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Sunday, September 24, 2017

FSU is 0-2 - and the Schedule Looks Tougher

Lulu and Sandi in the Champions Club

I am near-sighted - but that
has to be the worst view in the stadium

Can you pick out the 6 games the Noles will win
to make it to a bowl and winning season?

The once ranked number 3 Florida State is 0-2 - they are likely to have the first losing season since 1976 - when Bobby Bowden had his first and only losing season 5-6. Not only are we in danger of a losing season - but also not playing in a bowl - because with only 11 games this season - they may not get 6 wins required to be in a bowl. Look at the schedule above - which 6 will they beat? Maybe they will reschedule Louisiana - Monroe.

My brother in law - Jackie Cox said that it looks like tickets in Tallahassee will be really cheap this year. He is right. Lulu went to the game and sat in the Champions Club (nice food - drinks - and air conditioner) She said the stadium was maybe 70% full tops. From up there in the rafters - I do not think she sees the individual empty seats. It looked worse on TV. Yes - I sat home and watched it alone on the big screen.  Sandi - our friend from down by Disney - drove up to be with us. I am not a fan of the Champions Club - and all it stands for. Also - I am recovering from surgery - but that is just an excuse. Tickets were being given away outside the stadium.

I remind Lulu that FSU keeps moving up in the rankings - academic rankings. Although the football team brings in the publicity - FSU's moving up in the academic rankings to number 33 is so much more important. Lulu's FSU school library program is ranked number 1 in the nation for 4 years in a row. That is what really matters to us. I tease her that her paycheck comes in every other Thursday no matter what the football score is. Jimbo is safe. He has a contract of over $5 million a year for 5 years - right now that could be a plus and a minus.

We finally got the motorhome of our dreams - and I doubt that FSU will be in a New Years Bowl to attend with it.

So there is no joy in Mudville. Maybe it is the post-surgery drugs - but right now - football in Tallahassee is on thin ice.

Friday, September 22, 2017

New Tires For The Camper

Our 2004 Roadtrek had the original tires on it when we bought it. With just 12,000 miles they look like new.

We went to Costco and bought a set of Michelin Defenders and had them installed - size 245/75R16.

The old tires are in the foreground.

Added Friday afternoon - the tires are gone. Sold them for $160.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

New Finger Joint Completed - Safely Home

Two bionic fingers and one bionic eye
By Lulu

Harry rolled into the surgery center at 7 a.m. today to have a joint replaced on his finger.  Immediately they took him back for his prep which included putting on a pair of sweet white stockings, a hospital gown, and a surgical cap.  The nurse started the IV fluids but the “good drugs” didn’t come until about a half hour later.  Immediately, he began singing “Acid Queen” from Tommy. After enjoying the drugs for twenty minutes they took him back to surgery and told me to head out to the waiting room. I was there about an hour and his doctor came out to say all went well and gave me the x-rays of his finger with the new joint.  After another half hour I was summoned back to the recovery room and he was already dressed and very alert.  Just a few more items of paperwork and he was wheeled out to the car.    The nurses, anesthesiologist, and doctor were great.  Harry’s doctor, Dr. Brad Stephens, looked to be about 19.  They all remembered him from the last time he was there a few months ago to have the right index finger done.  Now to some recovery!

Joint Replacement In My Left Index Finger

One of the problems in old age is arthritis - I can hardly spell it but I have it in my left index finger. I have direct bone to bone contact - and it is a pain. Today at 7:30 am - they will replace the joint with a plastic one - like a little knee.

I have had this joint problem for years. In April - I had the right index finger joint replaced and I am amazed at both the relief and dexterity.

It is a simple operation that takes about one hour. I wish I had them done sooner.

Lulu will be with me. I will be sedated about an hour. Lulu has pictures of me from the last finger operation that I do not recall.

Watch for a good report of the results.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tallahassee - We Were Lucky

We got home Monday at 5 pm. I just hooked the camper generator up to the home refrigerator and all the lights in the house went on. I thought I had a miracle camper generator.

The storm was headed straight at Tallahassee as category 4. We left. Then for some unexplained reason it veered right or east. It missed town by 55 miles. We only got 55 mph winds and 3 inches of rain.

Our house was untouched except for a small branch that blew into our yard - not from our trees.

3 inches of rain is nothing for us. We have had 11 inches in just a normal weekend. The ground was not real soft.

30000 homes - 25% of town - were without power. The city owns the power company and does a great job repairing.

I will be sweeping the yard of cones - needles - pine bark - leaves - for a few hours.

We chose to leave. We drove the new camper to Pensacola. It was a real shakedown cruise. The roundtrip was 400 miles. The camper has a nice king bed - hot shower - handy toilet - full kitchen - and great TV. With our iPhone - we had Directv - hotspot for computers - and full internet access. Lulu was happy to have her coffee in the morning.

