Not Working Outside Today

It’s a cool day here.  The sun is brilliant, not a cloud in the sky.  I thought that since it wasn’t windy, why not take the laptop out by the pool.  The dog won’t mind, she’ll love being out there soaking up some sunshine.

So walking the mug of coffee outside, I’m followed by the faithful sidekick around the yard. 

Never walk outside without intending to pull weeds.  That’s a truth pretty much wherever you live.  Here, you drop a seed on the ground, it will grow next time it rains.  As I wander out to inspect the orchids hanging from the shed, I notice some Virginia Creeper.  So lets pull it and see where it goes!    40 feet later, that monster had run down the tree from behind the Staghorn Fern that is trying to get established but failing, to the grass.  In the grass it was well established and pulling it left a stripe of sod pulled up.  Working with the root it hit the hedges near the garden.  From that point it branched into a net of roots running along the garden that eventually consolidated into one runner.

Great!  I can pull that one and get rid of the plant!

Not so fast.  That root ran South for another 10 feet and disappeared under the Hibiscus.  Oh well, at least it will take time to reestablish.

While I was tearing up one side of the yard, my dog was dining on the yard.   We both created our own little mess.  Since my dog has a “Soft Personality”, calling out to her to get her to stop would work but give her an unwanted attitude adjustment.  I took the high road.  Gathering up 40 feet of vines, I walked to the trash can and told her “Good bye!” as I walked toward the back door. 

The intention was to leave her out there so I could be out for a while without having a nose pressed against the glass.  After all, I’d have to clean the blasted thing. 

She made it into the house before I could and went into the next room.  Well out of sight, she’s lounging in the living room on her mat.

Me?  Well I never made it outside.  The coffee came in with me and I settled down in the regular chair at the regular spot looking longingly outside.

She must have know I really didn’t want to go outside and feed the pet mosquitos. Sometimes I think she knows me better than I know myself.  I’ll try to sneak out later.  There are plenty of nose prints on the back door already, most about six feet off the ground as it is.

Parrot So-Called Singing to the Coffee Roaster

This being a cool morning, the windows are opened.  Cool here is anything with a temperature in the forecast below 70 and we’re going to have highs below 80 all week.

There is a cool draft going through the house.  Not yet strong enough to call it a breeze, but that made it perfect for coffee roasting.

I put all that together when I thought “Hey! I’d like a cup of decaf”.  Ok, so it’s my third mug today and I’m running low.  Perfect weather to roast up some beans.  That meant getting the popcorn popper down and filling the hopper with some decaf beans while the last of the old coffee brewed. 

Plug in the popcorn popper and it growled to life.  One small problem… my parrot Oscar immediately decided to “sing” along with the machine.  More like growl, shout, shriek and chatter.

 I have had the old reprobate since 1986.  He’s not exactly a talker, although he does a passable imitation of my laughing, blowing kisses, the Bronx Cheer and other sound effects. 

He also has the habit of getting quite loud when there are other sounds in the house.

I long ago gave up being able to crank the stereo up loud and feel the bass.  I should be thankful I suppose since he’s helping to save my hearing.  So this morning, windows open, breezes trying to start up their morning march from the ocean, when I fired up the machine I didn’t want to share his “singing with the roaster” show with the entire neighborhood.

Yes, parrots can be loud.

Blood curdling, deafeningly, annoying to neighbors … Loud.

Luckily mine only gets loud when it is loud in here.  Since trying to turn the TV up over a shrieking parrot does not work, I just turn it down until I’m out of the parrot zone.

That doesn’t work with a popcorn popper.  So for six minutes while waiting for the timer, I stood next to the parrot cage making my own sound effects, calling him an “Old Buzzard”, blowing kisses, and generally sounding like a right sodding git while managing to keep him down to a dull chatter.

