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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mominlaw, Mason, Mileage and Miscellaneous

This blog today has a myriad of subjects..
something for everyone!  

There is technical cell phone and data antenna booster stuff, 
family stuff, 
house prep stuff, 
and a fun camping recipe!  
... so scroll on through to the parts that interest you! 

We have great concern tonight for my wonderful Mom-in-Law, Mary Ann Pfundtner...  she was having heart troubles last night and went into the hospital, and was now transferred to a larger hospital today for more procedures.  She is one tough cookie and a cancer survivor to boot.  We are waiting by the phone for more news, hopefully hear some good stuff soon!!!

We brought little granddaughter Allegra back down to Green Bay today to meet up at home with her Mommy, Daddy and little Mason!   She was singing all the way there in the car, excited to see her new baby brother finally at home!   After big hugs and kisses, she had to examine her baby brother from head to toe.  What a good big sister she will be, and such a helper girl too.

Look at all that lovely strawberry blonde hair, like his big sister! 
And... look at the length of those fingers!!!! His toes are just as long too.....

Speaking of hair, you might recall in the pics yesterday of our son, Dan.  He had grown a thick bushy beard and a mop of red hair.  He grew it during the whole pregnancy and said he would cut it off when the baby was born.  I have NO IDEA why.... Steve did the same thing when each of his sons were born too.  He has no explanation for it either.  Like father - like son. 

This was Dan yesterday    -----       and today! 

I think I like the clean cut look much better..... 

This next section is for MY mom.  She is a crazy lady who takes pics of the mileage of her vehicles when they reach historic levels.  So mom... our Saturn was close to turning over!  Steve said I HAD to come out in the car with my camera and he drove it down the road so I could snap these pics.   

Just for YOU, Mom! 

Now for this Saturn to last till next April when we retire. 
Then we can pass it on to our daughter, 
however long it lasts for her is her problem, not ours. 

Next up is S'mores... how many of us LOVE them when we are camping?  But sometimes the weather doesn't cooperate so we can't have a campfire to make them.

I saw this little recipe on http://family-rving.blogspot.com   

We had accumulated a large pile of fallen branches from the woods, and also some fence posts and other junk that needed to be burned up.  The last few weeks have been sooo dry in Wisconsin, we had burn restrictions on.  Yesterday we got snow cover on the ground, which added a layer of moisture as it melted today.  So Steve lit up the pile---- and let er rip!   There.. gone now and one more thing cleared up before listing the house on the market.  

We had originally targeted for April 1 to put the house on the market, but with all the new baby stuff, Steve's mom, and one more grandson coming, we are going to delay the target date by a few weeks.  We have the Pfundtner Easter Gathering next weekend to host, so that is another thing to manage before putting the house on the market.  Most everything is done and ready now, but a few weeks won't harm us any.

Any of you blog readers who have been to our house, know we are in a real "dead zone" when it comes to cell service and data service.  Our internet data signal is slow (about 90db or worse)  and our cell phones drop calls all of the time.  Often we have to call people back three and four times during a phone call!  ARGGHHHH    How embarassing.  It's impossible to get back in touch to people in a big business such as an insurance company or tech support when you get dropped.  Then you have to start all over again with a new person each time.   How frustrating.

It's been even worse since we changed over to Verizon last July, but they are the only company that will let you be on roaming with no consequences.  We had been Nextel, then Sprint and AT&T in the past, and those companies got rid of us after finding out we are roaming most of the time off the only tower in the area which is Comcast.  (we don't want to be Comcast customers because they do not have a nationwide plan)

So Verizon at least lets us slowly peck away our 5gb data by using that tower, and we just get our data internet slowly running like a tortoise.   During the daytime hours M-F it's not too bad, but in the evenings and weekends when more Comcast customers are back at their homes using the local tower, we get ratcheted down in signal quality.

I read about this device on an RVer blog.  They have it for those far away boondocking spots with spotty coverage and it really helped them.  Of course if there is NO signal, it won't do any good.  But for low signals like we have, it just might be the ticket?

