Nick Russell

Aug 052018
 

I decided we needed a play day yesterday so we drove out to the Volusia County Fairgrounds to check out the gun show. Back in the day, I used to go to a lot of gun shows, and I even put my own on for a while. It’s been quite some time since I’ve gone to a gun show, and I don’t know how soon I’ll be going back to another one. I was actually a little bored seeing the same stuff I have seen on display tables at gun shows from coast to coast for several decades. Walking around yesterday, I saw some interesting firearms, but nothing I wanted to take home with me.



Well, to be honest, there were a couple I wanted to take home with me, but not at the prices they were asking for them. I saw a lot of guns identical to ones I’ve owned over the years selling for very high prices. Forget gold and silver, or giving your money to the shysters in the stock market, if you want a real investment, put your money into quality firearms. I saw a 10mm Colt Delta Elite pistol selling for $1,000. I bought the identical gun for $350 a little over 20 years ago and sold it for $500 a couple of years later. Now I wish I still had it.

When we left the gun show we drove to Deland and wandered through some antique malls. Our favorite antique mall there is a large shop called Marketplace At Rivertown. The staff is super friendly, they have three floors of goodies to browse, and we always find something interesting. This time around Miss Terry found a couple of small things she was looking for, including a neat old hand meat grinder and a miniature spinning wheel.

From there we drove back to the Daytona Beach area and hit another antique mall we like to stop into now and then, called Our Old Stuff. I’m always looking at old printers’ type cases, which are wooden cases divided into compartments to hold lead type from the letterpress days. I learned how to set type working in a newspaper print shop at an age when most kids were learning how to play baseball.

I never did learn much about baseball, but on a tour of Mystic Seaport in Connecticut a few years ago I proved I can still set type by hand. The person who normally works in the old newspaper exhibit was out sick and his replacement had no idea how to do it, so I gave him a quick demonstration that impressed him and Miss Terry. Actually, I was impressed, too, because I had no idea I still remembered any of the skills I picked up so long ago.

We have seen a lot of old type cases at different antique shops around the country, and I kept thinking I wanted to get a couple of them to use as shadow boxes or whatever. Mostly just for the nostalgia of them. But they have always been overpriced or beat up, or both. But this time around I lucked out and found two very nice cases, and they were priced lower than any I’ve seen anywhere. Then, the shop’s owner offered to knock a considerable amount off the already low price for them. Sold! Now I just need to figure out what to put in them and where to hang them.

By then we were both hungry, so on the way home we stopped at Leanh’s Chinese Restaurant for dinner. Terry had a salmon and black bean plate with baby bok choy that she said was delicious, while I went for my regular order, the shrimp fried rice. It is always outstanding. Besides the fact that the food is excellent at Leanh’s, we are always impressed with the service. Unlike many restaurants where if you need a refill on your drink or something else, you have to wait for your server to come by and hope to catch their eye, at Leanh’s every employee, as well as the owner, are always on the lookout for any customer who may need anything at all, stopping by your table to ask if you want a refill of your drink, if the food is okay, or if there’s anything else they can do for you. That’s impressive in this day and age when most people want a job but do anything they can to avoid actually working!



Back at home, we were both tired, but in a very comfortable, relaxed way, and we didn’t do much except watch a little bit of television before it was time to write the blog and get ready for bed. A perfect end to a perfect day with my best friend.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for a campground rating, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.

Thought For The Day – I did a cartwheel the other day, thinking it was like riding a bike. It’s not.

Aug 042018
 

We have visited a lot of museums around the country that honor our nation’s veterans, from the huge National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, to the Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker, Alabama, the West Point Museum in New York, and many more too numerous to list here. One of the most interesting and friendly ones we have been to is the Alabama Veterans Museum in the small town of Athens, in northern Alabama.



While not as large as many of the museums we have toured, what sets this museum apart is that its focus is not on any one war, or on major battles in any war. Instead, the museum tells the personal stories of the men and women from Alabama who served their nation throughout history.

