Category Archives: Life in General

General rants and raves about life in General…

Fine China

My mother died… Only 3 months after my father, she passed. Her doctor ruled it, “Broken Heart Syndrome”. It is somewhat a tribute to the man whom she spent her life with.
It’s been hardest on my sister, who so depended on both of them for nearly everything. The house was left in somewhat a mess what with 41 years of accumulation. Mostly things that mattered only to them, each item a memory of some event from the past.
I spent this weekend cleaning out the kitchen. It was his kitchen. My mom had stopped cooking many years ago.
My father’s mother was Polish. She died when I was young, but I do remember her cooking and baking. I surmise that’s where my father got the knack for cooking. Before he got sick he spent a lot of time trying different recipes he found in the newspaper and online. His one and only recipe that I had to have was for beef jerky. I have made jerky now for many years. Friends and family ask for it, and in some cases are willing to pay for it.
I don’t know why this is important to my story, maybe a tribute to my dad in my own way?
So here I am with my sister and Tonia, cleaning out the kitchen. Bagging and throwing away years of plastic containers, plastic bags, stuff that for unknown reasons was kept. So many containers, one could not have possibly needed them all. That was Saturday. On Sunday I arrived, alone to finish the task we started the previous day.
I spent the better part of the day cleaning that kitchen. 15 large trash bags later, I felt accomplished. Sitting at the breakfast bar, where my Dad had sat for some many years eating his breakfast, bacon laid out on a particular napkin he liked, he would read his paper and eat his breakfast. I reflected on the previous 41 years. Glancing at my watch I knew I needed to leave. Standing, I looked up and realized I missed two cabinets. I thought I was done but no, not just yet.
I opened up both cabinet doors and on the left were board games, cards and the like. On the right, were crystal glasses. I quickly realized that the glasses had been there for quite some time. They appeared to be frosted as they had been covered in a layer of dust and grime. One glass was actually clean indicating it had been recently used.
I started on the left removing the games and cards, inspecting each as I tossed them into a trash bag. I grabbed a book from the cabinet and found it was a book based upon the poem by Linda Ellis, “The Dash”. If you have not read this poem I strongly suggest you do. By reading this poem, you will understand better the rest of my story.
The poem makes a good point and has words to live by. I remember this poem from a shopping trip I made with my friend Tonia. She had purchased a plaque with this poem on it.
So here I was looking at these crystal glasses, recalling the poem then recalling a story about fine dishes. A story about having fine dishes that were only used on special occasions. Then it occurred to me; why use these precious items only on special occasions? Let’s make every occasion special. I decided I would use these glasses all the time. As I washed the glasses I remembered the china I found squirreled away in my father’s room. That fine china then too would be my everyday dishes. No more to be hidden away from view they would adorn my table at every meal. Not to be left out, the fine silverware that sat in its box on the floor in the living room too would be the perfect complement to the rest of the ensemble. So there, I would do the unthinkable. I would use these items and every time I did I would think about my parents. I would think about the many years these items sat unused. Now, I would use them and feel special by doing so…
In some ways these glasses, dishes and silverware are symbols of those in our lives whom are special, yet we don’t see them unless it’s a special occasion. Maybe it’s time to make all occasions special so we don’t regret all the lost opportunities…

Another Memory…

It has been forty-one days. Forty-one days since my dad died.

He died somewhat suddenly. While not unexpected, the amount of time we had was short. If it were not for my friend Tonia, I may not have got to spend what little time I did, talking about nothing more than the traffic on 95.

It was only a week and half before when I finally arranged for all of us, my mom, him, Tonia and me to go to lunch. I arrived early and as I sat there I watched as he struggled to get from the car to the front door. The distance might as well have been 10 miles. He had to stop half way to rest upon a bench. I knew that all of the stories of hope he had told me before were more for my own relief than his. I waited for him to catch his breath and found a table not more than ten feet from where he sat. When I finally got him to the table he could only put his head down into his arms and rest.

A man who was nearly never sick a day in his life has succumbed to an illness, one that he had not told any of us about. To do so would have let us all know that he was dying, that there was really no hope. I can only say that he and I were very much alike. I would have chosen to suffer silently, instead of burdening anyone or drawing more attention to myself. He chose the same path.

In the hospital we talked. We danced around what was really happening as if not talking about it made it somewhat better.

