This file contains all newsletters for January 2005

Wednesday 19 January 2005

Hello from Bradenton, Florida!

    Dale and I drove the Corvette down from Myrtle Beach on Saturday, the 15th. It was a pleasant drive. We stopped off to see Carl (Klele) in Mt. Pleasant, SC and spent about a half hour with him. He had upgraded his photo editing software so he didn't need a copy of an old program I had brought along, but I was impressed with the power of his new program (JASC Paint Shop Pro?). When we return to Myrtle Beach in a few months I'll get the name of the software again. I think it came loaded on my own Dell computer in MB, and I let the most powerful editing features of the program lapse because I didn't upgrade from the trial version.

    Carl gave us some excellent recommendations for our trip itinerary. Instead of contining on Interstate 10 West (from Jacksonville) to Interstate 75 South, we got off I10 onto Route 301 South. I had done this before but exited at Gainesville which was a BIG mistake, as they route you through very congested roads until you finally hit I75. This time we exited just north of Ocala, onto a dual lane highway, and I75 was only two miles away! In fact the exit was close to Route 27, which goes south of Ocala to The Villages, where our friends Don & Marylou Shippe have a home. We made it here to Bradenton in record time, and the trip was also more than 30 miles shorter!

    Florida has been a bit chilly, but that's part of the cold arctic blast from Canada that hit the entire Eastern Seaboard recently. Fortunately we can put on a light jacket and still enjoy being here! It will hit 70 this Saturday but for the foreseeable next few weeks it will be in the 60s. I hear that it is in the teens (and lower!)in Maryland and Massachusetts, and our friend Lois Hanson in Minot, ND advised that Minot was well below zero and Minnesota was reporting temperatures as low as minus 54!!!!! Ooooh -- are we lucky!

    When we purchased this place three and a half years ago, it came fully furnished, but Dale has wanted to replace the master bedroom with a new set for quite a while. The "Furniture Warehouse" was having a big sale, so tomorrow they deliver the new set! We'll then be able to move our Queen bed into the spare bedroom to replace the two twin sets. We'll give the twin beds, triple dresser, etc. to a local charity we've "adopted".

    Today was a big day! I had been searching for months for a place to pull my boat out of the water and do some work on it. In December, before we drove to MB for the Holidays, our condo complex maintenance man recommended a boat yard in the little fishing village of Cortez. True to their word, when I returned this month they found time to pull my boat out and put it on blocks in their yard. We found that the underside paint was in good shape and had done its job, but the outdrive, propellers, fishfinder/depth finder/speed devices and the stern were all absolutely encrusted with barnacles!! In addition, I had hit bottom once (that I knew of) and had thought that it was only sea grasses, but my two propellers had much damage (I'll have to replace them). No wonder the boat seemed sluggish afterwards! They are going to sandblast, prime and paint the bottom for me this week. The boat yard is only about two miles straight down Cortez Rd from the condo, and I'll be able to do some maintenance of my own, including a much-needed compounding & waxing, before putting it back in the water. I took a few pictures and will upload them to the January 2005 PHOTO album.

    Friday we meet with a lawyer here in Bradenton. Our wills are over 25 years old, with my late father as the executor (he died in 1984!). The way they are written, they are still "okay" (Kathy replaces my father if he can't perform; Karen replaces Kathy... and so on), but it's best to get them updated and get some advice to minimize the possibility of probate courts getting sticky fingers on whatever remains after we lavish all our savings and assets on wine, travel, bourbon, travel, etc ;-) Since our legal residence has been Florida since last June, we were advised by one of Karen & Chuck's friends (a lawyer in Myrtle Beach) that we should have it done here.

    Mel and Joyce Heller are coming down to Boynton Beach on the 23rd. We'll give them a day and then we'll drive over to say hello. Then we're heading south to Key West for a few days! Hopefully it will be warm enough to have the top down on the Corvette (shades of that old TV show: Route 66!). Don Smith educated me by telling me that the original Margaritaville bar is in key West. I never saw it when we were there before, but obviously I MUST spend some time there, Sloppy Joe's and the Hog's Breath Saloon! Oh yes: must include some "cultural" activities also. Old friend Bob Byrd is currently down in the Ft Meyers/Port Charlotte/Cape Coral area, so we'll give him a holler on our return leg. Might even try to get an airboat ride in the everglades! Must get back by the 29th to meet up with old friend Joe Hauschild from San Vito dei Normanni Air Station (Brindisi, Italy) who will be in Tampa the 28th-30th. Joe is still working at the Solar Observatory there, on a portion of the former base, which closed in 1994 and has been given back to the italian government.

    How did I ever find time to work?

Barry & Dale/Dad & Mom