7-6-15 to 7-12-15 (Fun Days)

DixieWe went to see Dixie Longate (as in dicks elongate) in uptown Charlotte on Wednesday.  We’ve seen her before on a cruise many years ago.  She was a hoot.  We recommended her show to my work wife, Jessica and her husband Cole.  They were game to see her, so off the 4 of us went.  There were so many hysterical zingers in this show, I had tears. 

She’s a he who is in drag and actually sells Tupperware.  That’s right.  During her show, she’ll demonstrate the product, give humorous alternate uses and provide you with it’s item number.  Theater goers are provided with a program, order sheet and Tupperware catalog.  She can be raunchy, which for me, makes it all the more fun.

 2015-07-08 003Above: Jessica, Dixie, Garret

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Rant about nothing of importance:

I’m not sure what prompted me to think of this but I wonder about our modern technology and how we seem to be going backwards in media at times.  What I’m talking about is CD’s and DVD’s.  Their fragile.  They scratch.  They get dirty.  Remember the 3 1/2 floppies?  They had a protective sleeve.  A built-in case I suppose. 

Disketten

Why hasn’t this all switched to something more 3 1/2 inch floppyish or media cards? 

Memory-cards

So now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, now what?

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Last week in the RV =

2015-07-04 001Above: Pretty elaborate breakfast for an RV huh?  It was yummy.

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We have a cruise booked for Hawaii in 2017.  We just booked one for January 2016.  It will be our 8th cruise.  Hawaii will be our 9th.  Anyway, we booked it with some friends.  I’ll publish their names once I make sure they’re OK with that.  It will be the 4 of us thus far.  This will be their first cruise and our first time on Carnival. 

Itinerary

It will also be our first time to Belize and Mahogany Bay.  The cabin we selected is very unique.  It has 2 windows in it. 

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Research on-line shows this cabin area gets a vibration and is noisy when the ship maneuvers into a port.  What the heck.  We’ll give it a try.

Boring entry…  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

6-22-15 to 7-5-15 (Transporting Heirlooms)

logocalendar-3Tuesday was my birthday (6/23 – mark that shit on your calendar!) so Jim took me out to Melting Pot to celebrate.  We had a cheese fondue, salad, small plates and chocolate fondue.  It was all wonderful.  Yum!

Nothing exciting this week at work to report.

Sam’s had a laptop on sale that seemed decent enough for me.  I’m so tired of my existing laptop.  It gets so slow at times.  I’ve run all sorts of cleaners and such but it only works for a few days at a time.  I realize there’s an obvious program culprit in the midst but sometimes these things just need reformatted and reinstalled.  I had to do that to Jim’s month’s ago and it’s been great for him.  My laptop is the main one that houses all our MP3, docs, videos, and tons and tons and yeah, tons of photos.  I back up all my docs using Carbonite (an online cloud type program) and have just regretted redoing the system.  This time I just decided on a new computer.  It will take days for Carbonite to restore all my docs and such.

data storage

The file restore took several days.  An unfortunate quirk of Carbonite (as a confirmed online) is that it wasn’t great at letting me know the restore status.  Many times it didn’t look like it was doing anything.  Very annoying. 

I’ve found a use for my old laptop.  We’ll use it in the RV for entertainment.  It’s got a VGA port so I bought a VGA to HDMI converter and it works great.  I can plug the laptop into the RV surround sound system.  I already have a “remote” that uses the mouse.   I use EasyTether (the best program ever) to get an internet connection via USB and then the new laptop gets a connection from the same phone via Bluetooth.  It’s awesome!  That all combined with a one time fee of $10 for EasyTether AND unlimited data with Verizon AND Netflix AND Amazon Video make this an extra awesome setup. 

Don't get upbe on timeOn 7/1/15, a Wednesday, we went to see our first musical, Mamma Mia!  Yep, you read that right.  Neither of us have ever went to a musical.  It was OK but the venue was lacking.  It was at the Knight Theater in Uptown Charlotte.  We had nose bleed seats which were fine but the seats themselves were very tight/cramped.  During the second act it became warm in there.  Also people are annoying.  A few things.  I always though that once the show started, they wouldn’t let you in?  For the first 15 minutes of the show, late stragglers were being seated.  I call that selfish.  You ruin my experience so as not to ruin yours?  The next issue is that the program guide didn’t mention intermission but we asked an usher.  “66 minutes into the show.” we were told.  cameraWhy not publish that?  At least 2 people in our area, 1 of which was in our row (we had to get up), needed to use the restroom 30 minutes into the show.  Really?  C’mon idiots.  Then there were the 5 middle-aged woman in front of us.  2 had opera type binoculars.  All 5 of them spoke a little more frequently than I would have liked.  One took out her phone and filmed 15 seconds of one of the numbers.  That was against the rules and the screen light from phones is very distracting.  Maybe we’ll do another show sometime.

