Monday, July 30, 2018

The GOP Playbook - A Study in Attaining and Maintaining Power

For whatever their flaws, you have to stand in amazement regarding the Republicans’ success in amassing and maintaining their power. Even after the thrashing of the 2008 elections, they never lost control for more than a couple of years. In fact, the Obama years might have been their most important, because while they were not governing, they were very, very busy laying the groundwork for their return.

In looking back over their methods, I’ve distilled them down to three main, interconnected areas… A three-pronged attack, if you will. Here’s what they did.

1.      De-emphasized and belittled education.

I’ve written about this before. In fact, let me quote from myself:

Republican leadership does not want an educated electorate.  The last thing they want is for people to think for themselves or be able to dissect a statement or argument.  What they want is pliability and obedient workers who do what they’re told.

“Look how long Fox “News” has been railing against the “Eastern elite,” or “egg-headed intellectuals.”  They’ve been demonizing intelligence since Day One by holding the most educated among us up to scorn.

“Just look through an aggregated news web page like Yahoo.  Every time you see a blurb about college protests, or liberal professors, or university political correctness gone wild, check the source.  Guaranteed it will be from Fox, or the Federalist, the New York Post, or other conservative mouthpieces.

“This is no accident; they want you to distrust places of higher education. 

“Conservative power brokers know that college can teach people about how to spot logical fallacies and how to pick apart arguments, political positions, and media advertisement, (political and otherwise).”

A population lacking in critical thinking skills is susceptible to the weapons-grade propaganda aired by Fox “News” and social media memes sponsored by the Koch Brothers and state-backed Russian hackers.

Keep in mind the Sinclair Broadcasting is trying to become the largest TV station ownership group in the country. If their latest purchase attempt goes through, they’ll be able to broadcast into 70% of America’s living rooms, complete with required conservative messaging.

By degrading the reputation of scientists, they make it easier to call scientific findings into question when they conflict with conservative philosophy. (That philosophy is to never let anything get in the way of higher profits for big business.)

To achieve this, Republicans push educational systems that “teach to the test.” Or in other words, evaluate teachers by who can get their students to regurgitate various facts on command, on which they get tested.

Republican governors and legislatures who routinely slash school budgets know that there’s not much in the way of freedom or creativity without money. Art and music? Gone. Critical thinking? Forget it.

They also push for more vocational schooling. I call it the Judge Smails rule. “The world needs ditch-diggers too.”

While I don’t have any quarrel for learning a trade for those whose career goals are low, it’s a direct path to life with little critical thinking.

All these chunks Republicans take out of education serves a single purpose: to ensure we’re unequipped to fully understand or combat the degree to which we’re being screwed.

2.      Engaged an exhaustive campaign to fill state and local offices with conservatives.

This may be the most important step of all. You see all those educational issues? They can’t be done without control of school boards and city/state government. There are an awful lot of issues, large and small, that begin at home.

This is the step that places them in power and then entrenches them there. Why? Because governorships are important. Governors preside over the Congressional redistricting that happens every 10 years. And if the houses of state legislature are Republican-controlled as well, a Governor has no meaningful pushback when it’s time to redistrict. And GOP governors have gerrymandered the US House of Representatives into a perpetual bastion of conservative power.

The state knows exactly where its Republican and Democratic voters are, so they ensure that as many of their opponents are included in as few districts as humanly possible, leaving all the other districts to be controlled by Republicans.

Granted, states like Maryland have just as completely gerrymandered the state for the Democrats, but we’re an outlier here. Republicans control far more of the heavily gerrymandered states.

Gerrymandering can only control the House, so Republicans need something else to rig the Senate and Presidential votes. That’s where “Voter ID” comes in. I’ve written about that before, too.

This is where Republicans pretend there’s a massive problem with voter fraud, despite zero evidence that A) there is a meaningful problem and B) requiring an ID from a voter would have prevented it. To combat this “problem,” they then pass a law requiring voters to present valid state IDs in order to vote.

