Monday, March 13, 2023

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

 What's the only thing you dislike about Daylight Savings Time, juvat?

Why, Beans, that would be the first day.  That alarm going off at 0500 Global Body Time (0600 DST) to a pitch black nighttime view.  Getting dressed, copping a quick cup of coffee before departing at 0700 for the 0730 Mass.  It's still pitch black and the deer are migratory, but only crossing roads, and only the ones I navigate.  I particularly like to watch them analyze closure rate and begin to execute their passing across my nose at the latest possible second.

AXIS Deer, Non-Native, Very Prolific, dumber than a box of rocksSource

Do you suppose they get an adrenaline rush much like I do slamming on the brakes and swerving if possible?  Got to or they are the world's dumbest animal in addition to having a death wish.  Moving back to Texas and meeting them made me a deer hunting advocate.

So...If I were king of the world, or think I am like somebody we all know in DC,  I'd make DST last all year long.  It would take the shock effect of an hour early out of play.  One would be used to driving in the dark, The stupid deer might realize that they have to get up WAY earlier to transit the roads safely.  Win/Win.

Ok, 'nough said about that.  It's been an interesting week this past week.  I'm at HEB early on in the week doing my usual "hunter/gatherer" thing.  (It substitutes for a social life.  I see a lot of friends, acquaintances and former co-workers there.  We have a quick "How ya doin' conversation" then go back about our business.  Fills my need for social interaction without wasting a lot of time. Usually the other half in the conversation is happy with the duration also. Win/Win.)

Anyhow, So...there I was *, checking out after navigating the aisles at high speed, searching out and locking on various targets, when my communications device informs me of an incoming transmission.  I glance at the identifier.  Uh-Oh, it's the Commander, Mrs. J.

"juvat, we've lost electricity for the entire property."

"How long so far?"

"About 5 minutes"

I start doing math in my head.  Miss B's oxygenator isn't functional without electricity.  LJW has some O2 Bottles (much like scuba tanks, may actually be them), but they're relatively short term also.  We've got a limited window of time to get Miss B someplace where she can get O2.  I tell Mrs. J I'm on my way home and will stop by the Electric Co-op to see what the estimated outage time will be.

So, I do.  Arrive there, stop at the front desk, explain Miss B's situation and ask about an ETR.  She says that it should be back on line already.  Ok, Great. I confirm that with Mrs. J.  I then tell the lady at the desk that we had given them paperwork saying that we needed notification of planned/unplanned outages but hadn't heard anything from them.  She asked my name then went clicky clack on the computer.

"Sorry, Sir, we don't have that on file.  When did you bring it in?"

"First week in January".  There's a Highway Patrol officer sitting in the lobby about 5' away.  Going postal at this point would not be wise for several different reasons, so, I'm doing my VERY best not to lose my cool.

"Do you have time for me to look into this?"

"You Betcha."

Very shortly thereafter, a different person comes out of the office.  Seems to be quite a bit further up the food chain, but she's carrying a piece of paper.  

"Sir, I'm XXX, Vice President of  YYY.  I'm VERY SORRY, we've got your notification, but it didn't get scanned into our system.  I, personally, took care of it, just now."

Ok.  Feces Occurs.  They fessed up and fixed it.  We talked for a couple of minutes about what info we should have received and will now receive if it happens again.

I thanked her.  Wished the Highway Patrol officer a good day and good luck with his issue and left.

Pretty sure, The Big Guy Upstairs took action so I would be made aware of the problem and get it fixed.  I'm good with that.  A little high blood pressure episode for all concerned on our end, but better now.

 Speaking of Breathing (and on a good note this time), LJW discovered that the Medical Supply company in town now has a portable oxygenator that's battery powered, rechargeable and the size of a laptop computer.  She took Miss B downtown for a stroll up and down main street yesterday.  All concerned needed that respite and things went quite well.  So...Progress!

On a down note, our StarLink connection is still non-functioning.  The new router arrived a couple of weeks ago.  The repair man and I hooked it up and powered it on...No data signal...Nada.  


Re-opened the ticket (again, 3rd time), explained what we'd done and that we had no signal whatsoever.  A day or so later, they replied (this is via a message window on their website e.g. not live) "Oops, we're supposed to have sent a new antenna cable with the router.  We'll get that to you ASAP. "

That was 10 days ago.  Reopened the ticket again (4th time) and sent them another message box text yesterday and got this reply (again a day or so later) "Sorry, juvat, we should have already sent that. We'll send another one.  You should get it within a week to 10 days."

