The Past Three Days

Over the past three days …

  • I crocheted beads on little gloves for little girls
  • attended a cantata at Warren Community Fellowship Church during which 32 choir members from 3 area churches gave us an incredible performance
  • Diane sustained a potentially fatal mixer injury when her mixer jumped off it’s stand, in the midst of a mixing frenzy, and hit the floor causing very moist spice cake mix to leap from the bowl scattering it all over the kitchen, and causing Diane to whip around real fast to see what was going on, wrenching her back
  • I helped pick out, deliver, erect, and string lights on the Christmas Tree for church
  • I cleaned off my work bench
  • attended the annual TVCC Christmas Party at Finley’s Funeral Parlor
  • had lunch at Fultano’s Pizza joint in Scappoose after church service
  • fixed Diane’s Mom’s Christmas Lights and sustained a potentially fatal injury in the process when I tripped on a rock and slammed into the house

If you’re OK with just highlights, you can stop now because the remainder of this missive is just detail.

Crocheting – yes, I’m “that” guy. I crochet. My Aunt Bert taught me how when I was 8-years-old and I’ve done it off and on ever since. I’ve made lots of doilies, a few table clothes, afghans and scarves. Oh, I make snow people, too. Lately, the activity of choice has been crocheting pretty beads on little gloves for little girls. This is the year for home-made things for Christmas. We’ve talked about doing that for years but it never seemed to happen. Until now. I’m finding that it’s something I should have been doing for years. It’s fun.

The Cantata at Warren Community Fellowship Church was great. As mentioned above, there were 32 singers from 3 area churches. Three of them are singing with our church for our Christmas Eve service. They are Marion, Crystal, and Tiffany, three generations of their family. All have incredible voices but Tiffany, the youngest, tops them all with her vibrant, crystal clear soprano. And, she plays the flute and works at Starbucks. A unique array of talents. Tiffany’s Mom, Crystal, is our choir director for the second year in a row since Nancy retired from that job. We only have 12 voices in our choir, and wouldn’t be able to do a cantata, but we have fun just the same. That, and we sing Hosianna, a traditional Swedish tune, in Swedish. Acapella, too.

The Fatal Mixer Injury was particularly interesting. Diane was making an upside-down fresh apple cake to share at the Saturday evening TVCC Christmas Party. During the course of making this tasty treat she said she turned her back on the mixer for just a couple of seconds. That’s all it took for the mixer to skip a beat and leap to its death on the kitchen floor. Cake batter flew everywhere. Startled by the noise, Diane jerked around to investigate and wrenched her tender back. I was in the East Wing of the house and heard the crash, but not the scream, so didn’t bother investigating. I hear noises all the time so they don’t startle me much. Especially when they don’t happen right next to me. By the time I made my way to the kitchen it was all cleaned up and the mixer was on the counter. I received a synopsis of the events which ended with news of the mixer’s demise. Curious, I plugged the mixer in, turned it on, and was treated to a lot of nasty grinding noises causing me to quickly turn it off. I took it to the basement and dismantled it discovering that a critical element was busted and needed to be replaced. With the help of a quick internet search I found and ordered the necessary part. It’s on the way.

The Church Christmas Tree was donated by Rod and Sandy who own a tree farm and go to our church. A month or so ago it was determined that Saturday, the 14th would be the day a group of Bethany Men would go get the tree. At 0950 I arrived. Bill was already there. We only had to wait a short time before David appeared with the pickup needed to transport the tree. Bill and I led David to the farm then went to select the tree. Fortunately, for Bill and I, there was a beautiful tree, already cut, leaning against a post near the entrance. Our job was done so all we had to do was get it back to the church. Once there Bill and I herded the 15′ tree from the truck into the church and got it installed in the incredibly heavy tree stand, then installed the angel and all the lights we could find. Considering our job done, we left to pursue other endeavors for the remainder of the day. I went home and cleaned off my work bench.

My Workbench has been the source of much grief to me over the years so I decided enough was enough and just had to clean it. At this point in time, all 17′ 2″ of it are mostly bare, awaiting my undivided attention to dismantle and rebuild it in a more useful configuration. First, 17’2″ is just too long for a reasonable work bench. That, and it’s too tall to work at for any length of time. So, I’m going to dismantle it and nail it back together. Also, all of the surface boards are bolted down with screws so the top isn’t flat. I didn’t notice that until I removed everything. We’ve been in the house since 2007 so I’m sure you can see how I might forget what that horizontal area looked like after six years. It’s been covered with ‘stuff’ for that long. Doing this will involve the use of some very sharp, powerful tools. I’ll try to remember and take pictures and I’ll let you know how it goes if I can still type when it’s all over.

