Sunday, March 31, 2013

Turn And Burn

Houston to Fresno and then right back to Houston; that's what we're doing this weekend.  Left Houston yesterday, deliver in Fresno today, back to Houston for Tuesday morning.  Turn and burn, that's what they call it out here. 

Unfortunately we won't have time to stop at Murray Farms, but we will have time to see a whole lot of dirt and windmills on our way out and back.  God, I'm so not a fan of the desert.  I'm glad half of this trip will be done in the dark and most likely that's when I'll be driving, which is great.

As you can see, there were a few storm clouds in the air and we have hit some intermittent rain, but nothing drastic.  Yet.  It's been quite a while since we've been to California (since we've been kinda banning it), but we'll be in and out so fast, I think we might even miss all that horrid California traffic.

See you back in Tejas!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: The Landscape Just Runs All Together After A While
2011: Flippin’ Swag
2010: Warm Fuzzies
2009: I’ll Get You My Pretty
2008: The Kind Of Misunderstanding That Can Never Fully Be Explained
2007: Let The Adventure Begin
2006: Coming Soon
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Texas! Texas! Margaret...

Sam Houston, depicted in steel and concrete, overlooks Interstate-45 in Huntsville, Texas.

According to, "Sam Houston (1793-1863) remembered the Alamo with his surprise victory/slaughter of Santa Anna's more experienced and professional Mexican Army at San Jacinto, then went on to become President of the Republic of Texas, Governor of the State of Texas, and a US Senator."

His reputation was widespread, and as a result he has a whole buncha stuff named after him:  the city of Houston (the 4th largest in the country), a museum, four U.S. warships, an Army base, a national forest, a historical park, a university, and this 67-foot statue. 

What the hell is with Texas and all the big things? 

Maybe it's the same reason some guys drive sports cars.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: He Forgets He Lives With A Maven
2011: Does Anyone Notice The Shoes Of A “Very Important Person”?
2010: Do You Think Raquel Owns A Dog And Gets Enough Potassium?
2009: No Need To Do Anything Drastic; There Will Always Be Re-Runs
2008: Beautifully Retro
2007: Ready, Set, Go!!
2006: Giving New Meaning To An Ambulance Chaser
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Hospital Survives Another Week

I spent most of today in the truck.  In fact, the most activity I got was taking the picture of this guy, who was working on his truck which was parked in the spot next to us.

We got our truck and trailer inspected this week (we have to do it every 120 days) and needed a few things on the trailer replaced, so Ed put the truck in the shop for them to take care of it.  While it was in the shop, we went to the grocery store to stock up for the weekend.

I came home, put everything away, swept the floor and vacuumed, waxed all the cabinets, made chocolate cupcakes, cut up some vegetables to use the next day, and then did all the dishes, setting them on the counter to dry.  Productive, but not exhausting.  Honestly, I didn't do much else.

Ed had the truck washed, the tanks polished, and replaced the air lines.  We have a load out in a few days heading to California and back.  I'm glad it's a round trip because we really don't want to get stuck in California, there's just no freight out there.  There's really no freight here in Texas either, but at least the weather's been nice.  Not too hot, a nice breeze during the day and cool evenings.

Tonight is what Ed usually refers to as "the day he hopes the hospital blows up" - Grey's Anatomy is on - he thinks if the hospital blows up, the show will be over.  Little does he know they'd just work in into the story line.  So on the menu tonight, after dinner, is Grey's, Scandal, and Project Runway.  I'm surprised Ed doesn't attemp to take his life every Thursday night.

I guess I'm just going to have to start baking and making great dinners every Thursday.  It's the only sure way to get his mind off the TV lineup.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: More Distracting Than Texting While Driving
2011: The Aftermath
2010: More Than Halfway To A World Record
2009: If You Need Your Hump Fixed, This Is The Place
2008: The Flight, The Hotel, The Walk, And The Sleep Deprivation
2007: A Lot Of Beauty, A Little Citrus And A Mini Moo
2006: Shorn
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Howz About Them Howitzers?

