather than go pee outside.

When we got to the SKP park in Deming, NM, it was gravel like the park back in Arizona and she had no problems with her eliminations there.  Must have seemed like normal for a while.  But the next night we were in Pecos, Tx, and they actually had some dried out grass next to our site.  She didn't like walking in it at all!

She kept holding up her paws like she couldn't step on it.  We think it had little stickers in it and she had never been in such an environment before.  Her mommy combed the stickers all out that night before she would go to bed.

By the third day we were back to somewhat normal as she settled down to the fact that we were somewhere different every night.  The grass in Dallas didn't have stickers, and had started to become green in places.  She adjusted better because we were there two days.

Fast forward to KC and the fact that it is cold here.  It is 28 as I type this, and tonight will become colder than that before it is over.  She doesn't like the cold, and will fight to go right back into the house and not do her job.  We have to stand a while to get her to understand what she is out there for.  Meanwhile we freeze.

But overall she likes being here at the house.  It is so much bigger than the motorhome, and she can run and run.  She runs into the dining room and then the living room and around the corner back into the kitchen.  She makes this circle until I have to stop her.  Over and over, at break neck speed.  But to our surprise, she has not gone potty on the floor inside once!

I was worried that she would digress, but she is upstairs with Loyce right now and I can hear her running all around the bedrooms up and down the hall, barking at the top of her lungs.   Her crate is upstairs next to our bed, and she sleeps in it without a problem.  Since she is approaching 6 months old, she is now sleeping much longer into the morning, and it is quieter here as we don't have neighbors outside at the crack of dawn to awaken her.

She has developed some bad habits here as well, because she has learned to stand on her back legs and put her paws on the kitchen table.  She is tall enough to see everything on the table and try to grab food items.  She gets swatted for this behavior, but it doesn't seem to deter her much as she will be right back. Scolding her is meaningless.

I have chained her to the cabinet while we are eating, and given her her dog food bowl.  But she won't eat it then.  She waits until we have put away all of our food and left the room.  Then perhaps the dog food will be alright.  We try not to give her any people food, because we will never break that habit if we get it started.

So that is the Biscuit report!  She still crawls under your covers, and licks your face until you can't stand it any more.  She can't stand still if we go outside for a walk.  She has to run to the end of her lead and stand on her back legs to pull harder.  Her energy is endless!!

Retired Rod

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Another Wal Mart

Since I posted a somewhat negative attitude toward Wal Mart several days ago over an oil change and the ticket writer's attitude, I thought I should also post today's experience with another store.

My daughter in law dropped me a note that she has begun using the Wal Mart over in old downtown Olathe.  She referred to it as K-7 Wal Mart, because it is on Highway Kansas 7, and here in Kansas we just  call it K-7.

This Wal Mart was built brand new just a couple of years ago, and started from scratch with employees and inventory.  Because of that you find newer products that have not sat around for years, and better attitudes from the employee staff, because they are not long term soured folks.  IMHO

I took the Camry over for service as it was due, after our 1500 mile trek back to Kansas.  I was met at the door, by a cheery associate with his check in gun in hand.  In a mere moment or two he had me put into his  system and on my way into the store.  I was next in line, as the lane was empty in front of me.

While in the store, I inquired about the size and price of tires for the Camry, and the gal behind the counter advised that they had a sale of $8 off on my size for Goodyear average grade tires.  I went back out to the garage and asked about the percentage of wear on my front tires and learned that I was at about 30 percent remaining life.

They offered to install the new tires on the spot, as that lane only had one customer in it as well.  It took about 30 minutes for the entire transaction, and the fellow balanced the older tires from the rear as a courtesy before installing them on the front.

And, yes I did install the new tires on the rear.  With front wheel drive cars, they recommend that the newer tires be on the back.  And seasoned readers will remember that I traded ends with a Corolla a couple of years ago in Arizona, when the back end spun around and then we rolled over as we hit the desert gravel.

I remember that one of the back tires wasn't as good as it could have been, and to this day feel that a better set of rear tires might have averted that nasty outcome.  I still had 7 mm of tread on the Camry's  rear tires which was well over half of the original 11 mm, so they are now on the front.

My total bill for this service including the oil change was $223.  That is why I like using Wal Mart, when their employees have the proper attitude and are oriented toward serving the customer.

I will return to this store even though it is 10 miles distant from where we live.

Retired Rod

Friday, March 4, 2011

Catching up paperwork

I sat here today reading the nice comments we received about Wal Mart and their oil changing service.  Seems that many of you have had some of the same experience that I had yesterday.  So why do I go back there?

