Belling The Cat or How A Jingle Bell Helps A Mobility Scooter be More Mobile

I came to the conclusion that I had to bell the cat.   Santa needed to be invited to town in September.

We all have our moments, but this maxim that I have was illustrated to me perfectly clearly, when I took a friend to a supermarket.

You see that friend broke his foot.  He’s recovering from an emergency freak accident where the bone broke for no apparent reason.

Since he was in London, he got much better care than he would have gotten here in the US where even the doctors were amazed at the quality of care of the NHS.

I am thinking that had it happened in Philly, NYC, or LA he may have had a chance of a similar level of care, but at this point we’d be talking about selling his house to pay for it.

Thanks to the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK, he came home with a pair of shiny crutches, a cast on his leg, and a really fascinating collection of screws and stays to stabilize his bones.

We don’t know why nor will we ever know why it happened.

One thing he did not get was a scooter.  NHS does not supply them nor did his US Insurance since Insurance is not here to serve you so much as to try to keep as much of your money as possible while giving you the absolute minimum of care.

 

However, he did not have to pay a dime on the NHS.  At. All.

I just may move to Vermont or Southern California when I truly retire so I can have a walk across the border for my future meds in Canada or Mexico, but that’s a different story.

We have all seen these contraptions where you kneel on it and glide along to where you are going.

I’m afraid of that damn thing, he’s faster than I am while walking.

But he is also just this side of silent on it.

Since as my maxim goes, Other People Don’t Believe Society’s Rules Apply To Them, I went along as Security.  Being as tall as I am, people may not notice him but they surely won’t miss me and I can run interference.

As it was we both got crowded out of places we wanted to go.  My heart goes out to the wheelchair bound and the blind.  If we had trouble with all of this, I can only imagine what they go through.

So I had a brainstorm.  I belled the cat.

Not literally, don’t get your animal rights in a twist.

I put a jingle bell on the front of his scooter.

While going through his paces, now you can tell he’s coming.  He jingles.

Yes, I finally found a use for those over large jingle bells I found one holiday season and set aside.  It’s September and I have no pressing need for a golf ball sized bell, let alone two.

Taking a small piece of Copper Wire, I tied the things to his basket.

Yes, they have baskets, that is where you put your crap when you get out of the easy chair and scoot to the kitchen to do dishes, get your snacks, or use El Baño to get rid of same snacks.

It was helpful.  When he went to his next appointment, the bells were cheerily announcing his presence at a subliminal level and he had an easier time of it.

Next time if it happens, I swear I’m going to a toy store and getting a squeaky horn and some tassels.  The horn will shock people awake from their phones.

The Tassels is just because.  May as well have a sense of humor with it.   The horn should be as outrageous a color as possible since if you’re going to look silly, Own It!

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Dorian’s Florida Sunset

The storm in South Florida was minimal.

It did however ruin Grand Bahama.

I saw a before/after map of the island where about 1/2 of the place was underwater.  There were videos of utterly demolished places with a random wall standing and other videos of where people were standing knee deep on their second floor as flood waters were turning their couches into pool floaties.

Watching the coverage on Bahamian National TV at ZNSBahamas.com you could hear the desperation in the voices of the callers.

And this storm isn’t finished.  It’s heading for the Carolinas.  Finish your storm prep up there, don’t wait.

Even though it is currently a Category 2 storm, it can still wreck your day.

These storms are a way for the environment to move excess heat from the ocean into the atmosphere.  The explanation I heard was that this mechanism was a partial reason why Dorian stalled out over Grand Bahama.  The heat of the Bahamian ocean got lifted into the upper atmosphere and got dumped into North Carolina and broke down the steering currents.

All this caused an upwelling of the cold water in the deeper parts of the ocean and slowly weakened the storm until it got a nudge from the environment and started it moving North again.

After two days.  Imagine a category 5 storm sitting on your house unleashing the hounds of hell for two solid days.

Relief efforts are beginning.  The Major Cruise Lines pledged support.  Carnival and Royal Caribbean both have pledged direct efforts.  Disney has already announced relief efforts.  I’ll expect to hear more as the days go forth.

If you can’t give to the Bahamas Red Cross or go there directly in a Flotilla like I heard my neighbors were going to do, consider shopping those companies that are supporting the efforts and let them know why you are.

