Hanging Out & Seeping Wounds

This is a short update for a couple of things I’ve mentioned recently.

First, Breezie’s bell has been mostly successful … she’s only been able to present us with one hummingbird since it was attached. I’d call that successful, all things considered, and it’s caused her to change tactics a llittle bit, moving to a more aggressive approach …


She’s not the least bit concerned that the bird feeder is empty, confident that a bird will eventually forget she’s there and take a chance.

A more recent update was provided by Tom who sent me a picture of his kotexed leg wound. It’s not nearly as bad as I thought it would be and, considering the nature of his wound, a kotex is a great choice to keep it sanitary … once it’s unwrapped …



Mexican Food & Kotex

Interesting title, but that’s all that came to mind. Plus, it’s descriptive.

Before getting into the specifics, however, let me catch you up …

Yesterday I golfed with Doug and JP. I actually did pretty good considering I used my brand new 9 degree driver for the very first time. That’s significant because until just a few years go I couldn’t get my 10.5 degree driver to lift a ball higher than about 10 feet. This one, however, is sending drives soaring, straight and long. The only trouble is that I still can’t aim worth a new hoot. Long and straight into a cow pasture isn’t a good thing, unless it is part of the fairway, which is sometimes the case. I was especially please with my new driver because it only cost me $4.99 at Goodwill. With Diane’s old person discount card (OPDC) it was only $4.49. Nice! I don’t have an OPDC.

After golfing I continued my ongoing project of getting Diane’s bathroom back in order. Actually, the bathroom is already in order, and working, but I haven’t covered the hole in the adjacent closet, or the hole in Diane’s Girl Room ceiling. Having a hole in the ceiling is convenient for me because when I rip out pieces of the closet wall, it just falls down through the holes for the tub drain, and I don’t have to sweep it up because it lands on Diane’s ironing board. This, of course, causes stress in our marriage to the point she yelled at me for some unassociated event and I had to play the lawyer card. I’m going to have to quit doing that because there is increasing danger that she will tell me to “go ahead”, then I’d be absolutely lost. So, that won’t happen. No more lawyer threats.

Today we had lunch at the Scappoose Ixtapa Restaurant with Jerry1, Jerry3, Nelda, Linda, Tom, Vie, and Coleen. That’s always a hoot because I learn so many new things. I suspect some of the things I learn at these gatherings are things I once learned at past gatherings with the same people, then forgot. But, it was new (again) today.

The most significant thing I learned today is that taping a kotex to an old leg wound doesn’t absorb very much blood unless you unwrap it first. Apparently each kotex comes wrapped in a material that looks a lot like fabric so, not being a regular kotex user, I probably would have made the same mistake Tom did. Linda discovered this grievous error in Tom’s behavior and immediately educated him on the mechanics of how to unwrap a kotex. Apparently it’s not difficult because he caught on right away and, now that all his friends know about it, he will never forget. He has no doubt he will be asked about this over, and over. We may even be able to contract with him to give a short seminar on what he’s learned, at our next gathering.

Now, about the leg wound … this isn’t a minor issue because it’s not healing well next to the bone. That’s not good, and that’s the reason for the kotex … the wound has to remain open so it can heal from the inside out. It would have been much simpler if he hadn’t cut so deep, but that’s now a moot point that has to be dealt with. So, I urge all of you to send kind, healing thoughts to Tom’s leg so it will heal properly. The sooner the better as far as Linda is concerned because, since Tom typically wears shorts everywhere, she thinks it’s a little unsightly, and perhaps unsanitary for him to walk around with a bloody kotex strapped to the back of his leg. Today he wore long legged pants so it wasn’t a problem. He wouldn’t show me the wound, however, or I would have a photo so share. I bet is’t really something. It’s not so much about the wound, though that’s not good, but for me it’s about an opportunity of seeing someone with a kotex taped to his leg. For now I’ll just have to be content with the knowledge that I at least know someone who does that, and imagine what it must look like.

After a wonderful lunch, during which we all talked non-stop, and ate too much, we came home and I immediately went back to work on the closet. Diane abandoned me to go see what kind of supplies she’s going to need in order to cook Community meals on Thursday. I was only allowed to use a hammer, chisel, pry bar, and my shop vac. I know, the shop vac required electricity but isn’t officially a power tool, so it was OK.


