Monday, December 12, 2022

...The Goose is getting fat

 Well, Beans, as you know, the line that precedes this post's title in the Christmas Carol is "Christmas is coming".  And it is.  Way back in October when I first started my Christmas Projects, I thought to myself "Piece of Cake, got all the time in the world!"

Hah, Puny Human!  Father Christmas has officially shortened the time from October to Christmas Day to 1.9 nanoseconds!

How're those Projects coming now?

Well, MBD and The Rev's projects are complete and ready for wrapping.  Mrs. J's project hit a bit of a snag in one of the later steps and required a bit of re-strategizing.  I'm getting quite good at that lately.  I think the actual pronunciation of the word "re-strategizing", in the original German, is "Failure to plan".  Nevertheless, I think I'm going to still be able to pull this out of my "you know what" in time.  Although, I may run into Santa Claus during his visit to our house when I put it under the tree.  Pictures will be posted on Dec 26 (the Monday after Christmas).

For those curious, the great stove top adventure was brought to a successful conclusion this week.  My former student, now LP Gas expert, successfully installed our new cooktop.  WAAAYYY nicer than its predecessor.  There was a small change in the schedule last Monday when he was originally scheduled.  Apparently, when a back hoe digs a hole through a gas line,  repairing the gas line takes priority over a stove top installation.  

Who knew?

So, it got installed on Tuesday.  Did you know it's possible for eggs and sausage to be cooked on a stove top without burning?  I had no idea! Muy Delicioso!

This past week I also got a chance to hone my plumbing skills.  I was feeding the horses in the barn one night a little after dark.  (Yes, Beans, when my work shop got power, we also added it to the barn.  No more stumbling over who knows what in there.)  I'd just given the horses their hay and thought I heard the sound of rain on the roof.  I asked myself how it could be raining since I'd seen the moon in all its glory during my walk from the house to the barn.

A little more investigation showed this.

 Remembering the procedure used when I first installed this plumbing masterpiece 5 or 6 years ago, (the procedure involved, I think, 4 trips to Lowes for different sized/different threaded pieces), I decided I'd ask someone there who might know what I needed.

The part on the right was left over from the prior installation.

I cleaned the parts up a bit, tucked them in a zip lock bag to stop the spread of infection (or maybe just dirt) and went to see my friend in the plumbing section.  Who'da thunk? Talk to someone who knows what he's doing?  A rare moment of brilliance on my part!.

In any case, two threaded PVC pipe adapters, one Hose thread to Pipe thread adapter and a short piece of PVC pipe, threading tape and PVC glue later ($8.59, Beans) and Voila'!  


Ze Horses, zay are happy!

Merlot was anyhow.

Cabernet just wanted breakfast.

I got to fly a solo mission this past week also.  Thursday's are Mrs. J and my day to visit LJD and give Little J and LJW a break.  She and I are just about ready to saddle up and drive down to San Antonio when she glances at the calendar and notices a note on Thursday's date saying "Mrs. J. - Dentist 1100".  Well...Nuts.

So, with a certain amount of trepidation I go visit LJD unsupervised.  After several wrong turns in the lower levels of the hospital and several helpful question answerers, I find my way to the NICU.  Check in with the folks outside the NICU, get cleared in, scrub up and don my hospital garb.  (Those little bitty things called germs, bacteria and viruses are not good things to bring into an area with very vulnerable babies. I'm good with that pre-visit scrub down.) Check in with the nurse who's assigned to LJD and two other preemies and get filled in on her status.

She napped through the entire visit, so I didn't get a chance to hold her.  Holding an infant is not one of my strongest attributes, so I had a bit of mixed feelings about that situation.

