Lake Nottley

Lake Nottley

Monday, August 30, 2010

Still working

Yesterday we spent the morning goofing off, reading blogs, and watching the news.  We decided to take a drive (anything to avoid work) and ended up at Walmart.  I bought some sheer curtains  for the bedroom and living room windows.  The window coverings I had on them didn’t photograph well.  I find that if you take a picture of your house, you can “see” it through new eyes.  What you look at every day and get used to, may not look  appealing to potential buyers.  I noticed knick knacks look like clutter in photographs.  I have been doing some little things to pretty up the house and help it to photograph and show better. 

Al got some mulch and has been spreading it down in the front beds.  We need to get more today…it goes fast.  It seems like the more you do, the more you find to do. 

We got some mowing done yesterday and Al even mowed the banks of the pond. That is a difficult job because he has to take the little mower and pull it up and down the steep banks.  He ends up with sore shoulders and knees.  His reward was home made pizza! 

Our weather has been much cooler the past few days.  The other night when I was mowing I was wishing I had a sweater!

Now, we’re watching the tropics for hurricanes.  Our hurricane season starts in June, but the worst month is September, and things are really heating up now.  I think there are  2 hurricanes right now and two other depressions threatening to become hurricanes.  The season officially ends the end of November, but I remember one year we had one on January 1st!  That was a strange year. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Garage Sale #2

The weather cooperated and we had a successful garage sale yesterday.  The forecast was supposed to be rainy all day, so we wondered if we would have any customers.

We got up early, got showered and dressed, and stopped by Hardy’s for breakfast. We then went on to the storage lot.  Guess what?  Al left his set of keys at home, (the ones with the keys to the storage locks).  So off we went back home to get the correct set of keys! 

I found a website called  Garagesale.com. You can list your garage sale for free.  I put ours on to go  from 9am – noon.  We were able to get the keys and get back by 9:am.   Unfortunately , I don’t think any of our business came from this website, but I’ll probably try it out again next week.

We were much more organized this week, had more tables set up and everything was priced.  We had one couple come in and they bought about $90 worth of stuff.  Of course we’re selling things cheap, so they got some good deals.

We ended up selling $134 worth, and were happy with our sale.  A lot of people didn’t have money until after the first of the month.  Many people promised to come back for certain items.

We started at 9am and left at 10:45!  Things had started to slow down considerably and we decided call it a day.    Since our signs were what was drawing the people, we took down the signs and went home!  I can tolerate a couple of hours, but not much more.

There are a lot of Mexican people in this town. I guess many of them work at Monrovia Nursery, which is nearby.  Many the plants you buy at the garden centers are grown here.  It’s a huge nursery covering a huge area.   I suspect many of these people are not legal and many of them don’t speak English.  They don’t have a lot of money, but seem to be decent, hardworking people.  One lady keeps coming by and she has bought a few things, but is very tight with her money.  She bought a blouse and scarf yesterday.  After she left, I decided the next time she comes (and she will ) I was going to give her some of the things she’s looked at.  I figure the clothes that don’t sell will end up at Goodwill and this way, I can eliminate the middleman and give to the poor directly.  In fact, I intend to go through my closet today and find her some more stuff.  She’s the one that bought my canning pressure cooker for $7. She got a deal on that!

I have my views and thoughts on the illegal immigration situation here in this country, but when you see the people and their children, you have to sympathize with them.  I don’t know for sure they are illegal, but I have my suspicions. 

Anyway, garage sale #2 is done and without too much aggravation.  Al sold a some tools and I actually sold a few Christmas items.  If I could just sell the treadmill and ultraglide machine!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Refrigerator Getting Hot?

We went up to the motor home yesterday morning to check things out.  I opened the refrigerator and freezer doors and felt some heat.  I felt around and discovered it was the area between the freezer and refrigerator, and it was pretty darn hot.

My first thought was, on no, we are on the verge of having a fire due to our refrigerator.  My second thought was, the frig is not running and the gas is disconnected.

I then noticed the switch that you turn on if you are getting too much moisture on the outside of the frig.  I guessed that was where the heat was coming from.  I turned it off and when we checked it later, it was perfectly cool. 

I think I had seen that switch before, but frankly I had completely forgotten about it.  I do not remember turning it on.  I wonder if it runs off the battery when we are not plugged in.  If so, that may explain our battery drain.

Motor Home Dash Cover : (

The dash cover came today. 

The first thing I noticed was the box was much lighter than I expected, and much smaller.

I opened it up and the color was not what I envisioned.  I ordered vanilla and it was not my idea of vanilla, but okay.  I could live with it. 

It was much thinner of a material than I thought it would be and very light weight.  I was wondering if if would even protect the dash from kitty claws.  There are strips of Velcro and you attach it to the dash that way.

Just looking at it, I really didn’t think it would fit, but we took it up to try it out.  Well, it didn’t come close to fitting…by no stretch of the imagination.  I was very upset.  When I ordered it and was told someone else had already shipped it back, a red flag went up.  I should know to listen to my red flags, but I didn’t.

I called the guy I ordered it from and explained the situation.  The sales receipt had the wrong model of motor home on it, so I could understand why we got the wrong one.  Anyway, he was very nice and said to return this one and he would order a new one from the factory in Arizona. 

I asked him about the thin and lightweight material.  He said you don’t want anything too thick (like carpeting) because when your front window sweats, it would get the mat wet and the lighter weight would dry out faster and not grow mold.  Okay.  I asked about the vent holes.  There were none.  He said since vent covers can frequently be in slightly different locations, they leave the cutting of them to you.  You take off the black covering of the vent, cut out the mat and then screw the vent cover back on top of the mat.  Okay. 

I then asked about my laptop desk that is raised.  He said to cut the two sides and flap it back when you’re using the desktop and then when you’re not, lay the flap back down and it would not show.  okay?? 

He also said that there is no rubber backing on the back.  I would think a rubber backing would help it to stay in place. He said you don’t want rubber backing because when it gets hot, it can become glued to the dash. 

The cover does appear to be made well, but since it didn’t fit, it’s hard to tell what it will be like.

