Thursday, March 31, 2016

In The Dark

Kim contacted my Mom about their planned Wednesday move to see how we could help if at all.  She found out that they were already moved.  The movers had completed the packing sooner than anticipated and moved them a full day early.  They even spent the night in the new location.  Did they bother to let us know?  No, I assume it was more of my Mom's rationalization about bothering us.  SMH.

Mom did ask Kim to come over Wednesday and 'direct traffic' for the remainder of the thousands of boxes that will be unpacked.  I will head over to the leather supply store and then the grocers and pet food store.  Since the weather is soggy I will start on the getting all the leather projects prepped.

Happy Trails

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Road Trip

We headed out Monday morning to take a ride into the Texas Hill Country, see a few wildflowers and eat some lunch.  We were making a quick errand to the bank along the way.  As we pull into the bank Kim gets a call.  It wasn't sounding really good from my end.  One of the resorts was calling to inquire where she was and when would she get there.  Uh oh.  They had her on the schedule for Monday and Tuesday.  She thought that her Spring Break time was over last Saturday.  The resort had several guests asking about her.  She offered to come in since we weren't very far from home but it would be at least an hour before she could get there.  They declined but they agreed for her to come in on Tuesday.  Kim was totally unaware of this scheduling.  She readily admits it may have been her fault since she was so focused on the 'two weeks' of Spring Break.  So much for a week to catch up and relax after the previous grueling weeks.

She was chagrined at this miscommunication.  This particular resort treats her better than the other and she really likes the people she deals with.  She does not want them disappointed.  

We continued on with our plans for the day.  It seems there were quite a few others that had the same plans.  Makes it really tough to get the photos you want with all the oblivious folks in your way.  Don't they gave jobs to go to?  

See what I mean?

The weather here has been pretty spectacular.  It was perfect Monday.  Cool, about 70 for a high and not a cloud in the sky.  It couldn't have been any better for our road trip.  Then Tuesday turned off soggy/damp.  Not raining just foggy /mist.  Put a 'damper' (sorry I couldn't resist the pun) my plans for yard work.  

The weed eater needed some repairs and had been in the shop.  It's now ready to go and fight the never ending battle.  Plus the oak leaves and tassels really need to get cleared out.  Guess it will have to wait til nicer weather.  That allows me to start on the leather orders I have and another trip into the maelstrom of traffic in that city to the South of me. 

Happy Trails

Monday, March 28, 2016

A Long Two Weeks

Spring Break is finally over.  It was the busiest time for Kim that she has had in some time.  She worked almost every day at one or both resorts where she plies her crafts for the guests.  Successful, yet very wearing on the mind and body.  Glad its over. 

Things in general got put on hold until we were through this.  We weren't even able to make any plans for any sort of Easter fun with the kids or other family.  So we didn't do anything except the usual Sunday church attendance.  We almost always also take one or several day trips around the area to see the explosion of wildflowers.  If  you haven't been to this part of Texas, that is a big deal here.  You will see families pulled over on the side of the road taking various types of posed photos in a large patch of Bluebonnets, the State Flower.   

 Can you see the Lone Star in the one above?

We will head out sometime this week and try to get our own photos.

I have several orders for leather items, a couple phone cases.  I will need to make another trip over to the leather supply house.  Cha-ching.  We also have a pending plan to meet the Grand-kids at the zoo in town.  We have a pretty good zoo.  It's been quite a few years since I've been and they have made some really cool additions.  There are two exhibits I'm curious about.  There are two large enclosures that you can actually go into.  One houses birds that will land on you hoping to get a freebie and a similar one of butterflies.  Do I have to hand in my Man Card?  I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday is the day my parents move out of their 'facility/apartment' back over to the side of town they were from.  I am NOT looking forward to this.  No, there will be no need for my help again.  They are having the entire thing hired out, a good thing for all our sanity.  The move in general and why it came about, not so much.  Actually very irritated about it.  Especially now that they are having some second thoughts.  Kim and I have avoided talking about it.  That is until last night on the way home from church.  We both vented our feelings a frustrations to each other.  I could write a book about how I feel and why.  I'll spare you.  You're welcome.

Looking forward to a fun week, if I can keep thoughts about the folks move at bay.  Yeah, I can.

Happy Trails

Friday, March 25, 2016


A few of the small things Kim wanted made.  Leather cuffs that go along with her jewelry making.

Have gotten a couple orders for cell phone cases.  Smart phones.  I almost always make these from kits since I can't get the phones for sizing them for a custom fit.  Kits kill most of my profit.  I don't make many of these and there are so many different phones and sizes I don't seem to have a pattern for the one that the customer has asked for.  It wouldn't be cost beneficial to purchase every kit available to have a ready pattern on hand for every incarnation of a cell/smart phone.  

