Shopping, Lunch, Satellite TV, and The Beach

This morning happened early, almost like normal, but a little bit later. I think it was 0700 when the dogs let their presence be known. Until then, they were quiet like little church mice. At least I think they were. I’ve never actually seen a church mouse so cannot accurately report that they are actually quiet. I suppose the fact that I’ve never heard one while in church would serve to convince me that they really are quiet. Either that, or they don’t really exist. That’s hard to believe, however, because mice are pretty much everywhere.

After walking the dogs, we returned to the Winnebago innards and they got their normal ration of pouch food, which pleased them a great deal. It always pleases them a great deal. From their perspective, they just don’t get pleased a great deal often enough. Once a day is the limit.

When we returned, Diane was vertical and moving so I figured it was going to be a pretty good day. We both had out normal yogurt and and fruit, then drank coffee until the pot was empty. It was a bit weak, but it was good. We were all off to a good start, and I didn’t even feel the need to take my normal morning nap.

One of the priorities for today was to get some sort of something I could use to lay on under the RV, to could work on the fuel pump problem, so we went shopping. As luck would have it, Diane drove directly to the Goodwill store at the fairly new shopping center, that also has a Costco, in Warrenton. We mosied around in there and found all kinds of really cute things we didn’t know we needed. I mean, they were REALLY cute things. Probably the cutest things I’ve ever seen. My contribution was a little package that had two hose clamps, which aren’t really cute, and an old, solid wood, not plywood, coffee table. I’m going to take it home and refinish it so it looks like new then I’m going to put it in front of the living room couch where there currently isn’t one. It’s going to look very nice, I bet. Right now we’re using it for our outside table under the awning by the RV since I forgot to get the little brown plastic fold up one from the garage.

20130908-133806.jpg
We returned to some happy dogs early afternoon and Diane set about making lunch. Today we had griddled steak, microwave mashed potatoes, and over baked corn on the cob. It was all exceptionally good, but the corn actually took first prize simply for the way Diane cooked it. “Oven baked corn on the cob?” you ask. “That’s true,” I respond. All you have to do is preheat your oven to 350 then toss the corn in for 25 minutes. The best part is, you don’t have to peel the corn first! It just goes in there just like you bought it from the store, unless you bought it already husked. Then, when your dinger goes off, or your phone barks at you, like Diane’s timer app, take the corn out of then oven and immediately run cold water on your hands for about 10 minutes, if you failed to use hot pads. Then, get a really sharp knife, and cut the large end off the ears, taking the first row of corn, if possible. Then just squeeze the little end like a tube of toothpaste and the cooked ear of corn will slowly emerge from the husks, minus most of those annoying little strings. It’s amazing! And it was done to perfection. So, good. I didn’t, by the way, take the corn out of the oven so I didn’t burn my hands. Diane did, and she used hot pads.

20130906-202446.jpg
After lunch, Diane made herself some tea and went to her chair under the awning, in the fresh air. It was raining off and on, but that’s OK. It was nice and fresh. And quiet. While she was relaxing, I went to work trying to line up the satellite antenna. I set it up yesterday and gave it a minor effort, but couldn’t get it to work. This time I got the zip code for the spot we’re in so I could properly aim the antenna, then made the necessary adjustments using a 1/2 inch box end wrench. In case you’re interested, the DirecTV settings for zip code 97121 are: azimuth 132, elevation 34, rotation 111. The hard part is setting the azimuth. In case you’ve had trouble with that in the past, perhaps you will benefit from my experience regarding this adjustment.

Once you set the elevation and rotation, take your best shot at aiming the antenna in the proper direction where you think it should be. Fortunately, for me, there is a compass glued to one leg of the stand Jack gave me, so I knew where 132 was. The trick with using a manual compass is that you first have to make sure the compass is aligned with the colored needle on the N. Then, if you have the right kind of compass, it will have markings all the way around it from 0 to 359 then back to 0.

When you figure out which way you need to point it, stand very still and point your left arm in that direction. It works best if you do this directly over the antenna so you can see how close you are to being correct. Remember, all you are trying to do is get close. It’s very possible that you might get lucky on the first aim and get a great signal.

