Friday, November 18, 2011

Washington can not be trusted to fix itself

The following article appeared in the "Hernando Today" newspaper here in Florida today. It was written by my favorite congressman, Rich Neugent....... We need more in Congress and the Senate like him.

By Rep. Rich Nugent

Ladies and gentlemen, your federal government is failing you and it is critical that you speak up about it.

Generations of politicians – from both parties – have avoided their responsibility to this nation. They have put short-term wants before the country’s long-term needs. The cumulative effect of this is a national debt that is now larger than our entire country’s economic output.

Both parties are responsible for it. Period. And it’s important that all Americans are honest about that. We cannot afford to postpone fixing the problem because of a desire to blame others. And that will be our choice this week when the House of Representatives votes on a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.

This is the first time Congress has considered such an amendment since it came up one vote short of passing in 1997. As you would expect, there are people in Congress today who were here in ’97. Some who supported it then are voting against it now.

It’s not because of any trickery or fine print. This Balanced Budget Amendment is what they call a “plain vanilla” version. It requires that Congress pass a balanced budget unless, in the case of a national emergency such as a war or natural disaster, three-fifths of Congress vote to temporarily waive the requirement to cover the cost of that emergency.

I’m not sure what those former supporters have seen in the last fifteen years that would give them confidence that Congress is capable of managing the taxpayers’

money responsibly. I certainly haven’t seen anything to give me that confidence.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the crux of the issue. Everyone would like to believe that Congress can be trusted to manage the country’s finances, but the facts scream otherwise. And it’s not just the facts of the last few years, or the last ten years, but rather it is the facts of the last hundred years.

Your government has been making promises to you at every turn with borrowed money and borrowed time. And after many years, we have started running out of credit and have certainly already run out of time.

Our choice today is whether we change the course of the country’s history or not. It’s a choice of whether we will guarantee our children a country they can afford to keep. And it is a choice about whether we want to control our own destiny or have it determined for us.

The President opposes this amendment and I submit to you that any member of Congress, Republican or Democrat, who joins him is continuing a decades-long record of failing to lead. They are continuing the status quo. Washington, D.C. cannot be trusted to fix itself. You must fix it and that starts with demanding that your leaders balance the budget once and for all.


Rich Nugent

Member of Congress

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Government Restrictions on Small Busnness's Growth

Being a small business owner for most of my adult life, I am especially sensitive to the hurtles that small business owners are subjected to in order to grow and survive. These hurtles become astronomical during an economic climate as we face today.

During the forty some years that I have been involved in various businesses, I have always been frustrated at how the government has continuously held me back due to many taxes, fees and ridiculous requirements and restraints.

My local congressman, Richard Nugent, gave his views on this subject in his “Situation Report” that I received today. I would like to share this with you.

