Leftovers & Football

At this moment in time, I’m all alone, and Thanksgiving is officially over. It was really over about an hour ago, but I just now got to sit down because I had to do all the dishes from a lunch of leftovers for most of the attendees from yesterday, then I had to go to ACE and talk with Jack. He left a voice message for informing me that I was never available when he needed me. I left him a voice message but knew he wouldn’t listen to it because he was working and it’s illegal for him to do that while on the clock. So, I just drove down there and found him. I had to get a new battery for the garage door remote anyway, so it was a successful dual effort. Turns out he didn’t need me, after all, so it was a good thing I needed a battery

Diane, Jennifer, and Lydia are at a bridal shower for Victoria in Scappoose. Apparently she’s getting married sometime soon to a sailor, of all things, who is going to deploy sooner than expected. The wedding was originally scheduled for next summer, I believe, but I could be wrong as I have been know to be many times in the past.

Let’s see, I already informed everyone about Thursday, so all I need to do is remember what happened yesterday.

It began very early, like 0600 when the alarm went off. Yes, we used an alarm because Diane had to get me to the Hillsboro VA for an 0815 appointment with my new VA doctor. I’m in the clear on that because Diane made the appointment, not me. I’m guessing she wanted to get it over with early so we could get back home in time for the family dinner at our house.

Much of the preparation was done Thursday evening, after dark, when I made fudge and umpty-eleven deviled eggs using the eggs Diane boiled at some time in the past. I was going to wait to do them Saturday morning, after my doctor appointment, but the fudge only took about 20 minutes so I just did the eggs, too.

It was a full house yesterday with Don, Judy, Jack, Wynette, Daniel, Jennifer, Cedric, Lydia, Jeran, Jean, Diane and me present. It was organized chaos but fun just the same. We were all done eating in time to watch the Civil War game between the Ducks and Beavers. As expected, it was a really fun game to watch and the Ducks salvaged a little credibility by beating the Beavers by one point, 36-35. Close, but no banana for the Beavers. It was a fun game to watch with a room full of people.

After the game, people departed in droves, and quiet descended upon the house for the remainder of the day.

This morning I was up at 0700 for the dogs, then I slept in my recliner until 1000. Diane was up at 0900 making domestic noises in the kitchen. I ate a bit of breakfast, then went out to trim bushes around the house. It was Diane’s idea. She wanted the hydrangeas trimmed before the next rain, so I did it. Right here I have to add that I looked up the spelling of hydrangeas after I spelled it and it was correct. I was amazed. Still am.

I just watched Auburn beat Alabama 34-28 on a missed 57 yard field goal attempt by Alabama  with 1 second remaining in the game. Worst case was a miss then you go to overtime, right? Not today. The kick, though pretty good was a bit short. An Auburn player caught it in the back of the end zone and ran it back for a touchdown with no time on the clock. That 1 second went away as soon as the holder put the ball down for the kicker. I’ve never seen anything like that and it was awesome. One of the announcers commented that Alabama couldn’t defend the run very well because they only had linemen on the field, “a bunch of fat guys,” he said. I thought that was a bit crude of him, and it will probably be on the sports news for everyone to hear for years to come. Regardless of who was on the field, Alabama was simply beaten in an excellent game.

Now I’m watching Stanford whip Notre Dame. I will be switching back and forth between that game and the Texas A&M vs. Missouri game. I’m pulling for Missouri because I’m pretty tired of hearing about how great Johnny “Football” Manziel is. I just don’t see it because he’s actually only as good as his receivers and blockers. But, what do I know? I’m just an armchair QB from a backwater town in Oregon with a big TV and lots of opinions.

Now I’m going to stop and think aimless thoughts.

Happy Thanksgiving

Once again, it’s time to celebrate, give thanks, and eat more turkey than we should. This year I think I’ll go a little easier on portions. Either that, or I’ll ditch my belt and wear suspenders on a very large pair of pants.

Speaking of pants … a pair of socks, or shoes, I get. But a pair of pants just doesn’t make sense to be even though that’s what I’ve called them my entire life. Well, my entire life after I started speaking.

Jack told me my first words were “shut up” because he and Jim used to babysit me and apparently I heard that more than anything else. I wonder why.

