How To Disable A Rhododendron

Today was interesting for a variety of reasons. The one that got my attention most was when Diane determined that it’s been some time since I inflicted injury to a body part, and longer yet since I had an opportunity to bleed significantly. With this new-found knowledge she thought it would be an excellent idea for us to go trim her Mom’s rhododendrons.  She said, “Jerrie, were going to go trim Mom’s rhodies before she hires someone else to do it. Get your chain saw and c’mon.” I also got a variety of clippers, one of which was a bit rusty, but it worked.

She felt pretty confident about my improving abilities when she snuck back into the house and caught me replacing a wall socket without turning off the power. I’ve done that a hundreds times, on ships at sea, and in our houses and I’ve hardly ever disrupted power by channeling it through significant parts of my body, which causes VCRs, Radios, CD players, to announce their temporary loss of power by blinking 12:00 … 12:00 … 12:00  over and over until someone can find a smart allecky 12-year-old who know how resolve the issue.

I’m stoppling right here becasue I’ve aleady taken my zolpedim and my ares coordinated well enough to carry on a lotgical ongeragtionl see what I meen?

Sorry about the way I terminated that last night. I lost control of my little fingers … the ones that work anyway. It’s now 0610 and I’ve had the 6 hours of sleep allowed by the dogs. They’ve been fed, I’ve had my meds, and I’ve had my 1st of many glasses of water, my morning banana, and my yogurt. I distinguish my morning banana because I sometimes have an evening banana, too. Last night I had grapes, instead.

We were talking about trimming things with dangerous equipment, I believe. At Diane’s Mom’s  house.

Around Jean’s house are about 15 rhododendrons, four of which are close to the house, one by the corner of the street, and the remainder out back by Milton Creek which runs through the town on its journey to the Columbia River. They’ve been growing for 35 years, the last 15 of which they’ve lived under the threat of pending doom because they were blocking windows, and paths, with absolutely no concern for humans.

Having heard about the pending pruning event, they banded together in a pack of self-preservation by directing all their growth upward instead of outward, interlocking their branches until even a small monkey couldn’t navigate them safely.

This is what I faced, as I strung a very long extension cord across a damp yard and, flirting with electrocution, plugged in my chain saw. It worked, and everyone appeared to still have lights so I positioned it near the one furthest from the house.

Diane and I actually began the dismantling process with small, handheld, mechanical pruner, lopper things, much like those used in movies to remove fingers that are sent back to loved ones, or to facilitate the removal of an especially coveted ring. This worked well for a while, allowing us to get to the innards where the brown branches live and thrive. The outside branches are green and tender and easy to remove whereas the brown ones are more like tree limbs to which the green ones cling.

These inner branches are so thick and intertwined that most work must be done by feel as you clear the way to make room for your head so you can see what you are doing. Just as I was making a breakthrough, it happened. I had a group of finger sized branches gathered in my left hand, and started snipping away, willy nilly, confidence building, until I heard this horrible scream! Startled, I glanced around to see what was going on, and then the pain hit.

It was absolutely horrible! The sneaky rhodie had lulled me into a dream state, causing me to push all my training aside, creating a false sense of security which ultimately resulted in my finger nippers actually nipping a left-handed finger.

As soon as I realized that the scream was mine my training came back with such a rush that I was momentarily disoriented. I fell to my knees, then over onto my right side, curled into a little ball of pain. I didn’t know it at the time, drenched in pain as I was, but the area I cut, on my left middle finger, is where all the nerve endings in my entire body resided. It was excruciating. I know this is true because I am not a stranger to pain. I’ve had a lot of it over the years for various reasons, and this one was the absolute worst. Far worse than childbirth, I don’t care what anyone says.

I heard someone calling my name from far away but it wasn’t getting through the wall of pain very well. Eventually the voice got louder and I realized it was Diane. She was telling me to remove my glove so she could check the injury. This caused me to jump to my feet because I knew if I removed my glove this close to the ground I’d bleed out quickly. I then realized my right hand was tightly squeezing my left middle finger, cutting off all circulation, a trick I had learned during two previous incidents with left-handed fingers … squeeze it, and keep it above your heart. Good advice.

Finally heeding Diane’s demands, I released the pressure and waited for blood to start spurting through the new hole in my glove, but nothing happened except the pain increased. This caused me to grab the damaged digit again and prance around the front yard making the inhaled “sssssssss” sound which everyone knows means it really hurts a lot.

Diane caught me on my third pass and said, “Jerrie, you’re embarrassing us. Stop and take the glove off so we can see if you need stitches,” which I’ve been known to need.

So, I did. I took my glove off then spread the wound so she could see how bad it was. With a deriding remark of some kind at the state of my nearly bleeding finger, she marched off toward the house commanding me to follow. Being in no condition to object, I acquiesced, and followed her like a sad little puppy.

