Saturday, February 28, 2015

Taxes, And A Short Road Trip

I am a proponent of having good road systems and fixing or replacing old infrastructure but before the states add more taxes to the cost of a gallon of gas to fund the repairs perhaps we should look at the efficiencies of the actual repairs.

Our state is currently working on a transportation bill that would take us from number three highest state tax per gallon of gasoline to the number one position by raising the gas tax 11.7 cents per gallon over the next three years bring our total to 49.51 cents per gallon.  We currently collect 37.51 cents for every gallon of diesel, gasoline or gasohol sold in the state according to a July 2014 U.S. Energy Information Administration report.

Granted the use of gasoline and petroleum products has gone down over the past few years with increased fuel mileage that is attainable by newer vehicles and less actual driving done by the end consumers, but this state still manages to use 3.2 million gallons plus of gasoline each year.  At 37.51 cents per gallon that is a lot of money for state transportation projects.  

I am not advocating that we don't need the additional funds especially considering the lower consumption numbers projected for the next several years however low and middle income will be effected significantly by this increase.  It will bring about more change in the habits of the driving public and likely spur even less fuel use than projected.

I continue to drive by construction projects (state and local) where there are several people working to a specific project and while some of them are actually working, others are standing around doing absolutely nothing.  Projects grind out of periods of years in some cases but do they have to?  Who monitors the contractors to ensure that each employee is efficient with the tax paying publics money? I wonder if we are doing everything we can to ensure each dollar spent by the tax payers is being used efficiently.

We will go to Gold Bar today to pickup our trailer.  I suspect we will spend the night and come back tomorrow as we have a lot of stuff up there to load up and find a place to put.  I will soon donate to the state highway funds in every state I visit.

Hope all is well and thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Teatro ZinZanni

Last evening Mia and I attended a dinner theater located under the shadow of the Seattle Space Needle.  Gift cards from our son and his family presented us with an opportunity to spend three hours eating a wonderful five course meal while enjoying a blend of Circus, Comedy, Vaudeville and light Burlesque.

The theater is a spiegeltent, Dutch for "Mirrored Tent".  Constructed from wood and canvas with mirrors and stained glass these entertainment venues traveled from city to city during the late 19th and early 20th century in Europe.  Built in Belgium the Spiegeltent was almost destroyed by the Nazis during the second World War.  Set ablaze in a bonfire, the mirrors and stain glass smashed it was nearly a total loss.  The one located across from the Seattle Center and home to this venue is one of the oldest spiegeltents in the world.
From the Lobby

Dining...not my picture

Titled "The Hot Spot" this production involves a genie who grants wishes to several other members of the cast.  Half way into the program the genie, who appears to be an old, bent lady who needs a walking stick to move around, climbs into a rope harness lowered from the ceiling and transforms into a very lovely lady whose abilities as aerialist are amazing, considering she is 53 years old.
This lady was amazing...pic from net

A husband and wife team provide the Vaudeville portion of the show with song and dance.  These two can tap dance their way out of any situation.  Both are excellent in their roles.  The Lady Rizo character is a cabaret style star with some very good vocals plus interactions with the cast and audience.  Several times during the performance she held difficult notes for several seconds causing applause from all of those watching including other cast members.  There is a juggler who mixes comedy with his juggling act.  Another male, female team do a pole performance call a Vertical Tango that is amazing and very sensual.
Excellent singer..pic from net
These two are husband and wife for real...pic from net
Vertical good...pic from the net

Lost his pants and then got them back...pic from the net

Then there was the gentleman who sort of brings the audience and the cast together.  Playing Caesar he uses audience members and cast members to perform some very funny skits.  Several members of the audience were pulled to the center stage to play parts in the production.  We found it to be a perfect blend of entertainment and the three hour dinner show went by quickly. funny...pic from the net

Executive Chef Eric Carlson provided the five course meal which included the following items:


Chilled, roasted vegetable ratatouille tower
with saffron and fire-roasted tomato sauce


Golden split pea soup garnished with lime crème


Whole leaf Caesar salad with brioche croutons,
shaved Parmesan, and fresh lemon


Lamb Chop & Kobe Sirloin Duo

Herb crusted Lamb Chop and petite Double R Ranch Kobe sirloin with smoked Gouda cream, mandarin-carrot -Yukon mash and seasonal vegetables

Wild Alaskan Halibut

Wild caught Halibut with citrus-Peppadew butter served with fines herbes and yuzu sage cream sauce, roasted leek and Thai basil jasmine rice and seasonal vegetables


Roasted pumpkin and mascarpone ravioli topped with citrus herb cream and garnished with toasted almonds and parmesan cheese


Passion fruit cheesecake and an orange almond petite sponge cake filled with chocolate rum butter cream

We enjoyed the meal.  Each item had a distinct mixture of flavors.  We chose the Lamb Chop & Koby Sirloin Duo and they were cooked superbly.  The mandarin-carrot-Yukon mash was excellent.

