The Betty Cat is Back

So, there I was, next to the garage, digging a ditch to drain the water out of the driveway, when Diane came out to make sure I was really working, and she looked up and said, “There she is!” Following her line of sight I saw the Betty Cat in our neighbor’s garage window. She’s been gone a week, but I’m sure she hasn’t been trapped in their garage for that long because they go somewhere every day. So, I suspect we were just being shunned for a while. Anyway, Diane’s happy because the last time she saw the Betty Cat was just before it got all stormy and she wanted in pretty badly. But, we made her stay outside. So, we both thought, perhaps, a coyote snacked her up. That’s a pretty common thing around here. Cats go missing all the time. But, she came back for a visit.

After making sure I was still working, Diane took Ziva to the vet to see what’s going on with the area around her tail. Ziva’s tail, not Diane’s. Ziva worries it all the time and has managed to remove some of the hair and make little scabby patches on her skin. Doc said she had allergic dermatitis. Probably from a flea. She said it only takes one flea bite on some animals. Ziva doesn’t have fleas so it must have been a visiting flea from some other country. They are not allowed in our house, so she must have encountered it in the back yard as the flea was passing through. Who knows? Certainly not me.

Diane went to visit her Mom, Jean, a while ago and has since returned. When she got back she decided we needed a pizza for dinner so she went back to Papa Murphey’s to get one. We really like Papa Murphey’s. She’s since returned from that trip, too. As a matter of fact, the pizza just finished cooking while we were on the porch watching a spectacular thunder storm. Lightening abounds. I tried getting a picture but my camera isn’t fast enough to do that. So, I’ll just share a picture I found on Bing…

That’s actually the picture of a lightening strike in Oregon that I could have easily took had my camera been of a better quality. But it isn’t, so I couldn’t. But, what we watched was pretty much like this. The storm didn’t last very long but it was pretty dramatic. It provided Diane a chance to ensure the ditch she made me dig worked adequately. I was pleased that it did, otherwise I would have had to go outside in the cold rain to fix it.

While Diane and Ziva were at the vet, I left the door open so the Betty Cat could enter if she wished. She did and it made Ozzie run around in circles like a … well, like a little poodle on speed. He does that a lot. Spin in circles. We think he does it when he’s happy, or excited, or needs to go outside. We’re not quite sure which it is, but he, and the big dogs, know what “Outside” means. At that word they all head for the door and Ozzie starts spinning in circles, barking with his annoying little voice.

The cat went in and out, like all cats do, and we decided she’s an outdoor cat because that’s where she appears to be most comfortable. She did come in for a while, however, and sat in my lap long enough to make Ziva a little jealous. So, Ziva jabbed her nose at the cat, daring her to do something about it, and she did. She whacked Ziva on the nose about six times in a matter of milliseconds. She’s fast. The problem was, being in my lap and all, created a situation where the cat had to secure herself in case she had to attack. meaning that her other three feet had to dig in, if you know what I mean. The end result of all that excitement was about a 3 inch gash on my right foot, which I happened to have in the chair with me. It bled severely. Sadly, the camera was too far away for me to get it before Diane covered it with bandages. It took three large ones. And it hurt, a lot.

Now it’s late and time for bed so I must quit. But, I’m in the process of printing out our church’s newsletter, which I’m forced to create each month, and can’t stop until it’s done. I would have done it earlier, but Diane made me eat pizza and watch TV with her instead. So, I’m running a little late. Actually, she didn’t make me watch TV with her. I made that up.

Tomorrow I’ll take a picture of my cat wound after the bandaids fall off in the shower. I’m sure you’ll be impressed to learn, after you see it, that I did not cry. Not once. But, I did reintroduce the cat to the porch. We were both happy about that.

Now I’m really quitting.

What Happened on March 29th?

Thursday. Hmmmm. There is no memory of this day, yet, so I must have been unconscious all day long. Perhaps something will come to me as I scribble. If not, I’ll ask Diane because she remembers pretty much everything, especially if it’s something I screw up. Earlier today she told me that I had to start being nice to her in my blog entries, and I said if I did that I’d just have to stop writing it. She said, “No, you can’t stop,” so I’m torn as to what to write about. “Literary abuse” is the ultimate form of flattery from my point of view. That, and If I only dwelled on the really nice things she does, I’d never have enough words to document them. Or time.

I see the Idaho Cate’s summarily ripped down the tree next to their house that’s been growing there since about 1776. When we visited there, just last week, Jim mentioned that he was having it removed. He was illusive about why but I’m pretty sure his rake broke and he’s tired of picking up the leaves one at a time. So, it was either buy a new rake, or cut down the offending tree. I do not know when that happened which causes me concern because I dread sharing things about which I do not have all the correct information. That rule does not apply, however, to the things I fabricate. Since most of the stuff I share is fabricated, I guess there really is no rule. So, I’ll just tell you the tree was cut down last Tuesday. If that’s incorrect, I suspect someone will dispute it. If they don’t, it must be true.

