See You in '08

I am very frustrated. It’s getting very cold here and I must throw in the towel to winter.

Its four weeks until I head to tropical paradise and I am trying to restrain my excitement. I need to deal now with the drab depressing reality of winter…face it like a man. If I think too much about vacation I’ll work myself into a tizzy prematurely. Premature tizzalation.

I have to travel to South Georgia on News Year day to a funeral for Gigi’s step father. He was a good guy and I will have a drink and toast in his honor. He made us laugh and we loved him.

Thursday I travel to Asheville NC and they expect a snow storm of 6 to 8 inches. Can you say that sucks too?

It’s been raining which is good but the dogs stay muddy…red North Carolina clay mud.

I had to actually work today. I thought I was only going in to check the mail.

I had to spend $496 on my truck today. The ball joint, Johnson Rod, or whatever went out and it was pulling to the left when I braked.

It’s New Years Eve and I am packing to travel to South Georgia.

I hate to have events unplanned. I know the guy couldn’t help that he died. Okay, road adventure, yeah. Gigi, her brother Pat and I will go. Her Dad Larry will stay back and watch the horses. Okay, we’re done.

No wait, I’m going and we will get a house sitter…okay but I don’t like changes. No wait, Larry will stay back and we get a house sitter. Wherever! Make up your minds!

Happy New Year all.

Different Stuff

Jeep Update

Santa was very good to me as always.

This year the old merry guy knew about my Jeep that I bought in February and somehow knew I wanted a few cosmetic and practical add-ons.

The most dramatic accessory to date is a stainless steel overlay on the front grill. I spent a few hours yesterday installing the grill. For once everything went fairly well until I got to the end. I had to push some nuts under the grill with my middle finger and get the bolts started on the other side. The task was impossible until I poured some molasses on my finger to make the nut stick in place while I got the bolt started.

The effect of the grill turned out just as I wanted. The Jeep looks angry.

Santa also brought me new factory mirrors that I hope will stay in adjustment and a bikini top for the heat of summer.

Pictures of the Jeep are to follow when it stops raining.

Yes, I said raining. We so desperately need rain and we have had maybe 3 inches in the past 10 days. We are about 16 to 20 inches short for the year depending on location.

I was at my local grocer a few minutes ago picking up man food the football games today. I needed wings, pizza, plus the traditional New Year stuff southerners eat like collards and black eye peas.

There was a gorgeous woman in a line checking out so I pulled in right behind her for a few stolen glances. The little goober faced check out boy said, “Sir, number 7 is open with no waiting!”

Crap…may plans were spoiled and I politely moved the line where the old lady has hair like a cumulus cloud.

Contraptions that Work

Yesterday I tragically lost my Bunn coffee maker. Gigi hasn’t been sleeping well so she got up at some unreal hour and made a pot of coffee.

Apparently the holding tank breeched and water poured all over the counter. Bless her heart; she saved me a cup albeit cold until I woke up. I don’t mind cold coffee.

This Bunn was a fine contraption. It made good coffee fast. It has a holding tank inside so a pot of coffee is ready in literally 3 minutes.

I stopped by Lowes on the way into work to pick up a new Bunn. I was tempted by the other fancy machines at the same price. I stuck with the tried and true for about $120. I tend to stick with things that work for me like vacation spots and relationships.

In the old days before drip coffee you used either a stove top percolator, or an electric percolator. A stove top pot was only a few bucks. The coffee had a unique smell and taste. It took forever, maybe 30 minutes to make.

Back then you had maybe 4 or 5 brands of coffee to choose from. There was always Maxwell House, Luzianne with chicory, and if you were real fancy you bought Eight O’clock whole beans and had them ground in the store. I used to love stick my nose in the bag and breath in deeply after it was ground.

That chicory coffee was nasty. It tasted like clabbered egg yolks with dirty feet and a hint of something else bad tasting.

People used to put weird stuff in their coffee like salt and egg shells. I am not making that up, egg shells. My dad used to put a few shakes of salt in before cooking the coffee 30 minutes. He usually did this on Saturday when it was his day to fix coffee.

Gigi’s Polish grandmother used to boil a pot of water and coffee grounds with egg shells and then strain the mess into a cup. I drank a cup once and it was stout. No fancy coffee makers for them.

My only gripe with most coffee makers is the spout where you pour coffee does a poor job most of the time. Older coffee pots had a clearly defined spout and where you pointed and tilted, it poured without a mess. You could fill a cup in a second. Now I must be gentle and pour slowly so the coffee will go in the cup and not on the counter.

Things Running Through my Mind

I never did like films where people throw pies, food or water at each other indoors. The whole time I worry about damage and the clean up.

Same holds true with those old cute Walt Disney films where a bear cub breaks into a cabin and spills flour all over the place. It’s just messy and not funny.

I don’t think it is funny when people fall down. I worry if they are hurt.

I find I am leaving the fly open on my pants more and more. Not a lot but more than I used to. I left my fly open today until about 10:30 when I used the restroom. I feel like a forgetful old fart. I hope I don’t start getting that white stuff in the corner of my mouth.

I don’t like to talk to my wife about whom she dated or who I dated before I married her. It makes me jealous after all these years.

This is the ugliest time of the year. It is dark, cold, wet and all the trees look dead.

Last night I/Gigi secured a house sitter for when we go to St Croix in February. I worry about my animals and now I can relax.

Run your tongue around in your mouth. Doesn’t it feel familiar? That is your own little private world that no one else will ever experience from your perspective.

I love Ginger Snaps. They are damn near as hard as my teeth. I love the way the ginger burns a little in my mouth. I can eat 3 or 4 and settle my sweet urge with a minimum of calories.

I hated stirrup pants when they were in fashion. They looked bad on everybody. It used to make Gigi so mad that I hated them yet she would wear them anyway. I have two pairs of shorts she hates and they are my stirrup pants of sorts. Oh sweet justice.

I called my mother on Christmas Day and she made me laugh as hard as I have ever laughed. Her wit caught me off guard. I love her and I am so lucky to still have her.

I have three pound and a half bags of frozen South Georgia shrimp in my camper and not a day goes by that I don’t think about them. Enough turkey and ham, I want shrimp.

I'm Chillin'

I have transitioned to a trendy cool person with the addition of an ipod itouch and nearby Panera Bread.