Elon...My average bandwidth over the past couple of months isn't even close to what you advertise.  I've never been a patient man.  Whiskey, Tango, Fox Over!

The only good news there has they've credited me for the 2 X $110/mo usage fee.  I've been using our limited wireless backup, which has neither fast nor large bandwidth, but is somewhat workable. Just about the only thing I use that for is the blog.  Hence why commenting has been less profuse lately than usual.  Blogging via phone is a definite PITA.

Just sayin'

So, juvat how have you been keeping sane?

Well, the result is in doubt, but this helps.

I've been trying my hand at turning a pen with a Celtic Knot as a decoration.

Started out like this.

Took three other cuts exactly like this one with the Maple Strip glued in.  One for each side.

Then, we started turning.

So far, so good!  But still a little bit chunky.

Starting to be a bit more "pen like".  Entering the danger zone, where you're very close to finished dimensions and an "oops" now is quite likely not fixable.

So, Patience, juvat?

Patience! Aye!

Above shows the results after the first couple of coats of CA Glue finish.  Gonna need a bit of buffing out before continuing.  This is my first attempt to finish a pen with CA Glue and I didn't quite have the Bold Face Procedures down pat yet.  All that having been said, I'm pretty happy with the results so far.

At least it didn't disintegrate.  

Peace out, y'all.

*Standard Fighter Pilot war story beginning


  1. So, notification of electrical outages wasn't scanned in, eh? If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong. At least some one fessed up to it not being scanned. Pen looking good juvat.

    1. Nylon,
      Yeah, I was a bit stressed going into the building. The CoOp has always done well with us service wise, but...Not a lot of room for error when a person can't breathe without electricity. Fortunately, the VP handled the situation perfectly. And discovery of the battery operated device will help. As will the whole house generator being installed, if I can ever get the Moons of Jupiter aligned and on the electricians schedule.
      We shall see.

  2. I admire folks that own up to the issue and take responsibility for it. Good info for the battery powered O₂ device. I've thought about that. They make a regulator that only squirts when you breathe. I bet that would be for a larger unit than Miss B.
    Learning new skills on rotating machinery is not for the faint of heart. You can get wrapped up in your work like now where else.
    Great GUMP check today Juvat. Happy Texas Independence month.

    1. STxAR,
      As am I. We're all human and fallible. Passing the buck for your mistakes is always going to come back and bite you sometime, somewhere, somehow. Better to take the heat and move on. She did that well.
      Yeah, this is pen attempt 3. Number one turned (get it?) out well, although there were some obvious learning points I missed. Turn to the level of the gaskets being the most obvious. Number two I reported on a bit ago. Taking Number 3 slowly for a lot of reasons. Not the least of which is I don't want to screw it up. Learned a lot on this one also. Chief among them is the absolute need for a jig when you're trying to do precision cutting using a band saw. I suspect, at least in my eyes, Number 4 will be even better.
      GUMPS check, haven't heard that in quite a while. Thanks for the memory, and a Happy Texas Independence Month to you also.

  3. Glad that things were mostly resolved. Nice work on the lathe.
    About to depart for the VA Clinic in Lancaster for labs, ie, cup and an unknown number of vials drawn. Physical is next Monday.

    1. Glenn,
      Don't let them drain too much, you might need it later. My next one is next month. They just keep getting funner and funner! Good Luck!

  4. Feces occurs ...

    Yes, yes it does.

    1. Sarge,
      Yes...Well...Family Blog...But got the point across.
      Have a good week.

  5. Juvat, deer are yet another wonder for people that do not have to live in the midst of them. Dodging them at night or early morning is indeed enough to convert one's view of the food chain.

    Electricity - Glad it got resolved, and even more glad that someone took responsibility for it. Am I wrong that it feels like such a rarity these days? For things like this - in work and personal life - I have learned it is often wise to "verify" that the thing was done. Which once upon a time we called "doing a job". Sigh. This is the world we now live in.

    The portable respirator sounds great - technology is a thing that I am occasionally forced to admit is beneficial. Countered, of course, by Starlink (although that this point that sounds like a supply chain/customer service problem. At least they knocked off the fee).

    The pen looks great!

