Saturday, February 9, 2019

Lowest Gas Prices in Ages and Flowerless V-Day

Home in Holiday / Tarpon Springs area, FL

Gas at nearly $1 per gallon!

First, the gas price.  Yes, this is not fake…gas at 1.009 per gallon.  WOW, have not paid that for decades!

Gas at nearly $1 per gallon!

So WHY stop it at 20 gallons?  Well, it was a special price due to our grocery purchases at Winn Dixie, which is a hop, skip and a jump away from where we live.  It is our go-to place to get most of our groceries.  And as you buy, you rack up points, which are automatically converted to $$$$….dollars off at the pump (selected Shell Stations) or at the register itself.  Well, I picked off at the pump, and it was $1.25 off, but up to 20 gallons. 

Gas at nearly $1 per gallon!

Oh how nice it would be if gas was this price all the time….well, I will enjoy it while we are here, and before we take off at the end of March, I hope to put another 20 gallons in it at or near the same price….that should fill us up.

Take 5 in Dunedin, Florida

I first got the oil changed at a place called Take 5, which replaced the Havoline Xpress Lube which stood here until 3 years ago.  Better yet, a Havoline Xpress Lube was located just 2 miles from where the RV is stored…but Take 5 bought out many of the Havolines in the area, and shut the one closes to our RV down…so I have to travel the 10 miles to the town of Dunedin, just to get the oil changed.  YES, there are closer places…but they don’t let you just drive in and stay in your vehicle (RV), and one in which the RV will fit…kind of fit.  After I pull in and they change the oil, I have to reverse in order to get out due to the tight left turn to exit the facility.  I decided to get Bubba and take him with me.  He is such a GOOD DOG, so calm and quiet.  As I waited my turn behind this white pickup, I noticed the flock of Geese that was feeding on the lawn as I pulled in had flown up onto the roof…and later to the lawn to my right.  Didn’t think a thing about it…until the guy came up to tell me that it was my turn to pull in…and BUBBA lets out this HUGE ROAR of a bark because one the geese was just outside his window teasing him.  I was oblivious to this…and his growling roaring bark startled me just as the guy approached my window.  Not a good time NOT to have spare clothing to change into that’s for sure!

1-800-Flowers Order

For the past eight years, I have sent Marcia flowers on Valentines Day.  The first year, about 2 weeks before we got married, and I am fairly sure each and every year after that.  Well…this year was no different…and if you do it early enough, you can get a real good deal…like the one above, 18 Red Roses for $29.99 (plus delivery and tax which makes it just over $40).  They come out of southern Florida, and last for a number of weeks.

1-800-Flowers Website Error

But this year, something went wrong…If you look just above “Billing Details” it says, "We are unable to process your order.  A few suggestions...."  I tried again, and got the same thing.  I tried a different Credit Card, and got the same thing.  All the information they requested was correct…it just would not go through.

1-800-Flowers Billing on Credit Card

OH, but it did, in a way….both of my credit card accounts were “Dinged” with the “Processing” charge….which is not really a charge until the company says the order went through.  So IT WAS NOT my credit card(s) that were the problem…it was their website.  This was Wednesday night, about 9 pm eastern time…the promotion was good through Wednesday, and I could not call without letting Marcia know that her Valentine’s Day surprise (although I send it each year, she never remembers…) would be spoiled.  So Thursday, I told Marcia I was going to get Bubba and take him to the Dog Park…but instead, we went to the RV where I could make a phone call and straighten this all out.  WELL, that did not go well.  After nearly 30 minutes, the best I could get out of the representative was “I can take 15% off the price of either a dozen roses or two dozen roses from the NORMAL price.  Well, that discount would be around $45 to $65 before shipping and tax…and it was not acceptable.  I ended up giving her 10 seconds to make good on my order or lose me as a customer…well, the 10 seconds were counted off and I hung up.  Yes, I should have talked to a supervisor…but I had already wasted 30 minutes….good bye to 1-800-Flowers….they have lost a customer.  BTW: the credit card charges vanished after a few days.

Marcia's Valentine's Snow Globe

Sooooo, plan B.  Our neighbor gave us a lovely snow globe for Christmas, so I decided to get Marcia a snow globe for Valentine’s Day (above).  In that “oval” area under the heart I was able to put a personal message…which I did…and since it is “PERSONAL”, I am not going to tell you what it says.  Winking smile  Right under the heart in the water are words that come with it…something like, “Happiness is to be loved, and to love”.   The only problem is…I did not know when it would arrive…just somewhere between the 7th and the 15th.  Thank goodness it came on the 7th…while she was taking her afternoon nap.  I put it in our display hutch, and around 11 pm I made a comment about how the hutch just did not look the same.  She finally saw it…and tears came to her eyes.  SCORE!  And this is better than flowers…she can see this whenever we are in the condo.  DOUBLE SCORE!!!

