Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Blogging and Slogging through Christmas

It’s closing in on Christmas and all through this place,
Time is progressing at the slowest possible pace.
The socks and the shoes are filled with the usual stuff,
And the suits and the ties are all loaded with fluff.

While I in my office sit idly by,
Wishing and wishing for time to just fly.
And who, pray tell should soon to appear?
But an unwelcome visitor slowly drawing near.

It’s nobody special but still somewhat of a pain,
And likely whose mission my mind but to drain.
I’ll sparkle and spangle and make my impression,
Holding back my real feelings and thoughts of depression.

For one of these days, and I mean coming soon,
My life will be filled with the sun and the moon.
The wishing and hoping will then quickly turn
To smiling and doing, while this place I do spurn.

You ask for my meaning and what’s at its source?
That’s simple enough – its retirement, of course.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Oui Wii

Here’s a story about this year’s Christmas Shopping exercise that is sort of timely and should be easy for some to relate to – the saga of the Wii.

We wanted to get one to give as a gift to Austin, our 15 year old Grandson.  Looked all over the place, both here in Northern Virginia, and in NC, both Wilmington and Jacksonville, checking all sorts of stores from Best Buy and Circuit City to Wal-Mart, GameStop, and various military exchanges in those areas.  Enroute back to VA from NC, we took Hwy 301 and checked the Wal-Mart’s, SAMS, and Best Buys along the way.  NO LUCK!       

Finally, back in VA, we found one in a GameStop in a mall…bought it.  Two days later, the local Best Buy had about 20 of them stacked up at the front door – Ha.  Naturally, they were gone the next day - after a certain someone decided they wouldn’t mind having a Wii.  So, the search started again.  This time – Wal-Mart Online – ordering the $700 bundle.  It’s been arriving “unbundled” and I am still waiting for the 6 games that were to be received about a week ago.

A few days after ordering the bundle, while stopping by the local Wal-Mart one morning, guess what?  Six Wii’s for sale – so naturally, for no good reason, I had to buy another one….destined for who knows but we got the thing.

If I had a dozen of Wii’s, I’d park my truck in a Best Buy parking log and scalp them, probably making a decent profit in the process.  Anyway, we ended up with 3 of the devils for Christmas.  I just hope they work. 



Thursday, November 8, 2007

A much awaited entry to my blog!

Finally, this afternoon, it’s back to Surf City for the Veteran’s Day Holiday.  Maybe this little trip will cure some of the boredom I’ve been experiencing of late.  Hell, I just realized that I’ve got so much “been there, done that” in my past that the challenges are waning and quickly.  I think I’ve even read the entire Internet – twice, memorized every bar code and SKU number at Best Buy, and single handedly pumped the equivalent of ten Saudi oil wells worth of gas into my cars.

What’s next you ask?  I wish I knew but I don’t.  Maybe nothing – it’s the final challenge isn’t it?  (Truthfully, I’ve always wanted to sell hot dogs on a fishing pier.  Now where do you suppose I would find one of those?)


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Visits to NC

Well, I guess I lied – didn’t make it for Columbus Day Weekend since Patti was in SC visiting her folks and I didn’t want to go it alone. We’ll now shoot for Veteran’s Day (November 12), and a return in two weeks from then for Thanksgiving. Hopefully it won’t be too cold by then since I’ve got a new seat for the mountain bike and want to try it out.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Weekend was a Success!

This past weekend was a success – both weather and other wise.  We arrived at Surf City Thursday evening around 7 PM so had 4 nights, leaving Monday around noon.  Warm, nice weather; some good bike rides; and all the usual stuff to do.  Interesting coincidence while we were at ACE Hardware visiting with Chuck.  Pat recognized her cousins Angela and her daughter Beth (and baby) in the store.  The coincidence comes in since Angela lives in PA and was visiting Beth.  Anyway, we were all able to go out to dinner at Daddy Mac’s on Sunday – not a bad place in my opinion, and we got to visit afterwards.  (Note: The Key Lime Pie that the Gift Basket on Surf City sells is great – never pass it up when given a chance to have some.)

When we left, the usual “I don’t wanna go” feelings set in and the gravitational pull of retirement to the beach increased a bit.  One of these days…….!

My other success while there was getting the network camera up and running once again – but for how long I wonder?  (Maybe I should be more optimistic.)

I am going back for Columbus Day weekend if I can muster the energy to make the drive – bet I will.

That’s it for now.




Tuesday, September 25, 2007

So, I'm coming back

Finally, after about 6 weeks I am heading back to NC and Surf City.  Seems like it’s been forever and, as you can read from some of my other postings, I’m still in the threat mode when it comes to retirement.  Maybe this trip will be the one where it finally sinks in that I would rather be there than most other places – the “Decider” we’ll call it (not to be confused with that other Decider mind you).  I’ll let you know how things go when I get there…..mood swings and all!


