2013 – The End

I’m not going to bore everyone by sharing all the things that transpired over the past 364.75 days for a couple of reasons. 1) You’ve already heard about most of it if the news you watch chose to share it with you, and 2) I can’t possibly remember all of it. One thing I do remember is that everyone in St. Helens, except me, is sick on this last day of the year. It is my understanding that this epidemic is not restricted to my immediate area – folks on the East Coast have reported incidents too. I can understand that because they are ending the year with some pretty exciting weather events. We, here in St. Helens, cannot blame the weather for the ailments folks are experiencing. All we’ve had is cold weather. Not terribly cold, just cold for us. Maybe just chilly according to those who live in areas where the mercury drops well below zero degrees more often than not.

Nossir! I blame this outbreak on Little Kids because they sneeze on their hands, then wipe them, and their noses, on Real People most often while sharing a hug. I believe they are taught this trick in Little Kid School, which they attend when no one is looking, in order to make everyone taller than them ill enough to even the playing field when it comes time for cookies. They know, all of them, that a sick Real Person will give them anything they want if they just leave the RP alone. They will deny this, of course, because that’s what they’re taught to do at LKS.

At this point I must clarify the difference between LKs and RPs. LKs are mostly just potential epidemics on really short legs. RPs, by contrast, have longer legs but no longer have the ability to infect anyone with anything. I suppose that’s not entirely true, but that’s not pertinent. It’s kinda right, and that’s good enough for me.

Don’t get me wrong because I think Little Kids are awesome, even when their little noses are exuding a very salty mixture of puss and mucous all over their lips, which they end up wiping on their sleeves, because their tongues aren’t long enough. I can say this with authority because its one of the more memorable things I recall from my indentured servitude as a Little Kid. When I was a Little Kid, however, things were different. Now it snot.

When I started this, at 1958, it was my intention to terminate it at 2013. Though I could lie, and tell you I did it, I won’t. I don’t lie. I fabricate. It would have been neat, however, to bid you all adieu on 12/31 2013 at 2013. Now I can’t.

As I scribble, Diane is watching all the back episodes of Downton Abbey so she’ll be all up to speed for the premier which is going to happen soon. I kinda like the show, and have watched some of the last episodes with her, but when I start remembering what’s going to happen I need to quit because it’s no longer interesting to me. I will be watching the new season because I have no idea what’s going to happen, and I love the accents. My favorite person is Daisy who works in the kitchen. I think that’s her name. She’s the one who was going to marry William, I think, but he was killed in the war, or somewhere else. Now his father is teaching her to run the farm because he wants her to have it. Something like that.

We planned to visit Keizer, Oregon to bring in the New Year with some old Winnebago friends … no … friends who have old Winnebagos. When Diane came up very congested this morning, however, we nixed that trip, not wanting to contaminate anyone else. So far, I’m doing OK, in case you’re wondering.

Part of my evening was spent in the basement ripping my work bench apart. You may remember that I complained about it in an earlier blog and suggested that I might do this. Since we are sequestered for the night, I thought it might be a good time to continue that effort, so I did. The challenge was working around the electrical connections that were mounted in the front edge of the work surface. I just cut around them, leaving the rewiring effort for another day when I have company available to call 911, should it be necessary.

Here’s what it looks like down there now …


This half of the workbench is going to be configured so I can sit in a chair and do “stuff”. The other half will be lower to the height of my table saw. I’ll just have to do something with all that wire. During this evolution I found an entire gallon of Liquid Nails so maybe I’ll just glue those 2×4’s against the back wall and call it good.

We hope everyone has a safe transition from 2013 to 2014. I won’t say that “I hope you all had a good year,” because you either did, or you didn’t. Me “hoping” you did won’t change that.

I can, however, “hope you all have a wonderful, safe, productive 2014. May you all win the lottery.”

Now it’s 2113 so I’ll stop.

