Sunday, October 23, 2011

Not Just Another Routine Bike Ride

Today I went for a bike ride around our neighborhood. Since getting this bike a week or 2 ago, I have been trying to remember to bring my cartridge of pepper spray/mace with me.
Ever since getting bit by a local dog while on a walk last August, I always carry my protection with me should the need arise that I have to use it.

Since bicycling is a rather new part to my routine, I have been forgetting to grab it before heading out for a bike ride.

Unfortunately I forgot to take it today and it was today that I could have used it and would have used it.

Let me backtrack for a moment and refresh our memories.

Last August while on a walk, I had this big brown Lab run charge me and latch onto my arm. The dog had previously made aggressive gestures towards me but this is was the first time that it actually bit me and broke the skin.

I called animal control and they responded, took a report, took photos and then went looking for the dogs owners.

I did not know the owners name other than the woman's first name and that they lived in the general area of another neighborhood that is fairly close to our neighborhood.

At some point in time, after Animal Control personnel spoke to the owners, the female owner stopped by our place to check in on me ...to make sure that I was ok and to offer to pay any medical bills associated with the dog biting me...which there were none.

During this discussion, the female owner of the dog told me that this type of incident would never happen again and that their dog would always be on a leash when walking in our neighborhood.

Unfortunately she only kept her word about 30-40% of the time. The rest of the time, this dog whose name is Barney, would walk and run freely when with his owners in our neighborhood.

This never really became an issue because my walks never coincided with Barneys walks....at least until today.

So here I am...minding my own business and riding my bike in our neighborhood.

Guess who comes charging towards me without being on a leash and with his owners about 200-250 feet behind him.

Yep...sure enough it was the dog that had bit me last year...Barney.

Like I mentioned earlier, I didn't have my pepper spray/mace cartridge on me.

It was one of those coulda, woulda and shoulda moments.

All I could do was keep peddling and moving forward, shaking my head in disbelief and hoping that Barney wasn't hungry right then and there.

Barney came right up to me in an aggressive fashion but did not try to get a hold of me this time.

I pulled my bike up to where Barneys owners were.

I looked right at the female owner and stated that I thought that she had promised me that she would not let her dog run freely while walking in our neighborhood in order that I would not get bit again.

This lady told me that Barney has not been allowed to run freely in the neighborhood.

HELLO!!!!...what was that big brown furry thing that just charged at me while you were lallygagging 200 feet behind him. **Please excuse the spelling on lallygagging if it is wrong. I think this is the first time I have ever used that word in a written sentence. Actually I can't remember ever seeing it written anywhere else either. So if it is spelled wrong, how about just giving me a free pass on it...after all the word is lallygagging.

This was when the male owner decided that he wanted to really get involved in this conversation.

To kind of put it in a nutshell...the male owner of Barney decided to get in my face and I mean IN my face, jutting his pot belly out so that it made contact with me and promptly told me that he did not like my attitude, that it was my fault that I got bit last time, that he did not like the way I handled the situation last time...he did not like the fact that I called Animal Control on the dog. He told me that I should have gone looking myself for Barneys owners rather than calling animal control.

I tried to explain to this guy that I am the one that got bit by his dog and I asked him why is it that he is pissed off at me???!!! I also tried to explain to this numb skull that I couldn't look for Barneys owners because I did not know them at all and that I only had seen them in our neighborhood..which is not where they live. The only thing I had for a name was the female owners first name.

I was later told where Barneys owners might live and passed the info onto the Animal Control Officer.

For some reason this guy could not understand the logic of it all. To me it was pretty darn simple...your dog bit me thus it is NOT my job to search all over the place to find its owners so that we could "discuss" the incident and how you did not have control over your dog...it should be noted that the female owner was present when Barney bit me last year and the dog was not on a leash. It is you....the dogs owners responsibility to find me, the one that your dog bit and play nice with me in hope that I don't file some type of civil proceedings against you.

These are the same people that stated that the dog bit me because I wore glasses and on another occasion told me that Barney bit me because they had some type of run in with a police officer while Barney was present.

Huh???

This guy just kept running his mouth spouting off things that made no logical sense at all and he actually believed what he was saying as being gospel. One of the absolute best lines that came out of his mouth was "don't look at my dog and you won't get bit"...hmmm...I must have missed the bus that this guy was on..you know the one that dropped us off back at our Elementary School. Sounds just like something a kid would say..."stop looking at me" or "Mommy make Joey stop looking at me".

