Olympics, Snow, and my Bladder

First, in case you were wondering, Jerrie is still in pretty good shape for the shape he’s in. That said, he’s demonstrated that age is showing its nasty side when he had trouble tying his shoe the other day. Yup, he said he couldn’t figure out how to tie his sneaker, something that pretty much every 1st grader does with ease. He figured it out, however, and the shoe didn’t fall off, but having that trouble concerned him a bit.

To be more honest, he didn’t actually forget how to tie his shoe, it’s just that when he did it, it didn’t have that familiar feeling he was used to. He reported that it was an odd feeling which prompted him to report directly to his bride that he was losing his mind. He added the question, “do you think I’m getting Alzheimer’s?” She responded with, “No, you’re probably just losing your mind,” which put the mind he was probably losing at ease. Kinda weird, I know, but that’s how he tumbles.

Jerrie’s favorite Olympic event is short track speed skating. During his younger days in the 50’s he was an avid roller skater, the kind he needed a key to clamp them on his shoes. Those wouldn’t work for kids today because those old skates wouldn’t clamp to a pair of sneakers. Nope. You needed the old kind of shoes with leather soles, you know? Each skate had four small metal wheels with ball bearings and made a lot of noise on a cement sidewalk. They were so small that small pebbles would cause them to cease rolling which resulted in many crashes. Because those mishaps happened in the 50’s there were no lasting scars. Lots of impressive scabs, but no scars. Oddly, Jerrie was pretty good at getting around on those antiques and thinks he could probably transition pretty easily to ice skates and short tracks. He thinks he can be a contender. Really, he does. What he doesn’t get, however, is the age discrepancy between todays winners and yesterdays dreamers. I told him he was about 60 years behind the times, but he doesn’t get it. He still thinks he can bounce off the pavement with the best of them. There was a brief moment when he took a trip on a set of roller blades that didn’t quite fit and he didn’t fall down even though he was being towed down the street by Ziva, the big black dog. Thankfully, the skates he wore were for sale at Diane’s garage sale and someone bought them. No more roller blades for Jerrie. No more scabs, either, on a body that doesn’t heal quite like it used to.

Now he’s content to just watch the excitement, between naps.

End 3rd person …

To keep things in perspective with the Olympic season, the Northwest has been hit with a pretty hefty winter storm that’s dumping lots of snow on us. It started around 6:30 this morning and hasn’t stopped. It’s 9:16 pm now, and it’s predicted the continue throughout the night, leaving up to 7″ in our area. We’re well on the way to that. Hopefully there will be a brief window of opportunity for me to make a trip down the hill to my urology appointment. Well, I guess getting up the hill after the appointment is more important. If that happens I promise to give a detailed account of my urology appointment with Dr. Kemp. My last visit with him, a couple of years ago, resulted in a considerable amount of pain when the TV camera that was inserted into his bladder hit bottom a couple of times. Memorable.

I guess that’s it for today, except for this. It looks like this out front now except the tree balls have been removed.

Bethany’s Facelift

Our little country church, Bethany Lutheran, is on the verge of a major facelift in the form of new carpeting. The current carpet has been in place for 45 years so the church ladies made it a mission to replace it. That’s going to happen over the next two days.

To make that happen it was necessary to remove everything from the church innards because the carpet people do not move ‘stuff’. Therefore, it fell on the shoulders of a few old guys and as many young people as they could muster, to move 27 pews. the altar, the pulpit, and the lectern leaving the current carpet unlittered with heavy objects. They wanted the piano removed, too, but after moving everything else there wasn’t enough strength remaining in the entire crew to pick it up. So, it stayed. There’s a plan afoot to have someone available to roll it out of the way as needed tomorrow.

To commemorate this effort, we took a couple of photos using those taken of the iconic PDX carpet, before it was replaced not long ago, as an example of how to properly make it special. I’m not sure that was accomplished, but we had a bit of fun doing it. The tools were necessary to unbolt the pews from the floor. Not all the bolts came out willingly.

Not everyone who participated is included in the photos and I regret that. Nor do I have photos of the pews leaving the building because my camera was in the church while I was in one of the two large semi trailers that were graciously loaned to us by LC Hall trucking of St. Helens.