    1. THBB,
      Was pretty much raised in Texas, but mostly in West Texas, AKA Flat, Hot, Dry and Tree-less, so never saw many deer. Local boys I knew growing up always looked forward to "deer season". I guess it was a rite of passage into manhood. Never interested me, so never bothered me. Then we moved here to Central Texas, AKA Hilly, Wet & Dry seasons, Mesquite and Oak trees are plentiful, OH! and Hot! But there are lots of deer here. White Tail and Mule Deer are Native and the population is fairly well controlled. Axis are non-native and seem to reproduce with alacrity. So, it's about 8 miles into town from where we live. It's not unusual to see 10-15 carcasses on the side of the road, so many that the Buzzards are at max takeoff weight when they try to takeoff to avoid oncoming traffic. It's not unusual to have Buzzard strikes also. They tend to hit the windshield, so they're especially exciting. I tend to take a back road into town. Not because there's not Deer/Buzzards, but there's no traffic so I can drive at a slower pace, give myself that extra second or two. It IS an adventure living here.
      But it's home!
      Electricity- I really believe that outage was divine inspired to let me know things were screwed up. I'd been meaning to check, but...well, you know.
      Miss B has a pulmonary appointment in San Antonio this morning, so the portable is getting an ops check. Mrs. J is going along as an additional set of hands, Simply the ability to get all the ladies out of the house on their own has helped quite a bit. So I'm glad they found it.
      Thanks, we'll see what the final product looks like.

    2. Buzzard strikes are scary to me. When a buzzard feels threatened, it'll projectile barf. I always envision the head sticking through the wind shied, and wings splayed out covering the entire, now you're blind to the road.... Suddenly, all that nice, warm, festering food blows out right at you! Yeech!!!! It's antibiotic bath time, I'd reckon.

    3. STxAR, Thanks, I was eating lunch when I read this, Not quite so hungry anymore.

  6. Others before have already said what I would have about owning one's actions and for the health of the little one.
    Deer are bad enough and I do what I can to avoid them. My pickup, however, has a bashed in front bumper. One feral boar, one feral sow, and three feral piglets in the space of about two seconds out on the back road. I'm leaving the bumper as is; it makes a great conversation starter.

    1. Barry,
      Might I suggest painting an outline of 5 pigs just under the driver's side window. You're a pig-killing ace now, you deserve the honor. Besides, there are more pigs out there (same with deer) and you might need that bumper again. Just a thought.

  7. Trust the actual movement on the standby electrical supply will begin soon and you can see some physical progress. Been meaning to check with you and see if the guy had gotten the paperwork straightened out, but got caught up in the frivolity of starting my 83rd trip around the sun (beginning on the anniversary of the Alamo falling), dealing with hand turning the poor soil of our small veggie patch in preparation for planting and the big reason......I forgot. Good on LJW for discovering the battery powered unit.
    I've found the CoOp to be very forthcoming, except during the billing period after the 2021 ice storm. I received our bill for that period and found some areas of disagreement in the billing for that time. Seemed the meter was inoperative for a period during the power restoration and our bill had some excessive "estimated" & non existent run time for my refrigerators, freezer and heater to recover temperatures when the power returned. Problem was; there was no actual recovery time for the appliances since my standby generator kept those at their set operating temperature during the power outage and we used LPG for heating. Mrs. Cletus was proud of me after a successful face to face with CoOp personnel as my "type A" personality was kept in check.
    Good job on the Celtic Knot.

    1. Cletus,
      I expect to send him a check tomorrow for the down payment. The paperwork never did get completely straightened out. Still had the 20K+ down payment for a 12K estimate, but I struck through it, cited his email and will be writing a check for what his email quoted. If he squawks I'll find someone else. But right now, I need to get backup electricity as soon as we can. He also said, much like many things nowadays, that the generator itself is 1-2 months out. Thank you very much you know who.
      Fortunately, we've never had a real issue with the CoOp. My dealings with them has a decided feel that they are one of "us", rather than some companies where they are not. Hope that doesn't change.
      A quick, correct and polite response to my problem by somebody who could and did do something about it, did wonders for keeping my Type A in check. Of course, a uniformed, armed LEO in the lobby also helped.

  8. We have the same deer issues where I live (Western Pennsylvania). I have a bit of a drive to work (37 miles) and usually see a half dozen dead ones every day. There are two large industrial parks, I work in one of them, that are hunting free zones. Of course the deer know this and take advantage during hunting season. It isn't unusual to see between 10 to 20 of them year round.