Today Diane and I got up before the dogs for a change. I, for one, am tired of them deciding when it’s time for us to get out of bed. That, and we had to have me at the VA Medical Center in Hillsboro by 8:30 am. To do that required we leave the house by 7:00 am because it’s a work day and the weather was supposed to be horrendous this day. But, the traffic was light, and the weather wasn’t bad so it was an easy trip. These conditions caused us to arrive 45 minutes early so we visited a local Burger King for a breakfast sandwich. It took forever to get it, then they got Diane’s sandwich wrong twice in a row. We probably won’t visit that one again. It’s the one by Kohl’s on Cornelius Pass Road.

I checked in for my appointment at 8:15 am, learned the appointment was for 8:45 instead of 8:30, and we both read our books in the waiting room until 8:50 am at which time Diane departed to visit her favorite store for an hour or so. I was left alone … for over half an hour before they called me to my exam room. The Doc and I talked for a while, and she poked and prodded various parts of me, and determined that I should have physical therapy on my right leg and neck (that Jim broke). This physical therapy will take place at the main VA Hospital on “Pill Hill” in Portland. That’s the location where Portland’s huge cable car goes from the Willamette River. It’s pretty impressive. Here’s what it looks like pulling into the stop one morning at the top of the hill. This is from their web site because I couldn’t find the one I took.
The mountain in the middle is Mt. Hood, the one I take lots of pictures of throughout the year. I suspect you’ve seen a few of those. There was a lot of controversy when the tram was being proposed because it goes right over a whole bunch of houses and the residents were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to walk around naked in their back yards once the tram started because people wouldn’t be looking down on them all the time. So, the developers added a seat for a guard who ensures riders DO NOT look down during the ride. If they do, they are immediately ejected. If they don’t, they’re allowed to buy pictures, taken by the camera on the bottom of each car, at the end of the ride. I, personally, didn’t find the pictures intriguing, and thought the $48 price was a little high for only 8 pictures. I’ll never do that again. Diane said so.

After my appointment was over, about an hour later, I fiddled around for a bit, then called Diane that she could some get me whenever she wanted to. She was at Goodwill. She finally showed up and we motored home, picking up the motorhome on the way once we got to St. Helens. It started up just fine, something I was concerned about. Now it’s parked in the driveway, waiting for us to do more “things” to. It will have to sit there until the next storm passes that is reported to be the one that will put us over therecord for rain in March since 1957. I was in the seventh grade. It’s a vivid memory for me because that’s the year the 1957 Chevy Impala, the most beautiful car in the world, was built. This storm is going to drench us tomorrow.

I wore my new suspenders today. It’s nice that they match a variety of shirts Diane allows me to wear. Here’s what they look like …

Diane finds them to be much more fashionable that my yardstick suspenders. So, I’ll save the yellow ones for work only, and trips to ACE. They’re kinda hand for work because they are actually accurate for measuring things and if the measurements are a bit off I can stretch them a little to make up the difference. Pretty handy.

The above picture was just taken by my computer, without my prior knowledge, and shortly after I woke up from a nap to recover from my grueling day. Diane took a nap, too. The dogs didn’t nap quite as long as we did so, once again, they are dictating when I get up. Actually, Jennie did that because she called right at the end of my nap to see if we wanted to drive back to Cornelius with the family to see “Mirror Mirror”. I respectfully declined for us.

Now it’s 6:32 pm and time to seriously think about going out to kill something for supper. If I lived on a farm, that’s probably what I’d do. But, I don’t, so I won’t. Instead, I’ll forage in the freezer for something, or wait until Diane decides what I should eat. Maybe I’ll just have a PB&J and a glass of milk. I really like that.

Nothing came to mind regarding yesterday, so I can only presume that we just skipped Thursday for some reason. I’ll probably never know why.

Quitting now …

A Hard Day In The Laundry Room

It’s 6:00 pm and I’m tired. I’ve been working all day to clean up the laundry room to prepare it for a fine finish. It’s been the “way it was” since we moved in and Diane’s getting cranky about the way it’s situated and the fact that the doors on her dryer and washer won’t stay open. So, along that line, here’s what I actually accomplished today…

I leveled the washer and dryer so the doors stay open. Oh, and I move the washer next to the dryer, which was pretty easy to do since I ripped out the laundry tub that’s been between them all these years. I’ll be curious to see how stable they are when Diane runs the first load.

I forgot to mention that the day before yesterday I snaked out the floor drain that was filling up and running across the floor. So, it should be good to go. I’m sure all of this is just making all of you giddy with excitement, right? Right.

