Bad News (3) – Good News (1)

The truck is stuck for a while. I fiddled with the starter again this morning, inserting shims and making sure all the wire connections were tight. The last problem, yesterday, was that the starter motor gear was not meshing with the fly-wheel. Instead, it just made a soothing grinding noise as it whittled away precious metal required by a proper connection. The shims were a last-ditch effort to make it work. And, it did. I actually got the engine started, but it ran like a one cylinder John Deere tractor and quickly quit when I attempted to let it idle thinking I might have time to dive under the hood and adjust the distributer. Turns out it’s not a one-man job. I should engage an expert, but I hate bothering those guys. I should be able to do this.

During the course of installing the shims in the starter, one of the starter mounting bolts, which was still in the starter, resting comfortably against one of the rigid transmission coolant lines, lost it’s mind and dropped out. I suppose I should have taken it out, but I didn’t want to have to search around on the ground for it when I needed it. So, I left it in the hole. When it dropped, my face was in the way and it bounced right off one of my front teeth. because I had absolutely no way to dodge it. Picture this … the truck is about 8 inches away from the curb, the right front tire is low on air, and the exhaust on that side hangs down a few inches below the frame. That’s the side where I had to go to do this intricate work.

To get under far enough to reach the starter, I had to squeeze myself under the exhaust, and work with it pressing into my abdomen. All the while I’m working I’m sending kind thoughts to all the tires for not going flat because if any of them did, I would have been squished like an unwary ant on a sidewalk in front of a home in which small children live. Seriously. No one was watching me so dropping that extra six inches would have been the end of me. Dumb, I know, but I like living on the edge.

Now, teeth are tough customers and can really take a beating, but the bolt dropped about a foot before it hit. The damage is minimal, with only a little chipping on the biting edge which I smoothed up with an emery board at Diane’s suggestion. That worked nicely to remove the sharp edge of the chipped area making my inquisitive tongue less interested in the damaged area. Funny how that works, isn’t it? Tongues ignore smooth areas, but gravitate to the sharp ones like a magnet, especially new sharp areas. I guess our tongues are really a security system that ensures nothing gets passed them that isn’t authorized by the brain. If it’s sharp, the brain forces the tongue to investigate incessantly until the owner does something about it.

So, here’re the Bad News issues indicated in the title of today’s non-verbal soliloquy.

  1. The truck still doesn’t run
  2. I nearly broke a tooth
  3. I think there’s now a flat spot on the fly-wheel from all that grinding

The Good News? After getting home from this futile effort, I made a sandwich, which will please Diane, and took another tour of the 1968 Truck Service Manual that I happen to have, thanks to Jeff. Way in the back I found an entire section on the windshield wiper motor which wasn’t there the first six or seven times I did this. I’ve been looking for the location of that motor for years because it has never worked. Ever. I just haven’t driven it on rainy days for the last 20 years or so. Then, there it was with instructions on where it resides, how to tear it apart, and everything. To ensure future access, I dog-eared the page.

  1. I discovered where the wiper motor is and how to dismantle it

I’m sure I can fix it.

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1968 Chev Custom C-20 P/U For Sale

$17,000 OBO

  • Manual windows
  • Manual mirrors
  • No A/C
  • Heater is Iffy
  • 454 Big Block bored over to 462
  • New starter
  • No turn signals
  • Wipers don’t work
  • No Glove box
  • Needs tires
  • Needs tune-up
  • Wife hates it
  • Currently full of ‘stuff’ for the dump which is included in price

What isn’t mentioned is that the truck is currently residing in front of Daniel & Jennifer’s home. Here’s the story …

This morning, after stalling as long as I could, I disconnected the battery charger from the truck, wound up the extension cord, and put them away. Then I got my truck key, walked slowly back to the truck, climbed in, inserted the key in the ignition, held my breath, and turned the key.

Nothing happened.

So, I checked all the wiring to make sure the proper voltage was present at the locations required. My meter told me everything was just fine. The only other problem it could be, since this was a brand new starter, was the control wire at the starter, that receives voltage when you turn the key that little bit extra to engage the starter, was on the wrong terminal. There are two choices, marked R and S. I do not know which one it was on, but I layer on the wet ground and made the change and that corrected the problem.