I bit the bullet and ordered it....  along with a handsfree bluetooth device for our cell phone (more on that later)  Knowing if we order it from Amazon, it can be returned without any issues if it doesn't work for us.

It came and I scanned over the directions, I plugged the booster base in and had a ready green light in a matter of seconds, meaning it found the signal.  The antenna is stuck to an inside patio door and the booster base unit is spaced about 8 feet away on a table.   You set it near your data source (either an air card, mifi hotspot, or Galaxy tablet like we have serving as a router)  set nearby the booster base unit and voila..  INSTANT INCREASE!!!    

Note: most aircards, mifi hotspots or tablets do not have any antenna port--- so an antenna can not be hooked up to it.  That is why this new technology of just setting the device NEAR a device to make it work is amazing!

Our -97db changed to -66db  ... wowzer!!!!   It was one bar and went to 5 bars!!!   Our EVDO or 1X signal went up to 3G !!!!!  
It came with three ways to power it up, and is also made to be used in a car or while on the road (like in our motorhome)    It has 120cAC cord, a 12vDC cord and even a USB power cord to run it off a laptop!

Next thing to try it out on was the cell phone.  They suggested in the user reviews to get a blue tooth hands free unit to use with a cell phone when using this device.  The phone gets set within a few inches of the booster base and you use the ear bud hands free thingie to make and receive calls.   Our phone went from 1 bar to 4 bars... unheard of here in our no man's land of cell signals!   We have never had 4 bars on anything.  LOL

We tried it out on Mel and Paula's call from Mississippi... It never dropped our call!   But I think we hit the button twice when hanging up and it redialed them when we didn't know it.  At least we weren't doing something verboten when they were listening to us!!! LOL LOL

Well, life will be hectic again in a day or two.  Erin will be going into labor any day and we will have another grandson to join the brood.  Plus we will take Chelsea for the time while they are in the hospital.

Haven't heard yet any updates about Steve's mom...  hoping all is going good and we can get more details as the telephone grapevine keeps us in touch.  His dad calls the oldest brother, Mark, who in turn calls the rest of us to keep down the pestering phone calls while his dad is there trying to get answers from the docs.

And so it goes from our little cabin in the woods...

Friday, March 30, 2012

Another visit to our newest grandson

Yes, it's another gushy baby post!   Can you blame me? He gets more and more handsome every day, and he's only on his second day of being in this world!

First off though, we woke up to SNOW! ARGGGHHHHH!!!!

We got about 4-5 slushy inches of it, and it's still there tonight as I write this. Hopefully the temps will warm up this weekend to melt it all GONE!

Allegra and I trekked through it this morning, on down to Green Bay.  Our first stop was at the little florist shop on 9th St, (Parmentiers) as we try to keep our business local with small owners, rather than big chain stores.  While they were making up some pretty blue flowers and balloons, the nice lady gave little Allegra a pink carnation of her very own!  Now THAT is caring about your customers!

Allegra wrote a letter to her baby brother, Mason.  She put it in an envelope, licked it shut and decorated it!   Here is Daddy reading the letter to Mason, with Allegra proudly looking on.

Mommy gave Allegra a ride up and down on this crazy hospital bed!! Don't ALL kids love to do that? (and some grownups too?)

The little guy's toes are very very long, as are his fingers too.  Allegra had to check them all out, and count them, making sure there are 10 of each.  Daddy Dan is showing the keepsake footprints on the back of the hospital birth certificate.  How cute is that?

Allegra got to goof around in the baby basinette, 
doing a bit of luge racing.  LOL 
(the nurses let her do it!) 
And of course she got in some kisses for her baby brother too.

 And yes, Granmuddah never would pass up a chance to cuddle a sweet new baby....

