Mile 22 (2018)
An interesting aside on Joey. The first time he went to the doctor he was feeling ill and the doctor ordered a biopsy on his lymph system which involved cutting into a lymph node on his neck. That was supposed to be a benign test but in Joey’s case it created some kind of pocket or something that filled up with fluid and produced a lump on his neck that was a couple inches in diameter. The doctor said not to worry he would just aspirate it. He did but in a day, the lump was back. The aspiration – refill process went on for several weeks and the oncologist told him to just forget about it that perhaps it would go away with the chemo treatments. It didn’t so he went back to the original guy after the treatments were completed and got an appointment for an operation to fix it once and for all. Fast forward to Sunday. Joey came over for a visit and helped with some yard work and had a nice home cooked meal. This morning he called and said the lump had disappeared overnight. He seems to think it just went it’s course but Nancy and i are convinced it was the fabulous meal which included a whole roasted chicken stuffed with fresh basil from the garden and limes from George’s lime tree. He also ate a Satsuma orange from our tree’s first crop and perhaps that has curative properties heretofore unknown. I really can’t buy that it just â€œwent awayâ€.
The citrus is coming on strong. The tangerine tree is loaded with bright orange fruit and for the first time, our satsuma tree has oranges. I never ate a satsuma and am not exactly sure why I ever planted it but am I sure glad I did. The oranges are bigger than the tangerines and have thicker, very peelable skin, and a really sweet flavor. I love tangerines but after eating one of the satsumas, I’m throwing rocks at the tangerines. We will have bushels of grapefruit, reds and whites. They come on in December and this cold snap we’re having should sweeten them up just fine. And we’ve crossed over on the garden where it’s putting out more food than we can consume. That will end when we get a frost but until then…………….
Remember I mentioned the rabbits eating the peas. Well, I may have a solution softer than shooting them. Years ago George had access to concrete cylinders that are used to test batches of concrete. These cylinders are 18â€ tall by 6â€ in diameter and weigh 33 lbs. The mixer pours these cylinders and then puts them in a compression tester to verify that the mix is correct. The cylinders are then throw aways. George picked up thousands – literally thousands of these cylinders. So I decided to try using them as a fence around the garden. I know a really athletic rabbit could jump over but I’m thinking maybe their vision will be blocked and they won’t know what treasures are hiding behind the wall of cylinders. What a job that turned out to be. The perimeter of the garden is roughly 100′ so that’s 200 cylinders to be lugged and stacked. Do the math – that’s over 3 tons of lift, carry, and setup. I am soooooo sore. Nancy came up with some kind of EMU based muscle relaxing cream and I had some muscle relaxing bath salt that Chris came up with. I’m suspicious of the Blue Emu even though it says Super Strength because it doesn’t stink or burn and everybody knows it takes both of those properties to make it a good rub. I think Chris’s stuff might work because it ate away the grout around the tub drain. Those plus a couple of extra strength something or other and a tall glass of cabernet seems to have it under control. If I had it to do over again, shoot the rabbits.
Wildlife sighting – There were three wild turkeys walking in the field beside the house this morning. We see wild turkeys quite often out and about but this is the closest to the house. They are really large, impressive birds. As luck would have it, Nancy had just picked up a turkey at Publix yesterday or I would have considered them as a potential Thanksgiving meal. You know, back to the original Thanksgiving. Not really – they are probably tough old birds compared to the fare we’re used to.
I’m liking the position Florida is in right now at #4 in the BCS rankings. If Florida and Alabama win the next 2 games, that sets up an SEC championship game where the winner will surely be in the final BCS championship game. The Big 12 has an interesting situation where either the #2 or #3 team has to play #14 (Missouri) for the Big 12 Championship and Missouri is capable of taking that game. But we still have to get past Florida State. A match-up I’d love to see in one of the BCS games is Utah – Missouri. With Tom as a Utah grad and Little Tommy as a Missouri student – there would be lots of hootin and hollerin going on there.