    1. JimC,
      Well, at least the speed in the industrial parks should be a bit more manageable. That having been said, they're still nuisances IMHO.
      I've heard though that the deer in Western PA are the only things that are'nt bigger in Texas! ;-)

    2. What speed limit? There's actually an argument going on that the roads in the industrial; park don't have a speed limit, that they are "private" roads. The local Magistrates are upholding this and dismissing tickets.
      Most of the dead deer I see are on the roads I drive to get to the park. Funny how you mention the size of the deer in PA. I was stationed in Florida and went deer hunting with one of the Chiefs that I worked for. I see this thing that looks like an anorexic dog and I don't shoot. The Chief comes up and says "Why didn't you shoot?" I tell him that it was too small (maybe 60 lbs.) and if I would have shot one like it at home, I'd get arrested or fined. He tells me "Down here, that's a big one!"

    3. JimC,
      Wow, you guys in PA do live wild and free donch'a? No speed limit, whoda thunk?
      Most of the white tail around here are pretty small. Mule Deer are rare but large. The frickin' Axis are big enough that if you hit one broadside he's probably coming through your windshield because his center of mass is that far off the ground.

    4. Well the Municipality can't declare or enforce a speed limit on a "private road". Most of the time we do 30 mph on it because there are so many cars, but at night and on the weekends there are some morons who think it is their private race track. I've seen tire tracks across the grass, underground utility boxes knocked over and the Day Care Center has concrete Jersey Barriers protecting the kids play area.
      Mature Whitetails run about 120-160 lbs on average. They will mess your car up. A few years ago a heard popped out onto Washington Blvd. in Pittsburgh during morning rush hour. I hit one and had minor damage. The guy in the Toyota behind me had one come through the windshield and he had to be Lifeflighted to the hospital.

    5. JimC,
      I guess that's right. I live on a private road, it's on my property and I'd be peeved it a county mountie decided I was driving too fast. As to "Deer Strikes", the old Fighter Pilot adage applies there also. "I'd rather be lucky than good, luck is more reliable." Hope the Toyota driver made it.

  9. Unfortunately, those deer are instinctually on perpetual standard time, but have an alarm set for whenever you leave for mass!

    1. Tuna,
      I KNEW they were waiting to ambush me! Now I AM getting that Mad Max Grill Guard installed!

  10. Have you looked into getting one of those large battery 'generator' power sources? There are some about the size of an old-school desktop computer that have decent storage power, and will last for a day or so.

    And, of course, you being a compnerd of sorts, do you have a UPS hooked up to her house supplied air? Ifn not, might not be a bad idea to buy.

    Seems it's been Planet Stupid where you live, too.

    As to the deer population, does Texas allow you to harvest your road kill? I mean, if you like the taste of venison, you could go all Mad Max and armor the front of your pickup and just drive willy-nilly (when the ladies aren't in the vehicle, of course) and harvest you some lawn-rats.
    As to Starlink, hmmm, that's not great customer service. Then again the Co-op missing the paperwork wasn't either. Hope the new cables arrive promptly.

    1. Beans,
      Yeah and we're probably going to get one also and use it primarily for the guest houses. While she's here with us, that will be the primary backup.
      Yeah, Planet Stupid Fever seems to be spreading. Course there ARE a lot of carriers in the area now. Lot's of license plates with cal something on them. The area immediately surrounding said vehicles seems to ooze Planet Stupid for some reason.
      Re: Deer. EWWWW! Don't know, Don't like venison that much and things will have to get REALLY Mad Max-ish and desparate before I'd try that. Not to say that it wouldn't be done, just that we're still a ways away.
      Big difference in my mind between Starlink's service and the Co-Op. Yep, the Co-Op made a mistake, but once made aware of it, it was fixed within 5 minutes. People are human, they make mistakes. The good people fix them. The ones that keep repeating the same solution over and over and over are not the good people. Ergo....

    2. Not sure if Texas has changed or not.... In 1985 I found out you don't get to harvest your road kill deer. The hard way.... At least I paid cash and when the recruiter looked into it, the "conviction" didn't exist. Your welcome Mr. JP!!! Hope you had a good Christmas and the Game Warden had enough room in his freezer for the deer he took home.

    3. STxAR,
      I'd be surprised if they had, given the number of carcasses on the highway in my general vic at any given point in time. But given the large number of folks migrating through the area, one would think the folks in charge would look into free meat to feed them.