I hope I didn’t just make a $150 mistake.  He said it would take about 2 weeks to get the order from the factory.  I’ll let you know.

I tried to take a picture of the mat sitting on the dash of the MH, but it didn’t come out well.  I’ll try to take a few more pictures so that you can see what the mat looks like.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Loveseat is Gone

I decided to part with my comfy loveseat, so I put it on Craig’s list.  A young girl called and wanted it for her new apartment.  I told her she would need to bring two strong men with her because it is very heavy and my husband couldn’t help because he just had shoulder surgery.  Okay, so I fibbed a little.  He did just have shoulder surgery….2 years ago :)  We just get tired of selling stuff dirt cheap and then having to kill ourselves carrying it out for them.   This loveseat had a double recliner so it was extremely heavy.  Al and I got it moved here all by ourselves, but it was a b%#*h.    She brought her Dad and weightlifter brother to help.  Perfect!  They had a bit of trouble with it, so I was very glad I told her to bring some muscle.

We did some mowing and finally got the pasture done for it’s August mowing.  Of course now it’s almost time to mow it for September!  The grass will start to slow down soon though and soon we’ll be done mowing for the year.

Almost every evening we have happy hour riding around the property on our golf cart.  We call it the “happy cart.”  Tonight, we were riding out towards the pasture and our little raccoon friend was there waiting for us.  He has been coming for the “fox” feeding.  Unfortunately we haven’t seen the foxes for a while and we were going to quit feeding them, but this poor little guy was waiting just for us. 

Image014

Image013 (2)

Notice how he was sitting up?  Of course, we turned around and got him some dog food!

A couple of people have commented about the motor home dash cover we ordered.  It might be here tomorrow.  I’ll take a picture of it and let you know how I like it.  We ordered ours from Covers by Josie. It was $139 plus $15 shipping.   The $139 price is for items they have in stock.  He said these stock items were for covers that didn’t fit which made me a little nervous.    He also said just because your MH is a 2009 for instance, there is no certainty that the dash is the same year.  Anyway, I asked if we could return it if it didn’t fit and he said we could.  They are made out of a carpet fiber.  He said you could just spot clean them with a sponge.  They cover the entire dash and are installed with Velcro.  I am wondering where we would put the Velcro because I do not want to put Velcro on the nice dash material.

The other place we considered was Mr. Dashmat.  I checked on Rv-Net Forum and found several people who used both companies.  I went with Josie because it was quite a bit cheaper.  We’ll see how it looks.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Gotta Get Back to Work

Yesterday was spent running errands.  We had some paperwork that needed to be notarized, witnessed and sent out, so we spent the afternoon getting that done.  After that, we went to Walmart to pick up Al's new mini Home Theater system. 

It's really quite nice.  You should see the cute little tiny speakers.  They will fit much nicer in the motor home.  Of course we had a hard time getting it set up correctly.  Al doesn't like to read instructions.  I don't know if that is a man thing.  After he got it all set up, guess what?  The speakers didn't work on TV, just the radio or dvd mode. 

We watched a movie last night and the sound was very nice.  This morning, we had to head to Radio Shack to buy a expensive $32 fiber optic digital cable.  We got home, hooked it up and still no surround sound when watching tv.  I tried to help, but this stuff is greek to me. After trying to read the instructions and getting nowhere,  I told him, he was on his own,  read the instructions, call the guy at Radio Shack, or return it...whatever he wanted to do.  I was extremely frustrated by that time, as you can probably tell.

So guess what he did?  He read the instructions and got it working!

I ordered the dash cover yesterday and it should be here by Friday.  It is coming from just north of Tampa, so it's not far away.  Margie, it is made out of carpet.  I ordered ours in a vanilla color (light tan) to match the color of the dash right now.  I think it will help with kitty claws and also sun damage.  It was about $154 including the shipping.

Today, we intend to work on the house.  I need to make it look like no one lives here!  Al is outside painting little stepping stones.  We're expecting a cool front to get here by the week-end.  It is supposed to drop the high temperatures down to 88 or 89!  That may not sound like much of a cool front, but for us, it will be a welcome change.  It's currently 96. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Al's New Toy

I recently got my Sony E-reader, and we haven't gotten one for Al yet, so he was feeling like he needed a new toy too.   Poor Al!

He has been wanting a surround sound system for the motorhome.  He has a receiver and large, heavy speakers in the house, but he wanted a new lighter weight system for the motorhome.  You can find them at all price ranges, but we just want something that will boost the sound of our tv a little.  Al is starting to have some hearing issues (what?) and often complains he can't make out what they are saying on the tv.

We'd been looking at them for a while and finally settled on this one

It had good reviews.  We ordered it through Walmart.com so we know if we don't like it, we will easily be able to return it.  It has a Dvd player, 5 speakers and a subwoofer.  I find that sometimes certain movies don't have the greatest sound, so this will probably help.  It's being shipped to the Walmart store here in town and is supposed to be here today.  Al's very excited!

We're trying to get some of the things we need for our upcoming fulltiming life.  One thing I want is a dash cover for the motorhome.  When we were camping the last time, I kept the dash covered with a blanket to protect it from cat claws. They didn't to any scratching, but I still noticed a few tiny holes in the  dash.  I think the back claws may have caused the punctures.   I checked on the Rv-Net Forum for suggestions and found two places that were recommended.  One was Mr Dashmat and the other was Covers by Josie.  I chose Covers by Josie.  They had good reviews and were cheaper.... $139.  I intend to call them today and get it ordered.  With little kitties sitting on the dash, I figured this would be a good way to protect the dash, as well as keep the sun off of it.

There are a few more items we need for the motorhome, new slide room covers, and a  power post surge protector to name a few.  One thing at a time. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Florida Wild Mammal Association

Since Al worked too hard yesterday, he is in the mood for a "fun day."  He suggested we go out to the Florida Wild Mammal Association sanctuary and look at the place. 

It appears that they do a lot of good work rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife.  We are both animal lovers, so this may be the place we will donate a  lot of our stuff. They are accepting donations for a large garage sale next month.

