Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Storm Descends Upon Us

Storm - January 22, 2017

The weatherman on one of the channels, don’t remember which one since I was sorting through all the local channels faster than a poker dealer sorts out the cards, but one of them said that this is the first time since they started to rate Severe T-Storm Risk that the area which covers Tampa was put under a “High Risk”.  Of course, this does not include Hurricane watches and warnings…but just the risks for severe T-Storms, which typically spawn Tornados. 

Storm - January 22, 2017

Well, here it comes…about 6:45 it is just north of where we live.  Around 5:30, I got up from a short Sunday nap and looked on the computer and saw the storm line coming…and it hit me:  “I LEFT THE ANTENA UP ON THE MOTORHOME!”  You see, every Monday when Marcia goes to her Bible Study with the older ladies from church, Skruffy and I go over to the motorhome, just a few miles from the Church, and I run the generator of the engine for about an hour to charge up the batteries.  Typically the batteries are down to 12.3-12.5 amps.  Lower when the weather is real cold, so normally it is 12.4 or 12.5.  While I am there, I turn on the TV, which means I have the antenna up.  With possible winds of 60-70 mph, I did not like having that antenna up…so I hopped into the car and drove the 5.6 miles to the RV Storage lot.  I put the antenna down, got back in the car and drove back the 6.5 miles home.  Why the .9 extra mile?  Well, as I drove through Tarpon Springs along what they call “Alt-19”, four Tarpon police cars are headed north, lights and sirens going, and although I did not see anything as I passed through there, something was going on.  So I headed over to Highway 19 and then north to home, and although the winds were high, there were no other problems. 

Storm - January 22, 2017

It is now 7:30, and the wind is blowing, there are four or five thunder blasts, our lights flickered once which knocked out the Internet until the Router re-boots, and…well, that is that.  Skruffy, who HATES this type of weather, was in a frenzy for about 30 minutes.  Essentially, and thankfully, it was a non-storm for us.  Others did not fare as well…especially up in Mississippi and Georgia…all from the same massive storm over the past 24 hours.  This seems to be the same storm that hit California four or five days ago.  Yep, winter is here, even if the temps are hitting 80+ here in Florida…down to the low 60’s now that the storm has blown through.

Bubba and Skruffy

It has been a few weeks since I last posted a blog.  Don’t know why I needed a break from…basically just did not find anything to say.  We kept a close eye on the news the past few weeks, that’s for sure.  Mom had a nasty fall in her hallway one night a few weeks ago, but she is fine.  That has been two falls in about as many months, and both times she had taken Ambien to help her sleep.  I sent dad and my sisters this article I found on older people and Ambien:  Dr. Bill Elliott: Ambien's risks mount for older adults.  Well, dad shared that with mom, and she noted things in the article that she had experienced…and Ambien is no longer going to be used to help her sleep.  Mom has always had trouble sleeping…and especially when her “children” were away from home.  Don’t know how she ever got through Bob being in Viet Nam for 16-18 months…but even just having kids get married and move away would keep her up…even now when almost all her kids are over 60 years old!.


We had Bubba over for another night so that I could give him his monthly flea and heartworm meds, and shave under his chin where he will get a infection if it isn’t kept clean and closely shaven.  He was quickly kicked off the chair that Skruffy is in (two pictures up), but she had to show him that “she” had a her own blanket now!  Above I get him to lift his head and look at me…and when I ask him to do it a second time, well that is too much for Skruffy who…

Bubba and Skruffy

…jumps in the way of the camera and heads over closer to me.

Bubba and Skruffy

Yes Skruffy, Bubba will be going home soon and you will have “us” all to yourself again!

Storm - January 22, 2017

Now that the storm has passed, initial reports say there was some damage, like this home in Citrus County north of us, but they don’t know of any deaths as or 11 pm eastern time.  The weather tomorrow is suppose to be a bit rainy, but the dangerous part of the storm has passed.  I will check out the motorhome tomorrow, but I think it will be fine too…and with the antenna down, I think I will sleep soundly tonight…otherwise, I would worry all night long about if the wind knocked that antenna down.

Saturday, January 7, 2017



Yes, it is another one of ‘those’ posts…a post from Florida talking about “winter”.  But in my lifetime, I have had to deal with cold weather before…and no mater how cold it gets today here in Florida, I will wear short pants.  But I do remember the days…


Spent a winter in Iowa back in the ‘70’s.  Walking to and from class at times was not fun…but I managed…although I must admit, there was more than once that I brushed off my first class of the day.  Passed all my classes though, but I was not ready to take college serious and headed back to Sacramento to a Restaurant career for the next 10+ years.  To me, at the time, it all came down to this:  Pay for college to learn, or get paid in the restaurant business to learn.  I left that profession, if you want to call it that…at times it felt like ‘trapped in hell’, and other restaurant managers who worked 50-60 hours each week can attest to.  Anyway, I left that profession to go back to college…this time in Utah…where it was even colder.  However, I don’t recall blowing off classes, and I certainly took my college serious, especially when two of three children arrive while in school…and the last arriving two months after graduating with my Masters.

Winter         Winter

Moved to Arkansas where I stayed for nearly 23 years.  As a Public Library Director, I had to make the call as to if we opened or remained closed during inclement weather.  Having braved the snows of Iowa, of Utah, and many trips up to the Sierra’s during the winter, it was hard to come to the realization that WINTER has its own definition depending upon where one lives.  In Utah for the 5 1/2 winters I was there, I think the school closed down twice due to bad weather.  Sometimes one would get on campus, just to find that a particular teacher was unable to make it and that class was canceled for the day.  Well, if I was there, I was going to get something done…so off to the library to study I would go.  It was not uncommon to brush a foot or more of snow off the hood of the pickup truck, scrape the windows, and drive on to school.  Of course, Utah snow is generally very light and fluffy, so it typically was not that hard.  And I learned that you don’t go to a car wash and wash it all off…because when you get to school, go to class, come out to your truck, both your doors are frozen shut!  Lessons learned…some lessons you learn a couple of times.  I can also remember firing up some charcoal, and putting the hot ambers under my oil pan so that the truck would start in the morning because temps were falling to below minus 20 that night.  Put them out there around 11:30, in the morning the truck started…was it needed, I will never know. 