She's apparently doing quite well.  Her breathing rate (minimum goal of 2.5, 1.0 is normal) is hovering at 1.0 or so.  So, that's great news.  Her lungs aren't quite developed enough to get enough O2 out of regular air, so she's getting that as a supplement.  That supplement will not be a factor in getting her released and she is quite likely to be on O2 for a while.  One of the key remaining readings she needs to reach before release is she's got to down 60 ML of milk per day 2 x 66 ML bottles per shift (oops had a version mix up last night), which is a bit problematic right now as she's transitioning from the nasal feeding tube (yeah, Beans, I know, that sounds horrible).  Little J and LJW are able to feed her and get quite close to that number, but they know her mannerisms and know when to push and when not to push her to drink.

Little J and LJW decided the NICU needed a bit of Lighting up.


Unfortunately, the NICU is a very busy place and LJD doesn't often get the same Nurse to care for her day to day.  So, great as they are (I've pronounced them Saints before and stand by that assessment), they're not as tuned in to what LJD is trying to do.  So, they tend to think she's full when she pulls away from the bottle and marks that down as 60 minus X ML of milk (e.g. missed the goal).  

 But...she is progressing.

The next morning after RTB, I was sitting at the kitchen counter enjoying an iced coffee and pondering what I needed to be doing to prep for Christmas.  Looked up and saw this.

The lines are painted on the windows to keep birds from trying to fly through them.  Yes, Bird Brain is a valid description.


The bird, a female pretty as it was, must have been an omen.  Mrs. J soon interrupted my day dreaming and re-prioritized the day.  "Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, I've got to put you up right now!" I think that's how the Carol goes.

New Tree this year, our multi-year old lighted tree was so coated with dust that all of us end up sneezing and such.  Hence...

On a final note before I begin to open that Christmas Tree box. I saw two things that gave me a chuckle at the restaurant we go to for our usual Sunday Brunch. (Corner of Main and Adams, Cletus.)


And this, I saw the saying as a bumper sticker on the same wall as above, but, think I'm going to order this shirt with it from Amazon.


Peace out, Y'All!


  1. >>I think the actual pronunciation of the word "re-strategizing", in the original German, is "Failure to plan"<< I had a Volkswagen that had an "R" on the gas gauge, in time I figured the "R" was for the German word "walk".

    Look, there is a bird in your squirrel feeder!

    1. Rob,
      Fortunately, the MTW (Miles to Walking) on my truck is fairly accurate. I do start getting a bit tetchy when it goes below 50 though. There can be quite a distance between fueling stations around here. OT, but there seems to be a lot of Tesla's around here lately, I haven't seen a station for them yet. HMMM!

    2. Wait until your power goes off on Christmas Eve. You’ll be able tell where the Teslas are, just like the Kings did at Bethlehem, so long ago!

  2. Planungsfehler might be the word you're looking for. 😁

    Good news on the little one, she certainly looks good!

    Are you sure that's a female cardinal? (Up here those are brown, the males are red. Maybe a Texas "thang"?)

    1. Sarge,
      Yes, that might work, but I think that's modern German. In the OLD language, however....

      My resident ornithologist declared it a female. It's taken me 40 years, but I've learned not to argue with her, therefore. However, this site shows some females with that color scheme. In this time of gender fluidity, who's to know?

  3. That photo of Cabernet, "What's with the photo this early Boss?" Very good news on LJD juvat, very good. That red bird, a Cardinal, male. There's been a pair of them around the house for several years now, very early morning visitors and just before it gets dark also.

    1. Nylon,
      Thanks, Yeah, Cab is an early riser, and insists on being fed as soon as she's up. I on the other hand am no longer as early riser as I once was. So, she whinnies in protest then starts munching.
      Re: Cardinals. Could be either, See response above. I think it was choosing female for the day. Could be wrong.

  4. Cooktop looks nice. Cooking with gas is preferred in our house. Your countertop looks easy to clean and sanitize also. It was fortunate your water leak was a pinhole; it could just as easily been the entire line breaking off while you were out of town for a day or so (don't ask me how I learned about this one). Also good to see the little one is doing well; I'm sure you are looking forward to the day when you can show her the ranch.

