This file contains all our news for
August 2005

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Thursday, 31 August 2005

Aloha !

    Well, we made it to Waikiki on 26 August! Jack picked us up at the Bradenton condo at "0-Dark-Thirty" and got us to Tampa airport in just under an hour. Since we were carting "tons" of wedding paraphernalia with us, using the Redcap service right at the curbside was well worth the $6 tip I gave him! He got our tickets and took care of the humongous amount of luggage we had!

    We were all checked in in less than five minutes and ready for our flight, departing some two hours later! (Hey! I'd rather wait two hours than be worrying about not making it through traffic, security lines, etc). But our Continental Airlines flight never got off the ground! I was the next one to hand my ticket to the agent when they announced that they had discovered that the plane needed a cosmetic part. After much delay they admitted that it had to be flown in from some other state. So, after several hours of tandem "one-hour more" delay announcements, they took pity on us few Honolulu-bound passengers and put us on a Delta flight. Unfortunately by that time we had only 30 minutes to run to the other terminal to catch that flight and, of course, our luggage didn't come with us. The Tampa Continental people said to contact the Continental lost baggage office upon arrival. We figured "Okay! No problem! Good job! We're going to Hawaii"!

    Reality check: as we arrived at Continental's lost baggage counter in Honolulu, the man behind the counter was being downright rude to an older couple, fellow Tampa-Honolulu travelers who somehow beat us to the counter. Impatiently interrupting the old, soft-spoken gentleman as he tried to tell his "Continental-Delta" story, the counter man was braying that the old man "wasn't LEEEESTENING to MEEEE-eee", but his only explanation was a terse "Go to Delta; not our problem"!! After a few more minutes of this charade, and me about to step in and tell this fool where he could stuff his inconsiderate crapola, another employee, obviously subordinate to the oaf at the counter but much more a professional, quietly came over and articulately explained that the airlines have a reciprocal agreement in such cases and that the actual carrier (Delta) would be responsible for locating our luggage -- no matter what the Continental people in Tampa told us. Bingo! Off we all went to the Delta lost baggage counter, whose employees also had no clue but at least were helpful from the start. If it wasn't for Dale's persistence on the telephone over the next few days (she found out Delta's "secret", local baggage office phone number instead of dealing with a 1-800 operator in India, or somewhere ;-), we wouldn't have had our stuff for many days! In the end, the luggage did show up at CONTINENTAL's baggage office - NOT Delta's!

    As Dale said: "At this point who cares -- JUST GIVE ME OUR LUGGAGE! They would deliver in 3-5 hours, I told them no thank you we would pick it up within the hour. Tracey took us back to airport for our luggage". Even though things were a little frustrating for the first 24 hours everything just got better and better. Tracey picked us up at Honolulu Airport! She bought her condo in Waikiki since we were last there, so this was a real treat seeing it for the first time. All hers! Right at the Diamond Head end of Waikiki, at the beginning of the Ala Wai Boulevard/Canal and across the street from the Waikiki Library on Kapahulu. It's only a two block walk to the Zoo entrance and Kuhio/Waikiki Beach! Having 2 bedrooms made it even nicer. Before she moved in she put down new flooring, new bathroom sink (she installed herself) and other upgrades. The condo is within walking distance to Alana’s school. They are doing well. After a quick visit and "tour" of her condo it was off to the Waikiki Banyon condo-hotel where we were given a nice condo on the 31st floor. Looking out our windows and balcony (lanai) we could see straight over to Tracey's condo, as well as Diamond Head and the deep blue ocean.

    The first few days we roamed around Waikiki, went swimming and visited many of our old haunts. It was great. Since then we've been taking it easy, visiting with Tracey and Alana, and going to Kuhio Beach every morning. Kuhio Beach is the continuation of Waikiki Beach as you walk towards Diamond Head. It has long concrete walls built as a surf-break, about 100 yards out in the water. Barry likes to swim out to the beach side of the walls and float there for "hours", enjoying the Waikiki views. Dale also swims but finds some nice spots under the palm trees to read, get a bit of sun and soak in the atmosphere. We're keeping busy and having lots of fun.

Aloha to Everyone!
Dad & Mom/Barry & Dale


Thursday, 25 August 2005

Hi !

    Well, it's 6:00PM and we fly to Honolulu tomorrow at 9:30AM. Our friend Jack Hanrahan is driving up from Sarasota to meet us at 6:00AM and drive us to the airport. Dale packed yesterday, and I threw some stuff in a suitcase this morning. We're ready! Our biggest concern is the newest hurricane, Katrina, which is currently making landfall between Miami and Ft Lauderdale with winds gusting 65-75mph. They think that it will go across southern Florida and then pull out into the Gulf on a north or northwesterly track. Ft Lauderdale airport is still launching planes until 7:00PM tonight, so hopefully we won't have any trouble tomorrow at Tampa since the storm isn't supposed to be close enough to us to cause more than 35-45mph winds by takeoff time. We're watching the Weather Channel!

