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Thursday, July 28, 2011

In Memory of our son, Mike, 5 years ago today

On July 28, 2006, our son Mike unexpectedly passed away. 

We long for the wonderful man you had become, 
and maybe the wife and grandbabies 
and happiness your life would have brought to everyone.   

Missing you, Mike! 


Monday, July 25, 2011

The Full Poop Story of the RV Mascerator on the Motorhome

So many folks have asked more questions about how Steveio adapted the marine mascerator, both off list in emails and on our Safari group.

(NOTE: A mascerator is a machine that grinds up poopy waste from the black holding tank and pumps it out in a long skinny 3/4" hose, even uphill, to dump at far away locations like our septic tank, and then follow up with the grey water from the sinks and shower to rinse out the dedicated hose) 

Steve chose a marine grade mascerator, made by ITT Jabsco, because it has metal impeller parts instead of plastic like many of the cheaper RV grade models. 

Soooo here are more detailed instructions on his adaptation:

Steveio took a standard drain cap that goes on the bayonet mount of any RV drain pipe.  He cut an inch and quarter hole in the middle of the cap with a holesaw bit on the drill.  That allowed the cap to fit right over the opening on the bottom end of the mascerator in the pic above (he removed and discarded that grey elbow fitting in the photo)

He also drilled four small screw holes in the cap to line up with the four holes in the housing, using screws to hold it tight, along with a bead of silicone between the cap and the housing.

The discharge end on the left side of the machine has a 1 inch barbed fitting.  He attached a 1" piece of clear plastic hose (to be able to see the "progress of material" going through the hose)  At the end of the clear hose he attached a piece of threaded hose fitting to screw a black 3/4" hose that is 50ft long that goes into a septic, drain hole, sewer system etc. That long black hose is dedicated to dumping only, never to be used for anything else. Coils up in a 5 gallon bucket for storage in the motorhome basement.

The electrical line of 12 volt power was wired up to a 12volt plug cigarette lighter type with an ON/OFF switch on the line.  He installed a 12 volt powered outlet in our compartment near the drain valves to power the mascerator when in use.

Now the mascerator can hook onto the bayonet mount of the RV drain pipe when in use. It can then be removed and stored in a tote in our basement compartment when not in use.

Here is a photo of it being used on our friend's fifth wheel for the first time. (Yes, Steveio was a Mascerator Virgin until now!) ... they have a clear section on their drain pipe to also allow one to view the "progress of material"  (yuck)

Once the black tank contents are done running through, the motor changes sound in pitch and it's done. Close the black tank handle.  Then the grey tank (shower and sink water) valve is pulled and run through the machine.  This also helps to rinse the hose out before storing it away.  It is a good idea to screw the two ends of any hose together during storage to prevent leakage or intrusion by insects. 

Just look at these two guys!  They are having fun???  I guess so! 

Because of the lack of a 12 volt outlet near the dump bay on our friend's fiver, 
Steve hooked the mascerator up to the battery on our riding lawn mower!!!  LOL 
You can see the edge of the lawn mower on the lower half of the photo below. 

Our septic outlet pipe is about 100 feet from our driveway.  We can now empty our tanks after camping weekends right at our own home.  Saves on dump station fees each weekend on the way home to go 10 miles out of our way to dump the tanks.  Not to mention the fees to dump just a weekend's worth of waste.  Our tanks hold 50 gallons each.   Driving 10 extra miles on a Sunday at 8mpg that can add up at today's prices of diesel fuel.

A mascerator is great for many situations, besides saving on dump station fees:

-Many RV sites with sewer provided are only designed if your RV is backed into the site.  But our motorhome has a solid back wall in the bedroom.  If there is a pretty view, we may pull in forward so the view is out our front windshield in the living area of the rig.  That puts the sewer opening on the wrong side for us.  The mascerator can help with that, especially if we are doing laundry in our onboard washer/dryer.  The laundry  piping on a Safari does NOT empty into either our black or grey tanks, it is piped to only go right out the drain hose.  This will be important once we go full time in the RV.

-Or if sitting in someone's driveway it can dump tanks into a septic or even a toilet. (seen that)
-Or if at a poorly designed dump station that is too slanted to dump properly by gravity. (seen that)
-Or if at a campsite with sewer available but the sewer pipe is a foot off the ground (seen that)
-Or if at a curved road dump station and no way to line up 40 foot rig at their hole (seen that)

We do not use the "blue" RV holding tank deodorizers anymore as they can introduce bacteria-killing products into our septic tank.  Septic tanks and sewer systems need certain bacteria to keep them running properly.  We pour in a few tablespoons of RidX liquid septic tank treatment into our RV tanks to keep them working properly until they are dumped.  No danger of harming our household septic now.

And that is the full poop story on the mascerator....


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Finishing up visit with Jim and Dee - Allegra comes for a Bay-Kay-Shun!

Ohhh I am behind on posting again.  Sorry!  

We have been quite busy around here. Our visiting RV friends Jim and Dee got in a trip to Green Bay on Wednesday to do some touring, while I stayed home (a bit under the weather)   They managed to tour the Packer Stadium, do some shopping and picked up parts for the RV toilet in their rig which was leaking.