Looks like PC, the porch cat, decided to go somewhere else to live since we didn’t invite her in permanently. Haven’t seen her in about 4 days. So, we’re sad. We liked having a porch cat and she was friendly. Not your run of the mill feral cat. She’s probably a two-timer and actually already lives at someone else’s house and just came here for her winter vacation. Now that it’s spring, she’s gone home. A snowbird cat. Go figure.

This morning I thought I was going to shift all the plumbing and electrical connections to another wall in the laundry room so we went to ACE to get the necessary parts. First we went to the St. Helens store, which didn’t have enough 5′ sections of PEX tubing, so we went to the Scappoose store which did. Doing that allowed me to do two things – visit with Jack, who was working, and get an education on PEX tubing, from Jack who was honoring his obligation as a … well … a Helpful Hardware Man. Just like in the ACE commercials. He’s got an ACE shirt and everything. I’m very envious.

After learning a lot of stuff about how the various PEX connectors work, I decided that, for now, I just need to get things hooked back up and build the wall before committing to the final move. So, we just bought an Ox Box, and a pair of Carharts suspenders for me. I decided that I’m no longer going to wear belts and Diane doesn’t like the suspenders I normally wear. They’re yellow and look like a really big tape measure. I like them, but I’m not allowed out in public with them on because it makes her skittish. Here’s what they look like …

Nice, huh? Oddly enough, this is what I look like when I’m making up stuff, but I don’t always have the suspenders on. You can’t tell by the picture if I have underwear on or not, but I do. Honest. Diane made sure before we left the house this morning. Also, I have more hair in person. Ask anyone.

There’s really not much else to share for today. I wish I had something clever that I could use to erase the image I have of Tom’s butt with a receipt stuck to it. Makes it hard to sleep.

Monday Lunch @ Village Inn

Hi – There’s more than lunch to this day, but as I sat down, that’s all that came to mind. So, I’m just going to ramble incoherently for a little while and see what else might leak out of my festered brain. Hard telling.

OK, for one, PC, the porch cat, hasn’t been around for a few days. Funny that he stuck around the entire time we were traveling, she was here every day. Apparently, at least one of those days, was spent in the garage. There’s evidence that she helped herself to one of the bags of dog food, according to the teeth marks. I guess she can’t read, yet.

Anyway, after we got home, she really, really, wanted to come inside the house, so I let her. And, she let the dogs get up close and personal. Perhaps she figured it just wasn’t worth sticking around, and putting up with nosey dogs and decided to seek solace elsewhere. Either that, or she went off somewhere to meditate about her future. The overall result of this is that Diane’s sad. Not me. I’m tough when it comes to cats. We don’t need no stupid little kitty. But, if she comes back, I may change my mind. For Diane.

So, Ozzie checked the clock this morning and, right at 7:00 am he started jumping around on me. He’s a vicious little alarm clock, but really accurate. I just wish I could reprogram him to a later time. I suppose the solution is for me to go to sleep sooner then it wouldn’t be a big deal. I keep trying to do that, but Diane won’t go to bed at a decent time and I’m not allowed to go to bed before her because she might want something. Sometimes, when I ask her something, she tells me she can’t hear around corners, but apparently she thinks I can. When that happens, I just take a guess at what she wants. Most of the time I have at least an inkling about the request, but when that’s missing I just get her a Klondike Bar. The Heath Bar kind. She loves those, especially when she doesn’t ask for one. It’s a safe choice.

Our morning went slowly because we didn’t do much of anything until it was time to get dressed and head to the Village Inn in Portland. We went to the one on Weidler Ave, near the Lloyd Center, where the ice rink is located. Until then, we were just running around the house naked. Actually, we didn’t run around the house at all. We just sat in our computer chairs. And, we weren’t both naked. Diane won’t let me be naked in the house anymore because sometimes I forget and answer the front door.

We left home, for lunch, early enough to stop by Fred Meyer to get the $5 discount for the new U of O hat Diane got me to replace the one I left by the pool in Las Vegas. It’s bright yellow and it’s imperative that I wear brightly colored head gear when we leave the house so Diane can pick me out of a crowd when I wander away. We used to rely on phones, which is the reason I was allowed to get one, but that doesn’t work when she buries hers in the bottom of her purse, with the ringer off. Or, is that me, with the phone in my hip pocket with the ringer off? It’s one of those. Since we were only going to a restaurant, where there’s little danger of getting lost, this is what I wore …

That’s my Ho-Chi-Min hat that Diane got me. It’s made by Coleman, in China, and it’s really warm. Since it’s spring now, I decided that I’m not going to wear it any more until next fall, or winter. It makes my head sweat and messes up my hair. I’d take another picture to show you, but I don’t want to embarrass Diane. Over the past 44 years I’ve learned that’s not a very smart thing to do. The punishment is vividly memorable.

