Uncluttering the Garage & Basement

Diane and Jewel abandoned me today with strict instructions that I stay away from power equipment. So, I cleaned the garage, organizing “things” into piles for throw away, give away, and donate, as I have done many times in the past. This process involves lots of trips up and down the basement stairs in order to take tools down there from the garage, and bring something back up for one of the piles. I made a very concerted effort to not go either direction without carrying something with me. Once, or twice, I kind of lost track, I admit, and just carried the same item up and down the stairs until I figured out where it went. It usually doesn’t take me that long, but I’m tired today after all that weed whacking yesterday.

Once I was done with the garage I went to work on my computer collection with the intention of removing them to the garage to stage them for my next trip to the city dump. They have a section where electronic equipment of all sorts are welcome at no charge. My first trip up was for a 19″ CRT monitor that hasn’t been used in about 16 years and has been collecting dust all that time. I actually have two of them but one belongs to an old Compaq system I bought from Radio Shack (a long time ago) when Windows 98 was the newest operating system on the block. Shortly before moving beyond Win98 I set that computer to OOTB condition. That means out of the box. So, it’s like a brand new Windows 98 computer with nothing on it. How cool is that? It isn’t very useful, but it’s still cool and will stand proud next to my 128 system.

The monitor mentioned previously weighs about 185 lbs and proved difficult to handle. But I managed to get it clutched tightly to my chest with the glass side toward me so if I fell, and it broke, nothing else in the house would be damaged. I would absorb explosion and all the resultant glass fragments. Once in hand, I took my first step and tripped over an old brief case that I used way back in 1965. Yes, it’s been sitting around all that time waiting for this moment. I caught it with my left foot which caused me to fall to my left against a pile of laptops I got from somewhere that were stacked on top of the Panasonic radio/record/tape console that we purchased in 1968 while on Okinawa. It saved me from falling all the way to the floor, and from dropping that extra heavy monitor. My left wrist was slightly damaged in the process, but nothing broke. It was an odd event because just as I started to tip to my left time kind of stopped and gave me a moment to consider all the possibilities associated with this event. Like, “man, if I break something Diane will never forgive me because she wanted to take me the next time I went”, and “if my wrist breaks I’ll still be able to drive to the ER”, and “crap, this is really going to hurt.” But, I maintained my balance, regained a vertical position and got the monitor upstairs to the truck for delivery.

Now, a few hours later, my wrist has a bump at the point of impact and is extremely sore when touched. But I can type just fine so doubt if it’s anything to worry about. So, I won’t. As soon as Diane got home, and we had unloaded her truck from the Costco trip, I told her about my near fatal injury so if it manifests into anything of concern, it’s her fault.

The ringing in my ears has escalated to the point that indicates it’s time for me to go squeegee the sweat off my tired old body and begin preparations for getting prone for the night. It’s only 5:30 pm, but I’ve discovered that it’s never too early to begin getting ready for bed.

Sad News

Well, it’s finally happened. After spending the best years of my life attempting to fulfill the desires and wishes of someone who was a stranger to me in 1960, she’s accepted my most recent offer to get a lawyer and split the sheets. This is something I’ve alluded to, in fun, of the years and I never thought she would actually take me up on it. But, she did.

Now I have to either find a lawyer, or just leave. She’s agreed to let me have the motor home and the old pickup, and the PT Cruiser so I’ll have a place to stay, transportation that works, and a truck to work on. I’ll be looking for a new place to park the Winnie, so if any of you can find it in your heart to provide a temporary parking place, I’d appreciate it. Perhaps someone will trade time in their yard for one of the power tools I won’t be able to bring with me. It’s kind of pointless to even try doing that since I won’t be starting any more projects. So, they are up for grabs as either barter, or cash. Whichever works.

Since electricity will only be available by my benefactors, or when I get the generator running, this could be the last post you receive from me for a while. I’ll return as soon as I can.

Until then, I trust that each of you will continue to enjoy your lives and that I may have added a little joy to your days with my mental wanderings. Stay safe and be happy. Now, it’s time to go.

Oh, by the way, Happy April Fools Day.