In the bathroom the wound began dripping which she searched for the band aids, which she deemed was the only item required to staunch the now free-flowing blood. OK, it was only trickling a bit and she admonished me, telling me to not get blood all over the sink. So I didn’t. To punish me for cutting my finger she put iodine on the wound before attaching the band aid. Oddly, it didn’t hurt at all, or it just didn’t hurt more than the pain that was already employed.

Once the band aid was secure we went back outside to complete our assigned tasks. Now, however, it was personal so I just fired up my electic chainsaw and went to work taking that rhodie down to size, about three feet tall instead of eight.

As I dismantled the first bush, I could feel the others peering around the house at me, talking about what they would do to me if I so much as touch them. But I wasn’t worried because I know bushes don’t have opposing thumbs, something they apparently failed to consider.

The resulting pile of now harmless branches was further dismantled by the three of us so it would fit into Jean’s brown yard debris container which Hudson Garbage picks up every other week. We also filled four rather hefty garbage bags.

We did the same thing to one more rhodie, by the corner of the house, before calling it a day, but the day wasn’t really done. It was six thirty post-mortem for the rhodie, but many fragments of it was stuffed into the back section of Diane’s Buick, destined for our burn pile. I forgot to mention that. Sorry.

After all that, I find it ironic that I was injured by a finger lopper, not the chainsaw. So did Diane and Jean. I believe they were betting each other how far I’d get with the project before having to make the dreaded Emergency Room Trip (ERT). Well, I fooled them, didn’t I?

Finished, we bid our adieus and motored away. I suggested to Diane that she could just park the vehicle in the garage as I could remove the offending rhodie from the rear with no problem.

From the back yard I retrieved my trusty lawn mower from its home on the lower patio, near the hot tub, removed the bagging unit, attached my trailer, and turned it into a lawn tractor.

Getting the rhodie debris out of the vehicle was uneventful, but it took two trips to get it to the lower 40 burn pile. It’s not really a lower 40. It’s more like a lower 1/2. I just call it 40 for fun. Anyway, once the transport was done, the pile was pitifully small. I was disappointed. I needed to do more.

So, I drove the mower to the middle of the yard, engaged the blades, and started making one crop circle by going around in circles until I’d completed the entire area, pulling the trailer the entire time. I went as fast as I could because the threat of rain was ever-present and I didn’t want to get wet.

When I finished I put the mower away and entered Diane’s house via the lower patio. Not far inside that door is her laundry room and, since I was coated with the smell of new-mown grass, I dropped all of my clothes there, as I’ve been instructed to do, over, and over after previous mowing adventures. Doing this poses a bit of a problem if someone has come to visit during the mowing evolution, and might still be upstairs when I transit the area to my shower, but that doesn’t happen often. Most of the time Diane will warn me but once in a while she doesn’t, just for fun. The object, of course, is for me to make the trip to my shower quick enough that I leave as little grass clipping smell in the house as possible since Diane is terribly allergic it.

Once I was a scrubbed up, it was 9 pm or so, and my day was truly done. I could relax. I could lounge on my half of the couch, eating a bowl of grapes which Diane refused to peel.

Then I took my nightie time meds, and you know the rest of the story.

Now it’s Thursday, and my day is already almost half gone because Diane didn’t wake me up from my morning nap until after 9 am. It’s really OK because I deserved the rest since I worked on Diane’s computer until almost midnight trying to figure out how Windows 8 works. It’s very different. Then, Ozzie got me up at 0530 for his pouch food fix.

Diane is off to visit with the Bethany Quilt Ladies (BQL) with her Mom. That leaves me here, all alone, with a need to conjure up a project that will be meaningful, necessary, and one Diane will like. This concerns me because I tend to pick the wrong projects when left to my own devices.

Oh well. I’ll just have another cup of coffee and think about it for a while. If nothing “pops”, I’ll just take another nap with my iPad.

Hope everyone has a great day.

Oh, ya … Diane took a couple of pictures but they are on her phone and I don’t have them yet so I’ll update this when I have access.

Update – Here’s the last branch of the first rhodie to bite the dust. Neither Diane nor her Mom would let me leave it.


Here’s the remains of the dismantled rhodie from the right side of the house. Diane and her Mom are whittling it down to size to fit the bags. Whatever was left over, because they couldn’t cut it, went in the Buick.


You can almost see my crop circle out there.


These are four of the many rhodies in our yard that are going to yield to my efforts. They probably looked really nice when they were a couple feet tall. Now they are just too crowded. I have no idea what the bush is on the right side, but the birds love it because the cat can’t climb it.


