18 February 2013

Tuber Shooter

It was one of those "Hey, watch this!" moments.
He shoved a potato(e?) into the end of the barrel and rammed it home with a stick.
He then unscrewed a cap beneath the barrel, sprayed a three-second spritz of hair spray into that compartment, then replaced the cap.
He shouldered the contraption, pulled the trigger, and sent the spud hurtling more than a football field's distance.
I was stunned.
I couldn't help myself... uncontrolled laughing followed.
We then proceeded to use up a $2 can of hairspray and send a $5 bag of potato(e?)s downrange in less than 10 minutes, giggling all the while.

Not really a toy, the potato slug leaves the barrel at a rate that would probably kill a nearby person struck in the chest by the projectile.
Ever fire one? It's a hoot. I recommend it.
I bet it puts a smile on your face.

But as with most anything that fires a projectile, be careful!
Detailed construction plans for one type here.

15 February 2013

Headed South, (But It's STILL Gonna Be Cold!)

I had little chance...
My Dad was a pilot.
Virtually all my (paternal-side, three of 'em) Uncles were pilots.
When I applied for flight school I asked to become a fixed-wing pilot.
The ARMY ignored that request, thank GOD. (BOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRIINNNNG!)

Today we depart Destin for Hernando Florida.
The reason for our travel is to attend a fly-in Memorial for my Dad's brother. VERY active in the Experimental Aircraft Association, he built an airplane similar to the one shown above. (Many other airplanes too.)
God willing, we'll be meeting Little Lotta, Joe, (and maybe Beau!) tonight for dinner.
Pray that we DO NOT catch whatever gallopin' gump she's carrying!

Stay tuned.
And watch the Police blotter.

14 February 2013

Perceiving The World

She goes with us nearly everywhere.
When we're driving home there is a point where we say nothing, but knowingly look at one another.
Lucy sleeps on Sara Jean's lap when we're in the car. She's a great traveller, sleeps continually until we stop for a potty break. At those stops I don't even have to leash her; she prances behind me to the designated spot, squats, does the typical useless scratching at the ground to "cover up" what she's done, then follows me back to the car.

No dog is more efficient.

So after Sara Jean and I glance at one another we start watching her.
There is a point about two blocks from home where Lucy will awaken, sniff the air, and cross over to my lap to look out the driver's-side window.
She knows we're home. And it happens at almost exactly the same spot EVERY TIME.

Now we've been in Destin off and on for a little over two months. Lucy goes with us nearly everywhere here too... she waits in the car when we go out to eat, go grocery shopping, etc..

And SJ and I now have a new place where we quietly glance at one another, then start watching her out of the corner of our eye.

How do they know?
It's GOT to be sense of smell, to awaken her from sleep.
I would love to know what goes through her mind,
but I'm not at all sure I'd like my sense of smell to be that acute! 

13 February 2013

Reality Show

From our balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico we can see all the traffic entering and exiting the condo complex.
Our interest is piqued anytime the vehicle entering the complex has a light bar on top. Two days ago we raced from the front balcony to the rear when a Sheriff's Deputy pulled into the drive. The female officer parked across the lot from our unit and a female neighbor I recognized but have not had close contact with, got out of her car and met the Officer.

The neighbor is a tall, slight, tired and gaunt looking individual. She is civil anytime I greet her, but obviously wants no further conversation; sort of "Hi. Now leave me alone, thank you."
It's a cool, breezy night and she is dressed in pants and a blouse with an afghan draped around her shoulders.
Our own personal episode of "COPS" is unfolding before our eyes.

Not wanting to appear obvious in our curiosity (and because of the temperature), we stood inside our sliding-glass door and watched gestures and demeanor. The neighbor wasn't crying. She talked with the deputy several minutes, then the deputy turned her head to talk into the speaker-microphone attached to her left epaulet.

Soon another deputy quietly arrived, male this time. He chatted with the lady officer, then walked to the corner of the line of condos to our rear, carefully peaked around the corner down the line, then walked all the way down the line of condos, emerging at the other end and returning.
More talk all around.

Another deputy arrives.
The maintenance man arrives carrying passkeys. More talk.
A Fire Truck goes by and parks in the lot of a nearby restaurant about two blocks away. (We have "Public Service Officers" here, so these guys are all paramedics.)
Two Sheriff's Department pickup trucks arrive, adding two more uniformed deputies to the mix.

"What do you think is going on?" Sara Jean asks.
"I think it's a domestic dispute" I respond. "These things can turn really ugly in a flash and it's one of the jobs our Law Enforcement Officers hate most."

Everyone huddles. One of the deputies is on a cell phone... talking with the guy inside the condo?
He hangs up. More huddling. The female neighbor gestures in a way that I decipher as "Up the stairs and to the right"...
That's where the bedrooms are in those units. She then gestures with two fingers and an upward movement, then one finger down...
Two bathrooms upstairs, one down?

