Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fence Mending again. True Cost of a Thing.....

Ray and I wanted to get the last three rotten boards replaced on the front fence, so that the old ones could go on the burn pile. You can just see them at the left of the picture. It isn't a simple job, so we had to have time to devote to it, so that is all we got done.

This area is right by a big pine tree, so the east end of the fence is very difficult to get to. The tree is in a little triangle that is fenced off from my main back yard as I have rose bushes growing there, and I don't want any dogs in the yard to get hurt, especially their eyes. So I had to undo one end of that little fence first, so that we could get to the outer fence. That area is not cleaned out or raked very often, so I got it looking presentable again. One of my rose bushes had died, I don't know why, so I got that cleaned out too. We replaced the boards, and had to scab a 4x4 on to the original post as it needed it. Then we got the welded wire fencing stapled back on my side of it, which "dog proofs" the back yard. A little oak has grown and pushed the fence out, but I am going to let the subdivision worry about that as it is just past my property line.

While we had cords strung back there for the chop-saw, Ray trimmed the hedge, and it all looks nice again.

As for this government mess. My humble opinion is that too many people have got themselves into too much debt for stuff that they WANT because so-and-so has one, and so they charged it. They can't be satisfied with getting just what they NEED. "Thou shall NOT covet", and that also means, don't try to keep up with the Jones. They can't take their U-Haul of "stuff" through the pearly gates, and neither can you. When I was growing up in London, if you wanted to buy something, on tick, (time) you had to put a third down. That really made you think, and save.


Another nice day.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lumber Racks Repaired. Murphy's Law

Not very interesting for anyone else, but my family likes to see what I am up to each day. I try to get them to understand that just because of my age, I don't need to be put in a home ! I am still useful, and don't need to vegetate, I hope.

Ray and I wanted to get everything that needed burning on the burn pile, so that it can be eliminated, and have grass growing there again. The burn pile was only started for the storm's debris. I knew that some of the boards on the lumber rack needed replacing, so we got that done today. That meant moving all the lumber, bit by bit, removing any bad boards on the racks, taking them to the burn pile, replacing them with treated ones, and putting the lumber back where it belonged. This rack is for storing treated lumber only, and it is all sorted out into dimensions and lengths. The rack is behind some bushes and corrugated fiberglass, so it can't be see from the road and doesn't bother anybody. We are always using some of it for something.

That is the joys of ownership of a house, always a shed, fence, lattice or something that needs to be repaired, mowed or trimmed.
Oh, the walkway does have a curve in it, as it lines up to a wooden gate into the back yard. It isn't a camera or operator problem.

A couple of the yardsale.com sites where I advertise stuff had a special for all us Ike powerless folks. They are letting the Basic, not just Premier, advertisers post some pictures on their ads. I know a picture is worth a thousand words, so I quickly got the pictures out of AOL Picture Storage, and back into my computer. Just as I started to edit them into all the ads, the cable went out. Even though I resize them before storing them, it took a long time to get it all done on dial-up. Of course, as soon as I got it all finished, the cable came back on. Murphy's Law was at it again.

Another nice day with the windows open, Bobcat on the screen porch, and no AC needed until I closed up the house for the night. And that was so that it wouldn't get stuffy.

After moving the lumber, it was an Aleve and nap day.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lovely Pictures. Just a viewing Day

I didn't do much of anything constructive today. Unloaded the dishwasher, washed both bathrooms' rugs, swept kitchen floor ! Big deal ! I should have got Muffie, and groomed her, but I didn't feel up to the hassle that I have with her, today. She is a "spoiled bratkin".

While checking my mail, and reading some of the news stories, I happened upon some lovely pictures on http://www.pixcetera.com/ and I especially liked the Nature ones.

Then I clicked on the weather to see if I needed to turn on the underground watering system to the privet hedge and trough of aloe, and found all these Wunderphotos on the left side:
http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?hourly=1&query=77318&yday=255&weekday=Friday I got engrossed in that, and even picked some for Desktop Pictures, as I like to change them out. No rain in the forecast, so I turned the waterer on. It shuts itself off, as I would get busy and forget.

I looked at several of the tutorial videos on http://www.geeksontour.com/ They are very interesting. I fiddled and messed with different things on this machine, got the Disk Clean working, and had it going faster and better, but it soon slowed down again, even though I did a Disk Clean Up and Defrag, after looking at all those pictures.

This should help the next light bill; another no AC day.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman. Revolution. Disk Clean

We lost a great person today. Paul Newman succumbed to cancer at 83. One of the few Hollywood marriages that withstood the craziness there. His charities have done wonderful things for children with cancer. I just can't imagine how awful it must be for a child to have to go through that. He will be missed.

The weather is great, I have the windows open, and Bobcat spends most of her day on the screen porch. I even drove the un-air conditioned Puddle Jumper into town.

First thing, I went to the vet's office to buy some Revolution for the cats and dogs that expect me to have it on hand for them. Such as Mikey, (Sam's poodle), Sam had a stroke, and can't make himself understood very well. Then there is MaeMae, Muffie, my Bobbiecat, and the stray cat outside. I buy a big vial of it, a lot cheaper that way, put it in something like a baby food jar that has a good gasket, and draw it up in a diabetic syringe, (without a needle). I measure for the appropriate species and weight of animal, according to my chart. It goes on the back of their neck, and it stops them from having heartworms, fleas, ticks, earmites and mange, so it is pretty handy stuff.

Then on to Kroger's to start replenishing the food that Hurricane Ike ruined. I open my freezers and can't believe they are empty, as I always have frozen pre-cooked food, (nicer word for planned left-overs) and frozen food galore. I never worried about "What shall I have for dinner", I would just pull the oldest dated item out of the freezer. It keeps food rotated, and I don't have to make any decisions. It will take a while to get all that back to a working plan.

