30 December 2015

Nice To Be Home Again

Eleven states and both families have been visited in the past ten days. Gifts and greetings have been exchanged and a good time was had by all.

We got back home today in the rain to find the roof still leaks in the kitchen and bathroom. As I type this missive I am listening to pieces falling off the kitchen ceiling.

I guess for the new year I'm going to break down and put a new roof on the Refuge...and one on the Mustang as well, for the same reason.

Be it ever so waterlogged, there's no place like home...

25 December 2015

Merry Christmas Everyone

And Now

in an effort to offset the negativity, let me tell you what I've been up to lately.

Last Saturday, December the 19th, M and I packed up the car and headed west to Iowa. M was a bit nervous about it since it was her first time meeting the folks, but as I expected it all went very well. The trip was mostly uneventful although she did tease me a bit about going all the way through Tennessee rather than have to enter the People's Republic of Illinois.

She and Mother hit it off famously, Mother being a knitter from way back and M being a relative novice. Mother knits baby blankets and sweaters and M mostly knits shawls, so they were interested in each others work and spent some time with their heads together comparing notes.

On the second day here M completed the project she was on and needed materials to start something else, so off we went to the big city of Council Bluffs, Iowa (with a side trip to Omaha Nebraska) for yarn, and much to M's delight, Dunkin Donuts coffee. When we got back Mother said there was also a yarn shop right here in little Clarinda that might have a thing or two.

So downtown we went to find not really a yarn shop but a quilters shop. They mostly put the final stitching on quilts and can do everything from simple patterns to mural type designs, but they also had yarn and fabric. They didn't make a lot of money off of their yarn and fabrics though, so they were selling off their entire stock. M was in heaven.

The thing that really caught MY eye, however, was this little unobtrusive sign in the front door window.

There are a lot of examples of businesses that we as gunnies won't frequent because of the polar opposite sign in the front windows, so it's kind of nice to see one like this.

Handcart Quilts and Yarn, for all of your quilting needs.

24 December 2015


TTAG is at it again.

Yep, once again they've stolen Tam's stuff for use on their own site without attribution.

At this rate they really should hire her on as a paid author...if she would lower herself to write for such a rag.

"Dan Zimmerman. Intellectual property thief"

22 December 2015

And In Other News

I have no further reason to go to Virginia.

Range Partner calls it "Occupied Virginia" and it looks as if his assessment is spot on. VA has now joined the Northeast in it's idiocy.

Shame really...it was such a nice state once.

07 December 2015

Many Pardons

I have been remiss. Allow me to correct my erroneous ways.

I bring to you...December.

Have a great day!

21 November 2015

Road Worthy

Yesterday I washed M's car and vacuumed it out for her. While I was at it I checked the oil and lights. This morning I got up and scraped the windows clean for her.

 I do these things not because I want her to leave, but because I want her to be safe.

She headed out for Pennsylvania about an hour ago to spend the first part of the week with her family. I will join her Thursday for Thanksgiving at her brother's house in Virginia.

 As she drives, my heart rides with her.

17 November 2015


I wanted something that wouldn't keep me awake for hours and didn't have a whole lot of sugar, so I got one of these.

This sh!t sucks. I don't think I'll be getting another any time soon...like ever.

14 November 2015

What I Did Today

Today I watched M do this:

She used the Sig and did very well, as I expected since she did very well with it the first time she shot it. The next step will be to actually get the permit, but this step is done.

While I watched her do this I also sat through the class to refresh my own knowledge since I have to renew my permit in February.

It was a good day.

01 November 2015


For November the ROTM is a classy lady who passed recently.

Farewell to Maureen O'Hara. Say Hi to John for us.

24 October 2015

What If

My "adopted sister" who is a black woman 15 years older than I am lost her grandson a little more than a year ago. He answered a knock at the door and was gunned down. I don't know the details to that case, and I don't know if they ever caught the gunman.

Last week another one of her young relatives was shot eight times in an armed robbery. He saw the robbers face, you see, and the robber didn't want him to be able to identify him to the police. This young man is alive today only by the grace of God and the miracle of modern medicine.

You have heard it all before; give them what they want, it's not worth your life, better that you be beaten, robbed and raped than lose your life, it's only possessions and what possession could possibly be worth your life (an assessment that I am in vehement disagreement with, BTW). But what if what they want IS your life? What then?

I carry because I set the amount of my own worth, and the worth of those I love, and I set that value far above that price which most criminals would be willing to pay. It is up to me to enforce that price.

So what is your life worth?

Think about it.

10 October 2015

Stop n' Go

While on the Blue Ridge last week the front brakes on the 'stang started scraping. By the time we got through NoVa and back home they were scraping badly and the left rotor was showing signs of metal on metal contact.

Yesterday afternoon I put brand-new brake pads and rotors on the front. The left outside pad was down to metal but the rest of them looked practically new (they are only a bit over a year old). I checked the sliders and they moved easily.

I put on the new anti-rattle clips, cleaned and greased the sliders and put everything back together, I'll keep a close eye on it and see what happens. If all else fails I'll replace the left hose and caliper but I'm hoping the fresh grease and new clips will fix the issue.

And of course, since I couldn't drive the car all week the sun came back out to play but today and tomorrow it is supposed to rain again.

I'm In

Erin has an interesting invitation.

I have two or three carry holsters, depending on what I'm doing or where I'm going (today I'll be open carrying to a luncheon but later I'll be concealing). Here's my open carry rig.

What do you say? Show them off!

