Category: Personal

New Web Site

This week, I changed my web site because of an event that happened earlier this week.  On Sunday, I received an email from Godaddy.com telling me that my page had some malware in it and that I needed to clean up the files that it listed.  Monday I was at work during my lunch, I received an email from Godaddy.com telling me that I should have received an email about some malware on my site.

I told the man that if my site was resulting in putting their company at risk, then lock it down and I would call them back when I got home from work and I would deal with it.  The man then told me they have a protection program that could help search and remove any malware or hacks that had happened to my site and that it only cost $240.00 a year.  He said that since I had been renewing my domain name in two year increments that it would only cost me $480.00 for this added protection.

That call was certainly what I needed to jar myself to make a change. I’ve had my site at http://paulmccord.net on Godaddy.com for 11 years.  Each renewal, I debated with myself if I should move to another hosting provider since Godaddy.com seemed to go up in price every time that I renewed.  I always decided to stay with them simply because my service had been very dependable prior to this phone call.

My page was paid up through 2018 but I decided to go with another provider since all I used this site for was my WordPress blog.  Even then it was only occasional.  I decided to move to WordPress.com Premium for $99.00 per year.  So far I like MOST of it but I should have done some reading before moving.

When I had my domain hosted at Godaddy.com, I used the Blogolife theme that I loved and had worked great for me.  I didn’t realize when I moved over to WordPress.com that it only had it’s own themes and you could not bring your own theme unless you subscribed to the Business account.  Unfortunately the Business account is more than twice the price of the Premium account.  Since I had purchased the Blogolife theme, and have a copy of it, I may move to another self hosted site when this year is over. We will see when the time comes.

I do not mean to bad mouth Godaddy.com because in all honesty, I’ve had great service with them for 11 years.  This call that I received was a little suspicious to me and did not give me a comfortable feeling.  As a knee jerk reaction, I decided to find another home for my site before I was kicked off Godaddy.com for having a malware site that did not come from me. Any malware that my site had, must have come from a hack, or either it was untrue to begin with.  I just didn’t feel that I was going to get a fair shake on this so I decided to move on.  That is why I registered this new domain of paulmccord.me.

While my current theme is not quite what I had before, it will get me through the next year until I can find away to get my old theme back without paying a fortune to build a business account for my personal page.

Happy Birthday to My Dad

Birthday

Yesterday we had a family get together to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday.  His birthday isn’t for a couple more weeks but we had to settle on a date where family members could get together from out of town. We had 19 people people there to visit and it was really fun.  We had others that were not in this picture but they opted not to be posted online.  Our day was very loud.  If you’ve ever been in a room with 19 people talking loudly at the same time, you can get a sense of how it was.  We had fun and hope everyone there enjoyed it as much as I did.  It was a warm 96 degrees when taking this picture so everyone was anxious to get back inside where the air conditioner was running.  We had family that came from as far as 100 miles away to visit.

I’ve always been close to my family and wanted to say happy birthday to the best dad in the world. I just wish my mom could have been there as well.

Lawn Improvement

We moved into this house in July 2015 and the lawn looked pretty good despite being pretty much all crab grass.  One of the reasons that it looked so good at the time was because it was the wettest year on record. In fact we received 18 inches of rain in the month of May alone.  In this first picture you can see the way the backyard looked before we moved in.  It didn’t look too bad at the time but was pretty much all weeds at the time.

The second picture was taken in August 2015 when our storm shelter was being installed. The lawn was torn up pretty bad with the use of a large back hoe digging the hole.  They piled this dirt and then left the  pile when they left so we had to decide how to move the dirt in a way that would  not be such a mess.

In the third picture  you can see how they left it. A huge dirt pile in the middle of the yard.  They didn’t even offer to take it away.  I was a little overwhelmed with how to deal with this pile of dirt.  It is much larger than the picture makes it look.  In fact it was about three feet tall and about 12 feet wide.

In the fourth picture you can see that I initially did a pretty bad job of dealing with the dirt pile. I got a dirt rake and I left the pile where they laid it and just spread it out.  It doesn’t look that bad in this picture but believe me, it was an absolute mess. Notice the concrete barrier around the fence is actually covered with dirt. This dirt is slimy clay when it is wet and hard as concrete when it is dry. Once it rained a few times this mound was a mess. I had no experience dealing with this sort of thing so it was  learning experience over many months.

