the two Ernestos

Ernesto could be the perfect storm. I’m posting this input after listening to the latest report which puts the storm as a minimal Tropical storm about midway between Cuba and South Florida. The forecaster had a tear in his eye as he used the term “minor” severe storm. That sounded like an oxymoron to me but he just couldn’t bring himself to say that we were going to just have a good rain storm later in the week and let it go at that. Also, the total hurricane system is in full motion now with evacuations, shelters, emergency services etc etc etc and there’s just too much momentum for anyone to admit this is just a ho hum summer storm. When I say Ernesto could be the perfect storm, what I mean is that we get plenty of rain to start filling the lake; not much wind so we don’t have things flying around and trees crashing down around us; schools close so the kids get an unexpected break; and we lose power for a while. In a perfect storm we’d lose power for exactly one tank of gas in the new generator so that the expense and hard work in setting it up and cabling is justified.. My biggest worry is Joey riding it out on the boat. I noticed a couple of pilings near his boat that still had not been reset since the last storm and I have some concerns about those breaking loose and acting like torpedos in the marina. I’m also concerned that when it breaks loose of Florida it will strengthen and head up the east coast, potentially screwing up our planned trip next week. We were going to take the real coastal route including the ferries and all the outerbanks – which may not exist after a good storm. The other thing I’m really interested in seeing is how the beaches fare. The counties and state have just spent about $40M in sand restoration which really seemed dumb to me. Storms pull out sand and deposit sand – it’s just a fact of nature and I always cringe when politicians get in the loop and try to fight mother nature.

But the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Ernesto is my grandfather. I barely remember him since he died when I was about 5 years old but there’s still a mind picture way down deep. He was white haired with a big bushy mustache and most often smoking a big, black cigar. I remember sitting around the big table eating an Italian feast where the food just kept coming, and coming and coming. A huge bowl of pasta was just a small part of the whole event but I remember being stuffed before they cleared the table and broke out the turkey. My grandfather kept saying, “eat, eat, mange mange or something like that.No wonder I turned into a fat kid. He was born in Italy but I don’t know where or when. He was fairly old when my father was born to his second wife and my dad was born in 1916. So my best guess is that he was probably born in the 1870’s. I get to that by estimating he was in his late 50’s or early 60’s when he died in 1945. He was a pharmacist in Italy and opened a drug store when he immigrated to Philadelphia. That was probably in the time frame between 1900 and 1910 but I can’t be certain about that either. I do have one picture of him that I check from time to time, especially since they named the storm after him. I wonder how they knew???

Voting Democrat

Well, I might have found a Democrat that I could vote for. To the best of my knowledge I’ve never voted for a Dem, not even JFK. But the other night I listened to the Democrat candidates for governor debate each other. It wasn’t intentional but the debates came on right after the Lehrer News report and I was down to the last few numbers in a tough Sudoku puzzle and wasn’t paying much attention to the TV. I got up to turn it off, planning to listen to XM, when I heard one Dem land a body blow on the other. That got my attention and I thought, if what this guy just said is correct, the guy who was slammed could be my dream candidate. Although I always vote Republican, I’m much more of a libertarian and only vote Republican because they come closer to what I really want – which is almost no government at all. A big army would cover me just fine; get rid of the rest of them. So when Dem #1 accused Dem#2 of having the worst attendance record in congress and having missed more votes than almost any other congressman, I’m thinking I may have found my guy. If enough politicians behaved such that there was never a voting quoram, just think how little damage they could do. The absentee guy’s name is Jim Davis. I’m interested enough that I plan to email him and ask him to make a pledge to the effect that he’ll be the most absentee Governor in Fla history. If he does, he’s got my vote for sure. If he backs off, I’ll know it’s politics as usual and he really does plan to do things – and in my mind, since he’s a Democrat, doing all the wrong things. Fingers crossed……

But first he has to win the Democrat primary. I can’t vote in that but I’m hoping the majority of the Democrats agree with me and name Davis as their guy.

Pierson News

Big Pierson News. I think I mentioned that we had a real, albiet mini, deli right here in downtown Pierson. It’s real because it makes decent sandwiches and uses nothing but Boars Head cold cuts. The family that operates it sounds like they are from Jersey or NY – definitely Dago’s. We got stuck there in the rain this week and started chatting with the owners and they sprung the news. They will be opening a Pizzeria and Bakery adjacent to the deli. They have a set of plans that will make the place look like an old world restaurant with a courtyard. The guys brother in law, an Italian baker, is moving over from Milan and will bake bread and pastries. They said that they just couldn’t find any decent bread within shipping range, especially hard rolls. Man do I agree with that assessment. They will be installing a brick oven, the right kind to do pizza and crusty bread. I just hope the locals are able to support a good bread and pastry operation. I think the pizza will go just fine since there’s nothing within about 15 miles of Pierson and I think Pizza will be an ok crossover for the Mexicans.
And I’m reasonably sure there won’t be any ham and pineapple pizza options.


