By: joealaska , 6:16 AM GMT on December 05, 2013

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I am sitting by my wide-open patio door at 12:30 AM enjoying the breeze. In Louisville, in December. Fairly unusual. But reality is coming back. The clouds are coming through, that breeze is bringing TRUBBA. Tomorrow (technically, TODAY) rain moves in, and temps start to drop. A lot. Today it was 70. Friday highs will be in the 20s. They are talking 2-4 inches of snow. A lot more just north in Indiana. The Ohio River tends to block weather coming down here.

This morning I went grocery shopping as I was low on almost everything. The KROGER stores are all being expanded. They are going from large to mahoosive. They have all of this floor space now, yet they have backed off on one critical figure...aisle space. Today was ridiculous.

There are two sizes of push carts. Wimpy and huge. Today I needed the huge. You go into the store and right away you are in the PRODUCE section. There is one aisle that goes straight through there. It is only wide enough for two carts, if both carts are off to the side. One cart can easily block the aisle if the driver is not paying attention, letting the cart sit in the aisle as the driver looks for the perfect head of lettuce. But the biggest part of PRODUCE is small aisles that wind in and around all the display racks. It is a puzzle that needs concentration to solve. One big shopping cart will dominate any of these mini aisles. Or BLOCK it.

Looking around at the big picture, it is obvious that everyone is fighting the congestion. People are turning around because they cannot get directly to those cantaloupes.

The rest of the store is similar. The outer aisles are widest, but not wide enough. But mosr ailes are INTERIOR. Maybe 20 or 25 aisles crossing the store, with one aisle down the middle going the length of the store. Those are the problem. That vast interior. I was fighting the crowd the whole way. The elderly walking very slowly. People not thinking, or caring, leaving their cart to block an aisle. The only success is gained by experience. When you stop and look at the shelves, put your cart hard against the side. Otherwise, someone eventually gets disgruntled and pulls an Uzi.

I wanted to go down a number of aisles, but there was no room. So I ended up going to the next aisle, looking to go around and come from the other direction. In a few cases I ended up going down 5 or 6 aisles to find one open. Finally I resorted to leaving my cart in a slow spot and walking to shop, then returning to the home base. I saw other people doing the same thing. I made a few jokes with some people who were feeling the same frustration.

I do not understand the reason this happens. Some merchandisers feel that breaking up traffic flow increases sales as people suddenly find themselves in a new area. All I know is that food is food. Everyone needs it. You got me! Just give me some room to get that food.

Hey Biff Kroger, are you listening?

I played my first round of golf today since my golf weekend way back. NINE weeks. I have been sick for a lot of that, but my golf game sucks too. No motivation. Today was perfect. 70 degrees and very cloudy. On the front nine I skipped a couple holes with a backup (like Kroger) of golfers, and played a few holes twice. On the back nine I wanted to shoot for a score. I was happy with the results, at last. I hit a few long putts. Now I am ready to go.

Just as the snow moves in.

Right now 68 at 1 AM.

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19. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
8:49 PM GMT on December 08, 2013
joealaska has created a new entry.
18. joealaska
8:46 PM GMT on December 08, 2013
Yes Iaotter, hit one in AZ where I saw him the whole time and slowed down, but he jumped in front as I was going by.

I remember his eye looking at me as he rolled up and over staring at me thru the windshield.

