Thursday, April 19, 2018

And Again

I am down sick with another infection in my head and throat.  This makes at least the 5th one since September and 3 since my surgery.  I have never been sick this many times in one year much less few months.  I rarely have more than one illness a year.  This is on top of me trying to stay away from sick people and doing even more washing of hands and using hand sanitizer.  I carry sanitizer in my pocket when we go out and use it regularly.  I haven't even been around my Grandkids to get any bugs from like kids are so prone to carry.  I feel like crap and I don't want to do anything.

A friend of mine's father lives and works on his own ranch just outside Uvalde.  About 2 weeks ago he was attacked by what I assume were killer bees while working in some brush.  He managed to call his son and his son contacted the EMS and directed them to where he was over the phone.  They saved his life, but they still had to airlift him to a hospital in San Antonio.  They kept him in an induced coma for a couple days until the poison was gone.  Now he is battling for his life with an infection in his arm caused by the IV while in the hospital.  He is supposed to have surgery today to remove the infection to save his arm and possibly his life.  Your prayers are requested.

I am sorry to hear about the passing of Barbara Bush.  I always admired her candor.  President HW Bush has been in ill health for some time also.  I worry about his reaction to this.  I saw how the passing of my Grandmother affected my Grandfather.  We lost him one month later.

All I can muster feeling this bad.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Got It Wrong

I found out Tax Day is actually today.  That is because we got in contact with our tax man, finally.  He has already filed an extension for us.  The even better news is we will get a refund for the first time in years.  No idea how much, but it really doesn't matter as we don't have to give more $$ to the gubmint.  WOOOOHOOO!  So I was unnecessarily stressed, but I let my tax guy know he was driving me crazy.  He laughed and told me to go watch TV.  Good thing he is a good friend.  

So the new BBQ smoker/pit is together and currently has a fire in it to season it.  It appears that all the cheaper models now are made in freaking china.  Even one called an Oklahoma Joe.  What?  Unfortunately I didn't check the label for where it was made before I got it.  I try not to buy things from there but it is almost impossible.  Getting the pit in the wife's car and out and up on the patio wore my butt out.  I am not up to strength from my long layoff from surgery and general laziness.  Plus I was very tentative with lifting etc., so that made me do things a bit difficult.  Lots of sliding and rolling things instead of just picking them up and moving them.  I actually had to get K to help me out or I just could not have done it.  200 lbs dead weight is much heavier than I remember.  But I see brisket on the table soon.  

You can see my old worn out one in the back ground and I scavenged my old temp gauge and put it in the extra hole the new one has.  

I was texting with Son #2 and showed him a photo of the completed pit.  He reminded me his new bride does not like beef.  I have only known one other person with that same issue, but she doesn't like anything.  So he asked about pork ribs since she eats pork of all things.  I told him this is Texas and we eat beef.  She needs to get with the program.  Then he proceeds to tell me she is 'broken.'  She doesn't like Queso either.  Just broken.  No beef! No Queso!  In Texas?!?!?  She must be a closet Yankee and didn't tell us.  I told him there may be hope, as his Mom didn't like eating Mexican food when were dating.  But she was young and impressionable and I got her away from eating a Pancho's all you can eat to some real San Antonio TexMex.   I fixed her.  So I hold out hope for this abomination in my family.  But she is much older than K was when I fixed her, so she may be set in her ways and really, just broken.

Happy Trails

Monday, April 16, 2018

Tax Day

This snuck up on us.  We haven't been in contact with our tax man since we dropped it off like we were last year.  We had to file an extension and evidently do this year too.  We went in on the final day last year and signed a few documents and sent a guesstimate check in to the infernal revenue.  However, last year we knew this would happen.  This year, I just forgot about it.  So we are currently trying to contact him and see if we need to get in ASAP.  So my anxiety level is a bit higher than usual.  Next year, I think I will do our taxes since K will have very little business to deal with.  That is the only reason we use a tax man anyway.  Business tax issues are something I am totally ignorant of and I don't want to know.  But as I sit here and think about the quicken file we supply him, maybe after next year.

We had a bunch of errands we need to do today.  We will continue on with those and keep trying to contact our tax guy.  A visit to the pet store is in order for more food for Buster and see what they charge to get him groomed.  A visit to the bank to make a critical deposit and then to the grocer with a very long list.  

I also finally decided to bite the bullet and replace my smoker/grill. I have and want another offset smoker.  I have done a lot of shopping and reading reviews over the last couple months.  Unless I want to spent anywhere from 500+ to over a 1000$ dollars will I get a quality smoker.  And I ain't spending that, believe me.  The cheaper ones are just that, cheaply made.  They have various issues from paint peeling (which I don't really care about) to not sealing tight enough to poor temperature control.  The last two, are due to thin sheet metal and poor fit.  The thicker the steel the better it holds heat which is very important for the briskets I cook and the length if time it takes.  K told me, 'just remember how old you are, you don't need one to last 30 years like the last one did.'  Yes, I am very well aware of that, thank you very much sweetheart, but when you read about a pit warping after the first use, you know it is not the one you want.  I am just hoping my guess turns out right.  So we will head to wally world, since it is the only place that carries the one I decided on, and try to wrangle it into my truck and get it to it's new home.  Unless of course the tax man calls us.  SMH.