At lunch were Tom, Coleen, Linda, Vie, Nelda, Jerry2, Jerry1, me, and Diane. That’s the order we sat in around the tables that were jammed together. Tom, Diane, me, and Jerry1 sat across from the other four. No, make that the other five. Diane and I had breakfast. Everyone else ate lunch. Jerry1 ordered breakfast, but didn’t eat it. Instead he took it home. It was biscuits and gravy, and looked pretty good.

During lunch I learned a variety of things, most notably was about the time Tom word a pair of his wife’s underwear to work. Apparently it pretty exciting, for a lot people, when they came off while he was in line for a slushy at Wendy’s during lunch. They didn’t actually come off because he really wasn’t wearing them. They were just sticking out of the top of his pants and tickling his leg when he walked. Frankly, I don’t see anything wrong with that, at all. I’d prefer to wear them but, hey, tangling them down my pants is an excellent alternative. Go, Tom!

Also, Tom has a unique filing system for his receipts. Especially those that are stuck to products with tape upon purchase. Once he gets home he sits on them, for some reason, sans underwear. I promised him I wouldn’t say anything about that, but changed my mind. You’ve just got to wonder how a receipt, stuck to a ling piece of red tape, can get stuck to your ass, inside your underwear, and not know it. Maybe I should say that “most’ people might wonder how that can happen, but I have no illusions about the possibility of things like that happening. I do admit, however, that having experienced many weird “things” in my short life, I am not surprised at what happened to Tom, and kind of envy him because he enjoyed such a strange event of this magnitude before me. It’s pretty classic. I’m really proud of Tom for sharing this wonderful story.

Jerry1 arrived last. He called as we were driving to PDX to find out how to get to the Village Inn. I gave him the instructions, and he didn’t have any problem finding us. He reported that he joined a new car club – The Pharaohs. Now he’s in three of those – the TVCC, the Camaro Car Club, and The Pharaohs. I learned that The Pharaohs were the car club in American Graffiti in 1973. Jerry1’s been a really busy guy. He’s also in a variety of bowling leagues around the greater metropolitan Vancouver & Portland areas. We don’t know where he bowls, yet, but when we find out we’re going to rename his team “The Nads”. Then we can stand behind the team and yell “Go Nads, Go!”

I would have had more to share of today’s events, but everyone quit talking after that because they saw I was taking notes. I have to do that, now, since my memory is fading fast. Then, again, not remembering anything hasn’t stopped me from coming up with a lot to say about nothing so far, so I suppose I didn’t really need to take notes.

Except, taking notes of Tom’s experiences allowed me to capture proof that truth really can be stranger than fiction. Receipts taped to your ass … I’m afraid I’ll be dreaming about that tonight. How fun!

Lydia is 13 !

I believe I mentioned in yesterday’s blog entry that today is Lydia’s 13th birthday. Turns out I was correct. To celebrate, we had an early dinner at our house that featured 3 kinds of dead chicken and about 25 baked potatoes. Some of the potatoes were HUGE. I regret I didn’t take a picture of one of the potatoes. Instead I got one of Lydia during a moment when she wasn’t moving, trying to keep me from getting a picture …

She’s ready for softball practice wearing her absolutely most favorite pair of glasses. Actually, they’re prescription goggles, and she hates them because “they look dumb.” All the adults in her life disagree.

To prepare for this afternoons festivities, Diane, Jennie, and Jean (Diane’s Mom), went shopping. Cedric, Jeran and I remained home with strict orders to clean the upstairs. So, I did. I removed all the portable chairs from the living and dining rooms, then used Diane’s $10 Rainbow vacuum cleaner to suck up all the dog hair we’ve been collecting. Once that was done, I energized the carpet scrubber and did the same areas again. While I was doing that, since it was a really nice day, I turned off the furnace and opened a whole bunch of windows to help the carpet dry quicker than it normally would. Even with all the windows open, I conjured up a lot os sweat from the efforts. After I recovered from the heart attack, I verified that the carpet was, indeed, dry, then put all the furniture back where it belongs. Then I went to the basement to do some serious damage to the laundry room.

First, I removed the washer and dryer, placing them amid the other “stuff” scattered around in down there. Then I donned my plumber’s hat and disconnected the rusty laundry tub. I’ve been wondering for a long time what might be under it, and today I finally found out …

As near as we can tell, it’s a pair of women’s underwear from the early 60’s. The crusty parts are dead bugs. Pretty gnarly, huh? I asked Diane if they were hers and she denied it.  Can’t said that I blame her which is why I predated them to an era before we lived here. She made me throw them away.

Jack and Wynette also came up and I was allowed to get a picture of him to show you the difference between him and Jim …

Right off the bat the main difference everyone can see is that Jack has his eyes open. Oh, and for those who don’t know Jack, he’s Jim’s younger brother, and he looks an awful lot like Gene, don’t you think? Younger, for sure, but there’s a similarity. For the comparison to Jim, you’ll have to check a previous blog entry. I don’t remember when I did it.

