Thursday, February 28, 2008
It's a good thing I'm retired or I wouldn't have time to deal with this mess revolving around my KitchenAid wall oven. One repair "technician" came on Monday to replace the oven fan and door seal. That makes 3 thermostats, one fan and one door seal that have been replaced so far. As soon as the repair guy walked out of the house, I started the self clean cycle and guess what? About two hours into the cycle, the oven crashed. Duh.
You're probably asking why I didn't have them stay through the cycle....Well, I asked them and they said they couldn't stay that long. So, I was immediately back on the phone to KitchenAid. When KitchenAid "graciously" (Yes, I AM being sarcastic!) extended the warranty for another 6 months they said that after this repair they would send a different repair company to attempt repairs. So another appointment for this week was set up for yesterday morning.
This time there were two "technicians". I suppose that's because these two seemed to be only half as capable as the one from the other shop. The first thing they did was to supposedly test the thermostat and declared it to be "fine". When I tried to get them to explain why the past 3 times the thermostat was replaced and the oven worked they just said that the test meter doesn't lie.
They next turned their attention to the power supply on the wall to see if it was providing 240 volts. When I mentioned that if it was not the heating element would never work, they said "just checking". Well, they couldn't get the proper reading and were convinced this was the problem. Finally they decided to plug the oven in and check the voltage somewhere on the oven itself. Surprise, surprise there was 240 volts. It seems as if they couldn't position their probes to get a correct reading when trying directly on the wall outlet.
To make a long story short, after phone consultation directly with KitchenAid they deduced that the main electronic control panel was the problem and unfortunately they would have to order that part. I hope my logic is totally faulty because I can't see that as the issue but believe me I would love to be wrong. I would willing wear a sign around my neck for a week declaring that I am an unknowing lout....if they can only fix this once and for all.
They are scheduled to come back tomorrow. That makes three times this week. Wish me luck.
On a more pleasant note, Guitar and I went to Roxborough State Park yesterday afternoon for a hike. The weather was quite pleasant in town so we decided to see what it was like at the park.
Because of the terrain there was still a bit of snow lingering but that made for some nice pictures. The park was pretty much deserted and we only saw four other people the whole time we were there. As you can see from the pictures in this post, the creatures "great and small" were out and doing the thing they need to do to survive.
The animals realize that they are safe in this environment and are not skittish around humans. The nice buck deer in the picture above was in a herd of about 5 other deer and was not at all concerned about our presence. We had a heck of a time getting him to lift his head from feeding to get a good picture. Talking didn't work. Shouting didn't work. Shouting and waving our arms didn't work.....only a near miss with a small rock got his attention enough to lift his head for a couple of seconds.
Now that the weather seems to be moderating, I will make this park a regular on my schedule. It sure is a lot more interesting than 30 minutes on a treadmill!
Thanks for visiting.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Saturday evening Guitar and his spouse Pic-E, The Bride and I went to a cabaret show in downtown Denver. The cabaret is Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret and is located in the basement of a very historic building on the 16th Street Mall of downtown Denver.
The proprietress, Lannie Garrett, is a well known local entertainer that has been pleasing audiences for many years in the Denver area. She sure did continue that tradition with us on Saturday.
The cabaret is an intimate setting, seating about 150 people max and it was a full house this night. The show is a spoof of an unnamed, now deceased, country western singer in the best tradition of a spoof. Nothing was sacred. The crowd came to hear the outrageous and got it in spades. Many in the audience were dressed in their most outlandish western outfits to lend to the atmosphere.
For about three hours we were entertained by "Patsy", who by the way, has an absolutely fabulous voice, with songs, stories and jokes. Patsy told us about her life, her hit albums like "The Hair on his Chest is Her's", and how her 8 or so husbands met their demise. It was a night of belly laughs.
The band was very good as well. In the spirit of the show they all had special names like Chester Drawers and Neil Down.
This show has been on my to-do list for quite some time and I'm happy that we were finally able to see it.
Thanks for visiting.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Man, life is good!!
Two posts ago I reported that I have acquired a "new to me" Class A RV. I also own a 25 foot travel trailer. Now, this is a bit of an overkill in the RV department so it was always my intention to sell "Bivouac" after I found a suitable replacement.
Selling an RV of any type can be a hit or miss kind of a thing. You just never know. There are a lot dynamics to the marketplace and now with gas prices high it's an even more "iffy" market. I will admit that I had some concerns.