This picture shows the next episode of destroying the lawn.  In April 2016 we had a concrete pad installed that took 5 1/2 yards of concrete. It was 6′ x 6′ and 4′ deep. This was the pad that would hold our ham radio tower.  I initially got a quote for the concrete to have it pumped to the site from the street. A couple days before showing up, they called and said they forgot to and the pump truck into the quote but said if we let them fill the bucket of a Bobcat dozer, carrying the load to the backyard, they could do it without extra cost. I soon found out what a mistake this was.  The night before they showed up, we had three inches of rain. It took them 15 trips from the street to the backyard to fill that hole.  In the picture below you can see what the lawn looked like when they were done.
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In the picture below you can see a partial repair of the lawn after the concrete pad was installed. My wife and I bought a roto-tiller and tried our best to level the ruts in the lawn. It was such a mess that I never thought it would be back to normal.  This picture shows that we did get it semi level but the grass was all gone.

In the picture below you can see in February 2016 we had a new fence installed.  This was just one more episode of destroying the lawn.  I can only imagine what the neighbors were thinking by this point.  We were in Tucson, Arizona on a work related trip while this installation was being done so we missed out on some of the work. My son took some pictures for us to show us how it looked.

Still later in April of 2016 we had the lawn torn up again!  We had a sprinkler system installed in the yard so that required some extensive trenching of the lawn.  I am sure by this point the neighbors were convince that we were credentialed lawn terrorists.  Despite the constant destruction of the lawn over and over again, there was an end game.  The overall goal was to have a nice lawn as some point.

The last picture was taken yesterday, July 15, 2017.  I just realized that yesterday we have lived in this house for two years.  While the lawn is not perfect, it has vastly improved on what it was.  It is our hope at some point that our neighbors realize that we are not intent on destroying the neighborhood.  We would like to be a good neighbor and keep the lawn looking presentable at some point.

I know this is not a comprehensive photo album, though we have taken several hundred pictures over the last couple of years.  Hopefully the lawn will continue to improve and then at some point we can start working on that flower garden in the front yard. 🙂

Feeling a bit Sick this Morning

I had a rough night of throwing up that I am just zapped of energy.  I was laying in bed and will likely go back to bed, except that I keep getting awaken by phone calls of an exercise on base.  It keeps telling me that we have a 100% accountability check and that it wants me to check in.  I’ve unsuccessfully attempted so that I just sent an email to my wife and boss to check me in.  I still feel pretty bad and want to go lay back down.  I hate burning sick days but today I clearly do not feel good.

I will get this posted and make another attempt at going back to bed.

Sprinkler System Installation

This past week we finally started a project that we’ve been saving for a long time.  We’ve talked about installing a sprinkler system for years but never got around to doing it.  On Thursday, April 13th we had Oklahoma Irrigation install our system for us.  They were over half way through when it began to rain.  They had to stop work until it was over and dried up a bit.  It was too wet to work on it the next day, yesterday.

They were going to come back yesterday but it was too wet. It looks like tomorrow (Easter) it is scheduled to rain again so they may not even be back on Monday.  We’ll see how conditions are.  I will never complain about getting rain so to me, I am okay with the delay.  Yes, the lawn is torn up but this is the third year in a row so I think we can handle it.  The first year, we had a storm shelter installed, then it was the ham radio tower pad and finally, now it is the sprinkler system.  I guess this will force our hand on dealing with the non grass around the storm shelter (cellar).  We are going to have to place some sod around it to get it growing now so that we don’t have erosion.  We’ve been holding off for this very project to get completed.

As you can see in these pictures, the lawn is a real mess.  We wanted to mow it and edge it last weekend but could not because the utility companies had to come out and mark the locations of their lines across the lawn.  They did this with paint and flags so I could not mow the flags over.  I can’t wait to get this project complete and the lawn begin to repair itself.  I’ll keep you posted with more pictures as it moves forward.

Finally Some Rain

After nearly two months of no rain, we finally manage to get a couple inches of rain on March 28th.  Then we got another quarter inch on April first.  We need much more than that but it is a good start.  This morning I got up and it was really foggy and there were many birds singing loudly.  It is hard to imagine a better morning.  Of course, waking up to a rainy day would be better but I am satisfied for now. 🙂

We’ve had a great weekend with family visiting from out of town.  Yesterday we mowed the lawn for the first time though it was the second time for my dad’s lawn.  The only reason we made it this long on our lawn was because we have no weeds and the Bermuda grass is slow to turn green.  We are very blessed to have a pretty lawn this year.  I just hope the rain continues so that we can end this horrible drought.  I am very thankful for the rain we received.

