Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cool night!

Well, it has cooled down a bit here and we are quite glad for that little temp drop. Made a run to Wal-Mart go pick up some salad things. Found some 'fresh' corn on the cob and picked up that so I can grill it. Will take a look at doing that Sunday if it doesn't get too hot.

I did show one of my co-workers the Wilson signal booster that I use for my cell phone and my data card. AT&T has very weak coverage at the RV park and this really helps with that. We took the measurements of the data card. Off the booster the data signal is -107 to -101. On the booster it is -75. That is pretty good and makes the connection fantastic. The cell phone goes from 1 bar (and sometimes none) and soars to the top. So I am happy with it. He will research what he can get for his mac. Back of my mind says they didn't have one for the mac, but that might have been something else.

Okay, will have a SF popsicle and call it a night.

Saturday Hot, Hot, Hot end of July

Here we are on a Saturday. Just sweltering in a giant kettle. On the back of my rig it says it is now 118*. Was 120 a bit a go. Need to move that before it breaks. Had a couple of ladies over for lunch today. We had a great time. Visiting with co-workers is fun part of the job. We are all here for different reasons. Some will come back and some won't. Have spent the afternoon writing and doing some computer updates.

Later found out the schedule had changed and I had dish duty that I missed. Oh, well. Will be on time for dinner dishes at 6 p.m.

There is a greater flamingo resting at night at Lake Livingston and I need to find that spot so I can try to get this bird in my binocs. They are such neat birds and this one has been here before. I think they said this is the 3rd year for it coming here. It has been farther south on the coast. I'd like to make a trip down to the White park for some birding too. Then at Woodville there is supposed to be a board walk with birds. That is possible too.

Got a site for a live cam in South Africa called Pete's Pond. It was really neat. Would like to get a dawn sighting on it. Maybe later this p.m. as there is 5 hours difference in time.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge Monday

Made a trip to Anahuac today with a new friend, Shirley. We had a great time. Not much in the way of birds but what we had was pretty great. We watched a Reddish Egret do his 'canopy' fishing and that was really a neat display. I had hoped for a Bittern but got neither one of them. BUT, a Wood Stork flew in. I couldn't believe it. Hopefully the picture will turn out nice. Will try to get it up tomorrow or Wednesday. We saw baby Barn Swallows, Grackles, and some neat Common Nighthawks flying around and one landed on a limb but photo wasn't in the works. RWBB (red-winged black birds) were all over as were Cattle Egrets.

On the way home, we saw a really neat new item. Rice farmers were out havesting the rice. It is harvested much like wheat. We stopped and watched them for a few minutes and Shirley walked over and pulled up some stalks for us. What a neat souvenir.

We came back to work to a new schedule and looks like I am up for 52 hours. Wrote a note to the boss man asking him what his fix was. I signed on 24 hours a week. I may well get my tail kicked out soon. Won't be the first time. But if I am going to put in those hours, I will get me a paying job. But, that isn't going to happen. I retired because I didn't want to work a bunch of hours with lots of responsibility and pressure. May have to do that again.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wow Sunday

Just finished, nearly, a week of work. Did complete my first 24 hour on call session. That is quite grueling. Not that the work is difficult, but it is that the responsibility is tremendous and there is no staff person on call for decision making. You make it on the fly.

The management team is operating in a bit of a fog. It's like they just 'give it to a volunteer' kind of attitude. This week will be over 50 hours of "being available and or working". If and that is a big IF I make it thru August, I certainly won't make the mistake of coming back to volunteer, unless the hours are more manageable. I was not prepared for this uncaring attitude for the worker bees.

The program is a superb program. The management of it, Top Down, is one of the worst that I have experienced. I have seen some doozy's but this is in the top 3 of poorly managed.

The best managed program I have volunteered with was a Mentally Retarded organization in Oklahoma City. That organization has grown tremendously, and though I know some of the folks that were on the board with me, I am not sure who was responsible for the overwhelming growth. But it is fantastic.