The Annual TVCC Christmas Party is always a raucous affair where we have more fun than legally allowed by old people. TVCC stands for the Tualatin Valley Cruiser Club which has been around since the PT Cruisers debuted in 2000. Diane and I are charter members of the TVCC and participated as club officers for many years. Over the years the club became more about people than PT Cruisers and many life-long friendships were forged during that time. Diane and I have attended almost every Christmas celebration that has been held in various locations throughout the greater Portland Metro area until we finally got settled in at Finleys Sunset Hills Mortuary. It’s a very large facility near the Portland Zoo and has two advantages over past venues: 1) It’s free because one of our members runs the place, and 2) The neighbors don’t complain about the noise. Steve’s the member who facilitated this arrangement and we are all very appreciative.

Fultano’s Pizza you’ve heard about before. It’s a relatively new joint in Scappoose that we’ve visited a few times in the past and we’re very happy with the service and food. Yesterday, after church, that’s where we went with Diane’s Mom, Jean. It was her turn to pay so we picked a place a little higher on the food chart above McDonald’s or Taco Bell. The wisdom of our choice was reaffirmed, once again

Mom’s Christmas Lights were a topic of discussion on the way home so while Diane and Jean hunkered down in their chairs, I went back out into the cold to play with electricity. I knew what the problem was that caused them to stop working so it was an easy fix. One of those tiny little fuses in the pronged end of the cord overloaded and blew it’s brains out. That’s why fuses are surrounded by glass – so their brains won’t splatter all over like Diane’s cake mix did. That would be awful. I knew where Jean hid the spares so replaced one of the two in the first string of lights and, viola! They all lit up, just like I knew they would. The lights are on a lace leaf maple tree so it looks like a huge umbrella when the lights work. During the process of curing the problem I went under the umbrella portion, where I can stand erect, so I could get to the fuses. After replacing the blown one, I tripped over a large rock, stumbled about 2 steps, then slammed into the house with my right shoulder. My main thought was that if the house hadn’t been there I would have fallen flat on my face and problem broke something. Thankfully, the house was there and broke my fall so that the only thing injured was my shoulder and neck. I deemed it to be a temporary injury that had potentially fatal results at the onset of the events leading up to the crash. Later, Diane said she heard the crash but thought it was a car door, or something, so stayed wrapped up in her chair not feeling an urgent need to investigate. I think that was pay back for me not investigating the mixer crash event. That’s fair. When done, I returned to the house innards, to warmth, and sat in a rocking chair to rest, recover, and visit a bit before we headed home. About that time, the lights went out again so I think I’m just going to stuff a piece of gum wrapper in the fuse slot and call it good.

Now it’s Monday morning and I revel, again, in the reality that I do not have to get up to do anything, or go anywhere, unless Diane wants me to. If you must travel to work today, I bless you all with a safe trip there and home again. I can do that. Bless people. We all can, actually. It doesn’t always work, but it’s a nice gesture and, when it does work we can say, “I did that!”

Now it’s time for my morning nap.

Politicians Are Not Ordinary

Hey there! I got an answer from Senator Merkley about the question I asked regarding a statement he allegedly made that concerned me. I say “allegedly” because it was in an email that I’m pretty sure he didn’t write, but I bet he thought it was OK. In it, he referred to how his efforts were to help “ordinary” Americans. My question to him was, “how do you refer to other Americans that you don’t view as ordinary?”, or words to that effect.

Here’s the response … not an answer …

Oregon's Senator Jeff Merkley
Dear Jerold,

Thank you for your email received on November 23, 2013, sharing your thoughts about my recent e-newsletter, the Oregon Report.

I have made note of your perspective and appreciate your feedback.  Please know I benefit greatly by hearing a wide spectrum of opinions expressed by Oregonians.  I listen carefully to and weigh these views as I study each issue and decide how to best advance policies that help Oregonians and their families.

Thank you, again, for sharing your thoughts with me.

All my best,

Jeffrey A. Merkley
United States Senator

Facebook Facebook 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.
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Just another canned email that didn’t address my question even a little bit.

