Friday the 17th
Last October for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month the company nurse had a bunch of cards printed up with instructions on how to do a self breast exam (a scan of both sides is to the left, click to view it larger.) The cards are made of hard plastic with a hole and slit near the top to hang on a door knob. At the bottom are two rows of six punch outs with the month’s abbreviation on them. The idea being to hook it on the bathroom knob so you are reminded to check yourself each month and punch out the appropriate tab. She put one in every salaried female’s mailbox and handed them out to as many of the hourly women as she could. Whatever the minimum order for them were, it was larger than the female population at the Valve Store(R) because there is still at thick stack of these cards on a table outside her office.
This morning while using a stall in the bathroom near the Nurse’s office I noticed that this month’s issue of Stall Talk, the newsletter the nurse produces monthly and is distributed in all those clear plastic document holders that mysteriously appeared in all the restrooms last year, was partially obscured by one of those breast self exam cards.
I could only think of one reason it would be there, in a clear holder on the door of a mens room stall, visible to a person sitting on the pot. I was slightly weirded out. But I didn’t know which was worse, the thought of what some off-shift individual did in the stall I was now using or the fact that the days I could be sexually aroused by just looking at a clip art drawing of a woman’s breast were long gone.
Reason #127 Why I Shouldn’t Be Sent On Errands Alone
Saturday the 8th
Because we hadn’t done our weekly grocery shopping yet the cupboard was nearly bare, so this morning I was sent out for breakfast. Donna wanted an order of Biscuit ‘N’ Gravy from Hardee’s and I volunteered to make the run as long as I could stop at DD too and get my morning Cup O’ Joe too. She said fine, but don’t pay the buck eighty nine for a Hot Chocolate for her as she could make her own at home.
Hardee’s was the first stop where I picked up Donna’s breakfast. Normally I get a Sausage and Egg Biscuit here, but I decided to forgo that and get a muffin at Dunkin Donuts instead. At the DD drive up I ordered and when I got to the window I handed the clerk my DD Card and she handed me my muffin. She rang up my bill then handed back the receipt and my card. It wasn’t until I was driving around the back of the building that I realized I was missing my coffee. I was so keyed in on the fact that I was getting a muffin that I drove off too soon.
So I parked the Purple Whale and sheepishly walked inside the store to pick up my Medium Coffee with Cream & Sugar.
In case you are wondering, this is Reason #1
40,000 Ghostly Images of Old Florida
Wednesday the 12th
We are on our way to visit Donna’s sister and her family and my snowbird cousin for a couple of days. Because we will drive back on Sunday on mostly Interstate we are taking two days to drive down on mostly back roads. On today’s drive we came into Florida and took aim half way between Lake City and Jacksonville where we found some small town’s and uncrowded back roads.
We originally planned on driving the Miata and doing some more Motoring Challenge photos, but the weather was supposed to be crappy today and then again Sunday for the drive home, so we opted to take the Sonata for the trip. Turns out there were some towns, counties and photo ops that would have been good for the challenge, but they were mostly mid-Georgia, so we filed them away for a weekend in the future.
Somewhere near the small town of Orange Springs the Purple Whale eased by the 40,000 mile mark. Tonight we are in a new HIE in Silver Springs. While this section of town is too full of modern amenities to be considered Old Florida, once inside our dinner spot we were thrown back in time. The Denny’s was located inside a Days Inn and it was filled with characters from Central Casting, including; a really old man alone at a table wearing shorts, sandals with black socks, a Veterans of Foreign Wars ball cap with large-lensed sunglasses who was chewing with his mouth open and eyeballing us because we didn’t belong, a skinny androgynous African-American who spoke on his cell phone loudly in a high-pitched stereotypical gay queen manner, plus the cook teasing a couple of regulars were they going to eat or were they here for the paranormal meeting.
I thought she was just joking, but when we used the restroom before walking back to our hotel, right next to them was a “banquet room” that was shared by Denny’s and the Days Inn and it was all set up for Investigating the Paranormal with Carolynn and Carla.
See You in 2026
Monday the 15th
On Sunday the Emperor got an oil change and as always, I rotated his tires as well. When I checked over the right rear tire before putting it back on the front, I spotted something shiny, looked like some sort of a spike. I didn’t want to pull it out for fear that it would go flat, so I decided to take it to a LTS to let them pull it out.
I tossed the tire in the trunk of the Sonata and headed over to a small shop around the corner. They were of course closed, so I tried a second locally owned store not too much further away. They too were closed on Sunday. This left me no other option but to pay a visit to the big name brand chain place that had I swore never to visit again after they scratched the heck out of my aftermarket rims installing tires on the previous Miata.
