Friday, December 24, 2010

















Home in Port Charlotte, high of 73

Merry Christmas to all of my blog readers!  This is my third Christmas in Florida, having arrived here December 3, 2007.  For the second year in a row I completed a do it yourself project to shore up the canal seawall with rip-rap.  Last year I placed 3 cubic yards, just where it appeared to be needed.  This past summer we found a great deal of new erosion.  We elected to wait until the summer humidity passed and planned the job for December.  I used 15 more cubic yards this time but also enlisted the aid of a helping hand.  I hired a local laborer and mostly used him to wheel barrel the rock from the front yard, where it was dumped, to the backyard, where he dumped it down the hill to me awaiting on the beach below.

There, I separated the rocks into three sizes:  Basketballs, grapefruits and hand grenades.  The rip-rap comes 6"-12" in diameter but we had our share of 3" - 16"ers too (baseballs and watermelons?).  We started by laying a weed mat filter fabric, then the rock, followed by fill dirt and sand.  It was quite physical project and I can't imagine having done it all alone.

We were very lucky to have not had any hurricanes, tropical storms or storm surge in 2010.  We're not taking any chances in 2011.

For Christmas, we are staying home...just the two of us.  We will do a nice baked ham dinner and perhaps go see a movie.  We've had very nice weather so far, with just a passing cold front here and there.  There's no change in the status of our boat.  I had it advertised on craigslist for a few weekends.  It drew lots of interest online and we had two prospects come see it but received no offers.  I will resume advertising it after the New Year but there's really no urgency to sell it.  It's running great and we've got visitors schedule to come in January and February who will want to go out.  Let's hope the weather hold up nice for them too.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Home in Port Charlotte
High of 67*

Last night we attended the Charlotte Harbor Parrot Head Club Christmas party.  There was a very good live band, great food/drink and about 250 people.  The party was held at Visani Restaurant in Port Charlotte.  We had never been there before but will certainly return.  Visani is also on the comedy club circuit.  Gallagher is playing there this week.  I didn't even know he was still touring.

We even got drawn for one of the raffle prizes.  We won two gift baskets with booze, music, a parrot head bathrobe and some party favors.  We would have rather won the 50/50 drawing, which split nearly $800, but we were thrilled to win the baskets.

My seawall repair project, phase II, also got underway yesterday.  I hired a laborer to help me and wow, was he a great worker?  Oh yeah.  In three and half hours, he moved 10 tons of rip rap from my front yard to the canal beach.  We spent a couple of more hours placing a 6' x 20' section of rock beneath our dock.  It was a great start.  My helper has to work during the week so I'm on my own again.  Most of the heavy lifting was done in staging the rock on the beach.  I will have the benefit of ultra low tides on Tuesday and Wednesday so I can work beneath the dock for a couple of hours each day.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Hampton Inn, Key Largo, FL
55* at sundown

Last Sunday I had a unique day of fishing my saltwater canal.  Not only did my new "Badonk-a donk" fishing lure produce more hookups than I've ever had before, I landed a a nice large mouth Bass.  (photo above)  A freshwater fish in a salt water canal.  Clearly he must have fallen through some sort of upstream water release but I was pleasantly surprised.  So much so, I photographed the little fella and released him to fight another day.  If this bass wants to live in a backwards environment, far be it from me to deny him.  I also landed a small but strong ladyfish.  They are fun because when hooked they come flying out of the water and do flips and spins to try and get away.  My old snowbird friend from Buffalo, Pete, calls them a "poor mans Tarpon."

Two Saturdays ago, Kathy and I started the day at the St. Pete boat show and ended the day at the Punta Gorda Christmas Lighted Boat Parade.  I picked up the above photographed "Old Salt" jacket at the boat show and put it to good use in the 62* weather at the boat parade.

I returned from my Washington DC trip to find Kathy found a water leak inside the foundation of our home.  Not good.  We got some help troubleshooting the leak from our friend, Nolan, in Phoenix.  After pinpointing the location we called out a local plumber and determined the best course was to re-pipe the entire house.  OUCH!  Merry Christmas to us.

