Electric Cars

It’s been about a week or so since I discovered that authorities have intervened to prohibit one more electric car feature that had me right on the exciting verge of obtaining one of those vehicles. First it was the auto drive feature which really tweaked my interest from the start. I mean, how cool would it be to just set the vehicle to auto drive, then climb in the back seat for a nap while traversing the massively boring trip through LA. It’s normally a very slow trip so the danger of damage caused by a speeding, out of control vehicle is minimized. Still, I can see the potential for disastrous results if such technology fell into the hands of someone less responsible than my humble self.

It’s my understanding that the auto drive feature isn’t totally disabled. One can activate it but someone in the driver’s seat must keep both hands on the steering wheel. I’m actually OK with that because I think I could find a small child, who can’t reach the pedals, to sit in the driver’s seat and hang on to the steering wheel for me.

Now, after making the auto drive feature more difficult to use, they’ve taken away the games from the driver. I’m thinking, “Really! They allow us to install games on the iPad-like dashboard then make it illegal for the driver play them? What’s the point of that?” OK, they make it difficult for the driver to play because they will have to push a button to verify they aren’t driving. That makes sense, too.

I’m saying this with tongue in cheek because I’m not someone who plays games on my iPad. Therefore, in my electric car I would simply sit and watch while my passenger played. That makes sense, too, right? Quite a safety feature.

Now that I’ve got all that off my chest I’ll share that I think installing video games on a device that’s in a prominent position for both driver and passenger is about the most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard of. Making Tesla gaming available is like daring the driver to not play them while driving.

O, wait! People play on their phones all the time while driving so, perhaps, playing on a larger screen, installed in your dashboard, will make it easier to keep an eye on the road while playing since they won’t be looking down in their laps in an attempt to fool people into believing they aren’t playing with their phone. Until they run into someone. Then everyone knows.

The previous information is based on personal opinions of which I have many and, so far, opinions which I can share at will.

I’d continue but don’t have anything worthwhile to share. It would just be a continuation of the foregoing, wasting words for absolutely no reason.

Hope all is well with all of you.

Dazed & Confused

I don’t know where to start with this today. So much has been happening that my mind is frizzled just a bit in an effort to make sense of events.

First: The new windows we had installed earlier in the week work great. We removed the Anderson windows that were installed in 1957, which were nice but not very good with insulation, and replaced them with brand new 2020 double pane Anderson windows. Not only is the insulation noticeably better, the windows help with dimming down outside noise. That was unexpected, but it makes sense. So, life is good. Now all I have to do is save up enough money to buy enough lumber to trim all the windows. Diane want it to be oak and my first rough estimate is I need about 325 board feet to get it done. I will measure again just to make sure, of course. Diane insists. This shouldn’t take me much more than a year and a half, give or take a few months either way.

Second: COVID has involved itself with our lives. Our granddaughter tested positive about a week ago. She recently turned 21 so I accused her, kiddingly, that she shouldn’t have been hanging out at all those bars. She wasn’t and I knew that. She knew I knew it, too. Her symptoms are mild but still it’s not anything to trifle with so we will remain concerned for now. Also in the family, our daughter, Jennifer and hubby Daniel, are fostering Daniel’s great nephew who was recently diagnosed with COVID. He’s only 8-months-old. Everyone else in the family tested negative. Diane and I don’t count because we’re old and don’t go anywhere. We’re very good sequesterers. Professional, you might say, and we’re just fine with that.

Third: How about that mini-Revolution we had yesterday. Diane and I watched the events as they unfolded and were astounded that only one person was shot. What a mess. I won’t expound on this because I avoid political issues on this forum. I have opinions, of course, but I’m pretty sure none of you want to ‘hear’ about them.

Fourth: I had an “in person” eye appointment at the VA hospital with a nice young lady named Jahaila. She’s working at the VA as an intern and will graduate in May as a real deal Doctor. I enjoyed my visit and look forward to getting my new glasses in a few weeks. I think the glasses are made in Boise, last I heard, and they have a heavy workload, hence the delay. I think the glasses are delivered to our local post office by two guys on a tandem bicycle who’s sole purpose in life is to deliver glasses for the VA. For safety, they only travel backroads, never on freeways. In towns they are allowed to ride on the sidewalks because the guy in the back is legally blind. Since he isn’t steering, that’s OK. He’s really only there to pedal, really hard, and isn’t in any way responsible for anything they run over, or into, during their delivery trips. They’ve been doing this for many years now so they must really be careful.

This is the view from the 8th floor elevator lobby of the Portland VA Hospital.