This machine still isn't working right since I had the new Windows XP Pro put in it. I do a Disk Clean Up regularly, and when I checked it today, I found out that it isn't working. I have over 1 -1/2 million bit and pieces in there, that won't go away, which will slow it down. I tried to get info from Microsoft, but that is like pulling hen's teeth. I copied out the suggestions on their website, and did them , but it still didn't get rid of them.. The Disk Clean Up is just not working. There is so much stuff under the hood of one of these things, and you have to know the right buttons to click !! Autos are so much easier.

At least I could do house, if not disk, cleaning today !

Friday, September 26, 2008

HiLo, and Pugsy. Picture Storage

Today Ray and I finished the last bit of painting on the HiLo. I taped, and he primed and painted. Maybe I can get the drapes made now.

It was a very still day, with no breeze, so we lit the burn pile, to get rid of the rest of Ike's debris. We always string the water hoses out there first, and today one of them decided to break at an end. Fortunately I had spare parts and we got it fixed. There is no way I am going to have a fire burning and not enough hose to reach it, so I would have got one out of the RV, if we couldn't have fixed it. Safety first.

Next we cleaned out Pugsy, the vintage motorhome. We had stored lawn chairs, tables, ladders, etc. in there for the hurricane. It had needed vacuuming when I got it back from my son, so we got that done.

Then I ran a search, and cleaned out all the pictures that were in my computer, and filed them in AOL Picture Storage, Picasa or Photobucket. Anything that I have worked on and/or sold, I keep the pictures for a while, and so that is why I have three places to keep them, out of my computer. One is just for a back-up. Learned that the hard way !!

A nice, no AC day.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wrote enough yesterday for two days.

Today, I spent most of the day off and on with AOL Live Tech chat. Since I got this machine fixed, it just hasn't got back to normal. I still can't get the pictures out of my camera with Camera Wizard, and I have to get Picasa to do it. It is like I don't have a Camera Wizard at all.

"My Pictures" isn't working right either, and no-one seems to know how to fix it.

A chatty day.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Kids ! Campaign Funds.

I got dressed in my "going to town" clothes, as I knew I wanted to get an early start into the next town, before the crowds. I had picked today, Wednesday, as the day I would go, as all the thrift shops are open. Some are just open Wed-Sat.
I picked up Jay as he was anxious to go, too. But all he could do was harp about me lending him some money. ($20-50). He had spent all his SSI check on bad stuff and beer, and was broke. "You got to go to the bank and get some money", and "Get cash back at Walmart, so I can have some money", then " Charge the gas, so I can have your money". I had been paying him for the few hours he had worked, bought cigarettes for him, and he still owed me money. I got sick of it, just got what I needed at WalMart, put gas in the truck, and took him home. This is not normal for Jimmy, but when he wants something he will try to wear you down. It works on his mother, but not me. Maybe that is why she has three drunk/druggie kids, (one already OD and died), and my three are not, Thank God. You have to be firm with kids and not give in, for if you do, they will try it again and again. Just like pets.

Why do I have Jay around ? His mother, my friend, is very sick awaiting a liver transplant, and he is very stressful, and hyper. She must not be stressed, so it keeps him out of her hair so that she can rest. Sometimes he is helpful around here, as there are some things that he can do, that Ray can't.

So on to other topics: Howard of RV-Dreams.com wrote on Sept. 19th, a lengthy journal about how the US government works, then on the 22nd. he wrote about how it could possibly be fixed. Let's face it, it is broken. I can't vote in the US, no, I am not a felon..... I am a British Subject. I am not really interested in politics as it is all a bunch of graft, and who has the most money.
Spending all those millions to get a $300,000 (?) ( Wiki just informed me that it has gone up to $400,000) a year job, seems like false economy, and Chinese Bookkeeping to me. Though it does have some good retirement benefits !! But these millions of campaign money could be spent on so many other worthy causes. I know that some countries like Britain, France, Spain and I think Canada have limits on the campaign spending. I believe that the US does, too but someone bent the rules, and slipped "soft money" in a back door.

"In Great Britain the system of parliamentary government permits the overthrow of the cabinet by a vote of no confidence at any time, and, compared with U.S. congressional elections, this results in a more unified party campaign. British parliamentary and local elections are never held concurrently; campaigns are short and intensive, and party expenditures are comparatively very moderate and are fixed by law. "

As Per BBC News:
"US Campaign finance rules -
Now that both John McCain and Barack Obama have accepted their parties' presidential nomination and the presidential election is officially underway, different campaign finance rules apply.
The BBC News website took a look at how the system works.
Now that we know who both candidates are, what are the new finance rules?
John McCain has opted to take federal funding for his campaign, which means that since 1 September - the official start of the campaign - he has been barred from accepting private donations.
What has Barack Obama decided to do?
He has opted not to participate in the public-financing system for the general election.
What would have happened if he had opted in?
He would have received $84m (£42m) of public money to fund his campaign, in return for agreeing to accept no private contributions (unless they were used to fund the legal and administrative costs of complying with the campaign finance rules).
Mr McCain will receive the $84m.
Why did Mr Obama decide to opt out?
The Obama campaign says that "the public financing of presidential elections as it exists today is broken".
Barack Obama: Raised $389m (£195m)
Cash on hand: $66m
John McCain: Raised $174m
Cash on hand: £33m
Figures as of 31 July 2008
It accuses its Republican opponents of using loopholes to play the system, by getting big donors to give money to the party's central committee (rather than to Mr McCain himself), and by allowing well-funded independent groups to make attacks on Mr Obama.
That having been said, the Obama campaign has been much more successful at raising money than the McCain campaign, so opting out of public financing will allow it to spend as much of its money as it wants.
And with Mr McCain still bound by the restrictions, Mr Obama will enjoy a massive cash advantage over his Republican rival.
How much of a funding advantage will Mr Obama have?
As of the end of July, Mr Obama had raised more than $389m (£195m), while Mr McCain had raised just over $174m. Mr Obama had $66m cash on hand left to spend, while Mr McCain had nearly $33m.
Observers project that over the course of the general election campaign, Mr Obama could spend as much as £300m (£150m), while Mr McCain will be limited to spending the $84m (£42m) allowed to him under the public financing rules.
Mr Obama will also be helped by the Democratic National Committee, which is allowed to raise money and campaign on his behalf.
But Mr McCain will also be able to draw on the support of his party committee - the Republican National Committee - which has proved to be a stronger fundraiser than its Democratic equivalent.
What are the disadvantages for Mr Obama of his decision?
Mr Obama is campaigning on a pledge to "bring change to Washington". Mr McCain will now attempt to paint Mr Obama's decision to opt out of public financing (having previously indicated that he would opt in), as an example of "business-as-usual" Washington opportunism.
Mr Obama argues that because the vast majority of his campaign donations have come from small donors, he is adhering to the spirit of campaign finance reform, if not the letter - he may not be sticking to spending limits, his argument goes, but he will not be beholden to rich individuals, large corporations or powerful interest groups. "