After completing the deal for the new RV however, I was committed, so late Thursday afternoon, I listed Bivouac on Craigslist. Friday morning I got one call inquiring about the trailer and made an appointment to show it on Saturday morning. That's the only call I got all Friday and Saturday so I was not feeling all that confident about my prospects.
Showing the trailer to a prospective buyer involves a fair amount of work as I have to bring it from the storage facility to my home, extend the slide out, hook up power and do all the other things to make it presentable. The neighborhood I live in does not allow me to keep a trailer on the street more than 3 days at a time so I could spend a lot of time and effort dragging the trailer back and forth to the storage lot.
The title of this post is "Goodbye Bivouac" so you kinda know how things turned out. The first and only interested party in two days showed up promptly for the appointment and within 15 minutes made an offer to buy Bivouac. The offer was fair and very close to what I listed the trailer for so it was a done deal!....Well, it will be a done deal on Tuesday when money changes hands and I hand him the title.
Man, life is good!!
Thanks for visiting.
Friday was the actual date of remembrance of that day, mrffj years ago, that Too Tall-Two Timing entered this world. It was also close to the ceremonial date of Corvair Man's birthday as well. Corvair Man is "related" to The Circle by a previous employer so we all have some common ground....and now that I write this I realize that Corvair Man is really quite uncommon, if you get my drift?
At any rate it was time for more festivities, so we all gathered at the celebration table at the back of Bud's Bar in Sedalia, CO. Since Bud's is not a place where you even speak the word "reservations" and since it was a Friday night, getting the celebration table took some doing. Bud's doesn't have a table marked at "The Celebration Table" but it's the only table that will accommodate 8 people at once and it's in the back of the bar so if a fight breaks out, we're kinda out of the way. I made sure The Bride and I arrived sufficiently late so as not to have to worry about jockeying for this choice table.
If you remember from previous posts, choosing off the "menu" at Bud's is not a difficult task. Their menu consists of a hamburger patty on a bun...with....or without...cheese. Don't even think about ordering fries because...."we don't have no damn fries". Chips are the only side.
These are, however, dynamite burgers. Not your fast food McDananld's type but flavorful and greasy enough to bring flashbacks to that simpler time in our lives when grease was a legitimate food group!
In the picture above, Corvair Man is speechless....no that's not correct, he's never speechless. Maybe the be better word is contemplative? His mind is churning about the multiple possibilities of a six pack of plastic beer bottles. A true environmentalist, he is pondering how he might extend the life of these plastic vessels.
Two Timing-Too Tall was sufficiently impressed with his tributes as well. Because he and his bride K, have now entered the ranks of RV enthusiasts and are spending more time in the wilds, I got him a bear bell. We explained to him that if he would put the bell on any bears in the campground area, they would not be able to sneak up on him. When he inquired how exactly he would do that we told him, VERY carefully! Not sure he believed us.
A good time was had by all and the group broke up pretty early as K and Too Tall-Two Timing were headed out of town the next day.
So, Too Tall and Corvair Man, Happy Birthday from your friends. May there be many more Bud's burgers to mark your journey through life.
Thanks for visiting.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
After a couple of weeks of looking, researching and negotiating, I am now the owner of a "new to me" Class A RV. I currently own a travel trailer and have owned boats in the past. The old saying with boats is "The happiest days in a man's life are the day he buys a boat....and the day he sells it." This may be true for RVs as well and if it is, today is a happy day.
I have enjoyed my trailer for a couple of years now but it just didn't allow me to do all the things I wanted to do. My new Class A won't either, but I'll be able to do a lot more of those things with this RV than I could with "Bivouac". When Bivouac was hooked to the tow vehicle the entire thing was over 40 feet long....That requires a lot of space to maneuver and turn around. I had to be real careful about where I went so that I didn't get myself boxed in. Believe me, backing up a 40 foot rig for more than a few hundred feet is not something you look forward to doing!
My new rig is 25 feet long, bumper to bumper. This is a size that I can easily "boondock" in. For the uninitiated, "boondocking" is the art of overnight camping in areas that do not have power and water hookups and many times are not in recognized campgrounds.
One of my favorite sayings is "Life is a Tradeoff" and it is true in this case as well. When I exchange 40 foot length for 25 foot length I lose living space, storage space and a separate transportation vehicle. For my purposes however, this will not be an issue and things are going to work just fine.
