Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Headed Home

You ever been asleep and get the feeling you are being stared at?  The feeling that something is inches away from your face intently staring... Yeah, well I have that feeling almost every morning. As I open my eyes, there she is. As soon as she sees my eyes open, she jumps on me and starts licking my face. Disgusting really...... That is how Barb wakes me up every morning. So annoying, but I would not have it any other way. 

This week our smallest fur baby turned one year old, on valentine's day to be exact. We had a big party with 4 dogs invited. Barb made a birthday cake for Zoey. I saw her put carrots, peanut butter, honey and flour in it. I guess it was edible by humans, but I did not try it, but the dogs really seemed to like it!


                                               Jack and Zoey                              Jack, Chloe and Zoey

This is the best picture I could get of the cake Barb made, when she put it down there were so many dogs attacking it, I just could not get a good picture!

Although not trilled, even Dakota got in on the action!

Zoey and Chloe have become best buds. They run and play constantly. I took a couple of videos of them for your viewing pleasure.....

When Zoey is not playing with Chloe, she is terrorizing their cat, Charlotte. Zoey gets hyper focused on Charlotte, gets into sneak mode and attacks. Charlotte just basically does a couple of jumps to get away, but one time Zoey did get a mouth full of fur. She found a safe spot however where Zoey cannot get her!

Zoey intently watching on the right side of the picture

And our final Zoey moment this week was her first trip to Walmart! Yes, Barb has become that lady in Walmart.

The rest of the week was work, work, work. I was afraid that we had more work than we had time, so we hit it pretty hard. We were reflooring the entire main floor of the house. This meant removing all the trim and ripping up the existing vinyl planking in the living area and the carpet in the bedroom. We were a little surprised to find linoleum under the planking and thought maybe we had to replace that too, we made a quick call to Kevin who said just put the new flooring over it. 

Before we put the new flooring down, we had to put screws in throughout the entire level. Whoever built this house originally did not glue the subfloor, nor did they use ring shank nails so the floor squeaked like crazy! We ended up putting over 700 down, but we got rid of almost every squeak!

Barb putting screws in the lovely linoleum 

That flooring project took 7 days, I spent so much time on my knees I left like Dino groveling for forgiveness after another all-night bender! One of the hardest things was working around the existing furniture and appliances, always having to move them out of the way. The new flooring made a huge difference, and the place looks great!

We were also working on the stair railings downstairs.   Last time we were here, we replaced the railings on the upper stairs. This trip it was time to tackle the bottom stair rails. The old railings were just constructed out of 2x4 material and Somer wanted them replaced with something a little nicer. 



Next step on the stairs is to get the carpet replaced. 

While doing all this Barb and Somer were working on sanding and repainting the cabinets and walls in the kitchen which went from this to this in 10 days or so. 


Last but not least we installed a barn door on the bathroom door in the master bedroom. 

To say we were exhausted at the end of each day would be an understatement, but we got it all done and are now ready to head back home to South Dakota. We loaded up our trailer taking a couple of Forrest's mounts as they are going to sell their house in a few months. So, if you know someone looking for 11 acres of paradise in Klamath Falls I know just the realtor! 


We have said goodbye to Forrest, Somer, Lily, Jack Chloe and Charlotte and sadly, our truck, we are going to miss it. It is going to be the perfect truck for them as they start their own fulltime RV adventure later this year! This just might be the last time we are here but who knows what the future beholds....

 We are now headed east to South Dakota where we have a list of things to do but #1 on that list is to grab a cocktail, get in the hot tub and relax!

Friday, February 11, 2022

Well, This Adventure Just Got Expensive....

This week I celebrated the 36-year anniversary of the day I married my best friend. I spent the day staring at the miracle that is my wife and mother to our children. Barb was so happy she spent the day weeping tears of joy in the fetal position with a bottle of whiskey stuck between her lips like it was a lifeline. Funny how some people just show joy differently, I guess. 

To celebrate, we spent the week working on Forrest's and Somer's house! I know, who could think of a better way to celebrate! We made great progress in the bathroom getting that project finished. It went from this.....

To this.....

The countertop is a large slab of butcherblock that Somer finished by staining and varnishing. I even managed to drill the drain and faucet holes in the correct place the first time. The shelves above the sinks are left over chunks of the butcherblock that Barb finished and mounted. I had never done a floating vanity before so that was interesting and like every plumbing project, I had to make 3 trips to the hardware store to get everything I needed. 
Somer finishing the butcherblock

Other than that, we did not get as much done as we thought we would as we got a little sidetracked by a couple of big, bright, shiny objects and one small and furry one.

