Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Visiting Old Neighborhoods

My wife, son, and #3 daughter, are at my father-in-law's place over on Main. I'm 'holding down the fort,' here on Ash: as usual on Wednesday mornings. So far, that's pretty much routine at the Gill household.

What's not so routine is that I'm borrowing my wife's laptop, doing a little online nosing around while letting cable programs wash over me. At the moment, that's a Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen nightmares rerun. The show's an occasionally-fascinating look at how smallish medium-to-high-end restaurants work. Also a reminder that I haven't plumbed the depths, when it comes to workplace conditions.

I decided to take a trip to the west coast: San Francisco downtown, to check out the places I lived there. I've just been on the 700 block of Bush Street, just off Powell, where I had a good-enough-for-a-bachelor set of rooms at the back of a building, a few floors above a French restaurant.

The restaurant is still there, although the swank place across the street is now another sort of business. Change is no surprise: I left that part of the world in the '70s.

The "Y" is still there, over the top of the hill north on Market, wrapped around the corner of Market and Sacramento. I had a room there, one floor over the lobby, overlooking an airwell/entry-level court. It's still called the YWCA. That neighborhood hasn't changed quite as much, although there's an acupuncture health center on one corner, and the British (style) pub is gone.

There's also a sign telling about a summer children's program in front of the Y, in English and Chinese. No surprises there. Although the 'tourist' Chinatown district is a couple blocks east, that part of San Francisco was part of the 'real' Chinatown when I lived there. My quarters weren't as nice as the Bush Street address, but I liked the neighborhood. I also noticed that folks there weren't as diffident as Euro-Americans tend to be, about using color on buildings. Especially red. And yellow.

I 'really ought to' get back to work now.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday in Steubenville, Ohio

Yesterday, about 6:00 p.m., we stopped at a toll booth in Pennsylvania, a bit short of Pittsburgh. At that point, the alternator failed. Quickly and thoroughly.

We spent most of Saturday evening on an Interstate shoulder, got towed to a Pep Boys parking lot in Monroeville, and settled in for the night.

By about noon today the alternator was fixed, the RV's battery charged, and my son-in-law had found Denny's Tire Service, a business east, more or less, from Monroeville, Denny was the fellow who could swap out the RV's front tires. It cost quite a lot - and that's another topic.

I got to see some of the scenery we'd passed twice, going back past Monroeville, through Pittsburgh, and then down to Steubenville, Ohio. I think I got some photos - but I'm going to wait until I'm back home in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, before I take a close look at them.

It's after sunset now, I've washed some of the dishes in the RV, and have two of the more recalcitrant pans soaking. My son-in-law and #2 daughter are enjoying a movie here in Steubenville - and I'm getting caught up on posts.

More about the trade show and me:Related posts:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bad News: Or, Rather, Good News

I'm on my way back from that trade show, where I helped #2 daughter and my son-in-law. Mostly by babysitting a video system, and minding Spiral Light Candle Corporation's booth.

Or, rather, I'm sitting in their RV, in a Pep Boy's parking lot.

The explanation is a sort of bad news/good news thing.

First, the Bad News

At a toll road gate, the RV's alternator failed. Abruptly and completely. My son-in-law used - the emergency starter, I think - to coax another thousand feet of progress out of the RV. Which got us past the toll booths and to a spot where a tow truck would have a chance of picking us up.

It was about 6:00 Saturday evening. Not every towing service has a truck that'll haul a 33-foot RV. Not around Pittsburgh, anyway. In central Minnesota and North Dakota, we need to drag farm implements and semitrailers out of mud now and again - and that's another topic.

My son-in-law found a company that had a couple of tow trucks that could handle us. Both needed to be towed, themselves. Looks like they were having a worse day than we were.

We got towed, after several phone calls and several hours.

Now, the Good News

Turns out, one of the RV's front tires was ready to fail. The other wasn't good for too many more miles, either. If we'd followed plans, #2 daughter would have been driving when one or two of the front tires blew.

These days, we call that sort of thing 'being lucky.'

More about the trade show and me:
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