Thursday, June 29, 2006


I was still in bed this morning at 7am when Dorothy informs me of a leak in the kitchen. I was in the bath room washing up when she came back in and said, "You'd better hurry!" Now, when she told me about the leak the first time her tone of voice made me think it was a drip, drip kind of leak. The second time I thought, "Uh, oh. This could be serious". The water was spraying out into the kitchen floor from the dishwasher supply line. I turned off the hot water at the tank and evaluated the situation. One of the plastic fittings was cracked. That shouldn't take long to fix. I took off the fitting and took it to town and found a replacement. I put it on using ample teflon tape to seal the threads, and it leaked. So I reevaluated the situation. All that section of pipe and fittings were at least 15yrs old, dating from the time I installed the dish washer, so I cut out the entire section of pipe and fittings and back to town I went. I installed a new section of pipe, fastening some with a pipe wrench, and gluing others together with PVC glue. It leaked. So I re-re-evaluated the situation. I think one fitting was put together without enough glue, so I cut that section out and back to town I went. Well, I brought back the proper fitting plus some PVC primer that I should of used earlier. I slathered those fittings with primer and lots of glue (I'm still pulling the dried up stuff off my skin), tightened the teflon taped threads with all my might, waited about twenty minutes, turned on the water, and laid there in the floor staring at the pipes, just dreading the sight of a bead of moisture forming and dropping to the floor. Convinced that it had finally worked, I got up with great difficulty (my knees and back were aching) and looked at the clock. It was 6pm. I had spent all day, up and down, cutting and gluing, driving to town three times. I'm tired!

The grey pieces are the offending fittings and below you can see the replacement apparatus after a successful installation.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

quote of the day

History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.
--Abba Eban

what i'm reading now

Uncommon Carriers is a book by John McPhee describing the vehicles used for moving freight from the over the road 18 wheelers to trains, freighters, and barges pushed up rivers by pilot boats and and the character of the people who drive them.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

making progress

It's been 10 weeks since my gall bladder surgery and this week I've passed another milestone (not gallstone). Yesterday I worked in the garden, mowed the lawn, did laundry, cooked lunch, and then after lunch I went out and worked some more, cutting up limbs and running them through the chipper/shredder and using the resulting mulch around the pepper plants. Until this week I could work until noon and then it was the recliner for the rest of the afternoon. So I feel good about my renewed stamina. Whoever said "old age is not for sissies" was right. It's hard getting back into shape. So, I've set some goals for myself. I'm going to walk more and start working out with weights to get rid of the pounds that accumulated during my convalescence. I suppose I could eat less, but I'll save that strategy for a last resort.

Note: We saw our grand daughter Sam today. She showed us a bruise she got from falling off a skate board. I warned her of the possibility of broken elbows and knees trying to maneuver those things.
She just replied, "But, having bruises from skate boarding proves that you're hard core."
"Hard core?", I replied.
"Oh, well, since you put it that way."

Monday, June 26, 2006


This is what my garden looks like these days.
I cut these limbs from some Mulberry trees that were blocking the sunlight from my zuchinis........ and turned them into mulch with the help of my chipper/shredder......
then mulched my pepper plants.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

interrupted haircut

Dorothy was cutting my hair last night.
Lizzie was afraid she would be next so she was trying to hide behind the sofa cushions. In the middle of the haircut I was paged out to a motor vehicle accident two miles west on the highway. I and two other volunteer fireman responded and started traffic control while we waited for the law enforcement and ambulance to arrive. The accident happened on a curve so two of us directed traffic with the use of radios keeping the highway clear using one lane. I got back after nine o'clock and sat down while Dorothy resumed the hair cut.

Friday, June 23, 2006

additional travel notes

When Dorothy and I traveled to North Carolina two years ago I ate biscuits and gravy every morning at a different restaurant. I thought since we were in the south I'd get some that tasted as good as Dorothy's. No such luck. Dorothy blamed it on the practice of restaurants in using a commercial gravy mix instead of making their own. Well, I was disappointed. This time I stayed away from the biscuits and tried to order something different each time. Part of the pleasure of traveling is finding good food to eat. Sometimes that's like searching for buried treasure. We found three good eating spots this trip. A&R Bar-b-Que in Memphis, the Petunia's Pain Perdue (french toast) at the Tupelo Honey Cafe in Asheville, and the mexican-jamaican fare at the Salsa Mexican Caribbean restaurant, also in Asheville.
We had heard how North Carolina barbecue was really tasty, but it fell far short of the Memphis style. The NC sauce was heavy on the tomato sauce and vinegar, while Memphis sauce is heavier on the molasses and hot spices.
Another place we enjoyed was the Mackey's Ferry Peanuts in Jamesville, NC.
They prepared the lowly peanut in every way possible, french fried, blister fried,
flame-thrower peanuts, old fashioned parched, dry roasted, and sugar coated. They also had excellent peanut brittle. I took some with me.

