Monday, February 28, 2011


Today, on the NuWa Owners Forum, there was a humorous thread about a guy who thought he lost his false teeth in the black tank of the RV (that's the poop tank for you folks who don't RV). Here's my response...


Not from another forum, but from my experience... our first time in an RV was 23 years ago, back when U-Haul was renting motorhomes. We made arrangements months in advance for a HUGE 27 foot Southwind at Lake Tahoe. The rental process couldn't have gone easier; the young lady we spoke with each time was friendly and efficient. Apparently, she quit the day before we got there... things quickly went into the toilet. We were told that someone from the rental place would pick us up at the airport. I even confirmed that 3 days before our arrival. When I called them from the airport, I got the manager on the phone and he said, "We aren't running a taxi service here. We're too busy to send someone out to get you." The lady at the FBO took pity on us and gave us a ride to the U-Haul place... in her car that didn't have a back seat. Oh, there was a place for a back seat, but it wasn't there... "My kid got sick back there, so we took it out." She didn't have to explain, the smell said it all. I let my wife and daughter sit up front with the nice lady, while I squatted in the space in back.

As we pulled into the U-Haul place, we saw a 27 foot Southwind going out the gate; I said to my wife and then 16 year old daughter, "Look, that's just like the one we are getting!"

When we walked into the office, there was a guy sitting with his back to the door, feet up on the desk; he said, "It's so slow around here, I think I'll take the afternoon off." It was the manager - I still remember his name was Gary. I probably should have kept my mouth shut, but I heard these words come out of my mouth: "SO SLOW??? Just 15 minutes ago, you told me on the phone that you were too busy to come and get us, even though that was promised to me by Cindy."

"Cindy doesn't work here anymore." Quickly followed by the other guy saying, "I TOLD you not to rent that Southwind. I TOLD you these people have it reserved." Things went downhill from there. My friend Gary told me, "Don't worry, we have an Alumalite you can take." Turning to the other guy again, he said, "Did those kids bring it back?"

They pulled the Alumalite in front of the office. Apparently, it had been rented by a fraternity, because it smelled like stale beer and vomit... a lot like the space where the backseat had been in the car ride over. I exploded. The Blonde says I can be... um... let's say "intense" when I am angered. I got in Gary's face and made it very clear that I expected another Southwind to appear... now! He said, "That's all we have left."

I said, "There are 3 more Southwinds sitting in your lot - get one!"

You could tell by the sneer on his face that he felt he was holding the good cards... "Those are sold. Out of service. Take the Alumalite or nothing." To keep from having to spend our vacation in the local jail, I stepped outside for a second. This was before cell phones were common place, but there was a pay phone (remember those?) across the street. It took me a few minutes with my phone card, but in reasonably short order, I was talking to the CEO of U-Haul. I explained the situation, right down to what part of the anatomy I thought Gary was.

The big boss said, "By the time you get back to that office, this will be straightened out. Please accept my apologies for how you were treated." He was right... when I walked in the office door, Gary said, "What did you do??"

"Get me the Southwind, (expletive deleted). The sooner I get out of here, the better." I should have cut and run, but I was determined that we were going to have fun, dammit! angry It took them a few minutes to get the Southwind started, there was no water in it, and it was dusty inside. On the bright side: it didn't smell like stale beer and vomit. Joan said, "It will be fine. Our first stop will be at a grocery store to get some cleaning supplies. Let's just take it and go." The helper gave us a 12 second walk through, showed us a binder that had all the information about the motorhome, and we left.