Well...after both of us throwing some f*** bombs at each other along with a few other pleasantries thrown in for good measure, we went our own separate ways. I know that the cussing was not the most mature way of handling the situation but you what happens sometimes when testosterone runs amok.

After riding home and telling Veronica what had just occurred, it was decided that I should call the Sheriffs office and file a report. One reason for doing this was that there were 2 of them and just 1 of me and who knows what story these people could come up with. And another reason to file a report was because of their attitude about the whole dog bite incident and there continuing to allow Barney to run free in our neighborhood.

I felt it would be best for some type of official documentation on both of these points.

I did not realize it at the time the whole incident occurred but the entire incident was observed by another person that lives in our neighborhood.

So to wrap this whole story up...a police report was filed, the officer was going over to talk to these people about the legal and civil ramifications of their actions or lack thereof.

I bet you that if this guy didn't like the way I handled the initial dog bite issue, I can pretty much bet you my weeks allowance that this guy will be even less thrilled with the way I handled things this time.

So after the Officer left our place, I decided to get back up on my bike and do a couple of more laps around the neighborhood.

But this time I made sure that I grabbed my pepper spray/mace canister.

No more coulda, woulda or shoulda's for this guy.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Ghoulish Grinch That Stole Halloween

This is the time of year that I really enjoy.
I usually get a kick out of decorating our place for Halloween.
Last year I spent many hours locating and getting all of our Halloween goodies out of their respective bins and boxes. They were pigeon holed everywhere.
I have a bunch of Halloween goodies....everything from the usual figurines to larger doll like characters, strobe light, 4 foot black light and a smoke machine just to name a few of the things that I utilize during this time of year.
And if I had the money, I would probably have a ton more Halloween items.
We had all of our decorations out last year for about 2 weeks and then put them all away and moved our attention towards preparation for Christmas.
After spending several hours locating, pulling out and then placing our decorations where they would be seen the most from those that might notice them from the outside, I then went through the tedious process of moving many of the items around because we only have a certain number of windows that face the front of our place.
After getting everything just right, the night of Halloween came and went without a single soul or ghoul visiting our place....I take that back...there was a couple at the end unit that had a new born baby and another little girl that stopped by quickly before heading to a more profitable Halloween candy neighborhood. That particular couple has moved since last Halloween.
Our neighborhood has a limited number of permanent residents and that makes it very unlikely that anyone would want to go out of there way to stop by and go trick or treating at maybe a couple of residences that might or might not have candy. There just isn't that big candy payoff that there would be in other locations.
Sure I personally enjoy seeing the decorations but I get more of a thrill having others stop by and enjoy all of the work that was put into making the place somewhat scary.
With Halloween only a little more than a week away, I have decided to fore go getting the place decorated for Halloween. I just don't have the interest this year to spend the amount of time it takes to get everything out and put up and not have anyone else being able to see it much less stop by and visit us.
It just isn't worth the effort...at least this year. Maybe when we get more neighbors or some kids around...or maybe when we move to a new location.
But for this years Halloween....no kids...no trick or treaters...no decorations and no candy.....
BOO HUMBUG!!!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Sighting

This morning I was in our 3rd floor kitchen washing a cup out.
From the kitchen window we have a great view of the marshlands that are directly behind our place.
I was looking out of the window and saw what I thought was some type of brownish colored rock/boulder.
Unfortunately I did not have my glasses on at this time but after going downstairs and grabbing them, I returned upstairs and gave this object a closer look.
To my delight I saw a rather large deer...at least large compared to the other deers that I have seen in our immediate area. This deer was just laying down and relaxing in a large patch of trees and brush that kind of formed an island in the marshland area. This particular patch of land seemed to be just high enough to keep dry when the tide is in.
I must have stood there for 15 minutes just watching this deer and taking a few photos of him.
Since Hurricane Irene has come through, we have only seen 2 other smaller deer that used to frequent the piles of cracked corn that I would pile outside of our 1st floor computer room.
We saw those 2 deer about 2 weeks ago but have not seen them since they last stopped by looking for something to eat.
Of course I didn't have the piles of cracked corn out there waiting for them because I had run out. And of course after seeing them, I made a special trip to Walmart just to get them a couple of large bags of the cracked corn. And of course....after putting the piles of cracked corn out for them, I have not seen them since and the cracked corn piles are in the same condition that I had left them in almost a week ago.
So I was really happy to see that there was at least one deer in our immediate area.
With the rutting season getting ready to start soon, I am sure that the deer will be out looking for something to eat after they get done with all of their frolicking and deer duties completed.
Here are a few photos that I took of this relaxing deer. I apologize for the lack of sharpness on the photos. Unfortunately I took through our windows which have mesh screens that make photo taking tough.







