Sunday, May 28, 2017

Battleship Iowa Memorial Day Activities

It always bugged me, even as a kid, when people talked about "celebrating" Memorial Day.

You have to be a pretty strange person to "celebrate" the deaths of large numbers of our military!

No, people....we Commemorate Memorial Day. It's a solemn day, or should be, a remembrance of those who gave it all for our country. Flags should be flown at half-mast, and when you hoist a cold one this weekend, make sure you hoist one for all those who never came home.

There's music and food trucks, and free admission for Veterans this weekend down on the Iowa. I'd normally be there for the whole weekend, but with The Great Colorado Move looming, I'm sorting, cleaning, and photographing stuff to list on eBay. After this round the Radio Room will be pretty empty of "surplus" items, and I'll start in on the sellable things I have in the garage.

I'll be on the Iowa all day Monday, as we'll be on-the-air in commemoration of Memorial Day. I think there's a few guys down there today, so look for NI6BB in frequencies ending in "61", like 14.261, one of our favorite frequencies to sit on.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Colorado Trip "AAR"

Only been back an hour or two, and still getting normalized, but I thought I'd dash this off for all my friends who are pulling for us in our escape from The People's Demokratik Republik of Kaliforniastan.

First off, little Noah and The Kids are doing well. He's still on supplemental Oxygen, and has a monitor connected to him, but the monitor stays consistently at 95% or above. They "test" him a couple of times a day, per instructions from the NICU, by turning off the O2, and seeing how fast and how far the monitor drops, and then turning the O2 back on. The monitor goes to the NICU weekly, where they download the data from it for analysis.

I forget what the exact parameters are, but they say he's getting better, and will most likely be off the O2 for good in another month or so, but that's entirely up to the Doctors at the NICU.

The "bachelor" apartment in the "shop" building on the property where The Kids are living should be finished in the next month, and that's where we'll be staying when we first move to Fort Collins after we sell this place, and pack up what's left.

It'll be good for the kids. as Grandma #2 will be on-site to take care of Noah while his Mom and Dad are at work.

And of course, Diamond, Coco, and Obie went completely nuts when we got there, and took a couple of days to get used to having us around again. No idea how they'll get along with Pebbles when we get there, though. I think she and Diamond will become fast friends, but Coco gets on this "Alpha Dog" kick every so often, so we'll have to watch that closely. Obie is a complete unknown.

Our in-laws (Noah's other grandparents) are doing great, and it was fun catching up on local news with them while we were there.

The house search is progressing, and my wife has come to grips with the reality of the market in Fort Collins and the surrounding areas. Things I've been telling her for the last two years that were completely ignored coming from me were magically accepted as carved-in-stone facts after the Nice Young Guy real estate agent we spent some time with on Sunday told her the exact same things, and then complimented me for "having a good handle on the local market while living in another state".

She also significantly increased the price cap on properties to search for after FINALLY coming to the grim (for her) realization that we would NEVER be able to buy something that meets her criteria by using only the profit from the sale of this house.

No.....Freaking.....Way would we be able to buy a place with $270k.

Just aint gonna happen.

So now we're looking at the $400k and under market, and there are some stunning places available in the price range.

Older, established neighborhoods with big trees, 12,000+ sq ft lots, and a pride of ownership in the houses and neighborhoods that just shows.

As we were driving through some of the neighborhoods looking for addresses, or just gawking at the houses, people would wave to us! Not shake their fist in a "Get out of here!" attitude, but a big "Howdy neighbor!" kind of wave.

I think we're going to enjoy living up here......

Monday, May 22, 2017

Headed Back To The Land of Fruits and Nuts

Headed back Tuesday morning after a nice restful, productive, and joyous time here in the Fort Collins area.

Restful because the traffic is about 90% less by volume than back in SoCal, productive because my wife has finally realized all the things I've been telling her about the real estate market out here is true, and joyous as we got to spend some time with little Noah, the kids, and Diamond, Coco, and Obie, the three dogs the kids took when they moved here.

We're expecting to walk away with around $275k from the sale of the house in SoCal, and my wife has finally realized we're NOT going to be able to buy a house with just that amount. Well....there are houses out there at that price point, some with very large lots, but the houses are best described as "livable, but need a bit of updating". So, she's raised the house finding price cap to $400k, and that means it's a whole new ball game.

I've been trying to pound that into her head the last two years, but she was completely deaf to my "research findings".

Sunday we met with a different realtor, a very nice young guy who appears to know his stuff, and she listened to him. The little light bulb in her head finally started to glow a bit, and by dinnertime she'd accepted the fact that we're going to have to get a mortgage of about $140k to really make this happen.


So I was up until well after 0100 last night / this morning going over the results of my modified search parameters on the real estate sites I use so we'd have some addresses to go check out today.

The Nice Young Guy had her convinced that we'd find paradise in either Wellington or Loveland (I know better, but she flat-out ignored my advice), so today we checked some properties I thought were good matches for us at $400k and under, and then blew the rest of the day bu first going up to Wellington, and then South down to Loveland. She declared Wellington to be "desolate" (huh?) Loveland to be "too far" (no shit, Sherlock), but was absolutely bowled over by the places I found.