The starter turned that big engine fast enough to move it down the road at about 27 mph. It didn’t start right away, but I knew it would. It’s been sitting for a while and big blocks don’t like that.

There was a brief lull in the rain this afternoon so I decided to make a dump run. I covered the junk in the back, cranked the engine, then drove off. Though the engine idled OK, it doesn’t do well when under load, like when it’s in gear. It has no power, but it was chugging along. Sounded like it was running on 2 cylinders at times. Really running rich and I’m sure the plugs got terribly fouled and it finally quit at 4 Corners, where N. Vernonia Road crosses Columbia Blvd. I was at the stop line and had to get the truck out of the way. The only way to do that was to push it backwards and get it to the curb.

So, I got out, stood with my back against the driver’s door jamb and started inching the truck backwards one painful inch at a time. I got it back about 10 feet before I had to stop and direct traffic around my efforts. Everyone was very willing to follow my suggestions that they drive around me and not stop to give me a hand. Then, two young ladies passed me going the other way, turned around and got out to give me a hand. With their assistance, the truck was moved quickly out of the way.

I have no idea who they were. It was a very welcome anonymous gesture of good will. They just wanted to help, did the dead, then went on their merry way. It was awesome and I couldn’t thank them enough. They were well aware, too, that many members of the male gender had already passed me by so their effort had more meaning. Their efforts, reaffirmed my belief that there are still really good people around us. The girls saved me from having a heart attack, I’m sure. At least from having one right away. Maybe later.

Once the truck was out of the way I called Diane to come get me. She did, then I got tools and she took me back so I could see about working on it and, perhaps, resurrecting it one more time. That wasn’t to be, so she called Jeff to come give me hand getting it either home, or over to Daniel and Jennifer’s. We decided on D&J’s because it was a pretty flat trip, and just two corners. Corners were important because the truck has power steering and it’s totally hard to turn corners when the motor isn’t running. Takes a lot of muscle power, something that is fleeing from my aging body a little bit every day.

I didn’t all D&J to ask permission to park the truck in front of their house for a bit but they were kind enough to not tell me to move it along. The plan is to engage one of Jeff’s friends, who is a mechanic, to see what he can do to make the truck run.

OK – that’s it. I’ll add the end of this part of the “Truck Story” tomorrow.

The “For Sale” offer is bogus, of course, unless someone really want’s to pay $17,000. The OBO will be honored, too, with the understanding that I have a reserve amount in mind. I suspect that if you were inclined to invest $10,000, or so, it might be work $17,000. It could happen.

One of the interesting things about today’s activities is that both of our children asked why I didn’t call one of them first for help. I had to give that some thought because it was a very valid question. Why didn’t I call one of them first? After devoting an extraordinary number of brain cells to this question, I believe I came up with a valid answer but it requires a little bit of history to ensure it is understood in context.

When Diane and I were married, our first home was on the tiny island of Okinawa in the Ryukyu Islands which are located between Japan and Taiwan. For me it wasn’t a big deal because I’d been there before on a ship, but for Diane it was life-changing. She left the comfortable surroundings of her youth and embarked with me on an adventure that is still in progress today. Because we never lived close to home, where we grew up, we learned quickly to rely on each other to solve our problems. It became a way of life for us, and just became routine. When one of us needed help, they called the other. It worked then, and it works now. Even though we’re  living in close proximity to our children, we still rely on each other the most. It’s still a habit, hard to break. We know they would help at the drop of a hat, and there have been times we’ve had to ask, but we look at it from the perspective that they have their own families to take care of now and don’t need us to add to their work load. That’s just us and we hope they understand. One of these days they will be essential for our survival and I’m relying on Jeff  and/or Jennifer to change my diaper, as needed until I can’t coherently string more than 4 words together.

One of these days I might just start mumbling to see of that works. Just for fun.

Honestly, if I were them, I’d willingly hire someone to do it of me.

