Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Short Week Felt Really Long

I actually took the last weekend off and didn't go to work until Wednesday but by the time I was done Saturday night, it seemed like a mighty long week.  Work was busy and I didn't have a full compliment of staff any day of the week so we accomplished nothing with regard to making things easier to find.  What we did do is sell a lot of parts.

The meds must be working because even though I know there is a ton to do, I am not feeling particularly overwhelmed.  There is still a depressed feeling with a little anxiety thrown in for good measure but I seem to be able to at least take Sunday off.

The only problem with taking the day off is the crash mode that I go into on said day off.   For some reason I just don't feel like doing anything.  If I went to work I would accomplish something but staying home just makes me want to crash.  Not sure what that is all about.  Perhaps the counselor that I am schedule to start seeing on the 2nd will have some insight as to what is going on inside my head because I frankly have given up trying to figure "me" out.

I am not sure where I am with regard to a spiritual life or not.  There are many doubts in my mind and then I hear about the 9 year old boy with a huge spirit who dies from cancer and his last remarks to his dad were:
"Dad, I am not ever going to get married"
"Why would you say that?", his dad asked.
"Because God needs me more."

The last words he uttered as he passed on to what he felt was something to look forward too.  Makes you kind of wonder.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas And Some Catch Up

I have been very busy with the search for new employees (haven't found any), trying to get the department straight, and taking my new set of medications that are supposed to help me with my outlook (can't say they are working yet).

One of the happier times for me occurred yesterday when my grandson Zach and I went on our annual trip to the North Pole to help Santa deliver much needed Christmas Spirit to some very lonely and helpless people who live among us.  As each year progresses it becomes more and more evident that our economy isn't getting the job done.  We expect to go into the poorer neighbors, the hood, the ghettos but not affluent areas.  Yesterday we went to just such a place and found a family (the whole family) living in on house and barely making ends meet.
The North Pole and facepainting

Leaving the North Pole

One of the crews waiting to leave

Zach investigates our truck

Our Shuttle Connect with Santa and Head Elf

Santa and Head Elf

Our Crew

Zach unloads the truck

Zach with our crew of lovely Elfs

More of Zach and the Elfs

The truck

The gentleman in charge of assigning the delivery trucks didn't take in to consideration where those trucks need to go.  We ended up in the south end above Seattle in some of the most narrow streets you could imagine.  The people in the Connect Van said there were moments when they thought I wouldn't get down the street but we did and we made it safe and sound.  Well, Zach was a little touchy a couple of times when I got really close to cars on his side of the street.  But all in all we did good.  Now, I just owe the joker who gave me this truck to drive.

As I said at the beginning there is really no progress finding a replacement guy for the parts department and the department is still in a state of chaos.  We got a little bit done, but it has been busy and we just haven't had time to do what really needs to be done.  I have been working long hours, six days a week and I seem to get a little bit done only to have something added to the list.  It feels like I go backwards every time I think I am getting ahead.

I went to the doctor for a followup visit after my little incident at work.  She said that everything looked fine except my platelet count was off so they retested me for that.  We had a long discussion about my current outlook and I took a short written examination and discovered that I, like a lot of my fellow human beings, suffer from depression and anxiety.  This came as somewhat of a shock to me since I never really felt I was depressed.  Unfortunately for me, I had a family member who was depressed, a lot.  Apparently all of the increased pressures, deadlines, commitments and such have rendered me unable to make responsible decisions about what I should or shouldn't be doing.  So now I have drugs.  Drugs that are supposed to change my outlook over the next 30 days to one where I don't feel like I am in a deep hole (even if I am)
and no way to get out.  I am certainly hoping it works.

Today we celebrate Christmas with family and friends.  I grew up in a Presbyterian household and in later life converted to Catholicism.  Don't ask me why.  At the time I think it had something to do with symbolism and my need to straighten my life out.  I think it worked because I did stop drinking and smoking but I became more work oriented than I was before.  Church was a big deal when we were kids until my mom had an illness and no one came to visit.  It soured her on Church and to my knowledge she never set foot in another Church after that incident.

I traveled away from the Church and then back at times when life seemed to be closing in and then I would travel away again.  Right now I am away.  I haven't been to Church for a very long time.  I question everything and wonder about the beginning of the world.

If you believe the scientist the whole thing seems to have began in a puddle of water with a single cell.  I guess you just have to have FAITH to believe that scenario because there really isn't any proof that this whole big world could come from a single cell in a puddle.

Then there are the religions of the world that believe that an all powerful entity is responsible for the beginning of the world.  I guess you just have to have FAITH to believe that scenario because, once again, there really isn't any proof that this whole big world was the handy work of the all powerful entity, God or whatever you choose to call it.

So where does that leave us?  Everyone must decide for themselves.  Some in my family think the second scenario isn't possible and there are some who believe the first scenario can't be right.  It seems in times when I am down and out I lean on the second scenario and when things are good, I walk away and move somewhere in the middle.  Still kind of believing as I wonder and question.  Then something in life slaps me and I slide back towards the religious side.

So here I sit kind of wishing I could believe in something on a constant basis instead of riding the fence all the time.  I have family who believe beyond a shadow of a doubt and I envy them.

Oh well, there you are.  I hope each and everyone of you have a very Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

It's Sunday And I Took The Weekend

I got some devastating news last week from another one of my valued employees.  Instead of just loosing one employee I will now be loosing two and apparently neither are my fault as a manager which is often the case.  Still it makes you question your ability and doesn't help the morale in the department for those who are remaining.  We now have to find two replacements and thus far the people applying are no where close to those that are leaving in product knowledge or abilities.  That leaves me to do more which always seems to be the outcome.  I am dealing with it but having worked everyday since Thanksgiving and often very long hours, I decided to take the weekend away.

It is late afternoon on Sunday and I am not sure that being away has helped my attitude or my stamina in any way, shape or form.

