Palm Springs

Today is Wednesday. That mean we’ve been here four days and we’ll enjoy our 5th nite-nite tonight.

My last post was on Sunday. When we arrived the temperature was 100+ and it was still around 90 when we finally went to bed. Those are outside temps, of course. Inside it’s a comfortable 72 because the A/C runs constantly, 24/7, in every hotel/motel/resort room in every village in this part of the country. The electricity necessary to make all that happen is immense but, as luck would have it, there is one of the largest wind farms in the world. I’m guessing about “in the world” but the Palm Springs Farm is really BIG. So big that there is a local company that provides self-guided tours of the farm for the paltry sum of $24.50 a person. I’m pretty sure we won’t take that tour. I don’t see the logic in taking a self-guided tour of a facility that I can view for nothing simply by driving back and forth on I-10. True, there wouldn’t be the drama of driving on roads that weave themselves around the towers on which 150 foot long blades of death spin uncaged above our heads killing birds that dare to investigate them too closely. What fun would that be?

We’d rather take a ride on the tram, one of the things on our to-do list, but wait! It’s closed for maintenance until the 10th. Not a big deal, really, because there are many other things to do here.

For instance, just driving around looking at stuff, using up all that $7.09/gallon gas. We expected that.

I’m complaining, aren’t I? Sorry. We’re actually enjoying ourselves. One fun activity is visiting thrift stores. We do that wherever we go. Kinda lame, you might think, but we enjoy it. That’s what we did on Monday in addition to grocery shopping to get the items we missed on our Sunday shopping spree.

There’s a pool here that we’ve walked passed a few times, but haven’t taken that next step to shed our clothes, jump into a skimpy swimming suit, and test the water. I suggested that we hit the hot tub first, but since it’s been over 100 degrees pretty much every day that seems kind of dumb. So, we won’t do that.

Yesterday we went to see the Salton Sea. Never been there and decided it would be a nice trip. I made sandwiches which we packed into the new foldable cooler we got for that purpose, choosing a foldable one that can be placed in Diane’s already overweight suitcase. Actually, we’ll fill the foldable cooler with excess items from Diane’s overweight suitcase and it can be her carryon.

On the way to see the Salton Sea we saw a sign pointing to Mecca. We’ve always wanted to go to Mecca so we went.

Turns out it’s not what I expected, but it was interesting. Then we continued on to the Salton Sea.

We drove down the west side of the sea to what we considered a likely place to see the sea but the road was closed. They should have put a sign on the highway to save adventurous people from wasting their time.

So, we made our way north to the top of the sea and headed east so we could venture down that side to a designated state park. We drove for many miles looking for an entrance to the state park. Turns out there are many entrances that head toward the beach but they don’t have signs for the little gravel exits along the highway. We noticed that there weren’t any vehicles along the shore which was probably due to the extreme heat. All the smart people stayed home with their air conditioners.

We finally found an entrance that led us to a number of picnic tables and ultimately to a covered one near a restroom. And, it had the only handicap parking slot in the entire park.

That’s where we ate our sandwiches, waved at a couple of park rangers as they drove through the park. Then I walked down to the shore thinking I’d like to see how salty the Salton Sea is but changed my mind when I remembered a small sign on the fence when we entered the park. I said something about poisenous algae in the water. Looking around, I saw the culprit and saved my own life by not touching anything. Also, there was a particularly nasty smell down by the shore.

Then it was time to leave.

On the way back it became abundantly clear that we were traveling through the date palm capital of the world.

I’m guessing, of course, because I really don’t know if that’s true. I just know we saw many dozens of orchard filled with thousands and thousands of date palms ripe with fruit all protected with bags.

When I saw all those bags around all that fruit I was impressed with the monumental effort it must have been for people to do all that bagging.

Amazing.

Next stop is Indio. I think.

Get Outta There

Someone said that the other day. I’m not sure if it was said to me, or to someone else, but I decided it was me. Diane agreed. So, we got outta there toot sweet. Doing that involved riding on an airplane for the first time in a few years.