Anyway, in doing some research, I came upon a blog from one of the volunteers.  I didn't get too far, but saw this interesting story about a rescued baby deer.  It was hilarious and I wanted to share.

Here is a quote I took from her post on July 25th.

Babies Galore!

FWMA is in the middle of baby season and things don’t seem to be slowing down at all.  There are several baby deer, many raccoons, 2 sets of sibling foxes, and birds of all shapes and sizes!
Although there is hope, one of the sad stories is of this precious baby deer.  Mama deer put their babies in places where they will be camouflaghed – they are often hidden in plain sight, and unfortunately, sometimes you don’t see them until it’s too late.  Such is the case with this baby.  Mowing his yard, the man didn’t see the baby until it was too late.  But after he hit it, he did the right thing and took it to FWMA.  One of the legs is broken and the other is badly cut – but the baby is doing very well!  Amazingly well!  Please keep her in your thoughts!
There is one thing about baby deer that a lot of people don’t know – when they are very young, they can’t go to the bathroom on their own!  They have to be ‘stimulated’ to go!  Mama deer does this by licking the little baby’s butt!  Well now, let me tell you – when Chris put out a call for a volunteer to become the Official FWMA Baby Deer Buttlicker – no one applied for the job!!!  So below is a clip of how it’s done!  Ya learn something new everyday, huh?"

I know this is true because we have rescued some baby kittens that also needed help going to the bathroom.  We had to use damp cloths to get the job done!


Check out this Blog   There are some cute videos and more info on their good work.

We're going to call them and see if we can come out for a tour.

Sunday, a Day of Rest?

Yesterday was supposed to be a day of rest, but it didn't quite work out that way.

Al went outside in the morning to find it was a tiny bit cooler and cloudy.  He used that opportunity to paint some outside wood trim and side porch.  We've been trying to get this area painted, but we needed to do it in the afternoon when the sun was not shining directly on the area.  The problem with that idea was that by afternoon, it was just too hot.  We worked together and got it done.  One more thing down.


We decided to take a load of stuff to the storage building, then take the rest of the day off.  After all, isn't Sunday supposed to be a day of rest?

I don't quite know what happened but we both got a lot of energy and we continued working most of the day.  Al especially worked very hard and mostly outside in the heat.  We got the pasture about half mowed and he cleaned up the branches we cut down the day before.  By evening, he was getting muscle cramps real bad and was sore all over.  He took a hot shower, took some potassium, and rubbed JointFlex all over but he still had leg cramps.  For some reason, he is prone to them.  I think he over did it yesterday in the heat.  I guess I'm going to have to make him stop sooner.
 
We got a really bad storm last night.  It poured for about an hour.  Nothing severe but as usual it made me nervous.  That is one thing I worry about when we are living full time in the motor home.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Problem with Windows LiveWriter

For the past several weeks, I have been unable to post my blog through Livewriter, and I missed it.  I kept getting error messages.

After reading Rick's blog today, I thought  I might have the answer.  His wife Paulette started having problems posting and I knew he would figure it out and I could finally get mine working again.  It turns out Paulette’s problem was because she had too many pictures  in her free Picasa web albums.

Google allows you 5Gb free.  The fix for her was to buy an additional 20 Gb of storage for $5. 

That was not my problem though.  I decided to try Livewriter again, and what do you know….it worked!  I have no idea what the problem was, but it just goes to show, something ignoring a problem is the best solution :)

Yesterday after our garage sale, we  and cleaned up some messes from our recent projects, and sorted and tossed more stuff.  We’re going to take a load of stuff to the storage building today along with some display tables.   We never dreamed we would have so many people stop by, so we weren’t prepared.  We’ll work on that this week and try again Saturday.

I found Florida Wild Mammal Association and I think this will be a great place to donate stuff.  They rescue and rehabilitate wild animals and it appears they do great work.  They are having a big fund raising garage sale early in September and are looking for donations.  At this point, I want to try to sell a few things first though.  I believe in their cause, and if I had a lot of money, they would get everything.  However, right now, we could use the money ourselves.  I imagine after a few more garage sales, we’ll be ready to give up though.  Al swore after we left Tampa that he would never to another garage sale!  I believe they hold 2 big sales a year, so if we miss this one, we can donate to the next one.

Yesterday evening,  Al cut down some branches from our large Oak tree in the front yard.  The branches were blocking the view of the front of the house and I thought it would show better in photographs if the branches were cut. Better curb appeal.  So now all these branches are laying in the front yard, waiting to be picked up. They are  not small branches either.  Luckily our property is surrounded by woods, so we will put them in the woods and they will  break down pretty quickly.  Al ties a big tarp behind the golf cart and tows the yard trash to the woods. It works out real well.  We also have a burn pit but it’s just so darned hot to burn, plus we seem to have birds that live in the brush in the pit so we can’t burn until we go through it to make sure no birds are nesting inside.  What we have to go through for our critters.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

First Garage Sale


Yesterday, we made two trips to the storage shed to load stuff for our sale.   Most of what we had was small/cheap  things.  We had to dodge rain storms and could only make two trips.

I listed  the sale on Craig's List.  We decided to put a few signs by the storage building but didn't expect much,  if any traffic.


We got there,  and put 2 signs up and went to the unit to eat our breakfast we'd gotten at Hardy's.

That didn't happen as people started coming right away!  We managed to put 3 signs up and people just kept coming.  Of course they didn't buy much, but at least we weren't sitting there twiddling our thumbs.

It was hot and muggy but cloudy so we survived the heat.  Al brought a battery and hooked up an inverter so that we could plug a fan in and people could test the electronics.  We made a whole $40, but we got rid of some stuff. We even sold our old camping mat for $1.  We made a point to tell everyone what we were doing and that there would be much more coming next week and to come back,.

I sold my big canning pressure cooker to this Mexican lady who spoke no English.  It's almost new and I think I paid $30-40 for it.  I took pity on her and sold it for $7.  She didn't have a clue how to use it and I doubt she could read the manual.  I hope she doesn't blow up her house!

We were told that there are a lot of garage salers around and they spread the word as to where the sales are at.  I'm hoping they will keep coming back next week.

