From a Flawless Plan to an Adventure

The plan was:

  • Jennie to take Cedric to Sandy for double-header – Lydia was to pitch both games – and Diane and I would meet them there.
  • After the games, take Cedric back to his ship, USS Nimitz CVN-68, in Bremerton, WA.
  • Diane would drive Jennie’s car home while we headed north to Bremerton.

Simple plan, right? Well, it morphed quickly into the Adventure when Diane returned home from her dermatologist in the morning with lots of burned, crispy spots on her neck and doctor’s orders to remain out of the sun for 4 days. Considering the way the sun shines around here, that could take a couple of weeks. When I returned from golfing, which I did while Diane was at the dermatologist, she said she wouldn’t be going to the games which changed the entire plan for driving Cedric back to his ship.

The new plan was for me to drive Jennie and Cedric to the game, then just head north after the games. Simple, right? Well, to get ready, I had about an hour to mow the front yard, shower, and pick up Lydia and Cedric for the 1.25 hour trip to Sandy. Traffic was horrendous and it took 2 hours so we missed the first inning. It was OK because Lydia wasn’t pitching. Brooklyn was! Shock. She was supposed to have been off doing her Columbia County Rodeo Queen responsibilities. So, the six seniors got to play two more games together. Lydia pitched the first 3 innings of the second game then moved to first base.

Left to right: Brooklyn (pitcher), Kayla (3rd base), Bailey (left field), Ceiarra (1st Base), Mercedes (catcher), Lydia (any position needed)

Towards the end of the game Cedric gave us a huge sigh, hung his head, and reported that he had forgotten his keys at home. That required another change to the plans. Instead of going directly north via the freeways, we had to detour back through St. Helens. This increased the 3 hour trip to 4 hours. He had also forgotten one of his hats. OK, it happens, so we just dealt with it and went on about the business of watching the rest of the game.

Before leaving, Cedric had time to say good-bye to Lydia who was going home on the bus with the team. She got very emotional knowing she wouldn’t see him until next February, at the earliest. She cried, something she rarely does. For that reason, and others related to female hormones, some of her team mates started crying too. It wasn’t long before many of them were crying in support of Lydia’s sadness, and Cedric was getting hugs from many of the girls who don’t even know him, wishing him luck. It was a Kodak moment the coaches couldn’t ignore so they gathered the team for a picture of them crying and laughing. Cedric was very touched by it all, as were we.

Then something happened off to my left that caused a reaction that soothed the crowd.

With all this emotion going on Coach Little told Jennie to just take Lydia home with us, which we did. She slept with her head in Cedric’s lap most of the way. During the trip it Lydia said she’d like to go to Bremerton with us because she’d never been on a navy base and would like to see Cedric’s ship. School on Friday was the only issue but Jennie resolved that quickly and the deal was done. Lydia was going with us.

We got to St. Helens around 2030, Lydia got a go bag while Cedric passed out more hugs with his brothers, Jeran …

… and Ahmed …

… and away we went. It was dark, nothing to see, and Jennie drove from home to Bremerton. We got on base no problem, and dropped Cedric at his ship’s liberty gate. Lots of lights but not a photo-op.

Then we went in search of the Navy Gateway Inn and Suites (NGIS). It took an hour to find it and required the help of a person on the phone guiding us while she used a map of the base. While looking for parking I noticed signs indicating the spots we’re reserved for NGIS which looked suspiciously like NCIS so I didn’t park in them. Finally, I looked closer and noticed it was for the hotel and gratefully parked.

When checking in I bantered with the desk clerk, Randy, and learned he was born on Guam. Jennie piped up, “I was too. In Agana!” she said. What a small world even though Jennie was born there about 20 years before Randy.

Room had one bed and a recliner. Lydia, to be kind, said she wanted the recliner but I declined her the recliner and reclined in it quite comfortably the entire nite while the two girls, one of whom forget her Jammies, rested nicely on the queen bed. Even though Lydia slept in the clothes she wore for the trip, she intentionally didn’t bring Jammies, so I guess it was Jennie’s Jammies that didn’t make the trip. It was OK. By the time we got the lights out, it was about 0100 and we were all dog-tired.

Got up about 1000, left the room, then went to the NEX for some trinkets to commemorate the journey. Then I drove them all over the base to get a good view of the USS Nimitz in the daylight so the girls could see it. Last night it was too dark to see it clearly.

Then we went to breakfast at Denny’s which was almost all the way north in Silverdale. We all ate quite well. Lydia had a bacon burger with avocado which I had doubts that she could wrap her mouth around …

… but she did …

Jennie had this, but didn’t want the sausage links …

… so I got them with my Denver omelette …

After breakfast, Jennie drove us south toward home, the long way through Shelton, because we didn’t want the freeway stress. About 50 miles from the finish, she cried Uncle and I took over to the end. She drove the lion’s share of the trip and didn’t scare me even once. I was proud of her. After I started driving it began raining harder, and harder causing me to run the wipers at full speed much of the time.

