Why Electricity is Good

It’s December 27th, our 7th day without benefit of a functioning furnace and a fully functional kitchen stove.It’s almost 2 pm and it’s been snowing pretty much all day. Thankfully, the temperature which started out around 37 is still hovering above freezing at 34. But, it’s going down, and the snow has started to stick.

Perhaps you’re wondering what’s going on. Since you asked, I will be happy to tell you.

Last Monday, December 21st, we experienced a very exciting wind storm that nearly blew me away while attempting to secure the portable storage thing we have. Our neighbor, Scott, was helping me because he’s not sure I should be doing anything physical  by myself, as does Diane. During the securing process, which amounted to taking all 8 legs off the sides to get it as low as possible, we heard trees snapping and falling, then there was a very loud explosion nearby. My first thought was that a transformer had exploded, but investigation revealed that it was probably an arc caused when the top half of a 50 foot pine tree snapped off and was deposited neatly, upside down, on top of all the power lines directly across the street from our house. It would have dropped all the way to the ground had not one of the top branches hooked the line to our house, bending our weather head, and parting the tension cable which also serves as the neutral side of our power from the power company. Scott figured out that we didn’t have the neutral line by applying his electrician skills.

The investigation was begun because we only had 50-100+ vac at our outlets which isn’t enough to run most anything that required electricity. Oddly, however, it was enough to charge our phones, and to keep the wifi running so we weren’t totally destitute in the technology department. We were connected, and our phone worked.

When the explosion occurred outside, Diane was in the kitchen and was subjected to an explosion of her own when the electronics in our stove blew up causing the unmistakable smell of fried electronics to fill the house. Fortunately, the stove has gas burners so the fried electronics aspect simply meant we couldn’t use the oven and the little igniters for the burners didn’t function. But, we have matches so we were able to use the stove stop.

Another loss was the furnace. It didn’t work. But, we have a gas fireplace so we were warm in the living room. Freezing in the bedrooms, but warm in the living room. As of today, the fireplace has been burning pretty much non-stop for 5 days. I’m sure NW Natural Gas will be very happy about that.

Full power was finally restored Friday around 7:30 pm. They finally responded to my third call for assistance, but with the fancy new meters we have, they could tell it was still running so deemed that we had electricity so marked us as OK. Finally, after watching Facebook for restoration updates – yes, the power company was communicating with customers via Facebook – they were down to the last 10 customers a couple hours previously and asked that those still without power to call. So I called, and explained our situation, in detail, for the third time. I had also submitted photos of the damage, and an explanation about the loss of neutral which were acknowledged. Finally, on the last call, linemen were dispatched to check us out and discovered that they couldn’t do it alone. So another bucket truck was called in to assist. Between the two of them they got the tree removed from the lines without further damage, and they spliced the neutral line which provided us with full power. Finally.

Tomorrow we’ll contact the furnace people, and someone to look at the stove so we can find out what the damages are.

During this power outage I had only  one occasion where I needed to get out of my pajamas. That was Christmas Eve when we attended the candle lite service at our church. Diane and I sang in the choir, as did Jennifer and Lydia. We all wore choir robes but Diane failed to see the logic in allowing me to attend in my PJ’s even though no one would have known. So, I wore jeans. I even shaved, and everything.

Our neighbors, Scott & Whitney, helped save our refrigerator by running an extremely long extension cord from their garage to ours so that it had full power. With that exception, we managed to eke through a couple of nights watching TV on 50-117 vac which kinda amazed me. I expected that the TV would implode any minute, but i didn’t. Seems to be just fine.

Another big deal that happened is that we got Ziva back from Jeff and family. She’s been having some issues with the other dogs in his house so we thought it would be best if we took her back to see what would happen. Turns out she’s all calmed down now, and doesn’t have the wanderlust to leave the yard. That’s really good because I’m sure it would have been really cold out there chasing her in my jammies. All is well.

This afternoon around 1:30 pm Diane deserted me to go get Jennifer so they could go to Portland to see the “So You Think You Can Dance” tour. They go whenever it comes to Portland which is a good Mother Daughter event. It was OK because I was invited to go see the new Star Wars movie with Daniel, Cedric, Larry, Lydia, Jeran, and Mason at 4:00 pm in Scappoose. I as going to pick up Jeff on the way to the Walters’ home but he was still out in the forest somewhere playing in the snow with the girls. So, it was just the seven of us.

