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Feb 13, 2013 -

Sun! Blue Sky! Amps Coming In!

The day started off really crappy, but the weather couldn’t be any better now! I’ve gained 16AH today and am still getting a good charge, so I will be ahead tonight.

I emailed AM Solar to ask them why my solar control monitor claims that I have a full charge when I know for sure that I do not. I was worried that the batteries would stop charging, but the battery monitor still sees the full amperage going back in, so I probably have a reporting glitch the same way I do with the volts on the battery monitor.

L and I went into town this afternoon to get shrimp for a traditional shrimp boil tonight. Mmmmm… sun, shrimp, beer, and ocean. This is the life!

We also detoured to the H.E.B. grocery store so I could check out their cat food selection since the Walmart didn’t carry Whiskas (!). Thankfully, I found my brood’s favoured food, and in the giant economical size to boot. What I bought them on Monday to tide us over hasn’t sat well with them at all and they were very happy when I opened that bad when I got home!

Finally, L took me to the post office so I could get my general delivery mail. Gina, your package hadn’t arrived yet. 🙁

It sure is nice to have someone else do the driving (and expend the fuel!). 🙂

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Batteries, Battery Monitor, Cats, Countries, Electricity, Finances, Law and Government, Mail, Personal, Shopping, Solar Panels, Technical, Texas, Travel, USA, Weather    2 Comments
Feb 6, 2013 -

Amazon Prime Shipping To General Delivery

I get free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime. They ship with UPS and it’s always been my understanding that a courrier company won’t deliver to a post office. So I did a little research and found a post on an RV forum by a guy who seemed to have all the answers. He claimed to have often addressed packages along the lines of “1 Big Bus Parked At the Hot Springs” and never had a lost delivery! His tip for Amazon Prime shipping to general delivery made sense and I decided to try it.

This is the format:

Your name
The street address of the post office
City State Zip Code

I placed my order late Monday and got my delivery confirmation this morning. I let the storm pass and then headed into town (hauling both computers to charge them at McDonalds, an expense that will be categorized under electricity and not food! But I digress.)

I told the lady at the post office counter that I had a general delivery package from Amazon (the boxes are distinctive) from UPS. She said that UPS had passed, but the packages were not yet sorted. She was willing to go have a superficial glance at the pile (was it really that big?!), otherwise I would have to come back tomorrow. She was gone about two minutes and returned triumphantly holding my box. Yay!

Part of my order was thermometres for the refrigerator and freezer, recommended by Andy Baird. My near disaster made me realise I should be monitor such things. I also grabbed a cheap keyboard for my iPad. I want to see if such a thing really will make me use my iPad even more before I splurge on a good one.

Now that I know that I can get Amazon Prime orders shipped general delivery, I will be making use of this service more often. I did feel safer sending an order to reader Pam’s mom in Houston, however!

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Appliances, Communications & Electronics, Finances, Fridge, iPad, Law and Government, Mail, Shopping, Technical    2 Comments
Jan 28, 2013 -

Goliad and Presidio La Bahia

The only thing of note in Port Lavaca is a museum that is closed on Mondays. My own reason for going into town was to mail two packages that could have waited another day or two, so I almost stayed in.

Instead, I decided to take Pam’s advice and go on a drive to Goliad, one of the oldest towns in Texas. Its name is an anagram, minus the H, of Hidalgo, a Mexican priest and leader of the Mexican War of Independence.

Most of the town was shut down,  so I just followed my nose to the Empresario Restaurant, a sliver of a building with a warm decor. It had a simple menu with burgers and the like as well as a few Mexican dishes. I chose the cheese enchiladas and was a little surprised that they came smothered in BEEF. I didn’t send it back since the rice, beans, and corn tortilla enchiladas were fantastic. The little beef I took in was nicely seasoned. It’s not their fault that beef does nothing for me. Lunch was gigantic and I wound up leaving a bit of everything (well, a lot of the beef) and I still came out at $9 with the tip! Service was great, too. No regrets on my lunch choice! Amusingly enough, I checked my email on my phone while waiting for my food and there was an email from Pam recommending the fried chicken and iced tea at Empresario!

Then, I found an ATM of the drive-through variety (I got an odd look from a few people because I walked to it). That’s one thing about the US that boggles me; people just about never need to get out of their cars. You have drive through banks (not just ATMs, you can deal with a teller from your car!), drive through pharmacies, drive through restaurants (and not just fast food), and even drive through liquor stores.

THANK GOODNESS I took out cash because a few hours later my credit card was denied at a gas station. Not declined, denied. I haven’t been able to get through to them as the lines are busy, but I did my work around (called the main CIBC number instead of the Visa number) and got an automated message that they were having a problem with authorizations on their credit cards. I thought I might have a security hold, but it looks like the problem has nothing to do with me specifically. Ah, I just got a message from a friend while writing this post and the ENTIRE VISA SYSTEM ACROSS CANADA WAS DOWN THIS AFTERNOON. OMG. Anyway, it’s all restored now and I’m not stranded anywhere!

Next, I walked around the courthouse that features a hanging tree where justice was expediently served. From there, I strolled a block to the post office. I got a really nice lady who told me not to miss Presidio La Bahia, which I was planning to head to. She told me that that and the state park were pretty much the only things open at this time, so that was good info.

It was misting when I got out of the post office and walked the few blocks to my truck, but the weather cleared somewhat by the time I got to Presidio La Bahia. Presidio is my Spanish word of the week; it means fort.

Presidio La Bahia was founded in 1721 on the ruins of a French fort, moved several times, and was restored to its original state in the 1960s. It is now the best preserved presidio in the U.S. Until today, if you had asked me how much I know about Texas history, I would have replied, “Not much.” Now, I know I actually had a very good colouring book out line of it! I knew the general gist of events and the names of the main players involved. Very surprising! Who says you can’t learn anything from a TV mini-series like True Women?

This fort was at the centre of many sieges and battles in the Mexican War of Independence and ensuing Texas Revolution as well as the site of the Goliad Massacre.


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Countries, Finances, Law and Government, Mail, Museums, Texas, Travel, USA    4 Comments