Or, maybe it is an answer because he considers me just an ordinary American who will be perfectly happy that he responded at all. The fact that he, and his minions, didn’t address my question directly tells me a lot with regard to their effort to communicate effectively.

Or, maybe they were just too busy to be bothered with trivial ‘things’.

Yes. That must be it.

They are all just too busy wrapping things up so the senator can go on his Christmas … oops, sorry … holiday vacation.

I’m proud to be an Ordinary American.

Considering that, yesterday I told Diane that I think I’ll run for president the next time we have an election. She said, “where are you going to get the millions of dollars you’ll need to fund a campaign?” A simple statement that speaks volumes about what’s wrong with the majority of non-ordinary Americans who run our country. You can only get elected if you have money, or you know someone who does and they’re willing to spend it on you.

That’s sad.

I rate that right up there with movie ratings on the news. The only factor pertinent to this report is how many millions of dollars a movie made when it was released, not how good or enjoyable it is. They are just relating the money to popularity.

Same for politics.

OK. Now I’m done. Maybe the Secret Service will show up this time.

Speaking about that, during my last career, I worked with a retired Secret Service agent who was one of Nixon’s personal guards.

Go figure.

Jack’s Birthday

This is mainly for everyone who forgot that today is Jack’s day. I called his cell phone and sang happy birthday to him like I do for all my brothers, every year. This time it went to voice mail which is OK because he will be able to play it over and over whenever he wants. Over and over. I’m sure he’ll do that.

Since it went to voice mail, I knew where he was … working at ACE. He doesn’t answer his phone when he’s on the floor. It’s a punishable offense I suspect. Anyway, I had to go there to get ‘stuff’ for one of my on-going projects, so had an opportunity to sing to him in person. Made him smile, even though it was just the two of us in aisle 27, near the plumbing stuff. So, he’s another year old and, for another five months will be 6 years older than me, as he’s always been.

I bought him a set of Stanley screw drivers that were on sale for $1.99. Of all the things in the store, that’s all he wanted.

Here’s a picture of his birthday party from five years ago. I think he’s the one in the middle.


What a guy.

Happy Birthday, Big Brother.

My Root Canal

I haven’t had a root canal in quite a while, so a few months ago I decided to make an appointment to get one done. That took an initial appointment so my dentist, Dr. Grimm (his real name) and I could agree on which tooth he should work on. He applied something super cold to various teeth, to see if any of them made me jump out of the chair, and he hit it on the third one. We agreed that was the tooth.

So, the appointment was made for today, at 1300, and that’s where I spent my afternoon visiting with Tracy and the good doctor. All of the dentists I’ve visited in the past palmed off root canals to another practice that specializes in them which incurs another office visit. My dentist, however, is a many of many trades and works in an office that provides all required services from start to stop. I like the change because it’s going to get done faster and I’ll only have one guy to blame if things go south on this tooth which was put out of its misery right at 1310, or so. That’s when I got the needle. A really long one.

After Dr. Grimm was almost finished, Tracy was kind enough to snap this photo of me on my iPad.


I was pleasantly pleased to note that nothing was hanging out of my nose. That’s one of my main concerns when I visit the dentist because I know, for sure, that’s where they always look first. I guess that’s a little weird, but I’m OK with weird, as most of you know.

The red and white things are probes that are stuck into the roots so they would show up nicely on the x-ray Tracy took. Three roots were cleaned out so I don’t know where the blue probe went, unless it was deemed unnecessary for the x-ray. After ensuring himself things were progressing as planned, the Good Doctor proceeded to fill them with nifty little sticks of gutta-percha which is a latex material used to waterproof underwater cables during the last half of the nineteenth century. When it was first used in dentistry is not documented on the link, but I suspect it was not long after companies began making latex gloves for surgical procedures.

A large industry, whose name escapes me at the moment, was created around the many uses for gutta-percha, including a niche for dentists, and latex gloves used in many surgical procedures, including those for dentists who do not like slobber on their tender skin while working on teeth.

Latex gloves became very popular and, as all popular things do, also became a problem when it came time to dispose of them. Considering that anyone in the medical industry, and those who refinish furniture, use these gloves in mass quantities, you can appreciate what a burden this created for the dumps littering the world. Burning them wasn’t a solution, either, because doing so created a medical problem for pretty much anything that breathes. So, someone began collecting all the discarded latex gloves, melted them down, and began making condoms out of them as a way of helping curb the soaring world population and to ensure young girls still in school did not become impregnated before her parents told her it was OK to do so.