It was a terrific movie and I can’t wait to see the next one.

Now I’m back home and must wait patiently for Diane’s return. The roads are nasty, it’s snowing, it’s freezing, and they won’t be home until 10 pm or so, 2.5 hours away.  I trust Diane’s driving, but not the driving of those with whom she must share the road. Not all of them are driving with a full awareness of how to drive in inclement weather, or that they, gee, aren’t the only ones on the road. Until she safely returns all I must do is refrain from eating a bunch of stuff I really don’t need. I already did that at the movie by ingesting the lions portion of a very large popcorn.

Now I wait.

What’s the difference between arrogance and stupidity?

What I did today:

  1. Resurrected an old battery-powered train engine for the train that runs around our Christmas tree.
  2. Emptied my suitcase of all the stuff I brought back from Hawaii yesterday.
  3. Paid all the bills that were waiting for us.
  4. Got a virus, or two, on my Apple computer. Ran a never ending virus scan to isolate and remove them using CLAMX. I don’t know how I wound up with that but it seems to work pretty good.
  5. Cleaned all the hair out of Diane’s shower drain. This is something I should put on my monthly to-do list. Considering how much hair I get out of her drain each time I can only wonder why she isn’t bald yet. It’s pretty amazing.
  6. Worked on wood projects by sanding things that I’ve glued together.
  7. Installed electric Christmas Penguins on and by the front porch.
  8. On my handy dandy Bing home page I read the news about Ash Carter using his personal email to conduct official business, just like Hillary did.

#9 brings me to the topic noted in the title of this post. Are these people just stupid, or arrogant enough to feel they are above he law? Why would any of us tax paying citizens elect someone who chooses to make their own rules when it comes to conducting business supposedly to benefit those who elected them?

Sadly, in the case of Ash Carter, we can’t hold him to the same standards because he was appointed by the president, not elected. Therefore, I can only conclude that the Appointer must bear the burden Ash’s inability to follow some pretty simple rules.

Further more, while watching all of the on-going commotion amongst the candidates vying for the honor of being the Top Dog of this amazing country we have, I’ve decided that, since I’m too late to jump into the race this time, in 2020 I’m going to lie about my age, my military and work history, and tons my hat into the proverbial ring. I can hear all of you saying to yourselves, “where will you get the millions, and millions of dollars necessary to properly represent the country?”

Well, I’m counting on whichever candidate wins to make that easy peasy for us peons by allowing Crowd Funding to cover the charges. Maybe that’s legal already, I really don’t know. If it is, I’ve not heard of anyone using it although some may be using it and just aren’t telling anyone about it.

My qualifications speak for themselves.

  1. As I’ve already mentioned, the first thing I’m going to do is lie about my age. This puts me ahead of most candidates because I’m accomplished liar who isn’t afraid to admit it and I won’t claim it was an oversight. I actually do it on purpose.
  2. I already have gray hair so there’s no way that anything happening on my watch will make me look any older than the age I’m going to give on my filing papers. Those watching will perceive that I handle stress in an amazing way which will allow them to consider that I’m the ideal candidate to have in bad situations
  3. My main platform will be that I will strive to eliminate all borders surrounding our country by working with the Canadian and Mexican governments to align with the US and form a new country that includes all properties of our three countries. My suggestion for the new name will is MexiCanUs. I haven’t worked out the details of what the flag will look like but feel that it would be OK if each former country continued to fly current flag. Eliminating the borders will, I know, cause a problem for all companies concerned with making chain link fences, those who are employe to protect our respective  borders, and all DMV offices.
  4. I will campaign for a flat 10% tax for all residents of the new nation. No deductions will be allowed. Just straight 10% for everyone based on how much they earn during the year regardless of where they earned it or where they hide it. There will be no need to refund overpayments because there won’t be anything to refund right away.
  5. The current IRS employees will be released. They will be replaced by one of the small CPA firms who wish to add their names to the pool from which a winner will be drawn at random. This new firm will be responsible for managing the budgets for all departments of the government which themselves will be cleaned up and minimized to make them more functional.
  6. At the end of each year the chosen CPA firm will refund all excess funds to those who paid taxes. Each filer will receive the same amount of refund.

