Thursday, April 30, 2009


Many thanks to all of you who called and sent cards for our 40th anniversary (!) a week ago. Forty years is a milestone and it made us feel great to be so appreciated. Thanks. Mel & Paulette

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Refrig problems

Our refrigerator died while we were in Portland. We had an extended warranty given us when we bought the refrig seven years ago. Because of the extended warranty we called the store where we bought it. Three days later the tech came out. The diagnosis: a bad compressor. I showed them the warranty. Trouble is the warranty did not cover labor, only parts. They gave me a price for labor that was over half what a new refrig would cost. Just the labor! I couldn't fathom what could cost that much labor in a simple refrigerator. I don't know if we were being scammed, but suspect the price of the compressor was built into the labor number. I called a friend who does refrigeration and air conditioning. He said we could do the repair if I got the part. So I called the warranty company in Missouri, and explained the situation. A very nice lady did some research and said they could ship ME a new compressor, and even include free freight! (Major kudos to Associated Service Corp. in St. Louis). Tuesday the new compressor arrived. Wednesday night we reclaimed the refrigerant, did a compressorechtomy. I spent most of Thursday trying to get the refrigerant charge right as we had nothing to go by. After lots of tweaking I think I got it correct. The refrig now gets colder than it ever has! We had the small refer in the RV and an ice chest in the house. Major kudos to Mom for her patience while I tried to keep the costs under control.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It lives!

Work is essentially completed on most aspects of the store interior so I have taken on new projects. I like tools. Good tools seldom depreciate. After years of this lift laying out back in the weeds I finally moved the lift components up to the front of the garage and got the mechanism operational. The task wasn't easy. Typical of a remodel I hit new obstacles at every turn. I had to build a phase converter to make the correct power for the lift, dig out old concrete and pour 1.5 cubic yards of thicker concrete (which we mixed out back!) and borrow a few industrial tools for installing anchor bolts. In the end we prevailed. I still have some technical final wiring things to do. Now that the lift is operational I'm feeling better about the project. Just like God standing back and looking at his new creation, this wayfarer loves to see a project complete and say, "It is good." On the other hand, Mom says something else. (Women don't seem to understand garage bling. Don't tell her but she is right. I hope to camouflage the lift somewhat with garage color paint). We had a refrigerator repairman over (only the second time in our marriage we have had a repairman) when she made an "ugly" comment, so I knew I had a male jury, and asked him if he thought the lift was ugly. He replied, "It's SWEET!"

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Annual Portland Trip

We made our annual migration to Portland the first weekend of April. Friday Jon and myself did the largest automotive swapmeet on the west coast for the fifth year in a row. We took Joe along this year. Jonah even bought some tools with his own money, but after four hours got a bit weary of watching Jon and me rummage through items we found interesting. Overall he did well for his first time, and even pushed the hand truck around a while. Elisabeth was gone for most of the first three days so we got to spoil grandkids at will :-).

Here Brynne and Ava are seen enjoying ice cream for breakfast. The kids were ecstatic when they heard about the possibility the night before, and quick to remind us when they got up the next morning. ( I think we started a new family tradition of ice cream for grandkid's breakfast in Houston over New Year.) Also, Brynne is really growing and finally getting some hair.

Jonah had his first Little League Baseball game of the season, and is also taking piano lessons. Here he is doing his thing at the keyboard (in baseball uniform) before a game. He needs no prodding to get him to practice piano. Trying to get him out in the yard to throw and hit a baseball with Papa Mel is another matter. He'd rather be at the keyboard.

On the way south we stopped in Sacramento for a night with friends. One night stretched into two as I got my arm twisted to seek out a guy selling dune buggy parts in the foothills. The extra few hours ended up putting a bunch of parts in my truck bed for the trip south. (Like I needed more stuff in the garage.)