Monday, October 30, 2017


We sold our house in Brookland, Ark. last Aug. 23.

But our old neighbors tell us the buyers, who tore out the old carpeting, still haven't moved in.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Dora 's wall

We were sitting in the parlor a little after 2 p.m. today when a neighbor boy appeared on the porch to report that Dora had escaped from the fenced back yard.

I'm afraid I reacted strongly, asking if he or one of his siblings had let her out. In retrospect, I was a bit rough and I think it freaked him out. Will have to make amends soon.

It developed that Dora had tunneled out under the deck, emerging from a hole next to the driveway.

Maria went out the front door and I went out the back, calling for her. She came running around the back of the neighbors' house and Maria was able to grab her collar and escort her back into the house.

Austin, Megan and Hayden arrived minutes later and Austin helped me (he did all the heavy lifting) move several hundred pounds of landscaping stone from the side and front of the house to make what we hope will be an impregnable wall around the base of the deck.

Truth be told, I expected her to eventually notice and exploit the opening under the deck. I'm just glad we were alerted before she got lost.

Halloween haters here

Just for the record, we don't like Halloween and we refuse to decorate for it. We'll have candy for trick-or-treaters, but that's as far as it goes at our house.
I am uncomfortable with the idea of trivializing evil.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Home improvement

This was the nastiest closet in the house before Maria went to work on it. It had crumbling plaster, crappy poplar flooring and some openings that she was sure was where mice used to get in.
A little wallpaper and hardwood flooring left over from the office and, voila!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Exceeding my expectations

My desktop computer refused to boot when I set it up after the move.

I knew something was wrong when it rattled.

So I bought a new Dell computer and ordered a hard drive dock from The dock came yesterday and pulled the hard drive this morning and mounted it in the dock. Then I went looking for software to rescue my data and programs.

I ended up buying a copy of PCMover for about $40, which included free online assistance.

The technician took control of my new desktop and set up the transfer, which took about five hours to complete.

To my amazement, virtually everything important made the jump to the new machine and all of the programs I've tested seem to have full functionality. I was especially worried about Photoshop, but it's working fine.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Auditioning a new all-in-one

Evaluating the Epson WorkForce ET-4750 EcoTank Wireless Color All-in-One Supertank Printer with Scanner, Copier, Fax and Ethernet for the Amazon Vine Program. Took a couple of hours from box to fully functioning, including a firmware update.

Monday, October 23, 2017


For the first time since Aug. 11, I have computer access to the Internet.

And, wonder of wonders, I have crazy-fast fiber optic Internet. Who could have imagined such a thing in this little town of 1,520?

Our computer savvy neighbor told me about Metronet and their fabulous speed when I complained about the pathetic performance we were getting from Frontiernet.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The right tool for the job makes everything easy

After much frustration and swearing, we gave up trying to cut baseboard trim with a hand saw and a miter box and went to Menards where we bought a Hitachi compound miter saw with laser. Suddenly, the job became ridiculously easy.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

New specs

I picked up my new glasses yesterday afternoon at the Lafayette (Ind.) Meijer store and notified my eye doc that I'm ready to proceed with cataract surgery.

Everyone tells me it's a breeze and my vision isn't what it used to be, so why not?

I need to be without contact lenses for at least two weeks prior to the evaluation and surgery and my old glasses have vanished in the move, so I spent $150 on a pair that I plan to wear less than a month.

The really good news is that Medicare covers 100 per cent of cataract surgery.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Got him!

We were eating dinner in the kitchen last evening when Maria noticed a mouse scurrying along the base of the sink and dishwasher.

Maria hates mice like I hate snakes, so I promptly drove down to Menard's in Lebanon and bought a four-pack of Chinese-made mousetraps.

We baited them with peanut butter and arrayed them around the base of the cabinets.

We heard a snap a few hours later, but the trap was empty when I checked it.

However, our luck improved at 9:50 a.m. today. I heard the trap snap as I walked into the kitchen and saw a motionless mouse caught by the foot. It was hardly a mortal injury and I guessed the mouse was either playing possum or in shock.