Located in the old L&N Freight Depot in Athens, the museum displays military uniforms, weapons, medals, and artifacts from the Civil War to the present-day conflicts in the Mideast and the War on Terror.

The weapons on display at the museum include everything from Civil War era single-shot muskets and cap-and-ball revolvers to World War I bolt action Springfield rifles, World War II Thompson submachine guns and M1 carbines, all the way to today’s sophisticated fully automatic rifles.

There is even a display of rockets that are fired from tracked vehicles.

There are books, photographs, newspapers, and oral histories shared by veterans of various wars to put a personal face on something so impersonal as war.

Women veterans are also honored with exhibits on the various female military branches and the important role that women have played throughout our nation’s military history.

The people on the home front are not forgotten, either. The museum honors those who stayed behind to keep the home fires burning in times of conflict so their loved ones in uniform had something to come home to.

It has often been said that war is days of complete boredom broken up occasionally by moments of sheer terror. Anybody who has been to war can tell you that’s true. Throughout time, when they’re not fighting, eating, sleeping, or preparing to fight, many military people have kept themselves busy by creating what is known as trench art. This can be anything from woodcarvings to painting to scrimshaw, or anything else they can get their hands on. The museum has a display of World War I shells that have been elaborately carved by bored soldiers looking for some way to occupy their time and their minds to provide an escape from their reality.

Volunteers who are veterans themselves are on hand to give tours of the museum, answer questions, and explain the different exhibits to visitors.

The next time you are traveling through Alabama on Interstate 65, make it a point to stop off in Athens. It’s a friendly little town, and you will come away from the Alabama Veterans Museum with an added appreciation for the men and women who answered America’s call to keep all us free.

Located at 100 Pryor Street in Athens, the museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 AM to 3 PM. For more information, call (256) 771-7578.



Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for a campground rating, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – If we switched back to writing cursive and driving stick shift cars, we could cripple an entire generation.

Aug 032018
 

Traveling along Interstate 65 in central Kentucky, it’s easy to appreciate the beautiful rolling hills, picturesque farms, and friendly small towns along the way. But many people don’t know that even more beauty is hidden beneath the earth’s surface. This is Cave Country, and the entire region is honeycombed with a series of caves, some of them so small you could not stand up in them, and others massive underground labyrinths filled with beautiful rock formations.

The granddaddy of them all, of course, is Mammoth Cave, which was first discovered by early native peoples about 4,000 years ago. Just like today’s visitors, they were awestruck by the beauty they found so far underground. Entrepreneurs mined the cave for saltpeter, an important ingredient in making gunpowder, in the early 1800s, and others seeking to make a profit began giving guided tours of Mammoth Cave in 1816. In the early part of the 20th century a movement began to protect the cave, and in 1941 it was declared a National Park. Tourism had increased steadily over the years as more and more of the cave was explored and made accessible.

But there are many other caves in the region, most of them privately owned, including Diamond Caverns, Indian Cave, Sand Cave, Great Onyx Cave, and Crystal Cave, just to name a few. Scientists believe that many, if not all the caves in the region, are connected. Since even today so much has yet to be explored, nobody really knows just how elaborate the cave systems are.



Recognizing an opportunity to make money from visitors eager to explore underground, farmers who had caves on their property either began promoting their own cave tours, or leased their caves out to entrepreneurs who wanted to develop them.

Back in the 1920s, the competition for tourist dollars grew to the point that people who owned or operated caves would employ all kinds of methods, many of them not entirely ethical, to lure visitors away from Mammoth Cave or other caves in the area. These activities became known as the Kentucky Cave Wars, and while no shots were fired that I know of, they did result in legal battles and at least one tragic fatality.