Friday, August 24, 2007

What Else? The Beach!

I am in VA and Patti is still in NC at the beach. Ginger arrived today and will stay until next Saturday, giving Patti some company after a week by herself.
Tonight, A. C. Flora is having a reunion for my class in Columbia SC. Too bad that I was unable to make it since it would have been fun to see all of the old high school crew. Maybe next time????
Nothing going on here. Working, biking, computering (is that now a word?). As Jackie Gleason once said "One of the days......" and I will hang it up so fast everyone will be flabbygasted.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Finally, I am there!

Finally, after a month of hearing about all the fun in the sun stuff going on down here, I made it back.  Only for the weekend (and a hot one at that so it appears), but hey, I got back to Surf City one more time during the summer.

Everyone seems to be having a good time – Jenny and Boe (Pat’s Mom and Dad) are here for 10 days.  Pat has enjoyed a steady stream of company (Ginger, Ashley; then Betsy, Austin, Abigail; then Lynn, Mark, Sarah; now Jenny and Boe; me (I feel like company anyway); the Ginger again.  Wow!  Good thing we upsized the refrigerator.

Well, I need to start the day – maybe with a nice, hot bike ride to the south end of the island – then, breakfast, or death depending on how hot it is out there.  Too bad it won’t be beer time for another 8 hours….wait!  I’m on vacation so beer time is whenever it needs to be, right?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The house is open and I am not in it - again!

Patti is back in Surf City, probably through August (and, as usual, I am here working).  It’s a busy place at the beach this summer.  Ginger and Ashley arrived Friday.  Betsy, Austin, and Abigail came Sunday so all 5 are there now.  They leave Saturday and Lynn, Mark, Sara arrive for a week.  The day after they leave, Jenny and Boe get there for a 2 week stay.  Somewhere in the mix, I am going to take some time off and go down myself.  Wow, it’s a revolving door.  The weather is good.  The new fridge is in and working.  The roses are blooming…..and Northern Virginia sucks, at least when I know I would rather be in Surf City NC.


Thursday, July 5, 2007

Surf City on the 4th of July

It’s been a long time coming but I am finally posting again.  We have been at Surf City NC since June 29 and will be here until July 8.  The weather has been great until today (raining but will probably clear up by the afternoon).  Most days have been in the low 80s and not too humid.  We’ve had a good time so far – not eaten out too much except for the 38th Anniversary dinner at the Atlantis on North Topsail and that was pretty good, with a view of the Ocean from their 7th floor restaurant that can’t be beat and the food was outstanding.

The Surf City Fireworks display on July 3 was great too, dinner and fireworks watching on Bob’s deck where he also shot off some South Carolina fireworks after the town’s display ended.

Last night (the 4th) we all were shooting off our South Carolina fireworks (mine was pretty wimpy by the way but I didn’t spend $200 on it either) when Bob’s mulch caught on fire, the cops came, and everyone ran like hell.  I hid our fireworks in the shower room until the heat was off.  Nothing but a warning but there are still a lot of fireworks (look like mortar rounds) left so I guess we’ll be seeing some more cops in the near future.

We have the Bradley Family Reunion Saturday at Cedar Island and the McEachern’s home.  I guess since I am a Bradley namesake, I will go and be happy his name wasn’t Philpot or something.  Anyway, I am back to vacationing and not blogging for now.

Monday, May 21, 2007

At the Beach - Not!

Here’s another much delayed post about my favorite subject – Surf City at Topsail Island NC. Patti is there this week, entertaining her Mom, Dad, Sister, and two Cousins. I am here as usual, doing my corporate thing and spending the week getting grades completed and posted for my graduate courses. School starts next week so even the long weekend won’t get me to NC this time. The highlight of my weekend was a bowl of Pho – go figure!

Looks like the weather will be nice for everyone at Sunkiss – I hope so. Maybe one day soon, I’ll be able to trade work for personal time and spend endless hours doing what I want to be doing. This place surely doesn’t provide any type of personal gratification, as it once did. I suppose that’s God’s way of getting me mentally prepared for retirement.

Soon, it’s gonna be my time and I can’t wait.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Weekend at Surf City

I finally got to Surf City this past weekend.  Friday and Saturday were great.  The weather was fairly warm and we were able to plant 6 rose bushes, get the beds edged and mulched, and wash the house.  However, the big Nor’easter blew in on Sunday and shot the rest of the weekend all to heck.  Between the rain and very high winds, it was basically a nasty few days until we left.  We did manage to upgrade the TV in the den and had a decent time just being down there.  One lesson I did learn was to watch out for the fire ants – ouch!  Believe me – ouch!