We had to board the plane at O-dark-thirty last Saturday. I guess that was only yesterday, but a lot has happened in such a short time that it seems like many days ago. Maybe if I share the details it will make more sense to me.

First, we were picked up at 11:30 Friday morning so we could share lunch with a couple of friends who agreed to take us to Portland, but only if we fed them. So, we took them to the St. Helens Elks lodge for lunch. It was really good and we enjoyed a long visit with them.

After that we took the harrowing journey to Embassy Suites, near the Portland International Airport, or PDX to those in the “know”, to spend a painfully short night in a very comfortable bed. The alarm went off at 0430 Saturday morning which gave us an hour to get ourselves to the airport.

We did that by using the available shuttle service on which we were the only passengers. That meant that it was my responsibility to ensure the driver received an adequate tip for her efforts. It was worth it and we made it to the Alaska counter in plenty of time.

We only checked two suitcases so you’d think it wouldn’t be much of a big deal. However, one of them was Diane’s and I was a little concerned because it was really heavy. I weighed it on two different scales before leaving the house and pegged it at a little over 50 lbs, the max allowed before penalty fines kicked in. So, we decided to take a chance and check it as is instead of shifting some items to our carry ons. It’s not something I like doing. Shifting things around.

When I put the big suitcase on the scales I was disappointed when it came up 59.5 lbs. The agent did some clicking on his keyboard and reported that it would cost us $100 for the overage unless we wished to transfer some things to our other bags. I wasn’t in the mood for that and, besides, Diane had just come in to some money and we thought there was nothing more important at that time than to help Alaska Airlines improve their financial standing in the world. That, and I was pretty sure there was no way I could shift enough “stuff” to make a difference.

When the suitcases were sent on their ways we adjourned to the TSA line which is always a hoot even though we passed the test, and paid a fee to obtain TSA Pre-check status. This day, we were virtually alone in the pre check line so it was a breeze. Before approaching the officers we stopped to eat our bananas but left the muffins we were given in the bag to see what happened. Turns out muffins aren’t considered to be dangerous so we enjoyed them with our first cup of coffee after cleaning the security line in record time. Then it was off to concourse C to await our flight.

We spent our time in some pretty comfortable chairs then went aboard when called.

The flight was uneventful, but it stopped in San Francisco instead of our destination in Palm Springs. Something like 500 miles short of the goal. We actually knew that was going to happen and that we’d be spending an unproductive 4 hours in SFO before continuing on our way. The surprise was the last leg was in a much smaller aircraft. That was fun and also uneventful.

The airport in Palm Springs is right in the middle of town which makes landings interesting.

Our first stop, after baggage claim, was the Dollar car rental place. Abraham helped us drive away in a 2021 Mazda C5. Before we got out of the parking lot a warning popped up on the dash telling us the car was due for an oil change. Diane drove it to the office and we returned it and got an upgrade to a 2021 Chevy Blazer. Nice car, but it was dirty. made it out of the parking lot into the city before it, too, popped a notice that it needed an oil change. None of the phone numbers we had produced a person to whom we could talk about this problem so we went to our hotel to get some needed rest.

This morning (Sunday) we went back to the airport and turned the Blazer in and went back to the office to negotiate for another vehicle. After a long wait in the busy terminal, we finally drove off with a 2022 Toyota 4-Runner. Its red, Diane’s favorite color for a car. But, she really likes it. The first place we went was a nearby Super-Duper Walmart where we purchased a stool so she could more easily get in the drivers seat.

Now it’s getting late and time for bed. Diane tuckered herself out scheduling places to go and things to do while we’re here. I’ll be adding photos later when i figure out how to do that.

Jesiah

Interesting name, right? I think so. The most common meaning for this name, that I could find, is “The Lord exists.” Last Friday I had an opportunity to spend most of the morning with him because his Mom, my daughter, had to keep him home because he was banned from day care due to a fever on Thursday.

Oh ya, he’s only 1. A little over I guess, and he’s getting new teeth as we speak. Hence the fever.