I got them home a little after 1500, waited for Lydia to get her softball gear, then took her back to school for practice. The team has one more game on Friday then they can put their softball gear away. Lydia will pitch the entire game Friday because Brooklyn is definitely done for the season.

I arrived home to an empty house because Diane is at the court house again, working with the election committee. Well, the house wasn’t really empty because the dogs were here, and they were very happy to see me. They’re always happy to see anyone, even if they’ve only been gone a couple of minutes.

Oh, and the hat Cedric forgot at home? He forgot it in the truck when he got his stuff to go to the ship. Lydia found it.

I was feeling pretty good until I put this all down on paper and now I’m tired again. If it was a little later, I’d go to bed but it’s only 1730, so I’m going just have a nap.

Oops! Diane just buzzed into the garage in the roadster so maybe a nap isn’t an option. I may have to go out and kill something for her to eat.

Lunch at the Senior Center

Today I accompanied Diane to the St. Helens Senior Center for lunch. Today was the day that some ladies from our humble little Bethany Lutheran Church served. They do this once a month. Today it was Diane, Jeannie, Sue, & Barb. There were other helpers, too, and I’ve been known to pitch in once in a while, myself. However, today Diane gave me $5 so I could just sign in and eat. I figured that was a sign I should stay out of their way. So I did. All the ladies working there were all excited about the ‘new’ car and wanted to see it. But, we didn’t drive it to the center. They were very disappointed and shunned us for a short period of time.

I sat down across from my friend, Richard, who knows the Bible probably better than the people who reportedly wrote it in the versions we see today. Richard conducts Bible study at our church every Sunday morning and his excitement and enthusiasm about sharing his knowledge is infectious. He’s an amazing man and I was blessed to have wound up across from him for lunch. In addition to having a terrific lunch, I received an education from a special person.

To my left sat Derek Anderson’s Grandpa. He lives just down the block, and around the corner from Diane’s Mom, Jean. Derek is a small town success story from Scappoose, where I grew up – long before Derek was around. He was a childhood friend and classmate of Sarah Jean Underwood who is also from Scappoose. She’s another success story of the kind boys in my classes dreamed about but never knew. Now that I’m older and wiser now I can honestly say I don’t feel that such an omission from my past was a loss. My classmates were all great, in all grades, except the ones who picked on me because I was small for my age. Yes, I was bullied. Quite a lot, actually, but, you know what, I didn’t realize it at the time. Bullies were an accepted aspect of growing up in the 50’s that served up character-building moments. I learned to deal with it by injecting humor into tense moments and that has served me well. I’ve done OK. Of the notable folks who bullied me, one became my best friend throughout high school, one went on to become a PhD kind of guy who has this absolutely awful limp-fish handshake that gives me the creeps, and I out-lived the rest of them. No, I had nothing to do with their demise. They just kinda withered away on their own.

So, it was a good lunch, and I lied about the girls shunning us. They’re great friends and were just disappointed they wouldn’t get to see it. Funny how little cars like that get folks excited.

After lunch I passed through the kitchen with Diane as she made her way out and she stopped to talk a lady who looked familiar. She knew Diane and she knew me. Diane was perplexed that this stranger knew who she was so asked for her name. I beat this stranger to the punch as her name passed clearly through the very small portion of my brain that provides me with information that I can confidently rely on as accurate. It’s like a flash of clarity that splashes answers on the inside of my forehead where it’s easier to read. “Kerry Kennedy!” I blurted, knowing I was right. Giving a slight nod, indicating I was correct, she added that she used to be Kennedy but is now Kelly. With this knowledge I surmised that she didn’t have to change any of the monograms on any of her linen because KK doesn’t care what the second K stands for. I don’t really think she had that thought in mind when selecting a husband, but it worked out OK for the linen.

Kerry and I were school classmates for all of my school years in Scappoose. Sadly, since I left Scappoose not long after graduating from high school, and remained gone for most of 27 years in the Navy, I missed the part where my classmates grew older with me. In my head, I’m the only one who got older. The result is that I just don’t recognize most of them when our paths crossed. I was so happy that I recognized Kerry and made this one small connection to my childhood.

I was also humbled to learn that Kerry reads my posts. When someone tells me this, I’m always amazed. I’ve said that before, and it’s always true. It’s a humbling experience for me to discover that someone other than family reads this stuff, and you are all over the map

So, to all of you who choose to bless me by spending your valuable time reading this, Thank You. It makes an old guy pretty happy. I still don’t know why strangers spend their time with me, but I’m at the point in my life where I’m finding that I know really need to know. I’ll just appreciate that folks find what I write interesting even though I tend to fib a little once in a while.

Now it’s time for bed. Diane said so.

G’nite.

