Posts Tagged With: service


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These last two days have been horrendously busy ones. My friend Ann was hospitalized, I went to visit her. She is out now home and her caretaker is sick. I went to look after her on the 5th for several hours while her live-in caretaker went to prompt care.  The home healthy care nurse ordered the place quarantined because both of them have pneumonia and don’t want Ann exposed to anyone else’s germs.

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My living room propane heater needed servicing. I have wood heat for back up, but just like to take the chill off cold mornings before starting my day. We don’t need to fire up the wood stove yet because daytime temperatures are still ambient. Art Alexander fixed it. It needed a new thermocoupler and the fan needed oiling. Art is a good friend.

His daughter was murdered for insurance money by her husband, Karl about 20 years ago. She was in the shower when the house erupted into flames. The broken bathroom window was boarded over. The fire supposedly started from a kerosene soaked rug in front of the bathroom door. In those days we had a volunteer fire department and they were not educated enough to detect whether the fire was deliberately set or not but Art and the neighbors suspected. Karl took off with their two kids and moved to the East Coast as soon as he collected the $100,000 insurance settlement. (The house was rented.) Karl then collected $700,000 in insurance money on his 21 year old son last year. He saw the opportunity to kill him by shoving a car the son was working on off the jack so it crushed him. This time, Karl’s wife turned states evidence. She was wired, she got him to admit on tape that he killed him and now the investigation into Christine’s death by fire is also part of the investigation. Art is jubilant that at last this monster is behind bars and facing a trial. He prayed for this day to come and we celebrated over a glass of wine.

I also had my Prius serviced before Art arrived. The check engine light went on while I was on my way to Orgeon.  These smart cars have a computer in them. The computer told me that some dampness occurred near the inverter board which is installed under the driver’s seat. Doug and I verbally traced the probable source of moisture from my air conditioning system. Now I can have my air conditioning system flushed without an expensive trip to the dealership in Modesto.

I began work on fixing a sprinkling system leak. The pipes are buried about ten inches deep and digging them out around entwined root systems was a huge job. I put a soak hose on them to finish the job today. I found the crack in the pipe. Two major water leaks have cost me a bundle in water bills over the last three months, two of those months I was gone. My yard worker fixed one leak two weeks ago; this leak was pretty invisible but the water bill alerted me to the second leak.


Ann’s situation reminded me of my friend Sandee Voges, who has myasthenia gravis. She fell and hit her head on the tile in her bathroom and couldn’t get up. She adopted a medium sized dog who was about to be euthanized. The dog she rescued saved her life. Amy came to her rescue, licking her awake. Sandee held onto Amy’s collar and the dog dragged her to the nearby bedroom where Sandee could reach up,  pull the cord of her phone down off the night stand, and call 911. Pets. They are such a wonderful presence in our lives, especially as we age. (Sandee lives in Arizona.)

Then, I like to keep up with the news and politics. Saw this funny poster:


I hope this doesn’t offend anyone. I thought it was pretty funny.

Then the rather meager “study”, where two scientists dissected two different chicken nuggets from two different fast food restaurants and found 40% chicken in one, and 50% chicken in another, except, the chicken had ground up blood vessels, cartilage and skin with very little muscle meat. That, as they say, is disgusting. The scientists admit, not all chicken nuggets were examined and it was a tiny sample just to see if the nuggets lived up to their claims of “healthy and good for you..” etc. I guess, they’ll do a bigger sampling in the future. Fatty, breaded, laden with sugar and flavor enhancers, you would do well to keep your kids away from such stuff no matter how good they taste. (That is my opinion.)

Yes, I’m busy. Retired people I know claim they don’t know how they ever worked and raised children. They are busier than ever. Would I have it any other way? NO!




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The Murphys Hotel was registered as a California Historical Landmark and later it qualified for recognition as a Natiional Historic Place.  When we moved here in 1978, it was the only game in town. Some say, in the county, which then boasted a total population of 29,000 people.  There wasn’t a single stop light in the whole county and not many stop signs, either. The sleepy, quaint town enjoyed a steady trickle of tourists on their way up to Calaveras  Big Trees State Park, or up to Mount Reba Ski area on Highway four in the winter.  Highway 4, Ebbetts Pass,  is one of the narrowest passes over the mountains to Reno, Lake Tahoe and is closed completely during the winter.  Old time skiers say Mt. Reba  was one of the best kept secrets in the skiing community.  The trouble is no one with a business in town could make a living, and the hotel has struggled through multiple owners over the years.

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I’d heard rumors that Gordon Ramsey, who hosts Nightmare Kitchens, and Hotel Hell was coming to the Murphys Hotel. I couldn’t pay much attention, but one cruise through town and I saw the yellow tape, the hotel was closed for a week and no one was allowed in. But, on their last day, I just happened to be returning from Angels Camp and they were packing up their gear.

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I walked in and no one stopped me. I was allowed to click away. This guy said, I’m a  local, I’m a local. He was an electrician fixing something.

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The lobby has been modernized over the years.  I remember an old rocking chair next to the stove where a Miwuk Indian used to hang out and tell everyone stories of the old days. Once the wine interests  took over the town,  I quit frequenting the hotel or just about any business downtown and hadn’t paid much attention to what goes on there.DSC07467 (Copy)

I felt like an intruder in the empty bar, with its Indian Rug and deer horns that have been there forever, it seems. One of my best friends met her husband to be at this bar.  So what, I asked myself is Hotel Hell?

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The technicians moving out of this tent behind the hotel where they stayed were hustling and I didn’t get one picture of them as they packed themselves out of there. It seems Gordon Ramsey,  helps struggling hotels with the issues that drive business away. He goes over their menu, tastes everything. He checks every aspect for cleanliness and appeal, the effectiveness of employees and so on. Then he presents his findings on TV. It can be brutal, but the price tag for an event like this is about $7,000,000 according to one technician’s estimate. (No cost to the hotel, just the program’s expenses to film here.)

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The hotel has patio dining in what was once part of their parking lot. I thought that was a great improvement.

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At the back and a parking lot’s distance from the main, historic building, is a 1950’s style set of rooms I’ve never been in. Most people stay in this part of the hotel. The historic hotel rooms are few. They are  quite quaint, and the rooms share a bathroom down the hallway. There are no closets. I couldn’t do the steep stairs to take pictures, but I’ve been upstairs  in a lovely party/ meeting room many times in the past.


I suppose the idea of sleeping in a hotel once frequented by famous people wears thin and the historic aspect carries a limited amount of cache. So, my guess is Ramsey has plenty to attack in the 50’s part of the hotel.

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It was interesting to see how they lit the place for filming. They brought  their own lighting temporarily attached to the ceiling out of sight of their  camera. The chandelier lighting isn’t bright enough for television production. This tech was removing the lights from one of the dining rooms when I walked in.


One former bartender worried that the “Ramsey Machine” will have the owners modernize the hotel to the point where it will lose its sense of community. All the old wonderful stories about the hotel even the new owners don’t know anything about. We talked a bit about how do you address that?

But, we’ll see sometime in September when the program is expected to air. Tune in if you can. I am not a TV watcher so I don’t know what channel Hotel Hell appears on. And, in the meantime, I’ll try to remember some of those old stories and write them down.




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