Okay enough whining...need to get ready for a trip to Galveston Island on Monday.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday 7/22 and a trip to Houston

Made a trip down to a hospital in Houston today. Took quite a while to get there. We left around 10 a.m. and got down there and dropped off Mary Ann and pulled out of the hosptial parking lot around 12:45. We drove about 8 or 10 miles and decided to have lunch before heading on for Galveston. We finished eating about 1:45 and it was pouring rain. We decided that it would not be a good idea to go to Galveston because we would then be really late getting back to Livingston. So we turned around and went back to pick up Mary Ann and head out to the House.

We made it back here about 4:15. So we have decided to try Galveston on Monday by way of the east road and across the Ferry. We can then decide if we want to come back using US59 or IH45 or the east road. Will try to make a stop at Anahuac for one of the ladies to pick up a T-shirt with butterflies on it. I think I'll check tomorrow and see if they have any in stock and see if they will be open Monday.

The rain in Houston cooled it down there, but it was still hot here and no rain.

Okay, get the shoes out and start the rain dance.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tempest Tuesday

Well it is certainly nice and cool here today. Temps around 11 a.m. is 75*. Can't beat that for July in East Texas. I have driver duty all day today. That means I need to be available to drive anyone anywhere. First drive was to have been to Kingwood, but it got cancelled yesterday. So I have an appointment for a couple and left at 1:30 and got back at 4:30. Then a resident fell, paramedics called, came and took him to the ER. As driver, I took his wife. Yep broken hip/leg. Really too bad and he doesn't know what happened. One minute standing up and the next laying down. Tomorrow will get the 7 to 2 driver job.

While out driving I ran across Catfish King....woohoo. I love fried catfish and I intend to partake of that soon.

I have gotten my whirlybird Blue Jay, the wrought iron pink painted flamingo, the drink in hand flamingo, the whirly painted bunting, and the gambel's quail all out surrounding the rig. The solar hummingbird is showing it's colors most all night and the lighthouse is lighting up too.

I do need to cover the tires with the white covers....just haven't gotten to it yet. Looks like I'll need to get the grass cut by the door too. Rain has made it grow quite well.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday afternoon rain

Well today was my day off. I went to the Post Office and mailed a couple of items. Moseyed around town and found WalMart. Had lunch at a Cajun restaurant - quite good. Went to Lowes and got a couple of items for storing the nut drivers and various pieces of hardware that goes with that. Then when I got home I fixed them up and put them in the holder.

Came in to fix dinner and it started thundering and wind blowing pretty good. I went out and put the awning in - that was fun. Was going to fix a big salad and some ramen soup. But just ended up with big salad and threw in a piece of garlic toast. Finished with that and ready to do dishes.

Will email Mtngal and let her know the banner is on it's way to her for the Oregon GTG in August. Dang! cost $10 to send it...oh well, that's the way it goes.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Explaining Where I Am

I decided earlier in the year, that if it was possible I would volunteer some time at the Care Center in Livingston, TX. This is a Center for RVer's and other individuals who are unable to care totally for themselves for either a short or extended time. The ability to not care has some parameters, but overall the individual either has to be able to care for themselves between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. or have a caretake with them during those hours. The Care Center provides three meals a day 7 days a week. The individuals who help the professionals, cooks, nurses, administrators, are all volunteers. I am scheduled for 24 hours a week.

Volunteers drive clients to doctor appointments, shopping, to pick up meds, serve meals, make some meals, wash dishes, sweep floors, clean tables and chairs. In return, we not only get our full hookups (we get to pay our electric), we meet some of the neatest people imaginable. As I move along in this experience, I'll tell you about some of these gentle, loving, people. Well, yes, there are a couple of folks that are on the 'bad' side of dementia, but it isn't really who they spent their lives being - it's just their current spot in life.

I am volunteering to help, in what ever capacity that they need, until the end of August. I may be able to assist a week into September, but that depends on if they need me and whether my plans that were started earlier this year gel.

Comment with any questions that you might have about this place and what I am doing.


Started this morning by putting out the awning; hooked up the propane tank; went for coffee; attended Volunteers Staff Meeting. (Thought I was through with "Meetings".