So it seems, still to revolve around who has the most money, not good ideas.

Bill Cosby did NOT say this, but it is has some good points:
(1) Press 1 for English is immediately banned. English is the official language; speak it or wait at the border until you can.
(2) We will immediately go into a two year isolationist posture to straighten out the country's attitude. NO imports, no exports. We will use the 'Walmart' policy, 'If we ain't got it, you don't need it.'
(3) When imports are allowed, there will be a 100% import tax on it.
(4) All retired military personnel will be required to man one of our many observation towers on the southern border. (six month tour) They will be under strict orders not to fire on SOUTHBOUND aliens.
(5) Social security will immediately return to its original state. If you didn't put nuttin in, you ain' t gettin nuttin out. The president nor any other politician will not be able to touch it.
(6) Welfare - Checks will be handed out on Fridays at the end of the 40 hour school week and the successful completion of urinalysis and a passing grade.
(7) Professional Athletes --Steroids - The FIRST time you check positive you're banned for life.
(8) Crime - We will adopt the Turkish method, the first time you steal, you lose your right hand. There is no more life sentences. If convicted, you will be put to death by the same method you chose for your victim; gun, knife, strangulation, etc.
(9) One export will be allowed; Wheat, The world needs to eat. A bushel of wheat will be the exact price of a barrel of oil.
(10) All foreign aid using American taxpayer money will immediately cease, and the saved money will pay off the national debt and ultimately lower taxes. When disasters occur around the world, we'll ask the American people if they want to donate to a disaster fund, and each citizen can make the decision whether it's a worthy cause.
(11) The Pledge of Allegiance will be said every day at school and every day in Congress.
(12) The National Anthem will be played at all appropriate ceremonies, sporting events, outings, etc.
Sorry if I stepped on anyone's toes but a vote for me will get you better than what you have, and better than what you're gonna get.
Thanks for listening, and remember to write in my name on the ballot in November.
God Bless America !!!!!!!!!!! """

I especially like the "Eye For an Eye" part. I think that would be a big deterrent, and so many prisons wouldn't have to be built.

A rainy soapbox day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ike Pictures. Cleaned Debris Off Roof.

Here are some 'Before and After' Ike pictures of Boliver Island. That is east of Galveston, and you get there by boat, compliments of the "Texas Navy", the free ferry.
There are a lot of pictures like this, but this just shows you how bad it was.

Click to enlarge, if you wish.

Yesterday, Jay and I were up in the storage area, looking for a box for the Aloe. We could see through those screened slots that are on each side under the top roof that there were a lot of downed branches, and pine cones on the other lower roofs on each side. It was built that way so that heat wouldn't build up there. All I need is to have those gutters plugged up, or the branches get blown down onto something.
Jay seems to like getting up on the roof, so he threw the branches down, raked and ran the blower up there, while I cleaned up what was tumbing down. So more clean-up from Ike.

About ten days ago, the handle on the inside of one of my patio doors broke off, and it was difficult to use that door. During the power outage we just used the screen door and didn't use it, but now that the AC is back in use, it reminded us to fix it. It might sound strange, but this patio door goes from my living room to my front hall where my regular front door is. I can see who is at my front door, all the way from the kitchen, through that patio door. My kitchen is right in the middle of the house, and I can see out of the windows in all the rooms off it, in three directions.

We found an old brown metal patio door handle, painted it white and installed it. We couldn't do it before as we had used up the charged batteries on three cordless guns while the power was out. We are always using the cordless guns for something around here, as I have quick connect drill bits, and sockets that go in them, as well as just using them for screwdrivers.

Jay's mother just got home from her Ike evacuation, so little MaeMae just was picked up. So just old Bobcat and me again.

Just a fix-it day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Post Office is Open, Hurrah ! Shipped Large Aloe

During the power outage the Post Office was open for a few hours for a couple of days to sell stamps by flashlight, that was all. I had some big aloe vera to ship last week and couldn't, but I was able to do that today. These are very big Aloe Vera. Some 28" long. It took some time to find a box long enough for them. Some of them were so well rooted that I could hardly get them out of their pots. It took me two hours to get them all unpotted and packed safely. I am glad that they are sold, they were getting too top heavy.

Minkie had broken the full juicy leaves off some of them, and bitten into some of them too. They are so brittle when they have that much gel in them, that they were becoming a nuisance.
The smaller ones are so much more pliable and easier to ship, and now I can concentrate on selling them.

Another thing I had to mail was a little 7" LED rechargeable battery TV that I had bought. I had charged it when I first got it a couple of weeks ago, but when the power went out it wouldn't work. The store said that they would refund my money and the shipping both ways..... We will see.

Jay went with me to town, as his mother has been at her daughter's since before the hurricane, and he wanted to eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant. I had my usual Nachos Supreme made with Taco meat. I like it, as it has meat, refried beans, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, cheese, sour cream, etc. All the food groups on one plate for $4.25.

Now maybe I can catch up on more blogs, and see what has been going on while I had no power. It wasn't until I read Howard's RV-Dreams Journal that I knew about the terrible train crash in CA, or that Ike had downed power lines in other states, like KY, AL, and OH. You don't know what is going on when you are cut off from the news. Then I think the stock market did something, but I am not a gambler, so I didn't investigate that.

