"Crotty News" Postings for: July 2006 !

July 2006


    Progress! I posted the June news yesterday and the July news today. I'm finally caught up!

    02 July - Now that we're back in Myrtle Beach, Dale called the local Red Cross office and is back as a volunteer. She also has a deal with the local gym whereby they suspend her membership whenever we go to Florida (saves money/extends her membership). So she's off to the gym every morning. Me? Well, I did set up the treadmill in the garage but have not been very good at actually using it ;-)

    Now that we are here for the summer I'll be able to pay more attention to the gardens. The tomatoes are coming along nicely but definitely needed a shot of MiracleGrow. Everything looks a bit "spindly" except for one tomato plant that is really "lush". The jalapeno and habanero peppers look like they're starting to respond. The original part of the garden (the little garden the previous owner had) isn't doing too well and I assume that the soil nutrients are depleted. My plants there are really stunted and spindly so I'm now taking special care in my fertilization efforts. My squash plants and most of the cukes have withered away. Same thing happened last year. I replaced them with burpless cucumber plants (from Lowe's) and planted them in a large black plastic tub filled with MiracleGrow Soil. That has made a big difference and they are growing like wildfire.

    It was so hot and muggy yesterday that I didn't realize how it was affecting me but when Dale called me to come in (we were invited to a pre-Fourth-of-July party at the Magers house) I really felt dehydrated, mucho tired and "blah". I had been drinking water but I guess it wasn't enough. Took hours to feel better. Today I decided to stay indoors and catch up on some of my VHS tape-to-DVD conversions, and go outside later in the afternoon or early evening.

    03 July - It's really hot and muggy here in Myrtle Beach! I bought some Leyland Cypress trees (about 3 feet high) and a bunch of Mexican Petunia bushes (also 2-3 feet high) and need to plant them, but it's too hot to do it in the daytime. I'll do it this evening!

    04 July - Well, I bought one more Wax Myrtle bush, two oleander bushes, five Mexican Petunias and one Latana plant, so I'll be planting them today, along with one more oleander and an azalea that I need to transplant from a too-shady location.

    Got an e-mail from our old friend Joan Pacheco in Hawaii. The guy we sold our house to has been giving her fits about not leaning anything up against "his fence". The fence separates the two properties and the land plots are so small and entirely enclosed that there is no way for him to paint her side of the fence (which he doesn't do). Anyway, he's a Honolulu policeman who has been throwing his weight around and generally making life unpleasant for her. She is a widow, legally blind, and is lucky to have grandchildren who are a great help to her. The policeman/neighbor called the Honolulu County Building Inspector to complain about a shed she has had on her property for a few years. The inspector did have to make her remove the shed. Her family pitched in and re-made it into an entertainment center, using the floor as a raised platform -- looking right over into his yard (our former backyard pool)! But the inspector also noticed that the policeman had a shed that was too close to his other neighbor's property line and also that the fence he was so touchy about had been recently replaced/renovated -- and the policeman hadn't taken out a permit to do the work!! The inspector cited him for the shed (has to be removed) and the fence (big bucks for a permit, possible fines, etc)! Boy, when you are acting like an SOB, what "goes around sure does come around"!

    15 July - Received an e-mail from Davide Esposito in Italy. His mother, our old friend Gilda, had had a stroke several months ago, and from what we were told at that time, she had paralysis on one entire side of her body and would not be able to work again. That's doubly tough in Southern Italy where there wasn't much opportunity (jobs), no welfare, etc. But apparently she is being taken care of by Davide and his sister, Enza, who got a job transfer from Salerno to Brindisi in order to care for her. Davide says that Enza is working at the Brindisi store of the Motivi chain (upscale italian women's store). I guess the plan is for her to return to the Salerno Motivi store when her mother is better. Davide says also that Gilda is currently in Milano with her two sisters, but he didn't say if it was a vacation, a hospital visit, or what. I need to wirte to Gilda and find out what's happening.

