Apocolyptic Eclipse, and other Stuff

Does anyone else wonder why the media is making the coming eclipse appear to be, like, the end of the world? Here in Oregon everyone is urged to stock up on food, gas their vehicles, batteries, candles, and be careful with their pets during the 2+ minutes of darkness. It’s like a major disaster is pending.

Early on we heard local media at home treat this event “like” a catastrophe and make sure everyone has all the survival equipment they need to weather the storm, but it seems like the comparison is no longer being made – omitting that reference makes it sound like the real deal. Kind of like “War of the Worlds”.

Diane just checked the internet, which is functioning just fine here, in case you’re wondering, and saw news about all the “Eclipse Traffic” in the Prineville/Bend area. It’s bumper-to-bumper on the major roads in that area. Amazing.

Me? I’m just going to continue like normal, like it’s just another day with a brief bit of welcome shade, right up until the earth explodes. If I’m lucky, I’ll be eating a fudge cycle  when it happens.

Now, add to all that hoopla about the eclipse, we have demonstrations going on that are on the verge of being touted as domestic terrorism by some government officials. Nifty. Hate groups seem to be coming out of the wood work.

To make it worse, the media seems to think the blame for these events fall directly on President Trump’s shoulders. Interesting. These folks have been around far longer than Donald Trump.

Sorry for jumping on that wagon. I normally don’t do that, but all the negative news about what’s going on is disturbing. There doesn’t seem to be anything good happening anywhere according to reporters. So, let me share some with you.

This morning I took the dogs for a walk to the off-leash area for a romp and, hopefully, a major potty stop. It was early and the temp was fairly reasonable at less than 80 something. While there I struck up a conversation with another dog owner, Amber, who lives in Eugene. She found this dog park after looking at all of them in the area and deems it to be the best one around. It’s at least a full acre of fenced ground with water, and lots of sawdust piles in which to play. I always find it interesting that when animals are left to their own devices, they seem to all get along just great.

Anyway, Amber and I talked small talk for a long time, then got down to specifics like, “does she come there often,” and “what’s your favorite color,” and stuff like that. That’s a lie, of course. I didn’t ask her what her favorite color is. I did, however, considering the location and her perceived age (late 20’s), ask her what she taught. I actually asked that .. “what do you teach?”

That raised her eyebrows, thought for a bit, then asked in turn, “did I say something to make you think I am a teacher?”

“No,” I responded, “but it just seemed like the right question.”

“Well,” she said, “I’m a speech therapist. Good guess.”

From there we talked about many things, including dogs, and I suspect we parted company with mutual respect. Her respect for me for not hitting on her like I’m sure many men do because she’s very attractive, and my respect for her because of her dedication to her chosen career. She obviously enjoys what she does and I enjoyed my brief encounter with her, even though I don’t have any idea what her favorite color is.

Diane made another couple of trips to Walmart* today, something she enjoys, then she made another trip this afternoon to get the winning ticket for the $400 million + Power Ball drawing. We’re due to win. Just like everyone else in the good old USofA, and Canada. Who knows? Maybe this is the one. It is, after all, the new American Dream.

For being good, Diane stopped on her last trip back to get dinner at Taco Bell.

Now for some photos for those of you who made it this far …

For most of the day, when Diane was out shopping in air-conditioned spaces, this is what my view was when I opened my eyes.

By tipping my head up a little, this is what I saw.

After walking the dogs a little ways from the parking spot, this is what I saw on the way back.

Looking a bit to my left I could see our nearest neighbor. The sites here are very far apart. That neighbor, incidentally, serenades everyone at night with either his banjo or his bass. He told me he’s in a bluegrass band and needs to keep his fingers limber. He’s very good at his craft … fun to listen to.

Random Thoughts In No Particular Order

I left you wondering if I was going to figure out how to hook up the satellite system and I’m sure you are all expecting a report of my success. Well, I hate to disappoint you, but it never worked. So, I put everything back the way it was when we got the rig and just closed that little door. Instead of watching TV, we wound up playing lots of cribbage, walked the dog a lot, and actually talked to each other. I learned stuff, like Diane’s favorite color is Yellow, she’s really not French even though her maiden name is French, and she was only 14 when we got married. I was afraid she was going to tell me we were distant cousins at some point, but that never happened. Doesn’t mean we aren’t, just that she didn’t say it.

Bob and Steffani, my brother Jack’s oldest brother’s oldest daughter, have been visiting for the last few days after delivering Maryssa and Matt back to Salem to finish off the summer. A big plus out of the trip was that Under Armour was having a huge sale at the outlet stores in Woodburn where Matt works. Now they have to buy another suitcase to get everything home. I think they got socks for all their neighbors.

