Posts Tagged ‘Panama City’

What the Duck???

Today’s read may not be for the faint of heart.

Trust me, I’m talking about myself.  As I said many times, sharing my thoughts and writing is therapeutic for me.  I sure hope it works!

I’ve been away from my loved ones and my friends in the Quad Cities for over two weeks now. Except for people at work, I don’t know a soul here.

Luckily, getting unpacked, decorating my apartment, and working and training on a newer, more advanced weather system is keeping me busy and saving me from true loneliness.

PC Bay

The Panama City Marina is short walk from work and offers amazing sunset views over the Bay.  I still haven’t seen the Gulf of Mexico or the beaches yet.

My apartment complex is nice and gives me many amazing photo opportunities.

As I always say, be careful for what you wish for in life.

When I found my place, I was over the moon at having a “duck pond” off my balcony.

Resting Ducks

It’s been fun watching the ducks and the ducklings.  I’ve seen them mate or fight (not sure which), follow the ice cream truck, and just do duck things.

Since I’m a meteorologist and not an ornithologist, I could be wrong here, but I think these ducks are pretty simple-minded.

They have no sense of the dangers that await them here at the complex and the sister property next door.

I’m now seeing the seedy underside of the convergence of wildlife and human life and the beauty of having the nature at my disposal is becoming depressing as hell!

In just my first twelve days here, I’ve saw six dead ducks!

The other evening, I was on a walk during my break and I came upon a duck (not a baby, but not fully grown) that had been hit and killed by a car.  Having nothing to move it with, I picked it up with my bare fingers and moved it off the pavement!

And, then last Wednesday, I saw two grown ones dead.  Of the six ducks, one duckling likely drown, but four of them were definitely hit by a car.

It saddens me that people living here are so into their own little world, distracted by their phones or whatever, to have no regard for the ducks walking around the complex — including the parking lots.

When I was a kid, before I became a “tree hugger” and a softie, I watched “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” and didn’t think anything about the circle of life — eat or be eaten.  We do it every day with meat on our plates!

As sad as it is seeing the dead ducks, this photo woke me up.

Dead

When I spotted the sixth dead duck, it was out in the duck pond.  As I looked closer, I noticed it was now a buffet for a group of turtles!  (Yes, that’s a turtle’s head at the left.)

As disheartening as it was witnessing that, at least that poor duck was serving a purpose in life.  It wasn’t just picked up by the maintenance men and thrown in the trash!

Deer 3

I’m ready to trade in the ducks for the deer back home that roamed through the ravine and munched on our hosta, plants, and trees!

Anthony

More Random Panama City Thoughts

I guess it’s time to update my adventures after almost two weeks in Panama City, Florida.

I’m still finding beauty here and I haven’t even ventured outside of the city!  This is a reflection in a pond (swamp) in the complex!

Reflections

I’m still getting settled in and I promise once every box is emptied, put away, and extra stuff is re-packed, I’ll decorate my walls and post pictures.

STILL STUNNED WITH “NO RECYCLING”

As I empty those boxes and take all the newspaper and cardboard boxes to the trash compactor (or empty the last of the 2-liter bottles of soda I bought), much to my chagrin, I’m reminded of the lack of recycling!

Actually, the complex has two trash compactors and one has been broken since I arrived. Here’s a novel idea — start a recycling program and that’ll cut back on waste and the trash compactors won’t have to work as hard!

TOO MANY, I THINK SO!

I’ve decided that no matter how fun a shirt looks, I’m not buying another one!

What I think I’m going to do is not wash t-shirts until I wear every one of them!  Do you get into a rut of wearing your favorites?  I do.  Some of these have not even been worn.

TShirts

Also, look at the top left.  Most of my daily wear — pajama bottoms — are flannel! Houston, we have a problem for Florida heat and humidity !

I love my new pantry, but doesn’t it look a little too much like “Sleeping With The Enemy”?  Maybe I need to pull a Julia Roberts and knock something over just because I can!

Pantry

The other day, I wore flip flops on a walk and a kid laughed at me.  He said, “Old man, you don’t wear socks with flip flops”!  There’s so much for me to learn about Florida living!

Okay, for the record, I didn’t really wear socks with flip flops and no kid laughed at me! 🙂 However, I did get a blister on the top of my foot from wearing them on a walk, so I’ll be wearing tennis shoes now!