I’m getting off topic, here. Sorry. A little bit of schizophrenia seeped into my brain. This is about giving thanks, so I should be saying things like, “I’m thankful that I have a large pair of pants,” and “I’m thankful to my brothers for teaching me to speak.”

I’m especially thankful for my beautiful bride of 45 years, 7 days, 15 hours, 8 minutes, but who’s counting. Every second is precious. They tick, one to the next, and each is more meaningful than the last.

Our lovely daughter, Jennifer, gave herself a challenge to share reasons she’s thankful each day this month. It caused me reflect on my own reasons to be thankful but I couldn’t match her method. She’s really good at it while my thoughts are typically scattered making it difficult to share a coherent statement that makes sense. Then, too, I tend to ramble a bit and lose track of what I’m talking about. So, my challenge is to do short thankful statements, which I will do now …

I’m thankful for …

  • my family …
    • just because …
  • my friends …
    • because they love me but don’t have to
  • my senses …
    • especially when they work
  • pets who love me …
    • even when I forget to give them treats
  • each morning I wake up …
    • on the green side of the grass

I can’t think of any others worth mentioning because they are just sub-categories of all those. Expanding on them would simply progress into a very detailed list of things like, “I’m thankful for each moment I sit quietly on the couch, holding my bride’s hand, sharing a box of kleenex, as we watch some sappy movie.”

Yea, I’m ‘that guy’.

Yesterday afternoon I decided to do a little Zen Pruning on our fruit trees. That involved getting two long extension cords because I have this handy little electric chain saw on a stick that makes getting high branches easy.

Starting with the oldest plum tree, I began whacking off offending, and broken branches that should have been removed about 15 years ago. I’ve never ever pruned it. As each branch crashed to the ground, I dragged it out of the way so I wouldn’t get my feet tangled up and fall down as I worked my way around. I continued the same process with the other four trees, ending just before it got dark, so I didn’t have a full appreciation of what had transpired until today’s morning light.

Remember all those pretty trees, full of nice green leaves, apples, and plums? Well, here’s how they look now …




Just before I finished Diane yelled down to me, asking if I was sure this was the proper time to be doing all that. I told her that it didn’t matter because I would have done it anyway. I was in the mood.

I must also share that the pruning went nicely until the last tree. It was a vicious attack by a very flexible, whippy branch about 8 feet long that was attached to a much larger branch that I had just cut off. As the big part fell, the whippy branch was temporarily delayed in its descent by another branch that I chose to leave in place. When the branch got past the ‘saved’ branch, I was treated to one of the most painful experiences of my entire life. That branch, with un-erring accuracy, snapped forward, striking me across the face at an angle across my tender lips and right cheek. It was worse than a slap. I have experience so know the difference. There’s a mark, but Diane was unimpressed because it didn’t bleed, so there will be no photo.

Jennifer stopped by on her way home from work so we had a little visit which is always nice. She asked me if I had made her window table. That caught me off guard and I blurted out that I was working on it, spoiling the surprise. When Diane heard that the beans had been spilled, she actually yelled at me for doing that. Maybe all she did was proclaim loudly, but it sure sounded like yelling to me …  and all I did was give an honest answer.

Then, Diane went to her Avon Stash and produced a tiny little pair of slippers which she gave to Jennifer to try on. They were, like, 5-6 inches long, and they fit her perfectly, even with her socks on. There was another surprise spoiled, so I guess we were even. Seizing the opportunity, I yelled at Diane for doing that. Jennifer, of course, was delighted because she got to take them home.

So, now I’m not going to make that table for Jennifer. I’m going to make something else so it will be a surprise and I will no longer be in trouble. Maybe a doily.

To end, I must share another ho-hum sunrise coming up behind Mt. Hood …



I hope all of you, wherever you are, stay safe today and always. We all have reasons to be thankful no matter who we are, or where we are in this life. As Jennifer shared her daily Thanks, so should we.

I wish you all peace, every day

Golf, Food, and Computers

Today I only did three things of significance, other than waking up to celebrate one more day on the green side of the grass.

I’ve been doing pretty well getting through the last 3-4 days without my morning nap. It’s been tough, but in that regard I’m a trooper. I guess. I don’t know how long that’s going to last, however, because my body is craving that nap. It’s becoming important. But, I have to admit that I see to get more things accomplished when I stay off the recliner in the morning.

