9-28-12 Friday (Mmmmm, Donuts)

Saturday, Jim and I went to lunch and ran some errands.  We went to lunch at Five Guys Burgers and Fries.  Is there anyone who hasn’t eaten there yet?  I mean other than my very fit and buff friend Norma?  I’m not sure why I feel compelled to talk about burgers right now.  I guess because I’m hungry at this particular moment.  Anyway, Five Guys is awesomely awesome. 

At around 2pm, Mom and Aunt Donna’s flight from sunny Southwest Florida (Fort Myers) arrived.  Jim and I met them, loaded the car and headed to an early dinner to The Rusty Rudder.  Mimosas!  and a great view of Lake Norman

2012-09-22 002Above: Aunt Donna and JoAnn

On Sunday it was off to Chimney Rock.   Yeah, Jim and I was there recently with his grandmother.

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Prior to arriving at Chimney Rock, we stopped off at an Ingles grocery store for subs and salads.  Here we are having a picnic in the park:

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One night during the week we went to Krispy Kreme.  Our visitors had never been to an actual store that makes donuts:

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I’ve been taking a lot of half days to spend time with my Mom and Aunt.  The leaves are changing – some faster than others but I think it’s going to be the perfect time to be here.  I haven’t taken any color changed trees mostly because I forget to.

9-21-12 Friday (Speech! Speech! Speech!)

Monday I awoke to barely a voice again.  I went to my primary care physician at about 8am and the receptionist  said he wasn’t able to see me until late morning.  I asked a few questions about where else I could go and then she offered to check on something out.  When she returned I was told that he’d be able to see me in about 20 minutes.  Score!

I was checked out, supplied with a doctor’s note stating to limit my talking, and given to prescriptions which they called into Rite-Aid for me.  Prednisone (steroid) and Azithromycin (antibiotic).  I picked up my scripts, and went into work where I presented my doctor’s note to a supervisor.  I hoped they wouldn’t send me home.  She sent me to help out in the training room.  This time I was going to limit my vocal interaction.

I was reviewing my doctor’s note and spotted “bronchitis/laryngitis” on it.  I reviewed my walk out form and it said “bronchitis”.  Now thinking about it, the doctor never actually told me what I had.  Oh well, despite the conflicts of what I was told or wasn’t told, I’m recovered.

On Tuesday I spent the day in the training class.  My voice was definitely better.  The training class is in their last week before they go “live”.  I do enjoy helping out in there.

Jim came home to a dog hanging out at our front door.  No tags.  The dog was very friendly and cute so he put him into the backyard and covered the back door window from Dasher’s view.  Not knowing anything about this stray, we wanted to be sure both remained safe.  It had been raining all day and this dog looked very well groomed so he couldn’t have been out and about long.  Jim went around the neighborhood asking neighbors if they knew who’s dog it was.  He put a sign out in the front yard saying “found dog”.  I took a photo and emailed it to the neighborhood watch email list.  We then took it to Petsmart to have it scanned for a chip.  No luck.  On the way back into the neighborhood we spotted some people who looked as if they were searching for a dog.  The dog, so well behaved, spotted the owners and went nuts.  Turns out his name is Dega.


On Wednesday I was back to the grind, aka back on the phones.  My voice was 95% and fine to me.  Grandma departed this morning.  I went to the dentist to have my last crown installed and am so thrilled to have all that dental stuff done.  I’ve had somewhat of a loose front tooth for a while now that we’re (me and the dentist) are hoping will get better with all the treatments.  If not I’ll need a bone something or graft something or some other gruesome oral surgery that I’m totally freaked out about.  My gums and teeth have gotten so much better but it may not be enough.


The Jeep’s brake saga has slowed down a bit.  Monro never responded to my Better Business Bureau complaint.  It will count against them but perhaps they don’t care?  Maybe they missed their contact attempts?  So, I’ll need to call Monro corporate I suppose.  I guess I’ll handle that next week maybe. 

My Mom and Aunt arrive Saturday from Florida!

9-16-12 Sunday (Speechless)

Sometime Tuesday or Wednesday I got the sore throat symptoms of a cold.  Thursday came and Jim’s Grandma arrived in town.  We went to dinner at Don Pedro’s Mexican.  Friday morning I ran out of cold medicine and decided to stop at Rite Aid to replenish my supply.  The cashier greeted me, I replied or rather tried to reply.  Words barely came out.  I lost my voice.  Since I work on the phones, this isn’t a very good situation.  I didn’t want to call out sick since I’m trying to conserve my days off for when my mom comes to visit.  I practiced my phone greeting in the car “Thank you for calling Big Ass Bank, this is Garret, how can I help you today?”  Most of the words were inaudible or screechy.  I arrived to work and explained the situation to a supervisor.  Do I have to go home?  If so, I understand.  After all, fair is fair.  I’m there to make them money so why pay me for something I’m supposed to do but can’t?  Luckily, the powers that be said I could stay and go help out in one of the training classes. 

