Further East …

Friday we left the Wild Horse Casino in Pendleton about 1000. The only one who gambled was Wynette but nothing was said about whether or not she won anything. She did it after everyone else had retired to the rooms so she may have cleaned up on the craps table. For all we know, she could now be a gajillionaire.

I tried to get Diane to take the 22 cents I had and see what she could do with it, but she refused. Probably because her mind was more focused on food than slot machines at the time.

We travelled all the way to Ontario before stopping at Killion’s Buffet for lunch. SIRI helped me find it and it was a great place to eat. We really enjoyed our stop and visit there.

Then we headed off across country to Harper, Oregon to visit friends of Jack & Wynette who used to live in Yankton. Gaylord worked with Jack at Reichold in Deer Island for many years and Dianne was a United Airlines stewardess for a long time. They live on 182 acres in the middle of a very peaceful valley, about 40 miles from Boise. We had a terrific visit and it was good for J&W, and D&G to have the visit.

Then it was on the road again, heading for Nampa. First, however, a DQ caught our attention, drawing us in for a late afternoon snack. I had my standard chocolate malt. I have no idea what anyone else got. Jack treated so it was especially good. While waiting to order, a young mom with three kids appeared and Jack commented on the oldest boys’ belt buckle. It was really nice. Her was probably about 11 or so. Jack asked him if he won it in a rodeo and the young boy said no, which opened an opportunity for Jack to share some pertinent information about how to respond to questions like that, as well as a couple of others. It went something like this …

Jack asked, “what are the three things a cowboy should always say when asked where you got that belt buckle, about your mode of transportation, or your questionable handling of livestock?”

Boy, “I don’t know.”

“I won it in a rodeo, my pickup is paid for, and I was only helping that calf over the fence.”

A short while later, after receiving their order, the young boy walked by us and Jack quizzed him about the buckle and the truck he doesn’t yet have. He answer perfectly so it was a good training session. One he probably will never forget.

Then we headed toward Caldwell on the back roads of Idaho, hit I-84, and arrived at out hotel around 1930. Got checked in, emptied the Buick, then headed for Jim’s. I texted Steffani as we were leaving the hotel so they could meet us there. When we arrived, Bob, Steffi, Daniel, and Maryssa were lurking around the corner, out of sight of the front window so we could near up on the residents of the house.

We visited until way after bedtime but it was all good, like it always is.

Then we headed back to the hotel and finally got to sleep around midnight. At 0630 this morning my bladder was ready for me to get up, so I did, then crashed for another two hours before stuffing myself into my clothes and going down to breakfast. Jack was there alone so we ate and visited for a while.

Now it’s time to get on with our day. It’s 1003 and time to move about a bit to get the blood moving a bit.

Eastbound & Down

Today we began a new adventure, on our way to Nampa, Idaho to surprise Jim & Donna. We are traveling with Jack & Wynette, in the Buick, so it’s a lively trip, so far. I’m writing this a day ahead of time because I can’t publish this until we revive Donna after the surprise tomorrow afternoon. We’re just going to show up with suitcases, unannounced. Steffani said it was OK, and I believe everything she tells me. She’s trustworthy. I know that’s true because she told me.

Packing started last night and went on into the night, after I went to bed. Everything I needed would fit in the glovebox so it didn’t take me long. Just a few pair of underwear and another pair of socks and I was good to go. Diane made me pack a suitcase anyway. I found a pile of clean T-shirts and a pair of jeans to toss in there to make her happy. I also got my underwear out of the glovebox and put them in the suitcase. Made her happy.

We four are together on this trip because Jack & Wynette had a visit to make in Eastern Oregon, near Vale, to visit an ailing friend so we thought a joint trip to Nampa wasn’t out of the question. So, we’re doing it.

We left our house shortly before 1000 with the intention of arriving to pick J & W up at 1000, the appointed time, agreed on days before. Leading up to this point in time was the following text conversation between Jack & me:

Jack – We are set for a ten o’clock take off. Now, is the ten o’clock when you leave your place, show up at our place, or leave our place?

Me – Diane said we’ll be at your house by 10 so be ready by 10:30 so we can leave by 11.

Jack – Wynette said we will see you at noon.

Then he added, “see you at ten, Jack says.”

Me – OK

Me – Make it 1015

Jack – This morning?

Me – Hopefully.

Jack – No problem. I’ll get Wynette up.