Dear Friends,
  Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in an awards ceremony at the local UPS facility (United Parcel Service).  They were recognizing two of their drivers who have had no safety infractions or accidents of any kind after twenty-five years of driving for the company.
They asked me to speak at the event, so in preparation, I did a little research on UPS’s history.  As it turns out, it’s a pretty fascinating story.  I won’t get into the whole thing (UPS is over a hundred years old), but I do want to tell you about one chapter that I think is really instructive for where our economy is today.
In short, since its creation in 1907, UPS has been a pioneer in that industry.  Basically, they invented it.  In the early days, they were couriers running packages on foot around San Francisco, using bicycles for longer trips.  They were so efficient and reliable that demand grew pretty quickly and before long, they started buying a fleet of Model Ts. 
Year after year, demand for the company’s services kept growing and they wanted to expand their business.  But up until the 1950s, they’d mostly focused on delivering goods from retail stores to customers.  They’d kept themselves busy inventing conveyor belt systems for sorting and filing technology for tracking packages, but the better they got at their job, the more people wanted to use them.
In particular, individuals also wanted to be able to ship packages to other individuals.  Imagine Grandma wanting to safely send little Timmy a Christmas present in Iowa.  She couldn’t do it.  UPS could help.  But when UPS made the decision to enter that business, they were blocked by regulations from the federal Interstate Commerce Committee.  In short, UPS would have been in direct competition with the United States Postal Service and that wasn’t to be allowed.
The company wasn’t giving up though.  They spent the better part of the next thirty years fighting the federal government just for the right to deliver packages.  Finally, in 1975, UPS finally got the right to deliver door-to-door across America.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the drivers we were recognizing got a job with UPS just a few years after those regulations were taken down.  This isn’t to say that there is no place for regulations in our country (clearly the banks and others got away with things a few years ago).  But I do think it says a lot about the damage that frivolous, duplicative, and unnecessary regulations can do to job creation in this country.
UPS was blocked for thirty years – thirty years -  for no reason whatsoever, from becoming the world-leading American company that it is today.  Think about the thousands and thousands of people who are employed in this country who wouldn’t have been if the ICC hadn’t backed down in 1975.  Beyond that, think about all of the small companies all across this country who could not exist if they could not ship their goods to customers all across the country using a service as reliable and efficient as UPS.
Make no mistake about it, regulations like the one that blocked UPS still exist today.  It’s hard to know what we’re missing out on by not taking a closer look at the red tape we’ve got on the books.    All I know is, with double-digit unemployment in our area, and folks struggling to put food on the table, we don’t have a choice about ignoring impact of regulations on jobs.
One of the first things we did upon coming into the new Congress was to pass legislation requiring an inventory of all regulations and putting in new checks for any proposed regulations that would have a “major impact” on economic growth meaning more than $100 million cost across the nation.  The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee set up a website where small business owners could register their opinions about what regulations they can and cannot live with. 
It doesn’t come as any surprise that the compliance costs for federal and state regulations is more than four times more expensive per employee for small businesses than for large companies.  And since small business create two-thirds of all net new jobs in this country every year, that’s not a small drag on job creation, it’s a wet blanket that is suffocating a lot of small firms out there and some right in our area. 
As always, let me know what you think about all of this.  If you know any small business owners personally, or have a chance to chat with one when you visit their store, encourage them to reach out to me.  If I know the specific things that are holding their companies back, more than likely I can do something about it.  It’s plainly clear we can’t afford to have small businesses struggling when they should be growing and hiring more workers.  This economy will never recover without them.
Rich Nugent
Member of Congress

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Arthur Laffer makes a lot of since!

Newsmax ran this article today, and I think Laffer makes a lot of sense. I felt compelled to share this. Let me know what you think.......

Laffer: Obama Must Use Reaganomics to Save Economy

Wednesday, 10 Aug 2011 05:32 PM
By Martin Gould and Kathleen Walter
More ways to share...
The only way President Barack Obama can solve the nation’s economic woes is to adopt “common-sense” Reaganomics, the policy’s architect Arthur Laffer claims in an exclusive Newsmax interview.

Laffer said the White House called him in the spring and asked him to speak to Obama’s former Council of Economic Advisors’ chairman Austen Goolsbee – and he had told him exactly the same thing.

“Reaganomics would fix any economy that’s in the doldrums,” Laffer said. “It’s not a magic sauce, it’s common sense.

“You’ve got to get rid of all federal taxes in the extreme and replace them with a low-rate flat tax on business net sales, and on personal unadjusted gross income. That’s number one.

“Number two, you have to have spending restraint. Government spending causes unemployment, it does not cure unemployment.

“Number three, you need sound money. Ben Bernanke is running the least sound monetary policy I’ve ever heard of," Laffer said.

“Number four you need regulations, but you don’t need those regulations to go beyond the purpose at hand and create collateral damage. The regulatory policies are really way off here.

“And lastly you need free trade," Laffer said. "Foreigners produce some things better than we do and we produce some things better than foreigners. It would be foolish in the extreme if we didn’t sell them those things we produce better than they do in exchange for those things they produce better than we do.”

In the interview the veteran economist said Standard & Poor’s was quite right in downgrading the U.S. credit rating – in fact it should have done so far earlier.

The agency had no choice and if the other agencies, Moody’s and Fitch, don’t do the same they won’t be doing their jobs, said Laffer, who gave his name to the Laffer Curve which demonstrates that the maximum amount of government revenue does not come at the point of maximum taxes.

“If you had a company that had revenues of $2½ million and expenses of $4 million, with no change in sight, $1½ million in losses each year as far as the eye can see and it had already borrowed $10 million, what would you rate that company? I surely wouldn’t rate it AAA.

“That is the U.S. situation today," Laffer said. "Taxes are about $2½ trillion, government spending is about $4 trillion and we have about $10 trillion in net national debt. I don’t see that as being a AAA country.

“If the S&P and the others were doing their jobs correctly, they should have downgraded a long time ago.”

Laffer said he has no doubt the country will win its top rating back, but only when economic policies are completely turned around. He said President Barack Obama’s administration’s only economic plan seemed to be to expand government ownership of the means of production.

“They have nationalized the health care industry pretty extensively. They’ve done that with home building as well. They’ve tried it with the auto industry as well. So they have moved very, very deliberatively and purposefully toward extending the government ownership of the means of production.