All of this chatter about diapers reminds me that Jennifer gave us a mason jar full of chocolate covered peanut clusters. Yes, that’s a terrible comparison, but just so you know, the clusters are really good. She made them with chocolate bark of some sort, she said, and I’ve learned that I like it a lot. It’s almost gone so she can have her jar back, probably tomorrow.

PTs, Trucks, and Swedish Music

Today was an adventure in auto mechanics of various kinds spanning vehicles from 1968 to 2001. Actually, it was only two vehicles. I worked on the 2001, first.

It’s our old PT Cruiser that used to look like this …


Oh, gee! That one was taken in Nampa, Idaho across the street from the art work created by one of my brothers who lives there. He’s the one who doesn’t ‘do’ computers. But, he can handle a torch and bend some metal.

Here’s another one right after we got the trailer that we no longer have. We had a lot of fun camping in that and traveling all over the place showing it off.

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Nice ghost flames.

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The PT still looks pretty much the same except for the road rash from 12 years and 200065 miles of driving. But, it’s still ticking along and the only thing that’s gone bad on it is the timing belt and the rear suspension bell crank. Oh, and the driver’s seat belt tensioner failed. Jack fixed that, and the bell crank. There are some noises I need to investigate, and clean it up.

On that last item, to simplify things, I just ripped all the coverings off the dash that I could get off without something making that “breaking” sound. Most of it just pops right off. All the things in the next picture are just hanging by the wires because I removed all the screws I could find so I could clean them.


Here’s some of the stuff I removed to clean … all I have to do, now, is figure out how it all goes back together and find all the screws. They’re in there somewhere, I’m sure.


Then there’s the truck that has looked like this since the day I bought it …


Just so happens that this was another starter event from a different year. The starter is what I worked on today. While I was working on the PT the sun came out and all the clouds just went away for a few hours. I looked at the truck, bull of ‘junk stuff’, and decided that I needed to get it fixed and get it emptied before the rain starts in earnest. Won’t be long before that happens.

I got the started out, swapped it for a new one at NAPA, and installed it. But, I couldn’t test it because, guess what! The battery was dead. So, I ran my handy-dandy extension cord from the garage and hooked up the battery charger where it will sit until tomorrow morning. Then I’ll try it and it better start. I’ll let you know how that goes.

We had dead chicken for supper. It was really good. Diane takes very good care of me and I appreciate it.

After supper we sat quietly, watching NCIS and NCIS Los Angeles then it was time to choir practice at church. We sang two songs I actually know, and two I don’t know. The one I know best is ‘Hosianna‘. It’s the only Swedish I know. I’m usually the only bass in the choir which is sad, but we get through it. Like normal, we went in to it cold tonight and everyone made it through just fine. The song is so complicated (for me) that I had to memorize it because I could either read the notes, or the words, but not both. Oddly, I was able to do that many, many, many years ago, and I’ve never forgotten it. Kinda like the Morse Code I had to learn when I went to Radioman School right after Navy boot camp. Those of us going to the school were given all night to memorize the code. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when prodded by fear. I’ve never forgotten the code, either.

Now we’re home and it’s time for bed.

Buona notte.

Mechanics, Tacos, Church, and Kids

Today I decided to do a little work on the PT Cruiser. The battery died a long time ago because of a fault that caused the fog light indicator to say lit 24 hours a day, key or no key. Odd thing is, the fog lights are totally disconnected – the wire harness is sitting in the back of the car. So, why does that sneaky little light stay on? Well, I figured it was the switch I installed in 2001 when I installed the fog lights, so I took the cowling off the steering column behind the steering wheel, and disconnected the headlight switch. Then I charged the battery for a couple of days to make sure it was full to the tippy top.

I may have mentioned that I still had the original headlight switch somewhere around the house, but I hid it so well I couldn’t find it anywhere. Then, for some odd reason, I opened the back hatch up and there it was, lying right there in plain sight. Go figure. So I fixed it all by putting the old switch back in place.

Now the headlights don’t work, so I have another trouble-shooting event planned for tomorrow.

Diane worked at the Senior Center today serving lunch, so I took her Mom, Jean, on a date to check out the food. It was roast beef, and it was really good.