We actually arrived before 1015, so we were right on time and almost left their house by 1015.

First stop was Fred Meyer in Scappoose to fill the tank. Since it was only half empty, Jack opted to pay since it would be cheaper than the next one. That was fine with us. It’s just fun to be traveling together.

Next stop was in Hermiston, somewhere between 2 & 3 for a late lunch. I used SIRI to find places to eat, Jack picked one, and we headed that direction. Before getting there, however, a Shari’s was sited and became the new destination.

We parked, entered the facility, noticing that it wasn’t overly busy, but it was the middle of the afternoon, so probably normal. Brenda took our order and disappeared for over half and hour before Jack went to ask if we should change our order to a dinner choice instead of lunch since it was taking so long. At that point the cooks began fixing our order. Apparently we arrived right at shift change and our order got lost in the shuffle. Still, ya know? Not good customer service. I think the four of us comprised about 20% of the customers, and probably the only ones waiting for food.

The food, once delivered, was very good. Jack and I had chicken fried steak, loaded hash browns (no sour cream for me), two eggs, and two pancakes (for me), fruit for Jack. Wynette had a quiche, and Diane had a bacon cheese omelette.

Full of food, we continued the journey, our destination being the Wild Horse Casino just east of Pendleton. Neither Diane nor I had been there previously, so it was something new for us.

Upon arrival, I went to the desk with Jack to check in, but they couldn’t find a reservation for today, the 5th. They did have one, however, for the 25th. Kim, the clerk, did some investigating and determined that there wouldn’t be a problem getting rooms. To get a discount, however, required a AAA card, or something military. I happened to have both so loaned Jack the AAA card (his was in the Buick), and my VA card for me. It worked out.

We’re now in the room, at 5:21 p.m. I think Jack’s taking a nap, but I’m not sure. I just sent a text asking if he is asleep. It’s too early to go to bed and it’s quite nice outside.

Around 7:30 p.m. we went down to the casino area looking for something to eat, but nothing appealed so we jumped into the Buick and headed back to Pendleton to find sustenance. Using the highway “food” signs revealed a Shari’s, which we voted against, then we wound up in the middle of town at the last Kentucky Fried Chicken joint in Oregon. It was right at 8:00 when we walked in and we learned the place was closed, but they would sell us items from what was already cooked. Luckily, they had just what we wanted so it was bagged up, and we headed back to the hotel.

A topic of discussion while determining what to have for a dinner snack was a associated with Wynette’s missing coat. Jack was sure she left it at Shari’s in Hermiston. It was a source of contention for a bit, then the discussion turned to ‘things that get left in motels and hotels.’ I mentioned that Diane’s lost a few nighties by leaving them on the back of bathroom doors, the part you don’t see when the door is open, after taking her morning shower. Jack said he is in a relationship with someone who loses bras in a similar manner. I was kind of warned to not share that information, but I figured it was OK since I didn’t mention any names. That seems fair and it’s really too cool to not share. I understand because I’ve lost underwear that way.

That remembers the time Jim made a solo trip to Oregon to visit but forgot to bring underwear with him.

Golf & Matches

Yesterday’s post was a bit of a downer and I apologize for that. It’s not my nature to get real personal or to relate anything that’s really true. I guess the subject got me thinking a little more than usual about all the “things” going on inside my scrawny chest cavity. I actually feel just fine. More precisely, I don’t feel any different from that which I have become accustomed to viewing as normal for me. It is what it is, ya know?

I golfed today. Didn’t do bad. Didn’t do good. Just had a good time. Jack couldn’t go because Wynette wouldn’t let him. I’m sure it has something to do with his sore and swollen hand. It wasn’t really Wynette who kept him home … it was just a good decision on his part.

On the way home from the golf course, I slowed down at Don’s house, but his shop was closed and his truck was missing so I just trundled along home. It was noonish so I figure he was at the tavern having lunch with his friends. It is Wednesday, after all.

Once home, I rid myself of golf clothing and donned my redneck lederhosen rig with the intention of setting my burn pile on fire. First, however, Diane made me eat lunch. That meant we had to watch one of our recorded TV shows. We always do that when we eat something, no matter what time of day it is. By the time I got outside, it was either 2 or 3 pm, but I lit the pile anyway. So, depending on when I started, in the course of 3 or 4 hours I burned all the evidence of the cedar trees to a crisp. I sat often, watching it burn down, then piled on more trees, sat, watched, piled, sat, etc., until there was nothing but a huge pile of ashes that is going to smolder for the next 4-5 days, I’m sure. All that’s left is stumps and a pile of large sticks which I kept for camp fires. We actually might go camping. You just never know.