2013 in review

Just in case any of you are interested, here’s a recap of my 2013 blogging efforts provided to me by WordPress. I had no idea that I was that busy …


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 8,100 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Mabel Ahlf 1918-2013

Yesterday we honored Mabel’s 95 years on this mortal plane. She departed in the early afternoon on Christmas Day. The church was full and I learned many things about Mabel that I didn’t know. I attribute that to my lack of vision. The knowledge was there for the asking, but I didn’t ask. Instead, I formed my history of Mabel using bits and pieces of rumors I’ve heard over the years, and short snippets of stories shared by her family members, but never did I sit and talk with Mabel directly to talk about her life. That’s my loss. Had I done that she might have told me her past was none of my business, but I’ll never know because I didn’t take the time to try.

So, there’s a resolution candidate for 2014.

God Bless Mabel’s family.

Gilligan, Baylee, and Jeran

Now that Christmas is over we look toward next week and the dawning of a New Year. 2014! Thinking back to when I wore much smaller clothes, 2014 wasn’t part of my vocabulary. Heck, neither was 1970. It was just too far out there to be a concern. It’s not a concern now, either, just more like reality making me thankful that I’ve actually made it this far in life. I got to see many of the Buck Rogers things of my youth become reality, we went to the Moon, saw photos sent from Mars … how cool is that? Old news, I know, but still pretty nifty.

The past few days have been very relaxing, giving us time to pause and reflect on things past. That doesn’t take very long for me since I can’t remember much, but it was a fun effort. Diane helps me along with hints until I guess correctly which makes me uncommonly joyful. We do this every day, so it isn’t something new for her. Deep down I know the answers, but keying on her hints makes her happy, especially when I’m right. Makes me happy, too.

Yesterday we received Gilligan and Baylee for their first overnighter with us. Gilligan has stayed before, but when she’s alone with us things are pretty boring. We understand that. So, when they both came it was a really good thing as they each had company with common interests. Here are their adorable selves, sitting at the counter playing with Polly Pockets … Gilligan is the poser on the left.


Making it even better, Jeran skipped going to the movie with his family so he could stay and play with his cousins. He had planned to be here anyway, but initially considered the movie, then opted to spend his weekend with us. The girls were thrilled and they all had a terrific time. Jeran is great with them. Here’s Jeran as he watches “The Sound Of Music” snuggled under my blankie, without permission, but it’s OK.


Baylee crashed and burned around 2030, then Gilligan at 2130. Jeran lasted a bit longer. It’s good they went to sleep so easily, and fairly early, but that just meant Saturday morning was an early one. Like 0600 for Diane to mediate. Jeran wisely stayed in bed until around 0930. Me? I don’t remember.

After a simple cereal breakfast the girls were sequestered in Diane’s bathtub with some Avon roll on soap. Blue for Baylee, Red for Gilligan. They each got a vintage Barbie doll to play with, too. They had a good time and didn’t splash all the water out of the tub, just like we asked them not to. After an appropriate amount of time, Grams went in and scrubbed them clean, then shampooed every hair on their heads, one at a time. It didn’t take as long as I thought it would until she told me it was one “child” at a time, not one “hair” at a time.

When everyone was out and dry, I was alerted that the tub wouldn’t drain and required my handy hands. This isn’t my first encounter with the non-draining tub, so I knew exactly what was wrong. Hair. Lots of long hair. It is my belief that whoever designed the tub plug was bald because his complicated mechanism restricts draining water even when it’s pristine clean. I would have taken a picture of it but I know Diane would have objected. It looked kinda like the fur ball Panzee barfed up last summer. Really, it did. Here’s what that looked like … don’t look if you have a week stomach because it’s pretty gnarly …

First, however, here’s the kind of drain I must deal with …


Now, Panzee’s fur ball …  if you were quick enough, I had a photo here, but Diane was seriously upset that I published it. I must admit it probably wasn’t the best move I’ve made this year, but had to do it. Now it’s just gone.

The cereal was just a primer for the girls. For an encore, Baylee, who barely eats anything here, had a scrambled egg, another bowl of cereal, a cup of milk, and an M&M Cookie. Grams made french toast for Gilligan and I added a scrambled egg for her.  Jeran ate cereal, two scrambled eggs, and a piece of jelly toast. I had a bagel, Diane had a fried egg, and jelly toast. The animals didn’t eat but Breezie took a shot at an agile hummingbird. Thankfully, she missed.