Then she started babbling on about "Well how come YOU can find these houses and the agent can't?" at which point I told her she had the agent searching for stuff at $350k and under, AND searching in Wellington and Loveland, etc, etc, etc, but she still didn't get it.

Double Sigh........

Several of the places I found were out off Mulberry where it crosses Interstate 25, and they were knock-outs. Big lots, very well maintained, big trees, and just a very nice, livable looking neighborhood.

And I found a couple of places in the Laporte area at the new price cap, but we didn't have time to see them after wasting THREE HOURS going down to Loveland even though I knew she wouldn't be happy AT ALL going that far away. There's some nice houses down there, but that area is exploding with new growth and houses, and the roads are NOT capable of supporting the volume of traffic that's going to come.

So, it'll be back to dumping more of my stuff on eBay, giving some to the Iowa, some to friends, and some to the recylce / eWaste people.

She has three weeks until retirement, and then I think she'll really start chomping at the bit to get out of SoCal.

I'd post some of the pix I took, but I can't get them off my phone and on to this blasted laptop. It sees the phone, and that's it, even when I switch the phone from "USB Charging" to "File Transfer Mode".


Friday, May 19, 2017

I Finally Get To Meet Little Noah!

And my wife said I was holding him"Like you were afraid you'd break him"!

Yeah, well.....if I broke him he's one of the few things I couldn't fix on the spot, so yeah, I was pretty careful with him!

He's still on supplemental Oxygen (the tubes by his little head), and wired up to the monitor (wire by his little foot), which you can see behind on the shelf.

Sunday and Monday we'll be driving around with realtors to look at properties. My wife has two weeks left at work before she retires, and then we'll kick it up to warp speed to get the house ready for sale.

Now she's thinking we'll be out of Kommiefornia in September. If I would have suggested that time frame even a few months ago she would have slapped me silly.

Oh, well......

eBay sales over the past couple of weeks went very well, and the Radio Room is about half cleaned out now. As soon as we get back I have several more "basket case" radios I'll drag out of the garage and photograph so I can list them. They're all in good condition, in various stages of restoration, and I'll list them as such. Most of the "hard to do" repairs are (properly) finished on them, and for a couple it's simply a matter of reassembling the box of parts that will sell with each, so several people will get some bargains.

We're also planning on having a yard sale, but I think she's expecting *me* to provide the bulk of the items!

She was looking at my 8' tall Glen Martin tower with the azimuth/elevation rotors on it the other day and said something like "You're not planning on taking that thing when we move, are you?", to which I replied "Only if YOU'LL replace it when we get there!".

After she found out the tower, rotors, thrust bearing, mast, and assorted stainless hardware I used to build it would cost, oh, say $2000 to replace, she backed right off. She remembers me building it, how happy I was to get the rotors working with laptop control, and how much I used it for Field Day and other operations. She had no idea what it all cost, and still doesn't realize that some of things I have, and she sees me use, are sometimes irreplaceable, and a bit pricey if I did have to replace them. This has been an ongoing issue between us in "deciding" what's going with us, and what *I* have to dump to keep her happy.

Oh, well.......I'm sure our little house in Long Beach will sell pretty quickly once we put it on the market.

At this point the concept of "Logistics" is finally dawning on her.....

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Arrived In Fort Collins

Got into Denver about 1530 local time, and was met with 40* temps and rain.

Took almost an hour to get our rental car. The agent told us there had been some bad hailstorms in the last week, and a lot of the rental car fleets had half their stock in the shop being repaired. The daughter-in-law confirmed this, saying a few older malls sustained so much damage that they'd most likely be torn torn rather than repaired.

About 30 miles North of DIA, the rain turned to sleet, and then to snow. I've driven in this stuff before, so it didn't bather me too much, but the wife was white-knuckled until we got to the hotel.

Called the kids, and then ordered some pizza to take with us for dinner.

The dogs went completely bonkers when they saw us, as expected, and I got to meet little Noah tonight.

We left their place about 2130, and the snow had tapered off quite a bit.

The Denver Tee Vee stations are in "ZOMG!!! SNOWMAGEDDON!!!" mode, predicting up to 7" overnight.

It's 2245 here, and I'm trashed from the flight and the drive.

More tomorrow........

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Light Posting Ahead

As if I could get any "lighter" than I already am.....

We're head out to Colorado Thursday morning to see the grandbaby, hang out with the family, and do some serious house hunting.

Here's the little guy all dressed up for his first Mother's Day:

I've got about 12 items from my eBay sales to get packed and shipped today, and then have some chores around the house to do before we get out of here.

And I have to get my rolling duffle out of the garage and pack it up.

I'll be on the Iowa all day Wednesday doing some meetings and a recap of our Armed Forces Day Cross-Band test where we had the Iowa on-the-air as NEPM for the first time since 1990.

