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Blogging my Activities ... Interests
I've added a new folder to my PhotoAlbum called 'Islamorada-2008'. As you might guess I've put a few shots from this past Summer's trip to paradise - note there are two pages so you need to click on the next page navigation link. I have a ton more I did not post but I think this is a representation of the people and the activities of Islamorada 2008. My PhotoAlbum is a damn well designed page if I may say so myself. I did not write all the .php script but I did do a significant amount of editing to get it to look and function the way it does. Any comments on the pictures?
Tommy came buy for a short visit and update on his tree farm. The storm blew many of his Queen palms over or on an angle and they needed to be righted, trimmed, and stabilized with posts. He says a crew has been in the farm all week and it is still not done yet. The trees are salvageable and in fact may very well be worth a good bit more because Tommy is saving his trees while others either are not or can not save theirs - the old supply & demand will cost the price to go up. Same with fruit. Storms are terrible but those who make it through often do better than if there were no storms at all. Pleased don't miss-understand...no farmer wants a storm!
TB was driving Tom's little white Lexis to get it fueled, washed, and keep the batteries charged. That is a spiffy little sports car and of course I like white. BTW, when TB was here I showed him the pictures of him I'd edited - you know the ones I mean if your last name is Barnes. He broke out in a big belly laugh - it made his morning a bit nicer. With the storm problems and Tom's situation he's not had a lot to get him laughing of late.
Talked to son John yesterday as he was on the way home from the gym. His life is definitely full now with school, work, projects, gym, and the 30% of the day he spends eating. Damn that boy can eat a lot. When I eat a lot I get fatter - he just gets more defined and toned. Just wait, he'll get older like the rest of him and if any of you know his uncles he'd better be careful. John has his first test next week and still does not have the one book he needs for that biology test - I'd say it's time to get the book, what do you think?
One thing that he told me about I think is dead wrong, wrong, wrong. His political science teacher is giving extra credit to those who go to a demonstration against the war. She should keep her damn opinions out of the classroom and stop trying to inculcate the idea that this whole thing is bad. You may or may not think the war is bad but teachers are suppose to teach facts not encourage their political opinions in my correct opinion. I guess that is the problem I have with a "liberal" education instead of a engineering or science education. In what I studied there were right and wrong solutions put in political science and the humanities there often are no right answers, just opinions. You know what they say about opinions, like pieholes, everyone has got one. My world of engineering and science is black & white; liberal arts is nothing but dingy gray.
I love college football and watched parts of games all day long yesterday starting with LSU - ASU at 11am. I didn't sit through any one game and tended to watch only those in high definition - most were in HD by the way. So I'm a happy camper with college football for the next 4 months.
Here is a picture from the Day of the Lobsters I just got from Matt's camera. Matt seems to be crawling in lobsters.
After coffee I went to Lowes to pick up the ladder and a also bought a nicer stool for my kitchen that will fit under the small table. The ladder fits well in my storeroom when it is in it's compact figuration. I'll likely give it a go over the weekend using it to access my roof. I've got some vent pipes I may want to use to attach a small pole with either my weather station sensor or my scanner ground plane. True, I do have a much taller (20') pole that I was planning to use and still will for one or the other if not both. I don't believe an attachment to a vent pipe would be strong enough to stand storm winds.
It was really humid here yesterday - I worked up a bit of a sweat just lugging the ladder around. It is a bit heavier than some large aluminum ladders or certainly fiberglass ladders but it stores well. After all, I'm not going to move it farther than a few feet from my storeroom anyway ( I think ). I've not been out yet today so I don't know how humid it is but soon I'll be able to give you an exact reading of the humidity, wind speed, and wind direction here at the Vero Villa.
I'm still very pleased about Georgia Tech's first win this year and I do not believe it will be their last. Since Thursday night I've been reading more and more about the team and especially the new head coach. I think Paul Johnson might have that fire you see in the best coaches and as such he might just take the Yellow Jackets to a good season. There I go again with my unwarranted hope that Tech will do better than just win one more game than they lose. For what it's worth, Tech did wear new pants with a sting-shaped design (see picture)down the leg Thursday night to go along with the new triple-option offense. A writer for the Atlanta paper said this:
Back then, the Yellow Jackets spent much of the day bumbling, stumbling and fumbling all over the field, making Atlanta traffic look like synchronized swimming. Many wondered aloud as to whether Tech's offense would be ready by the time the season got started Thursday.
Wonder no more.
When Tech came onto the field Thursday night, it looked like it had been running the offense for years, as if Johnson had the same kind of lengthy tenure as Penn State's Joe Paterno.
Oh if that were true I'd be a very happy camper down here in Vero.
In case any of you are wondering I like Sarah Palin as McCain running mate. She is one tough lady with a great story and is a conservative when it comes to reducing the size of government and government spending. The next few days will tell more of the story but for now I'm a happy camper - shit her experience far exceeds Obamamama's experience. Certainly not the "traditional" or "safe" choice but exactly what McCain might need to win. I'll report more when I know more but what I do know I like.
I'll be watching college football today - anyone surprised?
James came over early yesterday morning with a helper to mow and manicure my lawn. It really needed it as I'm sure is the case with his other clients. There in lies the disappointment in that he did not do his usual bang-up job. In fact, I got my blower out after he had gone to clean the yard of the mess he left behind. The top image is what my whole yard looked like before I used my blower - the bottom image is the 'after' shot. To be fair, he normally does a very nice job around here so I can easily over look what happened yesterday. He will be back next week to return to his usual weekly visit and I'll just mention what I think.
I've received the hardware necessary to mount my antenna mast either on the 20' pole or to the air pipes on my roof. If I put anything on the air pipes I'll have to get a new, shorter mounting pole. At this point I'm not sure which way I'll go and will not really know until I get my weather station sensors next week. In fact, I still have not returned to Lowes for the ladder.
I received my property tax estimate for the Vero Villa - property taxes are payable in either October or November here in Indian River County and the City of Vero Beach. As expected, my tax liability here in Vero is a heck of a lot less than the taxes I'd owe in Atlanta. It's only about 30% of what I paid last year in Atlanta which for someone self-unemployed with little income that is a good thing. The closes thing I've done in recent years that resembles work is jury duty. I didn't get on every jury I was called for in Atlanta when I said I listened to Neal Boortz and Rush Limbaugh. I may have said a few other things I shall not repeat here.
