Monday, November 30, 2009

Enough Work Already

Monday: (11/30) I delivered the old car to Midas for a free oil change. Not too much is free anymore and this ended up costing use nothing. Nice.

Ernie and I finished the shed base, built the front walls and raised the rest of the walls. The front wall is not part of the manufactured shed but 2x2 and plywood construction so we can have a higher entrance and better door.

Breakfast was my egg, cheese and bologna English muffins. Dawn and I walked down to San Antonio Mall to Fresh Choice for dinner.

Tuesday: (12/01) Up early and took Dawn to the light rail station. I then "had" to stop by the Hong Kong bakery for breakfast. I then visited the  hardware store for a couple of things.

Ernie and I worked on his storage shed putting the roof on and a door. I really think building from scratch is much easier than building a pre-manufactured shed because you have to put things together their way for the manufactured shed. A scratch built shed can be adapted as it goes up. Ernie had to take his dogs to a vet appointment. I had to meet Dawn in San Jose for a while as well. We still managed to get the shed finished.

Enough work already. Time for a break!

Dawn and I had lunch at a newly discovered Mexican fast food place Gallo Giro in East San Jose. Our Cubana torta was very good. We went to Chili's for dinner then walked home.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Turkey Week

Monday: (11/23) I'm not sure I'm ready for winter, especially since we'll be hanging around close to or at home until at least after Christmas. Our last extended trip ended in April and Lou and I haven't gotten out since then. We've been busy here at home. Even though I'm a sissy Californian and don't  really know what a winter is, I still prefer the more summer like days in the desert during winter

I completed setting up Ernie's trailer with a macerater so he can dump more easily. We have found ours to be very handy. I also spent, the all to often deferred time, to put things away in the shop. Stuff piles up from previous tasks. I also returned leftover stuff to the hardware store. It's much better to store it there so I can find it for the next project. Lou was busy stuffing stuff back in the closet. It was sort of like Dagwoods closet. It's much better organized now. She also cleaned up in preparation for holiday guests.

Today was leftover day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. We need some room in the refrigerator for Thanksgiving's coming leftovers.

Tuesday: (11/24) A short work day. Ernie and I located and cut the boards for the base of his storage building. That was it for me. Lou went down to San Jose to pick up some shelf units she bought used from a business that is closing. Ernie helped her set them up in her shed and studio.

I caught the train up to San San Francisco to a meeting of the BAADAuG computer user group. I like to attend these meetings when I'm in town. I arrived early and enjoyed a nice walk around town along the Embarcardero by the piers and up to Coit Tower for a nice view as the sun set. I then came down to my meeting. Our group leader, Mark Altenbernd, presented a project he developed that presented a bunch of gauges and charts developed in Flash. Interesting.

An interesting lesson in San Francisco's waste management practices. They require all garbage be divided into compostables, recyclablles, and landfill bins with serious fines for failure to do it correctly. The plan is to reduce landfill to less than 25% of total waste. Our host site, Learn-It had nice signs on the three bins in their lunch room. After a short reminder and instruction by our group commander, we all started to get the hang of it. It actually seems better than our system in Palo Alto and most everywhere else. While San Francisco wants soiled compostable food containers and food scraps in the compost bin, our compost bins only get yard trimmings. Our recycleable bins accept most of what they can put in theirs. This is all getting rather complex but it is necessary. Too bad we can't have a more consistent method though.

Ham and eggs for breakfast. Leftover fish soup for lunch, Subs for dinner at my meeting.

Wednesday: (11/25) I had planned to do a little assembly of Ernie's storage shed but "the best laid plans...." I secured Lou's shelves so they should survive an earthquake. Helped Ernie with a few tasks. I managed to wear myself out and ended up napping in the afternoon.

Ernie, Lou, and Dawn were busy most of the evening advance cooking dishes for the big meal tomorrow. Ernie also baked an apple and a mince meat pie. Dawn fixed some sweet potatoes and baked fresh sour dough bread. Lou fixed the dressing as a casserole and fresh cranberry sauce.

