A Morning Saga

This morning I awoke to outside temperature of about 32 degrees….our first frost of the season. Last nigh, we had turned on our heat for the first time this fall. Over night we had run  out of heating oil and the house was about 50degrees…..BURRRRR. Obviously, I needed to get heating oil.

Anyway, I called the company I deal with, Atlantic Coast Oil and Lubes. The owner, Randy, answered the phone. I told him who I was, and that I needed oil, he asked if today or tomorrow was okay…I said sure but I’m out…he said today it is. See you about noon.

Just about noon, I saw the truck pull in my drive…. and oil was delivered! Probably there are many companies I could have called. But Randy had not been here in over a year….but still didn’t need my address (he remembered me). He made it a priority to be sure I got heat (he always does when I mess up and run out).

This is why I believe in doing business with locally owned and operated businesses. Customer service matters!! If you live in Wilmington and have a need for fuel oil, call Randy! He’s a good guy.

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You Never Forget The First One #tbt

I moved to Wilmington on Memorial Day weekend 1995 – it’s hard for me to believe it’s been almost 20 years! In that time I have experienced quite a few storms:

1996 hurricane Bertha hits July 12th with 105mph winds from the south. Newspaper article | Radar
1996 hurricane Fran hits Sept 5th with 105mph winds from the SSE. Heavy damage – 1 billion dollars damage, 23 killed storm surge approx 16ft. Newspaper headline | #2 | satelite image | av model error

1998 hurricane Bonnie hits August 26th with 115mph winds from the south, while turning N.E, moderate damage .
1999 Hurricane Floyd hit Sept 16th just east with 110mph winds from the south,dumps nearly 20 inches of rain here & causes heavy damage to north on Oak Island. New Hanover county reported 10 ft storm surge on sound side of Masonboro. A record 13.38 inches fell in 24 hrs.
2004  Hurricane Charley hits August 14th with 75mph winds from the SSW after hitting Florida, minor structural damage.  Also Hurricane Alex  August 3; Tropical Storm Bonnie August 12;  Tropical Storm Frances September 8; Tropical Storm Gaston August 30;  Tropical Storm Ivan September 16 and Tropical Storm Jeanne September 27
2005 Hurricane Ophelia passes just east on Sept 14th with 85mph winds from the south,western eyewall over Wilmington for a couple of hours. Widespread power outages & some minor roof damage & trees down.Ophelia Satellite image
2006 August 31 Tropical Storm Ernesto
2008 Tropical Storm Fay August 23 and Tropical Storm Hanna September 6
2010 September 3 Hurricane Earl
2011 August 27 Hurricane Irene

This morning as I awoke to the news that Tropical Storm Arthur, who was thought would just brush the coast, is now Hurricane Arthur, and we could possibly see landfall, I began to reminisce about hurricanes and storms. My first hurricane was Bertha. I guess you really don’t ever forget your first.

With Bertha I had no clue what to expect. I had experienced Hurricane Hugo in 1998 from four hours inland. With Bertha, I hemmed and hawed, I fretted and feared and in the end I stayed in my little apartment in an old historic house in Wilmington to ride it out.

I took a trip to Carolina Beach to watch her blow in; crossing the bridge back to the mainland just before the close. Coalman (my first Dalmatian) and I stocked up on essentials (stuff you can eat out of a can) and we settled in to enjoy a stormy day.

I swore after that Cat 1 storm I would never stay for another.

I remember feeling as if that old historic house was lifted off its’ foundation and slammed back to earth. I remember wandering out and around the block with Coalman during the eye of the storm.

Me and CoalmanI remember the sound of transformers blowing all over town and the 10 days I spent without electricity. TEN days in a downstairs apartment, in a questionable neighborhood, where all the windows were nailed shut for safety. There were long lines waiting for ice; price gouging for generators; and friends who took me in for meals, cold beverages and shared A/C.

This morning as I started to think about preparing for Hurricane Arthur, I couldn’t help but reminisce about my first.

As I’m reminiscing about storms, I am struck by how many storms blow into our lives. Some are afternoon thunderstorms, some are fast moving and others are long lasting. Some we can predict and others pop up and take us by surprise. However, none of us live a life without storms.

Just like the storm that is blowing through Southeastern North Carolina today, the damage caused by storms of our lives is often equal for how we react and how we prepare.

Prepare carefully.

                                 React thoughtfully.

                                                                    and Stay Safe!

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It’s Getting Hot in Here

Yesterday was the first day of 2012 we reached 90° in Wilmington, NC. I think we’ve had a few brushes with 90 but over all we’ve had a mild spring. Weather is not something I pay much attention to, unless we’re hitting the extremes – drought, flood, hurricane, extreme hot or cold, etc etc. I probably wouldn’t have realized yesterday was our first day of 90° temps EXCEPT, when we came home yesterday around 5:30 it was hotter in our air conditioned house than it was outside!