Before we left on the trip, Dorothy and I told our friends and neighbors where we were going, said good bye, we'll see you when we get back. Our grand daughter Sam kept in frequent contact with all her friends. Her cell phone was hot with activity all during the trip. When we arrived back at Fayetteville we stopped at the Hogwild Pizzeria for one last meal together before splitting up. Sam was on the cell phone and in ten minutes her best friend Christie showed up and they were soon gone. Lot's of things to do that evening. Dorothy and I were anxious to get home and fall into a familiar bed. Am I envious of the energy level of the grandkids? Not really. I'd rather fall into a familiar bed with Dorothy on a Saturday night than try to keep up with the youngsters.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

homeward bound

Traffic stops on the bridge over the Alligator River to allow a boat to pass.
The part of the roadway the vehicles are on is the swivel part of the bridge that swings out to allow boats to cross.
Does this remind you of the old movie "The Body Snatchers"? It looks like the truck is about to lose its load of pods. Or are they huge dinner rolls? It was actually a picture painted on the back of the truck.
On our way back through Asheville, we stopped and photographed this unique pizza restaurant. Note the bowling balls embedded in the rock wall.

East of Memphis we met thunderstorms. Here we cross the Mississippi River bridge into Arkansas with very little visibility.

A break in the rain and some blue sky.

Here we are parked on the shoulder. It rained like this most of the way across Arkansas.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

kill devil hills, kitty hawk

Sam and Rachel are ready for flight.
This monument to the Wright brothers sits atop Kill Devil Hill, a 90 ft grass covered dune just south of Kitty Hawk.
Orville and Wilbur would fly their gliders off this hill. The dirt path below is where their first motorized flights took place. To the right you can see the Atlantic Ocean and off the left of this photo is the Albemarle Sound.
Sami faces the Altantic as she prepares to take flight from the monument.
After Kill Devil Hills we drove south to the Bodie lighthouse. This lighthouse still functions today with a 1000 watt bulb.

the outer banks, nags head

Leaving Chimney Rock and the mountains we travel a wide asphalt swath cut through the hardwood and pine forests of the piedmont. Near the coast we drive through tobacco and peanut farms. Skirting the Dysmal Swamp we drive past turtles sunning themselves on logs and signs warning us to watch for bears and red wolves. We cross the Alligator River, the Alligator Wildlife Refuge, Roanoke Island and finally arrive at Nags Head on the Outer Banks. Crossing the Alligator River
Over the bridge to Roanoke island. This is where the first English settlement was founded. Also this is the birthplace of Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the new world. The Roanoke settlers disappeared and there is very little evidence of their fate. Some say they were killed by the indians and some historians have found evidence that they escaped the island and mixed with friendlier indians in Georgia.
The girls prepare to soak up some sun.
Sami scopes the beach for hotties.

Our room is top floor, third from right.

chimney rock, n.c.

We drove east from Asheville over the Hickory Nut Gorge to Chimney Rock. This is where they filmed the movies "The Last of the Mohicans". It's a stone mountain rising up one side of the valley with the chimney protruding from the sheer face of the cliff.
Sami surveys the scenery. "This is surreal", she says.
From the parking lot we walked through a tunnel into the mountain and took an elevator 26 stories up to the rock.

Dorothy and Rachel wouldn't go up the wooden stairs with us to the top.
Rachel wants to keep as far away from the edge as possible

Monday, June 19, 2006

asheville, north carolina

As we leave Tennessee behind the Great Smokies rise ahead of us. North Carolina, a beautiful state from the western mountains to the eastern seaboard. Nestled in the mountains we find Asheville, a small town with a big city attitude. Trendy restaurants, art galleries, and interesting street people made this a high point of our vacation intenerary.

The Biltmore Estate, finished in 1892 is still the largest home ever built in America. It belonged to the Vanderbilt family who made their fortune in shipping and railroads. It is still owned by their grandchildren.

This wisteria vine must be a hundred years old.