The coffee was perfect as ever, but the face time with the bird was appreciated by both of us.  After all, they do get bored.  Parrots came to be when their social skills brought them close enough to live with us.  Not quite like Wolf becoming Dog, but there are some incredibly strong bonds with a bird indeed.

After all a Dog can get your slippers, but a Parrot may be able to tell you where they are and then tell you to get it yourself.

Isn’t that what you want in a pet?  Something that screams at the bad TV you watch, sings to the popcorn popper, and then orders you to get your own shoes?

30 Percent Chance of Rain, 100 Percent Chance 30 Percent Will Get Wet

Living in the Tropics Adjacent South Florida means weather can come from any direction at any time.

Tropics adjacent because we’re North of the Tropic of Cancer which lies 20 miles North of Cuba.

Yes, pedantic but literally true.  I am also 15 miles away from the freeze line either North or West according to the USDA Zone Map, if I am reading the thing right.

I have always checked the weather before going outside for any length of time, 21,000 miles of inline skating taught me how to read weather maps exceedingly well. 

Exceedingly well for more predictable areas.  Not here.

The first thing I do when I wake up is pad over to the iPhone, start up my weather map and try to read it.  No problem there, there are little dots of green all over the place.  They indicate that there are little bitty rain clouds here and there, and a lot of Ground Clutter.   No big deal, keep your eye over your shoulder when walking West and watch.

78 and a 30 percent rain chance. 

I learned that here, a 30 Percent Rain Chance means that it is a 100 Percent Chance that 30 Percent of us will get wet.  Just like in the topic.  Since I have moved here, on more than one occasion, I have seen it rain in the front yard and not the back, with sunshine and light ocean breezes.

Usually when that happens it will switch just to keep you guessing and the front yard dries out as the swimming pool gets filled.  Grab your camera, you most likely will see a Rainbow.  Sometimes with the UV Stripe showing to the bottom of the Rainbow.  I’ve seen that happen too.

Keeps you guessing.

Luckily it’s South Florida.  It rains, you dry off, no problem.  Takes about 20 minutes normally.

Some of those “storms” are nothing more than someone standing on the roof with a spray bottle and giggling with a beer in their hands.  In other words, inconsequential. 

That was what I expected today.  I got up before dawn, gathered myself and Mrs Dog up and we walked out the front door for our morning mile and a quarter.  It was bone dry until I got to City Hall.  The ghost there was standing on the roof with that spray bottle and managed to get one drop on me. 

Oh yes, I see you up there, taunting me and my dog.  Spritz! Spritz! Spritz! away you silly poltergeist!

Literally one drop.

The end of the walk was in sight, I was thinking of a big mug of coffee and my morning yogurt and oatmeal when I heard it.  I had been under awnings and overhangs for the last couple hundred feet, and the sound became quite loud.

It started raining.  Immediately.  Someone on the roof had put down the spray bottle and turned on the fire hose.   All at once. 

Lettie stopped her walk when I did and looked up at me with those brown eyes.
I said “wait” as I put the headphones in my pocket with the radio, and thought I’d just stand there for a little bit. 

Nobody tends to be out at the pre-7AM Hour other than dog walkers so I thought I’d be there alone with my dog contemplating the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies on the asphalt when she made the decision that she wanted to go home and lounge on the cool tiles in the house.

I did what I usually do in this case.  Take off the shirt and soldier on home.  It was only another couple hundred feet to the house.  Wadding the dark blue T Shirt up into a tight ball, I stepped out into the torrent.  Nobody was out in the weather at this time but us two and I started walking home enjoying the cool rain on my warm skin.

Ladies, I wouldn’t try that.  Wilton Manors is a very Progressive city but I suspect they might get a little cross if the WMPD came by and saw “the girls” out playing in the rain.  Luckily, I’m in much better than average shape for a man my age and wouldn’t “offend”.

