Run the Gut & Other Stuff

I’m saddened that I can’t find very much about Running the Gut, Dragging Broadway, or something similar on the internet. The most pertinent match was for an event, Dragging the Gut Festival in McMinnville, OR. They claim this cruise in started in 1903 which makes it the oldest one around by a long shot. The sad part for me is that these moments from my youth mostly have a totally new meaning nowadays. Using “Dragging” as the verb I found references to LBGT folks dressing up for an organized walk, or medical procedures that will clean you out and make you feel all better. With “Running”, it’s all about that – running. Foot races through the streets of many towns.

Now, I’m not against any of those things, but I cling to the memories I have of driving my car along with a bunch of other folks up and down Broadway, 1st Street, or which ever street is the main one in town, for hours. It was a harmless social event.

Yesterday I re-created a bit of history here in St. Helens when I took Diane’s Mom, Jean, home from the Sassy Ladies’ Estate Sale at the church. Mom will be 90 in a little over a week and she’d been at the church for a number of hours when I arrived to fix a light, and it was decided that I should take her home to a more comfortable chair. I was glad to do it, but Diane wanted me to swap cars with her so Mom wouldn’t have such a difficult time getting in and out of the Crossfire convertible. I consulted Mom on that decision and she vetoed the swap, choosing to zoom home in the hot rod.

I took the long way home, of course, which meant I had to daringly insert us into a mass of traffic on Highway 30, then almost immediately exit on to Old Portland Road. The insertion was flawless, as was the exit. It’s a very quick little rig.

Many people who drive by St. Helens on Highway 30 are doing just that … they are ‘driving by’. Old Portland Road takes the traveler to the heart of St. Helens which is down by the river which cannot be seen from Highway 30.

Mom’s hair was flying all over the place and she was making a gallant effort to keep it in place until I suggested that it wasn’t going to get any better so she may as well just let it fly. She did and was more relaxed by not having to keep it neat. And, she never stopped smiling.

We drove Old Portland Road to where it ends at 1st Street down town, which is the St. Helens Gut, drove the length, turned left at the Klondike Restaurant (great food), then followed it around the loop, past the old court house, then right on 1st Street past the Columbia Theater. This entire downtown area was transformed in 1998 to film Disney’s “Halloweentown“.  St. Helens was also used for many scenes for “Twilight“. It’s a fun place.

After turning right on 1st Street from the Court House Square, you are forced to turn left about 2 blocks down and the road turns in to Columbia Blvd. It’s almost like magic if you aren’t paying attention. Then again, if you weren’t paying attention you’d probably run into the house at the end of 1st Street and earn a visit from one of the town Constables.

Columbia Blvd comes down from Highway 30 in a more direct route than Old Portland Road, in case you’re interested in visiting. Going back, however, Columbia Blvd splits at 13th Street and becomes St. Helens Road, a one way street, which ends at Highway 30. Going right on Highway 30 takes us to Pittsburgh Road where we turn left and meander our way into a large residential area where Mom lives.

Now, Diane’s fear about taking Mom in the convertible was her ability to get in and out of it. She’s got a bad knee, sore back, and, as previously mentioned, she’ll soon be 90. I’m happy to report that getting in wasn’t a problem at all because all she had to do was back in a ways and sit down. She was careful because I warned here it was a ways down to the seat. Once buckled in she started smiling and didn’t quit until well after I’d dropped her at home, I’m sure. Oh, and she got herself out of the car just fine, all by herself. Made me proud.

Dallas Cowboys Nipple Ring Tragedy

While reading news that has little or no worth to most people, I discovered that Dallas Cowboys’ David Irving suffered a tragic accident that may impact his ability to function in normal society for many months, possibly causing him to miss the first 3-4 games of the season. I’m guessing about him missing games, or course. I just know if it were me who were injured in the manner David suffered, I’d be out for the season. The injury should serve as warning to those who choose to get piercings in odd places.

