Carpentry and Blood

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on sliding shelves for the small pantry area in the motor home. Until today everything was going along nicely because I was wound-free. Now, I’m talking about weeks, folks, not just days or hours, of managing to remain relatively waterproof (no blood loss) and no detectable bruises. I attribute this to the fact that all I needed to do was slow down and pay attention to what I was doing – just like Diane has told me to do numerous times subsequent to pretty much every previous injury that required her assistance to mend.

The project was to build 5 sliding shelves that are 6 11/16” wide and 20” inches long. Not very big and something an expert could probably hammer out in a few hours. I, however, must spend numerous hours considering how I should proceed. I do that a lot for everything I do that involves a task that requires a finished product. Generally, I do that for so long sometimes that Diane doesn’t think I’m doing anything at all. I suspect she thinks I’m napping but what I’m really doing is staring at my stash of lumber, draw guides, and tools attempting to visualize what the shelves will look like when done. I’ve already researched possibilities on Pinterest and found about a gazillion choices to use, but most of them don’t supply the detail I need get going. You know, of course, that analyzing a gazillion references takes a considerable amount of time and that happens before I stand in my shop and start the visualizing process.

At some point during my analytical process there emerges an actual vision of what I need to do. It’s then that I’m released to actually pick up boards and glides, holding them together in various ways to see how I can attach them together. This involves considerations like, should I just use glue, should I use my nail gun, should I use screws, should I use a combination of all those …

Glue Only – this method is obviously totally impractical, even though the glue I have requires a considerable effort to break apart pieces that have been allowed to cure for the proper amount of time. You see, I like to take things apart, to, and gluing kind of rules that out for things that are constructed with wood that’s been measured once and cut twice. It always needs to be fixed at some point. So, no glue.

Nail Gun – this method is very appealing because I hardly ever get to use my nail gun because they are illusive critters. I had three of them at one point in time then I had none and I had no idea where they went. One of them was finally located when I asked Jeff if he borrowed them and he said he did. Then one day our old neighbor, who moved last year, came by with a box containing one of the other guns that I’d loaned him and forgot about. He said he was going through boxes in his garage and found it and decided he should return it. The third one is just gone. I can only hope it found a good home. Prior to the neighbor returning the one I loaned him I went to ACE and bought a new one so now I have two again and have access to a third one that Jeff has, should I need it. I won’t need it, however, because it’s for nailing large boards together and I’m working with little stuff. Another issue with nail guns is they need compressed air to work and my compressor is big and resides in the garage. It’s noisy, too. Whenever I fire that puppy up Panzee, a dog who is essentially deaf, runs away. I do, however, have a portable air tank that will hold 100 lbs of air. It’s located right next to my table saw, which has been the source of some colorful injuries I’ve documented in previous posts. So, the nail gun became a viable candidate for part of the construction as long as the air holds out. I know from experience that getting the empty tank to the compressor is a cinch but lugging it back to the basement filled with 100 lbs of air is really hard.

Screws – these were essential for mounting the drawer glides to the inside of the cabinet and to the shelves. I knew this was true immediately when I got the glides because the screws came with them. Thankfully, I have a portable electric screw driver. Actually, it’s a portable drill but I can drive screws with it, too. The problem with it, however, is that it’s a wee bit too long to actually drive screws in a space that’s not much over 6” wide and 20” deep. So, I pulled out one of my really old rechargeable electric screw drivers the kids bought me about 10-15 years ago. I figured the battery was probably toast but was pleasantly surprised that it charged right up and served me well during construction.

I cut pieces of wood to which I screwed the drawer side of the drawer glides. In the cabinet I installed spaces to attached the cabinet side of the glides. The spacers were needed so the shelf would clear the opening.

Then I cut six shelves out of random pieces of paneling and peg board material and attached two guides to each of them with my nail gun. Viola! I had shelves. But, the tops were just flat with no sides to contain items. Then I had an epiphany, which is always fun. Epiphanys that I have never just jump out of the blue to me. They come to me after lots and lots of time consuming thought about how to solve something. It’s a gradual thing for me which, I know, is kinda contradictory of me calling them epiphanys. But they are, and I always enjoy them.