Jesiah is the happiest little guy you might never meet. He’s always smiling and he doesn’t cry at all. Ever. His Mom may disagree, but I can only speak from my experience.

So, Jennifer arrives with him at 0700 Friday morning, gives me his car seat, just in case, his diaper bag and medicine bag, then takes off to go to work. Normally Diane would be the preferred choice to care for Jesiah but she had something to do. I’d tell you what it was, but there’s nothing on our calendar that justifies her absence. Could be, also, that she really wasn’t busy elsewhere, but with me all along and I didn’t notice because she was there with me all along.

I was, as you can imagine, concerned. The last time I can remember baby sitting was somewhere between 1999 and 2003. That’s a pretty big gap between engagements of this nature. But, I shouldn’t have worried because we got along just great … as long as I did exactly what he wanted me to do. Apparently I passed that test. I found out that he was far more interested in catching flys than watching Disney. Can’t say I blame him. It’s kinda fun.

That, and it turns out he’s more interested in HGTV which works great for Diane.

He got infatuated with Diane’s neck pillow that looks a lot like a cat.

He was also very interested in Diane’s collection of cats

Now, even though Jesiah has a pretty mellow demeanor, he loves to throw things. What makes that OK is that he smiles the entire time he’s in motion with stuff flying from his tiny little hands. We learned, too, that things just sitting on an end table are fair game. He would walk up to, say, a glass of water, look at you until he made eye contact, then swipe his arm sideways so fast that no one has time to react and catch the glass before it drenches you. Then, with his smile still in place, he’d march off in search of something else to dislodge. Needless to say, he quickly trained us to move all items in danger to locations above 3′.

Toward the end of his short visit, his cousin, Jerrie appeared and kept him busy until it was time to take him to someone more qualified than me to tend to him.

It really wasn’t a chore. Honest.

He’s good as gold.

May the 4th be with you all.

Combat Ear Protection

Have you seen the commercial about combat ear protection failures? Surely you have, but if not, here’s a little background. From 2003 to 2015 3M apparently provided faulty combat ear protection to the military. I’m thinking, OK, if that’s true then vets deserve compensation. Once that thought is gone my brain takes me back to 1965 when I was sleeping one deck below the aft 5″/38 Caliber deck gun on a vintage Navy destroyer. I was part of the ship’s crew on DD-808.

A little research will reveal that 1965 was near the beginning of our Navy’s involvement in the Viet Nam war. I do not know if my fellow military vets who were assigned duty “in country” were offered combat ear protection but I’m confident that all of them were subjected to a lot of noise from weapons of various types. I do know for sure that no ear protection was supplied to me or my shipmates on DD-808. Sleeping off a mid-watch while the gunners shot that gun above my head, continuously throughout the day, was difficult. This happened for months on end during our participation in that war. Those deck guns were incredibly loud and shook the entire ship when fired. Anyone on a destroyer during that time will know what I’m talking about. Exciting stuff for an 18-year-old.

Now, in my late 70’s, tinnitus is my constant companion. I can’t say for certain the noise to which I was subjected back in my Navy Days is the cause of this ailment, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t help.

Just sayin.

Wireless Bras

I heard these advertised on TV but didn’t see any commercials so I asked Diane if I could have one. You know, I like techie stuff and this one really peaked my interest. Wireless bras! Who knew?

She said, “sure, but it isn’t what you’re thinking.” So, I did a little research on Google looking for “Wireless Bras” and discovered a stunning array of choices, none of which I could use. There was nothing there that would speed up my computer, or give me more options of any kind other than peak the interest of the 15-year-old part of my brain.

So, I’m setting that interest aside in favor of a more productive line of reasoning. As soon as I figure out what that might be, I’ll let you know.

Fire!

The other day our neighbor’s house caught on fire. Our son, who celebrated his 50th birthday two days ago, saw it and went inside to find one of the neighbors just waking up from a nap. The smoke disoriented her so Jeff carried her out of the house to safety. Then he went back in to get the dogs and cats out of the house. Sadly he missed one of the cats who expired from smoke inhalation.