At some point during their stay, Steffani purchased a six-pack of Pepsi to consume while watching Matt and his brother play 3 on 3 basketball in Salem. It was a tournament. Maryssa was a pretty good basketball player in high school and couldn’t keep from giving pointers to the brothers because they were struggling with scoring. At one point one of them tossed the ball to Maryssa who promptly tossed it up and swished it from the sidelines. Point made, both literally and figuratively.

The Pepsi came home with B&S because they could only open 2 of the bottles. None of the manly men playing in the tournament could open them, Steffani couldn’t open them, Bob couldn’t open them, and I was never asked to try. That was OK. Since they were such a challenge we dropped by Wal-Mart* on the way to dinner yesterday, at Mark’s On The Channel, so Steffani could return them for bottles that would open. She returned quickly and reported that she never made it past the Wal-Mart* greeter who asked how she could help. Steffani explained and handed the bottles to the lady, who was in a wheel chair, and she took one of the bottles and twisted the top off with no problem. She did the same to the remaining three, solving the problem, and handed them back to a startled Steffani who was wondering about the veracity of the men populating her life. How could a frail little old lady, in a wheel chair, open bottles that young, healthy studs couldn’t? I guess the lesson here is that we should never underestimate the power of someone based on visual evidence alone.

This is us sitting at our table while dining at Mark’s On The Channel:

For those of you wondering how the meal went I’m proud to report that I didn’t get even one speck of my fish on my clothing. It was really too good to waste in such a manner. Bob had a hamburger with bacon jam on it, we other three had Alaskan Halibut which was wonderful. Bob said the jam was pretty good.

A question came up on Sunday about why the bench seats in a church are called pews. A little fumblefinger research provided me with this:

Origin

Late Middle English (originally denoting a raised, enclosed place in a church, provided for particular worshippers): from Old French puye ‘balcony’, from Latin podia, plural of podium ‘elevated place’.

That was going to be my second guess. My first guess was was all about hygiene and whether or not parishioners routinely engaged in bathing rituals beyond baptism way back in time. Just thought you should know.

Last Saturday Diane and I attended my 55th High School Reunion at Trojan Park. Trojan used to be a nuclear power plant owned by PGE and the first place I went to work in 1989 after retiring from the Navy. It’s the one where Homer Simpson worked. That’s true. It’s not mentioned in the link, but I read it somewhere. It’s obviously true because Matt Groning’s point of reference for all things concerning Homer were those surrounding Portland, Oregon.

Anyway, the Scappoose High School class of 1962 held their 55th reunion at the park and it was catered by Sunshine Pizza in St. Helens. It was good to see all those old people again and I’m sad that I didn’t get to visit with all of them for long periods of time. Our class is controlled by the “Tarbell Twins” and we will do pretty much anything they tell us to do. They are absolutely super humans. In the past we’ve always had pot lucks for our food but this time it was catered and so much better. Not the food, so much, but the ability to just graze and visit without worrying about food. Still, “The Twins”, Evelyn & Eva, were there making sure everything was perfect. It was, and we appreciated it. Now, let me see if I can remember those who were there that I actually looked in the eye: Eva, Evelyn (of course), Sam & David (another set of twins), Jimbo, 2 more David’s, Delores (another twin), Darrell, Vern, John, 3 Larry’s, Mary Ann, Phyllis, Harriet, Josette, Don, another Delores, Judy, Jim, Tom, Karen, Howard, and me. Here’s what we all look like at 73 years old:

I want everyone to know that I compiled the list of names above the photo before looking at the photo. I was one off on the count for a long time until I remember that, gee, I’m in the photo, too. I’m the guy in the green shirt ion the middle next to the really short girl (Delores). Here’s the list in order, top to bottom, left to right:

  1. David, Tom, John, Don, David, Larry, Darrell, Larry
  2. Howard, Jim, Vern (these guys kinda made up their own row of 3)
  3. Eva, David, Harriett, Josette, Delores, Jerrie, Jimbo, Larry, Delores, Sam, Karen
  4. Judy, Mary Ann, Evelyn, and Phyllis

I found out at the reunion that some of those folks actually waste their time reading my posts so all errors will be corrected, I’m sure.

On Sunday afternoon Diane, I, Bob & Steffani attended a bible lesson presented by our very own Jeran. He’s been helping with them as his Senior Project. He did a good job and all the kids just love him. His goal is to become a Youth Pastor which is perfect for him. He’s totally focused on this goal and knows exactly where he’s going in life. Pretty impressive for a 17-year-old.

