In A Pinch

 Posted by at 12:50 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 202019
 

Many years ago there was a TV commercial about weight loss or fitness or some such nonsense where a very good looking, very fit male or female actor would grab their very tight abdomen between their thumb and finger and ask, “Can you pinch an inch?” Are you kidding me? At my best the most I could do was grab a glob.

But apparently there’s been some pinching going on, because after tests and doctor visits and brain scans and all kinds of things, the medical people think I have/had a pinched occipital nerve in my neck, which caused the problems I experienced last week. One of the things that can set it off is tight muscles in the shoulders and neck, and the two excellent chiropractors I see when I go to Coastal Integrative Healthcare have both said they have never seen anybody who is as tight as I am in that area right now. Hopefully with stretching exercises, ice, and rest things will begin to loosen up and I won’t have a recurrence.

In other news, when you buy your fifth kayak, is it time that you have to consider the fact that you may have a problem? Terry and I have had our two Sea Eagle inflatable kayaks for many years and love them. They were perfect for the RV life because they were easy to carry in a storage bay under the motorhome. But when we bought our place here on the intercoastal waterway in Florida we wanted hard kayaks again, so we bought a pair of Old Town Predators two winters ago. They are extremely stable and extremely sturdy.

While we were looking at them, I also looked at an Old Town Predator PDL, which is basically the same kayak except it also has pedals so you can either paddle it or use the pedals to propel yourself. It’s really good for fishing because your hands are free. But it was out of my budget. When our friend Jim saw it, he decided it should come home with him, and it did. He’s used it about three times, and decided that kayaking isn’t for him, so he offered it to me, along with a trailer and accessories, at a great deal. Let me see, five kayaks and a pontoon boat – I believe I have a flotilla.

Someone asked how I plan to use five kayaks at once, and I don’t. But when we have friends visiting, or my son and his wife come down, we can all go paddling and have fun. Of course, it’s going to have to cool down quite a bit before that happens.

I like T-shirts that have a message on them, and I’ve shared several with you here in the blog. I recently acquired two more that I think you will enjoy. This one gets the message across in a kinder, gentler manner than the more common alternative.

And I don’t care what your politics are, and I imagine it might offend somebody, but I think this one is just plain funny.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audio book of undone, the first book in my buddy Jason Deas’ new Burt Bigsley 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 – Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn. – Benjamin Franklin

Jul 192019
 

We may have hung up the keys but we still get hitch itch and we’ve got a lot of traveling left to do. In 18+ years of fulltiming we saw a lot of places but there are still some we never got to, as well as places we definitely want to go back to once again. Here’s my top 10 list of places to go back to, in no particular order.

Oregon Coast – I’ve been in every state in the country, as well as a few foreign countries, and in my opinion there is no place on earth as beautiful as the Oregon coast. Every curve on Highway 101 gives you another beautiful view of seascapes, lighthouses, whales, and breathtaking vistas.

Branson – We’ve been to Branson, Missouri several times, but it was only on our last visit that we got around to attending a show. Actually, on that visit we saw quite a few shows. But even without the entertainment, the countryside around Branson and Table Rock Lake are just beautiful. Especially in the spring when the dogwoods are in bloom.

Lancaster County – Pennsylvania is one of our favorite states and this is a place where we spent a lot of time during our RVing days and developed a great affection for. From the pastoral beauty of Amish farmlands to interesting shops selling everything from quilts to apple butter, and some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, if you haven’t been there yet, do yourself a favor and go.

Washington D.C. – Forget politics. If you are a history nut like I am, you could spend a year in our nation’s capital and never run out of things to see. There are dozens of interesting museums, awe-inspiring monuments, and historical sites just waiting to be discovered.

Soo Locks – We only managed to make one trip to Sault St. Marie, Michigan, but it’s a place I will never forget. I could (and did) spend hours at the viewpoint watching the huge Great Lakes freighters coming into the locks with only inches to spare on either side and being raised or lowered to travel between Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

Outer Banks – Dramatics seascapes, unspoiled beaches, history, shipwrecks, and delicious seafood everywhere you go. Whether you are  standing where the Wright brothers made their first historic flight, beach combing, flying a kite, or enjoying a delicious dinner that was caught that very morning, this is another one of those places where one trip will never be enough to see and do it all.

West Point – I spent a couple of years stationed at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and I fell in love with the place. The history, the tradition, the amazing views up and down the beautiful Hudson Valley, you have to see it to believe it. If I could have stayed there throughout my career, I would have become a lifer.

