How I Met Your Mother

Stories from Jacksonville

New Jax Witty

Articles, reviews, advice, and legitimate research to go along with some back-handed comments. Think of us as Jacksonville's mother-in-law.
  • If You're Going to Get Guy Food, Be Ready For Anything
    A local woman was emotional and upset during a news interview after a man pointed a gun at her in a Hardee's drive thru down on Baymeadows. Personally, I don't like guns, but I do have to admit that if you're going to get your food at a guy restaurant in Jacksonville, you should be ready for anything and nothing should surprise you.

    Hardee's and Burger King are for guys. Guys who aren't afraid to cry when Florida beats Georgia on a Hail Mary pass. Guys who won't ask for directions, even in Jacksonville. Guys who are fine with eating grease on their fat, along with a little iceberg lettuce when on a diet. Guys who carry guns in their glove compartments AND under their seats.

    When you take forever in a drive thru because you are an indecisive woman with a whiny child in the back seat, you can expect to anger a guy who was getting his usual: a Monster Angus Thick Burger Combo. You're going to anger a hungry man if he has to wait for you to decide which has less fat between the Original Roast Beef and the Charbroiled BBQ Grilled Chicken.

    It's like when he's playing golf and he comes upon a foursome that includes three old ladies and TWO grandkids. First of all, that's a fivesome, but more importantly, that group needs to keep the kids quiet and beg others to play through instead of acting as if they belong there. 

    I am sure this man politely flashed his lights, honked his horn, and brandished his middle finger before he decided to draw his firearm. Like all responsible, licensed gun owners, he only reaches for his weapon when absolutely necessary, like when he hears loud music eminating from a nearby vehicle, when someone takes his parking spot, or when he sees a teenager he doesn't recognize in his neighborhood. Luckily, this man's national Second Amendment and Florida Stand Your Ground rights ensure his lawful use of a gun while being blockaded by a pokey woman who could potentially use her vehicle as a deadly weapon, especially if she hits the gas instead of the brake while applying makeup.

    The best advice for women who are being asked to grab Hardee's for her man-friend is to call the order in ahead of time or go inside the restaurant or go to Panera instead. Just like men in line to use the port-a-john don't want to get stuck behind a woman (or old guy with prostate issues), the same applies to man restaurant and liquor store drive-thrus. 
  • Neighborly or Not: Dealing With Conflict in Jacksonville

    Relationships are important, especially when those relationships involve your neighbors. I can write an article on this or other websites that gets hits from all around the country, and I'm just some anonymous guy writing about a topic of interest. But when you post on your Facebook neighborhood group or on Nextdoor, you're making the choice for your neighbors to see the content. Even benign posts with the intent of being diplomatic can be taken the wrong way. A recent situation in my neighborhood is a great example of how conflicts might escalate on social media, even if the intent was basically the exact opposite.


    To begin with, I should have learned my lesson about trusting others when we first moved to Jacksonville. My car was hit from behind at a stop light by a college kid who begged me to let him pay for the damage rather than report another claim to his insurance. I trusted him and basically lost out on $1,000. Welcome to Jacksonville. But I didn't really know him, and I haven't seen him since, so I am mostly over it. Except there was a lesson to be learned that I apparently have yet to figure out. I had several options at my disposal when the latest incident happened, yet I still apparently got it all wrong, and this article represents my effort to clarify and attempt to rectify the situation. I once again relied on trust that another person would do what was right.


    This is what happened and is not disputed: a neighbor’s dog got out of his garage/family room and attacked our dog. Our dog was on a leash and on the sidewalk. The neighbor broke it up quickly and apologized, saying his dog had never done that before. I swore a lot; like a sailor, or maybe even like a sailor from Boston.


    Now for the disputed parts. 

    1. I say it was a Pit Bull, as it was a total Pit Bull attack (and the dog looked like one to me), while the neighbor (or at least his kid) said it was not a Pit Bull. 

    2. While there were no visible signs of injury to our dog immediately, we found a wound the next day that she was licking. 


