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!

Hate Crimes

A “hate crime” classification is a bit silly to me.

Let’s assume I am about to kill a man I hate for whatever reason. Let’s assume I am straight, and the person I am about kill is gay.

If I kill this person and I get caught, the court will prosecute me based on the fact that he is dead, surrounding evidence, and the circumstances of the murder whether it was premeditated, second degree or manslaughter.

Either way the guy is dead and I am guilty of ending his life.

Let’s say seconds before I murdered this gay person I screamed, “You bad gay person, you!”, then I would be potentially guilty of murder and a hate crime. He is dead, I am a killer, and to top it off, I said something derogatory to this gay person making him feel bad just seconds before he died.

Now I have really done it. He is an insulted dead gay person and I am a hater and a murderer which is much worse than just a plain old every day murderer.

Either way he is still dead.

I don’t get it.

Trees, Leaves, and Holidays Produce Gas

Thanksgiving by far is the coolest of holidays as far as timing goes. It always falls on a Thursday and I like that. A Thursday Holiday basically trashes a respectful work week.

They’ll be football on Thursday, just like yesterday.

I’ll knock off Tuesday and basically my week is done until the following Monday and it will be guiltless.

I did change one holiday tradition this year and blew leaves yesterday rather than the Friday after Thanks giving.

The conditions are optimal for blowing leaves. We haven’t had much rain since April so the little buggers are light and crispy.

I rent this gigantic side discharge blower that will handle mountains of leaves. I start at the top, roof and gutters and work my way out.

I’ll push around two acres of leaves on the other six acres and let them rot. Yes this causes global warming but there is no escaping it. We just didn’t know it until Al Gore told us.

It’s kind of weird that all those leaves produced all that oxygen and sucked up all the CO2. Now the rotting leaves will suck up all the oxygen to rot and produce CO2 back into the air. Next year they’ll do it all over again. Sounds like a cycle to me.

I just though of this…maybe the leaves are giving off greenhouse gasses to stay warm this winter and next spring they will suck up greenhouse gasses to stay cool. Wow trees are smart.

Thoughts in the Yard

I thought about this stuff while I was blowing leaves and had to come in and write it down.

When I was a little kid it would make me so mad when someone told me to put on my thinking cap. I didn’t have a damn thinking cap and I knew there were no such thing; Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny, yes. Thinking cap, no, who were they kidding?

Same with a sweet pill, I knew there was no such thing. I would fake it for my mother but I know I was grouchy and in time I would become ungrouchy. Later they invented sweet pills called Prozac.

I used to have a pair of black Converse high top canvas sneakers that I would wear without socks. They made my feet stink so bad that my mother threw them away one day when I was at school.

I dreamed the other night that I found a wild cigar tree on my property and it was covered in stogies. The cigars were hanging like little pods and some of them already had bands on them. I was told to let them ripen some more and I would have some fine cigars.

Time to go out and blow some more leaves.

Start with Turkey and End with Chicken, KFC Style

This time of year people act very stupid about cooking a damn turkey. It couldn’t be simpler…just like cooking a giant chicken. Just look at the package and follow directions. It is even easier if you use one of those plastic browning bags.

You want simple stuffing? Try Stove Top. It takes a few minutes and no one will know any better. The same for gravy. Open a few jars and heat it up. You’ll be a hero and no one has to know.

We have enough browning bags to last for the next few years. Every year we buy a box and only use one.

I have recently met a person that doesn’t like cinnamon. She could be alone in the world. Everyone but this single person loves cinnamon. It like morphine of the taste buds.

I drove my Jeep to Durham yesterday to visit family and have an early Thanksgiving meal. You know you are traveling when you drive a Jeep Wrangler 3 hours each way. It’s loud, windy, cool and bumpy. I wore ears plugs most of the way. I guess this is the way our ancestors rode in their Model T’s. It was fun.

I had a good hearty laugh when I got home and read Michael’s response in my blog. He is too funny sometimes. I posted in Jive and he resounded in Jive.

I got a flu shot the other day. I get the flu about every three years and hope this will help. I was sick for two weeks last year. Plus they act like if you are a geezer over 50 then you’ll surely die from the flu. I’m 51. I once had a flu shot in the 1970’s and started having seizures. You can see why I have been hesitant since then.

I miss snorkeling very much. It is the perfect exercise and you never overheat. Plus the wildlife and formations you see are breathtaking. I made sure yesterday that my brother-in-law Tom had his snorkeling gear ready for St Croix. He forgot his goggles last year.

