So how’s by you? All good on the home front?

Or more succinctly, is your home still intact and sitting on roughly the same patch of land it was just a few months ago? I certainly hope so.

Since we last interacted, Mother Nature has unleashed her fury all over the globe with boiling hot temperatures, dangerous wildfires, and biblical-like flooding. For some it’s been a particularly difficult summer.

I’d come right out and say that this all because of global warming and rising greenhouse gas emissions, but the governor of my home state of Florida instituted a ban on state workers using such terms. It may also extend to retirement bloggers too, I’m not really sure.

A pity too because the good folk who live in stunning Sarasota and other nearby Gulf cities have been suffering from toxic algal blooms known as “red tide” on their coastlines. Dead fish and other creatures from the ocean have washed up on their beaches, stinking up the cities and scaring away tourists who like to pump the local economy with dollars. I suspect its likely that the residents there might point to climate change as the primary reason for their troubles. But, hey, what do I know? I’m not a scientist, or so goes the escape-hatch expression for not taking responsibility.

Wherever you may live, though, I do hope that you and yours not only survived the summer but enjoyed it with nary a sunburn nor a mosquito bite.

For our part, the missus and I each took separate trips this summer in a “divide and conquer” strategy to see family and friends. Gorgeous flew first to Michigan and then to Chicago during June and July, while I visited Michigan in late August.

I enjoyed a mini-reunion with two of my three sisters, an increasingly rare occurrence for my family in recent years, plus a wonderful visit with an aging uncle and two cousins. I sat next to Uncle Bob during a dinner out, and it didn’t take long before we were both behaving like adolescents and trading inappropriate jokes about family members no longer with us. They say one shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, but I discovered that at 88 years old Bob is using his position as patriarch for blissful mischief rather than correctitude.

As musician Sly Stone once suggested, “You see, it’s in the blood…

Cousins reunion

Not in the blood, however, is any sense of adventure or daring passed down to me by my forbears. For instance, I’ve always equated “roughing it” as staying at a hotel without a coffee shop, or perhaps being forced to go commando for a few hours because I forgot to pack enough skivvies. Better to leave it to others for zip lining, bungy jumping, watching Sean Hannity, etc.

But a brother-in-law of mine is apparently spawned from such lineage. Like his father before him, he pilots a small plane and flies all around the midwest to participate at air shows.  He also enjoys rafting, kayaking, and distance bike races. During my visit, he decided to test mettle by taking me out on the back roads of the private community in which he and my sister live.

Rather than all of us driving together in one car to a nearby restaurant for lunch, brother-in-law insisted that I convoy separately with him in his Polaris 4×4 utility vehicle. It’s yet another contraption for a man who loves machines; and an additional area of interest that has always separated us. Hard as we’ve tried to find common ground over the years, our differences have generally been more dominant.

But try we do…

And quite like a scene from a 1970’s beer commercial, the ladies — my two sisters — set off separately from us daredevil men. I sat in the Polaris beside an open-air mesh “door,” desperately looking for any kind of handle or strap to hold onto for support. Finding none, I simply pushed back in my seat as far as I could go and anchored myself in as gravel flew up from the road and trees and shrubbery whizzed past my head. With a bemused smirk, brother-in-law drove over hills, humps, and hops in eager zeal. Speeds of 45 miles per hour never seem quite so fast in a car, but I can now attest that it certainly does in a UTV.

Great ride, huh?!,” he asked with pride as we pulled into the restaurant parking lot.

I don’t recall if I answered.

I also don’t remember much about the lunch.

Or the ride back to my sister’s home.

My brother-in-law’s Polaris Ranger 4×4.

Besides our separate travels this summer, we also had a visitor to our humble home here in St. Augustine. My oldest nephew gave us notice in June that he wanted to experience southern heat and humidity; this because he’s never before traveled to the Sunshine State. We did our best to entertain him over three days and nights by showing him all the tourist attractions in the Old City, the neighboring historic district, beaches, and the iconic lighthouse. I worried ahead of time that he might be bored, but he was easy-going throughout and enjoyed everything we introduced to him. This included our evening television routine.

