Full House

Whew, we finally had some out-of-town guests up at the new ranch. Fun, but tiring. Then again, I get tired walking across the room, so that’s not saying much. Anyway, my Mom, sister and brother-in-law came up on the 23rd for a short stay. For excitement, we treated them to a real California PSPS! Good grief. Yep, house full of company and out go the lights, right on cue. We fired up the generator and tried to make the best of it, as there’s really not much else to do about it. Ran into a new snag this time; It is getting cold at night! The house was a rather crisp 58 degrees in the morning. We figured out how to fire up the gas fireplace, but the fan is electric so it was kind of limited in heat output. Guess we really need to get the generator hooked up correctly before winter hits.

They finally turned us back on Tuesday evening. My family had left that morning, and then our friend Kelly from KC flew in that night. I kind of tried to stay low-profile and let them do their girls schedule, but I did join them one afternoon for some wine tasting. She left this morning, and we are empty-nesting again. I did a woeful job taking pics while everybody was here, but I have a few.

Football Monday

What is up with the random Chief’s game today? Might be convenient back in KC, but that is 2:00 in the afternoon here. People got work to do! Oh well, I can listen I’m sure. Famous last words.

Quiet weekend. Friday night we sort of geared up to go out to happy hour somewhere, but just didn’t quite get out the door. It was a pretty nice evening, we had plenty of food to make dinner, we were both a little worn down… So we just hung out on the back porch. Hey, same thing as going out, and a lot cheaper. That lack of effort carried on into Saturday, when we also did a big nothing. My excitement for the day was trying scrambled eggs on my breakfast sandwich instead of the usual over-medium fried egg. Whoa, slow down there big fella! Hey, times are a little slow here lately. For the record, I didn’t care for the sandwich, I’ll be going back to the tried-and-true fried egg. For evening entertainment, I treated Donette to a showing of the recently released “Welcome To Sudden Death.” Ummm… Not recommended.

Sunday we finally left the compound, and met some friends at a new brunch spot. We selected PJ’s Roadhouse for a destination. It’s one of those spots you frequently drive by and say, “We should stop in there some time.” And so, we did. I did not poll the rest of the group, but I’m going to give it a B+. I’ll likely go back, but if I had to drive as far as everybody else did, I probably wouldn’t make the trip. In the “plus” category: 1) Price. Hands down one of the most inexpensive places I’ve been to out here. 2) Food. Definitely on the “basic” side; Biscuits and gravy, eggs and bacon, stuff like that. But hey, I like basic, and the sausage gravy was very passable. Minuses: 1) Smokey. As Donette said, if I am going to insist on visiting dive spots, I am going to have to live with smokers. I don’t have to like it though. 2) No table service. I can’t believe I’m actually saying that. But, I have gotten so old and lazy that I really can’t be troubled to walk over to a bar and order. Remarkably, I did survive the ordeal though, and the sausage gravy quality outweighed the minor inconvenience.

Yosemite 2020

No update last week, I went dark. And by that, I mean actually cut off from the big Internet world for a full week. (OK, I did hike to the nearest wifi once a day and clear out my emails real quick.) We went on a vacation in the motor home with our co-owners to Yosemite Park, which is roughly 3 hours from home. The trip really came down to the wire; We had reservations at two different parks, (the other being in the Russian River area,) and the day before we left both were intolerably smoky. We nearly called off the whole thing, because what’s the fun of camping if you can’t even go outside? Well, after probably way-too-much reading and researching, it looked like it would be at least trending better at the Yosemite park, so we headed out for that option on Friday. Things worked out well for once. Indeed, it was a little hazy and there was a noticeable smoke smell in the air, but no worse than at home. It cleared up a little more each day, and by Tuesday of the following week the weather was fantastic. Our friends took off for home Wednesday morning, while Donette and I stayed until Saturday. The original plan was to work Thursday and Friday from the motorhome, and enjoy our evenings. That got effectively derailed when we showed up and there wasn’t cell coverage anywhere in the area. There was a shaky wifi signal outside the clubhouse (inside was closed for the covid,) but it was horribly slow and I couldn’t see myself sitting on a bench all day working. So, I just burned a few more vacation days and enjoyed the time off. There’s worse options. The park was great, maybe even better than our visit last year. Either because of the visitor restrictions (covid) or the off season (school being in session,) the park was nearly deserted. Maybe a combination of both, who knows. We weren’t asking questions, just enjoyed it. The downside of it was, most shops and restaurants were closed up. That’s OK; I’ll take the uncrowded trails and attractions over a pizza dinner.