It’s a little weird to have the sanctuary empty, and it looks a lot smaller. However, if everything goes as planned, all the pews will be back in place for service this coming Sunday. How that goes will decide whether or not I show up for service on Sunday because I assume responsibility for making sure the pews are properly aligned and that all the pews are returned to their original spots to ensure that those who attend regularly get their assigned seats back. At this point I’m pretty sure I can get them lined up fairly well, but I can say with confidence that no one is getting their old pew back except by accident. It’s time for them to step out of that comfort zone and sit in someone else’s seat.

Haircuts & Jeran

Yes, I’m still here, taking sustenance, and using my allotted portion of oxygen. I haven’t made any posts for a while because I haven’t injured myself one time during this break. My last injury was before Diane had her 3-fer injury marathon on December 29th. Apparently she used up our family quota for a specific period of time which makes me immune during that time. Not knowing how long I have before I puncture myself is a little unnerving, but I can handle it. Although I know something is going to happen eventually, I think I can act surprised when it does. Just like I always do.

During this hiatus Diane and I cut each other’s hair. We did that to save a few bucks and I learned something during the process. I’ve cut Diane’s hair previously, so it’s not a new skill set for me. I’m not saying I’m a skilled hair cutter, but rather I’m just not afraid to do it. There have been times, more than once, when she returned from her barber and made me fix it. I guess that says something about her confidence in my efforts, or my willingness to just do it equals her willingness to let me. So, I do.

What I’ve learned during my previous stints as a fill in barber is:

  • Never say “Oops!” Doing so generally ignites a contentious conversation. Barbers (and doctors) never say “Oops”.
  • When taking turns cutting each others’ hair, always get yours first. You do this so you can judge the quality expected on the reciprocal haircut. If you get a bad one you don’t have to be nearly as picky with your efforts as you might normally be. However, I preach that no matter what you’re doing, do it well. With that in mind, if you get a bad one, do your best but know that you are not working under pressure. Relax and just let the scissors do their work.
  • There may be other lessons learned, but I can’t remember them now.

Jeran received his acceptance letter from Corban University and is a pretty happy kid. He’s also on the St. Helens High swim team which also makes him very happy.

Jennifer worked the home meets as one of the time-keepers so she was involved and able to capture moments like that last photo.

Now it’s time to eat supper.

Various & Sundry Thoughts

Today was a pretty good. First, we both were able to attain a vertical position with minimal effort and help, we succeeded in retaining sustenance, and we had a nice long visit with both minor and major relatives. The minor relatives were Maryssa and her significant other, Matt. Technically, Matt isn’t a relative, yet, but he fits in nicely so we include him. Maryssa is Diane’s brother-in-law’s wife’s Grandson’s Sister. She’s currently in her senior year at Eastern Oregon University where she’s on schedule to graduate on June 16th. After that she will be seeking employment as a teacher of young, pliable people in a school district with leadership smart enough to put her education to good use. Another minor relative who visited is Tyler, the Maryssa’s brother who recently moved from Nampa to Oregon City for gainful employment. It was great to have them honor us by visiting and talking with us. Major relatives in the group were Lydia and Cedric. They are major relatives because they are related to both Diane and me. Minor relatives are those who are related to one side or the other, not both. I’ve probably covered all that previously, but that’s OK. It’s always good to clarify.

Regardless of what level of relatives visitors are, it’s always good to see them. They all bless us with their presence and the time spent to get here. We appreciate it.

Cedric, as you may already know, is currently home on leave and will be returning to his ship, the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) on January 12th. Then he’ll be back at work not knowing when he’ll get time for another trip home. We treasure any time we get to visit with him.

Lydia, as previously reported, is employed full-time here in town so we get to see her quite often. Many of those times are when we see her driving by, while we’re traveling around town, or when she’s visiting for a scheduled social event with her parents. Jeran would have been with the crowd today if he hadn’t been with his swim team in, oddly enough, La Grande, I think. I say “oddly enough” because that’s where Maryssa attends EOU.

Jeran is a St. Helens High School senior at this time and has plans to attend Corban University in Salem, Oregon after graduation. His goal is to become a youth minister. There will be more about that as the situation evolves.