OK, so here’s what’s on my camera:

2015-05-02 004Above: Jim and I often find that furniture transported via pickup truck is usually fugly.

2015-05-02 005Above: I backed the golf cart into our neighbor’s pot several weekends ago.  Sorry Bob.  Sorry Warren.

2015-06-01 009Above: Along with huge air filled bubble plastic thingies, this box was sadly under-packed.  What a waste.

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Above/Below: Jim saved a turtle crossing our street.

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We spent the Fourth of July weekend in Augusta.  We were somewhat anti-social.  We just stayed inside most of the time, surfing the internet, watching Netflix “Everybody Loves Raymond” (so funny), a little pool time, some grocery shopping at that’s about all.  I never even saw fireworks.  It was just relaxing.

6-15-15 to 6-21-15 (Post Falls)

Vacation overUnfortunately, I have no exciting vacations to report.  Unfortunately (again), our vacation to Niagara Falls ended and it was back to work we went.  A lot of my files had appraisals, titles, income verification and other docs to read through, approve/decline, and otherwise fondle.  Glamorous.  I had 92 emails and Jim had 40-50.  It took me a couple of days to catch up on everything.  In the meantime, it appeared I didn’t miss anything exciting at work.  It was nice to get home Friday evening and have 2 more days off.

I’ve stated on prior posts that I don’t want another pet.  I especially don’t want to replace Dasher.  There’s no replacing a loved one.  Jim, perhaps a little too soon, had an Italian Greyhound rescue organization come to our house on the Saturday prior to vacation to inspect our home and see if we were a good fit to foster.  I really wasn’t interested and got teary-eyed many a time through the “interview”. 

Dasher

I used the words “too soon” above because maybe I’ll change my mind, but even now as I type this post up, the freedom is awesome.  Don’t get me wrong, I’d GLADLY give that “freedom” up to have my Dasher back.  Freedom?  Well, not worrying about who’s going to watch him, no worrying about him escaping, no limits on how long we can be away from home, no walking him in the 100 degree weather of the campground, no pee-pee accidents in the house, etc.  The list of what I miss about him is way longer than what I don’t miss.  I think about him a lot.

So, meanwhile, the rescue lady, Ginger, had a lot to go over.  You can’t really pick a dog that’s housebroken or friendly or whatever.  They may need to be crate trained.  That’s my number one pet peeve.  I get that it’s a necessary evil but I’m sorry, leaving a dog inside of a crate 17 hours or so out of 24 seems terrible.  I have many friends that do this and I understand the need.  Pets can be destructive, etc.  But again, all in all, crating feels cruel.  The other issue she brought up is that the gates need to be locked so that no one can steal the dogs.  We have a lawn guy that comes.  That would be a pain. There were some other “issues” for us that I can’t remember at the moment.

I was so sad by the end of the interview that I made Ginger tear up as well.  After she left, Jim apologized and I needed that.

Fast forward to Father’s Day weekend.  We came to Augusta.  Jim hasn’t been here since before Memorial Day and I since Memorial Day weekend.  We got our permit from the campground owner so we can get the roof over built.  The issue now becomes seeing if the people we want to hire can make it per the engineered drawings we supplied at the price we agreed on.  Then problem #2 is that we’ll need to take a day off work to be here. 

Unrelated:

2015-06-20Above: Baby Praying Mantis on the car mirror.

6-12-15 Friday (Gambling With Lynda Carter)

So we started our last day with a little gambling.  It wasn’t planned.  We were walking through the casino to get to the buffet and I spotted a Wonder Woman slot machine.  I’m a huge fan of Wonder Woman so naturally I had to play.  It featured clips from the Lynda Carter series.  It was cool.  I went through my $5 pretty quick but on Jim’s turn, he cashed out at $17.  We played and lost about $10 on other slot machines during the week so this helped recoup our loses.  We spent about 15 minutes in total gambling time all in all.

After breakfast we packed up, checked out of the hotel and headed for Niagara Falls State Park for one last time.  We spotted a very cool black squirrel.  My research says they’re not very common.

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We looked at the falls from view points we hadn’t seen previously.  Breathtaking. 

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Above/below: We’re next to Bridal Veil Falls, US side.  The Canadian side is in the distance.

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2015-06-12 007Above: Looking down onto the Bridal Veil Falls, there’s another shot of “Cave of the Winds”.

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Above/Below: American Falls from different angles.