911 was called right away, before flames were evident, and firetrucks arrived quickly. During that short wait, the fire exploded into a major event that destroyed one end of the home before the hoses were turned off.

Here’s the progression …

The fire was so hot the aluminum window frames melted into puddles. That’s Gabby the goat, in case you’re wondering.

The burning house happened during a visit by our Winnebago Friends. The guys came to work our RV which was immobile because the parking brake was on for such a long time that the rear shoes rusted to the drums. There is a lot of information on the internet about this “common” problem, but none of them worked for me. I was stuck. In order to make the brake drums more accessible I figured jacking up the rear end and putting it on jack stands. Sitting low makes it really hard to get under it to work.

I borrowed a air jack and jack stands from cousin Don and Jeff got busy getting one stand in place. It lasted a little while before the ground gave way allowing the RV to slide about 12″ to the left (looking from the rear) toward a retaining wall. Another foot would have made contact. So, that plan was nixed and we left the RV resting on about 4″ of wood which turned out to be enough for the Winnebago Guys to wiggle under and do their magic.

Finding the solution took about 30 minutes for those guys. A small flat pry bar and a pipe wrench were the key to success. By prying one shoe loose, the RV was once again mobile.

Then we addressed the problem with the leveling jacks. They wouldn’t work. That was an easy one, too, but I wasn’t prepared to do simple. I, like many people, dive right in to a problem figuring it was extremely difficult to solve. Although all the literature I read pointed out the need to have 12 vdc available at all times for these things to work, it never occurred to me that the batteries might be the problem. Turns out that was it. Adding some distilled water to the offending units and letting them charge over night. solved the problem. Yea.

So, the RV is fully functional. We celebrated by getting a condo in Seaside where we could just kick back and do nothing for 3 days.

Smart Printers

The other day I got an email from the manufacturer of Diane’s new printer telling me I should plug it in so they could talk with it. The reason, they explained was to honor my desire that Diane should never run out of ink. So, I plugged it in.

Before I could do that, I had to find it in the old computer room at our house. It was on the floor next to Breezie’s (our cat) table on which she sits so she can monitor the movement of ducks in the front yard. She just likes watching them, never chases them. I don’t think she considers them even a tiny bit tasty. Plus, catching one involves work and usually ends with a mouthful of feathers which are difficult to spit out.

When I found the printer I wished HP would have told me the cat puked on it from her perch. Surely that could be done. I mean, it keeps track of it’s innards, why not its outards? This is what I found …

I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that it cleaned up and currently looks brand new.

Weird Stuff

Before I get going, I hope the 4th was with you recently. Sorry I missed that.

I also hope you all had a rousing Cinco de Mayo.

That’s about it for real life things so I’m going to just ramble about some of the stuff rattling around in my head. Considering the quantity of “things” you’d think the sound would be muffled a little bit, but that isn’t the case. Makes my ears ring, it does.

First on my list is that I’m baffled by all the goings on about people who are confused about what gender they really are. Whatever I share here is just my opinion so please don’t get upset about any of it. You have three choices at this point: 1) Keep reading and don’t judge me for my opinions; 2) Keep reading and get all judgmental about what I say even though my words are not directed at anyone in particular; or, 3) Stop reading and use your time in a more productive manner. What I say doesn’t mean a thing in the long run.

I’m ok knowing that I was ‘assigned’ male as a gender at birth. I’m pretty sure the doctor who delivered me really didn’t struggle with that assignment because the evidence was right there in front of him. I was a little boy. Pretty simple. I don’t think he had to consult with my parents before checking the “M” box my my birth certificate

A lot of time has passed between my birth and how I see the world now and it makes me wonder hope some people think that newborn people need to be assigned a gender. Aging seems to have lowered a veil over my view that blurs the lines between men and women. Old people start looking alike when they get my age so maybe I need to change my pronouns to keep up with the times. That won’t happen, of course, because I’m quite content using either a urinal or sitting on a toilet. Guess that makes me non-binary when it comes to taking a leak. I’ll just continue to be “that guy” until my story is done. That’s when I’ll find out how important all this confusion in society is and whether or not I should have paid more attention.

