Friday, December 28, 2007

2 for 2

Dayna was rear-ended yesterday while she was sitting at a stop light. Her major complaint is a stiff neck. She has a KIA Optima which is uni-body construction. Her bumper is destroyed & she can't open her trunk so there may be some significant damage. Chris is taking it to body shops today for estimates.

My dad has had two skin cancer surgeries in the surgeon's office in the past two weeks and will have a major one Jan. 11. I am flying out on the 10th to help nurse him. The next one will be on his chin and several other places. Daddy will probably not be able to eat solids for about a week afterward. Two new spots have become visible since last week. They seem to be popping up so frequently any more there's just no end to it. His PCP will determine if he has the next one under a local or general.

Richard has his final appointment for the disk study he is in on the 23rd. I fly back on the 22nd and we plan to leave for points west on the 24th.

He was denied health insurance due to his disk replacement so will begin the process to get in under VA. He talked with them and found because he is a Vietnam vet they consider them all to have been exposed to Agent Orange and will provide insurance for many of them. It's quite a process but he's hopeful he'll be accepted.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Two DVR Family

Dayna woke us at 8 am to tell us Chris had been in an accident in McKinney. He was not hurt but the car was totaled. We have been driving the pickup and he was driving their old Cavalier which they were saving for Deidra. A lady in an SUV pulled out in front of him on a major highway with a 60 mph speed limit. He could not stop and broadsided her at about 40 mph. She was not hurt either since his car basically dove beneath her SUV. Air bags and seat belts work.

Tuesday I ordered an upgrade to a high definition DVR from DirecTV. I managed to get it for $99 instead of the $299 regular price by talking to their customer retention department and threatening to change over to Dish. The installer was scheduled for today and I have spent the past two days getting ready. I decided to run all new cables since I need two inputs for the Hughes Tivo DVR which we will move to the bedroom and two cables for the new DirecTV high-def DVR. This will also make it much easier to use the rooftop antenna and cable TV in RV parks when we are only stopping overnight and do not want to set up the dish.

So, this morning I moved the Hughes Tivo from the living room to the bedroom. I was able to get rid of a lot of extra cables and it works fine. The Tivo has to sit on its side, but that should not be a problem since the only thing in it that moves is a disk drive which does not care which way is up.

The installer arrived about 10:30 and we set about installing the equipment. He had never done an RV before and basically did what I told him. He installed the dish on the mount I made and it worked great. In fact, I think I can reduce its size a little.

Then he made me a couple 50’ cables to do the hookups, and we hooked up the new DVR. It did not work. It did not even power up properly. So he brought out another unit and we set it up. It did not work on one line and after some investigating we discovered that one of the 10 foot cables I had purchased from WalMart was defective. I could see where it was shorted out because the end had not been put on properly. He replaced the end and everything worked.

I had to call DirecTV to get the network Distant Network Service hi-def channels (east and west coast network feeds) turned on, but otherwise it was all there. I do not think this DVR is as user friendly as the Tivo because it does not record things based on likes and dislikes. You have to set up searches with keywords or create season passes.

But, and it is a big but, the hi-def is incredible! I spent the rest of the day setting up my favorite channels, season passes and wish lists and trying to get familiar with it and the new remote. I think I have it all set, but only time will tell.

Dianna on the other hand is not real happy with having a DVR of her own. I thought she would be thrilled. She misses the fact that her old RCA receiver told her the original broadcast date of any rerun. The Tivo DVR only tells her the year it was first broadcast. That is her biggest complaint! I hope she gets used to it. She thinks she will continue to watch most TV live and only watch Tivo'ed stuff that was recorded when she was not home or when more than one thing was being broadcast that she wanted to watch. I bet she will soon discover the joy of not watching commercials. We’ll see.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Project Updates

I know it is probably not interesting for many readers, but after posting every day all summer I get to feeling guilty if I don't post every so often, even if there is nothing to say.

I already posted about the new TV. The next thing we did was change the arrangement of much of our kitchen storage. First, I built a shelving unit to place in the huge area where the old TV was located. I included some vertical compartments to store cookie sheets, cooling racks and pizza pans. There are also two large, tall shelves that provide places for cereal boxes, crackers, cookies and bags of chips.

That shelving unit allowed us to move all the things on the top shelf of the island so we put dividers and a small cubby unit I built for foil and baggies there. We then moved all the pots and pans from the bottom shelf of the island unit to the bottom drawer below the stove top. That opened up enough space for all the stuff that was in the top two drawers under the stove top.

Our island came with two drawers that opened from opposite sides. We have always used the drawer facing the kitchen for silverware, but the drawer facing the dinning area has just had a few cookbooks and manuals. We never thought it was too convenient. I got to looking at it while I was working with the shelves in the island and realized I could change the direction by removing the false front and reversing the glides. Now we have both drawers facing the kitchen and all the big utensils, like spatulas and potato mashers, are now located there instead of the container on the kitchen counter. Big improvement! With all the moving we now have two drawers with almost nothing in them. How neat is that in an RV? And, in time, we will figure out where we put everything without having to try three places. :-)

We then purchased our new Amana gas range. It has the largest oven available for RV use and required some work to make it fit where the old cook top and top two drawers were. This was the first time I have ever worked with Corian. Although it looks very much like a solid material, it is actually a kind of plastic. Regular wood tools work fine on it and create actual shavings. It does not melt like normal plastic would when drilled and cut.

The first thing our new oven was used for was to reheat Pizza! It worked great. Dianna is very happy to finally have a regular oven. The convection oven works well for many things, but it was not large enough and required us to be plugged in or run the generator while using it. This is much better.

We have a few more minor projects to complete before we leave here in late January. It is nice being near Chris and Dayna's because Chris has lot's of woodworking tools. I could not do the things I have done with his table saw, router, chop saw, drill press and sanders. And, it is fun making your home exactly the way you want it.