Last night I took Mia to the Woodman Lodge in Snoqualmie, Washington.  Snoqualmie is a small town in the foothills and just off I 90 whose claim to fame is a Railroad Museum and Snoqualmie Falls.  My daughter recommend the Woodman Lodge for a special dinner from my wife who hasn't seen a whole bunch of me lately.  (Maybe that is a good thing)  Anyway we had a lovely dinner and a nice drive out and back.  We spent nearly an hour and a half and spent just over $100.  We don't drink so when we go out for special dinners our bills are generally smaller than most.  The Lodge is a steak house but has other items on the menu.  Mia had a nice steak that she said was wonderful and she isn't a big steak person.  I had prime rib and it was excellent.  The only mistake I made was I ordered it medium well and I should have had it medium rare.  Still it was good and I really enjoyed it. appears the Seahawks are killing Arizona in the first half.  Just hope they can hang on to the 31 points they have gotten in the first half.

I am off to study employee applications.

Have fun out there.....I so want to join you.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Facebook Issues And A Short Weekend

It has been a very long week beginning with many  huge orders arriving and people getting sick or being gone for one reason or another.  As you know we are in the process of trying to get our parts department back together from a move.  It is hard to continue to do business while trying to put things back together.  Finding parts is an issue and we have many that haven't made it to a bin location yet and not many bins left, especially for bigger items.

With all the inbound freight I ended up working all day yesterday and got home around noon today after having been in by 4:00 o'clock a.m. both days.  It makes for a tired and weary Ken.  I came home to make a pegboard panel to hang on the end of one of our bin rows.  We saved some of the pegboard from before the move and I used our box truck to bring a couple of sheets home to rip them down for use tomorrow.  I built this one using 1 X 2 and the ripped pegboard.  Today it lays on my shop floor, tomorrow it will have Subaru wiper blades hanging on it.
I use a Shopsmith to do the majority of my woodworking.  They are multi use tools but can be tricky to set up.
Using the side table ( on the right) requires some adjusting as you set the rip fence.  The problem with this tool is the rip fence always seems to move in on one end or the other when you tighten it down.
The measurement can be right on and then you tighten it down and the rip fence moves.  While the measurement here is 24", if you look to the channel on the right you see it is just under 20".  To ensure the rip fence is parallel to the blade you measure from the rip fence to the channel at three spots across the table, front, rear and at the blade.  They should be the same.  If not, you have your work cut out for you.

While working this week my head met up with an immovable object.  Just outside the back door and obviously not high up on the wall is a lock box for a key for the fire department to gain access to the building should the need arise.
It is not a good thing when your head meets this object.
The good news, I have the rest of the day off even though it is just after 2:30 p.m.  My boss mentioned an item that I was unaware was available through a program we have with VW.  I ordered four of these, two for him and a couple for stock.  I am thinking I might want to build one.  They are only $130.00 but are they every cool.  Lots of working items.

In the 50's Volkswagen introduced the Westfalia Camper, a converted VW Micro Bus.  Through the years there have been many versions with the last one built in 2003.  Lego has developed this kit.  It is pretty detailed.  One of my co workers has this on her desk so I took some pictures.  Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


I woke up this morning and watched Meet the Press as a part of my Sunday morning ritual.  The discussions surrounded the movie Lincoln and how his leadership skills could be applied to our current political landscape.  The folks on this mornings Round Table session were amazing.  Andrea Mitchell, Dave Brooks, Ken Burns, Rev. Al Sharpton and Carly Fiorina joined David with a discussion that looked at the Fiscal Cliff as well as what Obama must do to bring changes by leveraging Capitol Hill.  Each had an opportunity to give input and did so with no interruption.  They listened to each other and you could see they understood the other persons point of view.  They all agreed that if we can prove our form of government is governable we are in a great position to move forward with increased opportunities for the future.

  The movie Lincoln was used as an example of the kind of leadership that will be required to lead this country forward.  Something we haven't seen in a very long time.  Mr. Lincoln used every avenue available to him to get the necessary votes to pass the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery.  My wife and I attended the local theater early show this morning to watch the movie, Lincoln. It was a very good movie and if you have an opportunity to see it, by all means do so.  As a history buff standing on the side lines of today's political mess it was refreshing and I can only hope that the parties involved in solving our issues today take a moment and go watch the movie and learn something about concession, wrangling, compromise, and leadership.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Update And The New Digs

I am feeling much better and most of the reports from all the drama earlier in the week has been good.  I still have to wait for the cardiologists to look at the results of my 24 hour monitor but I suspect if there were a problem I would have gotten a call from someone, unless they didn't look at it on Friday when I returned it.

I really hate to admit it but the whole episode was a wake up call.  Not only did my wife, daughter, step-mom, and son give me grief over the ordeal, my grandson went to work with me Friday and made sure everyone knew about their anguish.  He was nice about it, but most of the employees who approached me were aware of my situation.  My boss joked me about taking so many days off.  Then on a serious note made it clear that he didn't want me to drive myself so hard.  So it looks like the "Energizer Bunny" needs to slow down some.

We moved into the new digs last weekend and the building has not been rekeyed so our overnight parts delivery driver doesn't have a key to enter the building thus requiring someone to be present when he delivers the parts.  I hope to have this situation resolve early next week.  In the meantime only two of us have keys to the building and of course I am not paying someone overtime to sit and wait for the delivery.  Especially when I can do a bunch of stuff while waiting for his arrival.

So I went to bed early last night and woke up well before I wanted to.  1:30 am isn't a good time to be up but when the brain begins to think about all the stuff that needs to be done, I found myself crawling out of bed and heading to work.  I arrived shortly after 2:00 am and worked until 7:00 am.  I expected the delivery but it never arrived.  I visited with the boss for a few minutes (yep, he gets up early too).  He said he took a nap from 7 - 11 the night before and hadn't been back to bed since he got up.  And you all thought I was bad.  Actually, I have done that to.  At seven my first employee arrives so I left it to them to handle it and came home.