Fifth: Diane’s Mom’s light over her sink burned out so I replaced it after we got back from the VA. Putting in a new bulb didn’t fix it so I got out my trusty multi meter and didn’t learn a thing that would lead to a solution. So, I called my friend, Doug, who used to be a professional electrician for some insight. He tells me that his knowledge of codes terminates around 2010 so he limits his involvement with the understanding that anything he shares isn’t useful with regard to current codes. We kibutzed a bit and he managed to lead me in a direction that will probably allow me to resolve the problem on my own. Tomorrow will tell the tail. All I have to do is remember what he told me. It would be easier with notes but he stresses the importance of not taking notes during our visits because something could go wrong which could result in a visit from the police. I understand his concern, so there are no notes. Just my faulty memory. We’ll see how that goes.

Now it’s time for me to stop all activity for the day and go sit with Diane to make sure she doesn’t watch too many shows about renovating houses. They leave her giddy with possibilities about our home. Thankfully, we live a long way from Waco so we can’t feasibly engage Chip and Joann to fix our house. It would be nice, though. Wouldn’t it be funny if they read this and decided to come visit? I’ll be sure to let you know if that happens. Honest, I will.

Now I must stop and report that a lot of what you just read is false. I can’t help myself.


The Air We Breath & The Demise of a Tree

Our normally excellent air in the Pacific Northwest has been polluted by all the forest fires burning throughout the state. There is ash raining down everywhere and breathing is at your own risk.

That isn’t a complaint – it’s a simple fact. Although the air in St. Helens is compromised, we are not dealing with the threat of evacuation due to fires as are many, many areas of the state. Last night fire fighters were close to losing the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge in the Columbia River Gorge due to a fire started by a 15-year-old child playing with fireworks. The lodge was saved but the fire remains un-contained as I write. In the blink of an eye this fire, named Eagle Creek, has consumed well over 10,000 acres of forest in the gorge and has caused closure of I-84, the main freeway artery from Portland through the gorge. Closure is from Troutdale to Hood River.

It’s a mess. I’d say visibility is less than a mile at our house.

Regarding the tree … it’s the tree that participated in our power outage during the last wind storm we had in December 2015.

Some more of it fell off the tree a week or so ago so the power company decided it was time for that tree to bite the big one and sent Asplundh over to take care of it. It was a two day job.

After cutting off, and grinding up all the limbs, they were about to haul it all away and dump it some place. I only begged and pleaded for a short time before the foreman decided that we could keep the residue which we intend to scatter all over the place around the house. Now we don’t have to buy bark dust.

Actually, I didn’t have to beg at all. They were glad to leave it for us.


Broken Bones, Birthday’s, TV, and A Trip

It’s been a week since my last post so you’d think I’d have a lot to say. Like normal, however, I’m at a loss for words as I begin this. Again, like normal, however, somewhere during the course of sitting here I’ll find that I have more to say than is really interesting to most normal people.

8th – served at senior center with Jean & Sue while Diane went to physical therapy and her hand doctor. Then we had dinner with Diane’s Mom, Jean, who turned 90 this day. Diane got a cake for the occasion. Mom’s kindofa humbugger about such things and didn’t think it was a big deal like everyone else.

Me serving old people.

9th – Golfed with the Peal brothers. Did a terrible job, but had fun doing it. Took Panzee to see Dr. Freese in the pm for a checkup ($400). She’s doing just fine, all things considered. Liver functions are a little more elevated, but we expected that.

10th – Missed MELCA coffee with the guys because I had an appointment with a VA ENT specialist. Interesting that, even though I was referred in an effort to resolve an illusive issue, the doctors seem to fail to see the point about me visiting with them because I don’t have symptoms they can see. Consequently, I generally get a quick once over, a figurative blessing, and instruction to go forth and carry on. Interesting.

11th – Nothing happened this day so I chose to uninstall my heart monitor a day early and package it up for return to the vendor. Hopefully the sore spots obtained from those stick on receptacles will heal up quickly. They itch like crazy. I think I’m allergic to the conductive jelly they use.

Jack and Wynette returned ‘home’ for a short stay because somewhere in Idaho Wynette tumbled and broke her right arm just below the shoulder socket. She was in a lot of pain and the only short-term solution was to take pain meds. Docs in the ER said they couldn’t cast it so they put her in a loose sling. The son of a friend of Jack’s, who knew someone who knew an orthopedic doctor confirmed the need for the arm to hang loosely. Second opinions are always good. Both Jack and Wy slept on the recliner couch which works well for them both. Normally only Jack sleeps there, but Wy can’t lay down with the arm. Jack is taking good care of her. Their insurance company wants them back in AZ so a orthopedist in their plan can follow her from start to stop. The appointment is next Monday, August 21st. So, the break will be 10-days old by the time she sees a doctor.