I don’t view piercings as a bad thing, really, because I totally understand that they are an expression of the person and are, essentially, jewelry of sorts, and/or body art. I don’t, however, understand the mental process one must go through in order to allow someone to stab a projectile through their nipple. What’s that all about, anyway?

Since I have no piercings, my opinions may be suspect, but I believe inserting a little logic into their thought process might allow the pierced to wisely pick and choose safe venues to which they wear their body art, and remove those items that may be subject to serious injury.


A Deer, a Doe, and a Silverado

I may have mentioned that Jack and I essentially swapped vehicles because:

  • we no longer have a trailer so don’t need a truck and
  • they got a trailer, didn’t have a truck, and didn’t need their car

In the end, they  got the 2014 Chev Silverado and we got the 2013 T0y0ta Camry. They stopped by a little while ago to let me get the Navy Wife license plate holder off the truck for Diane, and to retrieve their garment hanger. The truck looked great with new, nifty electric running boards.

After they left our house they hit a deer jumped in front of them and they hit it.

At highway speeds this would be devastating, but I’m pretty sure they were still on country backroads. The end result, according to a witnesses, the deer, a doe, got up and galloped away. Jack reported it left some hair on the grill but there was no visual damaged to the truck.

“How can that be?” you may ask. Well, it’s a Chevy Truck, that’s why.

Since they have hair from the negligent deer, I think they should turn it over to the CSI folks and use DNA to find it and have it arrested for leaving the scene of an accident.

Bottom line, everyone is OK, the doe got away, and the truck is undamaged.

It’s all good.

Hot Tubs & Cars

Today it’s sunny and hot here in NW Oregon making working outside a tough decision unless it involves water. So, I incorporated water into my outdoor activities to ensure I stayed cool. That’s not true, of course. I was directed by my lovely bride to power wash the hot tub and the area around and under it to ensure there were no spiders left to creep around on her arms while she reclines in the nice hot water. Heat is one of the best things she’s found for her healing broken arm bones and she’s been wanting the hot tub cleaned up for a couple of years. I’ve been putting it off because I feared the pump motors would screech and smoke demanding to be replaced. I spent a bunch of time cleaning out dozens of spiders, who spent their last days in a futile attempt to climb the slippery insides of the tub, finally succumbing to their fate and falling into the last bit of water remaining in the bottom of the unit. I envision them swimming feebly to the edge of the water, seeking high ground, finding none, then finally slipping into unconsciousness and sinking to the bottom of the shallow pool, joining those who went before. Then, along I come with my wet/dry vac to unceremoniously suck them up and dump their soggy remains into the soil at the base of a bush where they can reunite with nature and make beautiful things.

Once the tub was cleaned, I started the fill process which takes a couple of hours. When it was about half full I powered it up, expecting to hear the screech previously mentioned but, to my never-ending surprise, the pump motors, one of which I replaced years ago for the screeching reason, made not a sound and pumped water without a problem. The heater works, too, which is another part of the hot tub I replaced in the past. Well, not the entire heater, but just the sensors that detect water temperature. It’s nice to know they still work after all this time. I just checked and the temp is up to 95 so it will be perfect at 104 when the temp drops to 55 this evening. Diane’s eager to check it out. I’m not a hot tub person so rely on her expert analysis of my success in this area. So far, so good.

I mentioned that Diane and I hocked everything we had and purchased a motor home which we would love to live in as we drive around the country. You know, south in the winter, north in the summer. You, know, regular snow geese kind of people. Toward that end, we’ve been cleaning it up and loading it with all the stuff we removed from the trailer before delivering it for the trade. I’ve learned that I need to let Diane make a decision about what goes and what stays because apparently not all of it is going into the new rig. So, I just wait and take out those things that I’m told to take. I did, however, assume the responsibility of what gets stowed in the ‘basement’ compartments and loaded most of those up with odds and ends.

