Chuck's  2011 Ramblings...

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11-24-11

Thanksgiving Day.  I guess it is time to update this page.  Its not like it has been overly busy around here, more like I have been overly LAZY and ignored the Ramblings.  I have been doing fairly well with my continuing weight loss and quest for a diabetes free existence.  As of this week I had lost a touch over 64 lbs.  The doctor ha told me at my 3-month checkup that I will lose weight slower than most folks because of my diabetic condition.  I hope to be under what I weighed at our wedding by the time our anniversary rolls around near the end of January.  As far as diabetes, I am not taking any oral medications at all for diabetes, I am off of my cholesterol medication as well.  The only medications I am on now is a pill for my thyroid and a medication to ward off gallstones, which I have to take for 6 months after my surgery.  I check my blood sugars every morning and if they creep up to 150 or higher, then I have to take a very small dose of insulin.  I usually end up taking about one dose a week or two at the most.  So my pancreas has awoken and begun its work on insulin.   Hopefully in a few months the need to inject that little bit every once in a while will also disappear. 

This is the first Thanksgiving that the In-laws are hosting at their new house, which is right across the street from us.  I still have to break out the folding tables and extra chairs, now I have to hump them across the street to the In-laws house.  There is going to be almost 20 people there to feast this year, All of Karen's brothers and their families, Cheryl & her fiancÚ along with Cameron, Casey and the biscuit in the oven.  Michael and his girlfriend with Karen and I round out the brood. UPDATE, I ate so much I think I am going to be sick!  I had three small hunks of white meat, a tablespoon of spuds, a tablespoon of dressing and a tablespoon of green bean casserole, I could not eat it all - gave most of it to Cameron who is starting that EATING stage...

I have begun shooting trap with a shotgun at the shooting club I belong to.  I have been using a Remington 1100 semi-automatic and until I managed to get the barrel choked down I was not hitting many of the little clay pigeons.  Now that the barrel is choked I hit about four out of five on a good day.  The trap shooting led me to sell my beloved Desert Eagle .357 magnum pistol so I could afford to buy a dedicated trap shotgun.  I looked at new ones, and when I picked myself back up off the floor from sticker shock, I decided a used trap gun would be my future.  So began the hunt on the Internet and local gun joints.  I had been planning on buying one at the gun show that will be going on Thanksgiving weekend, however I located a perfect used shotgun on the Internet which was actually located up in Richmond.  So yesterday I drove up there to take a look at it.  My wife is sure I am nuts, driving over 220 miles round trip just to view a gun.  I explained that if I could buy it and have it shipped to my FFL gun dealer, where I would have three days to inspect it.  If I found that it was not what I wanted I could then go through all of the hassle to send it back and wait for my money to be returned, all of that would cost me shipping both ways (if I returned it) and at least one FFL transfer fee.  So to avoid a scenario such as that, I drove up to look at it.  I am glad I did as it saved me about $100 in shipping and FFL transfer fees.  I ended up buying it after haggling with the owner and getting him to drop the price enough that I saved over $350 buying it in person vice online and all I was out was about $24 in gas expense.  The Citori from Browning is a competition trap shooting rifle, a new one of a comparable model would cost me in the neighborhood of four - five THOUSAND dollars, this one is sixteen years old so I paid a fraction of that for it.  I lucked out, as this shotgun is as tight as it was when it was new, I would guess that it has seen very little actual use from the previous owner.  I will rectify the use issue, starting this Sunday!

I also managed to convince my wife and daughter to let our grandson Cameron go trap shooting with me.  I purchased a youth sized 20 gauge gun for him to use.  I tried to get Karen to try it, however she fired several rounds out of the 20 gauge and that was enough, so much for a sport we could enjoy together.  So it is just Cameron and I shooting trap down at the club.  Cameron is still practicing proper gun handling and he hits about 1 out of four clay targets.  But he really enjoys it. 

 Here are some pictures of our new found activity.

Karen takes aim at a clay pigeon.


Darn! Missed it.


Cameron taking instruction from the Range Master.


He will grow into the gun, I hope!


Side one of my new-to-me Citori shotgun.


Side two of my new-to-me Citori shotgun.


The Citori over/under broke-open.


Looking down both barrels!



09-12-11

OK it has been a few weeks since the last update and things were improving fairly well.  As of last week I had lost 38 lbs as a result of the gastric bypass and I was starting to feel a little better.  Strong enough to see about getting rid of the kidney stone.  I had been back to the urologists office and they explained to me that the big one had moved to the bladder  and was awaiting to be either be blasted by ultra concentrated sound waves or zapped by a lazar. Either way it would be an outpatient procedure done in a couple of weeks.  Well I chose to have it done the weekend after Labor day, and the doctors chose the Lithotripsy procedure, or the concentrated sound wave treatment.  It was explained that a water damn would be placed against my right side and a special machine would give me 3,000 blasts of tiny concentrated sound waves directed by a real time X-Ray targeting system.  What I learned as I was being loaded onto the table in the procedure room was that the previous urologists had been talking with crap in their mouths.  The 8mm stone had never rolled its way around to my bladder, it has been sitting up in my kidney all this time. they were here showing it to me on this fancy X-ray setup, there was another little fibrous benign mass down in the bladder that they must have mistaken for a stone, but they rolled this machine around and showed me that I had no other stones anywhere else, just this big 8mm one.  Then they gave me the general anesthetic and of to nowhere land I went.  No before this they explained that after the procedure I would most likely feel "some discomfort" on my back and side similar to a sore back and that I should take it easy for a couple of days afterwards.  After I come out from under the general anesthetic the quickly gave me a pain pill and and then after a hour or two observation Karen and I went home with a new prescription for a narcotic pain medication.  Let me just state that their concept of "some discomfort" and mine is significant.  I felt as though a steam roller had been tap dancing on my right side for about an hour with a pogo stick.  I could not take a deep breath at all.  The good news?  The doctor said he was able to bust up the whole stone.  Now I get to spend the next several days peeing into a plastic urinal and then straining the urine looking for remnants of the stone.  Oh, and by the way don't be alarmed if it is a bit RED.  Bloody urine is somewhat unnerving and unpleasant and straining it is not at the top of my list of things to do.  Anyway, collecting sand and other indescribable items for the urologist to examine has become my hobby for the weekend.  Luckily there has been no fever associated with this evolution! Hopefully I will be all done with this crap and have the stent removed in a week or so.

