Get Outta There

Someone said that the other day. I’m not sure if it was said to me, or to someone else, but I decided it was me. Diane agreed. So, we got outta there toot sweet. Doing that involved riding on an airplane for the first time in a few years.

We had to board the plane at O-dark-thirty last Saturday. I guess that was only yesterday, but a lot has happened in such a short time that it seems like many days ago. Maybe if I share the details it will make more sense to me.

First, we were picked up at 11:30 Friday morning so we could share lunch with a couple of friends who agreed to take us to Portland, but only if we fed them. So, we took them to the St. Helens Elks lodge for lunch. It was really good and we enjoyed a long visit with them.

After that we took the harrowing journey to Embassy Suites, near the Portland International Airport, or PDX to those in the “know”, to spend a painfully short night in a very comfortable bed. The alarm went off at 0430 Saturday morning which gave us an hour to get ourselves to the airport.

We did that by using the available shuttle service on which we were the only passengers. That meant that it was my responsibility to ensure the driver received an adequate tip for her efforts. It was worth it and we made it to the Alaska check in plenty of time.

We only checked two suitcases so you’d think it wouldn’t be much of a big deal. However, one of them was Diane’s and I was a little concerned because it was really heavy. I weighed it on two different scales before leaving the house and pegged it at a little over 50 lbs, the max allowed before penalty fines kicked in. So, we decided to take a chance and check it as is instead of shifting some items to our carry ons. It’s not something I like doing.

When I put the big suitcase on the scales I was disappointed when it came up 59.5 lbs. The agent did some clicking on his keyboard and reported that it would cost us $100 for the overage unless we wished to transfer some things to our other bags. I wasn’t in the mood for that and, besides, Diane had just come in to some money and we thought there was nothing more important at that time than to help Alaska Airlines improve their financial standing in the world. That, and I was pretty sure there was no way I could shift enough “stuff” to make a difference.

When the suitcases were sent on their ways we adjourned to the TSA line which is always a hoot even though we passed the test, and paid the fee to obtain the TSA Pre-check. This day, we were virtually alone in the pre check line so it was a breeze. Before approaching the officers we stopped to eat our bananas but left the muffins we were given in the bag to see what happened. Turns out, muffins aren’t something TSA is interested in so we enjoyed them with our first cup of coffee after cleaning the security line in record time. Then it was off to concourse C to await our flight.

We spent our time in some pretty comfortable chairs then went aboard when called. The flight was uneventful, but it stopped in San Francisco instead of our destination in Palm Springs. Something like 500 miles short of the goal. We actually knew that was going to happen and that we’d be spending an unproductive 4 hours in SFO before continuing on our way. The surprise was the last leg was in a much smaller aircraft. That was fun and also uneventful.

The airport in Palm Springs is right in the middle of town which makes landings interesting.

Our first stop, after baggage claim, was the Dollar car rental place. Abraham helped us drive away in a 2021 Mazda C5. Before we got out of the parking lot a warning popped up on the dash telling us the car was due for an oil change. Diane drove it to the office and we returned it and got an upgrade to a 2021 Chevy Blazer. Nice car, but it was dirty. made it out of the parking lot into the city before it, too, popped a notice that it needed an oil change. None of the phone numbers we had produced a person to whom we could talk about this problem so we went to our hotel to get some needed rest.

This morning (Sunday) we went back to the airport and turned the Blazer in and went back to the office to negotiate for another vehicle. After a long wait in the busy terminal, we finally drove off with a 2022 Toyota 4-Runner. Its red, Diane’s favorite color for a car. But, she really likes it. The first place we went was a nearby Super-Duper Walmart where we purchased a stool so she could more easily get in the drivers seat.

Now it’s getting late and time for bed. Diane tuckered herself out scheduling places to go and things to do while we’re here. I’ll be adding photos later when i figure out how to do that.

Jesiah

Interesting name, right? I think so. The most common meaning for this name, that I could find, is “The Lord exists.” Last Friday I had an opportunity to spend most of the morning with him because his Mom, my daughter, had to keep him home because he was banned from day care due to a fever on Thursday.

Oh ya, he’s only 1. A little over I guess, and he’s getting new teeth as we speak. Hence the fever.

Jesiah is the happiest little guy you might never meet. He’s always smiling and he doesn’t cry at all. Ever. His Mom may disagree, but I can only speak from my experience.

