Saturday, February 22, 2014


Sue handed me a lottery ticket she had just scratched clean after finding it in a geocache.  "I can't read this without my glasses," she groaned.

I chuckled, then read it.  ...and read it again.

"Is this a 'match three and win' sort of card," I asked.  "I think so," she responded.

"Looks like you just won $5,000," I said matter-of-factly, not wanting to reveal my shiver of excitement to our other 4 caching friends--who all promptly verified the apparent win, although Greg Cornett thought it to be a huge coincidence since some other cacher had earlier logged similar luck.

I enjoyed watching the curious dialog about the legitimacy of Sue's find while doing the appropriate math;  $5,000 divided by 6 teammates equals, let's see, about 800 bucks or so each.  I pondered a silent "Wow" myself, less taxes, of course.

"Could be that new GPS I've been wanting," Greg mused aloud.  "My thoughts exactly," I murmured.

Sue tucked her lucky ticket away and we went about the more serious business of finding the balance of our targeted caches in this huge nature preserve just northwest of the town hall in Sebastian, FL.

We had agreed to stop by a lottery agency on the way home to see about the authenticity of the lucky ticket, each of us harboring some secret hope--and a boatload of skepticism.

Awhile later we rolled into a Publix grocery store and the ladies went inside to learn our fiscal fate.  "We want to see a mighty grin when you come back out," I smiled.

They returned shortly with indiscernible smiles which forced our questionable "Well?"

After a dramatic pause, they confessed, "No such luck," while sharing the instructions from the back of our "winning" ticket;

"Winning tickets must be sent to the 'Money Fairy, 123 Nowhere Drive, in Make-Believe Land'."

The instructions continued; This ticket for entertainment purposes only.  Thanks for being a good sport."

Yeah, right!

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Sue said she heard me giggling before I yelled for her.  "Where are you," she asked?  "In the shower...bring me a covered container of some kind," I yelled through the heavy shower curtain and mostly closed bathroom door.

We have to close the door to keep the fire alarm from going off in the shower's abundant water vapor.

"What do you need a container for?" she insisted.

"I need to catch this frog."

"What!!" she squawked.

"There's a frog in here," I pleaded as I tried to get the soap out of my eyes.

She showed up with exactly what I needed and when I tried to cover the little rascal he made a leap to the top of a shampoo bottle and a second one into the far corner of the ceiling.

Dang.  Agile little critter I thought as I continued to try and clear my soapy eyes.

As I tried to trap him in the corner he ricocheted off my shoulder and stuck to the shower curtain at precisely our eye level.  I think he was laughing at me, then sprung entirely across the shower and smack-stuck on the opposite wall.

I spun around and trapped him under the food container.  Gotcha.

I slid the container gently toward a curve in the wall and managed to slip the lid across the top of the critter's jail--effectively slamming the cell door.

"Here," I said to Sue, "Take this while I dry off and get some clothes.


"Where are you?"  I could barely hear her "Out here" response from the far side of the camper as I stood drippingly by until she came and relieved me of my capture--at arm's length.

In a few minutes I went down from the shower's elevated location and inquired about our guest, whereupon she simply pointed to a kitchen counter where the container was super-secured under the weight of a gallon jug of distilled water.

"Worried about a jail break," I joked as I took custody of the prisoner and headed for our back yard where a storm drainage ditch provided more suitable habitat for our adventuresome guest. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014


How often do you run into some advertising gimmick that is more of a turn-off than an encouragement for you to buy someone's product or service?

How about those magazine, card inserts, for example, that have the disturbing habit of fluttering annoyingly into your lap as you do a quick perusal of the pages.

Years ago that poor excuse for slick marketing led me to the habit of holding the bound side of the magazine up and fanning the pages over the waste basket to dispose of that annoyance in a fitting manner.

Then there is this marvelous example of creative stupidity.  That's a recent front section of the Vero Beach newspaper with half of the front page covered with some hawker's squawk that I quickly remove and trash just before I tear off things like the orange something-or-the-other and restore the paper's front page to its historic, readable form.

In radio these days the folks posing as creative hot-shots have come up with the noisy contrivance of repeating some vendor's telephone number four, even an occasional five, times as the repeated phone number dissolves into cranial trash so quickly the hapless vendor's entire blather has long since dissolved as well.

Do merchants actually pay for such annoying junk?

Then there was this year's pinnacle of advertising extravagance, the Super Bowl telecast where ads were said to cost upwards of 4 million smackeroos for a 30 second spot.  By the time this year's performance got to half-time advertisers would have had better luck buying a half-page spots in their local high school's, football game program.

Guess there might be a parallel in there.  The quality of the game was about on a par with most of the ads I endured viewing.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Once before in my life an opportunity to kayak began to emerge.  My Ohio bicycling friend Gary Courtright and I discussed the idea of some fishing-by-kayak back then and he sent me home with one of his little boats and instructions to watch his provided VHS tape on the subject, then attempt to apply whatever new knowledge I managed to obtain, with his boat on my pond.

At that point I had never even been in one of those precarious, in my view, means of nautical locomotion.

I watched the tape, managed to both load and extract myself from his contrivance, several times in fact, without liquid disaster, and took a little spin around the pond just for good measure.  Then, there my kayaking experience ended.

I think Gary may have found his last girlfriend about then--soon, as it turned out, to become his wife.

Let about 10 years slide by and you'll find me as an enthusiastic geocacher, wintering in Vero Beach, FL with my lady Sue and new friends Greg and Leslie Cornet from the Columbus, OH area.  They are skilled bicyclists, hikers, bird watchers, geocachers and *gulp* kayakers.

...and, there are lots of geocaches on the various islands in the intercoastal waterway which flows conveniently by our collective winter digs.  Upstate NY friend Betty (Boop) Maus, an experienced kayaker herself and co-local snowbirder, joined in the chorus of promoting a kayaking-geocaching adventure and about 10 minutes later Greg had me scheduled with a local outfitter to provide my vessel for the next day's outing.

The next day arrived about 10 minutes after that and I found myself listening carefully to the outfitter as we stood on the launch area in the nearby Round Island State Park and I was treated to enough advice that it was likely I would survive the day's expedition.

That's Betty, Leslie and Greg (above) shortly after we arrived and retrieved one of the island caches.  By then I felt like we had traveled at least 10 miles and were still short of our turn-around point.

When we first started to cross open water Greg pointed out a sign near our intended landing point.  It looked so far away I wondered if I could even see it clearly with powerful binoculars.  "We're going to paddle there?" I squeaked.

I knew people who would have been checking for their passports if they were facing a trip that far.

Actually, I was glad Sue had chosen to miss this adventure.  She gets queasy watching water fill ice cube trays.  I was getting queasy myself as my arms threatened to go on strike about half way to our first destination.

Greg had opined the surface conditions likely were somewhere between calm and "light chop".  

Ha! I thought as a quartering wave splashed aboard.  It felt like we were traveling fast enough to be towing a water skiier.  On the other hand I was mystified and wondering why the island seemed to remain impossibly distant, why my arms began to feel like they no longer belonged to me, and how in the heck I could wipe the splashing water off my glasses.

Actually our entire circuit that day was a wee bit less than four miles and while I felt the arrival of rigor mortis in my upper body that evening I awoke the next morning suffering surprisingly little from the previous days aquatic exertions.

WooooHoooo!  I'm hoping my body waits awhile longer before it discovers how old it is.