There was a real Col. Sanders and I saw him face to face once. I grew up in Durham, NC home to the famous “Rice Diet”. The Rice Diet would attract famous fatties of the day from all over. I was most impressed with the over indulged, chicken eating Col. Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. It’s called KFC now to make it sound healthier.

One day at the shopping center, (we didn’t have malls in the 1960’s) I saw the Col. in his white suit, snow white hair and his hyper tensioned red face with black glasses. My mouth flew open like I had just seen a living cartoon character and he smiled at me as we passed.

I'm Always Mentally on Vacashun and Dis makes Some Folks Mad

Translated in Jive:

Dursday, Novemba' 15, 2007

Let da damn Good Times Roll

Gigi and ah' went t'Soudpo't, NC dree times in de past year. Ah be baaad... We had fo'gotsten how much we likesd da damn little coastal community. Slap mah fro!

De only place around t'accommodate our monsta' RV be an RV Park dat essentially caters t'full time RVers. Most uh dem do wo'k at da damn nearby nuclear plant. Man!

De couple dat runs de place keeps some tight ship. Jes hang loose, brud. De grounds is always well maintained and undesirables is not allowed.

On our last visit ah' ax'ed ha' to place us on some waitin' list so's dat we could park our unit waaay down dere and visit on de weekends. Today she called and said some slot gots'ta be jimmey fo' us in April uh 2008.

De mondly rate includes some concrete pad, power, booze and sewer, some picnic table and grounds keepin'. I’ll hook down de dish fo' TV and dig some local broadband connecshun.

So, we’ll gots some place at da damn beach until we decide oderwise.

We’ll plum hook down de RV when we wanna go t'oda' places likes Jekyll Island o' de mountains.

Da Beast

I dropped off the Jeep yesterday morning at the detailer to see if he could polish some live paint out of the old dull fellow. Here’s what it looked like when I picked it up at sunset.

Let the Good Times Roll

Gigi and I went to Southport, NC three times in the past year. We had forgotten how much we liked the little coastal community.

The only place around to accommodate our monster RV is an RV Park that essentially caters to full time RVers. Most of them do work at the nearby nuclear plant.

The couple that runs the place keeps a tight ship. The grounds are always well maintained and undesirables are not allowed.

On our last visit I asked her to place us on a waiting list so that we could park our unit down there and visit on the weekends. Today she called and said a slot will be open for us in April of 2008.

The monthly rate includes a concrete pad, power, water and sewer, a picnic table and grounds keeping. I’ll hook up the dish for TV and get a local broadband connection.

So, we’ll have a place at the beach until we decide otherwise.

We’ll just hook up the RV when we want to go to other places like Jekyll Island or the mountains.

A Water Break at Midnight

Its 12:30 AM. Gigi and I are sleeping deeply on the new memory foam mattress when the silence is broken by a long loud wookie groan.

I realize that Cedie is at the end of the bed and I hear Gigi pouring Cedie a cup of water. I’m thinking, “That sorry little shit” when suddenly I realize I am thirsty too. I grab a bottle of water from my night stand and take a big old gulp.

Then I hear Duke slopping up water like they are going to quit making it from a stainless bowl we have in the bedroom. Peaches follows with a big old lappy slurp.

Then I hear a stern voice from the corner, “Good night”, as Boscoe the parrot reminds us it is an ungodly hour.

We all drift back to a deep sleep all refreshed.

A Milestone

Get it? A Mile Stone? Two hundred and fifty thousand long miles. I have been along for the last 6,400 of them.

Top of the Morning to Ya

This afternoon or tomorrow I am going to visit with clerk 05 at the Midland, NC US Postal Service and present her with my papers to get a $117 refund. This should be easy since she mailed my stuff to the country of her choice, not mine.

The weather here was wonderfully warm yesterday. Oh for a few stolen moments of summer past and summers yet to come.

Our golf course opened yesterday for the first time in 4 months. During that outage they re-grassed the greens. They were beautiful and slick as a minnow with a runny nose. The place was crowded as a warm Saturday in May.

Gigi and I crashed last night and slept deeply. We needed the rest, both of us. Stress will wear you down in no time.

I haven’t been to work this week yet I have worked between other stuff. I swear I could work effectively virtually if I got the nerve. Heck I have done two Skype video conference calls in the past two days.

