Oh I Love To Laugh

There is nothing like a good laugh. I love to laugh. I almost literally died laughing once, while watching the Rhino Scene on a Jim Carey movie.

I was in the living room watching the movie and started laughing hysterically to the point where I fell on the floor and I couldn’t get my breath. Gigi came rushing in thinking I was having a seizure or something.

The thought of the Rhino scene still makes me laugh.

Today, I was with my friends having lunch together and we laughed a lot, at stupid stuff. That was fun too.

I even played a practical joke today on a CPA buddy of mine down the hall. You see, he is expanding his office space right now. The new space is adjacent to the old space, but they haven’t busted through the wall yet.

Where they will bust through is his server room. He is very proud of his new Dell server that resides there.

When he was showing me the new space yesterday, I noticed a few small holes on the backside of his server room.

Today, me and another adolescent acting 50 year when to the new space that is being built. I took a can of compressed air and we blasted air through the tiny opening in the back of the server room. There was silence, then a commotion. The door flung open to see what the problem was with the server. An argument of sorts ensued.

My buddy and I stood in the dark and just giggled silently. Next we blasted again and ran from the space to avoid getting caught.

Tomorrow I will do the same but this time I plan to set off my camera flash at the same time.

Oh this is fun.

The Transition Begins

Yesterday, my office lobby was filled with jeep parts when I came back from lunch. The seats, console, seat belts, visors, and all the stuff was there piled up before me.

Basically I plan to strip this jeep’s interior and replace the parts.

The interior of the jeep is bare metal painted red. I thought it would dress it up and look cool to have the interior sprayed with red Rhino Liner until I got a quote. $599 is too much for me so I looked at a do it yourself kit.

There is a do it yourself liner kit made by Herculiner. Basically, if I clean and prepare the surface properly it should be as easy as paining the interior with a 3 inch roll on brush.

I ordered a gallon in red yesterday. Hopefully it will be here by Saturday and Gigi and I can get to it.

I have to strip out the truck anyway for this project so this would be a perfect time to install all the new fixtures. Keep you fingers crossed because I ain’t mechanical.

There Are No Good Canadian Restaurants Here

I was riding home yesterday and I got to thinking about various ethnic foods. Here in Charlotte you can get most anything you want. We have soul food (southern food), Asian food, Mexican food, Brazilian food, Indian food, Caribbean food, Cuban food, Irish pub grub, English pub grub, German food, Southwestern US food, Chicago food, and the list goes on and on.

One thing we do not have here is Canadian food. Is there uniquely Canadian food?

I did a Google on Canadian food and the first entry was like an online store claiming to offer genuine Canadian food. Most of the stuff they had is the same stuff in my pantry.

I can prepare dozens of uniquely southern meals. Most are delicious but not at all healthy by today’s standards.

Is there a uniquely Canadian cuisine out there?

Oh the Memories....

Just three weeks ago my friends were waiting. I love you guys.







Size Doesn't Matter

I’m finding that size doesn’t matter…. at least when it comes to Jeep Parts.

Last week I ordered what must be a hundred pounds of parts including two front seats and a back seat. The stuff is shipping UPS to my door, and the shipping charge is less than $50. Why is that?

I mean a darn seat is about $135 and must weigh 29 pounds, not to mention it is bulky. I think $50 is a darn deal. There are times when I am too lazy to drive across town. Next time I’ll just get it shipped UPS ground.

Then I look to order a little bitty interior door handle. They want $35 just for that and $15 shipping. Why is that? That’s not fair. Four three times that amount I could have a big old seat…..but I don’t need another seat. I need a door handle.

All Too Human

Life is too real sometimes. Last night I was finishing what turned out to be an enjoyable but completely wasted day, when I started rubbing my face. Suddenly, to my surprise, I discovered that the older I get, the more I feel like I have a scull in my head.

I guess my skin doesn’t fit quite as well as it used too. But there, right on top of my neck was a human skull. Eye sockets, mandible, temples, cranium….the whole thing was quite freaky.

I always knew I was human life, but that experience was too real.

DLP TV

The commercial says, “It’s the mirs”.

It ain’t the mirs, it’s the mirahs.

Get it right America. Talk right.

Me, A Mechanic?

I spent Saturday washing, cleaning and waxing my new/old red jeep. Surprisingly the wax took to the paint well. It was a brilliant red by the end of the day.

The canvas top is new so a good scrubbing made it look good again. I touched up the back bumper with spray on flat black paint.

Next week my new seats, seat belts steering wheel and mirrors should arrive. All this stuff is supposed to be easy to install. I hope so, because I am not mechanically inclined. I admire people who are mechanical. I just don’t have the patience.

Hopefully this new stuff will take out the engine oil smells that reek in the fabrics.

I see online where I can put new white gauge covers over the old gauges. That would be nice. The old gauges are dark and a few need new lights.

There are a million things online for Jeeps. Gigi is already rolling her eyes.

The radio on this jeeps works, but only one out of two in dash speakers works. I headed to Circuit City to what a set of speakers would run installed. I am not a huge music fan but still listen to some music and a lot of talk radio on the AM dial. I figured a decent radio and speaker system would be enough for me. I am not into the jaw rattling systems so many young Jeepsters have.

