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 …

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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 …

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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 …

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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.

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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 …

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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.