Yesterday JP called me suggesting we play golf today and Diane was all for that. I think she likes me doing things like that because it’s good for me to socialize once in a while, and she likes puttering around without me getting in the way.

So, shortly before 1000 I headed for the golf course. JP and Doug were already there, like normal. They almost always get there first which makes it good for me because I don’t have to stand around and wait for them to show up. That was good this morning because it was cold, like 26 degrees cold. A great day for golf, right? Chilly, yes, but incredibly beautiful. Here’s JP shooting his second shot from the ‘ditch’ on the first hole. That white stuff is frost, not snow. What fun.


My tee shot wound up on the top of the hill, a place where I normally don’t land. It was by far my best shot of the day. So, it started well. Even though I play badly, as a rule, I still have a great deal of fun. We all do because we’re not all that serious about it. Well, maybe Doug is a little serious about it most times, but today he found it a little difficult to do that. In an uncharacteristic display of really bad golf, he hit his golf cart twice. I suppose that, in itself, isn’t all that extraordinary, except for the fact that the cart was parked directly in front of him, as he addressed his ball for a fairway shot both times. I mean, it was right there in front of him, like a challenge he could not refuse. Hitting the cart means it had to hit the ball right off the tip of his club to make it go exactly 90 degrees from the directly he was aiming. Quite remarkable to do it once. Twice, in one game, is probably a course record. I’ll have to check and let you know. If I don’t get back on that it’s because Doug convinced me it probably wasn’t a good idea.

Here’s Doug waiting to tee off on hole 6 after setting that course record on hole 5.


Here’s another shot from the tee on #9.


After golfing poorly, I was asked to go to lunch with them. I called Diane and got permission to do that so followed JP to Longfellow’s in Scappoose. Longfellow’s has been in the same location for as long as I can remember things that happened a long time ago. Really, it’s been there my entire life. They have a grill in the middle of the cafe part on which they grill all the meat ordered by patrons.

When we entered the facility from the incredibly bright sunshine, I couldn’t see a darn thing. My glasses were dark, for one, and the lights were very dim, for another, combining to make it very difficult to find the restroom, for which I had a great need.

So, I just stood there, waiting to regain my vision. Finally, I saw Jerry, older brother of JP and Doug, sitting at a table toward the back of the room. I made my way there and asked directions to the room with a urinal. He pointed me in the proper direction, through the bar area, warning me about the step up. The bar area is one step up from all directions, a handy feature that ensures patrons of that area cannot easily navigate safely into the cafe area because they always fall down. Sadly, as I said, there is a step up from all directions meaning I had to step down into the restroom area.

Having safely made the trip, I captured the chair next to Jerry. JP and Doug sat across from us then out of nowhere appeared Mike, one of our old high school teachers. Mike is only a few years older than us, so it’s OK. We’re all friends now, instead of teacher/student where friendship is not an option. JP had a patty melt on sourdough, Doug had a hamburger, Jerry had the salad bar, and I had the chili dog special. Mike didn’t eat anything.

The burger patties for the two sandwiches were absolutely huge – 1/2 lb of pure, unadulterated dead steer. It really looked good and temporarily made me sorry I hadn’t ordered one of them. But, the dog was very good. Jerry’s salad looked good, too.

Once the meal was over I went back to Jerry’s house for phase two on Dolores’s computer. As you may recall, I spent 4 hours on it last Thursday, but didn’t finish what I started. So, I had some work to do. Now, I’m not a whiz kid with computers, but I can fake my way through some pretty tense situations. Another thing I (think I) can do OK is show others how to do the same. Dolores is a good student because she’s not afraid to push buttons to see what happens. Jerry, on the other hand, is a bit hesitant to push buttons. He did it, but I could tell it was a struggle. Bottom line, he pushed through like a good soldier and got it done.

I texted Diane to let her know where I was so I wouldn’t be in trouble by not showing up right after lunch. She was OK with that because she was heading out to get more yogurt, and other stuff. We haven’t had yogurt in a few days and I was going into withdrawal. It’s not pretty. I was missing “other stuff”, too.

Now it’s time to quit.

Kathie’s New Elbow

For those of you who know about Kathie’s new elbow, I want to share a picture she sent me. Actually, I’m going to share it with whoever wants to look at it. It’s pretty gnarly.

