Saturday, January 30, 2016

I’m in Hot Water Now!

In trouble now?

I know what you are thinking, “What did Dave do now?”   Well, it isn’t that type of “Hot Water”, which, honestly, would be a little cheaper than this….

Yep, that’s the type of “Hot Water”…we needed a new Hot Water Heater in the Condo.  As one of the storms passed the other day, our lights flickered, and then our Hot Water became Luke Warm water.  Now our water heater was “ONLY” 14 1/2 years old, so age couldn’t be the problem, right?   Well, if you look at the pictures above, taken with my cell phone so I could show them over at Home Depot what I was dealing with, you can see signs of leaking.  We could have waited until it totally stopped working, since when I reset the breaker it all started to work again, but we decided that it was worth $335 to buy another one…like the one below.

New Hot Water Heater

So I go over to Home Depot, and they ask if I was going to install it, or did I want an installer.  Well, I am not much with dealing with those copper pipes, the electricity part would not be that hard, and the new one was a bit higher, wider, and well…how much could it cost to have it installed anyway?  Another $200 perhaps???

New Hot Water Heater Installed

Well, there it is…our $1,059.94 water heater!!!!  Yep, $700+ to deliver it, install it, and get rid of the old one…includes required County Permit, which means required certified plumber.  And after the 'plumber' arrived this morning at 11:05 am, he was gone by 12:30.  His first comment was, “This is a restrictive area, which cost more.”  My reply was, “I told them were it was located, they quoted me a price.”  Well, we only paid the price quoted.  He barely talked to us after that until I mentioned that Marcia was Greek, since earlier he mentioned he was from Bulgaria.  He then took a minute to say that his daughter attends a Greek school down in Clearwater.  Just a quiet guy doing his job I guess.  Price included the new plastic drain pan, the new copper water lines and connections.  I guess I should have been a plumber instead of a librarian….they have a warehouse they pull the hot water heater out of, along with needed parts.  Heck, $200+ per hour or so???  Ridiculous...but I searched the Internet and this is the low end of the going price right now.

Marcia and Gerry (and Skruffy)

Some of you might have seen this picture in Facebook of Marcia and her friend of fifty years, Gerry.  We met with Gerry and her daughter Ruth last year at Cracker Barrel, and since Gerry was down from Chicago area again this year, we drove over to Gainesville to meet with them again.  Ruth (not pictured) lives in the Amelia Island area, and this Cracker Barrel is about half way…135 miles for us, 110 miles for them.  This time we took the motorhome for “comfort” reasons, and since Gerry has a hard time hearing, I am glad we did because it gave these two a chance to catch up.

Marcia and Gerry (and Skruffy)

Ruth took the picture from Facebook, and this was my picture as I sat in the driver’s seat…they did not even know that I took it, but as you can see, Skruffy sure knew.  After a 3 1/2 hour visit, we headed back home, and got the motorhome tucked back into storage while there was still a bit of daylight still.  I figure it cost $45 in gas, since that is how much I put in on the way, and the needle was back where it was when we started, but well worth it for the comfort level, that’s for sure.  (In other words, no rest area toilets needed…and Skruffy felt more at home staying in the motorhome than she would have staying in a car for that long.)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

First Great Granddaughter Arrives

Ramona Rosa Costabile

Ramona Rosa Costabile, born this morning, 8 pounds 5 ounces, 20 inches long.
Marcia got a text message not five minutes ago with the announcement that her granddaughter Alissa went through 14 hours of labor and out popped Marcia’s first Great Granddaughter.  Mother and child are both doing is, we assume, daddy Chris.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Sinkholes again?

Helicopter over our house

When a helicopter goes around and around and around our complex, the first thing to comes to mind…”ANOTHER SINKHOLE!”  Thank goodness, not this time...hope we are done with sinkholes forever!  (See 2014 post on sinkhole near us -- other posts after that one address the issue too if you are interested)

Sheriff's Helicopter this time

Just a Sheriff’s helicopter which was going around and around, making the circle larger and larger, until it just vanished.  No sirens, no audible warnings…never did find out what it was.