A while back, we hauled a load of Howitzers - you can see them here on our trailer - surprisingly, they didn't want them tarped which I thought was unusual since most of the time they never want people to see these things.  Why, I'm not really sure.

I can't tell you where we picked them up or where we dropped them off, but I figure since thousands of people saw them along the way - some even took pictures - that it'd be a pretty safe bet that you'd all be a harmless audience.
Although the load was untarped and in full view of anyone walking by, it did have to be babysat by us 24/7.  That meant, any time we stopped, someone had to be either in the cab, or within twenty-five feet of the load.  At all times.  Around the clock.  Every second of the day.  The freight had to be in view

I'm not really sure what Howitzers do, nor do I really care, but Ed seemed to know every little thing about them and couldn't wait to share each tidbit with me.  Now I know more than I'll ever need to know about a gun that's been around since the 1600s, should I ever have any reason to dispense with that knowledge, like maybe for a game show or something. 
They weren't as big as I suppose I expected them to be, seeing how they've been used in World Wars and all, but I'm sure the guy behind us may have felt a little unsettled staring down the barrel of it for hundreds of miles.
They seem to be a pretty big deal because everywhere we went people were gawking and taking pictures.  Even cars passing us on the interstate had people hanging out the windows taking pictures.  Seeing them on the internet is one thing, seeing them in person I guess, is another.

From what I understand, these things never die out, they just keep refurbishing them and fixing them up.  Painting them sand color or standard camoflauge depending on where they're going.
What you might find interesting, is that the military also holds things together with duct tape.
Comforting thought, isn't it? 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: I’ll Hobble On My Walker To Visit
2011: In The Still Of The Night
2010: The Final Count
2009: Eddie My Little Ex-Marine Friday
2008: Delayed By Lipgloss During A Period Of Elevated Security: A Travel Debacle Ensues
2007: A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
2006: Your Cat Is In My Garden
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Nashville Is One Of Their Greatest Picks

We have passed the Marathon Motor Works building many times - you can see it from I-40 - and I've always wanted to visit.  It was just one of those cool old brick buildings that looked like it would be interesting to see closer up.  This past weekend I had my chance.
It sat vacant for years, after being bought in 1986 by a developer with a vision.  Now it's a unique space for offices, studios, galleries, a jewelry store, even a coffee company.  It's also home to the American Picker's newest store, Antique Archaeology.  As a fan of the show, we had to go. 
The store was fantastic.  Everything was essentially out of my price range, but they did sell things like mouse pads, mugs, stickers and t-shirts for those of us who don't have several hundred (or thousands) of dollars to drop on a dirty old piece of awesome furniture found in someone's barn in North Carolina.  But I loved so many pieces I saw.  And I loved the space they were in.  I want to live in a place like this! 
This little girl on the left was standing with one of Elvis' microphones, pretending to sing.  She had wavy black hair with a large yellow flower pinned above her right ear.  Her face, the hair and her pose made me think she looked like a young Billie Holliday.
The store had so much to look at, but there were so many people it was really hard to concentrate on each and every piece.  I think visiting just after the doors open, on a weekday would be the best time.  I am definitely going back. 
You never know when Mike or Frank or Danielle might walk in.  Or someone even more famous!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Monday Is A Smash Hit
2011: Home At Last
2010: Wake Up In The Morning, Put Your Hand On Something Useful, And Take Care Of Yourself And Your Family*
2009: Copter
2008: Atchafalaya Whaaaaat??
2007: There’s A Skirt On The Door For A Reason
2006: South Of The Beijing Border
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Discriminating House Hunter

After spending several years and countless visits in the past few weeks looking at property in the Nashville area, I'm not really all that sure why I want to live in Tennessee; sure, the people are friendly, but then every other piece of property has one of these signs.  Not very welcoming, especially when you're trying to sell your house or property.

