Hurricane Alidore Approaches the City-A Disabled Electrician turned Writer

I can hear the alarm on Annabelle’s phone going off through my thin walls and it wakes me up.

I get dressed, knock on her door and ask, “Would you like me to make you some breakfast?”

“No, I don’t have the time. I’ll eat at school; I get free breakfast and lunch there.”

“Okay. That’s fine I guess.”

“I like your cooking, but I just realized that I need to get my school bag, change my clothes and then I’ll probably be confronted by my mom and her boyfriend.”

“I understand.”

We finish getting dressed. I put my Casio F-91W watch on my wrist, then retrieve my Samsung Rugby 4 flip phone and my Klein Electrician’s Knife off my night table and put them in my pants pockets.

Annabelle asks me, “What time is it?”

“5:42,” I answer, looking at my watch.

“We need to get going, then.”

“It still dark. Let me get my flashlight.” I go to the utility room and get my Mini Maglite from my Craftsman tool satchel. It still works well but is really beat up from when I used it on my job.

I put some fresh batteries from my kitchen drawer in the flashlight and turn it on.

“Come on, Johnny, I’m going to be late,” Annabelle says with a slight irritation.

“Sorry. I’m just trying to keep us safe in the dark.”

We then walk out my front door and I engage the deadbolt. We walk across my porch, then down the steps, through my yard and then onto the sidewalk. I lock the gate of my hurricane fence and we head out to the apartment complex by the light of my flashlight. It’s very warm this morning and the wind is eerily still. I silently ponder to myself if this is the calm before the storm.

We continue on to the apartment complex and Annabelle finally says, “I’m sorry if I rushed you earlier, bae, I’m just nervous about how my mom and her boyfriend will react when they see me walk in.”

“I wish there was something I could do.”

“Just be there for me.”

“Of course. You know I’m not going anywhere, well maybe except to Melinda’s Superstore,” I say, then kiss her forehead.

Annabelle giggles, then sweetly tells me, “I’m so glad to have you in my life, Johnny!”

“I’m glad to have you too, Annabelle!”

She smiles brightly then wraps me in a strong hug. I rub her love handles. We kiss each other wildly beneath the glow of a street lamp. She rubs my hairy chest with her soft hands and I pet her head. A car passes by and honks at us. We are both startled.

Annabelle asks me, “What time is it now?”

I activate the lime green LED light on my watch and quote the time, “It’s 5:51.”

“We need to hurry then,” Annabelle says.

Hand in hand we walk to the apartment complex and up to her mother’s unit.

She gives me a hug and a kiss then says, “I’ll call you as soon as I get out of school.”

“Sure thing, bae.”

“Yes, I always wanted someone to call bae and also call me bae! But, I didn’t think he’d be as sweet or cute as you.”

“We’ll always be bae to each other, I promise!”

We kiss each other goodbye once more and I head back to my house.

When I arrive, I look at my watch which says “6:02.”

I realize that Melinda’s is now open so I unlock the deadbolt, enter my front door, get my Helping Hand Deluxe shopping cart out of my utility room then walk out the front door again and engage the deadbolt. Then I walk down my steps, through my yard, and to the sidewalk and lock my hurricane fence. The sun is starting to come up so I turn off my Mini Maglite.

I walk the block and into Melinda’s. The automatic doors slide wide open and I am hit with a blast of cool air.

The store director says, “Good morning Johnny, you’re early today.”

“Good morning. I’m coming get some hurricane supplies, just in case Alidore makes his way here.”

“I expect to see plenty others coming for the same thing, so it’s a good thing you came early.

I walk to the merchandise section and I get some more AA batteries for my Mini Maglite. Then I see a display of Life Gear Mini Pro 40L LED flashlights. I have read LEDs never need replacing, last longer on a set of batteries and are much brighter. Not to mention these flashlights take cheaper AAA batteries instead of AA. So I get a pink one for Annabelle and a blue one for me. I also get extra AAA batteries for these lights. Then I see a Life Gear Glow Spot LED floating lantern, so I place it in my shopping cart as well. Finally, I get some wing nuts. Afterwards, I go to the soft drink aisle and grab a twelve pack of store brand creme soda, a twelve pack of store brand cherry cola and a twelve pack of store brand lemonade. Next, I get several Gallon jugs of drinking water. Then I go to the dry goods aisle and buy a box of Twinkies, a case of Vienna Sausage, a jar of Jif peanut butter and a loaf of store brand sliced bread.

Finally, I walk to a register and place the items on the conveyor belt.

“Getting ready for Alidore,” The cashier asks me.

“Yes,” I reply.

“Where’s your girlfriend?”

“Going to school.”

The cashier then looks puzzled then asks, “She isn’t underage, is she?”

“No, she made eighteen last month,” I reply, then continue, “Believe me, I wouldn’t mess with jail-bait. I got enough strikes against me and the last thing I need is a criminal record.”

She then scans my items and sees the pink Life Gear flashlight, smiles and asks, “Are you getting this for her?”

“Yes and the blue one is for me,” I show her my old Mini Maglite, then say, “I think it’s time for an upgrade, look how beat up this one is. It still works though.”

“I think I’ll get one for me and one for my husband too. He’s special needs, so I am driving us out of the city as soon as my shift ends.”

“Where are you going to?”

“Just as far inland as possible, hopefully, there will be a shelter we can find,” She pauses and then asks, “Where are you and your girlfriend going?”

“We’re just going to sit it out at my house.”

“We would sit it out too, but my husband is on Oxygen, so we need to be near an electrical source.”

“I’ll pray for you and your husband then.”

“Thank you, Johnny!”

