Saturday, August 16, 2008

Now it rains!

Just as I got feeling better and back to work, our dry spell came to an end. I was looking forward to getting back on the Big Red Beast and working the rust off her buckets. I was walking outside to crank her up and it started raining. I haven't had any serious time on the Mahindra since some time back in June. That is just too long. I was really chanting, "Rain, rain, go away, come again another day!" Rust on the buckets, spider webs hanging from the canopy. Gosh, she sure looks forgotten! Speaking of rust on the bucket, I have had some pretty interesting feedback from guys online in tractor forums about front end loader buckets needing to be painted black. My 6520's bucket is red, just like the tractor. Some guys online get pretty huffy when I tell them I like my buckets shiny. Right now they are a long way from being painted red or shiny. I feel bad about the "rusty" look, but just about everything is back to normal now.

One thing that seems to be back to normal is my "plumbing". I felt fine and worked all week before the day of my colonoscopy. Then I had to prep for the colonoscopy. Wow, I really do not like that part. Waking up and hearing the Dr. say everything is normal was a big relief. He did say I needed to eat more fiber and take a fiber supplement. I tried the supplement in a glass of cool water. I had almost finished the whole glass until I let it sit awhile. I tipped the glass up for the last swallow or two and it moved like molasses! That's the last glass of supplement I have had!

I did get to shoot my new Ruger LCP. It is really a small gun. I can only get two of my small fingers on the grip. I like the way it barked when fired.

But I didn't care for the trigger "slapping" my finger after firing. It really got my attention. The little .380 has a long trigger pull that cocks the hammer and fires it. I am used to short trigger pulls with my Kimber. I found myself watching the hammer come back to get ready for it falling and firing off the cartridge. Which I can see is not a good practice. My Ruger and Kimber differences are night and day in handling and in size. I will continue to carry my Kimber. I will use the little Ruger peep squeak pistol for special occasions. I hope to shoot it again soon, with my friends trying the Ruger out also.

Last weekend I managed to squeeze in the Big Red Beast's 250 hour inspection. Since the 6520 holds about the same amount of oil as the Cummins in my pickup, I thought my oil drain pan would hold the oil. What I didn't realize is the Cummins has a 1/2 inch drain opening and the Mahindra has about a 1inch drain opening. Before I knew what was happening, the oil overflowed the pan and into the dirt floor of the barn. Talk about a mess. If I was at work I would just throw down some kitty litter and sweep it up. But what do country folk use as kitty litter. Oh yeah....dirt. I threw some loose dirt on it, scooped it up and gave it to the trash can. I didn't want it to seep in the soil. I am starting to think more and more to do the "green" thing for our environment. Tomorrow I will be giving all her grease points a lube, then (weather permitting) going over to the neighbor's and finish what I started clearing way back last June.

Not much else going on right now. I have been getting back in the "groove" at work and have been getting more sheet metal assignments. Usually we have the plane finished in about 6 or 7 hours in our 10 hour shift, with 3 hours waiting (resting) around for quitting time. But when we have sheet metal cracks, it usually takes the whole shift and more. Thank God for day shift to give a turn over to.

Luke, Rebecca and I went went to the Astros game today at Minute Maid Park. Christina was planning on going with us, but got sick and didn't feel good enough to go. I used to take Luke and Rebecca to watch the Astros in the Astrodome and we would sit in the center field "cheap seats". Kids got in for $1. I got in for $5. What a bargain! Parking cost more at $8. Today, it was $50 a ticket and $15 for parking. My food and drink cost over $20! Luke keep saying we needed to be in the outfield seats. Guess he remembers the good old days too. We were lucky in that the Astros won over the St. Louis Cardinals by 3-0 and that the roof was kept closed with the air conditioners on. I was spoiled by the Astrodome and growing up watching baseball inside! Anyway, check out the photos I added here.

Hurricane Gustav will be coming ashore west of New Orleans. Guess we will see now if the levees hold back the Mississippi River and the storm surge. I pray they hold like designed. Just three years ago Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and that city still hasn't recovered. I still have reminders of Hurricane Rita, that followed Katrina. My giant hollow oak tree's trunk still stands as a reminder. I have left it standing for the red shouldered hawk family that lives in the area. I am not sure if they stay in my tree, but have heard they nest in hollow trees. With the rains we are expected to get from this storm, it may be a while longer before I can dig my pond. Oh well, there is always the barn to finish! Tomorrow is Labor Day and hopefully the rains will stay away long enough for me to remove the backhoe from the Big Red Beast and install the 3PH arms and hook up the brush hog. Then mow all my gully edges and rough overgrown areas. I usually do this once in the spring and once in the fall, but didn't get to this year as I was busy taking care of Mom and Dad. Stop back later to hear more from Brand, Booger, and the Big Red Beast.

hugs, Brandi

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hurricanes and Tropical Storms

In the last month, the Texas Gulf coast has had Hurricane Dolly hit our lower coast and Tropical Storm Edouard hit our upper coast. These storms really get our attention after Hurricane Rita ripped through the upper Texas coast three years ago. But Dolly and Edouard just left us with needed rain. My grass was starting to die and Edouard gave the grass a life saving breather. Luke cut the grass today. The first time in about 7 weeks. While Luke was having fun on my mower, I was slaving away with my weed eater. First time I cranked it up all summer. It has been dry!

