Monday, January 31, 2011

Sun before the Storm

This afternoon the sun tried to shine through the cloudy overcast sky. On the TV, the local weather forecasters are calling for a huge snow storm headed our way. This evening and over night we should get an inch of new snow. Tuesday another 1 to 2 inches. Then the big one hits us Tuesday afternoon around 4pm until noon on Wednesday. During this time frame it could snow an inch an hour they predict. Our total accumulation by Wednesday evening is going to be 8 to 18 inches of new snow. And if that isn’t enough, Wednesday afternoon the winds are going to pick up with gusts around 40 mph causing much drifting and white outs. Everyone is expecting all the schools to be closed on Wednesday for sure.

I took the “before” picture, from our front bow window, showing about 3 inches on the ground now. Wednesday afternoon I will take another picture of the same area and will compare the amount of snowfall. According to the Weather Channel, this storm is going to reach all the way down into the middle of Texas! Not the snow of course, but severe weather. I guess we could call this storm the “Mother” of all storms! Surprised smile

Tomorrow morning we have a few items to pick up from the store. Then we will get back home and wait for the storm to hit. Hopefully it’s not going to be as bad as the weather men and ladies are predicting.

Ken and Margie took us out to dinner this evening. It was a great dinner with much conversation and a few laughs. Wilma and I really enjoyed ourselves. Thanks Ken and Margie.
Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

I just don’t understand, and am asking for suggestions, why there is such a large gap between the two pictures on my posting. Using Windows Live Writer there is no gap at all. In fact the bottom picture is up close to the bottom of the top picture. Any ideas from my readers would be greatly appreciated on what I may be doing wrong or how to correct this.  Thanks

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mr. Plumber & Mr. Tax Man

This past week I’ve been really busy. Started to work on our tub fixture last Monday. Just had to replace the washers in the hot and cold valves and the “O” rings in the directional control valve.
After gathering what tools I needed, I went to the basement to turn off the water. As there are no shut off valves just for the tubs, I had to shut off the water to the entire home. I don’t think Wilma appreciated that, but being the wonderful person she is, she never said a word about it.
The repair and replacement of the washers went perfect, no problem. However, the directing valve just could not be budged! I noticed that the wrench sold for doing this job is slightly over sized. So off to the Plumbing Store I go. Talking with the “expert plumber” he assured me that I was using the correct tool. I showed him how the tool fit loosely and that a standard 13/16 deep well socket fit perfectly, asking if they had a “longer” standard socket.100_0824
Of course he was then at a loss, as he was a professional plumber, not a tool salesman. I knew I never saw one longer, but what the heck did I have to loose in asking. I just had to express myself to him how much I appreciated the “fine quality of tools from Taiwan” that they carry for this type of job. He assured me that the valve could be removed, as I already had the hot and cold valves removed. Nope, if I try and put any more pressure on turning it, I’m going to round out the valve and then there would be no tool made to fit it and remove it. So I ended up buying the valve washers I needed and left.
Arriving back home, I was able to put a Vise Grip on the 13/16 socket and “put everything I had” into removing the valve. No go! I swear it must be soldered in! So instead of going “crazy” on it and breaking something, I just decided I would have to live with the small stream of water coming out of the faucet to the tub when taking a shower. No big deal I figure, at least until it gets to a point where there is more water going to the tub than the shower head. Eye rolling smile One tub down, one to go which I will tackle at a later date.

TurboTax was purchased a few weeks ago from Costco. I have used this program now for about 5 years, and so far I’ve been pretty happy with the program. It sure helps me get our taxes filled out with confidence. I usually do ours, Angel, Tina, and my Dad’s taxes every year.
I completed Angel’s yesterday, am waiting for a time from Tina when she is available to sit next to me to answer any questions that may come up, and we can get hers done. Yesterday evening Dad gave me his forms after dinner. His was completed before bedtime last night. So far I’m averaging about an hour to do the Federal and State returns. I will probably be doing Tina’s and ours this weekend sometime.
Between Monday and today I’ve been busy listing items on Craigslist to sell. It’s amazing when one looks around at how much stuff one has that isn’t needed or wanted any longer. So up on Craigslist it goes and good by stuff hello cash! Open-mouthed smile Wilma has been keeping track of our sales. Looks like we might be getting close to covering our trip to Myrtle Beach this spring. That would be nice.
This evening our friends Joe and Diane have invited us out to dinner. He has picked the restaurant and we are to meet them there at 5:00pm. Looking forward to a wonderful dinner along with good conversation and more than a few laughs. Joe wants to buy the dinners as a gift of congratulations for my retirement. My brother Ken and his wife Margie are taking Wilma and I out for dinner on Monday to celebrate my retirement. Man O Man, I sure wasn’t expecting all these dinners just for retiring! But Wilma and I are both looking forward to these two evenings out and appreciate it very much.
Wilma and I also joined Weight Watchers today. Looks like it’s time for me to get serious about loosing a few pounds. We know we will feel much better if we loose a few pounds, so we both will be giving it a try. No promises, just what ever happens happens and we will both except it. Hopefully with big smiles on our skinny frames! Open-mouthed smile
That’s it for today, going to get ready to go out to dinner. So until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Angel’s Cable & Kybee