As you may recall I did not, nor have I ever splurged and bought myself an ipod. Well Gigi bought me a fancy smancy top of the line one for Christmas.

I dearly love this contraption. On the practical side I now have all my contacts from Outlook, my calendar and pictures. From the fun stance, this thing has Wi-Fi so I can surf the Internet, look at videos, and still store more songs than I have ever heard in my life. Plus I uploaded two DVD’s so I can watch movies when I work out.

Today I went out to lunch to flex my coolness to Panera Bread. They just opened this new one in front of my office and it is the place to eat lunch. You see beautiful yuppie women there with their workout suits on and a pony tail coming out of the back of their ball cap, and sensitive guys with names like Andrew talking in feminine voices to their children.

I cruised in, ordered a grilled salmon salad and tooled over to my table to begin being cool. I hooked up the wi-fi and checked my email.

My buzzer went off and I went up to the counter to pick up my salad.

When I envision a piece of grilled salmon, I somehow expect that it should have been grilled recently. This fish was grilled at some point but now it was icy cold. The dressing on the salad was so tart that I couldn’t help but make sour faces I make when something is sour.

To top it off I ordered water but really wanted a diet coke. Cool people always drink water at these places.

I decided to watch a video I uploaded and it was a national geographic special I wanted to see. So I’m eating this sour ass salad with cold fish watching an alligator eat a snake.

This wasn’t working for me but I got through it and next time I’ll be more relaxed and choose a better film to watch during lunch plus get the diet coke.

Twas the Day After Christmas

Yesterday continued to be entertaining as the evening progressed on.

My FIL is socially inept as I pointed out before. He is also suffering dementia.

If you listen to his attempt at conversation he will eventually start over much like The Weather Channel or Headline news.

At one point in his past, maybe a few years ago he was diagnosed with diabetes that was induced by a treatment for low blood platelets. After the treatment was over so was the diabetes. Him having diabetes stuck in his brain.

Yesterday about once an hour he would tell us that he has diabetes and I would tell him he doesn’t have it anymore and he would get all happy and excited. This rediscovery would happen every hour or so and he would be happy all over again until he forgot it a few minutes later.

It was like having your own version of Fifty First Dates playing in front of you.

My MIL kept talking about how great her dust buster was and how it was a pleasure to use and we should have one, bla, bla. She has her wits about her but when she got on this dust buster jag it went on and on. I thought I was going to have to promise to buy one.

At my house we can fill a dust buster in seconds. Plus Cedie goes crazy and any motor so I might as well fire up a real vac if I plan to vacuum.

It is so great to have the holidays over. We don’t do much for New Years Eve except cook traditional Southern dishes for good luck. The preparation started yesterday when I rescued the ham hoc from the Christmas Ham. Good traditional eating will follow.

The Afternoon

I apparently am a bit of a stalker especially when it comes to stalking Cruzans.

Michael said he and Terry were going to spend Christmas day on Buck Island. It’s not like I didn’t have a thrilling plan for my day so I turned on the Webcam Watcher and grabbed a cam pointed to Buck Island. I figured we could go back and watch their day later after I experienced mine. More on the Buck Island Cam later.

So I fixed a delightful Christmas breakfast and called everyone. Larry was nowhere to be found. I told Gigi and her mother that if Larry is dead then he’ll be dead forever. My breakfast however was at its peak and would rapidly decline if I didn’t eat now. I abandoned my search for Larry and ate breakfast.

It would serve him right if he stroked out. He refuses to take blood pressure meds.

Larry came stumbling up from the barn about 20 minutes later. He doesn’t appreciate the difference between good food and bad food. He covers it all with ketchup so it all tastes the same.

Then we all set out as a family and waited for Gigi’s brother to show up. We like to open presents and eat together but this doesn’t always happen in this family. By 2:06 PM we are all bored shitless with each other and I am thinking about how fun it will be to go to work tomorrow.

BIL showed up and he whips out a Polaroid camera and starts taking pictures. I didn’t know anyone had one of these anymore and I certainly didn’t think you could buy film for one.

A while earlier my MIL whipped out a cassette and asked that I play it. I told her I discarded my tape player just before the millennium and she looked at me like I was crazy.

Okay, here is my video from Buck Island. Do you guys see yourself?


I’m not sure why I am so syndical about Christmas this year. Maybe it is the fact that our family here has stripped out all traditions. There are no kids, just grouchy old people.

Last night Gigi was not feeling well at all so she went to bed early.

Gigi’s mother drove in from the coast and sat in the driveway demanding attention by blowing her horn. I jumped up to meet her to see her still sitting in the car with the overhead light on. Gigi’s family universally takes about the same time getting out of a car as the general public takes disembarking from a commercial airline.

I said to myself, screw it she’ll be another 5 minutes until she actually stands and went back inside to make final supper preparations. It takes a newborn gazelle less time to get on her feet.

Meanwhile Gigi’s dad, Larry sat on his ass and watched the world go by from his perspective.

Dinner conversation consisted of rapid fire questions from Larry. He lacks any real social skills of conversation so he zings great questions one after another to make the other person talk. I sit back and stew.

“What did you eat for breakfast? Do you exercise? How much do you weigh? Did you see the movie The Sand Pebbles? Who was in that movie? Do you have cable TV? Do you get Turner Classic Movies? Do you like to eat at Cracker Barrel? Do the Panthers play this weekend?”

This goes on until the other person is pissed off and exhausted from the questioning.

At 7:46 conversation boy heads off to bed and Charlotte and I sat down to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”. In 70 something years she has never seen the movie.

Today I expect thrills galore as the tour of grouchy old family continues with special guest appearance of her brother.

I Thought You Were Mine

I thought Jolene was all mine. Imagine my surprise when I traveled to Jackson, FL a few weeks ago and saw this hussy working it for a bunch of strangers in Florida.

You are not welcome in my home anymore Jolene. Now I am doubting everything you said.

Christmas, Island Style!

Cruzan’s will party at the drop of a hat. I know, I have witnessed this behavior many times as I have studied these savages over the years.

Come to think of it, I may be the Jane Goodall of the Cruzan’s. I have put a lot of time and effort at my personal expense to study these people so that you on the mainland can fully understand our friends to the south.

And so it came to pass that the annual Christmas boat and light show took place last night. Our crew here in North Carolina recorded the event via the Harbor Cam and local reporter Michael Dance provided me play by play via phone.

