"Crotty News" Postings for:

December !
Can't believe that December is here already! Bradenton weather has been bright and sunny with temperatures in the mid 80s the entire time we've been here, but early this morning heavy winds started blasting us. Dale woke up and said that the palm trees were being pushed almost to the ground!

Wednesday - 01 December - very cool outside (for Florida). It'll be in the 60s as our high temperatures for the next week, but we're leaving for Myrtle Beach on Friday anyway. Went to the Red Barn to pick up a few things. Looking for a nice colorful picture to hang on the wall behind our bed (Didn't find anything we liked so will look at the Old Tyme Pottery when we return to MB). Then on to the Mexicali restaurant on Cortez for lunch. Excellent; we always go there at least once each time we're here. I bought four small "Knockout Roses" for $5 apiece at the local Lowes store this afternoon, as well as a "Patio Tomato" plant. I'll bring them back to Myrtle Beach. I'm hoping that I can grow the tomato plant in a large pot inside our porch, since I didn't have any luck with my garden this year (or the last three years for that matter :-0 The roses will be planted in an open spot near our garage. Saw Dwayne Johnson's new movie "Faster" tonight. Lots of action and shooting, but not a picture we'd see twice. There are two movie theaters we go to regularly here. One is the Oakmont 8, on Cortez, which is quite close to us. The other is the Royal palm 20 on 53rd Street at the intersection of Route 301, a 15-20 minute ride depending on traffic. It is HUGE and each of the 20 theaters has stadium seating. An added enticement is that we bought their large "refillable" 2011 plastic popcorn bucket, so now it costs us "only" $2.50 for popcorn instead of the ridiculously high price they (and other theaters) normally charge.

Thursday - 02 December - It was 71 degrees inside the condo this morning and Dale was COLD, so she turned on the heat! :-) Still beautiful sunshine outside but very windy and cool. The locals are all wearing coats!! I'm in a T-shirt and shorts. We're actually ready to return to MB but tonight there is a Board Meeting at the clubhouse and we haven't been to one in a while. Good place to meet new and old neighbors. Lots of condos have been sold in the last 6 months or so (for very low prices), and lots of new people around. The "Season" is November through April, when the "snowbirds" come down. Most of the remainder of the year there is hardly anyone here so, although we are here every other month or so, we don't see hardly anyone and they think we are "never here". Of course we vote here and pull Jury Duty here, etc. Just saw a Facebook posting from old friends Steve and Barbara Graham. They had SNOW this morning in Kingsbridge, England, their vacation home in Devon. Very pretty!

Friday - 03 December - We will be driving the truck back to MB today. Should take about ten hours with two stops (about eight hours actual driving time). Our guest bedroom is filled with patio furniture, a sofa table for my office and lots of odds and ends we've purchased this last month. It'll take me about two hours to get it all loaded on the truck so we probably won't be departing around 10:00AM, our usual time :-)

Saturday - 04 December - Now in Myrtle Beach. Had a good trip from Bradenton. When we got here last night it was in the high 30's. I think today was in the 50s but this week will be in the 40s for highs. I did a lot of yard clean-up work today (dead plants - "tons" of them :-)

Sunday - 05 December - Used my gas blower to remove all the dead leaves from the gardens. Put them into huge, long piles on the lawn and then used the lawn tractor/mower to muclh them into the lawn. Supposed to be good as a soil conditioner. We got lucky finding our Christmas tree. Dale saw them yesterday at the local Food Lion grocery store and we picked one up this morning. I've never seen a place where ALL the trees were perfect! They had hundreds of them at their various stores in the Myrtle Beach area. Later Chuck & Karen called and told us all about how beautiful the Food Lion trees were, before we told them that we too had purchased one there. And the price was only $29.95 !

Thursday - 09 December - Started messing around with our Christmas decoration "Stuff". Dale said that she wasn't going to decorate much this year but once she started pulling boxes down from the attic she shanghaied me for the rest of the DAY:-) She is a Christmas Junkie!