Nancy always tells me I’m full of crap – or a crap equivalent. I have an opportunity to see if she’s factually correct Friday. As part of a physical, I’m having a colonoscopy on Friday. Since we have a family history of colon cancer, it seems like a good idea to have an internal check every five years or so. As anyone who has had one will tell you, the procedure itself is a nothing but the test prep is a bit unpleasant. Basically you want your innards cleaned out which means no input and lots of output. Seems like a perfect opportunity to make an actual measurement to see just how full of crap I am. So my plan is to weigh in Wednesday PM which is the point of last solid input and again on Friday at 8AM which is when I leave for the hospital. We should then have a definitive answer as a percentage of total body weight.

I do feel a bit snookered. The standard way of triggering the cleansing is to take two bottles of this really nasty tasting liquid over a day’s time. You can mix this stuff with anything you want but previous experimentation proves that it can make any liquid nasty tasting. And it gets nastier with each new drink you consume. You don’t want to mix it with something you like because forever after you’ll taste it when you pop an old favorite. That’s why I never mixed it with Bud Lite. For some people it’s throw up nasty but I manage to get it all down. I was recently told that you really don’t need to take the liquid but can just take a pill. Certainly that seems preferable so I mentioned that to the doc and he said, “sure, no problem” and wrote the prescription for the pills instead of the liquid. On leaving the office, the nurse gives me the written instructions, at which point I learn that it’s not a pill but rather 28 pills. The pills are to be taken 3 at a time about 15 mintues apart with 8 oz of fluid each time. This starts 24 hours before the procedure and has programmed gaps in time between pill batches. This is more than a gallon of fluid intake. In addition to that they want you to take in plenty of other fluids. So after reading all the instructions, I’m not sure this pill thing is really going to be any more pleasant than the nasty liquid. I then found out the next downside to the pills – cost. These pills cost about $80 compared to maybe $2 for the liquid. Had I known that, for sure I would have gone liquid. And you really have to be a pill taker to deal with these. When I hear the word pill, I think aspiran. These guys are giant by my pill standard. I don’t have trouble with pills but anyone who does would choke on these for sure. I was also snookered into an upper test. The Doc said that as long as I was sedated, it made sense to do an endoscopy as well and it would be stupid not to. He presented it in such a fashion that it would have been really bad form to say no.

The day. I weighed in at 190 on our scale and started the pill sequence at 9AM. As it turns out there was one more complication which I knew would make the next 48 hours memorable. On Tuesday I started getting those back pains you get with a kidney stone. I can’t describe the pain but it’s quite sharp and occurs on a regular basis rather than continuously. All day Wednesday they were on a two hour cycle where the pain is killer for about 10 minutes and gone within 20. I made the calculated risk to go thru with the colonoscopy knowing that it was potentially not going to be pretty. My focus would surely be spread between the two and maybe that would be a good thing. I decided to start flooding my system on Tuesday in an effort to maybe flush out the stone before Friday. And, oh yeah, I got an armful of spider mite bites on Wednesday which was driving me crazy as well. I have to believe I’m maxed out on what’s going on with me – kind of a negative perfect storm

And the answer – 5 pounds. Of course I haven’t eaten anything in 36 hours so I think I would have lost most of that anyway. So how does 1% crap sound. Certainly a long way from “full of crap”. And oh yeah, definitely the pills are better – worth whatever Nancy paid for them.

I’m off for the party. Wish me luck.

no no Vero

Well we’re definitely not moving to Vero Beach. Scratch that one off the list of potentials. We went down last Saturday for Nancy to attend a mini-high school reunion. So many of her classmates live in Fl that they get together on occasion – I guess just to hear New York accents. I dropped her off at the meeting place, the Lobster Shanty, and headed for the beach. I figured to get in a few hours fishing while she re-uned.