Several close calls on my road trips.
Member Since: April 2, 2008 Posts: 875 Comments: 834
16. iaotter
8:17 PM GMT on December 08, 2013
Snow here. About two inches for now and maybe a little more coming in later in the day. Nice fluffy stuff, but it was drifting on the roads this morning as I headed out. Coming home We had the local fire rescue trucks out to warn people of an accident and tow truck pulling someone out of the ditch. Had to wait about 20 minutes til it was clear to go on up the hill and into town.
It's a steep hill and on a long curve to boot, so it is a bit treacherous going down if the roads aren't sanded well. Didn't look like anyone was hurt, just wounded pride that they were the first ones to forget about winter driving.
Lots and lots of deer hunters out in spite of the snowy morning. Went past at least a dozen different trucks loaded with orange clad hunters. Good thing. Less of those hooved rodents to get out on the hiways and wreck cars. Not that I hate deer, there are just too many of them around Iowa. They used to be fairly rare 30 or more years ago. It was a treat to see one. Now your chances of hitting on one the road are something like 1 in 70. I haven't hit one while driving, but I have been a passenger in two deer - car collisions. Scary stuff. You think they are going to wait til you are past and then they fling themselves out in front of you like they are on a suicide mission. If you are on a gravel road where you can come to a stop they just stand there and stare at the car and refuse to get out of the way.
They are beautiful, but awfully stupid when it comes to traffic.
Member Since: March 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 272
15. dotmom
11:14 AM GMT on December 08, 2013
Weather? We got it going on here now for the last 3 or 4 days. First the ice and then the snow. Most of the main roads were salted, plowed, etc. Then the sun came out and melted the last bits. Secondary street plowed but slick yet. Now today, we are going to get a rerun of this feature but tomorrow it is going to warm up, rain and Tuesday cold, cold, cold, but dry. Church is iffy for this morning. A light snow is falling in the neighborhood right now. Pretty. (I thought we were going to start with rain.)
Member Since: April 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1428
14. DHaupt
9:17 AM GMT on December 07, 2013
Livermore is getting good rain tonight. Last night it was very cold, 24F. Had to warm up for rain, 47F. I think my LaCrosse rain gauge finally gave out. New batteries didn't revive it. It's lasted several years now.

Reports say that the higher mountains around us, Hamilton, Diablo and Mission Peak have snow! I should be able to see it tomorrow morning. I talked to my sister in Lubbock, TX last night: she said her whole yard was covered in about an inch of ice. No body was going shopping for anything! Her son called this evening and said that it was all pretty much melted and gone now.

Super markets in CA play all the same games. It really causes me to buy less. We do nearly all of our grocery shopping at Contreras' Mexican Market and Carniceria. All the aisles are narrow, but the shopping carts are small. They have a real butcher shop too. An entire case full of what are obviously dead animals, and in many more parts than you'll find at Safeways. I like the way they prepare a lot of their meats too. They specialize in very thinly cut steaks for carne asada and such. I can't eat a lot of meat with my diet, so it works out perfectly.

They also make their own chorizo sausage, the best I've ever eaten. I buy a lot of "flap meat" for tacos and fajitas. It takes real skill to cut it -- sort of a fan-fold slicing up of a large roast. It's cut so that when sliced up, it is very tender even if the source died in harness. They do something similar with really big chicken breasts (pechuga del pollo). It's sold as Biftec de Pollo.

Dinner tonight was one of those giant chickens braised in Teloloapan mole in a terra cotta casuela. This diet I'm on could be described as Aztec. I eat lots of nopales -- cactus. And, of course, chiles of all sorts.
Member Since: March 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1156
13. Ylee
10:35 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
So far, 0.3" of ice, 1/2" sleet, maybe 3" of snow......
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 108 Comments: 18451
12. joealaska
9:45 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
Good one Rotty.
Member Since: April 2, 2008 Posts: 875 Comments: 834
11. Rotty3
7:31 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
Wow... reminds me of Joe's pictures from DH...

Admittedly, I miss the Hopster...

Fox hunting mice under snow

Some images made me almost ROFL. Enjoy!
Member Since: January 6, 2005 Posts: 18 Comments: 1618
10. osdianna
6:49 AM GMT on December 06, 2013
Ah the trials and tribulations of being owned by a cat!

Boy, are we enduring some aberrant weather or what?
Member Since: March 5, 2009 Posts: 35 Comments: 639
9. joealaska
3:13 AM GMT on December 06, 2013
6:30 AM today. I was semi awake hearing rain start to fall outside. Then there was a single big clap of thunder that woke Fluff and myself completely. Just like that, the skies opened up and the rain purged.

Dutchie had been out for a few hours. The patio has a roof for protection, and there are plenty of protected walkways in the apartment complex. Still, I had to take care of the kid. I got up and opened the patio door and whistled into the torrent. I really did not expect Dutchie to be right there. She probably was already in a protected area somewhere. But right away she appeared out of the dark and bolted inside. Wet kitty.

