Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Trailmanor saga continues...

It is my own fault in that I could have already had some of this done.  I just thought that other things were more important.  Anyway it was a busy day as I picked up the trailer and found a place to park it for the near term.  I also ordered some things to bring it back up to standards.  I was so worried about some other things that I forgot the keys at the shop but I'll get them tomorrow.

I did have a long talk with the RV sales manager who told me:
  • we have a fair price on the trailer at $7500
  • the RV dealership at Valley Honda and Volkswagen will be moving to the Koogler RV Sales site
  • Trailmanor IS still in business
  • Snyder RV in Salem IS still in business
I also discovered that my brake controller is still correctly adjusted and that I need more practice in backing.  

Thanks to Rick Sutton of Valley RV Service, Sandra of Snyder RV, Bill Linen of Valley RV and Marjorie of Shenandoah Valley Campground.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Notes from the gun shop...

I have been very busy and yesterday at the shop was no exception.

I walked in at the usual time and the ATF audit team was already hard at work.  I find it interesting that there have been 3 audits in a little over 4 years at this one business.  Officially, it could be volume (there are other higher volume stores with fewer audits), traces (again, other stores have many more traces than we do and fewer audits), or some continuing problem.  I know of no continuing problem.  We didn't close this time (as I think we had to do last time) and we were extra busy as well.  It was all elbows and... well, you know, it was busy.  We did a number of background checks and towards the end of the day it seemed that all were delayed.

The state of Virginia continues to deny buyers their rights because it hasn't funded replacements or full staffing at the office that does the background checks.  Although the system is "computerized", delayed applicants have to be "hand" done.  This is supposedly to ensure that they aren't confused with an actual criminal or that a criminal doesn't get inadvertently approved.  What it is really doing now is making law abiding citizens, including those holding concealed handgun permits, police officers, etc. wait.  I have heard of judges and state police officers being delayed.  That is ridiculous.  I believe that it IS an abrogation of their rights.

Anyway, there were no particularly exciting guns in the shop and it really didn't matter.  We were so busy that we didn't have time to look at one if was there.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Owning an RV...

All new and ready to go!
Nana and I have an recreational vehicle, a Trail Manor 2720SL with some extras.  We bought it in late 2003 and took it on a few trips, 2 or 3 times to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, once on the great circumnavigation of the American west (but short of California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho) and to North Carolina as well as a couple of local "jaunts".  Unfortunately our purchase coincided with my mom's worsening Alzheimer's and the duration of our trips quickly shortened and the frequency of them petered out to nothing.  The trailer has been parked at the Parnassus place since 2006, moved only to put it in a more advantageous parking place.  The inspection was allowed to lapse and it hadn't been done in almost 6 years.

When one does that one encourages various creatures to take up residence even if only temporarily.  This isn't a good thing.  It is also left exposed, no matter how carefully covered, to the elements without necessary periodic maintenance.  It seems that anything glued or plastic will come apart or fall off!  So it is with our trailer.

So, pushed by the pending sale of Mom's place and the need to move it from there, I got the trailer and moved it to Valley RV for an inspection.  I also asked that the more experienced serviceman go over it and check the systems for problems.  He did so and got it road worthy for $222.39 (which included checking the other systems).  I'm glad it is a slow time of year for him...

Clearly, I'm going to have to replace some things like the shower curtain on which a rodent exercised his dentures, a faucet, some velcro, re-glue some things and clean/scrub here and there.  The big thing is the seal between the two upper sections might require replacement.

Unfortunately, the nearest Trail Manor dealer is in Salem.  Yes, we bought it from Valley RV Sales when it was Rule RV but they are no longer dealers.  So, I'm thinking I'll have to get it down to Salem for the seal replacement.

We are willing to sell the unit.  New ones have an MSRP of $32,000+ (!) so we are asking (but open to negotiation) $7,500.  If I don't sell it I'm guessing I'm going to hunt out of it and use it as a mobile rest facility.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Moving a museum...

