31 May 2010

Please, Pardon My Language

... (But in light of the emotions of this weekend I am furious at this behavior.)
I know the sonuvabitch knows how to salute...
I've seen him do it every time he gets off Air Force One on a military base, (even though the closest HE ever got to actually wearing a uniform was when he put on his Native garb in Kenya.)
Like Clinton, it makes me cringe every time I see him degrade our troops by saluting!
So why can he not put his hand over his heart when the National Anthem is being played?
What is it with this "crotch salute"?


Remember in November!

(Photo at the Ft. Hood Memorial honoring 13 warriors killed by the terrorist there.)

28 May 2010

Cochlear Implant

The implant is activated and a deaf baby hears his
Mother's voice for the first time:



Father, Forgive Me?

I have a confession to make, and I'm gonna be honest.
You may not like me so much when you hear my admission.
In the Bible we learn the Lord says, "Vengeance is mine", and I have no doubt that's true.
But life frequently ain't fair, and if I find myself in certain scenarios I'm pretty sure I'll have to ask the Lord to forgive my sins.

Example One:
When I became Civil Defense Director of one of the fastest growing counties in the U.S., my office adjoined the office of the County Coroner. He had to come through my office to get to his.
He was a nice older man with a sometimes horrible, interesting job. He came to his office infrequently, so when he did we'd share a cup of coffee and chat about his job and mine. He'd sometimes share "interesting" death scenes or autopsy photos with me.

One morning we got into a discussion about a case that happened about a year before I was appointed Civil Defense Director. He pulled out a file with photos of a pretty 15 year old girl lying face-up on the floor in a pool of blood and told this story:
"She walked in the door of her neighborhood Confectionary to find a classmate brandishing a gun in the owner's face. She apparently said '********'! What are you doing?! And the perpetrator, knowing she had identified him, turned, shot and killed her, then shot the store owner. The store owner survived and later witnessed against him. The robber was 14 and had had a "difficult upbringing". He was sentenced to detention in a juvenile facility until he turned eighteen."

I thought, "How would I feel if that was my daughter? Was justice served?"

Example Two:
In Arizona recently a rancher was killed on his own property, apparently by an illegal immigrant.
This guy was known to give food and water to those that came to his door, so there's a question as to why anyone would shoot him. But residents of this area South of Tucson have been trying for some time now to draw attention to the seriousness of their situation...
Drug runners are now crossing their property regularly.
Their cattle are being killed.
Their property is being damaged... fences torn down... hazardous litter being left behind.

I thought, "If this guy was my father, my brother, my son... knowing the Obama administration's reaction to Arizona's new "1070" law, would I feel justice was being served?"

I may be more emotional about such things than most, and I know it's self-destructive to be angry about things over which I have virtually no control.
But in both the above cases I'm fearful of what I would do if it was me with a loved one dead under those circumstances.
I'm afraid at some point it would include my getting on my knees to say a little prayer at the end of the day:
"Lord, please forgive me for I have sinned."

27 May 2010

Sodbuster!


Today I spent the day with Dad. He died in 2003.
I'm comforted by his presence, all these years later.

I've always enjoyed putting out a garden. There's just nothing like fresh tomatoes, sweet corn, and green beans ripened, picked, and served up from your own garden.
In 1972 I saw an ad in a magazine for a rear-tine tiller similar to the one shown above, asked for information on it, had the information sent home, and told Dad that information was on the way.
He liked what he saw and bought the machine. We used it for years in the large garden we put out every summer at the property where I grew up. When Mom and Dad moved from that property, Dad sold me the machine.
I used it for a couple years, then thought I was too busy to put out a garden. I put the tiller in the shed and it sat there until last year when I decided again to plant, got it out, tinkered with it and got it running.

You may remember my complaints last year-
I tilled the soil, planted corn, green beans, peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
Then it turned cold. Not cold enough to kill the plants, but cold enough to make them wonder if they were in Alaska. It slowed their growth.
Then the deer came and munched. I can understand them eating the beans and the corn, but the peppers?! I never thought they'd eat peppers. (Deer eat peppers!)
The garden was almost a total bust. It was too cold for the corn to produce. The deer devoured the beans when they were 6-inch tasty morsels.
The cukes? Bugs got 'em.
We DID get a few tomatoes, but our neighbor's were bigger and tastier and they shared, thank God.