“That to me, if you read the tealeaves, is what they are doing. It is not what they are saying they are doing, but that is what they actually are doing.

“People don’t work to pay taxes, people work to get what they can after taxes. It’s that very private incentive that motivates them to work. If you pay people not to work and tax them if they do work, don’t be surprised if you find a lot of people not working.”

Laffer said the current economic woes started to form under President George W. Bush but have been made worse by Obama’s policies.

“There’s a wedge driven between wages paid and wages received and that wedge is the tax/government spending wedge,” he said.

“That wedge has grown dramatically in the last 4 ½ years…under W and a Republican administration and…under Obama. Bipartisan ignorance has led us to this very disastrously desolate state.”

Laffer had high praise for the role the tea party has played in bringing the problem of the deficits to the fore.

“The tea party is not the problem, the tea party may well be the solution,” he said. “They are critical to the future of the country in a positive way. They are the only fiscally sound people I know out there all the time.

“I don’t know that I would go as far as they go on a lot of issues but I surely respect their movement very much.”

And he said any one of the group of Republicans vying for the party’s nomination for the White House would make “ a great president.”

“Tim Pawlenty is spectacular. Newt Gingrich knows more about issues than anyone you’ve ever seen. Michele Bachmann is out-of-sight wonderful,” he said.

“Rick Perry is second to no one in this stuff. If you look at Herman Cain, he’s phenomenal.

“Oh and (Jon) Huntsman was a great governor of the state of Utah and is a phenomenally experienced intellectual competent man.

“When you look at the Republican candidates, you see a group of people who are absolutely outstanding in attributes.”

© Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Sixty-Eighth Birthday Party

Part of the Gang

Although my birthday was July 27th (Wed.), we planned a birthday party with my daughters on Saturday July 30th. Three of my daughters came to Lakeland for the party, as well as Dodie’s youngest son, Joey, his wife, Renee and fourteen-month-old son, Wyatt. It was a thrill for me to get three out of my five daughters together at the same time.
I was in charge of the steaks; everyone else shared the load for the balance of the menu. I grilled fourteen Rib eye steaks on the grill. I have a large grill with five burners, and almost did not get them all to fit on.
Kathy, Marcene, Renee & Kim

Dan & Marcene Cooking Breakfast Sunday Morning
Wyatt Walking Ginger

Dodie Preparing her 'Country Cole Slaw'

The Grandkids Cody, Conner, Hailey, Allee & Tori 

We all ate way too much, but it was a great party. I couldn't have had a better Birthday! We decided that we are going to do it again next year, and try to get all five daughters there.

Monday, July 25, 2011

On Our Way Home

We left Dead Lakes County Park this morning, after staying there for over a week. We really enjoyed our stay. It was quiet and peaceful.

We arrived at Econfina River Resort around 3:30 pm, with time left in the day to kick back and relax. Knowing that it was 5 O’Clock somewhere (as Jimmy Buffet would say) I fixed myself a Bloody Mary. Life is good.

If you look closely at the picture of our motor home, you'll notice the "Sun Screen" that I installed the other day. Everyone needs one of these. It is absolutely great! I picked it up at Camping World before leaving on this trip, but didn't get around to installing it until the week at Dead Lakes. It helps tremendously to shade the patio area, it keeps a lot of the rain from coming in under the awning, and actually creates a Ventura effect that causes any air circulation to intensify through the under awning space. A word of caution, though..... I put the awning out after arriving today, along with sticking the two stakes into the ground, with bungee cords, then went in and activated the automatic leveling jacks. While the jacks were leveling the coach, we heard a loud bang..... When I went outside, both stakes had popped out of the ground. I found the stakes and one of the bungee cords a good twenty feet out from the motor home. I have yet to find the second bungee cord.

We will be leaving here in the morning, and driving to Port Richey. We are staying over there, in order to visit with Dodie's sister, Louise.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Congratulations Atlantis Space Shuttle and Crew

At 5:57 A.M. this morning, Atlantis’ last flight came to an end as its wheels touched down on the tarmac at Kennedy Space Center.

It was the 135th mission for the space shuttle fleet, which altogether flew 542 million miles and circled Earth more than 21,150 times over the past three decades. The five shuttles carried 355 people from 16 countries and, altogether, spent 1,333 days in space - almost four years.

