Thoughts and assorted philosophical musing about: Family, Friends, Fun, Hobbies, & other everyday things.
My continuing efforts to serve as a First Sergeant (Top) in the Army of God.
My latest interest is in Letterboxing.

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Monday, June 30, 2008

18 Hours

I am shooting for getting out of here to head for vacation land by 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. Granted we probably won't make it but my hope is that we can hit the road without undue delays. The trick is to motivate my chronologically challenged wife to stay on a realistic schedule without starting a war. I often fail to succeed at that.

I have been packing and organizing all week, still I feel that something has been overlooked. We are going ultralight this year so I have scrutinized everything three times and checked all of the packing lists over and over. Still I have that uneasy feeling that I have overlooked something. The two physically large items, The boogie board and a large plastic storage box containing all those little things needed for a week at the beach, are already in the car. My bag of car essentials is ready to go and my suitcase is packed except for my toothbrush. I can't pack the C-pap until tomorrow, and the laptop needs to be synced with this one before it is ready - in the morning after I negotiate through first of the month finances. The camera bag and my letterboxing pack are sitting ready by the stairs. Why am I so uncomfortable about leaving something behind??

I have checked the garden and picked up my license from the sheriff - It only took them a week to have it ready this time - they are supposed to have it within four weeks, but the original took them seven. Saturday I finished getting the radio in the car and ventured out with my wife to spend about an hour at a local field day site. I even packed things to make another letterbox as an activity to serve as a hedge for any rainy days. Still I can't shake that "Something is missing" voice.

Oh well regardless - tomorrow we go for almost two weeks away from home with some of those we care about the most. I wish that the others could be there also, but thats a story for another day.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Planting a Box

Ok! I think that I got a bit OCD over this one. I couldn't let go of the idea of planting a new letterbox on Topsail island. I had never put a box together before and just had to try everything. The results - A Plan to put a starter box out this year, and if all goes well to add several more in years to come, it is to be know as the "Topsail Treasures Series".

I have completed the first box - "The Gold Hole" named after a large scale treasure hunting project which took place on the island for several years, and then mysteriously, it suddenly ended leaving behind a gapping hole in the ground, a pile of rubble, and lots of questions. This box consists of:

1) A box with a snap on top which has been covered top and bottom with camouflage duct tape.

2) A hand carved rubber stamp of a treasure chest. It is mounted onto an acrylic block with a foam cushion inbetween.

3) A hand made log book created by folding 4x6 blank index cards in half and stitching them together. The cover is three pieces of artists mounting board with a glued on treasurer map.

It was a lot of fun.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Vacation is Soon!!

Our plan is that by this time next week we will be well on our way to enjoying our vacation. We expect to hit the road next Tuesday morning.

I still have somethings to complete getting the car ready and we have much sorting and packing yet to do. Everyone involved has had the opportunity to review the check lists. We seldom get many major changes to them any longer, but tend to forget things, so we review them and try to use them. Actually I keep three lists, Groceries, General Packing, and my personal items list.

The bunnies seem to be leaving my lettuce pretty much alone since the fence is back up to discourage them.

I managed to get my permit application completed satisfactorily. The application, Training Certificate, Passport photo, and fee were received with little comment.

I did get in some letterboxing on a few days last week. I actually amazed myself at how far I walked to get some of them. One day altogether I must have walked over two miles. These are stamps from boxes that I found during the week. The Weber's stamp was a fun one. It is located behind the counter of a local ice cream store. Their product is and old fashioned, homemade, custard using all natural ingredients.

When I woke up and checked my email last Sunday morning I found a notice that a new box had been planted near my home. The box was carved by a local boxer, "Travel'N Turtle", that is very active. She always uses very nice hand carved stamps so I was anxious to see it. I had plans to go out of town to an Herb fair that morning. However I couldn't resist the temptation so I threw on some cloths, drove over, and found it. At 8:15 a.m.I was the first one to stamp in to her log book. Here is a Picture of "The Goddess Hera"

We will be on Topsail Island, NC for our week at the beach. We discovered that there is one letterbox on the Island and plan to locate it. Now one box on an Island that size isn't very many. Plans are underway for us to add one this year, and if all works out well we hope to make it part of a "Topsail Treasures" series in the following years.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Living with bureaucracy

I had wanted to do some letterboxing early this week, but after looking at my honey do list, I decided it would be prudent to do some other things first. I had just discovered that a Government issued permit which I use regularly had expired the first of this month. So I began trying to renew it. I found that I had to: make an appointment (done - next Monday AM), to download and complete the application, and then to take it along with a passport photo, certificate of training, and a photo ID to the appointment.