Friday - 10 December - Jay is giving Rene a surprise birthday party tonight but Dale has Red Cross and we wouldn't be able tomake the long drive to and from Mt Pleasant (Charleston) to attend. Called with regrets and of course didn't say anything about the party to Rene :-) Later, Chuck & Karen were at her house for a short visit. They had business in Charleston and stopp by to say HI.

Saturday - 11 December - Michael is 52 years old today! I just don't understand how all these people can get so old while I stay so young!

Sunday - 12 December - Just heard from Cousin Marie that my Uncle Ray isn't doing too well. Treated at the hospital for congestive heart failure, COPD, and other ailments. She hired a nurse to watch him closely.

Monday - 13 December - Well, it is COLD, cold, cold here in Myrtle Beach. I pulled all the Christmas lights down from the attic yesterday and was going to start putting them up outside today (too many lights to put up in just one day :-) Anyway, there was NO way I was going outside to do that once the wind started gusting like crazy. The wind chill must put the temperature down below 20 or perhaps even colder. On the other hand the inside of our house looks like a Christmas Store that "hasn't sold a thing" (Dale's description) ! We have soooo much "stuff". Dale started the decorating and I caught on, opening box after box and looking for places to put the items. She will "reposition" everything later :-) Tonight I found some old videos of Foster Brooks on www.youtube.com and downloaded a bunch of them to this computer.

Wednesday - 15 December - The Dodge RAM has a "squeek". First noticed it in Florida. Brought it to Pro-Tech this morning to have them check the brakes. Yup! Front brakes needed replacement. Dale and I spent the rest of the day roaming around different stores in the area.

Thursday - 16 December - Old friend Tony Esposito called us this morning. 3:00AM to be exact! He thought it was afternoon here. No problem. Always great to speak with him! Even after me ripping the walls out and insulating Dale's sunroom, the room is still cold from the artic blasts of cold air we are getting this week. It turns out that the horizontally-sliding windows are really cheap (not double panes) and leak like a sieve. Need to be replaced. So I bought a roll of mid-grade heavy clear plastic and spent the entire day wrapping the windows and securing the plastic with duct tape. It was actually warmer today so the job was fairly easy to do. Now, when it becomes colder again, we'll see if it worked!

Friday - 17 December - Spent all day in the yard putting Christmas lights on the bushes. I have several sets of large lights but they use too much electricity. When the breaker switches off I know that I've got too much of a load on the circuit so I replace a few strands of large lights with mineature light strings. I still have a couple boxes of small lights, so I'll probably just replace all the larger light sets. The yard looked like a Christmas wonderland tonight. When I came inside, Dale had finished doing the interior Christmas decorations, and it is really beautiful. We finished decorating the tree with boxes of tinsel we had stored away two years ago (it's hard to find tinsel in the stores these days).

Saturday - 18 December - Dale and Karen are out shopping today. I'm going to set up my new digital recorder in my office. The one I've been using to create DVDs from VHS tapes needs to be repaired.

Sunday - Thursday -19-23 December - Well, everything about the last few days seems fuzzy. (My memory, that is :-) Nope, nothing unusual, just can't remember specifics. I did replace ALL the large Christmas lights outside -- the smaller ones use less electricity and the breakers don't blow. I gave all those big lights away to a local charity, including many boxes of brand new extra lights. Wandered around the locals stores looking for items that might pop up as good "stocking-stuffer" types of Christmas gifts. The nice part is that I am totally not rushed. I can saunter around and take my time, up and down the isles. Years ago I couldn't stand doing something like this. I'd get it a store, buy what I wanted and get the heck out right away! Last night (22nd) we went over Karen & Chuck's for dinner. Chuck's parents are here for Christmas so we all had a good night. Took them around Myrtle Beach afterwards, thinking that there would be lots to see. Nope. Even Broadway at the Beach and the Market Common were "dead", although Broadway did have a festive Christmas tree all lit up!! It must be a "southern thing" but most people here do not decorate with colored Christmas lights. They use white/yellowish-white lights. Not very festive! Today Dale and I wandered through a few stores and picked up some small items. It was more about "getting out" than anything else :-) Tonight I finally got the time to hook up the new DVD recorder and it works fine. So now I am, once again, converting my VHS tapes to DVDs.

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