Monday, August 31, 2009

Better Days are Here!!!!

What a turn around of fortune the last few days. On Friday I ordered the new PC board for the motorhome and I was very surprise when it arrive early Saturday afternoon via Fedex. I installed the board Saturday, but decided to wait until I was fresh and alert to continue yesterday (Sunday). Taking as much time as necessary I checked my wiring connections against the wiring chart to make absolutely sure that it was wired properly. Then I turned on the A/C and it WORKED. I'm happy to report that the A/C is working perfectly!

Saturday night I was awake, thinking about how I could check out the equipment that id connected to my computer. A couple of days earlier, my friend Dave told me that he finally got disgusted with his desktop computer and bought a new laptop. Sunday morning I called to find out what he was going to do with the old one. He said that it was worthless to him and he was going to bring it up the land fill. I asked if I might have it and he said yes. So, I went to Dave's and retrieved the computer and brought it home. I installed an old 40 gig hard drive, put a Windows XP CD in the tray and started it up. It ran very well and I soon had XP installed on the computer. I chose not to connect any of my normal stuff as I wanted to make sure that everything was right. The computer worked flawlessly and I shut it down. Next, I connected it to the cable modem and turned it back on. Again, there was no problem and I was soon able to access the Internet and read my email. So far, so good and again I shut the computer down. The last thing to attach was part of my wireless keyboard and mouse. I did so and booted up the computer once more. Flawless operation.

So.....this morning I stopped at the Computer Doctor and told him what I did. He apologized for the problem with the board and told me that he would immediately order a replacement and that there would be no charge to me. Dave's computer is working so well that I told the Computer guy that there was no hurry.

The sun is shining and it's great day!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Down in the Dumps

I seem to be in a funky situation where I can't make any progress on the rest of the damage done by a lightning strike. Yesterday I finally got the start capacitors for the motorhome air conditioner. When I closed the breaker I immediately knew I still had a problem because the fan started even though the A/C was shut off at the thermostat. I ran outside and looked at the wiring and I could see smoke coming from the PC board. That part of the board was not visible before because of a wire in the way. The new wire was routed differently. When I checked the old wire, it was burnt in the same place. OK, so now I need a new PC board. I found them listed on the Internet for $318.00. Ouch. I went on the RV.Net forum and posted a question asking if anyone knew of a less expensive source. I got a reply this morning with a source for $212.00. That's still not cheap, but it's a lot better.

Then I got a call from the Computer Doctor this afternoon saying that my desktop was all fixed. In a jiffy I was up there and saw the computer working flawlessly, and fast. They replaced the motherboard and did a quick tune-up and the performance was awesome. They ran a few programs for me and showed my how it accessed the Internet. It was a bit expensive, but at least I had the desktop back. At my computer desk, I hooked up the computer. Then I removed power from the cable modem and the router for a few moments. I re powered the modem first, then the router, then tried to turn on the computer..........nothing......NOTHING. ARGH!!!!

Back at the Computer Doctor they connected it and tried to boot up. NOTHING! The owner was not there and I talked with his wife. She claims that I must have something in my system that is shorting out the motherboard. No problem, I can buy another one and they'll put it in for free. Again I say ARGH! The wife said that her husband MAY choose to return the board as defective.

In the meantime, I'm supposed to find out if something I have, (mouse, monitor, printer, etc), would cause the board to short out.

This is bugging me because I want to get the problems fixed and behind me and these situations that will not go away are causing me grief.

OK, enough ranting for now. Thanks for letting me vent. I feel a little better now.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

We've had a visitor!

A couple of days ago Helen was outside with the dogs and noticed a very large bird in the woods on the south side of the house. She identified it as a barred owl and came in to get a camera. As is usual in these cases, when she got back outside, the owl was nowhere to be seen. This morning I was outside and noticed the owl in the same location as it flew from near the ground to a branch high up in a tree.

