Small World Stuff

Considering all the not so good things that have happened over the last couple of weeks, this last week has restored a semblance of normalcy and happiness to our lives.

The good stuff started on Thursday the 14th when brother Jack had his aortic valve replaced and he came through with flying colors. He’s been waiting for this since he was about 9 years old, I think. That’s a guess, of course. I really don’t know when it was determined to be necessary. The point is, at this time, he got it done, he’s home, and it’s all good. Wynette didn’t actually say it but I’m sure she’s convinced he’s good for another 20-30 years. Makes me happy.

Then, on the 19th, sister Ruth had back surgery, not her first rodeo, and it also went well. Last I heard she was still in a little pain but at a lower level of normal than she’s experienced over the past many years. We’re happy she got some relief.

On the 20th it just kept getting better when we loaded up the RV and headed south to Keizer, Oregon to visit with our old Winnebago friends Terry, Carolann, Susie, Cliff, Les, Sophie, Pete, and Jeannie. We were invited to spend our time in Keizer at their Elks club RV park. Getting in was no problem and we submitted the required funds and got set up.

That first night we all gathered for dinner at Les & Sophie’s house for the traditional pot luck. We could do that because Les & Sophie actually live in Keizer, unlike the rest of us. Pete & Jeannie live just a short drive south, on the other side of Salem. Pete and Les are brothers. The rest of us are from other various parts of the country and aren’t, to the best of my knowledge, related to each other in any way. But, you just never know.

The next day we all went shopping. Diane took the girls, and Les took the boys. I would have driven the boys but before leaving home Diane forgot to remind me to put my wallet in my pocket so I drove the RV hundreds of miles without a driver’s license on my body. Thankfully, it was an uneventful trip, and no one ratted me out, so the police weren’t involved.

When we returned to our respective RVs from shopping, we discovered that during our absence Diane, me, Cliff, and Susie had been evicted from the Elks property because of a new rule that prohibits members from inviting guests to stay there. We aren’t Elks members. It was a little later in the afternoon when this happened, but Diane was able to secure a couple of spots at a nearby Good Sam park for about twice the price. But, we had a new home for the next couple of days. And it was a really nice one at the Phoenix RV & Storage Park.

That second evening we returned to Les & Sophie’s home to celebrate “Friendsgiving”. We did that since we knew we would be apart for Thanksgiving. It was a very good substitute, and one we can celebrate whenever we get together. We did it with all the normal Thanksgiving trimmings and it was terrific. I had to sit at the kid’s table for this meal. I’m not sure why. Apparently I was a little unruly at the pot luck the previous day.

On the 22nd we guys visited Harbor Freight to pick up some necessary “stuff” then went back to the Elks RV Park where Terry & Les raced their electric scooters. There was a lot of posturing and chest pounding leading up to the race about how Terry’s new seat cost more than Les’s shooter (which doesn’t have a seat). When it was all said and done the rig with a seat was the clear winner.

Sadly, that didn’t stop the chest pounding and only primed the pump for cheaper and faster scooters. This could really get ugly. Since we’re all connected I might know what’s happening and can share results.

Now for the small world stuff … after the shopping was done we all descended on a Taco Del Mar for lunch and had a nice visit. Men in one booth, women in another. Kind of like a high school dance. While listening to Terry relate a story to Less he mentioned someone named Pinkston which caused my ears to perk up.

Diane should have been closer because she loves it when my ears perk up. She says it makes me look like a little chihuahua puppy. Makes your heart melt a little, doesn’t it?

I waited for a reasonable pause in Terry’s story to ask about the Pinkston reference and to discover if he knew Adam Pinkston. He said “sure, He’s married to Alicia and they have a bunch of daughters.” I responded, “Huh” because I also know Adam … Alicia is my cousin.

Small World.

Compounding this baffling revelation is that Daniel and our daughter Jennifer invited me and Diane to lunch with Adam and Alicia in Warren just a few days ago. You see, Adam has applied for a job at Daniel and Jennifer’s church in St. Helens and they didn’t remember the family connection until the a little memory from long ago caused Daniel to ask me if Adam was a cousin.

Very interesting.

I love this small world stuff. In this expanding world it’s getting us closer and closer together all the time.

How fun is that?

So, I ask that you pray for the leadership at Grace Baptist Church in St. Helens to make the right decision to hire Adam. He’s the right guy.

Now, about the lack of photos …

I really did try to add them but, sadly, I upgraded my MacBook to the new operating system and when I open my photos application it initiates a procedure to update my photo library. It’s a brutal process. I let it run for 3 days and it got all the way up to 75% complete before I lost patience and terminated Photos. I thought that maybe if I turned my computer all the way off and did a hard restart something different would happen. But it didn’t. It was still painfully slow. Now I’m convinced there’s a bug in the bush that I must discover before I can access my photos on this machine. Once I figure it out I’ll revisit this post and add some color.

I’m sure there are other alternatives but they will have to wait until we return home.

That’s it for now. Hope everyone has a wonderful, safe Thanksgiving celebration. Keep us in mind when you think about all those other people who choose to wander around on potentially icy freeways at this time of year.

Golf, Lunch, Hair Cut, Bike Ride, Dump Truck, & The Lawn Mower

I golfed in this morning then had lunch with Doug and Junior. We all had McBurgerville Crispy Chicken sandwiches. None of us had fries which was good because none of us need fries. None of us needed a deep-fried chicken breast, either, but we ate them anyway.