My first jolt was crossing the intracoastal at Wabasso – that’s a few miles south of Sebastian. The last time I crossed that bridge it was a small, wooden swivel style bridge. Now it’s a gigantic concrete monster kind of bridge. There was all kinds of great fishing in the river there and plenty of places to just pull over and wade the shoreline. No more. Now a very, very public park with loads of skiers and personal watercraft have the river churned to a froth. Certainly no place to wade even if any self respecting trout or snook would swim there.

So much for river fishing; on to the beach to surf fish. I was prepared for both. The first few miles were wall to wall multi jillion dollar homes but I did find a beach access about a mile or so south of the inlet. There were only two cars parked there so I knew it would be quiet. I walked a block or so on a sand path over the berm and sure enough the ocean was right where I left it. There were a few people swimming but no other fisherman on the beach. Several boats trolling a hundred yards or so offshore but no surf fishing. It looked perfect so I set up and scanned the shoreline for sandfleas. Yep, plenty of signs. I dug down and immediately learned that the sand construct was quite different than I’m used to. It’s soft for the first inch and then turns to super hard, gravelly kind of material. I figured I could work with that but my first scoop yielded only micro fleas; not one I’d think about keeping. I worked the shore for the next 20 minutes until my fingertips were seriously sore and came up with one flea that would be a marginal keeper in Flagler. So I ended up with “3 to a hook” kind of sandfleas. The only thing that could save the trip was a fish. Didn’t happen.

So the bottom line for me is with only micro sandfleas, the area between Sebastian and Vero is a no-go. I wondered if the people in those mansions checked that out before they built. At least I learned the bad news before I made any investment there.

More Reel talk

Since my reel refurb input, I’ve been fishing with the old reels and want to make some observations visa vis comparison with modern gear.

The most significant difference between the old and new is that the older reels require a bit more thumb control since they have a less precise spool braking system. The old reels have a centrifugal system but it uses only 2 slider weights whereas the new reels have 6. The new reels also have a magnetic adjustment which is nonexistent on the originals. The other difference that impacts casting is that on the new reels, the level wind disengages when the spool disengages so as the line unspools, there is a dynamic angle between the line and the guide. Personally I think that drags it a bit and results in line position discontinuities when you start the retrieve. By that I mean that wherever the guide happened to be when you made the cast, that’s where it starts to rewind the line when you engage the spool- regardless of the position of the line or direction of the wind. With the older reels the level wind guide remains engaged when the spool is disengaged to cast. That means that the guide follows the line exactly. To me that’s a definite plus so long as the reel is well oiled and the parts are in good shape. But if you don’t maintain the level wind mechanism, that component will slow down the whole cast. I grew up understanding that which is why I frequently oil that functional area of my reels, even the new ones. Just a habit.

So the net of it is that given both sets of gear, I can probably get a few more feet out of the older reels but for a beginner, no question, the new reels are superior. Also, one pain on the older reels is that the spool is disengaged with a separate button which requires using both hands to prepare a cast. With the new reels the spool is disengaged with a thumb bar making it much faster and more natural. I grew up with the pushbuttons and my thumb on the spool which may be one reason I never experience the problem Si has with this thumb resting on the spool release bar. I prefer the new thumb bar for sure.

I’m mostly using the 5000D but will switch over to the 2650 this week. I want to try using micro lures since that’s the reason I bought that reel in the first place. Very light reel, very light spool so it used to spin very freely with small weights. The one I really want to put to the test is the 4500C but the gears on that guy were just worn out to the point where the spool engagement was problematic. After assembling and disassembling and changing washers and springs, I have given up and taken it to a reel place. The guy said it was 40 years old and he wasn’t sure he could get the part but would try. If he crashes on me, I think I can cannibalize one of my old 5000C’s and steal the right gear to make it work. They are not identical but I think close enough to let me interchange with just a little nibbling.

final word

Complete clean bill of health from surgery. As I had been told several times over the past 10 years, it was a nothing – a lypoma. They give it a nasty sounding name but it’s just a sac of fat or water, totally benign. The doctor said it looked like a nasty flying saucer or a breast implant, whichever visualization you prefer.

