Garage Doors, Microwaves, Diabetes, Pintrest, Movies, & Soccer

Yesterday I played indoors working on the fireplace mantle. It snowed and showered us with freezing rain so I wasn’t allowed to go outside. I was happy about that because it was really cold.

Today was really beautiful – clear and sunny, but still cold. Like 9 degrees or so. I worked some more on the mantle, and we ate lunch of BLTs made with refried bacon. It’s a new treat. Diane found the cooked bacon in the back of the fridge and, since it wasn’t fuzzy, tossed it in a skillet to warm it up. Turns our even refried bacon is good. I guess that shouldn’t surprise me because bacon bits are good. I put them in pretty much everything I eat, except ice cream.

When trying to leave the house, the garage door went TU again. Guess I don’t know how to fix them after all so, at Diane’s urging, I call Metro Overhead Door. They’ll be here next Tuesday.

Went to church to ensure the movie would play for tonight’s event. It was in B&W until I put the video cable in the yellow Jack instead of the green one. Don’t know how long it’s been that way. Before doing that, we went to Columbia Heating in Scappoose to get furnace filters for the church. There weren’t any and the one in use was horribly dirty.

Sadly, I’ve discovered there are things on Pintrest that interest me. Now I have my very own page. As soon as I saved it people started following me which I think is pretty funny because at the time there was only one things there. Now I have one more thing to keep me occupied in my copious free time. I started putting fun projects ideas on it and figure I could do that every day instead of actually doing any of them.

My VA doctor has decided to punish me by making me attend a diabetes class because my A1C is too high. I went to one a long time ago and they gave me a BS Meter and everything. I used to check my BS level once or twice a day and it was always OK so I started checking once a week. That was OK, too. Well, not all the time, but it gave me enough info that I could do something about it with my bad eating habits. Finally, from lack of use I suppose, the meter kind of disappeared. I believe it just up and left the house one day in search of someone who needed it more than I did at the time. Now I’ll go to class and get another one.

We had movie night at the church this evening and Diane & I hosted it with a showing of “Heaven Is For Real.” It’s a good movie. We’ve seen it twice. We don’t see many movies twice. Lot’s of times Diane only sees half a movie so I guess watching this one twice may only count as one viewing. We were at the theater the first time, though, and I’m pretty sure she was awake the entire time. Jeran went with us.

Lydia got all her hair whacked off and now looks like this …

IMG_1058She tried out for a travelling soccer team in Hillsboro so she could extend her playing time and was chosen to join. She’s going to be the only goalie on the team. Being on the league team will get her goalie training that’s not available from the high school coaches. From their perspective, the objective is to keep the ball away from their goal so the goalie won’t have anything to do. If the other team gets by them, then the goalie is pretty much on their own to figure out how to keep the ball out of the net. She finds that a bit frustrating, so this will be good for her.

Now it’s time for bed.

Digging in the dirt … again

It was really nice and cool at 0500 this morning, perfect for dismantling weeds with minimal chance of heat stroke. Too bad I didn’t take advantage of that like I said I would. No, instead, I lounged on the couch, waiting for the coffee to finish. Since that didn’t happen until Diane attained a vertical orientation and went to work waiting on me as is her custom. She takes really good care of me and I appreciate it immensely. End result, the coffee wasn’t done until around 0830.

After chugging that first cup of coffee, followed quickly by a large glass of water, I donned my dry work clothes and headed outside to resume the battle for our back yard. We’re gaining because we’re using a flanking maneuver I read about in a comic book. You can’t beat the weed back by going at them in a lineal manner, like from left to right, because they will just fill in the gaps behind you as you progress. No, you must work from both sides as well as the top and bottom of your designated target area, moving back into previously weeded areas to pick up the stragglers. Conducting this war in dry weather is grueling because the weeds are so imbedded it’s like trying to rip apart a sidewalk to release them. They are much easier to pry from the soil right after it rains. It’s messier, for sure, but far mor easy.