07 October 2015

Here's Something

I don't have the time nor the place (I really need to look into joining a range, too bad there isn't one close by) to do this, but one of you might.

Basically you take a new shooter to the range and then you get free ammo. Details are here.

One of these days I really need to get out to the range, but the short-term prospects for doing so aren't looking too good.

05 October 2015

What I Did This Weekend

The Blue Ridge Parkway was wet, foggy and cold. It rained the whole time and all of the Parkway north of Floyd VA was closed due to high winds and water.

I had a great weekend.

And Now, Without Further Ado

October's ROTM is brought to you by quartets.

I hope the extra content makes up for the wait.

30 September 2015

It Begins

We left the Refuge in the rain, heading to Gatlinburg TN by way of Dunkin Donuts, but somewhere along the way M called an audible and we went to Asheville NC instead. Given the weather and time constraints we (in the collective sense) decided to start out from Asheville instead of Cherokee and skip the first part of the Blue Ridge Parkway in favor of sleeping in a little later and being able to take some more time during our first day traveling.

Tomorrow will see us on the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville to our stop in Boone in time for a bit of rest and refreshment before we have to be at the chapel. This is the only scheduled event on our trip, besides being the entire reason for it.

Friday and Saturday we will drive the rest of the Parkway and the Skyline Drive, ending up in Winchester VA to see Favorite Niece sometime Saturday afternoon and Reston VA to visit Brother In Law on Saturday evening.

Sunday we will head back to the Refuge. From there...the sky is the limit.

Public Service Announcement

The ROTM posting for the month of October will be delayed due to nuptials. October's ROTM will be posted as soon as possible upon my return.

Sorry GFA.

20 September 2015

Bubba Dog

Doglet had an appointment with the doggy dentist on Friday.

He's been on antibiotics all week because he had some infection in his teeth and Friday the vet pulled all six incisors on the top jaw and the two middle ones on the bottom. He now has a large gap between the canines on the top and a smaller one on the bottom.

Now all he needs is a banjo.

17 September 2015


Doglet was getting pretty fuzzy and matted so he had to go get a haircut.

I think he's looking pretty good.

I Am Intrigued By Your Views

and wish to know if you have a newsletter to which I may subscribe...

Oh, you do! Welcome to the Refuge Wall o' Shame!

08 September 2015

Redhead Days

On the first weekend of every September there is a redhead festival in Breda in the Netherlands.

This year there will also be one the weekend following in the UK.

I cannot imagine a more worthy event.

And so in the spirit of this festival, I present to you...sunflowers!

And since it is September, it is also Kilted to Kick Cancer Month. Drop by AD's place to join in the fun.

04 September 2015


Da roof ain't on fire, but it was a big mess.

See that dormer off to the left? It's been leaking right into the main roof where it joins and the big hole in the center is the result. I noticed water coming in the window right below, and when I checked it out I realized my plans for a lazy weekend were for naught.

So, this morning I went around collecting tools and materials and right after lunch I climbed the ladder and started ripping down shingles.  What I found wasn't as bad as it could have been, it ended up being 12" x 30" with some underlaying rafter damage.

I trimmed the hole up square and cut a new piece of plywood. Then I undercut the rafters 1 1/2 inches down from where the tops would have been if there had been tops and laid a 2x4 cut 34 inches long across them, slipping the ends underneath the good sheathing on each side.

This gave me a good foundation to attach the 12x30" plywood, then on went the shingles. After the shingles were all on I applied a liberal coat of screen-door-in-the-bottom-of-the-boat sealer all over everything until all the visible joints between flashing and shingles were covered.

The thunder was rolling in by that point, so all the tools went into the truck until the rain stops. A quick shower and all is right with the world.

Later on I'll have more projects to do, but for now bring it on Mother Nature, I want to see how good a job I did.

28 August 2015

Grey Man

OldNFO has a third book out. Go check it out.


22 August 2015

One More Time

This is the last time I'm going to do this.

The deed will be done October the first.

14 August 2015


I'm in Florida at the moment, we've had the two oldest grandkids for the week and brought them back Wednesday. Yesterday we met the youngest grandchild for the first time.

Laura Ann was born Monday, August 10th just in time for my mother's birthday which was on the 11th. Her mother was the one who swore she would never have kids, and that if she ever got the maternal instinct she would borrow one of her nephews and get over it. Both of the ones in the last two pictures are hers.

Welcome to the world baby girl, your PopPop loves you.

04 August 2015


Back home, another year older, and back to work.

Oh well, vacation was nice while it lasted.

Maybe this will cheer me up...

Yeah...that helps.

Have a great day everyone!

31 July 2015

Breaking Fast

'Tis a small enough kitchen, more of a galley really,

 But 'twill suffice.

29 July 2015

17 July 2015

Funny French Words

It's almost as pretty as she is.

(she said yes)

11 July 2015

While I Was Away

June turned into July.

Sorry for the absence and the delays, it's been a busy week. First we had the 4th of July celebration at M's parents in Pennsylvania, it was a great time and I got to meet her dads side of the family. There was shooting and laughter and fireworks and much fun had by all involved, M demonstrated her targeting skills once more and "didn't embarrass myself" and I got put on grille duty and didn't embarrass myself, so all is good. We finally got back home Wednesday.

Thursday we cleaned out the kitchen cabinets and did some cooking out on the grill. Also Thursday the control panel went out in the stove again with smoke and sizzling, the second one in the past couple of years, and unfortunately it controls everything. And of course I didn't try to find one until today and all the appliance parts places that might have one are closed until 8 AM Monday. Good thing the microwave still works.

