25 October 2018

It's Not That

I don't have anything going on.

It's just that I don't have anything interesting going on.

As soon as that changes...I'll let you know.

26 September 2018

M Gets a New Ride

M bought her car two days after we met, a 2015 Ford Focus in Ruby Red. She told me about it in a message, saying that she liked my red car so much she had to go out and buy one of her own. This is what got us talking to each other in the first place, so Ruby will always have a special place in our memories. However, while she really liked it overall the transmission was something that she never did like.

The 2015 Focus came with an option for what they call a Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) which as far as I have read on the 'net (where they can't ever put anything that is not true) is essentially two computer controlled standard (IE, not planetary gearsets?) transmissions with actual dry clutches instead of torque converters that work in parallel. One has the even number gears and the other has the odd number gears and they switch off as the car accelerates. It works like an automatic, but it isn't really an automatic because it doesn't have a torque converter (which absorbs a lot of driveline vibration in addition to it's clutch-like duties).

The up side is improved fuel economy due to the actual clutches instead of the torque converter slushbox and faster shifts, but the down side is increased driveline vibration because there is no torque converter. M didn't like it because once upon a time she had a Jeep with a bad torque converter and it felt just like the DCT, so she was always worried that the torque converter was going to fail in the car and leave her stranded. Apparently the salesman didn't know enough about the DCT to explain the difference between it and the automatic and the service people only told her "it's supposed to do that" without explaining why. Judging by the many complaints and the quiet discontinuation of the transmission in future models she wasn't the only one, but alas for poor Ruby it was just a little too little a little too late.

Bottom line, she wasn't ever completely satisfied with the car, and the electronic power assist unit going out within a couple of hundred miles after the warranty expired just sealed poor Ruby's doom. When the she took it in to have them look at the transmission yet again (they had already replaced at least one clutch and the electronic brain under warranty) and they quoted her a 2K price tag to replace the clutches yet again she had had enough, especially since they wouldn't warranty the work (which IMO they should have because they had already replaced them once).

So last Saturday she took Ruby back to the dealer and drove home in this:

So far she's liking it but we'll see how much of that good feeling remains after she makes the first payment on it. It is a 2018 Escape SEL, fully loaded. Seat warmers (which, after driving the Mustang she decided she just had to have), dual zone climate control (which is something I am very fond of), 2.0 Ecoboost which satisfies the drag racer in her, and best of all it has a true automatic which means no more driveline shudder, which was the whole point to begin with.

What I like about it is she got the extended warranty and the extended service plan, so I won't have to be wrenching on it any time soon (unlike the Subaru which went through a right rear brake caliper last weekend). With the extended warranty if she does have issues with it she won't end up paying extra for it like she did with the EPAS and would have had to do with the clutches (although part of me thinks the clutches weren't all that bad and the service department was just looking for something to change so they could tell her they found and fixed the problem).

Hopefully it won't have any issues at least until the last payment is made.

14 September 2018


Aunt Flo has come to visit.

Hurricane Florence, that is. At the time of this writing she's a Cat 1, about 35 miles off of Wilmington and moving at 6 MPH, which will put her at the shoreline at about 8 AM unless she puts some pep in her step.

So far at the Refuge just north of Raleigh we have some wind blowing the treetops around, enough rain to keep the ground wet, and that's about it. The power and cable is still on and I still have cell phone reception.

There is still quite a bit of storm left to go so keep coastal Carolinas in your prayers, the large size and slow speeds of the storm is going to keep the storm surge up for quite some time, which means flash flooding and high water is going to continue to be a problem for a while.

In other news, my barrel came in for the Glock 19, so as soon as possible I'm going to have to get another range day in to sight it back in.

10 September 2018

Shooting Day

Saturday there was supposed to be a cruise-in near me.

I made plans to go to the cruise-in, which also happened to be in the same town as the shooting range, which also happened to have a yarn store. So M and I decided to make a day of it. We were going to take the new bows along...well, the old bows that I got from my father in law...but the case wouldn't fit in the Mustang so they stayed home.

First we met Range Partner for some shooty goodness and I discovered that I suck at this game and I need to practice more. I also found my Glock 19 shoots to the left until the third or fourth shot, and then it slowly comes back to the right although I was shooting consistently slightly left of centerline even when it was all warmed up.

In fact the 19 shoots so far to the left that the sights are drifted way to the right to compensate for it, which should not be a thing. I have ordered a different barrel for it, hopefully that will cure its ills. Between the 19 shooting sideways and the 36 being such a jam-o-matic I'm starting to rethink my whole Glock ownership status.

Whatever. I like the Sig better anyway...but M has effectively commandeered it. Oh no, I guess I will have to get another one...oh woe is me...

While we were there Range Partner unlimbered his Lapua for the first time in a long time, and she still sounds off with authority and rings the 300 yard gong with boring regularity. Much to my surprise I was able to make some 300 yard ring-a-dings with the 30-06, even though it's sighted in for 100 yards. The 200 yard was no problem, either. That's a flat shooting round, and I was using Winchester target rounds, so any qualms I ever had about going with a less expensive bullet slinger are now laid completely to rest. I am altogether satisfied with my Mossberg 100ATR.

After the last round had cleared the chamber we all went out for a steak. Something that I failed to mention, at my last annual checkup I had the whole battery of blood draws (and I should have worn the kilt even though it wasn't September yet), and last week my doc sent me a text message saying she was very concerned about the numbers. Nice gal, young-ish (any more they all are), small fingers, wanted me to lose weight and get more exercise, yada yada. I told her I was walking the parking lot at work 3 times a week (about a mile, getting it done in 20-21 minutes) so she would have to be satisfied with that. She's not, wants me to do it 5 days a week. I don't work 5 days a week...so guess who isn't going to get what they want? But I digress.

The medical center puts all of the test results and whatnot on a portal, so I signed in and checked my messages to see what she was on about. It turns out my cholesterol is good, my blood pressure is on the high side of good (she wants me to watch my salt. Whatever, I don't use it much anyway), but my A1c is IN THE DIABETIC RANGE!!!OMG!!!IMMEDIATELY GO ON A LOW CARB DIET AND MAKE AN APPOINTMENT!!!

