Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Morning After

Some of the local sights when the sun came up after Irma.

The winds forced the top caps, or end caps to come off, but left the rest of the fence OK.

This limb in Kenzie's back yard was driven so hard into the ground it was too difficult to pull out.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tuesday Tidbits

I am by no means the hall monitor.  People can damn well do what they want.  Back when all men wore fedoras or some type of hat, tam or cap, there was a rigid societal norm for hat etiquette. Judgment was swift to those who broke society's laws, for both men and women.  For instance, swim wear was still brutally modest - no nipples allowed for either sex.  

I was mildly surprised, but then not so much these days, when I saw this group of guys (and girl) having breakfast at an Emerald City restaurant while back and wondered what the current protocols were for head wear.  All seven above (there was a youngster hidden by the gent in green across the table) were wearing caps. offered this as a guideline:

Men Can Leave their Hats On When:

  • they are outside
  • they are at an athletic event, indoor or outdoors
  • in public buildings like post offices, airports, or hotels
  • on public transportation
  • in hotels

 Men Should Leave Their hats Off When:

  • they are sitting down to eat a meal
  • in a house of worship
  • public buildings like schools, town halls, libraries
  • when the National anthem is playing
  • in restaurants and cafes
Standards change.  Folks used to wear their Sunday best when flying.  Church used to be a place where you dressed up.  Same with funerals.  I'm a casual guy so I don't mind relaxed standards, but, in a world where it seems we have tossed out all norms of civility and dress, I almost wish we hadn't. 


Speaking of societal norms, why on earth is this even a 'thing"?

Imaginarte - Niceballs - ENG from Imaginarte on Vimeo.

I consider balls hanging from truck axles or office desks to be a step too far.  And besides, they are a lot like beds - there's nothing quite like your own.


Have I mentioned in the past six months how I detest cats?  Except when they inflict their catness on each other.


In our cleanup at the Kenzie's we noticed this guy on the side of the house.  It is a katydid or leaf bug.  We saw him clinging to Kenzie's house during clean-up following Irma.  After those winds, he must have been exhausted.   


Is it just me or has someone sat our President down and explained the rules?  There seems to be less idiotic mouth and more contemplative silence.  That is a good thing.  Oops, I was wrong - he just tweeted that 7th grade golf shot-Hillary thing.  It was nice while it lasted.  


I began babysitting again once the dust settled down here and people went back to work.  One of my diaper changes (I have a picture but since you are all eating your morning oatmeal, I have declined to post it) on Wednesday revealed not only a healthy load of #2 but also a toy hot dog.  There are simply too many replies to that...I'll let you finish the thought.  


Stopped by almost daily up North and had an apple from these trees.  Aren't they beautiful?  Once when I took one a bird jumped out and landed in the yard.  He fluttered his way to the corn field.  I told the Wombie I think I hurt him and he said that is a defensive device to lure you away from the nest.  I like that explanation.  Only problem with it was every time I approached and grabbed another apple the bird wasn't there.  Anyway thanks for the apples, Gary.


I almost forgot the best line of the morning breakfast with all of us in Northlandia.  Some of the Lee's were seated next to us at the Town & Country restaurant and Alfred walked over like she knew them.  The Lee's are known for being height-challenged.  Mrs. Wombie remarked "Ayla likes them, they are more her size."


Giant mushroom on the outskirts of Emerald City.  That's my size 14 foot and a walnut.



How disagreements with my wife usually go.


I wrote awhile ago that the effects of global warming were most likely too late to fix.  Now I see famed scientist Neil Tyson Degrasse came out yesterday and said the same thing.  My God!  He reads my blog!


Is What a Wonderful World just about the most overused song in history of marketing? S-T-O-P!


I don't get the whole Lego thing.  Add to it a Batman Lego figure and I'm double dumbstruck, or double dumb.