Now that we don’t have a trailer, we don’t need a truck. Oddly, Jack and Wynette now have a trailer, and don’t have a truck. They have a Toyota Camry. To resolve this crises we both decided to just trade vehicles and assume the current debt for the respective vehicles. Simple. No salesmen to fiddle with and we’re both getting a pretty good deal. Life should be that easy in all respects.

As I write, I’m waiting for the local Chevy dealer to call me back to report the maintenance department is done working on the truck we’re trading to Jack an Wy. They are fixing the front differential because it apparently has a bearing going bonkers. Makes all kinds of whiny noise while rolling down the road. It goes away when the transfer case is set to 2 wheel drive. The fix is being done under the 100K mile/10 year warranty for the drive line. They’ve had it for 2 days now and I wonder if we’re going to get it back. We got a 2017 Malibu for a loaner and Diane dislikes it a lot. She took it to Portland for her physical therapy and had to deal with the new feature that turns the engine off while sitting at stop lights. Pretty nifty. Tom told me something about how to make it come back to life, but I couldn’t remember. So, Diane just restarted it each time. Consequently, she’s not a fan of this feature.

Now it’s time for a nap.

Pizza & Cremation

Here’s a little something I found interesting. Since it’s to us as well as “or Resident” I’d be happy to pass it along to anyone who is interested.

Since there is no credit given to the origin of the pizza my mind naturally went to the guy who runs the crematorium. Might not eat pizza for a while, at least not at the local funeral home.


Jerrie Anne, Lydia, Max,

Wow! Where do I begin. I’ve got 9 days worth of mostly worthless information crammed in my tiny little brain to the point where that stuff from July 5th has been crushed to the point of near unrecognizability. I know, that’s not a real word, but it should be.

Thankfully I have this calendar that Diane and I share and she keeps it current. Every once in a while I’ll take a shot at adding something and it doesn’t always work out for me. That’s code for “Diane gets cranky that I screwed it up.” Still, I try. Perhaps one of these days I’ll figure it out but the best bet for now is to just let Diane make those entries.

Using that calendar here’s what I discovered about recent activities. Seems I did way more than I thought. I’ve been a busy critter.