Back to the plane to get our stuff, a stop at a grocery store to get some cleaning supplies, and we drove to the nearest RV park. This was on a Saturday on a holiday weekend. The place was packed, but they found us a site... with screaming kids and barking dogs on both sides of us. We got out of there as soon as we could the next morning. It had been more than a few years since I had driven a 40 foot bus in the band I played in (another mis-spent youth story)... this 27 foot behemoth seemed HUGE. We headed for a Forest Service campground. We shoehorned this thing into a tight sight with no hookups... it is supposed to be self-contained, we don't need no hookups. Yeah, I was wrong again. Each time the ladies used hairspray (and remember, this was in the 80s - they used a LOT of hairspray), some alarm went off. I didn't know what the alarm was, but I was sure it couldn't be something good. And then I remembered... the book! I pulled it out of the cabinet and opened it up... it had divider pages in it: Electrical, Plumbing, Set Up, etc... yeah, just the divider pages; otherwise, it was empty, as in: no instructions. We stood outside the RV, waiting for the alarm to quit or for it to blow up.

My sweet daughter asked, "Is this the fun part?" Her Mother says she gets her smartass ways from me.

We nearly froze to death that night, because we had no idea how to work the furnace. I had figured out where to put water in it the first night, so we were able to take showers... in the cold... in a bathroom the size of a phonebooth. How could this thing be so BIG on the outside and so small on the inside???

The next day, we headed for a lower elevation, in search of some warmth. It barely started, and then only because I pressed some button that said, "Emergency Start." We pulled into another RV park later that day... we had been chased out of several casinos that had signs that said, "NO RV PARKING" and the security to back that up. Frankly, this RV lifestyle didn't seem so friendly. We got a shuttle to take us to a casino where we took our daughter to an overpriced concert, with overpriced drinks, and a two drink minimum. But, she bought some overpriced band t-shirts, so everything was good.

And now, the sewer part: the next morning, after 3 days of pooping, peeing, and showering, I figured we better do something with that stuff. I looked around the campground and saw that other people had big hoses coming out of their RVs. I walked around ours and found a handle that said, "Sewer." My Momma didn't raise no dummies; I was guessing that if you pull that handle, the hose will pop out. I pulled it, nothing happened. I found another handle that said, "Gray Water"... I was pretty sure we weren't so dirty that the water would be gray, but I pulled that handle, too. Nothing happened. I should have known something was going to happen, because the neighbors across the street set up some lawn chairs to watch our antics. They could have offered some advice since it was obvious I didn't know what I was doing... they didn't. I was too proud to ask. And then, I found this round cap - that MUST be where the sewer hose is located.

Again, I was wrong. I barely turned the cap and was immediately rewarded with everything we had pooped, peed, and washed into the holding tanks! shocked My daughter was laughing hysterically. I hissed, "Get me a towel!!" She ran into the motorhome and came out with... one paper towel. I understand why some animals eat their young. I washed my hands at the outside water spigot and headed for the shower house... at least this RV park had a shower house, unlike the Forest Service site we had been in. I threw my shoes and clothes away.

Things kinda went downhill from there. We were supposed to have the motorhome for 2 weeks; we took it back after 4 days. My buddy Gary said, "No refunds!" I didn't care, we just wanted OUT.

To complete the story, a few weeks later, we received a survey in the mail from U-Haul, wanting to know how our rental experience was. I went ballistic. I filled out that form and did not delete any expletives. A few days later, I got a call from the nice CEO... "We really dropped the ball on this, and I'd like to make it right with you. I would like to refund your entire rental fee."

I said, "Well, we did use that piece of $#!( for 4 days, so how about a pro-rated refund for the time we didn't use it... with one condition."

He asked, "Absolutely. Um, what's the condition?"

"I want the refund check to come from Gary's personal account. Oh, I know you will wind up paying for it in the end, but I want that SOB to know that we know, and you know, that he lied and absolutely ruined our vacation."

The guy was now laughing, "That is great! You have a deal!"

We received our refund... in full... with an apology from Gary. Not long after that, U-Haul quit offering RV rentals.

The epilogue: I was dumbfounded two years later when we were sitting on a beach at a great lake resort... Joan was reading a local newspaper, and she said, "Hon, what would you think about getting a motorhome?"