This is meant to discourage non-drivers, (meaning those who can’t afford a car, or idealistic students), seniors (meaning old people who don’t want anyone messing with their Medicare or Social Security), or anyone of color. All of these groups are seen as likely Democratic voters.

They make sure that the only IDs recognized are the hardest to get. State IDs and NRA licenses… in. Student IDs and library cards… out. And then, to make things as inconvenient as possible, they close or limit hours of licensing centers in urban areas, reduce or eliminate early voting hours, and limit the number of voting machines in city precincts, so the lines are longer. They pull driver’s licenses for anyone who owes money for court costs. They “clean” voter rolls using aggressive means, without notification, so that people don’t know they’re no longer registered to vote until they show up on Election Day.

All of that is designed to discourage and suppress the vote of likely Democratic supporters, and it’s only possible when you have control of state government in census years.

3.      Appointed conservative judges up and down the bench.

This is to ensure that once power is achieved, the self-serving laws they enact remain intact. And it’s not just the Supreme Court that matters. There are hundreds of federal judgeship and appeals courts that allow or disallow legislation. Once they’ve packed their own people into these roles, many of them for life, the odds are that much better than their nefarious legislation gets upheld.

Laws on same-sex marriage, gerrymandering, gun control, abortion, voter suppression and unlimited anonymous campaign contributions will only stand as long as the judiciary signs off.

Mitch McConnell was willing to ignite a national furor by holding up a Supreme Court nomination for 10 months because it meant a shot at keeping a conservative-majority bench. (And the Koch Brothers told him to.) That’s how important appointing judges is. Republicans stonewalled judicial appointments for years during the Obama administration. Now they’re filling seats like it’s a BeyoncĂ© concert.

The judiciary is the last check on government power. Once that check is in the hands of judges who believe corporate entities are people, the other 98% of American citizens are screwed.


This is how completely the Republicans are in control. They did the hard work and are reaping the benefits now. The only way Democrats can reclaim control is to do (or undo) exactly what the GOP has done. Democrats have to go hard after local offices… city council, mayors, school boards, state assemblies, houses of delegates… whatever they’re called in locales across the country.

People have to show up and vote. Demonstrations and protests don’t do anything unless they translate into votes. Democrats have to pull back the curtain and show people what Republicans are up to and what how their law-making will affect our daily lives. We must convince people that government is meant to serve the people and not business entities. We have to convince moderates and independents that we’re right and our opponents are wrong.

We have to put scientists back on scientific boards and toss out the industry shills who have no agenda other than eliminating anything that costs big businesses money.

We have to clear the way, permanently, for any two consenting adults to marry and enjoy all the rights and benefits that go with it. We have to make it clear that if you open a business, you serve whoever walks in the door or at least make a reasonable accommodation, regardless of what your religion says.

We have to leave reproductive decisions up to the people who are involved in the reproduction and keep government and the rest of the general public the hell out of it.

We have to enact an immigration policy that works, that doesn’t involve ineffectual vanity projects that cost $25 billion.

We have to reclaim our place as leaders on the world’s stage and act like the super-power we are. We need to lead with our allies and stop elevating our enemies.

We have to fight off the out-sized influence of the NRA and do something about semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines.

We have much work to do. The Republicans did theirs and they won’t give up power without a fight. And it won’t be a fair fight, that much is obvious, judging from the 2016 election. The amount of money at the Republican’s disposal will be staggering.

But money can only buy attempts to influence. It doesn’t buy our vote.

We have to make our voices heard. We have to run for offices. We have to register. And we have to VOTE.

Monday, July 23, 2018

A Moving Story

Well, my luck held out. Now I live someplace else.

After what seemed like an eternity of preparation, Sweetpea and I are engaged in a raging case of premarital cohabitation.

Last night was especially weird. Most Sunday nights, I leave her place around 7:00 or 8:00 pm and go back home. This time, I didn’t have anywhere else to go.