We were running out to another meeting. So, I ran the thermostat down to 70° and left for the evening. When we returned home the house was cooler than it had been but still not as cool as it should be. Our neighbor is a mechanical genius and his specialty is refrigeration and heating and A/C. He is also one of those guys, like my dad, was who is always willing to help. When we called Rod his first words were ‘turn the system off, now! or you may burn up your compressor.’ I’ll be over soon.’ Naturally, we turned off the system ASAP and waited for Rod to arrive.

I held a flashlight as Rod checked our system he said our system was Okay and then we had a conversation that went something like this:

‘Have you ever cleaned your coils?’

‘ummmm, well, you did a couple of years ago.’

‘No, I cleaned the outside – I mean the coils inside your House’

‘There are coils inside the house?’

‘OH, you’re going to be amazed at how well your system can work and how much lower your electric bill will be once we clean your coils! Your system now is so clogged; it has to work hard to keep up and on these really hot days it just can’t cool your house’

photo via How Stuff Works

Naturally, I was full of ‘how’ questions. Then we discussed when we’d be able to get these things cleaned, etc. After Rod left, I started to think and it occurred to me that there are many things in my life that are just like my A/C unit. They’re working, but not as well as they used to. Sometimes doing simple things become complicated, not because of the thing itself but because of all the crap around it.

Night before last I attended a seminar by Brad Sugars, he’s an interesting speaker even though it was obvious he only wanted to sell me his books and ‘coaching’. I am also greatly bothered by the fact that I was unable to find a credible independent bio for Brad. However, Brad did make one point that fits nicely with what I am talking about in this post. Here’s my retelling of the story he told:

There was a guy (Mr Z) who had a business.  Mr Z was making deliveries for his business one day each week (8 hours) because he did not want to incur the expense of hiring a guy to do the deliveries. When questioned, Mr Z admitted it would take only two new accounts to be able to cover the salary of a delivery guy. Upon further questioning it was determined it would only take two hours of Mr Z’s time to secure two new accounts. The obvious question is why Mr Z was wasting 8 hours of his time on deliveries each week when he could be growing his business.

Because his coils were clogged!

Mr Z was so busy running his business he failed to grow his business. He needed to take the time and make the effort to step back and clean off the coils. He needed to strip away the dirt, grime and dog hair so that the system can run at capacity. It’s cheaper, easier and the system is less likely to break.

I have no doubt that cleaning off the coils of my life will not be as easy as cleaning the coils of my Air Conditioning unit. However, recognizing that the coils are dirty is a start toward getting them cleaned.

If you’re a business owner, what are you spending time on that you need to delegate? Where do you need to dust off the coils in how you do business?

What about your personal life? Are you carrying years of hurt? Are you holding on to guilt? Where do you need to clean the coils and let go of stuff so you can operate more efficiently?


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One of the nice things about spring is that everything wakes up! Trees begin to bud, flowers spring out of the ground and it seems as if everything comes to life. This weekend we have the opportunity to enjoy a brush with nature up close and personal. We are vendors for the Herb and Garden Fair at Poplar Grove.
















On Saturday, I took some time to enjoy the beautiful flowers. Purchase a few herbs and enjoy the day. I hope you’ll enjoy my pictures!








The Poplar grove Herb and Garden Fair holds a VERY special place in my heart (Jenn’s too). What follows it the ‘story’ as it appeared in the Glynne’s Soaps Newsletter: In 1999, we attended the Herb and Garden Fair and purchased some air plants, small plants that can grow without soil.  We wanted some Spanish moss to place around the plants to help hold in moisture and act as a base.  As we were driving home, discussing where to get some Spanish moss, we stopped at Pottery Plus (knowing full well they would not have what we needed).  However, what they did have was someone set up in the parking lot with Dalmatian puppies.  And we, not being as rescue aware as we are now, brought home a little girl with one blue eye and one brown eye and named her Dodie Glynne.  She wasn’t with us long, as she died of Addison’s disease not long after her second birthday, but every time we see the Herb and Garden Fair we think of Dodie.  It’s fitting that we will be there now with Glynne’s Soaps.

Beautiful colors

The Herb and Garden Fair continues again today until 4:00. Come see the beautiful flowers, watch the demonstrations (the kids were getting to try throwing some pottery), and enjoy a beautiful Spring day (of course you can also see me at the Glynne’s Soaps booth).



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An Unexpected Treasure

Yesterday I attended the District meeting of UDC. The meeting was hosted by the Cape Fear Chapter and held at the Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church in Wilmington, NC. After our meeting we were treated to a tour of the Church.