I rarely if ever get a second request/order for the patterns I do have.  So unless the phone will fit a current pattern I have on hand I resort to a kit.  The trade off is I get them done quicker as I don't have to measure and cut leather, unless I screw up LOL.  It has happened and will again.

We just went to the leather shop last week.  Another trip will be need to be made sooner than we had anticipated.  Kim has been so busy with the crafts at the resort she hasn't even taken the usual items to sell, i.e her jewelry and my leather.  Hard to justify another trip to the leather store when nothing is selling.  The last wallets I made haven't even seen the light of day.  She promised to try and sell some the rest of this week.  Hope she does well either way, but I ain't earning my keep if my leather doesn't sell.  It could be worse.

Happy Trails

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Too Busy

To think about something worthy to post.  Nothing serious just a lot of little things I am trying to get done.  A few small leather items for Kim are the main occupier.

My thoughts are too disjointed to comment about the recent election crap or the terrorism in Belgium.  They deserve more than I can give.  Kim heads back to the resorts Thursday after a couple much needed days off.  Just grinding away.

Happy Trails

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Kicking Myself

I became interested in an out of print book.  This one was written by Col. Harold Simpson.  He was 'the' authority of Hood's Texas Brigade.  Hill Junior College even named their Confederate Research Center after him.  This book has been out of print for decades.  'Hood's Texas Brigade Lee's Grenadier Guard' is one of if not the go to book on Hood's Texas Brigade.  

I found several on the www for varying prices from 85-110$ most being paperback.  I have never bought a book for that kinda price.

I got the bright idea to look on ebay.  Found 3 or 4.  For almost the exact same pricing I found on Amazon.  There was one exception, a hardback 1970 version that was signed by the author.  59$ is what they were asking.  It was a 'BUY NOW'  type of sale that had no bidding.  I mulled it over and just couldn't pull the trigger, sixty bucks for a book was too out of my price range.

I got to thinking about it more and more and finally decided to go ahead and get it.  It had been about 3 days since I found it.  Guess what?  Yup, it sold already.  Yup, shoulda done it.  Not likely to see something like that again.

Happy Trails

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Got nothing

Had a post ready to go.  Read it to check for errors and just thought it sounded like I was whining.  It wasn't meant to be that way just sounded like it could be.  Not what I want to sound like at all and surely you don't want to read that either.  So I got nothing.

Happy Trails

Friday, March 18, 2016

Not Too Bad

Kim has been hitting it pretty hard with her business.  She is so focused on doing as well as she can during this Spring Break.  She loses track sometimes she gets so intent on the task at hand.  That leaves me to be the chief cook and bottle washer.  Not a big deal, I just need to figure out what to cook and when.  I really don't do any bottle washing. 

I found a couple racks of baby back ribs in the freezer.  We had bought them a while back to have on hand for a family in need or a special occasion.  They had been in there for a while and I figgered it was time to get them on the grill.  Plus, two racks would last the two of us a couple days and relieve the cook from some duties.  See what I did there?

I get the ribs rubbed down and the pit started.  Kim heads out the door about the same time.  When the pit got good and smoky the ribs were added.  About an hour into the smoking my phone rings and I notice it was Kim.  It would either be a question about my leather for a customer or something I don't really want to guess about.  It is usually not good.

She asks me to go look for a box that she is supposed to have with her and can't find it.  She is very specific as to where this box would be.  It ain't there.  I can hear the frustration in her voice as she could in mine.  I reminded her I had meat on the grill and didn't have time for this.  'This' being a trip over to the resort to bring her the missing items.  It normally wouldn't be a big deal but she was at the resort that is at least a 45 minute drive to get to, if the traffic was good-and it never is.  As I'm talking to her I see the box she is wanting but she says that's OK I'll just do without.  This is part of her biggest money maker.  So I tell her I am bringing them and be ready to come out and get them as I drive in.  Stoked the fire a little more than usual, hoping it would be good until I got back. 

Round trip of almost 2 hours and the pit is still reasonably warm.  The drive over was long enough for to me to cool off and be pleasant when I dropped off.  There has to be a joke in there somewhere but it escapes me at the moment.  This wasn't the first time this has happened, or even the third, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

The ribs?  They turned out pretty good after all.  And I am still breathing and unbruised.

Happy Trails.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

So Far

Kim has done pretty well over at the resort this far.  There are plenty of folks there that want to partake of the crafts she has for the kiddos.  She has been so busy with the crafts she hasn't even had time to set up and sell our pre-made items, her jewelry and my leather.  Those are where she make most of her money.  Being busy is great, she usually makes it home worn out, but this time around she isn't as tired.  Even with help she brings with her they are too busy to sell the extras.  It's win for her and we are thankful for this success.  Maybe we can pay our taxes on time LOL.