  1. I bought a fuel filter for Lydia’s car and tried to put it on, but there wasn’t one in the location that guy on YouTube told me it would be. He had pictures and everything, but it just wasn’t there. I checked more references on the internet and was assured by all of them that it should be located right next to this thing located under the vehicle on the driver’s side. I do lots of research like this on the internet and it’s never wrong. Really, it isn’t. Everything’s been just fine. Until now. Not finding the fuel filter where it is supposed to be led me to believe that the filter must be inside the tank with the fuel pump. Since I didn’t the ability to see if that was true, I took the car to Don’s house. See item 10 below for more information on that.
  2. I golfed with Doug and Junior on Thursday last week. I specify because I reference Thursday this week about a topic that has nothing to do with Thursday last week. I find it’s important to be specific about shared information like this. The golf game was great fun, as it always is. None of us died, an event we’re all prepared for, and no one even fell down. That was a plus.
  3. My Daughter-in-law, Heather, had a birthday on Thursday last week, too. See why it’s important to specify? Had I not clarified that you may have thought she had a birthday yesterday since that was also a Thursday. Anyway, now she’s firmly entrenched in her 40’s. I’m not allowed to specify how entrenched which is difficult for me because I’m really serious about being specific, as I mentioned. I’ve been sitting here in a quandary, thinking about how to resolve this to everyone’s satisfaction and realized that I don’t think she reads this stuff so it’s probably OK to tell you she’s now 43.
  4. I had an ultra sound on my carotid arteries at the VA hospital yesterday, which was a Thursday. I never received any results of that test which is good, I suppose. I guess they just didn’t find anything and didn’t feel it was necessary to let me know. We’ll see what happens with this most current one.
  5. I visited my VA Doctor on Tuesday of this week, just three days ago since this if Friday. I haven’t mentioned that yet. Today is Friday. She’s the one who ordered the carotid ultrasound as well as the echocardiogram (see item 11), which I had yesterday, which was Thursday. Lots of stuff seems to be happening on Thursdays lately. After the echocardiogram we sent shopping for a motor home (item 6).
  6. Diane and I went out and looked at all the Class A motorhomes we could find and wound up buying one. It’s a 2007 Holiday Rambler Neptune diesel pusher. Never had one of those before.
  7. Ozzie got a haircut. It cost $40! Ozzie only weighs about 10 lbs so his haircut costs $4 a pound. Amazing. I’ve thought about campaigning to just let him grow wild for a few months to see what happens but I know Diane wouldn’t like that. So, I probably won’t, even though I did agree to trade in our travel trailer on a Class A motor home (See item 6).
  8. We picked up the SCRIP cards for our church. The office is in the Tigard School District complex which is, to the uninitiated, very complex. We found it however, and I went in, hands in the air, to find out where the cards were that I was going to liberate. “Why did you put your hands, up?”, I was asked. “To show you I was unarmed,” I said. “Oh, that’s OK,” the receptionist said, “we don’t check for guns.”
  9. I had coffee with some friends at the Kozy. I got there early so I could eat breakfast – one enormous pancake, two eggs, two links, and coffee. All for under $8. You should go there for breakfast sometime.
  10. I drove Lydia’s car to Cousin Don’s house on Thursday, yesterday. Diane followed me with our pickup, into which I had placed our tow strap that was purchased a long time ago to simplify towing various cars, and my old truck, home for repair when they crapped out somewhere. It’s been a handy tool. This time, we didn’t need it. I got the vehicle to Don’s just fine. Al was there. He’s one of Don’s old racing buddies who lives in a motor home and visits during racing season in this area. He’s a great guy and invited me to join him, Don, and John today for a round of golf at our favorite golf course. It was great fun and made me realize that keeping score is a total waste of time. Who really cares. You just hit the ball from the tee to the green, then you putt it in the hole. How many times you hit the ball isn’t relevant when the object is to just visit and have a little man-fun. Don and I rode together in one cart he told me that Lydia’s car needed more help than he could offer so he was going to take it to a friend who has a garage. For more information on this evolution, see item 1 above.
  11. I had an echocardiogram (see item 5) during which I fell asleep and woke myself up snoring more than once. The tech said it was OK, I could snore all I wanted. This was different from the echo I had many years ago, that was done in conjunction with a treadmill stress test. That one was brutal and produced the excruciating pain in my throat that I tried to describe. It’s one of those pains where you have to stop whatever you’re doing, no matter where you are, until it goes away. Nasty. Apparently they never found anything wrong because I have no memory of rule changes regarding my conduct, or the continued care and feeding of my heart. It’s still ticking along pretty good, but that pain is the main reason I don’t feel compelled to exercise. At all. Sitting in a chair all day works for me. I don’t do that, of course, because I have to get up and go to the bathroom once in a while.
  12. We sold our ‘new’ Chevy truck to Jack and Wynette. They were working with the local dealer to get a used 2014 truck similar to ours but it didn’t have a backup camera, no navigation, and no Sirius radio. Everyone knows that, if you’re married, you must have all that stuff in any vehicle you purchase, or borrow. Before they completed the deal Diane and I were neck-deep in item 6 (the motor home) and found that by trading in our travel trailer we probably wouldn’t need a pickup. Without the pickup, Diane would need a vehicle to drive that her Mom could enter and leave without fanfare (she will be 90 next month). Diane’s Mom, not Diane. So we offered it to them and they accepted. In return we will purchase their Toyota Camry (item 13). Perfect.
  13. We bought their ‘new’ Camry from Jack and Wynette. Well, we haven’t bought it yet, but we will. The plan is in motion. Funny how things work out.
  14. I mowed all of the lawn. That’s about 3/4 of an acre. Doesn’t sound like much but, unlike some other mower people I’ve seen, I go real slow so it can vacuum up all the cut grass. In this instance, however, the cut part only consists of the tops of about a zillion dandelions that inhabit the yard. With all the hot weather, our grass has barely grown at all. It looks pretty good with al the little yellow flowers gone but, you know, I kinda liked the flowers. They go well with all the moss that makes up most of the front yard.
  15. I got a heart monitor from the VA. This is conjunction with all the other cardiac stuff that’s going on. Perhaps some of you know what it’s all about and what they look like. For those who don’t, it’s a device worn on the belt like a cell phone that has two leads which are attached to my chest. The wires to the connection points by necessity go down inside my pants then travel up beneath my shirt. When I get tired of explaining that it’s a heart monitor, I tell people who it’s a two-purpose device that sends Diane a text if I get an erection, and me a text if it detects that I’ve had an erection longer than 4 hours. Neither one of us has received a text so things are pretty normal.
  16. Diane visited her hand therapist multiple times to work the kinks out of her broken wrist bones. She’s making great progress, using her left arm all the time with rarely a whimper. Makes me proud. The big test, though, was the vacuum cleaner which she can use with no problem. I was concerned about that.

