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Thursday, April 30, 2015

another Vegas trip.

Good morning.
 Well, after getting home from the airport and spending the afternoon dealing with an unexpected issue at the Salon, and calling Delta to try and improve a future itinerary they changed on me, and then a good nights sleep, I'm ready to do a lengthy post.   :-)
We left last Friday morning from Lansing at 6am, flying to Detroit, and on to Vegas. We arrived in Vegas at 10:26 am their time. They are 3 hours behind Lansing. We caught a cab, and had him take us to the bus stop. We decided it was worth the $12 fare to save a lot of time waiting to take a bus from the airport, and having to transfer and wait for the one that takes us to Aliante. That worked well, and we arrived at the Aliante Casino/Hotel an hour and ten minutes later. Our community is about 25 miles from the airport and we didn't want to pay the $75 fare plus tip to take a cab. It was from there, a nice just under 20 minute walk to the house. We 'opened' the house, turning up the water heater, plugging in the fridge, TV, microwave, and bedroom clock, and taking off all the drop cloth covers from all the furniture. I then did a quick Swiffer on the floors. Then we took off to the store for ice and 'supplies'. We're happy that so far, the car has started for us each time we go out after sitting for so long.
Later Friday afternoon, Our neighbors across the street, Obbie and Gary, invited us over for cocktails.
We spent way too much time chatting, and went to bed late.
Saturday morning, I made us coffee, and while Craig went out to get us breakfast, I waited for people to show up. We were expecting a security door to be delivered and installed, a mattress to be delivered and also the rest of the bedroom furniture for the second bedroom.
Well, the door didn't arrive between 8 and 10 as expected, so I called to find the paperwork has been misplaced. They apologized and we reset an afternoon delivery. No big deal has we had to wait for the other deliveries anyway.
Everything turned out, and here's a pic of the new security door....
It's a steel door with a 'sun' pattern made from the steel bars. From the inside, you can see out, just like a screen door, but from the outside, it looks like a solid metal panel. Click on the pic to see it larger.
Many home in our community have security doors in a number of different patterns. We liked this one because it was a simple design and it didn't have vertical bars that make them look like your in jail.
Here's Craig in front of our house.
Also Saturday, we attempted to install the new microwave. I watched a couple of you-tube videos and it looked pretty straight forward. Well, as usually happens, it's never as easy as it looks.
We got the old one off pretty easily. When we attempted to put up the new one, the tabs on the wall bracket didn't line up with the new micro. The 2 center brackets were okay, but the 2 outer ones were to far out. Sooo, Craig ran to Lowe's to get tin snips to cut off the ends of the tabs. Got that done, and the micro fit! Pushed it up to the cabinet, and while Craig held the micro, I tried to insert the 3 screws into the top through the upper cabinet. I couldn't seem to get the holes in the cabinet to line up with those on the top of the micro. I soon realized, the holes in the cabinet were 3 inches too far back! Sooo, Craig had to run back to Lowe's to get a power drill to drill 3 new holes! And what's even crazier is we were replacing a GE with another GE. You'd think they would install the same! The old one was only 8 years old!
Anyway,  we got the template up , marked where the holes were suppose to be and got them drilled. Put the micro up again, and while trying to get the screws into the holes, I inadvertently pushed one of the brackets into the micro.  :-(
So we took it down and decided we had to take it apart to try and get the bracket back in the hole, as we couldn't install it without it.
Surprisingly, we did it! And after we finally got it installed, it worked!
Here's a pic....
That took us way longer than expected.
So after that whole ordeal, we decide to treat ourselves with pizza!
Sunday, we headed out to the Las Vegas Outlet Mall on the south side of the city to get some more dishes for our set of Corelle. We got all the way there only to find the store closed in March.  :-(
But we did have a delicious lunch at Outback while we were there.  :-)
And here's a few pics going back to our home.
This highway is called the 215. It runs around the outside of the valley.
This is the Aliante Hotel near the entrance of our community, just off the highway.
And the entrance to our community.
Also while we were there, I managed to get the second bath painted, and half the garage. I also worked on the drip irrigation, disconnecting bubblers that weren't watering anything and replacing bad nozzles on others.
Monday was finally a 'play' day, and we went over to the west side of the valley and had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, thanks to a gift card we brought out with us. Then we went down the street to a casino and left an hour later up $24.86.  :-)
Back home, Obbie and Gary had a neighborhood cocktail party on their new front patio. It's been so nice meeting and getting to know many of our new neighbors. We've felt very welcomed to the community.
Tuesday morning,  we did laundry, cleaned and got the house ready to sit for a couple of months again. Tuesday was also bulk pick-up day for trash, so we set out the micro, cut up all the cardboard boxes from the furniture delivery, and a big bag of branches I trimmed from the Apple tree in the back yard.
Tuesday afternoon, Obbie gave us a ride to the bus stop, and we headed back down to the strip. This trip, we had a free room at the Monte Carlo Hotel. For some reason, New York New York didn't have  that date available. We also had $50 is food credits and we each had $10 in free slot play, all thanks to the Facebook game, MyVegas Slots!  :-)
We had a tasty meal at Diablo's with sidewalk viewing. Spent the slot play plus a little extra with no luck this time.  Got up the next morning and took a short cab ride to the airport. Made it back to Lansing at 3:37pm.
It was a good trip.  :-)
Oh, and I did call Delta, spoke to a very nice person and got better flights for our next trip.
All is good.
Now I've got to get going.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