At least I don’t think so…

Luckily, as fast as it started, it stopped.   I literally went from torrent to dry in the span of two homes.   The rain hadn’t really stopped.  I turned around and the current of water had been drawn up from where I was and was moving slowly up the street to the commercial district about as fast as you could walk.  If I had a mind to, I’d be able to follow it.

Weird weather in this town.  2 minute showers aren’t even long enough to get wet enough to bring the soap if you had a mind to!

The Older We Get – Humor

This is a continuation of the theme from yesterday.  If that wasn’t bad enough, you can always consider…

The older we get….


Recently, when I went to McDonald’s I saw on the menu that you could have an order of 6, 9 or 12 Chicken McNuggets.  I asked for a half dozen nuggets.
‘We don’t have half dozen nuggets,’ said the teenager at the counter.
‘You don’t?’ I replied.
‘We only have six, nine, or twelve,’ was the reply.
‘So I can’t order a half dozen nuggets, but I can order six?’
‘That’s right.’

So I shook my head and ordered six McNuggets

        (Unbelievable but sadly true…)


I was checking out at the local Walmart with just a few items and the lady behind me put her things on the belt close to mine. I picked up one of those ‘dividers’ that they keep by the cash register and placed it between our things so they wouldn’t get mixed.

After the girl had scanned all of my items, she picked up the ‘divider’, looking it all over for the bar code so she could scan it.
Not finding the bar code, she said to me, ‘Do you know how much this is?’
I said to her ‘I’ve changed my mind; I don’t think I’ll buy that today.’
She said ‘OK,’ and I paid her for the things and left.
She had no clue as to what had just happened.


A woman at work was seen putting a credit card into her floppy drive and pulling it out very quickly.

When I inquired as to what she was doing, she said she was shopping on the Internet and they kept asking for a credit card number, so she was using the ATM ‘thingy.’

        (keep shuddering!!)


I recently saw a distraught young lady weeping beside her car.

‘Do you need some help?’ I asked.

She replied, ‘I knew I should have replaced the battery to this remote door unlocker. Now I can’t get into my car. Do you think they (pointing to a distant convenience store) would have a battery to fit this?’

‘Hmmm, I don’t know. Do you have an alarm, too?’ I asked.

‘No, just this remote thingy,’ she answered, handing it and the car keys to me.  As I took the key and manually unlocked the door, I replied, ‘Why don’t you drive over there and check about the batteries. It’s a long walk….’

        PLEASE just lay down before you hurt yourself !!!


Several years ago, we had an Intern who was none too swift. One day she was typing and turned to a secretary and said, ‘I’m almost out of typing paper. What do I do?’
‘Just use paper from the photocopier’, the secretary told her.
With that, the intern took her last remaining blank piece of paper, put it on the photocopier and proceeded to make five ‘blank’ copies.

        Brunette, by the way!!


A mother calls 911 very worried asking the dispatcher if she needs to take her kid to the emergency room, the kid had eaten ants.

The dispatcher tells her to give the kid some Benadryl and he should be fine.
The mother says, ‘I just gave him some ant killer……’
Dispatcher: ‘Rush him in to emergency!’

Life is tough. It’s even tougher if you’re stupid!!!!

Someone had to remind me, so I’m reminding you too. Don’t laugh… is all true…

20 Perks of Reaching 50 – Humor

Thanks to Kevin, I have this list of 20 Perks of Reaching 50.   If you’re younger than that, you won’t get it, but if you are… you just may!

Perks of reaching 50 or being over 60 and heading towards 70!

01.  Kidnappers are not very interested in you.

02.  In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.

03.  No one expects you to run–anywhere.

04.  People call at 9 PM and ask, “did I wake you?”

05.  People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.

06.  There is nothing left to learn the hard way.

07.  Things you buy now won’t wear out.

08.  You can eat supper at 4 PM.

09.  You can live without sex but not your glasses.

10.  You get into heated arguments about pension plans.

11.  You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge. 
12.  You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room.

