Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Stuck in the New Truck

The Island King's truck died right about the same time his mother had a heart attack and between working and taking care of her, the truck just sat in the driveway.

A blown head gasket and something that he can't diagnose - a screaming noise whenever he tries to crank it but it doesn't crank – it just screams.

The body itself has been beat to hell and back and considering the rust on the underside, it's amazing that the bottom of the truck hasn't just fallen apart.

Two weeks ago I woke up to the Island King telling me that he was buying a new truck – right then.

He's obsessed with old 90's model Toyota 4-Runners and he'd found one on Craig's list for the right price and was going to buy it.

The new truck has a few things that need to be replaced (the driver's door has a small dent, the paint on the hood has faded, the collar that goes around the steering column, etc) but the new truck is the same color as the old one, so he's been able to pull everything that needed fixing off the old one and repair the new one for free.

The only difference between the new one and the old one is that the new one has a manual 4WD shift inside but also has locking hubs on the outside that have to be locked in. Our old one only needed the shift from inside the truck.

The day after he got the truck I convinced him to put it to the test and take me geocaching in the woods.

We got out onto Eglin Reservation, shifted into 4WD, locked the hubs in and off road we went.

Things were going good for about the first 200 yards but then the trail turned into soft sand and 10 feet later the back right tire sunk like a rock.

Hmm. This isn't the kind of sand that a 4WD has problems in so obviously the truck isn't in 4WD.

He spent a few minutes in denial, gassing it, rocking back and forth – things you don't do when stuck.

Once he became convinced that the 4WD was truly not working he cussed a lot and then set about getting unstuck.

First he let a lot of the air out of each tire

But that didn't work. Probably because while he was throwing his little temper tantrum he dug a hole the wheel couldn't get out of.

There was all kinds of stuff in the woods around us that we could have put under the tire but since he was already mad at me for laughing so hard about him being stuck he didn't want to hear any of my suggestions.

Which was fine – I was enjoying the show and if he'd listened to me we'd have been unstuck sooner.

At one point he told me to push and I just laughed. Sure, I can push your stuck truck out of the hole in the sand. Bless his heart, I wonder about him sometime.

We were on a power line with two roads and a small hardpacked area between them. He was convinced that if he could get out of the hole and have a running start he could make it across the weeds and up the hill out of the soft sand.

After an hour and a half he did it.

On the way home I told him that I like the old truck better.

It might be a rust bucket but we've NEVER been stuck and we've taken that truck places no vehicle, 4WD or not, should have gone.

And of course, the hub that's broken is the one thing that the old truck doesn't have.

The funniest part is that this happened on April 1st so I teased him all the way home about the April Fools joke played on him. He bought a 4WD truck that has a broken 4WD.

He didn't think that was funny.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Maybe I Should Become a Psychic

I talked to a woman the other day who told me a fascinating story that has me thinking of a new career.

We were standing on the beach and saw a flock of pelicans fly by.

Pelicans fly in a V formation and if you watch them for a while you'll see the first bird in the formation drop to the back of the V while another bird moves up into the front spot.

I'm sure there are scientific reasons behind this but I always assumed that when the first bird got tired he rotated around to the back, the next bird moved into the lead and so on.

That was the extent of the thought I've given this over the years until the woman I talked to asked me how the pelicans communicated with each other about who would take the lead when the first bird dropped back.

“Do you think they talk to each other?” “How do you think they decide who goes first?” “Do you think it's a primal thing?” “Do they vote?”

Before I could answer she said “I wonder if my cat's psychic would know”

“Umm, your cat has a psychic?”

She gave me a “don't all cat's have psychics?” look and said that of course her cat has a psychic.
She hired the psychic because she felt like it was important to know what her cat was saying when he meowed.

Right here I need to say that it's really hard to keep a straight face when you hear things like that but I knew that if I laughed I wouldn't get to hear the story, and believe me, this was one story I definitely wanted to hear.

She tells me that her cat meowed a lot so she hired the pet psychic to tell her what the cat was saying.