Silly me thought it was going to look more … well, you know … pink and human-like. Apparently elbow selection in San Francisco isn’t about political correctness but more like how the government selects companies for contracts … you know, favoritism when no one is looking, and lowest bidder when they are.

In Kathie’s case, her ‘new’ joint used to belong to the slowest person in the city. Everyone else got away.

Still, it’s very biconical and intimidating, don’t you think? Kathie calls it her “bendy brace” but I think it’s a permanent fixture. Can’t wait to see it. Rumor has it that Mike won’t need a jack if he gets a flat tire … Kathie can just lift the truck up while he changes it.




Good News and Other Stuff !

Either the Secret Service didn’t think my question for Senator Merkley warranted their attention, or the Senator hasn’t read his email, yet. Or, maybe it was just viewed as a routine question that will never receive a response. That’s probably it.

Here’s another ho-hum sunrise from yesterday …


Later in the day some local folks cruised by on their horses which ignited the dogs into a flurry of barking, so we unleashed them. The riders came to the fence to make it less of a mystery for them. The barking stopped, and everyone went on their way, with a wave of good cheer. The horse folks were back again this morning, but the dogs didn’t notice so I guess it worked.


The rest of today was pretty typical. You know, church, then took Grams Jean for a ride to Longview where we had a festive lunch of salad, dead chicken, and ice cream at our favorite Sizzler. Diane said the vegetable soup was good, too, but neither Grams nor I had it so we only have Diane’s word for that. I can say, however, that it looked good, but I had already eaten three dead chicken legs from some incredibly large chickens. I don’t know if they are naturally huge, or if the chicken growers force them to work out with little weights in a private Gold’s Gym established especially for animals with no arms and/or opposable thumbs. Hard to tell.

After lunch Diane took us on a whirlwind trip of Upper Longview, a place none of us have ever been. It was both entertaining and enlightening for some odd reason. Diane and her Mom talked the entire time, throwing random questions to me, which I answered without hesitation even though I was playing with my iPad the entire time. Whoever said “men can’t multi-task”, which is probably most of the women in America, just doesn’t know me, I guess. Either that, or I was mistaken in my belief that I was multi-tasking when, in fact, I was actually switching rapidly from one reality to another, participating wholly in both, at separate times on a quantum level. I was apparently switching back and forth in my thought processes that none of us knew it. It was pretty amazing, really. Sitting here, thinking about it, I still find it hard to believe, like it’s not real, or something. Ya know?

This afternoon, after arriving home, Diane found some unused candy in a rarely opened cookie jar. Thinking ahead to next Halloween, she decided to wash it to remove the fingerprints of previous owners.

Here’s proof …


I’m glad I don’t eat that kind of stuff any more

The Truck and a Politician

The truck was successfully returned to its home across the street from our house, and the trash is gone. It runs GREAT! I even took it to the dump and no one asked me if I was going to leave it there. Jennie did ask that question when she heard I was going to unload all the crap in the back. Not only did I NOT leave it there, or consider leaving it there, I’m actually thinking about getting it painted. So there.

On another note, I received an email from one of our Senators, Jeff Merkley, telling us what a great job they’re doing in DC. Here’s how it started …

I have big news. Yesterday, the U.S. Senate voted to end the gridlock and let nominees have simple, up and down votes. This is a big step to restore functionality, end the paralysis, and ensure that the Senate can work for ordinary Americans.

There was more, but after reading that bit of ‘good’ news I just couldn’t help myself and responded, but I had to go to his web site to do it. That’s because there was a little note at the bottom of his email that read, “Please note that any reply to this email address will be sent to an unmonitored email address. To contact me, please visit the contact page on my website.“, or words to that effect. That’s handy.

So, I went to his web site and asked the question that was burning a hole in my head. Specifically, I asked him how he referred to Americans that he did not view as “ordinary.” Maybe he clarified that somewhere further along in his missive, but he lost me with that first paragraph so I’ll never know.

I’m expecting the Secret Service to show up any minute. That will be difficult for Diane because she just left for Costco with Jennifer and won’t be back for hours. INTEL, where Daniel works, is having a special shopping night there. If I’m hauled away, she won’t know where I’m at until she reads this. Maybe not even then.

That will teach her to leave me without supervision.

If I get an answer, I’ll share it.