In this case, my problem solving thought process finally took me to dowels and my drill press. Yes, I have one of those. It’s not large, but it serves my purpose. Combining those two items in my head produced a vision of Tinker Toys. Remember those? My epiphany involved a solution for drilling the right kind, and size, of holes so I could cobble the dowels together, and attach them to each shelf, in the form of small little fences, for tiny little cows and horses. No, really, the fences are to corral cans of food and anything else Diane might want to put on them.

Drilling holes in dowels, without drilling all the way through, in a manner that will accommodate the flat end of a dowel requires the use of a forstner bit, of which I have a few. It also required me to build a little jig that would hold the round dowel steady when I drilled it.

Just as I was finishing up the drilling process I had a very minor lapse of judgement which resulted in the injury I received. With the drill in the O.F.F position, I apparently got cocky when positioning my third to last dowel for the drilling and brushed my hand against the drill bit. It was off, for criminy sakes, and it didn’t even hurt, but here’s what it did …

It punctured me in four places! Really!? I guess I really am thinned skinned.

Since I only had a couple more holes to drill, I finished the process then took this picture and showed it to Diane who was busy at her computer. Since she was busy doing something important there I didn’t want to interrupt her by talking so I just held the photo in front of her.

She immediately got up and escorted me to the first aid room – we have one of those, now – and fixed me fight up with just one band-aid because two of the small punctures quit bleeding when I scrubbed up so we just left them alone.

That’s all I have for today.

Olympics, Snow, and my Bladder

First, in case you were wondering, Jerrie is still in pretty good shape for the shape he’s in. That said, he’s demonstrated that age is showing its nasty side when he had trouble tying his shoe the other day. Yup, he said he couldn’t figure out how to tie his sneaker, something that pretty much every 1st grader does with ease. He figured it out, however, and the shoe didn’t fall off, but having that trouble concerned him a bit.

To be more honest, he didn’t actually forget how to tie his shoe, it’s just that when he did it, it didn’t have that familiar feeling he was used to. He reported that it was an odd feeling which prompted him to report directly to his bride that he was losing his mind. He added the question, “do you think I’m getting Alzheimer’s?” She responded with, “No, you’re probably just losing your mind,” which put the mind he was probably losing at ease. Kinda weird, I know, but that’s how he tumbles.

Jerrie’s favorite Olympic event is short track speed skating. During his younger days in the 50’s he was an avid roller skater, the kind he needed a key to clamp them on his shoes. Those wouldn’t work for kids today because those old skates wouldn’t clamp to a pair of sneakers. Nope. You needed the old kind of shoes with leather soles, you know? Each skate had four small metal wheels with ball bearings and made a lot of noise on a cement sidewalk. They were so small that small pebbles would cause them to cease rolling which resulted in many crashes. Because those mishaps happened in the 50’s there were no lasting scars. Lots of impressive scabs, but no scars. Oddly, Jerrie was pretty good at getting around on those antiques and thinks he could probably transition pretty easily to ice skates and short tracks. He thinks he can be a contender. Really, he does. What he doesn’t get, however, is the age discrepancy between todays winners and yesterdays dreamers. I told him he was about 60 years behind the times, but he doesn’t get it. He still thinks he can bounce off the pavement with the best of them. There was a brief moment when he took a trip on a set of roller blades that didn’t quite fit and he didn’t fall down even though he was being towed down the street by Ziva, the big black dog. Thankfully, the skates he wore were for sale at Diane’s garage sale and someone bought them. No more roller blades for Jerrie. No more scabs, either, on a body that doesn’t heal quite like it used to.

Now he’s content to just watch the excitement, between naps.

