Family Camp – 2020

Grace Baptist Church Family Camp is an event we attend every year as honorary Baptists. That’s mainly because we are related to some of the members and also because they just like us. The “also” is an opinion but I’m sticking with it.

We departed civilization on Tuesday, July 28th and completed the the trip, that normally takes about an hour, in about an hour. It’s really not that far away … just over the hill about 5 miles from Vernonia. Vernonia is only about 25 miles from home and Google maps thinks it’s only a 38 minute drive. What Google Maps doesn’t know is that the road is only 2 lanes and it’s very curvy. Therefore, I’ll stand by my claim that it’s about an hour away, which it truly is, unless Diane’s driving.

I will surely be in trouble for revealing that last bit …

The camp doesn’t officially begin until Friday but we die hards (the old people) arrive early to enjoy a bit of peace and quiet before the children descend to make a joyful noise. We took three of them with us so we had a head start, and that’s just fine. They were good as gold the entire time.

Since Vernonia is only about 32 miles from Forest Grove, where the Sunset Grove Golf Course is, it was decided that I should meet Doug there Wednesday morning for golf. I figured, “What the heck, I’m in the area, so why not do that?” So, I did. Turns out that the golf course is closer to Scappoose, where Doug lives, than it is to Big Eddy. But, I made it on time and we had a wonderful time. We always do. I lost, of course, because I always do. You’d think that since I always keep score I’d win one once in a while. The trouble is, even with fudging the numbers a little, Doug still wins.

Back to camp …

Big Eddy Park is located along the Nehalem River just off Highway 47, the road from Vernonia to Clatskanie. Big Eddy Park and I go back a long ways to April 20, 1968, when my big brother, Jack, thought it would be a good idea for me to participate in the Nehalem River Boat Race. Seemed like a fun thing to do so I was all in. What wasn’t related until later was that as we passed under each bridge along the way he would drop half a case of beer to us. After a couple of bridges I figured out that it wasn’t really a race at all. It was just a reason to float down the river and drink beer.

The fact that I was getting married later that day was the primary reason for involving me in the ‘race’. Jack, you see, was my best man and it was his job to make the day memorable. He did that.

When we finally made it ashore at Big Eddy I admit I was ready for a nap. I had no idea what time it was, but I remember getting to the church in plenty of time for the ceremony and I totally remember the entire ceremony. It was awesome!

Back to camp, again …

Diane and I spent time around the camp fire with Daniel, Jennifer, Lydia, and Jeran, and anyone else who had a notion to join us. Yes, we were socially compliant, keeping our distance, but I’m pretty sure we could have sat a little closer because the fire surely burned up any virus bits that came into our area.

The kids, Gilligan, Baylee, and Jerrie, ran wild all day, every day, until they got hungry. Then we fed them so they could go out for another round.

The bottom of the river throughout Big Eddy Park is covered with river rock. Those are the nicely rounded rocks that don’t kill your feet when you step on them barefoot unless you’re old like me. Then you wear shoes. Kids spend a lot of time looking for the pretty rocks when they aren’t actively floating around on an inner-tube. Here’s the best rock of the day that a little girl found:

Pure agate. Biggest one I’ve ever seen in the wile.

Here are my girls in a rare moment of inactivity …

Lydia, Gilligan, Baylee, Jerrie

Bronson even came along for a couple of days but had to leave because it was all a bit stressful for him.

Bronson

Diane made camping more homey with her kitty slippers …

Jennifer and Daniel cooked gourmet meals twice a day throughout the entire stay because they are on the Whole 30 diet …

I tried some of it and it was really good.

Jennifer braided hair for anyone who had hair long enough and wanted it done. Mine wasn’t quite there, yet, so i missed out. Little Jerrie didn’t, though …

Gilligan, Jeran, Daniel, and Lydia spent a lot of time running their long boards around the park. Lydia is the only one I could capture. The others were just too fast for me …

We came home last Sunday afternoon, when church service was over, then returned the children to their rightful owners, and took. naps.

Camping is hard work.

My Dentist’s Assistant

Lisa. That’s her name. Diane and I have known her for the last 31 years which is pretty amazing because I’m pretty sure she isn’t that old. It could be that I’m just a bad guesser, or that she’s really that old and just doesn’t look the part. Either way, she’s in a position where she can look up my nose at will when I visit my dentist because she’s got the left seat in all events with regard to my mouth’s continued good health.