I thought about that for a while today and became convinced that it is because I can shop in the store while they are working on the vehicle.  Seems that we always need stuff and are going to the grocery store or to the pharmacy, and then I relent and say aw so what, they can't mess it up every time!  But it seems that lately I have been a high percentage looser.

Yesterday it was late in the afternoon when I decided to get the work done, and I found an empty line after doing the Wendy's drive thru.  I surmised, what's not to like about this?  And from there the experience turned more sour.

Today our skies turned overcast for much of the morning, and then broke into sunshine and 64 degrees.  It was quite nice during the afternoon, but I sat here reading my book and the internet sites.  Biscuit and I drifted off for a nap in the afternoon for a while, and we never left the house.

I have been working on following up loose ends on bills that need to be paid since we have been gone, and spent some of the day on the phone tracking down stuff that I know needs taken care of.  Not exciting, but still time consuming.

Tonight I was back on the internet watching the Sunday Run from Invicta (on a Thursday) to see if they offered anything I couldn't live without.  I did order a cheapie  watch that has a nice rubberized bracelet on it.  I might just toss the watch and use the bracelet once it arrives.  Am I nuts?  I couldn't order the bracelet for the $53 the entire watch will cost delivered.

A slow day, but at least my truck has its insurance renewal done now.  And in that light, we can't get our license tags at our insurance companies like they do up in Canada.  We do have to get a proof of insurance card when we renew, and then take that to the DMV office in order to get the tags.

Oh and I see that one of my Iowa friends that signed on as anonymous, had to remind me that going to the Iowa court house in almost any county is almost instantaneous.  And I'm sure it is that way in all the other counties here in Kansas too, except Johnson county where we have about 10 times the population.

The price we pay to live in the big city!!

Retired Rod

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Enjoying Wal Mart oil changes!

Lets see, where did today go?  I caught up on all the blogs that I didn't get read while we were traveling, and that was good for several hours.  Then I read some of the political book that I have been reading on for several months.

If I read a chapter a month, I will get it finished up sometime next year!  Its a rehash of the history that we all lived thru, and since we all know the story already, it doesn't seem exciting and new.

Mid afternoon, I decided to check on the battery charger on my wife's Ford Escape.  I purchased several of the battery minder chargers from Wal Mart, but did not have one on the Ford.  And of course the battery was way down when we got home.  I had one on the pickup truck and it started right up, so I moved it to the Escape.  Now at an amp and a half, it takes a couple of days to charge it back up, so we had just ignored it for the last two days.

Sure enough, the light had gone out indicating the battery was now fully charged.  And it started right up first try.  But that is when I noticed the change oil light was on.  Checking the little sticker in the windshield confirmed that we did need that oil change.

I wonder how I missed that last fall.  Usually I like to leave things with clean oil in them, but I had let that ball slip.  So after grabbing that sandwich that I get on most days, it was over to Wal Mart for their quick service.

There was no one in front of me in line, and they were just finishing up the cars in the bay.  The ticket writer was preoccupied at the desk for some reason, and I sat there eating my sack lunch.  I finished the lunch and still sat there.  A fellow pulled up in a car behind me, and got out and walked to the desk.  The ticket writer went immediately and walked right past my car and wrote up the guy behind me.

He then went back to his desk and ignored me again.  I got out and asked if he intended to help me.  He said ya in a minute.  Then a fellow came in with a flat tire, and he began to assist him.  I said I was going to go get the store manager and would be right back.  The fellow actually asked me why?

I don't have much luck with Wal Mart oil change service locations, but for some reason I keep going back.  I guess they are always taking cars, and the price is usually fairly cheap.  I think that my problem was with the last place, and this one will be different.

On the way home from the store, I noticed that they had put half of the last quart in a bag on the passenger floor.  But this car takes all 5 quarts.  Sure enough when I got home and checked the dip stick, the engine was half a quart low.  I had to go find a funnel and pour in the last of the quart in order for it to read full.

I might be saving $10 using Wal Mart, maybe, so why do I go thru this every time?

Retired Rod

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mundane and catchup!

Into the mundane!  The daily part of our existence here in KC.  But even though it is mundane, you can't say we aren't busy. Way too much so.  The first order of business today was to get a place to store the motorhome.

When we headed out last October, we canceled our contract with the storage place.  At over $100 bucks a month, one wouldn't pay rent for months your not there.  But this comes with draw backs.  I quickly lost my spot up front in the lot.  And there wasn't any guarantee that we even would be allowed back in the lot.

