November 28th, 2018

Adventure, Just things, Uncategorized

So much for my new robot vac. I knew something didn’t look quite right with my order but I couldn’t figure out what it was.

As I have said before I try my best to avoid Amazon and shop locally. Sometimes, however, the companies use Amazon as their only storefront or you need something and cannot find it anyplace else. Then there are the times there is that unbeatable price. The last one was the case for the robot vac – $199 (usually much more) PLUS a $30 coupon. Pretty great deal.

I was looking at my order closer and I finally figured out what was wrong. They charged me $229 and then gave me the $30 coupon. I called them to see what the deal was and I was told that the prices fluctuate and I got charged a higher price. I told them Jeff Bezos could kiss my ass and I will not buy anything from Amazon again. The item would be refused and I’ll just take the refund. I was told it would not be corrected but they offered me a $15 credit and an apology. I told the guy that would do no good since I was not going to be buying anything else from Amazon.

WTF? I click the “Buy” button on an item for a certain price and get charged a higher one? What kind of BS is that? This experience has taught me to keep a closer eye on an order more closely before I click the button. I will be looking into consumer protection with the state Attorney General to let them know about my experience.

I also learned something else about Amazon recently that I want to pass along. Just like the airlines, Amazon also uses that chickenshit tactic of raising the prices each time you do a search for the same thing. You can get around it by using a private browser and also not logging in until you are ready to buy. This way they cannot track your browsing or store it in your online account.

Okay…rant over.

I was really looking forward to getting that thing. Oh well. Gotta go get the broom and dustpan out of the trash.

November 22nd, 2018

Adventure, food, Just things, Uncategorized

It’s Thanksgiving Day today. I don’t have any plans – the traffic will suck badly everywhere and I don’t want to deal with it. Better yet, I don’t HAVE to deal with it. The weather is also supposed to be rainy and it only adds to the traffic issues. I’ll probably just hang close to the house the next day or two.

As I write this I am looking out the window watching the birds. I put birdseed in the feeders and the sparrows and juncos are going crazy. The feeders don’t work for the Steller’s jays because of their size but it doesn’t stop them from trying. They are all ravenous once they discover food and the feeders need filled up again today. They will have to wait until the rain stops though.

I went to the store yesterday and the hot food bar they have had roast turkey and all the fixings (no sweet potatoes/yams, or pumpkin pie, thank you) so I decided to get a to-go box and have my yearly turkey dinner yesterday. I eat turkey about twice a year – I prefer chicken to turkey. I don’t want to waste any food (and I also don’t want six months of leftovers) so I don’t make a turkey at home. I made one a few years ago that turned out really good, but being single it is way too much food that won’t get eaten anyway.

So I got home and ate my turkey dinner. It was good – the mashed potatoes were real with chunks of redskin potatoes. While at the store I picked up a few things I needed for my Thanksgiving lasagne. I put it all together in the baking pan and put it in the fridge so it’s ready to bake. I saw a marionberry pie at the store that was calling my name, but I know if I buy a whole pie I’ll eat the whole damn thing at one sitting. Berries are my favorite fruit, and berry pies are my favorite. I want to try and make some berry hand pies soon so that should make my cravings happy. I want to try to replicate my grandma’s fried peach pies at some point too. Man, those were a favorite childhood memory along with her scratch-made apple pies.

This is a busy time of year with a lot of personal events besides the holidays. Tomorrow is my dad’s birthday. It’s hard to believe he is gone and I miss him and my mom quite a bit. Sunday it will be four years since my motorcycle wreck. There are a couple of other birthdays over the next two months.

It’s looking like I won’t be going back to work as soon as I thought but will still be going back early. I have a few personal items I need to take care of so I can definitely use the time to take care of these things and not miss any work.

I decided to buy a robot vac and it is on it’s way! I don’t have carpeting to catch (and hold) dirt and a laminate/hardwood floor always looks dirty even when it isn’t that bad so I decided to get one. It even has a mop in it so that is another plus. There are so many brands and models to choose from but I finally decided on the Deebot M88. I have seen how much Meghan’s Roomba helps them keep their floors clean with pets. Since I don’t have pets it should really help maintain the floors here so I don’t have to sweep daily.

That’s it for now.