This week finds me working Homestead and lodging in Key Largo.  We've had a real cold snap throughout Florida but it's expected to pass after just a few days and we'll be back to highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s.  That's a normal winter in SW Florida.  Last winter we endured 100 year record lows for 10 days.  We don't need anymore backwards weather.  I have my son coming in January and my buddy and his wife coming in February.

No news to report on the boat.  It's running fine on the lift but I haven't launched it in a while.  I am marketing it online but no offers have come in.  I'm happy to continue enjoying it when time/gas money allow.  If I sell it, that'll be fine too.

Sunday we will attend the Charlotte Harbor Parrot Head Club Christmas party to benefit Toys for Tots.  We are officially card carrying members of the Jimmy Buffett fan club.  In 2011 we intend to attend our first Buffett concert.

I'm officially kicked off of Facebook mobile for Blackberry.  My company nixed us from using it so I will comply.  Maybe in January, if Verizon gets the iPhone like they are rumored to, and it's not too much money...perhaps I can go mobile again.  I really enjoyed posting my travels and pictures there.  In the meantime, blogger fans...I committ to more blog chapters for you!

Tonight I enjoyed a few golden beverages on the beach at my hotel, looking longingly at the lucky sailors anchored down in the bay, living the life at sea.  "If you're living to love by the ocean and loving to live by the sea.  If you're lucky enough to live on blue water, you're lucky enough by me."  (Scott Kirby:  Lucky Enough).

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Hampton Inn, Norfolk VA Airport
low of 32, high of 47

I had dinner tonight at a new restaurant for me.  One of my colleagues in Virginia Beach recommended I eat at Logan's Roadhouse.  I've seen their signs around but never stopped at one.  I must say it was terrific.  They have a really diverse menu with many steaks to chose from but also seafood, sandwiches, salads and even meatloaf made of a mix of beef and pork.  I have to try that next time.  Tonight I had grilled Talapia, topped with a roasted corn/blackbean/cilantro salsa.  Coupled with steamed broccoli and lead by a cesar was first rate.  They have locations in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Central Florida to name a few.

My day in VA Beach was chilly but uneventful.  I finished by 1PM and got to the next hotel by 2.  I then spent the next four hours booking travel for the rest of December and all of January.  Even though I will be in my home office for the 2 weeks of Christmas and New Years, and have a 4 day weekend planned in January for the visit of my 26 year old son, Ryan, I booked 8 flights and 23 hotel nights for work in Florida, Washington DC, Philly, Pittsburgh and Boston.

Our company just announced two more corporate acquisitions in Florida.  We just added about 1,400 new employees from the other companies.  The best new is that neither of them are in my area of South Florida.  The last four acquisitions were in my jurisdiction so I'm happy to share the responsibility with my fine colleague in Central/North Florida.

Tomorrow morning finds me flying home for the weekend, only to depart again Monday for our nation's capitol.  With my schedule through January completely booked and 1/3 of February planned for a well deserved vacation with my oldest childhood friend...I feel like I can already see Spring time.  Until I go outside to the frigid 32* morning temp on Chesapeake Bay.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Home in Port Charlotte
low of 64, high of 81
very comfortable

After a very non-traditional Thanksgiving holiday in Key West, during which we visited Captain Tony's, Sloppy Joe's, Schooner Wharf and of course, Margaritaville.  Instead of turkey, we enjoyed local caught oysters on the half shell and clam chowder.  Other meals included Cheeseburgers in Paradise, Grouper fish and chips, cajun blackened hot dogs and my daughter couldn't resist having a turkey burger.

We returned home for the weekend and found out the marine forecast was for winds of 15-20 knots.  Knowing my daughter wouldn't enjoy choppy seas we left the boat on the lift and instead she went to visit a friend while I fished the canal behind our house.  I bought two new lures at Fishin' Franks and got some free lessons on throwing my bait castnet.  Both lures caught fish and I enjoyed several brief battles that included acrobatic flips and jumps.  I landed one small ladyfish and released her alive and well.

