OTR with M and R travel blog

Wow, First the Bowling Hall of Fame and now this. St. Louis...

Jason's Pool, one of three in the complex

Jason's Dining Area from the Living Room

The Aftermath of Moving

The Grandson's New Beds in Their New Bedroom

Yes I Did

Mockingbird that Couldn't Figure Out How to Get Out of the Garage

Found My Senior Picture

A Statue in New York City

Margie and Her Son and His Certificate

Out With The Old

In With The New

Me, Margie, Her Mom, and Her Son (Yes I wore a Suit)

Margie's Son Receiving His Promotion Certificate and Being Congratulated by the Police...

The Ceremony Program

New York City Police Headquarters

Old New York City Patrol Car

A New Recruit?

Favorite Bar Temptress Wearing Mini Disco Ball Necklace That Was My Mom's

Reunion Panorama

Margie's New Ride

Island Life and a Bottle Opener

The Parrot From Behind

The Parrot from the Front

In the Store with Basket

My Ghetto Cruiser Hybrid From My Bike And Margie's Old Fenders

A Good Place for Margie to Ride Her Bike To

In my haste to get caught up on our travels with the last travel blog I forgot to consult a note on my phone and several other memory tools I use to help me remember things that happened during our travels. So, here are some things I may have forgotten to mention. At the first restaurant we ate at in Galveston (which I included the newspaper article about), Margie asked for some Bar-B-Que sauce and was told it would cost $1.59. A dollar and fifty nine cents just for BBQ sauce to put on her food. She decided it wasn’t worth it. The car we rented in Galveston had the lane departure warning. I did not like it. The guy at the car rental place told us about the Hybrid pick up they have. He told us about how when you stop at a light or something the engine stops but the air conditioner also stops which can get hot pretty quickly. During our travels we saw a highway sign that told about something coming up. The thing was coming up in 6.444 miles. I really don’t think three decimal points was necessary, but that’s what happens when you put college educated people in charge of simple things. They have to show their intelligence which usually makes them look stupid. There was also a sign for a road closure due to a flooding danger. The sign gave the location as being at Kennedy St. Since I was not a local I had no idea where Kennedy was. Why can’t these idiots realize who their audience is and indicate hazards by how many miles away it is or at least the exit number. Everyone reading their signs is not from the area. They also need to stop using abbreviations. I’m sure very few people not from the St. Louis, MO area would have any idea what PSB stands for, but the highway idiots in that area continue to use this to warn of lane closures or other hazards on the “POPLAR STREET BRIDGE.” On the beach in Galveston the life guard kept blowing her whistle. We realized she was trying to get our attention to move further down the beach in the water, even though we were on the other side of a sign that said to stay beyond the sign. Turns out she expected us to know that there was an imaginary diagonal line going out into the water from that sign, instead of straight out from that point. When we got to Grove campground Margie thought the campground manager’s daughter told me “you got a big butt, I love it, I want one.” She was actually talking about the motor home and said you got a big bus, I love it, I want one.

