Saturday, April 10, 2010

Making Work For Myself...

Yep, seems like one last cold spell for us. 

Going down to 34 degrees tonight and very windy.

All those people that planted their plants during the recent warm up will be covering them tonight I am sure.

They say we have the perfect conditions for a hard frost tonight. 

Sure would be nice if the weather would make up its mind.

As I told you yesterday I installed a new TV antenna.  One that I am pleased with.

This antenna like others on Rvs has a built in amplifier that requires 12 volts to be fed to it from the RV.  This voltage gets to the amplifier through the coax that runs to it from inside.

So I decided to check the voltage on the coax to the antenna.

Why did I do this -- I am now asking myself.  The antenna was working just fine.

When I put my volt meter on the coax I got a reading of 10 volts instead of 12 volts. Surprised

Now if I hadn’t put the meter on it I would have never known and apparently the antenna was doing just fine.

You see this is how I make work for myself.

Now I have to find out WHY I don’t have 12 Volts.

I swing the antenna around so that I can get to the connector from the ground instead of having to take everything up on the roof.

This is going to be a quick job -- Right?

I cutoff the coax connecter and take a look and sure enough there is some corrosion inside so I replace it -- I meter it again and now I am getting 11.3 Volts.

So now I know the other connector needs to be replaced too.

Well I am not getting up on the roof today to fix this...I have had enough connector replacing for one day. 

Actually just so I have plenty to do -- I am going to replace the entire coax now since I am going to be up there anyway.

I know some will say -- it is a good thing I found this.  I know...I know...

But if I keep coming up with stuff to do I will never get that “other” list done.

That is all that I got done today -- well other then running to the local Lowe’s to pick up a few small items for the motorhome.  Items that will of course mean more work -- again.

By the way -- I told you that I had listed our boat for sale in Craigslist the other day.

Well yesterday I received two emails from people that are interested in buying our boat.

I will get back to them to see what they have in mind and will let you know what happens.

I know it is a short post today -- I guess I need more stuff to happen -- good stuff of course.

That is it for now...

Ken and Nanette

Friday, April 9, 2010

Is Going Back In Time Therapy and A New TV Antenna...

All I want to know is where did summer go?

It was very cold today and windy and going down to the 30s tonight.

I am still ready for warm weather -- it isn’t like I got enough of it already.

Yesterday I posted about how I have really gotten hooked on old movies.

Today I thought about why they appeal to me so much. 

Yesterday in response to the post Al of THE BAYFIELD BUNCH wrote:

“Old movies are a glimpse into a past era we will never see or experience. A look into simpler times. The mindset gap between then & now is incredible. Where did the train come of the track.” 

As I thought of what he said something I read shortly after the 9/11 tragedy came back to me.

I remember reading that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 viewership of American Movie Classics, Turner Classic Movies and TV Land skyrocketed.

I wondered why this would have happened. 

The first two channels are basically classic movies.  The third is a channel that has reruns of old sitcoms mainly.

As I thought about this I now wonder if people were trying to escape the events that shook our society.  Perhaps it was to just go back to as Al wrote...”A simpler time.”

Maybe it was a way to escape what was being brought into our home 24/7 of the events of that day.

Perhaps the past holds therapeutic value.  A way to give our mind and emotions a rest.

So today I found myself really getting involved in a movie that TCM was running.  I watched it intently and found myself getting very involved in the simple storyline. 

During this time I don’t remember thinking about anything else.

It had a happy ending and I felt myself happy for the characters and feeling satisfied.

All of this may sound strange but if I go back to the reports I mentioned about the trend in viewership there may be something to all of this.

I also remember that I didn’t want to watch anymore news after a while after 9/11.  I was saturated with bad news and images.  I just didn’t want to absorb any more.

I have often wondered what it would be like to roll the clock back to an earlier time just to see if it really was different back then. 

To see if there was a deeper satisfaction in life and less stress.

The only problem with doing that would be when I came back to the current time I am sure I would be shocked at seeing just how bad things have gotten.

So today -- I got the new Digital TV Antenna made by King Controls.

King Controls is most known for their Satellite Systems but has entered this antenna in the Off-Air Market.

This is the new one...

rv-digital-antenna

That replaced this one...

Winegard-Replacement-Head You may not believe this but it really was a 5 minute job to remove the old antenna and replace it with the new one.

All it took was disconnecting the coax and removing two small clips on the retaining pins and then remove the pins. 

Remove the old head -- place the new one in place and reinsert the pins and clips and reattach the coax.

