Saturday, September 30, 2017

Progress Report - Maybe Today

Two good signs of progress:
Honey's computer is almost fixed - the Geek Squad guy at Best Buy called several times yesterday afternoon while he was resetting the Microsoft Office password. Microsoft was calling our land line with an access code, and he would call for the number.  Getting Office up and running was the last thing he had to do, but he hasn't called yet to say it is ready to pick up. I'm expecting a call later this morning.
Our flood insurance has a way to check the claim status using the texting feature on my cell phone.  Yesterday is said that the claim is still being processed but that a check was sent on 9/27.  It doesn't say how much the check is for, but I'm guessing this is that "getting started" check that the adjuster authorized four weeks ago. Of course, I haven't seen it yet, but maybe it will come today.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Honey's Computer

I took Honey's computer to Best Buy yesterday morning, and yesterday afternoon the Geek Squad guy called to say the problem was a failing hard drive.  
It hadn't completely died, but it was close, and the only hope for the computer was a hard drive replacement.
He said that they would try to retrieve the data from the old hard drive, but the chances of success weren't great.
The only thing we're really concerned about is Honey's Outlook Contacts. I have a file called Honey's Contacts on my computer, but it is way out of date.
So, if you've ever received an email from Honey - or if you'd like to in the future - please send her an email now so we can rebuild her Contacts.  If she isn't on your Contacts list, you can send the email to 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Update - Computer and FEMA

I spent most of yesterday trying to get Honey's computer back to normal, and finally admitted defeat.  I'll be taking it to Best Buy this morning.
Meanwhile, we had a visit from a FEMA representative yesterday, and she confirmed what I suspected - we will not be getting any help from the Feds.  She told us that (even if we qualified) they would not consider giving us any money under any circumstances until our flood insurance had paid off.
The only real surprise was that she said they would only consider damage to our garage (where we had the most water) if the garage contained something (like a water heater, for example) that was necessary to live in the house.  It's just a garage with nothing inside that would make it qualify.
She was a very nice, outgoing young woman, and we had a very enjoyable visit. But, except for giving me a welcome break from working on the computer, the entire visit was a waste of her time and mine.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Healthier Than A Computer - 2

Honey wasn't the only one to have her computer lock up on the Welcome screen.  A check on line says that this happened to a whole lot of folks courtesy of the latest Windows update.  
It seems to be unique to HP computers running Windows 10.  Both HP and Microsoft are aware of the problem, but there's no fix yet.  I did find a work-around that involves disabling something called App Readiness, but so far, I have been unable to get to the screen where this can be done. Directions on how to get to the screen where this can be done are vague at best, so I'm trying to get there by trial and error.
I still have hope of getting there, but it is a very long, drawn out, process.  Just getting to a screen where I can right click on the power logo - the first step in the sequence - can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

I'm Healthier Than A Computer

I had my annual physical exam this morning and everything is OK.  My triglycerides are a bit high, but total Cholesterol is fine. 

When we got home, Honey's laptop was hung up on the Welcome screen.  That usually means it is installing some update or another, but this has been going on for HOURS.  
The only fix I found on line requires using the mouse, and at this point, the darn mouse is disabled.  I hate to do it, but this may require professional help.

Monday, September 25, 2017

You Have the Right

Even if you've never been arrested, I'm sure you've heard the "Miranda Warning" dozens of times on TV police dramas - the one that begins "You have the right to remain silent."
I wish that more folks would understand that this also applies to Freedom of Speech.  
The 1st Amendment gives you the Right to express any opinion, no matter how misguided it might be.  
It gives you the Right to be wrong, to be ridiculous, to be stupid.  
It gives you the Right to be a complete and total jerk.
What it does not do is give you the Obligation.

Sunday, September 24, 2017


Well, I think that I made progress, of a sort, this morning.  
I mentioned the other day that our flood insurance carrier had a number you could text to check on the status of your claim. I also mentioned that they had no record of  my claim number.  
I despise texting - I'm old enough to believe phones were made for talking - but since it is impossible to reach anybody at the insurance company by phone, I keep trying.
Today, when I tried again, I got this reply:
"I didn't understand ur response. Pls enter only #s.  If ur claim # is FNII-1-17-0000001 then enter only 170000001 or 171.  To open a new claim reply w/CLAIM"
I tried re-entering my claim number without the zeroes and received this reply: 
"Your claim is currently open.  Your claim is still being reviewed, no payments have been issued."
I guess this explains why we haven't received a check.  At least now we know that we do have a claim in process, and that's got to be progress of a sort. Right?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Harvey Stinks