Friday we delivered some end tables to one of M's co-workers (hers this time so it isn't just my stuff that is being replaced) and got the call that the ring was ready. We went and picked it up and I've ordered the diamonds for the side stones, when they come in I'll take it to a jewelry shop in Wake Forest and have them put in. In the meantime the pink sapphire looks great and she loves it.

Today is a retirement party for one of the Mustang Forum members, so we'll be in Fayetteville for the afternoon. But before I go, a bit of necessary business.

No, I don't know who she is but she does look patriotic, doesn't she?

Have a great July everyone!

28 June 2015


If you are automatically tagged a cross burner because you are a white guy that shows up somewhere in a beat up 62 Chevy pickup with Iowa tags, is that racism? Damn right it is. You don't have to be white to be a racist and you don't have to be black to be a victim of it.

The Southern Cross, more accurately known as the Tennessee Battle Flag (which is very similar to the Army of the Potomac's Battle Flag) is a symbol of the Confederacy because it shows up in so many paintings and movies (mostly because many of the more famous battles were fought in Virginia where the AoP operated). It was never an official flag of the Confederate States of America, although it was used as the union in the second and third Confederate flags and was also used as the second Naval Jack and Ensign.

South Carolina should either use the first Confederate flag or its own Sovereignty flag over the war memorial on its Capitol grounds to get rid of the strawman that the Southern Cross has become. Changing the flag won't change attitudes, but as long as we concentrate on the symbols I guess we can ignore the substance.

26 June 2015

Range Day

Today we took some time out with Range Partner to sling some lead downrange. It was the first time M and Range Partner had met and the first time M has gone shooting with me (and as far as I know, only the second time she has ever shot handguns).

Along for the ride was Grand-Dad's High Standard, both the Glocks and the Sig. Range Partner brought a Glock of his own at my request, a Glock 21 with a .22 caliber conversion kit. Younger Son also came along, but he and Range Partner took turns with a .357 Taurus snubbie that Range Partner brought along.

After a review of the Four Rules (the first time M had ever heard them, so we went over them pretty extensively) and some basic instruction on grip, sights, stance and operation (I was ever grateful for the instruction I received at Tigerswan because all I did was review with her what I remembered from learning there) we loaded up and started putting rounds downrange.

First up was the 9mm Glock 19, followed by the Glock 21 with the .22 conversion kit installed. I wish I could say these were my targets...but no. Two fliers, one .22 and one 9mm, in the eight ring and the rest in the black, with two of the .22 and one 9mm solidly in the X.

Next up was the .45 Sig. She wasn't sure if she really wanted to shoot it, but she at least wanted to try it out. Four rounds went into the Sig, and when the smoke cleared two of them were in the eight ring and two in the ten. Next up she wanted to try the Glock 21 in Gods Own Caliber. So, off came the .22 conversion and on went the .45 slide and magazine, five rounds in the magazine...and as you can plainly see, two in the nine, two in the ten and one in the X.

Not bad shooting...for a guuuuurl.

Yeah. Not bad shooting for anyone, and when you consider this was her second time at the gun range to shoot handguns (and since the first time was a "here, point this that way and pull the trigger" you may as well say it was her first time) you could say that was pretty excellent shooting. Hell, she out-shot me, and I couldn't be prouder.

I really wish I could send her to one of Kathy Jackson's classes to learn how to shoot properly, but I will certainly find some instruction for her somewhere. I was OK with showing her the basics, but I'm not an instructor and everyone can do with some instruction. (Speaking of which Sean...isn't it about time for another Tigerswan class?)

There just might have to be a Glock 21 in her future as well.

19 June 2015


$275 to change the plugs, right around $200 for the transmission service (which is really the only thing I wanted to have done; everything else I can do myself and certainly will do in the future) and $50 for the oil change. And just for those three items I sat in the dealers waiting room for a little over four hours. That's with an appointment.

And that isn't everything Ford recommends at 100K, oh no, there is also the rear differential, the coolant system flush and fill and the fuel system servicing which would run another $400 or so. And that doesn't include having them look at the little issues I'm having with the car, such as the blend door actuator needing calibration or the oil life monitor staying at 100%.

When they asked me why I hadn't brought the car in to them for a while I just laughed and said "Gee, I don't know." Fortunately I have a full set of tools, basic mechanical knowledge, and a whole slew of friends who love Mustangs and know how to do everything associated with them, so it's not likely they will see it again for another long time.

13 June 2015

And So We Begin

I am now the proud owner of a three stone setting in white gold that is on its way to the jeweler to have the topazes removed and a pink sapphire installed in the center.

After the sapphire is in I will be getting an estimate to install diamonds into the outer settings.

M is the proud owner of a bundle of nerves.

10 June 2015


100,030 miles on the pony now. I need to schedule it for its 100K mile check-up.

I also need to schedule a dentists appointment for myself.

I also need to schedule a vet visit for doglet.

I wonder which one will get done first...

09 June 2015

You Know...

He's right.

Mother tried to raise me to be polite and kind, regardless of my failures in these areas, but it does seem as if the squeaky wheels get the grease.

After all, look at the recent social issue upheavals. They got what they wanted by being dicks, even though they are but a small percentage of the population. Hell, even the American Revolution was start, fought and won by a bare 3 percent of the population, if the stories are correct.

Makes you think.