Fern (left) and Euleda (right) October 2017

On a sad note….my Aunt Florence’s mother Fern passed away last week.  She is shown above on the left, next to Arny’s mother Euleda on the right.  This picture was taken in October of 2017.  Although she was in a wheelchair, she could still stand and walk at the time, unlike Arny’s mom.  Both are the same age, around 95 at the time, with Fern being a few months older than Euleda.  I think we all expected that Euleda would pass first…but Fern caught a bug or something, stopped eating, and the end was fairly quick and easy.  At this age, death is a blessing no mater how hard it is on those who will miss their loved one.  And boy did she leave a huge amount of loved ones behind…  We miss you Fern, and our love goes out to those who mourn due to their loss

Friday, January 25, 2019

HHR Gets New Tires

Home in Holiday / Tarpon Springs area, FL

Discount Tire, Lakeland, Fl

We put tires on our motorhome back in 2015…lucky a Michelin Tires recall paid for six out of the seven tires at Discount Tire Store near El Paso.  Since then, we have had to stop at Discount Tire a few times due to stem problems because of our Tire Sensors…I have since gone to metal stems, and although I paid for the metal stems through Napa Auto, Discount Tire put them on for free.  So with our HHR needing new tires, I sure wanted to find a Discount Tire (called America’s Tire Store out on the West Coast).  Our nearest one is in Lakeland Florida, a LONG 60-65 mile distance from where we live.  LONG because it is not all Interstate, and can take two hours to get there depending on traffic.

Map to Lakeland from Holiday

I made an appointment for 11:30, and left the condo just about 9:30.  I have gone to Lakeland taking highway 54 to I-275 south to I-4 east and over to Lakeland…but Discount Tire was on the extreme north side of Lakeland, so I opted to stay on highway 54 through to highway 98…and that was a mistake.  Once you get onto the other side of I-275, highway 54 becomes county road 54, and things slow down a bunch until you get to highway 98.  I pulled in right at 11:29…I hate to be late, and that was too close.

Tire Size for a HHR 

The Discount Tire Store website says that the HHR takes a 215/50-R17 tire, and I picked out one for about $60…which after installation and 3 year replacement, came to $400.  Once I got there, and they pulled me in as soon as I was done at the register, we found out that what I really needed was a 16” tire due to the wheel size I have on the HHR.  So the new tire size, with what they had on hand, cost about $6 more per tire…so I went with that.  I should have looked at the tires I had on it and not relying on their website...lesson learned.

HHR Tire Sensors

For the past year we have been having problems with the HHR’s internal tire sensor system.  While I was getting the tires replaced, I decided to replace all four sensors since three of the four were bad or acting up.  This problem was detected because the yellow tire deflated icon would light up every time the car is started, and the notification window would say “low tire” and/or “tire sensor”.  Well, I provided the four sensors (from Amazon), and Discount Tire put them in for free as part of the installation process.  By 12:31 I was back on the road and called Marcia to let her know I had lost a good friend.  “WHO????” she asks.  “My yellow tire sensor light…it is gone…all gone!”  It is nice being able to see what each tire is inflated to again, that's for sure!  By the way, I took I-4 to I-275 to highway 54 to get home…it only took a bit over 90 minutes including getting gas and a diet Pepsi.  I told them that I can't wait until they open a Discount Tire Store in our area.

Back in August 2015, I had to replace this little Solenoid, a 12 Volt Continuous Duty Solenoid which allows the motorhome engine to charge up the house batteries.  In real cold weather, like in the 40’s or below, it has not been working very well…so I replaced this $20 solenoid again.  Since I wrote a detail about it back in August 2015, it was easy to know what I needed to order, and how to replace it.  Click this link if you want to know more about replacing this solenoid.

Speaking of weather…the next seven days are going to have cold nights, and daytime temps under 70 each day…for Florida that is cold…to me it is WONDERFUL!  Looks like another good reason to make more soup!

NOTE:  My last post was about problems with Open Live Writer, and those problems still exist.  This post was written using the method talked about in that last post, and I have heard from a few people who used my method and it worked for them too.