I started talking the salesman and told him what vehicle I had. He started squirming and suggested I install the speakers myself. I come to find out that it is near impossible to get to these old speakers. Installing the speakers would cost twice as much as the speakers themselves. Plus, it takes four hours of labor at a minimum. He suggested I wait for Shawn to return tomorrow and maybe he could do the installation.

So I rode home with one speaker buzzing and the other working one sounding like crap. No wonder this jeep still has factory speakers.

Yeah, I could see me trying to install those speakers. I would look like a monkey with a math problem.

My New Love

I crave this stuff every morning. It is so good and healthy.

The Quick Magical Breakfast Blaster
2 servings
136 calories per serving

1 scoop (1/3 cup) Soy protein (like Natire's plus Spiru-Tein)
1/2 tablespoon flaxseed oil
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 large ripe banana (or other fruits of your choice)
1/2 tablespoon apple juice concentrate or honey
1 teaspoon Psyillium seed husks

Peel banana; break into chunks. Put all ingredients in a blender. Add 12 ounces of water and ice, as well as powdered vitamins. Cover, blend until fairly smooth.

Gigi and I have been eating this for breakfast all week. We always use frozen blueberries. In addition we sometimes we add frozen peaches and sometimes we add frozen strawberries with the banana and blueberries. It tastes wonderful…this comes from a man that prefers eggs and bacon for breakfast. This shake tastes better to me than my traditional breakfast. Be prepared to spend a little quality time in the powder room at first. Take the name "blaster" seriously.

The Little Red Jeep

I finally got my little red jeep. It is a 1989 Jeep Wrangler with 244, 800 miles on the odometer. The current engine has 64,000 on it.

This jeep is bare bones. No carpet, no air conditioning, and a radio that you can’t hear because of engine and road noise. You can remove the windows, the doors, and the roof or just about anything to make your ride unique.

Gigi, Cedie and I took our first drive in the jeep yesterday afternoon. Cedie eagerly jumped in with her toenails sliding on the metal floor. She was so excited.

This vehicle has a 4 cylinder engine that is geared high. This makes for excessive engine noise. It is not loud by any means, just noisy. Mix this with the wind rushing, the canvas roof flapping, and the street noise coming up through the drain holes in the floorboard and you have one invigorating ride.

We were about a mile under way and I turned to Gigi and we both smiled. “This is fun”, I screamed.

Gigi commented that she felt like we were flying a WWII bomber. All the gauges are the old round analog types that are dimly lit, and fluctuate wildly when you start the engine.

The passenger side seat is broken and has a 2X4 behind the back to keep it upright.

Yesterday I began the process of renewing the interior. I don’t plan to classically restore this jeep or upgrade the jeep. What I am going to do is replace parts that are warn, broken, or cosmetically in need of replacement. So I ordered new seats, a new steering wheel, new visors, a console, and a few minor accessories.

I am going to see what it would cost to get the entire interior sprayed with Rino lining. This would go a long way in dressing up the interior while keeping the bare bones look.

It’s strange that we drive yet another old vehicle. I can afford about any car I desire. Our current fleet is a 2000 F350 Ford Pickup which I drive, and a 1987 4Runner that is Gigi’s. Now we own the 1989 Jeep. We haven’t owned a car in decades. People think we are crazy but cars just don’t do it for us.

People, Please

I have a peeve that I need to air.

Pedestrians have some responsibilities when they choose to mingle bi-peddlely with motor vehicle people.

I realize it is frowned upon and illegal in some areas to run down pedestrians, so I try to live and let live.

When I cross a street, I am careful and courteous enough to cross the street at the two shortest points possible, making the street available for cars as soon as humanly possible. After all, the street was made for cars, not people.

Yesterday an old fellow was waiting to cross the street; actually it was in front of Wal-Mart parking lot. Being the courteous gentleman that I am, I yielded to let the old fellow cross. He smiled and started slowly walking. I was feeking good about myself. Then the old man changed course, and started the dreaded diagonal cross, thereby taking up my road for a longer time than I had intended. He was clearly taking advantage of my good nature.

To make matters worse, he turned and looked back at me several times to make sure I hadn’t changed my mind and to run him down instead. Oh I was tempted.

To further complicate the matter, the old fellow then sets the screen where others take advantage of me. Suddenly all sorts of people are crossing in front of me in all sorts of diagonal paths. It is the street version of the pick and roll. I am helpless to move on unless I want to make the evening news.

Isn't a Deal a Deal?

I have been wanting to buy an old convertible SUV ever since our last trip to the islands. Heck, I wanted a Jeep since my old college days. I just love the openness, the uncomfortableness, and the fun associated with driving down the road in the open air.

Last week we had a deal to buy a 1986 4Runner from a girl that Gigi met at the tack (horse supplies) store. She asked us to call her Sunday morning after 10 AM and we could meet and buy the car. We told her we would take the truck sight unseen and agreed to a price. With these old 4Runners you can actually pull off the hard top roof. Gigi owns a 1987 4Runner.

The hour arrived and we called the girl. Her husband answered and said, “Sorry dude, I sold it Friday”. Gigi and I were livid. I had already mentally cleaned out the nursery for our new arrival. I had pictured Gigi and I and the dogs riding around in the sun laughing and yakking it up.