Jean’s Birthday, Rocks, & Golf

Today Eleanor Jean, Diane’s Mom, reluctantly celebrated her 87th birthday. I say “reluctantly” because she doesn’t find it necessary to celebrate “just another day.” We do, however, so took her out to dinner at Dockside in St. Helens. It’s interesting that the Dockside is an Italian food restaurant, not a seafood joint. And, it’s right on the Columbia River near where the best Salmon in the world give up their annual upstream battle through the thousands of fish hooks. You’d think they’d have salmon, wouldn’t you? They may, sometimes, but the fare is mainly steak and pasta with some token shrimp and chicken parts thrown in for added flavor.

At dinner were Daniel, Jeran, Diane, Lydia, Grams (Jean), Me, and Jennifer. Daniel is a staunch vegan so had a fancy salad; Jeran had ravioli’ Diane and Jean had Lasagna; Jennifer had fettucine alfredo; I and Lydia had carbonara. Carbonara is my absolute favorite Italian dish. Lydia, I learned, knows how to make it, but she’s never offered to come over and cook some for me.

It was a good end to a long day and we all enjoyed the food and the time we had together, visiting. Gathering for these occasions is important to us because it helps us rekindle the family spirit.

Unlike yesterday, and the day before, where I shoveled and moved a couple tons of rocks, today was spent in the church parking lot surrounded by many things we no longer wanted with a sincere hope that someone else would find a need to relieve us of ownership. It was a Parking Lot Sale to help raise funds for the church in an effort to keep the lights on, and a phone with a dial tone. Not many church folks participated in selling things, but lots of folks took the time to stop by for a peek at all the wondrous “stuff”. We were only actively open for 4 hours, 5 counting the early bird yard salers who can’t tell time. The tough part was unloading everything and stacking them neatly on the really heavy church tables I was forced to removed from the basement. After yesterday’s activity with a pick and shovel, moving the tables was brutal. I had help, but it was still brutal. Consequently, my left arm is only useable with a great deal of pain from the middle of my bicep to my wrist. Odd, I know, but that’s just the way it is. I’m not worried because I know it will go away.

Until tomorrow, when we go back for another 5 hours, then have to replace all the tables back in the basement. It will actually be easier to put them back because the stairs are carpeted allowing the tables to slide down quite nicely. Getting them to the stairs is the hard part.

I get a reprieve between 1000 and 1300 when I’ll go help some fellow Lions reattach newly cleaned flags to newly cleaned poles. It’s a project I’ve not had the pleasure of participating in before. These are the flags that we place in holes on the main blvds in town for all holidays. The holes are placed in front of all businesses that donate money to support the project. Everyone ponies up a donation because not having a flag in front of your business is an honor and when the one in front of your business is missing, everyone in town knows you didn’t help out. That’s a lie, of course. Once a hole is drilled in the sidewalk, it will always get a flag, and everyone is very generous with their support. It looks really nice to see all those flags fluttering in the breeze early in the morning.

Last Thursday I went golfing with Doug and JP. Oddly, I remembered most of the rules for golfing and had probably the best round of my checkered life. I had a 48 (for nine holes). Normally I’m in the 60’s, rarely in the 50’s. Getting it to 48 is beyond belief. On top of that, I beat both Doug and JP, something I’ve never ever done before. It was a good day. Then I came home a moved a bunch of rocks and dirt.

Though you don’t know it, just before starting this paragraph, there was a brief pause while I consoled the dogs and explained, once again, that it’s OK for deer to walk through the yard. We have a momma and a little speckled fawn that make regular trips around the neighbor hood eating all the flowers. They are quite popular, needless to say.

Now I must remove the rest of the grime from my body so I can contemplate bed in preparation for another early morning assault on the unsuspecting yard salers of Columbia County. At 1300 tomorrow all that remains will be placed in the church carport, where it will all languish, waiting for the Senior Center Thrift Store truck to show up and cart it all away. Forever. We hope.

Hope everyone had a great day.

Our Church Parking Lot Sale & Lug Nuts

Today it turned in to a fairly large, multi-family garage sale, without the garage. Lots of nifty stuff, including a decent meal, for a free will offering and worth every penny. The weather is currently hot and humid but this morning there was a distinct threat of rain, so it kind of dampened folks’ spirits for a short time.

The sale was supposed to begin at 10 am and people started showing up at 8:30, right on time. Like any yard or garage sale, people want a bargain. When I was calling the prices things moved swiftly because I haven’t got a clue as to what ‘things’ are worth. They are worth whatever someone wants to pay for them. I figured it was a good rule of thumb.