We didn't sell anything over $10, but we had a lot of traffic and the time passed fairly quickly.  We started about 8:30 and by 10:30 it slowed down and we were done!   It was getting too warm and we didn't see any reason to sit out there any longer.

We found out that the city only allows one garage sale a year and anything more than that needs a permit issued by the city....for a small fee!   That's crazy!  I guess we could have them at our house because we are in the county, but it would be such a hassle.  Our garage is full and we don't have room to set things out for sales.  We keep the boat, riding mower, and golf cart in there, plus tons of stuff




Do you remember the story about the little piggy that went  "wee, wee, wee, all the way home?"  I can't remember the rest of the story.

Have you seen the Geico commercial with the little piggy in the back seat of a car saying "wee, wee, wee?"  It's very cute and I rarely  watch a commercial!  It's so cute, I even backed it up and watched it again! 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sometimes it Pays to Get Ugly

Here in Georgia they say "ugly" meaning bitchy, crabby, or nasty.  Let's just say I  had to get "ugly."

I had been having problems with my internet provider Windstream.  I called them twice, went through a bunch of procedures they told me to try and I still had sporadic internet service, which eventually turned into no internet service.

The lights on my modem indicated it was functioning properly.  The last tech I spoke to said I had a problem with my computer.  I asked if that was so, why could I not get internet on my other laptop either?  He didn't really have an answer other than to tell me, he had already been on the phone with me too long!  Can you believe that?  My problem was not solved, but he said he would send me a new modem, just in case that was the problem.  Of course that was just after I threatened to cancel my service and get a Verizon aircard.  I will eventually end up doing that (or a Droid ) but I wanted to keep my home internet as long as we're here because I like to use my Netflix/Roku to stream movies on occasion.   But, if this didn't get resolved real soon, I was prepared to cancel.  I was paying $2.00 a day to tether my cell phone for internet and paying for Windstream internet.

This conversation took place on Friday evening, and I decided instead of having him send me a new modem, I would just go to the Windstream store in town and pick it up myself...to save time.  

Monday morning, we made a special trip to get the modem and they were out!  They didn't know when they'd get any new ones.  On Tuesday, I finally got the right frame of mind to call Windstream back again, and after a little persuasion, they agreed to send me a new modem.  At first they were going to charge me for it!  More persuasion, and I finally got them to overnight me a free modem.
 
Wednesday afternoon, the Fed Ex guy delivered my modem.  We were in the midst of painting the living room, so I didn't really have time to mess with it, but I decided to just plug it in and see if it would work. Yeah, right!  I figured I would have to reconfigure my router and do 300 more things to get it working.  I checked my laptop a while later, and noticed a screen from Windstream, guiding me through the very simple, quick set up process!  I had internet again and I only had to be "ugly" a few times!

So I guess my problem is not with my computer, is it?  I'd sure like to call that guy back and tell him!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I Need to Quit Watching HGTV

It just gets me in trouble.  They have quite a few shows telling you how to get your house ready to sell, and they make it look very easy.  What they don't tell you is that they have a whole team of pro's that can build, fix, and install just about anything.  They also "stage" the houses so that they look very nice, but aren't really livable. For instance, how  many of these show's have a television? 

Anyway after watching too many of these programs and talking to my best friend Carol, we decided I needed (I means Al and I) should repaint the living room.  Al said I am not allowed to talk to her again.  She would have helped me, but she lives in Arkansas.

I painted this room a few years ago, but never quite got the color right.  I knew what I wanted in my mind, but it never came out right on the wall.  I have the worst trouble picking a paint sample that turns out the way I want it.  Those little samples look very different when they are on the wall.  Carol said I needed a beige.  Okay, I went to the local Benjamin Moore and got a few swatches.  There are 12 trillion different colors of beige!  I got them home and still couldn't make up my mind, so off we went back to Benjamin Moore.  This time I ended up with two little jars of beige paint.  I went home, slathered some paint on the wall and guess what.  I still wasn't sure which color beige I wanted. Al says, whatever you want dear.  This morning we headed back to the paint store, and I still was unsure, but when we got there I made the decision, we bought it, and hoped from the best.

Benjamin Moore paint has a low odor, and is supposed to be one of the best paints.  I had never used any, but since there was a dealer in town, I decided to give it a try.  I gotta tell you, this is very good paint.  It covered well and with minimum effort.  It spread easily, didn't splatter and didn't smell too bad.  It was a little expensive @ $35 a gallon, but I think in the long run it was cheaper because I only needed one coat.  It's done, Al is cleaning the brushes and I am contemplating putting everything away.  Mind you, I am only contemplating!

Oh, and I like the color!

New Toy

A few days ago while in Walmart Al found a TascoGame Camera, similar to this.  It has a 3mp camera and infared flash. It was only $50.  We had to buy a SD card and batteries and it was good to go.  We wished we had it when the Bluebirds fledged.  It will also be good to set up for the kitties and see if they are behaving.  It might also come in handy if we have to take the motor home in for service and see if the mechanics are snooping, and just to watch our birds.  It has a still and video camera.

We have been pretty sure our foxes were not coming to the feed station anymore and we thought the raccoons were getting all the food.  We set it up and here is what we found.



Doesn't look like a fox, does it?


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Going Camping!

Ok, so it's not until Christmas, but I'm excited.

We made reservations at Hillsborough River State Park over Christmas.  This is a place we frequently camped at when we lived in Tampa and spent several Christmas vacations there.  We would spend Christmas Eve at my Moms house, spend the night there and then come back to the RV the next morning.  The family would come and spend Christmas day with us.  It was always so much fun and we're excited to be doing it again this year.  There is nothing like camping at Christmas.  I've gotten to the point where decorating the house is too much of a chore and I don't enjoy it anymore....but the RV, well that's a different story!

Getting camping reservations in Florida in the winter months can be difficult and especially over holidays, so I was surprised our favorite sites were available.  I made reservations from December 20 for 9 nights.  Can't wait.  Maybe the bad economy helped me out this time!

We will bring the kayaks and do some kayaking.  The Hillsborough river is a great river to kayak on, especially in the cooler months.  There lots of gators.