Panicked, I flip over to the blood sugar test results, expecting the worst...and...it's at 7.1 (normal is under 7 for those of you who have never had to deal with it, myself included). Which, yeah, it's above normal, but seriously?

So I've cut out the bread and rice for a while, which is about the only thing carby I eat. Well, that and sugary drinks from Dunkin' Donuts where M is a regular customer, so it's back to plain old unsweetened iced tea for me when we go through the drive through (good luck with getting M to give up her DD iced coffee/extra/extra). We'll see what the numbers are in a month, I'm guessing they will be under 7 again and then maybe she can ease off of DEFCON ELEVENTY. I'll still leave the sugary drinks and rice alone though.

Anyway, so off for a steak where I get a salad for my side rather than a potato, some good conversation and then we're off to the...waitaminute...M forgot her coupon for the yarn store, which is why she wanted to go to the yarn store in the first place. Also, it's a couple of hours yet to the cruise in, and quite frankly I'm ready to call it a day. So instead I hit up the train store for some scenery supplies and we went on home.

I hope they had a good turnout at the cruise-in.

25 August 2018

Tuning Up the Ice Cream Machine

So what's happening for the past month or more?

I am one year older, we had our family vacation, my brother got married (again) and this time I actually made it to the wedding, and I got to see the only child I helped to create for the first time in 25 years. I also met the son in law and 4 grandchildren I had not met.

I'm making progress getting the train layout scenery done, I'm not getting everything done on the house I wanted to but I am getting some things done, I had to change the oil in all my cars this past weekend, but they are all running well (including the Subaru).

M goes back to work Monday, she is doing something new again this year. She has had a different class every year that I have known her, I just wonder what they will come up with next year. She has a couple of grades she hasn't been through yet, so it is possible she will do something different next year, too.

That's about it, I guess. I hope your summer has been good.

16 July 2018

Dear Senator

I've been watching this whole deal unfold, with the Russia thing that I don't quite understand (was it Trump colluding with them against Hillary or Hillary colluding against Trump, and what's the deal with that dossier they keep going on about?) and the other day you had that FBI guy, whatsisname, Strunk or something like that, and damn but that guy...that fuckin' guy...

I mean to tell ya that if you don't put his ass in the slammer for disrespecting Congress or whatever the hell you call it then you need to go apologize to every swingin' dick you ever put the screws to for it in the history of ever. I mean to tell ya, that guy just OOOZED disrespect  out of every pore of his body, not just for you...but for us, We the People, us little guys...you know, the guys you suck up to and lie to every two to four years to get us to vote for you so you can go suck the tax dollars out of my pocket for your cushy digs in DC and your fat ass paychecks with the free medical and dental.

Which is kinda what I'm here today for.

So my question, Senator, is after all the investigations and testimonies and dispositions and guys going to jail for not remembering they said and instead of or on the third of October at two thirty-seven exact EST and all of that...when are some of these people going to prison? And I don't mean the Scooter Libby kinda guys, I mean the big guys, the ones who sit on airport runways and schmooze to each other about looking the other way and then lie about talking about grandkids and such and swear to God on a stack full of bibles they never talked about what we all know they talked about. Those guys.

I mean, some of these guys, if I pulled half the shit they did I can guaran-damn-tee ya I wouldn't be sitting on some pile of cash from the book I just wrote making pathetic excuses for not doing my job, or even worse, flat breaking the law, no...hell my ass would be buried so far under the jail it would take a whole TEAM of geologists just to find it. But hell, these assholes are smugging it up on the Sunday news shows, so what gives?

I mean, there's that guy who went on national TV saying Hillary flat broke the law but no prosecutor would ever make a case against her. Really? And that Navy guy goes to jail for taking pictures of his bunk on the sub but whatsername stuffs classified documents in her panties and tries to sneak them out and nothing? Are you f'n KIDDING ME???

I remember reading that book, Atlas Shrugged or something like that, and they were talking about people with pull instead of ability making the decisions, and I thought it was a boring long-winded book at the time but I'm beginning to think, damn, did she nail it or what? And now I'm listening to people talk about the new civil war, and I mean to tell you...it bothers me.

Maybe it's just the 24 hour news cycles and such and they gotta fill the time with something, but I'm watching all these riots and assholes in pink hats screaming at the sky cause they lost elections and crazy people shooting congressmen who are playing baseball and I'm wondering...just how bad is it going to get?

Cause seriously, I know the only reason something bad hasn't happened is guys like me ain't got the time for that shit. See, the daughter's dance recital is next Tuesday, and she needed this dress see, but the budget just wouldn't handle it unless I pick up a little OT this week, which isn't a big deal cause we were kinda letting some things slide so we could make our numbers for end of quarter, but now that's over the boss is carping about getting caught up...so the OT is there. Only thing is, I can't do it past five Wednesday cause the boy has a baseball game that I promised I'd make it for and if I miss it the ex is gonna hold it over my head, and honestly that's just one more thing I really don't need from that bitch. And besides, that's my boy and I don't want to disappoint him any more than I have to. He used to look at me like I was some kinda hero, ya know? and lately...well, let's just say I understand the old man more now than I used to, and if he was still here God rest his soul I'd love to sit down and have a beer with him, but he worked his way into an early grave when he was in his 40's busting his ass and not taking care of himself, providing for us, and I was such an ungrateful bastard. If I had only known, ya know?

Which reminds me, the old lady is bitching about me making a doctors appointment cause I got a little dizzy mowing the lawn last weekend, but what the hell it was like 100 degrees in the shade and I felt better when I got some water in me, so what's the big deal? except my dad...well, you know. And my buddy at work just got a new fishing boat, man it's a beaut, but if I want to go out on the lake with him Sunday like he invited me to I promised the missus that I'd get some stuff done around the house on Saturday. Happy wife happy life, right?

