Monday, October 16, 2017

Another step closer...

We have been home nearly 4 weeks.  I expected to have the boat back in the water within a week of our return.  The dredge operation apparently had other plans.  Through all the excuses and promises, we have been trying to work with them.  Last Friday, I was told they would be out of our canal "on Monday."  Today is Monday.  Yeah, they're still here.

It's a special day in our household, and one of us had a specific place where she wanted to dine for lunch today.  In Harlingen.  Coincidentally, that is near where our storage unit is.  Which happens to have our boat in there.

Kind of a big day for me, too - it's the first time we've had a meal out in a week!  And I ate real food.  With Italian spices.  And red sauce.  My jaw was tired by the time we finished, but I also snuck some food to the "rough side" of my mouth - those taste buds on that side have been deprived.  It was a delight!

After lunch, we headed to our storage unit and started "the shuffle":  Motorhome out...

At the far end of the storage unit, the boat is waiting for its turn...

The boat pulled out...

The motorhome back in, everything locked up, and we're on our way home.  It has been a blustery day here, after several quite calm days.  The wind was north northwest, so at our back on our way home.  A cold front came through last night, and today's highs were in the 70s - a refreshing change!

I stopped to fuel up the boat tank and then back home...

No, it isn't back in the water.  I need to charge the battery, hook it back up, and run the boat for a bit in the driveway to make sure everything is working good before it goes back in the water.  I may just go sit on it and make "motorboat noises" this evening.  ;-)  (Insert you own joke here)

It may be another day or two before Cool Change (the boat's name) gets launched again.  Lines and fenders need to be set up on our dock.  A dredge needs to move.  Really - a dredge needs to move.

Looking across the canal this evening...

It will look even better out there with a boat at our dock.  :-)  Soon.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Free! For one day...

There has been a lot of interesting discussion on a guitar forum in which I participate.  One of the other participants said he enjoyed my writing and... "You should write a book!"

Interesting that he should mention that.  ;-)

So, for ONE DAY ONLY - through tomorrow, the book is available for free:

And, so there will be no question that this is NOT for self-promotion, here is a coupon code: YX23R

That code will allow you to download the book to your e-reader for free. No strings attached, all you have to do is join Smashwords (no big deal) and insert that coupon code at checkout. All e-reader formats. Free is a good price. So you don't think I am just a swell guy, that code is only good through tomorrow, 10/16/2017. After that, the book is back to $8.99 for the e-version (also available in paperback at Lulu for $11.99 plus shipping).

The book is also available at iBooks, Nook, and the usual e-reader sellers, except Amazon (seems that Smashwords, the distributor, and Amazon couldn't come to terms). But the FREE coupon is only good at Smashwords. And only through tomorrow.



Of course, a nice review is always appreciated.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

So, you're sayin' there's a plan...

Another warm, sunny, humid day in the Tropical Tip.  The kind of day that would be perfect to be out on a boat.  Yeah, we have a boat.  What's that?  "Why aren't you using it?" you ask.  Well, let me tell you...

Joan has cleared me for physical activity.  "I think you're up for a bike ride," she said, to which I quickly agreed.  E-bikes, not scooters.  Well, an e-bike for me...

Joan's beach cruiser for her...

Yep, old school.  One speed.  Push the pedals backwards to put on the brake.  It works fine around here, where it is flat as a table and paved.  The e-bike works fine around here, too.  ;-)

We rode around a bit, then stopped at the end of the Sea Cottage row to check out the situation with the dredge.  See - hang in there with me and I'll eventually get back around to the question.  No one on the dredge, but we could see them across the canal from us - so, we rode around to the next canal.

As we pulled up to them, the new boss said, "Hello, Mister Jim!"  I prepared myself for the next tale of woe... seems that two days ago they hit a snag.  And by "snag," I mean: a 5 gallon pail of cement, with a lamp stuck it, and about 50' of electrical cord!  They have an 8" pipe and the bucket was about 8" around - it took them two days to clear the pipe of that mess; they had to break the concrete, bit by bit.  He said, "I don't know why that was in the water."

Sounded like somebody's idea of an anchor to me.  Seriously, you should see what passes for boating skills around here.  But, I digress.