So, Jennifer arrives with him at 0700 Friday morning, gives me his car seat, just in case, his diaper bag and medicine bag, then takes off to go to work. Normally Diane would be the preferred choice to care for Jesiah but she had something to do. I’d tell you what it was, but there’s nothing on our calendar that justifies her absence. Could be, also, that she really wasn’t busy elsewhere, but with me all along and I didn’t notice because she was there with me all along.

I was, as you can imagine, concerned. The last time I can remember baby sitting was somewhere between 1999 and 2003. That’s a pretty big gap between engagements of this nature. But, I shouldn’t have worried because we got along just great … as long as I did exactly what he wanted me to do. Apparently I passed that test. I found out that he was far more interested in catching flys than watching Disney. Can’t say I blame him. It’s kinda fun.

That, and it turns out he’s more interested in HGTV which works great for Diane.

He got infatuated with Diane’s neck pillow that looks a lot like a cat.

He was also very interested in Diane’s collection of cats

Now, even though Jesiah has a pretty mellow demeanor, he loves to throw things. What makes that OK is that he smiles the entire time he’s in motion with stuff flying from his tiny little hands. We learned, too, that things just sitting on an end table are fair game. He would walk up to, say, a glass of water, look at you until he made eye contact, then swipe his arm sideways so fast that no one has time to react and catch the glass before it drenches you. Then, with his smile still in place, he’d march off in search of something else to dislodge. Needless to say, he quickly trained us to move all items in danger to locations above 3′.

Toward the end of his short visit, his cousin, Jerrie appeared and kept him busy until it was time to take him to someone more qualified than me to tend to him.

It really wasn’t a chore. Honest.

He’s good as gold.

May the 4th be with you all.

Eleanor Jean DeLonais

For the six or seven of you out there who might be concerned about my lack of communication over the past 8-10 months, wondering if I’ve fallen down, keeled over, or otherwise ceased to function, rest easy. I’m OK and I’m still kicking that can down the road. Or, as my deceased friend Junior used to say, “I’m till sucking air.” Yes I am.

I don’t have any particular reason for being silent all this time other than the fact that Diane and I spent a great deal of time at her Mother’s home ensuring she was fed and safe. That was most of the last year. Just when we got used to that routine, Mom took a trip to the garage when we weren’t looking, she fell and broke her left hip. That was July 30th. She was transported to Good Sam where she was bolted back together Sunday morning, July 31st. We visited her Sunday afternoon and learned that the surgery went well and that they would begin physical therapy on Monday. That seemed too soon for me, but what do I know. Apparently that’s common procedure.

We went back on Monday afternoon and learned that PT didn’t go as well as desired. She was able to take 4 steps before her energy gave out and they had to put her back in bed. She quit eating that day creating a need to engage hospice to gently guide her home.

We wanted to take her home for her final days but the earliest their hospice team could transport her was August 7, almost a week away. They said they would continue to seek help from a private company to accomplish the transfer. Thankfully, that worked out and Mom was brought home on August 4th.

Diane and I both took up residence with Mom for 24/7 care for as long as necessary.

Over the next few days Mom demonstrated her resilience by actually falling out of bed once, and spinning herself crosswise in her bed numerous times. She was getting lots of exercise with these antics but her energy levels were minimal since she refused to eat.

At 7:30 pm, on August 7th, the day before her 95th birthday, she took her last breath on this mortal coil. We’re sure that she rushed into the arms of her loving husband, Mel, who predeceased her in 2002.

Her graveside service is scheduled for 11:00 am, August 19th at Bethany Memorial Cemetery in Warren, OR.

Combat Ear Protection

Have you seen the commercial about combat ear protection failures? Surely you have, but if not, here’s a little background. From 2003 to 2015 3M apparently provided faulty combat ear protection to the military. I’m thinking, OK, if that’s true then vets deserve compensation. Once that thought is gone my brain takes me back to 1965 when I was sleeping one deck below the aft 5″/38 Caliber deck gun on a vintage Navy destroyer. I was part of the ship’s crew on DD-808.