So a few days ago I found a little red 1989 Wrangler Jeep. I called the guy and arranged to meet him. I was ready to buy at his price if the Jeep was near as nice as he described in the ad.

Last night I collected cash for the transaction, hurried Gigi along so she could dive back while I drove the new Jeep home. We drove to the north of the city during rush hour and I arrived on time to see the Jeep. It was a classic.

I looked the Jeep over, I asked questions, test drove it and said I would take it. He then said he promised that he wouldn’t sell it until this other guy from Wilmington had a chance to look at it.

What? I thought the Jeep was for sale. I had the bills in my pocket, we had agreed to a price and then he holds off for some other guy in another city that he doesn’t know for some future date? If the guy drives up from Wilmington after me are you going to sell it to him for the same price? What an idiot. What a waste of mine and Gigi’s time.

Is not a deal a deal anymore?

Sorry to have wasted you time Gigi.

UPDATE

Okay…I take back the ugly thoughts I was having. The guy called me back and said we have a deal. I hope to pick up this red beauty this afternoon. Ah…just in time for spring.

Dog Traffic Control

First thing every morning, I am faced with four bladder filled border collies all wanting to relieve them selves.

You see, they don’t have the pleasure as I do of going in the middle of the night and almost falling asleep on the pot as your body rids itself of a source of stress.

--- Just a sidebar here. I sit on the toilet in the middle of the night to relieve myself as do most men if they will admit it. It takes away the aiming problems inherent with being male, limited light, and not wanting to fully wake up. During the light of day, I assume my more traditional male stance. ---

We do not have a fenced yard so I must voice command each dog to keep them from roaming after they go potty.

Usually, Haley, Cedie and Duke go flying out first thing leaving Peaches asleep under my bed. Haley is the best on voice commands. I give her a minute and yell, “That’ll do monkey shine”, and she comes running back.

Okay, one down, two still outside and one yet to go. You see it getting complicated already.

Duke and Cedie are as stubborn as a hair in a biscuit. After a minute Cedie will come hopping in on her three legs. Duke is missing as usual and Peaches presents herself to potty. Out she goes and Cedie comes in. Haley runs out for a moment to survey the situation since she is boss dog. Then Haley runs back in the house.

Okay two in, two out with one MIA. I’ll bet I know where he is.

I pour my coffee, sit down to blog and I hear Peaches knocking at the door. Peaches is so easy.

Peaches comes in and I yell for Duke. That’s three down and one missing.

I put on some shoes and walk to the street where Duke is in the ditch waiting to ambush and dog that might step foot on his property. This activity makes him go doggy deaf.

Doggy deafness is a condition when a dog will not respond to any voice command until their concentration or lack there of is broken. Duke gets doggy deaf a lot.

So old Duke sees me and follows me back to the house.

Now all four are in and safe, and our morning has begun.

I Almost Digested Myself and Lived to Tell About It

What did we do before Prilosec? I would rob banks to get this stuff if I couldn’t afford it.

You see, I was blessed with the natural ability to digest my own body. Before Prilosec, I would toss antacids at the raging inferno that dwelled in my stomach, only to temporarily keep the monster at bay. I never extinguished the fire for any extended time.

Honest to goodness I would feel the pain all the way to my ears when I slept. Then it got to the point where I had difficulty swallowing because I had cooked my own innards.

My father had this same problem and dealt with it all his life.

Finally one day Gigi brought home this amazing concoction and my digestive life has been normal since.

Thank you, Prilosec.

Winter is Over!

Today is the opening race for NASCAR, the Dayton 500. You don’t race stock cars in the winter. Therefore, winter is over.

Today Phil Michelson is leading a PGA event on the continental US. You don’t play PGA golf events in the winter. Therefore, winter is over.

Next week the temperatures will be in the upper 60’s here in Charlotte and the end of February is drawing nigh. (I don’t get to use nigh near as much as I would like)

Therefore, boo to winter, yea to spring.

Vacation Slide Show

I Must Play

I am going to play golf next week…somehow, someway. The last time I banged around a golf egg was one last warm day in early January. What this means is you take an already bad golf swing, add six weeks of golf inactivity, and you have the perfect storm for a horrible golf game come next week.

Still, I love the game. Yesterday I went into the monstrously large Dick’s sporting goods at Southpark to see what was new. To my surprise they were having a sale on most things golf. I bought two new pairs of Foot Joy shoes. I sprung for a pack of those plastic tees that never break. These should last me the rest of my life.

Then I decided I needed a new hat. This is where they stick you. Hats are never on sale. I must have a golf hat when I play golf. My regular cool Carolina hat is reserved for events other than golf.

I was standing around looking confused when a lovely young woman asked if she could assist me. I told her my problem. I like the dark blue Titleist hat, but I have this gigantic salty head. A dark hat will show all these salt rings and a light hat will show dirt. If I wash the hat it turns purple where the salt was.

She shook her head positively and motioned enthusiastically for me to follow her, like she had been trained to handle big headed salty people that looked like they could afford a higher end golf hat.

There perched on the small shelf, like some high end reserve wine, sat a new line of hats that came in a size that fit me, and had some new wicking technology that was supposed to deal better with big salty heads.