After lunch I went to Great Clips and got a haircut from Misty. She’s a local girl who is going to New York this summer to attend her boy friend’s brother’s wedding and she gets to go and meet the family. She’s excited, of course, because she’s never travelled, and she’s never been on an airplane. We’re all hoping that she doesn’t puke, or something. I’ve never met Misty before so learning all this “stuff” was kinda fun.

After I got home I got my bike out and rode to Diane’s Mom’s (Jean’s) house and back. About two miles, uphill both ways. Going was fine, but had to stop pedaling and walk a while when my left arm started going numb. I figured that probably wasn’t a good thing and my legs were all into walking instead of pedaling. Mom and I visited for a while, then I assisted her with washing the filters in her furnace air cleaner. Assisting Jean means staying out of her way and helping only when asked. I’m good at that because her daughter, my First Wife, is exactly the same way. She earned from The Master.

When I got home I sat a bit, drank three glasses of water, then drove the old truck down by the burn pile and emptied the debris Jeff left in the back. It was mostly bad wood and is now on the burn pile awaiting a hot fire.

I contemplated mowing the lawn in the afternoon but decided to not press my luck by working too hard in one day. I consider taking a nap, too. I could do that because Diane is sequestered in the County Court House once again. She said she’s working on the election counting board, but I think it’s community service for yelling at the stupid drivers she encounters on the road. She denies it, of course. In lieu of mowing the yard, I decided to use the electric weed whacker and edge the sidewalk and flower beds. That entailed a trip to the back yard to get an extension cord long enough. It was in the back yard because I left it there, along with the battery charger, the last time I tried to mow the yard. Had to recharge the batteries.

I hooked up two cords and went to work and almost made it around the east corner of the house before I yanked the cords apart. Had I tied the cords together, like I usually do, that wouldn’t have happened, but I thought I might need that extra 6 inches of cord to do the job. Didn’t work. That meant a trip to the basement to get another cord, which I did. The extra length allowed me to zip around all the areas I wanted to zip around. When done, I meticulously wound the cords up and laid them on a pile of “things” in the garage. Having done the edges, I figured I may as well mow, but first I should probably trim the low hanging limbs on the tree by the sidewalk. I like it tall enough that I can walk under it whenever I want to. That doesn’t happen often, but I want it that way, just in case. I trim it by holding my battery-powered hedge trimmer above my head while slowly walking back and forth under the tree, trimming as I go. Works great. Just as I got going, the battery died and the spare was already dead. After searching around for the plug-in units for the hedge trimmer battery chargers, I found them buried under a bunch of chairs we don’t use in the corner of the garage. Tangled up with those chargers was the one for the little yellow jumper battery I have, so I plugged that in, too.

Since I had to wait for the batteries to charge, and I was way beyond wanting a nap, I thought I may as well fire up the lawn mower and get what I could. I went down stairs, jumped on the mower, turned the key, and nothing happened. I did this a few times before surrendering to the understanding that the battery was dead, too. I the charger from the lower patio which was near by, went back up to the garage for the extension cords I had recently removed from the lower patio, and got it plugged in. When things like this happen I always think that I should have upstairs and downstairs extension cords to eliminate all that walking up and down. I admit, however, that all that walking is a good thing. That’s one of the reasons I have all my tools in the basement. When I need a wrench I make a fairly educated guess at what size I need then go to the basement and get it. It’s always the wrong size so I have to go back and get the correct wrench. I do this for each task which some may think is a bit eccentric, which it is, but it’s the way I exercise. Kinda dumb, I know.

Now, while all the batteries are charging, I had nothing to do until I caught sight of the blackberries that were encroaching the area were we are growing our own bird feed from the seeds the birds scatter all over the place. They are interesting. I think pretty soon they will be tall and strong enough for Breezie to climb all the way to the bird feeders instead of jumping.

Thinking the charger had been on the mower long enough to get it going, I gave it a shot. It started right up, so I went to the burn pile to get the grass catcher attachments. That’s where I left them the last time I mowed. I don’t remember how long ago that was, but I’m sure lots snakes and rats appreciated the cover during the last few rainy days we had. I always enjoy helping the wildlife in the area.

Mowing went well until I emptied the jam-packed bags and headed out for the final round on the front yard. Then guess what happened. Yup. Ran out of gas and I didn’t have any.

At this point I decided to bow to the wisdom of whatever spirit was trying to tell me I wasn’t supposed to mow the yard today. At least, not all of it. So, there sits the mower in the front yard. Almost done, but not quite.


Perhaps tomorrow.

Diane’s home. She was released from the County Jail about an hour ago and stopped to talk with her Mom on the way home. Mom told her I rode my bike down to the house so she probably should look for me laying alongside the road on her way up the hill. That’s pretty kind of her to be so concerned about my welfare, don’t you think?

ISS, Reunions, Soccer, & Relative

Have any of you folks in the Great Northwestern portion of this here United States looked at the evening sky lately to see the International Space Station flying by? Three days ago we were gazing up, watching the stars pop out, when the ISS went zooming overhead and watched for the entire five minutes it took to transit from one horizon to the other. Initial speculation that it was the space station was confirmed, by me, when I jumped on my smart phone, figuratively speaking, and searched for information about this event. What I found on the APP Store (for my iPhone) was “ISS Spotter”, a pretty handy application that plots the station’s progress around the world and provides a list of times when it will be visible, if clouds permit, over your location. Because of this we’ve been able to see if the last three evenings at the times indicated. Pretty cool. It was especially great last night because big brother Jim, and his bride Donna, as well as our other brother Jack, and his bride Wynette, were visiting and we all stood at our deck railing watching together as this wonder of science whizzed by overhead. It was a special moment.

