January 3rd, 2020. Australia is on fire, parts of California get unreasonable amounts of snow while other parts flood, the mid-west and east coast experience incredibly bad weather, like all winter long, and it snows in Greece. All of that’s going on while we here in our little corner of Oregon are wandering around in shorts and short sleeve shirts. Well, some folks are, not me. I’m not a shorts guy. Just saying our weather has been clear and spring-like all year. So far.
Add to that the fact that (according to Diane) I’m a typical man who can’t handle a simple cold. Yes, it’s not pretty. It’s that time of year when I’m reminded that snot is salty because it runs down my lip causing me to reflexively lick them before I realize what I’m doing. The solution, of course, is to stuff a kleenex up each nostril and leave them there until March.
I take a bunch of pills every day but not one of them is for ensuring my mucus levels remain stable. I’m in no danger of a doctor telling me that my mucus level is too low making it necessary to start taking shots for it on a daily basis. I wonder if there’s a shot for that. What could it be? A Snot Shot? Sounds reasonable.
My resolution this year was to exercise daily, something that’s just not normally in my wheelhouse. Exercise, to me, is getting up in the morning, stumbling to the kitchen to feed the animals, then stumbling to my recliner where I spend an unreasonable amount of time. Normally I get up from my chair when Diane exits the bedroom, ready to face her day.
To help with exercise, I’m thinking about getting an exercise bike that I can use on crappy days. On decent days I’ll just ride my real bike to the bottom of our hill then push it home, over and over. I plan to simplify that process by installing an electric motor kit on the bike so I can make it back up the hill. I figure I can install one of those on the exercise bike, too. Then I can sit in my chair while the bike runs. Sounds like a plan.
I started this two weeks ago so a lot has happened that I can’t recall. I should journal everyday so I’d have interesting things to share, huh? But, trying to remember stuff is good exercise, too. That means I’m honoring my resolution by not journalling.
Diane and Jennie are getting itchy to paint something again. It’s been a long time since we had a paint night so we’re working up to a plan to have one of our own. Should be fun. There will be photos to share when this happens, so be prepared.
It snowed two days ago. Just a couple of inches and it only lasted two days before it warmed up, rained, and it all went away. Guess that’s it for winter.
Now we can look forward to spring which is already making an appearnce.
Primroses, that we’ve ignored for a long time, are also blooming.
Maybe if we ignore all the growing things around the house they’ll do just fine, too. We’ll see.
I better end this before I forget about it for another two weeks. I’m sure many of you are wondering if I’m still ticking along, which I am. So is Diane. She ticks along better than me most days, but I can still out run her should the need arise.
Yesterday was a continuation of sadness for those of us that Nancy left behind. Stuffing the sanctuary and basement, over 300 people attended her funeral at our little church which definitely violated at least one fire safety rule but none of the dignitaries objected.
Many of those attending extended our parking facilities to include both sides of all the roads in the area and a large unused portion of Bethany Memorial Cemetery which Howard made available. The Columbia County Sheriff was notified about the expected overabundance of traffic so all was good. It was pretty amazing.
First Lutheran Church ladies showed up and took over kitchen duties so Bethany ladies could attend the service. That’s not a surprise because Bethany and First Ladies have worked with with each other for many years, serving each other as needed. Pretty special.
Everything was planned and replanned but as plans go, they don’t always play out correctly in the end. So it was for us. The one that went well was Rich’s efforts to wirelessly stream the service to a projector in the basement. He worked on it for days trying to work out problems with the sound to go with the pristine picture. He solved it about 30 minutes prior to the service and it worked perfectly. The easy part, playing a photo DVD in the sanctuary, didn’t work so well due to electrical issues. Actually, it was due to lack of electricity in AV corner of the church caused by the need in the basement to plug just one more thing into the overloaded circuits. I think it was another coffee pot but that’s a guess. Might have been a crock pot.
Since the service was in progress, and the basement was overflowing with people blocking access to the electrical panel I just warned those who were speaking that they’d have to talk a little louder since their microphones wouldn’t work.
They did, and it was good.
After the service Nancy was transported about 1/4 mile to her spot in Bethany Memorial Cemetery behind the church. It was appropriate that she was walked the entire way flanked by her pall bearers who all wore sneakers and had Nancy’s running/walking medals hung around their necks. They walked her home.
Then, most of the 300 attendees returned to the church for a pot luck lunch. Part of that was baked ham and turkey. I had the honor of slicing all of the meat on our handy-dandy meat slicer so I truthfully told everyone that I touched every piece of meat there.