Since I retired, we’ve become addicted to English (and Aussie) TV shows such as Doc Martin, Call the Midwife, Doctor Foster, Midsomer Murders, A Place to Call Home, etc. We’ve also been ghastly cheap by watching nearly all of these shows on DVD courtesy of the public library. You can’t beat free, at least according to me.

Nephew, on the other hand, thinks differently. He humored us by watching along with us and firmly keeping all thoughts and opinions to himself for at least the first 48 hours. But on the last full day of his visit, he went into what I call full “Dude mode.” By this I mean whenever he felt obliged to offer an opinion on my way of doing things, he began each sentence with “dude…”

Dude, you’re spending more money on gas than you’re saving by going to the library for those DVD’s. For G-d sakes, get into the new millennium already and start streaming!

Thus on the last night of his visit, we received a crash course in streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Prime, etc. The embarrassing thing is that Gorgeous actually has an Amazon Prime account, but we never thought to access the streaming offerings for it on our TV. Nephew showed us how to connect the TV to our WiFi and showed us how to reach each of those services, including Prime.

After he left, I went ahead and invested in a year’s subscription to Acorn TV, where we can now watch all our favorite shows for the grand sum of $50.00 a year. I later told him about the purchase, and though I think he rolled his eyes because we didn’t choose Netflix instead, he gave me plaudits for taking the plunge. Maybe I’m a real dude now and not just a rhetorical one.

So there we are. We need to be grateful for family affairs to keep us stocked with adventures and laughs. But between you and me, it’ll be a cold day in hell before I ever climb into brother-in-law’s plane.

Until next time…

27 thoughts on “Reconvening

  1. Hey SitG,

    Yours is not the only household with an Amazon Prime account and isn’t taking advantage of the streaming option. I just subscribed to Hulu recentlyso I could see “Arrested Development” (yes, I am loving it) and may dip my toe into Prime since you have shown me that I may be the last luddite standing.

    Finally, I made a summer trip back to the Lands of OH (No!) and WV. Since I was not shot at on this trip to WV, I consider the trip a success. (Yeah, I know, a LOW bar for success, but at least I walked away.)

    Also, I attended my 40th high school reunion. Boy, did those people get old! Fortunately, there was no mirror in the place so I was able to imagine I still had my 1978 hair and my 28″ waist.

    I am soooo ready for autumn and the chance to “grab ’em by the midterms”.



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Grab ’em by the midterms, indeed!

      I took some liberties to save space, but we’ve already enjoyed a few shows on Prime. For instance, I highly recommend Hugh Grant as Jeremy Thorp in “A Very English Scandal.” Great portrayals by all involved.

      I’m not able to attend my 40th (next month sometime). I had to make some choices, and that one fell victim. Perhaps the 45th or 50th. But I do suspect you looked better than most, in spite of the whole “hair” thing. 🙂


  2. A couple things — I’m not convinced your BIL likes you! Make sure your insurance is paid up if you visit again. I need your nephew HERE! We play around with streaming (also have PRIME) but we need someone savvy to work us through. “Remedial living for geezers” is a course I’ve been looking to attend! Good to see you back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kate! Now for the harder part: catching up on at least a week’s worth of reading reading other bloggers (such as yourself!). Yeah, my BIL are different… and probably always will be. “Like” is a relative term, I guess.

      Usually I have nephew look over my computer and iTunes to fix problems, but this time I’m glad it was the TV. I had zero idea how any of this works.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It sounds like a fun summer, Marty.