My correspondent in St Simons, the ever lovely Peach Pod called in to give me her opinion.

Please enjoy as you see multi colored boats pass by, fireworks, and a general good time being had by all.

Thank you to for the portal to the evening events and to local island musician Kurt B. Schindler who provides the lively background music.


Thought for the Day

I am thankful that I am not a shrub. I would be cold and brittle right now and dogs would pee on me.

In the summer spiders would live in me and snakes would be at my feet.

Worse yet, I couldn’t travel and I would have to stare at my neighbors all day.

Its Best to Keep Your Options Open

Gigi does not function without electricity. When hurricane Hugo hit us in 1989 we were without power for 2 weeks.

I discovered then that Gigi does not have sex without power; shortly there after I bought a generator.

This afternoon while attempting to de-hair the house with the vacuum she blew a circuit and she immediately got grouchy.

This is an old house so I went in search of the thrown circuit breaker among several panels.

I figured I might as well rule out lack of electricity as an excuse.

To the rescue, Wreggie Kilowatt.

Now, back to writing my Reggae opera.

Three Observations

The most wonderful time of the year is being delayed by a day this year. Normally the winter solstice occurs on the 21st of December followed by incrementally longer days, ie more sunshine. This year the solstice is being delayed for another day.

So Sunday I will greet in a longer day knowing that my beloved warm weather is on it’s was with sunshine and longer days.

Last night we had a gathering of a few old friends at someone’s house. One buddy of mine has had about 3 wives, 10 houses, 10 girlfriends and enough adventures to write a bestseller. He has even had a heart transplant all in his 48 years on earth.

Now he is back with his first wife and both of them seem content.

I went to two friends homes yesterday that I had never visited. I am amazed at the McMansions that people build and own now. These homes are big, beautiful and well decorated. I live in an older and smaller home.

I didn’t see any cats, border collies or birds around in either house. I just saw well polished wood floors, beautiful molding, and big new appliances and electronics.

I wonder sometimes if I should sell my hairy house and buy a McMansion or continue to life amongst the beasts were I have lived rather peacefully for the past 18 years.

Live and Learn

I did something very unnatural for me today. I went fishing for stripe bass on a cold fresh water lake.

I used to like to fish. Now I am more of an animal lover and prefer not to trick little animals into thinking that they are about to get a meal and then snatch them into my world to die.

I like to eat seafood and meat but prefer someone else to actually get the meat.

As far as fishing in December…I must have been out of my mind. I hate cold weather.

It was 32 this morning with a steady breeze. We cruised to the trolling area at about 25 knots. I was freezing my ass off.

I had on my coat that I would wear to Winnipeg in the winter if I ever went. I wore a toboggan, heavy gloves, two upper layers and a scarf over my face. I didn’t think it was cold enough for long johns and I was wrong. My God, the wind cut through me like Sherman marching through the south. It was awful. I thought my lips would crack open and bleed.

We trolled for 3 hours when finally a fish hit. It was a nice big striped bass, maybe 7 pounds. We quickly toss it back in the water and called it a day.

I’m good for fishing now for a few years, maybe forever in the winter.

Leave Me to Enjoy my Alpha Waves, Please

There are three items that must be inventoried for my morning coffee.

Coffee. I like to keep the container full.

Creamer, I use canned milk. I hate to open a new can.

Sweet and Low. I use a big mug so I use two sweeteners. I hate to refill the container.

This morning I hit crisis mode. I scraped out enough coffee for a pot and used my last two Sweet and Lows along with the last splash of creamer. Now everything is empty and out of balance. It should have never been allowed to go this far I know.

We have more of everything here, I just hate to refill. I’m dying for a second up but I would need to go in the laundry room, find the cubic foot box of sweet and low from Sam’s club, grab a gigantic handful of the pink bags, and then begin sorting the bags in alignment to fit in the dispenser. I would rather do without my second cup of coffee.

Then I would have to grab a metal can of milk and forcibly penetrate the top with a metal object so I could get at the milk. This all sounds so strenuous and I would still be left with an empty coffee tin. I really hate scooping grounds, it’s so messy.

Besides, I’m still enjoying my laid back alpha waves from a good nights sleep. I’ll buy another cup on the way to the office.

It's a Wonderful Life

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Coming Soon, "Origami II-Return to Buck Island"?

I know most of you think that a professional vacationist like me just sits around in the off season dreaming of warmer days ahead. No, no my friends. I am unlike many who prefer just to sit back and let things happen. I plan my next move and prefer to have it choreographed.

Last night I was up late in the evening (about 9:16) collaborating with my counterpart in St Croix planning what may turn out to be “Origami II-Return to Buck Island”. The official logo and embroidered arm patch will soon follow.

As you may recall last September I experienced a wonderful trip to Buck Island with Michael and Terry in their small boat called the Origami. It was so fun and exciting to explore the waters and beaches of Buck Island on your own terms and timetable.

Traveling in a small vessel you experience the swells of the ocean and the salt spray first hand. You must have endurance and have an adventurous spirit to make the trip. There is no plan B except swim or flag down another boat should something happen. You can’t escape to a dingy because we are in a dingy of sorts.

Last September I was so exhausted that I literally fell out of the boat. My legs couldn’t support me.

The snorkeling on the north shore of Buck fired up the old adrenal glands like no other place. The wildlife and views underwater are fantastic.

We concluded the trip with a picnic on the beach with delicious rum and cokes, assorted cheeses, crackers and fruit.

So, weather permitting, and schedule permitting, I may visit Buck Island once again and peer over the reef wall onto the beautiful abyss.

Michael, I won’t hold your feet to the fire on this because I know it is your busy season, but if we can pull this off again, oh man oh man would it be fun.

My Taxes in 1977

I want to thank young Reggie today for his scientific efforts to enlighten older Reggie.

Young Reggie, you worked many hours in 1977 at Peppi’s Pizza Den in Durham. I remember some weeks to clocked 70 hours waiting tables and cooking pizza and spaghetti. Gosh, you were only 21.

Meanwhile at the rate of $2.25 an hour, plus tips, your federal government silently siphoned off your money and claimed it as their own.

You thought it was fine though and were happy to get a refund of your own money in the spring. Remember those spring breaks to Panama City young Reggie?

That same year you helped the federal government pay to launch to space exploration robots, Voyager 1 and 2.

They took some fantastic photos of the outer planets a few years later.

