Archive forSeptember, 2017

Heading South or Southwest?

We’ve been contemplating a different route to Florida. Normally we hop on I-75 here in Saginaw and follow it all the way to our Sun City Center Exit 240. (We do take I-23 to avoid Detroit and a Macon, Georgia bypass, but other than that we’re on I-75.)

We’ve heard that heading southwest down I-69 to I-65 (through Indiana) before hooking up with I-75 south of Atlanta would help us avoid truck traffic. The only problem is that it’s further. I worked out the routes last night and found that it would be 1,323 miles to take the more westerly route while our regular route is only 1,280. Forty-five miles wouldn’t be bad but it looks like it would add an hour to our trip.

Seems that every year we end up in multiple traffic jams that slow us down for hours. If the traffic flows more smoothly, we might even take less time. We’ll try it.

I had a bit of a problem finding a room that would allow us to cancel until 4:00 on the night of our stay. Finally successful at a Quality Inn in Franklin, TN, the first night and in Valdosta, GA, on the second night. (Actually the Valdosta stop was already booked for our second night using the route straight down 75.)

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Today is Wednesday. We leave for Florida a week from Friday. We’ll have lots of packing to do next week.

I started loading things in the truck but we had record-breaking temperatures over 90 degrees for about a week. Today it finally cooled down!

Many of the items to be packed can’t be in high heat for extended periods, i.e. musical instruments, vitamins, make-up, etc. I have things ready to go, but I think I’ll wait until Sunday to put more in the truck.

John will be taking along two five-gallon pails of grape juice (for wine). He started the fermentation process, but it won’t be through “working” for a few more weeks so he’ll have to make sure the pails are vented as we travel south. The pails are very heavy and they’ll go in near the end of our packing, but we want everything moved into the truck Wednesday or Thursday.

Friday morning, the plan is to get up early and finish getting everything ready to go by about 8:00 a.m. John’s oxygen generator can’t be packed until last minute. The TVs need to be unhooked, coffee pot cleaned out, and water system drained and winterized, and bed made.

It’ll take about an hour to finish everything. Getting up at 7:00 won’t be bad but we’ll have a long day. If we do the trip in two days and leave at 8:00, we’ll probably be on the road the first day for about 11 hours! Which means we won’t arrive until about 7:00 p.m. If we stretch it over three days, we can will ride for about nine hours which might be more sensible because we’d be in our room by about 5:00 p.m. We’ll play it by ear.

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Fruit Flies

John’s been making wine from grapes he grew and paring apples for applesauce using our home-grown apples. The results are always great but the fruit flies are swarming. They’re too fast and tiny to swat but they sure are annoying. Love the wine. We enjoy the applesauce. Don’t like the flies.

John does everything he can to discourage them but nothing works. He’s put dishes of vinegar and dish detergent on the counter, put water bubblers in the spouts of the fermenting grape juice, and the kitchen gets scrubbed continuously.

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Finding Help

In the U.P. we found a guy named Guy who helps us maintain the property by taking down trees, etc. His service has really been a life-saver.

Our Saginaw property is a lot more work and John has tried to do it all himself. It’s too much for him (us). The past few years we’ve hired a lawn service to clean up our leaves after we leave for Florida, but there’s more than needs to be done.

Yesterday we found a fellow who helps our next door neighbors with their yard. His rates are very reasonable and today he’ll help John with a project he started last year (building a retaining wall maintain the lakeshore.) He may not be able to do the leaf clean-up, but John will see where he can use him.

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Preparing for “Next Time”

We escaped without any damage from Irma but next time we might not be as lucky. We will do something about our windows so we don’t have to worry. Either I’d like to see hurricane shutters that I can put up, or hurricane rated windows. We also need to find a way that someone can check on our place.

Eventually, I hope we aren’t going back and forth so the likelihood will be greater. I’m convinced that the global warming effect will create more events like Harvey and Irma.

And I feel it’s important to get a portable light-weight generator. John needs something to back-up his batteries. He feels that he could re-charge in the car and the need to store extra gas would be difficult.

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We came through Irma without damage

According to Helen Ann, the neighbor at the opposite end of our four-unit building, our place came through unscathed. We didn’t lose power, so our refrigerator should be ok. She said she has original windows and they held up fine. I’m sure ours did too. We’ll hear, if friends see anything wrong.

If there was damage, I was thinking about making a trip by myself. Instead we’ll proceed with our plans to leave here on the 6th and arrive by the 8th. Let’s hope it doesn’t get extremely hot because there could be a little moisture which would mean mold.

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Am I’m Going Crazy?

I’ve been watching things closely, using live feeds from the Tampa TV channels. As a result, I have created a strange mental state. I keep looking out my window here in Michigan and wondering why there’s no sign of the approaching storm. My anxiety is over the top!

I wonder if it’s normal.

Today is our anniversary but my concern over the storm has made me reluctant to leave home where I can watch the reports.

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Where are our weak spots, if the hurricane hits our condo?

Our condo has a great roof and has been checked for wind mitigation, so it’s probably safe.