"Are you kidding me??" I was struck with horrifying flashbacks!

"No, it could be great if we had our own. No more renting. You can get a trailer and we could haul the motorcycles south. It could be fun if we do it right..."

"ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!" Less than a month later, we bought our first motorhome. One of the first things I did was check to make sure there was a detailed owners manual... after a very thorough walk-through on delivery.


Sorry for the lengthy post. This thread gave me flashbacks again. I thought I was beyond that. Roll Eyes I actually laughed through most of that Robin Williams movie, RV.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Spring Break Has Sprung...

We've seen the banner planes flying, towing banners for the folks on the beach to read... a sure sign that spring break is here. Traffic in Port Isabel and South Padre Island over the weekend was heavy. Texas week is March 11th through the 18th, meaning the weekends on either side of that will be packed; that's the week most Texas schools have off.

Bookings at the hotels and condos are up this year, so a busy spring break is anticipated. Our friends who are here asked how we deal with the spring breakers: easy, we do our beach walking in the mornings, make our runs to the store in the mornings, have lunch out at noon, and try to stay off the roads in the afternoon and evenings.

The estimates generally run in the 100,000 range for spring break visitors during that month or so that they're here - definitely a big economic plus.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Friends in town...

We had lunch today with friends from Nebraska, John and Gwen. John is a dealer for MacGregor sailboats; we met him years ago when we bought our first sailboat from him, and we've stayed friends over the years (and the boats). After lunch and some lengthy and lively conversation, we went out for a boat ride... with winds gusting about 25, Wild Blue kept us comfortable and dry. We did some local "touring" and got to see some dolphins.

John is one of those friends that, no matter how much time has passed since we've seen each other, we can pick right up. Truly great to see them.

Living in harmony...

I've been enjoying the TC Helicon vocal harmonizer; here are some samples...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Container Ship...

A hazy day; fog to start the day and also at day's end... in between, it was... tropical.

In the ship channel today, we watched this progression as a container ship headed out. In the distance...

Seen through the bow rails of Wild Blue...

And as it passed...

You can see the change of light as the ship came closer. An interesting ramp-looking contraption at the back of the ship.

We watched dolphins, cruised out in the Gulf, and just enjoyed the day.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


No, no one ran into us. No, we didn't run into anyone. I took my lovely wife to a show this afternoon... Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler; cute. On the way home from the movie, while driving that last few blocks on our island to our house, we saw a golf cart jump the curb and hit a palm tree. I stopped the truck and we got out... the old boy who had been driving the cart was lying on the pavement - he fell out of the cart when it jumped the curb. He was dazed, but conscious; bleeding from his elbow and knee. I was concerned he might have had a heart attack, but the smell of alcohol told the story... seems that the old boy and his buddies had knocked back more than a few after their round of golf.

I checked him over before standing him up - nothing seemed broken. Joan and I helped him up and into his cart. I drove him home while Joan followed us in our truck. As I turned the corner, I had to grab him to keep him from falling out of the cart. We helped him into his house and I started cleaning up his wounds. Joan got his neighbor who wanted to take over, so we let ourselves out. I told him, "You are going to be one hurtin' unit tomorrow. Seems that you are pretty well anesthetized for now."

"I sure hope not; I have a golf tournament tomorrow."

Good luck with that. He had some gouges, some road rash; not to mention the tumble out of the cart.

Yeah, that's gonna smart.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Incoming Rig...

An overcast day in the Tropical Tip; humid, but pleasantly into the upper 70s. While heading south in the Laguna, I heard the Securite' call: an incoming oil rig, being towed by 4 tugs. I motored down to the jetties area to watch it come in out of the foggy Gulf...

To get some perspective on the size of this thing, under that black arrow is a 50 foot fishing boat at the same distance as the forward tugs. Imagine pulling a 40 story highrise through the water and down the ship channel. Pretty impressive boat handling and coordination.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Another Sunrise...