In case you have not heard, Georgia Tech rumbled over Jackson State 41 - 14. So what you say, who the hell is Jackson State? Fair enough - Jackson State has never been a great football powerhouse except there is one thing that does have meaning and it's their quarterback. You see, Jackson State has Ryan Perrilloux as their QB who was once one of the most sought-after recruits in the country and until this year the starting QB for LSU! He was going to be the starting quarterback for the defending national champs, but LSU, tired of his antics, banished him. So it would be fair to say that Tech went up against last year's best college quarterback but it does take more than just a good QB to be a consistent winner.
As usual, I find myself being optimistic about Georgia Tech's chances for a good season after the first game of the season. If they hold true to form, they will have a few great games and more not so great games plagued with mistakes, turnovers, etc. But there is this new coach, Paul Johnson, who seems to be full of fire - maybe he can put fire in the bellies of our Yellow Jackets? Only time will tell. I sure am glad college football is in season again. YaHoo.
Last night I discovered my first burnt-out landscape light but as you might guess I was prepared. I have a back-up supply of the PAR 36 bulbs. In fact, I've ordered several different manufacture to see if there is an identifiable difference in the time they will last. This time I put the same Sylvania bulb back in but next time I think I'll try brand X from China. The Chinese bulbs cost only about 50% as much as the Sylvania bulbs which by the way are probably made in China too. The replacement was very easy I'm pleased to report.
Starr dropped by after a meeting with the people who hire for Vero Beach school teaching jobs. She did not get a full time position yet but her name is now in the mix and she has met with the big dog who's in charge of hiring. She'll continue with her subbing and tutoring until a full time position opens which may be after Christmas. You see the young college dudes and dudets sometimes find that teaching sucks and quit after the Fall session. If that happens this year Starr might be able to plug in to one classroom for the remaining of this school year. She is fabulous with kids and the school system needs more qualified teachers like her IMHO.
James the yard maintenance guy did not come over yesterday although he did call. It was mid-afternoon when he contacted me to say it was raining where he was and that it was headed my way. He was right - it started to rain about 10 minutes after he called and continued off & on for the next hour. James said he'd come by in the morning before the afternoon clouds could build up into another thunderstorm. My yard really needs a manicure.
Tommy stopped by on his way home to give me his farmer's update. Most of the damaging standing water has now been pumped out of his groves. He has also rounded up hundreds of stakes needed to up-right the Queen palms that where blown over or partly over by Fay. It is not easy to find a large volume of stacks after such an event but with his connections he pulled it off. Now he wants the ground to get dry enough for them to be functional. Being a farmer, any kind of farmer, is tough but most of you already know that don't you? BTW, TB did not have additional info from Atlanta but I expect some update today.
Here is a picture of the control unit for the weather station I ordered.
I got one of my headaches yesterday and was feeling bad as well as sorry for myself. Then Tommy called with some news that made my little issue pale in comparison to what someone we all know is facing. Funny how your frame of mind can actually affect the way you feel. All of a sudden I didn't hurt or if I did, it was not bothering me. With regard to the other thing, I'm not going to be talking about it here - if you are in the loop, you'll know and if you're not in the loop you probably don't need to know.
Later this morning I'm going to buy the ladder I mentioned yesterday then get up on my roof. I could choose to have my weather station sensors wired or run them wirelessly. The issue will be how to get the wires where I want the station. Why not just go wireless you ask? Well I might but my guess is wired is more dependable and less likely to get interference from other wireless devices like my phones, router, and some IP cameras. I'll know more when I actually get the station next week.
I have a Netgear 'switch' that I think I can hook my two wired computers and my router using the router as a wireless access point and not a switch. I come to find out that a router is a switch with a wireless access point anyway and that switches can be connected to other switches. So when I get the dedication required to start working on re-configuring my LAN, I'll have a go at it - maybe latter today? I love fooling around with this stuff usually not having a clue as to what I'm doing but going through the discovery process along the way. That's how I've learned 100% of what I know about computers and stuff.
John has started school taking 5 courses this time. He also be life guarding at a pool so he'll certainly not have time for much else. If he wants to transfer to another school, he'll have to first complete the associate's degree at IRCC - I'm all in favor of the course he has chosen - he needs to get his education so he can get a good job to support his mother & me in our old age. Someone is going to have to change our Depends.
I've been watching some of the political stuff on TV of late. I used to watch it all the time but I just got fed up to here with the non-stop bashing of President Bush by the hateful left wing liberals. Now it's getting close to crunch time so I'm wondering how things are going for the left and who Senator McCain is going to tape for his running mate. I like Mitt - he looks & acts like a President with the experience to back it up. I voted for him in the Florida primaries but alas he dropped out. It's going to be interesting and for the first time this year I think McCain has a chance of winning. We shall see.
Today's image is of John practicing being a lifeguard at The Palms.
My housekeepers are here today - they have a vacuum cleaner that sounds like a Lear jet getting ready for take off. It has a very loud, very high-pitched jet-like engine...oops I mean motor. I always try to leave the house during that part of the cleaning but today I miss-judged and came back too early. These folks do a fantastic job and coming from me that means a lot - you know how anal I'm about cleaning.
I've got a new IP camera that works great. It uses the same software as my D-Link cameras and can be rendered on the same page as my VillaCams - I'd have to resize the page but I can do that easily. Now the question is how do I connect yet another IP camera to my router that's already full? I'm thinking I can use a 'switch' then use my router as just an access point for my laptop. I have an 8 port high end Netgear switch that has 4 ports of PoE ability. These PoE ports might be very nice with the IP cameras because they allow power to flow to the hardware via the CAT 5 cable. I guess I'm just going to have to do some testing, huh?
My new LaCrosse weather station has been shipped with a projected arrival of a week from today. I'm surprised because I usually get UPS deliveries in about 3 days. Yet another piece of hardware I do not need but it will give me something to fool around with - see what happens when you are old and unemployed?
I bought two 10' aluminum pools that are designed to connect to one-another for a antenna mast. I have a ground plane antenna for my scanner and I figure I'll be able to attach the wind sensor for my weather station to it as well. So now you know why I need to be able to get on my roof. I'll put up the antenna and sensors. The people I bought the poles from here in Vero - Bill's TV - didn't know how much to charge and 'Bill' is out of town. They wanted $10 a piece so I paid that but did mention I though I'd gotten a great deal. You see I think they should be more and told the people that. They said it was 'ok' because they'd been around for a long time so selling them was good for them too.Once and awhile a good deal will work out for me & a vendor.