After practicing throwing the castnet in the yard I took it down for my first real throw.  I actually caught a nice size pin fish, which is one of the best baits you can offer in these waters.  My second throw was a dud but my third throw netted two VERY nice size pins.  I kept them alive in a bucket with an aerator to give them oxygen.  At sundown I live baited a line and fished it until some underwater thief stole it off my hook.   No fight, just a bait burglar.  With the next pin fish I hooked him in the bottom, near his tail.  This one lasted on my line for over an hour.  There was a lot of activity surrounding my bait and I could see several good size fish surveilling him but still, no bites.  It was getting late and I was getting eaten by mosquitoes.  I retrieved my bait and used the last two pins to bait my crab pot.  I left it on an overnight soak and in the morning found it paid off nicely with the two blue crab shown above.  Those boards are 2x6 so you get an idea of the size.

As I close this blog chapter, we are deciding how to steam those crab up.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Hampton Inn, Key Largo

It's the week of Thanksgiving and I find myself thankful to be living in paradise.  My 23 year old daughter came to visit us for the 3rd November in a row, from Arizona.  This is becoming quite the tradition for her.  Work brings me to Homestead so my bride and daughter joined me for the drive down.  They will relax in the hotel and on the beach while I go work.  That's also becoming somewhat of a tradition.

After work Wednesday we will venture down for a Key West Thanksgiving.  The weather is perfect, with lows in the 60s and highs in the low 80s.

We put the boat up for sale last week and have already had two lookers.  No offers yet but we're optimistic.  The boat is all cleaned up; looking and running good.  In case you didn't catch it, we're going to downsize to a smaller boat that can fit under the bridge at anytime.

We have my oldest son booked to visit for a weekend in January and some friends coming in February.  We do enjoy having visitors.  I plan on working in Florida for the whole month of December and I won't miss the airports at all.

Hurricane season ends November 30.  For the second year in a row we didn't have to put up the shutters even once.  Once again, I am thankful.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Home in Port Charlotte
High of 86

I've done more boating in the past few days than I have all year.  That's not saying much, as I'd only been out three days during the entire 2010 year.  The boat was in the shop for two weeks while I travelled to California one week and Puerto Rico another week.  I finally got it picked up on Saturday morning after "breaking out another" you know what (B.O.A.T.).

The tides allowed me to fish all day.  So, how'd I do?  Have you ever seen a baseball game where the lead off batter hits a single run homer and nine innings later the game ends 1-0?  I dropped two lines into the water, trolling at about 6 knots.  One had a Xrap 8 and the other an Xrap 10 (numbers indicate how deep the lure dives before swimming back to the top).  Within a minute the X10 goes off and I pulled in a very nice 24" Spanish Mackeral.  That was the only fish I would catch all day.  I did have one VERY strong hit that nearly spooled my reel but it got away.  The good news is that the weather, wind and water were all perfect.  So much so that I trolled about two miles off shore of the beaches in the Gulf.  The waves were almost none existent.  The water temperature is still 84 degrees.  I arrived home after dark without incident.  I flushed the motor, did a light rinse down and called it a night.

Sunday morning I went back outside to do a thorough wash job and was shocked to find some damage obviously done by the marine repair shop.  There was a nasty dent in the swim deck from them hitting a dock or piling.  Worse, they put a hole in the toe rail by drilling a wood screw way to from inside the cabin bulkhead.  That screw was sticking a half inch up through the toe rail on the starboard side.  Had I stepped on that, barefoot like I always boat, I may have fallen overboard.  (Another reason why I always wear my vest and personal locator beacon).

The shop was closed all day Sunday so I had to wait until Monday morning to drive up there and show them photos.  They didn't kiss my ass with apologies but they accepted immediate responsibility and said to bring it up and they'd fix it today.  The tides were again on my side and I was able to run the boat up to them right away.  Their visiting fiberglass guy was there today and he dropped everything he was doing to make my boat right.  A few hours later they called to say the job was done.  I ran back up there between office paperwork and brought the old girl home again.  The seas were smooth like glass.  I hit 40 MPH on the way home.  Got to stretch her legs, right?  They did a good job repairing the damage.  There was only 3' of water in the canal when I got home but I managed to not run agound.  My draft is 30".  No harm, no foul.  Between the two trips I logged 121 nautical miles and 10 hours on the boat.