Olympic Peninsula – I got my start in the newspaper business in Grays Harbor, Washington, at the bottom of the Olympic Peninsula, and though that was over 30 years ago, I have never lost my love for this wild and wonderful land. Towering mountains, lush rain forests, breathtaking beaches, quaint small towns, and Puget Sound. This may very well be heaven on earth.

Savannah – If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I know that I must have lived in Savannah, Georgia at some point. Even before I went there I always felt drawn to it, and the first time we visited I felt like I was coming home. From its tree shaded squares to its historic homes to its busy waterfront, I love everything about this city.

Gettysburg – History surrounds you in this beautiful Pennsylvania community. To walk the rolling hills of the battlefield, especially at twilight, is an experience you won’t forget. And the old part of the town itself is another one of those places where I may have lived in a past life, if there is such a thing. Most people picture the famous Civil War battle as being fought out in the countryside, and while it was, it was also fought door-to-door in the small town of Gettysburg. You can still see bullet holes and cannonballs in the sides of buildings that bear testament to the ferocious struggle that took place there.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audio book of undone, the first book in my buddy Jason Deas’ new Burt Bigsley 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 – It takes real skill to choke on air, fall up stairs and trip over nothing. I have that skill.

Jul 182019
 

I appreciate everybody’s concern for my health given my recent episode of dizziness and all that. When I went to bed Tuesday night the dull headache was still there, but I was so tired that I thought I would sleep through anything. As it turned out, I was wrong about that. My back was hurting, which is normal, and the headache seemed to get more intense as time went on. I got very little sleep, and all day yesterday the headache was very intense.

I couldn’t concentrate to get any work done yesterday, so I basically parked myself in my recliner and spent the day there, drinking lots of water and occasionally using an ice pack on my head.

The good news (I think) is that when I talked to the doctor’s office yesterday afternoon, they said he had reviewed the MRI and everything in the scan on my brain looked normal. But given the headache, they still want to see me Friday.

Sometime around 7 PM yesterday I was hanging upside down on my Teeter inversion table, which I do to take some pressure off my back, and I kept turning my head from side to side, and I felt something pop in my neck. Within about three minutes the headache had dropped down from about an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10 to somewhere around a 2. I don’t know if the headache and the dizziness were related or not, and we still don’t know what caused them and are still looking for answers to that question. But in the meantime, I’m just glad things seem to be easing off.

In other news, the missing reviews for my new book, Big Lake Ninja, are back on Amazon, along with quite a few more. And all of them are five-star! People seem to like the book, and many say they were blown away by the ending. Yeah. I was, too. I didn’t see that coming. The only thing I can think to explain why the reviews kept disappearing and then coming back was that it was Amazon Prime Days and their systems don’t seem to be able to handle that much traffic. Last year on Prime Day their computers crashed for several hours. I guess it’s back to the drawing board for them.

Do you know how to drive a stick shift car? It seems to be a disappearing skill. I had to laugh at a news story last night about someone in Orlando who carjacked an elderly man and jumped behind the wheel of his Jeep, then promptly stalled the engine because he did know how use the clutch and shift it. He tried to start it a couple of times before giving up and running across the street to steal a different car. Fortunately for him, that one had an automatic transmission. Unfortunately for him, the cops caught him not far away.

I learned to drive in a Rambler American station wagon with a push button automatic transmission. But a year or so after I got my license, I bought a 1960 Ford Fairlane from my older brother, Jack. It had the old three-on-the-tree manual transmission, and when I said I didn’t know how to drive a stick shift, Jack assured me that he would teach me. He lived about 15 miles from my parents, and our dad dropped me off at his house and left. I paid Jack the $75 for the car (yes, in those days you could buy a car for $75. I actually bought one for $50 once). With me in the front passenger seat, Jack got behind the wheel, showed me the gear pattern and how to work the clutch and accelerator. Then told me to have at it. I stalled three or four times before I got it to moving in first gear, then ground my way into second. Jack said that was all I needed to know and for me to go home, he had things to do. I said I still didn’t know how to drive a stick shift and he said, “you’ll figure it out by the time you get home.” Well, kids, it was a bit of a lurching trip and I stalled out at every red light and stop sign. But by the time I got home I was doing pretty good. So beware, if I ever decide to carjack you, having a standard transmission won’t stop me!