Fast forward 30 years and the same two spacecraft have discovered while crossing the heliosphere that our solar system is “squashed" or “dented"- that the bubble carved into interstellar space by the solar wind is not perfectly round.

Gosh! Older Reggie thanks you young handsome Reggie. You would have blown that extra money on a Moscow Mule at the Red Rooster. But our government knew better and old Reggie can die knowing that you experience shock waves at the edge of the heliosphere on your way to heaven.

Glub, Glub, Bubble, Bubble

I just don’t have many underwater pictures of myself so you can imagine how excited I was when my brother in law handed me this one on Saturday.

I’m not sure why my eyes are so bugged out. Perhaps I was out of oxygen and waiting for him to take the shot.

You’ll notice I’m wearing those soon to be retired yellow trunks too. They show up in every picture.

Almost Ziggish

I was riding in this morning when suddenly I got this overwhelming artsy fartsy feeling, almost Ziggish and snapped this picture. I have nothing say about it so that is it. Maybe Zig can add a comment.

I am in a killer mood. I cut on WSTX radio out of St Croix first thing this morning and started dancing with Haley over the Cruzan Rum jingle.

I heard a commercial about saving a pet where you could get a Cruzan dog and escort it back to a mainland shelter so the dog would have a better chance of being adopted. I called the number and it seems they are only interested in yankee shelters. They have deals set up in Boston, Philadelphia, etc. but not Charlotte. Poor little Cruzan dogs, having to live in yankee places.

Perfect Man Day

Yesterday was wonderful.

We canceled additional Christmas crap we had planned and I had a planned outage. I just sat in my chair, breathed through my mouth and watched a belly full of football.

I did bathe during the pregame show.

All my teams won, even Carolina.

Later a nap ensued followed by beer and pizza.

What a special man day it was!

Too Much to Title

Shit fire and apple butter…I’ve been busy. This post is very convoluted and fragmented. More than usual.

My team won the national championship Friday for the third year in a row. Go Apps!

I NEVER stay up past midnight but I did on Friday. Between my company Christmas dinner and the game I stayed up far too long for Wreg.

I woke up at 5 AM the next morning and we got ready to drive to Durham for the day.

Meanwhile my Internet connection has been on the fritz for the past 24 hours. I don’t function well without broadband so I was spending every spare moment on the phone with tech support troubleshooting.

I got this real ass hole at 5 AM and we about got into a knock down drag out fight. Gigi defended him because he had been working all night. I just woke up and was sleep and Internet deprived so it wasn’t a good combination.

We figured it was a router that had gone bad.

Off to Durham to visit family and celebrate Christmas. Fantastic fun. Tom and I cooked beef tenderloin in the cold windy rain…yes it rained thank God… and we sipped egg nog with Cruzan Dark that I picked up last week in Florida. Tom swears he is going to pick up a case of Cruzan Rum Cream when we are down in 6 weeks.

Meanwhile…. (Sorry this stuff keeps coming to me) a package arrived from St Croix earlier in the day Friday addressed to me and the misses. Michael and Terry sent Gigi and me a Christmas gift and of course I opened it. They’ll never know they live 1800 miles away after all. Mine was addressed to Wreggie, my Wrangler Jeep persona and it was a live CD of Kurt Schindler featuring Richard and a long version of Banna. We listened and sang with it all the way to Durham. Gigi got a cute top from the band. Now she can just slide into town and look more local. Those guys are too nice to us.

I think I want my own flag pole down on St Croix so people will know I am on the island like the Contessa. I need to find a NC flag to fly on a hill somewhere. People would ride by and say, “Captain Stubble is on island, I hear his real name is Wreggie and he is a rich Border Collie rancher from North Carolina”. And then people could make up all kinds of legendary stories about me. I need to get a seersucker suit with a white straw hat to complete the persona.

We came back from Durham and it was cold like 36 and raining like we haven’t seen in 6 months. The dogs were so happy to see us and nobody had any accidents although everyone was eager to go out even in the rain.

I sat down and set up a new router that I bought in some little town’s Radio Shack and poof! I am online again baby!

A good nights sleep and I am refreshed and surfing the net.

I have some pressing issues that I need to work through the next six weeks. First I need to find a boat that I can rent in St Croix. I’m not sure they do that there. A power boat, not a sail boat. We want to wonder around on our own schedule and most charters don’t do this. I have enquired several captains about “beyond Buck Island tours” like I did in September with no results. Everyone says, “Sure we go to Buck Island.” To which I respond, “No shit Sherlock, I want to go to the North side, not the park, I’ve been spoiled”.

Second, and this may be even more difficult. I need to score about a dozen coconuts with the tops lopped off for drinks. We are taking a bunch of new folks to the island and there is nothing more fun than to drink a rum drink from a green coconut. Well there are a lot of things more fun but drinking from a coconut makes you feel so islandy.

More folks are coming to visit us today so I need to vacuum dog hair. See you later!

Just Call Me Twinkle Toes

I am just Twinkle Toes this morning. This has been a throw away week. Nice weather, good golf and all that stuff. I didn’t do much real work.

Tonight we have our office Christmas dinner. I am the boss so I don’t get nervous about meeting the boss. I love to watch the spouses getting nervous trying to read something into everything I say. I feel like saying, “Come on you idiots! It’s just me”.

But even bigger, my school, Appalachian State University will play in the national championship tonight on ESPN2 and they are going after a third national title. Did I mention that we beat Michigan in the big house earlier this year?

So, dinner at 6:30, yackidy yack, and then off to the nearest sports bar to catch at least three quarters of the game. Boy howdy I am excited.

It’s funny; I read in the New York Times this morning that Appalachian can’t find a big school that will put them on the schedule next year after the Michigan defeat. Usually we play a big school like LSU so they will have someone to tear apart, and we get some good money for the event.

Then tomorrow Gigi and (I) head to Durham to celebrate Christmas with my family. The guys will hang around and grill tenderloin, have drinks and cigars while the ladies catch up on their stuff. It always fun to see family.

Sunday is a wide open day. NFL, a party to drop by, or I may drive 2 hours to the mountains and see the snow. They are supposed to get a foot of snow. I would like to see it and maybe celebrate a victory at my school.

Sadly, Summer is Over

Damn its pink outside! Who needs to go to mars? What did my dad teach me, red sky in morning, sailor take warning.

