Changing Plans, a New Roof, and My Ditch

Now I must be serious, at least for a short time. Most of you know that’s hard for me to do and will tolerate this diversion from the norm, so I only ask those of you who wound up here by mistake to please have patience while I make an attempt to shift some gears.

For some reason, at this point, speaking about gears, I’m compelled to insert a “vrooooooom” right here. Silly, I know, and it’s not going toward the serious side of things as I had intended.

The serious “stuff” is that Diane and I made a decision to remain on this side of the Rocky Mountains the remainder of this year. The original plan, as of this morning, was to drive to Charleston, SC to attend the annual USS Cleveland reunion, but some things got in the way of those plans, taking a trip east out of the plans. Therefore, we will miss seeing Charleston, as well as points north, as was our desire. To those of you in Connecticut, whom we love to pieces, we send our regrets. There will be another time, we promise.

Our roof is going to be replaced beginning next Thursday. From start to stop it’s going to be a 3-day event. Pretty amazing to me because it’s a total ripoff and replacement of 3 layers of shingles. Tons and tons of shingles. One of the biggest cost factors is disposal of the old material.

We’re extremely happy that Mark’s Custom Exteriors could rearrange their schedule to accommodate us before we have to head south on Sunday. Even though it’s cutting it close, we’ll be here to ensure every nail is hammered in properly. I’m going to do that be wandering around on the roof, putting a little “x” on each one of them with my handy magic marker. No nail gets covered up until I “x” it. Normally that would add 2-3 days to the job, but I’ve been practicing this and have devised a way to do it without all that bending over, or crawling around on my hands and knees. I’m simply going to pre-“x” them before they’re loaded into the nail gun. I know, it seems kind of pointless doesn’t it? But, just for fun I’m leaving some of the nails blank just to see if someone comes to get me to “x” it. I seriously doubt they will, and I will not complain because that would just be silly. Who would do something like that?

In a precious entry I reported that I was being allowed to rent a small excavator to enlarge the ditch I dug, manually, that’s intended to drain water away from our driveway, and keep it out of the garage. I know the ditch works but it needs to be deeper and I’m just flat out of the energy required to hammer my way through all those rocks and roots. As it is, I’ve succeeded in killing the tree whose roots I severed to reach the back yard, so it’s something I’ll have to address before the floods loosen it all up and it topples into the neighbor’s yard. It’s OK that I killed it, because I was going to cut it down anyway … it has a terrible knot-forming kind of disease that just doesn’t look good. The birds love it so Diane was kinda wanting to keep it, but I sood my manly ground and killed it anyway. Actually, I didn’t mean to kill it. It just kinda worked out that way. Apparently it’s OK because I’m still sleeping inside.

Weather … we haven’t had any measureable rain for the past 2 months. That’s unheard of in Oregon. We always have rain, right? Most people believe it rains in Oregon all the time. We get our share, for sure, but it’s a bit sparse this year. I think most of it was recently dumped on Louisiana and the surrounding area. The folks who moved here from California, and there are more than a few, think it’s just fine that we’re not having any rain because that’s what they’re used to. Real Oregonians, however, do not thrive well in dry weather. We get all wrinkly and it’s not pretty. We need moisture. Thankfully, Diane is an Avon representative so I have unlimited access to all kinds of moisturizers when I need them. Lots of them make me feel pretty, so I use them on rainy days, too.

I think it’s time to terminate, now, since I totally lost track of where I’m going with this. Truth is, I never had any certain direction in the first place. Just like normal.

Out On My Own !!

Today I drove farther, and longer than I have in months, and months. Usually I’m only allowed to drive down to ACE and back on any given day, multiple times if necessary, which is usually the case. But it’s not very far … under a mile … doesn’t really count as a “trip”, if you know what I mean.

Normally when I leave the house I’m with Diane and she drives everywhere, all the time. She told me that when we’re together she’s a better driver than a passenger. Consequently, I’ve become the consummate passenger any time we go anywhere together. And that’s OK. I’m good with that because it gives me lots of time to fiddle with my gizmos. For some of you that may have a totally different meaning than the one intended. Since I can’t totally control which way your mind bends, you’ll have to work that out yourselves.

