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Surviving Matthew.


The storm that wasn’t supposed to be a storm for us until it became a storm for us swept in on Saturday night.

As late as late on Saturday morning, Matthew was forecast to trundle north as far as Cape Hatteras and then make a sharp right and barrel out to sea sparing us more rain.

He didn’t.

Instead, Mr. Matthew decided to mosey on up the coast and check out what Miss Carol and me were doing for the weekend.

Saturday morning, Weather Underground was predicting 20 mph winds and a 60% chance of rain. By afternoon the prediction had changed to 45 mph winds and a 90% chance of rain. By midnight I awoke to torrential rain pounding the house and winds that were rockin’ and rollin’ her on her stilts. I lay in the heaving bed and bedroom and silently cursed Matthew.

Because we live on an island the power almost immediately goes out in any storm and Matt was no exception. We lost power Saturday evening and didn’t get it back until Wednesday night, a full day after our generator arrived and I hooked it up.

In those long powerless hours I learned a lot about myself and life-

Being without the internet is truly a hardship. As much as it pains me to say that, it’s true. I can do without some things, but it turns out that facebook and e-mail and youtube aren’t among them.

No water equals no toilets. Who knew? Or maybe I should have. All the years living in Sandbridge we had city water so no matter what you could at least go to the bathroom when the lights were out. Not now, not when we get our water from a well whose pump requires electricity. (Side story- no water equals no showers which equals zero sexual attraction- apparently something about the smell?)

Camping in your living room is fun. It is. For about the first 10 hours and then the newness and excitement rapidly declines and resigned suckiness sets in. You can only make so many meals on a small propane stove before your repertoire is exhausted.

Reading by candlelight is frustrating and can lead to book fires. ‘Nuff said about that.

But the biggest, most important thing that I learned in the aftermath of MattMan the hurricane?


That’s right. A couple of weeks before the storm that wasn’t supposed to be a storm and became a storm, we had a different storm and lost power for about 36 hours. After that little stint, I swore I’d buy a generator and hook it up to our house panel. I even did the research and decided on which one I wanted, which generator would be the best bang for the buck.

And then I sat on it.

I figured, what the hell? It’s mid-October, hurricane season’s almost over, right? I can wait, right?



Her name is NO!


I had just sat down with a cocktail and a book when Cutter stumbles up to me yelping and panting.

Get her off, he says, and half-turns, yelping at little Lola.

I shift slightly and lean slightly so I can see around Cutter and I see Lola latched onto one of his rear legs.

Grrrrrr, says Lola, shaking her head back and forth, trying to pull Cutter’s leg backwards towards her.

NO!, I yell, jumping up and knocking over my drink and clapping my hands together to get her attention. (Actually it used to be LOLA NO! until our prissy little vet told us we should never include our pet’s name in a reprimand, but only when we call her to come or when we are praising her because it confuses the pet and makes her anxious. Anxious? Really?)

Fuck, I say, scooping up my glass with one hand and reaching for Lola with the other.

Arf!, says Lola, happily letting go of Cutter’s leg and latching onto my finger instead.

NO!, I yell again. (This is pretty much how it’s been going nowadays. From the time we get up in the morning, getting ready for work and walks and feedings; and then again in the evenings until Lola grudgingly and exhaustedly falls asleep, it’s been a fairly constant fusillade of NO!!- Except when we slip or when we’re really angry and then it’s LOLA NO!!! again and screw anxious)

Freed, Cutter clambers up onto the couch to escape Lola and I clean up my spilled drink and make another. I had just sat back down to relax and read when one of my brand new $89 flip flops rockets across the living room, Lola’s stumpy little legs pumping furiously.

LOLA NO!!!!! I scream as I leap up and give chase, knocking over my drink again.




Meet Lola.


WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT???? Cutter said.

This is Lola, your new little playmate, I said.

arf, said Lola.

Cutter stopped staring at Lola and turned his gaze on me. Whatever made you think I’d want to play with a rat? he said.

I sighed. It’s not a rat, it’s a puppy.

Cutter looked back down at Lola. It’s a rat, he said.

It’s a puppy.





Cutter paused and said, Ok, let’s suppose it is a puppy. Whatever made you think I’d want to play with a puppy?

Well, I, I mean we, Miss Carol and me, thought you might be lonely, I said.

Cutter looked over at Lola, watching her teethe on one of the metal barstools. He sat and cleared his throat.

So let me get this straight, he said. A year and a half after you take Tug somewhere and don’t bring him back, you figure I might be lonely so you bring me a rat to play with.

It’s a puppy, I said.

