Friday, June 22, 2018

Meat run...

When we got home from the storage unit, Joan needed to stop at the grocery store. Well, except for meat - there is another smaller store on SPI that has better meat. I volunteered to make a "meat run." After getting a few things done around the house, I hopped on the Vespa and took off across the causeway... realizing that this will probably be my last ride for a while. The scoots will need to get set up in the cargo trailer and there is other stuff that needs to get done. It is 2 1/2 miles across the causeway, with the high point (around 70') that gives you a great overview of the Laguna Madre (our bay), South Padre Island, and the Gulf of Mexico. The water was gorgeous; some boat traffic out there, but not "weekend kinda" boating. The traffic on the island always builds on a Friday, then quiets down a bit by Monday. You could see the smiling faces and general gawking from those in cars, across the causeway and up the island.

I picked up the meat, hopped back on the scoot, back across the causeway, across the bridge to our island, then home. I gave the scoot a pat on the seat when I put it away. There will be some fun riding ahead, but not for a while.


I wanted to go check out our storage unit.  Joan wanted to put some stuff in the motorhome... we considered it for yesterday, but there were still road closures in the vicinity of the storage unit.  So, heading out today...

Only one place where the water was over the road...

And there was a police vehicle there, directing traffic through the water.  Still, deeper than I would care to drive through normally.

Two towns down the road, water in front of the school...

The worst of it, we didn't take photos.  It was disheartening.  With the road being above the water almost all the way to our storage unit, I was encouraged.  At the storage unit...

Standing water in front of the storage units, but our building seems to sit a few inches higher than the others - no evidence that water had gotten in under the door.  A big plus.

We unloaded the car, carrying stuff to the motorhome.  Joan put stuff away while I worked on outside stuff: getting the tow bar parts on the car, checking air in the tires, putting the the bike rack in the car.  Along the way, I thought I got into some sand burrs... nope, I must have stepped on a nest of red ants and they were pissed!  Felt like my ankles were on fire!  I didn't have any stuff like Off, so I sprayed Raid on my ankes... no, you aren't supposed to use it that way, but I couldn't squish the little biting bastards fast enough.  No doubt the rain had displaced them, and they were taking it out on me.

As expected, the humidity was horrendous; the temperature at the storage unit was in the upper 80s, but it felt way hotter than that.

The coach is plugged in, the fridge is on, and our next trip out there will be to bring it to the house... and hoping that a couple days of sunshine and no rain will let that standing water sink in.

It is a load off my mind to know that everything is OK with the coach and in the storage unit.  The next task will be to start closing down the house.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The longest day...

Yes, it was the title of a movie from 1962 about the D-Day invasion.  AND, today is the longest day of the year, aka: the Summer Solstice.  OK, the day still has the same 24 hours in it, but it is the day with the most sunlight for many of us in the northern hemisphere.

Memorial Day often gets the credit for being the "start of summer," but the rotation and position/tilt of the Earth pegs it as today.  Not much in the way of sunlight today, but (unlike much of south Texas) not much rain for us today.  The weasels have dropped our chance of more precip overnight to 30%.  I'm hoping Mother Nature cuts south Texas some slack.


I got out on the scoot for a short time late this afternoon.  A bit of cabin fever, but under the guise of "going to check the mail."  As long as I'm out, I may as well get the scooter tag and post a new one.  And, I stayed dry.

The rains and flooding continue...

Again, not on our island.  We have had several inches of rain over the past two days - a minor bit of precipitation compared to places inland.  You don't have to go far inland to find the flooding.  The folks who own the property where our storage unit is said a minor bit of water came under the door.  Some roads are passable between here and there, but we are putting off our planned trip to the storage unit today... the rains are supposed to be decreasing late today, ending tomorrow.

Major portions of the Rio Grande Valley are under a flash flood watch or warning.  "The scroll" has been going across the TV screen for two solid days.  One person in Harlingen reported their rain gauge over-filled, with 13" showing.  In a 24 hour period.  Looking at radar, the worst of it is in the upper Valley - here, that means the area west of us... McAllen, Edinburg, Mission, Weslaco.  The frontage roads off the Expressway 83 (aka I-2) in that area are underwater, as we are seeing on TV.  The authorities are advising no travel in that area.  Hotlines have been set up to call for a rescue, if needed.

Road closures...

On another local news front: Melania Trump is currently in McAllen to get a first-hand view of what is going on with the people who have come across our southern border illegally.  As always, this blog won't get caught up in the politics of it all, but I assume she is here to see what is happening with adults and children who have been separated after crossing illegally.  There are no "winners" in this situation.  The policy has been the same since 2011, but there are ever-increasing numbers of people entering this country.  The media has latched onto it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Flood warnings...

On Monday, I posted that the weather weasels had missed it once again on the rain forecast: we didn't get any.  That has changed.

Rain can pretty much run off our island.  Many areas in south Texas are lower than sea level... meaning when the heavy rains hit, they are going to flood.  The rains have come - some places inland (Wesleco, Mercedes) have had over 11 inches of rain in past 24 hours.  Harlingen has had 14 inches of rain in the past two days.  (Our storage unit is near Harlingen.)  The local news has been breaking into regular broadcasting with images of the flooding.  At one point, local weather reported rain coming down at the rate of 6" per hour.  Sheesh.