Monday, we drove to Beaverton, just outside of Portland. We got an itch to look at new trucks and there was one up there that we were interested in, so we took a day to make the 5-hour (one way) trip up there. 

We learned two things that day.... One, is that we live a very sheltered life in South Dakota (which is why we live in South Dakota). Everything we had seen on the news over the past year we saw in real life. While the rest of the country seems to be weaning themselves off mask wearing, Portland is one of the last strongholds. I think we were the only ones we saw without them. The homeless encampments are a real thing up there, mainly around Salem, but scattered all over in Portland as well. Garbage and junk everywhere. I won't go into any more dialog on it but it was eye opening. 

The second thing we learned, or reaffirmed, is how much we hate looking at new vehicles. We went up to look at one specific truck, a Ford F350 Super Duty Dually listed for $91,000 online. (The reason I mention the price will become important later). It was literally the only 2022 1-ton SD Dually we could find in stock within the 3-state area! Barb had talked to the salesman by phone and text several times on both Saturday and Sunday and got the particulars on the truck. It had an aftermarket "Off Road" package meaning it had a lift kit and oversized tires but thought it would still work with our camper.  So, we packed up the dogs early on Monday morning and started our journey north. 

As soon as we got there and saw the truck, we knew it would not work. The bed was a good 7" higher than our current truck and the bed rails came up to over Barb's head. But we were there, and had never driven one, so we took it for a drive. It was a beautiful truck and loved everything about it other than that off road kit. Once we got back, I explained to the salesman that it was too tall and too wide (the 37" tires extended a good 2" past the fender flares on each side) and that it just would not work. About then the "Sales Manager" walks out and they both start the hard sell on the truck. Telling me it is not too tall; "Think of the places you could camp in that truck". They went on with lines like; "It's Monday, our slowest day, what is it going to take to get you in this truck". Every line in the car salesman book....They do not care if the customer is happy or if it is a good fit, they just want to make a sale. I am too tired and too old to play these games. Then the "Sales Manager" says "What if I take $10,000 off the truck?" Now, that got my attention! For $81,000 I could take it somewhere and get the lift kit and oversized tires removed and sell them turning it back to a stock truck. In his next breath, he says "That will bring it down to $108,000." Are you fricking kidding me? You are going to play that game? I held my composure (proud moment there) and said nope and started walking to our truck where Barb was already inside. As I was walking away he kept shouting numbers "$104!", a few steps later, "$99!". I got in our truck and drove away....God, why do car salesman have to play these games?!?!?

But all was not lost, Barb enjoyed our day together, saw some new country and..... got to stop and see Zoey's people parents, Amy and Eric, on the way home as we passed through Sweet Home, OR. We only spent 20 minutes or so there catching up with them and meeting two of their new dogs while Amy played with Zoey. 

Then there was the day that Forrest came up with a new puppy for Lily! They had been looking for quite a while and Lily had her heart set on a Toy Poodle. When Forrest came home with it, Lily was so happy she cried and cried. 

Jack looks like he is thinking life as he knows it is over....
I have never been a huge fan of Toy Poodles, my only exposure to them has involved nipping and yipping, but this one (Chloe) is very cute and so far as not made a peep.

Wednesday night after work Forrest and I headed to town as the Social Club was having a Texas Hold'em tournament. They hold them "Final Table" style where 6-9 players play around the table and the last two players standing win the entry fees. We played 4 sets and guess who ended up winning one of them? Me! It was really a fun evening, and I gave Forrest my winnings since he staked me the other night and that night. 

Thursday morning, we were in the truck before sunrise once again to go look at another truck. Forrest was looking on Facebook Marketplace and had found a "used" 2022 Ram 1-ton with 495 miles on it. We were skeptical; Why would someone sell a new vehicle after only putting a few hundred miles on it? The description said, "It was too big for my driveway, ordered a shortbox to replace it". Well, this one was only two hours away, so we went and looked at it. 

We have always been Ford/GMC owners, but we know plenty of people who own Rams trucks and love them. Plus, like many RV'ers, we keep up to date on the latest truck specs and know Rams are solid trucks. We were beyond skeptical driving there not knowing what we would be driving into but away we went! Two hours later we were trying to squeeze our truck into a beautiful, gated home outside of Talent Oregon. As the owner opened the gates our truck barely made the corner. Okay, question #1 was answered. 

