Happy 1st Day of Summer











It’s an M&M evening here in Oregon. That would be for the Mountain & the Moon. These pictures were taken at 9:00 pm and it was much brighter out than the photos might lead you to believe. I still fairly light at almost 10:00 pm. Now the days will start getting shorter until, all too soon, it will be getting dark six hours sooner and we’ll all be dreaming about a day like today.

On June 23rd it gets even better because we’ll be treated to a supermoon, when the moon is at perigee, or its closest point to the earth this year. The next time that will happen is August next year.

DSC_5907 DSC_5916


Pretty, huh? No matter how many times I see the mountain, it still captures my full attention.

How about you?

Free To A Good Home …

One Procyon lotor carcass.

Currently residing in crawl space directly under a bathroom on Matzen Avenue in St. Helens, Oregon. Mostly decomposed but all solid parts are available, aligned in the order dictated by specie DNA instructions.
Must be cleaned before using.

Tub has been removed for easy access.

Photo available upon request.

You remove.


Please comment if interested.



I’ve discovered a new way to find all the little cuts on your hands. The ones you forgot about, and the ones you didn’t know you had.

Shave your face then pour aftershave into either hand and clap them together in preparation for patting your little cheeks. The aftershave highlights all injuries with severe pain, however short lived.

Old Spice works best.

This works for anyone who shaves and uses aftershave – men or women.

VA, Weinies, and Mold

This afternoon I had an appointment at the VA Hospital for physical therapy. On the way we always pass this dry cleaner in Portland that has the coolest sign in the window – “Drop your pants here!” I’d do it, but Diane won’t stop and let me. Just want to accommodate.

This morning I spent a couple of hours with Daniel seeing how bad the damage is on the bathroom floor and the consensus is that we’re just going to gut it and start from scratch. We know for sure that we’ll have to replace some of the sub-flooring, and underlayment, so might as well make sure it’s all gone. The mold smell is horrendous now that we’ve unleashed it into the atmosphere. But, it’s trapped in the bathroom and the kids are on notice to stay out until it’s all cleaned up. We also yanked out the bathtub. It’s actually OK where it was sitting, but I wrecked it with the sledge yesterday, as reported, so feel obligated to replace it. I suggested to Dan that we just put it in the back yard and they can use it to plant something. It will probably just go into the dumpster that’s on the way.

On the way home we stopped at Fred Meyer’s to get “a couple of things” and walked out many more than that. Typical for those kinds of stops. But, we needed all of it so it wasn’t a wasted or un-frugal stop. One thing she got is a cat nip scratch pad thingies for Breezy. She laid on it a couple of times then ran off when I tried to move it away from the deck railing, fearing she might start flipping all over and fall off. We’ll see how it works out.

Dinner tonight is beans-n-weinies and potato patties. Comfort food. Diane boiled a dead chicken yesterday thinking I’d make egg noodles today, for my world-famous chicken and noodle soup, but there was no time. That will be a task for tomorrow. It’s not really soup because there are no vegetables in it. I cook the liquid down, and add flour until it’s thick like gravy, then we put it on mashed potatoes. It’s part of our new diet that I call “I Like Starch So There.”  For those who like acronyms, it could be ILISTARSOTH.

EB, my physical therapist, made me hurt today and all he used was extremely large rubber bands. I didn’t know it at the time, but now it’s 7:30 pm, five hours later, and I’m a little sore. Maybe I should exercise more.

Gotta quit, now. Game seven of the NBA finals is on.

Go Spurs.

My Beloved Lawn Mower, Windows, and a Bathroom

I forgot to mention yesterday that before the rains came I was able to mow our yard (the front), the dog’s yard (the back), and two of our neighbor’s yards. Although I’m elderly myself, and might some day soon have the need for someone else to mow our yards, those for whom I performed this service are considerably elderlier than me. So, it was a good thing.

This morning was pretty normal … you know, up with the dogs 5:30-ish, read till 6:30, sleep til 9:00, then think about getting to work. The latter happened around 9:30-ish. On the slate were the windows for Diane’s bathroom. They’ve been painted (outside) and stained (inside) and were just lying around in the basement drying. Today I was going to clean the paint and stain off the respective sides of the glass, then consider putting them back in the frame. But, before I could do that Diane insisted that I had do something with the bathroom door which she claimed had all kinds of runs in the varnish. I did put a coat of polyurethane on it yesterday, but the runs were already there. She didn’t believe me, but I swear that’s true.

