NW Weather & Other Interesting Stuff

I just noticed that it’s been 10 days since my last post which is really uncharacteristic of the old me. I am, however, learning to deal with what is a new normal for me. One of the big ones is losing weight to help combat my diabetes type II affliction. That’s going well. In the past 3 weeks (I think) I’ve lost 12 pounds (I’m sure). This is an odd thing for me because growing up I was painfully skinny all through my school years (the mandatory ones) and my objective then was to gain weight. I may have shared previously my distress regarding my first trip to the Navy recruiter where I actually flunked the physical because I didn’t weigh enough. True story. They told me to return in two weeks to see if I’d gained anything. I could have just ignored them, I suppose, but the draft was in full swing in 1962 and I’m sure the Army would have found by services useful in Viet Nam back then. So, I went on a binge eating spree. Two weeks later I was in the Navy having passed that test. Actually, I don’t know if I passed or not because the corpsman who weighed me in had me get on the scales then he yanked me off as the needle hit 135 on its downward swing and called it good. I guess that meant I passed, huh?

Anyway, so here I am working my way back down to 175 after many years of running closer to 200 than not. My main strategy is to eat less bread and not snack on sweet stuff. To eat less bread I simply eat only one piece where I used to eat two, and snacks are mainly peanuts and water. So far it’s been pretty easy because I believe I’m blessed with the “Cold Turkey” gene that allows me to stop any bad habit easily. I did that with smoking – cold turkey. Now I’m doing it with food. Not so cold turkey, I guess, because I’m not really quitting food, just regulating it better.

Diane and I went to a stage play last Tuesday to see “Three Days of Rain“. It wasn’t the play that drew our attention, but the actors involved. Two of them, Sash Roiz and Silas Weir Mitchell, are from our favorite TV show “Grimm” which is filmed in Portland. They were joined by the talented Lisa Datz who rounded out the three person cast. We don’t normally attend plays but found this one very good.

Let’s see … what else happened … our oldest Son attained the lofty age of 43 on the 22nd, I sustained a severe bungee cord injury that has temporarily disabled the opposing function of my left thumb, The Lady Ducks lost to UCLA in the softball super regionals, St. Helens Lady Lions lost to Rex Putnam in their state softball title bid, neighbor Scott H. turned 29 on the 29th, and we’ve learned from Clyde Lewis (host of Ground Zero) that the world we know will officially end on October 7th this year. That latter bit is only hearsay for me because I heard it from Diane who heard it from her Mother, Jean.

The weather has made a serious turn to summer with temperatures in the 80’s. That means that the need for mowing the lawn will diminish until fall when the rains perk up all that grass that’s been dormant, and brown, since June. Looking forward to that, for sure.

Diane and I have spent many hours working at our church’s parsonage to prepare it for our new renter. Lots of painting going on. Diane thinks I’m pretty good at cutting in around the ceiling, windows, and doorways so that’s my assigned task. Doors and Windows are fairly easy, the working over my head around the ceiling is a challenge because it always seems to ruin both of my arms for a period of time. So, I suspect my cutting in days are numbered.

For those of you who might find themselves in the St. Helens area on any given Thursday, from June 4th through August 27, you might want to check out the city’s “13 Nights on the River“. It’s a free concert every Thursday at the gazebo in the park by the river. If you pick the right Thursday, you may get to meet my niece Sarah who will be visiting the greater Portland area from Connecticut during the summer.

Now I must remove my wet clothes and clean up. Diane went to visit her Mom, Jean, so I pressure washed the old truck in the back yard. Probably not the right place, in hindsight, because I had to drive it off a fairly large berm to get it back to the front yard. But, I did it. Should have taken a photo, I suppose. Now I’m going to start buying parts for it. Diane said I could.

Hope all is well with all of you.

Happy Birthday to Me !

Yes, today is my birthday. I turned a flatulent 71. Only the number is new, because I was a flatulent 70 just  yesterday. The day passed with no fanfare other than the many friends and family members who wished me well. It’s simple times like this that remind me that I have many more friends than I would have thought possible. I’m blessed. There was no cake, which is fine because I’m diabetic and wouldn’t have eaten any. I went about my day as I did pretty much every other day this past year even down to the detail of acquiring an injury. I’ll talk about that later, if I remember.

The dogs didn’t think it was a special day because they got me up promptly at 0530 as they do every other morning. What was different this morning, however, is that they didn’t find a reason to bark at random things in the back yard, something that always rouses me from my morning slumber in my recliner. That was a good thing.

Before reclining for that nap I made a really good pot of coffee. That was confirmed by Diane who awoke about 0830 and sang to me like she does every May 20th. She also asked me what she could fix me for breakfast. I opted for Honey Bunches of Oats with a splash of brown sugar and milk, and one piece of toast. Only one piece of toast because I’m on a quest to lose weight and have cut my bread consumption in half by omitting that second piece I used to have. Regarding the weight, I’ve lost 12 lbs in the three weeks we’ve been working on this. Not bad for a plan that is supposed to yield a 1 lb loss each week.

After breakfast I sat around waiting for Lucan, the guy who would install our new gutter system. While waiting, Jack and Wynette called to wish me Happy Birthday and they were joined in a communal effort of the song by two other folks I haven’t heard from in a long time. That would be Gene & Shirley who live in Mesa most of the time. It was a very nice surprise.

Lucan showed up around 1000 and promptly got to work, finishing the job in about 3 hours with the help of his sidekick, Jose. Lucan, whether or not you’re interested, belongs to Jody & Rick and we’ve known him for a long time. It’s always good to see him because he has a smile that totally lights up the area around him. During the installation I observed and visited a bit with the two of them, as they went about their business doing some pretty incredible things with tin snips. We are thoroughly pleased with the results.