Life In The Ozone

Greetings Earth people. I come in peace to render a report from your faithful minion, Jerrie Somethingorother, whom we borrowed for a short period of time to conduct experiments crucial to our need to dominate all species on earth of the classification Chromista and below. The purpose of our experiments is to develop a new life form, though no one on the team seems to know why, so I cannot divulge that information. Most of us surmise that our leader, Krrooggllee, had a brain fart that infiltrated his need for attention and dreamt this up as a way of appeasing that particular fart. It happens.

At the exact moment this fart occurred, teams of investigators were roaming about in a small town near a river and not far from the ocean, our very favorite place, and were instructed to execute a short-term lease on the first semi-erect being they encountered. Negotiating short-term leases must commence immediately upon receipt by all teams and the winning team gets to plant a patch of ding dong bushes and spend 3.25 days at the beach.

So, it’s a race, if you will.

Fortunately, Roodee, on Team 19, for lack of a better description which you just wouldn’t understand at all, swiveled his eyes to the right at that exact moment and spied Jerrie, who was on his knees making rapid back and forth motions with a small tool for which we have no name. He appeared to be removing the skin from a prone, inanimate life form which we later discovered was a headboard, something about which we knew nothing at the time. Having since been provided a meaning for such a device we still do not understand the need for such a life form. Whatever. Earth people amuse us.

Anyway, Roodee spied Jerrie out of the passenger window of the team’s bright gray 1995 Toyota celica undercover vehicle, which is used by all teams, and initially discarded him as a choice since he wasn’t erect at the time, kneeling as he was, but, before Roodee looked away Jerrie stood, more than fulfilling our need for a semi-erect being. Therefore, he was lassoed with one of our snagger things and delivered to our research ship post haste.

Once aboard, and connected to all our electromechanical gizmos, we learned about the headboard and that he was situated on his knees in the garage, removing the plastic coating he had previously applied because it “wasn’t dark enough”, according to his spousal unit.  All we could get from him regarding the tool was that it’s a ‘painter’s tools’ which makes no sense because he was obviously ‘scraping’ the headboard. It did, however, seem to be working nicely causing us to rethink our current compulsion to have a specific tool for every specific task. Needless to say, wanting to be ready for anything, our tool bags are enormous and must be placed in a trailer behind the celica. We can fix anything with the tools in our trailers.

We learned that another reason he was in the garage, in the cold, is because the headboard is too heavy for him to move to the basement by himself. We offered to help but he just stood there and peed down his leg, intimidated, no doubt, by our clever disguises which make us look like dogs, man’s best friends. We hadn’t, at that time, arrived at the conclusion that dogs don’t drive and have since altered our appearances to mimic that of little old men and women which are far less intimidating than very large dogs. As an aside, Roodee was garbed as a frolicky Terrier, Hooser was a non-shedding Poodle, Garment was a Retriever of some sort, and our driver, Zimlot, was a mixed breed of all three which we liked but he apparently created a very frightful appearance to Jerrie.

We interrogated Jerrie for 17 hours, gathering all sorts of useful information, then sent him back in time to his garage with no memory of what had happened, but with all manner of monitoring devices on him allowing us to see, hear, feel, and taste everything as if we were there.

He was returned to the garage about noonish, a new word we learned, so he quit his task and went into the house to make a snazzy nacho lunch. We really liked it and plan to add this tasty treat to our synthesizer memory for future delightful snacks, as soon as we can figure out what’s in it.

After lunch he urged two dogs to exit the domicile, and into the yard in order to fertilize specific areas of the yard. When they returned, he departed his domicile.

His first stop was at a large metal box, a shipping container, near the St. Helens High School that is used by local citizens to rid themselves of their discarded newspapers, and for students to dump their garbage. The purpose of the stop was to straighten up the donations and remove the garbage. There is similar box located in the Wal*Mart parking lot that does not get as much garbage.

Then he proceeded to a location between St. Helens and Scappoose to visit The Twins, whose names we learned are Eva and Evelyn. Eva desired assistance with her computer and printer which Jerrie, for reasons that are not apparent to us, knows how to do. Jerrie’s emotions revealed that he always enjoys visiting The Twins, old high school classmates, and he’s glad he can help with their electronical needs. Now he has to return and retrieve his favorite Navy baseball hat.

He returned to his abode where he languished for an hour before he had to return to Warren where he was to preside over a meeting of church elders. They call it a council. We understand the concept of having a council that oversees “things” but we are mystified why it is that Jerrie was chosen to preside. After giving it much thought, our conclusion is that no one else wanted to do it and he’s used to abuse, so he volunteered.

During the meeting Jerrie’s spousal unit texted him, on a nifty device he carries around in his pocket, to report she wouldn’t be arriving home until after 10 pm because they had so many ballots to process. Not knowing what ballots were, at the time, we thought it had something to do with procreation, and just skipped over to something more interesting.

