Mazatlan – Day 1

It’s currently about 0705 this wonderful Monday morning, and we are high in the air somewhere over Oregon, heading south to LA.
The morning began awfully early, mainly because the evening ended far later than we had planned, but it all worked out. I opted to leave my CPAP in the other bag, in the vehicle, because it’s been a long time since I’ve snored all night long, and Diane was missing it. So, I was able to adequately keep both of us awake for a good portion of the night.

When we arrived at the hotel I conferred with Diane as to whether or not we should have a wake up call and she thought 0330 would be a good time to ensure we made the 0400 shuttle to the airport for our 0530 flight. Once in the room, however, she had a change of heart after rediscovering that our flight didn’t leave until 0640. With this new information in hand we agreed that we could push our wake up call all the way out to 0430 for the 0500 shuttle. I called the front desk and made the necessary changes.

It turns out that not all of the people who work at the hotel are on speaking terms because because we received a wake up call at 0330 and again at 0430. The second one was unnecessary because we stayed up after the first one. Consequently, we were more than ready to leave.

The guy behind us on the shuttle who’s accent pegged him as someone from Boston, New York, or New Jersey area, apparently spends his time flying from golf course to golf course, and he hasn’t had time to expand his vocabulary to deliver descriptive narrative without the use of some pretty base vulgarities. It was an educational trip.

At the airport we participated in two different lines that, combined, represented a very large portion of the greater Portland/Vancouver area. The first line was to check our food bag. It weighed in at 52.8 pounds which qualified it for a larger fee than the $20 Diane had already paid for. I was prepared to toss out a few cans of soup, but the attendant said, “that’s OK, I’ll let it go.” I think she allowed it because I didn’t argue with her. Sweet.

The second line was for security, a much larger line, but it moved quickly, which pleasantly surprised both of us. After getting all our clothing back on we went directly to the Starbucks which was directly ahead of us. Neither of us had had our morning coffee so we were in dire need.

Diane went to secure us a table while I inserted myself in the Starbucks line. Directly in front of me was a very attractive, well endowed young lady who was not the least bit afraid of displaying the talents God had provided for her. Over her shoulder hung a large pink bag attached to which was a very large, sparkly pin that spelled out “Victoria’s Secrets”. Since I was breathing, and blood coursed through my not yet constricted arteries, I was obviously interested in her story. So, I asked her if the bag indicated a vocation, or if it was simply a really neat bag. She flashed me a brilliant smile and said, “no, I just came home to get my ‘rain fix’, and I’m heading back to San Diego.” She’s from Vancouver and is attending the University of San Diego. Nice girl. I didn’t get a chance to ask her what she intended to be when she grew up, but it just didn’t seem necessary to ask at the time.

For coffee, I got my normal Venti WCMNW and Diane got a Venti CM. The attendant mistook the NW addendum to include both drinks, but that’s OK because you always get a little bit more that way. I also got a banana nut muffin which we shared. It was all very good.

We proceeded to gate C-4 and took a seat until almost everyone had boarded. We were destined for seats 9-A & B. A young man named Colin was sitting in seat C, the isle seat. He was reading a real book, not an electronic one, which initially got my interest, then he put the book away and started drawing very detailed depictions of those sitting around him. His choice of medium was a ballpoint pen and a lined steno pad. It was totally incredible so I, of course, commented, suggesting that he must have many of those filled notebooks stashed in storage someplace. He conceded this was true, and we struck up a conversation. Turns our he’s a graphic artist who works for Nike and he designs logos for T-Shirts. As sure as I’m sitting here, I’m willing to bet that many of you, who wear Nike products, have something he designed. Interesting. I told him that Phil should have sprung for First Class for him and his other workers and he said, “he does for international flights.” This time they were just going to various cities around the US to visit clients. A really nice guy.

Now, here’s the ‘small world’ part of this story. Turns out that Colin used to work for puppet maker name Michael Curry when his business was located in … wait for it … St. Helens, Oregon! Go Figure. Colin opted for a new job when Michael moved his business to Scappoose, 8 miles closer to Portland, and landed with Nike. One of his friends at Nike is the young lady who dreamed up the wings you see on the Oregon Ducks uniforms and logo shirts. He didn’t have any samples, so I had to leave that relationship shirtless. Still, it was a very nice visit.

In LA, Diane and I stopped at Ruby’s Cafe for a bite to eat, then on to gate 68-A to await our connecting flight to Mazatlan. Again, we waited until the line whittled down a ways before standing to join the crowd.

For traveling, I wore the T-shirt Diane got me that says “I’m Retired and this is as dressed up as I get”. It always seems to be a topic of conversation, a good icebreaker. While boarding the plane, the plane Captain and XO were standing by to greet folks and the CO commented about how he couldn’t wait until he could wear a shirt like mine. I offered to trade him shirts, but he declined stating that I wouldn’t want his because it was 4-days old. I told him that wasn’t a problem, but he still wouldn’t go for it. For just the briefest of moments I had visions of flying the plane.

On this leg we had seats 15-C&D which are both isle seats. We planned to sit there and hold hands across the isle for the entire flight, going to the bathroom when we pleased, without having to stumble over another passenger. That didn’t work out, however, because the older (than me) gentleman sitting in seat E, next to Diane, offered to trade me seats so we could sit together. How could we refuse? So, I wound up in seat D, and Diane moved to E. As fortune would have it, when they closed the door to the plane, a clear indication that no one else was going to be allowed aboard, seat F was still empty. So, I moved to F, the window seat. I hardly ever get the window seat, so I was thrilled.

That left seat D empty. After a bit of coaxing, the lady in row 14, seat D, convinced her friend to move up from the back and sit behind her. When she arrived she said that she hoped we didn’t mind if she joined us. I requested a vote, but was denied, so told her I didn’t mind as long as she and her friend didn’t talk all the way to Mexico. She said, “no chance. We’re just a couple of jabber boxes.” Turns our, however, that she’s a nice lady from Santa Barbara who also lives in Mazatlan. Her name is Romi and she owns the El Roots Cafe in our destination city. I learned all of this before we took off.

