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Installing A Floating Boat Dock

I have a piece of property on Lewis Smith Lake in NW Alabama. It’s a beautiful place with emerald green water… it’s very large – over 550 miles of shoreline – and very clean – supposedly the second cleanest lake in the US behind Lake Tahoe… Oh.. and it is very DEEP. It’s one of those places where a power company builds an earthen dam at the end of a valley where all of the streams and creeks meet in one place.  Then the water backs up behind the dam… filling up the valleys and forming a very large reservoir.  (This is NOT my property. LOL.  This is my buddy Ivan’s boathouse on the same lake.  I like this picture though because it shows how nice the water is.) The lake was built in 1961. I have friends who grew up in that area that have told me that when the Alabama Power Company came around and bought up the land to use for their reservoir they surveyed it and staked out where the shoreline would be. Grandparents took their small grandchildren out in the back of the farm on the hillside and told them ‘one day there will be a big lake right here and all of this will be shoreline… go ahead and pick out where you want your house to be’. They did. I know people who told me that. Now they live in a beautiful home on the shore of Lewis Smith Lake. The local people from Birmingham and the surrounding towns would come out on the weekends to watch the valley fill. As I said the lake has 550 miles of shoreline and covers over 21,000 acres. It took about six months for the lake to fill to capacity. When the lake was full it came to within 6″ of where the surveyors said it would. In 1961. It’s a VERY big lake. It’s probably 50 miles by water from one end to the other. The fishing is fabulous. ESPN regularly airs BassMaster fishing contests that take place there. There is a hybrid Striped Bass there – a salt water fish. I’ve seen some that were 45 lbs pulled out of the lake. Oh, the boating, skiing, wakeboarding and jetskiing are very good too. Anyhow, I bought this boat dock off of a guy. The boat docks on the lake have to float. The reason is that the water level can vary as much as 16′ or more between summer and winter. Boat docks are very expensive. :( I got a great deal on this dock. It’s been sitting attached to the house of the guy who sold it to me. I have needed to get it moved to my lake property but needed a “mount” built to have the walkway attached to. Well, the mount was designed by my friend Ivan. I helped him build his house on the lake about three years ago. Ivan suggested combining a small 12’x6′ “deck” with the normal mount. It sounded like a good idea… so we got this guy named Steve to build us a combination dock mount/deck to our specifications. When mounted the deck would be about 7′ off the water in front… so a railing seemed like a good idea. It was built out of galvanized steel so it wouldn’t rust. Here is a picture of it after it was built: This past weekend was the weekend to go down to the lake to install this thing. :) Friday after work we drove to the lake. We stopped at the Home Depot in Jasper, Alabama – which is about 30 minutes South of the lake – to pick up some things we would need. Smith Lake is out in the boonies man. I love it. But Jasper is about the closest place you’ll find a mall (although a rather small one), Home Depot (no Lowes) or Walmart. It’s also the closest place you can get a beer. Alabama is FULL of ‘dry’ counties. The only reason you can buy a drink in Jasper is because towns are allowed to override the State Law if they elect to do so… but most don’t. If you’re coming to visit me you better bring some beer with you… oh… and you’re not allowed to have more than one case per individual in the vehicle… I think they have to be drinking age too. LOL. And you better not have that beer on ice… or you’re going to jail man. :) Ok, so we stopped at Home Depot and rented a single man auger, an electric jackhammer and picked up 150′ of 5/8″ rebar. I also picked up a 20 pack of Bud Light bottles for Steve – the welder. I know Steve welds much straighter (and faster) if he has a beer in his hand. Then we stopped at Cujo’s Pizza for dinner. Who said they can’t cook a decent pizza in Alabama? Cujo’s is great! :) At 6AM we got up and loaded up the rest of the stuff we needed and headed to Arley Coffee Shop. We were meeting Nathan. I don’t know Nathan’s last name but he does EXCELLENT concrete work. We used him