"if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

and the beat goes on ...

Monday afternoon we dropped my Dad's car off at a local mechanic. He was going to keep it inside his shop overnight and work on it the next morning. He was pretty sure it was the window regulator (my guess as well, but what do I know) and would not be a hard fix.

Tuesday morning we woke up to snow. We had about 1/2" overnight and the roads were slick. I had a few appointments and just took it slow and made it around just fine. By lunch time the roads were clear and it was smooth sailing. The mechanic called and had the car fixed. $309 for a new window regulator and it was good as new. Matthew and Mandie came over in the afternoon to use the wifi so they could file their taxes. They dropped me off at the mechanics on their way home so I could pick up the car. I hate having car troubles but at least this was only a minor inconvenience.

Work picked up late last week and was almost back to normal numbers. I had 5 appointments Monday but then it slowed to a crawl again and I have not been busy at all. Wednesday we drove to Westfield to Buffalo Wild Wings for our weekly dinner ride with our motorcycle group. The food was good but the service was lacking. Our poor waitress had no help at all even though there were managers and other waiters standing around doing nothing but talking in the middle of the dining room. My opinion is they needed some "adult" leadership instead of giving the impression of a bunch of lazy kids standing around trying to do as little as possible.

We got a call from my sister who now lives in Tacoma Wa. that her father in law had passed away and she was coming back to Indiana for the funeral. She flew in Wednesday morning. We got together with her and my brother in law Frank Thursday evening. We had a nice time catching up and will be seeing them again tomorrow evening at the funeral home.

We are attending a training session for our Goldwing group this week end. The training is in Greenburg Indiana and lasts all day Saturday and until 1pm on Sunday. Not sure what we will be learning but I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

busy week end

Wow I can't believe it's been almost a week since I blogged. Sorry about that.
We had a busy week end. We started out by taking Mandie and Matt out to eat to celebrate his new job and the end to his week of training. We met them at Red Lobster in Lafayette. We got there shortly after 5pm and still had to wait 40 minutes for a table! I guess everyone else had the same idea. We had a nice meal despite the wait. Matthew starts his regular shift Saturday night. They work 12 hour shifts, 3 days on then 2 days off then 2 days on and 3 days off. He will have every other weekend off and is really enjoying it so far.

Saturday morning I went out early to start my Dad's car since it has been sitting for at least a month. The car started just fine and I backed it out of the parking space to move it closer to the 5th wheel and let it finish warming up. I rolled the drivers side window down to clear off the snow and it wouldn't roll back up :-(. I could hear the motor running but the window wouldn't budge .... rats!! I got out the duct tape and garbage bags so I could cover it up to keep the rain out and parked it back in the spot again.
Rain? Did he say rain? Yep it got warm enough that it started raining Friday night and was still raining off and on Saturday. We headed for Indianapolis to the Boat Sport and Travel Show. We wanted to get an early start to try and beat the crowds since this is opening week end. I thought they opened at 9am so we timed it to get there about 9:30. Well you guessed it, they opened at 10am and we had to either stand in a long line that was wrapped around the building or stay in the car that was parked 1/4 mile away. Rudee decided we needed the exercise vs. standing in the rain and cold so we headed back to the car to wait for the doors to open :-).
We spent about 4 hours walking around the show spending most of our time in the vendor area and the RV section. We didn't see anything we wanted to trade for and our only big purchase was a bag of carmel corn. Here are some pics from the show.

We saw a couple of these 5th wheels that had two different color of cabinets. Why do they do that? Looks kind if strange to me.

Here is a different way to RV. This rig could get you into that private boondocking spot!

We left the show and drove to Amanda and Ryans house to pick up the grand kids for the night. We got them all loaded up and headed home. We stopped at the video store and picked up some kids movies so we could keep them entertained. We watched movies most of the evening and they all fell asleep around 9pm.
Sunday morning we were awakened by the sound of little feet ......... awwwwwwww. Actually we woke up to "Quit touching me"! "You're feet are in my face"! "Leave me alone"! :-)
I have come to the conclusion that I could not live fulltime in an RV if our kids were still small. I love my grand kids and love for them to come and visit us, it's also nice when they leave too.