Another nice, but warmer day.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Just Still Cleaning Things Up from Ike

Nothing interesting to report.
Bathed MaeMae just about as soon as there was hot water, and electricity to run the dog dryer.
Put the new tire and wheel on the utility trailer, and took the other wheel off and took it to the tire store to get the other new tire mounted on it.
Went to the grocery store to take Jay to get some stuff, and I needed bleach, and I didn't even look at the meat dept. as I am so used to having lots of food in my fridge and freezer. It is very foreign to me to have no food in there. But I still have my stockpile of canned goods, and those need to be eaten up. I could live for a month on the canned meat and veges I have.
They only just got power restored to poor old Sam, who had a tree come down on his roof.

Raked up the last part of the yard today, but as it is Sunday, I didn't want to put smoke all over the place, so will wait for a calmer day to burn it.
Jay washed the truck, and helped Ray get the big air conditioner out of the window as it has developed a terrible noise since the storm. It was unplugged, as was everything else until the power became stable. I don't like to see ACs hanging out of windows, but you can't see this one as it is in a window that is going onto the screen porch, next to the patio door from my living room, which also goes out to the porch. There is another patio door that goes out into the hall and front door. The AC's window is over the porch sink and drips into it, and then that sink drain is piped underground to my maple tree. Ray's diagnosis is that the motor is going out, so I had better buy a new AC. They are only supposed to last 5-7 years, so this one has served it's time.

Still going through all the emails that arrived while the power was out. Maybe I can get to read some blogs soon.

Just busy days.

Later that evening:
When Ray and I took the AC apart, I held the back end up while he dripped some oil on the shaft to the fan, so that it ran down the shaft. We didn't re-install it at the same steep angle that it had been either. I turned on the AC in that evening and it had quit squalling, so maybe that is all it needed. Good. Maybe it can wait until next year to get a new one.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Power back on at 3.10 PM today. Wonderful.

I am kinda busy getting everything set up, so I will add more later.

A happy, but Dial-Up only, day.

7.30.pm. While I was out of power, I had moved all the tree limbs scattered all over the yard to the burn pile, raked most of the front and back and side, and burned some of it. Also I had cleaned out the fridge and deep freeze while I had a little bit of water. Ice was very hard to come by, and all the 15 containers of food that I had cooked had to be fed to the catfish that live in the lake. All I was able to save was some condiments and cheese out of four ice chests.
Trash wasn't picked up for days after the day they were supposed to be here, so I felt that the food would be better eaten by the catfish than the flies, maggots and ants !!
The lines to get gas south of me in Conroe were just too long to fight, so I drove up to Huntsville, (TX) when they got power, and filled up there. (45 mile round trip).
I never did get my generator going, as a friend said that it needed a fuel pump. There was nowhere to even get a car one and jerry-rig it. This 4KW Onan has been started every month for 12 years, even powered three house's fridges, etc. for three days during Hurricane Rita's aftermath, and now it lets me down.
When the power, water and therefore water heater came on, I couldn't decide whether to use the first batch of hot water for me, or the dishwasher. The dishwasher won, as I got engrossed in sorting through over 200 emails.

Thank you for all your kind comments.

It has been a long week, but there are plenty of folks who had it a lot worse, so we just had to grin and bear it. I kept on saying to those around me who were complaining, that our lads and lassies over there fighting in that war had it a lot worse.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Still No Power, Muddy Water Rarely. Phone back for a While

I got someone to charge this laptop for a while when they had their generator running, and then the land line went out. I was hoping that their sine wave was right for it and wouldn't damage the laptop. Seems it didn't hurt it. I couldn't believe it when phone worked this morning. So writing this with a flashlight, before it goes out again.

I do have an old inverter that is square wave, and only takes a two prong, and my laptop is three prong, even with an adapter, I would like to know if it would hurt my laptop, as I only have 18 minutes left on it ???

Ray and I fixed the hole in my roof, but had no power to use the wet-vac in my bedroom, but I don't have the terrible damage that some have.
The lines were downed due to a big tree falling across the road, but the lines were probably damaged further down the line, too.

Couldn't get the genny going, friend checked it out and it is the fuel pump. They said to jerry-rig a car one on it, but no auto parts stores open. But I did get the RV fridge on gas. Yesterday morning I was trying to make sure the flame was still lit, and slipped on my wet steps, so my right side is black and blue.

Our town, and all areas around it, are completely without power, no gas, no food, no Post Office or anything. Ray went into town to one of the PODs (Points of Distribution) and got ice and water, then I did the same thing in the afternoon. On the way home I have to cross over the freeway, and there were fleets of boom trucks coming south, I was so happy, that I just cried. They had been telling us on the recorded message on the power company's phone that it could be weeks before our power is restored.

I found couple of styrofoam ice chests and have them in the little bathroom bathtub. Shay and I have been cooking just about everything we could, and storing it in ice chests, but after all that cooking, all I fancied was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Another boondocking tip: you measure the water you need with your electric coffee maker carafe, pour that into a kettle to heat on the stove. Hold the basket with coffee over the carafe pour the hot water through the grounds. I have a "gas perculator", but this tastes better, to me anyway.

Another powerless day.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ike has just about gone through. Left his mark.

Hi Y'all. Laptop on dial-up.

I have been up most of the night. Power was out when I awoke from a cat nap at 5.00am. It was a long time till dawn. Didn't know right away that Ike had torn turbo off my roof, and attic was full of water, until it started dripping in my bedroom. Got a big storage bin under the big hole upstairs now, and dishpan in my bedroom.

The worst seems to be over, I hope. Can't get any of FOUR battery TV's to work, not even the brand new one that I just bought for this storm, as it didn't hold the charge. Going to try to get genny going, I hope, now that the driving rain has slowed down. Got to breathe some cold into these fridges and freezers.

Inside and out, a muggy, humid, dripping day.

