Acclimating To Tropical Weather In Florida And Meeting With The “Kids”

We stumbled into the hotel at an ungodly hour, dragged ourselves to our room, and promptly realized the only thing that could revive us from our zombie-like state was breakfast. Brains… I mean, pancakes, please!.  We went to the hotel restaurant and were shocked by the $25.00/person breakfast, but we were tired and hungry and paid the price.  Breakfast was good, but the $50 for eggs and bacon seemed a little high.

We are ready for breakfast!

Back in the room, we crashed for about three hours, which was much needed considering our epic battle with the snooze button. We had a view fit for royalty, and the silence was almost eerie, except for that one noisy seagull practicing its stand-up routine outside.  That seagull must have missed its calling as a comedian!

A room with a view.

We dragged ourselves out of bed and begrudgingly prepared for a much-needed drink, then stumbled upon the kids. We stumbled upon a great spot on the mezzanine, conveniently close to where we had breakfast.

We must stop meeting like this.

We sat and talked for almost an hour, just catching up and making plans for the day.

Just us.

We were hanging out near this crazy bridge that seemed to have a mind of its own, going up and down like a roller coaster. As we watched the big boats pass by, we spotted a water taxi stopping point under the bridge. We thought, “Hey, why not hop on a water taxi and let the waves rock us into dinner mode?” Can’t wait for the water taxi ride to work up our appetite for a feast!

We heard something squeaking.

We took a vote and decided it was time to go.

We were having fun on the 85-degree day!

For the water taxi, you needed to get tickets via the iPhone. Oh my, everything is on the iPhone today. The kids took out their phones, and seconds later, we had tickets. It’s good to travel with the young.

The kids saved us.

Our ride arrives; it reminds me of the yellow cab of yesteryear.

They called a taxi

We departed from landing #4 and had to go to landing #10, where our restaurant was located.   On the way, we saw Jay’s Floating Sandbar Food Boat, but we did not stop.

We were not hungry yet!

Oh my, what if we had a disaster on the boat? We felt better knowing the Fire Rescue Boat was nearby.

Just in case.

We passed the world’s largest high dive, which was located at the Olympic Swimming facility.  At 27 meters, the structure is the tallest dive tower in the Western Hemisphere, and it is the first in the world to incorporate diving and high diving for competition in one precast concrete structure.

Time to jump.

We spotted our target just ahead. It was called “Shooters.” Mark and I were disappointed because we thought we were going to “Hooters”.

We are here!

We were chilling outside, enjoying the warm but not scorching weather. Just as I started to think maybe it was Hooters after all, our waiter showed up, and to our surprise, it was a dude! I guess that shattered our lingering delusions!

Their menu was quite varied, from steaks to seafood and everything in between.

Decisions decisions.

Way back twenty-five years!

December 31, 1999 at sea with family!

The restaurant had an excellent cleanup crew to save money. While they did a good job, they were a little noisy. We thought the idea was for the birds.

The cleanup crew.

Mark and I did the shrimp appetizers, Mark went for the popcorn shrimp which is served hot while I opted for the shrimp cocktail.   I only got two pieces because Colleen has developed really long arms and my shrimp disappeared if I looked away for more than two seconds.  Her skills have now been honed since she watched her four grandkids on a regular basis.

The shrimp were huge!

The cameras were clicking all afternoon.

Kibitzing is underway!

Our waiter dude did an excellent job of capturing the essence of the meal. Notice the plates are all empty! When we were done, we made the birds starve.

We had a perfect table.

I told Colleen she should always try something new!  Well, this time her facial expression gave her feeling away.  (This  was the best of the worst pictures… the others were scary).

Colleen didn’t like my drink!

Mr. Photogenic was looking good today once Colleen got the remaining food off his beard.

Mark is a serious moment.

Back on the boat, we headed down the Intercostal Waterway.

Did You Know? The Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) is a 3,000-mile (4,800 km) inland waterway along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts of the United States, running from Massachusetts southward along the Atlantic Seaboard and around the southern tip of Florida, then following the Gulf Coast to Brownsville, Texas. Some sections of the waterway consist of natural inlets, saltwater rivers, bays, and sounds, while others are artificial canals. It provides a navigable route along its length without many of the hazards of travel on the open sea.

