Day by Day cartoon

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Back from vacation and back on the job-

What’s wrong with that picture anyway? We did arrive safely back home Monday night and had the camper disconnected and the truck unloaded by 9:30. Round trip mileage was 1749 miles and we only spent $614.98 on fuel. Yeah, just $600+ dollars, pumped into the fuel tank and burned out the tailpipe… And only 145 gallons of gas- what a deal!


We had a very nice vacation. After leaving last Wednesday and staying in Pendleton, Oregon for the night, we headed into the Columbia River Gorge for the scenic trip all the way out to the Pacific Coast at the mouth of the Columbia. Our destination was Fort Stevens State Park,, just a few miles south of Astoria.


Camp set up was well under way with the rest of the family by the time we arrived and our set up went smoothly too, after I discovered the poorly crimped wire terminal that prevented my new, electric top lift from working when I tried it in front of an audience. But I fixed that up quick and soon we were set up and relaxing with the rest of the family.


Most of our time was spent just visiting, drinking beer and eating good food every time the womenfolk thought it was time to fire up the cook stoves again, which seemed to start just about as soon as the dish washing from the previous meal was completed. The weather was much nicer than last year, cool and mostly dry, just raining on us a little the first morning. Last year we got drowned with rain and spent most of our time sitting under blue tarps, this year we just a little damp for a little while.


The dog and I did some walking through the forests on Fort Steven’s multitude of paved paths and I bought a fishing license for some fishing. The first afternoon I was shutout at Coffenbury Lake. The BSU and I did venture back into Astoria to visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum,, which is a “must see” stop if you ever make it to that part of the country and we walked through a US Coast Guard lighthouse boat that sits, tied up next to the museum.


The second trip to Coffenbury Lake turned out much more productive and one of the brother-in-laws and I caught 8 rainbow trout over the course of an afternoon. I also caught 6 or 7 smallmouth bass but they were all babies, 3 or 4” long that went after my night crawlers with a tiny little vengeance. It turned out to be great fun and the trout went into a fry pan as part of that night’s dinner.


We pulled out of camp Sunday afternoon, headed into town and spent the night in the guest bedroom of one of the sister’s recently finished dream home. The brother-in-law retired from his job, took the classes and got his contractor’s license and oversaw the entire construction of their beautiful new home. It's a remarkable place with exposed beams and a full width porch that looks out over the Columbia River and smart features that shows the forethought that went into the planning before the first shovel was stuck into the dirt.


The trip home was relaxing and pleasant and we spent the night in the neat town of Baker, Oregon. We also stopped at the Cabelas in Boise so I could see the museum dedicated to Elmer Keith. Overall it is pretty interesting if underwhelming display and probably displays Keith in the simple and plain spoken manner that he would have approved of. I got out of there with just 2 new fishing lures and only 10 bucks spent and then we fired up the truck once again and came on home.


So, I’m back to work and my program hasn’t spiraled out of control during my absence. The technical expert’s last day on the program is today and that’s going to be a problem but he is leaving behind really good notes for the next guy so we should survive. Now I just need to get the yard mowed tonight so the neighbors don’t start complaining!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Here's your sign...

Posted by the local Albertsons grocery, just in case you have never purchased beer before, I suppose. As always, click the small pic to see it full sized.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Blogging from the Super 8 in Pendelton, Oregon tonight-

After a pleasant day's drive through the top of Utah, the south of Idaho and the eastern end of Oregon, we stopped in Pendelton tonight. Last year we stayed across the street at the Holiday Inn Express and we would have stayed there again but half their parking lot was blocked off and there was no place to park the truck and camper combination.

So, we're staying at the Super 8. The room's large and clean, the internet connection is easy and fast and the pool and hot tub were the right temps and not crowded.

Tomorrow its back into the truck again and on the road to Astoria and Ft Stevens State Park.

Remarkably, for those of you following along at home, I pushed through the last action I needed to coordinate to obligate all those government funds- your tax dollars, before the deadline of 1 August. There were a number of skeptics that were really certain I would never get this task accomplished. But I did, before going on vacation, and now I can relax for a little bit. There are still a huge number of loose ends to knit together when I return but the big stuff, the stuff that might have gotten me fired- has been completed. I hope those doubting Thomases have learned a little lesson about my abilities, skills and determination...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Man arrested in movie theater after leaving child in car

David Farnam is a dumbass that left his two year old son in the car while he went to the midnight showing of The Dark Knight.
While 23-year-old David Farnham was enjoying the 11:30 p.m. showing of "The Dark Night" inside an air-conditioned theater at Century 16 Saturday night, his 2-year-old son, Justin, was all alone in a hot car, surrounded by signs that warn patrons to park at their own risk.

I hope he goes to jail for a damm long time!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What else did I do this weekend?

Besides replacing all the brakes under the camper you mean?

Well, as I already mentioned, I had breakfast with Ben and then we visited a car show in a local park. But he wasn't feeling to well so I took him back to the place wher he lives earlier than planned.

I got a haircut.