on Ivan’s house. We all drove up to the lot in the Northwest part of the lake. It was about a 35 minute drive from the coffee shop. About that time Steve and his brother in law Dave showed up with the mount on a trailer and a mess of extra galvanized steel for the legs. Nathan went right to work digging post holes. He’s a machine. I planned to use the auger but there are tons of rocks in the ground so Nathan told me he’d just do it with a post hole digger. I’ve never seen anyone operate a handheld post hole digger like Nathan. He just digs, chops, scoops… boom! A 12″ wide hole 3 feet deep into the ground and rock. I had ‘laid out’ the size/design of the mount the week before so I’d know where we had to dig and the angle it had to be on along with the proper height. So we jumped down off the bank – the lake has already receeded enough to stand and work down there – and started digging where the front legs would go. When we hit a huge rock I’d break out the jackhammer and pulverize it. Nathan kept digging away. We needed nine holes for legs for the dock total, plus two deep ones (one on each side of the lot) back from the shore to hook cables up from the dock. With the first two dug Steve and Dave dragged the mount off the trailer and we each grabbed a side and carried it down to the shoreline into place. We stuck a couple 2×3″ galvanized sticks in the front holes and put some “C”-clamps on them to hold the mount up… adjusted to get it fairly level.   The back rested almost on the ground. One side needed some rocks under it but in no time the dockmount/deck was in place and level. Steve welded the front legs on. He was a little slow so I gave him another beer which picked up the action (and made his welds straighter). Around this time Ivan told Nathan ‘Hey Nathan, this big rock here needs to be moved. We need to dig a hole for a leg right where it’s sitting.”. Well Nathan is still down on the lakebed. It’s about a four foot drop off from the shore to the lakebed. So when he’s standing there facing us this rock is about a little lower than chest high. At this point I’m back up on the shoreline with Ivan. Nathan lifts the front (facing him – away from me) of the rock off the ground and let’s out a blood curddling scream and runs… “Bees?” I yell as I scurry away from the rock. “No!” yelled Nathan. “There’s a copperhead snake under that rock coiled up looking right at me!!” Whoa. Being down on the lakebed put Ms. Copperheads fangs about 2 1/2 feet from Nathans face! I flipped the rock off with a long steel bar and sure enough there she is. Pretty thing. She wouldn’t move! Ivan really didn’t want to kill her, but hey… I needed to put a hole where she was laying and she had to go. So I took my shovel and chopped her up pretty good. Just before Nathan climbed down to the shoreline he said
“Hey Bill, I hope you have insurance in case I get bit by a snake!” I don’t think he was worth a thing after that… LOL. The rest of the day went pretty smoothly after that except that Nathan had to leave around 11:30 for a party so I ended up having to do post hole duty. I’m not very good at it. But we managed. Here are some pictures of the crew doing the job. We cut the rebar in half down to five foot lengths and then used the jack hammer to drive them down alongsid the posts. When the concrete is poured they won’t be going ANYWHERE. It took a good five minutes using the jackhammer to drive each of those pieces of rebar into the lakebed. We put some rebar between the legs too. On Monday Nathan will come back and build a couple forms around the rebar where those legs are and pour concrete there, into all the holes and into the big holes we dug at the property lines (the cable attachement points) to hold the 6′ long 4″ diameter pipe. I also REALLY wanted to get that dock out of there so I had Greg (the guy moving my dock) go get it this morning and push it up to the lot. It’s a 24 mile “push” and will probably take him 8 hours to move it. The concrete needs to set up for a week before Greg hooks the walkway to the new mount but I didn’t want to wait a week to get the dock moved. I haven’t heard from either Nathan, Ivan OR Greg today so I guess no news is good news. I really want to thank Nathan, Steve, Dave & especially Ivan for all the help with this project.  It was a HOT… HARD… BRUTAL… day of work.  But the results were more than I expected.  I can’t wait to see it with the dock moved to it. Hopefully I’ll have some completed pictures soon!