08 June 2015


I finally made it back up to Lenoir NC this past weekend for the monthly cruise-in. There weren't as many cars this time as there usually is, but we still had a good crowd. This time was different because it wasn't just me and Youngest Son; M came along as well which was nice.

And while we were out and about wandering the streets and looking at things we happened upon this quaint little shoppe...

Of course M had to go in and check out their stock of yarn and whatnots. There were a bunch of people sitting inside knitting and talking, too. Apparently every Cruise-In day they open early and stay open late just so the ladies who have no interest in cars but have husbands/significant others who do have someplace to go and have fun in their own way.

On the plus side, M says we can go back every month.

05 June 2015

A Time to Bake

M was feeling a little depressed the other day. Seems as if she was in the mood for cookies, so she went and got some pre-made chocolate chip cookie batter and tried to bake them...and they got burned.

So while she is at work I am busy making some cookies for her, using my own recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 C butter, softened (that's two sticks)
3/4 C packed brown sugar
1/4 C white sugar
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 eggs
1 T vanilla extract
2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

2. In a large bowl cream the softened butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Beat in the dry instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.

3. Drop cookie batter by rounded spoonfuls onto a cool ungreased cookie sheet. Press down to flatten the cookies out, they will not flatten out as they bake (but they will spread, so leave plenty of room between them). Bake only as long as needed for the edges to turn golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.

Makes 2 - 2 1/2 dozen cookies (I got 30 out of this batch).

I didn't leave enough room between them for these batches...but I have the feeling they will get eaten anyway.

I also had some bananas turning brown, so I made some banana bread for Eldest Son. I substituted rum for the vanilla as per a recipe I got from Eldest Sister, so I'm curious how it turns out. It smells good anyway.

04 June 2015


Time rolls by, another month gone and it has been more than half a month since I've touched these pages. Good thing you aren't paying for this.

So, what's been happening you ask (or not). First things first, M has started the arduous process of moving in. Yes, she agreed to it, and now we're getting it done.

The house is being cleaned one room at a time and as we re-arrange we are moving some of her things in and some of the old things out. There isn't much of it, and what we are moving out needed to go anyway. I expect that process to take a while but we hope to have the bulk of it done by August.

Last weekend I went to a rimfire rifle shooting match at Crosse Creek Rifle and Pistol Club just outside of Fayetteville where I shot my Marlin 795. You may remember I equipped it with the EOTech sights for Appleseed, although I have not yet been to Appleseed.

I sucked at it.

I didn't suck as bad when I got the sights dialed in (one click up, one click left) but the only reason I didn't finish dead last in the modified sights category is Youngest Son was shooting with the scoped Marlin 60. The scope was off as well, and he did better once we got it sighted in (8 clicks left), but he still managed to score dead last.

I'm sure that if we had taken them out a couple of days before and sighted them in we both would have done better but unfortunately I don't have a place close by to do so. Nevertheless I do really need to get out to the range more. I also need a spotting scope.

School is out in a couple of weeks and that will kick off travel season here at the Refuge. There are a couple of Pennsylvania trips scheduled and at least two Florida trips as well in August. We're also hoping to make an Iowa trip around Christmastime.

But in the meantime a new month brings a new ROTM.

May I present to you the lovely Magdelena Jasek. You can see more of her here.

And now I'm off to take Eldest Son to the dentist. The fun just never stops here at the Refuge.

10 May 2015


to those folks on my blogroll that I used to visit frequently and haven't done so lately.

In my defense I've had things to distract me lately, which is nice.

But still, there have been things that happened that I wish I had seen.

I'll try to get better in the future.

05 May 2015

Customer Dis-service

Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day. It is actually Teacher Appreciation Week, but according to my favorite teacher (and the National Day Calendar) today is the day for the week to exist.

In order to commemorate the day I arranged for flowers to be delivered through an on-line service. Their website offers a 4 hour same-day delivery service, so I figured they would arrive in plenty of time before school was out.

The order went in at 9:30 AM and was processed and sent to the local florist at 10:15 AM. Plus 4 hours indicates a delivery time at or before 2:15 PM, plenty of time. I took myself off to dreamland secure in the knowledge that my teacher would be appreciated on Teacher Appreciation Day.

Sadly, no.

I got the notification at 5:07 PM that the order was out for delivery. School gets out at 3:10.

If you need flowers delivered today, I would highly recommend against using Flower Delivery Express.

UPDATE: They were delivered at 2:45 yesterday, 30 hours and 15 minutes after the order went in. So much for same day/4 hour delivery. I'm glad she liked them, even though they were late.

03 May 2015


April is done and May has begun, April showers will bring May flowers...and hopefully a bit more warm and a bit less rain. The forecast looks good here at the Refuge for the next week, lots of sun and temperatures in the high 70's to low 80's, at least until Saturday when the rain reappears. This assumes, of course, that the weather-guessers have guessed right this week.

And since the weather is giving promises of summer, here is the Redhead of the Month for May:

Here's hoping she is dressed appropriately for the month.

27 April 2015

This Lack of Posting Brought To You By Real Life

You may have been wondering (or not) what I've been up to lately since I've obviously not been blogging.

This past weekend I finished cleaning up the master bedroom and got it re-arranged. Ditto with the master bedroom closet, to include the hanging of new shelves (take note, if you want them done right you don't want me to do them). The new arrangement has opened the room up and I like it a lot better than it was before. M is now making curtains for it, she's been a great help.