I tilled the garden today. It was 90 degrees and partly cloudy. I took off my shirt to get a little sun. Ten minutes into the task I was soaked in sweat. Unlike many, I like that feeling.
Dad was with me as I made last year's garden plot half-again as big, tilling to a depth of about 8 inches. The Troy-Built turns the soil to almost the consistency of cake flour, and once the sod is broken up you can almost turn the tiller loose, then walk to the other end to meet it as it finishes the row. It's a wonderful tool.

The soil is almost black. It smells wonderful. It feels wonderful beneath your feet. I realize I'm getting a late start, but I'm hoping the fact that I'm using "Miracle-Gro" on seeds with soil that is toasty-warm will help my late starters get a good foothold.

Today I planted one bell pepper and one cucumber plant.
I sowed a row of
Illini Super Sweet corn and a row of "Royal Burgundy" green beans, 20 seeds in each. We've had good luck with both of these in years past and they are both tasty and wonderful. I'll go out next week and plant another row of each, then do that again the next week. That should fill my garden plot and the schedule should spread out my harvest. I have three different varieties of tomatoes in "Topsy-Turvy" planters hanging in the sun from our clothes line. So that's corn, green beans, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. That pretty much covers what I really love, fresh from the garden.

An hour after I finished planting and putting the equipment away the sky opened up. I'm sure it rained at least an inch on those seeds in that warm, fertile soil.
Perfect.


Now, I just have to figure out how to keep Bambi and his Mother (they're not innocent at all, ya know!) away from my sprouts.
I'm devising a system as I type this and will tell ya about it later.
Updated:
Home early this morning, I went out to survey how much rain we got and what it had done to my work. Guess what I see?!!
Deer tracks!!
I'm tellin' ya, this year we're goin' to war!

26 May 2010

When Cajoling and Crying Does No Good... Laugh.

Gitchyur Priorities Straight

"Did you hear about 'Irene'?"

"No." (And don't ya hate it when conversations start like this?)

"She's in the hospital awaiting a heart transplant".

"What? Why?!!"

"She had some sort of congenital defect that's just fired up and gotten MUCH worse. She's in trouble if they don't find a heart for her."

I've known Irene 30 years. She's one of those people who never meets a stranger... a great sense of humor and a smile that lights the room.
She and her husband own a small business. I worked part-time for them for 3 years, but our relationship was never Employer-employee, it was always friend-helping-friend.
These two took over a business with a terrible reputation and worked like dogs for years to repair that damage. They worked together, sometimes almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to build their business and be successful. Their honesty, dedication to their customers, and in no small part, Irene's caring, friendly personality garnered them that success. They raised two beautiful daughters, bought a big, fine home in a gorgeous location, and, approaching retirement age, were able to begin to think about relaxing and enjoying the fruits of those years of hard work. Now... this.

I stopped by their place of business yesterday to fill in some blanks. Her husband had his priorities straight... he was with Irene at the hospital. But I got a chance to talk with their mechanic, also an old acquaintance, and get some details. During that chat there was this exchange:

So "Jack", how are YOU doing?"

"Well, my wife has breast cancer, but we think we caught it early. It's a helluva deal, isn't it? In the face of Irene's problems, realizing the fact your wife has early breast cancer is not such a band hand to be dealt!"

Reality check, folks.
What's goin' on in your life?
Tell me again...
How serious are your problems?

25 May 2010

Bozama- June, 2008

"...if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth."

Yes Mr. President(?)...
Yes we can!

Now, please push the bumbling BP aside and take personal control of efforts to stop the oil now gushing into my beloved Gulf of Mexico!
YOU CAN "Heal the planet".
YES YOU CAN!

Mr. Know-It-All

Two years ago we were entertained by comments to my political posts by a couple bright young people... FlightFire and Rodolfo.
So here we are, a year and a half into Obama-nation and it's time to review:
Rodolfo was looking foward to finishing technical school so he could begin to twist wrenches on helicopters.
FlightFire was working to become a Physician.
We haven't heard much from either for a long time.
I wonder why.

I'd like to know if Rodolfo enjoys his new job busing tables at Pizza Hut.
Or maybe he's actually asking "You want fries with that?"
Or there's always the possibility he was fortunate enough to find a job as a mechanic... at his local Hyundai dealership...
'Cause believe me, the Aviation industry has been "stimulated" to the point we're checking for a pulse.

