Old Diary

On again, off again

So, here’s our schedule for this period.

On two
Off one
On one
Off two
On one
Off one
On three

If I say I don’t know if we are coming or going you’ll understand why.  To say nothing of the fact that the boss called this morning — one of those OFF days — about business because she didn’t know we were off today.  Because HER assistant didn’t tell her HE changed our days off and never bothered telling her.   Which is why she says communication is an important part of our job.  BUT… from here on in our schedule is pretty much off two, on five, off two, on five.  Don’t ask me how many hours we’ll be putting in.  Some days we’ve worked as little as three hours. Others as many as 8.  So quote our supervisor:  “It all depends on your workload…” which tells you precisely nothing.  But that’s Ok… we can be pretty loosey goosey ourselves.  Just wing it!

Oh Well…

Today I lost the interwebs for about 4 hours. In the end Verizon said it was their fault but that doesn’t bring back 4 hours of troubleshooting.

wilson-801126-sleek-4g-v-mifiI placed an order with Amazon for a Wilson Sleek 4G-V.  This way we’ll find out how having a package shipped to our local post office box works using the local Post Office address as the postmaster said we could do.  I’m taking a chance on Amazon’s return policy on this one.  The Sleek 4G-V works for our MiFi or for my iPhone.  It doesn’t put out as much power as the SOHO 60 unit that Wilson suggested.  But that’s because this unit doesn’t have to transmit the signal any further than to an object resting against itself.  Also, the SOHO 60 requires a mounted interior antenna, whereas the Sleek 4G is a cradle booster; you set the phone or MiFi into the holder and making contact with the installer you’re ready to go.  The SOHO 60 also has 40 feet of cable that need to be run and it requires a much more involved installation.  If the Sleek 4G-V works I’ll get what I want and keep the unit.  If it doesn’t work I can always return this and buy the SOHO 60 — for about $300.00 ADDITIONAL — money I’m not in a big hurry to spend if it’s not necessary.

As for chores on our day off, I did get our DISH cable buried — now I can walk on that side of the RV without fear of tripping.sleek 4g-v kit

I spent a while on the phone with my insurance agent trying to get my Medicare supplemental policy sorted, AND to get that 1 month of health insurance to cover the gap between the end of Wisconsin’s High Risk Pool policy at the end of December and the beginning of Medicare on February 1.  Interestingly enough to get a 1 month policy to cover my pre-existing conditions will cost 67% more than my HIRSP policy has cost. If that’s an indicator of the ‘benefits’ citizens will get from the Affordable Health Care Act, you can keep it.  But I only need one month, and in the end we’re going to go with a short term policy for one month.  I won’t cover pre-existing conditions, but it’s only 31 days I have to get through.medicare

After a quick chat with my pharmacy I found that they are already scheduled to ship my existing prescriptions 2 days before the end of the year.  That means that they will still be covered by the old policy — lucky me.  🙂 🙂  I was a bit worried about having a meds shipment processed in January during that policy interim.  If the pharmacy gets the shipment out on time I’ll save a bunch of money.


Us new citizens of Oregon are learning to deal with moss and mold.  I guess you can say its a local hazard of living in the Northwest. I have known and annoyed poor Peg about exhausting built up humidity in Journey. WE have been running the vent fans several hours a day.  But having never lived here before we’re not yet sure how long we really need to run exhaust fan/s each day to rid the interior of built up humidity/perspiration/etc. It’s a work in progress.  We’re dry, working on staying dry and mould free.

Federal Holidays

Monday is Veterans Day.  Federal offices are closed.  We weren’t sure if we were supposed to work on legal holidays or not.  Our answer proved interesting.

When we worked for the Corps of Engineers volunteers worked through the holidays — as did employees.  Just because it was a holiday didn’t mean that the paid staff had a day off — they didn’t.  They took their holiday hours in rotation.

The Forest Service does things differently.  Because we could be out roaming around in a vehicle, or working in the forest doing some sort of repairs, there are security issues.  Recently a volunteer in a different region had been working on trails and signage.  He took off solo into the woods and had a heart attack there.  When he did not return home as planned his wife called Search and Rescue.  The volunteer was found deceased, having had a heart attack and unable to contact the Forest Service dispatch because no one was working in dispatch on that holiday.  As a result our bosses want us not to do anything that is dangerous, or anything where we are unreachable by central dispatch.  It’s a warm and fuzzy feeling — but really it’s all about liability, I’m sure.