After Lucan and Jose left, I fired up the old truck and went back to our parsonage which some of us are working on to make it ready for a new renter. I selected power washing the exterior as my project. Yesterday I did the front steps, the sidewalks, and a portion of the back where the dirt is more evident. This afternoon I went back to finish up the back of the house and the upper porch. The weather cooperated to the tune of about 75 degrees, so it was OK to get soaking wet, as I knew I would. Unlike yesterday, when I did the sidewalks and got mole hill mud all over me, today I pretty much covered myself with little bitty paint chips from the porch roof support.

Here’s a little of what I’m dealing with …


I did the power washing until almost 1800, logging about 9 hours total for both days, when I deemed it time to go home and eat something. I’d been running the power washer for so long today I missed a call from Diane and one from my much older brother, Jim. He always calls me on my birthday, but normally when I can hear the phone ring. He didn’t time this one very well. He also sent me greetings via Facebook messenger and it appeared right below the last Facebook messenger message he sent me on my birthday last year. He doesn’t use messenger very often.

When I got the truck home, I remembered that I still needed to tidy up the Lions Club newspaper collection box so Diane drove me back to the High School, where the container resides, to get it done. While doing a lot of bending and lifting I managed to clean up the huge pile of papers while Diane did some shopping at Safeway.

Then it was time to determine what to eat for my birthday supper. I had many choices, one of which included having Diane cook me something, but I opted for a Burgerville Tillamook Cheese Burger Basket with a large chocolate shake. We do this about once a week as a rule and find that it doesn’t interfere with our weight loss program. Because it was my birthday dinner, however, I opted for a large shake instead of my normal medium one. I figured all the work I did would offset the extra calories.

Regarding the old truck … it runs like a dream and starts first time every time. Getting it to that point was tricky because there were multiple problems that I rectified with a new battery, and new starter, and a new set of jumper cables. I didn’t need the cables but got them just in case. I did this all day before yesterday and, as soon as I got it running, I took it to the dump and emptied $21 worth of junk that has been accumulating for the past 1.5 years. I was so pleased with how well the truck works that I am seriously motivated to start renovating it. Diane said I could. I may have already mentioned that. The first thing I’ll fix is the turn signals because I’m getting tired sticking my arm out the window to signal my turns. Luckily, so far, everyone behind me actually still knows what those hand signals mean and haven’t run into me. Still, I’m all for automation and need that fixed. That’s especially true since the last project I did on the truck was to replace the turn signal switch. Apparently one of the many wires hanging from the bottom of the dash have something to do with that problem.

Another significant event was Lydia going to her prom. She went with her two bestie and, I can only presume, had a terrific time since none of them had to deal with any kind of drama involving boys. I’m sure, however, the boys noticed …


They all play soccer on the same team and wanted to incorporate that aspect of their lives in their photos. So, that’s what we did. The field was full of little boys at soccer practice and these three just marched through the middle of them to a goal in the middle of the field. Left to right it’s Georgie, Lydia, and Ceiarra, the Three Amigas.

DSC_3335 DSC_3267

Now the evening is winding down and I’m pretty close to going to bed. So, I will end by thanking all of you who sent me birthday greetings on this day. You all made it special and I appreciate that you took time out of your day to honor me.

Oh, ya! My new injury was sustain when I was strapping down my ladders on the truck when a bungee cord broke causing my left thumb to hit the ladder in such a manner that it’s normally opposing nature was temporarily disabled. It was a very painful process and the opposing aspect has only partially returned. Considering my advanced age, it may never return to normal.

Peace to you all.

Hot Tub & Water Conservation

According to Diane, our hot tub works pretty well. I wouldn’t know because I typically don’t use it. I just make sure all the chemicals are OK so Diane doesn’t come out of the water all splotchy like she did once when I forgot to check. Thankfully the splotches went away before Diane noticed so there was no need to engage a lawyer, or marriage counselor. I also wisely chose to NOT photograph her during this delicate time in her life. Her memory of this event was a good one of relaxing and time alone reading a book on her iPad as it floated conveniently at eye level in the styrofoam holder I made for her. She really likes that thing which makes me happy.

Since that event I’ve been very careful to ensure the chemicals are ready for immersion any time she wants to use the tub. One night a week or so it was late when she exited the tub and I failed to replace the cover. Consequently, over the ensuing days, much of the water evaporated to the point where it was necessary to replace it so Diane’s shoulders wouldn’t be exposed the next time she chose to use it. Therefore,  one morning, I hooked up a hose, put it in the tub and turned on the faucet. Six inches were all it needed but it went a little over because I forgot it was running and didn’t notice until I went down stairs to lock the lower patio door late in the afternoon. By this time it had been “filling”, and overflowing, for approximately 4-5 hours.

Upon this discovery I immediately sensed I had wasted a tremendous amount of water that would have come in handy for many folks living in Southern California and turned the water off. But, the damage was done and there was no way I could stuff all that lost water back in the hose so I went on about my business.

Since the tub was overflowing I felt it was necessary to find a way to lower the level in a manner, short of using a bucket, to ensure Diane could breath OK the next time she wanted to use the tub. Taking a less hands-on approach to achieve my goal, I chose to simply leave the cover off and let nature take care of it for me. The water was heated to 103 degrees which aided in the desired evaporation. I will reinstall the cover when the water reaches the appropriate level which should be in a couple of days.

Unless I forget.

Then I’ll have to fill it again.

This could become a vicious cycle that could result in threats from folks living in areas where water is in short supply.

Perhaps this is where I should ask for those who care to pray for my continued safety.