So. The stage is set for a marathon tomorrow, but I won’t be able to get much done because we have to go to Portland. Maybe on the way home we can discover a new laundry room sink for practically nothing. That would be good. Practically nothing. Nothing would be even better, but that’s not likely to happen. We’re going to lunch at the Village Inn for our monthly meeting of “The Jerry’s,” of which I’m one, even though the other two spell their’s incorrectly. Verbally, we’re all exacry alike.

Jennie returned from softball practice with Lydia, they boxed up all Lyd’s treasures, got everyone in the car and headed home. They dropped Diane’s Mom, Jean, on the way. They didn’t realize it for two whole blocks before they went back to get her, then took her home.

Now the house is unusually quiet, with the exception of the large TV on which Dancing With The Stars is on with the sound running around 197 decibels. That’s a guess. It may be more.

Now it’s time to quit.

It’s Sunday – That Means Church

The dogs got me up at the regulation 7 am. They made a short trip outside at which time I filled all their food bowls, including the Porch Cat’s (PC for short). PC is integrating herself (I think) into the dog’s world b not running away when they approach her. She’s discovered that all they want to do is sniff her, a lot, so she lets them. I suppose it won’t be long before she move into the house. She’s already made a couple of scouting missions, just  to see what happens.

After eating my banana this morning, I laid down on the Man Room sofa to read a little. That didn’t last long. Instead, I took a nap until Diane got up and insisted that I get ready for church because we had to go early because she had to get the flowers on the altar. Then, after we got there, she discovered that she wasn’t supposed to do flowers until next week so now we have to go to church early again.

On the way to church, we snagged Cedric, Lydia, and Jeran. Jennie was working and Daniel was sleeping after working all night so they went to church with us. They are normally Baptists, but today they were Lutherans.

After church we went to Zhen’s Chinese food joint. It used to be Lucky Inn, but the cook bought it and renamed it. The food is totally awesome. We ate dead chicken, dead pig, and a little dead cow. There was, of course, lots of vegetables, rice, and tea. After boxing up the majority of the food, we went home where Lydia and I played catch in the back yard, then started the burn pile. Turns out that Lydia is a little pyro art heart. But most kidlets are. She’s going to transition to teenager status tomorrow. The big 13!

Jeran isolated himself from folks a little today because it’s the anniversary of his first seizure two years ago. He always has that in his thoughts because it was a pretty scary time for him. And us.

All of the kids are happy that it’s Spring Break. I don’t ever remember having Spring Break when I went to school. As I recall, we had to go to school all year long. Never got a day off for holidays, either. And we walked to school because there were no buses. I could go on, but I won’t.

I’m early with this today because I’m tuckered out after playing catch and burning stuff. My shoulders hurt, I’m sweaty, and thirsty. So, I’m going to kill two birds with one stone and take a shower and drink from the faucet. Diane hates when I do that. She took the kids, and her Mom, home a little while ago, and I expect her back any second.

Before I go I have to impart some wisdom from Jeran. He told me that whenever he makes his Mom mad at him in the morning, his feet hurt all day long. Confused, I asked him why. He said, “because she ties my shoes too tight when she’s mad.” You’d think there would be a lesson there, wouldn’t you?

She’s home. Gotta go.

The Yard

Hi All – Today I got up real early and discovered that it was going to be another glorious day in St. Helens, so I figured I’d take advantage of the sun and try to kill a few trees. Four, actually – 3 apple trees and a weird plum tree we have. Though it’s past time to trim them, I did it anyway. Some of the branches hang so low they just about kill me when I try to drive the mower under them. So, I hacked off all the ones that were in my way. I’ve threatened to do that for years but just today did I find the necessary Zen motivation to get it done. “Zen pruning” is the only way to go. Just cut stuff until it feels good. The result is branches laying all over the ground under the assaulted trees. So, being the good neighbor that I am, I decided to ignite the burn pile that’s been building for the past couple of years so I could just toss the amputated branches into the inferno.

Then Diane said, “aren’t you going to vacuum the yard?” to which I said, “sure.” That required me to unhitch the trailer from the mower and adding the grass catcher, no easy task. But I did it. Complicating that was the fact that just as I was pulling out to dump the current trailer load of branches, the mower refused to move, but it emitted a bit of smoke from under the engine which immediately alerted me to shut it down. So, I dragged my handy dandy mower jack down to the bottom of the field so I could raise the mower and see what was wrong.

Once up on the jack, I discovered that the belt had slipped off the drive pulley for the transmission. Getting it back on was a breeze and I was soon on the way to vacuuming the yard as directed. Although in mostly involves sitting, it’s still time consuming because I have to make multiple trips from the yard to the burn pile, which is near the burn pile, to empty the bags when they get full. For our mower I have a 3 bag bagger and I have to empty about 20 times at last. Well, maybe not that much, but it’s a lot.