We are definately selling this boat and will look to replace it with a 17 or 18 foot Boston Whaler with an outboard motor.  With that, I will never have to worry about the tides or bridges.  I can fish the flats, the harbor or even the Gulf on nice days.  I have done lots of research on the Whalers and on comparing 2 stroke motors with 4 stroke motors.  The modern 2 strokes are not the loud, smoky demons of even ten years ago.  The Evinrude Etec looks like a very good product.

My latest Puerto Rico trip was good.  My Cardinals football team is bad.

There have been 19 named storms in the Atlantic hurricane season.  The latest, Tomas, was briefly a Cat 2 hurricane but is currently a Tropical Storm.  There are only 2 names left on the list this year; Virginie and Walter.  After that, NOAA would start using the Greek alphabet like Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc.  Luckily no storms have come close to us.  We could use some rain though because SW Florida just finished it's driest October ever.

Tomorrow I head for Chicago and next week is Boston.  In between, Kathy and I have a nice weekend planned with a few thousand of our closest Parrot Head friends in Key West.  Stay tuned.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Home in Port Charlotte, supposed to be on the road
Nice weather, lows in the low 60s, highs in the mid 80s
regular summer rains have ended

Once again I seem to have disappeared from the blogosphere.  I'm here, I've just been so extremely busy with work and travel.  Nothing fun to report on the blog, so I've stayed away.  I'll try not to make a habit of this.  Here's the latest in a nutshell:

Boat - still broken.  Spent $500 to have a mobile marine mechanic change out the dead starter, which it needed but he still couldn't get it running.  Enlisted the telephone aid of the local Volvo Penta marine dealer, who was helpful but only continued to have me troubleshoot items which gave more questions than answers.  Almost started a fire onboard by using aligator clips and electrical wires, which I learned must be released from the battery before the test target.  Finally decided the boat needed to go to the dealer, so I had it towed three hours to the dealer.  Again, thank goodness for the $149 yearly Sea Tow policy.  $900 tow, no charge to me.

Family - Wife is good.  Kids are good.  18 year old daughter returned to AZ from a 3 month try trial at life in North Carolina.  Hopefully she learned a lesson and will start college in January.

Hurricane update - we have been through many named storms but none has seriously impacted the US.  We now have TS Paula in the Western Caribbean.  It is forecast to bounce around like a pinball, before possibly entering the Gulf.  After that, destination still unknown.  Stay tuned.

Arizona Cardinals - 3 wins, 2 losses.  Currently starting an undrafted rookie QB from Mesa, AZ.  My expectations are realistically low but we enjoyed a stunning upset of the defending world champs last Sunday.

Travel plans - Atlantic Coast of FL this week.  Corporate California next week.  Puerto Rico to end the month.

Current workout plans - back to running/walking a few days a week.  Weight is back up where it doesn't belong.  I can still run 2 miles without walking so I just have to DO IT.

Waking up at 330AM Eastern to drive to Homestead and teach a forklift class.

Thanks to those who keep checking in here on a daily basis.  I'll try to keep blogging.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Last weekend I pulled over 100 burmuda turf plugs and replanted them in struggling areas of the lawn.

The white sand marks show where I pulled the healthy plugs.  The cones mark the path of my internet and phone line locations.

Washington DC
Morning low of 48, daytime high of 81

Last weekend I gained a lot of ground in my efforts to have one variety of healthy turfgrass in my lawn at home.  I pulled over 100 burmuda plugs from healthy, weedless, areas of the front lawn and replanted them 12" apart in areas where I had killed off undesirable signalgrass, crabgrass and dallasgrass.

I learned this technique from one of the golf course superintendants I work with.  South Florida soils are full of broadleaf weed seeds and unhealthy weed grasses.  It is a great deal of work and maintenance to gain a nice green lawn of one grass type.  Burmuda is one grass that is tolerant to chemicals that will kill off the other southern grasses and weeds.

