Post Fay report

Fay came and went (eventually) and other than wiping out the garden, was pretty much a good event here. We picked up the 8-10” we had hoped for and avoided the nasty flooding some areas experienced. I don’t believe we ever got wind over 35 mph and we only lost power for a few seconds Friday morning about 2AM. The lake is back up to what I’d call a normal level so I can start fishing from my boat again. Brevard County picked up quite a bit because the storm moved so slowly. My sister in Melbourne got over 30” between Tuesday and Wednesday which is fairly impressive. Lots of flooding – of course in subdivisions that didn’t exist 20 years ago. I checked with the Lake Mary Carbone’s and they were getting plenty of rain but no flooding and plenty of room still in the area retention ponds. They had some issues with the drainage pattern in the back yard since it was re-landscaped but nothing sounded serious. Funny how it floods more since the farms, raw land and jungles have been replaced with concrete. We really don’t have much flood danger here for exactly that reason – mostly rural, heavily vegetated with few paved roads. And since we’re elevated and on a well, we don’t have to worry about overloaded, flooded sewage systems that are causing so much concerns in the developed areas. The news channels have so much at stake for a blockbuster event, that they just beat these things to death. This one actually brought relief from the non stop story of Casey and Caylee Anthony. Thank goodness Michael Phelps got his medal job done before the storm.

As far as the garden goes – maybe I should have planted rice.

The biggest casualty was that Joey’s chemo appointment was postponed twice. He finally was treated on Thursday but the doc said he’ll go back on the regular Tuesday schedule for the next go round. Tuesday’s are good since he more or less recovers from the droopsies by Saturday when the cruise business is nominally best. He felt bad right after this treatment which is unusual but by the next day, he was feeling great. Then the follow up Neulasta shot followed by the 2 day hangover. He talked to the doctor a a bit about signs of progress or lack thereof. The Dr. said that all his blood numbers were good and that since all the symptoms he had before the diagnosis had disappeared, the signs were positive. Interestingly he said that since he never had any blood markers – meaning the cancer was never showing in any of the blood chemistry – there isn’t any positive way to check on the cancer directly until they do a PET scan downstream. I took that as positive since you’d have to guess that it’s not good for the blood to be impacted as it would be in a more advanced condition.

And the boat made it through unscathed. It remains to be seen whether all the rain raised the river to a level that will prevent them from sailing under the bridges for awhile. The mast is 65′ and the nominal clearance under the bridge is about 65′ – maybe a little more slack – but it might be that for a while they’ll have to cruise around between bridges rather than going under them. Since the river is part of the intracoastal system – open to the ocean at several places – it will only be high for a little while.

The olympics are getting lamer and lamer. With the storm we got to watch lots of daytime activities. Seems to me like they’ve incorporated lots of circus acts now. No kidding, I’m pretty sure I saw the one with little girls throwing rings around at Circqu de Soleil. So they kill softball and add artistic gymnastics. barf. I did enjoy the new dirt bike racing event. We got about an hour of boxing and virtually no basketball but plenty of phoo phoo events. The Olympics have definitely gone feminine. I vote to bring back chariot racing.

Chris, Fay, Joey and the Olympics

We had a great time with Chris. It could have been longer but not sure how much more country living he could deal with. He did bring us up to speed on a couple New York terms that I thought you need to know. Around here you get a hair cut. There they get their wig busted. And if you get your hair fixed up, that’s getting your wig bumped. So if you go to NY and need an emergency hair job, you know how to ask for it.

I also confirmed again how great it is to be out of the work force. Or rather, to have been in the work force prior to cell phones, texting, blackberries, etc etc. This generation of worker bees are tethered to the office by these devices. When I was on the road, if I needed to know something I called in – if and when a phone was available. If they needed me, they would leave a message with my secretary so on one call, I had a complete dump. And I could always just leave somebody in charge who could deal with the day to day minutia. Now when Joey, Tommy, or Chris are traveling – no exaggeration, it’s rare that 5 minutes would go by without some kind of electronic communication. With Tom that’s 24/7; Joey is saner and in his case, that’s how he books business. With Chris, it’s more or less constant all day and until he craters at night. The only reason I know Tom is 24/7 is because we traveled together to Missouri so I experienced the chirps of incoming messages all night. That has to be so stressful and something I just didn’t have to deal with.
We’re waiting now for the storm named Fay. I suspect the only casualty will be my corn and Joey’s Chemo treatment which has been postponed a day. This treatment should mark the halfway point.