I drove the PT because the Subaru has a dead battery. It seems to be going around. So, all the work I did on the PT was mostly this afternoon.

Then I took a shower while Diane conferred with the local Taco Bell about dinner. I had 3 crunchy taco supremes, like normal, and a steak burrito supreme. I used to get dead chicken burritos in the past and think I’ll revert back because the steak thing is just too HUGE. It must weigh about 3 lbs, and it’s floppy which disturbs me. Chicken burritos aren’t floppy.

Directly after eating all of that, I went to Church Council for our November meeting. I had to take Diane’s car because the other two are broken. The meeting lasted 2 hours. They always wear me out because I have to act like I know what’s going on the entire time since I’m the president. The other members insist that I do a really good job but I’m sure they only say that because none of them want to do it. I know that’s true because I used to be one of them. Then, all the sudden I was president. I’m still not sure how that happened. I think I may have volunteered.

Now I’m home, it’s almost 2200, I’m tired, and need to make the bed. Then I will rest a bit then go lay in it until the dogs get me up tomorrow.

I don’t have any new pictures to share so thought I’d just toss in a couple of old ones. These are mainly to embarrass Maryssa and Lydia, but Maryssa mostly. Lydia is a freshman this year, here in St. Helens, and Maryssa is a senior way over there in Nampa, Idaho. She recently committed to Eastern Oregon University on a softball scholarship. Cute, aren’t they?


Then, there’s this, just when you thought they were such angels …


Now we know why kids need braces when they get older …


Congratulations, Maryssa.

Veteran’s Day 2013

It’s Veteran’s Day, so I took the day off because I am one.

All I did was charge the battery on the old 2001 PT Cruiser. I also took the turn signal/headlight switch thingy apart to see if there was anything noticeably wrong with it that might cause the fog light indicator to remain on all the time. It eventually drains the battery which is a real bummer.

Oh! I finished painting the ceiling of the top porch, too. I did that this morning after helping put up flags with the Lions Club. The flags went up at 0700 so I didn’t get my nap like normal.

Diane fixed me grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for lunch. That’s excellent cold weather food.

Speaking of the weather, today was absolutely gorgeous. It got almost to 60 which is balmy for this time of year. That’s why I did the painting, because I knew it would dry. Tomorrow is supposed to be the same so guess I’ll have to find something else to paint.

A little while ago I drew some lines on a board,  but forgot why. I think I was going to cut it. I just put it all away and quit for the day. The reason will come to me in the night. If I remember I’ll do it, whatever it was, tomorrow.

Diane is going to play Bunco at Jennie’s tonight so the boys, Cedric and Jeran will be with me. They are here to keep an eye on me because they’re way too big, and old, to babysit.

Here’s what today’s sunrise looked like.


Kind of redundant, huh? Wish the beach was close so I could take cool pictures of waves, like Jewel does.

Church, Movies, Ravens, and Jeans

First, I must share yesterday’s sunrise with you …


Not bad for rainy old Oregon, huh?

Today is Sunday so you all know what we did. Yup. We opened our house up to all the homeless people in Warren, Oregon and fed them all a good meal. Since there aren’t many homeless folks in Warren, it’s really not hard to do. Actually, to my knowledge, there aren’t ANY homeless people in Warren. That may cause you to question who we actually fed today, wouldn’t it? Like most other Sundays, we brought home Diane’s Mom, Jean, and fed her a Hebrew National hot dog. She had a choice – one dog or two. Diane had one, too. They each had one. Me? I ate left-over lasagna with 1/4 of the remaining baguette which I heated up on the “pizza” setting in the stove. I still have 1/4 left for my favorite sandwich, which I will make tomorrow, of ham, cheddar, and butter. Maybe a little mayo, but mostly butter.

In church this morning I was the lone greeter because Diane and her Jean took that time to set up the stuff they made for coffee hour after service. Since there were only about 33 people in church, it wasn’t difficult, but it could’ve been. One just never knows how many people are going to show up to be saved.