The only catch was this hat was $25. Wow! But you know, this is one fine piece of golf equipment. Tiger wears one so you know it will improve my game.

Now I will look the part next week even if I can’t play the part.

Peter

This is the first in a series about our friends on St Croix.

Oh my gosh….what to say about our new friend Peter. We met Peter through Terry and Michael on our last trip to St Croix.

You know how you are overwhelmed with sensory perceptions when you jump into a pool? This is the feeling you get when Peter walks up. This guy is an adrenalin rush with a capital AR. He’s like a big dose of fresh air with a fart. It feels good but something is amiss.

We first spent time with Peter during the super bowl.

Peter keeps a drink in your hand but has no money. Peter keeps you laughing and smiling. Peter is 50 and has the energy of a 4 year old.

Peter treats you like an old friend right after you meet him. He is about as laid back as an AC/DC concert.

I am glad to know Peter. I miss ya man.

What???? What???? Okay, I'm Stupid

I love peanut butter. I keep a couple of jars of peanut butter at work, and a couple of jars of peanut butter at home. I keep both the smooth and crunchy on hand at both places to suit my mood.

I have a brand preference which is Jif peanut butter. I will eat Peter Pan or Skippy in a pinch, but clearly Jif is my brand.

Finally, we pronounce peanut butter here in the south as, pea-nut budder. We stretch out the peanut part with an emphasis on pea. Folks in other parts of the country pronounce peanuts almost the way they would say penis. This confuses me.

Now there has been some interesting news lately about a contaminated batch of Peter Pan peanut butter and a product recall of all affected batches.

I was in the shower this morning with the TV cut up so I could hear the news. A fellow on the national news was talking about, and this is what I heard, he was talking about jars of contaminated penises.

I yelled to Gigi, “What, contaminated penises?”

She calmly fires back some term like, “you idiot!”

Then she explained that the fellow had a Midwestern accent and he was talking about peanuts.

Whew!

Grief is the Price You Pay for Love

Never did this statement mean more to me than when I think about that crazy little Border Collie that I lost to cancer over a year ago.

Galaxy was more to me than another pet dog. Galaxy exuded love to whom ever she met. I wanted her life to mean something more than the loss of a cherished companion. Galaxy was special. She was my friend. She loved me and I loved her.

When Galaxy died, she broke my heart and my spirit for a while. Eventually her death motivated me to honor her brief life by helping other dogs who needed help. How could I honor her and help other dogs that need help?

I still haven’t exactly figured out how to use her life and death for the good of others. I am still very motivated on finding the solution.

Before Galaxy died, I asked my sister Judy to paint a portrait of Galaxy. Judy took my favorite photo of Galaxy and rendered the most beautiful painting of her.

After her death, I wanted a copy of her portrait to hang in the oncology department of the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine where Galaxy was aggressively treated for her cancer. The university gladly accepted my gift and asked me to write an article about her life for their winter 2007 CVM Magazine.

I wrote an article for the magazine and my new friend Ali (who many know and love) gladly edited my text.

The article was published a few days ago and I received my copy of the magazine yesterday.

Here is the article in .pdf format. I hope you enjoy.

9,000 Mile Cream Rum

I couldn’t stand it much longer without the newly acquired taste for cream rum. Not just any cream rum would do, I wanted Cruzan Cream rum.

I bopped over to the state own liquor store to buy a bottle of fine Cruzan Cream rum yesterday. I will never figure out why our state is in the retail liquor business.

I hardly ever end up in a liquor store so I spent quite a bit of time looking around. Finally I gave up and asked the clerk where a man might find a bottle of fine Cruzan Cream Rum. He pointed over to a shelf that indeed had many kinds of Cruzan rum, but not the one kind I desire.

Not to be discouraged, I looked up Cruzan Cream Rum online and found that I could order this stuff online because of the lowered alcohol content. It was considered more of cordial rather than hard liquor. So I placed an order for two bottles. A cordial in the south is good for what might ail you so I felt justified in my quest and two bottle order.

Today I got the UPS tracking information and the rum was shipped from California. This is insane. This stuff was made in St Croix and bulk shipped to Florida (only the local stuff is bottled on the island). There in Florida it was mixed and bottled, then shipped to California. Now it is being shipped back to Charlotte and should be here next Friday.

You know how I enjoy a good package tracking. Hopefully I will see my rum on the 20th.

My Inner Conflict

I am so hungry!

Last week I threw a little caution to the wind and ate more than usual. This week I am eating lighter than usual to pay for my eating binge last week.

My stomach doesn’t understand. My stomach liked carefree Reggie better. Carefree Reggie cooked baloney sandwiches with cheese on the grill and tossed down potato chips and beer. Carefree Reggie ate Cheestos, peanuts, cream rum, cake, cookies and more beer on the boardwalk.

Serious Reggie is eating salads, fruit and well balanced meals with reasonable portions and no beer.

Oh my stomach is mad! Please come dear lunch!

I Want my Jet Pack

I just heard on the news that our city council had approved a project that will be completed in 2011.

I though, yeah, I’ll be 106 and flying a jet pack to work, when I realized that 2011 is just 4 years away!

I never thought I would live in the future. What ever happened to jets pack and Jetson cars anyway? Shouldn’t we be living on the moon or something?