We were pushed away from the terminal on time, and headed for our place in line for takeoff. It was a bumpy ride to the end of the runway, but by the time we got there all the checks and balances had been performed so we were good to go. We turned on to the runway and immediately accelerated for takeoff. There was no delay, whatsoever. Just turn, and go.

Down the runway we raced, going faster and faster, and I could tell the nose wheel was almost ready to leave the runway. I believe this is called the ‘rotate’ point. Instead of doing that, however, the engines were reversed, and the brakes were tested to their fullest, giving every one on board a real exciting time, wondering what the heck had happened. We never came to a full stop, but slowed enough to get off the main runway, then the CO explained what happened. He said that about a 10 feet into our takeoff run he saw this goose in the middle of the runway and yearned for it to move. When it did, however, it took flight and made a suicidal run through our left engine which caused the pilot a great deal of concern. I’m sure the air controllers got a little excited, too. Probably woke a couple of them up. I suspect the “Check Engine” light probably came on in the cockpit, too.

We went back to the terminal and sat there for an hour while various people checked the engines and could find nothing wrong with either of them. There was a rumor from the back of the plane that the goose made a last minute dodge, missing the engine, but hitting the wing. He was found laying, entirely whole, on the runway. We were not allowed to leave until appropriate services were made and next of kin notified. It was sad, but a much better mental picture than one of shredded goose all over the place. Romi’s El Roots cafe serves sushi dishes so I asked her, if the goose had gone through the engine, could it be classified as Canadian Sushi. She agreed that it was probably appropriate.

Now we’re nearing the bottom end of The Gulf of California, and I an tell we’re losing altitude slowly. So, before the waitress yells at me again, I’m going to terminate this and be a good boy. I’ll add more, of course, once we get to our room at the resort.

The landing, though an hour later than planned, was uneventful. Even so, everyone on the play clapped and cheered, just as they did when we successfully departed the runway in LA. It was a cheerful bunch on that plane. Then we had to transit through customs and, as luck would have it, with Mexico’s random selection process, activated by pushing a large red button, Diane got the red light meaning we both had to participate in a strip search of everything we had. I as OK with it because I don’t mind if strangers touch me. Wherever they want to. Actually, they only wanted to dig through the luggage, which they did, then sent us on our merry way.

Thankfully, the resort shuttle driver knew about the delay and didn’t strand us. That would have been bad because there were 12 of us needing the ride. That trip, too, was uneventful, and we arrived just fine. Checked into our room, and removed all the sweaty clothes and had a PB&J sandwich.

Now we’re just cruising around looking at stuff.

Church, Lunch, and Packing

Greetings! So it begins … our next to last trip to Mexico. It may be our last one but I’m leaving a little hedge room in case we decide to go again at some point in the future.

Today was just a whirlwind of activity after church service and and after-church snacks. I had a red velvet cupcake, one cup of coffee two large grapes, two crackers that looked like little squashed shredded wheat things, and two small pieces of cheese. It was an adequate amount of sustenance to hold me until Diane could figure out what to feed me for lunch. She asked what I wanted, but I couldn’t think of anything quickly enough so she said she’d “wing it.” I thought that might turn out to be something that used to have feathers, but it was a grilled ham and cheese sandwich which she toasted on the griddler. Although there were no chips, it was still good.

After lunch I completed a ton of paperwork for another shot at refinancing our home while Diane took her Mom, Jean, shopping. I also tried to set up my do-everything printer so I could fax the documents, but it failed to cooperate sufficiently so I stuff it all in an envelope an left a note on it with the proper address. Then I texted Jeff and Jennifer requesting that one of them please mail it for us tomorrow. Jeff responded saying he’d do it.

The dogs saw the suitcases yesterday and knew something was up, so when we started packing them today it wasn’t a big surprise for them. They were upset, sure, because they know exactly what suitcases are for. They’re used to periodically remove all manner of clothing from the house, then take them to the car and disappear for a week or two leaving them to fend for themselves between the times Jeff or Jennie get there to make sure they both have food. It really throws them off their schedule because there’s no one there for them to wake up in the morning to get their pouch food. They have to wait for someone to show up. It’s only a week and they will have visitors every day, just not at night. They are there all alone so have been given authority to dismember anyone who walks through the door, or window, without a prior introduction from a family member. It the intruder is a man, Panzee is trained to grab a let, then Ozzie jumps up and grabs the cahones, and Breezie goes for the eye balls. Once attached, they all pull different directions and hold it until they can’t stand the screaming any longer. Now, if it was a girl, we’d have to retrain the to attack different parts. I’m not really sure how it would work.Panzee’s job is secure with the leg as is Breezie with the eyes, but little Ozzie will have to do some rethinking since thee might not be any cahones in the normal spot. Maybe just a pair of lips He could, I suppose, get his teen all gnarled up in some pubic hair. That would have to feel bad, man or women. We’ll just go with the premise that all bad people are men and women are there to cuddle them.

Once the dogs and cat understood their respective roles, in any situation, we departed the house, headed for Grams for another goodbye stop and a little visit. We didn’t stay long because by now it was getting dark, going on toward 7 pm. It as my understanding that we had to be at the airport for a 0530 flight so when we checked in I set a wakeup call for 0330 so we could catch the 0400 shuttle to the airport. Then, when Diane looked at our schedule again, said our flight wasn’t until 0640 meaning we didn’t have to get up until 0430 for the 0500 shuttle. We gained an extra hour in bed which Diane will probably hate because I didn’t pring my CPAP up to the room so I’ll be snoring all night long. I don’t mind because I can’t hear myself snore.

For supper we each had two bananas and a cup of hot tea.

Part of our delay in grtting out of town was packing the bag we’re going to check. Its full of food, like a loaf of bread, jar of mayo, cans of tuna, coffee beans, a coffee grinder, creamer for me,cereal, juice and a bunch of other pretty amazing stuff.

My pills are kicking in so I gotta stop and get to sleep. 0430 comes a lot earlier than it used to. Sweet dreams.