I can't believe how rusty my babysitting skills got while gone.  I even responded to one of Norah's "whys?" by saying, "I'll tell you when I come up with a good reason."


With both Allegiant flights cancelled and my family facing a potentially dangerous hurricane, I was able to board a United flight to Tampa on Friday.  They would cancel all other flights to Tampa the next day.  I was lucky and had an almost empty plane to myself.  Even as we taxied out I always thought there was a chance the flight would be cancelled.  I was lucky but already missing Northlandia.  

Monday, September 18, 2017

Irmageddon, Its Fury and Light Show

Irma, for us was a night storm.  That meant the wee ones went to bed and didn't see the worst of it.  It also meant that picture taking was limited.  The following pics and vids don't do it justice, but by the time the eye reached us - about 30 miles east of us - it was a Cat 2 and diminished.

It struck at around 1:30-2:30 am and at its peak winds were around 80-90 mph with gusts of 110.  As we sat in the garage watching we were witness, also to an amazing light show, as you will see inadequately in the videos below.  Nature never seems to want to cooperate.    

SIL Drew and I playing in the rain after the worst had passed. 

Much of the light was because of transformers doing whatever they do when they fail.  Other lights were ionized electrical particles in the air (lightening).  It was quite a sight.

It was a long ordeal - especially the waiting and wondering.  Once it arrived, and I knew the kids would be OK where we were, it was interesting to watch.  I earned my first hurricane stripe.  I am a hurricane virgin no more.  Although virginity in some things is more than OK.  

The next question is how much can I milk this thing?  There will be further reports tomorrow in Tuesday Tidbits and I might just be able to squeeze another day on Wednesday.  If you are blown away by the big blow, then good, you've got more on the way.  If you are bored of the posts then you'll just have to hang on tight because we are aren't quite finished.  And if you are bored of it all, imagine us:  as I write this on Sunday evening, there are still sections around us without power still (I heard a generator on my 3:00 am walk today).  Not only that but Kenze was frantically trying to find bread and milk today - both were accomplished at varying times throughout the afternoon hunt. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Flashback Friday - Tropical Storm Debby

First posted on this site on 8-8-2012.  As Irmageddon approaches I found this old post on the Tropical Storm Debby.  This was my first and only real interaction with a major storm down here.  The blog is breaking with usual linear format to bring you the big blow down here this week.  Everything has been pushed back to accommodate this special event.    

Manning the camera to catch the sights of the storm.

Found this small gulf front park area with the sea battering the cement barrier.

Debby didn't seem to be obeying the speed limit.

Gulfport is a artsy-fartsy community nestled right next to where Shawshank is.  It's a nice place with lots to do,  and this is the flooded downtown area.

Flooded Main street.

The heavy surf at the Gulfport beach area.

That is a flooded restaurant on the corner of Main street.

These guys were attempting to drive on the road but took a watery spill.  They are trying to get the bike up here and assessing the damage.

After a few minutes they pushed the machine on down the road to dry safety.

The palm fronds give you a good idea of the wind.

They warn people not to walk in this water because of all the hidden and exotic stuff that may be in it, like fecal matter, hidden manhole openings, chemical run-off and snakes.  Didn't stop me, though. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017



4:00 am, Saturday, Largo, FL.

Instead of walking this morning like I usually do, I decided to take my bicycle around the large (3 miles) block of my apartment building.  There were few cars on the road but when I did see them they were police cars or ambulances.  The weather was quiet and calm.  I did notice that it had rained just a bit as I saw drops on the cars.  

As I rounded the third leg I noticed many many more cars at Largo High school which is serving as a shelter.  At the entrance were two police cars with their lights on - I asked one of them if the shelter was closed and he said no.  I called Kenze and recommended they go to a shelter or come over to Waterboard as it has few windows and good block style construction.  Last minute panic, I guess.  Brendan has decided to stay in St. Pete, thumb his nose at the whole thing and make fun of us who are just a bit on edge.

