I’m The Maytag Guy – The Winnebago Guy Too – Who Knew?

Today I successfully resurrected a 20(+)-year-old Maytag Neptune washing machine. It’s been sitting in the basement, unused, for the last 4-5 days because it wouldn’t drain. That malady made it a little difficult to wash clothes so Diane just didn’t do that. I’m not an expert Maytag repairman, but neither am I a rookie at bringing this particular washer back to life. When it was fairly new it was used to wash some really old area rugs, one of which had some old crispy rubber backing that the washing successfully stripped and attempted to flush out the drain hose. Needless to say, it didn’t drain well and it was necessary to dismantle the drain system and remove about a gallon of those little bits of rubber from the drain hose and drain pump. It was an enlightening evolution, one about which I knew nothing in the beginning. But, I’m not shy about taking things apart, something I may have mentioned in one or more previous posts.

As luck would have it, removing all the rubber solved that problem and imposing a ban on washing rugs that have questionable backing has allowed the washing to work quite nicely for the next 20 years.

Since I wasn’t sure what the problem was this time I ripped it apart again to check the pump. I dismantled the pump housing and confirmed that the motor ran OK, I thought, put it all back together and reinstalled it. Then the computer came in to play as I searched for parts that I thought might resolve the problem. The only choices I could think of was the timer or the pump motor. They arrived this afternoon.

When Diane returned from her trip to Longview, to take Cedric to the dentist, I was knee-deep in getting the parts installed. I’d already replaced the timer and had determined it wasn’t the problem. Therefore I pulled out the old pump, which was very hot, indicating that though it didn’t drain the washer, it gave it a good try. Too bad I didn’t feel the pump first, right? Well, I was going for the easiest solution first.

Diane arrived just I was in the process of tightening the last hose clamp on the new motor so she got home just in time to help me check it out. Before running a test I pushed the washer back into place, pretending it was going to work fine. Turns out it did just that.

As the water was being pumped from the washer Diane clapped and jumped up and down because she was so happy that she would be able to spend all day tomorrow washing clothes. I think that makes her the best wife ever.

Long before the washer parts arrived, we made a trip to Portland with the hopes we could purchase a replacement hose that would keep the transmission fluid from vacating the Winnebago, leaving messy drips all over the place. The business we found is one that makes replacement hoses as needed. When we got it back home I dug out some work clothes, found my wrenches, and crawled under the RV to see if what I had was, indeed, the solution. It was, and I was elated. All that took place after Diane left for the trip to Longview with Cedric, and it was a quick fix. I was very gratified that I was able to resolve that problem with a simple solution. The custom hose, by the way, only cost $14.11. I was figuring it would cost between $30-$40. Can’t wait until I have to get another hose made, now that I know they’re so inexpensive.

After all the work was done, I received a phone call from Legacy Health to report the results of my MRI last week. Turns out I have a full tear in the rotator cuff of my left shoulder. So now I’m being referred to a Ortho Surgeon to see what can be done. Oddly enough, the pain I have from this injury is mainly when I lay down to sleep. Golfing isn’t a problem.

So, tomorrow I’m going golfing. Doug said so.

Jennifer Lynn is 40

I already shared a bit about Jennifer turning 40, but it bears repeating. Especially since she’s a Happy 40. That, and we had a family party after church yesterday to celebrated just one more time.

We did it at Fultanos in Scappoose and almost the entire gang was there.

Here’s proof …

DSC_4754

Left to right we have … Baylee, Daniel, Diane, Jeran, Jean, Cedric, Jeff, Jennifer, Gilligan, Lydia, and Mason. Jerrie took the photo, like normal.

The cake was made with cupcakes and was expertly decorated by a couple of people who don’t decorate many cakes. It was a challenge but all the little red-hot candies saved the day. Jennie really like those little red-hot candies.DSC_4744

There were only 4 candles because the baker figured that, since they were extra tall, they really each counted as 10 normal candles. Plus, there was a question about whether or not the new 40-years-old could muster up enough wind to blow out 40 candles. She did really good with the 4 provided.DSC_4751

We ate pizza, cheddar cheese fries with bacon, and lots of soda, lemonade, and water. It was a really good day.

We really, really love our daughter and are tremendously proud of the Lady she’s grown to be.

A Birthday Milestone, a little Football, X-Rays, and an MRI

I’ve been a little remiss in getting information out to all of you who think there’s a need to keep tabs on me for various reasons, so here I am to bring you as up-to-date as possible.