Like I said in the last post, I’ve been staying at her our place since 7/13. I used vacation days for last week, so every day I went back to my apartment to pack up the last of my crap, and do all the things I didn’t want to do yet when I still stayed there. (Like take down the blinds. On the bottom floor, I don’t like that people can look right in.)

I also went down my list of services and utilities I used, to update my address with them or discontinue services. There’s something about filing your change of address with the post office and voter’s board, that makes it seem very official and past the point of return.

I’d been worried about the movers showing up on Wednesday, but I needn’t have been… they got there an hour early and beat me there by a few minutes, as I detoured for breakfast. Croissandwiches in hand, I let them in and showed them around. By this point, there weren’t any boxes left to be moved; just furniture.

These guys flew into action. One second all my furniture is there, the next, everything’s got blankets taped around them and were being carried out the door. And in addition to being super polite and respectful, these dudes were strong. They didn’t look like body-builders, but each one could carry a large piece of furniture by themselves. (Those days are long gone for me, if I even had them in the first place.)

Seeing a place I once inhabited stand empty is always a melancholy experience for me. Granted, it’s the same view as when I move in, but it’s a different perspective. When you’re moving in, you see all the potential. When moving out, it’s just an empty shell of what used to be; the location of good times and bad.
After a little more than an hour and a half, I bid a temporary adieu to my apartment and we all headed down the road, to reverse the entire process.
Fortunately, the dog was spending the day at Sweetpea’s sister’s house, or else he’d have gone ape-shit with all these strangers tromping around his house. He gets angry when someone has the audacity to walk down his street!

Having movers bring your furniture into your place is like being a traffic cop, only you don’t recognize the cars. A guy would go, “Mr. Bluz, where do you want this?

I’d be like, “I don’t know, what the hell is it, under that blanket?”

At least I had Sweetpea to help direct traffic. Well, except the times where I had one idea about where something should go, and she had another. It didn’t happen often, as we’d already discussed where the big pieces would go. But we still had some undecided items. With dudes carrying them around, we had to decide quickly.

It was funny; one guy commented on my “Steeler Fan Parking Only” sign that was hanging in the basement. Knowing Sweetpea was a Baltimore girl, he told me, “You got that Steelers sign up on the wall so you can see it as soon as you come downstairs. You must be the boss around here.”

I said, “Dude, it’s in the basement. If I was really the boss, it would be upstairs!”

The movers were done at the three-and-a-half-hour mark, which brought me a bill of about $650. Considering all I didn’t have to do, it was totally, completely, worth it.

It’s a bit overwhelming, though, once the movers leave and it’s time to start putting things away. It’s like, you just don’t even know where to begin. But Sweetpea and I have a saying… “Just start chopping wood.” In other words, pick something, do it, go on to the next thing. Repeat.

So we started with the low-hanging fruit and worked out from there. By the time she got back with the dog, I had the TV in the living room working. By the Thursday, I had the stereo equipment hooked up and functional. Not that it didn’t have some frustrating moments.

I wanted to use my component system set up in my giant, heavy-ass entertainment center. But she doesn’t like speakers hung on the wall (like mine were) so I figured we’d use her small Bose speakers. But my receiver needed speakers with raw wire attachments. Her Bose speakers had the usual jacks.

Earlier in the week, I texted my buddy, the VP of Hell No and expert on ancient stereo components, to ask him if I clipped off the jacks, would that raw speaker wire work? I didn’t want to ruin her speakers and not have it work. He waved me off that idea and said I could get an adapter with the raw wire on one side and the jack on the other.

Awesome! I ordered a couple from Amazon, and when they arrived Thursday, I set up the stereo equipment and moved the speakers. At that point, I re-learned the old lesson about assuming. I really should have looked at her speakers. If I had, I’d have seen that they didn’t have jacks after all; they were connected with the raw wire. Just as I needed. Without any adaptation necessary.