………….. skip ahead one day here ………………

Things went sideways up there so I stopped and never got back to this. Mostly what happened is I got involved in long conversations with whoever came by to get a hot dog. I learned a valuable lesson while doing the hot dog thing … some women won’t accept the offer of a weenie, but they will if the offer is a hot dog. I tested that on three or four of them. I don’t understand … it’s the same thing, for crying out loud. Ya know?

One of the hot dog eaters was the young boy who lives in the parsonage, next to the church, which we rent out. He came by for a hot dog about 8 times. Two I know were his, and the rest were for his brother and friend who paid him to get dogs for them. After the 4th visit I shamed him into making a free will offering, like the sign says, so he started paying a quarter for each of them. He made 75 cents on each of the remaining ones. We, of course, lost money on that deal, but it was OK. He’s a good kid.

Today I got to learn a new skill in the area of auto mechanics. The PT that Dan and Jen have been driving started making lots of racket in the vicinity of the left front wheel. When I popped off the cover over the lug nuts, three of them fell out, along with the portions of the wheel lugs that had broken off. Of the two remaining lug nuts, one was finger tight meaning the wheel was being held to the car with only one lug nut. Amazing.

After a little investigation on the internet, I discovered that the wheel lugs, though pressed into place, could be replaced. So, Daniel and I got together and did it. He did most of the work, of course, while I sat in my little lawn chair and supervised. I thought it was better that way so he would also know how to do it. Being much younger, he will no doubt have need of this knowledge after I’m long gone.

We had to remove everything off the wheel, then hammer the old lugs out. New ones, with new lug nuts, cost $22.00 at NAPA. Considering the possibilities, had the wheel come off, we figured it was a cheap price to eliminate at least one chance of dying on the highway. Really cheap, and not all that difficult to do if you just sit there and supervise.

Not I’m tired so think I’ll out back and play with the power washer.

Good News, Bad News

The good news is that Tom is getting better and the doctor who put him on life support, as a last resort, thinks Tom is going to win. Thank you all for your kind thoughts regarding Tom. I won’t dwell on the details. Just know that it appears the DNR Linda authorized won’t be needed quite yet.

Now, the bad news.

It isn’t really catastrophic, as some bad news events I’ve experienced, but it’s still one of those unmanly events I seem to get caught up in once in a while. The garage sale, it was. I mentioned this last night, shortly before midnight, at which Diane called a halt, ending my endless trips up and down the basement stairs, adding boxes of “things” to the Buick’s interior. It was amazing how she cleared out big areas down there. We discovered the pool table that Jack and Wynette sent over. It hasn’t been put together, yet, but it’s still there. I’d forgotten about it.

It disappeared because it’s a large horizontal surface which everyone knows is extremely handy for collecting a large amount of ‘stuff’. Ultimately, it simply disappears under a mound of quilts, blankets, computers, games, boxes of bolts, screws, and nails. Stuff like that. I think there were some underwear in there someplace, too. Don’t know whose they were but they weren’t mine because there weren’t any spots on them and they didn’t fit. I checked.

Diane and I arrived at her Mom’s house shortly after 8 am. Did you get that? 0800! It was brutal having to leave my nice comfy recliner to go empty out the Buick. But, I had my coffee, so I dealt with it as best I could. Getting there early gave me an opportunity to visit the neighbor to see what kind of bargains he had. The best one was a chain saw for $16. An old guy beat me to it, however. The owner, the neighbor’s Dad, picked it up, yanked the cord once, and it fired right up. What a great deal that was.

They also had all manner of things that plug-in, but I have lots of those already. Oddly, as I recall them, all I can ‘see’ is two long rows of various kinds of drills with the cords neatly wound up and rubber banded to the handles. Very clean and proper, it was. I was impressed.

After spending a couple of hours ‘in the area’, I gained my freedom around 10 am and went home where I wandered around aimlessly in the basement in a failed attempt to be as productive as Diane in ridding my shop of things I don’t really need. It was painful. I honestly cannot remember doing anything useful until I texted Diane and asked if she was hungry. That was shortly after noon.

