Nick Russell

Just A Quickie

 Posted by at 12:14 am  Nick's Blog
Oct 042022
 

After 5 days, we got power back yesterday afternoon. It’s so nice to have lights and AC, and I won’t even go into the delights of a hot shower! We still don’t have internet or TV and Spectrum says it could be as much as two weeks before we do. I am able to use my phone as a hotspot for limited activity, and it is very slow. I will try to post more tomorrow. Thanks for hanging in there with us folks, and I can’t tell you how much you appreciate everybody’s concern. Compared tomany in our state, and even in our community, we have had it easy.

As Ready As We Can Be

 Posted by at 12:39 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 282022
 

We spent most of yesterday making final preparations for Hurricane Ian to come calling. The first order of business was to run to Publix and pick up a few things we needed, and I was surprised that the store wasn’t more crowded than it was. It was busy, but the panic buyers had either already been there and left or hadn’t arrived yet. Judging by the empty shelves and the employees working on restocking them, I think I was probably between waves of buyers. Then we went across the street to Walgreens to pick up a prescription Terry needed before coming home.

Back at home, we started storing away things outside that could become missiles in the wind, putting the big rollout garbage can and the recycle bins inside the garage, along with some planters and some other things. We have a big heavy hose on a faucet in the front of the house that it’s been there since we moved in, and I decided I wanted to put it away, too. That was a mistake, because as soon as I started to unscrew it from the faucet, the PVC pipe coming out the side of the house broke off in my hand, and water was shooting everywhere. Terry ran inside to turn the water off, and fortunately, that faucet and the garage are on one line, so she could turn them off and still have water in the rest of the house.

With everything inside, I put sandbags in front of my office door and the garage door in case of possible flooding. Either I’m getting older, or those bags are getting heavier. I’m not sure which.

When we were done with that, we went across the street and put everything away for an elderly neighbor so she wouldn’t have to mess with it. Somewhere along the line, it had started to rain pretty steadily, so we were soaked by the time we got back home. I was pretty well covered in dirt and grime and decided to take a shower to cool off and clean up at the same time. When I got in the shower, I looked down and saw that I had company. No thanks, buddy. Some things I need to do by myself, and you need to go.

The storm’s predicted path is moving again. Originally, once it started jogging eastward, they said it would come up the center of the state. Then, yesterday afternoon, it shifted a little more to the east. We are the blue dot in this photograph, which meant we were out of the direct path but still in the cone and would be getting a lot of wind and rain.

Then, by 11 PM the track had moved even further to the east, taking the storm directly over us. We are just a few miles south of Daytona Beach. Well, darn! That’s not so good!

The good news is that it’s going to take 24 hours or more from the time it makes landfall on the southwest coast of Florida until it gets to us. Once the storm gets over land, it starts to lose power quickly, and by then, it should not be a hurricane anymore. We are between Edgewater and Oak Hill, and as this screen shot shows, we can expect winds between 40 and 60 mph and up to 15 inches of flooding. The weather map shows that we will start getting heavy rain early this morning, and it will keep up until sometime Thursday evening.

By midday yesterday the highways were clogged with people evacuating, and gas stations throughout the region were out of fuel, so it doesn’t make any sense to try to make a run for it and wind up being stuck somewhere in the line of storms. We will ride it out and add it to our long list of life experiences. We have been in tornadoes, an earthquake, and forest fires, so I guess we’ll just add the hurricane merit badge to our collection.

Thought For The Day – I am on my second guardian Angel. The first one quit and is now in therapy.

Nothing New Here

 Posted by at 12:37 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 272022
 

I wish I had something interesting to tell you in today’s blog, but I don’t. My back was giving me fits all day yesterday, and I spent most of it relaxing in my recliner after chewing a couple of my medical marijuana gummies, hoping for some relief. They don’t get me stoned, but they do take the edge off the pain.

Hurricane Ian is predicted to track more inland now, and the latest models seem to be coming together to show it making landfall somewhere around Tampa and then going north up through the center of the state. Since Florida is not all that wide, we will definitely get our share of wind and rain, but we won’t get a direct hit. I say that with the caveat that when it comes to the weather, anything can change at any moment.

We are as prepared as we can be, and today will be spent doing final things like storing away our trash can and recycle bins, which are on the carport, inside the garage, along with some planters Terry has outside. We don’t want anything to become a missile that could cause damage to anything or hurt anybody.

We will also be placing sandbags outside the garage door and my office door. Our house is bilevel, and the front half and our front door are elevated enough that we won’t have to worry about any flooding there.