Bowing to her wishes, I removed the door and took it to the basement so I could sand and refinish it. Before that happened, however, Jennie called to report the tub in their kids bathroom started pouring hot water and they couldn’t turn it off. Thankfully, I had a t-bar handle for use in shutting off water at the meter. It’s also handy for turning the water back on when the water department turns it off for some reason.

After getting the water off we checked to see what was going on and discovered mold around the tile. So, since we didn’t have to worry about water, Daniel and I started ripping out the wall at the shower end of the tub. The sheet rock behind the tile was the wrong kind and was pretty wet, a perfect atmosphere for mold. It came apart pretty easily. There was mold on the bottom 2 feet and we were able to get it all. But, because we were having more fun than a normal person is allowed, we continued ripping wallboard out all the way around the tub. Actually, we did that because we the waterproof kind of sheet rock like it’s supposed to be. We figured we would install a tub surround, instead of tile, but still need the sheet rock to be correct.

During the demolition I was allowed to wield the sledge-hammer for a bit and made it necessary to replace the tub when I chipped it with a mis-hit. So, now we plan to remove the tub tomorrow, maybe. It shouldn’t be difficult because it’s not a cast iron job. I’ll let you know how that goes.

As I scribble, I’m watching the Oregon State Beavers play the Indiana Hoosiers in the College World Series in Omaha. They just finished the 4th inning and Oregon State is up 1-0. You needed to know that. Some of you may remember when Oregon State won back to back titles in 2006-2007. In 2006 they became the 1st “cold-weather climate” to win the title.

After replacing the gaskets in the tub valves we restored power to the water system to ensure it wasn’t going to leak. It did, a little, on the hot side but I was able to stop it with more effort than normally necessary for a good faucet. So, I think the faucet is compromised and may need to be replaced. That remains to be seen the next time we remove water power to the house.

Now we’re letting dry out over night with a fan blowing on the damp area. Then we’ll clean it with bleach and let it dry again. Then we’re going to rip up the linoleum, pop off the toilet, and see if there’s any damage to the floor in that area. When we’re done it will be a new bathroom. Honest.

I tried to start my truck this afternoon, but the battery was dead. Bummer. It’s charging, now so I can try it again tomorrow.

Just now Diane told me that PD, one of the neighborhood feral cats we’ve befriended, was munching away at the outdoor dining facility on our back porch, then all the sudden he was gone and there was “an enormous cat” in his place. The biggest cat she’s ever seen, she said, so naturally I had to get up to see it. It was big, for a cat, but not so big for a raccoon. Considering it was still daylight, and raccoons are nocturnal by nature, I can understand how she could mistake it for a large cat. Our view was of its backside and its tail was hidden by a bucket which compounded the confusion. So, I rapped on the window and it turned around to look and confirmed it’s species with that black mask and little pointy rat nose. Diane slugged me when I said, in my announcer voice, “and Diane mistakes a small raccoon for a large cat” knowing full well that was a prelude to a blog entry. So there you have it. I’m officially in large trouble, now.

So, I shall quit, leaving you with this rainbow that invaded our back yard in as the storm passed over.


… it was actually a double rainbow.


… and I caught Breezy doing her yoga exercises on the bed …



Rain, Rain, Go Away …

Just kidding. I live in Oregon and absolutely love the rain. It clears the air and where we are the humidity is minimal. It’s just great. Really. I love it.

Today it rained hard … must have been 2-3 inches in about 5 minutes. Honest. I was outside, working on the truck, when the deluge hit. Thankfully, I had on shorts and a pair of those rubber shoes, and I was wearing a rubber raincoat, so I didn’t get a long pair of pants wet. I was standing in about a foot of water while rewiring the fuel pump to work only when the ignition was on so my socks got pretty wet, but that’s OK. They were only a pair of those fake socks people wear with sneakers and shorts when they golf. I do that once in a while myself, now, since I don’t really care kind of fashion statement I make any more. Especially on the golf course.