That’s just a little bit of what I plan to do. There will be more once I determine which one of my friends will be the vice president. I’m sure he or she will have some good ideas. I’ll probably ask all of the possible choices what they think we should do.

Hey! Since this is published to Facebook, and I have almost 300 friends there, perhaps some of you would like to chime in with ideas. Couldn’t hurt.

Now I must stop and let my brain rest.

Hilton Waikaloa Village

Today I got up early and stepped out onto the balcony to see what the weather was like. It was really nice, and there were no clouds obstructing Mauna Kea. I could even see the Keck Observatory right on the tippy top. Hard to believe that that mountain is 13,756 feet tall. I mean, look at it. Those palm trees are taller than that!


Diane got up shortly after I did and suggested that we start eating as much of the food we have left as we can so our luggage won’t be so heavy when we check in for our flight home tomorrow. All we have left to eat tomorrow morning is 4 eggs, two pieces of bread, most of a jar of peanut butter, a bunch of crackers, three apples, a bag of chips, and 3 more bottles of wine. We should be done with that in a few hours.

After breakfast we drove over to the Waikaloa Village side of this massive complex to check out the dolphin pool ($250 to pet them), and to see if our favorite covered lounge chairs were available so we could hang out and watch the sunset.

When we got to the entrance, the shuttle train was just sitting there waiting for us. Since we needed to travel to the extreme far side to the best sunset viewing area, we got on the train and rode it all the way to the end, to the building that looks like three of the olympic ring circles from space. Or the front end of an Audi. When it’s following you really close.

The lounge chair pair we wanted were kind of isolated on a little hill and it, as did all of the other lounge chairs located along the water side of the area, had little signs on them that they must be reserved. Seeing a little booth not far away, I wandered over to see what was necessary to secure our coveted lounge chairs. That’s where I met Kona. Before discussing chairs I mentioned that he had a cool name and asked if it was really his name or a stage name. He said it’s really his. I let him know that I thought it was an absolutely, totally appropriate name for a young man, who works at Waikoloa, not far from Kona, to be named Kona. What a coincidence. IMG_2717

Kona told me the lounge chairs cost $58 for the day and they come with a cabana boy or girl who would supply water, drinks, and food as necessary for the duration of our stay. Talking it over with my lovely bride, we decided $58 didn’t seem bad since we hadn’t spent much on anything else, so I went back and told Kona we’d take it. He said that since it was really slow people wise, if we waited until 2:00 pm it would be half price. He said that because he knew we were going back to our room for a while to eat lunch and that it would probably take an hour.

Back at the room we had a microwave prepared tuna macaroni and cheese casserole which was extremely good. Ir had to be done in the micro because we didn’t have a real oven to work with. It worked out well because my bride is a crafty cook. By the time we got done it was after 2:00 pm. By the time we got back to the sunset viewing area it was after 2:30, but our lounge chair choice, #5, was still vacant so I went to Kona’s little booth and attempted to book it for the remainder of the afternoon. He declined, telling me that it was so late, and there weren’t many people around, to just use it, no charge. I tipped him $10, which he was very reluctant to take, and went back to #5 where my bride awaited my return.

We settled ourselves, and began the wait by drinking water and trying to avoid looking directly at the sun which was right in front of us. It was very bright and made our eyes burn. Literally. They burned. It was distressing to me so I reclined my chair and closed my eyes for a short nap. For that I will no doubt pay dearly tomorrow when I awake with blisters on my nipples and around my belly button. It’s going to hurt a great deal, I’m sure, but they will hopefully keep me warm when we return to Oregon tomorrow afternoon where its way less than 86 degrees. And not sunny. Or dry.IMG_2762

The sun went down, as planned, and it was pretty, but not overly dramatic. Still, it was very nice to be sitting in the same place we spent on our 45th wedding anniversary trip. Sunsets in Hawaii are special no matter if they are dramatic or not. That’s especially true when you’re with your one true love. As was I.

After the sun was gone we groped our way back to one of the bridges, took a wrong turn, and wound up at a boat dock where a boat was just being loaded. That was very good because it meant we wouldn’t have to walk all the way back to the entrance which was about a mile away. Really. It’s about a mile.