    1. Barry,
      Thanks, yep! Much better than the prior make/model. It has a couple of neat extras. The nobs actually have a red light in them that illuminates when the nob is not in the off position. Good to know, especially if the flame isn't lit. The light also stays on until the burner cools back down to room temp. Not that I tend to touch burners after cooking, but...
      Yeah, plumbing problems always seem to occur at the worst possible time don't they?
      Thanks, Taking her for a walk will be a big adventure that I'm looking forward to.

  5. That is a great cooktop Juvat (and agreed that cooking with gas is far more desirable than electric). And the bestest of news about LJD! (Congratulations on navigating the hospital solo - I am no better).

    Christmas Presents: In years past, it is my understanding that Santa largely fills The Ravishing Mrs. TB's stocking with small food items and wine from World Market (apparently makes for a single stop, as I understand it). This year with her change in diet and lifestyle, most of those things are off the table. Word on the street is Santa is flailing a little this year...

    1. THBB,
      Santa has mentioned that "Flailing" problem to me also. Hope he gets that all straightened out...very soon!

      Re: the hospital. Didn't realize how much I "followed" Mrs. J around even when I was out front. But, solo, all the hallways look the same and there's a couple bazillion 90 degree turns to find the one elevator that goes to the NICU. Fortunately, a very nice young person took pity on me and led me to it. Otherwise, I might have ended up on the evening Missing Person's report.

    2. THBB, Mrs J here. Some of the most appreciated stocking stuffers for me were “Spa Day at home” items like facial masks, eye masks, cuticle oil, Shea butter hand cream and a Capri Blue brand “Volcano” candle. What woman doesn’t enjoy a little pampering? Best of luck and Merry Christmas!

    3. Mrs. J,
      I'm sure Santa appreciates any and all tips concerning gifts for the Ladies and will act accordingly. He's smart and not to proud to accept a little help.

  6. Fun on the farm. I heard a weird slurping sound down by the barn during a visit with my dad. Old steel pipe rusted through, caused the well to kick on and run and run and run, until the pump quit. All the sand and rust that got pulled up to the casing pipe packed around the pump and it overheated. That slurping was water being pulled back towards the wellhouse. I just happened to be out when the pump quit. I just happened to have the amount of money in the bank to get it fixed. And the Friday after Thanksgiving I watched and learned from the well company how to bail out a well. Very interesting work. Coincidence stacking... yeah right.

    Glad you got it sorted. I always buy spares for things like that trough.

    I've seen brown cardinals before. Down here they are immature birds or females. I like the call they make.

    1. STxAR,
      Thanks for the info. We've got two wells on the property. The new one feeds our house and the barn. The one for our old house, now my Sister's house, and the cabins was put in prior to our buying the property 20+ years ago. Hasn't given us problems, there a periodic maintenance requirement or is it use it til it breaks, then fix? Nobody advised me on wells and I'm still learning this country living thing.

    2. I don't know of any maintenance really. Just don't let them run forever feeding a leak. I also don't know the geology up in the Edward's Plateau. You may be fine with steel casing up there. Casing is the outside pipe, usually 6 - 8 inch diameter for residential wells. The pump is hanging on a 2 inch pipe if it's electric. Not sure what they use for mechanical pumps and sucker rods. Similar I'll reckon.

      When we replaced the pump, we went back with schedule 80 pvc for about half the pipe and galvanized for the rest. That well really need to be re-dug at dad's place it was probably 50 years old or so.


  7. Great pictures of Cab and Merlot 😀 also, you can just barely see "Nicky" the NICU Elf on the Shelf in her scrubs by the tree in that photo of LJD. Apparently she gets moved around the various areas of the NICU and the staff have fun trying to spot her.

    Updated feeding goal is currently 44 mL / 66 mL from a single bottle to increase to a 2nd bottle per shift.

    1. Fixed, I think I had two versions of the post open last night and published the wrong one. Mea Culpa!

  8. Crusty Old TV Tech here. In the AFCC, we had a saying, "Cable trenchers and backhoes, Worlds Greatest Cable Finders!" Applies to gas lines too it seems :-)

    1. COTT,
      That was certainly the case in the School District. They never brought down the whole district (thankfully), but we would start the troubleshooting outside when a single school's staff started calling saying "My computer doesn't connect to the internet". Big Clue Bird.

