Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Up to my Neck in …

Home in Holiday / Tarpon Springs area

Called my brother-in-law Arny today and the first thing I said was, “ARNY, I am up to my neck in ….”  He goes, “OH NO!!!”  I laughed and said, “Not really…the parts just came in today, will be doing the ‘dirty deed’ over the next few days.”  (Referring to my last blog about fixing the motorhome toilet system)   He got a good laugh out of that.

Bubba in his Chair, taken last DecemberArny said Bubba is doing great.  Although he is now in the habit of getting up at 4:30 am every morning because that is when my sister Sandy gets up then.  Every day means Saturday and Sundays too…and if you don’t get up to let him out, he will barf…he has never peed or pooped in a house, but he will barf.  He gave Arny a bit of a scare the other day.  Arny went to the sliding glass door to let Bubba in, and as he opens to door to call out to him, he can’t see him.  He even took a flashlight out and looked all over for him, but to no avail.  He comes back inside and there is Bubba asleep in ‘his’ chair.  Arny figures that when he opened the door, Bubba was over at the water bowl, slipped into the house without Arny seeing him.  Got Arny’s heart a racing, that’s for sure.

Michael & Anna's new houseTalked to my Son Michael and he and Anna’s house purchase went through, and they will be moving in early in February.  It looks like a real cute home, real close to a community park, and in a real nice neighborhood about 4 miles from where they both work.  It is AMAZING how quickly house prices have sky-rocketed in the Sacramento area…and they are wise to buy now because a year from now the interest rates will be higher and the prices will be higher too.

Mr. Steak

Back in November while we were still in Sacramento, I wrote a blog about my “Mr. Steak Years”, from busboy/dishwasher to cook, to head cook, to Assistant Manager to Manger to General Manager….worked nearly 15 years in that business.  Well, the other day I got an email alert that someone posted a comment, which being that late from the posting is normally spam…but this time it wasn’t…it was one of my Mr. Steak employees.  I share it with you here…
hi dave -- my first job at 15 1/2 years old was as dishwasher at mr steak on fair oaks. my dad harry and I ate there before I worked there and I think he convinced you to give me a shot. great memories, great work experience, made some good friends and I wound up owning 2 restaurants myself, one in SF one in southern CA , still going strong. anyway looks like life has treated you well. thanks for hiring me back then in '82!! levon kazarian
WOW!!!  You don’t know how good that made me feel…to hire a young man, and he did so good, that he made Restaurants his career!  Sure makes you heart feel good…

Vacuflush Vacuum Generator PartsI don’t think I will be taking pictures of the toilet repair, afraid to get the camera dirty…but I will let you all know how it all turns out.  Went to the local Salvation Army (the same one that was in the National News because the couple in charge was selling furniture to a local used furniture shop at a very low, sometime free, price and getting kickbacks from them.)  Anyway, I wanted a blanket and a couple of towels that I can use and toss out after this repair is done…just in case I really am up to my neck in….    Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

A 'Dirty' Job but Someone Has to Do It.

Home in Holiday – Tarpon Springs area

Our Vacuflush Vacuum Generator System

Unlike most motorhomes, our Black Tank system has what they call a Vacuflush Vacuum Generator System to push the toilet flushes over to the black tank.  Above is a picture of it as it sits inside a small outside compartment of our motorhome.  These are common on boats, less common on RVs.  Ours looks to have easier access than most boats do, so that is a plus.  When we bought this motorhome, I “KNEW” that some day I would have to work on this.  The duckbills (shown in a picture down below) are suppose to be replaced every few years…I don’t know if ours have ever been replaced.

A Vacuflush Vacuum System

Found this nicer picture of a similar one to ours with labels and diagram showing how it works.

Pump and Billows assembly

Above is the pump assembly…I need to replace the motor and billows.

Parts to fix it...motor, billows, gaskets, duckbills

These are the parts which I need to replace.  The motor and billows (white plastic thing) are different than what I have in ours … it is a new, upgrade version and the only way to replace it.  The motor now sits horizontal, and not at a slight angle like ours does.  The motor can sit to the right or to the left … the one in the picture up above lays to the right…I am not sure which way I am going to do ours.  The good news, this upgrade is suppose to be much quieter.  Those enlarged black things are called the duckbills.

Close up of our motor assembly

It should be as easy as this…..
  • Disconnect the wires from the motor…they have clips and this should be easy
  • Disconnect the four bolts, two shown by the white arrows, and two back behind it.  Getting to these back bolts will be a bit hard due to lack of room to work, but I am hoping they will unloosen without problems
  • Disconnect the entry and exit pipes, marked by red arrow…this is what I am not looking forward to…don’t know if there is fluid in these or not.  It could get messy… This is where the duckbills are located.