One big plus was finding out that we are in a more favorable flood zone, the result of that was a drastic reduction in flood insurance…lucky us!

Hopefully, we’ll return soon – before Memorial Day I hope.  I suspect Patti is planning to spend some time entertaining visitors during the summer so she’ll enjoy that I am sure.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Is global warming a myth?

The day before Easter 2007 and the ground in Northern Virginia is covered with snow. It's 30 degrees outside to boot.
Now I am not out to debunk the theory of global warming but lets get real here - snow in April? It's Springtime for goodness sakes. Heck, it was 32 degrees at Surf City NC last night and 22 degrees in Spartanburg SC. Assuming that the oil companies don't have an interest in perpetuating the myth then who does? Maybe, just maybe, the entire thing is a plot to sell books, movies, and news stories do you think? Or, perhaps it's a way for certain would be elected officials to gain some notariety.
Regardless, I for one am skeptical of the whole concept because, to [very loosly] paraphrase Will Rogers, I only know what I see and what I see is what I know. Right now I see very cold weather at times and in places where in the past it has been warmer, drier, and generally more in keeping with the season. Global warming? I wish.
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Thursday, April 5, 2007

Easter is coming but where is Spring?

It’s almost Easter Sunday but where is Spring?  After what looked like it was off to a good start, it seems to be eluding us, at least in Virginia and, unfortunately for my weekend plans, on the North Carolina Coast too!

Patti is enroute to Surf City NC.  I had planned to leave this afternoon for there as well but given the weather forecast for the next few days (40s – low 50s) I am not sure I want to use a couple days of vacation just to sit inside and wish for warmer weather. Betsy, Ashley, Austin, Abigail are going to be there Friday through Sunday so Patti will not be alone.  Maybe the weather will warm up and I can adjust my schedule a bit, going down next week instead.

Nothing else is happening around here – same old cycle of work-school-eat-sleep-work, etc. but I guess that’s better than some of the alternatives.  Anyway, here’s wishing a quick warm up to the weather and a Happy Easter regardless.



Monday, March 19, 2007

Back from Surf City


We had a nice, albeit cold, weekend in Surf City.  Not too much outside activity since it was pretty cold down there still (in the 30s and 40s), but still enjoyable just getting away.  Coming home to Virginia was an easy trip but when we got to the house, since the weather had been warm last week, we nearly froze – it was 57 degrees inside and took the better part of the evening to warm the place up.  This morning, scraped ice from the windshield as usual – hate it!  Got to work early (5:45 AM) and found the usual batch of emails to wade through.  Boy, is retirement going to be sweet. 

Anyway, here’s to hitting the ground running.  School starts back this week – 2 full online courses, one over full class at Ft. Belvoir, and the usual small 6000 course.

I’ll make it though………..believe me!


Monday, March 12, 2007

A week of batching it is about to end!

Patti is coming back from SC today after spending a week with her parents, celebrating their 65th Wedding Anniversary. They went to Charleston for a couple of days, actually staying in Mt. Pleasant. From what I can tell from the phone conversations, they had a great time and the weather was good throughout their stay. Naturally, during this same week, I spent most of my time foraging for food and entertainment. Its sure boring being home alone, especially on weekends. Maybe next Friday we’ll go to the beach for a few days. I’m up for that – more than a few days would be even better.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It's Time for Some Sunshine

Granted, Northern Virginia isn’t upstate New York, but the recent ice storm has really left its mark on most of us around here.  It was so bad last week that we flew the coup for the NC shore.  Since we’ve been keeping Snowy (our daughter’s dog), and she absolutely hates going out and trying to walk on the frozen and icy ground, the sandy (albeit cold) beach was a welcomed break.

We’re getting a bit warmer this week and with a little sunshine, followed perhaps by a good rain, all of this will begin to fade into memory.  Hopefully the sun will not only shine on the ground, but also on all of those depressed souls who have been shut in their houses and driveways, and shut out (literally) from their ice encrusted cars.

Cold weather sucks.  Snow and ice suck. Temperatures in the teens and single digits suck.  Global warming is a figment of Al Gore’s imagination.  If it’s true, how do they explain 22 degrees at the NC shore?

Here’s to spring, summer, and never ending paydays.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Consumer Alert #1: Avoid Buying Anything from Yahoo Auctions Website. They Don't Honor A Buyer Protection Agreement.

Avoid Yahoo Auctions!