After the bible study, we went to Scappoose for dessert at DQ. That’s where I get my occasional chocolate malt. I just love those things. Today’s treat, however, made itself known to me in the form of heartburn, something I’ve been avoiding lately with a chocolate-less diet. So, I’m either going to have to quit getting those things, or just get them earlier in the day, like for breakfast, so I can sleep well at night.

Bob and Steffani left this morning allowing us to reclaim all the space they’ve been taking up with their presence. Don’t get me wrong … we love having them visit, any time they wish. Them being here doesn’t impact us in any way except when it comes to food. Diane feels that a good host would make meals available on a regular basis but I’m less inclined in that direction. I figure they are adult humans and fend for themselves. So, there’s that little point of contention. The compromise is, of course, that we go out to eat a lot. It works.

The Toenail Place Door, Graduation, and a Rock Hound

This afternoon Diane had a strange request that I found to be perfectly OK, considering her condition. If you read this stuff, you already know that she broke her arm. Part of the joy of doing that is that she was the recipient of pain medication. Initially, she found that it didn’t do much for the pain until she got a new cast that didn’t cover the back of her hand which was the most swollen portion of her anatomy as a result of her mishap. So, a while before coming up with her request, she ingested half a pill to help mitigate the pain she induced during the course of the day.

She paused her program, “Madam Secretary”, I think, and said “I have a favor to ask.”

“Absolutely,” I replied, as I do for all of her requests. That’s true and she will confirm if necessary.

“I can’t drive right now and I would like you to drive me down to the toenail place so I can look at the door, after my show is done, and after Ziva comes back.”

Ziva had been gone for most of an hour already even though I had gone to each exit of the house and whistled about every 15 minutes or so. Eventually she always comes back, but there’s always the fear that she managed to get herself run over. This evening she managed to return before Diane’s show finished so she did good.

Regarding Diane’s favor request, all I could do was say, “Ooookay. I would love to drive you down to the toenail place so you can look at the door.” I knew why, but it was still an oddly formed request. You see, we’re heading south on vacation soon and she wanted to get her toenails whittled down a bit, and probably get them polished. Looking at the door would reveal when they opened their door in the morning so she would know when to be there. We discovered that they open at 10 which is perfect because I have an appointment to get my remaining teeth cleaned at 9 so she said I could meet her at the toenail place and get mine done with her. What a treat. I’m going to be excited all night and will probably have dreams about which color I should get. It won’t really matter because I never go barefooted any more. Even so, I think it might be fun to have pretty toes for a while. I’ll take a picture.

For now, however, I have other pictures to share. The big event of the weekend was Lydia’s graduation from High School. Yes, they let her graduate. Gave her a diploma and everything.

Here she is marching up the aisle with her good friend, Lexi. Oddly enough, we were sitting with Lexi’s family. It wasn’t planned.

Here they are in the front row. I had to walk out in front of everyone to get this photo. I’m sure Lydia was very happy that I didn’t fall down and embarrass her. I think that’s reason she’s smiling, not because she’s happy that she’s actually graduating.

And, here’s the proof. Even though her last name is Walters, she was the 14th graduate to get her diploma. I actually don’t think that’s fair because tradition is that you get them in alphabetical order.

Here’s the happy girl …

After church today we went to a party at Lydia’s friend Ceiarra’s house. She lives just across the street from Diane’s Mom, Jean, so it was a short trip. It was Ceiarra’s graduation party and it was a good one. Ceiarra and Lydia are the two who are going on a trip to California with Diane and me next week. When people ask me where we’re taking them, I say, “Camp Pendleton”. That’s probably true, but we won’t just drop them off as I suggested. It will just be a visit.

Here’re the party girls … Kayla, Lydia, Ceiarra, and Hannah,

They had a lot of fun. They are all soccer jocks and plan to play together at Portland Community College in the fall.

We delivered a box of strawberries and a card to Lydia from our friend Barb. Lydia loves strawberries and promptly opened them and dove in. She shared, too.

And, finally, here’s Ony, Jeff’s dog, with another rock for her pile. She picks one up every time she’s taken for a walk.

Funny dog.

That’s it for today. It’s early but I need get to bed because I have to visit my dental hygienist in the morning.

Then, the toes!

 

Bike Rides, and the Seaside Emergency Room

It was a nice, overcast day at Nehalem Bay State Park. It had the promise of a good day. Not too hot, not too cold. That lasted for most of the day before things got exciting for some of us. Before I go there, however, this is a busy day at the beach.