WTH?

As I was working in the kitchen, I looked down at the doors under the sink and this is what I saw.

Fire Ex

This is seriously on the outside on the door!  Couldn’t the complex tell me there’s a fire extinguisher under my sink instead of posting a sign on the door?  It doesn’t exactly match my decor!

I know every time I walk into the kitchen, I’ll stare down at it and say “WTF”!

COMCAST AND MEDIACOM

If I ever have Mediacom again, I promise not to complain because for the first week here, my Comcast cable sucked!

My cable and internet was turned on last Sunday (May 7th) around noon.  It worked some that evening and then it was off for much of the week.    Four technicians have been out now and it’s finally working now.

Comcast

I’ve spent more time on the phone with agents troubleshooting their crappy services than I have watching cable.

Absolutely horrible!  What makes it worse is that I’ve already gotten a bill for almost $200!

So far, I’ve only watched two episodes of “Madam Secretary” on it.  I hope I find something else to watch soon!

The good news is that the internet works much better than Mediacom!

 

“HIDDEN FIGURES”

As you know, I love Redbox and I finally rented a movie this past weekend.  I saw the last of nine Best Picture nominees for this year’s Oscars.

“Hidden Figures” was incredible.  It’s about the NASA’s space program and the contributions of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae).

While Spencer was rightfully nominated for Best Supporting Actress, I think that Henson should have been nominated, too.  Her post-drenched rain scene alone was award worthy and tear jerking!

What’s heartbreaking 50 years later is the racism of the 1960s and the whole “colored this” mentality.  Mind boggling!

And, what’s even sadder is that that BS still exists today.  People, open your mind and your heart and if that’s hard, don’t speak.  Just think a little more!

Monae’s character says it best, “It’s equal rights. I have a right to see fine in every color!”

I agree!  If I ever find myself single again, I’ll be open for fine in every color!!!!!!!!!!!

FINAL NOTE

I make my Panama City television debut Friday evening at 5, 6, and 10.  The chief has the night off.  I’m also working the evening shows this weekend and, again, next Tuesday!  A 12-day work stretch!  What a way to break in the new guy!

I’ll likely start my regular morning and midday routine in early June!

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

My First Weekend in Panama City

Hello, my friends!  I hope your week is off to a good start.

I got a lot done Monday after my first weekend of not living in the Quad Cities in more than a decade and my first as an official Florida resident.

I left Friday morning at 6 a.m. and stopped at Patti’s 1880s in Grand Rivers, Kentucky,  for a leisurely two-hour lunch and visit with my friend since childhood, Steve.   I had garlic shrimp alfredo pasta and “Boo Boo Pie” for dessert (“a rich brownie type pie with a gooey, coconut macaroon filling topped with whipped cream and a cherry”).

Boo Boo

I witnessed a horrible 3-car accident in western Kentucky Friday afternoon and I had three idiots try to cut me off because they were in such a hurry.  I can see why Mario Andrettis do it, but in front of an inexperienced driver of a 15-foot U-Haul towing a car! Really?

On Friday, I drove 950 miles from Moline, Illinois, to Dothan, Alabama.  I definitely got what I paid for with the hotel.  But, after being up for 19.5 hours and driving all but three hours of that time, I didn’t care about the star rating or the loud party animals.  The free breakfast was good, but I quickly ate and hit the road.

The final 80 miles from Dothan, Alabama, to Panama City, Florida on U.S. Route 231 Saturday morning was very enjoyable.

I saw cow pastures, many peanut and produce stands, a bear crossing sign, and other fun stuff.

Pine

It was also fun to see the pine trees transition to palm trees closer to Panama City.

Two movers met me at my apartment to help move my stuff in and the only thing I lost was my computer desk.  One side of the “fake wood” broke.  Ironically, it sat in my bedroom at my old house for eight years and never had a computer on it!

My washer and dryer was delivered Saturday evening, my cable and internet was hooked up Sunday, and the gas was turned on Monday morning.

With no gas, I had to take two cold showers, but it was exhilarating.  Good thing it was in the 80s during the day and it was Florida and not Alaska.

My apartment is spacious, but very awkwardly designed.  I had a hard time trying to figure out the logistics of the furniture for the living room and dining room.

I’ll post pictures when I’m done.  I still have a long way to go.  After sleeping two nights on the couch, I got my bed set up and it felt nice to sleep in.

