Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Building of Character (cont.)

My last post detailed a sudden change in the weather.  

Today's entry involves more activity on my part although meteorology does play a supporting role.  

Last Friday I took a vacation day and Geogal and I headed to Omaha.  Reason?  I took the camper to the dealer there two weeks prior for some service work.  Repairs are done and now it's time to retrieve our warm-weather hobby.  

As is always the case, I had a plan well thought-out beforehand.  Pick up camper, get it hitched up then either camp or spend the evening at a hotel.  This would then lead into Saturday in which the two of us head home.  Once there I would back the camper into its designated area adjacent to the house, there it would stay for the winter season.  

I also was keeping a close watch on the Omaha weather forecast.  Not only am I always wondering about weather conditions this time of year but I wanted to be aware of overnight lows.  

Since part of the work for the camper involved the plumbing I brought it to the dealer with a fair amount of fresh water in the tank.  But when you are into November a responsible camper owner always has plans to winterize the system.  The night before our arrival in Omaha the low was 29 degrees.  That's not problematic.  

Friday night, on the other hand, was to have a low of 22.  That is cause for concern.  

I already had the bottles of pink antifreeze in my vehicle.  I originally planned to winterize once I got back home but figured I should be prepared for anything.  

So, we arrive at the dealer and I move into action.  After verifying the repairs are to my liking I then open the drain valve and out goes the rest of the fresh water.  Onto the pavement but it sure won't do any harm.  Plus it's supposed to either rain or snow later in the day so letting loose the liquid is of no matter.  

That task done, it's time to add the antifreeze.  

It also is starting to sprinkle.  Plus it's cold.  I give Geogal credit, she took it all in good humor.  

Get out the funnel, add the pink stuff to the now-closed fresh water tank.  Then the two of us begin running the different faucets and the toilet until all the water changes to the desired reddish hue.  

(Hey Geogal, you just learned how to winterize the rig!)

By now the rain is coming down steady.  We hitch the camper to the truck and it's off and away.  Before leaving home we decided to stay overnight in a hotel.  So, let's get there and settle in to the room!  

Easier said than done?

The steady rain soon morphs into snow.  The steady freeway traffic morphs into rush-hour slow.  

And I'm still not 100% comfortable pulling the rig.  

But as is often the case with vehicles, slower is better.  Plus safe.  

We get to the hotel and check-in goes smoothly.  Then we face a dilemma of the evening meal.  We don't want to A) lose our parking spaces behind the hotel and B) drive to a restaurant while dragging camper behind.  There are a few eating establishments within walking distance, under normal weather conditions, but not when it's snowing and the wind chill is down into the 20's.  Hotel itself has no restaurant and the pickings are slim from their lobby refrigerated cabinet.  (Hint:  You better not be lactose-intolerant if you wish to take one of those back to your room and nuke it.)  

Finally Geogal has the solution.  Go online and order pizza and wings for delivery from the nearby Pizza Hut.  

We ate well.  We then slept well.  

Not only that but the snow stopped during the evening with no accumulation.  Saturday dawned a bit cold with with clear skies and almost no wind.  

Great driving conditions.  Many hours later we are home.  With more character.  

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Today, Thanksgiving Day, it's cold, sleety, followed by snowy.  

But I'd rather write about what we encountered last Monday.  

Before I get into that detail I will explain the title of today's post.  

Many years ago (about 35 if I recall correctly) I owned a book titled The Genuine Texas Handbook.  I don't have it anymore, I think I finally threw it out when the pages all got scattered after the binding broke down.  One of the chapters had a glossary of Texas terms, one of which was "weather."  

Definition:  Any unpleasant meteorological occurrence.  

Then it was used in a sentence.   "Brother, we're about to have us some weather!"

That was the case last Monday.  Two days prior I did my last yard-mowing of the season and cleaned out the house gutters as well.  I was checking the forecast and wanted to be ready in case we did get precipitation.  

I was glad I did.  

Clouds gathered in the early evening and by the time we were enjoying supper the rain started.  

Then more rain.  

Then a whole lot more.  

The three of us were well into the meal when the town's tornado siren went off. That, followed by the alert from the weather radio sent us to the basement.  

And if that wasn't enough, how about some hail?

Whack, whack, whack, whack, whack, whack, clatter, bam, bam, bam, BAM!