There are 78 days and change until I go on winter vacation. I miss the island. I had so much fun there in September and met lots of new people. I love asking folks how they ended up in St Croix. The story always starts by rolling their eyes and they say, “Well…”. You know it will be a whimsical tale you are about to hear.

Diesel here has spiked to $3.39 a gallon so I have mostly parked the truck for now. The Jeep gets better mileage and burns cheaper fuel at $2.99 a gallon. Plus it is fun to drive.

Sometime today my Jeep will hit 250,000 on the odometer. That is a lot of miles. It is a trip to the moon. It is 10 trips around the planet. I hope I remember to take a picture of the event.

Political Leanings, or I'm Right and You're Wrong

I have found over the years that I am attracted to friends with polar opposite political beliefs. I don’t do this to discuss politics, I hate discussing politics even with people that believe the same way I do. It’s useless babble much like talking about sports.

But I like politics and I like sports, I just don’t want to talk about it all the time.

Politically I am a conservative. Heck if you distilled my beliefs down I am a libertarian.

What is amazing as far is friendships go is I seem to pair up with liberal thinking yellow dog democrats. They are just the opposite of my political spectrum yet we have so much in common, other than the fact that they are wrong in their political thinking.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have my conservative thinking friends but I seem to enjoy being around the liberals more.

So my dear liberal friends, I enjoy your friendship immensely. Just remember, my vote cancels out yours.

We Lost Our Friend

"There's something about the outside of a horse...that's good for the inside of a man."

Words can’t express the sorrow Gigi and I feel right now. Sadness tempered with relief.

Last night about sunset Lady fell down on the path she had trodden for 18 years. She was headed to the barn get her supper.

We struggled to get her back on her feet but her body was too tired and she had finally lost her will.

Gigi covered her in quilts and I set up a light. We visited and talked to her for several hours.

Secretly we both hoped she would die in the night. She didn’t.

I called our vet and she came out and administered the medication. Lady passed very quickly and peacefully. As best we can figure she was 28 or 30 years old.

I called a man with a backhoe and I prepared her for burial. It was strange to see her lifeless body. Horses are always twitching and flicking their ears and tail.

The operator came in a few hours and dug her huge grave. He reverently picked her up with the bucket and set her in.

This day I have dreaded and now it is over. I have been assured by the vet that eventually the other two horses will stop whinnying and looking for her.

Bit by Bit

I bought some new U bolts in stainless last week to replace the rusted U bolts on my Jeep’s roof rack. Most likely nobody noticed the rusty bolts except me. Now they are all shiny and new looking.

Back in the spring I bought 4 newer Jeep wheels on Criag’s list. The wheels are stock upgrades on the newer Jeeps and they fit my Jeep. They look tons better than the old steel wheels that were on it.

It bothered me however that I only had four wheels and I didn’t have a matching spare. Normally this wouldn’t be a deal but on a Jeep you hang your spare tire prominently on the tailgate. It’s part of the Jeep thing.

Yesterday I found a single used wheel to match my set and got into a bidding war with two other Jeep enthusiasts. I won.

I can now mount a matching wheel and tire and remove the UNC wheel cover from the back of my Jeep. I have caught hell for that wheel cover.

Shiny, Happy Fenders

What do you do on a cool, windy morning in the fall? It is too windy to rake leaves.

Let’s see, abundant and cheap electricity, a heat gun and faded 18 year old Jeep fender flares, now that an idea.

The problem with the black plastic Jeep fender flares is they fade to a dark gray haze in a few years. You could paint them if the stuff would stick. All of the vinyl stuff like Armor All, baby oil, etc. just soaks in and turns back to faded black before your eyes.

I read on a Jeep forum where you could take a heat gun and rejuvenate the finish on these fenders many times. It beats replacing them at a cost of $125.

I gave it a try this morning and it seems to work. First I cleaned the fender with Windex to remove as much dead plastic as I could. Then I evenly heated the surface until the underlying plastic became shiny. I then cleaned it again and repeated the process.

Finally I gave it a good coating of Amour All and a final coat of WD 40.

They turned out great. I will see how long this lasts, but for now this is a good cosmetic fix and a money savor on the fix up.

I ordered my 2 inch lift kit this morning. This will raise the overall stance of the Jeep and is supposed to improve the handling. Plus it is another nice cosmetic touch.

Just Let It Die...Hell No!