From Blog 8-20

I ran in and got my camera and returned to the woods and found the owl still inthe tree looking down at me.

From Blog 8-20

We have seen a lot of other animals in our yard over the years including a small owl a few years ago, but this is the first large owl we've seen. He stayed in the tree a long time and did not seem to be bothered by my stalking him from below.

Jodie and Coco are trying our patience!

Today was a banner day for the two Labs. After a bad night of sleep, I got up at around 9:30 and when I went out to the kitchen I found both dogs wet. I thought Helen had them in the pool already, but Helen set me straight. Apparently Coco had gotten into something really rotten and Helen had to give her a bath before allowing her back in the house. As long as she was in "bath" mode, she grabbed Jodie, too, although Jodie didn't smell like Coco. As I said, this was all before 9:30. I was glad that I missed all the excitement, but my euphoria was short lived.

Late this afternoon, the dogs went for their "after supper run". A short time later Coco came back and wanted to come in. I opened the door and IMMEDIATELY caught the smell of something really bad, REALLY, REALLY GROSS!!! I ran her right in the garage and back out to the yard for another bath. I started on Coco and Helen came out and took over. Jodie came when called and I gave her a sniff. Whew, another winner! I got the air compressor ready as Helen completed the job and I blow-dried the two mutts. After that, a quick toweling and ear drops and they were ready to rejoin the civilized people and animals inside.

Twice in one day is too much. So, for awhile, the dogs will be walked on a leash. It may be a pain, but it's a lot easier than giving baths.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Just one thing after another!

Just prior to the backing incident mentioned in the last blog, I was preparing to move the motorhome. I had to take in the rear slide before moving and was back in the bedroom doing so. It's not difficult, just push the lower part of the rocker switch and the slide moves in. What could possibly go wrong? Well, someone could be barefoot and standing too close to the slide so that the slide comes in and runs over his foot. Yup, stupid is as stupid does and that's what I did. My big toenail was ripped mostly off and it was pretty painful. I went in the house and put on shoes so the blood wouldn't get on the motorhome carpet and then resumed moving the camper. That's when I backed into Helen. Yesterday I finally got to see a podiatrist and had the nail fully removed. It was done painlessly and I'm very comfortable today.

Two days ago a lightning bolt struck the telephone pole in front of our house, instantly cutting power to us and our neighbors. The power company responded quickly and replaced the fuse at the pole that protects the transformers and power was restored. All was well for a few minutes until Helen advised me that we had no water. I switched the pump breaker off and on and could hear the pump trying to run and suspected that the capacitor had blown. Opening up the pump control box I saw that the capacitor had blown apart. That's actually a good thing because replacing the control capacitor is a LOT cheaper and a LOT easier than replacing the pump. I bought a new control at Lowe's and we were back in business.

Then I went to check out something on-line, and found that I had no internet connection. I did the normal fix routine of unplugging the modems and powering them back up, one at a time. I had limited success. The phone works and the wireless part of the router works, but the desktop connection is kaput. I think the router got a bit zapped, but I'm not positive. I still have the laptop and the wireless connection, so I'm OK for now.

Helen and I have different tastes in television shows, and I often gravitate to the bedroom where I read as I watch MSNBC. Another surprise, the bedroom TV is kaput. I'll have to run it down to TV repair Monday.

The sun is shining and the dogs are in the pool. So all is well with the world...........for now.

I have nothing more to say.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Helen is fine....No really, she's fine.

Helen is doing great. You can't keep a good woman down and Helen has been up doing laundry and cooking supper. I took care of the rest of the grass today.

For those who don't know, there was a slight altercation yesterday between Helen on the riding lawnmower and me in the motorhome. Helen was mowing the grass on the north side of the house (the far right as you look from the street), and was way back by the pool. I wanted to move the motorhome under the awning in the other driveway. I started the engine and let it run for a few moments, then checked the mirrors and backup monitor to be sure all was clear. Then I started backing. At this point I was no longer looking at the mirrors as my attention was on the possible traffic coming down the street. I couldn't hear the mower over the noise of the diesel engine and Helen couldn't here the diesel over the noise of the mower. It's at this moment that Helen chose to cut around the rear of the motorhome to start on the south side of the house.