I guess our summer vacation is over here. I’d better cover the Jeep up and fasten the top and doors.

It’s been 80 degrees here for the last three days shattering records from the 1800’s. I on the other hand have been playing in it like a kid in a snowstorm, culminating with a round of golf yesterday.

When I came back from Jacksonville Monday I picked up Gigi’s father from Brunswick, GA. Her dad Larry is a happy go lucky type from the Bob Hope era. His main job in life is to fill a day with activity. He is a Jack Lalanne sort of guy pushing 80.

All the males in her family live in perfect denial of their aging health. They range from 50 to 78 and I doubt any of them have ever gone to the doctor voluntarily just as a preventative.

I told Larry about me going to the doctor earlier this year trying to encourage him to do the same. He thought I was crazy and the colonoscopy was down right perverse. He couldn’t fathom the camera up the rear and thought it strange that I set still and agreed to have it done.

Sadly we have noticed Larry is gradually, no rapidly loosing his short term memory. So today I am going to take him in for some blood work and get an evaluation of his mental condition.

Afternoon Gazing

This time of year is very slow for me. So I’m sitting and watching the web cam in St Croix and noticed the Christmas tree has blown down.

I sent and email to the cam operator:

Could you send someone around and set up the Christmas Tree in front of the cam please?

They replied:


Thanks for the heads up. Someone is on the way down shortly to upright the

tree! Thanks for being such an avid watcher of our web cam!



I emailed my sister:

I just told them to set up the tree and she said she would send someone out ASAP.

She replied (obviously bored too):

That is funny. I can't wait to see it on that cam!!

Santa’s elves appear to fix the stand and redecorate, but it falls down again. More elves show up.

It blew down again....oh well, I guess I'll call it a day.

Back From JAX

I am finally home safe and sound.

The weekend weather in Jacksonville, FL was darn near perfect topped off by a 77 degree day yesterday. My face is red today despite lathering down with sunscreen.

My hosts for the weekend were my ever charming nephew and his lovely and expectant bride.

Friday I met them at their home. Jay and I had a few beers with several being ones I had made and brought from home. I truly think he was surprised at how good they were.

Next we went off to supper and a sports bar where Jay and I watched Appalachian State clinch a trip for the third year in a row to the National Championship in Div I college football. The final will be played Friday on ESPN2.

Saturday we took off early for some sight seeing and important man landmarks like the Budweiser Brewery.

Then we went on to St Augustine for lunch and the conch house where we dined on alligator, conch fritters, shrimp and fried all while sitting in an elevated tiki hut over looking a gator pond on one side and the waterway on the other side. Jay and I both agreed that we need one of these huts in our own yard.

After lunch we headed to the old town and ducked into an Irish pub to catch some of the Duke/Michigan basketball game.

We finished with a winery tour. Notice a drinking theme?

Sunday it was football at the Jags stadium. I was a bit of an outcast having the opposing jersey on.

Jay cooked a fantastic steak sandwich with all the good stuff like chips and peanuts and beer.

It was a dismal day for the Panthers but I had a great time. Most of the fans were nice and very enthusiastic about their team.

On the way back I picked up Gigi’s Dad in Brunswick, GA along with 5 pounds of fantastic South Georgia shrimp. I’m grilling a pound tonight.

To Sweat and Freeze

Yesterday it never got out of the 30’s and there was a steady breeze all day. This turned out to be a most invigorating day to blow leaves. That’s just a nice way of saying I froze my ass off and sweated at the same time. It’s an unnatural state to be in.

If you do not own a home please take a moment to drop to your knees in prayer thanking God that you have been blessed with someone else to dispose of your leaves.

Now there, this is the time of year where I compartmentalize events so that I have hope of spring and warm weather. First will be the winter solstice. This occurs in a few weeks and then the days start to get longer for 6 months.

Next, they will soon release the invitation list for The Masters which is always held the first week of April.

Third, American Idol will start in January. Once this season is over it will be warm.

Lastly, my beloved island trip is seven weeks away. Once I get home from St Croix I ignore whatever winter throws at me until spring returns.

So goodbye you bastard leaves. Goodbye autumn, the season that stole my summer. Bring it on winter (fingers flicking in a “bring it on motion”), I’m ready to deal with you.

Real Life Dumb Shits

Ever since I jacked up my Jeep last week my headlights have been out of adjustment. Most oncoming traffic flicks their lights to remind me to dim mine even though there were on low beam. Some drivers have even given me a few well thought out hand gestures.

Yesterday I decided to take the Jeep by the inspection station and get an oil change while I ate lunch at one of my favorite local watering holes.

The guy came out with his clip board and asked me a few questions. I have instructed these people not to bring and present a nasty car part to me, just change a filter if it needs changing. They know me here and I have been bringing my cars there for years.

This guy was new, I didn’t know him.

I said, “Oh by the way, adjust my headlights back to inspection standards.”

“We don’t do that sir.”

“Sure you do.”

“No sir.”

“You do inspections, right?”


“Imagine then that you are inspecting my Jeep and the headlights were out of adjustment, you would correct that right?”

“Yes sir.”

“Well then, act like you get to that part of an inspection where you discover the light is out of adjustment and adjust it. Charge me for an inspection, I don’t care, but you can adjust my lights.”


I came back from lunch and the owner was saying “Hello Mr. Hunnicutt,” and treating me all nice while he adjusted my head lights at no charge.

You’ve Got Way Too Much Time on Your Hands

Why is there a silent W on Wrangler? I might change the spelling of my name to Wreggie.

I get miffed when someone says. “You have way too much time on your hands”. That is ridiculous. I have the same amount of time that everyone has. You just don’t approve of what I do with my time or you are jealous of what I do with my time.

I discovered that I have been wearing my favorite swim trucks far too much so I bought two new ones on Ebay. Every picture I see of me has me in my yellow trunks. I found these bad Tommy Bahamas the other day and bought them. Get ready fishes of the coral reef, Wreggie has a new look.

Yesterday was bone chilling cold for us. It was overcast, windy and in the low 50’s and upper 40s all day. It makes me want to beat my head on a wall until spring. Fortunately I will be in Florida this weekend and it promises to be in the mid 70’s. Actually Florida didn’t promise this, it’s just a saying.

I’ve had this cheese and salad thing going on now for a month or so. I can’t eat enough cheese or salads. Last night I ate a salad with lots of blue cheese on it. I’m thinking about some cheese toast now with Colby jack cheese.