We've done a good job getting rid of leftovers to leave room in the refrigerator. Breakfast was cereal. Cold cuts for lunch. Pizza from Pizz'a Chicago for dinner.

Thursday: (11/26) Turkey Day. Ernie got the bird on and prepared the rest of dinner. My only contribution was providing a sheet of plywood for the table top. A 4x8' sheet makes a great table for eight (even up to 10).

Thanksgiving Get-together Our Holiday table
Dinner was about 3pm. There were Ernie, Lou, Dawn, myself, our neighbors Eric and Melei, Courtney and her roommate Ashley, a foreign exchange student from Hong Kong. Eric and Melei lived in Hong Kong for several years leaving about the time Ashley was born so they had something to chat about. It was Ashley's first Thanksgiving.

Cereal for breakfast. Turkey for dinner. How odd. Actually Turkey, smashed potatoes, creamed peas with baby onions, dressing, sweet potatoes, sour dough bread, fruit salad, and Eric brought a cucumber jicama salad and baked quince apple grape compote. All this was topped off with Ernie's apple, mince meat, and/or Courtney's pumpkin pies.

Friday: (11/27) Lou was off early to Bakersfield to see Aunt Helen. It's raining today, at least enough to keep me inside, so no work today. I did get my desk cleaned up and worked at computer projects as well.

Breakfast was PBJ English muffins. Lunch and dinner were Thanksgiving leftovers.

Saturday: (11/28) The rain is gone but today has strong winds. I bought a new entry lock set and installed it on the storm door. The original had round knobs that were hard to open. The new set has lever handles and is much better.

Dawn and I took the train up to San Francisco. She had a class reunion event there and I'll escort here there. It was held at the Minna Galery. My original thought was why San Francisco and why Thanksgiving. I learned that they reasoned that they had a good chance of more attendees because the out of towners came home for Thanksgiving anyway and were available. San Francisco seemed kind of far away from home but the turnout was good so evidently it helped as well. Dawn had a good time.

I went to see the SF Auto Show nearby. It was a bit smaller but still a lot  to see. Nothing new though. Mostly the same product, no original ideas. Kind of sad. They still haven't learned. You can't tell one car makers product from another without  a label. They all look exactly the same. No style. No deviation from average. Last time I attended there was a lot more emphasis on hybrids and electric vehicles. Not much this time. My favorite car right now is the Volkswagon Jetta diesel. I've owned two VW's before and liked both. I had to give up on the bus because it wasn't safe to drive though. The Jetta is made with the VW's high quality and a little originality. The diesel has the best mileage of any car available, including any hybrid, assuming you do mostly highway driving where it has gotten 67mpg average in a 9000 mile drive around the country. It's city mileage is slightly less than the best hybrids at 30 mpg but equivalent to the Ford Escape hybrid. A problem for us is that only the manual transmission is towable. I'm too lazy to use a clutch again. So, I'm still looking for our next car.

Breakfast was an apple fritter. Lunch was more Thansgiving day leftovers, almost gone now! Dinner was a subway sandwich and slice of pizza at Goldie's in San Francisco.

Sunday: (11/29) Another sunny day. Time to get back to work. Ernie and I installed and leveled the shed base and anchored it. That effort seemed to use up the day.

Our backyard becomes very interesting on occasion in the fall. The seed pods on our wisteria vine start popping. It's sort of like someone shooting in the back yard. They fly to all extremes in the rear yard. One seed tweaked my ear and I was 40 feet away. Ernie said he noticed them popping when he went outside about 10pm. We arrived home at 1am ourselves. They started popping again later in the morning. I've always thought they worked something like popcorn and when they were ready and as they warmed up, they popped. Oddly, it's not really hot and has been in the past and no popping. Also popping late in the evening is contrary to that theory. It does seem that all the leaves fell off the plant at the same time? Can the wisteria fire at will? That's a bit scary! About half of the pods have fired now so tomorrow will be interesting as well.