Friday, October 14, 2011

New Toys

Veronica has been wanting a bicycle for quite some time. She also wanted me to get one so that we could go for rides around the area of the Wright Brothers First Flight Memorial.
A lot of people go for walks and ride bikes around the trails in the Monument area.
So yesterday we went to Walmart and bought ourselves a couple of bikes.
I had to order a special type of bike carrier for our vehicle because most would not fit nor could they be adapted to fit our Toyota RAV4s. I ended up getting a bike carrier that fits over the spare tire that is attached to the back of our RAV4s and then you can strap/tether/secure the bottom of the carrier either to the bottom of the vehicles back cargo door or underneath the rear bumper.
Here are some pictures of the bike carrier that I ended up ordering:


I ended up having to hang the bikes from the rafters due to space issues. As you can see, we are running out of space in our garage. We have a large grill and 3 pieces of exercise equipment and then room left over for one vehicle.


Below is Veronica's bike. It is a Panama Jack themed bike. This is an "old school" bike with no gears and no handle brakes. Veronica ordered a wicker basket for the front of the bike.
Below is my bike. It has 7 speeds. I bought the black bag for the front of the bike so that I could put a can or bottle of soda in it. I could also put a small coffee thermos in it. I bought a new seat also because the original was rather narrow and hard. This one is wider and has additional cushioning. I went for a ride on it and had to raise the seat up. It needs to be raised more but I am going to wait on doing that. I tried to raise the handle bars and angle them in towards me a bit. I felt like I was having to lean over too much to reach the handle bars in their current configuration. This was making my lower back rather sore. I tried to loosen the hex nuts and and other bolts but I could not get them to loosen at all. They really tightened them down at the factory. i actually snapped a pair of pliers trying to loosen the bolts up. I will end up taking the bike down to a local bike rental/repair shop and let them "fit" the bike properly to my body height and also raise and tilt the handle bars in so that I can ride it in more comfort. I will also have them adjust the gears because they are slipping a bit.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On The Road To Normalcy

When Hurricane Irene went through this area, the ocean wiped out a substantial portion of Highway 12 that links Hatteras Island to the mainland. The section of Highway 12 that was totally washed away was just North of Rodanthe.
On Monday 10/10 just prior to 6PM, the new temporary bridge was opened to traffic and once again Hatteras Island was linked to the mainland.
An 8 man crew put in 30 days and 15,000 man hours to build 662-foot engineering feat spanning a 200-foot channel just north of Rodanthe.
Jerry Jennings, an NCDOT engineer, said the project cost an estimated $11 million to $12 million. Though temporary, the bridge is expected to last a decade or more.
For additional information on the damage done by Hurricane Irene and the building of this new temporary bridge, please read the following articles:


In the USA Today article, you can see a photo taken of the washed away highway that effected the entire are from Rodanthe South including Hatteras Island.
This road should help those effected by Hurricane Irene in returning their lives to some sort of normalcy.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Return Of Our 4 Legged Friends

It had been several weeks since we last saw the deer that used to visit outside our back window on almost a daily routine.
They have been absent ever since Hurricane Irene had come through here. Can't say that I blame them for leaving.
From what I could tell, the deer used to live off and on in the marshy area that is behind our place.
This is the same marshlands that got flooded out when Hurricane Irene came through the sound.
The deer were smart enough to move to higher ground and haven't really returned since.
That was until 2 days ago when out of the blue we saw 2 of those deer come slowly walking up to the rise that leads to a flat portion of land right outside of our 1st floor computer/extra storage room window.
Sure enough they were 2 of the 3 deer that used to pay us a visit rather often.
The youngest of the 2 slowly walked up the rise and started looking around and smelling the ground where I usually put out piles of cracked corn for them.
Since I had not seen any deer in our immediate area since Hurricane Irene, I stopped this routine of feeding the deer.
This young deer slowly walked up to the mesh screen that is on the outside of the window and began looking inside.
There is no way that this deer could not have seen us. I sit about 2 foot away from the window and Veronica sits about 7 feet away.
It was not sunny out when the deer was looking through the window so we knew that it could see inside. This deer moved its head a little to one side and then a little to the other as it looked inside our place.
I swear I could see that deer moving its mouth and lips as it looked inside. Being the deer whisperer and expert deer lip reader that I am, I could see the deer asking me where their corn snacks had been moved to.
Without actually saying a word out loud and doing my best to only move my lips, I told this young deer that I was sorry that I had run out of corn just prior to Hurricane Irene arriving and to come back in a couple of days and I would have some fresh new cracked corn awaiting for their return.
This young deers' ears perked up and both deer headed into the marshland behind our place via one of their trails that they have made.
A couple of days later, I went to Walmart and picked up a couple of large bags of cracked corn that they sell there.
Upon returning home I put 3 large piles of cracked corn outside of that back window.
Those piles have been sitting there for a couple of days now without anything getting into them.
I guess that young deer wasn't old enough to have learned how to lip read a human because I have not seen him/her back since that last visit.
At least I knew what it was saying to me and I did my best to fulfill it's wishes. Maybe next time he/she will bring its older human lip reading brother so we won't have these communication problems in the future.
Hey....that's my story and I am sticking to it!