Mark, always the gentleman, saves Collen from seeing the world’s most mean animal, the Croc-a-Gator. It has a crocodile’s head on one end and an alligator’s head on the other end, and he has no place to go to the bathroom, which really makes him mean!

“I am protecting her eyes from the horrible scene unfolding”

It was getting dark as we sailed back through the landing, looking for lost souls.

It was getting dark.

We all had our matches, and we assisted the captain when we spotted our hotel in the distance.

We were happy to be “home”

We verified the transportation at the front desk for tomorrow morning’s trip to the ship!  No bar tonight, it was home and crash!

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Day Zero (Traveling), We Is Off For The Caribbean!

During our morning stroll through the garden, we greeted every plant and critter like they were old friends.  It’s like our little version of “The Garden of Goodbyes and Hellos.”

We visited our flowers since they get little attention during the veggie growing season.  We have lilies in many different colors.

Yes, we also have flowers.

We still have hundreds of tomatoes!  Mary is like a one-woman Goodie Bag Express.  Every time we go anywhere, she’s on a mission to keep the neighborhood in a veggie-induced coma!

Mary filled a box of veggies for the Elks, including eggplant and peppers!

By 7:30 am, we were checking the checklist to see if each item had been checked.  The suitcases were ready to close, so we will shower and get prepared to go to the Elks for Girls’ Night Out.  Vicky and Jim will be there to say goodbye.

I was thinking about my Mom and was sad she did not get to meet Dr. Mary.  They would have been great friends.

Thanks to AI, I was able to “recover” this old photo of my mother with her granddaughter, taken in 1973.  Mom passed in 1990 and I miss her all the time!

We’re all set and excited to head to the Elks!  Off we go!

Linda is sorting through the goodies.

We had quite a crowd today.  There were twelve of  us.  I didn’t realize the party had gotten so out of hand!

George and Bob teased away.

Bill got some multicolored unmentionables as a “gift” from me, but he wanted to make sure.  He asked what he should do with them, and I said two things: 1) wear them in the BACKYARD when you garden, or 2) use them as a slingshot to hit passing birds.

I could not hear what they said, but I bet it was priceless.

We all had a super time shooting harpoons back and forth at each other, telling jokes, and ribbing one another.  It was a typical Girls’ Night Out event.

Vicky and Jim joined us to say bye-bye.

The next dance after the Hawaiian event is entitled “Around The World,” and the centerpieces are being readied.  Each centerpiece will have a passport where Starlighters will write down where they have been and share it.

We got a preview of the centerpieces.

Ask Vicky about my new name!

My name is Tonto Hernandez, but my friends call me Bubba.

Vicky and Jim stayed for a while, and we coordinated some upcoming events

We talked for quite a while.

The alarm went off.  Someone is in my garden!  Do you see the varmint?  The wascally wabbit is stalking anything he can eat!

Do YOU see the rabbit?

Robin came by at 3:30 p.m. and took us to the airport. I drove, and we were there at 4:30 p.m. for a 7:00 p.m. flight.  We like to be early just in case!

We are at the airport with load #1 of Mary’s baggage.

Loading my bag is easy, one gunny sack, and I am done!

I am packed and have room to spare!

We stopped at the California Pizza Kitchen, where I introduced Dr. Mary to split pea and barley soup. I was a good boy and had a chicken Caesar salad. We both had a glass of wine before we headed to the boarding gate.

I enjoyed a Caesar salad with chicken.

We were at CPK for what felt like forever, and Mary had to have some French fries. I made a detour to McDonald’s to make her French fry dreams come true. These are the things we do for our loved ones!

We are ready to fly!

Salt Lake is 565 miles away, about 90 minutes as the crow flies.

We are off to SLC

The inside of the cabin was warm and cozy. A nice man brought me several wines as we progressed to our destination.

It was peaceful in First Class.

The second flight was relaxing as we slept for a few hours. At 6:00, we were in Florida!