    I got to experience the red-tide-that-is-not-caused-by-climate-change personally. We took my brother Bob’s ashes to the shore to scatter them, but changed locations when the beach at the shoreline was covered everywhere with dead fish and eels. Ghastly, smelly, and even the air was toxic. Poor Florida!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Welcome back! You certainly had an eventful summer… but I’m glad you’ve rejoined the blogosphere. I wonder if now the changing climate is impacting the almighty dollar and tourist trade, your sorry excuse for a governor will actually allow people to say the cc words. #Bluewave!

    We do some streaming, although we still get Netflix through the mail. I have a feeling that all those little add-on services will cost more than the dreaded cable. I wish we had a younger member of our family here to explain it all to us (and better yet, set it up for us so we don’t need to do anything except veg).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow… I was wondering if one could still get the DVD’s from them in the mail. Good for you in keeping that flame alive! Yes, it was helpful to have him here to show us the ropes, even if it involved a bit of shaming at the same time. 😉

      And exactly, Janis. Once the tourist dollars start speaking, all of the sudden that crowd of non-believers just might “miraculously” come to their senses. Capitalism is funny like that. #Bluewave!

      I’m looking forward to reading your wonderful blog again…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Fantastic read, dude!
    We;ve had Amazon Prime for quite a few years and only in the last 2 have I begun to truly exploit its library! If not for Prime, I’d not be caught up with the ‘newer’ Dr. Who series – it’s so fun to create one’s own marathon tv evening-viewing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. First off, I am a scientist (OK, engineer, which is quite close), so YES, it’s cc! Sheesh. We are heading down in September and I am quite worried that the red tide will mess up my favorite time of year. I know it’s hurricane season, but I adore the beach in September & October! Ironic that we do need a blue-wave to combat the red-tide (among other things).

    I need a DUDE. I have a prime membership and know I am not maximizing it – music, video. I’ve tried a few times to figure it out and my brain just got hurt. Yes, it’s all of us non-users that make Prime their money.

    Great to have your humor back on the blog-o-sphere!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. After the last two seasons, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that we be spared of any hurricane adventures this year. I do hope that you can enjoy your annual sojourn, Pat. I have to agree — sans hurricanes, there really is nothing like Florida in the fall months.

      I’m glad that we now know how to take advantage of these other services on our TV. For years now I’ve heard about “streaming services” but really had no idea (or admittedly much inclination) how to find them. Prime is nice because much — though not all — of the offerings are indeed included in the membership. So in addition to our new addition of Acorn, we have one more access point for shows or movies when “regular” TV is void of anything interesting. But, yes, it took a Dude to show us. Perhaps it does take a village after all. 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I guess I’m lucky to have 2 sons to keep us informed about all the things we aren’t informed about. Their latest attack is about the radio. I have the radio on during the day, everyday. They want me to switch to Spotify. Yeahhh – no. I’m not ready yet for more technology to complicate my life. Netflix however I have – rarely use, but at least I have it and it works … I assume.

    … and I think I would like your BIL. Love a little life on the wild side 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanne, without even consulting my three sisters (including the one who’s married to him), I now completely grant you full privileges and rights within my family. I already know they’ll approve ahead of time. Someone should like brother-in-law, and now after years we can finally all rest.

      I have to agree about streaming services. First of all, I like to hear a human voice now and then such as an interesting disc jockey (I like many of the ones on satellite radio, or at least I should say I did like them before I stopped paying for the service). I also am tired of having to pay for everything now. Remember when we TV, etc., was free through the airwaves????


      1. Yay! I’m now a member of the family. Wait – that doesn’t mean I have to host Thanksgiving dinner, does it?

        … and you hit the nail on the head about having to pay for EVERYTHING. They’ve got water figured out, it’s just a matter of time before they manage to charge us for breathing too.


      2. Remember a few years ago when some British airline company came up with this idea of charging to use the bathroom? 🙂

        I promise, no hazing or any responsibilities required for family membership. I can guarantee that if you follow through with your promise to like said brother-in-law, you’ll be carrying, ‘er, water for everyone.

        Liked by 1 person

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