Diane’s Hair, Fire, Golf, Mechanical Stuff, and Food

First, here’s Diane’s new hairdo for those of you who requested it. It’s kinda like the picture I took in Hawaii and included with the tiki torch entry. I like it. I tell her that, but I’m not sure she believes me. What do you think?

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Now, about Jerrie the arsonist, the golfer, the mechanic, and elctronical wizard – what a package!

On Thursday, the burn pile was reduced to a pretty flat mess of ashes. That would be the grey matter in the middle of the picture. The raised areas around it are grass clippings, which we are not allowed to burn. Before igniting the pile, it was tall enough, from this angle, to hide the clippings pile, and it was that tall all the way across. I stood out there for four hours monitoring the progress, moving things around, getting burnt here and there, and inhaled more than my share of smoke. It burned my eyes and my nose, but I hung in there and did my job. The neighbors, to the left, lit their burn pile, also, but our pile went away first.

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Now, about golfing – Junior, Doug, and I are 1962 graduate of Scappoose Union High School. We weren’t the only three, of course, but we three see each other more often than the other 70+ remaining members of that class. That officially makes us old since we are well beyond the 50 mark, the point where many young people think we should be put out to pasture, so to speak, and we take that literally because we golf in St. Helens on a course that Jimbo would agree would be better served as a pasture. There are mole hills to contend with, and lost balls in the fairway because of deep grass, or simply deep mud, but it works for us. We have fun. Jimbo, by the way, is also a ’62 graduate, but he lives all the way over in Lake Oswego so we don’t get to see him very often.

Doug is the better golfer of the three of us, but Junior can whip him once in a while. I never do that. I’m just out there to whack a ball, and have a nice conversation while looking for it. We almost always find it, but not always. It doesn’t matter because pretty much all the balls I use were donated by golfers who went before me and we seem to usually come out ahead

Junior watches the golf channel all the time and is just full of little tidbits about how to golf better. Just enough to screw up anyone he’s golfing with, me especially. I don’t mind, because I’m not all that serious about golfing. For me, a round of golf is just a nice walk in the woods. Really. If there’s a tree around, I’ll wind up behind it. Because of that, I’ve adopted the attitude that I can hit my ball over, or through, any tree that’s in my way. Sometimes it works.

Here’s a picture of Junior, from yesterday, hitting his ball again from the same spot because he hit the sign you see a little ways in front of him. The sign was in his way and he made an impressive dent in the metal sign at the bottom right corner. You can actually see how it’s bent from the way it sits. We reviewed our rule book and determined that the sign was at fault, so retrieved his ricocheted ball from the middle of the fairway, put it in its original spot, and moved the sign to the right side of the cart path, away from Junior’s projected flight path.. The second effort was much better and I think we agreed that he parred the hole. Our rule book is better than the one other golfers use.

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After I got home I decided to make myself a sandwich before Diane texted me about it. It’s always good when I can beat her to the punch once in a while. The choice for the sandwich was ham and cheese. Not wanting to open a brand new loaf of cheese, I chose to alter the configuration of the little left over cheese chunks, that we cut up for coffee hour last Sunday, by slicing them a little thinner. This is the good Tillamook cheddar cheese which I prefer to the Kraft peel-n-stick American Cheese Food that’s actually pretty good in a grilled cheese scenario.

Here’s a photographic progression of how I made that sandwich …

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decided to tackle the broken RV so I could get it back into the driveway. This entailed removing the broken mechanical fuel pump to see if it was at least close to the one that came with the ’73. It was a minor miracle that it was, indeed, exactly like the one I needed. Funny, though, because it isn’t the right kind for the ’73. Funny how things work.

Once it was installed, I removed the electric fuel pump, which I determined just wasn’t cutting it, and was blessed with ignition. From this exercise, it’s readily evident that mechanical fuel pumps suck more than electric ones. It sucks better than the electric one I had, anyway. So, the RV is back in the driveway where it belongs. It’s still not leaking, either, though there were torrential downpours off and on all day yesterday.

Since the motor home was handled more quickly than I had anticipated, we decided to drive to Hillsboro to visit Best Buy and retrieve my new iPad which they reported had been received. I had an appointment with one of their Geeks at 1700 to make the switch. We went directly home from there, arriving shortly before the rains came. Rick and Jodi, and Tom and Linda will probably object to the fact that we were that close and didn’t stop and say Hi. Little do they know that when we visit Hillsboro, we drive by their houses at least twice, to see if anyone is looking. If no one charges out of the house on the second trip, we presume no one is there, and continue on our way. Yes, we could call, but choose to use the visual method of contact which is a bit more of a challenge.

That’s a lie. We don’t do drive bys. We should have called. Forgive us.

The new iPad proved to be an electronical challenge. That was mostly because of the Apple ID’s that are necessary to do back ups and restores. So, the back up I thought I had locked down, just kinda disappeared on me so I set the pad up as a new one instead. That means I had to remember all kinds of passwords and things that will make it work like it’s supposed to. Right now it’s wi-fi only which saves a buck or nine on fees, and I think I’m going to leave it that way.

For supper Diane made a terrific meal of re-purposed chicken parts that were formed into cute little sticks then covered with a lot of breading. Baked in the oven, from a frozen state, they do the job of filling the void and they are simple to fix. She also fixed frozen mac and cheese that didn’t turn out so well. I ate all of mine because I love my wife. I also got two ears of corn on the cob, cooked a few days ago, and reheated in the micro. Tasted just as good as if they were fresh. Here’s that meal …

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Yes – both plates are mine. I admit it, I’m a pig.

Today I finished the church newsletter and Diane and I went out and cleaned the church up a bit. Mainly, I scrubbed up all the wine stains around the altar where people seem to have a little problem getting those tiny little cups up to their mouths. I may be guilty, too, but don’t have any memory of dripping wine on the carpet. What makes it more interesting is that the red wine stains are on a red carpet. You’d think the spots would just disappear, wouldn’t you? Doesn’t happen.

Now it’s getting on to dusk and I need to consider packing a suit case. Diane’s already done. She packed our coffee grinder in with her underwear. I told her I’d wrap it up in my skivvies, but she declined. I actually didn’t offer to do that, and I don’t know if it’s with her underwear. I’m just guessing.