Winter in Pine Bluff, picture from Pine Bluff Commercial online

So this is a picture from the Pine Bluff Commercial online today…City, County, Schools all shut down due to the snow.  “Nearly” two inches!   WOW!!!  The hardest thing for me to wrap my head around was closing for a day or two due to two inches of snow.  NEVER was there too much snow or ice to keep me off the roads in Arkansas.  However, to be fair, the street above is a major street near the entrance to the RV Park I lived in for the final six years I was there.  It is one of the few streets that gets attention from the highway department during snow.  Most of the side streets, outside of a handful of non-highway streets and major streets, get NO HELP during snow and ice storms.  Most people stay off the streets until they thaw, which takes a day or two.  Hence, without any snow removing equipment, people can’t safely get to places, including work, so everything shuts down except for a few stores, gas stations, and essentials.  Sometimes, around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, places like McDonalds and Taco Bell will open…but if it is cold enough, the streets will freeze by 7 pm, if not earlier. 

AccuWeather app for Firefox

I like my weather app for my Firefox browser…I can easily and quickly see what the weather is for a variety of places…and with a click, a new window will come up with the weather for that location.  So as I type this out, 10:30 ET, it is 18 degrees in Pine Bluff (and yes, the library will be closed still), it is 11 degrees in Kansas City where my youngest son lives, and minus 2 in Salt Lake City, and snowing, where my daughter lives.  My oldest son, my parents…they are all well above freezing, as are we.  For what it is worth, it is minus 15 degrees in Soldotna Alaska!   When we awoke at 7:30, it was 72 degrees in the condo, it was 68 degrees outside.  Now, just three hours later it is a balmy 57 degrees…dropping to 37 degrees tonight!   WHAT!  It is colder now than it was three hours ago!!!!   Better hurry to the store before everything is sold out!!!!  Now where are my long pants at anyway…just in case.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New Years in Orlando Area

Dean and Caryl's House

On Friday we headed over to Marcia’s brother’s house to spend New Year’s Eve with Dean and Caryl.  This is a picture of their house, and yes, that is a for sale sign in their front yard.  They have a new house being built in DeLand, about 40 miles north of Orlando, and 20 miles from this home in Lake Mary.  Due to the selling, and possible viewing by potential buyers, we have not gone over to visit them since we have been home (although we met for lunch at Cracker Barrel nearly two weeks ago)…but on Wednesday we got the good news that the house is under contract, and they did not expect to show it again, especially over the New Year Holiday…so we went over.  It took two days to get there because we could not leave Tarpon Springs area until after 3 pm Friday, so we only drove half way and stayed at a Cracker Barrel where we had dinner, and also breakfast the next day.

Dean and Caryl's House

We are going to miss backing into this long driveway…but there is no need to have such a large house with just the two of them living there now.  The place they are moving to is a 55+ community where they have a zero-lot-line.  (A zero-lot-line house is a piece of residential real estate in which the structure comes up to or very near to the edge of the property line.)  A bit like our Condo, except we have a common outside roof with four units…they have no common walls or roof with other structures.  Like our condo, there is no yard work, and in their case, the HOA dues include cable TV, Internet and water. From now on when we go to visit we will stay in a nearby RV park.


I have talked about Hattie before, the rescue dog that Dean and Caryl have had for a few years now, but I think this is my first picture of her.  She is very territorial, and we are always cautious with Skruffy and Bubba…so much so that we decided to leave Bubba with his Uncle Mike where he lives during the winter to keep the excitement down to only one other dog.  However, there were no problems with just Skruffy with us, and Dean was very happy that Hattie behaved so well.


Here I think she found where Skruffy might have been earlier in the morning.


Look at those eyes…she is just begging to come out and play…but I had pictures to take before we left on the 1st to head home.  We only stayed at their house for the one night, leaving at 2 pm on Sunday.  Thinking traffic might be high, we anticipated only driving part of the way Sunday…but the drive back was the easiest traffic we ever had.  Friday’s drive was just the opposite, and we barely made Cracker Barrel before sunset.

Drain Team

Wednesday, between Christmas and the New Year, we had our kitchen sink drain clog up on us again…happened almost two years ago.  We called out the Drain Team again, and the same Father Son team came out and cleared the drain.  The culprit was grease and onion peelings, much like the last time...just not as big of a clog.  The victim was my pocketbook again…and it has me wondering if I should invest in a 30’ drain snake. But so many of them are just garbage...and I am afraid to use the drain blowers because just my luck, the drain pipe in the concrete would burst open.


Today Marcia had her fourth of five doctor’s appointments … this time it was her Neurologist, Dr. Z.  She saw Dr. Z for the first time in a long time this past February.  Before that she was seeing a Neurologist who decided to retire.  However, she use to see Dr. Z many years ago, but then he had to stop practice while he was being treated for Cancer…which seems to be all clear now.  With Dr. Z it is much more a visit than a check-up per say.  He runs a few basic test to be sure she is still functioning, and they he asks and talks about various subjects…since she follows along just fine, it is more like two people visiting.  He then writes out a prescription she takes that helps calm down the effects of her MS, and then it is a “See you next year” goodbye.  One more doctor to see in February and technically we would be free to travel again…but it looks like we are staying through Easter before we head north.