One of the places we looked at had so many signs, we reconsidered driving down the driveway, even though it was listed for sale and there was a sign at the end of the driveway.  No need to get shot in the middle of the woods while house hunting. 

We looked at a place that was literally in the middle of a state forest.  The road in was through the state park entrance.  Beautiful, but so far from civilization, I would have had to take the covered wagon into town once a month for provisions.  Too remote for me.

The search continues, and who knows what will happen, but I can tell you right now that I've never seen so many trailers, mobile homes, and manufactured homes in my entire life.  Does anyone build a house anymore??  It certainly makes eliminating properties much easier, that's for sure, because I'm not living on a street littered with scuzzy trailers or next door to the guy who has TEN Siberian Huskies in his yard.  Yes, ten.  I know because I counted as they rushed the fence and barked ferociously at the car as we drove by.

I like to do my own recon, without a realtor.  Most of the preliminary work is all about seeing the area, scoping out the neighbors, determining whether the roads have big rig access.  If I don't like where the house is, I don't even need to see the inside.  I just wish they had a "no trailer/no mobile home/no manufactured home" filter when I'm searching the real estate listing websites so I don't have to waste my time going to a property that's not what I want.  And what's with the deceiving photos?  Is your intent to waste every second of my time?  And all the pictures of the yard?  I'm not buying a yard, I'm buying a house.  I want to see the house.

I want a small cottage on a pretty little piece of property.  Close to shopping, close to the interstate, close to my best friend, close to the airport, close to a Dunkin' Donuts, and preferably with truck parking. 

A modest, cozy little hideaway.  Is that too much to ask?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2012: Oh, Sweet Cream Cheesus
2011: Pit Stop
2010: Sorry, no post for this day.
2009: A Peek Behind The Sacred Pantry Door
2008: Thistle Or Thatle
2007: Big, Rich, And Free
2006: Look, Honey! A Grist Mill.
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sputtering With Excitement

Thursday night we arrived in Louisville for the biggest truck show of the year - the Mid-America Trucking Show - known in the industry as MATS.  The parking lot of Papa John's stadium was packed, the most trucks we'd seen in years.  Ed found a spot so tight, it was evident why noone else parked in it.  It took him several pull ups, which is very unusual, but he finally got in.  There was a guy in a pickup truck waiting for Ed to park, and after Ed got in the spot, the guy honked his horn and gave Ed a big thumbs up.  That's my Eddie - so skilled behind the wheel, he can back into a thimble!  There was an adjacent lot that was entirely empty, but they didn't open it up until the next day.  Bastards. 

We didn't do the entire three days this year.  First of all, it's too much damn walking, there are too many damn people, and we only had a day and a half to spare since we had to be in Nashville later today.  We've been coming every year for the past nine and I can't think of anything we haven't seen.

We did have a full day yesterday though - arrived at the Kentucky Expo Center first thing in the morning and closed the place down later that night.  The security guards had to tell Marlaina and I - we were waiting for the boys to finish oohing and aahing over the rolling tarp systems - that the doors were closing to the show floor and we had to leave.  We were the equivalent of the stragglers in a bar, who are there until they turn all the lights up and shock you back to reality.

One of the things we do when at the show is enjoy lunch set up in the conference rooms by Landstar, the company we're leased to.  They usually have a pretty good spread and the room is quiet and offers a much needed reprieve from the constant hustle and bustle, noise and craziness of the show.  We usually go in, listen to a little spiel by one of the executives, collect a few free pens and keychains, chat with other drivers, and have lunch.  This year, we ran into one of the guys who was in the class we took in January and caught up on how he and his wife were doing navigating the new division we're all in.  We exchanged pleasantries and then made a beeline for the food.