FlightFire?
Now there's the lucky guy.
Papa is a Doctor, so FlightFire has the ability to be REALLY smug.
(He once said I had been wrong on so many occasions, my opinion wasn't worth consideration.)
No worries mate! Income is not really a consideration... He can concentrate on taking care of kids, knowing Pop "Has his back", while the rest of us see more and more articles like this one.

Got time on your hands?
Go back in the "Pitchpull" archives to March of 2008.
Find the political posts there and work your way through them to the election.
Skip the actual posts and just read the comments that follow.

It's damned entertaining, I'll tell ya!
(We are SO screwed!)

23 May 2010

A Tradition Lost?




















All things change.
I just wish "New and improved" always actually meant "New and improved".

Yesterday we Tivo'd 7+ hours of qualification attempts at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, then reviewed them last night. It's always interesting to me, watching these upside-down
aircraft-with-wheels in their search for just the right compromise between Drag and speed.
Anyone watching that broadcast got a sense of the danger of it all during Danica Patrick's interview following her successful qualification attempt...
Frustrated and frightened at her team's inability to find the right combination to go fast safely, Danica had her worst "500" qualification ever and was almost in tears.

"The race for the Pole" always happens on the first day of qualifying. Winning "The Pole" is a big deal in that it puts the racer on the inside of the first row of cars at the start of the race...
a relatively safe place to be with the shortest distance to make it through the first corner during the frenetic start.
"The Pole" winner also gets lots of bennies...
Going fastest among 24 racers yesterday netted Helio Castroneves' "Team Penske" over $175,000 and a new Chevrolet Camaro, along with lots of other goodies... a good day's work.

Preparations for "The 500" used to consume most of the month of May. Teams would show up and start practicing for the race the first week of the month. Qualifying used up two weekends... four whole days. "Bump day", the day slower qualifying cars are bumped out of the race by faster qualifiers, happens on the last day of qualifying. Qualifying for the race was a spectacle in itself and always drew big crowds.

It became a tradition for my Mother and me...
I'd travel back to Indy the night before "Pole Day" qualifying.
Bright and early on Saturday Mom and I would pack up a cooler full of sandwiches and beverages, our stopwatches and radio, and we'd head to the track. Traffic getting there would be heavy, but tolerable. We'd find and pay for parking on a Speedway resident's front lawn, then tote all our gear a couple blocks to the track, pay $10 to get in the gate, then lug the stuff uphill in the stands overlooking the entrance to the pits where we could see the cars exit turn four, go down the backstretch, and enter turn one. We'd make a day of watching the cars, the crowd, and listening to race commentators talking about team strategy trying to win the coveted "Pole".
When the track closed at 6 P.M. we were always satisfied we'd gotten our money's worth. We'd pack a much lighter cooler back to the car and deal with horrendous traffic leaving the track, always handled professionally by the Indiana State Police.
It was a fun day I always looked forward to.

Then one year things got "New and improved"...
No coolers above a certain size allowed... (apparently to force attendees to use the concessions.)
The entrance fee to the track jumped from $10 to $15. (Not in itself a big deal, but irritating in light of the restrictions on allowed cooler size.)
Mom and I quit going.
(And qualifying has since been reduced to one weekend only... the weekend just before the Memorial Day race.)

So I was not surprised yesterday while watching the proceedings on TV to see MOST of the stands completely empty. The "powers that be" have made things so complicated and expensive, they've succeeded in running their core customers away.

Telling isn't it?
The entire Nation seems to have gone crazy.
Everyone is SO smart these days, the biggest race around seems to be who can go bankrupt most quickly!

Updated:
Short notice I know, but I have a friend who has two tickets to the race... turn One, row Six. Great seats, and he's unable to attend. He's offering them at face value. If you're interested, I'll put you in touch with him.

22 May 2010

Fascist Governor Harrasses Undocumented Workers

The Governor has ordered State workers to report illegal immigrants to Federal Immigration/Customs Enforcement personnel.

Republican, right?
Arizona, right?
No, that would be
wrong, Bunky!

21 May 2010

20 May 2010

19 May 2010

Separated At Birth?





