Getting Older & Losing my Mind

It’s been a while since I’ve been here so please have patience with me as i teach my old arthritic fingers to flitter around on my keyboard like they used to. Yeah, they actually flittered. So fast, sometimes, that they had no clue what they were doing. Those are the posts I should have edited, but didn’t.

Let’s see what I can remember since March 16th …

Hmmmmmmm. Apparently not much … I’ve been sitting here for about 15 minutes wracking my shriveling brain and staring at my calendar for clues but nothing is happening. That leads me to believe that one of two things has happened: 1) My short term memory has finally bit the dust completely, or; 2) Absolutely nothing happened.

Since #2 is unlikely, I’ll go with #1 which opens up a wide range of possibilities since I can just make stuff up, not caring about whether or not what I’m sharing is true. That being said, let’s pretend I know what I’m doing here…

Yesterday was an astoundingly beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest. So beautiful that I was compelled to fire up my new-to-me lawnmower and see what kind of damage i could do to the grass that was growing wile pretty much everywhere. Actually, that was the second time I’ve mowed it since acquiring my new-to-me mower.

About that – it’s an X304 John Deere all wheel steering rig that was kind of freaky to drive the first time I used it. I got it from Diane’s Mom’s Sister whose Husband, Bill, recently passed away leaving the mower stranded in his garage. It needed attention which I was happy to give it.

Jeff helped me get it home by renting a trailer from Don’s Rental. I would have hauled it in my old pickup truck but it went to a new home where someone could take better care of it. So, you might say I’m pickupless. That could be a word. I’ve ordered a trailer hitch for the Equinox so I can drag a trailer around if necessary but it won’t be here until next week sometime.

I also ordered hitch a mounted motorcycle carrier to tote my scooter around. I believe I mentioned it previously. One of these days I’ll have a photo to share, but can’t find one right now that can be saved in this post. I don’t know why.

In reference to the title, it’s true. I’m reminded of both those events on a regular basis throughout my day. In my typical fashion, I ignore those little jabs because I’ve earned every one of them.

Today it was 70 degrees outside so I went out and tussled with our blackberry vines for a while. It seems to be a neighborhood thing now, kinda like a competition. Our neighbor is winning but they’re cheating by using a hedge trimmer. It’s an electric one. I’m going to get a Stihl gas-powered one tomorrow. That will surely show them.

Just finished watching Gonzaga squeek by the UCLA Bruins in the 2nd game of the final four. What a game it was. I normally cheer for the Zags but no matter who won it, it would be a west coast team. I’ve followed the lady basketballers, too, and the west coast did well. Actually, the Pac-12 did well because the two teams playing for the championship (Arizona & Stanford) are Pac-12 teams. Pretty snazzy.

Now I must go find a squeegie and scrap the dried sweat off my body so I don’t mess up the sheets. It’s time for bed.

“Camping at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park”

Here we are, tethered to slot #8 at the Umpqua Lighthouse State Park campground. Finally!

This is a park Diane has been wanting to visit for a long time but circumstances didn’t work out until recently. She was a little giddy when she made the reservations. It’s really good to see her so happy like that. Makes me happy, too.

Getting here was an unexpected challenge that nearly destroyed our RV and the tow car and it was all because of our decision to take the road less travelled. The reason for that, we discovered, was because it was pretty narrow in spots making it difficult to keep the rig in the lane without going over the center line. Early on, during this route, the right front wheel leaned a little too far right, going over the white line designating the bike lane, you’d think, but it was only about 6″ wide. Consequently, the tire made it all the way off the asphalt, causing a lot of jittering and a bit of fear as I worked to get it back on the road. Which I did. Diane was in the back cooking something, I think, or getting something from the fridge, so wasn’t looking out the windshield to see what was going on. That was a good thing. She would have absolutely freaked out! Really! I can say that with confidence because she was in the navigator’s chair the next time it happened and she was praising Jesus to save us all.

The same kind of thing happened but the bike lane wasn’t even 6″ wide as the asphalt terminated at the outer edge of the white line. So, technically, there was no bike lane at all. It was just a white line, then nothing. This particular event happened as the road curved to the right a little with traffic coming at me from every which direction. The right front made it off the road, then the right back tire went off, then the tow car went entirely into the ditch. I learned that from the guy who was behind us watching the entire show.