Just in Case

We have a very upscale grocery store chain based out of Charlotte, NC. Their flagship store is the Moorcroft section of town near my office. This store is like no other grocery store that I have ever seen. The store is located in a wealthy section of town so you find the best varieties of everything. People even dress up there to shop here.

The produce at this store is very extensive, likewise the wine department, bakery, the butcher, whatever. It is a pleasure to shop there.

I stopped by this afternoon to pick up some fresh fruit, a sourdough loaf, and a bottle of wine. I stood at the bakery and marveled over the mountains of fresh baked bread loaves and wanted to burst out in song singing, “God Bless America”, when suddenly I thought about the tiny store I was in last week in St Croix. It was a little Store called the “Just in Case Deli”.

At the Just in Case Deli an enthusiastic black woman with a very thick accent bragged about their fresh baked bread after I had professed my love for their brownies. She only had one type of bread but it was warm and smelled good. She promised I would like it as much as her brownies. I did.

She didn’t cook either the bread or the brownies, but she was an ambassador for both. I miss the simplicity of that place.

St Croix Puppies (Don't tell my dogs, they don't read my blog)

Gigi looks hot and the puppy is cute.

Cute kid and cute puppies.

Plain old cute puppies.

A Love Lost?

What’s the big deal about the Internet? Before I went on my vacation, I would/could spend endless hours reading and surfing the Internet, completely enthralled and entertained.

Likewise, Gigi would be on her laptop doing the same for hour on end throughout most any weekend. Surfing the Internet is not the only thing we did, it was what we did between other things normal people do. It was our version of reading the paper, watching the news and shopping all in one. We both seemed to have this down to an enjoyable pattern.

Now that we are home, we are trying to rediscover what exactly consumed so much of our time just as little as ten days ago.

Yesterday I woke up and checked my email. I’ll get 80 or so overnight with 79 being spam. Okay, that took a minute.

Then I read my blogs that I read. Only three of you posted overnight. They were all good. I even commented on Zigs. Whew three minutes consumed.

I look at the news. There in front of me was the same old recycled shit day after day, just like before I left for vacation. Gloom doom and despair. It is basically spam news.

I spend a few minutes filtering out the spam news from real news and there are on or two items of real news that interest me.

Anna Nicole really seemed to have a thing for old men didn’t she?

I’m spending a few minutes now writing down my thoughts while I let a division of border collies out to expel their night water. Man oh man those dogs missed us and I missed them.

Well…I’ve killed a few minutes all in front of the PC. I definitely am not going to sit by the pool or ocean today and doubt if I’ll do any dirt snorkeling.

Off to work I go. Maybe we will rediscover the love we had of the Internet.

I Need To Play a Round

Oh how I long for a round of casual golf with my buddies. I planned to play last week when I was down on the island, but I got too busy and by Saturday, I couldn’t buy a tee time.

Winter golf here is not nearly as fun as warm weather golf. I have to wear too many clothes in the winter and my muscles stay too tense to get a “good” round off. Good golf for me is having fun, big belly laughs, and shooting around 100 or so.

Gigi and I stopped by the club for lunch today and I saw a faithful few playing golf with temperatures in the mid 30’s. I wanted to swing my new driver on the range but couldn’t muster the flex.

Perhaps in a few weeks we will start to see some early warm days of spring and I can arrange for the needed man time on the golf course.

You've Never Heard of Debloating?

Last night my body began the gradual process of debloating.

Whenever I travel by air, my body swells a bit. My shoes and wedding ring get tighter.

A few years ago I read about airline travel potentially giving you a condition called deep vein thrombosis. In a nut shell, you can form dangerous blood clots in the deep veins of your calves and thighs when you travel by air. I put two and two together and just know I am a candidate for DVT. Take a look at my calves in the pictures on a previous post and you’ll see my concern. My calves look like bowling pins. I just know that somewhere in that big old calf that a blood clot is forming. Therefore, when I fly, I move as much as possible on a plane and drink a lot of fluid.

Here comes the debloating part. All that fluid has to go somewhere. During the night following a long flight, I awaken suddenly and frequently with emergency bladder bells and whistles going off. Last night was no exception.

Today my ring and shoes are loose. No more bloating from too much sun, beer, and flying. Today I switch back from real vacation to mental vacation and prepare to go back to the salt mines tomorrow.

I gotta run. The final round of Pebble Beach is on.

New Things I Did This Week

I’m back safe and sound in Charlotte. Thanks to you all for letting me indulge my passion of the islands with you.

Haley was so happy to see me that she just sat and peed on the back deck. She is passed out at my feet now.

I did/saw three things this week that I have never experienced. First, I passed two cars while driving on the island. What makes this a big deal is that everything is opposite down there since you drive on the left side of the road.

Second, I drove from one end of the island to the other end of the island twice today. It took two trips to the airport in the tiny Wrangler Jeep in order to get all the luggage back. No more rental Jeeps.

Third, I saw four people puke this week including me. The first was a young man in the Charlotte airport just as we were leaving. Then I got a stomach ache on Monday and forced myself to puke. Then I saw a guy in town puke on my first trip to the airport. Lastly a kid puked on the plane a few rows up as we were boarding the plane.