Some more news from Idaho revealed that Jim’s wife, Donna, broke her foot in June. So, Diane broke her wrist in May, Donna a foot in June, and Wynette an arm in August. Somehow July was missed and were kind of concerned about our other sister-in-law, Ruth, in Connecticut. All the breaks just got worse over time so she must be in for a doozy. We hope not, of course, but the odds are not looking good for her.

12th – I was supposed to send the monitor back today but Diane turned it in yesterday. So, I visited Lydia’s Envoy and made another attempt to resurrect it from the semi-dead. I was moderately successful. It still has no power, but more than it did before. Next up is to replace the catalytic converter.

13th – Church as usual. Mom didn’t want to go for the second Sunday in a row so everyone who did attend ate her cake that Diane got.

14th – Packed up and headed out to Armitage County Park in Eugene right on time about 3 pm. We were supposed to leave at noon, but you know how plans can change. This will be the first trip we’ve taken with a car in tow. Had to use the tow dolly. Worked great. Here we are, stopped in front of Diane’s Mom’s house.

I’m happy to report that the Toyota followed us all the way to the park without falling off even one time. We found the park and our spot before dark. Everything hooked up and working great. They have an off-leash area for dogs so we took them to see what happened. There were other dogs there, but they were of no interest to Ziva who was more enthralled with smelling where all the dogs before her may have stepped, sniffed, peed, and/or pooped. She was in heaven. Ozzie, not so much. He was in more of a mood to be held and cuddled, so Diane complied.

15th – Ziva didn’t get the memo and got me up at 0532, like normal. So, I took her and Ozzie (who begged to come along, too) outside into the freezing cold morning. Diane said it was about 50, but it felt like 9, or so. Very chilly. Then I hunkered down on the sofa for another couple of hours. Kinda like being at home. It was OK. Later in the day Diane drove off to get some essential items at WalMart* which was only 7 minutes away in Eugene. One of the essential items was a small can of propane for the BBQ because I totally forgot to bring one of the two very large spare propane bottles we somehow acquired. From where is a mystery. Once she returned with the propane, and a couple other bags of ‘things’, I fired up the BBQ and cooked the steak we brought for that purpose. Diane made a salad, reheated fresh beans, and made some fake mashed potatoes. It was a wonderful meal in part, I think, because the meat was done nicely. Tasted great.

While Diane was busy shopping, and aggravating her injured, but reportedly healed left wrist, I fiddled around with the Dish satellite system and the RV’s AV features to the point where absolutely nothing worked at all. It was a bit frustrating, to say the least, but I persevered and found a solution by removing everything from the little tiny cabinet that houses everything, then stuffed the satellite things in there and hooked them up. It worked just fine.

Perhaps some of you remember my first foray into that little cabinet. It was kinda like that all over again.

What we don’t have is a connection to the surround system of speakers that live in our ceiling, but they quite working the first time I stuck my arm in that cabinet. The fact that they still don’t work isn’t an issue right now. I’ll figure that out at a later date when it may become important. I can’t get the radio to work, either. Perhaps I should have just left all that stuff alone when it was working. But, I just can’t seem to keep my hands off of stuff that has wires attached. It’s a ‘thing’.

Now it’s time to relax some more, after I share some photos with you …

While getting things ready to roll with the RV, Brooklyn and Kaiah from next door appeared with Alice in a car seat on a hand truck. She looked pretty comfortable. None of the straps were tight so she could have escaped any old time.

I took this photo the other day thinking that Breezie was laying on a bunch of sharp rocks. Well, it was just a trick of hers. I looked at it again after she got up and saw that there were no rocks where she was laying. Apparently she pushed them all out of the way before laying down. Tricky cat.

Finally, these two Transformers landed in our yard a week or so ago and have just been staring at each other since landing. I keep waiting for one of them to make a move but, so far, neither one has flinched. I’ve seen kids from the neighborhood playing on and around them, and no one has been hurt, but it’s just a matter of time. One day soon they will rise up and destroy all the ground around them. I’d like to be there for that.

By the way, the weather in Eugene is magnificent.

Observations From The Road

The other day I noticed a Tesla Model S in the park and ride lot for the Columbia County Rider.  Seemed a little odd to me that someone driving an electric vehicle would park it then jump on a gas guzzling bus. Could be, I suppose, they needed what charge they had remaining for their trip home after work. 

Speaking of electric vehicles. Do you, like me, find it unfair that electric car drivers are provided premium parking places, with chargers, all over the place? Seems to me that we who can’t afford an electric car should be provided comparable parking spots with gas pumps. 

Just sayin. 