A little research will reveal that 1965 was near the beginning of our Navy’s involvement in the Viet Nam war. I do not know if my fellow military vets who were assigned duty “in country” were offered combat ear protection but I’m confident that all of them were subjected to a lot of noise from weapons of various types. I do know for sure that no ear protection was supplied to me or my shipmates on DD-808. Sleeping off a mid-watch while the gunners shot that gun above my head, continuously throughout the day, was difficult. This happened for months on end during our participation in that war. Those deck guns were incredibly loud and shook the entire ship when fired. Anyone on a destroyer during that time will know what I’m talking about. Exciting stuff for an 18-year-old.

Now, in my late 70’s, tinnitus is my constant companion. I can’t say for certain the noise to which I was subjected back in my Navy Days is the cause of this ailment, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t help.

Just sayin.

Wireless Bras

I heard these advertised on TV but didn’t see any commercials so I asked Diane if I could have one. You know, I like techie stuff and this one really peaked my interest. Wireless bras! Who knew?

She said, “sure, but it isn’t what you’re thinking.” So, I did a little research on Google looking for “Wireless Bras” and discovered a stunning array of choices, none of which I could use. There was nothing there that would speed up my computer, or give me more options of any kind other than peak the interest of the 15-year-old part of my brain.

So, I’m setting that interest aside in favor of a more productive line of reasoning. As soon as I figure out what that might be, I’ll let you know.

Fire!

The other day our neighbor’s house caught on fire. Our son, who celebrated his 50th birthday two days ago, saw it and went inside to find one of the neighbors just waking up from a nap. The smoke disoriented her so Jeff carried her out of the house to safety. Then he went back in to get the dogs and cats out of the house. Sadly he missed one of the cats who expired from smoke inhalation.

911 was called right away, before flames were evident, and firetrucks arrived quickly. During that short wait, the fire exploded into a major event that destroyed one end of the home before the hoses were turned off.

Here’s the progression …

The fire was so hot the aluminum window frames melted into puddles. That’s Gabby the goat, in case you’re wondering.

The burning house happened during a visit by our Winnebago Friends. The guys came to work our RV which was immobile because the parking brake was on for such a long time that the rear shoes rusted to the drums. There is a lot of information on the internet about this “common” problem, but none of them worked for me. I was stuck. In order to make the brake drums more accessible I figured jacking up the rear end and putting it on jack stands. Sitting low makes it really hard to get under it to work.

I borrowed a air jack and jack stands from cousin Don and Jeff got busy getting one stand in place. It lasted a little while before the ground gave way allowing the RV to slide about 12″ to the left (looking from the rear) toward a retaining wall. Another foot would have made contact. So, that plan was nixed and we left the RV resting on about 4″ of wood which turned out to be enough for the Winnebago Guys to wiggle under and do their magic.

Finding the solution took about 30 minutes for those guys. A small flat pry bar and a pipe wrench were the key to success. By prying one shoe loose, the RV was once again mobile.

Then we addressed the problem with the leveling jacks. They wouldn’t work. That was an easy one, too, but I wasn’t prepared to do simple. I, like many people, dive right in to a problem figuring it was extremely difficult to solve. Although all the literature I read pointed out the need to have 12 vdc available at all times for these things to work, it never occurred to me that the batteries might be the problem. Turns out that was it. Adding some distilled water to the offending units and letting them charge over night. solved the problem. Yea.

So, the RV is fully functional. We celebrated by getting a condo in Seaside where we could just kick back and do nothing for 3 days.

Smart Printers

The other day I got an email from the manufacturer of Diane’s new printer telling me I should plug it in so they could talk with it. The reason, they explained was to honor my desire that Diane should never run out of ink. So, I plugged it in.

Before I could do that, I had to find it in the old computer room at our house. It was on the floor next to Breezie’s (our cat) table on which she sits so she can monitor the movement of ducks in the front yard. She just likes watching them, never chases them. I don’t think she considers them even a tiny bit tasty. Plus, catching one involves work and usually ends with a mouthful of feathers which are difficult to spit out.

When I found the printer I wished HP would have told me the cat puked on it from her perch. Surely that could be done. I mean, it keeps track of it’s innards, why not its outards? This is what I found …

I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that it cleaned up and currently looks brand new.

Guess What!

It’s that time of year again where the sun came out for a while and caused pretty much every green thing in the area to spring forth with pollen. Because of that, Diane finds it necessary to spend most of her time indoors so she can breath. It’s really sad that the sound of a lawnmower anywhere in the neighborhood causes her to hurry inside and make her rounds to ensure all the windows are closed. It’s that serious because the fragrance of mown grass pretty much shuts down her ability to breath comfortably. I really didn’t know it was so severe when I bought her that new riding lawnmower but I got a really good deal and couldn’t take it back. So, I’ll mow the grass.

