11-25-12 Sunday (Car Shopping)

The Friday work day lasted longer than I thought necessary.  The only saving grace was that I was off the phone for over an hour.  Well, I was on the phone for a conference call but that’s different than being on the phone with customers.  Really.  I’m Pilot Lead again for another software upgrade and aside from always wanting to know things ahead of everyone else, I also like this kind of stuff and it gets me off the phone as noted above. 

As our typical Augusta-after-work-Friday goes, I came home, loaded the last 1 or 2 things into the car, grabbed the dog and headed south to pick up Jim from work.  Since the weather is colder, picnic dinners at the rest areas are on hold until Spring.  We ate dinner at a burger chain called “Cookout”.  They have a pretty expansive menu and the food is pretty good.

We arrived at the motorhome around 9ish.  When we switched on the water heater, the pilot wouldn’t stay lit.  Jim tried figuring out the issue but we couldn’t get it to work.  He activated electric mode which doesn’t do as good a job.  Great, another issue.

Saturday we went to Sugie’s Kitchen for lunch off some deal Jim had.  The place had 3 tables. 2 huge and 1 small.  A guy meets us at the smaller table, sits down and hands us menus.  Were we supposed to sit with him or something?  We took the menu to a larger table and sat down.  The place was a dive.  Another place that from what I could see had an unregulated kitchen.  I was like being in someone’s house or something.

We both got Philly’s which came with fries.  For an extra side we ordered mac and cheese.  Jim ordered his Philly with mayo.  Both of them came with it despite my order.  Jim’s came with tomato which hates.  I’m not sure how hard it was to take an order from 2 of the only 4 people in your restaurant.  We had to re-ask for the drinks we ordered.  I didn’t like any of the food.  The fries were coated in some batter.  The Philly meat (crappy meat) was severely over cooked while the onions should have been cooked longer.  My hoagie was wet/soggy on one side.  The mac and cheese was terrible.

With full bellies of ick, we went to Sears.  Kmart and Sears are just terrible anymore.  They’re so outdated and uncared for.

2012-11-24 001Above: At the entrance.  How “grand”.

2012-11-24 007Above: This one sprig of décor adorns the pretty electrical conduit that feeds the register power from the ceiling.  It was dusty.  I asked the clerk.  She giggled and said it had been there for 7 years.  We could tell.

2012-11-24 008Above: The Portrait Studio’s proud display of their hours.  Very nice.  Looks like the dot matrix printer ribbon had some dry spots.

Then for more excitement, Jim took me car shopping to one of those pull-a-part junkyard places to find a center cap for the Jeep’s wheel. 

2012-11-24 002Above: He told me I could pick which ever one I’d want.

We were unsuccessful in our center cap locating expedition.  Perhaps next time.

We picked up a long wire brush to fit into the water heater tubes along with a can of compressed air.  Back at the RV, Jim was able to use wire, the brush and the canned air to get the water heater to function normally.  It was probably a bug that clogged the gas tubes.

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2012-11-24 004Above: Flame on!

Saturday night dinner was at Maryland Fried Chicken.  It’s a small chain that we’ve never heard of until Augusta.  The food was OK but while eating I noticed the clerk who had served our food come out to the lobby to wipe down the tables, clean off the front counter by condensing the individually wrapped pieces of cake, go back behind the counter to serve up more food and then collect payment.  Not very odd is it until I noticed she did it all with the same pair of gloves.  Does she think that simply wearing gloves protects her and us from germs? 

Sunday we went to Long Horn for lunch.  It was all so incredibly yummy.  We took half our meals home to enjoy for dinner.

The main purpose of this trip was to winterize the TURD aka motorhome.  That basically means running a special antifreeze through all the water lines.  Shockingly, this may have went well, without a disaster.



If we go back mid winter, it should be easy and inexpensive to unwinterize (would that me summerize?).

Thursday 11-22-12 (Frankenturkey)

On Wednesday evening we cleaned house, set up the dining table and all that good stuff.

