Sorry for the disappearing act. I kinda forgot I had a blog.
We moved on from South Carolina, arriving in Delray Beach, FL, at the beginning of November. All set up and settled in. My folks arrived a few weeks later. All has been quiet. We had Thanksgiving at my cousin Amy’s house, about two hours north of here, and Chanukah/Christmas Week/New Years, at home, with minor festivities.
This week, I built a small handicraft, that I find quite pretty. After a knocked over table cost us our two glass Shabbat Candlesticks, I took a nice Bamboo breadboard from the supermarket, and drilled a few holes, creating this:
The little glass cups, and associated small candles, are called Neronim, and they are a novel way to light Shabbat Lights. The glasses keep the candles from blowing in the breeze, the was melts to liquid quickly, and then they burn for about six hours. We like ‘em. Gonna try this rig out tonight. Good Shabbos.
We arrived safely in Charleston, SC, after stops in Virginia and North Carolina.
A shoutout to the Sleepy Bear campground in Lumberton, NC, who enabled two very sleepy bears to hibernate overnight. (Zzzzzzzz)
I was brought up short the other day when I went to update the Bank of America Application on my phone. I didn’t expect to see that the permissions had changed to include my contact list. I Googled for this, and found nothing but people complaining about it. Somebody posted that if one didn’t like it, call up and ask why. So I did.
Now, take it for what it’s worth, but here’s what I was told. B of A is releasing (or may have already released) a method of transferring money to (not from) another B of A customer, identified by email address. This other customer needs to be pre-registered for the service. The need for your contact list is to show you a list of people that might be suitable targets for funds transfer.
I thought about it and realized that if B of A knows just about every financial transaction I make, where I use my debit card, to whom I pay bills, etc., and doesn’t abuse any of that, then chances are that they are not going to spam my contact list.
I may not pay people by email address, but now that I know that there is a good reason, I don’t mind installing their app.
Sorry to have gone dark for a long time. We spent the winter in Florida, then the summer in Saratoga Springs, NY. Now moving south again. Currently posting from Clarksboro, New Jersey, across the river from Philly.
Sometimes the littlest things can be big.
I recently delivered a small piece of software with a big responsibility. The task was to look in a database of products, customers and orders, and produce a daily report of how much to manufacture and ship, and who to ship it to.
When I thought it was finished, I had occasion to go through it again, and realized I had introduced a bug, whereby the quantities of items were undercounted. Specifically, it counted one, for each line item that was to ship today, and missed the possibility that a single customer could have ordered more than one of a particular item. Fortunately, the customer had not yet relied upon my output.
As I fixed the bug, I realized how serious it was, and how important my work is to the customer.
This businessperson is relying on my to tell him what products, and what quantities to manufacture each day. His goods have lead time and are perishable. If he gets it wrong, he’s either left without product to ship, or he has to eat the overage. (I do mean “eat.” His products are food items.)
I once knew a programmer who expressed total shock when he was shown his first customer feedback. He replied, “you mean somebody actually uses this stuff?”
We live in our little cubicles and forget that, out in the big world, people are relying on us for their livelihoods.
So here we are. I made it to Friday. I’m exhausted. This is the hardest work I’ve ever done. When one is in an office, one tends to talk to people, get up, walk around, get coffee, make coffee, etc. Here in my lonely programmer’s garret, I am focused. Also, since I log my time, down to the tenth, I really have to WORK on what I write down, else I’m lying. So I work harder, and more, than in any other job I’ve ever held.
The challah is 2/3 risen, and will go into the oven at 9:30 AM. We go to my folks tonight for Shabbos Dinner.
Yesterday, we drove down 1 about two miles, crossed over the bridge to A1A, drove up to Atlantic Ave, and came back over that bridge.
A1A runs up and down the small bit of land east of the Florida East Coast Canal, which is part of the Intracoastal Waterway. It’s lined on both sides by what seem to be expensive condominiums and expensive houses. It was about four miles of nothing but residences, with no public beach access. North of Linton, there’s some beach access.
We stopped in Delray Beach, just north of Linton, at a spot where there was a beach access, so we could say hello to the Atlantic Ocean. On Feb 29 of 2010, we said goodbye to the Pacific Ocean. It took us a bit, but we got all the way across, on I-10, the first time I’ve crossed the southern states.
We also visited the “Publix” supermarket. I’m suffering from grocery sticker shock. I can’t believe how expensive things are, here in South Florida.
Orange Juice, 1/2 gal, from concentrate: $2.50 here vs $2.00 in Texas.
Hard cheeses, sliced, supermarket brand: About $6-7/lb here vs $5 in Texas.
Produce: Seems about the same prices, but the selection is smaller, quality is lower, and the stock work is more poorly done. Price stickers and products don’t match up. PLUs are not marked on price cards.
Beef: Very nice beef, but about 50% higher per pound.
Chicken breasts: $2.50/lb vs $1.50. Apperance seems poorer, and I didn’t buy any.
Chicken Thighs: $1.69/lb in both places. Appearance seems about the same.
Eggs: $1.89/doz vs $/1.29 for Large.
On the up side, it’s been in the 70s and occasional 80s every day here.
