Thursday, September 25, 2008

Catching up on yard work.

Location, At Home, CA

Yesterday I took the rain gutter off the patio room to clean it. This gutter is an integral part of the roof structure and traps all the debris flying around. The only way to clean it is to take it down.

Today neighbor Paul brought his chainsaw over and we cut down the two plum trees. Boy, were they ever full of termites. That part of the yard looks pretty bare but they needed to be cut down. Now I need to chip all the brush.

I finally planted the dwarf lemon tree Clyda had bought some time ago. I talked to the espalier expert yesterday about how to take care of the tree as it grows. He had a simple reply, “just bend the branches they way you want them to go”. Sounds simple, so I will try his way.

This weekend will be busy as friends are coming to town for another mutual friend’s 60th birthday party. I will be good to see everyone again.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I Roomba! Do you Roomba?

Location, At Home, CA

Now I’m not talking rumba as in dancing here but rather the Roomba vacuum cleaner from irobot. While we were in the bay area in August I bought a Roomba at a one day sale at a local big box electronic store.

Notice the little white brush which cleans along walls.

My thought was to use it on our bamboo laminate flooring which shows every bit of dirt if you don’t vacuum it every day or so. Of course, having a large dog running in and out doesn’t help even if she is short haired. She still sheds.

The Roomba model I have is a cheaper model than some available. That’s probably why it was on sale. It needs to be manually plugged into its power source to recharge the battery. Newer models have a docking station to which the Roomba automatically returns when it needs battery recharging.

It starts cleaning by going in a circle wherever you start it which orients itself to the space to be cleaned. From then on it pursues a seemingly random pattern to clean a space. It really is a pre-planned pattern which eventually covers all the space more than once. It does a remarkable job of cleaning. Dirt is collected into a small dustbin which needs to be emptied after each cleaning.

To confine the Roomba within a specific space or area I use rolled up rugs or the remote sensor supplied with the machine which puts out an electronic cone which limits the Roomba to a specific area.

Today I cleaned up the patio where the fence boards had been stored while they were drying and stored all the boards in my garden shed. They will stay there until I do the remainder of the yard fence.

I also started my fall pruning and yard clean up. Son Craig had pruned the trees hanging over the back fence so I want to get all the trimming done before I start shredding everything. We will also cut down two plum trees which are old and being eaten by termites.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Getting some things done.

Location, At Home, CA

I did get a few things accomplished this week. I still had 95 fence boards to stain. These will be used to replace the fence at the side of the patio and to rebuild the “wood shed” behind that fence. I got half stained on Monday and finished the rest today. I was short about a gallon of stain so had to pick one up to finish. At $35 per gallon, I try to make it go as far as I can.

In the last report I said I thought the big TV in the RV living room was bad but on further investigation, it is the remote that has gone bad. The new digital to analog converter works just fine.

My to-do-list is still fairly long but I am hacking away at it. We were originally planning on a short RV trip later this month but I think that is going to be scrubbed due to Clyda’s leg. We have just too many steps in the RV for her to negotiate to make that trip possible. Instead I am planning for the desert trip in mid October. That is really not far away so I best be getting to business.

I caulked some places under the RV that could possibly have let mice in. Only time will tell if that is successful.

I follow the blogs of several RV’ers that were traveling in Alaska this summer. All are now back in the continental US or close to it. Last year when Clyda and I were in Canada, it was amazing how far north we actually got. One of the roads we took is a well travel road to Alaska by many RV’ers. Maybe we should put that on our future schedule.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hurricane update

Location, At Home, CA

Days just seem to roll by with no thought about accomplishing anything. Clyda had a doctor’s appointment on Thursday. They took an x-ray and everything is fine. She can remove the “boot” and exercise her foot some. She also uses her crutches to get to the living room when she has company and to sit on a stool at the island in the kitchen for meals.