Jerrie arrived home at approximately 9 pm thinking he only had one hour to spend alone in the dark. Apparently there is a rule that Jerrie isn’t allowed to do anything when home alone except attempt to organize words in a meaningful manner on his computer. He did that for a short time then began assembling a puzzle on his computer which we found to be absolutely fascinating! We do not understand the concept of puzzles yet, but we will soon because we’re positive he will do it again.

The spousal unit didn’t return until after 11pm. She was tired and anxious to learn who won Dancing With The Stars before she went to bed. Jerrie, not knowing she was checking those results on her computer was startled when she let out a yell to honor America’s decision to bless Kellie and Derek with the mirror ball. Having monitored earth for many years we know about Dancing With The Stars and each have our own secret favorite. Since we are not allowed to cheer about anything, we silently urge our favorites to win. Mine, incidentally, was also Kellie and Derek. After Jerrie recovered from the sharp exhalation of air from the spousal unit’s breathing apparatus, I discovered that he, too, was a Kellie and Derek fan. Knowing that made me want to be nicer to him so I let him go to bed.

My 1st Day At 69 …

Today was just great even though the dogs got me up at 0530. Not only did they NOT check their calendars, I think they aren’t really using the clock any more. Instead they’re basing their urinary needs on how light it is outside. And today? I mean, c’mon, it’s my birthday, for criminny sakes. I was supposed to sleep in today. But, in reviewing my past behavior with regard to getting up, ans staying up, I have to admit I haven’t done well. Too many morning naps.

Not today. Nope. I got up at 0530 and stayed up because I knew if I attempted a nap I would have missed a perfect opportunity to go out and golf really bad. I read my book for 3 hours to stay awake until it was time to head for the golf course. I was very quiet the entire time to ensure I didn’t wake Diane. When it was time for me to leave, I tiptoed to the bedroom and stubbed my left big toe on the step Diane needs to get into bed when I leaned over to kiss her bye. Even though I supressed my pain, she let me know she was. thankfully, already awake. Then she said, “you know that step is there but you always do that,” and it’s true. I always stub my toe on it. I don’t want to stand on it because it makes me too high to safely lean over and administer the good bye kiss, creating a tense situation where I might lose my balance and fall on her, a sure way to wake her in a very dramatic way, which I have done more than once. One would think I would learn, wouldn’t one? Well, I pride myself on consistency in my life, and stubbing my toe has just become a routine thing I do. My toe is almost totally numb all the time, but I always seem to whack the part that still has feeling.

Go figure.

About golfing … I golfed with JR, Doug, and Lyle. JR and Doug are brothers, and Lyle is part American Indian so goes by the nickname “Chief”. That’s what he writes on all his golf balls, in really big red letters. I found one of them a few months back, while digging around in the tall grass looking for my ball. Or maybe it was in one of the forests that I usually frequent while golfing. I carried that ball around in my pocket for a few holes today before giving it back to him. He was happy so that made me happy. Considering Lyle’s nickname, I’m sure you’ve surmised that he isn’t one of the American Indians who gets all hung up on names. He’s a great guy.

Of the four, I was the worst, but I had far more fun than any of them. I always do. They all work at getting a lower score. Not me. I have a 37 handicap and work hard to maintain it.

After leaving the golf course, I stopped by to see Don, Diane’s cousin. He’s a master mechanic who builds and races stock cars. He’s done that almost his entire life. When I need mechanical assistance, he’s my guy. My key to stopping is checking to see if the door is open on his shop. Today it was. In the doorway he had this incredibly beautiful new engine hanging on a chain dangling from one of the forks on his forklift. The engine looked like it was right off the assembly line and the guy who built it was right there with Don. While admiring this work of art, which is going into Don’s nephew’s, Johnathan’s, race car, I turned around and whacked my head on the unfettered fork. It made a mark on my bright yellow Oregon Duck hat, and a small bump on my head, but I didn’t fall down.

Don’s not as tall as I am so didn’t have to put the forks up high enough for me to walk under. In all fairness, too, he had no idea I was stopping by. Had he, I’m sure he would have raised it a little more.

Once home, Diane cooked me a BLT sandwich. I love those things. I love anything that has bacon in it. Heck, I just love bacon. I’d eat bacon wrapped bacon bits if Diane would let me.

After lunch I took a trip to Warren to visit the Twins, my highschool classmates, so I could work on computers for them. I got most of the things accomplished I was there to do, before having to leave to attend Lydia’s softball game at Campbell park, which is just down the hill from our house. We talk a lot about walking down to the games, but the fact that it’s uphill all the way home is a deterrent for sure. So we drive. Tonight we had a better reason to drive because we had a Lion’s International meeting at 1830, at the Village Inn.