After months of decommissioning, Atlantis will be placed on public display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex. Discovery, the first to retire in March, will head to a Smithsonian hangar in Virginia. Endeavour, which returned from the space station on June 1, will go to the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

NASA's five space shuttles launched, saved and revitalized the Hubble Space Telescope; built the space station, the world's largest orbiting structure; and opened the final frontier to women, minorities, schoolteachers, even a prince. The first American to orbit the Earth, John Glenn, became the oldest person ever in space, thanks to the shuttle. He was 77 at the time; he turned 90 this week.

I remember during the 60’s, when the Apollo program was in process, leading up to the Apollo 11 mission when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit. Five later Apollo missions also landed astronauts on the Moon, the last in December 1972. In these six Apollo spaceflights, 12 men walked on the Moon.

I was fortunate to have been directly exposed to the Apollo era, since my first wife’s parents lived in Cocoa, Florida. We met a number of the NASA executives involved in the program during cocktail parties, etc. Also, my in-laws owned a dress shop on Cocoa Beach. Their shop was directly across the street from Ramon’s Surf, an upscale restaurant and lounge frequented by the Apollo astronauts and engineers. As a result, I met a number of the key players in the Apollo program.

Note: Some of the facts I have listed above in regard to the Space Shuttle are compliments of Huffpost AOL News. Also, I obtained some facts pertaining to the Apollo missions from Wikipedia.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Obama's Burthday Bash......

I try not to push my political beliefs, but I felt compelled to share this article with you......

Obama Plans Pricey Birthday Bash on Default Day
Saturday, 16 Jul 2011 01:25 PM
By Martin Gould and Abigail Walls
As America’s poorest wait for Social Security checks that may never come on Aug. 3, President Barack Obama will be out celebrating a milestone birthday at a party where tickets cost up to $35,800 each.

Obama has chosen the first day of the potential default to throw his 50th birthday bash, combining it with raising money f or next year’s election. His actual birthday is Aug. 4.

Republicans are slamming the decision to have the party as “insensitive.”

“This really shows how unserious he is,” Republican Rep. Joe Walsh, a fellow Chicagoan, tells Newsmax exclusively. “I realize it’s his birthday, but he is a president who has said he doesn’t know if social security checks will go out that day.

“If that’s the case, I cannot believe he will be having a big party that very day.”

Obama said on Tuesday that he cannot guarantee that social security checks will go out from August 3 unless a deal can be reached on raising the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit. “There may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it,” he told CBS’ Scott Pelley.

Unless the deal is reached, government services across the board will be cut and in many cases closed down.

“My first thought was that he will have to fly to Chicago before the third because I can’t imagine airports will be open,” said Walsh. “And he’ll have to have a huge supply of candles because the lights are going to go out.

“I am amazed he will be able to have a party at all.”

Walsh said he hopes to be in Chicago on Aug. 3 himself to be with his family in case the calamity that Obama has warned about comes to fruition. “I just doubt I’ll get an invitation to the party,” he said.

Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson is expected to perform at the birthday bash at the historic Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. The event will be one of the president’s biggest fundraisers of the year. Publicity literature featuring a red, white and blue Happy Birthday logo has already been produced.

The event will be “multi-tiered,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The Hudson concert would cost $50; admission to the party $200; a premium seat $1,000; a souvenir photo with the president $10,000; and VIP seating and dinner with Obama $38,500.

Another GOP Congressman, Louie Gohmert of Texas was incredulous about the timing. “That’d be as crazy as setting up golf games in the middle of going after Osama bin Laden,” he said. “I’m sure he wouldn’t do something like that – or maybe he would.”

Obama has been leading contentious talks all week with leaders of both parties in the House and Senate to avoid the August 2 deadline. On Friday he warned of financial “Armageddon” if a deal cannot be reached.
© Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Changing locations

I awoke this morning to find gravel trucks and a grader working on the entrance road to Rustic Sands RV Park. It makes me wonder if they read my bog concerning the water standing in the park yesterday. I hope they fill the ruts at the RV sites themselves. Our site had water standing right outside the door, where you would like to have dry land, since they do not have cement patios.  

We pulled out around noon and headed back to the Gulf County camprgound, Dead Lake RV Campground, where we stayed last weekend. We like this little park. It is quite and peaceful. We'll probably stay here for several days before heading back toward home.