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roast timesJim and I readied the turkey on Wednesday evening.  We cleaned out the innards.  We patted it dry.  We lubed it up with olive oil and then sprinkled a mixture of poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper inside and out.  We inserted a remote read thermometer.  When Jim placed the roaster lid on to the pan, it didn’t quite fit.  Jim tried pushing down on the lid, smooshing the turkey which only slightly helped.  Crap!  We were off by so little.  If he applied pressure it would close.  We placed the whole pan with the turkey into the refrigerator and topped it with a sledge hammer.  We knew we couldn’t keep the rubber handled hammer on top of the hot roaster during cooking tomorrow so we found a nice rock we planned to use.  We calculated the cooking time range based on its weight and handy dandy instruction manual that came with our roaster oven.  We calculated 4:15 – 5 hours at 375°.  Somewhere in there.  We figured we’d start with the 4 hours, put it in at 9:30, out at 1:30, eat at 2.  Perfect.

2012-11-22 002Above: Jim in “don’t photograph me mode”.

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The next morning (Thanksgiving) we removed the roaster pan from the fridge, lifted the sledge hammer and the lid stayed down on its own.  Awesome.  We won’t need the rock after all.  We started up the turkey at 9.  At 11 the thermometer was reading 140° and climbing.  Shit!  It’s cooking too fast.  At 150° I lower the temp to about 250°.  The plan was for guests to arrive at 1 and eat at 2.  At 12:30 the damn thing was at 175°.  We dropped the temp to 200° or something.  We confirmed the temperatures in multiple spots with a different thermometer.  We put more holes in that turkey than a peg board.

When it was ready to carve, it was moist and delicious!  Phew.  Disaster averted.

Jim made my late Uncle Mike’s Sausage Stuffing.  Jim has always loved it.  With recipe in hand, Jim set out to craft it as perfectly as possible.  I think he did it.  Everyone raved about it.


I didn’t get many photos at all.  I was so busy cooking, and doing dishes and maybe a little wine too.  I should have handed the camera to someone and asked them to snap photos.

2012-11-22 007Above: The completed product.

If by chance you noticed the turkey lacer pin at the top of the breast it’s because the skin had a hole in it so Jim grafted a piece of skin/fat from elsewhere onto that section.  I present to you, Frankenturkey.


2012-11-22 009Above: Beth’s brother, David, was put onto carving duty.

2012-11-22 015Above: The food line.

2012-11-22 020Above: Josh and Erin

Josh and Erin, Ruby and Jamie left shortly after lunch.  They had other places to go for dinner.  With Beth’s family remaining, we played a couple of rounds of Buzz Trivia on the Playstation3. 

It was a great time but definitely tiring.  When everyone left, we had so much to clean up.  We had to work the next day and then right after work, we’re going to Augusta for the weekend.

Oh and I snapped this photo 11-17-12, the Saturday BEFORE Black Friday:


This guy was camped out in Walmart electronics.  There was a sign on the floor in front of him.  It was a starting line with writing on it.  Was this for some before Black Friday door buster or something?  Crazy!

11-20-12 Tuesday (Turkeys For Pets)

I still haven’t heard anything back about my snotty interview.  A related story > I was in the cafeteria the other day and saw Rhonda, someone I worked with at AAA (those were dark times).  I talked to her asking if she’d had been given a permanent position yet (she was a contract employee).  She said she’s a Loan Doc Specialist 3.  Uhhh, that’s what I applied for.  Small world.  I asked who her supervisor was.  “Zach, and he’s really great to work for.”  Uhhh that’s who I interview with.  I asked her about the job a little bit to get a feel for what she does.  As we walked to the cashier she says “oh, there’s Zach now”.  I shake his hand, Rhonda explains our connection via AAA, he remembers seeing that on my résumé, and then it felt real awkward especially since I’m not sure if he selected me.  I excused myself and went back to work.

