Jerrie is 7, and a Plumbing Tale

Last Sunday Jerrie turned 7-years-old. That’s 7, as in SEVEN. That means Second Grade is coming up. When that happened, Diane and I looked at each other with similar questioning eyes, wondering how she did that so fast. She’s quick, we know that, but normally it takes at least one dog-year for a child to attain the age of 7. Not Jerrie. She did it in 3, I’m sure. Anyway, she’s joined her bouncy sisters in another upper age bracket and is on her way to fulfilling her destiny. We’re curious to discover what that is. It’s going to be an exciting trip.

In case you didn’t know, this is Jerrie trying out her new blanket that we dare anyone to snatch and try to call it their own.

This next bit is a going to be long, I can tell already, but I’ve got to get it out of my head. It’s getting crowded in there and I want to gather new “stuff” to think about.

Plumbers are sometimes necessary to resolve problems for which one hopes they’ve been trained to deal with, and other times they are used simply because it’s convenient to have someone else do the dirty work. Simply because I involuntarily volunteered to get a couple of new toilets for our church, I became the point person for ensuring they got installed. Although I’m knowledgeable with what’s required to install a toilet, since this was a church project, I was given permission to engage a professional. The project also included replacement of a broken, non-functioning, waterless, cold water faucet in the Lady’s Room (LR). It’s been turned off for years, literally, because it ceased to function. The set up, in both bathrooms is really old, using individual faucets for hot and cold. Old school. Since it takes a little bit of time for hot water to reach the LR, it apparently was deemed safe to assume that at least six ladies in a row could use the facility and wash their hands without being scalded. The seventh person is like a hall monitor … if they don’t burn their hands with hot water at the sink, odds are that one, or more, of the previous six didn’t wash their hands, the choice of many women when using public facilities. I have it on good authority that men ALWAYS wash their hands BEFORE using the facilities because they don’t want to get their junk dirty. They know what they’ve touched, ya know?

I digress. What’s new?

Thinking back on that seventh lady who didn’t burn her hands, when she exits the facility makes a note of who the previous six were because ladies, sadly, always have to wait in line to use public facilities. From that point on #7 avoids the previous six because they’re obviously filthy animals. Or, #7 doesn’t wash either, leaving it up to #8. It gets really complicated after that.

Regardless of who does or does wash isn’t really the issue here. It’s the broken and leaky faucet. Someone resolved the problem by turning off the water to that faucet. Simple. They probably thought they’d get around to fixing it later, or not. Actually, that faucet has been off for 10+ years so you know it was a man who disabled it. Right? I’m pretty sure that’s true, but it wasn’t me. Honest.

Given the authority to procure and arrange installation of new toilets, and a faucet, Diane took me to Costco and allowed me to purchase two toilets, just like the one I installed in one of our bathrooms at home. Get that? I, Jerrie, an old man, installed one of these toilets all by myself and it works and it doesn’t leak.

It took a bit of maneuvering to get two toilets in the back of our Camry, but I did it. On the way home we stopped at the church and I manhandled one into each bathroom, staging them for the plumber who agreed to do the job. I called two plumbers and only one called back.

Shortly after that Diane and I departed on our annual Anniversary trip so I wasn’t there to manage the work. I wasn’t worried, though, how hard could it be?

Turns out that some things certain plumbers encounter are way beyond their capabilities and in the confusion of accomplishing assigned tasks get a truly clouded sense of reality when it comes to figuring out what to charge. In this case, the plumber presented a very vague bill for $1495.00.

Upon return from our trip, I visited the plumber, who was out working on another poorly planned job, no doubt, and talked with the nice lady in the office. I explained that the price seemed overly high for a job where the major components were provided.

The plumber called me a couple of days later and was very apologetic after I explained that the toilets were not provided by him, and questioned his billing tactics that provided no detail about what materials were used. I’m sure the majority of his clientele pay without question, abiding by the popular pre-conceived notion that plumbers are just expensive, and that’s the way it is.

The result of that first contact was a $200 refund check along with a new bill containing some more detail about what was done and what materials were used. It was nice to get a refund, but I wasn’t particularly pleased with the detail and the minimal amount considering he was apparently refunding the cost he would charge a customer to procure two toilets. Having paid $150 for each toilet I was pretty sure that his mark up would escalate the price considerably higher.

