Too Pooped to Post

Matt - Mark Steinhoff KY Lake c 1982Brother-in-Law John and I spent a whole day validating the Rule of Threes: every project will cost three times as much as anticipated, require three times as long as planned, and will take at least three trips to any place you plan to buy parts. Actually, I’m pretty sure we were into the Rule of Sixes and Nines on a couple of items.

I’m too tired to tell the whole story tonight, but I’ll give you a hint that it involves something in this photo.

Family at Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake slides 2I was looking for some appropriate Father’s Day photos when I ran across these shots taken at Kentucky Lake. My green Datsun has 1974 Florida tags, so this must have been the summer of 1973. I bought that car in Gastonia, N.C., just a few days before I left for Florida in January of that year. Brother David, whose driver’s license was so fresh the ink hadn’t dried, was drafted to drive it while I piloted a U-Haul holding all our possessions.

The dealership agreed to have someone man the service department on a Saturday to do the initial 600-mile service, so David and I went out to put as many break-in miles as we could. He was a little uncertain about driving a manual transmission, so I told him, “Just get it in high gear and don’t worry about shifting until we need gas.”

Wife Lila buzzed along in her yellow VW Bug herding us like wayward cattle. She did great until we hit West Palm Beach where she turned right off the turnpike instead of left toward civilization. I managed to honk her down before we all ended up as alligator bait.

A trailer for togetherness

David Ken Mark Mary and LV Steinhoff at Kentucky Lake_29The first trailer Dad and Mother had on the lake was tiny. I don’t know how we managed to stuff six of us in there. We must have had to synchronize turning over.

Trying not to smile

Kentucky Lake slides 13Dad had this funny way he’d stick his tongue out when he was trying not to smile. He’s obviously pulling somebody’s leg, probably Wife Lila’s.

He couldn’t hold it forever

Kentucky Lake slides 14Eventually, the smile would bubble over. Mother’s still trying to maintain her composure, though.

A happy couple

Kentucky Lake Slides 25We had a lot of happy hours on that lake.

Dad died there of a massive heart attack while he was building a sandbox for Grandson Matthew in 1977. I’m sorry he was taken from us so early, but I’m glad it was there and not in some hospital surrounded by beeping machines.




Escape from Cape

Emerson Bridge 08-187-2013_8293My escape from Cape didn’t go as smoothly as I hoped. Mother and I were supposed to meet a plumber at her trailer on Kentucky Lake at 11 a.m. to move a shutoff valve to a place where it would be easier for her to get at it. I stayed up late to get the van loaded so we could pull out early.

I carefully activated an existing 8 a.m. alarm on my smartphone to give myself plenty of time to do a sweep of the house for forgotten items and to have coffee and a bowl of cereal. When I heard her moving about, I checked to see how much more time I could doze before having to put my feet on the floor.

My phone read 8:32. Unlike Brad Brune, who operates on Brune Standard Time, I got the a.m. and p.m. part right; I just hadn’t noticed that the alarm was set to go off on MTWTF, and today was S.

Mother elected to leave me behind

I loaded up the car, plugged in my phone and iPad, wrote down my starting mileage and pulled out of the driveway. Two blocks from the house, the Bluetooth display on my GPS said, “Disconnecting.” The phone was doornail dead. I tried artificial respiration, but ended up pulling the battery and doing a cold boot. It came back.

I plugged the charger in. Dead phone. Since the Verizon dealership was within eyesight, I went looking for help. Matt and Kelsey gave it their best shot, but the office was in the middle of a server upgrade, so they were busy handing calls to techs. They essentially did what I had already done, but with better results. I was back on the road again.

Cell towers and “if only”

KY cell tower 08-17-2013 8304As I got close to the trailer, I glanced at this cell tower and thought “if only.” Will, who was half of Will-Vera Camp Ground, approached Dad in the early 70s and said he was considering expanding his park and wanted to know if Dad would like to go in with him because of his construction background. Dad begged off saying he was working hard to wind down the business so he could retire, so the project never got off the ground.

I don’t know if this tower is on the plot Will was considering, but it’s adjacent to the park, so it might have been. I negotiated contracts with two cellular carriers to put cell sites on our newspaper building for somewhere between $6,000 and $8,000 a month if I remember right. This tower would probably have brought in as much money for Will and Dad as a raft of trailers.

Where’s the plumber?

Goodbye 08-17-2013_8331When I got to the lake, Mother was steaming. Not a pretty sight. The plumber wasn’t there, he hadn’t answered his phone and hadn’t returned messages she had left for him. On the off-chance that she had dialed the wrong number, I called one listed in my phone and left VM saying that I was going to have to get on the road, but I would turn on the water so she’d be able to stay the weekend.

About 10 minutes later, the plumber called me, very apologetic. He had every intention of being there at 11, but he had been involved in a car crash that left him with a totaled vehicle, several broken ribs and some other injuries. I allowed as how that might be an acceptable excuse.

I helped her with some odd jobs, then took the obligatory goodbye shot next to a new sign Brother Mark had made, Niece Amy painted and Son Matt hung to replace the original that had gone missing.

About an hour north of Nashville, I stopped at a rest area intending to take a 22-minute nap before pressing on. I had scarcely started settling in when a young security guard approached my window. Wondering what kind of hassle I was going to get, I rolled down the window.

It turned out he was a nice guy who wanted to point out that he thought my driver’s side headlight was burned out. “Geez,” I said. “I just replaced that one in February, and the passenger side one burned out yesterday. Thanks for pointing it out. I carry a spare bulb, so I’ll replace it before it gets dark.”

I jettisoned the idea of a nap, changed the bulb and made Manchester, TN, before calling it a night. Tomorrow will be a better day, right?


Fall at Kentucky Lake

Mother and I went over to Kentucky Lake Monday to winterize her trailer. For you Florida folk, that means that we drained all of the water out of the drains and water lines and put antifreeze in any place that water might pool. If you don’t keep the pipes heated, the water in them will freeze and the pipes will burst. That happened to her a couple of winters ago. It’s not pretty and it’s not cheap to fix.

While she was inside the trailer doing inside-the-trailer stuff, I was blowing away the leaves that had fallen so far. Leaves, again for you Florida folks, are a big deal up here. And, I am far from being a proficient leaf herder. I’m not convinced that I couldn’t do a better job with a leaf rake.

Anyway, once I got the ground cleared off, it was covered with a gazillion hickory nuts that were like walking on ball bearings.

More hickory nuts to fall

They’re not done falling, either. Hearing those things bounce off your trailer top must make you feel like you’re under machine gun attack all night long.

Ducks on the lake

We took a swing down to the campgrounds to see what was going on. These guys don’t seem to notice that the water’s growing colder in the late afternoon.

Naked tree

We couldn’t help but notice this dead, naked tree with all its bark missing as we passed the entrance to Camp John Currie. It was worth a u-turn.

Peeling paint to peeling bark

I know I’ve been posting a lot of what we journalistic photographer disdainfully call “peeling paint” photos, but I couldn’t resist this shot of a trunk with its bark peeled off.

Something got under its skin

At some point in its life, something crawled around between the tree’s bark and its trunk.

Pining away for Wife Lila

I had to put that bad pun in to keep Wife Lila from dispatching me as a stranger breaking into the house when I get back to Florida this weekend.