    15 July - For the past couple of days I've been pounding ten-foot lengths of two inch PVC pipes into the ground, trying to locate the water table. The local water company charges us lots of money for sewer charges, regardless of whether the water went into my lawn or the sewer, so I figured that I'd "dig" my own well for watering my plants and lawn. I already have a separate water meter for the sprinkler system, but the water company refused to "grandfather" us in on the same deal that the previous owner had, unless we agreed to pay another $1200 fee. The "irrigation system" water (lawn sprinkler system) and water taken from the outside spigots were always subtracted from the sewer charges for the previous owner. I'm down 20 feet so far and plan to go down to about 35 feet, where my neighbor hit lots of water. Apparently a lot of people here in South Carolina "dig" their own wells the same way I'm doing it. I went to a local hardware store the other day to get a part to connect the ten foot lengths of pipe and explained what I was doing, and the owner mentioned all sorts of standard pipe widths that his cutomers used to create their own wells and lawn irrigation systems.

    16 July - Spent today cleaning the "Florida Jeep" (compounding, polish, wax, etc) and will put it up for sale in front of Karen & Chuck's ProTech Auto lot. Lots of people drive by every day. Dale is painting the guest bedroom. Looks good (white). I took down the closet four-panel, folding doors today. They had mirrors on the front and the weight had shiften downward, making them very difficult to open since the bottom of the doors scuffed the rug. I'm throwing them away and buying new louvered doors tomorrow. Will also pick up the sheetrock to replace the walls I ripped out a few months ago when we had that termite scare.

    17 July - After waiting for a week for a response to my phone call, I'm now waiting for one of the Homeowner's Association Architectural Review Board members to show up. I want to show him my rough plans for the addition we want to make to our house and get his input. We need to have blueprints made up, and an estimate of what it will cost us to build, and this guy is a builder too - so if he isn't too exp[ensive we'll probably give the job to him.

    I am still amazed at how prolonged the muggy weather is here in SC. In Maryland we had it for 2-3 weeks out of an entire summer, and the remainder was just hot - not muggy. I lost about ten pounds over the past month too (maybe there is a silver lining to all this ;-)

    Received a note from our Florida Real Estate agents, Jim & Barb Vitale. They have established a web site highlighting our condo. It even has a virtual tour of all the rooms, and the condo grounds. Very nice. If you want to see it, click on this address: www.waterway.com and select "Virtual Tour" from the lower left menu. (Use your "Back" button to return to this page).

    19 July - Wow! I sold the Jeep! Everyone says that we asked too little for the Jeep (it was a nice, reliable vehicle) but we're happy. I originally offered to give it to our neighbor's daughter for $1000. She was looking for a car but I guess it wasn't to her taste. Then I got some of that poster paint that car dealers use to mark prices on car windows. It's the same stuff that kids use as washable poster paint. I first marked it for sale for $1795 but reconsidered and marked it down to $1595. Then I parked it next to Karen & Chuck's business sign on old Route 544 (Dick Pond Rd) near the Socastee Swing Bridge and before I got home I had three calls on our answering machine! Less than 45 minutes! I drove back to the car and there were two buyers waiting. The first one bought it after a few minutes. The man paid cash! An hour later at the DMV offices we were able to get the title transfered, he got temporary plates and I was able to put the Florida plates in the mail before the Post Office closed -- all in one day!

    21 July - Dale came running in to the kitchen this morning saying that AOL's Instant Messenger ("IM") had popped up on the computer screen. I often had "IM" up and running but I didn't know that it really was not working (I also never "saw" anyone on-line for the past months). So, last night I played around set "IM" to respond only to people in my Buddy List. All of a sudden IM started to work again, and Joe King popped up with an instant message on my screen. Looks like we are back up and running, so if you've been wondering where I've been, that's the story (my "IM" name is U812Barry)!!

    The Kings (Joe and Sharon from Maryland), and Sharon Ferrarra from Augusta, GA, are all driving down to visit us tomorrow. They'll stay until mid-week. Dale has been busy coming up with a "schedule" to keep everyone entertained. I haven't made any progress on my amateur well-digging adventure for the past 3-4 days because I finally buckled down and figured out exactly where we wanted our house addition and how it should be designed. The Homeowner's Association Architectural Review board member never showed up, even after making an appointment, so after wasting the past two weeks waiting for him I hired an architect yesterday. We went over my drawings and then showed him the basic floor plan that I had spray-painted on my back yard lawn. I bought some orange marker paint that the utility companies use to mark underground pipes and electrical wires, and I used it to outline the entire addition to the house - essentially drawing the location of all the walls on the grass. Looked good. Dale will get a large, wrap-around, screened-in porch which will allow us to enjoy the entire back yard views. Also plenty of space for our new dining room/living room, our combined office/den/library and a small "hobby" room for Dale's ceramics, etc. The upstairs will be rooms for storage. We're not using "trusses" for the roof supports so we'll have room to stand up in. The architect was VERY expensive but I decided to go ahead and hire him anyway - must get this thing DONE!!!

