Friday, July 27, 2007


The car is fixed and running even better than before since I changed the fuel filter as well as the alternator. SuperDave showed up on Thursday for his visit. It's been pretty good so far with some swimming and skateboarding already. He seems to really be interested in the chicks and that's something that I didn't expect. All kinds of questions have ensued relating to eggs, feeding, and care. We'll probably build some more nesting boxes this coming week. Unfortunately all that the LW and I seem to be doing since SuperDave showed up is fight and bicker about various little stuff. Hopefully that'll change soon. Sometimes I think that our next anniversary gift to each other should really be a set of boxing gloves.

It's steamy Mississippi even. The rain continues to pound the roof, the washes, and the poor broken tree out front. So far in three days, the tree's been bent 45 degrees in 3 different directions. SuperDave and I took the truck out this afternoon for some over-the-hood wash runnin'. We covered the entire truck with one splash. Damned kids!

Note to clouds: We've had enough rain for a week or two....move along please.

Tomorrow is yard cleanup for the LW. Auntie M will come over to watch CP while all of this is going on. SuperDave and I will go to one of the gardens to do some irrigation line repair. A dinner is planned tomorrow night in honor of our little guest and it should be a good time.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

In Threes

My alternator arrived this morning from Peter at along with a belt and a glowplug. This should fix the car and get the CP hauler back on the road. Threes.

Last night's storm was pretty strong and our little mesquite tree didn't make it through. It's been twisted at the base and is just leaning over in the yard. The LW is pretty upset about it and wanted to go right out front and prop it up, but couldn't because I was working and the baby was going nuts. It's a costly wind that blows around here this time of year. I just went out to put the laundry up on the line on the most humid day so far this year and realized that the door switch on the washer isn't working, so the laundry isn't getting the spin cycle - everything is soggy on the sagging line. Add in the car not working right now to go with the broken tree and the spinless washer and it's pushing the LW to the limit. Threes.

Working again tonight and it's nice, but the LW needs a break. I think that I'm going to give her the boot tomorrow after I fix the car and just get her out of the house somewhere before she looses it and beats me up with a bat in my sleep.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Home At Last