On our way to the buffet table, we passed a man and woman sitting alone at one of the table.  I looked at her and instantly got all excited inside.  I grabbed Ed's elbow and said, "See that girl over there?" jerking my head toward her and pointing with my eyes.

"Yeah?" he said, not sounding interested at all.

"That's the trucker chick who was in the Oprah magazine!"

"Oh yeah?"  Still bored.

"Yes!  I'm going over to talk to her."  And I took off toward her table. 

I sat right down next to her, touched her on the arm and said, "Aren't you the woman from the Oprah magazine?"

She smiled HUGE, laughed a little, and said, "Yeah."  The man sitting next to her - who turned out to be Michael, her boyfriend - smiled huge as well.

Words came tumbling out of my mouth as I told her how I read the article about her in Oprah, how I never imagined I would run into her, that I was also a driver and drove team with my boyfriend, that I had a blog going into its ninth year, was at the show with friends and to meet some business contacts, and would she come sit with us at our table?  She said yes!

I brought her over to our table and introduced her to everyone - she must have thought I was some crazy starstruck freak - and then sat down and talked more about her experience, how she got into the magazine, etc.  It was during that conversation that she told me about her recent appearance on the Ricki Lake show.
In this picture:  standing in back, Sputter, Me and Ed, and sitting in front, Marlaina, and Luisa, who is the editor of Long Haul Magazine.  Marlaina's husband and Sputter's boyfriend were both taking a picture at the same time - we're all looking at one and Luisa is looking at the other - but at least we're all smiling!

And that's what's it's all about, isn't it?  Having a good time with friends, old and new.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2012: Water May Not Be The Only Liquid Nourishing These Flowers
2011: Nappy Time
2010: Dick. Not A Dick. Which One Are You?
2009: First The Poultry, Now This
2008: California Moon
2007: Ryno And Rob
2006: Living The Dream
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Veteran And The Rookie

Who is who you ask?  It may not be what you think.

This is a picture of my Eddie with Marc Springer, one of the stars of Shipping Wars, the hit TV show on A&E.

In this case of the veteran and the rookie...

The Snortn' Boar (Marc) is The Rookie and Ed, with more than 2.5 million miles and 17 years of driving under his belt, is The Veteran.  I'll bet he can teach 'ol Marc a boatload about trucking, including all his great little tips and tricks that only come from years of experience.  In return, Marc can give him the scoop on motorcycles and maybe one of those Snortn' Boar tee shirts.

We didn't take up too much of his time since there were people in line waiting for autographs, but we did introduce ourselves as  fellow drivers and told him we write a column for the Long Haul Magazine - he was on their first cover.  I got a signed autograph for my nephew Jake, the picture of him and Ed, and handed him my business card before we left. 

You know, just in case he needs anything. 

Our day at the show was busy and informative, and even included another surprise I didn't expect, which I will write about soon.

Right now though, I have to go spend some time with The Veteran.

I'm thinking of selling his autograph.  Anyone want one?  You can have one signe d with Ed's given name for $5 a pop, or I can persuade him to sign it "Eddie Pisghetti", which'll set you back $10. 

Let me know - I've got a pretty good connection. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Spring Has Arrived In Culpeper
2011: Food. Essential.
2010: Sometimes It Takes A Libra Two Weeks To Make A Decision
2009: What The Hell Is This?
2008: What It’s Like To Bee Watched By More Than Twelve Million Eyes
2007: My Man Is Ripped!
2006: Take Two Caramel Lattes And Call Me In The Morning
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Winding Down For The Weekend

We've had a very busy week but now we're winding down for a weekend off.

We'll be in Louisville for the biggest truck show in the country - the
Mid-America Trucking Show - where we'll mingle among the thousands who descend upon Derby City to look at the newest and most fabulous goings on in the industry.  Ed is in the market for a new trailer and we've been talking (just talking) about getting a new truck, so we'll see what's out there and check out the newest big sleepers from ARI. 