Tetanus Shots & Table Saws

For the past month or so, Diane has been battling bronchitis. She’s had a horrible time with it and it seems to happen every year at this time when things turn really wet outside. It’s always a concern for me because when she’s making me a sandwich and coughing I fear that I may be the next victim. So far that hasn’t happened, probably because I convinced her to visit her doctor a couple of weeks ago and she got some antibiotics to help her fight this. After three days on the antibiotics I was confident that she was no longer contagious and allowed he to resume her sandwich making duties. She’s been slowly improving since then and is almost back to her normal self.

Yesterday she had her followup visit with the doctor to see how things were going. After she left I got to thinking that it’s been a number of years since I had my last tetanus shot. Now, that’s not normally something I think about, but it gave me something to consider as I went down to my shop to continue work on a couple of projects I have going for Christmas.

Within 10 minutes, during which time I was able to make a series of boards, with angled edges of precisely 11.5 degrees, on my table saw. On the very last cut the table saw snatched the perfectly good leather glove of my left hand and gnawed a large chunk from the forefinger area. Due to the pain which accompanied the destruction of my glove I was pretty certain there was physical damage involved. My well honed reactions to events of this nature cause me to make a tight fist of my left hand and clutch it to my chest in a manner that, had anyone been present, may have indicated I was suffering a cardiac event.

Before the pain subsided, I turned off the saw, and the shop vac that was connected to it in order to suck all the sawdust away from the saw, and headed for my car in order to make yet another visit to the emergency room. It took longer than necessary to get out of the house because I couldn’t find my phone, which was on the work bench in the shop. Once I remembered where the phone was, I checked to ensure the dogs had full water bowls and that the cat had food (she drinks from the dog’s bowls), got my car keys and headed down the hill

Because I had my left hand clutched to my chest I decided that I didn’t want to fuss over how to get my seat belt strapped around me so, throwing caution to the wind, headed down the hill without it. It feels really odd to drive without a seat belt. It’s just not normal. But I did it.

Instead of going directly to the emergency room, I parked by Diane’s truck on the other side of the building thinking she would know something was up when she saw my car. To ensure there was no confusion, however, I went into the reception area and asked one of the ladies to please give Diane a message about where I was so she would know why my car was there. Then I walked around the building to the emergency side of things.

Walking into the emergency room with my hand clutched to my chest, I knew, would create a stir, so I just said “table saw”, to the first person I saw so they wouldn’t get the wrong idea about the reason for my visit. Those two little words granted me front of the line priority and, after a very brief check in, I was rushed to a room beyond the normally locked doors where things happen.

Since I’ve done this before, a number of times, and most recently for the same finger, I know the procedure, and most of the people helping me. I assumed a prone position, in my well used work clothes, on a nice white sheet, then opened my fist so the nurse could get the glove off and check the damage. From precious experience I knew that my clutching method would stem the flow of blood to a minimum so wasn’t surprised when none came pouring out when the glove was removed.

Here’s what it looked like …


Notice the nice 1/8″ kerf. Since I’d never seen the interior of my finger before, I was quite fascinated.

A nice young lady, who claimed to not be a doctor, but a PA, checked out my wound and determined that she could save it. During her investigation, she asked about the status of my tetanus vaccination and I reported that that particular shot was one of the reasons for my visit because it’s been about 7 years since my last one and figured another one was due. Oddly, that coincided with my last visit to that same room, for issues with the same forefinger.Then she gave me a shot to deaden the finger, telling me I’d feel a little pinch when she inserted the needle. I assured her, when it was done, that what I felt wasn’t too bad, but it certainly wasn’t like a pinch. She laughed. Then my finger went to sleep before the pain took over my senses.

Diane arrived to keep me company around this time and I was happy that she wasn’t mad at me. And, she had good news that, though she had infection in her eustachian tube, the bronchitis was much better. I love being with my wife, even in an emergency room.

Actually, the most severe pain was at the moment of impact with the saw blade as I felt each tooth tearing into my finger as it spun. Nasty. Still, it was nice to have it numb.

Then one of the nurses came in and administered the new tetanus shot, in my right shoulder area, after which another nurse arrived with equipment she used to scrub the be-Jesus out of the wound, ensuring there were no stray little bits of leather or wood chips hanging around. I didn’t watch because I knew she was doing a very thorough job and I didn’t want to vomit on my chest. It wasn’t until then that my right shoulder began hurting a little from the injection.

When the scrubbing was done, the PA returned with the stitch kit she needed to repair the damage. As she entered, the lights flickered a bit, and everyone was commenting about the odd smell in the air. For me, it had a distinctive bakelite smell indicative of some sort of electronic equipment failure. My friend, “The Plant Electrician”, is no doubt well acquainted with that telling aroma. After a short time the fire alarm sounded and everyone vacated the building, out into the rain, to await the fire department.

