Thru LA to Carlsbad – Day 4

Days 4 thru 7 are so full of stuff, and I have lots of photos, that I’m going to break it up so you won’t get totally bored. That, and I have 47 photos to share that total 118 MB of data. Too much for one post. So, I’m going with Day 4 now.

That would be the day we finally arrived in Carlsbad and got checked in to our rooms. This time, instead of a three bedroom house, like we had at NAS Lemoore, we had a two bedroom condo. Well, actually, it’s a one bedroom condo with a studio adjoining. Perfect for the four of us. The girls had their own space with a bath, and we had ours. Yes, perfect.

Getting to the room from Lemoore, however, was a serious challenge because we made it a point to drive through Los Angeles so the girls could experience the traffic. They weren’t disappointed, but I’m sure they wish we’d chosen a speedier route. Yes, it was a dumb thing to do, but we only had to do it once, right? Right.

As it turned out, Diane gave up driving before we reached the infamous Grapevine over the hills into the LA area. So, I had the honor. What fun. Additionally, I wound up driving all the way to Carlsbad, a  v.e.r.y. s.l.o.w. t.r.i.p. Really. And, it took most of the day. No, it took all day. We arrived over two hours later than the original arrival time computed by our GPS lady before leaving Lemoore.

Once over the Grapevine, and into the city, the speed dropped to around 0-20 mph and that’s the way it was for the duration, all the way to Carlsbad. That’s a stretch of about 100 miles. It was brutal; 4-6 lanes (each way) of vehicles cruising along at a little over walking speed most of the time.

But, we made it. Yes we did.

Our accommodations here at Marbrisa Resort are on the ground floor. The girls’ room has a small patio that is about 10 feet from the gate into the pool area, right next to the hot tub. Perfect, right? They certainly think so. They have four pools to play in.

Somewhere during that grueling day, we stopped for lunch at a Panda Express where I pigged out on a bunch of shrimp which resulted in this …

The dreaded Gout. It hurt, and I limped a lot, but it didn’t stop me from keeping up with the crowd. When we had a chance, we went to the commissary at Camp Pendleton and got the most horrible cherry juice in the world which Diane made me drink to help resolve the gout problem. I managed to gag down a glass but that was it. Nasty stuff, and I kinda used to like cherry juice. Next time I get gout I will just live with it until it’s gone.

Today is Wednesday. I’ll fill you in on Monday and Tuesday next. I’ll leave you with a photo of “my girls” waiting for a table at an eating establishment somewhere on the West Coast, South of Los Angeles. Might be the Green Dragon in Carlsbad.

Here’s what we ate …

That’s it.

Happy Birthday Cedric, and Days 1 thru 3

Cedric turned 20 years on the 13th. I started this tribute on the 12th then events surrounding tasks necessary for us to vacate our premises jumped the line and took precedence. More on that, later.

Our Sailor is currently in the middle of the Pacific Ocean headed west for a 6-8 month trip on the USS Nimitz. We don’t know specifically where the ship is going, but for most events happening on that side of the world, the ship only has to get close. He’s in a very safe place. This is his first cruise and it’s going to be educational for him. We just hope he stays safe. When the notion strikes send good thoughts his way for a safe journey for him and all his shipmates.

Last Tuesday Diane got her third cast. Another pink one. For the first couple of days she yearned for the old cast. It’s better now and she’s doing great. So far she’s driven most of the way on this trip, just like normal.

On Wednesday we gathered up Lydia and Ceiarra for a trip south. The weather was perfect … around 61, no rain … and there was excitement about the days ahead.

The first leg of this trip ended in Medford for our first night. When we head south, Medford is almost always our choice for the first stop. Before that, however, we stopped in Albany for lunch with Jack and Wynette. They were making their way north from Arizona and we were very happy to have an opportunity to spend some time with them. Lunch was good and we had a great visit. Then we parted and continued on our separate ways with well wishes for safe journeys.

At the Medford sleeping facility, a lite supper of nachos and wine or beer. I had nachos, as did the other three, and Diane had a glass of wine. All complimentary. What a deal. They weren’t bad, but sometime in the night I had an epic Montezuma event. Therefore, I figured that I probably shouldn’t have eaten the nachos. Or maybe it was the pulled pork they had for the meat. Or the liquid cheese. Hard telling. Regardless, I’m fine now and it’s behind me, literally. I’m healed.

We got up at a reasonable time, about 0830, had breakfast in the hotel, another complimentary meal, re-stowed all the stuff we brought from home, and headed south. Like all of our trips, we packed a lot of stuff. In the past, that was a problem because of space, but now we’re traveling in a pickup so there’s tons of room for pretty much anything Diane wanted to bring. So, she did.