I talked a lot in that class.  It was enough that they could understand me but definitely not professional enough for a sales atmosphere.  As the day went on, my voice improved so I did eventually go back on the phones for a couple of hours.  I love the break off the phones and I love to teach, I was grateful for the “pardon” but I wasn’t going to abuse it.  Maybe I abused my voice by talking so much in there?

Friday night we went to Red Robin.  It took excessively long for a server to come to the table so I asked the hostess to move us to a completely different section.  Things were good.  We think the bartender was maybe our server and he was tied up making shakes and crap.  I’m not a big fan of sharing my service with a bartender or a server who’s been assigned outdoor tables and indoor tables.  Those typically seem to have the worst service… in my opinion.

On Saturday, my voice was probably at its worst.  Perhaps I did abuse it at work?  Jim and Grandma insisted I go to the doctor.  I insisted otherwise.

We took a trip to Chimney Rock Park.  Jim and I still have our annual passes.  On the way, Jim showed us what he spotted the other day on alternate route to work.  This house is from a nearby neighborhood:

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The Christmas tree didn’t seem to have very many ornaments.  Maybe the owners/renter left it in the house?  In one of the other windows I could see a chandelier for a dining room and it appeared to have no furniture but deeper into the house I think there was a couch.  Maybe it’s abandoned?  Maybe not?  Are they really late in taking down their tree or just a tad early in putting it up?  We didn’t get out of the car to inspect so these are observations made from afar. 

Continuing on with our trip… First we stopped for lunch at La Strada’s at Lake Lure.  What a great view we get from the outdoor tables and the food is good too.

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And a few photos from inside Chimney Rock park:

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Hell yeah, we took the elevator.  On this visit we skipped the falls.

On our way back home we stopped for gas.

2012-09-15 011Above: Where do I swipe my credit card?

Sunday we went on a ♫ 3 hour tour, a 3 hour tour ♪.  Yes, a yacht boat tour using a Living Social.  

Yacht Deal

Originally we were all to meet at Hickory Tavern, a local restaurant.  The meet up place was changed a few days before to the Lucky Dog Bark and Brew which is a bar featuring an indoor dog park of sorts.  It’s a cool place for well behaved dogs.  There were no patrons there since we arrived at 11:30.  Alcohol can’t be served until 12:00 on a Sunday.  Excitedly, I ordered a Bloody Mary at noon!  Yum.  Maybe that will help my throat?

The registration period was 11:30 – 12:30.  At 12:30 they loaded us onto a “party bus” by Ragin’ Uptown which I guess is the bus rental company.  Yes, that’s what it said on the outside.  Their website has a photo section that only has 2 photos and doesn’t properly illustrate the crappy bus we were on.  We were packed on like sardines.  We sat there, and sat there, awaiting people who were late.  Why were they so late?  They never got the email about the changed restaurant.  They crammed more and more on eventually with people standing.  The seat bottom was so deep, it was impossible to sit completely against the seat back.  Who designed this?  My tailbone was probably 9-12” away from touching the seat back.  This was so uncomfortable to me.

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We got to the marina, piled off and loaded onto the bus.  Oh, not before some douche crew person gets on the bus and announces some simple rules, rudely and then admits that he’s very hung over.  Really.  So we board the boat… a two story 90 foot yacht.  Pretty cool.  I didn’t take photos of the boat itself but you can see them here at Luxury Yacht Charters website.  It had been raining earlier in the day so all the seats were wet.  The bar had no napkins (we assume because they could blow into the water?) so I went up to the crew members and recommended that they wipe down all the seats so we, the guests, could sit down.  I don’t know if they ever did, I didn’t watch.  The music started up, the bar was open and it got loud.  We moved downstairs to a very empty little area.  The day was cloudy and very cool to almost chilly.

2012-09-16 001Above: Jim had to get a rag and wipe off some seats.

2012-09-16 014Above: A small house on the lake.

2012-09-16 015Above: I posted this photo on Facebook and it was pointed out that the people behind us posed too.

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2012-09-16 010Above: Who needs a boat when you have a helicopter?

2012-09-16 012Above: Another modest little home.

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After the boat ride and “party bus” ride, we went to Mac’s Speed Shop for a late lunch.  It’s a biker bar that serves BBQ food.  It’s also a local chain that has about 6 or so locations.  They had Deviled Eggs on the appetizer list.  You never see that!  We ordered them.  The eggs were excessively firm.  The BBQ we all had was good.  Jim grabbed a bottle of BBQ sauce (there were 4 flavors) and read the “here’s the story” label on it and found a spelling error.  Can you find it?

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I posted it on Facebook which sparked a big conversation.  I wanted to know if “must sought after” was correct.  Perhaps it’s one of those phrases that people constantly say wrong?  It seemed unanimous that it was indeed incorrect.

