Arizona

Arizona

Monday, October 20, 2014

Vacation Recap

Yep, I'm home in Phoenix again.  I haven't written much as I've not felt up to par.  This impacted my vacation as well as work this week.  I do want to get some of what I did out on pixels, though, as I'm finding as time goes on I enjoy going back and reading my blog to see what I was doing a few years ago.  This will be 'a few years ago' soon enough.

The airport did have my luggage the next morning, so from now on I will look for non-stop flights from Phoenix to Kansas City, or wherever I'm headed.  At least I will try not to connect via Denver.  The trip home was uneventful.  However, Southwest's overhead bins seem to be smallish.  I changed the carryon I used (I own at least 3 and maybe 4) and still it was tight.  I've used these carryon's for years with no issue on United flights.

My vacation was planned in a manner to roll with the punches, no real agenda, etc.  Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling well and didn't 'roll' very well.  Could be I'm getting older and crankier.  maybe.  Also, the area I used to know fairly well I haven't hung out in for 5 or so years.  It no longer felt like 'home'.  That was one thing I wanted to see.  Towards the end of the vacation I ended up connecting with friends in Nashville and I got more comfortable in my old haunts.  My take away was that I need to scout my locations more, and make more time for friends.  I ended up in hotels a lot, and I hate to spend the money on that.  I just didn't enjoy the camping that I did in the Smokies.  Partly because it cost $20/night and didn't include shower facilities, partly because it rained every time I entered the park.  I have a tent that is now in the give-away pile.  I remembered why I went to a hammock, but I can't use a hammock in a state or national park.  I did buy a sleeping mat, the $8 blue mat from WalMart and also their $35 knock off of the thermarest.   Between the two I was comfortable and dry in my tent.  It was the entering and exiting that was an issue.

I'm on my new schedule now, 8PM to 6AM.  It is an adjustment.  I'll get it together in a couple of weeks.  Signs around the park here saw that the winter residents (snowbirds, but they don't like to be called that...) are starting to show up or are anticipated.  Temps are cooler, and it rained again last evening for awhile.  Cats were fine when I got home, but Rasta started coughing again today.  I'll watch him and make a decision on what to do.  Unlike last time he is acting fine.  It was when he got subdued and sickly acting that I rushed him to the vet last time.

Gotta go pee in a cup for my work background/drug test checkup for the year.  Not an issue, but a minor hassle.  That is all that is going on here, along with unpacking and a  notebook page double column of to-do's.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Now What

So, I've run off the end of any 'plans' I had for this vacation.  I have the rental car, I'm in Nashville, Mom is off to stay with her friends and I'm in a Starbucks (don't hate...) getting ready to head off somewhere in the rental car to have a bunch of fun.  Nothing has really jelled as to what to do.  I spent too much money, as usual, in REI here.  I decided not to get the one thing I came down here to get, a sleeping pad.  I decided to just get a cheap one at WalMart.  $8 vs. $100.  There is a difference.  However, for this trip not really enough to justify.  Maybe.  I've about decided to go back and get the one in there.  But, typing this I changed my mind, again.  Really, I don't use my camping stuff hardly at all now.  sigh.  Welcome to my vacation.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

On Vacation

I'm on Mom's computer in Kansas City.  Flying in was a bit more of an issue than usual.  I was to leave at 3:00pm and route through Denver.  Weather kept us waiting for clearance to head that way (on Denver's end).  I walked over to the counter and asked to be re-routed since I wanted to get to Kansas City anyway.  I was given a boarding pass for a direct flight leaving in an hour.  That flight was also delayed.  But, as we were leaving around 5:30 the Denver bound plane was still sitting there.  Who knows where my luggage is.  Hopefully we can get it at the Kansas City airport this morning.  I have my clothes, it is just my sweaters and camping gear and such that is missing.

I may not have a lot of access while I'm moving around the next couple of weeks.  We head to Nashville this morning.  Then I have no plans except to wander around the Southeast for a week.  I'll check in when I can.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Raining again

I don't think I'll need an ark, though.  It is a light rain this time.  Everyone was freaking out at the forecast after the last go-round.  At least here in Mesa we only have enough to soak the ground for a bit.

I'm getting closer to finalizing my vacation plans for the 29th on.  I'm going to stay in the Southeast and play around in the Smokies on the week that I leave Mom in Nashville visiting friends.  I need a week just to wander around my old favorite places.  Not sure how many folks I'll get to see while I'm back.