Speed Run To Nampa

Last Saturday Diane decided we should take a trip to Nampa to visit Jim & Donna. The main underlying reason was to pick up her ‘new’ car that Jim checked out for us and deemed it to be in great shape. Based on his superior input, I made the deal and away we went. In addition to getting to spend some time with J & D, we also got visits from Daniel and his girlfriend, Stefany. Stefany was another reason for the visit because we needed to meet her and ensure she was worthy.

She most definitely is.

We also had to meet Birk, Tyler’s puppy, a Shitzoodle, or Pooshitz – we never came to an agreement on his heritage. Doesn’t matter because he’s adorable and full of mischief. He played with us for a while then went to explore the house. Saturday evening he managed to christen Donna’s living room, the one with no TV, with a firm #2. That was the indicator that it was time for Tyler and Birk to leave, which they did. It was good to see Tyler. He’s never been around in the past when we get permission to cross the Idaho border.

So, two goals met, only one more to go. That had to wait until after church on Sunday because it required that we drive to a secret address in Boise, where Ken lives, so we could buy his car. We did that then drove back to Nampa and had lunch at the Sizzler. It was a good choice because Jim got his wallet out before I did and we all ate well.

Then we took the car, who’s gas tank was empty, to Fred Meyer for petroleum, then back to the house to relax, sleep off lunch, and get to bed early so we could get up early this morning and get through Portland traffic before the rush hour.

It was a tough drive because we both had to drive the entire way. Very tiring, but we stopped more often than normal and made it home OK. Well, there was one semi truck driver who tried to kill me, but other than that, it was a great trip.

Here’s what we brought home …

It’s a 2005 Chrysler Crossfire Limited Roadster.

Now I really do need to get rid of there old truck.

60+ to 80+, a broken lawnmower, and other Stuff.

Yup! That’s what happened. The temps turned on a dime from a high of 60 something to 80 something. The weather things I’ve looked at show 81 for today, but our thermometers registered 86. Now, my challenge is to get my lawn mower cleaned up before the rain comes back day after tomorrow.

I don’t know if that’s going to happen, but it may as well. I thought I heard that we’ve had more than 141 days of measurable rain this year so far, a record. That’s kind of tricky, I think, because there have only been 123 days registered in 2017.

Could be I have no idea what I’m talking about which is not news. I rarely do. But, it’s fun trying to make sense of what I think I hear. Diane’s solution for that is for me to wear my hearing aid, but that takes all the fun out of it.

Now, the lawn mower … it’s the one that Floyd and Nancy bought for the church. Just recently it decided to not start so I tried to get people to dig out all the small engine repair people they know so we can take advantage of the good weather. Thankfully, Howard mowed the church yard so all we need to do is clean up the cut grass. Having the mower run would help.

Well, I didn’t get any valid offers of help, except from Don, so I went to school on YouTube and figured out how to do it myself. Armed with my new-found knowledge I took my tools to the church, rolled the mower out, yanked the engine out off the frame (with Howard’s help),

and dismantled the engine down to a bunch of little parts, just like I learned on YouTube.

Doing so revealed that the bad part is exactly the one I expected it to be based on my recent education, a dysfunctional cam shaft …

It looks nice and almost new, but there’s a part broken that helps get the engine past the first compression point during the start process. It was in little pieces in the bottom of the crank case. Now I have to get a new one and figure out how to get everything back together again. I need to do that fast because I’ll forget where all those screws and bolts go in a few days. That’s all it takes. I’ll take a photo of any success I might have. If I fail, you’ll never hear about this again.

Here’s what I had for lunch yesterday … leftover meat loaf. It was really good.

I think there’s about a pound of meat there, but it’s all protein, something I can eat a lot of. Keeps my B-12 levels up there in the stratosphere.

Here’s our trailer while I’m check to ensure the lights work before we left Devil’s Lake State Park for the trip home.

While we were enjoying ourselves at the beach, the bamboo took advantage of our absence and reached for the sky. Might have to trim it down a little.

This afternoon Lydia’s softball team had a double-header with Parkrose. Lydia pitched 4 innings of the first game and played 2nd base the last 3 innings of the 2nd game. It was a lot of fun. They lost the 1st game 3-2 and won the 2nd one 8-4. It was a good day. One of the highlights was when Jennifer was trying to talk with Lydia over the cement block wall of the dugout, but couldn’t hear her. So, she did this …

She had sneakers on so didn’t slip, but it’s something she would have raised heck about had one of the kids, or me, done this. Just so you know, she extracted herself from this precarious position without injury. Made me proud. It was a good day.

It’s time for me to head to bed, after I let the dogs out to bark at something and pee in the tall grass out front. Ozzie just had a $37 haircut but that doesn’t stop him from plowing through the grass in search of a spot where one of the big dogs may have relieved themselves. He’s predictable, and doesn’t care about hygiene at all.

Good nite.