If you don’t hear from me for a while you’ll know why.

Refinancing Online

It is done.

It seems like the process of refinancing our home has taken months, but it really only too about a month. I think. I’ve kinda lost track of time during all of this.

This all started when I checked to see if we could save any money by refinancing with a VA loan. Interestingly, we had a VA loan, but it was a Oregon VA loan. Not the same thing as a regular VA loan. You wouldn’t think so, but it is.

One of the differences is that a regular VA loan will provide 100% of the money. Oregon VA will too, but they require Primary Mortgage Insurance, hereafter known as PMI. That little devil is expensive, to the tune of $180 a month for us.

One of the loaners who contacted me about my VA query was Sean at Loandepot. We had a god experience and when it’s all said and done, we  have a lower rate, got some equity, and our payment went down $500 a month. Significant. And, it was all done via the internet. We never once met any of those people who arranged everything. Only the appraiser became a real person for us until it came time to sign all the documents. For that, a mobile notary was sent to our house with all the paperwork.

The signing was scheduled for 1900, but Cindy, the wandering notary, had printer issues and reported she would be a little bit late. When she arrived with her husband, Jon, at 1940, she told us the problem wasn’t really her printer, but her internet connection. She came with 220 pages of legal size paper which she went through with us, one page at a time. Jon sat on the couch watching the Blazer game with Breezie getting hair all over his pants. He didn’t seem to care.

We finished in about an hour but it seemed longer. Diane and I were both very tired by the end of it, ready for a nap.

Earlier today I went to Don’s Garage to do some more work on the truck. Done came up with a replacement Quadrajet carburetor which I swapped on the engine. You may remember that the old carb was held down with only three bolts, and that’s the case for the replacement. The difference is that the replacement has a good float so gas can’t just flush through to the cylinders without a little bit of control. The result is an engine that runs smooth, and starts with absolutely no problem. That’s amazing. Jerrie is very pleased.

Now all I have to do is fix the passenger side headlight, make the tail and brake lights work, resurrect the wiper motor, and it will be as good as new. Well, it needs new mufflers, but it’s needed those for a long time.

Now, how about those Trailblazers? They came back from 21 points down, in the 3rd quarter, to beat the Chicago Bulls for their 9th win in a row. Pretty cool.

Now I’m going to bed.

Thanks again, Don.

Get well, Kathie.

Ultrasounds to Big Blocks

I’ve been away for three days and might have a bit of trouble remembering everything that happened. It’s going to take a while. I’ll have to check my calendar.

Monday 11/18

  • I called Don because he told me to do that. It was all about the truck and getting it back in shape. In shape, like running properly. Down the road. I made an appointment for the afternoon for delivery of the truck.
  • Went to Portland to file and pay taxes, late, in person. Forgot.
  • The house appraiser returned and left with good news.

Tuesday 11/19

  • Went to Good Sam Hospital for an ultrasound. My new primary care doctor thought it would be a good idea for me to have one because she thought I was pregnant, and she wanted to check for aneurysms. I’m pretty sure I’m not pregnant, but the aneurysm is an unknown. I suspect I’ll get a call if they find something. She didn’t really think I had one, but said I was “in the zone” because I’m old.
  • We had lunch at Fultano’s with Pat, Carolyn, Bill, Jack & Wynette. Pat, and Carolyn are cousins who are married to each other and Bill is their son. You all know Jack and Wynette, I’m sure. We’re related.
  • Went to Don’s and replaced the starter on the truck. Since it was on the lift in Don’s shop, it was easy to do. I had to go get a new one because the other new one I got a few days ago broke. I left the shims out of the new one and it worked just fine. It didn’t start the engine, but it wasn’t the starter’s fault. It was the carburetor’s fault. The float apparently doesn’t float which allows gas to just get pushed right through to the cylinders, much of which doesn’t ignite because there’s too much of it, resulting in very dirty spark plugs and lots of gas in the exhaust pipes which would shoot some impressive flames out the ends. Spark plugs are tomorrow.