This is the new customer parts counter with the customer service waiting area at the left.  There are two big display cases and two large monitor televisions.  The furniture is on order and will arrive sometime in December.  Then we will start to use the whole facility but for now just parts is operating from this building.
This is a picture of the employee side of the parts counter.  The trophy in the foreground a manufacturer  award for the best customer service in the district.  It goes to the dealer with the best customer service each month, so it does move around.
There is still a bunch of work to do.  The dark blue bins are new,  the rest were reused from the old facility.  Things will get organized and picked up as we move forward.
High density shelving that has been bolted together and to the floor.  We can hang stuff on the wire grids on the ends of the bins.  It takes a lot of parts to run a $600,000+ per month parts business.
As I have said we did loose around 500 square feet, but we are working to get it reorganized and condensing everything.

This is the shipping and receiving department.  The big bin to the right is the same ones you see at Costco or Home Depot.  It is built for heavy items.  Under it is space for large body items and pallets of oil, antifreeze and batteries.
Standing in shipping and receiving and looking back.  The back wall has bins that allow us to hang long items and store bulky items.  The cage to the right is for our internet department.  We do everything we can to secure our customers personal information.  Only two people have a key to this cage.

This move would not have happened had it not been for the part time folks we hired to do the heavy work.  These people worked their tails off getting parts moved from one floor to the other with no complaining or whining.  Just good solid work.  I would recommend any of them for full time employment.

A final comment regarding my grandson Zach.  I know you have all had the opportunity to read about him from my blog but I don't have words to tell you how proud of him I am.  My daughter and son have made me very proud but I missed most of their childhood because of my drinking.  I haven't missed any of Zach's childhood and as far as I am concerned he has grown into caring, kind, willing to help, loving (except with his sister, I'm working on him), hard working, energized, loyal young man who turns 17 next month.  I can't believe he is 17.  It seems like I was changing his diapers yesterday.  He has plans and goals unlike so many kids today.

Thank you Zach for all your help during the move.  The mere fact that you were there lifted me to do better.  The fact that you worked your tail off was an extra benefit.  I love you and wish you the very best in all of your endeavors.
Going to a Seattle Thunderbirds game tonight with Zach and his other grand dad, Chuck.  Having too much fun.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


I am definitely thankful today.  While I am tired, I am upright.  I removed the monitor last night.  Ouch!  That  hurt.  All those wires feeding information are attached to adhesive sensors that are stuck all about your torso.  I have way too much body hair and it hurts like heck to remove them because it feels like they are held on with super glue.

I still feel hazy?  I don't know what else to call it.  Just slightly tired.

We have a crowd coming to the house today for Thanksgiving and I am looking forward to it.

Have a happy Thanksgiving no matter where you are.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Emergency Comes To My Bathroom

During the Vietnam war a soldier treated by a paramedic within the first hour of trauma had a 98% chance of survival.  Some studies found that this survival rate was better than the rate present for auto accidents on American highways.  In the 60's a public program was launched to try to improve the rates of survival from cardiac issues and has since expanded to just about every possible health emergency.

In a television show called, "Emergency", two young paramedic/firefighters, Gage and Desoto, gave us a look at some of the events that the LA County Fire Department was involved in.  Over the years Seattle has been especially proud of their Medic One team since it is widely considered the first of its kind in the country.  Thank your lucky stars that they expanded it to the rest of the country.

Yesterday I had my first need for some help and they where there.  I work in the city of Bellevue with a fire station less than a mile away.  Their response was quick and they took charge and evaluated me and advised that I be transported to the critical care facility of my health provider.

I went to work like normal and didn't feel bad in any way, shape or form.  As I have said before we are moving the parts department so I have been putting in some long hours (probably too many, looking back) and yesterday was no exception.  I arrived at 3:00 o'clock a.m. knowing it was going to be a long day.  I had stock orders arriving that were huge and we are working out of boxes.  Finding gaskets in a 45" X 48", three foot deep plastic gaylord isn't exactly easy.

Looking for this gasket,
In this container,

Is like searching for a needle in a haystack.  Add to that, nothing is where the computer system says it is and an extremely busy week before Thanksgiving and to say the frustration level is high would be an understatement.  Add to that an employee who calls in sick, one who comes to work but goes home sick and a manager (me) who takes it upon himself to try to take up all the slack by not taking a lunch break.  In fact, not eating anything.

We were concerned about the possibility of running out of oil filters and I thought I had seen some in one of the Pods we are storing parts in until we can find permanent homes for them.  it was pouring down rain so I went into the bathroom to get my coat.  As I grabbed my coat from the hanger I suddenly felt light headed and disoriented and apparently fainted.  A co-worker saw me fall as the door was closing and called for help.  Some of my co-workers got me up to a chair after a few minutes, but I didn't feel right.  Rather than take a chance I let them call 911.  So Emergency visited my bathroom.   I was inspected, tested and it was determined that a combination of stress, low blood sugar, long hours had finally caught up with me.  It was suggest that I be transported to critical care.  One of my co-workers took me in and my wife picked me up about 4 hours later.

In the critical care unit I was monitored and tested further.  They did a chest x-ray, EKG, blood and urine work.  I was put on and IV and monitored over the course of my stay.  Once the results were in the doctor concluded the earlier diagnosis by the paramedics was correct however she wanted me to spend the night in the observation room just in case.  I chose not to do that and signed out against medical advice and came home tired, beaten and embarrassed.  I am wearing a 24 hour monitor that is watching my heart for irregularities and I have to follow up with my physician.

This morning I am feeling weak and tired but for some reason I can't sleep.  I can't go to work because I can't drive and my car is still at work.  There is so much to do but the doctor pretty much summed it up during my consultation last night when she said, "You do realize that if you don't take care of yourself, you won't be around to do what needs to be done."  I have always thought I could just keep going and going.  I always have kept going.  Apparently when we get older the doctors feel the need to announce the fact by saying, "Your not as young as you once were".  She put that line in right after the one above.  It has me thinking.

I decided to sign a waiver that I was leaving their care against medical advice and come home.  I understand the doctors position with the waiver and I didn't take it personally that she had me sign it.  She is covering her backside in case something should happen.  And I don't think she took it personally that I chose to leave rather than follower her advice.