My friend George drove his van to the underground city garage. They had a bed and toilet and stayed there. They were safe - 3 floors below ground. I will look to see if our camper would fit there - a great idea.

Our friends in South Florida got it worse. Also - Jacksonville east of us is still flooding. Our friend Sandi next to Disney slugged it out at home. I hope she can use her annual Disney pass today.

It was hard leaving the house behind. We have since looked at our insurance policy and want to buy some better coverage. Hurricane deductible is $6000!

We reflect on life in Florida. We lost nothing - but were glued to the TV for a week. We love the good weather here - beaches - palm trees - FSU job - FSU sports - great shopping - and not having to shovel snow or drive in it.

Florida has no income tax - and no inspection stickers to mar your windshield.

We still are without wifi.

On Tuesday at 8 am - I hear the clean up crews and their saws. There was a curfew last night from 9 to 7. Few cars passed.

I will post pictures when we have wifi.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Spending The Hurricane In Sunny Pensacola

Today we left Tallahassee at 1 PM in our camper and headed west to avoid the storm. The winds were already picking up and the skies were overcast. We went 200 miles - choosing the old two lane Highway 20. We wanted to avoid traffic and we had the highway to ourselves. It took us 4 hours to get here.

We first went to the Gulf Seashore National Park - because when we called them they said we could stay for $13 with full hookups - a real bargain. When we got there - it was too windy to enjoy. So we drove into town and decided to stay at Camp W near the Naval Air Museum.

It is still light out because we are on central time. Lulu made a nice salad in her kitchen. We are watching the national news on our flat screen TV. We are using the camper antenna - and it gets 29 crystal clear channels.

Right now it looks like Irma will pass just to the east of Tallahassee. They expect Cat 1 winds in Tallahassee tomorrow. We are happy we got out of there. Our friends up north kept insisting and nothing matters without Lulu - so here we are.

I am typing on my laptop. It is getting wifi from my iPhone - using the iPhone as a hotspot. It is like being at home.

The camper performed flawlessly being pushed into this impromptu trip. Honestly - one of the main reasons we came here - was because I did not want the camper exposed to the falling trees of Tallahassee. We have the king bed made set up permanently in the back. Lulu took a short nap on the way over to try it out.

Tonight we will sleep with windows open - with screens in. We will not run the air conditioner or generator.

Thanks to everyone for encouraging us to leave town. Our best wishes to the friends that stayed in town.

We have an alarm system at home and a camera in the living room. I can check the camera on my iPhone - so we will know when the power goes out.

Tallahassee Is A Target Of Irma - We Will Be Gone

The path of Irma - right over Tallahassee

We woke up to this hurricane map at 7AM Sunday. It shows the Hurricane Irma going right over our hometown of Tallahassee. It will be at Tampa at 2 AM on Monday - then take 12 hours to get to Tallahassee at 2 PM. We will not be waiting for it. We will be in our Roadtrek camper heading west to Pensacola. It will be our maiden voyage.

Many folks do not realize that you can drive west from Tallahassee for 200 miles - and still be in Florida. That should be far enough to get out of the rain and winds. We will be poised for a quick return to pick up the pieces.

According to the map - it will only be a Category 1 hurricane that hits us - but why sit it out. Tallahassee is full of trees and they fall on powerlines and roofs.

Our Roadtrek has a king size bed - bathroom - shower - kitchen - water heater - generator - TV - 32 gallons of gasoline - and 7 gallons of propane. We should be quite comfortable in there. I will let you know when we are on the road.

We just bought this Roadtrek - our first trip.
Ironically - we bought it in Pensacola.

Our house is built like a fortress - 2 x 6 studs - 3/4 inch plywood sheeting - solid foam core insulation - engineered trusses - hurricane grade windows - steel straps in the walls - raised above grade two feet on a concrete foundation. My only concern is a few of the neighbor's trees that with the right wind direction could reach our roofs. We sit up on a hill - 10 feet above the street.

Our decider was "one it by land - two it by sea" - if the storm was over water at Tampa - we would migrate west. If the storm was over land at Tampa - we would stay and face it. Maybe we won't wait until it gets to Tampa at 2 AM.

We have a bunch of family up north with their fingerprints buried deeply in our backs. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Update - we plan to leave here after lunch in 2 hours from now.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Installing a Flat Screen TV in Your Roadtrek Camper

2004 Roadtrek Popular 190
Our Roadtrek had the old fashion analog TV and VCR in it. We wanted to update it to a flat screen smart TV.

We bought a 24 inch Samsung Smart TV at Costco for $109. I also found a very nice mount on Amazon for $13.

Not only does the new TV weigh much less than the old one - but it uses only 37 watts - 10% of the old power consumption.

Here is a video of the installation.