Apparently I caught her and the mower with the rear right corner of the motorhome, dragging her some distance, according to the skid marks. Helen's right leg was caught between the mower and the motorhome until she was able to muster enough strength to pull her leg out. I knew none of this. Finally, I saw Helen waving frantically from the side and I stopped. What a shock!!! The collision took her right shoe off and her leg was already red and beginning to swell. At first she just wanted to put ice on it and forgo a trip to the ER, but eventually I prevailed with the idea that we would have to have X-rays to determine if anything was broken.

We went to the ER at Citrus Memorial and only 5 hours later we had the answer. Contusions only, no broken bones. What a relief! When I think of what could have happened I shudder. All is well with Helen. I have work to do on the mower as the deck is askew. There is also some damage to the right rear corner of the motorhome and a couple of panels on the right side. She's one tough cookie!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Kristin and Kimberly

Yesterday I drove to the east coast to deliver a patio set for my brother. It was quite an experience driving in such heavy rain, then bright sun, then heavy rain, then bright sun. This is the summer that the rains are here to haunt me.

From Kimberly

On the way home I stopped at P.T.'s house to pick up the mail they have been collecting for over two months and was delighted that Kristin and Kimberly were home. Kristin is my granddaughter and Kimberly is her daughter. Yes, do the math. Kimberly is my great granddaughter. Time flies.

From Kimberly

Kim has grown quite a bit since I last saw her and she is developing a nice personality. She seems to be a delightful baby. I'm sure you'll be seeing more of her in my blog as time goes on.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Home again.....Home again!!!!!

Yes, home again and it feels WONDERFUL. It's hot. It's humid, but there is SUN everyday. JOY!!!

The Friday we were in Hingham we had a day of rest as the weather didn't permit us to do much else. Rain like you wouldn't believe! There was a pond between the camper and the street and everything was mushy. Even when it wasn't raining, the dogs came back from their walks soaking wet and again the motorhome started to get that smell assocviated with constant dampness.

Saturday was a much better day and Helen and I took the Quincy ferry into Boston and the Aquarium. It was a good day; the weather was very nice, the water calm. The aquarium was very interesting but we were a bit amused that the focal point of the whole aquarium, the huge, multi-level central tank, was a typical Florida reef. There were no cod, stripers, or bluefish. Instead, there were jacks, tarpon, snappers and other reef fish as well as several large turtles. Homesick anyone? On the way back we stopped at The Lobster Pound where we had our last meal of real fried clams.

Sunday was moving day as we spent our allotted time at Wompatuck. Each family is allowed 14 days of camping a year and our 14 days were up. I asked if we could extend as the park was only 1/3 full, but the management refuses to consider such a thing. Better to have much of the camp empty then have someone pay for extra days. Thus, we moved back to Ricky's. I was able to fix a few minor things on the camper.

Monday was a trying day. When we got back to MA, we found that an old family friend had passed away on July 21st. The service and funeral were planned for this Monday. We made arrangements to pick up Aunt Marie in Brewster and take her with us. To this end, I left just before 7:00 AM bound for Cape Cod while Helen took care of the dogs and got herself ready. I stopped back to pick her up and we headed for the service in Braintree. Charlie Harrington lived a long and fruitful life and he was surroinded with a large, caring family. Besides his three daughters, his sister-in-law and a number of her children came down from New Hampshire. It was a bitter-sweet reunion for us with Debbie Harrington Fisher who was out Junior Bridesmaid at our wedding. The whole Harrington clan was very friendly and thoughtful, After the funeral we all swarmed back to Charlie's house where a caterer had set up enough food for a lot more people than were there. It was not a sad occasion because Charlie would not have wanted that. He was held in great esteem by all and it was comforting to know that he did so well for his 95 years. Recently he has deteriorated because he lost his beloved Ellen several years ago. Helen and I were very fortunate to arrange a meeting between him and Aunt Marie just a few weeks before. We hate to lose Charlie, but are thankful that our travels brought us back in time to celebrate his life. Helen drove Aunt Marie back to Brewster, making a side trip to spend more time with her aunt.