    To be clear, we never had any problems with this neighbor before. In fact, our interactions had always been pleasant. Plus, I like the fact that he doesn't tend to park his two cars OVER the sidewalk like so many other neighbors, even if he doesn't park them IN the garage where cars belong (my minority opinion). But those cars being in the driveway did allow his dog to surprise us as it charged out of the open garage/family room.


    After the dog attack, we had to decide what to do next. We kicked around all of the ideas, but settled with the (I assume) typical Florida reaction of doing nothing. These are what we believed to be our options. 


    1. Do nothing, hoping my own swearing tirade and the fear of what could have happened would be enough to persuade the owner to keep his dog on a leash.

    2. Go the legal route. Report the incident to Animal Control, the police, and the HOA. File a small claims lawsuit and hope for Judge Judy. However, COJ says you need an affidavit signed by two unrelated people or a video of the incident, which is pretty difficult to pull off (unless the neighbor has surveillance video he'd like to share or wants to sign an affidavit against himself). It also has to be notarized. Really. The HOA option, however, might have led somewhere, though I have had at least two email complaints ignored by our HOA. Your HOA results may vary. And small claims lawsuits are kind of small: I could waste both our time, win a hundred dollars, and just end up with an angry neighbor. It's not like you call JSO for a dog bite, right? Someone suggested putting the vet bills in his mailbox, maybe with a lawyer-ish letter, or even knocking on his door to talk, but I wasn't sure about another in-person confrontation. When our neighbor kid destroyed a Christmas lawn ornament, I also balked at the confrontation, even though I had video evidence. It's just not fun, and those neighbors liked us until the day they moved away, whereas I don't know what would have happened if I called their son a liar.

    3. Social Media Shame. I did NOT do this, though the neighbor seems to believe I did because I referenced the attack in a closed Facebook group post about two other Pit Bulls roaming around the neighborhood. If I wanted to Facebook shame my neighbor, I would have included his name, address, photos of an obvious Pit Bull from his own Facebook posts, his occupation and how it might relate to not wanting to admit what kind of dog he owns, the receipts for our expenses, and photos of the injury. I could have added a photo of the house to warn others to stay away, and I could have further tormented the neighbor with a recap of his court and financial history. And rather than posting it to a closed Facebook group, I certainly would have posted it to all of Facebook and Twitter, along with an article here and on several other websites. And I would have sent links to the local news, the HOA, local politicians, and the neighbor's homeowner's insurance or mortgage company. I collected all of the information I would have needed to be able to do this, but all I did was mention the attack in passing in a post: "I don't want to start a big debate, but our leashed dog was attacked by a pit bull in our neighborhood on the sidewalk a few weeks back (with the owner letting it run loose). I refrained from reporting the owner and suing for vet bills because I did not want to stir up trouble. But now I have this video of two different pit bulls wandering around at 4am. If you like dogs, cats, or small children, this video should worry you. I know some of you love these dogs, so I will not say more. My daughter witnessed the attack and is now worried all over again. Please, keep all of your pets inside, fenced in, and on a leash."


    Apparently, my neighbor whose dog attacked ours saw this post and became angry. Even though our family has mostly stopped walking past his house, I decided to take the dog that direction one morning. As I walked past his house, he walked from his side yard towards the oft-open garage and started laughing loudly. After the restraint I had shown (in my mind) by not suing, issuing complaints, or publicly deriding this man, I assumed the most I would hear out of his mouth would be a half-hearted apology with me accepting and reminding him to keep the dog on a leash. Instead, I heard cynical laughter that continued as I passed his house on the street (avoiding the sidewalk where it happened). Eventually, I said, "What?!"

    The neighbor, who you might realize I am still not naming, went through his list of grievances after saying he saw what I posted on Facebook: “I apologized.” “The dog had never done that before.” “You’re not going to sue.” “Your dog wasn’t even bitten.” “Your daughter only cried because of all your swearing.” I think he also initially asked me what my problem was, or something like that. The point is that he took my passing reference to his negligence and took it to be me attacking him personally, so he decided to come after me personally. Since I was kind of surprised, I didn't say anything. Besides, this neighbor already had two of the 3Ps of Jacksonville (Pit Bull and Pickup), so I assumed he owned the third (Pistol).