The new bill made me a little angry so I sat on it for a while before addressing my concerns with the plumber, again. I contemplated calling again, but decided I wanted something tangible that could be filed for future reference. So, I wrote him a letter providing far more detail that I’m sure he wanted to see. Specifically, about the price of the toilets and what he would charge a customer to provide. I also questioned his charge for wax rings and bolts, which were provided with each toilet, and $50 for caulking, and $150 for a new faucet that didn’t look anything like the one he removed, and the fact that he removed and replaced the wrong faucet. Seriously, how dumb is that? I used his cost for that faucet as a measure for what his markup was for parts. Somewhere around 100% or more I’d guess.

Addressing all of these questions, as well as questioning his ethics a little bit, I sent the letter to him and a bunch of other people. My last comment was that I would love to talk with him about everything in the letter. His response was to send another refund check for $300 with no explanation. Just a check in the mail. I suppose we could have just considered that a nice donation to the church and continue to pursue answers to my questions, but I believe we’re way beyond a peaceful solution. He got the price into the $900’s, which is still high, but not worth the stress of all the confrontation involved, in an area where most people carry guns, should I continue. We’re just not ever going to use him again and we’ll gladly share why with anyone who wants to know.

Then, I’ll fix it myself.

For free.

Like I should have done the first time.

Then we’ll just sit back and watch karma take it’s course.


A Marathon, a Trip, and Eating Out

Hi. In case you’re wondering, it appears that I’m going to survive the grueling sciatica affliction to which I was subjected due to the incredibly hard seats in the EOU gym during Maryssa’s graduation. That was on June 16th – FLASH! I need to share, right here, that June 16th is absolutely correct and I just pulled that date out of thin air BEFORE I checked it. I think I’m going to give myself a little star. Yessir! I’m getting a star!

Regarding my ongoing battle with sciatica pain, I must report that over the past 3.5 weeks I’ve had numerous occasions where I was almost pain-free. Every time that happened I figured it would be OK to do some work outside which undid all the good up til then. I should have listened to Diane. She’s was always saying, “stay on the couch or go take a nap”. Really, she told me that but I had a hard time with it because I couldn’t help thinking about all the outside chores that weren’t getting done while I snoozed away. I finally acquiesced to her demands and have since become very comfortable with napping pretty much any time of the day, guilt free.

Another setback was caused by my unauthorized participation in a marathon on the 4th of July in downtown St. Helens. Jennifer, our daughter, and Lydia, her daughter, were participating and asked Diane to join them on this trek around town. Much to my surprise, she agreed. Jennifer said she already bought the costumes for the dogs and had tutus for her, Lydia, and Diane. Sadly, I didn’t get a tutu.

The marathon had a name … The Underachiever .4K Marathon. Yes, that’s a .4K. Jennifer was in charge of Bronson while Diane and Lydia shared turns with Ziva which left me to bring up the rear, hobbling as fast as I could. When it was all said and done, huffing around every corner looking for the finish line, I finally found it after only 2 hrs 27 mins. Diane and the kids, being much younger and less prone to take small breaks along the way, finished in about 30 minutes.

This is the way our July 4th began …

Then we got all dressed up for the marathon … 

Marathon starting line – runners went first.

Diane and Jennifer bringing up the rear … I don’t know where Jeran was at this point, but he was there.

Here’s Jeran with Lydia and Bronson. Bronson looks absolutely ecstatic about all the commotion, doesn’t he? There was some doubt about Bronson’s willingness to walk all that way, especially while wearing that hat, but he did well. Another danger was the possibility of encounter someone on a skate board. Given the opportunity, he will chase down the rider and take the board away from him. Skaters have learned to not ride past the Walters house.

Ziva was interested in all the other dogs, of course …

This was Diane saying, “Don’t do it!”

Getting untangled …

First stop, the Krispy Creme Lady …

Next stop was the Running Dog Brewery for a beer, or a fantastic locally made root beer. Truly the best root beer I’ve ever tasted. 

Waiting in line for treats.

Still waiting in line …

… and, still waiting in line …

The race finished with a fashion show where Ziva won 2nd place. Judging was based on audience applause and Ziva’s ovation was the loudest. The judge, however, was obviously biased and gave it to a young girl and her dog who were wearing matching tutu’s. I knew I should have had a tutu!