Yesterday I went to work as a plumber to fix a leaking pipe for my First Wife’s Mother, Jean. She’s 90-years-old and try as she might, couldn’t fix it herself. I determined that the cutoff valve was faulty so bought a new one at ACE. Long story short, I failed to recognize the acronyms that identified the various thread types for valves, faucets, and pipes, so the combination I purchased failed to work. But, I had the leak diminished to a livable level and called it a day. By livable, I mean it wasn’t going to overflow the drip pan if left over night. This morning I got up with success on my mind and did some searching in my plumbing supplies in the basement. Turned out I had exactly what was needed to fix the problem and it didn’t require a trip to ACE. That’s because I obtained them at a previous trip to ACE at some point in the past. Anyway, the leak has been repaired and Jean is a happy camper. It was a close call, however, because she was just seconds from calling a plumber after yesterday’s failure.

I’d complain about our weather, and all the cold weather and rain, but compared to the vast majority of the USA to our East, our weather is great. Though it’s chilly and wet here, life is good. So, no complaints from me.

From a sports perspective, the Portland Trailblazers beat Atlanta, The Tennessee Titans beat Kansas City, and there’s a chance the Los Angeles Rams might beat Atlanta. The last one is nip and tuck at the moment, but momentum is with the Rams.

Now I must snack.

Hello 2018 !!

Happy New Year to everyone. I sincerely hope that those of you who celebrated last night did so safely and find yourselves fully functional this morning.

In our neighborhood, the last day of 2017 was sunny and beautiful. This first day of 2018 continues that trend while most of the remaining states are blanketed with terrible freezing weather. Especially hard hit are towns, villages, and cities on the eastern shores of the Great Lakes area. Lake effect snow is how they refer to the over abundance of snow created in this matter. Simply put, that’s when very cold air floats across the lake and sucks moisture from the water as it passes, and converts it to snow during the remainder of the transit across the water. Upon reaching land, the ground is significantly cooler than the water and the upward rush of air ceases allowing the newly formed snow to fall in massive quantities. It’s kinda like the clouds gorge on the water vapor which turns to snow during the digestive process and makes the clouds simply miserable as they inflate beyond comfortable limits. When they reach landfall, and the water vapor source ceases, the clouds promptly purge themselves of massive amounts of unwanted snow on unsuspecting areas in their path. It’s a vicious cycle and you’d think those who reside in the line of fire during these predictable events would find a reason to visit, say, Phoenix during those times. But, they don’t. They’re tough people up there and they all have snow blowers. Life is good.

We don’t have snow at our house. It was 29 degrees when I got up this morning, but the sky is clear and it actually looks like a good day to go golfing. We really did go golfing on January 1st a few years ago, when our bodies could tolerate cold weather in a more manly like manner. Those days are gone, however.

Today I take down the Christmas lights and our faithful snowman and Diane will also take down the tree. The tree is going to be really easy this year because it’s fake, only 4 feet tall, and already has lights attached. She’s planning to just drop a large garbage bag over it then have me traverse those 15 stairs to the basement with all the ornaments still attached. I’m pretty sure I can make that happen without medical intervention.

Now it’s time to continue the tradition of starting the year off with a clean slate. In order to do that I must scrub off the 2017 residue with a celebratory shower in the back yard with the dogs. They aren’t willing participants during this cold weather tradition but they need to be clean, too. Actually, they aren’t willing participants during warm weather, either. I, however, relish the feeling of icy water flowing down my back, soaking my speedo, and continuing on down my skinny legs to my feet where it runs off and melts the ice that’s still on the lawn. The first order of business is to get the dogs clean which is no small task. There’s a lot of commotion and Diane isn’t allowed to take photos. The neighbors, however, have no restrictions and line the lower fence hoping for a good shot worthy of YouTube. I’d share, but have never found one that I liked.

OK – that’s all a lie. No way am I wearing a speedo in the back yard even though the sun is shining brightly. And, once the dogs are out back, there’s no way I can catch them once they see the hose and realize what’s in their immediate future. So, that’s not going to happen either. Instead, I’ll begin the year as I always do by taking my January shower in a warm house with warm water. The dogs will get by for another year with an occasional squirt of Fabreeze.

Now it’s time for some football.

Diane and I wish all of you peace, happiness, and prosperity as we begin this new year. Be kind to others and help make the world a better place, no matter where you live.

December 29th Addendum

I pretty much covered ‘stuff’ right up until Diane got home from her latest shopping trip to Fred Meyer’s. That was just a few minutes ago. Now she’s gone again to get tacos for dinner.

Now, during the short time she was home, here’s what I learned and what happened shortly afterward.

