November 03, 2022

Nothing Exciting To Report

As we move into our second fall here in "Pleasantville" the weather has been fantastic. Daytime highs reach the 70s and it is not freezing at night while the hounds, the dog and I sleep. One thing that is happening which is not good for this weekend's time adjustment, is we have been going to bed way too early and waking up way to early. Early enough that the hounds don't get fed immediately but they are happy to wait an hour or two for the regular time for their breakfast. It is I, that is getting up way too early, so they sleep.

With the sunshine out most days, they enjoy sleeping outside in the afternoons. Walter? Not going to happen as he is sleeping in the computer room at the same time.

They are not that excited about the 2022 World Series and as you see I have just enough room to squeeze in on the end of the couch. Walter has claimed Watson's love seat in recent weeks. No fights have taken place over territorial rights but my personal area on the couch has been decreased.

It is a strange combination of dog breeds but they all get a long. Walter is the protector of Henry or Watson when it comes to arguments about which bone they get to chew. He will always protect the other that is on the defense. Some of the looks Walter gives me, cracks me up and makes me laugh.

Why is the arm cover, made by my friend up the street, on the couch. Well if you look really hard you can see some of the couch material hanging out from under that cover. I suspect Watson as the one that over the past few months when I am gone, has been chewing that corner. With my OCD on stuff like that I can only say I am not real happy about what has happened. In fact, ... I'm ..... ah forget it.

I have a mixture of different kinds of grasses in the yard. That brown stuff is Zoysia, the green stuff is what was in the shade under the Bradford Pear tree I cut down last January. Still both kinds of grass collect leaves from the oak tree next door. With cooler temps the lawn has stopped growing so this time of year is nothing more than mowing leaves. I have a mulching blade that is used all the time, so the leaves are mulched into the ground giving the grass some nourishment.

Today's plan is to trim that azalea, trim the bush on the corner of the house, cut back the two hydrangeas on the side and trim the rose bushes on that same side. Depending how smooth things are going I might even dig up the rose bushes to the left of this azalea back in the corner and move them to the berm behind the back fence. Then move the three azaleas I planted on the north side of the garage last year, that have not done well in that location. I will plant them where they can get more morning sunshine here in the front. With temps in the 70's today I should be able to do all of that with out any issues, depending how hard that clay is under the flowerbed ground cover.

Every year I like to review the services I have to see if I can save some money. I hate wasting money as some of you know and my analysis digs into the spreadsheets I have. So a couple of weeks ago I was looking at saving about $90 per month if I could bundle my Spectrum Internet with their TV service (streaming or cable box).

Streaming tv started out well until last Thursday when closed captioning appeared on the screen "out of nowhere". Two hours on the phone and three technicians later, it was still on the screen and no way to get rid of it. Then later that night va la ... gone. Disappeared.

The next day I am watching ESPN2, which was showing a tape of a college football game when I get an error message telling me ESPN2 was not part of my subscription. It was and I was back on my most hated device (the phone) talking to another technician. We rebooted the internet modem in the computer room, unplugged my Apple TV since that was the device I use to stream tv and said various cuss words to get it to work again. While I sat watching the game, I thought "that is strike two against streaming tv". 

It didn't end. Saturday night watching Tennessee play Kentucky in college football like millions of other tv viewers ... I get an error message on my screen telling me my internet connection was lost. That was strange and frustrating because the iPad in my hand was connected and my internet wifi was strong. This time there were no phone calls. I checked other apps on Apple TV and there were no internet connection issues. Spectrum didn't like the connection. I rebooted the Apple TV device and I am back watching the game. Still I spent time fixing another Spectrum Streaming TV problem.

I call early Sunday morning to cancel my Spectrum streaming tv. I currently use Directv and have had that the majority of time for the past 25 years. Well the salesman on the phone heard my complaints but thought I might be better off using their cable tv. Still wanting to save ~$90 per month, I decided to give them a chance.

You will NOT believe this story. Holy s**** I could not believe that TWO spectrum employees answered my question the same way. What they said was not possible ... NOT POSSIBLE !!!! You will see what I mean in these next two photos.

I drive out to Spectrums store on the opposite side of town and get there right when they open. Line to get in is out of door on the sidewalk. Hmmmm interesting. Long story short I get the box, drive home and hook things up, hopefully before the Colts game at 3:30pm my local time. That first Spectrum picture was on for 25 minutes before it brought on the second picture just above. 

I am calm, pulse rate is good ... I pick up my most hated device (the phone) to call a technician AGAIN. Now when I was at the store I asked the salesman if I needed to have an installer to come out and move my coax cable outside from my Directv dish on the roof and connect the cable that goes out to the telephone pole to the Spectrum cable signal. I am NOT an electrical expert but that to me HAD TO BE DONE ... sit down and hear his answer ....