I did my due diligence to make sure we don’t get anything serious by filling up all the gas cans – 20 gallons worth – and positioning the generator for easy access. If we do lose power it tends to be lengthy since the power company doesn’t service us jungle folk on any kind of priority. We’ve had a couple of inches of rain in the past few days and if we’re lucky we could another 4-6 before it’s passed. I do enjoy the news during these events. My favorite is watching the news folks trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill. “Now to our reporter stationed at the National storm center” The cameras pan a room with folks laid back with their feet on the desk drinking coffee and telling jokes. The reporter meanwhile is describing the scene as a beehive of activity, high tension etc. “Now we switch to Skip Skipson, on the beach”. The camera goes to a guy fully decked out in Nor’easter kind of gear with people swimming in a calm surf or just laying on beach towels reading. The reporter describes the high level of preparedness, high tension etc. And there’s always the thinning of the gene pool when some dumb ass does something like decide to climb a power pole to get a better view. In this case it was a guy who went kite surfing down in SW Florida when the storm was making landfall. They actually caught this guy flying horizontally for quite a distance and crashing into a building. This will probably count as a storm casualty but no doubt this guy was destined to die of the dumb ass at some time.
Watching the Olympics on and off. I was disappointed with the fencing. I was expecting some Three Musketeer stuff – swinging from chandeliers, jumping on tables, slashing ropes that brought the tent down on the bad guy – you know what I mean. This Olympic version lasts at the longest 1 second. I never once saw anything resembling an Errol Flynn or Burt Lancaster move. No blood, no broken blades. Boring. I don’t think there should be an Olympic event that lasts less that 10 seconds except for the 100 meter races.

Other Olympic highlights:
rowing. very impressed that they can put so much weight into such a skinny boat. Not sure how in the world they get in and out unless the boat is put into some locking gate. I have a 32” wide John boat which would be considered a narrow John boat. You really have to be careful getting in and out to keep it from tipping. Just ask Fred.

The other sport I like to watch because I have some personal experience with is Kayaking
I can tell you that I would not make it one foot or one second on the kayak course before I’d be dumped. Of course I’d have my fishing equipment with me and these guys are not trying to cast while heading downstream. I actually did some white water stuff in Oregon that was about one ten thousandth of the wimpiest part of the olympic course and dumped a couple of times.

And I sure have some doubts about team makeup’s in terms of nationalities. For example there’s a guy playing on the German team whose great grandparents were from Germany. Give me a break. I should think at the very minimum you should have to have citizenship in a country to play on the national team.

The other crackup was watching the parade of countries in the opening ceremony. I’m totally convinced that some of those countries don’t really exist or are rich guys who bought an island and somehow get it classified as a country for tax reasons.

Next to the USA, I root for the Dutch teams. That’s because they wear gator colors.

My pet peeve – allowing events in the Olympics where there is no clear winner but rather some averaging of scores from judges. The ancient Greeks must turn over in their graves at the thought of all that 9.7 stuff. Can you honestly remember any Olympics in which there was not a judging controversy on one of these judged competitions? And can they test for age when testing for drugs. They have special olympics for disabled folks so maybe they should have a special olympics for children. It just seems wrong, wrong, wrong to have an olympic sport dominated by kids under 16. Synchronized swimming? Pleeese.
And last but not least, little Tommy is in Missouri and ready to start classes next week. Wow! How in the world did he go from a kid making his first cast to a college guy soooo fast?