Breakfast was PBJ English muffins. Chili beams for lunch. Chinese food for dinner.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

We're Expecting

Monday: (11/16) A day off.Lou and I went out looking at our local shopping center. We had a successful shopping trip by buying very little.

Breakfast was leftover enchiladas. Lou and I had lunch at our favorite noodle house Luu Noodles in Mountain View. Ernie fixed hamburger stroganoff with fresh broccoli and cauliflower  for dinner.

Tuesday: (11/17) Russ from Roger's Camping Trailers delivered Ernie's trailer this morning. Our experience with Roger's was a pleasure. Russ and Denise, the owners, were very helpful and knowledgeable, definitely not like your average RV salesman. I wish they also sold motorhomes. We may need one someday and would love to work with similar folks.

Ernie was busy moving into it all day. The dogs called it home immediately, especially Walter who never left it all day. Lou and I dropped the old dishwasher off at the dump.

Lou fixed corned beef hash and eggs fr breakfast. Grilled cheese sandwiches with artichoke bread for lunch. Stir-fry dinner.

Wednesday: (11/18) Busy day. Ernie worked well into last evening moving in to his new home. Today, he continued.

Lou and I worked on installing a pipe under the house. As long as I had to crawl, we also pulled in two new TV antenna cables, one for a TV in the kitchen and another for Ernie. While the crawl space was nice, for this time of year, I did have to dig some to fit under some beams I used to squeeze under before. My waist dimensions are at least partially at fault but our clay soil is also a culprit. It moves around. To get under one beam I had to chisel it out because it was as hard as cement. To get under the other beam I had to remove some mud as the clay was wet there. Neither was pleasant work. The project did take much longer than planned but did result in success. I'm glad I haven't been down there for more than six years and hope I never have to again!

Lou and I enjoyed a nice breakfast out at Joanie's Cafe on California Avenue. Skipped lunch. Dinner at the new Mi Pueblo Market in East Palo Alto. Lou Dawn and I shared a torta Cubana and a super quesadilla.

Thursday: (11/19) Lou and I started the morning with a short bike ride over to Fry's. i picked up a piece of wire molding for the kitchen TV cable.

I tinkered around the house adding a new TV antenna amplifier and activated an antenna for the kitchen TV. The TV's been around a year or two and finally has an antenna. I also tried to fix the RV macerater. It didn't work well the past couple of times blowing fuses. I took it apart, cleaned out a few fibers around the cutter but couldn't get it to work.

Cereal and bananas for breakfast. A hot dog for lunch. Brussels sprouts, leftover fettuccine Alfredo and one of Lou's famous oven baked asparagus omelets for dinner.

Friday: (11/20) Almost the whole day off.

Yesterday, Lou emptied the entry closet to allow access to the crawl spac entrance. I realized that it took special effort  to get the door closed when getting a jacket but seeing all the stuff filling the entire living room made the amount of stuff more obvious. Something has to go. lots of jackets not worn since put in the closet.

When I was through under the house yesterday and taking my shower Lou came in and told me Dawn had asked why she didn't get a cable to the TV in her bedroom. She just watches videos on it, it doesn't have a new ATSC tuner so no broadcast TV on it anyway but it was a good question. We forgot. Since I haven't crawled under the house in more than eight years I decided to get that wire in while I knew I could. But I did wait until today with clean coveralls again. The task was quickly accomplished and hopefully that takes care of crawling for a while. The clay soil under there is in one of two conditions. hard as a rock with sharp edges or soft and muddy. So I either crawl on sharp rocks or in sticky mud. Neither one is pleasant but the sticky mud is worse bad. I worry about becoming glued to the ground with the mud.

Mission accomplished and a shower and we were off for the day.