    I just unzippered all the canvas on the boat and stored them (windows, covers, etc) in the cabin. The experts say that a storm's high winds will shred all that stuff, so they aren't protecting anything and it's best to remove it and lash everything else down tight. So I rolled up the roof (bimini) into two sections and lashed them to the metal frames. The boat looks like a real speedboat now. It'll be filthy from the rain when we return, but "what the heck". Just as long as it's still floating/undamaged.

    The Weilers are coming over to check on the cat every few days. We bought two sets of automated water and food dispensers, so Bandit will have plenty to eat and drink. Gary Weiler will change the water when he comes over, and Pat is going to handle the litter box, so aside from wondering why we "abandoned" her, she'll be fine.

    Janie & Ed Casey drove down from Largo for a visit Tuesday-Wednesday. Janie was our Maid-of-Honor way back in the Dark Ages when we got married (22 Oct 1962). Ed is a retired MD. They lived in Braintree, Hull and a few other places in Massachusetts that I can't remember, but now they're full-fledged Florida retirees living along a canal, and growing lemons as big as baseballs in their garden. They live close to Clearwater (a wonderful place full of great childhood vacation memories for me!) and have leisurely breakfasts and lunches at their beachfront cafes (Oh! Yeah! So do we! Right here in Bradenton)! Ed was assigned to a flying unit at RAF Chelveston, Befordshire, England in the mid 1950's, so I did a Google search on the Internet and we found all sorts of information including pictures of the old base, what it looks like now (closed), and the villages where he used to live. Ed will now become a computer guru and spend all his time in front of the scrren, surfing the Internet!

    It has been searingly hot back in Myrtle Beach and our neighbors, the Medas, have been looking after our yard and all the bushes, trees, etc. that I planted these past months. They've been assisting their son Brian, who I hired to water the plants, but some of my plants are diseased. Luckily Mr. Meda is a professional in this area and today he determined that my oleanders had "crown rot" and the crepe myrtles were being attacked by aphids and Lace bugs. I never heard of lace bugs, and wouldn't have known how to identify and treat crown rot, but "Doctor Dave" does! Lucky for us we have such nice neighbors!

    We've had the boat out a couple of times. It is such a pleasure to be able to drive it through the canals and see all the pretty views that you just can't see from any other locale (you gotta be on the water!). Then zipping out into the Palma Sola Bay and up the Intra-Coastal Waterway behind Anna Maria Island, under the draw bridges and out into the Gulf of Mexico. The highlight, for me, is being able to run out to the islands (Passage Key; Eggmont Key). Passage Key is mostly under water, creating a huge "sandbar" where people anchor their boats and relax, have waterborne picnics, or set up tables and chairs in the water, go swimming, etc. Beautiful sunny days. The water is clear, and the sand is nice and white. Then when drive south along the Gulf-coast side of Anna Maria Island, come back in through the pass between Anna Maria and Longboat Key, and cruise up the Intra-Coastal to the Cortez area. It's very shallow but they've dug narrow channels for the fishing boats and pleasure craft to come in. We tied up at the Cortez Kitchen and had lunch. It's an open-air, working-man's bar/cafe with a mix of locals, boatyard workers, fishermen, and the "rest of us" just enjoying the scenery and the live music (blues guitar, etc). That's my idea of "livin" !

    My brother Paul has lost about 130lbs! Is now down to around 215 (that's close to me!). Can't wait to see him in person. Maybe we can get a picture before then? C'mon Dot. Get your handy digital camera out! Pretty please?

    Our Myrtle Beach neighbor, Bev, reports that our mailbox was vandalized again. The last time someone bashed it off its wooden platform and post, it cost me $100 to get the wood replaced. This time it seems that someone actually ran into it with a vehicle of some kind, either a car or one of those ATVs, or a golf cart (I'm guessing here). There was a tire impression in the grass, where they mashed one of my plants. Either a drunken driver, or one of the many klds we have in the area who are underaged and having a ball driving their parents' golf cart, ATV or even parent-provided motorbikes! You should see them! Our neighborhood is full of 12 year olds (or so) with helmets, racing down the streets as if we're a motocross track. (Wish I had one of those when I was a kid ;-)

    If anyone wants to have a lot of fun on the computer, fire up your browser on the Internet and go to and download their GoogleEarth.exe free program. It hooks up to a world-wide data base of digital and analog photos of the Earth taken from space. The software seemlessly connects all these geographic files so you can type in an address, a city name, a country, placename, etc from just about any place on this earth and the software makes it look like you are flying the spacecraft from one location on the globe to another. You can then control the zoom (in and out) and also alter the viewing angle (view the sides of buildings and structures, instead of looking "straight down" from space. It looks as if you are flying in a low-flying airplane).