Fortunately, the last time they were here to visit, our son Travis and his wife Geli filled a bunch of sandbags we had and stacked them against the wall in the garage. All we need to do is carry them outside and put them where they are needed.

So, we are as ready as we can be. Again, as I said in yesterday’s blog, we may lose power and I won’t be able to post for a day or two, and I am not going to hold a drawing this week because of that possibility.

If you are in the area that will be impacted by the hurricane or are traveling to get out of the region, stay safe. It’s going to be an interesting week.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – We don’t walk away to teach people a lesson. We walk away because we finally learned ours.

Jogging All Over

 Posted by at 12:36 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 262022
 

No, I’m not talking about me jogging. Why would I do something like that? I guess if there’s food on the table I could manage a real fast waddle, but if you see me actually running, try to keep up because something really bad is behind me!

I’m talking about the hurricane that’s supposed to be heading our way. Friday the news predicted it would hit on the west coast of Florida somewhere around Sarasota. But on Saturday night the computer models showed it jogging to the west and coming ashore on the Florida Panhandle. Then the 11 PM update last night shows it making landfall somewhere on the west coast of Florida, with a large cone that would include us, a few miles south of Daytona Beach, sometime late this week. We will not get hit by the eye, that doesn’t seem likely at all, but we will definitely be in what the news people call the cone of concern.

As of now, we still have no plans to evacuate unless it jogs further in our direction. But we are prepared for a lot of wind and rain and more than likely some power outages. The sandbags are filled and ready, the Honda generators and extra gas cans are full, and we have more than enough water and food. Because we have a gas stove, a power outage won’t keep Terry from cooking, even if I have to hold a flashlight so she can see what she’s doing. 😊

A couple of times in the last few years we have been without power for two or three days after hurricanes. If that happens again you obviously won’t see a blog, and I’m going to suspend the weekly drawings for now because there’s a good possibility I won’t be able to get online to select a winner and such.

In other news, I spent most of yesterday writing and managed to crank out another 5,000 words in my new book. With any luck at all I’ll have a few more days of writing before the storm reaches us and the possible loss of power.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us. Since I am deathly allergic to onions, I have no problem with what they’re calling that stuff. None at all. 😊

Congratulations Trina McCoy, winner of our drawing for an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

We had 26 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – Waiting on a hurricane is like being stalked by a turtle.

Dodging A Bullet?

 Posted by at 12:38 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 252022
 

According to the latest weather update, once Tropical Storm Ian makes hurricane status it looks like it will change its path and come ashore somewhere on the Florida Panhandle. Assuming that happens, we will get some wind and rain, but will dodge the bullet of a direct hit or even a close miss. That’s fine with us. But I will still be putting things that are outside in the garage so they don’t fly away in the wind.

Of course, as the weatherman reminded us last night, just because the computer models show it jogging west right now, there is no guarantee it won’t change path again before it comes ashore. So we’re not out of the wood yet.

After reading yesterday’s blog, someone asked if we will be boarding up our windows. We don’t need to do that. Last year we purchased corrugated clear polycarbonate hurricane panels for all of our windows. Our neighbor Jesse Bolton put them up for us a few weeks ago and we will leave them up until after hurricane season, when ends November 30th.

Speaking of Jesse and bullets, yesterday he and I went to the gun show at the Volusia County Fairgrounds. It wasn’t a big show and was not as busy as usual. I think that might be because a lot of people are spending their weekend making hurricane preparations. Gun show prices are usually inflated, but we did see some nice deals while we were there. I managed to find a very nice Remington Model 1100 semiautomatic shotgun with a short stock that fits Terry well for trap shooting.

My hardworking proofreaders have returned the first thirteen chapters of Big Lake Drunk to me, so today I will make their corrections, then hopefully crank out another chapter or two.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – Bees don’t waste their time trying to explain to flies that flowers taste better than manure.

Will We Get Hit?

 Posted by at 12:39 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 242022
 

Our son Travis called from Alabama first thing yesterday morning to let us know that he and his wife Geli are pretty much getting over COVID, except for fatigue and scratchy throats. He wanted to remind us that if we needed to get out of the way of what looks like it will become Hurricane Ian, we are more than welcome to come up to their place west of Tuscaloosa.

We appreciate it, and if it looks like we need to do so, we certainly will. As of the 11 o’clock news last night, it looks like the storm will hit the west coast of Florida Wednesday, somewhere south of Tampa as a category three hurricane. Then, if it holds true to path, it will cross the state somewhere a bit south of us. Which means we will probably get a lot of wind and rain, possibly some localized power outages, and flooding.