Wednesday 11/20

  • Back to Don’s at 0900 to clean the plugs and set the timing on the truck engine. Once the plugs were reinstalled, Don helped me set the timing and my hopes were realized because the motor ran smooth, and it started right up. Still need to fix the carburetor. The current carb works fine as long as the engine is running around 3 grand. Sounds pretty good.
  • Got home about 1230 and had lunch because I was hungry and a Milgard Window Guy was scheduled to come fix an issue with the new patio door we had installed a few weeks ago. Not a big deal, but the glass panels were installed upside down in the frames. Sounds petty, but the seam for the inner seal was right at eye level on both panels, right where I looked each time I opened the door. It was disturbing and the Milgard Window Lady, to whom I spoke about it, agreed it was wrong. So, she sent Vladimir to fix it.

Thursday 11/21

  • In a few minutes we are going to Portland to the Pioneer Courthouse Square Apple Store to get my new iPad. Yes, the new one broke but it’s under warranty and it’s not my fault. Honest. I made my Genius Bar appointment yesterday. We have to be there by 0900.
  • It’s 28 degrees this morning. Makes my toes cold when I go to the garage to get my yogurt. Guess I’ll have to start wearing slippers, or something.
  • Upon return, I need to visit Don and see about swapping out the carb on the truck so I can take it to the dump and empty it.

Here’s the truck getting it ride to the motor doctor, Don.

Here’s the truck comfortably reclined in the doc’s office.



I wrote most of this last night so guessed at what today would bring and it didn’t work out as planned.

We made it to Portland OK, and I got my replacement iPad, but I didn’t make it out to work on the truck. Dang!

On the way home from Portland Diane tossed me off at a friend’s house, Jerry’s, another Jerry, so I could work on his wife’s computer. I sat there for 4 hours talking, teaching, and deleting files to make room on her hard drive, which had been partitioned by some enterprising individual, so that the system drive ran out of space because programs and photos were loaded on it, not the other partitions. We had a good time while Diane whiled away the hours at Goodwill. We left at 1730 and came to rescue the dogs.

They were fine.

Cookie Ladies and Stuff

Today after church the Church Ladies gathered around a group of tables in the basement to have a meeting before they distributed all the cookies they had baked. Each of the 20 or so ladies gathered around the tables brought 2 dozen of them so there were lots and lots of cookies.

This is an annual event, probably not unique in the world, but meaningful for those gathered because the cookies are placed tenderly in small boxes destined for local service men and women, college students, and those who just can’t make it to church any more. Each person wraps their cookies in bundles of two to facilitate packing, and to keep them fresh. This is a time-tested method that makes packing a simple process.

The ladies know their efforts are appreciated immensely by those who receive them. It’s that little extra unexpected touch of home that lets all those folks know someone cares for them.

“It’s that time of year” seems to be the mantra around … well … this time of year, just before Thanksgiving, so many people feel it’s necessary to put forth a little extra effort to help their fellow-man. That’s a good thing, but sad, in a way, that they only feel that need when “it’s that time of year.”

Why not all the time?

Do you think those who are on the receiving end of this kind of attention would find it unacceptable at any other time of year? I seriously doubt that, as I’m sure you do, too.

This isn’t a new concept, but I’ve got to say it anyway. Let’s just pretend it’s Thanksgiving and Christmas all year long.

Let’s just be nice and giving to others all year long because it’s a good thing.

It’s the right thing.

Safeway & Dockside

I was sent to Safeway this afternoon to get Diane a bottle of molasses for some cookies she was making for the cooking-packing evolution the Church Ladies are doing tomorrow. When I left, she had everything mixed up, except for the molasses.

Seemed like a fairly simple task, so away I went. All by myself. Alone.

When I got to the store I walked right to the molasses aisle, got my jar, then got in line behind a nice young man who was waiting in the short line. We each had one thing to buy so it went quickly. I had Diane’s Safeway card at earned us 3 points for my purchase.

Since the purchase went quickly, I decided to stop by the local Chevron station to fill up Diane’s Buick. It’s the least I could do since she let me drive it all the way to town. By myself. At the station, I removed myself from the vehicle, as I normally do, in order to extract my wallet, on which I normally sit. Then I did a quick body search for Diane’s Safeway card. It was nowhere to be found. Then I searched the car coming away with the same results. It was becoming more and more evident that I was going to be in HUGE trouble when I got home because the first thing Diane says when I return from a shopping trip to Safeway is, “where’s Safeway my card?” Normally I just hand it to her and I’m safe. This time I wouldn’t be able to do that.

Woe was me.

