Sunday, August 7, 2016


Kazumi found a dog outside last night, a cute little fluffy chihuahua with ginger-colored fur.  It had stationed itself comfortably in front of our door.  Kazumi picked it up; it didn't run, or bark, or anything.  She just sat in Kazumi's arms like she belonged there.

We looked around the neighborhood, but no one was searching or calling for a dog.  A number of people were walking their dogs, either on the road or in their lots, but none of them seemed to have lost a dog.

So, we decided to go door-to-door to find the owner.  We started with our immediate neighbor, an old man who was just clambering out of his RV.  We asked if he knew someone who was missing a chihuahua.  He responded with glee, "I am!"  We handed the fugitive dog to him, and he thanked us profusely.  He explained that "Ginger" often gets bored and wanders around, looking for excitement.

He went happily back inside with the dog, and we returned to our own RV, relieved.  We really didn't need four dogs.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

New Car

I decided to take advantage of having a steady job (and, admittedly, a risk) by purchasing a new (to me) car. My old car was not in bad shape -- we maintained her very well -- but the right-front window stopped working and the battery died this week. After getting the battery jumped, I found that the car had started to shudder at stoplights with the AC on. Then I learned that the alignment was slightly off.

Now, none of these things were enough to get rid of the car. She still had a few good years in her. but I calculated that over that time I would spend two to three thousand dollars in repairs. That's a hundred or so dollars each month, on average. That's almost like making car payments again. So I figured, if I'm going to make car payments, I'll make car payments. It took two days of bargaining, but I got a deal I could live with.

We got a 2012 Nissan Juke, pictured below. My wife wanted a Jeep, for the ability to go almost anywhere, and I wanted a sedan, because I'm ordinary. The Juke is a good compromise. It has electronic everything, push-button start (which Kazumi likes), GPS navigation, back-up camera, and it even makes phone calls! And it's front-wheel drive, so I don't have to buy a new trailer. It's a really nice car, and as long as I have this job, it's affordable. I do plan to pay it off early, if I can.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Great Escape

Today was the boss's birthday.  To celebrate, and as a company-bonding experience, we all went to Padlock Escape Games in College Station.  This is a business (one of three in the area) which has several rooms with "mysteries" built in.  You are locked in, and you (and your friends) have to solve a number of puzzle within an hour in order to escape.
In our case, the back story was that we were going to visit our "father", but he had been kidnapped, and we had to escape from his den in order to help him.  The only clue was a note in his brief case telling us to "trust in the Good Book".  In the Bible, a passage was highlighted: "Put the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant..."  The ark was found in a padlocked box.  The passage was Exodus 26:34, and 2634 was the combination to the lock.
Solving this puzzle led us to another one: figuring out what to do with five different photos of the desk.  Discovering the commonality between the photos opened a locked drawer, which gave us another puzzle to solve.
The rest of the hour went on in much the same fashion.  The secret in the drawer gave us access to a second room, and more puzzles.  There were seven of us, so we could work on multiple problems at the same time.  Two of use were in one room trying to determine the combination to one lock, while three others were in the other room trying to get keys out of a maze, while the remaining two were searching both rooms for additional clues.
This was so much fun!  I figured out several of the padlock combinations, but there were things my coworkers deduced which were simply over my head.  We were almost finished when we ran out of time, but the hostess said she would give us a few extra minutes if we needed it, since we were the only customers for the day (the benefit of going on a Tuesday).  Those extra few minutes (less than five) were a great help.  We might not had needed that: we figured out early on how to open the armoire, but didn't realize that what we found would do that.  This probably cost us about ten minutes.
We had a very good time. I'm looking forward to doing it again someday.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Last Day: New Orleans

This is our last day in New Orleans.  I must say, I'm less than impressed.  The city is dirty, the roads are bad, and no one obeys traffic laws.  Granted, there is a lot to do here, much jazz, and a great deal of history, but frankly, I feel that could take better care of their city.

We certainly enjoyed the City Park and the many food festivals (though we missed the free jazz concerts, due to work), and I would never tell anyone not to com here, I'm just disappointed the city doesn't live up to the hype.;

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Holy Crap!

We were just sitting here, watching TV, minding our own business, listening to the rumble of thunder far away, when suddenly -- FLASH!BOOM! -- lightning strikes outside our door!

Okay, maybe not exactly outside the door, but certainly nearby.  I thought it was in the spot next door, but Kazumi says it was behind the rig.  Either way, parts of tree branches fell just outside.  I stepped outside (shaking in my skin) and looked around, but I couldn't find where the lightning hit.  I did smell something burning, so I know it was close.  Whatever it hit, we're just thankful it didn't hit us directly.  This is the downside of parking under trees.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

New Orleans: First Day

The day after we arrived in New Orleans, we decided to visit the city.  Well, not really "the city", but definitely the touristy parts of it.  We headed down Elysium Fields toward the French Quarter, and found that parking was free on Sundays!  This was especially exciting to learn, since the RV park owner told us she pays $12 for parking.

We wandered around one quarter of one quarter of the French Quarter, and found out that everything is way overpriced.  We bought exactly no souvenirs.  I wanted to sample some beignets, and  Cafe du Monde seemed the perfect place: not only are they world-famous for their beignets, but, as a "Wheel of Fortune" fan, I wanted to eat at the same place as Pat and Vanna.

Well, so did about hundred and fifty other people.  The line to get in snaked around the block.  I took a rough estimate of the number of people waiting, figured fifteen minutes of eating for each, divided that by the number of tables, and realized we would be waiting at least two-and-a-half hours for a donut.

We were hungry, so we decided to try a different restaurant.  The Market Cafe, at the end of the French Market, had a number of free tables.

As we entered, an Asian waitress approached us and said, "For day."

"What?"  I asked.

"For day," she repeated.

"For day?"

"Tayboo for day."

She gestured across the restaurant.  I followed where she was pointing, and saw next to me a table set with a condiment rack bearing a numbered sign reading "54".  To the left of that the table's sign read "46", behind that "47", and after that ... "48".  Table forty-eight.  We sat down.

The food was good: oyster po'boy and crab gumbo.  The service, so-so.  First, the waitress (not the same one) brought us someone else's lunch.  She brought our sandwich, which we were sharing, but it took her ten minutes to bring another plate to put it on.  We didn't leave a tip.

It was a good day, though.  We spent three hours doing the touristy thing, which was almost our fill for the month.