No doubt all of you have seen about a zillion photos of yesterday’s eclipse of the moon, but you haven’t seen mine. I have a bunch, but will only share two of them because they all look alike. I’ll just show you one when we could first see it at the start, then another when it began the transition back to normal.
Monthly Archives: September 2015
Vacuum Cleaners Suck
Yes, this short post is about vacuum cleaners but, first, I’m compelled to share that I think vacuum cleaners are misnamed. At least in my head. The reason I think that way is because of my brother, Jack, and me to be staunch practitioners of “Correct Speak”. You know, where there is no need to interpret what’s being said because it’s all in the words, exactly as they are presented. That simply means “Vacuum Cleaners” specifically defines a mechanism that, well, cleans vacuum. I know that doesn’t make any sense which is why practitioners of “Correct Speak” generally take great care to construct sentences that actually mean what they say. Logic dictates that a vacuum is already clean so why do we need to clean it? Therefore, since vacuum cleaners really suck, they should be called “Sucking Machines”.
Now, since that’s out of the way, I can get to the meat of this post and report that Diane is the proud owner of a brand new sucking machine. She’s had many over the course of our marriage but never one that elicited such excitement as this new one. It’s a Shark Rotator Professional. The price point was exactly right because Fred Meyer had it on sale for $260, marked down from, $300, but we got it from a local overstock business for $120. The saleslady gave it glowing reports, supporting Diane’s online search for the best unit.
On the way home we stopped at Diane’s Mom’s (Jean’s) house to share the good news, and to ensure that Mom hadn’t fallen down. She hadn’t so all was good and she was interested to see the new machine.
I brought the unit in, plugged it in, and ran it around the living room a bit to see how it worked and we were all surprised to discover dust and debris flying around in the clear canister that collects that stuff. This is significant because Mom has a fairly new Rainbow that she uses religiously every week – Tuesdays, I believe. Cleaning that often with a Rainbow would make one think there wouldn’t be any debris to suck up, but there was. Diane and I were all amazed. Mom, not so much. Seeing that the new machine was able to pull debris from the living room rug that we thought was cleaning enough to eat off of, Diane went to work and cleaned the entire carpet and was delighted beyond measure to capture all that dirt from Mom’s squeaky clean house.
Once we got it home Diane couldn’t wait to get it plugged in so she could do a run through the house and over all the carpets lying around so Ozzie can navigate without walking on a bare floor. The results were astounding, as expected, putting the old top of the line Kenmore Drag Behind Canister to shame. She said that one will be retired once all the dead spiders in the basement are cleaned up because dead spiders will NOT be allowed in the new machine.
The orange bag contains all the extra attachments that came with it.
Before leaving I must share that I’m also teaching Panzee to drive the RV. Diane has refused to drive it and I need a backup, so Panzee was the obvious choice.
Remind me tomorrow to tell you about how the new window install went. I have photos of that, too.
A Vacation & Other Stuff
On September 8th we started working in earnest to get the old RV ready for a trip to the beach. The main focus was to run the water system through a cleansing process to ensure we wouldn’t catch some exotic disease from critters that seem to linger there. Though the RV is 36 years old, we can only verify that such a cleansing has never happened in the last six years that we’ve owned it. Prior to that, I suspect it was never done, either. Since we’ve been known to use the RV a number of times in the past, and have never suffered ill effects one may wonder why it was necessary that this task be performed prior to this next trip. The answer, of course, is that Diane determined it was necessary meaning nothing else was going to get done until the water streaming from the various exits of the system smelled totally like bleach. Therefore, we made it happen. Then we cleaned it, over and over until the offensive bleach odor (and taste) was removed. Let me tell you … adding the odor and taste of bleach is a snap. Getting rid of it, not so much. It took a while.
Part of the cleaning process included adding water to the grey and black water tanks then driving around a while so it would slosh around and make sure all interior surfaces received a cleansing rinse. Doing this was fun for me because it was the first time Diane rode with me while I drove the RV. All previous trips involved her driving the chase car, the one with air conditioning and a working radio, while I drove the RV which has neither. That’s not really too bad if it’s a cool day because the heater works great. So, having Diane with me was special.
Most of the sloshing voyage was on narrow back roads with lots of curves and bumps that put my rookie RV driving skills to the test and solidified Diane’s belief that we don’t need a tow car because she’s perfectly OK driving the chase car. However, we had already purchased a tow dolly for the PT so she was just out of luck. By ending the trip with a stint on a nice wide road her fears were soon forgotten.
