Various and Sundry Things

Greetings fellow Earthlings who woke up on the green side of the grass, as did I, this glorious morning.

My awakening was a confused one because the house was so quiet. Like normal, I was once again on the living room sofa and noticed my bride in the kitchen making coffee. On a normal day, once the coffee was done, she would bring me a cup which is code for “GET UP YOU LAZY BUM AND GO YANK SOME WEEDS!” That didn’t happy, however, and it took me a while of this quiet solitude to realize that it didn’t happen because today is Sunday. I don’t have to pull weeds on Sunday. So, I just relaxed, went back to sleep, and waited for my coffee.

She never brought it to me, though, and I couldn’t hear her thrashing around in any of the nearby rooms that generally alerts me to the need to get up. “Thrashing” is too harsh a word here. She never really Thrashes. It’s just the noise people make, especially me, when they’re trying very hard to be quiet so as to not wake up people they love beyond measure. It never works out well for me because I always do it in the dark. No lights for me. No Sir. I know where everything is in the house … except which doorway the big brown dog has decided to lay in front of, or which end of the hall she chose to occupy. Because of that uncertainty, I walk slowly and carefully but the result is still the same because the big brown dog is deaf. She responds to touch. Consequently, when I finally make contact with her, as I slowly slide my feet, one at a time, she jumps up making all kinds of skritching noises on the floor which ignites the Barking Gene of the little black dog (toy poodle). On the verge of chaos, I get them both calmed down, but the damage, I know, has been done. Still, I close the bedroom door and sneak away. It always works that way, but over the years I’ve learned that all that noise really isn’t my fault and my bride understands this. All I want to do is let our four-legged family members out to run freely in the field behind our house. And, to hopefully pee in said field.

Normally I go to church with her on Sunday and she makes sure I’m up and functioning in time to make myself pretty for the event. When I looked at the clock it was 10:30 am and church has already started so I look in the garage and observe that her car is gone so it’s obvious that I’ve been abandoned, left unsupervised, and could, if I so desired, don my weed-pulling attire and go outside to get really sweaty.

Instead, I got my own cup of coffee, fired up my computer, corrected the church newsletter that I sent to everyone yesterday with an error, then sent it again, and finally decided to visit with all of you for a while. That’s what I do when I’m not given a task. I sit quietly, like this, and think of ‘stuff’ I could be doing, and things I’ve done since last we ‘spoke’ …

… like golfing. I was allowed to go golfing with Doug and Junior twice over the last couple of weeks and, predictably, I did badly. But we all had a good time, especially JR. He didn’t fall down even once. Doug and I help avoid that by teeing up JR’s balls so he can take a whack at it, then pick up his displaced tee and escort him back to the cart.

Now, about JR … in my mind he’s kind of a miracle because a few weeks ago he had a stroke and was paralyzed on his right side. I talked with him about it, and it went something like this …

“So,” I asked, “when did you discover that you’d had a stroke.”

“Well,” he responded, “when I woke up with a severe need to urinate and tried to get out of bed. I couldn’t move my right leg.”

“Did you determine right then that you’d had a stroke?”

“No. I just thought something was really screwed up. My right arm wasn’t working too well, but I was able to make it grab my right leg and swing it off the bed, then I rolled to the floor.”

“Why did you do that?”

“I had to take a leak really bad.”

“Oh, ya. That.”

“I started dragging myself to the bathroom but gave up after a couple of feet and called Jeri for help. She helped me back to bed after my bladder was pleasingly empty (in a way will not explain in detail as he did). Then people showed up. I knew who they were, but could not say their names. I guess I was mumbling. So, they took me to the VA Emergency Room where they hooked me up to a bunch of stuff and just left me there. When a doctor finally showed up he told me that I’d definitely had a stroke, but that there wasn’t anything they could do for me.”

“Really!”

“Yes, really. So, I yanked all the hoses and tubes off my body and Tami took me home. My heart rate and blood pressure were higher when I left than when I got there so once I got home I medicated myself.”