Helicopter and air plane too

Ever take a picture and when you develop it (ok, so we are digital now days, but I still look at it as developing the picture you are going to post), you see something you don’t remember seeing when you took it?  Look again at the very first picture, it looked like a scratch in the lens between the helicopter and the roof of our condo.  But when I blew it up, realized it was a jet air plane in the far distance.  Did not see that at all because I was trying to get a shot of the copter before it vanished behind the roof.

Heavy rain

We have had a few days of downpours in the past week.  A few tornadoes and wind damage in the general area, which means within a hundred miles.  They claim it is the El Nino effect, which is fine with me.

Folsom Lake Level in Nov 2015
Folsom Lake Level in Jan 2016

Fine because the El Nino is doing its work in California and refilling empty reservoirs.  In just two months, Folsom Lake has gone from 14% capacity up to 36% capacity.  The historic average has gone from 29% all the way up to 71%, so it is getting very close to its historic average.  Also, the snow pack in the Sierra’s, which feeds the American River and its tributaries, is way better this year.  To quote the Sacramento Bee, “State sensor readings Monday (1/18/16) showed a range of snow water content across the Sierra, from 121 percent of normal in the northern range to around 90 percent of normal in the southern Sierra.”  And it has snowed more this week!  And the forecast through February looks good…as it does for the first part of March.  December through March are the rainy months in Northern California…and El Nino has made this year an especially good, wet year so far.

Skruffy    Skruffy

Kind of a sleep afternoon around here…well, someone seems to sleep with her eyes open.


Sensing that I was paying attention to her, she comes down to my end of the couch (next to my chair) to see if she can get me to put the laptop down and give her a pet on the head.  Visited Bubba on Wednesday and shaved the bottom of his chin again, no sign of the problem he had a month ago, so that was good.  Bubba is sure a good boy, just adapts to his environment so easily, and is so much the gentlemen allowing others (the one above especially) to eat first, drink first…just as long as he can have his own blanket.  Speaking of which, his poor little blanket is probably as old as he is, so like it or not, a new blanket is in the works.  I am sure Bubba will adapt.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Windows 10 – My Thoughts…

windows 10

As I have stated before, I am a Windows user since the mid-80’s…have used every version, trouble shot every version, except Windows 8, and that includes Windows NT, which Microsoft seems to want to forget about.  So my upgrade to Windows 10 has been slow due to lessons learned…let others work out the bugs and install it after the bugs are worked out.  So far, I like Windows 10 and look forward to using it on my computer too.  However….

Verizon Usage Stats

One of my biggest concerns, which is why only Marcia’s computer is on “10” right now and not both of ours, is the automatic update.  “IF” you have the pro version, you can easily set your windows 10 to NOT update while on your aircard.  But if you are on the home version, which is what you will be upgraded to if you have Windows 7 home or Windows 8 home, then you don’t have this option.  As you can see above, we are into our last day of our billing cycle with Verizon, and we have less than a half of a gig left to use.  No doubt we will be buying an extra gig or two due to what happened Thursday morning when Marcia turned on her computer.

Verizon Usage Stats

Marcia turned her computer on this morning around 8:45…and there it was, and automatic update.  An automatic update which blew through 3 gigs of our 40 gigs of monthly aircard, although we were lucky in that Verizon gave us a Thanksgiving and a Christmas gift of an extra gig each month, so we did have 41 gigs for this billing cycle.  Near the start of the billing cycle we had an update which blew through around 2 gigs…so I figure 5 of our 40 gigs were just for WINDOWS!   Thanks Uncle Bill…great gift from you.