And, well, um, yeah, it does seem kinda silly when you put it that way, I said.

Indeed, Cutter said, as we watched Lola wrestle with the welcome mat, dragging it across the hallway floor.

grrr, said Lola.



Makin’ Bacon II. or 2.

So, does bacon really make everything better?


I’d thought I’d be updating the makin’ bacon experiment earlier, but it takes a surprising amount of time to cure, cook, and eat four pounds of bacon unless you’re doing nothing else with your life.

This is what happened.

I brought the big slab of pork belly home and un-rolled it carpet-like and stared at it. Then I cut that big slab of pork belly into thirds. And stared at it some more. Then I cut the thirds in half and figured maybe I was onto something. I wrapped four of the pieces for the freezer and considered the other two double pounders.

First I had to cut the skin off. Pigs have a really tough, really thick skin that you don’t want as a part your bacon experience. I think the skin’s good for either pork cracklins’ or making your trash smelly.

I chose smelly trash.

Using a fish filet knife I urged the thick skin off of our slabs of bacon and by the time I was done, Miss Carol had the curing spices ready and we coated them and settled them into gallon-size zip-lock bags and put them in the refrigerator and high-fived each other.

We were makin’ bacon, baby.

We flipped the slabs daily to spread the curing and waited impatiently. I decided to name them Test Slab 1A and Test Slab 1B and Miss Carol rolled her eyes.

After a week I decided Test Slab 1A was ready so I pulled it out and rinsed it off. I thought the flecks of pepper looked cool and tasteful and left them. Big mistake. By not rinsing off all the pepper I also didn’t rinse off all the curing salt.

Oh my.

The bacon was very, very, very, very, very salty. Think a Virginia country ham kind of salty. Or, if you’ve never had a Virginia country ham, just imagine very, very, very, very, very salty. It was salty. And yet good. ‘Cause me made it and it was freshyfresh. But very salty.

Test Slab 1B was better. Miss Carol elbowed me aside and rinsed it thoroughly and we cut it thickly and grilled it and even though the coals were too hot and we kinda burned it, it was still fucking awesome. The meat was fresher and saltier than any other bacon we’d ever eaten and the fat was incredibly juicy.

So what’s next?

Test Slabs 2A and 2B are currently curing using more brown sugar to maybe cut the salt level and our dehydration down a notch now that we’re committed to the experiment.

We will rock this.







Makin’ Bacon

In a recent meander through the internet, I somehow stumbled across an article about the ease and wonderfulness of curing your own bacon.

And I said, Whoa.

‘Cause, I mean, who doesn’t love bacon? And who wouldn’t love it even more if it was easily and wonderfully self-cured? I was chubbed up and hooked. Gimmee, gimmee, I thought.

So I approached Miss Carol with the idea. She looked at me a little skeptically again, like she always does with my new ideas and shook her head again and said, ok, yeah, why not?

I practically skipped to the Southern Packing Plant, I was so excited. I walked in and the counter guy in white doctor coat and hair net asked if he could help me.

I’d like some pork belly, I said. I want to make some bacon, I said.

He smiled and said, No problem. And he went back into the backroom of these places.

After awhile he re-emerged and hoisted what looked like a heavy fatty rug up onto the knife scarred stainless steel table to weigh it. Twelve pounds, he said. That’ll be thirty-six dollars, he said.

I swallowed hard. I only wanted about a pound, I said.

The counter guy hefted the yellowy, fatty rug thing and said, sorry we only sell the whole belly.

So thinking that maybe he’d gone back into the backroom and carved my future bacon off of a hapless pig, I gulped and said, OK.

He smiled and wrapped it all up in brown paper and I paid him, feeling like I’d maybe made another mistake and drove home.

When I got home, I was surprised. Miss Carol thought it was a great deal. Three bucks a pound for bacon?, she exclaimed, let’s do this thing!

And so we did. We cut the belly up and skinned it and rubbed the seasonings on it and put it in the refrigerator to cure and we’ll see in a week or so.


Next-Does Bacon Really Make Everything Better?








I’ve been doing this trucker stuff part-time for several months now and I have a whole new awareness of the industry and what the Drivers have to contend with.

We all work hard, right? Yeah we do, but consider this-

Imagine your every work day is a 14 hour work day.

Imagine that during your 14 hour work day you HAVE to get ALL of your work done in only 11 hours.

Imagine that during that 11 hours you HAVE to take a half hour break and STILL get your 14 hours of work done.

Imagine that during the 10.5 hours you have to complete your 14 hours of work you have not only company oversight but Federal and State oversight as well.