She finishes scanning my items then charges them to my revolving account. Afterwards, she places them in my cart and I get some cafe’ au lait in the food court. I sit leisurely and sip my blend coffee, chicory, and hot milk because I know the next few hours will be hectic.

After a while, I look at my watch. It indicates “7:17.” So, with that, I head out of the store with my purchases.

The sun is now completely up and it is much warmer, but still eerily calm. I walk the block then unlock my hurricane fence and enter my yard.

While walking across my yard, Mrs. Angela stands by the fence and asks me, “How did it go with you and Annabelle?”

“Let me pick up my stuff and I’ll come over and tell you all about it.”

“Oh, I can’t wait to hear!”

I then walk up my steps onto my porch and unlock my deadbolt, then walk through my living room, into the kitchen and place the soft drinks and bottled water in my old refrigerator, the bread, Twinkies and Vienna Sausage in my cabinets. Then I place the flashlights, batteries, and lantern on my bed. I leave my house and walk over to Mrs. Angela’s. There is a city truck parked against the curb in front of her house. I wonder who is there.

So I walk into her yard, walk up her steps and knock on her door.

“Hello there, Johnny.”

“Hi, Mrs. Angela. Why is there a city truck here is everything okay?”

“That’s my son’s work truck-he’s a firefighter.”

Suddenly I hear a man’s voice, “I’m not a firefighter, Ma, I am a fleet mechanic for the fire department.”

“Well, you’re still on the team.”

Her son then comes walking out of her utility room.

“Hi, I’m Roger Fulton. What’s your name?”

“Johnny Elder, I live next door.”

Mrs. Angela looks at Roger and says, “Johnny always looks out for me and helps me out a lot.”

“Well, I’m glad you help my momma because I always have to work.”

Mrs. Angela then looks at me and asks, “So what’s going on with you and Annabelle?”

“Well, let’s put it this way: I’m sure glad you set us up.”

“See, aren’t you glad you gave it a try?”

“Most definitely.”

Mrs. Angela smiles, then says, “Be sure to always treat her right and make her feel special. If you do, she’ll bring you plenty of joy.”

Roger then says, “Ma, I’m going to try and hook up your new generator.” He then goes outside.

“Okay, son,” Mrs. Angela replies.

I look at her and say, “I have to put up the boards on my windows.”

“Don’t do it alone. You don’t want to mess up your back any worse than it is. I mean, how could you be a lover to Annabelle then?”

I blush and say, “You’re right. But who would help me?”

“I can get Roger to help you.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, especially if you can help him get my generator hooked up. I mean you were an electrician, right?”

“Well I was an electrician’s helper and almost became an electrician, but I do know a thing or two.”

“Good. Then go help him.”

“Sure.”

I see Roger standing on the outside of the house with a frustrated look on his face.

“Do you need help,” I ask him.

“Yes, I know all about the engine itself, but wiring it is another story.”

“Let me try.”

“But I don’t think you would know how.”

“I was an electrician’s helper for five years and almost became a licensed electrician. I can try.”

“Okay. Have at it.”

I look at the wires and the switch panel and begin to match them correctly.

I begin to connect the wires as I say, “Bending over to work like this really hurts my back. I injured it in a fall while working. If it wasn’t for that, I’d probably be a fine electrician by now,” I tell Roger.

“That’s a shame, man because you appear to know what you’re doing,” Roger replies.

With sharp pain, I keep working and I finally I get it wired.

“Now, let’s test it,” I say, catching my breath.

“All right, let’s see if you did this right.”

Roger walks inside and says, “Ma, I’m going to try out the generator. If the power goes out, that’s why.”

“Okay, son.”

Roger disconnects the line current. A half-minute later the generator starts up. Roger and I high-five each other. The lights are back on at Mrs. Angela’s house.

We then switch back to the grid current and the generator stops. Roger and I walk back into Mrs. Angela’s front door.

She looks at Roger and asks him, “Could you help, Johnny board up his windows after you do mine? He injured his back and I don’t want him to ruin it more, especially now since he has a girlfriend.”

Both Roger and I blush, but then he says, “Sure thing, Ma.”

“Roger, I’ll help you board up your mother’s house, too. I’ll hand you whatever small pieces I can, like the fasteners.”

“Good deal,” Roger says.

With that, we get to work.

Roger lifts all the boards from Mrs. Angela’s shed and also gets her ladder. He hands me an old medication vile filled with the wingnuts and says, “Hold this and follow me.”

He then climbs up the ladder securing the boards to the bolts, then I hand him a wing nut for each bolt. We do this process until all the windows are covered.

Afterwards, we walk to my house and I unlock the hurricane fence. We cross my yard then go up the steps onto my porch and I unlock my deadbolt.

We enter my house and I then tell Roger, “My boards are in the utility room. So is my ladder.”

Roger takes the boards and places them in my yard. Then he gets the ladder. I open the pack of wingnuts I just purchased from Melinda’s and we get to work.

Just like on Mrs. Angela’s house, Roger secures the boards onto the bolts and I hand him the wingnuts. Soon enough, we are finished.

I look at my watch. It’s now “9:58.”

Roger then says, “It was nice meeting you, Johnny. Look out for my momma, because I have to go to work. The fleet needs to be in tip-top shape since a hurricane is coming right for this city.”

I tell Roger, “Before you go, I have a gift for you.”

“What is it?”

“It’s a Proto Black Hawk ratchet and socket set. I’m no longer working nor do I have a car, so I have no use for it. I think it would be perfect for you since you’re a mechanic.”

I go into my utility room, get the set and hand it to him.

“Wow, man! Thanks,” Roger says.

“It’s the least I could do for you helping me board up my house.”

“Well, I’ll always help you board up your house from now on since you gave me this awesome toolset.”