November 15th, 2018

Adventure, food, Just things, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

It has been quite busy lately wrapping up business stuff with my parents’ estate but I almost (finally) have it all taken care of. I believe there are only two more things to finish and it will be completed. It’s been a learning experience but I am glad it is about done.

My oldest granddaughter has moved up here to the Seattle last week so it has been fun hanging with her and her boyfriend for the past few days. They are here at my house for now and their new place should be ready any time to move into. Seattle will be a big change from the Midwest for them but they are ready for it.

They made a run to Seattle to check on some things so I stayed home and took care of a few business things and ran some errands. While out and about I thought Thai food sounded good so that was late lunch today. My chopstick skills are getting better and want to buy my own chopsticks to keep up the practice at home.

I recently backed a Kickstarter project for an improved version of a travel pillow that everyone raves about called Trtl Pillow. The new Trtl Pillow Plus I bought is supposed to be even better than its highly-rated predecessor. I have not received it yet but hope to get it in the next few weeks. Those old-school “fuzzy-bagel-looking neck pillows” just do not work for me in an airplane seat. This is definitely a new way of thinking about travel pillows and I bought it only after seeing all the great reviews all over the internet (so you know it must be true…unless it’s an Amazon review).

I am trying to enjoy my remaining time off while I can since I’ll be headed back to work soon. I’d like to go someplace but not sure where or even when at the moment. Staying home and saving money isn’t a bad thing either. I want to experience Alaska, Iceland, or even Scandinavia in the wintertime – I just have to do it. You never know…I may do them all! I’m not sure how soon it’ll be but I do want to do that. If I had a chance I’d even go to Antarctica or the Arctic and see what that’s like. No, I don’t like snow but there are things you just have to do and that’s one of those things. 

I got the water drained out of the Scotty tank and lines a few weeks ago and put RV anti-freeze in the drains. I hope to get the cover on maybe tomorrow and it will be put away for the season. I was hoping to get it out again but I don’t think it will happen this year unless I dry-camp. There was too much going on this year to do more trips in it than what I did unfortunately. This coming year will bring new opportunities to travel and get out on the road more often. At least I got to get it out on the road when I went to California.

I am thinking about getting a robot vacuum. My house would be a great candidate for it and with an open floor-plan and laminate floors it gets dusty/dirty fast even being careful. A robo-vac would be so nice to keep ahead of the bits of leaves and grass while I am gone to work. Meghan has one and she could not get by without it – her hands would be grafted onto her broom if she didn’t have it. With her pets it is a huge time-saver.

November 5th, 2018

Adventure, food, Just things, Travel, Uncategorized

Been getting quite a few things done over the past week or so that I have been home. It’s good to be back but it was good to see family. We busted our asses every day we were there, and that was after driving four days to get there and I took five getting home. It is all we did – no real time to visit with anyone. Needless to say I was ready for some downtime but many things still have to get done. (And needless to say driving that distance without the trailer was a long trip; it made me think about driving all the way to Maine from here pulling the trailer. It will be a long journey. EACH WAY.)

We had a good time though, and it really feels like we made a lot of progress.

I sat on my couch all the live long day yesterday. I watched movies and the first two seasons of Seinfeld. It was my down day after two and a half weeks on the go and dammit I needed a break. I deserved it and I was gonna be selfish. It was awesome but there’s always that remorse of taking a day for yourself and thinking it was wasted.

I got a few business calls made and a few errands ran today. I then cooked up breakfast burritos for the week. I made some burrito-size ones and some small ones like taquitos. I am going to fry them to crispy on the outside. I am curious to see how that turns out.

I then made some spaghetti sauce from canned tomato sauce and it turned out pretty good. The recipe called for canned tomatoes but all I had was three cans of the sauce form of the fruit. I put it together and then tweaked and added green peppers here and more onions there, parmesan cheese, garlic powder everywhere. I put it on top of some penne pasta and it has turned out very good – like a chunky vegetable arrabbiata sauce that thickened on the plate. Wonderful mouth feel and texture. I actually cut up some grilled burgers from last night and put them in the pot too. It adds a nice, interesting smokiness to the sauce. I have plenty to freeze so I have maybe 10 days of meals in the freezer now. It’s a decent selection too.

