Golf, Soccer, Softball, a Winnebago, & Visitors

Let’s see … what’s been going on. I golfed with JP on February 17th and discovered that I can semi-consistently hit a pitching wedge 100 yards. I can even hit it in the general direction I think I’m aiming. JP can hit a 5-wood about half as far as I can hit the pitching wedge. That’s not bragging, by any means, because I’ve never, ever beaten JP on the golf course. Until today. I beat him by one stroke and I even got a par on one hole. It was a good day.

The new owner of the old 1973 Winnebago called me on February 18th and was obviously at his wit’s end because he couldn’t get it started. Since he was still in St. Helens, I shelved my baseboard project for a moment, one of the remodels I had to do because of pending visitors, and went to see what I could do. Turns out the fully charged battery his friend gave him wasn’t really charged at all. It was dead as a door nail and it just happened to be the battery for the engine and lights. The other battery had juice and worked the 12V house lights just fine. So, he retrieved the battery that he replaced and we discovered it actually had a 12.5 V charge, enough to kick the engine over. We hooked it up, and it did the job. The engine ran just great. My job was done and he was very grateful. I could tell that by the way he drove away.

After getting that little task complete I went back to the house to participate in the scheduled full on field day to clean house for visitors, previously mentioned, this weekend. They aren’t technically visitors because we’re all related in some way. One of them is the Brother-in-law of one of my Sisters-in-law who is also the father of some sort of niece, Maryssa, who was the focus of the visit. There was a lot of college softball going on over the course of February 20, 21, and 22. In the middle of all those games was a soccer match at which Lydia, the daughter of my oldest son’s brother-in-law and his wife, played goalie, or Keeper as the soccer crowd seems to prefer. I won’t burden you with scores but will admit that I had a great time watching all of the games. It was exciting, even the soccer, which previously held no interest for me because I failed to comprehend the rules and, therefore, found it profoundly confusing. I’m learning, however, and now find it very exciting. Softball is always exciting. Maryssa is a freshman at Eastern Oregon University and was, we later discovered, playing while coping with a case of mononucleosis. How fun do you think that was? Still, she got her first college RBI and we got to see it.

I’d tell you what happened yesterday but I really don’t know because I apparently removed a crucial calendar entry that would have provided that information. Guess it will forever be one of those mysteries.

Now I must quit and contemplate how much it’s going to rain tomorrow. The last 5-6 days have been glorious but we knew it wouldn’t last. Thankfully, I was able to squeeze enough gas out of the array of gas containers I found around the house to allow me to mow the front and back yards. Sadly, I didn’t have enough time to mow the lower 40 so it will grow unimpeded until spring at which time it will no doubt be a foot or two tall and will take a couple of days of slow motion mowing to finish.

Also, Diane bought me peanut brittle for being good. I’m going to go eat some. I’ll leave you with a few photos of the family visit and activities.

This is Bob making friends with Ozzie. He works on that every time he visits and Ozzie displayed evidence that he remembered Bob because he didn’t bite him this time.IMG_0137

Wynette and Donna watching the ball game. It was a beautiful day, but really cold. Like 9 degrees, I think. Looking at this makes me wonder why I didn’t realize that Wynette is so much taller than Donna. I think it evens out a little when they stand up.IMG_0138

At Sunday’s game, the first of two, Lydia thought painting her toes would be a good idea. Like I said, it was around 9 degrees with the wind chill factor and she’s barefooted.IMG_0139

Here’s part of the crew between Sunday’s games: Jennifer, Jeran, Cedric, Maryssa, Lydia, and Steffani.IMG_0140

Here I am playing golf today in one of my best T-shirts. Apparently I’m the only one who knew it was “Dress Up Golf Day” because everyone else looked normal. Also, I wanted to point out how all the skin on my face is dripping down my neck into my shirt like frosting on a cake. It’s much worse when I take my hat off.

Lumber & Soccer

Today I was left all alone, by myself, while Diane went to Portland to play with Jennifer and Lydia. They didn’t actually play, per se, they shopped. For girls I suspect that counts as playing. I have it on good authority that they had a good time. I’m hope they still are because it’s 9:40 PM and they aren’t home yet. Perhaps they stopped at a beer joint on the way home for a sandwich or something.