Ok, The concrete has been poured to hold the mount and it cured for a week or so

Then Greg came along and moved the walkway over to the mount.  The only thing left to do is to deck it with some composite decking.  Also I purchased a Boat Lift and a Jet Ski dock which Greg will pick up from where they are located and install.  I’ll post a separate blog post for that.

The SECOND Dock Off In The Distance is mine.

UPDATE – September 29, 2009

I have some other pics of this, but look at how much the lake rose over the last week.

It’s risen a good 5-6 feet over that time due to rain.  Normally this time of year the lake is around 496’… a good 7′ lower than in this picture taken two weeks ago when the lake was at 503′.

This weekend the level is now close to 509’!! 😮

This photo was taken when it was just above 508 on Saturday (and it’s still rising – even though it hasn’t rained since Saturday).

It’s a awful lot of water when you consider that the lake has 550 miles of shoreline covering 21,000 acres… I don’t know how much water 21,000 acres – 5 feet deep is… but I’m betting it’s a lot!

EDITED TO ADD: I also wanted to post a few pictures of the HydroHoist boat lift and HydroPort2 Jet Ski dock I purchased for a song off the same guy I got the dock from.  I had Greg (the guy who moved the dock) disassemble the lift and jetski dock and move them to my dock here, then reinstall them.  I decided rather than installing the jet ski dock on the outside of the dock that I would install it into the empty boat slip.  My existing jet ski dock (that is at Ivan’s and which has my jetski parked on it currently) will be moved here eventually alongside this one.  That way my jetskis will be out of the weather and UV rays of the sun.  If I ever buy a second boat I’ll just relocate them to the outside of the boat dock.


John Viden

I was in the Cub Scouts when I was 8 or so. Clayton, New Jersey was the town I grew up in.  We were in Pack 308.  My mom was our den mother.

We had a lot of fun and she always had stuff planned for us to do. 

One time we went to New York City and visited The Statue of Liberty and the United Nations. 

One time we went to Crystal Cave Cavern in Pennsylvania.

One time we went to Annapolis @ the US Naval Academy.

But this isn’t a story about me in the Cub Scouts… or my mom being den mother. This is a story about a man named John Viden.

You see after I got too old for Cub Scouts I moved to Webelos. My Uncle Dennis was our leader. He wasn’t even my uncle back then, but that’s a different story for another time. 

After a year in Webelos I moved to the Boy Scouts. Troop 47. We met one night a week at the Youth Center on North Center Street in Clayton, New Jersey.  Mr. Fichebach was our Scout Master and Mr. Gardener was our assistant. I remember Mr.  Gardener because I eventually took guitar lessons from his son Warren Gardener.

I sucked at guitar.  I wish I’d practiced more because I really wish I could play now. :( 

Oh wait… John Viden.  Yeah. 

So my family moved from Clayton to Pitman, New Jersey (only about 8 miles away). I joined Troop 1 in Pitman.

I looked the other day and I don’t think Troop 1 in Pitman or Troop 47 in Clayton even exists anymore.

They were both part of the Southern New Jersey Council – which I don’t think exists anymore either. 

Anyway, the man who was our Scout Master was named John Viden. I don’t know how old John was, but we called him John, not Mr. Viden. 

He lived on the corner of Holly Avenue and West Avenue.  I lived on North Broadway only a few blocks away. The year was… oh… 1970 or there about. 

John graduated high school in 1968.  Don’t ask me how I remember that, I just do.  So he wasn’t very old.  20 or so.  I guess I was 12.

I can’t for the life of me remember ONE person in my troop.  Well, now that isn’t really true.  Let me see.  We had some kids that lived in another town about 10 miles away called Mullica Hill. John Means.  That name I remember.  

John’s dad was a funeral director and owned Means funeral home. 

The only other person I remember is a guy named Chuck Datz.  His mom & dad were really involved with his scouting and they owned an apple orchard near Mullica Hill.  

They were all really good to us.  We’d hang out there whenever we wanted, Mrs Datz would give us jobs in the summer working on the orchard.  There are lots of stories about Mr & Mrs Datz – who have both passed away by now – and us… but I have to keep on track. 

John Viden. 

I don’t know what John did for a living.  It seemed to me that he didn’t work.  He lived in his dad’s house.  His dad’s name was Ed.  I’m sure John did SOMETHING but he was always home when I would stop by.  Perhaps they were very wealthy.  I really don’t know.