Now I’m gonna quit and finish watching today’s football game. While doing this I watched the Oregon State Beavers decimate Colorado 44-11. In a little while I get to watch the Oregon Ducks play the Cal State Bears, I think. It will be interesting to see if Oregon continues it’s march to #1. this will be the Pac-12 opener for both teams.

My Bride

I’ve got nuthin’ today.

Except that Diane got a radical haircut. She’s been letting her hair grow because I like it long, but it’s been driving her nuts. I know she wanted it shorter, the way she’s had it most of her life, and I was selfish and stalled on giving her my blessing. I know she would never get it cut without my approval because she loves and respects me (most of the time).

So, today, after giving her some undeserved grief about it, which made me feel absolutely terrible, I sent her off to her barber with her knowing I was OK with whatever she wanted to do.

When she returned, she was a new person. The haircut it great, and she’s happy. Happy is the main part.

I loved her hair long, and I love her hair short, but, really, her hair isn’t a factor at all.

I love who she is.

Especially when who she is isn’t mad at me.

Phlebotomy, The Garage, and Pac12

It’s a dreary day here in paradise, but we don’t mind. We don’t mind, you understand, because there’s really nothing we can do about it. If it’s going to be dreary, it’s what it is. No amount of whining, or complaining is going to change it. That’s what I’ve been told and I believe it. Makes life much more pleasant and it really makes one appreciate a nice, sunny day.

In Oregon, at least our part of it, car washes are very popular because at the first hint of sunshine, even if it’s for half a day, there’s a lineup at every one of them. Most people don’t want to drive around in a dirty car, especially Diane. Me? I don’t particularly care if my car is dirty or not. I don’t know why that is. Might be because it’s a 1996 Subaru with lots of dents so the dirt kind of hides the damage and lets me forget that I might have to do something about that some day.

Diane’s at the doctor’s office. Actually, she went to the doctor’s office this morning. Right now she’s delivering a stack of magazines to the lab waiting room where she went to visit one of the phlebotomists that works there. Her doctor told her to do this and she always does what her doctor tells her to do, most of the time. So do I. Always.

While Diane was at the doctor this morning, I carved out a spot in the garage so I could get the lawn mower out of the weather for the winter. Last year it lived on the lower patio, but that’s not an option this year. So, it’s going in the garage, next to the player piano. One of these days I’m going to have to get that thing into the basement where I can warm it up and actually work on it once in a while. That was the plan, five years ago, and is still the plan today. Might take the organ to the basement, too. I’ve probably said that before. Maybe one day it’ll actually happen.

When Diane left to visit the phlebotomist this afternoon, I did some more cleaning in the garage, and guess what!? There’s a door in there that opens to the porch outside the kitchen door. I actually knew there was one there because I could see it from outside. But, it’s behind the garbage can so it was never interesting enough to uncover on the garage side. Today I did it and I think I’ll be using it more often in the future. I don’t know why, but I suspect I will.

I don’t think I mentioned that I’m getting a new iPad on Friday. This will be my third one, and it’s going to be the 4th generation unit.  Getting insurance on the first one gave me the 2nd one after I discovered the 1st one didn’t float in the hot tub. I’ve had the 2nd one for almost two years without error, but I dropped it a couple of weeks ago, as I’m prone to do, and it dented up one of the corners. Since then, the little button on the bottom, that has a name I can’t remember, doesn’t work consistently. So, when we were in Portland the other day, Diane let me go to Best Buy where I talked with one of the head Geeks to explain what happened. He was sympathetic, and ultimately agreed that it was going to fail worse almost any time soon. Since I had insurance on it, too, it was pretty much a done deal. So, Friday I’ll have to figure out how to set one of those up, all over again. That will be fun.

Just so you know, Lexi, Kristen’s little girl, knows how to dial a cell phone. She called us about 8 times tonight before Kristen got the phone away from her. We knew it was Lexi because she was making baby noises since, well, she’s a baby. A tricky one, too. Kristen, by the way, is Daniel’s younger sister. They have a brother, Ron, who graduated from Oregon State but remained a staunch Duck fan the entire time. Brave man. He’s an engineer, now. I finally called Kristen’s phone and she answered to clear things up with Lexi. Now we can relax knowing Kristen is OK. It was a concern for a while, there.

Tomorrow I may power wash the lawn mower and put it away in the hole I dug in the garage. My fear regarding that evolution is that the sun will come up and cause the grass to grow mega fast which would require me to get the mower dirty, again. But, I’ll do what ever I have to do to keep the grass in check.

I’m also going to make the Winnebago ‘move’ tomorrow and put it back in the driveway where it belongs. That will involve reinstalling the portion of the driveshaft that Bob removed before he towed it home. He was going to put it back, but I told him I’d do it. Should have let him do it, huh? When that’s installed, I’ll figure out the fuel problem so the engine will start. Might take the mechanical fuel pump off, too, and see if the new one I have looks anything like it. If so, I’ll install it, too.

I can’t do this any more. Girls are playing volleyball on the Pac12 Network.

Phones, Puppies, & No Nap

As you all know, Diane was blessed with a bright yellow iPhone 5C on the 20th, and I received her hand-me-down old iPhone 4. Not an iPhone 4S, but just a 4. Her old phone is just as pristine and clean as the day I took it out of the box to set it up two years ago so I was all for it. You also know that the reason for this need was because I dropped my 4S too many times and broke the screen. I gave it to Jeff for showing us the girls’ new puppy which came to our house named Mallory, but left with her new name, Roku. That’s the number 6 in Japanese. Jeff wanted a “6” name because she has 6 white toes. She’s 10 weeks old and is already twice the size of Ozzie. When she grows up she’s expected to weigh in around 140+. Big dog.

Today was the first time I’ve been allowed to take my ‘new’ phone out of the house so it was a total surprise to me when it fell out of my lap and crashbanged on the garage floor upon returning from wherever it was we went. Seeing this, Diane pursed her perfectly formed, lightly tinted lips, marched in the house with an over-the-shoulder dictate that I need to carry my phone in a case, and she had the perfect one. The phone is a white one and so is the case. It’s a Hello Kitty one that’s she had, ‘Just in case.’ She thought I wouldn’t like it, but I think it’s just absolutely adorable.