End 3rd person …

To keep things in perspective with the Olympic season, the Northwest has been hit with a pretty hefty winter storm that’s dumping lots of snow on us. It started around 6:30 this morning and hasn’t stopped. It’s 9:16 pm now, and it’s predicted the continue throughout the night, leaving up to 7″ in our area. We’re well on the way to that. Hopefully there will be a brief window of opportunity for me to make a trip down the hill to my urology appointment. Well, I guess getting up the hill after the appointment is more important. If that happens I promise to give a detailed account of my urology appointment with Dr. Kemp. My last visit with him, a couple of years ago, resulted in a considerable amount of pain when the TV camera that was inserted into his bladder hit bottom a couple of times. Memorable.

I guess that’s it for today, except for this. It looks like this out front now except the tree balls have been removed.

December 29th Addendum

I pretty much covered ‘stuff’ right up until Diane got home from her latest shopping trip to Fred Meyer’s. That was just a few minutes ago. Now she’s gone again to get tacos for dinner.

Now, during the short time she was home, here’s what I learned and what happened shortly afterward.

While she was at Fred’s, she was bending over looking for a shirt and some older lady (her words) ran into her with a cart, hitting her right on the tail bone. She said it wasn’t a minor tap and isn’t sure what she’s going to be like tomorrow. I asked if she got information from the lady – she hadn’t. I’m proud of Diane for not getting up and cleaning that lady’s clock.

Then Diane went down our dark hall and tripped over the big black dog on the way back. I was in the basement and heard the impact. When I arrived she was in lots of pain so I just kept my distance until she calmed down a little. When she was able to talk coherently, she rolled to her best knee, then leveraged herself to a vertical position using the chair I got her. She didn’t want me to help her upright, so I didn’t.

Then she walked down the hall and declared that she was OK and would like tacos for supper, and away she went without me for protection and assistance. Tough Guy, she is right now, but she’s going to be a mess tomorrow.

Here’s the damage from the fall.

She fell into a short book-case. On top were two glass votive candle holders, one of which was mashed to smithereens. She’s lucky.

I may have created a bad situation for myself by pointing out the light switches to the hall lights on our way to the kitchen. I’ll do that again tomorrow when I’m waiting on her because she can’t walk. I hope that’s not the case, but it doesn’t look good right now.

Sunset Bay State Park and other Stuff

Sorry I haven’t been around to make my normal short, concise, posts, but Diane and I were off planet for a number of days enjoying the Oregon Coast from our perch at Sunset Bay State Park near Coos Bay. It’s near North Bend, too, and right next to Shore Acres State Park. Shore Acres is the park that has a botanical garden that volunteers decorate every year. Grant MaComie did a story on it not long ago and it’s a nice story about how it all came together. Knowing about this ahead of time, Diane booked another four days, in the same space (A-13) at Sunset Bay that we vacated last Monday. These four days are for the end of November when the lights are all up and blinking. The crews have already begun the task of stringing lights and they will be lit from Thanksgiving thru New Year’s Eve.

Actually, we were only gone for five days but who’s counting? Really. Just five days. We didn’t have cell service, no TV, no internet, no nuthin. We actually had to sit and talk to each other for long periods of time which was interesting and revealing to one of us. With all the distractions of our daily life on Earth we don’t seem to take time to visit like we should. I recommend such a trip like this for everyone. We were in a beautiful place and found that we really didn’t miss all those things that capture our attention for long periods of time.

We did miss Ziva, however. She’s our camper and loves getting away from the other dogs once in a while. As we packed to leave she knew we were leaving without her and did her absolute best to make sure we knew she knew and that she wasn’t a bit happy about it. It was really tough to leave her standing there, all alone in the driveway, as we pulled away from the house to leave.

OK, we didn’t really do that … she was in the house, but she knew we were leaving. I suspect that she slept most of the five days we were away. Truly, she does that when we’re home. She’s a dog. When not chasing something or barking at something, she sleeps.