We got the new carpet installed in our living room yesterday and we are beyond pleased.  The color matches perfectly with the furniture, the color on the walls and with the tile in the entryway and kitchen - we could not have picked a better color.
The only problem is that it STINKS!  
Actually, the carpet itself is practically odorless, but the glue used to stick the pad to the floor is highly aromatic, and the smell will make you dizzy.  He didn't use much of the stuff, and I would have thought the smell would have gone away in a few hours, but I have a box fan set up in a window this morning trying to get the smell to dissipate. It seems as strong this morning as it was yesterday afternoon.
Speaking of STINKING, we are paying for the carpet out of our own pocket because we still haven't had any response from the flood insurance.  We were supposed to get a "get started" check over two weeks ago, but it has not arrived. 
The insurance carrier, which (just my luck) is headquartered in Florida, had a number you can text, include your claim number and get a report on your claim's status.  When I tried that, the response was that  they have no record of my claim number!  
Reaching an actual person is impossible.  After 25 minutes on hold, and being transferred several times, I finally got a live person, but she said her only job was to take my information and transfer it to the proper department.  She said calls were being handled in the order they were received, and that someone would call me back.
That was Wednesday.  No one has called yet.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

At the Doctor

Had a doctor's appointment this morning.  
Well, not exactly.  
What I had was a pre-appointment appointment. 
My annual physical is coming up next week.  
In the past, I would come in to get my lab work done the week before, then see the doctor on the day of the appointment.  Now they are scheduling an extra appointment to get everything but actually seeing the doctor done the week before.  It may be more efficient for the doctor, but it is a major pain in the ass for the patient.
I got there at 8 a.m. for an 8:30 appointment, and didn't get out of there until 10:35.  
I had assumed that, once they were through with everything else, I would go directly to the drawing station for my lab work, but no - they sent me back to the lobby to sign in for my labs, which put me at number 5 in a line that takes about 1/2 hour per patient.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Like A Pirate

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.  I'm not sure why, but - trust me - it is.
Reminds me of a story about Halloween.
A young fellow shows up at the front door.  
The lady who answers the doorbell asks "What are you?"
"I'm a pirate." he replies.
"Well, if you're a pirate, where are your buccaneers?"
"Under my buckin' hat."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

She Was Poetry

I saw a quote this morning that really grabbed my attention:
"She was poetry in a world that was still learning the alphabet"
The quote was unattributed, so I went looking.  I found that it was the first and last lines of a poem titled Poetry by Alex Collier.  
To me, it was by far the best line in the poem, but here is the whole thing  - the spelling is the author's - so you can judge for yourself - 

She was poetry in a world that was still learning the alphabet.
From the smooth contures of poised metaphores and similies.
She was an art form lusted for centuries.
Mastered from the souls of pain and heart break. She was poetry in a world that was still learning the alphabet.
Molding sculpted words into beautiful masterpeices.
Sex craved similies, form words making love like the wind and the earth.
Metaphors creating depths deeper than her darkerst passions.
For she was poetry in a world that was still learning the alphabet.
-Alex Collier

Monday, September 18, 2017


While you were watching Football this weekend, the Houston Astros clinched the American League West.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Mosquito Men

The flooding from Hurricane Harvey brought millions of mosquitoes and one of the most visible examples of how the government is actually helping.  Flyers from the U S Air Force Reserve, in specially modified C-130 cargo planes have been spraying the Greater Houston area each evening with mosquito poison.
Flights started last Thursday, and I was wondering if they hadn't got to our area yet, or if I had missed them coming over.  I got my answer last night about 8:30 - the sound of those four huge Allison engines would be hard to miss, especially when the plane is flying just above tree top level.  It moves fast, too.  It probably took us less than 20 seconds to get outside, and the plane was already out of sight.
Speaking of moving fast, when we went out, our dogs came in and went straight into their crate.  Bedtime should always be that easy.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

HRC Book Club

Nothing special going on here at the Boggy Thicket this morning, so I thought I'd pass along two reactions to Hillary's new book -


Friday, September 15, 2017

Why Smoking Is Better Than Flood Insurance

I never should have posted yesterday's post.  
I knew  it was too optimistic to expect what I considered a reasonable outcome, and I was right.  The adjuster called last night and told Honey that he was approving our carpet as contents - with a second deductible.  
He went on to say that if we could provide a letter from someone in government saying that the old floor contained asbestos, the insurance company would pay to have a remediation team come in and remove it.  I don't know why, since the floor pre-dated the flood by over 40 years, but that is what he said.  
That, of course, is a non-starter.  We already know that the safest (and least expensive) way to handle that old floor is simply to cover it with carpet.
I guess it could have been worse.  Our carpet contractor has a client in Kingwood whose house features a sunken living room, an architectural gimmick that was quite popular a few years ago.  Her adjuster told her that because the living room was six inches lower than the rest of the house, it would be considered a BASEMENT, and as such it was not covered by her policy!
Meanwhile, I got an email from Marlboro Cigarettes yesterday evening saying that since I lived in an area affected by Harvey they wanted to help.  I have smoked Marlboros since they came on the market, and have occasionally entered contests they sponsor on line, so I suppose they knew that I am a loyal customer. The email contained a link to a $50 Visa Debit Card!  It's an electronic debit card, valid for anything I care to purchase on line.
Weighing the results of paying several hundred dollars a year for flood insurance for almost half a century vs. smoking cigarettes for at least that long - right now, the cigarettes are winning!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Adjusting Expectations

