Thursday, January 29, 2009

The old ways...

Ange and Becky asked what I was using to treat Dillon's new boots...

Up until now I had always used "mink oil" and still have a bit of it around, but I found out the other night that a lot of what gets sold now has synthetic things in it. Silicone, while waterproofing things for the short term, tends to do funny things to stitching, some sole material and also isn't really good for leather over the long haul.

So the lady at Cabela's encouraged me to try the beeswax treatment stuff her husband uses on his, working construction here year round. Invented by a forestry firefighter, it went on very easily and putting 3 coats on took about an hour. It did darken the leather of course, mink oil would have as well. It didn't seem to draw the cat and dog like mink oil did...

(A link for their webpage.)

The boots my son's wore when they got to the ages where they wore "real ones" went to my nephews and survived them and probably were given to other kids in the Scout troops they were involved with. Dottie has a set over 20 years old now, still going strong.

For myself, I bought an $18 pair of Wal-Mart felt-pacs (rubber boots with 3/8" felt liners) over 20 years ago and other than a small hole or two in the rubber (duct taped, of course) they are still going strong. When I replaced the liners after about 15 years I cut the bottom out of the old set and put it in the bottom of the boots with the new liners on top...a boon to my old feet!

I did buy another pair of slip on felt-pacs for myself last year, as I try to keep a set in the truck in the winter and was tired of going out to get them when I needed to shovel snow or something.

Someday maybe I'll buy myself a "good" set, lol!

May the rest of the week be kind to each of you!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"But they're on sale"...

I've fallen prey to that so many times through the years! Usually my wife is the one trying to talk me out of it, or remind me that I'll find a better deal later, or there is some hidden cost I'm not figuring in.

This time it went the other way!


When we kept Talia the other weekend, the size T-shirts I had bought for Dillon the first time were also too small for her once they were washed, so we went to get the same size we ended up with for him. While there she saw a set of pink and white snow boots on a sale table...winter closeout, half off.

Of course Grandma said yes...then searched the rest of the table to find a pair for the two grandsons. Luckily she found some Spiderman ones for Caleb. $15 a pair for both sets.

My wife is one who always tries to even everything...her Christmas lists go back and forth between the number of items and the dollars spent until the grandkids are "even"...she used to do it with our boys as well. There are times I've truly despaired as the registers kept ringing in the name of "even"!

For the last two weeks she has checked every shoe department in every store she's passed to try and find snow boots for the older grandson. He is a "youth 6" meaning that next is men's 7's, probably sooner than later given his growth rate. No "felt pacs" to be found...not even 6's in most stores. Clerks keep suggesting a women's 7...the boy won't even watch Disney movies anymore because someone at school has him convinced they are "girl" movies!

Monday night she was out 'til 9 after she got off work! Dinner is hard to plan sometimes...

So finally last night we went to Cabela's. No felt pacs of course, I couldn't be so lucky! A set of Winchester 400 gram Thinsulate boots for $54, or a set of Cabela's labeled 800 gram ones for $66.

The Cabela boots won out because they are about 3/4 of an inch longer though they are the same size; we're hoping he can wear them next year as well, then someone will put them away for Caleb in a few years...

I came home and put the requisite 3 coats of sealer on them like I used to the boys boots 20 years ago and we'll take them to Dillon when Dottie gets home from work tonight.

When I go back to work I wonder how much of it will be to pay off "even"!

Of course, I guess better that than paying for Citigroup's corporate jet!

Not that I ever planned on "sitting" for the next 30 years, but there is a difference between wanting and having to!

Off to fix some breakfast and then take her Malibu to the dealer to see about a drip in a transmission cooler line!

May the rest of the week be kind to you all!


Friday, January 23, 2009

4 days that shook D.C.!

So far I'm very pleased with the results of each of them!

The lobbyists have had a "warning shot fired across their bow"!

The doors to the Treasury are at least being watched now!

The Constitution is in the process of being restored along with the rights that have been trampled these last 8 years!

Sunshine has not only been allowed back into the bowels of the government (FOIA restored), but much is coming to light about our exchanges all having been recorded and archived!

The Fund-ublican-t claws in health care were just blunted a bit!