I left the jack in the yard. I didn’t bring it up when I was done because I just didn’t want to. I’ll get it tomorrow. I didn’t get back to picking up sticks, either, so that’s another chore for tomorrow. And, the burn pile only got about 1/4 burned up. A sat down there for a long time, staring into the flames, mesmerized, losing track of time. I don’t know how long I was there, but sincerely believe I either had, or was on the verge of having, a heart attack. from all the manual labor I was doing to get the solidified burn pile parts near the flame. Wore me out after pruning all those branches. Now my arms are sore, and I have an apple tree wound on my right cheek from a branch that was having a difficult time separating from the tree. I swear it attacked me.

Diane yelled at me that it was time to quit, so I did. After getting in a few extra stares at the pretty flames. She didn’t really yell. She was actually very calm, and nice.

Cedric and Jeran spent most of the day with us but since I was outside, I didn’t see much of them. Knowing they were here, however, altered my normal routine for entering the house and dumping my work clothes in the laundry room. No sir. Can’t run through the house naked when we have company, even if it’s relatives. I’ve learned my lesson about that for sure. Instead, I trundled to the bathroom with two glasses of water, to rehydrate myself while the shower warmed up. Then I cleaned almost every part I own, and even shaved.

Diane was happy that I shaved since I haven’t shaved since we left Las Vegas. No, I think I shaved once in Nampa. Yeah, I’m sure I did.

Being all cleaned up rejuvenated me but not enough to eat anything for supper, as Diane demanded. Instead, I ate a banana. It was a good one. The dogs liked their bitty banana bites, too. We all love our bananas.

Diane and I sat at the table while the kidlets ate supper. I worked on Jennie’s iPhone, erasing pictures so she’d have enough room to do the iTunes update. She told me to do that. So, I did. I erased almost 900 pictures. But, I made sure they were on her laptop because she told me to do that, too. I get told to do all kinds of stuff. All the time.

After dinner, the boys sat on the couch and I read stories to them. Not real stories, but ones I’ve written over the years. I read two and a half stories. The half story was boring, I’m told, so I quit and got another one. They said they liked my story about what really happened to the world vs. what the Bible tells us. They new it was fiction, and that I was really lying to them, but it’s ok to lie to your Grandkids. I’ve been doing it for a long time, so I know.

Jennie showed up when I was almost done with the last story so we kind of lost continuity to what happened at the Arkansas bed race, but I finished reading it to them anyway. Jeran insisted. He said he liked it.

Then it was time to terminate for the night. As I was heading that direction I heard Diane say, from the basement, “Jerrie.” She has about sixteen different ways she says my name and I’ve been trained to respond immediately to the tone and lilt of her voice because each way has a totally different meaning. Like, when I driving she’ll say “Jerrie” instead of telling me to watch out for the car about to pull into our lane, or a car backing out of a parking space. Other times, it means that I better immediately stop what I’m doing because she’s annoyed. This evening she used her Jerrie voice to let me know there was water on the floor in the laundry room. It came from the floor drain and didn’t smell bad like  it did during one of our trips to Hawaii. Then it was sewage. This time it was water fro the deep sink. Apparently, the 3 foot of pipe, buried under about 3 tons of concrete, is mostly plugged causing the washing machine and deep sink to back up onto the floor through the floor drain.

Diane took the soaked rugs outside, I washed my feet, and we agreed this was something to be solved tomorrow. So I will.

Oh! Jack dropped by to deliver our tickets for the musical he’s in at his church. He’s the lead tenor and has six solos over the course of 120 pages of music. He said he’s been over it so many times that he has it memorized and I believe him because he’s my brother.

Also, I received a notice from the VA that they made a flagrant error on my medical evaluation and decided that I’m not 30% disabled, I’m really 50%. Now I’m going to be evaluated for my right hip and leg pain which is excruciating most of the time when I’m sitting. I hide it well. Sometimes.

That’s the end.

Ahhhh! Choooo! Spring is here!

Greetings Everyone. Nothing much to report today except I wore my jammies most of the day. Only took them off when I mowed the yard. Diane got a little upset about that and made me put pants on. But it was so nice outside today it just brought out the nudist in me. After I finished mowing, I dropped all my duds in the laundry room, as directed, then marched directly to the shower. It’s good that no one was visiting at the time. Then I re-donned my jammies. I believe I was out of them no more than 3 hours all day. Nice.

It was a 4 mountain day for sure – Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Jeffereson strutted their stuff for us.

I also cut a couple of branches out of one of the apple trees but Diane made me quit. She thought it was too late to trim them, but we weren’t home when it was just right. I think I’ll do it tomorrow anyway. I’m tired of half killing myself trying to get under the branches with the lawn mower. I’m going to rip out a few branches on the plum tree, too. Actually, I didn’t cut them down today because the batter for my chain saw was dead and it’s now recharging. It’s been a little problematical for a while so the solution may be to replace it with a noisy gas version. Then I’d have to get one of those masks that crazy Texan wore in the movie and I’d probably scare the dogs and they’d chase me causing me to drop the chain saw which would cut up my leg and make me bleed to pieces. That would just make extra work for Diane, so maybe I won’t do that.

