Saturday, December 27, 2008

Friday December 26, 2008

First of all, thank you for following our little blog. You must be a good friend or family. I'm going to stop recording my daily activities unless something happens of note until we go on the road.

We woke this morning to the sounds of high winds. We had very high winds all day long at the park. We are out in the boonies, with nothing around us to block the wind. It's amazing how loud a trailer is when the heater and air conditioner is turned off. There are creaks and pops that sound like someone is coming in. Of course, the little flap for the vent hood in the kitchen makes a lot of noise, but I went out and clipped it shut.

The floor creak is getting worse. It's right in front of the stairs in the kitchen, so its impossible to miss when you come into the kitchen from either outside or from the bedroom. This will soon become Camping World's problem when we trade this one in on an '09 Bighorn 3370 in a week or so.

I called Melissa this morning to find out when they are coming out here to visit. She said that when Jennifer and Jay get off work, they will go by their house and get all of Ian's stuff to come over.

I just piddled around the trailer today. I tightened the legs of the front porch, but its hard to do on gravel. The stones constantly move around, so it makes the feet uneven and the porch shaky. Hopefully we won't be parked on many gravel sites.

Stella and I ate leftover soup for lunch that she made a couple of days ago. It was more tasty today than when she originally made it, but that's the way it is with soups. After finishing the soup we decided to cut Cassie's hair for the first time. The first time for us anyway....
Cassie didn't like it very much, but it went pretty well. Stella brushed out many of the tangles in her hair, then gave her a bath in the shower. After they both took a break, we started trimming her. I held her still on the dining table while Stella cut her hair. Stella is the only experienced hair cutter in the family, since she's been cutting my hair for years. It has saved us a lot of money over the years and will really come in handy now that we're retired. Cassie's hair looked good when we got done and she was pretty well-behaved.

Jennifer, Jay, Melissa and Ian arrived about 7:30. Jennifer had been to the doctor this morning and was diagnosed with hives. She had to go by a pharmacy to pick up her prescriptions. Hives is usually caused by an allergy, which I have been lucky enough to avoid in my life.

We ate our sandwiches and had a very nice visit. Ian crawled all over the trailer, checking all of Cassie's toys, her food bowl and of course the water bowl. Jennifer snatched him up when he got close to all of these, so no damage was done. He's such a good baby, never cried or fussed. He loves his Pop.

Jennifer decided that Ian will be my first grandchild to call me by my grandfather's name, Pop. My mother's father, O.L. (Pop) Chandler, was called Pop by everyone that knew him, even the family. It is an honor to be called by this name, although I love being Pepaw to Tyler and Cameron.

Until another day,

Friday, December 26, 2008

Thursday December 25, 2008

Christmas Day has arrived! I woke up early this morning to check if Santa had come, but he must not have been able to find us because there was nothing to be found here. It COULDN'T be that I've been a bad boy!

Melissa texted me to come pick her up around 10 this morning. Since we made the trip the other night, we knew the way and got there in no time at all. We went in and had a cup of coffee in her apartment before leaving to go to Kay's, my ex-wife and Jennifer and Melissa's mother. We used the Garmin to navigate to her house which amazed Melissa. She had never been down the street that we were directed to. When we got there, Kay was fixing our breakfast, so I went into the living room and hung our with Melissa until Jennifer, Jay and the guest of honor, Ian, got there. Kathryn, Jenifer and Melissa's step-sister arrived and hung out with us. We started to eat breakfast before they got there; I guess Ian had been checking out all the loot that Santa brought him.

After they got there and ate their breakfast, we had a gift exchange. Kathryn was kind enough to frame a picture of Jennifer and Ian for us. Of course, the floor was completely covered with wrapping paper, and Ian got even more loot!

We had a nice visit, but we all started to get drowsy and in need of a nap, so we gathered up all Melissa's stuff and loaded it into the truck. Jay came out to check my air horn, which I'm sure the neighbors were happy to hear sounding off. They were probably glad to see us finally leave. We dropped Melissa off at her place and came back to the trailer for the night.

Our first Christmas in the trailer is past, and was very nice. We had a very good time with the family.

Wednesday December 24, 2008

Well it;s Christmas Eve, the day lots of kids look forward to all year. It was chilly here, with temperatures around 45 degrees. When we get started traveling, maybe I'll be able to figure out how to attach that site here so everyone will be able to see the temperatures where we are.

We got up this morning and just stayed inside where its warm. We drank our coffee and ate some pigs in a blanket this morning for breakfast. We decided not to go to the big family Christmas celebration this evening. I called Melissa and told her that we wouldn't be by to pick her up, and that she had to make her own travel arrangements.

We just stayed in the trailer all day, and went for a ride around the area in the afternoon. We stopped and got diesel at a Valero where we found fuel for $2.19 per gallon, the cheapest we have seen. We came back home and stayed inside all evening watching the tube and relaxing.

Thats all for now.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday December 23, 2008

I woke this morning for my usual coffee with the guys. It's a good time to get together with friends and fix all that is wrong with the world. The new President should send someone to sit in on our coffee meetings so he will know how to run the country.

I went back to the trailer and started putting things away for the trip to Terrell. We got away about 11 o'clock or about an hour later that I wanted to leave. It was a nice trip, but the weather was bad, again! It was cool and rainy but soon warmed up but stayed cloudy all the way north. We stopped at the rest area in Huntsville for a potty break for all of us including Cassie. It's good to stop and stretch our legs. We stopped again for lunch and fuel in Fairfield. Any time we go through Fairfield, we try to stop at Sam's Barbecue restaurant. We got fuel at the Chevron next to Sam's and paid $2.21 a gallon including an .08 per gallon discount for showing our receipt for the restaurant. At least fuel prices are down. I had filled up over the weekend in Alvin when we went home, for $1.97 a gallon, the cheapest we have seen in a long time!

We pulled into the Bluebonnet Ridge RV park about 4:30. This is a nice park, with gravel roads and sites. It had gotten colder as we went north, so I just set up the outside items. The new steps went together well, but will take some getting used to. The rails still need some work, but I can get it figured out. The little wrench that Ken made to tighten the handrail posts is not really long enough to turn the posts, but I will have to figure something out there.

We went over to Melissa's apartment where we met Jennifer, Jay and of course Ian, the newest member of the family. We went to the Jalapeno Tree for supper. It was a nice time and we went back to Melissa's house for a visit with her. We came back to the trailer about 11.

We made plans to meet tomorrow to go to the girl's family for their Christmas celebration. It is nice of them to have offered to let us attend their party with them.

Monday December 22, 2008

We woke to a cold day, the coldest of this winter. I went down and had coffee with the guys at the rally hall, then went back to the trailer, where we just hung out and stayed inside out of the cold. It turned out to be a "stay inside and read or watch tv day" because of the weather. Stella went to the laundry and did our dirty clothes. We still would rather do this than have a washer/dryer in the trailer.

Ricky made some chili and warmed up some tamales that he had picked up when he went to his ranch in south Texas. We ended the meal with some no-sugar cheesecake and sugar-free pecan pie which were both wonderful. Chili is the best thing to warm you up on a cold day.

We went back to the trailer and started to get things picked up in preparation for our trip to Terrell for our Christmas visit with my kids there.

Sunday December 21, 2008

We were scheduled to do the "Rayford Shuffle" today, moving from site #80 into site 35. It was cold and damp again today and I stayed inside until almost 9. When I went out, I found that Tommy and Susan had already packed up and left. I wanted to see them before they left, but will catch up with them another time. Tommy told me that he has reserved his spot at Rayford for 2009, so we will see them again.

I found that the rig in our new space had already moved, so I went back to the trailer and told Stella. as soon as the trailer was ready, we moved into our new site. While setting up, we met the couple that are in site 36, a very nice couple that retired about 6 months ago. I had a nice visit with them while getting everything plugged in.

We left the park about 1 o'clock to go to the house in Dickinson to pick up the mail and get anything that we had forgotten. After getting that done, we went to Manvel where I picked up our porch/steps where my friend Ken Caldwell had made some modifications to our unit, which was one of the first prototypes that he had built. He made ours a new-style fold up side frame with screwed on handrails. He also repainted the thing. It has taken a beating from bouncing around in the bed of my truck, but it was good for him to be able to check it for any rust or damage.

We went back to Rayford where Ricky came by soon after we got back to invite us over to eat with them. They had some leftover sausage, a stuffed pork chop and some leftover potatoes, so we all had a good meal and cleaned out their refrigerator.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Wwe got up this morning and went to the pancake breakfast in the rally hall. It was good food prepared by our friends Frank and Nancy who live in the park. We will try to make these a routine.

We didn't do much of anything all day Saturday. The weather was cold and damp, which made it hard to get outside and do anything.

Tommy and Susan came over about 5:15 to pick us up to go to Sandy and Rusty's Christmas party at their house. It was a nice time with several of our Boomer friends. Bob Wurch was there and said he will be at Rayford for the New Years Eve party. We left the party about 8:30.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Friday December 19, 2008

We got up today, expecting to have to go home for the night to take care of the boys while Kim and Jeremy went to a Christmas party for Jeremy's work. We left the park around 10AM and along the way, we decided to stop at a Sam's store on I-45 near Airtex. We stopped there because it was a store that we had never been in, so there might be something there that we really needed!

We got inside and began shopping when Stella had to call Kim to aske a question about a gift for Tyler. Kim told her that the party had been cancelled and we didn't have to go home. That was fine with us, so we continued to shop. We really didn't buy all that much at Sam's so we decided to stop at Gallery to look at recliners to put in the new trailer. We searched the store buy couldn't find anything we liked. It was disappointing that a store that big didn't have any more selection than they did.