Unrelated but humorous to me was this old cigarette machine.  I didn’t think they did these anymore:

2012-09-16 017Above: $7 a pack in case you were wondering.

Sunday night my voice began to degrade once again.  Looks like Monday I’ll need to see a doctor.  SIGH.

9-9-12 Sunday (Bloody Rings)

It’s an Augusta weekend!  That means we packed on Thursday night.  Friday after work I loaded a few things into the car, including Dasher, and picked up Jim from his work and then hit the road. 

We had a strange “picnic”.  In advance we bought cheese, crackers and a crab spread.  We packed up napkins, plates, etc and ate at the same rest area pavilion.  You know, the one that says no pets from last week’s picnic?

It was probably around 10 o’clock when we arrived at the campsite.  We quickly unloaded the car, socialized a little bit and then headed for the pool.

Jim and I like to sleep cold.  Honestly, 71° or below is preferred.  We sleep with a sheet and comforter… preferably a light comforter and not one of those thick polyester jobs.  In the Fall and Winter, we open the bedroom window a little and sometimes even a lot.  Ideal temp is at about 65°.  Sleep in the motorhome is “interesting” and has pros and cons.  Pro – the a/c is a loud white noise that we love.  Con – The bed is NOT our king size and with 2 above average sized adults plus a dog who’s all leg and likes to stretch out, isn’t the best sleeping arrangement.  Pro – We can get the temperature to be perfect. 

Friday night, I woke up several times to absolutely ice cold feet.  Did I do anything about it?  Like put on socks?  Adjust the a/c temp?  Nope.  I’m a tired, lazy sleeper with no energy.  I find it nearly impossible to get up for a drink, to pee, grab a Tums for indigestion, or to rearrange the dog who is at my feet and causing me to be a contortionist.  I just suffered.

When I woke up this morning, I glanced at the table top thermometer which read 63°.  I thought this was odd since there’s 2 separate zones and a/c units.  Front and rear.  Since the thermostat is in the bedroom, I ignored it until Jim woke up so as not to disturb him.  Once he woke up I asked him to bump it up, maybe it was stuck.  Sometimes the tiny slider knobs are touchy.  It ignored his input.  Whether he put it at 50° or 90°, it still ran and ran.  My immediate thought was “great, another reason to unload this beast”.  I had to turn the unit off so we could defrost.  There’s an “energy management unit” for the a/c and we theorized that the issue had nothing to do with that unit but rather the thermostat controls themselves.  Eventually Jim looked at the unit anyways.  He slid the “test” setting back and forth and it fixed the problem.  Maybe it just “locked up” like a computer.  Who knows.

2012-09-08 002Above: Thermostat controls.

2012-09-08 001Above: A/C unit controller

That was an extremely long story about a/c temps.  Oy. 

We had a late night on Friday so we didn’t move to quickly on Saturday morning. By the time we showered it was time for lunch. Time for a Living Social coupon to Al’s Family Restaurant. Jim ordered eggs scrambled with cheese, 2 pancakes and biscuits with sausage gravy. The gravy looked like thin soup and he said it was all lackluster. Me? I ordered onion rings and breaded pork sandwich. I had 1 onion ring and Jim had a few. I thought they were gross. The batter was flavorless for the most part but toward the end of my chewing the flavor reminded me of the taste of blood. I kid you not. I couldn’t eat anymore of it. I waited until we finished eating to share that tidbit. My pork sandwich overall flavor was good but my first bite I bit into a bone. Eventually another than yet another. It seemed awfully dangerous to have bones in a sandwich. I mean, typically people don’t use caution when eating/chewing a sandwich. I can only imagine if I had chomped down on that thing.  Look at the bones:

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This was our view:

2012-09-08 003Above: How many interesting things can you spot?

The pool had some private party thing going on so we decided to go to the local flea market, a Walmart and a Kmart.  Around dinner time we returned to the RV in anticipation of a big storm we saw rolling in.  It hit, we had dinner, and then we took a nap.  Yeah, for that time of the day it’s typically late for a nap but we knew we’d be up late tonight.

Here’s a couple of things I spotted at Kmart:

2012-09-08 006Above: A $12 flashlight with a security tag, yellow packing and corroded batteries.

2012-09-08 005Above: More corroded batteries although the package date is 2013.

Even though it was only 87° (per my phone), walking through the flea market seemed hotter than that.  I was sweating and uncomfortable.  It made us shop that much faster I suppose.  The vendors were typical.  Socks, cheap stuff, incense, and the like seemed to be the most popular booths.  We did buy some crap at a “good price” that we “think” we’ll need or use.  Isn’t that how it goes?