Out and about before the sun came up this morning...

It has been windy here that last week or so. Today was forecast to be less windy... yeah, they were wrong. When I left in the dark, it was 15 gusting to 20. Within a couple hours, it was 20 gusting over 30. Wild Blue handles that just fine, but she needed a thorough washdown when I got back to the dock; the salt spray was everywhere.

Ever heard of a "Juicy Lucy"? Me, neither. We heard about it yesterday on Food Wars, a program on the Travel Channel... it came from the Minneapolis area; two hamburger patties with a bunch of cheese in a pocket in the middle. When cooked, the cheese melts, infuses the flavor throughout the burger, then oozes out when you bite into it. Probably not good for the arteries, but really tasty! Joan made them for us today... just as good as they appeared on TV. I enjoy a good burger now and then, this was one of the best.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Nice evening out...

Our friend, Skip, called yesterday afternoon to ask if we wanted to get together - happy hour on their boat with friends, Herb and Wilma (and Jake the wonder dog), and then out for supper. Great way to cap off the day. Happy hour turned into happy three hour... get three boating couples together and the conversation is always lively.

Busy weekend in Port Isabel and South Padre Island; with the holiday weekend and the nice weather, things are hoppin'.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Big Sale...

We just came back from our "Trash to Treasures" sale. We had so much stuff, I couldn't get it all in the pickup; we also took a cargo trailer with more stuff... we came back with very little. All the big stuff (PA system, large power tools, grill, portable fuel tank w/pump, guitar, etc, etc) sold.

Now what? Obviously, we need to take our "earnings" and go buy more stuff!! Yeah, I'm kidding. 5 years after we sold out up north, we're still down-sizing. We gained a lot of space in our storage area today... I think we need to enjoy that nice open feeling for a while.

You know what they say about your stuff owning you... one guy bought all the power tools; he said, "My wife is gonna divorce me, but these are nice and the price is right." He'll probably take it all to the next flea market or garage sale and double his money. ;-) I just have less stuff that owns me.

Friday, February 18, 2011


It never gets old. We generally see dolphins when we take the boat out here in the Tropical Tip. Today, the show started when we were about a mile from home and it went on for a couple hours. They played all around the boat, near the dolphin watch boats that came and went, off on their own, then back around our boat again.

Tomorrow, we have work to do: tools, guitars, other music equipment, Harley-Davidson stuff, household stuff - we have a bunch of items to put out for our village "Trash to Treasures" garage sale. I'm looking forward to seeing how that goes; we've done this sale a few times in the past and have sold almost everything we put out. We have a few big items this time around.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


The need for maintenance never sleeps. Over the past couple days, Wild Blue's house batteries have nose dived - not holding a charge. Load tested, it showed they were both beyond saving. This set lasted less than 18 months (2 grp 27 deep cycle). Our neighbor, who owns the boat building shop where we bought the batteries, again recommended going with starting batteries instead of deep cycle... he and I have had this discussion 3 times now. I have taken his advice and put in two marine starting batteries. We'll see how these new ones last. I have the feeling this last cold spell did them in. They were showing good charge and water was right up where it's supposed to be.

The tankless water heater in the house took a dump. I called the manufacturer, we diagnosed (hopefully) the problem and had parts overnighted. Yeah, that didn't come off like planned. Joan and I took turns staying home yesterday (I got some boat time in, she didn't; she shopped, I didn't; I think I won that deal) to wait for the delivery. New day today, another call into the manufacturer (really, we'll call you back this time). Fortunately, we have shower facilities at our pool and exercise room here, but that doesn't help with the dishes. We are "camping out" at the house, heating water on the stove. No big deal; we'd just like to get it fixed and get on with things.


On edit: the parts for the water heater came in. It took about an hour and a half to do the recommended parts changing, all while crammed into a cabinet... and SO worth it. No leaks, the electronic stuff is now doing what it's supposed to, and we have hot water again. After the appropriate "leak watch" (also as recommended), I got in a long, luxurious soak in the jacuzzi tub. I feel like a new man... it almost eliminated the aches and pains I got from being a contortionist during the repair.