Here at home I'm just clearing and cleaning and fixing broken stuff and mending clothes and generally trying to get my homelife situated.  I'm tired of living among plastic totes lined up everywhere.  I can only throw a tablecloth over so many and call them end tables.  I'm starting to look at those plastic Rubbermaid storage sheds to put behind my mobile home to hold the empty totes that I'm not using right now.  It is a step towards the endgame.  I'm looking at those as a more temporary measure that I can either move with me if/when I leave here, or sell to someone else and it would be easier to move either way.  Still researching.

I'm still in a funk.  However, I'm in a winning streak of sorts at the casinos so I'm at least breaking even for now.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I didn't drown

The 100 years' rain didn't cause me any hardship the other day as I was at work during the rain, and the flooding had all drained away by the time I got off work.  Water here is kind of like snow in the South - wait a couple of hours and it is usually gone.

I went to Vegas again last week on my days off.  While making myself wake up to turn off the alarm to go to work when I got back I had the thought hit me from some place deep inside 'I'm not happy'.  When that happens I start thinking.  I knew that I hurt from all the walking I always do in Vegas, and I was very tired from having my routine thrown off because of my strange working hours that are difficult to stick to on my days off.  So, body was low energy.  Diet hasn't been great.  First steps are to get sleep and good nutrition squared away.  Then look to tie up some nagging details.  I've done all this now, and also canceled the second Vegas trip that I'd scheduled for next week as being too taxing physically right now.  I'll enjoy it more in November or December.  I'm making plans for my vacation at the end of the month to get away, back East to see how that all feels.  Once all the data is in, I'm going to do some looking around, inside and out, and make some decisions.  When I get too unhappy, the Universe tends to do things like send me to Honduras.  I'm careful what I wish for now.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Who was I again? **Update**

I know, don't post for a long while, then 2 in an hour or so...

There was a time, awhile ago (awhile measured in decades...) that I was mechanical.  Not my body, but my profession and my personal lifestyle.  I did, among other things, a lot of my own work on my vehicles.  It was helped along by the fact that my friends also did most of their own work on their cars and houses an anything else that broke.

I remember a really fun (and I do really mean fun) evening where I went to a friend's house in my '86(?) Toyota truck that had an issue with sometimes starting, sometimes just clicking because the starter had some issue.  It was to be a simple procedure, pull off the starter, go to the parts store, buy a rebuilt one and reinstall it.  However, we took too long and the store was closed.  This friend didn't want the hassle of reinstalling a bad starter just to have to redo it all again some other time, so we did the most obvious thing:  we rebuilt the old one.  Upon taking the starter apart, one of the contacts was worn away.  So we went to the hardware store looking for something brass to fabricate a new right-angle contact.  Found a brass fitting the right thickness (originally starting life in the plumbing section), went home and he made good use of his dremmel (spell check wants to change the spelling of that to 'remodel') tools and fashioned a new contact that was better than the original stock one.  By 9 or 10pm I had a working truck, and that starter was still working fine when I traded in the truck 10 years later.

All that to say, I feel terribly guilty, as if I'm letting the fellowship down if/when I use a paid-for mechanic to do simple things.  Like oil changes.  Especially oil changes.  I've had 3 Toyota trucks starting with that one in '86 (or '84, I really can't remember, sadly).  I was taught that when shopping for a new vehicle, the first or at least second thing to look for is the oil filter to make sure you don't have to pull the engine in order to do an oil change.  Not really an issue as the original Toyota trucks (as opposed to, say, the ones they make now) were made for real people to drive.  The other thing that goes without saying, which is why the oil filter placement is 1st, is that it is a manual stick shift transmission.

Enter the Jeep I bought in 2008.  It had a 5 year/100K miles warranty.  It spent 2.5 of those years in storage when I was in Honduras.  Working on it hasn't been really an issue as it only has 65K miles on it even today.  I ran out of the 5 years, though.  No reason to have a dealership do the simple stuff like oil changes anymore.  The last time I had the oil change done, I was ready to be again upset with a dealership.  They probably didn't really do anything wrong, but I felt the guilt and shame of turning Yuppie (ok the Y for young really doesn't apply anymore) when I handed over the keys to the intake guy.