The occasion of Jim and Donna’s visit was so they could attend the All School Reunion for Scappoose High School, an event that happens every five years. For a small town it’s quite an event and brings folks back from all over the place. For my bride, Diane, it was even more special because her class celebrated their 50th reunion in conjunction with the five-year event.

As a result of all these festivities I’ve managed to regain the 12 pounds I recently shed, by studiously eating reasonable portions at reasonable times. During the past week there was no schedule for meals and it’s hard to say No when there’s an opportunity to share a meal for family we don’t often see. Especially when they’re buying. Now I must climb back on the wagon and pay attention before the doctor tells me I must start injecting myself with insulin every 3-4 hours. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Jim and Donna arrived last Wednesday afternoon and it’s been pretty much non-stop until this morning when they departed on their way back home to somewhere in Idaho. We visit them once in a while when they grant us permission to cross the border. That doesn’t always happen and it’s getting more difficult to get a visa for such visits because of all the shootings around the country. Coming in to Oregon isn’t a problem because we don’t have any border restrictions, yet.

At this point of my narrative there will be a rather long pause as I depart our premises to transport Lydia & Morgan to goalie training in Hillsboro at this undogly hour of 0745. I don’t normally doe things like that this early in the morning, but Diane is going the other way, to Longview, shortly thereafter to get Jeran to his dentist appointment. She can drive fast, for sure, but not fast enough to be in two places 60 miles apart at the same time. So, I get to take the east-bound leg, something I don’t really mind doing at all.

Now for the pause —————————-0719 to 1350 – elapsed time 6hrs 31min

What a morning. Picked Lydia up and had to skip Morgan because she wasn’t feeling well and stayed home. So, we arrived about 20 minutes early and Lydia was the only one there for a long time. I pointed out to Lydia that some of them didn’t show up until 0930 and she said “that was the twins (girls). Their dad is an actor and they’re filming “The Librarians” in the area so they are spending the summer here. Interesting.

 Lydia got a 3-hour workout on very little food and she did great. The group was composed of both goalies and what I call “shooters” so Lydia and the other goalies got a good workout from some kids that can really handle a soccer ball. Made me tired so I put the top down on the PT, parked in the shade, and took a nap.

One of my classmates shared a joke with me that I feel compelled to pass along. I must warn you that, though it doesn’t contain vulgar language, the subject matter is a bit racy. If that concerns you, please stop now …

The joke … two ladies had lunch together at one of their village’s nicer establishments and the topic of their conversation swayed a bit to the exciting side of their lives. This happened when one of them noticed a gentleman across the room having lunch.

“See that fellow over by the door? I had a date with him a few days ago and he was a perfect gentleman the entire evening. He opened doors for me, took my jacket, helped with my chair, stood when I left the table … it was very refreshing to be treated like a lady. I was so comfortable with him that it didn’t occur to me to say “No” when he asked me to his home for a nightcap. Once we got in his house everything changed and he became an animal, pushing me around the house and ripping my clothes off like a wild man!”

Her friend, hand to mouth, exclaimed, “so, you’re telling me I should date him?”

“No,” said the lady, “just wear old clothes.”

To end I’ll share some photos from the part of the weekend I remember. First is Diane’s class of 1965.

IMG_2103 Here are what I understand are the main trouble makers of the class. A fun group.IMG_2128And, here’s a selfie of the Cate boys …IMG_2134

Golfing & Stuff

Last Friday I joined three friends in the annual Portland Rose Festival Blue Jacket Golf Tournament. None of us had ever participated in this event previously, so it was a bonding event. We had no expectations of winning anything with our stellar play, but what the heck. We gave it our best shot. Besides, it was a scramble, meaning a best ball event where we all hit then chose which one of the four was best, then we all hit from that place. The selection process continued until someone dropped their ball into the cup. Fun stuff. With a little creative math, and the use of purchased Mulligans, we finished at even par for the event.

Now, the negative side of this is that it was 90 degrees on Friday and just brutally hot. Our hottest of the year so far. The weather tradition for this time of year, Rose Festival, is for chilly days and typically rain, especially during the Saturday parade. Not this year. Consequently, I lost a lot of sweat that day, sweat that I don’t normally release into the atmosphere, but I really didn’t have a choice.

The tournament was held at Heron Lakes Golf Course which, as everyone knows, is located pretty close to the Portland International Raceway. It’s also close to the Portland Expo Center. And Marine Drive. Down by the Columbia River. Here’s why it’s called Heron Lakes …

If you look closely, there’s a Blue Heron even with Doug’s hat. This was common.

They could just easily called it “Goose Lakes Golf Course” …IMG_1877

but that doesn’t sound quite as classy.

Here’s the group who weathered the weather and survived the day.

Left to Right: Doug, Me, Lyle, & Jim.

We’ve already talked about doing it again next year but who knows what next year will bring. Then, there’s Clyde Lewis, “Ground Zero” talk radio, telling everyone the world as we know it will end on October 7th. I have no idea what that means, but it makes me wonder if I should be making plans for next year.

For today, I’ll just plan on getting to bed a little earlier than normal so I can wake up in time to accompany Diane to the parsonage for another marathon day of transforming they place. While I was golfing last Friday, she spent the entire day working on this by herself. She’s a trooper and I’m blessed to have her in my life.


Friends & Family

OK … this is a couple of days old so ignore any references to yesterday and tomorrow. They are relevant. Actually, I wrote this on Monday.