“What did you take?”

“One morphine, 2 oxycodone, 2 Tylenol, and 1 nitro. My BP went down, my heart rate slowed, and things started going back to normal. Then I just sprawled in my recliner until it was time to go golfing again.”

Yes, we went golfing again about two weeks after this happened and he still beat me. We went a couple of days ago, too, and I really thought I had a chance to finally whip him, but that didn’t happen even though I was keeping score. So, after a really harrowing event, JR is back to being about as normal as he can be. Quite amazing.

On other news fronts, I was summoned to the County Courthouse by Betty, our County Clerk, who is kind of Diane’s boss when it comes to counting votes during elections. She, Betty, apparently was cleaning out her attic and found some computer parts she thought I could use and wanted me to get them. Turns out, she had a brand new, in the box,  NCR keyboard, the one with the HUGE connector, way bigger than a PS2 connector, that will not work on any computer made today. I was grateful for the gift and plan to incorporate it in a project I have in mind using obsolete computer parts. I think something like that would look nice hanging on the living room wall, don’t you?

Last Thursday I spent a log of time on my feet chopping onions and carrots, and blending black beans and tomatoes while assisting a herd of ladies to construct a 150 portion version of Diane’s Black Bean Vegetable Soup. It’s really great soup, a family favorite. Making it for 150 people was interesting for me because it required extended use of appliances that I generally only get to use for short amounts of time. Like the Cuisinart. Great for the onions and carrots, but they wouldn’t let me chop up the celery. I really wanted to chop the celery.

After the chopping was done, and soup taste-tested (I’m the official taster) I was dismissed with instructions to return at 7 pm. I went home and just relaxed until the phone rang at 6:45. I answered and was asked, “are you coming to get me?” I considered my response and figured that saying I was told to her there at 7 wouldn’t be well received. She was tired and needed to get home.

Last Saturday the family celebrated both Jeff’s and my birthdays. We’re only two days apart and the ‘real’ dates were middle of the week, the reason for deferring till the weekend. Gatherings like that are always a loud, fun-filled event for everyone. They fill the house with happiness and we love it. We also love the quiet that follows, but the hustle-bustle noise always makes us smile. One thing, though, is trying to explain to ‘outsiders’ that son Jeff’s birthday is only two days after mine. He’s 46 now so I just tell folks that he’s my step son from Diane’s first marriage. That’ a lie, of course, because even folks with rudimentary math skills can quickly surmise that if he’s 46 he was obviously born in 1972, four years after Diane and I were married. I just add another lie that she was pregnant for a really long time.

Yesterday Diane and I attended a retirement party for our friend Rick who exercised his right to end his 30-something-year career with ABF Trucking. We got to visit with lots of old friends that we don’t see nearly often enough because they live so far away. There were three Ricks, two Jerry’s, two Pats, Nelda, Diane, Jo, Josette, Jody, Vie, Lucan, Stacy, Brandy, Linda, Allen and many others I cannot remember. For those who I failed to mention, forgive me. I’m old and forget things. Diane thinks I have dementia even though I’ve explained, many times, that I don’t need to remember ‘things’ because she does it for me. That’s one of the many responsibilities a wife has. Right? Well, maybe not all wives will agree with that, and it’s OK.

Once again I’m totally upset that when I select the magic button on my Xfinity remote that displays current and future sporting events, there is absolutely no mention of NCAA Softball. I’ve got to actually search for info on the games. Then, after doing that, I have to sit quietly while the #1 seeded Lady Ducks get smoked by lower ranked teams in the Women’s College Softball Championships. Last year they lost the first two games and went home. This year they won the first game 11-1 then lost the next two and were eliminated. I think if Xfinity would simply include college sports properly in their displays, the teams would do much better. Just wait till next year. Now we must root for Washington, the #2 seed who won their first two games.

Go Huskies.