Now I’m quitting because Diane just got back home and I don’t want to get caught on the computer. I am supposed to be at the burn pile, you know.

My angiogram, by the way, is next Wednesday at 0600. Yikes. Being that early they may not even need to sedate me.

Hearts & Softball

This morning at 0930 I had a nice chat with my cardiologist about the results of my echo-stress test. That happened on May 5th. I had an earlier appointment for today’s meeting but the doctor kindly rescheduled due to some sort of conflict, or emergent event. Because of all that I figured today’s appointment was a routine followup. It was that, and then some. However, it would appear that I have a bit of a problem. It’s one that can be fixed, but it was a surprise.

After the doc told me what a terrific job I did with the stress test, and that the echo cardiogram revealed that my heart is in pretty good shape, just a little calcium on the flappers. Nothing to be concerned about there, but he was concerned about the way the tests ended way back there on May 5th.

That brings me to the reasons why I had the tests in the first place.

Years ago I went to the doc to report an odd pain I got at the base of my jaw whenever I  make one of my superhuman physical efforts at things like walking really, really fast, or when I get tingly things down my left arm when lifting heavy things. Really, this has been going on for years. Many of them. Ask Diane.

I’m not complaining, mind you, just reporting facts. Having those events actually helped me adopt a stress-free life which was good for me. I just decided that I wasn’t going to worry about anything no directly within my sphere of influence. I gotta tell you that it sure made life easy. Still does, actually.

Now, after today’s visit, I’m waiting for the doc’s office to call to tell me when I need to check in for my angiogram. Guess I have a blockage of some sorts and their going to find out what it is. Just don’t know when. I was told the chance that I’ll need bypass surgery is about 3% and that the solution would probably be one or more stents.

After that, Diane had a lot of time to wait for the St. Helens girls softball game against Rex Putnam. This was the game to find out who was going to play for first place. During our wait, we went to the movie and watch “Heaven is for real”.

It was another really defensive game, as expected. Over the course of 6 innings, Putnam scored 3 times to our 0. Then, all the sudden, it was St. Helens’ last at bat and they made it a very exciting one. They loaded the bases then got a hit that scored 2 leaving runners at 1st & second. Next hit was to shortstop who attempted to tag the runner on the way to 3rd, but lost the ball in the process. The runner continued toward home and was halfway there for the tying run when she stopped and returned to 3rd. We weren’t sure why. Next batter was out, game over. So, there will be no championship game this year for the Lady Lions, but they sure made it an interesting trip to this point. Next years should be a real hoot.

Now we’re home and it’s time for bed. Gotta golf tomorrow so need my rest.

Fun With Phones

Just for fun, I thought I’d share a little bit of the kinds of texts I share with brother Jack.

It all started when he sent a text, out of the blue, reporting that he was just leaving the Kaiser emergency room. That was a shock, so questions were asked, and answered, reassuring us it was more perplexing than life-threatening. I let you gnaw on that for a while as I share the ensuing exchange that started when I shared that if St. Helens wins next Tuesday against Putman, they will play for the state 5A title at Ordhon Statd.

For some odd reason, my texting spell checker allowed that, probably because both words were capitalized. That led to the following …

Jack: Where is Ordhon stadium?

Me: Hmmmmm. Oregon State. Guess I shouldn’t be so cocky by pushing send before checking the spell checker results.

Jack: Thx

Me: Urwelcum

Jack: Tu

Me: Grate

Jack: No sweet

Me: Okay. Ewe wind.

Jack: K

What fun …


Grass, Mechanics, Softball, Bad Parents, & Good Kids

Yesterday we went to Rainier where Lydia was playing in a rec ball tournament, something she’s done a lot of in the past. It was an opportunity for her to reunite with old friends and to play again with many members of the HS JV team. It was a great day and the girls played just great, winning all three of their games. We only watched the first two, then Diane brought me home so I could go end the day mowing my heart out at the church. The last game we watched was against Scappoose which our girls won 12-3. When asked by the coach if she wanted to play in the tournament Lydia said, “sure, if I can play 3rd base.” That wish was granted and she did an excellent job. She hit well, too, getting one triple, that could have turned into a home run, and a triple that did turn into a home run. She was the leadoff batter in all the games. It was a lot of fun, invoking a lot of fond memories of these tournaments, and the girls had a great time.