If you ever get this antenna make sure you save the pins since you do not get new ones with this antenna.

That was it.

I utilized the old amplifier -- although they send you a new one if you want to use is.

Turned on the TV and had a picture.

I could tell immediately that the signal was stronger than with the old antenna.

The other thing I was wondering about was how directional it was.  In other words did I have to be exact when aiming at the tower.

Well to my surprise it was much less directional than the old antenna. 

I turned it off axis, raised it up and down and it took quite a lot to lose the signal all together.

I also rotated the antenna 180 degrees -- hitting the back of the antenna opposed to the front -- it made no difference. 

The antenna picked up the signal just as well being 180 degrees off axis.  I must say this really surprised me.

The footprint of the antenna is at least half the size of the old antenna which means less to blow around up there.

I think King Controls may have a winner here for those that are having problems receiving digital channels on their old antenna.

In our case it made a very big difference.  We are using the old power supply and the same coax so the ONLY thing that was changed was the antenna head.

I am very happy with this purchase.

That is all I have for today...

We will see what tomorrow brings...

Ken and Nanette

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Old Movies and I Really Like The New Compressor...

They issued what is called a Red Flag Warning for today. 

It is a warning of a fire danger due to atmospheric and ground conditions.

Apparently due to these things there is a high probability of fire should an ignition source be introduced to brush or grass.

It doesn’t seem like things would burn easily as I have been outside.  To me it seems wet but I guess the experts know best.

Does anyone like old movies?

About a year ago I started watching Turner Classic Movies and have found a whole new world of movies.

I am sure some of you will think I am crazy for just now watching old movies.

I had not previously watched old movies.  So for me I am discovering movies and actors that I had heard about but never watched.

Having been born in 1958 most of the movies were made before I was born.

To see the skill of some of these actors and the filming techniques of so many years ago is intriguing to me and of course the classic story lines.

I also enjoy hearing the back stories about some of the movies and actors.

When I realize they didn’t have the aid of computers or modern cinematography and still produced the products they did it is amazing.

They really had to do things the hard way.

I must admit it feels kind of funny enjoying movies and getting to know actors that were from so long ago. 

Some of the actors are of course long gone but for me they are brand new.

The movies of recent have not really been an attraction for me. 

I am sure it is just me but there is a limit to my attraction to Computer Generated Special Effects. 

I appreciate the work that goes into them but unfortunately it has become more technology than talent any more in my opinion.

There also isn’t an actor that I just can’t wait to see.  There was a time when I had my favorites but not recently.

So -- I guess some would think me strange to be sitting watching movies for the 30s, 40s, and 50s as if they were made yesterday.

There are times that I will see someone and go to the internet to see who they were and a little about them. 

Kind of like a history lesson for me.

Today I got out the new Craftsman Air Compressor I bought.

00915309000

I really like it. 

I intentionally let the air out of a couple of tires to see how long it would take to bring them up 20 lbs.  Since we are up on jacks I knew the tires wouldn’t mind much.

I was very surprised at how quickly this little compressor filled the tires.

The compressor did cycle on a lot as I filled the tires. That is simply due to the volume I was pushing. 

The pressure held steady based on what I was pulling and what the compressor was able to generate.

It says to use a 15 Amp outlet. 

I didn’t get the impression it was pulling anything like that though.  Of course the real hit is as the moment of motor start. 

I didn’t have my Amp Probe out or I would have clamped it just to see what it pulls.  I may do that next time I get it out.  After all I need to justify keeping that Amp Probe in the RV.

As I said the other day I also like how quiet it is when it runs.  It is not very loud at all even with it sitting next to me.

I also think we will be using the high volume low pressure capability for filling air mattresses and tubes.

I would recommend the compressor for anyone looking for a portable 120V compressor to use with the tires on their RV and Truck or Car.

It is certainly up to the job with room left over.

Our new Fancy Dancy Super Colossal War of The Worlds Ray Beam Looking Digital TV Antenna arrives tomorrow.

DTV

It will probably work just like the old non fancy dancy Non-Digital TV Antenna did...but...there is a chance it will be much better.

I will let you know how that goes.

It is supposed to rain tomorrow -- and that will drive me crazy not being able to get it installed and tried out.

They promise it only takes 5 minutes to install -- yeah right!  I haven’t had anything in this RV that took 5 minutes to install yet.

It always “starts out” simple enough but by the time I am through I usually find myself sitting on the curb thinking to myself about why things aren’t going as planned.

I didn’t get around to going through more stuff today as it became a “chrome cleaning and polishing day”.