we're back!

Good afternoon.
We've just returned from Vegas!    :-)
But when we got off the plane in Minneapolis for our layover, I had a voice mail from Delta. It was another itinerary change to our next trip out there.   :-(
They've changed our layover from 1 hour to 7 hours!   :-(
Now I've got to get on the phone and try to get it change to something better.
Wish me luck!
I'll report on our trip when I get a chance.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

some good questions

Good morning.

First off, thanks for the e-mails and comments to my stalking post.
In response.....
Good idea Mike, next time I see him parking over there, I'll go out a obviously take his picture. Either he won't see me because he's just parking there and not stalking us, or he'll see me and know he's being watched.   :-)
Linda, he appears to be reading the paper every morning, but since my last post, we haven't seen him there in the morning the last two days.
And no, he didn't live here previously. We bought the house from the original owner and she was widowed, and we've met their only son. 
And no, no one can get on our wi-fi. It's password protected.
And....I took down his license plate number when we passed him on the road the other day.....just in case.  :-)
And if he was truly stalking us, he should have parked on the other side of the parking lot. We wouldn't have even thought twice about him over there, and he could still have easily kept an eye on us. Parking right in front of our house and aimed straight at us is a little toooo obvious.
Works been crazy busy, so I gotta go!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

are we being stalked?

Good morning.
Well, as expected, Monday and Tues. were wet, cold and windy. Good days to stay inside. So, I did more painting, getting all the walls in the living room done. I also cleaned the last 3 window blinds. Now I've just got the ceiling to do sometime.
The oven repairman arrived early Monday and got the stove working again. And we received the checks in the mail from Walmart. From order to delivery in just 7 days! And you can't beat the price!
We've also noticed a car suspiciously parked across the street.

It's actually in a parking lot, but that section of the lot is almost never used. And we've been seeing this car for a few weeks now. He shows up 3 times a day, same time each day, and parks in the same spot and just sits there in his car. He arrives early morning around 7am. and is there about an hour. Then again around 10am, and again around 2pm. Now if we were really being stalked, I don't think he would be so obvious.  :-)
He's a little white haired man. We actually passed him on the road coming home yesterday morning  from the store. I can't imagine what  he's doing or why. But it's become a little joke with us. Craig will be doing book work or reading and I'll say...."he's back." At 7am, I can see he's reading a paper. I can't tell what he's doing the other times. I'd like to go over there and ask what he's doing but it's really none of my business, other than I'm curious.  He'll probably stop coming at some point and it will be just another unexplained  situation.
But now, time to get ready for another work week. Looking really busy.

Monday, April 20, 2015

a productive spring so far

Good morning.
Yesterday turned out a better day than expected. The rain held off until late afternoon.  :-)
So, we managed to get in our 20 minute brisk walk and back home I went out and weeded and trimmed.
After Craig got his paper work done, he came out and we changed the snow tires on his car to summer tires.
Then Craig did the first mowing of the yard  while I did more weeding.

It was mostly overcast, but mild. It's raining this morning, and is expected to for the next couple of days. Then cold again with highs only around 50.  :-(
But I have got a lot accomplished so far so I can't complain.
This morning, I'll let Craig do the running, while I so some painting and wait for the stove repairman.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

it's springtime!