news and trivia

Joey completed treatment 3 and so far his after treatment pattern is holding. We took Chris over to Cocoa Monday to see the boat. We had lunch with Joey and Mark and then did a grand tour of the beach from Melbourne south to Cocoa Beach. We stopped over at the Beach Place Guest House Resort where Joey goes to recuperate. I was impressed with the setup. It’s a set of cottages that were once off-base housing from the 40’s when it was Banana River Naval Air Station which predated Patrick Air Force Base. You can barely see the place from the road behind the vegetation but it’s a rustic, beach front without all the crowds of a Holiday Inn or other modern, commercial beach place. I can sure see how spending a couple of days there would be quite relaxing and a good place to recuperate. I sure appreciate the guys who own the place being so kind to help out like that.
I have to pass this one along. Anybody who has a bird feeder in an area with squirrels knows how tough it is to keep the tree rats out of the bird feeder. I’ve basically given up. I had talked about this to my friend Lou Daniels and he agreed. Right now he’s up in North Carolina escaping the summer heat and visiting a fishing buddy of his who has a cabin in the mountains. He too was having a devil of a time keeping a bird feeder going because of squirrels. He researched it and found a book named Squirrel Busters or something along those lines. It gave him several designs that work 100% and I thought I’d pass them along. There’s a rule called the 5 – 7 – 9 rule that you need to follow. Any hanging feeder must be at least 5′ from the ground because that’s the highest a squirrel can jump. It must be 7′ from any jumping point on the side because that’s the farthest a squirrel can leap horizontally. And it must be 9′ beneath any kind of overhang. They can drop 9′ and grab ahold of anything but any higher and they can’t stop. That’s good poop but here’s a couple of good designs.

If you are stringing a wire between a couple of poles or trees with the feeder hanging in the middle, string 6” pieces of 1/4” pvc on the wire between the tree and the feeder from both sides. When the squirrel tries to walk out the pieces of pvc rotate and spins him off. You have to have a turnbuckle on one end so you can make sure the line is taut. Very clever. But here’s an even better one. Say you are pole mounting a feeder. Hang a slinky from the bottom of the feeder and if possible around the pole. I think it would work if it was just close to the pole. When the squirrel jumps up, he grabs the slinky and is bounced right back to the ground. Now is that a great idea or what.
Saw one on TV the other day that cracked me up. In my top 10 things I hate, home owner’s associations are right near the top. It would be impossible for me to live in any area that had a home owner’s association. Not sure where this story was being reported but some folks have decided that one way to be extra green, conserve energy, do the carbon foot print etc – I think they actually wanted to cut the power bill – was to hang out their laundry and shut off the dryer. Nancy and I have always hung out the clothes because we like the way sundried laundry feels and smells. We’ve also always had a drier so we’re not dependent on the weather. So the reporter interviews several of the homeowners who were sneaking around to hang their clothes and they gave all the politically correct reasons. Sort of like the people who put an American Flag on their lawn to honor the troops or whatever. Then they interview the grinch – the head of the home owners association. He looked like a McNasty kind of old fart so it was a perfect interview. It – hanging out laundry – trashed up the neighborhood, ruined home values, and was just plain nasty. I’d probably just burn the jerk’s house down which is why I should never live in such a community.

But it brought to mind a personal story you might find funny. A few years back Nancy was having some shoulder problems and asked me if I’d mind hanging the wash. It was a beautiful, sunny day and I agreed. After a month or so it just became routine that she would wash the clothes and I would hang them out. Mostly she would take in the dry ones because for some reason she didn’t like the way I folded them. I quit arguing about that and just leave them for her to take down. One Friday she was doing the wash and loaded up the wash basket (as usual). I walked down the hall and picked up the basket (as usual) but she said, “oh, don’t bother, I’ll do it”. “oh, I don’t mind”. “No, I’ll just do it today”. “well how come all of a sudden you’re going to hang the wash?” “Well, we’re having company and they may get here before the wash is dry”. Our niece Joanne and her friend Edna were going to spend the weekend with us at the lake. “So what difference does that make?” “Well, you don’t hang the clothes right and I don’t want them to see it that way”.”What the ……… do you mean, I don’t hang it right. Seems the clothes have been getting dry with me hanging them for about 6 months now so how can I be doing it wrong?” “Well, you don’t hang the socks side by side heading in the same direction for one thing” and then she went on to list several stylistic hanging rules that I never knew existed and for which she would be banned by the sisterhood if they ever saw the wash hanging. Needless to say I got my job back the next wash day that dame around and I just relinquish my post whenever company is coming.
So maybe that’s what this homeowner’s association jerk was so worked up about – people have forgotten the proper techniques and the art of hanging has gone dormant.