I didn’t intend to spend so much cleaning and polishing but once I got started I couldn’t stop. Surprised

I thought I would just touch up a few spots on one of the boat trailer chrome wheels -- and then...well then I couldn’t stop.

So -- the boat wheels, the kids bicycles and even some chrome on the motorhome.

You know winter can really take a toll of things when you look closely. 

You don’t see it happening but if not taken care of it would just keep deteriorating.

I guess nothing lasts forever...

That is all for today!

See you tomorrow...

Ken and Nanette

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spent The Day Getting Rid Of Stuff and The Boat Is Up For Sale...But...

It was hot today but we worked on ridding ourselves of more stuff.

Although we didn’t get everything disposed of we did get a great start on it. 

It is somewhat surprising the things we kept.  Some of it really made no sense as to WHY we kept it.

As I look back on when we were rushing to get out of the house I remember that toward the end we were really stressed and we got to a point that we were just shoving stuff anywhere we could find.

There were a few things that I am glad we kept -- now we just have to find a place for it.

I also know there are containers in the basement that we will say the same thing about as to why we kept it.

Of all the things we got rid of there has only been one single item that we think got thrown away by mistake.

It was the remote for the surround sound system in the RV.  I was able to find a replacement online and we replaced it.

I think that is pretty good though with the tons of stuff we went through in a very short time and only have one thing missing.

We think often of what the readers we have are going through as they make the transition and are getting rid of all their stuff.

We have wondered what we would tell them if they asked us for advice.  For us it was a blur.

If I were to give just one piece of advice it would be to get someone you trust to come in and help you decide what to keep.

We did this and what she did was to remove the emotion and inject an objective viewpoint.

It wasn’t just what we should get rid of but there were things we were going to get rid of that she insisted we keep.  She was so right!

I know that the hardest part for us were the emotions as we went through things we hadn’t seen for years.

The memories that some of that stuff brought back made it tough to get rid of it.

I must tell you though -- the encouragement and support we received from the people on RV-Dreams was priceless.

We will NEVER forget that -- in some of our darkest times -- they were there to offer their experiences and advice -- and you know what? -- they were right and we made it.

I have gone back through our blog posts from the beginning and read them many times.  The emotions come right back up just like when certain things happened.

We are not apparently that far away from the past to not be able to remember it well.

Now for the boat...

Thank you all for the comments and email!

First of all -- I am definitely keeping the wife!

As for the boat -- we read the comments as they came in all day and they were all good!

I agree that selling it is what needs to be done.  Now the question is when and for how much.

So -- I listed it on the local Craigslist and put a very fair price on it.  We want to see what happens.

There are a LOT of boats listed right now and I am curious to see what people are willing to pay.

Now if it doesn’t sell we will probably take it to New York and do as Kerri suggested and put it For Sale up there. 

It isn’t like there aren’t a few lakes in the area we are going!

The employers have told us they have no problem whatsoever with us bringing it.

So lets see what happens.

Oh by the way...here is a picture of it.  You can’t really tell from this picture but it is very sparkly -- it has heavy Metal Flake -- just like all Rangers.  ...and it really flies on the water!  Yahoo!!!

IMG00048-20100406-1135 

Regarding the car -- well we got nowhere with that. 

Ever ask the same question and get the same answer and you act surprised? 

Well that didn’t happen to me.

I knew there were very few options.  The trailer is not one of them.  Too much weight and too much hassle getting it on and off.

So we will need to find a suitable vehicle to tow -- we are not going to try to do that before we leave for New York though.  Simply too much going on now.

I just saw Nanette and the boys heading to the dumpster with a wagon load of stuff we are getting rid of.  We also have a “Donate Pile” to drop off tomorrow.

I guess that is all for today -- I am sure tomorrow we will get rid of some more stuff.  Oh...and I never got around to testing out the compressor...something else to do tomorrow.  I got so wrapped up in what we were doing I completely forgot.

Until tomorrow!

Ken and Nanette

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Watching The Storms Go By and Deciding About Our Boat...

Today the humidity showed up. 

Up until now the humidity has been low but today that changed.

It was very “sticky hot” this afternoon. 

Then the weather alerts started. 

It seems the thunderstorms started popping up out of nowhere.  We did not get hit by any but at one point we had them to the North, South and East of us.

A few hours later the tornado warnings started for the counties to the Northeast of us.  They have continued to issue them as the storms march East.

It looks like the worst it over for today for us.

Today Nanette and I received an email that makes us think we have a position for the winter.  I will fill you in once it is finalized.