But six years of living on the central coast has taught us that anything can change. The storm could move further west into the Gulf of Mexico and come ashore in Louisiana or Texas, or it could lose strength and not be as bad as some are predicting. Then again, it could grow in strength or make landfall further north or south on Florida’s west coast. Anything can happen at this point. I guess we’ll know for sure this time next week.

In the meantime, we have plenty of sandbags, water, canned foods, propane, and gasoline for our Honda generators. And we can also bail out and head north to the kids’ place if it becomes necessary. I’ll keep you posted.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – At the bar last night a woman got her nipple pierced right in front of me. On a related note, I suck at darts.

Getting Jabbed Again

 Posted by at 12:49 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 232022
 

Contrary to what a lot of people seem to think, COVID is not dead and gone. It is still a very dangerous disease, with thousands of people being hospitalized for it every day. And even those who have been vaccinated and boosted are still not out of the water, as our son Travis and his wife Geli have shown. They were both vaccinated and had their boosters, but they are still sick with it right now. Fortunately, due to the vaccinations and boosters, even though Travis says he feels like he was hit by a truck, their cases are not nearly as severe as they could have been.

I have heard skeptics say that the fact that people can get COVID even after being vaccinated proves that the vaccinations don’t work. No, that’s not true. The vaccinations keep the disease from being much worse or even deadly.

So when we stopped at Publix for groceries a couple of days ago and Terry asked when they were going to have the new Moderna booster out and was told that it would be available yesterday, she told the young lady at the pharmacy that we would definitely be back to get our injections.

I had dropped our Laramie pickup off at Leon’s Automotive the previous afternoon for an oil and filter change, and when Terry was taking me back to pick it up yesterday morning, we first stopped at Publix again to get jabbed.

After one of our first vaccinations and one of the boosters, we both had sore arms, and Terry told me that hers was a bit sore, but I haven’t noticed it yet in myself. Either way, it’s a small price to pay for staying healthy.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – I may only be 5 on a Florida beach, but I’m a solid 10 in an Alabama Dollar General.

I Am My Father’s Son

 Posted by at 12:11 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 222022
 

Note: I have told this story before, but a couple of readers have asked me to repost it again.

I wish you could have met my father. He was quite a character. He could play any instrument with keys or strings, though he never had a lesson in his life and couldn’t read music. He loved books, he was a fantastic storyteller, and he had a wicked sense of humor.

I guess I am my father’s son because except for the music I inherited at least a tiny bit of his other characteristics. When it comes to music, forget it. I can’t even play the stereo in my car. I tried to learn to play the saxophone once. I never was able to blow a single note, but I could scare the hell out of Terry’s cat.

When I was a kid, my dad did not much care for one of his brothers-in-law, a person who shall remain nameless. This fellow was pretty much a freeloader who abused everybody’s hospitality whenever he could. One time he showed up at our place and, like he always did, he overstayed his welcome.

My dad was driving home from work one evening and a large rattlesnake crossed the road. He got out and shot it, then got a wild idea for a prank. He had an old laundry basket in the trunk of his car and he coiled the dead snake up in the basket. When he got home, he told my uncle he had bought a bunch of steaks and ribs to throw on the barbecue, and asked him to run out and get them from the basket in the trunk of his car. Always looking for a free meal, the patsy hurried outside in the twilight, grabbed the basket from the trunk, and was back under the front porch light before he ever looked down and saw what was in it. The way I hear the story, they could hear his scream from half a mile away.

Another time, my dad had a car with a visor over the front windshield, similar to this one, although this is just a picture I found on the Internet. I don’t remember how it worked, but there was some kind of a knob on the inside of the car above the rearview mirror, and Dad could turn the knob to raise and lower the visor a bit.

The same uncle was in the car with him one day and asked what the knob was for. My dad told him it was a windshield stretcher and said the car was equipped with an adjustable windshield. He explained that on rough country roads he could turn the knob to loosen the tension on the windshield to keep it from breaking from vibrations. Then he could turn the knob in the other direction and tighten it up when he got on a better road. He said because of that option he had never had a broken windshield since he bought the car. My uncle reached for the knob and Dad slapped his hand away, telling him if he got it too tight, the windshield would not be able to flex properly and would break. He said he had to take a two-hour class when he bought the car to learn how to properly adjust the windshield stretcher. From what I hear, my uncle spent the rest of his life telling people about that wonderful option, the windshield stretcher.