After that meeting we went back to watch the end of the 2nd game of Lydia’s double header. She pitched the first game, which they lost 10-9, then sat out the first part of the 2nd game, which we didn’t see, because her hip was hurting. The score was 10-0, them, when we arrived and Lyd was going back in the game. It was brutal. She did OK, but it was evident she wasn’t comfortable. Still, she had fun, and that’s good.

After the game we came home and Diane watched Dancing With The Stars, which she loves. I even go in a watch some of the dancers. Kelly and Derick are awesome.

During that show it was brought to our attention that Moore, Oklahoma was hit by an incredibly huge, vicious, and deadly tornado.

Since I had this almost done when we learned of the destruction, and loss of life, I will leave the frivolous beginnings, but end on a somber note, asking that you pray for the people of Moore, and anyone one else who has experienced loss due to the continuing storms throughout the Mid West. At this time the count is 91 dead, and the search continues. Not a good ending to what was a wonderful day for us.

God Bless Them All

Perscriptions & BO

Today was cold enough that Diane invoked her feminine rights to crank up the heater a bit. I admit, it was a lot cooler than it has been the last few days. Today was about 60 degrees after 4 days in the 80’s, up to 88. I didn’t think I was going to ever quit sweating, but I had no choice because Diane insisted that I do “stuff” even though I was perfectly OK with just sitting quietly on the couch with my book.

Consequently, over the course of the last 4 days, I had to take about 8 showers. That’s just a huge waste of water, don’t you think? Her tactic for making me head for the showers is to tell my deodorant quit. Very subtle, huh? That’s good that she has a sensitive nose, I guess, because it’s rare when I notice when my deodorant quits. It’s not like something goes dark, like when you switch off a light, when your deodorant quits. It’s a nose thing. I think I’ve seen her nostrils flare just before she tells me that which I find odd because you’d think they would shut down a little if the odor is that offensive. Instead, they flare, as if to gather in as much of my manly aroma as possible before making be go wash it off.

Contradictory, if you ask me …

… but no one ever does. It’s just, “your deodorant quit.”

Makes you wonder if eye-glass prescriptions have a terminal date like other prescriptions. You know, like all the pills you take have a warning on the bottle telling you to “renew before 3 August, 2018,” or something similar. That’s the only warning you get. With eye-glass prescriptions, however, there is no warning. One minute you’re walking down the street admiring all the pretty people, your prescription runs out, and everything goes blurry. It would be especially bad if you were driving at the time, or navigating crowds on your Segway, or water skiing, flying a plane, watching TV … one of those important things. What would you do?

That’s happened to me. Honest. The first thing I did was tentatively say, “Diane?” because she’s always lurking around nearby, and she would hear the question in my voice.

She said, “yes, dear, what now?”

“I can’t see,” I responded.

“You can’t see what,” she queried back.

“I can’t see the TV.”

“Is it on?”


“Are you wearing your glasses?”


“Are they right side up, like the little nose pads are actually touching your nose?”


“Are they yours?”

“I think so.”

“Well look at them!”

“I can’t.”


“Because I can’t see.”

“Oh, why didn’t you say so before?”

“I did.”

“Did not.”

“Did too.”

And you know where that goes.

Finally, she tore herself away from American Idol and came to see what was going on. Turns out I fell asleep and the cat was laying on my face. I was hallucinating in my sleep during the entire conversation.

It’s good to know that I can carry on a conversation when I’m unconscious because that might come in handy one day. Maintaining control of what flies out of my mouth might be a concern, you think, but that’s never been one of my worries, awake or asleep.

Like at Lydia’s game last night. The umpire, Pete, has his own version of a strike zone and it’s different for every game. I say things throughout the game regarding what I believe are blatant bad calls and I hear Jennie in front saying, “Dad …?” which means don’t do this, while Diane is beside me doing the wife version of the same thing. They are, of course, afraid I’ll get kicked out and embarrass Lydia, or them.

Pete ignores me, so it’s really not a problem.

I think that’s it for now … it’s 10:36am and time to get started with my day now that I’ve shed the weariness of the night, and my morning 3-hour nap.

Tid Bits

It’s 8:40 pm. I finished mowing the yards about 20 minutes ago. Took me 2 hours and it was fun because I could go really fast since it hasn’t had time to grow out much. Just enough to make the grass catcher useful. The jarring round hurts my hip and back, but I have meds for that. Tomorrow, before it starts raining, I need to suit up and run around the place with the weed eater. This device wrecks my shoulder which has a terminal problem that may, at some point, require replacement.