On The Road Again

We’re on the road, figuratively speaking. We were on the road for a while to get where we are, but right now we’re in space A31 at South Beach State Park. That’s anywhere from ¼ to ¾ of an inch south of Newport depending on which map you’re looking at. We spent the last three nights at Bullard’s Beach State Park which is just a tiny bit north of Bandon. We were scheduled to leave there Saturday but turns out we were able to see everything they had to show us in just a few days so we left. That, and it was really cold when we got up this morning and we weren’t really into being cold. Neither was Ziva. We took her for a walk on the beach this morning and she indicated that she wasn’t having much fun. So, I guess we could blame the early departure on Ziva.

Some interesting things happened yesterday worthy of mention. First, Diane demonstrated her ability to tuck and roll with the best of those who do that. She was stepping off a tall rock down to the soft sand with me holding her hand. Once she was committed to hit the beach she lost he balance and instinctively put her body in “noodle mode” to ensure nothing snapped. The result was that she let go of my hand, taking me out of the equation, fell on her left arm and rolled to within a 1/16th of an inch of a large piece of scraggly drift wood. I was pleased to note that she didn’t emit the noise with which I associate severe injury and she reported that she was OK. What a relief. I was fearing another trip to the hospital for her. She was able to get herself up and we went on a nice little walk. That was a close one, for sure.

Later on, back at the RV, I got a little cocky trying to turn on the porch light without looking at the switches. When I went to take Ziva for a walk I discovered in a dramatic manner that I had instead retracted the steps. I was in free fall for only a very short time so I didn’t actually fall down. I just hyperextended everything in my left leg and had my right rotator cuff not already have been completely torn, it would have been when I instinctively grabbed the door jamb and succeeded in yanking my entire body to a screeching halt right after my left foot hit the ground. It hurt a bit, but I didn’t fall down. I count that as a successful exit.

Considering the potential damage to both of our bodies, we figured there would be issues with mobility this morning, but neither of us seemed to be any the worse for wear. It was quite a relief, I must say. To celebrate, we leashed up Ziva and took her to the beach for a very cold walk, the one I mentioned earlier.

While on Bullard’s Beach, we left foot prints for others to discover.

To round off the stay at Bullard’s Beach in style, we took selfies …

We also visited the area near the Coquille Light House on both sides of the Coquille River.
South side …

North side …

Finally, at the North Jetty of the Coquille River, Diane showed Ziva some really big sticks. She wasn’t impressed.

Now I must nap.

Big Guns, Little Guns, No Guns, Some Guns, Snow, and Fast-Pitch

You may have noticed over the years that I tend to stay away from politically charged topics, especially those involving guns. After this last shooter took advantage of  a soft and unprotected target to make his statement, I think all of the information learned about the shooter after the fact kind of exonerates the gun as being the problem. It’s the person holding it and, oh ya, it’s all those folks who couldn’t seemingly find the time, or a reason, to investigate all the warnings they received about the shooter. You’ve heard all this if you watch the news so I’m just being redundant and I apologize.

I’m one of those guys who think it’s OK if teachers were allowed to carry a concealed weapon. I suspect that the coach who lost his life would have solved the problem in a more dramatic manner if he had a gun. Maybe he should have had the gun that the school resource officer didn’t use.

Sorry. That was a low blow. I was happy to hear that he resigned his $80K/year job after choosing to not do anything when he could have.

So, after all that, I’m going to offer a solution even though I do not know who funds the resource officer position – the school or the police department. Doesn’t matter to me. I suggest that whoever does should hire veterans, preferably ex Special Forces kind of people who aren’t unfamiliar with the stress and danger of wading into a fire fight. I think they should carry their weapons openly, like just like all those Secret Service agents standing guard around pretty much every important building in Washington, D.C. It’s a real deterrent, believe me. I talked with one of them – asked him for a recommendation of a good place to eat. He was very helpful, and I was impressed with the weapon he was carrying. Kind of like the one our Florida shooter used, I think.