The boat ride was very nice. We got back to our assigned vehicle and headed out of the parking area but had to stop at the entrance to get a good look at all the palm trees that were decorated for Christmas. Very festive.IMG_2777

Then it was back to our room where we decompressed and went to bed for our last night on the island. It’s been a very good, relaxing vacation. It always is over here. One day soon we hope to have all the kids come with us so they can experience it with us.

Here’s a natural swimming area where folks can visit with the fish and turtles. It’s connected directly to the ocean but completely safe for kids and old people. Snorkelers abound in this pool.


This waterfall is at the end of the swimming area. The path goes behind the water should one choose to walk instead of swim to the other side.IMG_2733

Mauna Kea, Lunch With Friends, and Kua Cove

Yesterday we got up early and headed for the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea. As we expected, the trip was pleasant, uneventful, and beautiful. We traveled roads not commonly used by the natives except to transfer equipment the short way from Hilo to Kona and other west coast areas. Sounds busy, but it wasn’t. hardly any traffic at all.

Getting to the observatory is pretty simple, and I said it was uneventful, but that was a lie. It was eventful in a way that we didn’t actually think all the way through. When one travels on the great land of Hawaii, though it’s extremely warm when one starts, the temperature drops dramatically as one begins to seriously elevate up the inline leading to the top. It was 86 degrees all over my body when we went to the vehicle and 59 when we reached the 9,000 foot elevation where the base camp resides. We spent 1.5 hours in this small facility watching a video about the observatory and reading all the warning signs about altitude sickness and the scary things that could happen to those brave souls who actually choose to go all the way to the 13,786 elevation. From our personal experience at the top of Pike’s Peak, and the fact that we were both exhibiting mild signs of altitude sickness (headache, disorientation, etc.) we thought a trip to the top would be better accomplished in the company of a group that is chauffeured by someone who probably won’t get dizzy when driving that high up. So, that’s on our bucket list for another trip. We’ll book a tour one day.

While pondering all the alternatives available, the fog rolled in and the temperature dropped to 50 degrees and it was just, simply, cold. Since there was absolutely no way we were going to pay $66 for a $15 sweatshirt, we returned to the car and headed back down the hill. Again, the traffic was very sparse on the two lane roads we chose to use and made a stop in Waimea, a place Diane decided we could easily live. It’s a great town.

In the evening we perched ourselves on our balcony and enjoyed the cool breeze until it tuned in to a wind storm, at which time we went inside, trading outside relaxing for inside relaxing.

Today, December 16th, we had plans to visit Kua Cove on our way to Kona for a 1:00 pm lunch date with Jewel and John. Sadly, we discovered that we were truly on Hawaiian time, and got out of our room with just enough time to get there. Actually, we got there with time to spare. That was good because we weren’t quite sure we had the correct location. The Bite Me Seafood Bar & Grill was the destination, but Google Maps terminated too soon. Like 300 feet too soon so there was a bit of investigation needed to find the right place. We were at the harbor where, it seems, all of the Kona fishing expeditions originate. Nestled just around the corner from where the GPS dumped us was the BMSB&G, just on the other side of a really high-end-looking restaurant which had, it turns out, the restrooms used by BMSB&G customers.IMG_2677

Bite Me turned out to be an incredible choice because the food was exceptional and we had privacy that allowed us to visit with Jewel and John, whom we hadn’t seen for three years. Jewel, as some of you may know, and I went to school and graduated from high school together in Scappoose in 1962. It’s nice to have friends in the area who know the neat spots to and visit and places where the natives go to eat.

We bought hats …IMG_2667

After lunch we walked down to the water, away from the moorage area, to look for turtles. We didn’t see any, but we knew they were there. The girls found an interesting piece of worn coral and Jewel placed it near the path for others to enjoy …IMG_2674

We had a great visit with our friends, sadly parted, then headed back up the coast to Kua Cove. We got there and found that the place we’ve been using to sit was open, so we planted ourselves and stayed there reading, and people watching, until the sun went down at 1749, according to my iPhone.IMG_2706

In parting, I found this bumper sticker in Kona that gave me pause for concern …IMG_2671

December 14th @ the Beach

A day at the beach was our primary objective today. We spent the morning at our favorite one …


it’s not on any of the tourist maps and there’s not even a sign on the highway to alert the unwary about its existence. Our friend Jewel told us about it the last time we were over here. It looks a little rugged with all the large pieces of lava scattered around, but it’s incredibly beautiful. Small, with not many people. Almost all of them wore complete bathing suits.IMG_2628

Some didn’t.IMG_2635

… but I didn’t mind.

