Monday, March 29, 2021

Building A Ramp For Ernie

Monday: (03/29) Out early to see them pour concrete in the bottom of the hole down the street. They finished about 1300. I spent way too much time watching them. Another long afternoon nap today. I made breakfast egg, cheese and ham sandwiches with leftover rolls from Harry’s. Lou and Dawn went out to Shake Shack for their brunch. Waffles with bacon for lunch. Lou made steak with baked potatoes and asparagus for dinner. I managed to get the seven new sprinkler timers setup today. I was having trouble getting them attached via Bluetooth to the WIFI host adapter.

Tuesday: (03/30) A little supervision of the project down the street. I dug out the old rear bed sprinkler valve box and started installing the piping for the new valves. I made a trip to Ace for a few things as well. Leftover corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast. Corned beef and cheese sandwich for lunch. Dawn made rice with a stew of ham, chicken, cheese and veggies for dinner.

Wednesday: (03/31) Relaxed this morning inside. I drove Ernie to and from his VA appointment this morning. Attended my Wednesday Webinar. I also stopped at the downtown Ace store for a PVC fitting I had forgotten. All followed by a long afternoon nap. This could be habit forming. Granola and banana for breakfast. Ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Iranian chicken salad for dinner.

Thursday: (04/01) Ham, home fried potatoes and eggs for breakfast. I worked a little on cutting pieces for Ernie’s entry platform. I backfilled the new valve hole and completed the installation of the valves minus some fittings that haven't arrived yet. Ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Leftovers for dinner.

Friday: (04/02) Granola and banana for breakfast. I had a tooth cleaning appointment in the morning. I stopped at Lowe’s for some planter soil and at Sprout’s for bread then picked up lunch at the China Wok restaurant in Sunnyvale. I worked on cutting parts for Ernie’s new entry ramp. I tacked together some of the platform. I received some fittings for the new rear bed sprinkler valves. When I tried to set up the program I couldn’t communicate with them. May have to install another Bluetooth/WIFI adapter. Lou and Dawn went out and got Dawn's #2 Covid shot and explored thrift stores all day. Green beans, baked potatoes and steak for dinner.

Saturday: (04/03) Leftover lasagna for breakfast. Leftover Chinese for lunch. Worked on welding up Ernie’s entry platform/porch for the new ramp to his trailer. Some nice vegetable soup/stew with avocado for dinner. I talked with Art Black about our upcoming backpack trip on the Ohlone Wilderness Trail.

Sunday: (04/04) a cool overcast day but i did sunburn my head due to not wearing my hat because of the on/off use of my welding goggles. I removed the trellis from our back fence that used to hold the honeysuckle vine. I recycled it for use on Ernie’s entrance ramp. I added attachment pins to attach the ramp to the porch and added the handrail to the ramp. I made home fried potatoes with ham and eggs for breakfast. We had fruit chunks with chocolate fondue for Easter lunch. Lou made spaghetti squash and meatballs for dinner.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Trying Electric Welding

Monday: (03/22) I spent too much time watching the haul away the dirt pile from the basement hole at the project down the street. I tidied up the area by my shop to make it easier to work there. I had an old bed frame that I sawed into straight pieces of steel tubing. I moved the dirt from the hole I dug last evening which was stored in four buckets to the front yard dirt pile. And, finally, I setup the welder and made some sparks. I misread the setting chart so my first attempts made me think I was using too much current and had too low of line voltage to be able to weld at my shop which is the furthest point in our yard from our service panel. So I rolled it up front and used power from the RV panel. Same problem. So then I reread the settings and made an adjustment of 10 and started to melt some metal. Still not a good weld but that is technique which I hope to develop. Granola and banana for breakfast. Ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Dinner from Chili’s Restaurant, 3for10. I had a hamburger.

Tuesday: (03/23) A very windy day. Rather cold too. I prepared some scrap metal to practice welding. I finally gave up on doing that because of the winds. They weren’t consistent in direction or speed. I decided to replace the garage door lock. I installed the one I bought a couple of days ago. I didn’t locate my rekeying stuff but was able to transfer the lock cylinder from the old to the new. That should have made the job easier. It didn’t because nothing I tried would make either the new nor the old locks work when installed. They worked fine on the table. I finally gave up and found a new lock on the shelf in the shop. I tried stealing some parts from it and then tried installing it. Same problem in any combination. The lock was sticky or inop when installed. I eventually got another new one from the shelf. I installed it in the door using some parts from the original to make it fit and eventually got it to work halfway consistently. The deadbolt would only operate halfway. Out ½” instead of 1”. It will have to do for now. I think I’ll replace the entire door next time. I want a new one that is both a solid door and a screen door in one. Granola and a banana for breakfast. Leftover pot roast for lunch. Meatloaf with baked potato for dinner.