13.  You sing along with elevator music.

14.  Your eyes won’t get much worse.

15.  Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.

16.  Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service.

17.  Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can’t remember them either.

18.  Your supply of brain cells is finally down to manageable size.

19.  You can’t remember who sent you this list.

20.  And you notice these are all in Big Print for your convenience.

Bonus: Never, under any circumstances,take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night

Creating a Holiday Skating Rink In Your Own Hallway

The Thanksgiving Holiday is now, thankfully, over.

Two weeks of cleaning, preparing food, baking bread, and general fretting about the house has culminated in a rather excellent meal. 

Roast Bottom Round Beef with Port Wine Gravy, Yams, Mashed Potato, Carrots, Freshly Baked Rolls, and finally Apple Pie.

No Wonder why people put on weight over the holidays.  All that food coupled with the lower activity that comes with an earlier sunset would give you a good reason for it all.

While doing the final preparations for the meal yesterday, I was standing in the hallway to the bedroom side of the house.  I had turned on the light to check to make sure that the air conditioning was turned off since all the windows were open.  It has been a beautiful week here for the weather has been calm and cool and will remain that way next week.  No need to run Air Conditioning in these weather conditions.

However it showed that the louvered doors that enclosed the closets needed attention.  All that air being drawn up into the air handling unit would leave dust on those louvers. 

Here’s a bright idea.  While obsessing over everything else on your plate, why not clean those louvers.  After all, the guest coming over for all that food had restricted vision and wouldn’t see it anyway.  On the other hand YOU would know that the doors needed work.

Padding your way into the laundry where all good house cleaning chemicals go to die, there resided in a small “clutter catcher” box, a can of spray furniture polish.

You will need that light bulb over your head, genius, because that hallway is dark.

Yes, I started spraying the polish onto a door and proceeded to work the polish in. All six of them now had a somewhat more shiny look to them and the house had a slight orange scent to it.   Oranges in Florida?  Who knew!

As I turn around to head out to the recycle bin I look down at my faithful sidekick, Lettie.  She’s standing there looking up at me as if I am the font of all knowledge.  I’m not but the love of a good dog is something every person should experience at least once in their lives.

Lettie was also doing something else.  Sliding.  If you have ever watched a video of a baby Giraffe, they typically are standing there wobbly on long legs that are spread widely apart.  Ungainly would be a good description.  My 11 year old dog was doing her best impression of that.  None of the legs were steady.  She would stand still as those long legs were sliding out from under her slowly.  Eventually she tired of that and decided it was time to go, but not before her legs gave out entirely.   Looking like a character from an old cartoon, she hit the floor as if it were ice and she were wearing Teflon shoes. 

I had a problem here.  Not only had I waxed six doors, but I waxed the floor under the doors with overspray, and the dog was enjoying the benefits of having non-stick feet. 

I helped her up and she trotted out into the rest of the house leaving little dog footprints of furniture polish along the way. 

Thinking of our guest, an 86 year old lady, we had a problem that would be solved by mopping.  We can’t have her fall and break something, and the dog wasn’t the only one who slid out while walking through the house.  I managed to topple into the wall, being on long legs myself.  

Next step was the mop.

The short hallway was given a thorough scrubbing and was pronounced clean.

I really should say “Clean-Ish” since the tiles were so old that they absorbed the furniture polish.  Squeaky clean though as now they no longer slid out from under dog and man, and should be grippy enough for little-old-lady. 

Oh and Orange Fresh too!

Luckily through the evening, our guest never needed to use the facilities behind my orange-polished door.  My rubber soled shoes on the other hand now squeak anywhere I go in the house.  Even after walking the dog, twice, to wear the stuff off the shoes, they squeak.

So the moral of the story is that no matter how dried out the woodwork is in the house, spray the cloth and polish the wood, not spray the wood and rub it in with the cloth.

After all, your dog will appreciate it and you won’t be quite so noisy as you walk down the street.