I love buttermilk. It tastes like liquid cheese to me. My parrot Boscoe loves buttermilk too. He’ll stick his head in a glass and drink it and you can hear him say to himself, “This is good!” It’s so funny.

I heard on the news last night that it is better to be fat and fit than skinny and out of shape. Great, I’m stuck in between. I workout about half the time and need to loose 10 pounds; No wait, I need to gain 10 pounds and workout full time. I’m confused.

Guys and Excercise

I just got back from the gym having done my afternoon cardio. There was a guy there hitting the weights.

Its fun to watch guys do weights because they spend more time preening in front of the mirror than they spend time actually lifting weights; like they are going to see instant results.

It reminded me of when I was a little kid. I would get my mother to buy me canned spinach. It tasted so bad that I would gag with every bite but I was convenience that I would power up like Popeye. I would take a bite, gag, swallow, and then test my strength. How stupid was I?

I’ve been riding that same bike downstairs since September, 2002. There have been a lot of miles and Time magazines and Golf Digests read there over the years.

If I drop dead of a heart attack I’m going to be pissed. I could have been sitting on my ass all that time and the joke would be on me.

Tis the Season...Bla, Bla, Bla

For some reason I have been very “directionless” the past few weeks. I’m normally a guy that prefers life very scripted and this gives me comfort. Remember, I have my packing list for St Croix already done so you get the idea.

I mean scripted in a good way at least for me. I like a full calendar of stuff to do. Oh I don’t mind sitting around doing nothing as long as I planned to do this.

Lately however my calendar has been light and I have been struggling with decisions of where I might move my business.

Second, I am not in any kind of holiday festive mood and I don’t feel guilty one bit. I’d just as soon get on with it this year and be done. Even the yard decorations I see riding home from work look tacky to me. Perhaps I should start celebrating Festivas.

One bright spot is that I will travel down south this weekend to visit my nephew and his wife. Our NFL team is playing his team so it should be a good man weekend of jokes and beer and Jr. High foolishness; typical man stuff during football season that instinctively makes women mad as hell. I really enjoy a good road trip too so this should lift my spirits some.

In Just 8 Weeks....

Eight weeks from today I will wake up in St Croix. We are sharing a beautiful villa on top of a hill with 4 other couples.

The weather will be warm and breezy. It will be 79 degrees and the tiles around the pool will be warm on my feet. By 9 AM it will be hot enough to start activities like getting a tan or going to the beach.

By 10 it will be 84 and breezy and that is about the weather for the day.

Maybe a torrential shower will pass in the night and last for about 10 minutes. The sound on the roof is comforting and you can smile knowing that your cistern just captured several hundred gallons of precious water.

The week is an open slate. Three of the couples have never been to the island. I have to restrain myself because I think each person has to discover the marvels of St Croix on their own.

I could gather them up and drag them around like a parent a Walt Disney World but this would tire them. You can’t do it all in a week, no way, there is so much to see and do and experience in St Croix. I could stay busy enjoying the tropical fun for months. I never get tired of the underwater and above ground beauty.

This is my tenth trip and I still discover why I love the island. I love interacting with the people there. There is such a diverse culture there on the island.

But I have Christmas, football playoffs, and work to do in the next eight weeks. Then I take my favorite vacation.

My Day as a Mechanic

Note to my lady readers: This post might be boring and senseless to you.

I am so sore today. My arms feel like I had multiple flu shots, my butt cheeks too. My hands ache and my neck is stiff.

Yesterday was the day that I spent an entire day putting in a lift kit on my Jeep. My brother-in-law kindly volunteered his expertise, tools, garage and patience to assist me in installing a 2 inch lift kit.

First thing Friday I drove three hours in a cold Jeep to meet Tom. I gently drove my Jeep in his garage, opened the box and started jacking up the Jeep.

The directions were vague. Tom has many hours of experience as an amateur mechanic working on cars and boats over the years. It was definitely a two man job and one of those men needed the mechanical experience that Tom has.

After several hours of raising and lowering the Jeep to make things align, tapping shackles with a hammer, and coercing old frozen bolts and nuts to release, I emerged from under the Jeep with a bloody forehead. When you have a big head like mine you tend to bump it around a lot.

There, we were finished with the rear but we were missing parts. Darn, we weren’t supposed to install those smaller shackles on the front part of the rear; they were supposed to go onto the rear of the front.

Two more hours later we finally finished the rear.

Judy fixed us a fantastic lunch and my mother came over for a visit. Tom and I headed back to the garage to tackle the front end.

The bolts came of very easy compared to the rear, but the front end was not without its own issues.

The parts fit very tightly and the front had to be forced into alignment with a come along. Five hours later we are finished.

Now another problem, the roof rack is too tall to pass through the garage door. We removed the rack, backed out the Jeep and reinstalled the rack.

I waved goodbye and got home just before midnight.

Judy asked me several times, “Now why are you doing this?”

“To make it look cool Judy.”

“I’m glad I’m not a man”, she would reply.

I think the job turned out nicely. It is a good looking lift without being a sky high lift. 2 additional inches looks good.

The Jeep handled well. I will need to get the front aligned and my headlights aligned. I will also need to install some extended shocks.

Also my front bumper needs to be cut and modified to fit properly. Overall I am well pleased.

Maybe I'll Move

I may move my office in the spring when my lease expires. I have been in the same place since 2000 and frankly I am getting bored and want a change.

I have looked all around the city and recently looked downtown.

Downtown Charlotte is amazing. Within the confines of the inner beltway there is 2 billion dollars worth of construction going on, either up and running or soon to be running.

Everywhere you look are construction cranes and heavy equipment tightly packed into the confines of a city block.

The light rail commuter started running last week and suddenly the city looks futuristic.

Yes, downtown Charlotte may be interesting and fun.

A Few Micro Posts

I miss my daily banter with my Cruzan friends Michael and Terry. They took the week off celebrating their anniversary and headed to a remote island further south. I can’t wait to hear about the adventure.

I feel like I have lost touch with the island that I love in their absence.

Plus I miss the occasional zinger that Terry will fling out and the quick wit of Michael.

I’ll try not to be all clingy when they get back in Internet range.


When you are in your 50’s you begin to think a bit differently and people treat you differently. Just the other day my dentist was looking all around in my mouth beyond my teeth.

“Doc, what the hell are you looking at?”

