The Unluckiest Guy In The World

A huge guy is drinking in a bar with his friend, when suddenly he sees a dude who looks really depressed.

He looks at his friend and goes, ‘You see the guy that seems to be having a really bad day? Well I’m gonna make his day even worse’.

 So he walks up to the dude and drinks the glass that was in front of him.

The dude suddenly breaks into tears and starts crying hysterically.

So the guy is surprised and tries to calm him down: ‘ Dude relax! I was just messing with you. I’ll buy another drink’.

The dude wipes off his tears and goes, ‘I just had the worst day of my life. My car broke down on my way to work so I had to take a cab. I forgot my briefcase in the cab and cost my company millions of dollars. They fired me and I owe them their millions. When I got back from work, I found my wife in bed with my best friend. After all that I decided to end my life with a glass of poison, and you didn’t even let me do that!’

How Can One Marshmallow Create So Much Havoc For A Dog?

One of those moments of weakness.

I had dinner.  I had dessert.  I had a glass of artificial crap sitting next to me waiting to be drunk.

No, nothing all that bad.  Just artificial diet pineapple soda.  Artificial flavor, artificial color, smelled of pineapple and something else that was unrecognizeable.

Really shouldn’t drink that stuff.  Really.  Not good for you.

All this was going through my mind as I padded into the kitchen with the empty glass.  If I didn’t there would be artificially colored, artificially flavored sludge in the bottom of the glass that would be disgusting by morning.

Did I mention it kind of looked like something the dog would leave on the fire hydrant?  Yeah, that.

So I reached into the freezer for an ice cube and was going to add a little water to the glass.   May as well have another drink.  It had been a hot day for me.

Looking down into the ice machine, since everything is “down” when you are as tall as I am, I spotted the bag in the bottom shelf of the freezer.

Training tip to all those athletes in your life – keep the real junk food in the bottom shelf of the freezer or refrigerator.  Out of sight, out of mind!

It is a half eaten bag of marshmallows.  They’re in the freezer because it is humid in Florida even when the air conditioning is working well.  Keeps them nice and fresh and they don’t stick together.  Plus an ice cold marshmallow is an interesting thing.   Try it, if you don’t like it, move the bag back onto the damn counter, okay?


I walked out into the living room with the bag forgetting the glass on the counter for the moment.  I hear “Hey!  Marshmallows!  Can I have One?”

Yes, the One was Stressed.  Just One.

I tossed one at Kevin.  Being generous I beaned him on the nose with a second one.  It hit the floor.   Rack had been watching.  He comes over, sniffs the dropped sweet, grabs it and walks it over to his mat in the corner of the room.  I place two more on the bar mat on the little table.  Handing Kevin a second one, unwanted a second time, he thanked me saying “I know I said one, but these are still Good.”.

Yes, Good was Stressed.  Simple pleasures.

By the time I stowed the treats in the bottom of the freezer where treats belong and got back to the chair, the fun was beginning.

Rack had been mouthing the cold treat and dropping it.  I reached down to grab the marshmallow thinking he wasn’t really all that interested, but I was wrong.  He did the submissive dog thing.  Kept it in his mouth and adjusted himself so that now he was facing the wall.  Mouth, drop.  Mouth, drop, chew.  It was finally time for him to eat that little white puff.

No, Marshmallows are not good for dogs, but they are only bad for them in the way that sweets should be strictly managed.  He did go after his rawhide to brush the treat off his molars when he finished.

” I wonder if he was going to act like a kid high on sugar” was the second thought I had when I sat down. 

You know those kids in a mall you want to duct tape to their parents in hope that both of them will figure out that no, it really isn’t acceptable to let your kids run wild in a public place, and yes, they are your problem to solve?

Rack wasn’t one … yet.   He settled down for a while before I noticed that he was starting.  Being a Herding Breed what they do is to make sure order is maintained.   Being a Herding Breed high on Sugar means the OCD kicks in on overdrive.