I’ve been known to tell a fib like that now and then myself. Years ago we were having one of our Gypsy Journal RV rallies at the fairgrounds in Casa Grande, Arizona. At the time I had a beautiful Yamaha V-Star 1100cc motorcycle, which rode in the back of the van we towed behind our MCI bus conversion. I got the bike out of the van before the rally started, thinking I would take it for a ride. But, as it turned out, the battery was low. No problem, I had a battery tender, which is a small charger that connects to the motorcycle’s battery, which was under the seat and out of sight. I pushed the bike over to a power pole that had an electrical outlet on it, hooked up the connections to the battery, lowered the seat back down, and plugged in the charger.

A couple of hours later one of the people who had arrived early for the rally asked me why my motorcycle was plugged in. I told him it was one of those new hybrid motorcycles that could run on either gas or electricity, and I was charging the batteries. He said he had never heard of a hybrid motorcycle. I told him they were new and hard to come by but got amazing mileage. I said the last time I had put fuel in the motorcycle was almost 2,000 miles ago, and the tank was still almost full. “No way,” he said incredulously. “I swear to God it’s true,” I told him. And it was true; the last time I put gas in it was way back in Elkhart, Indiana and the bike had been riding in the back of the van ever since.

This gentleman told me he absolutely had to have a hybrid motorcycle like that and asked if I wanted to sell it. I told him no, they were too hard to come by and I didn’t know when I would find another one. The next day he told me that he had gone to the Yamaha dealer there in town and they told him they had never heard of a hybrid motorcycle. I suggested he just had to keep checking around, because like I told him, they were new to the market and most shops probably didn’t even know about them yet.

The rally began, everybody had a good time, and then we all headed for wherever our next stop was. I had completely forgotten about the incident with the motorcycle until I got an e-mail from the gentleman telling me that he had looked at over a dozen Yamaha dealerships across the country, and not one of those fools believed him when he told them about my hybrid motorcycle, even when he told them he had seen it with his very own eyes! I just smiled, kind of like my dad used to do.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – Sometimes, even the devil on my shoulder asks, “What the hell are you doing?”

A Change Of Plans

 Posted by at 12:52 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 212022
 

After telling you in yesterday’s blog about our upcoming trip to Alabama to visit our son Travis and his wife Geli, we got a call yesterday morning that changed all of that. Travis came down with a bad headache the day before, and by yesterday morning he had all the signs of COVID. Geli, who is the clinical director at a hospital in Birmingham, had him take one of the in-home tests the night before and again yesterday morning, both of which were negative. But the results of those tests leave a lot to be desired.

Later in the afternoon yesterday I heard from Travis and then Geli that she had started feeling bad, too, and they had both spent a lot of time sleeping. She said he was feeling terrible and could not taste anything but salty foods, and had a fever. As for herself, she told me she had some nasal congestion and an irritated throat.

Fortunately, both have had their COVID shots and boosters, although not the latest booster that just came out. We are obviously very worried about them, and we are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that if they do test positive, which I have no doubt of, they will be mild cases and hopefully, they will start to feel better soon.

Travis was very apologetic about us having to cancel the trip, but we assured him that all that really matters is them being healthy. At our age, even vaxxed and boosted, we don’t want to be up there and take a chance of catching it ourselves. We told them that our schedule is always flexible except for an occasional medical appointment, so we will be up for a visit whenever they are back on their feet.

Aside from that, yesterday was another busy writing day for me, and I got another 5,300 words under my belt by the end of the day. I’m not at the halfway point for this new book yet, but I’m approaching it.

Terry’s eyes have finally settled down from her cataract surgery, and with the help of off-the-shelf 125 power reading glasses, she is getting back to normal. So while I was doing that, she was busy editing and proofreading the first ten chapters of the book. She got them done and today I will go through and make the changes she suggested so I can get it off to my other proofreaders.

However, that won’t be until late in the day because I have an appointment with my sleep doctor this afternoon to go over the automatic reports that my CPAP machine sends to his office and to discuss how I am adapting to it.

After reading about the scallop linguine that Terry made for dinner the other day, several readers wanted to know if they could have the recipe. Terry sent it to me, and I have it available as a PDF file for anyone who wants it. Just send me an e-mail at editor@gypsyjournal.net and I will get it off to you.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – I know I’m in the right place when the sound of the ocean is louder than the noise of my thoughts.

Pigeons And Scallops

 Posted by at 12:56 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 202022
 

No, I’m not talking about the kind of pigeons you eat. They are called squab, and I’ve never had that dubious pleasure. I’m referring to clay pigeons, which are targets used in trap shooting. I mentioned a while back that I couldn’t find any locally and I wanted to get some before we went to Alabama to visit our son Travis,  because I was planning on doing some shooting while I was there.