It will be about 10 days until the title is transferred, required mechanical work is completed and I can think about "gettin on down the road". Actually, I don't need to think about it at all. I have already laid out a shakedown cruise to New Mexico, so as soon as all the irritating details are taken care of....I'm gone!
As a follow up to my last post about my built in oven, I am currently waiting for a part to be shipped to me. The repair service has decided to change out three parts including a new blower fan which they feel will resolve the problem. My online research indicates that it will not. Anyhow, the parts were scheduled to be installed today but one part is back-ordered so the repair has been rescheduled for next week. As soon as the repair guy puts the unit back in the wall, I will start the self clean cycle with every expectation that it will self destruct.....hope I'm wrong, but I don't think so.
Thanks for visiting.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
It seems as if I have become involved in an old fashioned cheat the customer scam....and it looks like I'm in company with hundreds or thousands of others.
Less than a year ago, The Bride and I decided to upgrade our built in oven and microwave from the unit that came with the house. The operative word is "upgrade". We had a plain jane low cost builders unit and wanted something a little more upscale.
After minimal research we selected a KitchenAid self-cleaning model and paid several thousands of dollars for it. The unit was delivered and installed and everything was hunky dory for a month or so. After about 60 days we used the "self-clean" feature and the oven completely shut down. The clock is the only thing that continued to work and it's hard to cook dinner with a clock! It took a little over a week to schedule a service call under the warranty.
When the repairman came, he didn't seem surprised and quickly diagnosed the problem of a blown thermostat. The repair was simple but while he was doing the repair he made a comment that sometimes just replacing the thermostat wasn't a longterm fix. For whatever reason that really didn't register with me.
About two months later....the next time we tried the "self-clean" cycle, the same thing happened. The entire unit shut down, except for the clock. Call the repair guy again, wait another week and a half and the repair guy replaces the thermostat again and this time opens a vent in the trim work that was not open before.
Several months later and we decide to use the "self-clean" cycle for the third time. The third time is NOT the charm and we're back to crock pot dinners....The clock is working and I get the feeling that it's ticking away time just to rub it in that I won't have use of this expensive piece of electric campfire for a while.
Same deal, a week and a half go by and the repairman shows up and replaces the thermostat, again. I guess he took pity on me this time and told me that this was a common problem with KitchenAid built in ovens and I needed to start documenting things and perhaps even contact KitchenAid.
Before I tried to contact KitchenAid I decided to do some internet research to see what I could learn. Unfortunately, I found out more than I wanted to know at http://www.consumeraffairs.com/homeowners/kit_stoves.html .
What have I gotten myself into???
Yesterday I was able to get a real live person at KitchenAid. To say I got the run around is an understatement. After quite a bit of questioning by the "service" (man is that a misnomer)person I finally blurted out that she didn't need to question me, this was a well documented flaw with the product and all she had to do is look at the company complaint files.
She asked what I wanted and I said "fix it, give me one that works or give me my money back". That's when she smugly said that they were fixing it at no cost to me under the terms of the warranty...and that's all they were required to do....and oh, by the way the warranty runs out next month.
I won't drag this tale of woe out any longer. At the end of the day I have an extended warranty for six more months and I'm going to have use the "self-clean" feature every time as soon as they fix it, have it break, call for repairs, call KitchenAid everytime and complain and document the hell out of everything. Hopefully at some point KitchenAid will just provide me with a model which doesn't have this flaw...if they have one.
During this last repair the repairman told me that according to Colorado laws, to be considered a "lemon" a product had to be fixed at least 3 time in a twelve month period. I've got that covered and then some.
The Bride and I plan to use the oven this weekend and then turn on the self-destruct.....I mean self-clean cycle once again so I'm searching for more crock pot recipes...
Fair warning folks, if you are contemplating buying any kitchen appliances you need to visit
DON'T BUY A KITCHENAID PRODUCT!
Thanks for visiting.
Monday, February 11, 2008
The mountains have been getting pounded with snow for the past few weeks but I was still itchy to get a "mountain fix". This weekend I decided that a morning of snow shoeing would be the fix I needed. No one in The Circle was available to accompany me so this was to be a solo affair.
I waited for the morning rush hour to subside and then I headed out for Kenosha Pass which is about 40 miles from home. The top of the pass is 10,000 feet altitude so I was pretty sure I'd find good snow shoeing conditions. I was right.
