Dust settles

Keyboard I use with my phone

Omoton Bluetooth Keyboard

Now that the dust settled (somewhat) and we got into a routine of things, I will be posting more. I do have a few Gs of data per month, and I’ll be using them to post more on my blog.

No, I won’t be on Facebook, much. While the app and messenger are horrendous data hogs, the website isn’t much better. I suspect it’s the large images and ads, but I blow through a lot of data when I’m on there.

Take heart, I will be on when we go to the library, although I use that opportunity to post to my story blog (here, if anyone is interested). However my time is limited so even though I do check my notifications and stalk a few friends, I still won’t be posting there much. 

It will still be crazy for the next few weeks as Mike starts working tomorrow. Financially, we are still very tight, but with someone helping with the house payments (thanks, Jon) and the fact that we no longer have a car or camper payment, we can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Don’t do this at Home – Especially if it’s Mobile.

It took a while for us to get it here. For some reason, the Auto park wouldn’t release the brakes. For those who were as clueless as we were when we first saw the light on the dash after realizing we weren’t going anywhere, I’ll save you the hours of researching. It’s like a fail-safe for the parking brake. On normal cars, you have the regular brake and the parking brake. The auto park turns on the parking brake as soon as you shut the engine off.

This supposedly is for those people who refuse to use the parking brake. You shouldn’t rely to heavily on the engine as the brake, as it allows to vehicle to rock. What’s more, the engine brake isn’t as good when it comes to heavier vehicles and sometimes it will not work.

We found this out just before we headed out to Massachusetts when Mike put it in park and when to the side door to see if he could check if he was too close to the garage. The motor home started to roll back and both Michala and I yelled for him and he got back to the driver’s seat to stop it with the parking brake.

We have to re-enable it soon. It would be interesting to see if the problem we’ve had with the batteries is what caused the auto park not to release. So first thing we will be fixing is the electrical system. Then try reconnecting the auto park, because it wouldn’t be too pleasant if we lost our home again, this time to a mishap due to an easily preventable human error.



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Stranded in the most annoying way possible.

It was a dark and lonely night…

We had quite a day Sunday. In spite of the few hiccups a bunch of newbies would have, the trip started out just fine. The kids didn’t fight and enjoyed the fact that they were able to sit at a table on the entire trip and played their version of Pictionary with the whiteboard that we bought.

Mike and I discussed on what we could change while I wrote a “wishlist” of improvements to make.

My kids are burying Benjamin

Courtesy of Kelly Hamilton

The kids enjoyed their day. I missed it, but I was told Nathan had rescued a few runaway tubes from the center of the lake.

Benjamin spent most of his time in the sand – literately and the girls had fun using the Kayak.

In the end, everyone was exhausted and ready to go home. Instinctively, I thought that we shouldn’t be driving in the dark. The running lights were broken and we weren’t sure if all the lights worked.

However, we were convinced to stay for cake and I rounded up the kids. I suspect herding cats would be much easier if you had catnip, but even with promises of cake, it took a few tries to get everyone in one place.

We left about an hour later than we had planned.

For most of the trip, it was uneventful. Mike was used to driving by now and it seemed that we would be home in no time.

About 3/4 of the way, I noticed that when we would go up hills, the motor would downshift, but it seemed to have a different tone.

We both dismissed it as we were unfamiliar with the motorhome driving, and I was still a bit hyper sensitive from our accident. Everything sometimes seems to sound like a disaster waiting to happen.

A little while longer, Mike noticed that the engine light turned on. Then the Autopark light made itself known. Fortunately, the autopark was disabled, so the motorhome didn’t skid to a stop suddenly. Something that seemed to be a problem with older ones like ours.

While I was waiting for my phone to load a search page on why the engine light is on, Mike noticed that the speedometer was off. The transmission was started to shift randomly. This whole time, we were speculating what it could be.

Finally the Motorhome backfired and we decided to stop at a gas station in Whitehall, NY. Mike left it running, since we knew that batteries weren’t charging anymore. He was afraid that it wouldn’t start.

Thinking that the transmission might have been overheating, he cooled it off with some water from one of the gallons I had filled earlier.

We pulled out of the station, and it was already too dark to go without lights, so he turned it on.

We had already pulled out of the gas station when the engine started to die. About a mile down the road, we stopped at an antique place and that was it. everything quit.

We were 7 miles away from home. That’s right. If we were to walk very fast, we could make it home in less than two hours. I used to bike that distance to work every day. We were so close!

I was about to text Jonathan so that we can give them a heads up that they might have to come out and help, but Mike insisted that we troubleshoot first.

It took about 5 minutes for us to realize that he didn’t have his tools. At this point, Nathan had already texted Jonathan anyway. Mike relayed that he needed his meter and some basic tools that were in the garage.

After tinkering a little and determining that the belt to the alternator wasn’t broken. All we could do is sit and wait for my brother and father to arrive.

It wasn’t long.

Jonathan couldn’t jump the motorhome with his plug-in hybrid. It was just the way it was designed.

So we hooked up dad’s car, and it ran for a while.

My phone battery was getting low. I did have the battery bank, but I already used it twice to charge the camera, so I wasn’t sure how much power I had left. If we were to stay there overnight, I would need my phone for an emergencies.

I did take some video, using a flashlight that I should have had fresh batteries for and it wasn’t enough. So I have a lot of footage of blackness and some darkness… and maybe a little of nothingness.