Is it my imagination, or do these two miscreants bear a striking resemblance to one another?

18 May 2010

Thoughts of Bugs Bug Me

I have not flown in more than two weeks. We headed off to Destin for 10 days and while there I heard our BK had gone into a scheduled major inspection and we had no spare aircraft to use while our regular mount was down for maintenance. That situation remained for three days after I returned from vacation. Then when our machine was back in its stable the weather began to be uncooperative. What an odd business.

We close out our logbook and start a new day at midnight. Two nights ago I walked out to get the logbook to accomplish that task and noticed Fireflies... lots of 'em. It was a cool, foggy night, and their numbers surprised me. I could not remember seeing them on cool nights this early in the year, and in the numbers I was seeing.

Today, while walking the dogs to insure against "accidents" in the house, I walked through a patch of clover blooming in our back yard and something there, or I should say the absence of something there, struck me-
No Honeybees.

Memories or our childhood are faulty. I'm sure we cannot remember reality from those days because things today trouble us in so many ways and we WANT things to be the same as when we were kids. But I'm sure of this:
Back then I was frightened to walk barefoot because doing so risked an almost certain Honeybee sting.
And I'm reasonably sure of this:
There were more "Lightning Bugs" back then than there are now.
We lived in the country. For years there was pastureland across from our house where Fireflies could breed and live unmolested. In the video I conjure up from my childhood the numbers of them is absolutely amazing... winking and blinking as we ran after more of them, our Mason jar with nail holes in its lid already full of their brethren.

I know why there are no Honeybees...
There is a problem with a certain mite that is attacking and killing them off. Scientists are working frantically to try to resolve the problem because loss of all Honeybees would have a major effect on our food supplies. It will bring a smile to my face to once again walk through blooming clover and see wild bees working to gather nectar there.

Seeing Fireflies out in large numbers this early in the year was comforting. It'll be fun to watch and see if their numbers match my childhood memories.

I want my Honeybees back too.

16 May 2010

Payback's A Beeotch!

Arizona to San Diego:
Kiss My A$$!
Surely bankrupt (as friend BZ calls it), Fornicalia needs Arizona money more than the other way 'round.

And Arizona... what about the electricity and water flowing from AZ into CA? Think another State might be interested in that?

For Dog Lovers Only


We're gettin' there...
The terrible diarrhea he had?
Gone.

The terrible gas he had?
Well, it's better. His farts are SBD's... Silent but deadly. With him resting quietly next to you, you detect a slight odor that quickly worsens to the point you begin to worry about paint peeling from the walls. As you're gagging, he'll raise his head and look at you with that "Who cut the cheese?" look on his face.
At five months of age he's already a PRO at deception. (And it gives "Poppy" a likely culprit to blame when strange smells fill the air.)

The previous owners were pulling their hair out trying to control this problem. The Veterinarian had prescribed pills to harden his stool, and had sold them special Rice and Lamb dog food... to no avail.
We hoped the big problem was stress. Our prescription was hugs, kisses, praise, and Purina "Hearty Morsels" Puppy Chow. Our medicine seems to be working.

We take him outside and like most puppies, he squats a little and pees. After a bit of walking/exploring he assumes the normal hunchback "I'm gonna poop now!" position and his stool comes out semi-solid, in a rope. What's different about this pup is that when he's seemingly finished pooping, he'll walk 20 feet or so, then do it again, with lesser results. He's the first dog I've ever owned that poops twice in the same outing.

We're still having problems in one area-
Yogi goes to the front door and turns to look at us. If we don't happen to be watching him at the time, he squats and leaves his sample there for us to step/splash in later. We're torn...
He's making an effort, going to the door. We're just not watching for his clues. At five months, I'm hopeful he'll soon figure out we'll be taking him OUTSIDE intermittently, and he realizes if he'll just hold his water a little longer we'll care for his needs. How much of this behavior can be attributed to the fact that he's probably a puppy mill product?

Lucy has accepted him completely. The two of them tussle, seemingly forever. Sometimes we even get to watch "hot laps" around the living room and through the dining room. Then they collapse together and nap in a canine heap. It's GREAT entertainment.