As I was driving up I started thinking about getting a "feet" picture with snow shoes. I'm not sure how I got started taking pictures of my feet in different places but now it's become one of those silly things that I try to do every place I go. Believe me, I get some interesting looks from passer-bys as I'm setting some of these shot up. Anyway, the picture at the beginning of the post is my latest addition to the collection. The snow was about four feet deep where I took that picture so I had to trample down a spot before I could sit down to take the picture.
I got a very good workout for about an hour and then I decided to walk on a cleared road for a while and see what I could see. All in all I spent about three hours either snow shoeing or just walking. The wind started blowing pretty good so I headed back towards the car.
Before heading back down the mountain I stopped at a campground area that was closed for the winter but had some picnic tables. I cleared the snow off of one table and sat down to a gourmet lunch that I had packed. Let me tell you, after the workout I got, a can of sardines, homemade beef jerky, a hunk of cheese, some applesauce and a Gatorade tasted as good as any fine meal I've had in a restaurant!
While I was eating the wind started blowing even harder. I'm guesstimating It had to be blowing at least 40-50 miles an hour. This weekend the weather person said they had winds of 100 miles an hour in the same area so this is not an unusual thing.
The drive home was uneventful although windy and I may even have enough time this afternoon to wedge in a power nap!....Life is good.
Thanks for visiting.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I give up why not? Well, K. had suggested a couple of days ago that The Circle spend an afternoon in the quaint little town of Niwot, CO. K and Too Tall-Two Timing had discovered this little gem a few weeks ago. The official description of Niwot is below...
"A quiet, fairytale community hidden just outside Boulder, Niwot is home to a burgeoning art community. A quaint, cottonwood-shaded downtown features cafes, antique shops (including one of the Front Range's largest), gift stores, art galleries and more. From pubs to a fancy French restaurant, Niwot also houses its share of cozy and delicious eateries. Named after an Arapahoe chief, Niwot (which means Left Hand) was once an important hunting and fishing area for Native Americans. Gold miners arrived in 1875, followed by a railroad extension, which boosted the local economy by linking local farms with distant markets. Today, the depot is gone, but many of the original structures on the east side of the tracks make up the National Historic District known as Old Town. Near town is the Boulder Reservoir, a popular spot for swimming, boating, jogging, biking and bird watching. Of course, Boulder's stunning red-rock parks and extensive network of trails are also just miles from Niwot. "
We were all ready for a little adventure so at about 2 pm on Saturday afternoon we headed north to see what this town could show us. The road to Niwot took us through the college town of Boulder and both The Bride and I had flash backs to when our daughter CaJenn matriculated here.
A few more miles and we were in Niwot. It is for sure, an interesting little village. The old historic Second Avenue is now full of little antique stores, galleries and....would you believe an nice little wine store that was having tastings on this afternoon!
We couldn't pass up the wine tasting and we sampled three different Pinot Noirs. One was from Italy, one from Argentina and one from California. All were very good and the proprietor described the background of each. As it turns out the shop had sold out of the one most of us liked the most. That did not stop the ladies from finding something to buy, however. These "free" wine tastings are never totally "free".
We also spent some time browsing the other shops along Second Avenue. In one antique store I spotted a nice looking Bolo tie. Over the past couple of years I have been acquiring a few of these pieces of western "formal attire". This one was not fancy by any means but it had an "experienced" look that I really liked so it is now a part of my collection.
It had been planned to eat an early dinner at a little Italian restaurant in the commercial area of Niwot and by 5 pm we were ready. K and Too Tall-Two Timing had eaten lunch there several weeks ago but had not been into the main dining room. It turned out to be a great little place and a wonderful meal. There were some initial comments about eating "light" since it was early, but before long we had cast that idea aside. A great meal and a nice Primitivo wine that K particularly liked because it included her favorite number "29.
As we headed out of the restaurant and to the car for the return trip home, I couldn't help taking a number of pictures of the Niwot Feed Store. I could see it through the window of the restaurant and kept thinking all through dinner that there was a great picture there somewhere. I don't think I got the "great" part but it is interesting none the less.
We were home by about 9 pm with that warm feeling of a fun time, great fellowship and a great dinner. What more could we ask for a Saturday night in the middle of a Colorado February?