We always find lots of friends when we camp there...like the ones below.


I have more photos on a previous post.
here

We always go home for Christmas and leave the kitties with a baby sitter.  We've only been able to stay a short time but this time we'll stay longer and be able to enjoy our favorite places a little longer.  We do miss Florida.

Well we're working around the house, fixing things and completing projects we started and didn't get around to finishing. :)   We have someone coming for our old tv/dvd player from the motorhome, and we bought a new "toy."  I'll tell you about it tomorrow.

Still no internet but I did call Windstream.  They are giving me a new modem. I will pick it up Monday and if that doens't work, I don't know what else to do. I wasn't able to log on connecting my computer directly to the modem (per Rick) and I could not get the other laptop connected either.  So as long as I have my verizon tethering feature up and running, I'm okay!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Connection problems-still

Well, I am still tethering my cell phone for my internet.

I had things to do yesterday and didn't feel like messing around calling Windstream. 

Rick suggested  I try to plug my ethernet cable directly into the laptop and by pass the router.  That was a good idea and I tried it, but then I remembered that Windstream had me do that as well, but they had to give me a password to use. For the life of me I couldn't remember all the digits on the password.

So I guess I'll pay the $2 a day for a few days until I get in the mood to deal with it.  If I hadn't had the internet through Verizon,  you can bet I would have been in the mood already.  :)

Today we're going to go check out some storage facilities.  We're looking for a place to store our garage sale items that is closer to Tallahassee so that we can get some traffic. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Connection Problems, Again

Last night when I went to log on to my laptop, I was unable to get internet access.  This is starting to get very old.  I tried several times.  I reset my modem and also my router.  No luck.  I finally gave up and went to bed.

My morning routine is to log on, read my favorite blogs while drinking my coffee.  This has replaced my old routine of reading a newspaper with my coffee.  If I can't get on to the internet first thing in the morning, it messes up my routine!

This morning, I attempted to log on to both laptops and was still unable to get connected.  I've had sporadic problems with this, but usually just when I've been out of town and used my Verizon tethering feature.  I tried everything I could think of and still no internet.  It may be a problem with Windstream, I don't know and I haven't had enough coffee to make a phone call to them.  There may not be enough coffee in the house for that. :)

I decided to call Verizon and  reactivate  my tethering feature, and here I am!  A happy camper!  A day without internet is like a day without sunshine.  :)  It seems to me if I the tethering works then it's not my computer.  It's either the modum or the router.  My Linksy router is pretty old, maybe it's worn out.

I (and others) have been having problems with spam on my blog comments.  This morning I noticed Blogger has made a nice change.  Now when you get a comment, you can either Publish, Delete, or Mark as spam.  This morning I noticed another comment that was definitely spam.  Other comments  I have seen lately (and rejected) have been very odd, but I didn't know if they qualified as spam.  Anyway, it appears Blogger is on this and hopefully it will help. I am not going to turn back on my word verification yet, but I will keep it so that I have to approve all comments.    I like that feature anyway, because I am sure not to miss a comment.

I spent the afternoon yesterday sorting and tossing paperwork.  This is stuff that should have been sorted years ago, but it's been filed away and forgotten. 


I  found something on Craig's List asking for garage sale donations for a Wildlife Mammal Rescue group .They are having a garage sale next month with the profits going to their group.  They will come pick up your items.  I thought that was just the kind of place I would like to donate some stuff to.  We are big animal lovers and always support any kind of animal rescue groups.  It makes it easier to donate things, if you know they are going to a good cause.  I sometimes wonder if the workers at Goodwill get all the good items that are donated.  Anyway, I find it easier to give to someone directly.  I'm going to check this group out a little more, but I think they are the ones that had a fire last year and were in desperate need to help. They rescue a lot of young fawns.  We might take a trip out there and see the animals and make arrangements to bring them some stuff. 


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Panoramic Photos

After reading Rick's post  yesterday morning about a new program for panoramic photo's, I decided to give it a try.

It's called Autostitch and it's really a great, and FREE program.  You can easily convert at least two and apparently many, many pictures into one panoramic shot.  On the link above, scroll down and look at the photo they did with 57 images.

I downloaded the program.  It was so fast, I wasn't sure it actually was there.  Then I went outside and took some pictures.  I just went for between 2 and 4 pictures.  After I got the pictures downloaded, I tried the program and it worked beautifully.  It took me a little while to figure out to save the panoramic shot, I had to select "make a copy."

I don't really have the beautiful panoramic views that would work so well with this program, but here is one I did.  This picture is taken from the far side of the pasture area.  See what I mean about having a lot of grass to mow?  That's 4-5 acres and there is 11 total.  Yeah, there is always grass that needs to be mowed somewhere.  :)



I took some more pictures and will play with them again today. It's a fun and easy program.  Try it.  Thanks again Rick!

I had some trouble getting the photo centered correctly.  I first put it at extra large in size, but that didn't work, as only half of the photo showed up.  I finally decided to move it "left" instead of centered and sized it "large."  That appears to have centered it correctly.  Of course I'm using Blogger to post this, as I haven't been able to fix my LiveWriter problems yet.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Internet Problems

I have been having problems with my internet/computer the past few weeks.  I can get connected to the internet, then go to a site and get an error message saying the site has timed out.   It's been very frustrating, but normally I just wait a minute or restart the computer and all is fine.  It's been a sporadic problem, but most of the time I have internet service.  I cannot be without it.

I finally decided to take the time today and call Windstream, my phone and internet provider. I actually was able to speak to people in the United States!  I ended up being transferred to 3 different people. They had me disconnect my wireless router and connect the Ethernet cable directly from their DSL box to my laptop. They had me hit the reset on the DSL box. They had me try several other things, but still no connection. I kept explaining to them that I had internet this morning, and that it was sporadic.

Then they had me connect the Ethernet cable directly to my old laptop and I immediately was connected to the internet. That told them that my problem was not with their system, but with my computer and for $78 they would have a tech diagnose and fix my problem. 

I declined at least for today because I have a dentist appointment and also I was not convinced my laptop was the problem.  I wanted to think about it.

