Saturday, November 28, 2020

Love you Dad...forever and ever


Lost him one year ago today...seems like forever...seems like just yesterday.

Back in the late 1990's he and I were talking about his parents.  I asked him if he still missed them.  He said that from 'time to time' he would see something on TV, read something in the newspaper, hear something on the radio, and he distinctly would pick up the phone to call 'DAD' to tell him about it.  I said, "But he has been gone for thirty years dad?"  His reply, "You asked if I still missed them..."

Gotta go now, need to make a special phone call . . . . .

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Birthday Boy


Sister Patti sent me this message, and luckily I was able to see it on my flip-phone.  Ever since I got the 4G Flip, I have been able to see 'most' images sent to me, but not all...some still show up as a RED X.  Yes, I recently had a 65th.  Sandy (sister) and Arny were the first to call, talked to mom a day or two earlier so she sent her greeting on Facebook which sounded the alarm to many others who sent birthday wishes.

Signed up for medicare in August, got my supplement and drug plans in October with everything starting November 1st.  Now I will no longer 'have' to visit Arkansas to see a Doctor at a reasonable price.  For eight years since my retirement in 2012, the Library paid 50% of my insurance, but the catch was that it was the same insurance the Library/City has, and it is good if you are in Arkansas, you pay out the nose if you are outside of the Arkansas network.  Thank goodness I only had to face that once, and somehow the convinced the hospital in Wyoming to accept the terms of Arkansas Network, so it did not cost too much.  Now, I am set ANYWHERE in the USA.  

Also talked to each of my three kids, who called one after another after another that night.  Now you would think it was coordinated, but no...not 90 seconds after Steph called, Michael called.  My phone give option of sending a text to the caller, so I let him know I was talking to his sister.  Called him 30 minutes later and near the end of our talk, Ryan called.  So after nearly 2 hours, I had nice conversations with all three kids, each of whom are doing well.  

Indy is more and more infatuated with the TV, especially if there is a dog or a horse on the screen.  This was an episode of Gunsmoke (I think), and it was in Black and White...she still went over and stood up to watch it.  You can see her eyes are glued on the dog.  Sometimes when the dogs or horses move off screen (left or right) she will chase them just to find that they have disappeared.  She still watches the "other dog" in the mirror.  Caught her last night laying in front of one of the mirrors in our living room, just staring at the dog which was staring back at her.  Must have laid there for 3 or 4 minutes just staring.

She now knows the term "Dog Park", and just about every time I put my shoes on, she runs to the front door hoping that she gets to go with dad, and hoping that it is the dog park.  Poor girl is banned from the dog park for the next couple of weeks...yes, she is back in heat again.  So I have it down in my calendar to call the Vet in January and hopefully have her fixed in late January or early February.  

We are nearly done with Hurricane watch.  Some say the middle of November, some say the end of November.  This website above is active from June 1st to November 30th for Atlantic Hurricanes, and starts in Mid-May for Pacific.  The website remains active, but there are no updates until the season starts up again.  The "Disturbance" shown above moved from the Bahamas into the Atlantic over the past five days.  It probably is the last disturbance of this record breaking season which produced 30 named storms, of which 13 became hurricanes, and 6 major hurricanes developed out of those 13. Twelve of the 30 named storms made landfall in the United States, breaking the record of nine set in 1916.  Five Hurricanes impacted the US with Hanna hitting South Texas, Isaias hitting North Carolina, Laura hitting Louisiana (Cat-4), Sally hitting Alabama and the West Florida Panhandle, and Delta hitting Louisiana.  Louisiana took the brunt of the damage this year.  

Watching the weather forecast is like watching the COVID numbers. It is easy to get hooked on it.  Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, and let's hope for Christmas that Santa brings a vaccine to start the process of ending the COVID headache we all have.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Eta Blows Through

Someone lost their carport at the Mobile Home/RV Park next to us

So, that was FUN!  It started to get windy and very rainy in the early afternoon.  I took Indy out, but all she wanted to do was watch the trees blow with the wind hitting her in the face.  Too bad girl, that was you last big chance.