Wednesday: (03/24) I attended my Wednesday webinar with Alphasoftware. Lou was off for a delta appointment at 1100. I did a little tinkering in the yard. When Lou had returned from her appointment, and sufficiently un-numbed, we went to lunch. Back home a little more tinkering but I didn’t feel like working so relaxed the rest of the day in the man-cave (RV). I made ham and eggs with toast for breakfast. We all went to A Good Morning restaurant for lunch, or actually a second breakfast. Artichokes and spice chicken for dinner.

Thursday: (03/25) A windy day with occasional broken wet looking clouds. More neighborhood construction project supervision. I did a few little projects in the yard. I tried to fix the leaking waterline in the backyard but the fix, didn’t. I think I may have found it is not the water line that is leaking but something after the sprinkler valves shutoff valve and the actual sprinkler valves. Tomorrow will tell. If my hole isn’t full of water then I might have it. I also put in some drip watering stuff around the arbor. Granola and banana for breakfast. Chili for lunch for me, pizza for Lou and Dawn. A loaded baked potato for dinner.

Friday: (03/26) I drove Lou to a doctor appointment then I stopped by Harbor Freight to get more stuff for welding, a welding table and torch holder. I picked up Lou and we stopped at Lowe’s for some things and at Grocery Outlet, Smart and Final and Nob Hill Market for groceries. We picked up lunch on the way home. Of course there was some construction project supervision down the street to do. I also tinkered in the shop and assembled the welding table. Granola and banana for breakfast. Chinese from Lucky Chinese Bistro for lunch. Dawn made dinner, some kind of stew with an egg cooked in it.

Saturday: (03/27) I worked on some drip watering system updates. I rode the bike over to Ace Hardware to get some fitting and completed the new drip tube in the old garden. I also worked on trying to activate the new timer in the arbor. There are four and I was only able to get one online. I tried welding later in the afternoon. A lot to learn to be acceptable. A little before 5 pm I noticed there was no power to my fan that I use to blow the fumes away. The fan was plugged into the outlet in my shop. The elder was using power from the arbor. Different circuits. I thought I might have tripped something but couldn’t locate the fault. The other sheds have power and are fed from the same circuit. I decided to shut the welder off and put things away. Shortly thereafter Ernie and Dawn both came out and blamed me for killing all power to the house and trailer. I knew better because I had turned off the welder earlier and also had checked the power to Ernie’s shed. Both were OK when I checked. I looked at our breaker and they were OK so I assumed it was the city power. We stood out front for a while and our neighbors all confirmed they were out too. We decided to get dinner from Harry's. On our way there all the signals were out until we got to Menlo Park. Palo Alto provides its own power delivery. Back home, we confirmed power would be out until 9pm. I found it odd that most of the traffic signals on El Camino Real were out. They should have been all working because they all have battery backup systems that should have powered them for 2-4 hours. Obviously someone hasn’t been doing maintenance. After dinner outside we adjourned to the RV for some TV time. Power was back on about 1945. Nice and early. I made corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast. Leftover Chinese food for lunch. Dinner from Harry’s Hofbrau.

Sunday: (03/28) Granola and banana for breakfast. We were off early (0700) to San Jose to watch them move a two story apartment building a couple of blocks to a new site to make way for a new high rise building. After they got it onto it's new lot we went by La Victoria taqueria for lunch which we ate on a bench on the San Jose State Campus. Then toward home with a thrift store stop on the way. Back home we caught up on some lost sleep with an afternoon nap. Lou made taco salads with roast chicken for dinner.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Pinnacles Hikes

Monday: (03/15) Lou dropped me off at the Bear Gulch trailhead. I hiked up to the reservoir then up to High Peaks. At the saddle where the trail meets Juniper Trail it was snowing. The valley to the West looked like heavy rain and the wind was blowing hard. The two girls ahead of me on the way up I met coming down and said they thought it was too stormy. I decided to change my plans of going through the High Peaks then down the tunnel and Juniper Trails and instead came down the Condor Gulch Trail. Once off the top I still had squalls of heavy hail. I wasn’t able to stop for lunch Until i was most of the way home when the Bear Gulch Trail Met the Bench Trail. I was home about 1430. After a nice shower I relaxed the rest of the day. It was windy with occasional showers all the rest of the afternoon. Most of the RV’s that were neighbors last night left today. New neighbors filled the campground coming in all afternoon. Leftover burrito for breakfast. Trail snack for a very late lunch. Roast beef with rice and fruit salad for dinner.