The weather has been atrocious and the heat and humidity just won't quit!   Steve got home from work on Wednesday and was able to help to remove their toilet and find out what parts needed replacement.  It was easier to work on the whole toilet outside, but the heat was awful.  It was not too hard of a fix, and they had it back in, toot sweet and working again.  Wheeeeeee

It was so horribly hot that I decided I could cook pizza in the oven in the house...  it didn't matter!  Then we took the pizza out to the waiting Walter's RV as a delivery!  We sat in the cool interior of their rig to eat supper and enjoy the evening with them.

On Thursday, those two busy beavers were back at the maintenance on their rig.  Besides washing all the windows, they also lubed their slides and seal, and did some rubbing compound on some scratches from the tree when they were backing into our yard.. ouch!~  But the scratches came out and now the rig looks sparkling spanking new!   

Thursday was an extra special busy day for us too, because our granddaughter, little Allegra came for a five day "bay-kay-shun" with us!  Her mommy and daddy go for an all adult camping weekend each year, and we are the lucky ones to get to keep her for all five days! 

She kept us entertained with her antics....  

We took a walk down by the river, and I think is a wonderful shot of Dee....

Thursday night was also a big night for Steveio... some of you RVers might remember a while back that Steveio bought a marine grade Jabsco mascerator for the motorhome. 

 (A mascerator is a machine that grinds up your poopy water from the black holding tank and pumps it out in a long skinny hose, even uphill, to dump at far away locations like our septic tank, and then you can follow up with the grey water from the sinks and shower to rinse out the hose somewhat) 

Soooo we have not used it yet.  But since Dee and Jim were leaving in the morning, it was a perfect time to dump out their tanks and put our mascerator to use!   Our septic opening is about 100 feet away from the RV's parked in the driveway.  They got it all hooked up, and were three feet short of hose!  But Jim to the rescue had an extra section to add to the group.  Of course, once this hose is used for mascerating, you never ever use it again for lawns or filling fresh water tank.  

Maiden run on the machine, hoses and hookups...... 

Flip the switch, pull the lever, and voila... it worked! 

 (ignore the green hose in the photo.. that was just lying there...)

The "stuff" from the tank comes down the big tube near the top of the photo, then through the machine, and then out the side on the right through the thinner black hose and down across the yard to the septic tank opening.   There.. done!

A mascerator is great for many situations, besides saving on dump station fees:
Like sitting in someone's driveway it can dump your tanks into a septic or even a toilet. (seen that)
Or if you are at a dumb designed dump station that is too slanted to dump properly by gravity. (seen that)
Or if you are at a campsite with sewer available but the dumb pipe is a foot off the ground (seen that)
Or if you are at a curved road dump station and no way to line up 40 foot rig at their hole (seen that)

I am glad that Steveio's new toy works well for him, and he and Jim both seemed pleased to have clean tanks!

Thursday night was our last night together with a meal out on the grills... they had done a run with Steve ot the little meat market down the road and stocked up on good home grown Wisconsin beef.  We spent the time relaxing with Jim and Dee for the evening.  Steve will be gone to work in the morning when they head out... so they said their good-byes on Thursday night.   He threatened to beep goodbye with the horn on the car as he leaves at 5:15 am while parked right in front of their bedroom, but he didn't.  LOL

On Friday morning, such veteran RVers like Jim and Dee had their rig ready to roll in just 15 minutes from start to finish.  Dee backs up the truck while Jim checks the hitch and raises the levelers.  All gear is stowed and compartments locked up.  They fired up the GPS and gave hugs all around .. through tears, little Allegra and I waved bye bye.   They are heading out to the Wisconsin Dells!

And therrrrrre they goooooooo!


Later on Friday afternoon, Erin came over with our other granddaughter, Chelsea.  The girls had a play day together and sure had fun.  LOVE their little piggy tails. awwwwwwww  

We have suffered here with the formidable temps and humidity as is the rest of the country.  It is sooo unusual for us to have such a long stretch of horrid temps.  Finally tonight, Saturday, it has cooled down enough to have all the windows open, and sleep up in our loft bed again.   No complaints here!

Good night!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rig Washing Day- Visiting with more RV friends Sharon and Fred

WOW.. two blogs in one day???

Ahhhh  it's naptime now so I have a bit of time here to write up a second blog and catch up about yesterday, Monday.

See, today it's "Grandmuddah to the Rescue" and I have little Chelsea bug here today.  She was having ummm *diaper problems* at the daycare, so her mommy called me to go get her.  After a good soak in the tub, some pedialyte and story time, she is now fast asleep here in the cool basement guestroom.

and Granmuddah has some extra blogging time!

Dee and Jim decided it was a hot icky muggy Monday... time to wash up their rig!  So they hauled out some ladders, buckets, brushes and rags and set to it.  Jim started with the roof (wearing some good gripping shoes for safety)  while Dee and I washed on the sides.

Scrub a dub dub!   Once all the hard parts were done, then Jim took Bounce dryer sheets and scrubbed on the dead bugs splattered across the whole front end.  Yes, it works amazingly well, and is the best hint ever for removing stubborn dried on bugs that are soooo hard to remove.