Parts Diagram

Above is a diagram of the assembly.  The only difference is that I am only suppose to have two of the number 12 part, they are called duckbills…however, I have four to replace with “if” there are four.  Once I get the pump assembly out, taking it apart and putting in the new parts should be fairly easy.  Thank goodness the RV Storage has wash stations to clean your RV…I have a feeling that once I get the assembly out, I will need to take the RV over and wash out that compartment, and definitely wash down the pump assembly before I take it apart.  And yes, I do have a new pair of gloves to use.  The parts should be in by Friday of next week…so I have another week to “dream” about this wonderful project…and how wonderful the smell will be…  I don't know smile

Friday, January 19, 2018

Brrrr…Our Second Round of Winter

Home at Holiday / Tarpon Springs area

Strawberries in the cold, picture from Google Images

When we arrived back in Florida on January 5th, just two weeks ago, it was COLD.  It lasted two nights…a little longer in the central part of the state where they have to run sprinklers on the Strawberries to keep them from freezing…the layer of ice is better than straight freezing weather.  The good news, the cold makes the Strawberries sweeter…the bad news, they are not on our diet yet.

Tarpon Springs Temps

This past Wednesday night it got cold again…down to 30 degrees.  I actually wore long pants to church Wednesday night!  (Yes mom, LONG PANTS!).  Sunday morning it was around 48 degrees, and our Pastor walked up and said, “You do know it is winter here, right?”  I proudly told him that I didn’t move to Florida to wear long pants!  He laughed.  Last night it was around 34 degrees, and tonight it will probably stay in the 40’s.  I think Winter is over here in Florida…at least for me, as I sit here without shoes or socks on, in short pants, and no shirt.  Yes, it is 47 out there right now (as shown in picture above)…

Dr ExamMarcia has complete three doctor exams now, with two more to go.  Good news, the Ear, Throat and Nose doctor said she doesn’t need to come back until she feels she needs something.  They have been monitoring nodules on her thyroid, which have not changed in over 3 years…so that is good.  The bad news…the Neurologist she has been seeing has retired, so we have to break in another one.  Good news, her primary doctor found us one who will see Marcia early next month.  That is wonderful because Mammogramlast time it took us months to get into see one until we finally hunted one down ourselves.  Unfortunately, he too retired a few years ago, and she was lucky to find a Neurologist who had treated her many years ago before he took off due to cancer.  This past December he decided to retire for good.  We hope he can travel and relax a bit…he is a good guy.  So only two more appointments, and two special exams….bone density and the dreaded press machine.  Looks like she will all be finished by early March.

Well…time to feed a little puppy dog.  Until next time….

Friday, January 12, 2018

Loss of a Tarpon Springs Icon

Home in Holiday-Tarpon Springs, Florida

Maria Koursiotis

We have written about our FAVORITE Greek Restaurant, The Original Mama Maria’s, many times.  Maria Koursiotis opened Mama Maria’s around 1978 after her husband, John “Sfeeka” Koursiotis, died during a dive for sponges.  Every time we went to Mama’s, there she was in the kitchen doing something…her head barely able to be seen over the counter top.  Lunch, Dinner, it did not matter…there she was.  Last night we met our friend and relative Ginger at Mama Maria’s, had another great dinner, and yet Mama was not there.  Asked her son Costa as we were leaving how Mama was doing…found out she had passed away while we were gone.  Sad thing to learn….

 The Original Mama Maria’s

Ginger was married to Marcia’s cousin, who passed away a little over a year ago.  Ginger has gone through a lot dealing with his cancer sickness, and his death, and dealing with so much stuff that comes with that.  However, Ginger is doing great, and that was so nice to see.  We got there at 5, got home at 8…it is only 10 minutes away…so you can see we all had a very enjoyable meal, and conversation.

Cosmos Family Restaurant

Earlier in the day we met Cousin Mary at the Cosmos Family Restaurant which we ate at the night we got home.  When we left last April this restaurant was called “The Blue Oyster”, and we were disappointed in it…glad it changed owner and name upon our return.  We are very pleased with Cosmos, better food, better service, better atmosphere, a bit less expensive.  This is a true family business…run by the father, the mother, and the 25 year old son.  The servers are more friendly…as is the owner.  What we also like a lot is that this restaurant is just around the corner from us!