Getting an Early Start for Thanksgiving

Those of us who are hosting Thanksgiving dinners have a lot of work to do.

First you clean the house from top to bottom, about a week before.
Then you keep it clean all week.
You look at the meal, then you triage what you can.

If you’re like me, it can be a logistical nightmare.
Baking a cake?  You’re going to be making frosting aren’t you?  It’s from scratch?  Ok, that mixer will have to be made clean between the icing and the actual cake mix.

Not baking from scratch does help, but it leaves you feeling a bit less complete.  As a person of course.

Yes, I’m being a wee bit melodramatic but that was the thought process we were going through all week.

The house got cleaned since I was given a floor scrubber.  The old one got abandoned in Philadelphia for the move.  I suspect it was thrown out which was a shame, because I missed it since day one.  If you have tile floors, skip the mop, dump the steamer, get a proper scrubber and get to work.  Mine laid down more than three quarts/liters of cleaning solution in my living room on Sunday afternoon.  Three hours later it looked amazingly clean and the house no longer smells of “Old Cop”.

You see the house was owned by a person who was a Policeman.  When the house got warm and humid (this is Florida after all, so that is 11 months out of the year) it would have This Smell that we never quite got rid of.  Zinc Oxide and other undertones that you can’t quite put your finger on.

I’m sure when we move on, the next people will wonder why it smells of Coffee and Baked Goods, and the people who knew us will fill them in.  I’m still waiting on some of the stories about this place.

Scents of baking aside, If you have this week off and you’ve gotten “This Far”, you will probably be starting to make the food.  It is a cool day here, the windows are open and the breezes have started to flow from the Ocean, two miles away, through the house and out the other side.  Someone on my block is baking a cake or a pie, my guess is Apple Pie.

It is mid morning, and it’s making me hungry.  Then again, I’m a big guy and we’re almost always hungry.

Last night we went for the last shopping trip.  Hit a couple places and came home with all that we needed to make a Cherry Pie and the Vegetables for the meal tomorrow.  Even a Yam.  Yams with my home made butter, hot out of the oven… Ok Yeah, I’m hungry.

We were in the second store of the evening looking for the Pie Crust (yes, a short cut but we’re hosting) and I got a phone call from Lisa across the street asking if she could give us an Apple Pie.   Oh my yes!  You just saved my Wednesday!

So it will be a Bakery Made Apple Pie, Fresh Rolls that I’ll make tomorrow, Roast Beef with Port Wine Gravy, and all the usual vegetables.  A real table groaner of a meal.

Thanks to Lisa and Billy, I don’t have to cook today unless I want to.  Tomorrow is another story.  At 6AM before the dog walk I will load the washer with the linens, load the bread machine for the Dough Cycle, and take Mrs Dog for her Morning Constitutional.  The dough will rise and I’ll make a dozen rolls out of them.  All this before tomorrow lunch. 

Or else, I’ll get attitude.  We have a 7 pound Bottom Round that has to go in the oven.

The secret recipe is Pat’s Pizza Dough recipe and can be found here.  Use High Gluten Flour!  It’s extremely basic a dough and makes an incredible loaf, Boule, pizza crust, rolls or anything else you want to make out of bread dough.

So here’s hoping you don’t have to cut corners and everything comes out of the oven well.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I Am Lizard, King Of The Tennis Ball Mountain

After walking to the kitchen for an unscheduled snack, I found my picture of the day. I really didn’t intend for today to be a picture but this was as good as any.

I was listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons on the headphones after walking the trash out to the bin and found myself looking in the refrigerator.  After having a small handful of Moosemunch… no really, only 10 pieces.  Very small handful.  Honest!  Yes, they named it after me!  Who else?  (Smirk)…

I looked out my kitchen window and saw this lizard looking back at me.  The usual Cuban Browns and the proper pink Geckos that live in my yard are very shy and will run away, so I grabbed my camera not expecting the shot.  This being a Curly Tail, it stayed put.  They’re noticeably more bold than the others.  It stayed there being King of the Hill while I got a picture through the window, opened the window, then got another shot. 