We finally rolled into T-town yesterday afternoon after a fun trip with some interesting twists at the end. We left town on Thursday the 12th and here's the official rundown:
Thurs 12th - Tucson -> Van Horn, TX (~450mi) Enjoyed the KOA Kabin there and the great breakfast the next morning. CP toured the grounds in her new sandals and waved to everyone.
Friday 13th - Van Horn, TX -> Austin, TX (~450mi) The LW found a little studio to rent there near the SoCo strip and it was really nice. CP really enjoyed having her own space. Went out with everyone to Stubbs BBQ for some great food. Jen found this wonderful BBQ place - nice work!
Saturday 14th - Wedding day - CP spent some time with the family in the hotel and at the pool before the wedding. The wedding was nice...and short! Within a few minutes of sitting down and playing the music, they were done. It was a nice gig even from the "cry room" at the church. Got to see Vanessa B. and it was a good thing. Spent some time at the reception (good time) until the noise got really loud for us and the baby. Retired to our spot for some quiet time with Mr. Lard and the Betsy.
Sunday 15th - Austin, TX -> Cary, MS (~too many miles) A quick breakfast with the family over stories of twisted beds and cereal in sheets. Then for some hugs and we were on the road again. The LW had the computer up and going for a search of BioDiesel outlets, but there weren't any on the way. The road was nice, but long on this day.
Monday 16th - Cary, MS CP got her first taste of southern home cookin'. She had fried catfish and hush puppies. Alot of them both! She got to see plenty of family and enjoyed her stay.
Tuesday 17th - Cary, MS -> Bolton, MS (short drive) After lunch we had to pack the car and get going to honor our "even time" with both families mandate. It was good to see my dad's side of the family. We arrived in Bolton and woke up the grandparents from a nap. It's good to wake up to CP though...unless she's in your bed kicking you, that is.
Wednesday 18th-19th - Bolton, MS Got to see plenty of my mom's side of the family. It was a good time. CP wowed everyone with her recently realized bipedalism and that toothy grin. Before we knew it, we were packing the car again and off on the road.
Friday 20th - Bolton, MS -> Euless, TX (~450mi) Left in the morning to get a head start on this trip because our time with Gramma would be short. It still took us most of the day to get there. The LW had the laptop up and running with the broadband card and was able to use google maps' traffic function to route us around all of the ugly stuff in Dallas. Real-time traffic updates are sweeeet! We got there around 5:30pm, but it was a breeze. CP was ready to get out of the car. After a short visit with Gramma, we headed off to the pool for some much needed playtime.
Saturday 21st - Euless, TX -> Van Horn, TX (~450mi) Left Gramma's after some wonderful bagels and fruit that Jan brought by. Thanks Jan! It was so nice to stay with Gramma again and I think that we've seen her just about as much as the LW's folks have this year. We rolled into Van Horn expecting our KOA Kabin to be waiting, but instead found that someone else had taken it from us. I guess some lady named Deanna checked in even though she had a reservation at the KOA in Ft. Stockton. This led me to ask, "What kind of idiotic Texan misses a town by 100 miles?!". Well, this idiot took our room for the night, so we were off to find a place to stay. It was raining and we were tired, so we just pulled into one of the many motels in town and hit the sack.
Sunday 22nd - Van Horn, TX -> Tucson (~450mi) Got ths stuff sorted out with the KOA folks and the lady was still blaming the KOA for letting her check into the wrong one when we got there. Lady, you missed your town by 100 miles and weren't even on the correct interstate! Milton at the KOA even told her, "You signed someone else's credit card receipt, didn't you look around at anything?" I just hope that she's not in healthcare! They refunded our money and payed us back for the difference in the Kabin and the hotel price. Good service. After this was settled, we were on our way back through familiar territory. I had heard some squeaking from one of the idlers under the hood on the a/c-power steering-alternator belt, but figured that we'd make it home ok. Well, I figured wrong. 60miles or so East of Lordsburg, NM the pulley on the alternator exploded and cooked the belt for the three devices listed above. I heard a loud thud/rumble and immediately killed the engine and coasted to the roadside. The pulley has a sprag clutch to accomodate the diesel engine's funny crank speed antics and it went south. I pulled the belt and made sure that the pulley wasn't going anywhere. Since the car has daytime running lights, I pulled the headlight fuses to conserve battery power. Cripes! We were in the middle of nowhere with almost 200 miles to go. We rolled the windows down and called Brandy for backup if needed. We kept driving and driving with no indications that the battery was even getting a workout. The diesel uses very little energy to keep it running anyway, so we were lucky. The car got us home with what appears to be plenty of battery power left. I would guess that we probably could have gone for quite some time just like we did.

It was a good long trip and we enjoyed it. It really was good to get out and see family and the countryside. CP did really well and we now know just how many miles we can cover safely in one day before she has a meltdown. The car did well except for the hiccup there at the end of the trip, but that can't really be planned for. We got roughly 45 miles/gallon for the entire trip and it sure was nice to see the needle on a quarter tank with almost 600 miles on the odometer.

Expect pictures soon everyone.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


The LW is driving us through Monahans Texas right now...and I'm getting serious about what was a joke: making a bumper sticker on CafePress that says, "GIVE TEXAS BACK!". Man, besides that Starbucks back at Midland with the tattoos, this state hasn't really impressed me any. Leaving Euless this morning, we saw 3 crashes on I-20 in about 10 miles. People were just crazy there. Maybe some of those nutbars will go to LA for a .45 caliber traffic manners class on the 101 or 405. Anyway, we're on our way to a KOA Kabin in Van Horn. It's a simple little place to stay and it's got good folks running the show. We'll probably leave early enough to put us back home in T-town by lunchtime.

This has been a good trip so far and I think that we'll be keeping the broadband card. I hope to post details and photos of our "10 Days on The Road" when we're back safely at home. CP says "HI" to everyone and keeps telling us "more fishes"!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Woke up this morning to the wife going around the house and unplugging things. Lightening and rain came soon and the trickle of water into the cistern began. It was a good sound and I was able to relax a bit after getting out on the ladder yesterday and finishing up with some flashing and gutter work. It's nice to see something work around here. (update: I evidently got too much concrete in the drain piping for the cistern; so much for something working.)

I just got the link to a place that sells boiled peanuts in a can that can be ordered this morning from Alice. I can't wait to try them out. It's been quite a few years since I had any of them and I hope that they're close to being as good as the peanuts that my grandmother once made.