Regarding the signal … there are satellite signal meters you can purchase that I understand help with the alignment, but I figure that would take the fun out of guessing and, perhaps, getting it right the first time.

Needless to say, I didn’t get it right the first time so had to make numerous trips from the receiver, to check the signal level, then back to the antenna to move it 1 or 2 degrees one way or another, then back to the receiver to check again. I did this about 15 times, I think, before I actually got a signal. Then, with a bit a tweaking, I got a really good signal and was watching Jeff Gianola on Channel 6 News, just like that! Way out here in Fort Stevens. Go figure.

Oh, another really important thing to remember when you’re setting up your antenna is to make sure the vertical part of the pipe, to which the antenna is bolted, is absolutely vertical. You can guess at this, too, if you wish, but most of them have a bubble level in the top of the vertical pipe that simplifies this step. When I was setting it up at home, I didn’t know it was there, so had all kinds of trouble getting it vertical with two little levels. So, that’s the first thing I did this time.

Here’s what it should look like when you’re finished …

20130908-132136.jpg
All the time I was going back and forth from the antenna to the receiver, Diane sat peacefully in her chair, not questioning me about how it was going. She just read her book and must have figured I was doing something useful.

On my last trip out I told her the news was on if she was interested which excited her no end. She just loves the news and ran right inside to watch it … and fiddle around with the DirecTV remote which she hasn’t used in a while. Since we have a DVR in the RV, she set Diane Sawyer to record, then we took the dogs to the beach down by the shipwrecked Peter Iredale. There are signs in Fort Stevens that actually have “Ship Wreck” on it, with an arrow pointing the way. Everyone in Oregon knows the ship’s name so it’s not needed on the signs an it saves the parks service a ton of money by not having to buy so much sign paint. Here’s what’s left of the wreck …

20130908-134103.jpg
When we got to the beach, Panzee was ready to run because there were dog tracks all over the place and so many new things to smell. Ozzie just sat on my arm, looking out the window during the trip, trying to look nonchalant, but I knew he was excited. He couldn’t fool me. He was, however, a little hesitant at first because he absolutely abhors leashes. He’s main this pretty plain every time we hook him up, but it’s a rule. He deals with it, in his fashion, like by laying down so Diane has to drag him along behind her which causes people to stare. Then she will pick him up, which is his real desire. He’s pretty little so he’s not very hard to drag. It just looks bad to some folks.

When we got down to the hard sand, we went north on the beach, away from the ship wreck that lures a lot people, where there was virtually no one around. Seeing this, we removed the leashes and just let them run. They had a terrific time, and got a lot of exercise. Ozzie got the most exercise, though, because he ran circles around Diane like he was in orbit, and just couldn’t break free of her gravitational pull. Finally, however, he did. Somewhere in his little body he found a booster rocket and chased after me and Panzee. It as fun to watch because he’s normally such a little recluse.

20130908-133154.jpg

20130908-133205.jpg
I need to let you know that I won’t be able to publish this entry from this location. We have no phone signal. Funny, huh? We’re watching satellite TV in HD but can’t call home. When you get this, you’ll wonder why I’m sharing this because, obviously, it got sent if you’re reading it. It’s just something I needed to tell you.

Oh ya! Here’s something I learned today …

20130906-202516.jpg
Who knew?

Shoes & Deviled Eggs

Today I vacuumed the house while Diane peeled eggs. Other than the fact that ‘it was time’, there was a distinct need for us to suck up all the dog hair that Panzee is spreading around the place. She is much happier when it snows, but she will have to wait a while for that. Rumor has it, from the Old Guy Network in town, that we’re in for a bad winter. We’re not sure what that means because we’ve heard that rumor before and nothing happened. I’m beginning to suspect the reliability of the OGN.

I’ve mentioned before that I choose to vacuum for my lovely bride because it absolutely ruins her back. That doesn’t mean she never vacuums, because she does, but she never asks me to do it. I guess that makes me a good guy, in a way, but that isn’t my motivation. It’s just the right thing to do. Ya know?