Thankfully, having two healthy teenage girls along simplifies the on and off load process. They can carry some pretty heavy stuff. That’s really handy. Before leaving, Diane requested that I devise a way for “stuff” to keep from sliding around in the back so I did. I went to Wal-Mart and bought a bunch of Sterilite (made in the USA) containers the pretty much filled the back of the truck. I got them all in place, so they wouldn’t slide around, then removed those that were in spaces required for suitcases. In all, we have 7 pieces of luggage, six of which reside in the back of the truck. There are also 8 Sterilite containers. Nothing slides around. Using the containers makes getting “stuff” inside our rooms easier than when we used garbage bags. It’s less embarrassing for Diane, too.

Yesterday, on our way to Beale AFB, we stopped for a buffet lunch at the Rolling Hills Casino near Corning, California off of I-5. It was very good. If you go there, get their club card first. Having the card gets you the buffet for half price. We didn’t have a club card. We paid full price. It’s OK.

At Beale we had a 3 bedroom home for the night which was unique. It was formally base housing and quite nice. The girls each had their own room as did Diane and I. After checking in, Diane and the girls returned the 10 miles back to the base exchange to look for teen age swimming suits, and something for dinner. I stayed home to guard stuff. There were no suitable swimming suits so the girls had to wear their old ones which are, reportedly, too small. They went to the pool anyway. While they played in the pool, Diane got dinner and brought it back to the room. I ate the rigatoni carbonara she gave me with gusto. The girls got chicken chunks. Just before 8 pm Diane went back to the pool for the girls and brought them back to the house for supper. I’d already eaten my pasta and would have enjoyed it more with buttered bread, but Diane couldn’t find any butter at the store. So, she got some Nutella. I tasted it, and it’s not bad, but I just couldn’t bring myself to put chocolate spread on a perfectly good piece of white bread to eat with my pasta. So, no bread, which is OK. I’m diabetic, you know, and the pasta was more than enough carbs for me. Bread wasn’t necessary.

The next morning, Friday, Diane had two pieces of toast slathered with Nutella but I couldn’t even do that. I just ate a piece of dry toast. It was pretty good. I also had a bowl of Honeynut Cheerios.

While eating breakfast, we started watching “Magnificent Beasts” that Lydia got from Red Box at some obscure town on the way. The stop was necessary because she wanted to return the ones she brought from home before 9 pm so she wouldn’t be charged another $1. She found the Red Box Drop by searching on her phone.

At 1045 am I called the front desk to find out when we had to check out. They told me 1100. So, everyone went to work packing up all the containers and getting them to the truck before we were charged for another day. It was close, but we did it. Then we were on the way south. Again.

From Beale AFB we took US 99 from I-80. It’s a crappy road most of the way, but it’s more interesting than I-5. More places to stop, too. As a diversion, Ceiarra allowed Lydia to glue new, long finger nails to her fingers. I have proof.

Ceiarra wasn’t a fan of long nails but she allowed it to happen and they look quite nice.

The plan was to make a pass through Modesto to see the house Lydia and family lived in 13 years ago. Before that, however, we stopped at a handy Panda Express for lunch on Briggsmore Ave.

You can see C’s long nails in the photo below.

It was very good. Diane had enough food that she saved enough for supper this evening. I’m going to eat more Cheerios. I really like those things.

NAS Lemoore is our stop for tonight. I booked two rooms at the Navy Lodge because they don’t have rooms that can accommodate 4 adults. Around 2000 (8 pm) the girls came to our room with their ‘old’ Red Box DVDs wanting to return them before the 9pm deadline. There’s an RB on base so it wasn’t difficult. In case you need to go there, it’s over by the Jet Mart.

After turning in the movies I asked them if they had eaten supper – Lydia had left overs from Panda Express, but C didn’t so they thought it might be good to go grazing through the Jet Mart for fun stuff to eat. We came away with a stunning variety of non-nutritional food, as well as some that qualified as ‘good for you’. I’ll try to remember what we came away with …

  • Frozen croissant breakfast sandwiches
  • Frozen entrees
  • Chips & cheese
  • Raspberries
  • Margarine (me)
  • Half & Half (me)
  • Drinks of some sort
  • Candy bars

The plan was for them to have something to eat while they watched the two movies they rented when they turned the old ones in. That should have kept them going until midnight, easy. Since it’s only 0830 on this fin Saturday morning, we won’t know how that worked out for at least another hour because they are asleep in the next room. I suspect I’ll have to rouse them so we can get checked out in time for our mad dash on this last leg of the trip that will take us through the heart of Los Angeles. We could go around, but thought having the experience of LA traffic should not be missed, for the girls’ experience, of course. There will be more on that this evening. Maybe

So there we are. Up. To. Date.

I leave you with a selfie, and a photo for our lovely daughter who is an avid Minions fan …

One of the HUGE things I failed to mention is the weather. We’re having some, and it’s really hot. Apparently we timed this trip just right so we could experience the hottest temperatures southern California has ever seen. The thermometer in the truck registered between 95 and 100 all day yesterday and weather alerts kept showing up reporting severe heat ahead. Nifty. Last night, when I took the girls to the Jet Mart, it was still 91 out there. We checked the weather at home and learned it was 60 and raining there.