This has to be some puking record, at least for a civilian. I’m sure medical people reading this are not impressed.

Oh! Something else, I may have made my longest distance call ever when I called Zig and Ali. That call had to be 5 or 6 thousand miles. I called Scotland this summer but I think the distance was less. I was way down in the Caribbean and they are way up in the frozen north.

Going Back To Charlotte

This morning is very warm here and we are packing to go home. Today we head back to the Queen City, the colossus of the south, my dear cold home, Charlotte.

Now lets take a look at what is left in the frig. Hmmm, a few beers, some milk and juice, some soft drinks. My lunch is in the brown bag to the left.

We finally stopped at Smokies yesterday for some jonnie cakes and goat water. Everything was devoured so we ended up with goat water with no goat meat and some smoked herring with rice. All this may sound gross but it is very good. So that is the contents of the brown bag.

The Roseway Eye Candy

Remember the Schooner trip Terry and Michael planned a few weeks ago? We took that trip yesterday under a warm Caribbean sky and Tidy Bowl blue water.

The Roseway is a beautiful wooden sailing ship built in 1925. To the ladies amazement it was staffed with an equally beautiful crew of young stud muffins and pretty young ladies.

Judy and Gigi never even saw the water or the distant vistas. Their eyes stayed glued on the handsome hunks on deck.

More Island Characters

This is a small island, so I usually bump into the same folks year after year. When I run into someone, I’ll stop and talk for a few moments, simply picking up the conversation where we left off last time.

First, I ran into Charlie. I met Charlie 5 years ago and have seen him on every trip here since. Charlie does property management here and the story about him is he is from a wealthy Boston family. Charlie has a huge white mustache and a friendly way about him. I saw him Tuesday eating a piece of coconut cake at one of the many places that sell home cooked baked goods.

Then there is Richard. Richard haunts the downtown area of Christiansted. I have seen and talked to Richard every visit but one. That time, he was in Florida on a drug rehab. Richard first recommended my favorite restaurant in St Croix, which is Bacchus. I am forever in debt to Richard for this. I always have a $5 bill for Richard and he thanks me and we talk briefly. He doesn’t ever remember me, but he is happy to find out I know him. Richard is homeless but is never cold at night. He is always friendly.

Then there is Joni. I met Joni a few years ago. She is a friend of Margaret. Joni was sitting at the top of the hill the other day and asked me for a ride. We smiled at each other when we realized we knew each other. She immediately told me that Margaret was looking for me. Then she asked how Gigi was.

All of these people make me feel at home here.

The Call

It is a small world. We just got off the phone with Zig and Ali. We were standing on a giant cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. They were in their office in Winnipeg.

Judy said she felt shy and bashful talking to Ali. Gigi has never met a stranger so she talked away. I loved to hear their voices.

I asked Ali who had the strongest Southern accent. Without hesitation Ali said it was Gigi.

I congratulated Zig on Alyssa’s pregnancy and checked on the welfare of Diesel.

It was so good to hear them. I feel like they are family.

Zig, Ali, Wooden Dinosaur, and Alyssa

I was having dinner this evening with Judy, Tom, Terry, Michael Gigi and me when the subject of other blogs came up.

Let it be known that your lives are read about regularly here in the Caribbean. Others were mentioned too. Our table sounded for a moment like a bunch of hens talking about a soap opera.

To all my blogger buddies…. know that you are loved and read by strangers who are interested in your lives.

Colorful People

You meet colorful people here. Yesterday Tom and I were sitting in the jeep at the bottom of the hill making phone calls. This is the closest place to our villa that has a cell signal.

This older fellow came strolling by and started talking to us. He told us how great it was to live here and how healthy he was now. He looked to be in his late 70’s.

He then said he takes very good care of himself and he hopes to make it to 100. He told us he doesn’t drink, smoke, or have sex.

Tom turned to him and asked, “Why in the hell would you want to live to 100?”

I thought I was going to die laughing.

Stupid Question of the Day

I really said this to my friend Terry this morning. “Terry, have you ever seen a shark snorkeling?”

Gigi was nearby and started guffawing.

This makes me understand the importance of the word "while".

The Coconut Man

How much do you tip the coconut man? This social dilemma has never presented itself to me until today.

We were all lazily soaking up the sun by our private pool when a man appeared over the rail and bid us good morning. His job was to trim the coconut and palm trees here at our villa.

He asked if we wanted some coconuts and we all were immediately pictured ourselves drinking a rum drink with a straw from the coconut.

This nice man took time from his work to make our day more fun, our visit more tropical. He opened eight nuts for us and the juice was drunk and replaced with the drinks of choice.

So, I tipped him and he thanked us and we thanked him. This is such a nice place.

Tuesday

Gigi said this morning that I was to wear a pillow case over my head to avoid more sun. She said I had assumed a new race from tanning too much.

Judy said her feet were so puffy that they were shiny.

Gigi is exhausted.

Reggie is exhausted.

Judy is exhausted.

Tom is exhausted.

We have logged around 6 hours of snorkeling so far. I just can’t stay out of the water.

The locals are apologizing for the cold weather. 84 in the day and 75 at night are not cold guys. The weather is so perfect that Judy keeps asking me if we have died and gone to heaven.

