2018 January 01
Even though we went to bed around 9:30 last night we were awake for the new year to start.
When we got up this morning it was 49 degrees inside the trailer and 18 degrees outside the trailer. There’s a skiff of snow on the ground, ice on our porch and, ice on our truck. Our water lines were frozen, even though I had them dripping overnight. I guess 18 degrees was just too cold even for running water.
I got the furnace turned up and started the electric fireplace. Then I started the truck to get it de-iced.
Once the truck was warmed enough, we went into town for breakfast at Hobo Junction. A nice meal of chicken-fried steak, eggs, grits, biscuit, and coffee was just what I needed.
After breakfast we picked up our mail at the post office and found a check for Ella for her work on the Santa set. This was a surprise to us. Not that she’d get paid but that she’d get a check. They had issued her a plastic credit card looking pay card and told to activate it to get her money. A paper check was much easier for us to do a deposit over the phone.
We went into Leander and stopped to get LP however they were closed for the holiday.
We then went to Walmart to exchange some pants that Ella had purchased (without trying on) only to find that the size indicated on the hanger was not the size of the pants. She did the exchange (and still did not try them on … we’ll see).
While a Wal-Mart I purchased some battery powered under the counter LED lights. There was a 3-pack that was cheaper than buying two separate units. I only needed two, but hey! I’m sure we’ll find a use for the third one. Of course, buying these also meant buying more batteries.
I also bought a five-gallon jug of water. I mentioned earlier that our waterlines are frozen. We also have a case of bottled water. We should have no problem surviving the next few days until the waterline thaws.
We then stopped at H.E.B. for black-eyed peas and lentils. There is a southern tradition of having Hoppin’ John (black-eyed peas and bacon) for dinner on January first. Ella and I have observed a tradition from my mother of having lentils and kielbasa on the first. Both convey the same idea of bringing prosperity for the new year. The black-eyed peas or lentils are symbols of coins. And the idea (as my mother explained it) is that this will be the cheapest meal you eat all year. Meaning that you’ll eat well in the coming year.
After arriving home, I installed two of the under-counter lights: one above the kitchen sink and one above the bathroom sink.
The lentil stew is done and a fresh baked loaf of bread awaits. That’s all for now folks.
HAVE A BLESSED NEW YEAR.
2018 January 02
For some reason our furnace did not run overnight. The electric fireplace was running which kept us from becoming popsicles. It was 58° inside and 20°outside. We slept plenty warm between flannel sheets with a deeply quilted comfort and Sherpa lined blanket throws.
I got breakfast started while Ella grudgingly crawled out of that nice warm bed.
While breakfast cooked, I examined the innards of the thermostat. It is a non digital, non mercury switch, bimetal coil type of mechanism.
Nothing was obviously broken and all seven wires on the back of the unit seemed to be securely connected. Hmm. I checked the fuse and it was okay. Hmm again. I got the model and part numbers and did a Google search. Found the part for $220+ and ordered it.
In the mean time, I’ve turned the fireplace up.
It seemed like a good day to go shopping … somewhere warm.
On one of the RV sites, I new RVer asked if a Crock-Pot was a good purchase for her RV. Amazingly, the overwhelming response was to purchase an Insta Pot.
I have admit that I had no idea what it was. So, “Hey Google, what is an Insta Pot?”
It is an amazing appliance that slow cooks, pressure cooks, sautes, steams rice, makes yogurt, and on and on.
So, as I said, we went shopping seeking warmth. However, as long as we were shopping, we might as well look for an Insta Pot. Walmart carries them … but were out of stock. I had them call other area Wallyworlds and every one were also out of stock.
I opened the Walmart app and found that they were cheaper and could be shipped directly to me or to be picked up at the local store. Sounds good so I ordered it. Well … I tried to order it. I got a message informing me that it could not be shipped to my zip code, neither directly nor to the store.
“Okay Google, open Amazon prime.” Yes! 3 in stock. Only slightly more than Walmart. However when I went to check out, the shopping was over $400.00. I know it HAS to be an error. But it’s not my job to straighten out their mistake.