I’m a victim of distractions as are most of us. We begin an activity with the honorable intention of seeing it through to completion, but it rarely happens because of one distraction or another. For most folks the distraction is usually an emergent important need while for the rest of us it could just be something shiny that catches our attention. Or, something moves at the extreme edge of our peripheral vision and we just have to see what it is. Or, one project simply melds seamlessly into another, and another, and another, etc … with the result that nothing gets completed and the original project is totally lost in the clutter of mental active. Frequently, I suffer grievously for those sins because all of the unfinished projects flash through my mind without solidifying into any kind of coherent memory which would thereby allow me to categorize them into a list that could be used to prioritize their completion. No, instead they manifest as little brief flashes of light with just a bit of meaning declaring them to be something I should be concerned about but disappear too quickly to comprehend before being replaced by the next flash.

After this happens for more than 15-20 minutes at a stretch I find it necessary to start talking to myself as a diversion to allow me to focus on something besides the flashes. Other people talking to me during these times have no affect which is the nature of the sins previously mentioned because I’ve been known to respond in a logical manner leading the questioner to believe I knew what I was saying and took my response as definitive thereby locking me into an agreement to either do, or not do a specific “thing” when, in fact, I have no memory of anyone speaking much less me answering. So, when the time comes for me to honor whatever obligation it is that I may have agreed to, and I don’t do it, or I did it and shouldn’t have, I’ve learned to take my punishment without whining too loudly. Loud whining is frowned upon. Actually, soft whining is frowned upon, as is mime whining where no sound is involved. It’s just body language. Some people just don’t communicate well when body language is involved.

At this point I’m going shrug my shoulders, roll my eyes, and quit.

When Tires Go To Heaven …

OK … that’s just a stupid title, right? But, it was stuck in my head and the only way I can rid myself of things like that is to release it the only way I know how … just let my fingers do the talking. There’s an underlying motive, of course. I always have one or two of those. For this topic it’s the demise of the Les Schwab tire store in St. Helens, Oregon. It was quite spectacular.

I was first made aware of the problem when I looked south from our porch and saw an incredibly huge, black column of smoke. Neither of us heard sirens, and we can normally hear them no matter where they’re going in town. If we had a police scanner we could have quickly discovered what was going on, but we don’t so had to use conventionally means. In this case, it was from the Channel 2 news helicopter from Portland.

Diane was very concerned about Daniel’s & Jennifer’s home being involved because of the direction we were looking to see the smoke column. I was confident it wasn’t a house, however, because they cast off white smoke as a rule, not black. Still, she had to go look and told me that what she saw scared her to death. The plume of smoke was directly in line with their home but as she got closer she could tell it was farther out toward Highway 30. Before Diane departed on her investigative trip she speculated the fire may be at Les Schwab, but had to check. I don’t blame her.

By the time she got home Channel 2 was showing pictures that confirmed the location. The entire facility was fully engulfed in flames and Highway 30 was closed to all traffic. The local power company had to cut power, too, because the flames were licking at the lines. Not good. Also, the road closure occurred in the middle of the annual Hood to Coast walk/run and all the walkers had to be re-routed. Just one thing after another. Local businesses have come to rely on the extra revenue created by the increase in traffic through town so re-routing the walkers/runners was a potential financial loss because of the extra folks hired, and the extended hours they worked. For example, Jennifer works at Safeway and was put on the midnight to 4:30am shift … our Safeway isn’t normally open all night, but this night it was because the Hood to Coast Runners were scheduled to come through at midnight.

Due to the diligence, and hard work by the local firefighters, the blaze was extinguished, and the highway reopened to traffic before the the runners arrived, so everyone was happy. Everyone, that is, except Terry, the Les Schwab manager. We know Terry. I’ve been buying tires from him for many years. So the fire hit a personal note with us.

The entire store was lost, including 4 vehicles that were inside being worked on at the time of the fire. It was really, really bad. The only upside is that no one was injured. For that, we’re very happy. The only real downside for us is that I have a $100 credit on my Les Schwab account. I was going to take the old Chevy truck down there for new tires. Now I’ll have to wait until the Grand Opening of the new store when it’s rebuilt. I’m just guessing it’s going to be rebuilt, or course. We’ll see.

Sorry for all the somber news, but that’s all I have right now. It’s not a subject that I can take lightly because of the huge potential for injury by all the firefighters and police involved with taking care of everything, as well as the financial loss by the store owner. No doubt they are insured, but it’s still tough to deal with.