One of the tasks I perform when vacuuming is to round-up all shoes that have escaped their rightful places. I may have mentioned that Diane has quite a few pair of shoes so it’s not unusual for hers to wind up in various places around the house. That’s OK. It’s good exercise for me to walk around the house collecting shoes before I fire up the vacuum. I took a couple of pictures to show you the results of my shoe search.

If the shoe roundup was a competition, I suppose you could say Diane wins due to shear numbers as you can see from the pictures …

Here’re mine …

IMG_0608

Here’re Diane’s …

IMG_0607

But, should the winner be selected based on the most, or the least shoes scattered around the house?

So … do I win because I only had two pair of shoes lying around?

While you ponder that, I’ll move along …

While I was vacuuming, Diane peeled a litter of eggs that she boiled to make deviled eggs for her Bunco Group. That’s tonight at another Diane’s house in Warren. My Diane also found a recipe for some cute little pastry  things using her cute little pastry pan. It’s really a muffin pan for little muffins. She used a package of those Grand biscuits in a can, that you whack on the edge of a counter to make it explode. She had to peel each biscuit in half, placing each piece into one of the little muffin indents. Then she filled it with a concoction of swiss cheese, bacon, mayonnaise, and some other stuff. I was tasked to mix it all up and spoon it into the exposed muffins. She already had the oven heated up by the time I was done so all I had to do was slide it in for 10 minutes.

After 5 minutes she asked me if I’d put the bacon in, which I hadn’t, because she couldn’t smell it cooking. So, we pulled the muffin pan out, and she closely observed me sprinkling bacon bits all over the fake little muffins. Then she put it back in the oven for the remaining 5 minutes. When she got home, around 10 pm, there were only a few left. She saved them for me, and they were really good. They actually looked like cupcakes once they were cooked, but I didn’t get to see the finished product before she deserted me to go play with her friends.

She also took the deviled eggs I made for her. Remember? She was peeling eggs while I cleaned the house? Well, I made the deviled eggs, too. Again, I volunteered to do it, as I volunteered to help with the fake muffins. It’s easier if I volunteer to help because she won’t ask, and I won’t get into trouble for not helping. It’s a win-win.

There was no work on The Bathroom today, but I have a photo of the back wall tile being installed by Daniel …

IMG_0609

I agree, it’s a bad photo, but I was in a hurry and took it with my iPhone … the one with the cracked screen that was reported in a previous entry.

As you can see, Daniel is finishing up the fifth row. This is where I left him last Friday so we could go have lunch with our friends. He completed two more rows before running out of the pre-mix thin set. It was a good stopping point because row eight is where the pattern begins. I think that’s true. Jennifer knows.

After completing my kitchenly chores, I just fiddled around and replaced the cable connections, and old cable, in the RV, to eliminate a lot of short cables strung together. Then I moved the satellite antenna just to see if I could get it lined up again. It wasn’t as easy this time, so I got a lot of practice adjusting it. Right now it’s on a stand Jack gave me that has a compass attached so I can make a professional guess about which way to aim it. Since the antenna is already aimed with the correct rotation and elevation, all I have to do is align the azimuth. Not as easy as it sounds, especially when the antenna is 50-60 feet away from the receiver and you have to make go back and forth to see if it works.

It finally did, and the new cable worked just great. Now all I have to do is figure out how to get the antenna level, and aligned without using sticks and bricks.

As I previously mentioned, Diane arrived home around 10 pm and it’s now 11-venty pm and time for me to quit. I vowed to get to bet early tonight, as I do most nights, so I won’t need my morning nap. I don’t know why that never works out. It just doesn’t.

PT, RV, TV, & Lydia

Today I actually got to pretend like I’m retired. At least for a little while. The only interruption to the day was my last PT appointment with EB at the VA. I don’t have to go back. Oh, the shoulder still hurts, but it was determined by mutual agreement that what needs to be done, I can do at home. As a parting gift, EB gave me a brand spanking new, in he box, ice pack. All I have to do, which I already did, is toss it into the freezer for a while. A great gift, and so simple to care for.