Not bad for 3 and half days!


Caleb (the littlest grandson) is here for the weekend...he's happily waching "Boomer" cartoons right now and petting Angel. I spent 3 hours trying to brush her out yesterday while it was warm; got two grocery sacks worth of fur off her, and still haven't gotten her hindquarters brushed all the way out yet, though she and my back had both had enough by the time I stopped, lol!

I hope each of you is warm this weekend...the end of the month seems to be further and further away at the end of the money! May the weekend be kind to each of you!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My good intentions aside...

I had planned to get here earlier today...

A few new photos from Vermont in the Flickr stream. Photoshop runs so much better on this thing with the extra RAM! I've been reading the "Dummies Guide" I bought and learning things I hadn't managed to find on my own in the years I've been playing with it...not surprising I guess, but I'd have thought I knew more, lol!

Should have bought the book long ago I guess.

We finished shopping for Talia's birthday yesterday. Her actual birthday was on Monday, but the family party will be on Sunday. Before they went to go take her birthday portraits John called to borrow a space heater as his central furnace had stopped and it was down to 50F. in the house. He also called the service people who had just worked on late last summer because the A/C had stopped working. It turned out to be a dead thermostat and since they were already there and he didn't want to take time to go get one and for us to change it he paid them to. I'm glad he had them diagnose it, because the idea of burning up his Lennox Pulse with me trying to jumper things didn't enthuse me much...

Bill and Laura have found a place to live for a while in Virginia, a house where they will rent one floor from a couple with a toddler. It won't be more than where he has been, with more room and they seemed to hit it off with the couple, unlike his current "landlord".

Of course, they still can't take their cats...

So that's the view from the Heartland for Wednesday!

May the rest of the week be kind to each of you!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Too good to pass up!

There comes a point in your life when you realize

Who matters,

Who never did,

Who won't anymore ...

And who always will.

So don't worry about people from your past,

There is a reason why they didn't make it to your future.


Borrowed from the blog of a friend...

A lesson that could have saved me much anguish in my 53 years, though it will still save me from even more!

Thank you, Liz!

Far too often I've wondered through the years what I had done, what was wrong with me...never realizing it wasn't me, it was them!

May the week be kind to each of you!


Thursday, January 15, 2009


maybe even 92 or so!

My back is finally better; I haven't taken a muscle relaxer or pain killer since I got out from under the hood of my nephew's Galaxie last Sunday. I was very still on Monday, but it has eased and the time has come for me to finally start going back downstairs to my little gym.

I call it "The Dungeon" sometimes because that's what the original downstairs gym in Venice, California was called by the guys who attended it in the early 60's. Bare minumum of equipment, lots of work to make up for the things that machines do now. No 20 minute workouts here, it takes that long to do one exercise because you can't rotate between least as things begin. Later in a workout I can do some supersets by rotating between multiple bars and dumbells, but it's still not the same.

I haven't stepped on a scale since I hurt myself, either. I fear it, since not only have I not been downstairs but the holidays interceded as well. Though my egg nog consumption was down this year, I fear it wasn't enough to save me!

So here's me resolving to get at least a half hour on the treadmill each and every day, and if I can't find 4 hours to lift on a 3 on/one off cycle, perhaps I can find two to lift every day with no off days...

Lesson learned, however, this time, instead of just doing things to strengthen my back I shall also remember to work on the abs and obliques I never got around to last time. The ones that would have strengthened the rest of my "core" enough to have not "done myself in" the way I did last month trying to help someone out of my yard!

I was told in therapy that anytime you build one side of anything stronger than the others you set yourself up for failure. I even kept telling myself I needed to make sure I made some time for those other muscles...but didn't!

Sometimes those little voices know best!

Dottie is off tomorrow, and Talia is spending the weekend, so I have no idea what is in store for me, except that she wants to make some T-shirts like Dillon did last weekend!

She's "into" horses now...I have a funny feeling...

May Friday be kind and your weekends be wonderful!


P.S. I finally figured out after 3 hours yesterday how to add a Flickr slideshow; those photos going by are from the last two Vermont trips and I'll be adding more once I reduce their size to web-friendly. I hope you enjoy them!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Obsolete knowledge...