First I noticed that he went over to the other side of the room.   Grabbing his hedgehog toy, his current favorite, he came back to the mat next to me and was playing with it.  Since we’re trying to make sure that he’s getting every chance to have confidence building exercises, I would take the coveted toy away and allow him to take it back.  Normally all of this is a gentle and almost half hearted manner.  Today, he pulled it out of my hands.  Assertively.

Interesting, sugar makes my passive dog assertive.

We went back and forth for a while until one of us tired of this.  Then he did the Herding Dog Pick And Place Robot Routine.

They aren’t called “Hoarder Collies” for nothing!  I know, he’s a McNab and not a Border Collie, but the personality has similarities.

The next half hour was Rack grabbing toys and bringing them from one mat to the other like an industrial Pick and Place Robot.  Back and forth.  First the Hedgehog got the treatment.  It went back to the first mat, then to the corner twice.  Rack is prancing around the living room acting very excited the entire time.  He climbed up onto me, melting into my lap, back feet on the floor.  Repeated the same thing with Kevin.  Then grabbing the hedgehog, he dropped it in my lap, and melted back onto me. 

I tossed the hedgehog over to the other mat while booping him in the nose once or twice.

Rack pranced over to the hedgehog in three hops.  It’s a small room, I’m surprised he could fit those hops in.

Placing the coveted hedgehog on the mat in the corner next to me, it was the rope’s turn.

Hop! Hop! Hop!  He covered the distance easily.  Circling the room with the rope, he knocked into Kevin’s knee, climbed into his lap, wouldn’t let the rope go when Kevin grasped it, then walked back into the corner with it and set it next to the hedgehog.

Laying down for all of 15 seconds, he managed to place both toys on the opposite side of the mat, then neatly back where they belonged, directly below where my hand usually goes when I reach down to pet him.

Springing up and HopHopHop across the room to grab the red rubber Kong bone.  Sniffing it to see if anything was in it, it ended up next to the rope in a line, just out of reach.

Hop Hop Hop, next came the nylabone followed by a tennis ball, followed by some other random toy that was in his toy stash.  At this point some were under the rocker recliner I was sitting in stopping it from going all the way back.  Toys were all now gathered, hoarded, and piled in the corner.  He sat down.

Mind you, most nights when we’re watching some mindless TV programming, Rack just lays there, napping.  He will wait until five minutes before we are ready to go for the dog walk and then start to gently herd us to walk him.

Not tonight.  Tonight, toys were being flipped in the air, paraded around the room, dropped on feet, and laps.  He would melt into every lap available, pick the discarded toy up, march it into the Florida Room, the open bedroom, bathroom or what ever room was available.

Yes, I had inadvertently given my dog sugar.  It was acting like a stimulant, true to form, he was hyper. 

More like a black and white furry ball bouncing off of walls. 

When all the sudden, it stopped.  Utterly.

It was as if the clouds lifted and the din of a passing freight train had moved off away not to be heard from.

Rack collapsed.  Not with a sigh, but a roll onto his back.

He was directly under my hand.  Picking at my hand with one foot, I can’t remember which, he guided my hand onto his belly.

Bellies needed to be rubbed, this was one tired out dog.

So the moral of the story is, while it is entertaining, your dog is best left without marshmallows.  They’re probably not the best for you either.  But you will find all the toys dropped into one neat little pile as the energy gets burned off.

Lawsuit Against Beneful and Purina on Dog Deaths Is Why I Don’t Trust Purina and Nestle Products

Anyone who follows this blog read about my trials with Lettie, my departed dog.  She contracted Chronic Renal Failure and died about two years back.  All that we went through is documented with that tag if you care to search for it from .

She always, and I do mean always, ate Purina products until she got sick.  Then it was too late.  I went through about two years of syringe feeding her until it got to be too much for her and we had to put her to sleep.