It has rained here most of the afternoon. In fact it just started raining again as I am writing this blog. At least the ground has good drainage, and we are not under water.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Side Trip to Fort Walton Beach

We drove to Fort Walton Beach to meet a couple representing Woodall’s Directory today. We drove along Highway 98 most of the way, and really enjoyed the scenery. It was a slow trip, due to the congestion, but worthwhile. It took 2 ¾ hours, I had estimated the trip at 2 hours. Luckily, I added an extra hour to our allotted timing, so we were not late for our meeting.
Dodie and I enjoyed the trip. We have never spent any time along this section of the Gulf coast. We decided that we would like to return in the future and spend more time exploring the area. Next time we are traveling west, we plan on allotting a few extra days and hug the coast rather than count mile markers on I-10.
On our return trip, we stopped and had dinner at a nice little restaurant called Mike’s Oyster Bar on Front Street in the Panama City area. I have been craving some good fresh seafood, and I got it tonight. I ordered a steamer bucket including crab claws, mussels, clams, oysters, shrimp, corn on the cob, and potatoes. They even threw in some sausage. We both ordered cheese cake, but had to take it back to the motor home for later. There wasn’t any room left for it by the time we finished our meals.
Rustic Sands has been a relaxing park for us to get some rest this week, but since it has rained every day, it has turned into an extremely muddy (actually wet sand with water puddles everywhere) park. They can definitely use some work on their interior roads and infrastructure. Both our motor home and Hummer are covered with dirt.
We leave here tomorrow, and are returning to Dead Lakes Campground through the weekend. Hopefully, I will be able to wash the motor home and Hummer, since they both look like we have been doing some serious ‘off-roading’.

Camping in the Florida Panhandle

We are currently staying in a nice, laid back park in Mexico Beach, FL. The RV Park is Rustic Sands. Mexico Beach is about twenty miles East of Panama City.
We pulled into Rustic Sands Monday afternoon and will be here until tomorrow. This is a region of Florida that we have not spent much time in the past, but it is a nice area, especially in the summer. There are a series of small, quant Gulf-side settlements lined along highway 98. It reminds me of areas in New England.
Yesterday, I spent most of the afternoon fighting a virus in my computer. My email account began sending out emails to everyone in my address book with only a link inside. My daughter, Marcene, called me after receiving hers, and let me know that when she clicked on the attachment her computer froze. Fortunately, after getting some expert help, they were able to get their computer back up and running.
I contacted Norton, my main security software, and after hours with their techs, solved my virus problems. For $99.99, they took over my computer and rid my hard drive of the virus. I thought the charge was a little excessive, but I know nothing about how to go about virus hunting. While they were in my computer they also cleaned everything up and it is running much faster now. That helps me justify the fee. Life isn’t all that bad.

Friday, July 8, 2011

My Apologies

I would like to apologize to you that have not completely given up on me as a result of my failure to make posts for the last three weeks. There has been a lot going on in our life that has distracted me. Among other things, I was diagnosed as having cancer in my number 9 rib. My Oncologist has put me on hormone injections. These injections are for the purpose of stopping production of testosterone in my body. This is supposed to kill the cancer cells. Hopefully, it will work. There are a number of side effects to the injections, and I am researching ways to counter them. If anyone has any knowledge on this subject, please let me know.
We left Lakeland in our motor home and are taking a couple weeks trip up into the Florida Panhandle. Our first night out, we stayed in Port Richey and visited with Dodie’s sister, Louise. We had a great visit. We had dinner at Lone Star steak house. We had filet mignons, and they were delicious.
After watching the TV coverage of the jurors’ verdict on the Casey Anderson trial, we left Port Richey and drove to Dead Lakes Park, a county owned park just East of Panama City, where we will be staying through Sunday night. It is a great little campground. We are among only three campers in the park, so it is nice and quiet. It is just what we needed in order to de-stress and relax for a few days.
We will be leaving here Monday morning and heading to Mexico Beach on the Gulf of Mexico for the next week before turning toward home and making a leisurely return. We will probably take several days on the way back to Lakeland.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day Weekend

My Dad, Paul S. Murphy, Sr.

I would like to start off this post by remembering my Dad. He was not only a great Dad, but also my best friend. I have many wonderful memories of him growing up. Here is a picture of my Dad around the time I would have been born. He was serving in the Air Force during WWII.

Joey, Renee and Wyatt arrived here Friday evening to spend Father's Day weekend with us. They arrived just in time to share the corned beef brisket I was taking off the stove. I slow cooked the brisket in the lower section of my steamer pot, putting cabbage, onions and potatoes in the top, steamer section, about an hour before the corn beef was done. I pulled my meat slicer out and shaved the meat as thin as possible. It melted in our mouths. Nothing better than good ole corn beef and cabbage. If I don’t say so myself, it rivaled any I have eaten at Wolfie’s in Miami.