We are taking a big hit on the taxes this year.  The bill was almost double last year with the income being almost identical.  Then Kim noticed that some of her expenses weren't getting reported and may never have been.  For some reason Quick Books wouldn't let those extra expenses show up even though they were entered correctly.  Consequently the CPA didn't catch them since they weren't showing up in the QB file we gave him.  Just a quick comment about her expenses created a second look at the issue.  Once that was corrected the tax liability was much less.  Now we need to see if we can submit amended returns for the previous years.  But we aren't entirely sure those same expenses weren't reported.  Since our income hasn't changed much over that time frame and the tax bill was almost the same, I am guessing they were reported previously.  Just some glitch in the software it appears.  We will wait on that conversation until after the deadline of 4/15 and our current bill is paid.  

Pretty sad that we are paying more in taxes but making much less income when we were both employed full time.  This self employed deal is a two edged sword.  It seems designed to keep a business from being successful.  It just sucks.

Happy Trails

Monday, March 14, 2016

Spring Break

Plans for Spring break?  This is a big season for Kim's business.  She will be at one or both resorts almost everyday offering crafts for the kids on break.  It started for her this past Saturday.  She will be focused on that even on the two days off she will have during that time.  She uses the off days to resupply and make more things for sale etc.  She will be worn out.

I try to help her where I can, which really isn't much.  I did make a few small leather goods she wanted to have ready to sell.  But for the most part I will be left to my own devices.  I will have plenty to do, that isn't a problem.  The problem is actually doing those things.  Hey, I'm retired and I'm easily distracted from the unpleasant tasks.  There will most likely be yard work.  More to do there than I really want.  Motivation for that is my biggest issue.  

I really want to get out and do some short day trips, see the wild flowers.  That will have to wait until these two weeks are over though.  It's still a little early for the wildflowers, the peak should hit in about 2 weeks.  Then my parents are moving at the end of the month.  Although they are hiring even the packing done this time, I'm sure there will be a need for us to do something.  It seems there is always something getting in the way of having fun.  

Happy Trails

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Friday, March 11, 2016

2016 Garden

Last years garden was a huge success as far as I'm concerned.  So much so that the tomato plants I had took over the entire 4x8 patch.  The tomato cages I used were just not up to the task.  They are much flimsier than previous versions I have had and disposed of.  Yes, chucked about a dozen of them out years ago when I thought I would not try another garden due to the poor soil here.

I doubled the size of the garden for this year.  I also needed to upgrade the tomato cages.  My garden guru clued me in to some other cages that he uses.  I ordered a half dozen of them.  I don't want the mess I had with them last year.  I want them more contained and less likely to take over every inch.  I am growing a few other things this time than last.  Added two types of peppers, bell and jalapeno since those are what we use the most.   
These are taller, 6' and much sturdier.  They won't bend like the others did.

This is the box they came in, it was a real struggle hauling that thing to the back yard when it arrived

This is one ready to go.  The older one is there also.

Plants ready to go in the ground once the rains stops,

Yeah, the cages were very expensive.  No the garden production won't offset the cost.  It won't even off set the cost of last years garden.  We don't eat enough of the things we grow to ever make any difference.  I do it because the flavor of fresh veggies is so much better and it keeps me out of trouble by keeping me busy.  Well sometimes anyway.  It is also good for conversation, with other gardeners and with those you bless with your over production.  I really like that part, giving to others and seeing them smile.

Happy Trails

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Trip to the Post Office

First off, I don't regularly go to the Post Office.  So I am not real familiar with how things work inside.  In fact I had never been inside this one.  Everyone I have been to has been a little different in how they operate.  Kim is the one that usually has things to ship so she handles it.

We got a notice on our door about a parcel that they tried to deliver but it needed a signature and left a slip on our door.  We had gone into town and were actually near the Post Office.  We weren't really expecting a package and weren't sure what it was.  I had placed an order earlier in the week but they had told me they would send notification of shipment and a tracking number, which I had not gotten yet.  I suspected they had not sent it and this was the package.  This slip said to pick up my package at our post office.  It had an option for redeliver and you could go online to enter your info and get it the next day.  IF you can read the tracking number. 

This location Kim had talked bad about before so I was already expecting the worst.  Inside it was fairly simple.  4 windows with a counter in the center that everyone lined up at to wait service.  There are about 10 folks in line.  I have been in line a few minutes and I notice another window in another part of the building with a sign 'QUICK SERVICE WINDOW' with another smaller sign 'PICK UP MAIL HERE.'   Does that include me?  I see about 4 people in line there and they all had packages and mail, not looking like they were picking up.  None of them had a pick up notice like I had.  Hmmm.  Maybe they are waiting access to the PO boxes since they are right next to that window. 

I continue in the line I am in and finally with just two folks in front of me and the guy behind the window notices the slip I am holding and tells me that parcel pick up is in the "QUICK SERVICE LINE,'  He could only do retail and wouldn't help me. 