A lot of the snow melted away this week end. We still have quite a bit here in the KOA but hopefully it will all melt off soon. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Winter doldrums

We have been watching some of the Winter Olympics on TV. I like the racing, speed type events the best. I thought it was kind of funny though when they had to postpone some of the events because of lack of fresh snow. I guess they could have moved them to Dallas Texas!! Who would have thought? :-).

Indianapolis has a large sports show each year called "The Boat Sport and Travel Show". It is held at the State Fairgrounds and encompasses 4 large buildings. They have all kinds of boats and RV's on display as well as vendors of all sorts. For the fishermen they have an area called "tackletown" that has everything the modern fisherman could ever want. In the center of it all is an area where lodges and State Tourism people set up their booths and pass out all kinds of literature for visiting their area. We always look forward to the show and have gone to it for many years. I remember when the kids were little and we were struggling to make ends meet this show was the highlight of our winter. We could take the kids and spend the entire day going through the different displays. I would always bring home a huge stack of brochures and spend the next month looking through them and dreaming of the time I could travel to remote places. The show starts this Friday and we are planning on going either Saturday or Sunday.

This time of year can be depressing for me. I really get sick of winter pretty quickly and get the itch to go camping and motorcycle riding. You are probably asking "how can this guy miss camping when he lives in a camper?". Well what I miss is camping with our friends and all that goes along with it (campfires, pitch ins etc). I'm trying to do better and keep my attitude on an even keel and just wait for the big melt down/warm up.

Matthew's new job seems to be going well. He has been doing training all week and this morning was Taser training. He volunteered to be the bad guy and got "tased":-). He called me a little while ago and said it was the longest 5 seconds of his life. :-)

We have the grand kids overnight Saturday night while Amanda and Ryan go to an overnight party for his company. They have it in one of the nice Hotels in downtown Indy and all the rooms, meals, drinks, parking .... everything, is paid for. They usually give away some nice gifts and cash so we are keeping our fingers crossed for them.

We are going to our Goldwing meeting tonight in Lebanon. The meeting starts at 7pm and we are usually there by 6pm so we have plenty of time to eat and socialize. Our very first meeting was in February of 1990 and we have probably only missed a handful since that time. 20 years sure does go by awfully fast. as always I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Moving day

Wednesday night we met up with 15 of our motorcycle friends and had dinner in Linden Indiana. I was a little worried about the place when our waitress announced that tonight's Chef's Special was 2 coney dogs served with chips. My assumptions were right and the food was totally forgettable. Maybe we should have ordered the "special" :-).

We are borrowing Niles and Deb Robinson's cargo trailer so we can haul Matthew and Mandie's stuff from Columbus Oh. to their new apartment in Lafayette. Now here is where the story gets a little funky. Niles and Deb are attending a goldwing event in Columbus this week end. Niles bought a Rampage motorcycle lift from a guy in New Jersey who used it once and didn't like it. The shipping for the ramp ended up being a lot of $$ so the guy volunteered to meet them in Columbus this week end and deliver the ramp to them. So, Niles and Deb are taking our truck and towing their trailer to Columbus Friday morning. They are meeting the guy and loading up their ramp into the trailer. We will drive their car to Columbus after work on Friday and exchange vehicles with them so we can do the big move on Saturday. Whew, makes me tired just talking about it. Anyway, Thursday evening we met them and our buddy Grumpy at Stookies Restaurant in Thorntown for the big vehicle trade.

Friday after work we headed east for the 4 hour drive to Columbus. We met up with Robinson's, picked up the truck and trailer and headed to our motel. Matthew and Mandie stopped in just as we were getting out of the hot tub. Mandie's Mom, Dad and two sisters were staying in the same hotel. They were going to go out and check out the night life and wanted to say Hi. Nightclubs are not our "thing" so we declined their invitation and made plans to meet them in the lobby for breakfast in the morning.