Tuesday: (03/16) Our last morning here. It was 28 degrees outside when we awoke at 0700. We relaxed most of the morning. We moved the RV from our campsite over to day use parking by the store. Then I took off about 1100 on an exploratory hike I have titled "North Pig Fence to Three Peaks". I wanted to check out a possible hike route to new areas of the Pinnacles NP. No trails were tread on doing this walk. The route follows the pig fence North of the Entrance Road starting at the Old Entrance Station. When the pig fence route got bad I diverted to some deer trails through the chaparral. I definitely have a lot more respect for the hiking ability of deer now. Getting through chaparral is not easy and route picking only helps so much. I only went up to the first peak but can see that the way to the other two peaks may only involve distance. Lou wanted me back by 2pm and I didn't start until 11 so I had to cut this hike short. Not a hike for tick season. Lou made ham and cheese omelets for breakfast. We had lunch at the Longhouse Restaurant in Gilroy.

Wednesday: (03/17) St Patrick’s Day. Granola for breakfast. I took Ernie over to the VA for an appointment. Back home I just relaxed inside. It was very cold outside and this wimp didn’t go out. I enjoyed a ham sandwich for lunch. I picked Ernie up about 1630. Lou was off this morning to get her 2nd Covid shot in San Jose. She explored thrift stores and visited a friend for lunch. Lou was home when Erne and I returned. Dinner was corned beef and cabbage.

Thursday: (03/18) I made popcorn for breakfast. I was off early to South San Jose to get my 2nd Covid shot. It took about 20 minutes to get through the line and then some observation time and I was out in 50 minutes. I stopped for a donut afterwards and picked up Chinese lunches on the way home. It rained last night and continued throughout the day. I just relaxed inside the rest of the day. Leftovers for dinner.

Friday: (03/19) A rainy day. I did tinker little outside. I turned on the water in the backyard to look for the leak. Nothing showed up immediately. Later in the afternoon it did show some water but looks to be in the middle of the run along the rock wall. I also added some mortar under some of the bricks where they hang over the edge of the base. May help support if it sticks. I transplanted a couple of tomato plants to a larger pot in the greenhouse. And I repaired the broken closet rod hanger again in the RV. And, of course I supervised some of the work on the construction project down the street. Granola and banana for breakfast. Dawn made a squash casserole for lunch. Leftover corned beef and cabbage for dinner.

Saturday: (03/20) No rain but partially cloudy. I made ham and eggs with toast for breakfast. When I got outside I cut some tubing for Ernie’s ramp. Some fine tuning of the jig and learning the technique and it looks doable. I cut enough to weld up part of it, but… This is an opportunity for a new tool. We all headed off to do some shopping. I dropped Lou and dawn off at World Market and I visited Harbor Freight. I bought a multi-process welder and a helmet. I have a gas welding outfit and have always wanted an electric welder as well but power was always one of the problems. This welder can run on a 20 amp 120volt circuit. It does everything: stick, wire feed, MIG, TIG and stick. I’ll be using the wire feed with flux core wire to weld the tubing. I haven’t done any electric welding for 40+ years so this may take a while. This welder, even with the learning curve, should make this project easier. I also have some other projects for it in the future. As I get older, I tend to get new toys as needed and don’t put up a good argument against buying what is wanted for a project, even if other ways are possible. I had a roast beef and cheese sandwich for lunch. Tomorrow is the first day of self teaching. I didn’t even open the box today because I’ll need to set it up outside and about the time I got it set up, I’d have to put it away. Pot roast and the fixings for dinner.

