Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Started the latest project - painting the front of the house - earlier this week. 
So far, I've only been able to powerwash it and start the chipping and scraping of the old peeling, blistered paint.  We've had a few rainy days this week.  Today is another one and tomorrow is predicted to be another one again.  So Monday will be the next day I can get outdoors and work on it some more.

I've already bought the paint.  It'll be roughly the same color again. . . .  I figure it'll cover better that way.  Don't know if I'll paint the other sides of the house as well, but I started a small bit of powerwashing on the garage-side side of the house and it made a big improvement.  If I can get by with only powerwashing the sides and not painting them, it'd be great.  Gotta see what it looks like after fully being powerwashed and will then decide if I'll paint the sides as well.

I'm going to the Fire Island Lighthouse tomorrow - for my volunteer job - anyway.  They're having a car show there, which I hope will  not be rained out.  I want to take an 'extended lunch hour' to go see the show, and maybe take some photos to post here.

Here's the progress on the home project so far:

The "Before" photo.  You can't see it in this photo because the photo was taken from so far away, but there's a lot of blistering & peeling paint on the 'kitchen-windows-side' of the house, including on the shutters there.

 The garage side, after taking down the light fixture and flagpole.  Won't be necessary to chip and scrape old paint on this side since there's no peeling or blistering on this side.

Kitchen side, after removing mailbox, light fixture and shutters and having started the chipping and scraping.  Still need to chip and scrape the areas to the right of the windows, & above & below the door.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Home Again

Got home last night.  It was a great two weeks in Florida. Since my last posting here, I did a lot more.  Jane and I went to a South Pacific-style restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, the Mai-Kai.  Jane's friend Sherry's son - Jeremey - performed in the stage show there.  For a 10-year-old he had all the right moves for a Polynesian dancer.  The show included a bit of fire-play by two of the performers, spinning huge double-ended torches to the beat of the drums.  It beat the heck out of the "Fire-nesia" luau I went to in Hawaii two years ago, if not for the acrobatics then for the indoor fire stuff.

One day Jane and I went to the Fort Lauderdale Historic Society's museum near the RiverWalk area there.  Most of it is in the original New River Inn that had been built in the early 1900s for travellers on Flagler's Florida East Coast railroad.  Interesting displays and stories of the early days and how the army pushed the native population out. . . .  a not so nice part of our history.  Nicely preserved, too, is the King-Cromartie house, which we also got an individual tour thru - with our guide, Tim, a very good story teller.

We also went to the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum.  The museum was all Packards.  The fellow who collected them was a florist shop owner in South Florida.  I was very impressed and learned a bit about the history of Packard cars and of some of the more unusual accessories that were on them (one of them was a hood ornament that also served as a radio antenna - quite inventive).  Among the cars was one that at one time was owned by Marjorie Post, for whom the town park back in Massapequa at the corner of Unqua and Merrick Roads is named, and who was the heir to C.W. Post's fortune (yes, daughter Beth - THAT C.W. Post, the guy who founded your Alma Mater and who founded Post Cereal).  Another one of the cars was reputed to have belonged to Clark Gable, but they have no documentation to conclusively prove it.

Packard modified a World War I troop-carrier truck to provide a fleet for this Canadian company

What kind of beer is that?

The antenna hood ornament

 Marjorie Post's Packard

On Monday, the 17th, I drove up to Port St. Lucie and Stuart.  Met with a real estate agent and toured two 55-and-over communities in West Port St. Lucie - King's Isle and Cascades.  I was more impressed with Cascades than with King's Isle, but for now I don't know if I'd want to move-in to either.  I also visited my dad's cousin, Mary Musina in the afternoon and then went to dinner with Maureen and Winston Hamilton at The Dolphin Bar in Jensen Beach (it used to be owned by Frances Langford - an old-time actress who often performed with Bob Hope - and the old 8x10 'glossies' of her and a lot of other actors and actresses who frequented the joint some years ago were still on the walls there.)  It was good to see and talk with Maureen and Winston again. . . .  Maureen was very encouraging about my moving from New York to Florida.  She and Win have been there 10 years now and are very glad to have made the move.

 Cassie, Maureen, me and Win at The Dolphin Bar in Jensen Beach

On Tuesday, the 18th, I picked up Aunt Helen and Uncle Alfred at the airport and brought them to their condo in Kingswood.  We aired the place out (it's been nearly a year since they were there), then went to dinner at Carrabba's on U.S. Route 1.  After dinner - when we returned to the condo - I worked on replacing the screening on their storm door.  Turned out to be more of a project than I had planned. . . .  I couldn't find the right type and size of spline to use to pinch in around the edges of the screening and it took me 3 trips to Home Depot before I finally got it right on Wednesday morning.

Helen and Alfred are doing well, but Alfred does have some trouble with balance.  He refuses to use a cane and sometimes falls as a result.  He took a minor spill while I was there, but he bounced right back to his feet with a bit of help from me and Bud, their maintenance man, who happened to be right there at the time working on charging up the battery on their car so that they could restart it (it had been sitting idle for all the time since their last visit).