Concerning looking up the nose … I’ve asked dental assistants and hygienists in the past if they look up people’s noses while they work and without fail they all say, “No!” With an exclamation point! I’m guessing that perhaps they may not have done it in the past, but by asking the question I instilled in them an urge to look. I’ve considered sticking colorful items in my nose to make it worthwhile for them to peek but Diane didn’t think that would be a good idea. So I’ve not done that. Yet.

This morning at 0745 I was parked outside the office and called the office to let them know I was parked outside. That’s the rule. There is no sitting in a waiting room until being called in for the appointment. Nope. Once checked in, we just sit in our vehicles until someone comes out to get us. Then we put on our masks as we’re escorted to The Chair. My mask is made of Sponge Bob material so it’s quite festive. Jennie made it for me.

It was Lisa who came to get me which pleased me because she’s pretty much family. I like that and I trust her implicitly.

The last time I was at the dentist, just a few weeks ago, it was Cheryl who came to get me because I was there to have my teeth cleaned and she’s my hygienist. It was during this cleaning that faulty teeth were found which necessitated today’s visit. It was either faulty teeth, or the Dr. had a car payment pending and needed a little help. Either way, it was necessary.

Lisa got me all prepped in The Chair, took an x-ray, then let the Dr. know I was ready when he was. While waiting for him Lisa held a little raffle out front to see who would give me the shot to deaden half my face. Tracey, the newest Hygienist in the office lost. Perhaps this task fell to her by default because she’s the new kid on the block and there wasn’t a raffle. In all honesty, Lisa asked if I wanted the Doc to give me the shot or if I was OK with someone picked at random. I told her I was OK with the random pick as long as she was pretty. I was pretty confident that it was OK for me to make that request because all the ladies in the office are pretty and they are all qualified. Really, they are. Ask Diane.

I was left alone for a while before Lisa return and went to work installing a ‘rubber dam’ in my mouth. Actually, that’s a small tarp that’s put in place for preparing a tooth for a crown. It’s there to catch all the debris created by the doctor as he grinds the offending tooth down to a little nub. The tarp also ensure the smoke from grinding down the tooth is funneled right up your nose to ensure you get the full effect of what’s happening. There’s nothing quite like the smell of burning ivory.

Once the grinding is done, and the smoke has cleared, the doctor uses a digitizing tool to capture an image of area, where the tooth used to be, which is input into a pretty nifty software tool that helps him create the crown. Once done he sends the results to their blacksmith shop, just around the corner in the next room, where a cutting machine gets to work manufacturing the new tooth that will be glued in place.

I waited a long time for Lisa to return, knowing it wasn’t a speedy process, but when she did it was bad news. She said they had to re-mill the tooth because the first one had a chip in it.

I waited another long time, taking a little nap, then Lisa returned with good news that the second time worked. She handed the new tooth to the doctor who did some preliminary grinding. When he put it in place it was pretty tight but he fixed that by removing it and doing some more grinding. Once he was satisfied he handed the new tooth to Lisa and left. List took the new tooth and put it in the oven, the final step for the tooth before adding glue. It has to be baked in a kiln to make sure it’s hard like a rock and it takes a while to cool down.

Long story short, the crown was glued in place, Lisa cleaned me up, and escorted me to the front desk where I was compelled to fork over my most recent Social Security check for services rendered. I had to do that because I don’t have dental insurance.

Then I went home. In all, I was strapped to The Chair for 3 hours wishing I had my iPad, but it was in the car with a nearly dead battery.

Once home I cooked all the necessary items I wanted for a breakfast burrito. I ate all of it then went outside and painted the front porch.

In a couple of hours I’ll go out and give it another coat and call it a day.

Social Distancing & Alicia’s Baby Girl

Social distancing is what I’m practicing by not adding one post after another like I used to. Actually, that isn’t something I’ve done recently, just when I first began this journey. Back then I thought it was my job to make an entry every day. It was pretty easy until I started running out of nouns.

At this point in my new life as a sequestered servant, I’m waiting for someone to deliver the new starter motor for my riding lawn mower. It’s supposed to be here today before 9 pm. That was an interesting time of day for them to pick. I also think I was informed that the USPS would be the final leg of it’s journey and they don’t deliver mail after 5 pm.