Even with all this heat, we were gratified to see that all the canals are full of water down here, the valley is green with all manner of vegetables, fruit, and absolutely zillions of grape vines. All are healthy looking. And, the big one for us, Shasta Lake was full to the brim. In years past we were saddened to see the moorages high and dry, but this time it all looks good.

Ahmed, the Crossfire, and TLWTBA

Yesterday I visited the Walter’s domain to attend Ahmed’s going away party. Ahmed, in case you don’t know, is a foreign exchange student from Pakistan who has been living with Daniel, Jennifer, Lydia, and Jeran since last summer. From day one he was part of the family and didn’t miss a beat by including Diane and me, calling us Grandma and Grandpa. That was pretty cool. He’s a special young man and we can’t wait to see what his future has in store for the world. Jennifer has become something of an expert preparing halal food for Ahmed and it may become a regular food choice for them even after Ahmed has returned home.

He leaves next week and will be missed by everyone. But, thanks to social media, he’s just a click away.

Also, yesterday, I returned the part I bought at O’Reilly’s Auto that I was sure would resolve the problem I’ve had with the Crossfire. The error code reported a bad Crankshaft Position Sensor. I think I already shared that previously but that’s OK. I’ll pretend you forgot.

Anyway, I had to special order the part on Saturday because it wasn’t on the shelf. I was a little surprised by the price because it was over double what I expected. However, I needed the part, and paid the price. I picked the part up Sunday morning and went right home to install it so I don’t have to drive Diane’s truck any more. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a nice truck and I really like it. But, I kinda like the Crossfire more at this time.

I carefully unwrapped the part and noticed it looked a lot different from the pictures I saw during my search for the part. Double-checking the part number on O’Reilly’s website revealed that what I’d paid such an exorbitant price for was a Camshaft Position Sensor, not a Crankshaft Position Sensor. Not the same critter.

I boxed it up and took it back to O’Reilly’s and explained the error of their ways. I’m pretty positive that I requested the correct part but the thing is that when I did it, I also purchased the Camshaft Position Sensor for Lydia’s Envoy. It’s her graduation present from me. She doesn’t know that yet because I didn’t wrap it. I just gave it to her. I can kinda understand why the fellow who helped me (the Manager) made the mistake because of the way the transaction went down, and I wasn’t upset.

When I returned it I was helped by a young man who was apparently new at O’Reilly because he was just learning their computer system. Thankfully, he had me for a customer because I don’t get upset about stuff like this. It just isn’t productive. So, I made it a good experience for him and we got things straightened out. Turned out the part I needed was in stock (their last one) so I got that and half my money back. What a deal.

Back at home, I gathered my tools and went to work. It didn’t take long before I had the old one out and the new one in. I cleared all the computer failure codes and cranked it up. The engine purred like a sewing machine and the engine light stayed off. Just to be sure, I checked for failure codes, but there weren’t any. I guess I can now call myself a Crossfire mechanic. Sure, it was simple, but I did it. All by myself. And only burned my hand 4 times.

Tomorrow I’m taking The Lady With The Broken Arm (TLWTBA) to the doctor who was already scheduled to see her on June 13th, Cedric’s and Don’s Birthday, and the day Ahmed leaves. Apparently the doctor saw something, we think, because she called today and requested that she be delivered to the office tomorrow morning, bright and early. So, that’s what we will do.

Now I must go to bed so I will be ready to roll in the morning.

G’Nite.

 

Bike Rides, and the Seaside Emergency Room

It was a nice, overcast day at Nehalem Bay State Park. It had the promise of a good day. Not too hot, not too cold. That lasted for most of the day before things got exciting for some of us. Before I go there, however, this is a busy day at the beach.

I took Ziva for a couple of runs around the park because I discovered that she’s OK with running alongside the bike. She makes a very rhythmic clickity clickity noise as we go. I figured it would be good for whittling down those nails. We did that a few times, running all the way around the park, all the loops.

As the sun headed for the horizon we decided to take Ziva for another run and Diane was game to give her bike a try. The first stop was to dump the trash, and that’s as far as we got before Diane, while trying to stop her bike, failed to put her foot down, and just kinda tipped over like that guy on the tricycle on “Laugh In” from many years ago, for those of you who may remember that show.

I didn’t see her fall because she was behind me, but I heard the crash. When I turned around she was lying on the pavement, on her left side with both legs still almost on their respective pedals. Carefully, I removed the bike from between her legs and got it out of the way so she could sit up, but she stayed prone for a while, waiting to see what hurt the most. I regret that I failed to get a photo of that, but I did get one of her sitting up, surrounded by Yurt People. We were pretty close to them and they all came to see how they could help.