Friday night, Jim and I were watching TV.  Dasher, as usual, was laying between us on the couch.  He stood up and started acting disoriented and terrified.  He couldn’t stand up well at all and didn’t respond to commands.  This lasted a few minutes.  It was scary.  He returned to normal.  The next day the intentions were to take him to the vet.  I Googled symptoms and heard a lot of similar stories on Facebook as well.  We decided to let it go for now.  It seems that it may have been a seizure.  One more though and we’ll take action.  I’m not ready for this dog to move out just yet.

2012-11-17 001Saturday morning I was cleaning the house and doing laundry.  As I cleaned the downstairs half bath I noticed it wasn’t flushing very well.  That toilet hardly gets used for solid waste.  I plunged it several times.  Later while in the kitchen I heard water gurgle.  I went to the toilet, lifted the lid and noticed the water had rippled.  Hmmmmm.  A little later I was upstairs with Jim.  I walked down stairs and water was everywhere.  It must have just happened since it was all still moving around on the floor.  I yelled for Jim and grabbed like 20 towels and threw them down on the floor in different places.  He got the almighty shop vac and sucked up the water too.  A little later I noticed all the wood that had been wet was ruined.  In front of the stairs, in the bathroom and in a small section of the dining room.  Even the wood that had the water on it for 30 seconds was ruined.  I’m guessing it sat deep below in the joints.  We have ruined floors in front of the kitchen sink and a few spots under the area rug from Dasher’s “accidents”.  It would appear that my construction grade Armstrong Engineered Wood Floors blow.  We’re debating on claiming it to insurance.  During Title Insurance class, the professor mentioned that the worst claim to put in is anything water damage as it will black list us with insurance companies for fear of future mold claims.  Jim is going to check with our agent.  I’m devastated but, hey, now I can say I’ve had wood floors.  I think we’ll have to replace the downstairs with tile.  Booooooooo. 

A day later I’ve looked at the floors and to see the damage I think you just have to know what to look for.  We might just have to deal with it for a while.  We’ll know it’s there but that might be the extent of it.

rival_roasterTurkey FaceWe purchased a 20 pound turkey.  Not as a pet or anything.  It’s frozen so that would be weird.  Anyway, a few weeks ago we bought a roaster to roast said turkey in for Thanksgiving.  I’ve never cooked turkey.  I started Googling around and found all sorts of tips and hints, recipes, cooking times, how-to’s, etc. I’m a bit terrified about screwing it up.  Dry turkey really sucks and 10 other people are counting on me to fill their stomachs with tasty turkey.  Oh, the pressure.

Several years ago, Jim built a large table top for our dining room table.  It was for a big holiday and disassembled after use.  We only used it once.  He built it to sit on top of the existing table so that we can comfortably seat more people.  It’s been reassembled for Thanksgiving, I ironed the table cloth and it’s partially ready for Thursday’s festivities.

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On Tuesday morning, just because:

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Now it’s time to publish this post and go to work.  Depressing, I know…

Have a great holiday!

11-13-12 Tuesday (Don’t Get Snotty With Me)

On Wednesday I unintentionally created a dining disaster.  Meatloaf, brussel sprouts, and fresh homemade mashed potatoes… what could go wrong?

The meatloaf tasted rancid.  It was the 4th or so loaf from a large batch so I can only assume it went “bad” while defrosting.  The potatoes were over cooked thereby creating a gross instant mashed potato like affect.  Adding gravy to them simply further insulted them.  The brussells?  Well the last time I made them they were pretty bland.  This time I guess I went too heavy on the Lawry’s Seasoned Salt.  They were so salty surely I could have sustained a tropical fish aquarium.  What you see in the photo was what each of us threw away.  The disposal had a delightful meal. (BURP!)

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Jim finished packing for his Michigan trip and then we went out for our replacement dinner meal.  We went to a pizzeria that’s fairly new and ordered onion rings and split a Philly Cheesesteak.  We ordered it with mayo and lettuce.  Of course it didn’t come the way we ordered it.  Jim went back up to the counter to get mayo.  They gave him a ginormous cup of mayo.  What a waste.  The food was unimpressive.  It was definitely better than the dinner I made…

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On Thursday, Jim left work a little early and went straight to the airport for his flight to Michigan.  It just so happened that our friend’s Beth and Anne were going to Vegas and flying out a half hour later or earlier in Jim so they met up in the airport.  Funny.