Diane is working on the election board again. Hopefully it will be another normal day, getting home at 5:30 pm. Up to this point she and her team are dealing with the ballots voters turned in early, like all good people should. Makes it a lot easier when it comes to the final day. That will be Tuesday. That will be a late night because there’re always folks who wait until the last minute to submit their ballots. It’s their right. I get that.

Long pause …

In the midst of this, the starter motor arrived so I installed it and put the mower back together. There were only 6 screws left over so I consider that. win. Actually, those 6 screws were already in the little magnetic tray I use when dissembling stuff. Hard telling where they came from but nothing has fallen apart in the last few months so it’s all good.

The mower works great, by the way. I didn’t try starting it until I had it all back together, an act that I usually shun. As a computer tech, I learned early, that you don’t button up the case until you make it work. If you don’t do that, it won’t work and you’ll have to take it apart again to fix whatever you did wrong. It always works if you check it before putting in all those screws. Really, it does.

Now for some fun stuff. The following photo is one I took of my golf ball imbedded in the remains of a very soft stump. It was sitting in my way about 50-60 yards from the tee which should give you an idea of how high I can hit the ball. It was a terrible lie and I suppose I could have pulled it out and dropped it, but this was a challenge. I t took me six hits to get it out of there, but I didn’t count 5 of them. Seemed fair at the time. I do the same with sand traps. When I land in one of those I use a rule we made up where you only have to take two swings at it before you can pick it up and throw it in the direction you want it to go. Sometimes I actually get it out on the first hit.

This next one is some chalk artwork on the street in front of our house. We live on a private road that serves us and the 7 other homes. Neither the city nor the county maintains I so it’s not in the best shape, and has little cracks all over it. So, kids with chalk made it pretty by drawing along each crack and it turned out like this …

Kind of festive, don’t you think? Sadly, it all goes away when it rains.

Here’s the dogwood tree in the front yard before a couple of really hot days caused them to all drop all the pretty flowers in the yard …

Now it’s just a tree with green leaves.

Moving to a more poignant topic that I missed earlier in the month, I must report that Alicia’s Baby Girl (ABG), Adam’s, too, turned 18 on May 5th. In my defense, I don’t normally report on birthday’s outside the immediate family. However, Alicia & Adam moved from Damascus to St. Helens recently so Lydia wouldn’t have to drive all that way to visit with the girls (Ivy, Autumn, & Cora). Now she only has to drive about a mile making her gas bill more reasonable.

It’s Cora, the family Baby, who had the birthday and I missed it even though I knew it was coming. I’m a little saddened that Alicia didn’t call me on it. I think subconsciously I forgot just so she would remind me. But she didn’t.

So, Cora, in addition to welcoming you to St. Helens, let me sing you a song:

  • Happy Birthday to you.
  • Happy Birthday to you.
  • Happy Birthday dear Cooorrraaaaaa.
  • Happy Birthday to you.

Had you called me on the appropriate day and reminded me of those significant event, I’d have actually sung it to you in person. I always do. Ask anyone.

OK, Birthday is over. You’re 18 and it’s time to either get a job or join the Navy. The Navy reference is important because it’s not a “job”, it’s an “adventure”. Just ask Diane.

I don’t have a photo of Cora when she was a tiny human so I used one Alicia sent me. Rumor has it that this is how big Cora was when the Pinkston clan took possession of her. The grown up photo, is actually her. I know because Lydia took it.

I hear Jeff chopping on the stump out front so I probably should go watch him in case he injures himself. We try to always have someone available during manual labor evolutions to call 911 should the need arise.

Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.

Good News!

Diane had her virtual doctor visit this afternoon to find out what’s going on with the spots in her lungs. The doctor said that none of the spots, especially the big one (about the same size as the end of your little finger), have changed even a tiny bit so she believes them to be scar tissue from past infections.

Next visit is planned for October, then the doc thinks she will be on a 2-year schedule for a CT scan.

Time for my Happy Dance.

Jerrie

Itsa Monday – May the 4th be with you

I’ve established a routine for eating properly that has been successful in controlling my BS level. My wife is pleased. She was getting a little annoyed with me for not minding established rules for diabetical eating requirements which caused my BS level to go whacky every once in a while. Truthfully, being an amateur diabetic (I’m not on insulin), I tend to experiment with the hope I can find just the right solution the will allow me to eat whatever I want, whenever I want. Sadly, that doesn’t work.