I cruised around Stuart a bit that day, too, before leaving to go back to Pompano Beach again. . . .

 My brother Gerry and his Maureen's old Jensen Beach home

Downtown Stuart

House of Refuge, out on Hutchinson Island

Just a splash on the rocks, near House of Refuge

The gateway to Stuart (or Rio, depending on your approach)

The Lyric Theater, downtown Stuart

Downtown Stuart

One of the bridges of Martin County (across the St. Lucie River), seen from Stuart

The Sailfish fountain
 The waterbearer fountain, downtown

Jane took me to a photography art show on Wednesday.  We chatted with the two photographers. . . .  the work of the one reminded me a bit of son Jamie's occasional Facebook postings - where he snaps photos of unidentifiable stuff and leaves it to the viewer to figure out just what it is.  Well, when Jane told me that 'barka' (the word was included in the titles of all his photos) is the Spanish word for tree bark, I then realized what I was looking at.  But all of the photos were so different from each other that I still had a hard time visualizing how the different patterns of the tree bark in each one of them could possibly be just plain old tree bark.

I also went to so many restaurants the past two weeks that I lost count.  All were great.  Jane has a knack for choosing some of the most interesting places with some of the best food.  She knows the better 'mom and pop' shops around town - we had some varied fare at both some of what I'd call 'upscale' establishments as well as some 'blue collar' places.  And all of them had the tastiest and most mouth-watering food anyone could ask for.

It was a terrific two weeks.  But now I've got to get back to reality here.  Going from the high 80 degrees to New York's 50s when I arrived last night was a shock to my system.  I unpacked, went to the supermarket and caught up on the mail today.  And tomorrow, it's back to Fresnel Lens Building duty.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Greetings from FLORIDA

Okay, so I've been in Florida for a week now and figure it's about time I updated my blog. I arrived here last Friday morning and friend Jane has had me on a whirlwind tourist agenda ever since.  We went to a beachfront concert in Pompano Beach that Friday night - a great "Southern Rock" group called Blue Fire (  They're phenomenal, especially the gal fiddler. 

On Saturday, we went to Hillsboro Lighthouse with Jane's friend Louise.  Jane and I climbed to the top and I - of course - spent some time chatting with the two fellas at top who were the guides for the day there.  View was spectacular. . . .  You only get a small idea of what the ocean looks like from ground-level, but from up in the lighthouse you really appreciate how clean and beautiful the ocean is here.

I've been getting up a bit early nearly every morning I've been here. Some mornings I've had breakfast on the balcony of the motel and watched and photographed the sunrise over the ocean. Jane has supplied me with some of her homemade yogurt and I've mixed-in strawberries, raspberries and bananas.  It's great to sit out on the balcony and enjoy that for breakfast as I watch the sunrise.

We also went on an airboat thru the Everglades the other day.  Alligators and turtles swam right up to the boat. They also had a small zoo of local wildlife at the place. It was fun. . . .  I even got to hold a small cayman alligator in my hands.  I said "I hope he's been fed today" before I realized he had some electrical tape around his nose.

We've gone out to lunch and dinner quite a few times. On Tuesday, Jane took me to a nice restaurant - The Sea Watch - for dinner for my birthday.  She had Mahi-Mahi and I had broiled scallops.  Melt-in-your-mouth tasty.  The view of the ocean - as well as that of my nice hostess sitting across the table from me - was very enjoyable!

On Wednesday Jane and Louise and Louise's friend John and I went on a catamaran sunset sail into the ocean near Fort Lauderdale.  Saw a lot of waterfront mansions and yachts. . . the young fella at the helm rattled off the names of a lot of famous folks who lived there.  Best part of the sail was when we got out onto the ocean and under sail.  The cat pitched, rolled and yawed like a slow roller coaster. It was funny, too, that we met a couple - one-year marrieds - from Germany and found that they had only the day before also taken an airboat ride and would be visiting Kennedy Space Center (like US) on the following day and that they'd also be flying up to New York to see the city. The young fellow told me that they'd be staying at The Edison Hotel in NYC and I told them that I had only just walked past that hotel last _week_ (cousin Patricia and I went to the city a week ago Wednesday to see a revival of the Broadway play "The Best Man," and The Edison Hotel is right around the corner from the theater).

Yesterday we took a road-trip and drove up to Kennedy Space Center.  I was there _years_ ago and it has changed a lot since then.  The Visitors' Center exhibits and movies were exciting, but the best part of the trip there _now_ was going out to the Space Shuttle Launch Pad and seeing it up-close.  Tours of the Launch Pad have _never_ been given in the past and it was only one week ago that they began the program allowing visitors to take the bus out to the Pad.  We also saw the last Space Shuttle - the Endeavour - in a hangar there and the huge Boeing 747 in another hangar.  Today (September 14th) they are going to put that shuttle on top of the 747 and then this coming Monday they'll fly it off to Los Angeles, similar to the way they sent Discovery to Washington DC a couple of months ago.  They said that the entire staff of the Space Center will line both sides of the road there on which the Shuttle will be brought to the hangar where the 747 is, to be piggybacked onto it.  I think it is likely it will in the news over the course of the next few days.