To facilitate cleaning the master bedroom I've started an office where I've moved the computer I am currently banging the keyboard on as well as my bookshelves and all of my books. Damn, I have a lot of books. But I digress. The office was M's suggestion as well, it was something I was considering anyway but she had a lot of good ideas about how to get it done.

I've had to become completely ruthless as I've gone about my cleaning, at first I was putting everything into boxes thinking "the girls might want this" but as I've come along I've adopted the attitude that if they wanted it they've had five years to come and claim it. I'm tossing about everything but pictures now. There certainly is a lot of it, and I'm sure the trash man will hate me.

Next on the agenda is the train room (bonus room off the master bedroom) and then on to the living room, dining room and family room. It really needs to get done, I've got dust bunnies the size of house cats, but the rest of the house shouldn't be as bad as the master suite. The dining room will be extra interesting because on the dining room table is this great honking dollhouse that I've been trying to complete for Grand-daughter.

The dollhouse was a project that Laura and I started, I did the building/assembling and she was to do the decorating. It's a huge Victorian, complete with corner turret, three stories and thirteen rooms all together. Laura decided she wanted Grand-daughter to have it when she got sick, but the decorating never got done (although the assembling is mostly done). I think I'll have Grand-daughter up for the summer to do the decorating and then maybe we can get the project completed.

Maybe she will let M help her. It's been tough on her, accepting M's presence, since she was her grandmother's heart and soul, so maybe she won't...but maybe she will. She was absolutely crushed when Laura died and she was distant when M and I were there at the beginning of the month. I hope that she will accept M's help, and in doing so perhaps be able to do some healing of her own.

At times it's been tough, but I've got proper motivation to keep me going.

13 April 2015

All Good Things

Monday morning. Everyone back to work and school.

2000 miles, two different cars and seven states, we still like each other and no one had to thumb a ride home.

It's been a good week.

09 April 2015

Catching Up

The Florida part of our trip went very well, the liquid sunshine took a break and the girls loved M, as I knew they would. Or more to the point, the girls loved how happy I am since M came into my life, which amounts to the same thing. We got in some beach walking and touristing as well, so all in all it was a good trip.

But wait, there's more. The later part of the week is being spent in Pennsylvania, where M is from, at her parent's house. Her mother is deeply appreciative of how I treat M so already I've made a good impression on her, and her dad isn't quite the curmudgeon that M says he is (either that or he's on his best behavior).

For the next couple of days we will be wandering to and fro about the Pennsylvania/West VA countryside as M and her mom enjoy each others company. My job is to fetch and carry and generally show her parents that I will be good to their daughter. I can handle that.

On the way up we passed by Pilot Mountain, which is near Mount Airy NC. Youngest Son saw it and immediately announced that it looks like a nipple.*

He's right, you know. It does. And now that I've seen it, I cannot un-see it.

At any rate, this brings us to the final but by no means least important item on the agenda, the Redhead of the Month:

April's ROTM is brought to you by Europe. It has to be good for something after all.

And with the necessities out of the way, I'm back on vacation. See you next week!

*I'm shrouding myself in the illusion that Youngest Son recognizes the nipple from TV or the internet, and have instructed him to leave my illusions intact.

08 April 2015

Due To Circumstances

beyond my control this month's ROTM will regretfully be delayed.

Sorry Guffaw, I'll try to make up for it later.

Off to the Pennsylvania mountains now.

05 April 2015

Some Beach

Somewhere...in this case Mayport, FL.

31 March 2015

Two More Days

Workdays, that is, and after they are done I'll be on vacation for the week.

The plans are to take M to Florida to meet the girls and walk the beaches for the weekend, then back to rest up for a day and repack, then off to Pennsylvania to meet her folks.

She's been buying new togs for the trip. She hasn't had the need for a "girly" wardrobe for a while so didn't have anything to take along. She has also been complaining all the while about the coin she's putting out, but it appears as if she has everything she needs now.

Sunday morning I was folding my laundry and putting everything in the bag I'm taking on the trip and she was telling me it was too early to pack (accentuating her point by taking my socks out of my bag and throwing them - like a girl - at me). After I went to work she went back to her apartment...and packed for the trip.

All told we will travel a bit over 2000 miles, half in my car and half in hers, the two of us and Boy. I figure if I don't end the week standing on the side of the road with my thumb in the air it will be a successful trip.

30 March 2015

One Of These Days

I'll post some content. I promise.

Not today though. Work day today.

18 March 2015


Damn Lies, and Statistics.

You are entitled to your own opinion, but sometimes the facts can be pretty annoying.

16 March 2015

A Few Simple Repairs

The past weather has not been kind to my poor convertible top. Yesterday when I put it back up I found this:

Yep, that's the rear glass un-bonded from the canvas outer top almost all the way around. The bottom still has a strip that is barely holding on, but the top and sides are completely unattached. The glass is still attached to the inner liner so there aren't any leaks, but it's only a matter of time before I have problems with water between the layers.

The convertible top people I've contacted seem to think that four years is a bit soon for this car to be having this problem, but for a nominal fee ($1800-$2000) they will be glad to install a lifetime warranty top that should fix it right up.

Or I could opt for the $200-300 re-glue job instead, which isn't guaranteed at all but just might buy me a couple more years.

I'm thinking I might explore that option to begin with and see how that works out for me. If I save my nickels and dimes I might have a couple of grand to put down on a new top in another year or so, but right now I'm just not seeing it.

Oh the joys of convertible ownership. You take the good with the bad I guess.

12 March 2015

Darkness Falls

across the face of the Discworld.