Now that the worst is over she is on a mission to replant all the pots that have been gathering dust in Mom’s garage all winter long. I know this was going to happen when Diane showed up with bags of dirt in the car when she picked me up yesterday.

There were 3 each of these bags but I left 1 each at our hill house the remainder were transported to Mom’s creek house.

This is why I call it the Creek House. It has a creek running through the back yard. Milton Creek to be more specific. It’s very peaceful.

This is Diane hard at work with one of her dirt bags. Doesn’t she look great?

There were 3 each of these bags but I left 1 each at our hill house the remainder were transported to Mom’s creek house. Before we could get the bags into the Hill House we had to navigate our way around Gabby, our neighbor’s guard goat. Our garage door was left open, for some reason, and she came in to get out of the rain. She’s pretty crafty. Actually, she’ll go through any unguarded door she encounters, including the one to our RV. So, we generally keep doors closed.

Last Sunday, Mother’s Day, The entire Walters Clan came to visit. We are thankful to be close enough, geographically, that visits are simple and often. This time they brought Jessiah, a Grand Nephew on Daniel’s side of things. Jessie is about the most calm baby (8 months) I’ve ever encountered. Mr. Mellow. It was a treat, too, to see Pastor Jeran who is home from school (Corban University) for the summer. He’s going to be the Youth Pastor for the family’s church all summer. He was surprised that they plan to pay him to do it. I have no doubt he would have done it for free. He’s that kind of guy. So, he’s going to be getting a lot of experience in a church he’s been going to for a lot of years. The congregation was overjoyed with the announcement that one of their flock was coming home to teach. We heard there was a standing ovation for him. We’re happy for him.

Now I have to get busy jacking up the RV so we can remove the rear wheels and, with the help of some savvy friends, figure out a way to release the brakes so we can use the rig. As it sits, it’s not going anywhere.

Later….

Weird Stuff

Before I get going, I hope the 4th was with you recently. Sorry I missed that.

I also hope you all had a rousing Cinco de Mayo.

That’s about it for real life things so I’m going to just ramble about some of the stuff rattling around in my head. Considering the quantity of “things” you’d think the sound would be muffled a little bit, but that isn’t the case. Makes my ears ring, it does.

First on my list is that I’m baffled by all the goings on about people who are confused about what gender they really are. Whatever I share here is just my opinion so please don’t get upset about any of it. You have three choices at this point: 1) Keep reading and don’t judge me for my opinions; 2) Keep reading and get all judgmental about what I say even though my words are not directed at anyone in particular; or, 3) Stop reading and use your time in a more productive manner. What I say doesn’t mean a thing in the long run.

I’m ok knowing that I was ‘assigned’ male as a gender at birth. I’m pretty sure the doctor who delivered me really didn’t struggle with that assignment because the evidence was right there in front of him. I was a little boy. Pretty simple. I don’t think he had to consult with my parents before checking the “M” box my my birth certificate

A lot of time has passed between my birth and how I see the world now and it makes me wonder hope some people think that newborn people need to be assigned a gender. Aging seems to have lowered a veil over my view that blurs the lines between men and women. Old people start looking alike when they get my age so maybe I need to change my pronouns to keep up with the times. That won’t happen, of course, because I’m quite content using either a urinal or sitting on a toilet. Guess that makes me non-binary when it comes to taking a leak. I’ll just continue to be “that guy” until my story is done. That’s when I’ll find out how important all this confusion in society is and whether or not I should have paid more attention.

“Jerrie! Have you been reading the news?”

“Of course I have. Where are we and who are you?”

“I’m God and, if you’ve truly been reading the news, you are a weenie, and you are on outskirts of Heaven.”

“Really!? I used to have one of those when I was little but it seems to have retracted into my body recently. Maybe if I could lose a little weight it might reappear. I didn’t know Heaven had outskirts.”

“No, that won’t work. Once it’s gone, it’s gone, but that’s OK. You don’t need it. Every location has outskirts, even Heaven.”

Back to my non-binary condition … that’s something that has been taking over my body most of my life. It was just a transformation that I really didn’t have control over, and I didn’t find it important enough to worry about. The reason is because I’m married to a most terrific person — my binary female wife. We’ve discussed pronouns, briefly, and I quickly learned that she isn’t fond of being called “it”, “they”, or “them”.