So that's what I've been up to lately.  There'll be more to come and I'll add more to the blog then.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Rainy Morning

I was only going to post once a week or so, but this morning decided I'll write a bit while I have my breakfast.  It's a rainy morning and I can't get outside anyway.

Raining cats and dogs this morning here, and they say the rain will continue all week.  I only hope that after Friday, in Florida, I won't be seeing much rain.  I'm looking forward to two weeks doing and seeing lots of stuff in Fort Lauderdale, Stuart, and even all the way north in Cape Canaveral.  I'll be staying at Ebb Tide Oceanfront Resort in Pompano Beach. ranks them as #2 out of the 34 hotels in Pompano Beach and 109 out of 159 reviewers gave it an "excellent," 37 a "very good" and the rest - to me at least - just don't count!

On the agenda: 

Friday, 9/7 - fly.  I'll arrive in Ft. Lauderdale at 10:20am on flt# 289, Southwest, out of L.I. MacArthur airport.

Saturday, 9/8 - Trip to and tour of Hillsboro Lighthouse

Tuesday, 9/11 - My 65th Birthday.  I plan to relax all day and then go out to dinner with Florida friend Jane.

Thursday, 9/13 -  Road trip to Kennedy Space Center.  Will roam the grounds there awhile, then at 2:40pm take a guided tour of the Launch Pad.

Friday, 9/14 - Accompany Jane to her Spanish classes.  She's taking Basic Spanish in anticipation of traveling to Spain early next year along with a group of her friends. . . .  I hope to be among them.

Monday, 9/17 and Tuesday, 9/18 - I will visit the Stuart area, searching-out and reconnecting with old friends and family there.  I'll be seeing Margie Probst (a pen-pal of Eleanor's and whose mom was hospital roommate of my mom at time of one of her illnesses), Derna DiPamphilis (mom and dad's old Stuart neighbor. . . a very nice lady who only last week celebrated her 99th birthday. . . I will be going to the Independent Living Residence she moved to only a few months ago to visit her there and have dinner with her, and perhaps her sister Louise and niece Beth), Mary Muzina-Frank (my dad's cousin), Maureen & Winston Hamilton (I've known Mo since elementary school - and her mom was among my mom and dad's closest friends, having lived nearby them/us in both Massapequa Park and later Stuart) and maybe even my "long-lost" Uncle Pat and his son, cousin Joe (cousin Patricia did a bit of research the other day and found that it is possible Uncle Pat - who by now must be well into his 90s - and Joe - who is a few years older than I am - live in Kingswood in Stuart.  I've got an apartment number from Patricia and will just go knock on their door, hoping to get a happy reaction!)  I also plan to meet with a real estate agent and tour two or three properties.  I'm thinking that by this time next year it'd be great to be a Floridian instead of a New Yorker.

Weds. 9/19 - I'll be back in Lauderdale/Pompano - going to an art gallery with Jane at 5:30.

Friday 9/21 - will be departing at 7:40pm flt # 1891, Southwest, for Islip-MacArthur NY again.

Scattered in between all the things listed above, for which I've got to be there at particular times, I will be going - if there's time for all of this - with Jane on a Tropical Sailing Catamaran Charter for a 2 & 1/2 hour sea cruise offshore of Lauderdale, kayaking in the area around Pompano/Lauderdale, visiting the Fort Lauderdale Historic Society's museum, visiting Flamingo Gardens and the Wray Botanical Gardens, taking an Everglades airboat ride, visiting a car museum, and visiting the Bonnet House - an estate that is now a museum and gardens.  Been looking forward to this getaway trip for a very long time now and I plan to soak-in as much sightseeing and tourist-y stuff as I can, while getting the opportunity to 'shop' for a new abode and to see some folks I haven't seen in years.

In other 'news'. . . .

Pat and Ray and I took an afternoon trip to Port Jefferson yesterday afternoon.  Had lunch at The Village Way there - an old restaurant that used to be called The Schooner because the outside of it looks like a schooner and the inside is like the inside of an old wooden ship as well.  We just walked around town for a short while and watched one of the ferries put-in.  Wanted to go to the art gallery at the Center, near the harbor - but when we got there, there was a sign "Closed for Labor Day" which came as a surprise.  Took a few snapshots. . . .

Another opening, another show.

The Maw.

The Mother Ship has a "Pod" today!

Here she comes.

Must have had a great time RV'ing in New England.

RV'ing and driving the family SUV around New England, that is.  (Came as a surprise when we saw the RV was trailering his own SUV as well!)

Danford's has the biggest flower baskets ever seen.

Me and "My Yot"

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Finished Railings

Started painting at 9am.  Finished and put away the tools at 5:30.  Glad this job is done!