I decided I don’t need an FM transmitter for my Ipod as I already had an old one from my Sony Disc Man CD player. I tried it and it works in the car and RV but not in the truck. Wonder what that is all about. The Ford truck radio is rather fancy so maybe it has lots of shielding or something.

I bought a Digital TV converter for the RV so we can use the analog antenna and analog TV while on the road. It appears that the big 27 inch TV in the RV living room has bit the dust. I used the 9 inch set we used in the old trailer to test the converter but it wouldn’t find any channels. Neighbor Paul tried the box on his antenna and it worked fine so I need to see what is wrong in the RV.

Saturday afternoon we drove down the coast to attend a double birthday party for friends. Clyda rode in the backseat and managed fairly well. She was tired by the time we came home. She did go to the movie this afternoon with a friend. I drove her and rolled her into the theatre and then ran errands until the movie was over.

Son Tim and family in Houston went through hurricane Ike on Friday and Saturday. They live just west of where the “eye wall” went through. They had lots of wind which blew the metal whirly vents off the garage and lifted the cap shingles on the house which let water in. He also had a water leak in the laundry area which soaked the insulation in the attic. The biggest problem has been electricity which went off about 11 PM Friday night and is still not back on. His neighbors across the street however do have electricity so Tim is running on generators.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Update on activities

Location, At Home, CA

I had planned to do an update tomorrow but decided to add a short entry tonight. Clyda is making progress but it is slow. She gets out of bed more often for a short walk (hobble) with crutches to the living room.

I have been updating an older PC by reformatting the hard drive and putting the Windows software back on. It runs much faster now. I have installed Clyda’s greeting card programs on it and little else. I also disassembled an LCD display that a friend had asked me to look at. It was tough finding how to get this thing apart but with the help of the internet I found a few clues which helped. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really find anything wrong so I guess I will put it back together.

I have been loading more CD’s into my Ipod which does takes time. Today I bought a cable to go from the Ipod to the AUX input on the car radio. For the truck I need to get an FM transmitter which I saw at Radio Shack for about $60.

Between taking care of Clyda’s needs and doing errands I don’t get much else done. My To-Do list is still rather long.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Location, At Home, CA

I have been too busy and most nights too tired to update this journal on a regular basis.

First an update on Clyda. A week after they put a cast on and the Grandkids and a few friends had signed it, they removed it. She also had her staples removed from the surgery. In place of a cast she now has a large black walking boot. Of course she can’t use it to walk for some time yet but it does allow her to adjust the tightness of the boot for comfort. This thing is all Velcro straps so there is a lot of adjustment available.

In general, she is still in bed most of the time as weight on her leg causes pain when she stands up. She can go to the bathroom, wash herself, etc, with the aid of crutches. We are working on how to get her in the shower with the aid of a plastic chair.

On another note: the grandkids and their parents spent 3 days last week at Disney Land before flying home on Saturday. We miss having the kids here. The 2 weeks just flew by.

On September 3rd I celebrated my 69th birthday. The night before, I took a large chocolate sheet cake to the Elks club for our table to eat. Of course there was a lot left over even though we had 12 members at the table. On my birthday I attended a retiree’s meeting which had two purposes. We had a speaker giving us the latest info on Medicare and also the 3 year project to produce a history of Delco Systems was completed and the books were ready to pick up. It is a great book about all the activities we participated in and accomplished since 1961 until the doors were finally closed on the last project in 2004. I worked there for almost 32 years from September 1963 until June 1995 when I retired.

For my birthday son Tim and wife Diane got me an 8 GB Apple Ipod Nano to store all my CD’s on. A chance statement I made while they were here is what prompted them to send one my way I am sure. Thanks Tim and Diane. It is a great present. I hope to use it to store all my music and then play through a transmitter to any radio. My first excursion into the mysteries of this tiny little box was indeed daunting but I figured that millions of people, some with less smarts than myself, have made them work so I should be able to also. It has been a learning experience but I now have several albums loaded from CD’s to my computer and into the Ipod. It will take some time to load all of them.