Overall, everyone involved it this whole event was caring and willing to do what it took to get my situation resolved.  Since all to the tests came back good, I suspect the monitor will show nothing abnormal.  At least I hope so.  I am taking the next two days off to enjoy Thanksgiving with the family and move on from a place I never expected to be.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Is It Depression

The last week and a half has been full of turmoil.  As we move from downstairs back up to the newly remodeled upstairs.  We have lost some of the storage footprint and it is going to be very tight fit going back.  We have moved the bins and the parts and we are mostly set up to begin business starting tomorrow (Monday) morning.  It has been a lot of work for a person as old as I.  I have been getting to work between 2 am and leaving anywhere from 5 to 6 pm.

As I have said before, I am not afraid of work.  I was given a strong work ethic by my parents and grandparents and when there is work to do I will work until it is done.  However, after six days of sun up to sun down I went into work early this morning (Sunday) in an attempt to make things a little more palatable for my employees.  Getting rid of some of the hazards created during the move, relocating some items, checking in the stock order and putting it away, getting some of the gaylords ready for shipment back to the warehouse, stocking the bathrooms and kitchen and doing some of my paperwork.  I got a lot done, but around 10 am after looking at the disaster that was facing me, I literally  threw up my hands and walked away.  I consider tears, but I came home, climbed in the tub for a bath followed by a nap.

I am not physically tired even though I couldn't sleep last night because I was thinking about all the stuff that needed to be done.  No, I was emotionally tired, drained.  Ready to cash in.

Only a third of the work surrounding the move done, but my clerk has given notice, our shipping and receiving clerk is recovering from surgery and a counterperson has given notice.

Is it depression?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Another Mistake.....Really

I was looking at my blog tonight and noticed that the link to my "published work" doesn't work....

So I will type it out for you're enjoyment or lack there of....

(Editor's note:  This letter is a condensation of a lengthy essay entailed "The United States in Viet-Nam."  It was written by Kenneth Pratt, a pupil at Nathan Hale High School.)

Editor, The Times:
     The United States has no designs whatever on the resources or territory of Viet-Nam.  Our concern is three-fold.
     First, South Viet-Nam, a member of the free-world family, is striving to preserve its independence from Communist attack.  They have asked for our help.  We shall continue to give it.
     We do so in their interest and in our own clear self-interest.  Basic to the principle of freedom and self-determination which have sustained our country for almost two centuries is the right of peoples everywhere to live and develop in peace.  Our own security is strengthened by the determination of others to remain free.
     Second, Southeast Asia is vital to our national security, for if the Communists should every control its resources and territory, it might mean the end of the free world.
     And, third, South Viet-Nam is a test case for the Communist strategy.
     Some critics of our present policy have suggested that we withdraw. This the United States totally rejects.
     Others have called for a similar option-"neutralization" of Viet-Nam.  This is the game of "what's mine is mine and what's yours is negotiable."  No one seriously believes the Communists would agree to "neutralization" of North Viet-Nam.
     The third option is military action-now being taken-outside South Viet-Nam, particularly against North Viet-Nam to supplement the counter-insurgency program in South Viet-Nam.
     This course-its implications and ways to carry it out-have been carefully studied.  Whatever the ultimate course is forced upon us by the other side, it is clear that it would be a supplement to - not a substitute for - progress within South Viet-Nam.
     The fourth course of action is to help the South Viet-Namese win the battle in their own country.  This is essential, no matter what else be done.
     Let us repeat that our goal is peace and stability, both in South Viet-Nam and Southeast Asia.  We have learned that "peace at any price" is not practical in the long run and that the cost of defending freedom must be borne if we are to have it at all.
     The road ahead in Viet-Nam is going to be long, difficult and frustrating.  It will take work, courage and imagination and -perhaps more than anything else- patience.  When the day comes that we can safely withdraw, we expect to leave an independent and stable South Viet-Nam, rich with resources and bright with prospects for the peace and prosperity of Southeast Asia and the world.
                                                                      KENNETH PRATT,
                                                              Nathan Hale High School.

See....I had no clue what I was talking about.

Another Fantastic Day

On November 14, 1969 I married the most wonderful woman in the world.  I don't know where I would be had I not had her to share my life with.  She is, without doubt, an angel considering what she has dealt with over the past 43 years.  I am looking forward to many more years.
Love you hun

Monday, November 12, 2012

It Would Appear I Was Mistaken

I have a hard time admitting an error.  I am something like The Fonz on Happy Days.  Just can't seem to say it without a bunch of stuttering.

Yesterday I mentioned a letter to the editor of the Seattle Times back when I was a kid.   I mistakenly thought (age has something to do with memory loss) I wrote it before I joined the Navy, when in fact, I wrote it six months after I was officially discharged from military service.  It was an essay for my Asia studies course in my senior year of high school.  I sent the entire essay to the Seattle Times and the editor condensed it and published the following:

Of course at my age I can't be expected to remember every detail, much less what I wrote.  It costs me $3.95 to find out what I wrote.  Seems the Times archives aren't free.  There was a response to my thoughts by another citizen in Seattle but I didn't feel like spending another $3.95 to find out what they had to say about my essay.

Hope everyone is well.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day And Catching Up.

In 1964 I was still in high school and struggling with the future of my life with the active draft and the very real possibility of a stint in Vietnam.  I had an issue with the war in general.  I wasn't convinced that it was something we really needed to do, but I had written a paper for my history class that defended John F. Kennedy and his position and reasons we were committed to the war.  It seems that my real belief came out in the words I put into the paper.

 Many of my friends were going with the flow.  Some were just waiting until graduation, off to college and hopefully the war would be over by the time they graduated.  I didn't have that option.  Some left the U.S. bound for Canada to elude the draft.  While I did consider it, it really wasn't a viable course of action for me.  I couldn't see myself as a foot soldier so I never really considered the Army or Marine corps.  I certainly wasn't going to fly anywhere with my corrected vision and less than stellar grades.  So that left the Navy.

My younger brother had joined the Navy so I looked at the options available.  To keep the draft off my back, I enlisted in the Naval Air Reserve 2 by 4 program while still in high school.   My junior year ended and I was ordered to attend Boot Camp at Sand Point Naval Air Station in Seattle, it was the summer of 1964.  It was a two week basic training for new recruits.  Long story shortened dramatically, I was sent home half way through the training program and later in my senior year, given an honorable discharge with medical reasons.  I did not qualify to be retained in the Naval Reserve.  My status with the draft board changed to 4F, unsuitable for military service.