My day started when my alarm went off at 0630 this morning. Yes, I actually set an alarm and it was absolutely horrible. But, I promised to help our Lions club put out flags to celebrate this holiday, so I did it. Once I was up it wasn’t so bad. After flags we always eat breakfast at Sunshine Pizza. I had a breakfast sandwich and a cup of coffee. Then I went home and had a good cup of coffee.

After changing into my work clothes I commenced the process of helping the remains of our pussy willow tree migrate from the upper yard to the lower yard where it would be easy to dismantle them further and let them enjoy the warmth of a nice cozy fire. Here’s what it looked like before all the branches were whacked off …


… and this is how they all wound up after making their way down the hill …

IMG_0135The tree was 30-40 feet tall and just getting out of control. Plus, after all the little fuzzy things fall off the branches they are replaced with about a bazillion leaves that have to be sucked up with the lawn mower. It’s a chore. Now we’ll have a couple of years with no pussy willow leaves to be concerned about. Might take me that long to burn all the branches removed from the tree.

Our new neighbor, Scott, cut all the limbs off the tree because I told him he’d have to move if he didn’t. Since Whitney isn’t about to move any where she immediately sent Scott to the store to buy a new chain saw. Since Scott isn’t going anywhere without Whitney he did exactly what she told him to do. That new chain saw got a work out and it was gratifying that Scott, a Georgia Boy, was well versed in the ways of properly dropping timber where you want it to go. I thought only people in Oregon could do that. He did a terrific job and I believe I’m now in his debt. With luck, he’ll have to have something done that involves a computer, not a lot of manual labor. I can do that.

Tomorrow I must golf. Temps will be in the 60’s so it should be perfect. I should feel bad about planning that since the east coast is having one snow storm after another, but I’m really not. All those people over there that we know, and are related to, understand that they can come visit with us any time they want to. Seems like now would be the right time. But, no … instead they huddle in their homes or go to Las Vegas or Arizona. It’s probably no big deal to them since it’s actually a way of life for them. Still, they have a way to get some relief if they wish.

Diane arrived home, safe and sound, shortly before 10 pm so now I must wind down and prepare for slumber.

Hope everyone is well and adequately fed.

Oh! I forgot to mention that Lydia’s soccer team, HSC Crush, played on yesterday afternoon and won 6-0. Most of the action was at the other goal line so Lydia did a lot of this …

DSC_2861Fortunately, she remembered to bring her huge Mickey Mouse gloves so it was easier to shade her eyes from the sun while she watched the action at the other end of the field. Really, she stopped quite a few kicks on her goal. Not much gets by her.

Now I’m stopping.

Sunrise & Quilts

Here’s what I was greeted with this morning …


Today the Bethany Ladies opened their 35th Annual Quilt Show and they had a great turnout. It’s always a festive time for me because they always have sandwiches and I really love sandwiches – egg salad and chicken salad. They also have Chicken Noodle soup and Clam Chowder, the best in the West.

The quilt show is mainly a venue for quilters to display their art and there is plenty of that around. There are also vendors in the basement who sell specialty items not related to quilts. But, you can buy quilts, too, of course, just not the ones upstairs decorating the pews.

That’s Jean, Diane’s Mom waaaay in the back.

DSC_2849You could also spend a buck or two on raffle tickets to win one of these beauties …

DSC_2843My favorite is this Crazy Quilt whose owner said she’s been working on it for 10 years.


In the basement Barb, part of the crew, shows off her special apron.DSC_2841

Here’s Nancy giving me almost her best smile. I didn’t get the best one because she saves that for Floyd.DSC_2837Here’s Jennifer checking out a catalog of quilts created by the Featured Quilter, Terry Maloney. Sadly, I don’t have a photo of Terry to share. Apparently she heard I was coming and left.DSC_2853

Diane taking a break warming her feet on the heater grate. DSC_2850She’s going to have to do some more of this when she gets home this afternoon because they don’t close the doors until 1800 hours and she was there at 0830. Tomorrow will be a shorter day because the close at 1400 hours.

So, if you find some idle time on Valentine’s day, and want to spend some of it wandering around some beautiful quilts created by some very talented artists, pay a visit to Bethany Lutheran Church between 10-3. Kitchen closes at 2 pm. You won’t regret it.