With that thought in mind, I’ll also share that I don’t see the need for weapons of war to be sold to civilians. The only justification I’ve ever heard from owners of such weapons is that they are “fun to shoot,” or that they want them for home protection. OK, I kinda get that but I’m still not a fan of AR-15’s, or similar weapons, being available to pretty much anyone who qualifies, even if they’re nuts. Personally, I don’t own a weapon. Never have. However, if I were to purchase one, I’d get a shotgun. There’s a bit of logic in my addled brain that thinks a shotgun is better protection than a pistol or a fancy rifle. With the latter you have to be a good shot. With a shotgun you only need to get close to get someone’s attention.

I swerved way out of the lines there that define my normal behavior and blog content, didn’t I? I’d apologize but that would be hypocritical because I could avoid all the potential turmoil this may cause by simply not posting it. But I won’t, so it’s evident that I’m not sorry I did it. I may be sorry tomorrow, but not right now.

Our weather remains to be cold (like in the teens) and it snows a bit now and then, but the roads are clear. There was a tricky period of time at the onset of the bad weather when one of the freeway exits was nothing but black ice making it a tricky trip. It was fun to watch.

It’s after 9 pm and nearing my bedtime, but I must stay alert because we’re waiting for our Niece Steffani to arrive from Idaho. They should be here any time. The reason for their trip is they thought it was time for Birk, Tyler’s little black dog, to meet the rest of the dogs in the family. That, and Maryssa is playing fast-pitch softball against Concordia this weekend. We love to watch her play. We heard a rumor that Maryssa hit a homer in her team’s home opener. Don’t know what the score was, or who won, but she hit a home run. Good for her. It’s her senior year at EOU (Eastern Oregon University) so this is her final season as a collegiate player.

I feel better now. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I’ll try to be a little more upbeat next time.

Cheers

Sunset Bay State Park and other Stuff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just me and my lovely bride.

A different look at Simpson Reef in the distance. 

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

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

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

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

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

It was pretty both times.

Stress Test, and Prescriptions

Today I participated in a stress test of my heart. That’s where, in my case, a male Nurse Practitioner (a nurse that acts like a doctor, lots of times far better) and a girl in a blue jump suit (like they wear in county jails) attached EKG probes all over my body then planted me on a treadmill running at 3 mph and told me to walk till I dropped. Actually, they just told me to let them know when it became painful or when I was just to pooped to continue. The legs started giving out first because I never, ever, walk anywhere at 3 mph so the pace was a bit much. They slowed it to 2.5 mph to accommodate that problem for me, thankfully. Then the skin covering my left shoulder-blade started going numb, then it felt like it was burning, as did most of my left arm. I shared this info but they didn’t seem to be impressed so I pressed on. In truth, I wasn’t too concerned about my left arm either because it always tingles a bit and is always colder than my right arm. I blame all that on faulty nerves.

Once the pain became a bit much, and I had confirmed that I met the minimum BPM increase for my suspicious heart, I cried “Uncle” and they stopped the machine. Leaving me connected to the EKG unit, they put a chair on the tread mill behind me so I could sit during the 5-minute cool down period. All the while they kept the EKG machine running, sharing little knowing glimpses at each other and nodding, which wasn’t lost on me. It was obvious one saw something out of line and shared it for confirmation.

They took all their findings and left to confer with their staff, they said, and suggested that I sit down and wait, which I did. They were gone for a while. Finally, the NP reappeared and shared the good news that during the cool down period, as well as during the 30 heart monitor I recently did, they detected PVC’s of some sort that aren’t normal. Then I was told I was getting a new blood pressure medicine, Metoprolol Tartrate (a Beta Blocker), to take in addition to the other two blood pressure meds I currently take. I asked about the redundancy of taking so many different kinds of BP meds but didn’t get a reasonable answer. So, I’ll toss that one to my PC doctor who knows everything.