If we do take this opportunity we may find ourselves having to travel quite a distance from our workamping job in New York.

So we needed to rethink having our boat with us in New York.

We now need to decide if we are going to take it to New York of if we are going to keep it at all.

We are considering selling it.  Our options regarding storing it are limited and we aren’t sure when we would even be able to pick it up.

There is sentiment attached to it since I bought it new and we have really enjoyed having it.  The other thing is it has been paid for - for a number of years and getting another one is not in the cards financially.

The other wall we are heading for is that we want to have a vehicle we tow instead of having Nanette drive separately. Not only is it more expensive to drive it but I really want her with me while we travel.

The more we talk about it the more it seems selling the boat may be the right thing to do.

Storing it only buys us time and with not knowing when we would use it again it doesn’t make much sense to just let it sit.

Just like RVs -- letting a boat and engine sit doesn’t always end well.

So that we didn’t get bored we decided to take on another thing to think about.

We are wondering if there is any way to tow our Highlander.  We really don’t want to get rid of it but due to the fulltime all wheel drive and the research I have done the only way to tow it is on a trailer.

Not an enticing thought due to weight, cost and the issue of loading and unloading.

Hmm...nothing like decisions to make your mind work.

Of course if you have nothing to do and want to give us some suggestions on these two items -- we are all ears!

I got my new compressor today...

I love getting new stuff...I am such a kid with such things!

Remember this...

00915309000

Got it unpacked -- put the hose and fitting on -- and fired it up.

The first thing I noticed is how quiet it was.

The second thing I noticed is how quickly it came up to pressure and then shutoff.

I aired up some bike tires but haven’t put it to the test on the RV tires.

The reviews have been very good on this compressor and it has been reported to be up to the job of the higher pressure RV tires.

The only thing I am a little concerned about is the hose.  It is not a heavy duty hose by any means.  I will probably replace it at a later date but it will do the job for now.

I will give you a more detailed review after I put it to the test tomorrow.

I also ordered the new King Digital TV Antenna that I told you about a while back. 

It just became available over the last couple of days for purchase and now it is on the way to us.

I will give you a review of it once I have it up and running.

While I like the smaller footprint I am curious if it is truly better than the Batwing we are all familiar with.

I also suspect this new antenna is going to be more directional in nature but I will find that out as well and let you know.

On a strange note...

We watched 2 dogs today across the river sit at the base of a tree looking up at something they had apparently run up the tree.

I got out the binoculars but couldn’t see anything up in the tree.  I did however watch the dogs sit there all day

There was a little white one that was quite the tree climber.  I would estimate he was making it about 10 feet up the tree.

He would climb up -- then slide back down -- bark twice -- and then lay down and just look up the tree.

I have never seen a dog that could climb so well -- kind of strange actually.

Although me being so intrigued by this was probably stranger yet.

Well -- not much else to report for today but let us know if you have any ideas on our boat and car dilemma.

Thanks for stopping by!

Ken and Nanette

Monday, April 5, 2010

De-Winterizing and Looking For The Good...

Today I took a little time to de-winterizing our motorhome. 

Having been here for 3 months during winter we had configured our plumbing to handle the cold.

This included heat tape, insulation and protection of the water lines from the CG feed to the inlet of the motorhome.

I removed all of that today.  It sure seemed easier to put it on than take it off.

I also removed some small amounts of insulation that I had installed in the openings for the CG hookups.

Now to leave is as simple as getting ready to leave from anywhere else. 

Just unhook water, power and sewer and we are off.  Before I got everything taken off it looked like our motorhome would never move again.

I need to take a little time to address an issue that came up yesterday.

Some of you may have seen a comment on our blog yesterday that was not very complimentary. 

We do not moderate our comments and I didn’t get to it quickly.

This comment was seen by a few of our readers and it resulted in emails to us asking why I don’t respond to this writer since this is not the first time this kind of comment was left.

Well let me tell you about how I see things.

I have worked with and been around many different types of people.  This also included people from many different cultures.

There are many types of personalities and outlooks on life that we run into.

I also know that each of us have decisions to make when confronted with people that want to stir things up.

There are people that I have been around that fit my description of trying to be the “Captain of the World”.

Basically they see the world and the people in it in need of fixing. 

Fixing so that they conform to their opinions and beliefs. 

These people are the type that if you say something is white they will tell you it is black.

They tend to sit back in a conversation whether in person or online and watch for someone to make a statement of fact.  Then they chime in to disagree with that statement.

The other thing they will do it take something that someone else has done and give their opinion on it. 