I felt the car pull the RV’s back end around about the time I got the front wheels on the asphalt then the RV’s back tires miraculously also grabbed a little asphalt giving me some traction to work with. At that time I was heading across the road with my front wheels turned to the right, then the car must have left the ditch and started the old wobbly back and forth that I’ve experienced before which seems to be a “thing” with the Equinox.

I was able to get the RV back into my lane while slowing down as much as possible. By this time I was probably going about 15 mph, but all that stuff going on behind me made it all pretty exciting.

I got the wobbly to stop, turned a corner onto a major road then pulled over and stopped to see what the damage was. At this time I was still unaware that the tow car had been in the ditch. The guy behind me also pulled over and stopped in front of me and told me he thought the car was going to roll over as it was entirely in the ditch and he wasn’t really sure how I managed to get it all back together.

The entire event probably took 15 seconds, start to stop, and Diane was making sure Jesus was paying attention. I’m pretty sure he was because other than a little mud splattered all over Diane’s white car, there was no apparent damage. So, we buckled up and continued on our way. There were no more experiences like that for the remainder of the trip.

Then we exited Highway 101 in Winchester Bay following the GPS directions, looking for Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. The GPS took us past at least 7 nice RV parks and led us out into the middle of a parking lot where folks who ride quads in the sand gather to unload their equipment. There was no park in site. Just this huge parking lot surrounded by sand. I found a gentleman and asked for directions which his wife gave as she knew what we were looking for. All we had to do was go back the way we came and go past the first 3 campgrounds and turn right on Lighthouse Road. We did that and drove past the Umpqua lighthouse, around a few corners then back out to Highway 101. Nowhere was there any evidence of a campground. So, we went around again and stopped in the parking lot near the lighthouse and I walked back to what appeared to be an occupied 5th wheel nearby.

I knocked on their door and caused a dog to light up the surrounding area with a serious round of barking. Finally, the door was opened and I explained my dilemma. The lady of the house ensured me that we were very close to our destination then gave me some very detailed directions on how to get there.

Without going into more detail, we were able to reach our objective and get connected to power and water before darkness claimed the day. For once in my life I was thankful for daylight saving time. We would have never found this place in the dark.

The problem is, you see, that the GPS made us turn on the wrong road, leading us around to the back of the park. Then, going up Lighthouse Road from where we were wasn’t useful because the sign for the park can only be seen coming from the other direction. Pretty handy, right?

We got settled, had dinner, read our books for a while, went to bed and I slept for almost 9 hours. That’s totally unlike my bladder to allow me to do that. I was amazed. Pleased, but amazed.

Then I went outside to have another look at the car. Although it started pouring rain about the time we settled down, the car was still dirty. But, all the parts seemed to be there and nothing was dented.

After breakfast we decided to take a ride and check out our surroundings. Shortly into the trip it was obvious that things were different as there was an odd odor creeping into the car, and something was dragging on the pavement. A quick look under the hood solve the odor – it was debris from the ditch that had been tossed all over the engine that was being heated by the engine. The item dragging on the pavement was a piece of the right front fender well that had come unsnapped from whatever kept it in place. Not in the mood to give it a lot of attention, I just bent it up away from the road and called it good.

The scraping sound went away and after about 10 miles so did the odor.

Considering all of the possibilities for what could have happened to us we could only look at each other and know, for sure, that we were blessed. Apparently we both have more to do in this world and apparently we’ll need the RV and tow car to do it.

Thank you Jesus!

Ziva the Dog – 2006-2021

Ziva was a terrific dog. We rescued her from a shelter in St. Helens. Almost her entire first year of life was spent in that facility and she was on a short list for transfer to another shelter that would dispose of her.

Prompting my introduction to Ziva was the loss of our little Poodle, Ziggy, at the age of 18. Not long after Ziggy’s departure, Diane had a lapse in good judgement and paid a visit to the shelter just to see the animals. Just looking. Then she came home and insisted that we go back so she could introduce me to this wonderful dog. She said the dog was looking away from the barrier, but tipped her head way back to look at her as she walked by. This got Diane’s attention. I’m sure the dog had been using this ploy for a long time but Diane was the first who fell for it, all the way.