We did not really think we would like it but once we got in it, we absolutely loved it! It has almost every bell and whistle you can think of. Long story short, we are now the proud owners of a 2022 Ram Dually 6.7 HO Turbo Diesel!

Oh, and Forrest and Somer are now the proud owners of a 2013 GMC 1-ton Dually. Yup, they bought our old truck so Barb and I can drive back together, and we do not have to deal with selling it when we get back home!

Whew, what a week!

We did get one other project completed here when Forrest and I installed his Starlink receiver on top of his house. After waiting over 2 years, he finally received his Starlink equipment. They had horrible internet here at ~1mb/second. Now it is over 400 mb/second! But the installation was a little sketchy. When you have an A frame any roof work is sketchy. Forrest and Somer have mountain climbing gear so both he and Somer get into their harnesses and Forrest climbs a ladder secured to the roof while Somer is on the other side holding a rope in her harness in case he falls. I then carried the satellite receiver up the other ladder and handed it to him and he secured it. In this picture we are about 20' up off the deck and over 30' to the ground. As long as I did not look down, I was okay..... But, we got it up and it works wonderfully!

Meanwhile, back in South Dakota..... We got an alert from our security system that someone was prowling outside our house. We quickly looked at our cameras and saw this suspicious character putting a scratch coat on the outside of our house where the stone will eventually go. I sure love our security cameras!

Kevin said it was warm enough this week to do the scratch coat. He did in 6 hours what would have taken me 4 days. Thanks Kevin!

Having l***ost a good 2 days of progress on the house here, next week we will be in full work mode as I fear we have more work to do than time we have!

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Following the Oregon Trail

 Well, kinda, but not really. We followed the interstate mostly. From Pringle we headed southwest towards Edgemont. Within an hour we are in Wyoming near Lusk. We take backroads until we get near Douglas. That is where our troubles began. 

That is when we first noticed the winds. Throwing us around the lanes of the interstate like a ping pong ball. Gusts would push you onto the shoulder and you had to keep the wheel slightly turned to maintain a straight line. Which was fine until you went under a bridge and there was no wind. Suddenly, you are halfway in the other lane. We also noticed something else. The absence of semitrucks. Oh, there was the occasional one, but not the constant line of trucks we usually see on the interstate. Maybe they are all up in Canada in the caravan?!?! 

Then we saw the flashing sign up ahead. Extreme high winds, I25 closed to high profile vehicles, 60+mph gusts. Hmm, that would explain a thing or two. Normally not a problem as we did not have our camper but what we did have was our nearly empty cargo trailer that was acting like a 16' sail behind the truck. We got to Casper an hour later and stopped for lunch at Village Inn. For those of you who have not been to a Village Inn, they are famous for their pies. Specifically, their Carmel Pecan Silk Supreme! We walked into the restaurant, immediately dropping the average age of the customers by a good 15 years. 

As we ate, we pulled up Wyoming 511 and saw both I25 and I80 were closed to high profile vehicles for the next 4 hours. Wah! Our waitress returned "Did you save room for pie?" Is the pope catholic? So, we hung out for a couple hours, eating pie and watched an episode of Ozark.

We hit the road again 3 hours later driving a few more hours to Riverton Wyoming where we spent the night in a really cool pet friendly local motel. 6:30 the next morning we were up and ready to hit the road. We loaded up the truck, jumped in and noticed that the trailer lights were not working. I spent 5 minutes trying to get them working to no avail. Well, it is like 20 minutes to sunrise, and you can see the truck taillights around the trailer, it will be fine. So off we went! 10 minutes later, I was handing my driver's license to a State Trooper. Damn it! Trooper: "Sir, did you know your trailer lights are not working?" Me: "Oh my gosh, no, thank you for stopping me!"

The Trooper leaves us with a warning and tells us not to move until we get them operational. So here I am 6:45 in the morning in single digit temps trying to get these damn lights to work. No amount of wiggling of the plug even gives me a flicker of light. The Trooper headed off in the direction we are going to travel so I know he is parked a mile or two down the road waiting for us to drive by. As a last resort I go back to the truck, grab a can of diet Pepsi and pour it on both sides of the trailer connection. Maybe the carbonation will clean up those connections.... Wham! Lights are on! Sure enough, a couple miles down the road, there he was, lights off, sitting in a pull out. 

The rest of the trip was uneventful. Dakota spent the entire 23 hours or our journey in the back asleep in the back seat. Zoey, on the other hand spent most of her time in Barb's lap. 

Note the bag of donuts on the dash!


