November 24, 2015
Home again after yet another hospital stay. The old ticker decided to act up again causing a mild stroke last Thursday. They tell me my blood pressure was sky high and that my heart rate kept speeding up & slowing down rapidly. Once I was put on the monitor they say that my heart stopped several times for three to four seconds which apparently is what caused the baby stroke. Yes, that is seconds & not minutes... I didn't think it a big deal, but evidently it is. Three out of four of the doctors voted for a pacemaker, but the electrocardiologist won out with yet newer drugs once again.

Thursday evening I got up from the computer & found I had zero motor skills, somewhat like being drunk, I suppose. Bouncing off the walls & trying to hold onto anything stable I made my way to the bed thinking this would go away with a short nap. I felt better laying down & thought it was actually gone after 30 minutes, but once on my feet I knew that wasn't so. I kept hoping it would go away... poor Alice kept telling me I needed to go to the hospital, but I just knew it was a temporary thing & I wasn't going anywhere. I had an appointment with the heart doctor in the morning for 8:30 AM & kept telling her I could wait till then, but after stumbling around for a few hours & realizing it was getting worse, instead of better, I knew something bad was going on & I'd have to go. I told Alice I'd agree to stop by emergency first & go to the heart doctor from there... didn't pan out that way as they held me hostage at the hospital!

They told me that this baby stroke was in the part of the brain that controls balance, but I kind of figured that out on my own. I asked if this could have been a residual effect from the bike accident & the answer was a unanimous no. My advice now... if your circuit boards aren't functioning properly seek professional help right away!

I got all the doctors to sign off, so I could escape by agreeing to kill the 20 hour days, go for outpatient therapy, go to their transition care center, go to the stroke follow-up clinic along with followup visits to three of the doctors. Sounds like a scheduling nightmare!

Anyway, it looks like the ladies took care of everything around here except new emails... well, it appears when Alice was doing notifications she offered up whatever advice she could in emails. I'd be a little skeptical of it since she was back and forth to the hospital & most likely tired.

I'm going to jump on the keyboard as soon as I'm done here, but it's going to take me through this holiday weekend to get caught up. Hope to be back on schedule by next "Manic Monday". Sorry for throwing a wrench into your projects & if you've gotten the things you needed elsewhere just let me know with a canceling email.

August 17, 2015
This weekend was a big surprise to me. Alice had what I thought was a calendar that came in the mail. Turns out it was a large card sent by Joe Lobe on behalf of the KLOV community. It had 50 names & messages on two sides of the card. It came with a letter explaining the members had gotten together a fund for lagniappe for me with the suggestion of it being for a three wheel bicycle or indoor bike. A letter to Alice hoping for her assistance in getting me to accept this panned out well, as she was very secretive. I was floored when she gave me the card & letter & then she tells me there was a check with it. When I said I couldn't accept it she told me it was too late. She followed the instructions that came with the card.

I don't know what to say, thanks seems to be sooo inadequate. I caved on a three wheeler & helmet & will direct the balance to where it will help the most. I have dubbed the trike the KLOVmobile :-) I don't think I have to tell you the ribbing I get about the trike, especially with the helmet on, but if it saves what's left of my brain, it's worth it.

I went to take some pics of the KLOVmobile & wouldn't you know... it started raining. Not deterred I took a couple inside.

July 17, 2015
Getting a lot of emails asking me to update this page, so now that I'm caught up again I'll give a shot at filling in the blanks. First off let me thank everyone that inquired, sent get well cards & for the "Edible Arrangement" sent by Pacman, Donkey Kong, Q-bert, Mr Do, Frogger and a bunch of asshats??

Let me drop back to the cat scan that was scheduled for last Friday morning at 10:30. It's 10:30 & no one has called me back to tell me go or no go. I call them & after being transferred several times I get Mary who keeps telling me to hold on as she is talking with the insurance company. It's eleven o'clock & Mary says everything is all set. Just go straight to cat scan. I get dropped off at the hospital & since I'm not use to using a walker I keep looking down at where I'm planting the thing as I go. I have no clue where cat scan is, so the first pair of green pajamas I see coming in the opposite direction I say, "excuse me, could you tell me where cat scan is?" The reply shocks me... did you ride your bike last night? Did you wear a helmet? Then I look up to see the smiling face of the neurologist intern who had been checking in on me every day that I was hospitalized... what are the chances? Let me buy a lottery ticket!

He grabs me by the arm, reverses his direction & tells me Mary is wrong! I have to go to registration first & he walks me down there & tells the ladies there to help me on my way to cat scan. Now they ask me if I want them to call transport to take me to cat scan. No... just tell me where it's at. Oh no!! You go down this hall until you see a hall to the left, take that left & walk all the way down until you can make another left & go almost to the end & cat scan will be on your left. I'm standing there thinking that sounds like a long walk with a walker that is not motorized! I guess she was thinking the same thing. She shouts to a woman named Kay directly across from her station... Kay, can you let Mr Roberts go through there for cat scan? Kay says sure & then not only allows me thru her station, she walks me down the hall about a hundred feet & there is cat scan without walking a city block!

Mary was right... no waiting for me, they were doing the waiting & took me right in & flopped me onto the cat scan machine.

That's it Mr Roberts, you can go. Can you tell me if the bleeding has stopped, I asked. No, you need to see your neurologist. That appointment was for Wednesday the 15th, so I had 5 days to let all the minor scapes & bruises heal up while getting things caught up around here.

Wednesday & I've kicked the walker to the curb making it easier to get to my appointment.. get around anywhere. It's at the medical center attached to the hospital, so I go to the listings, but before I can even look at it some guy says what doctor are you seeing? I tell him & he says take that elevator to the 7th floor & you'll be right at his door. A short wait & a gal puts my life story in her computer. Then another intern comes in & gives me the funny face test to see if all the muscles are working... asks a bunch of questions with many of the answers just posted to his computer, but I repeat them all. Now the neurologist comes in & finally my brain is on the big white box on the wall. How do you feel he says... any more headaches or troubles? I say no & he says you look much better & it appears everything has healed up, but your blood pressure is sky high still & it looks like they struggled in the hospital stay to keep your blood pressure & blood sugar down, so you need to see your family doctor & heart doctor right away. Your good for us & there is no need to come back unless you run into trouble.

Well, I have appointments with those docs, but I have one with the urologist that I have to clear first. Seems it was the handle bars that did a job on my blatter. I was fortunate in getting rid of that catheter on the day I left the hospital as the plan was to leave it in & strap a bag to my leg!!

So far, my racoon eyes have cleared up, my wrist, knee & ankle have healed up, my jaw has snapped back in place & the neurologist was kind enough to remove the stitches in my chin.

I'm almost ready to get back to tackling the original heart problem that I have back stepped on with this little incident.

Old age is a terrible thing, yet we all strive to achieve it.

July 9, 2015
How to screw up your recovery!
It's 5PM & I'm home again after a 6 or 7 day stay at the hospital! Alice & our daughters took shifts sitting with me in the hospital & even sleeping every night in a reclining chair next to, I'm afraid your orders were all late. Alice & the girls spent yesterday getting everything they could packaged, shipped & notified.

I can see that even this is going to take some time as I don't seem to be thinking very clearly. That, and wouldn't you know it, I just got a call from the hospital... Mr Roberts, you have a cat scan scheduled for 10:30 tomorrow morning? Yes... well don't come. Huh? Your insurance company will not approve it. Huh? AARP is not going to approve it. Huh? AARP is a supplemental insurance to Medicare. Oh...okay keep the wait... don't go. Let me check this out further & I will call you back to let you know if you should keep the appointment. OMG! I hope she's not at her shift's end!!

What happened? Well... the heart doctors said I needed to get exercise. I told them I ride my bike but it's in the 90's every day & the traffic is horrendous, to which the response was, it's much cooler at night & hardly any traffic, so if you're in a safe neighborhood that should work out well.

Picked out a good route & everything seemed to be ideal. Last Thursday night as I was clipping right along and only a block from home the lights went out. I awoke feeling that the right side of my face was gone. I saw a pair of headlights coming at me. I tried to get up, but the front wheel had spun around trapping me in the bicycle. I saw my basket, lights & their batteries from my bike laying on the road in front of me. I tried to think about what happened as I looked at my white t-shirt, now completely red. My jaw was open & I couldn't close it... the pain seemed to be unbearable. The headlights pull up beside me & I hear, "are you alright"? I reply, I don't know & the car drives off. No one else is around & I finally got untangled & to my feet. Blood gushing from my chin & nose. Pain from every muscle & bone in my body. I see a large pot hole behind me & remember thinking that it wasn't there the night before... it must be my enemy.

I pick up the bicycle & can't seem to get on it, but after trying to roll it I heard clunk, clunk, clunk & knew it was not possible, anyway. I picked it up & started toward home leaving a "Hansel & Gretel" trail behind me, albeit a blood trail in lieu of breadcrumbs. Got home & grabbed a roll of paper towels & tried to stop the bleeding. Then I discovered a hunk of my chin flesh with beard still attached...hmmm... guess it's time to go to the hospital for stitches.

In emergency I get a cat scan & seven stitches in my chin. I'm good to go. Then the doc comes in & starts talking about living wills & surgery...what?? Then he tells me I'm all checked in & going to my room...what?? Then he drops it on me. You have trauma to your bladder & your brain & if we can't get the brain bleed under control you'll need surgery. I'm stunned, but I ask if there are any other problems. Yes... you have a sprained left wrist, your nose is twice it's normal size, but not broken, injury to both shoulders, left knee, left foot all in addition to the stitches in your chin & your bladder trauma... oh, and your jaw is not broken, it has only been shifted to the left & your teeth should align again in a few days.

As he is walking out & I'm thinking that all the cats are out of the bag, he turns & says, "you know you have a funny heart rhythm?" We've called & left word with the heart clinic & some one will be here in a few hours.

I just get into my room in the Critical Care Unit & in comes an ultrasound machine again! Your bladder is stretched to it's maximum & we are going to have to insert a catheter! I've heard so many catheter stories in my lifetime that all I could say was no, no, no!! The nurses say here's your choices... explode your bladder or catheter & they are repeating it while showing their hands to represent the two choices. I chose catheter & have a new found compassion for those that have to routinely use them.

Wednesday they say I am good enough to transfer to a regular room on the 8th floor. Thursday morning all doctors involved say I can go home as long as I continue outpatient care. Around 4 PM, when they have totaled all their bills, transport arrives to carry me to freedom.

Our youngest daughter tells me that she talked to someone in the restaurant right in front of the new pot hole. He tells her that a loaded dump truck broke out 2 large pieces of concrete that Thursday & that one was pushed back in, but that a good Samaritan had hauled off the larger piece that had skidded down the street. Personel at the hospital were convinced someone had clipped me rather than the pot hole I had thought, but this new pot hole the very same day kind of confirms what I had thought all along.

I've got hundreds of emails to go through as soon as I go get my cat scan, or not, as I never did get that call back. If you've filled your order elsewhere or no longer need the components just drop me an email letting me know to help me get caught up faster.

I guess I better use the next four hours for some shuteye or I'll fall asleep on the cat scan table.

May 5, 2015
Repaired Again
The doc's have all been experimenting with my meds to get my kidney function up to where I would be able to use the newer meds on the market. Went for my checkup yesterday & got a good report card. They say the ticker is working okay for now, but I need to go for checkups every three months to make sure it stays that way. He warned that I need to reduce stress, keep a better working schedule, take all my meds, & on time, because the more often this happens the harder it becomes to get back in rhythm. Coupled with the hole they found in the ticker they say I'm a stroke waiting to happen if I don't heed all their warnings.

Soooo... we should be able to get your parts out in a timely manner once again.

March 30, 2015
Deja Vu's Just Keep Coming
Each Doc has his own opinion & each seem to be different. Now, to stretch it out even more, the specialist wants me to wear a holter monitor for a minimum of two weeks. I thought you typically only used these for twenty-four hours... at $1720.00 a day I sure hope they have discounts for extended use... so I'm not sure how this is going to work.