As soon as I got the pump wired up I checked it out and it works just fine. Now I don’t have to pull the fuse when I turn the engine off.

With all of my recent success with the truck a wave of confidence enveloped me giving me thoughts about actually putting it all back together in a manner that pleases Diane enough that she will ride in it. Right now she’ll only ride in it to the dump with me, hoping I will just leave it there. She really doesn’t want me to do that, thought, because we’d have to walk home. Or I would have to walk home and get her car and go back and get her. No, she wouldn’t make me do that. I’m sure.

It didn’t actually rain that much, but it was torrential for about five minutes. Luckily, it wasn’t cold so it was OK my socks were wet. I wasn’t standing in that much water, either. My socks got wet from all the water splashing on them. Exciting stuff when you’re working with electricity … even if it’s only DC. Still hurts. But I wasn’t shocked today. I was careful. I unhooked the battery.

Not much else to say. Just added a picture of the truck from last winter.


Big Block Chevy’s

A few days ago I embarked on a mission to get the old truck started. I’ve not tried since last summer, so it’s been sitting for a long time. I needed to get it started because I’ve been tossing stuff in the back all year long, planning to make a dump run, eventually. Since it was pretty full, I decided it was time to fire it up. It’s been a faithful beast for a long time, sitting for months at a time, but always starting. Since it’s a big block Chevy, it starts hard all the time. To get it started, I pump the gas about twenty times before engaging the starter and keep pumping until it finally ignites. Takes a while, sometimes, but it always starts.

Every time I go through that process I vow to start it more often so it will like me better, and start easier. Last year I put new plugs, wires, and points in it and even timed it, before letting it sit all that time. This year it fired briefly with the addition of starting fluid in the carburetor, but it wouldn’t fire at all after that. Almost ran the battery down. I hate when that happens. After checking at length, I determined it wasn’t getting a spark from the ignition. The coil checked fine, but all that hard work I did with the distributor last year seemed to be a failure.

So, I dug around in my shop and re-discovered an HEI distributor which I decided had earned the right to be installed in the old truck. I’ve never installed one of those before, and never really looked inside one of them, so popped the cap and found all kinds of rusty parts inside. Since HEI distributors don’t have points, and the shaft turned freely, I figured that was OK. I put the cap back on, took it outside and introduced it to the truck.

Removing the old points distributor was easy. I even marked it so I could get it back in the right position should the HEI not work. I left the old cap in place, with all plug wires attached, so I could transfer them correctly to the HEI cap.

First, I removed the coil and tossed it summarily on the ground. HEI’s have those built-in. Then I marked the old distributor shaft, noted the position of the rotor, and yanked the assembly out of the engine. I was committed. Maybe it’s more accurate that I should have been committed. Long ago.

I found a comfortable place under the hood and slowly eased the HEI distributor into the engine, lining up the rotor cap to the place I thought I remembered aligned with the points distributor. It’s a tricky process because the gear is helical which causes it to rotate the shaft as it engages the gear in the engine. So, I dallied with it for a while, putting it in, taking it out, until I thought it was in the right place. Then I bolted it down so it would move.

Then I pulled one of the plug wires from the old cap and attempted to attach it to the HEI cap. It was at that moment I learned that HEI caps will not accept the old points-type plug wires.

So, I took a break and watched Lydia play softball all weekend. Leaving the truck to sit just a little longer.

Today I decided it just had to start so I bit the bullet and got another set of plug wires, appropriate for the HEI cap. It was a simple process of installing the new wires because I had the old cap and wires for my guide. But I didn’t need them because the firing order of the cylinders is displayed prominently on the intake manifold, right in front of the carburetor. How handy is that? So, all I had to know was where the #1 plug was connected on the cap. Interestingly enough, whoever used the HEI distributor last had used a magic marker to indicate the entire firing order around the cap. Another “how handy is that?” moment. Nifty.

After I had all the wires snapped neatly into place, it was time to reconnect the battery and see what happened. I got behind the wheel, inserted the ignition key, pumped the gas about twenty time, said a little prayer, and engaged the starter.