Sunday: (03/21) I reorganized my shop a bit to get the shop workbench/cart out to use for the welder. I managed to make some floor space. I unboxed the welder and set it up on the roll around cart. After reading the manual I headed off to Harbor Freight for a couple of things and ordered a welders apron from Amazon. No sparks made today. Dawn and Lou made ham with fried eggs and some kind of julienne vegetables. I made a hamburger for lunch. Leftover pot roast potatoes and carrots with sausage for dinner.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Pinnacles Visit

Monday: (03/08) I noticed that the sun wasn’t shining so I watched TV in the morning. I got outside around 1100 when I noticed the sun was shining and worked on the brick patio expansion. I finished the bricks that needed to be set in mortar and laid all the full bricks in sand. I just need to saw the edge of the patio and cut and lay the partial bricks. Then I need to start laying the red bricks under the arbor. Granola and banana for breakfast. Lou made pizza for lunch. Dawn made vegetable soup for dinner.

Tuesday: (03/09) I finished most of the new garden patio by the arbor. I ran out of bricks so still have about six half bricks to cut and place before transitioning to the red brick installation under the arbor. Lou keeps worrying that I killed the wisteria when I cut it back all the way this year. Hopefully it does eventually sprout out. I have cut it back much further previously like when I replaced the arbor. After lunch I added manure then rototilled the old garden. Rice with honey and milk for breakfast. Chinese food for lunch. Leftover artichoke chicken over rice with asparagus for dinner.

Wednesday: (03/10) A very rainy night and day. I checked on the sump pump and it evidently is working properly. Still haven’t seen it work but the level is good and the discharge debris pattern says it worked. I also checked out the construction project hole in the ground. I did have a little water in it but they are still working today. I also checked the new patio. No puddles on it. I prepared breakfast sandwiches for all of us this morning. Lou picked up salads for lunch at the Corner Bakery Cafe. She had a dental appointment in the afternoon. I tinkered on the computer inside all day including attending my Wednesday webinar. I got an email from the Santa Clara County Medical Center that my scheduled 2nd Covid shot had been cancelled. We are Kaiser members and now Kaiser members must go through Kaiser. Before Kaiser never had any vaccine to schedule shots and everyone was supposed to get it where they could. May be interesting getting it anywhere near the correct period between shots. Leftover soup for dinner.

Thursday: (03/11) Another rainy day. I made a tool and material run to Harbor Freight for some tools and Lowe’s for material. I need to build a porch and ramp for Ernie’s trailer. I have some old metal tubing but I need to make a sawing jig to cut the tubing with a hole saw so it fits better when welded together. In the past I’ve just flattened the end of one of the tubes but that doesn’t end up with a flat joint. I got a small drill press and will make a V jig to hold the tubing while I cut the tube to length with the hole saw using the drill press. No way this could be done freehand. I also got a grinder to replace my old one which has a bad switch. Cheaper to replace than repair at $15 for the grinder. HD had more sand, EMT tubing and other misc items for projects. Back home, after unloading the car, I got to work in the RV putting things away in preparation for our trip. Even though the outing is only for two nights now, I still have to undo my mancave to convert it back into a motorhome. I made corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast. Ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Sauerkraut potatoes and sausage for dinner.

Friday: (03/12) Nice day, mostly sunny. We made a run to Home Depot. I try really hard never to shop at HD any more but they are the place that has the bricks that match the rest of our yard. I got enough for the remaining needed for the patio and a few spares. Back home, I did tank duty on the RV in preparation for our trip. Nice fresh water and empty holding tanks. Lou and Dawn were working in the garden erecting bean poles. I received an email about 1700 from Kaiser asking me to schedule my Covid shot #2. I’m now scheduled for next Thursday. I could have gotten it tomorrow but don’t want any side effects before our trip. Leftover corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast. Lunch at Baji’s Cafe. Meatloaf, asparagus and a baked potato for dinner.

Saturday: (03/13) I tinkered out at the shop setting up my new drill press and building a tubing cutting jig. I need a deep 1.75” hole saw to cut my tubing but only have a 1.5’ deep hole saw. I’ll order some from Amazon but don’t want them to arrive while we’re gone so I’ll have to delay further action and the order. We worked on cleanup and loading the RV. Lou and Dawn visited the Ace Hardware store and found an Asian pear tree which they planted in our front orchard. I took the RV out and got the LPG tank filled. We’re all hooked up and ready to roll in the morning. Granola and banana for breakfast. The usual Saturday lunch from Harry’s Hofbrau. Cottage cheese and mashed potatoes for dinner.