Several people gave me suggestions, including Walmart. But when I called our local Walmart in New Smyrna Beach a couple of days ago to see if they had any in stock, they told me no. But then Saturday a friend of mine said that he had seen them there. So as much as we don’t care for Walmart, yesterday we decided to go and see if we could find some. As it turned out, they had stacks of them. So much for depending on the people at the store to be able to answer questions on the telephone.

While we were there, we picked up some other things we needed and then headed back home, dodging thunderstorms along the way. Of course, when we got home everything was dry. I really can’t complain because we have had a lot of rain in the last few days, and as I write this at midnight, the thunder is rumbling outside my office door.

For dinner, Terry made delicious scallop linguine, one of my favorite meals. You can’t tell it from this picture, but there are a whole bunch of other big tasty scallops hiding under the pasta.

A few days ago I told you about picking up some 55-gallon drums to take up to our son’s place. They are just a little too big to lay on their sides and fit under the tonneau cover of our pickup truck, so they are standing on end. We put a couple of foam pads on each end to keep them from rocking around much, but we still wanted some more security, so Terry found an excellent cargo net setup on Amazon and ordered one. It uses seat belt-type straps and buckles, and since our Laramie pickup has several adjustable tie-down places in the bed, it was easy to secure them to where they won’t move at all. But just to be safe, we will stop and check them when we’re on the road to make sure nothing loosens up.

Speaking of our trip, we will probably leave Friday or Saturday of this week and be gone about a week, unless our house sitter burns the place down. I’m not sure yet what I’ll be doing about the blog during that time because Travis and Geli live out in the country and internet service is spotty there. I may try to get some blogs ready ahead of time and set them up to post automatically, but we’ll see how that goes. Or I may give you a break from my daily prattling for a bit.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the secret tonic to creativity. When we get home, home is still the same, but something in our minds has changed, and that changes everything.

Monday Q&A

 Posted by at 12:07 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 192022
 

I’m back with more questions from blog readers about RVing, my writing activities, what’s happening in our lives since we hung up the keys, and all kinds of other things. While I try to answer all questions individually, I also share some here occasionally.

Q. We are touring the US for a year from Ireland. We want to visit Mackinac Island, Michigan. I was told there is a ferry service from the mainland to the island. Do you know if the ferry can accommodate our 24 foot Class C camper, and would we have to make reservations in advance?

A. Except for emergency vehicles, no automobiles are allowed on the island. Stay in one of the local campgrounds and board one of the pedestrian ferries to get to the island. If you have bicycles, they are a great way to get around once on the island.

Q. I only get your blog a day late. I was getting it on the proper day, but for some weird computer reason, now I only get the previous day’s blog. Sometimes if I click on “home” on your website I do get the correct day’s blog, but normally, all I get is the one for the previous day.  Can you help?

A. This is an issue that nobody seems to be able to explain. It happens to some readers and not others, and the tech people have no idea why. The best they can say is to refresh your computer’s cache and see if that helps. However, if you get a blog from the previous day, try this. Click on the blog’s title, in this case, A Lady With Integrity circled in purple. When the new page opens, in the upper right side of the blog, there should be a link to the next day’s blog, in this case Good For Old Farts circled in red. Click that to go to the current blog.

Q. A while back, you raved about an office chair. Can’t find it in our archived e-mails. Could you be so kind to provide us with the information?

A. Here is a link to the blog post about my Lifeform chair. After three years, it is just as comfortable as the day I bought it. https://www.gypsyjournalrv.com/2019/09/more-than-a-vega/

Q. We are RV snowbirds and want to explore the Texas Gulf Coast this winter. Are you familiar with Rockport and Aransas Pass, and do you have any recommendations for RV parks in that area?

A. We have spent quite a bit of time in that area, and it is one of our favorites. The communities and the people are very RV friendly. There are quite a few RV parks to choose from. We liked Southern Oaks, Crooked Oaks, and Aransas Bay RV Resort, among others.

Q. I seem to recall that at some point you bought a pressure washer for your RV and cars. What kind was it and do you recommend it? I need something small enough to fit in my motorhome’s storage bays.

A. It is a Karcher pressure washer and it has served us well. We had no problem carrying it in one of the bays of our Winnebago diesel pusher.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Congratulations Jenise Harper, winner of our drawing for a printed copy of Skin of the Night, the first book in C.K. Bennett’s Night series. A top law student’s main priority is her career and she avoids anything that can get in the way of that, especially romance. She is a woman who doesn’t need a man to feel complete. Then a dashing lawyer with a clever but merciless tongue puts her convictions on trial, and she finds it hard to resist him. But being together could have disastrous consequences. Packed with complex characters, steamy scenes and cheeky dialogue, The Night series is sure to take you on a journey of laughter, frustration, tears, and deep reflections you won’t forget anytime soon.

