Thursday, September 14, 2017
Irma took it easy on us -- David Watson reports on his Sarasota home -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
EDITOR'S NOTE: I've been in touch with my pal David Watson since he left the Sarasota area last week...fleeing Hurricane Irma. He returned home late Tuesday night and offered to give us a report on what he sees in his city. It's a long read...but a darn fine one. Enjoy.
Hi, my name is David Watson and if you aren't familiar with me, then you don't visit this site often or you're a new reader. It matters not, I suppose. Welcome and thanks to your ubiquitous and fearless leader for letting me grace these pages all these years. I was one of the original writers here back in the days of Angel McCoughtry and Candyce Bingham. I retired from regular columns to become a Bucknell fan. Don't ask.
I've been a Cardinal fan since the days of Darrell Griffith and the Doctors of Dunk and Paulie and my oldest daughter completed the cycle by getting me hooked on women's sports. I'm still a Notre Dame fan, too. Don't hold that against me -- they wrote me a lot of checks when I was teaching undergrads introductory psychiatry. They still call me in from time to time -- for comic relief I suppose or if they're looking for a patsy to give a lecture no one else wants to handle. As long as they pay the airfare and lodging, I'm game. It gets me out of the house and fall in South Bend can be pretty special.
I live in Sarasota, FL. I moved here a couple of years ago from Bradenton, FL. Before that, it was Muncie, IN and, if you want to go way back into the time machine, South Bend, IN. I was born in Kansas and my mother's name was Dorothy. Go ahead and snicker, everyone does. We did not have a dog named Toto, though, and no farm hands.
As a boy, my best friend was a blind kid named Darrell. I read to him a lot. Most of it was "G-rated". We smoked our first cigarette together and went on our first dates together. His was a blind date. (Is that wrong to say that?). I was a Gopher for eight years also. (UofM, not the burrowing kind). Maybe you'd like to know my favorite color and fruit now.
Now that we've gotten our geographical perspective and biographical resume in order, let's move on, shall we, to the mean lady named Irma who visited my new state with varying degrees of nastiness.
We fled about a week ago. We were hearing bad things about what might happen and I figured it was time to visit my wife's brother in Muncie again, anyway -- so we loaded up the SUV with a bunch of stuff we probably didn't need -- including my youngest daughter (just kidding) and "got the hell out of Dodge" or, in this case, Florida.
My daughter didn't want to go.
"Where's your spirit of adventure, Dad? The neighbors are staying."
"Shut up and pack a bag, Kelly." I replied, doing my best Clint Eastwood imitation. The young Clint, not the current one.
At my age, I'm lucky to have any spirit whatsoever, much less adventure, and so we took our latest born back to a state she really wasn't so fond of to begin with. Being a dad can be a crazy tumultuous roller coaster at times. One of your fine writers here, Mr. Jared, can probably relate to that amusement park sequitur.
The absolutely wonderful news is that we suffered very little damage at all. Irma had de-escalated to a Category I by the time she came meandering our way. Partied out, needing a nap and pretty much just a nasty tropical depression. We had a few branches in the back yard from the palm trees, I lost a tomato plant, but no water or wind damage whatsoever in the house. In fact, we even had power when we got back home.
My sarcastic but well-meaning neighbor to my right (Don) who had surreptitiously not answered his land-line (he has no cell) while we were gone -- but promised me he'd watch my property if the worst hit -- (remember, Hitler promised Chamberlain he didn't want any conflicts) came over minutes after we pulled into the driveway.
"See, that wall I talked you into building was a good idea, right"?
What he was referring to is a 4 foot concrete-block wall that surrounds my property. He had one when we moved in and continuously sung its praises. So, I had one built last fall. I only had to have three sides done, since there was already one to my right. Before we left, we stacked sand bags four feet high in front of the sidewalk gate. Also put a few in front of the front door and garage doors. I may leave them until Christmas. They are a great deterrent for door-to-door salesmen and snot-nosed kids selling school project candy and cookie dough.
"Why didn't you answer the phone, Don?" I asked.
Don doesn't believe in voice mail either. I'm living next to a character from the Andy Griffith Show. Don's the kind of guy who will come over and brag about how right he was when his stinking Packers win a game. If they lose, he becomes Howard Hughes. Wisconsin guys. I've heard tortured screams of pain over there before. Don't ask, don't tell, right?
"Didn't recognize the number". he blithely replied.
I need this man to buy a laptop, tablet or smart phone. Or even a flip phone. Goober says "Hey!". I bet he could get a good deal on a Commodore or Gateway.
We have a detached garage that was spared from water as well. It's a concrete block garage with a strong storm/security side door and sealed garage door. Why is this important, you might ask? Because, in addition to housing my wife's Prius, various gardening and lawn maintenance tools of destruction and my beer fridge -- it is also home to my 17,500 eight-track tapes and three eight-track players.