Now I must go reconstruct Diane’s mixer (the parts arrived yesterday) and see if it works. The coffee maker at church has also been reassembled with the new parts, in case I didn’t mention that in a previous post, like you really care. The coffee maker works perfect and delivers a full pot, every time, and I only got shocked once.

Hope you all have a nice quiet Saturday which isn’t likely if you either like football or live in a house with someone who does.


Merry Christmas

The day is done, and it was a busy one. Actually, it’s been pretty busy the past few days, but that’s OK with us. Busy is good.

The sad news for today is the loss of a good friend’s Mother. Mabel passed on this afternoon at the tender age of 95. Please help us heap blessings on Daughter Nancy, Granddaughter Lisa, and their families to help them through this trying time. Mabel will be missed, but not forgotten.

Sorry to start out with bad news but, ya know, life is funny like that. It’s unpredictable and keeps us all wondering what’s going to happen next. Sometimes it’s exciting, some times it’s not.

Yesterday was extremely busy for Diane and me. We got up late, like normal, then went to First Lutheran Church, here in St. Helens, to assist with the annual Boy Scout sponsored event that provides hot Christmas meals to hundreds of people, all delivered to the recipient’s door. Bill, the head “Scout Guy” in the area, said the event isn’t advertised and help isn’t requested, but  there are always plenty of helping hands who show up to make it work. This year was challenging because the scouts had to move from one staging area to another for political reasons. So, a process that has been in place for years had to be re-engineered to work from a much smaller facility. It worked out nicely.

My humble part was initially unwrapping and separating rolls into defined numbers determined by the number of people in each family receiving a meal. Lots of ones, twos, threes, etc., and a couple of twelves. Diane and I were doing the separating and Lydia was wrapping faster than I could unwrap. But, we got it done and ended with one table full of newly wrapped rolls. Another lady parceled out patties of butter into stacks for each group of rolls. In hindsight, we figured it would have been better if we’d’ve wrapped the patties with the rolls. This was determined after I dropped quite a few of them while transferring them to the distribution table. It was because of the slippery gloves I had to wear. Really.

From rolls duty I was sent to help fill vegetable plates and pass them on to the wrapper. Part of the time that was, again, Lydia who gave me a little grief for not keeping up with her. She’s pretty quick, and she’s a very hard worker. Diane was out doing other “stuff”, like cutting and boxing up individual pieces of pie, and I know she did a ton of other things but I was wrapped up, so to speak, in my task. Tunnel vision, you know. I do know that she, Daniel, and the kids made numerous trips around town delivering meals to many people. It’s time-consuming but very humbling to be part of this effort.

Once the veggie plates were done someone saw me taking a break and sent me to the kitchen where I was put on mashed potato and gravy duty. This involved three huge, like 10 gallon pots sitting atop an electric range. Two of the pots had boiling water into which were placed semi frozen packages of mashed potatoes, five bags to a pot. In the packaging area was a steam line with potatoes, beans, dressing, and gravy, two of which were my responsibility to keep filled. Behind me, on the prep table, Terry and Vern were ripping up turkeys and ham and placing portions in containers for delivery. I never figured out what a portion was because it was done using the “BGBG” method. That means, By Guess By Golly. The ‘cutters’ filled the containers by hand, literally, using the zen approach. A handful to them, I suspect, filled the needs of “x” number of adults and kids. It seemed to work until we started running out of meat. Then portions got more normal, but they were still generous portions.

For me, the potatoes were renewed numerous times, I burned off all the fingerprints of both hands multiple times, and I kept the gravy train rolling. That huge pot almost got empty once, then I had to make up a recipe for a new pot. Never having made that much gravy at one time, it was interesting, and I have no idea how it tasted. To make it I used all the stock salvaged from turkeys that were delivered by volunteers throughout the afternoon, and some pre-mixed thickener which was, I’m sure, stock and flour. Whatever it was worked OK and we wound up with just enough to finish the job, I think. I don’t know for sure because I had to leave as things were winding down to prepare for our choir responsibilities at our church. That was happening at 2100. In all, Diane and I both spent almost 7 hours working non-stop, along with dozens of others doing the same. It was gratifying.

