We got up at 9. Dali dressed fast, gave me a fried egg, and told me to hurry up and dress so we wouldn't miss the 9:30 weekly activities presentation in the clubhouse. The Links management conducts this meeting every Monday morning to orient new guests to local activities and to make everyone aware that management has an inventory of repossessed timeshares to sell cheap. That's how we got our timeshare here in the first place. Years ago, Dali's friend Lorna visited The Links and phoned Dali at home in Maryland. Lorna reported that there were awesomely cheap timeshares available and urged that Dali should bring me right away to buy one. So we drove from Maryland to South Carolina and bought a timeshare. Actually, it's worked out really well. At this meeting this morning, the real estate lady with the cheap timeshares made a cute remark about how House Speaker Bainer had flubbed Obama'a first oath of office 4 years ago. She hoped that didn't happen again today. I corrected her that it Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts who had made that mistake. The Chief Justice administers the presidential oath of office, not the Speaker of the House. I had two cups of coffee and a doughnut. The activities laid out at the meeting included a shopping trip to a nearby Tanger Outlets mall, a day of offshore gambling on a casino ship, a winery tour, and a paraffin waxing. Additionally, on site at The Links, the management desk has tennis rackets, billiards equipment, and table tennis balls and paddles. I asked Dali if she would like to play tennis. She said maybe, but how about table tennis. She asked me to get the details of the winery tour, which I did.
After the meeting, we had more breakfast. I ate 2 more fried eggs and a large fruit smoothie. I remarked that the rosemary in the smoothie was an excellent touch. We watched an old Rock Hudson-Sidney Poitier movie, Something of Value, about the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya, while we ate. As we ate, we solidified a plan for the rest of the day: shopping for Dali followed by a wildlife photography outing for me. I wanted to find some wild alligators to photograph. I got some good alligator photos a few years ago, and I wanted to try again.
So I loaded up my .357 magnum revolver and threw it in my camera bag -- in case an alligator took an undue interest in me. I mounted my 70-300 zoom lens on the camera loaded with ASA 1600 film.
At noon, we went out to shop at Barefoot Landing, as planned yesterday. As we pulled away from The Links, however, Dali declared that there was probably "nothing" at Barefoot Landing, We should go somewhere else, she said. She suggested Tanger Outlets, about 5 miles away. So we went Tanger Outlet Mall and spent a couple of hours looking for nothing in particular. I bought a souvenier from the Disney shop for my friend Peggy, who is crazy about all things Mickey Mouse. I looked at kitchen timers for the endoscope disinfection room at work, but they at $8 each they were too expensive. I noticed that many of the men following their women around shopping looked vaguely dazed. I wondered if I looked that way. Dali saw some decorative rosemary in a planter in the middle of the concourse. She picked some for cooking. As we left Tanger Outlet Mall, our judgment was that the prices weren't great and the lineup of stores was mostly the usual cast of chain retailers.
We went north from there around 30 miles to the Huntington Beach State Park. I didn't find any alligators. The temperatures have been around 70, but locals said that is still too cool for the alligators to be out. We did however, see a bald eagle, some waterfowl, and some shore birds. There was a guy there with a 400 mm sigma lens on a digital camera who showed us some EXCELLENT eagle pictures. I took a few eagle shots with my 300 mm lens. Since I have slide film, I would have to wait a couple of weeks to see how my pictures turned out.
On the way back to The Links, Dali wanted to stop at either Wal Mart or Costco (I picked Wal Mart), a Lowes Hardware, and any plant nursery, and some furniture store she spied. Only the Wal Mart stop actually happened. Dali bought a couple of little things there. I stopped at a Dollar General store and bought the 3 kitchen timers I wanted for the endoscope disinfection room at work. It's crazy that we have to buy things like that out of our own pockets at work, but procurement at the Veterans Administration can be such a hassle that you end up spending your own money on supplies and minor equipment.
Back at The Links, we ate bean soup and tofu for dinner, plus a smoothie with rosemary. I drank another NOS energy drink. I think NOS works. I'm thinking that if it does, it will help me get through this tax season.
After dinner, we went to they gym. Dali was excited to weigh me. She thought I must have lost 5 pounds by now. Instead I had gained 5, weighing in at 200 pounds. Her own weight held steady, which disappointed her also. She selected the movie Divorce American Style for us to watch while we exercised. I worked out with extra vigor. For more than an hour, I used mostly the elliptical machine, but also the situp bench and some weigh lifting. Afterwards, my weight came in at 198 pounds. Dali calculated that if I could lose 2 pounds in an hour, I could certainly lose 15 pounds by the end of the week. Great.
We watched an old movie in bed until around 1:30 am, when I dozed off to sleep.