He then walks to Mrs. Angela’s house, kisses her goodbye, then gets in his truck and goes to work.

Mrs. Angela then walks to her car and says, “I’m going to the pharmacy at Melinda’s and get all my medications filled. Then I want to watch ‘The Young and the Restless’ when I get back.

“Be careful and let me know if you need anything,” I tell her.

I go inside. My house is almost totally dark since all the windows are covered. I turn on my T.V. adjust the antennas and scan the channels. One of the local news stations is doing a bulletin on Hurricane Alidore.

I sit on my sofa and watch.

They are saying how a Hurricane Warning will likely be issued for the city in a few hours. I’m sure glad I prepared quickly and got everything done. It is still sunny outside and the winds are still, but I know this must be the calm before the storm. I continue watching. After the news broadcast is over, The Price is Right comes on, already in progress. I go to my computer and begin to backup all of my important files to both a CD and two backup flash drives. Afterwards, I unplug my computer because I don’t want it to be ruined by a lightning strike from the storm.

I then open up the LED floating lantern and test it out. This lantern lights up the whole room nicely. I notice how it has waterproof storage space, so I place my flash drives, my old Mini Maglite and my Klein Electrician knife inside and close it up. Afterwards, I turn it off and loop my belt through the handle.

I sit for a little while on the sofa and suddenly realize I’m bored in this house with no computer.

So, I step outside on my porch when Mrs. Angela shouts from her yard, “Johnny, can you come over and fix my T.V. set?”

Hurriedly, I walk over and she says, “Why isn’t ‘The Young and the Restless’ playing? Am I on the wrong channel?”

I check her antennas and pull up the guide feature. It says CBS and that ‘The Young and the Restless’ is on at this hour.

I then realize what is wrong, so I tell her, “The news team interrupted your show because of Hurricane Alidore. They interrupted ‘The Price is Right’ as well.”

“That really irritates me,” She says, “I’ve been hearing about this storm for days now. Does the media have to cram it down our throats? I mean isn’t that what the weather radio is for, right? One of the few things I have left to look forward to is my stories.”

Suddenly, ‘The Young and the Restless’ comes back on.

Mrs. Angela says, “Thanks for helping me, Johnny.” She pauses, then asks, “Are you going to see Annabelle again today?”

“Yes, as soon as she gets off the bus.”

“Wonderful. Now, remember what I said about treating her right and making her feel special.”

I nod, then I go back home.

After sitting there for a few minutes, I get the urge to write something.

Since my computer is unplugged, I get a composition book and pen from my desk then walk out my front door, engaging the deadbolt, walk across my porch, down the steps, and out my yard. I lock the gate of my hurricane fence and head to the park. I think about Annabelle during my walk. When I enter the park, I sit on a bench and write a new story, with characters based on me and her. Now, I am getting to the good part.

I continue to write for hours until my phone rings. It’s Annabelle calling. Hurriedly, I answer.

“Hello.”

“Oh, bae, I missed you so much.”

“I missed you too.”

“What are you doing right now?”

“I’m sitting in the park writing a new story.”

“I can’t wait to read it.”

“It’s about us; I just hope you’ll like it.”

“I just boarded the bus and I will be at the apartment complex in about forty-five minutes. I don’t have any homework this weekend and will probably be off Monday as well, so I’m taking my things and staying with you if that’s all right with you.”

“Of course it’s all right. In fact, it’s wonderful. How did your mom react this morning when you came to her apartment?”

“She was super mad and demanded to know where I was. I told her that it was none of her business and that I was eighteen and I didn’t have to answer to her anymore, especially since she abandoned me in the parking lot. She was speechless after that, so I got dressed and left for school.”

“I wish I could somehow make it better for you where that is concerned.”

“Just be there for me, that’s the best thing you can do.”

“Well of course.”

“I’m glad to have you, Johnny!”

“And I’m just as glad to have you, Annabelle!”

There is a sudden silence but then I ask her, “Were you able to turn in your paper?”

“Yes. Since Alidore is coming, the deadline was extended, but I’m getting extra points for turning it in on time.”

“That’s awesome!”

“It will be even more awesome now that I can graduate!”

We continue to talk and flirt on the phone until Annabelle says, “Why don’t you start making your way to the apartment complex, my bus is almost there.”

“Will do,” I reply.

“Then I guess I’ll see you there, bae.”

We then hang up. I close my composition book and start walking to the bus stop at the apartment complex.

I arrive just as the bus is pulling up. Annabelle steps off, then embraces me. We share a strong kiss.

She then says, “Wait out here while I get my things.”

“Will do, bae,” I reply.

She kisses me once more and says, “Be right back!” in a very sexy voice.

I wait with anticipation and look at my watch. The time is “3:24.”

I continue to wait as I hear shouting from several different people.

Finally, I see her walking to the bus stop with two bags in addition to her school bag and purse.

My watch now indicates that it is “3:36.”

I offer to carry them for her, to which she kisses me. Doing so hurts my back tremendously, but for her, it’s worth it. I collapse under the weight of her bags.

She helps me up and says, “I’m sorry, bae. I didn’t realize your back was damaged that badly.” Annabelle pauses then says, “I’ll carry them, you don’t have to.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I don’t want you to be hurt any worse, especially because of me.”

“I hate you seeing me like this. I’m afraid you’ll leave me now that you see how bad my disability is.”

“I won’t leave you because I see how wonderful you truly are. Your back may be in bad shape but you have such a good heart.”

I stand back up and Annabelle hugs me. She then kisses me. A motorist drives by and sounds his horn. Annabelle flips him off, then picks up her bags.

She holds my hand as we begin to walk.