Point is, I ain't got time for all that. Which is why we hire guys like you, to take care of stuff like this. And then you go to Washington and set yourselves up like kings, which we mostly don't mind as long as you leave us the hell alone, mostly, but once in a while...it would be nice if you would do your damn jobs. Cause I don't wanna live in a Matthew Bracken novel, ya know? I like my comfortable life, I like sleeping in on Saturdays and grilling in the afternoons, and days on the lake, and tee times, and all of that, which is why I'm willing to put up with the bullshit from you jackasses that I put up with. But seriously, it's getting out of hand and we're way overdue for tar and feathers if you know what I mean...and if you don't maybe it's time for you to pick up one of those Bracken books.

Thing about those books, it doesn't end well for any of us, which is probably closer to the truth than what some of these idiots are spouting off about.

So step up and take care of this shit like I hired you to do, cause I've done my time in shitholes like Trashcanistan and the former Yugoslavia and such garden spots as Uncle Sam sends his uniformed folks to, and even though I may not have seen any actual fighting I've seen enough to appreciate that it doesn't happen here. And I know some guys. And the stories THEY tell...well they ain't pretty. Which makes me even MORE glad we have guys like that, and that we don't have to deal with the stuff they dealt with Over There over here. And I'd kinda like to keep it that way. And all these Antifa pussies and the other assorted dingleberries who have never seen shit like that and think it might be fine and dandy to have a little war over here? I don't wanna have to deal with them. Not that I won't, if it comes to that, (I have my battle plan all laid out, I'm gonna follow Johnny and just hand him ammo cause the guy is just a stone cold bad-ass, he doesn't talk about it but I've seen his medals) but I don't wanna. So handle it.

So that's about all I got to say.

Bottom line: my advise to you, take care of it and let guys like me sleep.

It would be best for all of us.

(disclaimer, my Dad is alive and well thanks, this was just a sort of stream of conscious thing that I came up with listening to some of the guys I know)

05 May 2018

Speaking Of The Bow

The recurve bow that we got from Father In Law had a simple rubber tip arrow rest that had gotten old and brittle and then fell off. I haven't been able to find a replacement online, but today after we went to the yarn store we went to the sporting goods store and they had one!

The guy behind the counter told us that some of the Bear bows are collectible, so when I got home I looked it up. What we have is a fairly standard 52" 45 pound Bear Kodiak Magnum. The brass coin and K series serial number puts it fairly securely right at 1970, which was the last year for the flush mounted brass coin and the first year for the K series serial numbers. The value of the bow is probably somewhere between $150 and $200, so not very collectible. That's fine, with its new arrow rest installed it should be a fun bow to play with.

We also inherited his compound bow, a Bear Whitetail Hunter of approximately the same vintage set to 55 pounds. It looks to be in good shape and has reportedly taken a deer or two in its time.

So maybe next range day we will take the bows along.

Range Days

I've had a good week.

I've been off work all week since I had some days I had to burn up or lose. This gave me a chance to complete a couple of projects around the house, and it also gave me a chance to go to the range a couple of times.

Youngest Son's birthday was last Friday and one of the range days was his. We shot rifles that day although I did take a couple of rounds through the Glocks and some through the Sig as well. I took the Arisaka and Youngest Son took the Saiga, both performed well. I am extremely happy with the scope on the Arisaka, with the iron sights I can't hit a darn thing but with the scope it is a bullseye shooter, much more capable than I am.

With the pistols I finally got them all sighted in and if I take my time and carefully line everything up, watching the flinch, I can hit the X ring with all of them (although the Glock 36 continues to demonstrate why I don't carry it anymore, having its occasional FTE every forth or fifth magazine, never the same magazine, sometimes two or three in a row).

Today it was Mrs Hades turn. We met Range Partner and his companion at the range, of course we were late and they were already busy putting lead downrange when we showed up. As usual she laid claim to the Sig and I shot the Glocks. Both of us had much success with our chosen firearms (the 36 with its usual failures) and we quickly shot through a large part of the ammo we had brought.

Afterwards we had lunch with Range Partner and his girl and then it was off to the yarn store! A relatively quick trip through netted enough to keep Mrs Hades happy for a day or two, and then it was off to the gun store where we bought more ammo to replace what we had shot off and also picked up a magazine loading tool for the Sig and an arrow rest for the bow that Father In Law had gifted us with.

When we got home Mrs Hades was insistent that she learned to clean the Sig. So we broke out the cleaning gear and the manual for the Sig and everything got the necessary attention. Afterwards as I was putting everything back in the safe I noticed I was a box short. Look as I may I could not locate the Sig. I went back through the house and there, poking up out of Mrs Hades range bag, was the missing box.

It looks as if I may have lost a Sig.

I can't think of a better place for it to go.

All in all a very good day. Heck, all in all a pretty darn good week. Too bad it all comes crashing to a bad end on Monday.

03 April 2018

The Cat Is Away

And when that happens...

M is off visiting her mother this week, I couldn't go along because I'm saving my vacation days for other things. So while she's been gone I've been finishing up some of the trim work around the new flooring (it is in all the way through the kitchen into the dining room now) and trying some recipes that I can't try while she is here, due to her lactose intolerance mostly. One of those things is beef stroganoff.

Beef Stroganoff

1 1/2 lbs beef, sliced thin. You can use just about anything...heck, you can even use hamburger if you get the lean stuff...but the better the beef the better the stroganoff.
1/2 medium Vidalia onion, sliced thin
8 oz mushrooms, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T flour
2 C beef broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 C sour cream
Egg noodles or rice

If you are using hamburger, cook and drain it. If not, skip to the next step.

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet, add the olive oil. Stir in the beef (unless you are using hamburger), onion, mushroom and garlic. Cook until the beef is browned and the onion begins to turn translucent. (If you are using hamburger, add the cooked hamburger in now.)

Add salt and pepper to taste, then add the flour and stir until smooth. Add the beef broth and the soup and again stir until smooth. Allow this mixture to come to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes.

Now is a good time to cook the egg noodles or rice as per package directions.

Stir in the sour cream and cook for another 5 minutes until everything is heated up. Serve over noodles or rice.

26 March 2018

I Am

This was payday weekend.

As with all payday weekends I got online and did the electronic bill pay thingie. I also activated my new credit card.