It’s been raining most of the day so it’s good to be inside. The only trips we’ve taken, so far, was to pick up Mary, Trudy, and Glenn at 0600 for a trip to the airport, back home, them to Home Depot in Longview to get a $100 error, in their favor, corrected, then to Columbia Feed & Seed for Panzee dog food. So, it turned out to be a pretty busy travel day in the rain. Thankfully, due to Diane’s superb driving skills, we made it to and from every one of our chosen destinations.

It’s only 5:01 pm right now, but I’m really tired. No nap this morning kinda wrecked me for the day. So, I’m calling it quits early. No staying up until 11 pm like I normally do.

Hope everyone is safe and sound in your own abodes, or wherever it is you wish to be.

Rain, Wind, Home Depot, and Barry Manilow

It was a very rainy, and windy day here in River City. That not totally true because it’s not really River City, it’s still St. Helens. But, the town resides on the western shore of the Columbia River, where it flows north from Portland to Longview, so it’s also known as River City. Just thought I’d share that with you for clarification.

This morning at church Diane, her Mom, Jean, and I provided all the snacks for the coffee hour after the service. My job was to carry the bag of food to the basement then get out of the way until I was called to do something. That moment came as soon as everyone, all 30 of them, had made their way through the line once. Then Diane and Jean abandoned me, leaving me alone with two very hot coffee pots, decaf and regular, trusting me to not burn anyone. I did them proud by not doing that and I even got a little cocky and poured left-handed. Though I’m sure I’ve done it before, I have no memory of it. I even did an old trick I’ve used, not overly popular by most of the recipients, by filling Nancy’s cup to the tippy top, so full that picking it up bordered on dangerous. I didn’t burn her, though. That trick I developed while in the Navy aboard ship. Invariably, when someone fills their cup with coffee, someone is waiting right behind to fills theirs. Having the pot already in your hand, it’s an accepted practice to fill the cup of at least the next person in line. When it was me doing the filling, I poured them a heaping cup full. Really. Heaping full. If you fill a cup all the way to the top, and look at it sideways, it almost looks like the liquid is above the cup rim. The fun part at sea is watching the person ask you to stop well before it’s full, but continue anyway. They never once pulled their cup away, but allowed me to fill it all the way up, calling me some pretty creative names as I calmly put the pot back, and watched as they did their best to get the cup to their lips without spilling anything. Consider, too, that the ship is moving all the time. Sometimes in predictable directions. To their credit, everyone who had the misfortune of having me fill their cups in the Goat Locker (Chief’s Mess) never spilled a drop. That comes from experience. They also learned quickly to just wait until I put the pot down so they could fill their own cups. I guess what I did may be construed as mean, but I treated it like a training session.

Once the church was all cleaned up and locked, we dropped by the house to let the dogs out for a bit, then headed to Longview for an expensive visit to Home Depot. I got some baseboard wood, and shoe moulding, and Diane got paint. I think the way she picked it was to look at the price and go for the most expensive thing they sold. Of course, that’s untrue. We had previously agreed on the Behr brand, and the color, so it was OK.

Wood, in case you didn’t know it, is no longer cheap like it used to be. That’s true for everything, I know, but here in the Great Northwest, where people grow trees for a living, you’d think wood might not be so expensive. But, it is. Kinda makes me want to get a big saw and start making my own lumber, but we don’t have our own trees so I guess that wouldn’t work. I don’t know where this is going, so I’m shifting gears ..,

Diane was sad that her new iPhone didn’t have any music on it. Specifically, Barry Manilow singing “All I have to do is dream”, for her alarm clock. All of that music is still on her old phone, which is now mine, but there’s no way to transfer that information from one phone to another. Music must be added from iTunes, as in the iTunes on the computer from which it was originally added. At least that’s my understanding. If there’s another way, and you know what it is, I’m interested in hearing about it.

The problem, you see, is that we replaced Diane’s computer not long ago because she fussed about how long it took to do ‘stuff’, and it was always doing something she didn’t want it to do. And, a crucial bit of software needed for updating Windows XP self destructed so the computer was missing the daily critical security updates needed to keep the gremlins away. Her new computer is Windows 8 all in one Samsung with a touch screen. She’s getting used to it, but it tends to give her fits once in a while, too.

The old computer is in the basement, so I paid it a long visit so I could snag all those songs and put them on her new computer. Actually, the last two old computers, plus about 12 hard drives of questionable vintage, two laptops, and three monitors, were scattered around just waiting for me to find the time to see how they work now. Having a goal in mind made checking them much easier because not having one allows my mind to wander a bit and I tend to just take them apart. That’s why there are so many old hard drives lying around. They came from old computers that I’ve acquired over the years. I tore a couple of the hard drives apart to get the excellent magnets out of them just for fun. They are pretty powerful. I heard that it really hurts if you sandwich you ear lobe between them and let go. It’s true. It hurts a lot.

Anyway, the old PC booted right up but, guess what. I had apparently removed all the music from the computer. There was no iTunes, there were no tunes, period. That was true for the other old PC I found. So, I got busy checking all the old CDs lying around down there, looking for anything that had “Music” written on it. I found a few, but nothing with Barry Manilow.

In a panic, I felt the walls closing in on me because I couldn’t find Barry. Then I remembered the CDs we own and actually found them in a nifty little rack that’s hidden in a corner with all the kids toys and games that never get used. A quick search led me to a Barry disc which had the correct song on it. I was saved! I rushed it to her computer with the secure knowledge that I wouldn’t have to sleep on the porch, which pleased me because it’s a bit chilly out there. And wet.

The import went really well after I discovered how to open the CD tray on her computer. There’s no handy little button in the vicinity of the drive to push for it to open. Finally, in iTunes, I discovered that it’s simply a matter of pressing Ctrl-E on the keyboard. Good to know. She now has 154 songs on her computer, and sync’d her phone so they are now also available for her to use.