Cameron's birthday was back on August 2nd and we bought him a brand new bicycle. Actually it was the week I was having my bypass surgery so the weekend before I took him out shopping for a new bicycle.  We went to a half dozen stores that sold bicycles and he rode about a bazillion bikes before we decided on this one. here are some pictures of him and his new bike.

 

Cam's new big bike!


It is bigger than his old bike!


The brakes work and there is tread on the tires!

That's all until next time...


08-22-11

A lot has transpired since my last update so further procrastination is pointless.  Since the last update Karen and I went on a much deserved week long vacation to Colorado. A complete accounting of that fine adventure can be found here.  When we returned, I began a week long liquid diet in preparation of my upcoming gastric bypass surgery on August 1st. I decided to have the bypass surgery as a preemptive action against Type II Diabetes in my personal struggle with the disease.  Ever since I was taken off the drug Avandia my blood sugars began spiraling up.  Not fast, but steady no matter what adjustment my endocrinologist made, they kept slowly climbing. So to put an end to it, I decided to go down the gastric bypass path last January.  It has been a struggle with my insurance company, but between all of my doctor's persuasions and recommendations they finally caved and approved the surgery.  By the time I finished all of the prerequisite appointments and finished our Colorado vacation my surgery date was set for 1 August.  

Let me tell you that a liquid diet sucks. Nothing but soup, Jell-O and water. No more diet Mt. Dew ever.  Had to give it all away.  But I kept to it for the whole week. I drank so much water I thought I was going to wear my kidneys out.  And we ended up at DePaul hospital bright and early on Monday the 1st at 6:00 AM ready to be the first one for the day.  They took me back and got me in that damn fine hospital gown on and on a bed.  Not long afterwards an anesthesiologist came in and grilled me.  Next they squired Karen out as the time was drawing near.  The next was a long ride to the OR where they transferred my big butt to the operating table.  The anesthesiologist came in and they gave a "twilight" drug to relax me. Relax me hell, that was it for me, the next thing I remember I was waking up in the recovery room where they kept me for a couple of hours.  From there they moved me to a regular room were I would stay until my discharge in two days. I stayed on an IV until Tuesday afternoon when they started me on a liquid diet, Oh Joy! On Wednesday morning I graduated to scrambled eggs.  I was discharged later that day and went home and rested the rest of the day. I am allowed to eat one ounce of protein at each meal and that is it for the next four weeks.  I have to drink 48+ ounces of water each day also. Friday evening I was feeling good enough to go to a competitive shooting match, which I had no problems with. 

Everything was fine until the next week, on Tuesday evening I supported our astronomy club's public outreach event down at the Virginia Beach oceanfront, where I noticed my backed started aching pretty much, something I thought was odd.  Wednesday Karen and I went and shot bowling pins at the gun club, same thing, toward the end of the event, my right side back was aching pretty bad. I took it easy until Saturday which was another shooting match out at the gun club, it went well, until lunch time, when my back really started hurting.  By 9:30 PM Saturday night the pain was getting unbearable so off to Chesapeake General we went.  By 12:30 AM Sunday we found out that an 8mm kidney stone was causing me the grief.  So they gave me some significant pain medicine and sent me home.  By Monday the stone had move to the front and the pain was gone, but my temp started to rise a bit to 101. I could not get an appointment with an urologist until Tuesday afternoon. By Tuesday I was starting to feel a bit rough and my temp was up to 102.  When we went to the urologist appointment I was really feeling out of sorts, like moving in slow motion.  After the examination, they rewarded me with a shiny new ticket back in to Chesapeake General hospital.  We managed to get back over to the hospital and as soon as we got there I was wheeled into a room for a very short time before they yanked me out and took me to the surgical ward for some kind of procedure.  Soon I was out in LaLa land again barely awake in the recovery room.  It seemed like I was freezing.  In fact I was burning up with fever.  My temperature climbed to the point of 105.8, but I am sure I heard someone take a temp over 106 during that time. They put me in a cooling blanket and cranked it down.  Remember I was already freezing, and now they were putting me in this freezing blanket! I stayed in that ice wrap for what seemed like hours.  Finally sometime around three or four in the morning I heard a temp of 102. By six in the morning I was under a hundred and they finally removed me from that damn freeze blanket.  They would not give me anything more than a sheet until my temp steadied out at 97.8 which is my normal, that was about noon Wednesday. I started becoming aware of how serious an infection and fever I had. They kept pumping me full of antibiotics and taking my blood every six hours for testing.  After two more days of testing and observations, the doctor's finally decided to turn me loose on Friday afternoon.  We went home and I rested and had a good night's sleep.  Saturday morning I tried my hand at an IDPA competitive shooting match out at the gun club, probably not my wisest choice, I had a rough time of it so I came home and just rested. Sunday afternoon I was feeling pretty good so Cameron and I, mainly Cameron, cut the lawns which had not been cut in a very long time, Cammie did a LOT of work so I paid him a handsome amount for his work.  Monday I head back to work and we will see how it goes from there.  I have to take a couple weeks worth of antibiotics and then go back to the urologist's office to have them blast that pesky 8mm stone with ultra-sound to try and bust it up so I can pass it.  Then after a while they will pull me back in and I get to have another procedure to yank the kidney-bladder shunt out.  And I have my lovely diet to contend with. I'll keep y'all posted and sorry for no pictures this time, for pictures go see the Colorado Vacation.