They will tell you why you are wrong or in some way want to make you believe that you had some ulterior motive for doing what you did.

Yes, Captains of the World!

I deal with people that do this -- the same way every time.

I ignore them.

They have a right to their opinion.  Their judgments of what I choose to do have no meaning to me.

I live my life looking for the good in people.

During my days as an executive I always made it my first priority to see more in the people that reported to me then they saw in themselves. 

To always create an environment that would allow them to express their creativity and passion. 

In doing this I wanted them to be happy in what they did and to never feel devalued for any reason.

So we put our blog out here -- and as Howard told me one day on the phone -- when you put it out there you will get it all.

To those that want to see me respond to some of the opinions that have been expressed about the decisions we have made -- I hope this explains why I don’t do it.

Before you think I am a wimp -- I must tell you that there was a time in my life that I didn’t hold back when challenged.  Not being proud of it but I was not someone to challenge regarding something I felt strongly about.

I found that it was much more effective to not do this. 

It always became an emotional argument. 

Emotional arguments are never won and usually impart more damage to the people doing the arguing than the issue itself would have.

We are very comfortable with the decisions we have made. 

We also know that the vast majority of our visitors here have been very helpful to us and would reach out to do what they could should we ever ask.

We would do the same for them.

Throughout all or our changes we have been embraced by a community of people that are priceless to us.

I am sorry to have taken up your time with this issue but I did feel the need to address those that want to protect us.  We do appreciate the sentiment.

So we will keep writing and doing the best we can in this ‘ol life.  We will make the decisions that are best for our family.

We know that we have made as many bad decisions as we have made good ones. 

We will help anyone that asks for help in anyway we can.

By doing this we seek the same as most -- to be happy and focus on the true priorities in life.

A life that needs to be lived one day at a time and each of those days needs to be captured for the joy that each has in it.

Well that is all I have to say about that.

We had a very enjoyable and peaceful Easter Sunday -- I only spent a short time on the de-winterization thing and the rest was enjoying time with the family.

Just as it should be!

See you tomorrow!

Ken and Nanette

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Mother And “Children” Are Doing Just Fine...

Today we are pleased to announce two additions to our family.

Mother and Children are doing fine...

No it is not Nanette!

We have 2 members (well now 4) of the family that we haven’t told you about.

Their names are Mischief, Sassy -- and the new additions -- Ricochet, and Dusty.

They are our Chinchillas.

Here is Mischief...(dad)

100_1470

100_1471

Here is Sassy (mom) with little one...

100_1454

Here is one of the little ones...called a Kit. 

He is about 6 hours old in this picture.

IMG00045-20100403-1821

...and another...

IMG00044-20100403-1820(2)

We have had our Chinchillas for about 2 years.  They are unique little creatures.  They have very distinct “personalities”.

Their names reflect this. 

Mischief is the troublemaker but will allow us to do anything with him.  He is very laid back actually just sneaky.

Sassy on the other hand is exactly what her name implies -- she sets the rules and takes nothing off anyone.

They relate to our family members differently. 

For instance Mischief and Christian are buddies.  They spend a lot of time together.

Of course Mischief’s real girlfriend is Nanette and always has been. 

He will flirt with her and loves her to rub him under his chin.

For some reason Sassy really took to me while she was carrying her little ones.  She would come up to me and pull my hand under her belly to rub it.

She wanted nothing to do with anyone else.

Sassy had her babies this morning about 10 AM. 

She allowed us to take them out to check them over without even taking notice.

She is going to make a good mom -- she is taking care of them very well -- even though she has no chance of getting any sleep.

We had to remove Mischief from Sassy for the first 48 hours.

He is NOT happy!  He is actually acting mad about the whole thing.

We think he is most unhappy that he can’t be the “protector” and he continues to “talk” to us expressing his displeasure as well as kicking everything in his cage into the floor.

Chinchillas are extremely clean pets and very low maintenance.  They are very entertaining to have around and Nanette, the kids and Banjo love them.

And of course their fur is about the softest thing you have ever felt.

Banjo knows there are little ones now and has been paying a lot of attention to Sassy. This morning we saw them nose to nose -- communicating apparently.

So now you have met our other little ones.

Today we watched some TV...spent a lot of time outside and talked about the opportunities in front of us.

We are actively pursuing some winter workamping opportunities that have popped up.  We will fill you in should they develop further.

We are watching the NCAA Final Four Basketball Games this evening and that should be about it for today.

Nanette and I want to wish everyone a Joyous and Restful Easter!

Thank you for stopping by!

Ken and Nanette