Saturday morning after our freebie motel breakfast we drove over to their apartment. They have been packing and sorting but still had lots of "stuff". I'll have to admit I was not sure we could get it all in one trip :-(. Looking around I told Rudee we had better call the motel and get another reservation since it looked like we would be coming back again tonight.
We started loading and packing and piling. That little trailer ended up holding a lot. Two hours after we started I closed the back door. The apartment was empty! We got it all loaded! I was a happy guy, at least until I realized I had another 4 hour drive and had to unload it all :-).
Our truck is a Dodge Dakota and even with the V8 engine the loaded trailer was a strain. The onboard computer told me we got a whopping 11.1 miles per gallon on our trip back to Indiana.

Back in Lafayette our daughter Amanda and son in law Ryan met us at the new place so we had some extra help. The unload went pretty quick despite us having to haul everything up the 15 stairs (yes, I counted them. Several times!!). We had everything inside in about an hour. Mandie, her Mom and sisters got busy putting things in their place. Too many cooks spoil the stew so we took Ryan and Amanda out to eat to thank them for their help.

Matthew starts his new job Monday morning. They start their training first thing with pepper spray certification. I did this back in my day as well. They do some classroom training and then you get to "feel the effects" of the spray :-). All in all it's a fun day (heavy on the sarcasm).

Sunday is Valentines Day. Make sure you give your special valentine an extra squeeze today. We don't have any big plans, just going with the flow and resting up. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Planning ahead

Our son, Matthew, drove over Monday so he could sign his lease and get the keys to their apartment. He brought a whole car load of "stuff" and by the time we got off work and over to Lafayette he already had it unloaded and wanted to go eat. Their apartment is nice but is on the second floor so I'm not looking forward to moving them :-(.

Matthew had some errands to run Tuesday morning and then was heading back to Ohio for his last few shifts at work. I was up and out the door early. I had to drive to the office and be ready to take my test first thing. The snow they predicted had arrived overnight and the roads were covered. The plows had been out working and one lane of the interstate was fairly clear. I was able to drive between 45-50 most of the way in. The test I took was difficult. The majority of the questions were about how our estimating system works along with a lot of "integrity" type questions. They were all multiple choice but you really had to be careful to understand the question before answering. I took my time (we had 2 hours) and when I finished I went back and reviewed them all again. I was done in just over an hour. I'm not sure why but I always seem to be one of the first ones done when I take tests. Of the 50 questions there were about 10 that I felt uneasy about. We took the test on our laptops but once we submitted them we did not get a score or even a "pass/fail" grade. In fact they are not even telling us what score we would need to pass so I'm not sure when we will find out, if ever, what score we got.

The snow had quit by the time I left the office and the road crews had been busy and the major roads were pretty clear. I had a couple of inspections and made it back home around 3:00 to finish up my day doing paperwork. Rudee gets off at 4:00 and she made us a great dinner of crab legs, shrimp cocktail and a salad. We both love seafood!!

Niles called and said he had gotten his reservation for our vacation in July and told me to get off my @&# and make mine :-). I called and talked to the owner of Custers Gultch Campground and got our site set up. We are right next door Niles, don't say I didn't warn you!!

We have our usual dinner ride tonight which is just up the road from the KOA. Sweet. Friday we are heading to Columbus Ohio to help Matthew and Mandie move. We are spending the night Friday and hope to get it all done and have them into their new place by Saturday night. Looks like a busy week end. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, February 8, 2010

weather is getting OLD!!

This winter is just dragging on and on. The weatherman (or weatherperson to be politically correct) is telling us we are in for some more snow tonight and tomorrow. They are using words like "significant" when they talk about how much snow we are going to get. How many inches are in a "significant"?