I rolled the tire up to the desk and asked the guy behind the cash register if could they fix it. The fellow asked if I’d been there before and I said sure, but a long time ago. So I gave him my phone number and he asked, “Brian?” I said, “Yep, I guess I’m still in there.” “When was the last time I was here?” “2002,” he replied.
He said, “I’ll have to get someone to see if it can be fixed.” And about that time some moke who worked there was passing by on his way somewhere, so the fellow asked him. This guy eyeballed the tire and said, “I don’t think that goes all the way through.” He spun 180° and went back to get a pair of pliers. Then straddling the tire, grabbed the spike and pulled. He was right, it didn’t go all the way through. It was a small screw embedded in a tire block almost perpendicular to the tire. It looked like a spike because the screw had been worn in half so I was seeing almost a cross section of it.
The guy in the work shirt with his name over the pocket handed me the screw piece, slipped the pliers into his back pocket and continued in the direction he was headed before we interrupted him. I looked over at the cashier and asked, “What do I owe you?” He said, “Nothing, don’t worry about it, we’ll get you next time”
I said, “Thanks. See you in 2026.”
Wednesday the 28th
Unlike the last time we went on a driving vacation, we didn’t forget the phone on our way out of town, we forgot the charger for this trip to Texas.
We were in Alabama or Arkansas or somewhere when we noticed that the cell phone battery indicator had only one of four segments of the battery filled in. At the next gas station stop I perused the typical spin stand of cell phone accessories looking for a Samsung phone charger. There was one on the bottom level in a dusty plastic clam-shell that was priced at $15, so I bought it, along with our usual assortment of snacks and drinks.
That night at the hotel I pulled the charger out of its plastic and hooked it up to the phone. The Verizon logo flashed on the outside display and then went off, so I assumed it was charging up. We thought nothing else about it until several days later when the phone wouldn’t turn on. I tried the charger again. I tried it both ways, wall socket and USB from the laptop. Each time I plugged it into the phone the logo would briefly come on and the display would then go black.
We were in Natchitoches, LA and they had a Wally World, so we drove across town to get a charger there, this time not only looking for a Samsung charger, but one that was advertised to fit a Gusto 2 (SCH-U365.)I couldn’t find one that listed our phone, but I did find that they had one of our exact model phone for sale for $11.88.
So for three bucks lees than the first purchase, not only did I get the absolute correct charger for our phone, I got a spare battery and in case I decide to kidnap a co-worker’s dead palmetto bug again I’ve got an untraceable to me burner phone.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1363
Come On In
Tuesday the 17th
We left for Florida right after work on Friday. We had everything all packed up, so all we had to do was change out of work attire, fill up the insulated lunch box and hit the road. About a block away from home, as Donna ran through her internal checklist, she realized that she didn’t have earrings on. I offered to turn around, she initially refused as she had some packed in the suitcase, but then changed her mind. I circled the block and waited in the car while she ran inside to get a pair of earrings. A minute or so later out she came and off we went.
Fast forward to Monday evening around 7:00PM; as I pull into the driveway, returning home from Florida, we notice that the garage door is already up. Uh oh! Either thieves have broke in by hacking our number keypad on the outside and our house is empty of “valuables” or I just forgot to close the door that second time and the worst that has happened is a neighborhood stray cat has made a home in the laundry room. I went inside the house to check and see if the burglars were still there and Donna checked the mail. Her search was more fruitful, she found some mail and I found nothing missing.
It is nice to live in a quiet neighborhood in a small town.
Oh, and when Donna went to unlock the front door to go for her evening walk tonight, that’s right, you guessed it, it was already unlocked.
Are You A Member Of Our Loyalty Club?
Monday the 28th
Even though we did the weekly grocery shopping on the way home from Florida yesterday, we didn’t get the a menu planning done for tonight. When we couldn’t agree on what we wanted to fix, we opted to do the easy thing and go get something to eat.
Donna has been on a soup kick recently, so she suggested a trip to Atlanta Bread Company just down the street where they do a pretty good French Onion. I agreed, but suggested getting it to go, so we could pretend we weren’t eating out. She ordered a cup of the French Onion soup and a half a cubano panini. I selected a whole NY Hot Pastrami sandwich.
When the cashier asked, “Are you a member of our Loyalty Club?” I said, “Sure.” and gave her our home phone number. She scrunched her nose up and said, “It’s not coming up.” We tried the number again with the same results. So I gave the 9 digits to her again. “That’s funny,you are not showing up.” I say, “That can’t be, we just used it last Thursday night in Statesboro, GA.” Donna chimes in with, “That was a Panera Bread.”
