25 April 2014

Customer Service

When I went looking for deer rifles the one I really really wanted was the Remington 700 CDL.

I didn't have the extra cash to spend on the Remington, and I really couldn't justify the cost for what amounts to a brush gun (I wanted the rifle for Bambi, and where I hunt is usually within shotgun range), so I ended up with the Mossberg.

It may not have the pinpoint accuracy of the 700, but it shoots minute-of-Bambi at 100 yards and the $600 difference in prices between the two will buy a lot of ammo*. Yet and still I lust after the blued steel and American walnut of the CDL.

However, given Linoge's recent experience with Remington's customer service, I think I'll be shopping the used gun market when it comes time to upgrade.

Note to Remington...the proper response would have been "We will immediately ship you a brand-new rifle to the FFL of your choice at our cost, please have him send us the old one (also at our cost) so we may analyze it and determine where our manufacturing and quality assurance processes failed."

*and a Boyds wooden stock to satisfy the "blued steel and American walnut" wantingness. I've heard that we did well this quarter...maybe there's another bonus on its way soon...

Family Ties

Laura was an only child who always wanted brothers and sisters, so she collected people. One of the people she collected was Youngest Son's teacher, Lenora. The two of them were thick as thieves, you could always find them with their heads together planning something (usually involving me as regarding my plans for the weekends).

One of the things they planned, unbeknownst to me, were her funeral arrangements. She rightly figured that I would be completely lost, so when that time came all the plans had been made and Lenora carried them out. All I had to do was keep breathing...which at times was harder than it sounds...and make it through to tomorrow.

This creates a bond, going far beyond friendship and into family territory, which is why I have a black woman 15 years my senior who I call Sis. We do for each other, as family does, and we hang together as family is supposed to, and many times I don't know how I would have managed things without her help (especially where Youngest Son is concerned).

Yesterday I got a chance to pay a little of that back.

A week ago Thursday I got a frantic text message at work saying Tyrant was dead and she was dropping Youngest Son off at the house. Very confusing, to say the least, so as soon as I could I called her back. "Tyrant" was an autocorrection of TyRahn, her grandson. He was 22. She was on her way to Goldsboro to get his mother (who understandably was a complete wreck) and then she was going to Winston-Salem where his dad's family lived.

Details are somewhat sketchy and the investigation is ongoing, but apparently he was at some girl's house, he managed to make her mad about something and she made a phone call. A little later on there was a knock at the door, she told him to answer it and when he did he got a chest full of lead for his troubles. Now she's gone on the lam, his best friend (who was there with him and caught a bullet as well) is in the hospital, and he's in the ground.

Throughout last week we traded phone calls and texts (funny little segue here, if not for Lenora adding her insistence to Laura's I would not even have a cell phone because I am a complete Luddite and also I don't like leashes) in which arrangements were made and plans were finalized, which is how I found myself at the funeral with a speaking part.

This did not sit well with his father's family (because my skin tone has a definite pallor), but fuck them, I was there for Sis the way she had been - and always has been - there for me. After all was said and done I made more friends with the rest of the family by taking her home instead of leaving her there to be the answer to all of their pathetic little problems.

Sis is now home and hopefully getting some rest. I told her if she answered the phone in the next 3 days I was coming over there to gather them all up and take them away, and if needs be I will break out the Saiga and patrol the perimeter to keep everyone away. Plenty of time to play Atlas later, I told her, and she's promised to relax for the next three days.

I give her 24 hours before she's out trying to save the world again.

22 April 2014

Happy Urf Day!

Looks like I'll be driving the 'stang in to work tonight...

20 April 2014

Have A Happy Easter!

Your Sith overlords command it...

19 April 2014

Keep Alive Posting

Happy Easter everyone!

The first rule of blogging is to post every day, and this month I have shattered that rule into so many fragments that I will never find all of them. So, in an effort to at least partly make up for my long silence, I offer the following:

I finally got the chance to take the Mossberg out and sighted it in and even with me behind the trigger it will shoot Minute of Bambi groups at 100 yards, so I think I'm ready for North American Hoofed Rat season. It's not a precision shooter, but then again neither am I so it all works out.

The Mustang 50th Anniversary bash is happening in Charlotte, three hours from me, but I didn't go. I had to work the first two days of the festivities and I really didn't want to deal with the crowds and the traffic. I have friends in Charlotte who are reporting in regularly so I'm getting a good idea of everything going on. The new 2015 is reportedly even better in person than in pictures, so it might be a good thing I didn't go. I'm talking myself out of a 2015 base model GT coupe with Brembos, I don't really need it and I really don't want a car payment.

The Mustang I do have needs a windshield washer pump. I have it in hand, and one day when the weather clears up I'll pull the front bumper cover off and put it in. While I have it off I'll take it over to my body guy and see if he can't fix the dog damage on it. I didn't notice it at the time, but when the bumper cover hit the bumper it put a small split in a place where it can be seen.

It also split behind the front valence, but it can't be seen there so I haven't worried about it. I noticed the visible split when I was cleaning the car up for Lenoir. Since I have it off anyway this will be a good time to get it fixed in both places. If he can't get to it right away I'll have to put it back on with the split and get it done another day, it has to be done fairly quickly so it will be ready for a road trip next month.