“Jerrie! Have you been reading the news?”

“Of course I have. Where are we and who are you?”

“I’m God and, if you’ve truly been reading the news, you are a weenie, and you are on outskirts of Heaven.”

“Really!? I used to have one of those when I was little but it seems to have retracted into my body recently. Maybe if I could lose a little weight it might reappear. I didn’t know Heaven had outskirts.”

“No, that won’t work. Once it’s gone, it’s gone, but that’s OK. You don’t need it. Every location has outskirts, even Heaven.”

Back to my non-binary condition … that’s something that has been taking over my body most of my life. It was just a transformation that I really didn’t have control over, and I didn’t find it important enough to worry about. The reason is because I’m married to a most terrific person — my binary female wife. We’ve discussed pronouns, briefly, and I quickly learned that she isn’t fond of being called “it”, “they”, or “them”.

“Hey, It,” I said. “Please bring me a glass of water.”

Or, “Hey, They,” I need a doughnut.” I kinda like this one because it rhymes.

Those just don’t work for either of us, although I’ll respond faithfully to whatever pronoun she chooses to call me; I just need a little warning so I know what to expect.

That’s just a small sample of possibilities, I know, but pronouns are no longer a topic of conversation for us. We’ll just forge ahead with the common knowledge that we are 50’s kids who weren’t given the opportunity to question our genders. Although, I do enjoy wearing a frilly pair of panties once in a while. She’s not a fan, of course. I know this because I used to ask permission and she always responded with “no!”. So, I just don’t ask any more.

I believe I’ve dug this hole plenty deep and should stop before it caves in on me.

Have a good day.

Happy 54th

That’s Happy 54th Anniversary to me and my lovely bride. I think that’s a pretty good milestone for me and my first wife. We’ve been to a lot of places over those years, seen a lot of pretty nifty things, made memories to last a lifetime, and met some incredible people who are scattered all over the USA. Lots of those friends are located near us in the greater Portland area which makes it easier to stay connected, even though this electonical age keeps people in touch 24/7.

Diane had an anniversary trip all planned that included many days at the beach, rain or shine. Sadly, the RV became unpredictable causing us to modify our plans a little bit. The RV issue is that it will not move forward or back. Really. It won’t move either direction. Well, it moves a little bit, but not much. Just enough to give one a little hope before it seizes up again. Because of that Diane cancelled all the campground reservations she’d made and got us rooms near the locations we had planned to park the RV. That was necessary because we planned to visit with our Classic Winnebago RV Club members, even though none of us currently own a classic Winnebago. But! All the members, except Diane and me, still actually have Winnebagos. We are renegades, we are, and it’s OK. Even though Diane and I will be spending our nights in a cozy room we’ll still be able to spend time with them gathered around propane campfire, wrapped in blankets and hoping it doesn’t rain. Then we’ll all retire to our respective rooms. Then, do it all over again the next day. I’m sure that may sound perfectly boring to most of you but it’s actually fun and very satisfying. It’s OK to get old and share our days with friends.

That part of this story will continue tomorrow and I’ll report on it later.

Today, while watching the evening news we watched as President Biden boarded his very large airplane in Portland and head for Seattle. As the plane soared into the air Diane and I looked at each other, then headed to our back porch. You see, our house is almost directly under the flight path for plans going from PDX and SEA. Turns out Joe wanted to get a look at our place on his trip north. I believe he even waved at us as he and his entourage flew on by.

Air Force One

Sorry it’s not a better photo but I only had my iPhone available and this is that photo blown up a little. Now we’re famous.

On that note, I’m going to sit here and finish Season 8 – Episode 3 (“From the Ashes”) of “When Calls The Heart”. We kinda got hooked on it and have been binge-watching for the past few weeks beginning with S1-E1. It’s a fun show. You should try it.