Either way, I picked him up by the trap and dropped him into a trash can with a secure lid to be picked up tomorrow morning with the rest of our trash.

I suspect there will be more mice. They start looking for new homes this time of year when the fields are harvested and the weather turns chilly. This 114-year-old house doubtless has lots of places where mice can get in, no matter how diligent we are about stuffing holes with steel wool.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Taking care of loose ends

It's still a struggle to get motorcycles out of our shed because of the upward slope to the loose gravel driveway - impossible to paddle walk. I did manage to get the K75S far enough out to make a loop through the back yard and onto the drive yesterday afternoon and go for about a six-mile ride. And, yes, it felt fabulous.

My camping gear continues to elude me, so it looks like I'll have to skip the Falling Leaf Rally in Potosi, Mo. this weekend. That was my last chance for a rally in 2017 - the price I paid for moving back to Indiana.

In the meantime, I have to figure out a way to load northeast U.S. regional maps to my memory-challenged Garmin Zumo 550.

But first, I had business to take care of this morning.

I finally got through to HSA Home Warranty, which had proven itself utterly useless in recent months, and canceled our account, thereby saving us $58.25 a month for the next 10 months. Their inability to respond to calls was a factor in our renters not being able to get things fixed in a timely manner.

And I just wrote a painfully large check to the Craighead County (Ark.) Tax Collector for our commercial building in Jonesboro. Please join us in praying that the building sells very soon.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Getting our driveway back

Last week's torrential rains caused the mounded dirt and gravel over our new sewer line to subside into a foot-deep canyon that effectively trapped the wheeled vehicles - two motorcycles and a mower - in the utility barn.

I called Batts Trucking this morning and here's Tracy about to grade the load of gravel he just dumped in the drive.

I love quick service like this!

Friday, October 06, 2017

Fencing - after seven weeks of leash-walking Jack and Dora

We moved back into our Thorntown house seven weeks ago today and for the past seven weeks have had to take our dogs out on leashes to do their business at all hours of the night and day.

I got out of bed at 2:45 a.m. today after Jack made it crystal clear that he needed to go out for a drink and a walk.

We tried to hire a guy from Lafayette to install a dog fence several weeks ago, but he refused to show up. (JT Fencing, if anyone cares.) Finally, I contracted with Lowe's to do a fence and the installation date was supposed to be yesterday. But it rained like a Mofo yesterday morning and the job got postponed indefinitely. I figured it would be Monday at the earliest.

So imagine my happiness when a fencing crew showed up in our driveway at 9:50 a.m. today.

At this writing, they have installed all of the posts and are about to add the cross-members and then the fabric and the gate.

I think the dogs sense something good is happening because they're not making a fuss about strangers on the property.

Monday, October 02, 2017


I was greatly relieved this morning when my son Steve, who frequently plays gigs on or near the Las Vegas Strip, reported he was safe in the wake of last night's bloody massacre.

Sadly, hundreds - including more than 50 dead - were wounded or injured.

Sunday, October 01, 2017


Slowly, but surely - and rather expensively - we're reclaiming our 114-year-old house after a decade of neglect and abuse by renters.

We bought a new gas grill a couple of weeks ago and I finally got around to assembling it early last week. It took me about three hours, but I seem to have gotten it right and I cooked steaks on it later in the week. The deck needs to be pressure washed and rehabilitated with a few new boards, but we now have a place to grill and dine on evenings when the weather is nice.

I picked up a Craftsman tool chest for $40 at a yard sale last weekend and emptied my various tool boxes into it. Now, I have a general idea where specific tools are, at least until they get used and misplaced.

A crew from Lowe's is coming this week to build a chain link fence enclosing about half of the back yard, which should give Jack and Dora much more freedom and let us sleep a little better.

Godspeed, Emily

We got word this morning that Emily, who was Steve and Nicky's dog for 18 years - predating granddaughter Lisa - has died. She was a great little dog with lots of heart and she had a very good life in the Flora house.