I took Ziva for a couple of runs around the park because I discovered that she’s OK with running alongside the bike. She makes a very rhythmic clickity clickity noise as we go. I figured it would be good for whittling down those nails. We did that a few times, running all the way around the park, all the loops.

As the sun headed for the horizon we decided to take Ziva for another run and Diane was game to give her bike a try. The first stop was to dump the trash, and that’s as far as we got before Diane, while trying to stop her bike, failed to put her foot down, and just kinda tipped over like that guy on the tricycle on “Laugh In” from many years ago, for those of you who may remember that show.

I didn’t see her fall because she was behind me, but I heard the crash. When I turned around she was lying on the pavement, on her left side with both legs still almost on their respective pedals. Carefully, I removed the bike from between her legs and got it out of the way so she could sit up, but she stayed prone for a while, waiting to see what hurt the most. I regret that I failed to get a photo of that, but I did get one of her sitting up, surrounded by Yurt People. We were pretty close to them and they all came to see how they could help.

We left her alone until she was ready to sit up. By that time she had assessed the damage and reported that it was confined to her left wrist which was most certainly broken. She pulled he sleeve back on her sweater, which was miraculously without holes, to show us how her wrist made this nifty “S” curve going down her arm into the wrist area. The break was across her ulna, just above her wrist. She’s a quick thinker and managed to get her wedding rings off before the swelling made it to her fingers. I wore them on my right pinkie which is exactly the correct size.

While sitting on the pavement, near the trash compactor, park rangers were added to the group of overseers and offered to summon an ambulance for transport to the hospital. It was about 6:45 pm at the time and we knew there was an Urgent Care facility in Manzanita, jus outside the park, so we opted for me to transport her there to at least get some pain meds because the shock was wearing off and she was feeling every aspect of the fracture. She was quickly sinking into a very miserable, painful place.

One of the Yurt People, a young man, helped me get the bikes back to the trailer so I could get the truck and load her up for the trip. That done, we headed for Highway 101 and stopped at a Shell station because Diane wanted water and ice. I got both, as well as a plastic covered soda box that one of the attendants was in the process of breaking down for disposal. She thanked me for saving her a little bit of time. I put the box in Diane’s lap, added the very large bag of ice in the box and she made her arm as comfortable as possible for the trip.

The Urgent Care facility was just a couple of blocks north of the station but it was a wasted stop because they closed at 6 pm. So, we made a decision to head north to Seaside Providence Hospital.

The sobbing stopped within the first 10 miles as the ice did it’s job. We were both thankful for that because her pain was eased, and my distress about my inability to make it all go away was minimized. Then all I had to do was shudder each time I hit an unavoidable bump in the road, of which there are many on Highway 101, as we made that 21 mile trip to Seaside.

As we drove, Diane was able to key into Maps our destination so we knew exactly where to go. It was a good distraction for her. I would have taken a photo but figured that wouldn’t be a good idea since I was driving and she was using my phone.

We got to the hospital about 7:15 pm and got checked in to the emergency room very quickly. The place was jumping, every room filled. We learned that after a fairly slow Memorial Day weekend, everyone in town showed up at the emergency room just before we got there. It was very busy and all that was left was a gurney in the hall near the housekeeping area. A tech soon appeared to take her for X-rays and I took that opportunity to visit Ziva in the truck and let her out for a bit. She was really being good, knowing that there was a problem.

For those of you who require medical details, here’s what the X-ray revealed. She has two things:

  • Closed Smith’s fracture of left radius
  • Closed non displaced fracture of styloid process of left ulna

She broke both bones in her forearm.

Applying the splint. Not a fun thing.

Applying the ACE bandage. Not fun, either, but better.

Expecting a long, normal, emergency room experience, we were both surprised when the very busy doctor, a young lady who looked like she could be Lydia’s sister, appeared with news about what was going to happen.  With the swelling the only thing they could do was splint the break, which a couple of RN’s did, then they wrapped it with a large ACE bandage. The Dr. visited before we left, checking the wrapping, then pulled on Diane’s fingers really hard. I suspect that was to help align the bones a bit, and it hurt. Then we were checked out with instructions to follow up with an orthopedic doctor as soon as possible. The nurse gave us some pain pills for her to take until we could fill the prescription we received with the release paperwork.

In all, we were at this extremely busy emergency room for only 2.5 hours. That’s a record for us. Normally it’s 5 hours. We have lots of emergency room experience and can probably be considered experts on the patient side of things in that regard. Nurse Sarah could provide a more in-depth view of the hospital side from her perspective as a trauma nurse. Perhaps one day she will.