“Hey, It,” I said. “Please bring me a glass of water.”

Or, “Hey, They,” I need a doughnut.” I kinda like this one because it rhymes.

Those just don’t work for either of us, although I’ll respond faithfully to whatever pronoun she chooses to call me; I just need a little warning so I know what to expect.

That’s just a small sample of possibilities, I know, but pronouns are no longer a topic of conversation for us. We’ll just forge ahead with the common knowledge that we are 50’s kids who weren’t given the opportunity to question our genders. Although, I do enjoy wearing a frilly pair of panties once in a while. She’s not a fan, of course. I know this because I used to ask permission and she always responded with “no!”. So, I just don’t ask any more.

I believe I’ve dug this hole plenty deep and should stop before it caves in on me.

Have a good day.

Another Adventure

This time of year for Diane and me is devoted to celebrating our Anniversary. Normally it amounts to us communing with nature by sequestering ourselves in our motorhome near the beach. The ocean air is like a healing balm for Diane. It makes her happy, and anything that makes Diane happy, makes me happy.

Sadly, we had to venture forth without the shelter of the RV because it decided it wanted to stay home. In a roundabout way, it told us that it’s been setting for so long that it’s going to take more than a twist of the ignition key to pry it from its parking spot next to our garage. The exclamation point to that was when she locked up her brakes and refused to let go. Everything else works just fine, but nothing we did would convince her to take us to the beach.

So, we transferred all the provisions to the car and drove ourselves to the land of the healing ocean air. When we return we’ll get busy and convince her that she really should go with us the next time.

Since we left our accommodations at home, Diane made reservations at a couple of condos, in the vicinity of the friends we were supposed to be “camping” with that would just have to do for, this trip. The first one was for 3 days in Newport, Oregon.

It was pretty nice and only 6 miles from South Beach State Park where we were supposed to be. That’s where Les & Sophie, and Cliff & Susie were staying. Although they were parked near the beach, we had a pretty nice view from our condo.

Our time was spent visiting with out friends, like we always do which makes me wonder how we could possibly come up with MORE things to talk about. But, we always do. And, we eat really good meals. Each couple is responsible for cooking one dinner for the group during the course of our stay. We eat quite well. When it’s our turn I campaign for beans and weenies but it never happens. Instead we have stuff like pork loin, or steaks, and things that go with them. One of these days I’ll get my way but it will have to be on a trip that lasts longer than 4-5 days.

After Newport, we moved up the coast to Neskowin and checked in to the Proposal Rock Inn. It’s a building full of individually owned condos that are rented to folks to help pay for the mortgages when the owners aren’t using them. The one we got is on the 3rd floor so I got my exercise carting all our stuff up some pretty steep stairs. We’ll be here for four days so I guess this will have to do.

The others moved to Winema Beach. Literally. The RV parking spots are almost right on the beach. Perfect for riding scooters, if you have a scooter.

That’s what Les and Cliff did, without me, because I didn’t bring my scooter. They are only about 3 miles north of our condo and rode almost all the way to us before turning around to go back.

With Les leading, Cliff kept him in sight while enjoying the sights while scooting along near the surf line. Then danger struck when he saw something shiny on the sand. Stopping to investigate, he bent over to pick it up and was hit with a rogue wave which pretty much soaked him and drowned his scooter.

He had to push it about a mile back to the RV because the electric motor was (apparently) full of sea water. That’s not a good thing. He’s a crafty mechanic, however, and will no doubt resurrect it once he gets it home. Right after he replaces the microwave in the RV. The microwave went belly up in Newport.

I arrived for dinner at Susie’s and Cliff’s a little early so had time to get the full story about the scooter trip, but had forgotten about the demise of their microwave. During the course of getting things ready for dinner, Cliff picked up the dinner rolls to put on the table and suggested Susie warm them up in the microwave. Susie didn’t miss a beat and told him, “good idea. Why don’t you get on your scooter and drive them next door and use Sophie’s microwave?” It loses a little retelling that, but it was hilarious at the time.

That’s about it for now. We’ll be back home in a couple of days. I’ve received numerous suggestions about what to do with the RV to make it release the brakes. The best solution involves large hammer. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

Cheers!