Archive for March, 2017

Projects At The Coast of Gowen

March 30, 2017

IMG_3722Ever since we retired and moved to our lake home there has been no shortage of projects. It began with adding a large “three season” room on the front. In the process rotted wood along the front wall was discovered necessitating jacking up the roof and walls so that a new sill plate could be installed. This destroyed the drywall in the front living room and front bedroom. So while this was being done Paula and I were building a 16′ x 20′ Garden shed behind the barn. Then we had a guy come in and hang new drywall in the living room after we did the demolition to the damaged drywall. He also repaired the drywall in the front bedroom. In order to finish the living room we cut through the wall to the kitchen to make it larger and more open. Once the new room construction was complete Paula and I finished the interior – ceiling, walls, trim and capping it all with new carpet including the living room and front bedroom. Her son and daughter-in-law came and finished some of the drywall to complete the living room and did a better job than the “pro”.

Now at the same time we were trying to condense two homes into one (still ongoing) and the garage is a mess and the barn is full. Oh yeah, the barn. We installed a large overhead shelf for storage along one 32′ side wall and the 24′ back wall. After the garden shed project we partitioned a 10′ by 24′ area of the barn for my woodworking shop. Paula and I built the walls and insulated it and her daughter Kim (the NCAA gymnastic champ) climbed through the trusses above the room and installed insulation for us. The shop needs a bunch of projects to make it functional including a workbench and a miter saw stand.

I’m concentrating my effort in the garage in order to make it useful. The photo above is a small slice of the organization in progress. Once it’s done the garage “shop” area will be very useful to complete the rest of the project list. That list includes demo of the dinning room and kitchen and renovation of both. Then I can concentrate on getting the barn organized for its intended uses which is to store the pontoon in the winter and to house the functional woodworking shop.

I forgot to mention the driveway upgrade and landscaping projects, but I’ll save that for another posting. So we have our work cut out for us… Retired indeed!


Winter in Michigan

March 20, 2017

Picture from a few years back

Well apparently this was a mild winter for Western Michigan. My neighbor who has lived on this lake for over 20 years is my source for this information. I got a picture from him a few years back that showed a pretty big pile of snow (drift) on our driveway. We bought this place in 2005 and used it during the nice weather (April to October) as a weekend and vacation place. Our plan was always to move here permanently once we retired. Well we moved here finally on May 13, 2016.

Condensing two homes into one has been challenging and we are still working on it. Meanwhile, we had a big room added on and had the entire outside redone. Lots of improvements and we couldn’t be happier. The first thing I did was purchase a decent snow blower anticipating conditions similar to that picture.

I bought it in May and stored it all summer but in the middle of October I moved it to the garage staging it inside the second door and had it ready to go. I got to use it a few times in December and it works great. But since the first of the year we’ve only had a few snow events and none were significant enough to fire it up. I’m not complaining but I was surprised. I like to be prepared for anything.

A more significant event was two weeks ago when a storm rolled through that was a high wind event toppling trees and large branches. We didn’t lose any trees in our yard but we did lose power for several days. This was the longest power outage I have experienced since the East Coast blackout back in the 60s. I have a generator and had the electrician install a manual transfer interlock installed. We had problems and I traced out what I could but ultimately I had the electrician come back to figure it out. He found and fixed the problem and we were in business. We had heat and water and the food was safe. No matter how prepared you think you are it’s impossible to cover every possibility.

The Magic Green Hat

March 17, 2017

I needed to go to the emergency room for a pain in my side. Not wanting to sit there for several hours, I put on my MAGIC GREEN HAT.

When I went into the E.R., I noticed that 3/4 of the people in the room got up and left. I guess they decided that they weren’t that sick after all. It cut at least 3 hours off my waiting time.



Here’s the hat:

magic hat

It also works at Dept. of Motor Vehicles. It saved me several hours.
At the Laundromat, three minutes after entering, I had my choice of any machine, most still running.
It might also cut your wait time at the grocery store.
But…don’t try it at McDonald’s…
The whole crew ran out the back door and I never did get my coffee

Handgun Review

March 13, 2017

I am “into” guns. I’m not a gun nut but I do believe that we have an inalienable right to self defense Xdmod2and that would include any and all legal means. The one thing I have learned is that the best gun to own is the one you will carry or the one you are comfortable using. You need to be able to use a gun in a high stress situation as if it were an extension of you.