So, after the tank was full, I went back to Safeway to see if someone had found the card. I could only believe I dropped it when I removed my car keys from my coat pocket before getting into the vehicle. I checked the parking spot first, and talked with a young lady standing there handing out flyers about collecting food for holiday baskets. When I was there the first time there was a different young lady and I took one of those flyers out of curiosity. That’s how I knew what was on the flyer.

Inside the store I went to customer service to see if anyone had turned in a Safeway card. Ahead of me in line was a lady trying to wire money to somewhere in Mexico. The lone person behind the counter was having difficult getting the spelling correct for the city in Mexico so it took some time. Perhaps 20 minutes. All this time Diane was waiting for the molasses, which I had, but I had embarked on a quest to find Diane’s card.

Once it was my turn, I discovered that, yes, indeed, someone had turned in a Safeway card. “Could I please see your receipt to verify the card number?” asked the clerk. Not expecting this, I’d left it in the Buick with the molasses so excused myself to go get it. Upon returning to the counter we discovered that the number on my receipt didn’t match the card they had. So, I was back to square one, and it was time to get the product to Diane and face the music. First, however, I got a new card, forging Diane’s name on the application.

I hadn’t been gone more than an hour, so thought maybe I wouldn’t be in too much trouble. Perhaps she would just be happy that I got home, with the molasses, and that would offset the major crime of losing her card.

On the way home, however, I made one last trip to the gas station to see if anyone found it there, which they hadn’t.

Diane was happy to see me, but quit talking me, so I went on-line to check Diane’s Safeway account and discovered that, gee, the card they had in her name was the same one that was turned in to customer service. So, what’s the deal? The only way to find out was to call Safeway customer service at the number I found on their website.

A little background is necessary, here. Diane’s originally Safeway card was obtained by Jennifer when she was in high school, way back when. Since she’s been married to Daniel for 18 years, or so, it’s evident that she’s had that card for a long time. And, it’s always been associated with our home phone number which, for a couple of years at one point, wasn’t assigned to us. That we got it back is another story.

This means that every purchase made by Jennifer and Diane over all those years, all over the United States, were tied to that number. Then, one magical day, Jennifer, Daniel and kids moved home to St. Helens. Somewhere along the line Diane wound up with a different Safeway card that was tied to the old card, then a couple of years ago Jennifer got a job with Safeway which worked well for us because all those Safeway cards, tied to our home phone number, were eligible for an employee discount. When we realized this, it was brought to Safeway management’s attention but they didn’t seem to mind. Neither did we, so we just kept using all of them.

Then today happened.

One of the reasons I went on-line was to change the card on Diane’s account to the new number, then I had an epiphany, with the help of the nice young lady who answered the phone. Since Diane’s card was at Customer Service, at our local store, and I had a new card in my hand, why not put things ‘right’, and divorce Jennifer’s Safeway card from our home phone number. So I did. Now Jennifer’s card is tied to her phone number, and the new card I got is tied to our home phone number. AND, so is the card nestled in the Customer service desk drawer. Now we each have a card and I’ll never have to borrow Diane’s Safeway card again. Ever.

Jennifer came by the house a little later so I could tell her in person that our Safeway cards had been officially divorced. She took it well, for which I’m grateful.

The cookies Diane made are really good. I got to taste one because I helped her scrape them off the cookie sheets onto the drying rack. I was being really good, trying to help, and she let me. That was good.

Before we knew what was happening, it was nearly 1700, time for our dinner with Jack & Wynette at Dockside. Jack and I arranged that yesterday all on our own. When we arrived, J&W were already there so there was no waiting. Jack had fish & chips, Wynette had shrimp scampi, Diane had lasagna, and I had spaghetti alla Carbonaro, my favorite. I got that even though I wore my red spaghetti shirt and Carbonaro is just kinda spaghetti colored, with lots of bacon.

After eating we talked for a long time and, again, wondered why we didn’t get together like that more often. Funny how that is. We all wish Jim & Donna were closer so we could all get together often. We figure it’s only fair that they move this direction since we are already here and we represent a majority of remaining brothers.

It was a good evening marred only by a brief spat about who was going to pay the check. Who was spatting, and how that wound up isn’t relative. It was all about having a really good time.

Incidentally, I’m the only one who ate all of my dinner.

I deserve a prize.