Diane has an orthopedic appointment for her knee, after visiting the doc today. If we sell a couple of cars she can get a new one. I’ve decided that I’ll get my new shoulder at the same time so we can convalesce together. Actually, selling cars won’t do it because they cost so much so we’re just going to wait for either a sale at Wal*Mart, or a surprise influx of Chinese knees and shoulders at Costco. You just never know.

Or, we can just gimp along on what we have and call it good.

Jeff came by today to re-borrow the drill he recently returned. While he was here we went over the list of tools he’s still got. It’s not a long list. We mainly went over it so I can quit looking for those items in the house. He told me that the girls, Gilligan and Bailey, want a puppy like Panda who passed away a couple of years ago. They’ve already named the puppy Scraps. I love that name and think I’ll start calling myself Scraps whenever I’m introduced to someone new. That’s really not a problem because the only people I know are old. If I was introduced to a new person, they wouldn’t understand what I was saying anyway. Because they’re too little to communicate properly.

After this morning’s nap Diane and I drove to Scappoose to visit with Wynette for a short time before she had to leave for the Senior Center. For some reason she has to check in with them pretty much every Friday. I think it has something to do with volunteering.

On the way home we stopped at Burgerville, which are only in Oregon & Washington (mostly Oregon) for takeout lunch. I normally have a Tillamook Bacon Cheeseburger with a large chocolate shake, but today I just had a double cheeseburger with extra secret spread. Great stuff. Too bad for all you people who live someplace else.

Actually, it’s just a hamburger. There are tons of hamburger joints all over the world, but Burgerville is a local thing. We also have Burger King, and McDonalds, like normal places, but we prefer local cows vs. foreign ones. Really. Almost everything they use for the burgers are home-grown. Some Burgervilles have pastures out back where the cattle graze until they’re ready, then they are herded into a barn and just never come back out. It’s like magic. At the other end of the barn is the Burgerville. No one would have ever known that had I not brought it to your attention.

That is, of course, a lie. The same number of cows that go in the barn always come back out of the barn. But, are they the same cows? One may wonder.

Now I’ll end with this, for those of you who don’t normally venture on to Facebook, or cruise the internet looking for odd things. I want one of these …


Vacation – Day 10 Reno, Nevada

Today was extremely pleasant and relaxing. It started when I exited our assigned bedroom at K&M’s, in Foresthill, and found Mike sitting on the couch watching TV with the sound off. The coffee was done so I grabbed a cup and we sat. We talked while watching the silent TV until the women awoke. I have no idea when I got up, how long we talked, or when the women arose which is a testament to the value I place on the conversation Mike and I had.

I don’t remember everything we talked about, but it was very enjoyable. It was manly type stuff, I’m sure, involving tires, computers, trucks, and such. And cooking. Mike is really good at that.

Once the women got up and were communicating as good as Mike and I were, Mike retired to the kitchen to work on breakfast. It was an oven bake of eggs, shredded potatoes, and ham. It was most excellent. We all sat at the table and ate almost all of it.

Then Mike went to work to fire up the BBQ grill in preparation for the ribs he was going to cook in the afternoon. While he was doing this, Kathie, Diane, and I walked down the street to one of their neighbor’s homes where a sale was in progress. Everything was going out the door. Since we were late, all the good stuff was already gone, of course. We’ll never know what we missed. But we did buy a 6×9 area rug and Kathie got a really pretty bowl. I rolled the rug up, put it on my shoulder and trudged back up the hill with the girls.

Then we all climbed into Mike’s new Ford F-150 Crew Cab Short Bed Pick Up Truck and got a tour of Foresthill. Diane now officially has Truck Envy. I must admit, Mike’s truck is a beauty. Foresthill is a small community in a very picturesque setting at a 2600 foot elevation. I say small, but it just looks that way because all the houses are spread out over a large area. The town has a new high school with a total of 200 students. Just the right size.

After returning to the house Diane and I sat on the couch while Kathie and Mike worked on the incredible meal to come. Actually, we packed up our stuff and stuffed it in the Buick, in preparation for our planned 5 o’clock departure. We visited for a short time, bid our adieu’s, climbed in the Buick and headed down the hill back to I-80. Remember … it’s left at the end of the road, left at the end of the next road, then right onto I-80, and about 95 miles to Reno.

The trip was uneventful except when we climbed to 7000 feet and I was concerned that it might be a bit chilly if the Buick broke and I had to walk for help. Thankfully, Diane was driving, nothing broke, and we made it to our Reno abode around 6:50 pm.

Our room is very nice, for which we’re pleased. It’s on the 13th floor with a view of the city.