After she was gone, we started hearing about Purina and their practice of sourcing ingredients from China in order to prepare their so-called foods.  An overview of the 2007 recalls of petfoods is on Wikipedia, but frankly, a recall of petfoods like the Beneful that I fed Lettie won’t bring the pet back.  Once the kidneys are damaged beyond a certain point, function will not be restored.

About the same time, the story leaked out about how the parent company, Nestle believes that all water should be corporately owned.  They’re also the same company that aggressively targets women in Africa to get them to buy their own baby formulas.

Kind of sleazy in my opinion.  You judge for yourselves.

After going through all of that, I simply decided for myself.  No Purina for my dog, No Nestle for me.

Simply put it’s safer.   A company that is producing something that is fed to a dog is making a decision for a creature who can not decide for themselves.  You can and should decide for them.

When we got Rack, my McNab dog two years back, we vowed never to feed him anything that we could not trust.  That evolved into no US Made dog foods at this point because of the stories of tainted treats and foods that we kept hearing. 

The Federal and State food inspection regimens have been diluted by defunding of the protective agencies.  All inspection that is done by a percentage sampling basis.  That percentage as a result gets lower because of fewer inspectors.  Logically, it would mean that there is a greater chance that tainted food gets through the sampling procedure as a result.

The brand we were recommended to try, Orijen, is made in Canada.  Apparently the laws there are much more strict than the laws we have here.  It’s produced with “Human Grade” food, I once read.

Unfortunately, they’re so well liked, that Orijen is going to open a plant here in the US, in Kentucky, to meet demand.

So lets see, I’ve been paying a premium for dog food produced in Canada that will now be made in one of the most poorly enforced states for food production, In My Opinion, in the United States.

When Orijen begins producing the food in the US I will cease purchasing their products.   I don’t know where I will go, but I have absolutely no confidence in the ability of inspectors in Kentucky at this time.

Again, My Opinion.  Yours may vary.  I may be overly critical, but I also was the person who had to prepare a slurry of food to syringe down my dog’s throat twice a day to keep her alive.

The difference is that the US allows a markedly lower quality of component foods to go into dog foods.  Markedly lower quality meaning sourced from overseas at times.  Yes, you guessed it, China.   China doesn’t effectively police their own foods.  Things get sold simply because you are willing to buy them, and there is no active warranty for anyone to pursue.  Just look at the mess that the online electronics markets have become and how easy it is to find on the larger international websites items that have been shipped here directly from China or shipped through other countries to mask their origin.

While a trinket will most likely break and be discarded like so many glow sticks on the street after the latest holidays, a dog, or other pet, is something that a person builds a relationship with like a family member.

Would you feed a child food that may or may not kill them?  I certainly wouldn’t with my dog and I won’t take a chance with a tainted supply.

So Nestle is off my menu, as is Purina for my dog.  I only wish I knew beforehand since my own Lettie could still be alive today.

Now there is a class-action lawsuit against Purina for these tainted foods.  That won’t bring Lettie back.  It won’t make the Chairman of the Board lose any sleep.  It will be a slap on the wrist, and they’ll just go on draining the water tables since they don’t believe that access to water is a fundamental human right, and continue importing Chinese components that may or may not be tainted with Melamine to go into their pet foods.

No matter what, I won’t be back.

Again, it’s only my opinion.  You decide for yourself.  But I won’t buy Nestle or Purina products.

A Bird For The Background

I found myself in a novel position.   I was reeducating someone on “How To Florida”.

I had always said that once you come here, you adjust and when you leave you have to adjust back.

This is an odd place.  Most of everything you see is artificial.  The Natural was pushed aside, flattened, mined out, leveled, and ignored.  Then we came in and put in “grass” and Palm Trees, and Spanish Mission Architecture, and Mid Century Modern buildings.

Everyone loves Palm Trees, Right?  They’d line broad boulevards in long rows of sentinels guarding the homes we built there in the sun and grow.  Slowly, they would become taller until eventually they would get struck by lightning and have to be replaced.