We didn't know where there was a Lazy Boy store in this area. I know that Lazy Boy has some chairs of the right size for us, so we decided to drive up past Rayford-Sawdust to see if we could find a store. When we got to FM 242, we gave up and stopped at the Wal Mart store there. We spent a lot of money ($130.00) but it was all stuff we needed, with a few groceries thrown in.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thursday December 18, 2008

Today was a very slow day for us, but I guess thats to be expected for an old retired man....

I slept in this morning and didn't have coffee with the guys. I guess I was up too late last night running the roads for Cameron's birthday. It was very foggy this morning and we just laid around all day long. I went for a walk this morning around the park. Today was the first day that the weather cooperated enough for me to walk. We just stayed in and watched tv all day today.

Ricky came by late in the afternoon and asked us to come over. Dee said she had lots and lots of leftovers to eat, so she cooked up some stuffed pork chops and warmed up the leftover sausage and potatoes from the other day and we had a nice meal. We watched a little bit of television on their HD TV. I can see the use of high definition, but there is still not too much on tv.

We're supposed to go home tomorrow, so I should be up early packing stuff up. Ricky volunteered to go pick up Dee's parents in Louisiana, so he'll be gone the first thing in the morning.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday December 17, 2008

I got up this morning and had coffee with the guys in the rally hall. Stella had gotten up and taken Cassie for her morning walk, so that was already out of the way. We had a few things to pick up and put away this morning, so after this was done, we loaded up the few things that we were taking with us and left for home. Stella had some things to do in the doctor's office today, so we had decided to go home for the day. It is also Cameron's birthday, so we were taking him out tonight.

We got home without any incidents, but found that Stella's car wouldn't go into gear. We had found a transmission fluid leak last week when she had the oil changed, and it apparently had leaked out since then. She just took the truck to go to work. I stayed at the house while she was gone. I played on the computer and watched some television (napped) until about 4 o'clock when I took a shower and got ready to take Cam out. Stella came home and we gathered our stuff up and went to Texas City to get Cameron and Tyler.

He wanted to go to Gringo's restaurant for his birthday dinner, but when we got there, the parking lot was completely full with several cars parked across the street in the mall parking lot. We gave him the choice of where else to go and he chose Ryan's. We had a very enjoyable meal with the boys.

We went back to their house and watched Cam open his presents. He got a new game for their Wii, a radio for his room and a video game.

After going home to pick up Cassie, we made an easy trip back to the park, and arrived a little after 10. I stayed up until almost 11 o'clock tonight. I'm getting better at staying up, and slept until after 7. I guess I'm finally getting the hang of being retired and changing my sleep habits.

So long for now.....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday December 16, 2008

Today was a pretty slow day for us. It is cold again, with a light rain falling and making it miserable to be out in the weather. I am rapidly getting over this winter weather!

I got up this morning and had coffee with the guys in the rally, then came back and took the stairs and porch apart to take it back to Ken to have some modifications made to it. He is going to change the way the rails attach, from a slide in connection to a screw-in design. He said he will sand it down to check for any rust damage and then repaint it. He is doing all of this for me because I bought one of the first units so he is willing to update it for me.

The first thing I had to do was to go back to Soundjamz in Pearland to have my air horn repaired. When I got there, their installer was running late, but as soon as he showed up he began working on it. He found that a relay under the hood had shorted out, which may have caused the ignition problem last week. Rick, the owner of the store, said it is impossible for the installation that they did to have caused the problem, but when the horn was unplugged, the truck worked fine. He replaced the relay and put it in another location under the hood so no water will splash onto it. The installer also found that the switch on the air compressor was bad which caused it to pump constantly and the over pressure switch to open to relieve the air pressure. He replaced it at the same time, so we'll see how long this lasts.

I returned home and we just hung out until late in the afternoon when Ricky came over to check on us. We hadn't seen them for a coulple of days, so he just came to check on us. We decided to visit the new Ace Hardware store which was opening today. Ricky went and picked up Dee and came by and picked us up. We walked around the store for awhile and of course, Stella and Dee bought a couple of items. Susan and Tommy called to say they were going to James' Coney Island for their supper. We decided to go with them, so we all met there. We came back home and hung out here for the rest of the night.

Til next time......

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday December 15, 2008

I went down to the rally hall for coffee with the guys this morning. When I went down there, the temperature was in the upper 60's. I hadn't been there 20 minutes when the temperature stated to drop and by the time we left, the temp was in the 40's, quite a change in so short a time! A cold front had come through and the temp continued to drop for the rest of the day.

We were supposed to have packed up to leave today. I had planned to take the porch and steps back to Ken in Manvel to have some modifications hade to them and to have them cleaned up and painted and to take the truck back to Soundjamz in Pearland to have the air horn repaired. I was also planning to take the truck by Manvel Auto Care to have the brakes looked at while I was there. We decided that since the weather had turned so bad, we really didn't want to go home today, so Stella called the park and got permission for us to stay 'til the weekend. There is a rally coming in and we will have to leave by Sunday.

Bill didn't want to stay, so he packed up and took off by 10 o'clock. I was glad to have had some time to spend with Bill and we won't see him again until we go to Cut N Shoot in January.

Stella wanted to get her hair cut, so I took her to a hair place near the Kroger store. While she was there, I took the truck to Ripley's Car Care on Rayford Rd. where I got a price to get the rear brakes repaired. Mark, the manager, gave me a price which I thought was very reasonable, and told me to bring it in today if I wished. This is quite a difference from many repair shops, who require a wait to have repairs made. I went and picked up Stella at the hair shop. She went next door to an AT & T store where she bought a new cell phone. She has been complaining about her phone for a long time, so maybe this will satisfy her for awhile. I bought a new battery for my phone, since it won't hold a charge any more.

After getting her phone, I dropped her off at the trailer and went back to Ripley's to have the brakes repaired. the right brake rotor was completely pitted and actually had three places on it where it had been broken by the brake pads being worn out and "skipping" over the rotor and causing it to break. It was a good thing that I had gone in to have them repaired. They also found a rear axle seal that was leaking that they repaired, making the total bill $623, a far cry from the $1,200 that I had been quoted at Gay Pontiac for doing the brakes only.

I came back home to find that Rick and Brenda had come over. I had left my phone in the trailer to charge the new battery that I had bought, so I was not aware that they were here. We decided to go to the Sweet Tomato restaurant for supper. We all like this place and I believe I could eat there two or three times a week.

We returned home and I finished up these entries.

Sunday December 14, 2008

Stella fixed some pigs in a blanket for Bill and I to eat out on our picnic table today. Bill and I had just been sitting around drinking coffee and enjoying the day. Breakfast was very nice and Bill and I went in to (nap) watch the football game on TV.

Our friends Rick and Brenda came by to visit and while they were here, Tommy and Susan came in. They pulled in to their normal site in the premium site, so we just hung out with them for awhile. I came back to the trailer to watch the football game and promptly fell asleep in my recliner. When I woke up, Rick and Brenda had left, so I went outside to check on everyone else.

Ricky and Dee had come home. Ricky had taken his Dad from his home on Canyhon Lake down to his ranch in south Texas for a deer hunting weekend. Ricky had gotten sick almost as soon as he got there, so he didn't hunt but he said they had a good time there. He stopped along the way home and picked up some pork sausage that he wanted to fix for supper. Stella and Dee went to the grocery store and got some potatoes and corn to fix for supper.

I called Melissa to sing Happy Birthday to her, which is something I have done for all the kids since they were little. Melissa appreciated it, and we always have fun with it. It's hard to believe that my baby girl is 35 years old!

We went over to Ricky's trailer and ate supper, which was another good meal. Tommy had left before we started eating to decorate around their motorhome but Susan came back before we finished eating. She ate a little bit and fixed a plate for Tommy, so everyone ate well tonight. I went in about 8:30 to watch the Dallas football game. I must have gone to sleep as soon as I sat down, and woke up about 2:30. I went to bed but couldn't go back to sleep, so I got out of bed and came back in the living room and played on the computer. I had to find out who had won the football game! I wasn't in here long when I got cold and went back to bed. I slept until 7:15, when I jumped up and went down to the rally hall for coffee with the guys.

So long for now,

Saturday, December 13, 2008

We got up this morning and I went down to have coffee with the guys in the small rally hall. Before I got there, I saw that the lights were off and figured they had overslept or just didn't have coffee on Saturdays and went back to my trailer. I hadn't been back here 15 minutes when my phone rang and it was Bill asking me if we were going to eat the breakfast. I told him that we didn't kow about it and would be coming up there to have coffee with him and to eat. When I got there, Frank and Nancy had just started to cook the waffles but the coffee was ready. I had a cup while we waited for the waffles to be ready. Of course, they were worth the wait! Bill and I sat down there in the rally until Stella came in to eat. Just before we finished eating, Jim came over and asked us to come to a Christmas potluck that the snowbird residents of the park were having tonight. He said to be here at 6 o'clock.

Later, Bill, Stella and I went to Kroger to buy the food that we were going to bring to the potluck dinner. Stella made her potato casserole and Bill bought a coffee cake for dessert. We came back to the park and just hung out until time to go. We had a great time at the potluck and it was very nice of them to invite us, since we're not full-timers and certainly not snowbirds. They had a gift exchange after dinner that was moderated by Frank. He did the "stealing" of gifts different and allowed them to be stolen every round but limited the steals to 3 times per round. The most popular items in the exchange were some mini bottles of liquor in chocolate, a bottle of Maker's Mark whiskey and a glass thermometer. One of those three items were stolen just about every round, and everyone had a good laugh about them. We ended up with a box of Cee's lollipops that Stella got and an old 50-30 amp adapter that I won. It was all fun and I think everyone had a good time.