When we got to the shelter Diane led me to the proper cage and I was immediately with her 100%. I went into the cage, sat on the floor, and the dog who became Ziva came to me a laid down in my lap. That did it for me. We did all the paper work and took her home. On the way she became Ziva on that trip. The name was a tip of our hats to the Ziva David character on NCIS, one of our favorite TV shows. One of the main requirements was that her name had to have a Z in it. All of our pets’ names have a Z in them. The first was Ziggy. It continued with Ziva, Panzee, Breezie, and Ozzie. We lost Panzee in 2018 but Breezie and Ozzie are still with us. Breezie is a cat with an unknown age and Ozzie is also 15 now, but he’s a poodle and will be with us a long time.

At her first vet visit we asked Dr. Middle what kind of dog she was because the people at the shelter didn’t know. He said she looked like a cross between a Catahoula Leopard Dog and a Blue Heeler. Whatever her heritage might have been, we loved all of it.

She had one last walk in the snow, something she enjoyed, though it might not look like it here.

…and she left her mark at home and in our hearts.

Peace to you all, and stay safe.

Be Safe

So, since wearing a mask is mandatory for everyone, does that mean someone who plans to rob someone, shouldn’t? It only seems reasonable. All they’d have to do is just pull it down, accomplish the robbery, then pull the mask back up and blend into the crowds.

The world we once knew has changed. “Normal” has an entirely different look than it did just over a year ago. The big change, in addition to lots of people dying from the pandemic, is the need to wear a mask. My opinion is that had everyone heeded that need early on, many of those we lost could have been saved. That’s water under the bridge, never to be seen again, so we move forward with what we’ve got.

About that enormous “S” at the beginning … when I started this a few days ago I didn’t have a plan so decided to fiddle with ‘settings’ and found the setting that does that. Now that I kinda have a plan I thought it might be a distraction, and should turn it off. I’ll be darned, however, that I cannot figure out how I did that. So, we’ll all just have to deal with it.

You might be happy to know that I’ve received both of my COVID shots. Yup. The VA took care of me. Diane was a little bummed that she wasn’t able to get hers right away and worked very hard researching to find out where to register and where to go. She finally obtained a reservation at the Portland Convention Center for last Friday. That’s the day I got my second shot. She was absolutely giddy about getting her first shot, as was I. She will get her second shot on February 26th. That will be another giddy day for both of us.

Second shots, I learned, are noticeably different than the first. I found myself ricocheting off hall walls while getting from one place to another, and tripping over throw rugs because my feet didn’t see the need to rise up a little higher to compensate for the height increase from the wood floor. Consequently, I’ve taken over, when I remember, and force the issue by helping with the lift. It works most of the time. So far I’ve been able to remain vertical but the danger still lurks out there that the next one could be my downfall. Pun intended.

After a couple of days of snow a week or so ago, our weather turned quite balmy causing our lawn to start growing again, thinking winter was over. Not wanting to put my new lawnmower at risk of getting dirty too early in the season, we borrowed the neighbor’s mower. It worked nicely because the grass is always greener in our yard. Her name is Betty. We could have used a couple of goats, too, but they aren’t nice to Betty. So, she works alone.

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For a change of pace, instead of opting for chalupas and tacos from Taco Bell, Diane made a heaping pot of her famous beef stew a couple of days ago. When I said heaping, I wasn’t kidding. It was full to the tippy top. Here’s proof. It’s the best she ever made which was not a surprise since I had a hand in making it. I cut up all the potatoes, carrots, and meat so it would fit in the pan. All she did was make an incredible broth. Makes me want some now.

Everyone really liked it but, thankfully, there was more than enough for seconds and enough for repeats on following days. That’s my supper. I just decided.

I may have mentioned in a previous post that breakfast burritos have become something of a ‘thing’ with me. They seem to be popular with those with whom I dwell, so I make them just for fun, not just for me. They are dreadfully simple to make … just a few small peppers, green onions, frozen O’brien hashbrowns, bacon and/or sausage and eggs.