That's all until next time...


06-19-11

Father's Day.  I guess it is time to get off of my lazy ass and update this page.  We have been busy around here but not too damn busy. Let me tell you about the biggest crisis we have right now.  The Duckett fire burning in the Sangre De Cristo mountains in Colorado.  The fire has burned tens of thousands of acres and is CLOSE to our homestead, see the below picture.

The Black circle is where our ranch is.  It is exactly 4.5 miles to Hwy 69.  So the Duckett
fire is probably a little more than 3 miles away as of 6/19/11.

My sister Rhonda went up from the dairy in Erie and plowed under the dry grass on the field around the house and made a fire ditch with equipment from the dairy and they are probably going to remove some of the irreplaceable antiques if they can when they leave.  I just hope they get the damn fire contained and out.  Karen and I are headed out there on Vacation in about four weeks, sure would like to have a place to stay.  Seems like we have had a crisis in Colorado every damn year for the last five years this time of year.  Thanks to Google maps for the image.

I guess working forward from the last Ramblings the next event was Cameron's last soccer game.  Cameron did pretty well playing soccer, the team didn't do so well, but they had fun.

Cammie blocking ANOTHER damn score!


Let's get that ball down field!


Chris and Casey, two of Cameron's biggest FANS!


Cam gets his trophy!

The next event must have been the passing of my birthday.  Another trip around the sun without too much pain and suffering.  For which my wife rewarded me with a new hand-loader for reloading bullets.  As coincidently in April I was able to join the Norfolk County Rifle Range, which is a shooting club that has a limited membership that has their own shooting range out in Chesapeake. I also bought a set of new pistols a Glock 26 and a Glock 34, both of which I ended up selling on Guns America as I found out that I don't care for Glocks.  You Glock lovers can keep them, I will keep my Rugers.

This is the Dillion Square Deal bullet press Karen gave me for my Birthday.


Me goofing around with .357 magnum Ruger revolver and Desert Eagle with
a 9mm Glock in the left holster and a 9mm Ruger SR9 in the right holster on my B-Day.

I have to tell you the rat story.  Last fall I was cleaning because I found a growing number of rodent droppings on the floor during the summer when I would put the lawnmower away each week.  I began by systematically removing everything from the shed, when I was down to just a few boards left, I called the Rottweilers into the shed and yanked the boards away from the wall.  Sure as daylight the damn "guest" was hiding behind them.  That rat exploded out from behind the boards and scurried around that shed.  Those dogs were dumbfounded, didn't know what to do.  I yelled at them to get the rat, get the rat! and finally bronco started chasing the hell out of it.  After about five seconds that lucky little rat found his way out the front door with two hundred some odd pounds of dogs right behind him.  I figured it would either be him or nothing in about five more seconds.  I never went looking to find out, there was no blood on the dogs muzzle's so I assumed Mr. Rat outwitted the dimwits. I continued on and boarded up the shed and "rat-proofed" the shed so he could not get back in.  I checked the shed every week or so for new droppings, and there were none so I felt confident the rat had moved on.  About a month later we were having Thanksgiving dinner with the family at our house, everyone was seated at the table and enjoying their meal when all of a sudden someone shrieked eek! there is a rat on the fence!  Sure enough, Mr. Rat was outside running up and down the top of our wood fence that separates our yards. I once again let the dogs outside, but by the time I could direct their attention over to where the rat was, the rat was gone.  Didn't see the rat again all winter.  Our female Rottweiler Ninya would just start barking and running in the house during the winter, for no apparent reason, we just thought she was hearing something we couldn't and left it at that.  Well we were right.  She was hearing the rat.  In the spring I had to go in the attic for something and I discovered rat droppings on top of the A/C ducting in the attic.  Time for peanut butter loaded rat traps.  They were up there for months with out ever tripping off.  Later in the spring I went to fire up the BBQ and decided to clean the bottom tray first, good thing, I found a bunch of rat droppings in the bottom of the grill.  So I cleaned the living hell our of the grill and ran it on high for a half hour before we used it.  The next time we used the grill, I checked the bottom for droppings, sure as heck there were more droppings, did the cleaning thing again.  two weeks later went to use the grill and crap!  More rat droppings!  That little bastard is really liking the drippings from our BBQ.  So I cleaned and cleaned the grill again and I decided that this time after we grilled I would dismantle part of the inside of the grill so there would be enough room for a rat trap to operate and I would set a trap when it cooled.  About 9:40 PM that evening I figured the grill would have cooled enough, so I prepared a trap with peanut butter and a single piece of dried dog food.  I went outside and opened the BBQ lid, and there with his back to me was that little bastard rat licking the grates like there was no tomorrow.  He did not see me or he would have ran like hell, I shut the lid and waited to see if he ran out, he didn't so i ran inside with murderous intent.  I looked at Karen's butcher knives and thought about stabbing that rat, but then Karen would never use the knife again, so I ran to the garage where I had a single-shot .22 caliber CO2 pellet pistol.  I could not remember how long ago I changed out the CO2 cylinder in the darn thing but it would have to do.  I grabbed it and the can of pellets and loaded it with a single pellet.  I went outside and raised the BBQ lid expecting to see the rat had fled, but he was still busy licking - having his last meal.  I aimed that pellet gun about four inches from him and popped his ass!  He jumped a little and finally turned his head and looked at me.  I quickly loaded another pellet and shot him again, at which time he managed to jump down out of the BBQ and was now mortally wounded and crawling across the patio.  I loaded a third pellet hoping there was enough CO2 pressure for more action and let him have it in the head.  So much for the rat, his licking days were over.  When I explained to Karen that I actually seen him licking the grill, I could see the waves of holding back nausea coming.  So that is why we have a new grill with the old one being less than a year old.  The old one was hauled to the curb.  Someone came and took it before the garbage did, I hope they are enjoying BBQ dogs & burgers not knowing that a rat has licked the grate they were cooked on.  And that is the rat story...