Procrastination and Other Stuff

That’s me, for sure. I’ve waited just a couple of days beyond the two month mark of my last post, but I suspect no one missed me. Still, it may come as a surprise to some of you that I’m still alive. I am old, after all, and old people tend to die sometimes.

The pandemic has been tough on all of us but things seem to be slowly getting back to normal. Diane and I still wear masks when we go to stores and we choose to avoid Portland unless there is not choice about it.

dot dot dot — The above opening was written on April 1st then I apparently got busy doing a bunch of other stuff. Consequently, I unintentionally validated what a procrastinator I truly am. In my defense, you’ve got to believe me when I claim that my head was very busy all this time, filled with good intentions, but none of it triggered a need to activate my sore, busy fingers … until now.

We’ve survived COVID, so far, but it’s apparently sill causing havoc in many other parts of the world. Masks, although carried in a purse, or pocket, are rarely used. Even so, it appears, to me, that people are doing a better job at keeping their distance from one another. That works for me. To enhance that action I quit taking showers. Seems to work OK, too.

Diane is still tending to her Mom most of the time, and I’m still the cook. This has been going on since October and Diane is well past the point where a break is necessary. So, she contracted with a professional care giver which will allow us to take the RV out for a short trip to the beach. Right after we made these plans, it snowed 4″. In April! For Portland it was the first measurable snowfall in April in records history. Weather is pretty screwy all over the US so we plan to just deal with it and make our trip anyway. Should be fun.

Big Brother Jim turned 85 (I think) a few days ago. I waited all day, then a couple more days, for him to call me so I could wish him a happy birthday. Yesterday I gave up and called him to find out why he hadn’t called, and to make sure he’s OK. Turns out he took a trip down his driveway a while ago, literally. Smashed up his glasses, broke his arm, and pretty much caused a huge intake of breath from the family and friends who live in his vicinity. He explained the even in great detail for me and I was able to visualize every frightening step of the way. Bleeding profusely, he said he crawled to the back door and pounded on it seeking help, which he finally got. Now he’s got a problem with the blood stains on his driveway which probably won’t come clean.

He’s well into mending, and actually found humor in it as he looked back and shared with me. I think we both agreed that at his age falling isn’t a good thing. He promised to never do that again. I hope it’s true, but I’m skeptical.

The other day we gathered at The Old Spaghetti Factory for a late lunch with our PT Cruiser Friends. One couple had moved to Florida and were back in the area for a visit so our leader chose that as a reason for us to gather once more. That, and the fact that COVID restrictions had eased making such gatherings legal. A good time was had by all and Diane and I were able to visit with some folks we hadn’t seen in years. Turn out that some of those folks actually read this blog which surprised me. Because of that I felt compelled to get busy and at least say “Hi” to everyone. So, “Hi!” everyone.

I’ve been having trouble maintaining a stable BS level. To help with that I’m intimately involved with a VA Pharmacist and a VA Dietician to help and guide me. Diane knows and it’s OK. All the visits are virtual so all we do is talk. One hand thing I learned was that the little BS meter the VA gave me is actually a bluetooth device and, with the proper app, will send all BS info to my phone. I don’t remember how I discovered that because no one told me. When I shared that with the pharmacist she went, “huh. Didn’t know that could be done.” I’ve had this meter for years and spent countless hours writing down all those numbers only to discover it could be done automatically. Since discovering that, and complaining to my pharmacist that, since I’m only an amateur diabetic they only allow me 50 test strips for a 60 day period and they want me to test morning and night. The math doesn’t quite work for that so they upped count to cover my need. Now I take tests pretty much any time I want and my tiny little fingers are suffering from it. All of them are covered with little scars on the ends from needle pokes. They don’t seem to hurt as much as they used to so I think I pretty much killed all the nerves in my finger tips.

The clock on the wall tells me it’s time for me to trek down the hill to Grandma’s House so I can feed her. That’s a need because I’m the cook for all meals. Did I say that before? I also need a cup of coffee to kickstart my day.

Hope all of you are doing well. Stay safe and keep a light on for me.