I took the BSU to see Batman: The Dark Knight. I have to tell you that this is one awesome movie. Yes, it's dark and dramatic and almost 2.5 hours long. It's also a gripping, terrific tale. The BSU even gave it a "thumbs up" even though it's not really her favorite type of movie. She liked it! I liked it a lot. It's mesmermizing and complex and filled with twists and weirdness that keeps you paying attention to the story. There's some really neat special effects and tricks that will seem totally possible in Gotham City with the Joker on the loose. It is an awesome movie.

I've detailed the truck's interior today in preparation for our trip. It got vaccumed, shampooed and the glass cleaned. I really need to do that more often...

No morning coffee with Carol this morning, sadly, as her hubby is away and she had to stay home with the children. And there won't be coffee next Sunday either since I'll be in Oregon.

One of the boys called me Friday to say he had quit his job and was packing up and moving out from his job and housing! Yikes! Not too surprising, really, as he has had a difficult time dealing with his erratic and difficult boss. He didn't have much of a plan for the immediate future except to start pushing his resume around the area and try to find something new. [Update] The boy called tonight to say he and the boss had worked out a 2 week plan- not to quit and not to fire, while they work out their differences. And the boy needs to find another place to live because living in the same garage where he turns wrenches all day is not working out.

The other boy called- after several weeks of silence, to say that he was now paying- involuntarily- some past due child support and that the garnishments were putting a dent in his finances. He's apparently putting in some 15 hour days at the job to try to get on top of all of his obligations. I guess he'll figure it out sooner or later.

So it's been a pretty busy weekend, mostly in preparation for our upcoming vacation at the Oregon coast. I'm ready, the truck and the camper are ready and the BSu has been emailing or talking to the sisters on the phone every day in preparation.

Two critical and crucial days of work this week and then I'm off for a week! Yeah!

Law Dog makes me laugh!

If you aren't a regular reader of LawDog, you should be. He is a writer stuck in a sherriff's uniform and his stories are the very best. Read this one about an abandoned kitty's first vet visit and I dare yu not to read it out loud to whoever is closest to you.

And BTW, don't be trying to drink any coffee or soda or wine- Carol, I'm talking to you, while reading this because you will be wiping any liquids nearby off your monitor.

Sometimes it pays to trust your instincts...

I've had it in my mind a couple weeks that I really should regrease the wheel bearing on the camper before the trip coming up this week. I packed them 4 years ago- maybe 5 years ago and it just seemes like maybe it was time to do it over again. It is a long, hot drive to the Oregon coast from here and those little wheels spin mighty fast, so maybe- maybe I ought to have a look at them.

I am so glad I listened to my instincts! After having breakfast and touring a car show with my buddy Ben on Saturday morning, I decided I better dig into checking those wheel bearings.

When I pulled the first brake drum off the spindle, 2 metal chunks fell out on the ground... That didn't seem to good! Then when I had the drum off I discovered another loose pice of metal and a broken wire on the electromagnet puck. Hmm, this is not looking too shiny. I pulled the drum next to the first one and surprise- another worn out magnet and worn out parts.

Time for a trip to the trailer store- where they did NOT have the parts I needed! Luckily the counter guy directed me to an auto parts store around the corner that I had never visited before and danged if they didn't have the parts on the shelf! Actually what they had was 4 of the entire brake assemblies, with all new parts- springs, shoes, adjusters and magnets already attached to brand new backing plates. The assemblies were less money than buying bits and pieces and tearing everything apart, so I bought them.

Lucky for me I bought all 4 because all of the brake assemblies were worn and broken and needed replacing. And that's what I did yesterday and today. And I greaased the wheel bearings and installed new seals.

Just like I intended to do in the first place...

Monday, July 14, 2008

You know, for a straight guy-

I have entirely too many shoes!

I have 6 pair of shoes, a brown pair and a black pair for work, hikers for home and casual wear, sandals, boat shoe slip-ons and a pair of desert boots.

That's just not right!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I did NOT run out and stand in line for a new iPhone

But I will be visiting my local AT&T dealer sometime this week to upgrade to an Apple iPhone 3G. That's right, I'm getting a new, shiny, multi-trick, touch-screen, internet and GPS equipped cell phone.

I've played with these things in the store. They are really cool. There are hundreds of 3rd-party applications being developed that can be added to the phone through iTunes. I'll upload my music, ditch my iPod and have a slick new phone- just as soon as AT&T can get it delivered!

Somebody doesn't understand the concept

or the English language or basic 6th grade science concepts- Dallas County officials spar over 'black hole' comment.

I know all my readers have already read about these two dumbasses, Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is black and Judge Thomas Jones, who is also black, taking offense to Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, because he said it seemed that central collections "has become a black hole" because paperwork reportedly has become lost in the office.

If those two elected officials have such a short-sighted and uneducated understanding of the words "black hole", they aren't worthy of any public office. Their constituents need to grow some collective testicular courage and tell both of these fools to STFU.

Another busy week means no time for blogging

It's not supposed to be that way but that's the way it's been this week. So, apologies to the couple of you that still keep coming around for fresh content- sorry.

The job has really been kicking my butt lately. I've been under a heavy level of management "assistance" to get all my remaining program funds obligated in nearly immediate order or risk loosing my funds to higher priority programs. And the funds actually expire if not obligated by the end of the fiscal year but they will get taken away if I don't have them obligated towards an expenditure before 1 August.

