December 12…

Today’s adventure…replacing the ballast in the kitchen fixture.

Remember the other day when I replaced the bulbs in the T12 fixture? Well, it turns out the ballast weakened, leaving me in a darkened kitchen for a day; unacceptable.

Off to the local hardware store this morning where I flew in and flew out purchasing the only two bulb ballast they had. Murphy was watching, and it was the wrong one. I tried calling GE for assistance and I got a message “we are closed due to inclement weather”. I had hopes to talk to someone who could help me wire it as it was. I almost did, but remembered back in the day when I saw a ballast blow up at a Kmart under construction…loud pop, sparks, fire, and really smelly.

I decided to take my lumps, suck it up and make the 42 mile round trip drive to Lowe’s and get a real one. Even there, when the item scanned, it did not show up on inventory, and I waited while they “added” the bar code.

I am now basking in the kitchen of two suns; much better.

Now I know.



The Countdown Continues…December 11

My wife ‘splained to me what a “teddy” was. I did not know. It has been pointed out to me that this is not a “teddy”.

This is closer to it…thanks Angel

Two weeks from today is Christmas Day. If you have shipping to do, better get it done and get out your big checkbooks.

Monday December 10

Tick tock. 2 weeks from today is Christmas Eve.

The wife and I stopped doing Christmas trees a couple years ago, given myself living in two places.

We got rid of the artificial tree that has been in my family since 1970 at the estate sale. The folks paid $100 for it then…that was a substantial amount of cash in those days. It weathered the years quite nicely. It got to the point where I was asked to “get the tree down”, and the stepkid would be first in line to decorate in a frenzy. I customarily put in the lights as I had a certain I way I did them…but when New Year’s came ’round, guess who had to take it down? Yep, ol’ este. It was however, my opportunity to toss out a cat bulb every now and then. I did keep some of the old bulbs my folks got at a place called OTASCO…Oklahoma  Tire And Supply Company back in the sixties…a dozen for like .60…they managed to survive too, and I think they went in the estate sale as well…so much stuff gone after that.

I remember one Christmas that my dad decided to flock our tree in the garage…what a frickin’ mess. We walked on flock in the garage for months, and it covered everything else in the one car garage too.

Today, I am packing up a nice box of Holiday Ale for my brother with some other goodies. The styrofoam ice chest with gel packs, and individually wrapped bottles will work. I hope to sneak in a bottle of Irish Red as well.

Also, my Air Force son requested another round of his favorite cookies and caramels just before he goes to spend the holidays with his mother in Colorado.

Even though I can’t eat this stuff any more, I am going to make cinnamon rolls, dipped ginger snaps, and maybe some millionaires to ship to the other son…along with the customary cash.

Some of the goodies will go to the doctor’s office staff when my wife goes in for her follow-up next Monday. One never knows when one needs a foot in the door for a favor. I doubt if they would appreciate a few bottles of Ale…too bad; I have so much of it.


I got the two boxes shipped. I am ashamed to say what I spent to get those two boxes at their destinations by Friday.

We are slowly sinking into a country where the corporations rule us. What choices do we have for shipping packages?

USPS..hell no unless you like being interrogated at the time of shipping. They have so many restrictions now that one basically can only ship dry goods that are unbreakable and non-perishable. Also, the attitude of the postal employees often leaves a lot to be desired.

UPS? what a frickin’ joke. Unless you want your packages drop kicked and passed around like a football, forget about them. Packages disappear in the UPS web, never to be seen again. If you have all the paperwork they require, you can get a refund on your shipping charges…eventually. Hope you like being on hold.

FedEx is my preferred shipping carrier, but I fear they too are falling into the dark depths of “we don’t give a shit. It’s just a paycheck” attitude. I have never had a package missing or damaged by FedEx…wait, that’s not true. An order from Sam’s club was damaged and a 3 lb container of coffee was obliterated by FedEx. By the time the local delivery guy got it, it was obviously damaged leaking coffee grounds out of the box. He sent it back, and they took out the destroyed can of Folger’s, and reshipped it. I am still shaking coffee grounds from the other items in that shipment. I had to call Sam’s customer service to get a refund as FedEx said nothing to them about the box being demolished. I am still going to milk Sam’s for every penny of free shipping until my membership expires in February. I am just a consumer, and expect to get what I pay for.

The things we do for family that go unappreciated.


Another Sunday

I can tell it’s Sunday as when I turn on the stereo in the kitchen, it’s playing Casey Kassom and countdown of top 40 eighties hits on this day whenever. The station is immediately changed to the so called classic rock station out of SA…snicker. I have to change that station too whenever they play Bohemian Rhapsody or Journey, which means I have to change it back a lot. Sometimes, both stations are playing something at the same time that I cannot stand, so it’s country and western time or classical for a while.

I have rediscovered Pandora…the only bad thing is it eats up my 22G of data through my phone. I suppose I could go with the unlimited data plan for a few bucks more, but they still have the balls to limit my speed after 22G…rat bastards.