Happy Tax Day, NOT.

Thursday, April 12, 2018


Just chronicling for my poor memory.

My truck, a 2004 Ford Ranger has been riding a bit rough lately.  I don't put many miles on it and the tires have a lot of tread.  I put them on 6 years ago.  I have a warranty with the company I bought them from for free balancing and rotating so off I went to get that done.  During their inspection they tell me I have dry rot and should replace them all.  (With all we have on our plates with continuing to pay the bills that come in from our surgeries, this just wasn't going to happen.)  There may be some dry rot, but I couldn't tell.  So I had them just do what I wanted done in the first place.  They found an issue with one tire that needed to be replaced.  I had put some sealer in it when it sprung a slow leak.  They couldn't fix the leak issue and would replace the tire under warranty.  Only issue was that Michelin no longer makes that tire in my size.  Only way to keep all Michelins on the truck was to buy 4 new ones.  So now I have a BF Goodrich.  I avoided the cost of 4 new tires. 

It may be time to consider replacing the truck.  So I put the wife on notice that we might start thinking about that next year when we both start our Social Security.  That may let us make payments on a new one.  I'm torn as this one probably has a lot of miles left on it at 120,000 but with that many miles it will surely start needing new things here and there.  I also get nervous driving something with that many miles over longer distances.  It's just me and a thing I have about trusting a vehicle.  Instead of a new truck, we will look at Carmax and see what they can do.  My Son has had very good luck with them.  I would like a full size truck this time.  Have had two consecutive Rangers.  They served their purpose.  But my dreams are to pull a camper and for us to travel a bit and full size is where we need to be.  Just dreaming you could say.

Bills are still coming in from K's surgery in early December.  I should get one more from my surgeon but he hasn't even billed the insurance yet.  They usually have around 90 days to file insurance or they can be denied.  Not sure that ever really happens though.  The hospital finally billed K's stay to the tune of 171+k.  So we should be getting a bill shortly from them for our part.  It won't be near as much as I expected thankfully.  

As part of K's follow up she is seeing a GI as I mentioned in a previous post.  He had her get an MRI yesterday.  I surely wasn't expecting it to cost us as much as it did.  Insurance took care of most, but 20% was a bigger chunk that I expected.  I had one several years ago and it only cost me 100$ for my share.  Not this time.  Many times more than that.  And we still have to have her get scoped by the GI.  But that should be the end of her insurance issues, of course unless they find something.  But we don't anticipate anything.  They were pretty thorough in her surgery checking her out.

We are so blessed, we are doing well and we eat regular lol.  We are getting older and the things that come with it are on our doorstep.  It could be so much worse.

Happy Trails

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


Tuesday we finally were able to get away for a few hours and take a day trip deeper into the Texas Hill Country.  This was our annual trip to see how glorious the wild flowers are and take some photos.  Our usual route is up US 281 to just north of Johnson City over to the famous Willow City Loop.  Then we head up to Llano and back over to US 281 and home.  Despite all the predictions of a banner year for wild flowers and especially the Bluebonnet, this year was quite disappointing.  While there were flowers, they were not as abundant as in years past.  I didn't stop to take one photo as I just didn't see anything worthy of the effort.

However, we did stop in Llano as it was after lunch time and we were both very hungry.  The place we had eaten at was closed so we thought we would try Cooper's BBQ.  The line wasn't out the door as it was when we passed  it on another trip.  If you don't know Cooper's, they have a pretty big reputation.  I find those type places usually disappointing.  Yes, it is because I am a BBQ snob.  I read these 'lists' on FB that compile the best BBQ places in Texas, or the Hill Country or the best Chicken Fried Steak etc.  You have probably seen similar about other places to eat.  Well Cooper's makes almost every list I have read and there have been a bunch.  I am always looking to try out good BBQ places on day trips and having this little bit of knowledge gives me something to base my search on.  These guys did not disappoint.  The brisket is very flavorful and smoky, they also have great beans that are free and all you can eat.  This was worth the trip.  They got a 5 star Yelp review from me and I rarely give anyone a 5 star review.  So if you happen to be passing through Llano, give it a try, but be forewarned, there may be a line to get in.

Here are a couple wildflower photos of the same areas I mentioned above from previous years.

Happy Trails

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Weather Related?