Our adjuster (and his brother) finally showed up yesterday.  They took a lot more measurements and took a lot more pictures.  
He told us our "getting started" check was on the way and should have been here already.  He also said they would be in town for another 10 days or so and then they were headed to Florida.  He said he will be sending his finalized estimate in by this weekend, but he has no idea how long it will take to get our final check.
The one piece of good news - and it's not carved in stone - was that he finally agreed that the floor in the living room did not constitute a "Finished" floor.  
When the house was built, the contractor installed asphalt tile, and both the tile and the mastic they used to stick it down contained asbestos.  The floor has patches that only match the original tile in thickness, and large gaps from when the house was leveled that are just the concrete slab. When we first added carpet, it was decided it was both cheaper and safer to just cover the tile rather than remove it.
All of this matters because, as the flood insurance laws are written, carpet over an Unfinished floor is considered part of the dwelling, but carpet - even wall-to-wall carpet over a "Finished" floor deemed to be part of the contents.  In our case, with the minimal damage we suffered, listing the carpet as contents, with the additional deductible, would mean we would receive next to nothing for the damage to our home.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Anticipation Two

Well, the adjuster failed to show yesterday.  
I called him about 5 p.m. and he apologized - said the email he sent saying he would be here mid-afternoon should have specified mid-afternoon on Wednesday. 
He seems like a nice young man, but he was a day late showing up the first time, too.
Waiting around is SO MUCH FUN!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


We got the last stuff moved around and finished sweeping out the garage yesterday.  Still have a lot in there that will have to be moved out or around when they get ready to replace the drywall, but decided to leave it inside for now.
The next thing on our agenda is to WAIT - something neither I nor my bride is any good at at all.
The flood insurance adjuster is supposed to make his second visit sometime this afternoon.  Hopefully, once that happens we can get on with getting stuff repaired.

Monday, September 11, 2017


This is a picture of US 59 at the San Jacinto River taken near the peak of post-Harvey flooding.  
Today a neighbor published a (partial) list of businesses that were lost to floodwaters in Humble and Kingwood.  I say partial because folks are already adding to the list on Facebook.
Best Buy
Bell furniture
Old navy
Shoe carnival
Bed bath and beyond
Pier 1
Party city
Office Max
Mattress Firm
New balance
Chair king
Scrubs etc
Taco cabana
Famous footwear
Matress one
Verizon wireless
Hampton Inn
Pappas seafood
Red lobster
T.G.I. Friday's
Nightlight pediatrics
Toys r us/Babies r us
24 Emergency vet
Hobby lobby
Main Event
Dimassi's Mediterranean
Robert's Carpet
America's Best Contacts & Eyeglasses
Today's Vision
Natius Nursery
Amazing Lash Studio
Country inn and Suites


Lone Star college
Hunan garden
Domino's pizza
Papa johns
Carney's Tutoring
Kingwood high school
Smoothie king
Jewelers Bench
Pet ranch
Hallmark store
Sylvan learning
Famous Footwear
Burger King
Raising canes
Mod pizza
Orange theory
Sub zero
Tea house tapioca
Sports clips
La Madeline
Wells Fargo
Three B's
UPS store
Marble Slab
The little gym
Kingwood photo lab
Ryan's cleaners
BBVA compass
Town center dry cleaners
Kelsey Seybold
Memorial Hermann
Kingwood Library
Gigi's cupcakes
Russo's New York pizza
Sushi Hana
Leslie's pool supplies
Amegy bank
Pretty little things
Woodforest bank
Arturo's hair studio
Regions bank
Life storage
Campbell Chiropractic
Kingwood Barber Shop #3
Creeekwood Dental
Kingwood Family Practice
Papa Murphy's
Rachel's Hallmark Store
Mud Pie
Allergy & Asthma in Kingwood
S & A nails
Tipsy nails
Berry Yogurt
Dapper Darlings
Hin's Oriental
Kingwood Bagel
LaTique Nails
Nails of America
Sally’s Beauty Supply
Massage Heights
VIP Nails
Face It
Huntington Learning Center
Kingwood Mathnasium
Edward Jones
Youniquely Yours Boutique
Gnome Sweet Gnome
Legacy Fitness
ZZ Gators
Local Print Solutions
MW Dry Cleaners
Darque Tan
Texas Tom's Pool Supplies
Serenity massage
AG Hair in Town Center (formerly Moriri)
MJ Nails in Town Center
Dormer Insurance
Sotheby's Martha Turner in Town Center
Fabulous Things in Town Center
Thomas Markle Jewelers
Sanke Kingwood
Eye Trends
KW Shoe & Boot Repair
Farmers Insurance- Kenneth Pickett
Personalize It
Va Va Bloom
Jacks Grocery
El Ranchero
Family Vision
Thomas Markle Jewelers
Dr. Barksdale
Mama Fu’s
Kingwood PC Repair
Stewart Title
Capital Title
Humble ISD Support Services