Normally I jot little notes down on my next post about things I want to share. Kinda like an outline. But it’s not an outline, it’s just a list. To use this program I need the internet so I used the Notes app on my Ipad for the list. I just now tried to bring it up and got a brief glimpse of what I saved, then it just all disappeared. Like magic. Poof! So, now I’ll have to remember stuff to make it worth your time.

We left home at 1:30 pm on Thursday and arrived after 6:30 pm. It’s a long drive (277 miles) and I had to do it all alone because Diane doesn’t feel ready to drive the RV yet. So, we go slow. Making that more of a necessity was the windshield that was really, really a mess. Actually, it was only a problem when cars came at me causing all the dirt smeared on the window to refract the light to the point where I was just kinda guessing where the road was. Another reason for arriving during daylight. It would have been just fine if we could have left home around 9 am as planned, but that never seems to work out. I dislike having to park and hook everything up in the dark and told Diane that if we don’t leave by 9 am on this next trip, we will wait until the next day. Or, we just don’t go. Just before I could stomp my foot for emphasis, she agreed. We’ll see how that works out.

The next morning we got up really late and didn’t do much right away because it was really foggy crappy looking outside. So, we just lounged around and read our books. Later in the afternoon we launched the Toyota and took a trip up and down the road outside the park, then cruised in to Coos Bay to look around. Diane drives the Toyota so I had an opportunity to view the road with a critical eye and couldn’t help but be amazed that I had actually driven a 35.5′ motorhome around those windy turns without once dumping us into a ditch, or the ocean. It was humbling, let me tell ya.

Over the course of the next 4 days we did a lot of reading, watched one DVD movie that we’d both already seen (Dare Devil) and slept a lot. Once in a while we ate something. I can hear many of you thinking that “you watched Dare Devil twice! Really?” Well, yes we did. It was luck of the draw. We’ll never have to watch it again.

We made a few trips to Fred Meyer in Coos Bay, walked up and down their boardwalk for a while, saw a couple of really interesting sea-going vehicles,

and had lunch at Shark Bites. Diane had halibut fish and chips and I had my crab Louie. We both loved our meals. Each piece of Diane’s fish was about an inch thick and cooked to perfection. My Louie had at lease half a pound of Dungeness crab meat on it. Wonderful. The trip was now worth it.

We were able to spend our last day sitting on the beach watching the sun go down on Sunset Bay. Sadly, I failed to bring my phone/camera to capture the moment. Just believe me, it was really pretty. I’ll take pictures when we go back there the end of the month.

Perhaps the following photos will serve to tide you over till then. These are just shots taken around the park.

This is Simpson Reef. Way back ‘when’ the Simpson family owned all of this.

This is the bottom of a tree that apparently blew over a long time ago.

Just me and my lovely bride.

A different look at Simpson Reef in the distance. 

Then, while driving back to the park one day, we came across this and thought you’d enjoy it as much as we did.

The trip home was uneventful.We stopped at the DQ in Reedsport for lunch. Ate inside, then took our drinks and headed north up Highway 101 to Florence, the scene of our last visit to this area a few weeks ago.

One thing I didn’t get while at the beach was a good bowl of clam chowder. I really like that stuff. So, I rummaged around in a bunch of cupboards until I found a can and warmed it up. When it blew up and figured it was done. I was using the saucer as a cover and when it blew it flipped completely over. What fun.

Betty, our County Clerk, called this afternoon to find out if Diane is ready to go to work with the Counting Board tomorrow. I told her that I’m sure she was and that I was currently washing all her underwear to ensure she was properly dressed … then Diane snatched the phone right out of my hand before I had a chance to say goodbye. I thought that was kind of rude

I forgot to mention that I went golfing with the Peal Brothers before we left on our trip and again on the day after we returned. Diane thinks it’s good for me to golf with these guys. So do I.

It was pretty both times.

Toilets, Stitches, and Golf

Wow! It’s been Eleventeen days since my last post. Doesn’t seem like that long so it’s apparent that I don’t remember all of them.