7: 15 am and time to rest!

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Oh my… It was froggy outside this morning but t it is still supposed to be 89 degrees.

We stumbled our way to the gym at 8:15 am for an 8:30 pm appointment to have our bodies busted and broken. After 45 minutes of pretending to work out and losing a load of calories, we made a beeline to the bagel store to promptly replace those calories. It’s all about that balanced lifestyle, right?

After devouring the bagels, we flew home and began packing. This trip will be interesting, as every port will be warm, so shorts are the order of the day! Of course, we did take our formal wear for the formal evenings.

Today is the 10th of July, which was Sue’s birthday. She would have been 73 today. We got a note from Diane and will call her tonight.

When our cleaning service dropped in, we had them do the office first, and then for the next two hours, we hid in the office.  Mary ironed my shirts, and I worked on the adventure website!


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T – Minus Five!

This morning was supposed to be all about packing for our upcoming trip, but we got so engrossed in tending to the garden that we lost track of time! The garden had its own plans for us. We’re juggling preparing for the trip and organizing a big party at our house on the third of August, just a few days after returning from the Caribbean. It’s like we’re trying to fit a whole adventure into a short period of time!

We began in the front yard, and we are trying something new; we have planted two pumpkin vines, hoping that with some proper pruning, we will keep them under control and be able to show them to the neighborhood kids before Halloween.

If the vines get real long, I might fasten then to the fence using orange rope; that would be a real decoration!

This might be a big mistake, but the kids will love it!

Our avocado tree is living the best spa life. Just to keep things extra fancy, we treated it to a luxurious Moon Juice bath. You know, because even trees deserve a little pampering.

The tree is relatively small, but we have already formed avocados.

We planted two Coleus plants. Coleus is a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae. Like other members of the mint family, it has square stems and opposite leaves. This plant is native to the tropics of Asia but grows well in just about any environment. Unlike most annuals, coleus cultivars are grown for their foliage, not flowers.

We planted Coleus in the back patio flower bed.

At 12:30 pm, we reluctantly dragged ourselves to the doctor, hoping for a magical cure for Mary’s back and Paul’s sciatica. After some treatments, we still can’t do backflips, but at least the doctor is helping us space out our dramatics!

Mary gets the next appointment.

When we finally escaped the clutches of the doctor’s office, it was 3:30 p.m. We looked at each other and simultaneously decided that it was the perfect time to head to the Elks and devour a well-deserved late lunch.

It was Taco Tuesday, and I succumbed to the situation. A chili verde, taco, and cheese enchilada later, I was done. Mary had the soup and salad demonstrating again her self control!

We had a late lunch at the Elks.

Finally, we are home, and at 7:00 p.m., we visited our neighbor Jeff, who looks forward to our afternoon visits on his porch.

Jeff and our daughter Colleen are Facebook friends and often share funny items.  With The help of AI, I retrieved this photo of Colleen circa 1976 and put it through the enhancer software.

Miss Colleen was always a happy child and still is today!

I could not pass up the opportunity to take a blurry picture of my fantastic son Joe and pass it through the AI software.  The first time I tried, I got an error notice, and the computer shook violently.  The message said, “WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS IS, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE?”  I tried twice more, and finally, after much moaning and groaning, the machine spits out the result (along with a refund check and a note never to try that again!)

Circa 1977, he was determined then!

This was about 1976, and he was determined then!

We watched two more episodes of “The Good Doctor,” and according to the TV, we will be done before we leave on the trip!

We crashed at 10:00 pm, and tomorrow will be packing day!

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Monday, T-Minus Six!

We are packing and getting ready to go!  But first, the garden needs some TLC.  We walked into the garden for a few minutes and then headed to the gym to get our muscles pulled, pinched, poked, constricted, contracted, pressed, squeezed, strangled, strangulated, and otherwise molested!  We walk into the gym feeling 50% and exit between -50% and -80%.

We ran into Marilyn Bailey at the gym, and she’s been a regular there for over twenty years. We complimented her on her excellent recommendation for Indian food and promised to go for dinner together when we returned from vacation.