We did the "visit our relatives" thing Saturday afternoon and then met up with Rob and Jany Runion at Brickers Pub in Brownsburg. We had a great time munching on "bar" food and watching the ARCA race. Danica Patrick was making her stock car debut in this race. She did a great job and finished 6th even after she did a big spin and slide. She is a very talented driver as well as having a top notch car and engine package.

Sunday we met up with Niles and Deb in Lebanon. We made some decisions regarding our summer vacation plans. We are going to the Black Hills in July. Deb brought her computer and mifi hook up so we could decide on a campground. The mifi gadget was really cool and they are very pleased with it. They can hard wire it to a single computer or can use it as a wireless modem to provide Wifi for up to 5 computers. We decided to head to Custer S.D. and are going to get reservations at Custer's Gulch Campground. They have gotten good reviews on http://www.rvparkreviews.com/ and are close to all the attractions.

Sunday evening we were both perched in front of the TV to watch the Superbowl. We sure were disappointed in the outcome but it was a great game. Several of the players for New Orleans attended college here in the Hoosier state including their quarterback Drew Bees. They played a better game than the Colts and deserved the win.

I have to go into the office tomorrow morning and take an exam to "certify" for my job. I have been studying for the last 2 weeks. They give us 2 hours to take the test and mine starts at 9am. We'll see how it goes. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sad anniversary

Today was a good day to be slow at work. The snow started around 10am and once it started it came down fast and furious. I could have saved one of my inspections from yesterday for today so I could have "business" on both days. I'm glad I drove the extra miles yesterday and got it all done so I didn't have to be out on the roads today.

Rudee and I stayed huddled up in the 5th wheel all day watching it snow. Looks like we'll have no problems getting the 4-6 inches they predicted. I'm glad we're not further east. They are expecting more than a foot near Washington D.C.!!

17 years ago today I was working at the Sheriff's department. I was on "light duty" because I was recovering from a shoulder dislocation. In fact it was my last day before going back to regular duty. I was working in the dispatch center and was about an hour away from calling it a day and heading home. It was Friday and the weather was unseasonably warm. Around 1:30 in the afternoon I overheard a call from the State Police requesting assistance. One of their officers was on a traffic stop just over our county line and had been shot. Mike Greene was a Senior Master Trooper for the Indiana State Police and was assigned to our county where he had grown up as well. He was gunned down while attempting to arrest a motorist for an open warrant. He was on patrol when he saw 2 men outside their car parked alongside the interstate. The two were urinating on the side if the road. Mike turned his cruiser around and questioned them. He got I.D. from them both and had called in a records check on them and found out one of them was wanted for a traffic warrant. While Mike was handcuffing him the other guy pulled out a 25 cal. handgun and shot Mike in the chest killing him. I worked with Mike for several years. We regularly took our meal breaks together and he would back me up on calls and I would do the same for him. Mike stopped into the dispatch center earlier that day and was teasing me for having such a "cush" job. He was a nice guy who left a daughter and son behind. Rest in peace, my brother, I am proud to have called you my friend.

We are supposed to get together with friends Rob and Jany Runion tomorrow for dinner. Not sure if the snow is going to put a damper on that and any other plans we have for the week end or not. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Snow on the way!!

Work this week has been slow, slow, slow. I'm not sure what is going on with our business but my assignments have dropped off dramatically.

Tuesday I received a call from our mail forwarder that I had a package there so after work Rudee and I loaded up in the truck and drove to Brownsburg. We picked up our mail and the package which was the replacement heated water hose from Pirit. They sure got it here quickly. I hope the other one going out was just a fluke. We stopped in at Buffalo Wild Wings and had a quick dinner of chicken wings and nachos.

Wednesday I got the new hose hooked up. I picked up a set of new garden hose ends at Lowes and, using an older white hose I had, rigged up some adapters for the new hose. The heated hose has an electrical cord on the end that hooks to the campgrounds hydrant. This allows you to plug it in at the electrical post that is usually near the hydrant. The thermostat that turns the heating element on and off is on the opposite end that hooks into the 5th wheel. The company said that having this end inside a compartment (like mine is) has caused problems for others. I guess if the compartment stays warm enough the thermostat wont turn on and the hose will freeze. What I did was make up a homemade adapter so I can reverse the hose and then just ran an extension cord for the power. Hope it works.