We make it back to my house. I unlock the hurricane fence, then we walk across my yard, up my steps, onto my porch and I unlock the deadbolt. We then go to my bedroom and sit on the bed.

I remember what I bought for her and say, “I have a gift for you, bae. I hope you like it.”

“What is it,” She asks.

“A bright LED flashlight, pink in color,” I say, then hand her the blister packaging.

“Cool, I guess.”

“I needed a couple of flashlights since Hurricane Alidore is coming here, so I got me a blue one and you a pink one.”

“Well thank you bae, I like it,” She says with a hug and a kiss.

I then open the packaging on both of them, with a kitchen knife. Afterwards, I install the batteries in their carriages then I put mine in my pocket and Annabelle puts hers in her purse.

Annabelle then asks me, “Could you read me the story you were working on in the park?”

“Yes. I would like to do that.” I tell her, then retrieve my composition book. I start to read when I hear my weather radio go off in the kitchen. At the same time, Annabelle’s Samsung Galaxy Express 3 also sounds an alert. We get messages of a Hurricane Warning and that conditions will deteriorate within twenty-four hours.

Annabelle becomes very nervous and tears fill her eyes.

I hold her hand and say, “I cannot promise that everything will be okay, but I will do my damn well best to take care of you.”

“Thank you, Johnny. I’m so glad to have you.” She tells me with a kiss.

“And I’m just as glad to have you!” I tell her with a kiss in return.

“Why don’t I get dinner started? I’ll cook the last frozen bags of cooked white beans in my freezer, so I don’t lose them when the current goes out. It’s a Friday anyway and I always eat white beans on a Friday.”

Annabelle nods and smiles, then we walk into my kitchen.

I take several freezer bags of white beans and empty them into my big pot. Then I light my gas range and begin to heat up the food.

Annabelle and I stand in the kitchen, staring lovingly into each others’ eyes. We hold each other and share a passionate kiss. Soon we share multiple kisses.

There’s an awkward but blissful silence between us.

Soon the beans are done, so I get us each a bowl from the cabinet and serve us. I pour some store brand pancake syrup on our white beans to give them flavor and we eat happily.

Afterwards, we do the dishes and then go watch the T.V. All of the prime time programs are interrupted by reports about the approaching Hurricane Alidore.

We decide to watch Breaking Dawn, Part One and Part Two on DVD and fall asleep in each other’s arms on the sofa until the next morning…

Back to “My [Innocent] ‘A Disabled Electrician turned Writer’ Pieces”

A Review of the Midland WR-120EZ Standby Tabletop Weather Radio

Before you read, please know that I do not own the picture featured in the piece, but Midland USA does.

I know I am several months late with it, but finally, I’m writing my review on the Midland WR-120EZ Standby Tabletop Weather Radio.

I’ve been planning and wanting to write this positively since August 16, 2018, but have had several distractions.

I guess I am better late than never.

Anyway…

I purchased this awesome device at my local grocer, Rouse’s, on December 26, 2017, and have been using it on and off since.

I say on and off because back then I lived with my wife, now ex-wife, I kept it on a table next to the sofa in our living room.

However, I left her a few weeks later on January 18, 2018, and thankfully was able to keep it and most of my other valuables.

I moved in with an older friend that same day and I applied for a new apartment a little over a week later.

While living with this friend, the radio was pretty much picked up.

I moved into my apartment on May 1, 2018, and this weather radio has been a bedside companion ever since.

My divorce was finalized on October 11, 2018.

Okay, enough about the details of my divorce and other personal details, I’m just thankful that all of it is behind me and now I am even more thankful that I have a wonderful lady in my life whom I love and revere immensely.

Now, let’s focus on the product review at hand once again.

This awesome radio cost me $29.99+tax, when I purchased it. By the way, that is cheaper than Wal Mart, who sells it for $32.99+tax and not every Wal Mart carries it either.

By the way, the MSRP of this radio is $39.99 according to Midland’s website, so I got it for roughly $10 off the MSRP.

Especially in the South and the Midwest, many grocers frequently sell Weather Radios and usually for very good prices.

Case in point, earlier in 2017, I got several of the portable standby Midland Weather Radios, the HH54VP2, on clearance for either $5 or $10 apiece at another location of my local and favorite grocer, Rouse’s. I gave a few as gifts that year.

The Midland WR-120EZ is Public Alert certified, which means it will only activate alert when the emergency occurs specifically in the area it is set for. Not only that though, it can also be connected to adaptive devices so people with various disabilities can still be successfully alerted to an impending emergency.

The Midland WR-120EZ is a slight variant of the WR-120.

The main difference is that the EZ model doesn’t neccessisarily require one to know the FIPS code, rather it comes preset for every Parish, County, Borough or other administrative division pre-programmed in it.

All one must do is select his or her geographic and administrative location and be done with it.

Also, alert selections are customizable, meaning that the user can turn off alerts for most emergency events that do not pertain to them except for a Tornado Warning.

The alert siren is very loud and distinct and will indeed get every the attention of every user on the floor of a residential unit.

The speaker has a very clear and crisp audio provided the signal reception is on par.

The blue backlight on the LCD display is bright which is great for low light conditions, but thankfully can be turned off to conserve energy and make sleep more peaceful.

The buttons are easy to press and are quite sturdy, plus the button beep feature can indeed be disabled.

The telescoping antenna pulls in signals from about forty miles away, but does need adjusting from time to time, especially at greater distances from a weather radio transmitter.

The radio is powered by line current but also can be run on 3 AA batteries as a backup or to take the radio into a safe room for monitoring the progress of severe weather.

There is also a switch to turn the radio off for leaving on vacation or conserving the batteries during an extended power failure without messing up the clock.