The next day Diane thought it would be fun to have lunch on the Roof overlooking the Columbia River. It’s a new eating facility that, thankfully, has an elevator that drops visitors off at the bar. It was a perfect day and the food was great. They serve all manner of alcohol as well as sandwiches on hogie rolls. Good food, but they didn’t have ham. I wanted ham. Instead, I ate their version of a reuben which wasn’t bad. The view was awesome.

Straight out from the venue is Sand Island where the cities fireworks are ignited. No doubt it was loud and colorful the previous evening from this location. The far beach is the Washington side of the Columbia River.

Diane wanted to capture the flag in front of the old court house.

Last Sunday Diane and I took a trip to Bremerton, WA to deliver Cedric back to his ship, the USS Nimitz, America’s oldest super carrier. We didn’t leave until 2000 so it was a quiet and uneventful trip. We were treated to this sunset as we made our way north which made the trip worth it all by itself.

Instead of turning around and coming right back home, we booked a room at the Navy Gateway Inn and Suites on the Naval Base where we lounged until almost 1100 the next morning. Then we drove home.

After arriving home I had a short nap then picked up Jennifer and Lydia for another artistic adventure at a local school. It was fun as are all events that I get to share with my girls. My painting is the one on right. I think I could have done a better job if it hadn’t been for the two young girls at the table in front of us who were having way too much fun. They distracted me.

It was a good day.

On Tuesday I took my bad back to the golf course to ride around in a cart with Doug and Junior. Every once in a while I’d get out and smack a golf ball just as hard as I could, as did D and J. They were more serious about form and did better than me, but it turns out when I get enough rest and can hit a golf ball a long way. I can putt pretty good, too. It’s everything between the drive and the putting that gives me problems. Still, it’s fun to visit with the guys.

Yesterday, Wednesday, I had a visit with my VA primary care doctor, Dr. Gilbert. She’s been taking good care of me for a few years and this was just a followup so we didn’t have time to talk about everything new that’s cropped up since our last visit. So, I have another appointment next month to address my back. I’m getting my MRI, one of my most favorite things in the world to do. Yessir, stuff me in that tube, the one that tightens around you and squeezes the life out of you. Thankfully, they give me Valium so I can make it through without screaming too much.

After the doctor visit, we went to the Black Bear Diner on TV Highway for lunch. Rick and Jody joined us. Diane had a croissant tuna sandwich, and I had a California Burger.

Rick and Jody thought it was pretty funny and didn’t think I could actually compress it enough to get it in my mouth, but I fooled them. It was an excellent hamburger.

R&J had already eaten so they each just wanted a piece of pie. When it was delivered to the table it was evident karma was being observed because I got the last laugh. Turns out a piece of pie at the Black Bear Diner is a little bigger than a slice.

It was a good ending to a good day.

About My Bride of 50 Years

When I was 16 my friend, Richard, took me to an archery club he had joined so we could improve our skills and have some fun doing it. The instructor, Mel DeLonais, was a no-nonsense kind of guy who everyone instinctively knew to obey for two reasons: 1) He was either carrying his bow or it was within his reach; 2) He was a dead-on shot; and, 3) He was always right. So, at 16, he was someone we listened to and obeyed. OK, that’s three reasons. There are probably more but those are the ones that rise to the top when I think about him.

Also in attendance at these lessons was his daughter, Diane. She was 13 at the time and I pretty much knew right away that she was going to be my life-long partner. She didn’t know that, of course, because that’s not something you tell a 13-year-old girl. I waited until she was 15 or 16 to that, and fully eligible in many countries to be married. At this stage of life the math is fuzzy but my intentions weren’t. She was a Freshman during my Senior year of High School and we were a couple most of that year and stayed in touch via letters and visits home after joining the Navy her Sophomore year.

Wise beyond her years, she turned me down the first time I proposed citing a very valid reason that she should probably finish High School first. That made perfect sense to me so I let her go to experience those tender years on her own. We stayed in contact over the intervening years as she grew up, went to college, and went to work.

When she was 21 I was home on leave after riding the newly commissioned USS Cleveland from Norfolk, VA to San Diego, CA where it was staged for a trip to Viet Nam. It would be my 2nd deployment to that area of the world. This leave period allowed me to attend my 5th Class reunion and I was poised to make the party on my own as I had no one to take with me. During those years all my High School friends had stayed connected, went to college, and some married each other as everyone knew they would. I was a loner because it’s difficult to find dates while living aboard a ship and being transferred all over the place on a regular basis. The loner part was me spending my time waiting for Diane to finally see the potential in me.

