Saturday, May 30, 2009


Home in Port Charlotte
High of 88

Saturday morning I ran 3.4 miles for the second time in two days and followed each run with a 10 minute swim in the neighbor's pool. Today I mowed three lawns, including ours, and I trimmed some hedges around our property. It was a warm, humid, day but not miserable. In the afternoon I drove an hour to Cape Coral and bought Kathy's next art project. I don't want to spoil the surprise so I will wait until they're done and ready to be published.

One other project she finished was a long time coming. Ever since we bought this home we have referred to the rear yard deck landing as "Mimi's Landing." The dock and boatlift are known as "Pappy's port." Mimi and Pappy is how we have always been known to our grandboys. We have talked for years about making signs for these special spots and now the signs are done. Pictures are posted above.

In case you were wondering, my Saturday fishing trip was cancelled by my friend. I'm sure he will reschedule.

Monday, my namesake and youngest son, Billy (13), arrives for an 18 day visit. We are very excited to have him with us. He and I will definately get out on the boat for some fishing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Click on any picture for full screen

View of the front lawn, looking toward Bob & Eleanor's house

Side yard between ours and Bob's. See Kathy's Canna Lillys?

Back yard, tilled to sand and re-seeded two months ago.
There's still a few bare spots yet to fill in.

Backyard looking toward the canal. Click on this pic to blow it up and you'll see our boat sitting atop the lift on the water out back, between those palm trees. Notice Kathy's new hanging floral pots?

Home in PC
High of 89 measurable rain since Friday

Right before I left for DC, about 10 days ago, I applied a fertilizer application of 39-0-0 and prayed for rain. I had to water it in that night in order to keep the lawn from burning but the next day I left town and it rained everyday for a week. Now with 4 consecutive days of sunshine and humid air the turf grass has kicked into high gear. I mowed Saturday and I just had to mow again today. Even though it has only been 72 hours since I last cut it, I still had to rake up some excess clippings in a few areas. Wooohooooooo! Grow, baby, grow! I do love that John Deere tractor. I'm sure people who walk their dogs on my block, who remember months of me having bare sand for a yard are wondering, "What do you feed that thing?" The answer is ...water and nitrogen. My brother the landscaper calls Florida and California "just add water States."

In case you're wondering, I have the tractor blade deck set for a 3" cutting height.

Yesterday was spent trimming palm trees at my neighbor Mary's house. I have 17 to do and I finished all but about 4 of them yesterday. I will get out there in the late afternoons this week and finish up after work. This will give me some gas money to take my boy Billy out fishing when he gets here in June.

After the holiday weekend I spent about 10 hours today writing reports in my home office.
For the next couple of days I will be teaching CPR refresher classes on the Gulf coast and sleeping in my own bed. I'm hoping to get out and go fishing this weekend with one of my colleagues who has gas money but no boat. I'm kind of the polar opposite.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Greetings from BWI (Baltimore-Washington International Airport).

I flew into Dulles on Sunday and have spent the week working the great DC Metro area, finishing up today in Maryland. It's been a long week of traffic delays and sleepless nights but work went very well compared to the last trip. Last time I had to kick *** and take names, this time I got to kick back and give out compliments. Either way, there's a ton of reports to write next week but it's always better to leave folks smiling and looking forward to your next visit. For me coming here, that will be a week in July to teach First Aid/CPR. Until then I can't wait to taxi the runway.

I ran Monday (6.8), Wednesday (3.4) and wanted to double back and run last night but traffic on the Beltway took the life out of me. It took me well over 2 hours to travel 65 miles on the freeway. I don't know how people deal with this day in and day out. I would stab myself in the neck. Hahaha. Don't get me wrong, I lived in one of the largest cities in the US for 42 years but c'mon...I'm so done with concrete jungles. I couldn't live in one of these high rise apartments even for free. I couldn't ride crowded buses or subways or deal with bumper to bumper traffic day after day after day. Give me a ship anchored off a deserted island and a boatful of books about life on the sea and I'll....okay, who am I kidding. I also want my laptop and a satellite aircard so I can continue my blog. Back to reality:

My flight home tonight gets in at 10:05PM and I have a 90 minute drive south from Tampa to home so no promises on running Saturday. But, who knows. I have this 8 miler I want to do to from my house to my favorite bridge.

I wish you all a wonderful and relaxing holiday weekend. Get some rest. I know I will.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

7 DAYS, 1500 MILES

Kimber and Jason at the Islamorada Fish Co.
This picture of Kimber really resembles one I took of Stephanie, in this same spot.