Here’s what it all looked like while it was in progress …

… and this is what it looks like today …


Now it’s time to quit and plan my strategy for helping them rebuild this thing because the truck really needs new tires.

Speaking of the truck, I drove it down to Jennifer’s and Dan’s to pick up the remnants of a couple of bushes they cut down, and transport it to our burn pile. It took me two trips. During the process of cutting the branches down to size, I was stung by the one remaining bee from the nest they discovered a few days ago. I think I mentioned it in a previous entry. Now I have this nice welt on the back of my arm. Then, after transporting all the dismantled branches, I finished my trip through the front yard with “Grandpa’s Weeder” to remove all the dandelions I could find. Now the front yard looks like a combat zone … holes everywhere. I’ve been seriously thinking about fertilizing that yard one of these days. I’m told, by the owner of a computer I resurrected yesterday, that doing so would easily rid the yard of all the weeds, moss, and clover.



Finishing Something

Wow! It’s been three entire days since I sat down with this blog. I must have been really busy, you’d think. Either that, or I was napping a lot. No, I was actually busy, installing the new faucet for Diane’s bathtub.

Speaking of napping … my good friend, Doug, had the audacity to call me at 0930 this morning, rousing me from my blissful after breakfast nap (ABN) and immediately started asking questions that required me to actually think before responding. I was taken totally off guard and had to scrape the sleep from my eyes to get rid of those annoying little crusty things that appear every night. And after my ABN. And after I allow my eyes to remain closed for longer than 30 seconds. All that “stuff” just appears out of nowhere.

Back to “really busy” … to get the faucet installed required that I dismantle (destroy) a closet wall, and part of the ceiling in Diane’s Girl Room (DGR). The reason for doing so was to gain access to the pipes and fixture so I could remove them and replace them. The old fixture was tossed (on my shop floor – OMSM), as were the pipes. The fixture was, of course, replaced with a new one that had an outlet for a shower, which the old one didn’t have. To install it required that I remove (destroy) one 4″ tile where the shower control had to go, and kinda saw off a bunch of the 2 x 4 stud that was inconveniently placed in the exact position required by the vertical shaft for the shower head. Complicated, I know. But I dealt with it. The pipes were replaced with PEX tubing and Shark connectors. The connectors are awesome because the tubing simply slides right into the connector. No wrenches needed. It was so much fun that I’ve decided that my next project will be to replace all the old galvanized pipes in the house with plastic tubing. I already have the tubing.


During my absence I also nursed Diane back to health after she had all her teeth removed. She was miserable, laying on the couch with ice all over her face, with a dazed far away look from the spare narcotics she found in the bathroom. OK, that’s only partially true. She had one molar removed and the narcotics were in the bathroom because they were prescribed and that’s where she left them. She’s getting better and is once again able to feed me which is the reason I agreed to marry her in 1968. She’s kept me alive and healthy for the last 44 years and I appreciate her more and more every day. I didn’t have to say that … I said it because it’s true. I appreciate her even when she’s mad at me for doing dumb things.

Speaking of dumb things … as I was sitting down to rest, while Diane was making lunch, she called for assistance because she couldn’t find the package of shredded cheddar cheese she had removed from the refrigerator to use in the tuna casserole she was making. After a frantic search of all the refrigerator compartments, she finally found it … in the utensil drawer next to the stove. Having participated in this memorable event, I’m more comfortable with some of the odd things I’m accused of doing. I have to add that Diane wasn’t feeling all that great when this transpired, but I’m just saying … y’know?

Today was a banner day for me because I actually finished a project. Having gained an inordinate amount of confidence from installing Diane’s new bathtub faucet, I re-installed the laundry sink. In the laundry room. Next to the washing machine. Diane was thrilled. I was thrilled because she was thrilled. We were both thrilled all because of a simple laundry deep sink. Until recently it was a rusty mess. Now it isn’t, and it’s no longer between the washer and dryer so Diane doesn’t have to walk those 2 extra feet from one to the other.


OK. That’s about it, except Diane has been working on a plan for our next trip to the East Coast in October. This time we’re going to try staying only at military facilities and see how that works. She’s wearing me out. No doubt there will be more on this in the near future.

G’nite …

In Review …

After being forced to sit on the couch for two days, to allow my foot to regain it’s former shape, I’ve had time to review my previous blogs which were considered, by a vast minority, to be “wife bashing”, and have come to the conclusion that it’s just not true.