Man we have eaten too much rich food.

Today I will have a massage, drink lots of water and snorkel.

Monday

Yesterday was a blast. We headed into Christiansted and did some preliminary shopping, not to be confused with serious shopping.

First things first, we all headed to the harbor webcam to make calls back home. I even tried to call Zig so he could see us in shorts and tee shirts but all I got was his voicemail.

Next there was lunch at Cane Bay and then, snorkeling at Carambola.
Finally, a home cooked meal at home and a fantastic desert. (see below)

New Things I have Discovered



No matter how old you get there is always time to learn new things. This morning I have come to the realization that you really don’t need shoes. Flip flops maybe, at a formal occasion, but bare feet rule. Consider moving to a warmer climate if you cannot practice this at home.

The second this is……gather around the computer because this is very important….Cruzan Rum Cream. Add just a splash of cocoanut rum and pour the concoction over ice. It is far better than Baileys Irish Cream, but I am not finished.

I sidetrack for a moment. Here in St. Croix it is very common to stop at any gas station and find the most wonderful homemade baked goods. Cakes, pies and brownies are all cut into generous portions and wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

Yesterday we picked up a variety of these goodies just to have around for our pleasure. One item was a brownie that was of such high standards that I doubt anyone of you reading will ever be able to sample its pleasure. The brownie was dense, not too sweet, and had the most delicious chocolate flavor imaginable. It was flawless, trust me. You could use this brownie as currency.

My sister Judy first cut a small sliver from the brownie brick and tasted it. She immediately used her best yummy sounds only reserved for this finest of foods. Gigi and I took note and asked for a sliver.

Next…..quite by accident, we all sipped the cream rum with the brownie. The skies opened up, and angelic music was heard around the room.

This was a news pleasure for us all. We all woke up unashamed this morning in the light of day talking about our experience.

Judy has already checked on the condition of the brownie. The brick is still there. The rum is still there. I can’t wait to do it again tonight.

A Long Day



Where do I start? The last 24 hours have seemed like a week, a very fun week at that.

We had a pleasant flight down. We are blessed to have a nonstop flight from Charlotte to St Croix. By the time you watch a movie, eat a crappy meal and pee, ding, you are about there.

When we landed they announced the local time and temperature and the plane burst into applause. 85 degrees in February is a treat. Okay a few folks clapped.

So Gigi and I are leaving the plane and walking across the tarmac when I suggested we look for our friends Eugene and Sharon in the departure gate. They are friend from Charlotte and they are in the process of moving to St Croix. I knew they were going back to Charlotte on the plane we just left. Sure enough they were standing up next to the glass waving to us. It was strange to travel 1800 miles and we were separated by a pane of glass. We all just waved and laughed at each other.

Then as we approached the front we were greeted by an entourage of friends with signs saying, “Hunnicutt for President and Welcome Hunnicutt Entourage“. There stood Terry, Michael, Goliath and several other folks holding signs and laughing at our wide open mouths.

We hugged and laughed. Terry had prepared a basket of goodies for us that included St Croix Carrots (Cheetos) and a cooler full of adult beverages. Thank you so much guys.

Goliath was nice to me this time.

The afternoon and evening included Dinner at Cheeseburgers and relaxing by the pool.

Sunday was another beautiful warm day. We sat by the pool for a while and headed to Brunch at the marina. Come hungry but don’t expect fast service at the Golden Rail CafĂ©. The food is always good but the service is always slow. That was okay. I ate a seafood omelet with lobster, scrimp, and fish.

Then we went to Schooner Bay Grocery to shop for supplies and some adult beverages. It is always fun to shop there. The variety is good but quantities are limited.

Then we went back to the house and more soaking up the sun by the pool.

Tom and I decided to take a shot at snorkeling in the afternoon. I remember this cool place Terry showed us last May. Before long were hovering over reefs with all kinds of fish and wildlife. 2 hours later we drug our tired bodies back to the house for lunch by the pool.

A very quick nap and I was awaked by the Internet person that had come to fix my connection.

It seems that St Croix is the resting place or connection point for a giant cable that connects North America to South America. Some how this involves a microwave tower and this guy tapped into the tower. He then beams Internet around the island for a monthly fee. My router needed reprogramming and then I was able to get connected back to the world.

Now you can watch the webcam on the sidebar.

The phone still doesn’t work at the house and you have to climb a hill for the cell to work.

That afternoon we showered and got ready for the super bowl. A large screen TV was set up at the outdoor bar at the Divi. We all went down and met Terry Michael, Goliath and friends to watch the game. We laughed at the commercials and enjoyed the game.

Just before half time we drove down the beach to a friend’s house. These guys operate several local restaurants. These folks whipped up a fantastic meal for us. We ate outside and continued our merriment.

We returned to the game, and then went home afterwards. What a long day. What a fun day.

We Made It!!!

Rum decisions.......


No land line, no cell phone and no Internet. At least we got some kind of microwave Internet set up this afternoon.



Judy in the Jeep. Happy Judy.


Happy Reggie and Gigi at Cheeseburgers. Oh guys...it's 85 down here and we slept with the AC on!!!!

Ready to Launch

Well I’m up early as you would expect. Gigi has a last few things to dump in the suitcase and I’m off in a minute to take care of the horses.