That moment came when I visited mutual friends, Junior (my golf partner today) and his wife Nancy. While I was there Diane showed up. I hadn’t seen her in three years. Once again I was stunned by her appearance into my life but managed myself quite nicely, I thought, visiting for a while then excusing myself to go home.

As I was backing out of the driveway Diane came running out of the house. I stopped to see what she wanted and we chatted a bit as she leaned on the passenger window. This was a Friday. She asked me if I was going to my class reunion and I said “yes, would you like to go?” She responded with an enthusiastic, “Yes!”

The rest, my friends, is history.

I don’t remember how much time we had left before the ship for deployed to Viet Nam, but we spent every possible moment together. The catalyst for our future was when she came running to my car like she did. It was THE moment in my life when everything came back together, making the world right again. Had that not happened, had I been allowed to drive away without that conversation with her, I’m confident there would have been another moment in time like that in the future. I’m forever glad she finally chose me that day so I no longer had to wait.

When I picked her up for our trip to the reunion, she slid next to me on the bench seat, like she’d always done on our dates years ago, but this was different. It was as if we silently, mutually agreed, that the final decision had been made. We were a couple again. It was a terrific day, and we made the remaining few we had just as great.

Then I was off to San Diego. There was no one on the pier for me as the ship pulled away but I knew Diane would be there in the future. Life was good.

The following April I transferred from that ship off the coast of Viet Nam and flew home to marry my one true love and embark on an incredible adventure that took us from one side of the world to the other more than once – Okinawa to Italy to Florida to Guam to California to Hawaii and more. Now we’ve been home in Oregon since 1989 and don’t plan to make any long trips. We will, however, be making trips around the Northwest to see what we missed during all those years away.

Now, here we are after 50 years. I’m still stunned every time I look at her because what I see is my High School Sweetheart when she was 14.

I always will.

Happy Anniversary, My Love.


People with Power, My Wet Lawn, and Dogs

Apparently there isn’t much news to report that doesn’t have something to do with sexual misconduct of politicians, TV personalities, or entertainers. It’s reported on so often and at such great length that both Diane and I are becoming immune to it. When it’s reported that another woman stepped forth accusing, say, Al Franken, of touching her a few years ago, Diane changes the channel. Neither of us view that as condoning the behavior but rather we’re tired of hearing about it.

This morning I was reading Bing News, which provides info from a variety of sources, and was treated to another repeat of the things Roy What’shisname, that ex-judge in Alabama, … Moore, that’s his name … and learned that it’s apparently OK to round up certain things to make the story more interesting, I guess. The article, by Marina Fang of the Huffington Post, reported that Roy has “… been accused of sexual misconduct by nearly 10 women, with several incidents allegedly occurring when the women were teenagers and he was in his early 30s.” Since Roy is now 70, I guess that means these alleged early events occurred nearly 40 years ago, or thereabouts. When reporting news like this I guess the Huffington Post editor is OK with reporters just getting close to the correct number of accusers. Using the ’round up/down’ rules I learned in school, the proper number could be any number between 6 and 14. That’s about 10, right?

Nearly 10? Really?

I may never read the Huffington Post again. Ever.

Actually, I will, and I’ll be looking for stuff like this and totally miss the point of the article, no matter what it’s about.

Now – about all this misconduct by all these people, all of a sudden. I think it started with Bill Cosby, one of the more notable offenders, and has recently created a kind of mob mentality that’s causing women to come forth with all these really old accusations. This is just my guess, or course. There’s safety in numbers and they’re finding it easier to share stories of their abuse. I get that. I have no doubt that this kind of behavior goes unreported all the time and I find it distressing for both the victims and the accused. There are people on both sides who don’t believe the other side. It seems the only resolution lies in the hands of lawyers who are allowed to warp the truth, for either side, in defense of their clients.

OK. As I’ve got into that dissertation and struggled to find a way out of it and then it turned into a lawyer “thing”.