She can’t, however, stick her new phone it the little Bose speaker base I got her for Christmas a couple of years ago because, Apple changed the adapter on the new phones. Nifty, huh? They have adapters, I know, but we don’t have one of those, yet.

This afternoon I also had a wonderful conversation with Gretchen, one of my co-workers while I was employed at PGE. We worked together for many, many, many years. Well, maybe only many, many years. It was good to catch up on what’s going on with her and her family. I know she’s one of the 4-5 people who read this so I must let her know that we talked for 42 minutes and 43 seconds. I know that because Diane’s phone told me so when we ended the call. That’s not a complaint or criticism, just a fact. So, Diane’s phone is now properly broken in.

Here it is, almost 10 pm, and we’re picking up a friend, Mary, at 0600 in the morning to deliver her to PDX. She’s going on a Panama Canal Cruise. That’s the next cruise Diane wants to take because she’s always talking about it. When she does, I point out that I’ve already done that, in 1967, and it wasn’t really a big deal. It’s just really narrow in spots. But, it would, I admit, be interesting to do it again.

I must really quit, and crash. I’ll let you know how tomorrow goes.

Just for fun, here are some of the pets hanging around this place. There are lots of iguanas, too. Big ones, too. When they hear the click of a camera, they come running to get their reward. We don’t know what that is, however, so we just depart quickly. there are a few around that are 3 feet long and they are very homely looking creatures. I was going to say ‘ugly’, but I’m not sure if they have internet access or not, and don’t want to get into trouble.

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Living On The Edge With iOS 7

Diane’s now living on the cutting edge of technology with brand spanking new iPhone 5C, complete with iOS 7 installed. It arrived yesterday, the first day they were made available. It’s a yellow one, like this …

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Very pretty, but it won’t fit in her little Hello Kitty cover, so I guess I’ll have to use it since I inherited her old phone. It’s an old iPhone 4, replacing my iPhone 4S, a newer one, which I broke to smithereens. It still works, but there’s still a distinct danger of one cutting one’s fingers while scrolling through the various screens.

About last night … I was up past midnight working on that stupid phone, the new one, trying to get everything set on it so it was explicitly Diane’s. Until then, we shared an Apple ID which we used to buy books and other fun stuff. The danger in that, however, is the back-ups. Yes, it’s handy backing up to the internet, and being connected in a manner that allows us to share calendar entries, photos, contacts, and documents from a common source, but there’s danger in that. Especially with Contacts. Her list is totally and socially different from mine so sharing that aspect has resulted, almost, in the need for me to seek safer living conditions. Seems like things get a little mucked up when the source data is manipulated by more than one interested person, making duplicate entries.

Therefore, I made a decision to electronically divorce her, as there’s no need for a lawyer, allowing us both to be responsible for our own information. We’ll see how that works out. We now each have our own Apple ID and it only took me about 6-7 hours to make the magic happen. I have to admit, it was a mental workout, but it returned me to my days of desktop support for pre-286 PC’s that took forever to boot up and doing any changes to it required you to boot it more than a few times to get it done. Anyone remember those days?

I know I’m revealing my age, and I’m really happy that I had that experience. I was even trained on the incredibly complex OS/2 operating system when there was a question about whether or not the company would install Windows 3.0, or not, on their desktop systems. What a time that was and, oh my, how things have changed since then.

Enough history. Now, back to all this new, frustrating ‘stuff’.

This morning I spent another 3 hours fiddling with various devices, iPads, and phones, working to get them all on the same page, separately, as previously mentioned. We each have our iPads and iPhones which makes life pretty nice. In debt, but nice. Instead of sitting in the Man Room on our respective computers, back to back, kinda, sending emails back and forth, we can now sit next to each other on our couch/recliner and text each other. The only verbal communication we have is to clarify the mood with regard to various texts, to ensure nothing is taken out of context. Got it? It’s like giving us an eye-to-eye moment to ensure the last text that was in ALL CAPS, was sent as meant.

That’s not true, of course. We communicate very well, actually. Having ‘devices’ like the phones and pads just gives us more and varied opportunities to communicate in the modern world. The iPads are really going to come in handy when we head for Mexico next week.

Hey! Idaho State and Washington State are playing each other on the Pac-12 Network. The network that Comcast won’t share with anyone. Go Vandals … I can say that because one of my numerous niece’s sons, Tyler, is one of those. Tyler has curly hair. Thought you should know.

Diane just told me I have to get a new DVR from Comcast next week because she’s going to take a hammer to the one we have. I’ll take pictures, if she does that. Might be fun. She’s pretty emotional about it.

It’s 8:30 pm and I’m just now getting around to supper. Since it’s late, I’m going lite – 2 bananas and a bowl of pretzels. Diane’s just having pretzels.

Sorry about all the distractions. I’ll try to remain on track the rest of the way, wherever this thing is going.

As I mentioned, I spent  hours working my ‘new’ phone this morning, but didn’t quite get it done before it was determined that I needed to go to the church and see if the lawn got mowed. Someone did it so I didn’t have to. Instead, I went to work removing an over abundance of very large weeds from the Tom Ahlf Memorial Rose Garden under the church’s reader board. Then I grabbed a pitch fork kind of thing to work up the dirt, and remove dead weeds and grass from around the outside edge of the garden. About that time, Diane appeared with her Mom, Jean. Diane was there to clean the church, something we tend to do once in a while. Mom came out with clippers and started whacking away at the rose bushes, doing a little bit of ‘Zen Pruning’. I love to ‘Zen Prune’ anything that grows. You know … stand back and look at the chosen victim, tip your head back and forth like a bird, to get a good view of what needs to go away, then just start cutting off branches until you feel good about it. simple. No plan. It’s just an emotional response to nature.

Once that was done, I went into the church and took the vacuum cleaner away from Diane. She loves it when I do that because those things always ruin her back. So I try to do that job whenever I can. From there, I motored to help with the last few things that needed to be done with The Bathroom.

… The Vandals are having a little difficulty, down 28-0 …

As you may recall, we got the wainscoting installed, then waited until it was painted. That was done a few days ago, so all we needed to do was re-install the sinks, caulk some corners, and put the hardware on the tub. The caulk was the last thing we did and it was guaranteed to be dry in three hours.