While she was at Fred’s, she was bending over looking for a shirt and some older lady (her words) ran into her with a cart, hitting her right on the tail bone. She said it wasn’t a minor tap and isn’t sure what she’s going to be like tomorrow. I asked if she got information from the lady – she hadn’t. I’m proud of Diane for not getting up and cleaning that lady’s clock.

Then Diane went down our dark hall and tripped over the big black dog on the way back. I was in the basement and heard the impact. When I arrived she was in lots of pain so I just kept my distance until she calmed down a little. When she was able to talk coherently, she rolled to her best knee, then leveraged herself to a vertical position using the chair I got her. She didn’t want me to help her upright, so I didn’t.

Then she walked down the hall and declared that she was OK and would like tacos for supper, and away she went without me for protection and assistance. Tough Guy, she is right now, but she’s going to be a mess tomorrow.

Here’s the damage from the fall.

She fell into a short book-case. On top were two glass votive candle holders, one of which was mashed to smithereens. She’s lucky.

I may have created a bad situation for myself by pointing out the light switches to the hall lights on our way to the kitchen. I’ll do that again tomorrow when I’m waiting on her because she can’t walk. I hope that’s not the case, but it doesn’t look good right now.

A Birthday and a White Christmas

Today is December 29th. Two days to 2018 and our temperature is 51 degrees. We had a white Christmas for the first time in about 30-40 years but the warm weather and ensuing rain made short work of that. Still, it was pretty nice.

The dogs weren’t huge fans, especially Ozzie, the little guy. After the snow, we had freezing rain which allowed him to walk on top of the precipitation had he chosen to do so. We’re talking about a little dog that has a hard time walking around the house unless there is a throw rug for him to use. Figure the odds that he’ll walk on a sheet of ice voluntarily. Consequently, there is no photo.

Before Christmas I attended an art class with our daughter, Jennifer, who is the crafty one in the family. This was the first time I’ve done something like this so it was an experience to remember. First off, I was the only male participant and I had to ask permission to participate. I didn’t really, but thought it would be prudent to do so. Thankfully, I knew a few of the ladies so it wasn’t difficult. One of the knowns to me was Kristen, Daniel’s sister. Daniel, for those who don’t know, is my son’s brother-in-law.

Kristen’s Mom and Grandma were also there, I believe, but didn’t get their photo.

As you can see, we all did an acrylic painting of a bear of some kind that wears clothing. Mine wasn’t too bad if you didn’t get too close to it. The farther away the better.

Jennifer did a much better job.

Pretty much all of the class.

The class was conducted in the Running Dog Brewery which is located next to the old Fat Boy’s Pizza in downtown St. Helens, and about 3-4 doors up from Jillian’s, the 2nd hand clothing store that was used as the Seattle store where Bella went shopping for a prom dress in the vampire movie Twilight. Considering that the beer flowed continuously throughout the painting experience, you’d think it would have been pretty noisy and the paintings might have been a bit interesting. It was true for both of those presumptions but I wasn’t allowed to capture any proof. I was going to do it anyway, but they outnumbered me about 20-1 so didn’t see the benefit of risking precious body parts to a potentially vicious mob of enraged women.

Actually, I really don’t think anyone would have minded but I just figured not doing so was a better choice. Everyone was having a great time, even me.

Our church choir practiced many times to prepare for our traditional Christmas Eve 11:00 pm service, and the last one was on December 20th, Diane’s birthday. Jennifer arranged for a fancy cake and we had a party at the church.

Since Diane and I are advanced in age, we had Christmas dinner a day early at our house so we wouldn’t have a need to be in traffic with all those other folks. Jeff and the Littles, Gilligan, Baylee, and Jerrie, were in attendance, as well as the entire Walters clan, except for Cedric. There was a short period of time where it appeared that Daniel and Jeran might go get Cedric but the weather had already turned bad and the roads were terrible. So, they returned to base.

Cedric will be home on leave today (the 29th) and we’ll be celebrating Christmas again with him, tomorrow, at the Walters’ home.

Almost lastly, here’s my new favorite coffee cup that Lydia got me …

She knows me so well.

Finally, if anyone is in the market for a nice vehicle, this one is for sale. We’ve had our fun, but can’t tow it behind the RV except on a trailer. It’s replacement will probably be a 2015 Chevy Malibu.

Happy New Year to everyone. Make it a safe one.