"Crotty News" Postings for:

Hello From Florida!
We've been here since 26 August, lazing about (resting :-) and enjoying the nice weather and beautiful scenery.

    Wednesday - 01 September - Got an e-mail from Wes Brockway the other day saying that the movie AVATAR was playing at the IMAX theater in northern Tampa. We've seen Avatar in 3-D and regular scenese and had said that it would be great to see something like that in IMAX! So, up early this morning and drove up to Tampa, getting off by the airport and heading north on the Veteran's Toll Road. Got off the Anderson Rd exit just after the Waters Ave toll booths and the AMC24 theaters were immediately on our right. Easy! Unfortunately they had technical problems with the digital equipment so they gave us our money back, gave us passes to see any future film at an AMC Theater, let us see "The American" with George Clooney for free, and then told us we could also come back for the 2:15PM showing (for free!) if we desired. GREAT! So we saw The American, walked to lunch at a Logan's Roadhouse, and capped off the afternoon with the IMAX 3-D Acatar movie. What a deal!

    The city of St. Petersburg has announced that they will dismantle the existing pryamid building at the end of the St. Pete Pier because they can't afford the maintenance and need to build something different. We LOVE the Pyramid, so on the way back from the Avatar movie we stopped by and walked around (and took some pictures). It's a wonderful and beautiful place to visit, with outstanding views of the city and waterfront from Cha Cha Coconut's restaurant on the top tier.

    Thursday - 02 September - Roamed around and went shopping. Nothing unusual until we stopped by the local Big Lots store on Cortez Road just as they had decided to drastically cut the prices on residual lawn furniture and other summer stock! 75% off the lowest sale price marked on any item. We bought two wooden glider seats for use in gardens or patios. Originally $100 each we got them for $18.75! Also bought a pretty wrought-iron style metal bench, original price $150, for only $37.50. 50 foot long roll of weedblock for $1.25!! Excellent. We will wait until we come back with the truck in November and then bring them back to Myrtle Beach.

    Friday - 03 September - Had a scare at 1:15AM this morning. Two GUNSHOTS blasting behind our condo, jolting us from sleep Turned out to be a renter who's apparently been a lot of trouble to the condo management, and for his amusement he was shooting off powerful fireworks (not gunshots) behind us, and a bit later in front of the condo complex. Saw him strutting back in through the main entrance at 1:25AM and on Sunday, while talking about the incident with one of our friends, the young man emerged from the elevator and I recognized him. Bad news for him, because now the management is going to take legal action against him and get him OUT!

    Saturday - 04 September! Dale's Birthday! Dale arranged to meet her cousin Janet and her family at the Red Barn (local flea market and farmer's market). We walked up and down every isle! Four hours! (Actually I had a good time -- I like that place)! I found a booth that was selling VHS tapes for fifty cents apiece. I bought a lot of them, including the three original Walking Tall movies and three tapes of the commedian Foster Brooks! Afterwards Dale and I stopped by the Goodwill Store on Manatee Avenue. Janet had seen some decorative wine glasses that Dale thought might be the same design we have. Nope - wrong design - but all was not lost! I found SIX PAIRS of almost-new shorts for $3.99 apiece! I've been ruining shorts since I've been working outside all summer long, getting concrete, oil, etc all over them -- not to mention rips and tears etc. So, now I'll take some of my older shorts and use them for work clothes!

    Sunday - 05 September - Bought a bucket of joint compound (it is used to "mud" the seams between sheetrock panels to make seamless walls). This time, however, I used it to fix our guest bathroom ceiling. Earlier this year our upstairs neighbor had a leak (air conditioner malfunctioned) and the water caused half of our "popcorn ceiling" to fall. The neighbor was supposed to fix it while we were gone but when we arrived it was in the same condition. Turns out that they DID try to fix it but the materials would not stick to the ceiling. SO ... I scrapped off the remaining popcorn and using a trowel and a sponge, I slowly stippled small areas of the ceiling until I covered the entire ceiling. Looks like we have miniature stactites hanging down now, but that's MUCH better than what it looked like before! Tonight we went for PIZZA with our friends Geri & Larry Tyler. Fire & Stone Pizza place (used to be named Capalbo's) has an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet, two soups, and 2-fer-one wine/beer. Yum!

    Monday - 06 September - Made the final touches to the guest bathroom and then began dismantling the glass sliding doors between our master bedroom and the lanai. We never used these doors and had curtains on them. But the other day our neighbor told us that he was hard of hearing and that he kept his TV on until 3-4:00AM. Oh REALLY? For the last few months I had wondered where the heck that low, constant noise came from. I knew it was a TV but I thought it was from above or below us -- or perhaps on the other side of us. He offered to turn it down if we banged on the wall but it seemed much easier to just move our bed to an inner wall (he's a really nice guy). Since we planned on removing the glass sliding doors "sometime", it seemed to be a really good time to do it - NOW! :-)

    Tuesday - 07 September - Filled in the joints on the new wall. Looks pretty good but it will need a few more coats before it's ready for sanding and painting. Larry & Geri Tyler invited us over to their apartment for dinner tonight (porterhouse steak!!!!).