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audio book of undone, the first book in my buddy Jason Deas’ Burt Bigsley 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 bet when aliens from outer space cruise past Earth they lock their doors.

Just A Quick Update

 Posted by at 12:14 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 172019
 

Today is just going to be a quick update because I am still not feeling well.



Thank you to everybody who expressed concern after reading yesterday’s blog where I talked about having a weird episode of dizziness and tingling in my head. Two retired doctors and a couple of nurses who read my blog were all quick to contact me to say I needed to see a doctor ASAP.

When I woke up yesterday morning the dull headache was still there and I felt very hung over, though I never drink. I went to the doctor yesterday afternoon, and like the blog readers with medical backgrounds, she said it might have been a TIA (mini stroke) and said she was going to schedule me for an MRI. At the time, she said it was too late in the day to get it, so it would probably be done today. But half an hour later they called and said to go right to the imaging center to get it done. We did that and came home, and hopefully we will hear back from the doctor today. Overall, I feel fine right now. I just have a dull headache and I am exhausted. I feel like I could go to bed and sleep for a hundred years.


I appreciate everybody’s concern and prayers. Don’t worry, I have a lot of living left to do, so I’ll be around to get underfoot for a long time yet.

Hopefully I will feel better and will write more tomorrow

Thought For The Day – Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man. – Benjamin Franklin

Jul 162019
 

Definition of potpourri – 1: a mixture of flowers, herbs, and spices that is usually kept in a jar and used for scent. 2: a miscellaneous collection. The second definition above pretty much describes today’s blog, a collection of miscellaneous thoughts and info that I’m sharing because I really don’t have anything else to talk about today.




I don’t know what’s going on with Amazon these days, but something is really messed up there. Last week some of my books were marked “unavailable” for several hours and then they were back with no explanation as to why it happened. Then yesterday morning my newest book, Big Lake Ninja, had seven 5 star reviews. Every author appreciates reviews, the more the better. So I was disappointed when I happened to check it around 5 PM and all of its reviews had disappeared. An hour later they were back, and then they were gone again. Hopefully they will be back to stay soon, but with Amazon you never know.

In other news, it seems like the ongoing website issues I have been having with the blog seem to be fixed now. For a long time people who subscribed to it were not getting the daily blog, only the previous day’s post. Then suddenly people trying to log on were getting a message saying that the website had been hijacked. We ran all kinds of scans on it and nothing showed up, and finally I had to pay Go Daddy even more money than I already am and they did something to remedy the issue. But when I asked them how to prevent it from happening again, they really weren’t too clear on that. I guess their answer is always, “just throw more money at us.”

Something weird happened while we were having dinner Sunday afternoon. I started feeling very lightheaded and disoriented and had a tingly feeling in my head. I’m glad Terry and our friend Jim Lewis were with me, because there is no way I could have driven home. It was hard enough just standing up and walking out to the car.

I’m not sure what caused it, but it persisted into the evening. By bedtime it had pretty much gone away, but I had a headache and was very tired. Yesterday morning I woke up and felt like I had a hangover, but by the afternoon I was feeling a lot better. Not completely back to my old self, but better than I was. I put a call in to my doctor and am waiting for him to get back to me.

I spent some time working on my next John Lee Quarrels book, Dead Romeos, yesterday but my head was still kind of foggy and I was having trouble concentrating. I managed to get 3,000 words in, which fell short of the 5,000 word goal I had for the day, but it’s a start.

Since I’m still not at 100%, this is about all you’re going to get out of me today. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to do a better blog for you.




But before I go, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us. I’ve never been a fan of veggies in any form, but when they take the fat away, what’s left? Just lettuce?

Thought For The Day – We are sometimes taken into troubled waters not to be drowned, but to be cleansed.

Big Fish

 Posted by at 12:08 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 152019
 

You never know what you’re going to find when you get off the interstate highways and start exploring America’s back roads. That is where we have found some of our most memorable experiences. An example is when we visited Spectre, Alabama.

Don’t bother looking for Spectre on any map, because you won’t find it. The town never existed, except in the movie Big Fish, a 2003 story about a son who is frustrated by the tall tales his father has spun throughout his life, which led to their estrangement. It is only when his father is on his deathbed that his son begins to understand just how much reality is interwoven with fantasy.