After getting beaten up by our personal trainers, we hit Home Depot for some much-needed veggies to cover up the mess we made, trying to yank out the worn-out plants. Then we hightailed it back home.

With all the hauling we do, I mentioned to Mary we might need to get a small truck.  We then saw a sign and almost stopped.

We need more parts, like a turbocharger and a giant spoiler for extra speed. Oh, and a cup holder for those all-important refreshment breaks. Let’s pimp our new ride!

When we returned home, Scout was watching the house from his vantage point at the junction of all the hallways.  From this select spot, he could see all entrances to the house, which meant we had to step over him no matter where we needed to go!

He is getting his beauty sleep!

We worked in the garden until 3:00 p.m. when it got too hot! We planted everything and put up two more rabbit fences. We thought the wascally wabbits were gone, but they got after our new cantaloupes!

After dinner, we decided to be fancy and checked the pool temperature. To our surprise, it was a toasty 90 degrees, courtesy of ol’ Saul.

Our new wubber duck confirmed the temperature; it’s a go!

We hunted around, found two plastic glasses (classy, I know), and filled them with “Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay White Wine,” Robin’s absolute fave. We took a sip, looked at each other, and both went, “Pa-tooey!” We’re more suited to Charles Schwab, a.k.a. “Two Buck Chuck!” Who needs fancy when you’ve got flavor, right?

It was so inviting!

We were in the water for so long that we turned into human raisins! We decided to call Dianne and Robin using Alexa video on the iPhone. We made sure to keep the camera angle high to spare them from the sight of our “raisin” transformation. After all, we didn’t want to scare away our friends with our new wrinkly look!?

Mary is a “cheap date”. Put her in the pool with a plastic skimmer net, and she will stay occupied for hours.

Mary also does tricks because I looked at her and yelled, “Prepare the boat for diving… dive… dive!”  Sure enough:

What can I say??

The temperature outside was still in the 80s, so we lit up the firepit, which is now an easy job!  We turned the valve and lit the match; whoooooof!  Flames shot into the air thirty feet, singing the behinds of birds passing overhead!  Mary pointed and yelled, “Take that, you crispy critter!”

Within a few minutes, we were toasty! We thought about marshmallows, but with the cruise just days away, we’re channeling our inner mermaids and shunning any excess calories. Make room for the cruise ship’s tropical drinks and endless buffets!

Toasty toes!

I couldn’t resist taking a snapshot of my very own mermaid. She looks stunning when soaked – don’t ask her if she wants a snack, or she might order some sardines.

“This is the life!!”

We have been in the house for three years now, and Mary has transformed it into a beautiful home with unforgettable memories and many future activities.

As I often say, I am so fortunate!

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It Was Saturday Yesterday So Today Must Be Sunday!

If we are up, you need to be up!

The sun rose, and so did we. We stumbled into the kitchen for our coffee and convinced ourselves that a five-hour workout was a good idea. The poor little cart named after  Mary got more exercise today than we did, as we filled it up and dumped it several times. After all that heavy lifting, the cart might need a massage and a spa day!

The two-wheeled cart delivered bags of mulch and potting soil to the various sites around the yard.

We started early.

When Joe, Amy, and the gang invaded our pool, we had to scramble to hide the inflatable flamingo and the giant rubber ducky. The water was a toasty 84 degrees, courtesy of Mother Nature’s relentless heatwave. Apollo, the water-crazy grand dog, made quite the splash alongside Scout. They zoomed around the yard until Scout threw in the towel and dashed back indoors to the sweet embrace of the air conditioning.

Apollo loves the water!

Dang, it was 4:00 pm, and they had to go home. Mary fixed some bruschetta and pigs in a blanket for snacks, and we loaded the portable ice chest full of drinks and lemonade for Joe. Poor Joe, always needing his lemonade fix!

Darn, time to go home?

They exited the yard via the side yard as they were still wet after spending more than two hours in the pool!

We had a wonderful visit!

After they departed, we took a twenty-minute power nap and then got ready to join our next-door neighbors, Jim and Dorris, for dinner at Dynasty Chinese Restaurant in Orange.