Politics – I think Obama is coming out of the shoot with two big mistakes and a winner. The big mistakes are to reinstate the ban on offshore drilling and to up the ante in Afghanistan. Wonder what the exit strategy from that nasty mess is?. Maybe we should ask the Brit’s or the Russians how they got into that and eventually left with their tail between their legs. Those two are going to come back and haunt him in a couple of years. The winner is that he’s going to try to get a college football playoff system in place.
The week at Flagler Beach was great as usual. Especially If you like fishing and eating. The surf was loaded with Blues and sharks so I had a ball from Saturday until Wednesday. On Thursday it turned windy and the surf was booming. Along with that it was loaded with seaweed so the fishing was a tough go. Over the past year I had upgraded my surf tackle to the point where I can fairly well deal with any condition – except seaweed. So I switched modes and fished in a canal off the Halifax River and had a good time away from the surf as well. All in all I suspect I spent 8 hours a day fishing one way or another.
Nancy spent about that much time on sewing and quilting projects and watching cable TV on the flat screen HD machine. Every time I checked in on her she was watching a channel identified as TLC. Best I could tell it should be called the CDC for Constant Drivel Channel. I can see where having the cable would be a source of marital problems. On Thursday her bridge partner from Crescent City came over to Palm Coast and they hooked up for a bridge game at that club. They took first place in the A division which is quite n accomplishment. And since our visit last April, they completed a Super Target about 6 miles away so the place is getting closer to heaven for Nancy all the time.
As to the eating, we hit all of our favorites and tried a couple of new places. Most memorable of the new ones is a European style bakery and cafe. It’s a breakfast and lunch place and we’d seen it being developed for quite some time but this was the first visit since it had actually opened. Personally I’m not much into European places but driving by a couple a times, you couldn’t help but notice that there was quite a crowd so we decided to try it. It’s a small place, seats maybe 40, and as soon as we walked in, I knew it would not be my favorite place. It was full and I quickly noted that I was the only guy there. Uh oh – obviously a quiche and crepe kind of operation. Yep. I ended up with some kind of spinach and sausage omelet that was good, I guess; but when I have eggs, I need a certain amount of grease. Nancy got a special chicken crepe that was unlike any I had ever seen since it was topped with quite a bit of stuff and the crepe was buried in the pile. She said it was wonderful. And loud – can you imagine 40 women in a small room all talking at once. The table next to us was 4 ladies celebrating a birthday. I was impressed that a couple of them were able to lift their arms with the loads of jewelry they were sporting.
We also tried a place called Blue. It’s an upscale place where you need a platinum card for dinner but offers an affordable lunch. I have to admit the food was excellent and the portions large so the prices were justified. We’d go back for lunch but for me it didn’t achieve â€œfavoriteâ€ status.
Nancy spotted a new (to us) breakfast place way back off the main roads. She passed it on her way to a bridge game and said the parking lot was jammed so we added it to the list of â€œshould triesâ€. Talk about a home run. We have a new favorite breakfast place in Flagler. Actually we have two favorite breakfast places – the Java hut for a casual, not to big breakfast; and this new place for a major league, I’m not going to eat again for 8 hours kind of breakfast.
And the Flagler Fish Company was as good as always.
About the garden. George and Barbara got quite a good load of stuff during our absence. Even so, I picked enough stuff when we got home to fill up the vegetable bin in the fridge. I noticed right away that the peas were history. They were up about 6â€ when we left and I expected them to be a foot up the trellis by this week. Instead they looked like a mower had trimmed them at the 1â€ level. This was the second planting with exactly the same results. I thought I had planted the first peas too close to the scrub and grasshoppers had nailed them. The second batch was in the middle of the garden under the assumption that the hoppers would find better eating before getting to the middle. The theory was probably ok but the culprits turned out to be rabbits not grasshoppers. George came out one morning and a rabbit was mowing them down. The lettuce seems to be doing just fine so they must not recognize it as edible yet. I’ve watched the rabbits eating before in the lawn and they pick out the clover and leave most everything else. The small pea plants do resemble clover so I guess that’s it. They weren’t a probably last year and I suspect that was because we still had a few cats running around. Maybe I was too quick to pop the cats. Rabbits are very slow…………………
Trying something new. I mentioned that the beach was loaded with seaweed. So I got one of those 50 gallon black plastic bags and loaded up about 50 pounds of seaweed. I know that seaweed based fertilizers are touted as the best so I decided to use the seaweed as mulch in the garden. We’ll see. Maybe the smell will ward off the rabbits. My sisters ex second husband is a horse guy and supposedly if I take my truck over, he’ll load me up with a ton of well matured horse manure. Maybe the smell will ward off the rabbits. Should I trust my sister’s ex husband?