This radio has a very loud alarm clock which wakes me up on most days.

The clock keeps time pretty accurately but is a little difficult to synchronize properly.

There are three LED indicator lights on the unit to allow the user to determine if the bulletin being issued was a Warning (Red), Watch (Orange) or Advisory (Yellow.)

The cabinet is made of no nonsense white.

My one complaint about this radio is that it should have a better signal amplification circuit to pull in weather broadcasts easier. And maybe better noise limiting circuits for those who live in close quarters with their neighbors. One of these, either the noise limiter or amplifier doesn’t work well enough and that frequently gives me problems with reception every now and then and I have to move the radio around the room to correct the problem. If I had to guess, I would say it’s the noise limiting circuits, because I do live in an apartment complex and yes, myself and all my neighbors have WiFi and other stuff that generates significant amounts of electrical noise.

Other than that, I would reccomend this radio to be used in every single residence, business and institution that is located whithin range of a weather broadcast, yes I do believe that weather radios should be equally common as smoke detectors.

By the way, I give this product a rating of 4.8 out of 5!

A Review of the Radio ShackĀ® Touchscreen SAME Weather Radio with AM/FM

As stated before, I have been both afraid of as well as fascinated by the weather since I was a toddler.

I’ve also been fascinated by all sorts of technological devices since then.

I’m not sure if this interest was acquired or is it in my blood.

All in all, because of this interest, I frequently shopped at Radio Shack, until I no longer could.

In February of 2015, the Radio Shack in Southland Mall was shutting down and going out of business.

I went there to see what sales I could find.

I found an $80 for around $8, a Radio Shack 12-996.

In September of 2018, this radio is still going strong.

This particular model gets the AM (Medium Wave) and FM broadcast bands in addition to the Weather Radio channels.

It is “Public Alert” certified, meaning I can program the SAME code for any County or Parish and have it only go off for when there is an alert for that specific administrative division

It also has an alarm clock.

For power, it runs on either four AA batteries or an AD/DC wall adapter.

The front firing speaker on this radio has superb audio quality.

The entire controls on this radio are controlled by a touchscreen interface, something which required me getting used to. At the time of purchase, I didn’t even have a touchscreen phone.

However, once I had gotten accustomed to this device, it has become a faithful companion.

When I lived with my wife, this was a very useful bedside radio.

After her and I split up, and I moved out, I kept it and it became an equally useful kitchen radio.

As of now it rules my kitchen counter and keeps me entertained and informed while cooking, washing dishes or doing anything else that requires me to be in my kitchen.

Aesthetically, it reminds me of one of those kitchen radios that housewives had during the Golden Age of Radio. Granted it has an integrated circuit instead of vacuum tubes, a touch screen instead of knobs and buttons and a PLL tuner instead of a dial tuner, but the form factor still reminds me of one of those antique radios from that era. I’ll go as far as to say how I frequently think of a woman walking home with her family from church on December 7, 1941, then going into her kitchen and listening to the radio as she prepares Sunday Dinner. Soon she hears about the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor, then walks back to her church to pray for the victims and her country.

The radios of those days only received AM, however, this radio also gets FM and Weather.

Hopefully, it will keep me entertained and informed for years to come.

It faithfully picks up every weather alert I have programmed it to and blares a loud siren.

It also picks up every AM and FM station within reason and range.

This is one [recent] Radio Shack product that, I feel still has a superior quality.

There are only two things I don’t like about this radio and they are:
I wish the backlight could be turned off when the radio is on standby.

I wish the AM and FM tuners could have an international mode where FM tunes in 100 or 50 KHz steps and AM could be set to tune in 9 KHz steps while in other countries, but have the default 10 KHz when being used in North America.

I know the radio isn’t really designed for AM DXing, a better AM antenna should have been internally installed, but I myself am an AM DXer, so that is why I suggested this feature.

I would have never bought this radio at its MSRP, but since I got it on clearance, I do not regret my purchase at all.

These are a bit hard to find brand new these days, but eBay frequently carries them.

If you can get one, you will enjoy it.

All in all, I give this product a 4.5 out of 5 stars!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Midland HH50 Pocket Sized Weather Radio

I have been both afraid of as well as fascinated by the weather since I was a toddler.

That is since about the late 1980s and early 1990s.

In the Summer of 2001, at age fourteen, I had become interested in all radio communications.

In December of 2001, at the age of fourteen going on fifteen, I discovered Weather Radios. I purchased my first Weather Radio at that time and have been listening to them ever since.

Fast forward to March of 2006, when I was nineteen, I had discovered a certain Weather Radio being sold at Academy Sports and Outdoors. I had decided to take a break from exams and go shopping.

The radio in question was a Midland HH50 and that will be the product reviewed in this piece.

At the age of nineteen, however, I couldn’t justify spending $25 or so on a very basic Weather Radio, though I wanted it.

For years I had seen videos of it on YouTube.

It wouldn’t be until June of 2015, at the age of twenty-eight, that I had actually purchased one for myself and at a discounted price of $10.

Unfortunately in December of 2017, my then-wife, now soon to be ex-wife, broke that radio in a fit of anger.

I had quickly ordered a replacement a day or two later. I was a few days shy of turning thirty-one.

It arrived on my doorstep a few days later and I have been carrying it in my EDC backpack ever since.

This Weather Radio does indeed have a Standby Alert feature which will allow it to remain Mute until an Alert is broadcast.

However, it lacks the S.A.M.E. feature, which means it will trigger the alarm regardless of what Parish, County, Borough or other Zone the alert pertains to.

It is an entry-level model and does not have all the bells and whistles that higher end weather radios have.