I went to the motorhome to give it one more good look over...closed up the vents which have covers, but with straight-line wind, I just wanted to be sure.  Coming back I drove through the Winn-Dixie parking lot and they were covering the windows with these aluminum storm covers. The picture above is from the news of a Winn-Dixie in St. Pete...must be a company policy.  When I left the storm was a Hurricane, by 1:00 pm it was a Tropical Storm again.  This morning I went back to the motorhome and all was well...and Winn-Dixie had already taken the storm covers off.

Our biggest problem was that we lost our electricity last night around 9:00 pm.  They had been flickering a bit from 8-9, but that last one was not a flicker, it was total blackout, followed by a huge BOOM not too far away.  By midnight nearly the entire neighborhood around the Condo Complex was in the dark (including Win-Dixie).  Coming back from the motorhome I had hoped the electricity would be back was 9 am.  I stopped to get coffee, and when I started to pull up to our condo, I could tell there were no lights.  I had not seen a Duke Electric truck anywhere, so I pulled back out and went around towards the library, and yep, there they were.  By the time I got back to the condo, we had lights.

Saw this Tarpon Springs Fire Truck on my way back and my thoughts were, "Squad 69?  Tarpon Springs is not THAT large of a community."

Someone was passed out nearly all day today.  Poor little girl tried and tried to do her business after the storm hit, but the heavy rain and wind just couldn't let her do it.  At 2 am I noticed the storm had died, and I took her out.  Boy, she sure knows how to spell relief!  At 4 am she wanted out again...she knows how to spell relief two ways, and neither start with the letter "R" but with the letter "P".

Boat up against the bank in Madeira Beach area

Damage in Pinnellas County

Getting ready for the storm, Sponge Docks, Tarpon Springs

All and all, we (Marcia, Indy and I) made it through the storm with out a problem.  The overall Tampa Community up through Crystal River did well, but there were some areas of damage, and from all reports, one death from electrocution.  Overall we weathered the storm pretty well.  Thanks go out for everyone who expressed their concern.  (The above three pictures were taken from various news sources.  The other pictures were taken with my cell phone, which is why the quality is not there.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veta Day - Veterans Day


First Veterans Day since dad passed...only fitting I start my blog off today with a picture of him in uniform.  Dad served in the Navy from 1946-1947.  Although WW2 ended in September of 1945, the dates are different for active service during WW2. The government defines WW2 service as follows:  December 7, 1941, through December 31, 1946, inclusive. If the veteran was in service on December 31, 1946, continuous service before July 26, 1947, is considered World War II service. Code of Federal Regulations, 3.2 (d)  Dad fit that time period, so he is considered a WW2 Vet.  He served in the Navy in the Pacific, and even went to Japan for at least one short time period.


After working at Bank of America, getting married, he then went to work at the Sacramento Army Depot, and retired the day he turned 55.  He started as a peon, and retired as a high level executive.  His "Boss" urged him to take his temporary high level position permanently and dad said, "What happened to the boss I am replacing?"  "He had a heart attack," was the answer.  "And they guy he replaced?"  "He had a heart attack."  "And the guy he replaced??"  Well, I think you now know why he retired at age 55.  The Army Depot served as a repair facility for electronic equipment, such as night vision goggles, electronic circuit boards, and radium-dial instrumentation.  As part of his retirement we (family) got to tour the base, some of which was normally off limits to non workers.  They let us look through night vision equipment, something was still pretty secretive in 1983.  The retirement picture above was signed by what I think was the Colonel, and if I read it right it says, "Al - Congratulations on your 30 years of dedicated service to Depot and country.  Best wishes in your retired life.  When it comes to injenuity and initative you are tops.  John M...." (can't catch that last name")

Thank you DAD for your service to our country, along with the service of many of your ancestors, brother-in-laws, sons, son-in-law, etc. etc.  

So WHY did I call it VETA Day?  Because "Eta" is now "Hurricane Eta", and it is Veterans Day, so it makes sense to me that they rename the storm "VETA".

But according to our expert weatherman, it will die back down to Tropical Storm as it goes by us...but it is also going by very close to us.