Today I drove all the way over to Clackamas Town Center to assist with a personal issue for someone about which I’ve been forbidden to speak, so I won’t. Suffice it to say that I drove, both ways, without mishap, although I was seriously tempted to run over a Kia Soul whose driver chose to cut into traffic at bad times, then almost stop in the traffic lane in front of me to cut over again. Very irritating. But, I swallowed my urges and let her continue on her wave after a beep and a friendly wave thinking that perhaps she had a more dire need to reach her destination than I was to reach mine.

Or, she was totally frustrated by the traffic that she has to deal with every day, with her 2 hour commute, that she’s not concerned about anyone else on the freeway. This probably all stems from the fact that, due to the economy, she was downsized from the business close to her home, where she worked for the past 15 years, and had to find another job to support the home she purchased because the area was nice, and the job was good. The new job is 40 miles away, accessible only by congested roads and freeways because her boss doesn’t believe in flex hours that would allow her to beat the traffic both ways. Or, perhaps, she had to work overtime today to make up for being late yesterday.

More than likely, this being Friday and all, she was in a hurry to get home so shave her legs because she has a blind date tonight and didn’t want to give a bad first impression, just in case.

Thinking about that makes me wonder why a woman would shave her legs when going out on a date with anyone for the first time. Is there a need for a woman to ensure that her date is aware that she recently shaved her legs, or is it simply a matter of hygiene? Do their legs feel “dirty” if they don’t shave them, or do they itch? I’ve never shaved my legs so don’t know the answers to these questions. I can, however, tell you about shaving for a vasectomy, but I won’t. Diane would get cranky at me, I’m sure. Besides, it wasn’t for me, it was for a friend of mine. Really. It was.

Now that I’m home safe, Diane and I are sitting on our porch waiting for it to rain. It probably won’t, but we’ll wait anyway because it’s cooler out here than in the house even though all the doors and windows are open. Every once in a while a hummingbird will fly up and buzz around a few feet away to check us out. They feel safe when we’re out here and they probably know the cat is in the yard, far away from them.

Ozzie is on a diet because he started looking like a little porker. Jennie said I was feeding him too much so I cut his pouch food rations in half. He doesn’t seem to mind, so far, but I have suspicions that while we’re sleeping at night he sticks his but in our faces. Since I sleep with a CPAP machine, I’m not too concerned, but Diane doesn’t. If I was her, I’d be worried, because I know Oz heard her agree with Jennie. The fact that I’m the culprit who carried out the cut back is immaterial at this point so he takes revenge where he can. I’m sure.

The battery on my laptop is about to run dry so I better quit while I can still save this. It’s vital to everyone  that I get this out in the ozone where they can snag it out of the air and waste their precious time reading it. I’d equate it to a computer virus that causes people to spend time doing something they really don’t want to do in order to resurrect their computers in order to read drivel like this. Now, aren’t you happy you made it this far?


Golfing, Rocks, and the USN

Today I rediscovered why I generally do not golf more than 9 holes on any given day. It’s because I get a little giddy after the ninth hole, like you do when you’ve been awake for a couple of days, and everything is funny, even when it really isn’t. Still, it was a fun time that I really enjoyed, and I’ll probably do it again. We used a cart and I’m still stiff and sore.

I was treated to this experience by by friend and classmate, Jimbo. He’s married to Sue, in case you didn’t know, and owns a business that supplies pretty much every kind of appliance known to mankind to pretty much every hotel/motel chain in the free world. Oh, he supplies DVDs, too. Consequently, he’s doing quite well in the business world. You check his stuff out on his Hospitality Supplies web site. If you see something you like, let me know and I’ll see if I can get you a discount. No guarantees, but who knows?

To start the day out a dump truck arrived bright and early to deliver a pile of rocks we ordered yesterday. Diane insisted. They’re for the ditch by the garage that I need to expand a bit, and ensure it’s actually slopped correctly so the water runs away from the driveway. To do this I’ve been given permission to rent a mini excavator from Don’s Rental! That’s going to be so much fun that I might just dig up way more dirt than necessary to “get it right.” I suppose I could dig it out with my poleasky and a shovel but that’s, like, work. The excavator will be way more fun.