I must control myself. I was kinda hoping that Diane would be my guide through this confusing sugarless existence, but she’s right … this is my battle and I need to take charge.

Getting to this point has had it’s ups and downs over the past few years, at times causing extreme concern about what’s going on. I’ve learned to recognize the need for sustenance when the cold hollow feeling grips my innards. That doesn’t happen often, but it’s exciting when it does. The last time was just a few days ago when I had Dungeness crab Louis for lunch and a bunch of sautéed shrimp for supper. I don’t know how many there were, but I bought a pound of them. My BS dropped to 62. Apparently there’s not a lot of diabetic-fighting ‘stuff’ in shrimp to keep things stable. Or, there was a conflict between the crab and shrimp during the digestive process. Who knows? Obviously not me.

Half a can of peaches fixed it. I would have had a glass of orange juice but I couldn’t find any. That works, too.

What made the event a little scary was that it occurred just as I was ready to go to bed. So, of course, my head took me down the path where, had I not caught it, Diane would have found me unresponsive in the morning and would have had to call someone to haul me away.

My golf buddy, Doug, is a professional diabetic, who assured me that had I been asleep when my BS dropped too low, my body would have alerted me to that fact so I’d awake to take care of it. He knows all that stuff. He lives alone and has dealt with high BS for many years.

Since my last ‘event’, I changed my eating habits in this way: one piece of toast, with crunchy peanut butter for breakfast, around 6 am; a large sausage patty, 2-3 eggs, O’Brien hash browns with freshly chopped peppers & onions, and one piece of toast for lunch, around noonish; whatever Diane wants for supper, whenever she wants it. Supper is an unknown but breakfast and lunch are consistent. Eating that way has allowed me to drop my morning BS level to around 130, down from 260+.

And, another thing I discovered is that those rumors I’ve heard about exercising being good for me are actually true! Who knew? Being sequestered at the moment, makes exercise difficult. Generally, my exercise routine consists of waking up, walking about 3 feet to the bathroom, then another 50 feet to the kitchen, then 30-40 around the house gathering dog and cat food after letting them out to do whatever they want to do, 30 feet from the kitchen to my recliner with a fresh glass of water and my PB toast, back to the kitchen to let the dogs back in, 10 feet to the dishwasher with all their dirty dishes, 40 feet back to my recliner where I sit, but don’t recline, to wait for the cat to come back, then 15 feet to the patio door when she announces her desire to return, then stand there with the door open which she exerts her authority by licking one foot or the other, then saunters slowly in.

Then I go sit down and start reading my book on my iPad. I don’t recline right away because I know the cat is waiting for me to do that so she can go beat on the patio door to go back outside. If I remain upright she may come jump in my lap and give me a false sense of security that she’s going to be there a while, then I recline. She waits a few minutes, looking over her shoulder, waiting for me to get comfortable, then jumps up to go beat on the door. She actually does that, too. Stands on her hind feet and pounds on the glass with her front feet. It used to be cute. I used to leave the patio door open for her as it’s on a secure balcony but in the past she’s brought treats, like mice, and various kinds of birds into the house when not supervised.

Sorry about that. I was talking about exercising, wasn’t I? What I shared really is exercise, but it’s just not enough to make a difference win one’s BS level. So, I decided to do my exercising on the golf course. Sounds like a really dumb idea because I have sciatica that’s brutal at times. But, I decided I’d walk the course instead of ride a cart like normal.

Turns out, I survived. We only play 9 holes and the course we use is pretty flat so the pain was negligible. I didn’t golf all that well, but I had some good hits. The big benefit from walking was this: I walked over 8,000 steps without falling down even once, and I travelled over 3 miles without getting out of breath. Amazing. Then, the next morning, my BS was something I could like with, literally.

Now I’m being a really good boy by eating regularly. I quit eating cake, ice cream, and pie, cut my bread intake in half (one piece of toast, not two), and don’t skip meals.

My bride is proud of me, and I feel better. I’d take a picture but “feeling better” doesn’t relate well to “looking better” in my case. I’m still really old and I need a shower. Diane told me that a couple of days ago so I guess today is the day for that, even though it’s not Saturday.

I must stop now and go make my breakfast before I fade away,

All of you please stay safe.