Above is the latest projected path. We are under Hurricane Watch, soon to be Tropical Storm Watch followed by Tropical Storm Warning later tonight, and Tornado Watch along with Flash Flood Watch...just about any "Watch" you could think of outside of cold weather watches.


The 1:00 pm update has already downgraded it back to a Tropical Storm!

For a little perspective...above is the latest path, the Red Arrow is where we live.  Expecting lots and lots of rain, wind gusts of 60-70 mph, and I am sure Pasco County will have Tornado Warnings soon...but thank goodness those are typically more inland.  We are about 3 miles from the Gulf.  Hoping we don't loose electricity...

Monday, November 9, 2020

Eta Bearing Down on Us


So...start with a Tropical Storm which may be a Hurricane when it passes off our coast (close enough that we will have high winds and massive rains), or do I start with pictures of Indy.  Well, as you can see, Indy wins again!  Took her to the dog park twice this week.  The first time was kind of a dud, as she had the small park to herself while the large dog area had a number of large dogs there.  But today, she had a few dogs just her size.

This dog, which is an older dog, was the right size...but too old to want to run and play despite Indy's many attempts to get it to play.  Eventually a dog about a third of Indy's size showed up, and it was too small.  I was so concerned about how she would interact with it, that I did not get pictures...but Indy did very well with the little dog.  

On our way home from the dog park, I decided to drop by the public library to see how it looks on Sunday.  Now, with voting over, it is once again closed down and no one was around.  So now my plans are take her to the library on Sundays, and to the dog park mid-week.

When I pulled up to the dog park, she got very excited.  When I pulled up to the Library and parked in front of the pond, she was not as excited...until I rolled down my window.  She jumped on my lap and stuck her head out and started to growl.

It was those Sandhill Cranes again.  Right after I took this picture, Indy nearly jumped out of the car.  She is fast, but I was faster.

Drove to another area by the pond and finally got her to see an Egret.  The Egret stood still for a long time, and she just did not take notice of it.

On Monday while Indy and I were at the motorhome while Marcia was at Bible Study, I was rolling down the driver window so Indy could look out and suddenly there is a BANG, and the window drops, and drops, and drops all the way down despite me taking my finger off the button.  I knew right away that I busted a window regulator.  Thank goodness I take my Kindle and the Air Card each Monday, and I was able to find out how to remove the Door Panel.  I then was able, using a pair of long nose locking pliers to hold the window in the up position, but it was still open by an inch.  I taped the inch portion to keep bugs out, and went to take Marcia home.

Once home I looked at another YouTube on how to get the regulator out and put a new one in.  Not much room to work with, and you have to drill out some rivets.  Also I found out that this is a very common item which breaks on the Fords.  I went back to the motorhome with a couple of clamps, bought a small C-clamp from ACE Hardware, and after cutting a wire from the regulator which was binding, not allowing the window to raise up, I got the window up, secured it with the clamps, and now we can drive until I get it fixed.  Talked to Arny, and he also told me that this is a very common breakage item with Ford, and if wait until we get back to California he has all the tools and new rivets to fix it.  I just wanted to be sure we could drive it in case this pending storm got real big and real close.

Which brings me to ETA.  Eta hit the coast of Nicaragua very close to a category 5 hurricane.  It turned north into Honduras and made another turn to the east and headed to Cuba.  It dropped to a Tropical Depression, but back to a Tropical Storm before it hit Cuba.  Now it is battering the Keys just shy of Hurricane strength.  Above you can see the current track projection, which takes it off our coast and hitting Florida between Cedar Keys and Crystal River.


Above is the projected wind speeds.  A level one hurricane has winds from 74-95 mph.  Sometime Monday and into Wednesday morning it is projected to be a Level One Hurricane.  But it is projected to drop back down to a Tropical Storm Wednesday as it gets closer to the Tampa coast...we are just north of Tampa by some 40 miles.  So if all holds, it will be a Tropical Storm as it goes by us.