I asked about the reference to kidney function & he said yes the tests were low enough to warrant not using the newer drugs. Hmmm... someone could have let me know about that before I got the info from overhearing a dictation. Anyway, he gave me the spiel about keeping blood pressure, blood glucose & cholesterol under control, diet, exercise & shun the salt, all as being extremely important at this stage. It seems I have all the prerequisites to hurt one's kidneys.

Bottom line is he said he felt as though I would be able to handle 6 to 8 hours a day at work as I described it, providing I adhered to his other suggestions along with stopping & noting any pounding drums...kept the nitro handy & not to push it. He kind of talked like the other doctors had the kid gloves on & I'm hoping he's right, at least, about the erratic beats... the kidneys are another thing for me to take up with our family doctor.

March 15, 2015
Deja Vu Vu:
The doc's are shuffling me around again. I'm told to take it easy until they can determine what's going on. My cardiologist has set me up with an appointment with the surgeon/specialist that supposedly fixed the problem last time. The earliest I could get in was the 30th of this month... comforting, but not as bad as the dictation to the specialist that I overheard. I heard palpitations, irregular heartbeat, dizziness & shortness of breath, but followed by we have to get him on some kind of medication, but his renal function is such that I don't think he can take any of the newer meds. This is paraphrased, but this is the first time I've heard anything about the kidneys from any of the doc's.

They don't seem to be as worried as they all were last time, so I'm taking that as a good sign. In the meantime the gals have been doing a great job of catching up all the work here & filling what new orders they can as they come in. They obviously cannot fill orders asking for C64 on the smaller of two bds in a Jungle King or other similar orders, but copy & pasted from the Parts Page they can usually find.

February 19, 2015
Deja Vu:
Checked in with our family doctor today & after an EKG he called the heart clinic & got me in immediately. At least this time I wasn't sent directly to the hospital. My cardiologist scheduled all the usual tests for next week & said to just avoid any stress until then. Hmm.. avoid stress before taking a stress test. Hopefully, I'll be able to avoid the hospital stay this time which will aid in getting caught up here. I think I'm feeling better now... just knowing that I didn't have to book it to the hospital right away. I'll try to keep any updates posted here. Thanks for your concern & understanding.

February 18, 2015
I almost made another year of being able to handle this. I haven't had a minute to update pages or even leave my typical notes here, but have been able to keep y'all supplied with parts for your games.

It has come to a point where I cannot keep up with the 140 hours a week on this keyboard. We are swamped & behind all the time now. The stampede of newbies to the hobby really put catching up just beyond reach for me. To top it off we have been running out of stock left & right & suppliers have succumbed to mother nature & customs with delay after delay. If it's not mud slides, rain storms or snow storms.. then it's ice storms. Mother nature seems to be on the war path these days.

Of course, Alice is swamped with packaging & our harness maker is always struggling to keep up these days, as well.

Now the ticker that the cardiologist proclaimed "fixed" just over a year ago has been acting up lately. With so many open orders the only way I can see to slow down & catch up is to just stop taking email orders & Q's as of this date. We'll call it one of those things you younger people call a vacation... a working vacation that will help us get caught up here. Any orders already made will be fulfilled & once things have settled we will ease back into taking your emails, but short of the 20 hour days, though. Maybe back to 15 or 16 hours if we can keep up.

March 12, 2014
Well... we caught up to about 1 day behind about 2 weeks ago & then we started getting buried with orders & Q's & I went back to 20 hour days to close up the gap. I was just starting to get a handle on it until last week when emails surged again. I tried for 2 allnighters about 3 days apart & the second one did me in. I was flat on my back, locked up & impossible to get out of bed. After a couple of days of fighting off Alice's 911 call, thinking I was going to get better, I had to give in to her. She called & I got a ride in the buckboard wagon... I mean strapped down in the ambulance that rode like a buckboard wagon... screaming all the way to the hospital. What a job getting me into that ambulance. They broke me apart, set me in an office chair, rolled me to the front door & more or less, poured me onto the gurney for the trip. Yes... I was begging for drugs, but they said that was not to be.

In the hospital I had a couple nurses trying to teach me this Hank Williams' song. Finally, Alice asked why they were doing that & one of them says, "That's so he'll think of us when he gets those really bad pains & he'll laugh & replace those bad words he's screaming out now!".

Anyway, they got me moving enough to let me come home today with a walker. For the next few days they said I should stay in bed, but at the same time they said fight thru the pain as much as I could by moving around with a walker. The doc says if it were him he wouldn't do nothing about it if a 100 docs told him he needed surgery. He's seen many a result from the things they recommend these days & he says traction is a thing of the past. His recommendation was to take the drugs & rest to get thru the bout & then don't push the hours I work & certainly no more allnighters.

Having said that, he still set me up for an MRI telling me I have degenerative disc disease with a herniated or ruptured disc.

I had to set that aside because I'm going to try & keep my heart test appointment tomorrow. My cardiac surgeon released me last week & sent me back to my regular cardiologist... the one who said the hole between my 2 upper chambers was nothing to worry about. Well... now he says it may be & set me up with this 4D test tomorrow, after which I have to see him & get hooked up with a halter monitor for 24 hours.

The gals have been keeping up as best they could, but no one on the PC since my second oldest grandson is in Baton Rouge attending college right now... he's the PC geek :-) When I get back from "visiting" the hospital & my cardiologist tomorrow I plan to catch up all the notifications, so that you know if your order has been shipped & what checks have been received... there are tons of them here. There are no checks here that do not have an order sent out, so if you cross shipped your payment your order was shipped upon receipt. My next plan of attack is to go through the hundreds of unopened emails to start getting back on track. I'm guessing we've gone behind 4 or 5 days, so if you've ordered elsewhere in the meantime or want to cancel your order just email me again telling me so. As I get to each email I'll swap to "sender" to pick up any additional changes or cancelations in your order.

One additional note... our harness maker is & has been swamped & putting in extra hours, so any order with harnesses may be a little slower in getting out.

Sorry.... hope to be back on track soon!

January 30, 2014
Success! Got three loads of packages out today. Chances are great that yours is one of them. I'm going to pause & send out notifications early, so that you know for sure.

January 29, 2014
No luck in getting your packages shipped today :-( Called around & found one of the USPS stations open & said they'd be open until 5PM. To be sure we sent our postal gal right away... arrived at 3PM & found a notebook paper taped to the door... "CLOSED"!

January 28, 2014
The cold & wintery storms finally fell far enough south to effect New Orleans. Today they closed businesses, government services, schools, bridges, roads, rolled up the sidewalks & basically shutdown the city. Tomorrow may be a continuation, but hopefully we'll be able to ship your necessities by late in the day... providing the USPS is open.

December 26, 2013
Update: I really didn't want to go into details here, but so many of you are emailing with concern that I felt I had to. One hundred & thirty thousand dollars later (before the mysterious amount the insurance company is going to pay) and I'm not sure where things stand. With four heart doctors you have four opinions.

Basically, the surgeon says I have some sort of "lettered" hole between the two upper chambers & I'm going to have to have further tests. Next appointment not until the end of January.

My lead cardiologist tells me the surgery went well & everything is fine. I asked on Tuesday if I could stop taking all these drugs since he claimed victory & was told definitely not. He said come see him in a couple months & he'll see if we can wean off them. He says he'll have to get a consensus from the other doctors involved before that happens.

When I asked last week if I could return to normal excercising I was surprised that he took out his cell & phoned the thoracic cardiologist for a chit chat & when finished gave me the go ahead.... saying "I didn't want to get Jim mad at me."

As far as getting your orders together & shipping... we are at the best we can do, I feel, at about a 30 hour window on average. Cutting my work days to 16 hours per day is putting a damper on it, but after a few episodes now I have to heed the doc's warnings to cutback... not that I don't slip into the old 20 hour day occasionally :-()

That's where we stand... lagging behind sometimes, while being right on time at other times. Thanks for your concern...

December 4, 2013
I'm partially back! I'm home now, but it feels like they left the sledge hammer imbedded in my chest... handle & all... and every once in awhile some invisible person has to yank on that handle! Had a couple of jolts from that flyback anode cup from what they tell me... glad I was not awake for that!! Anyhow, it seems there is more trouble than they expected, so I'm not done yet. Have to wait till next week to see where we go from here.

Seems all the added help I had lined up to get your orders out were in the hospital waiting room & when I got to my room I found they all had migrated there. No one would leave until they were kicked out. I don't know what the doc told them, but I found a few of my grandchildren's questions to be a strange indication :-() Who's going to own the business if something happens to you? Who do you want to run it? Do you have a will? Along with other comforting questions & statements.

As you can imagine, I have hundreds of emails here to go through & I'm going to do my best to get to as many as I can today. I'll crack the whip on the help I have here to get your packages out ASAP. Hopefully, I can hold up on the keyboard long enough to put a dent in this mountain.

I'll go easy on the pain killers, so you don't receive emails in another language :-)

PostScript: Thanks for all your emails of well wishing & concern.

November 7, 2013
After visits with two more cardiac docs it turns out that the meds did not take care of my ticker problem. Yesterday I was told I have to go into the hospital the first week of December, so Alice says if you have parts that you know you'll need that first week of December... get your order in by the last week of this month. I think this is the first time that either of us has known beforehand that we would be in the fancy hotel for a stay. Usually, it is a big surprise... spur of the moment... off in a hurry!

October 12, 2013
Bob is back! About 7AM last Thursday morning I started having shortness of breath followed by a tightness in the chest. Kept working through it until the old ticker changed course from tick-tock, tick-tock to tick-tick-tick-tock, tick-tick-tick-tock & so on. An emergency trip to the heart clinic confirmed I needed to be in the hospital right away. I talked the Doc out of an ambulance ride & rode to the fancy hotel with Alice at the wheel. Once again... thank the Lord for chemical cures! I don't know what all these meds are called or what they are for... well "clotbuster" gives you a pretty good idea... and as I think about it I guess you can pretty much tell some of the others when spoken in lay language. Blood thinner is probably the easiest over anti-coagulant or anti-arrhythemic, but the bottom line is that they can get you back to tick-tock, tick-tock in many cases without the use of that flyback anode... even though I'm grateful to have that as a backup, if all else fails!

I guess all this falls back on me as it was nearly 3 years to the day, ago, with my last ticker episode, the Doc's warned me about 20 hour work days, actually telling me if I didn't slowdown I'd be back sooner than later. Looks like they were right & I am thankful that they were able to get me back on track in just a few days.

Well... with everyone sitting at the hospital with me Thursday, Friday & Saturday nothing was done around here. Couple that with the Monday holiday & it looks like your packages won't ship until Tuesday the 15th. Hopefully, with all the help I'm getting we can be back on track by Tuesday. Unfortunately, I have a handful of tests scheduled for the next two weeks starting with one on Tuesday the 15th, so I won't be at the helm all the time, but the help is capable of handling things once I get them back on schedule.

I am off to email now to tackle that first... I can imagine how many there are backed up, but I'm sure it's not insurmountable. Thank you for your patience.

August 29, 2013
Here's why we are slow in returning your emails & getting your orders shipped.

Our system crashed in several ways on the 19th leaving us totally dead in the water. I tried everything I could think of to get it restored over the next two days without any luck. I had to give up on the 21st & check the box of parts into the PC hospital.

They weren't having much luck, either, so I bought a new PC & found I hate Win 8. After a couple days of experimenting I finally was able to get a few of our needed programs to work with it, but everything had to be done by hand from email printouts... a very slow & tedious way to handle your orders for sure!

The PC doctor says it's over his head & that an ace will look at it on Monday the 26th.... already behind nine days at this point & still only able to get a handful done a day in the blind. No address in email then we didn't know where to ship! Got a few checks in the mail for orders... no shipping address. With the hobby being 10,000 strong I couldn't associate many of the obscure email names with your given names to even try to complete an order. I found that we have been dragged into this age of computer dependency even though we were not aware of it :-( I sure hope our bank never has a crash like this :-()

Monday the ace says everything is fixed up but he'll need to clone the hard drive the next day. Tuesday... she's all ready to go. Before we get to the door another call... sorry, but the cloning did not take & the HD is blank!!