It didn't stop raining completely until about 6.00pm. Then we had a nice surpirise, we had a little muddy water coming out of the faucets, not much pressure, not enough to take a shower, but it was water. I knew that the water in the water heater would still be warm, so I was able to take a little warm bath. Great after paddling around in the rain all day, or crawling around in a leaking attic.
I had been taking care of Shay's outside cat, Blackie, for the storm, and she was finally able to go back outside. I haven't driven around yet, but I heard that there were trees down on houses, and Sam's trailer. Sam is the old guy who had a stroke, and I groom his poodle, Mikey. Poor Sam, he didn't need that.
There is no telling when we will get power, and I can't get the generator started, so I have to conserve this battery.
Bye Y'all, Have a Safe Day

Friday, September 12, 2008

Preparing for Ike. Pugsy to the Rescue.

Bobcat didn't want to go on her screen porch this morning. That's a first. It is still a sunny day, not raining or windy. But the pressure is dropping on my barometer.

I have been busy all morning moving anything that could be picked up by a high wind.

Poor old "Pugsy", (the vintage, molded fiberglass, 1968 Venture 19' Class A) is loaded down with all our lawn chairs, tables, umbrellas, ladders, water hoses, little work tables and everything else. It has two big wide doors, one wide enough for a wheelchair, so they came in handy.

The hanging plants from the guest house and my porch have been moved into the grooming room.

I loaded the old fence boards that we took off the fence onto my Little Black Wagon, and wheeled them to the burn pile, and burned them.

Moved the truck into the empty carport that Shay likes to use as a sitting area, and backed the TranStar (Class B+) up in the RVport far enough that we can get to the 4KW Onan generator, and the gas cap, in case we need to put more gas in it.

Then I moved the back patio furniture into the space where the front of the TranStar was. That RVport north back wall has a very wide door, and there is always a breeze going through there when it is open. Just in case we need somewhere cool and dry to sit, when the power goes out.

Ray borrowed my great big dog carrier, as he plans on keeping "Blackie", the outside cat, inside during the storm. His other cat, an inside only cat, "Zeeda", would kill her if they were loose. The other cat, "Orange Glow", a stray that lives here, is going to be in their enclosed back porch where the washer and dryer are.

Bobcat is upset as I have "X"ed tape over the bathroom windows on the north side. Ike is supposed to have Northeast winds. I did the grooming room too, I nearly put tape on the west side windows, but fortunately stopped my self in time...they have solar film on them, which will do the same thing, and the tape would ruin the solar film.

I am charging up anything that can be charged. Laptop, cellphone, Chevy van, HiLo, TranStar, and swapping some cordless phones out with corded ones. We are pretty sure that we will lose power over downed trees. I have a 500 watt inverter, so we can use all these charged batteries if we need to.

My property is the highest around here, but the road to it will flood. So we have tried to have everything we need here. During the flood of Oct. 1994, a lady and her son drove through the high water, the water floated her pick up truck and dumped it into a flooded creek, and she drowned. Don't underestimate flood waters.

More later in the day.

The wind is kicking up, the trees are swaying. Ray came over and we took the battery chargers off the van and HiLo, lowered the Hilo, put all the cords away. It sprinkled for a few minutes, but no more. I tied up my little Red Maple tree to the bird feeder with a soft cloth.
I had already put the large top-heavy pots of very large aloe in the dog room, they are sold and due to be shipped on Monday. Then I took the trays of smaller aloe in trays, off the baker's shelves and put them on the porch floor. Ray has all his windows, and patio door "X" taped up, and we have stored drinking water in anything we can find. The pump for the big well for this subdivision will go out with the power. It took them a day to get the generators going during Rita. We always have cat litter plastic jugs full of water stored here. But they are just "not for drinking". A little bucket with a gallon of water poured from a height will flush a toilet.
I wish Ike wasn't going to get here in the night, that is always more scary.
More later in the day, I hope.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11. Pictures of Ike Traffic. Groomed S & J.

Today is the anniversary of those sorry sods running airplanes into the Trade Center, and trying to get the Pentagon, too. Please remember all those who lost their lives or loved ones.

I got a phone call at 6.00am this morning as I was walking Jakey. My daughter, SIL and my grandson live in Brazoria County. It has mandatory and voluntary evacuation, depending on how close to the coast. My SIL had to stay there as he is considered"essential", but my daughter and grandson have evacuated to Bryan, TX, so I am glad that I don't have to worry about them.

I started on Jakey and Sheba first thing, and had them done by lunchtime.

Their "Papa" picked them up at 2.00 pm and took them back to the ranch. I took off for Conroe. Why didn't I do that yesterday ? Because I don't go that far away when I am taking care of someone else's dogs. Anything could happen.

I wanted to take a picture of the traffic going north from the top of the bridge over the I-45 at the end of my road. There was a cop car there, so I thought that I had better move on.
But I did take these near the Outlet Mall on the way to Conroe....
Click to enlarge if you wish, as usual.

All through town, on the freeway and the State Highway there seemed to be a cop at most corners. Looking for drunks, or people acting crazy, I guess.
The lines at HEB for $3.35 gas, were terrible. I thought I would go up SH 75 and get some at the Citgo, even though I usually shun them since their owner said such nasty things about the USA.
It was just as bad there, and I just wanted to get home in all that traffic.

I took a picture of the Chevy dealership with tape "Xed" all over their big windows, but it didn't come out. Baskins was all boarded up:

The TV was saying all this morning for local people to stay off the northbound freeway, so I came home on SH 75, at only 10 mph at times. The freeway was so busy that a lot of people were on 75 northbound.

I took this last picture on the freeway bridge on my road through my side window, on the way back. The cop had gone.

This is about 20 miles south of Huntsville (TX)

This was one time when it wasn't so backed-up.

I bet it is worse tomorrow.

Now they are saying that I could get 100 mph winds here.

A slow driving day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Busy Day! Fence, Grooming, Blades, Aloe, Shopping.Tires.