The weather here, sheesh.  A cold front blew in last night, and I mean a COLD front.  The wind is kicking up to about 25 mph and the temps have fallen from the mid 80's yesterday to currently 48.  With that wind it gets uncomfortable to walk around my garden in my usual shorts.  It is downright cold.  I had started feeling some significant discomfort in my back yesterday and the wife says 'there is a cold front coming.'  That is her standby for every ailment that comes along, or so it seems.  My body never seems to correspond to the weather like she seems to think.  But I have no explanation for these new aches in new places.  I did nothing unusual to bring on these aches but at my age it could be anything.  The pain got me out of bed earlier than I wanted and the stiffness on rising was significant.  My usual stretching was torture.  Motrin became and immediate need.  

We both had plans for today.  She was supposed to go with a friend to help her at a show in Wimberly to repay a similar favor.  I was going over to the church house for a work day.  Her plans got cancelled and I was just too stove up to go to the work day.  I would have paid the price even more later.  I am not so sure she isn't right about the weather thing, this time.  

This coming week K will have an MRI her gastro doc wanted her to have.  Then a scoping in May.  He wants to see if there is or isn't something else that can be done to prevent any similar issue that required her emergency surgery in December.  This all comes on the recommendation of the surgeon who had his hands all up inside this area.  He couldn't determine what caused her gut to explode.  He thought it best to have this GI doc take a look.  Whatever it takes to keep her healthy.

My little fur buddy, Buster, is really starting to show his age.  We have taken him off his regular food, a diet type that kept his weight down.  But it appears to me he wasn't getting the proper nutrients since his fur has become very frizzy and dull.  So we are trying something else which can be a chore since he is so picky about food.  We found one right off that he likes very well.  Now to see if it helps him out and we can keep his weight down.  He definitely has weather related issues.

Keeping his weight down is critical since the heavier he gets the harder it is for him to get around and less energetic.  Although at almost 14, I'm not sure the food is everything that we need.  We had been having trouble finding this new food as the place we got it at was out for 3 weeks.  So we looked around online and found another pet place that carried it and had it in stock.  This place specializes in all natural foods etc.  After getting some info from us, they had some suggestions about things we could try.  Hemp Oil and Hemp snacks.  They gave us a couple samples of the snacks.  The jury is still out there, he is very cautious about new snacks.  I guess he thinks we are going to poison him lol.  I need to research this Hemp thing more.  It isn't cheap.  The oil is about 35$ a pop and lasts about 2 weeks.  I can't really afford to add a 70$/mo+ to our current budget.  Maybe I could keep some on hand for occasional use.  It's supposed to help with some of his issues.  One they mentioned was anxiety, I laughed and said 'Well it should, it's Hemp,' they smiled politely is all I got and explanation it didn't have 'those' things in it.  Well OK.  So I don't know if all this natural or holistic thing is a scam or the real deal.  I just want my old friend to feel better.

Happy Trails

Thursday, April 5, 2018


I have been trying to follow the news about this caravan of 1200 travelers heading to our Southern border from Mexico.  They are coming from various countries in Central America it appears.  I am certain they have been 'organized' by those that are opposed to President Trump's border wall or proposed immigration policies.  They are illegally in Mexico, and yet, what does Mexico do about it?  They hurry them along with various levels of support, just to get them out of their country.  They don't want them.  The various cities they travel through are also providing places to eat and transportation, whatever it takes to get them out of their city.  So the question becomes apparent:  Why does Mexico allow this to happen?  Why didn't they ship them back/deport them?  First off, most of Mexico is corrupt, on every level.  It is a way of life there and has been for centuries.  No one can ever really know how they justify their corruption.  They all look at it as a way of life and just go on.  Being as close to the border as we are and with the city near us still having strong ties to Mexico, you would be forgiven for thinking you lived in Mexico at times.  Does that sound racist?  I don't mean for it to be but I know I could never convince you otherwise if you believe I am.  You think differently.  But I digress.  

Now, many here are upset because the President has said that this caravan will be met at the border with the Military.  This twists the leftards to the max I am sure.  I understand that our Military has very specific laws that prevent them from various actions within the confines of the United States.  I am not versed on the 'posse comitatus' law.  But how can we allow what basically amounts to an invasion happen without meeting it with some form of force?  Now don't get me wrong, I don't espouse firing on innocent civilians coming into our country illegally.  I am not advocating the Military shoot anyone that crosses the border.  However, I would doubt these invaders would get across our porous border less easily or even be deterred by the sight of uniformed and armed military guarding our border.  Yes, it is a slippery slope, when would they be allowed to shoot?  Better minds than mine have to answer that.

On another note, the last couple days have been somewhat busy.  A dermatologist appointment to follow up on my skin cancer, I donated blood, a dental cleaning and then the regular things that have to get done.  I have been a little busier than I prefer, well, not really.  The doctor/dental stuff is always a PITB.  The dermatologist wants me in every 6 months for 2 years.  If this keeps up I will have every month covered for doctor appointments.  May already do if I add in K.  Sheesh, this getting old is not easy.  

Happy Trails