We got home around 5:30 pm, watched a few recorded shows then went to bed. After about 20 minutes, before Diane had a chance to fall asleep, she jerked upright and asked me if I had turned off the heater in the lady’s restroom. Of course, I hadn’t even thought I made sure the door was locked. It didn’t occur to me to check the heater because Nancy always did that.
So, Diane got up and went back to the church to check. I offered to do it or to go with her but she refused so I stayed in bed and fell asleep before she returned. This morning she told me the heater was indeed still on so it was good she returned. Diane’s convinced Nancy reminded her to check it. I’m not surprised.
Today was our last day in Myrtle Beach. It startedout like this …
Pretty nice, huh?
We’ve been here for two weeks and it’s been terrific. Apparently we visited at the proper time of the year because it was just great. I say that even though we’ve made attempts to visit this time of year for the last five years but little things, like hurricanes, prevented us from making the trip. Until now. And, we’re really happy about that.
Because of this successful trip, we both feel that visiting Myrtle Beach is preferable to visiting Hawaii. The weather is pretty much the same, the people here are super nice everywhere we’ve been, it’s not expensive, cheaper to get to, lodging is reasonable, and gas costs about $2.30 a gallon. It was only $2.19 when we got here but then came the weekend when gas prices magically increase. Still, compared to Oregon, $2.30 is acceptable.
This morning we got out of bed early (me at 0530 and Diane at 0730), had a bit of breakfast, then hit the road for Loris to check on the 37th annual Chicken Bog-off. Diane came across an advertisement for this and it caused her to go, “Hmmmm.”
What the heck is a bog-off? Sounds a lot like something that takes place in a swamp, doesn’t it? With motorized vehicles that have really big tires. After a little research we discovered Chicken Bog is simply a kind of food. Like calabash is a kind of food. Look it up. The reason we didn’t know about it is because we’re from Oregon and those things just don’t show up on menus there. Nope. It doesn’t.
Only in South Carolina, apparently. Loris took it one step further when the mayor decreed that each restaurant in town will serve Chicken Bog one day a week as it’s main dish.
While making our way to the massive crowds we passed the Backstreet Cafe where management had a table set up outside to sell chicken bog in addition to many other food choices. A young man standing there offered us some bog stating it’s the best in town. We begged off, wanting to see what was going on, and stated we’d be back.
The booths were simple, everyone was friendly, and there was a school choir performing.
Small town stuff and just plain fun.
We didn’t stay long before heading back to the car, stopping by the Backstreet Cafe on the way. We got one order of chicken bog and this is what it looks like …
It’s rice, chicken, and sausage in a very tasty mixture. It came with enormous green beans and coleslaw. It was pretty awesome, all of it. Diane is going to find a recipe and make it when we get home and force all the Littles to eat it. We’re betting they will eat it voluntarily because it’s just plain good. I suspect there are a lot of versions of chicken bog so she will have to search for the right one.
We left Loris after that brief visit then headed for Conway to see what their River Walk is like. We were going to do that when we visited Conway a few days ago, but forgot. Since Conway is on the way to/from Loris we took advantage and stopped to check it out.
It’s not a big river walk, but it’s nice. We met a nice guy on the visit who gave us a little history about the area. My question was what makes the water black? He told us it’s the leaves from the various trees that fall in the water.
From Conway we returned to our temporary home on Ocean Blvd, Myrtle Beach.
I wanted a nap but Diane insisted that I eat something, so I ate the two remaining chicken thighs from last night and Dane ate the remaining tuna salad. I only had an hour because we had tickets to attend Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show.
We had absolutely no idea what to expect at this venue. It was intriguing, though.
When we left our hotel it was raining. The first rain we’ve experienced during this entire trip. The cause is the tropical storm Nestor in the Gulf of Mexico. It wasn’t bad and we actually didn’t mind since were very good Oregonians.
Turns out the Pirates Voyage is quite an elaborate venue. They have a pre-show for a couple of hours before people are seated for dinner. The crowd was enormous and we thought we were going to wind up standing for the entire event. But, the pre-show was just that. All hundreds of us were shortly ushered into the next room of the venue where we were fed while watching a very elaborate pirate show consisting of very talented young people who danced, sane, dove, and tumbled. It was very much like a Cirque du Soleil show.
While the show was going on each section of about 20 people was being served their meal, one piece at a time. First there was a biscuit, then a cream of vegetable soup, half a small chicken, corn on the cob, pulled pork, and an apple turnover for dessert. Due to the ongoing show, we were eating in the dark quite a lot.