Diane and Jean tried to take their normal seats behind Nancy, but Larry and Shirley were already there, so they sat a row back. Being uncomfortable sitting behind Larry, I chose to be a “Left Side” churcher this morning and sat by Ron. It was a pretty good seat because I didn’t have to swivel myself to the left in order to hear the sermon. I could just stare almost straight ahead. It was very nice. I may sit there from now on. Sitting with Ron also gave me an opportunity to suck him into helping me with he offering, one of the tasks to which greeters are appointed. I had the right side, as you walk up the aisle, and things went well until I got to the third row where Nancy and Lisa were sitting. The second row is a short one, making room for a wheel chair, so the kids love it. Today it was occupied by Lisa’s daughters, Sarah and Dani. The girls indicated they had something to place in the offering, so I stepped in to let them make their deposit. I also noticed that Lisa had something in her hand that seemed to be destined for the offering plate, but she was busy giving instructions to the girls about something. I stood there for a long time, waiting to get her attention until I just couldn’t stand it any longer, with everyone staring at me and all, so I rapped her on the knuckles with the plate to get her attention. Which it did. I immediately regretted it. Honest.

She almost leaped out of her seat, catching herself at the last-minute, looking at me with a wild look in her eyes like, maybe, I was in some deep kimchi or something. Believe me, if you are ever going to be knee-deep in something you don’t want it to be kimchi.

Instead of standing up to slug me, she made her deposit and I made a hasty retreat before she could change her mind. I apologized later, but it was as if she had no idea what I was talking about, like what I did was normal. God bless her. Lisa works in the dental office where I’m a member so I’d hate to get on her bad side. She has access to needles and lots of other pointy objects.

Coffee hour went well. Since the cheese, an entire 5 lb loaf, was first in line it was devoured in no time. Just a few pieces remained. Cantaloupe was next. I cut up two of them yesterday and am happy to report there is enough remaining for a snack tomorrow morning. Jean made all the sweet stuff like rice krispee squares, brownies, and cup cakes. There were a few of them left, too, so we brought them home to nibble on after they ate their hot dogs and I ate the left overs.

After eating, we sat in the living room and watched a couple of movies Diane had recorded from the Lifetime channel. Pretty much all they show there are “Chick Flicks”, but she had “The Bucket List” with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. I’ve seen it before, and it’s a good movie, but it’s not a chick flick at all. Maybe it wasn’t a Lifetime movie. During the movie I got a call from our friend, Tom, and talked with him for a couple of hours. I like talking with Tom because I always learn something new. Tom is the one who, not long ago, was hooked up to life support and pretty much written off as a goner. He fooled everyone, though, and made a miraculous recovery. Today he told me that last year when he went to the gun show in Hillsboro he had to use a wheel chair. This time he walked it all with just one cane. That’s amazing to me, and to a lot of other people. Tom’s also the guy who tried to staunch the blood flowing from a leg wound with a kotex. It would have worked well had he unwrapped it, first. Linda straightened him out on the proper use of a kotex. He will never forget that one. Nor will I.

Diane had a second movie which none of us had ever seen and it was good. For sure this one was a Lifetime Channel movie because it had commercials. It was definitely a Chick Flick, too. I actually like those kinds of movies because they end happy. Diane and I are alike in that manner. Like, if it’s a Bruce Willis movie, bad language seems to be more acceptable. Or, if it’s an action movie, something better blow up near the beginning or we lose interest. With CFs, their going to be a bit sappy, but problems are solved, and good things happen. All without bad language. That’s a plus.

Now the movies are done and we’re winding down. Me by doing this, and Diane by watching HGTV.

The Carolina Panthers won today. We follow them because Cam Newton’s backup QB is Derek Anderson, a Scappoose native. He gets to play when Cam gets hurt. Derek has played for other teams after being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens. His best year was with the Cleveland Browns in 2007. He owns a restaurant across the street from the Scappoose High School and he brings his NFL friends back to town every year to put on a football camp for the kids. One of our friends, Beth, was one of his teachers during his formative years, like maybe the 1st grade, who comforted him about his huge feet telling him that he’d grow in to them eventually. I know that’s true, because Beth told me that personally. He did, too, but he had to grow to six-foot-six to do it. Big boy.