He then told me that they should be done in this canal by Monday.  I reminded him that he told me "3 or 4 days" about 12 days ago.

"Sorry - it took longer than we thought."

That is what we call: understatement.

So, now - the plan: the weather weasels are calling for a chance of thunderstorms Sunday night and into Monday morning... we'll get the boat on Monday.  Maybe.  Run the motor in the driveway, get our stuff loaded onto it, and get it launched on Tuesday.  Maybe.

So, it's the first loosely-conceived plan that involves getting the boat home.



The best dental situation comment came from my buddy Steven Roberts on Facebook; he said...

"I hope you didn't try to transcend dental medication.


Cracked me up!


Friday, October 13, 2017


If you said, "Stevie Wonder, 1972," you get 20 bonus points.  "Why so few points?" you ask.  Really?  Because: Stevie Wonder.

Today is Friday the 13th.  I'm not superstitious.  Oh, I believe that people go a little crazy during a full moon, but that is physiological, not superstition.

I was thinking we might go to a movie today... we had talked about it last night.  One of us thought it would cruel and unusual punishment to eat popcorn in front of the other.  Honestly, I was OK with the whole idea; how exhausting can it be to sit through a movie?  So, we compromised and scrapped it.

That said, I was needing some kind of outing... one of us suggested, "How about a trip to the store to find you something soft and bland to eat?"

"Hoooweeee - you don't think that will be too much excitement??"

One of the side effects of getting your mouth worked on is apparently crankiness and irritability.  I think that is a sign of healing, thus a good thing.  I would be a party of one.

On the way to the store, one of our tire monitor lights lit up.  I stopped, Joan got out to check (they all look fine), and staring at us from about 20 feet away... a black cat.  Good thing I'm not superstitious.

At the store, Joan went on ahead while I checked the tires - one that was about 3 pounds low, aired it up.  I met her inside and we picked up the few things on her list.  It made me laugh, it made me cry, kept me on the edge of my seat.  No, wait - that's the review if we had gone to see a movie.

We didn't need much, so rolled up to the Self Check Out.  You do the work and don't get an employee discount.  Joan scanned the last item and the machine said, "Item error"... we waited for the lady who watches over the Self Check Out, and she tried to punch in her employee code to over-ride the machine.  It wouldn't take her number.  Well, sometimes it would take one number but not the next.  After a few minutes of this fun, I expected her to tell us to take our stuff to another check out, but she did some kind of incantation on the machine and it said, "Proceed to payment."

Out to the car, started it up, and the tire monitor warning went out.  Out of the parking lot and onto the main road through town... it was a race!  A slow race... a ratty pickup in the left lane and an SUV with their turn signal on, but not turning, in the other lane... each driving a blazing 15 to 18 mph, stacking up traffic behind them.  Definitely not typical for here.

I kid you not: they each turned off the road just before we made our turn.  Coincidence?  I think not.

The highlight of the day: seeing dolphins as we came across our bridge.  The other highlight: my Honey made me fettuccine alfredo (soft and not spicy) for lunch.  A nap instead of a movie.  Either way, no popcorn.  And, a cute blonde and gray kitty to cross my path.


On edit: a few photos from the day.  The morning...

The aforementioned cute kitty...

The day's last rays...

I enjoy that view to the west; since sunset is happening earlier these days, I often forget about it until the sun has slipped behind the horizon.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

What's that definition of insanity?

Oh, yeah: "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

You may remember the Great Binocular Debacle of a couple years ago: I sent a pair of Canon stabilized binoculars (Why is one binocular called "a pair"?  Like: "a pair" of shorts?) in for repair.  They were covered by warranty, but Canon Service said they had been dropped in the water.  They hadn't.  The exterior covering was disintegrating.  They said they had never seen anything like this.  I produced a bunch of on-line complaints about exactly this same thing.  They dug their feet in.  So did I.  They agreed to repair the binoculars for a price that was about $100 higher than simply buying new.  Yes, really.

They started it, but I escalated it.  Some well-placed posts on their owner forum, followed up with e-mails with links to those posts to Canon Public Relations.  In the end, they did cover it as a warranty issue... as it should have been.

