Thursday, September 30, 2010


I got home from work today, went straight to work on the car.  Removed the battery cables, sprayed the battery cleaner on them, scrubbed them with a wire brush, washed them off - repeat, repeat repeat until corrosion was gone.  Put a gallon of fresh gas in it, fired right up.  Took it for a drive.  Quik Trip - had to remove the wheel covers to get at valve stems to air up tires.  Put more fresh fuel in it.  Drove it around.  Started running a bit rough, plus the check engine light is on.  A couple of places that will check the light for free, try that tomorrow.  Fuel injector cleaner added to the fuel probably wouldn't hurt, either.  Forgot about the oil leaking out of one of the manifold gaskets - a cheap fix, get to that soon.  A bit of hesitation from a stop.  Again, it's been sitting.  Maybe a fresh set of spark plugs and have diagnosed what the check engine light is on for. 

I have the 3-day permit, I will take it to the emissions testing station regardless - if it fails, I get a freebie second time.  Sometimes you can figure out what's wrong with their failure if it does fail.  I dunno, I figure to find out what they say needs to be done to pass before the permit runs out is all.  I also figure to get out on the freeway and haull @$$.  I was going to do it today - but 107 degrees?  What if it stops?  I'm stuck in hell heat.  Tomorrow's high is 105, Saturday's is 103.  I might wait until Saturday and do it in the morning.  Sunday marks the first day - hopefully for good this year - that the high will be under 100. 

Today, driving the semi, I was getting off of one of the freeways.  Frontage road runs along side of it, of course.  When you get off the freeway and have to turn right onto the street you were getting off for, you have to cross over the frontage road.  In these parts, the right of way is given to traffic exiting the freeway.  Yes, there are signs, big ones: "Yield To Ramp Traffic".  I don't think too many people understand what that sign means:  the drivers on the frontage road have to yield to the drivers getting off the freeway, as rights it should be. 

Whether they know what it means or not, many of them are oblivious to it.  I'm attempting to get over once the freeway ramp hits the frontage road and what happens?  Right - a lady driving an SUV comes cruising up, ignores the sign and me, I can't get over.  I honk my horn, signage is signage and it gets rather annoying that people simply don't care to obey traffic laws simply because it inconveniences them for a billionth of a second.  The lady slows down - should have just sped up and got out of the way or stopped altogether.  I'm looking at this person who is going just fast enough to keep me from getting over.  I ended up stopping the truck altogether, she wasn't letting me over. 

Where's a cop when you need one?  Today? RIGHT THERE.  There was a DPS motorcycle cop who already had someone else pulled over on the side of the frontage road.  When I honked my horn, he looked up from what he was doing - either writing up a ticket or a warning, who knows but he was doing paperwork to hand to the person in the car.  He sees what's happening and moves RIGHT out, hands up, in front of the SUV driver.  He looked MAD.  He stood right in front of that SUV and very dramatically started waving that driver over to the side of the road and behind the first car that he already had pulled over. 

The lady driving the SUV was flustered.  I slowly moved past after he got her moving over.  He was looking down the frontage road for some reason, I moved on.  I want no part of this if I don't have to be.  In fact, I wasn't trying to get her in trouble, I do hope she got off with an "education" in Yield laws and a warning.  Unfortunately, motorcycle cops are notorious for giving out tickets with fines, huge fines at that, not warnings.  Just one of those situations that does not happen very often, if ever at all.  If a cop were to ride along with me on any given day and several cruisers to pull people over, he/she could have tickets being written to drivers engaging in illegal and very dangerous activity all day long.  Excessive speeding, reckless driving, distracted driving, unsafe lane changes.  Distracted driving?  Do you know what you can see from the perch of a semi-tractor?  Everything a person is doing in their car.  Including playing with electronic gadgets and most notably engaging in the "art" of texting while driving.

That particular art, as I have noticed, entails looking at a screen on a cellphone with a keypad.  The art has you looking up at the road every 3, 4, 5 even longer seconds.  The science of texting while driving includes that driving is secondary to texting.  Whatever is going on in front of you?  Not near as important as the person you are texting with.  I thought talking on cellphones was bad, texting is 100 times worse. 

Ponds.  The 4 goldfish I transferred to the turtle pond were doing quite well when I got home today.  This is all a learning experience for me.  I have read that you need a "large" filter for turtle ponds because of the waste coming from the turtles.  First off, I had no idea whether the turtles would go after the goldfish.  Apparently, they did not.  I didn't see any chunks missing out of the goldfish and they were looking quite healthy.  The goldfish came right up and started munching down when  I threw some Koi pellets in there. 