Before I get going, however, I must report the most important news for this day, the 23rd of October which just happens to be my favorite Daughter’s, Jennifer’s, 40th birthday. Here she is at 6-years-old – she’s the one on the right.Jennie 1981

Here she is a little older …

IMG_0369_2

She’s a very lovely, very special Lady.

Using my handy-dandy calendar, the one on my computer, I will do my best to report events in chronological order unless, of course, I either see something shiny or a squirrel runs by my window. Should that happen, all bets are off and you will be at the mercy of my random thought generator.

Since October 14th, the date of my last post, we have attended three of Lydia’s soccer games (won 2 lost 1), spent three days in the RV in a field in Hood River, went to see my local doctor because stuff hurts, got an X-ray, played golf, had an MRI, fasting blood work, attended a meeting at our church with the ladies who write all the checks, and attended a Scappoose High School football game against Seaside.

That’s about it. But, I suspect you’d be more interested in the details of some of those events, particularly the one about staying in the RV …

Regarding that … we joined our Winnebago friends in Hood River, at the Hood River County Fairgrounds, so we could enjoy traveling the Fruit Loop through the numerous orchards that dot the countryside around Hood River. There’s a bunch of them and they are all selling tons of fruit. Since we like fruit, we bought some gigantic Jonagold versions at $.50 a pound. That’s only if you buy 20 pounds or more. If not, they are $.89 a pound. I got 23 pounds for $11.50. That was most of an entire box. I love those things. They are my evening snack along with a piece of Tillamook cheddar cheese.

Everything went nicely on this short little visit until we were well on our way home. That’s when the transmission started giving me fits. We’d be flying along just fine then it was like the transmission just shifted to neutral and the engine revved up a bunch. Then smoke started pouring out behind us making it difficult for me to see how close people were following. That really wasn’t a problem, however, because everyone passed me and no one was following us. The problem was the transmission was losing fluid from somewhere that I couldn’t find during a quick stop to see what was the matter. The smoke was from transmission fluid burning off the exhaust pipe on the left side of the engine. I looked all over for a possible leak but it was difficult to pin it to just one place because pretty much the entire bottom of the transmission and the frame was covered with the stuff. Still, I looked, hoping to get lucky. At this point we were about 50 miles from home and I wasn’t in the mood to spend the night parked alongside the road. So, I dug around in the from part of the RV and discovered a nearly full quart of transmission fluid which I poured into the proper receptacle to, hopefully, top off what was missing. I knew, from prior experience, that a relatively small amount of viscous material, like oil, and transmission fluid, could cover an astounding area making one think the reservoir must surely be dry, but it isn’t.

Once the fluid was added I cranked the rig up and shifted to reverse and D a few times to see what would happen, got the appropriate response, put it in D and took off down I-84 West once again. We made it all the way to Warren when things took a decidedly bad turn in that no amount of coaxing would provide enough friction in the transmission to increase the speed even a little. The result was that we coasted slowly to a stop. Knowing this was going to happen gave me an opportunity to get off Highway 30 onto Old Portland Road, across from Bennett Road, with enough forward momentum to ensure the coasting stopped in the Moose Lodge parking lot. That rig would not move another inch. I tried.

We were towing the PT Cruiser most of the way but figured removing that tow weight might be easier on the RV transmission. So, it was available for Diane to make a run to Wal*Mart to get some more transmission fluid for just one more effort to got that next 2 miles to home. There was just enough of everything to do that with nothing to spare beyond parking it off the street. What a trip. It took us 5 hours to make what is normally a 2 hour ride. But, we made it.

The next morning I got up and tried to figure out where all that fluid was going, but didn’t have any luck. So, I decided to do something else and went to our Lions Club meeting. I went alone because it was Diane’s bunco night with the girls. I told everyone at the meeting where she was, of course.

The next day, Tuesday, I went to visit one of the Legacy doctors at the local free clinic to make sure I didn’t have any STD’s and to see if they could do something about my left arm which had been a problem all weekend. I made an appointment the previous day so they were expecting me.

After poking, prodding, and asking a zillion questions it was determined that I needed to have an MRI of my left shoulder and X-rays of my left wrist to see what was up. The X-ray was done right away and the next day I received the news that my left wrist was severely diseased. I know that sounds kind of like my wrist was in such terrible shape that my hand was in danger of falling off. Not quite the case. It’s just that those little tunnels in the wrist bones through which blood vessels pass to give me warmth and feeling to my hand are severely restricted which causes my hand to be cold most of the time and to ache pretty much all the time. It’s been that way for about 20 years. I’ve tried to get doctors to amputate it, but none of them would because all the fingers still worked. So, I’ve just lived with it. You may be happy to know that I don’t have any STD’s. I know Diane is.