I think the final plans have been made for our reunion for the USS Dennis J. Buckley (DD-808) at the end of this month. It’s going to be in San Diego. Diane and I were responsible for arranging everything and it’s turning out to be the biggest reunion this ship has ever had. It’s really amazing. There will be 131 people there. In 2010, in Buffalo, NY, there were 40 or so. The last bit to be finalized was the tour buses to get everyone from point to point without losing any of them. This ship was commissioned in 1944 and decommissioned in 1973, so even those who were aboard in 1973 are old now. One individual, who is coming, was aboard from 1948 to 1954. Pretty amazing.

Diane put the dogs on alert that it’s OK to rouse me a bit early tomorrow, since I have to get up early anyway, to get the equipment I need in the morning. So, it’s time to quit.

Nine Eleven – Where Were You?

It’s very interesting what those two words evoke in people. Two simple words, used every day in one context or another, that stir memories of an event on a specific date in time. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear them spoken?

For me, it’s an early morning getting ready for work. The TV was on, and the “breaking news” was video of the North Tower burning, people jumping from windows as fire consumed the upper floors. Standing there in awe, and sadness, disbelieving, we watched the South Tower explode, compounding the chaos, then it cascaded to the ground. It was like watching a planned demolition, the way it simply dropped to the ground in it’s own footprint. This time, however, there were thousands of people inside.

In a daze, I made my way to work where I joined a room full of co-workers in a conference room to watch the ongoing news about the attack … then the North tower collapsed, joining the remnants of the South tower, creating a huge void in the New York skyline.

Then, when it seemed things were calming down, came news of a plane hitting the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and another plane crashing into the ground in Pennsylvania.

In all, 2,976 people died that day at the hands of 19 terrorists. Indeed, they scared us because of the cowardly manner in which they chose to express themselves. They also awakened the withering patriotism of the United States. Instead of striking fear of them into our hearts these acts united us more strongly, giving 9/11 new meaning.

If anyone you know doesn’t understand the meaning of nine eleven, please explain it to them. They need to know. We can’t forget this.

The Long Road Home and Television Deprivation

It rained last night and got everything wet so we decided it was a good time to pack up everything and go home. So did the other 852,643 people who spent their weekend in Long Beach, Washington for the Rod Run. It was a brutal trip that took almost 5 hours. Normally it only takes about 3 because it’s only, like, 80 miles away.

Initially, it was the crowd going across the Astoria-Megler Bridge which is 4.1 miles long. The link is to the webcam on that bridge. It took us about an hour to cross it, just idling along, using lots of gas. Once across the bridge we stopped to eat some dead chicken in a parking lot, then joined the throngs exiting that Scandinavian hot spot for more hospitable climes to the east. The trip through town was at walking speed, then once through we came to a complete and utter stop for no apparent reason. Traffic kept coming our toward us for the 2.5 hours we crept along, but we remained at a standstill for most of that time. Had it not been for Jennie, who was in Rainier at Lydia’s ball games, which we intended to  attend, we’d never known that it was a rollover accident just below Bradley State Park. By the time we arrived at the scene it had all been cleaned up. Then the traffic picked up and moved along at it’s normal 55-85 mph pace. Interesting how that works. The traffic was backed up at least 20 miles, with no respite, or alternate route once a driver had committed himmerherself. We all just toughed it out like good Oregonians do. Even when there was a passing lane, no one tried to pass because they knew it would incur the wrath of everyone else on the mostly two land highway. No one got mad and blew their horns, no one yelled … we just piddled along knowing it would eventually end. And it did.

The dogs were really happy to get home. They missed their yard and immediately glistened it with spots of urine as if to say, “I’m home!” I have no doubt those bits of lawn will respond greenly to the nitrogen-rich applications. They always do. It’s unfortunate that they can’t distribute it a little more evenly to bless the portions of lawn not blessed with a direct hit. There are lots, and lots of those.

Though Diane and I are also very happy to be home, we controlled ourselves and did not urinate in the yard. Instead, we emptied the RV of things that would spoil if we ignored it. We felt it was important to not ignore it which would result in a mess the next time we decided to load the refrigerator for a trip. It would be ugly.