Edward Bloom (played by Albert Finney as an old man and Ewan McGregor in his youth), was a traveling salesman in the South with a gift for gab who loved telling stories. And oh, the stories he could tell! They were populated with a witch, circus people, a werewolf, a giant, Siamese twins, beautiful ladies, heroes, and villains. Oh, and a huge catfish.

Bloom’s son Will (played by Billy Crudup) has always been frustrated by his father’s lies, and only when it looks like his days are numbered do they reunite. It is then that Will realizes that there might be some truth behind his father’s tall tales. He travels to Spectre to find out for himself. There he meets Jenny, his father’s first love, and she tells him about the wonderful things he did for the town. Later, the people from his many stories attend his father’s funeral and tell the young man what an influence he was on so many of their lives. The movie ends with Will passing on the legacy of his father’s stories to his own son. It’s one of those feel-good movies that will make you laugh and cry at the same time.

The film set for Spectre was built on Jackson Lake Island, a small private island on the Alabama River near Millbrook, Alabama and when filming was over the crew left the buildings as they were. The “town” is open to visitors for a small fee. Many of the buildings, which were shells erected for the movie, are in disrepair, but fans of the movie will easily recognize what each one is.

In the movie, the entrance to the town was between a pair of tall poles with a line strung between them where everyone threw their shoes, because everybody in Spectre was barefoot.

Even though there is nothing inside the empty walls, it’s fun to wander around the town’s single dirt street and peek into them. You almost expect Edward, Jenny, and other characters from the movie to pop out of one of the doors and said hello to you.

 

 

While we didn’t meet any actors in Spectre, we did get to know some of the many goats that live on the property. They are everywhere!

These triplet kids weren’t too sure about the two legged creatures admiring them, but they didn’t seem all that concerned. Our wonderful daughter-in-law, Geli, couldn’t resist giving this little one some love.

It looks like this would be a good place to put a kayak in the water and take a fishing pole with you. I wonder if I could catch the big fish from Will Bloom’s stories? It would sure be fun to try!

Spectre is just outside of Millbrook Alabama. Take Cobb’s Road/Alabama River Parkway 3½ miles east of Interstate 65 and turn left onto Cypress Lane. Stop at the gate and use the phone there to call and get the gate code. Entrance is $3 per person, and camping and fishing are also available on the island.

And speaking of goats, here are a couple of old goats walking hand in hand off into the sunset.

Congratulations George Rawley, winner of our drawing for an autographed copy of Terry’s cookbook, Miss Terry’s Kitchen. We had 161 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon!

Thought For The Day – Sometimes you have to stop thinking so much and just go where your heart takes you.

 

Jul 142019
 

While you might picture the wide open spaces out west when you think about wild horses, you really don’t have to venture any further than the Outer Banks of North Carolina to see some of these beautiful creatures living wild and free.

Shackleford Banks, an island located three miles from the mainland in Cape Lookout National Seashore, is home to about 100 wild horses that are the descendants of animals abandoned by the Spanish in the 1600s, and others that escaped shipwrecks in the treacherous waters along the coast.

Popular with tourists and beloved by the local people, the National Park Service, which administers the island, wants the horses to live as wild as possible, so no water or food is provided for them. The horses graze on natural grasses and get fresh water from small ponds and pools on the island.

The horses live in small harems, which are controlled by a mature alpha stallion, and in scattered bachelor bands of younger stallions that have not yet gathered their own harems.

As with all wild animals, interaction with human beings is harmful to the horses, and it is illegal for visitors to the island to feed or disturb them. One must keep in mind that though they may look like domesticated horses, they are still wild animals, and can be dangerous to people who get too close. The horses are capable of biting and kicking when they feel endangered. One must be careful not to get between a mare and her colt, or two stallions that are fighting.

With no natural predators on Shackleford Banks, to keep their population in balance, the National Park Service occasionally rounds up some members of the herd and offers them to the public for adoption. Because of their natural beauty and intelligence, the horses are very popular with their adoptive owners.

Access to Shackleford Banks is by private boat, or by several privately owned passenger ferries that operate from Beaufort and Harkers Island. There are no facilities on the island, but visitors can bring their own tents and provisions, and camp overnight for up to fourteen days.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an autographed copy of Terry’s cookbook, Miss Terry’s Kitchen. To enter, 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 – Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. – Benjamin Franklin

Jul 132019
 

I appreciate everybody who bought a copy of my new book, Big Lake Ninja, and told their family and friends about it. It’s off to a very good start. If I could ask one more favor of you, once you finish reading the book would you please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads? It really helps other readers choose books to add to their libraries.

