Friday, July 31, 2009


Yes sir, ol’ “Fat” himself, Mr. Jeff Wilson from Killeen, TX, and famous for his “Fathairybastard” Blog came to see ol’ Mushy for a couple of days this week. This is his third trip and each trip seems to bring us closer together. He’s like a brother to me and I thoroughly enjoy his visits. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed his company so much this time that I followed him part of the way home, to Memphis, just to spend the best of three more days with him – but more on that in the next post!

Jeff got into town on Monday and we headed for the “Good Ol’ days Diner” for a quick lunch. Judy and I decided to feed him enough to get him to Ozone Falls and up on Black Mountain, and then on to Big Ed’s Pizza for supper! We weren’t about to let the boy go hungry!

Jeff loved the huge boulders upon on Black Mountain and promised to come back when all the copperheads were hibernating! However, we did get to the top of one overlook and walked beneath one of the rock over hangs where Indians camped long ago when on “long hunts”.

Finally, we got to one of the things he insisted we do again, and that’s visit Big Ed’s and share a pizza. Terri and Steve met us there and we really enjoyed ourselves over a pizza and beer feast. To our surprise, Big Ed has branched out is now offering a wider selection of draft beers – Fat Tire and Yuengling, to name a couple. What a difference variety makes in the world of beer! (There will be more on what we ate over the last few days on, later in the week.) We split a couple of pitchers and then broke for my house again.

If there’s anything the boy likes more than pizza and beer, it’s sitting on my back porch with a cigar, a beer, listening to my tunes, and looking out over the lake. The screened porch is situated in such a way that you feel like you are high up in a big tree-house. This July has been unusually wet for East Tennessee and everything is still deeply green and clean looking. When the pollen subsides, I too like to sit our there as much as Judy does. She’s out there reading as I write!

Tuesday morning came and we met Neena and Ron at Mimis Cafe for breakfast. After a very satisfying meal, we broke into teams…the Dragons deciding to go shopping in Turkey Creek, while we, manly men, took off for Smoky Mountain Knife Works and Bass Pro Shops in Sevierville, TN!

As you can see Jeff was in hog-heaven at the knife store. I think he touched almost all of them and they got a lot!

So, with the shopping over, we headed back to Gander Mountain to kill time until it was time to meet the ladies, and my son Corey. We finally got to the third place Jeff made me promise to take him back to…Wild Wings Cafe! As Corey is fond of saying, there was plenty of “carnage” after the meal!

We wanted to drop by Steve’s afterwards and shoot Jeff’s M-16, but the rains came and forced us back on the porch. Only the smell of gun powder and sounds from yesteryear could have made the evening better. Like I said, the boy likes his cigars and if you note in one of these shots he has a big tooth pick stuck through the butt of a cigar. He’s “toking” that thing like it was a joint or something! I said something about tar, but he just says, “Dude, these things are expensive!”

Jeff bought the Colt AR-15 (M-16) just because it was early Vietnam vintage and looked just like the one I had in ‘Nam. Here’s a “then and now” shot for you viewing pleasure. No laughing or pointing out what is obvious either guys! I think the photo was worth the price of the firearm to Jeff, who took great pride in bringing a “piss-pot” for me to better re-enact the “mail room” shot from DaNang I had taken sometime in 1966.

Oh yes, if I don’t mention the gun anymore in the Memphis post, please remind me…it plays into another good part later! Of course, Jeff may mention it before me…so check his post out first…if he does I won’t rub it in any more!

Wednesday morning found Judy and I in our car headed for Memphis, with Jeff following along behind us. I was leading the way taking directions from the bossy lady in the GPS and we made it to Memphis in about five and half hours. We booked into the Westin, just a block from Beale Street and set out for our next adventures!

As Jim “Suldog” Sullivan is known to say… I’ll be back with “More better stuff!

Friday, July 17, 2009


It was Katie Bug’s birthday this week and she decided that the family should celebrate the occasion in Gatlinburg, sitting high atop a mountain top! So, that’s what happened. Wednesday morning we all woke up bright and early and started the 80 mile trip.

Me, well, I woke up dizzy…hadn’t been drinkin’ either…inner ear trouble I suppose. Anyway, I fought it all day Wednesday, even driving a couple of 40 mile per hour go-carts! One of the suckers put me through quite a “G” force battle on turn 3, leaving my right thigh a little sore from my mass being forced into it. However, it was a slick-track and you don’t let up on a slick-track…it’s peddle to the metal and you slide the corners, and I would gently scrap the wall before hitting the straightaway! It was cool as heck for a fat boy to be scooting along and passing “old” people! I even t-boned one young dude that spun out in front of me…BAM!