Here’s what I salvaged:

In the end, Mike ended up going to Walmart and buying 1 starter battery and two deep cycle batteries. Deep cycle batteries are usually used on motorhomes, homes with alternative energy and a lot of small vehicles that run on batteries like electric golf carts and forklifts. The batteries can withstand being drained all the way, but the starter battery is meant to stay charged. If it drains too much, you can lose some of it’s functionality.

We are not sure what happened. It’s an old motorhome and I figured there would be problems. It’s a good thing we saw this happening now instead of somewhere between here and Texas.


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This week so far

image

The electrical technician came in this morning and finally got our power up and running. 

It was kind of difficult. We had to rotate though all of the power hogs. I would start the generator and plug in all of the rechargeable devices first, but I wouldn’t startcoffee maker for a half hour.

The fridge and freezer would take all of the power trying to catch up from being off for a few hours. Then the water heater would take all of the power, so for the most part, I would boil water for cleaning and dishes to save the trouble of running the generator for forty minutes, just for a few gallons of hot water. We did run it all day Saturday for showers.

The lights work just fine thanks to the fact that like all campers, the lights ran on battery… the very battery we just replaced a few months ago.

The lights would charge every time the generator was on, but I convinced the kids that we should use the lights only for emergencies.  They went to bed early. I guess this was a good thing, considering I would also go to bed early, as even time on my laptop was limited to battery power… and Ethan would use most of it.

Anyway, that particular crisis is over. On to the next one. This one may not be avoided, but I get into more details when I have more details.

Posted from WordPress for Android

Soon…

Laptop fixed with duct tape

There, I fixed it!

My laptop is on it’s last legs. Somebody finally paid me back and I finally bought a replacement. It won’t be here until next week because I was too cheap to pay for expedited shipping.

Yeah, I’m that type of person who hesitates buying a 99 cent app after paying a couple hundred on a tablet.

In the photo: The charging port successfully remained in tact after being yanked out by the kids millions of times… until last week. The duct tape is to keep the plug in place so that the charging circuit doesn’t flake out.

My laptop survived 5 years with six kids so I purchased a Toshiba again. I have this one on order.

Posted from WordPress for Android (then edited on a computer).

A little bit Gassy

Yesterday, I stepped outside and got a whiff of gasoline. As people out here are quite fond of their ATVs, Motorcycles, and go-carts, I thought someone had spilled some when filling up.

It was stronger today.

So, I followed the scent (yeah, I looked like an idiot), and saw that it was the generator that was leaking. The fumes were gathering under the camper. I had to move the generator downwind so that the camper won’t become a rocket if someone decides to light a match.

It would probably make a cool rocket, just not with us or our stuff in it.

Mikes first night off is tomorrow. It’s likely (after sleeps most of the afternoon) he’ll take a look at it then.

Give us our Daily Bread… to stock up on?

Sunday Class Notes

Sunday Class Notes Taken This Morning, Sorry about my handwriting.

Today’s Sunday Class was interesting, it’s too bad class was short. We got hung up on “give us our daily bread part”.

I’m somewhat of a survivalist. I was on of those y2k nuts, at least until I was sure that companies did heed the warning and hired plenty of programmers to solve the problem.

One comment that got us talking was that there was only so much you can prepare for, but sometimes the inevitable happens. Then what?

Praying for your daily bread is probably all that you can do and trust God will provide it.

Note: There’s something to be said about being prepared. Mike had his savings and I had bought in bulk, allowing us to stockpile a little. It all came in handy when Mike wasn’t working anymore. However, I believe God had a hand in it. Mike was able to pick up random work that allowed us to pay our rent, and the current job that he has now came in the nick of time.

I still have a hard time letting go. It’s not that I should sit back and be lazy. It’s just that our funding (and space) is limited. I’m doing all that I can to NOT buy in quantities that would make the local food pantry jealous, or fret on the fact that we have no property to live off of in Texas, and trust that God will provide.

Freezer thaw

Empty freezer open with waterbottles in the door

All but three water bottles removed

It had been so humid here the last few days that the freezer had a huge build up of ice. So we emptied the freezer, putting the contents into a Styrofoam Cooler.

 

 

 

Freezer open, mike there with a towel

Mike drying out the last of the water

T-Shirts

We got a package in the mail yesterday from my Mother-in-Law and it was full of T-Shirts.

I manage to get a few photos, but the shirts might come in handy for a new header pic. If I can get the photos on a plain background, it shouldn’t be that hard to edit. The next time I go shopping, I’ll see if we can pick up some poster board. More pics to come.

I keep saying that we are going to put the X-Box outside, but then one of the neighbor kids would play whenever he felt like it - even while we were still sleeping.

Benjamin Playing the Xbox

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's the reader's Digest. The kids actually fight on who gets to read it first.

Michala Reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

It took three tries for this "candid" shot. Poor kid, takes after her mother. Candid shots always have my eyes closed or mouth half open. I swear it's genetic!

Sarah is getting some Yogurt from the fridge

 

My New Camera

IMGA0046Sarah was showing me purple flower and I decided to try the “One Point Color” built in feature.

It wasn’t until after I took the shot I realized that Sarah also had a purple shirt on.

Other Features include “Fish Eye” and “Old Movie”. You know, the sepia color film filter with all of the “scratches”.

At the moment, I’m compiling a video now which I’ll have up sometime today… If all goes well.