A nurse quickly wrapped a bunch of gauze around my finger and Diane went to get her truck to bring it around so we could sit and wait. I was thankful for that as I watched everyone huddled outside in the rain. They could have gone to their cars, too, but they didn’t.

Finally the fire department showed up …


… and they shooed everyone away from the building, out into the rain. Apparently standing under the shelter of the entry area wasn’t a good idea. So, everyone left, but we were allowed to stay, sitting in the truck.


That’s my PA, Kimberly, in the white coat. In front of her, is another Diane that I’ve known a long time, and to her left is Kimberly’s scribe, Beth. I don’t know where they went, but I regret not offering them all a seat in the truck to await the outcome of this event. I’m sure Kimberly could have stitched me up while we waited.

Finally, after about an hour, long enough for my finger to heal, we were allowed back into the building where we assumed our previous positions. Mike, an ex Navy Corpsman, provided us with warm blankets which felt really good.

After everything settled down, and things were moving back to normal, Kimberly reappeared to resume her task. Because of the delay in finishing the procedure, we both thought it would be a good idea if she added a bit more numbing agent before getting busy with the stitches. While doing so, I learned from idle chatter in the hallway that I was the cause of the need to evacuate because everything was going just fine until I got there. Having broad shoulders, figuratively speaking, I figured I could accept that responsibility and ease the burden a little for the real culprit who drove his vehicle into a power pole somewhere nearby.

Six stitches are now holding my finger together. That makes 21 stitches total for that one digit in its lifetime. None of its neighboring digits have ever been stitched up so it has the record, hands down.

I sincerely hope every one of you who have suffered through this narrative are in good health and will continue to enjoy that state of being for the remainder of your lives.

Now I must heal.

Viva Las Vegas !!

So, we’ve been in Las Vegas since last Friday (28th) which you may all assume is the reason for delaying this entry. You’d think we were out running the strip with the rest of the party crowd, adding to our collection of those girly cards that are given freely available to anyone, even children, to accept those evocative gifts. It’s evident that many folks aren’t happy that their children accepted those cards by the number of them littering the sidewalks and street. I’ve been collecting those cards for years and have successfully gathered 998 cards with unique renditions of very pretty girls with very little, or no clothing, no two alike. I feel that’s quite an accomplishment considering that most of the cards are duplicates. I haven’t collected any this trip, yet, but I’m after those illusive two needed to round my collection up to 1,000. I actually saw one that I needed, but it was in the street and I figured Diane would frown on me picking it up, so I sadly walked on by, watching it disappear in my peripherals as those unconcerned people revelers around me nimbly walked over it, grinding it into the pavement making it totally useless for a valid collection destined to become very valuable.

But, no, that was not the case. Instead we’ve been spending most of our time gazing out the window of our room at the millions of lights illuminating the pointy end of Nevada. Here’s part of what we can see from our room on the 54th floor of the Elara.

IMG_1517 IMG_1525 IMG_1527Quite festive. We can see, from left to right, Aria,The Cosmopolitan, Rio, Bellagio, Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace, Paris, The Mirage, Treasure Island, Trump, Wynn, Palazzo, Encore, Ballys, Venetian, Harrah’s, High Roller Ferris Wheel, and the Stratosphere. Granted, we can’t see the fronts of them all, but enough to make for a pretty dramatic night sky.

The main reason for making Las Vegas our vacation destination this trip was to join a group of old folks with whom we’ve become acquainted over the years because of our mutual fascination with the Chrysler PT Cruiser. The 109 in attendance, including us, still own PTs, and a large number of them drove their vehicles to the party. The notable exception was our new friend from Sydney, Australia. Pretty cool that he came all that way to visit with us. There were lots of folks from Canada, and the US East Coast, too. This event was the brain child of our friend, Rick, pictured below with my bride, Diane.

IMG_1539This gathering was for breakfast at the Gold Coast for which we had to leave our warm beds at 0500 Monday morning. It was good. Rick, Rick, and Pat had microphones and went around the room giving everyone a chance to introduce themselves. Once some of them got the microphone, however, they were compelled to share some pretty involved stories about their love affair with the PT. IMG_1553Pat Chase, who is, oddly, the current husband of Pat Chase, gave an impressive dissertation on the PT Cruiser from its concept to production, and all the emotions associated with that little car during it’s production run from 2001 through 2010. In another 15 years our 2005 convertible will be a classic. Can’t wait for that. The downside of that is that I’ll be 86 and the state of Oregon probably won’t let me drive it.

