Friday, September 12, 2014

WooHoo!

Yesterday I made my final mortgage payment. A day I didn't ever think would actually get here. I have refinanced my home three times because of a divorce, and twice to take advantage of lower interest rates.
O took out a Home Equity loan to  fix the roof, and do a bunch of other stuff. All paid off.
At the moment I owe about $350 in various bills. which will be paid in full next payday.
I will be debt free.
Retirement now becomes a real possibility rather than a remote concept.
It's kinda scary as well as exciting.
Now I need to start getting the house in shape to sell once I retire.
Sell the house and move to the country.
Buy a place with some elbow room and a proper shop.
Much excitement awaits.

Friday, September 05, 2014

A Nice little Hike


The two pictures are of Twin Falls, wa. This is the lower falls. It is about 150 feet tall, really spectacular in real life. And the two pictures are approximately in the right positions to show the whole falls.
The hike isn't too bad. About a half a mile from the parking lot to the trailhead, then a mile down to the falls by a switchback trail. The last quarter of a mile is so steep that they have put in stairs.
The hike back up is at least twice as long as the hike down. The dogs needed to stop several times to catch their breaths. After all, they have to take four steps to my one. All I can say is that I made it. That and my legs aren't too sore from the hike.
We need to get out and do this more often.
What a wonderful day.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Too Busy

As the saying goes "I'll sleep when I'm Dead."
I had the dubious privilege of working both days last weekend. So I didn't have much time to accomplish anything at home.
The Z will start, but runs real rough and then dies. I'm not sure what the problem is. I think it is probably a vacuum leak somewhere, but I haven't tracked it down yet. I am waiting for a couple of parts to come in before I get focused pon figuring it out. Upper and Lower Radiator hoses, thermostat and gasket. Should be in in time for me to finish putting it back together this weekend. Now if I can just figure out how come it is idling  so rough.
Last weekend we went to see Marcia Ball at Jazz Alley. She was a lot of fun. I love that whole boogie woogie piano blues thing, and she does it the best. Jazz Alley isn't exactly the kind of place where you get up and dance in the aisles, but the crowd was on its feet and dancing. A lot of fun.
Next weekend is Keiko Matsui, who I really like. Best jazz/new age keyboardist in the world as far as I am concerned. I have several of her CDs and play them regularly. Should be a very nice evening.
On an entirely different subject, the balance on my mortgage is $3100. So this retirement stuff is getting real. I am a little uncomfortable with the concept of not working, but will make sure I have enough projects to keep me busy and out of the hair of She Who Must Not Be Named.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Did you hear that?

A rumble in the distance, a low roaring sound. An almost smooth braaap?
The Z has stirred to life again. Not well, but it does run.
I got far enough that I decided before I went any further, I should try getting it to run. It currently does not have a radiator, is missing hoses and has a hole in the exhaust manifold where the EGR tube should be. None of those things should keep it from starting.
You wouldn't want to run it for any length of time with no radiator, and the lack of an EGR tube will make it run like crap, but run it should.
And run it did. Not for long, but just enough to let me know nothing catastrophic is wrong. The EGR fitting on the exhaust manifold is stuck tight. I put a box end wrench on it after soaking it in rust buster, and reeefed on it with a pinch bar, to no avail. All I did was round off the corners of the fitting.
Time for drastic measures. Blow torch? Impact gun and air chisel? Special socket for removing bolts with the corners rounded off?
It's a good thing I don't have access to a cutting torch.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Last Fishing Trip