I decided to call Verizon and turn on my tethering feature.  I figured if I could get on the internet through Verizon, then the problem was not with my laptop. I didn't see how my laptop could be the problem if the internet service would come and go.   In the meantime, I decided to try my laptop again...and it's back!

So my thinking is that maybe resetting the DSL box corrected the problem. I'm hoping this fixes my problems....so far so good.

After my scare last week thinking I had a bad computer virus, I made a vow to back up my data.  You'll be glad to know I bought a 320G portable disc drive and backed up my important files and pictures!  I had a few of the small USB drives that I used to back up claim files and pictures of our stuff for insurance purposes, but I never backed up all my many, many, many photos.

I think I will continue to back up my photos to DVD with Picasa and also on the portable disc drive. That way I'll have double protection. 

My thinking was if I had too much trouble with Windstream, now may be a good time to buy the Droid X smart phone that I've been wanting!  I sure would like to have that, and probably will eventually.  I just don't want the expense right now.  When we go on the road, we'll have to have internet and if one Droid can tether 2 laptops, I'll probably get it.  If not (and I have to do some research) then I'll probably end up with just an aircard.  I know that can connect two computers.  I would consider the aircard now, and cancel my home phone and internet, but we really like the streaming movies from Netflix and I wouldn't be able to do that with the Aircard.  I think I could with Droids unlimited package though.

Now if I could just figure out why Live Writer won't post my blog to the internet.   One thing at a time though, I'm tired of fooling with computer issues.

Monday, August 09, 2010

A Light Bulb Went Off

We’ve been trying to figure out the best way to give rid of a lot of smaller things that won’t fit in the motor home when we start to travel. 

We’ve sold a few larger things on Craig’s List   and E-Bay, but there are just so many small things that I hate to just trash or give to Goodwill.

It's been too hot to even consider a garage sale, but the fact that we live in a small town and in the country makes having a garage sale even more difficult.

I hate the thought of going through all the work to put stuff out, and either no one comes, or no one buys anything and we have to put all the stuff back.  Our garage is full of with the boat, riding mower, golf cart and yard equipment and tools.  Anything not sold would have to be pushed aside and it's awfully dusty there.
 
I have been against renting a storage shed.  I did not want to endi p leaving town with a bunch of stuff in a storage shed.  When we leave town, I want to take everything with us…and I don’t want “everything” to be that much stuff!

I got to thinking that maybe renting a storage shed on a month to month basis might work for garage sale items.  We could start taking sale items there now and getting them of the house.  I keep trying to clean but I have so much stuff that needs to be sold that it's difficult. I find myself just moving stuff around.  If we rented a storage shed in town on a busier road, maybe we could actually start selling a few things, but at least I could move some stuff out of the house.  The nice thing is that what didn’t sell could stay right there.  I don’t know how many people attend garage sales in this heat but it would be easy enough to just go out on a Saturday and put a few signs out.  We could test the waters.   Of course the cost of the storage unit would probably eat up all our profits!

I just don’t think we’d get much traffic here at the house.  What do you think about the storage shed?

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Laura Walker State Park - Waycross, Georgia

We had a bad case of cabin fever and needed to go somewhere...anywhere.  We like to make day trips, but the excessive heat has kept us indoors lately. We've been working around here trying to get the house ready to put on the market, but we needed a break.

We decided to head towards Valdosta, Georgia, which is about 60 miles east of us. 

I mentioned in a previous post about my problems with my Sciatic Nerve. I have been having a lot of pain any time I sit in a car or on the riding mower for more than a few minutes.  If you've never had it, it's hard to describe, but it's very painful.  I didn't know if I could sit in the car very long.  It comes from a nerve that starts in your upper hip and shoots down your leg.  The pain mostly is in your butt.  It started when we were installing the Allure flooring in the motor home.  I don't know why.

On Thursday,  Al asked me if I had tried JointFlex cream on it.  We have used JointFlex for many years, but it just never occurred to me to try it for this type of pain.  I put it on twice on Thursday and on Thursday evening I went out and mowed a while.  No pain!  Hummm??   I applied it again Friday morning before we headed to Valdosta.  We decided to head towards Valdosta and see how I did, then we could go on if I wasn't in pain.

I got stiff from sitting in the car, but no more than normal.  I had no sciatic pain in my butt!  I really think the JointFlex was helping.  I know it helped me years ago when I used to get a stiff neck and I could barely turn my head.  It helps Al's knee and shoulder pain, but I just didn't think about using it for my pain, for some reason. It has Glucosamine in it which is known to help arthritis and joint pain.  It also must have something to help muscle pain because it sure helped me.

Since I wasn't having any pain, we decided to head further east towards  Laura Walker State Park.  It's near Waycross, Georgia and sits on the northern boundary of the Okefenokee Swamp

The following is a  description taken from their website id from the Okefenokee National Wildlife  Park website.  It's quite an interesting place to visit.  We didn't go into the swamp because of the heat.


In southern Georgia and northern Florida there is a very special place, one of the oldest and best preserved freshwater systems in America. Native Americans called it Okefenoka, meaning “Land of the Trembling Earth”. Now this place, where earth, air, fire and water continuously reform the landscape, is preserved within the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, created in 1937 to protect wildlife and for you to explore.

The Okefenokee offers so much, one could spend a lifetime and still not see and do everything. The refuge is vast, with almost 402,000 acres (that’s roughly 300,000 football fields in size) of cypress forest, marsh, lakes and islands. Filled with alligators, Sandhill cranes, red-cockaded woodpeckers and over 400 other species of animals, it is a wonderful place to learn about the wildlife of Georgia and Florida. The longleaf pine, cypress, carnivorous sundews and other plants make up different habitats from dry upland forests to open wetlands. Golden sunsets and thundering storms allows one to experience this magical place at its most beautiful and most awe-inspiring moments.


We were there a few years ago and rented a small boat and went into the swamp.  We are from Florida and have seen alligators...lots of alligators, but I can tell you, these were the biggest we have even seen.  There were a LOT of the big ones too!  I hear about people that kayak in the swamp and I cringe.  I know there are a lot of different areas in the swamp and maybe they don't all have the large populations of huge gators, but I would not kayak in the area where we went in the boat.  We didn't get to spend too much time there and always wanted to go back.  We didn't do any exploring due to the heat, but plan to go back when it's cooler.