Our service was OK, but Pastor got a little carried away with video clips which many people, including us, didn’t think was appropriate for the service. I know, we have the technology, so why not use it, right? True, but there’s something to be said about tradition, and last night was about as far from tradition as one can get. Jean, our organist, was particularly upset because the service had “Joy To The World” at the beginning instead of the end. Until last night the choir has always marched out singing “Joy To The World” to end the service, following the Acolytes after they extinguish the candles. It was just wrong, ya know? The choir was great mostly because I didn’t sing very loud. I’m sure that would have ruined it for sure.

After the service we dropped Diane’s Mom at home because it was after 2300, then went to Daniel & Jennifer’s home to watch the kidlets open their gifts. This is our own tradition, and it will not change. For a while, at least. By the time we got home it was well after midnight and we were dog-tired, as old people tend to be when they stay up that late. So, Diane and I exchanged our gifts and went to bed. I got a new pair of Nike Air sneakers, and Diane got a nice little flashlight for her purse. We were both pleased.

This morning the dogs, not caring how little sleep I got, made me get up at 0715, about 5 hours after laying down. Then I napped until mid morning when Diane needed my help to get a 21 lb turkey in the oven. People were told they could show up anywhere from 1200 and beyond, as their desires dictated. It was going to be a ‘simple’ affair, buffet style, right? Right! In addition to the turkey there was a very large ham, all the pieces that go with a holiday meal, including some an awesome sweet potato and yam casserole from Wynette. I’ve never had that before and it was great. J&W brought that as well as their very welcome company. It wasn’t ‘simple’ by any means. As I may have mentioned before, I’ve learned to just stay out of Diane’s way and respond to help when beckoned. If not beckoned, just stay out of the way and don’t talk. Oh, I did make a double batch of fudge which actually turned out pretty good although I used too much butter, on purpose. I just didn’t want to figure out what 1/3 of a cup was. I used too much sugar, too, but that was OK because the recipe calls for almost an entire can of condensed milk for a double batch. So, instead of tossing out what little remains I used it all, like Jack said he does, and added an extra cup of sugar. It’s pretty good.

The meal went on throughout the afternoon, the middle of which we retired to the rearranged living room to watch old slides of years past, before digital cameras. I was pleased that they are all still in pretty good shape and we all enjoyed seeing ourselves all dressed up in younger people’s clothes, with more hair and skinny bodies. Our children, Jeff and Jennifer, were especially pleased to see the pictures of themselves as babies in foreign countries. Jeff was born in Rome, Italy, and Jennifer was born in Agana, Guam. About as far apart in the world from each other as you can get, I suspect. I set the screen up in front of the big screen TV which wasn’t on at all today. We just visited, watched slides, laughed, and laughed. It was an exceptional day of remembrance for us.

Now it’s over and I must retire. It’s almost 2300 and Diane’s already gone that direction. We had our entire family gathered around us one more time, and we feel blessed.

We hope you all had a wonderful day and that the spirit remains with you throughout the year.

Peace, Love, and Joy to you.

Christmas Shopping to “Home Free”

Christmas is almost here and I, unlike most of you, am considering a little shopping trip. Considering, mind you, but not seriously. Oh, there will be a token gift, or two, but nothing major because Diane and I prefer to wait until after Christmas for a couple of reasons. First, we concentrate on kids, no matter what their age is. Second, things are less expensive when we wait.

I guess I’m not in much of a sharing mood because I’m a bit depressed about all those people whose credit card info was mishandled by Target. Thankfully, we’re not in the mix for getting our info snagged because we don’t visit Target often, and the thieves of the world have probably already figured out that infiltrating our personal accounts isn’t really worth their time. So, we rest easy. I don’t like thinking bad thoughts about people, most of the time, but I’d seriously consider Capital Punishment as a proper solution to those who steal identities, and those who find it enjoyable to create and share computer viruses. Yessir. I think for some of the crimes committed we should just revert back to Old Testament justice. You know, the one where an eye for an eye is OK.

For both categories we could develop a special surgery that would safely allow removal of all finger and thumb bones so they could no longer use a keyboard. Maybe a laser. Also, since technology is proliferate with voice recognition they could be fitted with a voice synthesizer that makes them sound like Chewbacca.

