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.

Lunch at the Senior Center

Today I accompanied Diane to the St. Helens Senior Center for lunch. Today was the day that some ladies from our humble little Bethany Lutheran Church served. They do this once a month. Today it was Diane, Jeannie, Sue, & Barb. There were other helpers, too, and I’ve been known to pitch in once in a while, myself. However, today Diane gave me $5 so I could just sign in and eat. I figured that was a sign I should stay out of their way. So I did. All the ladies working there were all excited about the ‘new’ car and wanted to see it. But, we didn’t drive it to the center. They were very disappointed and shunned us for a short period of time.

I sat down across from my friend, Richard, who knows the Bible probably better than the people who reportedly wrote it in the versions we see today. Richard conducts Bible study at our church every Sunday morning and his excitement and enthusiasm about sharing his knowledge is infectious. He’s an amazing man and I was blessed to have wound up across from him for lunch. In addition to having a terrific lunch, I received an education from a special person.

To my left sat Derek Anderson’s Grandpa. He lives just down the block, and around the corner from Diane’s Mom, Jean. Derek is a small town success story from Scappoose, where I grew up – long before Derek was around. He was a childhood friend and classmate of Sarah Jean Underwood who is also from Scappoose. She’s another success story of the kind boys in my classes dreamed about but never knew. Now that I’m older and wiser now I can honestly say I don’t feel that such an omission from my past was a loss. My classmates were all great, in all grades, except the ones who picked on me because I was small for my age. Yes, I was bullied. Quite a lot, actually, but, you know what, I didn’t realize it at the time. Bullies were an accepted aspect of growing up in the 50’s that served up character-building moments. I learned to deal with it by injecting humor into tense moments and that has served me well. I’ve done OK. Of the notable folks who bullied me, one became my best friend throughout high school, one went on to become a PhD kind of guy who has this absolutely awful limp-fish handshake that gives me the creeps, and I out-lived the rest of them. No, I had nothing to do with their demise. They just kinda withered away on their own.

So, it was a good lunch, and I lied about the girls shunning us. They’re great friends and were just disappointed they wouldn’t get to see it. Funny how little cars like that get folks excited.

After lunch I passed through the kitchen with Diane as she made her way out and she stopped to talk a lady who looked familiar. She knew Diane and she knew me. Diane was perplexed that this stranger knew who she was so asked for her name. I beat this stranger to the punch as her name passed clearly through the very small portion of my brain that provides me with information that I can confidently rely on as accurate. It’s like a flash of clarity that splashes answers on the inside of my forehead where it’s easier to read. “Kerry Kennedy!” I blurted, knowing I was right. Giving a slight nod, indicating I was correct, she added that she used to be Kennedy but is now Kelly. With this knowledge I surmised that she didn’t have to change any of the monograms on any of her linen because KK doesn’t care what the second K stands for. I don’t really think she had that thought in mind when selecting a husband, but it worked out OK for the linen.

Kerry and I were school classmates for all of my school years in Scappoose. Sadly, since I left Scappoose not long after graduating from high school, and remained gone for most of 27 years in the Navy, I missed the part where my classmates grew older with me. In my head, I’m the only one who got older. The result is that I just don’t recognize most of them when our paths crossed. I was so happy that I recognized Kerry and made this one small connection to my childhood.

I was also humbled to learn that Kerry reads my posts. When someone tells me this, I’m always amazed. I’ve said that before, and it’s always true. It’s a humbling experience for me to discover that someone other than family reads this stuff, and you are all over the map

So, to all of you who choose to bless me by spending your valuable time reading this, Thank You. It makes an old guy pretty happy. I still don’t know why strangers spend their time with me, but I’m at the point in my life where I’m finding that I know really need to know. I’ll just appreciate that folks find what I write interesting even though I tend to fib a little once in a while.

Now it’s time for bed. Diane said so.

G’nite.

60+ to 80+, a broken lawnmower, and other Stuff.

Yup! That’s what happened. The temps turned on a dime from a high of 60 something to 80 something. The weather things I’ve looked at show 81 for today, but our thermometers registered 86. Now, my challenge is to get my lawn mower cleaned up before the rain comes back day after tomorrow.

I don’t know if that’s going to happen, but it may as well. I thought I heard that we’ve had more than 141 days of measurable rain this year so far, a record. That’s kind of tricky, I think, because there have only been 123 days registered in 2017.

Could be I have no idea what I’m talking about which is not news. I rarely do. But, it’s fun trying to make sense of what I think I hear. Diane’s solution for that is for me to wear my hearing aid, but that takes all the fun out of it.

Now, the lawn mower … it’s the one that Floyd and Nancy bought for the church. Just recently it decided to not start so I tried to get people to dig out all the small engine repair people they know so we can take advantage of the good weather. Thankfully, Howard mowed the church yard so all we need to do is clean up the cut grass. Having the mower run would help.

Well, I didn’t get any valid offers of help, except from Don, so I went to school on YouTube and figured out how to do it myself. Armed with my new-found knowledge I took my tools to the church, rolled the mower out, yanked the engine out off the frame (with Howard’s help),

and dismantled the engine down to a bunch of little parts, just like I learned on YouTube.

Doing so revealed that the bad part is exactly the one I expected it to be based on my recent education, a dysfunctional cam shaft …

It looks nice and almost new, but there’s a part broken that helps get the engine past the first compression point during the start process. It was in little pieces in the bottom of the crank case. Now I have to get a new one and figure out how to get everything back together again. I need to do that fast because I’ll forget where all those screws and bolts go in a few days. That’s all it takes. I’ll take a photo of any success I might have. If I fail, you’ll never hear about this again.

Here’s what I had for lunch yesterday … leftover meat loaf. It was really good.

I think there’s about a pound of meat there, but it’s all protein, something I can eat a lot of. Keeps my B-12 levels up there in the stratosphere.

Here’s our trailer while I’m check to ensure the lights work before we left Devil’s Lake State Park for the trip home.

While we were enjoying ourselves at the beach, the bamboo took advantage of our absence and reached for the sky. Might have to trim it down a little.

This afternoon Lydia’s softball team had a double-header with Parkrose. Lydia pitched 4 innings of the first game and played 2nd base the last 3 innings of the 2nd game. It was a lot of fun. They lost the 1st game 3-2 and won the 2nd one 8-4. It was a good day. One of the highlights was when Jennifer was trying to talk with Lydia over the cement block wall of the dugout, but couldn’t hear her. So, she did this …

She had sneakers on so didn’t slip, but it’s something she would have raised heck about had one of the kids, or me, done this. Just so you know, she extracted herself from this precarious position without injury. Made me proud. It was a good day.

It’s time for me to head to bed, after I let the dogs out to bark at something and pee in the tall grass out front. Ozzie just had a $37 haircut but that doesn’t stop him from plowing through the grass in search of a spot where one of the big dogs may have relieved themselves. He’s predictable, and doesn’t care about hygiene at all.

Good nite.