We enjoyed a great visit over the weekend, and had a ball playing with Wyatt. He is walking now, and believe me, he keeps you hopping. He can now navigate about anywhere he wants to go. Nothing is safe from his grasp.

My Recliner Chair Arrangement

I was surprised by a knock on the door Saturday afternoon. When I went to the door, I was presented with a neat floral arrangement from three of my daughters (Kathy, Kim and Sandra). It was in a container that was a recliner chair, with a working footrest. It has a handle on the side that operates the footrest. After the flowers are gone, it acts as a remote control holder. Cool…
Click on the picture to see the details of the chair.

Also, a little later, both Joey and I received an arrangement from our spouses. It made us feel like special fathers.

My Dad's Root Beer Mug Arrangement

We had a relaxing day filled with calls from my daughters wishing me a happy Father's Day. It definately made all the years of parenting worthwhile.

We finished the day with steaks from the grill. The only thing that could have made the weekend better would have been if all our kids could have been here. Maybe next year.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Another business bites the dust

I received an email from an old friend I grew up with from my home town in Kentucky today. He informed me of a lumber company that is closing it's doors in August, after 131 years. It is sad to hear of so many businesses closing, due to the present economy. Unfortunately, it goes much deeper than just our current recession.... Most of the problem steems from a trend in "Big Government" that is only going to get worse if we don't stand up and do something about it soon. Here is my comment sent back to my friend.....

I'm seeing this happen more and more lately. Its a shame that so many old established small businesses are going by the wayside. There are so many obstacles for the typical small business today.... Multiple taxes, fees, licenses, employee benefits, etc., that the average business can not survive in today's economy.
And they wonder why our economy is on the rocks. If the average entrepreneur is not allowed to make a fair profit for his efforts, he will stop trying. When enough of them stop, who is going to support the masses who think they should receive a free ride. This is what will be the end of our free enterprise system as we have known it. What's left? Socialism?
Sorry, I just had to express my feelings.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Finally, I am recovering

I would like to apologize for my neglect on posting to our blog. I have been fighting Pneumonia for the last week. Fortunately, I have been able to stay out of the hospital. We had a supply of medication left over from Dodie’s bout with pneumonia a few months ago, so I gave myself breathing treatments with the nebulizer. This, along with Dodie beating on my back to break up the congestion, has finally cleared my lungs enough to allow me to function again.

Today was the first day I have been able to be active. Derrick, my lawn guy, came and mowed the grass for me. I’m still not strong enough to mow the two acres in this Florida heat, but I did accomplish a number of chores that I have been neglecting.

Last night, I grilled a couple filet mignons for dinner. We enjoyed the steaks, along with baked potatoes with all the trimmings. I even prepared some Béarnaise sauce for the filets. There is nothing like a great steak to make you feel better after being sick.

Hopefully, I will be strong enough tomorrow to start getting caught up on everything that I have been neglecting.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day week-end at home in Lakeland

Sunday morning I awoke at nine o’clock and went straight into the kitchen to pour my first cup of coffee. I found Renee and Wyatt out on the porch. Joey was still sleeping, as well as Dodie. I enjoyed visiting with my daughter-in-law, and playing with Wyatt. I can’t believe how well he is walking! Last time we saw him, approximately three weeks ago, he was just starting to take a few steps. Now he is walking all over the house. Nothing is out of his reach, lookout Mom…
After we spent the morning lazing around the house, Joey went out and picked up Chinese for lunch/dinner. I told him not to get me anything since I was not hungry, but by the time he returned with the food my appetite kicked in. Thank God, they give extra large portions. I had plenty to eat, some from each of the others meals.
After my lunch digested, and Granny was busy playing with Wyatt, I cranked up to mower and started mowing the grass. Since we have been traveling for the best part of the last three weeks, it was getting tall. I accomplished cutting approximately half of the two acres, and decided that was enough for one day, especially on a holiday weekend.
After a refreshing shower, I spent the rest of the day/night visiting and relaxing.
We were all up early this morning, mainly enjoying the baby. This was our last chance, since the kids had to leave around noon to get home and prepare for their workweek starting early tomorrow.
I was tempted to finish mowing the yard, but my aching back persuaded me to wait until tomorrow.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lynne, Styling Dodie's hair
On Thursday, Dodie and I both went to get our hair done. Dodie had her hair colored and styled, while I had mine cut. Afterward, we met Mike Cobb, CEO of ECI Development for dinner at the Riverside restaurant. It is an upscale restaurant on the outside docks at Regatta Point Marina in Palmetto, Florida. ECI owns three developments in Costa Rica, Belize and Nicaragua. Mike was an extremely personable guy, who gave us a lot of helpful information on what to expect if we decide to purchase property in one of these countries.

