“… somewhere in the distance, a dog barked …”

Over the past few days I’ve had all kinds of things fly through my head that seemed like fun things to write about, but when I sit down, it just isn’t there. I’ve tried making notes as these ‘things’ occur, but a different problem manifests when I attempt to expand on the notes – it’s just not spontaneous, you know? I enjoy writing because I never know what’s going to come out. For that reason, I’ll never be an author. I’ll just be known as “that guy who writes funny stuff, sometimes.”

That’s OK. Diane would like it if I could actually convert some of these words into an income based on royalties, but she’s not stressing over it. I have to admit, that would be nice. But, I’m not disciplined enough to develop stories based on a plan, or an outline. That’s like work.

I gathered that bit of information from a book Diane gave me, “How I Write – Secrets of a Bestselling Author” by Janet Evanovich with Ina Yalof. Though it’s not numbered, page XI revealed to me that I’m just not going to make the grade as an author because one of her bullet points is “Make writing a responsibility. Think of it like a job and show up on time.”

Since I’ve already retired, twice, I don’t need another job, so I write just for the fun of it. If people enjoy reading it, great. If not, that’s OK, too. It doesn’t affect how I will scribble in the future because I write mainly for me, not the reader, which is another one of the bullets on that page – “… Write for the reader.” Another failure on my part, I fear.

Now, to temper that a bit, Janet has an entire cast of characters which I dearly love to read about. The dialogue is fun and her stories are, too. Since I don’t have characters,  I guess I’m a narrator, with a more schizophrenic method of sharing data in that one thought leads to another until, viola!, the page is full, it’s 2200, and time for bed.

Then I quit.

Actually it’s 2212 right now so I’m late. Diane has already gone to bed.

I do have some stories, though, with characters who have speaking parts that I may paste on one of these posts one day. Stupid stuff. I’ll do that one day when my mind is blank.

Or, maybe I’ll just make up a fairy tale.

That would be fun.

Cheers.

Wiper Motor, Computers, and Lydia

This morning, while waiting for the Comcast tech to arrive, I dismantled and cleaned the old original windshield wiper motor from the old truck. Then I rigged up some wires and used my little portable battery booster to attach wires to see if it would work.

First, however, I searched the internet for a wiring diagram of the motor to see where the hot wire should go. I found one on a Chevy forum site where someone posted the one he had for his old Corvair. He did it in response to another reader who was looking for one for his Chevelle. I think it’s safe to say that Chevy has been using this wiper motor for a while, for a lot of different models.

So, having the diagram, I was able to verify that the motor actually worked on slow and fast speed. I was a pretty happy camper. Now all I need are the other parts I bought from LMCTruck.com so I can install it and ensure it’s water tight. I believe the washer is going to work. By fixing it myself I saved $100 and learned how to do something new. It won’t be useful for anything else, but I figured it out. Amazing, huh? Old dogs can learn new tricks after all.

When the Comcast guy arrived I showed him what’s going on and he quickly surmised that we needed to change the name of the ancillary receiver that was named “Girl Room”. After doing that he marched off thinking the problem was solved. Indeed, after changing the name, the erroneous, un-viewable recordings were gone.

But, they came back. Well, one of them did. I have a theory about why which will take some testing to prove it. Then it won’t be a theory any more. I may never mention this again so you may never know.

After that I went back to the church office to see what I could do about cleaning up the hard drive a bit. It’s super slow, and just has issues. I downloaded Malwarebytes and ran it to remove 53 adware “things”, and it helped a bit. Then I went into the Control Panel and deleted a bunch of programs that haven’t been used since 2003. Yes, the computer is that old. Perhaps it’s time to make a change. But, it works and the church is broke so we deal with it. It does the job.

I spent a few hours fiddling with it, got it running a little better, then turned it off and left. When I got home Diane had already eaten her half of the leftover lasagna from yesterday’s pot luck so I nuked what was left for my dinner.

Now I have a confession to make. I’ve been sitting on the couch next to my lovely wife watching The Bachelor. I’ve been real good the entire time and haven’t been in trouble one time. I did, however, have to refrain from asking questions about some the questions the girls were asking, or the comments they made. The one that caused me the most distress was the “Science Educator” whose childhood dream was to be a backup dancer for Lindsay Lohan … no, it was Britney Spears. “OK,” I think, “she dreamed of being a backup dancer.” Not a dancer, but a backup dancer. Kinda weird.