Cut down and ready to bathe, dry and finish.

I tried to start grooming early, but it didn't happen. Ray came over and we got a lot done on the fence. Some of the original boards that I hadn't already replaced over the years, were so rotten and loose that they could become flying missiles, if Ike gave us any really strong winds. We installed about half of the new boards. I had the chopsaw on a piece of plywood across my little black wagon, plus other tools and screws and tools inside it, and wheeled it into the back yard. Ray took each of the rotten boards down, gave me a measurement and I cut the new one. Then I would hold up one end from inside the fence while he screwed it in place on the outside. As soon as we had all the 'two person' work done, I went into the grooming room and started on the dogs.

I have been trying to find another good clipper blade sharpening man to do my blades, as the really good man moved and I can't find him. I had bought a little sharpener, but when Jay tried to use it, even after reading the instructions, he held the blade at the wrong angle, which ruined it. As soon as Ray was done with the fence, I asked him to try. My old fingers can't get them apart like they used to, or I would have done it. I have to have a dog here to try the blades out. Jay 'sharpened' a couple of them, but they just bogged down and wouldn't cut. So we just don't have the hang of it. I have found a gal in town who has a big sharpener, but I don't know if she is any good at it. So I am very limited on sharp blades right now. I have all different sizes, and most of them don't work, so I might give her a try.

A local lady had bought some of my aloe on eBay, and she emailed me that she could come to pick it up today or Friday. I said Friday would be better for me, well, she wanted to come today.
She and her kids were here for about an hour choosing the ones she wanted from the porch and the long trough of aloe in the back yard. So that put me behind on the grooming again.

I had Jakey (7 years old) and Sheba (13 years old) partly cut down when she arrived. Mindi, their "Mom", apart from being a flight attendant, also has horses, so she is in the country and likes her 5 poodles cut really short.

It was already way past lunch time, and I was going to bathe, dry and finish them, when I remembered that I HAD to go into town this afternoon. I wish I could have groomed them yesterday morning, when I had more time. Isn't that always the way! I prefer to groom in the mornings, and they arrived in the afternoon when I was already working my other job.

So I had a quick bite, drove into town and got that urgent job done. Then stopped at the tire store to get two 'new to me' tires for the utility trailer. These were made in 2008, so they should last a while. They mounted one of them, and I have to go back with the other rim, probably Saturday. I also stopped at Krogers so that took more time.

By the time I got back after 4.00pm, I was out of the grooming mode.
Mindi called from Tuscan, and her husband will pick them up tomorrow, so maybe I will have time to make some dinner tonight.

I think I have enough done for today.

PS. 6.30pm. OK, OK, I hadn't wanted to bore y'all but ......Someone just asked me what on earth was so earth shattering that I HAD to go into town today, when I was already so busy.
When I paid the 2 water bills for the house and guest house in July, the incompetant new gal in the office posted the payment all to one account, and none to the other. It clearly had on my check the 2 accounts numbers in the Memo part. She even gave me a receipt showing the amounts for each. I tried to straighten it out in August but she had got fired and the whole office was in a tail spin with another new person. They were going to turn one off.... the water to my house, so I had to take the receipt in to the office, if I wanted to keep my water. I wonder if money came amis in that office, too ? They were very apologetic. So now you know the rest of the story.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

MaeMae, Jakey, and his Mother Sheba

Many Happy Returns, Sandra.

This is Mindi's little silver poodle, Jakey. He, and his white mother, Sheba, are here for the night, and to be groomed. Looks like they need it, doesn't it ? I'll try to get a good picture of little Sheba on here later. Yes, here it is, she is very old and has hardly any teeth. I used to groom and board her mother, China Doll, too, but she died a couple of years ago.

MaeMae was still here, so that upset Her Highness that I would have other dogs in the house, and not in the dog room. They have met before, but MaeMae won't have anything to do with other dogs. Later her 'Mama' got back from her trip so she went home.

I partway got my Camera Wizard fixed. At least now when I click on Start and then My Pictures, they come up as pictures. I spent quite a bit of time researching the problem, and it was an easy fix....uninstall RealPlayer ! But I still can't get the pictures out of my camera except through Picasa.

I didn't get anything done that shows, but I was busy all the time.

Really a nothing day.

Boards Primed. Messing with Puter.

Yesterday, Ray primed the other sides of the fence boards.
It is easier to paint them before we install them

Then he painted the inside of the fence on the side.
That is where there is one of the bird feeders, and we love to watch them swooping down out of the trees to feed. There is also a ceramic 'birdy' ornament there that holds other bird food.
They know a good thing and build nests in those trees. The raised flower bed is where Ray and Shay's beloved Princess, black lab, is buried. I day babysat her for years, to the end.

Then he painted the fence boards.

I had to fiddle with my computer for ages in the afternoon. It is set up on a hospital table that raises and lowers, and then the desk chair does, too.
This is the little stand we made for the flat monitor, and the mini keyboard slides right under it. Then I can do other things in front of it, like look my big dictionary, maps, or eat !!

Finally got it almost where it was before, except that the Camera Wizard isn't working, so I have to get my pictures out of the camera with Picasa, and delete them out of it from there. "My Pictures" still isn't working the way it was. But I will have to deal with it, until I know how to fix it.

This morning at about 6.00am, I was trying out my camera. There in the corner of the screen porch is Bobcat laying on the ledge that runs all around inside. She likes to see the sun come up each morning.

Today is another day.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Oh !!! Technology, Box Brownies Were So Simple

For the younguns'...Box Brownies were old point and shoot cameras, not box brownie mix.

Ray came over, so while he was mowing the yard, I got the new fence boards all set up on saw horses and he primed them both sides. Tomorrow we will get them painted, I hope.