It was an amazing treat. I had almost left my camera at home and I am glad I popped it into my bag at the last minute.

The Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church has a history dating back to 1847. With this rich record it is surprising to find they are second oldest Methodist Church in Wilmington. There were so many interesting aspects of this unassuming exterior, including a connection to China’s Soong dynasty

Uon entering the sanctuary I was amazed to find a beautiful pipe organ. The organ is ‘original’ to the church. The original was a manual organ, which also featured wooden pipes and leather clappers which still adorn the wall behind the choir loft, although the organ is now electric. I did not get to hear the instrument being played, much to my chagrin, but don’t be surprised to find another adventure in my future just for that purpose.

According to the information I can find ‘B.D. Price of Philadelphia was the architect of the current sanctuary, built in 1889-90 and dedicated on September 26, 1890, in the Neo-Gothic style using the Akron Plan, which was common for Methodist Churches at the turn of the century. The builders were Porter and Godwin of Goldsboro, NC. Special features of the Akron Plan are its Cross shape (the sanctuary runs lengthwise with educational rooms on the side with roll-up doors), the semi-circular seating, and more educational rooms in the back’ (more about that later). Unfortunately my photos of neither the amazing heart of pine ceiling nor the original chandelier (which was originally gas but has been converted to electric) came out. It is worth the effort to see it in person, if you get a chance.


Collage of the 5th Avenue Methodist Church Stain Glass Windows

The second thing I noticed about the sanctuary was the beautiful stain glass windows! Yesterday was cloudy and rainy and the light streaming through was amazing. On a bright sunny day they must be breathtaking. The stain glass windows were ‘designed by a local craftsman, Mr. E.V. Richards. Made in Germany, they are both mystical and practical. Mystical in that they reflect the Jewish heritage of Christianity—you will notice the Star of David in the portals and the stair-step design that is symbolic of Jacob’s ladder. They are practical in that the hot reds and yellows are placed so that they warm the light as it enters the sanctuary in the winter, and the cool blues and purples catch the summer rays and cool them as they come in. Each window also has prisms to reflect more light and to serve as joists to hold the window together.’

Original Piano

I did have the opportunity to hear Mrs. Sue Sellers Hammons play the 1876 Knabe concert grand piano.  It is made of walnut and was once at Hemingway Hall. It was purchased by Mr. Harry Gardner, who donated it to the church. It was restored in 1991-92, and dedicated on May 1, 1992 to the memory of James Z. Godwin, whose family sponsored the restoration. The sound was amazing even though as Mrs. Hammons was quick to point out, she is not a pianist.

The back of the church features the original pews which will reverse to face the other direction if necessary and the original lectern and piano. 

This was a fabulous and amazing unexpected adventure which are often the best kind!

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Stumbled Upon (Thoughts and Photos)

If you happen to be a regular reader of my blog, you probably have encountered my Quest for Average. As with most things in life this quest has become intertwined with many facets of my life. My photography hobby is the latest to succumb. For today’s walk I persuaded Jenn to go with me to Downtown Wilmington and amble with my camera. I am sad to report that I forgot to set my phone to record my distance. However, we did circle a 4 block radius.

The one on the left is green, I always wish it were blue

As we exited the parking deck onto Front Street I was struck by the coloring of these buildings. I notice them often, I think because of the white one in the middle. As we proceeded to walk along Princess Street, I noticed this closed for renovations sign. I am attempting to show the clock in the reflection, I almost missed it.

Notice Jenn patiently waiting 🙂

The inside of the column

A closeup of the left side of the column

Next I encountered a column that was crumbling from the inside out. Someone had attempted to create an impression of soundness, by giving it a rock façade; unfortunately time has stripped away the illusion. I truly was / am fascinated by this column and am sure there is a inspirational post rattling around in my brain for this column. For now, I hope you can see the beauty.


Spring is popping up everywhere in February

There are always surprises in life and in afternoon strolls around town, even a place where you have strolled hundreds of times over the years. Today we encountered two such bolts from the blue. The above photo is of a lovely encounter with yellow flowers blooming. It was such a delightful beckon to spring, I had to stop and not smell but photograph. Our second encounter was with a former colleague of Jenn’s who we bumped into on the street. We had a great time talking with Kevin and Carol and when I said I was strolling with my camera, she struck a pose…how can you resist that?

Carol and Kevin

Lastly, I invite you to join me on a scavenger hunt. I saw on a friends blog that she was participating and it looked fun. The hunt has 100 items you find, photograph and share. Today, I added my first photo in the hunt…number 72 on the list, I was to photograph a fire engine. My interpretation led me to the fire hoses. If you decide to hunt with me, let me know your flicker screen name!






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