We learned that dining in Chinese style means everyone orders an entree, which is placed in the center of the table, and you eat whatever you like. That way, everyone can try their own plus something new!

We enjoyed their company and got to know them after being neighbors for three years.

I ordered the beef, Mary did the Bok Choy with Mushrooms, Jime got the fried rice, and they got everything else.  It was a feast!


We texted Jeff to see what he would like, as his mobility is limited.  He got BBQ-style pork fried rice, which Jim delivered to him on the porch.

When we got home, we brought our evening glass of wine to Jeff’s front porch and talked to him until the Sun went down.  We enjoy his company!

Mary loves people and she can talk to anyone about most anything plus she is funny and engaging.  Not a day goes by that I thank the Good Lord that we found each other and are having so much fun living our our days together.

Am I a lucky man or what??

I have six months and this will be my modus operandi!

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It Is Saturday, All Day!!

We just hung around the house today!

We had a laid-back day!  We got up and walked in the garden before cleaning up and departing for the Tustin B of  A, Orange County Nursery, doubling back to CVS for a few goodies.

So get this: I waltz into the Bank of America like I own the place, ready to set up a money transfer between my accounts. But oh no, apparently, I can only do that online. Around that time, they handed me a “magic” phone number that promised to connect me with a “wizard.” I called the number, half-expecting Gandalf to pick up, but instead, I got this fantastic “wizard” who guided me through the online process like a mystical money-moving maestro. Banking magic, I tell you!

The next stop was OC Nursery and Farm Supply, where we got an instant class in Bidenomics.  Two years ago, I bought a bale of straw for $9!  We needed additional mulching in the garden, so I was prepared to buy another one!  My heart skipped a beat when I saw this:

I checked my watch and looked for today’s date, and it WAS NOT April 1st!

The price of straw, the leftovers after wheat is harvested, has almost risen 400%. We decided to wait and hope to find it reasonably priced or go to a farm and buy it used!

After the shock, we collected some seedlings to bring home.

Mary has the shopping cart!

From there, we went to Staples, and Mary looked for her 2025 pocket calendar. We also found the prices very high; they needed what we were after! We returned home empty-handed.

We were supposed to go to Temecula with Robin and Michele but we fell behind in getting ready for the trip so we started packing, organizing our paperwork, getting the steamer trucks from storage so Mary can pack, and I ironed my little gunny sack for my clothes!

Daughters Robin and Michele went wild in Temecula! Bob and Franklyn were around for adult supervision.

We spent the rest of the day watching The Good Doctor. At 7:00 p.m., we took a large tray of Pigs In A Blanket and Bruschetta over to Jeff’s and joined him for a drink on his porch. Jim, our next-door neighbor, visited until about 9:00 p.m.

We were tired, and by 9:30 pm, we were sound to sleep!

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The Smoke Is Waffs Through The Air

We are up and moving!

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

We woke up fashionably late today, almost 7:00 am, after our wild partying shenanigans yesterday.  Because of our wonderful family and friends, the kitchen was spotless, and the house was immaculate!  The partying thing was terrific!

Scout was in the hallway, keeping an eye on everything, probably trying to figure out who was just here or waiting for someone to drop a piece of pizza.

My name is Luigi, and I am waiting for pizza!

We went to the garden, and Mary decided to trim the roses.  They grow so fast that she has to do them every few days!

There was still the smell of fireworks in the air, and Channel Five News reported that the air quality in the LA Basin was in the red.

Mary’s gardening outfit avoids freckles where freckles should not be!

I heard a tiny little voice, and it was Lizzy, our pet bug catcher.

I better keep an eye on him!

After a while in the garden, we went to the doctor (our social outlet) to get clearance for hand surgery (I have to go under a general). My pulmonologist is a riot! He gave me full clearance, and we are ready to go as soon as we get back from the trip! My BP was 115 over 75, which is not too bad for an elderly man!

We were just 1.5 miles from the Orange Elks Lodge, so we thought, ‘Why not?’ and swung by for a chili-size and a glass of vino. Because, you know, nothing says elegance like chili and wine at the Elks Lodge!