  11. Lived in Tx for 25 years before hubby dragged me kicking and screaming elsewhere. But deer - was in paying my truck ins and lady said take a deer whistle with you. What? She explained that since they had been giving these out the number of claims for hitting wild life, mainly deer, had decreased dramatically. Goes on front and emits a sound that scare, frighten or the deer just doesn't like. I don't care as I've actually twice in my driving seen a buck in the lead turn in a field and lead everyone in the other direction.They sell them at Wally for $5.98 and never come off. Only reason I know the price is I just bought another car so I have a package ready to go when it's delivered.

    So sorry it never occurred to me to mention a portable oxygen unit as it's advertised on TV here. Lady who played duplicate bridge with us use to bring hers. Happy your granddaughter it hitting her milestones and will continue to keep her in my prayers.

    1. Anon,
      I've seen deer whistles on a lot of cars in the vicinity. Good to know that they generally work. Haven't seen them sold anywhere however. I'd probably pick two up if I did. At least one for Mrs. J's vehicle, much more scoop or wedge shaped front end, so the carcass has a good chance of landing in her lap. My truck? Not so much. However, damage to my truck being avoided is a whole different thing.
      I just assumed they would have mentioned portable generators if the Med Service Co had them. Sure would have reduced a lot of tension.
      Thanks, prayers are very much appreciated.

    2. You can get them from Amazon, if you've a mind to, just search for "deer whistle." There, my "good deed" for the day ...

    3. Sarge,
      Thanks, some good info there.

  12. One of the small inverter generators and an extension cord might be a worthwhile investment. It should run the oxygen and a lamp.

    The deer in the Texas Panhandle are almost all mule deer and are not nearly as big as the white tails here in Missouri. Lots more for them to eat in Missouri. I haven't hit one so far, but know a lot of people who, often more than once.

    The dang deer ate all of the cantaloupes in my garden last year just as they were starting to ripen. My street dead ends into some woods just past my house.

    1. Anon,
      Thanks, Had our broker move some money for the whole house generator project start up. I don't think the contractor's down payment is all I'm going to need for start up money. But, if I overestimated, I think we will do that with the inverter generator.

      Yeah, the bastiges transit my property regularly going from the Oak and Mesquite forest south of us to our neighbor's cattle pond north of us. So far we haven't seen them in our yard, but our hay field is still pretty green. We'll see what happens to Mrs. J's garden later this spring.

  13. Do you have a deer smucker on your F-150? It's like an extremely heavy duty brush guard.

    1. StB,
      No I don't, probably should. It's getting a bit old 6 years and 115+K, so maybe the next one. Although I read somewhere recently online (guaranteed TRUE data there), that payments on new F-150s were pushing $1.6K/mo. Holy Cow that's an expensive deer killer! Do you suppose I could get away with just installing a hay spike on the front? That would 1) take care of deer and 2) deter stupidity in my general driving vicinity.

  14. Glad you were able to 'fix' the FU with the power company! And the pen is looking good!

    1. OldNFO, Me too. As the old saying goes, "You don't need it til you need it, then you need it...Bad!"

  15. MN has the same suicide deer problem. Back working at UND in GFND, we had a last day to finish up sampling at a small power plant in Fergus Falls MN (planned to be out by noon at the latest, then drive down I94 to Hudson WI to sample at another plant just across the river in MN). Nothing went right. We left well after midnight in a driving rainstorm with an over-light 12 passenger van (ND State) towing an overloaded utility trailer (we are not going to stop quickly). First thought was that our chance of collecting some venison tonight were excellent. On reflection, we decided that with our luck, we would probably mow down a family of skunks (a bit of levity planning as to just parking the van back at UND Transportation with dead skunks hanging from the tie rods. Nothing happened, but it was a white knuckle ride all the way.

    1. Don,
      Thanks, that got a chuckle. It's amazing how standards of humor lower in direct correlation to lateness in the day and fatigue of the teller and tellees, isn't it?
      In addition to dead deer on the side of the road 'round here, striped, smelly kitties are almost as prevalent also. Warning about the latter is in our guest house welcome letter. They do wander onto the property at night occasionally. The dog(s) bark, the city dweller thinks they want to go use the bathroom so lets them out...Not a good idea.

    2. Sports Cats, with racing stripes!

    3. StB,
      I wonder if that's where the old saying "Faster than the speed of stink" came from.


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