Got in on Sunday about noon. All is well.
Florida is the “Sunshine State,” and even though we’ve had much rain over the past week, the sun just came out for a bit.
The significance of this observation is that we are no longer in Mississippi. We made our escape yesterday, after the truck was returned to us. Much work was done, some under warrantee for a repair done last fall, and we left town at about 4:30 PM. We drove till 11, and when we passed the time-zone change to Eastern Time, we realized that it had suddenly become midnight, so we stopped and slept.
We continue on.
In which I get another song title as a blog post title.
Things have not gone according to plan. After our nice overnight in Beaumont, Texas, we spent Sunday on the road heading another 260 miles to Slidell, Louisiana. This was a nice travel day down I-10 into Louisiana, to Baton Rouge, where we did laundry at a college oriented laundromat just adjacent to the LSU campus. We ate lunch in the trailer while the laundry was drying.
I-10 goes down south of Lake Ponchartrain at this point, heading through New Orleans, but we found it “easier” to avoid the Big Easy, by taking I-12 across the top of the lake. Place names are cool here, including such as “Grosse Tete”. We passed a Camping World in Hammond, and got almost all of the small parts we have been looking for, then continued to Slidell, where we spent an uneventful night in the Elks Lodge RV area. Nice spot.
It was cold and rainy when we left Slidell, expecting it to be a four-state day, passing through the very southern tips of Mississippi and Alabama, ending in DeFuniak Springs, FL. It was, however, not to be.
We entered Mississippi by crossing the “Big Muddy,” passed Gulfport, and while we were passing Biloxi, I decided to stop and stretch. It’s a good thing I did. When we hit the bottom of the ramp, I discovered that the truck was not developing full power, that there was black smoke, and that things were Not Good. We pulled into the parking lot at the Home Depot to investigate.
One of my blog commenters — you know who you are — always gives me a hard time about mechanical breakdowns, and yes, here will be another chance.
The end result was that we dropped the trailer in the back parking lot of the Super 8 Motel in D’Iberville, then put the truck into the local Dodge Dealer for diagnosis. We checked into the Super 8. (I suppose I could have tried for a campground, but they were all far out of town, and the Super 8 is right down the block from the Dodge dealer.)
We arrived here on Monday. It’s now Wednesday night — er, Thursday Morning. The diagnosis was low fuel pressure. This is the same problem that afflicted us in Fort Stockton, TX last March, although I didn’t really recognize it. They found the new fuel pump, questioned me about it, and followed their diagnostic procedure, which included dropping the fuel tank, cleaning it out, checking for sediment, and blowing out the fuel lines. While we were at it, I had them put in a new fuel sender, so I’ll have a working fuel gauge again.after 12 years. Once they reassembled the truck, they found that it still didn’t have fuel pressure, so, armed with the receipt from the last time, they are installing a new fuel pump, covered by warrantee. I don’t expect them to cover any of the diagnostic labor.
I want to tell you about the town of Biloxi, MS. It’s a very nice, modern place. I believe that there was lots of rebuilding after Katrina. It’s also a resort town. It has about a half dozen large casino hotels. It has a decent collection of restaurants and stores, and it has both the appropriate auto-repair facility and an Enterprise Rent a Car. In short, it has everything we need to ride out this lilttle bump in our road.
Other than the casinos, the main attraction seems to be fishing. Of course, the weather isn’t really suited for that, and I don’t think we’d be going out on the gulf in any event. There aren’t many museums or other attractions that I can find. Most of the brochures in the motel lobby are for Mobile, AL. We’ve driven around and seen things. We ate in a few Casino Buffets, but there are no particular shows that we want to see, and we don’t gamble any more. Mostly, we’ve been playing Gin Rummy and Cribbage :)
Now, as for the weather. The entire northeast and midwest are suffering from what is being called the “Blizzard of 2011.” Another term I’ve heard is “snowpocalypse.” Here in Biloxi, we’ve got rain, close to freezing temps, and the threat of sleet. We had temps in the 70s on Monday, and in the 30s on Tuesday and Wednesday, with another cold rainy day expected today, Thursday.
I’m hoping to be on the road Friday, and to make it to Florida by Sunday night, after a weekend of driving. We have about 750 miles to go.
The blog has been pretty quiet over the last few months, since I’ve been pretty-much sitting in Austin, working my job. Now, things are looking different, at least for the next week.
We’ve decided to spend the rest of winter, and maybe a bit of spring, with my parents in Delray Beach, FL. We left Austin, and now we’re in Beaumont, Texas, where we overnighted at the Elks Lodge. I’m writing this from the Waffle House.
Yesterday was a perfect travel day, marred by the need to traverse Houston. Austin to Houston is easy. Just down US-290, a mix of two-lane and four-lane through rural Texas towns. Houston to Beaumont, is done on US-90, which is another delightful shunpike.
Unfortunately, Houston was beastly. Not only was there traffic, but we got trapped on the frontage road, where all the entrances to the freeway were closed. The result was a massive backup on the frontage road, that all funneled into one final entrance. It wasn’t pretty.
Anyway, we got there, with nothing but a bit of aggravation, and today, the drive to Slidell, LA will hopefully be easier.