Now for Lydia. First, I need to demonstrate why it’s necessary to use the red-eye pre flash on her.

With a normal flash …

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With the pre flash …

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And here’s the dress …

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That’s about it.

Jerrie’s Print Shop & Lydia

I was sitting here trying to remember what happened on Saturday and it just wasn’t coming in. So, I asked Diane, my never-ending source of important information or, NESOII, for those of you more comfortable with acronyms. I kinda like that one. It looks like it could be a line item from the ingredients on a box of diaper wipes, or the initials of a testing agency endorsing the free toothbrush included in box of Kotex.

On Saturday we spent almost the entire day copying and collating booklets for the annual meeting for our church. Then, after spending absolutely every minute of the day on the booklets, Diane squeezed another 3 hours out of me to create, print, and cut hundreds of quilt raffle tickets for the upcoming WELCA quilt show. I was more than happy to do the latter because it was something different for me to try, and it needed to be done. It needed to be done because the local print shop, Paulson’s, didn’t meet their self-imposed deadline for completing the job last Thursday.

When we stopped to get the finished tickets, I went into the shop. Upon entering, the printer guy said, “they aren’t done,” and the conversation quickly spiraled downward from there …

“When will they be done?”

“I don’t know. We’re just swamped here.”

“So, you don’t prioritize your print jobs, like first in first out?”

“It doesn’t really work like that.”

“So, you close at 5:30, but I have a task that will keep me out past your closing time.”

“I might not get it done by then, anyway.”

“And you’re closed tomorrow. I need the tickets, so what now?”

At this point, another gentleman in the shop said, “I own Sherlock’s store. If you aren’t back by closing time, I’ll take them to the store and you can pick them up on your way home.” Happily, that store really is on our way home. Nifty. I found it interesting that the store owner was working in the back room of the print shop until Diane suggested that he probably owned the print shop, too.

Then we went to the church to wear out the office copier before surrendering and returning home to finish the job there. On the way I went into Sherlock’s and rescued the newly printed tickets from the counter top, and went merrily on my way.

Once home, Diane looked at the stacks of pink tickets, that were supposed to be red, and let out a disturbing yelp telling me there was something else wrong besides the color. Indeed there was. The information on the tickets indicated the quilt show was going to take place on May 3-4, 2013. That’s when it happened last year. Excellent!

That’s when I got busy and made the tickets myself, on my computer. It was a long, tedious task, but I got them done and didn’t have to inhale all those chemicals like the print shop guy does. I think he’s been breathing them so long that his brain has begun to deteriorate a bit. And, mine look better. Diane said so.

Now my wife temporarily thinks I’m a hero because I made the tickets. Sadly, I didn’t make nearly enough of them, but Diane never said it that way. They were provided to the church ladies to sell, after church, and she said, “I wish I would have had more of them.” That’s code, of course, for “Make some more.”

So, after we got home I got busy printing more of them, then dismantled the 50 sheets of card stock into 400 tickets. It took a long time and it made my back sore because I had to stand at the table to do it. I guess I didn’t have to stand there, but it wouldn’t have been done had I not because I couldn’t do it sitting down.

Now it’s done. I can no longer see properly, because of eye strain. I’m doing all of this merely by touch.

To break up yesterday afternoon, Jeff appeared with Gilligan, Baylee, and two normally active dogs. He also had a third dog, a puppy that’s as big as the normally active ones, but far stronger and not saddled with the innate need to Sit, Stay. Nossir. The puppy is going where it wants to go, and whoever is attached to the leash is going with her. It was quite entertaining except I think Jeff got hurt a bit when the puppy flung him to the ground two or three times.

While Jeff played in the back yard with the dogs, we got to visit with the girls which is always fun. I always quiz them about school, asking dumb questions to which they give some enlightening answers. They see through most of the dumb ones and cock their eye brows at me to ensure I know they know I’m trying to trick them. As a parting gift, Diane gave them a bag of stickers, one of many we’ve received from the DVA (Disable Veterans of America), and I told them they could put them on each other. Diane told them to ignore that, but I know the seed was planted. Hope they don’t get into trouble for it.