We each got one, so that was a double yummy!!

The rest of the day was spent relaxing, doing laundry, and watching The Good Doctor. We had some snacks around 7:00 p.m. and then crashed around midnight!

Mary is always so helpful!

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Happy 4th Of July

Happy Birthday, America. May you have many, many more.

You can see all the photos on our website!

We were up early as we are having company this afternoon and want to be ready!

The garden is ready for a series of shopping sprees.

Everyone began showing up at noon and the fun began!

Daughter Robin and cohort in crime, Mary!

When this group gets together, you never know what might happen.  This was a quick course in “photobombing”!

How do I explain this? Ah… They were Bob’ed!

The Dudas were our heroes today. Bob attempted to cook but set off the fire alarm, Robin managed to burn water, and Nick tried to fix the sink but ended up flooding the kitchen!

They come in threes!

Meanwhile, outside, Bob tirelessly tends to the open fire while Nick and I are proudly appointed the official supervisors of the kibitzing operation!

The three cab-e-arrows!

Turn up the heat, Scotty; we need Waarp five flames!

The BBQ was hot enough to heat the pool five degrees!

Greg let the group, all holding hands, in saying grace.  We are fortunate to have such amazing friends and family!

Greg did not even slip up!

Oh my, Mary rang the dinner bell, and everyone came alive all at once.  It was just this side of a food fight.

“Make way, Jim has got to eat!!”

We played patriotic music all afternoon, but when it got to be danceable, Mary and I were off and running! I mean, who can resist an excellent old patriotic dance-off? USA, USA!

A penny for my thoughts is NOT enough!

Robin shows off her creation which does not last very long; like magic, it disappears.

Yummy with a capital YUM!

At 4:30 p.m., people began to depart to prepare for tonight’s fireworks displays in their area of town.

While the rocket engines warm up in Vicky’s jet-mobile, they say goodbye.

Tradition: We go to Joe’s for fireworks after dinner!

The countdown is underway!

We had a 90-minute display of explosive artistry orchestrated by the one and only Maestro of Fireworks, J E Liles! It was like the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve. We got together and said, “Let’s party!”

Burn Baby Burn!

We were heading home at 10:00 p.m., and Mary got to watch all the fireworks explode all over the city while I kept my beady little eye on the road, watching for partygoers who definitely should NOT be driving. I felt like a hawk, ready to pounce on any car that swerved like a drunken sailor!

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It’s The Turd Of July!

We had our coffee before going to the gym!

The day got underway with a quick walk through the garden.  As I was turning the corner, I heard a p-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-t   p-s-s-s-s-s-s-t. I looked around and saw Lizzy sitting on the fence.   Lizzy is like our very own superhero lizard, using her magnificent appetite to keep those pesky bugs under control!

“Hey, put down the camera! I am sunbathing!”

Today’s stroll revealed that our grapes are ripening just in time for our vacation. Now, we just need to train the housesitters to be grape pickers before the grapes turn into raisins on the vine!

I tried one, and they are delicious!

As tomatoes grow, the leaves begin to wilt, and it is essential to pick the dead diseased material as bugs like dead leaves and stems.  Once cleaned out, one can see all the tomatoes on the vines.  We are loaded this year!  These are hanging six feet in the air.

Pick the harvest!

After our leisurely walk, we bravely decided to grace the gym with our presence. The enthusiastic trainers ensured that every little muscle in our bodies received loads of attention, ensuring that we felt the burn for days to come.

Barely making it out of the gym alive, we went three doors down to the Ralphs market and shopped for the 4th (again).  We filled the car with goodies.

We stopped by Jan’s and brought her some pinwheels and Cape Cod chips.  She agreed to come over and join the party tomorrow, so I will pick her up at 11:45 am so she can visit with old friends.

The Silver Fox has a full tummy!

We put away the cold/frozen items and then gathered up Scout, the Wonder Dog, and headed to the groomer; he wanted to be pretty for the party!!

Since most of the groceries were stashed away before we left, we opted for lunch at the Orange City Elks Lodge at the traffic circle.  We are associate members, which means we have a door key and are considered members.