Now, about prescriptions. My new bottle of pills directs me to “Take one tablet by mouth twice a day.” I’ve seen this many times previously and always wondered at the wording, but seeing it again on my new prescription made me wonder just exactly how that should be done. I know what they mean, but I can’t help wonder how a more literal person than me would decipher the process. To me it means I should take one tablet, retrieve it, then take it again later in the day. They only way to do that, of course, would be to tie a string on it the first time. The problem is the pills are really small so I’d have to work on devising a way to attach the string.

I think it’s obvious I’m not going to be tying string to a pill any time soon because I’m pretty sure swallowing something like that would make me gag. If it didn’t on the way down, it surely would on the way back up. Nope. Not going to do it.

It’s time for me to rest and complete my stress test recovery process which includes a nap. It’s either that that makes me drowsy, or the big lunch Diane made me eat on our way home. I had a small chicken fried steak, hash browns, two eggs, three pancakes, and a cup of coffee. Whatever the reason, a nap is going to fix it.

Later.

Apocolyptic Eclipse, and other Stuff

Does anyone else wonder why the media is making the coming eclipse appear to be, like, the end of the world? Here in Oregon everyone is urged to stock up on food, gas their vehicles, batteries, candles, and be careful with their pets during the 2+ minutes of darkness. It’s like a major disaster is pending.

Early on we heard local media at home treat this event “like” a catastrophe and make sure everyone has all the survival equipment they need to weather the storm, but it seems like the comparison is no longer being made – omitting that reference makes it sound like the real deal. Kind of like “War of the Worlds”.

Diane just checked the internet, which is functioning just fine here, in case you’re wondering, and saw news about all the “Eclipse Traffic” in the Prineville/Bend area. It’s bumper-to-bumper on the major roads in that area. Amazing.

Me? I’m just going to continue like normal, like it’s just another day with a brief bit of welcome shade, right up until the earth explodes. If I’m lucky, I’ll be eating a fudge cycle  when it happens.

Now, add to all that hoopla about the eclipse, we have demonstrations going on that are on the verge of being touted as domestic terrorism by some government officials. Nifty. Hate groups seem to be coming out of the wood work.

To make it worse, the media seems to think the blame for these events fall directly on President Trump’s shoulders. Interesting. These folks have been around far longer than Donald Trump.

Sorry for jumping on that wagon. I normally don’t do that, but all the negative news about what’s going on is disturbing. There doesn’t seem to be anything good happening anywhere according to reporters. So, let me share some with you.

This morning I took the dogs for a walk to the off-leash area for a romp and, hopefully, a major potty stop. It was early and the temp was fairly reasonable at less than 80 something. While there I struck up a conversation with another dog owner, Amber, who lives in Eugene. She found this dog park after looking at all of them in the area and deems it to be the best one around. It’s at least a full acre of fenced ground with water, and lots of sawdust piles in which to play. I always find it interesting that when animals are left to their own devices, they seem to all get along just great.

Anyway, Amber and I talked small talk for a long time, then got down to specifics like, “does she come there often,” and “what’s your favorite color,” and stuff like that. That’s a lie, of course. I didn’t ask her what her favorite color is. I did, however, considering the location and her perceived age (late 20’s), ask her what she taught. I actually asked that .. “what do you teach?”

That raised her eyebrows, thought for a bit, then asked in turn, “did I say something to make you think I am a teacher?”

“No,” I responded, “but it just seemed like the right question.”

“Well,” she said, “I’m a speech therapist. Good guess.”

From there we talked about many things, including dogs, and I suspect we parted company with mutual respect. Her respect for me for not hitting on her like I’m sure many men do because she’s very attractive, and my respect for her because of her dedication to her chosen career. She obviously enjoys what she does and I enjoyed my brief encounter with her, even though I don’t have any idea what her favorite color is.

Diane made another couple of trips to Walmart* today, something she enjoys, then she made another trip this afternoon to get the winning ticket for the $400 million + Power Ball drawing. We’re due to win. Just like everyone else in the good old USofA, and Canada. Who knows? Maybe this is the one. It is, after all, the new American Dream.

