Radio Shack

[mortally wounded] "Let me know...when you see...a Radio Shack". ~ Kung Pow! Enter the Fist

I have determined that my on again off again problem with my High Definition TV is attributable to a small B band doohicky on the back of my receiver inline with the cable coming into the satellite box.

They cost about $13 online and Direct TV acts like they cost hundreds of dollars and is balking at sending me a new B band doohicky.

So yesterday morning I headed to the local Radio Shack to find said part.

I was the first customer of the day and walked in on two employees conversing. I turned to the one who appeared to be in charge and asked, "Do you have a B band converter that goes inline from a satellite on a Direct TV receiver?" I couldn't have been more succinct in my question.

About the time I started my question the employee broke into the mother of all yawns. It was one of those giant yawns that is reminiscent of a hippo and a chimp where the mouth is cranked wide open, teeth exposed and slobber strings are seen connecting the upper teeth to the lower teeth. Then there is the pause, the sound of air passing, and then the watery eyes that follow from a massively satisfying yawn.

Frankly I know it was good for him but it pissed me off.

He had no idea what I just asked, something to do with a TV connection and pointed me toward the connectors. I said, "It is Direct TV" and he replied, "We only have Dish".

I swear I don't know how they stay in business.

A Great Week

I took this entire holiday week off and stayed home. This is the second time in 30 years that I've done this. No agenda, no heavy projects. Just relaxing at home and spending time with Gigi.

Gigi and I expected to be in Southport, NC for Thanksgiving week but in preparation of the RV and installation our new bed we both pulled our backs with me the worse of the two.

So we decided to stay home and had a quiet thanksgiving meal just the two of us. That was a first and it was wonderful.

I rented a walk behind leaf blower yesterday that I have for the entire weekend. Every so often I go out and fire it up and blow leaves for 30 minutes or so. This machine does the work of 10 men but it is not as precise as a hand blower. Today I'll finish the bulk leaf movement and begin the detailing then finish gain with the bulk bower.....all between naps.

The bed we installed is the 4th bed in 30 years of marriage and is a California king. This is an upgrade from our queen size bed. The new one is a beautiful Tommy Bahama four poster that fits my dreaming themes and it is damn comfortable with the new memory foam mattress. All new Tommy Bahama sheets and we are all set. Plus this new bed sits much lower and it is so easy to roll in or out.

My Jeep has sat for months. I usually keep the roof off all summer and throw a trap on it at night. But this year we had such a rainy season in August and September and then the weather became too cool for top down ride. So the Jeep has sat. I went out yesterday to fire it up and the battery was dead. Served me right for neglecting my jeep so.

I got it started and took Tanner out for a ride and bought a new tire for the Jeep. Now I have all new tires on the Jeep and had them all turned with the raised white lettering out for a change. It makes the Jeep look busier. Tanner is a great Jeep dog by the way.

I decided to stop by Auto-zone and have the battery tested. The service guy kept telling me about how "angry" my Jeep looked. This is good I suppose. The Jeep is my driving work of art.

The weather here has turned cold (freezing at night) so my thoughts turn to my tropical vacation in early February to St Croix. I dreamed I was there last night sitting naked at one of the open air bars. I am not a nudist but have this dream often. I remember Gigi leaning over and suggesting that I might want to put on something while I was at the table. I swear I didn't know I was naked until she mentioned it.

Today my Appalachian State University football team plays in the first round of the playoffs and I'll enjoy more fun and leaf blowing. It is Saturday....right?

Happy Thanksgiving!

McMansions and Meals

Over the past decade Gigi and I fought the urge to buy a McMansion. It seemed every community had them. They were personal palaces of what became the real estate glut.

Everyone it seemed was going out and buying $500,000 to $700,000 houses with the availability of low interest and easy credit. I was even told by a builder once, "You know the difference between a $500,000 house and a $700,000 house? About $60,000 of molding and marble."

But somehow we rationalized staying in our modest ranch home with 8 beautiful acres and being satisfied with what we had. Oh we had the discussions that questioned ourselves if we were fools to staying here.

One thing that stood out in these McMansion were the kitchens. My God.....the equipment, the storage, the prep area, the sinks all rivaled professional kitchens that I have seen in restaurants. Kitchens became showplaces but no one cooked.

Some of the best meals of my life came from Gigi's Grandmother in her tiny firetrap kitchen in northern Georgia. There was barely room for two people yet she made magnigfacant meals here. A free standing stove/oven, a refrigerator, an old porcelain single sink and an electric fry pan with barely enough counter space for a biscuit bowl.

Or a professional kitchen like The Pickled Greek in St Croix. There chef Aaron stands in the midst of grills, fryers, ovens with barely room to move in 125 degree heat and serves magnificent meals with passion.

Hell, my nephew and I crank out some pretty darn good meals standing on the dirt ground hovered over a stove, fryer, a few grills and an enthusiasm for cooking when we camp on Jekyll Island.