So, we get holidays… not paid. We’re not getting paid for anything.  But it’s a day off anyway.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

Old Diary

Port Orford: closed on Tuesday

Cape Blanco Lighthouse

Cape Blanco Lighthouse

Today was a chance to sit back and rest up a bit from our go-go-going daughter’s relentless pace.  Truth is even she was tired today!

It seems that a lot of Port Orford shuts down on Tuesday.  The Crazy Norwegian is closed ( a restaurant), Paula’s Bistro’s closed, the Port Orford Heads State Park Lifesaving museum is closed, so is the Cape Blanco lighthouse…. seems half of what we wanted to do was closed.

The Lifesaving Craft on exhibit

The Lifesaving Craft on exhibit

But that was good because we didn’t want to do much.  And we succeeded.  I finished one and a half novels today.  Still working on some Laurence Sanders stuff,  right now it’s The Timothy Files which is really three short novelettes in one binding.  We did go to the Orford Heads, and Cape Blanco.

2013100811402706I was fascinated by the delicacy of this moss/lichens/whatever. It was barely thicker than strands of human hair, and yet it clung to the end of a tree stump quite tenaciously.

My iPhone doesn’t seem to like to take unjittery pictures of little things… sorry about that.

2013100812564020I enjoyed this hillside of Queens Anne Lace seedheads.  They were all along the Cape Blanco Lighthouse hillside, but this view of the seedheads as little soldiers along the ridge sort of struck me.


Here’s another shot of the Orford bay.  One of the interesting things about their harbor here is that there are no wharfs for the fishermen to tie up to.  So whenever a boat goes out it’s lowered into the water by a crane, and then when it gets back it’s pulled back up out of the water by the same crane.  I think that puts a serious limit on the size of trawler that operates out of this harbor but whatever works, right?


Another shot of the Orford bay


I love this idea for selling and delivering firewood.  Here’s the camp host taking his empty cart to the firewood storage to be filled.  There is no waste this way.  I LOVE THAT!  No tags, or bindings, no wrapping and tying.  Fill the cart up to the line, and roll it away down the street.  To me that’s thinking and acting smart.  The campers come, pay for their wood, and roll the cart back to their site — no struggle carrying it — and then they roll it back to the camp host empty.  Voila!

Old Diary

Topside, Bottomside all Around the House

Yesterday was a whiz bang productive day!  Momma is much happier and when momma is happy the whole world is happier.  (Nah… I shouldn’t tease my wife like that — she’s ever so easy to live with, but sometimes I just can’t help myself! The devil made me do it.)

First and most importantly we got out our bucket and brush and cleaned the awning!   That’s a sloppy job — washing things over your head always is — specially when you’re using a long handled broom as a mop. But the job is done now — for a while.

If you aren’t an RV’er you won’t realize that we have four awnings on Journey.  Because those awnings sometimes drive down the road at 60 MPH they are subject to having rain water driven into the rolled up awnings from the leading edge, where it can sit — and sometimes mildew.   (I don’t drive faster than that when we are towing because the CR-V doesn’t want to be towed faster than 60 — so I usually cruise at 55.  Not a bad speed for a retiree.)

2013070207044001We haven’t had the awning out much this summer yet — high winds aren’t friendly winds.  But the one time we did have it out I realized the awning needed a little love.  So yesterday morning we gave them all a little love and the big one a LOT of love.  She looks a lot better now.  This early this morning shot gives you an idea.  Maybe later in the day I’ll take one when there aren’t shadows on the coach, but it was nice getting out in the low 60 degree sun to capture this shot!

I had the entire basement empty — several times — and I moved a bunch of things around.  And around.  And around. Figuring out the most efficient way of storing things, and trashing some of them in the process seems to have no better formula than trying them all out and seeing how much space you have after each attempt.  All that packing and unpacking took the better part of a beautiful day to accomplish.  But…  When I was finished we had less stuff and more room.

I’m sure everything will not continue to live where it is right now.  I will keep looking for better solutions for the next few months or more. That’s just who I am.  For example, I woke in the middle of the night to realize that my drill bits were now living in a place that will require several other containers to be removed before I can get at them.  But seeing how often I use some items will be a big clue in deciding how accessible they need to be.