But, I digress.  I said I'd never buy another Canon product, but this Canon G3x caught my eye.  When it works, it is a nice camera with a very capable zoom lens.  Three months out of warranty, this camera took a dump... won't focus with any reliability, and when it does, there is a 20 second delay between pressing the shutter release button and the actual exposure.  For the money, I expected it to hold up better.

That said, I sent the camera off today for repair.  Prepaid for the actual repair, even though they haven't seen the camera, yet.  So, we'll see how this plays out.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

One more power outage...

Yes, it's that time again.  This is supposed to be the last planned power outage and will complete the replacement of the power company's equipment on our island.

I was wondering if it was going to happen today because we woke up to thunder, lightning, wind and light rain.  We saw the trucks come rolling in, so apparently that doesn't stop them.

Nice thing today with that weather: we really don't need the air conditioner, so we set up the generator for running the fridge, a fan, and our satellite TV equipment...

Easy.  They were a few minutes later at cutting the power today.  I was in the bathroom (no, I will not go into detail) - there are no windows in there.  Dark.  Really dark.

While out starting the generator, I looked down the canal to check on the dredge...

Yep, it's a long ways down the canal...

Still doesn't look like they're doing anything with it.  Yet.

I still look chipmonk-ish.  No singing until the stitches heal.  I picked up my favorite guitar yesterday and could actually feel that powerful body rumble in my jaw... yeah, not gonna do that.  Instead, I played the one I've set up for Nashville tuning, or as Joan calls it: plinky-plink.  Today, I played the X7 for a few minutes, including a small bit of humming.  Yeah, living on the edge.

I think I'm healing - Joan made me scrambled eggs this morning, with a piece of barely toasted bread cut into bite-size pieces.  It's a start.

We are sitting in a relatively dark house, since it is gray out.  Yeah, we could plug in a lamp on the line run in from the generator, but this should be reasonably brief today - they are saying they should wrap it up by 4:00 this afternoon.  In the meantime, we are enjoying the change of weather...

68º outside - first that we've seen that since we've been home.  The thunder is still rumbling in the distance.  Nice change of pace.


Lunch time has rolled around.  Joan asked what I'd really like to eat.  "Well, I'd really like a bacon cheeseburger, but I can't open my mouth that far, so... I'll probably just have mashed potatoes."

With no power, she used our small butane cooktop to make me a juicy burger - no bun, no bacon, no ketchup - cut into small pieces to go with my mashed potatoes.

She said, "I think you need the protein."

Yeah, that's it.  ;-)


On edit: 3:55 pm and the power is back on.  I went to check mail and asked one of the power company workers if they were done done...  "Well, one of the pipes broke, so we'll try to replace that tomorrow.  In the meantime, we ran the powerlines above ground, so you have power.  But, there will be another interruption when we set that line."

So, almost done.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

My little chipmunk...

That's what Joan called me when I got up this morning.  I guess my jaw is a bit swollen - not too bad...

The ice packs help...

Heading back to the dentist so she can check the stitches and make sure it is healing.  I really hate this view...

When I sat in that dentist chair, every muscle in my neck, shoulders, and back screamed!  I guess I tightened up a bit yesterday.

Things are different in Mexico.  There is one section where the offices are almost all dentists.  Outside that complex...

If you can't read it, that is Vinnie's Happy Teeth cerveza and margarita stand.  ;-)

Our timing was good: getting back to our car, it was just starting to sprinkle.  The weather weasels were calling for heavy rain at times.  One in a row - a few miles down the road...

Didn't matter to me, Joan was driving.

Speaking of Joan, she has been taking good care of me.  I can't eat solid foods for a couple days, so she has made me mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and bought Jello, pudding, and soup.  All I really want right now is a big ol' juicy burger with bacon and cheese.  That will have to wait a few days.  Or more.


The dredge is now at the far end of our canal, supposedly re-doing a section down there.  I say "supposedly," because I haven't heard it running.


Behind this rain is a cold front.  Yes, that is relative.  It is supposed to get down to 70º by 6:00 pm.  Sounds great to me.