To my immense surprise, it fired and turned over about three times before quitting. The fact that it fired at all was amazing to me so I considered that a victory. However, no amount of starting fluid would get it going long enough for the old mechanical, dried out, gas pump, to get gas out of the tank. I knew there was some in there, because I stuck a wire in the tank to see how full it was. Not much, but enough to get it running, I figured.

There’s a clear fuel filter that allows one to see if there’s gas being pumped and I discovered that, indeed, gas was coming through the line, but not enough to reach the carburetor. I would hurry from the cab to the engine compartment to check, and watch the gas siphon back down to the pump. So, I figured the diaphragm on the pump was compromised and an electric pump was needed.

Happily, I had one of those in the old ’73 Winnebago that I jury rigged to get it home. I was a simple matter of disconnecting the mechanical pump from the tank, and connecting the electric pump to the tank and the carburetor. I checked to make sure it worked by hooking the leads to the battery, and it ran fine, but it wouldn’t fill the fuel filter no matter how long I let it run. It was just sucking air.

So, I climbed back under the truck, disconnected the electric pump, and blew air through the line to make sure it was clear. It was, so I sucked on it, and got the satisfying resistance of liquid moving into the line. When nothing ran out of it, I sucked it again and immediately got a mouthful of gas. I spit out the hose and tried to get it aimed up to stop the flow, but not before it got all over my neck and face.

Gas doesn’t taste good, and it hurts when applied to bare skin. I wasn’t about to let that interfere with my progress. Instead of washing out my mouth, and wiping the gas off my face and neck, I went back to the engine compartment and reconnected the electric fuel pump. When I connected the leads to power, it quickly primed and filled the fuel filter, and it just kept running. It’s supposed to stop when it reaches a certain pressure, but that apparently never happened. So, while it was working, I got in the cab and went through the process of getting the engine going. Again I was surprised when it fired, and ran. Amazing. It ran nice and smooth, too. So, the only problem was the constantly running fuel pump. Thankfully, it came with a fuse so all I had to do was remove the fuse when I turned it off.

I went to the house and cleaned up a little in preparation for my trip to the dump, and to tell Diane I was leaving. I’m not allowed to leave without telling her where I’m going. It’s the right thing to do.

I discovered about a gallon of gas in one of my lawn mower cans and dumped that in the tank since I really wasn’t sure how much there was. Then, using back roads, just in case something happened, I made my way to dump. I got rid of all the carpet we ripped out of the house last Friday (I think), and everything I’ve been collecting for the last year, for $24. A bargain. I was a happy camper.

Once home, I got my lawnmower and loaded it in the back of the truck, using the ramps I’ve had since I got the mower, and took it down to Dan and Jennie’s because their lawn mower has issues, and I wasn’t in the proper frame of mind to figure it out. Besides, it gave me a chance to really use the truck. You know?

I mowed the yard so quickly, that I decided to do it again at a lower setting. It looks good. Then I loaded up the mower, put the fuse back in for the fuel pump, and fired it up.

And it promptly quit. I was shattered. I cranked and cranked and cranked, but it would fire at all. Taking another look at the fuel filter I discovered it wasn’t filling, telling me there was either something blocking the flow, or the tank was too empty. Then I called Diane, locked the truck, and waited for her to come get me because I wasn’t going to try to resurrect it any more today.

While waiting, I visited with Jeran who was eating his dinner, laying on the living room floor. It looked really good and he said it was sloppy Joe, but he only eats the sloppy part as he doesn’t like buns, the “Joe” part. Good to know.

Diane called back and asked me where the Subaru keys were so I gave her three or four options of where to look, but none of those panned out. This was a problem because I left my car in the driveway behind Diane’s Buick. Not a wise choice on my part, especially when I couldn’t remember what I did with the key.

I told Diane to not worry about it and that I would walk home. It’s only about a mile, but the last half is all up hill. I mosied along, taking it easy, thinking about which way to go, when the Subaru showed up to take me home. She found the key in the last place I thought of, the pants I was wearing when I went to get the new plug wires for the truck, and to work on Dan & Jen’s mower. I just didn’t remember where I left them.

She was a bit testy, but that was OK. I knew she’d get over it.

Tomorrow I will get a large can of gas and see about getting the truck started so I can get the mower home to do our yard before it rains again.

Wish me luck.