Good morning. I've just returned from cleaning the Salon.
It ended a busy week.  After work, with beautiful 67 degree weather, we did our 25 minute power walk, and then headed over to Reno's, where we basked in the rare sunshine and split a sandwich.
Back home was cocktails on the deck. We didn't venture out in the yard, as I didn't want to see all the work I still had to do. Everything looks better from afar, right?  :-)
For dinner, Craig made Mexican Pizza!
 It was delish! We ate that while watching the 1976  movie The Big Bus. I forgot how hilarious it was! And all the star cameo's!
Anyway, I got out of work on Friday early enough to spend 2 hours working out in the yard. Spring is always such a busy time.
And there's more things blooming too!

The little guys in the above pic were originally planted on one side of the tree, and now they've spread nearly all the way around. This summer, there will be all hosta's there.

Today, rain is forecast to move in later this morning. We'll try to get in another power walk before that, and I'll probably continue painting. The part for the stove came in and is scheduled to be installed Monday morning.
And that's it for now.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

damn computer bug

Good morning.
I didn't get a chance to post yesterday morning, as I got a nasty adware bug. Don't know what I did, but all of a sudden, every page I went to was loaded with ads. Even my home page!
Sooo, I ran my antivirus program, and Malwarebytes but they didn't get rid of it. I Googled it and tried several suggestions, but to no avail. Finally, I checked my Firefox browser add-ons and sure enough, there it was under the extensions tab. Removed it, closed the browser and restarted it and like magic, all the ads were gone!   :-)
So instead of it loading a program on my puter, it became an extension in my browser.
But, I'm all good now.
Tuesday was busy as I worked outside all day.
Here's a few pics Craig took.....

More spring flowers including Rip van Winkle daffodils above, and a dwarf dutch Iris below.

And me working in the pond.
I removed all the pond plants and put them in the compost pile. Then I scooped out as much debris as I could. Next weekend I'm planning on draining the pond and 'sanitizing' it.
I'm hoping to finally get rid of an invasive pond plant that appeared a couple of years ago. So far, nothing I've done has eliminated it.
And it was a buy day at work yesterday. Today, not so much, but Friday and Saturday are booked.
So time to go.

Monday, April 13, 2015

a positive review

Good afternoon.
It's was a busy day yesterday, as I spent pretty much all of it in the yard.
I raked out more flower beds, trimmed bushes, and edged the driveway. I also changed the tires on Kia from snow tires to summer tires with Craig's help. We even had cocktails on the deck for the first time this year!
 Today with rain, I stayed indoors. I had planned to paint, but never quite got to it.
I tried to order the security door for Vegas, but the guy I need to talk to isn't in until 3pm. So that will be a little later. I did go online to Tracfone to add minutes to my phone, as my service expires on May 17th.
I ordered the one year card for $99.99. When I put in my payment, and clicked on the button, it sat and spun a while. Then I got the same page back with an error. So I didn't know if the payment went through or not. And I received no confirmation. I checked my charge card online and it had a pending payment to Tracfone, so I called to get it straightened out. After way to much time holding, I did finally get someone and did get everything straightened out.  :-)
Oh, and I'll sing praises for my Tracfone!
Last year, Tracfone finally added some smart phones to their offerings and I bought the LG Optimus Dynamic.

Now, it's an older smart phone with a 3.8 inch screen, but for the price, you can not get a smart phone for so little money a month!
I get one year of service for just a total of $106.00  That's just around $9 a month! Can any of you get a smart phone for any where near that? I didn't think so.
Now of course, there is one little catch..........
You get just 1200 minutes talk, 1200 text and 1200 data. So if you use it a lot, it's not a good deal. But you can add another 4500 minutes of each  for just $199.00. That would still be less that $30 a month. I use mine a fair amount and never come close to using up my minutes. I now have over 6700 data, 7200 talk, and 7400 text. They keep rolling over if you don't use them.  :-)
And no, I'm not doing a paid advertisement for Tracfone. I just can't see spending any more than you need to.
And....Tracfone just added a few newer phones to their website. One has a 5 inch screen! But I'm going to wait until the price comes down some. My phone really is large enough, I don't have to have a newer phone,  but isn't bigger better?   :-)
And while I'm on a review mode, I also ordered more checks for Craig. He use to get them from his credit union, until they started getting so expensive. Now, he orders his checks for personal and business from Walmart.  With shipping and tax....$10.29. A third of what the credit union charged.   :-)
So, no work on the house or outside, but a lot online.
Tomorrow should be sunny and warm,  and it'll be back outside. I have a ton of stuff to do!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

we're going with d.

