IRB RT: Week Whatever

Typical of vaykays in general, I can tell you with confidence that we leave in 5 days but I’m not sure how many days it’s been since leaving home. It’s more important to be with the moment right now. It is a splendid morning on Indian Rocks Beach.

We’ve been busy whispering around the Masters Tournament, playing 18 holes, watching the Gulf turn from an angry gray tousled sea to a brilliant aquamarine infinity pool. We’ve gawked at two beach weddings, swayed to the rhythm of steel drums, and cheered an aging Amazon rocker belting out “I love Big Beer Bellied Boys” at Crabby Bills.

Mama's Got A Squeeze Box Mama’s Got A Squeeze Box

She, the rocker not the bride, was at least 6 feet tall in flip-flops and played the guitar like Carlos Santana. She is one of the last of the true rockers that knows all of the riffs by heart. The Sunday crowd of ex-pats, rednecks, and last of the Canadian snowbirds blasted back the band’s energy with whistles, whoops, and cheers. I met Crabby Bill who despite his moniker was gracious enough to be photographed with me. He’s not at the celebrity status level of Colonel Harlan Sanders or Ray Kroc but they’re dead and Bill’s not quite.
Crabby Bill

Saturday I endured another annual meeting of the Nest. The four owners are all suffering with a degree of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.  Half way through the mayhem I experienced early onset Tourette or Parkinson’s – I was trying so avidly to moderate the screaming and restore order that my amygdala sprang a leak. My neck and shoulders were stiff and sore yesterday. Keeping calm and carrying on was on par with Atlas deciding whether to shrug or bear the weight of the world. We played golf Sunday morning and the worst after effect was that my hands still shook when setting the ball on the tee. It took eight holes to end the perseveration with bad ju ju from our meeting. I know exactly when the PTS ended – the ninth hole when Bonnie and I scored a 2 for another Birdie. I became mindful of the moment and the stress of the past instantly dissipated.

It would be much nicer if all of the Nest owners could all get along as well as our dogs. Newport, Copper and Marina play tag, slobber and tussle, hunt geckos, and sniff each other’s butts with great zeal. They know when to call it quits and nap in the shade. They play nice. They don’t expect the same level of commitment as the brides who walk confidently towards their grooms waiting by the water line.  They don’t pledge each other a lifetime of loving care. Dogs just want to play with each other and then take their masters home for the night. If only owning the Nest was a dog’s life.  A Dog's Life is Good
A Dog’s Life is Good

IRB RT: Day Five – Great to be Alive


My grandfather was a semi-professional golfer and a railroad man. He always lived as close to the tracks as possible and built putting greens in his yards. I remember him fondly in the 60’s and early 70’s by his wardrobe. Burgandy or green polyester golf slacks worn with some autographed celebrity pro golf shirt – perfectly coordinated. When he went to work, he donned the blue and white striped coveralls, work boots, a red bandana around his neck and the penultimate railroad cap. His solid steel lunch box looked just as a railroad man’s should, strong and timely – and tucked inside its metal clasp was a golf clipping or sports page to read.
Grandpa encouraged me to play golf. He drove a pea green Mercedes to and from the round house – and felt a sense of style was important to work and sport. Because I was a coed during the Age of Aquarius, he had stronger opinions about my fashion sense on the links than he did about my novice skill set. He told me that regardless of how well I could play, it was important to be respectful of the game and look like I knew what I was doing and belonged on the course. That meant no floppy felt hats with straw flowers, no bell bottom jeans from the Sonny & Cher “after we broke up closet”, no shorts. I was to wear skorts and a matching top. I think he preferred polyester and secretly prayed I’d continue tennis lessons or learn to sail.
Last year I borrowed my Aunt’s set of golf clubs and found myself seriously under-tooled for the game. This year, I prepared for the upcoming matches with our Canadian friends Bonnie and Barry. I purchased a new 4 hybrid club and 2 new outfits, and dug out golf shirts, including a nice yellow LaSalle number, in preparation for the game. I heeded my grandfather’s advice. No cheesy CVS teeshirt for me! I purchased two completely in style outfits at the golf shop – the brand name is Loud Mouth, the other Puma. If I wasn’t playing in a foursome that got a seniors discount, the Puma outfit alone would’ve branded me as a Cougar-wanna-be. As you can clearly see by the photo, my Sponge Bob Square Pants neon yellow ball complements my outfit much like Grandpa Borden’s white belt really popped up the burgundy slacks.