Now it’s just after 0900, this fine Monday morning. I was up at 0700 to an incredibly beautiful sunrise. Sadly, my camera was with Jennifer. I left it with her to get pictures of Lydia and her date, Wayne, before they departed to the Winter Ball at school. Sadly, again, Lydia and Wayne wouldn’t let her take pictures of them. Until this moment, I did not know it was an option to refuse first date pictures. It’s mandatory. And, I learned later that Wayne’s mom got lots of pictures.

So, in protest, I’ve made it know that I’m not going to talk with Lydia for two entire days. I haven’t decided on which two days that will be, but it will happen. Just out of the blue I’ll refuse to talk with her because she allowed this moment, that can never be recaptured, to get away without documentation.

I did get some photos of her before Wayne arrived, but they wouldn’t let me stay to take a shot of the ‘couple’ because they didn’t want Wayne to get the wrong idea about sanity issues in the family. So, Diane took me home and I left the camera. Hence, no sunrise picture this morning.

Last night I called Comcast to seek advice about an issue with the new DVR that was installed. It’s trying to record shows to the DVR that was removed. We can see the list, of recorded shows, but it won’t show them to us because it reports the DVR may be unplugged. Well, ya! It was unplugged, taken to the truck, and removed from the area. So, the mystery is, why does the new one keep trying to record shows on it?

Instead of calling for assistance, I logged in to Comcast and opened a chat session, explaining in vivid detail exactly what was going on. The ‘tech’ on the other end, who called himself Cyril, couldn’t find my symptoms in his book and deemed it a very serious problem and submitted a ticket to roll a truck and have a tech come to the house to look at it. Someone is supposed to arrive between 1000-1400.

Since it’s now 0928 I suspect Diane would think it a good idea if I retreated to the East Wing to slip into some underwear and a clean pair of pants. Currently, in case you’re wondering, I’m in PJs. When wearing PJs underwear aren’t necessary.

I’ll let you know how the visit goes. I’ll even add some photos of Lydia when I get my camera back.

Justin Bieber, Golf, & Lunch

Just a quick nod to JB, then I’ll get on to something worthy of discussion …

In my humble opinion this kid is an over rated human who needs to be deported back to Canada.

Let them deal with him.

Now for important “stuff” … Golf, and pretty much anything else than JB!

That’s what I did today with Doug, Junior, and Lyle. This Lyle is our local American Legion Commander and he’s commonly called “chief” because of his American Indian heritage. “Why,” you may ask, “does he allow people to call him that? I mean, think of the demeaning nature of being called ‘Chief’! How awful is that?” Well, bottom line is he’s perfectly OK with it. He’s responded to that name most of his life and he even writes that on his golf balls. Anyone who finds one knows the owner and returns it. Except for me. I keep them.

We all golfed pretty good, too. I even parred a hole, and had a couple of respectable bogeys. Nifty. Doug chipped in for a birdie on one hole and wound up beating me by 10 strokes. That’s not a difficult feat for him. I’ve discovered that I actually get better scores since I started counting all my strokes, as I go, instead of trying to remember after I’m done with a hole. what a difference.

Here’s a ‘selfie’ I took of the crew, left to right: Lyle, Junior, Doug, and me …

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Here’s Junior teeing off on the third hole …

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After finishing our game, we went to Fultano’s, in Scappoose, where Doug & Junior’s older brother, Jerry, and my older brother, Jack, joined us for a nutritious serving of salad for everyone but me. I also had pizza. Five pieces. And 1.5 large cokes. It was very filling.

Then I went home for a very brief time, then Diane and I returned to our church, Bethany Lutheran, where our plan was to make copies of the Annual Report we will need for Sunday. Sadly, I left the file I needed to copy at home. So we returned to get it. Then, back to church to deal with a copier always thinks it needs new parts, which it doesn’t, and it stops working when it gets too hot, which it did after only 17 of the 50 copies I was looking for. So, we packed up and went back home. Again.

I took the original file, scanned it to my computer to make a PDF file, then started printing the 33 copies we still needed. So far, as of this moment, I’ve done 15 of them.    I would have had more, but while sitting here, watching TV, my printer over ran and spit three whole copies on the floor. They had to be collated, which took time because the paper covered about a 4 foot square area and didn’t really land in order.