If you remember a couple years back, I gleefully said that I had received 4 million of your tax dollars to spend on improving the lighting of the F-16. According to my records and the accounting database, after I finalize one last contract later this month, I will have $37 left unspent... That's right, 37 bucks left. How weird is that?

That's the good news- I'm out of money but haven't overspent. The bad news is my technical expert, Steve, had accepted a government position instead of the contractor spot he is in now! Steve is the real expert on the installation of this modification and if he leaves for his new job before we get the first airplane upgraded, my headaches will be just beginning! I don't blame him for switching- business is business after all and he's taking the same path I'm trying to follow but the timing for his switching is really putting my program in a bind!

On top of everything else, it's summertime so I'm spending most of my time in the evenings outside so by the time I sit down I'm usually too bushed to blog. I've finished the work on the camper, installing a junction block and a fuse block to feed the winch and installed a new battery box.

Today I gave the truck its annual pressure wash under the hood and cleaned out out the bed. Friday I took it in for a fresh oil change and transmission flush and filter change. I also got all my guns cleaned up and derusted and wiped down with oil and put back into the locker. Brother Tim's going to take on the task of refinishing the metal on the 2 guns that have been damaged and so I'll try to get them shipped off to him shortly.

Saturday I went fishing with Kenny and Jim but our efforts at Wiper fishing at Williard Bay weren't nearly as successful as our last outing. We got skunked except for 1 catfish that Kenny caught. I guess that's why its called "fishing" and not "catching".

So, I've been busy and distracted and cranky and none of that leads to great blogging. I am getting close to having the most critical parts of my program accomplished and I'm hoping to be a little less stressed and more inclined to blog. And I have some vacation and the annual sojurn to the Oregon coast coming up later this month!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

What else have I been up to?

Let's see-

There is no more manual crank to raise the top on the front of my camper! This week I replaced the manual, hand-cranked winch, which was my least favorite part of setting up the camper, with an electric winch! That's right, no more cranking and sweating and cursing, just open the small ammo box on the tongue of the trailer, remove the wired control handle and push the up button!

The top of the camper goes up! With no sweating! When its time to close up and go home, the remote control has a down button too.

It's a really tidy installation with the winch completely hidden from view under the plate that holds the propane bottles. The only thing that shows is the ammo box that I installed to keep the control handle secure. I need to take some pictures of the entire thing because I'm pretty pleased with the modification.

Yesterday I had a good day fishing with my buddy Loc. It was our first trip fishing together and we seemed to be a pretty good fit. We started at Willard Bay- where I actually did catch one bluegill but the water level there is so low that the only way to reach the fish would have been to go wading and I didin't really feel like that so early in the morning. So we went to Mantua lake and followed a road and some directions a guy at work had given us. We found a creek that empties into the lake with a gravel road over the culvert that opens up into a long finger into the lake. We started tossing some nightcrawler chunks, floating under bobbers into the current and pretty quickly we were catching more bluegill!

It wasn't dead easy because the hungry little critters are pretty good at eating the worm off a hook without actually getting onto the hook but we did catch about a dozen in a couple hours time and when Loc figured he had enough fish for dinner we gave up our spot to another couple families that showed up. It was a great time and fun fishing and I need to take the BSU out there to let her try her hand at the voracious little bluegill.

Today we bought some new furniture for the upstairs living room. Its this Santa Rosa seating set which was on sale at HD for $300 off the price in the link. ON top of that, they were having an additional 10% price reduction for military members- which they were kind enough to extend to this old retired military guy!

So we got a pretty good deal and the furniture looks nice in our front room. We rented the Home Depot truck to bring everything home- it came in 3 really big boxes, and unboxed everything in the front yard. Cutting and folding up the cardboard boxes took longer than getting everything moved inside! We still need to move some tables around and get everything settled but I think its going to be a nice new addition to our just remodeled upstairs area.

So- hot water on demand, like most of us want in our homes, some new furniture to sit on, a few good hours hanging out with a friend and my camper has a labor-saving improvement too.

Just a typical weekend here at Wasted Electrons World Headquarters!

The hot water tank is working again-

for those of you left wondering if I was boiling water on the stove for sponge baths- its fixed.

It did take me 2 days to discover that the DHL driver has left it wedged between the front storm door and the solid door, so I didn't get the new parts installed until the 4th of July. And it's working just fine now so now more laying on the floor in the laundry room to light it every night before getting a shower.


Friday, July 04, 2008

I don't know why this chokes me up

but it does. I tried to read this post about 1215 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen & Marines taking the oath of enlistment for 5500 combined years of additional service- while they serve in Iraq, to the BSU tonight. I couldn't do it without choking up- repeatedly.

I remember how it felt to reenlist and what it meant to me as a commitment. It was a big deal. And when I think about 1200+ fellow servicemenbers doing the same thing, on the 4th of July- our independence day, thousands of miles from their homes and families, well, it puts a tight spot in my throat.

I'm not apologizing, I'm just saying.

Happy Independence Day everyone!