As I reflect back, he knew his time was up. He chose to check himself into the hospital. He told me that he was not coming out until the doctors fixed what was wrong. He came from the hospital only after God fixed him. He didn’t suffer beyond the symptoms of his illness. One by one his organs failed. His primary doctor wanted us to wait before removing him from the ventilator. His doctor even talked about rehabilitation. This angered my mother and me. To see him struggle for one wisp of air, while lying in bed was hard enough. To hear a doctor tell me he could be rehabilitated made it worse.

Even with what my mother and I knew we granted the doctor another 5 days. It didn’t take but a few before the kidneys started to fail. We knew he did not want to be in this state and on May 28th, his birthday I picked my mother and sister up. On our way to the hospital to make the final decision we rode together in the elevator. I was scared. Was I making the right decision? What if he could somehow make a miraculous recovery? Logically I knew it was not possible.

My dad did one last thing as we rode that elevator. He ended his own life. Not with a gun, a rope nor pills, but with his heart. As we left the elevator and entered the area, the nurse told us, he passed.

No decision was to be made by any of us. He left as quietly as he came.

So there, on the bed with only the ventilator pushing air into his lungs I said goodbye.

Everything happens for a reason. God gave me an Angel to help make things right. Thank you Tonia.

Memories

So… Where does it all go? Throughout our lives we generate, no scratch that, we experience our future memories. To what value would you place to be able to digitally store them in full living color, with the sights, smells, sounds and touch?
If you could would they have any more value to you? If after 30 years, you decide you no longer want to be with your husband, what do those memories really mean? Were they good, bad, ah maybe neither? Would memories stored as our own, played back to us before our eyes rekindle the relationship?
Would the ability to replay those memories on the big screen in your living room or on your phone in the privacy of your own bedroom, help rekindle lost love? Would it? What if we could relive the birth of our children, not from some 8mm film or VCR tape but from our own minds? Imagine watching your perspective on the events that unfolded before your very eyes. Much like we watch a movie through the directors eyes each of us would be our own director. Storing our memories is a very personable event unique to each of us.
I was reminded of this the other day when I attended a party without my wife. The next day, later after school she told me the conversation she had with one of the other attendees of the party. What I heard repeated back to me was not the same perspective, even on my own conversations with the close friends in the room. It is strange how we each perceive even unmistakable conversation into future memories that are somehow different from one another.
For some it’s a sight for others it is a smell, for me it is music that tags my memories. Often I am brought back to a time when I hear a certain song on the radio. This does not make me special as many of you will attest to the same method for memory recall. My earliest memories with music go back to when I was about 10. My mother being a child of the 60’s would spin her 45’s often singing to the music as it played. Later on in my life music marked my memories of a girlfriend, a long hot summer swinging from a rope on a tree.
Now imagine if you could just download all of those memories, catalog them and store them for future playback. This fantasy comes with its own demons though. Some may have memories of crime and deceit. What if our memories fell into the wrong hands? Would judges issue orders to turn over our memories? Could they be held against us in a court of law, a court of public opinion?
On second thought it is best we hold our memories and our thoughts inside, to ourselves for us to own and treasure to share only with those closest to us both in experience and in reflection.

Why…

Deleting ones contacts, individually, with purpose would normally not invoke such emotion. Tonight as I peruse my contacts, syncing between iPad and iPhone my Google contacts there it appears; w4ldy@hryc.com… Bob Ford.

Having passed into the afterlife it only seems logical I no longer would need this contact; my father-in-law. My mouse cursor pointing, hovering over the delete command. I pause as if prolonging the decision somehow makes a difference.

I was not expecting this. I was simply syncing my contacts. How was I to know he would appear one last time. It came rushing back to me. The sound of my mother-in-laws voice, the tremble in my voice when I told Pam. The police, the crime scene tape. Will it ever go way?

I hesitated one last moment and then “click” he was gone…

Jury Duty

Many years ago I was finally selected for jury duty. Call me strange but I actually look forward to the opportunity. I for one believe that jury duty is a basic responsibility of all citizens and could never understand why everyone tries to get themselves off of the task.

Unfortunately my first go around was impeded by a lady in a mini van as she hit me from behind on my motorcycle. Two tragedies.