One day an enterprising dentist accidentally melted a brand new latex condom and, through a process only he knows, discovered that it worked well for filling reamed out roots in one’s teeth. Through this humble beginning, dentists quickly resorted to using virgin gutta-percha because none of them wanted to waste their expensive condoms by melting them down. Then, too, there were suspected cases that some dentists were using used condoms for this purpose. Such dentists were relieved of their rights to practice dentistry and forced to become lawyers who could only serve as pro-bono public defenders.

Now the process has been refined to the point where little, tiny gutta-percha slivers are used to obturate the empty space in the roots of a tooth after it has undergone endodontic therapy. Discovering that caused me a to question the use of that term, therapy. I mean, c’mon, they’re drilling large holes in teeth. How can that be therapy? Then, after a bit of serious thinking, I could only agree because they are, after all, ‘making it better.’ And that’s therapy, right?

Dr. Grimm filled three roots with gutta-percha, then broke out another entire set of little tiny rasps and began scraping the nerve from a 4th root he had found. Thankfully he found it before it was all closed up. Once done, he filled the 4th root with gutta-percha slivers, then applied a nifty little tool that melted them into the holes, sealing them from further incursion by bodily fluids. Then he topped it off with something else. I don’t know what it is, but it dried very quickly, it was ground off a bit, and I was sent on my way to schedule my next visit for the crown. That’s going to be on January 15th.

If you’ve read this far, not knowing just a little bit about how my little head works, most of what you’ve just read is not true. Not all, just most. I leave it to your discretion as to what parts you wish to believe.

Again, if you read this far, thanks. I appreciate it.

Panzee, The Hot Tub Project, & Other Things

I’m learning something new so I will have something to fall back on when I finally retire. Again. It’s fixing hot tubs. I figured since Don got me through an engine tune up with the old truck, I gained enough mechanical experience to fix pretty much anything. So, I removed one of the pumps from our hot tub to see if I could figure out what was making it sound so bad. It used to be just fine but late last summer it started making kind of grinding-squeeling noise, and it would not kick over on low-speed during the start-up process. It just hummed, and quit, hummed and quit, hummed and quit, etcetera.

Since the weather was hot back then, I just disconnected the power and set it aside. Now that it’s terribly cold out, Diane reminded me how much she likes the hot tub and how nice it would be if it worked like it’s supposed to. I could only agree, so pulled the pump I thought was making the noise, and tore it apart after a bit of internet research. I still find it amazing how much information is available out there about anything you want to know. Very specific information, too. I just love the internet.

I took a bunch of pictures in my shop but none when I had the pump motor in pieces so you’ll just have to get your photo fix with this one.  It’s just a bunch of license plates I removed from various vehicles we have owned over the years. What’s missing are the ones from Okinawa, and one from Rome, Italy and Florida. When we moved from Okinawa in 1970 we went to Rome and shipped a 1965 Thunderbird Landau. When we licensed it we had to turn in the Okinawa plates for AFI ones. That’s for “Allied Forces Italy”. Since we didn’t ship the car home, we didn’t get the Italian plates. Then we moved to Florida, then to Guam where we had to turn in the Florida pates. While in Italy, it became fashionable to firebomb cars with AFI plates because the bombers thought they stood for American Forces Italy. Consequently, many cars were destroyed that belonged to many other countries. This was during the Nixon era, 1970-1973.

Anyway, here’s that photo with the missing plates …


I’ll also throw in one of the pump, even though you can’t see much of the pump except the end that has the little spinny thing on it that flings water through the pipes. That other gray piece is the spinny thing cover.


Once I got it all apart, I couldn’t find anything wrong with the bearings, and there was nothing interfering with the spinny thing, which is really the impeller. See, I really knew what it was.

Now, here’s one for all you folks who have really neat shops. My work bench is covered with “stuff”. Lots of it. And I can find things when I need them. Diane can’t. So, she doesn’t even bother to look most of the time.


The floor is pretty well covered, too.