Some things you just don’t ever let die. For Southerners raised in the 1960’s we are still truly pissed about being attacked by the North back in the 1860’s. I’m serious too. 100 years wasn’t enough time to get over this. I don’t think kids today give it a second thought.

Second, I may never get over the thrill of victory I experienced just this year of seeing my Appalachian State Mountaineers beat Michigan at the big house. I will always cherish that moment.

Third, personally I keep the embers burning for my disgust of the bitch at Duggan’s Reef in St Croix. This could be such a wonderful place without her. The food is fantastic and the view is second to none. But her consistent rudeness overrides everything and ruins the whole experience. I will go back when she dies or leaves the island for good.

[another customer writes: Rated by J. Stumpf on 02/02/07 Without reservations, the host was not happy to see us and not very polite. He managed to find an empty table, a real miracle since only 4 other tables were occupied. Seated in plastic chairs/ table, drink orders came in 10 min. 20 min after getting drinks and no servie, we paid our drink bill at the bar and left. It's obvious the staff is overwhelmed with 4 occupied tables.With a snooty attitude, don't enter unless a politician,celebrity, or famous. You will be treated like a second class citizen. AVOID this place if you're even looking for a mediocre dining experience ! This place is surviving on a past history when professionals were in charge of the operation. Watch out for holes in the parking lot that are big enough to swallow you car. You'll have better luck eating at the local Subway and guranteed better service!]

Fourth, I once won an argument with Time Warner cable and got a letter of apology from them. That was golden.

And now, I think clerk 05 of the Midland, NC US Postal service now holds a special place in my heart. She alone may be the most irrational and stupid person that I have ever met that holds a job that required screening and training. Her sole purpose in her chosen field is to accurately move packages to other places, yet she along overrode my written and verbal instruction and sent my package to her destination of choice. My hat is off to you gal, you hold a place in the Reggie Hall of Fame. Your story of stupidly will be told to countless people who will stand still for it.

Golf Friday

I played golf yesterday with a man that I swear looked like a Jack-o-Lantern.

This guy was nice as he could be and a good golfer but his skin was orange. He was missing every other tooth and his teeth were orange too.

He smoked 5 White Owl cigars and 4 cigarettes while we played 18 holes. He was no spring chicken either. I would guess he was in his late 70’s yet I never heard him cough.

He was a tough old buzzard and the tobacco is not going to get him young for sure.

Playing with a group of old farts reminds me why I continue to do cardio exercise. I was the youngster of the group physically even though one guy was younger than me in years. I noticed how they all were stiff and unsteady on their feet. I was the guy who would go down to the dry creek bed to recover a ball or do a quick dash in the woods to retrieve another.

That’s another thing. We were playing a best ball tournament. This means you take the best shot of all four players and hit again. Three shitty tee shots and one good one means one good tee shot for all because we all play from the best shot.

These guys would spend an exorbitant amount of time searching for lost balls. Balls are not the expensive part of the sport so I usually abandon my ball after a cursory look see. They acted like there were using hand made old feathery golf balls from the 1800’s when a ball might cost a days pay.

Anyway it was cold but a fun morning on the course.

Tuesday our club’s course reopens after being closed since July for re-grassing the greens. It is supposed to be 75 on Tuesday and I have a 12:30 tee time.

Geography 101 Meets Stupidity

Kids, it’s important to pay attention in school especially if you plan to serve the public.

Let me tell you a story now of stupidity gone wild, and how I went postal on the US Postal service today.

I’ll start at the beginning and give you the girl version of the story as best as I can since I am a man.

My dear friends in St Croix, Michael and Terry, asked me if I would forward a package to them via the US Postal Service that they were expecting from England. The package from England contained parts for their second Land Rover. The parts were critical to get the vehicle up and running. Right now it is just sitting in their driveway.

You see, domestic priority mail actually is more dependable to the USVI that FedEx or UPS. I would act as a middle man and reroute the package from an international shipment to a domestic shipment.

It made sense to ask me. I am on the East coast. I have enough sense to mail a package, it was a perfect match. Plus I was more than happy to help them. They have been so generous with their time for Gigi and me in the past. I considered it an honor to help.

One bright and cold morning the package arrived all the way from the mother land. I was excited. You know how much I like packages. This package had already traveled 4,000 miles and it was my turn to usher it on to the last 1851 miles to Christiansted.

The following morning I walked into the post office around 8:43:54 AM give or take a nana second and began talking to Clerk number 05. I told her that I needed to ship this package priority mail to the United States Virgin Islands.