Scratch looking for the appliance.
Let’s go to Costco for some supplements.
That done. Where to now?
Hey, there’s a Target store just on the other side of the toll road.
And, yes, they had it. They had quite a few. Now we have one also.
With only a stop for LP, we returned to our somewhat less chilly home (62°).
It seemed like a good idea to do some baking.
One peach cobbler and one apple strudel pie later the inside temp was up to 63°.
We spent the rest of the afternoon covered up in our recliners.
And then …
And then …
The furnace kicked on.
And has been running just like it is supposed to run.
I’m still going to change it out when the new one arrives.
2018 January 03 Wednesday
Wednesday means Grandies. But before we could get there, we had to get out of bed. 18° outside and 48° inside. Yep, the thermostat failed again.
So, we grudgingly got out of bed and dresses in cold, cold clothes.
I started the coffee perking and the bacon cooking.
Then I fired up the oven (with the oven door open). Yes I know that you’re not supposed to do that. However, I always have two windows partially open at all times. Plus we weren’t going to be there long.
We ate, turned the oven off, and left for Grandies. There were eleven brave souls there today. Three of us celebrate birthdays this month and today was when we had our cake and ice cream. After the meeting, we stayed to play Canasta while some played bridge.
For lunch Ella and I went across the tracks to Hobo Junction for lunch. It had warmed to 45° by the time we left at 12:30.
We stopped at Winkley’s to look for an electric space heater. Sold out. Went across the street to Tractor Supply. All sold out. Called Dollar General. “Yes we have many choices.” Well they had five choices and plenty of stock for each model. I bought a basic milkhouse style.
When we arrived home, I put our west-facing awning away so that we could soak in some more afternoon solar heating. It got to 73° inside without any heater other than the sun shining through the windows.
As I was getting ready for an afternoon nap, the furnace kicked on. I’m beginning to suspect that when the inside temperature gets high enough (68° with the fireplace turned off and the new heater still in the box) that the furnace isn’t really needed. However, it is predicted to drop below freezing again tonight. I’ll not take any chances with the “confused” thermostat. I’ll drip water to keep it from freezing again and I’ll use auxilary heat also.
However, the furnace continued to turn on as the RV cooled. It’ll be interesting to how it goes through the night.
2018 January 04
Thursday. I know I said last night that I was going to use my electric heaters for the night. However, the furnace / thermostat was working so well that I decided to forgo the auxiliary heat.
So it wasn’t too great of a surprise to awaken to a cold RV this morning. 52°
I turned on both the electric fireplace and the space heater then crawled back under the covers.
I lay there for about 45 minutes before once again rolling out of bed. Shortly thereafter the furnace came on. At that point I turned the other heaters off. Curiouser and curiouser.
I had a 9 o’clock appointment with my orthopedic doctor. So right after breakfast we left home.
The doctor did a series of x-rays of my left knee. I requested this because the orthopedic specialist in Iowa had suggested that it was time for a knee replacement.
The new x-rays taken today do not show that degree of deterioration. This doctor suggested a series of deep joint injections of hyaluronic. This is a substance found in and made from chicken wattles and combs. Which is why it is sometimes called cockscomb injections. As I understand it, if I’m approved for the procedure, there will be a series of injections over a three to five weeks.
The hoped for result that I will be pain free for one to two years.
I have not discussed the cost difference between this and cortisone injections every four months over the same time period.
When we were finished at the doctor’s, we went to the Over the Hill Gang for lunch and to play Canasta with friends. We took the apple streusel pie, that I baked the other day, so we could share it.
Shortly after returning home we received call informing us the Ella’s foster-daughter’s husband had died. We knew that the time was near. He had cancer in his lungs and heart.
We are trying to find some inexpensive round trip tickets so she can go to the funeral and be with the family.
2018 January 05 Friday
I turned the new milkhouse heater on low before going to bed. As far as I know, the furnace never ran through the night. However, we woke to a pleasant 60° in the RV this morning.