For being good, Diane stopped on her last trip back to get dinner at Taco Bell.

Now for some photos for those of you who made it this far …

For most of the day, when Diane was out shopping in air-conditioned spaces, this is what my view was when I opened my eyes.

By tipping my head up a little, this is what I saw.

After walking the dogs a little ways from the parking spot, this is what I saw on the way back.

Looking a bit to my left I could see our nearest neighbor. The sites here are very far apart. That neighbor, incidentally, serenades everyone at night with either his banjo or his bass. He told me he’s in a bluegrass band and needs to keep his fingers limber. He’s very good at his craft … fun to listen to.

Hot Tubs & Cars

Today it’s sunny and hot here in NW Oregon making working outside a tough decision unless it involves water. So, I incorporated water into my outdoor activities to ensure I stayed cool. That’s not true, of course. I was directed by my lovely bride to power wash the hot tub and the area around and under it to ensure there were no spiders left to creep around on her arms while she reclines in the nice hot water. Heat is one of the best things she’s found for her healing broken arm bones and she’s been wanting the hot tub cleaned up for a couple of years. I’ve been putting it off because I feared the pump motors would screech and smoke demanding to be replaced. I spent a bunch of time cleaning out dozens of spiders, who spent their last days in a futile attempt to climb the slippery insides of the tub, finally succumbing to their fate and falling into the last bit of water remaining in the bottom of the unit. I envision them swimming feebly to the edge of the water, seeking high ground, finding none, then finally slipping into unconsciousness and sinking to the bottom of the shallow pool, joining those who went before. Then, along I come with my wet/dry vac to unceremoniously suck them up and dump their soggy remains into the soil at the base of a bush where they can reunite with nature and make beautiful things.

Once the tub was cleaned, I started the fill process which takes a couple of hours. When it was about half full I powered it up, expecting to hear the screech previously mentioned but, to my never-ending surprise, the pump motors, one of which I replaced years ago for the screeching reason, made not a sound and pumped water without a problem. The heater works, too, which is another part of the hot tub I replaced in the past. Well, not the entire heater, but just the sensors that detect water temperature. It’s nice to know they still work after all this time. I just checked and the temp is up to 95 so it will be perfect at 104 when the temp drops to 55 this evening. Diane’s eager to check it out. I’m not a hot tub person so rely on her expert analysis of my success in this area. So far, so good.

I mentioned that Diane and I hocked everything we had and purchased a motor home which we would love to live in as we drive around the country. You know, south in the winter, north in the summer. You, know, regular snow geese kind of people. Toward that end, we’ve been cleaning it up and loading it with all the stuff we removed from the trailer before delivering it for the trade. I’ve learned that I need to let Diane make a decision about what goes and what stays because apparently not all of it is going into the new rig. So, I just wait and take out those things that I’m told to take. I did, however, assume the responsibility of what gets stowed in the ‘basement’ compartments and loaded most of those up with odds and ends.

Now that we don’t have a trailer, we don’t need a truck. Oddly, Jack and Wynette now have a trailer, and don’t have a truck. They have a Toyota Camry. To resolve this crises we both decided to just trade vehicles and assume the current debt for the respective vehicles. Simple. No salesmen to fiddle with and we’re both getting a pretty good deal. Life should be that easy in all respects.

As I write, I’m waiting for the local Chevy dealer to call me back to report the maintenance department is done working on the truck we’re trading to Jack an Wy. They are fixing the front differential because it apparently has a bearing going bonkers. Makes all kinds of whiny noise while rolling down the road. It goes away when the transfer case is set to 2 wheel drive. The fix is being done under the 100K mile/10 year warranty for the drive line. They’ve had it for 2 days now and I wonder if we’re going to get it back. We got a 2017 Malibu for a loaner and Diane dislikes it a lot. She took it to Portland for her physical therapy and had to deal with the new feature that turns the engine off while sitting at stop lights. Pretty nifty. Tom told me something about how to make it come back to life, but I couldn’t remember. So, Diane just restarted it each time. Consequently, she’s not a fan of this feature.