I watched as many of my schoolmates ended up drafted and on their way to Vietnam and while not close to my brother, I saw him leave twice for the Gulf of Tonkin with the VA 196 aboard the USS Constellation.  I did not go.  Not because I didn't want or I dodged the opportunity as so many others had, but because it seems I had bad knees.  So bad the Navy didn't want them.

Over the years and even during the vets return from Vietnam I have supported our military fighting men and women for their valor in the face of war.  I support them today even though I don't necessarily agree with the reasons they have been put in harms way.

I stop each Veterans day and thank those who gave us the freedoms we enjoy today even though it sometimes appears we have no idea what to do with them.

Unfortunately I will be working on Veterans Day.  Here in the U.S. it is not a holiday from the retail sales world and so we work.  The remodel of the upstairs is completed enough for us to begin to move our parts department back upstairs and into the newly remodeled space.  It is exceptionally nice even though we lost roughly 500 square feet of storage space.  We are looking at some options to ensure we have protected storage.

In each of my reviews over the years our owner has asked the same question of me; "Why can't you keep the parts department clean?"  The building was old, the construction work wasn't first class, the place had taken a beating over the years and most of the employees didn't seem to care.  I am about to change their outlooks as we move back upstairs.  I may only have 519 days left but I'll be damned if the bosses request will go unnoticed.  The department will remain clean and each of them will help.  I'll post some pictures of the new digs once we have occupancy and are up and running.  It is truly amazing the amount of money that has been put into this remodel and I think everyone should be proud of the efforts the family has made and is making to upgrade the facilities.

Hope everyone is safe.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Election, Election, Election

I started my day watching Meet the Press and finding myself a little frustrated with the media.  The discussion on most of the Sunday morning news shows had to do with how the candidates can get enough states to win the electoral college.  I like the way the media assumes that all but eight states are already decided.  The candidates are now spending their last few days trying to sew up those eight states so one of them can win.

I wonder how many voters will just say the heck with it and stay home.  After all, here in Washington, the media says we are a blue state with no real say in the outcome.  Somehow it doesn't feel good.  I still voted, although I did consider not voting at all.

I will be so happy when the election is over and the campaign ads are gone....

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Lovely Day In The Neighborhood.

If you like rain, you'll like our neighborhood.  I am told we have nearly 8 inches more rainfall this year than we did this time last year.  I thought it was a lot last year and it just keeps coming.  Makes you wonder about the warming of the climate and how it effects the weather around us.

I need to take Honey on her nightly potty walk and then look for leg supports for my new work bench.

Hope everyone is well.  Sorry for the short post.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Road Trip

It was Saturday and to say it was wet would be an understatement.  It was pouring buckets of water when I left the house with Honey for our morning walk.  She was not a happy camper to say the least.  She hates the rain but we managed to make it around the large block, around the outside perimeter of our complex.

When we got home we packed up for what was to be a long road trip.  We left our place at around 9 am, went to the bank and dropped by the Saturday market of get a Friends of the Dogpark calendar, then it on the road to our daughter house and a quick visit with our old neighbors.  We had some donations to give our neighbor for a young man who is down on his luck and has nothing but 5 kids and a wife that has decided to leave him.  Not a good situation.

Our grand daughter is selling Christmas items to raise money for Cheer, so we donated some of our money to her quest and then it was back on the road.

With Mia at the wheel and Honey in my lap it was all I could do to stay awake as we took the long way to Gold Bar to check on the trailer.  We found everything as we had left it and went to lunch at the Mexican restaurant in town.  As soon as we finished lunch we were back on the road for the long drive to Mount Vernon to visit my step mom.  We had a nice visit for the majority of the afternoon but towards 4:30 pm things began to look rather dismal outside.

As we left Mt. Vernon the rains started and it was once again pouring.  All along U.S. I-5 we encountered slow downs mainly related to weather and mass amounts of traffic.  I had forgotten that the Huskies were playing Oregon State in downtown Seattle so we ran into some of that traffic as we headed home.  Somewhere outside of Everett we saw something fly through the air in front of us that looked like a rolled up sock.  It hit the truck for sure and made a thumping sound like something that was soft.  It definitely wasn't the normal rock noise.

When we finally got home, two hours after leaving Mount Vernon, I investigated and found a rather nasty dent in the front corner of the hood.  I am going to see if any of the dent guys can do anything with it.  Made me sick.

I wanted to show you pictures but I again, cannot get my pictures on my phone to download to Picasa.

Today we plan to visit our son for the afternoon and maybe go out to dinner somewhere.

Finally, I read with great interest, R Sanity RV Adventures and their political discussion.  Electing someone is already dead as President.  One thing for sure.  He/she couldn't screw anything up or be accused of screwing stuff up.

Hope you're enjoying your weekend.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tire Difficulties

Recently there have been several blogs written about mishaps with RV tires.  Generally the bloggers have indicated that the tire "blew out" while driving and sometimes caused significant damage to their RV.  While a manufacturer defect is always a possibility there are several other reasons that a tire might blow out.

Curbing the tire occurs when you pull up to a curb to park and you unintentionally scuff the sidewall against the curb.  Depending on the speed and angle , you can damage a tire enough to cause overheating and separation within the plys of the tire.  Later down the road bulges may appear on the sidewall indicating an internal issue leading to a "blow out".

Road hazards or running over something or backing into something.  Significant damage can be done to the infrastructure of a tire if this occurs and it can lead to a "blow out".  After hitting something, even a pothole, tires should be throughly inspected and may even require being removed from the wheel to ensure there is no damage.

Speed most RV tires are not designed with speed in mind, they are designed for speeds of 65 mph or less.   Tires run at higher speeds have significant heat build up which can cause sidewall separation and a nasty "blow out".