Kathy, Kimber and Jason relax bayside

Jason and Kimber on Hemingway's boat, inside Worldwide Sportsman

Hampton Inn, Chantilly, VA
It's been a busy seven days since I blogged. Last Monday I reset the trip odometer on my truck as I headed to Tampa to pick up my daughter, Kimber, and her friend, Jason. After getting them aboard we headed back to my house for a quick dinner, prepared by my wife, Kathy. The four of us then got back in the truck and drove 4 hours to Islamorada and Upper Matecumbe Key, arriving just after midnight.

At 4:30 AM my wake up call summoned me to work for the day in and around Homestead. It was a long, but not necessarily bad, day. After work we all dined at Snooks Bayside in Key Largo. We were treated to a nice sunset over the Gulf before heading back to the hotel for the night.

Wednesday and Thursday were more routine workdays for me, in Homestead, Miami, and even venturing way north into Broward County. Kimber and Jason went snorkeling on the Pennekamp reefs and had a great time. They disembarked their boat talking about how they could move down to the Keys and make a living. I'm quite sure that scene is repeated on a regular basis down there. Kathy spent much of her week lounging seaside in a hammock.

Wednesday night's dinner was at the Islamorada Fish Company, after window shopping at the Worldwide Sportsman (original Bass Pro Shop). Thursday morning the gang asked me to wake them up for the sunrise over the Atlantic and Big Red didn't disappoint, managing to peak his way through some horizon cloud cover. Thursday night we headed back home but not before stopping for dinner at Rib Daddys in Key Largo.

I took the kids to the airport on Friday morning and returned home for a day in the office. Saturday was spent working in the yard. I mowed our yard, Rolando and Kathy's yard and Bob/Elenor's yard. I really love that John Deere tractor! I trimmed some sabel palm trees, bougainvilleas, my sago palm, my robellini palms and pulled some weeds. I fertilized the turf grasses with one fert, the citrus trees with another and the ornamental shrubs with a third. Then I prayed for rain. Fort Myers received three inches in two hours but we just got sprinkled for a couple of hours. It's so amazing to watch the local radar on our computers and see how many small but powerful storm systems move through here or just linger off shore in the Gulf. I had to water in the nitrogen I put on the turf so I was up till after 10PM moving water around.

On the way to Tampa International today my trip odometer hit 1,500 miles in the last 7 days. That doesn't count the 900 mile flight up to Dulles. It's no wonder I feel so tired today. Kathy says today we got tons of rain, so that will really kick start the nitrogen in the grass. Pretty soon I'll be mowing twice weekly. There's a ridge of low pressure over south Cuba right now and it's possible that it could develop into a tropical storm. What's the date today? The Atlantic Hurricane season isn't scheduled to start until June 1. What's exhibition storm? They are forecasting 5-7 inches of rain for Florida between Monday and Tuesday of the coming week. Speaking of the hurricane season, the first named storm will be Ana. The second will be Bill. No, I'm not kidding.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


My neighbor Rolando had a section of his dock break loose so we decided to spend the weekend fixing it

Kathy acted as official photographer and ice tea bringer

As usual, we got along just grand

Rolando bin Hammerin
Home in PC
High of 90
A warm weekend was filled with home improvement projects. After doing the usual yard work, Rolando and I tackled rebuilding a section of his dock that had broke loose. We decided to buy all new wood so it became much more than a repair job. We spent all of Saturday and about half of Sunday getting this done.
Our air conditioner decided to start acting up on Sunday afternoon. Kathy remembered what the repair guy said last year about this time when it stopped working. The air handler drain tube occasionally gets blocked or clogged up by insects, dirt, etc. We put the shop vac on the drain and sucked out a bunch of dirt and about a half gallon of water. That seems to have done the trick.
Tomorrow evening my daughter, Kimber, comes to visit for 5 days. We will pick her and her friend up at the airport in Tampa and then drive to Islamorada for the week. As usual, the family will relax and enjoy the sights of the Keys while I go to work everyday.
It's getting close to time to replenish our hurricane survival water and gasoline for the season. Speaking of gas, I noticed it has gone up about 20 cents per gallon in the past two weeks. We're currently paying 2.23 at Sams Club.
Tonight I get to enjoy Kathy's homemade spaghetti sauce with huge mushrooms. Yummy.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Click on any picture for full screen image

