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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