Honestly, every horizontal surface has ‘something’ on it so when I want to do anything, I have to move things. Naturally, when I move stuff, it’s to the next place I want to work so I have to move it all over again. I keep telling myself that I’m going to devote a day … OK, two days to a clean up project and remove anything I haven’t used in six years. I’ve actually done that once. Put everything I didn’t need in boxes, then set them aside, admiring my handy work. It was good to have a clear work bench, something I’ve only enjoyed when moving to a different house. Then, years down the road, I need something and guess what? Yup. It was in that box I filled with things I didn’t need. I’m really glad I didn’t give it away.

I have another motivation for cleaning up the shop. The work bench is too high and needs to be lowered. When I was younger, in my 50’s, I was taller and it wasn’t a problem. Now that I’ve begun to shrink I find it more difficult to with my arms sticking straight out in front of me. So, I’m going to lower it to counter top height.

Maybe lower.

To a level I can work at while sitting in a comfortable chair.

Then I’m going to start a new hobby.

It’s called, “Put Stuff Back From Whence It Came”.

I think I’ll get bored with that one pretty quick, like I usually do, so the best option would be to just give all my tools to Jeff and Daniel, then borrow what I need when I need it.

Now, about Panzee. We visited her PCP this afternoon and she was given the sad news that everything looked pretty good but to keep it that way she will need to wear the Cone of Shame for the rest of her life. Since she really doesn’t know a lot of English words, she took the news well. That, and because the doc gave her a treat.

Actually, she’ll only have to wear it for the remainder of the year. By then I suspect she’ll have a bald ring around her neck, and all the moulding around our doors is going to be all nicked and dinged from her running in to them. She used to be careful but she’s discovered the cone will give if you hit things hard enough so she just powers through whatever she hits.

My concern about all that neck jamming is she’s going to need months of chiropractic therapy to fix it. We’ll have to get a referral.

It’s Freezing Out There

It’s very cold here. No snow. Just cold. Nice clear skies to ensure the nights are colder yet. As I sit here, it’s 14 degrees out back. This morning is was 9 degrees so I made a wise decision to work in the basement. With my table saw, and I’m proud, and happy, to report that I still have all my fingers. I must admit that I am very careful when playing with my saws regardless of what many of you may have come to believe over the years. It’s when I plug them in that things get dicey.

I blame it all this cold on Global Warming. With all those icebergs melting the cold had to go somewhere. After savaging the midwest and eastern portion of the country, it has finally come to visit us. We did have snow the first day, and some of that is still in residence around the house, but the clear skies only serve to provide magnificent sunrises and sunsets. No snow in site. All that stuff is south and east of us in places like Foresthill and Nampa. I know that’s true because neither Kathie nor Steffani fabricate things. At least I don’t think they do, anyway. If they do, they do so with compelling evidence to support their (possibly) false claims. I choose to think they are both honorable and do not fib about such things as I would tend to do.

During the past three days Diane and I have watched at least 5 Christmas movies in our copious free time. I think at least three of them record every day, so we will be in the Christmas spirit for quite some time. I’m gonna have to make more fudge.

Jeff, Gilligan, and Baylee paid us a visit this afternoon and we had a terrific visit. It’s always fun to see them. Heather was home with Tiana and Jerrie Anne who are a little sniffly. We wish them a quick recovery.

It’s currently 2200 and the temperature is 9, again. It’s supposed to drop to 7 before morning. I must remember to bring the hummingbird feeders into the house before going to bed so they’ll be able to eat tomorrow. We still have a bunch of them flittering around the place which amazes me considering how cold it is. This time of year their colors are far more brilliant, too, than in the summer. I wish I was quick enough to get pictures of them, but they always evade me. Though I can’t capture their images with the camera, I have them stuffed away in my little brain for future reference.

I do realize it sounds like I’m whining about the cold weather, but I’m really not. We are very fortunate to have mild weather, all things considered. Many of you have colder days and nights with all the snow that normally comes with it.

I hope you are all safe and warm.

Now I must go to bed and do my best to rid my memory of the worst Honda commercial I’ve ever seen. Perhaps you’ve seen it. The one with Michael Bolton standing on top of a Honda, bellowing? That one.


KC! I was only a day off. Here’s what the tree looks like when it’s getting dressed …


Not the best angle, but I’m still in my jammies and slip on slippers that I didn’t want to slip in. The road was covered when I got up at 0700, but the grass is taking longer. It’s 25 degrees and the flakes are the tiny ones that always seem to come down forever, not amounting to much until you look away for a little while. Kinda like watching a pot boil, you know? Nothing happens until you find something else to do.