Knowing this, logic says to water it all down before the assault but doing so adds considerably to the household deficit which is already in the trillions of dollars, as every knows. Still, it may be less expensive, in the long run, if I simply hook up one of my laser-guided sprinklers and douse the area for a short period of time, exchange my common work attire for a stealth swimming suit, and swoop in when they are least expecting me.

Sounds like a plan. For the moment, I’m recovering from this morning’s mission which left everything I’m wearing, soaking wet, a sure sign that I’ve exuded more than my allotted amount of perspiration for the morning. Rehydration is in progress. When my heart attains a more normal rhythm I will put on my cowboy hat and make one more dash into the war zone to retrieve the tools I left behind. I’m not worried about losing them because weeds do not have opposing thumbs. All they can do is surround things, making it difficult to extract. It’s sad, in a way, because you can almost hear little screams as their roots are pulled from the ground.

I know this battle will continue until I die because all those weeds need is just a teeny tiny little bit of root to remain in the ground in order for them to cover the landscape as soon as you turn your back. They love it, too, when it’s raining really hard, keeping us in side. It’s really annoying to look out and see them pointing and waving at us, sharing something humorous with their siblings, as we stand trapped inside, watching them grow just willy nilly all over the place.

The possible solution is a holistic weed killer Diane discovered that we’re going to try. Chemical warfare isn’t my normal choice for war but using holistic methods seems, to me, to be OK. It’s kind of a religious endeavor if it’s holistic. It’s made using 1 gallon of vinegar, 2 cups of Epsom salts, and 1/4 cup Dawn dish soap. Mix it all up, put it in a sprayer and share it with all your weeds. Their demise, I understand, is fairly quick and painless.

I’ll let you know if it works on black berry vines.

Now I must go perspire a little while longer.

2013 – The End

I’m not going to bore everyone by sharing all the things that transpired over the past 364.75 days for a couple of reasons. 1) You’ve already heard about most of it if the news you watch chose to share it with you, and 2) I can’t possibly remember all of it. One thing I do remember is that everyone in St. Helens, except me, is sick on this last day of the year. It is my understanding that this epidemic is not restricted to my immediate area – folks on the East Coast have reported incidents too. I can understand that because they are ending the year with some pretty exciting weather events. We, here in St. Helens, cannot blame the weather for the ailments folks are experiencing. All we’ve had is cold weather. Not terribly cold, just cold for us. Maybe just chilly according to those who live in areas where the mercury drops well below zero degrees more often than not.

Nossir! I blame this outbreak on Little Kids because they sneeze on their hands, then wipe them, and their noses, on Real People most often while sharing a hug. I believe they are taught this trick in Little Kid School, which they attend when no one is looking, in order to make everyone taller than them ill enough to even the playing field when it comes time for cookies. They know, all of them, that a sick Real Person will give them anything they want if they just leave the RP alone. They will deny this, of course, because that’s what they’re taught to do at LKS.

At this point I must clarify the difference between LKs and RPs. LKs are mostly just potential epidemics on really short legs. RPs, by contrast, have longer legs but no longer have the ability to infect anyone with anything. I suppose that’s not entirely true, but that’s not pertinent. It’s kinda right, and that’s good enough for me.

Don’t get me wrong because I think Little Kids are awesome, even when their little noses are exuding a very salty mixture of puss and mucous all over their lips, which they end up wiping on their sleeves, because their tongues aren’t long enough. I can say this with authority because its one of the more memorable things I recall from my indentured servitude as a Little Kid. When I was a Little Kid, however, things were different. Now it snot.

When I started this, at 1958, it was my intention to terminate it at 2013. Though I could lie, and tell you I did it, I won’t. I don’t lie. I fabricate. It would have been neat, however, to bid you all adieu on 12/31 2013 at 2013. Now I can’t.