The competition was fierce, and private cave owners came up with all sorts of ways to try to get people to tour their caves for a fee. In 1921, a man name Morrison put up signs announcing a “new entrance” to Mammoth Cave to divert drivers going to the big cave to his property instead. Cave owners put up other signs giving false directions to Mammoth Cave that actually ended up at their own operations. They hired men who became known as “cappers” who would actually jump on the running boards of cars to tell people that Mammoth Cave had been flooded, or destroyed by an earthquake, and point the drivers to whichever cave was paying them. There are stories about cappers who dressed in police uniforms and stood in the roadway leading to Mammoth Cave turning vehicles around and directing them to other cave operations.

Tragedy came to Cave Country in 1925 when a young man named Floyd Collins became trapped underground by a cave-in while looking for a connection to Mammoth Cave from Sand Cave, which was on his family’s farm. A massive rescue effort was launched to save Collins and it became a media event reported around the world. Unfortunately, after 14 days he died of thirst and starvation, alone in the dark. Today visitors to Mammoth Cave National Park can travel a short distance past the Visitor Center to a small Baptist church cemetery and pay their respects to Collins, who is buried there. I wrote about the brave young cave explorer’s ordeal in my book Highway History and Back Road Mystery II.

Today, things are a lot more peaceful in Cave Country. The National Park has expanded to encompass many of the smaller caves, while some private operations such as Diamond Caverns, located near the entrance to Mammoth Cave National Park, continue to thrive. If you visit the area in an RV, there is a very nice full-service campground at Diamond Caverns that can handle just about any size RV. There is also a campground inside the park, although RV sites with hookups are limited, and there are other campgrounds in the area.

The next time you travel through Kentucky’s Cave Country, do yourself a favor and stop and take a tour of Mammoth Cave, and maybe even some of the other caves that are still available. You’ll be amazed at the wonderland you will find beneath your feet.



Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for a campground rating, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – When you think your best isn’t good enough, more than likely it isn’t.

Aug 022018
 

Even though we are no longer actively RVing, we are still involved in the RV lifestyle through the blog, our many friends who are still on the road, my volunteer work as an administrator with the Living the RV Dream Facebook group, and our lifetime membership with the Escapees RV Club. Escapees continues to be the single best resource I know of for both new RVers and those who have been involved in the RV lifestyle for years.

One of the things I always urge new RVers to do is to attend one of the club’s RV Boot Camps, which can best be described as crash courses in the RV lifestyle. If you are new to RVing, these are excellent learning opportunities that you should not pass up.

The three-day long boot camps are led by instructors with many decades of combined RVing experience, and are designed to teach you everything you need to know to maintain and operate your RV safely. Topics include RV tire safety, RV weight safety, basic RV systems, fire and life safety, proper towing techniques, and more. Each event includes question-and-answer sessions where the instructors are happy to help anybody understand something that they don’t quite have a grasp on yet.

Just as important as the instructions during the formal class sessions are the social gatherings and community meals at boot camp, where attendees meet new like-minded friends. Quite often these friendships continue long after boot camp is over with.

Escapees Boot Camps are currently scheduled for November 9-11, 2018 at the Escapees’ Rainbow’s End campground in Livingston, Texas; February 1-3, 2019 at the Escapees’ North Ranch RV park in Congress, Arizona; March 1-3, 2019 at Lloyd Park in Grand Prairie, Texas; March 14-16, 2019 at the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson, Arizona; August 26-28, 2019 at Pine Mountain Resort in Pine Mountain, Georgia; and August 20-22, 2019 at the Mill Casino and RV Park in North Bend, Oregon. The events fill up fast, so use this link to register, or call (888)757-2582. Boot Camp is one of the best investments you can make in the RV lifestyle.

Now that I have my new computer set up and running well, I have been busy writing, knocking out another 2,000 words in my next John Lee Quarrels book yesterday. I told Miss Terry that since it’s so hot and sticky outside, summertime is a good opportunity for me to get a lot of writing done, then I can spend more time fishing and kayaking once things cool down to a tolerable level again.