It turns out, according to the psychic, her cat is saying 3 things. “Feed me – pet me – let me out”

I have 5 cats who meow all of the time and I have to say the psychic is spot on because most of their meowing means they want food, love or to go outside.

I've never thought of myself as a cat psychic but it turns out I may have talent.

Or, it could be that a meowing cat near his food bowl is a visual clue and I'm not psychic at all.

While I was processing this she told me that she's a firm believer in psychics because once she learned what her cat was meowing about he seemed a lot happier.

Then she threw out the zinger.

“Before I moved here I saw a psychic too and she told me that I would end up living my life somewhere under a blue sky and just look around – the sky is a beautiful blue.”

I asked if this was the same psychic who told her what the cat was saying but she rolled her eyes at me again and said “Of course not. That's an animal psychic, I see a people psychic.”

Oh, well, of course.

The woman was very happy with what she'd learned from the psychics and that both of them turned out to be right.

You have no idea how hard it was for me not to point out that there is nowhere on earth that doesn't have a blue sky - and that cats really aren't that hard to figure out.

I can definitely tell when a cat wants food and I know everyone will live under a blue sky.

If that's all it takes to make money as a psychic I'm in!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Off the Beaten Path

Every year young people from all over travel to Destin and South Walton for Spring Break. They come in droves and there are a LOT of them.

They seem to have two main goals they try to accomplish while they're here – going to the beach and drinking as much as possible. I'm sure sex is on their list too but we won't go there.

Maybe I'm just old but the idea of spending a day at the beach with a LARGE group of drunken college kids is not my idea of fun.

So instead of hitting the beach on Sunday, the Island King and I crossed the Bay and spent the day wandering the back roads of Walton County.

We passed this mailbox and I had to go back to see of it was real concrete.

It's not.

I love traveling down roads like this one.

This sign is on one side

And this one is on the other.

Always makes me wonder what we'll find at the end of the road.

This time it was just a road through the woods.

But it did lead to another road where we met this guy.

I think it would be so cool to have one living in my yard but then he honked and I realized that having a honking peacock wandering around might not be so cool after all.

At one point as we were driving along the Island King yelled “Stop!”

I thought he'd seen something cool but he just wanted to check out the camper toilet in the trash pile.

I'm so glad I won that fight or that trashed toilet would be in the trunk of the car, waiting to go to Tower Camp to live.

A few minutes later he found something else he wants for Tower Camp and this time I agree.

These two donkeys were so sweet. Well, I guess they were sweet, they came up to the fence and hung out with us but we didn't pet them. I'm no expert but I think some of them bite and my philosophy has always been that if it might bite – don't touch it.

Both of us would love to swing the metal detector around this old barn and see what we could find.


No day wandering with me would be complete without a stop in at least one cemetery.

This cemetery had some really interesting old graves and then there was this one.

Our pets?

The bottom of the monument says “Infants of...”

So did they call their babies pets? I'm pretty sure these are not animals buried here.

I've seen some weird inscriptions on headstones before but I think this one wins the prize in the weird department.

It's amazing how crossing the Bay can take us to a completely different world. Gentle rolling hills, thick pine forests, incredible oak hammocks – all of it absolutely beautiful.

Northwest Florida truly is paradise - no matter which side of the Bay you're on.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Birds Poop Bombed Her Car

For the longest time, the Island King has called the area we live in the Okaloosa Triangle. He believes more odd and unexplainable things happen here in Okaloosa County than in the Bermuda Triangle – or anywhere else in the world, for that matter.

He REALLY believes this.

Being a magnet for the odd I never attributed it to my location but he is correct in that some weird stuff happens 'round here.

Today's event was a bird poop bombing of the Island Girl's car.

Yesterday it was clean and this morning it looked like this.

Wow. How many birds do you think it took to do that? It's like an Alfred Hitchcock movie happened in our yard last night.

I used to park my car in that same spot and I'd get some bird poop on it but nothing like this.

I think her father may be right, this is the Okaloosa Triangle - a flock of birds flew in, pooped all over just her car and then flew away.