I must admit the outfit complimented my sunny disposition and I scored an Eagle (one under par) for a score of 2 on the 5th hole. I was ecstatic. I have proof of my score here. This is the Swiss Army Golf Stroke Counter. It has a divot repair, counter (to 10), ball marker and brush for extra cleaning of golf dimples or finger nails on the right hand caused by digging a ball out of a trap or rough rather than be rude and hold up play. Grandpa would’ve been very proud. By the way, I just remembered how Grandpa always watched the Mickey Mouse show when my cousins and I were at his house.


Not if we weren’t there of course, he was devoted to televised golf tournaments – I believed all of his grandchildren learned to whisper very early. He loved Annette Funicello. She was the first Mouseketeer to sport breasts. No, don’t let me think he was lewd. I think he was just impressed with her eyebrows. Yet, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn he was right there near St. Peter and Walt waiting to greet her the other day.

Grandpa also taught me about golf handicaps but never once considered handicapped golf hazards. Under the astute leadership of Governor Rick Scott, a former megabusinessman who made his fortune trading nursing homes for hospices before going into public service to cut government, the state is fully commitfed to the Americans Disabilities Act. Yesterday we learned the ADA is the reason for the new handicapped accessible ramp from 6th Avenue with no public parking for a quarter mile – to Indian Rocks Beach. If you can roll yourself a quarter of a mile down a congested boulevard with a bit of sand in your chair spokes the new beach ramp will enhance independent living. But, today, we learned of a visually impaired pond that despite a nasty slice off the tee, we simply couldn’t see.  The ADA would be pleased with the blind

 Other less impressive highlights of our 18 holes are the sheer stamina and persistence it took to follow behind a threesome that barely moved their feet let alone the ball which set an all time record for a 5 hour game in 85 degree heat. That was made more pleasant and endurable by the Beer Wench who gave us a free beer. We must look thirsty, because when we paid for the game, the club master gave us coupons for 2 free beers each. I like a course that attends to the hydration needs of its patrons.


Unfortunately, Andersen’s puppy was waiting in Kitty’s unit and their feared it would be bored and eat its bedding. Marina waiting as well – she let us know her disapproval over our tardiness but we need not recall the details. We saved the beer coupons for the next game – we’ll cash them in between the 9th and 10th holes.
We shared cocktails on the deck, ate dinner at Marlin Darlin’s and had a nightcap listening to the surf. My last thought of the day was “Scored an Eagle, Gramps – lookin’ loud hope you are proud.”

Day 4: A Fairy Fine Day

Day 4: A Fairy Fine Day

Working on the balcony of the Nest isn’t exactly working in a coal mine. I read in the Largo Times that morale among city employees is low. That is simply not true. The barefoot, helmet-less guys working on the new handicapped accessibility ramp are truly in good spirits. They have donut breaks, water breaks, chicken breaks, and sent a runner for beer so they could relax after resinking the timbers the third time. I took a conference call, listened happily to three Statistics lectures and am proud of my newly honed ability to calculate Box Plots as well as Upper and Lower Inner Fences. My homework is to do a forensics problem to date skeletons. Very University of Toronto, I think. Since we are here playing with Canadians they are affirmative of my new knowledge set.
After a productive full working day, I kept my promise to Andersen’s two grand daughters from Saskatoon and taught them how to build Fairy Homes. Nothing artificial. Being good stewards of the environment, whenever they found something not organic on the beach they pitched it. IRB

George and I went to Crabby Bills for dinner and slurped raw oysters and steamed shrimp. Best news of the day, besides the four new Fairy Homes, is that they have resumed giving out Crabby Bill cups with the cheap draft beer. We will once again be able to stock the Ex Libris with high class glasses.
Poppy bought himself a new sleeveless shirt, just like Uncle Philly CheeseCake in RI wears. But this is as classy as a Crabby Bills Go-Cup. It says,” Indian Rocks Beach, quiet drinking town with a fishing problem.” Oh, that Poppy.
Everyone is getting along today. Mike Davis’ Mom, Dad and Aunt visited so people were on good behavior. Cecil is very proud of Mike who just got rehired as a big exec at La Quinta Hotels, Not the source of Poppy’s bedbugs. He will be moving his family up to Atlanta and enroll Jessica is a good school where she will be in Kindergarten. My goodness, we certainly will miss our neighbors here at the Nest.