To start, I get the bacon and instead of cooking whole slices, I slice a bunch of pieces off the end of the slab and toss them in a pan. Well, I ‘put’ them in a pan. Tossing proved to be a challenge and made a mess on which Diane frowned. The pieces come apart when they heat up and start skizzeling which is handy. When they get to the right shade of ‘done’ I add a bunch of O’brien’s and let them thaw out a bit while I cut up the peppers and onions.

I’ve learned to ensure I removed all the tiny little pepper seeds before cooking because they are rock hard and not friendly on my teeth. After slicing up a random number of them, I cut the roots off the green onions, cut them up and add them to the mix. It all goes into the pan with the hashbrowns.

While things are heating up I crack a bunch of eggs and set them aside until all the veggies are the right color and firmness. Then I dump them in the pan, too. I don’t mix them up first because I kinda like the way they look all perched up on top of the vegetables awaiting their demise. After enjoying that little bit of drama, I start mixing and rolling everything together and keep that up until nothing is recognizable and nothing is shiny. Shiny means the eggs aren’t quite done yet.

Then I turn the burner off and break out the tortillas.

Somewhere during this process words gets around that Grandpa is cooking again and people show up. Thankfully, I get first dibs.

It makes me happy to know I have a skill that’s useful.

Maybe I should take pictures of the process. Might make more sense. Instead, I’ll leave you with this one.

Because of the mask mandate, I was able to enjoy the smell of green onions for a trip to Portland and back before Diane discovered what I’d done.

What fun.

My main message here is captured with the big letters at the beginning.

Cheers

Errands, a Vaccination, & Pork Chops

I’ve been in a bit of a daze over the last eleven days since my last post. Some of you may think that’s normal for me, and perhaps you’re correct. I readily admit that my thoughts are easily scattered making it difficult for me to distinguish fact and fiction. Since fiction is my favorite form of reading material I tend to lean heavily in the direction. Continuing with the scattered theme, that’s kinda what this post will be about.

The other day I was summoned to Daniel & Jennifer’s home to pick up some documents that needed to be scanned and some mail Jennifer wished me to mail. Oh, and deliver her water bill to the appropriate box at the water department.

When I arrived to accomplish these things, Jennifer took my photo.

She thought she’d have it to share with her friends to show them what a goofball I am. What she didn’t know was that I wound up at her door in this manner because her Mother expressly forbid me to leave the house looking like this. I admit I was flirting with danger doing this, but it’s tough for me to back away from a challenge like that. Plus, I had strong notions about going to Walmart while I was out. On the trip, however, I re-evaluated that course of action because it was daylight and it’s my understanding that people don’t usually go to Walmart dressed like this during the day. It’s evening garb. I could be wrong about that, but figured not going was erring on the side of caution.

I’ve been talking with Cedric a lot via email lately and that’s fun. He’s stationed aboard the USS Nimitz (CVN-68), in case I haven’t mentioned that early. The ship has been deployed for almost a year now. That’s a long time at sea. With the COVID pandemic they don’t get port visits like a normal WESTPAC cruise. That, and with Iran playing games with missiles, the ship is always on alert. Just recently Iran planted one in the ocean abour a 100 miles from the Nimitz, just to say “Hi!”

Cedric is weathering the cruise nicely and is looking forward to getting back Stateside. He will be discharged not long after they return.

Today was a banner day for me. Diane drove me to the VA Hospital so I could get my 1st COVID vaccination shot. I made the appointment online and it was a very simple process. Here’s the shirt I wore…

The nurses all wanted one. Since I got it from Daniel, my son-in-law, I gave them all his email address and phone number so he could help them. Actually, that’s a lie. I didn’t do that, but it might have been fun to see how many of them would have called or emailed him. But I didn’t. Honest.

I spent a total of 25 minutes in the hospital rom the time I checked in to the auditorium until I left the building. That included filling out a form, getting the shot, then sitting in a chair for 15 minutes to see if I could do it without falling on the floor.