Today is another sunny day - I hope my yard guy comes today - my lawn sure needs to be mowed.
Saturday was the real transition day into the return of nice blue skies and warm breezes. Sunday it was bright, sunny, and warm all day. I went out to clean up some of the larger debris around the Vero Villa and expect James will get the rest of it when he mows, blows, and trims around here - I'm hoping that will be tomorrow because my grass has not been cut in almost two weeks. It's looking pretty shaggy around here relative to the trim, groomed look I like to keep.
I talked with Walter - the landscape guy - about putting in some more palms between my house and the alley as a buffer. I've already got some growing there - about 15 more would be good. That would provide privacy as well as keep the dust from the ally coming over my way. I do have a concrete fence that is falling apart - it looks like hell. Once the palms are in the 3' high fence can go. When Walt is here I'll talk to him about the North side of the house as well. It seems I'm never done with my projects huh?
Tommy has some digital pictures Drew sent him he'd like for me to fix. They were taking in the Keys with the camera & subjects in the shadow but a bright blue-green Atlantic in the background. As a result the subjects are way dark to the extend they are almost not recognizable. Well I've been playing with them in my image editor with some success. I've tried a couple of different approaches each have a certain advantage over the other. Ultimately I'll be able to lighten the subjects enough without making the background water real bright. It takes several different steps to do this and is something I've really never tried before. If any of you (Syp) are good at this sort of thing, let me know, ok? To give you an idea of what I'm working with I'm posting one of the pictures today - see what I mean?
Just so you know, here is my first attempt of trying to make the picture better. It was a learning process and I'm hoping my next attempt will be a bit better. But like I said, I could use any suggestions or help from the peanut gallery out there especially those who's first language is Dutch - hint hint.
I talked with Ryan yesterday and he reports there is no news on Tom's test results as yet. I wanted to ask him about putting a switch behind a router so as to enable more IP cams should I decide to add another one. He said it might work which is about the same conclusion I came to having done research on the internet. I'll know when I test it this coming week - I've ordered both an IP cam and a switch.
I've also ordered a La Crosse WS-2308AL Weather Pro Center to give me another toy with which to play. This should be a cool home weather station with all the data it can record and interface it with weather software on my computer. Do I need it? - heck no but I'll have fun with it. You see now I'll be able to complain about the specific amount of wind & rain here at the Vero Villa. This is a step up from my wireless indoor - outdoor thermometer. Click on the link so you can see what I mean.
Ah...this week will find me busy with my new toys and let me not forget to mention Georgia Tech plays it's first game of the season Thursday night in Atlanta.
TB dropped by around 11:30 with a sandwich in hand - he decided to have lunch with me & sally at the Vero Villa. I had just returned from Wally World where I got a prescription refill and a few other items. The Wal-Mart parking lot had been changed into Lake Wal-Mart - it was tough to find a dry spot and then to make my way inside without having to go through water. I can walk on water but it was a problem for some especially those with walkers. No kidding folks, we have had a lot of rain.
For those who know about Tommy's bronze sailfish saga, I'm pleased to report it seems to be coming to an end. If things go as agreed, TB should have the magnificent bronze statue on or before September 21st. He has made a "settlement" with the guy that has created the piece and even though it will cost more than the original deal, it is the right thing to do IMHO. Tommy is getting a beautiful piece that is now worth a good bit more than he has paid. That's been the problem - the dude that agreed to the price under-priced it a lot in the first place. We are all hoping this does come to an end soon.
You know, I'm pleased with the guy that puts out fertilizer and weed control on my lawn & plants. He recognized that all this rain is going to cause mildew and fungus to go in my yard so he came by today to spray my yard. That is one of the advantages to pay him to come monthly rather than quarterly so that my yard & plants get what they need. I bet there are some nice looking lawns that may just sort of rot after all this rain. I think we had over 20" of rain where I live and more West of town.
It is a tradition to fish on the sea wall in front of the condo several different nights when we are in the Keys. All most without exception, a shark it caught every night. One night Drew hooked up to this larger than average bull shark which took him about a hour to land. You see he was using light spinning tackle with about 10 lb mono line. When you get a fish that weights 3 or 4 times the pound test of your line, you got to wear the fish down before you can bring it in. This was a great catch and a lot of fun for Drew. See the picture - click on it for a bigger image.
Yesterday we still had some clouds, wind, and rain but there were also brief moments when the sun came out. I think today should be a good day now that Fay has started to move away from the Treasure Coast. I sure need some sun to brighten things around here - this week of rain & clouds was depressing. In fact it looks like the sun may actually come out today - it's been a week since we've seen the sun. I'm ready for things to dry out and for the clean-up around here to be done. If I'm lucky James will be here to mow today and do most of the clean-up - up until now it has just been too wet.
Just damn...yesterday was another rainy, windy day. Rain, rain, and more rain. Did I mention the rain? Things are so wet around here that when I save in the mornings mildew, not facial hair is what comes off. This nasty weather is getting to be rather depressing - where is the bright blue sunny skies? Maybe today will be the transition day into better weather?
To entertain myself I'm trying to figure a way to add another IP camera but there is a problem - my router only has 4 ports (as do most home routers). Two of the ports are being used by the two cameras on now - the other two ports are connected to my two desktop towers. So I'm thinking I might be able to use a Netgear switch for the cameras and thus only use one port on the router. I've been doing some online research which suggests I can do this. I think I understand that a switch uses unique MAC addresses but how can a single IP subnet be used for more than one camera? I've got another camera ordered so I'll see what I can noodle out next week.
I continue to watch the Little League World Series on ESPN. There is a real mix players from around the world. It's funny to see two guys both 12 years old standing next to one another with the first being 5'4" 110lbs. and the other 6'4" 220lbs. No, I'm not making that up - the Saudi Arabia team has a black guy that big. The point is there is a lot of difference in the size of these boys all of whom are either 12 or 13. You can just see the ones you think will be going to a 4 year college on a full scholarship and the ones who will not based on their apparent skill.