My Favorite Son-in-law

That would be Daniel. He really does have that distinction in our family for a couple of reasons. First, he married our daughter, Jennifer, with whom he created a pretty nifty family, and Second, he’s the only son-in-law we have. I suspect that #2 kinda solidifies the title statement but #1 makes the statement a little bit more genuine. In case you have a mind to wonder about our relationship with Daniel, rest your weary heads. We love Daniel. Of the five or six husbands Jennifer considered prior to marrying Daniel, he is by far the best choice. Now I’m compelled to report that Jennifer’s previous possibilities were part of her youth before age 19. Technically, that means her previous considerations really didn’t count. They were folly. Fun, but folly nonetheless. I’m sure Jennifer will raise a couple of eyebrows if she reads this because, though her suitors during high school were numerous, her interest was minimal. I think she had her eye on Daniel for a long time. After all, she was a cheerleader and Daniel was a stellar football player for the St. Helens Lions.

Daniel is the topic of this post because he got older. Yes, he had a birthday. I know, I typically celebrate birthdays on the proper day, but I’d just done Baylee’s and didn’t want to diminish Daniel’s accomplishment by running it on the coattails of Baylee’s B-Day.

So, today, in the quiet confines of my recliner, I deemed it was time to let you know another milestone has passed. Daniel attained the lofty age of 40-something on May 1st, or May Day to many people.

About May Day …

May Day originates from the Pagan festival of Beltane, and falls exactly half a year on from November 1, which also marks various neopagan festivals. The earliest May Day celebrations are thought to have occurred during the Roman era when youths would celebrate the coming of spring with a day of dancing dedicated to the goddess Flora.

I’m pretty sure Daniel’s parents didn’t plan for Daniel to be born on a pagan holiday, but that’s what happened. Thankfully, Daniel bypassed his pagan roots and developed into a rather magnificent man. We’re very proud of him.

For that, and many other reasons too numerous to recount herein, his Mother-in-law and I got him a new burger burner so he could cook for us. He’s good at that.

But, things had to be done first, to make the celebration possible. Just getting the BBQ wasn’t really the end. The patio area had to be rid of leaves, and we had to assemble the BBQ.

Leaves were blown willynilly around the yard by Lydia who has a secret love for power tools. Here she is, before makeup:

And, here she is after getting all cleaned up:

We assembled the BBQ the evening of April 30th, after Daniel went to work. Lydia and I did it and, according to the audience, had I listened more carefully to Lydia during the process, we’d’ve been done a lot sooner. But, I didn’t, so we managed to make the assembly process last deep into the night. It was fun, it was funny, and the audience (Diane and Jennifer) sat watching (laughing) the entire time, making fun of a retired, disabled Navy veteran, and didn’t take one photo. So, there’s really no proof about what either of us did, right or wrong. All we have are the questionable comments from three women who tend to stick together, regardless of the truth. Just sayin’.

The celebration started around 6 pm on the 1st with the arrival of me, and some cousins from Damascus, Oregon. In case you didn’t know, Damascus is near Boring both of which a just a smidge to the east of Portland.

Getting the first load of charcoal.
Smokin’ hot
I mean, really HOT!
Jennifer – the Inside Cook
Daniel – the Outside Cook

Here’re some more photos of the festive occasion:

See! She’s still laughing at me.
Grandma Linda (Daniel’s Mom)
Adam and Me. I tipped my head back so you could enjoy the full expanse of my forehead.
The Pinkston Trio – Ivy, Cora, and Autumn
Alicia – The Pinkston Trio Mom – My Cousin Debbie’s & Roger’s daughter.
Adam – The Pinkston Trio Dad

We all had a great time. Wisely, Diane felt better about staying home, away from crowds so I attended alone. She has a virtual appointment with her doctor on Thursday and doesn’t want to take any chances until she has more information about what her Chest CAT Scan revealed. Please pray for her with me. After she reads this I’ll correct all the errors she finds.

Please stay safe.

Baylee Jean Marie is Eleventeen

Baylee turned 11 today at the stroke of midnight. For years, I’ve told the girls, and other impressionable children, that it’s “Eleventeen”, the trial year for being a teenager. Then they revert back to 12, then 13. So far, they all disagree with me which isn’t a bad thing. I tend to lie to them all the time and leave it to their folks, and Grandma, to straighten things out. That leaves me out of the loop for being responsible. It’s my comfort zone.

Here’s a more recent photo of her frolicking near the Pacific Ocean on the beach where we originally dug her out of the sand after a large storm. We’re not sure where she really came from. That’s the story, anyway. She doesn’t believe that, either.