Sorry I went down that road and hope I didn’t offend anyone in the process. Just so you know, I tend to believe the women in nearly all of these accusations because I’m a guy. I actually know how easy it is to offend people – men and women. In all cases, when I’m made aware that I’ve done something inappropriate, like reach out to tap a lady on the shoulder to get her attention and she turns just in time for me to touch her breast. It wasn’t my intention, but it happened. I snap my hands back to my chest and apologize. That’s simple, right? My most mortifying moment of inappropriate touching happened when I was walking with a co-worker in Portland. I was a little bit ahead of her at a crossing and started to move when a car came around the corner with no intention of stopping. Like my Mom used to do, I put my right arm out to block this person’s progress so she wouldn’t get splattered on the road. She stopped and I held my hand in place until the car had passed and I decided that I had apparently missed her arm and had my hand planted firmly on her left breast. It took me a couple of seconds to realize that it didn’t feel like an arm should. To confirm this, I looked at my hand, then into her eyes, and snapped my hand back out of her space. I apologized and we continued on. It never happened again and I’m confident to this day, maybe 20 years later, that had we been in that same situation later on, she would have been run over in the cross walk.

Not really. I would have stopped her somehow. Honest.

The problem with these folks in the news is I believe they do stuff like this with intent, not accidentally, and they do it repeatedly because they are in positions of power over their victims. This is an opinion but I’m sure it’s true.

Done with that.

So, it’s been raining like crazy since August and all the grass that withered in the 90+ days of sunshine has found new life. Too bad I can’t mow it.

Gotta stop and go brush the dogs. One of them doesn’t like it so wish me luck.

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.

Something Other Than Politics

Today we celebrated Thanksgiving a little early so Cedric, our grandson, could participate. We’ll be delivering him to Kitsap Naval Base next Thursday on his way to his first real duty station, the USS Nimitz. He’s really happy to be home for these two weeks, but excited about moving on.

So, to keep this post on a positive note, I’m skipping the political angle and focusing on family, food, and the beauty of nature.

This is most of the crew. Left to Right – Lydia Claire, Grandma Diane, Ceiarra Jean, Daniel Dean, Ahmed Hassan, Jeran Daniel, Cedric Dean, and Great Grandma Jean’s left hand (I think). For clarification, I assigned “Jean” as Ceiarra’s middle name because I don’t really know what it is, or if she has one. I’m sure that will be corrected by someone who knows.


This was Diane’s idea I everyone thought it was terrific. Cedric prayed for us to start things, then Diane explained that each person in turn, beginning with Cedric, should light their candle from one of the two lit candles (purple) on the table and make a wish. It could be shared or kept secret. A solemn start to a wonderful meal. For Ahmed, who is an exchange student from Pakistan, this was his first experience with Thanksgiving.img_0445

Now for some pretty stunning sunrise photos. This first one I took from my rocking chair where I generally take my morning naps. I would have been sleeping, I’m sure, but Diane left the drapes open. When the light hit my eye I saw this and figured I was meant to capture it for you all. The funny thing about mornings like this is the color like this is only visible for a few minutes before it fades. This one was from November 3rd.


This is from November 10th.


This is also November 10th reflecting from the living room window.


This is the breakfast I had on November 3rd after the sun woke me up.


For Veteran’s Day Diane took me out for a pedicure, a new experience for me. I’ve gotta tell you it was pretty awesome.


Diane got one, too.

img_0405Then I decided to see if I could get my 2-wheel drive truck up the soggy path into the back yard.


Didn’t quite make it, no matter how many times I tried. The goal was to see how much of the truck I could stuff into that tan tent thing in the background. It’s intended purpose is for yard tools so I guess Karma intervened to prevent access to the upper back yard.


This is what it looks like after finally getting it back together, for the third time. The first two times I put it together a very zesty wind storm blew it down and bent a bunch of poles. That was in the upper yard. This time I carved out two trees (holly on the left, and some sort of bird bush tree on the right. I suppose another strong wind could dislodge it unless I lash it down to the trees. Jewel helped me resurrect it, so thanks, Jewel.


I guess that’s enough for now. Just another few ho-hum days in the great Northwest.

Day 19 – Another Day With Cedric

Diane and I slept very well last night and extended the relaxation period to late morning. Like till 1000. Then the phone rang. I knew right away that it was Cedric because that’s what my caller ID told me. Knowing this, I answered right away to see what was up.

He said, “you can come and get me, if you want.”

“Right now?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said.

“Should I come as I am or should I put clothes on?” I asked.

“Clothes would be good, Grandpa,” he said.

Actually, we were just lounging around in our jammies, waiting to see what the day would bring. It started raining last night and has been raining all day. Sometimes very hard. We had planned to put clothes on if something came up that required us to leave the room. Since it did, we told Cedric we’d be there at noon, and got busy putting on street clothes.

