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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