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Post Harvey Potpourri

Making progress on the Harvey cleanup, but still have a ways to go.
I ache all over and I'm sick and tired of mosquitoes.
J J Watt's Harvey Relief Fund has gone over $30 million. Amazing when his original goal was $200 thousand.
Dave Martin, the Houston City Councilman who represents the Kingwood area issued a statement urging people not to support the Red Cross. "I beg you not to send them a penny," he said at Wednesday's council meeting. "They are the most inept unorganized organization I've ever experienced."
The Texans play their season opener today in Houston, giving us an excuse to take a break from Harvey.  
Their opponents, the Jacksonville Jaguars, will stay here until they know what Hurricane Irma does to their hometown. 
Saw a story this morning saying that about 50 Miami- Dade County residents evacuated ahead of Irma, and left their dogs tied up in their yards!  Got to be a special place in Hell for people like that.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Don Williams

Don Williams, one of my all time favorite singers, died yesterday after a career that spanned over half a century.  I first became a fan when he was part of the Corpus Christi based Pozo Seco Singers in the 1960s,
 and I liked him even more as a solo performer.
Here are examples of his work -

Friday, September 8, 2017


"Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things: One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love." - Butch Hancock, Singer/Songwriter/Musician, the Flatlanders

Thursday, September 7, 2017

No Room

Finally, a post about something except Harvey -
I had a very weird night last night.  
First, I couldn't get to sleep at all - went to bed at 10, could not relax and was up at 1 a.m. fixing myself a drink.  I finally got to sleep sometime after 1:30, only to have a weird and disturbing dream. 
I was away from home, attending a school, and staying in a hotel.  I suppose that I spent the first night at the hotel without incident, but after going to dinner following the first day of class, I returned to the hotel to find that my hotel room didn't exist.  
Rather than a more modern key card, I had an old-style room key, similar to the one above.  It clearly stated that it went to room 532, but when I took the elevator to the fifth floor the rooms went from 530 to 534 with nothing in between. The rooms across the hall were labeled 531, 533, 535, etc.
I spent what seemed like hours searching for my room, growing increasingly frustrated. I had a series of strange encounters on the way, and the hotel desk and hotel security were no help at all.  
The dream finally ended without actually coming to a conclusion.  
I never did find that darn room, but I awoke this morning in my own bed, totally exhausted.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Taking a Break

Well, we got all the wet sheet rock out yesterday and hauled it to the edge of the street.  There's still lots to do, but decided we deserved a day off, so plan to take it easy today.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Getting Started

Our flood insurance adjuster finally made it here yesterday afternoon, but it was just a preliminary visit, he'll be back - probably next week sometime - to do his final assessment.
The one thing that he did stress was that we had to get the sheet rock in the garage pulled ASAP.  
We got started on that yesterday, and a group from our next-door-neighbor's church is supposed to come help us today.  Meanwhile, we're doing it ourselves. 
The carpenter ants in the house are under control, but they ain't nothing compared to the fire ants I found in the garage wall. They had come in and built a nest between a couple studs to get out of the water.  When I pulled that piece of sheet rock and hauled it to the trailer, I got stung a half dozen times before I could let it go.

Monday, September 4, 2017

If I Were a Carpenter

Multiple Harvey-related fatalities have occurred here at the Boggy Thicket!  
Big, black Carpenter Ants decided this was the perfect time to invade our home, and we have been fighting back.  We had two different brands of ant spray on hand, and I've used both.  They both seem to work.
So far, Honey has been sweeping the utility room and kitchen just about every hour, sweeping up 20 to 30 dead and dying ants each time.  There must be several hundred in the garbage I am taking to the curb this morning.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Yard of the Month

We haven't hauled anything out to the street. The carpet we pulled out is in rolls in the garage. 
The flood insurance adjuster is supposed to come today, so our yard might still look something like this before it's all over.

Saturday, September 2, 2017


There are reports all over the news about the unbelievable amounts of money being raised to help in the rebuilding after Harvey, but if you're not J. J. Watt or Michael Dell, there are still things you can do.
I drove past this truck in my hometown of Huffman yesterday -
 I didn't stop, but according to Facebook posts this morning, it was a couple from San Antonio who loaded their pickup with things like fresh bread and eggs and drove 200 miles to give them away.  Those who stopped said they would not take no for an answer and would not take any payment.