I was expecting MaeMae to come to be boarded for a couple of days, so I didn't leave. I had toyed with the idea of going out to the big flea market between Conroe and Cleveland (TX), as the computer guy has a place there. He has some little bit and pieces that I wanted to buy, but I can go another Sunday.
Mae Mae arrived and went straight to her little bed under my coffee table, she is quite at home here. She should be, she was my late DH's dog. I had another picture of her, but it got lost in the computer shuffle.
P.S. Monday: I found the picture in Picasa, but I can't get My Pictures to do what it is supposed to do. Gee, I wish I had someone close to help me with this thing. I am going to fiddle with it, just to see if I can do it. I finally did it ! I wasn't going to let it get the better of me.

I found out that the Camera Wizard isn't working right since my computer was fixed, so I have been fooling with that for ages. I can't delete the photos out of my camera to make room for more. I tried to see if there was a setting on the camera for deleting them, and now it won't work at all. So I am in a fix, I need my camera for selling stuff.

Another nice non-humid day.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Nice weather. More Fence Painting. Sold Aloe

Ray came over at 8.30 am and I wasn't expecting him. I wasn't ready, and was still talking to my daughter on our usual Saturday morning phone chat.

He knew the new boards that I had bought the other day needed to be washed, so he got the new pressure washer out of it's wrapping, put together and hooked it up while I finished getting ready. This new way they have of treating wood leaves a lot of green fuzzy stuff on the boards, and we wanted that off before we primed and painted them. I got some racks similar to milk crates to put them on. He got them washed, and then primed the part of the fence that he had washed the other day. I was 'gopher", and went back and forth to the work shop for hammers, screw guns, screws, etc. that were needed for this and that. By the time he had it all primed it was dry at the other end so he could start all over again and paint it. At least it isn't a continuous thing like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. At lunch time we quit for the day. It isn't all painted yet.

I intended to go to Adoption Day to visit with Minkie and Kashy this afternoon, but Kenya wasn't taking them today. I miss them, but not taking care of them. Minkie was always knocking stuff down and I was constantly having to bend over to pick things up, or look under my bed to see if Kashy was still there, and that hurt my back.

So I spent time getting my computer back the way it was, getting Picasa, Quicktime, Adobe , Java, icons for Disk Clean, Defrag, picture re-sizer and all that stuff back in it.

Then I got an email from some folks who live 4 miles from me. They had seen my listing for Aloe Vera on Houston Craigslist, 50 miles away, and they came and bought a bunch of them. I have more sold on eBay auctions ending tomorrow, so they are gradually going. Maybe only 900 more plants to go !! I usually mail them, so this was a first. Some that are sold on eBay are going to be picked up, too. That way they can pick out the ones they want, as they are only 15 miles away.

My barometer has gone up to 29.85, and it was so nice out today. That end of the fence is mostly in the shade, so it was great to be outdoors.

Less humididty, and even though it was warm, it wasn't a sticky, muggy day.

Friday, September 5, 2008

KY Steamboat Race. One button Solution!

Last night on the RV-Dreams chat room the subject got on to the Great Steamboat Races in KY which is held the week before Derby Day.
I have never been to KY, but I loved the lunch cruise on the Natchez in New Orleans years ago. It was one highlight of my trip to New Orleans. The caliope, or steam organ, played lovely music while we ate a really good meal. I love to listen to them and see the steam coming out of the stacks in spurts. I was with my brother and SIL from England, and I always enjoy their company. I wish I could see them again, soon.

There is something stirring about a paddle wheeler or stern wheeler that reminds me of the good old days, the movies of gambling on the mighty Mississippi, and James Garner as Maverick !
Wouldn't that be a sight to see the Belle of Louisville and the Delta Queen steamboats racing ?
I have always wanted to go on a steamboat cruise, and got literature about them years ago.
It is tucked away in a filing cabinet, before the days of computers.

Speaking of computers, I got my PC back today, all better with it's new XP Pro, and so I have been busy loading AOL back in it and getting it to accept the printer, camera, etc. This is all old hat to you folks raised around puters, but not to me who learned to type on a MANUAL, not electric typewriter. I had only seen the back of a computer at places like doctor's offices and banks when my son handed me one and said "Now you can put your 1953 Silver Streak Clipper on eBay". I sure learned a lot keeping that old Dell with 32 Memory going. I was disk cleaning and defragging constantly to keep it running. I knew my way around eBay, and didn't know how to email for a few weeks.

I even mastered the keyboard on this laptop, there was a button that I found that stopped it from typing in the previous text. Not having used a laptop before, it is all new to me. It was quite simple really... just turn off the mouse pad !! My hand was accidentally touching it as I was typing.

Here is something for you to enjoy today:

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Puters...*#%^** A Boring Rant !!

Last night I was trying to get my desk computer to get OneCare.Live in it, as suggested by the Geeks. All I got was an error code. OneCare had said to take out other scanners first, so there I was, with an unprotected computer. While I was in different computer sites, asking what to do about that error code, it caught a worm or germ, and had a big sign about that on the screen.

Someone suggested putting CyberDefender in it, so I did. Boy,Oh, Boy, that messed it up for good. I had to unplug it to stop it from constantly turning itself on, trying to get on line and turning itself off again.

I got out this laptop, and tried to tend to my mail, but I hate this keyboard, it does weird things. I think it is the small space bar, so I find it typing in the middle of text that I have already typed, as I am hitting the keys next to the space bar. Or else there is something wrong with this laptop !!

I had already bought a new Windows XP Pro SP2 w COA, but hadn't had the nerve to do a clean install myself. (The reason I had to buy a new XP is that I got the Sony Vaio PC in a car deal, and it had belonged to a chain smoking cat lover, and it died of emphysema after a few months. When I got it back from being repaired the XP in it wasn't genuine, didn't have SP2, wouldn't update, and I couldn't get a lot of things to load in it. ) So the time had come to take my PC to a computer doctor. This morning I loaded up the PC up in the truck, and took it to Conroe. He called this afternoon, and I pick it up tomorrow. So for tonight, I am struggling along with this laptop.