When my nephew turned 16 my sister found him a '67 Galaxie 500 for his first car. One owner, good body and driveline, $800. His older brother took it to school with him and reupholstered it in his classes at WyoTech and it's done well for the kid.

Just before Christmas he complained of it "dieseling", trying to run after the key was shut off. Before I could gather things and go take a look at it I "dinged" my back up and only got around to it yesterday.

In attending some classes in the early 80's they were talking about the electronic revolution in automobiles and stating that not only would electronic ignition and fuel injection soon become standard, but they would be doing away with the distributor as well. I couldn't believe it at the time, but most everything on the road now is sans both distributor and carburetor.

Which brings me to my "header"...

I dug out my "dwell meter" and a "timing light", "feeler gauges" and "plug gap gauges", "distributor wrenches" along with some other tools and went to tune his car before he went to work yesterday afternoon. It turned out Brett had put points, condenser, cap and rotor and plug wires along with a set of plugs in it somewhere along the way; the point gap was OK and I double checked it with the "dwell" part of my meter. The timing was way overadvanced, so I pulled it back to "stock" then reset the hot and fast idle speeds. In trying to readjust the idle fuel mixture (made passe by fuel injection in what is in most of your driveways) I discovered a vacuum line that was off and another that was plugged. The one that was plugged was the "main feed" for the dash with all of it's vacuum controlled A/C and heater doors and switches. Since Jordan had been complaining of no heat and no defrost, I'm hoping that is fixed now. The doors definitely work now and didn't before, so as long as the thermostat is the right temp and the heater core isn't plugged he should have heat. A good thing as they're predicting 17 for a high later in the week!

The "vacuum advance" in the distributor is also "blown" (another function that magic box now takes care of) and with it being 20-25% of the gas mileage, I told him on the next warm Saturday I will come up and pull it. NAPA seems to be the only source of them lately, and they will have to match up numbers and order it. Since he only drives a few blocks to school and work it's not such a big deal, but when he starts college in the fall it will become a much larger issue!

I wonder how many more times I'll use those old tools before I'm "gone"? Of course, I also have Dad's "flathead" valve spring compressor and special tappet wrenches along with his "flathead" Ford manual as well...I've never used them, but had always planned on it somewhere along the way.

Dillon spent the weekend with us. Friday night, since he's been digging through car magazines when he's here, I let him watch "American Graffiti". Saturday found me digging up some photos of the yellow "Deuce" coupe from the movie and we made him two t-shirts with the coupe on them and two from aircraft photos I've collected through the years, a B-29 and a B-52. He was delighted with all 4.

The "critters" all seem to have settled into "toleration" of each other. Throwing 2 8 year old male cats into a house with a 2 year old male cat and a 13 year old dog and having them all survive proves to me that humans have no excuses...none...for some of what we do to each other!

My back is doing much better, though it will still "complain" on occasion. Usually sleeping is the worst as after I doze off, I tend to roll into positions that make it say "Hey!" when I try to get up. Especially if the phone rings, lol!

May the week be very kind to each of you!


Friday, January 09, 2009

The skies are gray...

but it's 55F outside, the freezer and the fridge seem OK, so things are looking better! Despite the snow in the forecast for the evening, despite the plunge back to 20 degrees by midnight!

My back wasn't very happy after wrestling the fridge out of it's assigned space and crawling around to vacuum under and through the back of it before it went back, but a few of the muscle relaxers and hydrocodone I had weaned myself from in the few days before it smoked it's circuit board and I'm feeling better again.

So it's off to make the shopping loop in time to be here when Dillon comes for the weekend. Chili for dinner, Dottie's off this weekend...I won't be around much 'til Monday.

I hope that each of you finds some brightspot in their Friday and their weeekend to particularly enjoy!

May the days be kind!



I put it here a long time ago, but for those who didn't see it:


1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound Jimmy Dean Sage sausage (no substitute I've found will do)
2 cans dark red kidney beans
2 cans tomato sauce
1/4 cup (or one envelope) Williams chili seasoning
1 tsp. mesquite liquid smoke (sometimes a bit more depending on my mood)
Salt to taste

Pour your tomato sauce in a 5 quart pot along with one can of water. Rinse the beans and add them. Add the seasoning and the liquid smoke and turn on medium heat, stirring occasionally until it starts to simmer then reduce heat to keep it there.