If you are ever in Seattle or San Francisco I highly recommend this show.  It isn't the cheapest dinner.  Mia and I don't drink and we would have spent $400. had it not been for the gift cards our son's family gave us for Christmas.  

One final suggestion.  Sit at the far outside tables if you don't wish to participate in the show.  Random members of the audience are teased, used as transportation and brought to center stage to join the performance.  Those in the outer ring seemed to be too far away.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Monday In My Shop

Spent most of my Monday downstairs in the shop or upstairs sitting on my backside watching Amazon Prime.  I worked on one of my projects and had three pallet boards that need to be taken apart.  I generally do it the easy way, with a circular saw to remove the two outer skids and then I remove the boards from the center skid.  Unfortunately most pallet manufacturers deem it necessary to put more nails in the two end boards as well as the center one.  These are generally removed with the circular saw to keep them from splitting.  Sadly, they are much shorter pieces of wood.

I cut the skids in half and piled them up on the floor near a box of wood scraps that I have be accumulating over the past couple of months.  I called my daughter who loves a good outdoor fire in the back yard and told her she could have my scraps.

It amounts to a nice pile of burnable stuff.  Should make a nice fire.

Not sure what today will bring.  I am not really in the mood to do much of anything.  The Amazon Fire may have something to do with it.  Since getting it we have watched three seasons of Suits and started the five season set of Covert Affairs last night.  It is fun to watch television with no commercials.  I noticed this morning that the Oscars brought 6.4 million fewer viewers than last year.  Could it be they are just too long, there are too many award shows and fewer named stars?  Funny thing is the Golden Globes got 20.9 million viewers for a 10 year record.  Or was it the something else?

We have a dinner theater to attend tomorrow night in Seattle and then I suspect we will head up to Gold Bar Thursday to begin the preparations for our trip.  I have revised it several times and will likely do so again.

Thanks for dropping by.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Thinking She Knows Something Is Up

We are coming down to the wire and will go up to Gold Bar to spend a couple of days at the park towards the end of this week.  We have some items we will need to pack while we are there but I will spend some time relaxing.  Honey seems to think something is afoot.  She just isn't sure what.

The trailer will come home with us and we will do the final packing of clothes and essentials to get on the road.  I am hoping to leave on Wednesday morning.  The route will depend on the weather. Either we will take I 5 down and cut across to Flagstaff or we will head east and down thru Oregon, Idaho and Utah.  I plan to spend at least a week in the Flagstaff area and make side trips to some of the destinations located nearby.  Then we will move south for a week in the Phoenix area to catch some spring training.  Hopefully the weather will be cooperative and we will be able to move east to Rapid City, S.D. towards the end of the month and then up to see relatives in Watertown before heading into the eastern part of the country.

We have been looking forward to this trip for some time.  I think we are ready.  The only issue that we have currently is my hamstring which makes it difficult to bend down or kneel.  It can be done but it hurts and then we don't know how long days of driving will affect it.  I don't care at this point.  I just want to go.

Hope all is well.  Thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

So Much To Do

It seems like just when we think we have everything done and figured out for our trip in March something else pops up that we hadn't thought about.  While purchasing our truck and trailer license tabs online yesterday, Mia discovered that her drivers license expires April this year leaving us with no emergency driver should the need arise.  So another thing to get done.  We meet with our grandson on Sunday evening to go over the details of what he needs to do for us while we are gone.  I got guest passes ready for the family should they want to use the facilities at Gold Bar this summer.  We recorded a Power of Attorney for our son should anything happen to us while we are gone.  And then there is the equipment list.  Things we need to take along to make life a little more comfortable.