Alignment is the relationship of the tire to the frame as you roll down the road and yes, the alignment can be off on a trailer.  One example would be a single wheel that has been curbed at a relatively low speed but causing the axle holding the wheel to bend slightly.  Another example, would be the frame shifting on the leaf springs causing a sideways pull as you ride down the road.  Both of these conditions and several others can cause tires to overheat and (wait for it)  "blow out".

Extreme climate or temperature can cause conditions within the tire to cause a "blow out".

Underinflation is likely one of the biggest causes of the "blow out".  When was the last time you had your rig weighed, fully loaded with water, propane, vegetables and the like?  Empty trailers require less air pressure that fully loaded trailers.  How do you know how much air to put in the tires unless your weigh your rig in travel condition?  You don't know.  Manufacturers supply tons of information regarding the amount of air pressure required for different size tires under different load conditions.  You need to be fully aware of these so you can make safe decisions before you hit the road.  Michelin has a chart that I have found to be very helpful over the years.  Notice that the weight bearing down on the tire is very important.  As you load the vehicle you must compensate with more air in each load bearing tire.  You can download a copy of the chart or look up your tire size at

I recommend strongly that you begin at the beginning and if your trailer is more than a couple of years old, have the alignment checked.  Once you are sure of the alignment, load the trailer with all the stuff you plan to take with you and go weigh it.  Determine from Michelin's chart what your required air pressure is based on the tire size and load.  Then inspect your tires daily.  Once in the morning when you leave for a trip and often at each stop on your trip.  Feel the wheel and tire.  There should not be any extreme heat build up.  If there is look for the cause.  Even a dragging brake can cause heat build up in the wheel and lead to a "blow out" if you don't catch it.  Watch the sidewalls for bulges or cracks of more than 2/32".  Replace tires with these issues.  If you have a flat, pull over and seek help changing it.  Never drive any distance without all of your tires in good working order and on the ground.  Driving with one tire damaged requires the other tires to take up the load and can cause them to overheat, leading to ply separation and "blow out".

Don't forget the tow vehicle.  As you load it down the rear tires require more air just like the RV.

And enjoy your trip.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

The weather has definitely changed in the Pacific Northwest.  It is cold, windy and rainy outside today.  That is the normal weather we would see this time of year.  Along with the weather change comes the flu season.  I went and got a flu shot in late September but there are folks already coming down with something that might be flu or some other virus and I am told it isn't a good one.  I haven't had a cold for a long time but Thursday I woke up with a pain in the soft palate area of my mouth.  It was only painful first thing in the morning and went away after I swallowed a few times.  It hurt more each time I swallowed until the pain disappeared.  I had the same pain on Friday morning and along with it, some scratchiness in my throat.  By Friday afternoon, I could feel a definite difference in my nasal and throat compared to my norm.  Yesterday and today it has gotten worse.  Achy, sickly, tired and frankly not doing much of anything.
I am relatively certain it is nothing more than the common cold.  I just hope it doesn't give way to something more.  Colds are, without doubt, one of the most irritating illnesses to have.

Last night our Huskies took a trouncing at the hands of the Arizona Wildcats 52-17.  It is interesting to note that the team that upset Stanford back on 09/27, 17 - 13, hasn't won a game since the upset.  Prior to the game against Stanford the Huskies had won 3 and lost 1.  The wins were awesome and the one loss was a lopsided loss to LSU.  The following Monday the Huskies became ranked.  Number 23 in the country.  Here in lies the issue.  Since then they have lost 4 games and won zip.  The losses have been big.  They just can't seem to find the "stuff" they had when they played Stanford.  Defense is having problems finding the same unity they showed in the Cardinal upset.  I don't really understand what is going on.  It is hard to watch them get demolished by the other PAC12 teams.

On to Election 2012.  There are people who think I am an idiot for having not already decided whom I plan to vote for in the Presidential and Governor races.  There are so many things wrong with the economy, country, taxes, and foreign policies at the current moment that it is very difficult to not want to make a change.  The question would be, is a change going to make any difference?  I have watched the debates, watched the television analysis, read the internet, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times and a wide assortment of other periodicals and I still wonder who the hell is telling the American people the truth.  I seriously doubt that anyone is actually telling us the truth.  They are afraid of the ramifications of the truth.  And how much do either the candidate or the incumbent actually know about the details of the annual budgets?  I suspect they have highlights.  I doubt they deal with too many details.  I continue to try and make a decision and I had better hurry up because my voting materials have arrived in my mailbox and are now sitting on the table next to me.  The choice must be made...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Jeez Are You Kidding Me

Lets start off with a little catch up.  Obviously it has been some time since I sat down to update the blog.

After a long dry spell in the Pacific Northwest, Fall made an appearance this past week with overcast, cloudy and rainy days.  Not super bad, just chill with winds and showers.  Now this is what a Seattleite has come to expect from fall.  I have some fall coats that I have had for years and I decided to get rid of them and buy a new one this year.  I purchased a shorter, light weight jacket with a blanket liner from Carhartt and I couldn't be happier with it.  Smart looking and it keeps me warm on these windy days.

My grandson Zach and I met my son Jeff in downtown Seattle yesterday to go to the Husky/USC football game at Century Link Field.  It was an interesting game that had some highlights of good things to come, unfortunately with no offensive line and some relatively poor decisions the Huskies came away losers again 24-14.  Husky football is much better than it was four or five years ago but it still has a ways to go before it can become a power house like it was it the earlier years.  Never the less the game was fun and Jeff, Zach and I had a wonderful guys afternoon/evening out.

The city skyline from the stadium
They do know how to tailgate

The Marching Band and my finger
I didn't get any pictures of the team on the field and yes this is the same stadium that the Seattle Seahawks play in.  Husky stadium is undergoing a major remodel and should be ready for next season.

I fixed a big pot of spaghetti for Friday nights dinner.  Had some rolls with butter and garlic salt and a chocolate pie for dessert.  I have left overs for this afternoons Sunday meal.

Okay, I have a new subject.  I have continually stated that folks looking to purchase a tow vehicle should do their research and ensure that what they want to purchase will tow what they to tow.  I can't say this enough, you cannot upgrade an under-rated tow vehicle by putting a bigger hitch on it and expect it to do tow safely.  We have folks come it and purchase a small SUV for fuel economy and then ask us to install a larger hitch than we know the vehicle is designed to handle.  Some people become very upset when they realize that what they imagined isn't going to be possible.