That’s actually a benefit for Florida is where Lightning is Born.  More people are injured per capita here in Florida than any other region in the country.  It might help to explain the mindset here.  Maybe someone had their coconuts electrified and now they’re just a bit odd.

Some of us are, thankfully, waking up.  The lawns are never logical in a climate that is a desert for six months of the year and a flood for the rest.  The Palm Trees hit the aquifer that is only a little bit below the soil and soak it up and thrive, but given a chance, there are better things to plant.

Those native things that got pushed aside in the 1950s for example.  Gumbo Limbo trees that look like a tourist that had been let out in the sun too long is a perfect example.  The monstrous sea grape that hit the water table years ago and gets trimmed back about 10 feet a year only to come back just as monstrous as before.

Every year.

Native trees are making a comeback along public roads and commercial areas simply because they are easier to care for.  Something that is adapted to the climate is easier to deal with than something that may run amok.

But this was his first walk back after being away.  I got to repeat the mantra “You need to get used to it again, it’s not hot, it’s only 76!”.

Actually it was an amazing afternoon for a dog walk.  Not a cloud in the sky, light winds, low humidity, and warm breezes off the ocean.  The air was crystal clear as a result.

No, not bragging, I’ll shut up here or else you’ll just come and visit.  We have our “off season” starting in June when we’re all looking over our shoulders at the long distance radar shots at that storm off Cape Verde in Africa and wondering whether it will come this way or just be another fish spinner.

After being in the UK for two weeks, Kevin was melting.  He got to experience Winter in the Isle of Man.  It rains sideways, never seems to freeze long, and when the sun comes out, everyone runs out of the office buildings to look at the strange glowing orb in the sky like a chicken in a rainstorm.

Close your mouth, bird, you’re going to drown.

The whole time I am walking around town in a Polo Shirt and Jeans, he’s muttering how hot it is.  I’m telling him you’re just not used to it.  Thinking about the last time I was a snowbird, that’s exactly how it felt.  Nobody goes to Douglas, Isle of Man for vacation in the middle of February, it’s a miserable cold that soaks into you.

“Just let yourself thaw out, and get used to it.  Take in the conditions, it’s beautiful tonight!”

At that point, in the middle of our own central business district, in the din of the rush hour, after the 50 Bus passes by we start to hear the siren call.   Actually it was a bird, singing loudly, as if to tell us that we were sharing the place with it and it didn’t care that we three were there.

In fact, the bird was a bit of a show off.   I slowed down to find the creature, and it even sung directly at me.  Mouth open and a loud chirping birdsong. 

My own romantic thoughts about how pretty it sounded over the traffic aside, Birds call for two main reasons – to find a mate, and to claim territory.

“It’s hot tonight, lets get home!”
“It’s not hot, you’re just not used to it! It’s the same temperature it was back in the house!  Come on, we can go.”
“Yeah, lets.  We can go up and do the long walk.  You’re right.”.

The bird didn’t seem to care.  As we passed it and walked out of range it was still singing away.  We bickered about conditions, and enjoyed the weather.  It really was a beautiful night.

Am I Boring You?

I spent the last two weeks being a Remote Navigator and Remote Support Person.

Perhaps that is a bit of an “overboard” description, but in some ways it fits.

When someone close goes overseas and then goes again to another place within the same country but not the same country, well you end up getting asked questions.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I was having a bit of fun sending pictures along at the same time to explain things.

In this case, he’s back though.  Kevin.  Went to London, then to Isle of Man.  The Isle of Man is its own separate autonomous area where they have the oldest Parliament in the world called the Tynwald

I won’t comment directly since I hadn’t been there, but it did sound like a great place to go to relax and get away from it all since everything seems to close shop at 6pm. 

Better not have an emergency and need a snack at 7pm!  From the weather stats I saw, you had better do it in August and bring heavy clothes.  68F, 20C as a high in August just sounds frigid to my Florida Acclimated Soul since that basically is as cold as it gets in Winter here.

It works for them and I am not judging.