Reviewing was the difficult part because I never edit anything before submitting it. It just seems wrong to do that as it smacks of composition, and we all know that’s the stuff you put around vegetables to make them grow better.  I found many of the entries quite enlightening and I had to relearn some things that I thought I had permanently purged from my fluffy brain. Now I’ll have to address that at some point in the near future so pardon me if I get a little repetitive.

Another problem was trying to understand and follow my thought process as it wandered around in some of the more stupid entries. Diane doesn’t like me to use “stupid”, but I don’t know a better word to describe some of the stuff I read. Those blogs had to have been added by someone who has my super secret password, or I was in a trance which means I cannot be held responsible for my actions for either of those events.

Moving on … now, the wife bashing aspect of my earlier entries mystify me. All I was doing was relating how it is to be me. Perhaps I embellished a bit which, by law, I’m allowed to do … it says so in one of the amendments to our constitution. I’m sure that’s true, but I don’t remember the number. Does anyone know if you need to know the number of an amendment to invoke it? I might have to look that up or, perhaps, just write a new one.

I keep getting off topic here, and I apologize. You may wonder why I do that. So do I.

When I explain that I’m not allowed to use power tools when I’m home alone it’s because when Diane leaves the house she tells me, specifically, “don’t use power tools!” So, if by repeating that as a visual treat for all who read this, it’s deemed to be wife bashing, then I suggest that by giving me those instructions in the first place it’s husband abuse because I’m being told to “not” do something which I kinda like to do.

And, when I relate that I have to get permission to do certain things, it’s true because when I exercise free will and do something wrong, which I inevitably do, I’m told “you should have asked first.” Most of the time I remember to do that. Now. Sometimes I regress and forget. Actually, lots of times I regress and forget. No, I forget because it’s far easier to ask than it is to remember.

That last bit is important because Diane and I will have a conversation in the morning and in the afternoon, or a few minutes later, I’ll ask her a question about it because I want to know the answer. She uses these opportunities as a training evolution to help me remember what we were talking about by saying, “I just told you a while ago” which, in her mind, serves as the answer to my question. So, I’m left with a comment to my question, but no answer. Since it’s important that I know the answer, I push forward, explaining that if I knew the answer I wouldn’t have to ask the question, but she pushes back with “think about it for a minute.” Most of the time I’ve already done that which brought me to the need to ask the question.

After a round or two of this I actually figure out the answer myself so, perhaps her method works. Most of the time it doesn’t, however, and it leads us to the brink me calling a lawyer to initiate divorce proceedings. She just laughs at that because she knows I’ll never do that because she has all the answers. All I want is a few of them. Not a lot. Just a few answers, once in a while.

Also, most of the questions I ask can be answered with a “yes” or a “no”. I never get that. Instead, the response is a conversation where she tries to lead me to the correct answer while the entire time I’m waiting for a “yes” or “no” to pop up, but it never does. Consequently, while concentrating on the one word answer I seek I’m placed in the unenviable position of having to ask her to repeat her answer because, although I heard all the words, it passed all my filters as if I was trying to read random words in a dictionary … individually I knew what they mean, but the meaning of the combination in which they are used totally escapes me. I attribute this to the fact that once I finish my question, I’m waiting for the short answer and when it doesn’t show up in the first six words, I’m lost because now I’m that far behind in whatever is being said to me. I never catch up to the meaning.

It’s a sad thing to have to live with and you’d think I’d figure it out, wouldn’t you? I’d think so, too, but so far that hasn’t worked out well. Oddly, this affliction only presents itself while talking with Diane which I believe is because I’m more comfortable with her and trust her to be paying attention when other people are talking, or when she’s talking with me. When I’m talking with other people I must be paying more attention because I don’t have to ask them many questions about our conversations and it’s usually with other men who give the proper one word response to which I’m conditioned.

I know there’s a stark difference between the way men and women perceive things, and I’ve sincerely tried to get into my feminine persona at times, but that doesn’t work out well when we have to leave the house. In St. Helens it’s NOT OK for men to wear Reno 911 short shorts to ACE, or NAPA to get car parts. Other men frown and tend to reach for their side arms which, thankfully, aren’t allowed in ACE or NAPA. I’ve only done that once, by mistake. Now Diane checks to see what I’m wearing whenever she’s home and I have to leave for any reason … even to go to the driveway.