Decided to hook up the cell booster to see if I could get a better signal for my data card. Seems to be working. Having problems publishing post from compose window. Looks like a problem with the Java Script. Guess I will try to save as a draft and post from there. It allowed posting earlier, but I couldn't edit and post. Oh, well....
Need to make a trip to Lowes and get some stuff and then tool around town so I don't get lost. Forgot to take Geraldine when I went yesterday, so I was careful where I went. Off to work the Java problem.

Success fixed the problem and can now publish. Off to do something constructive.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday at the Care Center - Day 1

Had the alarm set for 5:40 so I could take my pills, brush my teeth, put on my shorts/t-shirt and get a cap. Then off to meet Shirley at the side door to go around and open all the doors to get ready for breakfast. She and I had morning duty, too. In addition, we had 4:30 kitchen duty this evening. I had orientation scheduled for 9:30 and after that was completed I went for groceries. Found a frozen box of Shrimp Etoufee and got that for lunch. It was just okay, probably wouldn’t buy it again. But got some apples and a couple of Bertolli dinners plus some sweet potatoes. Put the awning out on the rig and put the de-flappers on each end. Took a nap before I went back to work.

Played Mexican Train this evening with a four residents and Shirley C., Shirley E., and Sara. It was fun. We played two games before I left and I won both. Beginners luck.

Came back to the rig and did some catch up work. Kept hearing the awning flap, so even though it was de-flappered, I went out and put it up. Most folks have their’s up, but then they have them ‘grounded’. I didn’t have the energy to do that yet. May try for Thursday or Friday.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday - Schertz to Livingston

Wow it has been a really hot week following me around. I had a very pleasant drive over to Livingston from Schertz. Very small breeze most of the way. Got pretty warm about Onalaska which is about 30 miles from Huntsville. I had planned to stay at Huntsville State Park but decided since I was this close, it just made sense to drive on in and not wait until the following morning. However, it was really hot when I arrived at about 1:45 p.m. I was shown to my site and then I unhooked my toad from the rig and started the hookup process. When I got the power hooked up and started working with the water, I noticed that the outside thermometer was ready 114*. Needless to say, by the time I completed the hooking up I was soaked in sweat and totally bushed!

The Volunteer Coordinator, Bill, came by and gave me forms to complete and asked that I come to the dining room to meet the folks at 4:30. I showered and found that though the level says I am level and the athroom door is doing fine, the shower pan says I am about ¼ off level. I’ll need to fix that sooner or later. So at 4:30 I met George, Ken, Sara and Shirley. I am to shadow Shirley for a few days and then I’ll be at it on my own.

Started shadowing Shirley by helping to clean the dining area. Vinegar water with rag for table top and another rag for the chairs. Then, get out the vacuum cleaners and get everything up off the floors. Shirley invited me over to her rig for conversation and a glass of wine. Shirley and I met at 8:45 to close up the building and made arrangements for the building opening at 6:30 in the morning.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday on my way to TX RV Supply

Called TX RV Supply and they told me to come on it and they’d look at the propane tank. So I parked the car and got ready to drive down there. I stopped by the office and told them I might need to stay 1 more night but I’d not know until the work was done on the rig.

The propane leak was apparently two-fold. Propane expanded from the heat and the pop off valve didn’t pop off. They looked at the unit and ended up removing the hose and using the plug at the site. So that is what I must do in the future. The cost was not bad.

It was nearly 11:30 when they completed. I decided to spend the night and then get up early, hookup and drive on Tuesday. Figured I would spend the night at Huntsville State Park.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday at Schertz

Picked up things out of storage and got things pretty well ready to leave on Monday. Decided if I could be on the road by 9:30 or 10:00 that after I hooked up the toad, I’d drive to Bastrop State Park and spend the night. That would be about 80 miles and then I’d have about 180 miles the next day to get to Livingston. Broke down the rig and then played some more on the computer.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saturday - pick up vacationeers