The trip to Walmart was because I left my nice water bottle in a cart at Kmart.  We were already home (RV) before I noticed it was missing.  Perhaps it was still there but I didn’t want to drive back only to find it missing.  So, we went to Walmart.  I now have a new water bottle with an optional ice rod.

On Sunday, Mr. Weed Whacker aka Jim, decided to trim around the RV again.  This time he’s Big Balls – less.  I’m not even going to ask him how much trim line he’s gone through.

Went out out for lunch to some chain pizza buffet called Stevi B’s.  It was OK but I’m just not a pizza buffet kinda guy. 

We took a dip in the pool and maybe because all of the rain, it wasn’t as warm as typical.  We didn’t stay that long. 

We stayed in Augusta longer than usual figuring we’d scale back our lunches next week.  Instead of salads, we’d have sandwiches. 

Well, it was the last weekend for Augusta for at least three weeks.  Grandma will be here next weekend and then my mom and aunt the next 2 after that.

2012-09-08 007Above: An RV with deck for sale.  No, we’re not buying it.  I researched online and it’s a bunk-house model.

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Above/Below: Our neighbors build a deck.

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9-2-12 Sunday (Dumpster Diving)

Friday I had to work.  Jim took the day off and was invited to go out on Lake Norman with Beth’s family on a pontoon boat they rented.   He left early in the morning to arrive at Beth’s for French Toast.  I was at work. Then onto Lake Norman.  Jim brought some giant float islandy thingies that we bought on clearance a few weeks ago in anticipation of this outdoor event.  I was at work.  Beth has a large family so there were quite a lot of people there or so I was told.  I wasn’t there; I was at work.  Someone made sandwiches for them to enjoy out on the water.  I ate my typical lunch salad at work because I had to work.

I couldn’t get the day off approved, I was waitlisted for the day.  We have to request it in some system and based on “business needs” the computer approves, denies or waitlists the request.  I was waitlisted and if I remember correctly I was number 9542.76 on the list… or something like that.  I did, however, leave early so that Jim and I could hit the road to Augusta.  It was nice not to arrive there at dark-thirty. 

We were invited to Steve and George’s site for a party.  The invite didn’t come directly from them so we were a little shy about showing up.  We were told we didn’t have to bring anything which is good since we really didn’t have and host/hostess gifts on hand.  We did have an unopened chilled bottle of Moscato wine on hand though.  Off we went with wine in hand.  I drank something like 3 glasses plus some spiked punch.  I was truly feeling it.  George has a 5th wheel with a huge beautiful deck.  There were so many people at the party.  I wondered if half the resort might have been there.  We had fun socializing.  George and Steve are very nice.  My walk back to our RV was “interesting”.  My sight seemed to suffer “camera shake” as if I was hitting bumps while looking through a lens. Wowsers! Perhaps it’s been too long since I’ve gotten a major buzz on!

On Saturday, our day went like this: Pool, lunch, shopping, nap, pool again, fresh homemade guacamole, wine, pool.  That should sum it up.  More highlights:

For lunch we went to Publix for some tasty subs.  Yum.

While driving around we spotted a KMart store closing sale.  One of those 35-50% off everything-must-go sales.  It’s sad to see another KMart close but shopping in there reminded me of just how uncared for those stores are.  Some merchandise looked so old the packaging was yellowed.  The fixtures were discolored or just plain nasty.  Signs were dusty.  Department signs were old school.  We did pick up quite a bit there.  The sale included shelving fixtures too so we got some slat board stuff for the garage at a nickel a piece.

2012-09-01 001Above: A “Walmartian” we spotted at Walmart.  I wished I had gotten a frontal shot.

Jim used his Big Balls attachment on the weed eater. Unfortunately the height wasn’t set good enough so he went through a spool of string quick. Eventually we found that even with adjustments, it’s not working well enough to keep it.  A return it shall be.

On Sunday we took our time.  Usually we get on the road back to Charlotte between 11 and 12 but with Jim being off for the holiday, we didn’t have to rush.  Jim can handle unpacking and grocery shopping and such tomorrow.  We went out for lunch, over-ate, and then took a nice long refreshing nap.  Oh, in between all that we went to the pool twice.  The pool was so nice; I was tempted to stay another day and call out for Monday.  I need to conserve my time off since Mom will be here at the end of the month.

The pool was busy… lots of people.  I really wanted to stay another night and was tempted to call out for Monday.  The problem was that Monday is time and a half PLUS 8 hours holiday pay and I knew it would be an easy day.  Most people will think we’re closed.

Earlier in the week Jim had picked up a few discarded pallets at his job’s dumpster.  So it’s kinda like dumpster-diving.  Anyway, he wanted to build a mini deck for it so that we don’t have dirt and mud to walk through and track into the RV.  I certainly helped too.  He took a pallet or two and merged them together, modified it and here’s the finished product:

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Next weekend will be our last visit to Augusta for at least 3 weeks while family comes to visit us.