The rules for today were the same as yesterday except he was allowed to stay out until 2100. We got to the barracks and I was walking to the entrance just as Cedric walked out the door. We turned around and went right back in so I could sign him out for the day.

Since it was noon we took the bottomless pit to Popeye’s Chicken that’s actually part of the gas station. Odd, maybe, but that’s the way it is. Kinda like a rest stop on the freeway where there’s a KFC on one end, and Taco Bell on the other end. Here on base it’s just Popeye’s. The other end is just a gas station. That doesn’t really matter, though, because Cedric would have eaten on the gas station side if necessary.


After lunch we made a trip to the commissary with the hope of finding a knee wrap for Diane in the medical section. On the way in I saw an older fellow wearing a USMC baseball hat and did the only natural thing there was to do. He saw it coming when I saluted him and returned it. This kind of caught Cedric off guard because he wasn’t sure whether he should salute or not. No, it was just two old guys honoring each other for service rendered.

We didn’t find anything like what was needed in the commissary so went next door to the PX to search some more. They didn’t have any wraps either, but they had some shoe inserts Diane wanted to try. And I found these young soldiers having fun with costumes.


It’s a new Army.

On the way out of the PX we met the USMC guy coming in so we rendered honors once again. It’s fun being in the military again even if it’s just for fun.

After leaving the PX we stopped by the Women’s Museum at Cedric’s request. I told him I wasn’t sure we could get in because I thought maybe, since it’s a women’s museum that only women were allowed inside. I was wrong, of course. I knew I would be. Cedric wanted a moment of his ideal woman, Athena.


The displays inside were very nicely done and told a very interesting story of women in the Army. I only took one photo inside because it’s not really something I’d find useful in my library and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have found it interesting. This is the one I took …


Then I got Cedric just hanging out waiting for us to catch up on the outside.


The we went back to the our room to enjoy the rain and remainder of the day inside, watching a movie. Cedric has a copy of the Captain America vs. Iron Man movie. Diane had never seen it and she kinda has a crush on Captain America. So do I. He’s hot.

After the movie Diane made us a nice dinner of bake potatoes, salad, and beef brisket. It was excellent. I tried to take a selfie at the table but Cedric ruined it.


After dinner Diane broke out the mini Oreos and Cedric shared a little know story about how his Mom, our little Jennifer, would take Oreos out of the package, eat all the frosting, and put the cookies back. It’s a fond childhood memory of Cedric’s. He was happy that all the minis he got from the package had all the frosting inside.

Sharing this memory prompted him to call his Mom so he could talk to her. He put her on speaker so we could all participate. It was very nice. No other family members were present which was unfortunate, but we had a wonderful talk with Mom.

Cedric shared a karma event with us regarding the young man who agreed to be Cedric’s Liberty Buddy last Wednesday but bailed at the last minute making it necessary for us to visit at the picnic tables by the barracks. Well, today, after we arranged to pick Cedric up at noon, that same sailor wanted Cedric to be his Buddy to go off base to the credit union. Since we were on the way, Cedric declined. Oddly, the sailor was upset apparently telling Cedric he’d remember this. We all decided he probably wouldn’t since he didn’t remember the first event.

Too too, it was time to pack up and head back out into the rain. Cedric has the proper clothing for inclement weather. I love his coat but can’t afford to buy on for myself. Just as we were ready to leave Cedric’s phone rang and it was Jeran. We delayed departure for a bit so they could talk, then Cedric excused himself because we had to get him back to the barracks. He vowed to call Jeran back once he was back in his room.


That was the day. Another good one.


Jess, Our Girls, Calendars, Cookies, and a Mystery

It’s a cold, dark and dreary Sunday morning, fitting for the day after a solemn farewell to Jess. She was only 38 years old when she died in an automobile accident last month. This event, and the subsequent memorial service is significant because Jess is Ceiarra’s, Enola’s, and Chloe’s Mom. Three great kids caught up in the turmoil of custody battles over the past few years and then losing their Mom before the dust settled.

Another significant aspect is that Ceiarra and Lydia are probably the best friends ever in the world of how best friends treat each other. It’s an amazing bond they have and one, I’m sure, that helped them both absorb the shock of this loss with minimal damage. Jess will be missed, but she will always be loved by those who were dear to her, and she will never be forgotten by anyone who ever had the privilege of knowing her.

Here’s our girls – Lydia and Ceiarra.


Tomorrow’s Monday and I have Physical Therapy on Tuesday. That means I only have one day to do all the exercises I missed since last Thursday. Dang.