I went pretty well, with a few operator error snafus, and a few technical problems, but we had a great turn out, plenty of operators, and some great food from one of our new members whose wife owns a sandwich shop, and makes killer potato salad.

Had some "family issues" yesterday that shot the whole day (Rev. Paul knows what I'm talking about), but that seems to have settled down for now.

Pix from the Iowa NEPM ops might be posted later today, God willin' and the crick don't rise!

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Dentist Said...HOW MUCH?!!!?

Oh, boy......

I got back from the Dentist a while ago and I'm still reeling from "Sticker Shock".

I knew I need some dental work as I've been getting food trapped between my rear most molars on the bottom on both sides, and a month or so ago I had a chip break out of one on the lower right side. Plus, I need a really good cleaning as I haven't been to the Dentist since I retired 3 years ago and lost my Dental coverage at the Dentist I've been going to since 1995.

My wife's dental plan didn't cover her, and while I'd been to my wife's Dentist during my lay-off between Boeing and Energia, I just kinda-sorta "never went" back since I started retirement.

WELLLLL.....I need a bit more than I anticipated.

A LOT more, in fact.

About $18k more......

To start, I need a crown on one tooth, but at least that tooth in good enough shape that it doesn't need a root canal.

And I have three fillings that are "leaking" and need to be replaced. The X-Rays show those three teeth are in good condition except that the fillings are shot.

The real kicker is I need THREE teeth extracted, and implants placed there or the teeth above them will soon get all weirded out, and I'll lose them.

And because of a night-time problem of grinding my teeth when I sleep, my lower front teeth are worn to the point that if I don't get all of them crowned, they'll be going bye-bye in a few years....

Looks like my "Colorado Garage Fund" just took a major hit.......

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Little Noah Finally Goes Home!


The natal ICU was happy with his progress, and he hasn't had any "incidents" in a long enough time to be released, so the kids brought him home Tuesday.

Here's the happy Mom with the doggie nannies in attendance:

And here's a short video of the little guy snuggled in his car seat on the way home.

We're headed out there next week to spend a week with the kids and Noah, and do some house hunting.

My wife has TWENTY DAYS of work remaining before she retires.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

President Trump Finally Says "You're FIRED!" to Comey

I was hoping he'd do it in his first 100 days, but hey...better a bit late than never!

Trump Fires Comey

Stand by for a deluge of liberal tears, and the inevitable leftist meltdown.....

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Rainy Day Sunday, Moving Preps, and Other Stuff

Getting some "Spring Rains" here in SoCal. Got about .15" last night/early today, and it just cut loose again.

That's a bit unusual here for this time of year, but not unheard of.

Total as of right now is about .38", and it's slowed from a pretty good downpour (for out here) to a nice steady drizzle.

I'm sloooowly getting the Radio Room cleaned out, and I've gotten rid of about 1/3 of the stuff that was stacked up in here. A lot of it is going on eBay, some on QRZ and eHam, some has been given away, and some of it is outside on the back porch on it's way to either the eWaste place, or the recycling place for anything aluminum or copper. It kind of pains me to scrap some of it as it's older, but perfectly functional, stuff that I know somebody could make use of, but that nobody wants.

Some of it's heavy, and not too many people will bid on a good, usable $10 item if the shipping is $25!

I haven't sold much on eBay in the last year or so, and when I took my latest bunch of stuff to get shipped I got hit with "sticker shock" when I had to pay the tab to ship it. Stuff that used to cost $10~$15 to ship cost $20~$25 this time, and I wound up losing money on a couple of items. The items I put on eBay last Sunday had shipping prices that I thought were a bit high, but people have bids on them, so I guess I'm not out of line.

I don't use the eBay Shipping Calculator as I've found it to be grossly low on the actual cost of shipping, even when I "padded" the dimensions and weight, and ADDED 10% to that! I lost my 10% discount at the place I use as my friend sold the business to a nice young couple so he could go full time into the coffee roasting/selling side business he had going, so that accounts for a small cost increase, but geez.....I'm paying DOUBLE what I did just a year or so ago.

As far as The Great Colorado Move goes, we talked with a couple of handyman guys to get some things done here that I can't or won't do ( I do NOT paint! Long story there....), and one guy never called back, and one guy has a big project remodeling the bathroom at The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo that's paying him big bucks, and he can't squeeze us in within the time frame my wife wants.

We need some wall repair/painting inside, a driveway gate replaced, and a bunch of other stuff done. This week I'm pulling some antennas down and packing them up, and then the patio area is getting taken down due to dry rot and termite damage. The top of the patio area is where I have my 33' HF vertical, so I have to get that off the "roof" of the patio, pull down my elevated radials, and remove the remote antenna coupler, coax, and a bunch of stuff so my son and I can disassemble the structure.

My wife thinks she can just take my SawzAll and chop the thing down, but I know better, although there's been a few times in the last couple of weeks when I've been tempted to get the SawzAll out, and tell her to have at it........

Supras and Stereos.....

 The repairs on the Fisher RS-2010 are proceeding, but a bit slower than I expected. The failed transistor is an obsolete part number, so I ...