Imagine that while you’re desperately trying to complete your 14 hours of work in 10.5 hours people continually stream into your office needing things, asking advice, wanting to talk or simply forcing you to do things for them and getting in the way of you completing your 14 hours of work.

Imagine that if you don’t get your 14 hours of work done in 10.5 hours with Federal and State oversight and a constant stream of needy people,  you risk a reprimand from the Company you work for and being fined and shut down, forced to sit wherever you are for 10 hours.

Imagine doing that every day.



HeartBRAKE Steak.

I sometimes cook.

Not often because Miss Carol is so much better at it then I am, but sometimes I have to, to survive when Miss Carol is out and about, flitting around social butterfly-like.

The other day was one of those days. After a dinner of Fritos on Tuesday I felt certain that I needed to cook something on Wednesday or perish. Beer helps with the hunger pangs but nothing satisfies quite like a steak.

So I made myself a couple of HeartBRAKE Steaks and feasted and chubbed up.

Here’s the oh-so-easy-peasy-pie recipe:

HeartBRAKE Steaks

Thin cut rib eye steaks (as many as you need for how ever many you’re feeding)

Salt and Pepper (or whatever spice you want, but I recommend salt and pepper)

Bacon grease (doesn’t EVERYONE save this?)

One of these

Oh, and one of these

Start your grill or light the coals or whatever. Get it hot. Put your seasoned skillet over the hot coals or burners and spoon in some bacon grease goodness.

Drink a beer.

When the grease is smoking hot slide your thin-cut rib-eyes in slowly and lovingly and then salt and pepper.

Drink a beer.

Turn those babies over and salt and pepper again. Sniff the cooking meat and bacon grease. High five yourself.

Drink a beer.

Pull the steaks off after a couple of minutes per side (it doesn’t take long, they’re thin) and plate up with a sliced tomato.

And ooh, baby, baby,  believe me. Heaven isn’t far away.

Does this truck make me look like a trucker?


Ok, so it’s been awhile.

Actually it’s been a long while, but you have to realize, every time I tried to come back to my blog I’d see the Tug posts and I wouldn’t and couldn’t get past them. It was like forgetting him, or worse yet, erasing him.

So I’d click in, sigh, and click out, and days became weeks and weeks became months.

And here we are. ‘Cause life moves on, right? So maybe I’m back. Let’s see.

One of the things that happened during those weeks and months was that I bought a new truck. He’s a 2005 Freightliner Columbia and he’s beautiful. I say he instead of  the she usually used for boats and trucks and stuff guys love because I’m probably gonna name him TugTug. (I know, I know, get over it already) He’s 515 horsepower of Detroit Diesel muscle and he’s been a long time coming.

I was more owner than operator of my first truck and I had five drivers in a year and a half. Each driver progressively wrecked my truck more and more until my fifth and final driver rolled her in NC and totaled her. (I still swing back and forth between relief that the driver wasn’t hurt and resentment that the driver wasn’t hurt)

So this time I decided I was gonna  be the driver as well as the owner and I found this Freightliner and bought her, I mean him, and she, I mean he, was a truck I could afford to to own and run even if I could only drive her, I mean him, a couple of days a month.

And so that’s what I did, or rather, what I’ve done.

Me and TugTug.

Requiem finis.

Miss Carol wanted all of us to have Tug closure, and she decided that the best way possible would be a group remembrance.

So on the day that Miss Carol ordained, we three of us gathered around Tug’s marble urn and were solemn.

Miss Carol started first. I’ll always remember how Tug woofed, she said.

She looked to me. I thought for a moment and said, I want to always remember how Tug would thump down next to me in bed at night.

We both looked at Cutter. Cutter cleared his throat and said, I remember how he was always eating out of both bowls and licking all the food. Fucking disgusting.

Miss Carol glared at him.

Cutter, I said.

Miss Carol took a turn again. I’ll never forget his coat, she said, the way it curled and spiraled down his back and off his tail. She looked wistful. How soft it was.

She turned to me, her eyes filling.

I loved Tug’s gentle giantness, I said, I’ll always miss the way he’d nudge me when he wanted something.

We both looked at Cutter. OK, OK, he said, I’ll never forget him humping me all the time. What a homo.

Miss Carol glared at me this time. Like it was my fault.

Cutter, I said.

Miss Carol stared at Tug’s urn and said, I’ll always love you TugTug.

And I said, I’ll always miss you sitting on my chest when it was time to get up.

We paused and Miss Carol wept.

And Cutter looked at both of us and said, I just want my brother back.


Goodbye Tug.

Requiem Dolce.


I miss you Tug.

I never knew just how much I loved you.