He eats A LOT. He drinks A LOT. We're trying to sort out if this is because he's a puppy with a lot of energy and needs that much fuel, or if he's competing with Lucy for food. Lucy is a grazer, and we always left the dish down for her to grab a snack whenever she wanted. Yogi has complicated matters some, but the dish is seldom empty so he's not eating everything just to keep Lucy from getting it, and neither dog is getting fat. They're both so active now, I think they're getting exactly what they need.

Yogi is a lover. He wants to be held, hugged, praised.
His tongue seems to be six inches long and, like a snake, flicks out and will find your mouth in an instant if you allow it.
Lucy is social, but reserved. She likes a lap and some attention, but wants to be alert to what is going on around her...
Give her a lap on which to perch and she's fine.
Two long trips have shown both to be good travelers...
Five minutes in the car and they're both asleep for the duration.

So we're still working with Yogi.
If he improves as much over the next month as he has in the last, he'll be nearly perfect.

14 May 2010

Pets

Yogi-
They couldn't simply turn him loose in the world...
He wouldn't have been able to take care of himself and would have soon perished.
So we took him in, fed him, sheltered him, tried to make him as comfortable as possible. Knowing it was best for him, and for us, we had him neutered.

Phyllis-
I've known Phyllis 30 years now. She's lived in public housing since
I met her in 1980. When we first met she had just given birth to twins, and had a 2 year old in diapers. She shopped with her "credit card"...

A State-supplied public aid card. Phyllis also took advantage of the W.I.C. program to supplement her family's diet with milk, cheese, and fruit juices.
Without this taxpayer aid, would Phyllis and her children have perished?
I don't know... being hungry and cold will force you to take strong measures.

Should we have had Phyllis neutered? Would it have been best for her, and for us?

12 May 2010

The Value of a Promise?

"New legislation will be posted for review on the internet."
"Well, maybe not."

"The most transparent administration in history."
"Well, maybe not."

"Close Gitmo!"
"Well, maybe not."

"A tax DECREASE for 95% of taxpayers."
"Well, maybe not."

"Out of Afghanistan in 2011."
(Already they're saying) "Well, maybe not."

"A UNITER, not a divider."
Up to this point, that's a sad, sad joke.

Many of us knew these promises would be broken and tried to warn others how ignorant they were to believe them.
Education sometimes comes with a difficult price-tag, doesn't it?

Update for those with ears that hear... eyes that actually see:
Gold- $1245.70
Silver- $19.66

11 May 2010

Random Acts of Kindness

We were nearly exhausted.
We started early in the morning and had flown commercially to L.A. to pick up the new helicopter. Paperwork done, the machine was buried in the hangar and it took a while to move other machines out of the way to free it. During my preflight I checked the oil level, then could not get the dipstick to screw back into its housing. I asked the factory liaison to come out and give it a try. He also could not get it back in its proper place. This meant the dipstick and its housing both had to be replaced, requiring the services of a mechanic. Of course this maintenance had to be noted in the maintenance log. The whole process took over an hour and it was near close-of-business when we finally had all the I's dotted and T's crossed. I stuffed my bag beneath the seat next to the ground handling wheels and extra oil the factory provided, then helped the new owner put his stuff beneath his seat.
I organized the charts I would use and laid them at my feet, then, since we'd be flying after dark on this leg, checked to insure my flashlight emitted a strong beam.

We started the machine and set out on our journey much later than we hoped.

On a brand new helicopter the thousands of new parts are just getting to know one another. I've had lots of little things go wrong on the trip East with these machines (and a couple pretty BIG things), and have learned it's not good practice to fly after dark until all these parts have become friends. We landed at the desert airport in Blythe, California an hour after the sun had disappeared and the new owner and I agreed it would be foolish to continue to Phoenix... we were no longer mentally sharp enough to handle possible emergencies that might arise. Darkness made continuing a VERY foolish prospect. It was time for a good meal and a cold beer or two.

There's a feeling of satisfaction getting that first leg of the trip behind you. We both grabbed our luggage from beneath the seat, hid both new $1,000 Bose Active Noise-Canceling headsets there, collected the charts we would need for planning tomorrow's venture, locked the helicopter and patted it on its nose, and walked to the now closed terminal to use the outside phone there and call for a motel courtesy car.
"Hi ! We're at the airport and need a ride and a room."
"Sorry... we have no vacancies."
"Okay, thank you." ...Find the number for the next motel.
"Hi. We need a room."
"Sorry, we're full."
"Oh? What's going on in town?"
"This is the weekend of the gemstone convention. I think all the rooms within 50 miles are full."