Last Sunday morning, the 13th, the trip took on a serious note when Diane went took her Mom, Jean, to the store and left instructions for me to pack my underwear. So I did. It took me about 3 seconds then I went out and went to work getting the tow dolly connected to the RV and getting the PT secured. That took me about 20 minutes, something I was very proud of because I’d never done it before. All that remained was to get Diane home, crank up and head on down the road to see if it would fall off.
When Diane returned, that’s just what we did.
Eight miles down the road we stopped at Fred Meyer’s for gas because we had no idea how much was in the two tanks on the RV. The gas gauges don’t work very well. When I got out to unlock the gas tanks I was supremely gratified to see the PT still behind us. Since I hadn’t felt anything odd, or seen anything flying off the road behind me, I was pretty confident we still had it, but it was nice to eliminate that tiny little bit of doubt. Apparently I did an OK job of connecting all those chains and wires and had more confidence that it would stay put and follow us all the way to Cape Lookout State Park south of Tillamook.
The 2.67 hour trip went entirely as planned with the exception of where to dismantle the tow car lash up so I could back into our assigned spot. After driving around the park for a while, we came upon a turn around with a wide area that would allow me to stop and unstrap the PT so Diane could drive it. Though I can easily push the tow dolly around when it’s not connected to anything, I just can’t push if a mile which is about how far we were from our spot. So, I left it attached with the hope no one would get angry and start throwing stuff when I stopped in front of our spot to un hook it and push it out of the way so I could park. Thankfully, all went well even though the guy in the Flair next to us pulled up a chair to watch me do all of that. He said his favorite part was me attempting to get the rig level so we wouldn’t be sleeping with our heads downhill. It was the hardest thing I did all day. But I finally did it even though the parts of the inside of the RV I was using to check level are so not on the same plane as the beds. Discovering this anomaly proved to be the first step of successfully getting our heads at least level with our feet. Then I put the awning out and the RV adopted an obvious starboard list. Since that meant Diane’s bed (we have twins) leaned her into the wall, I called it good.
Oh ya. With the starboard list in effect, unless it was securely latched, the bathroom door would swing open and stay that way. Fortunately, if one were sitting down when that happened, it was fairly easy to grab the little knob on the door and pull it shut without allowing the folks in the trailer or RV next door to see anything important.
Cape Lookout State Park is a great place because the farthest spot in the back of the park is only about three blocks from the beach. Being back there isn’t a bad thing, we learned, because the closer one gets to the beach in the park, the denser the pack of mosquitoes becomes. Being closer, of course, conditions one to traverse the last 30 feet of solid mosquitoes with little or no pain after the 4th trip. Those in the back generally don’t make it more than 2 times before giving up and just staying close to the back of the park. It was OK.
Here we are being happy that we survived the Mosquito gauntlet …
We looked like this the entire time we were on the beach. The only difference is that sometimes Diane didn’t hide behind me.
Four days of no TV, no phone. Just us and the mosquitoes every time we left the rig, and leaving the rig on a fairly regular basis to walk the dogs. They insisted, according to Diane and I believe everything she tells me. When she tells me they want to go out, though I’ve not heard them exchange even one word, I believe her and take them out. I got pretty good at it.
The only casualty of this trip was when I lit the pilot light for the water heater. I got it lit the first time, then it went out when. So I lit another match and held the pilot button down a bit too long so that when I touched the match to the place where the pilot light lived, all that extra gas caught fire and blew out virtually every available hole on the water heater and burned off most of my eye brows and the last 1/4 inch of the hair on the left side of my head. The air around me immediately smelled like someone had just had a permanent. It was awesome. I couldn’t wait to get inside to share it with Diane. She wasn’t impressed. Turns out the frizzled ends brushed off quite easily. The ones that didn’t are on my eyebrows. I believe they are permanently curled, now, giving the appearance that I’ve had a bunch of pubic hairs transplanted mainly above my left eye. Since I only see it when looking in a mirror, which isn’t often, it doesn’t bother me. Diane was more comfortable with me wearing a hat low on my head whenever we took a walk. I think it’s sufficiently curly that I can use it to hold a little velcroed curtain over my eye when I sleep. Kinda dumb, but bet I could do it. If Diane lets me, I’ll take a photo.
One of the dogs loved the trip because she didn’t have to be on a leash any time we were on the beach.
The beach is over a mile long and, at this time of year, if there are 10 people visible, it’s crowded.
Looking south …
Looking north …
Alas, Thursday showed up signaling the end of this mini-vacation was near. Even so, we both felt as though these few days were much longer because we totally enjoyed ourselves and had a very relaxing time in one of the most beautiful places on earth. It was OK to be heading home.