CP went out for a ride with the LW this morning. CP left the driveway laughing and came back sleeping. It was good to see the LW get out and about for a bit. We're supposed to go visit Aunt Carie and Teague this morning, but we may have to wait just a little while.

Later this week we'll be gearing up for the trip to Austin and beyond. It should be fun.

My buddy Pat sent me this photo with the caption, "Image I'd most like to see in tomorrow's paper - front page". It'll never happen though. He'll get a bad case of "potential witness syndrome" or his plane will mysteriously crash into the ocean before he ever hits a courtroom. In the meantime, the crap propogated by this clown and his puppets will plague this country for generations. What a rat.

Friday, July 06, 2007

3 Cars

The old Jetta found a new home this afternoon and went on its way. It's good to have it gone and I was able to park my truck in its spot again. Hopefully the truck will find a new home soon.

It rained here today and it knocked the temp down from 107 to 93 in a few minutes. It was the first rain and we enjoyed hearing it running from the roof into the cistern.

CP is back in action and has been walking back and forth between the LW and I. It's a little thing, but it sure is funny to watch.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


The LW and I have discussed her moving about the country while working and the main problem that came up was that she needs to be hooked in during the day and available on her work IM-type-setup when we're away from our home internet connection. It doesn't sound like much of a problem - hey, just find wifi hotspots, right? -- until you figure in the child factor, the money and time involved in tracking down a usable wifi hotspot, and the restricted travel timing.

Recently, that telephone company from Overland Park, KS and it's rivals started releasing what's called EVDO Rev. A in certain cities. It's mobile broadband that runs from cell phone towers and it's pretty fast for what it is. It's supposedly up around 2meg-down/500k-up in some towns. It seems as though Verizon limits bandwidth, even though they say that they don't in their marketing stuff, so they were out. I did a bit of research on the forum that the folks at the maintain and this technology looks like it'll clip the travel tether that we're on and allow the LW to work as we zip down the highway to Gramma's and back. This morning I picked up a Pantech PX500 card and we'll test it locally and on the way to TX soon. The only downside is that it's $60 per month for service, but for the freedom to stay wherever we want and go wherever we want without worrying about somebody's sketchy wifi setup, it looks pretty good.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


CP started her day with vomit and has stayed with that theme through several mealtimes and a couple of baths necessary to clean her up a bit. She seems somewhat content otherwise, but we can tell that she's a little bit off the mark. I wonder if she has another appointment with the doc coming soon. She always gets really nice and sick before those. She's in the tub washing off the latest round of regurgitated breast milk right now and I can hear her splashing around.

The LW and I got up this morning to try and finish sealing off the cistern. It isn't too bad, but I can't imagine climbing down into the 2' diameter tanks. The 3' is pretty easy to get into and move around. Tomorrow we should be finished sealing it and we'll be ready to install the overflow pipe and route the guttering. Finally.

The company that hosts my work website figured out that they hadn't been charging me for some reason over the past year. To correct their mistake, they decided that it would be great if they just reset my entire account. If your emails are bouncing back, this is the reason. This "correction" involves taking down and rebuilding my website and email setup. Oh, and I get to do all of that. If you're thinking of web hosting, stay away from iPowerWeb. I think that I'll be switching everything to dreamhost some time very soon.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


CP loved the sand and waves. After the LW and I had finished our traditional pre-trip argument, we were on our way out of town at a little after 3pm. It was a smooth trip and the BioDiesel from the GOGO Mart had the TDI humming down the highway. We made a few stops between here and SD. Once up around Eloy and once over near Yuma. CP was a bit grumpy about being trapped in the seat and we stopped when the LW and I thought we'd go mad. The stop out near Yuma was interesting. Desolation and intense heat struck us as we got out of the car. CP could have cared less though - she was free! We put her in the back part of the wagon and let her crawl all over things. The remainder of the trip there was uneventful and we made it to the Pine Valley Inn by around 9pm. By this time, it must have been in the high 60s there in the hills and it was nice just to have the windows down. As with pretty much any low-cost strip motel there were the WT regulars who didn't give a damn who was sleeping inside because they wanted to let their dogs bark at the night and sit outside everyone's doors and chew the fat until 2am. I'll save dirty diapers for them next time and put them right under their room's air vents. The dogs kept waking the LW up, so she "woke up" groggy.