The nurse was great. Didn’t get her name so I’ll call her Ruby. That’s a fun name. The first thing I asked her was if the needle was really as huge as the ones the news has been showing us for weeks now. They just looked overly large, and they always showed the nurse pushing it into someone’s are really slow. Ruby and I talked about that a little bit and she assured me the needle was normal size and she would be quick about it. She even let me take a photo of her in action …

I found Diane parked pretty close to the front door and we had a nice ride home. When we got there., I fried up some pork chops for lunch …

They were really good. I marinated them in some Yoshidas teriyaki stuff that I found in the cupboard. It was brand new, never opened, and had an expiration date of October 2018. Looked good to me. Tasted good, too.

Now, many hours after the shot, my arm is really sore. I’m not sure if it’s all because of the shot, or partially because Diane had me help her scrub the little black dog. That, my friends, is a risky job. He’s pretty blind and isn’t really fond of water so his goes on high alert to protect himself and gets quite aggressive. Thankfully, I have some heavy duty leather gloves to wear during this evolution. I hold him while Diane does the scrubbing. It only took about an hour.

Now I’m going to go sit with Diane and watch news for a while.

Stay safe out there and don’t neglect to get your shot when given the opportunity.

Dazed & Confused

I don’t know where to start with this today. So much has been happening that my mind is frizzled just a bit in an effort to make sense of events.

First: The new windows we had installed earlier in the week work great. We removed the Anderson windows that were installed in 1957, which were nice but not very good with insulation, and replaced them with brand new 2020 double pane Anderson windows. Not only is the insulation noticeably better, the windows help with dimming down outside noise. That was unexpected, but it makes sense. So, life is good. Now all I have to do is save up enough money to buy enough lumber to trim all the windows. Diane want it to be oak and my first rough estimate is I need about 325 board feet to get it done. I will measure again just to make sure, of course. Diane insists. This shouldn’t take me much more than a year and a half, give or take a few months either way.

Second: COVID has involved itself with our lives. Our granddaughter tested positive about a week ago. She recently turned 21 so I accused her, kiddingly, that she shouldn’t have been hanging out at all those bars. She wasn’t and I knew that. She knew I knew it, too. Her symptoms are mild but still it’s not anything to trifle with so we will remain concerned for now. Also in the family, our daughter, Jennifer and hubby Daniel, are fostering Daniel’s great nephew who was recently diagnosed with COVID. He’s only 8-months-old. Everyone else in the family tested negative. Diane and I don’t count because we’re old and don’t go anywhere. We’re very good sequesterers. Professional, you might say, and we’re just fine with that.

Third: How about that mini-Revolution we had yesterday. Diane and I watched the events as they unfolded and were astounded that only one person was shot. What a mess. I won’t expound on this because I avoid political issues on this forum. I have opinions, of course, but I’m pretty sure none of you want to ‘hear’ about them.

Fourth: I had an “in person” eye appointment at the VA hospital with a nice young lady named Jahaila. She’s working at the VA as an intern and will graduate in May as a real deal Doctor. I enjoyed my visit and look forward to getting my new glasses in a few weeks. I think the glasses are made in Boise, last I heard, and they have a heavy workload, hence the delay. I think the glasses are delivered to our local post office by two guys on a tandem bicycle who’s sole purpose in life is to deliver glasses for the VA. For safety, they only travel backroads, never on freeways. In towns they are allowed to ride on the sidewalks because the guy in the back is legally blind. Since he isn’t steering, that’s OK. He’s really only there to pedal, really hard, and isn’t in any way responsible for anything they run over, or into, during their delivery trips. They’ve been doing this for many years now so they must really be careful.

This is the view from the 8th floor elevator lobby of the Portland VA Hospital.

Fifth: Diane’s Mom’s light over her sink burned out so I replaced it after we got back from the VA. Putting in a new bulb didn’t fix it so I got out my trusty multi meter and didn’t learn a thing that would lead to a solution. So, I called my friend, Doug, who used to be a professional electrician for some insight. He tells me that his knowledge of codes terminates around 2010 so he limits his involvement with the understanding that anything he shares isn’t useful with regard to current codes. We kibutzed a bit and he managed to lead me in a direction that will probably allow me to resolve the problem on my own. Tomorrow will tell the tail. All I have to do is remember what he told me. It would be easier with notes but he stresses the importance of not taking notes during our visits because something could go wrong which could result in a visit from the police. I understand his concern, so there are no notes. Just my faulty memory. We’ll see how that goes.