So, now to continue with our travels, we left Grove Campground to go to Margie’s Mom’s. I had never heard back from the Jury Duty people and I called twice. Both times, I was told they had never received my paper work where I tried to get out of Jury Duty because I was going to be working in Louisville, KY. Since I was no longer going to be in Louisville, I decided to show up on the day I was ordered to. I actually went to Jason’s the day before, July 29th. I was supposed to call on that day after 5pm to see if I still needed to show up the next day. The recorded message told me I still needed to. The next morning I put on my suit to go to Jury Duty. I think I may be part of a dying breed. In my opinion, if at all possible, a man should wear a suit when going to court for any reason, to a funeral (including visitations) regardless of relationship or even no relationship to the deceased, to a wedding, to church, and in most cases to an interview. I had the fun of going through the metal detectors at the courthouse, which included having to take off my belt. I think they’ve tightened them up some due to recent occurrences. When I got to the counter to check in I noticed that my name was highlighted, UH OH! I think it was just because they hadn’t gotten my questionnaire back. As I said, I believe a man should wear a suit to certain things, so I found myself checking what others were wearing. About one quarter of the people were wearing jeans and one was wearing shorts (shorts were explicitly prohibited in the jury summons information). People have no respect for anything anymore. I was complimented on my suit, by the way. There were over 100 people called to be prospective jurors for this case. I think the highest number assigned was 139. There were not that many present. So, I guess some were excused before the summons date or just didn’t show up. I was number 25. Then I spent the rest of the morning waiting in the jury room on the ground floor or being escorted to the courtroom on the 5th floor to answer questions from the prosecutor and defense attorney of the case we were called for. The questions were to determine if they wanted us as a juror on the case. Some of us were asked specific questions, but many of the questions were for all of us to answer. One thing questioned was any connections to each other. I think there were over 80 connections but only about 3-4 common denominators (people) in most of the connections. One woman said she was acquainted with another prospective juror and the judge asked her how they were connected. It was kind of funny when she said, “he’s my dad.” What’s the chance of both of them being called and for the same trial? Several people said they were owners of small businesses that just couldn’t possibly be away from the business to be on the jury. One person had a vacation trip scheduled. One woman was a nursing mother. One man said he was a stay at home dad. Someone, maybe the judge, mentioned that being a good gig. The dad said, “It depends on the kids,” which got good a laugh. We were asked about police acquaintances. A cute blond that reminded me of the blond on the TV show CSI, didn’t have any police acquaintances. However, she ultimately was chosen for the jury. Several people were former or current coworkers. One lady said she was acquainted with another person and she tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention. They were old workmates and he was very surprised to see her after, evidently, many years. The courtroom and jury room were the two rooms we went back and forth between. Everybody had and used smart phones, tablets, and even laptops while waiting in the jury room. I was amazed that several people felt the need to bring large backpacks to a place where they were going to have to go through metal detectors and searches. The case concerned what was evidently a road rage incident involving a weapon. So, a lot of the questions had to do with that subject, such as, whether we had ever experienced road rage. I drove a truck for several years. So, yes I experienced road rage almost every day. This took us to lunch time. When we left the courthouse it was pouring down rain. Just what I needed while wearing a suit. However, even wet I still looked good. I walked about a block to a restaurant/bar for lunch. Always interested in new unusual food I ordered an item that included cheese, shrimp, and amazingly grits. I have tried grits many times and have only found a way to tolerate them about once and I don’t remember what I added to them that time. Like covering anything with chocolate makes it tolerable, evidently so does adding shrimp. These were the best grits I’ve ever had. It was still raining when I returned to the courthouse, but at least I could leave the restaurant through the back door to save some time and distance. Now for another trip through the metal detector, sans belt, and another wait in the jury room waiting to be called back up to the courtroom. This time it was the defense attorneys turn to ask questions. After he finished we were escorted back to the jury waiting room to await the results of the questioning. When they came down, 14 of us were chosen to serve as jurors for the trial. Just like back in high school gym class, I wasn’t chosen again. However, a few weeks later I got a check for my one day of jury duty for $22.80. To recap, parking cost me $2 (they don’t reimburse or validate for it) and my shrimp and grits lunch cost me $18.64 with tip. So, doing my civic duty cost me $20.64 and I was paid $22.80. Therefore, my net income from jury duty was $2.16. WOW, what a windfall!

Now I got to help Jason move to his new place and help with repairs to the old place. This also kept me in St. Louis long enough to vote in the primary election on August 7th. When I went back to Olney I needed to work on the motor home. The city of Olney, IL was having citywide garage sales on Saturday, August 18th. I decided to start mine the preceding Thursday the 16th and run it through Sunday the 19th. Before the garage sale started we decided I would take some jewelry and other small items to a pawn shop. I took 24 items and we decided that if they would give me at least $200 I would take it. It turned out that they offered me exactly $200 but for only 14 of the items. So, I took the $200 and kept 10 of the items. Margie and her mom went to Margie’s brother’s house near Indianapolis for the weekend of the garage sale to visit and see Margie’s nephew’s kids. While they were gone I received an email from the manager of an RV resort in Key West, Florida. He was asking if we would be interested in working at his resort beginning in September through April 2019. I had recently updated our resume on Workamper.com and at the end I said we would like to work in the Florida Keys, be lighthouse caretakers, and work an oil field gate. Then we get this offer. I had always heard how difficult, if not impossible it was to get a job in the Florida Keys for the winter. Evidently, it’s not so difficult. I called Margie to let her know, but I thought we had committed to going back to Arizona next February for baseball Spring Training. She told me that we had decided to go back but there was no commitment given. They would just be calling us in October to see if we were still interested. We decided that I would answer his email and tell him that we were interested. I made $455 from the garage sale. When Margie got back from Indiana we ended up talking to the resort manager by phone. At the end of our conversation we told him we would call him back the next day with our decision. However, we discussed Spring Training and the possibility of working in the keys and ended up calling him right back and telling him we wanted to be considered for his resort. He sent applications for us to fill out and we gave him three references apiece. We both actually used one of the same references. Margie decided to go back and help her brother work on the house he was flipping. She did some landscaping, clearing a large area of shrubbery and helped him with drywalling and other things for about 10 days. While she was gone I had to submit information for background checks for us. I think they only contacted one of our references and it was the one we both used. He called me right after he was contacted. We received job offer letters which I acknowledged and accepted. Now I had to get some things done for the motor home in preparation for a trip to and stay in Florida. I got some welding done on the motor home and went to the RV place we got our awning at to order another one to replace the one that was damaged in the accident in Georgia. After I got back to Margie’s Mom’s they called me to see if I didn’t want to save money by just ordering the broken arm instead of the whole awning. I had asked them to give me a quote to do that or just get a whole new awning. I was told it would only save us about $200. So, we decided to just get a whole new one. Now they’re telling me it would save closer to $2000. So, we went that route instead. I had already told them that we had a short window of September 5th-7th after our return from New York before the weekend and then leaving for Florida on the 12th to have the awning put on. I wanted to wait until the 12th to leave for Florida because I really wanted to attend my son’s custody modification hearing on the 11th. Margie got back from Indiana on Sunday the 9th and we left for New York the following Tuesday. Also, while Margie was out of town I tried to get the motor home dash air conditioner recharged, but it turned out we would need a new compressor. While she was gone I also thought she needed a new bicycle and started shopping around for one. Her current one has gotten rusty from being outside and on the bike rack behind the pickup. The rear brake cable is evidently rusted causing it to not be able to be operated. I found a bike I thought was perfect at Walmart. The bike is blue and yellow. Yellow is Margie’s favorite color. The bike says “Margaritaville” on it along with, “it’s 5 O’clock Somewhere.” It actually came with a bottle opener mounted on it and a parrot on the handlebars. It has a yellow basket but for some reason I don't have a picture of that except at the store. A Margaritaville bike with a parrot on the handlebars seemed too perfect to take to the home of Jimmy Buffet, Key West. I went and looked at it a few times and almost bought it but I waited until Margie got back. When she did, we almost immediately went to Walmart so she could see it. We left with it and it was real fun putting a complete bike in Margie’s Volkswagen. Maybe we’ll ride our bikes to someplace in Key West to get a “Cheeseburger in Paradise.”