Nice job, that’s like trying to use a your CVS loyalty card at Walgreen’s or your My Lowes card at Home Depot.
New To Math Too
Sunday the 17th
Friday night Donna and I ran the route for the MMC’s Bug Splat Rally that we were spearheading on Saturday night. The drive would start after dinner at Apizza di Napoli in Aiken and end up at a Sonic in North Augusta after 34 miles of zigging around. Most of the roads we were taking people on were familiar to us, but 2 of the dozen or so on the route, we had never been on before. We wanted to be sure there wasn’t any construction or surprises for us to stumble upon while leading a group of Miatas. Plus, we needed to make sure we’d recognize the turns onto the ones we had never driven on before.
When we finished our dry run up at the Sonic we thought maybe we would sample a bit of ice cream. You know, just to be sure the quality hadn’t suffered any since last year. Rather than sit in the car when at Sonic, we usually sit at the table and chairs out front where it is better for people watching. Both ordering stands had a group in front of them and after listening to both sets try and figure who wanted what for a while, our lack of patience for this sort of ineptitude from small family units presented with so many choices at dining establishments that they are overwhelmed, took hold and we left.
There was a Bruster’s Ice Cream stand just up the road, so we thought we’d give them a shot at our frozen dessert business. We got lucky there as the family grouping was already sitting about with their ice cream in their hands. Donna ordered a small chocolate in a cup and I ordered a small Almond Chocolate Coconut in a cup. Our young server ducked to the left, rang us up on the cash register and reported back with the total, “That’ll be six dollars and twenty-four cents.” I didn’t have enough ones to make it to six, so I handed her a ten dollar bill and said, “Wait, I’ve got some change.” I added a quarter to her hand.
I could see this young woman through the window as she struggled to make the change. She picked up some bills. She put some back. She picked up some coins. She put some back. Donna looked at me and asked, “What’s taking so long.” “She’s making change,” I replied with a lopsided grin on my face. She gave a look that I knew was going to lead to more anxiety for our hapless ice cream server, so I held up my hand to hold her back for a while. Server came back to the window with 3 one dollar bills, two quarters and a penny. Both of as said, “That’s not right,” at about the same time. She called someone over to help her out. After a minute or so she came to the window and handed me four ones and a penny. “Sorry,” she said, “I’m new here.”
New to math too, I thought, but didn’t say.
Happy Birthday From Officer Krupke
Saturday the 27th
It is actually fall around here, so for my birthday we were going to drive down to Folly Beach in an attempt to get a Moss Motoring Challenge photo of their fishing pier and to get some seafood for lunch on the beach.
We started our road trip today in the usual way, by going to the local DD and getting my coffee and Donna’s hot chocolate, when we left the parking lot it got slightly unusual. It was early, so there was very little traffic on the 5 lane Whiskey Road and it was still dark, so picking the spot to exit was easy. I waited out the two cars coming from the left that were close together and there were two more coming from the right that had a enough separation to get between, so I swung left, out between them and got in the far right lane because I was turning right at the next intersection about 200 yards away.
As I stopped at the light and prepared to make a right on red, that second car that I had got in front of, pulled to a stop behind me. It was a white car and I instantly recognized the headlight signature as that of a Dodge Charger, which probably meant one thing, city cop.
My blinker was on and the car behind me put his on. I turned right and moved to the left turn lane in preparation for my next turn. Sure enough the white Charger followed in step and when he got in the left lane, he lit ’em up. I hung another left into the back parking lot of the quick oil change place there.
We were in the Miata with the top down and as the officer approached the car, Donna “helpfully” told him it was my birthday and it was her fault we were going this way as she forgot something at home. I think our LEO was more nervous than I was because as he tried to explain why he was pulling me over he was stumbling over his sentences and was a little confused as to where I came from when I got on Whiskey Rd. He did get out that the reason we were gathered here together was that when making a left turn onto a multi-lane road you should enter the leftmost lane first before moving into the right one.*
I handed him my license, insurance card and registration and as he walked back to his car he said, “If everything checks out OK, I’ll probably send you on your way.” Well, of course everything checked out, so our friendly young officer reiterated why he pulled my over, then explained he was just giving me a warning, which generated the piece of paper he was giving me. He then wished me a Happy Birthday, told me to drive safe and sent me on my way.
I blurred out my driver’s license number in the image above (I didn’t do any of the rest of the info as it is already readily available elsewhere on this site.) I did change the name of our police officer** and blurred out his badge number as well.