On the way home we decided to celebrate the lunch hour  by ingesting ground up parts of a dead cow. We seem to do that a lot. I know, it doesn’t really sound good when presented in that manner, but I’m not going to shade the truth. It is what it is. I still do not get the reference to pigs for the sandwiches created from the remains of that poor old cow. I think her name was Clarissa. Parts of her are probably still out there in someone’s freezer.

OK – sorry I went down that road, but it’s done and I can’t take it back.

After lunch, we returned home and let Panzee run free in the front yard for a while. Ozzie had to be forcibly relocated from his beloved kennel to the front yard for a little exercise, but he couldn’t wait to get back inside. Since he discovered what his last bowel movement cost, he’s decided, I guess, to just not ever have another one. His increased reclusive nature could also be the result of his distemper shot. We’re not sure. We just know he’s very not a happy camper right now.

One of my tasks today was to measure how many square feet of floor is visible in the old ’73 Winnebago. Turns out there’s around 42 square feet. Small, huh? The reason for obtaining those measurements is because so we’ll know how much replacement material we’ll need when we rip out the terribly stained carpet.

As luck would have it, we have some real deal bamboo flooring in our basement. It was purchased many years ago on a whim after seeing an advertisement on Craig’s List. I think there was a plan when we got it, but it was lost somewhere along the way. Maybe it was destined for the old Winnebago all along. The flooring consists of 24 boards, 3.75 inches wide, and 62.6 inches long which works out to a bit less than the area we need to cover. So, I’m either going to have to cheat on the math, or put spaces between the boards. Using spaces, they will eventually fill up with dirt and dust so that may be a viable solution. Diane will disagree, I’m sure. She does that a lot.

For fun, I set up the portable DirecTV HD antenna out by the garage and hooked up the DVR system in the ’79 Winnebago. I tried this yesterday, too, failing dismally. I knew where to point it, but getting it level proved to be extremely difficult. Today when I tried it, I discovered there’s a bubble level on the antenna, so it was a breeze. With bricks I was able to counteract the influence of the wind which was causing the dish to wiggle a bit, disallowing any possibility of obtaining a good signal strength. It went from ‘0’ to ’96’ plus, for all 32 whatevertheheck it is the DVR measures.

Once I got the good signal, I had a great picture … on channel 100.  Nothing else was available to me because the DVR hasn’t been turned on since last year some time. Now it’s going to be on every day. I’m just going to go out there every once in a while and turn it on, just because I can.

Now, about the portable antenna. It’s the same size as the ones mounted on homes. In fact, it used to be mounted on someone’s home but it was liberated and presented to me. It’s been languishing beside the garage for a few years but hasn’t lost any of its ability to capture digital images. It’s not even rusty like the one on the house.

My success in obtaining a stellar picture in the old motor home was obliterated by the fact that the DirecTV package I ordered does not include HGTV. Oh, the horrors that await me when we hit the road. I’m sure that aspect of the satellite programming will be reconsidered. Thankfully, that can be done on a whim. DirecTV is more than happy to up the ante, so to speak, by adding even more channels to the many you already don’t watch.

Speaking of that, I think satellite, and cable, providers should have an ala carte menu for programming suits each viewer. They can, we already know, be very selective about which channels you can get (the minimum is 55 for us, it seems, most of which we’ll never view) so why not just give us all the locals, TNT, Pac12, ESPN, MGMHD, SyFy, and, of course, HGTV. So charge me $5 apiece for each channel. I don’t care. Don’t give me the ‘package’ of 55 channels of which I will only, ever, watch those mentioned above.

I guess it’s not really a big deal, since I can set a favorites list, but that takes time to go through all those channels. Maybe Diane will do it. Another option, I guess, is to write down the channels we like and just punch in the numbers. Yea. That’s a reasonable solution. It just bugs me to see that hugs list of channels and not be able to see all of them. It’s a ‘thing’.