It feels like winter has settled in here…even though  it’s not technically winter yet. The overnight lows hover at freezing and daytime temps in the forties and fifties.

The wife arrived home safe and sound yesterday afternoon. I am realizing that I missed her presence. Her r/a specialist in Ft Worth told her she was changing medications due to the frequency of her UTI problems. The doc said if this continued, she would end up hospitalized with sepsis. That’s bad.

She arrived with gifts; a giant coffee mug that I’ll find harder to tip over than the other, and a set of LED lit desktop Christmas trees…that didn’t work as the watch batteries were I guess down. They’re supposed to change colors too…better break out the ganja. I am easily entertained under certain conditions.

I saw a six point buck the other day drinking from our water. The buck itself was rather small, and that’s typical for this region.

My blood sugar was 123 this morning…again, the lowest ever since I’ve been checking. It’s cutting out all that snack stuff while late night TV watching that is allowing it to drop compared to 180. BP was 112/70. I’m gonna keep a log of these to present to the doc on my next visit.

I was reading over at David Drake’s Place about his nightmare in mall shopping…I feel your pain. I cannot for the life of me remember the last time I was in a mall or Wal-Mart.

I shop almost exclusively online now. Wal-Mart will frequently offer free shipping if one spends over $35; and one can wait. I never buy anything online for which I pay shipping. Consequently, I have a mountain of shipping boxes to break down every now and then for the trash guys.

I am going to pull and old but intact styrofoam ice chest from the bunkhouse later to see if I can prepare it to ship some Holiday Ale to my brother. It’ll have to go inside a bigger box, which I have cut up mostly and sent to the trash pile. Good luck to me on finding one that will work. It will cost a fortune too, as it will require faster than ground shipping to assure that the beer does not get warm, and allow the yeast to begin carbonating again. Maybe I’ll fill the empty spaces in the box with all those crackers that I can no longer eat. That will make room in the bunkhouse freezer for more sirloins.

Looks like it’s doable; six flip top bottles individually wrapped with frozen gel packs in the center between three bottles on each side. I wrapped the bottom and sides of the ice chest with duck tape for some reinforcement. I have plenty of peanuts and more air pillows. I fear that FedEx will yet will attempt to destroy it.

I guess I’ll have to hit the piggy bank for a substantial amount of cash for shipping two or three day..$$$$$. My brother pulled the “It’s OK…I’m just family” card. That usually hits home.

Another trip to town looms on the horizon.

In other news, my wife informed me that her sister is this close to buying a train ticket to come for a “visit”. The train arrives in SA at 10pm which would  require us me to navigate SA at nighttime…NFW. I told the wife if her sister ever “dropped in” I would pack up and drive to Arkansas to “visit” my brother during her visit, promising to lock the deep freeze and change locks on the bunkhouse to cement my point of disagreement.

There’s that anger management thing again.


Saturday Dec 8

I woke up at 8 this morning, anticipating a call from the wife stating what time she left Ft Worth. It’s now 10:15. Either she has left and “forgot” or she hasn’t left yet….Update…she just called and was about an hour out of Ft Worth. Now I have a time frame.

I think I’m gonna head into town and get some 6500K fluorescent T12 bulbs for the kitchen. It would be nice to be able to get them in town at the local hardware store, and not have to drive to the big city..I don’t think I’ll make a special trip to the big city just for bulbs; at least today.

The flash flood warnings were pulled for today, and the weather is clearing’s still a little cloudy but at least it’s not raining. Supposedly temps will stay in the forties today and hit 32 overnight.

Got my Equalizer 2 DVD yesterday and watched it last night. Not like the first one, not as good IMO. A lot more hand to hand by Denzel, and betrayal. Several Equalizer scenarios that were carried out, with one main one. Some surprises.

Looks like shrimp for dinner. It’s baked in a glass Pyrex dish, The shrimp is deveined, shell on covered with thinly sliced lemons and onions. The baste is a mix of butter, W sauce, lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, garlic, ground red pepper, rosemary, salt and black pepper. The recipe requires basting every 5 minutes or so for the 20+ baking time. I haven’t posted it on the other site. It’s from the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co cookbook. The only other one I ever used from there is the beer batter fried shrimp that uses flour and cornstarch which is not on the diet. Plus it’s very messy, but delicious. I have made that several times only to have the kitchen lingerers stand around and eat the shrimp as it comes out of the fryer. That one requires the shrimp are shelled. Now that I have reminded myself, I am tempted to cook that one instead. Mess and carbs be damned. Maybe I’ll post the recipes…it’s not like I have a lot to do.

My erythritol came in and I attempted to make a syrup from it….fagetaboutit..NFW…it turned into some kinda salt brick looking thing. If the ding dang erythritol doesn’t dissolve in water, how the hell will it dissolve in tea? I leave you to ponder that philosophical question.