I took the truck out to North Bend Chevrolet (one of my old bosses dealerships) to get it serviced yesterday and get my maple bar from George's Bakery.  Always have one every time I go out there.  It was early morning and the sun was coming up.  I had time to look at the Traverse and the Equinox as possible replacements for the truck should this little trip provide us with reason to never do it again.

I stopped by our dealership in Eastgate earlier in the morning to visit with my grandson and the owner.  The sun was just starting to appear.

Monday and Tuesday I cleaned the truck.  I started with the inside and did the outside the next day.  I finished it up late Tuesday afternoon and it looks pretty good.

I still have the damage on the right rear quarter that I very seldom see unless I am washing it.  I am now looking for some kind of decal to put over the area and make it disappear.  I have had to dings repaired by mobile painters and neither repair looks that good so I don't want to pay someone to just mess it up more.

We will be attending a dinner theater next week and then we will head to Gold Bar to load up all the stuff we need, generator, heater, tools, cleaning stuff, and anything else we might need from our sheds.  Then we will tow the trailer home Sunday evening to load it on Monday with hopes of leaving town on Tuesday March 3rd.

There is still more to do.  My golf cart has been in the shop since October and I really need to get it home before we leave.  But I am working on all of this stuff and I suspect we will be out of here on time.

Hope all is well and thanks for stopping by

Monday, February 16, 2015

First Day Back To Retirement

It is Monday and I didn't have to get up early to get ready for work and there are no bus rides in my foreseeable future.  The morning actually started out with a cup of coffee and online news, blog reading and a couple of emails.  Then it was time to take Honey for her morning walk around our enclosed neighborhood.  The morning sunrise is spectacular.  I am hoping to get several outdoor projects done today as it will be approaching sixty degrees.
It is also Presidents Day and the medical facility that I use is closed.  I need to make an appointment with my doctor to discuss my knee.  After the pulled hamstring (if indeed that was the problem) things seemed to be getting better.  It was just over a month ago that I had my incident while running to catch the bus.  Since no MRI was done there is really no sure way to tell if the hamstring pulled or it was one of the many other tendons that hold things together.  Long story short, it has come to a point where aching is severe at times and yesterday I could get pain by pressing in on the outer side just under the joint.  It isn't too bad this morning but then mornings are usually pretty good.  By night-time things start to reverse and it begins to hurt.  I just want to make sure it will  heal and maybe get some exercises or something to help strengthen the tendons.

While on the subject of Presidents Day, whose idea was it in the first place?  The President's Day National Committee?  Formed in 1951 its sole purpose was to honor the office of the Presidency.  It appears that a draft of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was meant to change the name to President's Day honoring the birthdays of both Washington (George) and Lincoln (Abe).  Perhaps this is why a weekend between these two celebrated President's birthday's made sense.  Alas this proposal failed in committee and the bill was voted on and signed into law June 28, 1968 and was to be known as Washington's Birthday.

Then along comes business and their advertising and marketing branches that made a push to change the name to President's Day in the mid 1980's.   Explains why we have non stop President's Day ads all thru the month of February.

One final note, I have been looking into places to stay in Arizona during our trip.  Especially in the Peoria area while enjoying some spring training baseball games.  Since we can't take Honey to the stadium's with us and can't leave her alone in the trailer in a camping facility, I will attend a couple of games while Mia stays with Honey and quilts and enjoys the air conditioner.

Onward and upward.  Hope everyone is happy and healthy.  Thanks for dropping by.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Back To Retirement

My four and a half months of going back to work has come to an end as of yesterday.  I have promised to come back for one more partial day to assist with the end of month.  While I won't necessarily miss the commute (bus or driving) I can't say I won't miss the people who work there.  It was my distinct honor and privilege to work with such a fine group of people who just get up each morning and try as hard as they can to change everyone else's opinion about the automotive business. Unfortunately a few bad apples ruin it for everyone else.  Just like everything else there are ups and downs.
Last day sunrise over the dealership back lot

I have a lot to do in the next couple of weeks to get prepared to leave the first week of March for points south.  It appears the weather will be cooperating with us and we will be heading into some very warm climate.  Can't say I won't like that.

Spring training is our first stop and hopefully there will be tickets available to watch some baseball.  Apparently, spring training has gotten increasingly popular and many folks attend.  Almost to the ticket saturation point.  So I will be looking for tickets when I have a better idea of when we will be there.