So, floppy fingers, no opposing thumbs, and voices that only allow them to yell. I suspect that would make them readily identifiable anywhere. Then we could shun them.

Complicating this train of thought is the sad fact that governments of some countries sanction such activity. I suspect there’s really no way we could enforce my proposals on entire countries, so it’s probably a moot point. Besides, both identity thieves and malware creators have spawned entire industries that work to defeat them. They ensure a lot of people are employed.

I finished Jennifer’s window table. Well, almost. I need to put a fixture on it so the top won’t flop all the way open and break something. Jennifer reads this, but I can talk about it because she wrung it outta me that I was honoring her wish to have one of these. Never done it before, but it seems to have turned out OK. The window is from our last house which was built in 1925.


Now that “Home Free” has won the Sing Off, we can go to bed. Jerrie’s eyes are tired.

God Bless Mabel.

A Wedding

Today Diane and I went to a wedding for John and Pam’s daughter, Victoria. Since John is Diane’s cousin, I guess that makes Victoria, and her younger brother, Johnathan, semi-cousins. Now we can add Alic Amaro to the family.

Alic is in the Navy, stationed aboard the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) in Everett, WA. The wedding was scheduled for next summer but was escalated because the US Navy had other plans for Alic next summer. Now they are joined in wedded bliss,  and we enjoyed a terrific reception meal catered by one of the many Famous Dave’s that litter the USA. The food was totally awesome. Honest. I recommend FD’s to anyone who has discriminating tastes. Also, to those who do not have DT.

Here is the happy couple …


Before I forget, here’s the photo from yesterday when Jennifer made her Mom cry …


Not a terrific picture, but it conveys a meaning, just the same.

This morning, before getting ready for the wedding, I fiddled with the hot tub, again. I turned it off last night because I didn’t want it running all night, and the temperature dropped to 98 degrees. Not bad considering how chilly it was last night. I turned it back on, but the heater didn’t come on and the temperature dropped to 96, even after mixing up the wires, again. It was still dropping when we got back from the wedding, so I did some button pushing on the control panel, just for fun, and magically the heater came on when I got it to blink “ST” at me instead of “SL”. I have no idea what either of those stand for, but apparently SL has something to do with disabling the heater. Not so ST. Within an hour the temperature was up to 105. That’s another concern, however, because I only have it set for 104. Since the heater was off, though, I figure it was just settling into a range and will be OK. Tomorrow, if the temperature is still holding, and nothing is smoking, I’ll declare myself a Hot Tub Mechanic. That means you can call me for hot tub advice any time you wish. I do not, however, make any guarantees that answers I provide for your questions will result in a solution for you. I just know what’s going on with the one we have. So, if you have one just like ours, I think I’m good to go.

Now it’s semi-quiet here in the house. We both put our PJs on when we got home in preparation to retiring early, like we say we’re going to do every night, but this time it might actually work. I say that because it seems like I’ve been doing things around here for a few hours and it’s not even 1900 yet. Still really early. I’m watching football and basketball in the Man Room and Diane has sequestered herself in the basement to watch some of her recorded “stuff” while wrapping presents.

I think it’s time for me to crochet something. Maybe a doily. Say, that reminds me of a story the pastor told at the wedding …

I man was married to he wife for many, many years. Early in the marriage he found a box his wife had placed in the closet and was told that he should never open it. Ever. He honored this request. Then, when his wife was lying on her death-bed she told him to get the box. He did, and she told him to open it. In it he found 2 doilies, and $82,500.00. He asked what the doilies meant and she said, “before our wedding my mother told that every time I got angry at you I should sit and make a doily because doing so would dissipate the anger. It worked.”

Looking at the doilies the man was very happy that his wife had only been angry with him twice. Then he asked, “what is the money for?”

Looking him in the eye, the wife said, “that’s the money I made from all those doilies I sold.”

Diane’s Birthday & Little Kids

On this day, a few years ago, Diane was born at Emanuel Hospital in Portland. I think her Mom was in the same room my Mom was a few years earlier when I was born in the same hospital. Maybe we even had the same doctor and he created the link between us the allowed us to find each other and know the search was over.