The elections here in Vero for 'local' offices are in full swing. What has surprised me is there is a lot more competition here for offices than I ever saw in Atlanta. In Atlanta, the black person won and there was usually only one black person running. Here there is a real mix and elections seem to have more impact in a small town verses the big Atlanta metro area. This is a small town and frankly at this point in my life is exactly where want to be.
My restless body syndrome seems to have gone away at least in the past 3 nights. I take a shower as usual but just before I go to bed I get in a tub of hot water for about 5 minutes. I know...you want to know why I just don't take a bath and for go the shower. Well I feel cleaner after a shower - stupid I know but true. Plus, I don't drain the tub because I may need to get back in it later in the evening at which point I just add some hot water to get it warm again. Maybe I'm through with this RBS (restless body syndrome) for now?
To brighten things up I decided to put my new comforter on my bed. I like it.
Drew has decide after coming back from vacationing from self-unemployment that he will take a job offered to him in Atlanta. I guess his new employer did not get the memo & videos of Drew I sent!! All kidding aside, I know he was anxious to get back to a full time regular job with things like a paycheck and benefits. I hope his health insurance covers maternity claims so that LaTisha will be covered. Damn I'm funny. Oh, and I'm glad he will start contributing to social security again because I'm going to need his support. I don't know the name of the company but I do know their business is building towers for cell phone antennas. Congratulations Drew.
So I went to my Internist yesterday to get the results of my blood work. The good news is all my liver functions are now back into the 'normal' range - the bad news is that a month in the Keys has caused my cholesterol to go up from my last test. The readings are still in the 'normal' range but were on the high side of normal and high for me. If I cut back to a half a gallon of ice cream per night and walk a bit more I'm sure the readings will come down. On the other hand, my blood pressure was 102/68 which means that my pipes are not clogged with cholesterol-creating gunk. Hmm...maybe I don't need to cut back on ice cream after all?
It rained and rained and rained all day yesterday plus we still had a good bit of rain. The issue here is flooding, not wind damage. Oh, there has been wind damage but now the biggest problem is too much water. Some places around here had over 20" of rain. TB came by to give me a report on the groves - some had fruit floating in the full ditches. There was some wind damage to his fruit crop and his tree farm. Later today I'm likely going to go with him to take some pictures for his insurance purposes. Things are not good but as TB said, they could have been a lot worse.
There is a conspiracy among the 'powers' at my coffee group - it seems they want me to be their new secretary. Of course it is an honor to be wanted but this job also requires a lot of work. It is a real job with real responsibilities. So I've thought about it deciding to let it be known that if nominated and elected I would serve. For all I know, there could be someone really wanting the job? Nothing will come of this until our next regular business meeting in September. Nonetheless, I know when I'm being drafted so I'll just go with the flow.
Well it is still sprinkling here in Vero with wind - but it seems a lot dryer today than yesterday. There is debris everywhere but nothing that can't be picked up by a homeowner in a hour or two
The wind blew and blew yesterday but other than a bit of damage to some plants I came out ok. There was a lot of rain and at sometimes it was hard rain. This is the first storm-like conditions I've been in for many many years - probably 40 years. Yes we have rain in Atlanta but never the kind of wind this rain had. And we have a lot of wind in Atlanta but usually there is no rain, just a butt-ass cold front coming through. When it gets light and if there is no rain - like there is now , I'll go survey the the Vero Villa. I think we still have another day of wind & rain left.
One thing all this rain has done is bring critters out of the ground. In the past 24 hours I must have killed 2 dozen bull ants I found in my house. That is about 4 times as many bull ants than all of the time I've lived here. When John was leaving my house on Monday even I pointed out all the bull ants on my carport floor. I guess they are driven above ground because of the rain. I don't see this as an ongoing issue but I will say they hurt like hell if you get stung by one.
I had the "surgery" on my back yesterday - the cancer was removed at least from this spot. I need to go back in two weeks to get the stitches taken out. I'm having to pay for all this because my medical plan has a $5000 deductible on it (that would be about 27 euros I think). My guess was close - it was $462 for the 15 minute procedure and I didn't even get any drugs! Oh well, it is my belief that taking care of these 'cancer possibilities' before they grow is the best choice to escape anything real serious from my skin cancer condition.
This morning at 10 AM I got to see my doctor about the blood work I've had done. I really don't know what to expect exactly - my guess is the reading will be high but not much different than it was 6 months ago. It seems to be the testing I've already gone through would have found anything that might be bad wrong although I may be on the first stage of a future problem? Tune in tomorrow for the results.
I had my first major power outage last night when everything went dark about 8:10 . I still could use my computer because I had a back-up power supply that would keep it going for 30 to 45 minutes according to the manual. Nonetheless I just shut it down and sat in the dark for about 15 minutes contemplating whether or not I should go to my generator power. I decided to soak in a hot tub instead but wait....there is a problem here....I have instant water heater that works on electricity so I had no warm much less hot water. After about 25 minutes I still had not gone to my generator thinking I might just go to bed when the power came back on. If it were earlier I'm sure I would have cranked the generator or if I got hot, I'd run it for sure. It was very nice knowing I had the option even though I did not use it.
Here is a picture from yesterday morning. The eye of Faye went past Vero into the Atlantic over Sebastian. This storm had a lot of rain and some areas are flooded this morning.
Yesterday morning I went back to my dentist to have my mouth piece 'adjusted'. What that means is that the acrylic piece is re-shaped to make sure my 'bite' hits both sides of the piece at the same time. What was happening is the left side was hitting before the right side which might have been causing my sore jaw I sometimes have in the mornings. The jaw muscles 'work' to compensate while I'm asleep thus making me feel like I had a jaw work-out overnight. It could also affect sleep and give me headaches - or not. It is too early to tell but I'll be paying close attention over the next couple weeks. Heck, this might have been the source of my ear ache while I was in the Keys.
At 9:30 this morning I go to my dermatologists for my surgery. It is that spot that appears to be ok now but to make sure I'm going to have an area around it cut to remove any possibility of remaining cancer. I don't want it to be the source of some spreading cancer because I did not follow-up on this minor procedure. I'll be in and out in less than a hour so why not, huh?
It was cloudy all day yesterday and it looks like it will remain cloudy with periods of rain for the remainder of this week. It's all as a result of the storm called Fay. We are not expecting much here in Vero but we will know there is a storm in the area because of the wind and rain. More to follow.