We have a porch cat. We’ve really had a porch cat for a couple of months. She started letting us pet her last month, and now the dogs are getting cozy with her. The big ones, anyway. Little Ozzie goes out, looks at the cat, and spins in circles a couple of times then launches at her. The cat’s figured this out and just ducks which confuses Oz because she’s supposed to run. I’ve noticed the last few times he’s tried that he’s less enthusiastic so the cat is training him nicely.

Tomorrow, if it’s dry again, I should be able to pick up the grass I mowed today. It was too heavy with moisture for me to use the bagger so I just flung it around in the yard. If it rains tomorrow, and the next, it will make a mess because there’s globs of it all over the yard and it will make spots. Can’t have spots in the yard. Weeds, yes. Spots, no.

I might also rent a gas powered trencher thing tomorrow to make a path for the water to drain out of our driveway to the back of our property. If I do that, I’ll be sure to have Diane take pictures of all the new injuries I’m sure it will cause. I’ve never used one of them before. I’ll bet one of those things could really chew someone up if the tripped and fell on it. Hopefully it’s one of those that quits if the operator falls on it, or something.

Day One – Recovery

Last night was brutal. it was our first night back in our very own bed and it wasn’t a good one. Apparently I’ve begun having violent dreams where it’s necessary to kick people and the one I had last night revealed that the reason I can’t kick very hard in my dreams is because the covers get in the way and hamper my kicking motion. The covers do, however, help protect Diane, and the little dog, to some degree, at least until they can get clear of the action. For me, it ended when I finally freed my feet from the covers, delivered the final kick, which won the battle, and wound up on the floor next to my pillow. I climbed right back in bed and went back to sleep. Diane said she was standing in the middle of the room by then, and little Ozzie was cowering on the chest at the foot of the bed. Nice. I believe this new behavior is the result of the MOW trauma I received last Monday. I’m waiting for the VA to tell me they will graciously let me visit my doctor to determine if there is anything they can do for this, or if it’s terminal and I’ll just have to deal with it until I die.

Consequently, I did not wake up refreshed this morning. And, I didn’t eat any breakfast because we didn’t have bananas. That’s what I eat. I ate a bowl of Cheerios instead, but it just isn’t the same. I had toast, too, which helped.

I don’t remember what I did after breakfast – perhaps I helped put away clothes out of the suitcases, perhaps not. I haven’t looked yet to verify that. I did, however, pay a house call to a friend who was having computers problems with some problematic software that installed itself. It took me 4 hours to resolve the problem. During that time we had a nice visit and caught up on each other’s lives, something we do not do often enough.

After doing that I returned home to watch TV, but Diane made me do “stuff”. First, I had to wash our red potatoes. I don’t know why, because they looked perfectly clean to me. Besides, they were going to be baked so anything on them would have been fried. So I washed them and poked holes in them and put them in the microwave, which has a hidden potato button on it, and I couldn’t find it. Diane had to show me where it was which I found to be very humiliating for some reason. She got it going and should have been responsible for cleaning up the one that exploded all over inside the microwave but, noooooo, it was my chore because I apparently hadn’t poked holes in it properly. She said I volunteered to clean it up, and I vaguely recall something like that, but don’t think I should have been held totally responsible for something the microwave did. It should be self cleaning, like the real oven.

Diane’s Mom, Jean, was here when I got home from my computer visit. She went to the store with Diane and stayed for dinner. We love having her here because getting her home is so simple. She lives at the bottom of the hill we live on so all we have to do is put her coat on, aim her in the right direction and give here a little push and she’s on her way. That’s not something we ever do, of course, but I have suggested it in the past. I’ve been banned from making such suggestions for the rest of my life, but I do it anyway.

I didn’t mention that it snowed last night, did I? It was kind of like waking up last Tuesday, in Nampa, with about 2 inches of snow on the ground after having a terrific day on Monday. The difference here was it didn’t go away nearly as quickly as it did in Nampa.

After supper, a super roast with veggies and mashed baked red potatoes, plus a little that was splattered inside the microwave, Diane and Mom watched some girly shows while I retired to the Man Room to watch silent NCAA basketball games. They’re silent because I’m not allowed to turn on my sound because it interferes with the girly shows. That’s OK because I like it that way, too. It really is less distracting with the sound off.

I just want you to know that yesterday was a record day for the blog because 36 people looked at it. Or, maybe, one person looked at it 36 times. I can’t tell which it is, but it’s still nice to know that someone’s reading this. I don’t. And, I do enjoy your comments. Thank you for expressing yourselves, even in a negative way.