To start the show two very large yellow and blue parrots were release and they flew all around the set numerous times before swooping down to land on their handler’s shoulder and arm. That was followed by two red and black parrots that did the same thing. I tried to get photos of them but none turned out. Trust me when I say they were quite magnificent to watch.
The photos I took don’t do justice to the entertainment. You had to’ve been there.
Now we’re ‘home’ powering down for our last night here. Tomorrow we head back to Charleston.
Before going golfing this afternoon, we drove north into North Carolina just because we could. It’s only about a 30 minutes drive. Our goal was Calabash, NC, then we went a little further to Sunset Beach. The only stop we made was at the Pea Landing mercantile in Calabash, NC. This place is one incredibility huge knick knack shopping center that stretches at least one city block long then turns a corner for another block. Inside is an indescribable array of “things”, many of which are things I’ve never seen before and can’t remember the name of. Here’s a little of what it looks like.
While driving around in Sunset Beach, this sign caught my attention and decided I had to share it. I can only presume that whoever made it had a speech impediment of some sort.
Then we went south, and back ‘home’.
After returning from our NC adventure we fortified ourselves with a great lunch of tuna fish. Diane had hers plain on the remainder of her salad from yesterday’s fare, and I mixed what was left with various things for a tuna sandwich. We did that because Diane wanted hers plain and I like to put onion in my tuna salad for sandwiches. It’s way better that way. Really. Diane will disagree. turns out I have enough remaining to make another sandwich for supper this evening, if Diane lets me. She’s turned into my food alarm so she can ensure I eat enough of the correct things, but not too much of it. It’s all about my diabetes and I understand her concern, so I comply. It’s easier for me to do that than to remember everything I’m supposed to do and what I should do. far less complicated for me.
The weather here in Myrtle Beach has been most excellent the entire time we’ve been here. It rained twice, in a tropical manner (at night) but it was OK. The temperatures were in the mid to high 80’s a few days ago, but the last few days it’s been chilly in the morning (45 this am) and warms up to 70+ as the day progresses. As I sit here typing (at 1800 hours local) it’s a balmy 68. There is no wind and the sea is so calm it hardly makes any noise at all. Quite different from the rambunctious Pacific Ocean. Way different.
But, there’s a storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico that may change all that over the weekend as we prepare to pack up and head back south to Charleston. Should be interesting to see what transpires.
Now, back to goffing …
The course we chose was the Mt. Atlanticus Minotaur Goff course.
No doubt you gasped when you realized I was talking about putt putt golf, not real golf. The thing is, if you think about it, me being an unemployed, retired, old navy guy means that $10 for 18 holes of putt putt beats real golf green fees that range from $28 to $80+. I don’t know if that’s for 9 holes or 18, but putt putt is cheaper and I’m cheap. That, and it was Diane’s choice of which course to play.
We had a great time even though it involved climbing many stairs. According to Diane’s fitbit we logged about 5000 steps and a little over 2 miles during our match. According to the score sheet, even though Diane had 4 holes-in-one (I had one) I beat her by 2 strokes; 43-45. Pretty close. Diane had such a good time that she’s decided to go Golfing with the Guys when we get home. I’ve been trying to get her to join us for a long time and I know she’s going to really enjoy it. She’s got this really nice set of golf clubs I bought her about 10 years ago and they still have the plastic wrapped around the club heads.
It was a good day.
Now it’s 1926 hours, we’ve had dinner and are winding down for a restful night so we can venture north (and a little west) to Loris where we plan to see what the Loris Bog-off is all about.
Yes, we’ve embarked on another journey. Some of you may be thinking that, considering the sad time we had in Maui recently, we would have given this trip a little more consideration before committing. But, we’ve actually been trying to get some time at Myrtle Beach for the last five years or so but something always comes up that messes it up. Mostly the deterrents come in the form of hurricanes this time of year.
This time, we made it all the way. Here’s proof …
OK, yes it’s the baggage carousel at the Charleston airport, but that’s the airport we flew to and rented the car that got us to Myrtle Beach. Another reason we flew to Charleston was so we could reconnect with our luggage which got there 8 hours before us.
Here’s what happened – there are no non-stop Alaska flights from Portland to Charleston, but there is one from Seattle. So, all we had to do was get to Seattle early enough to make the connection so that we could arrive on the east coast at a decent time of the day. The reservations she got allowed us almost an hour to get to the connecting flight in Seattle that would arrive in Charleston at 4:30 pm their time. If you think about that for a minute, considering the 3-hour time difference, we would arrive at 1:30 pm St. Helens time. Then, figure in flight time from Seattle you can see we had to leave pretty early.