IRB: Day 3

With Louisville’s hold on the Championship as solid as Kevin Ware’s cast, we can
be thankful that March Madness is yielding to April Spring Sanity. We did not
watch the final game as we spent the evening with a Box o Wine on the deck with
Barry and Bonnie. I practiced moderation and therefore am fully prepared to sit
on the balcony and tackle lesson one of my Statistics course this morning. I’vebeen roped into writing a pre application grant for NCFL which I hope is as
successful as the Cardinals of Louisville not our beloved St Louis Cards who
dropped opening day like an AT&T wireless call on Riva Ave.

Photo on 4-9-13 at 10.10 AM

There is lots of activity on IRB. They are making the 6th Ave access ramp more
handicapped accessible. I’ve yet to see a wheelchair on the beach but since
Florida is Heaven’s Waiting Room it makes sense. A crew of 6 town employees are
watching one guy push sand with a big bucket loader. I wish they would trim the
dunes which are huge! Mostly the 6 guys shout gleefully creative F$&@ bombs and
while away their hourly wages.

The hotel Saturday night had a nice free breakfast as well as free bed bugs or
other biting vermin that attacked Poppy. Photo documentation provided.

Recent guests felt the need to rearrange all of the furniture which is a sureMen Working Beth Supervising sign of a chilly winter when the TV is the center of entertainment. Nothing is
in disrepair for the moment. We are all so very fortunate to have Shawn as our
property manager!

Marina loves the balcony and for some reason has decided beach comers and idle
construction workers are not worth barking at. She is still limping on her
front leg, injured when I pushed her to the back seat and she resisted then fell
in the crack thus jamming her leg. I’m on the ASPCA Watch List.

Poppy took his one free pass yesterday to expand in detail on his cancer. He
misses his Mom and is adjusting to his lot in life. As Don Coplen says, he’s
going to have to put his big boy pants on and move on. Now we need to curb his
appetite, which is ravenous, a sign of his stress that he attributes to
anesthesia. Oh puleeze, Lord, grant me the serenity…

This is a beautiful slice of Paradise. The weather is here wish you were

Ah, but you are, and all are very much loved. The sun is up, the sky is blue,
but you are my sunshines. Make it a memorable day.

IRB Road Trip Day 2

Greetings from Gainsville,

We rode up and down the Smokey Mountains, across Tennessee and all the way down
Georgia and wound up at a pet friendly LaQuinta next to Mr. ha’s Number One Best
Chinese food. It is next to La Fiesta, Número UNO Mexicana Cantina which shares
a building with the County Parole Office. It’s quite nice. They have Showtime
on so I’m watching Shameless until we go out to Mr. hann’s.

George is reading in the paper that people are negotiating cleaning fees on
condos. We are so ahead of the game. On the way I drove awhile which is always
a rare event. Poppy said his feet hurt from driving, you’d think I tied him to
the bumper and made him run behind.

This was one of Mom and Pops favorite winter hangouts. Ocala they always said
was horse country, even though they never rode horses or played the fillies at
Church Hill Downs. We are going to keep moving toward the shore in the morning.

Marina and I seat wrestled for dibs on the front seat, it’s a tie.

IRB Road Trip 2013: Day the First

Good Morning Team Levesque,

What a fine Sunday morning. We have a nice handicap or pet room here
inMansfield Tennessee, close to Chattanooga. Marina loves the sounds and scents
so much she got us up at 6:45 so she could go outside to sniff and whizz.

We hit about 75 minutes of bumper to bumper construction slow downs, you know,
“Merge to One Lane” so everybody cheats, the lanes clog with semi trailers in
first gear and unregistered vehicles over heating and under fueled, and
strangely enough, there is no construction. The sequestration in action,
federal highway Improvement at its best!

Lots of spring breakers headed north. You can tell the family/college cars from
the old farts going home to pay their taxes… The cars with kayaks, bikes and
small children attached to the exterior versus the Crown Vics.

We listened to the Louisville game first half and watched the second half in the
room. Poppy brought a cooler with 5 apples, 4 beers, and a dozen raw eggs in
their cardboard container securely packed in ice. Today we are left with 3
apples and 12 raw eggs in a muddle of deconstructed cardboard. I don’t ask why,
I am along for the ride.

You can roll a wheel chair into our shower, and water can run out. It’s

Poppy reports he is peeing every two hours en route, as is Marina, a triumph in
his book. He has shown me every single one of his favorite rest stops and we
bypassed half of them. This, my children is what “they lived happily ever
after” is all about. You recall many of life’s pathways not by the potholes but
of the places where you found relief. And someone you love comes along for the
ride and doesn’t make fun of you.