We didn't sit out tonight because it was so windy and chilly. We all went in about 9 o'clock and went to bed.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday December 12, 2008

I woke this morning wishing I had my truck back. Not only because I could do whatever I wanted, but that I had missed a night of sleeping in my trailer at Rayford. I was proud of myself for not calling Gay Pontiac to check on it, but when Stella went to work, about 9:30, I asked her to go by the dealership to see if it was inside being worked on. Sure enough, it was still in the same place it had been yesterday when it was brought in by the wrecker. I waited to call them until about 11 o'clock but was told that John, my service writer was out of the office and would call me back. He never did, so I called him about 1. He said they had just found the problem, which was a short in the ignition switch caused by the air horn wiring. He said they could fix the truck to start and stop again but without a schematic diagram they could not rewire the horn back in. I told him to check the rear brakes because it sounded like they were grinding. He said he would call me right back, but right back to him means at least two hours. He called me a little after 3 and said that the truck had been repaired but they weren't able to work on the brakes and have it finished today. Now, keep in mind that they had the truck all day yesterday and did nothing to it. Then he quoted me a price of $1,200 if they used aftermarket parts and $1,900 if they used GM parts, so I was glad they didn't have time to do the repair.

We went to get the truck, so I sent Stella on back home, believing the truck would be ready to go. Nope! The truck showed a battery problem with a large red light on the dash. I marched back inside and of course, John was gone again, so the other service writer went to find a meter to check the batteries. While he was trying to figure out how to hook up the two wires on the tester, John showed up and together they were able to hook the meter up but it showed a loose connection. They acted like they didn't know what to do now, so John went inside to get someone with some mechanical knowledge to help them out. A young man came out that knew what he was doing but he didn't have a wrench with him to tighten the battery cable with and went inside to get one. While he was gone, another man came up with a very small crescent wrench and he tightened the cable. Both batteries showed to be good, but the light was still on the dash. John just shrugged and said that maybe something in the dash had burned up too. He never offered to get the technician that had worked on the truck to come check it out, so I left. On the way home, I noticed that the amp gauge showed a discharge, so when I got home I checked and sure enough, the alternator had not been plugged back in. As soon as it was plugged back in, the light went out and the truck started showing a charge. I went in the house and called the dealership back to tell John what I had found. Of course, he was not available so I told Dwayne what I had found. I told him that I had just paid $201 and had to plug in my own alternator to make the light go out. I asked him why whoever had driven the truck out of the shop to park it in the parking area had not noticed the red light and asked a question about why it was on. He could not answer.

Car dealers bring on their own problem by overcharging using the excuse that you "get better service at your dealer". This experience will not bear that argument out. I feel that the arrogance of both dealers and the manufacturers are why the auto business is failing and although I feel sorry for the people that will lose their jobs when GM, Ford and Chrysler go under, they brought it on themselves. I'm sure that my Dad, a former Ford dealer himself, is turning over in his grave.

We drove up to Rayford without incident and met Bill there. We went out to eat at Pit Masters barbecue and came back to the park where I hooked up my water line and cable and came inside for the night.

Thursday December 11, 2008

I woke this morning with dread over the repairs to the truck. I called my buddy Barry who is the Parts and Service Director for Ron Carter in Texas City but when I told him about everything that happened last night he recommended taking it back to the GMC dealer, Gay Pontiac in Dickinson. Barry is the former shop foreman at Gay Pontiac so he is familiar with their service. I called Charlie who owns R & R Wrecker and is going to tow the truck and told him where to take it. I called Gay Pontiac and spoke with John about working on the truck. He said he would try to get it looked at today and would let me know what was wrong. As it worked out, he wasn't able to get a technician to look into my truck but promised to get to it tomorrow.

It sucks not having transportation! We were supposed to have gone back to Rayford today to meet Bill Sims who was coming over for a medical treatment in Houston. I had to call him and tell him what had happened and that we wouldn't be at the park today.

I did get my RV'ers Notebook software installed and set up. I had bought this softeware package after reading good reviews of it in a couple of RV forums. So far it has been easy but we'll see. I just hung out today and watched a little bit of television.

It sucks to not have transportation!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday December 10, 2008

Today was our travel day back to Rayford and then to our house in Dickinson. Stella needed to go to her office tomorrow, so we decided to just drive home after dropping the trailer off at Rayford.

When we woke up this morning we found about 1" of snow on the picnic table and on the truck. We knew that snow had been expected but it was not supposed to have been cold enough to make it stick, but we had the proof. We saw a lot of snow in the pastures and in sheltered areas all day long. It was quite cold too, probably in the upper 20's. When I started the truck, the thermometer showed 32 degrees and that was around 9 o'clock.

We didn't get away as early as we'd hoped to and hit Houston in the beginning of the rush hour traffic. We decided to come in on I-10 and by going that way we shaved an hour off our travel time. We didn't drive any faster than normal but maybe the cold wind hurried us along. We got into Rayford about 3:30 and it started snowing on us again. It had rained off and on from about Katy on, and because of the cold and snow, the only thing I connected outside was the electricity. We weren't staying anyway and I wanted to get on the road as soon as possible.

Along the way home, the snow turned back into rain which stayed with us all the way home. I guess the cold front had not completely caught up with us yet. We met Kim, Jeremy and the boys at Ryan's for supper. Of course, Tyler told me that I didn't have an excuse not to come over to their house now, so we had to go. When we got to their house, the weirdest thing happened! The truck, which we had been driving all day pulling the trailer and all, would not shut off when we got to Kim's house. It was weird because I even took the keys out, then tried everything I could think of to make the motor shut down but it wouldn't. I just locked the truck and came inside to get out of the snow, which had started again and was getting harder and harder. After staying for a short time, Jeremy came outside to see if he could think of anything to do when we got home, but we really didn't try real hard for fear that the truck wouldn't start again. We decided to just try to get on home with it when I found that it wouldn't go into gear but stayed locked in park. I found that if you turn the key back past the off position, the gauges on the dash would work but it still wouldn't go into gear. Then I turned the ignition key onto the run position, the truck would go into gear, but it had no power. Then I found that it would not go into reverse, so I knew there was something seriously wrong with the truck. Jeremy brought out his tool set and we found that by disconnecting both batteries and the alternator, we could make the motor stop by touching the battery cable to the terminal, apparently shorting out the ignition circuit. A diesel has no spark plugs or source of ignition, so something in this "shorting" method worked. We hooked everything back up and the truck started normally but again would not shut down. We used the same method to get it to shut down, and went back inside. Kim knows a man who owns a wrecker service. Charlie promised to have a tow truck at her house the first thing in the morning. I have an old friend that I recently ran into who is the Service Director for Ron Carter in Texas City. I will call him tomorrow to see about getting the truck fixed.

Jeremy took us home in the snowstorm. I've been telling everyone that we're going to have a bad winter this year after the storm hit. I guess a snow in December proves it!

Tuesday, December 9, 2009

Today was a do-nothing day for us. Stella took the dirty clothes down to the laundry and got them all cleaned up to take back and Cassie and I just laid around the trailer. I walked around the park a little bit to get some excercise and when Stella called, I went back and got her and the truck and we came back to the trailer. She and I took Cassie for a walk around the park and we returned and just hung out for the rest of the day.

Monday December 8, 2008

I got up pretty early and watched Ricky and Dee as they packed up to leave. Dee had to be back in Houston for work (ugh, that nasty word!) so they were leaving today. They had thought about leaving yesterday, but we had gone all day to see the Pearl Harbor day celebration in Fredericksburg and the lights in the area, so their trailer was ready to go. They pulled out around 9:30 with no problems.

Since we are in the area, I decided to go to New Braunfels to see Grandma Willie Mae, my step mother. We have not seen her for a long time, since my Dad died in 1997, so I thought it was time for a visit. We called her and told her that we would be there in the morning and then barely made it before noon, but we got there none the less. She looked very good and we had a nice visit. She had gone to Naeglin's Bakery and bought some rolls and a half of a strudel, a German pastry that was delicious. We also took care of some family business that has been hanging around since Daddy passed, and that was a good thing.

Grandma Willie Mae has a little chihuahua dog that Adam, her grandson gave her after her other dog died. The little dog barked and barked and she told me to be careful of him because he bites. I didn't get too close to find out, but I think he had learned to tolerate me before we left.

We returned to Boerne and stopped at the Walgreens and got some items there. Stella's refill required a visit to her doctor before it could be filled, so it will wait a few days until we get back into Dickinson.

I went ahead and picked up our outside chairs and the other items that had been put out over the weekend in preparation of leaving on Wednesday. We stayed in the rest of the night.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Boomer Rally, Sunday December 7, 2008

Today we woke to watch most of the other Boomers leaving. Again this is a new experience for us to be able to just sit around and watch everyone else leaving. More handshakes and hugs were given to me and best wishes in my retirement.

Ricky, Dee, Stella and I went over to Fredericksburg for the day. It turned out to be a wonderful day with great weather. Since this was our anniversary, Ricky bought our lunch in downtown Fredericksburg. We had seen the large turnout at the Chester Nimitz Museum commemorating the Pearl Harbor anniversary which was also being observed today. Soon after finishing our lunch, we saw an awesome flyover by four F-14 fighters which was followed by flyovers by other WW II aircraft. I am not enough of a historian of these flying warships but I recognized several models. I did a little research on and found some of the models that we saw:
F4F Wildcat
F4U Corsair
P-36 / Hawk 75
P-38 Lightning
P-51 Mustang
P-47 Thunderbolt
P-63 Kingcobra
B-17 Flying Fortress

I am sure that there were many more models seen, but these were the only ones that I could positively identify.