Good morning.
I've just returned from cleaning the Salon, and took a few pics.....
It's finally spring!    :-)

Saturday, after work, it was so nice out, we went for a walk. It feels good to be outside again.
I want to thank everyone for their comments on our possible new security door. And to reply to a couple of comments.....
 Mark said...." I think if they are painted a nice dark brown would make any of your choices look better. Having the door match the house make them look bland."
I agree Mark, but you are right, the HOA dictates what choices you have when putting on a security door.
I can match either the door itself, the siding color, trim color, or almond or white. Since the trim on our house is white, we decided to go with that. We may have it painted to match the door eventually.
Gene said....."Maybe you could paint it orange and gold since it is the sun."
I actually like that idea, and may submit it to the Architectural Review Committee. They are the committee that can approve deviations from the master plan.
That said, we are going with d. That's the one Craig really likes, and we want to keep Craig happy, right?   :-)
 And today is forecast for 66, so after our coffee, Sunday paper, and our walk, I plan on working in the yard. Indoor painting and such will now wait for rainy days........which we tend to have a lot in the spring.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

back at square one

Good morning.
Well Tuesday was another very busy day, as I finished the bedroom/office, and moved on to the laundry room. I still have the blinds to clean and will do that this upcoming weekend. Craig keeps saying he'll paint all the louvered doors, but I have yet to see him start. I may have to end up doing them myself.
And after all we went through picking out a security/storm door, getting it approved and paying Lowe's to send someone out to measure, we now find it won't fit.  :-/     So we're back to square one.
 This is what the front door looks like right now....
 A security door would make it a lot more difficult to break in.  Not that we really probably need it, since it is a very safe neighborhood. But since we are not there most of the time, Craig would feel better if the house was a bit more secure.
Sooo, the only options we have being 2000 miles away, is stock security doors. The ones I didn't like much to begin with. But it's not like we couldn't change that when we move out there. So for now, here's the few we liked better than the rest....

Let's call them from top left to bottom right, a,b,c,d.

 Besides the steel bars, the have a metal perforated  screen behind that allows you to see out, but they can't see in.
Out of these four, I like a, and Craig likes d. Our neighbors across the street have c.
This what security doors look like an a couple of homes in our community...
I couldn't find a current listing of homes with all the choices I have picked out above, but you can see, they don't look too bad.
So please  let me know what you think.
Now I've got to get to work. I have a full day today.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

busy couple of days.

Good morning.
It's been a busy couple of days.
On Sunday, I spent the day working on the spare bedroom/office. Pulled everything to one side, patched, sanded and painted. Being a small room, and wanting it to look as spacious as possible, I cleaned out my dresser, hanging pants, jeans, and t-shirts in the closet. My socks and undies and shorts will go in a couple of boxes I'll set by a wall on the floor. The dresser and night stand went out into the garage with the yard sale stuff. I also took the treadmill out to the garage. I only use it in the winter, and not as much as I should, so might as well get rid of that too.
After the paint was dry, I re-organized that side of the room. Then I pulled all the stuff from the other side of the room, and patched walls, and painted the baseboards and trimmed the window. I hope to finish that side up today.
Monday, after our usual running, the repair man came to look at the stove. Unfortunately, the main board was burnt and needs to be replaced. And of course, it has to be ordered. And of course, it $376.00. So that's another week without the oven. Fortunately, he got it so we could use the stove top burners.
And with Monday the nicest day of the weekend, I spent the rest of it outside. I cut down the ornamental grasses and the rest of the garden perennials. I also trimmed back some summer flowering bushes, and raked out leaves and pine needles from the house. It was a very productive day and I was exhausted come evening. I slept very well last night.  :-)
Got an e-mail from Delta about another schedule change on one of our future flights to Vegas. But this time it worked out much better for us. We were scheduled to fly out of Lansing at 8:15 to Detroit with nearly a 3 hr layover, and from there a 12:00 flight to Vegas arriving at 1:34.
They changed the Lansing flight to 7am. That gave us a nearly 4 hr layover. I checked online and saw we could get an earlier flight out of Detroit, but that gave us only a 34 minute layover. Another choice could be a 7:15 out of Lansing to Minneapolis with a 1 hr layover and arriving in Vegas at 10:26. That would get us to Vegas 3 hrs earlier than originally scheduled. So I called. Craig said they wouldn't let us change to Minneapolis, but I said there's no harm in asking. Which I did very nicely. And happily, they switched us!
I prefer Lansing to Minneapolis to Vegas because over all, it's about an hour shorter. But when I try to book that trip ahead of time, it's always more expensive. But I'm discovering, that if they change my schedule, they seem much more flexible at accommodating me with a revised one.  :-)
Well, after a beautiful mild 62 day yesterday, today is forecast at 48 and rain.
A good day to do more painting!
And for dinner today, it's Crock-pot pork chops !