After we left the beach we BBQ’d steaks for lunch then spent the rest of the day laying by the pool.


It was a good day.

We’ve already decided that we’re going to spend part of every day at our beach so there will be more photos to share.

Oh, wait! Here’s another one already …

Toilet Seats

As Cedric once told me, when I demonstrated to him how some of the Tupperware we have will snap together, “My life is now complete,” because I have had the pleasure of seeing, and using, an electric toilet seat. Yes, it plugs into the wall, and it has its own dedicated water supply.


Now, some folks may find it a bit disconcerting to sit on a toilet seat that is connected to a wall socket in order to run a water pump that sprays water onto some very delicate areas of ones’ body. In the end, however, this may ultimately be the best answer to the worlds’ dwindling supply of toilet paper. Yes, it also has a dryer that expels a pleasing fragrance to replace the odoriferous expellation that recently erupted from the target area.


Now, I understand that what I saw is just a new rendition of a traditional bidet, but the old ones use cold water, work only as good as the water pressure allows, and the need of someone willing fan the area involved … or, perhaps, a nice downy soft towel in the hands of an incredibly gentle and friendly person.

This historic encounter occurred yesterday when we checked into our designated abode on the great island of Hawaii. Nowhere we’ve visited in the lower 48 have we encountered such appliances.

Leaving you with that bit of information, I find that it’s necessary to stop and prepare a traditional Hawaiian breakfast of scrambled eggs and spam before we go to the beach.

Have a good day.

Tetanus Shots & Table Saws

For the past month or so, Diane has been battling bronchitis. She’s had a horrible time with it and it seems to happen every year at this time when things turn really wet outside. It’s always a concern for me because when she’s making me a sandwich and coughing I fear that I may be the next victim. So far that hasn’t happened, probably because I convinced her to visit her doctor a couple of weeks ago and she got some antibiotics to help her fight this. After three days on the antibiotics I was confident that she was no longer contagious and allowed he to resume her sandwich making duties. She’s been slowly improving since then and is almost back to her normal self.

Yesterday she had her followup visit with the doctor to see how things were going. After she left I got to thinking that it’s been a number of years since I had my last tetanus shot. Now, that’s not normally something I think about, but it gave me something to consider as I went down to my shop to continue work on a couple of projects I have going for Christmas.

Within 10 minutes, during which time I was able to make a series of boards, with angled edges of precisely 11.5 degrees, on my table saw. On the very last cut the table saw snatched the perfectly good leather glove of my left hand and gnawed a large chunk from the forefinger area. Due to the pain which accompanied the destruction of my glove I was pretty certain there was physical damage involved. My well honed reactions to events of this nature cause me to make a tight fist of my left hand and clutch it to my chest in a manner that, had anyone been present, may have indicated I was suffering a cardiac event.

Before the pain subsided, I turned off the saw, and the shop vac that was connected to it in order to suck all the sawdust away from the saw, and headed for my car in order to make yet another visit to the emergency room. It took longer than necessary to get out of the house because I couldn’t find my phone, which was on the work bench in the shop. Once I remembered where the phone was, I checked to ensure the dogs had full water bowls and that the cat had food (she drinks from the dog’s bowls), got my car keys and headed down the hill

Because I had my left hand clutched to my chest I decided that I didn’t want to fuss over how to get my seat belt strapped around me so, throwing caution to the wind, headed down the hill without it. It feels really odd to drive without a seat belt. It’s just not normal. But I did it.

Instead of going directly to the emergency room, I parked by Diane’s truck on the other side of the building thinking she would know something was up when she saw my car. To ensure there was no confusion, however, I went into the reception area and asked one of the ladies to please give Diane a message about where I was so she would know why my car was there. Then I walked around the building to the emergency side of things.