Above is the radar of the storm passing over the Keys.  So far we have only had some minor winds, with no rain...but by tomorrow the rains will come and last through Friday...very heavy at times with heavy winds from time to time.  For now, we will ride it out as is...but if it intensifies, we will probably drive inland and/or south.  It just doesn't look like we will need to do that.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Indy Watching TV and Hurricane Season Not Over

Sunday has become Dog Park day.  Looked like it was going to rain, so I took her over around 1 pm.  Pull up and I have her look out the front window and boy did she get excited.  We enter, these two dogs were the only other dogs in the park at the time. She goes over, turns around and follows me to the bench I sit on.  The other two dogs gave her a quick sniff, but did not follow us.

Did not take long and she went right over to join them. Eventually she and the white dog were chasing each other all over the area.  The other brown dog joined in a little, but did not want to run as much.  Both of these dogs are adults, and Indy is still a puppy...she was slightly bigger than the other two, and much faster.  Two other dogs arrived, both smaller than these three, but they did not come over to my area, and Indy was off exploring the smells of the park.  Never saw her mark the territory so much, like six or seven times!  She came over to me and I could tell she was tired, so we left.  She is REALLY getting to love the Dog Park. 

Ended up that the rain missed us completely...but with the very HIGH humidity, I am glad we went early.

So-Far-So-Good on the Condo and Service Dog notification we sent a couple of weeks ago.  Since the form, which we worked out through a mediation through HUD and the Condo Association back in 2014, is NOT an application but a "notification", there is nothing they (association) should vote on or approve.  But earlier this year with Bubba the Board, as it was constituted then, tried, to no avail, to take action.  We shot that down very quickly.  I have a feeling that with this new board president, things will go as smooth as it is suppose to go with Indy.

So that we don't have to watch the bombardment of Political TV Ads, and the bombardment of the Medicare Commercials and the "Abused Boy Scouts" Commercials, we have been streaming McLeod's Daughters, a Canadian TV Series which ran eight seasons from August 8, 2001 to January 31, 2009.  It is just one of those shows you can watch without having to worry about what is going on in the world.  We entered season six yesterday, so by the time we have word on how the election turned out, we should be done with it.  Unfortunately, the Boy Scouts commercials will run through most of November, and Medicare will run into January and beyond.

But the thing is that Indy has been watching the TV too.  Sometimes she will get up from her bed or the floor she is laying on, give a growl, and go over to the TV and stand on her legs.  Many times a baby or another dog or a horse will have caught her attention, but sometimes it is just whatever is on.  I have tried to get a picture of her doing this, and finally got this one above with my phone.  (The reaction from when I push the "take picture button" and the picture actually being taken under poor lights made it hard to capture.)

We have a couple more weeks of the Hurricane Season.  This one has been very active, but has missed Florida for the most part...although Hurricane Sally took a bridge out in the Pensacola area along with damage to some structures.  Above is the predicted path of Hurricane Zeta, taken days before it actually hit the US.  For the most part it followed this path, although the time line was sped up by a day or two.  It is amazing how well they are predicting these things now days.

Paul Dellegatto is the local Fox station weather guru.  He has been with Fox-13 since 1990, and has been the Chief Meteorologist since 1997.  He worked as a Meteorologist in Portland, Maine then became a Chief Meteorologist  in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  By far he is the area's Hurricane expert. Hard to say how many hurricanes he has monitored, and unlike "some" weathermen, he does not go out into them for "show"...he has a huge respect for them.  He is also a huge Tampa Hockey, Baseball, Football and Soccer fan.  I think he likes Hockey the best.  And with the "lock down" he has been doing much of his weather from home, and his dog Brody is famous for interrupting one of his broadcast. (youtube it)

Anyway, his latest tweet about Tropical Storm ETA (above) provides a bit of an apprehension as if we will dodge the Hurricanes this season or not.  Look at this latest NOAA forecast below...

So our eyes will be once again watching another Hurricane.  The "what ifs" are many right now, with a worse case scenario of it turning into the Gulf of Hondurus, follow a path between Cuba and Cancun and head right for the Tampa Bay area.  Then again, it could just head north and hit Louisiana again, or make a U-Turn and head over Cuba and out to the Atlantic. 

Lots of "what ifs" now, but we should know within a few days.