Friday, we had planned to have lunch with two of my daughters, Kim & Kathy. As it turned out, Kathy became extremely busy in her Florist shop (Oneco Florists), so we went by and visited with them at Kathy's shop. Kim helps in Kathy's shop a day or two each week and this was one of those days. We enjoyed a nice visit while everyone was busy designing floral arrangements. After our visit, we bought a used crib to keep at our house in Lakeland for when our youngest grandchild, Wyatt, visits. Then we had dinner at Duff's Buffett.

Saturday morning, we packed up and drove back to Lakeland in time to meet Joey, Renee and Wyatt at our house. They came to spend the long weekend. Joey and I put the crib together, and Wyatt loved it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Camping in Bradenton, Florida

We left Mill Creek RV Resort yesterday and headed home to Lakeland. We checked on the cats and the house, but ended up sleeping in the motor home in our yard. When I walked into the house, I found that the door to the room that houses our automatic cleaning litter box was inadvertantly closed before we left for our trip. The poor cats had no where to poop, so guess what happened. We spent about an hour cleaning up, but everything is fine now. We can't blame the cats, it was our fault that they could not get to their litter box.

Chilling at the campsite
This morning we hit the road again. We drove to Bradenton where we had reserved a spot in Arbor Terrace RV Resort. The park is right in the heart of town, but you would never know it while there. As at Mill Creek, our parking fee was reduced by 50% due to our CampClub USA membership. This definately makes camping affordable.
I called one of my daughters that lives in Bradenton and her and her family came over to visit us tonight. Kathy, Brent and Allee showed up around six o'clock and I grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. Her son (and my grandson), Cody was unable to come. Sorry we missed you Cody.

Rear, left to right: Cody, Allee and Hailey
Front, left to right: Evan, Conner and A.J.

Kathy brought me some pictures that I hadn't seen. One was especially appreciated as it includes my grandkids from three of my daughters. When Sandra was in Bradenton after our trip to the Keys, they rounded up all the kids and had their picture taken together. It is rare to get that many of them together all at one time. I will cherrish this picture.

Dodie and I have hair appointments tomorrow afternoon. Lynne, my hair dresser, has been cutting my hair for years. After moving away from the area a number years ago, I always try to come back to get her to cut my hair. Every time I go to a different hair dresser, they chop up my hair. It is baby fine, and very dificult to cut.

Then , we have a meeting tomorrow night. We plan to have lunch with Kim and Kathy on Friday.

It is always great to see my kids and grandkids.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Had to say our goodbyes

I started my morning off, as usual with a cup of coffee. Dan got his electric griddle out and started cooking a whole big batch of blueberry pancakes, so I threw some sausage on my grill. The pancakes and sausage made an easy, but delicious breakfast.

Dan & I working on some complicated strategy
Since the kids have to leave today, Dan & I checked out a few problems they are having with their motor home. The 30 amp electric cable was heating up considerably, mainly, I felt, due to the condition of the male plug on the end. It was definitely overdue to be replaced from a life under various voltages, not all up to the desirable 120 volt range. We cut the old plug off the end of the cable and installed a new Bakelite plug. (Much more desirable than the original rubber plug integrated into the cable that comes from the factory).

After our electrical engineering project was completed, we tested it out..... no hot cable anymore.... Yeh!! We had both worked up a sweat, so the two of us headed to the pool to bring our body temperatures down. It sure felt great after our labor in the sun. By the way, my outside thermometer is currently showing 99 degrees!

We came back from the pool and checked out his generator. It had cut out on him on the way here, making their trip miserable with no air conditioning. When we cranked it up, it started and ran without a load, but the governor was oscillating to an extreme. After the generator warmed up, it smoothed out to some extent, but was not running properly. I set the idle adjustment up to a little higher RMP and it settled down, so we turned on the A/C to put a load on the generator. It ran much smoother, and seemed to handle the extra load with no problem. Life is good…. They will have air conditioning on their return home.

Tori on her new bike

The gentleman that lives across the street from our campsites, yes (the one that brought to my attention that I was in the space backwards), was having a garage sale. He had a beautiful pink bike, with multiple gears, both front and rear suspension, etc. It was brand new with only one little scratch on it. Tori fell in love with it, so we went over for her to take a test drive. I bought it for her. My granddaughter deserves a sexy bike, right?