I'm working the first half of a two week swing in the DC Metro area.  I will return home late Thursday night and fly back up here on Monday.

There is some new activity in the Atlantic storm basin.  Tropical Storm Lisa has formed in the far east Atlantic and is not believed to be a threat to the US mainland.  Another system, already in the Caribbean Sea, has a high likelyhood of formation into the next named storm, Matthew.  That storm has potential to enter the Gulf.  Below are the current storm positions.  The remnants of Igor are seen at the top of the photo.  The potential "Matthew" is depicted in an orange circle.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Hyatt Hotel
Waltham, MA

Three named storms occupy the world's oceans as I write.  Hurricane Igor is a major, category 4 with winds of 145 MPH.  Hurricane Julia is but a shadow of her predecessor, at Cat 1 with winds of 85 MPH.  Today, Tropical Storm Karl was identified in the Western Caribbean, threatening Belize and the Mexican Riviera.  The good news is none of these storms threaten the US mainland.

I am spending the work week in the Boston area, having flown up Monday and with a return flight home Friday.  The weather here is very nice, with overnight lows in the upper 50's and afternoon highs in the 70s.  Today I visited Foxboro for the first time and had lunch in the shadow of the New England Patriots Gillette Stadium.  Lately, my travel calendar has taken me from our nation's capitol to south beach and from Hampton Roads, VA to Virginia Beach.  Next week it's right back to DC.

I turned a year older since my last blog posting.  I'm officially closer to 50 than I am to 40.  Over my birthday weekend Kathy and I managed to crash a private party, Trop Rock concert/dinner dance, in our little town.  For those who don't know, Trop Rock is a genre of music surrounding the lifestyle of beaches, boats, booze and (some would say) broads.  (Of course, I wouldn't say that).  Another way of putting it is Jimmy Buffet style music.  We also got ourselves invited to a Trop Rock singer/songwriters showcase the next day.  We had a nice time and met a few new friends.  We have decided to join the local chapter of the Parrot Heads, which is the name given to Jimmy Buffet fans.  There are over 500 members in our little village on the harbor.  They meet monthly for a private concert and are very active in local charity work and environmental cleanup work.

Our boat still sits on the lift out back.  I devoted a little time to it last Sunday and got the starter to crank over once before the battery gave out from lack of use.  I don't know if it really needs a new starter, a new solenoid or what, but I know it doesn't need new batteries.  We replaced both of those in the last year.  They do get drawn down from the automatic bilge pump during the rainy season though.  I need to get it fixed, cleaned and shined and sold.  I am browsing 17-18 foot center console fishing boats without outboard motors in our area.  There are plenty to chose from.  If I make that change, I will be able to launch without worry of tides too high to fit under my short bridge.  The downside of a smaller boat is very few days I can handle the seas of the Gulf but with Charlotte Harbor having 830 miles of shoreline, the Peace and Myakka Rivers, there will be no shortage of water to explore.  Plus, if I get enough on the sale of my current boat, I will be able to look into taking sailing lessons and earning credentials to be able to charter my own sailboats and explore the deep blue sea.  One of the world's most esteemed sailing schools, Steve and Doris Colgate's Off Shore Sailing School, is 45 miles away on Fort Myers Beach.

I sat next to a gentleman on a flight last week and listened with great interest to his many tales of cruising the Eastern Seaboard of the US, the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands.  Someday...someday.  My goal is to be cruising blue water before I'm closer to 60 than 50.

From Jimmy Buffet's "A Pirate Looks at 40"
Mother mother ocean, I have heard you call
I've wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall
You've seen it all, you've seen it all.
I've watched the men who rode you, switch from sails to steam
And in your belly you hold the treasures few have ever seen
Most of them dreams, most of them dreams.
Yes I am a pirate, 200 years too late
The cannons don't thunder, there's nothing to plunder
I'm an over 40 victim of fate
Arriving too late, arriving too late.