On a Not So Positive Note

computer woesVerizon is still not done troubleshooting my broadband issue. They started a trouble ticket — for all that means to a customer — and they are supposed to have engineers “looking at it.” It’s going on three days now.

I get some slow, sporadic service using my iPhone as a hotspot. It’s not great and isn’t the right way to fix the problem. But I’ll write this morning’s post using what I have.

We moved here on Wednesday, I had good service Wed through Saturday morning and since then bupkiss!  I upgraded my MiFi device — I had the upgrade coming anyway — but the new device gets less of a signal than my old MiFi, or my iPhone — chances are good that this MiFi is going back to the store!


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We are both plowing ahead in our reading. Peg has moved on to another in the Jan Karon series, and I have moved on to another by Lawrence Sanders.

I saw that I have several more Sanders books down there in the bottom of my nightstand — a location also coming to be known as our “Library.”  I might try to get through some/most of them before I turn to our good friend William Shakespeare..

Old Diary

At The Gardens With Kathryn

Yesterday was a day of mixed blessings.  When the day’s forecast improved we had invited our daughter to join us for a day of nature at Chicago Botanic Gardens.  The day could not have been better.  Clear skies, temps in the mid 70’s and beyond, and not too many people at the gardens.

But it was a mixed blessing because we were reminded that with the property closing closing in on us the time is coming when Katy won’t be just a hop skip and a jump down the road from us.  We’ll go from being able to see her whenever we choose to having limited time to enjoy her company.  She’s always been just right there.  Except for a short time when she was living in NJ she’s lived at most 10 miles from us. So, we dawdled and chatted over breakfast, we dawdles and chatted through the gardens and we dawdles and chatted over lunch.  You get the unifying factor here?

The Images are all from today.  Quicky  touchups on some of them, and cropping.  I’m amazed at how good a job that little iPhone does.  I didn’t want to be messing with cameras on a day when we had Katy with us, to we took the easy route.

Part of the day did end up being about out future leanings, where to spend the winter (TX we are thinking), how quickly we’ll move once we get past our existing September 17 final reservation, and what we may be thinking about for specific locations (no idea at all).  There was some counter-play with discussions about their remodel plans for Graham Street so we all had input and we all learned a little.

Eighteen Days Till Closing?

Eighteen Days Till Closing?

In the end, however, it was mostly just a sweet day.

We haven’t yet heard when we’ll be able to pick up Journey.  Bradd & Hall can have her until Friday night but we are hoping they may finish her up earlier and avoid the need to travel on the holiday weekend.  As a result we aren’t planning any trips for the coming week. That doesn’t mean there aren’t things to do.  I need to pay for one of the inspection repairs – so I’ll be heading over to the roofers on Monday morning.  There are a couple legal matters I need to take care of now that we are getting close.  And a couple “utility” notifications to be taken care of.  Verizon’s got their claws into us and I need to sort out a change there.  I did get our utility budget payment plan paid up so that the closing isn’t going to take a big hunk of money for utilities.  I’m not sure if my hit-list of to-do’s will prove to be complete but I give a little time each day to thinking about loose details that may not yet be handled.

Now that we are getting close I’m getting excited — but not exactly about getting on the road – maybe a little more about getting all the stuff done beforehand that needs doing before we are no longer living in Cudahy.  There’s a little faux-panic there.  We’ve been talking about this for 18 months — pretty soon the rubber’s gonna meet the road and whether we’ve prepared well enough for our future will soon be fact and not fiction.

Minimalism, Old Diary

Adrenalin Rush

You have no idea how great it feels to finally be moving forward!  It’s like getting your life back.

Wednesday we spoke to two contractors about home inspection issues — they’ll both be out here today to make the minor changes that need making.  I have one more person to hear from and that contractor’s office has advised me it may be 2 weeks before they are in the area to do the warranty inspection that is required — so as of the end of Thursday I should have completed everything we needed to do prior to closing.

Later today (Thursday) we’ll go over to John’s Upholstery to pick up our recovered cushions.  I’m hoping they look as good as we anticipate!

I talked with Michael, and it sounds like they are making progress with their architect.  The architect’s first draft ignored some of the things Kathryn and Michael had told him — in terms of instructions — amazing how that happens.  It sometimes seems that professionals don’t want to listen to clients — just because they have a degree and a license they seem to think that what they want to draw will automatically accommodate the clients wishes even when the client has already told them that is not what they want.