We got up at 3:30 am to catch the PDX to SEATAC leg that left at 6 am. The first snafu we encountered was when TSA kicked us out of the precheck line because out KTN wasn’t printed on our ticket. We knew that but had the letters from TSA as proof that we had KTNs. That’s Known Traveler Number in case you didn’t now. Not good enough for the ambitious little guy who insisted that it had to be on our boarding pass. The first time this happened, on the way to Maui, the TSA agent would have let us continue if we knew the KTN. Not this guy, however.
So, we returned to the ticket counter and fixed it with some manual interventional assistance of a cheerful Alaska Agent.
We breezed right through.
Got to Seattle in plenty of time to make our connection then ‘things’ kinda went south with regard to customer service and scheduling accumen of managers at the SEATAC International airport who parked our plane on the runway for 30 minutes because there wasn’t an open gate for us.
There we sat, with 12 other folks who needed to make the connection, watching the clock tick away, diminishing the probability of making the flight to Charleston.
We finally parked at N15 about 7:20 pm and our connecting flight was scheduled to depart at 7:45. Our pilot and crew assured us that everyone knew we were on the ground and the reason we were late and that they would hold the plane for us.
It was a huge lie. We got to the next gate, D21, in time, but management had already filled our 12 seats with standbys and sent the plane on it’s way, 20 minutes early. Kinda makes your day, ya know?
Then we were sent to the Alaska Customer Service desk near gate D2 that is manned by folks who are accustom to dealing with upset people and apparently don’t see the need to be friendly any longer. We 12 were demoted to 3rd class citizens (whatever that is) and the fact that we missed the flight due to decisions made by the airline.
The two agents behind the counter were working to re-book flights for misplaced people but their hearts weren’t in it and they weren’t very careful about information they doled out. For us, for instance, after they professed to have got us seats on an American Airline plane leaving shortly, gave us a confirmation number and sent us to gate D8 and told us to talk to one of the AA agents there to get us seat assignments. We made that trek and learned that the confirmation was invalid and that the flight we were supposedly put on was full. No seats available.
Back to D2 and customer service. At different agent made another attempt and actually got us seats on a plane leaving in a few hours for Dallas. From there we were booked on an AA flight to Charleston which was to arrive at 11:30 pm.
Interestingly, our bags were transferred from the Portland flight to the original non-stop connection with no problem, but they couldn’t delay 10 minutes to wait for the people who owned them. That’s why our luggage arrived in Charleston on time.
And, they didn’t have any trouble delaying the newly acquired flight, for some reason, which pushed our arrival time in Dallas a little later yet. That was OK because we had a 2-hour layover in Dallas.
Once in Dallas the flight to Charleston was delayed twice ensuring our arrival time wa pushed beyond midnight. Yippee!
By this time both Diane and I were to the point that we could see humor in all the things that had happened to us during this trip. It was like a comedy of errors so it was easier on both of us to accept the comedy of the situation instead of being bitter and upset.
Now, the good part of all this. On both of the flights we met passengers who went out of their way to accommodate both Diane and I by switching seats so we could sit together. You see, with all this switching going on, we were considered standby passengers with no real guarantee we’d get on an airplane. Because of that, we were placed in seats that were rows apart because, you see, all those other passengers made their flight on time.
Our fellow passengers made it all OK and we had a great time talking with them. Had we caught our original flight we would have missed that opportunity which would have been kinda sad.
When we got to Charleston we sent directly to the AA office in the baggage claim area to retrieve our on-time bags. The cheerful agent said, “oh, you were on that Alaska flight …” which kinda told the entire story.
After getting the bags we went looking for a cab because I was told the car rental agents closed up at 11:0-0 pm. But, we saw some lights on at the rental area and saw people turning in to that area. There was hope, after all. You see, we had a car reserved for the trip so we could get to the Air Force Inn at Joint Base Charleston for the night, then drive to Myrtle Beach in the morning.
When we turned the corner and saw lines of people at pretty much all the various rental agencies, and way off in a corner was Enterprise, with one agent working and a line of 2 people ahead of us. It was a miracle.
Long story short, we got a car and made it to Joint Base Charleston with no problem. It was only about 5 miles away, so we didn’t expect problems.
At the Air Force Inn we had a reservation and the agents were waiting for us. We got our room, spent the night, and took off for Myrtle Beach earlier this morning. We fudged our check out time beyond 11:00 am because it was so late when we checked in (1:30 am or so) and stopped at a really busy restaurant for lunch. It was the Long Point Grill in Mount Pleasant, SC for lunch. It was absolutely wonderful and the place was jumping. I had shrimp and linguine. Diane had a chicken BLT sandwich and a cup of tomato and artichoke soup. It as good, but getting it meant she could only eat half her sandwich. So, of course, I ate the other half.