To listen to the whole song, click here.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Hampton Inn Washington Dulles South
Chantilly, VA

Tropical Storm Fiona has formed in the Atlantic Ocean and is following a rough path behind Hurricane Earl.  With 40 MPH winds, she lacks much of the punch of Cat 2 Earl and his 135 MPH winds.  Yesterday Earl passed the Eastern edge of Puerto Rico but remained much off shore.  The top winds on the island stayed around 40, according to my colleagues on the island.  Some trees and power lines were downed and over 100,000 people were without power but there were no reports of injury among my friends/co-workers.  5 of our 33 employees couldn't get to work because of downed trees blocking their routes.

click on picture for full screen

Above is the current forecast track of Hurricane Earl.  It is expected to brush the US coastline but not make an actual landfall.  Still, preparations should be underway to defend against a direct hit.  A category 4 storm has incredible wind force, not to be taken lightly.

Below, Fiona's track is expected to have less of an impact on our mainland.

Pictured here are the storms approximate locations.  The orange cirle is a broad area of low pressure off the African coast, which has a good chance of becoming the next named storm on the list; Gaston.

I'm up at 3:30 AM to teach a 5 AM First Aid/CPR class so that I can get out of town on a 2:20 departure from Dulles to Tampa.  Tomorrow I drive 3 hours to Miami to teach an excavation safety class.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Tampa Intn'l Airport
Headed to Washington DC

Hurricane Earl evolved while I was asleep at the blog.  I last checked in a week ago, when Danielle was but a Tropical Storm and Earl was a low pressure system just off the African coast.  Since then, Danielle went major, back to minor and Earl went straight up to a major category 3 hurricane, with 120 MPH winds, threatening my friends and colleagues in Puerto Rico.  Danielle is now a category 1 and ready to break apart as she continues lost in the cooler waters of the north Atlantic. 

I am headed to the Washington DC metro area this morning.  Earl has a chance to brush the Eastern US coastline from Carolina to New England.  Interests there should begin preparing for a major strike, just in case.  My daughter Stephanie is presently living on an Emerald Isle, NC, pictured below.  This is her first hurricane season and her first storm preparation.

I spend three days in California working my butt off, with 15 hour days for two of the three.  I then spent time in Arizona with my Dad, my son, my grandsons and my Mom.  I went to a 27th year mini reunion and took my Mom as my date, since she was a teacher at my high school for 32 years.  She was the life of the party.  Everyone was thrilled to see her.  I was amazed at how many of my classmates look like they just stepped off the pages of our yearbook.  It was a nice time for all, especially my Mom.  Here's a photo.

Stay tuned for hurricane updates all week  Until then, it"s boarding time.

Monday, August 23, 2010


click on pictures for full screen image

Tropical Storm Danielle looms in the middle of the Atlantic, far from any land.  Another tropical wave of low pressure is identified in yellow, just off the African shore.

Monday, 10AM at home with light rain
Leaving for California this afternoon

The fourth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season is alive.  Tropical Storm Danielle formed over the weekend and currently sustains winds of 60 MPH.  The 7 day forecast track of Danielle has her becoming this season's first hurricane on Tuesday.  Above is the cone of uncertainty.  The center of the storm could be anywhere within that wide cone or do something completely different.  Cones of uncertainty are based on past storms, in that area, at this time of year.  The more I learn about tropical cyclones, the more I believe that it is largely a guessing game.  Nonetheless, the "experts" do not believe this storm has any chance of a US landfall.  The island nation of Burmuda may be affected.  Danielle is moving north/northwest at 14 MPH.

Elsewhere in the world, Tropical Storm Frank is cruising the Mexico Pacific coastline with 60 MPH winds of his own (Pacific storms use a different name list from the Atlantic).  He is forecast to achieve hurricane status as early as tomorrow.  Pacific cyclones rarely impact the mainland because the prevailing westerly winds usually carry the storms further out to sea, away from North America.  However, Frank is just off shore of the Mexican peninsula and is a slow mover at only 4 MPH.  Mexican coastal communities could see anywhere from 3 to 10 inches of rainfall, with tropical storm force winds reaching up to 60 miles inland.