It is official.  I've been asked to again help with the 116th Infantry Regiment Museum and Foundation property.  I think I'll be able to do that now and of course I'd like to help.

Long before I gave 15 years to The Regiment, my first cousin once removed, Gano H. "Sonny" Jewell gave his life in service to his country while serving as an medic in the 2d Battalion 116th Infantry aid station outside Vire, France on August 4, 1944.  "Sonny" left college to enlist and do his part and his death was likely just one of the motivating factors which drove my father to enlist on VE-day when farm labor was released from enlistment restrictions.  I think it will be a good thing for me to do this in remembrance of him.

The museum will be moving into some of the space currently occupied by The Spoils of War, a store at which I work.  This space has kindly been donated by the Shueys, father and son, both members of the Regiment.  This is about 1000 square feet of retail space AND they will be donating another 1500 square feet or so of storage space.  Quite a thing to do, I think.

Today I heard that some (?) officers in "The Stonewall Brigade" didn't care for the unit's history.  One, a Minnesotan, felt that the sobriquet was supportive of slavery.  Well, I'm here to tell you that Sonny was proud to serve in the 116th and so was I and his great (my great-great) and great-great (my great-great-great) grandfathers served in the Union Army in the Civil War.  In fact the following six grandfathers are mine and are known to have served in the Federal forces (U.S. Army during the American Civil War):

- 1LT Barney Alonzo Parslow - D Company, 134th New York Infantry
- PVT Henry Parslow (Barney's dad) -  K Battery, 2d New York Heavy Artillery
- 1LT William Hathaway Van Cott - C Company, 102nd Regiment U.S. Volunteers
- PVT Charles Henry Flint, H Company - 194th New York Infantry
- PVT Hiram H. Kimball - E Company 69th New York State Volunteers
- PVT Peter V. Race - 15th and 50th Regiments New York Engineers

It is history, that's all.  No one living is responsible for any of the acts committed by any person at that time. The men serving their country generally acted honorably.  They should be honored and that is what the museum will do.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Everyone asks, "What have you been doing?"

We have been busy.  First we finally started the home repair/improvement projects we've been putting off or unable to get anyone to do for years (over 16 years in one instance).  We started last fall with the repairs to the front porch where I replaced about 80 square feet of decking and had the whole thing painted.  Then we found a competent fellow Nana could work with who would actually return our calls.  He and his crew have rebuilt our downstairs back porch and we now have railings.  All of it is being repainted as well and we are also repairing the gutters there.  That was a big one for me.

Another thing we've done is to build a storage shed in back to replace the one we had to tear down, 16 years ago.  While I had brought in several tons of crushed stone for a base for a new shed, repeated delays, non-delivery of materials, backing out by various contractors or the lack of available time really held us up.  Yes, Nana constantly changed her mind about just what it is that she wanted as well.  It finally has come together and we are getting our shed.  It is up and mostly painted and I am very much relieved.  I can't wait to start moving stuff into it.

THEN, we will move on to the basement door.  We have never had one in the whole 25 years we've lived here.  We have had a cover and just didn't use that doorway much but that was because the basement was more storage than work area.  Now we are using the basement more and the heavy cover is a PAIN to me to remove and replace.  The new door will be a God-send.

Then planning continues for the renovation to finish in the downstairs back hall-way (between the den and kitchen and to the downstairs half-bath), of your Mom's old bedroom as Nana's sitting room off our bedroom, built-in and expanded bookshelf space in my "library" room (you might notice that we gave the desk to your Uncle), and for upgrading some electric circuits in the house.  I think Nana is also looking at doing something to the kitchen.

Add all the social things we've been doing with Nana's friends dinners, walking every day, Nana's yoga class, funerals (an unfortunate adjunct to aging), and so forth and we've been mighty busy.  However, we did make time to see Kirk play basketball.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Notes from the gun shop...

It took me a bit of time to get this one written.  I've been busy but more about that later...