Initially, I was going to just take Diane and Ziva home to St. Helens, after the hospital released her, then return later in the week for the trailer. But, by then she thought staying another night in the trailer wouldn’t hurt any worse. So, we returned to the scene of the crime, got her some nourishment, and she took her pain pill. It wasn’t long before she was down for the count. According to her FitBit she didn’t move a muscle for almost 7 hours.

I slept on the blow up mattress that turns the couch into a queen bed. It wasn’t bad. I woke with no noticeable kinks.

After stowing the blow up bed, Diane got up and stumbled around a bit before eating a banana, a couple cups of coffee, a yogurt, and a piece of toast. Then she took another pain pill which soon caused her to stumble around a bit more as she made a gallant effort to dress herself one-handed in this confined space. She said to NOT share that she needed help putting on her underwear and pants, so I won’t. For that, I will surely be in trouble.

At 10:40 am went went down for a nap. When she woke up she took another pain pill and we began breaking camp so we could leave. She thought she would be able to take care of everything inside the trailer to prepare for the trip so I avoided an argument and just let her have a go at it. Turns out it was another good distraction for her from the pain, and she did a marvelous job. I took care of the various things attached to the outside, and hooked up to the truck. Then, we were off. First stop was the dump to empty the holding tanks.

We bid adieu to space B-13 and decided to take Highway 101 through Astoria, a much less stressful way to get home. The other way is on Highway 26 where accidents are common as folks rush back to Portland from the coast.

In Astoria we stopped at DQ for a Triple Berry Slushy for Diane and a Chocolate Malt for me. Other than that, the ride home was pretty uneventful. No wrecks to dodge, no bikes riding in the traffic lanes, and no rain. It was a good trip.

Tomorrow we visit the Ortho clinic at Good Sam for the next phase of solutions and recovery.

Hope everyone has a stellar day. Now I’m off to take Uncle Bill to the outer reaches of Hillsboro to retrieve his ancient (35 years old) John Deere Edger.

Breakfast, Lady Ducks Softball, & The Oregon Coast

University of Oregon Lady Ducks softball team just beat Kentucky for the second time in the Super Regionals to advance to the final 8 that will compete  for the Women’s College World Series title. They’ve done well, starting out their season with a 36-0 win loss record which is an NCAA record. Sadly, they lost 6 games along the way and are now standing 52-6, winning their last 15 games.

Today’s win was super sweet because it finished their quest to reach the World Series. It’s a double elimination tournament so they had to beat Kentucky twice. Yesterday they did it 4-0 by playing stellar defense. Today Kentucky, in a must win situation, needed the win to even the series and advance to game three. The way the game started out I figured they wouldn’t have a lot of trouble because adrenalin got in the way of Duck defense allowing 2 runs to score on an error. Then they settled down and held Kentucky to 2-0 through 3 innings when they scored again making it 3-0 in the 4th. The Ducks loaded the bases in the 5th and scored 2, holding the home team Kentucky scoreless. All the sudden it’s 3-2 and the Ducks were closing.

Then the 6th inning happened where Kentucky scored 2 more in the bottom of the inning making it 5-2 and only 3 outs remaining for the Ducks. It didn’t look too good for them but they came alive and loaded the bases with no outs. Then, to the amazement of the ESPN crew reporting the game, the 3rd base umpire called Kentucky for an illegal pitch and advanced all the runners one base. Now it’s 5-3 with 2 on. The illegal pitch wasn’t explained but the way the announcers talked they didn’t think it should have been called “in a game like this.” Really? Don’t the rules apply at all times?

That kind of signaled Kentucky’s demise because the Ducks kept hitting, scoring 4 runs in the top of the 7th making it a 6-5 game, Ducks. Three quick outs against Kentucky and it was done. Game over.

Before getting home to watch that, we went to Portland to have a “late breakfast” with our friends at Elmer’s in Delta Park. There were about 14 of us there and it was a normal, noisy affair for which we’re famous. We can typically only eat at a place as a group one time then have to wait either a year, until they either forget us, or the facility changes ownership. We’re that noisy. But, the waitresses always get good tips for putting up with us.

Since the sun was out, and it was hot on this 4th day of summer for us, we rode home with the top down on the car. Yes, I know, it’s not really summer yet – it’s still spring. But, I count every sunny day as summer. Some weeks we have 2-3 summer days, some weeks we have none. With the temps in the high 80’s these past few days, I believe that qualifies as summer. Anyway, we discovered that we could carry on a normal conversation, at highway speeds, with the top down. Nice. That’s two people who spend many parts of a conversation, in a quiet room, saying, “Huh? What did you say?” It was a nice ride and reaffirmed our decision to purchase the fun car. That feeling will continue until it breaks and I have to go to YouTube School and figure out how to fix it.

