Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday update

So, what's new at the Grouch household these days?  Not too much.

The other day I thought it would be nice to convert our old LP records to CDs so we can listen to them in the car or on my nifty new CD changer.  Checked around and folks wanted $20 per record to turn 'em into a CD.  Did some research and bought a record turntable at Best Buy that plugs into my ancient stereo system, with a USB port on it and software to make LPs into CDs.  After 6 LP to CD conversions it will have paid for itself.   The sound on the turntable is great and I'm having a lot of fun listening to my albums again.  The only downside is how frequently I have to get up to flip the record over. I had forgotten about that part!  It has been so long since a turntable was connected to my amp that at first the sound didn't want to come out.  Five sharp raps to the top of the amp convinced it to play and the sound is sweet!

I went on a off road trip up to the Los Padres NF today with some friends.  As I was grinding up a long, steep trail and my friend's Jeep was behind and around the corner where they conveniently couldn't see, a very large, very brown bear bolted across the trail in front of me!    I called this out over the CB radio to my friend and his wife but they didn't see old brown bear and without pictures, it never happened.  About 10 years or so ago the same thing happened on another Jeep trip in another area, only that time it was a mountain lion across the trail.  No one saw it but me.  I was shocked how fast the mountain lion blazed across the trail.  No outrunning him!

"It never rains in California, but girl don't they warn ya.  It pours, man it pours"  So that is what it was doing at our house last week.  Two days, two rain storms.  Who could imagine?

The rain - the evidence

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Missus' New Kitchen - Finis !

So, after three loonnnggg months the kitchen is done!  Well, almost done, there is the matter of the giant hole in the outside wall where the artiste redid the drain for the sink and hasn't got around yet to fixing it plus several nicky-nack things here and there,  But for all practical purposes we have our kitchen back!   

It looks pretty nice and the Missus has gotten compliments from her friends on it.  We need to have the kitchen and family room repainted which will be the next project - but hopefully not a three month project!

I especially like the wood smell that wafts out when the cupboards are opened

I have my own personal snack cupboard over the pantry. How good is that!  Notice that all of the refrigerator doodads made the move back into the kitchen! 

X marks the spot!

So, I get up this morning and stagger downstairs and out to the back yard to let our dog pack out behind the house to their outdoor bathroom area.  They manage to look nonchalant while doing their business.  Since staring at dogs answering the call of nature isn't my idea of fun I glanced around and noticed that Grouch estates was marked with a giant X in the sky right over the house!   This couldn't be good.  I wondered if either the space aliens had picked our house to be the drop zone for their soon-to-start invasion of the world or the Government finally figured out where I lived and was going to wipe out this annoyance once and for all?

Ground Zero for incoming cylinders from Mars?

I hustled the dogs into the house and peered out the front door to see what might be happening on the street out front.  I wondered if I'd see black SUVs with blacked out windows waiting or perhaps an alien drop ship with the ramp down?   Instead of all of that I saw Young Son's car and the X over someone else's house.  Phew!  I went back inside to have breakfast and clip coupons out of the Sunday paper. 

Looks like we lucked out that time!

Not over my house at all!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's day!

Happy Mother's day to the moms in my life!

The Missus, who is the best mother, wife, and friend any man could ever hope for!

Young daughter who as a foster mom shows that her heart is full of love for the little ones tossed up on her sheltering beach by the waves of family turmoil

Older daughter with Little Ladybug;  being a best Mom herself!

The Grouch's Mom who maybe wasn't prepared to be the mother of five troublesome kids but succeeded admirably in preparing us for the wide, wide, world with love and understanding and forgiveness for our mistakes.

It's the little thing in life...

It's missing the little things in life that makes me realize how easy we have it here in the industrialized west.  When our great kitchen remodel started in February we lost water and gas in the kitchen.  Cooking was by microwave and dishes were washed on the back patio in a blue tub and rinsed with a garden hose.

A couple weeks ago we got the sink installed and water hooked up.  Now I could wash the dishes in the sink!  It was just like the 1950s again.  Yay!  Then the gas range was put back in and we can now cook real meals.  Double yay!   This past week I pleaded with the kitchen artiste to re- install the dishwasher as a mother's day present for the Missus.  He had planned to be working on someone else's kitchen all week but he relented and put the dishwasher in for me.  Triple yay!  No more washing dishes by hand.

We're finally back in the 21st century and I have a better appreciation of the small things in life.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Bundu Trek Ltd.

Over the years people have asked me for a business card with my name and phone number so that they can contact me later.  I've handed out my employer's business card, scratched out my office phone number and written in my personal phone number, but it is a clumsy process and sometimes I don't have a pen handy to undertake the needed alterations to the card.

I have always thought that having a business that guided tours for hiking or Jeeping would be fun - not something to make a living off of, but legitimate enough to maybe get some people to pay for the privilege of being with me in the semi-wilds.  Like a lot of day dreams, this has never gotten beyond the 'wouldn't it be fun to...' stage.

Recently I merged the two things - a personal business card and a company; even though the company is, right now at least, still a day dream.  My business card has my company name Bundu Trek Ltd and my title "gentleman adventurer".  I thought the gentleman adventurer was a nice touch.  It even has an email which I never remember to check.  I was going to call the company 'Bundu Safaris' but a chap in South Africa beat me to the name.  'Bundu' by the way is from the Bantu language and means  a largely uninhabited wild region far from towns.   That describes the kind of place that I like to go.  Along with the business cards I got address labels and a T shirt with my company name on it.  What fun!

So, what is needed first for a start up business?  A business plan?  Capital?  A market survey?  Nah, what is needed is a Logo!  Yeah, that's the ticket!

So, unveiled here, for the very first time, is the logo of Bundu Trek Ltd., on my very own Jeep spare tire cover:

The significance of the Cape Buffalo is from our (the Missus and I) trip to Kruger Park in South Africa in the mid 80s.  The cape buffalo herds were thick on the ground.  We were told that they are cunning animals and would stalk a big game hunter as he thought he was stalking them.  The lodge that we stayed in while in Kruger had a cape buffalo on the car stickers that they handed out.  Alas my sticker went with my old Samurai 4x4 when it got sold off with a busted rear differential.  I've had an admiration for the cape buffalo; he doesn't go looking for a fight but he will positively destroy anything that messes with him or the herd.

Snazzy eh?  Older son gave me a GI tire cover from his Humvee when he was chasing bad guys in the middle east but after 6 years exposure to wind, sun, and dust it started to rapidly rip and disintegrate.   That tire cover has been retired to a display in the garage where it can rest in honor.  Hopefully the new tire cover will last at least as long as the previous one.

So, maybe sometime in future after I've had fun with the logo and maybe get some T shirts made up to give to friends and family I'll actually start booking some tours.  I'll let you know when it is time to book your trip!