And since the new card went active I had to change some reoccurring payments that uses the card. One of those was my lifetime membership payment for the NRA.

And before you start, I have to be an NRA member to be in the gun club. I'm also a member of my local pot-stirring group, so that makes up for any tendencies the NRA has for going wobbly.

Anyhoo, when I went on the NRA site I saw I only had a single payment left. So I made it instead of updating the card information.

Which means...

Natural Progression

For all your firearms related videos go here. As of April they will no longer be found on the 'tube.

Just another example of how the hoplophobes ruin things for everyone.

At least they will still have model train videos. I hope.

On a side note, since this blog platform is hosted by evil (nobody says the G word) I wonder how long it will be allowed to continue. It's not a "gun" blog per se, but there are at least a few firearms related posts here. It's not like I can get completely away from them either, since my cell phone carrier seems to be intimately intertwined with them as well.

Maybe one day I'll have to go back to landlines and snail mail. Oh the horrors.

Oh well. Wha'cha gonna do.


She's back!

Doom on those who drove her away. May you spend eternity in the Special Hell.

This post makes it all worth while (that's a lie, of course...all of them make it all worth while).

And now we do the dance of joy!

11 March 2018


They just never end...

I have to finish up the last strip on the right, it was too dark to drag the table saw out by the time I had gotten this far. After that is the trim along the edges and doorway thresholds, and then the baseboards and door trim. The wife wants to go with simple 1x4 or 1x6 baseboards and door trim. I'm not objecting, it's quick and easy.

This flooring looked so good when it went down that now she's thinking about running it through the rest of the house. I kind of wish she had decided that before I cut that near edge off, but that's fine. They make a T shaped wood strip that will cover the seam just fine.

But that's a project for another weekend.

20 February 2018

It's Not That We Aren't Listening

It's that we've heard it all before. Gun control, yadda yadda, scary rifles, blah blah blah, FOR THE CHIIIIILDRENNNNN (and may I point out to you that accusing us of not loving our children is not conducive to getting us to agree to your inane schemes that have proven to a) not work and b) be extremely destructive of personal liberties).


Evil AR-15 thundercannon murderstick
 This is an AR-15. It is the generic term for a rifle originally designed by the Armalite Corporation (hence the A in AR) and sold to Colt in 1959. It is a semi automatic magazine fed rifle chambered in .223 Remington. It has been available to the civilian market since 1964, but after the original patents expired in 1977 the market really exploded. The select fire version, designated the M-16, went into service in 1961when the US Air Force purchased 8500 of them. The AR-15 is the most popular sporting firearm in America today. I probably should own one some day.

Nice Ruger Mini-14 like Grandpa used to have
This is the Ruger Mini-14. It is also a semiautomatic magazine fed rifle chambered in .223. Functionally there is absolutely no difference between the two rifles; they are chambered in the same cartridge, have the same size magazines available, and have the same rate of fire (just as fast as you can work the trigger). The Mini-14 is also a very popular sporting firearm.

If you show these two pictures to a hoplophobe they will most likely wet their pants in sheer terror of the first one and not mind the second one so much since it looks so much like Grandpa's squirrel rifle. After all, they are trying to be reasonable, they don't want to take your guns...right?

Ruger Mini-14 Tactical

OK, fine...

I have been taken to task for my lack of blogging.

Not really, but it was pointed out to me that I haven't done it for a while.

So, here's what I've been up to:

 This dollhouse has been a work in progress for several years, Laura bought it ten or eleven years ago. I finally got it done and took it to Florida for the eldest grand-daughter. She's going to have to finish the shingles on the roof, but all the structure is complete at least.

 Along with the bathroom we are also pulling up all the carpet in the house. We got the front room more or less complete (SWMBO still hasn't decided what final floor covering she wants) and moved the bookshelves in what will become the library when I get around to relocating a few walls.

 My Little Pony got a styling bar for my birthday, I've wanted to put one on it for a while and now I have.

 Eldest Boy finally moved out and I got my train room back!

 I had some passenger equipment custom painted. Above is a 4-6-4 Hudson streamline locomotive in Erie paint. To the best of my knowledge the Erie never had Hudsons, much less streamlined ones, but it sure does look good. It leads a set of streamline cars that I also had painted in the Erie scheme...just before finding a full set of factory painted cars at the local hobby shop.

Below is a set of heavyweight passenger cars in Norfolk and Western paint. Of course, as soon as I had them painted a set of factory painted ones showed up at a train show...

 I also had a semi-streamlined Pacific painted for the N&W. Again, as far as I know the N&W did not have semi-streamlined Pacifics. It was a fine running locomotive when I disassembled it for paint. Unfortunately it isn't any more. It will look good on the display line I guess.  Maybe one day I'll figure out how to get it to run properly again, but until then I have a pair of J class locos to pull the varnish.

Last but not least, yesterday was the third anniversary of my first date with M. It was snowing, so the restaurant was empty and we had the full attention of the wait staff...which wasn't so good when I was trying to monopolize her attention...but the date went well.

And that's about it.

26 May 2017


When last we met I had just started on the shower. I am pleased to report that the work is now done, it was a long hard pull but it all came together in the end.

 The last post talked about the drain and the floor board that had to be replaced, much to my surprise I managed to measure everything just right and it came out perfectly. So, starting from there, we continue.

 Here is the shower pan installed. If I were going to do it again I would cut the bottom 2 or 3 inches off of that back wall so the pan would be against the studs. I would have taken the paneling off, but it is glued to the wall board (and the wall board is glued to the studs) and I didn't feel like replacing the wall boards. Maybe I should have. I did use a mortar bed, but I could have done a better job leveling it. It isn't bad, but it's not perfect.

With the purple board up it was now time to install some corrugated metal. Notice the beam at the top, it is there to stabilize the new wall. We opted not to go all the way to the ceiling with that wall because of the vent fan right there, it will get a new fan with a light because it is somewhat dark in that corner with the new cabinet installed.