Whitney, our neighbor, paid us a visit earlier this evening wanting to borrow oatmeal. That’s what she said. Really, I think, she came over to make the dogs bark. I’m sure I’m wrong about that, however, because they bark at anyone who knocks on the door … or drives by. Or simply walks by … on a street 1/4 mile away. They are very alert. Anyway, Whitney said she’d bring us cookies if she could borrow some oatmeal. Of course we gave her all we had. In about 10 minutes she was back with a plate of hot cookies and the remainder of the oatmeal. I swear it was a trick because I’ve never seen anyone make cookies that fast. I ate two of them right away. Good job, Whitney.

Diane and I share our calendars and it’s become a source of entertainment for me. The only entry for tomorrow is “Remember chicken – freezer to garbage”. So, she puts garbage in the freezer until garbage day. Interesting. I wonder how much of that I’ve eaten in the past while left alone long enough that I had to cook something to eat. Or starve. Maybe I should start reading the labels on that stuff.

Another thing I see, at least once a month, is “Jerrie cleans furnace air filters”. It’s funny because it’s stated like I actually do that. I thought all I had to do was reset the little timer thing that lets us know when to do it. I didn’t know it was an actual job. No doubt I’ll be hearing more about that in a little while.

Next Friday is Jerrie Ann Diane’s 5th birthday. My how time flies. She’s getting to be quite a little personality. Since she has Gilligan and Baylee to help with that, I wouldn’t expect anything less.DSC_3701

And, don’t forget that Gracie’s birthday is coming up next month and, according to Jim, she’s probably expecting a party. I don’t have a photo or I’d add one here.

On a parting note, I must share a pretty special thing that happened this morning. As previously reported, Jewel is residing with us. This morning she came out of her room holding a penny in the palm of her hand and asked us if we had lost it. She found it laying on the rug in her room as soon as she got up. But, we don’t go in her room, and that rug had been vacuumed more than once in the past week. What’s interesting is it was a 1913 penny. Both of our Mom’s were born in 1913 and they graduated from High School together in Nebraska. Jewel and I were both born in 1944 and graduated from High School together in Scappoose. Neither of our Mom’s were aware that they lived only a few miles apart for many years until my brother, Jack, figured out the relationship between them. What a surprise. So, the question is, how did the 1913 penny wind up on Jewel’s bedroom floor? And, what does it mean?

I leave you to ponder that as I prepare myself for bed.


Dunsmuir to Naval Air Station Lemoore

The title is our current location, the one we attained on the long drive from Dunsmuir. Driving tasks were shared, which is new for our trips. We’ve established a new pattern where Diane starts us off, I drive the middle, and she ends it. Works just great. I drove for 2 hours and 4 minutes. She drove the other 5. Doesn’t seem fair, I know, but that’s way better than her driving all 7 of them, which she’s been known to do. It’s nice to know that she trusts me now.

While in Dunsmuir we had time to wander around a bit and learned that there’s way more to the place than the little bit one sees while flying by on the freeway. It’s an old town which we confirmed by visiting the local cemetery. We do that once in a while because we find it very interesting. I even took photos, like normal. The three headstones shown captured my interest the most. The first one because it’s a military stone commemorating a gentleman who was in the Indian Wars. Never seen one of those before. The older two were important to me because they were obviously hand-made and didn’t have dates. Just the names Pa and Ma Rafferty.

Then this church jumped up in front of us and demanded a photo of its own. Really nice stone work. Beautiful.


One of the most anticipated portions of this trip was when we went by Shasta Lake. The last few times we’ve been this way, the lake has been nearly empty. We were happy to see that it was full, once again.


I tried taking a photo when we crossed the bridge, but that didn’t work out very well. So, Diane drove down to the moorage on the other side, something we’ve never done before. It was good to see the recovery up close and personal.

Somewhere along the line, noonish I think, we stopped to eat brunch. I found a place using my iPad that looked promising and that’s where we went. It was a country-style place where everything is home-made on site. Nice. I think they shipped the eggs in from someplace because we couldn’t hear any chicken noises. Same for the bacon … no pig noises. There was, however, a cow out back. I think.