The title explains everything about yesterday. A throng of people showed up throughout the day, culminating in a joyous reunion between an Aunt and a Niece. At one point in time the following people were milling about our home talking, running, playing, and sitting quietly when possible:

Jean, Jack, Wynette, Me, Gary, Kathie, Jeff, Heather, Kristie, Daniel, Jennifer, Scott, Whitney, Cole, Cedric, Lydia, Jeran, Emilie, Gilligan, Kaia, Baylee, Jerrie, & Brooklyn. That’s about 23 folks ranging in age from 87 to 3. I think they are in chronological order as listed, oldest to youngest, but there’s a distinct possibility I’m wrong because I don’t know the ages of Gary, Kathie, Kristie, Scott, or Whitney. I just guessed where they may fit on the list.

At this point I must confess that I had a lengthy dissertation about this topic completed and it was fine until I decided to add some photos. That’s when WordPress failed me completely. The photo upload failed and all those pretty words simply disappeared. There was no draft to recover, either. Consequently, I have to recreate this from scratch and it’s not as much fun as it was the first time. You may find it boring, full of useless information like most of my other posts.

The day began with church, like normal, then things got complicated as we prepared for our guests. The occasion was to welcome Kathie and Gary who were spending the night with us on their way back to the Sacramento area from Tacoma. Gary is from Tacoma so knows his way around in those woods through which, we were told, he forced Kathie to hike so she could enjoy the beauty of the area. Sadly, it was about 20 degrees so Kathie was more concerned about freezing than enjoying the stellar views. We were happy that our temperature was all the way up to 29 when they arrived at 5 pm.

Before the honored guests arrived, the house filled with everyone but them beginning with Daniel, Jennifer, Cedric, Lydia, & Jeran. They were followed shortly by Kristie, Cole, & Emilie. Using iPhone’s auto correct Emilie was initially called Emilio and it was quickly correct. Not before I was rendered confused, however. Kristie quickly corrected that so I was able to call her by name upon their arrival.

Then Jack & Wynette arrived, followed by Jeff, Heather, Gilligan, Baylee, & Jerrie. Jerrie, the little one, was escorted from the premises within the first 15 minutes due to the fact that she had fooled her parents into believing she was potty trained so they didn’t bring diapers. She revealed her deception while standing in the middle of the kitchen. She’s not bashful.

Last to arrive were Scott, Whitney, Kaia, & Brooklyn who had the least distance to cover since they live right next door. Since they were late, they were relegated to the basement with all the kids. They were OK with that.

Slowly, our guests drifted away using excuses like, “we have an hour drive ahead of us,” or “I have homework to finish,” and “my hip hurts.” They were all valid excuses, I must admit.

At one point I brought up the carved shark cribbage board that was given to me by Kathie’s Dad, Gene, while we lived on Guam. At the time, Kathie was attending high school on the neighboring island of Saipan, 120 miles away. She didn’t know about the shark which was given to me so I could give it to my Dad, Jim Sr. and was returned to me when he passed away in 1992, or 2001 when my Mom, Ruth, passed away. I’m a little hazy on that. Jim Sr., and Ruth are Jack’s Mom and Dad, too. Not everyone knows that.

The shark was used by Jack and Gary to determine the West Coast Champion. Jack has been the Oregon champion for many years having whipped the Washington champion without breaking a sweat in 1967. I’m just guessing at the year so it may be wrong. Jack won the game and was declared the West Coast Champ because though Gary is originally from Washington he currently resides in California near Sacramento and Kathie.

The evening ended with all the higher level cousins visiting when Jack declared his hip was beckoning him home but it was gold so Wynette insisted he warm up the car first since the temp had dropped to the low 20’s. He did so, and even moved the car into the driveway from across the street. We visited for another hour or so before Jack remembered the car was running out front so he and Wynette rushed out to ensure it was indeed warm. It was.

This morning we had to completely disrupt our daily routine by getting up at 0600 in order to make it to Scappoose by 0700 so we could eat breakfast and Gary and Kathie could be on their way south by 0800. We went to Ichabods because we know the cook, jeri, and she makes a mean meal. Right after ordering our meals Kathie discovered that she’d left her phone in one of our chargers at the house and insisted that Diane retrieve it for her so her meal wouldn’t get cold. Diane, being the consulate host, complied and scurried back to St. Helens for the phone. She was only gone about 30 minutes and was able to complete her meal with we other three. Then we bid adieu to our guests and headed home.

Diane made me work the remainder of the day so now I’m tired. Before I go, however, I’m going to try adding photos again. Then I’ll quit.

 DSC_2582 DSC_2583 DSC_2584 DSC_2587 DSC_2590 DSC_2591 DSC_2599

Airline Delays, Wood, and H1N1

OK, I get it that folks might be a little upset about flight delays. I get it that many travelers might have a critical need to arrive at their intended destination at the scheduled time. I get it. The networks love it because I think it gives reporters something to do besides go outside and point out it’s snowing, or raining, or windy. I love when they do that, stick the reporter with the short straw on a hill, next to a freeway, and have them explain what the white stuff is that’s landing on the roads and the danger of not being careful while driving in it.

What I don’t get is those passengers who get all upset with the airlines for cancelling their flight and not getting them another one in its place. It’s like they’re blaming the airline for the crappy weather.  Then there are those who must think their planes fly around everywhere else, so why not fly when it’s 50 below.

No thanks. Not me. I’ll take a bus.