Yesterday started slow due to the "major" snowfall of about 5" we had here, the first of the year.  However, the day took off about 1100 and didn't really slow down.  We did do 3 transfers and a few small ammo and accessory sales.  We had a bunch of stuff come in.  So what's to report?  Well...

The big news is that of all the people in the shop about 25% who were investigating buying a gun were doing so because they believe that Obama will be re-elected in November and will be coming full bore after their guns.  Two of these were exclusively interested in buying an AR-15 type rifle.  The rest were interested in handguns first, ARs second.  In conversation, the boss let it be known that he's already finding some guns harder to get.  I suggest that if you want an AR or some other particular gun, if you reload or if you want to stock up on ammo that you do so now.  Don't wait, prioritize.

The Wiley Clapp Commander
Also, I'd been gone for a couple of weeks so I was surprised to discover that we had several Colt 1911 type pistols in stock including the Wiley Clapp Commander.  Every one of these guns looked to be well-made.  I was thinking about getting a Series 70 Government Model and the one we have looks good indeed.  The price might put you off, but these are real Colts and less expensive than Kimbers.  Not that anyone NEEDS to have a Colt, but I think Colts will hold their value better in the long run.

We also have one of the Rossi Rio Grande .410 bore lever actions.  This copies the Marlin 336 pretty well but...  the butt pad was proud of the butt stock by 1/8" all around, there were waves in the surface of the receiver sides AND it had that dad-gum cross-bolt safety.  I would rather have had the old Marlin 36 that came into the shop with rusty exterior and beat-near-to-death wood.  

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Visiting family...

We've been to Alabama to visit our son and help him with a few things.  Glad to see he's alive and the house is still erect.  It is a nice little place.  We put 1800+ miles on the truck which cost us about $390.00 in gasoline.  That is about double what it used to cost us for real gas, i.e. without the ethanol scam gas.

Had to clean up the camelia blooms...
We did a little yard work as the weather was pretty good towards the end of our visit.  But, mostly, we moved in some furniture we'd brought down from Virginia including my old desk.

I put the desk together myself in 1969 from a flatpack Mom ordered from a company that advertised in Yankee Magazine.  Given absolutely no help, I put the drawer pulls on upside down.  Even though I discovered the error afterwards, I didn't ever bother to change them.  Now, 43 years later, they are still there. 

We also got to spend a lot of time with sister-in-law Sue and her husband Mickey and Mickey showed me the cool planes he's working on.  This included a compeletely stripped down Pitt acrobatic home-built, a 1952 (if I remember this date correctly) Piper, and others.

We also got to visit with and serve chili at Mickey and Sue's church in Atmore, Alabama.  They actually thanked us for helping with their Valentine's Day/Chili dinner even though we had a great time. 

The actual travel to and from was blessedly trouble free.  Even though the truck now has north of 108,000 miles on it we had no problems there.  We didn't have any delays either although I think we narrowly missed a couple of possibilities on the way coming and going.  I guess we were due some good "luck" as we'd had all sorts of problems on last year's visits.  As usual, we stayed in La Quinta in Sevierville, TN as our midpoint.  Pet friendly, nice staff, clean rooms, good chow available relatively close by (well, we do know where to go) and a Bass Pro Shop store to visit.  Can't beat that. 

The desk in David's office...
When we got home we found some projects nearing completion and a couple of neat things in the mail (which had been delivered rather than held by the post office).  More about that later!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Service...CUSTOMER Service, THE key to business success

Apparently there are still some people who do not realize that their jobs, i.e. their paychecks, depend on customer service and that THEY ARE THE ONES RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT.

We were recently in Atmore, AL and discovered that there was a terrible problem with some companies in providing customer service, particularly those in the fast food industry.  We repeatedly had problems with the service provided in that service was slow, staff was inattentive and orders were confused/incorrectly filled.  We also had problems with being charged incorrectly on original bills OR when using charge cards.

As noticeably bad as this was in Atmore we have seen this same trend in some other places and extending to possible/probable frauds involving restaurant gift cards, inattentive staff, and other noticeable omissions such as forgetting special requests or failing to serve all meal components.