After we said our goodbyes, Allegra and I went over to see cousin Jameson.  He needed a babysitter today for a couple hours because his regular sitter was on vacation.  Allegra and Jameson were learning new dance moves on some video game.. which worked them up into a frenzy before nap time.  Heather left for work and I had to calm down two crazy pre-schoolers.   (Thanks Heather, for doing that!) 

But Granmuddah worked her magic and soon had them BOTH napping, 
and the two cats too!  Whew what a day.  

Tomorrow Allegra goes back home to join up with 
her Mommy, Daddy and new baby brother!

Then waiting any day for Erin and Mark to go into labor next,
while Chelsea gets to come and hang out with us too! 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Grandson on the Way! (updated: HE'S HERE!!)

(from this morning)

On the way!!!!

Dan just called this morning, he and Mommy Heather are heading to the hospital!   Our newest grandson will be born today!!!

Will update this blog a little later with pics...tee heeee

Granmuddah and Granfaddah Pfun


(this next part added later) 

Yes!   Our little grandson, Mason Paul Pfundtner is now here, 
safe and sound, healthy and happy! 

Boy oh boy does Mommy Heather ever look GREAT for just delivering that bundle of joy
only a few short hours before this pic was taken!

Big sister Allegra was so proud to show us her new baby brother! 

We had the chance to cuddle him and snuggle him and admire him while his mommy and daddy beamed on in pleasure.  Big Sister Allegra watched warily as Granmuddah held him, as if she didn't think he was safe enough in my arms!   Such a good protective sister----

We took her home to our house for the next two nights till they bring the baby home...  so we can spoil her and give her some special big girl attention too.


When we got home, we found our newest toys at the door from Amazon... 
I will write more about them tomorrow, but just sayin' ---- they work GREAT!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Besides having little Jameson here for the weekend, we got a few motorhome modifications done too!  He "helped" Granfaddah get another solar panel ready for going up on the roof!   Here he is gathering tools and helping to put things together (or tear them apart?)

He just loves it when Granfaddah hauls out the tools.....

Steve is waiting for a warmer day to apply the Dicor sealant to the brackets on the roof around the screws so they cure and seal properly in medium temps.  We lost our wonderful early summer temps in the 70's and 80's and are back to normal in the 30's and 40's range.  Typical temps for Northern Wisconsin in March, so we are resigned to put up with them for a bit longer.

We currently have four 100 watt panels for the coach (house batteries) and he is adding one more panel.  For the chassis (driving) batteries he has a 15 watt solar panel to keep those up to snuff.  We have four 6v golf cart batteries in the tray now, and the two 12v driving batteries.  But soon we will move the driving batteries to the rack he made in the engine compartment, and then have room for SIX of the 6v batteries.  When we do the switchover, we will upgrade to six all new Trojan batteries.  (you should never mix new and old batteries)   Our four 6v ones are still operating good, though they were purchased in early 2009 so are still okay.  Guess we will offer them to our camping family to see if any of them can use em for a few more years, hooked up in pairs to make 12v,  on their trailers.

Jameson also helped me inside the motorhome too.  

A few years ago, we added this rack, similar to hotels for the wash cloths, hand towels and regular bath towels.  My dad sprayed it gold to match the motorhome for me when we were visiting them in Florida.  It works very well for the washcloths, hand and bath towels, but the spaces are not big enough for the biggest bath sheets.

We like the large big bath sheet type towel and double use as a beach towel, but they take up a LOT of room on the base of Steve's closet area.  We used to have only one towel bar in the bathroom that could only fit two of the big bath sheet towels.   The rest of the bath sheets were stored on the floor of the closet on Steve's side, and we wanted them up and off the floor in preparation for fulltiming.  Thinking: "Best Use Of Space!" here.

So we decided to buy two new towel bars and replace the existing one, plus add one more a bit lower.  Jameson helped with the screwdriver and the tape measure and holding the screws and wall anchors for me... counting each one as we drilled it back into the wall!   What a great helper!!!

 Now all of our towels are off the floor of the closet and on the racks!