Wednesday the 28th we check the sick box of parts out of the hospital & leave our wallets behind! From 3:30 PM til 9:30 PM I put everything together, ironed out all the bugs & updated all our printers with new drivers. Everything is back a 100%, but at this point we are over a 1000 emails in the hole!! I answered 200 emails from 9:30 PM til 7:30 AM... took a 3 hour nap til 10:30 AM this morning & awoke to a new added 312 emails. We got out as many orders as possible today with everyone chipping in to help. I've been tethered to the keyboard & will get back to emails as soon as I finish here, but the only way I can handle the load, even with all my interacting programs in place, is to go to the top of the list (oldest email) & then to the bottom of list (current email) & hoping to whittle the list down to a middle meeting point. The reason this is the only way is because some of the oldest placed orders are now emailing currently to cancel, to add to or just checking status... all of which will effect the old email! Someone said they didn't think that alternating was fair, but it's the only way I can see to stay on top of the situation.

Hopefully, by the end of this holiday weekend everything will be back on course.

March 4, 2013
Well wouldn't you know it... right in the middle of Manic Monday and a couple explosions go off leaving us without power instantly. We go outside to see what happened & so do all our neighbors... it's a meet & greet in the middle of the street. Everyone piecing together what happened & it was pretty obvious what the first big bang & rumbling aftershock was, for just a couple houses down lay the top half of a power pole... the big "T" part blocking the street, wires all snarled up & growling, snapping & spitting sparks out that made a few scream.

A few became traffic cops warning people away from the downed wires. It wasn't long before the real cops showed up... 6 to 8 patrol cars... guess they had never seen a big "T" laying in the street like that :-() Before long the manager of Micky D's on the opposite end of the street walked up to the "meet & greet" and began telling how the second explosion was a transformer in their parking lot that went off with such force that patrons had told him the ground was shaking under them!

Needless to say this would have been more fun than watching the local produce truck unload down at Winn-Dixie if it wasn't for the fact that we had no power. The group chatter was tossing out random repair times... one guy says 2 days minimum, another says he thinks it'll be a week & still another barks out by 8:30 tonight, for sure! As it turns out the optimist is correct... the men with the big white trucks rolled up in force. Some getting the street cleared, some getting new cable ready to roll, one crew getting the new pole ready to bury while yet another truck is backing up to the broken remains of the pole with his giant post hole digger! I, for one, was impressed & grateful that these guys did a fantastic job in very little time with only two directors on the ground. One pole sunk & tied to the cripple, 4 transformers replaced & a rat's nest of wire replaced. By dark the whole neighborhood was back in business.

I guess by now y'all can see the point of this... we got a lot of your packages shipped today, but we missed the mark by a couple dozen :-( We'll do our best to get the balance out tomorrow, as well as, what should ship tomorrow, anyway.

Here's a couple pics of the action on our little street today.

February 11, 2013
Most of you know Alice & I have been struggling since the beginning of the year to keep up with your needs. We've had a ton of help to try & keep up... "Uncle" Sal, daughters & sons-in-law, grandchildren... the usual suspects... family! :-) Well, many may not know that today is Lundi Gras Day & tomorrow is Mardi Gras Day... Fat Tuesday... and what that means around here is that I am wearing all the hats single-handedly as I've been deserted for all the parades & festivities :-( To top that off the USPS offices are closing early today & not reopening until Wednesday. Bottom line... there is going to be some delays & some of your weekend projects may have to be postponed :-( I've already pulled two all-nighters in the past week, but I'm going to try my best to make it a third time to cover the majority of your project needs.

Just wanted to forewarn y'all that this may be a bumpy weekend coming up, although I will do my best & perhaps with the help back on Wednesday we can get even closer to a non-disappointing weekend.

September 3, 2012
We are back to pre-Isaac status as of this evening thanks in part to neighbors helping with the clean up yesterday. Thankfully, most of our neighbors have power back now. Knowing how important power is, having had to go without it for so long after Katrina, we pray for full restoration to all. The heat is now the enemy looking to take lives & power can certainly avert that.

August 31, 2012
We're back!!!! Woke up this beautiful Friday morning
to power, phones, cable, internet & water....
a little odorous, but nonetheless, water. Called the
USPS & they told me they would unlock the doors for us
as long as we had cash... no CCs or electronic payments!!
All the packages that were on the truck have been shipped
and I'm tackling email now & hope to be on track
come Monday with any kind of luck.

Alice & I are fine & only had minimal damage to property.
We want to thank all of you for your well wishes & concerns.

April 23, 2012
Just a quick note in hopes of slowing down the repeat emails. Yes... we are maxed out greater than ever & are falling behind a bit. I worked straight through the weekend right up to 6 AM this morning, hoping to catch up, but it proved to be futile :-( After catching 4 hours of sleep I'm back at it & will give it my best shot at finding the key to getting back on schedule. Our postal gal made trips right up till 6:45 PM & shipped everything we had ready to go, but we did miss by around 20 of your orders & they will go out on the first trip tomorrow.

November 30, 2011
It's been a crazy year & it's not over yet. We've been struggling to keep up with same day shipping, but it's catching up to us. We somehow pulled off October, but I think it was more like two months in one. November has been pushing the time ceiling to it's limits. I had to pull two allnighters last week & one, so far, this week & there are still packages that haven't shipped yet from this past weekend. All I can ask is that you have patience & we will get what you need shipped out to you. A secondary effect that this heavy traffic is having is that we are fast running out of many items :-( We are restocking as fast as possible, but so many of these items are discontinued that we have to wait on mfr's of repros & it all takes time. The worst outage we have at this time is G07 & K7000 flybacks which will not be filled until January. A big problem arising, especially with flybacks, is the discontinuing of CRT monitors. The manufacturers & distributors of replacement components for them are reluctant to keep reserve stock onhand for fear they will be stuck with inventory they cannot sell. Mfr on request leaves you in a waiting line for your turn to come up, time to complete, time in shipping, time in customs & eventually time in the final leg of the trip, so when they tell you 4 to 6 weeks lead time they really mean 6 to 8 weeks... possibly longer :-(

June 30, 2011
Sorry to report that 15 of your weekend projects have been scrapped for this 4th of July holiday :-( Our postal gal was gridlocked on her last trip today due to a major accident & those packages won't be shipping out until tomorrow morning when the USPS reopens. That means that you won't get them until Tuesday after the holiday :-(

April 12, 2011
Things are all back on track & going smoothly now. I just got the results of my latest medical tests & they tell me everything is looking much better inspite of my slipping in & out of those 20+ hour work days. Alice got a good report card, as well, so we should be good to go for a while.

March 8, 2011
Happy Mardi Gras! Here it is Fat Tuesday already & since all the parades pass by the end of our street I have to watch the constant flow of people walking by my window as I work... envious...maybe :-() The last of your packages shipping with Mardi Gras goodies & trinkets are enroute. Some of the 5000 Moon Pies are leftover & since they will not live for another year we will be tossing them in where ever possible until they are gone.

K... the reason I'm stealing a few minutes here is to keep y'all updated on shipping. We have been struggling with one thing after another causing shipping delays since the beginning of the year. This month is no different even though I have casually slipped back into my 20 to 22 hour days... the last 2 days being the latter. Never caught up over the past weekend & so Sunday became merged with Lundi Gras Monday in which we shipped packages right up to the very last moment before parades & traffic forced us to stop. Unfortunately, approximately 50 of you will have to endure a couple extra days waiting for your package since the city is shutdown for the big party... well, except for booze suppliers & Wal*Mart ;-) Worked thru the night last night & got as close to the end of waiting emails as I could, but by about 8AM my eyes were so heavy they would have broken any toothpick kickstands I could have made, so I had to grab another 2 hour night of sleep. I'm back getting to all as soon as humanly possible. You know I always come here as soon as the emails start coming in that say... did you get my email?... where ya at Bob?.... I'm forwarding my previous email... did you ship my package?... and etc, etc. Anyway, back on point, packages leftover from Monday will ship tomorrow along with as many of today's as we can complete & hopefully, Thursday will be our back-on-track day. Everyone bailed on me today, even Uncle Sal who was a nervous wreck, but Alice will be back later this afternoon to pitch in with wrapping. I have to call it wrapping because she tells everyone she's a "wrapper"!

About the Sale Page some of you have been asking about... this is the first time I've simply not had a few moments to comprise one for March, but as soon as I can, I will.

Happy Gaming & Happy Mardi Gras... hope y'all enjoyed your throws.

February 7, 2011
We have quite a few packages running late this week due to all the snow storms last week. Our weekly supplies normally arrive here on Thursday or Friday & as of today we still have incoming packages from the four corners of the states in transit. Our out-going packages handled by USPS have been uninterupted so far, but, as I was told today, UPS is "not the post office" & does not adhere to their lifelong adage.."the mail must go through"! Unfortunately, UPS is the premier carrier for most distributors, so we are at their mercy. As it stands, most of our weekly orders for last week have an ETA of Wednesday, so everything should ship on Wednesday, as well. Worse case scenario is your checks will beat your orders in cross shipping. Of course, many orders will not be effected at all. As always, we will notify you when your order is shipped. If you haven't been notified of shipping then your order has at least one piece still not in yet. As a precaution we placed this week's supply orders today to insure timely shipping next week no matter the circumstance.

January 3, 2011
We were snowed under over the weekend & today. I guess everyone decided to start the new year by buying everything they wanted for Xmas & didn't get :-( Even I had to work the shipping table to try & keep up. Just finishing up the last post office run at 8:30PM & we still fell short of our goal by nearly 40 packages. As soon as I finish this up I will be doing shipping notifications & if you don't get one you're likely one of the missed ones & your package will ship out on Tuesday. Hopefully, we'll be all caught up by the end of the day tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.

November 22, 2010
My latest tests & CT scan shows that the remodeling is working according to both my cardiologist & my family physician, so they are letting me go on my own until March. They doubled up my meds one more time & they seem to think that if I continue following my current regiment things will turn out just fine. I'm rooting for them to be 100% right, so I promised to stay on the cardboard diet, exercise, try to sleep 6 hours a day & keep taking this dish pan full of meds.

Even though they have tied my hands we have been able to keep on schedule with both taking your orders & getting them shipped on time.

October 10, 2010
Thanks to the gang here we are all caught up & on schedule at present. It looks like we can hold a two day schedule even with my 5 to 6 hours off the keyboard every day. Unless something changes my next visits to the cardiologist are 30 days away. After several regiments of meds they have finally settled into one combination that they feel are working, although they did double the mg's of each twice. It seems the goal is to remodel the heart & aorta if possible. I don't know why they use a word like remodel, but I'm just glad their not going to tear down & start anew!

I think I thanked everyone for their cards & well wishes in email, but just in case I missed someone let me do a blanket thank you to all right here... the cards were really appreciated & probably one of the best meds of all.

September 27, 2010
Only a small percentage of packages will ship today. Please don't back my email up any further than it already is by asking if I got your email or if I've shipped. We will get to all of them eventually... sooner rather than later.

So far this year we have helped more than twice as many hobbyist as we have in any one year of the past fifteen years. To keep up with everyone I have stretched a good many of my 20 hour days to 21 & even 22 hours & as a result my health has deteriorated to a point I can't outrun. You may have noticed a slowing down over the past few weeks & that was due to doctor appointments & even with Uncle Sal, our harness maker & our postal gal kicking in we did get behind a bit & had a few small errors. Without me on the keyboard putting everything into lay terms things slow down to a crawl & my doc has told me it is imperative that I not keep up the hours I have been. In order to make better use of my time I am not going to be able to look up part numbers or parts by game title (I need resistor R10 on my Bugs Bunny Game) as it is too time consuming.

Back to today... I went to the doc's this AM & he scheduled an emergency appointment with a cardiologist for 2:30PM today, so the gang here is winging it as best they can & my full inbox is going to have to wait until I get back.

Please be patient... I'll be back!