As I head out for work meetings in California, I don't expect to see any wind or rain from Frank because he is over a thousand miles away from Southern California.

Unrelated to either of these storms is a heavy downpour now hitting all of Southwest Florida, below.
This image was captured at 10:27 AM eastern time.  There's presently a pond forming in both my front and back yards.  My first thought?  It's good thing I finished aerating the lawn this morning.  It's just another day in paradise.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Click on picture for a full screen image

Home in Port Charlotte
High of 95, low of 79; brief shower

Today was car and yard day.  I took Kathy's car in for service and then to the car wash.  When I came home I mowed two lawns and trimmed some palms.  I took the debris to the dump station and then came home and showered.  Kathy and I went to the library, where I renewed my latest Travis McGee novel and picked up another one for the next couple of weeks.  I also picked up two more Jimmy Buffett CDs to enjoy; 2003's Meet Me In Margaritaville and 2006's Take The Weather With You.

After the library we went to Applebees for an early dinner.  We came home and watched a Netflix movie; Kill Shot.  It was just okay but the company and my new chair was nice.  I don't know if I blogged about the new chair but I've always wanted to have a theatre style reclining love seat and we got one recently.  It makes my time at home even nicer.

I recently acquired some chemicals to kill the undesirable weed grass in my yard but it will not kill my burmuda sod. Most of my yard is now browned out but it will be worth it, as the nuisance weedy grass (signal grass, crab grass and goose grass) was taking over my nice burmuda sod.  With the agressive weedy grass killed off, the burmuda can now spread and fill in.  After the movie I watered my sod.  Tomorrow I have to aerate, which is the process of punching holes in the grass so that water and nutrients can better reach the root zone.

Monday I fly out to Southern California for meetings at the mother ship.  Wednesday night I will fly into Phoenix for a few days of family time with kids, grandkids and parents.  Next Sunday I come back to SOFL, only to depart on Monday for an unexpected trip to Washington, DC for work.  If you are thinking you missed the part where I'm boating and haven't missed it because I haven't done it.  It's just a couple of days at home for me, which is a rare and cherished treat.

I recently got into back into contact with my oldest childhood friend, Mike T.  He and his wife Jacie are planning a visit to us in February.  I will take some time off to spend with them and do a few days in the Keys.  They've never been to Florida and Kathy & I haven't seen them since about 2005.

Above is a rainbow shot I captured last week while driving from the Atlantic to the Gulf side of Florida, on my way home from work.

I'm spending Saturday night at home continuing my latest Travis McGee novel and enjoying Barcardi Rum.
Tropical Depression 6 has formed in the very far east Atlantic.  It is forecast to become Danielle, possible a hurricane, as early as Monday.  It is also forecast to continue north into the Atlantic ocean and not make landfall anywhere at all, much less in South Florida.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Tuesday night
Hilton Garden Inn
Boston, MA
High of 93 but dry; overnight low off 64 expected

Click on pictures for full screen image

A quick trip to Boston was made more tolerable by spending a nice evening walking the Harbor Pier.  This is one of America's most history rich cities.  It's amazing to see signs commemorating towns founded in the 1600s when I know the US didn't declare its independance until 1776.  Seeing the amount of commuters who use the ferries after their workday was also interesting.  The weather here was not disappointing.  A high of 83 on Monday turned to 93 on Tuesday.  With low humidity it made it quite nice.

Last Saturday I intended to launch my boat and take 3 guys fishing off shore but once again I was fooled by a boat that didn't want to start.  The starter has been giving me fits lately but a quick rap with a hammer had previously solved the sticking points.  Saturday my rap came to an end when after over an hour of trying, I had to give up and cancel the trip.  No one was more disappointed than me.  Between battling the tides and the breakdowns, this boat sits more than it floats.

I knew it wasn't the batteries, as I checked them with a meter.  Starboard showed 12.6 volts and port 12.2.
I then tried to remove the starter, which couldn't possibly have been installed any lower in the bilge.  The first rusty bolt I turned broke off, leaving the threads in the hole.  Oh boy.  I have had it with this particular vessel.  I know many will say that all boats are money pits but our Sea Ray 330 never gave us fits like this one.  The Sea Ray motor bilge was big enough for 3 adult men to stand in.  This boat's bilge is a shoe box.  I can't get access to what I need to maintain it.  Now I see why smaller boats come with outboard motors; so you can work on them while standing.