When we got home from Portland Diane took her Mom, Jean, grocery shopping so she will have enough vittles to get her through our absence next week. We’re going to Nehalem Bay State Park on the Oregon Coast. It’s been a long time since we’ve been there so it should be fun. We’re taking Ziva again so there won’t be any food wars for Lydia to mediate while she fills in as Queen of the House.

That’s about it for today. Now I’ll just add some random photos that I may have taken today.

I didn’t take this one today. I just found it while looking for others and it’s one of my all-time favorites. Jennie, Lydia, Cedric, and Logan. Probably from 12 years ago and has absolutely nothing to do with today’s activities. I just like it.

This one was today. That’s Steve. He’s acting out a little because his wife, Ladeane, wasn’t there. He’s everyone’s favorite Undertaker. There’s more to that story, of course. For another time.

This Rick, Jerry 3, and Steve.

Nelda, and Rick. Nelda is married to Jerry 3.

Panzee enjoying a good day at the beach. Another one of my favs. Again, years ago.

Again, today. This is the most organized I could get everyone because no one would stop talking. We’re a noisy crowd, and we have a lot of laughs whenever we get together, which isn’t nearly often enough.

And, once again, Jerry 3 and Steve from today.

Need I say more?

Old Friends, Zip Ties, and Bubble Wrap

7 lbs of hair from Diane’s tub drain. By my calculations, she should have been bald somewhere around May 14th. But, she’s not because it just keeps growing back.

Mowed all 7 acres. Took three hours. Bagged it all.

The Crossfire gave me some difficulty yesterday. I went golfing, didn’t do very well, but stayed under 60, then we went to Burgerville for lunch. Diane said I could go. In fact, she encouraged me to go. So, I did. I invited her to join us, of course, but instead she went to a more upscale facility, The Warren Country Inn, for a sit down lunch with Nancy. They worked hard all morning at the church so they certainly earned it. None of the golfers were invited.

I was a little late arriving at Burgerville so Doug and JP were already sitting, waiting for their food. I got in line and determined that I recognized the guy in front of me as someone I knew from PGE. In fact, I knew both guys waiting in front of me. To my never-ending humblement (yes that’s a word I just made up), they both remembered me, too. Lonnie and Tom from Facilities, the department that is currently managed by my friend Fred with whom I worked in IT as a desktop tech for most of 20 years. Turns out Tom and Lonnie were just passing through on a job and stopped for lunch. It was good to visit with them and catch up a bit on what’s happening at PGE since I left 10 years ago. Small world stuff gets me excited.

Here’s Tom, Lonnie, and me.

After lunch I jumped in the Crossfire to head home, but it wouldn’t start. The motor turned over nicely, but it wouldn’t fire. So, I raised the hood so Doug and I could just stand there looking at the engine, neither of us having a clue about what was causing the problem. We took a lot of guesses, none of which were projects we could do in the Burgerville parking lot.

So, I called Triple A to have it towed home. I was told it would take an hour for the tow truck to get there so Doug and I just visited. After a while, I decided to see if anything had changed and tried to start it again. To my surprise, it fired right up, but the Engine warning light stayed on. Having some minimal experience with causes for Engine warning lights that don’t go out, I pondered a bit, trying to recall some of the easy ones, like a gas cap that isn’t properly secured. Actually, that was the only one I remembered.

Since it was running, I called AAA back and cancelled the tow truck and headed home. Doug followed me in case it quit on me during the short trip. He’s a good friend. I made it OK and shooed Doug away so he could go home and get busy on some of the projects he has going on there. He lives on 85 acres on the top of a hill above Scappoose so he has projects all the time.

Curious about what the Crossfire computer might tell me about the problem with the Engine warning light, I searched and searched for my ODB II code reader. I searched the entire house and finally found it on the tray sitting about 14 inches from my right elbow. I actually looked there first, but didn’t remove enough layers to uncover it.

With the code reader in hand, I went to the car to plug it in and see what it might tell me. After a while I returned to the house, and my computer, to search the internet for information about where the ODB II port is on a Crossfire. Should have checked first, right? Right.

Back to the car, I connected the reader and stepped it through all the discovery steps and it came up with no news. So, I started the engine with it attached and it promptly popped up with P0337, the code for the Crankshaft Position Sensor which is identified as the CKP, which I don’t get. It should be CPS. Acronyms should make sense, don’t you think?