It looks like I'll be making another Midwest trip then, my niece is graduating high school (we hope) and her sister who is in college in Winchester VA is going to split the gas with me to go out and attend. Of course we are taking the convertible, so hopefully I'll be able to get that bumper cover fixed before then. I'll have to take my dog this trip because there won't be anyone at home to take care of him.

Middle Daughter, Son In Law and Youngest Grandson are moving back to Florida on the 3rd of next month, they are excited to be going. Son In Law's mother lives in Jacksonville (I call her Grandma In Law) so they will be staying with her until they get settled. They've been here for 3 years, so it might be a while before they get settled. GIL doesn't seem to mind, though.

Youngest Son's birthday is tomorrow, but we did all his birthday stuff yesterday. He got his sisters old Droid X, she got my old Droid Razr and I got a new HTC and then we went skating that night - or rather he went skating while I sat in the corner with the laptop. He's happy with his phone, and Dad pays the bill so it all works out. Unfortunately it wasn't a perfect day for him.

To mar his perfect day, tragedy has struck close to home. My youngest son's teacher, who I call Sis because she is close enough to be family, lost a grandson late last Thursday night. He was at some girls house, pissed her off, she called someone and when that someone knocked on the door told him to answer it. He did and got a chest-full of 9mm for his troubles. He was 22. Youngest Son was his little buddy, so he isn't taking it well. The funeral is next Thursday so I'm taking Youngest Son to it.

And that's the news from the Refuge.

06 April 2014

Thought Of The Day

Sure, them furrin cars are pretty and all, but pound for pound us Yanks have, in my opinion, produced the best and most beautiful cars on the planet. For sheer sex appeal I'll put a Duesenberg Model J up against any Jaguar ever produced (even the ones made by Ford that don't sit underneath the oak trees looking pretty cause that's as far as they can drive without breaking down) and I'd rather own my Mustang than any BMW you could bring me.


Having never seen so much as a single episode of the show, I can't say I'm a fan. However, Erin Palette is, and when we went shooting last month she was wearing a shirt that had a Firebird logo, but instead of the bird there was a pony in the middle.

She oh-so casually mentioned that there was one for Mustangs as well, and if I had one would I wear it? I told her I didn't watch the show, but since I like MY little Pony I'd not only wear it, I'd have a picture taken and put it on the blog.

It's just a shame I didn't have it earlier yesterday, I would have worn it to Lenoir NC for the first cruise-in of the month.

The sign made its first public appearance, and it was well received, in fact the cruise-in staff has asked me to bring it back next time and let them put it at the end of the street that is designated Mustang Alley.

I started the day at the shooting range where I got the Mossberg sighted in for 100 yards yesterday morning and got the new magazines for the High Standard dialed in as well, so it was a good day all the way through.

03 April 2014

Handy Man

And now I'm all ready for Lenoir on Saturday.

April Showers

Yesterday the weatherman said it was going to be warm and sunny today, but it is decidedly cool and overcast instead and these water drops falling down look suspiciously like the rain that wasn't supposed to be here until tomorrow.

Today the weatherman says we are going to get some rain showers and tomorrow is going to be the sunny and warm day. Saturday and Sunday are going to be cooler and partly to mostly sunny, which is fine because Saturday the new Mossberg 30-06 is supposed to get its inaugural run.

Today is also Middle Daughter and Son-In-Law's fourth anniversary.

And also, since it is a new month...

April's redhead, Lydia Hearst, is brought to you courtesy of Maxim Magazine.

02 April 2014

All's Well

Eldest Son's birthday is today.

To celebrate, he came over and helped me finish the Subaru up and then I cooked burgers on the grill for him. I also let him take one of the TV's home that never gets watched, so it was a good day for both of us.

01 April 2014

Mixed Bag

The plan today was to change the right side drive axle on the Subaru because it's making a bit of noise and then go enjoy this 80 degree day with the top down to celebrate my little Firefly's fourth birthday (she rolled off the line at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant on April 1, 2010; daughter thought the cake and ice cream was a bit much but she ate it anyway).

The reality was two bad axles and two bad ball joints.

I already had one drive axle, but of course I didn't have the ball joints or the other axle. Off to the parts store I went (at least I got to ride for a little while with the top down) to get another drive axle and the ball joints. They had the axle, but we had to order the ball joints.

Back to the house with the drive shaft and the disassembly began. The right ball joint separated from the control arm just fine, but it was rusted into the steering knuckle. Son In Law and I managed to get it out after much cursing, sweating, pounding, prying and PB'laster. We then got the drive shaft installed (sans ball joint, which will have to wait until Thursday cause I have stuff to do tomorrow) and went over to the left side.

We were running out of daylight and the ball joint had barely budged, so we called it a day and went inside. After a quick shower I tried out my bacon cheddar broccoli soup recipe.

It must have been good, because it's all gone now.

6 slices bacon
1/2 of a medium Vidalia (sweet) onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups half and half (or 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of heavy cream)
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 bay leaves
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped small
4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Bread Bowls

In a cast iron skillet over medium heat fry the bacon crisp. Remove the bacon and add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onions are tender. Stir in the flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the bacon grease is absorbed. Continue cooking until the flour has browned slightly, then transfer everything to a stew pot. Crumble the bacon and add it as well.

Slowly add the half and half and chicken stock, stir until smooth. Add the nutmeg and bay leaves and cook on medium low until thickened.

Reduce heat. Add the carrot and broccoli and simmer until tender. Discard the bay leaves. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper and serve in bread bowls.