I do remember going to Costco one day to buy some stuff. I picked out a new toilet that was conveniently sitting on one of those pretty orange push things and no one was around to claim it. So, I just rolled it away and found Diane. As I followed her around the store I’d get an occasional, “Can I help you?” from Costco employees. I got tired of saying “no” all the time and switched to “no, my wife has diarrhea and I have to stay close to her until she’s done shopping.” It wasn’t long before I had 5 or 6 of them following me to see what was going to happen. Little did they know that they were wasting their time because that was days ago and the penalty won’t be enforced until later today when she reads this.

Another interesting aspect of my life that involves change is that Diane has started issuing me one pair of underwear at a time. I don’t get a clean pair unless I have a used pair to trade. Normally that doesn’t bother me but penalties for non-compliance are reportedly going to be severe for future infractions. I probably shouldn’t have turned in my last used pair without letting her see them first because now I have none. Guess I won’t be wearing jeans today.

Oh, and I got my stitches out. Too bad we’re not a little closer to Halloween.

I also went golfing with the Peal Boys even though the humidity was 100%. It wasn’t raining, just a little foggy. Added a challenge for finding the balls once they were hit because until we got to the 6th fairway, we couldn’t see them land. Just old guys having a little fun.

Now it’s time for me to fire up my table saw since Diane left me unsupervised again. I admit I received some explicit instructions but forgot most of them during the 10 minutes drive home. The main one is “no power tools!” We’ll see how that works out because I have a bunch of baseboard parts to trim.

Have a good one.

Gilligan’s 10th Birthday, & Other Stuff

Yesterday was Gilligan’s 10th birthday. Already, she’s 10! We all find it amazing. To Celebrate, Lydia and Ceiarra took it upon themselves to make it more special than normal by taking her home with them to make cookies and feed her dinner. Jeran cooked the dinner, shepherd’s pie, which everyone loved. Diane and I showed up later to give her our good wishes, a bag of presents, and to love on her a bit, before the big girls whisked her off to a movie. Girl’s Night Out. She was in heaven. Actually, all of the girls were giddy with joy. It was great. The mood may have been enhanced by the drinks they all got at Dutch Bros on the way back to the house. Who knows?

I regret I didn’t get a selfie that included Diane.

Ceierra snuck in a big cookie with a candle and #10 on it.

Then it was off to the theater.


It was a good evening.

I had another intimate encounter with my table saw this morning. Everything was going just fine, cutting little narrow pieces of wood for a reason yet to be determined, and I was on the last one. I very carefully pushed that last piece into the whirling blade along with my left thumb. For some reason it just felt correct to push it a tiny bit further, right up to the point where my reflexes kicked in, in response to the severe pain, and automatically yanked my hand away from the saw. Because of my vast experience with injuries like this, I pinched it really tight, not looking at it, and went upstairs to face the music with Diane.

She heard my exclamation, which I emitted involuntarily, and asked what I’d done. When she saw me holding my left hand above my head, she just grabbed her car keys and said, “c’mon, let’s go,” so we did.

Unfortunately, it was only 11:10am and urgent care doesn’t open for business until noon. I stopped on the clinic side of things, where non-bleeders are readily helped, and was told, “We don’t do stitches here.” So, I went around the corner and grabbed a seat near the registration window so I’d be first in line. Which  was, right at noon.

Diane was with me and spent part of her time spreading newer magazines around the waiting area. She found them in some boxes in the basement and has been meaning to drop them off for the last year or so. She makes them all neat on all the tables. Makes me proud.

I was ushered to room 3, the one I normally get at urgent care, and I was prepped for action. The doc came in and we had a nice chat while she stabbed my wound with nummy stuff. That first one really hurts, a lot. Then she stuck it about 10 more times around the perimeter of the wound. I just sucked air through my teeth and dealt with it, knowing that I’d earned it.

It’s been about 6 hours since I did it and it’s beginning to throb a little and I know it’s going to get worse. It always does. I know this kind of stuff.