Now it’s time for me to stop all activity for the day and go sit with Diane to make sure she doesn’t watch too many shows about renovating houses. They leave her giddy with possibilities about our home. Thankfully, we live a long way from Waco so we can’t feasibly engage Chip and Joann to fix our house. It would be nice, though. Wouldn’t it be funny if they read this and decided to come visit? I’ll be sure to let you know if that happens. Honest, I will.

Now I must stop and report that a lot of what you just read is false. I can’t help myself.

G’nite.

It’s 2021

I know, I’m a few days late with that greeting, but it was something I had to “say”. Had it not been for all the news about COVID-19 and Trump’s disappointment with the voting public and those who count votes, I would have done this sooner. Maybe even on time. I was, however, afraid that I would be swayed by the news and relate something I would later regret.

Having said that, I’ll probably share something I will regret anyway. It seems to be a “thing” with me.

We survived both Christmas and New Years’ celebrations with no ill effects. Didn’t attend any parties so have no concerns about coming down with COVID-19. Both Diane and I are perfectly happy just sitting in our recliners and watching one Hallmark movie after another. We still have about 30 Hallmark Christmas movies to watch before we can resume regular programing, whatever that might be. We watch a lot of HGTV programs of people renovating homes, turning some pretty rugged houses into things of beauty. Those programs used to concern me because I feared I might have to compete with those people by doing something fabulous with our home, but Diane’s apparently OK with little tasks as long as she doesn’t have to remind me to do them more than 6-7 times.

My most current projects along those lines is in the bathroom. The toilet leaked a bit into the basement (my shop area) causing a bit of a problem so Jeff and I got busy with a plan to fix it. It was evident that the wax ring was compromised so we quit using it, pulled the toilet up, and put it in the shower. Not an optimal place for a toilet, but it got it out of the way. Doing this meant the shower wasn’t available until the toilet was back in place.

Once the toilet was removed we learned that the underlayment would have to be replaced as it was also compromised. That’s code for the underlayment was waterlogged and coming apart in places. So, we ripped it out and burned it. Jeff visited the lumber yard and brought home some replacement wood which we cut to fit, then cut it in half so we could get it through the door. Putting it together was easy and it’s perfectly flush.once it was down I stuck a new wax ring to the bottom of the toilet and put the toilet back in position and bolted it down to give it a test flush.

Heather was in the basement when I flushed it and I figured from her first yell that the wax ring wasn’t tall enough. I got a little more water in the basement but it was OK. Just cleaned things out a little because it was uncontaminated water. I wasn’t too concerned about the water in the basement but Heather got pretty excited about it. In the Navy I always called events like that a “Sphincter Check”. Not know the cause of the concern makes a person tighten up every sphincter they own. It’s a good test to make sure they all work. Her’s did fine.

Jeff got us a waxless ring that worked just great. It stuck up above the floor enough to make contact with the toilet and it doesn’t leak even one drop. Nifty thing, that waxless ring is.

Knowing it wasn’t going to leak put us in a position to cut the piece of linoleum Diane bought to replace the piece we removed. The new piece had to be a single piece, not peal and stick because in my experience those things never stray together. They always shrink away from each other leaving lots of cracks for dirt to collect.

As luck would have it, I had a gallon of linoleum adhesive in the basement that had never been opened. We bought it 7-8 years ago for another linoleum project we did. Apparently we bought too much which proved to be OK since we didn’t have to go to Home Depot, or Lowe’s for more. It was perfectly OK. Turns out if you get it on hairy parts of your body, and don’t wash it right away, it’s takes a long time to go away. And, it’s very sticky to the point where you can easily pick up a hammer if you mistakenly lay your arm across it not knowing the part of your arm you rarely look at has been contaminated. Now, you don’t have to get it on hairy body parts to do the hammer trick, but the hair just makes it more interesting to get it off. Taking a shower doesn’t do it. I had it all over my arms and was concerned about messing up the bed when it came time to use it. The solution was for me to put on a long-sleeved shirt and have Diane compress the material all around my forearms so it stuck to the adhesive. The next morning I just wore that shirt to work in, dreading the entire day knowing that I’d have to remove it at some point. It’s quite a distraction.