Another little factoid is that Derek’s Grandpa live just around the corner from Diane’s Mom. We always know who Derek is playing for because Grandpa flies the appropriate flag in front of his house, along with the Oregon State Beaver flag where Derek set all kinds of records.

Oh, and Jean, the piano player, did you notice that the Panthers beat the 49ers today?

It was wrong of me to do that because Jean, the piano player, is a die-hard 49ers fan, her being from Modesto, and all. She went to high school with George Lucas there. Yes, “that” George. He’s only 6 days older than me so I guess that means I could have been a famous movie guy. I mean, we both know Jean, after all. She and George almost got married, I think, but she didn’t think he’d amount too much and moved to St. Helens. I’m guessing there. She may have only rubbed elbows with him once or twice, but I like my version best.

I heard from Idaho today and learned that all is well. It was terrible of me to shame Donna into communicating, but I couldn’t contain myself. The result was welcome news and worth the possibility of being shunned. That didn’t happen, however, and I believe it’s still OK to cross into Idaho any time we get the chance.

I think that’s about it. You all have a great evening.

Oh ya, Jewel. Here’s the sunrise that greeted me this morning …



Today I painted some more because the temp got up to 50. Didn’t last long, so I didn’t get much done, but I got a start on the underside of the cover over the upper porch. Got all the corners so now all I have to do, on the next 50 degree day all I have to do is use a roller. I did this, standing on a stool, while all alone because Diane left to go shopping. She asked me what I was going to do while she was gone and I said, “I’m not going to use power tools, and I’m not going on the roof.” Her response was, “good choices.” Then she left to get her Mom, Jean.

I think everyone moved out of Idaho. Don’t hear much from them any more. Steffani speaks up once in a while, and would alert us if things weren’t OK, so I guess the only reason my big brother, Jim, isn’t communicating is because he doesn’t know how. That’s actually true when it comes to computers. He doesn’t know how. Donna said she was going to teach him how to check email, and even send one occasionally, but he has no interest in computers. I guess I can understand why he’s a little hesitant to learn something new. He is, after all, left-handed. I can say stuff like that about him because he’s a long way away and will have forgotten all about this by the next time we are in the same vicinity. I’ll probably forget, too.

Jack? I think he’s working at ACE full-time now. It’s a good thing for us, when we need something, because he’s our very own Handy ACE Man. He was that long before he worked at ACE. He’s the “Go To Guy” for pretty much anything I have a question about. Wynette is the ACE holiday decorator and has been busy sprucing up the stores for the holidays and it looks awesome, like normal. She just has a knack, know what I mean?

Diane’s better, which pleases me immensely. She sent an email to her doctor day before yesterday and was called yesterday to come in for a visit. She learned that she has ‘classic irritable bowel syndrome’, or IBS. I’ve got that, too, but mine hasn’t been diagnosed so, technically, I don’t have it. Diane was told hers could have been caused by a virus. Those things are terrible and cause a lot of problems.

Yesterday Daniel, Cedric, and Jeran went to see “Thor II” in Scappoose. I was invited, but I had one of Jennifer’s headaches and didn’t think I’d be very good company. It would have been fun but, no doubt, I would have eaten way too much popcorn. With butter. Maybe a candy bar, too. Instead, I sat on the couch and willed my head ache away. I would have enjoyed the movie, and visiting with the Boys, though.

Diane signed up for coffee hour at church tomorrow so I helped by cutting up a couple of cantaloupes and a big brick of Tillamook cheddar cheese. I did that while Diane made supper. I made lunch, but her’s was better. I only fried some eggs. She made lasagna with a little help from Stouffer’s. She brought home a baguette, my favorite kind of bread, too. I just love those things.

As I type, sitting on the recliner couch, I have the cat on one side of my extended feet, and the little black dog on the other. That hardly ever happens. Actually, this is the first time it’s happened, ever. So, it’s a little odd. They’ve never argued, so it isn’t a problem. It’s just odd to be bracketed by them. My main concern is the fleas. It’s a well-known fact that cat fleas don’t like dog fleas and they will create a huge commotion if one invades the other’s territory. And, here I am smack in the middle.