We walked around the shops in Fredericksburg until we were all tired and left to go over some of the other Hill Country cities to see their Christmas lights. First we went to Dripping Springs to the New Canaan Farms where we sampled and bought some of their jams, jellies and salsa. We drove up to Marble Falls where we saw their great display of lights. They use a large area down by the lake in the middle of the city and have millions of lights on display. I'm sorry to say that I didn't bring my camera but did take a few shots with my camera phone but the quality is not that good. Maybe Dee will send me some of her's that I can add here.

We then went to Johnson City where we saw a large display at their electric company. Standing under this display was just like being outside in daylight. We also stopped in Blanco but their light display was not nearly as large and extensive as the other city's.

We ended up driving about 220 miles today. At least diesel fuel prices have come way down! We got home to our trailers about 9 o'clock, tired but very satisfied with good friends, good food and great lights on display. It was a fitting end to the weekend.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Boomer Rally, Saturday December 6, 2008

Friday December 5th is the first day of the Texas Boomers Christmas rally. Of course we came in early by one day so we could be here watching most of the others arriving. It was very nice to be able to do that for a change, especially since its in Boerne. We wouldn't have been able to do this if we were still working regular jobs unless we took a vacation day.

Stella asked me to set up the front porch this morning so I went out and began putting it together. Ted came by and helped me get it set so it cut my erection time a little bit. It usually only takes me about 15 minutes to get it done.

We just sat around watching as the others came in and got set up. David Shodrock came by and invited us to come by later in the afternoon for some tortilla soup but we had already made plans to go downtown for the night Christmas shopping in the downtown area. We rode with Ricky and Dee with Harry and Judy following in their truck. We met up with Jerry and Diane who are from Canada and visiting at Rayford. They came to the Boomer rally at Ricky and Dee's invitation.

Harry told us about his bad luck last week while getting ready for Thanksgiving. On Tuesday he noticed a small amount of water under his truck, so when he got home he saw more water that turned out to be coming from his water pump. His neighbor asked him if he would like for him to change it out for him, and he agreed. It was a much cheaper fix for the truck. Then as they got ready to go on Wednesday morning, one of the trailer legs broke so they were not able to make it to Rayford for Thanksgiving.

We ate at the Hungry Horse cafe again. I had an enormous bowl of Frito pie and a slice of apple/cranberry pie. It was delicious, just like last night's meal there. After walking around the downtown area for awhile in the cold, we returned to the park. We sat around in Ricky's trailer having a drink until the party at the rally hall was ready. Sandy had arranged for a "mini" retirement party for me. It was very nice and they furnished a delicious retirement cake that Sandy brought. After the party ended we went out to sit with Don at his "far" for a little while before turning in about 10:30.

It was a very nice day and I am very blessed to have such good friends.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Boomer Rally

Although I haven't posted anything since retiring, don't be misled, I haven't stopped writing, I've just been enjoying my first days of being retired. We laid around at Rayford for almost two weeks before coming to Boerne for the Boomer's Christmas rally.

We didn't get away as early as we wanted to but finally pulled out at 10 o'clock. We met up with Ted and Donna at the Magnolia high school, where they had pulled over to wait for us. It was a very uneventful trip with only one stop at the nice rest area at Columbus. We agreed there to turn off at Hwy. 46 to go around through New Braunfels to get to Boerne and arrived about 3 o'clock. I immediately found the 50 amp plug on my pedestal was burned up. I reported it to the office so they sent their repair man who changed it out for me. I learned that another Boomer, Harry Nevedomski, had the same problem, and when Dutch and Sandy Dinwiddie arrived their 50 amp plug was burned too. They had already changed out Harry's plug and Dutch only needed a 30 amp, so he was good to go.

We went out to eat at the Hungry Horse cafe. The food was very good, homestyle food with plenty on the plate. The downtown area seems to close up at dark, but they were nice enough to direct us to the Hungry Horse, a great choice if you're ever in Boerne.

Boerne is a very old town, originally settled by Germans. One of our old friends, Patti Kerlin, moved here from Wimberly after Tommy passed away. She told Donna that she lives in a new house that was painted to look old. I'm sure we'll see her house before we leave.

Since we didn't think to check into signing up for Internet service when we checked in, I did that this morning. At $3.00 a day, this could get expensive if we ever decided to stay at this park (doubtful) again. I also checked into the burn ban that is on for the county. The nice lady in the office told me that as long as I had a cover for the firepit, it should be fine. I hope that is the case because there are several that are expecting to have a fire this weekend.

Stella slept in this morning until almost 9 o'clock. I got up early as usual, and went out to take a walk up to the office. It's gonna be another beautiful day but cold all day.

So long for now.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Last day in Manvel

Today was my last day on the job that I've had for most of my life. I went in early to drink coffee with my friends at the Chevron. Some of them got together and bought me another cake complete with balloons, which was a total surprise. I wondered why Slick Atchison was hanging around. He must have had something to do with this. He retired from HPD and Brazoria County as an Investigator.

Another one of my friends, Alton Rogers, came in for the first time in a week because of his knee. He said that his knee locked up and his wife took him to the doctor but he found out that he only has some inflammation and swelling so no knee replacement is necessary. He was prescribed Hydrocodone, so I told him to hold onto them and we could sell them for some good money. We are both living on fixed incomes. Alton retired from the city of Houston as a health inspector. He then went to work for Brazoria County and retired a second time.

I went on into the office but Mike asked me to go on a code enforcement call with him. It turned out to be a good thing that I did because the call was on a group of roofing contractors that tried to give him a hard time. There was about 7 trucks in the yard of a house with two travel trailers in the yard, which is illegal. These guys are in for hurricane repairs and rented a house, paying $1,600 a month. They had rutted up the yard and tried to tell Mike that the owner knew about what was going on and had approved it. He called the real estate agent who was handling the property and told her, and I'm sure these guys will be looking for a new place to live soon.

I went into the office and asked Ethan about my identification card. He has a special program to make ID cards but was having trouble with mine. First it wouldn 't print in color then it wouldn't print the right dates. He was getting frustrated when it decided to work, so I got my new ID card with retired in red.....It sure made me feel funny to think that I am finally retired.

I went in and talked to the Chief. I also presented him with my memo about my on-call time. It is a city policy that anyone that is routinely on call shall be paid two hours of regular time for any days in which he/she is not called out and paid for it. The Chief never denied that I was owed the money, he only said that it was going to "leave a bad taste in the city's mouth". I didn't have much to say, and hope we can work this out without a lawsuit.

After leaving his office, Stella came to pick me up since I don't have my Expedition any more, and we met Kristine, Mike and later Adam for lunch at Emily's. We finally got away about 1 o'clock and went on home to bring the trailer to Rayford.

After loading stuff up, we got away about 4 o'clock. It was a non-eventful trip up the beltway and we got to the park about 5:30. Ricky had fixed some chili and picked up some tamales at HEB, so supper was fixed for us. Dee is getting over her foot operation, so she is laid up for awhile. It was a very good supper with good friends. We came home about 9:30.

My very first night of being retired.

The Adventure Begins

And the adventure begins……

Today was my last day to work a full day and the day of my retirement party. I must say that I didn’t really know what to expect at the party but it turned out very well. Dedra is on vacation, so I guess I shouldn’t be disappointed that she didn’t make it. Everyone from City hall was there, even Isaac from Public Works. The Chief made a small presentation of a plaque that was very nice that listed out my law enforcement jobs and the years that I worked there. It totals 34 years, which is a pretty good career. The Santa Fe PD Chief of Police, Barry Cook came over. Barry has always been a good friend and of course we worked together in Dickinson back in the early days of the police department there. Barry had left Santa Fe to come to Dickinson, but soon went back and then made Chief of Police. Judge Culling, the Municipal court judge in Manvel came over, as did JP2-1 Justice Court Judge John Vasut. I was glad that these two men came as they have both been good to me in Manvel. Judge Vasut is a former Detective from the Angleton Police Department

As I said before, the city bought me a plaque and the Police Association gave me a silly retirement hat and a gift certificate for Camping World for $100.00. That was very nice of them. David Davila, a former officer in Manvel gave me a very nice pocket knife and another nice retirement card.

Before the party started, I finished up some reports that had some minor problems and took care of some evidence that I had found in my desk drawer. There were some video tapes of the counting of the money that was recovered in the 2nd bank robbery and another video of the return of the money and the counting of all that cash. It wasn’t as though I had actual evidence in my desk, it was video tapes of some events that were taken by others and then given to me to take care of. I got ‘er dun today and dropped them into the evidence storage where they will be filed with the rest of the evidence.

I went by the First State bank to see their employees before I left, including Ron Brazil the branch manager. Ron was out today, running errands for the bank, but I did get to talk to Sandra who was a former teller at the 1st National Bank and who had been robbed in the first robbery there. She was shocked to hear that I am retiring, but I think they are all glad for me. I met the new personal banker there, a girl named Angela who used to work for Amegy bank and who had worked with Stella there. She remembered “Stella the stalker” as being a hard auditor. She complimented Stella on being such a stickler for details in her audits and said that she learned (the hard way) how a good exam was supposed to have been done. She said that the new bank’s people were not nearly as thorough as Stella had been and didn’t know nearly as much as she did, so the bank was the one that suffered when Stella left.

We went out to eat at the Red Lobster in Webster for Tyler’s birthday, which will be on Saturday. We are leaving tomorrow for Rayford where we will stay for almost two weeks through Thanksgiving and will leave on Thursday December 4th for Boerne and the Boomer’s Christmas rally there. I think it would be nice to stay in the Hill country for a couple of days to look at the pretty Christmas lights, but we’ll see how that goes.