Oh well. Amazon is good with returns. And after a good tussle and a lot of naughty words, everything works. We can play CDs, LPs, and cassettes. (Cuz that’s what we have, in spades.)
Friday, the cable guy came, which was the last major piece of the puzzle. Both she and I had cable, but I wanted to transfer my service to her address and have her kill hers. The cable company would provide their triple play service, of TV, internet, and phones so she could kill her phone and internet service too.

Also, since we cumulatively owned four TVs, we wanted to use them all. Her main TV went downstairs to the future Man Cave/Escape Room. My main TV went into the living room. Her bedroom TV stayed there, and my bedroom TV went into the back bedroom. With that arrangement, we’d need cable wired to the back bedroom, and office, where the computers would be.

Took the guy over 4 hours but he got it done and everything worked perfectly, phones and all. The only thing I’m missing now is another mirror system, to watch TV from the can. But you can’t have everything, can you?

We’re about squared away now. We’ve just got some more kitchen stuff to integrate, and we need to find a place to store my towels and linens. And then we just have to find that daily rhythm, which so far eludes me.

We both have very different ideas on what constitutes tasteful decorating. She prefers clean, clear, open spaces. If it were up to me, I’d have every square inch of wall space covered with a picture, painting, photo, album cover or poster. And every centimeter of horizontal space with a figurine or some other tchotchke placed on it. So there’s some negotiating to be done, for sure.

One happy side effect of this move… I get to cut down my key ring by two keys. No more house/deadbolt/mailbox keys; now just one simple front door key. I feel lighter already.

We went out to dinner Friday night, and I forgot my wallet, even though I created a place specifically for it, where I’d never forget it. (Thanks for covering, Sweetpea! I owe you another dinner.) That’s when I realized that old habits weren’t transferrable. Just because I had a regular place for my wallet at my old apartment, doesn’t mean the same mechanics are in place at the new house. I’ll just have to count on repetition to engrave it into my brain.

The same thing happened to her. She had to move where she used to keep her purse, and then went off without her phone, which right by where she used to keep her purse. It’s all interconnected. We just have to develop some new behavioral synapses.

It’s the same with a lot of simple tasks that I’ve done in a particular way for the last 20 years. Like getting dressed in the morning. I used to lay out my clothes the night before… shirt on a hook, pants on a hook beside them, socks and undies beside my ottoman, shoes within reach. I’d come out of the bathroom, which was attached to the bedroom, put on undies and socks, pull the shirt off the hook, pants go on, sit back on the ottoman and put on my shoes. Done.

Now, the bathroom is in the hall and my clothes are in the back bedroom. I have to figure out what comes in the bathroom with me, where I hang my clothes, and where I put my shoes. All this is complicated by the fact that if the dog wants attention, he will grab any pair of socks, undies or shoes that he can reach, whether from the bedroom, bathroom or wherever, and parade around the house with them.

On this one, I’m probably going to have to settle for less than perfect efficiency. It won’t kill me.

And on the bright side, I get to live side by side with the love of my life.

I look forward to seeing what happens next.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Movin' Out

I apologize for not having a post up yesterday, but it's moving week in old Bluztown.

I've been packing and bringing things over to Sweetpea's place for a couple of months now, to lighten the load on moving day. I spent my last night at my apartment last Friday, and the moving guys come tomorrow.

As I've mentioned before, in the olde days, I would have just rented a truck and imposed on some friends to help me out, and done it myself. Not anymore. This time I hired 3 guys and a truck, for 3 hours.

Because of all my prep work, it should be a swift affair, probably coming in under the 3 hours. At this point, it's just furniture.
Empty dining room. (More or less.) This reminds me... I gotta take that map down.
Empty entertainment center and living room.
Empty picture wall.

At the moment, I'm sitting here in this almost empty place, waiting for some people to come and take my washer and dryer. Sweetpea already has a set that's about as new as mine, so why even move them? As it turned out, my friend Jenn was in need of a washer and dryer, so her husband is coming over to pick them up.