With the pandemic in full bloom around the world, she’s enjoying an exceptionally long summer vacation with her sisters and recently found out that, even though she didn’t finish the fifth grade, she will be advancing to middle school next school year and partake in all the drama that involves. I’m sure she will do just great as she will have Gilligan in 7th grade to help her through the turmoil of change.

We’re proud of our Bales and look forward to seeing what she grows into over the coming years. At this point in time, and for the past few years, her desire is to be a Doctorteachercop.

Works for me.

Jeran

Today Jeran, our youngest child’s youngest child, is 20 years old. It’s a bit baffling to me that time has passed so quickly. Just a couple of months ago he was a needy little kid and now he’s all mature, a sophomore in college, and well on his way to being a pastor. We couldn’t be more proud of him.

He started out pretty small, and really cute, without a hint of the 6’3″ he has attained, and he’s still growing.

The covid-19 issue has put a halt to his education for now, but he’s home safe for which we’re thankful. With the stay at home dictate, which we have been doing religiously, we don’t get to see him, or his family, as often as we’d like but we’re erring on the side of caution, taking the pandemic seriously.

Last December Jeran came home for Christmas and joined us at a cabin we rented for everyone in Welches. That’s near Mt. Hood, in case you didn’t know. He almost didn’t get to come because he had a serious case of pneumonia and could barely breath, and had a temperature that wouldn’t go away. His doctor OK’d the trip on the condition that they keep a sharp eye on his oxygen level. If it dropped below a certain level he was to be taken directly to the nearest hospital. He was good, drank lots of water, spend virtually all of his time in a recliner (he couldn’t lay down or he would choke). Scary stuff.

Thinking back on he trial during that time sounds suspiciously like coronavirus, doesn’t it? I’ve pointed that out a number of times but am told that’s not what he had. If he had, everyone around him would have been sick: his family, and all of his class mates at school. still, I think that’s what it was. He had it for weeks, another similarity.

Considering our exposure to Jeran’s non-COVID-19 experience in December I think we all actually got it but our immune system saved the day and didn’t react as people are now. Instead, I think we were blessed by Jeran’s presence and gained immunity from what’s going on now. I can’t prove that, of course, but I’m going with the belief that it’s true. Even so, we are all observing the stay at home rules as best we can.

Exceptions are necessary trips to the grocery store which Diane does alone. I offer to go but she won’t let me. I think she’s afraid I’ll talk with someone. Another exception is golf. Doug and I have gone a couple of times and it’s really not a problem. We ride in separate carts which is actually silly because we spend a hour in a car together getting to the golf course. It’s actually OK because I’m not able to hit my ball as accurately as Doug.

I digress. This is about Jeran and now I must add underwear to my pajama ensemble to make me fit for a public appearance as we break the rules a little and go celebrate this momentous event.

I pray that everyone is keeping their distance and staying safe. I have semi-acquaintances in New York, and family in Connecticut so I’m thinking especially good thoughts toward them. Please help me and do the same for your loved ones.

Hunkering Down

Day 1 – Noon

Jerrie sensed a fever flourishing in his body so he coerced Diane into taking his temperature with her brand spanking new thermometer. It’s not one of the new battery powered ones, but old-school that must remain in an orifice for 3 minutes. In case any of you have forgotten, having something stuck under your tongue for three minutes is a really long time.

Diane set a timer on her phone for three minutes to make sure he didn’t fudge, just like she sets a 2-minute timer for him when he brushes his teeth.

Once the alarm signaled the end of the interminable 3 minutes, Diane reached out to remove the thermometer from his body but he semi-slapped her hand away so he could read it first.

It was up to 99.5. Since his normal temp is around 97.”something”, he declared that he did indeed have a temperature. Very unusual. He hasn’t had a temperature above 98 degrees in 20 years. That’s the truth. Honest.

He does not feel like there’s anything wrong other than the tinnitus that screams in his left ear non-stop, day and night. However, considering what’s going on in the world Diane’s going to keep an eye on him for a while.

Day-8 Noonish

The temperature I had was gone on Day-2 so I apparently survived this brief brush with the pandemic, or I was never really sick. We’ll probably never know, and that’s OK. We’re here, and we’re relatively healthy, dealing with the stress associated with being forcefully sequestered in our house.