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We went to the Niagara Adventure Theater to see a movie about the history of the falls.  It was interesting to learn about the daredevils and even a young boy who accidently went over the falls and survived.  So the most famous or maybe the first daredevil was Annie Edson Taylor who went over the falls in a barrel and survived.  We collect Christmas ornaments from our travels.  Jim and I associate the falls with a barrel, probably from cartoons, so we hunted for a barrel ornament and the only thing we found was a barrel keychain.  Not what I was hoping for.  Oh well.  I found something better online so I think I’ll order that.

ornament

Last meal in Niagara Falls USA = “Top of the Falls Restaurant”.  Nice view but I can’t say much more positive than that.

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We both ordered:

BUFFALO MAC & CHEESE -  Cavatappi Pasta, Chicken Tenders, Medium Sauce, House-Made Four-Cheese Sauce, Bleu Cheese Crumbles, Green Onion (Cal. 1050) $16.50

Jim ordered his less the hot sauce.  Velveeta or Kraft Mac & Cheese would have beat this stuff out.  Ouch, right?  The chicken tenders were those kind that looked food service over cooked and over breaded hard things.  Like the ones in this stock photo, eh? (<— see what I did there)

chicken

Blech.  As we left the park it started raining.  We ran to the car and it poured the entire trip to the rental car agency.  What should have been a 40 minute drive took a lot longer due to traffic and the extra slow drive due to the down pour.  Luckily, we had a lot of extra time before out flight.  Just as we pulled up to Payless, the rain stopped.  We were lucky!  We got to the airport, checked in and then went to the Admiral’s Club.  One of our American Airlines credit cards had a voucher for the card holder and a guest to use this facility.  Both of us have never been to an airline club previously.  Nice.  Free open bar (beer, wine, well), snacks galore, comfy seating, desks, magazines, personalized service, soft drinks, etc.  It was a nice way to end a vacation.

What an awesome vacation.  I recommend it!

6-11-15 Thursday (A Barrel Of Fun)

We started the day with breakfast at the hotel’s IHOP.  We had a lite breakfast since we got a late start. We have reservations at the Skylon Tower for lunch.

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Above/Below: Elevator ride up.

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As we entered the tower, we had our photos taken, which we purchased:

2015-06-11 Falls

2015-06-11 Barrel

Our seat in the dining room wasn’t up close to the glass but rather a tier up further back.  I was disappointed with the seat but Jim was happy we weren’t that close.  It would have bugged him at that high an elevation.  Our seat, as you can see below, turned out just fine though.

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Jim started with the escargot and I with the onion soup.  Tasty.  For the main entrée, Jim had a filet and I opted for the NY Strip sirloin.  Mine was disappointing.  It looked and tasted like processed, institutional meat.   The photo below was off the internet.  Mine looked worse.  Mine was very rectangular.  The coloring was icky too. I dealt with it.

skylon steak

Check please:

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After lunch we went up a couple more decks to the observation deck.  This was amazing. 

2015-06-11 017Above: This is the observation deck and tower (on the USA side) we were on the prior day.

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2015-06-11 011Above: That building with the upper pink part is our hotel.

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2015-06-11 016Above: This is the “Cave of the Winds” attraction we visited yesterday.

The “insert a video” option of this blog post isn’t working so if you want to see a 17 second video of me panning from falls to falls then click here

If you want to watch a video of me eating my steak, you won’t find one and you should get a life.

What’s next?  We drove to Niagara on the Lake to catch a helicopter tour.   We’ve done the Alaska helicopter tour which was our favorite part but this tour just bored us.  I think it’s because we just saw the falls from the tower which was the perfect height and view point?  Maybe we’re jaded?

2015-06-11 031Above: Map showing our route.  The tour was about 20 minutes.

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2015-06-11 020Above: Many vineyards.

2015-06-11 022Above: Niagara River

2015-06-11 025Above: Falls view from behind.

2015-06-11 028Above: Falls view from the front.

2015-06-11 030Above: Jim didn’t stand up straight.  He was afraid the rotors would decapitate him.

A few days ago, a restaurant server (I think it was the Rainforest Café) told us about a locally known favorite ice cream shop which is part of a dairy farm for the area.  So off to the Avondale Dairy Bar we went.  It was yummy.  We’ve had better.  2 amusing photos from this trip:

2015-06-11 032Above: In their display case.

2015-06-11 033Above: This is why you shouldn’t run with scissors.  You might lose them.

We closed the day with a trip to  the falls again and then dinner inside the Casino Hotel at Johnny Rockets. 

I’ve got to tell you.  Food is ridiculously expensive.  Jim suggested getting the car and going out of the tourist area for food.  My feet were very sore and I was very tired.  Johnny Rockets was close by so there we ate.  I had a Philly cheesesteak (which was very tasty).  My Philly was $18 and Jim’s burger was like $15.