Anyway, we both had omelets and fried potatoes with non-noutrishonal white bread toast. It’s our favorite. While eating, Diane saw a guy digging around in the garbage for something to eat. Sitting there with a nice meal in front of us required that we take action. I went out and introduced myself and saw that he was articulate and didn’t appear to be incapacitated. I asked if I could buy him a meal and he said that would be great. I escorted him inside and turned him over to the hostess, then gave him $20 so he could get whatever he wanted. He chose to sit by himself and ordered a huge order of biscuits and gravy. Satisfied that he wasn’t going to bolt and spend the money on something less healthy, I left him alone. He said his name is John and he’s from Longview, Washington.

Figure the odds of that. We’re from St. Helens, Oregon, 800+ miles from home and John is from Longview which is only about 15 miles away from our home. Diane and I call these chance meetings “God Moments” because we feel we are led to moments in time where we have a chance to make a good decision. It’s gratifying to make the right one.

Getting John fed allowed me to return to Diane and enjoy my Denver omelet.


And Diane got a good cup of coffee …


Now we’re enjoying our stop at NAS Lemoore. When we arrived the fighter jets were landing and taking off, making lots of noise. That was going on when Diane called her Mom to relate our day. She had to stop a few times because she couldn’t hear and I asked if I should call the front desk and complain about the noise. She didn’t think it would be a good idea, considering where we were and all.

I could only agree. Then we ate soup and called it a night.


OK, I lied …

What’s new, huh? My last post was sent in a moment of weakness when I was feeling a little low about something inconsequential, like a pending doctor’s appointment, or something like that where the potential for terrible news was possible. I did have a few doctor’s appointments overt he past few weeks, but I wasn’t concerned about any of them because I typically not concerned about anything at all. I’m Mr. Stress Free about everything. Really, I am. Ask anyone.

I don’t worry about ISIS, which, by the way, I choose to pronounce “is is” instead of “ice iss” just for fun. World events seem to have a way of evening out in the long run, kinda like the stock market, if you just leave things alone. That, and there’s always Karma to fix the wrongs in the world.

For that same reason, I’m not even a little bit concerned about the upcoming presidential election because I figure things will be very interesting no matter who gets into office. I also feel that things won’t change much regardless of who wins.

I do feel, however, that if Trump somehow wins we will revert to a society where “Political Correctness” will become a thing of the past. It will be OK to function without worrying about whether of not all your filters are functioning properly. That’s my perfect world, as most of you might have guessed. I have a hard time applying filters to my words or actions. Life’s way more fun that way. Ask Donald.

If any of the other candidates win it will be business as usual because they’re all career politicians. Those should be prohibited, disallowed, against the law. It should be six-year terms max then it’s time to leave, not rally for another term.

I don’t think there should be an age limit on any positions, either. I figure if a person can either ride a bike, or roller skate, they qualify. If they can do both, better yet.

All office holders should write their own speeches or, like Donald, just share whatever is on their mind at the time in response to any question. It’s just more fun that way.

Strictly my opinion, of course.

Also, to stay in line with my normal conduct, I’m not going to edit the above except to correct spelling errors this program detects. It is what it is. I might read it again in a couple of days, or next week. Maybe. If there is anything too outrageous, I trust those who read it to let me know so I can consider fixing it.

On the fun side of life, I’ve been golfing twice this year already. Junior and I went out on January 1st, and again last Friday, the 8th. I’m happy to say that I did pretty well both times. Our plan is to continue going out once a week, weather permitting, until one of us dies. Now that’s a commitment. Doug was unable to join us because he’s still training his new fake knee and it’s proving to be a difficult process. So, everyone send Doug good thoughts to help get him through the healing process.

Me and Junior ready to tee off.IMG_2836

This was our view looking back on the 5th fairway. Mt. St. Helens looks good.IMG_2838This is what happened two days later.


Another fun day was last Thursday when Cedric asked me to go with him and his Dad to the Navy recruiter. It appealed to me because the last time I went to a Navy recruiter was in 1962. I thought it would be interesting to see what’s changed. I say that as if to indicate I can remember that last visit. Not likely, but I can guess.

The recruiters we met were great in all respects and put Cedric at ease right away and made it a really good experience. All I did was shoot the breeze with them and share a few stories of what it was like being in the real Navy all those years ago. It was a fun visit, and Cedric is on the way to being a US Navy Sailor. The tradition continues. To expand on that a bit, Lydia is working through the process of applying for an appointment to the Naval Academy. Nothing firm there, yet, but I’m looking forward to that, too.

I hope everyone is enjoying the new year as much as I am.

So far it’s pretty good.