This is the point where your previous “book learning” kicks in to differentiate between the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. This would tell you it is a domestic shipment just like if I shipped a package to Alabama.

“No”, she said, “This is international and you must fill out a customs form.”

“Are you sure? This is the US just like Guam, Puerto Rico or South Carolina.”

“I’m sorry but you must fill out a customs form to the Virgin Islands.” She was insistent.

She stood over me while I filled in the domestic address, gave a description of the contents and checked whether I wanted the package to come back to me if they screwed up somehow in delivery.

“I will need a tracking number please.”

“We can’t do this for international shipments.”

“It’s not international it’s domestic”, I said.

“How long will it take to get there?”

“It should be there in three to five days.”


“That will be $84.”

“Shit!” I muttered.

I emailed Michael that the package was on its way.

Yesterday I got an email from Michael asking if I could check on the package from my end since they had not received it yet. Friday is Michaels day off and designated day to work on the Rover.

I pulled my receipts and noticed something strange. My instructions clearly indicated where to send the package but the idiot Clerk number 05 decided to send the package to another country, the British Virgin Islands.

Now I find it a bit ironic that the package came from England and now resides back in British territory.

I called the Midland, NC branch of the US Postal service and spoke to clerk number 05.

She said that there was no way to mail a package to the US Virgin Islands; it had to go to the British Virgin Islands. She explained that when she put Virgin Islands in her computer it came back with BVI.

“Even though I gave you a domestic address you shipped it to a foreign country?”

“Hold just a second please…[long wait] …yes, that’s right. We had to ship it to the British Virgin Islands. Everything else was grayed out on my computer.”

“Shouldn’t that have set off an alarm to you that you were shipping the package to the wrong country? This is not that hard.”

I could hear uproarious laughter in the background as the logistic geniuses were wrapping up their work day.

“Can you hold a second please,” she asked curtly.

A stern voice came on the line. “This is Janice, how can I help you?”

“Janice, you mailed my domestic package to a foreign country and I am trying to track it down.”

“What’s the tracking number?”

“You told me you don’t give a tracking number for a foreign shipment.”

“Oh, then there is no way we can track your package. It is somewhere in the Virgin Islands”

“Janice, this was to be shipped to a domestic address but you guys chose to ship it elsewhere. How in the hell can we resolve this? What about the customs number on the label?”

“That doesn’t mean anything. We can’t track it by that.”

“Janice, let’s assume we get the package back, can you then ship it to the US Virgin Islands?”

“No, the only option is BVI.”

“Janice, let’s look up the zip code on the address label. Where does that indicate the package should be delivered?”

Long pause…”Oh, I see. She didn’t look at the label. She just punched in the Virgin Islands and came back with the British Virgin Islands. I’m sorry.”

“EXACTLY! Now my package is lost in a foreign country because you were too stupid to look at the shipping label. Plus, I paid God on knows how much extra to send it to the wrong address? How much would it have cost to ship it domestically?”

“I don’t know, I would have to weigh it.”

“It weighed 19 pounds and 4 ounces or 9.9 kilos.”

“Oh I can’t figure that, I would have to put it on the scale to determine the cost.”

“You mean you can’t look up the cost?”

“No, the computer figures the postage from the actual weight.”

“Janice is there anything you can do or am I completely out of luck?”

“Well, we can hope they will send it back once they discover the error.”

“Hell, you didn’t know it was an error until I argued with two of you for 10 minutes! How are they going to figure it out? Just forget it.”

I hung up, threw the phone into the sheet tock and walked out of the office.

RV Stuff

Yesterday I dropped off the Monster RV for a few modifications that will make summer camping even more of a joy.

First we decided to install a second air conditioning unit. The bedroom upstairs would get a bit stuffy in the 90’s and the slot was already prewired for another AC. Plus this new unit has a heat strip too and that will be nice on cool nights. Now we will never be too hot or cold.

Second, I got a 110 plug installed in the basement so I can hook up my little refrigerator and TV while I sit outside and enjoy nature. (Watch football and drink beer)

Third, I got the unit hard wired with a transfer switch for my generator. Now I can ride down the road burning more fuel while the generator keeps the coach precooled for my final entry. Or we can just camp in comfort where there is no electricity.

Lastly and most importantly I sprung for a new brake controller. The old one was a piece of crap I have learned after enjoying this new one. The rig stops with ease.