Jan 6, 2010
Today marks the official beginning of Carnival season 2010. For the first time since Katrina the Phunny Phorty Phellows krewe rode the St Charles Avenue street car tonight tossin' beads & trinkets to the hoades of people who braved the bitter cold this year has brought. Hopefully, the weekends leading up to Mardi Gras Day, Fat Tuesday, will be more in line with our typically just right weather for revelers & parade goers. The prediction of 18 degrees for this coming Saturday could put a little bit of a damper on festivities, but as we all know, predictions often times are proven wrong! We can hope ;-)

Our trinkets & Moon Pies are enroute & we should begin shipping by Monday the 11th. We're getting a late start because we've been pretty much working around the clock to keep up with all the newbies to the hobby. Thankfully, Uncle Sal will be back at the end of this month to get things back under control.

Unfortunately, we were unable to ship today or get to your emails in a timely manner. We awoke to an indoor flood this morning... about 4" deep & it took me awhile to locate the source which turned out to be the hot water heater. It was clean & dry above the 4" line, but it turns out the bottom had a hole in it! Then the shutoff valve didn't work! Hooked a garden hose up to drain it outside, but nothing came out. The reason I got for that was it was air-locked & the relief valve had to be cracked open by the plumber, but in the meantime the water flowed freely. We trudged through it & moved everything outside that was within the 4" depth to the 100 degree hot summer day of our current drought to dry out. Luck being on our side, the drought was broken today with afternoon thunder showers! We had to carry everything back inside & find high ground for it. As of 5:30 this evening the new heater is installed & now the process begins in reverse. I'll be working on it all night long & trying to work in some emails & hopefully, get back on track some time tomorrow.

Please be patient with the USPS. They have been overwhelmed the past 10 days & it looks like many of your packages are from 1 day to 8 days late max. In studying this first time phenomenon it appears that some of your packages are being passed along the line bucket brigate style from the Atlanta hub. This is the longest track, so far, and hopefully the rest will be on time or within a day.

Arrival at Unit, December 20, 2008, 7:01 am, GOBLES, MI
Processed, December 18, 2008, 2:33 am, ALLEN PARK, MI
Processed, December 15, 2008, 11:09 am, JERSEY CITY, NJ
Atlanta Hub..............................
Acceptance, December 10, 2008, 4:25 pm, GRETNA, LA 70053

If you need microswitch pushbuttons don't miss our give-away pricing on the Sale Page that ends at midnight on Christmas Day. It may help soothe the sting of late packages.

Unfortunately, the last truckload of your packages today was shutout at the New Orleans post office due to the Saints-Packers game in the Superdome. They will ship tomorrow & all will be notified at that time.

A couple of all-nighters have brought us back to normalcy... well, within reach, anyway... so tomorrow should be right on schedule as far as shipping & delivery times go & we should be able to get your parts to you for those weekend projects.

We are up & running now, but it is going to take some time to sort through all your emails & get a handle on all pending transactions. The PO lines are enormous, but they are open now & all delivery services are functioning. This past weekend was fruitful in that it not only brought us snail mail, but also electricity!! Today's world revolves around electricity & without it you're dead in the water. Gustav was so angry that Katrina took all our trees that he took revenge on the already battered power transmission lines that she spared. Fortunately, damage to homes & businesses in our area was not the devastation that Katrina left behind.

Alice & I survived our second unscheduled camping vacation in three years relatively well, but we are hoping not to have another any time soon. Go away Ike... it's not that we hate, but we want you to dissipate.

We were much more prepared for this storm & our damage was limited to electronic appliances... yes this battered old computer was among them! Every time we thought the power was on to stay I started plugging things back in only to have the power go out again minutes later. The on again, off again power with associated surges took out the refrigerator, a VCR unit & this computer. Luckily, I was able to hack in a much larger used power supply to get the computer back on it's feet. Looks horrid... can't close the drives drawer nor put the case cover back, but it works!

We have suspended operation until further notice due to Gustav & sibling Hanna. Please be patient... we will be back!
Bob & Alice


Y'all have been keeping me so busy that I haven't updated in some time now, but I have to make time now, if only to let you know that there will be no shipping on Tuesday the 5th, as it is Fat Tuesday & the city will be closed for the last day of the Mardi Gras carnival season. While we're on Mardi Gras a few have asked why we only shipped the Moon Pies this year with no beads, cups or other paraphernalia that you've come to expect, and the answer is that it snuck up on us :-( This was the earliest Mardi Gras date that I can recall & the first parade of the season had already rolled before we were aware of it. Read it in the paper & everyone we talked to was as surprised as we were. The pies only take a couple days to receive & the other things have to be ordered a few weeks in advance, so... we went with pies only. Incidentally, the expiration date on this batch is 4/28/8 for those who save them for a rainy day:-)

Another FAQ: Why didn't I get any Moon Pies, brownies, candy, popcorn, or any of numerous others that we have shipped, with my order?

If you are stateside this is usually due to lack of room in the package being shipped.... if they'll fit, we'll put them in there. If you are out-of-country it is because those darn custom's dogs sniff'em out just about 70% of the time & will cause the package to go into quarantine for an untold delay! One in Australia holds the record... 89 days door to door & I believe that the custom's clerk ate the evidence!

Alice was finally released by her cardiovascular surgeon on the 14th of January and is currently seeing an orthopedic surgeon to try & correct her back problems via the least invasive method. Old age is a terrible thing & should be avoided at all costs :-() In the meantime, my brother-in-law is coming here to take up the slack & help keep things running like clockwork... the way y'all are accustom to.

It's been quite some time since I've had a moment to spare, but thanks to Alice's help this past week I am caught enough to update this & hopefully, the Sale Page. Yes... Alice has overcome her post-surgery compications & is back at least half as good as she use to be & the doc says that she'll be able to get back full swing by mid January. We attribute this to all you well-wishers & your prayers & we thank you for helping her to safely pass over these pot holes in the road of life.

Thank you all for your concerns for Alice. She is doi much better now & is winning her comeback battle. She is doing some bookwork & light duty things around here to keep her mind busy. Thanks to her, the one day that your packages might not have gotten out, last Monday when we were flooded in, they did due to her sticking on the phone & rerouting our gal Friday through all the closed roadways to the post office & back... a feat that she had accomplished herself last May. This time was harder due to many more closed streets & took 2 1/2 hours to get to the post office & back. When she got our gal close enough to see the entrance to the post office I heard her say, "it's barricaded at the railroad crossing? Give up? No!" Next I hear, "Is the other side of the highway barricaded at the railroad crossing?" I guess the answer was no because the next thing I heard was, "Go around the barrier from that side & cut across the tracks to get to the entrance." Success at last!

You can teach an old dog new tricks! I can now add to my resume washing machine operator, dish washer, vacuumer, bed maker... well, the US Army helped with that one :-)..., cook & general house keeper! Hmmm... that could have been a novel way to handle service calls back in the day... okay, your Ms Pac-Man is all set to go & how about those dishes in the sink? You need them done up while I'm here? :-))

Oh well... it's back to packaging for me, but luckily , Alice is keeping me abreast of the Saints-San Francisco game on TV.

I've had my hands full here lately & haven't had a chance to update. Yes... some packages did not make it out on Wednesday, but they shipped along with today's packages & as of 8PM I am finally all caught up to date. So far, without Alice's supervision, I've only made a few little inconsequential errors :-(

The doctors felt that Alice had things enough under control to come home Sunday & be under my supervision as I had told them I could handle it & Alice was telling them she was going stir crazy in that hospital bed. This is not to say that the hospital was so bad, as she was on the cardiac floor with private rooms & a nurse per every six patients taking extremely good care of her.

They say bad things happen in threes, and it may be true. Alice's sister, and best friend, the one she spends "our" summer vacations with, Mary, who was waiting for her to recover from her surgery before checking into the hospital herself, passed away Monday morning at 2:30 AM after checking into the hospital Sunday night. Mary was the hub of the family that planned events, kept family members in touch with each other & offered her home as the reunion spot for family to congregate. She had a heart of gold and will be sorely missed by all who knew her. Alice is especially taken aback by the fact that her doctor will not let her travel for another 6 weeks preventing her from being with the family in this their hour of need.

Barely home from the hospital, heartbroken by her sister's passing, and don't you know the medical bills are flowing in via the insurance company. I say they should rename it the we'll insure some things for you if we feel like it. The first doctor was a network doctor that they would pay, but subsequent doctors called in, along with the surgeon [7 1/2 hours worth], were not in the insurance company network, who knew, or even thought to ask coming from the same clinic, and will have to be paid by us. As she is getting the explanation from the insurer, they mention that the case file has been closed due to some lacking of paperwork from the doctor's office. Then they mention that the policy is about to be canceled for non-payment in a few days & this is a result of that lack of paperwork that would have kicked in the autopay of premiums during her recouperation. Thankfully, she was able to pay that with a CC to hang on to the "we will cover some of the things" insurance policy. Lord, I just don't know how the younger generation can cope with all these new pitfalls of living.

Alice spent most of her waking hours today at the clinic being checked over & having the staples pulled out. Who knew that like, Buck Rogers of days goneby, that was a forerunner to space travel, that Frankenstein would be the forerunner of medical procedures.... staples to hold you together, bolts & steel rods to hold bones in place... who knew!

Alice is truely consoled by the cards & prayers you have sent her & wanted me to thank you all for your concerns & thoughtfulness. She especially liked the before & after surgery prayers written & sent by Jack. She says it's going to take some time, but that she will be back. In the meantime, I guess we will be each supervising the other to make sure that happens.

Many have been inquiring about Alice & she is still in the hospital with several post-surgery complications with no clue as to when she will be released for rehab/physical therapy. The docs don't have any answers, so they are going to try to find some with the use of cameras in the next few days.

As for the shipping concerns, even though I am running back & forth to the hospital, setting up a room at home for Alice's return and taking care of the household chores, things are still on time at present with the help of a few more all-nighters, but with all the uncertainties at hand, I fear the road is going to get bumpy here shortly.

Alice has just been moved from the critical care unit to a less critical wing of the hospital & has had the tube removed from her throat allowing her to talk. The morphine has her a little loopy, but the first thing she tells me is to thank all of you for your prayers, & with barely a breath, she asks who is doing the post office run :-() She says that as soon as she is able to move she is coming home to do the packaging, but that I will have to do the housework :-) The doc says the seven and a half hour by-pass surgery was a success and that it's all a matter of recouping now. Four or five more days in the hospital & then six to eight weeks rest under my TLC at home & she should be ready to tackle anything... I have a feeling I will need a ball & chain to keep her from the work she loves to do, though.

As far as your orders & Qs go, I pulled an all-nighter last night & everything should be back to normal at this time. Things should stay more or less on schedule now, hopefully.

Here to give y'all a heads-up on shipping if you have a project that needs parts by next weedend. There will be no shipping on October 3rd & shipping will be slowed after that for a bit. Alice is scheduled for major by-pass surgery this week with several months recovery time needed & it'll probably take me a week, or so, to get shipping back under control after Wednesday.

I finished up last night with this, "Ah... Friday the end of the week for most & I wonder what it has in store for me. A day of less surprises, I hope!"

Well.... that was not to be! Oh, I got up this morning & cut a wide path around our psycho microwave & headed straight for the toaster oven with frozen waffles. I had better luck operating this piece of high-tech kitchen machinery... waffles are suppose to be black on one side, right? ... and managed to get my start of the day nourishment. (Alice.... don't worry the smoke in the kitchen was released when I opened the back door!) I'm already to dive into work when the door bell rings & I have a package I have to sign for. It's a good surprise. It's from Rob Carroll & he had emailed me previously telling me he was sending something down. He had peaked my curiosity & I had made several guesses based on his location... Boston Cream Pie, Boston Baked Beans, and other food items before I realized it was lunch time & that was why all I could think of was food! Anyway, the package is here & I think I was right... it's a pizza box :-()

Okay... I'm ready to wash down blackened waffles with a little pizza. Why not? I am truly surprised when I open the box & find a certificate of appreciation presented by Rob on behalf of the RGVAC collectors for things Alice & I do for the arcade collecting community. I am taken aback by this & immediately place this among my most cherished gifts ever in my lifetime. It's in a beautiful, heavy wood frame & I start planning a wall to hang it on right away ... and, I need to hang it right here, too!