We'll also be meeting with the editor of
The Long Haul Magazine, where we've recently contributed two columns.  She's flown in from Portland, Oregon to rub elbows with the very industry she's creating a new magazine for.  I'm thinking she's going to walk away very wide-eyed and maybe even wonder what the hell she's gotten herself into!

Dinner with friends wraps up the evening, and it's the part I'm looking most forward to.  We always seem to find some really great places, so I can't wait to see where we'll be going. 

And to wrap up the weekend, we'll be heading to Nashville to spend more time tooling around looking at property, more quality time with my best friend, and if all goes well, we'll be making a stop at the
American Pickers new store in Marathon Village.

Can you imagine topping off the weekend by running into Mike or Frank?!  I'd die.

And then I'd feel obligated to buy something.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Towering Peach
2011: Trucks, Friends, Life On The Road, And A New Throne For My Queen Sized Ass
2010: Changing It Up
2009: They Gots Lots Of Soul
2008: Eddie Calculates Everything Friday
2007: Working On It
2006: The Bird On The Hill
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Up And Over The Green Mountains Of Vermont

We were this close to going snow tubing today! In beautiful, snowy Vermont.

I've gotta tell you, maple syrup only sweetens this already sweet little state. It's such a pretty place to be, any time of year really, but in winter? The best. OK, maybe you can't tell by this road through town, but I took the picture because I liked the way the tree branches were holding the fresh snow piled lightly on top of them.

We were on our way to pick up a load when the agent called and told us it wouldn't be ready until the evening, possibly (likely, I figured) the next morning. The freight was coming out of Canada and because our wheelbase is too big, we couldn't go get it, so we had to wait. 
Ed figured we'd just spend the day cruising down hills on an innertube.  Which, at forty-five years old is a little scary to me, but I always did love snow and I figured we could start with the small hills, right?  We were in Vermont and they just got fresh snow.  It would be wrong not to use it.  So what if I wind up with a broken leg, right?   
Then we checked online and made a bunch of phonecalls, but we weren't able to find anything that would work.  Either they were too far away, open weekends only, required you to be a guest at their resort, or just didn't answer their phone. 
One guy Ed talked to must have thought we were idiots. After being told their snow tubing area wasn't open, Ed said, "We're not from around here, do you know where else we might be able to go snow tubing?" The guy said, "Uhhh, anywhere?" The sarcasm was thick. Thanks, buddy.

Ultimately, were trying to get to the truck show in Louisville but didn't think we were going to make it when our last load cancelled and sent us to Massachusetts instead of our original destination, hence the detour to Vermont. Then we got this load out of Champlain, NY heading down to Texas. Perfect.  That would get us through Louisville for the show, and Nashville so we could do a second round of property hunting and visiting.

Then the delay pushing it off another day.
Ed checked the load board, found something even better, which would give us more time, and picked up on the day we wanted.  So he called the original agent, explained our situation and thankfully, they let us out from under the load.  That's rare.  We were thrilled.

So we had to scratch the snow tubing plans and head over to western New York to pick up our new load.  We'll have to hit the Big Moose Deli next time we're in the neighborhood.

MATS, here we come!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Perhaps She’s A Closet Road Warrior
2011: Fifty-Five Years And Counting
2010: Humor That Needs A Humidifier
2009: Eddie Is He Wearing Trousers?? Friday
2008: Soon To Be Yummy Snack Food
2007: This Is What I’ve Been Doing Lately
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Between Brattleboro And Bennington

Trees displaying fresh snow, on State Route 9 in southern Vermont.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2012: Man At Work
2011: Under A Rock
2010: Practicing For Retirement
2009: Truckers Are So Sensitive
2008: Light Sweet Crude
2007: A Antiquing Conundrum
2006: How Can You Not Love This Face?
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, March 18, 2013

You'll Know You're Getting Close When You See The Zebra

Whenever we're property hunting, I'm always fascinated by the properties that are millions of dollars out of my price range.  We came across two of those last week, a mile from a house we were looking at. 