Our New Grill w/o Rat Lickings

In May our astronomy club, the Back bay Amateur Astronomers, spend the national Astronomy Day at the Virginia Beach main branch library, this year we had a very good Saturday with nice weather and good crowds.  I have been supporting this for the last seven years and it is a fun time.  

Mark Ost, Ted Forte, Me and Dr. Bruce Bodner @ Astronomy Day


This is a typical Sunday morning after I get up.  Ellie moves to my pillow.  Fat
Tinkerbell stretched out below and the cats Tessa at the top and Scout below.


M13 from Coinjock NC.

Someday Karen will learn to stop leaving her things down where Ellie can get into them.  Just because they are in a bag on the arm chair does not mean they are out of Ellie's reach.  That damn dog climbs up on the chairs and couch as if they are her own, so anything left on that furniture is like leaving it in her cage or on the floor.  I don't leave ANYTHING of mine on the couch or chairs, therefore none of MY things I care about get mauled by her.  Karen's items are a different story though, case in point, Karen's newest toothbrush.  Karen left in her bag, on the armchair.  Ellie found it and decided to try her hand at brushing her teeth. 

She didn't do too bad considering she does not have a thumb.


That's all until next time...


04-03-11

Friday evening I competed in my first IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) meet and it went pretty good, my score for the night was 94.57 which I am anxious to see how it ranked with the other shooters.  They should post the scores soon, the lady recording the scores said it was a good score for the night.  Cameron spent the night with us Friday night as Karen was out having dinner with the Dork & Chris while I was off shooting up Chesapeake.

Karen has been busy making cupcakes with the Dork, this time they made a batch for our niece's birthday party today.  They made a batch of lime-coconut with lime frosting with coconut shreds, and the other batch is York Peppermint Patty Brownie cupcakes that don't NEED any damn frosting as they are sweet enough with the baked in York Peppermint Patty.

Saturday morning found us getting ready to go to Cameron's soccer ball game, Cheryl had already stopped and picked Ratbert up and headed off to the fields while Karen and I were still getting ready.  Karen had just let the the dogs outside and very soon after that we heard our doorbell ring. I answered the door and was greeted by a Mexican with a poor command of the English language who was trying to explain that he needed to get back into my back yard to finish his FIOS install job.

Seeing how I did not order FIOS, I asked him about what FIOS installation, he replied that it was for our neighbor at 1208 Saddleback. I told the man that there were no utility easements on my property in the vicinity of where he is doing work and that he must stop. I then asked my wife to put the dogs in the house. When the dogs were in the house, I opened the back gate and discovered that the FIOS crew had indeed installed their cable down my side of the dividing fence between our house my neighbor's house under my gate and out across part of our front lawn and then diagonally into our neighbor's yard to his utility connections on his house.

I extracted the tool the fellow was concerned about from our back yard and gave it to him and told them again that they were trespassing and I should be calling the police. They refused to give me their names, as they were getting into their truck I acquired the work order from the installer's clipboard and told him I was going to copy the information down as they were trespassing. I took the paper in the house and made a copy on my copier, when I returned outside they had disappeared. So I closed and LOCKED the gate to our backyard and my wife and I went to Cameron's soccer game.

When we returned I went outside with my camera to take pictures of the cuts in the grass, flag and footprints if there were any.  When I unlocked the gate and opened it I found that the FIOS cable had been partially pulled up and cut and one of my 12"x12" cement blocks right at the gate had been overturned. Apparently the FIOS crew must have come back to remove the cable that they had illegally installed and we drove up coming home from the soccer game and they were unable to finish the job of yanking up the cable they had put down a few hours earlier. Upon close inspection it was obvious that they must have scaled the neighbor's fence to gain access to our yard, as both of our gates had been locked shut. They left in a hurry and didn't get the cable ripped out of the ground. 

I spent about thirty five minutes trying to contact someone who could give a care at Verizon and eventually winded up at their legal department. I then contacted the Police non-emergency number and requested an officer to come out and take a police report of the incident.   I guess I will be pounding through Verizon's legal department Monday morning.  I don't take kindly to trespassing.  Back on the ranch we used to empty our rifles into folk's engine blocks to stop trespassers until the Sheriff or Game Warden could show up, mom and I held more than one group of "hunters" at gunpoint until they could be arrested for trespassing and killing farm animals for target practice.  I told the Chesapeake police officer who took the police report that the little fellow better be glad that I didn't see him in my backyard or that he wasn't back there when the dogs were out.