So, I drove the Buick, which I’m allowed to drive when I’m by myself, back to Grams’ where I received $20 and a request for one of those chicken teriyaki Subway sandwiches. I had my heart set on tacos, and was determined to get some, but that didn’t work out because I hit the light just right to make the left turn to Subway, so I took it. Taco Bell is to the right. Then, when I attempted to park, I couldn’t because some old person in front of me took the very last spot. Therefore, I had to back out of the lot and go park about a mile away and walk back. By the time I returned spaces were available, of course, but it’s luck of the draw getting one when you drive in.

I ordered the dead chicken sandwich and also my favorite – a foot long real deal egg (not just whites) with double bacon on non-nutritional white bread. I always order ‘non-nutritional white bread’ to which the sandwich makers almost always validate with, “Italian?” This gets my approval because I know it’s the right one.

Like normal, I asked them to not cut mine in half because I was just going to devour it so it was a wasted effort. Turns out that this time I should have let them do it because it was really limp in the middle and kind of flopped over. Definitely not a one-handed sandwich. For a drink, Diane’s Mom, Jean, got me one of her sodas. It was a tiny little 7.5 oz can. Just about the cutest, most adorable little can of soda I believe I’ve ever had the pleasure of holding. It made me feel like an NBA basketball player with a normal soda, the way it fit in my hand. I think it was Sprite.

At this time, 8:21 pm, Diane is once again in the basement boxing ‘things’ up for me to cart up the stairs. I guess it’s good exercise for me but I’m not a fan of exercise. Neither is Diane. I admit, we ‘talk’ about walking, and actually did, one time, walk down to her Mom’s house with the dogs but we never did it again. It’s downhill the first half which wasn’t too bad, but had it not been for the dogs pulling us back up the hill, we would have called it quits. Maybe if we did it more regularly it would get easier. Ya think?

I don’t think I mentioned one of the benefits we gained by me cutting down the hedge out front. The sprinklers can actually reach all the way to the bed, now, when the window is open. Thankfully, it was Diane’s side that took the brunt of the soaking, so I didn’t really mind. Diane likes to water the brown lawn this time of year, for some reason, and didn’t think about the window being open because it’s never been a problem before. Now it is.

Now I must quit. I’ve been typing for 9 minutes now and my fingers are getting tired. I need a drink of water with which I will raise in a toast to Tom’s continued success.


Our Friend Tom

Just so you know, prayer works.

I just spoke with Linda, who authorized me to share remnants of my legendary faulty memory with you about our conversation.

Tom is very, very sick, but he’s fighting it, like we knew he would. Linda said she signed all the DNR papers last night, knowing this is what Tom would want. But he was still with us this morning. Linda was sure the doctor she saw this morning was very surprised that Tom was still with us. More surprising was that he had improved, according to him, “about half a %”. Linda said she’d take it, but it looked more like 1% to her.

This afternoon she was able to speak with him briefly so he’s alert when not totally knocked out on meds. They did an endoscopy to check for cancer and found none. Good news. His esophagus is damaged from the constant hiccupping, about 2 a second, non-stop. He did have a 2 hour reprieve this morning then they gave him a CAT scan and they started again. They think it was the vibrations of the machine that caused the spasms to start again.

Still, he’s improving.

Since Tome is a nurse, the doctors and nurses haven’t kept him in the dark about what’s going on. Being a Christian, Tom is pretty much OK with whatever happens, but we’re sure he’d like to stay with us a while.

So, please don’t stop sending Tom positive thoughts. He’s improving, but still needs them.

Thank you all for sticking with us.

Now I’ll go down another road, like the one we took today.

I may have mentioned, or not, that Grams’ neighbor was having a garage sale tomorrow so Diane and she decided to piggyback on their advertising. Not a bad idea, but it was the cause of a lot of work I hadn’t planned on. Now that it’s over, however, I’m glad we did it because we actually punched a hole in the basement clutter by taking “things” to Grams house to sell. What doesn’t sell will be transported to the Bethany Parking Lot Sale on the 16th. What doesn’t sell will be donated to the Senior Center thrift store. Or, perhaps, become of a bonfire. It’s not coming back home. I. WILL. NOT. ALLOW. IT.

I was proud of Diane for giving up the many things she did. There’s a lot remaining that will be transported tomorrow morning. I’m really looking forward to that because I’m sure most of it is heavy stuff. “That’s sarcasm,” as Sheldon might say.

Hope all is well with all of you.