I cleaned out my office yesterday and today I took the rest of my stuff home. The office looks so bare without my certificates and awards hanging on the wall. I also brought in all my uniforms and gear as well as my duty gun and holster. Tomorrow, all I have to do is bring in my other gun, badge and identification cards, credit cards and my Expedition which I will turn in. I plan to go to lunch with Kristine Schaffner, Mike Jaimes and Greg Bartlett who were all good friends to me during my stay in Manvel. Stella said she may come have lunch with us and then we leave to go home and get the trailer to go to Rayford, and THE ADVENTURE BEGINS!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thursday-Wednesday November 13-19th

There was not much to report on these days. I kept plugging away at old cases and getting my office cleaned up so whoever takes it over won't have the big pile of papers that I accumulated over the last couple of years.

I took statements on a couple of sexual assaults so that I can interview the bad guys next week as my last big cases. I went to the 1st National Bank and closed my account and said goodbye to the employees there. I have come to be on a first name basis with the ones that have been through the robberies. It's kind of ironic that there have been so many big cases like the bank robberies and a large theft from the bank that I have worked on and cleared. I am proud of the fact that we caught the two guys in the second robbery and then I was able to make a case on a third suspect and identified another suspect that I was unable to get the necessary evidence on to be able to arrest him. All three of the suspects have plead out to penitentiery time ranging from 10 years to 18 years. I have managed to put 8 people in the pen since being back in Manvel.

Saturday was spent relaxing. We went out to eat on Saturday night with Harry and Judy Hartley at the old Terrace Drive In in Texas City which is now a mexican restaurant. It was good to see our old friends and spend time with them. We made some plans about the upcoming Boomer rally in Boerne to leave from Rayford and drive up to Boerne together. We will likely hook up with Ted and Donna also to make the trip. We went over to Kim and Jeremy's house after eating and watched the boys on the WII. They both set up their profiles for the excercise program. We got home about ten o'clock which is pretty late for me to be up.

Sunday I woke up early as usual but when I went in to watch my tV shows, I found that they weren't available. Since the storm we haven't been able to get channels 20-60 consistently. Sometimes they show to not be available but other times they work fine. I started watching the Houston Texans getting beat before we went back over to Kim's house to spend time with the boys. I played a game of chess with Tyler and as usual, he beat me. It's been a long time since I've played, so I was very rusty. I think they are coming up to Rayford for Thanksgiving and we talked about that.

Monday started my last full week to work. It's exciting to think that I've worked all my life looking toward retirement and now it's here! WOW....
I've never really been without a job for any length of time, so it will be weird to think that I don't have to get up and go into the office or be on call. I'm sure I'll get used to it. I took the last of the statements on one of the sexual assaults, so now I just have to contact the suspect and interview him. I also learned today that the City and Police Dept. is going to have a retirement party for me on Thursday afternoon. I told the Chief that I had already sent out notices to many of my law enforcement friends and he forwarded the invitation to them too. I also found out who my replacement will be, Dennis "Duke" Adkisson. Duke is a 27 year veteran of the Alvin Police Dept. and should be an asset to the PD.

Tuesday I started cleaning ut my office. I took much of my "stuff" home and about the only big things that are left are my plaques and photos on the wall of my office. I spoke with Suzanne Birdwell, the forensic artist for the Texas Rangers, stationed in Austin. She and I have been working on the cold cases here in Manvel, especially the Princess Blue case. This was the recovery of skeletal remains in 1990 that has remained unsolved to this day. I am very sorry that I wasn't able to at least get this girl identified. I would have been satisfied to have been able to get her returned to her family for closure of the missing loved one, but it just didn't work out. It has been an honor to have worked with the legendary Rangers on these cases and I will never forget my time here.

Wednesday I had an appointment with the suspect in one of the sexual assaults to take his statement, but he wouldn't answer his door. It turns out that he lives in Dickinson, not far from my house. I wasn't surprised when he wouldn't talk to me about the case but its still frustrating. I will refer the case to the DA's office for a Grand Jury investigation. I went to lunch with BCSO Investigator Richard Rosser, who I had also worked the cold case with. It was good to see him again and to talk over old times. I plan to take down my wall decorations today and will bring in all my gear tomorrow so that all that will be squared away before the big day on Friday. Tomorrow is my big party.....

So long for now,

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

November 10-12th Monday-Wednesday

This begins my next-to-last week to work, so it's an exciting time for me. I have a couple of cases that I need to work on, and began on Monday. I took some statements on Monday, and did the reports. Tuesday I was scheduled to meet with one of the suspects, who has already retained a lawyer, but in the morning, I got to feeling very bad and went home with a sick headache. I called and cancelled the meeting with the lawyer.

I felt a little better in the afternoon and managed to take the trailer to Due's Camping Center to have the Dometic recall repair made. It was very easy, just pull into the lot and left the truck and trailer. The tech came out and worked on it in the lot while we browsed inside the store. Believe it or not, we didn't buy anything!

We did have a little bit of a different experience when hitching up. The teflon ring that is used for lubrication between the hitch and kingpin has always fallen off. Today I put it in place but somehow when the kingpin slid into the hitch, the ring got smashed and kept the hitch from closing. After a few tries of getting hitched up, I discovered the problem and threw the old teflon ring away and the hitch slid right into place. We probably should have bought one while we were at Dues, but we'll get one somewhere.

Wednesday I went to my last Forgery Roundtable meeting at the Tele Chek plaza on Westheimer in Houston. The Tele Chek director of security announced to everyone there that I am retiring next week. There was a Pasadena PD Sgt. there who is also retiring soon. He is much younger (50) than I am and said he will try to get another job but didn't say where he may try to go. There were some representatives there from the Attorney General's office who said they have openings for investigators but it would mean driving all the way to Hwy. 290 and Mangum which is a long way from Dickinson.

I had spoken with a guy who said he is an investor interested in buying houses about looking at our house. I spoke with him again this afternoon and he finally admitted that he will not pay more than 60% of retail for an investment house, which means he wants to steal it or buy only houses in distress or in danger of foreclosure. I finally told him thanks for your time but I don't think we can afford to give the house away. Stella spent two days sprucing the house up to show it to him too.....

So long for now,

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Saturday and Sunday, November 8 & 9

This has been a very pleasant weekend. We stayed at home all day Saturday. Stella fixed us a good breakfast of fried eggs and bacon with toast and a supper of leftover bbq chicken. Stella cleaned out some old mail that will be destroyed and I just watched some TV and surfed the net all day long.

Sunday morning she fixed us some biscuits and gravy for breakfast while I watched my car shows on TV. I called Emile and Rose and we met them at the Salt Grass restaurant in Sugarland for a late afternoon meal. It was good to see them again and especially since we'll be leaving as soon as the house sells.

After leaving Sugarland, we went to Texas City where I filled the truck. It's so nice not to have to spend $100 every time we fill the truck. Diesel prices are much lower now, we paid $2.88 per gallon. I roughly figured my mileage at 16 or so mpg. Not too bad since some of that is pulling the trailer.

I talked to Bill Sims on the phone and invited him to the Texas Boomer Christmas party in Boerne. We have signed up and will likely travel to Boerne with Ted and Donna and Harry and Judy. We're thinking that we'll stay at Rayford after Thanksgiving for four days and leave from there for Boerne on Thursday December 4th.

So long for now.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Latest Developments

I have decided to skip ahead a few days and catch up. No one really cares that I went back to work for a week. I had gone back to Rayford where Stella was with the trailer on Sunday night. Rick and Brenda were off on Monday and wanted to get together. We all decided to ride over to Camping World in Katy. They wanted to look for a new motorhome and we wanted to look again at the Bighorn 3370 that Joe French was trying to sell us. He came up with a much lower price, which he negotiated through his corporate office and with participatation from Heartland.

While driving over, Chief Garcia called me on my cell phone, asking about a particular video tape that I couldn't find. He made me come into the office to find the tape and copy it for the DA's office. I told him where the tape could be found, but he made me come in to copy it because the Capt. was off sick. I went in and found the tape exactly where I had told him it was and verified the tape was not the correct one and told him. We wasted about an hour and a half with no good results. We went over to CW and looked and really liked the trailer but had to call Joe back and tell him that I would have had to retire earlier than I wanted to in order to buy the trailer. We don't want a note, so I was going to make a one-time withdrawal of funds from my pension, but would have to retire at the same time. Since I had told Manvel that I would stay until August, we decided to let the trailer go. Stella said that she wanted me to go on and retire, but I had given my word and was going to try to do it.

Rick and Brenda had also found a motorhome that they liked very much, but they, like us, did not want that much of a payment so they passed also.

After spending all day long at CW, we decided to stay all day Tuesday and leave for home on Wednesday which we did. Rick and Dee and Tommy and Susan had decided to fix spaghetti and meatballs on Tuesday night, so it was a very nice night sitting around with good friends after eating a wonderful meal.

We got up Wednesday morning and packed up everything and drove home. Actually we did well, having everything done and leaving by 10:30. We got home just before noon and I had plenty of time to shower and dress for work. This was to be my last full week on patrol before returning to investigations on Monday.

I went into the office and immediately found my laptop missing. Knowing there was going to be trouble over the missing tape, I looked at my door to make sure my name was still on the office, which it was, and went into dispatch to talk to Dedra. After talking with her, I went looking for Captain Bell and my missing computer. I found him in the IT office where the video tape storage cabinet is. He immediately began yelling at me about the tape, and showed me where it had been found. I knew immediately how I had made my mistake but he kept on yelling and screaming at me. I asked him to stop screaming at me but he continued and actually made a threatening move toward me. When I heard enough, I took out my identification card and threw it on the desk. Then he began yelling for me to turn in everything, my badge, gun everything! I went into my office and took off my gunbelt to remove the holster and he followed me in to keep yelling at me. I asked if I could drive home in the Expedition to get the rest of my gear, but he said "hell no, it's not yours any more", so I called Stella to come pick me up. While waiting for her, I prepared a one sentence resignation/retirement letter and went into the Chief's office to give it to him. He told me to go home and think about it before making a hasty decision. I told him that I was not going to be talked to like that. Stella came and got me and we drove home with me shaking with anger and frustration. I could not believe that I had been treated like this by a supervisor and someone who totally lost control of his emotions.