Today’s plans were to re-locate Angel’s cable to her computer, and trim Kybee’s nails.

When Angel first moved into her condo and had the cable TV and internet hooked up, she had her computer in her bedroom. It took a while and she decided that the bedroom wasn’t the place for her computer. So she managed to disconnect it and move it downstairs in her kitchen. She temporarily had the cable on the floor between the TV in the living room and the computer in the kitchen. She kept the cable covered with throw rugs so she and Brooke would not trip on it, just until she was certain this new spot would work.  Once she decided it was perfect for her and Brooke, she asked if I could install the cable permanently. This morning was the time set aside to complete this task.



Angel had the throw rugs removed for me when I arrived this morning, as she knew I was planning on relocating the cable.






Now that looks much better. The cable was routed in the basement. Just to the left of her computer desk is the kitchen cabinets. When I slid the desk away from the wall so I could drill a hole in the floor, I noticed that the previous owners already had a nice round hole cut into the cabinets just above the floor line. Perfect! I’ll just remove the drawers in the cabinets and take a look. There inside the cabinets was another hole drilled. Perfect access for the cable run to the basement.

Within a couple hours the task was completed.





This afternoon it was Kybee’s turn to get some attention. He needed his nails trimmed and he really hates it. Fights me by pulling his little legs back just before I’m ready to clip the nail. I really am careful trimming because of the blood line. Don’t want to cut into that and cause unnecessary pain for him and a mess for me! I was able to handle his front paws, even though it took darn near an hour. For his back paws, Wilma had to hold him, talking softly to him to calm him down.

Upon completion he was a happy little guy, running around the living room ready to play.

Another task completed. And that’s about it for today.

Getting ready for the Brrr Cold weather. They are saying it’s going to go down into the low single didgets for the next 3 nights! So far this winter has been turning out to be a COLD one.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Train Show done, My trains almost all sold.

Last Sunday Dakota, my Grandson, and I were going to go to our first Train Show. However, he decided at the last moment that he really wasn’t interested and passed on going. I assured him that it was ok with me, and it didn’t hurt my feelings, as that was what he was concerned about. Actually, now that it’s over I would bet that he would have been totally bored with it.

The Troy Athens High School was where the show was held. I arrived only 15 minutes after it opened and was surprised that almost all of the parking was taken. I did find a spot at the rear of the school. About a 10 minute walk in the bitter cold to get to the door.

I had never been in this school before, and I was amazed at how large of a school it really was. The hallways branched out in three directions. Along each hall there were tables set up for the hundreds of venders selling their train related items. Every type and size of trains were represented. All for sale at very reasonable prices.

I entered my pick of one of the three hallways. Stopping and chatted with many of the different venders about everything I could think of from track types to scale size of the trains. More information than what I could absorb! I was told to go to the #3 gym. There would be a vender selling books of every kind. I needed to purchase the “Greenberg’s Pocket Guide”. In that book is a listing of every Lionel train set, locomotive, and car that was ever built, along with price values. Ah ha…just what I needed so I would be able to get an idea of the value of the trains I wanted to sell on Craigslist.

Well, 2 hours later I had just found gym #3! It’s on the third floor! Actually that school has two gym’s on the third floor, at different ends of the building! And I’m not talking about small elementary gym’s. I’m talking High School, full blown gym’s! By the time I found the vender selling books, he was sold out of the few that he had. But he did pull out his copy to show me what my Locomotive and tender was worth, the one I received as a 9 year old boy. I had to hide my disappointment at the low prices I saw, but I just knew I had to get one of those books to be able to accurately price what I have for sale.