This past weekend I had restless nights on both Saturday night and Sunday night: Sunday being the worst of the two. I had what I can describe as a restless tingling all over just like one has with restless legs syndrome except it was not limited to my legs. This has happened before and indeed has been worse in the past but I rather not get this damn feeling at all. The good news is there is a non-pharmaceutical solution - I just get in a tub full of very hot (as hot as I can stand it) for a few minutes. Then I go back to bed, sleep for an hour or a bit more then repeat the process. Once the restless, tingling feeling goes away I can go to sleep. I'm pleased to report that I only had to soak 2 times last night instead of 4 (or was it 5 ?) times like the night before.
John came by to have dinner with me last night. Actually he was coming for another TCA acid treatment but because it was around 6 I invited him to stay & eat. We had New York strip, potatoes, Caesar salad, and I had melon as well - I almost always have fruit with my meals. Dinner was great while we watched some of the Little League games and a hour long report on FOX news about Obamamama's history - tonight they'll do Senator McCain. As always, it's a pleasure to have John around.
Here's my dinner plate from last night - looks good, huh? Click on the picture for a bigger image.
We are having wind and rain from Fay here this morning but nothing bad... yet. The eye may come right over Vero. Have a look at my Villa Cam link.
Some folks who make minimum wage or just a bit above that are overpaid. I'd like to relate my shopping experience at Albertson's food market here in Vero yesterday morning. After shuffling Drew & Tb around to pull the boats out of the water I stopped to pick up the basics for the big blow headed to Florida. That would be bread, milk, cottage cheeses, fruit, and ice cream. While there I picked up two Glade house fresheners for the bathrooms. One was 'linen' flavored the other was 'fern & saga' flavor. The exact same box, size, the only difference was the flavor. Upon check-out, one rang up as $3.39 (which is about average) the other for $4.69. Huh? What's up with that I asked? The check-out clerk said it is clearly an error, called her "manager" over but the manager was dumbfounded and wasn't sure it was an error. She would not reduce the price to the 'correct' amount so I did not buy it.
Tell me...how does one become a "manager" and not understand there was a pricing error? We went back to look and the Glade products were marked $3.39 but she was still confused! Can you believe it? Jeez! Is it time for my racial slur now? Well, the manager bes [ sic ]getting her job because she is what she is I bet! You would think that even the government schools would teach one to identify an error such as this when you see it. This was almost as bad as my experience with Comcast's customer prevention department in the Keys!
As I mentioned, TB & Drew were pulling boats in preparation for a potential blow around here. We all agreed it doesn't look bad but TB - being Mr. Safety - wanted the boats stored in a safe place out at the Barnes Estate on highway 60. After helping his Dad, Drew is going to drive back to Atlanta so he can pee in a bottle tomorrow for a drug test. Although he does not have an offer just yet, he sure is jumping through a lot of hoops if they aren't planning on hiring him. I hope he gets what he finds a great job which by the way may be another one. As we say in our coffee group...when one door closes another one opens.
Yesterday I was just overwhelmed by this great athlete , Mark Phelps. I got chicken skin as the Dutchies would say watching him perform at a level never ever seen before at these Olympic games or any other in the history of the games. The dude got 8 gold metals and if he were a country, he would be 4th in total gold metals. Good God...can you just imagine what a well tuned body and mind this young man must have? I'm getting chicken skin again just thinking about it!
The Florida Keys are under a storm watch 0r warning with tropical storm, Fay. So I thought I'd post a more serene picture of the back country in the Keys taken a couple years ago.
I'm simply overwhelmed by Michael Phelps
there is nothing else I can say today.
A lot has happened in the past couple of days so let me bring you up to speed if I can. First, I was sort of out of sorts all day yesterday and except for my morning coffee meeting I did not leave the house. In fact, except to eat and go to the water closet, I didn't get out of bed. I had terrible stomach cramps and a headache most of the day. The stomach stopped hurting after mid-day but the headache was with me all day - sometimes more intense than at other times. I chose not to take anything except bed rest. I sleep for over a hour at least 3 different times during the day which for me is an indication that something is indeed wrong. I felt a bit of nausea as well but never got sick.
By the end of the day my stomach cramps were gone and my headache had lessened but had not gone away. I thought it best just to avoid pain medication unless it got really bad - I guess the sleep helped me through the worst times. This morning I still feel out of sorts but not as bad as yesterday - let's see what the morning brings - at least I don't have the stomach cramps.
Georgia Tech Jeff called to bring me up Tod ate on his employment status. As we know, he was leaving his current employer with a good package and looking at a couple other offers. He choose to stay in Atlanta with a small consulting firm rather than move to Charleston with a much bigger company - in the end the Atlanta job was the one best for him, Amy, and Sammy. They can stay in their house, Amy can keep her job, and Jeff can get in on a growing company with the hope of having an equity position in a year or so. I was reminded of when Mike left Texas Instruments to become the 3rd employee in a very young software company. Now Mike is the president and a principle in the company that has about 175 employees. I can see something like this growth pattern taking place in Jeff's working career if he decides to keep working rather than sailing the world.
Syp also called yesterday - I was real popular I guess. He brought me up to date on his & Sjak's house project. They've hired a contractor and hope to have the majority of the work done by the end of November. Trouble is there is always delays, bad weather days, sick days, supply days, etc that always seems to cause time schedules for remodeling jobs to take longer than expected - at least that has been my experience both here and in Atlanta.
John and Alisha came by for a visit early last evening - Alisha has not been in my house since it's been finished. The last time John brought here over was last Fall just as all the major work was being done. Naturally she was amazed at what we made out of the total mess that was here last year. Well...time and lots of money can work wonders.
Yesterday I got an e-mail from son Syp with an update on the new Arends' Estate in wooden shoe land. Syp and Sjak have closed on their house and like a good young family went deeper into debit with a bigger mortgage. However, it is true that most family's worth is built steadily through home ownership so I think this was a very wise move - besides they needed a bigger house to have more room for Yari's little sister when she comes. No, I don't know when that will be. No, there is not 'one in the oven' to my knowledge but I think it is a good idea.