Once we were properly ensconced, and everything was put away for the duration of our stay, we went about fixing simple things to eat. Our room has a toaster so Diane had peanut butter toast, a glass of milk, and an apple. I was going to have a chunk of cheese and an apple but had to modify that choice when I discovered the cheese was missing. Dang! I hate when that happens. I’m the one who reloaded the cooler so it’s on me for leaving it behind. Diane contacted Kathie, via text, and begged her to bring the cheese to us, but she refused. Actually, I begged Diane to ask Kathie to bring the cheese, but she refused. I was kidding, of course. We’ll drive back in the morning to get it, and the lettuce and onion I left behind. Either that, or go buy another Tillamook Loaf, which would probably be a lot cheaper. And, Kathie told Diane they were going to make salad with what I left. That’s fair.

So, that was our 45th anniversary dinner … pretty simple fare, alone in our room. We’re both OK with that. And, we got to watch a couple more episodes of Big Bang Theory.

Thanks, Mike & Kathie, for your hospitality and a great visit.

Vacation – Day 4

Personally, I think it’s a little odd that I’ve started the last 4 entries with “Southbound” which was only accurate for the first 2. Yesterday we started out going south, to Gualala, but had to go north to get back to the trailer park at the Point Arena Lighthouse Resort. To change things up a little, we went north today, to Manchester, to see what’s there. Then we had to turn right around, when we were done, in order to get back to the trailer park. North and south, little bits at a time. There was a little west east in there, too.

I guess it was really a NEWS day, wasn’t it? That’s pretty much every day, for all of us.

Anyway, we went to Manchester to see what Manchester Beach State Park was like. We got to the park, and walked the 1/4 mile path that had a sign, “To Beach” – maybe it was actually ‘to beach’. The path ended at the edge of a 20+ foot cliff which gave us the sincere impression that only young people are allowed on the beach at Manchester Beach State Park. Here’s where it ended …

So we turned around and went back to the car. We have to admit, however, the view was stunning.

Now I have to admit that we didn’t go to Manchester Beach State Park first. We went to see the Point Arena Lighthouse which is at the end of Lighthouse Road which conveniently runs right past the trailer park. Here’s proof that we were actually there. The spot where this was taken is where the car race in “Need For Speed” ended. We’ve been informed that the movie will be released in 2014.


The coastline near the lighthouse is far more stunning that it is at Manchester Beach State Park.


I have to relate an interesting event while we were in a Sjolund Market in Manchester, an obviously Scandinavian name, not uncommon in most Pacific Coast villages. Most of the products in the market, seriously, most of them, are made in the USA. From all over the country. We were looking for some cooking oil, and an unboiled egg, so Diane could make brownies. Not being able to find it caused me to violate the first code of manhood. I asked for directions from a young lady taking inventory.

She didn’t speak English. Ironic, huh?

Oh yes … Diane insists that I share a picture of our trailer park … here’s two of them …



I can’t remember if I related that we bought a really nice New York cut steak, yesterday, and I’m not going to look to see. But we did. Today, after getting back from our arduous day, I snagged a BBG and cooked it. The BBQs live in a nest near the office. They provide the charcoal, lighter fluid, and matches. Before cooking it, I asked Diane if she got BBQ sauce. She said, “no, you can use Ketchup.” On a New York steak! It was very tasty.

What a day.

The Tax Man’s Coming …

I finally did our taxes. Since federal wanted all our money, and state was giving everything back, I had a dilemma. Logic said send state in early and use it to pay federal, right? The trouble with that is I like to file online and to do that means both federal and state have to be submitted at the same time. If I did that, federal would bounce because there wouldn’t be enough money in the account to cover their desires, and there’s no delay to wait for state to show up. They don’t talk with each other.

So, I filed a federal extension. That can be done online, but doing so means state needs to be mailed because federal has to be paid in full in order to submit state online. So, logic wins in that I should have mailed state in January.

I could have done that if Diane would have given me the information I needed before today. But she didn’t.

So, it’s all her fault.

It’s done, now, so everything is good and we can go on a guilt-free vacation next week.

I don’t know where we’re going, yet, because Diane won’t tell me. I just know we’ll be gone for a couple of weeks. The dogs are going to be really hungry when we get home and all the porch plants will probably die … and the grass is going to be a couple of feet tall, but that’s OK. All of that can be corrected. And it’s all a lie.

Except for the grass. There’s no way to make it go dormant for two weeks. I’ve tried talking to it, crawling around on my hands and knees, but all that does is make the neighbors nervous … and my knees green.

Vacation. I wonder where we’re going …

Happy April 1st

Today was brutal. It started when I woke up at 4:30 with my bladder screaming at me … it wasn’t really screaming, but it was making its presence known. I’m not normally allowed to get out of bed before it’s light outside, so my immediate challenge was to make it out of the bedroom in the dark.

That didn’t happen.