John Viden was a good man and an important part of my life when I was between 12 & 14. 

He would take us all to different places. One summer John took us up to New Hampshire for two weeks to camp.  He knew this guy.  An older guy named Doug.  I think.  I don’t remember his last name. 

Doug owned a roadside motel in Bartlett, New Hampshire… right in the middle of the White Mountains. 

I don’t remember the name of the hotel, but it was an Indian name of some sort. “Tecumseh” rings a bell. I’m sure it isn’t there anymore… or at least it has a new name. We all went to Bartlett and met Doug. 

Then we set up camp on a river (a river in the mountains is a really wide stream… shallow, running water coming down from the mountains… very clean… and very, VERY cold.). 

The name of the river was called the Saco River and it flowed down from the mountains along the main road in Bartlett.  

I’m going to go look on Google Maps now and see how good my memory is.  Hold on… I’ll bring back a pic.  Ok, here you go: 

Well, I could find no record of Tecumseh Motel. But I’m fairly sure it was where the arrow is pointing. There is a motel there now called “Chippanock Inn”. Heck that’s sort of an Indian name. Maybe it’s the same place.  

I noted on the photo the Saco River. There is a cool write up on the Saco on Wikipedia.  Its watershed is in the White Mountains and it flows all the way to Maine into the Atlantic Ocean. 

Here is a photo of the Saco I found on its Wiki page.  

It is a really wide river bed most of the year of round, smooth stones. I imagine in the spring when the snow is melting in the mountains these rivers are pretty violent and very fast flowing and dangerous.

In the summer though they look like this. Just a brook in a wide riverbed.  We used to just fill our water jugs right out of the river and drink from it.

I also noted our camping area.  I’m pretty sure this is where we camped. I don’t know who owned it in 1970 or who owns it now… but there certainly hasn’t been much development there in thirty years. 

Every day we’d get up and John would get us together and we’d go somewhere to hike.  We hiked and hiked and hiked the White Mountains.

Drinking from streams and cooking our meals and camping on the trails. It was awesome. We all earned our “Fifty Miler” award that summer. Hiking and Camping the White Mountains and the Appalachian Trail!


We hiked Franconia Notch http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franconia_Notch,
Crawford Notch http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crawford_Notch and many others.  

Funny thing… we climbed all the major areas in the White Mountains but for some reason we never climbed Mount Washington.  I don’t know why. :( 

That was a summer I’ll never forget as long as I live.  I’d like to go back there sometime and see if I can find all the things I remember so clearly.  Maybe I should climb Mount Washington! 

The next summer John took a job for the summer with the Southern New Jersey Council to be the Program Director at one of its Boy Scout Camps up in Indian Lake, New York.  Indian Lake is a town up in the Adirondack Mountains. The 60s group “The Cowsils” wrote a hit song about it.  New  York is a beautiful state and Indian Lake was no exception. I’m not sure how a Boy Scout Council in South New Jersey ended up owning a camp in the Adirondack Mountains.  I used to know but I don’t remember.

The name of the camp was called Chimney Mountain.  It was named that because it was at the base of Chimney Mountain. :) 

John asked me if I’d like to come up to work at the camp for the summer.  He couldn’t pay me but I could hold a position of C.I.T. (Counselor In Training) and enjoy the summer in the mountains.  My parents were all for it and off we went. 

I could tell (and I may later) lots and lots of stories about my summer at Chimney Mountain.  But in a nutshell we spent a great summer helping to run a camp for troops of scouts week after week.  

Some of the older guys who worked there (probably 17 or so in age) had a car and they loved to fish.  They’d take me along a lot of the times and man did we catch some big ‘ol bass! 

Part of the activities the scouts used to do was go hike up the mountain to the top of Chimney Mountain.  There were caves up there with snow from the winter that was there all summer long.  We’d climb down into the ground between the rocks… down under the earth and had to wear lights on our heads so we could see.  Then we’d gather up buckets of snow and bring them out and the scouts would have a snowball fight on top of Chimney Mountain in the middle of August.  How cool was that?   