Now, we are focused on eliminating some of our "treasures" this weekend in a village-wide "Trash to Treasures" garage sale.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Race Day...

Even though the race was cut short, it was a looooooong day... for the committee boat crew and the racers. The day started out with no wind; the tide was LOW; low enough that we did a little "plowing" to get the boat out of the canal and into the Laguna.

We started the race on time, with only 4 boats competing. The wind was now 1.2 miles per hour, with gusts to 1.4. Yep, it was a drifter. Three hours into the race, the competitors had covered about 3 miles of the first 7 mile leg. The swells in the Gulf were small - about 1 to 1.5 feet, and still not enough wind to get any ripples on the water. After about 30 seconds of discussion amongst the racers, it was decided to take the furthest mark out of the course... effectively making the course 7 miles out, 7 back. Right after that decision, the wind pick up a little: about 4 miles per hour, occasionally up to 6.

We positioned the committee boat at the first mark and took photos as the racers rounded the mark... over 4 hours into the race.

With the racers around the mark, we made our way back to the start/finish line... and waited some more. While the race may not have been a thrill ride, it was fun watching the racers handle the conditions and seeing their different strategies. And Herb and I had plenty of time for good conversation.

With everyone back in, we headed back for the dock... and THEN the wind came up. With wind and current right down the canal, and a 90º back-in, it took me two shots to get that boat into the slip. It wasn't pretty, but we all survived. And from the sounds of it, all the participants had a good time.

Friday, February 11, 2011


It stands for: Other People's Boats.

This afternoon, Herb and I went out on a 36' boat. A bit different from what either of us are used to, this is the towboat used by Rick, the local TowBoatUS operator. The plan is to use the boat this weekend as the committee boat for a sailboat race. Herb asked if I'd be interested in going along; Rick will be sailing, and they are looking for someone to man this boat... more as a chase boat than an actual committee boat.

Here's Herb at the helm...

And, coming in to Herb's dock...

Yep, definitely different. Single screw with a rudder; prop in a tunnel. Sure doesn't handle like Wild Blue.

On edit: here's a shot that shows the boat better, courtesy of Herb's wife, Wilma...

In the words of...

... the great philosopher, Roesanne Rosannadanna: it just goes to show you, it's always something.

The cold seems to have had an impact on one bank of Wild Blue's batteries... less than 12.0 with no draw on them. I pulled out batteries this morning, checked water levels (all fine), and I'm putting a separate charge on each of them. These are less than 18 months old.

I ordered a new windshield from eBay for the motorcycle. Nothing wrong with the original one, other than it's a bit small. I prefer a windshield that punches a bigger hole in the wind. The one I ordered had good reviews. It came in yesterday, I removed the old one and mounted it up last night, and road tested it out today (while the boat batteries were charging) - nice! It even looks better than the factory original. At 57º (early afternoon), and wearing a light jacket, you can certainly feel where the wind is coming from. Good time to test it out.

So, one thumbs-up (windshield), one wait and see (boat batteries) while they get a full charge.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Here we go again...

I was out working on the boat this morning, replacing the anchor light bulbs with LEDs. Pretty slick, and they will greatly reduce the draw on the batteries when at anchor. Here's a look at the naked LEDs, without the lens covering the fixture...

I was just closing up the boat when the next norther (cold front) blew in. The weather weasels predicted it, but it hit like a slap upside the head. It went from dead calm to dead calm with a slight mist to 45 mph winds out of the north! Biting winds. The temp dropped from around 72º to 45º... in about an hour. I was going to meet my friend, Herb, for some boat activity, but decided this would be a better afternoon to stay inside and take a nap. ;-)

Yeah, there's a freeze warning out for tonight. Utility companies are predicting even higher usage than last week (when there were rolling black outs). No freezing precip is predicted.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


It’s been a while since I’ve taken Wild Blue out for an early morning run to catch the sunrise. Time to take care of that.