In the middle of all that, Diane arrived with my left over meat loaf lunch. I delayed a bit too long so Diane and Jennie sent Lydia to tell me that if I didn’t go in to eat it right away, they were going to let her eat it. That was a credible threat because Lydia is a food cleanup specialist. Everyone knows not to get between Lydia and anything edible that catches her eye. It’s dangerous.

So, The Bathroom is FINISHED ! I think. Nothing leaks, so it has to be done.

Now I have to figure out something else to do.

Now I’m going to quite and play with my phone for a while and leave you with some photos that just showed up on my computer.

This is Rick and Jodi’s side yard that includes the Hot Tub House …

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He was thinking ahead with the wheel chair access, with the challenge at the top, just to make it interesting.

And, this is Jodi’s car …

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Pretty nifty. I think the graphic on the hood is a reference to the driver as One Hot Lady, which is true, but every time I see it it always comes out (in my head) as Titsafire. Sorry, Jodi. Had to get that out there …

Now I’ll quit … but not before reporting that I like the new iOS 7 features from Apple. Very nifty stuff.

Tiki Torches, The Moon, VA, Shopping, and Dinner

Greetings fellow astronauts. I hope all is well with you as we zoom through the outer reaches of space, under our very own moon, which just happens to be full at this very moment. It’s lighting up our back yard as if it’s lined with tiki torches. I really don’t have any experience with tiki torches other than the ones that were lit in our presence while visiting Hawaii once.

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… and tiki torches are as much fun as the company we keep while in their presence … I was in heaven …

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So, here’s what the moon looked like, kinda. It’s ‘kinda’ because the photo is from June 22nd, the last time I took a picture of the moon. I’m not often compelled to take pictures of the moon because I see it all the time. When it’s not cloudy, anyway.

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All of the foregoing was from last night. I had to quit and go to bed because Diane told me to. We had a date with the vet for Breezie to catch up on her shots. She spent the night inside last night, which was unusual for her. But, the weather is changing, getting cooler, and she’s not dumb. She knows it’s OK to spend the night outside when it’s warm, not so good when it’s cold. Her appointment was at 0900 so when she went out with the dogs, at 0600, I cautioned her to be back before 0830 or she would be in deep kim chee. There’s nothing worse than that, in my humble experience.

As the morning progressed, I lay snoozing in my favorite spot in the living room. Then Diane’s phone beeped, and my iPad beeped, alerting us to the pending trip to the vet. I let the dogs out again, with explicit instructions to bring the cat back, but they didn’t. Apparently they couldn’t find her anywhere in the back yard. I didn’t believe them, but it turned out to be true because not long after they returned to the house, Breezie came slinking through the fence where the dogs can’t go. I should have believed them, I guess, but they generally aren’t very truthful in situations like that because their main focus is to get a treat for just going outside when I ask. They expect it every time, but only get one on the last trip before bedtime. You’d think they would learn.

So, the cat’s back, her kennel is clean, and we head for the doc. It was a fairly quiet trip with only an occasional “Roowaaar” indicating her displeasure about being locked up. At the vet it wasn’t a problem. She weighed in at 10 lbs, which surprised Diane because she looks skinny. She took her shots like a man, and even gulped down her pills without much fuss. Then we took her home and set her free.

Apple released IOS7 yesterday for all their hand-held devices so me, being on the cutting edge of technology, and not in the least bit afraid of change, immediately downloaded it onto my iPad and broken iPhone. I also put it on Diane’s iPad. We both like the new look and functionality. I couldn’t put it on Diane’s iPhone because there’s not enough memory available to do it. She’s got too much stuff on her phone. It is, however, one with the least memory available at the time, 8 GB, I think, so all I have to do is just start deleting random things until the update can be installed.

You needed to know all of that.

Now, the day is about done, and we’re both almost in our jammies. I’m not, she is. We just got home from leaving the dogs alone for almost 8 hours today. Lots of stuff got done and I just can’t wait to tell you about it.

Our first stop of the day was the Restore Store in St. Helens, but we didn’t find anything we had to have, so headed to the VA Hospital on Pill Hill in Portland where I got a new picture taken for my new VA card because I lost the one I had. I also lost my ACE card at the same time. They just fell out of my wallet someplace so I removed everything from that wallet, which I purchased at a flea market in San Diego. Now I’m using one Diane gave me that Avon sells. It works well. Everything fits nice and tight. So far.

After the VA we worked our way over to Hillsboro to do a little looking at their Restore Store. Diane found a bunch of bottles of cleaning ‘stuff’, and we each got a different chair for our computer tables. The ones we had were OK, but too big. The ones we bought, $10 each, were from some business that apparently replaced all of their conference room chairs. They had a bunch of them.

From that store we worked our way toward 73rd and Frances Street to meet up with Rick and Jodi at their home. We planned to be there by 3 pm, but a pool supply store got in the way and required me to buy some new temp sensors for the hot tub. Not a cheap stop, but if it resurrects the hot tub, it will be worth every penny.

We arrived at R & J’s about 3:06 pm. They were sitting on their front porch looking at their watches when we drove up. We joined them and visited for a while, then investigated all the work Rick has done around the house. Their house, incidentally, looks brand new, and the hot tub has its own house that matches the big one. Diane wanted me to see all of that so I would feel bad about our yard, but it didn’t work because there’s really no comparison. You see, where we have lots of grass, R & J have lots of rocks and cement. They do have a lawn, but I bet it almost takes longer to get the mower started than it does to mow it. This sounds bad, I know, but I don’t think Rick will mind. Their place is awesome.  It would be fun to have a yard that we could clean up with a leaf blower to dust off the rocks once in a while.

OK, Rick, now I’ll apologize for that outburst. It wasn’t justified, and we love you both dearly. You know that. My fingers just get out of control some times, ya know?

