Monday, May 30, 2011

Beginning of Summer!

Memorial Day is usually considered the beginning of the summer season. Here are a few tips to help your central air conditioning system keep you cool and run efficiently.

My first recommendation is to have a qualified technician come to your home to service and test your central air conditioning system before it gets hot. If the level of refrigerant, commonly called FREON, is off 10% it may cost you 20% or more to operate. An air conditioning tune-up could save you more than the cost of the tune-up and your system will cool much better with less energy.

Now, here are things that you can do yourself:

Air flow is very important to your air conditioning system.

*Clean, wash or replace the air filter in your system., The air filter will usually be in your furnace or a return air filter register grill. EVERY system has a filter to keep the dirt from building up in the inside coil of your system. If that coil gets dirty it is very hard to clean as it is inside the system and not easy to get to.

If the filter is in your furnace, make sure the blower door is back in place after you service or change the air filter.

You should clean or replace your air filters at lease twice a year and many manufactures recommend monthly! I include our filter washing when we change the clocks each year. Three items: change time - spring ahead and fall back, check smoke alarms and smoke alarm batteries, wash or change air filters in heating & AC system.

*Make sure nothing is on top of your outside unit or within 12” of the sides of the unit. Trim back any vegetation to 12-18 inches from the unit; 18” is best as it will grow back.

By the way, your outside unit does not need to be covered when not in use. It was made different than people, it was built to be naked all year round.

*With the system turned off, hose off outside coils. Do not use a strong spray of water as a strong jet of water may bend aluminum fins.

*With the temperature being over 75 degrees F, that’s 24 degrees C, turn the system on for a few hours to make sure it will cool correctly before it gets really hot.

*After the system has run for an hour or so be sure to check the condensate drain to be sure the water is going to the place it is suppose to go and not running or leaking into the furnace area or other parts of your building.

Your air conditioning system will produce as much as five (5) gallons or more of water an hour. If it leaks to the wrong place it could cause a lot of damage.

If you suspect any trouble with your system call or email us and we’ll try to help you. Our website is Our email address is and telephone number is 714-DIAL ONE (342-5663).

Best wishes for a wonderful summer.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Church at Childlife

We got up early, about 6:00 AM, had coffee and Pa Thong Ko at the Bann Pa Meat morning market. It was a little overcast but you could see the mountains from our bedroom window.

By the time we got to Childlife the sun was starting to come through the clouds. When we arrived we could hear someone
playing the drums in the worship area. Yep, it was Pastor Lota.
We talked to some of the kids as we sat around the table outside the building that we would meet in. They are a great bunch of kids. It is always wonderful to spend time with them. They are also growing up very fast.

The church service was a happy, fun service as Pastor Lota has lots of energy and the kids just get into singing and
having fun. He believes as we do: "If you don't have fun in what you are doing you probably won't stay around very long."

Here is a little one that looks like her sister that we
featured in another story. To read that story just CLICK HERE.

We said goodbye to everyone as we are leaving for Bangkok on Tuesday morning and then America the following week. We will miss them all.

On the way home from Childlife we stopped along the dirt road to watch the farmers trash the rice the old way. Most of the rice in Thailand is harvested by machines except in the
smaller rice patties that the machines can't get into.

This little country of Thailand is the largest exporter of rice in the world. Jasmine rice is from Thailand.

It was a wonderful morning.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

New Doorway!

Back in March, before the earthquake here, I started cutting in a doorway between the two shop houses we have. That way we can walk from one into the other without going outside and entering through the front door.

These shop houses are three story concrete buildings with the first floor built to have a retail shop or restaurant. The second floor could be used for the shop or as living area. The third floor is to live in.

We originally bought the double shop house on the East side of the complete building. Then Daeng talked with the
owner of the center single unit and bought it. We then re-piped the drain lines of both units as they had a water problem and that is why we could buy them at such a good price.

You can read about those stories by CLICKING HERE and CLICKING HERE.

Daeng's nephue started to help me at the beginning but like most young folks he got bored and drifted off to
doing something more fun.

At the start we talked about how dirty this project would be as we where going to use a rotor-hammer to drill many holes in the masonry wall. then we would use a 4" hand grinder with a diamond blade and cut both side of the wall. After that we would break out the the wall that was made with small red bricks laid in mortar.

We marked the wall and put up a plastic sheeting tenting around the area we were
going to cut out. It was very dusty and I could only work for about five minutes at a time when I was doing the cutting. It was during this period of time that Kit, Daeng's nephue, got bored and wondered off to do other things. I did all the cutting as I felt it was too dangerous for him.

After that Daeng helped me break out the wall and put all the brick and cement in bags to haul away. It did look good and made a great walk though. It was a bigger job than I originally figured but that is usually the case.

We spend a few days talking about putting in a set
of wooden door jams or just rendering the opening with plaster and painting it. When we talked with Mi he said he could render it with cement and if we were not happy with that we could put in the door jams.

Well, he did a great job with the opening and we are very happy with the way it looks.

You can now go anyplace in this building with 7 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 2 kitchens with outside cooking area, TV room, storage room, eating area and both shop areas without going outside.

We think we will use the smaller shop area as our garage.
We will use the area in
the picture behind Mi as a little eating area as it is off the 2nd floor kitchen area and our master bedroom suite.

I also made a wood threshold, put three coats of marine varnish on it and set it motor.