One of them belongs to Grammy-nominated songwriter Curly Putman, Jr. who, according to the nice chatty neighbor we talked to, had Paul McCartney stay at his place back in the seventies.  He was joined by his wife and members of his band, Wings, and while they were there, were inspired to write and record their hit "Junior's Farm". 

It's a stately white house which sits on a hill in the middle of 122 acres - they even have their own little lake - but as grand as Curly's house looked driving past, it was the one across the street that caught my eye. 

Nestled in the trees, this house was GIGANTIC.  Much bigger than Curly's.  It only sits on 18 acres, and it doesn't have a lake, but it has something even more amazing.

A zebra. 

I kid you not.  These people had a friggin' zebra grazing in their yard!  Ed was driving, so I made him pass slowly so I could look at the house.  Then I saw this:
"Oh my God.  Pull over.  Pull over!  They have a zebra!!"  He pulled the tiny Fiat into a spot on the other side of the road while I got out to get closer.  "C'mere, zebra." I said. 




I was trying to get his attention but he didn't even look in my direction.  Ed made fun of me from across the street, mimicking me in a singsong voice, Zebra, c'mere zebra.
As I was talking to this zebra, trying to get him to come closer to the fence, I saw another one through the trees.
I zoomed in on him as much as I could but needed to get a closer look.  He seemed a little different in color, kinda beige with black stripes, rather than the other one who was more white.  Shit, they could have been pink and orange striped and I could not have been any more stunned to see a zebra. 
I didn't even know a regular person could own a zebra. I thought they were relegated to zoos.  According to my possible future neighbor, the people who own this house have made millions in coffee; they own a coffee roasting/distributing company in town, in addition to several coffee shops.  I wonder how many cups of coffee one has to sell to own two zebras? 

If we bought that house, giving directions to get there would be awesome.

Get off the interstate, travel 3.4 miles until you pass the zebras...we're a mile down on the right.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: You Can’t Go Wrong At ShopRite
2011: When The Feelings Get Too Strong For Words
2010: Looking For Loads In All The Wrong Places
2009: CTRL Freak
2008: 1. Cut String 2. Walk
2007: Amish Down The Lane
2006: The Competition Is Stiff
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Yet We're The Ones With All The Rules

It really pisses me off when I see an idiot like this hauling crap down the interstate.  I dialed 9-1 before Ed said, "Don't bother."  I was thisclose to turning this redneck into the State Police, which would have been easy to do if I could have read the filthy piece of crap license plate attached under the buckling bumper that was held on by a 1" ratchet strap.

We, as truckers, are mandated by federal law to follow all kinds of ridiculous rules about the safety of what we're hauling, if we've had the regulated amount of hours of sleep they think we need before hauling it, and if we're sure we secured it well enough that while we're hauling it, it doesn't come flying off the trailer into innocent motorists going about their daily commute.

Yet idiots like this can travel the SAME EXACT STRETCH OF HIGHWAY, putting the life of everyone around them in danger.  Where are all of the federal and state agencies when it comes to this?

Truck drivers, statistically, are NOT the ones at fault when there is a car-truck collision.  Data collected shows that 80 percent of car-truck crashes are caused by the car drivers.  And those are just regular car drivers doing generally stupid stuff in their cars and/or driving in an unsafe manner.  They need a special category for the reckless morons who haul two freezers and a ladder UNSECURED in the back of their piece-of-shit pickup truck.

Ed, and the four other truckers who were traveling next to and around this guy, got away from him as soon as they were able to safely navigate around.  Why?

Because they know an unsafe situation when they see one and did everything possible to remove themselves from it before getting caught up in it.  Like any sane trucker would do.

Next time you read a story about a truck driver who "caused" an accident, or see an accident involving a big rig, you might want to pause and think about what may have really taken place.

And remember...