While I was writing yesterday, Terry made a delicious peach pie, from scratch, as always. Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it was a real treat for the old taste buds.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for a campground rating, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – You know you are getting old when you can’t walk past the bathroom without thinking, “I might as well pee while I’m here.”

Aug 012018
 

As history buffs, we have visited all kinds of historical sites in our travels, from Revolutionary War and Civil War battlefields to historic homes, old forts, and all kinds of history museums in every corner of the country. We have walked the Freedom Trail in Boston and visited Paul Revere’s house. We stood on the deck of Old Ironsides and on the village green in Lexington and at the Old North Bridge in Concord, where the first shots of the Revolution were fired. We walked the hallowed grounds of Gettysburg, shuddered at the angst that still seems to pervade the air at the notorious Confederate prison at Andersonville, and stood where Custer and his men fell at the Little Bighorn.



But for every important and icon such as those, there are hundreds more lesser-known historic sites scattered around the country that all played a part in how we became who we are. One such place is Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park, in central Alabama. The park preserves the ruins of what was once an important resource for the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.

It was here that a group of men formed the Bibb County Iron Company in 1862 and build a furnace that began producing an extremely high grade of iron, which was an important resource for the Confederate cause. Iron created at Brierfield was used to manufacture cannons and in the building of warships such as the formidable C.S.S. Tennessee.

The businessman who formed the ironworks were as interested in profit as they were patriotism, and when they refused to devote 100% of their output to the Confederate government, wanting to also sell their iron to local businesses, the government seized the ironworks and renamed it the Bibb Naval Furnaces. A second furnace and a rolling mill were added and shifts of men worked around the clock to meet the demand.

Such an important facility did not go unnoticed by the Union Army, and the ironworks was targeted for destruction. On March 31, 1865, Major General James H. Wilson and his troops approached the area. He ordered Colonel Frederick Benteen to lead the 10th Missouri Cavalry on an attack against the ironworks. They were met by a small force of Confederate cavalry and immediately charged forward, scattering the defenders. The engagement became known as the Battle of Brierfield Ironworks, though it was more of a skirmish than an all-out battle. The Confederates were driven off and the Union soldiers put the torch to the ironworks.

The site was rebuilt after the war, and for a while Brierfield was a boomtown, earning the reputation as the “Magic City of Bibb County.” But the good times didn’t last. By 1894, more efficient iron making facilities had opened in Birmingham, forcing the Brierfield Ironworks to close forever.



Today the site is a historical park operated by the State of Alabama. Visitors can see re-creations of the furnaces that were so important to the Confederate war effort, some left-over remnants from the original operation, and several historic buildings that have been moved to the park from other locations. There are also hiking and nature trails, a campground, and the park is designated as a West Alabama Birding Trail Site.

Some of the park’s old buildings are available for overnight rentals. The Hayes/Morton Inn is a farmhouse dating back to 1900 that has been restored for guests. It includes three bedrooms, a sitting room, and two bathrooms, as well as a large dining room and a modern kitchen. The building is furnished with period antiques.

The park has full hookup RV sites, sites with just water and electric, and tent camping sites. It’s an interesting place to spend a few days learning about the history of the region and enjoying the natural wonders that central Alabama has to offer.

Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park is located at 240 Furnace Parkway, Brierfield, Alabama, and is open 7 days a week from dawn until dusk. Admission is $4 for visitors age 12 and older, $3 for seniors (age 62 and older), $3 for children ages 6-11, and kids age five and under are free. For more information, call (205) 665-1856.

Thought For The Day – Dear Math, please grow up and learn to solve your own problems, I’m tired of solving them for you.

Steve Got A Lobotomy

 Posted by at 12:28 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 312018
 

We were up early yesterday morning because I had an appointment at the VA Medical Center in Daytona Beach for something called a field of vision test. I have rather large and abnormally shaped eyes, and every time I get an eye exam, when they do a pressure test they tell me they think I am a strong candidate for glaucoma. I’ve heard this since I was in my 20s, and a couple of ophthalmologists have told me that the pressure readings they are getting are within the acceptable range for someone with an eye shape like mine, but not for a normal person. Hey, I never claimed to be normal.