OK – after visiting for a while, we headed out to Bugatti’s for dinner. This is the one on Cornell near the Tanesbourne Mall area. The food was outstanding, but the visit was better. When we were seated, the place was nearly empty. I ordered spaghetti with prawns, Diane had a piece of dead chicken nicely splayed and arrayed on top of some green rigatoni, Rick has a HUGE meat ball sandwich with really good french fries, and Jodi had an artichoke sandwich with chicken, I think. I’m the only one who ate everything. Everyone else got  boxes to go. We visited all through the meal and Diane didn’t once reprimand me for speaking with my mouth full of food. Then we visited for about an hour after we were all done. By the time we were done visiting, the waiter had made about 10 passes with the water jug, silently urging us to depart. By this time the place was packed. Totally. I guess it was time for us to leave, so we did.

We drove home, without stopping, and were greeted by the two barky dogs. Panzee is just so overjoyed to see us, whether we’ve been gone a minute, or a week. Ozzie? He barks his hello, but he just walks on past us, barking randomly, making his way to the front yard so he can relieve himself. Too funny. Breezie was sleeping on the back porch and has ignored us since we got home. No doubt she’s sleeping off the three shots she got this morning.

Once everyone was settled down, I checked the front porch and guess what? Diane’s new iPhone 5C was laying right there in the open for anyone to snatch. But they didn’t because no one comes up our street unless they live there. Nice being on a dead-end. Her new phone is yellow, her favorite color. I’ve been trying to figure it out since we got home.

Now it’s 10 pm and time for me to quit and go to sleep.

Dr. Grimm, Mowing, Gas Lines, Golf, Painting, Cats, etc …

I want to thank all three of you who check in every day and see if I’m still ticking. I appreciate it. Knowing you do gives me an incentive to honor your quest for useless information. The last few days have been difficult which is why I haven’t been around much.

It started with the tooth Dr. Grimm ripped out of my head. At the time, it didn’t hurt at all. It didn’t even hurt bad the next day, but as the week progressed it hurt more and more until I was on the verge of a migraine all the time. Not quite there, mind you, but close, and I knew it was coming from the area of the tooth I gave up for adoption.

Actually, I didn’t do that. The tooth is laying calmly on my computer desk inside a sandwich bag. One of these days I’ll hide it under my pillow and see if there really is a tooth fairy. That would be a dumb thing to do, however, because I’d only get a quarter, or maybe a $1 and, with its gold crown, that thing cost me about $900. Maybe I’ll put it up for sale on eBay so some person, who has a tooth fetish, can get me my money back.

Anyway, the pain was getting worse each day and finally Diane’d had enough and forced me to call Dr. Grimm so he could check it out. Being a good husband, I did as she ‘suggested’, and got an appointment for the same day. That was yesterday. We had a nice visit during which he told me the extraction site looked excellent, and everything was healing nicely. As for the pain, he suggested face and neck massage to relax the muscles in my jaw, which he could see were clenching and unclenching, something I wasn’t aware of. And, he gave me a script for cyclobenzaprine, a muscle relaxer. Since I had a vague memory of taking this before, for back spasms, I thought, “Why not?”

I related all of this to Diane upon my return and she asked if I had the prescription. I didn’t. It was folded neatly inside my iPad, which I take everywhere with me, except golfing. I don’t take it golfing. Perhaps I should. It might like it.

So, she sent me back to town to do four things …

  1. Drop my script at Rite Aid
  2. Go to Safeway and get bananas
  3. Go to Taco Bell and get us lunch
  4. Go back to Rite Aid and pick up my drugs
  5. Go home

OK – that’s five things. I added #5 because I think it should be included on all lists for trips as an indication that one is actually allowed to do that. Go home, that is. Sometimes people are allowed to do that and it would be nice to know. It’s not a given, you know.

When I got home, Diane immediately made me eat something so I could take one, which I did. I waited for a few minutes for something to happen, but it didn’t, so I got some wrenches, went outside, and climbed under the ’79 Winnebago to see if I could determine if the fuel tank switch functioned. Now you’re shaking your heads, I know, wondering what I was thinking, and how could Diane allow me to do that while under the influence. Well, after I took the pill, she left, so I mowed the yard. All of it.

OK – now I’m getting confused. I know I did both of those things yesterday, but don’t recall the sequence. Now I think I mowed first, THEN worked under the Winnebago. No, it was the Winnebago, first, then the lawn. That’s because she returned from a trip to ‘someplace’ while I was working under the RV, and asked me how it was going. I was almost finished putting the fuel line all back together, knowing the fuel transfer switch was working properly, and that gas was coming down the line from the aux tank. I know the latter because I blew into the line and gas came spurting back at me, soaking my jeans. But the electric fuel pump still wouldn’t pump the gas, so I’ve got to figure something else out. I figure the electric pump is better at pushing gas than pulling it when it isn’t primed.

After that, I started mowing the yard, at Diane’s request, then she left to take her Mom, Jean, to the store. When she returned the lawn was done and I watched her make an attempt to back the Buick into the garage so it would be easier to empty the goods …

No … I think the store trip was today. Yesterday, after the pill took effect, I just kinda layed around doing nothing, and the pain subsided a great deal. Then I went to bed.

Yes, the store was today. I think. No, I golfed this morning. Had to’ve been yesterday. Diane will clear this up, I’m sure. We also applied another coat of paint to our hall, and the cats started migrating back to their proper place in the display cabinet.

There was a report on the evening news about two fans who wrote a letter to the editor of a (the?) San Francisco newspaper complaining about the noise level at the Seahawks home game against the 49ers, and various ways NFL management could deal with excessive noise. There’s speculation that the letter may have been submitted as satire, giving the 49ers (Jean’s favorite team, by the way – not Diane’s Mom, Jean, but the other one) another reason for losing the game 29-3.

I figure it was a good way to get people’s minds off all the flooding, misery, killings, and wrecks going on in other parts of the country.

Since it was San Francisco, it also made me think of Kathie’s impending trip to that fine city to search for a new elbow. We hope she finds a good one.

l took another pill about 1/2 hour ago and itsssß staringot make me wooosie. Did you knøw thæt if ÿøü hołd dowń a lėttęr on your keeybord you get some îńtëréštïñg čhøīçêś fõr åłtérñātę łëttèrś?????????????