Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Dad, duck and cranes

Friday July 6, 2012
Quail Run Lot 15
Wesley Chapel, FL


Thursday I slog through the heat again. 

Not as bad as Tuesday but definitely not good.  I dread going out.  I wake up at 6am and think of all the excuses not to get up yet.  Of course then I come face to face with the reality that it is only getting hotter as I wait so up I get and out I go.  THANK GOODNESS for books on tape to take my mind at least somewhat off of how hot it is already.


We’re taking a road trip in Ruby today.

After a fairly quick breakfast we set off on the hour long drive across Tampa and the bay to my father’s house in Largo.  If you’ve been following along with us then you’ve seen my 91 year old father before.  He has macular degeneration and cannot see much at all but otherwise he’s in amazing shape and still takes care of himself in his own home. 

Today he needs some help with his banking.  Like many elderly folks he’s not terribly trusting so he will only let someone “in the family” help him with anything financial.   But he’s a hoot!!  When we get there I find that he has 25 checks to be deposited.  That’s right TWENTY FIVE.  Some are CD interest checks for as little as 16 cents.  What is the bank thinking??  It costs them way more to print the check and mail it.  I have to laugh.  Interest rates are definitely down for everything including his investments.  His largest interest check from his CDs is $1.27.  He also has 7 ancient traveler’s checks.  Do they even issue those anymore?  AND among the cash he wants to deposit, he has a stack of one dollar bills so tall the woman at Well’s Fargo who helps us with all of this takes them to the counting machine rather than count them herself.  Just too funny, the whole thing.


We fall off the vegan wagon at lunch.

Farmer's kitchen


We get his banking squared away and then he takes us out to lunch where we all have contraband burgers.  A nice change every once in a while for a vegan.  I think this is why David came along actually to get a bacon cheeseburger and fries.  Neither of us ever has any trouble eating the regular American diet the few times we decide to break our self imposed rules.  Guess our digestive tracts believe we are omnivores.  We eat at my father’s favorite restaurant The Farmer’s Kitchen in Largo which is really a sweet diner with great diner food.  We take my dad home and make our way through rush hour Tampa back north to Wesley Chapel.


Farmer's Kitchen2


When we get back I decide to check the mail. 

We’ve only been here 4 days and few people know the exact address but lo and behold, there is a 2nd Secret Santa present.  The return address on the envelope is just a street and a zip code but when I open the package I’m almost certain I know who sent it and when I check that zip, I know for sure.


quacking key chain 015A


Look at this GREAT ducky key chain.  And if you push a button on one of his wings he quacks as long as you hold the button in and a light shines out of his beak.   TOO TERRIFIC!!    Thank you Roxi and Annie.  This was a great surprise.  I just hope Moby isn’t jealous since this new ducky, to be named Roxianne,  of course will get to go everywhere with me attached to my keys.   Aren’t blogger friends just THE VERY BEST????


We have eaten a late and unusually large lunch (diners being what they are) so neither of us is hungry at our normal dinner time. We spend some time on the computers. I’m doing email and reading blogs.  I send a thank you to my benefactresses.   J  David  is dealing with his laptop which has decided to have some aggravating problems.  He spends the rest of the night troubleshooting it, finishes off the leftover Black Bean salad later in the evening and not too long after that we are off to bed.


Friday morning NO RUNNING whoopee!


quacking key chain 005


   It’s like a holiday.  So  I go outside to see just how hot it is and find that it is actually very pleasant if you aren’t running.  Not because the temperature is down but for some reason the humidity is.  So I set up in the anti-gravity chair with plans to do some reading until the heat kicks in.  David goes for a walk.


When he comes back he says he’s seen an RV wash/wax/detail company working on a rig in the park.  Hmmmmm  he goes back over to see what he can learn. 


I hope it wasn’t something we did.

I’m busy watching our neighbor being moved to a new site.  Dave retired from the military in 1995 and got a job with the DOD here in Tampa.  He works nights Monday through Thursday which is why we have seldom seen him.  He sleeps during the early part of the day and it’s been too hot to be outside in the afternoons.  He also does odd jobs for the park and has been here 4 years.  3 of them in the site next to us but today he’s moving.  Now the problem is they can’t get one of the slides on his Alfa 5th wheel to go back in.  They also have a hard time getting the jacks out.  Apparently he hasn’t exercised any of this in the entire 3 years.     It’s interesting to watch a whole bunch of guys trying to muscle things into submission.  They succeed partly and one of Quail Run’s owners comes up with a backhoe which has a hitch on it and off goes the 5th wheel with its slide out heading for another site in the newer section of the park.   

I’m trying to figure out why they would want to move him out of the shaded area into the newer open area which is more expensive and in full sun.  And why he would want to go if it costs more and his electric will be higher because of no shade.  Am I nosy or just curious?  I’ve been this way all my life.  Questions just pop into my head about everything.