IRS Threats, Injuries, & Church Council

Just learned that the IRS is filing charges against me for some reason. They left a message telling me to call 360-363-5925 and I did but all I get is a busy signal. If any of you are interested in keeping me out of jail, please call this number until you get an answer and let them know that I’m sitting here shaking in my boots waiting for them to show up at my door.

Fell down again this evening in an apparent attempt by nature, or karma, to even things out, giving me injuries on both sides of my body. But, reflexes intervened and ensured that new injuries were added to the already damaged left side. This time I twisted my left knee, sprained my left ankle, and added to the complexity of pain of my left arm. That’s two. Thankfully I’ll only have to endure this one more time to fulfill the rule of threes. With luck I’ll continue without actually breaking anything.

What fun.

That’s as far as I got yesterday because I had to drive Lydia to soccer practice in Hillsboro and didn’t get home until 9:30 pm. Bedtime, normally, but we stayed up until almost midnight anyway. Gotta wonder why we do that when we know we feel and sleep better when we go to bed earlier. Old age, I guess.

Now Tuesday is almost a memory and I bet everyone is just itching at the bit to find out what kind of injury I sustained with the last of my three events. Well, even though I spent a considerable amount of time on a ladder, with my sore knee, hip, ankle, wrist, and shoulders, installing the new garage door opener, I failed to fall even one time. I didn’t even slip. Probably because I was being super careful to avoid a possible broken bone. Then, shortly, before finishing my task, which was successful, by the way, because it works, Diane came into the garage and told me I could relax about the third event because she just had it for me. She tripped over the big dog on the porch and slammed herself into the door jamb. So, she’s going to have marks tomorrow and sore shoulders for sure. I don’t think there are many husbands out there whose current spouse would be willing to take one like that for them. I’m particularly blessed for sure.

Now I must assemble my paperwork for tonight’s meeting and have something to eat. Maybe that half of a baguette I bought yesterday. It should still be good. And some cheese.

Hope all is well with all of you.

Church, Sizzler, & Backroads

Today before pastor started our service he asked those in attendance what they could remember they were told as youngsters that stuck with them through the years as good advice. I had a really hard time holding on to mine while others shared things like, “a job worth doing is worth doing right”, “no matter where you go, there you are” (a little bit of Buckaroo Banzai influence I suspect), “too many cooks spoil the broth”, “a bad day fishing is better than a good day working”, “actions speak louder than words”, things like that. Then there was a lengthy pause leaving us with dead air, and I hate that. When it happens it seems that I’m always the one who winds up filling in that space and it happened again this morning, much to Diane’s dismay, when I shared “don’t eat yellow snow”.

After the noise of everyone’s head swiveling in my direction, the silence descended once again for a moment, then Pastor quickly moved on to the next item in the bulletin. It may have been communion, but I’m not sure. The rest of the service went just fine but Karma caught up to me out by the mower shed while I was walking around waiting for Diane and her Mom, Jean. There’s a short ramp leading up to the doors and I stepped on it. Normally that’s not a problem, but it’s been raining squirrels and chipmunks lately so it was wet and very slippery, something I remembered was true when my foot was about an inch from the surface. By that time, of course, my body was committed to taking that step so I prepared as best I could for the excitement of the fall.

When my foot slipped I went into slow motion mode, analyzing everything around me to ensure there were no sharp objects waiting to penetrate my normally waterproof exterior, then I looked for a likely spot to place my left hand in such a manner that my wrist wouldn’t snap in half. I found that spot OK, but my balance was a bit off so after making land fall I was poised over the ramp a little too far and could not keep myself from finally sitting on it with my next to last pair of nice Dockers. It was a slimy mess, a lot like something that might have come from an ox’s nose.

Since I didn’t hear anything snap, or crack, I knew it would be bet if I regained a vertical stance because I knew the pain was coming. Then I ran to wash my hands warning Diane, as I passed her on the basement steps on my way to the kitchen sink, that I was going to be in severe pain tomorrow. Then I had her look at the back of my pants to see what kind of damage they had suffered, but she said they looked fine. Then I took a towel and wiped all the gunk from my rear and showed her what she’d missed. Can’t blame her really, because my Dockers are dark brown as was the stuff I sat in.

I took the towel to the Buick so sit on when we left because I didn’t want to mess up the seat, then we departed on a scheduled trip to Sizzler, and an impromptu trip down the Washington side of the Columbia River to see what St. Helens looked like to the people who lived over there. While at Sizzler I ate eight chicken wings two chicken legs a modest salad and a soup bowel full of ice cream. Substantial, but not a record because I’m working on portion control.