My concern was not validated by a struggle to remove the shirt as it came off pretty easy and I was able to scrub off what was left on my arms using a very stiff brush doused in Dawn dish soap.

The toilet has been in use, without mishap, for about a week. I still need to install the baseboard trim but I’m stalling on that until I get my new(ly refurbished) miter saw from China. I have a Craftsman miter saw that might work but I only have just the right amount of baseboard and don’t want to wreck it with that saw. I cannot tighten the base in place to prevent a wandering blade and the part I need is no longer available for purchase. I tried fixing it with some of that floor adhesive and it may have worked but I’m still hesitant to commit. It’s an old saw, so I’ll wait for the replacement.

This morning the Renewal by Anderson installers showed up with nine new windows for us. That’s another reason I need the new saw because I committed to install all the interior trim for those windows. I just learned about that. It’s OK because I was in need of a serious challenge at this stage in my life. Should be fun.

Now I’m going to stop but I’ll leave you with another photo of Mt. Hood. Took it yesterday. It never gets old.

Cheers

Diane, my bride …

Tomorrow Diane will be 74-years-old for the first time in this life. She has devoted all but 22 of those years to the feeding and caring of me. I’m profoundly grateful that she’s done that and do my best to reciprocate but, sadly, I know I fall short most of the time. Still, I try.

Her one wish to celebrate this event was to have lunch at Norma’s Seafood & Steak in Seaside. So, that’s where we went yesterday. It’s just an 83 mile jaunt to get there, but that’s OK because she drove. I never drive when we go places unless the weather is incredibly bad.

It was supposed to rain a lot yesterday but God helped the celebration by holding off until the day was done. We had clear sailing all the way and, thankfully, pretty much everyone else stayed home like they were supposed to. That made the drive very relaxing for both of us.

We were pretty hungry when we got to Norma’s and were only a little upset that they weren’t allowed to have inside dinners. They did have take out, though, so we placed our orders knowing exactly where we would go to eat.

That would be at the southern end of Seaside Beach, where all the seagulls go for fun. If you want to look it up on Google Maps go to Seaside OR and change the view to Satellite and find Sunset Blvd. There’s a small stretch of the blvd where you can park and watch the ocean. In the summer there are always lots of surfers doing their best to dodge the occasional shark. Just a few days ago a shark caught one of them. The surfboard was DOA but the surfer only suffered a few puncture wounds.

If, after browsing Google Maps, you can return here and see what we saw …

This is the view from the car looking north. You can see some of the residents scrambling to get a good seat in case something fell out of the car that needed their attention.

This was the view through the windshield. It wasn’t raining, but the wind was blowing making it more than a little chilly. Beside, we had food in our laps that needed our attention.

Diane got the 4-piece halibut fish and chips and I got the crab salad. Mine was a step down from crab louie – it didn’t have a boiled egg or tomatoes, just lots of crab and lettuce. I also had a cup of Norma’s chowder. So far hers is my favorite of all the places we’ve eaten on the Pacific Coast.

I’m sorry I failed to capture a photo of our eating arrangements. All I got was one of a local citizen who chose to keep an eye on us in case we needed anything, or if we came across something we didn’t want …

He looks like a Nigel. He never looked directly at us with both eyes but we knew he never missed a move, and he got really excited when Diane rolled down the windows a bit so we could enjoy the sound of the ocean.

After lunch we made our way north along Highway 101 to Astoria. On the way we stopped at Costco to get a few essentials. That stop brought the cost of Diane’s lunch trip up to around $400. That’s not a complaint, just a casual observation. We absolutely needed everything we bought, especially the toilet paper. Really, we did.

While at Costco this caught my eye …

… I couldn’t get my head wrapped around the picture of a beef patty in a field eating grass. Still can’t. However, now that I’ve shared it with you, I can let it go and reclaim that memory space for something equally confusing. Thank you.

From Costco we stopped at the Warrenton DQ for dessert. Diane wanted a slushi but the slushi machine was broken so she settled for root beer. I got my standard chocolate malt. That’s pretty much the only thing I ever get when we visit DQ. I love those things!

My malt was all gone by the time we got through Astoria. From there it was a relaxing drive home, past all the familiar places we’ve seen a hundred times before. It never gets dull.