Irma and Tallahassee - the Red Spot is Us

The red spot is us in Tallahassee
Very simply - Irma is one bad lady. We are located at the red spot on this map. When she hits Miami on Sunday - she will be rate 4 or 5. If she travels over land like this picture - she will be down to a 2 or so when she gets near us. We would probably stay home if that is the case. If she follows this line she would be 140 miles east of us as she passes. We would get some rain and wind - probably enough to knock down a few trees and power lines.

If she comes up over the Gulf waters - we are leaving - we would probably drive our camper west to maybe Pensacola or New Orleans. There are several major highways that flow that way.

There are a lot of people here with bravado - wanting to stick around to "protect their stuff." Not me - I am a coward - I want to be protect Lulu and me. All our stuff is safely locked in the new house and garage. The only vulnerable thing we own is the camper. 

Have Roadtrek - will travel.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Hurricanes Are A Great Time For A Geography Lesson

Our home in Tallahassee is 500 miles from Miami
Whenever Florida makes the news - people from back home in Pennsylvania always call to see if we are okay. Many of the times we are sitting out on the porch or just enjoying the warm sunny weather. Our callers are flabbergasted when they find out that we are not near the action in Miami or Orlando.

It is 500 miles from our house to the city of Miami - the city of our elopement in 1971. When people fly to Disneyworld - friends think we live just outside the gate to the Magic Kingdom. The Palma Maria restaurant is about 250 miles from our house - about the same drive as from Tamaqua to Pittsburgh. But many times we have driven the distance to have supper with visitors.

Irma is so far away from us - that we will attend an FSU football game at noon on Saturday before the storm even gets to hit Miami. I am not making fun of this storm - all hurricanes are bad - and Irma is looking to be the worst ever. I am guessing that Irma will hit Miami dead center on Sunday. Our friend Doris and others who struggled through Andrew 25 years ago will get it again. If Irma is traveling 10 MPH from Miami - and were coming straight at us - it would take 50 hours to reach us.

Don't get me wrong - Irma could skirt Miami around the west and come up and hit Tallahassee with 150 MPH winds. But that is not likely. First of all - Tallahassee is not on the coast. We are 40 miles inland and 200 feet above sea level. That means the storm would lose some power crossing over land.

In Tallahassee - most of the destruction is caused by trees falling. People here worship - pines and oaks - like they are cows in India. If you decide to cut a few down in YOUR yard - THEY have a seance. Then when the ground gets soft during a storm and the wind pushes the trees onto their homes or power lines - they act surprised. Doing the same thing over and over again - and expecting different results - what do they call that?

Since 1992 - Florida has changed the building codes dramatically. What used to be acceptable building standards are now jokes. For our new home we used 2 x 6's as studs - 3/4 inch plywood as sheeting. There are steel straps hidden all over. We built the home well above grade. The property was contoured to drain away from the home. We removed 15 pines trees - each about 100 feet tall. Many homes in our neighborhood have experienced giant pine trees in their bedrooms in the middle of the night. According to the law - if the neighbor's tree falls on your house - it is your problem.

We have been given plenty of time to react to this coming train wreck. We are watching constantly. Thanks to science - we know what is coming. As Kennedy said - "on earth God's work must truly be our own."

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Everyone in Florida is Focused on Irma

Dick - our new Roadrek camper

Everybody is focused on CNN or the Weather Channel. It is the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew that had 150 MPH winds. Irma boasts 185 MPH winds. 

When we built our home 4 years ago - it had to pass all the latest codes that were enacted from the mess Andrew made. We took it even farther - we used 2 x 6 studs - and 3/4 inch plywood sheeting. We built our home on a hill about 10 feet above the street - and we sculpted the yard so all the water runs away from the house. We have two generators for electricity because we often lose power during a storm. We took down 15 pines that were about 100 feet tall. 

But our ace in the hole is our Roadtrek camper. It has a bathroom - kitchen - king size bed - generator - TV - and 32 gallons of gasoline. If a category 5 storm is headed toward us - we are gone. Everything we owned is insured and can be bought again. Our lives can be ended by one errant tree.

People are already calling or emailing and asking if we are okay. The storm has not even hit Puerto Rico yet. It will probably hit Miami first - and it is 500 miles up the Florida Turnpike to Tallahassee from there. 

The FSU football game is scheduled for 7 PM Saturday - they are talking about moving it to noon. 

As a joke - back in 2005 - when Katrina was heading toward Tallahassee - I published a mock prayer. I said "Baby Jesus - please steer the horrible storm west toward Louisiana." The storm made an abrupt left turn - and we were spared. I got much grief for that as if anyone would listen to me. Therefore - although in my mind I hope the hurricane goes up the East Coast away from us - I would never say it. 

People often say - we are fools to live in Florida with all the hurricanes. But not having to shovel snow all winter - and enjoying the sunny skies - I will take my chances. If trouble comes - we will hop in "Dick" our new camper - and like a turtle with its home on its back - away we go.