Prior to laying down all the cash for a nice SUV, make absolutely sure it can do what you plan to use it for.  The SUV pictured above might be okay if it is a V6 or diesel and the trailer is and ultra light, otherwise this combination is looking for trouble down the road.

Enough said. Buyer beware.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

On My Soap Box, Not Political

Before I get to the soap box lets have the week in review....

Monday night football found the Seahawks winning a game that they should have lost.  This game prompted the NFL to make a deal with the real refs and settle the dispute that brought us the wrong call.  The Internet was alive with jokes, pictures and upset people over the blown call.  The replacement refs were threatened.  Really?  It is just a game.

Wednesday morning we had a small, short shower of rain come through our area.  We haven't seen measurable rainfall in quite a while so this was an event.  That event brought a double rainbow.  Though I didn't see it, some said there were three rainbows.  I have a picture on my phone that won't upload to Picasa so I can show you.

Thursday brought the upset of Stanford by my favorite college football team, the Washington Huskies.  What an exciting game.  I really enjoyed watching the Huskies.

Friday was easy going but I had to work Saturday and while it was slow we did have a good day.  I came home and wanted to crash, knowing I had but one day off this weekend.  My lovely wife had other ideas.  We had a toilet that was running off and on in the upstairs bathroom and while I was gone, she found the repair kit and installed it.  Unfortunately she did something wrong and it wouldn't shut off.  I spent maybe 20 minutes disassembling and reassembling the parts and when I finished it stopped running and doesn't run unless we flush it.  Then I crashed on the couch.

Sunday started early, way too early.  2:30 am I was awaken and was unable to return to the bliss of sleep.  So I got up, read the paper (on the Internet), watched Meet the Press, took Honey for a short potty walk, fed her and me and went upstairs to get ready for the day.  Mia and I went to the store early and were home in time to see some of the beginning of the Seahawk game.  We watched the game, enjoyed some nachos and then took Honey for another, longer exercise walk.  The Seahawks managed to lose their game with the Rams.

Now to my soap box.

In case you aren't aware, October is not only Halloween but it is National Car Care Month.  Actually we have two Car Care months and the last one was held in April.  Being in the auto business I get an opportunity to see some of the inside scoop.

The results of the vehicle inspections held at community car care events across the country was not what one would call pretty.  84% of the vehicles needed parts or service, the highest percentage seen in the past five years.  Neglect of vehicles combined with the state of the economy seem to be going hand in hand.  Even with gas prices approaching record levels consumers were choosing to ignore repairs and routine maintenance.  Better-running, well maintained vehicles can boost gas mileage and prevent bigger-ticket repairs down the road.

An analysis of the vehicle inspection forms revealed several findings, here are but a few of them:

*Nearly one out of 10 vehicles had the check engine light on
*New air filters were needed in 19% of the vehicles
*At least one belt was reported as unsatisfactory on 20% of vehicles and 15% needed a new hose
*Battery cables, clamps and terminals needed maintenance in 17% of the vehicles inspected
*28% had low or dirty motor oil
*24% had low, leaky or dirty coolant
*23% had inadequate washer fluid levels.

Now I know that most RVer's understand the need for maintenance to keep their expensive equipment up and running with little downtime.  If you haven't looked at your vehicles, all of them, recently, then it is time to either look at them yourself using a check list or find a competent technician to do it for you and follow up the results.  Don't let someone tell you have to fix everything at one time.  Take it in chunks.  Fix safety items first, items that help stop next followed by items that make you go and save you money at the pump.  Lastly, take care of accessory issues that need to be repaired or replaced.

Hope everyone has a safe one.  Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I awoke to a firestorm this morning.  The picture above is actually the one I couldn't get loaded the other day of a sunset.  The firestorm of which I speak is that miserably officiated football game played right up the street from my place last night on Monday Night Football.  Seattle will forever be remembered as the place that you can win a game but loose it because the officials can't make the correct calls.  Not just the last call.  All through the game they made the wrong calls.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Sleep At The Wheel

As I mentioned in my blog posting yesterday, I was expecting to sleep through the Seahawk game.  I turned on the television at 1:00 o'clock expecting to see the game but there was no mention of the Seahawks on any channel.  I looked to a schedule on my smart phone and saw 5:30 p.m.  Okay, must wait a few hours for my nap.  Turned the television back on at 5:30 p.m. and still no Seahawks to be found.  Further investigation found the play date to by 9/24 not 9/23....thus the 5:30 start time.  Another Monday night football game against the Green Bay Packers.  Wow, was I asleep at the wheel or what?

Then I go out to walk Honey this morning and as it would happen I see a very nice sunrise and want to take a picture but I don't carry a camera with me all the time.  Guess I should since I always seem to see stuff I want to take pictures of but can't do it right with a smart phone.  I took the picture anyway, with my smart phone and I have spent the majority of the day trying to get the phone to upload the photos to my Picasa account so I could share them with you, if I thought they were good enough.  Sadly, they have not moved from the phone to the internet.  I have officially given up for the day because it appears we are only an hour away from kick off of the game I have been waiting since yesterday to watch.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

919 or 44 Days Left

As Fall begins I notice I have 919 days to retirement and I was reminded by Meet the Press this morning that there are only 44 more days before the second Obama term begins.

I don't say that as a supporter, more a fact.  I really doubt the Romney is going to get elected.  Nothing personal, I'll might vote for him but he just doesn't strike me as someone who will do any better that the current administration and he makes too many mis-steps as a candidate.

The 919 days until retirement is much more important to me.  I look out over the horizon through may travel webpages as well as the many blogs of those that are actually out there traveling around the country and all I want to do is leave.  Hook up, turn out the lights and leave.

We have a coupon for Cabela's so we took off and drove down this morning.  We didn't buy anything, just looked.  They have so much stuff for the outdoors and clothes to go with it and I like most of the stuff they have but wonder, is it available, cheaper, somewhere else.