But the shoulder was something else … It keeps me awake long into the night and wakes me up sometimes when I finally to get to sleep. It needs to go, too, but I know I’ll have to keep it. So, I’m curious to learn the results of the MRI I had yesterday. At 0715 in the morning. That means we had to leave town at 0615 to make sure I made it on time.

Since I don’t normally do well in MRI machines, I was given a Valium to ease the tension, allowing me to lie very still with no fear that I would have to claw my way out of that tube before it collapsed in on me. Nope. It all went just fine and I was deemed to be a model patient for that procedure.

Later that afternoon we went to school to watch another one of Lydia’s soccer games. Unfortunately, they lost 1-0. It was a good game. Directly after the game Diane took me home to get my car so I could drive myself to my American Legion Meeting at the Moose Lodge. It’s been deemed advisable for me to attend those meetings because I’m the Sgt. At Arms for the group and I’m sure you can imagine how rowdy a bunch of old Viet Nam vets can get when they’re off their meds.

That brings us up to today and the news that I discovered the reason all the transmission fluid disappeared. There’s a little rubber tub connected to the bottom of the radiator and a rigid line running to the left side of the transmission. There’s a matching tub on the right side of the radiator that is flexible indicating it’s been replaced. The one on the right was hard like a rock and it was leaking around the brass fitting. So, I took it off. In doing so it pretty much fell apart. I took the pieces to both of our auto parts places, NAPA and CarQuest and neither of them could produce a replacement. Turns out I’ll have to take it to a specialist and have one custom-made. Maybe tomorrow.

This evening we decided to attend the Scappoose High School football game because they are playing really well. They are 11-0 on the season and made it 12-0 after stomping Seaside 55-6. The tone was set when Seaside kicked off and Scappoose ran it back for the first touchdown. During the course of the game Scappoose intercepted 3-4 passes and ran most of those back for touchdowns, too. It was pretty bad. So bad, that we found ourselves hoping Seaside would score at least once, which they did.

Now it’s late and I must quit. Need to rest up so I can search Portland and the surrounding area for a place that will make the connector I need to resurrect the Winnebago. When that’s done, it’s going on the blocks and we’re going to buy a trailer.

Diane’s Truck

After seven months of driving around in abject luxury in the form of a new Chevy Impala, we pulled the plug and traded it for the vehicle Diane really wanted all along.

Turns out the truck is more comfortable than the Impala. No doubt there will be more about this later.

Can’t wait to make my first dump run in it.

IMG_0209 IMG_0210 IMG_0211

Politics & Academy Awards

Every once in a while I have this flash of memory about elections and the quality of movies, but I’m never at my computer when that happens. If you were my bride, you’d say, “Jerrie! Make a reminder note!” That’s actually a great idea but the flaw with such notes is the need to remember to look at it when it’s most useful. That never works with me. Writing a note and placing it by my computer works just about as well – it gets lost in the clutter surrounding my keyboard. The next obvious solution is to have an alarm associated with the reminder but those only go off in church when I forget to turn off the sound on my phone. That makes my first wife cranky. So, I don’t do that.

Now, here I sit, having said all that as a prelude to my totally infallible solution for electing public officials or for determining how great any movie is.

It’s all about money.

All the movie reviews you see any more begin with how much money a newly released movie brings in over its first weekend which is, sadly, equated with popularity, not quality. Makes me want to run right out and see the movies that earn the most money no matter how crappy it might be. Because of this, the obvious solution to awarding Oscars, Emmys, and whatnot, is to determine which movie earned themes money over the course of an entire year, since the last awards show, and award all prizes to the actors, producers, directors, etc., for that movie. Pretty simple, huh?

The same is true for politics. The news is all about how much any given politician has received in donations to his campaign for pretty much any office. You hear it all the time in. Therefore, why not award any office to the one who gets the most instead of wasting all our time casting votes that don’t seem to make much difference?

Or, better yet, how about having a lottery system at a designated point late in a campaign where there are only two balls in play. One ping-pong ball says “Hi”, the other says “Low”. If “Hi” wins, so does the candidate with the most donations. Conversely, if “Low” shows up, the candidate with the least donations wins.

What makes this interesting is that none of the candidates, or their contributors will have any idea what will happen so it’s a crap shoot either way.