OK – when I list it that way, it looks like a lot of stuff. Looking at the calendar it doesn’t seem like much but I fear delving into each one of those items will result in a long dissertation. I’ll do it but you don’t have to read all of it at once. Actually, you don’t have to read it at all. Frankly, I’m surprised you got this far. It’s like one of those movies that is so bad but you keep watching, thinking it has to get better. Right? I watch movies like that all the time. Why do we do that?

It’s now Sunday, two days after I started this so all the day references are incorrect. But, I’m not fixing them.

Yesterday we visited with Jeff & Family to have a small celebration for Jerrie’s 6th birthday. Yes, she’s already 6. She’s so excited about being in First Grade. It’s going to be a fun year for her teacher.

Baylee, Jerrie, and Gilligan

After visiting with Jerrie, we delivered our trade in travel trailer and picked up our ‘new’ motor home from Camping World in Portland. It was an exciting trip since I’ve never driven anything that big (35 feet long, 8 feet wide, 12.5 feet tall). It was easy peasy even though I drove it through St. Johns, and over the St. Johns bridge. Pretty tricky stuff for a Rookie. Now it’s safely parked in our driveway, waiting for its maiden voyage.

This afternoon, Lydia and Ceiarra showed up with Max (Maximum Prime) so they could relieve him of most of his hair. They did it in the front yard so the big dogs wouldn’t interfere. Max was in heaven with all the attention from two pretty girls. He’s no dummy.

Happy Independence Day – 2017

Greetings Fellow Earth Dwellers. It’s another glorious day in the neighborhood, the kind that makes it OK to get up early, even if you don’t want to. On this day I was compelled to arise at 0430 because the little dog decided it was time. The last few days, since returning from our vacation, he waiting until 0500 precisely. I swear he wears a tiny little wrist watch with an alarm. It’s amazing.

Just like all previous years, beginning a couple of days before the 4th, many of our neighbors find it necessary ignite extremely loud fireworks well into the night. We expect it. The dogs hate it and would like to run down and have a word or two with whoever is holding the igniters. Apparently the city police view such events as normal, and accepted, because we never see them converging on the offenders, even when they lite off rockets that spew sparks all over the place, including over the dry hay-field next to our property. And it’s the same folks every year.

Now, having shared all that, I’ve got another story about a fire I started, legally, on June 30th. That was the last day for open burning in the county and I’ve been putting it off. Being the last day kinda prompted me to get busy and make it go away.