 Now all they have left to do is the windows...  after putting away all the buckets and ladders and stuff, it was time for a bit of a rest--- the humidity was up there, but the temps were cooler than predicted.

So we called back to Sharon and Fred, fellow RVer buddies of ours to come on over for supper, just one day later than we had originally invited them.

Jim and Fred talked hitches, rigs and trucks.  Sadly, Sharon and Fred had a horrible mishap with their own fifth wheel and truck and hitch, which they lost their fiver on the highway.  Totalled.  Luckily both are fine, as well as their canine buddy, Brandie.   So now Fred is feeling his way to getting back in the saddle again and Sharon is feeling the urge to hit the road again, too. 

We set up and visited under Jim and Dee's awning, 
while Steveio manned the grills with slabs of wild Alaskan salmon. 
Sharon brought some massive baker potatoes and Dee made up a garden salad.

It was hot, but not as bad as the day before.  
Steveio even took out a house fan to blow at the table to cool us off.  
I used my Mexican Tablecloth for the bright colors... 
Sharon added a watermelon and later some homemade strawberry shortcake!  Yummmmmmm  

 A few bottles of wine, some good stories, and Fred recreating their accident using his knife and fork... oh well, it was much scarier with visual aides!  LOL  

 It was a wonderful evening, the guys got to do all their guy talk, we women stayed close to the fan and thermocells (the skeeters were ATROCIOUS!)  and we really didn't want the evening to end.  Sigh.  It was almost like sitting around a campfire with a bunch of good RVing people.

 Back to the beedle bug Chelsea... she is still snoozing here, so maybe this Granmuddah needs a nap too?

Visiting with our RV friends - Jim and Dee and the Tumbleweed

As with most of the country, we are sweltering away with high humidity and heat indexes over 100...WHEW! The Weatherman on tv just called it "Mega Muggy" ...ewwwwww

Am I the same person who was complaining back in the winter 
when it seemed like the snow and the cold would never end?
What was I thinking??????

Our friends Dee and Jim Walters are here for a nice visit in our driveway.  Besides visiting and touring the area, they are catching up on projects like repairs, cleaning and some vehicle maintenance too.  When you are a full time RVer like they are, it's hard to find places to hole up for a bit, get your mail delivered, find some good local repair places and take it easy.  We are so happy to get to visit with them, and offer a place to hang for a while.

You can follow their blog here:  http://tumbleweed-jimdee.blogspot.com/

Jim and Dee are hunkering down in the AC in their fifth wheel (called The Tumbleweed) out on the driveway gravel.  It's partially shaded from the garage on the back side a bit, but mostly a big white box out in the sunshine....  the AC unit is working morning noon and night to keep them comfortable.  We only have a 20 amp hookup for them, but as long as their fridge and water heater are on propane, there is enough amperage to run the AC and their TV, laptops and cell phone chargers.  They assured us they are doing fine, but I wish we had better weather to entertain them with!   This is soooo unusual for Wisconsin. 

On Sunday, the guys went out in the boat for a while on the river. Steve took Jim up a ways to where the Little River joins the Oconto River.  Jim snapped some great shots that capture the feeling of our little calm river that floats by our home....

Here they were winding their way among some of the little islands that dot our river... finding the cool spots in the shade as they puttered upstream in the boat.

Captain Steveio at the helm, unsticking them from rocks in some shallow water by using oars. Otherwise they had the small motor running to putter upstream and back down to our house again.  
(I painted the oars to match the seats... teehee)

 It was a lovely blue-sky day... but horribly hot and humid too!

 Jim was brave enough to hand his expensive camera over to Steveio to snap a shot!  It turned out pretty good, because Steveio usually wiggles or emphatically bobs the camera in the same movement of pushing down the shutter button.  Why?  I have no idea.  It's a motion saying something like: "There... Got It!"

While the guys were playing on the river, 
Dee and I were working on knitting hats with the KNifty KNitter hoops... 

I have no idea why we were working on heavy wool winter hats in the middle of a heat-wave?  Wishful thinking perhaps?  Dee caught on fast, and we were fibernating the morning while waiting for the sweaty soggy heat-soaked guys to come back off the river.

It kept getting hotter and hotter... so by afternoon we all holed up in our air conditioning and tried to stay cool.  We hung out down in the loom room where our one portable unit was (the rest of our house has no AC) ...  so they hauled in some lawn chairs and made themselves at home in the one cool room of the house.  I have NEVER had any non-weavers spend THAT MUCH TIME in my loom room before!  I tried to get them to weave a rug or two, but it was too hot.

I think the heat was getting to me... so we cancelled some evening dinner plans with our fellow RVing buddies Sharon and Fred.  It was just toooo hot to even think of grilling outside, or cooking inside.  We grabbed sub sandwiches from Subway and retired early to our beds, with the heat index wayyyy too high for any comfort.

So if you see some blobs on the sidewalk, holding a fishing pole or knitting needles, you will know it's either me or Steveio..   toss us in a freezer and see if we regenerate back into our old selves, please?