We left her alone until she was ready to sit up. By that time she had assessed the damage and reported that it was confined to her left wrist which was most certainly broken. She pulled he sleeve back on her sweater, which was miraculously without holes, to show us how her wrist made this nifty “S” curve going down her arm into the wrist area. The break was across her ulna, just above her wrist. She’s a quick thinker and managed to get her wedding rings off before the swelling made it to her fingers. I wore them on my right pinkie which is exactly the correct size.

While sitting on the pavement, near the trash compactor, park rangers were added to the group of overseers and offered to summon an ambulance for transport to the hospital. It was about 6:45 pm at the time and we knew there was an Urgent Care facility in Manzanita, jus outside the park, so we opted for me to transport her there to at least get some pain meds because the shock was wearing off and she was feeling every aspect of the fracture. She was quickly sinking into a very miserable, painful place.

One of the Yurt People, a young man, helped me get the bikes back to the trailer so I could get the truck and load her up for the trip. That done, we headed for Highway 101 and stopped at a Shell station because Diane wanted water and ice. I got both, as well as a plastic covered soda box that one of the attendants was in the process of breaking down for disposal. She thanked me for saving her a little bit of time. I put the box in Diane’s lap, added the very large bag of ice in the box and she made her arm as comfortable as possible for the trip.

The Urgent Care facility was just a couple of blocks north of the station but it was a wasted stop because they closed at 6 pm. So, we made a decision to head north to Seaside Providence Hospital.

The sobbing stopped within the first 10 miles as the ice did it’s job. We were both thankful for that because her pain was eased, and my distress about my inability to make it all go away was minimized. Then all I had to do was shudder each time I hit an unavoidable bump in the road, of which there are many on Highway 101, as we made that 21 mile trip to Seaside.

As we drove, Diane was able to key into Maps our destination so we knew exactly where to go. It was a good distraction for her. I would have taken a photo but figured that wouldn’t be a good idea since I was driving and she was using my phone.

We got to the hospital about 7:15 pm and got checked in to the emergency room very quickly. The place was jumping, every room filled. We learned that after a fairly slow Memorial Day weekend, everyone in town showed up at the emergency room just before we got there. It was very busy and all that was left was a gurney in the hall near the housekeeping area. A tech soon appeared to take her for X-rays and I took that opportunity to visit Ziva in the truck and let her out for a bit. She was really being good, knowing that there was a problem.

For those of you who require medical details, here’s what the X-ray revealed. She has two things:

  • Closed Smith’s fracture of left radius
  • Closed non displaced fracture of styloid process of left ulna

She broke both bones in her forearm.

Applying the splint. Not a fun thing.

Applying the ACE bandage. Not fun, either, but better.

Expecting a long, normal, emergency room experience, we were both surprised when the very busy doctor, a young lady who looked like she could be Lydia’s sister, appeared with news about what was going to happen.  With the swelling the only thing they could do was splint the break, which a couple of RN’s did, then they wrapped it with a large ACE bandage. The Dr. visited before we left, checking the wrapping, then pulled on Diane’s fingers really hard. I suspect that was to help align the bones a bit, and it hurt. Then we were checked out with instructions to follow up with an orthopedic doctor as soon as possible. The nurse gave us some pain pills for her to take until we could fill the prescription we received with the release paperwork.

In all, we were at this extremely busy emergency room for only 2.5 hours. That’s a record for us. Normally it’s 5 hours. We have lots of emergency room experience and can probably be considered experts on the patient side of things in that regard. Nurse Sarah could provide a more in-depth view of the hospital side from her perspective as a trauma nurse. Perhaps one day she will.

Initially, I was going to just take Diane and Ziva home to St. Helens, after the hospital released her, then return later in the week for the trailer. But, by then she thought staying another night in the trailer wouldn’t hurt any worse. So, we returned to the scene of the crime, got her some nourishment, and she took her pain pill. It wasn’t long before she was down for the count. According to her FitBit she didn’t move a muscle for almost 7 hours.

I slept on the blow up mattress that turns the couch into a queen bed. It wasn’t bad. I woke with no noticeable kinks.

After stowing the blow up bed, Diane got up and stumbled around a bit before eating a banana, a couple cups of coffee, a yogurt, and a piece of toast. Then she took another pain pill which soon caused her to stumble around a bit more as she made a gallant effort to dress herself one-handed in this confined space. She said to NOT share that she needed help putting on her underwear and pants, so I won’t. For that, I will surely be in trouble.

At 10:40 am went went down for a nap. When she woke up she took another pain pill and we began breaking camp so we could leave. She thought she would be able to take care of everything inside the trailer to prepare for the trip so I avoided an argument and just let her have a go at it. Turns out it was another good distraction for her from the pain, and she did a marvelous job. I took care of the various things attached to the outside, and hooked up to the truck. Then, we were off. First stop was the dump to empty the holding tanks.