And the finished product, with the shower doors installed., the woodwork stained (I'm going to try to convince milady that the 2x4 stud there in the middle should be painted; the beam got stained, too, and it looks great) and the cabinet painted. Everything is leak-free and it works pretty good.

The train room is also coming along well, there are no pictures but I did get the linoleum floor cut and put in. Unfortunately I missed two of the old carpet staples, so there are two small holes in the linoleum. They are small enough that they shouldn't be noticed and they will be under the train tables anyway. Next in there is to get the door trim painted and put on, and I really should have painted the baseboards before I put them back in, too. Now I'll have to paint them in place.

And last but not least, I must sadly announce the end of the Redhead of the Month. It's getting harder and harder to find the time to update the blog as I should, not to mention more and more difficult to find pictures that I like well enough to use that I haven't used already. So, as a final offering, the last ROTM will not be a picture, but a painting.

Love and Pain by Edward Munch

Much love to you.

12 March 2017

What I've Been Up To

M wants a new shower. She doesn't like the old one because it's too small. So we have ordered a shower pan and the old tub has been removed. I built a wall to enclose the new shower and got the pieces for the plumbing.

The drain for the tub was nestled inside a huge hole cut into the floor, so I had to cut the huge hole out to put in a piece of plywood from floor joist to floor joist. But wait...for that I must have tools!

OK, that was too many tools, so I ended up just getting the set that had the circular saw and the drill. The collecting of tools and materials took up my Saturday, so the drain and floor work was scheduled for Sunday. But lo and behold, Sunday brought this:

Fortunately it was only a light dusting, and by noon the sun had come out and it was gone. So, under the house I went to change out the water filter and install the drain. Once the drain had been assembled and tied in it was time to install the patch on the floor.

With that being done we are now ready to mix and spread mortar to bed in the shower pan and then we can start putting the surround up. She wants to go with corrugated metal for the surround, so I will have a fun time figuring out how to poke the faucet handles through the wavy metal without creating a channel for water to get in behind it.

But that will wait for another day.

08 March 2017


Have a redhead.

13 February 2017

That Was Nice

Valentines Day will mark the second anniversary of Mrs Hades foolish decision to hang out with me for a while.

Of course I'm working on Valentines Day this year. But, since it's on a Tuesday (that's tomorrow guys, you have only one day to get your flower shopping in) she has to work as well. So instead of celebrating on Valentines Day we took the weekend off and drove the convertible to Myrtle Beach. It was an absolutely fantastic weekend.

Although Friday's temperatures never climbed out of the fifties, both Saturday and Sunday were in the mid to upper 70's (and in fact I saw 80 very briefly on my dashboard thermometer Sunday afternoon). Cruising Myrtle Beach, ragtop down, with my lady by my side...yeah, life just doesn't get any better than that.

This week will see temperatures back in the "seasonal" range (meaning highs in the 50's and lows in the 30's). Oh well, back to the daily grind I suppose, but it was nice while it lasted.

07 February 2017

Oh, My Neglected Blog

Welcome back to what is becoming my seldom visited corner of the internet. It's been almost a month since I last posted. In that time we have inaugurated a new President, endured a flood of protesters as a result, and watched a stunning Super Bowl comeback.

Closer to home Eldest Son has finally moved out again, this time for the last time. That leaves only Youngest Son at home. We are finally moving forward with getting him tested and maybe we can get him some help on the learning front. I think he has come to grips with the fact that Occupy Dads House is not going to be a lifetime option, so he's showing proper enthusiasm for the project.

Today is a special anniversary for me personally as well. For the seventh of February 2015 I posted about my new Z scale model trains showing up at the Refuge. I took a few pictures of them, went out for the night with a Meetup group to hear a local band, returned home and went to bed.

It was a largely unremarkable evening overall, but a pretty girl smiled at me and laughed when I  attempted to be funny, and at the end of the evening she said she liked my car. We drove away, in separate cars but going the same direction. I found out she lived in the next town over from me, only 7 miles away or so. I hoped she would show up at the next event so that I could see her smile again.

This was, of course, the day I discovered that the lovely Mrs Hades and I occupied the same planet, and although I was blissfully unaware at the time my world would never again be the same.

Also two years ago I had not yet posted the February RotM, and then as now GFA had not showed up to give me a hard time about it. So once more, before that happens, I bring to you the next Last Refuge of a Scoundrel Redhead of the Month:

Redhead Girl by Ajsena

10 January 2017


Old NFO had a bit of an issue with a credit card lately.

It must be the season. Just before departing on Christmas vacation...and I mean the DAY before...I got a call from Navy Federal Credit Union asking me if I was in Utah...because my bank card was. Fortunately for me they are always right on top of things so it didn't cost me anything but frustration. (Today it cost me an extra $25 because my insurance payment didn't go through, but that was my own fault for not changing the account numbers.)

As near as I can figure I ran into a card skimmer. I went to the gas station to fill up and used the card reader at the pump. It asked me for my PIN and then asked me to re-enter it. Note to the unwary, NEVER DO THIS! If it asks you for your PIN twice, cancel the transaction and go elsewhere.

Using the information off of my card they were able to duplicate it, but without the PIN they are limited to credit transactions. The bank caught it and declined the transaction, but this meant the card got canceled and they would have to issue a new one.

Did I mention I was getting ready to leave town for two weeks to go on vacation?

While I was on the phone with them I logged into the bank website to find the entirety of my savings account had been transferred to checking, something that I did not do. I asked the nice lady on the phone about it and she tracked it down to an online transaction originating from a computer in...Northern Virginia. So, they immediately put a hold on my online transactions as well.

Did I mention I was getting ready to leave town for two weeks to go on vacation?

So while I was ranting and raving about not being able to access my accounts they helpfully informed me that my wife's card would still work, as well as her online access. Mrs Hades of course found this very humorous and called it "wife insurance" (as if she needs it).

My only recourse was to go to a Navy Federal Credit Union branch office and they would be able to close my existing accounts, open new ones, transfer the funds and issue me a new card on the spot. The only problem is, the nearest NFCU branch to the Refuge is an hour and a half in the opposite direction from where we were going.

But wait, her brother lives in NoVa, and there are lots of branches there!