On a lighter note, here’s Lydia in her Winter Ball uniform …

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I find it interesting that she’s going to the Scappoose High School Winter Ball with a junior. I find that deplorable because when Diane was a freshman I was a senior. Lydia should have shot a little higher. But, her date, Wayne, is reportedly a good guy and he’s 6’3″ tall, able to provide ample protection should the need arise. He’s Cedric’s friend from church youth group. She will have a great time.

Still, she’s a St. Helens High School student who is going to the Scappoose High School winter ball. Diane and I find it sad that the old St. Helens vs. Scappoose rivalry isn’t like it used to be when we went to Scappoose High.

Now, I must quit, and make more copies.

Our Barking Dogs

I forgot to mention that this morning, when the dogs barked to ensure we knew they were still in the house, I got up, as I’m programmed to do, let them out, then fixed their customary bowls of pouch food. All was good with the world.

I let them back in, Ozzie stomped down the hall as quickly as he could so he could get busy eating his favorite meal of the day, and I put Panzee’s down in its customary spot, moving the jingly things on her collar to the back of her neck so they wouldn’t clang against her bowl.

Then I looked at the clock.

It was 0230.

We had a brief discussion during which I believe they understand I’ll be looking at the clock first, tomorrow morning. Not last.

My Truck and Diane’s DVR

The new turn signal switch for my truck arrived a couple of days ago and I was really looking forward to getting it installed. Mainly that’s because it meant I wouldn’t have to use the old hand signals for turning, something no one in this area remembers which makes it hazardous to drive without the blinky kind.

Yesterday I was all poised to get it done. I got up at a reasonable time, got some tools I felt would be essential for the task, bundled up, and headed across the street to get it done. Little did I know what an exciting experience I was in for.

First, I had to get the steering wheel off. That proved to be really easy because it’s only held in place by a large nut, friction, and a 1/4 inch screw. It the screw is removed, and the nut isn’t snugged down, the steering wheel just spins on the column, making it relatively useless. I discovered this once while driving down the road. Needless to say, it was exciting.

Once the steering wheel was off I could see the old switch, but the fixture, to which the steering wheel was attached, is fluted, and pressed into place. So, I still need a steering wheel puller for that. I actually had one, too, but the bolts were all too large, and mine only had two bolt slots and the one I needed to remove had three.

Off to ACE I go to get one. They had one for $34 but I thought that was a little steep, so I went to NAPA. They had exactly what I needed for $13, or so. With the military discount it moved into the $11 range. Much better. Still, the bolts weren’t small enough to fit the fixture.

This proved to me the value of keeping every nut and bolt I’ve ever touched because I was able to find what I needed in an Avon box lid, tucked away in one of the cubby holes in my shop which, you may remember, is in total turmoil since I deconstructed half of the work bench. Still, I found what I needed, and the bolts worked just great.

After the mount was removed, I removed the three screws that held the old turn signal switch in place, and set about removing it. But, it didn’t seem to want to budge much. That’s because the wiring harness for the switch goes through a tiny little hold  of the cowling that covers the gear shift lever,  then under a nifty little cover on the bottom of the steering column, through another tiny little hold between the steering wheel column bracket, then up behind the dash gauges where it connects with the wiring harness. Seemed simple enough, so I started taking screws out of what I considered to be the parts that needed to be moved in order to allow me to pull the old one out and put the new one in.

Since I already had the screws out of the dash-board array, I decided to remove it so I could access the windshield wiper motor that doesn’t work. That took more work than I really wanted to expend, but it had to be done so I can, at some point in time, drive the truck in the dark, when it’s raining. If I have to.

Back to the turn signal switch, I had to pretty much disassemble the upper part of the steering wheel area to remove the switch and extract the wire.

Then I took out the wiper motor and took it to a newly charged battery to see if it worked.

It didn’t, so I tore it apart and discovered that the back bearing was frozen. It’s a sleeve bearing, and I may be able to free it up. We’ll see about that.

Behind the instrument cluster is an amazing array of wires that seem to be randomly connected to each other and various parts that reside in that area. For this reason, I had disconnected the battery to ensure I didn’t suffer from the surprisingly painful buzz caused by a 12V circuit.

Now, here I am, contemplating my next step. I knew I wouldn’t be able to work on it today because Comcast techs were paying me a visit this afternoon to resolve a DVR issue we’re having. Diane had an appointment with her eye doctor in Portland which lasted all afternoon, and beyond. It’s currently 1819 and she’s still not home. She stopped to visit her Mom before coming home.