At one point we were having the conversation equivalent of a small dog yapping and chasing its tail.  Not really sure what it was.  One of us was making a point, the other wasn’t getting it.  Five time zones away, a different continent, and all that.  Tends to make it more difficult explaining things.

In the middle of the conversation, Rack came by and apparently wanted some attention.  Then I bored him.

My only complaint about all of that is that I wish I had gotten the picture in better focus!

Timely photograph.  Since we both were on good connections on the internet I was just sending pictures along and getting them in return. 

I’ll save the shot though.  It’s a bit too fuzzy to do all that much with but who knows what else I can come up with.  A little photoshop here and there never hurt a model on a runway, so it won’t hurt my dog.

Curious that it took me two years to notice that little black spot on his tongue.  McNab Dogs are known for their speckles!

Welcome Back Kevin, take my shovel and help me out of this hole that I’ve dug for myself.

Happy Blog Day, 2000 Postings Or So

Yeah so I might be a day or two early on this.

There are a couple posts already in the chamber so I’ll do this today.

2000 postings.  The blog has been around for a while.  Who knows how much longer.  Basically as long as I have ideas, I’ll post them.

A view inside my empty head about this though.  I make it a point to not strictly “Reblog” things.  Copy and paste.   If I do something, the recipes are an excellent example, I try my best to add to them and explain how I did it.

Otherwise it’s just navel gazing and narcisistic.

But, people do love those recipes.

I have a small “first read” audience.   I haven’t been posting it in my own facebook feed because frankly that sort of thing gets boring.  I have a group with some people who wanted to be a part of it.  They’ll get my blather and a direct link to today’s article.

The “second read” audience fall into my grasp mainly via Google and other search engines.

That shows in what the top five articles are for the blog since I started.

And I do try very hard not to revisit topics unless I can add something to it.  I got something wrong?  Time for a new post.  Got something right?  Let it rest.  Dunno, maybe that’s just the way I am

The Gold Medal Biscuit recipe.  Apparently people are searching for biscuits and coming here to read the recipe.  Probably the best biscuit I have ever made.  The secret is in the butter.  Now, if you want to make something obscene, toss a biscuit in the skillet and pan fry them like a donut.

Mmmm Donuts!

Two Cycle Engine Repair.  Say what you will about this blog, I’ve got depth.  If I can write about replacing the bulb on a string trimmer one day, a recipe the next, and photography the third… well you get the idea.  I’m That Guy.  Show me an adult man who doesn’t at least glance at the pile of crap your neighbor tosses out and wonders if he can fix that thing, and I’ll show you a man who has lost his soul.

That goes for many women I know too.

Simply Hired User Experience.  Believe it or not, people get paid quite a lot to do this sort of systems analysis and user experience analysis on large websites.  In the case of Simply Hired, they changed their format.  It still stinks.  Maybe I will write another blog article on how clunky it is now that they reskinned it to look all “kewl!”.

Or not.

The Impatiens Picture.  I do a lot of Photography.  Or you could say I do a lot of what passes for Photography if you’re a hack at it.  No matter what you think of how well, or how badly I take pictures, this single picture is the most popular one here in Ramblingmoose and 

I have been told that all of the small Impatiens have died.  Literally, everywhere.  The same flower exists but they’re a taller variety.  The little ones everyone loved?  Gone.

And finally, rounding out my top five:

The Jewfish Bridge picture in the Florida Keys. This is the first “real” bridge you hit when you’re going to the Keys.  It’s dramatic and a beautiful view.  It’s really difficult to not get a picture that you will like.  Then you roll into Key Largo and start about 100 miles worth of driving in slower highways before you get to Key West.  My suggestion is to time it to hit the Seven Mile Bridge at sunset in a convertible. 

No, you may not borrow my Jeep.

That’s it for today.  Enough navel gazing.  I don’t have any oranges left.

As for how much longer will I keep doing this?  As long as I have time, ideas, and things I think may be interesting to my friends and family.  I don’t guarantee it will go on forever.  I don’t even guarantee it will happen tomorrow, after all I did  miss a day once. 