Which brings up another question...  What the hell were my four damn dogs doing while these idiots were messing around in our backyard that morning burying over thirty foot of Verizon cable?  These are the same dogs that bark at every prson who walks down the street in our court??  If only I could interrogate those little beasts...


The coconut lime at the top and York Peppermint Patty on the bottom. 


Close up of the coconut lime cupcakes. 


Close up of the York Peppermint Patty cupcakes. 


Don't you just want to eat one of these York Peppermint Patty cup cakes! 


You can see where they went around the fence into our yard under our gate
into our back yard installing the cable. 


This is where they cut the cable and the cement block was uprooted, they must
have just started pulling up the cable when we pulled back into the driveway and
and had to scurry out of the yard and not finish removing the cable. 


27 feet of Verizon cable is still in our back  yard. 


These two 2x4s were laying on the ground, they must have propped them up so they could 
egress over the fence after we had locked both gates to the back yard. 

That's all until next time...


03-29-11

The new cabinets have been installed for over seven weeks, going on eight and no paint in sight. Karen must still like the pink walls, actually it still looks good to me.  Our weather has still remained cool despite that darn groundhog predicting an early Spring, so much for His powers over Mother nature.  Speaking of which, I had to 

mow the darn lawns last weekend.  That must be a new record date, middle March - the first mowing of the lawns.  Then I followed stupid with insane, and put down fertilizer daring the green stuff to grow.  I think it is going to be a long sore summer.  As I was whacking the weeds I noticed that several of the rungs on the wooden swing set had either rotted and broke or just broke the last time Ratbert tried to climb on the thing.  Closer inspection found some significant structural rot and damage on the swing set timbers and supporting structure.  So being somewhat concerned for the little rat's safety I tore down the swing portion and the slide part and left the fort section standing.  I tightened up all of the bolts and fasteners for it and checked for rot on its structural members and found none, good thing as it holds our weather station!  The back yard sure looks bigger now and my weed whacking and mowing time will be reduced as I have fewer objects to navigate about.  Took about an hour to tear the stuff down and haul it to the curb for the City Garbage crews to pick up.

Karen has been making cup cakes like crazy.  She was getting tired of using her little hand mixer so we bought her a nice Kitchen-Aide mixer that she can just dump all the stuff into the bowl and set it and it will mix it all up for her.  Does a whiz-bang job whipping up mashed potatoes too!  She is really happy with it and it enables her to continue making dozens and dozens of cupcakes.  I know my friends at work are happy as I keep bringing them in for them to eat, I'll be darned if I am going to leave them around the house for us to eat.  Tinkerbell and I sure as the day is bright don't need any more cupcakes in our diet.  Gourmet cupcakes are cheaper to make than gourmet jerky so I should count my blessing I suppose.

I have finally been accepted into membership to the Norfolk County Rifle Range, which is a limited membership NRA sanctioned shooting club located out in the Bowers Hill section of Chesapeake.  They have been around since before Chesapeake was Chesapeake, hence their name.  I read in as a prospective member at their April club meeting and should be voted in as a full member in May if there are no objections.  I have been shooting as a guest at their facility monthly for over a year.

The weekend of the 19th of March was special in that the Full Moon was the perigee of the moon's orbit.  Meaning the closest the moon is to the Earth in its path around the Earth, this happens every eighteen or so years.  The next occurrence of this will be in 2029, so I figured if the weather is good I better take some pictures.  To see better images go here.

No slide or swing set, easy to mow and weed whack around now. 


Karen's grand new Mixer. 


The full moon still over 213,000 miles away. 


More fun Moon stuff.  The LRO snapped images of the Apollo 11 landing site on the left. 


Blow up of just the LEM site from above image. See the tracks in the dust left from Neil 
and Buzz as they scurried about? You can even see the landing pads on the LEM.
The various bright white dots littering the moonscape are science experiments left there.


Ellie thinking she owns my chair. 


"Tinkerbell" The eighteen (18) lbs. Chihuahua...

That's all until next time...


02-06-11

Ok, last time you were treated to seeing the new cabinets unpacked in Karen's "romper-room" waiting to be installed and images of her old kitchen waiting to be beaten into submission.  On Friday the 28th of January Karen and I started cleaning out her old cabinets, when we were done cleaning them out, she thought she was done.  I said no, no, no we have just begun!  We are YANKING them out!  Her little eyes about dropped out! Using one of my Christmas presents, a new battery for the Black & Decker power screw driver, we painstakingly removed about a bajillion cabinet screws and pulled all of the cabinets off of the walls.  We did not yank the countertops yet.  On Saturday morning Karen's youngest brother Brian came over and we began removing the rest of the counter tops and counters.  After noon we were joined by Cheryl's fiancÚ Chris who came over after work and joined in the fun.  Karen went and supplied us all with McDonald's for lunch and we worked until after dark.  We still had to mount the sink side counters and the sink.  We had discovered that due to how the new sink basin was constructed we could not use our old sink and a new sink would have to be acquired, a smaller one, goodbye to the double sink.  Karen and I spent a couple hours looking between three stores until we found a sink that would fit, and fit means barely, kind of like OJ and the gloves.