Since we only had two fuzzy TV channels during our absence, we turned on all four of our TVs so we wouldn’t miss anything as we roamed from room to room, touching all the things that we missed the most over the past three.seventyfive days. Had we but known, we could have taken one of our many DirecTV receivers and connected it to the permanently mounted satellite antenna on Barnes’ modified single wide. That would have been sweet and Diane wouldn’t have missed a single event of anything on HGTV.

Did you know that most of the programs on HGTV are hosted by, produced by, and filmed by aliens? It’s true. They all Canadians and everyone knows that all aliens are from Canada. I know this because I went to High School with one of them and his ID card identified him as an Alien. It said it, right there on the US Government ID card, so it has to be true, right? Everyone else living in this country, who wasn’t born here, is called an immigrant, illegal or otherwise.

I feel that this’s a good point to stop, so I will.

Rod Run To The End Of The World & Tuna Fish

It’s cold here! Yesterday it was about 90 when we played golf, but today it’s only about 48 or so. Really. It is. What a difference a day makes … from sweating non-stop to sweat socks.

Yesterday we connected with our friends Gary and Cindy who live about 2 miles from us, on the other side of the Columbia River. Gary and I were stationed on the USS Cleveland at different times, but we’re still shipmates. We got to know them in San Diego last year when the Cleveland was decommissioned. Gary and Cindy are in Ocean Park for the Rod Run To The End Of The World. Quite an event. Gary has a 1965 VW Bus that he entered. After visiting with them for a while we all piled into the bus and Gary got in the line of custom vehicles to cruise the main highway on the Long Beach peninsula. It was fun to be part of the display … there were zillions of people lining the streets, and residents outside of town parked their lawn chairs by the main road to watch the parade of cars. It’s pretty much non-stop.

This is Gary …


Today we went to the old cranberry bog that is owned by the Beach Baron car club, a local group, where all the custom cars gather to show themselves off. There have been shows like this where 1500 vehicles showed up to be seen. I don’t know how many were there today, but there must have been at least hundreds. Very colorful, and lots of gut rumbling engines pushing their vehicles slowly through the crowds. Here are some of the things we saw there …

… Gary & Cindy guarding the bus …


… a Chevy El Camino, like I used to have … ‘cept this is 1967 and mine was a ’64 …


… a 1966 Chevelle Malibu, like we used to have …


… a 1965 Thunderbird Landau, like Diane and I used to have …


… and a 1968 Chevy pickup that looks like mine will, some day …


Diane and I did a lot of walking today because, before going to the car show, we walked the dogs about 5 or 6 miles, at least. We went around one house, in this neighborhood, about 7 times because it’s for sale and no one is home. Very nice place, but too expensive, probably. It would be a good place to live all the time. I’d go take a picture of it to show you, but I don’t want to get out of my cozy chair. Besides, it’s dark now and that’s just another reason I don’t want to do it.

Now I’m eating my supper … crackers and cheese … I already ate my cookies. Then, it’s bedtime.

Oh, wait … I forgot … Doug, Caroline, Sue, and Todd showed up with two dead tuna fish that Doug and Todd cleaned in the back yard.


… this is what was left over …


… and this is Todd’s finger, the only injury … nice …


There … I think that’s about it.

Where Was I?

This morning I awoke in the RV in Ocean Park, Washington with no memory of how I got here. Diane and the dogs are also here, as is the Buick, so apparently it was a planned event. Since the Buick is here, the assumption is that I drove the RV all by myself, but I think Panzee must have driven part of the time. There’s no other reasonable explanation because Ozzie’s legs are just too short to reach the pedals.

I learned this morning that I was driving when we got here, and I parked the rig with JR’s assistance, and worked really hard to get TV reception so Diane could watch Obama’s speech last night. So, I was externally lucid at the time, but comatose on the interior.

It’s really not a bad way to get around because it’s a lot like time travel … you begin your trip the, ZAP, you’re there. How convenient.

Heather and Jeff shared a picture on Facebook of a wide eyed guy with the caption “I’m smarter then you’re”. I’m going to have that put on a t-shirt. It’s very cool.

It’s later in the day now so, so it’s apparent something interesting has happened since I quite earlier. Let’s see … I went golfing with Doug, JP, and Mike. Everyone but Doug did terrible. Doug shot 3 over par. Nice. I was double par, at least.

After hanging my head for a short period of time, JP and I returned to the camp site to see if the girls were back from their garage sale extravaganza. They were already done and were sorting through their treasures.