The entrance is quite lovely.  The Orange Elks Lodge #1475 was established on November 26, 1923, and has occupied its current building since 1935. The building was initially constructed in 1925 for the International Order of Odd Fellows.


Their lunch is delicious. I had a Chili Size, and it was terrific. It was loaded with onions, and the fries were perfectly done.  Mary did a half-sandwich and salad which was also excellent.


We sat with several very interesting people who we had just met.  We talked about the lodge, weather, and other topics of interest!

We were still dressed for the gym!

Mary was about to open the door when I wanted to show the other side of the entranceway!  She could easily get the greeters job at the lodge!

“Come on, Paul. We must put away the groceries and prepare the patio for the party!”

I suggested she wear her beach outfit.  She could explain what the Elks are all about!

Eek!  I had to make an executive decision; I would fix the sprinkler system if Mary stored the groceries. Our gardener accidentally damaged the lawn mower’s sprinkler head and control mechanism.

We could feed an army!!

I went outside and got the BBQ Grille ready to go after several months in storage.  I had to turn it on making the heat even more and then scrub the grille with a steel brush!

It was 88 degrees outside already, so I decided to wear my birthday suit!

I was minding my own business when Dr. Sneaky captured me cleaning the grill.  Oh dear!  I need to get a rear view mirror to keep and eye on her.

BBS and TLB: You have to ask Mary!

The Rain Bird had two adjustments for the pattern and spray distance.

I read it repeatedly, and they had the arrows going in the wrong direction.

It took me about fifteen minutes to figure it out, mainly because I had to bend way over our wall that divides the yard and ready the instructions upside down.  Finally, I got the darned thing to work, and suddenly, I was ambushed.  Shot in the rear with cold water by The Masked Doctor.

Can you imagine what I thought after baking in the sun for fifteen minutes, bent over and trying hard to return to the vertical position, and then, WAM, hit by a stream of ice water where normally the sun does not shine?

I screamed a few select words, got vertical, and whirled around to see what was happening.  I was held at gunpoint!  She should have worn a mask and demanded my money, but seeing my gardening uniform, she just giggled and ran back into the house!

CAUGHT IN THE ACT! She thought it was quite funny!

The patio is now 80% ready to go!

The BBQ was fired up, and the grill was cleaned and greased.

Feeling sorry for how she got me with her pistol, Mary made some of her delicious fruit salad.  We had that for dinner, along with a PB&J toasted sandwich.

We called Jeff to see if he wanted company, and he said, “Come on over and sit on the porch. There is a Vandenberg launch in a few minutes!”  We grabbed a glass of wine and headed across the street (I changed from my gardening outfit).

After visiting for a few minutes, the sky lit up, and the rocket launched.  Vandenberg is 3 hr 14 min (196.1 mi) away via US-101 N from our location.

Firefly launched eight CubeSats selected through NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI), which provides satellite developers at U.S. educational institutions and nonprofits with low-cost access to conduct scientific research and technology demonstrations in space. The complement of CSLI CubeSats on a given flight is referred to as an Educational Launch of Nanosatellites or ELaNa. The Alpha FLTA005 Noise of Summer mission will carry NASA ELaNa 43 payloads.

Get ready, set set, go!

The first stage was brilliant.

Look carefully; you will see the first stage drop off and the second stage fire up.  It was helped along by Jeff making various rocket sounds in the background.  At the start of the second stage, there was a distinct Taco Bell sound.

We have separation!

Alpha FLTA005, a mission called Noise of Summer, supports Firefly’s Venture-Class Launch Services Demo 2 contract with NASA to validate the capabilities of launch vehicles that support a new launch class and provide more access to space for small satellites and spacecraft. Firefly will conduct Alpha FLTA005 as another responsive space operation, which includes transporting the payload fairing to the launch pad and mating it to Firefly’s Alpha rocket within hours of the scheduled liftoff, compared to weeks in a typical operation.

The flight path is explained!

It was spectacular.

Have a safe journey!

Returning home, Mary made potato salad, and I puttered around before bed at midnight.

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