More rain predicted through tonight and into tomorrow.  The flood warnings will not likely affect our island, but any direction we go from here could be affected.

The whole area has been behind normal year to date rain levels.  One weather caster actually said, "We will need a hurricane to make a close pass to catch up on our rain levels."  For the record, there hasn't been much wind with these storms, other than right where the biggest cells are... but, the rain has come.


No, I haven't gone into the funny-money business.  A trip across the border will let you know that counterfeiting of all kinds of products is alive and well.  We make it a point to not buy counterfeit crap.

I recently ordered a phone mount for the Vespa... you know, so I can text and talk while riding.  Yeah, I am kidding.  BUT, it is nice to have the phone for the Waze app or Maps.  The parts for attaching the RAM Mount to the bike came from 3 different vendors through Amazon.

For the record, I always look at the reviews to get a feel for the product and the vendor.  This place had hundreds of good reviews and one that said, "This is a counterfeit product!"  With all the good reviews, I figured that one bad one was a crackpot.  Amazon fulfilled the order and I put the parts together on the Vespa... fits good, seems to work just like it is supposed to.  Except the RAM Mount emblem on the center of the X-Mount (the part that actually holds the phone) fell off.  It said Ram Mount on the plastic parts under the emblem.  I stuck the emblem back on a dozen times, and it fell off.  Not a big deal for the function of the unit, but it looks better with the emblem on there.  I contacted RAM Mounts to see if they could send me out another emblem (with better adhesive).

They wanted photos of the unit before doing any warranty work.  Seems reasonable, but this is strictly a cosmetic thing.  This morning, RAM Mount let me know that two of the three parts I ordered are, indeed, from them; but, the main part of it - the part that actually holds the phone - is a counterfeit.  Really?  Is it worth someone's time to counterfeit a $20 item??

I contacted Amazon (and did a review on the product, stating the fact that it is a counterfeit)... it isn't particularly easy to get through to a person, but they do have an on-line chat feature.  I explained what I found out and asked if I could get a real replacement.  They offered to refund my purchase price, told me to not take the trouble to send the item back, and to re-order from another of their vendors.  I asked, "Since this one said 'RAM Mounts' in the title, how do I know if the next one is genuine or not?"  I got a "We are constantly monitoring our vendors..." stock reply.

I have other RAM Mount stuff (for my mic stand and GPS mounting for car and boat).  This part looks like the others, but doesn't "open and close" as smooth.  But, it seems to function.  I will look for another X-Mount when we're out and about.

I admit, living in a small town, I like the convenience of Amazon.  Their price isn't always the cheapest, but they generally have what you are looking for.  And, with a Prime membership, we get it in 2 to 3 days... yeah, I know it is 2 days for the rest of the country, but are are at "the edge" of the country, so sometimes it is 3 days.  Up until now, we have gotten the real brand on things we've ordered.  I think.


Totally unrelated...

Remember back in the early days of the internet, and when you pulled up AOL, you got the, "You've got mail!" announcement?  You're too young to remember that?  Why are you reading this blog you little whippersnapper?  Go text somebody.

I'm old enough that I remember Compuserve (yes, before AOL).  You didn't have a name, you had a number... 9 digit, if I am remembering correctly.  That was my first connection to the internet.  What?  Yes, I had to push dinosaurs off the computer to get to it.  Yes, the computers were steam powered back then, because electricity hadn't gotten to us, yet, back in the mid-west.  Cell phones weren't a thing.  I remember hooking an audio coupler to my first bag phone and being able to check weather before heading out in the plane.  What?  Yes, we had planes back then.

Today, e-mail is almost as old fashioned as talking on the phone.  I still get e-mail, but most of it is from places I've done business with or unsolicited offers of all kinds of things.  Still, it is less annoying than the robo-calls that now plague our cell phones (those used to be off-limits to the scammers).  But, today I got an e-mail that made me smile... money has been put in my account.  Not a scam, it is from the e-book distributor who handles "Cat On A Leash."  My second quarter sales.  It isn't going to move me up into a higher tax bracket, but I appreciate that years after writing the book, it still gets some sales.

It reminds me of Molly; makes me smile.  Which, of course, turns my thoughts to our sweet Isabella, which now gives me smiles and the occasional heart punch.  Sitting beside me right now is the always lovable Rufus.  When I talk to him, he nuzzles his head into my arm... and that really makes me smile.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Why do men have nipples?

It’s a rhetorical question.  In my head it’s because of symmetry... or at least as an indicator so we’ll know where to push for check compressions in case we need to do CPR,

That said, there are many things that “are there” that we could do without.

We’re at the south end of a large wet weather system - managed to stay mostly dry today.  Just for grins, I rode my Vespa to pick up mail... there wasn’t any... I didn’t mind.  ;-)  With the threat of more rain, I wasn’t planning on going too far... I’ve ridden in all kinds of weather, but don’t intentionally look for it these days.

I now understand why the Vespa has a tach; I’ve felt they were mostly decorative on a scooter since there is no shifting.  Today, a couple on a Harley rolled up beside me at a stop sign.  I’ve had 9 Harleys over the years, most of them were politely quiet, none were obnoxiously loud.  This bike was LOUD.

If not for the tach, I wouldn’t have had any idea if my scoot was running.

Someone is going to ask... no, I didn’t embarrass him off the line of the 4-way stop - he turned right, I was going straight.   ;-)