But, I get ahead of myself! We killed time before checking in at the cabin by driving up to Ober Gatlinburg and letting everyone, everyone but me, ice skate…I was too unstable for falling on my butt on wet ice! Judy walked herself around the rink holding on to the rail, and I sat above and took pictures, with my finger on the movie mode just in case a YouTube moment happened!

Katie and Zack rode the Alpine Slide down the mountain while the rest of us tried to cool off with water and soft serve! Tracy got a kick out of how fast I can inhale a soft serve! I hate melted ice cream, so, I just start licking and sucking in as I rotate the cone…soon it’s gone and I’m cool! Not cool in how it looks for a full-grown man to be making sucking noises with his tongue sticking out, but like cool inside!

Afterwards, we made our way back toward Pigeon Forge, and up to Settler’s Ridge to the cabin called Perfection! It was too! Located just right to see the mountains to the south of Pigeon Forge, and it had everything you could want in a cabin for 6 people. A beautiful view, three bedrooms (and 3 couches for Zack to chose from), 3 baths, a game room with pool table, Foose ball, and a pin-ball machine, a huge kitchen and dinning room, a computer room, 6 wide-screen TVs…one in the master bath and all with Dish TV hookups, a Jacuzzi, and lots of outside deck space with rocking chairs! If I could afford it…I’d live there…no wait…the drive up and down would be hell in the winter! Maybe not…maybe I’ll just stay right here.

That evening we did go for the go-carts, which were, besides the family, the high light of my trip!

Later we went to the Alamo Steakhouse Restaurant and chowed down! Katie ordered a t-bone and said it was the best steak she had ever eaten! Judy and I split a fried shrimp and a shrimp wrapped bacon dish and thoroughly enjoy it. I was not feeling my best and the taste of beef was just not on my list of foods I wanted that night.

Before going back up the mountain, we stopped at MagiQuest for Katie and Zack, but Judy and Tracy decided to join them inside the attraction. Eddie and I sat in the lobby talking and watch the people inside on a monitor. We then used another tag off our “ParkHopper Pass” brackets to ride go-carts at another track. Then it was time to go back to the cabin.

Sometime early in the morning I got very sick and threw up several times…I was out of it for the rest of Thursday. I was weak and dizzy all day, and spent most of the day in bed. (I should point out that it was not from bad food…there was no food in what came up ! It may be that I’m developing a gall bladder issue…we’ll see. )

So, Thursday afternoon, the rest of the family left me in bed and went back off the mountain to continue their fun. I insisted Judy go and told her I would be fine. Around 1AM Friday morning, the group woke me up. They had closed Gatlinburg and other parts of the mountain at Murder Mystery Theater and playing Black Light Golf! Me, I had slept most of the day, and after they settled in for the rest of what was left of the night, I went back to sleep!

This morning I seemed to have my balance back and after a pancake and egg breakfast I was feeling pretty good. Judy decided she had better drive back, but only made it to I-40 where she had to pull over from fighting sleep! I drove from there home, with Judy only waking up for the last 11 minutes of the ride! Good thing I drove!

Tomorrow we are invited out on the Charlotte and Gary’s party boat, but I think Judy will make the trip by herself. I’m in no shape for any wave action on Watts Bar Lake right now.

Thanks to Katie’s birthday wish, we all enjoyed each other in the Smoky Mountains, which is just in our backdoor. We should go there more often, and probably would if so many of you folks didn’t also like it enough to go there. Gets too crowded for me at certain times of the year and I hate bumper to bumper traffic! Let me know when you’re not going and maybe I’ll try it again soon!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009


My son called me Monday and invited me out to Wild Wings with him and his two college buddies from Middle (Doug) and West (Justin…wearing cap) Tennessee. It seems Doug, especially; always insist Corey’s “old man” come along.

We have all spent time on the golf course and in a mountain cabin for a “boy’s weekend” several times before, and for some reason they seem to get a kick out of me!

They don’t realize how honored I am being with them and hearing them talk about the good times they’ve shared over the years – most of which I will not share with you publicly! I love those guys!