Walking over to the back door I laughed at myself silently thinking I may be able to convince it to stay put.

Nope, not that bold, that second shot wasn’t going to happen, Mr DeMille was not going to get his close up.  Sure, I could use a digital SLR but they don’t fit in my cargo pants… however if you have one around make sure you don’t need it since I’ll put it to use.

Begging for cameras aside, it dove into the bucket as soon as I was framed by the back door. 

In for a Penny, In for a Pound, I say!

Opening the door I walked over to the little bucket full of tennis balls and took them out one by one.  The balls are there so the dogs can play with them, although my own Lettie is too old to care now.  Taking them out one by one, there were around 20 left.  When I got to the last three, my little lizard was getting unhappy with me and decided that it was time to hide.

Scrabbling around the bottom of the bucket the little guy ran around circles until it literally flung itself out onto the bar.  

Sorry, no beer served at 10 in the morning!

It must have been disappointed in my lack of bartending skills as it did pushups on the bar while glaring at me then diving off into the Hibiscus on the deck.

Never a dull moment when you have to take the trash out!

Pavlov’s Dog Eats Spam

Writing is one of those personal things.  Some can do it in a crowded auditorium with people watching over their shoulder and commenting about their use of language.  I should know, I used to do that to Mike when he was working for the local paper in the Wilton Manors City Hall Commission Chamber.

Bad Rambling Moose.  Bad.

Others may need utter silence.  The kind of silence that you wish you could get in a library, but since society has degraded into this interconnected thing that has chimes and beeps and other electronic noises going off at random moments because of Oooh I Just Got A Text And Let Me Drop All To Answer It …

Where was I?

You get the picture. 

In my case, I’m sitting here enjoying the relative silence of this house.  The Dog Snores. The Parrot is making a mess on the tiles that I cleaned yesterday by eating and sending technicolored fruit flavored bits while eating.  Two clocks tick loudly.  The ceiling fan whispers above.  The Classical Music is softly playing.

Over all of that my ears are ringing but that is a normal thing with me.

Write a paragraph and BONG! someone had written to my Professional Email account.

A quick look at the watch and I see that it is 9AM and it’s time for the first of many BONG! Email Spams that I am actually set to receive BONG! through the day.

We used to consider web surfing an amazing thing, and in reality it is when you try to wrap your head around it.  The amazing breadth of the internet means that you are lost in a maze that you may be able to explore, try to cover, but never will completely see.  There are walls that block you but the sheer vastness will stop you from seeing it all.  I watched a British Comedy once where a Superhero came to Earth and lived in a small flat in a small town in the Western Suburbs of London.  It was a comic element where the hero went and surfed the internet.   All of it.   The keyboard had melted with smoke and the monitor was beginning to glow red but he had done it all.

Fantasy, there’s just no way you can see it all.

So we have begun to opt into web sites and get emails from them with an extract of what is interesting in the day.  I run one of those email sites as part of my duties with Wilton Manors Main Street so I do know that there are some folks that do care about the quality of the information delivered.

Ours is a monthly letter, when we can get all the organizations together and have the thing assembled. 

Others are much more BONG! regular.  There are quite a few that I subscribe to to keep up with the technical details of a career in Project Management.  Literally I can set my watch to the BONG!s that I get in the course of a day.  During the time it took me to write this blather, I have gotten three BONG!s.

That BONG! won’t smoke my laptop, but it will give me something to occupy myself with later. 

It’s something like the experiment where Pavlov trained his dog to drool when it heard a certain bell.  In my case, I run for the laptop when I hear the BONG! just like that dog.

Maybe not Run, but it does give me a moment to pause.  After all, you never know what’s BONG! happening out there!