Always Learning

The other day I discovered that 2 apple fritters and a maple bar do not constitute a proper breakfast. I was taken by surprise by that one because it sure tasted proper and filled in the proper vacancies in my empty stomach. Along with 3 cups of coffee, I had to disagree and deem that ingesting those pastries was the right thing to do at that time. I’ll even do it again given the chance. I suspect Diane will have a hand in ensuring I don’t have that chance. She’s pretty lenient with small infractions, but apparently 3 pastries is sitting above and beyond acceptable. Deep down I have to agree but I don’t have to like it.

Our weather here in the Northwest is flip flopping all over the place. Last week, after a string of really nice days, it rained for about 4 days. Starting today we’re supposed to surge into the 90’s which puts a crimp in golfing because no one I know really wants to wander around a golf course in heat like that. Well, at least one of us (Junior) doesn’t. Add to that the fact that Doug decided to have his appendix out last week kinda makes him ineligible to play so I’ll just find something else to do until it cools down and Doug heals. Maybe I can convince Diane to come play with me.

I bought her a really nice set of golf clubs about 10 years ago and they still have the protective plastic coating on the woods. She professes she’d love to go golfing but we need to find a course where she can play and no one is watching. That’s gonna be difficult, but I’ve got an eye out, just in case something pops up.

Did I mention that Diane took a chance and let me buy a chainsaw despite my poor track record with motorized tools? Well, she did, and I’ve had monumental success without sustaining any life threatening injuries. The potential is there, of course, but I’m being very, very, careful. Honest. I’ve dismantled the pussy willow tree on the corner as well as a worn out lilac tree that I subsequently discovered Diane wanted part of it left to flourish. I assured her that it’s unlikely that I removed all of it, though I really tried.

Now I have my eye on the ancient birch tree in our front yard. Diane thinks that’s a bad idea. I’m pretty sure, however, there will be a time in the near future when she feels the need to shop at Goodwill and I’ll be left alone to do as I wish. I’m willing to take the consequences, whatever they may be. I’ll let you know about it either after I get out of the hospital, or after a successful endeavor, whichever comes first.

I’m currently reading a book where the USA was destroyed by a war between Republicans and Democrats. Considering the dysfunctional nature of the current warring parties kinda makes me wonder if this book is a prophecy. Kind of scary times, it is.

Diane just left to visit her Mom, Jean, so I have a green light to get my chainsaw fired up.

See you later.

Jeran’s All Growed Up & Diane’s New Phone

I’m a couple of days behind reporting that Jeran has finally attained his 18th birthday and has ushered in the time when all of my Daughter’s children are grown up. His birthday was on the 11th in case you want to send him money, or something.

He evolved from this …… to this …… in the blink of an eye.

He will graduate from High School in June and somehow wrangled an acceptance letter from Corban University in Salem, Oregon. Since he’s currently still living at home the reality of that aspect of his life has yet to be realized so it’s business as usual for now. Too soon, however, he will embark on that journey and we’re all excited to find out where it takes him. His initial goal is to be ordained and work as a Youth Pastor. Somewhere.

In addition to Jeran’s remarkable feet of turning 18, so soon after Lydia turned 19, we’ve had some excitement here at home.

Most of it revolves around Diane’s washing machine. After 25 years it finally bit the dust. It entered a state of nirvana where it simultaneously pumped water from the tub and filled it with fresh water. We might not have noticed except the pumping was a bit slower than the filling resulting in a situation where the water level went halfway up the door. It’s a front-loader so that’s not a good thing. The pressure was too much for the water and the load of jeans it was washing. When I got to it to investigate the “little bit of water” Diane noticed coming from under the washer, the bottom of the door, which doesn’t lock, by the way, was sprung out and water was doing a Niagara thing onto the floor. Water was everywhere. I was able to push the door in and stem the tide, but figured that wasn’t a viable solution for the long-term. Eventually it occurred to me that I should turn the water off, which I did. This allowed the pump to empty the tub and spin the jeans to the point where the dryer would accept them for the finish.