Now it’s time for a nap.

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.

From a Flawless Plan to an Adventure

The plan was:

  • Jennie to take Cedric to Sandy for double-header – Lydia was to pitch both games – and Diane and I would meet them there.
  • After the games, take Cedric back to his ship, USS Nimitz CVN-68, in Bremerton, WA.
  • Diane would drive Jennie’s car home while we headed north to Bremerton.

Simple plan, right? Well, it morphed quickly into the Adventure when Diane returned home from her dermatologist in the morning with lots of burned, crispy spots on her neck and doctor’s orders to remain out of the sun for 4 days. Considering the way the sun shines around here, that could take a couple of weeks. When I returned from golfing, which I did while Diane was at the dermatologist, she said she wouldn’t be going to the games which changed the entire plan for driving Cedric back to his ship.

The new plan was for me to drive Jennie and Cedric to the game, then just head north after the games. Simple, right? Well, to get ready, I had about an hour to mow the front yard, shower, and pick up Lydia and Cedric for the 1.25 hour trip to Sandy. Traffic was horrendous and it took 2 hours so we missed the first inning. It was OK because Lydia wasn’t pitching. Brooklyn was! Shock. She was supposed to have been off doing her Columbia County Rodeo Queen responsibilities. So, the six seniors got to play two more games together. Lydia pitched the first 3 innings of the second game then moved to first base.

Left to right: Brooklyn (pitcher), Kayla (3rd base), Bailey (left field), Ceiarra (1st Base), Mercedes (catcher), Lydia (any position needed)

Towards the end of the game Cedric gave us a huge sigh, hung his head, and reported that he had forgotten his keys at home. That required another change to the plans. Instead of going directly north via the freeways, we had to detour back through St. Helens. This increased the 3 hour trip to 4 hours. He had also forgotten one of his hats. OK, it happens, so we just dealt with it and went on about the business of watching the rest of the game.

Before leaving, Cedric had time to say good-bye to Lydia who was going home on the bus with the team. She got very emotional knowing she wouldn’t see him until next February, at the earliest. She cried, something she rarely does. For that reason, and others related to female hormones, some of her team mates started crying too. It wasn’t long before many of them were crying in support of Lydia’s sadness, and Cedric was getting hugs from many of the girls who don’t even know him, wishing him luck. It was a Kodak moment the coaches couldn’t ignore so they gathered the team for a picture of them crying and laughing. Cedric was very touched by it all, as were we.

Then something happened off to my left that caused a reaction that soothed the crowd.

With all this emotion going on Coach Little told Jennie to just take Lydia home with us, which we did. She slept with her head in Cedric’s lap most of the way. During the trip it Lydia said she’d like to go to Bremerton with us because she’d never been on a navy base and would like to see Cedric’s ship. School on Friday was the only issue but Jennie resolved that quickly and the deal was done. Lydia was going with us.

We got to St. Helens around 2030, Lydia got a go bag while Cedric passed out more hugs with his brothers, Jeran …

… and Ahmed …

… and away we went. It was dark, nothing to see, and Jennie drove from home to Bremerton. We got on base no problem, and dropped Cedric at his ship’s liberty gate. Lots of lights but not a photo-op.

Then we went in search of the Navy Gateway Inn and Suites (NGIS). It took an hour to find it and required the help of a person on the phone guiding us while she used a map of the base. While looking for parking I noticed signs indicating the spots we’re reserved for NGIS which looked suspiciously like NCIS so I didn’t park in them. Finally, I looked closer and noticed it was for the hotel and gratefully parked.

When checking in I bantered with the desk clerk, Randy, and learned he was born on Guam. Jennie piped up, “I was too. In Agana!” she said. What a small world even though Jennie was born there about 20 years before Randy.