The remainder of Monday’s activities for us, after breakfast, was to find a car wash so we could get the bugs scraped off the front of Diane’s new Impala. I found one really close to the Gold Coast that is strictly a hand wash facility. They did an outstanding job and made the car look awesome. This is the new ride …IMG_1491Monday night 58 of us took a 3-4 hour ride on The Big Bus tour of Las Vegas with Kate as our tour guide. Had it not been for her interaction with our crowd of old folks, the trip would have been kind of ho-hum, “look at all the pretty lights” instead of the incredibly detailed, historically correct narrative of every building or vacant lot we passed. She even gave us some pretty interesting back ground of many of the questionable people we passed during our travels. Kate is extremely funny and could easily, in my estimation, excel as a standup comic. Perhaps she is one of those already, but that wasn’t mentioned. She was, however, the Witch in “Wicked” and played all over the west coast for considerable amount of time.

DSC_3012Kate has a commanding presence and we all fell in love with her during that 3-hour tour. What a gal. Here she is making friends with one of the many Ricks who made the trip from Oregon. One of the other Ricks is sitting right there to the right in front of Linda. The other Rick, our leader, was sitting up front.

Sadly, the Rick pictured with Kate injured his knee on the way up the steps to this seat and had to be carted away in a wheel chair at the end of the tour. We trust he will be fine, eventually, but don’t have a prognosis at this time. He was taken to one of the local hospitals, of which I found there are many in the area.


Here are a few of the places we saw along the way down the strip.DSC_3026 DSC_3027 DSC_3030 DSC_3019 DSC_2999 DSC_2997 DSC_2992

Then we headed for the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino on Fremont Street. 
DSC_3033 DSC_3036

We’ve been there many, many years ago, before it evolved into what it is now, so we weren’t prepared for the incredible transformation that’s been made in that area. It’s pretty amazing.

DSC_3045 DSC_3047

Outside the Golden Nugget, Fremont Street is totally covered with a curved video screen that stretches over 300 feet. Below the screen, for the entire length, stretched 3 zip line wires on which people whizzed by overhead.

When we first got there it was displaying random graphics which were very pleasing. As we walked through the crush of people on the street, we were smitten with all the pretty lights and the great attitude of the crowd. We didn’t encounter any attitudes at all during our circumnavigation of this amazing venue. About halfway around all the lights along the street, and those advertising the various facilities, were extinguished and the overhead display lit up along the entire length of the street and the sound was cranked up as we were entertained with a Bon Jovi concert of epic proportions. It was mesmerizing and incredibly fun to watch. Even for an old guy like me. DSC_3049 DSC_3052

Inside the Golden Nugget all the lights are covered with these incredible artsy creations and all I could think about was how I’m so happy I don’t have to change the light bulbs in them. Pretty, but really sharp on the pointy ends.DSC_3055

Also inside the Golden Nugget is the Shark Tank. A swimming pool surrounds the tank and you can see a tube running through the center of the tank. That’s the end part of a water slide that starts a couple of floors above the tank and through which people fly, probably with their eyes closed. Kinda freaky.DSC_3061

Prior to the evening festivities, we wandered around the Miracle Mile Shopping portion of Planet Hollywood where Diane found a hat shop. She loves hats and looks great wearing pretty much anything on her head.

That’s pretty much it for yesterday. We had a terrific time and are looking forward to the evening festivities today. We’re having the Old PT People Banquet (OPTPB) at the Gold Coast. Should be a hoot.

PT & Winnebago Lights, & Flying Floormats

Today I took Diane’s little convertible to Les Schwab for some new shoes. The ones it had were mismatched, and of a brand that is no longer manufactured, a bad sign for safety on the highway. So, I bit the bullet, wanting to keep my bride from participating in a thrilling game of bumper cars on Highway 30, and got her the best tires old Les sold. Another reason I felt the need to replace them is because it seems I’m the one who drives it the most. I still have the ’96 Subaru, but it’s going to hit the auction block today so it’s no longer a factor. Also, Diane told me I could fix the old truck. That’s major. I’ve probably shared all that before but this time it’s true.

After getting the tires installed I went about resurrecting the fog lights. The multi-function switch I ordered from eBay showed up yesterday, but I didn’t put it in until today because I had to get a new fuse to replace the one that wasn’t there. I knew the fogs lights worked because I did some fuse swappo-change-o to confirm using the one from the seat heater circuit.