We bid adieu to space B-13 and decided to take Highway 101 through Astoria, a much less stressful way to get home. The other way is on Highway 26 where accidents are common as folks rush back to Portland from the coast.

In Astoria we stopped at DQ for a Triple Berry Slushy for Diane and a Chocolate Malt for me. Other than that, the ride home was pretty uneventful. No wrecks to dodge, no bikes riding in the traffic lanes, and no rain. It was a good trip.

Tomorrow we visit the Ortho clinic at Good Sam for the next phase of solutions and recovery.

Hope everyone has a stellar day. Now I’m off to take Uncle Bill to the outer reaches of Hillsboro to retrieve his ancient (35 years old) John Deere Edger.

Appliances That Talk To You

Today I’m going to get excited about techie stuff. I’m doing that because I love inanimate ‘things’ that are capable of sending emails. Like our smoke alarms, for instance. Yes, they talk to me on a regular basis.

We have three of them in the house and they are all part of a Nest network that includes an internet connected thermostat, and a camera.

The smoke alarm that’s in charge, the one in the basement, I think, sends an email once a month to alert me that it’s going to test the system and to not be alarmed. It’s only a test. But, the will be noise. A few minutes later each of the three alarms are activated, one after another, with a lower volume than normal.

The thermostat doesn’t talk but it allows me to change settings from anywhere in the world. I’ve been known to fiddle with the temperature when one of the kids are house sitting for us during one of our infrequent absences from the premises. Keeps them on their toes.

My newest addition to my smart appliances is my CPAP. Yesterday morning, much to Diane’s delight, I had a 0730 appointment at the VA Medical Center in Portland for them to check my CPAP. It was routine visit at the end of which the tech gave me a new machine. I’ve had the old one for well over 10 years but it still works so she let me keep it as a spare should the new one fail. That was good because now I can just leave the old one in the trailer and not worry about having to move it from the the house. Moving it isn’t a big deal unless I forget to also move the power supply. Which I’ve done. More than once. Let me tell you – that isn’t a good thing to do if you’re trying to impress your spouse about how hard you’re working to ensure her vacation is going to be stress free, and quiet.

Now, the problem with not taking the new CPAP wherever we go is that by using the old unit I won’t get credit for using the new one and it sends me an email, every day, to tell me how great I’m doing. This thing even has an Airplane Mode so you can use it on an airplane. I have to admit that I would have never been tempted to do that.

The thing about having the Airplane Mode is that the unit automatically connects to the internet. All by itself. I find that interesting because our internet at home requires a password, but it connects anyway. So, I’m thinking that the NSA may have something to do with the people who own the company so they can keep tabs on me. The tech told me that the unit only transmits via internet, but it cannot receive. She told me that when I voice a concern that someone random hacker could get to my CPAP and suffocate me. I think she was truthful, but you never know.

I think that’s enough of that.

Today has been another good day because it’s almost supper time and I’m still wearing my pajamas. The reason I’ve been allowed to remained dressed in this manner is because I elected to (finally) do our taxes. I took it as far as I could but can’t finish until I get a question answered by one of the financial institutions with which we do business.

Now I’m going to get engaged with March Madness and watch basketball games.

Jerrie

 

Things & Stuff

Lots of Things and Stuff have happened and transpired over the last 10 days. Thankfully, Diane keeps good track of what’s going on by making sure everything is on our shared calendar. Even little things like “Jerrie take pills”. That’s an important one because, alas, I sometimes forget. I’m sure that’s a surprise to most of you, but I really do. Even when my overflowing pill case is sitting right in front of my keyboard all the time.

Using the calendar, I’m going to try something different and go in order. Doing that won’t, however, deter me from wandering off the beaten path once in a while to fill in where things need to be filled in.

First, Donna, Mother of Steffani, Wife of Jim, Husband of Bob, and Grandmother of Daniel, Tyler, and Maryssa, had a birthday on January 26th. I may have mentioned this before, but don’t feel like looking back in my posts. Jim thinks she only 58 but he’s like one of those records that keep skipping back, repeating the same verses over and over, and you have to bump it to make it continue. Since I’m not there to do that, he’s stuck on 58. I’m sure she’s at least 62 because I’m pretty sure she’s drawing Social Security now. This will be a shock to him, I’m sure, but he can take. Learning about that extra income will perk him up.

Reaching back into my ancient bag of IT tricks I was able to resurrect the Windows XP computer that belongs to my friend, Jeri. Now, getting an XP computer to function isn’t really as difficult as you might think because it is, after all, just a silly computer. The difference is that it hasn’t received any updates from Microsoft for a few years, and internet security has been absent for nearly as long. That would make one who does online finances a little jittery which is why I was summoned. It’s tax time, you know. Well, it’s almost tax time. That will be on April 17th this year since Jim’s birthday in on Saturday. He was born on the normal tax day. That’s April 15th, in case you were wondering. Jim will be 80 on that day. OK, now I’m feeling old …

Getting that old computer to respond was awesome and I left feeling pretty good about myself. Not bad for an IT guy who was dubbed “Mr. 286” at the peak of his career.