For now, there are four storms in the Atlantic, one more in the Gulf.  The season does not end until December 1 so we can have this happen again in a week or two.

What Does A Lava Lamp Look Like When Shaken? A Tradition.

Way back in the day, all my hippy dippy old Boomer friends had these things.
I liked them and I guess there may have been a little hero worship built in.

So eventually, at a scratch and dent sale in Best Products (R.I.P.) on Woodhaven Road in Bensalem, I found one.

Yoink.  It’s been mine for … decades I guess.

I had always been told “if you shake it, it will never be right again”.

Being the “curious” type, I did.  It took about a week and a half to settle back to looking normal.

I mentioned it to a friend that you can do that.  Get the light all nice and hot and vigorously shake the thing.  It will turn solid red, or whatever color the wax is, and two weeks later, you will be right back to normal.

The response “NOOOOO!  Mr Bill!  Don’t Shake Me!  NOOOOO!”.

Never been one to take no for an answer here.

I responded “So, what?  This is ‘Don’t Shake Me Bro?”.

You can see the result.

At least I got a giggle out of that comment.

Granted this is from an older picture.  Every time that friend goes away, the last night before he goes, I shake the living daylights out of the Lava Lamp

Besides, it gives me something to look at and obsess over.

My friend is going to Douglas, The Isle Of Man for three weeks.  He’ll hardly know it ever got shaken.

Tradition, my man, Tradition!

Banana Leaves With A Side of Sparkle

6 months of Desert, 6 months of torrential rain.

That’s our climate.  I did see a map once that said that Fort Lauderdale and coastal Broward County are considered a Rainforest Climate according to the Koppen criteria.

It never freezes here, but it gets damn close.

The rains just finally opened up this week.  They got so strong and so commonplace, even though they’re late, that my dog is going through Panic Attacks going out at night.

I will say that it’s probably due to the combination of Rain, Thunder, and Fireworks that happen this week.  If I had a place way out away from everyone, we would be there.

The nice thing is that when you get up in the morning, the world is washed clean.  You have the streets scoured of anything that was killed on them over the last few months, the dust runs off to the soil, and the air smells cleaner than usual.

Where I am, 2 1/2 miles or about 4 K from the ocean, there isn’t much pollution coming from the east.  What we do get are dust clouds from the Sahara Desert.

Seriously.

As in every time I take the Jeep out I have to hose it down.

As in I just spent an hour dusting the room divider of that stuff.

Going out into the morning makes you see why things are green and lush.  My plants are loving this weather.  I’m liking going out after a rain storm and seeing temperatures edging down towards what passes for cool here.

The plants are dusted clean, and usually there’s a mist covering their leaves.

That is what caught my eye.  I was walking around my yard picking up things.  In the corner of my eye, my Banana Tree sparkled this morning.  Like one of those cartoons when you see things cleaned and you hear “ping ping PING!”.

The leaves were misted with tiny jewels of water droplets.  Each droplet catching the light like a band of that reflective paint.  Some bending the light and giving me a show.

I’ve said it before, if you look, you can even find beauty in your own back yard and in your own pots.

In this case, I caught it, even if it did have to be enhanced by the sun in the golden hour after sunrise.

Welcome to Florida, we have overly friendly wildlife.

The first time wildlife encountered me was in my very own backyard.

I’ve been fascinated by the various lizards that roam around the place here.  Standing in the yard I spotted a rather common lizard.  Something scared it.

Might have been me, I have that effect on some people, and some wildlife.

Might not have been.

The lizard ran onto my shoe, then right up my leg.

And up the pant leg.

I’ve heard of ants in my pants but never a lizard on my lizard.

I’ve had posionous toads hop onto my foot while I was picking up after my dog.

I’ve had more Iguanas turn up in the Bougainvillias and Hibiscus in the yard than I care to count.

Nasty creatures, Iguanas.  No reason for them to be here at all.

Seventeen Ducks making more ducks on my front porch.

This was a much more gentle encounter.

A normal five in the evening Dog Walk.  It’s been really quite intensely hot.  90 to 95 in brilliant sun.

Walking around the block and heading toward home, a “something” fluttered around my head and landed on my friend’s arm.

A rather beautiful Butterfly.  Mostly black winged, some iridescent blue spots.

Basic Black.  Everyone looks better in basic black.