8 times out of 10, WE are not the ones at fault.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: There Is No Problem Here
2011: If This Is What Being A Loser Means, Count Me In
2010: The Only Thing It Extends Is The Humiliation Of Having A Small Johnson
2009: Wishing You All A Happy Lá Fhéile Pádraig
2008: There Should Be Some Sort Of Award For This
2007: Table Talk
2006: Cats And Grandchildren Make Great Indentured Servants
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

On The Run

Oh, the sights you see when you're cruising the back country roads around Nashville. 

This beautiful little bird - the Guineafowl or Guinea Hen as it's known - was cruising down the side of the road with a bunch of his other friends when we drove by.  I was immediately intrigued when I saw him and asked Ed to go back because I wanted to see what it was.  When the car creeped closer to him he darted under the fence and back into the field so I had to snap this photo while he was moving. 

I'd never seen this kind of bird before.  I thought it was a ptarmigan because of the spots, Ed pegged it correctly as a guinea.

"Look!  A ptarmigan."


"Who are you calling a guinea??"

"No, the bird."


Then I Googled for more info. 
Apparently, they're easy to raise and they're delicious.

My kind of bird.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2012: The Town Under The Giant Oak Tree
2011: Extra! Extra! Read All About It!
2010: Yeah, Cause Heidi Klum Is So Easy To NOT Notice
2009: Busy Week
2008: Small, Yet Mighty
2007: Zen
2006: Riding The Rusty Rails
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, March 15, 2013

House For Sale: Goats Included

At one of the properties we looked at this week in Nashville, we found these guys.  They were apparently very excited to see us because they got real close to talk to Ed.  When I got near them,  they posed for a picture.  Isn't it great how all of them are looking directly at the camera?

I can't even get my three nephews to stand still, look straight at the camera and let me get a picture of them all together like this.

The big difference between my nephews and these guys?  My nephews smell waaaaay better.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Hanging On By A Thread
2011: Does A Bear Have A Diner In The Woods?
2010: Would You Rather Sit On Your Ass All Day Eating Cheetos And Watching TV, Or Would You Rather See?
2009: The First Bit Of Spring
2008: Pop Secret
2007: The Kind Of Shopping That Makes Me Want To Commit Suicide, Right There In The Middle Of Macy’s
2006: The Benefits Of Memory Loss
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Clowns Looking For A Place To Live

This week we were in Nashville doing a little property hunting. Since that's nearly impossible to do in an 18-wheeler, we rented a car. This is what they gave us - the Fiat 500:
We drove a car this small a few years ago when we were waiting on a load up in New York, but we didn't have to rent that one, it belonged to my cousin.

I was kind of excited that we got the Fiat because ever since I'd seen the commercials for it (as if J.Lo actually drives this thing!), I've wanted to drive one.  It was totally cute, I loved the color, it drove like a little racecar and actually worked out very well, since most of the places we looked were on winding back country roads. It felt like being in Italy all over again, when Ed was cruising through the Tuscan hills in our minivan, with nary a shoulder on either side and people flying up behind you in a big rush to go nowhere.  It hugged the curves and if needed, and the turning radius is so tight, you're able to turn around in a parking space.

We knocked about twenty properties off our list and found one that I'm completely in love with and would buy tomorrow. Ed's not completely sold on it so we have more looking to do which we will happen in the coming months.

I think next time though, we might go for not only a bigger vehicle, but one that has a little more ground clearance, as there were a few properties we couldn't even venture to because the grass country lane or dirt road leading to it was a little too challenging for such a tiny vehicle to clear.

Oh, and also because we felt like two circus clowns getting out of it every time we stopped somewhere. I found myself looking back as I closed the door, to see if there were any others climbing out behind me.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: My Early Version Of Google
2011: Food With Integrity That Fuels Creativity
2010: If Only It Were Dollars Instead Of Miles
2009: The Last Bit Of Winter
2008: Eddie Fr-Eye-Day
2007: Authorized Personnel Only
2006: Stolen Zillow
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Seriously Up To Our Ass In Alligators

Ed and I have never driven across southern Florida crosswise - we're always going up and down, north to south, south to north - but this past week had the opportunity to cross the Everglades on our way from Miami to Fort Myers.  I was totally excited. 