Ain't she a beauty! Click & read, if you like. I was still stunned & admiring it when I realized Rob had enclosed an envelope... taped to it, but like a kid at Christmas time, I had removed & placed it aside to get at the "prize"! In it was a copy of the thread that he had started in RGVAC, a long & extremely well written letter... the kind I love to write & receive... explaining what this was all about, along with a money order. He says it's the culmination of you guys of RGVAC chipping in to cover our bad traders' debts... "Bob Roberts' Deadbeat Fund". I read the thread & letter and was blown away. I immediately called Alice & relayed the whole thing to her... word for word... and she was blown away, also. She tells me that she had gone shopping the previous day & had bought a few hundred pieces for lagniappe for you guys and how glad she was that she had done so.

We both want to convey our heartfelt thanks. RGVACers stepped up when I was at a low just before surgery back in September of 2002, again after Katrina devastated our area in September of 2005 and now out of the clear blue to just show appreciation when it is clearly y'all that should be appreciated and why Alice & I continue to be here for y'all. We both love our new jobs in retirement & wouldn't have it any other way. Of course, we will redirect your "Deadbeat Fund" monies to those in need in the name of one of the greatest group of guys on the planet... RGVAC.

It's now ten after five in the morning & I'm about to close out this day, but once I have had some shuteye I will attempt to subscribe to RGVAC via AT&T/Bellsouth/whoever they farm out usenet to, so that I can publicly thank Rob Carroll & the group. I wish I had the time to read the group regularly, but then I wouldn't be able to get your parts out to you nor get to your emails in a timely fashion.

Happy Gaming...

As packages are going out on time without any hitches, even though Alice is off enjoying "our" vacation right now, I thought I would use this platform to ramble & vent a bit. Jeez... Alice is kicked back at her sister's camp in Maine enjoying the cool weather while I toil away here in 100 degree weather... hmmm... what is wrong with this picture? I'm beginning to think that old age & deteriorating brain cells are synonymous :-()

Have you ever had one of those days? Yesterday ends at 5:30 this morning & I grab a few winks before starting this day at 10:00 AM. I grab a frozen Jimmy Dean breakfast & throw it into the microwave... Alice is away, you know :-( I'm waiting in front of the microwave, like waiting for water to boil, and I see there is just 1 second left before the irritating buzzer goes off, so I hit the door open button to avoid it. Wow! Microwave display shows some hieroglyphics or something left behind by the entities that visited Roswell back in 1947! Hey... the darn thing is still going... it won't shut off... the keypad is dead... yikes!! I close the door & keep barbequing poor Jimmy Dean while assessing the situation. Better him than me, I figure! Pounding the keyboard rapidly with my fist just doesn't seem to do it for some reason, so I pull the whole thing out of it's cubbyhole in the top section of the stove, balance it with one hand (what was I thinking?)while reaching into the dark crevice along the side with my other hand, groping for the cord to kill it (again, what was I thinking?). I feel the cord... I think it's the power cord... and I feel my way down the cord to where I think the plug should be (I've figured out by now that I just am not thinking) and somehow I hit paydirt & managed to wiggle the plug from it's outlet. All's quiet... phew... I'm frozen for just a few seconds when my hand slips off the edge of the microwave & up under it.. I now know that the bottom is not flat, but rather recessed about one inch after the front trim pieces... but in that brief moment as my hand slipped & I felt the microwave slipping away, I was thinking about what I could tell Alice!! You know, you need a good story for the wife when you explain why the microwave is on the kitchen floor in more pieces than it had previously :-() The darn thing was falling & I tried to throw my body under it to save it, but I wasn't fast enough... yeah... that'll work :-) Thankfully, I was able to keep it from falling, although I really don't know how. Anyway, as soon as my heartbeat was back to normal I carefully pulled the microwave out, balanced it with one hand & groped the plug back into the outlet with the other... not an easy feat, by any means... and all's quiet with a blank display now, so I program the clock & test it out & find that after resetting it the problem is gone. Seems like a dangerous fluke to me, but poor Jimmy Dean took the toasting for me & had to be buried :-( Taking his place in the dungeon oven of doom... Aunt Jeminma, and successfully, too. Breakfast accomplished.

So, I go on with my day taking care of email, pulling orders, packaging orders... had I mentioned Alice is away on vacation... wearing all the hats & figuring my big event of the day was behind me now. My heart had been in my throat once already, so what more could happen. Well.... I came upon an order that had 5 little items that had to be sanded, so I headed out to the carpentry shop. As soon as I opened the back door I was greeted by a breath robbing heat that quickly pushed me back into the cool, air conditioned house. I couldn't close that door fastest enough! I checked a couple of the digital outside thermometers & they read 96.6, but it felt much hotter than that outside. The good old analog thermometer on the outside of the building in the shade read 100 & a tad & I was more inclined to believe it over the digitals.

Your needs must go out... it's the last shipping day to ensure your packages arrive in time for your weekend projects, so I work up my courage and brave the heat. Opened the doors to the carpentry shop & fired up 2 box fans for breeze enough to get me through this normally 5 minute job. I turned the belt sander on & started the first piece & before I can finish one side I hear Ka-Boom, flap, flap, flap like the sound of a flat tire on an automobile & then a piece flies by my head so fast I couldn't tell what it was. The dust settles & I see that there is no belt on the belt sander & quickly find it behind me. Hmmm... that was a new belt... what's going on here? After my heart gets back to a normal beat again I put another new belt on & start working on that same first piece when Ka-Boom, flap, flap, flap, zing! What did I get, a defective box of belts! I'm almost use to the big surprises now. I open a new box of belts & put one on the sander... finished the first one & almost through with the second one when... yup, you guessed it... a third disintegrating belt! That's when I noticed the inside analog thermometer right directly in front of me. It's the one pic'd above on the right hand side that reads 110 degrees! A careful inspection of the belts show that they all have come unglued... they simply cannot take the heat, either.

What did I learn from this?

First, take your heart medication and second, on a hot day it takes 4 sanding belts to sand 5 small pieces instead of one to sand 4 or 5 hundred of them.

More ramble... I'm still amazed by the fact that a person in Maine with a laptop & a cell phone can conduct business just the same way that they do from another office in the same building in Louisiana that you're in. The technological era for sure. It seems like just last year I was hand cranking the phone in Jackman, Maine & asking Nancy to ring up my house... TR-389... and whatever happened to those simple phone numbers. Actually, it was Trinity 389, but all you needed was the TR, short & sweet & you didn't even have to dial it yourself... or punch a keypad... or speak CLEARLY & SLOWLY into the handset :-() Ah, the good olde days. Too bad they haven't found a way for Alice to do the packaging from Maine... shhh... don't tell her I said that.

On another subject... rambling on & on... Alice & I have decided that our retirement funds should be invested with y'all instead of in a Keough Plan or otherwise out of our control, so we have been gradually adding items you have requested us to stock for you, while getting rid of some items & we have bought in some equipment to enable us to make some of the more expensive components at a more affordable price to you. This will also allow for us to add a small profit margin to some of these items, while lowering the current prices & keeping them at the wholesale level that you need in order to keep up your game collections. I figure if things don't work out we'll have to become Gypsies and spend a week with each of y'all till we kick over :-) I can hear it now... Hon, fire up the Centipede... Alice is on her way!

It's nearly 4 AM... again... and my day is drawing to a close. Ah... Friday the end of the week for most & I wonder what it has in store for me. A day of less surprises, I hope!

Happy Gaming....

Still trying to get your packages shipped today....

Streets are flooded everywhere and Fredericks is no exception. No one here to help as they cannot navigate in anything less than a pirogue today, but we are still attempting to call in help for at least one post office run.

Update: Alice was determined to get your packages out today & told me, "The mail must go through!". She told me to stick by the phone in case she couldn't make it & off she went. She said she made it to the post office just as they were getting ready to lock up, although she said the roundabout route she had to take added another 5 miles to the trek. Noticing flooded areas on the opposite side of a couple of the streets, she took another roundabout route back home.

Alice says that just as she was starting to load the bins on the cart in the post office parking lot, a southern gentleman by the name of Ron happened by & helped her get everything inside. Thanks to Ron & my ever tenacious wife, Alice, your packages shipped today... my hats off to both.

First, just an update on the container I mentioned last time. It was due to be finally delivered on the 15th of January...hmmm...& was finally delivered at 7:00 AM this morning! Better late then never, as they say, and it is just another of the hurry up and wait post-Katrina aftereffects along with the inflated 5.5 times the pre-Katrina price! I have no complaint as others were 7 times the price! You often hear that plumbers charge more than doctors, but with a recent drain unclog that was $45 3 months prior to the storm, we only had to pay $180 flat rate, only inflated by 4, post-K, and it was done by the same company, and in fact, the same person.

Well... enough rambling & I'll get to the reason I am here. No, I am not retiring from my job in retirement that has been rumored. I'll be here till I'm 100, hopefully! Last September I took a loss on wiring harnesses for the whole month trying to save the jobs for both my harness makers. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to keep both busy at the time & I did have to let one go :-( Now that harnesses are in demand once again there are some minor delays even though I have been pitching in what I can. Feel free to ask if there will be a delay with your harness when ordering if it's something needed ASAP.

On another note, shipping will be delayed this week as the post office will not be open Monday due to the Presidents' Day holiday & our post office will not be open on Tueday... Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras! They will reopen on Ash Wednesday & I expect we will be swamped with incoming mail & outgoing packages, further adding to the delay.

It's been nearly a year since posting here... how time flies... as, thankfully, things have been going relatively smoothly with the shipping & any spare time we had was devoted to doing repairs that we couldn't find contractors for. The outside is mostly done with only a little landscaping left to be done this spring. Things are shaping up nicely now & I have a shipping container coming next week that will allow us to move some things out of thjob here in house to enable inside repairs... ceilings, walls & etc. Alice & I, along with all Louisianans & Gulf Coast residents, were especially thankful for the relaxed hurricane season this year. A truely needed break!

Alice & I are still feeding the feral cats in our neighborhood along with a few racoons, opossums & armadillos that even the cat people do not want to feed, saying that they take away from the cats :-( We feel that even the wildlife that have been displaced & starving have a right to life, so they share in our $30 a week habit of cat food. We have more or less adopted the 2 cats that are deathly afraid of storms as we allow them in the house & have given them names. The multicolored one was surely someone's pet & has settled back into that role, but the black one is still a friendly feral cat that prefers the outdoors. I was shocked to see how friendly he really was a few nights ago when he walked right up to one of the opossums & greeted him with a kiss like a long time buddy... and perhaps they have been buddies in the aftermath of the storm. We have one other regular that we named & although he has been coming to eat since day 3 post Katrina, he is still very much the feral cat & no one can approach him, so I doubt he was ever a pet.

I know after feeding people, pets & wildlife that one of the more rewarding experiences is seeing the pets, worst the wear for neglect, go from skin & bones to fat, healthy animals.

Well... it's Mardi Gras season once again & we have already started shipping the traditional Mardi Gras lagniappe with orders and, as always, I wanted to post the expiration date of the Moon Pies for those that choose to save them for later.... always seems to be at least one. Anyway, the expiration date this year is 4/30/07 & we hope you enjoy them along with the beads that the children usually end up with. I've been told that the cup & beads are favored by the little ones over the pies!

We will not be shipping Friday the 24th of February as Alice will be undergoing surgery that day. Shipping will resume on Monday the 27th.

From the Times-Picayune

N.O. main post office will reopen today But it doesn't mean delivery will speed up...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006
By Michelle Hunter
East Jefferson bureau

Six months after Hurricane Katrina shuttered its doors, the city's main post office on Loyola Avenue reopens today. But like so much post-Katrina, the post office at 701 Loyola Ave. won't be exactly the same for some time. It will offer retail services and customers will have access to their post office boxes, U.S. Postal Service spokesman David Lewin said. Delivery operations for ZIP codes 70112, 70113 and 70130 will be phased back into the building in the next few weeks, he said. But the reopening won't have any effect on the mail delivery delays experienced by New Orleans area residents since the storm, Lewin said. Those delays won't clear up until the processing and distribution center, which was housed in the same building and handled six million to eight million pieces of mail a day, reopens this spring. Still, Lewin called the reopening of the main post office a milestone. "It's the beginning of re-establishing the downtown operation," he said. "This is going to make things a little bit more convenient for our downtown customers."