One Single Day.

If you really do enjoy this, feel free to complement me.  If you’ve got an idea for a topic, let me know.  If it sparks my curiosity, I’ll write about it.

Like the jokes.  The “first read” audience generally does not like my jokes.  Guess what?  They’re popular.  The number 7 article is about Puns and One Liners.

So I’ll keep posting those on the weekends for now.  If I get a better idea, then I can always push the jokes off for a day!

A Married Woman Goes To The Doctor and says I Hear Voices In My Head

Doctor: “what do the voices say?”
Woman: “they say ‘kill your husband”
Doctor: “Ok, that’s not good. I’m going to start you immediately on a psychiatric medication. Come back and see me in one week.” 
One week later, the woman goes back to the same doctor and says: “I’m still hearing the same voices.”
Doctor: “what are they saying now?”
Woman: “they’re saying ‘beat your husband with a club”

Doctor: “Hmm, I’m going to increase the dosage of your current medication. Come back and see me in two weeks.”

Two weeks later, the woman goes back to the doctor and says: “Doctor, now I hear only one voice but it has a slightly different tone”

Doctor: “What does the voice say?”
Woman: “It says ‘why did you ever marry him?”

Doctor: “Excellent! you’re back to normal. come back and see me in a year.”

Little Billy In Math Class

Little Billy was in math class and the teacher asked, ‘If there are 4 birds on a telephone wire, and the farmer shoots one of them off, how many are left?’

Little Billy raises his hand and the teacher calls on him, ‘Yes Billy?’

Little Billy says ‘Zero! Because when the farmer shoots the other birds will fly away!’

 The teacher says, ‘Actually, the answer is 3, but I like the way you think.’

 Now this got little Billy steamed.

 He knows what happens when you shoot a gun around birds so plots to get his teacher back.

At recess, little Billy approaches his teacher.

He says to his teacher, ‘Teacher, can I ask you something?’

She says ‘Sure Billy, what is it?’

He says, well you see those 3 girls across the street eating ice cream?’

She says, ‘Yes.’

Little Billy says, the first one is just nibbling at it a bit, the second one is licking the sides and the third one is gobbling it down. Which one is married?’

The teacher is a bit perplexed but says, ‘I guess it’s the one gobbling it down.’

 Little Billy says, ‘No, it’s the one with the wedding ring on, but I like the way you think!’

Coming to Florida? Rent Your Own Car, It’s Weird Here

Heck, that sums things up.

I got into a quick back and forth with my sister and a couple people here on the coldest day of the year.  After we got into a “Yuh Huh 41 is too Cold!” and “Nuh Uh, 1 degree is colder”, I got to thinking.

Now, that’s always dangerous.  Me thinking.

It usually involves me standing over the kitchen sink, looking out at the swimming pool, debating the important things in life.  You know, like “It was cold and dry last night, should I top off the pool”. 

Yes, almost always.  If the water level has dropped below the middle of the row of tiles, give it a couple hours.

Why do people have pools again?  I haven’t used mine since last Spring anyway and then only because I was the fool that went out and trimmed the hedges when it was full sun and almost 90 degrees.

But my sister.  Pat.  You’re welcome to come down but rent your own car.

That’s not me being grabby, that’s me being realistic.  Snowbirds, yourself included, will begin flooding South Florida.   We’re the closest warm place, and warm is relative today, to the Big Cities Up North. 

Every time I go out driving I’m reminded why I’m not incharge of the roads here.  Between the locals who don’t know how to drive, and the Snowbirds who don’t know how to drive and are lost, it’s amazing to me that anyone gets anywhere without killing themselves.

I haven’t heard of a good old fashioned road rage incident here for a while, but I think that’s more from the reason that I haven’t found a good reason to actually watch local “News” since 2005, and that was when I lived in Philadelphia.  I caught the internet feed of WWL TV in New Orleans and watched the coverage of Hurricane Katrina.  Riveting.  When TV Stations aren’t selling soap, they can do a really good job of things.