Room had one bed and a recliner. Lydia, to be kind, said she wanted the recliner but I declined her the recliner and reclined in it quite comfortably the entire nite while the two girls, one of whom forget her Jammies, rested nicely on the queen bed. Even though Lydia slept in the clothes she wore for the trip, she intentionally didn’t bring Jammies, so I guess it was Jennie’s Jammies that didn’t make the trip. It was OK. By the time we got the lights out, it was about 0100 and we were all dog-tired.

Got up about 1000, left the room, then went to the NEX for some trinkets to commemorate the journey. Then I drove them all over the base to get a good view of the USS Nimitz in the daylight so the girls could see it. Last night it was too dark to see it clearly.

Then we went to breakfast at Denny’s which was almost all the way north in Silverdale. We all ate quite well. Lydia had a bacon burger with avocado which I had doubts that she could wrap her mouth around …

… but she did …

Jennie had this, but didn’t want the sausage links …

… so I got them with my Denver omelette …

After breakfast, Jennie drove us south toward home, the long way through Shelton, because we didn’t want the freeway stress. About 50 miles from the finish, she cried Uncle and I took over to the end. She drove the lion’s share of the trip and didn’t scare me even once. I was proud of her. After I started driving it began raining harder, and harder causing me to run the wipers at full speed much of the time.

I got them home a little after 1500, waited for Lydia to get her softball gear, then took her back to school for practice. The team has one more game on Friday then they can put their softball gear away. Lydia will pitch the entire game Friday because Brooklyn is definitely done for the season.

I arrived home to an empty house because Diane is at the court house again, working with the election committee. Well, the house wasn’t really empty because the dogs were here, and they were very happy to see me. They’re always happy to see anyone, even if they’ve only been gone a couple of minutes.

Oh, and the hat Cedric forgot at home? He forgot it in the truck when he got his stuff to go to the ship. Lydia found it.

I was feeling pretty good until I put this all down on paper and now I’m tired again. If it was a little later, I’d go to bed but it’s only 1730, so I’m going just have a nap.

Oops! Diane just buzzed into the garage in the roadster so maybe a nap isn’t an option. I may have to go out and kill something for her to eat.

Speed Run To Nampa

Last Saturday Diane decided we should take a trip to Nampa to visit Jim & Donna. The main underlying reason was to pick up her ‘new’ car that Jim checked out for us and deemed it to be in great shape. Based on his superior input, I made the deal and away we went. In addition to getting to spend some time with J & D, we also got visits from Daniel and his girlfriend, Stefany. Stefany was another reason for the visit because we needed to meet her and ensure she was worthy.

She most definitely is.

We also had to meet Birk, Tyler’s puppy, a Shitzoodle, or Pooshitz – we never came to an agreement on his heritage. Doesn’t matter because he’s adorable and full of mischief. He played with us for a while then went to explore the house. Saturday evening he managed to christen Donna’s living room, the one with no TV, with a firm #2. That was the indicator that it was time for Tyler and Birk to leave, which they did. It was good to see Tyler. He’s never been around in the past when we get permission to cross the Idaho border.

So, two goals met, only one more to go. That had to wait until after church on Sunday because it required that we drive to a secret address in Boise, where Ken lives, so we could buy his car. We did that then drove back to Nampa and had lunch at the Sizzler. It was a good choice because Jim got his wallet out before I did and we all ate well.

Then we took the car, who’s gas tank was empty, to Fred Meyer for petroleum, then back to the house to relax, sleep off lunch, and get to bed early so we could get up early this morning and get through Portland traffic before the rush hour.

It was a tough drive because we both had to drive the entire way. Very tiring, but we stopped more often than normal and made it home OK. Well, there was one semi truck driver who tried to kill me, but other than that, it was a great trip.

Here’s what we brought home …

It’s a 2005 Chrysler Crossfire Limited Roadster.

Now I really do need to get rid of there old truck.