Many of you have been asking me to update this status page & although not much has been going on, at least a half dozen requests have said to just give them a dose of my usual ramblings if I had the time.... sooo....

Last week we had tornadoes, heavy rain, thunder & at least 3 hours of constant lightning that they called "cloud to ground lightning".... hmmm... and I thought lightning was lightning :-() Anyway, they are still talking about it even today.... pics in the paper that'll I'll post here:


I think the saying goes... 3 steps forward, 1 step backwards :-(

The only Katrina stray animals left running the neighborhood streets now are cats & Alice & I are still feeding them along with a local animal organization. The night of tornadoes brought many of the strays to our front door & 2 were particularly freaked out by the storm... so much so that they were yowling at the top of their lungs while cowering under benches on either side of our front we decided to coax those 2 inside. It took a bit to get them to move, but they eventually did a low crawl into the house & ran for cover under the sofa. I believe that they thought Katrina was coming back for them... in any event, they were pretty scared. The others seemed to be content to just get out of the heavy rain & were still too timid to approach, anyway.

Repairs here at the homestead are slow in coming... only 2 contractors have actually showed up & started work, but have not been back to complete anything yet, and we are still waiting our turn with the roofer... perhaps a good thing since my patch jobs were ripped up during last week's storm. We tried, but could not find a general contractor to handle all repairs, so we are dealing with individual contractors for each type of repair needed & it is just hurry up & wait with all of them. One promised to be here for sure 10 days ago & when I called 8 days ago he said he would be starting the next day for sure... still waiting :-(

In the interim, we had another bit of bad luck when a run-away 2000 Ford Explorer crashed into the front of our home, so we now have to wait on a brick mason, as well :-(

Going into the tenth year of helping y'all with your game parts & we've run into another first... it seems USPS can damage packages just like UPS & Fed-X. Arcade Tony was the disappointed recipient of this package:

Our packages have all made it to their final destinations intact over the years through two major catastrophes & several air mishaps with the only other type of damage being to the boxes only when left out in the rain at the delivery point... contents surviving nicely... and a no loss record... but... you know how it goes when you're on a roll... yep... another damaged package!

I know you guessed it... yes... this was the replacement package for the first ever damaged package! The saga continues! Jeez... I hope this one was Tony's bad luck & not ours, because our streak needs to be broken before a semi cuts the house in half or a Cessna mistakes our backyard for a landing strip!

Oh... the good & bad news update from our homeowners insurance. Second time around they did not lose the claim & sent us a check a few weeks ago. The bad news... they must know contractors that work for a lot less than the ones I've found, because the spread between what they say it'll cost to make us whole again & what we're getting for bids is as big as the levee breach!

Mail & packages...

Incoming mail is pretty good despite the fact that our postman had to leave again to be with his ailing mother in Houston. Incoming priority, express & certified do not seem to help &, in fact, have proven to take longer than regular first class mail in most cases:-( Outgoing priority packages are running pretty consistent on 3 days now...thankfully!

The sun is coming up, so I'm heading off to bed for a couple hours before the new day begins, but I'll try to post any updates to this page as they occur.

Post Script:

As many of you already know, we started shipping Mardi Gras goodies a couple weeks ago & I wanted to post the expiration date on the pies/cakes in case there is someone that doesn't devour them immediately... do not consume after May 14, 2006!

It's been quite some time since our last incoming mail delivery, so I was surprised to see the postman this afternoon. The mail was postmarked from 11/18 thru 12/5, so there is still no rhyme nor reason to the enroute time needed to get mail here :-( The winner today was Mike's payment from Birmingham, AL, which he sent Priority mail on November 18th.

25 Days!!

This leads me to believe that Priority may be a waste of good game part money, especially when standard snail mail from Birmingham has arrived in 8 days.

Still getting a lot of email looking to check on their orders, so as best I can figure, Priority out-going is running from 2 days to 12 days :-( Some packages seem to forgo the scenic route that others take, and go directly to their destination, but it all appears to be at random making it impossible to predict.

I'm sure y'all have noticed that my email lacks the usual holiday spirit & animated decorations. Alice & I both have found it hard to get into the spirit of the holiday season this year in the aftermath of Katrina & her continuing curve balls that seem to arise daily. They just keep coming..... FEMA says sorry, the insurance company... after taking nearly 3 months to get to us... calls to let me know that they have lost all our paperwork including the typed statements, photos & videos I supplied, so we have to start again from scratch :-( They tell me that many of the people that they brought in as inspectors simply could not handle all the devastation they were exposed to & just left for home.... often times without turning in their case files, as happened with us :-(

Our grandchildren are all scattered about other states & will not be able to come home for the holidays.... another bummer!

While I'm rambling... another surprise came in the mail today from our bank. I had changed banks to help those who inadvertantly sent NSF checks, to a bank that started out with only a $3 charge for them... later raised to $6... but I guess I neglected to cover myself :-( During our storm downtime & spotty mail, our account dried up at the bank & caused a lot of our checks to be NSF. Today's surprise... the statement finally arrived & we now know that every time we bounce a check it cost us $30 each!! Should have asked about that when I swapped over, but... who knew :-(

Just when I thought I couldn't possibly get any more depressing news.... the phone just rang with more bad news. It was Beth Yeargin calling to let me know that Robert Yeargin, one of the great guys in the hobby, had passed. I was floored... you never expect to hear something like that. He will be sorely missed by Alice & I, and by all those in the hobby, I'm sure. Our hearts go out to his daughters, Faith, 6 & Hope, 4, as well as, to Beth.

It was bound to happen someday... we have our first cap kit snafu. About 2 weeks ago Janice ran out of labels for the K4900 & K7000 cap kits, which she was waiting on me to supply. She had 10 kits already made and waiting on the labels, while I was dragging my feet. When I finally gave her 100 of each label she affixed K7000 labels to the pre-made kits... evidently, without verifying them, because they turned out to be K4900 kits. That leaves us with 10 k4900 cap kits labeled as K7000. One of the shipped ones has been found along with 6 of them still on the rack here, but that leaves 3 unaccounted for :-( If you have purchased a K7000 cap kit in the last two weeks you can quickly determine if it is correct by the presence of the 2200uf cap... the largest one in the K7000 kit. If you do not find the 2200uf cap you most likely have one of the 3 unaccounted for kits. LMK & I'll correct the error immediately.

Since Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks I thought I'd do a little rambling of thanks myself. First, I'm grateful that Katrina was as kind as she was to our family. She was a very bad girl that came through with mean intentions, stacking up damages beyond comprehension, destroying dreams, hopes, wills, homes, boats, cars, places of employment, and worst of all, the loss of love ones. At first, rating on a scale from 1 to 10... 10 being the worst, I had guessed her wrath on us at a 4, but since Alice & I have been helping our neighbors since the storm, seeing the plight of others, I've grown to appreciate how lucky we were & have changed my thoughts on that scale. I now believe I should have made a 1 the worse case scenario & placed us at a "lucky" 7 on that scale.

I give thanks for that.

After the storm, so many people were helping strangers, Alice & I included, that a lack of caring was paid to pets, and after the first reports of death I enlisted my grandson Chris to aid me with feeding & caring for the hundreds of pets left our immediate neighborhood... locked in, caged up, chained, and unable to do much of anything to sustain life on their own. Other people that rode out the storm started giving us scraps of food, dog food, cat food for them, as well as, reporting to us any animals that were in need.

I give thanks to my grandson Chris, although, I wish he never had to see many of the things he saw at his youg age. I give thanks for those who donated pet food.

The City of Gretna & the Gretna police protected us, delivered food, water & ice to us daily and when they learned of our pet quest, bags & cans of pet foods.

I give thanks for that... especially to Chief Arthur Lawson for personally stopping by to check on us.

Duffy from Florida who gave me back communications four months earlier than expected.

I give thanks to him!

Once back online it seemed that all of you wanted to stock up on parts, which helped Alice & I to have a much needed cash flow. Don't think that it went unnoticed... some of you, 10 times what you would normally buy.

I give thanks to you for that.

Alice & I have been able to help others less fortunate here, with food, clothing, bedding, jobs & transportation to & from work.... well, it's mostly Alice while I hold down the fort here, but I help her whenever possible. Being pushed to the wall ourselves, we would not have been able to do this, but for many of you making contributions. Chris & Lisa Moore planted the seed that helped so many & were a huge boost to many, many people here. Other help came from John & Sue Anderson, Doug & Jen Werner & others who preferred to remain anonymous... and one who wanted to be referred to as "some guy in Texas".

I give thanks to all of them.

My wish?

I can only wish & pray that the fire department's searches of the rubble come up empty handed & that all of the 6,027 people still missing are found to be living in other parts of the country.

I will gladly give thanks for that!

The Times-Picayune finally did a story on the mail situation today... front page material. The only points that were not mentioned , as far as I can see, are these....

Here's the story as printed in the Times-Picayune....

Neither Rain Nor Sleet?

I haven't put many pics of the aftermath up here as most of them are just too depressing & they were shown by the media for many weeks before we even had our power restored, but I thought that this map pic from the Times-Picayune this morning might give a better propective of why this city is still so crippled. This shows the large areas still without basic electricity & there are many pockets without electricity in the "good" zones. One of the 2 buildings on our street that were without power came back this week, and in the surrounding area many streets still have at least one unpowered building.

I made quite a few different calls today trying to find out when our main post office was going to reopen and after several responses of, "it's closed indefinitely", one brave person told me that the plan is to reopen in February if all goes well.

While calling I learned that since the PO was closed yesterday in observance of Veterans Day, that the Harvey, La post office was going to be open from 8:30AM to 11:00AM, so I tried to do some good by getting your packages out today, but my daughter arrived just as they were locking the doors :-(

Well... it took seventy-four days, but our insurance claim adjustors were here bright & early this morning, measuring, clicking off pics & asking a caboodle of questions... it was our turn! Unlike the rep I spoke to on the phone that gave me the impression that we were basically on our own with all the expenses incurred after disallowing this & that & deducting the special "hurricane deductable" on our policy, this team seemed very friendly & affable, telling me that we should be reimbursed for a good part of our damages. Of course, they said they would have to let me know in about 10 days... hmmm... where have I heard that before :-() Here is the tip I'm offering to anyone who owns property in a hurricane zone... read your policy carefully & look for clauses that change things when the damage has been done by a hurricane, such as the deductible being more than 10 times the norm for damages incurred from other sources & caps... limits... on specific damages.

About the only thing that has changed around here is that more people are coming back which is taxing the already long lines, shortages of goods, housing & especially the handicapped postal service. Some time has passed now & it seems that the plight of Louisiana is already becoming an event of the past that slips people's minds, other then residents. I'm spending a lot of time on answering email about why I haven't received someones payment, or why they don't have the package yet, and once I remind them of Katrina's wrath, I get... "totally forgot about that"... which I can understand since we try to forget about it being right here in the middle of it, but there is always something that crops up & slaps you in the face as a painful reminder.

Things right here in our immediate neighborhood like the cars & trucks parked on the streets at night with people sleeping in them... more often than not, in a sitting up position... people knocking at our door asking if we have a room to let... something I never thought would happen in my wildest dreams. The open overhead door on a local company the next street over that allows you to see the numerous cots set up for their employees & families. Trying to find a restaurant or store of any kind open after 5PM... or open, at all! The McDonald's at one corner of our street has finally been readied to reopen, but has not due to lack of employees, the same reason that the other businesses around it have not reopened. The barber shop at the opposite end of our street has been repaired, reroofed, cleaned up & reopened... the rumor is that his brother is in construction upstate, as others are still waiting in line for a roofer, Alice & I among them. I've yet to see anyone there for a haircut, though, and he has painted up signs proclaiming "open for business" propped up all around the place.

Alice just interupted me saying that she would like to have a pizza tonight. Some sort of special that she just saw advertised on TV. I learned a long time ago that the only correct answer to that is, "sure!" :-) She calls & the pizzeria... open till 9PM, big surprise... says no specials as advertised & only a limited number of pizzas can be made in medium or large only, and in any combination of cheese, onions, green peppers, pepperoni or sausage. She passes & tries the other open pizzeria. She settles for a pepperoni, black olive & green pepper pizza for about twice the normal price & it'll be delivered in about hour & a half! Hey... Chris & Lisa... that offer of a good Chicago pizza still open :-) Just kidding... but while I'm here let me thank you both publicly along with others who contributed to helping us & our neighbors in a time of need. THANK YOU!