We went to our local Sears store and purchased a new set which will be delivered tomorrow.

In preparation for the delivery, we’ve been carving a path from the lower patio door to the laundry room to make the delivery easier. I’m going to take the old W&D out, leaving the laundry room empty, so I can cover the bare studs that Diane’s been looking at for the past 11 years. She deemed it was time to “make them pretty.” So, I will do my best. Toward that end, I took a trip to the local lumber yard and purchased some bead board. I will also build a drop down folding table. Since there isn’t one there now (never has been) I need to work out the dynamics of how she’ll be able to use the toilet when the folding table is down. It’s going to be tricky because the table will cover it completely. I suppose it I had the table high enough, and she used it while folded in half, it would work, but doubt that she’d be happy about that. I’ll think of something and take a picture for your approval.

Just a little while ago a couple of young ladies from a company called “Enjoy“, a pretty nifty delivery service, visited to deliver Diane’s new iPhone 8 Plus. It’s a red one. I ordered it just before 2 pm this afternoon and it was delivered by 3:30 or so. Amazing.

Anyway, the ladies sat Diane down, had her unwrap her new phone, and proceeded to help her through the process of making her new phone look a lot like her old iPhone 5S. We all had a nice visit and it was really nice to have an expert on hand to take care of things correctly.

Now it’s time to stop and eat something.

Nuts, Bolts, and a Mower Engine

Just checking in to calm those who may have been concerned about my health and welfare after that marathon run to Bremerton a couple of days ago. I’m just fine. For those of you who may not be concerned about my health and welfare, for any reason, that’s OK. Lots of times I’m not concerned about my health and welfare, either which usually ends in a trip to the emergency room for stitches. You would think it’s because I’m careless, which is definitely a contributing factor, but the main reason for my accidents is because I’m concerned about your health and welfare all the time.

It’s distracting.

Makes me lose focus.

You’d think I’d learn, right? Especially after all those lectures I get about being more careful. Oh well, I generally mend OK and the many scars I have are like the rocks I pick up on the beach. I know what I was doing when I got it, and where I was at the time. They are memories.

Now I’m happy to share the good news that I’ve successfully earned the right to call myself a Small Engine Repair Guy (SERG). Remember that mower engine I tore apart last week? Well, today I got it all back together, didn’t have any engine parts left over, and it runs like new. I’m so happy! There’s more to this story, of course, and it’s another one of those frustrating trips, but the end result was worth it.

It all started yesterday morning when I took Diane’s truck to Emmert Motors to discover why the backup lights are always on. I may have mentioned that I semi-resolved the problem by taking the backup light bulbs out. It was tempting to just leave it at that and not bother taking the truck in for a checkup. There was always the chance of a more serious underlying issue, however, so I drug myself off the couch at 0745 so I could honor the 0800 appointment.

I checked in with Tom, gave him the keys and the backup light bulbs, then went to talk with Steve for a while. I always do that when I visit Emmert, visit with Steve. Sometimes I go there just to visit with Steve. He’s my favorite car salesman and he always has candy on his desk. After a short visit I went to the lounge area and fiddled with my iPad until Tom appeared and asked me to follow him. I did.

He took me to the garage and demonstrated for me that the backup lights were functioning just fine. He believed me that they were on for 2-3 days, like I reported, but they were working fine now. He just said to bring it back if it happened again, preferably during the failure. So, apparently I fixed it by taking the bulbs out. Go figure. But, we’re keeping an eye on those things, believe me.

After that morning trip, I returned home and at a sandwich in preparation for tackling the lawn mower engine. Diane insisted. She was preparing for her trip to the court house to finish ups some community service she was assigned. No, wait. That was a couple of weeks ago. She finished her community service. She was going down to join her friends on the counting board for the current ballot.  Yeah! That’s it!

After the sandwich I attired myself in some of my better dirty work clothes and made my way to the church. It was raining more than not, so I was planning on getting wet because the lawn mower is stored in a small shed with no room to work on anything. As it turned out, though, the sun shined most of the time which allowed me to sit in the wet grass to do the majority of my work which was to put everything back together.