The apartment complex grounds are very cool.

Ducks

Right off my balcony is a “duck pond”.

There are ducks everywhere, along with turtles, and, at least, two large fish — one that looks like a brown carp and one is white, possibly a koi?

I witnessed two funny things Saturday.  These two ducks got into a loud disturbance in the water.  I don’t know if it was a mating ritual gone bad or the two were fighting over another duck?

Fighting

And, the ice cream truck drove through the complex and a parade of ducks was walking down the middle of the parking lot behind it!  Maybe they were following because of that annoying and creepy ice cream truck music?

Ducks Ice Cream Truck

I did a lot of running around this past weekend to buy things to stock the kitchen and to replace some things I simply forgot to pack.  I’m not a shopper, but I hit about a dozen stores.

I actually bought screwdrivers at Home Depot (how butch), but lost points by buying a plant and three planters. 🙂

Initial thoughts after my first weekend:

(1)  It was great having a Piggly Wiggly again.  It reminds me so much of my childhood in the South!  I found some good bargains there.

Publix was a fun store and I saw a Tres Leches cake that looked divine for when I have company (hint hint Tammy and Ray), and Winn Dixie was nice.  I’ll probably buy most of my groceries from Piggly Wiggly and Walmart.

(2) I was devastated to learn that my complex DOES NOT recycle.  But, from the chats I had around town, recycling is not big here.  Of Florida’s 67 counties, I learned that only twenty have a recycling rate of 50% or higher.  Bay County, where I now live, is not one of those 20!

(3) With that being said, I’ll only buy soda for work now since the 2-liter bottles go in the trash!  I’ll start drinking more water and tea (or fountain soda).

(4) I’ve now heard two different unflattering nicknames for this area, but I’m not going to let either of them cloud my judgment of the people or where I now live.  If people treat me with respect, I’ll do the same to them.  Well, I have a tendency to treat mean people nicer than I should.  🙂  Oh, the names were “Redneck Riviera” and “L.A.” (Lower Alabama)!

45

(5) On Saturday, I saw this very pro-Trump car and I don’t know if they could have found another place for a sticker!

While Iowa went red in the last presidential election and Illinois stayed blue, I definitely live in a “red state” and county now.

I thought about taking my rainbow Hillary sticker off my car before I moved here, but I got busy and never did it.  Now, I’m glad I didn’t!

HC

(6) I loved listening to Sunny 98.5 FM on my way into town.  It’s the equivalent to Mix 96 in the Quad Cities!

(7) Since I didn’t get around to unpacking my kitchen, I bought a garlic-rosemary rotisserie chicken Saturday night and I’ve been eating that for three days now.  As I stated in my last blog, living alone, I don’t eat out a lot.  Since I love to cook, I can’t wait to make my first meal Tuesday.

Next weekend, my apartment should be unpacked and mostly decorated.  So, I plan on treating myself to Chinese buffet or Pizza Hut buffet next Saturday and hitting the beaches for the first time on Sunday!

(8) Finally, I start training at work this week.  I’m not sure when I’ll go on the air for the first time.  As soon as I have a new work Facebook page, I’ll let you know.

Thanks for checking out my thoughts after my first weekend in Panama City.  I’ll have another one soon with pictures of my apartment.

Now I just need to find a second job to pay for all the money I’ve been spending. 🙂

Yesterday, I checked into work for a couple of hours and saw the water for the first time at the Panama City Marina!

Marina

Anthony

 

Goodbye Quad Cities Television

Today marks my last full day in the Quad Cities.

IowaMississippiRiver

Early Friday morning, I’ll be taking off for the 1,000-mile drive to Panama City, Florida, to start the next chapter of my life.

While I’ve spent time in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I’ve never seen the “Emerald Coast”, but I’m told it’s absolutely gorgeous.  And, from this photo, I see that!

EC PC.jpg

Last week, I signed off as a television meteorologist in the Quad Cities, my home for the past 11.5 years.  That’s the second longest I’ve ever lived anywhere — behind my hometown of Mayfield, Kentucky, where I spent much of the first 30 years of my life.

ABBATG2007

ABBA, my golden retriever, and I arrived in Moline, Illinois, from Salisbury, Maryland, the week of Thanksgiving 2005 when I accepted a weekend meteorologist and weekday reporter position at WQAD.