Once home, I gathered up all my empty gas cans, the pitchfork, two batteries, and the battery charger and headed for the church. Along the way I stopped to gas up the truck and fill the empty cans, to the tune of $99, then headed for the church.

The first thing I did was drive the truck out into the overgrown field where I scraped together about 12 piles of grass. The plan was to pitchfork the piles into the back of the truck then empty it at the mulch pit. Knowing the tank was full of gas, I decided to just let the truck run until I got the piles picked up, and was going to move it. But, it quit again, Just like the day before. This time, however, the problem was deemed to be vapor lock. It was was just too darned hot out to let that huge engine just sit and idle. It wants to get out and run. Sadly, the transmission and engine have differing points of view on that subject. Although it gets from point A to point B OK, it makes a lot of unfamiliar noises in the process. So, it needs to see a doctor. Soon.

So, there sat my truck in the middle of the field. The hood was open and the back was full of grass, ready to be transported, but it wasn’t going anywhere. Not only because of the vapor lock, but because when the engine gets really really hot, the starter doesn’t work well. Probably because the battery doesn’t have enough kick, which is why I brought extra batteries and such. Even with all the extra parts, the only workable solution was to just let everything cool off for a few hours. So, I got the mower out of the shed and went to work, mowing around the truck.

In all, I spent about 7 hours doing that and the only part remaining was where the truck was parked. Then, to allow for more cooling time, I took my time cleaning the mower off and put it away.

Then it was time to take a shot at getting the truck started. Long story short, I got it running, then took it to the mulch pit and turned it off figuring if I could it started once, I could do it twice. I emptied the grass, got the truck restarted, then went home. It was all very anticlimactic, in a way. The only exciting part after the second startup was the interesting noises made by the transmission on the way home.

I was very tired when I got home and was sent directly to the showers, after removing an enormous bag of dirt from the Buick. I think it was the biggest bag of dirt Diane’s every purchased. I’m always amazed about the need to buy bags of dirt when we have an entire back yard full of it. Lots and lots of dirt everywhere.

Then I finished the June newsletter for church and went to bed. And slept.

This morning we made another trip to Rainier to see how the tournament played out. The first game was at 1045 so we were out of the house around 1000. Our girls won that one no problem, then Lydia was asked to fill in on another team so she played another game right away. This time she had 1st base. Immediately after the second game, Lydia switched shirts to play with her first team for the final game to win it all. It was against Scappoose again. If they won it was over. If they lost they would have to play again since it was double elimination.

It was a tight game from the start, very defensive in nature. Not only between the teams, but also between the Scappoose parents and Pete the umpire. It was a pretty ugly thing to watch as the parents wore Pete down, threatening to pull their girls out of the game if he didn’t recuse himself as the base umpire. I learned later that these parents had asked specifically that Pete not umpire today’s game because of perceived bad calls, and a confrontation from the previous day.

In the top of the 7th inning, with Scappoose leading 1-0, St. Helens had two runners in scoring position with one out. Lydia hit a pop up for the 2nd out so they still had a chance to at least tie, possibly go ahead. Then someone in the Scappoose crowd sent Pete over the top. He had heard enough from Scappoose parents, ripped his mask off, gave it a heave, and walked off the field.

Everyone on our side was standing around very confused because we didn’t know what had been going on that caused Pete’s departure. Then the Scappoose coach called all his girls in and said, “we’re done.” It was very confusing because he conceded a game he was leading. After a time it was shared that Scappoose conceded 1st place to St. Helens, but there was no real explanation. Just a lot of questions.

At the end of all games the girls line up and pass by each other slapping hands and offering congratulations, win or lose. That happened this time, too, but it was pretty evident that the girls’ best interest wasn’t considered by those parents who were making all the fuss. Both teams essentially lost today because some parents couldn’t behave themselves.

That’s pretty sad, don’t you think? More sad is that it happens all the time. You’d think they’d learn, wouldn’t you?

For what it’s worth, here’s most of the team with their 1st place trophy …

IMG_0082Right after I took this photo, there was a fitting, poignant end to the day that left us knowing the kids were OK in spite of how some parents acted. One of the Scappoose girls brought a plate of cookies and passed them out to the St. Helens team.

There’s hope after all.