For now all their time, effort, and money will go into fixing up their new old home. As you can see by the picture, there are some things that need attention. First, I think it would be nice to get indoor plumbing and electricity but that's just me. The smart thing was to by a house in a 'hood' they like that could use a bit of refreshing as opposed to buying a newly built or renovated house in a lesser neighborhood. At least this will keep Syp out of the coffee houses and pubs for awhile. BTW, I've uploaded some real pictures Syp sent to me in my PhotoAlbum - click on the 'Dutchies Villa' link.
I went to vote in the local primary yesterday. The 'official' voting day is next Tuesday but why fight the crowds? In fact, why hasn't 'early' voting been available in the past? Maybe it has in Florida but it was not available in Georgia except through absentee ballot. I had to walk all the way to the public library to vote - it was two blocks from my house. There is an advantage to live in down town Vero - going to the library, the court house, restaurants, the post office is all a matter of walking a couple blocks - I like that.
I got a call from the HR department for Indian River County about John - he used me as a reference. I told the caller I knew him well especially from all those porno films he made - just kidding folks. I could honestly say I've known him all of his life and of course gave him a glowing recommendation. Actually, I'm a damn good person to use as a reference because I know how to be positively persuasive in my response to questions asked or in my general comments. So if you ever need a recommendation, call on me - my prices are very fair.
Brother Drew dropped by for a visit and to borrow a pair of pants for an appointment he's going on with his Dad. It seems that my hot body is the same size as Drew and John - just is their body has muscle and my body has fat. Nonetheless, it is good to be able to wear the same size so I can shop in Drew's & John's closets for more stylish things. I may be an old fart but I like being able to wear things I wore in high school. Yes boys and girls...until I gave away a bunch of stuff before I left Atlanta I still had some things I had in high school! My God...what was I thinking?
I went back to my dermatologists yesterday for a follow-up on the spot I had removed that turned out to be a squamous cell. He looked at it and said the little scar looked fine and he could not visually detect any abnormality. However he said the type of biopsy he did usually does not remove all the cancer cells and thus there is a small chance it will grow back. The downside risk is squamous cells can spread and that could happen before it grows back where it is visible again if it grows back at all. So it seems I'm pretty safe but I made the decision to have surgery anyway. I can afford it and I'd hate to be battling some sort of nasty cancer because I wanted to save $500 or $600 based on the odds.
You see, this is one of the rare occasions I made an appointment out of my routine 6 month visits because it was bothering me. It is very rare that one of these skin cancer things bother me especially enough to make an off schedule appointment - this one did. I have a feeling about this one unlike others so I'm going to take the 100% safe route. It may be unnecessary but it's on my mind and you know how I can obsess on things. So next Tuesday I go in for the surgery - it should take about 30 minutes, I'll have a few stitches, and then be done with it.
I talked with TB at length on the phone about who I should vote for in next week's primary election for local offices. I don't know or know about any of the people running but I promise you TB knows. I have a list I'm going to care into the voting booth and follow his recommendations. After I've lived here awhile I'll get to know more about the local personalities. Tommy has lived here all of his life and is well informed about the local political scene. At least here I have choices - in Atlanta there really were no choices because I was in the minority in political association and skin color. If you were not black or at least a real left-wing liberal, you were not going to get elected in Atlanta. My Atlanta Congressman, John Lewis, is as dumb as they come and equally liberal but as long as he's alive he'll keep his seat. He marched with Dr. King you see - he has the record and quite frankly, he represents the majority of the voters in his district very well. I was just not in that majority.
So I've loaded Yahoo messenger on my laptop as per Wendy's request. She says it works better than Skype from over there in the UAE desert. One of the neat things I've discovered is their plug-in called Music LAUNCHcast - a online network of music similar to what Comcast offers. You can choose your type & style of music which plays almost totally commercial free. They have a station called 'Adult Alternative' which I love just like the one Comcast offers. Now here is the bonus I just discovered - I can connect the audio stream to my BOSE radio/stereo for just a fantastic sound. F*cking cool!!! The sound that comes out of my BOSE is fabulous. I'm a happy camper.
If any of you have Yahoo messenger and want to add me let me know - I'll only accept the first 100 requests.
Today's picture was taken on the Indian River's East side looking West at sunset in Sebastian (just North of Vero Beach about 12 miles but in the same county). Nice shot, huh?
Yesterday I got busy and didn't post. The day started with visits to my doctor's office and my dentist's office. It was time to have blood drawn for another liver function test to see how things have changed since that battery of tests I did last Spring. My readings were out of the norm but not so high as to give reason for great concern. If they are a lot higher now, then we need to pay much closer attention although the extensive testing before didn't indicate a cause of a problem. I go on the 20th to get the results of this test.
It was time to have my teeth cleaned and checked. The dental hygienists here cost $118 while the one in Atlanta was $80. I will say that the process here is more advanced, takes longer, and probably is a much better cleaning. I'm not sure why I go after all, I brush my teeth every Saturday night even if I don't think they need it.
The jaw muscle on the left side of my head hurts some mornings and/or my ear hurts as if I have an ear ache. My dentist scheduled me to come in next Monday to 'check' my night guard to see if it needs adjusting. It could be the mouth piece is causing me to grid or something. If the bite is not equal on both sides, then the mouth guard will need to be adjusted. I hope that is the case because the morning ache is a pain (pun intended).
Monday night I helped TB ferry boats and cars around upon his return. He had to launch the Cracker, then get back to launch Drew's boat, and then get back to get the Tahoe. I was the driver between Tulip Lane and the launch site - we got done just before dark. It is a real project to move all the stuff TB takes to the Keys and then bring it back again. I think he should just forget about it and ask his sons to do it. They are quite capable of moving and launching the boats as well as packing and unpacking then packing and unpacking again the things TB wants in the Keys. If we could just figure out how to get him to let go. If you are reading this and you know Tommy, then you know exactly what I mean. TB needs to stop obsessing and worrying so much and just set back while he can still enjoy his life with Kathryn, his beautiful home, and great toys. Believe me ... I know something about obsessing - shit I take medication for it for God's sake.
Also on Monday my housekeepers came for an end-of-the-Summer cleanup which included the regular by-weekly cleaning along with washing all the windows inside and cleaning all of my blinds. They said they really were pretty clean because I keep the house clean minimizing the dust. The only real cleaning need was in the Ares Sally Cat sits to watch out the windows. The outside windows were not cleaned because it was wet from the rain and Charlie was not able to come this time. I'll have the outside of the windows cleaned next time - they get spotted from all the rain and irrigation.