So, a little change in plans, a detour through NoVa (which actually didn't add any travel time to the trip; we just went north and then west instead of west and then north), a quick stop by the bank and lunch with Brother In Law and all was as it should be.

I then spent a few hours on the laptop changing all my direct deposits (you can do this with DFAS but it takes some hoop-jumping; I had to call my place of employment to do the same) and online accounts (Amazon, Paypal, etc) to the new numbers. Unfortunately I forgot USAA and ended up paying a bounced check charge from them, but that is all squared away now, too.

I am also now in the habit of checking my bank accounts, if not daily then every other day, to catch anything that may be wrong. Probably something I should have been doing all along, but had not been. It's a good thing for me that Navy Fed has such a sharp anti-fraud division.

The upside to all this technology is it makes things convenient. The down side to all this technology is...it makes things convenient. We have always had scammers of one sort or another, the digital world just gives them another outlet to perpetuate their fraud. This one is just immediate and more convenient since they never have to leave their mother's basements in order to scam you out of all your hard earned life savings, as well as your good name.

So far I've been lucky, but I will pay double rates for the guy who invents software that makes the computers of hackers and online scammers to self destruct any time they try to ply their trade...and triple rates if said destruction immolates the scammers as well.

Yes, that's right. I said it. Scammers and hackers must die in a fire. Horribly. On Christmas. In front of their relatives.

But since it looks like we will always have them with us, it is up to us to safeguard ourselves.

New Year Catch Up

December brought a lot of travel for the holidays. As we did last year, Mrs Hades and I made a multi-state visit of friends and relatives...mostly relatives. Eleven states in as many days, although most of them were simple drive-throughs with stops only for gas and essentials. With her parents in Pennsylvania and mine in Iowa, that makes for a long time in a car together. It's a good thing we're so well matched.

With December done we came home to resume our normal schedule, only to be greeted with, what is for this area, a major snow storm last Friday that has pretty much shut the whole area down all weekend. The temperatures are supposed to be climbing above freezing today for the first time since Friday, so the snow will be melting off starting today and continuing through the week. By Friday it is supposed to be in the 70's before dropping back down to our seasonally appropriate 50's.

Seasons of the South. Gotta love 'em.

And of course once again I am delayed in putting up the ROTM. I hope it was worth the wait.

Happy New Year everyone!

19 December 2016

Hotel Roanoke

The Hotel Roanoke was built by the Norfolk and Western Railroad, opening on Christmas Day in 1882 in a little town called Big Lick. The N&W had chosen Big Lick as it's headquarters and the hotel was to serve as the centerpiece of the grand city they intended to build there.

Hotel Roanoke, 1882
For 107 years the Grand Old Lady of Roanoke reigned on her hilltop, gradually becoming surrounded by the city of Roanoke as she watched the Norfolk & Western grow into the Norfolk Southern. Over the years the hotel gained a couple of new wings and a grand lobby and dining facility in 1937-38. Finally in 1989, long after the era of luxurious passenger trains had ended, the Norfolk Southern closed the hotel and donated it to the Virginia Tech Real Estate Foundation.

Hotel Roanoke, 1910
 In 1995 the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center was opened. The grand lobby, the Regency Room dining room, the Pine Room pub and the Palm Court are much as they were on the day the hotel was closed and the hotel still sits atop her hill, watching over the city that she helped to build.

Today the hotel is part of the Hilton's Curio Collection.

 Every year the hotel erects a Christmas tree in the lobby, the only year there was not a tree here was in 1982 when a birthday cake celebrating the hotels 100th birthday was displayed instead.

 The check in counter would be familiar to any of the hotels guests for the past 50 years or so. Great care was taken to ensure the history of the hotel was preserved when ownership passed from the Norfolk Southern Railway Corporation to Virginia Tech.

 The Palm Court was originally called the Oval Room because of its shape.

 The Pine Room was originally an officer's club, serving the Army and Navy aviators training at nearby Woodrum Field in Roanoke during WW2.

 Many of the hotels past accoutrements were on display, donated by the buyers who attended the great 17 day sale in 1989 when the hotel property was liquidated.

The fire in the fireplace is gas now instead of wood, but it still brings warmth to its corner in the main lobby. Below, this curved wall contains the Regency Room dining room and was once the outer wall of the hotel. The conference center was added for the hotels re-opening, enclosing the courtyard around the Regency Room.

 Mrs Hade's grandfather was an employee of the N&W in the 50's and was involved in the renovation of the hotel during that time period. It is speculated that if the timelines were synchronized it is quite possible that Hotel Roanoke is the conception point for her Uncle Jeff.

We visited the hotel this past weekend and had dinner in the Regency Room, we took some pictures for Grammy and enjoyed the annual Christmas tree display. This one, of course, is my favorite; the Coca Cola Christmas Train.

13 December 2016


Bridget has written a couple of books.

They might make good Christmas presents.

Afterword: Sadly, her blog has become invitation only, and I wasn't on the invite list, so it has been taken off the blog roll.
 It will be missed, especially the recipes. Maybe one of her next books will be a cookbook.

08 December 2016

Tis The Season

The Subaru is fixed and once again on the road. It has been running now for a couple of weeks, but time will tell how well the fix took this time.

Eldest Son will no longer be driving it, though, he finally scraped enough money together to get his car back on the road. One less yard ornament in front of the house.

Speaking of yard ornaments, the tree is up and decorated but I have not put anything up outside. I might not since we are once again going to be traveling for Christmas.

And speaking of Christmas, the lovely Ms Heyworth would like to wish you a Merry one.

19 November 2016

(insert expletives here)

Subaru. Head gaskets. Again.

It started overheating last week, I thought it couldn't be head gaskets since we just put them in. We tried purging the air and a pressure test, found a few leaks and corrected them, but in the end the head gaskets are just blown again.

They have less than 5000 miles on them. I haven't even changed the oil since the last time they were changed.

I'm going with the turbo gaskets this time around, I am told they last longer. Instead of spending a lot of money and time on it this time I'm just going to yank the heads and put the gaskets on it. The heads were just planed and should be fine but I'll check them with a straightedge before putting them back on. That's what I did the time before last and they lasted 90,000 miles that time.