It looks pretty good for a plumber. LOL

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Making Pa Thong Ko - Thai Donuts

I took my try at making Pa Thong Ko, the Thai Donut. I had written stories in the past spelling the name of the donut as "Baht-to-go" as that is how most Thais say it. The spelling is either "Pa Tong Ko" or "Pa Thong Ko". To read those stories just click on these titles- Mae Sai 05/01/2010 Happy Labor Day or Trip to Chiang Rai and Water Fall.

Ntoo, the Pa Thing Ko maker, had taken the day of and his lovely wife was running
things at their coffee shop in the center of the Mae Sai Morning Market. Over a hundred times I have watched Ntoo and others make this Thai style donut so I said let me make some. Everyone laughted but it always looked so easy.

I washed my hands and started to take some Pa Thong Ko doe that had been made last night but had trouble right away as it kept sticking to the table. I had to be helped, right off the bat, as I had not used enough flower on the table to keep the doe from sticking to it.

After that I did pretty good getting the doe rolled out, cut, two
pieces put together with a touch of oil between the two pieces. Time to put the doe in the hot oil. Everything was good so far.

The next thing I did not know was there is only a small window
for the Pa Thong Ko to be cooked correctly. If you don't take them back out of the hot oil in a few seconds of them being done they over cook and become crispy rocks.

I got about half of them out of the kettle of oil okay but the other half went from being very crispy to break your teeth rocks.

It was not a big deal; we only had to throw away about ten. That was about sixty cents worth in US money.

Everyone laughed at me!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

All Work and No Play...... Great Wedding

All work and no play makes a dull life. We have also been having a little fun. A few days ago, our neighbor came by and gave us an invitation to his Daughter's Wedding. This is the same neighbor who's Mother passed away in the Fall. To read that story titled "BIG BARBECUE" just CLICK HERE. It just reminds me that when one thing stops something else starts.

Well, about dawn this morning we
heard a lot of noise. We looked out the window and they were setting up shade canopies beside our home. Our neighbor had ask us if it was okay to set up part of the 80 tables in front of part of our home. We just did not realize the size of 80 tables with shape tents over them. They closed down the whole street for the party.

By 9:00 AM the party was underway with music and lots of folks. I worked with Mi painting the back room, under the second floor cooking area until about 11:00 AM. I showered, dressed and met Daeng as she was already partying with some of her Bingo buddies. She loves to play Bingo.

Her Bingo buddies are a happy
group of ladies that live in the neighborhood and most days meet up the street at the noodle soup shop. That is a little restaurant where you can get a bowl of rice noodle, vegetable soup for 15 Thai Baht, about 45 cents in US Dollars.

I sat and eat with Daeng and her buddies and I'm glad I did.
They were a fun Bunch. The food started out was some spicy fried peanuts and a a large plate of fruit. One of the family members came around and put a bottle of whiskey and a couple of liters of LEO beer on the table.

The next course was an appetizer plate with won tons, pickled eggs, small sausages and nuts. After that a large plate of this crispy fish dish was put on the table. It was very light but you could tell it was deep fried. I have no idea how it was made.

Then a huge, steamed fish and spicy vegetables was put on the table. This fish was the easiest fish I have eaten. The meat just came
off the bone in large pieces and all the bone stayed on the plate. It was a pleasure to eat.

All during the meal folks that Daeng knew would come over and talk with her and give her big hugs. Daeng know a lot of folks here as she has lived in Mae Sai for over thirty years.

The only negative of this party was they served a bottled water with the brand name of "Yellow Surprise". Now, I don't know about you
but in my mind "Yellow Surprise" is not a good name for drinking water. Maybe a name like "Yellow Snow" drinking water would have been better.

Moving right along, the lady sitting right across
from me at the table thought I was funny and laughed at me most of the time. I thought the meal was over with the fish but then a huge plate with a pork leg was placed on the table with another plate of noodles and ham. I made this expression of "I can't eat anymore" and she just cracked up.

We had been eating for almost two hours. Everyone was talking about how we all eat too much and we would not have to eat again for a week.

Mode and Nan, the Groom and Bride, came by our table to thank us for coming and celebrating their union together. We thanked them for sharing with us and wished them a wonderful life together.

The party lasted, with singing and dancing, until almost dark, about 7:00 PM. The music stopped, most of the folks left, they moved the tables and took down the canopies and reopened the street.

A good time was had by over 800 people at this wedding day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Over a Month since the Big Earthquake

We'll it's been over a month, almost six weeks, since the big earthquake here on the Myanmar (Burma) border in Thailand. We were really bummed out at the damage it did to our three story shop house.

We sucked it up, an expression we used when my daughters were young when things did not go well, and started working to make the repairs to the place.

Once we got started we just didn't stop.

We were lucky to get "Mi", the fellow that had done a lot of the work on the place last year. He did all the tile work and repaired the cracks in the concrete walls.

We had talked about putting a new roof on the outside back cooking area and putting in a concrete eves drain along the back wall. He said he had done that before and they turned out well. We agreed that Daeng, he and I would do it.

We started by taking off the old roof and
metal eve trough. After we got the old roof off we decided it would be a good idea to change the drain pipe from the eves for the inside cooking area and paint the three walls of that part of the building.

Then we figured we had better seal everything up while we had the roof off. One thing Leeds to another and we
figured we should paint everything
before we put the new roof panels on as they were blue and the paint of the building was a light green with a red walnut color for the wood.

We borrowed a long bamboo ladder from our friends at the cable company and got busy.

What we figured would be a couple of days turned out to be over two weeks work. I will admit that it really worked well as we had a very hard rain yesterday right after we finished everything.

It looks great, too!