Really, I’m not worried about fleas because I’m pretty sure neither of them have any because we bought a monkey who just loves those things and makes sure all the other animals are clean. We discovered that the reason the deer are spending more time in the yard is because the monkey keeps them clean, too. I’m going to teach it how to trim the apple trees. That’s one job I don’t enjoy much. Next time I do it I’m going to do a pretty radical job on them in order to get the limbs high enough so I can drive the mower under them without limbs knocking my hat off.

Since the Ducks played a truly terrible game yesterday, I’ve decided to start watching the Portland Trailblazers who are doing pretty good. At this moment, they’re beating Sacramento by 10 with 1:38 to go. I know, a lot can happen in that short amount of time, which always amazes me, but I’m confident they will win. They beat Sacramento last night in Portland, so they know how. I don’t know if Mike and Kathie are Sacramento Kings fans, or not, but it’s OK if they are. They should be, actually, since they live in the vicinity.

I’m rambling so it’s pretty obvious I don’t have much to write about today so I’m going to quit. If you actually read all the way to this point I can only think you don’t have good sense. I would have quit after the 2nd paragraph. However, getting this far will allow me to reveal to you that we really don’t have a monkey.

But, Ozzie really wants one.

So I’m OCD. Big Deal.

OK. Say it. The Ducks can’t beat Stanford, but Utah can.

Just wait until next year …

I’ve determined, through a lot of inward looking self diagnosis, that I’m a Count. More appropriately, I’m a Counter. Have been for years, and thought nothing of it. It just seemed to be a normal way of life, and it provided me expedient ways to do certain mundane tasks without really thinking about it. For some reason, once I begin a count, the numbers keep progressing, kind of subliminally, until the end of whatever action caused me to start the count.

For instance, filling a water-glass from our filtered water source, inside the refrigerator. I know how long it takes to fill every size glass we have. Diane likes the big, heavy glasses, which take a count of 10 to reach just below the rim, enough so that I’m not likely to spill any as I transport it to her location, wherever it may be at the moment. My normal size glass only takes a count of 8.

We also have glasses obtained from the purchase of dried chipped beef, which we both love but which is too salty to have very often. Still, we have a number of those and they take to the count of 6.

Grinding coffee, using my settings takes a count of 19.

I equate all those counts to seconds which gives it more meaning to me, for some reason. I guess that would have to do with cadence, not really time, but the association works.

When I worked, and walked the six blocks from the bus stop, then back in the afternoon I knew I had 8 seconds to get across the street once the light changed before they installed the walk lights that count down for you. In Portland, on SW Salmon Street, the lights are set for a vehicle speed of about 15 mph which in no way equates to walking speed. That’s only important if you’re driving. Still, it affects walking speed if you know what you’re doing.

Once the walk like quits blinking “Don’t Walk” at the end of 12 seconds, the traffic light goes yellow for 4 seconds before turning red in your direction, and green on the cross street. So, if you begin immediately when the walk light gives you permission, you have a leisurely 16 seconds to make it across pretty much any of the numbered streets as you walk up, or down, Salmon Street.

What messes that all up, however, is how long it takes you to walk a block. For me it was about 52 seconds. That aside, knowing where the Walk light was in its cycle as I approached a cross street gave me an edge because I can actually get across any of those streets in about 5-6 seconds.

I know all those numbers are true because I counted them every day for a number of years not knowing why. Now I do. I hope that information serves someone else who finds themselves walking up and down Salmon Street.

Now, if you’re ever in my house, and need to go down the basement stairs in the dark, there are 15 stairs. I count them every trip I make. This is useful information if you are carrying a laundry basket, either direction, which I do frequently to help Diane. Before she discovered how many stairs there were, some time ago, she decided to skip the last step and launched into space about 14 inches from the bottom instead of 7. As a result, she pivoted to a near horizontal angle before striking the floor and wound up about 10 feet from the bottom of the stairs and, oddly, on the opposite side of a steel support pole from the stairs. That’s a mystery.