    I have tried to see this situation from my neighbor's perspective. I did swear a lot. Our dog didn't yelp. We didn't contact him to see about rabies after the bite. I guess I can see why he thought it was all behind us, but instead of allowing a fairly innocuous Facebook post to go by, he decided to call me a liar, as if I would create that lie and then not try to hit him up for cash? As if I'd create the lie to deride him and then not identify him? 

    So, lessons learned, everyone. It seemed that the only time the offending party in Jacksonville has been happy with me is the time I never told my neighbor his kid destroyed a lawn ornament. That means people want you to forgive, forget, move on, and never mention it. The problem is that I expect the opposite from others if I'm at fault. If my kids destroy something at a neighbor's house, if my dog bites a neighbor's cat, or if I sideswipe a neighbor's car, I want to own that it happened and what I can do to fix the situation. Integrity and honesty, especially when it comes to my kids seeing it. We all make mistakes, but those of us who admit our mistakes instead of trying to pretend they never happened are much better off. I already apologized to my wife and daughter about my swearing incident (and they know it's not who I am). I hope my neighbor can move past the people who might have wronged him in the past and realize that I am not those people. Maybe he also needs to reflect on the man he really is, too, especially if blaming others for his failings is typical. 

    I wish I could offer more concrete advice. I saw one 60s sitcom where the wives got together and figured it all out for their husbands. But I saw another more recent one when the wives got together and made a feud worse. Plus, sitcoms are not real life. Maybe our kids will be friends in high school. My plan is to move on and start walking past the house again. I am hoping I don't have to keep my phone recording the whole time, but since it's Jacksonville, that's probably the best idea.

  • Save Money on Gas
    I was excited when AAA changed its partnership to Shell and offered $.05 / gallon discount to members. Then, T-Mobile bought Sprint and gave me another weekly discount at Shell. Now, I also started using the Getupside app for another discount on fill ups, and you should, too.

    While my Shell rewards doesn't allow me to fully stack the rewards, I do get "cash" back from Getupside that can be used for Amazon or Walmart gift cards. Instead of the normal $.12 per gallon, I get $.085 per gallon while saving $.05 at the pump, for a total of 13.5 pennies back per gallon. When gas is as low as $2.00 a gallon, that's a decent 6.75% off. I'm also not limited to Shell with Getupside, so I can just take the $.12 per gallon at a cheaper gas station that also offers my preference of top tier gasoline, though I have yet to research which local ones would be my best bet.

    If you are currently driving to help make ends meet, using Getupside is a total no-brainer (unless you're using an EV). Your Uber, Lyft, Door Dash, Postmates, Grub Hub, Roadie, etc., runs will be at least partially offset by gift cards to buy the necessities.

    You're not going to get rich by saving money on gasoline, but if you drive a lot, like me, you might earn $10 gift cards every 2-3 weeks, and that's something, which is better than nothing.
     
    My code X95JF gets you a 15¢/gal bonus: https://upside.app.link/X95JF

    A friend of mine signed up and got around $.30 off per gallon on his first fill-up and then he has an opportunity to earn another $7.00 for friends of his who sign up. It's like a pyramid scheme, except you don't have to buy products you don't need to store them in your garage and hold fake parties for friends you don't like to sell them products and an opportunity to be in your downline. 

    Also, I wanted to mention that you don't have to give Getupside your entire credit card number or bank information, but the process is kind of clunky as a result: you have to claim a discount in the app, then check in when at the gas station, then choose the partial credit card number being used, then wait two days to see the reward. It's better than taking photos of receipts, which was the original model, but still clunky. That said, it's a decent discount off something you need if you drive a gas-powered vehicle.

    [UPDATE]
    I was able to cash in my first gift card. I chose to add it to my Amazon balance, just to test it out. I also received the money for referring a friend/reader of this blog, so thanks. Everything about Getupside seems to check out, so it's a full recommendation. Just be aware that it often takes several days to see your cash back. And it's small increments, but worth the effort to me.