Next we have the Bethany Lutheran Church Annual Meeting. That happens once a year. That’s why I added “Annual” in there. This is the meeting where our Church Council, and Cemetery Board reveal all the secret stuff about their respective areas of church activity that they’ve kept secret all year. It’s all the time when new council members are elected. I may have mentioned in previous posts that I’ve served on the council for many years – about 15 I think – and have only been absent for one year. Sadly, that made me eligible to be nominated for another turn at the oars. Like normal, I accepted, as did Nancy, Shawn, and Randy. Nancy has been absent from council for a number of years, but Shawn and Randy have never served. So, we have new blood to spill. Our first meeting is February 15th. Until then I really have nothing worthy to say about this recurring aspect of my life.

I made a trip to the ENT Clinic at Good Sam Hospital in Portland and was quickly referred to the Vestibular Clinic to see what makes Jerrie almost fall down sometimes. Hopefully it’s not a vestibular schwannoma. That would be terrible. I think. I’m curious to find out. I was told the first visit will last 2.5 hours. Part of that time, I suspect, will be helping me off the floor while doing some of those fast turn exercises that led me to this point in the first place. That, and running into an occasional wall. Nothing major, just little mishaps that do not cause severe injury. Just a few nicks and dings that are quickly forgotten.

Then I went to OHSU (Oregon Health & Science University) which is located on Pill Hill next to the VA Medical Center and Doernbecher Children’s’ Hospital. Actually, Doernbecher is a OHSU facility. It’s complicated. Here’s what the entire mess looks like from a helicopter.

ohsu_arial_61411_1

If you don’t have a helicopter, you can take the tram that launches from the banks of the Willamette River. The tram looks like fun to me, but Diane won’t ride it.

tram

Our trip to OHSU was to, once again, participate in an intake process for a Diabetes Study for folks who are taking Metformin and whose A1C is above 6.8. I qualified because I take metformin and my last A1C was 7.4. So, I was looking at getting $10 a visit for the next 4 years. At the appointment I went through all the paperwork with Trish then she took some blood away from me while Brianna watched. Then I was released with the promise of a phone call the next day. Brianna called, as promised, and told me I didn’t qualify for the program because my A1C has mysteriously dropped to 6.2. This happened the last time I was interviewed for this program. So, I was out before I even got started and I had plans for that $10.

With that out of the way, I assisted Diane with some chores at our church to prepare it for their 37th Annual Quilt Show. That’s when all of the pews in the church are draped with elaborate quilts from all over the area as well as some antique quilts that have been in use for many, many years. It’s quit impressive and very beautiful. My job for this effort was to clean up the spots in the carpet where people always drop drips of wine with we have communion via intinction. We tell them to put their hand under the dipped wafer to avoid those drips, but not many listen. Thankfully I had a machine to help me and I’m happy to report that the carpet looks wonderful and will remain that way until we have communion again. The quilt show, in case you’re wondering, will be this coming Friday and Saturday, February 10-11, from 10am to 3pm both days. Downstairs there will be other displays, a bake sale, and sandwiches – egg salad and chicken salad. And pie. Lots of pies. Come and eat. It’s all good and it’s free unless you feel like donating to the jar located on each table. Donating is encouraged.

Another part I did was take photos of the Bethany Quilt Ladies who meet each Thursday morning and generally sit around drinking coffee and visiting, unless someone shows up, then they look busy. I don’t know how they do it, but they still manage to complete about 100 quilts for Lutheran World Relief every year. That’s amazing. This is, Right to Left, Vi, Pat, June, and some lady I’ve never met. Probably should have asked her name, huh? Diane said she is June’s niece.

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One of those days I got another haircut. That’s two I’ve had in the last few weeks. It wasn’t so much that I needed one, but the barber, some of our Grandchildren’s Aunt, came to the house and I just couldn’t resist. Diane got a haircut, too. She looks great with her new do, like always.

Jeran went on a bona fide date last weekend to attend the Winter Ball. It’s mainly for Juniors at school so Lydia, a senior, help organize it. While we were at Diane’s Mom’s, Jean’s, house the group came by for a photo-op. Included was the Prince – not a Princess – which was a first for St. Helens High. A great group of kids on the way to having fun.

Jeran, Danielle, Lydia, Julianna, and Fiona.

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That brings us to yesterday when I escorted my adopted Grandson, Ahmed, to our Lions meeting where he gave an incredible presentation about Pakistan, his home country. He’s really good at it. I call him my Grandson because he calls me Grandpa. It works. He’s living with Dan, Jennie, Lydia, and Jeran while attending St. Helens High School this year as an AFS student. His adopted parents, and sister, also attended the presentation. Jeran stayed home and ate spaghetti.