I sure hope I can get some good Internet connectivity down in St Croix so I can share my vacation with my blogger family. I’ll have the video running, pictures posted and at least daily commentary for you to read. The video will be just below my profile on the right side bar. See me with the big grin in the dark?

So if you are stuck in the cold, I will be more than happy to will share the warmth of my excursion with you.

I hope to be back on late tonight or early tomorrow. See ya!

Stalking and Taunting

Darn it, I was caught!

If you chum the water enough Zig, a big old fish will eventually bite. I did.

I swear I’m not stalking, but I think you and Ali are taunting.

I just glance in once in a while to see if you are having more fun than me. I swear!


I’m Proud to Know These Folks

Yes, we’ll be hanging around with both Goliath and Michael next week.
Goliath doesn't like me at all, but he loves Gigi.

Terry and Michael, you must be proud parents. See you soon!

(click for larger image)

Passing on to Paradise

Today is groundhog day whoo hoo! Come on sweet spring please.

I am in the last 24 hours of before I pass on to paradise without having to die. Yes friends the hour is upon me. We go to my tropical outpost in the Caribbean at 11:08 tomorrow morning.

Let’s recap, can we, on my plans to be prepared? (Insert dreamy harp music here) As you may recall I had this list. On the list were tasks to be done, and things to be packed, so by now, I could relax and simply drive to the airport. I have tweaked the list and tasks slightly, but all is on schedule. My last task is to take Boscoe to the baby sitter today, and run the vacuum one last time tomorrow.

Did Gigi even make a list? No, but she assured me that she had means to her method. Her method it turns out is the last minute panic pack.

So while I’ll be sitting around this evening with a cocktail self actualizing, she will be in the throws, or grouchy (no less) panic packing that always leads to mistakes.

Yes, I’m feeling smug.

Oh! I almost forgot we are in Black History Month too. A busy time of year along with Ground hog Day and packing.

Tiles

One detail about St Croix I absolutely love is that every dwelling has tile floors. The tiles feel so good on my bare feet. They are neither too warm nor too cold. I feel so grounded on the tiles. The tiles are so practical and they are beautiful.

I love to see Margaret come over barefooted to clean. She sweeps the tiles and talks loudly to Gigi. She is always smiling. Her feet are flat and very pink from years of walking barefooted. Then she will mop the tiles and they dry with a dull luster.

The tiles never seem dirty. My feet stay clean. Thank you, Margaret.

I can’t wait to see the tiles.

Winter Denial

I live most of my winter in complete denial. I dress lightly, often without a coat of any kind. I depend on preheating the truck and dashing between heated spaces to remain comfortable.

I am forced to give in to the reality winter when a storm like the one we having today hits. So, this morning I dug out my heavy down coat that I have owned for three years but never worn. I put on insulated boots that I have owned for four years and worn once to a football game. I have a pair of Carolina Panthers mittens that I have never worn but wore today.

I donned all of this gear to blaze out 20 miles to take Gigi to a 10:30 appointment at the doctor’s office. It is not that cold but the whole scene is oppressive. I had given in to winter.

The roads here have a 3 inch layer of snow and freezing rain has covered that surface. Not a problem though. I lived five years in a snowy climate so I know how to drive on this stuff.

So I put my truck in 4 wheel drive and cautiously headed down the road in full winter gear. My truck started sliding sideways about ½ mile from home, without any braking or stupid moves. Gigi and I looked at each other and said, “@%#! it”. We turned around and headed home.

Here I sit, watching Zig type and blogging. Sounds like a good day for a nap.

Utility Poles

When I was a kid we called every utility pole a telephone pole. I still call them telephone poles even though they may carry power, telephone and television cable.

You look at any city and you see these ugly wooden poles up and down each street. How archaic is that?

In St Croix the wiring on their utility poles is down right scarey.

My brain somehow filters out these ugly utility poles unless I manually shut off the utility pole filter. Then the true backwardness and ugliness of the poles comes forward. Take a look at your cityscape with that pole filter off and you’ll see what I mean.

When I was a kid I used to like to smell utility poles. Back then they treated the poles with a cancer causing agent called creosol. I loved the pungent petroleum smell of creosol. I used to like the smell of high sulfur diesel fumes too. I hope that childhood pleasure doesn’t lead to my early demise.

Today I am concerned for my utility poles. I live at the end of a street, at the end of a long line of utility poles. I hope the ice will stay away and keep my power and internet running. I am the last to get restored when the power goes down.

I Spoke Too Soon


Well....it's a nice little snow and still falling.

It Feels Like Saturday

You’ve gotta love a southern city. Here in Charlotte, all the radio and TV stations have activated their “storm centers” to follow the impending storm.

The big news so far is the slag trucks coving the roads in salty brine. Wow, that leaves me breathless.

The schools here have been cancelled with no snow and no ice on the ground.

Frankly my big concern is getting my butt out of here on Saturday and landing safely in the warmth of the Caribbean.

Next week is the heart of winter for us. It is supposed to be very cold with temperatures in the teens. I, on the other hand, will be playing golf in the mid 80’s.

For now our city has a “Saturday feel” and everyone except essential services are excused from doing much of anything.