We bid that place and its noisy inhabitants a hearty "@#$% you!" in the morning and were on our way to the beach. CP enjoyed her little stop at the McD's outside El Cajon and was all set for a morning of toes in sand. We ran by Mission Beach on the way up to La Jolla and were headed up near the kids beach. We walked in the grass south of the kids area and got down near the water for a bit. CP played with a small crab for a bit, but eventually the excitement of all that water was too much for her. We went up toward the kids' area with her in the backpack (thanks Ma!) and it was a zoo as expected, with not only tons of kids, but harbor seals as well. CP didn't care, so we took her down into the little cove just south of there. She had a blast! She got to play in the waves and just kept going back for more even though the water was around 65 degrees. We all had a good time there and after drying off in the grass a bit, CP was ready for a nap and we were ready for some food.

I drove around a bit and found The Spot with the LW's help. It wasn't where I remembered it being, but it didn't matter. We had a good lunch and, as luck would have it, got seated next to some crazy people who couldn't shut up about mixed breeds being allowed into the Westminster dog show. Anyone seen that movie, Best In Show? I swear these guys could have been the basis for the characters in that movie. I didn't feel bad about CP's noise or messiness next to those clowns. The staff was really great to us and made everything good. I think that they could tell that we were tired. After that, we were off to the Birch Aquarium to see the fish and sea critters. CP had a good time at the big windows where there were large fish up close, but was less interested in the smaller windows and crowded areas. There was a display there that discussed the number of pounds of CO2 expelled per 100 miles for different vehicle mpg ratings and different fuels. We were pleased to see that the TDI, when running Biodiesel, was almost off of the bottom of the chart at 11lbs.

By this time, it was about time to check in. We headed up to Del Mar to check into the Doubletree and ended up going through a bit of town and into the mess that is the fair. We made it easily enough though and in no time, the LW was walking back to the car with a big smile and some great cookies. The room was really nice and the staff made sure that CP had a crib and that it was set up. We tried to get CP to take a nap, but I think that all of the excitement of the new place..and the elevator...kept her from sleeping. There was nothing left to do, but to head for the pool. Back in the water again, she was having a great time. It was the first saltwater pool that I've been in and it was really nice. CP seemed to like the lack of chlorine and was just all over the place.

Just when she was done swimming, we headed off to dinner at the Cafe on Park. It was a good place, but once again, the noise got in between the waitress and what the LW actually ordered, which is a pretty funny reversal, and she wound up getting some sort of salmon thing. It's usually me that nobody can hear, and yet this is the second time in recent memory where her order was screwed up. She said it was great though and really enjoyed it. By 930, CP was toast and we didn't hear too much out of her for the rest of the evening.

Sunday morning was quiet and good. We woke up late, for us, and ambled down to the buffet breakfast in the lobby. CP was a bit testy, but I think that it could have been that she knew that there was a beach waiting somewhere out there. I was a bit undecided about which beach to go to and we didn't really have a plan. I figured that the beach just north of Torrey Pines would be good if we could find a parking spot. Well, as luck would have it, the road seemed to lead us right to the beach just north of Soledad Lagoon. It was $8 to park, but that got us a nice spot next to a bathroom and shower and it was worth every cent. I'd advise anyone going to a beach in San Diego to do this exact same thing. It saved us from having to put a sandy mess of a child into a carseat...and we were relatively clean and happy as well. It was about 4 minutes drive from the front door of the hotel, so that helped as well. A warm bath put CP back in sync with the world and we were prepared to start the trip home.

CP did pretty well on the way back home and seemed to really enjoy snacking on goldfish crackers. We stopped a few times for breaks and to make us really appreciate how well the air conditioner in the wagon worked. The cats met us at the door, told us to turn the cooler on, and seemed to ask us why we had brought their little tormentor home with us. The chicks were all sitting near the misters on the coop pretty much asleep, so I just had to close the door before heading in for the night.

This trip, our first family vacation ever, was a hit and a good pre-run for the upcoming cross-country trips that we have planned in the next few months. The way things are going, I see a good many trips in our future in this car. Next time out though....we'll pack along some music or talking books.