Sorry if I don't seem to be full of lots of energy.  I am not.  I woke up at 2:30 am this morning and couldn't sleep.  When I can't sleep, I get up.  I get up too early most days.  I feel like sleeping this afternoon...right through the Seahawk game.

WHL hockey has started again and the Thunderbirds went to Portland and beat the Winterhawks on their home ice on Friday evening.  The Winterhawks returned the favor last night by coming to Seattle and beating the Thunderbirds on our home ice.  This could be an interesting year.

Unfortunately the baseball season is nearly over.  For the Seattle Mariners there is no playoffs however for the first time that I can recall there is real promise for the future.  If management can keep and leave alone the players they currently have on the field they might have a chance to go somewhere next year.

Guess I had better take Honey for a walk before I can't.

Have a great time....

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Lot To Do

There is a lot of work to do over the coming fall and winter months.  I am told it will be another four weeks before I must concern myself with moving the department and trying to get ready for an inventory early next year.

This evening I cleaned out my closet.  I took out stuff I hadn't worn in years.  I have lost a couple of inches around the waist so some of the pants were way too big.  I got two big black plastic bags full of clothes down in the basement for donation to someone.  I can't believe how much room is in the closet now.

I have to design a new gazebo for the lot at Gold Bar over this winter.  Since I already have a storage shed and the rules say you can have one storage shed, the next shed must have walls that are either open or closed and able to be opened.  Perhaps windows will do.  Not sure 100% on the rules as I am still reading them.  I have a couple of other projects to do for my grand daughter that will test my woodworking skills and then it is back to work on the condo.  Zach and I installed wood floors in the condo but I just never got around to the baseboards.  Guess what I will be doing...

I have tickets to a Husky game in October with my son and grandson.  Kind of a guys day out.  Have some dinner and spend the day in Seattle.

The weather has been beautiful.  So much so, that it is hard to believe that winter is but a few days away.

Hope everyone is enjoying themselves.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Sadly this weekend was time to winterize and close our wonderful home in the woods for the season.  I had to work Saturday so Mia and Zach did the majority of the lot clean up and the cosmetic work on the trailer.  Zach washed it and got everything nice and clean and then helped Mia clean up the lot while I was at work on Saturday.  We all went up on Friday evening and I went to work from there and drove back up Saturday evening.  Sunday morning we finished the project by emptying all the cabinets of food, putting away all the blankets, packing the clothes, draining the hot water tank, installing antifreeze in the drains and lines and installing an Adco cover we got for the other trailer but had never used.

The cover is a fun project.  We measured to be sure it would fit but didn't take into consideration the little drain spouts that stick out of the ends of the rain gutters.  They were just big enough to give us issues (and holes) as we installed the cover.  Once it was down all the way it looked pretty good.  It did rip in the back when I pulled a little to tightly on the hold down strap.  I am thinking we might want to get one that is a little larger next year.  I'll patch the holes it this one and sell it cheap next year.  Someone in the park will grab it.

The search is on for a golf cart.  Don't want to spend a ton of money so it will be a project vehicle.  I have been looking at batteries for the golf carts and I thought deep cycle batteries for trailers were expensive.  Of course, you do have to buy 6 or 8 batteries depending on the golf cart you get.  I am sure I will find something.

Have a great week.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Happy Grandparents Day

For the last 16 years I have been a very happy grandparent.  I now have three grand children to feed sugar and send them back to their parents as a form of revenge....not really.  I haven't done that, yet.
I did purchase some noisy toys for the kids but they always find a way to leave them here instead of taking them home.  I would not trade a moment of the time I have with my grand kids.  I love each of them to the next universe and back.  Surprisingly I haven't manage to ruin any of them.

We have a bunch of projects around the condo that need to get done so it looks like next weekend might be our last trip to Gold Bar until next spring.  Hopefully the weather will hold and I can get the trailer cleaned, winterized and covered so we don't have to worry about it over the coming winter.  I think I will have Mia pick me up on Friday night with Zach and go up and show him what I need him to do.  I have to work Saturday so he can do the stuff I need done while I am gone.  I'll drive back up after work and we'll finish winterizing and covering the trailer on Sunday morning.  I really hate to close it up so early but other projects have taken a backseat lately and I really need to get on them.  Besides, it won't be long before work is telling me to move the parts department again.  Yipee...

Last night I walked out of our front door and found this:

Change is coming

We have a picnic here at the condo complex today.  Go figure that after nearly 50 days of dry, warm weather, what looks like fall would cover us today.  The temperature is down and while it isn't really cold, it isn't exactly nice weather for standing around outside.  It is supposed to go from 1 - 4.  We'll see how long it really lasts.

And tomorrow we are supposed to go to the Puyallup Fair with friends for the day and the prediction is for rain.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Where's Ken.....?

I sat down at the computer today and opened my Google reader to see what had amassed since the last time I sat down and took time to read the blogs that I have so come to enjoy.  I have a 1000+ that are unread due to the fact that I have not sat down and read anything since August 26th, the day I posted a story about taking our grandson to Mt. St. Helens for his big assent.

I know I said it before but it bears repeating, we had a very good time with him and we are very proud of the accomplishment that he reached during our trip.  During that trip we happened upon the Cabala's store outside Olympia for some supplies we thought we might need.  It was Thursday and there were several ladies there sitting up older style trailers for what looked like a camp out.  Turns out they are a club of ladies who own older vintage trailers that are in various stages of refurbishment.  They travel around from Cabala's to Cabala's putting on shows.  The club is called, "Sisters on the Fly".  Their website is and they are a lot of fun.
Each trailer is a vintage trailer from  days gone bye and each one has a specific theme and is decorated to create some wonderful memories of the past.  The club was started by a couple of sisters who enjoyed fishing.  With each fishing trip the sisters invited more friends along and somewhere along the line, they decided to outfit some vintage trailers and haul them down the road on their trips.  Funny how things like this get started.  Anyway, they are a great bunch of ladies that allowed everyone the opportunity to crawl in and out of their tiny vintage trailers.  I took lots of pictures, see below, and Mia and I had some very nice conversations with these ladies.  Hope you enjoy some of the pictures.