I still trip myself up on the stairs, though. Not because I miscount, but because I’m in a hurry. And, I don’t fall down the stairs, I generally slip on the way up. This is a problem if I’m not carrying anything because I fall further and the landing is considerably harder.

It takes 8 seconds to walk down our hall, and another 4 to make it to my bathroom. At my age, knowing this is very important.

So, the only lesson I can glean from this is that it’s a really good idea to pace yourself.


Diane, Helping, Lions, Church Ladies, and KC

Diane’s sick again which means I have to cook, clean, wash, and follow-up on appointments that she made. That sounds bad, I know, but fact is I LOVE to do things to help my bride. My problem is, normally, that I have to pace myself and ensure I don’t jump in and take things away from her that she likes to do. When I see her doing anything I feel it’s my duty to take over and finish it for her without waiting for an OK. I just do it. Because she’s deathly afraid of me, she’s let me do it, over and over, over the years until, in my mind, it’s the right thing to do. But, it upset her every time. Now, however, that I’m much older and frail, she’s asserted her will and has convinced me that it’s OK to wait until she asks for help before I jump in. She has no idea how hard that is for me to do, but I do it.

When she does ask me to help, or do anything, my response is always, “Absolutely.” Go ahead and ask her. I know that’s what she’ll say because I remind her about that once in a while. I never defer unless I’m on the toilet. That doesn’t count, anyway, because asking someone to help you, who is on the toilet, is just wrong in so many ways. Just sayin …

This morning my task was to pick up Diane’s Mom, Jean, and take her to the church where, every Thursday, ladies gather to work on quilts for Lutheran World Relief. My task was to meet with a technician who was supposed to be there at 0900 to check one of the refrigerators. It frosts up inside and drips.

The tech didn’t show up at 0900 so I waited until about 1000 and called the outfit who was sending him. I was told that the appointment wasn’t until 1130. So, I took Jean home, and went home for a bit, myself, to await my next appointment which was at 1100. That one was for helping relocate about a ton of old newspapers from the local distributor to one of our Lions newspaper collection facilities. Bert & Sue were there with their big van, which was good because we knew it was going to rain before we finished. A pickup truck would have been a mess.

After dumping the papers, I went back to the church to meet the tech for the 1130 meeting. First, however, I forgot and went home whereupon Diane pointed out the errors of my ways and I hustled back down the road. I arrived about 1145 and the tech wasn’t there, so I called the office again and was told, “he should be there. I’ll contact him.” Which he apparently did, because the tech, whose name I do not know, because he didn’t introduce himself, arrived shortly thereafter.

I like tagging along with folks who fix things because I always learn something new. Today it was about refrigeration. He checked out the compressor and it was OK. There were no gaps in the door seal. So, there wasn’t a legitimate reason for frost to build up inside the refrigerator like it does. Now, here’s what I learned …

When a refrigerator is on, and it’s empty, the air inside is cooled to the desired temperature based on the position of the control knob. When you open the door, all that cool air is sucked into the room. When the door is closed, the newly added warm room air causes condensation to form on the cool interior surfaces and it freezes.  Since the interior of the fridge is generally around 38 degrees, the frost will turn liquid and flow off into a drain pan at the bottom of the fridge where the spiders live. It’s where they get their water. If the fridge door is opened before all that happens, another layer of frost is added until, eventually, it gets thick enough to drip pretty much all the time.

The solution? Make sure the fridge has lots of stuff in it. This will ensure there is less air to cool down once the door is opened. Another aspect is to ensure everyone in the church who has a desire to open the fridge door only does so when looking for something that should be in there. What’s been happening is that 15-20 people do the ‘look’ thing, see it’s dripping, then turn up the control to make it cooler. Running too cold will also cause frost to form inside.

Now about KC. She got to go home today, and she sent me a photo of her arm. I’ve been reporting, all along, that it was her left arm that got the new elbow, but she sent me a picture of someone’s right arm.


 I’m convinced it’s someone else’s. Someone else with really nice fingernails.

I’m disappointed that it’s wrapped up because I was really anxious to see where they put the zirc fittings so the new elbow can be lubbed. Maybe when then cast comes off she’ll share that.