Some time back I reviewed my Smith & Wesson M&P Shield. There is only one reason I sold the Shield, it has a manual safety. I did not realize that Smith & Wesson offered this gun without a manual safety. I have since sold that gun and moved to this Springfield Armory XD-9 Mod.2 sub-compact handgun. While Springfield Armory is an American manufacturer this gun is produced in Croatia and believe me when I say the fit and finish is excellent. The standard magazine hold 13 rounds of 9mm ammunition so with one in the chamber this gun is ready to fire 14 rounds. The magazine shown in the photo is a 16 round version. So if you carry this gun with the standard magazine plus a round in the chamber and a spare 16 round magazine you have 30 rounds ready to go. If that’s not enough you are somewhere you shouldn’t be.

Let me discuss guns with safety mechanisms. I love revolvers but as I got older the arthritis in my hands makes it difficult to reload under stress. The revolver has no safety. The relatively heavy double action trigger serves that roll. I have a revolver and I carry it sometimes. I train often and I need consistency. I don’t want to think about switching my safety off.  I own several handguns and none of them have a manual safety. I especially like this gun because it is very safe to carry. If you look at the back of the grip it has what is called a grip safety much like the popular 1911s have. You have to have a grip on the gun for it to operate. The trigger is a safe-action trigger much like the famous and popular Glock handguns have. So if I drop this handgun it will not go off. I don’t recommend dropping it to test that out.

This handgun is very comfortable in my hand. It is a smooth shooter as well. The only thing I changed were the sights. I put a set of night sights on it shortly after I bought it and I find them to be great no matter what the lighting is. Target acquisition is quick, so followup shots are no problem. This gun is easy enough to conceal carry but is big enough with the double stacked magazines to provide plenty of fire power and makes a great “house” gun. This is my number one gun of choice and is almost always on my hip. If you have an opportunity to shoot one I’d like to hear about your experience.

The United States Government

March 6, 2017


Question: What type of government does the United States have?

Answer: As a constitutional republic, the United States government is controlled by its Constitution, which sets forth the relative political power of the people, the federal government and the state governments. As a federal republic, the power ultimately sits with the people through their ability to elect their federal and state representatives. The federal government is restricted by the sharing of power with the states as delineated in the Constitution. Although some people like to call the United States a democracy, this is technically not the case because people do not directly control legislation, but only do so through their elected representatives. (Source:

So the question I have for the citizens of the United States of America is, what type of government do you want to try now? Right now we have rights as guaranteed by the constitution. We can speak our mind, we can practice a religion of our choosing or none at all, we can own guns, equal opportunity for all, we can own property. Capitalism is our form of economy where government restrictions are limited. Many places in the world the economy is dictated by the government. I believe we the people have the right to decide what we can and will do.

Training is important but college is not necessarily the best way to go, not for everyone. I went from High School into the US Navy. I got some useful skills from that experience and translated that into a career. After I was married and working I went to college and earned an associate degree. It helped me in my upward climb in my chosen field. We all have these opportunities and those who make smart choices get ahead. There are those who look for the easy way. There are those who consider it the governments’ obligation to care for them.

That my friends is socialism and in the extreme communism. There is no such thing as a free lunch. The government has NO money. It is our money that we pay to the government in the form of taxes. The government uses tax money for a wide variety of programs. The purpose of the federal government as conceived by our founding fathers was to PROTECT its citizens and defend our country from all comers. Little by little the federal government found new ways to spend OUR money. Social program after social program slowly but surely has put us in debt. That debt keeps growing at an alarming rate. The work force is substantially smaller so the tax base is lower and yet the government keeps on spending.

This is Socialism and it is slowly destroying us. Is this what you want? Do we want those who have gainful employment to support a part of society too lazy to get off their asses and find a job to support themselves? Living in mama’s basement at age 30+ is not a sign of success.

The America I grew up in (50s & 60s) had many challenges. There was the Vietnam war which was not a popularly supported situation. There were serious racial problems as well. There was the hippie movement, Woodstock and Kent State. Look them up. Below the surface despite all the issues there was a strong sense of patriotism. We said the Pledge of Allegiance in school. America was not Godless like it is now. I don’t care what your religious beliefs are but don’t lose respect. I have found that I can tolerate many things but it’s increasingly getting more and more difficult to tolerate disrespect. The hot button issues of late are, Black Lives Matter (based on a lie), LGBTQ (RSTU…), Politicizing the awards shows to the point where I refuse to watch them. And now the Russians, what is with all the Russian influence talk? It’s all such a distraction and I think that’s the plan. The leftists continue to lose seats at all levels of government including the Presidency and this is how they move their agenda. It’s called slight of hand.

So what kind of government do you want?