On my computer I found a lot of information about the CKP … how to find it, remove it, and replace it. Finding it was essential, I thought, so I did that first. It’s actually right in plain sight so I was pleasantly surprised. Nothing to dismantle to gain access. It is, however, in a tight spot which makes it difficult to remove the wire from the sensor without destroying the plug. Following detailed instructions, I managed to get the wire and cap off the sensor and knew I could get the sensor out with no problem. There was a strong warning about making sure to not lose the screw holding the sensor in place because when it falls it goes to an inaccessible part of the car. Not willing to test that theory right then, I replaced the wire on the sensor and put my tools away.

Then, for some reason, I started the engine. Perhaps it was to just make sure it still ran in case I might have to make a run to Urgent Care for some reason. I have a bicycle that works nicely, but I’d rather drive when that need arises because it’s much quicker. Anyway, the engine started just fine, and the Engine light didn’t stay on. I stopped and started the engine a number of times and it never stayed on. So, apparently, removing the wire from the sensor and putting it back on was the solution. Didn’t cost me a dime. Fixed. This is day 2 and it’s still staying off, so I’m calling this a win. I love solutions like that. Now I’m thinking that maybe I should work my way through the entire car unplugging and plugging all the connectors to avoid possible future weird things. Then again, I don’t think I want to engage in that much work. There’s a ton of plugs under the hood and most of them have names written in German because the car, although it’s a Chrysler, is made in Germany.

This morning I was up at 0500 for the marking dogs, but only for about half an hour. Then I assumed my napping position on the sofa until 0830 or so. Then it was time to put on some outdoor clothing and make a trip to the Kozy for coffee with the guys. I got there right on time, but there weren’t any familiar vehicles parked in our normal spot, so I just lurked for a while, then went home because I had yard work to finish.

You may remember that I buzzed the entire yard but it was so tall there was no way I could vacuum the mess, or use the mulching blades. Today, as anticipated, it being 80 degrees and all, the mown grass was nice and dry, weighing next to nothing. Before I could begin, however, I tackled the project of putting my grass catcher, and associated parts, back together, and tightening some nuts and bolts so it would mow better. I’ve run into a few trees these last 10 years causing the catcher cover to be hanging by a thread. Well, actually it was hanging together by two zip ties. Yes, just two of them. I’ve known for a while now that it needed many more to avoid the need to haul it back to the house when it fell off in the field somewhere.

So, I grabbed a hand full of zip ties, my drill, and went to work. Here’s the end product and it’s just as sturdy as a new unit.

The discharge chute was a mess, too. Up until yesterday it was held together, kinda, with duct tape, but it wasn’t working any more. In addition to stitching up the seam, I pop riveted the two parts of the tube together because the little rubber stretchy things it came with broke a long time ago and Sears doesn’t seem to sell those parts.

I even made creative use of some bubble wrap to keep the grass from blowing out of the catcher onto my back from the hole I previously plugged with a nice towel that was converted to many little towels as reported in a previous post.

Once it was all put together, I got busy sucking up all that grass I chopped down the other day, and it went very nicely. I was pleased. I only had to empty the catcher about 10 times. That’s 30 catcher bags of grass and it’s still nice and solid. It should last me another 10 years.

Now I’m officially tired.

From a Flawless Plan to an Adventure

The plan was:

  • Jennie to take Cedric to Sandy for double-header – Lydia was to pitch both games – and Diane and I would meet them there.
  • After the games, take Cedric back to his ship, USS Nimitz CVN-68, in Bremerton, WA.
  • Diane would drive Jennie’s car home while we headed north to Bremerton.

Simple plan, right? Well, it morphed quickly into the Adventure when Diane returned home from her dermatologist in the morning with lots of burned, crispy spots on her neck and doctor’s orders to remain out of the sun for 4 days. Considering the way the sun shines around here, that could take a couple of weeks. When I returned from golfing, which I did while Diane was at the dermatologist, she said she wouldn’t be going to the games which changed the entire plan for driving Cedric back to his ship.

The new plan was for me to drive Jennie and Cedric to the game, then just head north after the games. Simple, right? Well, to get ready, I had about an hour to mow the front yard, shower, and pick up Lydia and Cedric for the 1.25 hour trip to Sandy. Traffic was horrendous and it took 2 hours so we missed the first inning. It was OK because Lydia wasn’t pitching. Brooklyn was! Shock. She was supposed to have been off doing her Columbia County Rodeo Queen responsibilities. So, the six seniors got to play two more games together. Lydia pitched the first 3 innings of the second game then moved to first base.