Once the new switch was installed, the fog lights worked just great, after I got the correct size fuse. The first ones I bought were from NAPA and were too big because I simply failed to realize that, since it was a little car, it needed mini-blade fuses. The switch worked just great, but the turn signals didn’t. There was just nothing there. No little clicky sound or blinking lights on the dash-board. Nothing. So, I took the cowling off, which I shouldn’t have installed until I had confirmed that everything worked, and connected the old switch and confirmed that the blinky lights really worked. During this advanced troubleshooting sequence I felt the clicky part working under my hand leading me to the conclusion that the new switch didn’t come with the blinky relay. After a short pause, during which I surmised that this wasn’t unusual, I disconnected the old switch, removed the relay and installed it on the new switch, and connected it and confirmed that it worked just fine. Another successful day of “fixing” something. Then I tightened all the screws I’d removed, and called it good when I couldn’t find anything left over from the dismantling.

At that point I was in a light fixing frame of mind so I fired up the old motor home to see what didn’t work. I was gratified to discover that all the necessary lights work OK but some of the clearance lights don’t. I’m not worried about those, however, so just let them be.

While I was walking around the rig, with the engine running, I gave the old generator another chance to start, but it wouldn’t. It has a fuel problem like in it isn’t getting any. That’s a task for another day. If I need to run it for some reason, I’ll solve it.

A few days ago, after sharing a Subway sandwich at Wal*Mart, Diane and I spent a considerable amount of time trying to decide what kind of rubber, water-proof, floor mats to get for her PT. They have a large selection ranging from about $30 to $10. We settled on the cheap-o version which turned out to be rather prophetic since Diane lost them on the highway somewhere on her way to Bunco. You see, I’d placed them on top of the vehicle whilst emptying all the other stuff we purchased, and she didn’t see them when she jumped in and tore out of the driveway like that guy Mario. We can only surmise that she didn’t hit critical liftoff speed for the floor mats until she made the turn onto Pittsburgh Road. Now they are gone forever. We took solace in knowing we only lost the $10 version and that it could have been worse. She, of course, blames me for leaving them on the car, and I blame her for not seeing them laying there when she got in the car. I blamed her, of course, not taking into account that she’s much shorter in person and probably just couldn’t see them; and it was dark. So, ultimate, like normal, I must assume responsibility.

Now it’s time to go get some lunch somewhere to celebrate because I did all of the above without hurting myself even one time.

Gear Head Stuff & Karma

Now, I’m not a real Gear Head, Like Don, but I try. Sometime’s I’m even successful which surprises me when it happens. Such was the case today when, left unsupervised, while Diane took her Mom to the doctor to check out her head, I left the house brimming with confidence that I would accomplish my missions.

One of them was the old ’68 truck. As you may remember, I left it in a shambles with no electricity making it to the necessary wires that would ignite the engine. So, this morning, I went to work as if it wasn’t a problem, put it all back together, and it actually started right up. Oh, there’s a few extra wires hanging around, and I didn’t reinstall the radio or the heater controls, but it works. So do the turn signals, and the windshield wipers, the reason for dismantling it in the first place. One of the added benefits of getting the truck going was that I was able to move it so I could find the socket I dropped a couple of weeks ago. Many of you are probably surprised that I remembered to look for it.

I share this news as though everything went just as smooth as glass, but that’s not the case. I discovered what happens when the tiny little tube isn’t reconnected to the oil pressure gauge. Any guesses? Well, lets just say I’m no longer allowed to wear those sneakers in the house, and I’ll probably have to toss the socks I was wearing.

That reminds me … I should probably connect the speedo, too.

But it runs in an excellent manner.

From the truck I went directly to the ’79 Winnebago. It’s a tough bugger to get started but I know the trick. First I removed the engine cover inside the cab. Then I plunked myself into the driver’s seat and removed the air cleaner cover. That’s necessary in order to spray starting fluid into the carburetor, which I did. This is complicated, however, by the tricky ignition I’ve got. Actually, it’s not tricky. I had a button connected to the starter at some point in time, and it fell off one day. Since I’ve not found it necessary to reinstall it, I just turn the key on and hold the wires together, spraying starting fluid in the carburetor, until something ignites. So far, using that method, the only thing that ignites is the fuel in the engine. That’s because I really don’t spray while the engine is turning.

It started pretty quickly, surprising me, so I let it set and run until the exhausts quick smoking. That didn’t take as long as normal, either.

Then, I moved next door to the ’73 Winnebago to see if I could get it started. I know it will run, but it hasn’t been started in a while so I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

First, I needed to install one of the batteries just happen to have in the garage. There are three of them, and they all, happily still had a full charge which was applied before I gave my old battery charger away.

Before I took the battery out, however, I decided to do a little pruning. The border trees I parked next to were in the way so I just whacked a bunch of branches off until I could access the battery tray.