While it's heating, knead the sausage and ground beef together. I make a huge patty out of it and start cooking it like a giant burger, turning it several times and pouring the grease off as it cooks before I crumble it. It's usually pretty well cooked through by the time I do crumble it.

To reduce the grease in the chili I place a strainer in the sink with about 8 layers of paper towel in it, covering the whole strainer. I work the crumbled burger out of the skillet into the strainer, then fold about 6 more layers of paper towel to protect my hand and "mash" the burger between the layers. It will pull 95% of the grease that's left in the meat out. I work it over the top of all of it, changing the towels under my hand as they soak through. Usually by the 3rd time there's no grease left.

Take the strainer to your pot and you can pour the meat into it by pulling on the upper edge of the towel...stir it in and let it come back to a simmer. If you like your chili thin, it's ready. I usually let it simmer down for 20 minutes or so.

This isn't a tongue roasting "hot" chili, but very flavorful. If I haven't eaten it for a while it won't make me "sweat" but just bring me to the verge of it...


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Tuck Foo thousand nine!

Refrigerator just died...

Of course, we just did part of the shopping today...

25 outside, half the food's in coolers in the (unheated unattached) garage, the other half on it's way to my son's, the freezer stuff we made room for in the deep freeze by culling what was in it...

Sure hope it's a defrost timer!

May the rest or YOUR weeks be kind!


UPDATE: 2:45pm Wednesday-

I just kicked the circuit breaker back on after having changed the "Master Control Board" because the "defrost timer" that used to be a seperate component, a box a bit smaller than a cigarette pack that was less than $25 the last time I put on in 15 years ago in my last "fridge", is now on the circuit board. The $154 one.

I paid $24 extra dollars for a lifetime warranty on it; my last one went through 3 in it's of 26 years. I paid a service call on the 1st and watched them change it, then did the next two myself. The symptoms were identical this tiime; it was running constantly, the "reefer" wasn't cooling at all, and the freezer was up to around 50F this morning, though it was chugging merrily away.

When I pulled the circuit board you could see the burnt place on the back of the old one. (I've also seen that in voltage regulators in cars, and ignition control modules as well.)

So, it's running again...a thermometer sitting on the freezer shelf and in a half hour or so we'll see if it's dropping!


Monday, January 05, 2009

Out with the old, in with the same old new!

Five and a half hours on the phone...we finally have prescription drug coverage again...

Dottie tried to call in her blood pressure med to Medco on Friday and was told we weren't covered. I called GM's benefits "broker" Fidelity, was assured that we did have coverage but it was a computer glitch and it would be settled by Saturday.

Meanwhile the doctor calls in an antibiotic for her as well, as the amoxicyllin she got for her sinus/lung infection wasn't killing it. It was denied as well.

When you have replacement joints, infections can settle in to your joint and cause all kinds of nasty problems. She was better, but still coughing stuff up, with one day of the other med left.

Saturday? No change...

Sunday? No change...

Today? At 9:30 I called Medco and played the wait game only to be told that GM had changed our coverage to a different company without telling us. I hang up, get a notepad and all of the PIN's etc. and call Fidelity. At 11:37-

I got a human at 2:13. At 2:17 they had forced Medco's computer to accept the new group number.

At 2:20 I called her BP med in and it worked! Then I called CVS and they put the antibiotic through again and it worked as well.

So for good measure I called in my eye drops to add to that order.

Finally I'm eating lunch and then I'm off to the pharmacy!

Not what I had planned for my first blog of the New Year!

I planned on raving about how much more cooperative my desktop is with the two 1gig ram sticks my youngest helped me put in (actually, he put them in and I held the light, lol) on Friday. About how when I picked those up at Microcenter this external dual-layer Lightscribe DVD burner also followed me home, along with a new slideshow program.

But that was before I spent 10-12 hours in voicemail hell over the last 4 days...

Happy New Year!

May the week be kind to each of you!