But just to be safe, every few months the VA wants me to come in and have a field of vision test. Basically, they put a patch over one eye and you look into a little screen while holding a clicker in your hand. Every time you see a light blink in your peripheral vision you push the button on the clicker. Then they switch eyes and do the same thing again. When I got done I asked the tech how things looked and he said I would have to talk that over with my eye doctor, whom I have an appointment with in early September. Okay, fine. See you then.

I have been switching more and more of my medical care from the VA to civilian doctors. I figure since the VA is now billing Medicare for my health care, I might as well save myself the drive into Daytona Beach and deal with doctors here in Edgewater and New Smyrna Beach whenever possible. But I’ve been advised to at least see my primary care doctor twice a year, just in case something ever happens where I do need to be enrolled in the VA.

On the way home we made a stop at the chiropractor so I could get an adjustment, then picked up some groceries. Back at home, it was time to put the finishing touches to my new computer installation.

I promise this is the last time I will talk about Steve in the blog, but I just had to tell you that yesterday afternoon I gave him a lobotomy. Or a brainectomy? Is there such a thing? Maybe I just invented it! I am a wordsmith, after all.

I had purchased a Sabrent hard drive docking station from Amazon, which is basically a plastic box into which I inserted the hard drive that I had removed from Steve, the old computer. It plugs into a 3.0 USB port on the back of the new computer, giving me a third hard drive, with access to all of my files without having to transfer them over. It worked out very well and will save me a lot of trouble.

My original plan was to just throw the old computer into the trash, but Miss Terry and Greg White said there are places that will take them as donations and recycle them or strip out the internal components. Since the hard drive is out of it, there is none of our information that can be gleaned by anybody, so I’ll check and see if I can find anybody who does that. If I can, it will be one less thing in the landfill. It’s always good to do whatever we can to help out Mother Earth.



With the new computer set up and working fine, it’s time to get back to writing. I’d like to get my next John Lee Quarrels book out no later than the first part of September. And I’ve got a lot of blogs to share with you about the things we saw on our recent trip out of town. I think you are going to find them very interesting.

Thought For The Day – My family is temperamental; half temper and half mental.

Take That, Steve!

 Posted by at 12:26 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 302018
 

Well, it wasn’t as easy as I had hoped, but on the other hand it wasn’t as difficult as I had feared. My new computer is up and running, and it seems like everything is working as it should.



We started setting it up on Saturday and quickly realize that there was a problem with my old 23 inch monitor. I’ve had it for at least 12 years and I have been talking about replacing it for a long time but I’ve always been too cheap to do it. Terry kept telling me I needed to just bite the bullet and buy a new one because it had some dead pixels and was pretty ancient. When I went to plug it into the new computer I discovered that the old monitor used an HDMI cord and the new computer uses a DisplayPort connection. Okay, that’s not going to work. I needed to find some kind of adapter.

Since there is no place around here to get something like that, we made what we thought would be a quick run to Staples in Daytona Beach to get one. When we left home the sun was shining and the sky was blue, but not long after we got on Interstate 95 the rain began to pour down in buckets. Our Explorer has automatic headlights that come on, but I noticed the dashboard lights were not on. I tried moving the little wheel that makes them darker or brighter with no luck. Oh goody, one more thing to deal with. I was hoping it was just a fuse that I could replace myself rather than taking it to a shop. Replacing fuses is about the extent of my knowledge when it comes to fixing things. As it turned out, it wasn’t a fuse. About the time we were getting off the interstate in Daytona Beach I realized I still had my sunglasses on. I took them off and immediately the dashboard lights started working. It’s a miracle!

While we were at Staples I looked at monitors, just to see what they had, and the supply was very limited. So after purchasing the adapter we decided to stop at Best Buy, even though we really hate doing business with them. I figured I would see what was available there, then check and see if I could order it from Amazon, usually at a much better price.