"No, you don't need to do that, you can do a self install" and handed me a sheet on how to ONLY connect the cable box to the tv. LOL ... Holy s*** !!! I get a hold of a technician and argue with her because she says my signal strength is good and cable is not down in my area. I replied "If I could I would send you a photo of my *&#$))#@* tv screen!!!!" She suggested I wait for the program guide to load again, 20-30 minutes. By this time I am close to an hour into a simple install.

The screen goes blank after 25 minutes and there is slight hope that I have reception but it flipped into this screen. I KNOW what this means. But the "we're working ...." gave me a millisecond of hope that I was wrong ... but to me there was no way the cable coming into the house still connected to the Directv dish to their cable box would ever work !!!! 

So I asked her the same question I asked the salesman at the store ... SHE ANSWERED THE SAME AS HE DID!!!! ... "You have got to be kidding me!!!! I am not an expert in electronics but I know enough to be dangerous and I hate to tell you there is NO WAY your cable box will work when it is hooked up to a Directv signal ... NO WAY" .... I hung up right before I blacked out. (joke)

I call back one more time to get another tech's opinion and before he could say anything I told him I wanted to ask him a question that would save him and me a lot of time. I asked that question for the THIRD TIME and finally...finally ... I had found someone with some logical thinking.

He agreed with me. He wanted to set me up with a technician appointment on Monday or Tuesday. He wanted to know what my tv was doing and said he had NEVER heard of that screen before. I thanked him, hung up and reconnected my Directv receiver/dvr and put the Spectrum receiver/dvr back in the box. They did not close until 5pm so I had 40 minutes to get 9 miles.

I get to the store, no customers are there. I walk up to the guy that gave me the equipment. I showed him the three blue screen photos from the tv and he also said he had never seen that third photo before. BUT HE HAD INFO he didn't tell me before. "We have been having program guide loading issues for the past three weeks" ... I got my receipt from him for the equipment return and headed up to watch the taped Colts game on my Directv receiver. So much for trying to bundle tv and internet. 

By this time in this post I am out of photos since my last blog post. Like the title says, "nothing exciting to report". So I dug back into my large photo library to see what happened a year ago. I had found my old Z4 that I sold in 2018 to a car dealer here in town when I lived 100 miles north of here. I found it for sale by luck when I went to Facebook Marketplace to answer a potential buyers question about some wheels I was selling.

When I clicked the "vehicles" link on the sidebar, MY Z4 was the first photo. I knew it was mine because of those ugly luggage racks that will not come off the trunk. I emailed her (the owner) and bought the car the next morning before 9am. I was thrilled and still am that the car is back in my garage. My updated mileage spreedsheet told me on the night of October 31st, I had driven it only 630 miles the past year. Every mile was great. It is in the garage for those times I want to drive it. 

I went further back to November 2020, the first few days of the month and found these photos in my search. Different sleeping spots and a different computer room a little over 1,700 miles from here.

The sunshine is shining on my monitor through the window right now, the heater has kicked on because my house is 66°, the two hounds and the dog are all on my bed sleeping (their winter routine) and I am thinking what to make for breakfast.

Things are slow for blogging here this time of year. Four years ago I would post 20-25 photos, blogging daily with Stella and sometimes Heidi, taking two walks per day in the field behind the house up north. Sadie had just past a couple of months before in September 2018 so I had only one bloodhound and one basset hound. Walter was not until April 2020 in Arizona on a rainy Saturday night during the pandemic restrictions. Henry showed up that summer in 2020. All great hounds.

Believe it or not since my last FJ purchase August 1st I have had zero urge to look at cars/trucks for sale, zero urge to buy more, zero urge to trade or sell what I have. Also no urge to get back into the old VW buses. But I did spend the past two days on auto and homeowners insurance. After finding that some companies have "replacement value" and other have "actual cash value" when they pay you for a claim ... I canceled both companies I currently had and sprinted back to the company I had for years before last year. Both home and auto are under the same company as of today and that company has "replacement value" ... no depreciation in their computations. 

It's going to be a great day here in "the tropics" of southern Indiana today


  1. Nice post and update. Spectrum is not my favorite - have them for phone and internet (because choice is very limited). Will not have them for TV. I use a ROKU box and have added some apps. Serves my needs and a lot less $$$'s.

    Is this the longer time you have gone without doing some auto trading?

    1. I also have Spectrum phone and internet and like both. I thought about going to just buying the apps I need but that doesn't quite work for a sports junkie. I check every year to see if the costs change. Yes and no ... For the Z4 it is not as I owned it for over two years when I bought it in 2016. I have only had this FJ 3 months so it's a long way to go to beat my record. I am getting better though with my addiction. :)