Thank you Sir Terry Pratchett, for this and for all the other things that you wrote. Rest in peace.

The EBS Project: Revisited

Remember when I said it was done?

Well...I may have been a bit hasty...

It would require a re-barrel since I have the 8 shot magazine and the 20" barrel, but it would be totally worth it. Of course I would have more into the gun in accessories at that point than I had in the actual purchase price, but if I start adding things up I may have already passed that point anyway.

Drum magazine fed evil black shotgun? I can hear Nanny Nancy screaming from here...

Couldn't Help Myself

I just had to tell her.

The nice thing is...she said it right back.

10 March 2015

Ain't Skeert

Ain't runnin'.

I know you've had it rough up to now, and I know that talk is cheap, so I'll just be right here wrapped around you until you can believe it on your own.

On The Mend

Weak and dizzy like I've been on a 3 day bender but it looks like I'm getting better.

Just don't ask how many attempts it took to type these two sentences.

08 March 2015


I've been cleaning house quite a bit lately and stirring up a lot of dust.

Wednesday when the weather was nice I changed out the central air filters, stirring up even more dust.

Wednesday night I had a sore throat. It only got worse from there.

All weekend I've been unwell, something that is not normal for me.

I don't like it a bit.

05 March 2015


As predicted the rain and cold are back today after a very brief hiatus. It was 60 and damp when I left work this morning, 55 and misting when I got home 45 minutes later, and at 1:30PM the temperature has dropped over 20 degrees and the rain is steady.

This afternoon the rain is expected to become freezing rain just in time for rush hour and whatever is on the ground by midnight will turn to ice as the temperature plunges to 19 overnight. It will stay that way through the morning hours since the temperatures tomorrow aren't expected to climb above the mid 30's.

In other words, winter is BACK, beyotches!

It was nice while it lasted.

04 March 2015

It's About Time

Seventy glorious degrees and despite the fell warnings of the prognosticators the sun is shining brightly.

Betcha can't guess what I'm driving to work tonight...

03 March 2015

For Range Partner

It ain't much, but it's what I got.

02 March 2015

Heat Wave

The temperature is up high enough today (55 Fahrenheit) to have completely melted the snow off the car. The snow is also gone from the bushes and they are starting to stand back up, a good sign that they will recover from the snowpocalypse. There is still a nice unbroken expanse of snow through the front yard which is shaded by the pine trees out front and along the back in the shadow of the house, but everywhere else it is gone except for fringes.

Dog and I were able to walk all around the house for the first time in a long time.The back yard is pretty wet, but except for some low-lying spots and the aforementioned expanse in the shadow of the trees the ground in the front of the house has dried up pretty well. Tomorrow is supposed to be quite a bit cooler (39) with rain but Wednesday the forecast is for 70 degrees or better, depending on who you listen to. Of course it will be raining.

Thursday is calling for more snow and freezing rain.

I love living in the South.

It could be worse, though. Tam has been Scooby-less due to clutch issues that have thankfully been resolved and she's had to pilot the Nazi roller skate around in way worse weather than I've had to endure for quite some time now. In my world the Baja has soldiered on without a hiccup and the Mustang hasn't moved in over two weeks (although I did fire it up the other day to dry it out and hear it run). I'm going to take it out a bit today though while the temperature allows and the sun shines.

01 March 2015

That's Nice

She left her shirt here this morning.

That means she will be back to get it.

This pleases me in ways I can't begin to describe.


It has come in, if not like a lion then at least like an icy little lamb with freezing rain and ice hanging off of the trees. It's warm enough now that it has mostly melted away, but when it gets cold tonight it's going to be a real fun time driving home.

But, ice storms notwithstanding it is a new month, and even though my own situation has changed for the better there still must be a ROTM, oh yes there must.

And so, without further ado, I give you your morning coffee.

Love those socks. Hey, I have a table almost exactly like that one...

Good morning everyone!

27 February 2015

Oh Yeah (note to God),

about that weather...

You can feel free to knock this off at any time.

Eight inches in Raleigh on Wednesday night into Thursday morning. This is the most snow we've had in a short period of time in a very very long time.


Youngest Son was, as may be expected, very attached to Laura and took her death extremely hard.

One of the big worries is that he will resent M's presence. She's not trying to be Mom, but she is going to be around a lot so she wants to be accepted. The older kids are not just fine with it but are happy to see that Dad isn't going to be alone for the rest of his life (Dad agrees), but with Youngest it was a concern.

To that end she suggested Game Night last night, so we played Monopoly (note to Aggie Sith, it was the Star Wars edition) till late in the evening. It was a good idea, seemed to have the desired results, and is something that will likely become a regular thing. We're going out today to pick out a few more games for the variety.

As a side note, and without going into details, there are some sights that are extremely satisfying. I got to see it today for the first time in a very long time.

26 February 2015

Oh Hell

She's already on me about not drinking enough water.

Before you know it she'll have me exercising and eating vegetables.

It's just pathetic that a man of my stature is reduced to such a thing. Vegetables, FFS.

She intends me to live forever, an intention that Middle Daughter is in complete agreement with.

She does, however, reserve the right to kill me herself.

(personal note...spiders are not funny)

25 February 2015


Some things I had forgotten about are so nice.

Other things I had forgotten about are...so much better...

I'm too tense about it though, I want everything to be as perfect for her as she is for me and it's affecting my actions. She tells me I need to relax and let it flow.

She's right, of course.

I get the feeling I'm going to be admitting that a lot.