When this happens, we seldom return to a business and we have even left in the middle of a meal after making management aware of our concerns.  But we know that others are unaware of the cheats and frauds or unwilling to make management or owners aware of the problems they encounter but they do not return either.  Businesses suffer and so do the good employees.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Life is good. Family and friends in Alabama are good. I am always pleased with the great care and concern my in-laws show me. Family is the best. Tonight we learned that another iconic American entertainer has died. No matter what we may have thought of them their family loved them and every loved one dies too young to suit those of us left behind. But our time will come soon enough and we should hope that we will have so touched the people around us that they will mourn our passing and think it too soon.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Green County Examiner-Recorder, Feb 7, 1946


Albany—Hunting is one of the safest of all sports in New York State, according to figures showing
the number of accidents in relation to the number of licensed hunters during 1945 just released
by the Conservation Department.

"It is very encouraging to note," Commissioner Perry B. Duryea said, "that, out of millions of mandays afield last year, we have records of only 117 accidents in the while State. Among nearly 600,000 licensed hunters, less than one in every 5,000 or 0.002 per cent was hurt. Also, only 23, or less than one in every 26,000, were killed—less than the average death rate had all the hunters stayed
home during the hunting season."

 The records showed that, out of 117 hunting accidents: 23 were fatal; 40 were self-inflicted; shotguns caused 78, rifles, 36 and pistols, 3. Careless gun handling and being in the line of fire led the list at 25 each. Tripping or falling came next with 11; eight were due to careless unloading and
seven each of mistaking humans for game and ricocheting bullets.  Careless fence crossing, "didn't
know it was loaded" and having loaded guns in cars, camp or home took their toll, also, but in lesser

Saturday, February 04, 2012


I don't know how I missed this or even if I missed it (sometimes I think I'm headed down Mom's path) but it is intriguing as all get out.  I've seen some other gun that pulls the cartridge from the magazine, I think it was a MARS.  Anyway, I saw this on View from the Porch and had to know more.  I think it is fascinating and unlike the Merwin and Hulbert guns, this one is already in production.

The gun is the model XR9-S and is produced by Boberg Arms.  Designed by Arrne Boberg

It is smaller than a Ruger SR9C or Beretta Nano or Kel-Tec PF9 OR Glock G26 and lighter than a S&W 642 (I've got one of those for pocket carry).  That means it would be smaller and lighter than my Colt Officers' Lightweight ACP.  The design appears to offer more grip the lack of which concerns users of the competing pistols mentioned.  Capacity is 7+1 rounds (that is one round more than a comparably sized Kel-Tec P3AT or Ruger LCP) of 9x19mm Luger/Parabellum.

This is one neat design.  I might be moved to get one and am exploring the possibility.  There is a long lead time on this though.  We'll see.  The cost is $995.00 and production can not yet meet demand.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Politics is a part of living life...

Every once in a while I run into somebody who has written off politics for one reason or another.  Oh, they have opinions which they willingly share at the drop of a hat, they might be extremely competent and intelligent but... they have come to the conclusion that participation in politics is an exercise in futility.

I could point to our gun-politics experiences here in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  From the 1960s forward we began to see a slide to New York/Massachusetts style gun control.  We had a hodge podge or potpourri of laws and ordinances in our various counties, cities, and towns.  It was becoming impossible to know what was legal and what wasn't.  Holders of concealed handgun permits were few and far between.  Frankly, it didn't seem that the National Rifle Association or the Virginia Rifle and Pistol Association were doing much good on this front.  To many it seemed that these organizations had either given up or been compromised by "the establishment".  Then, in northern Virginia (NOVA) counties of Fairfax and Arlington, we had some activists coalesce an organization now known as the Virginia Citizens' Defense League.  Since that time that organization has grown by leaps and bounds based on the grass-roots efforts of its members.  We have "shall issue" concealed handgun permits, we have eliminated the hodgepodge of laws as one travels from one jurisdiction to another, and we have reversed the trend to state government control of our lives.  I could point to this, but I won't.  Such examples aren't really important.