The foregoing, incidentally, is pure conjecture by me. I have no basis in fact for any of it other than what I see and hear on ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX. All the noise I hear from those stations is consistently the same so at least some of it must be correct with regard to how travelers are playing the “woe is me” card.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not insensitive to their dilemma because I’ve been in it myself. Delayed flights. Rerouted flights. Cancelled flights. It’s just one of those things people should expect when traveling in the ice age. Plan for delays and deal with it. If you make your destination on time, and your luggage arrives at the same time, it’s a good day.

Bottom line on this is that the extraordinarily cold weather isn’t something that can be planned for. Entire cities have shut down because of the cold so I don’t see a problem with airlines doing the same in the name of safety.

Sorry – I meant to touch on that briefly then move on to something else, but the latter got lost in the melee in my head. That, and the ringing in my ears. Both are a bit distracting, making concentration necessary, something I’m normally not very good at. If I have to think about doing something, or how to do something, I’ll usually get it wrong. I do best what I do impulsively, without thought. Granted, impulsive behaviour has placed me in pits of peril more than once, and hindsight always points out the faults with decisions made under those circumstances, but in the heat of the moment, it’s exciting. Kind of an auction mentality where you buy things you really don’t need, or want, because you just can’t keep your hand down.

For the past two days I’ve been installing baseboards. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for the past 5 years. Baseboards needed to be installed for two reasons: 1) to fill the gaps created when the baseboard heaters were removed, and 2) Diane scrunched her eyes and convinced me it would be a good choice of projects while it’s cold.

Yesterday, I worked in the garage, cutting pieces to length and getting the mitres just right. Since all of yesterday’s work had outside mitres, it wasn’t a big deal. It’s just a simple matter of make two 45 degree cuts, on the correct end of the boards, and shoe moulding, then make them match at the corners. Simple, right? I have to admit that it’s far easier with my cutoff saw than with a manual mitre saw. With the cutoff saw I can come up with a solution much quicker, although it also makes it easier to whittle my way through a pile of wood quicker, too. Here’s some of yesterday’s efforts, the hall to the East Wing …


I did the entire hallway which included 5 outside corners, and 5 doors. One of the doors is for Diane’s shoe closet. One of these days I might do a post on that.

Today was a bit different because I had to deal with inside miters and chose not to. Instead, I coped the corners because doing so makes them much neater. No 45’s to deal with. I’m not taking a picture of that, yet for two reasons: 1) it’s not finished, and 2) I don’t want to. Yet.

What makes this project particularly difficult is that the existing baseboard is mahogany that was installed in 1957. I’ve tried to acquire more of it, but no one sells it in the dimensions I need to match them up. So, I gathered what I had and pieced them together to fill the gaps in our bedroom, the front hall, and the dining area, but there won’t be enough to do the living room. And, there wasn’t enough to do the hall so I used what I could get from Home Depot that was smaller, but had the same profile. Now all I have to do is engineer it avoid situations where I need to match up old with new because it won’t work.

Our thoughts are with family and friends in the east who are dealing directly with the reality of this Arctic vortex we’re experiencing. We are blessed in our little town because all the bad stuff is just blowing over the top of us. So far. Things can change quickly, however, so we have a plan B should that happen. I don’t know what it is, but we have one somewhere.

Now, about that flu … Oregon has been relatively flu free until recently, but the H1N1 has struck close to home. A good friend, Jeff, is in intensive care at the VA Hospital with pneumonia and H1N1 virus. Diane and I got our flu shots in October when they were first available and, so far, have escaped the bug. We tend to stay home, away from large groups, when this stuff is going around, finding it increases our chances of escaping without catching anything.

Bundle up.

More Painting, American Legion, Trojans and Beavers

The painting is done, I think, but there’s still paint left over so I may have to do more. We’ll see. Oh wait, there’s still the underside of the upper and lower porches. And, maybe even the underside of the covered area where we store all the yard tools. I suppose it’s got a name, as porches go, but it’s just “the porch outside the kitchen door” to me. Maybe it’s the “kitchen porch”. I don’t know, doesn’t matter. It’s also a covered place where all the neighborhood cats come to get a free snack pretty much every day.

So, I guess the painting really isn’t done, is it? That’s rhetorical so you don’t have to answer, unless you really want to. I tend to answer rhetorical questions all the time.

Although the painting really isn’t done, as I initially reported, I did get a lot of it done, some of it from the top of some perilously tall ladders, and from the roof. Diane was concerned much of the time because I had to dig holes to make the ladder level on the less than level portion that goes around to the daylight basement. Or, cement blocks and rocks to level things out on the back stairs. The only casualty I had was when the ladder attachment I have creates a wider, more stable area at the top of the ladder, fell off and made an exciting amount of noise that caused Diane to rush onto the porch to see if I was prone or vertical. It missed me, by a hair, but I felt the wind.

This house has a large expanse of eaves that caused me great concern because it’s all overhead work. But, it’s roller work, not a brush. Incidentally, in case I didn’t mention it previously, all the other painting I’ve done was with a 2.5 inch brush, and a 3 inch roller. The bulk of it was done yesterday and it absolutely killed my poor little right arm. I know, that’s whining, but it’s true. Though it hurt, I continued anyway because I’m on a deadline. I don’t know what it is, but I’m on one.

After painting all day, I was allowed to sit for about 20 minutes before I had to go to the St. Helens Moose Lodge for a monthly American Legion meeting. I figured it was probably a good idea that I went to the meeting because I’m the Sgt. At Arms.

I know what you’re thinking … why would any reputable organization vote me into a position like that, right?  Well, no one wanted to do it so I volunteered. Now you’re thinking, “why would you volunteer for anything? Have you learned nothing over all these years?”