Sunday, April 05, 2015


Good morning.
I've just returned from cleaning the Salon.
We ended up getting out of work earlier than expected Sat., so we headed over to Reno's for a late lunch an some relaxation.
That evening, our Spartans were booted out of the tournament.  :-(
But Wisconsin beat Kentucky, so we'll still have a Big Ten team playing for the title Monday.  :-)
Also, Friday morning, after my post, I decided I had time to replace the heating element in the oven. Looked at an online video, and it looked pretty easy. Got the old one out and the new one in. The odd thing was when I plugged it back in I got a large spark from the plug. But I turned the oven on and everything looked okay. It pre-heated to 325 and turned off. I opened the door to let it cool off while I took my shower.  Afterwards, the oven still felt quite warm, but I'm not sure how long it takes to cool down. But everything looked okay, so I closed the oven door and headed off to work. About an hour later, Craig finally gets up and calls me. I ask him to double check the stove, and he says it was it was very warm. Apparently, when the heating element burned out last week, it did something to the heating control. So even though I turned the nob off, the oven was still getting power, which would explain the spark I got plugging it in because it was really still on! Sooo, Craig unplugged it and we'll have to get a service tech out to fix it.  :-(
So for our dinner today, Craig will cook our ham in our electric roaster.
And that's it for now...

Friday, April 03, 2015

sunny Las Vegas

Good morning.
I've got a little extra time this morning to do a post, since yesterday afternoon, my 8 am appointment canceled, so now my first customer is at 9.
So,  Our nicest day this week weather wise was Wed. It was fortunate that Craig and I had a gap in our day and we were able to talk a nice walk and soak in the beautiful 67 degrees of sunshine.
That said, the weekend is looking to be cool and wet. Maybe only in the low 50's.
This leads me to re-confirm our decision to move to Vegas.
Here's a Dreariness map of the USA showing the most cloudy/rainy days in dark blue, to the least dreary days in dark orange.
As you can see, Lansing MI is second only to the pacific northwest and upper northeast for least number of dry sunny days. As a matter of fact, Lansing gets on average 175 days of sun and Vegas 294. Even better, Lansing gets 122 days of rain, Vegas only 22.
Now I know what your going to say. The southwest is in a decades long drought. That is true, but Vegas is in the lead in conservation of water. Way before the California gov declared a drought emergency yesterday, Vegas was 13 years ahead of California in conserving water.  In 2002 Clark county (where Vegas is located) banned front yard grass in all new construction. Our community of 2200 homes has no grass at all. Every drop of water that is used indoors in Vegas is reclaimed, treated, and returned to Lake Mead. They have had a program since 2000 paying people for every sq foot of lawn they revert back to water smart landscape.
Today, even though there are 400,000 more people in the valley, Vegas uses less water today than it did 10 years ago. Though I think they could still do a lot more!
Yes, I did my research before deciding to move to an area running low on water.
So as I spend my dreary weekend indoors, I'll dream of sunnier days ahead.  :-)
Now time to go.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

and that was quick

Good morning.
Well, it was a fast weekend as they all tend to be, and now it's back to work.
I managed to finish the kitchen and have started on the living room. I have one wall painted, and 3 more blinds cleaned. And I'm still finding more stuff to add to the early summer yard sale I plan on having in early June. We ordered the security/storm door for our Las Vegas home and it should be installed upon our next trip out there.
I've been observing the smart meter for the house, and have determined that unplugging the microwave on our last trip is saving us nearly $3 a month!   :-)
Hey, every little bit helps when you are paying for 2 homes. And it just goes to show how every little thing plugged in at your house adds up. When we leave, we unplug the night lights, clock in the bedroom, and now the microwave.
Well, with that, time for me to get to work. It looks like a busy week ahead.