We went to the funeral of a very dear old friend this week. Tom Nichols was 93 and had mostly lost his sight and hearing but was still his old, witty self when we last saw him alive two weeks ago. What I’ll personally remember most about Tom is his fervor for all sports but mostly for Notre Dame. I really have never liked Notre Dame so over the years that was a source of kidding between us. In 30 years, I have never watched a Notre Dame game or saw their name in the paper that I didn’t think immediately of Tom. If I live to be 93, I’m sure I’ll never see Notre Dame without mentally hooking up with Tom. If you talked any sports with Tom, you better know your stuff because he had it all covered – any sport, any stat, for the past 70 years. He never ceased to amaze me. After he retired he took up wood working as a hobby and made lots of small yard pieces. It got really scarey as his eyes failed and he was still out in the garage with a small band saw. Luckily, he decided to quit before he lost any body parts. We had a ritual with his daughter, Betty. Every other week we’d travel to Altamonte on Sunday afternoon and have a pizza, some wings, and a few beers. We ordered enough to fill us and take a doggy bag home for Gramps. Not sure what we’ll do with the leftovers now.
I got to wear my big boy dress up clothes to the funeral. I have a couple of suits I bought in Hong Kong in 1986 and they still fit perfectly. It would be more accurate to say that they fit again since there were about 20 years where I had grown a bit and they fit like sausage skins. So I guess I’m back to where I was 20+ years ago. I also put on my only pair of black dress shoes. I had bought these about 10 years ago and probably worn them twice. They even had the little cardboard pieces that come with new shoes and keep them properly shaped. While we were in the church, I noticed that I was sticking to the floor and figured some kid had dropped some candy or something. After the service we went to the graveside for final, final goodbyes and then on to his granddaughter’s home for a small gathering and a few commemorative beers.
I picked up a beer on the way in and walked through the house to the pool area where I found a great spot to sit. A bit later Nancy comes in and asks to see the bottom of my shoes because there was crap all over the floor in the house and she suspected I had stepped in something. Everybody was being checked so it wasn’t just me. Sure enough, I was the culprit. But it wasn’t that I had stepped in something, it was that the heels of the shoes were disintegrating and coming off in big chunks. Then people commented that they had seen all the â€œdirtâ€ on the rug of the church and assumed that the cleaning people had just done a poor job. I spent the rest of the party in my stocking feet. That was really bizarre since these shoes were good ones, ECCO’s, that I’d paid over $100 for and had been safely stored away in a closet.
Another funny thing that came out of the funeral came from Tom’s 3 great grand children. They are in the 8-10 age group I think. Throughout the church service the priest consistently referred to Tom as Tom. The kids kept wondering who Tom was since they had only known him as Gramps. Somebody clued the priest into this toward the end and he switched over to gramps.
This next week we do our November trip to Flagler Beach. The blues are running strong – what a coincidence. Nancy takes her quilting stuff, I take my fishing gear, and we drag along a few bottles of wine. We have several â€œfavoriteâ€ restaurants there and have almost attained â€œregularâ€ status. What more is there. This November we’ll have a double beach vacation since Joey and Mark are managing a beach resort for the first 3 weeks of November. The thinking now is that we’ll come home from Flagler for a day or so and then head over to Cocoa Beach for some comparative fishing. So if anybody needs us or wants to come visit, we’ll be on our cell.
Politics – Congrats to my Dem friends. The country must feel safe with a soft on terrorist leader and must feel that a turn to socialism is a good think. Hope you’re all correct. I look at it like we survived Jimmy Carter so we’ll probably survive this too. And it will be fun going on the offensive again instead of having to defend the current administration.