For those of you who made it this far, I want you to envision a fairly long break right here because I had to stop and leave with Diane to take her Mom, Jean, to lunch. That’s what we do on Sunday … we take Jean to lunch. Today we went to Sizzler in Longview, Washington. That’s directly across the Columbia River from Rainier, Oregon, which is about 13 miles west on Highway 30, which is confusing because when looking at a map Rainier is directly north of St. Helens. How does that work? Hmmm.

Anyway, we had a wonderful lunch. I was going to get all you can eat shrimp but reconsidered since I was just getting over gout and it’s been scientifically proven that all you can eat shrimp is a major gout causer. So, I had the all you can eat salad bar which includes fried chicken, my second favorite food int he world. I ate a lot of it. Jean was concerned that I’d start clucking like a chicken so, of course, I did. It sounded like this … Brock bock bock b-gock! Maybe not. I guess you had to be there.

Now for the good news … my left big toe is almost normal and the right hip is responding well to the pain killer the doctor gave me for my toe. Life is good. Now I’m quitting.

Getting In Touch With Your Mortality

It’s official … I’m terminal.

When we got home yesterday at 12:30 I called the doctor to plead for mercy … no … to plead for help to remove all the uric acid from my body which is apparently overflowing with the stuff and it’s all settled in my left foot. I briefly considered standing on my head but the possibility of it draining into my brain caused me to pause and consider the benefits of that. There weren’t any, so, I didn’t do it.

It was 12:32 when I finally called the doc but they weren’t there … they go to lunch at 12:30 and don’t get back until 2:00. What a deal. This delay required me to sit on the couch, writhing in pain, until they returned. During that time I made a VA appointment for my annual diabetic retinopathy checkup. I was able to complete that appointment just in time to call the doctor’s office at 2:00.

Brenda answered the phone, as she almost always does. Like all really good receptionists, she knew me immediately because I used to visit the office on a regular basis to repair all my nicks and ding over the years. And, I take her coffee once in a while. Actually, I took Dutch Brothers coffee to the entire clinic one time. I was very popular for a few minutes.

Brenda squeezed me in for a 4:15 appointment with the new doctor, Sharon L., because my old doctor, Janet K., retired and sold her practice. One time I got a huge sliver in my arm and videoed Dr. K. removing it, as well as our conversation during the process. That was a fun time. Dr. L. retained all the nurses and semi-doctors so the only change at the office was ownership. It was she, Dr. L., whom I saw. I like her. She prescribed the necessary drugs to make me comfortable until the end. I had to go to the lab, too, so they could drain off some excess blood and look at it to see about the uric acid, among other things. At that time I posed the question about how long she thought I had. Stopping a moment to think, she hung her head a bit in a telling manner, then told me I probably only had about 30 years left, maximum.

I was stunned! Flabbergasted! Etc.! I was really hoping to make it to 100, but she cut me off 2 years short. Now I need to start getting my things in order because at my age 30 years will fly by in an instant since I plan to sleep during a large portion of it.

Since my prognosis is that I will retain almost full use of my left foot, if I’m good and don’t walk on it much for a while, I’m relegated to sitting on the couch with my feet propped up, pointed at our excessively large TV set. Within the area of my vision, without turning my head, I see Ozzie laying on his old flat pillow, his favorite, which was placed on the new pet hammock Diane bought him from Groupon. He wasn’t sure about it at first because his dog tag clanged against the metal tubing that hold the sleeping area about 6 inches above the floor. That’s chin high for him. After a couple of training sessions, he’s OK with it now.

As I sit here all the things of concern are running through my little brain like a shopping list … the leaky faucet in the tub, the future home of our fire pit over the septic tank, the dirt I must move to flatten the area for the fire pit, the ditch I need to finalize by the garage to keep the driveway from flooding when it rains, the old roof, the Subaru air conditioner that leaks, my messy shop, the pool table that needs to be reconstructed, half the garage that’s full of “stuff” we probably don’t need (except for the player piano which I’m really going to restore one of these days), the book I’m going to write, the thousands of pictures I need to sort through, the clothes in my closet I rarely wear that take up space causing wrinkles in the clothes I do wear, golf, the yard, hedges that need trimming, trees that need to be chopped down and turned into firewood for the fire pit … stuff like that.

After going over all that I’m a little depressed so I’m going to take a cymbalta and try to access some more uplifting things to think about.