  9. Great news on LJD. The varying reports of formula consumed by different nurses may be a good thing. When LJD consumes the required amount as reported by those nurses who habitually under report, then you know she's definitely at a safe point for discharge. Hope she won't be hospitalized much longer.
    The Cardinal shown at the feeder certainly looks like those females that frequent our feeder. The males here are a bright red, although the young have more muted colors like the female.
    Appreciate the restaurant tip. Gotten to the point that we don't venture down to Main St. in search of food. The eating establishments in those areas seem to have a line of Auslanders waiting for a table, which is a good thing for the business owners. But, as I've heard it said and from personal past experience, when I received my DD 214 I uttered the words "I'll never stand in line again". Done my best to keep that promise, although I'm not 100% successful. That promise has caused me to forgo one of my favorites due to that promise....the Holstein Schnitzel, a local breakfast offering of two fried eggs over a pork cutlet with pan fries and biscuits.
    Good luck with getting the Christmas gifts completed.

    1. Cletus,
      Agreed on the Main St thing. I'm definitely not big on lines. I get real fidgety real fast. Sent you an email with further info. I don't think I've seen Schnitzel on the menu, but the Chicken Fried Steak is pretty good.

  10. I have a great nephew that spent a few weeks in intensive care after an early arrival. I was amazed at the results, and he's now a very fussy eater. If he's eating, and you attempt to burp him in the middle of the feeding, he fusses until his meal is returned.

    1. Jess,
      Glad your Great Nephew is doing well. Sounds like his symptoms were very much like LJD's. Son and DIL had a discussion with the Charge Nurse and the rotation of nurses will be reduced a bit, so familiarity should be enhanced. So, good news all round.

  11. Good news on the little one! That's a male Cardinal. I have Cardinals in the back yard, and a pair of Bluejays in front... And they don't mix!!! Trust me! Good luck with the tree, and good catch on the 'leak'.

  12. It looks like the wee bairn will need a haircut soon! So many of God’s blessings all around. We need to be aware of that.
    Ya gotta love plumbing. Oh, and horses too!

    1. LtFuzz,
      She's getting there, that's for sure. I say "Thank you" to him a lot.
      Plumbing? Getting better at that. The horses are good teachers.

  13. Good fix on the water piping, good news about the littlest one, and a kitchen device that doesn't set your house on fire is always a wonderful thing.
    We have a leak alarm in the basement, and although I have researched a system that would shut our water supply off is there is a leak detected in the house, I have not followed up.
    The trip to a home supply place today that has an orange theme was a failure.
    It seems that the online report of multiple items in stock actually means none.

    1. JiP,
      Yeah, not burning down the house is high on the priority list. It is interesting the quality difference that a little bit more expense provides. I get that, but...a little cheaper shouldn't affect safety.
      Little J has done a pretty good job at adding various sensors around the property to alert us when things aren't quite right.
      The online websites are pretty good for telling you which Aisle and bin the product should be in, not so much whether it is in stock though, I agree.

  14. MIL found that running a small ranch as a widow was getting to be too much for her at age 70. So, she put in storage or gave away most of her belongings and bought a smaller piece of property with one of her daughters. I said most of her belongings, but she couldn't part with her two horses. So now they just have an even smaller ranch will many of the same challenges as the first. Keeping it up, like your pipe repair, means you have to be a plumber, farmer, equestrian, electrician, businessman, etc. I commend you, but it's a tough road, especially for a now 74 year old with bad hips.

    1. Tuna,
      Yeah, I'm not all that far behind her and a lot of the minor pains/injuries I incurred in my "yute" are coming back to haunt me. We are starting to look at options. We've got enough land that we can have a couple of houses built for the kids and families if that's what they desire. There's also still a lot of well-heeled new Texans from that state out west that are looking to offload some money, so...We'll see. Heck, Tuna, if you're interested...I won't even tease you about leaving.


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