If you're doing it on the Everglades Parkway, fondly known as 
Alligator Alley, you're trip shouldn't take too long since most of that road is four-lane interstate.  But since we weren't in a rush, didn't want to pay any tolls, and thought a two-lane road would be more scenic than the interstate, we took U.S. Highway 41, the Tamiami Trail

The first ten miles or so we were crawling along in construction and I was concerned that we made the wrong decision, but eventually the construction ended and the road opened up.  We drove along, seeing signs for the Everglades National Park, Shark Valley, and a casino operated by the Miccosukee Indians.  We saw a tiny post office in Ochopee, and a crab shack nearby that I'm pretty sure was closed.  But we didn't see any alligators.

I was getting concerned that by listening to Ed, who wanted to take this route, I was going to make my first trip across the Everglades - a scary, swampish wasteland which according to the many episodes of CSI Miami I've watched with my mother, is always the perfect body dump - without seeing one
reptilian creature.

And then he saw one.  But I didn't.  I was looking elsewhere and we were driving too fast for me to see it after he pointed it out.  I was crushed.

And then I saw one!
And another. 
And another. 
And another.
And another.
And another.  Once I started seeing them, it didn't stop.  They were everywhere.  Swimming in the water, lying on the shore, sunning on a pipe culvert.  Two, three and four in a grouping.  Baby ones.  Medium sized ones.  Huge ones.  I'd never seen so many alligators in all of my life.  Ever.  It was magnificent.  And unsettling.  And surreal.

Holy shit.  I'm serious, I was freaking out.  "There's one!  There's one!  There's another!  And ohmygod, there's two more!"  I was pointing and shouting as Ed drove.  The road is two lanes, there weren't any places to pull over, and I had to wait for the road behind us to be clear so Ed could slow down long enough for me to snap pictures. 

Look at this guy, eyeballing me like I was a fat, tasty treat.  Which I am, by the way.  That's right, both fat and tasty.  All Italians are.

We finally came upon a rest area to stop at, parked the truck and walked down the highway to see them a little closer.  And you can get as close as you dare.  There are no signs warning you to stay away, keep a certain distance, not to feed them. 

There are no barriers keeping them from coming up on the bank of the river, under the guardrail, and onto the road.  They actually cross the roads!  This is not a place I'd get out at night, for any reason.  It is a place I'd dump a body if I were looking to get rid of someone - alligators aren't discriminating, they'll eat anyone.

Look at this lizard-like body - a species that's more than 150 million years old.  The bumps look like molded bone.  It looks like thick leathered armor.  Or a really dirty purse. 

There was an area by the parking lot that was fenced on one side, but completely open on the other.  That, I don't get.  These reptiles are not stupid.  They were swimming through concrete culverts, from one area of water to the other.  They've had 150 million years to figure out how to travel quickly from one place to another.   

They look serene and I suppose for the most part when it comes to humans they generally are.  Since 1948, according to Wikipedia, there have been 275 documented attacks on humans in Florida, seventeen of them fatal.  But that's just in Florida. 

They're just creepy.  And they move a lot faster than you think (video coming soon). 
To leave you with a few words of wisdom, in case you find yourself anywhere near a place like this, teeming with alligators, there's a quote which has several variations, but generally goes like this...

"Never insult an alligator until you cross the river."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Such A Fragrant Sprig!
2011: Coast To Coast
2010: The Joke’s On Us
2009: Eddie Monsignor Starbucks Friday
2008: All The Better To Smell You With, My Dear
2007: Neon Railroad
2006: I Left My Heart…
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!