Frankly, neither Diane nor I are having difficulty with sequestering. We just lounge around in our jammies and watch Hallmark movies all day.

We’re fortunate that we don’t live in a populous area so contact with possible COVID carriers is extremely unlikely. Still, we maintain our distance from each other and wash our hands pretty much every time we touch a doorknob. My hands are almost raw in spots and I’ve been using lots of hand cream to keep them semi-soft. I might just send some to Ron, our Son-in-law’s brother, who lives in Manhattan. Last word, he and his Wife are fine. I’m sure they are busy washing their hands a lot, also.

We pray that all of you who read this are safe. There is hope that we will soon be moving back to some sense of normalcy, but I think everyone understands that it will be a new normal for everyone. Whatever it turns out to be, let’s embrace it and make it work.

Just for fun, here’s the sunset last night:

And, here’s the sunrise this morning:

And, here’s a Happy Cat that I’m going to paint one day:

Coronavirus and Wasting Time.

Day 19 of isolation

Is it really isolation when you do it with 7 other people, 3 dogs and a cat? Yes, it is. All of the humans in the house have strict orders to not touch us, ever, and do not speak in our direction unless they are 10 feet away from us. So far it’s working OK, but the kids are getting rambunctious so it’s only a matter of time before someone gets tipped over the edge. We’ve already decided, as a group, if that happens the first one over will be chucked over the neighbors fence into their goat pen. It won’t be difficult, and they probably won’t mind because they like the goats. Just not sure if they will like living with them and eating their food.

Diane and I are still relatively healthy. Just some age-related stuff going on, but that’s been going on for years. It’s not a problem, just more noticeable now since we spend most of our time reclining, or in our beds, when thoughts are allowed to run wild while Diane fast forwards through the commercials. That’s only with the broadcast stuff, of course, so we toss in a movie once in a while to get a longer period of energy focused on the plot of whatever it is we’re watching. If it’s a Hallmark movie there’s not a lot of focus necessary because everyone knows the guy almost always gets the girl. The only trick with those movies, however, is that sometimes the girl gets the guy. Nice twist.

We’ve been reading a lot, too, but that gets boring after 4-5 hours. I test Diane’s patience once in a while … OK, I test them often … by asking her questions while we’re reading to see how many times I can get her to read the same paragraph over and over. That’s risky business, of course, but I’m not close enough for her to hit me and I can get out of my chair faster than she can should payback appear to involve physical contact. I learned this trick from my big brother Jack. He used to pepper me with questions while I was reading …

“What book are you reading?” … pause

“What’s it about?”… pause

“How many pages are in the book?” …pause

“What page are you on?” … pause

“Who is the author?”… pause

“Where did you get it?” … pause

You get the idea. It doesn’t take long before the target of those questions causes the recipient to escalate the conflict by raising their voice, or stomping out of the room without even a goodbye kiss. If you can focus, just ignore the questions until the perp gets tired of not getting answers.

We’re running out of food so we’re all investigating creative ways to capture and cook rats and squirrels. There are an abundance of them around here. We can hunt squirrels by day, and rats by night. That diet is, of course, a last resort. We’re just educating ourselves in case it becomes necessary. I’m pretty sure the neighbors’ goats, chickens, and ducks will hit the frying pan before we devolve into rat eaters. That’s a guess, of course. Who really knows what will happen when we run out of canned food?

The Littles got calls from their teachers telling them what’s going to happen since school is done for the school year. The youngest ones are getting Chrome Books so they can study on-line with their teachers which is a really good thing. The oldest, 6th grade, hasn’t shared how on-line schooling going to affect her free time but I suspect it will be equally as creative. They are all excited about getting back to learning.

I really try to keep their interest up but for some reason they don’t believe anything I tell them. That could be because whenever they ask me a question I address it like a challenge to include “Arizona” in my answer. It’s really easy …

“Grandpa, where are you and Grandma going?”

“Arizona.”

“Grandpa, where’s Grandma?”

“I think she went to Arizona.”

“Grandpa, have you seen Mom?”

“She said she was going to Arizona.”

“Grandpa, where did you get that?”

“Arizona.”

Their response to each of my answers is, “that’s not true,” or “no you didn’t.” But, they keep asking and I keep giving them the same answers. It passes the time and keeps them from asking more meaningful questions that I probably couldn’t answer correctly.

That’s it for now.

See you later.