accidental sunflowerFrom, a
Tiny seed

A brilliantly
Beautiful, yellow
Sunflower, grew
Tall and strong

With, a
Happy face
That, adored
The sun

–Photo by Jason Taylor–



English: Moving Company employees load a movin...
English: Moving Company employees load a moving trailer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the story of how I became the victim of an internet scam.  Retirement approached rapidly.  My wife and I planned to move from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast where I would continue to work for a few years.  Our house had been sold and we would temporarily stay in our RV until a new house was built.  It was a good plan, but not without pitfalls, twists and turns.

The promises were believable at first.  “Yes, we have several good carriers in your area.  It will take several days, after we contact them, for paperwork/permits to be secured.  Just be patient, call back next week.”  This went on for several long, excruciating months, until it became painfully clear, something was amiss.

A journey of eight-hundred miles began with a single step.  The first step was the problem.  Relocation to a different part of the country was traumatic under normal circumstances.  The worst part, was, the move package was a gift, from my son-in-law and daughter.  I had misgivings about moving companies on the internet.  At first, I wrote off my fear as technophobia–and I didn’t want to appear ungrateful.

It was “crunch time,” just three weeks till the new homeowners moved in.  My son-in-law investigated and discovered, to his horror, the moving company had no physical business location in the Miami area–where they were supposedly based.  It was apparently a boiler room operation.  I could picture a large room with banks of telephones constantly ringing.  Promises generated that would never be kept.  Thankfully, my son-in-law cut his losses, disputed the credit card charges, and wasn’t out any money.

“IT WASN’T OVER, TILL IT WAS OVER.”  Things got worse before they got better.  A “drive it yourself” moving van was secured.  The company’s name isn’t important, (it’s the best known nationwide company of its type).  They deserved a place in the customer service “hall of shame” for being a hindrance to the moving process.

Because of time constraints brought on by the moving company debacle, the nightmare continued.  We were moving out on the final day as the new homeowners anxiously waited to move in.  Household goods were temporarily stored away at a local rental facility–an unplanned extra expense.

How our household goods ever arrived was a miracle.  The rented moving van, with my daughter at the helm, broke down somewhere near Metropolis, Illinois.  After refueling, it failed to start.  The battery was dead.  Per the mechanic, the alternator had been wired incorrectly.  The moving party made it to Northern Alabama by ten that evening and stayed overnight–another delay.

The only thing that went right, during the entire moving process, happened the following day.  Late that morning I couldn’t have been happier to see the moving van arrive–yay!  More cars followed–with reinforcements.  It was a thing of beauty to watch the kids, grandkids, in-laws and everybody work together.  In a couple of short hours everything was put away.  The most traumatic moving experience I’d experienced in my entire life was over.  Our new life finally began!


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Our rooms were booked through a web-based travel site.  No, it wasn’t the one that featured “Capt. Kirk” (William Shatner).  In hindsight, I wish it had been.  Reservations made for the first and last nights for friends and relatives of the wedding party.  Our first trip to the Hawaiian islands, we hoped to rest comfortably before flying to Maui the next day.

We paid for a room accommodating three guests.  Our room was considerably smaller than expected.  There was one full bed pushed against what appeared to be base kitchen cabinets.  Had this room been used to store odds-and-ends of surplus furniture?  Complaints to the front desk were answered with an additional roll away bed.  Our friend slept on the roll away bed with one end in the closet.  Unwisely, I remarked, “At least the bathroom is normal sized.”  To which my spouse responded, with daggers in her eyes, “You like it so much, you can sleep there.”  I knew it was time to shut up.

As if the miserable first night weren’t bad enough, next day at checkout, we were charged for a roll away bed.  We disputed the charge with the desk clerk.  Was it unreasonable to expect beds for three people if fees were paid for said number of people?  I didn’t think so.  The discussion went tit-for-tat until the desk clerk reluctantly took off the charge.  My wife was livid at this point, “I will never stay in your lousy hotel again!”  “I’m cancelling the second night’s reservation.”  “Good! Answered the clerk, Because your expectations were too high!”

Reservations cancelled–a scathing negative review given to the booking agency.  Apparently four-star ratings were meaningless–like suggested retail prices.  Our last night was spent in a well-known chain hotel near the airport .  The rest of the trip went without any major incidents.  The wedding ceremony was beautiful–in a beautiful setting.


goin' to the beach debbie williamsWith determination
And, an unquenchable
Appetite for fun
Little feet
Carefully trod
Warm beach sand

Blonde hair tousled
By ocean breezes
Kept, a watchful
Eye, on two
Carefully balanced
Water pails

On a mission
To build
Sand castles
Collect shells
Splash, in the surf
Sit, on the beach
And dream

–Photo by Debbie Williams WKRG–


Plymouth PatrolThe starter growled
Flathead six-cylinder
Engine settled, to
A smooth idle

Clutch and brake
Engaged, released
Plymouth police
Cruiser, prowled

Past the gas station
The soda shop
And grocery
Spotlight beam

Searched for
Scofflaws, derelicts
Deadbeats, rowdies
Nothing to fear
Plymouth patrol
Was near