24 February 2015


After finally digging out from under the Icepocalypse...Snowpalooza 15!!!

I'm wondering just when I moved from North Carolina back to Iowa. It's been a rough February this year, although it's been a pretty good one for me.

The bad thing is there was no snow in the forecast for Raleigh today, but the good thing is, time and a half tonight because it is officially a weather event.

And...Teacher is home from school today because of the weather...maybe I can go over there and let her make me late for work.

I think I'm going to go do the things I need to so that I can do the things I want to.

22 February 2015

Hitting The "Resume" Button

Back to work today, she goes back to work tomorrow, so late nights are out for a few days at least. She says she needs to get back to work because she needs the rest. The next chance we will get to see each other is Wednesday since I'm off, but once again no late nights on a school night.

So now we find out what life will be like in a quasi-normal state. It's been going pretty well so far.

I think we will end up doing just fine.

21 February 2015

Dear Laura

I can't help but think that you had a hand in the events of the past two weeks.

Perhaps it is just superstitious foolishness, perhaps we do fool ourselves in believing these things in order to make our lives easier to live; if that is so then it hurts no one, but I believe it to be true.

You knew me better than anyone else in the world has ever known me, and you loved me in spite of it. You knew all my faults and foibles, all my weaknesses and all my strengths. You knew the worst of me, and you were the best of me. Who else, then, would have found someone so perfect for me?

You told me not to be alone. I was angry at the time, I said things I wish I had never said, but you forgave me. It didn't mean as much then as it means now, but now...it means everything. Sis told me that I should let you go, that I should release you to your rest, but I selfishly hung on because you were the best of me and I did not want to lose that.

She wants me to love her the way that I loved you, but what she does not know is I will love her better because of the lessons I learned with you. Because I learned the value of time.

I wasted a lot of time with you doing other things when I should have been loving you as hard as I could every waking moment of every day. When you are young you think you have all the time in the world, but when you are older you realize that ALL you have is all the time in the world. I learned the true meaning of that during those last desperate hours with you.

It was a mistake, and I won't make it again.

She wants to take the time to savor the moment; in that she is wiser than I because I want to start forever right now. She needs this as much as I do, but she needs the time just as much. She deserves the time, and so do I.

We have all the time in the world.

And now it is time for me to let you go to your rest. Thank you for all the lessons I learned with you, you will always have a piece of my heart...and of course my soul, that goes without saying...but I will move on now the way you wanted me to. I can do that now. Come what may, I can do that now.

Goodbye my love. I will see you when I get there.

20 February 2015


Something that Sis said yesterday when I told her about M, just before she ordered me to leave Boy with her for the night, has stuck with me all day.

Laura gave me her blessing; she released me to live my life. It was past time, according to Sis, for me to release her as well; to let her have her rest.

And so it is.

Last night went extremely well, or at least well enough that M has agreed to grace me with her presence at least once more.

We started with dinner out and ended with a movie at her place. She ended up having to go in to work the next day so the evening ended at ten.

I called to tell her I made it home safely and wish her a good night and we ended up talking on the phone for quite a while. I'm not much of a phone talker, but I like to think I held up my end of the conversation. We spoke until the wee hours of the morning, something that I haven't done in quite some time.

Before we hung up I invited her here, and she accepted.

The house is cleaner than it has been in a very long time. There are still 3 guys and a dog here, so the place isn't spotless, but at least the clutter isn't completely covered in dust.

The dog has been washed (quite against his will) and the lasagna is in the oven.

She will be here in an hour. Tonight I feel no trepidation.

18 February 2015

Filling The Gaps

OK, it was unnecessarily cruel of me and I apologize. Sort of.

She's a teacher at a local school, so for obvious reasons and in full accordance with standard Refuge practice identities will be kept intentionally vague to protect the innocent. It just wouldn't do for the new boyfriend to get you fired before the first date, after all. Might put a damper on any possibilities of follow-on interactions. Until further notice she will be referred to as Banana.

or not...let's just continue to call her M.

Anyhoo, we've been having a text storm for the past couple of days since she's not at work due to weather and I'm under employed due to no operators due to the same reason. As a result we're learning a lot about each other, and the more I learn the more I like.

To begin with, she is in fact from PA, in the part that James Carville referred to as Alabama in between. This means that fortuitously we agree more on politics and things of that nature than disagree, although as she says she doesn't pay as much attention to politics as she knows she should.

She likes country music, a fact which should agree with Range Partner who I think (although he has never said so) is somewhat less than fond of my musical tastes sometimes. She knits, which gives her something in common with my mother who is a famous knitter. She likes minions and considers Monty Python to be works of genius. She likes to read and is fond of sci-fi, as am I.

She has no problem with the fact that I carry, and in fact has voiced some interest in getting a CCW of her own although she has reservations. If she's not gung-ho pro at least she's not rabidly anti. I can work with that.

We're going out Friday Thursday (couldn't wait), it will be the first time since last Saturday afternoon that we have actually seen each other. It's funny when I think that all of this has occurred since then, the last time I actually put eyes on her none of this was certain. Of all the things I expected when I went out to hear the music, this was the least one of them.

It feels pretty good.

Life In The Details

OK Erin, you asked for it.

Friday my TV blew up and I had to buy another one. Also Friday my check was short because I had some vacation time, which kills all overtime when you take it. I usually get between 4-6 hours of overtime a pay period, so that's like losing 3 hours of regular time. It makes a noticeable dent.

Good thing I used my tax money to pay down some of my credit card bills because I've been using them to fill the gap.