I put my arms out in front of me, waving them back and forth, just like the book says, to avoid having them straddle an open door which results in one running directly into the edge, with one’s nose, so I’m told, but I was disoriented and walked directly into Diane’s dresser which had been moved in the middle of the night. On it is meticulously stacked all manner of glass “things”. It made a lot of noise which distressed me for two reasons. One, of course, was that it would wake Diane, and the second was that something would break and I’d get double punishment.

Luckily, nothing broke, and Diane was already awake. Odd on both counts. Still, it made a lot of noise which scared me and almost prematurely ended any need for me to go all the way to the bathroom. While I was gone, Diane put the dresser back where it belonged and checked everything with a magnifying glass and determined that I was indeed lucky.

So, I went back to bed and fell right back to sleep and didn’t get up until 0830. I had to get up because Diane insisted that today I had to go golfing with the Peal brothers. I’ve talked about that before. We go once a week and I get some terrific hits and putts, but the overall result is normally terrible. I have the highest handicap in the mens club at the course. I’m very proud of that and work hard every week to keep it up there. Sometimes it’s hard to do when I hit the ball straight two or three times in a row. Yes, it’s a rare event, but it happens.

We all joined the mens club because it results in lower green fees. We don’t walk, either. Instead we take two carts split three ways. It’s only fair.

It was a beautiful day for golf. Overcast, and a little cool. Most of the mud holes were dried up but the grass is taller where they used to be because it was too soft the last time the fairways were mowed so they were skipped. Consequently, as you may have guessed, that’s where my ball always lands. Smack in the middle of the tallest grass.

Today was a record day, I believe, because I only lost three balls in the fairway. It’s easy to do because there are little white flowers all over the place, making it difficult to pick out the little white balls. It’s a visual challenge, but not one that we dwell on because we have absolutely no fear of just plucking another ball out of our pocket and hitting it from wherever we think the original ball might have landed. It’s a group decision. We also subscribe to the OMPH rule which is universally accepted by the PGA for all golfers not having any desire of participating in the big money games. That’s “One Mulligan Per Hole”. If necessary, we can use all nine on one hole, but that’s rarely necessary.

After golf I took my car, the little beat up 1996 Subaru, to the gas station. it uses so little gas I keep forgetting to do that. After getting gas I stopped to talk with Mike, who was working on his 1981 Winnebago, and made a new friend. Another candidate for the club.

When I got home I was in trouble because I’d been gone for so long. I think it was about 3 hours total. True, it was longer than normal for a round of golf, and it was OK when I explained what I’d done. But, that’s 3 hours during which no chores were done. I still have the bedroom windows to finish, but that won’t take long. I’ve been saying that for a couple of weeks, now. I pleaded my case for working on the Winnebagos a bit to make sure everything is working OK. The ’79 fired up after a little coaxing and ran like a champ. The generator cranked up, too. I let it idle for a while to get its juices flowing. Then I moved to the ’73 from which I’m still trying to extract the gas tanks to ensure they aren’t going to fall apart. The problem I’m having is getting nuts and bolts loose that haven’t seen a wrench in forty years. This is done while lying prone under the unit so the rust dust can adequately coat my face, and get into my ears when I attempt to dodge a particularly dense dusting. The up side of all this is that the rust doesn’t really taste all that bad.

I did some weightlifting today, too. I removed the batteries from the ’73, and the old ’68 pickup, and brought them to the garage so I could charge them up. They aren’t light by any stretch of the imagination, but they are easier to carry when you have one in each hand. If you don’t it yanks your body sideways resulting in a sore back the next day. So, I’ looking forward to that.

I put all my tools away about 1730 and took a shower to get ready for our Lions Club meeting this evening which is held twice a month at The Village Inn in St. Helens. They have terrible food so we tend to eat before going, but not tonight. I decided to give their BLTs another shot. The last one was pretty good. Tonight the waitress returned to report there was no white bread, my favorite, but they had sourdough and brown bread. I cancelled my order because BLTs on either of those types of bread isn’t legal in Oregon. But, Diane insisted I get the brown bread and “just eat it.” She didn’t actually say that, but it was evident that that’s exactly what she meant. I only eat white bread because my cardiologist told me it’s his favorite, too, and brown bread if overrated. I told the waitress this truth, then Diane said it wasn’t my cardiologist, it was my proctologist. I don’t even have one of those so I don’t know where that came from. I’m sure it was my cardiologist who told me that. I’m not sure I’d take advice about bread choices from a proctologist. Then, again, I might if the mood was right.

Now we’re home. Diane’s watching Dancing With The Stars, one of her favorite shows. She loves Tom Bergeron – I think that’s how it’s spelled. I must admit, he’s a funny guy. Short, and funny.

Now I’m going to quit and publish this. Look back often because there are bound to be corrections after Diane reads it.