So as the rest of the country's McMansion kitchens go under water and revert back to the bank Gigi and I will be cooking in our modest kitchen a fantastic meal and I will wonder what the banks will do with all those fantastic kitchens.

Today I am thankful that I didn't over extend during the good times and what I have does me just fine.

Gigi's late step father once asked us in his way of giving advice, "How many toilets can a man sit on? How many beds can a man sleep in?"

It was his way of saying get what you need and no more. He never went broke either.

Blogging is So Last Year I Suppose

We had our annual Hunnicutt Thanksgiving in Durham this past weekend. We have done this for a number of years so that we can each have our own Thanksgiving at home or be surrounded by the loving in-laws Norman Rockwell style when the actual day arrives.

As usual my sister and I were in the kitchen catching up on the blogs we read. Many blogs we have in common, Ali, Zig, Teresa, Terri, Terry, and then there are many I read that she doesn't and many she reads that don't interest me.

One common thread we noticed is our regular bloggers who's lives we have watched from the outside, watched their children be born, leave home, or struggle in this economy have gradually stopped their daily posts and are down to a trickle. Some just throw in the towel.

I guess blogging is so last year.

My blog still continues to lay an egg almost daily that has to be deposited somewhere. So for now at least I'll be here until the egg laying dries up.

Tis The Season of Family and relatives

Most families have that one or two special relatives that my any standard are very dysfunctional at best or down right crazy. I had two as a child. No three. They were harmless like senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia but like him still loony tunes by any standard, yet able to function in society to some extent.

I loved them all because their deficiencies made them endearing to some extent and I knew after they were gone a generation of rational people like me were talking their place.

Guess what? I have discovered that as our generation ages a few special ones come forth and take the place of the crazies from our child hood. So now I have several obvious dysfunctional family members just like when I was a child.

Kind of makes me feel all warm and toasty like holidays of old.

As least now my generation is "on deck" and we are the next to take our dirt nap. You younger folks reading this look around and decide which one of you will step forth and be the dysfunctional family member for the next generation.

Time and Space

I awoke and glanced at the was 4 AM. Darn I think I'm awake.

I lay there trying to go back to sleep when an inner voice told me that I will die in my sleep and I will die soon.

This startled me and I looked at the clock and it was 5:30.

It is amazing to me how time can lapse like this and how the mind plays tricks with itself.

Needless to say I ain't dead....but that was so real.

Happy Wednesday.

Changes Going On

Gigi and I have been doing some home renovation and remodeling.
Fortunately we have found a talented contractor that is willing to do the work as we go because we are paying out of pocket as we go.

Our home is a modest 3 bedroom two bath ranch built 35 years ago. Over the years we have done a few interior upgrades like the kitchen and baths and flooring. Even these remodels are getting a bit outdated.

The exterior of our home is t-111 which is glorified plywood with fake board joints sawn into the wood to make it look a bit more appealing. You may recognise this exterior from any old lake house you stayed at during camp as a child.

Our front had a major exterior design flaw that allowed water from the roof to baste the house when it rained and therefore slowly rot a portion of the front exterior.

The first thing we did was get all the front windows replaced in the affected area with modern efficient triple pane super duper windows. We love them. I could feel the change immediately not only from air quality but also noise. Then the roof line was altered and all the rotten wood was replaced and then the new exterior was applied.

We chose the same exterior as our guest house which is a coastal grade vinyl shake shingle. These are very thick and high quality and should out last us.

We then carried the exterior down the side and replace the two windows in the master bedroom. All of this came in slightly over budget and we were broke for construction but the problem was fixed.

Next we found a great deal to replace the old wooden garage door with a modern steel clad insulated door that had a carriage house exterior design. This custom item is on order and is paid for including

Now we are about to start a major change in the front which will enclose out 4X34 foot porch into living area and a 10 foot by 34 country porch will be added. This space is on the north side so it will be cool in the summer and it is real outdoor living space compared to the ledge out there now. An additional 4 feet in the interior will be significant as will the new front door, foyer, and windows. The porch will have paddle fans and a painted tongue in groove deck painted battleship gray. The new exterior will carry completely across the front and around the garage. From the street the home will look completely different.

The new living space will have pine floors instead of carpet. I am promised a man portion of the new larger room for my wide screen TV and the other sitting area will be girly for tea parties and pillow fights.

Finally the last phase will be tying the old house into our guest house. I am not sure when this will happen and how much, but it will happen after I digest financially the changes we have made now.

Why Hurry So?

Why did I used to think 5 minutes was such a long time?

In five minutes I can have a wonderful boiled egg and toast for breakfast. Or a delicious bowl of old fashioned Quaker Oats. They are much better than the instant and still I have to wait 5 minutes for the water to boil.

I gave up years ago fixing my own breakfast because it was too much trouble and took too long.

What did I do with all those saved five minutes? I sat in line at McDonald and bought shitty food at $4 a pop.

I can buy a gallon of oats for $3.50 and eat with my family. Or a dozen "chicken butt never touched a cage" organic eggs.