With the battery in place I randomly attached two of the four wires in the vicinity and achieved a satisfying spark indicating ‘something’ was connected. Back in the cabin, no matter how hard I turned the ignition key, I couldn’t get it to do anything. So, I went back out and disconnected the battery cables and contemplated which two to connect next. While pondering, I checked the battery terminals, noticing that they are a bit corroded, and the terminal ends of the cables previously used. Turns out the spark i achieved was thankfully brief because had it actually made adequate contact the battery would have imploded. The two I chose first created a direct short between the terminals.

The second and third time I was more careful. I discovered which two powered the 12V lighting, but using the 2nd positive cable still did not result in ignition. So, I figured Karma was telling me to go do something else. So, I did.

I removed the ’79 rig from the driveway so Diane’s Bunco Babes will be able to park 4 vehicles on the house side of the street. The latecomers will have to park across the street.

Now it’s getting late and I must terminate my activity for the day. Lydia has her first high school softball game today at 1630 and I must be there. I have 1.5 hours to get ready. Sadly, I can only watch 1/2 an hour of it because I have another PT session at 1700. Another reason I must quit is because Diane made it back home and reported that I “stink” of mechanical stuff and must wash.

So, I’ll do that.

Trucks, Karma, Kids, & Wood

Today I started my work day working on the pickup but it didn’t last very long. The reason for that is I let Karma dictate the direction my day goes. My task was simply to get the truck started after sitting for a while, but that let to me dismantling a bunch of stuff, and fiddling with a bunch of wires. It wasn’t going well at all. Finally, two things happened that made it evident I was supposed to go find something else to do.

First, while taking the wire connection off the firewall side of the fuse block, I dropped my 3/8″ socket that was attached to my only 3″ extension. I’m pretty sure it dropped to the ground under the truck, into the 8″ deep grass that’s grown there since I parked the truck, but I couldn’t find it.

Considering this devastating loss a minor setback, I found something else to do that only involved a phillips screwdriver. Since the screw I wished to remove was large, and too hard to turn by hand, I used my 1/4″ socket into which I inserted the phillips head. After I got the screw out, the bit also fell into the grass.

That’s when I wrapped everything up, took my tools inside, and went to work on my work bench project. It’s been sitting idle for a couple of months because it seems I was either overly involved doing “other” things, or I was not motivated to go down all 15 stairs into the basement. Today, with the truck project an abject failure, I made the effort, and hammered together a bunch of wood I’d already cut in anticipation of this moment.

Although I have extremely limited space in which to work, I found a way to get it done. Well, not done, exactly, but at least well on the way. Soon, very soon, I’ll have another expanse of horizontal surface on which to stack all that stuff that used to hang on the peg board. At the moment it’s all over the floor making it difficult to get around. I’d include a picture but I’m pretty sure both of the California Mike’s would find totally unacceptable, boarding on the obscene. It’s not pretty. But, it’s getting better. Honest, it is.

When it’s finished, it will have hidey holes for all the power tools and maybe event some extra drawers in which to store things I only use once or twice a year. With all those things actually put away, I don’t know what I’m going do with the time I’ll save by not having to move a pile of “stuff” each time I want to do something. Right now it’s just a way of life for me. Has been for years. That, and looking for my tape measure, or a pencil, every time I need to measure something. Next time those things are on sale, I’m going to buy 6 or 7 of them and just leave them lying around all over the place so one is always handy. I know, I could hook it on my pants, but I don’t like doing that. I have a tool belt/pouch thing, too, but that’s like work. Jeff gave me a really good tool belt once, but I didn’t use it enough so he took it back. Can’t say I blame him. It was a nice one.

Jeran came to visit this evening because the rest of the family was doing things that he wasn’t part of. We had dinner together and then we played board games until Jennifer came to get him. I have to point out that, though he tried very hard, Jeran went home a loser. He didn’t win even one game.

I guess he really didn’t go home a loser because Ozzie allowed Jeran to pet him, something he’s never done before. Maybe Ozzie took exception to the ‘loser’ label. Whatever the reason, Jeran was delighted that he was allowed to touch Oz without fear of getting his hand ripped off.

Lydia is wearing contacts, now, and is really excited about it. She’s cute like normal but more so because now it’s easier to see her eye makeup.

We don’t know what Cedric was doing. I think he must have moved to Arizona. I’m not sure. Haven’t seen him in a while. Maybe Jennifer will fill us in.

I don’t think that I mentioned that I mowed our yard a few days ago. That’s because I felt bad about being able to do that when all the rest of the country is having such terrible weather. I could have mowed it again today, if I wanted to. It was dry and 60-something. Very balmy and spring-ish-like. I can say that because the heather and forsythia are blooming, a sure sign that spring is just around the corner.

Now I’m told it’s time for bed. It’s 2245 and I have absolutely no business being on the computer this late at night. I should be in bed, like all the other old people I know.