I got busy by first scraping off the old crank case gasket using a starter shim I happened to have from the last time I installed a starter on the old ’68 Chevy truck. I meant to take a chisel or knife, but forgot, but the shim seemed to work just fine. Just took a while. Made my hands sore, too.

Then I cleaned up all the parts as best I could, considering the circumstances, and went about the process of discovering where all the parts, bolts, and screws went. That really wasn’t a huge challenge because all you have to do is match up bolts to the holes they fit in. For instance, there were 10 bolts holding the crank case together and they were long ones. They wouldn’t fit anywhere else. This was pretty much true for the entire reassembly process. The tricky part was the new cam shaft which required me to match two little dots together on the cam gear, and the shaft gear. It took a while, but I did it. It just didn’t happen as easily as I had anticipated. From the YouTube video I watched it seemed to be pretty simple.

When the last bolt was tightened, I set the engine in the proper place on the mower frame and manually turned engine over to see what happened. No way was I going to try it with the starter first. No sir! Good thing I did, too, because it spun around nicely for about 1.5 rotations then went “clunk” and stopped. Turning it backwards the same distance produced the same result. So, I figured I must have missed the mark when lining up those two dots. However, I’d had about enough small engine exercise by that time, called it quits and went home.

I was only on the couch for a short time, recovering, before Diane returned home, released from the Counting Board for good behavior. We went through what has become a daily routine of “what do you want to eat,” and “I don’t care,” then Diane got a couple of egg rolls and some rice. She suggested that I eat the last Kung Pao TV dinner, which I did, along with a couple of egg rolls of my own. We have a large box of them in the freezer. It only takes 3.5 minutes for heat a couple of them up. It’s 4 minutes for the TV dinner.

This morning I got up with that stupid mower engine buzzing around in my head, mentally preparing myself for the necessity of dismantling it again to see what I did wrong.

As I was pulling the mower out of its little garage, it started pouring rain so I just picked up the engine and carried it into the mower space and went to work.

I took out all the bolts, removed the crank case cover and stared intently at the new gear I’d installed yesterday with great care. It only took me about 30 seconds to see that I’d not matched the cam gear dot with the crank shaft gear dot, but with a gear on the crank shaft that was just different that all the others. About 20 teeth around the corner was the little dot I’d missed. I firmly believe that the folks who build Briggs & Stratton engines make their crank shaft gears like that just to fool folks like me with the intent of getting them to try cranking it with the starter before checking to see that it works. Well, I previously proved that I didn’t fall for that tactic. No sir! No, I didn’t get it right the first time, but I didn’t break anything, either. All I wasted was a little time.

I released the rocker arms from the cam shaft push rods, turned the engine to the spot where the dots would line up, slipped the cam shaft into place just as easily as the guy on YouTube did in his video. The crank shaft cover went on just as easily, like the video, and things just fell into place. All those bolts and nuts went back like I had been doing this kind of work for years. Once together, the engine turned freely, as it should. The little rocker arms danced up and down just perfect, the carburetor almost attached itself, as did the exhaust pipe. When I looked around my work space, there was only one piece left, an odd looking bent wire thing that I hadn’t removed. It had fallen off something when I took the engine apart and I had no idea if it was even part of the process because I’d just found it laying in the lawn.

I had a feeling it belonged somewhere around the carburetor and studied that area for a long time before giving up, cleaning up, and driving to the Scappoose Sears store to look at the new mowers and see if I could find something similar on them. No one questioned me as I wandered around the dozen or so mowers on display, lifting the hoods and staring intently at the  engines. I can only surmise that they didn’t want to take a chance they’d have to talk with me because I was pretty ratty looking, even though I had arrived in a pretty nifty little car.

This investigative effort proved to be a waste of time so I went back to the church and dialed up Bing to see what I could find.