The drive to Myrtle Beach was very relaxing and it was great sailing along without a care, our worries behind us. Life was good.
Now we’re here on the 9th floor, at 1200 S. Ocean Blvd with an ocean view.
How sweet it is.
Oh ya, the reason we’re here is to attend the 22nd annual reunion of the USS Cleveland Reunion Association. So, there will be more news later.
Just a short snippet to share an interesting (to me) interaction between my fashion-conscious bride and myself as she was preparing to drive herself to an unplanned doctor’s appointment.
Diane has been suffering from what we thought was a bad cold which originated on Maui at “The Wedding”. It started with a severe allergic reaction to a fancy drink with tiny flower petals sprinkled on top. That seemed to clear up and lasted about as long as the flight home then the cold struck with a vengeance.
Last Thursday morning Diane emerged from the bedroom about 9 am with the new that she had an 11:40 am doctor appointment which she made because she was deaf in her right ear when she woke up.
OK. Two things really got my attention right then … Deaf in her right ear, and Doctor appointment at 11:40 am.
Deaf is serious because I’m pretty sure she wasn’t that way when we retired for the evening. At least no complaint was issued. But, then, she doesn’t complain about aches, pains, and other maladies. Then to say she had an appointment with her doctor in just two hours was incredible. That NEVER happens because doctors are usually booked out for a couple of months. Turns out the appointment wasn’t with her PC, but with another doctor in the practice who had just had a cancellation. Had that not happened her next appointment was in November.
With two hours to go, one of which would be used up with travel to Portland, Diane took a shower leaving me alone to contemplate my future with a half-deaf spouse, something I had never considered a possibility. While she showered, I got a little spruced up myself because she wasn’t going alone. You see, getting to Portland requires that we transit through Scappoose when our favorite bagel shop lives and I KNEW she was going to stop there. That wasn’t the only reason I was going with her, but it was a good one.
When she emerged, dressed and ready to go in a nice pair of grey pants, a matching grey sweater, and a pretty blouse. Since she’s color blind she relies on my to reveal the color of her clothing when she isn’t sure and I almost always tell her the truth. Sometimes it’s fun to send her off on a mission somewhere in a blue ensemble with brown socks, but that hardly ever happens. Any more anyway.
This time she wanted to know if her blouse was black or blue or grey. It was black and grey and matched perfectly and I told her so. No way was I going to send her out of the house in something that didn’t match. She looked great, of course.
As I knew she would, she pulled into a parking spot at the Scappoose Bagel shop and I dutifully went in a ordered her favorite – cinnamon-raison, split, toasted, and schmeered with generic cream cheese. I only get plain bagels.
She donned her car-bib (yes, we have those) and once back on the highway I handed her half of her bagel. She munched her way through the first half, and half of the second half before handing it to me stating, “I’m tired of chewing.”
I still had a few bites left of my second half but decided I wasn’t going to let a Scappoose Bagel go to waste and finished it for her. She was concerned that I might catch whatever she had but, since she was driving, she couldn’t stop me. It was a bit chewy, but not as bad as I thought it would be. Thankfully, I had the remainder of my bagel to satisfy my taste buds.
We got to the doctor’s office in plenty of time and she was quickly summoned while I lounged in the waiting room. She wasn’t gone long and we were quickly on our way back home. During the walk to the car she revealed that her right ear drum was perforated, she had infection in both ears, and the inside of her nose and throat had the appearance of someone experiencing an allergic reaction. So, the Maui Allergy attack manifested into a hearing loss. Amazing. That’s speculation, of course, but the only common theme so we went with it.
The doc prescribed prednisone, antibiotics, and Sudafed to deal with her ailments. Sadly, they weren’t ready when we stopped by Rite Aid in St. Helens on the way home, but I gave it a while then went back for them.
All day yesterday she was in misery with ear pain and coughing/sneezing attacks but, despite a two hour afternoon nap, she went to bed at a reasonable time and slept through the night. This morning she awoke with no pain which was very good. Still deaf on the right side, but no pain.
Now she’s off to Fred Meyer to buy something for Gilligan who is 12 today. That’s another story to tell.
The thing about Diane’s malady is that she needs to heal enough to make another long airplane ride to South Carolina this coming Wednesday.
We have non-refundable tickets to Charleston and, by golly, she’s going.