Saturday we get snow for Valentines Day and I get to stay home alone. Again.

Sunday I have to go back to work.

Monday we get more snow dumped on us in a day than we usually get all week.

Tuesday is colder than a well diggers ass so the snow doesn't go away as it usually does.

Today my brother in law called begging for money that I don't have (see Friday above).

I've had the best week I can remember having in a very long time.

When Laura knew the end was in sight she didn't tell me of course, but what she did say was "don't be alone."

I did not react well. I was in denial, and I accused her of giving up.

I wish I could take back what I said. I know I was forgiven the moment the words left me, but if I could have never spoken them it would have been better. I have had years to regret it.

But enough about that. I wasn't really all that anxious to jump back in the shark tank, but for the past few months I've been leaving the house more. I joined an online group of local singles and one of the things we do is listen to live music at a local dive called the Korner Pocket.

So the 8th of February I show up at the Pocket. One of the gals from the group, T, is there, I know her from previous meetups but there's nothing special there. We get to chatting and she mentions she has some friends showing up to join us.

A little while later this girl comes in. Girl in the sense of female human person, that is, cause she's all growed up. She's cute and funny and she smiles and laughs a lot, and when she smiles the whole room lights up. As an added bonus she seems to acknowledge and appreciate the fact that I am there.

Her name is M.

So, small talk, music, a few more people show up and I try to be discreet as I observe the new girl. At the end of the evening we all get in our cars, she likes mine (I drove the Mustang), and we go our separate ways. Except her separate way seems to be in the path of my separate way and I find myself following her...in a totally non-creepy, non-stalkerish sort of way...for miles and miles.

Finally, about five miles from where I would turn off her signal comes on. I go on around her and get a high-beam "Hello" flash, which I answer with a quick round of emergency flashers. I think that it's been a good night, I'm pleased that she noticed that I was there, and I hope she comes to a few more events so I can see her again. Maybe, I think, I'll even learn to shuffle my feet so I can ask her to dance with me.

Imagine my surprise when, through the group messaging system, I get a message from her. She liked my car so much, she says, that she had to go out and get a new one of her own.

We message back and forth a few times and I look at the group events calendar and see her name on one of the events that I had no intention at all of attending. But she's going to be there, so what the hell, I sign up, too. It's for Valentines Day, even better, so maybe I can get her to dance with me, and maybe I won't step on her while we dance, and maybe I can find a quiet corner where we can talk a bit sometime in course of the evening.

Friday night and Boy drags me off to skating rink hell. I mention this in a message and she tells me she likes to skate (light bulb!) and she and T are going out to grab a bite since neither of them want to see 50 Shades of Ghey, which is what the group is doing that evening.

At this point it's beginning to sink through my Neanderthal thick skull that maybe...just maybe...she is being more than just casually polite. I've been out of the game for a while and I was never very good at it, so I am no good at all at reading signals, and really never was. But there is a light dawning in my feeble brain, so I decide to make the most of it. The rum bottle gets emptied as I contemplate this decision.

Saturday dawns bright and early and I notice that I have missed a message from her. I send her a message back, she sends me a message back...and in this message is a phone number that I haven't yet worked up the nerve to ask for. The light brightens.

I go help Range Partner move his gun safe (note, gun safes are big and heavy) but I say nothing except that I have an event that day that I'm hoping to attend. I don't want to jinx it, Range Partner has had enough of his own troubles lately without me burdening him with mine..but I console myself with the fact that I know where I can find a drink later if I need one so there is that.

There are actually two events that day, one in the late morning and early afternoon and then the one that evening that I signed up for just because I saw her name on it. I did make it to the first event just in time for everyone to split and head their separate ways, but I do get to see that smile again, and it is every bit as much as I remembered. I go back home and inform the boys that I would not be available for the night, and when Eldest Boy asks where we're going I tell him.

"Oh" he says, "that's a gay bar."

"STFU! Is it?" I look it up. It is.

(A note about the event coordinator for this little soiree, he's the same guy that set up the Friday movie event that M and T skipped out on.)

So I use that new phone number that I just got and say WTF, did you know? She didn't, but we agree that we will stick together, and if nothing else we can point and laugh. (I'm thinking more along the lines of seeing if I can convince her to make an exit with me, but all in good time.) Into the shower I go, and when I emerge Boy is standing at the door watching the snow. But you've heard this story before, haven't you? Anyway, I give her the link to this blog and await my fate.

I will take her out for the first time on Friday.

17 February 2015

Fast n' Furious 15: Snow Drift

Last night winter descended on the Piedmont with a vengeance, coating any surface it could reach with a layer of snow followed by a misting of ice.

The Baja didn't want to start this morning to go home, it had to be kicked over three times before it finally conceded to stay running. Once it had agreed to the task, however, it handled the snowy roads with a Subaru sure-footedness typical of the breed.

This is the kind of weather I would expect in a late Iowa December, not a mid February North Carolina...or any other time in North Carolina either for that matter.

If I should ever meet Al Gore I'm going to junk-punch him until his eyes bleed. That Mann jackass is going down as well, and should that Hansen asshole from NASA open his festering suckhole in my presence I may just become homicidal.

On a more pleasant note, though, since Teacher didn't have to go to school today she stayed up most the night trading texts with me. Somewhere around 4:30 I stopped getting answers, so I'm guessing that's about the time she hit the wall.

Things seem to be working out pretty well in this regard.

(You can't tell me you didn't see that one coming. Shut it MSgt B.)