Went over and left my car at Ron and T’s and picked up the jeep. Headed out to the airport, forgot my water, So I stopped at a gas station and got water for all 3 of us. I was about 10 minutes early, so I stayed in the cell phone call lot in the car waiting for the call. When I drove in for the pickup I ended up in the wrong lane and had to go around. Got them on the 2nd pass. Ron was glad to be off the plane and nearly home. I think T was wishing she didn’t have to think about W O R K in two days time. I left them at home and drove back to the campground. About 7:30 two young men knocked on the door saying my propane was leaking and they turned it off. So I was without the stove for a bit. I decided to call ( Monday morning) TX RV Supply and wait to see if they could see me.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The New Toy - small one

While I enjoyed myself attending the Fleetwood National Motorhome Rally in Shawnee, OK, I attended some interesting seminars. One that I attended was on getting the most out of your cell phone and data card. Boosting the signals. This was presented by Durand. His products were mostly Wilson. They have been around for quite awhile. So I went ahead bit the bullet and purchased the "Universal Booster" and the accessories to hook it up both using 12 volt and 110. So I am trying it out today using the 110. I am at my brothers and the signal for AT&T here for data and cell is pretty awful. Maybe 1 bar for cell and -95 or -101 for the data card. I am here to tell you that with my setup currently I have the data card touching the booster and I am getting a consistent -71 and it is running fast. The cell on the other hand is running all the bars (5) if I touch the booster and 4 if it is laying beside it 3-4" away. That is using the antenna as a magnetic mount on the metal railing around the steps on the back of the house. I haven't tried using the suction cups and mag mount on the window. I'll try that at the rig tonight.

So today, I got up early and ran the carpet cleaner on the bedroom floor and the dining and living room floors :). Left the two fans running and came over to do the house duty things at my brother and sister-in-laws. The day before yesterday when I came by, in checking all the rooms, I walked into the pantry/laundry room and smelled an awful smell. I thought it was either a rotten batch of potatoes, or a dead mouse. So today it was still smelling. Ii walked out into the back yard and it was there too. So I thought maybe a squirrel got in the attic and died near one of the soffitts. While feeding the birds and watering the plans in the back, I noticed it was a really strong guessed it. Dead squirrel in the back yard. So I managed to dispose of it and now the smell is just barely. Will be gone in a bit.

The "b" on my keyoard is acting up. So I think I need to do the upside down shaking to see what I have dropped into it. Tomorrow, I'll make another trip over here and do the Birthday thing for them. They will enjoy it, I am sure.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day Trip to Gonazles - July 2, '11

I had arranged to pick Colleen up and 10ish for a trip out to Gonzales. She called me at 7:45 and said she was up and at 'em if I wanted to go early. So I picked her up at 8:40 and we took off. We drove down Hwy 78 to Hwy 46 and then took Hwy 90 thru the old down town part of Seguin and about thru town we turned on Kings Rd and went to pick up ALT Hwy90. The park was about 35 miles east of Seguin and 12-15 west of Gonzales. After looking at the park, we drove on to Gonzales and made a pass thru the bypass area, came back and then decided to 'lunch' at Mr. Taco. It had to be either quite good, or lots of cheap food. Cars said good. It was good.

After lunch we drove toward downtown and stopped at a cemetrary (I know that is spelled wrong but I am not going to look it up!). It really warmed up while we were walking around and we decided to call it a day and go home.

On the way home we stopped at a roadside stand and got some peaches, tomatoes and cucumbers. A little farther down the road we saw another roadside stand and stopped for cantaloupe. Speaking of which I need to get it cut and ready to eat.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Back home again

Colleen came over and picked me up and we went to Denny's for breakfast. We talked a lot, but really enjoyed both the talking and food. After breakfast we went to the airport parking so I could pick up my sister-in-law's jeep. Then we went by Barnes and Noble and sit and talked until about 2:30. Realized it was time to eat. We went to La Madeline's just across the parking lot. Since we were in the middle of the afternoon, our food was not the top notch that it normally is. The quiche was a little dried out, but with the soup it was quite eatable. After eating, I drove the jeep home and Colleen picked me up and we went back to the CG. Made plans for a day trip to check out an RV park east of here.

Should be a fun day tomorrow.