We took a new road out of Riverton. Highway 28 between Riverton and Green River was one of the prettiest roads we have been on in quite a while.

The Sunday before we left Kevin and Cheryl came over and we got the shower glass installed! The glass company wanted over $1,000 to install it. We got it done in about 2 hours and it only cost me a couple of beers!

The rest of that day we spent watching football, another couple of great games. Both teams I were hoping would win actually did win! I like the underdogs. Good to see the Cincinatti game it after a 30+ year drought and Matt Stafford having suffered so many years with the Lions finally make it with the Rams! I was talking to Dino during the game, and he missed a key play but Lisa saw it, and this is how she described it "The guys in the white outfits threw the ball and a guy with a blue outfit caught it!" 

Speaking of foooootball, the first night we were here we went and watched Lily scrimmage another team. We had not seen her play in over a year and was pretty impressed that they were actually passing and were not just a mass of kids huddled around the ball.
Lily is center screen, yellow shirt and pink socks

And of course, as any soccer parent (or grandparent) knows. All soccer matches must involve at least one shot at the bar. In this case, we dropped her off, went to the bar and came back to catch the last 15 minutes. 

So, we are all settled in and ready to work. We have a big list in front of us over the next few weeks. The name of the game right now is divide and conquer. Barb is in the kitchen taking the doors and panels off the cabinets and sanding them to get ready for paint. 
Barb's project
Somer is whitewashing a call in the entry
This section is done, moving on to another area
Forrest and I are mounting vanities, countertops and sinks in the master bath. 
Lots to do in the bathroom, pretty much everything!

Each of these projects are going to take well over a week, hopefully next week's post will include some pictures of the completed project, if not at least an update and more pictures of the family.

Forrest's birthday was a couple of weeks ago so instead of sending him a gift we told him that we would take him out to any restaurant that he wanted to go to once we got there. He picked an Indian restaurant in downtown Klamath. Of all the cuisines out there, this has got to be my least favorite, but I bucked and determined I could find something. Somer got the Chicken Saag in medium, Barb and Forrest got the Chicken (Barb) and Lamb (Forrest) Madras with medium spice, Lily got Chicken Fritters while I opted for the Shrimp Tandoori in mild. I mean you cannot go wrong with shrimp and mild should be just mildly seasoned right? 

The food arrived, Lily's first, it looked like chicken strips covered in curry. Next up was Somer's, Forrest's and Barb's. I don't even want to describe what that looked like, but I doubt even our dearly departed Daisy would have eaten it and she never passed on a meal! They just did not look appetizing at all! Then I see the waiter walking across the room with this beautiful mound of shrimp on a sizzling skillet. He set the skillet down in front of me and immediately my eyes start water and my throat closed up and I start coughing. Holy crap, you call this mild?!?!? I ate two shrimp, could not even taste them and downed a beer in an attempt to put out the fire on my tongue. It did not work. 

The rest of the meal I nibbled on naan bread. Whatever that is but at least, between that and the beer it put the fire out. Remind me to send Forrest a gift next year!

After that Forrest and I headed to the Klamath Social Club. That's right, Klamath has a Social Club and no, it is not a bunch of dudes sitting around on leather couches smoking cigars, sipping scotch, solving all the world's problems. And no Dino, all the women were fully clothed. It is a poker club that features Texas Hold'em. I have played once or twice in casual settings and watched plenty on T.V. so I felt like I could hold my own. My first issue started when I opened my wallet and had like $4. (Really, that is all I had in my wallet). So, Forrest slips me $200 and tells me to set it on the table. "Can, I just start with $20?". "No, you have to put enough in there to look like you have a stack, if you only have $20, or $50. If you are the short stack, it is like blood in the water and everyone will be gunning for you". 

Well, $200 it is then. I actually played really well..... for a while. I was up almost $200, even, down a little, but playing well. I even got confident enough to bluff a few times and won. Then it happened. I flopped a straight with two other guys in. I raised $25, the first guy calls, the second guy goes all in at over $400. I know I have the best hand so I have to call and shove my stack in. Well, he ends up with an ace high flush which demolishes lowly straight and all my money slides over to his side of the table. Wah! The dealer says "You want to buy in again?". Yeah, right, can I have $4 worth of chips? Instead, I slide my chair back and watch the action. Forrest plays for another 30 minutes and cashes out with $370, up $170 for the night. So the big question is.... Do I owe Forrest $200 or $30? I mean technically I did pay him back $170 in a roundabout way!