A manager came over to see if he could help us and I told him that we were looking for a large monitor and asked a couple questions about the ones on display. I was right up front with him and told him all I was doing was looking and that I didn’t plan to buy anything from them because when we bought Terry’s laptop computer from them we were supposed to get 10% back in the form of a store credit. That was about $100, and despite repeated phone calls and trips to the store we never got it. He said he wanted to make that right with us, and showed us a 28 inch Samsung 4K monitor, which retailed for $469 that a customer had bought and returned the same day. There was nothing wrong with it, it was just too big for his needs. It was still in the box with the original factory warranty, and he said I could return it within 15 days for a full refund if I didn’t like it. Then he offered it to us for $275. Okay, at that price I will buy something from Best Buy!



Back at home, we started hooking everything up and immediately I ran into problems with Microsoft wanting pin numbers for different things. I needed a Dell pin number, a Microsoft pin number, and a personal pin number. I had no idea what those pin numbers were or how to set them up, because they weren’t very clear about all of that. A couple of calls to technical support got me someone who could speak English almost as well as my neighbor’s cat.

When we finally got all that resolved it was close to midnight, and then I discovered that somewhere in the process I had somehow locked myself out of the blog. I kept trying and was finally able to get in just long enough to post a quick paragraph saying that I was having technical difficulties. By the time I went to bed I was worn out mentally.

We were back at it yesterday morning, and I think we finally have the productivity programs I need loaded into the new computer and everything working right. There’s a learning curve to Windows 10, but with Terry’s help have I been able to get a pretty good handle on. I need to call Go Daddy, because I’m still having some issues with the blog, but at least I could post it.

Meanwhile Steve, my old computer, just sat there pouting like the spoiled child he has always been. Okay, maybe it wasn’t nice of me to parade my pretty new computer around in front of him. But what can I say? It’s payback time, baby. Wait until Steve finds out that I’m going to transplant his old hard drive into a case to use as a portable backup storage drive for the new computer. That ought to really tick him off.

I have to say a big thank you to Greg White for putting up with my many phone calls asking for advice during the setup process, as well as to Miss Terry, who not only helped me with getting everything plugged into the right locations, but also talked me through some things in Windows 10 so I could get familiar with it, and put up with me being a grouchy old bear when things weren’t going right.

Congratulations Gail Reitz, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake Lynching, the second book in my Big Lake mystery series. We had 57 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon!

Thought For The Day – Well, well, well, if it isn’t the same mistake I’ve made several times already.

Jul 282018
 

My e-mail inbox kept filling up yesterday, and I can’t count the number of texts and Facebook messages I received from people, either telling me that the mail forwarding service My Dakota Address in Madison, South Dakota had stopped sending mail as of the 26th and announced that they were going out of business, or asking me if the rumors about it were true. Unfortunately, yes, they are.



It seems that some customers got an email informing them of the closure, while others didn’t know anything about it until the word started spreading on social media. This has left a lot of fulltime RVers who were using them as their legal address scrambling for an alternative. Some people told me that they contacted Dakota Post in Sioux Falls, and the company has been very accommodating in helping them get a new address set up in a hurry.

I don’t know much about the folks who ran My Dakota Address, and what I have heard about them has always been positive. And I don’t know what problems precipitated the closure. But it seems like they should have been able to give their customers more advance notice than that. While lots of people pay all their bills and such online, there are still many that depend on regular postal deliveries. Hopefully everybody will get the process of finding a new mail forwarding service handled with a minimum of difficulty.

The big news on the home front is that the replacement for Steve the computer arrived yesterday. It’s a Dell OptiPlex 7060 desktop model that I had custom-built for my needs. I included the fastest processor available, as much RAM as I could get inside of it, and two hard drives. Yep, there’s a new Steve in town. But I don’t think I’ll call this one Steve, I don’t want to jinx it.