Wednesday morning after breakfast in Baltimore I boarded the plane to Baltimore for a connecting flight home.  After a light lunch and an hour delay in Baltimore I got into Tampa at 2:15PM.  I arrived home at 4:30PM, had dinner with Kathy and then promptly departed again for a 3 hour drive across Florida to Stuart.  It's 9:18PM and I'm ready for bed.  I'll work two seperate branches tomorrow, Stuart in the morning and Fort Pierce in the afternoon before heading home for the weekend tomorrow night.  Next week I'm in California and then some down time in Phoenix.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


San Juan, Puerto Rico
sunny, with brief passing showers
high of 87, low of 79


After a week of work it was finally Friday and time to enjoy ourselves.  On Friday night David took us to the Caribbean shore of Ponce, PR.  We found a nice marina, boardwalk and pier.  There were dozens of little cafe bars.  One even had a book exchange for cruisers.  Now I really felt Caribbean.
On August 6, at 5:30 PM, I finally put my feet in Caribbean waters, near Ponce, PR. I had previously only touched the Atlantic waters of the island


On Saturday we travelled to the southwest corner of the island, to the village of La Parguera, population 1,200.  It's about 2 hours from San Juan, crossing the mountain ranges.

We rented a 15' skiff to explore the mangrove islands and swim in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean.

I must admit, I was a little apprehensive about taking this dinghy off shore but it turned out to be not only safe but very fun.

Expanding the view with the Captain and Crew

My friend, Jose, strategically places our anchor in the 5' deep water near the mangroves.

This area is very popular for boats large and small.

The clarity of the water here is unlike any I had previously seen.  We swam and drank beer.  We ate chicken we had bought at a roadside pollo cabon.  There were swimming channels through the mangrove trees where Jose showed us to dunk our heads and view thousands of minnow baitfish schools.  When we would extend our hand toward them, you realize how many there were as the entire see seemed to part around your hand.  Jose showed us a tree swing in the mangroves that had been there since he was a child.  We swam out to the edge of the bay, where the off shore reefs displayed beautiful waves crashing violently a few hundred feet away from us.  After gazing into the distance and dreaming of even more distant shores, I followed Jose's lead as we floated weightlessly and let the current carry us back through the mangrove channel where the boats were tied.

This trip deepened my desire to spend my retirement years exploring the Caribbean and the West Indies.

On Sunday, as my friend and host David travelled to a family reunion, I was picked up by my friend, Willie.  He took me to the mountains of Guavate, an area famous for pig roasting restaurants.  We found dozens of outdoor open air cafes and bars, known as Lechoneras.  Willie, a PR native with local knowledge, knew the best one to dine at.  We waited in a line for 45 minutes to order and it was worth the wait.  Roast pork, rice, sausage and roasted sweet potatoes filled our bellys, like the pigs themselves.

We had a beer and listened to some live music for a bit.  There were miles of these places on the mountains, along with street vendors peddling everything from shoes to housewares, bananas to bread fruit.

Upon returning to our home base in San Juan, some 5 hours had passed.

I spoke with my wife, Kathy, back in Port Charlotte.  She had been getting massive amounts of rain.  I checked the NWS radar and found a low pressure system was crossing the Florida peninsula, from the Atlantic to the Gulf.  Forecasters wrote if the system could stay together long enough to organize over the warm Gulf waters, it had potential to become a named storm.  Elsewhere, TS Colin reformed near Burmuda but remains no real threat with its 40 MPH winds.  Further east in the Atlantic, 1100 miles east of the Leeward Islands, a tropical wave of showers is organizing rapidly.  It has high potential to become a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours.  The next name on the list is Danielle.

Monday morning I fly back to the mainland and continue working the rest of the week in Miami Dade and Palm Beach Counties.