So, here it is … not quite to the bone, but close.

As you can see, I dressed for the occasion.

Seven stitches.

Ready to party.

Another part of this story involved  the yearly reunion for USS Cleveland crew members. This year it’s in Portland and today there was a bus tour out the Columbia River Gorge. Diane and I were both going to go but Diane had a need to stay home and help her Mom, Jean, with someone making a bid to clean her windows. That meant I would have to go alone with all those old shipmates, getting up and out the door by 0730 to do it. Somehow getting out of the house that early wasn’t appealing so I opted to stay home and make another attempt to get the bathroom put back together. While the doc was stitching me up, Diane said, “I should have sent you on the bus.”

In closing, I must report that I finished cutting the pieces of wood, and I remembered what they were for. Next task is to install all of the baseboard pieces that I also cut this afternoon. Just to show you that I don’t need no stinking opposing thumb on my left hand. No sir. I don’t .

Steaks and Dog Food

This afternoon I heard the dogs arguing in the living room and had to go see what it was all about before the fur flew. It’s true. The argument was escalating to that point. Actually, it’s only Ziva growling, but it’s a bit scary for me because I know that if they tangle, I’ll have to get between them. They have substantial teeth which makes that move risky for one of us.

When I got to the scene of the event here’s what I found …

That’s an open, and empty, food pouch that the big dogs don’t get to eat. Normally. It belonged to Ozzie. Now, had they ripped the package open from the top instead of the bottom I may have thought one of them retrieved the empty packet from the garbage but the way it was open gave them away.

Perhaps the dogs used this as a teaching moment to say something like, “Jerrie, CLOSE THE STUPID CUPBOARD!”

Or, maybe it was simply them showing off what they can do and to get a sense about how upset I’d be with what they did. You know, not so mad, they could do it again some day. Really mad, they could do it again some day but not too soon.

About the steaks … they are the ones Diane bought to take with us to Detroit Lake last week. They were rib eyes and would have been really good BBQ’d. The problem, as I’m sure you guessed there was one, we left for Detroit Lake Sunday afternoon but didn’t find the steaks in the car trunk until Tuesday. So, they were incarcerated in an unrefrigerated car trunk for over two days. Still, when I picked them up they both still looked nice and pink, and they weren’t warm at all. When I pierced the plastic in which they were encased, I didn’t detect any odors that smelled like spoiled meat and neither could Diane. But, she said e-coli could still be lurking around in there and that I should throw them away.

I just couldn’t do it. They were so pretty, and I really like steak. So, I lit the BBQ and cooked them. Still no suspicious smells, but I cooked them a little longer than the normal 5 minutes a side anyway. Brown all the way through. No red.

So, I put one of them on a plate and started easy with little teeny bites to see if anything happened to me. I ate slow, chewing each bite until it was so well masticated that it could easily have come fresh from a really good blender. Suitable for ingestion by someone with no teeth.

I’ve got to admit that it wasn’t all that satisfying. It took me a while to figure out that it was probably the dried onion I used in lieu of the seasoned salt I normally use which was still at home on a shelf in the kitchen.

Diane’s words about e-coli started rolling around in my head about the time I got half-way through the steak. That, and the wrong flavor of the meat, convinced me that I probably shouldn’t be eating any more steak right then. I kind of lost my taste for meat and decided that common sense dictated that cease and bow to my bride’s superior knowledge about such things.

Then the wait began. I figured it wouldn’t take long for the stomach cramps to begin and was torn between calling an ambulance right away, or just wait for the pain to begin. I decided to wait. I waited for 3 days and nothing happened.

Apparently I’m immune to e-coli, or whatever else could be wrong with meat that should have been totally spoiled due to lack of refrigeration.

Yup. I’m immune. It’s been 7 days and I’m going with the option that e-coli normally strikes 3-4 days after exposure.

That part about e-coli taking up to 10 days to make itself known is a myth.

I may have a different story to tell in three days.