Fix It

Well, there is a fix, even for Windows 10 Home users.  Windows has processes and services. The update is a service.  So I just went into the services and disabled the windows updates.  Now, just as we have done with Windows 7, once a month or so we will take our computers to a restaurant which has WiFi, and turn the update service back on, update our computers, and then turn it off again.   For those interested, here is a good read on Windows Updates (LINK) and anyone using Windows 10 should read the last section in this article titled:  “Use peer-to-peer networking to install updates”.   Windows 10 automatically comes with a setting which allows your computer to be used to help update another computer on the Internet.  I strongly suggest you set this setting to “PCs on my local network”.  If you are using weak WiFi in a RV park, you sure don’t want some of your bandwidth to be used to help update another computer somewhere.  And if you are on your aircard, you sure don’t want to eat up your data doing this, that is for sure.
Note:  I did not show “HOW” to turn off services on purpose.  This is something, if you are interested in and have never done before, that you need to research.  A simple google search on “services.msc” is a good start.


The good news on the Doctor front is that we have found a replacement for Marcia’s Neurologist who retired on us while we were gone over the summer.  It happens to be a doctor Marcia had used many years ago, so that is good.  We also finally have an appointment with her “Family” Doctor.  It took four phone calls, but we finally got in before our March departure date.  From now on, we will have to make these appointments four month out to be sure we don’t have problems getting in to see her.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Church, Vet and Mama Maria’s

Randy and Kari, picture taken off of Facebook page

Our two favorite missionaries are home for the Christmas Season from Kenya.  Randy leaves next week, so this past Wednesday our Pastor turned the service over to them to let everyone know about their experiences in Kenya.  They have an amazing story which for the most part follows the story “Teach a man to fish….”  In this case, they have taught a group of men who use to be the town “Drunkards” into the community “Chicken Growers”.  They have enough chickens that they produce about 1,400 eggs a day, which they sell.  They use the money to fund their chicken buisness, and to help the people in the community.  Next, they hope to re-start the coffee growing buisness, with high interest from the area’s land owners.  Here is their website which I help update from time to time, even when we are on the road.  Her laptop went out on her, so I have been working on putting a new Windows 10 laptop together for them which I gave them on Wednesday…lessons to follow because Kari will be here another month.

Vet Office - Skruffy and Bubba, taken with cell phone

Each year while we are home in Florida we take the doggies to the Vet for annual shots and checkups.   Good news, Skruffy has dropped a half of a pound, (I was hoping for a full pound), and Bubba is within two tenths of a pound from last time, (that boy can eat anything and never gain weight).  The bad news, the vet “thinks” she is starting to hear a heart murmer in Bubba.  We are going to give it another year to see what she thinks next time.  Bubba is eleven years old, and is showing no outside signs of any problems. 

Vet Office - Bubba, taken with cell phone

Bubba just does not like the Vet or the Groomer.  Both places cause him much panic and pain.  He really is a bit wimpy when it comes to getting his nails cut, getting shots, and the worse thing, having a stick stuck up his um-mm, rear end.  Here he is AFTER the stick thing…he was just panting and panting.  At least he doesn’t pee all over the office like he use to do.

Mama Maria's, picture from their website

It took us awhile, but we finally made it back to Mama Maria’s Greek Cuisine in Tarpon Springs (on Alt 19 highway, not in the sponge docks, that’s not the same Mama’s).  As we are eating I remark, “Why is it that we cannot find good Greek food while we are traveling?”  No place makes the Avgolemono Soup like Mama’s does.  Had two places that were close…which means they were an 8 while Mama’s is a 10.  Most places the Avgolemono Soup is more like a 4 or 5.  Avgolemono Soup is basically an Egg Lemon Chicken soup.  Most places it tastes like watered down egg with small bits of chicken and very little lemon…   Of course, at Mama Maria’s there is a whole range of items on their menu, and 3-5 specials each day too. 
Mama, picture from their website

And of course, there is always Mama looking over the kitchen operation.  Mama lives close to the restaurant, walks back and forth twice a day, and this remarkable lady is in her mid-80’s.  Both of her sons help, one in the afternoon, the other at night, and some of her grandkids work there too.

Thats All Folks
Until next time….