On Sunday we spent the better part of the morning getting the sink in and the dishwasher hooked back up, I spent the afternoon fiddling with electrical connections inside the cabinets over the stove side.  I managed to get the one outlet for the microwave working.  We didn't do squat until this weekend and I finished up the rest of the electrical and mounted a new oven hood and fixed the electrical for that so it works now.  All that is left is to finish the paneling on the rear and then paint and apply the trim.  That alone could take US weeks if not months...  All in all it turned out OK.

These were the old cabinets above the stove. 


These are the NEW cabinets above the stove. 


These were the old cabinets above the sink. 


These are the NEW cabinets above the sink. 


These were the old counters around the stove. 


These are the NEW counters around the stove. 


These were the old counters under the sink. 


These are the NEW counters under the sink. 


Stove side of the new kitchen.  


Sink side of the new kitchen. 


The new kitchen came from this pile. 


The old kitchen went to this pile. 


Scout was unimpressed. 


Tessa wondered if we did something?


Ellie knows that cooking and spilling can commence!


You actually expect me to cook something now?


I only sustained one significant wound, let's just say you should always
maintain positive control of your Dremel Tool!


That's all until next time...


01-15-11

Right around Thanksgiving time Karen and I went into Lowe's and finally did the deed.  We sat down with a kitchen design lady and had ordered new kitchen cabinets.  It was kind of a long drawn out affair as we had to come back on such and such a day as the lady was getting ready to take off for Turkey day to go home and Karen and I didn't want the the damn cabinets showing up before Christmas as Karen was planning on having Christmas dinner at our house, so it was a bit of a "big guess" about when to order as there was a big sale going on with the manufacturer and we didn't want to lose out on that and we were waiting until the end of that to order.  All in all we waited to the last darn minute, almost missed the sales lady before she took off on holiday, but the cabinets were put on order with an "after the new year" delivery date.  

Old cabinets over the stove, personally I like the old cabinets. 


Old cabinets over the sink, what the heck is on the counter? 


During the Christmas holidays we managed to sweet talk Karen's youngest brother Brian, who is Mr. Carpenter (Bob Villa had better keep looking over his shoulder), into assisting us in cabinet installation on some weekend in January or February, which is a good thing as Karen and I would really like to be able to sell our house someday.  As soon as the Christmas holidays were over the phone began ringing, when do you want delivery of your new cabinets?  At that point it dawned on us that we had forgotten to ORDER THE COUNTER TOPS.  OH HELL!  Back to Lowe's we went that weekend and ordered the countertops.  Lowe's said it would be four to six weeks delivery on the countertops.  That puts them arriving the end of January or early February.  Brian returns from travel to California the first week of February so that sounds good.  The Countertops should be arriving the first week of February as well.

I guess it is time for new cabinets, both of these door frames are broken, the
 drawer in the left one is broken from being used as a step ladder. 


Stupid dog's collars got caught on the door pulls for these cabinet doors.  a 100 lbs
 of scared dog versus a oak veneer door, which one breaks?

The cabinets arrived on Friday the 14th and Karen and I humped them all into the large bedroom where Karen has "her" things set up like her war-face (make-up) table, bookshelves and collectables.  While we were in the middle of the cabinet moving, our home appraiser showed up.  As we are also trying to refinance the house to take advantage of the low interest rates.  Not more than a half hour after we finished moving the cabinets the termite inspector showed up and then right after that Lowe's calls and say the countertops are in.  The same ones that were supposed to take four to six weeks to come in, came in in less than two weeks.  Now if you were in a rush and NEEDED them in less than two weeks, they would take the full darn six weeks I am sure.  So now we have to plan a trip to Lowes and pick them up.

Karen's room filled with her new kitchen cabinets. 


Had to put the "spillage" in the dinning room.

Not much else going on just fighting the unusually cold and snowy weather we have been having here in the Tidewater area this season.  Nearly every morning is below freezing, normally we only have a week or two all winter like this but it has been over a month now with no end in sight.  We have had more snow this year than we had all last decade I believe!  Our new grandson continues to grow and is a constant point of joy.  Karen fabricates reasons to visit Cheryl or have Cheryl and the "bun" visit us.  Last night at dinner, the "bun" was sleeping nice and quiet, just minding his own little business.  Karen is done feeding and her and The Dork are yapping about how Cheryl thinks the "bun" might have teeth buds coming in.  Teeth starting in on a baby that was born on Halloween?  Oh, My Gawd!  Please poke that woman with a cow prod!  The baby is seventy four days old and she thinks there is teeth?  Anyway, back to the story, What's Her name, yeah, Karen, starts poking her finger in the "bun's" mouth probing for these teeth buds.  The baby starts wailing. Imagine that.  Time to leave the restaurant.  Being such a good grandpa that I am, I don't have any new pictures of the "bun" but here are a couple of our other kids. 

It is too damn early for that camera thing!

An important note about this little Chihuahua Ellie, who as of today just rose at least twelve steps in my dog book.  Earlier in the week Karen and I had gone to dinner and Karen had ordered liver and onions, arghhh it makes me almost retch just typing it much less smelling it or (how dare I even think it) even eat it.  Today as we were preparing to cook breakfast Karen yanked that cold Styrofoam container containing her leftover dinner from the night before and before I could get out of the kitchen she opened it and the smell was atrocious.  She very brilliantly decided that it was not edible and began offering it to the dogs.  Much to my dismay my beloved Rottweilers wolfed that crap down like there was no tomorrow as did the pork barrel Chihuahua Tinkerbell, not Ellie though.  She took one sniff and made up her mind that there was no way she was eating that crap!  Karen tried to offer it to three times, and not once did that little dog even lick it.  She would smell it and walk away.  To reward that SMART little dog I put those other idiots outside and then fed Ellie some nice sliced roast beef deli lunch meat much to Karen's chagrin.  That Chihuahua who normally is first in line to eat anything proved her brains by not stooping to eat LIVER!  That is one smart dog!  