We were going to New York because Margie’s son was getting promoted to detective in New York City and there was a ceremony for his and several other promotions on August 31st. We left for New York on August 28th and made it to his house on the 30th. The next day Margie, her mother, and I rode into New York City with Margie’s Son. I posted a picture on Facebook of the sign that says One Police Plaza and said I was looking for Tom Sellick. Before the promotion ceremony they showed a video that was narrated by Tom Sellick. Another video that was shown was narrated by James Earl Jones. At the end of it he says “We ARE The NYPD” in that voice of his. It was almost spine tingling. The whole ceremony was pretty cool and it was pretty cool to be there. While we were in New York we went to several thrift stores and other stores trying to find khaki pants for me and khaki shorts for Margie. Khaki pants or shorts are required for our new jobs in Key West. Although, I very rarely, like almost never ever wear shorts I somehow have 3 pair of khaki shorts and one pair of jeans shorts. I still wanted to find at least one pair of khaki long pants, because I am just not a shorts wearer. It just so happens I was about to give away one pair and took them out of the donation bag. Margie was having a lot of trouble finding khaki shorts for her but I did find a pair of khaki long pants for me at one of the thrift stores for $5.50. I also found a new pair at another store. They were size 38. I used to wear size 40 until my weight loss.

We left to return to Olney on September 2nd and got there on the 4th. So, we were in time to make my appointment at the RV place on the 5th to get the awning arm put on. Then I went back to St. Louis on the 8th to attend my high school class reunion that evening and I checked into a drinking establishment I frequent when I’m in the area. I took a necklace that belonged to my mother along instead of selling it in the garage sale. According to the note she wrote on it, she got it in Branson, Missouri. It looks like a mini mirrored disco ball. The drinking establishment I frequent at one time had 114 disco balls of all different sizes hanging from the ceiling. Some are even over three feet in diameter. I’ve been friends with the bar temptress that works there for about 30 years I thought she would be the perfect person to give the disco ball necklace to. If she wears it I thought it would be pretty funny with the other disco balls. Although, I told her that I didn’t really expect her to wear it she did. I just hope she finds a good place to hang it in or behind the bar if she doesn’t keep it. I then returned to Olney. On the morning of September 11th I got up at about 4am in order to get to court for Jason’s custody hearing by 9:30am. On the way I stopped at Hardee’s and got a box of their new Star Burst flavored donuts along with my breakfast. When I got to St. Louis I ended up paying for parking online like in Galveston. It’s happening everywhere. I think court went rather well, with Jason getting the main thing he wanted out of it. Although, it cost way too much and I think making going to court affordable is more important than forced medical insurance and minimum wage. After court was over I returned to Olney to get ready to leave for Key West the next day.

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