Another highlite from last week is that Lydia was one of the three students selected as Student of the week at the High School. The other two were boys. She was the best looking one in the crowd.

Sadly, I failed to get photos of Ahmed’s presentation so the day ended in failure but this is what he looked like from the back … on the left …

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… and from the front … on the right …

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The other people in there you already know.

Diane was summoned to the Court House again this morning. She wasn’t there very long before they released her into my custody so now I must regroup and work on being responsible.

My Brain

I guess it’s time to come clean with the results of the CT Scan of my head. That was administered at 0945 on Friday the 13th. It took us an hour to drive to the hospital and took about 2 minutes for the tech to do the test. That meant we had lots of time to do ‘stuff’ in Portland. First up was breakfast at Elmer’s Pancake House. From there I don’t remember what we did. Shopped, I think.

Apparently that short CT scan worked because my doctor left a message on our home phone at 1110 requesting that I call so she could talk with me about what the scan revealed. Since we were roaming around Portland I didn’t listen to the message until we got home, after the doc’s office was closed. Then I had to wait until Monday because I didn’t want to talk with the office’s answering service over the weekend.

I have to say that I was a little concerned hearing from the doctor so soon after completing the test, and that allowed my little brain to go through all kinds of gyrations and permutations about the possible results. Seeing all that going on im my infected head put me into overdrive which just made it worse.

So, I had Diane take me to town and drop me off at the Pastime Tavern and told her I’d have the bartender call her if I didn’t think I could walk home. She was happy that I didn’t just take the truck, like I’ve done many times in the past. I quit doing that when they moved the jail from the old court-house to the Sheriff’s Office on Old Portland Road. The old location was better because it wasn’t such a far walk for her to come bail me out. So, she dropped me off and I’m sure she was hoping I’d just forget our home phone number. But, I fooled her because a long time ago I had the number tattooed just above my left knee so I can read it when I’m sitting in the bathroom.

The evening of Friday the 13th, however, didn’t result in an arrest. Nope. I just sat around talking with people, drinking beer, playing pool, and pushing away all the touchy-feely women who seemed to think they could make it all better. Well, I’m here to tell you that I don’t put up with that kind of undisciplined behavior and I told them so. The fellows to whom I was kabitzing thought for sure that CT Scan was going to turn up something really terrible because at least 4 of the hand on ladies were easily 2BB’s. That’s code for 2 Beer Beauty. It means that after only 2 beers she’s a keeper. Normally it takes 7 or 8. So I’m told.

Anyway, after talking with the guys for a while I just decided to walk home and save Diane another trip. I’m that kind of guy, always looking for ways to make things easier for my one and only Love. Yes sir. I’m that guy.

On the way home I stopped by Diane’s Mom’s (Jean’s) house to use the bathroom but it was late and she wasn’t up. Fortunately, her property borders Milton Creek and it’s dark back there so I decided to take advantage. I didn’t have a choice, really, because Mom’s house is about halfway between the Pastime and Home.

The creek was rolling along nicely, and lots higher than normal with all the melting snow and rain, so I was very careful when I approached the water and made my way to a flat cemented area. I went there because I figured the rocks along there would be slippery and I’d no doubt wind up falling into the water.

Falling in wouldn’t really be a problem because the creek really isn’t very deep. It was, however, flowing very fast so dealing with the current would have been a challenge I didn’t want to face. That, and I really didn’t want to get wet.

As I was relieving myself the lights went on in the house directly across from where I was exposing myself. Before I could put myself back together I saw this bright flash that caused me to lose my place in space. The result, of course, was that I fell in the water and was swept away on a fairly long winding journey to the Columbia River.

I did everything I could to stop my forward motion but nothing I grabbed would hold me. I just managed to rip things from the banks as I swirled and swiveled downstream. Giving up isn’t normally my nature, but I decided to just relax and enjoy the ride even though it was dark and I couldn’t see much. That really didn’t matter, though, because most of my relaxing was staying afloat so I could continue breathing. I’m a fairly good swimmer so it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. At this point, I have to admit, that it really scared me when I fell and I’m sure I wet my pants. By the time I made that realization, it was a moot point because I was wet all over.

After rushing downstream for 15-20 minutes, it kind of got to be routine so I was pretty sure I would make it to the Columbia, and calmer water in pretty good shape. I got so relaxed with all the bumping and such, that I pulled my iPhone 7 out of my hip pocket. I was surprised that it was still there, to be honest, and I was very happy to discover that it really is water proof. I turned it on and checked my email as I glided under Highway 30. Then I opened bejeweled which really relaxes me more. Currently I’m on level 221 and I have 6,055,170 points. That’s an absolute truthism.