At the end of the summer instead of going right back to New Jersey, John took me up to Montreal.  I’d never been out of the country.  We went to the site of the old Expo ‘67.  I really don’t remember much about it except that we ate at a French restaurant and John ordered Escargot (that’s snails for you people who don’t know what I’m talking about).  He had me try one… and you know, I seem to remember it didn’t taste too bad.

I don’t know what ever happened to John Viden. 

All the things we did together and I don’t have a single photo of him.  I remember what he looked like though. I’m sure his father Ed passed away LONG ago.  John graduated high school nine years before I did so I’m guessing he’s still 59 or 60 years old. 

I haven’t really tried to track him down but there is a good possibility that he (or someone he knows) will see this blog entry when they google his name one day.

If someone DOES read this that knows John, please pass it along to him and have him come here and post a comment to my blog.

John, I’m sure I never told you this when I was a kid, but Thank You for everything you ever did for me. 

You were a good guy and the things you did for me meant a lot.  They are full of stories that I’ll never forget as long as I live. 

The world would be a much better place if there were more John Viden’s in it. :)

My Map Of States I have “Visited”

I’ve been traveling (standby) a lot the last month.  In fact the last three weekends.

Weekend 2: MEM-TPA-MEM

It all depends on the time of year.  Getting in and out of Florida during the couple ‘Spring Break’ months each year is tough.  Winter is tough to Florida.  Summer is easier but then the number of flights is cut back because not many people travel to Florida in the summer.

Weather has a lot to do with it as some bad weather in a completely different area of the country than where I want to go can just clog the entire system.

It’s best to travel on the flights that leave earliest in the day.  The customers who miss those flights get put on the next flight.  Those who end up missing THAT one to an even later flight.  By the end of the day – if there are weather delays about the country – things get tough.  So I try to get up really early and take the first flight of the day if I can.

I do travel alone most of the time which makes it a lot easier.

Anyway, I broke out my US map the other day.  The one that I have that I color in red – the states I’ve been to in my life.  I don’t know how long I’ll have the benefit of standby travel but I think I’ll try to fill in some more of these states just for something to do. :)

I have a rule though.  In order for it to ‘count’ you have to actually EXIT the airport property.  The point is that just connecting to LA in Minneapolis doesn’t count as a visit to Minnesota. 

I’ve flown through Dallas a bunch of times but I’ve never set foot on Dallas soil outside of the airport terminal.  Though I’m just talking ‘states’ and I’ve been to Texas a number of times.

I mean I’ve flown THROUGH Detroit a bunch of times – even spent a night sleeping in the terminal, but I’ve never technically BEEN to Michigan.

On my way to Bali in 1991 for a skydiving meet I got off the plane in Hawaii while they boarded some surfers and refueled.  But we were technically an international flight at that point and could not leave the gate area.  So I’ve never really ‘been’ to Hawaii.

Hawaii should be fun though.  But unlike the rest of the country, Hawaii would probably requires a day or two of vacation.  Who wants to go to Hawaii and then just turn around and come back home? :(

I’m retired from the Marines and the military has a resort somewhere in Hawaii… right on the beach.  The rooms are pretty cheap so maybe I’ll take a couple days off and go there sometime.

I also am aquainted with quite a few people online that I’ve never met.  Nothing like meeting up with one of them for lunch on a Saturday afternoon huh? :)

Just looking at the map a few things jump out…

I’d like to knock off Iowa by visiting the “Field Of Dreams”.
I’d like to knock off Wyoming by visiting Yellowstone.
I’d like to knock off Oregon by visiting – getting as close to as I can – Mt. Rainer
I’d like to knock off Washington but taking a pic in front of Microsoft and/or seeing Mt. St Helens.
I’d like to go to Oklahoma and get a really good steak.
I’d like to go to Arizona and see Meteor Crater and the Grand Canyon

Of course I’d go anywhere to watch a minor league baseball game with someone who wanted to go.  Or even by myself.

Oh well.  Maybe some of you have some other ideas.

Here’s my current map.