Allstate came out and gave me an estimate on the water damage from Luke's water polo tryouts. It was way more than I expected, but not much after my $500 deductible was taken out. I already have new carpet pad and trim. Now just to find the time to install it. Then I can take the dollars from the insurance settlement and get concrete poured in half of the barn. I have been stagnant while trying to figure out if I want to continue finishing the barn or wait for the concrete. Actually I haven't had the time to do any barn work. So everything happens for a reason. God's will is very mysterious!

Okay, the pills for stressed out nerves did not work. I stopped taking them after becoming physically clumsy. I have been having good days and sick days, but made it back to work without getting sick or weak. I finally was referred to a specialist. He took me off of the diarrhea medicine I was taking and prescribed pills for stomach cramps. He also told me what I was dreading to hear..............."I think we will schedule you for a colonoscopy". I have had one before and I am not looking forward to it. The procedure is not that bad, but the prep the night before is murder.

I have an ad to sale Dad's generator in the American Classified want ads out of Bryan, Texas for a 4 week run. But with 10 days into the ad, nobody has inquired about buying it. Maybe my neighbors will buy it if I lower the sales price. I had planned on taking the log slicer over to let Top Flight Equipment get it running, but they had a two week back log in service. So I decided to remove the carburetor and take it apart myself and clean it. I had to order a few parts and waited a week for them to come in. In the meantime, I got sick again and didn't get a chance to tear apart the carburetor, let alone get it back on the engine! Guess I might take it to Top Flight after all. I did manage to change out the 2x6 ramps on the lawnmower trailer and replace them with treated 2x12s. Now the turn and stop lights are protected by the ramp when loading or unloading equipment. As for the Troybilt tiller, I haven't touched it. They are all still out in the barn, chained together, taking up space.

I sold Mom and Dad's furniture at a bulk lot right out of the storage space to a used furniture salesman. We didn't get near what the furniture was worth, but we have no storage fees to worry about now. We have a few antiques in the house and Mom and Dad's couch that I might try to sell, but with the economy in the tank, it just might take a while. Rebecca is coming up this next weekend. She will take the furniture we brought back with us while moving her into a smaller apartment back to her Mawmaw's house in East Texas. One of the armchairs she will take back is an antique gold brocade with tacks around wooden arm trim. The guy we sold most of the furniture to told us that it might fetch $250 in Houston. But it isn't mine to sell, but my ex Mother-in-law's. Oh well, it sure looks nice in my living room for another week. I did manage to get a few minutes on the Mahindra, but it was only to move my gooseneck trailer in and out of the barn. Hopefully next weekend I can get back on her and rack up a lot of seat time after her 250 hour inspection.

As the weeks go by, Buttons is more or less starting to show some of his unique personality traits. He is a lover, not a fighter. He is always following his new girlfriend, Phoebe, around. They never sleep together in the cage, but I can always find them intertwined in my Grandma's antique dresser bottom drawer. When Phoebe takes a nap and Buttons isn't tired, he hangs around my feet while I am busy in my bathroom or bedroom. He still hasn't taken a liking to raisins and may never even eat a raisin. He doesn't touch his favorite pillow that came here with him. Most importantly, he has learned that ferrets play rough and cuts Phoebe no quarter.

My birthday present finally came in. I ordered it back on July 11th. and picked it up last Friday. Three days short of a month. That is a big difference of what the salesman told me of 10 days to two weeks. What I ordered is a Ruger Light Compact Pistol (LCP) in .380 auto. It is a small pistol that only weighs 11 ounces empty. This little Ruger is selling like hotcakes. I will wear it strapped to my thigh when I wear long skirts or gowns that totally clash with my large pistol purse that is about the size of a saddlebag. It really is a big purse and my Kimber (along with cosmetics and other necessities) really weighs it down. Now I will have protection even in a skimpy evening gown.

Well, I am tired now, so I guess I will go get ready for bed. Stop in later to hear what is happening with Brandi, Booger, and the Big Red Beast. I did manage to upload a few more photos. You can view them here.

hugs, Brandi