Anyway, Wild Wings served up much better wings this time, and the Yuengling Doug and I shared (an iced 6-pack bucket) was extremely cold and delicious. Those were actually the first beers I’ve had in several weeks. Corey was relieved to see me having a beer again. We’ve been there twice before and I drank tea with him, and he was afraid I was sick or something!

Anyhow, we left a pile of “carnage” and had great fun playing with our “nerdy” equipment; flashing cameras and camera phones, and talking or texting to other parts of the country.

There’s nothing quite like a “boys night out!”

Thursday, July 09, 2009


I hired a contractor last week to tear up and replace my old sidewalk. On Tuesday Glenn Vanover and one helper came and pulled up the old shrubs in preparation for the form work. The pour was planned for the next day but a hydraulic hose popped on his Bobcat, so it was this morning (Thursday) before he could get parts and get back to work.

Today was pour day (although I had no previous idea) and the concrete was scheduled early. Glenn Vanover’s crew arrived early, even before I was up (approx. 8AM), and they had the old walk slabs about done by the time I went outside. Glenn carried the old slabs of concrete up the hill to his trailer in the front bucket of the Bobcat. Some of the slabs hung over the lip by four of five feet in one piece. Holding them out over the haul trailer, one of his helpers broke them up off, piece by piece, with a sledgehammer and there was nothing left to pick up.

We discussed the level of the pour in relation to the top of the front porch and agreed on the drain angle and the leveling and forming work continued. Glenn also decided to drill the foundation and insert rebar every 5 or 6 feet. The old sidewalk and flower bed arrangement allowed that area to become soaked during the wet season, and I had started to get some moisture in my basement. This flush to the house foundation idea, along with the proper drain angle, should forever alleviate that problem.

By 11:30 the concrete truck was backing up through the yard, making that annoying warning sound, and the first pour began! I was so excited and started snapping photos right and left…everyone just grinned! I mentioned that I would post them on a blog later, and sometimes I feel like letting a contractor know that makes the work come out a little better. However, with Glenn, he had a plan and was very concerned about the finished product he was selling me.

As you can see, the work turned out wonderfully, being way beyond my expectations. The seams, the edging, and the surface were perfect! If you live in the Roane County, Tennessee area, and need concrete work done, I would highly recommend Glenn Vanover Concrete Finishing! (There ya go Glenn…the rest is up to you!)

Glenn and I watched his crew slaving over the finishing work, and while he worked spraying dirt off the driveway, I mentioned something about an old root ball sticking up down in my yard. A straight-line wind storm had blown down several trees in my yard about 2 years ago, and this one particular eye sore bugged me every time I mowed. So, when he finished cleaning, he hopped into the Bobcat and within 15 minutes had the stump and root ball pushed down in the woods and had made the ugly hole smooth as a baby’s butt!

When we settled up I asked if I owed him any more than the original estimate and he said $75 for an extra yard of concrete. I ordered 7 yards instead of the 6 I told you to compensate for the extra thickness near the front door.

And for the Bobcat work,” I asked.

Nothing,” he said, “nothing to it.

So, I at least paid him back for the extra gas he burned…and more.

From the moment we shook hands on the total deal, I didn’t worry one bit about the job to be done, and now I know my decision was correct. Glenn produced a great product for me and I’m one happy camper. No worries at all…EXCEPT, I sure hope it doesn’t rain tonight!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Thursday, July 02, 2009


Sunday evening found Judy and me out for a belated birthday meal at Ye Olde Steak House, which is just a few miles outside of Knoxville on Chapman Highway. I don’t think I have ever eaten there, but it’s a chinch I will again. The food is awesome, and unfortunate for you I had eaten half my shrimp and fillet before thinking about taking a photo. I tend to do that more often these days. I need to sit back, relax, take the photo, and then dig in, but I sometimes get that scenario backwards!

Tracy and Eddie wanted to treat us for our birthdays (which are only 3 days apart), and the Steak House is where they insisted we go. They had been there a couple of weeks earlier and had been raving about the food ever sense. Katie Bug was along too, without her shadow for a change!

Meeting us there were Terri, Jules, and Steve. It was Jules’ birthday, and her grandparents were leaving the next morning taking her halfway home. I think the plan was to meet Joey, her dad, in St. Louis, where they planned to do some sightseeing before saying goodbye.

Anyway, I just want to post these few photos of part of the family out enjoying themselves. Katie and Jules make a beautiful pair, as do Eddie and Steve! However, you’ll just have to guess about me, Judy, and Terri!