As I scribble, Diane is watching all the back episodes of Downton Abbey so she’ll be all up to speed for the premier which is going to happen soon. I kinda like the show, and have watched some of the last episodes with her, but when I start remembering what’s going to happen I need to quit because it’s no longer interesting to me. I will be watching the new season because I have no idea what’s going to happen, and I love the accents. My favorite person is Daisy who works in the kitchen. I think that’s her name. She’s the one who was going to marry William, I think, but he was killed in the war, or somewhere else. Now his father is teaching her to run the farm because he wants her to have it. Something like that.

We planned to visit Keizer, Oregon to bring in the New Year with some old Winnebago friends … no … friends who have old Winnebagos. When Diane came up very congested this morning, however, we nixed that trip, not wanting to contaminate anyone else. So far, I’m doing OK, in case you’re wondering.

Part of my evening was spent in the basement ripping my work bench apart. You may remember that I complained about it in an earlier blog and suggested that I might do this. Since we are sequestered for the night, I thought it might be a good time to continue that effort, so I did. The challenge was working around the electrical connections that were mounted in the front edge of the work surface. I just cut around them, leaving the rewiring effort for another day when I have company available to call 911, should it be necessary.

Here’s what it looks like down there now …


This half of the workbench is going to be configured so I can sit in a chair and do “stuff”. The other half will be lower to the height of my table saw. I’ll just have to do something with all that wire. During this evolution I found an entire gallon of Liquid Nails so maybe I’ll just glue those 2×4’s against the back wall and call it good.

We hope everyone has a safe transition from 2013 to 2014. I won’t say that “I hope you all had a good year,” because you either did, or you didn’t. Me “hoping” you did won’t change that.

I can, however, “hope you all have a wonderful, safe, productive 2014. May you all win the lottery.”

Now it’s 2113 so I’ll stop.

Christmas Shopping to “Home Free”

Christmas is almost here and I, unlike most of you, am considering a little shopping trip. Considering, mind you, but not seriously. Oh, there will be a token gift, or two, but nothing major because Diane and I prefer to wait until after Christmas for a couple of reasons. First, we concentrate on kids, no matter what their age is. Second, things are less expensive when we wait.

I guess I’m not in much of a sharing mood because I’m a bit depressed about all those people whose credit card info was mishandled by Target. Thankfully, we’re not in the mix for getting our info snagged because we don’t visit Target often, and the thieves of the world have probably already figured out that infiltrating our personal accounts isn’t really worth their time. So, we rest easy. I don’t like thinking bad thoughts about people, most of the time, but I’d seriously consider Capital Punishment as a proper solution to those who steal identities, and those who find it enjoyable to create and share computer viruses. Yessir. I think for some of the crimes committed we should just revert back to Old Testament justice. You know, the one where an eye for an eye is OK.

For both categories we could develop a special surgery that would safely allow removal of all finger and thumb bones so they could no longer use a keyboard. Maybe a laser. Also, since technology is proliferate with voice recognition they could be fitted with a voice synthesizer that makes them sound like Chewbacca.

So, floppy fingers, no opposing thumbs, and voices that only allow them to yell. I suspect that would make them readily identifiable anywhere. Then we could shun them.

Complicating this train of thought is the sad fact that governments of some countries sanction such activity. I suspect there’s really no way we could enforce my proposals on entire countries, so it’s probably a moot point. Besides, both identity thieves and malware creators have spawned entire industries that work to defeat them. They ensure a lot of people are employed.

I finished Jennifer’s window table. Well, almost. I need to put a fixture on it so the top won’t flop all the way open and break something. Jennifer reads this, but I can talk about it because she wrung it outta me that I was honoring her wish to have one of these. Never done it before, but it seems to have turned out OK. The window is from our last house which was built in 1925.


Now that “Home Free” has won the Sing Off, we can go to bed. Jerrie’s eyes are tired.

God Bless Mabel.