So many people were laid off this week that I would think that some of these lesser jobs at places that cannot open may be filled. Who knows... with 330,000 people on umemployment here those jobs still remained unfilled. It's just hard to fathom all the repercussions in the aftermath of something as horrendous as Katrina/Rita. The workers coming back have no place to live... hotels that are up & running have more autos parked in front of them than at a used auto sales lot, suggesting that most of the rooms are multi-occupied. It's still a mess... that's for sure!

Halloween? Why was so much trick or treat candy shipped out with your orders? Not a single child came to the door on Halloween nor did I see any in the neighborhood when riding my bike that evening. Seems many of the children are enrolled in schools away from here... from Texas to Maine and all points in-between.

That's just a few things to give you an idea how things are different around here. As for the post office, we have not been able to pick up mail at the PO for quite some time, since they are delivering it now, but it only comes twice a week, so your mail in is slow... 7 to 10 days... so if you are in a hurry for your parts the only thing I can suggest is that you mail payment in via priority mail which is taking 4 to 6 days in coming. If you need the parts quickly your best bet is to buy direct from Happ or other online arcade part sources.

As for out going packages... they were very timely when we first started shipping, but since more people have returned, the PO still working with the same handicaps of few employees, three branches with the local hub being transferred to Baton Rouge, already under a lot of pressure, it has slowed the delivery time to anywhere between 3 days & 12 days. About 20% of the packages are running a 10-12 day delivery time with no rhyme or reason that I can figure. It doesn't seem to be certain areas as 2 sent to the same city will have 8 or 9 day differences in shipping time. The PO here tells me that the big problem is having trucks & drivers to transport mail to Baton Rouge... since the usual hub PO was in New Orleans... and the result is that once I send a package it may not leave this PO until the next day... or even the second day... and then the overworked Baton Rouge PO is slow in processing this sea of packages. From Baton Rouge they ship to the Sunbelt hub in Atlanta, Ga for rerouting to you.

Under the circumstances, and experiencing much worse service in coming from the other 2 major carriers, I give the USPS high marks for their service in these trying times.

I have no control over the mail & whereas they always use to match my predictions of delivery to the day exactly, they are now making me have an average of 50/50 in my predictions :-( If you still opt to order parts from Alice & I be prepared for the worse case delivery time while hoping for the same delivery time you've been accustom to over the past nine years.

Thanks for all your support...
Bob & Alice

Finally got the tree remains & debris removed this weekend... 4 trailer loads! I thought it was a little crazy that we are paying a small fortune to get the trees cut up to throw away when people up north are paying a small fortune to get them cut up to keep for winter fuel:-() I guess the trees are really the losers in either case :-(

The Times-Picayune is back in town... yea... we have a newspaper again! It's about the size of the Metro section alone, pre-Katrina, but a newspaper nonetheless. Here's a couple pics I scanned in from the paper that might not be in the outside world.

Where's dat smell coming from?

Unbelievable! This is one of the 3 dump sites in Orleans Parish alone that to date has amassed nearly 200,000 cubic yards of storm debris! Ironically, in the lower right hand corner sits a faded State Farm sign.

Nearly a half million refrigerators, freezers & other appliances inhabit the graveyard with 2500 being added daily! Freon & oil must be drained from the toxic smelling refrigerators... the spoiled food properly discarded... pressure washed & then compacted for metal recycling & hauled away. Talk about your hazardous jobs... I'd have to pass on this one!

It looks like the Times-Picayune hasn't lost it's sense of humor as they depicted in today's paper a new Halloween costume derived from the above pic of refrigerators.

Things are going along a lot smoother now thanks to one of my neighbors. Ms Marie from down the street came knocking on my door & told me there was a telephone repairman down the street that she had told about my phones being out & he told her to send me over there. When I got there & told him that Ms Marie had sent me he said take a look at this mess.... huh, I was thinking.

Yes... it's a mess all right... still wondering why he asked, though.

He says, "Well, there is obviously nothing I can do with this, so what say we walk down to your place & see if I can take care of your problem." Oh yeah! I had my bicycle, but I took him literally & walked it since he must have had 50 pounds worth of gear hanging from his tool belt.

He takes a look at my entry boxes first & asks what all the wiring is, so I had to tell him I had a bootlegged line jumping out all my terminals temporarily, so that I could use phone jacks in the house, but not to worry because I'd undo it all right away. He says let me go get my truck & I'll see if I can get you going. I'm hoping that's not the last time I see him :-()

Quite a while passes before he returns & I had long since undone my deeds. He says sorry for taking so long, but I've been trying to call my wife & kids in Florida & finally got thru to them. I've been here 2 weeks helping out & it's just as hard for us to get a line out as it is for anyone else.

He has to get it approved before he can do the work, so I crossed my fingers. While on the phone to his supervisor he tells me they have a work order scheduled for me on Jan 17th, 2006 & I said, I know :-( Several more minutes of conversation ensued between him & his supervisor & I thought it was all over until I overheard him say that he would take care of it, anyway. I don't know what they were discussing, but those words I did hear & they sounded pretty good to me.

"I'm going to go ahead & repair all your lines" he said. Yea!!!! He proceeded to get all my lines back up & working better than pre-Katrina... no static, like I had been experiencing. ADSL back up & running great... solid 3mbds. My day had been made!

He says there will probably be someone else out here or calling about this, so just go ahead & tell them that Duffy from Florida took care of it for you.

Thank You Duffy from Florida & Ms Marie!!!!

As far as conducting business goes, we are pretty much back to normal with everything current & fully stocked anew this past week... leaving only the mail as the weak link at this time. It may take a day or two longer than it use to, due to the shortened postal hours & lack of reopened post offices, but they have come through in these difficult times nonetheless. Our outstanding mail that had been stored during the storms has all been delivered except for one, and all packages that were caught up in the shipping process during the storms have been delivered. We are shipping new orders out daily & all our incoming stock has been arriving right on schedule.

Alice & I can't say it enough... thanks for your concerns & prayers.


Ms Marie, "repairman finder", and her 16 year old daughter were the only other people on our street during Katrina & for some time after, so I imagine that the bond that developed will last a lifetime & this probably won't be the last time she bails us out.

Sorry... there won't be any shipping today. Hopefully, we'll be able to resume shipping tomorrow. Thousands of returnees have been pouring in since Friday night & the post offices are totally inundated at this time with everyone looking for over a month's worth of mail. They had to do away with the separate shipping line & the line at each PO is up to a mile long on foot with double lines of autos that extend even further. There is absolutely no way that all can be accommodated within the next hour, but hopefully, they'll extend their hours, at least for today.

The influx has been beneficial as far as it relates to cleanup & businesses being able to reopen with limited hours. Our street was one of the first in this area to have the mounds of trash & debris hauled away this past weekend and, while totally grateful for that, I wish they had been able to take the garbage, refrigerators & freezers at the same time. It's looking somewhat normal in this neighborhood other than that & the smell that goes along with it.

Alice & I are so fortunate to have a home... such as it is... & power after only a 3 1/2 week outage, when so many have no home or are still in darkness, that we have been doing all that we can to help our neighbors in need while attending to our own recovery. It's going to take an unfathomable amount of time to fully recover from this disastrous event.

Bob & Alice

As many of you know I've been going thru email this past week with a bootlegged phone line & a 56K modem that BS connects at 38K... I still remember connecting at 1200/2400 baud, so this is pretty fast in comparison :-) Anyway, I've managed to whittle the email down to just over 500 at this point. These remaining emails are comprised of well wishers... are you still there... are you shipping yet... how can we help... and numerous others. I've replied to 368 of these & it is very time consuming, so I'm going to mark them all as read email & just say thanks for all your concerns right here. Alice tells me this is tacky, but it will put us in a position to start shipping tomorrow, which will put us back that much closer to normalcy at this point & give all of us a fresh starting point. In the event that a help or order mail was deleted by mistake, just resend it & I'll reply to it ASAP.

We now have 3 post offices open that we can use to ship from, but they are all on the same reduced days & hours... Mon-Fri, 11AM to 3PM... so the only way it'll help is for us to find the one with the shortest lines even if it means driving an hour out of the way. With everyone picking up their mail I suppose the one that serves the least populace would have the shortest lines, so we'll plan to start with that one & do whatever is necessary to complete your orders.

Again, thank you all for your concerns, prayers & offers of help. Bob & Alice

Delayed a few days seems like the understatement of the century now! Alice & I, along with our family members, have survived Katrina. Our power was restored this weekend bringing us the much needed A/C to combat these stifling hot days. We still do not have mail service & our phone/ADSL lines are dangling from the junction box up on the pole outside our home. We have a huge repair & clean up task, along with a gazillion forms to fill out, ahead of us. Hopefully, my PC, printers & other peripheral equipment is still functional. I had to dismantle it all at the height of the storm & it was so full of water that I even had to pour it out of my backup power source that I was hoping to use for light during this process. It has had days to dry out & looks very clean at this point, so I'll try to put the whole thing back together as soon as possible. As soon as we are able to be back online I will begin the arduous journey through emails that made it to our server. It may help to speed up the process if you update any orders that you filled elsewhere, using the same email address that you used to place the order originally. This will allow me to look at all emails from the same sender in reverse order to determine current status. As soon as we have mail service we'll go through any payments sent for orders that have not yet been shipped for a current status.

Katrina was a very bad girl... the worst in my lifetime... worse than Betsy Sept 1965... Camille Aug 1969... Carmen Sept 1974... and I'd venture to say that she was worse than all the more recent smaller hurricanes combined. Our home was built tough in 1957 and had managed to escape all the previous hurricanes unscathed, but Katrina beat her up pretty good, although through a series of smaller wind driven damages that can be corrected, unlike many thousands of our neighbors who were less fortunate. Our hearts go out to them and our thanks go out to all those worldwide who have been assisting Louisiana in her hour of need.

Things will be delayed for a few days as hurricane Katrina has it's eye on New Orleans! Unlike her little brother Ivan, she is on a more direct path right at us! Mandatory evacuations started this morning with Plaquemines Parish followed by several others, along with voluntary evacuation for New Orleans, which will most likely be upgraded to mandatory this evening. Stores are closed & boarded up at this point, as well as, many gas stations which have run out of gas. Alice & I have been devoting our time to hurricane preparedness, so email, orders, notifications & such are delayed, but I will try to square up everything pre-Katrina since she will no doubt be responsible for power outages for several days after we have weathered her wrath.

Incredibly, all roads lead out of New Orleans at this time with zero roads in... and it looks like the contraflow traffic plan is a great success, alleviating the bumper to bumper exodus of Ivan's evacuation.

I knew things were just going to smoothly. Bellsouth had a 9 state crash today, but has been back on line here since 2:30 CST. For some, using Bellsouth links to my Pages, the site was down & all my email is funneled though Bellsouth, so there has been a delay & I am swamped with a pile of incoming mail now. Using my old method of alternating from the top & bottom of the Outlook Express list I should have this back under control sometime this evening. There may be some packages delayed today, but will be on tomorrow's truck, so if you don't receive a notification from me tonight, chances are your package is shipping on Thursday.

Shipping & email may be slow for the first part of next week, as well, as I have several medical tests that just happened to get scheduled in the same few day time period :-(

Getting onto my site when there is a problem is relatively easy now. The site homestead is graciously located on Tony Berry's estate.

There is also a graciously located mirror courtesy of John St Clair & Jason Presnell here:

Happy Gaming...

Alice & I want to send out a very special thank you to the young cofounders of the Bob Roberts Fan Club for sending us such a wonderful Christmas gift.

Everything is back on track & running smoothly. Thanks for being so patient & thanks again to all the well-wishers.

Happy Gaming...