Apparently not, but this exalted position comes with a really nifty pin for my hat, denoting my position as a club officer. Don’t forget, too, that I’m our church council president. I volunteered for that one, too. Guess I’ll never learn, will I? My only comment regarding all of this is that both jobs need to be done and someone needs to do them. So, I do them. It gives me a false sense of power. Some day, if I keep volunteering, I’m going to get one of those jobs that comes with a hammer.

Now, about having an American Legion meeting at the Moose Club? We do it because they let us. The AM used to have its own building but they got rid of it for some reason, a long time before I joined the club. Seems like, maybe, the building was condemned. I’m not positive about that, but my friend, Doug, knows the answer. He told me tonight that he wastes a lot of time reading my entries here so maybe he’ll help me out. Maybe not.

I’m currently watching a recording of the USC Trojans vs. Oregon St. Beavers in a Pac-12 battle. Although I’m from Oregon, and logic says I should cheer for the Beavers, another line of logic says it makes far more sense to me to cheer for a team named after an animal that cuts down trees with its teeth rather than for a team named after a popular condom, that comes in a stunning array of festive colors, I’m told.

I jest, of course.

In truth, however, I just don’t like USC. It’s nothing personal. It’s just that I’m from Oregon. I’m also a Duck fan. And, I used to work at the Trojan Nuclear Power Plant, the same place Homer Simpson worked, so what do I know. I understand that Homer is just pretend, but everything that happens in Homer’s fake life is Oregon-based, including his place of employment. Sadly, the Trojan plant has been dismantled, and the cooling tower was destroyed, but it lives on in Homer’s life.

I’m done here … goodnight

Panzee Speaks, kinda …

Just when everyone thought things were going along just fine, Jerrie woke up.

Three days had passed and he had no memory of what had transpired so I’ve decided to help explain. He doesn’t know I’m doing this. If he did he’d have a conniption fit because he doesn’t like anyone using his precious electronical equipment. He puts passwords on everything thinking we, who spend hours and hours all alone in the house, with nothing else to do, can’t possibly figure that kind of stuff. C’mon! What are we going to do when we’re locked up in the house with nothing else to do? Sleep? Pee on the rugs? Chew on furniture? Sure, we’ve done all of that, but after a while it’s just no turn any more so we started fiddling with his computers and we discovered a whole new world.

So what’s been happening with Jerrie and Diane? We have absolutely no idea beyond what we witnessed. As the spokesanimal for the group, I’ll do my best to get things accurate and in chronological order.

There were some familiar people at the house on Friday evening that would account for the flurry of activity on Thursday. That’s when Jerrie went out to his car, the old Subaru, and extracted his fancy cutoff saw from the back-end of it.  It was kind of freaky and reminded me of the time I watched one of my friends have puppies, only puppies don’t have sharp edges and pointy things. He pulled that thing into the garage, and I went and hid when he plugged it in. It doesn’t scare me … I want that understood up front. I just don’t like loud noises. Honest. Thankfully, he closed the door into the house so I didn’t have to listen to the incessant whine of the saw motor. I know that’s what it is because he’s used that thing before, and it drives me nuts.

Before he fired that thing, up, he left the house fora period of time around noonish. I later learned that he went to some storage facility to help liberate a truck load of newspapers which he, and his friends, delivered to the Lions Club newspaper collection container which is located at the St, Helens High School. I know, that’s a lot of detail coming from a dog that has a limited understanding of the language spoken by most of the people with which I’m familiar. A lot of what I figure out is strictly conjecture because lots of the speech I hear is a little like white noise so I think what I really do is read minds. Really! I do.

Shortly after he returned home, disturbing me from a perfectly wonderful nap, the master of the house arrived and made him eat lunch. I’ve almost given up on begging for food any more because he rarely gives me anything … little teeny bits of things I can barely taste they are so small. What a waste of time.

Anyway, they ate, something, didn’t give me any, then he went to the garage and ignited the noisy saw. He quit about 4 pm or so and they left to go watch Lydia play soccer. I’ve tried to tell them that I think it would be really fun to go watch Lydia play a soccer game, but the words just won’t come to me, and they can’t read minds like I do. I stayed home and took a nice long nap.

It appeared that what he was doing was take small pieces of wood that he called baseboards, cut them, then try to put them back together so they looked like they belonged where he put them along the floor. He didn’t nail any of them down so I suspect he’s not done fiddling with them. After doing a little investigative investigation, listening to him talk with his female associate, I learned that they were expecting company at some point on Friday. That turned out to be true, incidentally, but that’s coming up in a minute.

I slept the rest of the day so don’t know what happened the rest of the day until I was allowed to exit the house into the back yard and search for a new spot to relieve myself. It’s kind of humiliating, you know, o have to crap and pee in public. But, one can get used to pretty much anything. Especially if you’re a dog. Like me. After doing my ‘thing’, I comeback in the house, trying to avoid the annoying little black dog who spins in circles like a little maniac in anticipation of the bed time treats we always get. I just sit calmly on the floor, waiting to perform my stupid dog tricks for a little pittance of a treat. But, he seems to enjoy it, so I humor him.

On Friday, they both left the house, a couple of times. The first time they came back the master was a little sad, so he told her he just wasn’t going to spend $100 on a couple of used, stained chairs. He then told her that if she wanted chairs, get new ones. It was really funny because she grabbed her purse and keys and almost ran to the car telling him to hurry up. Apparently they went to Richardson’s, right here in town, who sells furniture made in Indiana (so I’m told), and bought two new chairs to fill the void created when the perfectly good couch they had was carted away, along with the dining room table, a couple of weeks ago. I know is was Richardson’s because later that day they delivered the chairs and I heard one of the delivery guys say that name. When they got here, I barked, like I’m supposed to, then I licked their hands because they seemed to be pretty nice.