The Midland HH50 runs on three AAA batteries and should be able to receive any Weather Radio broadcast within forty miles.

I would recommend this model to anyone who is a pilot, mariner, hunter, golfer, farmer, hiker or anyone else whose activities are affected by changes in the weather.

It is also perfect for use traveling in areas where one might not know the S.A.M.E./F.I.P.S. code of the area in which he/she is currently located. It would be a decent item for the glove box of your vehicle when traveling out of state, but make sure the passengers, not the driver operate this radio.

I would also recommend one of these for the safe room of anyone who lives in tornado-prone areas, to monitor the progress of severe weather when grid power sources have failed.

As I stated before I carry mine either in my pocket or in my EDC backpack everywhere I go, but this would also be a staple for your bailout or bug out bag.

I would not recommend this as a main standby Weather Radio, however, I would recommend it’s bigger brother the Midland WR-120EZ, for that purpose, which I plan to write a review on very soon.

There are three reasons why I would not recommend this as a main standby Weather Radio:
1. Doing this will run down the batteries quickly and unnecessarily.
2. The alarm is probably not loud enough to wake a heavy sleeper.
3. It lacks an S.A.M.E. feature so, it will create plenty of false alarms which will do nothing but aggravate the user.

Here are the features of this neat little weather radio:
It has a decent front firing speaker that is clear and loud enough despite its tiny size.
It has a removable belt clip on the back, which is held on by a Philips or + screw.
To the left, it has up and down volume buttons and a Test/Scan button.
To the right, it has a three position switch of Off, On, and Alert, which is for Standby Mode.
On the top right it has a telescopic antenna and on the top and back left if has a nylon lanyard.
On the back of the radio is the battery compartment with a battery door that slides off.

To operate the radio:
After installing the batteries properly, extend the telescopic antenna all the way out. Then move the switch to the “On” position. The radio will then begin to scan for the strongest Weather broadcast available. This may take several seconds. When it locks on a strong enough broadcast, it will be heard on the speaker. If there is more than one broadcast available, press the “Test/Rescan” button to change channels. Holding this button down for a few seconds will test the alert siren. Pressing that button once again will return the radio to “Scan” mode. To use Alert Mode, have the first go to On mode and allow the radio to lock on to the strongest broadcast signal it can find. Then flip the switch to Alert and keep the radio in an area where reception is decent. When n alert is broadcast, the siren will go off followed by the broadcast information.

What I like about the radio:
It is compact and rugged for the most part and will give its end-user vital weather data when needed most.
It is fairly simple to operate.
It is most affordable to all but the lowest income brackets.
I wish Midland would build a passive VHF Hi Band and also a passive VHF Air Band radio in the same form factor as this Weather Radio.

What I don’t like about this radio:
My one complaint is that the belt clip should have been more rugged and maybe on a hinge.
Maybe a more rugged rubber duck antenna could have been installed instead of a telescopic antenna.
An earphone jack would also be nice.

All in all, I give this Weather Radio a 4.25 out of 5 stars.

Back to “Product Reviews”

An Autumn Squall Line

This is one of my Post Modern stories and probably the shortest as well as the least controversial. I initially wrote it in the early morning hours of April 16, 2018. I was inspired approximately a week before that, when I took a trip to Uptown New Orleans. It is about a young working poor couple riding out a severe thunderstorm and subsequent power failure in their shotgun house. When I initially wrote it, they were cohabitating and fornicating, but, earlier, a few weeks ago, The Lord got a hold of me and I took it down in July 2018. I’ve decided it was a beautiful enough story that I could take the sin out of there and rewrite them as a married couple, with minimal effort, so that is what I did on August 11, 2018.

Without further ado, here it is:

A cold front is making its way through our city and with it stormy weather.

There is plenty of showers, wind, and lightning associated with this squall line.

Because of this weather situation, I got rained out from my job at the plant and my wife is off from cleaning houses today anyway.

So, happy to have some time to ourselves we lie down in my bed.

I wrap my arms around her curvy waist as we listen to the rain tinkling on the tin roof of my shotgun house.

I kiss the back of her neck as she moans with pleasure.

Suddenly, a bolt of lightning strikes the transformer that services my block and the power goes out.

I disconnected the gas-powered radiators when I bought my house and decided to use portable electric heaters instead, but now we have no heat.

It’s biting cold, especially for mid-November. Not to mention it is miserably damp.

We pull the thick blankets over ourselves and try best to keep warm.

I gently rub her love handles as we shiver.

She turns around wrapping her soft smooth arms and thick creamy legs around me.

We are very cold, but now the hunger pangs are setting in as well.

So, we step out of bed and get dressed, then I retrieve my Coleman LED lantern from the closet.

By the light of that lantern, we walk to the kitchen and I light my range, the only appliance in my house that still uses gas.

I slowly turn the knob on and strike a kitchen match.

The blue flame brightly glows in my dark kitchen.

With the lantern in hand, I walk to the pantry and get two packs of Ramen Noodles.

I retrieve two bowls and a kettle from my kitchen cabinet and draw some water into it from my kitchen tap.

Then, I place the dried noodle block in the bowls and the water-filled kettle on the lit burner.

We stand by the stove, clinging to each other for warmth.

Finally, we hear the kettle whistling.

I turn the burner off, then pour the boiling water into the bowls with noodles.

Immediately afterward I empty the powder from the flavor packets into the bowls and stir them.

I take a bowl and give the other one to her.

Happily, we eat.

After we eat, I turn on my weather radio which is operating on backup batteries and learn that the storms will last ‘throughout the night.’

She gives me a kiss and then says to me, giggling, “I know of something else that can last ‘throughout the night!”

I nod with a wide grin and kiss her in return.