Second, I realized that the filtering system I put on there is HUGE - I got it for almost nothing.  There is a submersible pump in the pond that pumps about 650 gallons per hour.  That pond is about 150 gallons.  That's more than 4 complete cycles of pumping that pond water through that giant waterfall filter per hour.  PLENTY of water flow and filtration.  The water is clear.  The algae is all but gone.  I had a small, useless filter and pump in there that wasn't doing the job.  The water was so green I couldn't see the bottom and it's only 18 inches deep.  There IS no disadvantage to having "too much" water flowing, there is huge disadvantage to not having enough water flowing or filtration.  I was sorta hoping that having some fish in there might, somehow, warm up the turtles to me.  They flee for the bottom of the pond, as always, everytime I approach it. 

Beyond that, having a pump that big in a pond that small virtually removes the sediments both floating in the water and at the bottom that is loose.  I had no clue what I was doing when I got into this ponding business, I am slowly gaining some level of expertise, but only with these small ponds.  However, I have seen dozens and dozens of large ponds - it's the same thing I have here only at  a much larger scale.  HUGE pumps, pool sized filters or even larger.  I have seen homemade filters for 2,000 gallon ponds that use 55 gallon barrels. 

What's holding me back from building a big pond?  Money, of course.  45 millimeter thick pond liner is expensive.  The right kind of filter - not cheap.  A huge pump, not cheap either.  Many ponds put in 2 pumps, not 1.  Digging out the hole?  NO WAY would I do that by hand here.  It would take MONTHS.  I would have to rent a small trackhoe at around $200 plus delivery and pickup.

That isn't even in the offing right now.  In fact, I am very happy with my small ponds, the ease of maintenance and the fact that replacing pumps doesn't cost an arm and a leg.  There are FAR too many other things that I need on level of priority to start attempting to expose myself to the expenses incurred in building a large pond.  Now, I could start looking for stuff that is being sold on the cheap - ponds shutting down.  If a person were selling something really cheap to get rid of it, I would take it. 


Time to start thinking about bed.



Today's high? 108 degrees. That's ridiculous. Insane.

Whatever the temps outside today, I feel MUCH better after stopping taking that medication. Gotta love medication that makes you sick!

Another crazy thing is this situation with my son's auto insurance. They quoted me $134 per month for him, now they have raised it another $25. I will be asking them about that today - and if no good answer - I will be seeking insurance somewhere else. However, I know young people that are paying far more than even the extended cost that they are dumping on me to dump onto my son. Dunno, guess it just depends on how much badly my son wants to drive.

I heard on the news this morning that AHCCCS (Arizona's free health care to people under the poverty level) is cutting costs - and people that have that health care. It sounded as though a LOT of people are suddenly going to be without. So, what are they going to do? Go to the hospital, of course, with whatever it is they have, even minor stuff. It will end up costing far more, imo, than if they were to just keep those people on the health care rolls and find other ways to cut costs.

Speaking of money, I guess the ex isn't doing too well in that arena. She called yesterday, leaving a message - I left the phone in the house and was outside fooling around with the ponds - my son isn't liking what's happening with his mother and is taking it badly. She doesn't want to lose her home and he doesn't want her to lose her home, either. She is still out there putting out applications. It's not like she's sitting around doing nothing, but then again, so many other people are looking for jobs, too, it's a bad situation. She is not, however, behind in her mortgage payment and I informed her that it would be 3 full months of being behind in payments before they would even start the foreclosure process.

I don't know that that made her feel any better, but it IS nice to know that if you are a month behind, they can't come and throw you out.

Meanwhile, the Army reservist tenant in my house is behind in her rent now. Go from one to another, gag. She is about to start receiving almost $1,400 per month from the military for school expenses on top of the money she makes working at Subway and also doing the monthly weekend thing in the Army reserve.

The ONLY problem I have with this lady is that she does not discuss these things with me unless I force her into the conversation. Why do I have to be the bad guy? Well, whatever, she is working and she should be paying, so, I will have to force the issue. I am guessing she wants to wait to pay the rent with the money that comes in from the military - it would just be nice if she would communicate that with me.

I now have 4 computers running off the same router, THAT is an interesting thing, because I have noticed that at times, the internet is running a bit slower. Nothing I can't deal with, I just wish Qwest would run fiber optics through my neighborhood and I would gladly pay the extra money per month for faster internet service.

Anyway, work day approaches, there is only one thing in the truck routing system for a delivery, but, that's better than nothing at all.



Well enough of that - the previous post that is. Excepting that I found out the hard way this morning that there is ammo hoarding going on, ...