The temp was in the 50s when I left the dock in the darkness; the Wallas heater quickly brought the cabin temp up to a comfortable 70º. I ran down the ship channel and into the Gulf. Along the way, I passed a shrimp boat, so I positioned myself to get this shot.

There were dolphins feeding out by where the birds were flying, but the light wasn't high enough to get photos... but I still enjoyed the show.

Coming back in, the light turned from warm colors to cool. I ran up towards the causeway and shot this image of the Port Isabel Lighthouse... from a perspective that people on land don’t get to see.

Nice way to start the day.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The big game...

We got some boat time in before getting back to the dock in time for the big game. Joan had the helm most of the time while I made a few phone calls. Some dolphin watching, mostly just enjoying the sunshine. I visited with my brother-in-law, John, to see how he's fairing up in the frozen northland. He mentioned that his nephew, Grant, from Denison follows this blog... so, here's a big "Hi" from the Wild Blue Crew.

Back at the dock, Joan is cooking up a storm. The game is on. I'm here for the great game food the Blonde makes and the commercials. Our son-in-law, Dan, is a dyed in the wool Packers fan... so: Go Pack! Or, as I like to say, "That was a good Pepsi commercial, bring on the meatballs!"

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The other half...

Out on Wild Blue this afternoon. We were surprised to see that the water was not terribly murky, considering the weather of the past 4 days. We came across our buddy Herb in his Tug and exchanged greetings. Lots of people out on the water today... no doubt shaking off the cabin fever from the last few days, like us. The water temp was around 48º, the coldest I've ever seen here; we came across plenty of fish and sea turtles who didn't survive our cold spell.

On the way back to our place, Joan suggested we swing by the marina to see if Skip was there and get a closer look at his new boat. He was not only there, he waved from the boat and told us to pull into a slip. We swung around to a seawall to tie off and got the tour of Skip and Nancy's boat - 42 feet of comfort and style!

Great view from the fly bridge...

The lounge area...

Skip and Nancy relaxing onboard...

The aft cabin; comfortable and luxurious...

Our planned drive-by to see the boat turned into a nearly two hour visit. Great conversation and fun to see how "the other half" (those who don't trailer) cruise.

It only got to about 60º today - still cool compared to our normal temps, but a welcome relief from the cold, wind, and freezing rain.

Let the sunshine!

Blue skies this morning. Light winds. Temps ABOVE freezing. The power stayed on. The cable TV is still out, but we have satellite... can't miss the Superbowl!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Let there be light!

The power is back on... and it is good! Living like a pioneer for nearly a whole day... whew! ;-)

I'll be looking forward to a soak in the jacuzzi tub before bed instead of putting on an extra pair of socks.

Darkest before the dawn...

So, when's the damn dawn coming? Power was out all night last night; it's 54º in the house right now. Everything outside is covered with ice and the wind is still howling. My laptop and the Mifi have some juice left... maybe I should use my old laptop - the battery on that generates heat! ;-) Nothing on our island is moving. I brought in our generator to warm it up; if we don't have power by 8:00, we'll start generating our own... Joan is concerned about the fridge, I think we need some heat. We can always put groceries outside.

Little Izzy is sore from her shots at the vet yesterday, and is very confused about all this... especially the sound of ice pellets and ice chunks (blowing off the neighbor's palm trees) hitting the side of the house.

In 15 years of winters here, I've not seen it get below freezing and stay there for more than a couple hours, and that is rare. We're going on 48 hours with below freezing temps at this point. Some neighbors have covered plants, flowers, and bushes... I don't think that's gonna be enough.