Speaking of closets... on my side, I always stow my spinning wheel in mine.  It rides upright, protected from tipping over by my hanging clothes.  Only problem, I end up tucking all of my shoes around the base of the wheel and in between the treadle base legs.  I already have one huge gouge in the finely finished wood of the wheel from things being jammed in with it.  Steveio to the rescue!   I described what I needed and drew a quick diagram.  He made me this platform to go in my side of the closet.  My shoes and umbrella can be tucked into the cubby hole compartments, and the spinning wheel can now rest on the new *deck* of the closet!   It's not stained yet, but you can see how well it will work.   In the background you can see the folded up base to my sock machine stand too.  I think this will be a great resolution to my storage problems.  Thank you, Steveio!

Another storage problem in the motorhome has been my spices.  Someone on my RV list suggested this great pull down rack from Rubbermaid that we found at Walmart for only $12.  (some larger Walmarts have them, but not the smaller ones)   It's a great idea and heavy duty, but alas and alack, it's too WIDE for my cabinet!!!  The center post between the cabinet doors is in the way.  It has to go back to the store.  Sigh.

(pic on left is from the ad       ~~~~    pic on right is from my rig) 

I will explore some of the other pull down type units that fit up under the cabinet.

When we bought the 1997 Tracker, we had hoped to just swap over the Blue Ox baseplate from our 1995 Tracker.  Not so.... they were somewhat different.  Steve was hoping that he could adapt it, but we decided to bite the bullet and order the right one for the 1997 Tracker.

After shopping around, we charged a $370.00 baseplate for our Tracker on our American Express from US Auto Parts Warehouse.  http://www.autopartswarehouse.com/  They assured me 3 times during the phone call that it was "in stock"  and hit our credit card with the charge within 1 hour of ordering.  Five days later I found out it was NOT in stock and wasn't even MADE yet due to a backorder at Blue Ox.  We could expect it in 7-9 weeks.  I cancelled the order and the company would NOT issue a refund. After three frustrating phone calls to them, I decided to dispute the charge on my card instead.

Good ole American Express went to bat for me, removed the charge immediately from my account, and now, 4 weeks later they finally got that company to comply with the refund status.  Amazing!

Anyhooooo  Steve looked closer at the Blue Ox baseplate that we had and figured a way to adapt it to fit on our 1997 after all!   So with a bit of this and that, my fine engineering hubby now has our original baseplate mounted and in working order!  


He also installed a hitch on the back for the random times we might want to pull a small trailer or a boat (not when toading behind the motorhome)  so that is done now too.

Other projects this weekend were dipping more of my deep sea fishing weights.  Sadly, I could not let Jameson have a hand in this one.  I order 24 one pound weights at a time from a company and dip them in rubberized coating made for handles of tools.   The rubber can get EVERYWHERE ... not good for 3 year old boys to help with!

After three coats, they dry and I put them onto the flattened silver dinner forks.  Just the tips are bent over to be used when knitting socks on a sockknitting machine.  I sell these in sets of three to fellow sockcrankers on both Etsy and Ebay!

Once all of our projects were done, it was time for a Sunday birthday party!   Our youngest daughter Heather has turned 27... oh my am I that old already?  I was 24 when I had her, you do the math!

Steve put a pot of 6 pounds of Alaskan Snow Crab legs in the big kettle to steam (this is a base from a turkey deep fryer)  and some tenderloin steaks on the grill for those who don't like the crab legs.   Yummmmmmm  

While Granfaddah and Granmuddah cooked the meal, the kids took the grandkids out to the yard to play a bit.  This may very well be the LAST family party we have at this home, as it will be going on the market soon.  

After singing the Happy Birthday Song... 
the little ones helped blow out the candles! 

We were missing little Allegra, because our daughterinlaw "Mommy Heather" is due very soon and didn't wish to travel so far from her doctor.  Also our daughter "Mommy Erin" is due within the next few weeks.... so the next news should be NEW GRANDBABY NEWS!!!