Great, I get put at the back of that line that hasn't moved in 20 minutes with 5 people in line.  I loudly voice my displeasure and how appropriate signs would help.  He just smiled.  Quick service my @$$.  They really seem to have issues finding your mail/packages at that 'QUICK' window.  

Finally got my package, along with the bonus of almost getting to see a 'cat fight' between two ladies at the same window.  Evidently the lady in front was taking too long for the one behind her and voiced her opinion.  The one in front responded in a not too friendly manner telling her rather sternly to BACK OFF.  Nope, no cat fight.  Might have made the trip more pleasant.

Happy Trails

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Cutting Kim's Hair

I was sitting in my office minding my own business, probably reading blogs, when the wife strolls in.  She tells me she needs me to cut her hair.  WHAT??!!!??!  All the alarm bells, sirens and warnings are going off.  "Are you serious?"  I asked in disbelief.  "Yes, I will show you where.  I just need a straight line cut around my shoulders."  I still can't believe what I am hearing and proceed to follow her completely stunned.  I asked her why she didn't just go get it cut by a pro.  Her response was she didn't want to spend the 50 some odd dollars on it.  But, But, about all I could muster.  I'm all for saving a few bucks but this just seemed insane.

She shows me where it should be cut and assures me it would be alright.  If it was uneven she was going to roll it anyway so it wouldn't show.  Her hair was wet so it made it a bit easier to cut and see what is going. 

Well, I cut it.  Didn't take long and she seemed OK with it.  She touched up things as I got out of the way. 

Later I see her and her hair is now dry and it is much much shorter than what I thought she wanted.  I guess I cut about 6 inches off and it was now just above her shoulder more than I (or she) expected.  The drier hair is shorter than when it is wet.  She also said that it was a little higher on one side than the other.  I didn't get it exactly straight.  She had to cut more to get it even.

Wonder of wonders she was not at all mad or upset.  It actually looked OK.  Not my favorite style now but it will grow back.

I won't be going into the barber business that's for sure.  Give me an expensive piece of leather to cut and I ain't as nervous.

Happy Trails.

Thursday, March 3, 2016


GAH!  I wish I could afford to move where there aren't any people sometimes.  All in all my neighbors aren't so bad.  I have three houses that border my place.  Each of them at one time or another have been a nuisance.  

The worst was the constantly barking dogs.  That has been corrected to an extent that it is tolerable.  Another has a pool and hot tub that attracts crowds at times.  Not so bad, except they like for me to enjoy their crappy choice of music along with parking almost blocking my driveway.   The crowds don't happen very often, but the music is several times a week.  They play it loudly enough OUTSIDE that I can hear the words clearly, sometimes inside.  Remember, I need hearing aids.  Then they will disappear back into their house leaving the music going.  

Then there is the other neighbor.  They are about ten years older than us at least, so we don't see or hear from them, ever.  They don't even do any yard work, hiring all of it out.  That leads to this.

I don't know what these are called.  They have thousands of spiny stickers and get really tall with a puffy cottony flower that blows their seeds everywhere.  It will get much worse before they have the yard guys out.  I don't really care how your yard looks, it's your issue to deal with not mine.  But, here's the problem.  I HATE PULLING WEEDS!  I spent two consecutive Springs ridding my yard of that crap.  Previously I would pull a few as I was doing other things, but they were getting out of hand.  I had a couple years of none to almost none of those bad boys.  But since they don't try to eradicate theirs, those little puffy flowers get deposited back in my yard.  Causing me to PULL WEEDS!  


Wednesday, March 2, 2016


We went and voted in the Texas Primaries today (Tuesday).  We don't generally vote the primaries.  We have in the past but it's not a regular thing.  This one was too important to miss.  Evidently many others felt the same way.  We were in line for an hour and a half.  Traditionally the primary gets a low turnout.  I believe they will set a record for participation this time in our county.  

I believe most people are seeing the problems we are facing and want to vote more now than recent in history.  Some want to return to the core values that made America what it 'was.'  Others hearing what is coming from the other side are scared the other side may get their way and are also turning out to keep what we have now.  One thing for sure, of all the bad that obama has caused he has had a huge effect on the voter participation.  

I even signed up to attend a party convention after the polls closed.  I have never been to one and am not real sure what goes on in there.  Maybe voicing my concerns there may have some effect also.  I got a chuckle and a 'no comment' comment from one of the election judges when she asked me which party I was voting for.  I used a disparaging name that has become common for that party.  

I probably won't go, I really don't want to be identified as being a member of that party since they have abandoned core values and have become the go along to get along party.  Not to mention all the solicitation for donations via mail and phone.  That really aggravates the fire out of me.  If I donate I will donate directly to the candidate, not the party.

Happy Trails