We had a training meeting this morning in Indianapolis and I found out the other two appraisers were not getting many assignments either. Not that this is great news, but it made me feel better knowing I'm not the only one sitting around with nothing to do.

This evening the weatherman is saying we are in for the largest snow storm of the year. We decided (along with about 200 others) to head to Wal Mart and get some groceries. The place was a zoo. We took our time and probably bought a lot more than we should have. We got in line to check out and it took us 20 minutes at the register. There were only 2 people in front of us but the cashier, who had to have been at least 70 years old, was way slow. I'm not knocking senior workers but perhaps the manager that assigned her the register should have realized her limitations and put her on the 10 items or less aisle.

Looking forward to Super Bowl Sunday. Go Colts! We have not made any real plans and may just end up watching the game from right here in my recliner. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, February 1, 2010

lazy week end

We were pretty lazy compared to last week end. Friday evening we stopped at the local video store and rented a couple of movies. We subscribe to Netflix and can get 1 movie at a time and enjoy their service. The shipping is pretty fast and we can usually watch 2 movies a week this way. We did sign up for rentals at a local store though just for times when we were bored and wanted to watch more than 1 movie.

Rudee and I each picked out a movie and watched them both Friday evening. I guess I was not too impressed with them because I cant for the life of me remember the titles :-).

Saturday morning we drove over to Avon and visited my Mom. She was in good spirits and was thinking fairly clearly. We spent about an hour with her before she headed down for her lunch. We left there and went to Brownsburg to our mail forwarder and picked up our mail. We now have almost everything we need to do our taxes. I always get nervous starting that chore but we usually end up with a small refund, would be great if it was a great big fat refund but that's not normally the case :-).
We made it back to Crawfordsville and dropped off the rented movies back at the store. We didn't have any other plans so we rented 2 more movies and headed home. We watched both of those and headed to bed. See I told you we are pretty boring people :-).

Sunday morning I got a call from Niles who was unloading his bike from their trip to Florida. He has been researching his options on how to carry the bike on the back of his new Freightliner and wanted to do some measurements and test fittings. Sounded like a neat project so I offered to help and we headed to their house. We got the bike unloaded from his enclosed cargo trailer and measured out the space needed to fit it to the truck. He is going to have the frame lengthed and a new bed built to accommodate the motorcycle. The only drawback is which type of lift system to use. He found a hydraulic lift system that consists of a platform that sits flat on the ground and you anchor the bike to it. The platform is then lifted onto the back of the truck by a hydraulic arm. It's way cool but needs more room than a Rampage ramp like I have. Here is a pic of Niles' new truck.

We finished up all of our planning without really making any head way. The girls needed lunch and a Wal Mart run so we packed up and hit the road. Lunch was at the Red Onion in Sheridan where Niles got the biggest tenderloin sandwich I have ever seen. The meat and bun were both the size of a dinner plate! Huge!
We did some shopping and looking at Wal Mart and made a stop into the Harley dealership which was closed. They have "open 7 days a week" in large letters on their sign but I guess that's only on the summer :-(. Oh well no new motorcycles for us :-).

We dropped the Robinson's back off at their house and headed home. Rudee was talking to Steve and Trish on the phone on the way home and we made plans to meet them in Frankfort at Applebee's. We had a light meal and some good fellowship with them before heading back to the 5th wheel.

We made it back home and relaxed until bedtime. The weatherman says we are in for a bit of a warm up around here. Hooray!! Looks like we will get above the freezing mark most of this week. I sure am glad January is over. Next thing you know it will be spring and we can start riding the bike and enjoying the outdoors again, can't wait. I'll keep you posted.