A Southern Swamp Rat in the High Desert

Moved 2,600 miles from Florida to Idaho and talk about differences! It's almost a whole other country! I will discuss our move and the differences between the Deep South and the Northwestern High Desert as only a Southern-Bred Swamp Rat can. Check out my new Facebook page at www.facebook.com/idahoswamprat. My updates are irratic, but they are fairly regular. Stay tuned!

A Florida Original Makes its Way to Idaho

Firehouse Subs is one of my favorite Florida restaurants and I knew I’d greatly miss them when moving across country, but they’d come as far as Salt Lake City at that point so my hopes were that they’d keep on trekkin’ in this direction.


Well, roughly a year ago, Firehouse Subs, which originated in Jacksonville, Florida with over 20 locations in or near the Bold New City of the South and over 770 locations nationwide, opened it’s doors in Idaho, in Boise itself on North Milwaukee Street, and by all indications, a second location will be opening soon on Eagle Road in Meridian.

What makes Firehouse Subs my favorite?  Most of their subs are served hot, from steamed meat to freshly toasted bun, and they are just……great.  Firehouse Subs also displays a large variety of hot sauces rated for their “hotness” for their patrons to try, and if one of the sauces tickles your fancy, you can usually purchase it from them.

In addition, each Firehouse Subs gives back to the communities it serves.  As just one example: during Hurricane Katrina, they made food for the emergency workers.  In addition, they highlight stories of bravery and sacrifice of individual firefighters on their soft drink cups.  Firehouse Subs, after all, was founded by two Jacksonville firemen, Chris and Robin Sorensen.  

If you haven’t yet been to Firehouse Subs, it is worth a try.  My next blog, which will come out in just a few days, is about the murals in each Firehouse Subs restaurant, each as local and unique as the area the restaurant is located.

The Story of the Two BK’s

Both Jacksonville, Florida and Boise, Idaho have a BK.  Not too amazing, right?  A lot of people’s thoughts probably drift to Burger King, which was actually founded in Jacksonville.  But, no.  It’s a bit more coincidental than that and a fact I found it a bit freaky when I first moved here. Both places have a Catholic high school that go by the initials of BK: Bishop Kenny High School of Jacksonville and Bishop Kelly High School School of Boise.  They are the same in spelling except for two letters, and they even rhyme!  And the coincidences between the two schools don’t exactly stop there. While there’s plenty different, there’s enough similar to make it strange.

Both schools were founded by their respective Catholic dioceses: Bishop Kenny by the Diocese of St. Augustine in Florida and Bishop Kelly by the Diocese of Boise in Idaho.  Both schools were products of other high schools closing, and both high schools were named after the 3rd bishop of their respective diocese: Bishop William John Kenny and Bishop Edward Joseph Kelly.  Their mascots are also pretty much identical, in a matter of speaking.  Bishop Kelly’s mascot is the Knights while Bishop Kenny’s mascot is the Crusaders. Isn’t a crusader a type of knight? 


And just a little bit on the differences.  Bishop Kenny is quite a bit larger, with 1,200 students as opposed to Bishop Kelly’s 725.  Bishop Kenny also still maintains a uniform policy while Bishop Kelly abandoned one a long time ago though they have a strict dress code.  Their school colors are also different, with Bishop Kenny favoring white and red while Bishop Kelly prefers black and yellow.  


Of course, you can always do more research on your own, but I thought this was a cool little tidbit, and it’ll be kinda cool if I brought the schools somewhat together or at least made them aware of one another.

What’s the Deal with Roundabouts?

In Idaho, especially around Boise, they seem to love their roundabouts; you know, an infernal circle that takes the place of a light at some intersections.  According to the Ada County Highway District, roundabouts are an alternative method of traffic control.  They claim they are more eye appealing, cause less pollution than stop lights because the cars don’t have to stop, there is better traffic flow and they are more safe than a traditional intersection.  A roundabout is planned for downtown Eagle, Idaho with much of the public vehemently fighting it to little avail.

Most people, on the other hand, appear to believe that roundabouts are a waste of tax payer dollars because they cost much more money to put in place than a traditional traffic signal, the government has to invoke it’s imminent domain rights to purchase land to build the roundabouts, they cause major traffic problems for several months as they are being constructed and they are more dangerous than not because cars speed on them and it is often difficult to see a car coming around the bend.  

Florida, on the other hand, doesn’t “do” roundabouts.  I know of one or two in newer communities, usually where there are five or more roads converging, but that’s about it.  When doing a casual Google search for roundabouts in Florida, I found more than one article where they were deemed confusing, and

not only to casual drivers but to law enforcement.

Personally, I believe in the latter when it comes to roundabouts.  It IS very hard to see cars coming around the bend and cars tend to speed on them.  What do you think?

23 Words That Have A Totally Different Meaning In Florida

I received this from a friend in Florida.  They are just so true, I had to share.

3 months ago

Snow and Sand Sculptures
The top two are snow from the McCall Winter Festival, the bottom are sand courtesy of Photobucket. And, as you can see, we have a very confused snow….um….sand man.
If anyone has any additional pics of snow or sand sculptures you’d like to share, go for it!

(Source: )

Snow vs Sand

This is something I actually dreamt up over a month ago, after our last decent snowfall here in I—Dee—Ho, but, bad me, I didn’t get to it until now.  A little dissertation on snow (In Idaho) vs sand (in Florida).

Snow vs Sand

Ah, snow vs sand.  Sounds way different? I thought so too, or at least never really thought of them as having much in common….until now.  I can honestly say I’ve had intimate experiences with both.  Snow and sand actually have more in common than you’d think.

First, I’ll state the obvious.  For the most part, they are both white.  I KNOW some sands are different colors and the whole dirty snow scenario, but I’m talking in general here……snow and sand, are both white.  In addition, as you walk through both snow and sand, you are leaving your footprints behind.  It depends on the consistency and quantity of both to how large the said footprints might be, but still.

They are both subject to drifting when the wind picks up and they will both sting your eyes and burn your skin in the process (except with snow, you’re usually dressed for it while often with sand you’re almost completely exposed).  

Both snow and sand stick to everything. Yes, everything.  Don’t lay a book in the snow with the expectation of retrieving with no snow a minute later.  It won’t happen, and neither will it in sand.  When at the beach, on a camping trip, or anywhere in the “open” in Florida, sand will find its way in to every crack and crevice, and good luck in getting it all off, even with a shower!  The difference is, the snow will melt and turn to water while the sand is found near or in water, hence, sand is much harder to get rid of.  Snow will melt….sand will not.  In addition, snow and sand look almost identical when drifting across the road and both will make you slip and skid.  Difference, sand is used to give traction to snow.  It, um, can’t really work the other way around.

If you choose to go barefoot in snow and sand, they will both burn your feet, one from the cold and the other from the heat, and sand often has shell particles in it to boot in case the sun isn’t shining on it.  Gives the sand a little extra umph.

In addition, both snow and sand are used to make sculptures, and in places like McCall in Idaho and Daytona Beach in Florida, they have big events focused around these sculptures. Obviously, however, snow sculptures will usually last much longer, through winter or at least until a good warm front comes through.  The sand sculptures, on the other hand, will last until the next high tide or errant wave comes crashing through.  You have to admit, however, with the pictures as evidence, that the sand sculptures can have much more detail!  (Pictures in next entry!)

So now you know the skivvy about snow and sand. Much more similar than you’d think on the surface.

45 Reasons Why Idaho Is The Most Underrated State In The Country

I think this is something that anyone who lives in Idaho can appreciate.  Quite funny and all true.

5 months ago