“Just looking for any signs of oral cancer, it tends to come on at your age.”


Tonight perhaps the greatest NFL game of the season will be played and I can’t wait. I am one of the fortunate few that have the NFL channel on Direct TV. I’m all a flutter.


Friday my Jeep will go under the wrench again for perhaps the most dramatic cosmetic mechanical surgeries yet.

I will drive to Durham and my brother in law and I will install a 2 inch lift kit to Da Beast.

This will allow me enough room to add 2 more inches in tires for a nice but not too redneck lift of 4 inches. The new tires will have to wait; those big old redneck mud tires are expensive just for a cosmetic effect.

While in Durham I will visit with my mother and sister. Gigi is going too.

There's My Shell Buddy

I bought a shell from this guy in September. He taught me where and how to cut the end to make the shell a horn. I told him I had seen him before on the cam and he smiled.

His shells are beautiful.

He was right too. It made a fantastic horn.

Slick, Wet, and Sticky Leaves

We are in the finale of leaf dropping here in the Piedmont of North Carolina. Normally we are quite done with leaves by now but our severe drought has caused the leaves to hang onto the trees longer than usual.

It rained yesterday so it is that many leaves fell and they are all wet or slick depending on how you encounter them.

I had leaves on the windshield and hood of my truck that clung on safely all the way to work. They stayed glued on for 18 miles while I drove speeds in excess of 55 MPH. If they stay on the paint the leaves will release tannins and tannic acid which will etch a leaf print on the hood.

If several of these leaves are stacked on each other they become slick and you will loose traction on foot or in a car.

Worse yet, it is darn near impossible to blow wet leaves.

So, I will rent the giant blower again sometime in the next week and spend 8 hours doing what I did last week all over again.

Goodbye fall and hello winter.

The 12 Days of Christmas According to Reggie

Did you ever wonder about the Christmas song, the 12 Day of Christmas where everything is a living being except the 5 gold rings?

I did and decided to dig into this. It seems that all the gifts up to the 7th day are birds if you assume that the writer was giving 5 gold ringneck pheasants. They are beautiful birds fit the song much better.

So whenever you see those idiot calculations about how much the 12 day of Christmas is costing, subtract out the gold ring and add 5 pheasants and you’ve got your total.

For Ali and Terry

Nothing like oyster stew on a cold day and presentation is everything. Yes, the doily makes the difference.

Giddy as a School Girl

It seems like we never shop for a weeks worth of groceries anymore. I find that I just pop in the local store a lot on my way home. I usually call Gigi to see if anything is on her mind that she needs.

Yesterday I popped in the local Food Lion for some odds and ends when this guy walked up to me and asked me if I would sell my Jeep to him.

I was caught off guard and giddy as a school girl all at once. Ever since I got the paint compounded and buffed the old Jeep has been turning heads.

“I’m sorry, it’s not for sale.”

“Well, how much would you sell it for?”

I did a quick calculation in my head. I bought it for $3,000 in February; I have maybe $2,750 in upgrades not including the new lift kit I just picked up.

“I would say $7,000, but I can’t sell it. It is too much fun.”

He didn't blink an eye at the price. The conversation went on about where I found it and what I had done to it and what else I had planned.

I got to thinking about all this and how flattered I was. I guess being a middle aged man, my Jeep is now my masculine persona since I am too lazy to pump iron and doubt the results would live up to the manliness of the Jeep.

28 Years Ago...

Today marks 28 years of marital bliss for Gigi and me.

It was a rainy Saturday in November 1979 when we tied the knot. I was still in my senior year in college and got married on the Thanksgiving break. Gigi was working at the now defunct Eastern Airlines.

We were married in the cavernous Myers Park Presbyterian Church by Rev. Randy Taylor. He was very hesitant to marry us. He was convinced we were a bad match.

Our reception was at my mother in laws house.

Everything was simple, small and inexpensive, the rehearsal dinner, the wedding and the reception.

Gigi and I left to stay overnight and the fanciest place in Charlotte for the first night and on to Cherry Grove beach to the rattiest place for an additional night or two of honeymoon. We didn’t have much money and we couldn’t stay long, Gigi had to go back to work and I had to go back and finish college in December.

We were ill equipped to be married. We were both way too immature but we stuck it out.

I cannot imagine life without her now. We are both totally different people and have grown over the years to love these new people we evolve into.

Has life turned out like I imagined 28 years ago? Well, yes and no.

Do we fight? Yes.

Do we make up? In our good time.

Do I still bring her flowers and coffee in bed? Yes.

Is she still beautiful? Heck yes.

Poor Babies...Stay Warm Down There

Part of the fun of being a full timer on the island of St Croix is the awareness of the tiny nuisances in weather change between seasons.

I would compare this to a well developed tasting ability where some claim not only to catch the fine flavors of wine such as berries, leather and tobacco, but they go even further to claim they can taste the minerals in the wine from the ground the grapes grew in.

I personally think this fine tuned tasting ability is hogwash.

I have digressed though.

My dear friends in St Croix called me last night from the live web cam to wish Gigi and I a happy Thanksgiving. I had turned off my cell phone in favor of watching Gigi and her mother have a mother/daughter discussion while I sipped on some good holiday wine.

In the message Michael and Terry made shivery sounds and said it was cold down there.

Bull hockey I say!

Please, examine exhibit 1 below of the annual average temperatures in St Croix. When I was there in September they claimed it was dreadfully hot. Folks, this is close to a flat line between winter and summer. Your seasonable differences are negligible.

Now look at exhibit 2 the annual average temperatures in Midland, NC, it looks like a freekin’ roller coaster with its peaks and valleys.

So, it was 72 this morning down there? Must be a cold snap. Up here we call that perfect room temperature.

Be careful not to let your nipples poke anyone in the eye.

Adult Beverages

Beer is always better if you can’t find the brand locally.

I remember in the 1980’s that Coors was not nationally distributed and therefore the taste of it was legendary around here. We would get cases smuggled to us from cross country truckers. When Coors came to town on a regular basis, we all agreed that it was just beer.

The same holds true for Stroh’s beer in the 1970’s. We had to drive to Johnson City TN to get it when we were in college. When it hit the local market we all realized that it tasted like Schlitz.

Now my friends, the hype of Land Shark beer is drawing to an end. I went to the local grocery store today and there at the end of an isle was a giant display of Land Sharks at $6.99 a 6 pack. Damn.