We have a total of seven windows in our condo. Actually the one window is a 9′ sliding hurricane-proof three-panel door in the great room. It should be secure, but it has never been tested in a storm. There is another new window in the great room but it doesn’t have the same high rating against wind. It would probably do ok, since it meets new standards. That leaves five other windows. Two of them are tall and skinny and protected by the lanai roof. I don’t worry about them. But there is a window in each of the bedrooms. The one in the master bedroom is pretty good sized and it’s original. It faces west and could be vulnerable. The guest bedroom’s window is smaller, and faces east. The dining room has one about the same size as the guest room on the north side. Depending on the wind direction, I’m most concerned about the master bedroom window. It air leaks and should have been replaced when we did the great room. The dining room and guest room somehow don’t seem as risky.

John’s worried that our lanai, especially the addition without screens could lift up and we’d lose it. We have a really tall palm tree outside the dining room. It might be shredded.

For several years, we have been babying a bird of paradise plant. It’s about three feet tall and fragile.

Our “safe rooms” are the two bathrooms and the office. No windows and on the inside.

The garage door might not be very strong. It faces east.

If we have a power failure our refrigerator will go out. In refrigerated part we leave condiments, but the nothing that would spoil. The freezer area would have some protein so it might smell. It’ll be bad by the time we get there in 30 days. Maybe we can leave earlier. Or maybe we can pay someone to go in and dump out our refrigerator.

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Abandoned Condo

As Irma approaches, I’m glad we are safe in Michigan but I can’t help but feel that we’re missing something memorable. I pray all of our friends and every Kings Point resident is safe, but I feel almost neglectful and traitorous because I’m not there in my favorite community to keep my home safe and protected.

I love the people of Kings Point. Our condo is “home” to me. It’s my haven.

It seems that we should be there to protect our place. Probably there’s little we could do but it somehow feels we’ve abandoned the place I love most.

Our refrigerator was left running. There’s stuff in the freezer that will smell, if power is lost for any length of time. If we’d stayed behind, we’d have made ice blocks to keep it chilled. We’d be watching the vulnerable windows.

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Praying for friends in Florida

I remember when Hurricane Charley hit Punta Gorda, Florida, in 2004. I was a good friend of Mary Lou Orthey who lived on the Peace River in Punta Gorda. We exchanged emails as the water overflowed the river and created a mess. When the flooding got bad, she wrote that she was sitting in her living room watching the water rise. She said, “My feet are wet. The Peace River is flowing through my living room. Hope it doesn’t go any higher.”

There were several storms that year that came through Florida. Each one affected her with winds and rain. She finally headed north (to her son’s house) to get away while contractors rebuilt her house. Coincidentally yet another late-arriving storm diverted her plane when she was heading back to her Florida home. She really felt the storms had zeroed in on her.

I couldn’t help but think of Mary Lou’s situation when I heard that our good Florida friends, Sharon & Dave, had driven north to escape the approaching massive Hurricane Irma. I hope it doesn’t follow them and they are safe.

I don’t know what we’d do if we were in Florida right now. The storm is huge and if it goes down the center of the state, it’ll affect both the east and west coast. Folks in Kings Point, Sun City Center are battening down the hatches, hoping that it stays far enough east that Sun City Center is spared.

We’re following all the projected storm tracks. My concern is growing.

If you look at the above graphic, you can see where the storm is projected to be after midnight Sunday-Monday. Our Sun City Center condo is where the star is located. It won’t be a direct hit, but it’s undoubtedly going to create a mess. I hope our windows and screened-in lanai withstand the winds which are projected to gust to about 70 miles per hour.

It’ll be bad if we do have damage. I’m sure Richard, Bill, Jan, Ron, or any of our other full-time Kings Point friends would look in on the place for us, but if the storm hits Kings Point hard, they’ll have their own problems.

Our friends, Guy and Sharrie George, appear to be in a direct-hit zone just south of Daytona Beach. Guy is an entertainer at several outdoor tiki bars/grills/restaurants on Ponce Inlet. They were still open today, so I’m sure he hasn’t left yet. Hope they are safe.



Now the projected storm’s eye will most likely be more westerly. It now appears it’ll pass nearly over Sun City Center. It’s scary!

You can see the westerly movement has probably changed the impact on Sun City Center and Kings Point.

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Paperwork and accomplishments that don’t show

Yesterday I was a “paper work” day. I wrote out our three Michigan property tax checks and mailed them, found entertainment for the Michigan Club’s pizza party (February 20th), sent a reminder to my volunteer workers for that party, and completed the disclosure papers for listing our U.P. property with a realtor. I was busy all day but it looked like I’d been idle. Not so.

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I’ve done it again

Why can’t I resist a cute bargain purchase?

This summer I have purchased a floaty sheer top, a pink top, red top, and two black ones. They’re all types I’ll enjoy wearing at parties in Florida. I also purchased a nice pair of white slacks and two skorts (black and white).

I also purchased two dresses, a pair of black low heels, a pair of black every-day sandals, flat sandals that are really stretchy and some tan casual ones. Back on July 23rd on this blog, I posted photos of some of the tops and one of the dresses. The more recent purchases are also cute.

I already know I’m sorta disappointed in the dresses and one top, but the other tops, skorts and sandals will come in handy. (You always need to wear fresh items when attending parties so I’m set!)

When we head back, I’ll leave some of the older stuff but I’ll probably be taking back more items than I brought. That’s ok, but it’ll be hard to conceal my purchases from John who never pays much attention to my clothing until it comes to packing it all in the truck.

I guess I am never satisfied but at least I shop frugally. Most of the tops were $5-$10 and I got everything (even with the four pair of sandals) for a total well under $200!

I guess I really am a “cheap date.”

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