This greatly relieved me. I wasn't looking forward to trying to sell them on Craig's List or something like that. That I can send them off to a friend is comforting and saves me a lot of anxiety over the process. And her husband has a truck and a friend to bring, to get the thing loaded. All I have to do is supervise, like Fred G. Sanford.
We have the cable guy coming on Friday so I hope to be up and fully wired for phone/internet/TV, for my usual Monday post.

Everything has gone well so far. Wish me luck that it holds out!

Monday, July 9, 2018

More GOP Meme Deconstruction

Lottsa stuff going on since I last wrote about politics and what do you know? It’s the same damn stuff! So let’s look at some things I’ve pulled off Facebook over the last three weeks and see if it floats.
OK, this is from back in May so it’s a little stale, especially since former Trump fix-it lawyer, Michael Cohen, is now singing like a bird to the Mueller team.

This graphic contains a common problem with Republican memes… they try to compare two things that don’t warrant comparison. These situations are not remotely alike.

With the school shooting, there were some random notifications to the FBI about the guy who turned out to be the shooter. Yes, someone probably should have checked it out in a little more depth. But remember, there were no real actionable items. People said the guy gave them the creeps and was weird.

Well, that defines a significant percentage of the American population. You can’t just snatch up every oddball and social misfit. I know conservatives would desperately wish that to be true; just look how they’ve been trying to rid their communities of black boys cutting the grass or black girls selling lemonade, or black families at the neighborhood pool.

But what if the FBI started investigating every case where someone gets a weird vibe from a neighbor, maybe hearing shots fired in the yard, or yelling coming from inside the house. What happens if they start confiscating guns and locking guys up based on nothing but someone else’s heebie-jeebies? We’d have to let all the drug dealers and murders out of prison just to make room for the incoming.

On the other hand, the FBI had enough actionable evidence to secure a subpoena allowing them to conduct the raid on the lawyer’s office. And that mere act sent the Administration into a panic. Think they’d be panicking if there was nothing shady going on?

Also, it didn’t seem like “the porn-star” business had much to do with that raid. The Feds had plenty of other areas of inquiry. Subpoenas in a case like this aren’t given out willy-nilly. There has to be serious evidence of wrongdoing.

This theme is designed to do one thing: smear the FBI in the court of public opinion, so that when they start issuing charges against this president and his crew, their faithful sheep will bleat about bias and unfairness, rather than consider the gross misconduct and lawlessness of this administration.

Still with the Obama Stuff
First of all, the Democrats only had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate for a short time. Remember how the Republicans kept appealing the recounts of Al Franken’s election to the Senate, so to eat up the time the Dems had? Then once the full 60 was sworn in, one of the first orders of business was the Affordable Care Act. And as opposed to what the common Republican talking points say, it was not rammed through; it took months to be debated and eventually passed.

There was also the Bush Recession to address, so the economic legislation sucked up a lot of time and energy. And that worked. Every economic chart you look at (other than those from Fox “News,”) show an almost immediate turnaround at the beginning of Obama’s presidency.

Immigration wasn’t exactly a front-burner issue. Sure, it wasn’t a perfect situation, but it wasn’t a crisis either. The whole subject is only a crisis to scared white Americans who think their influence is waning, and who don’t like pressing “2” for Spanish.

Then once the Democrats lost their super-majority with the 2010 elections, (and control of the House), the Republicans could and did filibuster everything else the president wanted to do for the rest of his administration. So there was a very short window for the Democrats to act unilaterally, and the product of those actions was universal health care and economic recovery from recession.

So excuse them for not deporting enough brown people.

Alibis for Caging Kids
Since the religious angle didn’t catch on, Republicans are trying out other rationales, to show support for their leader’s draconian border policy.
More false equivocation. This one is a slam dunk to debunk.

2.7 million kids who have a parent in jail, aren’t in jail themselves.