Later this morning I go to my dermatologist to have that spot checked where the cancer growth was removed just before going to the Keys. I would be surprised if he doesn't find other questionable spots after a month of growing cancer cells. Stay turned.
Here's a picture I took of Drew's lobster/dive team I took on day two of mini-season. You can click on the picture for a larger view.
Things are slowly getting back to normal for me here in Vero. I'm not where I was before I left but I'm working on it. Strange thing but I've been having very restless, sleep-deprived nights since returning - I guess it is my smooth comfortable bed verses the old lumpy one I was sleeping o9n in the keys. The thing is I've been waking up every hour to two hours which means the sleep I am getting is not all that good. I hope and trust this will all settle down once I get used to a nice bed and quite from late night pool activities.
Well the Olympics have started - any of you watching? I watched about 40 minutes of the opening ceremonies but it was all the same damn image of the 5 lighted Olympic rings ...boooooooring! It did not get my attention so I found something I really like on ESPN - Little League baseball. There were regional Little League play-off's on which means one of my very favorite sporting events is about to begin - the Little League World Series. If you've followed my Blog over the years you'll remember how much I've enjoyed these games.
Which brings me back to something else I like having here...my BIG wide high definition TV set. The TV in the Keys was an old, much smaller analog set with a piss poor picture. I can really tell the difference now between an analog signal and a high quality digital signal. You sometimes forget how good things are until you lose them for awhile. I'm going to enjoy watching TV again.
With LL baseball coming college football must be just around the corner. The first Tech game will be on Thursday night, August 28th but I'm not at all sure I'll be able to get it. It seems ESPN360 will have it but that is for the internet and Comcast does not put ESPN360 on their network here in Vero. My cousin said it might be on one of the ESPN TV networks but I've not been able to find it yet. What a bummer - I was hoping to see the game and now it doesn't look as though I will. Just damn!
John came by yesterday for me to treat the wart on his hand again. He has a wart that will not yield to 'normal' treatments including the freezing thing. But you know me, I've got a drug or chemical for everything including this wart thing. We've been using the TCA 50% acid solution dermatologists use for removing skin things and for chemical peels. I use the stuff for suspicious looking pre-cancer spots in between going to my dermatologists which I will again next Wednesday. John & I both think it is working for him but will take a couple weeks of treatment to completely eat the wart off. He seems to be happy that something is finally working!
I talked to TB who is still in the Keys. He & Drew are going to Key West to the Mel Fisher museum today and will do their last dive on the Eagle tomorrow. Everyone will return on Monday ending this year's trip to paradise. It was fun and I learned something about myself I didn't know while going to my coffee meetings. After this many years I though I knew pretty much everything about my meetings but I might have been mistaken. Well it's better to learn than not know what you don't know, huh?
Here is a picture taken in the Keys just south of where we were staying
I'm back in Vero and I must say it's good to be back. I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to paradise but it was time for me to return. This is the first time in 17 years that returning meant coming back to Vero - I like that. My house is still fresh and new - not old and tired like 900. My landscaping has grown a good bit in the month I was away. Things are good here and it feels like home.
The trip back was uneventful except for one thing - Sally kept crying much longer and louder than usual. She was trying to tell us something - she needed to poop. Will, I didn't know and even if I did, what was I to do. So when she couldn't hold it any longer, she pooped, I heard her scratch, and both of us smelled it. John pulled off on an exit, I got Sally out of her cage and held her while John got some paper towels to get the poop. We put a new towel in her kennel and when we got back in the car she went to sleep right away. Sally is getting used to traveling which is a good thing but I don't know what else I could have done about her needing to poop. When we got back she knew she was at home.
I got the mail that had accumulated at my post office box and I plan to let my postman know I've returned here. frankly I don't get much mail except junk because most all my bills are paid automatically or online; I receive my bills online as well. There may be a couple of 'real' mail pieces for me but that will be about it I think. Good...I don't like coming back to a bunch of bills to pay.
John was a real joy to have with me in the Keys; it is so easy to get along with him. Always ready to help, always aware of other's wishes, quite, and able to cope with my bullshit. I could see us going on an adventure like those Syp and I used to take. Trouble is I'm not the traveler I once was preferring to just stay at home with Sally. I sure am glad I did all the traveling and went on all those adventures when I really wanted to see the world. I've seen it now and as the saying goes, "there's no place like home".
I've done my laundry from the trip, bought some fresh fruit from Publix, and had my car washed and cleaned. Now I need to get my mail for the house, pick up a few new plants for inside the house, and fetch some items I had delivered to my cousin while I was gone. She has my LCD TV back from the repair and has a new printer-fax machine I ordered. My old machine stopped the fax function although the other functions work quite well. I need a fax feature.
Here's a picture of a storm I took on Islamorada's bayside.
We are headed back to Vero today after cleaning the apartment, packing, and taking care of a few things around the complex like distributing the goodies in our refrigerator. I spent over two hours yesterday trying to remove all the Sally cat hair she has deposited around the apartment especially on the comforter in my bedroom - she is one hell of a hair factory!
We had a wonderful dinner prepared by Mary Ann last night as sort of the 'Last Supper' while the core group was still in the Keys. We had a 'tapas' style dinner with a couple dozen different things accumulated from what Mary Ann prepared and doggie-bags from Bentley's, Lazy Days, and the Fish Company. What a treat to have a "taste of Islamorada" all in one setting.
It turns out that Drew is leaving for Atlanta today as well although he'll be back this weekend to help TB get all his stuff packed for the return to Vero. Tomorrow Matt heads out of town on a business trip but like Drew will be back this weekend to help TB.
I had one fishing day left so I tried my hand here on the flats in front of the apartments. John snapped this picture so I thought I'd post it. It's hell turning into an old fishing fart, huh?
Our early fishing trip got cancelled because of the strong winds and rough seas. However by early afternoon it settled down enough for Tommy, John,Drew, and John went out around 1 to look for dolphin. After about 45 minutes theey finally hooked up to one but only one. Later when they started to head in, they ran into some birds and caught 13 more so it was a good trip. John caught his first dolphin and although it was a 'schooly', it was fun catching on spinning tackle. It reminds me of the time I took Syp out when he caught his first dolphin. They are fun to catch and good to eat - the fisherman had dolphin on the grill last night.