On the second front — I guess it will be a couple/few weeks before Peg and I know what our new mailing address is going to be.  With Michael and Kathryn moving from the Clement Street address to Graham Street that means all the address changes we had done will have to be done all over again — and at the moment the new location doesn’t yet have a second postal address.  After the architectural drawings are done and all the meetings with the city about plans are completed then the kids can talk with the Postal Service and get a new address assigned to the location.  Then we can do our bit and go through address changes all over again.

The weather was so nice we decided on a trip to Horicon March National Wildlife Refuge.  It was a nice drive and we dawdled around appropriately!  I didn’t take “big” cameras along — just my iPhone so here are a few samples of the day.

I could not believe how good it felt to be getting near the end of our repair hit-list and to realize that days like yesterday may just become normal life for us pretty soon…  All the dreams of “our” retirement are getting closer.  Not sure who’s retirement we’ve been living during this home sale period but it sure hasn’t seemed like Peggy & Peter.  Yesterday was so much more who we are.

Our friend Delbert Wasmer was on our mind a lot. We’re hoping to meet up with him in June while we are in Thomson Causeway.  If you haven’t seen the Nina or the Pinta — the replica’s of Columbus’ ships — and if you are in the Midwest — you should check ’em out.

Twenty Two more days till closing?

Twenty Two more days till closing?

Journey DL, RV Living

Quick! Someone Take Away My Credit Card…

Entertainment Panel Back in Place

Rapid progress slowly…  at the expense of our credit card.  Some things bought and in transit. Some things to be bought at the dealership and installed there.

That’s what we’re making alright!  And I’m darned proud of it. (You grasp at straws when you feel you haven’t been as productive as you might like!)  Journey came to live with us for a few days at the end of the week and while she was easily accessible I got a lot done.  It felt so wonderful to back inside her and getting the nest ready for a new season or for … well… forever. Continue reading

Old Diary

iPhone Weather

I guess a lot of people have had problems with their iPhone and the native weather app.  That had not been me until this weekend but it looks like there has been a problem for several months.  When I tried to check temps yesterday and this morning the app refused to update.  I didn’t mind yesterday; we weren’t going anywhere.  But when a second day commenced I decided to tackle the problem.

Now — things like resetting iPhones and iPods have always been something that quite elude me.  I regularly reset computers and cable boxes.  But my iPhone and iPod just don’t cry out to me:  “RESET ME.” Each time I have to look up how to do it.  Other people seem to remember just how right of the top of their head, but that’s not something I commit to memory cuz I usually don’t need it.  In the old days, models used to tell me how to reset my iPod when it froze in the studio. By the time it happened again I had forgotten.


Doing a hard reset fixed my problem — so, if you’re having problems, give it a try.  http://support.apple.com/kb/TA38625

Old Diary

Scott Conant Can Eat My Shrimp and Blue Cheese!

Friday was supposed to be an intentionally easy day. We were hoping for smoother seas than on Thursday seeing as we planned a ferry ride to Dauphin Island. However, the sun arose and as we headed to the ferry terminal we passed a sign that said the ferry wasn’t operating.  We called to verify — making the drive adds 100 miles — but the sign was right — the ferry was out of service.


So, we drove around, using the added mileage as a good excuse to stop at Waffle House for breakfast.  Ya know — they aren’t fancy — for those who live in Milwaukee they’re a lot like a breakfast version of George Webbs. But they sell basic american breakfast items at a very reasonable price, they always seem to want your business, and they do a good, maybe even a great job, at what they do.  We walked out the door with our tummies more than full for $15.00 including a generous tip.  By contrast we had thought to stop at IHOP, but we walked in the door there and the phone was ringing, and kept ringing while a manager came from someplace in back to answer the phone after a good 40 seconds of ringing, and not even a smile to acknowledge we were there. While he was on the phone a very un-ambitious wait person came to the counter, stared at her seating chart, ignored us, and turned around an left.  We were silly enough to wait to be seated — but when we were we looked at their new and improved menu (since our last visit to an IHOP with Debbie and Delbert) and decided we weren’t going to eat there.

20130118123558011We made the long drive around Mobile Bay without much to look at or any reason to stop.  Dauphin Island was a much better idea from the Ferry than driving  — but we wanted to see it, and the Audubon Bird center so we kept after it and it was a nice enough visit. I’m not sure what makes Dauphin Island the Birdiest community, but hey — that’s advertising!