Above is my set as a boy. There were a couple “box” cars along with it, buy are no where to be found. But I did have 3 of the flat cars.





I also had a Toys R Us set. It came with the original box it came in, but missing some of the accessories. Because it was missing some accessories it could not be sold as a complete set, but from the book the prices looked better to sell it piece by piece.

So after seeing what some of the items I had were worth, I wanted to leave and purchase the book at the local hobby train shop. Almost an hour later, after getting slightly lostEmbarrassed smile in that hue mongus high school, I was back in my car heading home.


Fast forward a few hours, and I had most of the Lionel items posted on Craigslist. 

Monday morning comes and I usually read blogs with my coffee, but that morning I decided to check my email first. There was a response for the Lionel trains, and the person furnished me their phone number. This is usually a sign that the person is serious about the items.

I went back to reading my blogs, which I read at least 15, while finishing up my second cup of coffee. Angel and Brooke come in and we visit a while before she has to go to work. I fixed Brooke some pan cakes for breakfast before taking her to school. On arriving back home from taking Brooke to school, I phoned the person who sent me an email about the trains.

Making a long story a little shorter, he was over at my home looking over all the items. Made me an offer I just couldn’t refuse, and now just about all the Lionel trains are sold with the exception of just 4 cars that belonged to my brother when he was a kid.

So after the transaction, the buyer leaves and I hand over the cash to Wilma to put into our Vacation fund. Ooops I mean our Motor Home fund for our trip that is scheduled for this early spring. I keep forgetting that I will never be taking vacations any more! Open-mouthed smile

Tomorrow I will be going over to Angel’s home to re-route the cable for her computer. It’s presently temporarily laying on the floor going across her room. I’m planning on routing it in the basement and up through the floor to where her computer is located. That shouldn’t take too long. Oh no, I probably just jinxed myself and now it will take me all day! Wish me luck.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless

Friday, January 14, 2011

Getting ready for the Model Train Show

Most of the day today I’ve been categorizing all of the model train items I have. Taking pictures of the Lionel train sets, extra track, and all the small cast iron cars and trucks.
This Sunday morning starting at 10am and going to 3pm, the local train hobbyist are having a huge show.  Click here to see the web page .
I phoned my Grandson, Dakota and asked if he would like to go with me. He sounded excited and can’t wait until Sunday morning. He told me that there might be a problem though. I asked what that might be. He said he might still be sleeping when I come to pick him up at 9:30am. Well of course I had to laugh and told him it was time to learn how to set an alarm clock! I would be picking him up at 9:30am and I can guarantee he will enjoy himself.
I will have all the trains and items in my trunk. So when we enter the show I can just go around to the several venders, show them the pictures of my items and hopefully sell all of it! Especially the one set I bought sometime in the mid 1980’s that has never been opened, still in the original box it was bought in.

This is the set that is still in the original box it came in from the mid 1980’s.

I’m even going to let go of my first train set given to me in the mid to late 1950’s! Here are the photo’s of my first train.
To my eyes the set looks pretty good for all the hours I have on it going round and round that track, day after day, year after year!

My neighbor was a big fan of collecting model cars and trucks. Then he had a large train set professionally built in his basement. If I remember correctly, he had about a dozen separate trains at about 4 different heights. Totally amazing! He would say he should be sent to an “Engineers driving school” to learn how to operate them all. I only wish I had pictures of it. His health started failing and he couldn’t go down the stairs, so he had the same “pro’s” come back and disassemble it all. Toward the end of the dismantling, he made sure he had several boxes full that he gave to Wilma and I. They have been stored for some time now, and we have decided that we won’t ever be assembling what we have, so this is why I’m perusing ways to sell all of it.
There is quite an assortment of “collectors” cast iron cars and trucks. They are in several sizes, that is the reason for the tape measure on the table with them.

I couldn’t get them all in one shot, so two shots gives one a better idea of all the cars and trucks.

Tomorrow I will be taking Dad out to dinner. Then on Sunday, Dakota and I will make our trip to the “Train Show”.
I only wish I had some idea what value this all has. I guess I’ll just put my faith In God and hopefully the “collectors” will be fairly honest with me. I don’t expect to get top dollar, and it would be nice if they get a good deal and I get a great deal!
Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Humidifier and MORE Snow!

Tuesday – Humidifier.