Time to give Honey her morning and fix breakfast for my Valentine.  She won't let me spend money on chocolate (can't eat it), flowers (they just die), jewelry (she hasn't got any place to wear it) or anything else.  I took her to dinner last night at  a local Seafood restaurant with friends and everyone was stuffed upon leaving.  I had the breaded Arctic Cod.  Very yummy.
Take care, hope everyone is well.  See you down the road as we head south and you head north....

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Another Good Day To Be Alive

It is early morning as I sit here with my laptop literally in my lap.  It is dark and rain is pelting against the roof of the trailer.  It has been a very rainy few days.  In fact, there are some very large puddles throughout the park and the area surrounding it.  Not only puddles, there is moving water on roads with an incline that would be called creeks if they ran year round.  There is a drainage ditch next to our lot that is about half full of water.  It rained all day and night Thursday and into the morning on Friday.  It let up some for the night and then around 3 am this morning started again.  I have been up to the restroom facility to shower and it appears that it never stopped raining.  Once again the roads are puddled or creeks are running.  I am pretty sure we will be heading home today.

When I took the cover off the trailer on Thursday it was pouring down rain so I just got it off and let it lay alongside the trailer.  Unfortunately the rain stopped yesterday but we took a trip to Mt Vernon to visit with my stepmom and brother so I didn't do anything with it.  As I sit here typing I am trying to figure out how I will get the damned thing into the back of the truck without getting all soaking wet since it is flooded with rain water.

We managed to get the bed put together and found we had to much air pressure in it the first night.  It was so hard and wasn't real comfortable.  We dropped the air pressure last night and I have to say it was pretty good.  One good thing that has come from this change over is the bed is higher.  This mattress is much thicker than the old one.  Another thing I have notice (Mia says I am nuts) is there seems to be more room on it.  First off, my feet down end up off the edge, so I believe it is slightly longer than the mattress provided with the unit.  Secondly, it seems to be wider when in actuality it isn't.  I think because it is thicker and has more support than the old 4" thick mattress that there is more room because when I slide over to the side it doesn't crush down under my weight forcing me back towards the center to keep stable.  I can sleep at the far edge of the side of the mattress with just as much support and comfort as I can in the center of the bed.  I like more room or even the feeling of more room.

We are planning to pack up and go home today.  There isn't a whole lot to do up here when you can't go out and enjoy nature.  Hope everyone is well and thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Long Day

We got up really early this morning and loaded up to head up to Gold Bar to get some things done on the trailer.  I have taken a couple of days off to handle some personal issues as well as pull the cover off the trailer and begin the process getting it road ready.   We stopped by Lil Jon's Greasy Spoon in Eastgate and visited some of the early birds at my old dealership, Chaplin's Subaru Volkswagen.  Got to spend some time with the owner and a couple of my friends.

One of the things on my list were shock structs for the bed base.  Imagine my surprise when I lifted the bed and found struts were already installed.  Obviously I was thinking of our old RVision trailer and since I haven't lifted this bed I didn't know.  Even worse than that, I suspected the bed to be a full lift platform but it is a partial lift.  Only half the under the bed is accessible from inside the trailer.  Silly old man.

I moved to my next project, the Sleep Number Bed.  While I am happy with the results I can't begin to tell you how difficult it is to put it together in such a small place.  Plus there are holes to drill in the base for the electrical plug to the compressor and another one for the two hose that feed the air to the bladders.  It is done and the bed is made.   I am done for the day.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Things Are Looking Up

I turn 68 years old today and things couldn't be much better.  I have a great family and I expect to be done with my stint as fill in manager in the very near future, like the end of this month or perhaps even earlier.  My replacement starts on Thursday and based on the experience I am told he has, I suspect I will get him up to speed pretty quickly.  I am looking forward to flipping another page in this wonderful life.

Hope everyone is well.  Thanks for dropping by.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Super Bowl Sunday

Seattle is full of disappointed number 12 fans this morning.  Just not able to understand why the coaching staff would decide to pass the ball when they have Marshawn Lynch in the backfield.  Not being a coach with any kind of experience I must concede that the responsible parts made what they believed to be correct call.  The line was stacked against the run and who would think that Seattle, this close to the end zone, would decide to go with a pass on second down.  As Woody Hayes said, "Three things can happen when you throw the ball, and two of them are bad."  Butler was in the right place at the right time and he made the play.  I am disappointed but no one died or was seriously injuried and we will live to fight again.  It is, after all, just a game.