It was my first night of Jim’s trip that I was alone.  Dasher intermittently barked.  He’d run downstairs.  He was restless.  He doesn’t typically bark in the house.  This surely put me on edge.  The house made noises.  Well, I assume it was the house.  Dasher’s ears would perk up.  He’d stare at the hallway.  I kept looking down the hallway.  I got up the courage to walk downstairs like a horror movie idiot.  I rationalized the scenario in my head.  It didn’t help.  I’m still alive, no break-in, nada. 

If you remember, I had a phone interview October 17th.  I hadn’t heard anything back about the position despite the “you’ll know by the end of next week” statement.  I had assumed I didn’t get to go further.  Another week or so passed.  I received an email from the hiring manager and set up an interview for Friday.  My work “campus” is huge but this department happened to be only a few minutes walk and down a floor.  I met with the manager and his interviewing counter part.  Oddly, I was asked the same situational questions as the phone interview.  I guess he and the recruiter happened to pick the same questions to ask?  About 3/4 of the way through the interview, I feel my nose starting to run.  I sniffle here and there.  I’m on edge.  I feel it running.  What do I do?  Do I ask to be excused for a moment?  Do I say why?  If I wipe my nose with my hand or sleeve, well that’s just plain gross.  Besides, that could make it flow out even more.  Holy crap what do I do?  I sniffle a little more.  Meanwhile I have no idea what he or she has been talking about.  I can’t concentrate.  Oooooo it seems like we’re wrapping up.  It’s my turn to ask questions.  I have like 6 but I only ask the top 2 so I can get out of there.  The 3 of us start to close our folders, click our pens, and then I remember I need to give them an updated résumé showing my recent attended classes. They spot my employment gap that says about RVing for a year.  He says, “Oh yeah, I remember seeing that; where’d you go?”  Crap!  I talk a little and suddenly my nasal drip stops on it’s own.  It definitely feels too late to bring the discussion back to business.  If I’m offered the position I’ll just have to ask then.  I have to work on Monday (Veteran’s Day) but I think that department is closed since he said they’d have decisions made Tuesday or Wednesday. 

With Jim gone, I’ve been trying to keep busy.  I ordered a couple of PlayStation games from Blockbuster so that I could veg and play.  Other than that I’ve done grocery shopping, a little bit of cleaning (OK very little) and laundry.

Jim had a great time in Michigan but unfortunately developed a cold that is progressing into a chest cold.  His first day back to work (Tuesday) is going to require a sick call and a trip to the doctor’s office.  His chest is hurting.

11-6-12 Tuesday (I Is A College Student)

I went to school today.  Really.  I took an 8 hour class at the college for just under 100 bucks. 


Most of it was interesting but some of it was geared toward helping students repair credit, build credit, or even maintain credit.  I was there for the underwriting/lender view of it all.  I’m trying to get into the underwriting business and it’s tough to get in… even in my own company that I already work for.  Jim had suggested these courses to take and look favorable on a resume. 

This was our “text book”:


Next Saturday I’ll take a Title Insurance class too!


Jim did some major shopping while I was at school.  He hit a couple of Goodwill stores and Marshalls and then some outlet stores in the mall.  He came home with quite the haul.  He was sweet to think of me.  Amongst other things, he got me this hat:

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The professor mentioned that SC Department of Revenue had recently gotten attacked:

The S.C. Department of Revenue announced on October 26, 2012 that approximately 3.6 million Social Security numbers, 387,000 credit and debit card numbers and 657,000 business tax filings have been exposed in a cyber-attack. 

Naturally I filed state income taxes one year during the excruciatingly awful 7 months I worked at AAA Care Care.  I guess I’ll have to sign up for their free identity theft protection.  Hackers suck.