We dressed, opened all the window shades (to allow as much passive solar heating as possible), and then drove to IHOP in Cedar Park for pancakes. IHOP is celebrating their 60th year by doing “endless” pancakes for $3.99.
We each got a stack of six pancakes. I generally do not eat syrup on my pancakes (diabetic) but after eating the first four with butter only, I
had the last two with a small amount of butter-pecan syrup. I finished mine and declined the offer of more. Ella ate most of hers (bathed in old fashion syrup).
While at IHOP, Ella began looking for flights to Des Moines so that she can attend her foster daughter’s husband’s funeral. She found some less expensive flights but not in the time frame she needs.
The next stop was the Senior Center in Leander. There were only 8 of us there for lunch and games. The new game that they are playing is Rummikub.
I don’t care for it but the rest do. So I played canasta on my phone while everyone else played their game. Before lunch was served, Ella received a call from our grandson in Iowa. He said that he would book a flight for Ella if she’d give him her credit card info. We got a return call shortly after to say that she was scheduled to leave Austin around nine a.m. tomorrow and to return on the nineteenth just before midnight.
After lunch, we came home so that she could pack for the trip.
The temperature reached a sunny 58° today which brought our inside temp to 74°. On a somewhat related note: I recieved an email from the place I’d ordered the new thermostat saying that they were our of stock on that modle and not sure when they would receive more. They asked if I wanted to cancel or wait. I chose to cancel. To their credit, the payment was immediately returned to my PayPal account.
2018 January 06 Saturday
Well the furnace was running when the alarm went off at 5:30. Oh boy was it running…82°. I shut it off. 37° outside and I opened the door to let it cool inside.
“So, Tom,” I hear you asking, “why was the alarm set for 5:30?” I’m glad you ask. Ella has an 8:25 flight and you are supposed to arrive at hour early. Add in the hour long drive to get to the airport and factor in the time involved in finding parking, we needed to both be up.
I microwaved some bacon and then I microwaved some eggs and made sandwiches for us to eat as we went to the airport.
This was on the way back from the airport
I took the toll road all the way through town and it was foggy all the way.
It was foggy all the way back also.
I got off the toll-road at Whitestone because I wanted to stop at Home Depot. Even though I knew where I was, I couldn’t see what was on the edge off the road. I could have been driving a lonely back-country road instead of one of the busiest stretches of road in town. There is a huge shopping center to the north side of road and I couldn’t even see any lights from the stores and signs. I felt so unsure of my location that i activate Google Maps to tell me when to turn. At that point I was only a half mile from my destination.
Upon leaving Home Depot i decided to take Ronald Reagan Boulevard back toward Liberty Hill because there would be less traffic lights. Again, I relied on Google Maps to show me when I was approaching an intersection. That way I could slow down and look for the traffic lights ahead. There was a couple of times that I came upon vehicles driving without their lights. Yes, the sky had become lighter by then but there was still fog. Even if their headlights would have been little help in them seeing any further down the road, it sure would have made THEM easier to see.
I made it home in time to unload the items purchased at Home Depot, change clothes, and make it to church in time to sing in the choir for a funeral service.There was a luncheon afterward so I didn’t have to fix a lunch for myself.
After church, I returned home and changed into work clothes. I started putting insulation board around the base of the RV. I don’t know if we will have anymore multiple days of below freezing weather this season, however, my plan is to save the insulation when we store the RV for the summer. That way I can reuse it next winter.
The wind came up (gusts to 24 mph) which made it impossible to handle the insulation board. So I quit and went inside for a nap.
When I picked up my phone, I saw that Ella had sent some texts and was safely back in Iowa. I called her but was only able to talk for a short time because of all that was happening up there. It took her about 8 hours to get there and will only take her 3 to return. I guess that’s because Texas is “downhill” from Iowa. Grin.
The rest of my day was pretty boring. Napping. Watch TV. so I’ll stop here.