John M had a problem with his computer connecting to my network so I got it from his apartment to see what I could do. Windows as not able to fix the problem but after awhile I got it connecting again. I know what I do so I can repeat my steps but frankly I'm not sure just which one of my steps resolved the problem. I just some settings, connected to my router via a cable, and rebooted. It was then able to work wirelessly once I disconnected the cable - go figure.
It was a nasty, windy morning but turned out to be ok in the afternoon in time for the 4 o'clock pool duty. Things are quite around here after all the departures this past weekend. John M. and Peachy are living tomorrow so our numbers continue to shrink.
Some of the boys and girls had a real blow-out their last night here. Some of what happened I did not hear about until after I posted yesterday. It seems that after dinner and several crowns a group went to Woody's to close the place down arriving back here around 3:30. All that was ok but it seems their arrival back was not a quite one. I can confirm it was not quite because the woke me up along with some other sleeping beauties. I just put ear plugs in then went back to sleep - what the hell, it was their last night here and I remember what it was like to party hardy. I'm not sure what others may have thought but I can guess.
Sunday was indeed a lazy day because everyone except the initial core group left for parts North. They have things called jobs requiring them to show up tomorrow.Only John & Drew are left here to put up with us old farts - the good news is they like each other's company and can do things together. In fact, I think there're going on a dive that Jeff & Amy told them about before they left. Maybe some fishing is in the cards as well.
We had a heck of a storm Saturday night with much of the day on Sunday turning out cloudy or at least overcast. I'm hoping we will return to the very pleasant, sunny days we've been having today and for the remaining days we have left. John and I are leaving on Wednesday or Thursday but I think Tommy & Drew will stay through the weekend. But today we all are going Dolphin/Sailfish fishing a little after 7 this morning. If the weather is too bad we'll come back but it's hard to tell until we get 'outside the reef'.
It was great to see everyone but I did learn something about myself that has changed a bit over the years. I've gotten to the point where I prefer smaller gatherings/groups as opposed to larger crowds. I also like quite - restaurants with a lot of noise, talking I want to avoid. Any place where I have to raise my voice I'd rather just avoid in the first place. Hmm...and to think I used to like crowds and loud parties.
Another dinner under the Tiki Hut
The whole 20-something crowd went out to Alligator to scuba and/or snorkel after lunch followed by a trip to the sandbar. They took plenty of beer and on a cloudless Saturday afternoon had a great time. Some got out scrubbing brushes to work on the Southport (make of TB's boat) before he has it 'trailered' back to Vero in about a week. It's better to get the growth off before you put it on the road for a 5 hour drive when it can get dried on hard.
I stayed around the apartment most of the day with just a brief trip to the Robbing Post (aka. the Trading Post) for some essentials. What ever you buy there costs 25% to 50% more than it would cost at Winn Dixie - but WD is 11 miles away and the traffic after lobster mini-season is horrible. Horrible I say. I did not want to leave the complex unless it was necessary - same for TB & Mary Ann.
Funny but when I've made a decession to go back I start to get 'prepared' for leaving. I'm cleaning the Sally hair, got a 'cold bag' to take some frozen items back, and ordered some things for delivery when I return. My whole attitude has shifted from 'resident' to 'visitor' knowing that we'll be leaving in a week. This is not a bad thing but up until yesterday I considered myself a resident. Hmm!
I took today's picture from my balcony yesterday afternoon. The woman had a guide in search of 'flats' fish like permit, bonefish, red fish, and even tarpon right in front of the apartments. It was cool to see this although I didn't see any fish on. Click on the image for a larger picture.
Yesterday was a day of recovery for most folks after two days of diving, sun, and adult beverages. No one went out on the boats in fact not everyone even got up until the afternoon. Then it was a few hours in the pool with drinks followed by dinner. The tribe went to Lazy Days, Jeff & Amy ate lobster in, and John & I went to Uncle's - JV wanted that great tuna dinner. I had fresh black grouper grilled to perfection. We chose to eat outside were it was quite - tables of loud dudes and dudettes were inside trying to compete for attention by talking loudly. I don't do loud very well.
I expect the crowd to go to the sandbar this afternoon because it's everyone's last full day here except for the core few. Captain Matt has a lady friend that came in last night to visit him for the balance of the weekend but I've not met here yet - news at 11. All the young folks except for John & Drew will leave tomorrow as well as Tom's sister & brother-in-law. It has been a busy week for all of us.
It looks like John & I will leave to head back to Vero about mid-week next week. I've got doctor's appointments on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of the following week and John has a life guard job interview on Monday which will require a couple days of review before he goes in. I don't like weekend traffic so Wednesday or Thursday will be a good time to leave paradise for this year. Frankly I've grown enough new skin cancers for my Vero dermatologist to stay busy with me for awhile.
Tommy took the two teenage girls to meet a ride back to Vero yesterday. It looks like Kathryn will have to work and will not be able to return this year. Tommy has not set a date to return but without the boys and Kathryn my guess is he'll leave by the weekend. This year's trip is clearly winding down.
I have pool duty every day.
Last night we had fresh snapper & snook served under the Tiki Hut once again. Tom's brother-in-law, John, provided the fish and did the cooking. Once again it was a very pleasant night to have dinner outside looking South over the Atlantic toward Cuba. The lobsters caught that day will be frozen and taken back to Vero and points North,
Yesterday I did some banking, went to World Wide to look around, and identified a house cleaner if I want one while I'm here. I'm thinking I may get her in to do a real good cleaning of the cat hair Sally has graciously left about the apartment. I even had the presents of mind to bring a special cat hair removal tool with me from Vero.
For the most part, the crowd is sleeping in this morning after two lobstering days. John is headed to the gym around 9 and I plan on messing around on my computer before I have pool duty later this morning and then again this afternoon. Today we lose Charlie but gain Matt's lady friend. By Monday all will be gone except the original crew of Tom, Mary Ann, TB, Drew, John, and me.
John has been offered a life guarding job back in Vero and needs to go back for a test. He has to swim laps and run under a specific time in order to complete the requirements for the job - he is already 'certified' as a life guard. So, we will be heading back sometime next week but I'm not sure when until John talks with the people in Vero later this morning. This job will allow him time to study at work if he's not having to watch the pool all the time.
Today's picture was taken under the Tiki Hut - click on it to see a larger image.