Oooo! My eggs timer just went off.

I'm off to a flight to Philly this morning with a proper breakfast.

Video Time

The Blood Sports...Not Much of A Fan

I bought my new notebook PC on Friday and I have spent some time now with Windows 7. It works fine but is unfamiliar. There is no "Windows Classic" setting so I'm turning new ground and settling in. It will take a while before I have my iTunes configured and all the old stuff moved from my dying PC.

I decided not to load Microsoft Office but opted for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint readers that I can read and print from and I will continue to use the free Google documents.

On Saturday I went to an Appalachian State Football game in Boone, NC. The college football experience is so different from the professional football experience. It was a lot of fun and our team won. Next time I'm taking the grill. Eating grocery store prepared deli food from plastic trays seems wrong to me. There must be fresh meat, smoke and fire for a proper tailgate party.

We are in the season of the blood sports here in North Carolina. The booming sound of rifle fire sends my dogs running for cover.

Yesterday I saw a heaping mound of internal organs in someones yard. I assume it was a prank and they were deer parts.

Personalty I don't get hunting but don't make a bid deal about those that do enjoy it. It seems sad to shoot a majestic animal for fun and then complain that the meat is dry.

I do enjoy fishing to some extent but I feel sorry for the fish I catch. I usually release what I catch.

I need some Saint Croix Heat

My notebook PC of almost 4 years is dying. I'm afraid it will take a mother board which the part alone refurbished is $475. So for now I type away on a pink screen, sometimes green, sometimes normal hoping it will last until I get a new PC.

In good news.....I entered a photo contest that was open to the entire planet and I came in second! I'll be collecting my winnings in the form of Miss Anna's Hot Sauce. See the winner below.

I got busted yesterday by a dear friend and reader of my blog and occasional Facebooker. I was bitchin' about winter on Facebook yet resolved on my blog not to bitch about winter. Technically I was okay because I didn't bitch on my blog but failed in spirit. I guess it would depend on what the definition of "is" is.

As far as this blog is concerned I am in total love of the polar season.....who am I kidding? Oh shit. Three flu infections this season between the two of us and it is cold as Ned's ass outside.

92 days 'til Saint Croix.


The border collie fairy left this at my doorstep.

Jimmi Cawda Flowchart

Click to Enlarge

Peaches 1996-2009

Yesterday we decided it was time to give up the fight and we euthinized Peaches. She was quite alert but her body was failing. I have done this enough where I can say my vet did a good job. Yet it never gets easy. We shed a lot of tears. I will miss her very much.

So that leaves me with 5 border collies, Haley, Cedie, Abby, Duke and Tanner. Oh I haven't mentioned Tanner yet have I?

Somewhere in the fog of my fever last week Gigi had gone to the vets to pick up some more medicine for Peaches. When Gigi returned she then came to my bedside and set this small male border collie beside me.

"His name is Tanner", she said. "I tell you more when you feel better."

Turns out Tanner is a 2 1/2 year old tri color male border collie. He is sweet, obedient, mostly house broken and a fun guy.

His owner had taken Tanner to his vet and demanded that he be euthinized because he was crazy. His vet refused. He took Tanner to my vet and demanded he be euthinized and my vet refused and took the dog. My vet knew Gigi.

So for now Tanner is part of our family.

Border collies may seem crazy if you don't know the breed. They are driven herd animals. They must have a job.

So we adjust now to life without Peaches....our first border collie.

What Is Next?

Let stop and talk about this fellow for a moment because I didn't get the memo.

This looks like a fine healthy young man who is more devoted to his jitter juice than say beer and chicken wings. He looks fit. It looks like he has a passion for the IT arts...and he is organised and neat. And one could assume he is concerned for his cranium because he has a bandanna wrapped around his head.

When I was a kid guys just didn't wear hats. John F. Kennedy freed us from hats....and tie clips and men were grateful. This was a simpler time when the only people with tattoos were alcoholic retired navy men.

Hair was a wonderful statement. It could blow in the breeze and be cut in whatever way suited the owner.

Gradually baseball caps became vogue and all the pre-Kennedy era rules about wearing hats fell like the Berlin Wall. Guys wore hats indoors out doors at the dinner table whatever. Bald guys took to hats like a fat kid does to a tee shirt at a swimming pool.

Soon the goatee made it's appearance and all guys looked pretty much alike.

I was caught up in my own decade of fashion so I watched this unfold from the sidelines.

Then someone found an old pancake box and thought that a handkerchief tired on their head would set them apart. Certainly an old rag would look better that hair or a ball cap.

Personally I don't get this unless maybe it is spring cleaning time or perhaps one is in treatment for head lice.

But it is a great country so wear your rag.

What's for breakfast?

Will Tiny Tim Walk Again?

A beginning to Cedie's wheel chair. It needs adjustment, gluing, fitting, testing and so forth.

So far Cedie thinks I am some pervert chasing her around for measurements.

This might be all I can do today. I'm still getting well.