Although the I-5 freeway would have made the trip much faster, I sat in the back with my iPad giving left/right directions as I studied our location on Google Maps. The goal was to keep us off the freeway as we made the 20+ mile trip from Longview to Woodland and I did a remarkable job. I know that’s true because both Diane and Mom said so. It was a really nice trip on a whole bunch of roads that none of us had ever travelled before.

Then we went back home to rescue the dogs, dropping Mom at her house on the way. Here’s what the rain has done to Milton Creek that normally runs peacefully through her back yard …


You may remember that it looked like this not long ago …DSC_1819That’s Baylee, Jerrie, and Gilligan, in case you forgot.

Once home we quickly shifted into our pajamas and watched the last quarter of the Blazer game against the Houston Rockets. Blazers won handily.

Now I must go to bed and get to sleep as the pain on my left side has begun. Tomorrow is going to be brutal.

PT & Winnebago Lights, & Flying Floormats

Today I took Diane’s little convertible to Les Schwab for some new shoes. The ones it had were mismatched, and of a brand that is no longer manufactured, a bad sign for safety on the highway. So, I bit the bullet, wanting to keep my bride from participating in a thrilling game of bumper cars on Highway 30, and got her the best tires old Les sold. Another reason I felt the need to replace them is because it seems I’m the one who drives it the most. I still have the ’96 Subaru, but it’s going to hit the auction block today so it’s no longer a factor. Also, Diane told me I could fix the old truck. That’s major. I’ve probably shared all that before but this time it’s true.

After getting the tires installed I went about resurrecting the fog lights. The multi-function switch I ordered from eBay showed up yesterday, but I didn’t put it in until today because I had to get a new fuse to replace the one that wasn’t there. I knew the fogs lights worked because I did some fuse swappo-change-o to confirm using the one from the seat heater circuit.

Once the new switch was installed, the fog lights worked just great, after I got the correct size fuse. The first ones I bought were from NAPA and were too big because I simply failed to realize that, since it was a little car, it needed mini-blade fuses. The switch worked just great, but the turn signals didn’t. There was just nothing there. No little clicky sound or blinking lights on the dash-board. Nothing. So, I took the cowling off, which I shouldn’t have installed until I had confirmed that everything worked, and connected the old switch and confirmed that the blinky lights really worked. During this advanced troubleshooting sequence I felt the clicky part working under my hand leading me to the conclusion that the new switch didn’t come with the blinky relay. After a short pause, during which I surmised that this wasn’t unusual, I disconnected the old switch, removed the relay and installed it on the new switch, and connected it and confirmed that it worked just fine. Another successful day of “fixing” something. Then I tightened all the screws I’d removed, and called it good when I couldn’t find anything left over from the dismantling.

At that point I was in a light fixing frame of mind so I fired up the old motor home to see what didn’t work. I was gratified to discover that all the necessary lights work OK but some of the clearance lights don’t. I’m not worried about those, however, so just let them be.

While I was walking around the rig, with the engine running, I gave the old generator another chance to start, but it wouldn’t. It has a fuel problem like in it isn’t getting any. That’s a task for another day. If I need to run it for some reason, I’ll solve it.

A few days ago, after sharing a Subway sandwich at Wal*Mart, Diane and I spent a considerable amount of time trying to decide what kind of rubber, water-proof, floor mats to get for her PT. They have a large selection ranging from about $30 to $10. We settled on the cheap-o version which turned out to be rather prophetic since Diane lost them on the highway somewhere on her way to Bunco. You see, I’d placed them on top of the vehicle whilst emptying all the other stuff we purchased, and she didn’t see them when she jumped in and tore out of the driveway like that guy Mario. We can only surmise that she didn’t hit critical liftoff speed for the floor mats until she made the turn onto Pittsburgh Road. Now they are gone forever. We took solace in knowing we only lost the $10 version and that it could have been worse. She, of course, blames me for leaving them on the car, and I blame her for not seeing them laying there when she got in the car. I blamed her, of course, not taking into account that she’s much shorter in person and probably just couldn’t see them; and it was dark. So, ultimate, like normal, I must assume responsibility.

Now it’s time to go get some lunch somewhere to celebrate because I did all of the above without hurting myself even one time.