Finally, I found a reference that gave me the answer. The left-over piece was the part that chokes the engine when the accelerator lever is pushed to the maximum level. So simple. Well, now I know and think I could repeat this job quite easily, without YouTube, in a fraction of the time I’d spent learning.

Once the engine was together, I bolted it to the frame, installed the pulleys, connected all the wires, and whatnot, then sat in the seat. I didn’t try starting it right away, but just sat there a bit, resting. Actually, I was casting good mojo at the engine, willing it to turn over and run. Apparently mojo works because when I turned the key it fired right up and ran like a top. I only let it run for a few seconds before realizing that I’d failed (again) to replace that 48 ounces of oil I’d drained from the engine at the start of this process.

Withe new oil installed, I started it, and ran around in circles in the little yard next to the shed before putting it all away. There would have been more circles, but it was raining pretty hard.

I’d done it! I fixed the mower! The small engine repair guy said he could do it in 5 hours, at $80 an hours, plus parts which I paid about $80 for. So I saved the church $400, minimum. All it cost me, in addition to those parts, was some of my time.

To put that in perspective, considering I was making about $40 an hour when I retired the second time, had I been charging for time it would have cost the church about $480 in time plus parts.

Good thing my time is free, right?

In my eyes, that time was well spent because I’d learned a new skill. I’ve busted a lot of those little engines over the years, but had never been compelled to tear one apart to see what makes them tick. That’s odd, too, because I generally tear everything apart right away to see what’s inside, but not engines. Turns out they are actually pretty simple and made me realize that had I been a little braver, or inquisitive, I could have saved a lot of money over the years by fixing those things instead of replacing them.

Now I’m a mechanic. Really, I am. Once my hands heal up, and my sore muscles go away, I’m pretty confident I can talk someone through this process should the need arise.

All that’s missing is the hood. It’s all good.

Maybe I’ll go find my Bubba Teeth and make my own video.

Appliances That Talk To You

Today I’m going to get excited about techie stuff. I’m doing that because I love inanimate ‘things’ that are capable of sending emails. Like our smoke alarms, for instance. Yes, they talk to me on a regular basis.

We have three of them in the house and they are all part of a Nest network that includes an internet connected thermostat, and a camera.

The smoke alarm that’s in charge, the one in the basement, I think, sends an email once a month to alert me that it’s going to test the system and to not be alarmed. It’s only a test. But, the will be noise. A few minutes later each of the three alarms are activated, one after another, with a lower volume than normal.

The thermostat doesn’t talk but it allows me to change settings from anywhere in the world. I’ve been known to fiddle with the temperature when one of the kids are house sitting for us during one of our infrequent absences from the premises. Keeps them on their toes.

My newest addition to my smart appliances is my CPAP. Yesterday morning, much to Diane’s delight, I had a 0730 appointment at the VA Medical Center in Portland for them to check my CPAP. It was routine visit at the end of which the tech gave me a new machine. I’ve had the old one for well over 10 years but it still works so she let me keep it as a spare should the new one fail. That was good because now I can just leave the old one in the trailer and not worry about having to move it from the the house. Moving it isn’t a big deal unless I forget to also move the power supply. Which I’ve done. More than once. Let me tell you – that isn’t a good thing to do if you’re trying to impress your spouse about how hard you’re working to ensure her vacation is going to be stress free, and quiet.

Now, the problem with not taking the new CPAP wherever we go is that by using the old unit I won’t get credit for using the new one and it sends me an email, every day, to tell me how great I’m doing. This thing even has an Airplane Mode so you can use it on an airplane. I have to admit that I would have never been tempted to do that.

The thing about having the Airplane Mode is that the unit automatically connects to the internet. All by itself. I find that interesting because our internet at home requires a password, but it connects anyway. So, I’m thinking that the NSA may have something to do with the people who own the company so they can keep tabs on me. The tech told me that the unit only transmits via internet, but it cannot receive. She told me that when I voice a concern that someone random hacker could get to my CPAP and suffocate me. I think she was truthful, but you never know.