Dawn, Lou and I drove down to Gilroy, the city of garlic, for a shopping excursion. The smell of garlic seems almost everpresent in Gilroy and we love visiting. Our nearest Camping World is there and we needed a new macerater pump. They also have a nice discount shopping center for Dawn. We started with a visit to the Longhorn Restaurant for breakfast. We managed to wear ourselves out before stopping at the Black Bear Diner for dinner. We finally got home a little before 8pm. Nice to take a day off!

Today was a good day to be out. It rained all day. Can;t do much in the yard anyway.

Breakfast Lou and Dawn shared Buckwheat pancakes, eggs and bacon. I had the chicken fried steak and eggs with pancakes. An early dinner at the Black Bear. Lou and Dawn shared spaghetti and meatballs while I topped of the day with more chicken fried steak potatoes and green beans.

Saturday: (11/21) A sunny day. Not much undertaken today. I did make a parts run to try and find some parts needed to hook up the macerater. Otherwise, I worked at the computer all day.

Cereal for breakfast. Leftovers for lunch. Lou baked a big ham for dinner with baked potatoes sweet potatoes, and a nice green salad.

Sunday: (11/22) A partially sunny day. Rain was forecast but only threatened. It is cool though. I spent the morning working at the computer and took a parts run to Pep Boys Auto Store for some parts for the macerater connections. No real work today.

Ham and eggs for breakfast. Leftover corned beef hash for lunch. Mexican vegetable soup for dinner.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Actual Progress

Monday: (11/09) Ernie and I finished the front of Lou's new shed. It still needs a door but it is a building now. Lou and Dawn were in San Jose for a meeting in the morning.

Well, it happened again. We finally lit the pilot light on our heater at home. It's been getting cooler and is almost cold at times now. I guess when I had to abandon my short pants a couple of days ago that it was near the end of summer. Hopefully we'll get out of here for warmer climate soon.

Breakfast was leftover omelet with English muffin. lunch was a visit to Carl's jr and a bacon avocado burger. Lou fixed enchiladas for dinner with re-fried beans.

Tuesday: (11/10) Ernie and I put away the collected tools and stuff piled on the shop table. We also installed the ridge cap on the new shed roof. Until the front was in place, I wasn't sure it would remain standing if I leaned onit and getting to the middle of the roof ridge requires leaning on the roof. Our final accomplishment was building and installing the shed door. All done. It's now Lou's turn to arrange shelves and move in.

Ernie fixed eggs, home fried spuds and sausage for breakfast. Cottage cheese and fruit cocktail for lunch. Lou fixed fried fish, brown rice, and asparagus for dinner.

Wednesday: (11/11) Lou was very busy moving her molds into the new shed. Dawn, Courtney and Ernie assisted. It should take 2 or three more days to complete the move. Lou needs to update her inventory sheets to show the current locations as she moves them. I worked at cleaning out her old building and moving it to the rear of the yard temporarily. We now have a path to get the trailer into the yard.

It was cool enough that Dawn and Courtney started a campfire in the afternoon and we enjoyed in the evening too.

PBJ English muffins for breakfast. Ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch. Ernie fixed corned beef with corn on the cob and his baked potato slices for dinner.

Thursday: (11/12)First thing was to adjust the shelf levels on one of Lou's shelves in her mold shed. Today, the Chinese pine tree by the driveway got a serious trim.

After an early dinner I went down to Adobe headquarters in downtown San Jose for a meeting of the Silvafug, another Adobe user group. It was my first visit with this group. Chet Haase a Flex SDK desine engineer spoke about the rules of animation for applications as compared to Disney's 12 rules of animation. It was very interesting to get a set of rules for use in developing web applications.

PBJ English muffins for breakfast. Left over treasures from the refrigerator for lunch. Courtney fixed chicken, pomegranate waffles for dinner.

Friday: (11/13) Friday the 13th!