The weekend started with a trip to Miami for the Corporate Run 5K

With 20,000 runners it was the biggest run event for us so far

Somewhere...way back in this crowd, my wife waits with the walkers

Some of the 2 dozen participants from our corporate team

We both finished successfully, setting personal records

We stopped for lunch on South Beach, while in Miami

This is no time for falling coconuts

Back home Saturday, Bill went fishing on the Gulf

Sunday, Kathy and Bill boated for brunch
Home in Port Charlotte
64* morning, going to a high of 89
This past weekend was very busy. It started on Thursday, when Kathy and I went to Miami for a day of working and playing. After work on Thursday we participated in the 29th annual Mercedes Benz Corporate Run 5K. It is a charity event that features South Florida corporate employees doing a 5k run or walk. This was Kathy's first registered event and she successfully completed the 3.1 miles, even jogging the last bit of the course. I ran the course and came in with a new personal best time of 34:59. After the race we got a little lost on the Miami Metro train system but eventually ended up back in our hotel in Coconut Grove. We ordered Chinese food for delivery and even though it wasn't the best quality of food, we tasted victory in every bite.
Friday was an office/travel day for me. We made the trip home from Miami and I did a couple of hours of conference calls and a couple of hours of paperwork.
Saturday morning I took a colleague, from Sarasota, and his wife fishing on the boat. We launched at 10AM and fished for about 5 hours. A good omen occurred when I caught a Spanish Mackerel while trolling through my canal system on the way out. The weather was excellent with clear skies and light winds, about 10 knots. These folks love fishing but don't have the highest of comfort level when it comes to baiting the hooks and handling the fish. Since they had paid for my fuel and bait I was happy to act as their Captain and crewman. I did most of the work and just let them pull fish out all day. It ended up being the best day fishing in a long time. Between the three of us we caught grouper, snapper, jack cravelle, spanish mackerel, porgies and a catfish. We caught so many fish we lost count. We had gone out with 48 live shrimp and returned with only 9. We only had a few baits stolen, so it adds up to well over twenty fish landed on the boat. The Spanish mackerels were the only keeper size but we released all fish live and unharmed. The grouper and snapper have to be at least 24" and the largest I caught was only 18" but it didn't matter as we had a ball out there. Some of the fish presented real challenges with hook removal and we had to manually revive them in the water before releasing them but we took great pride when each and every one headed back deep under their own power. After returning to the home port they thanked me for taking them fishing. I thanked them and told them they don't realize it but they are the ones who took ME fishing.
Kathy brought me a couple of beers while I flushed out the motor, washed down the boat and checked my trip meter. 53 nautical miles travelled on the day. After seeing the joy on the faces of my guests and hearing the story of our day, Kathy asked me to take her out on the boat Sunday; just the two of us to brunch on the water at Burnt Store Marina. She didn't have to ask twice.
The Sunday morning marine forecast was for winds a bit higher than what I'd faced on Saturday; winds 15-20 knots and a moderate chop. I warned Kathy that it would be a little rough out there but that I would be happy to drive really slow and keep her dry. We launched at 10:15 and felt the wind in the canal, well before hitting the open water. Kathy piloted the boat through the canal for about half the trip out, which was a great experience for her. After 2.6 miles through the canal we hit Charlotte Harbor and saw white caps. I recognized the conditions to not be nearly as bad as Rolando and I had faced on the previous weekend so we kept going.
We had time on our side. Brunch is served until 2 and the tides would allow us to return anytime between 3:30 and 8:30 tonight. On the trip there we took 90 minutes to go 16 miles. Kathy was a little nervous but she gained calm through my confidence. She asked me, "Do you call this a moderate chop?" Assuring her it was, she decided she wouldn't want to be out in anything worse than this. I told her it was a great experience for her to be out here because there will surely be days when we get unexpected weather out here and making it through days like this will make her a stronger sea mate.
I managed to keep the sea spray out of the cockpit for most of the trip there. I remember a trip last summer when Kathy, Rolando, Kathy and I made this trip and the girls arrived "looking like drowned rats" (their words, not mine). The big difference today was how I handled the boat, taking it slow and adjusting the trim tabs like Rolando taught me.
Brunch was excellent, as usual. Burnt Store Marina is one of our favorite boating destinations. It reminds us of our days in Phoenix, living weekends on Pleasant Harbor Marina about our former yacht, Peaceful Easy Feelin'.
After brunch I moved the boat to the pump out station and we cleaned and flushed the potty. I am so glad this boat has the pump out option, which removes the "porta" from porta-potty. I would hate having to take the whole thing out of the cabin, dump it out and re-install it. Even though this boat doesn't have all of the bells and whistles of our last one, it suits us just fine. Who needs a shower, 3 beds, a full galley satellite TV and Sirius radio? I'll take no boat payments, no slip fees and the convenience of a backyard boat lift. We do miss our marina lifestyle though. Having all of our boat neighbors with us every other weekend was like a twice a month vacation. We are reminded of all of those memories every time we visit Burnt Store Marina. (If you guys are reading...WE MISS YOU!!!!!)
The ride home from brunch featured 3-4 foot following seas but we had the 20 knot winds at our back, so it allowed me to get the boat up on a plane and travel about 16 knots. We got splashed but not soaked. We cleared the short bridge right at 3:30PM and docked her with no problem. Everything fore and aft of the helm was saltier than a fifty cent margarita. After flushing the motor I spent about an hour washing the boat down. Today's trip metered 33 miles, finishing at hour 398.8. What a weekend to remember.