The chairs look OK, if you like chairs. The master really likes them, a lot, and said the red color actually does look OK with the carpet in the living room. I won’t be sitting in them so I really didn’t care. I took a nap.

About 3 pm, as close as I can tell, two folks I’ve met before showed up at the door. I looked out the Man Room window and saw that they arrived in a funny looking van that they use to travel all over the United States. The master, and he, were very happy to see them. I believe they were Jerry and Nelda Somethingorother. I’m not big on last names. Sorry.

All of them either sat around the table while the master worked in the kitchen, making something for the pot luck that was happened later that afternoon. It’s my understanding that the pot luck was attended by members of a Classic Winnebago Club that included Les, Sophie, Cliff, Susie, Terry, Carolann, Jim, and Kim. I heard someone say they were all staying at the Elks Club off 6th Street, just a hop and a skip away. With Jerry and Nelda, master, and him, there were 12 people. I don’t know what happened because I was forced to go down to the creepy basement with the annoying little black dog. They think I’m OK with that, but I’m not. I spent the entire time crouched on the top step, just the other side of the door, listening to all the fun they were having. The food smelled really, really good. I didn’t even have water, and my food bowl was just about 5 tantalizing feet from where I was crouched.

Finally everyone left and I was released and allowed to go out front to tell everyone ‘bye’. Then we all went to bed.

Saturday morning I woke him up at 0700, I think, because I was hankering for a touch of canned food which I get as soon as I come back in the house from my morning trip to the yard. Then I took a nap. I barely got to sleep before I heard Jerry and Nelda again. Interesting. I guess they slept in the driveway, which I thought was a little odd until I learned that they actually slept in their van, in the driveway. Big difference.

They sat around drinking coffee, talking, laughing, like I wasn’t even there. Nothing fell on the floor right away, but I feigned interest for longer than necessary before going in to the Man Room to take a nap. Sleeping wasn’t in the cards for me, however, because of all the racket they all made. Then, wouldn’t you know it, all the people from the night before showed up again. All the food had been removed from the refrigerators and reheated as necessary, in anticipation of their arrival, but no one told me. Then I was sent to the basement again. It’s getting to be quite a routine, me going to the basement. The cat, however, gets to go outside and run all over the neighborhood, without supervision! Is that fair?! I think not!

There were gaps in activity the remainder of the day. J&N left, then the master and he left, and they didn’t come back for hours. Really! Hours! Thankfully, they left the patio door open so we could go out and bark at something once in a while, but that’s a long time to be left alone. When they returned they told us all about the fun they had down town on the St. Helens Haunted Tour. Sounded fun. They even went out for dinner after that, extending the night even more than necessary. Then they went to the Elk’s Club to sit and visit in Les and Sophie’s new 1989 Winnebago Superchief. Apparently it’s quite a rig. Really big and nice, we were told. Plenty of room for a dog, or two.

When they got home they went to bed after allowing me into the yard one last time.

Today had a normal beginning, then something changed because only the master left. Since it’s Sunday, I suspected they would both leave for church, but that didn’t happen. She left early and took Jennifer, one of my favorite people, shopping for her birthday. I guess Grandma Jean, another one of my favorite people, went too. That left him home alone with pretty strict instructions to leave the power tools alone. So, he went outside, grabbed a ladder, and used it all the way around the house to reach areas that needs to have paint scraped. I was proud of him because he didn’t go on the roof, and he didn’t get the tall ladder to reach the really high spots. He knows I can dial 911, and bark, but doing that just doesn’t interest me much. I could have gone outside with him, if I wanted to, but I didn’t. Instead, I stayed in the house and took a nap.

In the afternoon, about 1:30, he left to go pick up another couple of my favorite people, Cedric and Jeran, and took them to the movie down town. I smelled popcorn on him when he got home. I love popcorn. Cedric was with him. Not long after they got home, the master arrived. Jennifer showed up a couple of hours later to get Cedric. Lydia, another one of my favorite people, was with Jennifer. She scratched my ear. I love that. Then they left and I took a nap.

Now it’s time for bed and I need to go outside and prepare myself for the series of tricks I make him do before he gives me my treat.

Phones, Puppies, & No Nap

As you all know, Diane was blessed with a bright yellow iPhone 5C on the 20th, and I received her hand-me-down old iPhone 4. Not an iPhone 4S, but just a 4. Her old phone is just as pristine and clean as the day I took it out of the box to set it up two years ago so I was all for it. You also know that the reason for this need was because I dropped my 4S too many times and broke the screen. I gave it to Jeff for showing us the girls’ new puppy which came to our house named Mallory, but left with her new name, Roku. That’s the number 6 in Japanese. Jeff wanted a “6” name because she has 6 white toes. She’s 10 weeks old and is already twice the size of Ozzie. When she grows up she’s expected to weigh in around 140+. Big dog.

Today was the first time I’ve been allowed to take my ‘new’ phone out of the house so it was a total surprise to me when it fell out of my lap and crashbanged on the garage floor upon returning from wherever it was we went. Seeing this, Diane pursed her perfectly formed, lightly tinted lips, marched in the house with an over-the-shoulder dictate that I need to carry my phone in a case, and she had the perfect one. The phone is a white one and so is the case. It’s a Hello Kitty one that’s she had, ‘Just in case.’ She thought I wouldn’t like it, but I think it’s just absolutely adorable.