We had 47 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – I really need a speed bump between my brain and my mouth.

In An Instant

 Posted by at 12:54 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 182022
 

Every day we get up, get dressed, and go about our day, enjoying our lives and never knowing that everything can change in an instant and the world as we know it no longer exists.

I was reminded of this in a heartbreaking way this week. I have mentioned Scarlett Braden Moss, the woman who formats my paperback books, before. Scarlett, an amazing author in her own right, is not only a business acquaintance but also a dear friend. Here is a picture taken a few years ago of me with Scarlett and her husband, Ron.

On Labor Day weekend, Scarlett took Ron to the ER for shortness of breath, swollen ankles, and a distended belly. They were given the terrible diagnosis of aggressive metastatic cancer, and he declined rapidly. He passed away Friday afternoon, leaving so many of us who knew and loved him heartbroken.

What can you say to comfort someone at a time like that? I’m sorry for your loss and may he rest in peace seem to be so little. When I was giving a friend’s eulogy a few years back, something came to me. I don’t know if I had heard it somewhere else, but I said that we can all look at the casket and ask why did we lose this wonderful person, why they were taken from us, and be sad. Or instead, we can think that out of all of the millions of people in the world, I was fortunate enough to be chosen to have this person become a part of my life, and be grateful for that blessing.

A mutual friend set up a Go Fund Me page to help Scarlett with hospital expenses and to cover funeral and living expenses. If you can contribute anything, even $5, to this worthy cause, I will be forever grateful, and I know Scarlett will be, too.

Rest in peace, Ron. You left an empty hole in our hearts, and we love you.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing. This week’s prize is a printed copy of Skin of the Night, the first book in C.K. Bennett’s Night series. A top law student’s main priority is her career and she avoids anything that can get in the way of that, especially romance. She is a woman who doesn’t need a man to feel complete. Then a dashing lawyer with a clever but merciless tongue puts her convictions on trial, and she finds it hard to resist him. But being together could have disastrous consequences. Packed with complex characters, steamy scenes and cheeky dialogue, The Night series is sure to take you on a journey of laughter, frustration, tears, and deep reflections you won’t forget anytime soon.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. Love leaves a memory no one can steal.

Gone But Not Forgotten

 Posted by at 12:53 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 172022
 

I don’t know if there’s anything good anybody could say about the year 2020, except that it’s finally over. Who can ever forget the terrible toll of lives lost to COVID, of isolating at home, wearing masks, sanitizing everything, and being worried every time we coughed or sneezed?

But at least some people have found a way to look back on the darkest of times with humor, as these two license plates show.

I have seen a lot of creative license plates in my time, and some that made me absolutely laugh out loud. We had a urologist in a town where I ran the local newspaper back in the White Mountains of Arizona whose license plate was PEPEDOC. I also knew a dentist whose license plate was OPENWYD.

This isn’t a license plate, but obviously, the owner of this Volkswagen is not impressed by fast cars.

We’ve also seen a lot of funny signs and slogans on RVs. My pal Diane Melde sent me this one. The owner of this RV obviously understands aerodynamics.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is a printed copy of Skin of the Night, the first book in C.K Bennett’s Night series. A top law student’s main priority is her career and she avoids anything that can get in the way of that, especially romance. She is a woman who doesn’t need a man to feel complete. Then a dashing lawyer with a clever but merciless tongue puts her convictions on trial, and she finds it hard to resist him. But being together could have disastrous consequences. Packed with complex characters, steamy scenes and cheeky dialogue, The Night series is sure to take you on a journey of laughter, frustration, tears, and deep reflections you won’t forget anytime soon.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – At this point I’m convinced that some people were put on this earth just to test my anger management skills.

Sep 162022
 

After I announced in yesterday’s blog that the printed edition of Pucker Factor is now available to purchase online, a reader contacted me asking how they could get an autographed copy. Amazon does not have autographed copies of authors’ books on hand, and I haven’t ordered any for myself yet. But yes, it can be done. The cost would be the $9.95 cover price, along with $5 more to cover packing and shipping the book to you. Obviously, it is cheaper to buy the book directly from Amazon unless having my autograph means something to you. The only time that has happened before was when I got served divorce papers a time or two. 😊

Yesterday was another writing day for me, and I got in about 3,500 words in my current work in progress, Big Lake Drunk, so a bit over one chapter. This story is already beginning to have some twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and have to figure out how to work around, which is always fun for me. As I’ve said before, I don’t really create the stories, I just observe what the characters inside my head are doing and write up the incident report.