Now, the most interesting news is about Lydia. Summer is ending, there’s 2 weeks until she begins her freshman year in high school, and she was blessed with a solid case of Fifth Disease that will not dissipate until well after school pictures are taken. With Lydia’s permission, I’m sharing a photo that was taken yesterday when her face was all purple, and splotchy, and a little swollen. Every 14-year-old’s dream look, don’t you think?

IMG_0573

Today, however, there’s very little, if any, swelling, and there’s no rash but it’s still covered with purple splotches. But, as you can see by the below picture, you would never know it.

Thanks to Avon, and the fact that her lovely Grandmother has lots of their products, they were able to rid her of that ‘look’ to ensure school pictures will probably not have to be repeated. It’s totally amazing.

IMG_0572

 

I think she is a very brave, confident young lady to have allowed me to share the photos. She just rolls with the punches. That’s my Girl.

Myanmar Checks In

I have evidence that there are at least 75 people, in the world from 22 different countries, who made the mistake of looking at my blog. Most of them show restraint and only looked once but there were 17 who looked from Myanmar. I suspect the 17 looks happened because one person found this by mistake and talked to her friend.  Their conversaion probably went something like this …

“Hey Mya, look at this please and tell me what it is this person is trying to say.”

“I’m sure I do not know, Nu,”  Mya responded. “Maybe Than can figure it out. He is such a whiz at this kind of thing.” For clarification, Than is Nu’s boyfriend. Of course I’m guessing … he may be Mya’s boyfriend. Surely he’s someone’s boyfriend.

As a result of that brief conversation, Than contacted 14 of his friends seeking wizdom about what the “crazy American” is bantering about, but none of them knew. Consequently, they never returned. That makes me sad. Again, I’m guessing that they don’t know because I don’t get a lot of feedback from folks who read this either by mistake, or on purpose. Probably no news is good news in that regard.

I’m honored that they visited once, much less 17 times. And I regret that they couldn’t figure out what I was talking about. Now I’ll probably go to bed tonight wondering how I could word things differently so everyone in the world can make sense of what I’m trying to share. I’ll add a request to anyone that comes up with a reasonable answer to please reply because I’ve been wondering myself. For a long time. Diane has been wondering a lot longer than a long time. As soon as she finds the answer I fear she will leave. Therefore, I must keep her guessing, so please play along …

Additionally, 13 from Great Britain, and 9 from Canada checked in, and I appreciate that. There was also one person from Chile who, I think, replied to one of my entries to explain how confused she was about my entry. I think it was about my comparison of Twighlight & Hunger Games. I can’t remember if that was one of my lucid moments, or not. I’ll never know because I rarely read anything I write. Once it leaves my fingers, I’m generally done with it.

Closer to home, Diane’s computer is still giving her fits. I believe I mentioned that yesterday. Tomorrow we’ll find out if it’s the internet, or not, because I’m getting rid of the DSL and going back to cable. I suspect all of you are just thrilled to know this.

The problem, you see, is that cable totally spoiled us because it got to the point where it was so blazing fast it actually burned my fingers. Shifting to DSL was a $$ consideration, but we’ve decided that it was a bad, bad move. Well, Diane decided it was a bad move beause her really old computer just doesn’t function well on DSL. That, and her Hotmail account was hacked, which she thinks is related to the DSL connection. Maybe she’s right. Anyway, it’s a valid reason to switch back to something a little more speedy that will allow us to view a video without having it pause at critical moments during the streaming process.

Today we enjoyed another quiet day visiting with Diane’s Mom, Jean. We did this after church, and a stop at KFC for some dead chicken. The ulterior motive was to view the last two episodes of NCIS which we missed because our DirecTV service was, for an unexplained reason, off the air for a long period of time. Just for selected channels, like the ones we enjoy watching. So, we sat around Mom’s table eating dead chicken, potatoes, gravy and coleslaw, then retired to the living room to see how good she was with her Comcast remote control. Turns out she’s pretty darn good at it.

Now we’re home, and I’m going to watch the last half of “John Carter of Mars” while Diane’s watching one of the 15 HGTV shows she records. Maybe it’s only 10. Either way, I’ll surely be in trouble when she reads this.

Cheers.