Right away I saw her acting funny, running around here and there. I checked where she was staring and saw a black mouse / baby rat cornered behind a door. Not sure if Dutchie brought it in, or it just ran in the door as Dutchie did.

Either way, MOUSE IN THE HOUSE. I grabbed a shirt laying there and tried to throw it on it. It did not work. It ran around, wirh Dutchie also still involved in catching it. I got Dutchie out of the bedroom and shut the doors. It was me vs mouse. I did not want to wake up with the mouse on my nose, or worse.

My fuzzy head cleared. I tried again to throw a shirt on it, but it ran into my closet. So I grabbed a small box (ironically, CAT FOOD). I went into the closet and tried a couple times to cover it up, but it hid amongst cat carriers and other boxes. So I emptied the closet. At last I was alone with the rodent.

I saw an opening and threw the box over him. Then I slide a paper plate underneath. He was mine. I carried him out to the patio and let him loose. He immediately scurried into the torrent and was gone.

He looked healthy and bug-eyed. Been there.

Dutchie had long forgotten him, and was cleaning up in the corner.

Member Since: April 2, 2008 Posts: 875 Comments: 834
8. Ylee
9:45 PM GMT on December 05, 2013
We'll, see, Dotmom! After the ice storm of '09, we were out of power for five days! Our electrical co-op spent millions removing trees near power lines, so I guess we'll see if the money was well spent!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 108 Comments: 18451
7. dotmom
9:41 PM GMT on December 05, 2013
Ylee, you've been eavesdropping! I just said I don't think I will be able to make my eye appointment and it will be a good day to get the tree up! I think Saturday too. Dread the thoughts of this storm. Hope the ice doesn't put us out of electric for days!! I'm coming to your house!!!
Member Since: April 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1428
6. Rotty3
6:59 PM GMT on December 05, 2013
dix: FYI: Your regular email has gotten hacked again.

Hmmm... strange weather indeed. From the WU front page:

1. Waycross, GA set a record high temperature of 86 for Dec 05

2. Napa County, CA set a record low temperature of 19 for Dec 05

3.Moses Lake, WA set a record low temperature of 5 for Dec 05

4.Moab, UT set a record low temperature of 1 for Dec 05

5.Watertown, NY set a record high temperature of 59 for Dec 05

6.Deering, AK set a record high temperature of 35 for Dec 05

7.Tonopah, NV set a record low temperature of 7 for Dec 05

8.Quinhagak, AK set a record high temperature of 45 for Dec 05

9. Meridian, MS set a record high temperature of 82 for Dec 05

10.Immokalee Regional Airport, FL set a record high temperature of 87 for Dec 05

Member Since: January 6, 2005 Posts: 18 Comments: 1618
5. osdianna
5:27 PM GMT on December 05, 2013
In this morning's semi-darkness at 7am, I noticed Sadie-cat sitting on the back of my recliner, looking outside so I went to check and it was Buns, the local rabbit out there on the frozen lawn, eating dropped sunflower seeds possibly. Needs a carrot, but the cats ran out as soon as I opened the door...they won't be long as it is 30.9 degrees out there! Meanwhile Buns left the area.

I can see the temps are really showing the line of cold air...my friend in Coeburn, Va. is showing 63 deg right now, and a friend in Maryland has 61, while my brother outside Pittsburg, Pa. has 59.9, and my daughter in Golden, Co. is at 0 and a friend in the bay area shows 31.7. Very unusual....

I know how you feel, Joe, about the aisles of the markets, the traffic, all the things you are now in the thick of and didn't have at Dutch....to me that would be a hard adjustment to make. My solution is to go when everyone else is in bed or dining, etc. But it's totally frustrating to realize how manipulated we are...and being in the city makes it worse, in my humble opinion.

Do the best you can, and don't sweat it...and good luck with that!
Member Since: March 5, 2009 Posts: 35 Comments: 639
4. insideuk
4:57 PM GMT on December 05, 2013
Today the British Isles got battered by an extreme windstorm called XAVER, which the main blog mentions today (though not in connection to the UK?!)

