Archive for December, 2013


Posted: December 17, 2013 in Random Thoughts
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the cold winter

I spent my last rotation mostly in Ohio.  And it was cold.

I flew into Dayton, drove to Cincinnati and then to Columbus on day one — just ahead of a winter storm.

Woke up the next morning to snow and ice on the rental car, and no ice scraper.  I considered my options, and used a small dust pan I carry in my toolkit to scrape my windows. I worked in town and drove around to a few places before the snow started coming down again.  Somewhere, I lost one of my gloves, but since I had several pairs at home, I decided not to buy a pair.  I’d tough it out for the week.

The next day, I scraped a few inches off the car with my dust pan, regretting my decision about buying the gloves.  The cold wind on my fingers made them ache.  Tucking my ungloved hand into my pockets didn’t help much.  After work that afternoon, I bought a new pair.  But alas — the skin on my hands was already drying out and beginning to crack.  I’d been down that road before.  Even hand lotion wouldn’t stop the process before one or two fingers would be bleeding.

I worked another day in Columbus, then one in Lancaster where I finally bought a snow brush/ice scraper for the few inches that fell while I was in the pharmacy and to carry in my luggage for the rest of the winter.  I drove back to the Cincinnati area, where after working a couple of hours, was sent to a down site in Greenwood, Indiana.

To me, a lot of the pharmacies in which I work look so much alike, they blend in my memory.  But even though I didn’t remember Greenwood, I had the feeling I’d been there before.  Behind the pharmacy sat a restaurant called Roscoe’s Tacos, which seemed familiar.  After finishing work for the day, I stopped into Roscoe’s Tacos for dinner.  Instantly, I knew I’d been there before.  I tried the big sampler special.  The thing about Roscoe’s Tacos was the tacos were good, but they had about a half-dozen flavors of taco sauce.  Of course, I used the Smokin’ sauce.

Went back to the same pharmacy the next day, and back to Roscoe’s for lunch, and drove back to Florence Kentucky to finish up at the place I’d left the day before.  On this day, my sinuses began to burn and I started to develop a cough.

That evening, I had dinner at a restaurant called Mai Tai, which was mainly Thai, but also served Chinese and Japanese food.  The food was great!  I didn’t think much about my runny nose, assuming it was a result of the spicy food I’d eaten.

The next morning, I drove back to Dayton.  I was all plugged up, still with a runny nose and cough.  Luckily, things weren’t so bad I was a bad airplane passenger.  I’m hoping I did a good job keeping my germs to myself.  I still felt OK, otherwise.

That night, I went to a Stone Temple Pilots concert at a local casino.  Had a blast!  The lead-in band was called Not a Planet, and their lead singer seemed familiar.  I later found out he had been the music leader at my church.  It was instantly obvious, but I’d never had made the connection because one doesn’t expect the church guy to be tied with the Stone Temple Pilots.  I liked Not a Planet.  The Stone Temple Pilots is one of my favorite bands.  They have a new singer, and he did a great job.  After the concert, since I was in a casino, I decided to play some slots.  I’m used to losing money on the slots, but for a pleasant change I won a little.  Then I went home.

For the last four days, I’ve been getting over the cold I got in Ohio (I’m hoping I haven’t passed it on to my daughter).  And the cracks in my fingers have been healing.  I should be good to go for my next rotation starting tomorrow.  This time, I wouldn’t mind working in Florida….




So, the first half of my rotation started with me driving down to Wichita in my car to perform preventive maintenance at the two sites I’d almost gone to last month before going to work in the Oklahoma prison site.  A good mileage trip.  I worked at two pharmacies.  I stayed two nights at the downtown Holiday Inn.  But most importantly, I ate at two good local restaurants — a diner and a barbecue joint.

The diner was across from my hotel, called the Doo-Dah Diner.  One thinks of the song Camptown Races when you think of the diner’s name, but a sign inside the diner says Doo-Dah was an actual nickname for Wichita, once upon a time.  I had the breakfast burrito.  Most places fill their burritos with potatoes and scrimp on the good stuff, like meat and eggs.  Doo-Dah’s burrito was full of meat and eggs, light on the starchy filler, and delightfully swimming in cheese and green chili.

The barbecue place was in an industrial, run-down area of the city.  It was called “Pig In! Pig Out!”  I’ll refer to it as PIPO.  At PIPO, you walk in and order your food at the counter, wait for it, then go pick your table.  The restaurant was light on amenities, but a couple of things made up for that.  First, I was entertained, looking at all the flyers for BBQ competitions in which PIPO had competed and the prizes they’d won.  The barbecue was pretty darned good!  In addition, I was entertained by a couple of local blues musicians playing at a table near mine.  They stamped the restaurant with authenticity.

After finishing my second site on Saturday, I was told to drive home; I was needed in Virginia on Monday morning.  I spent the night at home, then flew to Norfolk on Sunday.


I’ve been to Norfolk a few times in my life, but I’m not really familiar with the place.  The first time I was ever there, I was in college, participating in my senior-year midshipman cruise during Christmas break.  I stayed aboard the USS Edenton, then, at the Little Creek Amphibious Base.  My work assignment last rotation had me returning to Little Creek for the first time in almost 30 years.  I didn’t recognize anything there.  I stayed at the Holiday Inn.  But most importantly, I had dinner at an Indian-food restaurant at a nearby mall, called Nawab.  I ordered my chicken tikka masala “Indian” spicy, as the waitress called it.  The food was very good, so I was very surprised that while I was there from 5 to 6, I was the only person eating in the restaurant (there were a couple of folks who’d come in for take-out).




Then, I drove to Suffolk to complete preventive maintenance at a grocery store pharmacy.  I stayed at the Holiday Inn express.  But most importantly, I ate at a Japanese Restaurant next door, called Iron Chef.  I sometimes wish every foreign-food restaurant were a buffet, because at most places, I know what I like when I see it but I don’t know what it’s called.  Authentic Japanese food is the same for me.  I’ve happily eaten plenty of it, but I’ve forgotten what to call my favorites.  So, at Iron Chef I ordered a box dinner full of unfamiliar-sounding foods, having faith I would joyfully gobble them up.  And I did!  I added the seaweed salad, which is a new favorite of mine, but the rest of the box was new to me and very much to my liking.

That night, I stayed again at the Holiday Inn Express.  Because my normal travel-home day is Thursday, and Thursday was Thanksgiving, I was able to travel on Wednesday instead.  I expected the day before Thanksgiving to be a very busy travel day, yet both my flights had plenty of empty seats.  I had an entire row of seats to myself on both flights, something to be very thankful for….