I had also ordered a Tripp Lite 1500VA 900W UPS Battery Back Up from Amazon, which came in a few days ago. I will have the computer, monitor, our wireless router, and our Arlo home security system plugged into it, which will keep them running during a power outage until I either shut them down or shore power comes back on.

Yesterday Terry built this really neat cart which will hold both the Tripp Lite UPS and the computer, and it will fit next to my desk. She put casters on the bottom of it so I can easily pull it out if I need to access the back of either unit. I am also putting a small fan behind the cabinet to help circulate air more efficiently.

So my project today will be to get the new computer set up. Hopefully there will be a minimum of hassle doing so, but it can be a tedious process to reload all of the software for the programs I use on a regular basis. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will go smoothly.



Have you entered our latest Free Drawing yet? This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Lynching, the second book in my Big Lake mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – The older I get, the more I find myself hesitating to throw out a used Ziploc bag because it’s really not all that dirty.

Donuts And Rainbows

 Posted by at 1:20 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 272018
 

Ever since we got back from our trip we have been busy playing catch up. While we were gone I only dealt with the most pressing emails so I had a big backlog of them to wade through when we got home. Meanwhile, Terry had a lot of paperwork to do, separating receipts from the trip that were tax-deductible from others that were personal expenses. And, of course, there were blogs to write, chapters to write on my latest book, meals to cook, and laundry that needed done. You know, life.



Besides everything else she’s been doing, Terry also completed this beautiful moebius cowl, which she’s been knitting for quite some time now. It was a complicated pattern because she started in the middle and worked her way outward in both directions. It’s made of soft merino/silk and looks great on her.

I’ve never understood why people would cheat on their spouse. It just never made sense to me. If you make a commitment, you stick to it. But I do remember an older lady friend of mine saying one time that if a wife is taking care of things at home, her husband doesn’t have to go looking anywhere else. Terry knows I would never cheat on her, but I guess she also wanted to make sure I don’t start hanging out at Dunkin’ Donuts, because a few days after we got home she made me these absolutely delicious chocolate donuts from scratch. Don’t worry baby, I’m not going anywhere else for anything!

Hurricane Irma did a lot of damage when it came to this area last year but except for losing a small piece of trim off of our carport we didn’t have any problems. Our friend Jim Lewis wasn’t as lucky; his carport flew off to Never Never land in the strong wind, as did many others. When his new carport was built, Jim followed the practice of many folks around here and had it anchored with steel cables to his concrete driveway. Even though our carport made it through the last storm, I decided to follow suit and told Jim that when the man finished installing his tie down cables to send him our way. He did the job this week, putting steel plates on the roof of the carport, drilling down through them and attaching it with heavy-duty bolts, then ran the cables and attached them to hold-downs drilled into the concrete. I’m hoping we don’t have any bad hurricanes this year or anytime soon, but it’s always a good idea to be prepared.

Even without hurricanes there are some weather-related things you can count on every day in the summer in this part of the country. It’s going to be hot, it’s going to be humid, and you’re going to get a lot of rain and thunderstorms. The other day a big storm came through while we were out running some errands, and on our way home we saw a beautiful full curved rainbow that stretched for what seemed like miles. We didn’t have a regular camera with us and our cell phones would not give a wide enough view to show both ends at the same time, but it was spectacular.

We have still got a few projects to do around the house, including repairing our electric garage door opener. It seems that the cable has pulled out of the mechanism that moves the door, and we need to figure how to get it back into place. It was installed just before we bought the house in October of 2016, so I’m sure it’s out of warranty by now. But I did some online research and I think we figured out how to put it all back together. The garage door has had some dings and bang’s and has some gaps around it. More than once we have thought about having a new one installed. That’s something else we might be looking into before too long. We will just have to see how that plays out.



Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Lynching, the second book in my Big Lake mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – I’m at that age where a Life Alert bracelet seems to make more sense than a Fitbit.