Our main purpose was to check out Laura Walker State Park.  They have a campground and we wanted to see if we would like it.  We did!


It's a pretty park with a golf course and a lake as well as campground.


A lot of the sites were small and narrow, but there were a few that would accommodate a big rig.  I think we'll go there when it cools down a little.

We had a wonderful day.  I can't tell you how nice it was to just get out of the house.  We needed it!  We felt rejuvenated and ready to work some more on the house.  Al was working outside cleaning the siding on the house when it started to storm.  It stormed most of the day and we got over 1/2 inch or much needed rain.  We stayed inside and worked.  I went to my office and tossed out a lot of paperwork.  I saved a lot of claims information from my time at USAA Insurance.  I did some free lance claims adjusting here in Georgia, but the work was too sporadic so I am not doing it anymore.  I finally decided to toss most of that stuff!

We figure once the house is listed, and we have cleansed much of our "stuff", we will be able to go on the road for a few weeks/months at a time.   Then when the house sells, we can come back and get rid of the rest of it.  The key is to get rid of a lot of stuff.


Friday, August 06, 2010

Dry Tortugas National Park

I have not been a big fan of the governments huge bailouts and spending, but Al mentioned this morning that they spent 13 million on improvements for the  Dry Tortugas National Park.  I was very glad to hear about that.

The Dry Tortugas are a small group of islands, located at the end of the Florida Keys,  about 70 miles west of Key West. 


These are pictures I borrowed from the internet.  If you notice the moat area, that is a wonderful, safe and easy place to snorkel.  When we were there we saw lots of beautiful fish, turtles and all sorts of marine life. The water was very clear, calm, and shallow.





Unlike the Florida Keys, you cannot drive there.

There are a several boats and seaplanes  that will take you there, for the day or you can even tent camp there if you like. They have a water fountain, bathroom and showers.  No electricity.

When we went there several years ago, we noticed the park was pretty run down and in much need of some repairs.  It's truly a national treasure and should be maintained.  They have rangers living there, for I believe 6 month tours.  It's a very remote place, but very beautiful.   Hummmm....I wonder if they could use work campers?  The people living there were living inside the fort (with electricity, water, and sewer) and I even saw their pet cat looking out the window.  

We camped overnight there somewhere around 2002.  We were camping in Key Largo at Long Key State Park.

We decided to drive down to  Key West and catch the ferry boat over to the Tortuga's.  If you haven't driven the   Overseas Highway , it's a beautiful drive.

We had a very nice time there, camped right on the beach and slept on the sand.  It was hot though until the seabreeze came up.  The next afternoon, the ferry came to pick us up.  We should have stayed longer.  It was an amazing place and we intend to go back again in the near future.  The next time we will pay and have our kayaks brought with us.  There are several other little islands near this one, but they are bird sanctuaries so you can't go there.  We saw several yachts and even regular boats anchored there.  It's really not that far from land, so a 25 foot boat could get there, provided it had enough fuel (or sail).  I would have loved to have taken our boat there and stayed a week or so.

So any of you that will be in Florida for the winter, take a trip south to the Dry Tortugas!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Summer Blah's

I have been reading so many blog posts about all the different places everyone is visiting, and I'm jealous. 

We haven't been anywhere fun in quite a while and we're both getting stir-crazy.  The problem is that it's just too darn hot to enjoy a day trip.  We're thinking about taking off anyway, just to get out of the house.  We thought about heading over to Laura Walker State Park.  It's at the northern part of the Okefenokee Swamp.  We've been to the swamp, but never to this park.  The problem is that it's out in the middle of nowhere.  It's only a couple hours from the house though, so maybe we'll head over there tomorrow.  We've also thought about heading towards the Florida panhandle beaches, but that's further and we didn't want to have to spend the night.

Another problem besides the stifling heat  is this darn sciatic nerve pain.  It about kills me when I sit in the car or on the lawn mower.  That's one reason why I haven't been mowing much lately (and Al is real worried about it).  I get a shooting pain in my arse that almost feels like an electric charge.  It's very painful and pillows don't help.  Al has had problems with it as well in the past and he had a cortisone shot in his hip that helped him.  I guess I should just go ahead and bite the bullet and try that, but I'm kind of a coward.  In this months Motorhome Magazine there was an add for this Therapain Plus product.

There was also an article written by Bob Livingston about it with some test cases that apparently had good results.  Anybody out there use it?  It's supposed to help with all kinds of pain, but the add specifically mentioned Sciatic pain.  I don't know if it's available locally or online only.   I meant to look for it at Walmart yesterday, but I couldn't remember the name of it.  I have got to do something, because it just about kills me to sit in a car for any length of time, and the mower is worse because I can't change positions as much.  Any product reviews or other suggestions for Sciatica would be much appreciated.








Like I said, we've been getting antsy to go somewhere and we are thinking about what to do and where to go this fall and winter.  Once we get the house on the market, technically we could just head out.  Ideally it would be better if when we did, we have most of our "stuff" gone, but I know us, and we work much better under pressure, (the house is sold and you have 30 days, type pressure.)

We're still thinking about the offer to stay at our friends place in upper Tennessee and that's not out of the question, but we were thinking maybe a short workamping job somewhere closer to home may be the better option.  That is, if we could find something in the fall.  We definitely plan to be away during the colder months of January and February.

So that's where we are right now.  We're anxious to travel, tired of the heat, and not making much progress getting rid of our stuff.  We have made some progress on getting the house ready for sale.  Al has to go to Tampa next week and I think when he gets back we'll make an appointment for the Realtor to come and put up the sign!   The painting is pretty much finished and Al is working on the yard as much as he can in the heat.  It's not raining as much so the grass isn't growing as fast so it's easier to keep up with.  We just need to "pretty up" the outside. I've been thinking about painting the guest bathroom.  I have a real pretty shower curtain and towels that I bought specifically for selling and showing the Tampa house when we sold it.  That bathroom looked real pretty and I think I'm going to use them in this bathroom too.  I just need to get it painted, but it can be done after we get it listed.  I doubt very seriously we'll be overrun with lookers. 