Diane just took Mom home, without pushing her, so now I have to pay all the bills that have accumulated during our absence. We suspended our mail delivery so Diane had to take our hand truck to the post office so she could haul all our junk mail to the vehicle.

No pictures of todays events so here’s one you may, or may not enjoy, that I just happen to have on hand. It’s a nice picture, but I don’t know who any of those people are.

Day Nineteen – Nampa to St. Helens

Diane went to bed about 8:30 last night to ensure she was ready for the ordeal ahead of us on the final leg of our trip home. Since the weather was so screwy we didn’t know what to expect so Diane had to be ready for anything. We were released from the grasp of Nampa’s gravitational pull and attained orbit at 8:45 am PST.

After stopping for our last experience with fairly inexpensive gas, we joined the Westbound folks on I-84 at 9:05 am PST. Since I was truly disabled at the time, being on my third day of a severe headache and hip injuries, which were sustained during my volunteer effort to deliver meals to everyone in Nampa last Monday, I was unable to drive at the beginning of the trip. That suited Diane just fine as she would have driven anyway. As is my custom I asked her every 10 miles if she wanted to drive until she became cranky, at which point I ceased offering my services as a relief driver so she could read her book and rest for part of this journey.

As we departed the Nampa area, and entered Oregon, the sun came out full force and lulled us into a false sense of security for what we would experience this day. The bits of sunshine dwindled rapidly as we departed Baker City at 11:11 am, became a steady falling of snow in La Grande, then turned to severe blizzard conditions as we entered Ladd Canyon.

Since Diane was driving, we were able to negotiate this treacherous stretch of I-84 very quickly, following the tracks in the snow of the only person out there who dared go faster than her. After realizing the snow wasn’t going to let up any time soon, Diane slowed down to the posted 65 mph speed limit to lesson the chance of sailing over a guard rail into one of the abysses that appeared randomly on one side or the other as we climbed the mountain. During this stretch we stopped at a rest area so I could call my VA doctor and arrange a visit at some point in the near future to address the injuries I sustained in Nampa. It took about 30 minutes to make contact with a real person and relay the needed information and to receive a promise that someone would call me back within the next week or so.

At 12:14 pm PST we were 23 miles from Pendleton and the temperature had dropped to a toe numbing 28 degrees, and it was raining. Then it turned to horizontal snow There’s nothing worse than horizontal snow and that’s all they get up there. On top of the pass, the snow allowed us about a 100 foot view of the road ahead which Diane considered to be plenty of time to plan an alternate path around whoever might appear in front of us, and it worked well. She’s a good driver.

There were times, however, that I wished I had an extra pair of depends so I could make the entire trip without getting too chafed. The snow got worse and worse as we advanced to the decline that led to the valley in which Pendleton, Oregon resides. We attained the 6% downgrade at 12:26, and sailed on into Pendleton for lunch at Stan’s Steakhouse. But, it was closed, so we ate Italian at the little Bistro across the street, and didn’t regret it. It was a nice stop and we were rejuvenated. Having sufficiently recovered from my injuries, to the point where I felt competent to drive, Diane allowed me to do so. I drove and drove for hours, and only nodded off once. Diane was busy reading so didn’t notice. Finally, we got to The Dalles where it was determined we needed ice cream, hopefully from a DQ. Agnus gleefully provided us the correct path to the facility and we got the drinks of our choice, then Diane resumed driving. I had spun down the distance to about 70 miles or so, and was very pleased with myself, as well I should be.

The gas tank alarm dinged as we entered Portland so it was deemed to be a good choice for us to stop at Fred Meyer in Scappoose to replenish our fuel. We got there at 5:25 pm PST and Diane drove right to a pump and got the tank filled. Once the pump quit no one appeared to take the hose out of the car so I walked around and did it myself. Right at that time the annoying person behind me started beeping his horn in an effort to make me hurry because he was needing diesel and it was located at the pump we occupied. I went back to talk with him, and try to calm him down, but it did no good. I was forced to have Diane pull ahead so this person could get his coveted fuel.

Once at the pump, he got out of his vehicle and started yelling at me, blaming me for the delay when, in fact, it wasn’t my fault at all. After sparring verbally for a short time, we hugged, and and everything was alright. It was alright from the start, actually, because the “yeller” was Jack, my brother. It was good to engage him in conversation as the first person we talked with upon entering Scappoose. Wynette was shopping or we would have greeted her, too.

After leaving, we sailed on home to St. Helens with no problems. The house was still standing, and the big dogs were barking their welcome through the cat door in the garage when Diane rolled up the door. They were happy to see us, and we were happy to see them. After watching a couple of shows, while eating a PB&J supper, we retired early. Jennie and Lydia had returned Ozzie a while earlier so he was being needy and had to curl up right in front of the book I was ready while waiting for my meds to kick in.