Tuesday was another nice day and we chose to take a Cape Cod Canal cruise out of Onset. I haven't been to Onset in years, but it used to be a favorite spot of the family for the July 4th fireworks. We boarded the Viking for a three hour cruise, with thoughts of the Minnow in the back of my mind. The day was warm and the cruise delightful. The comentary was most interesting and although I spent a number of summers in that area, I learned a great deal about the canal and the area. On the way home we passed through Carver and Plympton and tried to visit an old friend, Bob Jacobson. He was not at home, but we talked with his daughter, Jennifer. She told us that she now runs the house with her husband and kids and that they built a new addition with a father-in-law appartment upstairs. Jennifer claims her dad is doing very well.

Wednesday was another off day. Helen attended to matters on her own, including another visit to her father's grave while tende to the dogs and the motorhome. We had nothing more that we wanted to do and were biding our time until Wednesday night, when we were finally able to get together with Rick and Linda for supper. Oh Boy!!! Chinese food at the restaurant in Norwell. It was great.

Thursday we were off to Florida. Fittingly, I woke up to rain on the roof and we had some rain as we departed. In Connecticut we encountered a downpour. We settled for the night in White Haven, PA. Heading south Friday Helen did soome of the driving. As luck would have it, she was driving when we caught a really bad storm. Heavy rain and gusty winds had Helen wondering if the motorhome could tip over. It was wild and wooly for quite a while, but she finally passed through. Friday night we spent at the Mayberry Campground in Mount Airy, North Carolina. This is the home of Andy Griffith and everything around here is based on the Mayberry RFD theme. LLoyd's Barber shop, Aunt Bea's Cafe, and Opie's Candy Store are examples. It was an interesting area and we may pass this way again.

Saturday we headed out later than normal and tried to get as far as we could. Again the rain dogged us mercilessly. As we got closer and closer to home, it was decided that we'd run all the way no matter how late we got home. We hit heavy rain from South Carolina all the way home. In Georgia the rain was so hard that many cars and trucks were pulling over to the side of the road. While I was driving, the diesel engine developed the same problem as we had last November, so I'll have to change the oil ahead of schedule. In fact, we got 5 gallons at Walmart in case I have to do an emergency oil change on the road.

We got home close to 12:30 AM Sunday and took in only the bare essentials, milk and coffee for the morning. Now that I'm home, I'm in worker bee mode as there is so much to be done. First I had to change the oil and filter on the motorhome. Empty much of the motorhome. Take the cover off the pool and get that working. I took the Lincoln to Brooksville to get oil sample bottles at CAT and when I came out, the car wouldn't start. I got a jump and dashed home. The A/C wouldn't work and it didn't have enough power to lower the windows. Near the house, I tried to use the wipers and the car almost died. As I pulled into the driveway, it did die, but I was able to coast into the garage. I forgot that on out last day here, Helen went to Walmart for some last-minute items and the car failed then. I drove up and jumped the car to get it home. AT the time, I just put the charger on it because I didn't have the time to fix it before vacation.

A new alternator fixed that problem. As long as the pool level was down, I decided to drop the level some more t0 do some pool maintenance. The pool is now filling and the dogs should be in it this afternoon. Tomorrow I'll be heading to Palm Bay with patio stuff for Rick. It's a set that Linda bought but it would be hard for them to get down in the car. It fit in the back of the Jeep with room so spare. That's about all for now.