So with this back drop, I traveled the lot in a golf cart with the manager.  This is when he dropped the bomb that the rent is now $125.  Oh great!  But even had I stayed, the rent would have risen to that amount.  In addition the site available is in the very back of the lot, and more difficult to get parked in due to other equipment around me.

I did save the $375, and that was invested in the $600 a month that storing the rig in Arizona costs.  Well though, we got to actually live in the rig in Arizona, where today I had to sign that I would not stay in the unit overnight.

With that task behind me, it was back over to my least favorite place in Kansas.  The DMV.  The little utility trailer has a Kansas Tag, and it is not due with the other tags on our stuff.  The trailer tags are all due on Feb 28.  We arrived home on the last legal day for the trailer to be on the road.  I have tried to purchase this tag in December before we leave, but no can do.

And since today was March 1st, it is now delinquent, so you can't mail it in anymore either.  So I had to go sit in line at the DMV.  I have cussed this process on previous blogs, so I will not turn this into a rant here.  I used my cell phone number when I signed into the office for a in line ticket.  Then I left for some lunch at a local Wendy's.  I ran another errand and returned.

I began getting update phone text messages about how I was progressing in line.  Seems as though every time I got a message my progress worsened.  The estimated time for me to be called became longer as time passed.  Though now I was back in the office, I could see that they were not making much progress.  Eventually I began to climb the ladder of those to be served.

After 2 hours and 15 minutes, I was allowed to step to the window and pay my $25 for a trailer tag.  But I was well informed about my progress with 5 text messages during the process.  While I was there, folks were leaving without being served, mostly stating that they had to get back to work.  Kansas needs a better system!

So as it became dusk, we hurried to unload another round of stuff from the coach, and quickly delivered it to its new parking spot.  A mundane day to catch back up in the process of keeping things licensed and  bills paid!

Retired Rod

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

At home again

I am sitting in my big recliner at home by the fireplace.  Rather than typing on the little laptop that I have used all winter, I am on my desktop with the big flat screen monitor.  That is the biggest change.  Of course the house is warm, without any drafts coming thru the slide seals and window joints.

But it is cold here in KC tonight.  At 11 PM it is down to 30 and we are to be 22 before morning.  I am not used to that kind of temperature, and it will take a while for me to acclimate.  I must explain that we did not come home early voluntarily, but rather because it was time to hand me off back to the Doctor here in KC.  I have scheduled tests that are set up here in town in the next upcoming weeks. So without turning this blog into general hospital, I will say, I was told to go home.

Last night was a rather cool night, as the cold North wind flapped the awnings and rocked the rig around.  When the wind is below 30 degrees, it zaps the heat right out of an RV.  We had the electric heaters on high, and the LP heaters set on 66.  The electric heaters can't keep up so the LP ran quite a bit as well.  But we managed to stay warm even with the wind.  By morning it was 27 outside.

In the morning, I did lay out 75 feet of hose and connect to one of the farm hydrants along the front of the lots.  We washed dishes and took showers and then washed out the holding tanks and the water closet.  Once cleaned it was off limits for the rest of the day.

I opened all the drains and removed the lines from the ice maker valve, hoping that the drive will shake the rest of the water out of it and not let it freeze up again.  I think it froze up on our first night out last fall, as I should have not allowed water back into it on that first cold night.

We were off by 10 AM and on the road for home.  I 35 is the turnpike thru Kansas, and is well maintained road.  It cost me $9 for the motorhome and the one axle trailer.  They don't ask how much you weigh, just how many axles you have, and we only have two, so without the trailer the coach would have been the same as a car.  $6.

After lunch, Loyce left me and headed on out at 70 mph for home.  She wanted to get her car unloaded before I got there.  That wasn't too hard since I stopped in Ottawa for fuel, and had to wait in line to get to the pump.  I put in 42 gallons for $150.  That didn't fill it all the way, but the gage still said almost full.

Once home, the real work began as we needed to unload 3 months worth of provisions.  I worked on the utility trailer, including the motor scooter.  Unhook from the motorhome, hook up the truck.  Back it into the driveway and unload everything into the garage.  Pull it back out into the street and take out the scooter.  Park it in the garage.  By about 5 PM, I had the trailer over to its storage lot.

Back at home, I needed to install that dreaded pink stuff before it froze tonight.  Everything was drained, so pump in two gallons, and draw it out of every tap in its turn.  Done.

The rig is still up in our driveway tonight, as we will have to go get another storage contract started in the morning.  Isn't it convenient, tomorrow is the first of the month!

Retired Rod