Problem: Purchased a Sidekick II from seller on Yahoo Auctions. Sent money, never received product. Yahoo refused restitution and essentially washed its hands of the problem.

Below is an extract from Yahoo's policy as stated on their Auction webpage (and noticed after the fact - shame on us):

“Because Yahoo is not involved in the actual transaction between buyers and sellers, in the event that you have a dispute with one or more users, you release Yahoo and its affiliates ………..”

So, as can be seen from their disclaimer, purchasing from Yahoo is truly a "buyer beware" proposition. Lesson learned? You bet! Hopefully this will help others avoid a similar situation and send them to eBay, Pay Pal, etc. who appear to have a stronger commitment to buyer safety.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

DoNut Diplomacy

Here's one for the "don't that beat all" department. For a while now, I've been noticing (along with other's I know as well) that people are becoming so self absorbed that their actions reflect little or no awareness, let alone concern, of others. Recent examples of note include the young lady who recently passed us on the left, while we were stopped and signaling a left turn and the pedestrian in front of us, seeing our intent to make that turn, started crossing the street and almost got hit by the impatient little driver.

Perhaps worse still was the recent donut incident. Being the nice guy that I am, I took a dozen of the little death pills to work, knowing that I wouldn't eat one but thinking it a nice, Friday morning gesture for my coworkers. The donuts went quickly. Later, upon entering the kitchen where they were located, I was shocked to see the empty donut box just sitting on the counter about 2 feet away from a garbage can. So, someone, obviously severely lacking in upbringing, ate the last one and didn't even see fit to throw the empty box away. This must be the same person who takes the last paper towel and neglects to put another roll on the holder.

All I can say about incidents like these is "Hey, Dude, Yo Momma Failed Miserably!"

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A quick update.

Well, once again, the beach house is occupied but not by me.  Patti and Patti Q are there this week.  Everything is working and fine so I am glad they’re there.  This week will be a typical one for when I am batching it – eat pho, drink beer, heat leftovers, go to work, teach my classes, and do it all over again.  This week doesn’t look too busy so work will be tolerable (I hope).  Maybe I’ll win the lottery or something – but then again, I probably won’t since it’s doubtful that I will even play it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Back from Topsail Island and it's turned Winter all of a sudden!

January isn’t normally a month when you’d expect to see people sun bathing at the beach but last week they were doing just that on Topsail Island.  It was warm, in the 70s every day between Jan. 12-15, and totally clear.  Between weather like that, and traffic like what you experience in the Northern Virginia area, I suspect it’s God’s way of preparing a person for retirement.  I’ll get back there soon but in the mean time, I guess I will have to keep the weather as a fond memory since it’s cold as all get out around here today and likely to stay that way for a good while now.  Topping it all off – this office I am in isn’t all that toasty either.  Oh well, better to be in a bad situation with good thoughts than to be in no situation at all.  The end for this day!


Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Off and Running in 2007

2007 is off to a………start. The weather in Northern Virginia has been good and then bad and then good again. PattiQ broke her ankle/foot (bad) but has over 9 weeks of vacation saved up that she will otherwise loose in March so she can afford the time off (good).

Snoe has an ear infection (bad) but the Vet gave her a shot and some pills that seem to be working (good).

Patti is doing well (all good) and I am too (sort of good anyway). Work is still here (bad) but I still have a job (good – actually two jobs so double bad and good). Our parents are hanging in there (all good) and so is everyone else from what I can tell and, naturally, that’s good too!

Happy Birthday to Ginger by the way. Wonder what she’s up to today? Oh yeah – work (bad)!

Going to Topsail this weekend and dragging both broken foot and bad ear along with us. I hope the weather is (good)!



Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2007! Here’s hoping that this year is at least as good as, and hopefully even better than 2006. Things were pretty good last year for sure so, all considered, I can’t complain. However, one must always hope for, and expect that life will continue to improve as we move through its little bumps and grinds. One thing for sure, it’s a rainy January 1 and I’m still in a good mood so that’ not a bad sign. Naturally, we will have the lucky dinner tonight – greens, black eyed peas, ham – all that old fashioned good luck food…..and hopefully some of the left over turkey too (Snoe will like that for sure).

We started off the New Year with a very interesting event – looked up at the tree just behind the house and there was a full sized Bald Eagle sitting right on top. Naturally, I ran for the camera and actually got some really good shots of it sitting there and one in full flight as it flew away. The do live around the Potomac River and the Occoquan but I’ve never seen one ever before. Here's a picture of the thing.

Work starts back tomorrow but should be quiet since the government is closed and most of our folks are getting a free day off (those working at government facilities anyway). We’ll have a slow day in the office I hope.

Here’s to the New Year and all the good that it will bring to everybody.