I will continue to post on this blog and try my best to avoid politics.  It is not worth the arguing that ensues. 🙂

Trip to Tucson

The last week of February we took a trip to Tucson, Arizona for my wife’s work and I tagged along.  Tucson is where my wife and I had our first home together after we got married.  I was in the Air Force and was stationed at Davis-Monthan AFB.  We have lots of wonderful memories there and so I didn’t want to miss this trip.

In this picture we were standing on the balcony of our hotel room at the Radisson Suite Hotel. We chose this hotel for a specific reason. My wife use to work at this hotel when we lived there but since we were young and low income at the time, we could never afford to stay there when we actually lived there.

I had to take a picture of this billboard simply because anyone that has ever driven Interstate 10 (I-10) between El Paso, TX and Phoenix, AZ will remember these billboards. This is nothing more than a gas station and “The Mystery of the Desert”.  There are literally hundreds of these billboards on this stretch of freeway.

In this picture you can see the white sand as we travel the road between Alamogordo and Las Cruces, New Mexico.  I’ve been past this spot many many times as my mom was born in Fair Acres, NM, just outside of Las Cruces. We’ve traveled to that part of the state so many times that I can’t count.

In this picture you can see the New Mexico state line coming from Arizona on Interstate 10 (I-10).  The Land of Enchantment is a phrase that I’ve heard hundreds of times over my lifetime due to my mom being from there.  I have great love for my family that still lives there. That is a very beautiful state that feels like home to me.  I really miss my mom and being able to go see my family there, is one way that I can stay close to her.  We lost my mom in 2005 and as you can imagine, there is no amount of money that could amount to the value of spending another minute with my mom.  Going to New Mexico, the place that she always called home and loved so much sort of makes me feel close to her.

I hope to be able to go back and see my family as often as possible.  I hope you enjoyed the pictures. To see the entire album on Flickr, just click on any one of them and you’ll be taken to the unedited full resolution versions.

Over Priced Light Bulbs

I am sure that I am not the only one that feels this way but man!  These light bulbs claim two years, six years and even ten year life span as this one claims.  As you can see, this $10.00 light bulb was installed July 19, 2015 and while it did last a record 22 months for us, this bulb claimed it would last ten years on the box.  This is an LED that did work longer than any compact fluorescent bulb that I have tried but still, for $10.00, that is not long enough since I have a house full of these.  Our house uses about 50 light bulbs throughout and so you sort of hope they’ll last a while.  In fairness, there are some bulbs that we bought the same day that are still working.  It just seems that all these promises of long life, environmentally friendly bulbs never seem to pan out.  Oh well, at least we still have good health.  I’m done ranting.

Wildfires

We recently had a wildfire not too far from our house due to the drought and high winds. It has been so dry the last few months that wildfires has become common. We’ve been in a red flag fire warning for so long that I can’t even remember. Thankfully this fire did not damage any homes except for a mobile home.  There was a lot of grass burned but property was for the most part spared.

New Fence

Recently we had a new fence installed in our yard that we are very proud of. This is six foot steel fence that sits on top of a concrete barrier all the way around the yard.  Our old fence was the standard wood stockade type fence that gets old looking in short order

I can’t say enough about what a great job they did installing it. We used a company called Iron Tough Vinyl Fence. While we did not go with the vinyl, they were very professional and did a more than satisfactory job.  The best part is that it is paid for and we do not owe them anything.  My wife and I have been talking about doing this for a long time but we wanted to wait until we could afford to get it done. We had many colors to choose from but we finally decided on the brown color with the tan trim.

In this final picture, you can see the tan trim a little better. Please ignore the two Crape Myrtle stumps in front of the fence. 🙂  They will grow back thick before you know it. They have to be trimmed back at the end of the season anyway and this allowed the fence workers to get in there without tree limbs in their face.  As you can see in the pictures, there are no leaves on the trees as this was done in February.  That explains the lack of flowers in the flower bed. 🙂  I won’t lie, the fence was expensive though I will not reveal what we paid for it. To us, it is worth it because we live in the city and it gives us the privacy that we desire.  When we moved back into the city, we were concerned that we would not have the privacy that we had at our old house.  This allows us to be in the backyard and not see a single person or window of a neighbor’s house.  It was worth every dime to us and we would definitely recommend one for anyone.