The $2,468.84 Hamburger

With my job I occassionly will do something on the spur of the moment that is a lot of fun.  Usually it’s going somewhere crazy on short notice just because I always wanted to and at the moment it seems to be a good idea.

You may recall my day trip from Memphis to Mount Rushmore last year.

I don’t remember when I first heard of IN-N-OUT BURGER.  Probably on TCF or TRL where my friends from California talk about it a lot.  I had always wanted to fly out to have one… just because I could. :)

I’m pretty busy on weekends visiting my folks in Florida, up in Philly visiting friends or down at the lake in Alabama playing around.  This past weekend though was a free one.  It seemed like a good time to go get the elusive In-N-Out Burger.

Originally I was going to just fly to LAX.  There is an In-N-Out Burger just a mile or so from the airport.  I figured to jump a cab, shoot over, eat and get back for a return flight to Memphis.

The problem with that is that most of the flights from the West going East leave in the morning or at least by a little after noon.  That’s because with the time change if you leave later you don’t get back East until nighttime.  I don’t have any close friends who live in LA and I wasn’t about to get a hotel room at LAX and rent a car.  The flight back to Memphis left at 12:20PM.  The flight to LA from Memphis arrived at 10:49AM.  That would give me an hour and a half to get off the plane, get out of the terminal, get a cab, get to In-N-Out Burger, Order, Eat, Get a cab back, Get through security and get to the  gate to leave.  Not gonna happen.  In Memphis, yeah… You could fly in, get to Corky’s or Gus’ Fried Chicken, eat, get back, security and plane in an hour and a half… no problem.  Not in LA though.

I looked a little further and thought ‘Hey, there’s an In-N-Out Burger in Vegas.  I’ve never BEEN to Vegas.’  The flight to Vegas from Memphis was pretty full so I wasn’t sure I could get on.  But the flight from Memphis to LA was fine and the flight from LA to Vegas was fine.  ‘Hmmm.  Arrive in Las Vegas around 12:30PM.  Red-eye back home leaves at 10:15. Saturday night so there would probably be room.’

Off I went.  I had not been to California since 1991 on my way home from Bali.  I forgot how pretty it is out West.  Snow on top of the mountains… desert… 

 The flight was enjoyable and I even got a breakfast. :)

We arrived in LA on time.  I walked a short distance to the gate for the Vegas flight and got on shortly after.  The flight to Vegas was very short… only 236 miles.

When we arrived I found an information counter.  The nice woman told me that since I had plenty of time I could grab an airport shuttle to New York, New York and walk three blocks to In-N-Out Burger from there.  I put my small bag in a locker (I brought some clothes in case I got stuck overnight somewhere) and hopped on the shuttle.

It was obvious most people arriving in LAS had been there before.  They chatted it up about what they were going to do, who they were going to see, where they were going to eat.  I just sat there with my mouth shut. :)  I had no idea what I was doing.

Shortly we stopped first at MGM – across from NYNY.  I decided to get out here and walk.  All these people and their bags and bags of luggage were slowing me down!

My first lesson was trying to learn how to cross the street. You can get killed walking around here!

They had these cool overhead walkways that were cleverly designed to ease you into the various casinos.  Smooth.

I got my map out and figured out where In-N-Out was.  Three blocks to the West.  Ok.  Only problem was there was an Interstate between me and it.

It was like a mirage.  I could SEE In-N-Out but I couldn’t get there.  So close… yet so far.


Every which way I walked I could NOT figure how to get across the Interstate… without actually trying to run across 12 lanes of traffic. 

 It took awhile but eventually I figured a way over the interstate.  But I was now on the opposite side of the busy street from In-N-Out.  Sheesh. 

Finally!  There it is!  Right in front of me!!

The place was mobbed.  Apparently half the tourists in Vegas had the same idea.  Only they were smart enough to get a cab.

I tried to act like I knew what I was doing.  I just stood and observed for a few minutes.  Then I went up, ordered a Double-Double with grilled onions, fries – Animal Style (which means they put grilled onions, some sort of secret sauce and some other stuff on them) & a chocolate shake. Not bad.  I took my number (20) and waited.  The next number they called was SIX!