That was our entire week, so that much rounds out the update. Since we stayed on at the park a few extra days, that also meant we had to drive the motor home back by ourselves. First time I’ve driven it. I think “absolutely terrifying” sums up that experience. Navigating that thing down the narrow, winding mountain roads was just not my idea of a good time. We made it though, with nary a scrape. (Sheesh, those rocks sure looked close…) The rest of the weekend was spent clicking through all the videos the security cameras caught at the house while we were gone. And while they are supposed to be “security cams” (Arlo) I really use them more for wildlife. (And Amazon deliveries of course.) I have a lot of cool videos of random animals cruising through the yard, but haven’t yet figured out how to post them here. Youtube is easy enough, but I hate those stupid ads. Anyway, we had all the usual suspects; Lots of deer, squirrels, birds, lizards, maybe even a rat. (Could have done without that one.) One newcomer was a pretty sizeable bobcat. Now THAT one makes me a little nervous. I think Quinn’s yapping, annoying voice would scare off most any animal, but Nacho is another story. Haven’t come up with a good answer for that one yet…

PSPS Round Two

I fully intended to get this thing updated on time for once. Alas, everybody’s favorite power company decided to shut off my power again. I honestly think they just step outside and hold their finger in the air. If they feel a slight breeze, off go the lights. So low-rent, it boggles the mind. On the upside, we were much more prepared this time around. Last time when they shut us off, our generator was still in a box down in the shed. This time, we rolled it out and fueled it up, and ran the cords to our “necessities.” These consist of my office PC, the garage ‘fridge, a floor fan, and the coffee pot. We also went ahead and hooked up the TV for the Sunday night NFL game, for a little entertainment. Donette grabbed a few of the solar powered landscaping lights and brought them in for some light, and we were good to go. When we went dark about 6:00 Sunday night, we just fired it up, switched out a few cords, and we were back. The biggest inconvenience is still the lack of running water. We are holding out hope for our backup batteries to come through, so we don’t want to pay to have the generator installed more permanently. Still no dates on if we’ll get them though.

As far as entertainment, we hosted our second annual backyard BBQ this weekend. It went off without a hitch, if I do say so myself. I thought the ‘que was a lot better than last year, and for whatever reason it was much easier to cook. Finally getting the new smoker dialed in? Not sure, but it only took around 9 hours to cook a full brisket and two pork butts. Much smaller crowd than last year too, which exponentially lowered the stress factor. (Nobody wants to drive this far up the hill. Our move plan is working fabulously.) Donette made some beans that were a huge hit, and a big bowl of slaw. A few desserts showed up on the counter, and we ended up with a pretty darn good meal. Did a bunch of chicken on the weber too, which came out tasty.

Lose a Few, Lose a Few

That wasn’t much of a weekend. We had another brunch on the schedule for Sunday, which essentially was the only notable event on my calendar. Alas, it got wrecked by work at the last minute and I had to cancel. I was genuinely excited to hone my biscuit recipe too. Tragic. Other than the canceled brunch, we also… No, there was nothing else. Bad movies and the occasional game of fetch with the pups. Speaking of pups, I guess we did babysit again. Our friend Dakota came up and hung out with us for a few nights while her family was on a trip. Dakota is a little bigger than last weekends guest; She’s a retriever, cleverly shaved down to look like a lab. (I think her haircut embarrasses her, but hey, it’s hot up here.) Her and Quinn had a great time running around all weekend. Nacho, as usual, was terrified of the huge monster, which amused me probably more than it should have. Well, anyway, maybe next weekend will be better. If I was a bettin’ man…