I think that’s enough of that.

Today has been another good day because it’s almost supper time and I’m still wearing my pajamas. The reason I’ve been allowed to remained dressed in this manner is because I elected to (finally) do our taxes. I took it as far as I could but can’t finish until I get a question answered by one of the financial institutions with which we do business.

Now I’m going to get engaged with March Madness and watch basketball games.



Stupid Computers, Ears, Lions International, Jerrie, and Popcorn

Before I get carried away here, I need to add something about my trip back to Best Buy to retrieve my old computer. You know, the one that broke? Well, when the Geek Guy tried to refund the $80 because they couldn’t find any data to transfer he ran into a problem that required help. I won’t bore you with the details, like normal, but will cut right to the chase. The problem he was having was that when he brought up the purchase Best Buy’s computers had reworked the totals because the computer I bought the day before was on sale that day. So, in addition to the $80 refund I got an extra $200 due to the reduced price. What a deal, don’t you think? It almost made me want to go out and buy something else that I could return. But, I didn’t. I counted my blessings and left happy.

Here’s another update on the computer problems. I may have mentioned that I had perfectly good back ups on a 4TB drive I used for that purpose, and that the failed computer, as it gasped for life, felt the need to inform that backup drive that it was leaving and that no more backups were in the works. As a matter of fact, it told the backup drive that the backups it had could be summarily dismissed. So, bowing to the superior knowledge of my Apple iMac computer, my 4TB Western Digital My Cloud drive somehow made all those back files just disappear. Stupid My Cloud. Why would it believe a dying computer?

But – the new computer, the replacement, could access the drive, but I wasn’t going to trust it for future backups. Nope. Not a chance. Instead I set up the new Seagate 1TB drive that I purchased for the Geek Guys to use for transferring data. It works great and it’s dedicated with a direct connect with a USB 3.0 connection. Also, since the new computer so easily found the My Cloud drive, it also was able to drill down to the ‘Jerrie’ folder where there just happened to be a “Documents” folder that still had all the documents I thought I’d lost. Literally hundreds of them including one folder that holds a bunch of short stories I’ve written over the years. Those files were there because I apparently had the foresight to manually copy them from the old computer before it started losing it’s memory.

Life is so much better now that I have my Documents back. Sadly, the other thing that would have come in really handy is the Key Chain file which held all the passwords for pretty much everything I access. I’m guessing I’ll survive without it, but I really like all those passwords. Some of them I’ve had for years.

Last Wednesday I attended my first Church Council meeting in a year. Prior to that year off I served on Council for six consecutive years. For some reason I agreed to return for another round of abuse and was at Wednesday’s meeting to see what was in store for me.

The main order of business was electing new officers. Before any nominations could be made I spoke up and volunteered to be the new Secretary. One of those going off council was the Secretary and I can take notes. And I can type. I did this to also eliminate any possibility that I might be nominated for a position that had responsibilities. The ploy worked and I avoided getting a real job. Lucky me.

On Thursday I skipped coffee with the guys at the Kozy because I needed to study for a mess of tests I was going to have at the Vestibular Lab at Good Sam. I’ve mentioned this previously, I think. It’s all about the body’s system that helps keep us vertical, and makes us spatially aware. It’s pretty important, I hear. The testing took 2.5 hours and I appeared to pass them all. In the end I left with the knowledge that mechanically I’m kind of OK, so whatever it is that’s making Jerrie almost fall down is probably something going haywire with my tiny little brain. The Doc didn’t actually say that, but there’s really not another option.

During the vestibular testing I learned some amazing things about what they test and how they interpret the results. Bottom line, these folks can perform their non-invasive tests on newborns and discern if the child has any kind of hearing impairment. Really. A newborn. That just blew my mind. They do it with puffs of air, clicking noises, water, and stick on monitor terminals. One of the tests that checks the ability of the Cochlear to convert sound waves into electrical impulses that can be interpreted by the brain. My doc said they used to do this by sticking a needle through the ear drum then used that needle to induce the needed sound waves. Thankfully, there’s a new toy in town that does the same work simply by sticking a ‘thing’ in the ear canal.