Terry’s eyes seem to be improving more every day, and hopefully before too long she can start the editing and proofreading process. When she’s done, I will ship the completed chapters off to my other proofreaders.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us. I guess this is the place to go if you are on a liquid diet.

Be sure to enter out latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is a printed copy of Skin of the Night, the first book in C.K. Bennett’s Night series. A top law student’s main priority is her career and she avoids anything that can get in the way of that, especially romance. She is a woman who doesn’t need a man to feel complete. Then a dashing lawyer with a clever but merciless tongue puts her convictions on trial, and she finds it hard to resist him. But being together could have disastrous consequences. Packed with complex characters, steamy scenes and cheeky dialogue, The Night series is sure to take you on a journey of laughter, frustration, tears, and deep reflections you won’t forget anytime soon.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – Sometimes you have to tell the negative committee that meets inside your head to just sit down and shut up.

Sep 152022
 

Terry had another post-op appointment with the eye doctor in Titusville yesterday to see how both eyes are doing after her cataract surgery. There is no question that he is one of the top doctors in his field, and he is a very busy man, so you have to exercise a lot of patience to be one of his patients. (Did you see what I did there? 😊)

Her appointment was for 2 PM and we got there a few minutes early, but it was 3:30 before they ever called her back for a quick eye exam. Then we were put in another room and told to wait with several other patients. Eventually, we went in to see the doctor, which didn’t take more than 15 minutes or so, and he was very pleased with the results in both eyes. By the time we got out of there, it was five o’clock. I always wondered what a doctor would do if you handed him a bill for the time you sit waiting past your appointment.

On the drive down to Titusville in the morning, we saw a lot of dark clouds overhead, and I told Terry that I had a feeling the Space X rocket launch scheduled for that evening would be scrubbed. Now, all those hours later, just as we were getting into the van to leave after Terry’s appointment, it started to rain. By the time we had driven two or three blocks, it was pouring, and it continued to do so all the way back home. I joked with Terry that since the storms always seem to miss us, I wouldn’t be surprised if we got back to find everything dry. And sure enough, the rain stopped a few miles south of our house, and it didn’t look like anything had fallen there.

We continued on into New Smyrna Beach to have dinner at Stavro’s Pizza, which was delicious as always. As we started to go home from there, the rain caught up with us. Terry and I were wondering how it would be when we got back to the house, expecting to see it dry as usual, but we were wrong. The rain was coming down hard, and it continued to rain all evening and into the night. I’m sure the folks at Space X were disappointed to have to scrub the launch for a second time, but we don’t have any complaints because our yard and citrus trees really need it.

If it’s raining where you are and you need something to keep you occupied, the printed edition of my latest book, Pucker Factor, is now available on Amazon.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is a printed copy of Skin of the Night, the first book in C.K. Bennett’s Night series. A top law student’s main priority is her career and she avoids anything that can get in the way of that, especially romance. She is a woman who doesn’t need a man to feel complete. Then a dashing lawyer with a clever but merciless tongue puts her convictions on trial, and she finds it hard to resist him. But being together could have disastrous consequences. Packed with complex characters, steamy scenes and cheeky dialogue, The Night series is sure to take you on a journey of laughter, frustration, tears, and deep reflections you won’t forget anytime soon.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – Don’t worry about getting older. You’re still going to do stupid stuff, only slower.

An Unexpected Bonus

 Posted by at 1:18 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 142022
 

Several weeks ago, our son Travis called to ask us if we knew any place where he could get a couple of 55-gallon metal drums for one of his many projects around his place up in Alabama. He said they were hard to find around Tuscaloosa, and since they only have a compact car, getting one home would be difficult even if they could find any.

I looked and found somebody in DeLand, about 25 miles from us, who had a bunch of them for sale for $20 each, and I made a mental note to myself to contact them before our trip up there. Then, while browsing through the local Facebook Marketplace on Monday evening, I saw that somebody in Daytona Beach had some listed for free, just come and pick them up. I mentioned it to Terry, and not 15 minutes later, Travis called to ask me if I had managed to find any drums that I could bring to him when we visit in a couple of weeks. I told him he must be reading my mind, and I texted the person with the free barrels and arranged to go by yesterday and pick a couple of them up.