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Photo Back-up Through Picasa

My computer issues the other day accomplished one thing if nothing else.  I backed up all my photos to a DVD.

I'm still trying to decide whether to use an online back up program for my computer, or an external hard drive.  Like a few of you have said, they have come down in price recently.  Can anyone recommend one brand in particular?

I went to the Geeks on Tour  website to see what they were using for back up.  I found nothing about any online back up program but they did have a good tutorial on backing up photos.  I think most of us would miss our pictures more than anything else.

Here  is their link for backing up photos on  Picasa.  It's a few years old, so it may be slightly out of date, but I decided to give it a try.

It was extremely easy and all my pictures fit on one DVD.  You can back up again and only select the new ones since the last back up.  I feel better about that anyway.  They recommended storing your back up away from your home.  I guess I'll let my Mom keep them.

I have also spent some more time with Picasa and now that I'm starting to understand it a little better, I like it more.  I really am starting to love the photo editing part, now that I understand how to save the file after I edit it.  Thanks again Rick!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Computer Problems Resolved

Thanks to Rick and Kevin and Ruth, I was able to get my computer fixed.  Yesterday I kept getting pop-ups scaring the heck out of me telling me I had a severe virus and trojans on my computer.

I use Microsoft Security Essentials and Malwarebytes but somehow it got through.  Rick explained that what I had was not an actual virus, but a very persistent anti-virus program that wanted my business.  It just wouldn't go away though. 

Rick suggested I go to http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/remove-antivir and follow the instructions to get rid of Antivir. 

I found out that I did not have the latest version of Malwarebytes and that was what the problem was.  My version showed no bad or infected files.  I couldn't get my version to update to the newer version.  I finally removed it and reinstalled the newer version.  Then I ran a scan and it found and removed  3 problems.

So after running a scan through Malwarebytes and Security Essentials, everything appears to be okay and back to normal!  Thank goodness.

I also took some time to explore Picasa a little more.  Thanks to Rick's post about it, I learned a few things.  It truly has a powerful photo editing program that I had failed to really experiment with.  I just couldn't quite understand what was saved or not.  Rick's post explained a lot.  Now I need to go back to his post and re-read it after playing with Picasa.

I swore yesterday, if I got my computer back in one piece I would purchase Carbonite and backup my hard drive.  Then Margie mentioned turning over my info to strangers in cyperland and then I started to question it again.  I think I will go ahead and sign up for it though.  My important information is out there anyway.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Uh Oh - big Problem!

When I first turned on my computer this morning, something was very wrong. 

I got a pop-up about my “antivir protection.”  I don’t have “antivir”  I have anti-virus.  The little popup box  looked very similar to my Microsoft Security Essentials anti virus protection, but it was different enough to make me suspicious.  I  kept getting other little messages popping up saying some file had a virus, trojan, etc.  I was very careful not to accidently click on any of them.  They appeared to be from Windows Essentials,(my antivirus software)  but I wasn’t sure.   I knew if I clicked the wrong thing, I could open the floodgates.  All I wanted to do was run my real security programs but I couldn’t find them!

I have the icon for the Microsoft Security Essentials on my bottom task bar menu, but this morning it was gone!  All I got was the “imposter.”  It looked very similar to the real  Microsoft Security Essentials,  but not quite the same.  I tried to go to my start menu and run security essentials. I would click on it, see the screen briefly and then it would disappear.  I was getting real scared!  I tried this several times.  I tried to put the icon back on the task bar, it would go there but when I tried to click on it, away it would go!   Oh NO!

I also have Malware Bytes on my computer, but I was unable to get it or the Microsoft Security Essentials to run.  I was getting very scared!  I just kept getting pop ups saying my computer or a file was infected.  Very scary stuff.

 No, my laptop is not backed up. 

No, I do not have a backup program like Carbonite


Yes, I meant to, but now I may have to suffer the consequences of my procrastination. 
I finally (after trying several attempts and methods)  was able to get both of my security programs running and they are currently doing full scans on the computer.  I did quick scans first and they came out clean.  I have my fingers crossed that I won’t have lost all my data or that my computer was hijacked.

I am writing this post on Windows Live Writer and will not attempt to post unless my scans come out clean.   I am afraid to attempt to go onto the internet until the full scans are completed.  Let me tell you, I am a LOT nervous!

If I dodge this bullet, I am going to immediately go and purchase  Carbonite,  or some other automatic back-up program  It cost about $5o annually, and right now, that’s looking like a pretty good deal!  It automatically backs  your computer up regularly and then if you have a virus, or lose your data, you can easily get your computer back up and running.  The commercials say it’s easy, but I have my doubts about that.

This might be a good subject for Rick to blog about. I’m sure we could all use some education on avoiding computer viruses!

………………..UPDATE………………………….
The virus and malware programs are still running…very slow process.
No viruses found yet. :)
I got tired of waiting and decided to attempt to go online and see what happens.  I was able to log on so I am hopeful that my computer is not trashed.  The programs have not found anything bad..yet…
Wish me luck!
I’m doing some research on the online back up programs.  I want something that will do automatic backups.  I don’t want to have to think about it.  I just want my computer protected if I need it.  I found a link that has some information on a few of the top programs.  Click here for comparisons. 
There are coupons for discounts on all of these programs.  I thought I would probably use Carbonite, but in doing some research, I think Mozy might be a better option.  I guess I need to do more research.

My virus and malware programs are still running. It will probably take a few hours, but I don’t care.  I will wait for them to finish before I purchase the automatic back up program (probably Carbonite). 
I’m feeling a little better about my computer, but this morning I was sure I had a major virus and I just knew all my data was lost.  Let me tell you, that’s a very scary feeling.  My advice….back up…what ever way you choose, but just backup.  I had visions of all my photo’s being gone.  : (

Wish me luck!

p.s.  I tried to post this through Live Writer, but kept getting an error message.  Hope it will post through Blogger.