OK. Enough of that. I’ll learn more at some point in the future after Dr. Brown reviews the tests.

Yesterday was a long one. I mentioned that Ahmed, our Pakistani Grand Son, a foreign exchange student staying with our daughter, Jennifer, gave a stellar presentation at our last local Lion’s meeting. Because he did such a great job, he was invited to attend the Oregon Convention in McMinnville. It was an all day affair that required we leave home at 0630 in order to be there by 0800. One of the first things that happened during registration was we all received stick on mustaches. I’m sad that Diane didn’t wear hers for the photo. Nifty, huh?


Many people spoke, some of them were very good, we had lunch, and we (Diane and I) voted for new officers for District 36-O. Another thing that happened was all the First Time convention attendees were forced to go to the front and stand in a row so folks could look at us. Hank captured us.


As the day wore into afternoon, and our time away from the house entered the danger zone for leaving the dogs alone for so long, we bid our adieus and headed out the door. We missed the entertainment, I hear, but we also got home before dark.

My Lion sponsor, and past District 36-O Governor, Hank, received an award. I got to document that. On the left is the Lion International Director, then Hank, and the current 36-O governor (the reason for the stick on mustaches).


On the way to our vehicle Ahmed had to stop and get a photo with his new best friend who was sitting on a bench outside the facility.


Now, for som totally unrelated information that may or may not interest you. First is a photo of our youngest Grand Daughter, Jerrie Anne Diane, (my and Diane’s namesake) during a class event on Valentines Day. Jerrie is sitting on the floor in front of everyone. That’s my girl.


Next, and last, is a photo of popcorn we had the other day. Diane has become addicted to popcorn for her evening snack. Although it’s theater microwave popcorn, we put butter on it anyway – half a cube for a bag. Then it’s really good. Sadly. our microwave is losing it’s mind, probably because it was hanging out with my old computer during the night. Anyway, it cycles through all of it’s options, just for fun, while we sit in the living room. That wouldn’t be so bad except it beeps every time it changes something. Sometimes it gets really busy. We’ve been waiting for it to quit totally, but it still perks along. Even so, it seems to get confused with the ‘Popcorn’ button once in a while, popping the corn for only a portion of the allotted time at something other than full power. The result is a bag that only half popped. That happened the other night so Diane added some more time and just let it run until the popping stopped. Doing this pretty much fries all the corn that’s already popped. So, I popped her another bag which worked just great, and I ate the burned one. It wasn’t too bad.


That’s all I’ve got.

Day 22 – Laundry Day at Fort Lee Lodge, and Lunch

Yes, we must do our laundry while traveling. I suspect most people do except Jack Reacher, who just buys new outfits when it’s time to change clothes, then throws the old stuff away. Before we left I suggested that we take nothing but old underwear, the ones with rips and holes, of which I have a few, and just toss them each day. Diane nixed that idea, at least for her, because you just never know when you might wind up at the doctor’s office in one of those backward gowns.

Me? I brought old underwear.

Even so, we have outer clothes that get soiled and isn’t something we’d throw away until it falls apart because they are always good for working in the yard. Since we are checking out of here tomorrow we need to get things washed today. Matter of fact, the washing machines are running as I write. I might have 15 minutes or so remaining before I must make that long trip down the hall to put them in a dryer. My phone will bark when it’s time.

The upside of doing laundry at the Fort Lee Lodge is that it’s free to use the machines. There are 6 sets on each of the 7 floors, 3 at each end. That’s a lot of washers and dryers, my friend. There’s even a TV in the laundry room. And an A/C unit. A person could just take a book down there and hang out all day if they wanted to.



Diane didn’t want to. She chose to scour the base in search of the thrift store she saw a couple of times during our trips and left me alone to deal with the drying aspect of laundry. She loaded the washers, kissed m on the cheek, and headed for the parking lot. She took all my quarters, too. So, here I am, unsupervised, tasked with ensure that two special blouses do not make it to the interior of a dryer. The penalty is severe for failing this simple rule.