Last week Pam came in from retrieving mail from our SPAM BOX. I call it that because the only thing we usually get is advertisements… unsolicited. She said to me, “Guess what?” I thought the worst, “IRS, I have been drafted, what?” No you got a jury summons. “Yee haw!”

So here I sit, waiting until Sunday to call that special number and hope my services are still needed on Monday. I now can imagine what it must be like to be on American Idol. If I could just make it past the first round…

April Binnacle Article

Pssst… Did you hear…??? Rumors are one of the most devastating forms of communication known to man and women alike. All too often I will sit at some area  of the club and listen as members pass information to one another knowing all too well what they say is at best wrong, sometimes completely false.

My point is that when you have a question there are three of the most informed members in the club you should talk to; Rear Commodore Wayne Stewart, Vice Commodore Bill Masters and myself. Aside from Louis Sellers our manager, the three of us know more about what is going on at the club then anybody else. Before you pass on a “rumor” you heard please give one of us a call. It may save yourself some embarrassment and more importantly will educate you on club business. Failing any of that you are always welcome to attend one of the many committee meetings during the month. Gossip and rumors may be fun… until it’s about you…

On the brighter side of club business I want to encourage those that travel to exchange club burgees with those clubs that you visit. I can say that we practically have all of the domestic burgees but if you are going out of the country check with Brian to see if we have a burgee from one of the clubs you may be visiting. We can give you one of ours to exchange. When you come back we can post a short article from you and some pictures to go along with it in the Binnacle. Mike and Pat Alekson just got back from a trip and hopefully their article and pictures appear here this month or maybe next.

Well the weather got better and I finally told Pam, “I need to work on the boat”. If you recall the last time I was trying to get it started I saw a bunch of sparks come out of the motor and something told me that wasn’t supposed to happen. So yours truly, Captain Obvious loaded up the truck with whatever tools I thought I would need including a battery charger as I was sure that after all these weeks the batteries were probably dead. Pam went along for the ride and upon arrival quickly made her way to the Tiki Bar, smart woman. I lugged the tool bag and my boat bag to the dock and surveyed the situation. Tide was low so it was about a 4 foot drop to the boat not too bad, one wrong move and I was going to be baptized in the Halifax. Fortunately getting on the boat was in fact uneventful. The wind was blowing from the North East so I had to keep pulling in the lines to get close to the dock to get everything from the dock to the boat. A little annoying but it was a nice day and I was finally going to fix the sparking problem before it turned my boat into fiery mess at Disappearing Island. Yes I know that would be one heck of a story but I don’t think my insurance company would appreciate it.

Off came the top of the motor. I was pleased to see the trim switches actually moved the motor and the bilge pump was still working. That meant I wasn’t about to invest in new batteries just yet.

Surveying the case I could see it would require splitting in order to get to what I thought was the source of my sparking issue. This too was without incident as I removed each bolt one by one, carefully ensuring that I had a firm grip on it lest it be sacrificed to King Neptune. As I started to separate the case I heard a “tink, tink, tink” and looked below and saw a nut rolling around.  No not a walnut or a peanut but a real brass looking nut. As many men do and their wives can attest whenever a man puts something back together there is one universal and obvious occurrence, “Spare Parts” We men shrug it off as “over engineering” and move on. However this lone nut concerned me. I carefully picked it up and examined the offending nut, seeing that it appeared to be oxidized green. A bright moment flashed in my head, “A copper nut” Its appearance also gave me another clue as to where it may have come from. It was not a tall nut like so many other tall nuts but one short in stature. I have seen these kinds of nuts before, but where? It was a small mystery indeed but one that would soon reveal itself.

As I continued on to what I thought was the problem, the battery cable to the starter solenoid I discovered I was indeed right. It was loose to the point the cable and the nut had burn marks. This would be the source of those sparks I had seen before.

I reached for a wrench to tighten the offending loose nut and discovered it was pretty tight. Looking closer what I saw was stripped threads. Ah ha, the connection, in another moment of brilliance I now knew exactly what happened. At an earlier visit to the dealer for some warranty work they removed the cable to do the repairs. The mechanic must have dropped that nut I found and simply grabbed another one to put the cable back. The only problem was it was the wrong thread type and he stripped it. This made me mad. For what would have been a nut that cost maybe a nickel I could have incurred hundreds of dollars worth of repairs and towing. I was lucky enough to be able to wrench down on the nut a bit more without damaging the starter solenoid.