Diane has weathered the years far better than I have. Some of you might think that it’s because she knows how to use makeup better than me, but you’d be wrong. I know how to use makeup just fine. It’s just that she hardly uses any at all. Still others may think it’s because she’s been pampered her entire married life, and you’d be correct. I pamper her to the point where she gets really tired of me doing things for me and tells me to leave her alone. I’m finally starting to get the message and we’re getting along much better now. Finally, after all these years. Truth is, I’m very lucky she spent the time to coach me through the rough parts. And, she raised our kids pretty much all by herself since I was gone a lot during their formative years. She was the boss and disciplinarian who got results. Not me. For all that effort I will be forever grateful to her. For that, and for agreeing to marry me and embark on that journey.

To celebrate the day we (Mom, Me, Diane, Jack, Wynette, Daniel, Jennifer, Cedric, Lydia, and Jeran) had an early dinner at Fultano’s in Scappoose. We spent two hours visiting and laughing. Jennie gave Diane a card that made her cry. Jennie knows how to do that. I have a photo to prove it, but it’s hidden somewhere in the ‘cloud’ and I can’t find it. I will, eventually, then I’ll add it. We all had a good time, as we tend to do whenever we all congregate. Jeff, Heather, and their children were missing from the party because they had a previous engagement, but they came by the house later, after we got home.

Regarding that visit … my namesake, Jerrie Anne, is a busy little person. She, Gilligan, and Baylee came in full of energy, but the older two listen to reason far better than she does. Anything below 4 feet off the floor is fair game for Jerrie. She’s good about giving up what she picks up, but she doesn’t hesitate to grab  something again right away, over and over. It’s a fascinating quest of discovery for her and an arduous, tiring effort for whoever has the energy to keep track of her. I tried it for a while but quickly discovered that it’s really good I’m not placed in a position where I must do it long, and often. She’s a lot like Jennifer in her actions at the same age. I applaud Jeff and Heather for the energy they expend to keep all their kids safe and happy.

I’m getting more tired thinking about it. So, I must stop.

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart.

Coffee Makers, Hot Tubs, and E. Collars

I’m here to tell you that I’m bona-fide expert on the inner workings of Bloomfield Model 9012 coffee maker. I really am, and I’m really sorry I didn’t become an expert on it far sooner. You see, for years the church ladies have been mopping up water that’s been leaking from it, and complaining about how it doesn’t brew a full pot of coffee. It just didn’t work like it was supposed to. With my newly acquired expertise I discovered that the problem was three aging silicone tubes that cost a total of $14, including shipping. Over the years the ladies have probably mopped up 3 times that cost in wasted water. So, if you happen to own a non-functioning Bloomfield Model 9012 coffee maker, I bet I can fix it. Maybe not for $14, but I can fix it. Some of the parts cost $150 but they are stainless steel and not likely to fail unless someone, you know, hits it with a nail gun, or maybe it gets dropped in the parking lot just in time for the garbage truck to run over it. Things like that. Something unusual. Something rare. I know I’m getting all cocky about this, and I’m just guessing because the parts are in transit and have yet to be installed. I know, however, deep down in my troubleshooting soul, that they will solve the problem. Here’s the coffee maker when I had it all ripped apart …