Finally, just as I finished another level, the current took a brief turn for the worse as it intersected with the Columbia, and I made an abrupt left turn towards Astoria, 62 miles away. I closed up my phone and returned it to my hip pocket and planned my escape from the river at the St. Helens Marina down by the Old Court House, where the jail used to be.

Staying afloat on my back, to conserve energy, I made paddling motions that would aim me for the docks. Knowing that the current could easily suck me under the pilings, I remained very alert as I approached the first dock, but got sucked under it anyway. Luckily, that put me into calmer water, but I still banged my head on one of the boats that always seem to be parked there. By the time I came to my senses I’d been sucked under all the docks, and 11 of the 13 houseboats that populate the marina. At the 12th houseboat I became entangled in a net that halted my progress downstream.

Getting out of the water in that flimsy net was a real chore and I know I was making a horrible racket. My thought was that perhaps someone would hear me and come to my aid. They eventually did, but only after I made it all the way onto the deck of the houseboat.

The owner finally came out to see what was going on, saw me, and went right back inside to get his gun while I just lay there trying to catch my breath. I was pretty tuckered out so I wasn’t too concerned about the gun.

Standing there, pointing his pistol at me, the owner looked around and discovered the net that had saved my life. His eyes went wide and he yelled at me, “You ruint mah net!” which, in fact, I had so I didn’t argue. I figured the manner of his speech and his excited manner didn’t have room for me to try to explain just exactly why I was laying there on his deck. Next he got his phone and called the police to report me as trespasser which is a terrible crime in St. Helens. At one point, while talking to them, he covered the the microphone portion of his phone, leaned toward me and said, “What’s yer name?” I promptly said, “My name is Doug O’Peal, but you can call me Jerrie.”

“How the hell do you get ‘Jerrie’ out of Doug O’Peal?” he bellowed in a questioning manner.

“It’s my mother’s maiden name,” I replied, calmly.

“Your mother’s maiden name was ‘Jerrie’?” he asked, with his eyebrows raised.

“Yes.”

“What’s her first name?”

“Diane.”

“Diane Jerrie?”

“Yes.”

The conversation, such as it was, deteriorated from there until, finally, the police arrived to find us verbally engaged with the guy still holding his thumb over the phone’s microphone. I guess he forget he was on the phone with the police. They weren’t happy about it, either, because they came in full tacitical assault mode, not knowing what to expect. Lots of flashlights and yelling people. Soon the contents of all 13 boathouses were standing on the walkway connecting all the houses to the shore and it quickly devolved into a party.

Five of the guys got out their guitars, a little blond highschool girl dragged out a complete set of drums, and one of the wives just happened to have a huge bass fiddle. The hoedown was on.

While that was going on I told my story to the police and it was evident they didn’t believe much of it because, I had to admit, it was a bit far fetched. So, just to make it easy on themselves, they cuffed me and hauled me away for trespassing, and for ruining this guys illegal gill net. After depositing me at the jail I have no doubt they returned to the marina to participate in the party.

Jail was no fun at all. I never is no matter how many times you wind up there. It always sucks. The only really good things about it were I got to take off all my wet clothes, I discovered that I didn’t have any contraband stuffed in my butt, and I got a nice set of clean orange overalls and a pair of socks.

I’m just gonna skip to the chase right here and get to the really bad part of the evening. That’s when I had to call Diane and ask her to please come bail me out again. She wasn’t really surprised but I was surprised when she agreed without any negotiating at all.

After all the paperwork was done, I was released into Diane’s custody. They let her keep the handcuffs and she made me wear them the rest of the night, chained to my table saw in the basement. It was not a good night.

I made it through to Monday, chained to that saw, and she finally let me loose to use the bathroom and to call my doctor about that CT Scan. Instead of talking with the doctor, they made me an appointment for Wednesday the 18th at 0725 in the morning. So I waited. Patiently.

On Wednesday, at 0725 in the morning, I was at the office and talking with the doctor. She’s really great, and I like her, so of course she’s moving to another state to practice medicine and I have to find another primary care. But, that’s not important here. She told me that they didn’t find anything catastrophic on the scan, but they did find some (insert really complicated Doctor Words here) that are common in people my age. She converted the doctor words into something I could understand. Apparently I got many small areas of dead blood vessels in my brain, none of which indicate that I’ve had a stroke, or that I’m failing due to alzheimer’s disease. I just have little shrivled up veins that aren’t a concern.

Really? Dead blood vessels in my head and I shouldn’t worry? Well, OK. I won’t worry. What’s the point? It is what it is and the only downside, apparently, is that the areas damaged in my brain are important to those who don’t wish to be injured. That’s just a guess, of course. I definitely have the injury problem but I think it’s in my genes, not because of some little dead blood vessels.

So, there you have it. My brain is fried.

I’m sure no one is surprised.

Cheers.

OH – PS – none of the foregoing is true except for the doctor’s analysis.