It likewise just got a new timing belt and timing belt kit (pulleys, water pump, etc), belts and hoses so all it should need is fluids and gaskets. Oh, and bolts, $65 for the set, one use and that's it (at times like this I really miss my smallblock Chevy, the finest V8 motor ever produced by anyone at any time in the history of ever, period, and if you don't believe that you are just wrong).

I swear if I have to put head gaskets on this thing again in the next year it's going on the block. The entire reason for getting newer cars was so I wouldn't have to do this all the time.

Either way, this is my very last Subaru.

06 November 2016


Yesterday was Love Your Red Hair Day.

What's not to love?

28 October 2016

I Didn't

get to the range yesterday like I wanted to.

I didn't go to the dentist like I was supposed to do either.

Both have been rescheduled.

26 October 2016

Speaking Of

I got an email over the transom today (or maybe yesterday, shows you how much I check my email...about as often as I write blog posts it seems) from a company called Wideners Reloading and Shooting Supply. I've never done business with them before (so the FTC can go bugger off) but they have an article about reloading powder that I found interesting, and maybe you will, too.

Here is the email in its entirety (with comments when I deem appropriate):

Anne from Widener’s over here - I can't believe the election is only 12 days away! As I saw on your blog that you have been preparing your readers for our 2016 Election of Trump v. Hillary with your latest share from Zero Hedge on how the elite have no idea that society is near the breaking point (Note: my link, HT: Guffaw in AZ) I also read that you hope to get back to the range as well. (Note: my link) Maybe we can help inspire your readers and you!

We just published a Guide to Smokeless Powder
(Note: original link) for ammo reloaders. As you probably know, smokeless powder is one of the most important components of ammo and one of the most complicated. We decided to go through the basics of reloading powder to show the different characteristics and how your choice of powder can affect your shot.

With the election coming up we don’t know what will happen with the world of factory ammo. Because of that, we anticipate a lot of questions about reloading in the coming months.

Our hope is that the guide will help make reloading less intimidating for shooters. I think you’ll find the high resolution images to be a great resource for your readers who may be considering reloading - or may already do so. There is also a great video that demonstrates burn rate in a way that is really easy to understand.

We'd be honored if you'd take a look and feel free to use any of the images or videos for your site.

Thank you for your time,


I thought it was interesting, maybe you will, too.

22 October 2016

Shame on Me

I need to get to the range more often, and now that I'm a member I really have no excuse not to.

Lately between hurricanes and doctors appointments I really haven't had the time, but that is not truly a good excuse. I really hate to go during the week because Mrs Hades can't come with me, and on the weekends we often do other things, but that's not really a good excuse, either. I'm certain that if I scheduled range time during one of our weekends she'd be glad to go, and if I went by myself on the weekdays she wouldn't mind.

Last weekend I worked and last week I had my Happy Birthday borescope inspection so those two days were pretty much shot in the...OK, bad joke. On the bright side, however, we did get down to Eagle 1 when the doc was finished with me, where the nice lady behind the counter showed a Glock 43 to Mrs Hades. Unfortunately they didn't have one to rent so we couldn't try it out, but the Mrs liked the feel of it in her hand well enough to suspect there may be one in her future.

This weekend is a postponed anniversary trip and next week I have a dentists appointment in the afternoon, which should not keep me away from the range in the morning at least. I'm going to try to get there then. It's a weekday so Mrs Hades won't be along for the trip, but I really do need to go.

And since hunting season is upon us now, I'll bring the rifles out to play a bit.

This post brought to you by the reminder that my range fees are due for the year, which also reminds me that it's been a while since I've been out there.

I Fear

that he is right.

I hope that he is wrong.

And seeing what comes of relying on hope does not give one warm fuzzy feelings regarding the future.

Either way I'm going to enjoy this weekend with Mrs Hades and deal with what comes when it comes.

HT: Guffaw in AZ

14 October 2016

In Other News


Life Goes On

Hurricane Matthew came to visit. He left us without power for not quite 24 hours which wasn't enough to melt the ice cubes in my freezer so all is well. Better for me than for some, but I was certainly thinking about a generator after hearing my neighbors. All I really need is something to run the water pump for the well, but being able to run the refrigerator/freezer would be good, too.

I have a camp stove and plenty of gas for it and I have a fireplace in case of cold weather and extended outages, but water is something I have to have brought in. Fortunately M insists on bottled water so we always have plenty on hand, and we were able to use the copious amounts of rainwater collected in buckets for flushing water.

The bottom line though is we got lucky. The temperatures have been moderate lately so it was neither too hot or too cold, even after the storm had passed, so neither heat nor AC was a critical necessity. That is definitely not always the case. We were OK for drinking water but if the power had been out much longer flushing water would have certainly been an issue.

I'm wondering how difficult it would be to have an old fashioned hand pump put in. One of the houses I rented once upon a time had a small one mounted on the kitchen counter beside the sink, which I thought was a great idea. I'm thinking something like that would have to be designed with the house, but one out in the yard may not be overly difficult.

I'm also going to need to get some more lamp oil and maybe one or two more hurricane lamps. The one we had never really got used but it would have been nice to have a few backups just in case the power stayed out longer than it did.

In other news, my work schedule changed on the first of the month. Once upon a time I worked what they call a red/blue or a 2-2-3 schedule. The way it works is thusly: working 12 hour days (or in my case, nights) in one weeks time, starting from Sunday, you will work Sunday, off Mon/Tues, work Wed/Thur and be off for Fri/Sat. The next week you will be off the days you worked on the previous week and work the days you were off. The nice thing about this schedule is you get a 3 day weekend every other weekend, but the down side is you have to keep your days plotted on a calendar for planning purposes.