One project I have is to yank a pump and motor out of the hot tub and find a place to get one or both fixed. I think the motor is OK and the pump has one of Diane’s hot tub toys stuck in it causing it to make horrible screeching noises. It’s not conducive to a pleasant visit to the tub. Getting it fixed is Diane’s only request for Christmas. So, it will happen. Maybe not today, but soon. Yesterday, when I told her the pump was on my project lest for today she said “but it’s going to be 20 degrees tomorrow. You should have done it today when it was 31.” After analyzing that for a bit, I saw the logic in doing it when the air was warmer, but to my little brain, freezing is freezing any way you look at it and I’m going to be cold no matter what. So, today it is.

As soon as I have another cup of coffee.

On another note, I must admit that I unintentionally lied to Panzee yesterday when I got her in the car for her 3-day visit to her primary care physician. After unwrapping the wounded area, the doctor reapplied a looser wrap so the damaged area would dry out because it was weeping a bit. That meant the cone of shame had to stay, and I told her it was coming off. Now it’s on until Monday afternoon. She didn’t seem to harbor any animosity toward me because of my lie, so I think she’s actually getting used to it and thinks it’s just the way things are going to be from now on … no more scratching her own neck and ears, or licking her tired old feet, or her butt after and eventful trip to the yard. Nope, those days are gone and someone else is going to have to take care of those things. Yup. Someone else.

By the way, KC, how’s that new San Franciscan elbow doing?

Appliances, Helplines, and Basketball

Hi – I forgot to share with you that yesterday I saved Diane a ton of money by dismantling the dryer and putting it back together again with no parts left over. It was a necessary evolution because it was making a pretty horrible noise. So, I got some screwdrivers, a putty knife, and  a hammer and went to work. Turns out you don’t need a putty knife or a hammer to dismantle a Maytag. A phillips screwdriver works just fine.

Three times during this process Diane asked, “would you like me to call Stan’s?” Stan, as everyone in town knows, deals with appliances of all kinds, fixing or selling them. I kept telling her, “No”, but I think she was concerned that I’d get it apart and not get it back together again.  After the 3rd “no”, she commented, “I know how much you like to take things apart, so I’ll quit and let you have your fun.” Which I did.

Once I got to a point where I could lift the top and rock it back to reveal the drum, the problem was obvious. You know those fins that stick out inside the dryer drum, that help flip clothes over, and cause socks and underwear to get all wadded up inside the elastic part of a fitted sheet so they just get warm, not dry? Well, on this model, those fins are held in place with long screws with a 5/16 hex head. One of those screws was sticking out about 1.5 inches allowing it to screech against the left side of the dryer wall. Since the screw also had a phillips slot in it, I cranked it back into place, then went around the drum tightening the other 7 screws.

Then I put it all back together and it ran just like new. Really. Diane was amazed and gave me a high five for being successful. She never really doubted me, though. I have a very long history of being able to dismantle pretty much anything and get it back together. Lately, however, when I remove parts I get caught up in the mystery of the troubleshooting effort and tend to not put screws and such in a common spot so I can find them later. So, in truth, her fear wasn’t totally unfounded. She even helped me by making sure all parts were in my hat.

The washer and dryer, by the way, are over 21 years old and still work great.

This morning I was working in the basement when Diane appeared holding the phone behind her telling me someone wanted to talk with me about my computer. I get calls like this once in a while from folks who seek help with ‘their’ computers, so I was intrigued to talk with this person about ‘my’ computer. The conversation went something like this …

I said, “Hello.”

With a distinct accent, which I couldn’t readily identify, he said,”Hello. I want your computer!”

“You want my computer?” I asked.

“Yes, I want your computer.”

“OK. Do you want me to bring it to you?”

“Yes. You bring it to me here.”

I said, “Where is ‘here’?”

“New York. You bring it to me in New York!”

“Are you going to send me an airplane ticket?”

“Yes. I will send you an airplane ticket to bring your computer to me in New York!”

“And you will pay for this?”

“Yes, I will pay for an airplane ticket for you to bring to me your computer in New York! I must first talk with my accounting department and obtain from you your credit number for security, you understand.”

“Yes, I understand. You want me to give you my credit card number so you can steal from me.”

“No! I do not want to steal from you. I want you to bring to me your computer in New York so I can fix it for you. Let me talk with my accounting …”

Before he finished I said, “Yes, you want to steal from me. I think, instead, you should give me your credit card number and bring to me your computer so I can fix it.”