This is a good point to boat owners; know who is working on your boat. There are members who are in our club that do everything from marine electronics to diesel repair and maintenance. There is no better place than our club to find out if the person you want to hire is worthy of your hard earned money. Not only for boat repair but for many things like finance, travel and medical the members who advertise in the back of the Binnacle all know they must do right by the members with whom they enjoy our club with.

The weather is getting warmer… see you on the docks!

May Binnacle Article

Here it is May already and the club just keeps getting better. The Tiki bar is hopping, the fried shrimp and oysters zoom out of the kitchen and the kids are splashing in the pool.

While May is not exactly mid year I want to take a moment and thank our club manager and his staff for making this an exceptional year. Over the last few months I have been amazed at what the kitchen staff can do when left to their own volition. I know I will get a talking to but Tony in the kitchen makes a great fried calamari when it’s available. The calamari is not on the menu and it is not always available so ask if you want it. Sorry Tony but perfection comes at a price. Jimmy has been making another personal favorite of many; potato chips. Fresh out of the fryer and less cost than the bagged kind these chips will surely become a favorite of yours as well. You can thank Jimmy for these little morsels of salty pleasure.

I really do appreciate all of your accolades. I know the kitchen and wait staff love to hear your comments and suggestions so keep them coming. Either fill out a comment card or bend my ear a bit. We are trying to make EVERYONES experience a great one. Like Avis, “We try harder!”

This is the time of the year when more and more boaters from other yacht clubs visit with us as they travel the Inter Coastal Waterway. Make it a point to introduce yourself should you see someone in the club you don’t recognize. You may just be surprised by the fellowship developed as you swap stories of your life, your family and the boating lifestyle. I am always amazed at the people who come through our doors as they travel the coast and inland waterways.

This is the time of the year when children become more involved at the club partaking in what the club has to offer them. While I won’t go into much detail as that area belongs to the Voyager’s and Mike McQuarrie, remember the pool is open most days of the week with you providing adult supervision. Kid friendly menu items include hot dogs, pizza and hamburgers. Bring your children and your grandchildren for an afternoon of fun and great food.

Have you noticed…

Have you noticed Port Orange is starting to look a little shabby? I mean let’s look at the medians… Trash, cigarette butts, tall grass and my personal favorite; weeds. I wonder if its because of recent cutbacks to the budget in Port Orange? Can we no longer afford to live in a clean community?

What about the traffic snarl at South Williamson and Taylor Road? You didn’t believe widening the road beneatht he I-95 overpass was going to fix things did you? when I saw the plans a few years back I said it wasnt going to solve the problem. Well it wasn’t going to solve the traffic problem we have all become accustomed to. The problem it did solve seem’s to help the developer’s… Now they can build more homes… Yippee! Of course I think that problem has been taken care of by the bursting of the housing bubble… Way too many homes and not enough buyer’s should help to protect our city from further raping and pillaging for a while…

Now it seems the big fight is on for an Interchange on Pioneer Trail and I-95. This ought to be interesting…

Let’s get Started!

Welcome to my blog. My plan here is to vent my frustrations with everything from life to politics. Lord knows we have enough material to keep me busy for some time. If you have lived in this area long enough you know what I am talking about. If you just moved here… I would suggest you go back to where you came from. The landscape may look appealing to you now but give it a few years and yes, it will closely resemble what you left. Why? Well you of course. Now before someone calls me on the carpet, yes I was born elsewhere. So yes, one could say the same about me. However, I had no choice I was six. So lets see… It’s 2007 and I am going to be 42, so I have been here for 36 years. I think that for starters, I have right to complain about the conditions here and second because I have tried to do something about it, I have the right to complain as well. I also vote. Looking at the stats from previous elections most of you don’t. I can only say that you are a sad, sad bunch of people. Politics are the way they are because of you. Period. If you were as dedicated to the process of electing people that control your lives as you are worried about who is going to win American Idol the world would be a much better place.

I think that should be all for today. By now some of you are wondering just who the hell I think I am and others are saying, “Right on!!!!”. Post your comments. I love debating as I almost never lose. If you want to complain about what’s bugging you, post that as well. I want to hear it all.