Saturday, March 30, 2013

Return Trip from York

A week ago we drove to York, Pa to see our granddaughter perform in a high school play. We encountered some aggravating traffic jams on I-95 in Washington, DC as well as the Washington Baltimore Parkway and some of I-83 while northbound to York. We had already planned our return trip to Florida to travel on I-81 to I-77 and I-26 which routed us back onto I-95 in South Carolina. It was a good plan for avoiding traffic and affording better roads and scenery. But the drawback was the weather...I-81 runs through the Shenandoah Valley between the Shenandoah Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains. We knew there might be weather issues due to the geography but figured, "Hey, it's spring! It's late March! What could go wrong?!?  If a picture tells a thousand words..........

Scenery heading west on US-30

This photo taken to show snow in distance (ski trails). Had not seen any the whole time in York.

Gettysburg provides great photo ops

I love the Victorian style architecture

Gettysburg College

US 30 goes right through Gettysburg battle grounds

Love those old fences...if you look real hard you can almost see Pickett and his brigade charging over the horizon!

They might be weak on signage but I bet the food is good.

Oh, Oh! Snow flakes are beginning to fall in Virginia!

This, as I recall, is what's known as a winter wonderland!

Hands locked on the wheel in "ten-to-two" position on slushy I-81

Sure, sure...Sandi's not driving...she can smile for the camera! But  I noticed her stepping on her passenger seat brake pedal!

Meanwhile, I've got a death grip on the steering wheel. Starting to get nasty in the late afternoon.

Finally made it to our motel in Roanoke, VA

Next morning a blanket of snow covers the Terrain

Outside the motel room as we get ready to roll

Roads the next day in pretty good shape...I lost sleep worrying about it for no reason!

Nice scenery, little traffic, I-81 was a good choice

It would really suck to be the truck driver who needs to use this.

Flo and Cathie brighten up the back seat with their smiles

Sign language: Left - What the ___? Right - Loser!

Sign language: Left - Happy trails, fellow motorist! Right - still a loser!

Dogwood trees blooming in North Carolina promise the snow is behind us

Jacksonville skyline

This photo taken while stuck in traffic jam. Where else but I-95!

Flo's getting impatient!

Our most excellent neighbors dressed up our front door for my birthday.

The day we returned, I turned 68 years old. Driving in the snow again made me feel like 78!  Don't miss the white stuff!

All in all, the snow wasn't too bad except for about a 100 mile stretch in Virginia on Sunday afternoon. The worst part about driving on slushy roads is like any other driving...what's the other guy going to do? I really hate the slow drivers that put on their flashers. In my mind the flashers are for emergencies when your vehicle is stopped, not while in motion and because you are scared to drive at traffic flow speed. Nine times out of ten, it's somebody old. (Not a young 68 like me)! And truth be told, the sign language photos above were staged...I learned a long time ago to keep motorist signals of that nature below the dashboard. I'm not as dumb as I look.


Monday, March 18, 2013

In My Man Cave

It's my man cave. It's where I do my work, my manly work, and I cherish my solitude within its confines. The room itself is known by various names...bedroom #3, the office, and the computer room. I guess the man cave title is only accurate when I'm inside it and alone. And "my manly work" when the room and I are in man cave mode consists of genealogy research much of the time (including surfing on for computer generated hints), tracking income and expenditures since I'm still responsible for the family budget (delegated to me abruptly three years ago when I leased the Sorento despite someone else's advice not to), logging medical expenses and charitable donations just in case they are needed for income tax itemization (although with both of us on Medicare now, itemizing doesn't seem to be in play anymore; but I'm not complaining), and blogging from time to time (but my blog production seems to be suffering from retroactive blogging skills have deteriorated the more I work on genealogy...that's my excuse, anyway).

Most of the time I work in my man cave alone and with the door shut. I do maintain an "open-door" policy for anyone in the household to come inside the room. The closed door is to eliminate or reduce noises which I find distracting. The television downstairs is set fairly high on volume in deference to my mother in law who's pretty hard of hearing. I'm not sure turning the volume up is really that productive for her because she still tries to read lips but we want to afford her the opportunity to hear in case she's actually watching a program and not dozing. And, truth be told, a loud television audio setting is a hundred times more pleasant to listen to than if she decides to hum or sing her famous nonsense lyrics to, for the most part, non-existent tunes. I love my mother in law and I hope she lives another round of ninety years but it would be a blessing to my ears if she were to take a vow of silence. At least as far as music is concerned.  A loud television is better for all of mankind (and especially to this man). Anyway, the closed  door is free to be opened by anyone with appropriate business to conduct. And when the door is opened the definition of the room transitions to the task at hand: if my wife enters with the mail or packages the room becomes the office. If my wife or a grandchild enter with a request for something to be printed the room becomes the computer room. If guests are visiting overnight the room transitions into either bedroom # 3 or the guest bedroom depending on how formal a title we want to assign. We have a sofa bed for guests to sleep on.  And finally, when my canine granddaughter Coco visits (and back before American Bulldog Lucy passed away) the man cave evolves into a clubhouse of sorts, a place where man and dog can just chat, scratch, sniff, fart, and nap together when we're not peeking out the windows and spying on anybody outside.  When dogs are present I can't officially call the room a man cave because all the dogs I know are female. Due to our gender difference I would be  fully on board designating the room as our "buddy room." That basically covers the bases and is still politically correct.

While in man cave mode I will readily confess that my work area is a little disorganized. Well, not so much as disorganized as it is a little messy. If it was disorganized I might not be able to find something. Given enough time I can usually find things within a reasonable time.  Not super quick like if I needed to grab a specific document or something in case of a fire quick but since that tragedy hasn't happened and I certainly hope it never does, the mess doesn't bother me. A little guilt now and then? Sure, but nothing the next discovery of family history doesn't override.  The real issue at hand here is my procrastination in filing. I'm letting my filing obligations get a little behind. Here's a view of my work desk inside the man cave (or the office, bedroom # 3, buddy room, or computer room, take your pick).

On the far left next to the closet door handle is the postal area, bottom left open drawer is one of three for hanging files, and from left to right on the desk are AARP petitions (not sure I want to sign yet), high school alumni donation solicitation, pedigree chart and photographs of ancestors, statements and documents for filing received in today's mail (behind computer screen), historical publication by an ancestor I recently received from New England Historical Society, all of the data pages and mysearchgoeson blog for my research on Lenora Webber,  correspondence and data pages on my Kentucky cemetery search last summer, and my family files and binders in the cabinet on the far right. There's also a monitor on the floor that's part of my old desktop computer that one of these days I need to get rid of once I figure out how to destroy the hard drive inside the tower.  I've been procrastinating on that since last December when I replaced the desktop with the laptop pictured here.

 I remember when we used to think how wonderfully simple our lives were going to be because we wouldn't have to deal with paperwork anymore. Computers were going to replace paper! Yeah, right.  Granted, I keep too much but old habits die hard. And I've got a great new shredder I bought at Costco that can handle 12 pages at a time and with staples!! So when the filing (if I ever catch up to it) is done but the hanging files are bulging inside the file drawers, all I've got to do is feed twelve page gobs of parchment into Lenny (my name for the shredder) and he gobbles them all up pretty good. The best part about Lenny is he consumes those one half inch thick credit card solicitation letters with no hesitation. No fuss, no muss. ZZZZrrrrrrrraaaaaPPP!!! I love the sound of Lenny devouring unsolicited mail. Better than listening to Mom-in-Law hum, too.  Much better!