Left to right: Brooklyn (pitcher), Kayla (3rd base), Bailey (left field), Ceiarra (1st Base), Mercedes (catcher), Lydia (any position needed)

Towards the end of the game Cedric gave us a huge sigh, hung his head, and reported that he had forgotten his keys at home. That required another change to the plans. Instead of going directly north via the freeways, we had to detour back through St. Helens. This increased the 3 hour trip to 4 hours. He had also forgotten one of his hats. OK, it happens, so we just dealt with it and went on about the business of watching the rest of the game.

Before leaving, Cedric had time to say good-bye to Lydia who was going home on the bus with the team. She got very emotional knowing she wouldn’t see him until next February, at the earliest. She cried, something she rarely does. For that reason, and others related to female hormones, some of her team mates started crying too. It wasn’t long before many of them were crying in support of Lydia’s sadness, and Cedric was getting hugs from many of the girls who don’t even know him, wishing him luck. It was a Kodak moment the coaches couldn’t ignore so they gathered the team for a picture of them crying and laughing. Cedric was very touched by it all, as were we.

Then something happened off to my left that caused a reaction that soothed the crowd.

With all this emotion going on Coach Little told Jennie to just take Lydia home with us, which we did. She slept with her head in Cedric’s lap most of the way. During the trip it Lydia said she’d like to go to Bremerton with us because she’d never been on a navy base and would like to see Cedric’s ship. School on Friday was the only issue but Jennie resolved that quickly and the deal was done. Lydia was going with us.

We got to St. Helens around 2030, Lydia got a go bag while Cedric passed out more hugs with his brothers, Jeran …

… and Ahmed …

… and away we went. It was dark, nothing to see, and Jennie drove from home to Bremerton. We got on base no problem, and dropped Cedric at his ship’s liberty gate. Lots of lights but not a photo-op.

Then we went in search of the Navy Gateway Inn and Suites (NGIS). It took an hour to find it and required the help of a person on the phone guiding us while she used a map of the base. While looking for parking I noticed signs indicating the spots we’re reserved for NGIS which looked suspiciously like NCIS so I didn’t park in them. Finally, I looked closer and noticed it was for the hotel and gratefully parked.

When checking in I bantered with the desk clerk, Randy, and learned he was born on Guam. Jennie piped up, “I was too. In Agana!” she said. What a small world even though Jennie was born there about 20 years before Randy.

Room had one bed and a recliner. Lydia, to be kind, said she wanted the recliner but I declined her the recliner and reclined in it quite comfortably the entire nite while the two girls, one of whom forget her Jammies, rested nicely on the queen bed. Even though Lydia slept in the clothes she wore for the trip, she intentionally didn’t bring Jammies, so I guess it was Jennie’s Jammies that didn’t make the trip. It was OK. By the time we got the lights out, it was about 0100 and we were all dog-tired.

Got up about 1000, left the room, then went to the NEX for some trinkets to commemorate the journey. Then I drove them all over the base to get a good view of the USS Nimitz in the daylight so the girls could see it. Last night it was too dark to see it clearly.

Then we went to breakfast at Denny’s which was almost all the way north in Silverdale. We all ate quite well. Lydia had a bacon burger with avocado which I had doubts that she could wrap her mouth around …

… but she did …

Jennie had this, but didn’t want the sausage links …

… so I got them with my Denver omelette …

After breakfast, Jennie drove us south toward home, the long way through Shelton, because we didn’t want the freeway stress. About 50 miles from the finish, she cried Uncle and I took over to the end. She drove the lion’s share of the trip and didn’t scare me even once. I was proud of her. After I started driving it began raining harder, and harder causing me to run the wipers at full speed much of the time.

I got them home a little after 1500, waited for Lydia to get her softball gear, then took her back to school for practice. The team has one more game on Friday then they can put their softball gear away. Lydia will pitch the entire game Friday because Brooklyn is definitely done for the season.

I arrived home to an empty house because Diane is at the court house again, working with the election committee. Well, the house wasn’t really empty because the dogs were here, and they were very happy to see me. They’re always happy to see anyone, even if they’ve only been gone a couple of minutes.

Oh, and the hat Cedric forgot at home? He forgot it in the truck when he got his stuff to go to the ship. Lydia found it.

I was feeling pretty good until I put this all down on paper and now I’m tired again. If it was a little later, I’d go to bed but it’s only 1730, so I’m going just have a nap.

Oops! Diane just buzzed into the garage in the roadster so maybe a nap isn’t an option. I may have to go out and kill something for her to eat.