It’s miserable hot today, one of the reasons I golfed so badly, I’m sure. All that sweat dripping in my eyes stung, making it hard to see and concentrate at the same time. Since I have trouble doing that when I’m not sweating, it was doubly bad. So, that’s the real reason I golfed badly. There can be no other reason.

My mind just dried up so I’m quitting,

What Day Is It?

So, there I was, just a walkin’ down the street, singing, “do wah diddy, diddy, dum, diddy, do. Shuffling my fingers, and a snappin’ my feet … ”

That’s not quite right, I don’t think, so I’m moving on to something else … besides, a vision of Tom’s kotex-covered leg wound just zoomed through my head destroying any sense of direction that I may have had with wherever I was going above.

Monday, Labor Day, in case you forgot, Diane ushered me out of the house before 0700 to participate with other International Lion’s members to place American flags throughout the city of St. Helens in honor of the day.

After planting the flags along the street we ate breakfast at the Sunshine Pizza joint. I had two runny eggs, a piece of ham, and hash browns. Not being one to keep things separated on my plate, I immediately chopped everything into pieces and mixed it up on my plate. This distressed some of the more fussy people in my vicinity. I didn’t mind that they were distressed.

After breakfast I retired to the golf course where Doug and I had one of the worst rounds we’ve had in years. But, we laughed the entire time. That’s more important than playing really, really well. It would be nice to have a decent round but, at this point in time, I’m just happy when I hit the ball and it goes kinda where I aimed it. Monday, that was my first hit off the #1 tee … it was the best drive I’ve ever had. It was so good that I almost wet my pants. Almost. It all went downhill from there, but it was OK.

Later in the day I returned to help extract the flags so they could be returned to storage. Keith and I walked the entire route, covering almost 2 miles. I know that’s true because Keith drove his car on the route and determined it was 1.8 miles, a fact he shared in an email to me. I rounded up to 2 because it was pretty close, and it looks better on my walking chart.

I don’t actually have a walking chart so I lied. If I had one, 2 would certainly look better than 1.8, don’t you think? Maybe I should start a walking chart. It would be east to just make stuff up about how far I walk every day. Yea, that would be pretty simple. If I decide to do

Today … hmmm … short term memory issues, here. Oh ya, I had to be at the church by 0900 to meet an estimator from a local furnace installer so he could see what he has to deal with in order to replace the current furnace that was installed somewhere around the turn of the century. It’s old. Actually, there are two of them that we want them to replace with one. A cheap one. Figure the odds of that.

While waiting for the estimator, I gave Floyd a hand with with the moss issue in the drain thingie around the church. Floyd is always working around the church, it seems, and it really bugs me because it makes me feel guilty about not helping more. As he indirectly told me, “that’s my problem, not his.” So true. Because of that, I vow to devote more of my time to aid in the upkeep of the church … if I remember … or if Diane reminds me … or if Floyd calls me. Any of those would work, but it would be best if I could just remember.

During the day I put another coat of sheetrock mud on the repair job in the closet in Lydia’s room. It’s Lydia’s room because that’s where she always sleeps when she spends the night. Diane’s really anxious for me to get it back together so she can hang up the 1/3 of her clothes that are currently stacked on Lydia’s bed. She can’t remember what’s there but it’s probably a very good bet that what ever’s on the bottom of the pile is really wrinkled now. I’d put it together tomorrow, if we were going to be home, but we’re not. We’re going to the beach to take a gander at all the lovely vehicles in the “Rod Run to End of the World” in Ocean Park, Washington. It’s quite a gala event that ends on Sunday with a 20-mile-long string of custom cars cruising down the road. It’s not to be missed if you’re ever in the area. It will be especially fun for us because we have two friends bringing their custom, and classic vehicles. The event is only for 1982 and older vehicles, but Jerry 1’s 2012 Camaro isn’t eligible, but he’ll be there just for fun on Saturday. The other friend is a contender with his 1965 VW Bus. Fun stuff. More on that next week.

I forgot something … what’s new there? … I reinstalled the ceiling in the RV and made Diane very happy. It took me two days for the glue to dry before I could pick it up. I’ll have to take a picture of it just for fun.

Time to stop.