While I’m thinking all of this, David returns to his chair on the patio.  He turns to me and says “well  look who’s come to visit.”  I look up and walking across the street are these guys.  I grab my camera.  No pics of Dave moving but I wouldn’t miss these two.  I’d heard something about resident Sand Hill Cranes here but since I hadn’t seen them in any of our walks or my runs around the park I thought perhaps they were just winter residents.  Apparently not.  I’ll have to go up to the office and get the scoop!  There’s that curiosity again.


quacking key chain 004A


Dave returns a couple of times to get stuff he’s had around his “yard” and then the spot is empty.  It’s about lunch time and I realize I’ve been sitting outside IN FLORIDA in JULY all morning long.  It’s just been wonderful to be able to be outside.  But the humidity is creeping up.  Temperature is only 84 which is a lot better at 12:30 in the afternoon than most places on the east coast. It was over 100 today in both Charlottesville Virginia and Baltimore Maryland.   I guess I’m glad now that I’m not back in Virginia.  Perhaps I’m glad we didn’t go to New England too since they also have an amazing amount of heat and the cost of campsites up there is significantly more than in Florida during the summer.  


The thunder starts rumbling about 3:45. 

Thunder talks and threatens for about half an hour but the rain never comes.  Too bad since it is hot and sticky outside.  We’re now paying for that nice morning.


dolly tires back on 001


We get the tires off the trailer and into the trunk of the car and David takes them over to get them swapped out for the new ones.  When he gets back we have dinner and then put them back on the trailer. I actually do help him with this but there isn’t anyone to take pictures of me doing the torquing to 120 pounds with my foot. The whole thing wasn’t all that difficult, just time consuming, and we are glad to have it out of the way.  Now we ONLY have the SRS light and the Check Engine light to deal with on the car.  SIGH………


It seems as soon as we get one thing taken care of another shows up.

I’m trying to figure out how we ever had any time to do anything like kayaking or hiking.  There seems to be no end now of problems that have to be dealt with including David’s computer.


computer problems 002


It’s 5 years old which is long in the tooth for a laptop but we aren’t in a position to afford to replace it and he will really have a hard time in the hospital for so long without it to give him something to do when he’s awake but can’t get out of bed.   Today the problems are worse.  He thinks it’s the video and then perhaps the memory but it’s really hard to test anything when the thing hangs up on you or won’t boot up at all.  We’ve got about 3 days to figure out what it is and perhaps another 3 to get whatever parts are needed to fix it before next Saturday when he’s admitted to the hospital. 

Looks like this problem is going to take over whatever else we thought we would get done in these last few days, but that’s life.

By nightfall we have a new neighbor 5th wheel in Dave’s spot.  For summer time, this place is really full.  I’d say close to 200 of its 295 sites have a rig or a park model in them.  Not all of the owners are here so there isn’t a lot of traffic,  but they are clearly paying for their rigs to stay here in their absence.

Perhaps we’ll meet our new neighbors tomorrow especially if we can sit outside in the morning.


  1. They removed a 5th wheel from next door to us yesterday. I wonder if it's your new neighbor?

    Can you break your Vegan diet for some scallops? Let me know!

  2. Just wanted to let you know I made the black bean salad last night and it was excellent. Didn't have roasted pumpkin seeds so used sunflower instead and added some Chipotle Tabasco. Think I'll use the leftovers for burrito filling. Thanks! (I won't comment on the burgers you ate!)
    Don't you have a bike? We found cycling to be the one thing we could tolerate doing outside in the Florida summers since you generate your own breeze. Of course there may be no good places to ride where you are staying.
    Hope you get all your problems fixed before David goes in the hospital.

  3. Ugh - I hate computer problems! Back in April, we ended up arriving at our NC base 2 weeks early so my son could fix ours. Never seen a sand hill crane - looks pretty cool! Hope you get yours fixed soon! Your blurb about your Dad and the checks made me laugh!

  4. Well, despite the heat you and David have been busy. I haven't been following you long enough to remember that your dad was nearby (then, again, it could be my one hour memory).

    I heard someone on the radio suggest not spending dollar bills as a form of forced savings. Looks like it worked for your Dad! Glad he's in good health. My mom had macular degeneration--I guess if we all lived long enough we'd all get it.

    I need to go back and read your blog from the beginning to find out what the "duck" connection is. I remember you have the two on your dashboard. Looks like Roxie and Annie were paying attention. You didn't know you had a fan base, did you? :) I'm glad you had another visit from a secret Santa.

    Birds just seem to find you. Who has two such beautiful cranes just stroll through their campsite? Is there water nearby?

    Have you and David considered an iPad or a tablet? I'm sure David has all his data backed up, so depending upon what he will be doing from the hospital it may be cheaper in the long run and more reliable than fixing the lap top. It's light and easy to hold, too. Just a thought.

    My daughter returned from Denver, yesterday, and she said it was very hot, so you're not alone with the heat. In fact, somewhere in Ohio is going to be 108, today. We broke several records during this heat spell, too. Susan did get to spend 2 days in Breckinridge where it was jacket weather. Oh, how I miss the mountains of the west.

    You and my daughter would get along great. She runs and works out no matter what the weather. I admire people who have that kind of discipline. I was on the wrong line when they were handing it out. She must have gotten it from Rich.