Now, about that hot tub. I’m sure you are all wondering what’s going on with it, right? Well, it’s been driving me nuts for about a week. Really. Absolutely nuts! I don’t know if I mentioned that I got a new pump for it or not, but I did. It arrived very quickly after I ordered it online. I love shopping that way and it’s surprising how often I order the right ‘stuff’. This time, it was the perfect fit and the pumps went back in just great. I plugged everything in, energized it, and watched it go through the start-up process then actually start priming. I was more than excited, as I’m sure you can all imagine. The tub has been unusable since mid summer because of many error codes, and the one of the pumps failed in a magnificent, really noisy manner. I still kinda worked, but you needed earplugs if you had any desire to sit in the water. Then the error codes stared up. I got new temperature sensors hoping to resolve the error codes, because that’s what the internet told me to do. When I replaced them water squirted up out of the holes in the heater, which is located inconveniently directly below the circuit board that controls everything, and drenched it. Yes, I had the power disabled, and tagged out so I could be reasonably sure I wouldn’t get electrocuted. Still, I was careful, except for the water. My compressor was upstairs, in the garage, and the hose wouldn’t reach anyway, so I could use it to blow the water out of, and off, the circuit board. Working with computers, however, has caused me to ensure I always have a can of compressed air lying around somewhere, so I used that to dry things off. In my experience, you can recover from things like that if you clean it up quickly. After blowing it all out, I left the cover off and didn’t go near it for a few days. Finally, I couldn’t wait any longer and had to turn it on to see what would happen. Sadly, it worked just like before, but with more noise. That’s when I ordered the pump. I guess that brings us up to today, in a roundabout manner. As stated above, everything appeared to start-up properly, then I got the dreaded “dy” error code which the internet told me means the heater doesn’t think it has enough water in it. Then I started playing with the wires, switching them around, trying to make the new motor run at both speeds, but couldn’t. I spent a lot of time on the internet researching this, moving the plugs all over the place, but couldn’t get it to work like it used to. It would heat for a bit, then error out and stop. Frustrating. Then I did a really brave thing and swapped the pump connections on the circuit board as a last-ditch effort before emptying the tub, pulling it out into the yard, and giving my chain saw a little workout as I cut it into tiny little pieces that would fit in the recycle bin. But, wonder of wonders, it worked. I was hung up on the belief that the motor I replaced was Pump 2 when, in fact, it’s apparently Pump 1. It’s been running for a few hours now, and last time I looked the temp was up to 88. So, there’s a very distinct possibility that Diane is going to get her one and only birthday wish. All she wants is for the hot tub to work. She just loves that thing and sits out there in the freezing cold, reading books on her iPad as it floats around on the styrofoam float I made for her.

Her birthday, incidentally, is tomorrow, December 20th. I forget how old she is but it really doesn’t matter because she’ll always be 21 to me. That’s how old she was when we got married, I think.

I learned something new today when I fell up the stairs. Yeah, I know. That’s pretty lame, but it’s less damaging than falling down the stairs, believe me. What I learned was that in a fraction of a second you can hurt multiple parts of your body at exactly the same time. I was carrying something, apparently heavy, and when my right foot slipped, I simultaneously stubbed my left big toe really hard, smashed my right thumb between a step and whatever I was carrying, and slammed my left elbow into another stair. All at once, and they all hurt equally so I couldn’t figure out which one to be more concerned about. Ultimately, I just serenaded them all with the sucking ‘S’ noise you are supposed to make when you get injured. I was unable to get up and hop around, so I just sat there making that noise. I don’t know why because there was no one around to hear me. Still, it’s the right thing to do, and it helped give me something else to concentrate on while the pain subsided, as it eventually did.

Then I went on about my business, doing whatever it was I was going to do, whatever that was.

This afternoon I made a trip to ACE to get “stuff” and got to talk with Jack for a while. That’s always a plus when I got to ACE. Some times he’s not there so I have to find things all by myself. One of the things I needed was a large wood bead-type thing so I could repair a nut cracker Diane got for Jeran. It needed a new hand, which are made from large wood bead things, and it needed something to hold. So, I got dowels at ACE, too, to make that happen. Now the nut cracker is holding a staff atop which sits a brass fitting used to unite two pressure hoses, a wire nut, and a silver bell-shaped piece of metal I found. Here’s the result.


Yes, his right hand is way bigger than his left.

On the way home from ACE I stopped at Diane’s Mom’s house to fix the lights I strung up for her. She wasn’t worried about them, but I was and, by golly, I was going to fix it. Oddly, I knew exactly how I was going to do it, too. The problem was I had six of strings of lights connected in series and the first string kept blowing those tiny little fuses in the pronged end. So, I got an adapter that would accept three plugs and hooked them up so only two were connected. Now they work. Then I helped her clean her bathroom fans. The one in the bathroom she uses was a little dusty, but the one in the guest bathroom looked brand new. I didn’t find that odd at all.