Skeeter, waiting for the food to come out

After relaxing for a short while, they packed up, said their good by’s and headed for home. The generator finally died on them before they made it home. Oh well, I thought I fixed it. I guess Dan will need to get a real mechanic to take a look at it.

Tori wearing her fake nerd glasses,
Skeeter relaxing in the shade

Ginger enjoying a day camping

Dodie & I have decided to stay over for another day. Who knows, maybe two more days. Life is good when you're retired.

Saturday at Mill Creek Resort

I climbed out of bed at 9:00 AM, poured a cup of coffee, and opened our motor home door to find Marcene, Dan & Tori sitting on the patio. It seems they have been up since 7:00. Wow, that's early for a day off!

We lounged around most of the morning before going to the pool to cool off. It was extremely hot today. The thermometer showed 97 degrees at 3:00. It was probably closer to 100 degrees mid-day, but I didn't think to look.

Dan, settling into the pool routine

Marcene & Tori, poolside

After our swim, Dan & I checked out his refrigerator. It was not working on 110 volts. Checking the circuits, we decided the problem was in the "Brain". I suggested that we hot wire directly to the heating element. As hot as the weather is, I doubt if it will freeze everything in the fridge even though it will be cooling constantly without the thermostat in the equation. At least their food won't spoil.

Later, after the world didn't come to an end as was predicted, I threw some rib-eye steaks on the grill. We had baked potatoes, Caesar salad and corn along with them. The steaks had been marinating since yesterday afternoon, and were extremely tender. I added a little bit of Jack Daniels to the marinade. Everyone thought the added flavor was a good touch. We finished off the meal, after a break to let our food digest, with key lime pie.

Life is good....


Friday, May 20, 2011

Visit with my oldest daughter

Dodie and I awoke this morning, loaded a few items into the motor home and drove an hour to Mill Creek RV Campground in Kissimmee, Florida. We met Marcene, Dan and Tori for the weekend. They have an Alumalite (by Holiday Rambler) motor home, so we decided it would be fun to meet halfway between our respective homes. They live in Palm Bay, FL. We arrived first, around three o'clock in the afternoon. I went ahead and did the registration for both of our rigs, since they would be arriving after the park office closed. During several phone calls with the park manager, Gordon Dickson, we became old friends. Gordon is one of those persons that you just feel close to after a few conversations. When we arrived at the park, Gordon proved to be all I was expecting him to be. You couldn't ask for a more obliging manager. He assigned our two rigs to adjoining lots, making sure that our space was positioned so Dodie wouldn't miss her satellite TV reception.

As I pulled up to our lots, Dodie suggested that we pull in rather than back in, as we are supposed to do. She stated that that would allow us to have our doors facing each other, and we could set up a common outside lounging area between our two motor homes. Although I understood her reasoning, I quickly let her know that it would be a total pain for me, due to the location of all the hook-ups.

I told her that I would think about it while I unhooked the Hummer, but was not really wanting to go through all the extra work to accomplish her suggestion.

When I finished unhooking the Hummer and returned to the motor home, Dodie brought to my attention that we were spending the week end for the purpose of visiting with my daughter and her family. "Don't you want to be able to make it easier for us all to visit?" Dodie was making a very solid point.

Guess what...... I pulled our motor home into the space rather than backing it in. After an extra half hour in the grueling Florida heat, I had everything set up. I had to fish the sewer hose under the motor home to the sewer outlet using the extension hose, had to get the extra electric extension cord out and had to get the extra water hose out. Well, it did work out, and we ended up with a neat common area when they arrived.

Gordon stopped by while I was getting everything set up to make sure that we were able to lock in on the satellite, which we were. He asked about me being in the space backwards, thinking that I did it to be able to get satellite reception. I explained to him why I had parked the way I did. He thought that it was a great idea, since we were going to have both motor homes there in adjoining sites.

Just as I finished setting everything up, the guy that lives in the house across the street (not a part of the campground) sauntered up to me. I turned toward him and said hello. He looked at me as if I had committed some horrible sin, saying "Do ya realize that you are parked backwards in that space, son?" After explaining my reasoning to him, he shook his head and walked away. Some people just don't understand.

After my ordeal with the set up, I was sweating and somewhat overheated, so I put on my bathing suit and went to the pool. It was great. The water was a perfect temperature, and cooled my overheated body down to a respectable temperature.

The kids arrived around six o'clock, and backed in to their space. After we got both awnings out, and all the chairs, etc., we had a great set-up. Life is good!!!

I threw hamburgers on the grill and we had a very enjoyable evening, and look forward to a great week-end's visit.