One of the Deputies gets the keys from our maintenance guy, walks to the front door and enters.
I pray I don't hear gunfire.
I don't.

He soon emerges with our male neighbor with hands behind his back, handcuffed. He's barefoot, dressed in a bathrobe. He shouts something at her. She responds, but her level of response carries about half the emotion. He's loaded in the back of squad car number two and transported away.
Some talk with the female neighbor follows to insure she is well, then our public servants all vacate the premises.
"Handcuff's" significant other enters the condo, comes out with a box of stuff, and drives away.

Next morning dawns with more of the same... cool, rainy, breezy. I'm surfing the 'net when I notice her drive up and get out of her (their?) car. She goes back into the condo and comes out with an armload of clothing on hangers. She returns to the condo and comes out with two boxes filled with the stuff of life. One more trip yields another box full.
She then drives away.

Late in the afternoon I notice a taxi pull into the lot. From it emerges the male neighbor, sans handcuffs.
He enters the condo, spends about an hour there, then leaves.
We've seen neither of them since.

When I'm safe, warm, belly full, sharing time with a woman I love, I force myself to remember...
Others are not so lucky.
For whatever reason, many are living day-to-day, surviving one difficult event after another.
Most of us are blessed.

If that describes you, say a prayer of thanks.
And remind yourself to commit an act of kindness next time you can. It may mean more than you imagine to someone you don't even know.

09 February 2013


Is it necessary to have been tired in order to be "re"tired?
Well I wasn't, so I guess technically I ain't.

My folks used to Winter in Key West. Back in those days I'd start my shift at work by doing a thorough check of the weather I'd be dealing with, then I'd check the weather they were experiencing.
It always put a smile on my face, knowing they'd be walking around in T-shirt, shorts, and a pair of sandals in mid-70 degree weather while I was dealing with cold, (sometimes below zero), freezing precip, frozen precip, and often cloudy and depressing weather.

So now our lives have CHANGED and we're at the other end.
How odd to be here in Destin looking at a clear blue sky, turquoise water lapping at snow white sand, while wearing a pair of shorts and (today) a sweatshirt in 65 degree temps, while watching video of the Northeast getting blown away with two feet of snow piled wall-high by near-hurricane force winds.

Now I'm smiling for us!

It's been three weeks since we said goodbye to beloved co-workers. 

Back in the great white North we shut down our mail, coordinated with our neighbors to keep an eye on our home and do a now-and-then walk through to insure pipes hadn't burst, pointed the car South, and waved bye-bye.
We've actually been in residence in the condo two weeks.
And we're both beginning to get a little itchy.
We walk at least two miles a day. Sara Jean sunbathes. We watch as the sun sinks into the Gulf when clouds permit. I drove to Pensacola last week and brought Mother to visit with us four days.
All that is wonderful.
But I've always thought that maybe I'd get tired of being retired, and those thoughts are now being realized...
For both of us, hangin' around watching movies, eating popcorn, and sucking down adult beverages is only cool when we're doing it to relax after having done something fulfilling.
And just cleaning and doing touchup work in the condo ain't fulfilling. A trip to WalMart for necessities isn't enough stimulation. There's gotta be something else added to our lives to keep us happy.

There's a guy down here flying an R44 up and down the beach, obviously doin' tours.
I went to the airport last week and asked if they needed a backup pilot. The pilot on duty gave me a phone number to call to inquire, and when I called the guy he asked the obvious question...
"What kind of experience do you have?"
I think he was stunned by my response. (And if I was him, my "B.S." meter would have pegged.)
But we have an acquaintance in common, and I suggested he should call him to verify my credentials.
I hope he does.
I hope by next month it will be me flying tours up and down the beach, part-time.
I need to be busy, and the idea of watching for sharks and getting a different perspective of my neighborhood is kinda exciting.

I'll let ya know if this poor unemployed soul gets work.
Stay tuned.

06 February 2013

Meet The Blogger!

Ya start reading blogs, and from the words, try to imagine what the authors would be like.
Read the words long enough and you can't help but have a good idea whether or not you'd like to have a personal relationship with the writer.
But is it wise to actually meet?
Or is it better to continue imagining?

I have pulled the trigger on meeting several of the folks who stop by and leave comments here.
Cary, Larry, Helen, Rita, Mark... others I may be disremembering. (Not intentionally).
So far, "Meet the Blogger(s)" has been quite the pleasant experience. And I also think meeting someone and having the ability to put a face to the words has enhanced the experience of reading those blogs.

This month (fingers crossed) I'll be adding another face to my reading experience, providing she doesn't die beforehand. We're going to a memorial fly-in for an uncle, and that event just happens to be unfolding in a town where a favorite blogger lives. When she found we'd be in her neighborhood she suggested dinner one evening.
I think the meeting will be a hoot, provided she has recovered from what she is calling "New Moan-ya".

And if she's fully healthy, we may even start planning something nefarious.
I'll let ya know.