For the past 8-9 years, however, I've been working a front/back schedule. The way that one works is I was on every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and ever other Wednesday, so one week I would work 3 in a row and the next week I would work 4 in a row (I was on the front end; a different crew worked the back end consisting of Thursday, Friday and Saturday and the alternate Wednesdays). The nice thing about this schedule is that you always know what days you have off and you only have to keep track of one day for planning purposes, the down side is every weekend you will be working one of the two days (the weekend being Saturday and Sunday)

The back end crew (led by their senior tech) decided it sucked working all of the prime tail-chasing days of Friday and Saturday, so they took a vote to change it (isn't that cute, they took a vote!). Of course what they WANTED to do was change our alternating days from Wednesday to Saturday, so instead of working half of every weekend (remember the weekend is Saturday and Sunday, not Friday/Saturday) I would get to work all of every other weekend and half of the rest, while they would get every other weekend off altogether.

When I pointed out that M works M-F and so I would be giving up half the days in the month I had off with her in exchange for nothing I was told that was the point; I had had it too good for too long so it was my turn to suffer. I suggested that if they wanted fair, which is what they were claiming they wanted, a red/blue schedule would be the most fair way for everyone. You would have thought I invited them to a group self-immolation.

I'm sorry...no. I have enough seniority and have invested enough sweat equity that I don't have to take that particular orifice violation. So, back to red/blue we went, which caused the instigator of the whole schedule change fiasco to put in his resignation.

I see I forgot to mention that the instigator took the boss and the bosses boss to HR over it. At any other company the HR director would have declined to get involved, but at ours they sailed right in, prepared to do battle on the instigators part, until it was pointed out to them (by the legal department) that the rest of the group was working red/blue so the instigators claim of discrimination was ridiculous from the beginning (no he wasn't a minority, just an asshole).

At any rate, taking your boss (and your bosses boss) to HR does not usually lead to a long career with the company in question, so when the resignation was tendered it was immediately and gladly accepted.

So, with the weekend of the 7th, 8th and 9th suddenly free M and I decided to take a little trip to Myrtle Beach for our anniversary...which brings us back to the first part of this post.

Obviously we didn't go. The trip has been re-scheduled for the weekend of the 21st-23rd and hopefully the weather that we have had for the past week will continue through those dates.

Last year our honeymoon was partially spoiled by the remnants of Hurricane Joaquin meandering through the Appalachians when we were trying to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, this year it was Matthew devastating the coast on the weekend we were supposed to be going to the beach.

I certainly hope this doesn't turn into a habit.

But this weekend I'll be working the entire weekend for the first time in a very long time, and then Monday...ah, Monday...

Did I mention I turned 50? Yay me.

01 October 2016

Happy Anniversary

The lovely Mrs Hades and I were wed exactly one year ago today.

I've had a good year.

And to commemorate that event, this months ROTM spot will be taken over by the one that makes me smile.

I love you M. Happy Anniversary!

11 September 2016

I Remember

I remember where I was.

I remember what I was doing.

I remember what happened.

I won't ever forget.

04 September 2016

Another Month

Yesterday was the first Redhead Festival held on the East Coast in the USA, held in Dunbar WV. I don't know if they made it or not but they were hoping to set the world record for the largest number of gingers gathered in one spot.

In honor of that event the Redhead of the Month is not a person, but instead an event, represented by this photo taken by festival goer Matt Meadows.

And also, since it is September it must be Kilted to Kick Cancer month! Head on over to this link, pick your team and make your donation, then make an appointment to get your junk checked out. Mine is set for the middle of the month, and I've got a nifty new Sport Kilt in the Navy Edzell tartan that I'll be wearing for it.

Other than that...I got nothin'.

19 August 2016

And furthermore...

So it looks like my schedule will be changing soon, which doesn't bode well for my involvement in the train club but should be good in other ways. I'll be working every other weekend, but now instead of working every Sunday I'll be getting all three days off every other weekend. Unfortunately the weekend that I will be working includes my anniversary weekend, but fortunately for me Mrs Hades is as understanding as she is lovely so we will be celebrating the weekend after.

Our plans are to drive the coast road, NC12, and see what there is to see all along the outer banks. Hopefully there won't be another hurricane (Note: Hurricane Matthew did, indeed, come to visit, damn his eye) to deal with as there was last year, but if there is one I hope that it will go to the mountains that weekend like it did last year instead of going to the coast.

The Mustang is having a brake squeak problem again, in the right rear. I found a sticking caliper pin, which I lubricated and unstuck, but the squeaking came back. I then installed slotted disks and new pads on all four corners, which solved the problem for a little while but it is back. I have obtained a new caliper mount and hopefully that will solve the problem, if not I do have a new caliper and brake hose. (Note: it ended up being the anti-rattle clip that had come out of position and was rubbing the rotor. New clip, problem solved.)

Last but not least I cooked up another batch of Chicken Marsala tonight, using a modified recipe, and it meets the full approval of Mrs Hades, who is a Chicken Marsala connoisseur. The modified recipe makes a lot of extra sauce, which Mrs Hades likes, and has a nice subtle taste which was appreciated across the board. It looks like this will go on the regular Refuge menu.

And without further ado, here it is:

Chicken Marsala

1/2 C flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground oregano
8-12 chicken breast filets (or 4-6 whole boneless breasts, pounded 1/4” thin)
4 T olive oil
8 T butter, divided
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 cups sliced mushrooms
1 med Vidalia onion, sliced thin (optional)
2 cups dry Marsala cooking wine
3 T chopped parsley (or 2 T dried parsley flakes)
1 tsp rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb pasta of choice

Melt 4T butter in pan, add olive oil. Combine flour, salt, black pepper and oregano in a Ziploc bag. Pound the chicken pieces until they are 1/4” thick. Shake 3-4 chicken fillets at a time in the flour mixture and brown, approximately 3-4 minutes each side, over medium high heat. Remove to a separate container and cover to keep warm.

Add the mushrooms, garlic and onion if used. Saute over medium heat until brown. approximately 4-5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the Marsala,add the parsley and rosemary. Stir well, return the chicken to the pan. Cover and simmer on medium low heat approximately 5 minutes.

Remove the chicken pieces once more and cover to keep warm. Swirl in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat, stir until an emulsion is made.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Dish the pasta out, add chicken to each serving and cover with sauce. Serve immediately.