    Wednesday - 08 September - Put the second coat of joint compound on the wall. Will wait until we return in November to finish everything. We had previously moved Dale's bureau and my chest of drawers over to the other wall but I wasn't able to hang the heavy mirror because that wall wasn't built with 2x4 studs -- only thin slats, so there was no room to insert molly bolts. I finally got some special plastic screw-in holders and today got the mirror up. Sure hope that it doesn't fall down while we're away :-) Dale saw some manatees swimming in our canal so I went down and took a picture of them. Two young ones. I waited for about a half hour for them to come up for air again but they didn't come close enough to me. Oh well. Tonight we went to our favorite Thai restaurant, the Thai Kitchen, on Cortez Road. We were the only ones there. September is the slowest month for businesses around here, and usually they close up and take their own vacation during this month.

    Thursday - 09 September - We drive back to Myrtle Beach today. 574 miles. We usually leave around 10:00AM or so, and should arrive around 8:00PM tonight (ten hours - with stops).

    Friday - 10 September - Well, we ran into an accident on I95 in Georgia and the police had us detour onto a local road that eventually led to US17N, which we followed to I-95 again -- about 12 miles up the road from where we had to detour. We lost over an hour sitting before the police came, so instead of a ten hour trip it took eleven! Got home and tried to start the Dodge RAM but the battery was dead. I don't drive it enough to keep it charged, and with all the doodads that drain the battery I guess that really did it in. I tried charging it (twice) but no luck. Used one of my boat batteries and it started right up. Spent the rest of the day mowing the grass and edging hundreds and hundreds of feet of gardens :-) Yard looks nice again.

    Saturday - 11 September - "9-11". Put the flag at half-mast today! Dale was out having tea and reading her paper on my new patio this morning :-) Started back to work on the patio around noon or so. Ran some underground wiring inside one inch PVC pipe for a polelamp that has an outlet too. The pole also has a light sensor so the lamp will come on automatically at night and shut off in the morning. Ran more pipe and wiring around the edge of the patio to the other side for possible future use. Then laid a new form for another concrete step and was filling it in when it started to rain, so I covered it all with plastic sheeting and will wait to finish that tomorrow.

    Saturday - 18 September - I have been working every day on our new concrete patios, ever since we got back from Florida! I finish one slab a day, usually about 4' wide x 6' long (and 6 to 8 inches deep). Each slab requires between 18 and 24 bags of cement. I wanted to make it strong since we have a large tree that is quite close to the slabs. Just me, my cement mixer, a tub for the wet concrete and my shovel. It takes a few hours to dig out the area, then a few more to create the form, making sure that everything is level -- as well as sloping slightly away from the house. Then I fill in some of the area with heavy stones, lay concrete mesh and a few lengths of rebar over that, and then carry shovelfull after shovelfull of concrete to fill it all in. Stopped work early topday to clean up and drive to the Mr. Myrtle Beach contest at Valor Park, Market Common. Our friend Ray Heverling (Joe King's brother-in-law) is the owner of McTailor's (tailor shop) here in Myrtle Beach. We met Joe's sister Bev there and she had some reserved seats up front, where I could get some good photos of Ray and the rest of the contestants. It's a big charity event, of course. The emcee was a former Miss Carolina! A local doctor won the contest, and then everyone went to Gordon Biersch for dinner. Nice time.

    Test Sunday to Wednesday - 19 to 22 September - continued working feverishly on the patios. I was able to finish the second new patio which runs from the new (2007) porch addition to the wall of the Great Room (also part of the "2007 house addition"). My last effort, before we leave for New England tomorrow, is a slab that connects that patio with the somewhat lower, first new patio that extends from the kitchen and Dale's sunroom! YES! I finished the slab!

    Thursday - 23 September - Janie has hip surgery today (again!). Ed had bad medical problems in June but Jkanie's e-mail says that he's doing muchb better. Today we drove from Myrtle Beach to Woodbine (staying with Kathy & Tom for the night). Stopped at a restaurant in Mt Airy that we used to like, but which had been going downhill. Now called the Mt Airy Tavern and with new management. Not bad, even though the chef dropped my pizza and I had to wait :-)