To those who asked how my back pain is doing, thank you for your concern. I’ve seen a little bit of relief and was able to sleep through the night on Thursday. Well, except for the usual trips to the bathroom. Getting older is so much fun. But it does beat the heck out of the alternative!

In yesterday’s blog I said I would probably goof off for a day or two before starting my next book, Dead Romeos. Well, that idea didn’t last. As I have shared with you before, I have been mulling over the idea of writing a family saga, and when Miss Terry had a dream about a story like that a while back, it lit a fire in my brain and the series has been unfolding in my head ever since. So yesterday I wrote the first chapter, just to see what I thought about it. I liked it, but I’m prejudiced, so I showed it to Terry. And she liked it, too! I’m not sure when I’ll go forward with it because I have enough on my plate already, once a story gets to working in my head, I have to let it out sooner or later.

While I was doing that, Terry spent some time working on a project she’s weaving on one of her looms. She tells me it’s an intricate pattern that takes a lot of concentration, which is Terry-speak for “go away and leave me alone, I’m busy.” I think it’s going to look great once it’s done.

Later she stopped working on the weaving project and launched into something else she loves and is outstanding at, which is making dinner. In this case, it was shrimp and grits with peppered bacon bits, which were beyond delicious. Yes, I know, I’m a very lucky man.

Besides writing the first chapter of the family saga I mentioned above, I also finished formatting my authors newsletter and sent it out to my 1200 or so subscribers. This time around, I included a list of blogs by some of my author friends that I thought some of you might find interesting. If you haven’t subscribed to the newsletter yet, you can send me an email at editor@gypsyjournal.net and I’ll get you added to the mailing list. I only send the newsletter out a few times a year, to introduce new books and talk about the writing life, and I never share your information with anyone else.

In other news, the lady with the “Cherokee” husband has unfriended me on Facebook and canceled her subscription to the blog, not because of what I wrote about her quest to prove her husband’s Native American heritage, even though there’s nothing to support it, but rather because I doubted her word. I’m sorry, but if your grandparents immigrated from Germany and Ireland, you’re not a full-blooded Indian. I don’t make those rules, I just report them.

We are on the east coast of Florida and away from the bad weather in the Gulf, but we are still seeing a lot of rain, which is the typical pattern for Florida in the summertime. No problem, we’ve got plenty to keep us busy here at home. I imagine today will be more of the same, weaving and writing.

And in closing, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us. Thank you for this one, Jim Harper.

So far over 125 people have entered our Free Drawing for an autographed copy of Terry’s cookbook, Miss Terry’s Kitchen. To enter, 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 Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s Alive!

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 122019
 

Yesterday was a crazy busy day. Just as promised, Wednesday evening the final proofreader finished Big Lake Ninja and sent the manuscript back to me so I could start working on it yesterday morning.

Unfortunately, lately my back has been giving me a lot of problems again, so Wednesday night I could hardly sleep. No matter what position I got into, the pain just seemed to get worse. I had used my Tens unit and taken my nighttime medical marijuana oil, which usually helps a lot, but it didn’t make a dent in it. Before I went to bed Terry also rubbed some Volteran cream on my back, and I took a couple of pain reliever p.m. tablets. None of them did any good. It was so bad that I was tempted to get up and take one of the hydrocodone pills from the VA, but I really don’t like them and have not used them in a long time. And with everything else I had taken, I didn’t think it was a good idea.

By the time the alarm went off yesterday morning, I think I may have gotten somewhere around two hours sleep, most of it broken up into 15 minute intervals. Our insurance company required a new inspection of our roof, since our home is over 20 years old. Even the agent said that’s kind of stupid, since it’s a metal roof, but you have to keep the bean counters happy. The inspector was supposed to be here at 11 AM, but my back was hurting so bad that I needed to go to the chiropractor’s, so Terry stayed home to wait for him. It was a good thing she did, because he actually arrived at 10:30. He jumped through the hoops the insurance company requires and said we’re good for another five years or so before they will want us to do it all over again.

Once he left, I got to work on making the last changes to the manuscript, and worked pretty steadily on it until somewhere around 5:30 or 6 PM, when Miss Terry had dinner ready. After I ate, I uploaded the file and went over the online preview that Amazon shows, and at 7:30 I hit publish. It can take anywhere from three hours to three days for a book to go live, although in my experience it’s only taken more than 24 hours once, and usually it’s a lot less.