Hand in hand we walk back to my bedroom and undress.

We adore each others’ bodies for just a moment, then passionately climb into my bed to make love as the storm rages on.

We climax multiple times until we are too sleepy to keep our eyes open.

Lovingly we fall asleep in each others’ arms.

In the morning, we wake to birds singing and bright sunbeams coming through the window above the bed.

We step out the door and sit together on the front porch swing in the crisp cool Autumn weather.

Back to “Works of Fiction”

The Radio Shack Weather Cube

As I recently stated on Facebook, “The Weather Cube was an entry level Weather Radio made for and sold by Radio Shack from about 1969 to 2012…It had undergone design changes quite a few times, but is still a classic. I keep one in my living room and was just listening to updates on Tropical Storm Chris on it. I always pictured it being furnished in an off grid cabin in Yellowstone National Park. I also plan to write a blog post about this cool Weather Radio in the upcoming days…”

Well, here it is:

This piece will be dedicated to the history and features of this classic Radio Shack product.

The Weather Cube does only one thing-receives the U. S. Government’s and possibly a few other countries’ Government’s Weather Broadcasts.

It does not have an alert siren, S.A.M.E. feature or standby mode, just on demand weather information from the nearest weather broadcast station at the push of a button.

Still, this item sold very well and was built very well.

It has almost a cult following by YouTubers and other electronics collectors.

I would guess production began on the Weather Cube back in 1969. The reason why I would guess this is because it was first featured in the 1970 Radio Shack Catalog and known as, “The Barometer that talks.” This neat little device was cleverly marketed to “Anyone who flies a plane, farms, goes camping, owns a boat or spends time outdoors…” The price was $14.95 that year ($97.09 in 2018 Dollars.)

I don’t know how long it was in the research and development phase prior to that, but this truly was a genius product as millions were sold and a good bit of them are still in use, mostly by collectors.

The 1969-1970 version featured one frequency, 162.550 MHz. I believe it was crystal controlled but with fine tuning. The catalog number was 12-164.

In 1971, the catalog number changed to 12-165. The price was still $14.95 ($90.92 in 2018 Dollars.)

Then in 1973 or so, the Weather Cube also began receiving 162.400 MHz in addition to 162.550 MHz. This is because 162.550 MHz had become extremely congested and skip would occur in the spring and summer (also times when severe weather was most common.) The 1973 version was capable of tuning between frequencies 161.400 MHz and 163.500 MHz, which means it could have potentially tuned in some railroad, marine and federal government frequencies in addition to weather. It could have heard the Southern Pacific Railroad, which commonly used 161.55 MHz and was still in existence until September 11, 1996. The price also went up by one dollar to $15.95 ($90.52 in 2018 Dollars.).

In 1974, the Weather Cube for that year tuned between 162.400 MHz and 162.550 MHz. I believe it was done with a switching between permanently installed crystals, but could be wrong. The price jumped up yet another dollar to $16.95 ($86.64 in 2018 Dollars.) Of course, there had been some improvement in the radio.

In 1975 162.475 MHz was added as an additional frequency, but it wasn’t mentioned until the 1977 Radio Shack Catalog.

Between 1975 and 1976, the catalog number for the Weather Cube changed from 12-165 to 12-181.

I would imagine some time in the late 1970s or early 1980s, that the Weather Cube supported reception on 162.475 MHz in addition to the other previous weather channels.

Also in 1980, the price went up by another dollar to $17.95 (54.89 in 2018 Dollars.) It would remain that price for the rest of its design run, ending in 1992 (where it would have been $32.24 in 2018 Dollars.)

In 1989 or so, four additional Weather Broadcast Channels were assigned, though few Weather Radios would come to support all seven right away. These new frequencies are 162.425 MHz, 162.450 Mhz, 162.500 MHz, and 162.525 MHz

From 1969 to about 1992, the Weather Cube had the same outward appearance, though the frequency controls and frequencies available varied over those years. The appearance was made of simulated Rosewood, had a silver play button on the top front and a speaker that fired from the top. The antenna was telescoping and in the back right corner. They were powered by a standard Nine Volt Battery.

There was no Weather Cube to my knowledge in the 1993 Radio Shack Catalog.

Then in 1994, a new Weather Cube design came about with a catalog number of 12-239. It was made of a no-nonsense black plastic with a top firing speaker shaped in three-quarters of a circle. The fourth quarter in the front was the play button to turn the radio on. The telescoping antenna was located still in the back right corner. The volume and frequency controls were at the bottom and I believe the tuner was rotary not crystal controlled. This probably caught all seven Weather Channels but I’m not 100% sure. The price went up another two dollars and four cents to $19.99 ($33.99 in 2018 Dollars.)

In 1995, this new Weather Cube was advertised to receive all seven channels.

This Weather Cube would be featured until the year 2000 (where it would have cost $29.25 in 2018 Dollars.)

In the year 2001, there was no Weather Cube featured in the Radio Shack Catalog.

There was a different entry-level desktop weather radio featured in the 2002 Radio Shack Catalog, but it wasn’t cube-shaped and it also had a talking clock. The catalog number was 12-256. The price went up by a whole ten dollars to $29.99 ($42.01 in 2018 Dollars), but in all fairness, it featured a talking clock. It also ran on three AA batteries.

Around 2009 or so, the Weather Cube made a comeback with an all-new design. The new catalog number was 120-500. There were some significant design changes such as the main part of the cabinet was made of a red plastic. It also had a front instead of a top firing speaker, which was black. The play button was grey and had a blue LED light to indicate that the radio was turned on. The telescoping antenna is still in the back right side of the radio and the frequency controls are rotary. It is designed to receive all seven Weather Channels. This latest and so far final incarnation of the Weather Cube ran on 4 AA batteries. It was sold until 2012 and had an MSRP of $24.99 ($29.35 in 2018 Dollars.) It was discontinued in the Summer of 2012 and actually, I purchased mine on clearance in early July of 2012 at the Radio Shack in Southland Mall. My hat still goes off to the girl (now a wonderful woman) in Radio Shack who reserved it for me, some six years later.