On Edit: I got out to get fuel for the generator. We're doing OK... the rest of town is a mess. There is going to be a lot of "collateral damage" from this storm: power company trucks were out in force to repair downed lines and blown transformers. All kinds of tropical plantlife has been creamed. There is a barge run aground near our swingbridge - probably intentionally, because with no power, the bridge can't open. And one of the saddest things: there were people on the north side of our island pulling sea turtles out of the water... because they are cold-blooded creatures, a 10º shift in their body temp puts them into a coma. The sea turtles are endangered, and there was an entire pickup truck full of turtles. The causeway is closed, most businesses are closed. Fortunately, I was able to get fuel; I topped off the truck at the same time. The first pump I pulled up to was on, but you couldn't read the screen on the pump because the ice on it was so thick. I had a package to pick up at the Post Office; they were sorta open - it was dark in there, and they were sorting mail with "head lights" on. No functioning registers, so no way to buy anything or pay for any postage. One cafe I went by was dark, but open... I assume they have the grill going, so you can still get a breakfast tortilla or huevos rancheros... and maybe grilled toast. They can't afford to lose an entire day's worth of business, and without power, there are a lot of people looking for a hot meal - the place was packed.

When I got back to the house, Joan had a space heater, the fridge, and my computer plugged in, alternating. The cable is out, we can't pull anything in on the antenna, but the generator is taking care of the satellite receiver, so we have TV (just no local info). It's still chilly in the house, but not bad with a couple layers on.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Black outs, round 2...

We are in the middle of our second rolling black out this morning. The weather is nastier than yesterday - colder with gustier winds. When I went out to the truck this morning, there were little "flecks of white" on it.

Little Izzy had a vet appointment this morning for her annual checkup. The vet's receptionist called to see if we needed to cancel... schools are closed, many businesses are closed, some roads with bridges are closed, and it sounds like the causeway to South Padre Island will be closing soon due to expected freezing rain. It ain't pretty out there.

We kept the vet appointment; little Izzy wore her sweater. The vet staff made a fuss over how cute she looked. I was wearing a sweater and a winter coat - nobody said anything about how cute I looked.

I covered our water connection outside, put the lower unit on the boat's motor in the water, put a trouble light in the boat cabin to generate a little warmth. Now that we are back home, it will be a good day to sit under a blanket, read, and eat some comfort food. ;-)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Outside...

Yesterday, after lunch out, we stopped at the grocery store... the place was packed! Full of winter Texans who were "stocking up" for this "winter event."

We were up early this morning, when the alarm went off. Alarm? We have no schedule, why is an alarm going off? It was the back-up battery for the desktop computer... the power is out! It's 39º, the wind is gusting above 30 mph, and we have no heat. No idea how long the power will be out, but we do have a generator, and the boat is just a few steps away, with the Wallas heater on there (that can run off the boat's batteries). Goodness, this is like the olden days when we lived in Boulder Canyon in the Black Hills, and the power would go out when we'd have a blizzard... well, except it isn't below ZERO here and there's no blizzard. Oh, and we don't have a wood burning stove here, either.

But, I digress... I looked out the windows, it will be light soon, but there are no lights on anywhere around us, so we know it isn't just us. Joan turned on our small battery TV and caught the last few seconds of a news story talking about the power outage in the area. Well, the laptop battery is good for about 8 hours, the Mifi card can go about 4 hours... and then society as we know it will begin to break down. ;-)

The big story on the national news: the winter weather that is affecting most of the country. Yep.

On edit: Rolling black outs around the state. Power lines are down in the northern part of the state and energy use is WAY up.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Right On Schedule...

One in a row. The weather weasels were predicting the cold front to blow in between 8 and 9 this morning. At 8:45, it was 70º and the wind was near calm. At 8:47, the wind was gusting between 20 and 30 mph and the temp was starting its downward slide.

With this being the first of the month, there is some RV movement in the area... this would not be a good time to have a high profile vehicle on the road.

This kind of weather calls for important preparations: I think we'll have Italian for lunch. ;-)