Two stories kept coming to mind about the roads. 

Nobody knows how to drive.  The roads here are in a grid.  Very rigid adherence to the compass points.  You SHOULD know where you’re going.  The speeds are usually posted frequently.  Beach is East, Miami is South, West Palm is North, Everglades are West.  You are boxed in pretty well.


I have been passed on the interstate here by one wheeled motorcycles about every third time I dare to go out on I-95.  A one wheeled?  No, really that’s some over testosteroned kid on a motorcycle popping wheelies at over the legal speed limit of 65MPH.  Yes, I know it’s foolhardy.

Add to that the person from Up North who is in the fast lane and has been signalling since the county line to get over now and you have a crash waiting to happen.


They just cut off the 15 year old Toyota Camry with the Haitian flag on it that was going 40 MPH in the middle lane so they can go to the beach.

So my Jeep will stay in the driveway.  I’m too scared to drive it all that much.

Oh the other story? 

See, the people down here got sold a bill of goods.  It’s called Lexus Lanes by the locals.  In each gallon of gas you pay a significant amount of Federal and State tax.  The tax is based on the gallon and not on a percentage of cost.  So as cars became more efficient, my Jeep gets a little better than 20MPH Highway where my old CJ7 Jeep got in the low to mid Teens with the same motor, the tax revenues dropped.

Instead of adjusting the taxes to fund the roads like they should have to maintain revenue at a constant rate or keeping up with inflation, someone came up with a Bright Idea.

Lets create a new Toll Lane on the free interstate.

Bad idea.  Really.  Such a bad idea that they’re spreading all over the country like Herpes.  Road Herpes.  Caused by Lexus Lanes.

What that does is it forces four lanes of traffic, for example in some cases, down to three.  People hate paying for tolls even if they approve of the concept of having a toll lane, so they sit in the free lanes.

People now fume because now they can’t get anywhere.

The carpool lanes are all gone, they’re now Lexus Lanes, and your commute is toast.

Want to get to the beach?  I always take the local surface routes here.  Fewer one wheeled motorcyclists and 15 year old Toyota Camrys on those roads, as well as fewer snowbirds. 

Now, when these people all get off of the interstate, they have another problem.

This little story?  Call it an anecdote.  It’s free.

You see, there’s a road concept.  I’ve heard it called a Zipper Lane or a Merge Lane.  The idea is that since everyone adheres to the rules of the road, of course, that they maintain hands at 10 and 2 and keep two seconds back from the car in front.

One Pennsylvania, Two Pennsylvania…

That allows plenty of room for people to legally fit in between them in case they need to merge at high speeds in front of that Toyota Camry going at 40 mph in the 65 mph zone trying to go to the beach.

No, that really is the concept.  You’re actually supposed to keep the distance so that others can use the road too.

Floridians forgot about that years ago.  If Driving is a Contact Sport in Boston, and I have seen that first hand, Driving is Passive-Aggressive in Florida.

It’s called a zipper lane because while you have two lanes merging to one, the two are supposed to seamlessly merge down like the zippers on your clothes.  They just form a nice neat single lane.  Everyone gets where they are supposed to.

Nah.  More fun to tailgate and keep them out of MY lane.  The flip side of that coin is the idiots that figure bigger is better and drive a huge truck to go to the corner store and get eggs.  They usually have an illegal locomotive horn in them all the better to scare you with, my dear!

Since the police are way too busy figuring out which car has the contraband coming out of the Port of Miami that is going back Up North,  this sort of thing gets overlooked, and people back up.

Safer to keep the Jeep in the driveway.

So, Pat, if you do come on down, we’ll figure out how to get you to the beach.  That’s easy here.  Getting to a Mall?  Not if I have to drive on I 95. 