It took 15 minutes or so to get my order.  But it was worth it.  There was no where to sit but I found a table outside and enjoyed my lunch.  Here is a ‘Before’ picture.

Here is an ‘After’ picture. :)


With my primary objective complete I headed back to The Strip. 

I wanted to ride the roller coaster at NYNY but they wanted $14 a ride!  I guess it wasn’t that important.

To be honest I really didn’t do much except people watch… and there were PLENTY of people to watch.  I didn’t spend one dime gambling.  I didn’t buy a drink.  I didn’t buy anything to eat but In-N-Out.  I just walked around all afternoon.

I was a Vegas virgin that knew nothing.  It would have been a lot of fun with a friend or five…  I kept wondering where the old casinos I saw in that James Bond movie “Diamonds Are Forever” where.  The Golden Nugget.  I learned after I got home that they are all in ‘town’ and that was 5 miles North of where I was.  Bummer.  Now I have to go back.

I looked up the strip and saw the Stratosphere.  I REALLY wanted to go up in it and ride the coaster and that thingie that shoots out over the edge.  But though it looked close I figured it was WAY too far to walk.  Another reason I have to go back.

I kept looking for the CSI chicks but I never did see them.  Bummer.

I went to Hooters Casino.  Basically it sucked.  It was like going to Hooters down the street here in Memphis.  The signs all over that said ‘$3 blackjack 24/7′ were all lies.  The lowest minimum I saw on a blackjack table in any casino was $15.

Like I said, I was getting bored so I grabbed a cab outside Hooters and went back to the airport.  Apparently a LOT of people come and go to Vegas… but Saturday night must be one of the slowest nights.  The place was empty.  I went through security in about 30 seconds.  Then I found a bar to watch the Villanova game.

Around 9:30 I went to the gate and got ready to board.  It was a long, uncomfortable flight.  Although the Exit row of a 757 is huge.  Stretching out as far as I could I couldn’t touch the wall in front of me with my feet.  The guy next to me was hogging the armrest though so I tried to sleep with my arms crossed.  I wish I was in First Class… maybe I could have gotten some rest. :(

We got to Detroit about 4:30AM.  The flight to Memphis left around 6:25 getting me back to Memphis around 7:30AM.

Hmmm.  In less than 24 hours I traveled 4,228 miles, walked (it felt like) 6 miles around Vegas and got me my In-N-Out burger. 😀


I got home, climbed into bed and woke up about 3PM.  I’m STILL tired.  I don’t think you’re supposed to stay awake that long when you’re pushing 50.  Especially with hard (gas perm) contact lenses in your eyes for 26 hours straight. :(

Alrighty Then.  Another thing to check off my list. 😀

Something That Made Me Happy When I Came Home…

Eddie had these floppy ears.  He’d hear the garage door open and was always on the other side of the door sitting and waiting for it to open.  He never made a sound but I knew he was there.

I’d wait a minute and…. nothing.

Then I’d lightly tap the door key against the glass and he’d just POP up…  He had the ability to just launch himself from sitting to three times his height. :)  When he’d get to the max height and he would hit that split second of weightlessness before beginning a freefall to the floor his ears would ‘rise’ up (or actually they’d just stay there while the rest of him began to fall away).  It was the funniest thing.  I could sit there 20 minutes if I wanted and everytime I’d tap he’d leap and his ears would flop. :)

Then I’d go in and he would not leave you alone until you bent down and patted him and acknowleged that he was there… then he’d trot off into another part of the house for awhile. :)

I miss that pooch. :(

Dad Update – From Mom – 20090323

Good news Today

We saw Bill’s doctor today and he said that the CT scan shows that the smaller of Bill’s tumors has reduced at least 50% since the CT scan done in Oct. 08 which first showed the metastasis. The larger lesion seems to have decreased somewhat in volume but very slight.

This is great news, not only because of the decrease in size and no new growth, but the fact that the lesions most likely grew in the time between the CT scan done in Oct and when the chemo was finally initiated in January. This makes me think that if we had had a CT scan done just prior to starting the chemo, we would have seen an even more remarkable reduction in size.

