Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Greetings from Naples, FL

Well, here we are, our yearly end-of-tax-season trip to our condo in Florida.  Except there's one little twist this year as previously reported.  We still haven't got our A/C unit fixed although the guy is supposed to be on his way as I write this.

Florida is no place to be without A/C-even in April-May.  It's 83 in our condo now and over 90 outside.  I don't really mind it all that much except when we sleep at which time it's cooled somewhat and the ceiling fans help a great deal.

It all reminds me of the many years we had no A/C at all at home.  We simply had to endure the hot, humid summers with a small window fan.  And somehow we did it-as we will now.

One of the projects I will be undertaking while we're here is to put together a photo album which I'll put on my web site  I have to take the pictures, configure them and make the album so it will be a while.  Stay tuned and stay cool!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

More of life's little annoyances

Having a condo in FL has many advantages. While many people would not like this, it has become our permanent vacation destination-which is fine by me. 

But when things go wrong and something needs to be done, it can be a major pain-especially when we're still in CT and we're trying to deal with people in Florida. People by the way who have a very, very different definition of the work ethic than us folks up north.

One such example recently occurred when renters reported that our A/C unit wasn't working.  We have a home warranty insurance policy so I put in a call for them to schedule servicing.  Unfortunately, the people they hooked us up with are idiots.  They couldn't get phone numbers straight and they gave me a date that turned out to be incorrect.  My home watch person deserves a medal (and undoubtedly more money) for having to deal with them.

Once the technician makes his service call, the A/C company reports back to the warranty company.  That's where we are now-and it's taking forever which is a problem since we're going to be there soon and it's getting hot down there-very hot.  So what all this amounts to is that instead of relaxing I'm going to have to deal with this as soon as we get there.

Another little annoyance associated with this is when I called the warranty company to see if they had a record of this yet, the lady I spoke to barely spoke English so I found myself constantly yelling "WHAT.  I don't understand you."

I suppose some people would say something like aw, you poor thing.  You have two homes and you're having problems.  How awful for you!  Yeah, well....I guess but it's still a pain.

Thus endeth my rant for the day.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

This says it all

Not all Tea Party advocates fall into the category indicated by this picture but I think there are enough of them to make one realize where they're coming from, i.e. ignorance!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Spring Break

The kids are on spring break this week so they've been spending part of their time with me.  Here are two pictures (also on the photo gallery page of my website of some of the things they did to stay active.

In one picture Brooke, Cole & Courtney make Oobleck and Gak both of which are fun activities that result in a playdough-type substance. 

The second picture is of Cole painting an airplane he made out of recyclable materials.  It was a project for his kindergarten class to be brought into school when they return.  This is in honor of Earth Week.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

God and public schools

A few days ago a man came to give us an estimate on some driveway repairs. After we got the information we wanted, the conversation wandered off course and he learned I am a retired teacher from Sandy Hook School.

When he found that out, he had the usual sad, serious look on his face.  Then he said that at the risk of being politically incorrect he believed that terrible things and others like it happen because they (whoever 'they' are) took God out of the schools.  He then went on to elaborate and finally left.

I exercised a rare bit of constraint by not saying anything and just let him finish.  The fact though is that regardless of where God may-or may not-be at any given time,  has nothing what ever to do with the actions of deranged lunatics.

Regarding the God in Schools issue, rather than repeat something I read a while ago, I will post a link to a blog that states pretty much my position perfectly.  Here it is:

By the way, I should add that the author of the piece you're about to read (I hope) is senior pastor of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, where he preaches to more than 8,000 per week.

So he's clearly not some wild-eyed atheist. 

I'd be interested in reading your reaction to the piece I cited.  If you're having trouble logging into the comments section of this site, you can write to

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Happy 5th Birthday to Nicholas George Stockwell

Happy birthday, little buddy.  You're the last of the four and you're 5 already. Amazing how the time goes.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Meet "Chicken" Sandi

Grand daughter Courtney gets her grammy to hold one of the 8 chickens owned by Mike & Becky.

To see more photos and photo albums, click here:

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Time for spring cleanup

Now that the spring-like weather is in sync with the calendar, here's my list of spring chores:

Get the lawn tractor started.  Put up the snow blower & treat gas.
Get leaf blower going.
Restack left over firewood to make room for next year's supply.
Cut, split and stack pile of logs to start drying process.
Clean out flower beds around perimeter of house.
Clean out garden area and repair deer fence around it.
Repair stone wall in front.
Clean up rest of leaves that blew back into yard over winter.
Clean house windows.

When all that is done, I have to turn my attention to back woods where there's quite a bit of stuff down that's suitable for firewood.

All of this needs to be done in between baby sitting, volunteering and grand children sporting events.

Never a dull moment.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A rainy day...but the sun was out.

It rained today in Kinder land.  This was week II for weather in grandson Cole's kindergarten class.  It was sunny outside but with the help of some ice, water, food coloring and a 2-liter soda bottle, I was able to demonstrate the water cycle which is what's responsible for rain.  Then we looked at pictures of different kinds of clouds.  Another great day.

The topic for next time is recycling.  I think I'll make a sculpture out of geometric shapes.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A recent day in kindergarten

As I may have posted in a previous piece, every Wednesday afternoon I go to my grandson Cole's kindergarten class at Sandy Hook School to do science experiments.  Cole's teacher is a former colleague of mine so she has been gracious enough to make time for me.  Plus she gets help with the science curriculum.

The topic for the next two weeks is weather.  On Wednesday we focused on wind so I did 5 experiments demonstrating air pressure.  Next Wednesday is rain so the focus will be on clouds and how they're formed.

Science is a topic kids are naturally curious about but it is often the one given the least amount of attention at school.  That trend needs to change or we have no hope of ever improving our youth's performance on science assessments-not to mention it's impact on technical progress and innovation.

In this picture I'm demonstrating a neat trick with a funnel and a small rubber ball.  From here we moved to a large lab table with a sink and we did more.  Then I gave each child a take home science sheet explaining how they can redo the experiments with their families.  Lots of fun and maybe even some learning.

To see more pictures of my days in kindergarten, click here: and go to the photo/albums/videos link.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy April

IT'S APRIL...FINALLY! Goodbye and good riddance, March.  I think the worst is almost behind us.  Just one more little blip.  Check it out:

OK, OK so it's an April Fool's joke I hope you realized.

On a serious note, check out the link below to learn more about the month of April-a month, by the way, that is rich with historical significance.