The Dreaded Scale

Marcia had her first doctor’s appointment earlier this week…and of course, there was the dreaded “Step up on the scale” moment.  Well, we are happy to report that Marcia lost 47 pounds since she last stepped on this same scale back in December of 2016.  The doctor was very happy…and Marcia was elated…as am I because for the past 10 months or so all I heard is, “You are losing weight on this diet, but I am not losing @#$&.  Well, now she believes me ….

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Quick Stats of Trip Home – Sacramento to Tarpon Springs

Holiday Florida. RV in Tarpon Springs

Sacramento to Tarpon Springs Map

Left 1:30 pm  (PT) on December 26th, Arrived 12:30 pm (ET) January 4th. 
2950 miles traveled (I know, the map says it was more), 353 gallons of gas (we did idle and run the generator which also uses gas, so it was probably closer to 8.5 miles per gallon).
Least expensive gas was in Tucson Arizona, $2.029 per gallon, most expensive was in Bakersfield, California, $2.779 per gallon.  

Lowest overnight temperature was 19 degrees in Boerne Texas.  Yes, we froze up our grey tank and our black tank, but was able to dump them in Houston the next day.

7 days of travel.  We stayed 2 nights in Phoenix Arizona, and 2 nights at Top of Hill, Boerne Texas.  Longest day was 12+ hours from Welcome Center in Louisiana to Walmart in Perry Florida.

Biggest Scare:  When I ran a red light on Highway 19 in Florida, with a Florida Highway Patrol Car sitting in the median on the other side of the light.  Either he did not see us, or the car was empty, or I got to the intersection before the light turned red.  Not sure which it was, just grateful I did not get a ticket.

Dead Deer along highway:  Most deer were in Florida, next was Texas.  Did not see any live deer except for one young fawn sitting along a freeway entrance, very near a mother deer which was dead….a very sad thing to see.  We were coming onto the freeway…can only hope that the fawn was rescued, because it was too young to make it on its own.

Wrecks:  Two trucks were being unloaded by what looked like inmates, both had been in a wreck hours before we went through.  Saw many police in Eastern Texas and in Florida…few anywhere else.  Freeway was shutdown in Tallahassee Florida, but opened before we got to the area.

Four nights in Passport America parks, two nights in a county park, one night in Walmart, one night is a welcome center, one night in truck/RV area attached to a gas station.
Overall, it was a good trip, hard due to cold weather causing freezing up of waste lines, and traffic due to Christmas Break.  Engine worked great, as did all the rest of the mechanical features.

Countdown to trip back = about 11 weeks….

Friday, January 5, 2018

Day One at Home...Wishing We Were Still on Road...

Home, Holiday Florida

OK, just got Motorhome into storage, have EVERYTHING, we think, inside that needs to come inside, and sitting here awaiting car to be cleaned at car wash ($16 full service) writing this blog on my Kindle which is a whole another challenge unto itself!  Both of us are sore, tired, and still have so much to do...laundry up the ying-yang (or is it yinyang?), and HOW does all this dust and dirt get into the condo while we are gone?  happens every year....and last year it was gnats, this year it is small, miniature sugar ants to deal with. 

It was 34 last long pants, which I hate, and looking forward to increasing warmer weather tomorrow and the next day, and the next...

Motorhome is safely in nearly washed, and I think I will take an even longer shower today than I took yesterday...

Thursday, January 4, 2018


Holiday, Florida


H is for HOME: Yes, we are at the condo, and all is well (and yes, we do consider our motorhome our “home” too…)

Hurting Muscles

H is for HURTING: Muscles that is from all the trips back and forth moving things out of the motorhome.


H is for HIBERNATING: Which is what we want to do and which it is cold enough for

Will recap our trip soon…we have a bunch of work still to do!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

FLORIDA .. I Think...

170 miles from home, but for awhile there I wondered if we really were in Florida!  Tallahassee had icy-snow this morning shutting down I-10 for half the day. But it thankfully was open when we got that far.  Sitting in a Wal-Mart in Perry Florida for the night after 12 hours of driving.  Yes, started driving at 5 am!  All we can say is, nice to be close to home...

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

So Just How Far Did We Get Today???

We are 121 miles into Louisiana…and it is STILL “FRICKING” COLD!!!!

Note…  “fricking”:  A Southern and Midwestern slang word used to express excitement or distainment without using profanity.

Written from the Louisiana Welcome Center, I-10, Exit 121, known as the Atchafalaya Welcome Center