Mail delivery resumed today for most, but since the post office was severely understaffed & we are on the end of the route, which is normally delivered between 4PM & 5PM, we were not one of the fortunate ones to get our backlog of mail :-( Looks like tomorrow will bring us 5 days of mail all at one time. I don't usually do notifications over the weekend, but in this case, I will do them tomorrow afternoon after the mail arrives, just so that you know your package will be shipping on Monday.

Looks like Ivan crippled the Big Easy more than any other storm of late, and from only a grazing blow. I guess this is all due to the mass evacuation that did not go as smoothly as it should have... or was touted to be. Returnees had clear sailing back into the city & I think this is due to the fact that everyones shelter destinations were so varied. Probably those who have not returned as yet, were expecting the same sort of traffic jams that they experienced in leaving, prompting them to stay away a little longer.

Fortunately for us Ivan just grazed New Orleans and, unfortunately, the brunt of it's wrath was inflicted on the Alabama & Florida coastline. We were hoping for an ideal path that would take it inland in some remote spot where the least damage would occur, but that was not to be :-( Alice & I both wish a speedy recovery to those effected by Ivan's devastation.

We want to thank those who sent concerned emails to us over the past several days & assure everyone that we are okay.

I spoke with the local post office today & was told that mail delivery should resume on Friday. We will be backlogged with 4 days mail & will do our best to get as many orders shipped as possible.

Well... it's been a long time since I needed to post anything here, but with hurricane Ivan The Terrible in our backyard & threatening to pay us a visit of monumental proportions, I'm sure that our service will suffer :-( Most stores in the area will be closing down by 6PM today & not reopening until Friday at the earliest. Schools & municipal buildings are already closed & with evacuations taking place at this time, I'm afraid that the postal services will be discontinued, as well. We will attempt shipping today, but we will likely not ship over the next few days. In fact, the next shipping will most likely be Monday the 20th and, hopefully, we will still be all in one piece at that time.

At 2:00PM EDT, Hurricane Ivan had sustained winds of 140 MPH (with higher gusts), or of Category 4 intensity ó still a very dangerous system. It has been fluctuating between 145-165 MPH over the past two days. Ivan was located approx. 405 miles SSE of the mouth of the Mississippi River, and is moving to the NNW at 9 MPH. The eye passed just south of Grand Cayman earlier Sunday, and over the Western tip of Cuba on Monday night. Hurricane-force winds extend outward to 100 miles from the eye, and tropical storm winds to 260 miles.

Sorry that we're running a little behind right now :-( The better half of the team is in the hospital at this time getting her ticker adjusted and although she kept things running fairly smoothly while I was out, I don't seem to be doing as good a job as she did... no surprise to most, I guess. She's doing fine, and probably has things running more efficiently at the hospital, knowing her! She should be home in a few days and at least directing things behind the scenes and I surmise that by the end of the week I'll have to tie her down to keep her from getting back into the thick of things around here.

If y'all bear with us old ole folks Alice will have everything back running like clockwork next week, I'm sure, and in the meantime I'll be doing what I can... trying to keep up to her standards.

I've had many complaints of email not received from me lately. All emails are replied to within 12 hours, normally, and when totally inundated, within 24 hours. I've looked into these complaints & they all are from AOLers. Although not all AOL users have had trouble, I can only surmise that AOL has once again blocked me as a spammer as they did about 3 years ago. There is not much I can do about that :-( When this happens I do not receive a message that the mail was not delivered, since it actually was, & subsequently deleted, so I'm totally unaware that you didn't receive the email. Temporarily using an alternate email address is probably the best work-around if you are unable to reset the filter.

Due to a computer malfunction incoming email for this date was deleted :-( There were approximately 50 unanswered emails, so if you did not receive a reply, please remail.

Happy Lundi Gras Everyone

The fleetness of time never ceases amazing me. A blink of the eye & it's Labor Day (Labour Day to lots of my friends)...another blink it's Christmas.. another blink & here we are at Lundi Gras again, and I swear Mardi Gras was just last month! Tomorrow brings Mardi Gras 2003... our fourth in this new millennium, already!

I'm here to tell you that packages are going to be a little slow for the next several days. I've managed to keep everything on time so far this Mardi Gras season, despite Alice's parade going :-) She did work right along beside me all night last night till around 8:00 AM this morning, though, so at least they didn't wear her out :-) We finished all orders through the weekend & shipped them thoughout the day for as long as the POs were open. The postman just handed me a gazillion envelopes, though, and any orders that need to be shipped from that batch will not go out till the PO reopens on Wednesday morning. Notifications on them will be incorporated with Wednesday's... which will have Tuesday's would-have-been-delivered mail... making for a combo of 3 days worth of packages & notifications to go out! It'll probably be well into the 4th day by the time I finish notifications, so it will seem even slower to some. Please don't bombard me with email asking if your package has shipped because it will just make the slowdown worse :-( Hang tight & all packages will hopefully find their new homes by the weekend, so that all your projects won't be hampered in any way.

Now it's time for me to tackle the email box. I got a glimpse of the first one waiting & will share it here to show you just how far you've come from those first days of entering your hobby world.
"Hi Bob I got a Street Fighter game just fat white screen tell me waht I need to fix it".... sound like someone you know, maybe just a year ago, even :-)

Note: Mardi Gras cookies expire on May 10th this year... just in case some survive past this week:-)

Life After Lili

First, let me take a minute to thank all of you that inquired as to my health & how we faired the second storm in as many weeks. I was back to work 2 days after surgery & found that the doc had more experience than I when he recommended a longer rest. I managed to pop a couple stitches & learn that I will have much more appreciation for the fairer sex after child birth.... up & about in no time... how do they do it? Here it is some 10 days post surgery and although I am back working around the clock, I still have trouble leaning forward for long periods of time, over the workbench, which leaves me a little negligent on a few orders that have bench items. The doc says by the 14th that will be a distant memory & I know I can count on him being right, now ;-) Everything else is caught up to date & I can see that I will be a lonely Maytag repairman... hmmm... around 2010, if I'm still ticking.

My Hat's off to Alice & Janice in filling in for me... only 2 minor errors that were easily corrected.

As to Hurricane Lili... some say it was divine intervention that roped her just before landfall reducing her from a category 4 to a category 2 with much less destruction in areas away from the eye. She still had plenty of wind & rain for all, leaving many in her path with homes plundered by fallen trees, flying debris or flood waters. Alice & I were again very fortunate in that we only had a yard full of debris including small branches & plenty of fall leaves that weren't quite ready to leave the nest. In my eyes, she was a good storm in that she left no casualties in her wake... most likely a combination of her slow down & the extremely prepared people of Louisiana.

Again, Alice & I thank you all for your concern, well-wishing & prayers.

I'll leave you with a few pics from Lili...

From WWL TV:
FEMA sends crews to South Louisiana
High water, power outages still plague some areas 10/05/2002.
Victims from Hurricane Lili and Tropical Storm Isidore have help on the way as 1,000 FEMA personnel are being sent to help with the damage and recovery.

The agency has also opened a disaster center for the New Orleans area. Itís located at 401 City Park Avenue.

Agency officials say the center is open to anyone needing federal aid.

In Terrebonne Parish, the cleanup has been delayed, with many residents still unable to reach their homes.

However, parish officials say many people will be able to assess their damage beginning Saturday.

Entergy and CLECO are still working diligently to restore power to the thousands of customers still in the dark.

On the Northshore, 1,500 CLECO customers are still without power. In the New Orleans area, Entergy says almost everyone has their electricity back, but there are still a few sporadic outages being reported.

Officials from both companies say they hope to have power fully restored by Saturday afternoon.

Finally, land-based structures werenít the only things damaged in Hurricane Lili.

Officials for one oil company say the hurricane ripped one offshore drilling rig from its moorings and sent it drifting for 45 miles.

Lili also capsized two other rigs in the central gulf. Fortunately all of the structures had been evacuated and there were no injuries.

Lili is coming :-(

The Aftermath of Isidore

Sorry... There was no mail in or packages out today :-(

We were not flooded that bad, but here are some local photographer's pics around other parts of town.

I'm back on the keyboard as of 2 PM today & will get to everyone as soon as possible...... thanks for your patience.


Hi all. This is Alice here to let you know Bob is out of the hospital & back home again. He is suppose to be on bed rest, but he's right here directing me and is living up to his nickname "Big Bear" ! He says I haven't messed things up too bad.I have shipped all the packages each day including today even though Isidore ( tropical storm) is beating at our door step. Due to all the street flooding I had to take a round about way to the post office. I do not believe that any mail will be sent tomorrow due to the fact that the actual storm is not going to get to us until early tomorrow morning. Sorry for the inconvenience, we will ship out packages as soon as it is possible. Bob, is sorry that he has been unable to e-mail anyone. I will try to do as much of this as I can but seeing that he has over 300 e-mails it is going to take me quite awhile even with his help.I know very little about doing this so your patients would be truly appreciated.


Ah... Jeez... It's about 4:30 Saturday morning, I've just finished typing in a "Bob's status" below on my break & I'm down to my last two dozen emails before turning in for a nap, so I head back to the mailbox to closeout the day. Well... the very next mail is from Richard & he says, "thought you may want to see a thread on the newsgroup concerning you" & I'm thinking... Lord, what have I done now? I don't remember cussing at anyone or telling them to stick to their day job... recently.... so I head up to the newsgroup via the convenient link provided (thanks Richard) and to my surprise I find an all good thread... so good that I'm thinking these guys can't be talking about me... can they? Well... as I read along the thread & some particular incidents, it was like going down memory lane... the Tupperware shipping container :-) mostly for the game widows, but I heard some say they used them to store parts :-) Other things were triggered by those memories, but I can't see that I have done anything out of the ordinary that any one of you wouldn't have done in my place, and I know a lot of you contribute time & help & even spare parts, especially to the newbies.

Y'all are just a great bunch of guys up here in this community and I want to thank y'all for your kind words that have come at a most opportune time... before heading into surgery, and on my birthday... THANKS!!!


Some of you may have noticed my slowing down a bit here lately & it is going to get a bit slower, I'm afraid :-( I've had to take some time out of my 20 hour workday for doctor visits & various tests, most recently, a hurry up & wait day at the hospital for pre-op routine checks. Anyway... I am scheduled to go into the hospital on Monday to undergo minor surgery. Of course, my family doctor says, " it's nothing these days & you'll have day surgery, be home in a couple hours & back to work the next day"... yeah, right... seems the surgeon is on a different page altogether! He starts off with no work for a few weeks, but with rigid negotiations & puffing up my chest a couple of times exclaiming how tough I am, he concedes that maybe a week will do it for me. I protested a bit more... flexing my muscles, now... and he says, if you're as tough as you think you are, you might be able to do light duty work in 3 days at the minimum. I was going to try & name that tune in 2 days, but he was shaking his head adamantly & I decided not to proceed with challenging the man who would be alert & holding all the cards in the OR :-( He and the anesthesiologist are the two that you want smiling on the way into the OR ;-)

How's this going to effect our *normal* workday & shipping? To be honest, I really don't know, but Alice & Janice (self-proclaimed CCC [Chief Component Coordinator]) seem to think they can handle everything smoothly without me. Hmmm... I wonder why that isn't an everyday occurrence :-) Come to think of it, I guess that is about how it goes everyday... I'm playing with the keyboard, they're doing the work :-) Looks like email is going to be the only sore spot... well.... that's not on me, that is! I have no doubt that they will keep things running smoothly here, but email with questions or orders for goodies to spruce up your games is going to be delayed, at best. All I can say is that y'all know that I will be behind the keyboard the very second that it is possible, whether that be a week, or just 1 day!


Note: Due to the recent rash of Klez family variants that have been hitting y'all hard, and in turn being thrown my way unwittingly, I've had to take the time saving step of killing large files on Bellsouth's server before I receive them. This has freed up a lot of time for me, but I've had a few people tell me that their email did not get through. It seems that these emails were pic laden to the point of making the kill list :-( Unfortunately, there is not much I can do to remedy that, so be forwarned that if you super-size those emails... they may not make it here :-(

From time to time we have rain here... lots of it... and the streets become flooded & impassable making it impossible to get to the post office to send out your packages, so I'm designating this spot as a place to keep you informed if & when we have trouble getting your parts to you in a timely manner.