According to the latest news it looks like St. Petersburg may get a direct hit. That means we will, too.  They are saying the activity will commence this afternoon, some six hours away.  It's do or die time, so to speak.  Once this thing starts it will be impossible to move.  Either shelter this morning or ride it out wherever you are. 

More than likely the power will go out later today.  I will try to post as much as possible until that moment.  Last night I had a nice meatloaf supper I found at the grocery store and a bowl of Dutch Chocolate ice cream.  Fight or flight - or eat.

All remains quiet, sunny and calm.  It is another Florida day - too hot, too humid, too crowded.  If you weren't inundated by it on TV and grocery shelves and a kind of mob fright you would think nothing was going to happen in a few hours.  The forecasters have been going back and forth between right side center and left side of state.  Right now, at the time of this video - all is normal.

About 14 hours later everyone is saying it is too late to leave.  Hunker down where you are.  There is no gas and all roads leading north are jam packed.  The Sutors from Tybee Island, Georgia were told to evacuate and headed inland to South Carolina.  As I understand it they spent 6 hours in what is normally a 3 hour trip.  Bumper to bumper, stop and go.  

We will be bunkering at Kenzie's house after I suggested they go to a nearby shelter.  While I didn't expect them to do it, I felt it was my duty to suggest it.  The advantage of Kenzie's place of course is room.  Plenty of space for people to retire somewhere and nap.  It is less disruptive for the kids and they have two refrigerators.  We have enough food, it looks like, to last nine months.  If the hurricane doesn't get us, maybe the monotony of Bel-Vita crackers will. 

As I left Waterboard to head over to the Bunker, I noticed this poor Jeep - left open to the upcoming storm.

Norah awaiting Irma.

This would be our vantage point - the garage door is open and we have seats to watch the show.  If the rain stays north-south we can hunker here.   If it blows from an east-west direction we'll drown. 

OK, Irma.  Let's see what you've got.  Keep in mind we are Mid-westerners and not easily impressed by flash.  We'll stand on the front porch and watch a tornado dance and yield to the storm cellar only at the last moment.  Bottled water, check.  Non-perishable food, check.  Mattresses ready at the windows, check.  Snacks of every variety, check.  Ready, Irma, we're waiting. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

As Irma Approaches

On the flight from the Quad Cities there was this curtain separating the 1st class from coach passengers.  The attendant took their drink orders before take-off and made sure they were properly served in a timely fashion after takeoff.  I don't think I'm a 1st class kind of guy.   

In Chicago while waiting for my flight south I noticed this guy reading a book and bobbing behind the partition.  

Our plane reflected on the water as we bank toward the airport.

Shelves were empty in Publix grocery store as we went to get me some coffee and milk.

Sights during my 3:00 am walk around the block in Largo.

This business is boarded up and with a message for Irma.  

This gas station was closed for gas earlier, but I noticed the local gendarmes were lining up this early morning.  Perhaps stations keep enough for emergency vehicles.  I don't know, but it makes sense.

Cost of gas was $2.69 before they all started closing up.  

You just can't find any right now.  Gas is gold.

Apparently there is some conflicting view of taped windows.  Waterboard sent notes to renters not to tape windows as they make for larger, and more dangerous, shards of glass.

I was quite surprised to see all these cars at the Largo High School as I turned the 3rd corner of my block.  I suppose it was a meeting of local emergency personnel as Irma approaches.  This was at approximately 4:00 am.

(Turned out this was not a meeting of emergency personnel, but rather that the high school had already started to shelter those who were under a mandatory evacuation.)

Here at Waterboard preparations are continuing.  2 cakes baked, boxes of snacks in the corner, bookcases moved in front of the rear sliding glass doors.  Funny side note:  my buddy Jeff, who had to flee Tybee Island messaging the current Mrs. Blythe "Make sure Mike doesn't go out and photograph the storm."  (Thanks, but fat chance, Mr. Sutor)