Uh-oh. I hadn't given any thought whatsoever to the possibility we might not be able to get a room. We were already in "beer mode" mentally, and the idea of having to walk back to the helicopter, repack our stuff and reorganize the flight gear and continue toward Phoenix gave us both a sinking feeling. We were just about to dejectedly start back to the machine when we heard the chirping of tires on the runway... a Beechcraft King Air landing. It taxied up near our helicopter and as it turned to park I noticed, emblazoned on its tail... the star of life.
A glimmer of hope!

The door opened and out popped a flight nurse in a flight suit much like the one I wear when I fly EMS. To her I said, "We need help!"
"Are you strays?" she asked with a smile.
"Yes, I guess we could be called that."
I first established that we were kindred spirits by talking about my full-time job, then told her about our predicament. She said, "I think we can take care of ya."
She pulled out her cell phone and I heard her say, "There's a couple guys here that need a good meal and a place to stay. Is your camper still available?"
As she listens to the reply she nods to us.

In a few minutes we are all loaded into a van and headed into town, a 10 minute drive from the airport. We pull into the "Western Sizzlin'" parking lot and I get to meet Floyd, the owner.
Floyd has recently lost his brother to illness.
His brother was a retired Army Major and a helicopter pilot in Viet Nam.
Floyd is good people. He wouldn't allow us to pay for our meal.

We slept that night under a chilly, star-filled desert sky in an old camping trailer with no plumbing or electricity.
It was just about the best night's sleep I've ever had.

10 May 2010

Home, May 2010

I no longer bust my butt when driving long distances. Stopping more often for potty breaks (for humans AND puppies) increases time on the road but I've noticed, for us, it also means we arrive significantly more relaxed.
We pulled into our drive at 2 A.M., unloaded only those things we'd need upon awakening, jumped into our bed and said "AHHHHH".
It was sunny and 84 degrees when we left Destin yesterday. It's an overcast 62 degrees and threatening rain as my fingers skim this keyboard.
We unpacked the car this morning and our "stuff" is strewn everywhere. It'll take a little while to get that stuff put into its proper place and get home back to normal.

Vacations are neat.
So is being home.

08 May 2010

Short

Short!
In Viet Nam it meant something other than you may think...
You could ask a guy there how long it would be before he would return to "The World" and he would certainly be able to tell you how many days until his DEROS, "Date Eligible to Return from Overseas". He might even be able to tell you how many days AND hours he had left. If his "DEROS" was less than 30 days, he was considered "Short".

That's sorta the situation I find myself in today.
We've had a glorious stay in Destin. Torrential rain the first couple of days gave us the ability to take care of the "honey-do's". Since then we've had sun every day with temps in the low 80's accompanied by light on-shore breezes. Nearly perfect weather. I went to Pensacola Tuesday, grabbed Mother and brought her back here so she could keep her eye on her beloved Pelicans. She's been a delight and has had a good stay.
Today I take her back to Pensacola.
Tomorrow we pack the car, keep our fingers crossed we'll have no more battery related problems.... (we've had no more difficulties with it since we've been here), and point our noses Northbound. Unlike being "Short" in Viet Nam, it's a melancholy time.

Although obviously it's the talk of the town, there's been no oil so far and everyone is praying the "Dome" system they 're now lowering in an attempt to cap the Deep Horizon well will stop the flow of oil. On the beach yesterday I looked as far as I could see East and West and tried to imagine what even slight amounts of oil residue would do to the sugar-white sand here...
What will happen to the dolphins, pelicans, and all the other living things dependent on that crystal clear water?
It's heartbreaking to even consider it.

So it's Saturday.
Sunday is our travel day.
Sara Jean has to be back to work and I have a student to fly with Monday.
I'll be back in the BK Wednesday night.
Tanned, relaxed, refreshed, "recreated"...
Although it's sad to see it end, the week here has served it's purpose...
It has recharged OUR batteries and has given us wonderful memories.

We're already planning our return in October.

Updated:
The Bob has interesting insights into the spill. Start at his 28 April article and read your way to his most recent post.