Yesterday was dedicated to replacing Angel’s old Montgomery Wards humidifier. We thought I might have salvaged it the other day, but Angel said she turned off the water to it because the drum wouldn’t turn any more.

So yesterday morning I was off to Home Depot to purchase a new Honeywell humidifier for her. I like doing business with Home Depot and Lowes as they both give a 10% discount to Vets! You just have to show your veteran ID Card.

I was at Angel’s home around 10am to start with the new installation of the humidifier. Removing the old one was a snap. Just a little sheet metal trim and the new one was installed on her furnace. I had to go to ACE hardware to purchase about 2 ft. of 1/4 inch soft copper for the water line. To my surprise the bulk rate was $2.59 per foot. I kept looking and they had a kit for hooking up an ice maker for $21.95. It included 16 ft. of tubing, a compression coupling, (which I needed) and a line piercing valve. So with my simple math going in high gear, the ice maker kit was purchased. Smile By the time Angel returned home from work around 4pm, the job was completed. That’s including a trip back home for lunch.

It started snowing quite hard around 5pm. Weather reports saying we should get between 3 and 5 inches of snow by tomorrow.

Wednesday – Snow.

My built in alarm went off this morning at 5am. Got up, got the coffee going, and went outside to shovel the walkway to the patio door, where Angel and Brooke should be arriving within an hour.



It’s a little hard to tell, but my tape rule shows about 4 and 1/2 inches of new snow. Sad smile 

Going back to the 1960’s, the saying on Michigan license plates was “Water-Winter Wonderland”. I have just realized what the “Winter” part of it really meant. It means I “wonder” what the heck I’m still here in Michigan for in the winter!

I guess it could have been worse and have been heavy slushy snow, or I could be living in the New England states and be hit with their 14 inches of snow. The snow was really light and fluffy, so it was no problem at all shoveling the little I did. When it became later in the morning I got out the snow blower and cleared my drive and side walks along with my neighbors’. I’m sure they will appreciate that.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Crackle Barrel then Great Lakes Maritime Center

We received a phone call from Gary this morning. He was wondering what our plans were for the day. When he asked if we would like to meet him and Cheryl at the Crackle Barrel in Port Huron we jumped at the idea. So within an hour we were all at the Crackle Barrel ready for a wonderful breakfast.
A well satisfied customer was more than happy to take our picture. It was looking like another perfect day. Blue skies, sunshine, and plenty of cold to go around! Brrrr 18F at noon.

Leaving Crackle Barrel we followed Gary to the Great Lakes Maritime Center. We never knew this place existed and we were pleasantly pleased. It’s situated in the city of Port Huron, MI. where the Black and St Clair Rivers meet.

Inside Gary and Cheryl gave us the grand tour. Explaining just about every piece of memorabilia that was on display.
As you look just to the right of Gary’s shoulder, there is a plastic clear tube, from the floor to ceiling.


In this tube contains the variety of shells that are native to the River.

A volunteer came up to us and asked if we had any questions. I was very impressed with the information he told us and the pamphlets that he handed us. You can find out much more than I am able to tell you by CLICKING ON THIS LINK . If you are really interested in the Great Lakes Shipping THIS IS ANOTHER LINK TO CHECK OUT.


Looking North, up stream of the St. Clair River. Those buildings being in Canada.


Looking South, down stream. Industry of Canada on the left.


Now we do not have Pelican’s around here at anytime of the year. But I just had to stand and pat this little guy on the head!

Sorry I didn’t take off my coat, it makes it look like the building was very cold. Actually it was pleasant inside, maybe 70F, and where the sun was shining in it was even warmer.
What a great day of fun with our best friends.
Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sun, Snow, and Humidifiers

Started this morning with a cup of coffee, looking outside at the sun shinning and reading my morning Blogs. Even though we had a 2 inch, very soft snow fall last night, it was cold. Around 16F this morning. But I couldn’t help but to notice that when a slight breeze blew, large pieces of snow would fall from the branches of the trees. Really beautiful I thought, with the sun shinning, the skies bright blue, and the white snow falling from the trees ever so often. Then I realized….I’m in Michigan in the winter! It’s COLD! And I want to be where Rick and Paulett  or Al and Kelly are. Oh well, maybe one day. But for now I’ll have to enjoy reading their Blogs and follow them each day on their excursions.