Thanks for visiting.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
It's been typical February weather around here. Every few days a storm blows through dumping a couple of inches of snow on the front range and pounding the mountains. This pattern is keeping me from escaping in my trailer, Bivouac, for New Mexico so I have to be content to stick around home for now.
I am managing to do a lot of the little things that I put off doing before I retired. The first of the projects was to repaint and organize our food pantry....I can hear brothers #3 and #4 snickering right now. All I can say to them is I am free to do it or not, and since I have plenty of time, and no other responsibilities, I did it. I even enjoyed doing it. #1 has no room to snicker as he is a relatively new retiree himself. 12 years of hectic living and not a lot of care, made this a poster child for clean and organize. I painted walls and shelves, put padded shelf lining in and added several wall mounted spice racks. It was so much fun I also tackled the rat hole, under sink cabinet, and did the same thing. This is addictive! There are plenty more cabinets in the house that can use some "dress right dress" and "cover down".
I've also been doing a lot of cooking. Still nothing fancy or extravagant yet. It is a learning process after all. My motivations are two fold. I do want to help The Bride now that I have the time, but also on a selfish level, this is a skill set that will be of value to me when I take extended trips in my RV.
This leads me to the next topic of conversation. I mentioned in my last post that I was looking at selling Bivouac and buying a small Class A RV. I located one that I thought fit the bill and looked at it last Sunday. It was everything I was looking for in layout and size. There is one potential mechanical problem that I need to investigate and to that end I will be taking it, with the current owners permission, to be inspected by a mechanic. If there is an issue, hopefully the current owner will resolve it and I will buy the RV from him. The inspection is scheduled for next week. Stay tuned on this one.
Guitar and I were trying to work out a trip next week to Moab, UT to go to the Cowboy Poetry Gathering. It's something that both of us would like to do but between some personal obligations and the uncertainty of being able to get over the mountains this time of year, we decided not to go. I'm going to start looking for some more of these type of events a little later in the year.
Finally, I've been able to adopt and stick to a pretty good exercise routine. I have built a pretty decent home gym over the past few years. I've got an elliptical trainer, recumbent bike, treadmill and a weight machine. A couple of years ago I was pretty good about utilizing them and then life, job and whatever just seemed to get in the way. I realize that as I age I really need to pay attention to staying fit if I'm going to be in an RV doing stuff at 10,000 feet altitude. Let's hope that I can walk my talk!
Thanks for visiting.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Family history has been a hobby for me off and on for a number of years. My mother's family were all from Vermont and the family history has been well documented. My father's side of the family is a different story. My father, The Colonel, grew up in a large New England city during the early part of the 1900's. I run into a road block when I try to get any further than my great-grandfather. Trying to get beyond this hurdle however, has provided countless hours of entertainment and learning.
For the past 7 or 8 years I have been using the computer program "Family Tree Maker" to keep up with things. Last week I decided to "spring" for the latest version, Family Tree Maker for 2008. I'm really glad I paid the $29 to upgrade my existing program. (If you're into this type of thing, don't buy online. Most office product stores carry the software at a discount.) Not only is the upgrade better organized, with a much more intuitive interface, but there is a fantastic new feature that can really make "the hunt" easier.
With the 2008 version comes a free 30 day subscription to Ancestry.com, perhaps the greatest online family history resource available to the general public. The cool thing is that the software can be integrated to this site if you have an internet connection.
What this means, is that the Family Tree software will take information from your family tree and automatically check with Ancestry.com for information on the people in the family tree. The user can then sort through the documents to determine if they really do pertain to that particular person and then save a copy of the document.
The picture to the right is a page from the actual national Census of 1920. The Family Tree program showed me this document based on some entries for my wife's family.The page actually shows her grandfather and grandmother with their children. The Bride's father is not listed because this was before he was born.
As you can see this document is handwritten. It was created by a person knocking on doors, asking questions about the inhabitants of the address, and writing down the information on this sheet of paper. So the person who wrote these words, stood in the doorway of all these people and talked to them! I think this is an amazing link to the past. Not only can you see information on the person you are researching but you can also see what their neighborhood was like at the time because the interviewer went down the street, door to door. Census information is not the only information available from this site. Military records, ship manifests, Social Security Death Records and a lot more are available.
I haven't worked on family history for awhile but this program has once again ignited the flame and I'll be spending some time on "the hunt" this week.
Thanks for visiting.