While I was there I bought a USB to PS/2 adapter so that I can use my mini keyboard that I usually use, on this laptop, but that is kind of defeating the purpose of having a laptop, isn't it ? I already have an external mouse for it, so I would be carrying around my keyboard for it, too. Now I know that Mrs. Geek says that is a good idea, and if I was fulltiming in my RV, I can see the advantage of having a decent keyboard along. Maybe I just bought a laptop with an awkward keyboard. I didn't try to use my usual mini keyboard with this laptop yet, as I just don't have the room for it on my little desk, and my PC will be back tomorrow. I would have to take my flat screen monitor off the stand that we made so that I could slide my little keyboard under it, and put the laptop up there, so that I could use the mini keyboard on the desk.
I took pictures of the stand we made, but then I remembered that I don't have either camera loaded in here !!

For a computer ignoramus it was a frustrating day.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Roof.Barometric Pressure.Pink Clouds.Navajo Sandpainting.

I picked up Jay so that he could clean the guest house side of the roof. Which he did. I raked up the pine needles that he swept off the roof, and he took them to the burn pile, but it was too breezy to start the fire.

I had to pack up a Navajo sandpainting that I had sold, and took it to the Post Office.

Then Jay wanted to go into Conroe to get some materials for working on his place. Which we didn't get.

We did go to a couple of thrift shops though, and I bought some burgundy rugs to go in front of my couch. Also a couple of china swans for my swan collection and two more wicker ducks for my duck basket collection. There haven't been any duck baskets for sale for over a year, and now they are showing up again. I don't have room for many more !

It was only just after 11.00am and he wanted to go to the China Buffet. We walked in and waddled out, and weren't really fit for anything after that.

So I took him home, had a nap, then worked on the computer.

My barometer is still at 29.7, and I checked the barometric pressure on our weather site, and mine is accurate. I also learned a few things. Migraines, arthritis, fishing and a lot of things are affected by barometric pressure, so it is a good thing to know.

"Barometric pressure is the pressure of the air (air pressure.) 28-29.99 inches of barometric pressure is a low pressure zone. This means it is likely to rain. Between 30 and 31.99 inches is a high pressure zone, which means it is less likely to rain."
This is a picture I took from my bathroom window through the screen, at 7.20 pm tonight. The setting sun was reflecting on the clouds, and making them pink.

Still no rain, a cooler, but muggy, overcast day.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

See Old Friends, and Meet some new "Old Friends"

Jake and Shari, on the left

Arby and Blondie

I was in IVR2 chat room last night looking for Jake, as I have known him for some years and I knew that he was evacuating from his house on High Island, east of Galveston. I had emailed him and offered to let them come here, and had not heard from him. Low and behold I find out from Arby that the four of them are holed up, in their motor homes at the KOA between Conroe and Montgomery, maybe 25 miles from me. So I could go see them.

I left instructions with Ray that he could 'bleach/Super Clean/water' the rest of the fence with the pump-up sprayer, Shay said he could use her pressure washer, and off I went. I had left a message on Jake's phone before I left, and he returned my call as I was on my way there.

We had a good reunion, it was hugs all the way around, and we were so glad to see each other again, especially under better circumstances. The last time I was at High Island, plugged in at their house, was when I was down there to see my dying granddaughter in UTMB Galveston Hospital. She had been hit by a DDD (dam drunk driver). I had my dying little dog with me, who was slated to be PTS the next day, as he had inoperable spleen cancer. I had to unplug my motor home and pull out in the middle of the night to find an emergency animal hospital, as he was obviously suffering, even with the pain meds he was on. So it was great to see Jake and Shari under normal circumstances.

So today, I finally got to meet Arby and his sweet wife Blondie. Jake has a lovely Kountry Star, with two slides, and Arby has a lovely Monaco with four slides, as they fulltime. The only difference I could really see in the amount of room between the two was that Arby has one more couch, in the area where Jake's door is, as you enter Arby's way up front like a bus, right in front of the passenger seat. Jake's you enter behind the passenger seat. Both beautiful motor homes, but bigger than I would want to drive now. I used to drive 40 ft. bus conversions years ago, like in the late 70's, but I wouldn't want to do it again at my age.

After we all said our hugging goodbyes, I went to WalMart and got some shopping done, including a new pressure washer. It was just like the one I had before the Sears one I have now, and it was on sale. $50, you can't beat that.

I quickly stopped at Lowe's garden center and bought 10 treated fence boards, and as I had cold stuff in the truck I drove home with no more stops.

Pressure still dropping as the remnants of Gustav go north west. First picture is yesterday afternoon, and second is this afternoon. But we don't have storms, or rain....yet.

An enjoyable day.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Pressure dropping.Painted Fence. PUGSY'S HOME

The first one I took early this morning, and the second about 4.00pm this afternoon. It feels different outside, too.

I took Shay down to Jay's mother's house, as it is her day to clean there. Jay was going to be there to help her move some furnititure, so they could clean behind it. I picked up MaeMae so that I could groom her. I cannot groom her if Jay is here, as she will not hold still.

Ray and I tried to fix the hose on the pressure washer, but when we tested it, it came apart again, twice. It sounded different too, maybe it is making too much pressure ? I guess I have to buy a new one.

I can still see boards that I need to replace on the fence, but I am not going to drive to the next town with this weather thing going
on. The trees are starting to sway in the wind, and the sky is getting dark.

While Ray was painting the fence, I groomed little old MaeMae.

This afternoon while I was trying to work, there was a loud banging on my door, and the door bell clanging, and it was my son returning my vintage motor home, "Pugsy". It got nicknamed Pugsy, as it used to have big eyelashes over the headlights, and a curly Q antenna on the top rear, and looked like a pug dog. I don't know what has happened to the front bumper it wasn't like that when he took it.
He had borrowed it a couple of years ago to use as a spare bedroom. I used to drive it to work in 1995. But I haven't driven it much since then, as the brake pedal and accelerator have the steering column in between them, and I can't use my left leg for the brakes any more. It is all fiberglass, and so doesn't leak. It is a 19' 1968 Venture Class A made in Banning, CA.

An eventful day.