*South Carolina Code of Laws, SECTION 56-5-2120. Required position and method of turning. Paragraph (b), Left turns … Whenever practicable the left turn shall be made to the left of the center of the intersection so as to leave the intersection or other location in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction as the vehicle on the roadway being entered. I’m guessing that if I was to get a ticket it would be for a violation of that bit of very confusing legalese. It is the only thing in the vehicle code that I can find that is remotely on point.
**to the first name that popped into my head, it’s from West Side Story in case you were wondering.
Like A Virgin, Touched For The Very First Time
Thursday the 16th
Every Thursday for the last few months Donna’s sister Sandy, her husband Paul and Paul’s mother Dottie have had a masseuse come to their house to give each one of them a massage. Because Sandy & Paul are in Miami right now leaving Donna and I to “babysit” 99-year old Dottie, Donna took Sandy’s place and I got Paul’s spot.
Back in the day when I was cycling a lot, a few of the guys in the bicycle club swore that after doing a long ride a massage was just the ticket to work out the kinks. After every Aiken Bicycle Club’s yearly century rides and at most other 100 mile fund raiser rides offered by other cycling clubs there was a masseuse available. I was only mildly curious as to what a massage would accomplish, plus I’m kinda cheap, so I never took advantage of the offer.
As payment for our “babysitting”, Dottie offered to pay, so I was finally getting that massage and I wouldn’t have to ride a bicycle 100 miles to get it. This was nothing like the 20 minute long concentrate on the legs post century massage though, but a full 1-hour deep tissue massage. Well, what did I think? It was not unpleasant. It was not the be all to end all in muscle relaxation either.
It is eight hours later and I still feel a little beat up in a few places. Maybe it is because Kelly used the same amount of pressure on me, a classic ectomorph that she uses on Paul, who is more of a mesomorph and 30 pounds heavier. Or maybe I am just like Mac from that old Charles Atlas body building ad that was on the inside back cover of the comic books of my youth.
Sunday the 9th
Friday, a dozen or so miles north of Yeehaw Junction on the Florida Turnpike, the Purple Whale rolled through its fifty first thousandth mile.
For the first time, in the dozens of times we’ve used the Florida Turnpike to travel to or from Palm City, we didn’t have to stop at a toll booth. We motored right on through, only slowing a bit. After listening to BIL Paul tell us of all the advantages of using SunPass for so long we finally decided to take the plunge.
There are two kinds of SunPass devices, a sticker for you window for $5 or a transponder for $20. We went with the more expensive kind for two reasons, the transponder has suction cups and can be transferred to different vehicles (and we have two) and Paul said that it would come with your twenty bucks back loaded on the device. Well, at least we got that portability thing. Maybe brother-in-law bought his transponder real early in the process or during a special promotion to get the $20 back on the unit at purchase time, we did not.
We did see, in our two trips using it, the other benefit he mentioned, saving a percentage off the cash toll price. On our trip home the toll using the SunPass was $11.04 instead of the usual $13.50. Plus we had saved another three bucks on a round trip to Miami. This means we are over a quarter of the way towards “saving” money using SunPass.
3rd Drone’s A Charm
Thursday the 11th
The other day when I broke my 2nd quadcopter in as many years after about a total of 2 hrs of “flying” both of them, I figured I would never get my Drone Driving License. I was moping around the house with a big ol’ sad face on when my wife took pity on me and said, “Oh, all right, go ahead and buy another one.” “But this is it,” she said, “three strikes and you’re out.”
I headed back to Amazon to go shopping. Last week when I bought a passel of K-Cups from them, they offered me a 30 free trial of Prime, I took them up on the offer. I was kind of surprised by this, because they did the same thing back in August when I bought the Kindle and I used it for 29 days then cancelled. I’ll do the same thing again, but first this will solve my having to wait a week or so for my next magnificent flying machine. All I needed to do is look for a little check mark under an item signifying that it was Prime Ready and two days later it would be here.
Started out looking to get another one identical to the recently my deceased drone, but couldn’t find it for the same low price and get it before Christmas too. Then I stumbled on a different model that already came with a built in propeller guard, something that should be very helpful with my spastic flying skills, for a little more than what the Cheerson CX-10’s were going for, the BangK CX-13.
The new one looks about the same size, i.e. real small, until you place them side by side. The CX-13 measures 1-7/16″ between motor shafts making the old broke CX-10 at only 1-1/4″, about 25% smaller. I’ve had it a couple days now, flown it quite a bit, crashed it quite a bit too, and I haven’t bent a single prop. Tomorrow I may venture outside where I have more room so I don’t have to panic and kill the throttle after drifting only a couple feet of course.