Sunday, February 22, 2009

Black and Blue Ember

The other day I received an e-mail about a car repair I had done to my Grand Cherokee. I was thrilled to find my blog was searchable and someone had actually found it useful when fixing their car. I've made the world a better place, one posting at a time.

So I have a head's up for all of you searching for a Blue Ember gas grill. Yes it was rated number one by Consumer Reports last year in their test of mid-sized gas grills. And in the article it refers you to Home Depot. So I headed to the big orange box to buy one. They no longer carry them, but you can get the left-over's on line.

So I wonder why Home Depot would not carry Consumer Report's number one rated grill. Well it's shipped from China wrapped in Kleenex on a Donkey. When you open the box, it looks like that's how it made it here. The grill pictured here was one of the casualties. It was dropped and the front control panel was crushed. Lowes of Round Rock had six other in stock with the front "crush" feature. Lowes of Austin on I-35 North had three with damaged handles.

Never fear, I don't give up. Easily. With a very red face, the Service Manager of Round Rock Lowes let me have the floor model at a nice 20% off. He was very nice and I can't complain about the service at all. I have a great new grill and the best one in the store was the one on display and they knocked $100.00 off the price for my troubles.

I can imagine that Home Depot may have had the same issue and that's why it's no longer carried there. When you shell out good $$ for a grill, you expect it to be in good shape. Thankfully my buddy Mike with his F-150 felt the same way and the four trips to Lowes were not too hard to coax out of him.

My last grill I've had for nine years, it's a Weber. It's served well, but the paint on the inside is now coming off on the food. Time for a change. Weber came in number two in the test, and I felt guilty not buying another one. But the Blue Ember had more features I liked and looked easier to clean.

The moral of the story. Before you leave Lowes with your Blue Ember, pull it ALL out of the box for inspection.

The more you know....

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Crawford, Texas

No bother in getting all worked up. This is not a tribute to our last President, even if you did like him. Sorry.

This is a road trip to a place etched into history. Washington had Mount Vernon, Bush has Crawford. A place to go to get away from Washington, D.C. Today was an unbelievably nice day here in Central Texas. Nearly 80 degrees and sunny with pillowy clouds dotting the sky. After a nice walk around Town Lake with the pups, I could not stay indoors. With gas being relatively cheap, two words came to mind. Road Trip.

Crawford is roughly two hours from my home and made the perfect afternoon getaway. An easy drive, Interstate 35 to Texas 317, and you're there. Once you leave the highway Texas 317 takes you through some very small towns and is mostly two lane. Old abandoned Main Streets mark what was once the town center.

When you make it to Crawford, George and Laura are there to greet you. The sign is faded and the "W'04" indicate that this is not a place where things are updated. There is no great town center, no rows of interesting shops or restaurants. Not even a Post Office. I wanted to find something interesting or meaningful to explain why the former President built a ranch here.

Of all the little burbs I drove though on my way, Crawford had some of the nicest and largest homes. So there may be something here I did not find. The big general store was closed, but I did manage to find another one to buy a few postcards. I didn't ask where the Bush ranch was, I was not really inclined to go there anyhow.

Crawford is not much, and Washington, D.C. is everything. It's one extreme to another.

Just like our Presidents.