First, however, we had to make it to Warranton for an afternoon soccer game between St. Helens and Astoria high schools. It was an uneventful trip because the rig ran really well with an exceptionally loud squeal from one, or both, of the belts on the engine. It didn’t bother me much, but Diane was totally embarrassed. As far as I was concerned, it just added to the authenticity of our 36 year hold ride. It wasn’t constant, but quit once we got up to speed. We understood the game was at 4 pm, figured it would take 2 hours to get there, left at 1 pm, made it in 1.5 hrs, and learned the game was really at 4:30. So, we were two hours early. The times are probably wrong, but that’s OK. The point is, we were early. The JV team won 10-2 and it could have been much, much worse. Lydia was moved from Keeper to Defender when the score was 7-1 so she got some field time which she also enjoys. Her team mates took turns filling in for her as the keeper. Most of the second half our girls spent playing keep away from the Astoria girls without attempting to score. It was like a drill they run all the time in practice. Varsity also won, 5-1.
After the games we headed home in the dark. Again, it was an uneventful trip. Everything worked just great. I had to take the PT off the trailer and put everything away before going to bed because I was being forced to go golfing Friday morning at 0830. I golfed better than I ever have. Part of the reason for that is because I started actually counting all my strokes instead of just guessing. Funny thing.
Another interesting thing we saw at the beach is this caterpillar. We seen hundreds of these things over the years, but none that had grey spikes.
Personally, I think it’s an alien. How about you?
Spark Plugs & Mixers
PT Cruiser Turbo 2.4L mechanic – Engine light came on after the engine sputtered a couple of times. After a bit of internet searching I discovered that PTs have the ability to display error codes on the trip meter. There was only one (P0300) for multiple misfires. So, I got new plugs and wires and swapped them out. Two of the old plugs were so tight I’m guessing that whoever installed them used a torque wrench. The plug gap on all of them was worn beyond a .070 gap, much larger than the recommended .040. Total cost $45, mainly because I bought expensive plugs.
Once the parts were installed I have to discover how to clear the error code. That turned out to be very simple … just had to disconnect the battery for a little while and let the juice drain from the system.
Getting the PT back on-line was imperative because we have plans to drag it behind the old Winnebago to Ocean Shores, WA next weekend, then south to Cape Lookout State Park in Oregon for the following week. Ocean Shores will be fun because it’s the Rod Run To The End Of The World weekend sponsored by the Beach Barons.
As a way to test out the Winnebago, we drove it to church, together, to pick up some tables to use for Cedric’s graduation party last Saturday. It drove really nice and Diane only fainted once when we were on the back roads. She doesn’t like back roads because they’re narrow and she’s convinced I’m going to run the rig into a ditch. Thankfully, most of our planned trips will be on major roads so she will be able to relax a little. Regarding the reference above that we went together … that’s significant because until this point in time we’ve never traveled together because we had no way to tow a vehicle. So, Diane drove the car and I drove the motor home. Now we have a tow dolly for the PT so we can enjoy each others’ company during the trip.
Here’s what we’ll look like going down the road …
A few weeks ago Diane bought a Kitchen Aid Pro 6 mixer at an auction for $200. That’s a real deal for a $400-$500 unit, so I thought she did real good. When she got it home I plugged it in and discovered why it was sold. I worked, but it made a horrible grinding noise. So, I figured out how to dismantle the thing and discovered a couple of gears were destroyed. Another trip to the internet revealed many how-to videos of how to replace those specific gears and most of the videos were by women.
Having this information in hand, and knowing it was a simple process, all I had to do was find a source for the gears, which I did more quickly than I thought I would, and had them on the way lickity split.
While I waited for them to arrive, I removed all the old grease surrounding the remaining gears, and cleaned up all the surfaces to ensure no ground up gear pieces could find a way to destroy any of the other gears. When the parts arrived it was a simple matter of putting it all back together, and replacing the grease. I cheated a little here because I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to pay $15 for a small container of OEM grease. Instead, I just used what I had in my grease gun and called it good.
Once it was all back together it worked good as new. Now Diane and mix stuff twice as good as she could on the old mixer that went nuts, flipped itself on the floor and kind wrecked itself in general. It was a Kitchen Aid, too, but the smaller version.
I may have done some other stuff, but don’t remember what it might be. So, guess I’m done here.
Happy Labor Day – Stay Safe
Tattoos & Piercings
I’ve been toying with the idea of getting some tattoos and piercings over the years, but could never seem to settle on one thing to get.
So, I just got everything to eliminate the stress of making that decision.
What do you think?
OK. I lied. That’s not me. I’ve kept this photo around for about the last 10 years as a reminder why I never went down that road. I have to admit, though, that this person is making a very unique fashion statement.