Go ahead and Google eight-track, dear Millennials that might be reading. Some guys collect golf balls. coffee mugs or wives. I collect eight-tracks. Eight tracks had their heyday from the mid-sixties to the late seventies before God created cassettes and Ronald Reagan. From Aardvark to ZZ Top, I got tunes.
The house on my other side is up for sale and unoccupied -- but everything looks fine over there as well. Except for the hideous light green color the former occupants painted it. Years ago. I told the realtor a few weeks back she could increase the selling price by $5,000 if she had someone slap a few coats of white paint on it. She took a big slurp from her diet soft drink and stared through me like I was a bay window.
"Yeah, maybe." is what I got out of her. A real orator, that one. Ah, the life of big-chested blondes who have rich hubbies and down Marlboro Lights like they were panaceas for respiratory functionality.
We were lucky.
My wife Donna, who is not overly religious, prayed for a Category I or, better yet, an avoidance of the whole thing. Someone was listening, maybe. Being a fairly devout Catholic, I did a few signs of the cross and Hail Mary's before we left and a couple of genuflections after we returned.
Some parts of Sarasota fared worse. A neighbor down the street had a pine tree fall on his wooden workshop and that's a total loss. A couple of blocks over, near the Gulf of Mexico, people are piling up debris on flatbeds, pickup trucks, trailers or by the side of the road. My golfing buddy Joey, who lives in Indian Springs, invited me over to help him and his son clear their property of limbs and other debris earlier today. I snarkingly asked if that meant we wouldn't be playing golf. My neighbor Don must be wearing off on me. Is "snarkingly" a word? If not, I deserve credit for its introduction.
It was a joyous reunion with our basset hound Keith (who my youngest daughter renamed Mc. Farty-Fart). Don offered to keep him while we fled, as he does whenever we take a trip. I think Keith wouldn't mind playing out his contract with us and getting traded to Don or signing as a free agent. He gets along well with Don, his wife Cheri and their beagle Snoopy. Original, right?
Keith went straight to Mama, then Kelly and proceeded to give me a sideways glance like "What, you came back, too"? How soon they forget who takes them out at all hours of the day and night so they can prowl the premises and soil the lawn.
You might have been thinking I still had Spanky the Yorkie, Paulie. When my oldest daughter moved to Chicago, she took the little ankle biter with her. That dog was man's best friend. During our NCAA Tournament marathon watches that we had in the Muncie house basement, Spanky was a trooper -- patrolling the floor for wayward snack foods, knocking over partially empty beer cans and bottles on the floor, finishing the remains and barking when the guys would erupt in cheers or boos -- before staggering off to the laundry room to sleep it off. Keith sleeps whenever I'm watching sports.
Her dog, though. I hope she sent him through the 12 steps program or at least got him qualified counselling. He was a hit on opening NCAA weekend, though.
Again, we were lucky. So many areas of Florida were damaged badly and still have no power. Donate money to a relief organization. That it the best way to help. Your choice. I like the Red Cross but any will do because there are a lot of people who need it. There's a lot of damage to our south. As Blue Oyster Cult sang many years ago.
History shows again and again
How nature points out the folly of man.
Our pal Joe Hill got extensive water damage down in Naples and his condo is still without power. He texted me yesterday. One sentence.
"The condo is still standing but it's waterlogged."
So, in conclusion, thank you for letting me reveal our Hurricane adventures. I know it's a huge week up there in Cardinalville and I'm sure whoever is up next in Paulie's writing order will fill you in tomorrow on what you need to know for the weekend sports-wise. I wish I could be in Papa John's for this one. I need a huge UofL win. I'm worried about Clemson's defensive line, their ability to hold opponents to just field goals and this maverick freshman quarterback they've got.
The Cards do have Lamar Jackson, though, and that says a lot. Hopefully, he'll get some blocking, find a few receivers and run like a man with his pants on fire. I'll call this one 24-17 Cards and if I win, Paulie, donate the card to charity or give it to second place. Panera is not a huge favorite in the Watson household. Maybe it's because they wouldn't hire my youngest daughter last summer. Their loss, Kohl's gain.
I also hope Volleyball can go to Lexington and put a "W" on Big Blue Nation. As for women's soccer and field hockey, I expect wins as well. Sweep the weekend, Cards!
Until we talk again, good health and happiness to all of you and support this site however you can. I read most every day. Paulie and the boys and gals do a great job here and it gives a 'chasing-kids-out-of-his-driveway old man' the chance to occasionally write something else besides checks for bills, Catholic high school tuition payments and incorrect golf scores.
Thanks again to David for sharing. I gotta meet Don and Mc. Farty-Fart...plus the realtor -- Paulie