Yabba Dabba Doo

I don’t know what I was thinking.

I had ribs on the brain yesterday after reading Jay Gray’s blog. It’s been years since I had indulged the barbaric meal but I brushed the urge aside.

I stopped by our club around 5 PM on the way home to check on any supper specials. Low and behold, ribs with baked beans, slaw and fries. I took this as a cosmic sign and ordered two suppers to go while I waited with a glass of wine.

On my way home Gigi called me all panicked that Lady was down. Damn, my ribs would have to wait.

I cleaned the stalls and instructed Gigi only to feed and we’ll eat dinner. She came back in tears that lady had injured her eye and she needed first aid. Damn, my ribs would have to wait again.

I made a big bucket of hot salty water and went up and cleaned her swollen eye while Gigi located some antibiotics.

Finally, 3 hours later I sat down to eat and I never stopped. I am usually one that will leave behind a generous portion out of habit. Not tonight. I ate everything in sight.

Fast forward to 2:20 AM and I am miserable. My belly was still actually swollen from supper. What a pig I thought. I felt like I was with child.

So, if you plan on meeting me for lunch, expect some light fare.

The Greek

Yesterday I dropped Peter an email to see how The Greek is coming along.

For the rest of you, Peter is a friend I met through Michael and Terry last winter down in St Croix. Sometime in the spring, Peter decided to open his own restaurant and named it The Pickled Greek. It is now referred to as The Greek and it has yet to open.

Peter is a master bartender, bull shitter, and general fun guy to be around. I know his new place will be fun and successful once it is open.

When I was down on the island in September I visited The Greek on many occasions. Normally you would see Peter and or Vinnie working away on some project. On many evenings the work would stop and a spontaneous party would break out lasting into the night.

I remembered that Peter had booked a party in early November so I speculated that the place should be open by now.

Down on the island deadlines are not concept that the locals are familiar with. Oh, some of them used to have deadlines when they lived on the mainland but these silly customs are soon dropped when you move to the VI. It’s my understanding from talking with Peter and Terry that the local government prohibits deadlines. Any project you attempt down there will never meet any conventional deadline that the rest of us are accustomed to and the government will see to this.

Peter emailed me back that he had the party last Saturday and he had over 100 guests. However the restaurant is not officially open.

Then, last night I dreamed I was there at The Greek. The place was painted a dark brown and it was hideous. The menu was painted on a wooden board. On the menu the only items were stuffed peppers and rum and coke. You could get a side of potatoes I think because it had a picture of a potato on the menu.

I was glad that was only a dream.

Mid-Monday Update

I’ve always wanted a menu item named in my honor. There is no reason I deserve this. I haven’t come up with any cool recipe or drink. There is a guy at our club that has a sandwich named after him and I think he takes this honor for granted.

Bed update: This new mattress is going to be the end for me. Gigi and I went to bed at 8 PM last night and slept soundly until 6:30 AM. I’m not sure that either one of us even moved.

My buddy Ty just told me about this sailing resort in the BVI. I do not need another reason to fanaticize about going to the islands.

Tomorrow is Election Day in North Carolina and all the liquor stores will be closed. I don’t need any liquor, but I find the custom outdated. It’s not like we are going to ride up and down the streets on horse back shooting guns at each other drinking whisky outside of the polling area.

My sister Judy says some funny stuff. She has always believed that heat and underwear are a God given entitlement. Friday I was discussing how great our new mattress is and she told us about her recent experience shopping for a mattress. This young guy told Judy and her husband that the mattress had a 20 guarantee so this would be the last mattress that she would ever buy. First she took it as an insult on her age and then reasoned that she would be buying her death bed. No thanks.

The Title Should Say 9 Something

I do not like mahi mahi. I love fish but mahi is so tasteless that I don’t bother to eat it. I wouldn’t order a piece of beef that was that tasteless, so why do the same with fish. I’ll take salmon, tuna, grouper, trout, but you can keep the mahi.

Catfish tastes like pond silt to me, but at least it’s real. I don’t like the taste of pond silt but good for those who do like the taste of mud. Better than tasteless mahi.

The cartoonish real people on the Schwab TV commercials are creepy to me. Please either use cartoon people, or real people, but not cartoon people.

I like stupid movies like Airplane, Young Frankenstein, Joe Dirt, and Christmas Vacation. Yesterday I watched Napoleon Dynamite which was promised to rank right up there with the other classics. Forget it. I got a few snickers here and there. I think it belongs in the cult movie section with Little Shop of Horrors. I was not impressed.