That 12 pack I have in my frig that my nephew smuggled up just few weeks went down in value.

Do you remember that spiced rum I made last year? It’s still there and it is VERY good. I stopped at the grocery store not only to stare at Land Sharks but mainly to buy a quart of egg nog.

We mixed some of the home made Cruzan spiced rum with the egg nog and it was nirvana.

A Couple of Things That Bug Me

If I offer to prepare someone a portion of what I am about to eat and they make a face like I just offered them a mug of monkey snot.

Gigi is bad about this. “Honey, I’m going to make some oatmeal. Do you want some?”

She makes a monkey snot face.

Okay then, I’ll pass too.

Or if some one asks about a dress code when all the while they are fishing for the minimally acceptable clothing they can possibly wear and not be embarrassed, thrown out, or embarrass me.

This question comes into play at our private club. We have dress code standards but they are loose compared to most private clubs.

Everyone acts like they want to wear cut off jeans and a halter top because they cannot wear them there.

I can recite this in my sleep, “Nice pants, no jeans, a collared shirt, no tee shirt, and a jacket in the main dining room. Same on the golf course, but no jacket. No swimsuits in the club, only by the pool. If you must, you can wear jeans in the lounge, but do jeans look good on you after 50? No cell phone in the main dining room.”

Oh you would think I have made up these rules and it involved rubbing hot tar on their bare skin.

What is wrong with dressing nice once in a while? I didn’t say a word about anything semi or formal. Just dress like you want the world to see you at these minimum standards.

Geez! I’m no Esquire dandy boy myself.

Addendum: This picture reminds me when I was a kid visiting the local zoo. I love monkeys (except flying monkeys on The Wizard of Oz). They had a few capuchin monkeys in a cage with a sign, “Do not sick your fingers in the cage, the monkeys bite.”

I stuck my finger in the cage and the monkey bit the shit out of me and wouldn’t let go. I was too proud to scream so I just silently suffered in pain until the little bastard let go.

I'm Island Sick

I had the most amazing adventure when I was in St Croix back in September. The adventure keeps playing over and over in my mind.

The adventure was the day I went snorkeling on the far side of Buck Island.

I remember riding in Michael and Terry’s green French fry oil burning machine to the St Croix Yacht club. That truck is so cool.

I remember unloading the truck and dragging out the boat.

I remember leaving my flip flops on the pier and being assured they would be there when I came back.

I remember laughing at the mobility and sea worthiness of their boat. It rolled over the waves and Michael was a great navigator.

I remember seeing a sunken sailboat just under the surface. I meant to dive that but I was exhausted by the time we past that way again.

I remember tacking to the cut in the reef, then approaching the east end of the island.

I remember tying off the boat and having a beer before we dove. The sun was bright and my sunglasses were covered in salt spray. The water was crystal clear and blue. We laughed in the boat and made fun conversation.

I remember Terry plunging into the water and I followed her only to see a grouper greeting us both.

Then my memory goes into an hour or two blur of chasing sea turtles, fish, squid, and looking around for Michael and Terry.

Eventually we went into very deep and very beautiful water. The experience taxed my senses.

I remember looking up and not seeing the boat, and for a moment I panicked. I was in the ocean and I did not have a life jacket or any way to be quickly rescued if I got in trouble. I quickly overcame this sensation and relied on my swimming abilities.

I remember diving underwater and thinking how I would be out of breath when I surfaced. It was worth every dive though.

I mostly swam with my legs and flippers. I have very strong legs. I would get tired when I swam freestyle but was amazed how fast I could go and how invigorating the exercise was.

I remember seeing the same grouper when I came back to the boat.

Lastly, just as Terry promised, my flip flops were still on the pier.

It was a wonderful day.

A Chapter Closes

I walked into the Midland, NC post office this morning and walked up to Clerk 05.

“Hello Mr. Hunnicutt”.

Damn, she knows my name.

“I have all of my paperwork; let’s see if we can get this issue settled”.

She takes the paperwork in the back and is gone for 5 minutes or so.

She comes back with a reasonable offer. I get $55 back for the international overcharge and I get an unsolicited apology. Both are welcomed and accepted.

Case closed.

Michael got his package 3 weeks after I mailed it.

Oh the Humanity, Dandy Fellows!

They got me last night…Dancing with the Stars that is.

So far I have happily avoided this show. I don’t much like to watch good dancers dance, much less amateurs dance.

You see my mother in law is in town for the holiday. This explains why some local animals are turning in circles. Animal have a 5th sense you know.

Any way, last night she runs in and hijacks the TV and commands me to turn on channel whatever. There it was, a bunch of dandy fellows tap dancing all Nancy boy like with matching costumes. It reminded me of the Milton Burl show, Ed Sullivan, Lawrence Welk and the spoof dance number on Blazing Saddles all rolled into one.

I shivered at the waste of humanity.

She was memorized.

I went to bed.

Internet Blues

I woke up this morning and staggered into the kitchen to make my coffee.

I could hear my laptop in the other room gasping for Internet packets and bytes. We must have an Internet outage I thought. The telltale noise of the failed mail pop connection told the story.

I don’t handle life without broadband very well. No email, no news, no blogs, no Craig’s List. I could feel my body wanting to give up and curl in the fetal position.

I fought my urges and picked up the phone and called Time Warner Cable to see what was wrong.

First I must say that I truly hate Time Warner. The feud goes back too far to pinpoint, but just suffice it to say I would use anyone else for broadband if I could. I tried DSL once and I could never connect so I stick with Time Warner.

Actually Time Warner’s service has gotten better over the years and I can feel my cold icy stance melting a bit. It makes me feel awkward to lighten my hatred, like pulling for the Dallas Cowboys. It ain’t right.

I discovered that Time Warner had a new interface when I called. This nice computer man walked me through a few steps and told me that service was down in my area and it should be restored in 90 minutes. Further I didn’t need to talk to anyone.

This made me mad. Oh you cocky computer, you. I told him that I wanted to speak to a person and he connected me with Carl.

Poor Carl stuck on the morning shift. He’s been there a while too, I remember. Carl certainly isn’t an overachiever having been stuck at this same position and time slot for several years.

Anyway Carl told me that this was a planned outage and I should be up and running by 7 AM.

Oops! I can feel my body bowing up now. Hurry Time Warner. Hurry!