I took my handy little propane torch down there, after stringing my longest hose to the pile of debris. I’ve always used matches in the past then decided to try the torch with the last pile and found it to be much more convenient because it’s got an igniter on it. Pretty handy. When I touched it to the pile it went up pretty quickly and spread to the entire burn pile in a matter of seconds. I hadn’t planned for it to be as big as it got, but I had it under control with my water hose so just let it go. After it died down a bit, I went up on the porch to watch it and visit with our Niece Maryssa who was visiting from Salem where she spending the summer in a test marriage with her boyfriend who lives with his parents. Maryssa is a Senior at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Oregon so we don’t see her much. It’s great to visit with her. I spend at least one evening talking with her and Granddaughter Lydia just like I was one of the girls. The entire time I feared they would talk about stuff I probably wouldn’t want to discuss, but they didn’t, so it was all good.

As I sat there visiting, Keith, a young firefighter, came walking into the back yard and reported that I had to put my fire out because the burn ban was ending at midnight. It was about 4:30 pm at the time, and dusk was hours away so I reported that I was legal because the “Burn Line” (503) 397-4800 told me that June 30th was the last burn day and open burning was allowed in the county for folks who had a current burn permit. My fire qualified so burn it did.

Being a good citizen, and knowing Keith was just doing the job he was told to do, I went down to man my garden hose while he went to his truck to unreel a couple hundred feet of hose after connect the truck to the fire hydrant that is conveniently located at the corner of our property. As we hosed down the pile I asked why I had to put out my fire when the burn line said it was legal and he said, “We’ve had phone calls … “, an unfinished sentence.

“OK,” I said, “so I burn legally and someone in town calls to complain so you come out to put my fire  out?”, or words to that effect. He didn’t respond to that so I prodded a little harder suggesting that whoever called knew the Fire Chief. He denied that, of course, and said, “No, some fires have already gotten out of control, and the burn ban ends at dusk.” I noted the change of the ban ending at dusk instead of midnight, his first choice, but didn’t say anything. He also said”the chief said …” a number of times that so I just left it alone.

The Chief Said.

Since I used to be a Chief, a Navy Chief, I understood the concept about “The Chief Said”. It’s law and doesn’t require any explanation. Just do it. So he did. And he did a great job. He blew my fire all apart, even thought it was barely burning when he arrived, and sprayed it all down with foam when there was no more smoke coming off the embers. I acknowledged that I doubt that that pile would burn any time before next year at the earliest.

Then, regarding phone calls to the fire department, I said, “you think you got phone calls now, wait until they build those 77 new houses in the field adjacent to our property. When I burn then you’ll probably get tons of calls.” He said, “It’s OK if you have a valid burn permit.” I let that rest a bit before replying, “I have a valid burn permit for the one we’re destroying.” Keith had no response because he knew I was correct, but, The Chief Said.

Finally he was done and told me “The Chief Said you need to have a 3 foot bare dirt perimeter around the debris to ensure it doesn’t re-start.” Looking at my destroyed burn pile which had been soaked with probably 200 plus gallons of water, maybe more, I thought it was unlikely it would ever burn again.

He wound his hose up and departed well before the Dusk ban and I went to work creating the perimeter as directed. Diane made me quit after I made one circuit of the pile because, well, it was just time to quit. Now the plan it to get the old truck down to the pile, scoop up the residue, and just let it resume to be just another part of the field I mow. Works for me because keeping track of the burn pile is a pain.

For today’s festivities at our house, I made potato salad and will be BBQing pork ribs this afternoon sometime. I have to be down at the docks at 2:00 pm to ring in the 4th using the bell in the Columbia River Warrior Rock replica located near the gazebo in front of the old court house in St. Helens. All I have to do is ring it 13 times for the original 13 colonies. It’s a yearly thing done by the American Legion Post 42 of which I’m a member. It’s kinda cool to be part of that.

Now I must go put on some clothes and ready myself for the task.

Hope everyone has a safe 4th.