04 May 2010

On Becoming A Hermit

There are things in this world we cannot understand unless we've "walked a mile in their shoes".
Don't most mental illnesses fall into this category?
Suicide? Depression? Bein' bipolar?
Then there's another I'm understanding more and more-
Bein' a hermit. As I age I can understand why folks separate themselves from others. But the funny thing is, while I find myself needing to be around others less and less, I'm also more understanding of other's idiosyncracies.
But understanding them doesn't mean I want to have to tolerate 'em.

We're here in Destin with Sara Jean's nephew and his lady. Both are very nice people. Both are young. Both are remorseful Obama voters.
I'll give ya a second to let that sink in.

My question to him was, "When he said 'I want to spread the wealth around', why didn't the alarm bells go off in your head?" He just shakes his head, wondering why he didn't pick up on that himself.

So I'm bein' nice. I'm bein' VERY careful about the topics I throw out for discussion.
But take a look at the world around us...
How in the world do you spend 10 days cooped up with someone without asking how in the world they were so...
(Let me be nice)...
Naive?

But there sure are times when I appreciate bein' alone!

03 May 2010

Fun at Super WallyWorld

Two P.M. Saturday afternoon. The store is full of renters buying stuff for their week in Destin. My list includes:
Eggs.
Bagels.
Butter.
Buttermilk.
Pepper.
Beer.
Crackers.
Mustard.
Mayonnaise.
Puppy Chow.
A small list, because we brought much of what we needed along with us. I was in the back of the store and had the Buttermilk, butter, eggs, and beer in the cart when she approached me:
"Sir, did you not hear?"
"No, I didn't hear anything. What?"
"We're evacuating the store. You need to leave right now."
"Leave my cart here?"
"Leave your cart there."
I walk away from my cart and join the throng walking toward the exit. What's going on here?
The obvious answer is "Bomb threat".
I ask the greeter... "Any idea how long this will be?"
She shakes her head.
No one seems angry. Most, like me, are just frustrated, knowing we'll have to return to start this process all over.

Traffic in Destin is bad under the best of circumstances.
Imagine emptying the human contents of a WalMart SuperCenter onto an already packed U.S. Highway 98.
(And me driving a car with a questionable battery!)

02 May 2010

Are We There Yet?!

We knew there'd be four of us in the car...
Sara Jean's Nephew and his sig. other were coming with us...
Half a day driving, four folks and two small dogs in that space. Clothes, makeup, toiletries for two women in the trunk. (We guys brought two T-Shirts and a pair of cutoffs each, along with a toothbrush and change of underwear. Guys take up no space at all.)

So we had to pack the trunk carefully... it'd be jammed.
But first, since we just might have to unpack the trunk to get to the spare, (heaven forbid!), let's check it and make sure it's okay, okay?
And it's flat.
No problem. I grab my air bottle and inflate it. Back in its hole, we start the packing process.
When we're finished the trunk is FULL.
I mean full like we ended up taking stuff apart and packing the pieces in whatever nooks and crannies we could find.
FULL!

Now for the inside of the car...
Coffee. Munchies. A few bottles of water. Pillows. Blankets. Maps and other incidentals in case the GPS fails.
This car is REALLY packed and ready to go.
Load 'em up folks, let's get on the road!

I put the key in the ignition and turn it.
Nothing.
And I mean like no "clickety-click" like I talked about in the post below.
This brand new battery? Dead.
D-E-A-D dead!

Now what?
The idea of unpacking this car is sickening.
It's the only car we have with a working air conditioner.
We gotta take it.
We pull nephew's car over and jump it.
I unlock the house, go into the garage, grab the battery charger and put it beneath my knees in front of my seat.

And we're off!
Two stops for fuel. Two more stops for potty breaks for doggies and passengers.
One stop for Krystal hamburgers just after crossing the Alabama State line.
We don't turn the car off.
It runs for 12 hours without being shut down.

And we're here. We're fine. The dogs are fine.
Our bed here felt...
Is there a more superlative word than wonderful?

No oil so far but of course it's the talk of the town and all the Mom & Pop merchants are shaking in their boots. Condo managers are saying cancellations are coming in hot and heavy.

I just hate the thought of this beautiful sand bein' oiled down and all the animals that are gonna die.
I still can't get my mind around it.

01 May 2010

First, Stop The Flow!

...Of oil from the well in the Gulf.
...Of illegal immigrants across our borders.