When we got home, I took off my uniform and we went to vote. I found it kind of odd that the early voting location had been changed to the Community Center at 27th and hwy. 3 which is squarely in the middle of the Moore's addition in Dickinson.

Stella and I talked my situation over and decided to go ahead and retire now. Since it is obvious that I was being forced into doing something that while I was not prepared to do now, it was the best thing for all if I did it. I typed up the letter and the next day went in and told the Chief of my decision to retire on November 23rd. He just simply took the letter, dated it and put it into my file in one of his desk drawers. This just backed up what I had known all along, that he and Capt. Bell were ready for me to leave. I had made a serious error in judgement by telling them of my retirement plans so early. When I did that, I signed my walking papers with the Manvel Police Dept.

I agreed to work my last day on patrol in uniform on Friday October 31st (Halloween night) and worked the rest of the weekend in BDU's and my pullover shirt.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sunday October 19, 2008

The final day of the Heartland rally. We got up and watched lots of our friends as they packed up and left. There were four or five of us that didn't have to leave, and then we got to sit around and watch all the expensive Prevost rigs pulling in and setting up. They were a sight to see! Most of them are very pretty but a few don't have any slides and I don't see the need to have a big expensive rig like that without a slide to give more room.

One of them actually had the prettiest graphics on the outside, but was way too gaudy on the inside. They left the blind open and you could see the mirrors and rope lights inside. It looked to me like something that should have had a red light out front. If you know what I mean.

We later got to go inside some of the display models. I'll say one thing, they are very plush inside. You sink down into the carpets and the leathers are some of the softest hides I've ever sat down on. I still can't see a million plus dollars for one though. I guess I'm destined to be trailer trash.....

Talk to ya later,

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Saturday October 18th

This is the middle day of the Heartland rally. Joe French (Camping World) had agreed to buy everyone's breakfast that was prepared and served by the park. It turned out to be a great time for visiting and just sitting around talking with our extended "family" of Heartland owners.

Camping World had also sent one of their service techs named Dean, to perform any needed service work for anyone at the rally. He didn't have a lot of parts with him, and said that if someone had something that needed an adjustment or something repaired that wouldn't take long to fix, he could take care of it. This is another reason that I love my Heartland trailer. Dean started making a list at the breakfast and started to work around 9.

Jim Beletti had also hooked us up with EVDOAlex, Alex Sains of the 3G to come talk to us about mobile Internet solutions. This is a young man that really knows his business! He brought in three portable routers, one for each of the major providers, AT & T, Sprint, and Verizon. Anyone that wished to bring in their laptop could try out any one of the three for speed. He also explained about the limits placed by the providers for data and how it is actually working with users in other areas. He also explained about using a cell phone tethered to a router for internet. This is another solution, so each of us should make up our own mind about which plan to choose.

Alex also brought three antennas for use in picking up an internet signal. The first was a desktop unit that would be good in a park, where you are some distance from the internet source with few trees or other "line of sight" blocks; the second was a magnetized base unit used outside that will give increased reception when there are line of sight issues; and the third was a much larger outside antenna that gives a much longer distance reception area. I suppose there are applications for each one, but it can get confusing!

Alex was a great teacher for all of us, and he really knows his business, so our thanks go to Jim for setting it up and to Alex for driving down to put the session together. I guess its a sign of the times that Alex works for the 3G store which is in Cary Illinois, but he actually lives in Dallas. Wow, what a commute to work!

Alex stayed around all afternoon, talking to folks, selling a lot of merchandise and actually walking around looking at the rigs and making suggestions. We invited him and his wife to stay for our potluck dinner, which he did. I even saw him delivering some items to someone that had decided to buy after the supper. I told him that his boss should buy him a coach or trailer and put him on the road, going from rally to rally, show to show!

The potluck dinner went very well, with plenty of great food. Joe had brought some gift bags and lots of items for door prizes, which were given away before supper. I had gotten some free Streak-X cleaner as well as roof sealant which I gave out in the afternoon. Everyone seemd to appreciate the gifts.

This turned out to be a great ending for our last night together at the rally. We had a very tiring but great again and will be looking forward to the spring rally, April 3-5th, 2009.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Friday October 17th

The first official day of the Heartland rally has finally begun. Again, I went outside and hung out with several of the guys, drinking coffee and visiting. Stella made pigs in a blanket for us, Bill and Ornell, Ricky Cobb and a few others that had hung out with us. Everyone made it in except for Harry and Nikki Diamond who had to back out at the last minute. There was another couple who had to cancel that had called the park to make a reservation but had not contacted me. I don't know who they were, but they missed a great rally!

The new arrivals today started before noon, and continued into the late evening. Ricky had agreed to fix the hot dogs on his big grill, so he and I along with Bill Sims went to his trailer and cooked the dogs. The hot dog supper went very well and I think everyone was happy with it.

Joe French had arrived with the keys to the Pinehurst that had been delivered yesterday. He had already let several folks look at the trailer. Ray Robinson, the Heartland rep for this area also arrived on Friday evening. There had been a mix-up in his registration and no cabin had been reserved in his name. Luckily, I had originally called the park and they had saved one for him, although it was in my name.

After supper was over, we decided to have a roundtable discussion about any issues for out trailers. TxBobcat (Bob Curry) was very vocal about the recent suspension problems he experienced. He broke a spring which got into the tire almost causing a blowout. He called Heartland as well as Lippert and they agreed to get it fixed for him. He elected to upgrade to 7000 pound axles and agreed to pay for overnight shipping charges. He paid about $1,000 for the shipping which I would not have done, but he wanted to get on down the road and paid the bill. I believe that Lippert also reimbursed him for the cost of his tires too, so his suspension has been upgraded and it only cost him $1,000. Thats still a good deal.

Ray got beat up pretty badly but he took the points that had been made and said he will contact the factory about it. We were in the rally hall talking until after 10, when everyone went back to their rigs and went to bed.

Thursday October 16th

I woke up pretty early this morning in time to watch aJAG rerun on TV. I went outside and had some coffee with several friends. It was nice to just sit around and visit. I can't wait for retirement!

Several more in the Heartland rally arrived today. It was good to finally meet some of them and be able to put a face to their names on the forum. I spoke with Joe French again today about him bringing a Landmark Pinehurst to the rally. It looks as though he will be able to bring a service tech too to perform minor service work for anyone at the rally.

Stella had bought food for her soup/goulash tonight. She spent a lot of time cutting stuff up and preparing the meal. At some point in the afternoon, her brand new crock pot lid got broken while doing the meal prep.
The meal was a huge success and was enjoyed by all.

Bill Sims had brought a lot of firewood to the rally but it never got cool enough for a fire. I was really tired at the end of the day, but we didn't even take advantage of the hot tub and went to bed around 10 o'clock.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Monday-Wednesday October 13-15th

There is one thing I like about the new shift, its the days off that string together. I was off Saturday and Sunday on the old shift and am off today and tomorrow on my new evening shift.

We brought the trailer up to Rayford today but got there about 11:30. The people in our site #52, had not moved out and didn't really show any signs of getting moving. I went to the office about ten 'til to make sure that they hadn't decided to stay longer, but Michelle called them and told me they would be out soon. Sure enough, they left about 12:30.

Our old friends JD and CJ Wigley were there as well as Tom and Judy Atkinson, and Bob and Pat Curry. It was good to see them again and we had a nice visit before the folks left. We got set up with no problem and just hung out for the afternoon.

Rick and Brenda Taube had called and said they wanted to get together this afternoon for an early supper. They were off work today and had gone to a show with Ted and Donna. We invited the Wigleys to go with us and met them at Luby's cafeteria. It was a very nice meal, but Stella got something that didn't agree with her and she was sick all day on Tuesday. We returned to the park and hung out with our friends until bedtime.

As I said before, Stella was feeling bad all day Tuesday, so I just hung around and visited all day. It was really nice and several others arrived Tuesday. Not too much to report for Tuesday because we didn't do much of anything all day. I did start washing the trailer and got the back side done.

Wednesday we slept in a little but got up and made our coffee and some pigs in a blanket for breakfast. Stella was still feeling bad so we didn't do much in the morning. We went to Sam's club and to the grocery store to stock up for the weekend. I asked her to make her goulash for tomorrow night so she bought all the ingredients for it as well as the hot dog fixin's for Friday night. We ended up going to Hooters with Ricky and Dee for our supper.

We're getting ready for the big Heartland rally that will start on Friday!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Trip to Galveston to see damage

Yesterday we went to Galveston to look at the damage to the island. In some ways, it is what I expected but then when you look around, the older houses withstood the storm and had very little in the way of major damage done to them.

Before ever getting onto the island, we saw boats, trash and debris piled all along the side of the highway leading onto Galveston. It was amazing to see, especially since its been a month tomorrow since the storm hit. All of the car lots on the west Broadway look as if they are closed, with no inventory. We don't know if it was all lost in the storm, or if they removed the cars before it hit.

We started on the beachfront at 61st St. The fishing pier is completely gone now, which I guess should be expected. There is still lots of debris along the seawall and most of the businesses are still closed. It is my understanding that utilities have been restored but the stores remain closed. Of course, this is mostly small locally owned stores abnd restaurants. The large chain stores, Kroger, Academy etc. are open for business but the Randalls store on 61st St. was closed. Hmmmm.