What IS important is how you live your life.  Politics, or rather government, is a part of that life.  Why would you NOT want to be involved?  Let me put it another way.  When you go to your grandmothers' house for Thanksgiving dinner do you not talk to anyone at the table?  When you go to a Super Bowl party, do you not root for a team or express your opinions about the various players or even the advertising?  When you are working, are you a person who never expresses their opinion about the boss or, if you are the boss, do you let somebody else do your job?  When you are with children, would you sit  by while they drank drain cleaner?  No, when you're at dinner you talk.  When you watch a game with friends you have a give and take about plays, players, ads, and food.  When at work, you gripe about the boss, perhaps offer suggestions, make decisions and if you are the boss you do your job and make decisions.  If you're watching children you make certain that they are as whole and healthy as when you arrived and you give them direction to ensure this.  This is what people do, this is life.  

To put it simply, politics is life.  Politics is letting others know what you want from government.  In this country it includes the opportunity to express your view as to which person is best suited to do that for you and I think that it IS better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

We're approaching an election that could change our country forever.  Choosing the wrong person could condemn us, our children, our grand-children, our GREAT-grand-children to lives of want and oppression we've never known.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Making a 60lb PVC longbow...

I think one should because one can.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Selling the "home" place...

Got word a couple of days ago that we finally have a buyer for Mom and Dad's place. It has been two years since Mom passed but I've been caretaker there since 2002. I've had access to it for hunting, shooting, and other things including family stuff since 1981. It is familiar and comfortable. It will soon be gone.

Before Mom passed we had already mostly cleared the house and auctioned off the contents. Sadly, Mom or her precious cats had damaged much of the furniture and with the economy taking a nose dive at the same time, we didn't see much in the way of money from it as we once thought we (i.e. the family) might realize from the sale of the things. Of that which was good, I gave my sister a shot at taking anything but she didn't take much. I did pass out to the interested daughters the spinning and weaving stuff. Oh well. So it goes. It was "just" stuff.

The house itself is no great shakes. I couldn't convince Nana to move out there and really, she's right. We'd have had to do a lot to the place to satisfy her as will the new owners.

The executrix has been really good in working with us. My parents were very smart to name the bank to administer the will (whomever went first) and it has saved me a lot of worry about whether or not my sister will be satisfied with how things are turning out. Above all, that is what I want.

Yesterday my wife and I went to get the sleeper sofa and chairs I was using when staying overnight (to maintain the insurance). Then, today, I went out there and collected almost all my tools and the last couple of pieces from inside the house and brought them home.

One of the things I brought back was a barometer that Mom had had as long as I can remember. Everywhere we lived, and we lived a lot of different places, that barometer was hung in a prominent place in the kitchen or dining room. I remember her tapping it to settle the needle and then turning the register needle to 'zero' the thing so that she could tell how much and how fast the atmospheric pressure was changing. Over the years she got pretty good and predicting weather by that and watching/listening to the weather 'experts'.

Bertha and Albert in the shop
I also brought home a plaster horse statuette. Back during the depression my great-grandfather, Albert Ellison Flint, ran a photo and gift shop in Braintree, Massachusetts. He and great-grandma Bertha bought it after he lost his job at Butler's department store in Boston. For his store, he'd bought three of these plaster horses to sell. One was smashed in transit. Over the winter he carefully glued it together (like a 3-D jigsaw puzzle) and it has been in our households ever since. The auction house thought it was nothing, and it is but for that story. He was about 67 when he did that and had to overcome the jumble of pieces, his eyesight and perhaps a bit of a shake and the adhesives of the time.  For these reasons the horse story was told as a tale of perseverance and 'pluck' in the face of adversity.

I still have a lawn mower and weed eater to bring back.  I have to go through the house and clean for the new owners (it is a matter of courtesy).  I have to move our RV out of there and find a new parking place.  Then, it will be done.