The aftermath?  No damage to our vehicles.  The hail wasn't any larger than dime size.  And the funnel clouds that did touch down in the area weren't anywhere near our house, or even our town for that matter.  Fortunately those that did didn't cause any injuries.  

But I didn't escape the wrath of Geogal.  While she and Geoana were in the basement watching the weather reports on TV and enjoying "The Voice" when they resumed normal programming, I went up several times checking on the size of the hail.  

My child swears she heard her mother saying: "If your father winds up dead from a tornado I swear I will kill him!"  

That was one of the few times I didn't need to make up a humorous ending for a posting.  

Sunday, November 15, 2015


I spent today (and yesterday) engaging in more work than a guy really ought on a weekend.  Between cleaning out the gutters, raking and mowing the yard, shuttling child back and forth to her play performance, attending the play performance, and assorted cooking and cleaning I think I missed a needed day of rest.  

Yet the end result is well worth it.  Clean house, good-looking yard, and a freezer full of half a hog.  (Processing locker was almost an hour's drive away.)  

Speaking of clean house my cleaning this weekend took a slightly different form.  For a number of days now when you sat in the easy chair in the big room every now and then you'd get a whiff of something not pleasant.  Almost like something dead.  

We speculated it might be a dead mouse, perhaps in the wall somewhere or (God forbid) in the vent.  

So, since Geogal was away this weekend functioning as a sponsor for a church youth retreat and Geoana was occupied with her play-related activities I decided to clean up our big room and determine the source of the odor.  

Those of you who remember the Froot Loops commercial from the late 1970's can hum along:

"Follow your nose (follow your nose), it always knows (it always knows)"

Didn't take me long to pinpoint that the source of the unpleasant smell was a basket behind the easy chair which contained accessories and power cords for our electronics.  And now also featured a dead mouse.  

Seems mousey got hung up in a velcro iPod nano holder and apparently assumed room temperature as a result.  

Put on the rubber gloves, get all this staff outside, and begin sorting out what needs to go and what we need to keep.  And I dispatch the mouse carcass to the creek area in the backyard (nature can take it from here).  

Garbage bag, bleach wipes, baking soda, and a blast of Lysol later, you'd never know there was anything gross in that big room.  In the interest of full disclosure this is not the first dead mouse I've ever found in this house but I tend to find them pretty early in the process of decay.  Plus since we are now in the season where everything insect and rodent tries to move inside due to the colder weather outside something like this happening isn't a huge surprise.  

But now we can sit and relax in the living room without that occasional nasty smell.  

I also earned major big husband points by taking care of this issue while wife was gone.  That right there is worth plenty.  

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Odds & Ends

I've been very busy these last several days and didn't truly have a chance to slow down and relax until this weekend.  Even with that I'm still fatigued.  Probably a combination of the accumulated stress and me getting my annual flu shot.  The needle stick barely hurt at all but my bicep was sore for about three days.  Geogal (who labors in the medical field) indicated there's talk that this year's vaccine lands on the rougher side, so I could also be suffering a few effects of live influenza injected into my corpus.  

Anyway.   I'm not out to turn this blog into an old-man-complaining-about-his-ailments rant.  

I'm still enjoying college pigskin.  While every Saturday counts now that it's November every Saturday REALLY counts.  Lose now and kiss the playoff goodbye.  Maybe.  

Right now our area football fans are in a quandary.  Kansas State and Nebraska, two perennially competitive teams, are having a tough time on the gridiron.  Today they find themselves in Trying To Become Bowl Eligible category when usually the start of November has the Husker and Wildcat faithful starting to make postseason travel arrangements.  

No doubt the KU gang will let the K-State fans have it this week, chanting: "At least we scored against Oklahoma!"  

From football to baseball, whole lotta folks here rooting for the Royals to win it all.  At this writing all they have to do is win one more game.  

While the Mets have the east coast establishment media powerhouse behind them I too am pulling for the Midwesterners.  Yet I can't help thinking how fun of a Series it would be if the Cubs made it.  Plus I had my blog entry already planned:  All it took for the Cubs to finally get into the World Series was the Geofamily attending a regular-season game (!!).

Sadly it was not to be.  

Back to football, I missed this one last night but thanks to our video/digital/Internet culture this play is preserved.  Way to get that win, Aggies!!