A gardening tip – Use your newspaper for mulch around your plants. It keeps weeds down, is cheap, biodegradable after a year or so but most of all, reallyl holds moisture well. I had done some recent landscaping with plants that require a reasonable amount of water. That would be azaleas and Hydrangeas. I planted them in the shade so assumed the heat would not be a problem and hell, this is Florida in the summer so water is no problem at all. Wrong. While I hope these plants eventually put down some deep roots and don’t need so much attention, without any rain, these guys droop badly by the end of a day. That is until I used the paper solution. Now they hold up for 3 days without watering. And I have plenty of paper. We now take 4 regular papers and one on occasional basis. We take the Volusia News Journal. Need that so I can keep track of Chris’s weather and get the weekly fishing report; Also the daily tide chart comes in handy; the Sudoku puzzle. and nd the weekly TV guide. We get the Deland Beacon. I think we get that because of the imbedded coupons. That must be the reason for there certainly is nothing resembling news. Maybe half that of the Volusia paper which is nearly zero itself. We now get the Sanford Herald since Tommy is contributing and could one day be the managing editor after they see the quality of his inputs. And then of course we get the Lake Mary High School paper for the same reason. Of course I take the Wall Street Journal, the source of most of my vast knowledge and opinions. So you can see we have a long position on paper every day and the mulching program is a great recycler. There are probably plenty of people who read as many papers but I doubt any could tell you the water absorbtion characteristics of each and know which should be used for different kinds of mulching.

A closing thought. I have needed to run the new generator before hurricane season to get the required 5 hours of run time until the breakin oil must be changed. Nancy and the neighbors left today early so I decided today was a great day to run it. To load it, I ran the AC and dehumidifier in my shed. Then it struck me. I keep saying that the only bad thing about the generator is that it’s too small to run the house AC. But it does run the AC’s in the sheds – both of them. And since we have “his” and “her” sheds………….. At this time we have only one aero blowup bed but I can see where another one could be an essential element in the hurricane prep kit. I already have an XM radio set up in His; so if I got a small TV and unpacked one of our multiple VCR’s, Her’s could do just as well in the entertainment dept, not to mention the sewing machine setup. Bring ‘em on!

surgery update

Everything came out just fine. The fatty tissue, called a lypoma, was fully encased, unattached and I hear, came out easily. I was put out with a general anesthetic about 2:30 and fully awake by about 3:30; home at 4:30. The only misgiving I had was just before the anesthesia was administered the background music was playing “So you’ve had a bad day”. I definitely picked up on that. I have a prescription for pain medication but have not needed it – just an occasional Tylenol seems to have it well under control. Slept fine the night of the operation and ever since so all in all the only side affect is some manageable soreness. I go back next week to have the stitches removed and learn the results of testing on the tissue. Without a doubt, the critter bite on Tuesday was a far, far more painful experience.

critter attack

Had a nice encounter in the jungle yesterday. I was doing a major trim, clean and fill operation back by the picnic table. It had overgrown in the past year since I’ve fairly well ignored it after the dock was built. Anyway, I was wearing sunglasses and a sweat band around my head. I felt an irritation on my left ear where the head band and sunglasses set. I guessed that it was just rubbing and the sweat was aggravating it. I rubbed it a few times but it would not go away and in fact started to burn a bit – no doubt the salty sweat. Over the next few minutes it started to feel like a real burn and within another 5 minutes was really pounding. By then I figure this was not the head band but probably a spider bite. I actually had to sit down and decided to wrap up the task at hand and go do an alcohol and cortisone treatment. By the time I finished and walked up to the house it was throbbing and making me a bit dizzy. I took the head band off and there was the nastiest looking caterpiller/larva you have ever seen. It was a white thing with horns and hair. Really gruesome – probably an East Indian Killer wasp larva or something like that. I had squooshed him somewhere along the line. The pain had started down my neck and I could see my ear and head swelling. Nancy was at quilting so I decided to go over to Barbara and see if she could see anything to pull out. She put ice on it, sprayed it with something and gave me a benedryl. I went back home, got a shower, took another benedryl and made an ice pack. The throbbing and swelling persisted for a while so I took a couple of ibuprofen and laid down. My ear was huge, bright red and hot to touch. It was like double the normal size and along with the head swelling, I really looked like hell. In an hour or so the throbbing quit and the swelling went down. It was still sore to the touch and burned but certainly I was over the hump. By 4, about 5 hours after the sting, it was almost back to normal. We went out to dinner and I mowed the lawn when we came back – all better, no pain or burning.

That was Tuesday. Today I go get that bump cut out of my side at the Deland Surgical Center. I’m guessing that won’t hurt nearly as bad as the critter bite. The operation is at 2:30 so I expect to be home recuperating by 5 or so. They told me to fast from Midnight which means no food or water. I took the liberty to have a cup of coffee this morning secure in the knowledge that I’ve given it plenty of time to work through my system. If the surgery had been scheduled for 6AM, the fast still would have started at midnight so that must be so much bunk.