Uncle Fred was my fishing partner for about 40 years. He was the one who taught me how to catch trout in the high country streams in Northern Idaho.
Every time I saw him later in life, the conversation would inevitably turn to fishing, usually to one particular fishing trip.
At the time the limit was 15 trout per person per day. We came back with 30 trout and one whitefish. Since I caught the whitefish I was declared the winner of our informal competition. Since there was a whole house full of people, the catch provided a meal for the whole family. And the fish were all substantial. The smallest was about 10 inches, the largest 18 inches. I have never seen a better looking string of fish.
Last year he passed away of cancer. I visited him in the hospital, and he made a special request of me "Would you do me a favor?"
"Sure Uncle Fred, you just ask".
Take me fishing one last time."
"You got it."
We had a meeting of the clan in Sandpoint, Idaho last week, and my cousin Ginger brought his ashes. I had told her my intentions to scatter his ashes along our favorite stretch of fishing water.
On Sunday I set off alone for Deep Creek with his ashes. It is hard to catch fish this time of year. The water is warm and the level low, so what fish there are are laying in the bottom of the holes, under logs and are inactive. If you want to catch fish you need to get your spinner and worm right down where they live. It means you will get snagged a lot and have to wade in to work the hook loose from wherever you have it snagged, but if you want to catch fish, that's the way you have to do it.
I had made my brag. I was told there were no fish in that stretch of creek. I told the family that I was going fishing, and I would catch fish.
The fishing was slow. A few little bait thieves here and there but nothing worth pursuing, so I fished along and scattered ashes as I went. I thought I was going to get skunked.
 I set Uncle Fred's ashes on the bank of the stream, and told him "Uncle Fred, I'm doing my part of this. I am carrying you down the stream and scattering your ashes as I go. It's time you got in the game here and encouraged a fish to bite. I'm doing catch and release, so it won't deplete the stock, so go do something."
I'm not claiming any supernatural intervention or anything. but shortly thereafter I caught a beautiful 10" brook trout. Bright sparkling in the sun, colorful and firm. I went to take a picture with y cell phone, but the phone was dead.
Shortly after that I tied into a big trout. Probably would have gone 18 inches. He dived into the roots of a stump, wrapped the line around a root and broke off my spinner.
Uncle Fred would have loved it, me going home with one fish caught and "The one that got away."
So long Uncle Fred. There will be other streams and other fishing trips, but I will probably never fish that section of stream again.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Vacation

A guy could get used to this vacation stuff. Or as I like to put it, practicing for retirement. The only real problem is that I still have a sense of urgency because I only have so much time to accomplish a lot of stuff.
So yesterday I slowed down.
The only thing I accomplished was to make a batch of home made applesauce. Nothing like a fresh warm batch of applesauce with a little cinnamon.
I am slowly working on the basement. There was a patch of black mold on the drywall in the basement, so I had to tear a section drywall out. The spare room was a mess, so I had to rearrange everything. In order to move something, you have to have a place to put it.
The drywall was behind an old hide-a-bed sofa that needed to go to the dump. But since it was too big to fit in the truck, first it had to be torn apart, which took most of the day. I still need to finish cleaning up and make a trip to the dump, buy the new drywall, install it, Spackle it and paint it.
Oh, and I still want to get the Z finished and ready to drive.
Oh, and I have a family reunion for four days in Idaho.
Today the powers that be (She who shall not be named) insists I take a day off. We are going to go see Maleficent and then go to dinner. Probably at the Wild Fin.
That leaves me two days to get the Z running. I can do it in two days, if everything goes right.
But when has everything ever gone according to plan?

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The End of Civilization as we know it

Yesterday, pot went on sale legally for recreational purposes here in Latteland. For all the hype and stern warnings by concerned conservatives, life as we know it did not come to an end. A 65 year old Grannie was the first person in the state to make a legal over-the-counter purchase, and although she had a little trouble making change, she did not morph into a deranged crazed killer.
The lines were not all that long, and I heard of no line jumping or riots. The crowd seemed quiet, and, well, normal.
In other news a 20 something young cereal killer ate a whole box of chocolate Cheerios.
A couple of hipsters became addicted to blo-pops. They were heard to say "O wow it starts out like hard candy, and then all the sudden you realize you are, like chewing gum. Like when did that happen?"
Energized housewives were seen placidly cleaning house, although they tended to get distracted. "hey look how the light refracts through this cut glass vase! It makes little rainbows!"
There were noticeable fewer road rage incidents, because people went home and tried out their new purchases, and then responsibly stayed home to watch the sprinkler.
Domestic violence reports took a decline, but no one is sure why. maybe the usual participants just couldn't get up the energy to give a hoot.
On the other hand, close call pedestrian/car incidents were on the rise as people stopped in the middle of the street to watch the street lights change.
And so it goes.