Found an Atari 800 and it still works!

We spent the weekend cleaning out the new garage and putting away most of our stuff from the old house.  We even filtered out some more and had several bags more of trash and many boxes for the rummage sale Sandy’s going to have.  I also dug out the Atari 800 I pulled from the wreckage of the old house’s basement and tried it out.  I told Jay I would ship it to him in Arizona if it worked.  It actually did!  I was amazed.  It fired right up and took me to the blue “READY” prompt instantly.  And I mean instantly.  Back then there was no OS to load (unless you had an OS on a floppy you wanted to load, like DOS.  Kevin was shocked when I demonstrated my programming skills by writing this program in a jiff:


20 GOTO 10

Then I typed RUN and off it went, filling the screen with “HELLO WORLD! HELLO WORLD! HELLO WORLD! HELLO WORLD! HELLO WORLD! HELLO WORLD! ” infinitely.  After a few minutes he asked how to stop it.  I press BREAK and it stopped on line 10.  I thought maybe it would plant a seed, making him wonder what else it might be capable of, or what kinds of programs could he possibly write using those mysterious “word” commands… but he quickly moved on to something else and asked for his chair back… which I had been using as a stand for the Atari 800.  So it’s in a box now, I just have to pack it up tightly and get it over to the UPS Store.

I also got the gas-powered leaf blower started today, and he had a blast filling several bio bags with leaves.  I found that setting it up as a leaf SUCKER–with attached bag–makes it much more useful than a leaf blower. The day was awesome–as Jay pointed out–it was 60F this morning here, which it was in the 30’s in Arizona.  I told him “Things are getting weird as the end of the world approaches!”  The wind was out of control though–it was very very windy, so even after we filled several bags with leaves, more just filled the yard again.  With our new chain-link fence and a big tree in the backyard, we now have our own, personal, yard-sized leaf bin!  It felt good to get a lot of them cleaned up though, and even better to have a good chunk of the garage cleaned up as well.  Things are coming along.  I only wish I could say the same for the bank.  They’re moving like molasses with the old house.

More swimming

I wasn’t sure we’d get any swimming in at all today.  The storm heading toward us was huge, and the sky looked pretty threatening, but it must have all went around us, or dissipated, because we ended up not seeing a drop of rain, and all the lawns remain brown.  Kinda looks like Arizona around here now, except for a few neighbors that water their lawns daily.  We even have a burning ban in effect now, and can’t even use grills in the parks “until further notice”.  Even our own firepit is loaded with brush and kindling, but we can’t have a fire because it’s just too dangerous with everything so dry.

Tyler was also much later than we expected, so it was pretty late, but we managed to get a couple hours of swimming in at Woody’s after all.  This time it was Kevin, Tyler and I, and the squishy ball fights were in full force!  I think we all took several pretty solid smacks to the face before all was said and done.  Rosemary took a few photos, and they turned out pretty funny.  It took 3 takes to get a good group shot with everyone smiling, but she got it done!  Take a look.

Take 1
Take 1
Take 2
Take 2
Take 3
Take 3

A few favorites

I just added a few more favorites to the small “Arizona Vacation – 2012” photo album.  This set is intended to include those photos I love the most from the entire trip, so I’ll be placing some photos here that you might also find in the other photo albums from the trip, just to highlight them.  Here’s today’s uploads:

Here’s a few shots of the “nippliest” mountain peak I think we saw… I think these turned out great, considering they were taken in a moving car though the front windshield.  You can see a bit of dashboard reflection and a few slaughtered bugs on the widshield if you look real close, but I think even that adds a little something interesting to the shots.  Shot 1, Shot 2, Shot 3.

I meant to ask Jay this when we got to Arizona, but completely forgot about it until I found these tonight: What the heck do you call these “retarded punk-ass cacti” we saw on the way down, in New Mexico?!  I expected to see more of them during the trip, but I only saw them on the way there, just after we passed White Sands.  They look like cactus that don’t know how to cut their hair or even look decent and respectful…they’re just “punks”.  It was very amusing to me (and apparently ONLY me, as I was the only one laughing–hysterically–in the car) when we kept driving past more and more of them.  After I calmed down a little I was able to snap this and this.