Could you make a piece of Pizza any more caloric than putting some cheese in the crust? Knock it off Pizza Hut. Just make us a great pizza and forget the gimmicks.

Christmas commercials are already running. We have 55 days of commercial buildup and then the big letdown of more winter and cold. I’m not bitching about winter….I promised.

Thank God it only 88 days until my winter vacation in St Croix. I actually started putting my favorite stuff in a paper bag for the trip yesterday. I packed my three favorite tee shirts and two favorite swim trunks along with some shorts. I certainly will not need them for the next while.

Last night I grilled tuna, salmon, shrimp and scallops. Gigi made a great salad and semi-mashed new potatoes. It was awesome and we have enough leftovers for tonight. I can't wait to do it again because I love leftovers (Logzilla).

I put on a pair of jeans yesterday. It was the first time I have worn jeans since early April when we had a hard freeze. Darn they felt heavy compared to shorts. I find that I wear jeans less and less the older I get. I guess it is part of the aging process. Eventually they will just shrivel up in the closet I guess.

Jeep Changes, Slowly But Surely

Before stainless tail light covers and new door stop.

After new stainless light covers and stainless door stop.

New oh shit strap on the driver and passenger side.

Before interior seats, floor spraying, center console, steering wheel, and radio.

After new seats, console, floor paint, steering wheel, radio.

Before new chrome bezels.

Ah, my Jeep has eyes now.

Before new sound bar and roll bar covers.

After new sound bar, roll bar cover and overhead oh shit straps.

Next I plan to lift the Jeep a few inches and add a stainless grill to the front. I'll need help on both of these projects from someone more mechanically inclined than me. Plus I need to figure out how to attach the nerf bars I bought on Craig's list a few weeks ago.

Watch Out My Cruzan Friends

If I wasn’t obsessed enough with the island of St Croix I’ve found more fuel to add to my passion.

Today I discovered two new live web cams to spy on the island. I have a total of five now.

I see one new cam is starring directly at Buck Island. It must be hosted at the St Croix Yacht club. The other cam is a North Shore view, maybe from a hilltop in Shoys. I can’t quite detect where.

Then there is a cam I found a few weeks ago that has to be near the St Croix Marina and it looks back at the historic fort.

All of these cams are good mainly for their beauty and monitoring weather conditions, but none can beat the interaction of the harbor cam.

To make matters worse, I record these cams with a program called web cam watcher so I can compress the action into a quick video. Oh my obsession will get the best of me one day.

Crisp...I've Got Your Crisp

When I’m on the phone and say, “I need to run,” I mean it. Especially if we are in a social call and I am working.

I was on a business call this morning that essentially had concluded and the guy kept blubbering on. My incoming caller ID told me another line was lined up that I needed to take. I told the poor idiot and he continued to talk. I hung up on him and missed the second call.

I guess I’m grouchy. It is “crisp” outside and I strongly dislike “crisp” unless it is anything cooked. But I’m not griping about winter…I promised.

A damn Dorito is crisp, not the weather.

My 2 Cents on Space Flight

I guess I’m getting cynical in my old age.

I grew up on the cusp of the space program. I remember when Alan Shepherd took the first US ride in space and I remember when John Glenn did the first US orbital flight.

These were exciting times. After all, we had an arch enemy, The Soviet Union to defeat.

Cold wars were so fun with all the posturing and puffery. The Olympics were much more fun back then when you went up against communist nations. It meant something. You settled your national differences for the next 4 years in the boxing ring and the track.

Anyway, back to space. I used to get up and watch each space shot for hours on end as Walter Cronkite would explain in detail about the mission and the spacecraft. The race to the moon was real and I felt a part of it.

Something happened though along the way, after we got all the cool stuff from space travel like satellite TV, Velcro and Tang instant breakfast drink. The realization that there is nothing up there and it is expensive to see nothing, means more to me now than it did back then.

What positive thing has come out of the latest international space station except for some jobs in Florida, Alabama and Texas? Why go back to the moon?

My argument is mainly against manned space flight. Send probes and robots with HD cameras to do exploration.

I remember on my first trip to St Croix, the United States landed two golf cart sized robots on mars to carry out a 90 days mission. Those two robots are still going!

The Hubble space telescope has been a marvelous investment in science.

But please NASA, stop wasting money on sending man up there.