400k foster kids are not held in captivity either, surrounded by people with whom they don’t know and cannot communicate. While the foster program has issues, most foster parents are decent people trying to help kids in bad situations.

And 765k kids have parents who nobly chose to go into the military knowing the situation that comes with that service. And again, the kids are not locked up in mass barracks, cut off from everything they know.

So OBVIOUSLY, the media focuses on the current tragedy going on at our borders. That’s their job, to tell the public when there’s an atrocity taking place.

This, from the self-proclaimed party of Family Values. It's clear to me that the only families they value are white, American ones.

This one tries to break down the dumbness even finer, with an attempt at logic.
Yes, they lay out the illegalness step by step. But again, they miss the main point… when people go to prison, the kids do not, because you just don’t put innocent children in a fucking jail!
It’s funny how conservatives revere the law when it’s someone else breaking it. But when their administration officials commit felony after felony for things like lying on their financial disclosure forms, that reverence for The Law comes up missing.

Civil Discourse
I’ve had mixed feelings about the new tactic the left has taken up, of confronting influential people they encounter out in public. I think we should be better than that. We should wage war with ideas and leave the in-your-face bullying out of it.

And then I see memes like this:
It's funny how whenever you see a meme that starts out, "So let me get this right," they so rarely do.  Talk about missing the point, or at least willfully distorting it.

Yes, we had a hissy fit because everyone should be served at a place of business, not just those with whom you share a belief system. Conservatives started this very thing with their embargo on selling cakes or flowers for gay weddings, pursued it clear up to the Supreme Court, and won (with a hand-picked right-leaning court).

Plus, they’ve spent the last 10 or so years publicly coarsening the quality of debate.
But the first time it comes back on them, they want to whine about it. And they call liberals “snowflakes.” Maybe someone should design a “Karma for Dummies” meme because this is karma coming back to smite them right between the eyes.

If the right doesn’t start up the non-service movement, then they don’t get non-serviced themselves. A simple concept for simple-tons.
I think that pretty much spells it out.  All’s fair as long as WE aren’t inconvenienced. Screw everyone else. (I think “Screw everyone else” is actually in the Republican platform.)

So after further consideration, my opinion has evolved closer to this:

It’s a classic case of bullying, where once the bully gets hit in the mouth, they want to cry foul and play the victim.

Final Thought
One last note on the resignation of Scott Pruitt, as EPA chief.

I don’t think it makes a damned bit of difference. Even before I knew who the replacement was, I knew it would be more of the same. An oilman leaves, then we get a flak from the coal industry.

Best case scenario: the next guy spends a little less taxpayer money on himself while he disassembles the EPA. Either way, regulations get rolled back so polluters can go back to polluting the way they used to, while the atmosphere becomes visible again and the earth floods and bakes.

Nothing changes until this crew gets voted out. We start this November with a chance to retake Congress. If successful, that may help hold 45 in check until we can toss him out on his ass in 2020.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Southbound and Down

Sorry about not posting last week, I was out on vacation taking Sweetpea down to Florida to see my folks. I had thoughts about doing a post from down there, but it leaked right out of my head, along with any other thoughts of doing something productive.

It was an OK trip going down, only minor delays, but we coped just fine.
Airport draanks.

I’ll tell you, though, if you want to lower your opinion of the general traveling public, take a flight somewhere. The whole experience was one instance of bold-faced rudeness and inconsideration after another. And apparently, Delta’s plan for passenger space in overhead bins was more “Mad Max” than “A Beautiful Mind.” People were putting small bags and purses in the overheads, leaving the rest of us to scramble to find space for our regular-sized rolly-bags. The Delta flight attendants basically just watched the show. Maybe they had bets on how far away from his seat someone would stow his bag.

But we and our bags made it unscathed and after drinks, mustered out to a local restaurant for dinner. I should have known that something was up when my parents took us to the same place we used to surprise my mom for her 75th birthday.