Bronco having breakfast while Ninya watches.


This is what was on the counter...


That's all until next time...


 

01-23-11

Thirty three years is a third of a century.  That is quite a bit of time,  for two people last Friday it was significant, it was our 33rd wedding anniversary.  A geeky, goofy wirey blond haired sailor married a beautiful long brown haired Portuguese angel and they began an adventure that became their lives.  That 33 years has seen many turns and twist along the

 way, with the last eleven years chronicled here.  And if you think those eleven were "fun" you should have been around for the previous twenty two.  Those seen us move across country three times up and down the California coast twice,  down the Eastern Seaboard all while in the Navy.  We settled in Virginia, the one duty station I liked the least, imagine that.  But as is the custom here is a picture taken from our limited supply of wedding pictures.

At this point she had been Mrs. Jagow for about twenty minutes 

Back to present day, Karen had mentioned that she liked a certain Tiffany lamp a couple of weekend ago and I just noted it.   I should have gone back to the store the next day without her and bought them, but no, I waited a week or so and went back with Cameron and had to search everywhere for the damn things and finally acquired the last two in the area, and then I had to swear Ratbert to secrecy on them.  I hid them in the garage behind my telescope stuff.  I stacked them in front of her computer on Friday morning before she got up.  We exchanged cards and I opened my gift, a nice big tin of peanuts.  After work we were supposed to go to dinner at one of our favorite places the Court House Cafe, they have the best prime rib in the WHOLE AREA, bar none.  But Karen changed her mind and we went to our favorite breakfast place, the Broken Egg Bistro for dinner.  I was a little disappointed, but we have had dinner there before with the Dork and Chris on a Saturday and they had prime rib and it wasn't too bad.  Well, this was a Friday, they only have prime rib on Saturdays.  Their menu is primarily geared toward seafood lover.  So my choices were either chicken, a burger or meatloaf.  So I can say that their meatloaf isn't too bad.  The place is NOT somewhere to go for a nice quite dinner, it is probably one of the LOUDEST places you could go for dinner.  The fact that Friday is half price Martini night didn't help either.  Karen enjoyed a nice dinner of Mediterranean Chicken and we had a dessert of Flaming Bananas Foster which was on the house due to our anniversary.

The next morning found us off to Hampton for the gun show! That place was packed with people, we bought our tickets online, at first I was grumbling a bit about the $2 fee for doing so.  But when we walked through the doors and saw the line just to buy tickets, it was probably three hundred people long, and Karen and I just walked right up to the entrance and handed them our printed out tickets and went right in.  It took longer to find a parking spot!.  Once in we wandered about until I found what I came looking for, a full size version of the compact pistol I carried concealed.  A full size Ruger SR9, and at significantly less than what I was expecting to pay for it.  So I started the paperwork for the background checks, when you buy a new gun at a gun show - you have to fill out a batch of paperwork which then is submitted to the State Patrol and a background check is run right there BEFORE you can buy the weapon.  This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours depending upon how back-logged the State Patrol is.  Lucky for us it was pretty quick, as we were out of there and on our way back to Chesapeake by about 1:30 PM.  Karen had invited the whole hoard, Cheryl, Chris, Cameron and Mike and Mavel as well as her parents for dinner.  She was going to serve chicken and beef home made tacos and Spannish rice.  So we went straight to Food Lion from the gun show.  Karen and Cheryl cooked taco concoctions for about two hours and the dinner was a great success, one of her best home made Mexican dinners.  Everyone ate their fill and we had cake and ice cream to top it off.

The pictures also show our new couch, which we bought up at Sam's club a couple of weeks ago with a new recliner for me, yeah I should have put it in the Ramblings but forgot to.  We had to rent a truck from U-Haul and Chris helped us move it in the house after he removed the door going into the garage so we could take the old couch out.  Sam's was such a good deal, both the leather couch and recliner for $1300 plus the price of the rental truck and gas made it about $1350, not too shabby.

Left side Tiffany lamp modeled by Karen and Ellie. 


Right side Tiffany lamp modeled by Bronco. 


The new lamps, our new sofa, Karen, Ellie and Bronco. 


New gun is on the top left, the bottom right is the one I carry concealed.
BECAUSE I CAN, DICKIE! 


That's all until next time...


 

01-15-11

Right around Thanksgiving time Karen and I went into Lowe's and finally did the deed.  We sat down with a kitchen design lady and had ordered new kitchen cabinets.  It was kind of a long drawn out affair as we had to come back on such and such a day as the lady was getting ready to take off for Turkey day to go home and Karen and I didn't want the the damn cabinets showing up before Christmas as Karen was planning on having Christmas dinner at our house, so it was a bit of a "big guess" about when to order as there was a big sale going on with the manufacturer and we didn't want to lose out on that and we were waiting until the end of that to order.  All in all we waited to the last darn minute, almost missed the sales lady before she took off on holiday, but the cabinets were put on order with an "after the new year" delivery date.  

Old cabinets over the stove, personally I like the old cabinets. 


Old cabinets over the sink, what the heck is on the counter? 


