Catch up - November 2015 - A trip that will live in infamy...

So back to the travel stories...

In 2015 we (Jen) finally talked my parents into travelling with us. "We are travel experts" Famous last words.

I cannot even begin to do this story justice 14 months later, but don't ask Larry about it, he has blocked it from his memory. He will tell you that Naples is the New Jersey of Europe if you push him.

Here's how it was supposed to go down. Two flights. One from St. Louis, one from the Quad Cities, meeting in Chicago for a glorious start to a quick trip to Barcelona and a cruise of the Med. It went bad right away. The flight out of Moline was delayed and Chicago was getting icy. We arrived from Saint Louis with no issues. We're experts remember? Rather than type the whole thing out let me see if a list of bullet points can suffice.

  • Missed flight out of Chicago for London. (We took the flight since we had no idea what was going to happen)
  • Offered a flight out of Miami and luggage was handed over.
  • Flight to Miami was delayed, so back to the terminal.
  • New flight to London booked, but luggage already headed to Miami.
  • Late to London, flight to Barcelona missed..... Cruise start also missed.
  • Overnight in London to catch another flight to Naples, Italy to catch up with us.
  • Overnight stay in Naples starts with a late night rainy cab ride to a hotel that the cab driver had never heard of .... and he only really spoke Italian.
So recap of above.

Larry and Wilma have spent 72 hours (or more) flying and waiting in various airports, hotels and cabs, all without any luggage. They arrive in Naples minus 2 days of our cruise in the only clothes they've had for 3 days. They will NEVER go beyond the borders of the U.S. again.

Here are some eventual highlights:

The Vatican - We took a whirlwind tour of Rome. Our last cab had us digging furiously for Euros.

The Trevi fountain - of course Sam found ice cream across the street and I think that was the highlight for him.

A small sandwich shop around the corner from the Tower of Pisa. 

Palma, Majorca Cathedral


An amazing dinner for Jen's birthday - Ask Larry about this ham dinner.

Family photo

You wouldn't believe what a chore it was to get this picture. The camera is propped up on the inside of a lampshade. This is picture #8 due to ... well see this next one.

2017 - Still here

Still no sweatshirts...

You can't make it die....

This is the blog that really wants to fade into oblivion, but since I own a calendar and have it listed as a "favorite" simply won't go.

First person to comment or send me an e-mail will receive a gift in the mail from me.

This paragraph is intended to disguise the above offer. Maybe you won't see it because there is more writing and you simply don't have time. More likely I will receive a request from a Liberian king for compensation.

Happy 2016!!


- New house in St. Louis

- Broken arm = Sam

- Blog entry = Complete

- Check engine light on 2008 Elantra = still on

Seriously this seems to be the update so far. More later. No really.

Killing time

I’m not really sure what has happened over time with this blog. What I’m supposed to do with it? How often? I realized that it is almost 2015 and  haven’t typed a single word here his year. I also realize that I’m typing into the wind since no one will be reading this.

The blog that started as an “Oh my god my dad is sick” tracking tool, morphed into a travel brochure for dummies, and now…..not sure. My dad is still chugging along. We are still travelling. I guess at some point I will be given a sign.

I’ll probably post some events from 2014 that happened, so that I have a more definitive “over time” accounting of things. Let me know if you read this.

Skip to my Lou

Since I have this title I will also skip the excuses for not writing here.

An observation about St. Louis, and may this is true of other cities, they are event crazy. Every weekend it’s something. “Taste of St. Louis”, “Lou-fest”, Fair St. Louis”. Don’t get me wrong this stuff is great, the problem is that these things shut down the city. If you’ve ever been to St. Louis you know that there are like 3 East-West streets that are the main thoroughfares and if they shut one down you have to use the old underground railroad tunnels to make it to your destination. One of the other favorite city events is also the “run”. 5K – 10K, Fun run, Girls on the run, Run for the border, you get the drift. These also close down the roads. Here’s a thought. Designate one street for this stuff, close it year round, and make it a special celebration once a year and let people drive on it or across it. That would be more interesting that navigating the “which road is closed this week” debacle. I’d love to also get a list of the parades they have here because I’m pretty sure they are not using the standard list of holidays. I support one parade and one parade only…see below. (Hint for Cubs fans: It’s a World Series parade – wasn’t sure if cameras had been invented since your last one.)


Yes I’m writing this because the streets were shutdown again this morning…WTH holiday is September 22nd?


I was searching for a picture in the vast archive of pictures that is the Carroll family over the years and found that I hadn’t posted anything in 2013. I’ve made promises to post new and interesting stuff here time and time again and can’t seem to get the ball rolling. Maybe this will get me started?

Looking forward to a visit from Grandma and Grandpa Bill this month. I’m not sure if either of them have been to St. Louis, but we’re going to give them the dime tour.

Possible posts for the future? (This also might spur me to follow through)

- Loft living in St. Louis. I’m fascinated by the newest renovation down the street.

- Food? Maybe a visit inside of the Steve’s Dogs franchise?

- Baseball

- Excited about the Riverfront bike trail…..gotta get out and find it now.

More soon…seriously. I promise.


Some good television you might be missing because it isn’t the latest, greatest thing on ABC, NBC..