After Dad quietly consulted with the hostess, they led us to the same back room, where I saw two people with menus up over their faces.

Aha! I knew it would be my sister and brother-in-law… they’d just been texting us.

But no. It turned out to be my buddy, the CFO’s son and daughter, Jacob, and Kyrie, on a road trip to take her back to Houston. Surprised the hell out of me. Kyrie has been the muse for some of my favorite and most enduring posts. Kyrie’s just finished her first year teaching and Jake is going to attend the University of Cincinnati this fall. I swear that last week, they were only babies.
I’d seen on Facebook that they were going to be in Atlanta that week, and I tried my best to convince them to come down a little further, but they shot me down, pleading that they already had all their arrangements set in stone. Seems they had this planned with my folks all along.

So, we held Part One of the Wild Rumpus at the restaurant, then adjourned to the house for Part 2. I had told Sweetpea that the first night in town was always a boozy gab-fest, so I looked like a seer. I’d been wanting to get her together with Kyrie so she could offer help and advice to a newly-minted teacher.

I also took advantage of the opportunity to slip Jacob some graduation money and thank him… because of their visit, I didn’t have to go out and buy a card.

Later, I told Kyrie it was all their fault that after they showed up, my vacation had nowhere to go but downhill.

But not totally. I always appreciate having the time to shirk my responsibilities and just chill for a few days. Sweetpea especially needed some veg time, coming off a long and difficult school year.

For the occasion, my dad invested in some new pool floaties.
After floating around on these things for a while, you totally feel like a Margarita.

Dad likes floating in them too. In fact, at one point, Sweetpea and I took turns pushing him between us in the floatie from one end of the pool to the other. It was like I was taking part in the Great American Pastime… playing catch with Dad.

Or I suppose you could call it Geezen Shuffleboard.

One day, Mom taught Sweetpea how to make “icebox dough.” That’s dough you use for pizza crust, cinnamon buns, or whatever. With a name like “Icebox Dough,” you can see how long this recipe has been around. I admit, my motives were selfish in making sure this “training” session happened.

I mean… who wouldn’t want pizza and cinnamon buns around the house?

The rest of the week was continuous series of swims and meals and drinks. We didn’t get to the beach until Monday, our last full day there. Sweetpea and I hung on the beach for a couple hours, before the Oldes picked us up for lunch.
Part of our beach mission was to find a little piece of sand upon which we can get married next year. The main beach was nice but would probably be crowded. (The last thing I want is for our wedding pictures to be photobombed by oily tourists in Speedos.)

After lunch, we took a drive further down the beach, away from the nest of hotels, and found a nice little spot with few people on it. (And this was around 1:00 PM. We have Estimated Wedding Time set for about 9:00 AM.) So now we have a plan.

I’d post a pic of the spot, but I don’t want to tip my hand. Also, and not insignificantly, I forgot to take a picture of the area in the first place. But trust me, it will be simple but beautiful.

We plan to do a kind of “guerilla” wedding. We’ll show up out of nowhere, just us two, our parents, and the wedding official, do the “I dos,” and be gone in ten minutes. Then off to our special wedding breakfast at Denny’s.

OK, probably not Denny’s. Maybe I’ll just bring a bag of Egg McMuffins.

And maybe we’ll invite Maurice, the house gecko. He seemed interested in our wedding discussions.
I’ll take a Bug McMuffin.”

The trip home was a bit more chaotic. Before we even left the house for the 7:20 AM flight, our hour and a half layover in Atlanta turned into a 3 hours layover. And once there, it got extended a half hour at a time until we were stuck there for almost 5 hours. But it worked out and we made it back home, bags and all.

But it was all good. We rode out the delays together and kept reminding ourselves that we’d be back. And next time, we’d leave as husband and wife.

Many thanks to Bluz Mama and Papa, for providing such an awesome place to hang out. And for all the laughs and food and drinks… (lots and lots of drinks.)