In this case it took 90 minutes and Big Lake Ninja is now available on Amazon. It is my sixteenth Big Lake book and my 36th book in all. I would appreciate any shares or plugs any of you would care to do. It will be a few weeks before the print edition comes out, but I will let you know when it does.

I’ll probably goof off for a day or two, catching up on email and things like that, and maybe piddling around with my family tree on Ancestry. But then I’ll be back to work again, starting on my next John Lee Quarrels book, Dead Romeos.

So far over 90 people have entered our Free Drawing for an autographed copy of Terry’s cookbook, Miss Terry’s Kitchen. To enter, 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 – Sometimes late at night I dig a hole in the backyard just to keep the nosy neighbors guessing.

Jul 112019
 

I love hearing from blog readers, and in an average week I will get well over 100 personal emails. Many of those emails have questions about RVing or other things I’ve written about, and I’m always happy to answer to the best of my ability. If I don’t know the answer, I try to refer them to somebody who can help them. But occasionally I get an email and I have to ask myself, “Really? They had to ask me that?” I’m no rocket scientist by any means, and most days I’m just striving for mediocrity, but sometimes I do have to worry about my fellow man. Here are some examples of recent emails or text messages I have received.

 

The other day, a woman contacted me wanting to know how they could get their money back from their Thousand Trails membership. She said they bought it a year ago and have not used it yet and probably won’t because they decided RVing really isn’t their thing. She contacted Thousand Trails, wanting a refund on their purchase price plus the year’s dues that they paid, and they refused. She can’t understand that because if you buy something at a store and never use it, you can return it for a full refund. Sorry, dear, it doesn’t work that way. And it’s not just with campground memberships. Buy a new car, park it in your driveway and don’t use it for a year and see if the dealership you purchased it from will give you a full refund.

Another email was from somebody who is into genealogy and wants to prove her husband is a full-blooded Cherokee Indian so he can be put on the tribal roles. But she said they couldn’t find any documentation to support the claim. She said a DNA test did not reveal any Native American connection. I asked if his parents or grandparents had anything that showed their Cherokee bloodline, and she responded that no, the paternal grandparents had immigrated from Germany and that her husband’s father had married an Irish girl from Philadelphia. I replied that given that information, he’s not a Cherokee. She was quick to shoot back a response that said yes, he is. He’s full-blooded Cherokee. He’s got black hair, high cheekbones,  and an “Indian nose.” She said she didn’t need me to argue with her, she was getting enough of that already. She just needed me to tell her how to go about proving it. How do you answer a question like that? I chose silence.

The same day, someone texted me saying he was going down the highway when his motorhome seemed to lose power and a dashboard light came on that said Stop Engine, along with a loud buzzer or alarm. He said he pulled off the road and shut the engine off, then walked to the back to see if he could find a problem. Nothing seemed wrong, so he had his wife start the RV up again, and after a few seconds they got the same alarm sound and the same warning light. He said he was standing at the back of the rig with the engine compartment doors open and something didn’t sound quite right, but admitted he’s no mechanic. He had his wife shut the engine off again, buckled everything up, waited a few minutes and started the engine and it took about two minutes for the alarm and light to come on again. He said the last time he had to call road service it took them three hours to get there, so he decided since they are only 50 miles from home he would continue on and deal with it when he got there. About three miles later there was a loud sound from the rear of the coach and the engine seized up. He said he managed to get it off onto the shoulder and went to the back where there was oil sprayed everywhere. He asked me what I thought he should do. Well, gee. My immediate thought was that I would have called a mechanic or a tow truck the first time I got the message.

 

And finally, a while back someone contacted me about a travel trailer he was looking at and he said there were big bubbles in the gelcoat on the sides that you could push in several inches. According to him, the salesman said that what he thought were bubbles in the gelcoat were actually put there intentionally at the factory to allow it to expand and contract in different temperature extremes. My advice then was to run away and don’t look back. He didn’t take that advice because the salesman goes to the same church and is a “good guy” and purchased the trailer because the salesman assured him it was a “great deal.” When he showed it to a friend who has been an RVer for years, he told him it was delaminating badly.  Now he wants to know what he can do to get his money back. As the old TV commercials used to say, “Sorry, Charlie.” You got burned.

It’s Thursday and time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of Terry’s cookbook, Miss Terry’s Kitchen. To enter, 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 bonds of matrimony are only a good investment when the interest is kept up.