It is time for an oil change again.  Also, my 'new' Jeep is starting to have some minor issues.  The kind of things that a dealership can end up shaking their head and turn a $50 issue into multiple thousands of dollars, at least in my head.  So, simple solution, I do the oil change myself again and while I'm at it I look at YouTube videos on the issues the Jeep is having and at least go into the dealership being knowledgeable about the issues and the condition of my own Jeep.

Except...  for 2 months I've been afraid to pop the hood.  It started when I glanced at it and realized I've owned the Jeep for 6 years and never opened the hood.  What?  Me?  I then got concerned about all kinds of silly things, the unknown and all.  The Jeep is quite a bit larger than my previous trucks.  And so on.  For 2 months I've looked at the Jeep and backed away.

Today, sweaty and no water and the temperature tolerable I confronted my fears.  I popped the hood.  I was glad to find a secondary latch holding the hood backing up the rubber clasps that I was afraid was all that was between me and the hood flying up as I drove down the road.  Took me awhile to figure out how to do the prop so that it was anchored and not just vaguely holding up the weight of the hood.  I had to climb up on the front bumper to look at the engine.  Then I had to find the dipstick.  Luckily, the Jeep isn't using oil, and isn't ready for another quart yet.  I slid under the Jeep and don't see any obvious leaks of anything, and found the oil filter right where it should be and easy to get to.

Progress.  I may or may not actually do this oil change.  But I at least know what is under the hood now.

Update:
The water came on around 10am.  I showered, then watched some YouTube videos.  Also remembered what started all this was that I ran out of windshield washer fluid.  I had a wonderful dealership in Olympia, WA that did everything but hug and kiss me on the way out when I took the Jeep to them for service.  Oil, filters, fluids, and they washed and vacuumed it for me without costing half my paycheck.  While I was in Honduras my Uncle had the servicing done for me at the dealership in Platte City, MO, and they were great.  I'm assuming they, but it might have been my Uncle, did all of the above.  When I went into the dealership here, I was upset that even though I had an appointment, and was there early, they said it would be a couple of hours before they worked on it as there were others before me.  I said What???  I had the first appointment!  And I'm early!  So they put me in the express line, which might mean nothing but the oil gets filled/changed.

So, I showered, then watched the videos.  I checked out the engine air intake filter, and vacuumed out the housing.  I'll change the filter when I get a new one, and I now know what it looks like.  I'll also worry about that darned 4th clip on the housing at that time.  3 will work ok till then.

I filled the washer fluid resevior.  That darned bottle of fluid won't be rolling around on the passenger floor anymore as it has for the past 2 months.

I see which kind of filter is on the blower motor.  I also see that there isn't a filter on the air that goes to the blower when it comes from the inside of the passenger compartment, so that isn't what is the issue with the intermittent cold air from the air compressor.

I'm adding hand cleaner to the list of stuff to get.  And remembering why I had so many stained tshirts back then.

It's 11:30 and I'm sweaty again.  Enough knowledge for one day.

Water, water, everywhere, except...

We've had 2 frog strangler storms with high wind since 4pm yesterday, and a few nice downpours in between. The ground is soaking the water up like it hasn't had a drink in 6 months, which is somewhat close to actual time since good, soaking rains showed up here. After one very close lightening/thunder clap that sent the cats scrambling, I expected to lose power. The power stayed on. As the sky lightened up an the rain slacked I started to get on with the day, starting with a shower. Except, no water from the faucet. Seems in the process of the above a water main broke on the other side of the park. Water is off for the next several hours at least. This is an issue as this is shower/laundry/cleaning day around here. Not to say it is the only day I take a shower, but yesterday being my first day of 3 off, I pretty much just lazed around and never really got around to cleaning up.

Dizzy commented on Sunday about how the full moon affects us, including things like births and deaths. He lost 2 friends last Saturday night. I remember I stepped outside from work and was amazed at the beauty moon sometime around 3:30am. When a co-worker didn't show up at 6am, one of the guys texted him to remind him to come in. The guy's girlfriend called back. Seems that the co-worker died that night. We still don't know how or why, or no one is saying. He was 52. So, I will probably equate a large moon with doing a security check on friends and close co-workers from now on.

September is shaping up to be a traveling month. More as the time gets nearer. And, the new guys at work still don't have laptops. So, nerves are even more frayed now. Part of the reason I'm quiet here, as well as it being summer and I just don't do much when it is hot.