Since Radio Shack isn’t exactly in business anymore, I don’t think a new Weather Cube will be made for a long time, if ever again. If I ever came into serious money, I would start a company that could make replicas of all the cool vintage flashlights and electronics that are no longer on the market. There would definitely be some incarnation of the Weather Cube.

When the weather cube initially hit the market, weather broadcasts were done by a recorded human voice. Nowadays it is mostly computerized and that takes away most of the personalization in Weather Radio, at least in my opinion. I do keep one in my living room, loaded with Alkaline batteries from the Ruble, I mean the Dollar General.

While the Weather Cube has plenty of aesthetic appeals and makes an excellent conversation piece, people probably aren’t really willing to spend over $20 for a weather radio that won’t automatically activate. Also, very few people aside from hobbyists and collectors such as myself and those on YouTube will sit and listen to a Weather Radio broadcast on a regular basis.

I still say it would be the perfect coffee table or nightstand item to be furnished in an off-grid cabin either in the Smoky Mountains or Yellowstone National Park, but not many people actually listen to my ideas.

It was always advertised to receive Weather Radio broadcasts from transmitters up to 25 miles away. I have received them successfully (and mostly crystal clear too) on my Weather Cube from about thirty plus miles away, or so.

They do make excellent weather radios for power failures or getting vital weather information during an actual tornado but pocket-sized entry level battery-powered weather radios have since entered the market which is more convenient to carry to a safe room. Some of these were Radio Shack models others are made by companies such as Midland. The model that comes to my mind first is the Midland HH50B, which I hope to write an article about in the near future.

I guess this concludes my piece on the Radio Shack Weather Cube and I hope it has been a wonderful trip down memory lane for all you weather and electronics buffs out there!

Undying Faith-Written in December 2006

‘Twas a cold December night. Blaine Clancey and Isabelle Ames were talking on the telephone. They had been in a casual relationship for three months. Blaise had fallen for her, but she wasn’t so sure just yet. As they were talking on the phone Isabelle was telling him how there was someone else in her life and that she didn’t want to be with him anymore. It was if a red-hot dagger was driven into his heart as she broke those words to him and then hung up the phone. That night he overdosed on pills and alcohol and went to sleep. The next day he woke up around two in the afternoon and was very depressed. The rain was pouring down hard and lightning was crashing. Whenever he would feel a wave of depression, he would turn to his police scanner to remind him that there are people who have it worse than he does. At the same time, Isabelle was talking to her new boyfriend Kyle Ford on the phone. He was asking her to come over in hopes that he would get lucky with her. He told her how he wanted to “make love to her so bad”. In all reality, there was no love just lust. She knew she wasn’t ready to give herself to anyone just yet, and realized how Blaine never treated her like this, but also realized how she broke his heart and was now overcome with loneliness. He kept urging her to come over to his place and finally told her that if she meant anything to him she would come over. She finally decided to drive over anyhow it was raining horribly. While driving on the Melody Expressway, she lost control of her car and slid into oncoming traffic and her car was smashed. She lay there unable to feel her legs and was scratched up in the face from the broken glass.

Blaine sat there listening to his scanner when he heard the paging signal go off, “Melody 911 to EMS respond to an accident with injury on the Melody Expressway.”

He realized that he could have been worse off when he heard that page.

He tuned in the police frequency when he heard “Jack can you tend to that accident with injury on the Melody Expressway?”

Jack replied, “Yes ma’am.” He kept listening until he heard the policeman say once again “I’ve arrived on the scene.”

And called out the license plate number. Blaine recognized that number and his heart sunk The ambulance took Isabelle to the hospital where she was conscious but paralyzed from the waist down and her face was cut up. Kyle kept trying her cell phone again and again and was now growing impatient and angry.

That afternoon the news came on at six o’clock that afternoon reporting of Isabelle’s accident and reported how she was resting at Melody General hospital. While she was there she had the hospital contact Kyle.

He came to visit her, but saw her cuts and saw her paralysis and said, “You’re so ugly now, we’re through.”

Her heart sunk and she was now feeling the red-hot dagger through her heart realizing how much she meant to Blaine and that he would have never left her. She knew now that they would never be together because of the way she broke up with him, or at least she thought she knew. The nurse said, “There is someone here to see you, Isabelle.” She looked at the doorway, and there was Blaine.

He looked at her and she started sobbing as she spoke, “I am so sorry I hurt you like that.”

“It’s all right.”

She continued, “Kyle dumped me when he was my scars and paralysis. I never realized how good you were to me, and now you won’t want me either.”

“Wrong, I do want you and I always have wanted you.”

“But look at me.”

“That doesn’t matter.”

“But I’m an invalid now.”

“Doesn’t matter, you still mean the world to me.”

“I will need someone to take care of me for the rest of my life.”

“I would be willing to do that.”

“But we will never be able to have sex.”

“Doesn’t matter.”

“But what will everyone think of you.”

“Doesn’t matter, I love you damn it, and that’s not something that just goes away.”

“I realize how much you do now. I realize that I was so confused, but now I know that I love you and I am so sorry for breaking up with you.”

He came up to her and kissed her gently on her forehead, and asked, “Will you give me another chance?”

“I think the question is will YOU give ME another chance?”

“Yes of course. And I promise my undying faith to you.”