Soooo, the chemo seems to be working at the present time, so he will be continuing his treatments. The MRI that was done on his lumber spine showed no effects of the cancer but there is considerable degenerative disc disease and several bulging discs, so this is probably what has been causing the pain in his back.

It is nice to finally get some good news. Bill will continue his weekly chemo program in 3 weeks on and one week off cycles for the next three months and then will get another CT scan.

I won’t be updating this page until we get the results of the next CT scan in June, unless there is another change before that time. Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers.



Ooops. LATE: Happy Birthday Babe! My sisters 48th birthday. November 13, 2008

I’ve had these pictures in my camera since last November. Mom had asked everyone to think of Babe on her birthday and at noon – where you happened to be – if you could, release a red baloon and say a prayer for her.

I forgot all about it. My buddy Addis in Philadelphia emailed me the morning of November 13 to remind me to release my baloon. 

Oh No. I felt SO bad. I’d forgotten the whole thing. :( I went back to work and after a few minutes I thought “Hey, its only 11:10. I can still do this.”  I got on the phone and found a florist a few miles from here. “Do you have red helium balloons?” Of course they did. “I need five. I’ll be right over.”  I left work without even telling anyone and drove to the florist. The wonderful woman was there with five red balloons already filled.

I got them and was watching the clock. I was afraid I was going to have to pull over on I-240 exactly at noon and release them. I pulled into work again at 11:58. Got out of the car, said something to my sister and let ’em fly.

Oh. I wasn’t sure if maybe my mom and dad may have forgotten too and my niece and nephew. Thats why I got five. One for each of us. When they went up one stayed alone (me), two stayed together (mom & dad) and the other two stayed together (DJ & Reanna). Pretty cool.

Later I found out my mom had bought five balloons too for the same reason. LOL. I don’t know if my niece & nephew even thought of it or not.

My dad had my mom get him a blue balloon because he wanted my sister to know which one was from him. :)

Happy Birthday Babe!

Mom… What’s up with the suits?

My mom had this thing about dressing me up in a suit and tie.  Musta been like every holiday or family function.

I’m not sure if she tied these neckties on me or if I was just a natural tie tie-er.

I went to Catholic school from the 2nd grade til 7th grade and we had to wear a maroon necktie everyday.  Clipons. :)

I bet I have a lot more photos than this with me wearing a suit but I only have a few right now.  I’ll find some more for “What’s Up With The Suits 2″.

Happy Easter everybody.

Me & Babe – Easter 1962

This is labeled Me & Babe – Easter 1962 too… but since we’re wearing different clothes (suit) I guess it was probably 1961 or something.

This says I was 4.  I doubt it.  This looks like a school picture. I was probably 6.

Me & Babe again under the apple tree.

I guess she could only find a bowtie this year. :)

I sure looked sharp though didn’t I? :)

Old Glory

This is a photo of me & my sister dressed as George Washington and Betsy Ross one Halloween.  There used to be a Halloween parade in the little town I grew up in each year.  One year my dad built a ‘float’ on his ’65 Mustang convertible.

That little house in the background is the little house we grew up in in Clayton, NJ between the ages of 4 & 12.

Dad built and drove the float.  Mom made the costumes.

We won 10 bucks. 

Update On Dad – From Mom – 20090220

We’re Hanging in There

Bill’s hanging in there. He just finished his second cycle of chemotherapy but has had a couple of bad weeks with a lot of back pain. He’s going to have an MRI done of his spine on Monday to see if there is a problem there. If they find something the doctor said they can probably zap it with radiation and should be able to aleviate the pain.

Once he finishes his third cycle of chemo, they’ll do another CT scan to see if the treatment is working or not. That will be at the end of March.

Every once in a while he’ll feel pretty good and I can get him out to the store or for a ride; other than that, he just basically sleeps, reads and naps.

Hope everyone is doing well and making it through the rough northern winter this year. Spring is in the air down here; weather is getting nicer and that makes things much better. Thanks for all your prayers and thoughts.


Bill & Betty - First Christmas - 1958