Everyone took a day off today.  Ernie and I went over to Roger's Camping trailers for the walk through on Ernie's trailer.His trailer will be delivered Tuesday. Lou, Dawn and I took a walk around the recently remodeled Stanford Town And Country Shopping Center in the evening.

We all went to Anne's Coffee Shop in Menlo Park for breakfast. I had something from the lunch menu, baked hash. Dawn had Alaskan Benedict, Lou corned beef hash, Ernie Sausage and eggs. Since we had a late breakfast we had an early dinner of steak, brown rice, and fresh spinach.

Saturday: (11/14) Lou was busy moving molds. She made great progress getting most of the stuff moved into the shed. We started by moving another shelf into the shed and I cut a few boards to optimize the shelves. My major effort was watching Lou work providing an occasional assist. I did move a few last items out of the way and cut the boards needed to level the trailer. I'm ready.

Popcorn for breakfast. Ernie fixed potato soup and home made saltine crackers for dinner.

Sunday: (11/15) Lou finished getting here stuff into the shed except for some odds and ends that she will go through later when she gets another shelf for the shed. It's on order but wasn't available in time. We filled two carts with all the remaining molds and cleaned up the deck and are ready to receive Ernie's trailer.

Ernie prepared pancakes for breakfast. Courtney took us out to Buca de Beppo for lunch. We had a Caesar salad, fettuccine Alfredo and garlic cheese toast. Dinner was left over enchiladas.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ernie's New Home To Be

Ernie's Nomad Trailer Looking Toward Rear At Kitchen and Bed in Rear

Ernie has a new home, almost.  We Started looking in earnest for Ernest's home recently. We had been looking for either a class A or B motorhome or a travel trailer. We don't have anything that could move a fifth wheel so that was ruled out. We also decided that a travel trailer was better since it won't need a motor because it won't be moving. Finding a good trailer is difficult both because good used RV's are hard to find and because there aren't too many good trailer floor plans.

Lots Of Closet Space Looking Toward Front At Dinette
We seemed to have found both a good floorplan and a good unit at an equally important good price. It's a 1991 Nomad 24' trailer. We found it at Roger's Camping Trailers in Fremont, Ca. We thought we couldn't find a good used RV at the best price at a dealer but Rogers really surprised us. They only had a couple of used units but one was what we wanted. Even though it is short, it has lots of closet and storage space and includes two doors. We'll probably be putting a dog door in the bedroom door.

Ernie's Shower Ernie's Bathroom
Unlike most of the units we looked at, it seems well built even having a one piece shower.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Falling Back

Monday: (11/02) The time change is always a challenge. Our cell phones, fortunately, automatically follow the correct time. The VCR's now set themselves to the correct time as broadcast by PBS. I did remember to reset our main clock back as required. But, that was it. Dawn needed to get up early so asked me to set the alarm. Since our old alarm clock failed, we're using the battery travel clock from the RV in the house. I set it and it woke us up at 6:30 as requested by Dawn. Unfortunately, the time on it had not been changed so the alarm had actually gotten Dawn and Lou up at 5:30. Sorry about that. I then followed through and reset the alarm clock, the car, and the microwave.

Since we had plenty of time. I got up and went with Lou to drop Dawn off at the light rail train. We had breakfast on the way at the Hong Kong Bakery, baked pork buns. After we dropped Dawn off we headed over to Home Depot for a few things and also returned some surplus items.

When we returned, the contractor was busy back-filling the holes on our street. Evidently, the new pipe passed the pressure tests.

Ernie and I worked on digging a trench to bury some pipes and wires for the sprinklers that were attached to the old wooden deck.

Breakfast was baked pork buns from Hong Kong Bakery. Lunch was popcorn with Parmesan cheese. Dinner was fish with quinoa and green beans.

Tuesday: (11/03) Ernie and I finished burying the sprinkler pipes that had been attached to the deck.

Egg, cheese and sausage English muffins' for breakfast. McDonald's snack wrap for lunch. Lou make spaghetti with a green salad and fresh pineapple for dinner.