Next time I make pasta sauce I would like to do it from complete scratch – cooking and reducing the tomatoes myself and then adding in the spices and such. I usually buy Classico and doctor it a little, but this batch I just made turned out so good I need to make more from the ground up. I hope I can repeat this recipe and can it in jars in my InstantPot. That’s my goal this year – make and can my own pasta sauce.

I like cooking and I like good food so having leftovers to freeze for later and not buying frozen meals at the store is healthier and something fun to do. Problem is, I don’t get to enjoy cooking as much since I have so much frozen when I cook. Not a bad problem to have, I guess!

What I have been doing is keeping a variety in the freezer. I will eat a couple of meals of leftovers and to the back of the rotation it goes in the freezer, and then when I am on the last serving or two I will cook up another dish. I can keep plenty of good food in the house and supplement with some fresh things from the store as needed or for a change.

Looks like I’ll be going back to work soon. I had a few places I went to, and wanted to do more, but we’ll have to see how things unfold. It will be good to replenish the bank account but I am really enjoying the time off after what we have been through. There’s a few other moving parts as well and I don’t know how it’s all going to align yet and won’t know for a month or two.

I have gotten to go a lot of places this year so I still shouldn’t complain. I mentioned this earlier in another post, but I have been places since then. My California trip and the Kansas trip I just got back from on top of Montana, Europe, and the numerous trips to KS to see my dad.

It’s looking quite like a trip to Seattle later in the week but we’ll see what’s going on when the time comes. I’m thinking while I am in Seattle a trip to Dick’s Drive-In would be a good thing to do.Having the time off tends to spoil a person and

I need to get a winter coat and a new rain jacket. I am a big fan of Outdoor Research rain jackets if you want a reasonably priced, quality item that lasts. Their down puffy “jackets” are really good as well from what I am told. I need to go to their store if I get there this week and have time so I can try a few things on and see what extras they feature in person. I gotta go find some new pants and shirts too.

I think it’s time for a little style change-up for my wardrobe. I’ll see where it’s going but I have the desire to do something just a little different. I really like the look and fit of my 501s, but I really like the functionality of cargo pants on top of the comfort. Levi’s have gotten so overpriced and the quality has gone downhill – fewer belt loops and what feels like thinner material.

It won’t be THAT drastic so everyone calm the heck down. I’m pretty sure my family needn’t worry about me going into a “Goth phase”, or even pondering becoming a Furry. “Never say never” they say…whomever “they” are. I can safely say that I will never have either one of those things happening with me…although one would be more likely than the other. Bwahahahaha.

Anyway, that is about all for now.

 

October 30, 2018

Adventure, Just things, Travel, Uncategorized

Today I started heading home from Meghan’s house. I chose to wait because of the weather – snow and rain on at least two of the three mountain passes I have to cross and today is supposed to be drier for the two I am mostly concerned with.

It’s been a bit of a bittersweet day. I am ready to get home, but ironically it was two years ago today that I was driving home this very same route through Montana and got the news my mom had died. I had just checked into my room in Missoula late at night when the call came.

Perhaps this is why I did not sleep worth a damn last night. Lying in bed trying to go to sleep I realized that today was “that” day and I will be in the same spot on the same day exactly two years later. Meghan had been working on some entries in my mom’s genealogy stuff last night before bed and she did not sleep either. Between these things and what we had to do this past week it all finally caught up with me. A bit of a rough morning but it’s okay.

I was hoping to push all the way home but I left very late morning (not in THAT big of a hurry) and had a leisurely start to the day. I got to Ellensburg and had earlier booked a queen suite at the Best Western Plus (was the cheapest they had…) and I gotta say that I have stayed in a few of these hotels now and they are consistently nice, clean and well-run. I recommend this chain along with Holiday Inn Express so you KNOW that means I know what I am talking about. Hahaha. This hotel has, get this, a 24 hour pool, warm (!) tub, and the breakfast room is open for juices, coffee, and fresh fruits all night plus breakfast in the morning. Hell of a bargain for the price. And, just like Holiday Inn Express…fresh-baked cookies in the lobby.

I really think I am through with the cheap hotel chains now. I am treating myself a little better when I am out on the road. I am going to stay with the American classics we all grew up knowing and staying in. Sure, it may be a few more dollars but I think it is money well-spent to have a very nice room when you are being a road warrior. I still tend to get carried away with trying to “get someplace” but am getting better at slowing the pace down. I still need to work on it more though!