Doc Martin -

We had fun watching it with the kids. Generally a clean and funny British show. We watched it on Netflix.

Sherlock -

We’ve only watched a couple of episodes so far, but it is one of those “Got to pay attention” things. Modern take on the old Sherlock Holmes.

An Idiot Abroad -

Hilarious if you can keep up with the British accents. Maybe watching the other shows first would get you used to it.

Dr. Danger - – Watch online!

If you want to learn a little bit about the real world.

Shark Tank -

This one is a little more mainstream, but you might pass it by if you don’t watch an episode or two.

Sports heaven!!

IF I were a huge sports fan my new house would be pretty damn cool. It’s pretty cool anyhow, and I can’t afford to be a huge sports fan. I made the map represent the block I live on so I don’t get stalked by some deranged “We Love Larry” fan….that’s you Locander

1.2 miles from the home of the St. Louis Rams

1.8 miles from the multi year World champion St. Louis Cardinals

1 mile from the “we are on strike” St. Louis Blues

I don’t know anything about the St. Louis University Bilikens, but they are in the “less than 2 mile” category. I really should publish a more cultural map with the museums and theatres. Right now it’s really a bit chilly to walk to any of them.

Oh…that first 1.4 miles is to the Arch. All downhill too.



More like a Murray Slaughter if you ask me…

So I had an MRI the other day. I know this sounds like a pick up line, but let me tell you about this experience. Whatever. It’s my blog, don’t read it if it sounds dumb.

I’m going to try to keep it brief, but there are many different aspects to the MRI experience that are just begging to be told. I’ll do them in steps.


There are many types of MRI machines and many parts of the body that can be imaged. My MRI required some very specific MRI technician instructions. Instructions that he must have repeated every day for the duration of his current career. The very first step is relatively easy. Get on the table and relax. It goes downhill quick from there. Since you have to stay still during the procedure they strap you to the table and put some headphones on you. Then they give you an alarm to press “just in case”. Let me tell you. Being strapped to a bed for any reason other than the one you just thought of isn’t fun. I thought they might give me a “safe word” also.


Speaking of many types of MRI machines, I got the one that looks like a giant iron lung. They roll you into the paper towel roll thingy where the top of it is inches from your nose. As soon as you notice this measurement, your nose immediately starts itching. I mentioned that I was strapped down right? There is no Zen, Buddha, yoga trick that will make an itch go away when you have nothing to think about other than that itch…that is until Step 3.


The type of MRI I was having required the technician to instruct me to hold my breath. How hard could that be is that what you are thinking? Take a moment right now and hold your breath. Count and let me know how long you held it. I’ll wait……30 seconds? 45 seconds? Longer? Well this guy started out by telling to hold my breath and then telling me to breathe again with a 12 second gap. I know this because I was counting the seconds in my head. After he did this about 5 times I got comfortable with the 12 seconds. That was, until, he changed it to 16 seconds. Then it was 21 seconds….then one time he forgot to tell me to breathe. I think I went 32 seconds before he realized my toes were twitching. At this point I started to get a little panicked. “What was it going to be this time?” What if I let out my breath early? Will I have to do more?” “Is he simply messing with me? Are they having a laugh in the MRI booth”? “I’ve never seen this on House M.D”. It was at this point that he screwed with me again.

“Stay still and try to breathe regularly Jon…the machine will be trying to synchronize your breathing for this scan” Are you kidding me? That was the kiss of death. The machine tried to synchronize my breathing while my brain said, “Faster, slower, deeper, more shallow…Damn it man get it together!”


This is the point in the test where all the troubles in your life seem small. I’m being re-born. Somewhat literally if you think about them removing me from the machine. I can move my limbs! I can scratch my nose! I can take a swing at the technician who was in charge of the breathing instructions.

Look…I know there are people who have much worse tests and health concerns. I feel for them. I consider myself pretty healthy and I would hate to do these tests feeling poorly, but I don’t think I’m doing one of these again until they get something like a Star Trek scanner. Forget it.


Red light, green light

So St. Louis is one of those cities across the U.S. that has invested in red light cameras. I , apparently, am a co-investor. I’m torn. I really did not like paying the $100.00 because my car (Jen) didn’t come to a complete stop on the right turn on red. I also did not like finding out that $32.00 of my $100.00 went to a couple of guys in Arizona who St. Louis bought the cameras from. I’m surprised that a couple of bucks doesn’t go to the Edison family just because they had a hand in the “light” portion of the puzzle. The reason I’m torn is because it has really made me pay attention to red lights. I guess that was the intention, but if I thought about it a little more I would guess the intention is to milk me for a Benjamin as often as possible. I now cheer the lights when I see them bust someone else. It’s kinda cool. If you are sitting at the intersection, not breaking the law, you can watch the flash of the camera add to the coffers of the fine City of St. Louis. If it weren’t such an expensive proposition I would also think it was cool that they send you a ticket with a link to the video of your crime. If you look close enough you can see other people at the intersection cheering your downfall. I guess I’m not alone. Just kidding. You can, however, see a police car just cruising past the scene of the crime at the end. Guess they let the cameras do the work.


I’m not sure if this will work, but here is the offending clip. If it doesn’t work, I can tell you where you can record your own violation and get a free copy of your own $100.00 flying out of the window!!


Eh…oh well…the video sucks.