After coffee, I headed outside to shovel the walks. The snow was so light and fluffy, it took no effort what so ever. I thought to myself that this is so much nicer than last year when I wouldn’t be able to clear the snow until after working 9 hours. Can you tell I’m enjoying my retirement? Smile

Early afternoon Wilma and I went over to Angel’s condo. Angel wanted her mom to help her place and hang some items on the walls. I was there to hook up the old humidifier.


I noticed that it was an old “Montgomery Wards” brand humidifier. Wards went out of business so long ago I can’t even remember the year. I’m thinking sometime in the early ‘80’s maybe. The humidifier was bone dry, so I started with the “saddle valve”. Turning off the water to her condo, I worked the valve a couple times  opening and closing it. Then went back to turn on the water to the condo. Success! We had flow to the humidifier. I had to assure it would turn off when the float was up enough, which it did. Then I asked Angel to turn up her heat so I could visualize the humidifier in action. Success again! Everything seems to be working satisfactorily. For now that is.

Wilma and I talked it over and we are going to buy Angel a new humidifier to replace that ol Monkey Ward special soon. At least I will be able to sleep better at night knowing she has a new Humidifier instead of this ancient thing.

From Angels home, Wilma and I went over to pick up Dad and the three of us went out to dinner to Acropole in Roseville. The special that we wanted to try was their “short ribs”. Dad and I had the short ribs, Wilma had the Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner. All three dinners were great!

Tomorrow we are heading to Costco. Fill up the car with gas and look for a nice roast beef for our Monday dinner, among other things. You just can’t walk into a Costco and leave with just one item! Wilma is planning on having everyone over for dinner on Monday to celebrate Savannah’s 7th. Birthday.


Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 3 and 4 of Retirement

Ok, now I believe everyone that is retired and made that statement to me about not having enough time. Those reading this, and are retired will probably agree. You know, the statement….”Since I’ve been retired I’ve been so busy I don’t know how I had time to do anything when I was working!”

All those plans I had that was going to be started by now, haven’t been started yet.

Monday started with a trip to Costco for some gasoline. It was $2.99.9 a gallon. Ouch,… but what I’ve been hearing from the news media we should be seeing $4.00, possibly $5.00 per gallon by the end of 2011. If it hits $5.00 a gallon it will really put a dent on our plans on traveling. Not saying we are not going to travel, just that the traveling will be limited a little. Of course one cannot go to Costco for gas without going into the store to pick up a few needed items. Which is what we did.

From Costco we headed to my Dr.’s office for my appointment at 11am to hear the results of my annual blood work. I did get encouraging news that everything looked good, but with a warning that I really needed to concentrate on loosing a few pounds to help with the Cholesterol readings. I thought for sure they would be way too high and I would have to be put on meds. So it looks like I now have another item on my list to do! GET SOME EXERCISE! Crying face

Later Monday afternoon, Dad phoned me and told me of the passing of my cousin who lives in Tampa, Fl. The family is sending him back to Michigan for burial. He will be at the funeral home Tuesday afternoon. I told Dad that I would see him around 3pm Tuesday at the funeral home. 

Tuesday morning and the only plans so far was to be at the funeral home at 3pm. At 8am I was driving my Granddaughter Brooke to school. Had to hurry to get back home to pick up Wilma as we had a 9am appointment with the Chiropractor. Which we made and are both feeling much better.

From the Chiropractor we stopped at Meijer to do some grocery shopping for some sale items. Being retired now, you have to keep a sharp eye open all the time for those sale items you know. Be right back  Got home from Meijer, put the items away, made lunch and then had to take a “power nap” on the couch. Of course Kybee, our Pug, had to lay right up close for his nap also! After the nap, a quick shower, and off to the funeral home. Talked to Dad and he agreed to stop over at my home and ride with Wilma and I to the funeral home tomorrow. He should be arriving around 12:15pm, the service will be starting at 1pm. After several hours at the funeral home, I arrived home just as Wilma was starting to prepare a delicious Catfish dinner. Open-mouthed smile And was it ever delicious!

This brings me to now, sitting at the computer making this Blog entry. Realizing that now tomorrow half the day will be taken up for my cousins funeral. But also realizing, that I’m so thankful to be retired, and am able to attend his funeral. Retirement…you just gotta love it! I sure do.

Almost forgot….in the mail yesterday was a statement that my first pension check has been electronically deposited into my checking account. I think I will frame that one.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.