Thankfully I remembered because when I got back to the room she was sitting on the couch and I had the blouses in my hand. She said the thrift store is not open until Wednesday so we’ll have to go in search of a Goodwill in the civilian world this afternoon, to see what folks in Virginia give away. I can see it in the stars. Really, I can.

On my trip to the laundry room I took this photo so you could get a sense of how long the hallway is. It’s easily 200 yards. That means it’s 100 yards either direction for us because we’re almost dead center in the middle. By the elevators, which is really handy. The young lady, Brittany. who gave us this upgrade did us an enormous favor unless the room is haunted. I don’t think it is, but you just never know in a hotel.


This is looking the other direction from our room.


It’s hard to judge the distance in these crappy photos because the lights by the rooms just run together at the far end. Perhaps that’s a good indicator.

The dryers taker 45 minutes to run their cycle and I only have 26 minutes remaining until my phone barks at me again. I feel like I should take a nap, but it’s too early. That’s what I have to keep telling myself. It’s too early.

I’m sure you find all of this very interesting, and can tell that I’m not really full of fun stuff to share. I will, however, share this tender moment that I failed to include on one of the evenings Cedric spent with us.


Diane caught us both sleeping and snuck up on us. It was very peaceful sitting there with him, knowing he was relaxed and in a good place. Reminds me of when he was little and would do the same thing.


With the laundry done Diane said it was time for lunch and that I should get busy. She reminded me that yesterday I said I’d cook today. So I did. We had 8 eggs, half an onion, half a potato, 8 pieces of bacon, and a brand new green pepper. There’s no toaster in the room so I improvised by using a pan to toast English muffins on one side. Diane took care of the bacon while I prepared the eggs and everything else.

Since we only have a two burner stove, it was tricky getting it all done in a manner that nothing got cold. Since eggs were last, Diane stacked everything else in the microwave to keep them warm. When the eggs looked done enough to eat I flung a few pieces of cheddar cheese on top and put a lid on until it melted a little. I’d already turned the burner off but hat was just long enough for the bottom of the eggs to crisp up more than I had intended.

It was still good.

img_9953 img_9952

Now I really do think I’m going to take a little nap. Jerrie’s tired and his eyes burn.

My Ear, and DISH Satellite

Here it is August 4th already, and the days are noticeably shorter and the nights longer. Longer nights haven’t yet confused the Little Black Dog (Ozzie) because he still  wakes me up promptly at 0500. He either has a terrific internal clock, or he can read Diane’s alarm clock.

Yesterday I spent a few hours with my dermatologist who concisely excised a 10x15mm piece of skin from the top of my right ear that was home for a herd of basal cell carcinoma things. It was done using Mhos Surgery. I believe I mentioned a couple of days ago that this was going to happen. I was prepared to spend the day because the process involves taking small bits of flesh, biopsying it, then taking more, if necessary. The biopsy part takes about an hour so requiring multiple scoops, as Diane calls them, could take a while. I was lucky as my doc got it all with one scoop and we were hope by 1030, not quite three hours from the 0745 check-in time. Now I an adorned with an impressive mass of what was called a “pressure” bandage but is, in fact, not putting much pressure on the wound. Diane had to augment the nurses efforts with the large piece of tape because it was almost flapping in the wind. This is the way I went to coffee this morning with my friends Larry and Larry.


After coffee I went to ACE for some things Diane put on a list for me then came home and fiddled with the DISH receiver in our trailer. Diane, Jennifer, Lydia, and Jewel shopping in Portland, leaving me unsupervised but with stern instructions that I was not allowed to do “anything” in the way of labor that involved exertion of any kind, doctors orders. Apparently there’s a mild possibility that one or more of the 12 stitches might give way allowing my ear to spurt blood all over the place. I don’t think that’s something the dogs would clean up for me and it would certainly create a bad situation for me once Diane got home. So, I remained in my Coffee Clothes, boots and all, and mosied back and forth to the trailer getting our DISH receiver set up as a DVR. All I had to do was add a hard drive to it and have the service activated. I called the first time and thought I’d made myself clear, but the service wasn’t activated. So, I used their handy CHAT feature and accomplished the task.