Wednesday: (11/04) Ernie and I removed some stumps and roots and the dirt in the raised flower bed behind where the deck was. Everything is back down to sidewalk level now.

The gas line contractor patched most of the holes on our street. Previously there were a lot of speed bumps where they left traffic plates over the big holes they used to replace the pipes. We should get some parking back on the street now.

PBJ English muffin's for breakfast. Bologna and Swiss cheese sandwiches for lunch. Ernie fixed macaroni and cheese with corn for dinner.

Lou's Molds Waiting For New Home Raised Base For Lou's Mold Storage Shed
Thursday: (11/05) Lou's moved all her molds out of her existing dilapidated shed and prepared them for moving into the new shed. There are quite a few molds. Ernie and I started assembling one of the metal sheds. Not wanting to let anything be easy, we started by building a pedestal so the roof can be higher (above right). The pedestal also levels the side walls since the old concrete slab that was under the wood deck is not level.

The Deck Fence Was Too Good To Go To The Dump So Placed At Rear Of Yard A Mess Made To Cleanup
Waffles and sausage for breakfast. Spaghetti for lunch. Leftover spaghetti, with stuffed mushrooms and grapes for diner.

Friday: (11/06) Ernie, Lou and I left about 10am. We had three RV's to see. First appointment wasn't until 1pm in Concord. We had a list of RV dealers in the East bay as well. After crossing the Dumbarton Bridge We stopped at the closest RV dealer, Roger's Camping Trailers in Fremont just across the bay. It's a small dealer we've never visited before. They didn't have many trailers but did have two used trailer s. One was a tent trailer the other a 1991 24' Nomad trailer. The Nomad was in really good shape and priced equal to the lesser quality FBO trailers we've seen. we liked it.

We continued on to look at a used Tioga Class C RV in Concord which was in good shape but priced higher than most similar we've seen. We then went to Oakley to see a really cheap travel trailer but it had seen better days. We continued our tour by heading back West to Novato to see a nice 3 year old travel trailer. It was in good shape but had many repairs including many bad patches to the rubber roof reportedly caused by a malicious awning. it also looked like it had a rear wend collision. No thanks.

We returned toward home across the Golden Gate Bridge through San Francisco during rush hour stopping for dinner in Millbrae.

Breakfast at Jack in the box. Lunch at a shopping mall in Concord. Ernie had Parmesan chicken, I had a slice of stuffed pizza. Lou had some rach and bacon fries. Dinner at Neal's Coffee Shop in Millbrae. Lou and I had shrimp fettuccine. Ernie had the corned beef hash breakfast.

Saturday: (11/07) Our Friday night dinner out with Dawn and Courtney became breakfast this morning at Dina's Poolside Cafe just down the street.

Ernie and I then drove across the Dumbarton Bridge again to Roger's Camping Trailers to buy the Nomad trailer. It's the best we've seen and was at the right price. It's a two door short 24' trailer, has lots of storage, a corner bed, a nice dinette with a drop down bunk above. Should be nice for Ernie and the dogs.

I spent a little time working on the base for the new metal shed for Lou's molds.

At Dina's Poolside Cafe Lou, Dawn, Courtney and I shared a couple of Nunley omelets. Ernie had a bacon and Swiss omelet. We haven't been there in at least a couple of years. The gardens adjacent to the pool are really nice. Cottage cheese and fruit cocktail for lunch. Lou got a new used wave cooker today and prepared dinner in it. Broccoli, cauliflower, steak and leftover quinoa.

Sunday: (11/08) Ernie, Lou and I erected the first metal shed. It wasn't all that easy since were not going to use the front and doors and that's what the instructions started with. So, we winged it and erected it without following directions requiring the removal and reassembly of a few items but all went well. Tomorrow we'll build the front.

Breakfast was one of Lou's baked egg omelets. Grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. Penne pasta with white sauce, broccoli, carrots, and asparagus with roast beef for dinner.