Monday, October 3, 2011

It's Never Too Early To Make Plans Or Reservations

In September of 2012, Veronica and I will be going on another adventure.
We will be on the Norwegian Cruise Line(NCL) Sun for a 14-Day Norway, Iceland & Faroe Islands Round-trip from/to Copenhagen cruise.
Hard to believe that our cruise will begin in 11 months and 15 days. When I really think about it, it does seem like a long ways off still but it is not too early to book certain aspects of the adventure.
Although we still are a couple of weeks out from starting to shop for a reasonable flight to Copenhagen...if such a thing actually exist, it isn't too early to book a pre-cruise hotel room at the Copenhagen Marriott or one of the many ports of call excursions that are already being offered for this cruise.
Upon landing in Copenhagen and a full day before our cruise sets sail, Veronica and I will have to find our way to the Copenhagen Marriott. Hopefully we will be somewhat well rested from our long flight especially since we will be trying to sleep during most of the flight.
we definitely do not want to have the same jet lag problems that we had after our very first international flight to Heathrow. After landing in Heathrow, those heading for the cruise terminal had to board a bus for about an 1 1/2 hour bus ride. Then we had to go through the check in process and get aboard the ship. We were on the NCL Sun for that cruise too....a 12 day Baltic Capitals cruise.
Without realizing it jet lag had kicked in and we ended up sleeping for the first 23 hours or so of our cruise. Luckily that first day was a day at sea, with no ports of call scheduled.
We don't want to do that again because we want to go out and about once we get checked into the hotel.
We have plans to go visit Tivoli Gardens during the late afternoon and throughout the evening. I have read that it really looks different and nice at night when they have all of the lights on.
Another thing that I have done is make reservations for one of the shore excursions being offered for Reykjavik, Iceland.
Veronica and I have decided to do our own thing in all of the other ports of call. We have done this many times before and have always enjoyed ourselves and found many beautiful and interesting things to see wherever we have gone and had a port of call.
Because there are so many different things to see in Iceland, we could have chose one shore excursion and spent our day mainly seeing one site in depth or we could walk around the city on our own and utilize their public transportation to get wherever we wanted to go or we could do what we ended up choosing for our shore excursion.
We chose to do the excursion called "Iceland Through The Photo Lens". This excursion will take us to many of the known sites and other sites that most people would not normally be able to see, much less photograph.
Here is the shore excursion description as it is written on NCL web site:

Iceland Through The Photo Lens
Discover one of the best kept secrets in the world of photography – Iceland! Whether you consider yourself a keen amateur or a dedicated professional, there is no doubt that Iceland's fascinating photographic terrain will set your pulse racing. If you are an enthusiastic nature and landscape photographer, you know that there are precious few places left in the world that offer a dramatic and accessible landscape that has not been over exposed. Iceland is a visually exciting place for those photographers seeking inspiration for a new and challenging location to explore. You'll be able to take in some of the best photographic locations in the region. Through your photo lens, discover wonderful panoramic views over vast lava fields, hot springs, mountain ranges, lakes, unspoiled nature, bird life and picturesque fishing villages. Enjoy a buffet lunch at the famous Blue Lagoon complex. Note: Participants must be 16 years of age and be in good health. Most venues are not wheelchair accessible. Guests must be able to step in and out of the vehicle rather quickly to take advantage of the photographic opportunities. This is a special interest tour for photography enthusiasts - no equipment is provided.

This excursion will give me an excellent opportunity to put that new camera through it's paces. I should be able to get some remarkable photos, movies and even some panoramic photos during this day full of seeing what Iceland has to offer.
I booked this excursion earlier than I normally would book one because I wanted to make sure that we would not is out on signing up for this one.
It will be one of the many highlights of our cruise I am sure.
Now if only I can find that "reasonable" airfare from the States to Copenhagen.

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