    Friday - 24 September - Departed Woodbine this AM. Decided to stop over at Liberty Park, New Jersey. Took the water taxi to Lower Manhatten and enjoyed ourselves immensely walking around in the 90 degree heat! The area just south of the water taxi landing has a small marina with multi-million dollar ships moored there, surrounded by large buildings with open-air cafes, tables and umbrellas lining the walkways. Very nice! The World Trade Center is slowly (very slowly) being rebuilt, and they make it very difficult for anyone to get a clear view of the area. I did find a few spots where I could get some pictures. We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge too! Excellent experience and wonderful views. Enza & Michele, our friends from Milan, Italy, had been there only a week before. Unfortunately we weren't able to come earlier and meet them. Left NYC and then Liberty Park (NJ) in mid-afternoon and came across the George Washington bridge. Billionaire NYC Mayor Bloomberg hiked the toll rates and now you have to pay $8.00 to cross the bridge even if you are just transiting on the Interstate 95! Then more tolls as yuo go north. Yuck! We finally arrived at Uncle Bob's trailer in Kittery just before 10:00PM (but the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge was worth it)!!! Bob lets us stay in the trailer, which is usally empty since he and Dot live in her house on Haley Road, just a short drive away.

    Saturday - 25 September - 85 degrees outside and we're roaming around Kittery and Portsmouth, NH, thrift shops and a Big Lots store (etc) with Uncle Bob & Aunt Dot. Dale bought two sets (8 places) of new dishes for the Florida condo, and a bookcase that matches the ones in our Myrtle Beach sunroom. Had dinner at Dot's house.

    Sunday - 26 September - Low 60's today and in the 50's this afternoon! Cool, breezy and overcast! Dale and I have breakfast at a small cafe just around the corner from Uncle Bob's trailer. I can run back to the trailer if I need to hit the bathroom :-) Fixed Aunt Dot's computer so she could send & receive e-mails. Decided to go to the Rochester (NH) Fair for the afternoon. Not a very bright and cheerful afternoon but Rochester was "someplace new". Over-priced entry fee at $10 a person, plus parking! Came back to Kittery and had dinner at the Weathervane. They have the tastiest onion rings!!! Lightly battered and cut thin -- not the thick rings that everyone else seems to offer. Their clams and clam strips got accolades also (not from Me, of course :-)

    Monday - 27 September - Had planned to drive to Lake Winnipesauke and take the m/s Mt. Washington boatride around the lake, but some group had charted the ship for the day! So, we picked up Bob & Dot and drove to North Conway, a picturesque little town with an old train station that Disneyland copied. Bought first-class tickets on the Conway Scenic Railroad for a one hour 45 minute train ride to Bartlett. Our window-facing seats were inside the Gertrude Emma, a very old refurbished pullman parlor car with a bar in the middle. I paid an extra $2.50 for one of four special seats on the rear outside platform of the car, where I was able to get some nice photos, unobstructed by the pullman walls and windows. Returned to North Conway and had lunch at a neat place called Horsefeather's. Made a side-trip to Bristol, NH (Newfound lake) where Dale's grandparents used to live. Met the current owner outside - very personable. Took lots of pictures. Drove to Laconia and had dinner at Paula's (Dot's daughter) before heading on back to Kittery for the night.

    Tuesday - 28 September - Had breakfast at the Firefox cafe. Also picked up the Boston Globe and Portsmouth Herald at the Pine Tree store next door (as we do every morning :-) Installed a new kitchen light for Dot. They had been waiting for us to come up to do that. Spent the rest of the day digging up all the weeds and ripping out a large/overgrown wild rose and dead yew bushes from around Bob's trailer. Luckily I had the tow rope with me, so it was relatively easy to yank that unwanted stuff out of the ground. Looks MUCH neater now!

    Wednesday - 29 September - In the AM I went to the Portsmouth, NH, Wal-Mart and bought 31 bags of red mulch. I had purchased some weedblock the other day. Spread the roll of weedblock and mulch over the areas we had cleared around Bob's trailer the other day. Next year I hope that this effort will minimize the amount of work needed. Drove south to Paul & Dot's house in Malden (MA). Paul was watching his great-grandson Jayden while Dot and Courtney were at the hospital for Courtney's doctor appointment. They arrived later in the afternoon, as did Oswaldo and Ricky! Ricky looks good. Lost a lot of weight and seems much happier than we remember. We then drove to Pei's restaurant , the "Real Lucky". Mike was there waiting for us too. Had a wonderful chinese meal, as per usual! Thanks Pei!! Didn't make it back to Kittery until midnight!

    Thursday - 30 September - cleaned up at Bob's trailer and drove over to Dot's house for lunch and to say Goodbye. Then headed north on Routes 16 and 25 to visit Alice & Charlie in Freedom, NH. It was still daytime (light) outside when we arrived, so we got a good look at the changing foliage in the area. Nice! They have a really cozy home near Lake Ossipee, with woods surrounding them. Very restful! Alice's brother Wally (e.g. Dale's cousin also) and his wife Inga drove over for a visit. We haven't seen them in years! Great visit!

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