During the Christmas holidays we managed to sweet talk Karen's youngest brother Brian, who is Mr. Carpenter (Bob Villa had better keep looking over his shoulder), into assisting us in cabinet installation on some weekend in January or February, which is a good thing as Karen and I would really like to be able to sell our house someday.  As soon as the Christmas holidays were over the phone began ringing, when do you want delivery of your new cabinets?  At that point it dawned on us that we had forgotten to ORDER THE COUNTER TOPS.  OH HELL!  Back to Lowe's we went that weekend and ordered the countertops.  Lowe's said it would be four to six weeks delivery on the countertops.  That puts them arriving the end of January or early February.  Brian returns from travel to California the first week of February so that sounds good.  The Countertops should be arriving the first week of February as well.

I guess it is time for new cabinets, both of these door frames are broken, the
 drawer in the left one is broken from being used as a step ladder. 


Stupid dog's collars got caught on the door pulls for these cabinet doors.  a 100 lbs
 of scared dog versus a oak veneer door, which one breaks?

The cabinets arrived on Friday the 14th and Karen and I humped them all into the large bedroom where Karen has "her" things set up like her war-face (make-up) table, bookshelves and collectables.  While we were in the middle of the cabinet moving, our home appraiser showed up.  As we are also trying to refinance the house to take advantage of the low interest rates.  Not more than a half hour after we finished moving the cabinets the termite inspector showed up and then right after that Lowe's calls and say the countertops are in.  The same ones that were supposed to take four to six weeks to come in, came in in less than two weeks.  Now if you were in a rush and NEEDED them in less than two weeks, they would take the full darn six weeks I am sure.  So now we have to plan a trip to Lowes and pick them up.

Karen's room filled with her new kitchen cabinets. 


Had to put the "spillage" in the dinning room.

Not much else going on just fighting the unusually cold and snowy weather we have been having here in the Tidewater area this season.  Nearly every morning is below freezing, normally we only have a week or two all winter like this but it has been over a month now with no end in sight.  We have had more snow this year than we had all last decade I believe!  Our new grandson continues to grow and is a constant point of joy.  Karen fabricates reasons to visit Cheryl or have Cheryl and the "bun" visit us.  Last night at dinner, the "bun" was sleeping nice and quiet, just minding his own little business.  Karen is done feeding and her and The Dork are yapping about how Cheryl thinks the "bun" might have teeth buds coming in.  Teeth starting in on a baby that was born on Halloween?  Oh, My Gawd!  Please poke that woman with a cow prod!  The baby is seventy four days old and she thinks there is teeth?  Anyway, back to the story, What's Her name, yeah, Karen, starts poking her finger in the "bun's" mouth probing for these teeth buds.  The baby starts wailing. Imagine that.  Time to leave the restaurant.  Being such a good grandpa that I am, I don't have any new pictures of the "bun" but here are a couple of our other kids. 

It is too damn early for that camera thing!

An important note about this little Chihuahua Ellie, who as of today just rose at least twelve steps in my dog book.  Earlier in the week Karen and I had gone to dinner and Karen had ordered liver and onions, arghhh it makes me almost retch just typing it much less smelling it or (how dare I even think it) even eat it.  Today as we were preparing to cook breakfast Karen yanked that cold Styrofoam container containing her leftover dinner from the night before and before I could get out of the kitchen she opened it and the smell was atrocious.  She very brilliantly decided that it was not edible and began offering it to the dogs.  Much to my dismay my beloved Rottweilers wolfed that crap down like there was no tomorrow as did the pork barrel Chihuahua Tinkerbell, not Ellie though.  She took one sniff and made up her mind that there was no way she was eating that crap!  Karen tried to offer it to three times, and not once did that little dog even lick it.  She would smell it and walk away.  To reward that SMART little dog I put those other idiots outside and then fed Ellie some nice sliced roast beef deli lunch meat much to Karen's chagrin.  That Chihuahua who normally is first in line to eat anything proved her brains by not stooping to eat LIVER!  That is one smart dog!  

Bronco having breakfast while Ninya watches.


This is what was on the counter...


That's all until next time...


 

01-01-11

I guess I'll start the Year's Resolution off right and update the Ramblings right quickly.  Not a whole lot of earth shattering news to report.  Other than we are trying to refinance the house AGAIN to drop the old interest  rate down from the what is now high 7.5% rate we had back in 2004 to somewhere in the 4% range and it will save us three or four hundred dollars a month, which can go directly in savings.  Since Cheryl didn't take my advice about eloping very serious...

We also have to buy some new front room furniture, my recliner has had it, again.  A supporting rail finally broke last weekend and that is it for that chair.  Karen says that when we get new furniture I am not allowed to have my lap dogs up there.  What she really means is that Ninya and Bronco are NOT allowed up in the chair with me.  I guess they don't mean for recliners to hold a big fat guy with a hundred pound plus dog at the same time.  Sometimes I have had both Rottweilers up there with me at the same time.  Ninya loves to sit with you, she thinks she is just the same as the Chihuahuas, except she doesn't jump up as energetically to get there, she kind of slithers up there like the Grinch.  Bronco is another story, when he has it in his eyes that he wants to sit with you, he is JUMPING and you just better prepare yourself.

Not a whole slew of pictures either, just two.  Enjoy the coming of the new year. 

Grampy with both grandsons, Casey and Cameron,
and they BOTH have more hair than Grampy!
 


Ellie May and Tinkerbell on Karen's legs with Ninya and Bronco on the floor
with poor Karen just trying to read a book on her new Nook! 


That's all until next time...


 


Jagow's Rest Stop