The external hard drive I used the one sitting behind my computer that used to be my back up drive. It was originally installed in an Apple Time Machine that had an electronical problem that occurred well after the warranty period. So, I ripped it apart and installed the hard drive in a case that I purchased somewhere and continued using it at my Time Machine drive. Worked great until I got a Western Digital 4TB MyCloud device. Then it just sat there. Ignored. Until today.

After getting the DVR service activated I plugged the drive into my 211z DISH receiver and it went to work formatting the drive for me. I’ll be curious to see how well it works. Seems to have adapted to its new job OK so far.

You needed to know all that.

Now I must stop and watch Olympic Soccer.

If I get in trouble, for any reason, once Diane returns, I’ll be back to share it with you all.

Later …

Diane and Jewel returned home safely with a really good sandwich for me from the Virgina Cafe. I’m afraid I gobbled. The I talked Diane into removing all that padding from my ear which I was quickly beginning to dislike immensely. It still hurts, but now I can get ice closer to the offending area. Relief is in sight. If necessary, I know where the rum is.


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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vacuum Cleaners Suck

Yes, this short post is about vacuum cleaners but, first, I’m compelled to share that I think vacuum cleaners are misnamed. At least in my head. The reason I think that way is because of my brother, Jack, and me to be staunch practitioners of “Correct Speak”. You know, where there is no need to interpret what’s being said because it’s all in the words, exactly as they are presented. That simply means “Vacuum Cleaners” specifically defines a mechanism that, well, cleans vacuum. I know that doesn’t make any sense which is why practitioners of “Correct Speak” generally take great care to construct sentences that actually mean what they say. Logic dictates that a vacuum is already clean so why do we need to clean it? Therefore, since vacuum cleaners really suck, they should be called “Sucking Machines”.

Now, since that’s out of the way, I can get to the meat of this post and report that Diane is the proud owner of a brand new sucking machine. She’s had many over the course of our marriage but never one that elicited such excitement as this new one. It’s a Shark Rotator Professional. The price point was exactly right because Fred Meyer had it on sale for $260, marked down from, $300, but we got it from a local overstock business for $120. The saleslady gave it glowing reports, supporting Diane’s online search for the best unit.

On the way home we stopped at Diane’s Mom’s (Jean’s) house to share the good news, and to ensure that Mom hadn’t fallen down. She hadn’t so all was good and she was interested to see the new machine.

I brought the unit in, plugged it in, and ran it around the living room a bit to see how it worked and we were all surprised to discover dust and debris flying around in the clear canister that collects that stuff. This is significant because Mom has a fairly new Rainbow that she uses religiously every week – Tuesdays, I believe. Cleaning that often with a Rainbow would make one think there wouldn’t be any debris to suck up, but there was. Diane and I were all amazed. Mom, not so much. Seeing that the new machine was able to pull debris from the living room rug that we thought was cleaning enough to eat off of, Diane went to work and cleaned the entire carpet and was delighted beyond measure to capture all that dirt from Mom’s squeaky clean house.

Once we got it home Diane couldn’t wait to get it plugged in so she could do a run through the house and over all the carpets lying around so Ozzie can navigate without walking on a bare floor. The results were astounding, as expected, putting the old top of the line Kenmore Drag Behind Canister to shame. She said that one will be retired once all the dead spiders in the basement are cleaned up because dead spiders will NOT be allowed in the new machine.

Here what it looks like …

The orange bag contains all the extra attachments that came with it.

Before leaving I must share that I’m also teaching Panzee to drive the RV. Diane has refused to drive it and I need a backup, so Panzee was the obvious choice.


Remind me tomorrow to tell you about how the new window install went. I have photos of that, too.