Being a butterfly, it was completely harmless, and it paid a rather long visit walking around my friends T-shirt, up one arm, down the other and hanging out.

As soon as it started it was over when the little creature went on its way.

I guess it wanted a bit of a rest.

The Square Pot, Or How Eric’s Planter is Becoming A Herb Farm

A while back, a local friend, Eric, gave me a bunch of planters.

He was moving from his apartment only a few blocks away to another one a little further out.  That old place had a patio area where he could have his planters, and raised an interesting collection of flowers and milkweed.

I also got most of his milkweed and it’s out in my backyard under various cover so that some gets eaten to sticks by hungry Monarch Butterflies, but not all of it.

He did have this one nicer planter.  It is a square on top, almost a cube.  He wanted it back once he landed and since I have the room, I was going to hang onto it for him when he came calling for it.

I did wait a while, but he never asked for it back after settling in.

Typical to my own quirky behavior, if I have a spare planter, it will get used.

I moved it out to my front porch and clipped a few cuttings off my Ruellia.  I have rather a lot of Ruellia, and it does spread somewhat, so there’s a small background noise of me cutting plants and debating Throw Or Cut.

This was one of those days.  Smiling I said “Lets make a planter for Eric”.

Ruellia Cuttings will mope and look dead or dying for a month but almost always snap back alive with generous watering.  Just snip the cutting below a knuckle where the leaves come out and you’re golden.  The Ruellia was only planted on one half of the planter and I was going to put something else in there.

Basil.  I have a lot of the stuff, and as a result I also have a lot of seeds.  Two weeks later the Basil has started to sprout.

Mind you, I wandered out there looking over the pot a morning later and was having breakfast.  Some Canteloupe with seeds fell out of the bowl and landed in a corner.  Weirdly, the Canteloupe sprouted.

I really have no idea if I will manage to get anything out of the Canteloupe but this weird little garden will be in that spot for a while.   If the vines do grow up and out of the pot, I can let them grow into my garden in front of it.

This all comes from the theory of when something nice happens, even for a small while, do something nice in return.

The other day I contacted Eric and told him this story and he generously told me to keep it as he doesn’t have space.

It’s taken root here I guess, purple flowers blooming every single day and the Basil that was meant to go into someone else’s tomato sauce will go into mine.

Who doesn’t like Fresh Basil!?

So Thanks, Eric, I’m out to put more cuttings in that pot.

Meet Mothra, My Mystery Moth

I keep telling those folks Up North that Florida has weird wildlife.

Ball Pythons and other snakes in the Everglades.

Iguanas grazing in my backyard.

Those damn Muscovy Ducks all over the place.

This is much more benign.

I’ve grown accustomed to seeing large flocks of birds around town.  Green parrots shrieking at Dawn and Sunset call to flock.  Flocks of white Snowy Egrets hunting for grubs in the yards around here and sometimes standing on the roof of a car from time to time.

So when I see large things flapping around my front yard, I tend to only give them passing notice.

It rained for a couple days straight this week.  The first sunny day we have Zebra Mosquitoes that can carry you off.  The second one it’s the dance of the Dragonflies that dine on those evil creatures.  All the while it’s Zebra and Swallowtail Butterflies and my Monarch Butterflies dining on the flowers.

This was a bit of a shock.

Moths in my mind are wee little coin sized creatures.   They silently fly around eating things that they can get at but are never too numerous.  It isn’t a case of running for the hills, it’s more like, “Oh. There’s a Moth.”

I thought there was yet-another bird confused and fluttering on the front porch.

Nope.  I finally looked up from my Big Green Chair where I was practicing my Spanish and taking tests and I saw this total Unit of a Moth.

I mean huge.

As in the size of your hand.  Flip your hand over and look at the palm.  Then have your fingers touch each other at the outstretched flat tips.

Six inches, 15 CM of absolute moth.

I have never seen a beast like this.

I allowed its privacy while it could probably see me.

Buenos tardes, senor, como estas?

Good afternoon Mr Moth.

Or Mrs, I don’t know how to tell.

I did get curious, so next trip off my perch, I walked out front with the camera and did the tourist thing.

It visited me for a day and a half and one moment it was gone.  Flapped its bird sized wings and flew off into the Florida Sunset.

Sipping my Iced Tea.  “Weird freaky wildlife we’ve got here.  Most of it is introduced.  That’s a story for another day.”