Sunday: (03/14) Pie Day. We were up at the new 0700 after the time change. I happed to be awake at 0200 and changed all the clocks at the proper time to the proper time. After showers we hit the road in the RV toward the Pinnacles. We stopped in Gilroy at the Walmart to get new wiper blades for the RV. We can expect rain on this trip and I noticed yesterday that the blades on the RV are very bad. The windshield faces the sun every day so that probably reduces their lifespan. We also tried to locate a neck brace for Lou. The bouncing of the RV is bothering her neck. No luck finding the brace in Gilroy. We had intended to have breakfast at the Longhouse Restaurant but were driven out by people not maintaining social distance. We stopped at the Super Taqueria for our breakfast. Breakfast was after 1100 so it could have been called lunch. It looked like it. Then on to the Pinnacles. We were in our site a little after 1300 and all setup and checked in before 1400. There have been changes at the Visitor Center/Store since our last visit. Now there is a permanent wall between to two functions. Also, only two people allowed inside at a time for either. Our National Park Pass wasn’t even needed for admission because they aren’t charging right now. We took a walk out to the Bacon Ranch after our afternoon naps. Lou made Shepherd's Pie for dinner. Not her usual oven baked type but made the RV’ers way, in the microwave.

Monday, March 1, 2021

No Termites

Monday: (03/01) Another gardening day. Lou and Dawn were busy working in the new garden . I tinkered around the arbor remodel. We had our annual termite reinspection today. I installed the new sprinkler valves and replaced one of the underground lawn sprinklers. And more supervision of the construction project down the street. Granola and banana for breakfast. Lou made Reuben sandwiches for lunch. Chili for dinner.

Tuesday: (03/02) Not a really productive day today. I took Ernie to the VA hospital for a procedure this morning. Back home I assisted Lou in the garden a little. I reinstalled the now charged batteries in a couple of the outside cameras. Their batteries, though solar charged, haven’t kept up during our recent cloudy days. I also replaced the sump pump float switch but haven’t tested it yet. I’ll have to add water to raise the level to test it or hope for a good rain. I also started to prepare to install a concrete border around another garden spot by the swing. I had to move the swing to pour the concrete under one of the legs. Soft boiled eggs for breakfast. Ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Hamburgers for dinner.

Wednesday: (03/03) I picked up Ernie and the VA Hospital. Lou had a dental appointment and I went to Harbor freight , Walmart neighborhood Market, and Lowe’s. I got a shovel, rake, and tree trimmer at HF, Break and ham at Walmart, and sand and manure at Lowe's. Lou and I went to Home Depot and I bought some more brick pavers to match our walkways. Dawn made Mandarin orange rice for breakfast. Ernie treated us to lunch from Chili’s Restaurant. Chili for dinner.

Thursday: (03/04) I worked in the yard all day. I hooked up and installed sprinklers and drip around the arbor. I had to dig a ditch for the lawn sprinklers. I then backfilled the trench. In the evening Lou and I visited Nob Hill Market for Dawn’s coffee and my sausage. Their prices are a little higher than most so we then went to Smart and Final Market for the rest of the list but they were closed since it was after 8pm. Granola and banana for breakfast. Roasted vegetables and sausage for lunch. Lou made beef broccoli and kale over rice for dinner. The broccoli and kale were from our garden.

Friday: (03/05) Today was the last weekday of this week so I had to get out and do a hike. I went of the Pulgas Ridge OSP and did a short hike. I hadn’t hiked there previously. I stopped for breakfast at Happy Donut on my way out and stopped at USA Chinese in Redwood City for lunch on my way back. Back home I didn’t get outside to do much until late afternoon. I installed some drip watering fittings and a second faucet by the arbor. Leftovers for dinner.

Saturday: (03/06) I added more baserock and set the arbor base to the proper level for it’s sand coat before laying bricks. It was rather cool outside and I didn’t return to work outside after lunch. Lazy is, is lazy doesn’t. I binged on more Covert Affairs. Granola and banana for breakfast. Lunch from Harry’s Hofbrau. Lou and Dawn love their prime rib. Leftovers for dinner.

Sunday: (03/07) In the morning I set some bricks in mortar by the arbor. Have to wait for them to set before continuing. In the afternoon we all took a drive up Alameda De Las Pulgas Road. Granola and banana for breakfast. Ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Dawn made some rice and shrimp soup for dinner.