Audubon Bird Center

The center was underwhelming.  After the Audubon center in Naples with a huge visitors center, this was pretty plain.  No visitors center, a few interpretive display boards at the start of the boardwalk, several paths to take — but few bird songs to be heard and virtually no birds to be seen this brisk January morning.

The boat here is the one that WASN’T running today.  And I love the sign.  More of these should be used.  LOOK before crossing the intersection!

I guess I don’t get beach resorts


Peg and I have never been ones to just lay around on the beach. We have done vacations where we went to resorts, but not very many of them, and we generally kept plenty busy in the area doing other things than beach bumming it.

I have no idea what I’d do here for longer than a few hours of days.  We don’t boat.  I could see that would be an attraction but it’s not something we do. We don’t fish — again I could see that as an attraction, but it’s not us.  I was curious to observe the beach houses here.  I didn’t see any solar installations, nor did I see anyone saving rainwater for home use.  In an area surrounded by saltwater I’m surprised that there isn’t awareness of the things that could be done to make themselves a little more secure and less dependent on the mainland. That’s just me though…. I admit to having control issues. 🙂

We stopped at the Mississippi Welcome Center on the way over to the Mississippi Sandhill Crane Wildlife Refuge.  At the Welcome Center they have some really beautiful wood carvings — in part celebrating the Mississippi Sandhill Cranes, but also other of the migratory species that pass through the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  

Mellow Mushroom Rules

Do you watch Chopped on the Food Channel?  If so, you know who Scott Conant is.  He’s the program judge and an chef specializing in italian food who makes a fuss anytime a chef mixes seafood with cheese.  At our house it’s almost a joke that comes up anytime we see/hear about a meal or recipe that contains both. Well, tonight we ate at the Mellow Mushroom.  Based on their name, I wasn’t sure what we were getting into, but they are a multi-state chain (yeah — I know, Me, eating at a chain restaurant).

Let me be clear:

  • they have great crust: yeasty, not too thick, crispy without being a cracker.
  • this is not about Chicago Style
  • this is not about New York Style
  • good pizza, fresh ingredients, variety, and decent accompaniments.

On the menu from my iPhone I saw a Blue Bayou Pizza.  Blue cheese, shrimp, andouille sausage, mozzarella, olive oil, garlic.  Simple. Elegant.  Absolutely smashing. I’d eat this any day, and almost everyday.  It’s that good.  So, when we arrived it had to be Blue Bayou Pizza and something else.  We added an Educated Spinach salad to our repertoire of good food for the evening (spinach, dried cherries, feta cheese, candied pecans, diced apples with a balsamic vinaigrette.  Also smashing.    I really like this ‘Za!

Time to walk off the Calories

After dinner we knew we’d eaten our full, so a nice little walk was in order.  And when you’re only blocks from the Gulf of Mexico why not walk along the coast?


And finally, I love Live Oaks — they are just so unique and when allowed to grow, so massive.  Here are two beauts!

20130118164953028 20130118163338020 

And that looks like the end of what I have for tonight.

We’ll make a trip to the Sandhill Crane refuge — but I don’t know how long we’ll stay.  they have a tram tour on Saturday, but it’s full.  We might be able to get on if there’s a cancellation (or not).  There are other choices for the day — or we might just cool our jets for the day and snoop around the local area.

Talk to you tomorrow.

rallytylt_sqrd_iphone_5_case_1Completely unrelated to the trip, I’ve been having good luck miscellaneos finding things I’ve been looking for.

When I got my iPhone I bought a protective cover from the Verizon people who sold me the phone.  It never fit quite right but I’ve been living with it. The problem is that the slot for the charger was so small that I had to take the bottom of the protective case off in order to charge the phone.  But I finally found one that fit precisely.  And I’m happy over simple things; it’s so nice to charge the phone without fighting with the plastic case.  I also replaced the belt holster because the old was was torn at the belt hook.  Don’t wanna lose my phone.  Just 2 days ago we returned a phone to another hotel guest who had misplaced theirs!!!!!!

teva-sandals-shoesAlso, I’ve been looking for replacement pair of sandals.  The ones I have now have lived a good life and are smooshed out.  We stopped at a mall today in Destin where I found Teva’s at a good price.  I’ve had Teva sandals before and when I bought my last pair I couldn’t find Teva’s in any of the stores I looked at.  So, the new ones I found today were like my feet coming back home.  Happy feet, happy feet.