So, dismantling the truck parts, then leaving them alone for an entire day, creates a very challenging situation for me because I just put all the parts I removed into a box, went a day without looking at it, and won’t be able to do anything on it tomorrow because I have to play golf, so Saturday I’ll have to remember where everything goes. That is, of course, if I can resurrect the wiper motor, which seems unlikely. If I have to buy a replacement, it will be more days I’ll have to forget how I took it all apart. Still, I’m confident I can do it.

Here’s how I left it yesterday …

DSC_8377You can see that the new turn signal switch is hanging around the steering column in the approximately position it will ultimately reside. Other than that, it’s turmoil. The instrument cluster is dangling from the wires attached to the tach, which doesn’t work, although the wires are connected properly to the distributor.

Oh, and I had to remove the cowl cover to access the bolt holding the wiper actuator arms to the motor. That, and I dropped one of my prized wrenched in there and couldn’t get it out. It had to be done.

DSC_8387Pulling the motor out, of course, left a large hole into the dash area that would be perfect for allowing water into the cab had I not thought outside the box a bit and stuffed a yellow cap from a large bottle of 7-Up. It fit perfectly.

The Comcast techs showed up right on time and spent almost 3 hours with me, troubleshooting the entire system. We got a new X1 DVR, which was known to be bad, but the other big problem was a bad amplifier in the attic. Since I had a lot of free time, waiting for Diane, I went through the guide, selecting TV shows at random, setting the DVR to record the entire series. I think I got most of the ones Diane likes, but I know I missed a lot of them because I can’t ever remember which channel is HGTV. There’s the “Property Brothers”, “Bathroom Magic”, “Hell in Hawaii”, “Flip That Abode”, and “House People Don’t Really Live In”.

Yes, I made some of those up, but not all.

Now I must stop because, although the dogs haven’t yet barked, I sense Diane will be here shortly and I don’t want to be caught red-handed.

Cheers.

Resolutions, Electricity, and Basketball

Gee! Once again I’ve failed to honor my commitment to write something every day. This bothers me, a bit, because I’m sure there are hundreds of readers out there who are upset with me for this deficiency. I can only offer a little my Sad Sack apology that means essentially nothing, because it wouldn’t be totally sincere. I’m OK with it. Besides, I have an excuse.

Winter time, whether it’s really cold or not, is a particularly bad time for me because of all the static electricity. Unless I sit at the computer constantly, the contents of my brain spontaneous shoot out the ends of my hair, the little I have left, and stick to the walls and ceiling. Consequently, I don’t have many memories to share because I’m not allowed to sit at the computer all day long. And, if I did that, it would be pretty boring, since all I could write about would be, well, sitting here. Like this. With my hair in the air after the last static discharge …Photo on 1-21-14 at 8.08 PMWhen the discharge is complete, my hair falls back in place, kinda, and my glasses turn black again. Photo on 1-21-14 at 7.32 PMI’ve tried scraping the brain residue off the walls, so I could regain all that lost knowledge, but it’s hard to distinguish brain cells from paint and plaster chips. That, and it tastes just terrible. So, I’m learning to live with the loss.

This morning I went to the dentist again because I discovered that I still had some Social Security money remaining and I heard the doc purchased a new SUV and needed my help. So, it was one of those win-win things where he got money, without the need of hassling with an insurance company, and I got another tooth fixed. It was the one I chipped. Now it’s good as new.

Diane and I went to another one of Lydia’s basketball games and it was a good one. They lost, but only by 4 points after coming back in the last 5 minutes from 15 down. It was pretty exciting to watch them get their act together. Now for a qualifier … the St. Helens JV team is probably the only one in the league that doesn’t play varsity players in the first half. As a result, they are normally playing from behind in the second half. Sometimes they don’t recover anything, but tonight they did. Tomorrow they play against Scappoose, in St. Helens, because the Hood River High School doesn’t have a JV team. That kinda confused me for a while until it clicked that the coaches must have talked and viewed it as an opportunity for the Scappoose and St. Helens JV teams to get a workout. Should be fun.

Before leaving for the game this evening, Diane showed up with the mail and gave me the turn signal switch I ordered for the old truck. Got a new lever, too. I plan to install it tomorrow, then I’m driving the truck to the dump so I can empty it. Might even clean the crap out of the cab while I’m at it.

Hope everyone had a good day.