There are trees down left, right and centre on a huge number of local roads after winds gusted 70-80mph here in the midlands (Scotland took the brunt with 110mph+ earlier today). Buildings shed masonry, many trucks have toppled over, traffic is in chaos, the ports, airports and railways are absolutely STUFFED.

That is the official word for it.

I just decided.


And my fencing has broken, 6 inch wooden posts snapped off at their concreted bases. My featheredge went all fliperty floperty in a long wave snapping back and forth. Which is not good. Nick - the local handyman in shining armour is dropping by tomorrow with an estimate for repairs. He will be busy for several days because of XAVER.

Tonight the storm will form a BULGE in the North Sea which will put up a 60 year all time high tide that will thoroughly test the nations flood defences. It will also test the entire low lying northern coastline of Europe – they are on high alert right now.

May the water all be held back.

The alternative is too scary.

I would not even consider shopping in a jammed up supermarket that chooses to cram its customers into tight rat runs. I gave up using my local German supermarket, called Aldi, because the recession has made them hugely popular. They have lots of small stores, and for years have sold great quality produce at terrific prices (at first all with German labelling which I found to be a hugely exciting lucky dip type thing). When only a handful of Brits used them they were fabulous places, A DREAM TO BROWSE – then everyone else caught on to my secret and the stores became crowded. Packed out. STUFFED.

Then they started building bigger new stores. Lots of them, and finally one near me opened last week. I had the place virtually to myself again. The staff were polite, friendly, efficient and helpful. Bliss.

That is what gets me spending money – being able to mosey around without HASSLE.

My other favourite supermarket is called Waitrose.

You won’t have heard about Waitrose.


It’s achingly upper middle class (It’s Kate Middletons chosen supermarket, but I shopped there before her!), with all the good manners and UBER politeness that EVERY other supermarket has abandoned.

If you meet young children in there they are helping their ‘mummies’ pick out fresh organic free range lettuce leaves and getting excited about eating them for their supper…

Waitrose have been doing really well all through the economic downturn – a mahoosively growing market share, just like Aldi. One is considered expensive. The other is considered a discount store. But both are figuring out what attracts their customers through the door and are making sure they meet those expectations.

I salute both.
Member Since: February 28, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1600
3. Ylee
3:23 PM GMT on December 05, 2013
It's currently 41 and falling here in Lewisport, 30 degrees cooler than yesterday! We're forecast about 1/4" of ice, and 4"-6" of snow.

Tomorrow would be a good day to stay in and decorate, Dotmom!

I bet a golf ball would travel far on an icy course! ;' )
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 108 Comments: 18451
2. dotmom
1:41 PM GMT on December 05, 2013
I'm with JoeA on those Kroger isles and as he says - it seems every store is in a state of remodeling. He probably forgot that the first Wednesday of the month is "senior day" and the stores are full of seniors - some in those motorized shopping carts. I know a few people who shop that day for their children to save 10%. I hope it is worth it. Honestly, I would rather shop the sales than that first Wednesday. There are problems outside the store also - can you say parking lot? They are a zoo. At least a lot of monkeying around!!! Once there was a delivery service from a warehouse. You call, order and they deliver. It had it's drawbacks, but sometimes it sounds like a good idea again.

Too much rain - it's the bridge table today. Got to get some decorating done also. Tomorrow? Latest I have ever done this.
Member Since: April 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1428
1. Rotty3
1:39 PM GMT on December 05, 2013
First? Wow.

Joe: small aisles and congestion means, you have more time to stare at the items, thus, possibly make a fast move to buy item(s) you didn't plan on. Yes, wicked marketing strategy lol.

Wishing everyone a warm place to stay as the arctic blast moves across the northern tier of the US.

Thankfully, it's kinda warm here in the Deep South. We'll drop some next week, but nowhere near the dip that the northern tier sees.

Cybersplice: hope the new chill won't cause further injuries!

iaotter: those soups sound good just about now :)
Member Since: January 6, 2005 Posts: 18 Comments: 1618

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About joealaska

After moving back to the lower 48, I have bought an RV and have been living on the road.

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