I sincerely thank news director C.J. Beutien for hiring me and bringing me back to the Midwest.  I had lived in Chicago twice, from 1994-1996 and from 2002-2004, before heading to the East Coast for almost 16 months to the Delmarva (Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia) Peninsula.

Neil.jpg

Former Chief Meteorologist Neil Kastor was instrumental in bringing me to the Quad Cities and, for that, I’m grateful.  We still stay in touch today, many years after he left the news business and the Midwest for Florida.

Along with Neil, I’m still very close with my former “work wife”, Vanessa van Hyfte, who was the weekend anchor when I started.  She welcomed me with open arms and we had some of the most exciting and fun conversations between shows. 🙂

I also consider Julie Sisk, Matt Hammill, and Cassie Heiter dear friends.

I cherished my time with anchors Jason Fechner and Barbara Dawson, morning producer Brian Boesen, (who moved on to anchor at KWQC), and photojournalist Jenny Hipskind.  (This is like winning an award and thanking all the people you care for hoping you’re not forgetting someone!)

Even though we never worked together, I consider KWQC’s Theresa Bryant a dear friend.

I fondly remember much of my time at WQAD (November 2005-November 2012).  With that being said, I was definitely angry with the station for the way it handled my dismissal that fall when it lost the Fox newscast to KWQC.

types-of-anger

It was tacky and unprofessional and the lack of compassion I was shown for my seven years of dedication and commitment was appalling.   However, the station did the same thing to Neil before me and to others since.

Interestingly enough, all of that was brought up to me again about a month ago.  In a disagreement, a former friend said to me, “Maybe you still just have a bone to pick from the station? I don’t know and I really don’t care.”

My response to him was, “my issue over this whole pettiness isn’t with WQAD. It’s with you!”

That got to me to thinking again and, honestly, the whole WQAD ordeal has been water under the bridge for me for a long time.

Anthony CBS4

After a couple of months off to enjoy the holidays, I was honored when WHBF General Manager Marshall Porter and News Director Heather Voudrie brought me on board as the morning meteorologist in February 2013.

CBS4

While I wasn’t getting rich at WQAD, I was financially comfortable.   My new position came with a big pay cut, but I was once again doing what I loved and I didn’t have to leave my family.

AP EM.jpg

At WHBF, I’ve worked with so many great people over the years.  At the top of the list is my “work wife” and dear friend, Emily Scarlett, who just took a new position with the #1 station in Columbia, South Carolina.

I’ll also remember my close friendships with chief meteorologist Andy McCray and his wonderful wife, Michelle, Jay Kidwell, Jim Neidelman and his adorable wife, Denise, and Katrina, my trusted confidant on the morning show, and her lovely partner.  (Katrina, I’ll always smile at “Breathe” and “Calm down, Lucille!”)

Those are just some of the fantastic people I’ve had the pleasure to work with in the Quad Cities, but I’ve also worked with some real losers.

I’m too much of a gentleman to say more than that, but two of the ones that stand out the most are so emasculated that it would be unfair to point out their deficiencies publicly.

Offended

With that being said, I’ve never worked in a television market as a meteorologist or a weathercaster that over dramatizes and sensationalizes weather as much as some do (or did) here.

Snowflake

That isn’t the case with all local meteorologists.  I didn’t do it and neither did Neil Kastor. I highly recommend now that you put your trust in “Local 4 News” Chief Meteorologist Andy McCray and “Quad Cities Today” meteorologist Kevin Phelps.

They’ve earned my trust over the years as colleagues.

Enough about people, let’s talk weather. 🙂  As I head to the heat and humidity of Florida, I’ll truly miss the snow!

Snowy Moline

You’re probably laughing, but I’ll seriously miss it.

How many times in your life do you get a record-setting 18.3″ in a single storm? For me, ONCE!

ABBA Tunnel.jpg

Gretel Tunnel.jpg

Happy weather, my friends!

May your springs flower with excitement, your summers toast with long sun-filled days, your autumns glow with bright colorful leaves, and your winters crackle with a beautiful fire and a blanket of serene snow covering everything to remind you of the beauty of living in the Midwest!

champagne

Remember me when you pop a bottle of champagne or you open a bottle of Moscato with a nice cheese and fruit platter or enjoy a piece of cheesecake!

Betty Crocker C-O Cheesecake

Anthony