    Dale and I drove up to Sun City, FL to meet Arthur Muise, a distant cousin whose family roots are also in the Yarmouth, Nova Scotia area. Sun City is an "Over 55 residential Community" and is quite close. It only took us 40 minutes door-to-door. Very nice city. Several of our NSA friends have mentioned that they were considering buying there.

    Well, it is now 7:20PM and we've been experiencing intermittent heavy rainfall since I started this letter. The rain is coming in bands, obviously outer bands of the Hurricane Katrina. Only slight breezes so far. I'm now going to try and edit the photos I've taken here in Bradenton these last few weeks, and upload everything to the web site. I'll then have everything up-to-date and I'll try to make further updates from Tracey's computer while we are in Hawaii.

Aloha to Everyone!
Dad & Mom/Barry & Dale


Wednesday, 17 August 2005

Hi !

    I spent most of the beginning of this month working in the gardens at our Myrtle Beach house, getting everything ready for our departure for Bradenton and, later this month, our flights to Hawaii! My vegetable garden was so overgrown with large morning glory leaves (no flowers!) that I finally had to rip them all out in order to let the tomato and hot pepper plants have some light! In the flower gardens I pulled up most of the plants that weither were dying off, or would soon do so. No sense leaving the place looking nice and neat, and in a few weeks looking like a jungle. I hired Brian from across the street to come over and water all my plants on a schedule.

    At the Bradenton condo I noticed that all the lawn sprinkler heads were protected by little concrete rings placed around and over the plastic sprinkler head. They protect them from the lawn mowers. My sprinkler heads in Myrtle Beach were constantly being clogged up because the centipede grass grows so thick and fast that it gets caught in the heads when the water shuts off. Also, I'd drive over the dang things and the ground was so soft that I'd split the plastic or the plastic pipe hooked to the heads. I tried to find a place to buy these concrete rings - no luck! So I made some molds by cutting up some one gallon plastic pots (from plants I had purchased), bought a bag of portland cement and two bags of mason sand, and I made my own cement rings. Before we left I was able to locate all 42 sprinkler the heads in my six watering zones, dug up the grass around the heads, and placed a nice ring around them. They look great!

    Last month, as we culled our "stuff" in the attic for the garage sale, I discovered a couple of boxes with photos and pictures, along with double and triple matted picture frames that I had been saving for years. I put them aside so I could get back to them easily and the first week of August I went back into the attic and retrieved all that stuff. I was able to frame a bunch of shots I took a few years ago of the U-2 Reconnaisance plane and pre-flight operations with me and the pilot. Came out really nice! Also framed a bunch of shots of me and the gang at Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia. I also took a bunch of items to have professionally framed in Florida.

    Speaking of Florida, that's where we are right now. We drove down on Friday, 12 August. Another easy ten hour drive. We ran into a one hour backup on Interstate 75 South, but were still able to get here around 7:30PM - plenty of daylight remained to get situated, empty the car and get comfortable. We brought our cat, Bandit, with us. Our friends the Weilers, who now live just down the road from us, will come over every few days and check on Bandit. We have two sets of automatic feeder/watering trays that we'll set up before we leave, so even if something happened to the Weilers the cat would be okay.

    The neighbors said that this part of Florida hadn't had any rain in quite a while. Still looks green, but not lush like we've seen it so often before. It has rained hard a couple of times since then so maybe things are okay now. The temperatures have been steady in the low 90's, and the weatherman says that the humidty makes it feel like 106-107. yep! We've started going to the condo pool. Planned to go to Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island but haven't made it there yet. We did go to the Beach House restaurant on the beach a couple of nights ago. Very nice dining on a huge deck, with good service and live entertainment, and beautiful sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico. Ahhhhhhh!

   I've been learning how DVDs are made, including all the formats and copy protection schemes etc. I enjoy knowing all the nitty-gritty details. Supposedly we are all lawfully able to make backup copies of all our DVDs but you have to buy special software to do so, and they come up with new copy protection programs/schemes all the time. I purchased a DVD recorder from Walmart to copy my VHS video tapes and home movies, but even it had a bug in its software. Luckily the company directed me to a file on their web site that I downloaded to fix the recorder.

   That's all for now!

Dad & Mom/Barry & Dale