You’re welcome to the couch.  I’m just not going to go drive anywhere all that challenging.  The car does need to be moved though.  Want to sightsee?  Ooh look, it’s a 1990s vintage Mercury Marquis driven by two white gloves or a fedora in front of us heading back to Century Village!

I forgot to tell you about that one!  Pull up a chair…

Why Is A Sprinkler Like Your Psyche?

I had noticed that some of the sprinkler heads were not sprinkling.

I’d get a weak dribble from some.
I’d get nothing out of others.

Time to start watching.

When we bought the house, we had a “mature” system in here.   Mature in the way that a Pro Footballer’s brain would suffer from concussions, and a Tennis player would suffer from elbow complaints.

You know, Tennis Elbow?

That means things were wearing out.   Knowing who owned the property before we did, I suspect that this sort of maintenance was merely overlooked for a while before it got sold.

We all do it when we move. 

But this is a good 9 years later.   Sprinkler heads would clog from “scale” and sand gets into the pipes.  Pipes became unglued or the glue would simply wear out through time.

I started to look around the property. 

You know that’s a bad thing.  It eventually created problems.

The front yard, Zone 1 was pretty good.  It was the one I would notice since I am either coming home or leaving while it is running.  The dog needs his walks and I’d spot problems.

Great, no complaints.  “Hey, the side of your car’s getting watered, you should look!” and magically it gets fixed.

The back yard, Zone 2 is a different story.   It runs the perimeter of the yard.  We hung some extra sprinkler heads off the system here and there to take some of the pressure off, but in reality I think we may just have a too high pressure pump for what is back there.

I looked at the hedges on the one side of the house.   The soil at the back is so wet that my boot would sink into it, there is mildew growing on the pavement, and the plants are over watered.  At the front, the soil is so dry that the hedges were dying back. 

You notice these things while you’re using the hedge clippers.

So I ran Zone 2.  No pressure to the front, too much to the back, and a pipe had separated.

“Hey, we’ve got problems on Zone 2!”.

Thankfully it got fixed without my having to cram myself into too small a space. 

Really, no, Thanks!  Putting a Moose of a Man in that spot where the pipe weld had separated…. nope.

That made things all nice and tight.

That created other problems.

Take a balloon.  Inflate it.  Now press in one side, it will bulge in the opposite side.  Psychologists use that imagery to describe a psychological problem.  If you “push something down” or hide a problem, it will just bulge out somewhere else.   Your psyche.

My sprinklers were like that.

When I took Rack the Superdog out the next day after the sprinklers had shut off, I noticed a couple things.   The hedges were much more evenly watered.  The pipe break patch had held.

Now we had a swamp.

Of course it was right next to the lighting for the big palm tree.  You know, electricity and water?


Well the lights worked, but there was a problem with the sprinklers.  While the hedges were fine, the sprinkler heads weren’t watering the other hedge.  In other words, my yard had a psychological problem, it bulged.

I had Rack out running around through a wormhole, stepped in a small sink of mud and realized there was something worse going on. 

I called Rack, then turned on Zone 2.

Oooh Pretty little river!  The heads dribbled in that area so I walked around and stepped into where the water was pushing up.  Starting to dig, I noticed that the head pulled out of the ground without effort along with an elbow and a short length of pipe.

Oh great, it sheared.  Or something more colorful. 

Spending a block of time, I got the sheared length of pipe out of the T that was flooding the yard and threatening to make a sinkhole.  Actually I ended up pushing that bit of plastic in the pipe which will probably plug something else up some day, we shall see where later on.  That’s another psyche bulge in the balloon of the sprinklers.

Looking around I found everything but the bits I needed and made a weird contraption that will work until I can get to the big box store.  It should be flush with the turf but this will do for now.

But until then, it’s a matter of walking around and looking for mud.  After all, your sprinkler system will bulge and create a sinkhole for you, and if that happens, your house or your pool could be underground instead of on it.

That’s what happens when your sprinkler system breaks.  Your house goes insane and you step in something that you shouldn’t.

A hole.