    Do you remember that young airman Freddie Knipper at San Vito back in the early 1970's? He was a fireman who liked Kathy. Anyway his brother Charlie is a successful builder here in Myrtle Beach and I'll be meeting with him next monday. He's offered to be a sounding board for me (use his expertise and local "savvy") as we build this addition. We just found out that his Socastee office is only 100 yards or so from Karen & Chuck's Pro-Tech Auto Repair business! Small world!! Smaller still when we realized that Charlie had built the business park and the apartment/condo complex across the street from Karen & Chuck's business! We had been commenting about how those buildings would bring in a lot more new customers as the buildings went up. Sure enough! Charlie is also building the nice Kenzgar Community homes next to the Swing Bridge, which is also next to Pro-Tech Auto. We had planned to go "take a look" for months, but never did. Today we did and found the sign at the entrance stating that Kenzgar was a "Charles. L. Knipper" Community!! Very nice looking places! Fred also has another brother who lives in Surfside and is a fireman with the Georgetown Fire Dept. This brother also runs a landscape company in his spare time.

    22 - 26 July - Joe & Sharon King arrived early on the 22nd (Saturday). Sharon Ferarra's drive from Augusta, Georgia, takes a bit longer than expected but by late afternoon we're all together. Unfortunately our second guest bedroom is stacked to the gills with all our library/den/office equipment but Sharon was a good sport and didn't seem to mind sleeping on a cot in Dale's Carolina Room. Joe and Barry went to the Myrtle Beach Speedway saturday night. That was the first time since Barry was about 14 years old that he's been to local raceway (went to Silverstone to watch the Indy cars race there for the first time in 1972). Actually was a fun night, especially when a driver would get mad at someone and start ramming him from behind. On Monday the 24th we all went to the Carolina Opry and saw their Good Vibrations 60's music show. We had been there a year ago but the entire production was new so it was very enjoyable. On tuesday the 25th we all got a big surprise when Danny, Peggy and their son Clayton Funderburk called to say that they were vacationing in Myrtle Beach! So we all went out to Drunken Jack's restaurant in Myrtle Beach. Had to wait two hours for a table but we had a large table for our group in their bar area and enjoyed ourselves immensely. We tried to call Steve Fields in California to tell him that we had all gotten together (we were all in England together back in 1969-1972) but only got his answering machine. Unfortunately the cell tower signal was very weak and Steve returned our call after we went back inside the restaurant, with no cell phone service making it through the walls.

    Sharon, Sharon and Dale had several "Girls Only" outings around Myrtle Beach malls etc while poor old Joe and I stayed home ;-) Everyone left on wednesday, the 26th. Sharon made it back to Augusta in a bit over four hours driving time (plus "stops"). Sharon and Joe drove back late at night and arrived at 1:05AM the next morning, but made good time. We gotta do this again, perhaps in the Springtime or Fall when it's not so hot!

    27 July - The Corvette engine has been running "rough" for a couple of months. Chuck and his Pro-Tech crew had worked on it to no avail a couple of months ago but now it started backfiring and stalling on me, so I took it in. They found that the ignition control module was going bad, and was wet also! Seems to have done the trick!

    30 July - We went out for a cruise on the Intracoastal Waterway all day today. Two years ago we bought our house through Linda Gross. She and her husband Larry have a 47 foot Chris Craft Cruiser and they take out anyone who has bought a house from Linda, but we hadn't had time to do it until now. Karen and Chuck also bought their house through Linda two years ago, so we all went together. Felt like we were among the rich and famous! I took lots of pictures (See the July Photos).

Love,     &nbs;       Regards,
Dad & Mom     &nbs;       Barry & Dale