Sunday while I Target, it was clear to me as to why I’m fat:

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Yes, that’s a giant fork…

At work, there’s 2 bathrooms close to one another.  When one is closed for cleaning, the other is available.  1 men’s room has urinals and the other doesn’t.  The first time I used the non-urinal restroom with 4-5 stalls, I thought I was in the ladies room.  Another time while using that restroom I spotted this:

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That really freaked me out.  I’ve remained silent all these years because, well, every time I’m in that restroom I don’t have my phone with me, it’s at my desk.  Sometimes if there’s people in the restroom, I don’t particularly want to snap photos in the stall either.  On this particular day, the ambiance was good.  Smile

On Tuesday we redeemed a coupon, Groupon or other type of discount thingamajiggy for carpet cleaning.  It’s been a year so it was time.  Beth’s sister, Anne, came and carpet-cleaner-people sat.  When I got home they felt so wet.  Somehow or another they were dry by bedtime.  I was a little worried about that.

I voted and I have proof:

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11-1-12 Thursday (What Are They Trying To Say?)

I’m definitely not perfect when it comes to grammar and spelling. I rely a lot on spellcheck. I passed a Hooters who was advertising on their reader board “2013 calenders available”. It appalled me. It was dark, I didn’t have my camera and I doubt the photo would have been worth a damn.

On Friday we went to dinner at Monterrey Mexican Restaurant.  The food was good but their drink menu bugged the shit out of me.  This place has 3 locations so it’s not a real small business.  The menu was full of spelling errors.

2012-10-26 031Above: “on the rock”

2012-10-26 026Above: “Run”

2012-10-26 027Above: Maybe not an error but isn’t it usually made with Vodka?

2012-10-26 028Above: “grapefruits”

2012-10-26 029Above: “fill with cola”

2012-10-26 030Above: “Ask your server your favorite brand”

And that was just on the drinks menu…

We stopped at Kohl’s and saw these wood turkeys.

2012-10-26 032Above: “Decorative purposes only”.  Now I’ll have to find something else to make for Thanksgiving dinner.

Jim’s coworker, Kelly, invited us to a wine tasting party for Saturday.  Prior to going I realized that it was one of those parties that are like Avon, Mary Kay, Tupperware, Party Lite, etc where you attend to buy overpriced items from a friend, relative or coworker out of guilt.  In this case, through The Traveling Vineyard.  Honestly, we had a lot of fun.  We sampled 6 wines, ate cheese, chocolate, and fruit, laughed, and caught a buzz.  Naturally they’d like you to “join the team” and sell the product as a supplemental income however like any of the other home based businesses, they’d love someone to host a party too.  I’m actually thinking of hosting one in a month or two.  I think it would be fun!

tearsglassWe learned a thing or two about wine.  Aerating.  Taste before and after.  Pairing with a food, how some foods make wine taste nasty while others enhanced the flavor.  Looking and testing wine’s “legs”.  The stuff we had all had a high alcohol content unlike some of the cheaper wines Jim and I normally get.  We even compared what the demonstrator, Meg, said against labels in the store.  I forget the exact numbers but we’ve been drinking 9% versus the 18% alcohol content we liked from The Traveling Vineyard line.  Get drunk on less wine?  Perhaps.

Two bottles of wine and a chiller bag purchase later…  (insert cha-ching noise here)

On Sunday we hosted a brunch.  We had 9 of us altogether.  I took photos of how Jim set up the table and “bar” but not much else really.  I guess I kept busy with cooking sausage and making waffles.

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Above/Below: Little and Dasher play.

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A few weeks back (while my Mom was here), Jim had done a fantastic job at decorating the house.  I hadn’t snapped any photos of it until recently.  He loves handing out candy for Halloween and scaring the children.  He had so many remote and automated animatronic little things around the porch and driveway.  He made several kids scream.  He also decided to make himself look, well I don’t know what he was going for, but he put makeup on his face that was kinda zombie meets soldier meets biker?  Not sure.  He was having fun.

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I haven’t heard anything back on the position I interviewed with the recruiter for so I guess I don’t get to move on to the next step.  I’ll keep trying.