It’s been raining most of the day so it’s good to be inside. The only trips we’ve taken, so far, was to pick up Mary, Trudy, and Glenn at 0600 for a trip to the airport, back home, them to Home Depot in Longview to get a $100 error, in their favor, corrected, then to Columbia Feed & Seed for Panzee dog food. So, it turned out to be a pretty busy travel day in the rain. Thankfully, due to Diane’s superb driving skills, we made it to and from every one of our chosen destinations.

It’s only 5:01 pm right now, but I’m really tired. No nap this morning kinda wrecked me for the day. So, I’m calling it quits early. No staying up until 11 pm like I normally do.

Hope everyone is safe and sound in your own abodes, or wherever it is you wish to be.

Dr. Grimm, Mowing, Gas Lines, Golf, Painting, Cats, etc …

I want to thank all three of you who check in every day and see if I’m still ticking. I appreciate it. Knowing you do gives me an incentive to honor your quest for useless information. The last few days have been difficult which is why I haven’t been around much.

It started with the tooth Dr. Grimm ripped out of my head. At the time, it didn’t hurt at all. It didn’t even hurt bad the next day, but as the week progressed it hurt more and more until I was on the verge of a migraine all the time. Not quite there, mind you, but close, and I knew it was coming from the area of the tooth I gave up for adoption.

Actually, I didn’t do that. The tooth is laying calmly on my computer desk inside a sandwich bag. One of these days I’ll hide it under my pillow and see if there really is a tooth fairy. That would be a dumb thing to do, however, because I’d only get a quarter, or maybe a $1 and, with its gold crown, that thing cost me about $900. Maybe I’ll put it up for sale on eBay so some person, who has a tooth fetish, can get me my money back.

Anyway, the pain was getting worse each day and finally Diane’d had enough and forced me to call Dr. Grimm so he could check it out. Being a good husband, I did as she ‘suggested’, and got an appointment for the same day. That was yesterday. We had a nice visit during which he told me the extraction site looked excellent, and everything was healing nicely. As for the pain, he suggested face and neck massage to relax the muscles in my jaw, which he could see were clenching and unclenching, something I wasn’t aware of. And, he gave me a script for cyclobenzaprine, a muscle relaxer. Since I had a vague memory of taking this before, for back spasms, I thought, “Why not?”

I related all of this to Diane upon my return and she asked if I had the prescription. I didn’t. It was folded neatly inside my iPad, which I take everywhere with me, except golfing. I don’t take it golfing. Perhaps I should. It might like it.

So, she sent me back to town to do four things …

  1. Drop my script at Rite Aid
  2. Go to Safeway and get bananas
  3. Go to Taco Bell and get us lunch
  4. Go back to Rite Aid and pick up my drugs
  5. Go home

OK – that’s five things. I added #5 because I think it should be included on all lists for trips as an indication that one is actually allowed to do that. Go home, that is. Sometimes people are allowed to do that and it would be nice to know. It’s not a given, you know.

When I got home, Diane immediately made me eat something so I could take one, which I did. I waited for a few minutes for something to happen, but it didn’t, so I got some wrenches, went outside, and climbed under the ’79 Winnebago to see if I could determine if the fuel tank switch functioned. Now you’re shaking your heads, I know, wondering what I was thinking, and how could Diane allow me to do that while under the influence. Well, after I took the pill, she left, so I mowed the yard. All of it.

OK – now I’m getting confused. I know I did both of those things yesterday, but don’t recall the sequence. Now I think I mowed first, THEN worked under the Winnebago. No, it was the Winnebago, first, then the lawn. That’s because she returned from a trip to ‘someplace’ while I was working under the RV, and asked me how it was going. I was almost finished putting the fuel line all back together, knowing the fuel transfer switch was working properly, and that gas was coming down the line from the aux tank. I know the latter because I blew into the line and gas came spurting back at me, soaking my jeans. But the electric fuel pump still wouldn’t pump the gas, so I’ve got to figure something else out. I figure the electric pump is better at pushing gas than pulling it when it isn’t primed.

After that, I started mowing the yard, at Diane’s request, then she left to take her Mom, Jean, to the store. When she returned the lawn was done and I watched her make an attempt to back the Buick into the garage so it would be easier to empty the goods …

No … I think the store trip was today. Yesterday, after the pill took effect, I just kinda layed around doing nothing, and the pain subsided a great deal. Then I went to bed.

Yes, the store was today. I think. No, I golfed this morning. Had to’ve been yesterday. Diane will clear this up, I’m sure. We also applied another coat of paint to our hall, and the cats started migrating back to their proper place in the display cabinet.

There was a report on the evening news about two fans who wrote a letter to the editor of a (the?) San Francisco newspaper complaining about the noise level at the Seahawks home game against the 49ers, and various ways NFL management could deal with excessive noise. There’s speculation that the letter may have been submitted as satire, giving the 49ers (Jean’s favorite team, by the way – not Diane’s Mom, Jean, but the other one) another reason for losing the game 29-3.

I figure it was a good way to get people’s minds off all the flooding, misery, killings, and wrecks going on in other parts of the country.

Since it was San Francisco, it also made me think of Kathie’s impending trip to that fine city to search for a new elbow. We hope she finds a good one.

l took another pill about 1/2 hour ago and itsssß staringot make me wooosie. Did you knøw thæt if ÿøü hołd dowń a lėttęr on your keeybord you get some îńtëréštïñg čhøīçêś fõr åłtérñātę łëttèrś?????????????