The rain held off until just before we got to St. Helens. This ensured I would get wet because Diane makes me get out of the car before she parks in the garage. Thankfully I only got a little bit wet so it was OK. It would have been OK had I been drenched, too.

Diane and I both agreed that it was a really good day. But, isn’t any day at the beach a good day? Yes, it is.

I hope you are all well and staying safe.

Wear you mask everywhere whether or not you think they work.

The Other Day …

The above sunrise was provided to me on 12/07. What a gift. Totally unexpected. This is the time of year when the sun rises almost directly behind Mt. Hood. This view is about 30 minutes before the sun becomes visible, taking all the color away in a slow fade. I’m always amazed at how vivid the colors are before the transition to various shades of gray on a blue background. Or, more often, various shades of gray everywhere. So, the early morning color is special and I’m happy I can share it with you.

I know, Hawaii has sunrises and sunsets equally stunning, but over there it’s a “ho hum” event. Happens all the time. Here in the Great Northwest it seems to be a little more special.

The day of this sunrise, Diane bowed to my wishes and gave me a haircut. I offered the job to all of the kids but they declined. Before she started, I asked her to “make me look like Jim.” I sat down to watch TV and took a picture for you …

How did she do?

The head band, by the way, is used to keep the hair out of my eyes while I work. It doesn’t get used much because I don’t work much. It’ll be more useful if my hair grows back.

Speaking of work … Jeff and I did some work in the master bathroom recently to fix a leak that just sprang up out of nowhere. Actually, it sprang down into the basement. It was the toilet, but it was clean water causing the problem. That work is still in progress because we had to replace some of the underlayment which involved shopping, measuring, and cutting of wood. Diane found the linoleum at the Restore Store for $8. It’s been a fun project but is taking far too long for Diane’s liking. She watches a lot of HGTV shows where those guys do a simple little job like this in a couple of hours which just isn’t in the cards for us. There is a lot of learning involved for us to do the same thing in 2 weeks.

During this process Jeff commented to his Mom that he and I worked together all day and didn’t fight even one time. We’ve both learned tolerance, I guess. I think we both enjoy working together now. Before it was a battle of wills as to who knew what and how things should be done. Now it’s all about me just stepping out of the way while he lifts all the heavy stuff and makes decisions. I’ve learned that if his decisions are bad ones, I’m in the clear because I didn’t do it. So far he’s been making really good decisions.

The toilet job involved removing and replacing wood, and making a template for the sheet linoleum to ensure it’s semi-straight. It’s to the point now where I need to remove all dust from the surface so I can put down the adhesive and pin the linoleum down forever. Then I’ll have to procure some baseboard and shoe molding to finish it.

Going slow has revealed that doing so results in a safer work environment and I don’t bleed nearly as often. Lately, I’ve only bled a little when I bump my hand on something. my skin is so thin that it’s pretty easy for me to breach my water-proof barrier. They are easily sealed with a small piece of duct tape.

Gonna quit, now, and get that floor finished.

Communion

It might surprise many of you to learn that I help our Pastor with communion on Sundays once in a while. Yesterday was one of those times.

It’s not a difficult task, and I enjoy helping. All I do is hold a tray of pre-filled communion cups and, due to COVID, Pastor passes out the bread with a small set of plastic tongs. A clean, simple process, right? Yes, it is.

When I join Pastor in the altar area she serves me first, then we go to the front of the church and serve the congregants as they file past us.

When that’s done we return to the altar where it’s my turn to serve Pastor. I didn’t even make it past the bread before disaster struck when I picked up a piece of bread for her and those tiny little plastic tongs snapped right in half. As you might suspect, the sanctuary was very silent so when the snapping tongs was quite profound. No one really knew what caused it because I was able to complete the transfer without dropping anything.

I gently put the broken tong parts in my pocket and served Pastor the wine, completing the process. Then, when I put the tray on the altar I loudly clanged the tray lid on the tray. So, I batted 1000, but it was OK. I got the job done and actually didn’t spill, or drop anything. I just made a lot of noise and everyone got to take home a story to share that begins with, “Guess what Jerrie did today…”

Now I need to find replacements before next Sunday. I’m thinking chopsticks.

Peace to you all.