If we stick with voting, I suggest we limit qualified votes for President to only those cast in states east of Omaha, Nebraska because by the time anyone west of there votes, the outcome has already been determined. For us on the Left Coast, why bother?

OK. I’m through whining, now.

Random Memories Of Recent Events

I recently re-discovered a nifty bit of knowledge that probably most men of my age already know and didn’t forget. That would be this … before applying any kind of analgesic, especially if it smells like wintergreen, to you old, sore muscles, take care of personal needs that require you to grasp the business end of your urinary tract. If you forget, remember to perform a surgical scrub after the fact before taking care of such personal matters. Failing to do both of these will result in a great deal of discomfort that will not quickly go away no matter how hard you scrub it. Additionally, if you’re married, or involved in a long-term relationship, there’s a distinct possibility that you may have to vacate your home for a week, or two, because of their inability to stop laughing. Leaving the room seems to diminish the glee, but returning always gets it started again. They always laugh, then they tell all their friends. Seems like we men  should have some sort of legal recourse, but we apparently don’t. But, I’m still looking. So far, my best solution is to move in to the RV for a while until things calm down.

Junior and I went golfing the other day. Doug didn’t show up because he’s out in the woods with his weapon looking for Bambi. It’s hunting season. So, Junior and I decided we’d golf really well, which we did. Legally. Had Doug been there I might have had a chance to beat him. When he’s with us he insists on keeping score ensuring he never gets beat.

The fresh water leaks in the old RV have been repaired, and a new shelf was manufactured to replace the one I righteously destroyed in the process. When those things are put together there’s no consideration given to the possibility that someone might need to fix something. Consequently, some parts must be sacrificed for the greater good, no matter how useful they might be. The solution involved replacing small portions of the water line with new PEX connectors and fixing the sink drain. Twice. I had to fix the drain twice because it made me mad and I broke something. I needed to go to ACE anyway.

We went to Crosscut Hardwoods in Portland and bought a bunch of oak wood so I can create and install sills and casings for the new windows. We got about 140 board feet of lumber, three of which were 11 feet long, and it all fit in the Impala with the trunk closed which amazed both of us. I almost didn’t get any because this store is a woodworkers dream and I was a bit overwhelmed in the same way that Diane gets overwhelmed when she walks into Best Buy and is confronted with a very large wall of TVs that are all on the same channel. Crosscut is a large store with racks and racks of exotic wood from all over the world. There were so many choices, and pretty wood to touch, making it tough finding the simple oak I needed. Perseverance paid off, however, and I finally trundled out my $293 load of wood to the car and my lovely bride who was waiting for me. She had a great opportunity to ditch me, but she didn’t. Here’s the wood laying on my shop floor, blocking Diane’s way to he Girl Room.

IMG_0200

The RV holding tank (black) has been kinda repaired with fiberglass. Once it dried I determined that I’d need to do it again because my effort to make it OK with one big piece of fiberglass was the wrong choice. So, I’ll use a bunch of small, overlapping pieces and that should take care of it. There will be no further reporting on this topic unless I run out of other stuff to share.

Our new tarp garage has been completed. It’s 10 x 20 feet and has plenty of room for the tow doll, the lawn mower, and pretty much anything else I might decide to put in it. The next task will be to take all the yard tools out there and devise a good way of making them presentable for use at a moments notice without a lot of searching. Since I don’t mind searching for the proper tool, I just leaned them all against a saw horse I set up. I’m going to put all 452 of Diane’s plant pots out there, too. And her gloves. That should get me in trouble. Maybe I’ll build some shelves one of these days in my spare time, too.

IMG_0199

That’s enough for now except to report that fall is officially here. Oure dogwood tree said so.

IMG_0201

Gilligan Nicole Lynn Cate & Mason

Today Gilligan turned 8-years-old.  Seems like just yesterday this was her …

100_1220

100_1969… and here she is just a couple of years later.

DSC_4682

She’s having a great time in school and doing great. We had her party yesterday and she got to choose the meal. So, we had breakfast … eggs, bacon, and french toast. Pretty simple stuff.  Because it was Sunday, and Gramma Diane is a Lutheran, she tossed in an egg casserole. It was really good.

On another note, Lydia found this guy hanging around their house and brought him to the party. His name is Mason and he’s a varsity football player. He’s one of the really good guys. It’s good to be 16.

DSC_4722

Actually, Lydia didn’t find him hanging around their house. He went to church with the family yesterday so was in the vicinity legally. We’ve met him previously by were all very happy to see him again.