    I can't imagine parking in the sun in Florida. Has to be unbearable. I guess your ex-neighbor has no plans to travel, again, in as much as he was moved with the slide out!

    My son lived in Tampa for 2 years (job many years ago) and the heat was oppressive. The only good thing about visiting in the summer was seeing him.

    Well, I've gabbed enough this morning. Look forward to your next post.

  5. I feel sad that so many full-timers don't travel to the Northeast because of heat and expense. It can get warm, but the seashore stays cooler, and yes, its more expensive to camp...no dispersed camping in the east, or its very hard to find. But their season is short, especially far north, and they do need to make a living. And its a beautiful area, just like everywhere else, especially the small seaside towns, or fall leaf-peeping season. I am partial, having lived 50 years just south of New England, on Long Island, but we chose to do most of our camping weekends in New England. I guess I'm a sea baby at heart..but lovin' the mountains this year :-).

  6. Your Dad story reminds me so much of my Mom;o))) Just set in their ways!!

    You are really lucky to be where you are this summer. It gets hotter and hotter the farther north you go;o(( We hope it breaks by Wednesday, so we can get out and try some of the bike trails.

  7. Your dad sounds like the kind of people I grew up around in Cincinnati. Very saving folks! The only reason I can think of why someone would want to move from a shaded spot into the sun is because they want their satellite to work? Give me the shade any day and I'll give you my TV!

  8. When I fall off the wagon, I'm amazed at how in-stride my GI tract takes it. Because, you know, when we fall off, it's not by eating a bite of broiled free-range chicken on an organic green salad.

    Roxianne! Tee hee! That's what some people call us, because they get confused about who is who. Like Brangelina or the former TomKat.

  9. How nice to have a secret santa :) As healthy as we've been eating, once in awhile the bad girl in me wins...last night we went out for Mexican food and a couple cervesas :) Oh well..I still feel good!

    Glad to see David at least feels well enough to work on a few issues. Keeping you as ever in our prayers!

  10. Hi Sherry
    I have a NOOK Tablet and it goes with me everywhere. I even do my banking on there. Only thing I can't do is add software to it. I read, play games, write etc. It might be an option til something better comes along.

    Aren't secret pals fun? Your ducky key chain is cute. Nice you figured out who gave it to you. What is the connection about the duck? Now in Oregon Ducks are a favorite college team (Unless you're a Beaver, then its Black and Orange colors.

    Sand Cranes..........I've never seen one except in pictures. Glad you can be closer to your daddy.

    You are in our prayers,

  11. Those are the Florida subspecies of Sandhill Cranes. They don't migrate. I wonder what happened to their young, unless of course they are not old enough to breed yet. It takes about four years or so.

    What a hoot about your dad. I'm glad to hear he can remain independent. I think we all get a little quirky as time marches on. :) Except me of course. I'm the only person I know that doesn't have a screw loose. LOL!

  12. How thoughtful of The Good Luck Ducks to send you a ducky key chain. That sure brightened up your day!

    My hat's off to you as you continue to run in this heat. You go girl!

  13. No dear, you are not nosey, but you are very, very curious. That's why you know so much! It is a blessing. ;)

  14. So how did that burger sit? I haven't eaten meat or dairy for well over three years. Hub tried a bison steak a while back and he said he felt like he'd eaten a brick. No energy while I was raring to go. He does eat seafood though, so he's a pescatarian.

    Love the duckie key chain. That was very thoughtful of Roxi and Annie.

    Glad your father is still able to get on by himself. I was the caretaker for my mom for two years before she passed at only 74. It was one of the hardest jobs I've ever done.

    Stay hydrated!

  15. I don't know which was shinier, Winnona or your smile sitting out and enjoying a nice morning.

    You sure are staying busy, so nice to be close to your dad and be able to help him out. Even if you had to eat a burger (burp!). ;c)

  16. I am pretty sure I could be a vegan; definitely vegetarian. But the idea of being able to cheat once in awhile is especially enticing :) Rick, on the other hand, would never consider such a dramatic change :) Until I talk him in to it, of course :)

    Chuckled at your "dad" story. I think my Mom does the same thing. Luckily, she's still able to take care of those things herself. I know the time will come though...

  17. My dad was a hoarder...and money was squirreled away in lots of places. Not a whole lot, but it was an interesting process going sorting through his "stuff" after he passed. We never knew where a little "surprise" would turn up. Not the mattress, though. :-) Those tablets are priced very reasonably...is that a possibility?

  18. I second Dad's comment as to your 'noseyness' :) Lovely bird picture! And, hilarious about Grandfather - 25 checks and so many $1 bills...goodness - he is a hoot! I like that shirt/dress you're wearing in picture with Roxianne - not sure I've seen that one before.

  19. Fixed your black bean/corn/avocado salad Sunday, it was GOOD, eventually was able to keep it down :) even the Son liked it, still eating on it and i only used one can of beans NOT two!!


Your comments are the best part of this blog for me.
I LOVE hearing from you!