And here and here is proof positive that not everything is brown in Arizona… regardless of what everyone thinks… It is, however, much more expensive to maintain this color of lawn…

And lastly, to close out today’s posting, Achmed and Walter watch the sun rise over Lake Pleasant.  G’night.

Back Home

We’re back home now.  We got in around 4:30pm on Sunday, after another marathon 2-day drive up from Arizona.  Pat and I decided to go through the Colorado Rockies on the way back for a change of scenery and to see a whole different part of the country.  It was pretty amazing–and pretty scary at times.  We ran into a couple blizzards in the mountains that made things pretty slow-going for awhile, but we came through it unscathed.  I took a ton more photos (over 400) on the way back, so feel free to take a look.  There’s some awesome mountain shots in there, along with a few shots of the blizzard conditions.  And here’s the EveryTrail path we took… Check out the “Statistics” on that one!  At our highest elevation we hit 9,993 feet!

When I hit the first snow storm in the mountains, I think Pat was asleep.  It went from crystal clear sky and road, to ice-covered road and blizzard conditions in a matter of seconds.  Then, about a quarter of a mile into it we came upon an overturned car in the ditch.  There were four other cars stopped along the side of the road helping, so I kept going, though I did slow down much more after that.

It sure was a quick, activity-packed, whirlwind ten-day vacation, that’s for sure!  Everyone had a great time, and we brought back a lot of great memories–and a lot of extra gifts and keepsakes.  We’ll definitely be doing it again, but next time we’ll stay longer.  Not necessarily to do more–we did plenty, believe me–but just to take in everything that much more, get a better feel for things, and perhaps do some serious decision-making.  Sandy will be coming next time for sure.  Even if I have to drag her.

Cold Weather, Packers and Bears…oh my!

Well, we’re in the deep-freeze part of Winter here in Wisconsin, when we’re lucky if we see no temperature at all outside—a.k.a. “0 degrees”, and everyone debates the differences between “Wind chill” and “Feels Like” calculations.  The Kenosha Unified School District has a strict policy of closing schools when “Either -20 degrees Fahrenheit sustained temperature or -34 degrees below zero or lower Fahrenheit sustained wind-chill,” so there’s something to look forward to.

Socks got stuck in the backyard the other day.  He ran out to the back fence to argue with the neighbor’s dog, and when I checked on him he was walking back to the house and halfway across the yard he started slowing down, slower and slower, then he stopped, looked up at me sadly and just whimpered.  I called him a few times and he couldn’t move.  I put on my shoes and went out there and carefully pulled his frozen feet from the icy snow, then carried him inside.  It only took him a few moments to recover though, and he was back to normal again.

Our forever-crumbling sidewalk around our house constantly fills with melted snow water when the temperature gets a little warmer in the daytime, then freezes to a solid, smooth surface at night, causing us a lot of problems with trying to walk across it, and worrying that someone (either us or a stranger walking by) will slip and fall, causing an injury.  We salt it daily too, but the salt washes away when it melts in the daytime.  We’ve sure spent our share of money on 10-lb. bags of salt, and have even had to use table salt as a last resort once in awhile.

At least both cars have started every time so far this season.  The colder it gets though, the more we long to make our move to Arizona.  It’s going to happen, we just haven’t set a date yet.  It’s like getting married.  There are so many things that have to be done first, so many plans to make, and it’s a real commitment.  Every winter and cold day brings us closer to it though.  It will not only be a lot warmer, but it will greatly improve our health and well-being.  It will also be a completely new chapter in our lives, so I’m already excited about it.Sackboy and the Packers-Bears Cookie

For now though, bring it on winter! Let’s see what you got! And Go Pack/Bears.  I’m on the fence.  I have family members on both sides of the fence for the Championship, but I’m not a football fan, so I’m neutral.  We’ll be watching the game Sunday, but what I’m looking forward to the most is Sandy’s snack menu–Mini Pigs in a Blanket, cocktail meatballs in barbeque sauce, cheese & sausage & crackers, ham-cream cheese-pickle rollups, a giant Packers-Bears cookie, and chicken wings!