It turns out that the application requires a complete detailed listing of every place that I have lived since I was 18 years old. Now I am not a young man, we are being asked for the full address including Zip code of every place I had lived for the last 55 plus years. For those of you who are younger I will point out that Zip codes did not exist 50 years ago. As a result I spent most of the day reconstructing the useless details for over half a century of wanderings. I moved a lot during my 20 years in the Army. Fortunately I have been stuck in one place ever since then.

Yesterday was a chilly day so it might have been uncomfortable out letterboxing anyway. I took a short break in the early afternoon to check out the Garden. I found that something had been chewing on my lettuce and my rosemary. I was not surprised at the lettuce, but have never had a problem with rosemary prior to this. I usually put a low fence around the garden plot, but it is not very pretty so I had not put it back up this year. It's up now!!

Today it was chilly again, I spent most of the day on the computer trying to get more things back in order, doing some work on the church site, and preparing a list of letter boxes that I can get to quickly on cold days.

Tomorrow it will still be colder, but I plan to get out and work some boxes the to go get a haircut.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Wow - It's been a week

Vacation is looming in the near future. I found this shot I took in 2005 and just made it my wallpaper.

It's been a real different week full of ups and downs. A quick summary:

Good - Donna is home for the summer, she needed the R&R, especially to rest her knee.

Bad - The computer got so obstinate that I had to take it into the shop. I suffered withdraw being without it for four days.

Good - It was replaced by a newer, bigger, better, faster one.

Bad - I now have weeks of work to do trying to recover my computers applications and documents.

Good - The wife and kids paid for the new one - "HAPPY FATHERS DAY"!!

Bad - It's been too hot to go outside for more than a few minutes.

Good - I did some work on the Church website, Not all updates and calender reconstruction have been completed, but it is better.

Bad - I found more work to do on the Church site than I had expected.

Good - Donna took me to an Indian's Game Wednesday Night. It was one of the coolest days we have had for awhile.

Bad - The Indian's lost the game.

Good - I think all of the plans and preparation for the beach that can be done now has been completed.

Bad - More will come up in the next two weeks as we get down to the wire and start to pack up.

So what is a man to do?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Where's The Beach??

Ah yes - - It's almost time for our annual family pilgrimage to the sea. For the last 25 years the word "Vacation" has automatically been translated by my crew into "North Carolina Beach". To them the word has no other meaning. I can't quite understand how I got hooked up with this as I am really not a beach person. But, to preserve what is left of peace and tranquility in the family, I dutifully obey the annual sirens call.

My wife Donna is a school teacher for another year or so with the typical summer break and I have retired. So we are free to take our time coming and going. This year in consideration of the cost of fuel we have decided to accept the challange of spending two weeks on the road in my Saturn Ion. Can you feel the squeeze? For several years we have rented a full sized car which adds a remarkable level of comfort as well as lots of room to pack "stuff". So "stuff" will be a much smaller list this year. On the plus side not having to pay for a rental car we can take another day or two coming and going without those additional charges.

Several years ago I happened upon a Hot Springs Area in Berkeley Springs, WV and mentioned it to Donna as a potential stopover going to the beach. We stoped, she tried it, and once she had sampled the "Hot Tub and Message" routine she became a disciple. As it turned out it was this country's original Spa which was both surveyed and enjoyed by George Washington and many of his family and friends. Now some hot spring location must be included in my planning. Usually it is this original one. We will stop there.

We are scheduled into a Beach House on Topsail Island, NC for a week starting on Saturday the 5th of July. I try to keep the driving down to about 6 hours a day. So my plan is Tuesday - Berkeley Springs, Wednesday - Rocky Mount NC, Thursday and Friday - New Bern NC, Saturday to Saturday - Beach House, Saturday Night - Beckley WV, and home Sunday.

On the 4th we will watch New Bern's parade. They were one of the first cities in the US to celebrate Independence day and it is still a big deal there. On the evening of the 4th, being Cleveland Indians baseball fans, we will take in a game followed by fireworks watching the Kinston, NC Indians a Cleveland "A" farm team. Can you believe reserved seats are available for four bucks each?

I have also located letterboxes along the way that I will attempt as time permits. There are boxes at or near each stopover and at rest stops in between. I was surprised to learn that a number of them had been planted by "Penguin Patrol" a boxer from Michigan who has many in my area. Several of these sound like a lot of fun.