For those familiar with Galveston, Gaido's restaurant had a sign out front that they will be open soon and are hiring. Fish Tales, another landmark on the seawall is closed. Everything on the beachfront was severely damaged and I was surprised to see as many restaurants as we did that were open. There are still huge piles of sand and debris all along Seawall Blvd. and it will likely stay there for some time.

The next landmark that we saw was the Flagship hotel. It seems to me that there was so much damage done to the pier that it may not reopen. There is a huge hold in the front of the building and there is no way to drive onto the pier. The main entrance driveway is gone and there is a large hole in the side entrance driveway. There was a large sheet of metal that may have been used to cover the hole. We saw a couple of cars parked on the pier, but they may belong to someone that stayed there for the storm.

The large Murdock's pier and the old bathhouse are completely gone! There is only a frame of one of the stores, and the entire framework is racked and leans to the left. Of course, the old Balinese Room is completely gone. There is nothing left but the concrete bases for the pilings that are down in the water. It's a shame that so much history has been destroyed and cannot be replaced. I'm sure that the State of Texas would not allow anything to be rebuilt over the water. It brought back many memories for me to see the old places on the beach that are now destroyed.

The Galvez Hotel only seemeed to have suffered damage to the roof, although they probably got a lot of water in the first floor and possibly the second floor as well. We didn't go into the driveway to check.

One odd thing that I noticed was how high the sand was now on the beach between 17th St. and Stewart Beach. The sand is almost up to the seawall in places and I guess the water pushed the sand onto the beach and then a lot of it blew over the seawall onto the blvd.

The old Bamboo Hut and the other houses and businesses on the sane are destroyed. The ramp down onto the sand at the end of Broadway was blocked off, so we couldn't go down onto the beach. The old Putt-Putt golf course is covered in sand and everything was destroyed. I told Stella about my friend Steve Norton's father being the manager of the course and how much miniature golf we played in high school. We were co-holders of the course record for a long time.

We then went to check on the houses where my family lived in Galveston. All of them came thought with little visible damage. I know the house on Ave. O 1/2 is almost 100 years old and it didn't seem to have any damage at all. Even the old garage apartment where I moved to was not damaged, but they've added onto it and its much larger than it was when I lived there. I checked MeMa and Grandaddy's house on Ave. T and Janie's old house behind our house and no damage was seen on either one.

Another striking thing that we saw was all of the debris that was piled up on Broadway near the new courthouse. The debris pile is probably 30 feet high and covers at least three city blocks. Down in several of the neighborhoods and all along Broadway there are still huge amounts of trash and debris to be removed, so the job will last several months longer, possibly years.

It's very sad for me as a born on the islander. There is no telling how long it will take Galveston to recover, if it ever does.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Week of Sept. 28-Oct. 5th

Well, things around here are almost back to normal. the cable came back on Sunday and when I got home from PA I tried the Internet and it came back on too. I finally got to use my new laptop on the Internet at home. It's really nice and I'm glad to have bought it. It's going to be good for us on the road too.

Jeremy was not able to salvage anything off the hard drive off the old computer, but the only thing I had on it was some photos from our trip to Tyler. I'm sorry to have lost them, but if that's the worst thing that happens we'll be all right. Stella had some documents on there but again they're not all that important.

I picked the boys up from the karate school on Monday and Wednesday to help me with the yard. It went very well with the three of us working. we got a lot done and lots of debris moved up to the front yard to be picked up. We got the old refrigerator and freezer out of the garage which freed up a lot of space there. It was a good thing we got it out when we did because they came by and picked all of it up the very next day.

Not too much else to report from work except it still SUCKS!! Capt. Bell told me on Thursday that my shift will change to evening shift patrol on October 14th. I got mad about it and left without saying too much to him at the time, but got home and thought about it some more. I went in Friday and talked to him about it and told him about the big rally coming up on October 17th-19th and that I had planned to take off on Thursday and Friday. He told me he can give me those four days off (comp time) but my shift will still change. We had a long discussion of our different views about shift assignments but nothing has changed. At this rate, I won't make it until August to retire. In fact, I may not make Thanksgiving. I'm going to have to give this some serious thought before I stay on patrol.

We went to Center on Saturday for Aunt Frat's 90th birthday party. I saw a lot of relatives that I don't see too often. Barbara Fisher told me that Bill really appreciated our coming to see him in the hospital before he passed away. It made me feel good to hear that.

Another week gone by,

week of Sept. 21-27th

Another week of no power, cold showers and miserable nights with little sleep. I didn't sleep very well all week because it was so hot and steamy inside the house, but I guess I'm getting used to the cold showers and cold water shaving. It's not as hard as it was to get into the shower and I do feel better after a shower, but its not the same without hot water. I have a routine of where I leave my flashlights so I can find them in the dark. I have one flashlight that has a tripod base that I can use to light up the bathroom while I shower and shave and two small lights to find my way around the house.

Every morning, I arrived for work very early because I am afraid to go back to sleep. I got in a couple of mornings at 3 o'clock, but used the time to catch up on Internet news and checking my usual websites for messages. I also was able to check my G-Mail account to reply to any emails that I had gotten. I try not to check on personal Internet business on company time. Adam couldn't believe I was there that early but understood why I got up and came in. What else can you do when you have no power, can't make coffee, read watch tv or surf the net?

I kept in touch with Stella by phone all week long. It's hard to be apart this long like this. Of course, I tried to keep in touch with all of my friends who were concerned about me by phone but it was hard to carry on good conversations because I am at work. It was good to talk to everyone and i was very thankful for all the friends I have. I spent a lot of time this week with my neighbors who also didn't have power. Susan Froebel, whose husband Mark used to work for the light company, said that he probably could have fixed the problem if were allowed to, but since he no longer works for the company, he can't touch anything. They were staying in their travel trailer in the driveway like William and Louisa Stevens were doing. They both had generators, so they had a/c and heated water. I could have gone to Port Arthur and picked up Stella and the trailer and then borrowed Jeremy's generator, but that would have been more trouble and expensive than leaving her in PA with Bill and Ornell.

At least work wasn't too bad this week. Everyone is pretty well behaved, still in shock over the storm. I took a report of a theft by an employee of a company in Manvel and got an arrest warrant for him but so far he hasn't been located and arrested by the Alvin Police Dept. which is where he lives.

I went back over to Kim's house on Tuesday night to watch the season premier of NCIS which is one of my favorite tv shows. That turned out to be one of my short-sleep nights. I didn't get home until about 8:30 and then woke about 2:30 and went in to the office. That was the only night I went out anywhere. Most of the rest of the week, I came home and picked up stuff in the yard and piddled around the neighborhood until bedtime.

On Thursday I went to Best Buy to look at computers again. I had gone to Frye's first, but those people that work there have no common sense at all. The girl that waited on me was trying to make conversation with me after I briefly told her my story about retiring soon and living in the trailer. She asked me if I was going to retire this August or next year.....duh, I think we're in September and if I'm not mistaken, that comes after August, so it would be dificult to retire in August this year! I went to Best Buy and found a Toshiba that Stella and I had alreay looked at on sale further, and in fact, the display model was the last one in stock so I bought it. I think it's going to work out very well for us, and now I want to buy a desktop that I can network together for Internet use. Thats something to do in the future though.

I got Stella to come pick me up Saturday morning and take me back down to Port Arthur. It was amazing to see the water lines in the trees on the way down. The trash in the trees was 8-10 feet over the roadway in places. About the time we got back to PA, Nancy Jessen called me to tell me that we had power back on at home. What a relief!!!

Bill and Ornell took us to Sanderson's restaurant for some good seafood. Of course, they all had to brag about the good Cajun food that they had in Breaux Bridge. The owners of the park also have a restaurant and catering service and are furnishing food for 1300 workers a week. About $40,000 a week for disaster relief food. Of course, they have to transport it to Houston, but that's still a lot of money!

It was nice to sit in the air conditioner and to take a warm shower and we really hated to leave our friends, but Stella needs to get back home and get to work. We left Sunday about 12:30 and made an easy trip back home. We got the trailer back into the driveway and hooked up with no problems. Home and tired, but at least we have electricity. Still no cable or Internet, but cool air conditioning and hot water!

Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19th & 20th

After sleeping until 6 o;clock, late for me, I took my cold shower and just laid around on Saturday. I finally got up and went to Kim's house to wash my clothes and to charge my telephones. Since our radios were not working properly, with a busy signal most of the time, we had been issued new Nextel phones that were equipped with the direct connect walkie-talkie feature. Mine had not had a full charge all week because of no power at home to charge them at night and only an hour or so in the morning when I got to work. The police radios were not working because everyone in the three county area were working off one radio repeater tower because many of the other towers were down. I theorize that they are down because there is no power for the towers and no one thought about putting in generators to run the towers. The cell phone towers were likely the same story, but again this is just my theory and I'm sure that I would get in trouble if I voiced this concern.

I got to Kim's house and found Jeremy asleep (all day long) because he had been up late the night before unloading the last of his patients off a bus after being returned from their evacuation location. The boys and I went riding around to see what damage we could see. We came back by the house and found a group from the Mormon church doing yard cleanup for me. They had contacted the city to get all of our addresses so that they could perform this service for us. They wouldn't take as much as a drink of water from me, and I later learned that they had called Stella's phone to verify that the work was done to my satisfaction. Wow, what a wonderful service they performed for us.

The boys and I just hung out all afternoon, with me sleeping most of the time. We went out to eat Saturday night, which was the first hot food that I had eaten in over a week. Many of the restaurants were still closed, but luckily Ryan's in Texas City was open. I went home to bed about 8 o'clock and slept until after 6, another long night of rest!