We left here about 2:45 yesterday afternoon, headed to Daytona Beach, and before long, we ran into an absolute downpour. I told Terry I thought we were probably going to look like a couple of drowned rats by the time we loaded the barrels into the truck. The closer we got, the harder it rained, and I really wasn’t looking forward to that. But then, magically, about three blocks from our destination, the rain stopped coming down and the heavy cloud cover broke up.

As it turns out, the place we were going to manufactures and distributes CBD and medical marijuana products. My contact there was a very nice man who put three of the barrels into the back of the truck.

I thanked him, and we talked for a few minutes and I mentioned how well medical marijuana oil and gummies help my back pain and how I no longer use the opiates that the VA had been giving me for years. He told me to hold on a minute and went inside and came back out with a box full of CBD gummies and some pain relief oil. What a nice bonus!

From there, we stopped at Florida Gun Exchange because I wanted to pick up some shotgun shells and clay targets to do some informal trap shooting when we got up to Travis’ house. This was a time when I should have kept my mouth shut, because they had a pallet full of cases of 10 boxes each of 12 gauge ammunition and the sign said $109. Then I noticed that on the other side of the display, the sign for the same boxes of ammunition said $139. I found a clerk and asked him what the difference was because it looked like the same ammo, and he admitted that he was supposed to change that price because it had been a weekend deal and had ended Monday. He was a new employee and was afraid he might get fired, so I didn’t push the issue and went ahead and paid the higher price.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any clay pigeons, and in calling around, they seem to be rather scarce. I found some on Amazon, but they were overpriced, so I will keep looking.

We stopped at Salsas Cocina, Terry’s favorite local Mexican restaurant, for dinner, and the service was much better this time than on our last visit there. I am sure the last time was just a case of new help trying to learn how the restaurant did things.

When we got back to Edgewater, we stopped at Walgreens to pick up a prescription for eye drops for Terry’s eyes and then came home for an evening of relaxing in our recliners and watching television. Today we have to go back to Titusville for her second post-op examination, and hopefully, that will be the last one. Terry is seeing improvement in both eyes every day and said she was glad she had the cataract surgery done.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – The bad news is that you can’t have it all. The good news is that you don’t need it all.

Sep 132022
 

A while back, the rotating Orbit heads on our sprinkler system stopped working. At first, we thought they might be clogged up or something, so we soaked them in vinegar overnight, but that didn’t do any good. Fortunately, we had some extra ones that had not been used yet, so the other day, Terry and I decided to swap them out.

Replacing the heads themselves was no problem. I just unscrewed them from the system and screwed the new ones on. But we ran into real issues trying to get the spray arc set the way we wanted. Either they were turning so far in one direction or the other that they were hitting the house and not getting good coverage on the yard, or they wouldn’t move much at all. Following the directions online, we finally got them to work pretty well, although they still need a little bit of refinement.

One problem when doing anything outdoors here in Florida this time of year is that you either have to do it in the heat of the day and melt, or wait until the morning or evening when it’s a little cooler. But then you have to deal with the noseeums. If you’ve never encountered these tiny biting insects, consider yourself lucky. They are nasty little critters and bloodthirsty as hell. By the time we were done, Terry and I both had a multitude of bites on our ankles, arms, and various other places.

I have heard a lot of so-called ways to prevent noseeum bites, everything from Avon Skin So Soft to different types of bug spray to dabbing on different kinds of essential oils. Maybe they work for some people, but not for me. I swear I could pour high-test gasoline on myself and light a match, and they would figure out a way to get through the smoke. They probably like barbecued fat boy.

Besides itching terribly, another problem with noseeum bites is that about the time you think they’ve gone away, they start itching all over again. I have found that liberal use of an After Bite stick or Benadryl extra strength anti-itch cream helps for a little bit, but no matter what remedy I try, the only thing I can really do is wait it out until they finally stop itching, which can be days or even weeks. They are just one of the not-so-wonderful things about living in Florida.

In other news, Elizabeth Mackey got the print cover for Pucker Factor finished, and I will be uploading it to Amazon today. If all goes well, it should be available for purchase sometime this evening.

Today we have to run into Daytona Beach to pick up some 55-gallon drums to take up to our son Travis in Alabama in a couple of weeks. And tomorrow, we go back to Kutryb Eye Institute in Titusville for another follow-up exam on Terry’s eyes to see how they are coming from her cataract surgery. Since Stavro’s Pizza in New Smyrna Beach has a special of a large pizza, calzone, or stromboli for half price plus $1.75 on Wednesdays, I think that’s where we’ll be having dinner tomorrow.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – You always hear people say “I would never,” and then here they come, nevering like they never nevered before.