2018 January 07 Sunday
I didn’t sleep well without my bed partner. I woke several times during the night and then again too early in the morning to get up and do anything. I didn’t have to fix breakfast because our church has a breakfast bar. So I just lay abed waiting for time to get up.
Once up, I attended worship and Sunday school.
Adam sent a text inviting me to come spend time with them and then watch Tate play football.
I went to Whataburger for lunch before going to the kid’s.
I got to here more about their trip to Mexico over the school holiday. It sounds as though there stored up a lot of memories. And as an added bonus, they missed the coldest week of the season in Texas.
My lack of sleep caught up with me and I took a nap just before it was time for the game.
Tate’s team won twenty six to nothing. He made a touchdown, an interception, and a lot of ”tackles” (flag football). He’s the one in the blue shirt and white headband.
When the game was over I left and headed home … stopping along the way to pick up some groceries. While I was at the store, Adam called to ask if I would stay with the kids tomorrow. He and Leigha have to work but the kids don’t start back to school until Tuesday. So I cut my shopping short and went back to their house. We spent a quiet evening talking. Before going to bed, I placed a video call to Ella so that I could hear what’s going on in Iowa. She is staying with grandson Nathan and family. Doug’s funeral service is tomorrow. Then we “kissed” goodnight and I went to bed.
2018 January 08 Monday
I spent the night at Adam and Leigha’s. The couch in the TV room makes into a bed. Once I found a spot between the support bars, it was alright. I didn’t sleep well though… different bed and no wife. I woke around four and shortly afterward Adam and Leigha left for their “gladiator training”. And at that time Dude came in and wanted on the bed with me.
After breakfast Tate, Emery, and I played Monopoly. I managed to loose everything by 9:30 while it took Emery until 10 to loose everything to Tate. He had hotels on Boardwalk and Park place
At noon I was on a video call with Ella when Adam came home for lunch. He was just leaving when Leigha got home. She’s not done working just going to finish the day making phone calls from home.
Tate is watching TV while Emery is doing something on her electronics.
Adam returned home and started supper. I left after supper and thanked them for having me over.
I stopped at the grocery store and purchased the few items that I hadn’t bought yesterday when Adam had called me back.
As soon as I returned home, I put together a peach cobbler to take to the senior center tomorrow.
2018 January 09
When I awoke at 6 a.m. the furnace fan was running but it was just blowing cold air. Which means I need to go out and turn on another LP bottle. It got down to 30 degrees last night outside but it stayed comfortable enough inside.
I sent a text to Ella. She said she was awake but had not gotten out of bed yet.
After breakfast (fortunately I had some roasted eggs already prepared so I didn’t need the stove) I exchanged the two empty LP bottles for full ones. The empties were loaded in the back of the truck and away I went..
My first stop was to top off the truck’s gas tank and run it through the car wash.
Next I want to the senior center and played games (Rummikub and Mexican train). I didn’t stay for the lunch of eggplant. Instead I went to Golden Chick for fried catfish.
When lunch was over, I stopped to refill the LP bottles.
Next I went to the laundromat to do a couple loads. I needed to wash some denims.
When I returned home I started working on putting up more insulation around the RV.
2018 October 09 Tuesday in Liberty Hill, Georgetown, Texas
62° and rain to begin the day.
Awake at four and lay there listening to the rain and disliking it. I have drip pans under the leaking roof. But I really need it to dry off before I can repair the roof damage.
Manuel, one of my friends from church said that he has leftover supplies from repairing an RV roof earlier. I gave him a piece of plywood and he’s going to cut the edges at 45° angles. That should prevent tearing at the edge of the patch. He dropped the stuff off in the afternoon today.
We had an extremely heavy rain about one o’clock that quickly flooded all of the low water crossings. Manny was able to get through in his Suburban. If he had been in a car, he might not have gotten to us.
Lunch was at the Georgetown senior center today. As can be seen in the photo, a lot of day old bread had been donated.
People came to eat but not enough stayed, so, no bingo was played.
Tuesday night means Prayer Meeting at Cross Tracks Church.