Wild Horse Casino Pendleton

This morning Jim showed up at the hotel shortly after the sun came up. Thankfully, that’s about the time Jack gets up so he had company until I showed up around 0730. It would have been much later for me, but I actually set an alarm. It never had a chance to go off because I was awake, but I set it.

Jim and Jack were deep into a conversation that abruptly ended when I neared the table so I’m pretty sure they were talking about me. I sat down anyway, and started visiting right away.

Jim, who won’t use a computer, has a smart phone so it was pretty entertaining to sit there and watch him talk to it, asking rhetorical questions about the things that happened each time he made a selection on the screen. He can even text, now. That’s a major step up from the old dial phone he had a couple of months ago. We’re all very proud of him. He’s fun to watch.

Stopped by Killion’s in Ontario for lunch again, and we weren’t disappointed. This time we were waited on by Cassandra Killion herself. She’s one of the 4-5 daughters of the family that owns the restaurant. Very nice young lady on her third year of a five-year program to become a chemical engineer at a school in Rochester, NY. We all had a terrific visit with her.

Then we went to the Wild Horse Casino in Pendleton. Got different rooms, this time, and Diane can’t breath in it. Got an ionizer sent up so will see how that goes.

********** long pause here **********

It’s now 7:38 p.m. and we’re back from having a festive, entertaining dinner at Subway. Wynette had club, Diane had ham & cheese, I had an egg & bacon, and Jack had a club with no bread. In case you’re curious, Subway is located on the road leading into the casino. Consequently, we were the only customers in the small facility. The other half of the building contains a DQ which is where we went for dessert. Diane had a purple slushy, Wynette had a vanilla cone with a chocolate cap, and I had a chocolate malt. Jack didn’t get anything, but he ate some of Wy’s cone.

The topper for me was the last red vine that fell down next to the driver’s seat last Thursday. I would have left it there, but Diane’s straw fell down there and she wanted it so I mentioned the red vine. It was a bit hard, but still good.

We were gone from the room for more than hour because the ozonator thing has a 60 minute timer and it wasn’t running when we got back to the room. Thankfully, being out in the air gave the unit time to clean up the air in the room and Diane’s just fine, now.

I forgot to mention that we encountered a long stretch of burned ground on the east bound lanes that wasn’t there when we came over last Friday. It went on for a couple of miles and ended at the bare bones remains of a burned truck and travel trailer. All that was left was metal. It obviously was the cause of the burned ground.

Tomorrow we go home.

Sunday in Nampa

Today, our last full day here in Nampa, was all about family. Everyone except Tyler, that is. He wasn’t in town because when he learned we were going to be her, he left. That’s not true, of course. He didn’t know we were going to be here so I think he’s living on the assumption that it was just pure luck that he left before we arrived. That could be true.

First thing this morning we had a light breakfast here in the hotel, then we met the rest of the local family at the First Christian Church in town. We chose to attend the 0900 early service which meant we were not allowed to sleep in like normal. That was just fine. On arrival we met Jim & Donna’s friends that we remember from past visits, so it was like old home week, in a way.

The service was great and we enjoyed it a lot. Everyone was happy, the band was good, the Rev. Dr. J. Stephen Perotti gave a great sermon, and I got to hold Jim’s hand. The only down side was I didn’t get to meet Grace. I think Jim alerted her we were in town so she chose to stay home. Either that, or she went to the late service. Whatever the reason, I regret that missed opportunity. I was prepared to autograph her T-shirt, and everything.

After church we retired to J&D’s home where everyone, except me, made a crucial decision about where to eat lunch. The Blue Sky Cafe won. I wasn’t involved in the process because I seriously do not care where I eat. That drives Diane nuts because I won’t tell her. So, every time she asks, I tell her Burger King, or McDonald’s. We always eat at better places because Diane’s OK with those for an impromptu snack, but not for a real meal. Still, she asks me where we should go. Maybe I’ll fool her and suggest someplace really nice the next time she asks. I think I’ll tell her I want to go to Killion’s. The fact that it’s in Ontario won’t be a determining factor. Or, maybe Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck on Oahu. That looks good. North Shore, too.

Lunch at the Blue Sky was awesome. I had breakfast. We all totally enjoyed our meal and had the pea sure of sharing a large table right in the middle of the restaurant, where we had to be on our best behavior because everyone was watching us. They knew we were from out of town and were waiting for any little reason to run us out of town. That’s the way they are in Nampa. Honest. Most of the time. Well, maybe just some of the time. No, they’re never that way. We always feel welcome when we visit, no matter where we go in town. I can say that because when we visit we’re always escorted to various places around town. It’s either an escort, or a guard. Not sure which. Anyway, we enjoy our visits.

After lunch we once again retired to J&D’s home where we pondered all of the dessert choices available in this small farming community. One of the choices was a milkshake at McDonald’s, or maybe a candy bar from Wal*Mart, but we finally settled on a frozen yogurt joint in town. I can’t remember the name and can’t find it on the internet, but it was one of those Yo Something places. It was all good, very similar to the help yourself yogurt places in Scappoose and St. Helens.

Here’s what we looked like after eating about $40 worth of frozen yogurt.
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  • Back row l to r: Maryssa, Daniel, Donna, Bob, and Steffani
  • Front row l to r: Wynette, Jack, Jim, Diane, and Me

Now it’s 2015 and we’re all back in our rooms for the night, planning to get a good night of sleep in preparation for our trip home tomorrow. Since all I have to do is dump one drawer of “stuff” back into my carry-on suitcase, it will be a simple task for me.

Now I’m going to cut my toenails and start studying for my angiogram test on Wednesday.

Beer Butt Chickens & Karma

Today was another good one that included a great breakfast, a trip to Costco with everyone but Maryssa, a visit to Jim & Donna’s, and a trip to Bob & Steff’s for a great BBQ of beer butt chickens. It’s “chickens” because there were four of them and they were all wonderful. I’m only going to show you two of them, however …

DSC_0444 DSC_0448

It was all marred by only one, simple, negative event that was entirely my fault. I’ll admit that right up front. I lost the bag containing my laptop and Diane’s iPad. It was a horrifying 1.5 hours of searching the Buick, the room, returning to Jim & Donna’s, then Steff & Bob’s, checking with the front desk for lost and found until I finally accepted that I’d done a terrible thing by leaving it in the dinning area this morning before we left to visit Costco.

We returned, sadly, to our room with the understanding that I’d lost some important items. Out phone chargers were also in the bag. What an entirely huge bummer.

Then, all the sudden, a little light clicked on in my tiny little mind and I knew right where it was. It was in a special little hiding place in the Buick. I came to this realization when Diane, saddened by my mishandling of equipment, said she was going back to the Buick to make another search. That’s when the little light switched on.

So, I stuffed my feet back into my sneakers, got my room key card, and headed back down to the Buick to get it, knowing full well it was right where I thought it was. Diane had to tell me where the Buick was because I wasn’t with her when she parked it. It was out back instead of out front so I had to have the card key to get back in to the building.

To kind of top off the evening, my card key didn’t work in any of the outside doors so I wound up walking all the way around the outside of the building to the front entrance.

I figure that was Karma in action for what I’d done.

Now it’s all good. Getting up early in the morning to attend church with all the family. Should be fun.

Oh ya! There was an interesting upside to the Costco visit because Alan E. Grey was sitting at a table selling copies of his book “The Life of Chief Joseph”. Jack and I each got a copy and I sat and talked with Alan for a while. An interesting man Pretty old, and a little shaky, but fun to talk with. He received his doctorate in 1952 which should make him around 90 or so.

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.