Panzee, The Hot Tub Project, & Other Things

I’m learning something new so I will have something to fall back on when I finally retire. Again. It’s fixing hot tubs. I figured since Don got me through an engine tune up with the old truck, I gained enough mechanical experience to fix pretty much anything. So, I removed one of the pumps from our hot tub to see if I could figure out what was making it sound so bad. It used to be just fine but late last summer it started making kind of grinding-squeeling noise, and it would not kick over on low-speed during the start-up process. It just hummed, and quit, hummed and quit, hummed and quit, etcetera.

Since the weather was hot back then, I just disconnected the power and set it aside. Now that it’s terribly cold out, Diane reminded me how much she likes the hot tub and how nice it would be if it worked like it’s supposed to. I could only agree, so pulled the pump I thought was making the noise, and tore it apart after a bit of internet research. I still find it amazing how much information is available out there about anything you want to know. Very specific information, too. I just love the internet.

I took a bunch of pictures in my shop but none when I had the pump motor in pieces so you’ll just have to get your photo fix with this one.  It’s just a bunch of license plates I removed from various vehicles we have owned over the years. What’s missing are the ones from Okinawa, and one from Rome, Italy and Florida. When we moved from Okinawa in 1970 we went to Rome and shipped a 1965 Thunderbird Landau. When we licensed it we had to turn in the Okinawa plates for AFI ones. That’s for “Allied Forces Italy”. Since we didn’t ship the car home, we didn’t get the Italian plates. Then we moved to Florida, then to Guam where we had to turn in the Florida pates. While in Italy, it became fashionable to firebomb cars with AFI plates because the bombers thought they stood for American Forces Italy. Consequently, many cars were destroyed that belonged to many other countries. This was during the Nixon era, 1970-1973.

Anyway, here’s that photo with the missing plates …


I’ll also throw in one of the pump, even though you can’t see much of the pump except the end that has the little spinny thing on it that flings water through the pipes. That other gray piece is the spinny thing cover.


Once I got it all apart, I couldn’t find anything wrong with the bearings, and there was nothing interfering with the spinny thing, which is really the impeller. See, I really knew what it was.

Now, here’s one for all you folks who have really neat shops. My work bench is covered with “stuff”. Lots of it. And I can find things when I need them. Diane can’t. So, she doesn’t even bother to look most of the time.


The floor is pretty well covered, too.


Honestly, every horizontal surface has ‘something’ on it so when I want to do anything, I have to move things. Naturally, when I move stuff, it’s to the next place I want to work so I have to move it all over again. I keep telling myself that I’m going to devote a day … OK, two days to a clean up project and remove anything I haven’t used in six years. I’ve actually done that once. Put everything I didn’t need in boxes, then set them aside, admiring my handy work. It was good to have a clear work bench, something I’ve only enjoyed when moving to a different house. Then, years down the road, I need something and guess what? Yup. It was in that box I filled with things I didn’t need. I’m really glad I didn’t give it away.

I have another motivation for cleaning up the shop. The work bench is too high and needs to be lowered. When I was younger, in my 50’s, I was taller and it wasn’t a problem. Now that I’ve begun to shrink I find it more difficult to with my arms sticking straight out in front of me. So, I’m going to lower it to counter top height.

Maybe lower.

To a level I can work at while sitting in a comfortable chair.

Then I’m going to start a new hobby.

It’s called, “Put Stuff Back From Whence It Came”.

I think I’ll get bored with that one pretty quick, like I usually do, so the best option would be to just give all my tools to Jeff and Daniel, then borrow what I need when I need it.

Now, about Panzee. We visited her PCP this afternoon and she was given the sad news that everything looked pretty good but to keep it that way she will need to wear the Cone of Shame for the rest of her life. Since she really doesn’t know a lot of English words, she took the news well. That, and because the doc gave her a treat.

Actually, she’ll only have to wear it for the remainder of the year. By then I suspect she’ll have a bald ring around her neck, and all the moulding around our doors is going to be all nicked and dinged from her running in to them. She used to be careful but she’s discovered the cone will give if you hit things hard enough so she just powers through whatever she hits.

My concern about all that neck jamming is she’s going to need months of chiropractic therapy to fix it. We’ll have to get a referral.