I waited for a bit, listening for a response, but there was none. So, I said, “Hello” a few times and received no answer.

It was evident he had hung up on me which I thought was very rude. He did, after all, call me and I think we were actually moving toward common ground where we may have found a way to solve many computer problems throughout the world. Additionally, he may have been on to something in the way of providing transportation to and from distant repair facilities for that purpose.

I’m waiting for him to call back and apologize, but I don’t think he will. He didn’t even tell me his name. Perhaps I was the first person he’s ever called in his pursuit of other people’s money.

If he calls you, tell him Jerrie said “Hi,” and ask if he’s still wearing the orange underwear. We didn’t actually talk about underwear, but it’s always fun to ask unsolicited callers what color their underwear are. It takes the conversation a little bit left of their intended goal.

This evening we went to watch Lydia’s first high school basketball game. It was against the dreaded Indians of Scappoose, where both Diane I graduated. They are calling themselves the “Tribe” now because of all the hoopla about disrespect of Native Americans who might  have migrated from India when the land bridge existed between North American and Asia a long time ago.

A really long time ago.

Be that as it may, a statement that really doesn’t make much sense to me, it is no longer proper to use any reference to Native Americans, or Indians with regard to sports teams. The team who is having the toughest time is the Washington Redskins. Funny that I never considered it as a racial slur until it was painted in that light by someone who took offense. Actually, I still don’t see it as a racial slur, but what do I know?

Anyway, the St. Helens Lions JV team got tromped by the Scappoose Indians 30-15. They didn’t lose for lack of trying. It was a very physical game on both sides but the whistles favored the Indians, like normal. The Lady Lions took lots of shots, but they just wouldn’t fall. Oh, so close, but no potato chip.

Now were home, it’s about 12 degrees outside, and we’re waiting for a call from Lydia so we can get her home from school once the bus returns. Daniel and Jennifer are in a meeting that may make them unavailable for doing that. We don’t mind.

Fire & Snow

OK, Randy. I get it. So, in an effort to assuage your unfounded fear of me using a chain saw on my mountain of tree limbs, I decided to leave it in the basement. Instead I used my reciprocating saw, which works better for my task, anyway. So, instead of a chain going round and round I had a blade that just went back and forth. It makes a much neater incision.

I sustained no injuries, today, even though I spent about 2 or 4 hours in the middle of the pile of branches whittling them down to a size that might more easily ignite when stacked on a bag of burning paper. Although I tried, I was not able to create a sustainable flame because the wood is green, I didn’t have enough paper, and my heart just wasn’t in it. The latter was caused by the frigid nature of the air surrounding me, blowing through my hair, ruffling my short scrawny eye brows, tickling my nose hairs, snuffing out my matches, etc. So, I quit.

There is, however, always tomorrow, and as long as we have electricity, and a can of gas, danger lurks. I’ll keep you posted.

That’s about all I got done today. That, and pay some bills.

Then it snowed.


Well, maybe not quite that much … but it snowed.

A little.

The Cone of Shame

Our big dog, Panzee, has been gnawing on her knuckles for a while now so we made her an appointment with the vet this morning. It’s good that we took her because she has an infection in that area, the reason for her gnawing. The Doc gave her a complete blood work up, determined her to be in excellent health with only slightly elevated liver functions. Just the infection.

So, she is getting antibiotics, old age arthritis pills, a dose of flea killer just for fun, and because she can’t leave he knuckles alone, this festive e-collar …


She hates it, of course, but hasn’t made a really big deal about it. Going up stairs is a challenge, as is going through narrow spaces. So, she’s decided to just tune me out like this …



I don’t blame her. She has to wear it for three days.

The garage door guy just arrived and is working to replace the torsion spring which sprang in half yesterday.

While waiting for the door guy, I manually moved all the tree limbs closer to the burn pile. There was a brief moment, early in this effort, when I thought maybe it would be better to use the mower and trailer to haul it. Instead, I decided it would be better exercise to move it by dragging it, a few limbs at a time, the 100 or so feet to the burn pile. Tomorrow, if it’s dry, I plan to string some extension cords together so I can use my little electric chain saw to whittle the pieces down to burn pile size.


I believe it’s going to be a pretty nice pile and will make a great fire one of these days real soon.