After getting all that stuff fixed, I decided to start tearing my work bench apart. I took out almost two dozen lag bolts from the boards then pried them off. Under the first couple of boards is a two foot section of a beam that was placed, I presume, to add substance to the 2×6 planks above them. There may be another couple of spots that have a beam underneath, but I haven’t checked, yet. To get the back surface board off requires me to remove the peg board. To get the peg board off required me to remove all the tools on that side. Additionally, I had to relocate the shop light that’s been hanging from a couple of peg board devices for a couple of years. I was attempting to nail it to a beam in the ceiling when it ripped itself from my manly grasp and smashed up against the wall, shattering both lights and covering the old Playboys I forgot I had with tiny pieces of glass. I could see the Playboys once I removed the top boards. Once the light fell, I just called it a day and quit. It was almost 2200 anyway.

Here’s how I left it …


Oh, ya, almost forgot. Today was the day that Panzee’s PCP said we might be able to remove her cone of shame. The doc never called back so we just decided to do it and see how things went. Instead of being really happy about getting it off, so she could lick her butt, or scratch her neck, she immediately went to work on her knuckle and quickly had it all irritated again. So, I put the cone back on. She sat very calmly through the process as if it was something we do every day.

Also, here’s a photo of the little gloves to which I added beads. Normally I just work in solid colors, so the designs on these posed a singular problem with regard to bead colors. Still, I think they look OK … as little beaded gloves go …


Coffee Pot, Mixers, and Sizzler

So … I managed to totally dismantle the church’s Bloomfield Integrity Model 9012 Coffee Maker, right down to the last bolt and screw. I was really proud of myself and it was especially fun when I showed Diane all the innards, where the water circulates before filtering through the coffee grounds. Really gnarly. Knowing this, would you drink coffee that was made using this machine?


Herein lies the true value of a coffee ground filter. However, I’m guessing that from now on many of you may seriously question little chunks of stuff you find in your coffee. Don’t just assume it’s coffee grounds. Me? I’m OK with it. Doesn’t bother me at all. I figure it’s just as good as taking a calcium pill once or twice a day. What could it hurt? Especially if the coffee is laced with Italian Sweet Cream creamer.  As I tippy tap across my keyboard, all those parts are soaking in the sink in a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. The chemical reaction is churning all those particle loose and will probably, also, dispose of the liquid wrench I had to use on some of the extra tight fittings.

Then there’s Diane’s mixer. It’s a Kitchen Aid that we’ve had a long time and it’s served us well. So, it’s worth it for me to at least attempt to fix it. That, and fixing things is just something I enjoy doing. OK. Trying to fix things is something I enjoy. Actually, taking them apart to see what makes them tick is the best part. Sometimes I just take things apart, see what’s going on, then put it in a box and hide it in the basement. It’s always fun when I find it, sometimes years later, and try to put it back together. The challenge begins when I come up with missing parts that were removed to fix something else. When that happens it all goes back in the box for another day.

Anyway, here’s what the inside of a Kitchen Aid mixer looks like. I was amazed at the amount of grease covering the gears, right over the top of the mixing bowl. Tasty.

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This afternoon, as planned, Jack and Wynette stopped by so we could all carpool over to Sizzler in Longview for lunch. You may have heard me mention it before because it’s a favorite trip for lunch after church. I cannot recall ever going to Sizzler on a week day, so this was special. It was a food oriented celebration of 51 years of wedded bliss for J&W. They would have gone yesterday, but it was foggy. Like normal, we had an extremely good, laugh a minute, time. The food was just a bonus because we’ve had many extremely good times just  visiting in each other’s living rooms. Unlike Sundays, Sizzler didn’t have the monstrous fried chicken legs, just the wings. They were still good, and I ate six of them, but I missed my legs. Love those things. I had a taco, and two servings of spaghetti, too. Then, when I went to get dessert, Jack told me that Diane said to “surprise” her with a dessert, so I did. I got a soup bowl and filled it with at least a pint of ice cream, then buried it in chocolate and butterscotch topping. I had to set the bowl on a plate because it was almost running over the edge. Diane was surprised and, I suspect, won’t ask me to do that again. I wound up eating a lot of it after I went back to get her some bread pudding.

The day isn’t quite finished, yet, as Diane is going to visit her Bunco Babes at 1900 and I have a Lions Club board meeting at 1900. I’ll be home shortly after 2000, but she won’t make it until 2200, or so. That leaves me home alone for a couple of hours.

I think I’ll paint something.