Sunday morning I went back to Kim's house and picked up the boys, thinking that we could do some more work in the yard. I had put a large Igloo ice chest in the Expedition for iced-down water for the volunteers on Friday but someone had beaten me to the punch, so I needed to get the ice chest back to the office so the company that furnished them could come get them. We took a ride back to Manvel so I could show them some of the damage done to the area and ended up eating breakfast at the Waffle House in Texas City. The food wasn't the best I've ever eaten but since this was one of the few restaurant open for breakfast, it was certainly welcome. I hung out at Kim's house again to enjoy the air conditioning, tv and Internet. I napped a lot in the afternoon and went back home about 7.

Another hot sweaty night at home.

The week after the storm

I apologize for getting so far behind in this blog, but the storm just took everything out of me. It's been weird that I've lost track of time so much that I didn't realize that it was just last weekend that I brought Stella home from Port Arthur.

The week after the storm was just a blur of work. The stores/gas stations slowly opened, and as they did, the traffic jams immediately began. We had to go from store to store, organizing their traffic lines and keeping the long lines off the streets and highways. The Grace united Methodist Church had a POD (Point Of Delivery) every day that further caused traffic problems. The line into the church parking lot where the food and water give-aways were being done were pretty easy to take care of because there is a good paved shoulder on Hwy. 6 that we could keep the waiting traffic contained on the side of the road. the problems were caused by people stopping in the middle of the road (on both sides of the road) to ask questions about what was being offered, or if we knew where to get whatever was needed and not offered here. It seemed as if they were mad that we were giving out MRE's (many didn't want these, only prepared food or sandwiches), water but didn't have ice. I know that everyone was shocked and frustrated so perhaps mad is the wrong term, but it's certainly what I experienced.

Twelve hours a day was very tiring, with walking back and forth to keep things running smoothly. We had no fights in the lines, only a few folks that tried to cut into the lines, and best of all NO traffic accidents involving any of the lines. We only had one accident that week which is somewhat of a record for Manvel. We usually have more accidents than that on a normal work week.

On Friday, the POD had been changed to the Manvel High school from the church. Another brilliant decision from FEMA. They would not allow any FEMA donations to be delivered to a private property, only to a government-owned property. We had something like 15 semi trucks loaded with ice and water on Friday. Once we got things organized and a plan set in place, it all ran smoothly. I'm still amazed at the number of high ranking officers from other agencies who would come by and sniff at our methods and tell us of "more efficient" ways of distributing the items, although our ways have been working all week long with few problems or complaints.

I did get mad about some DPS personnel that came on Friday. Their only job was to watch for anyone that might be getting more than their share of ice or water. When asked to help with a post to help us out in running the operation, I was told that their only job was to stand at the front lines where the distribution was being done to watch what was going on. They did nothing to help the volunteers in handing out items, but later in the afternoon, one did go to the Dollar store and buy some white shoe polish to mark the tires of the cars coming through to keep them from circling the block to return. I wonder how much ice they kept from being "illegally" distributed. I think we had four semi trucks with ice in their trailers and we certainly wouldn't have wanted to run out.

I was released at 2:00 on Friday afternoon, the first 8 hour day in a week. I still don't remember driving home that day, and sat down in my recliner to take a nap as soon as I got home. I didn't wake up 'til 5:45 and then had to scramble to get to the bank to deposit my paycheck before they closed at 6. I came back home and went back to bed at my normal 7 o'clock and slept until 6 the next morning. It was a good thing I didn't have to be at work.....

Again, little real food was offered by the city, only snacks or sandwiches prepared by others were given to us. I was really too tired to eat anyway and at the end of the day, I just stumbled home and fell into bed. With no lights on, there was nothing else to do anyway. I was in bed by 7:30 or 8 every night. Then I would wake very early and be afraid to go back to sleep for fear of not waking again and being late for work. I ran out of hot water in the water heater by Tuesday, so had to take cold showers and shave using cold water.

It was probably one of the worst weeks of my life.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sunday September 14, 2008

We're still working 24 hours a day, shifts of 12 hours and 12 hours on standby. I came into the office from Adam's house where I tried to sleep again. He still does not have any power, which also means that he has no water because they are on a well. He has a generator which runs a couple of fans into the living room, making it a little more bearable. I still wake in a pool of sweat, but its better than nothing at all and would be better than staying at my house.

I took a nice shower in the Police station. Luckily for us a shower was provided in the bathroom. It seems like a month since I've felt warm water, but its only been two days.

I was teamed up with Steve Burt, our newest member of the Police Dept. Steve is a nice man, but very slow, both in his driving but especially in his report writing. I tried to take as many calls as he did, just so he wouldn't get bogged down in reports, especially since the computer system is so messed up after the storm. The CAD system has not worked well since we went on generator power. The battery back-up system sees every blip in the power grid as a shut down, so it keeps kicking on, which causes the CAD to constantly go down. I had been using Ethan's Blackberry phone as my modem to link my computer in the car to the network, but last night he came by Adam's house and took the phone back. One of the main problems with the system is that the generator is under-sized, so every time the air conditioner cycles, the generator slows down causing the network to go up and down. Ethan found one problem in the generator was the outside floodlights on the building. He learned that by turning these lights off, it kept the generator functioning properly, but the Chief called the office when he noticed the lights off and insisted the lights be left on and said he would rather have the lights on than having the CAD system running. I don't know what his thinking is.....

I took the only burglary report of the evacuation, a home burglary where the thieves ransacked the house and stole several guns. Not bad, considering so many people were out of town. It's sad that some people take advantage of these situations. I hope there's a special place in Hell for people who loot and steal after a disaster. I intend to work hard on locating these people and putting them in jail!

The gas stations began reopening today. The Chevron on 1128 and Hwy. 6 was the first and had traffic backed up almost a mile from the store. It really didn't take that long to get things arranged and organized, and I had lots of help from the people that hang out at the store. I "deputized" Jennifer Thomas, the daughter of one of my coffee-drinking buddies at the store. She did a wonderful job of moving people around the lot so they could get gas. I did hear that she had a little run-in with one of the night shift officers over a difference of opinion of how the traffic should be run. I wasn't there, so I can't make a comment but she ran the show all day long and we didn't have any problems.

One more night at Adam's house. Before I got off work, Adam asked me to come by and get some gas for the generator. By that time, the Chevron had sold out and no one else in town had gas, so I asked the Chief if I could buy a gallon or two from the city. He said that if we had to, to use a siphon hose and take some gas out of the patrol unit, but sometime during the night, Adam and Mike found some gas and brought it by and fired the generator up again.

Until the next one.....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Saturday September 13, 2008, Ike's destruction

I woke at Adam's house about 5am and went outside several times to look. It was way too dark to see anything and the winds were still blowing 70-80MPH. I was supposed to have gone back on duty at 6, but I knew it was too bad to get out. Mike woke and we both went outside to look around after daybreak and finally about 730 we decided to try to get to the PD. We had seen a couple of cars drive by and one PW car, so we knew it was pretty safe to drive.

We got to the Chevron station on 1128 @ Hwy. 6 and saw one of the gas pumps had blown over. I stopped to see if it was leaking but spoke with Mike Goodson the owner and learned that they have built-in safety switches that made it safe. David Smith, the emergency management director had run under a cable which was wrapped around the light bar on his truck. He managed to get it untangled and made his way to City Hall where the EOC was located. I don't know why he had been out driving around but guess he had just come in from home in Pearland. It seems funny that he, the director, had not been in the EOC during the night when the storm came in.

We made it to the PD but it was dark and quiet because most were still asleep. We went into dispatch and learned that we had 16 calls held over from the storm with everything from 911 calls to many home burglar alarms. I went out and began surveying the damage around town. Trees were across many if not most of the streets and roads and of course lines were down everywhere. We slowly came to life and began making the calls that had been held. We got all the old calls taken care of and all came back to the station around 11 o'clock. Ethan gave me his Blackberry to use as a modem for my computer and volunteered to ride with me to communicate on the computer, recording damage from other units, Capt. Bell allowed me to drive over to Dickinson to check on my house. The main roads were passable but there were many trees and branches on the roads. We made it to Dickinson and saw water in the businesses at the corner of 517 and Maple with deep water covering the road. All of the bayous were over their banks but when we got to my house, I only saw the pine tree in the front yard bent over and the back fences down. All of the banana trees were broken in half but I didn't see any structural damage to the house. I made a quick trip inside but didn't find any broken glass or water on the floors.

We went to Ethan's house and saw the damage done by trees to the roof of his house and the electrical box on the side. His wife and two children including a newborn had ridden the storm out there but seemed to be none the worse for wear. We were sent to the apartment complex where the Chief, Steve Burt and Vickie live, but only some damage was seen. it was not learned until later that Steve's building had been smashed in and water had gone behind the walls of his unit. It was first thought that he would lose everything but he later learned that some could be salvaged. This took care of the employees that live out of town for damages done.

I had been assigned the task of photographing all the city locations and the damage done to them. We went around to two lift stations which had not suffered anything other than limbs down abd minor damages. One station which was surrounded by a wooden fence had suffered damage to the fences. City Hall had not suffered anything major but the PD had lost our metal awning behind the station, the fabric awning on the front and something had hit the front of the building knocking out some bricks and allowing water to enter the building which soaked the walls and floors. The carpet in dispatch and my office was soaked with water but luckily none of the electronics was damaged.

By the time we got back it was almost time for me to go off duty. When I did, I went back to Adam's house since we all had to be available in case of an emergency. There was no power on there but he had rigged up a generator to run a fan and the television in the living room. Sometime later in the night, the generator ran out of fuel but Adam and Mike got some more gas and started it again. It was still very hot but the air was moving. It was another miserable night.

I got up around 4:30 and went over to the PD and took a shower. I put on my BDU pants and a uniform shirt and was pretty comfortable the next day.

To be continued.....