Walking into the emergency room with my hand clutched to my chest, I knew, would create a stir, so I just said “table saw”, to the first person I saw so they wouldn’t get the wrong idea about the reason for my visit. Those two little words granted me front of the line priority and, after a very brief check in, I was rushed to a room beyond the normally locked doors where things happen.

Since I’ve done this before, a number of times, and most recently for the same finger, I know the procedure, and most of the people helping me. I assumed a prone position, in my well used work clothes, on a nice white sheet, then opened my fist so the nurse could get the glove off and check the damage. From precious experience I knew that my clutching method would stem the flow of blood to a minimum so wasn’t surprised when none came pouring out when the glove was removed.

Here’s what it looked like …


Notice the nice 1/8″ kerf. Since I’d never seen the interior of my finger before, I was quite fascinated.

A nice young lady, who claimed to not be a doctor, but a PA, checked out my wound and determined that she could save it. During her investigation, she asked about the status of my tetanus vaccination and I reported that that particular shot was one of the reasons for my visit because it’s been about 7 years since my last one and figured another one was due. Oddly, that coincided with my last visit to that same room, for issues with the same forefinger.Then she gave me a shot to deaden the finger, telling me I’d feel a little pinch when she inserted the needle. I assured her, when it was done, that what I felt wasn’t too bad, but it certainly wasn’t like a pinch. She laughed. Then my finger went to sleep before the pain took over my senses.

Diane arrived to keep me company around this time and I was happy that she wasn’t mad at me. And, she had good news that, though she had infection in her eustachian tube, the bronchitis was much better. I love being with my wife, even in an emergency room.

Actually, the most severe pain was at the moment of impact with the saw blade as I felt each tooth tearing into my finger as it spun. Nasty. Still, it was nice to have it numb.

Then one of the nurses came in and administered the new tetanus shot, in my right shoulder area, after which another nurse arrived with equipment she used to scrub the be-Jesus out of the wound, ensuring there were no stray little bits of leather or wood chips hanging around. I didn’t watch because I knew she was doing a very thorough job and I didn’t want to vomit on my chest. It wasn’t until then that my right shoulder began hurting a little from the injection.

When the scrubbing was done, the PA returned with the stitch kit she needed to repair the damage. As she entered, the lights flickered a bit, and everyone was commenting about the odd smell in the air. For me, it had a distinctive bakelite smell indicative of some sort of electronic equipment failure. My friend, “The Plant Electrician”, is no doubt well acquainted with that telling aroma. After a short time the fire alarm sounded and everyone vacated the building, out into the rain, to await the fire department.

A nurse quickly wrapped a bunch of gauze around my finger and Diane went to get her truck to bring it around so we could sit and wait. I was thankful for that as I watched everyone huddled outside in the rain. They could have gone to their cars, too, but they didn’t.

Finally the fire department showed up …


… and they shooed everyone away from the building, out into the rain. Apparently standing under the shelter of the entry area wasn’t a good idea. So, everyone left, but we were allowed to stay, sitting in the truck.


That’s my PA, Kimberly, in the white coat. In front of her, is another Diane that I’ve known a long time, and to her left is Kimberly’s scribe, Beth. I don’t know where they went, but I regret not offering them all a seat in the truck to await the outcome of this event. I’m sure Kimberly could have stitched me up while we waited.

Finally, after about an hour, long enough for my finger to heal, we were allowed back into the building where we assumed our previous positions. Mike, an ex Navy Corpsman, provided us with warm blankets which felt really good.

After everything settled down, and things were moving back to normal, Kimberly reappeared to resume her task. Because of the delay in finishing the procedure, we both thought it would be a good idea if she added a bit more numbing agent before getting busy with the stitches. While doing so, I learned from idle chatter in the hallway that I was the cause of the need to evacuate because everything was going just fine until I got there. Having broad shoulders, figuratively speaking, I figured I could accept that responsibility and ease the burden a little for the real culprit who drove his vehicle into a power pole somewhere nearby.

Six stitches are now holding my finger together. That makes 21 stitches total for that one digit in its lifetime. None of its neighboring digits have ever been stitched up so it has the record, hands down.

I sincerely hope every one of you who have suffered through this narrative are in good health and will continue to enjoy that state of being for the remainder of your lives.

Now I must heal.