Pizza & Cremation

Here’s a little something I found interesting. Since it’s to us as well as “or Resident” I’d be happy to pass it along to anyone who is interested.

Since there is no credit given to the origin of the pizza my mind naturally went to the guy who runs the crematorium. Might not eat pizza for a while, at least not at the local funeral home.


News in the News

Amid all the shootings, and stories about people blowing each other up, is a scattering of nonsensical news items that make me pause and go, “Hmmm.”

First, I must tell you that I typically don’t watch the news and I rarely read the newspapers that are delivered to our door, so my news view is decidedly limited. Still, I have opinions about what I see when reading “Bing” news on my computer.

Using that handy doorway to the world I’m able to choose from many sources for any of the news items they deem noteworthy. I have my favorites, of course, but tend to look at the most recent entries available. I suspect the trivial items are included to dilute ones perception of news in general to keep their interest. You know, like scattering candy in a pile of crap to make it look more festive.

Take today, for instance. I’ve investigated the world and discovered that a “Popular Tucson TV Reporter Couple” have been charged with child abuse after their baby tested positive for cocaine. This was accomplished through the use of the former Miss Arizona contestant’s shapely left breast, while feeding her infant, after she ingested cocaine the previous evening. How fun. Now she’s newsworthy, but no longer reporting the news. Dumb.

Then there’s news about a Milwaukee woman who has been added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. She’s the suspect in the murder of her pregnant neighbor and her unborn infant because of loud music. One source indicated that Shanika, the suspect, is Milwaukee’s first fugitive on the ‘Ten Most Wanted List’, like it’s some kind of honor, like when the Bucks win a ball game. Kinda makes you want to move to Milwaukee, doesn’t it?

How about Mark Z, Mr. Facebook? He’s making all his new Kauai neighbors angry because he’s building a six-foot high wall around his 700 acre estate. That’s certainly noteworthy, don’t you think? His spokespeople said the wall is meant to be a sound barrier but I think it’s there to keep the wild pigs out. Or maybe keep them in. One resident of the island reported that she’s 5’8″ tall and when walking along the property all she can see is the rock wall instead of the Hawaiian scenery to which she’s accustom. They want Mark to tear down the wall because it’s an eye sore. I mean, really? It was built to code, using local rocks and, most likely, local artisans. I think it’s a nice looking wall. I also think a more simple solution to tearing it down would be for Mark to build platforms outside the wall, every 100 feet or so, where those who are less than 6′ tall can ascend above the wall and take in all of Mark’s natural beauty. Each ramp would have to have wheelchair access, of course.

 For the sports minded folks, there’s news about LeBron James who declined his player option and is now a free agent. The reason, I surmise, is due to his inherently greedy nature that propels him to seek more and more money for his “talents”. Yes, he’s pretty good but, like all pro sports icons, waaaaaay overpaid for what they do. Declining the option, it is reported, James salary will increase from $24 million to $27.5 million a year, a modest 14.58% increase. Not bad for someone who already has far more money than he needs.

I know, I sound a bit bitter talking about stuff like that, and probably smacks a lot like socialism. That’s not really it for me. It’s just that I find it amazing that professional athletes, and most CEO’s make such obscene amounts of money each year when we severely under educated kids, many of whom don’t know what having a full belly is like. It’s just sad.

There are many more topics, of course, most of them about people getting shot and places being blown to smithereens. You know, fun things to read about. The topper for all of today’s news, for me, was finding out that there might be a Tetris Trilogy in our future.

Stunning news.

OK, so I fell down …

I did. I fell down in quite a dramatic manner, as a matter of fact. I saved it until our friends, Les and Sophie, were leaving our home after a terrific visit.

Les & Sophie spend a lot of time on the road in their almost classic Winnebago. Their unstated goal is to spend at least one night at every Elks Club parking lot in the nation. Diane and I, and a few other classic owners, have shared nights in Elks Clubs with them. Still, they are the King & Queen of Elks Club Camping. They are forever on the go and it’s always an honor when they land in our back yard, the St. Helens Elks Club, and pay us a visit.

So, we sat and talked for a long time, catching up. Then they had to leave and I, being a good host, walked them out to their car. Diane did, too. At the end of our walk, next to the driveway, is a sprinkler head that used to spray on the garage door until I put a piece of plexiglas in front of it. Apparently I forgot it was there because when I tried to step to the driveway I kinda went through it. It made a resounding SNAP when it broke and sort of masked my shriek of terror when I realized I was heading for the asphalt.

Times like that are very exciting for the main participant because they know they’re going down, and they know it’s going to hurt, and there’s absolutely nothing they can do about it. It’s a waiting game to discover how much damage is going to be done.

Oddly, during those moments, time slows a bit for some of us, allowing us to adjust the angle of our unavoidable approach to the horizontal plane. The hope is the angle can be adjusted enough to allow a bit of roll and not land absolutely flat, which would be a bad thing. When I hit the plexiglas my approach to the driveway was unalterably modified.

The plexiglas was aligned against the driveway curb at about a 45 degree angle, and the curb is about a foot high where I made my critical error. Stepping out with my right foot I hit the plexiglas about halfway up, snapping off the top half as my foot slid down toward  the sacred flowers below my feet, over which I was trying to step. Since I had anticipated landing on the driveway with my right foot, I picked up my left foot as soon as my right foot made contact with the plexiglas so I was effectively in free fall for a short time. Leaning forward, I was, caused the most tender part of my right shin bone to make solid contact with the exposed cement curb of the driveway and my left leg didn’t land on anything because I put a lot of effort in to rolling to my left, away from the car toward which I was heading. My left knee made it to the driveway and I successfully rolled left onto my back and stuck my arms and legs straight up into the air demonstrating that what had just happened was an intentional act. A dumb one, but intentional. But it wasn’t. It was dumb, but it wasn’t intentional.

So, there I lay, waiting for everything to start hurting really bad, but there was no immediate pain. Apparently enough adrenalin had been released that all the little tiny blood vessels in the skinned part of my injured areas were squeezed shut, and the pain receptors were disabled for a bit.

All three of the observers were laughing at this point, confident that nothing had been broken because there was no resounding crack from

When Tires Go To Heaven …

OK … that’s just a stupid title, right? But, it was stuck in my head and the only way I can rid myself of things like that is to release it the only way I know how … just let my fingers do the talking. There’s an underlying motive, of course. I always have one or two of those. For this topic it’s the demise of the Les Schwab tire store in St. Helens, Oregon. It was quite spectacular.

I was first made aware of the problem when I looked south from our porch and saw an incredibly huge, black column of smoke. Neither of us heard sirens, and we can normally hear them no matter where they’re going in town. If we had a police scanner we could have quickly discovered what was going on, but we don’t so had to use conventionally means. In this case, it was from the Channel 2 news helicopter from Portland.

Diane was very concerned about Daniel’s & Jennifer’s home being involved because of the direction we were looking to see the smoke column. I was confident it wasn’t a house, however, because they cast off white smoke as a rule, not black. Still, she had to go look and told me that what she saw scared her to death. The plume of smoke was directly in line with their home but as she got closer she could tell it was farther out toward Highway 30. Before Diane departed on her investigative trip she speculated the fire may be at Les Schwab, but had to check. I don’t blame her.

By the time she got home Channel 2 was showing pictures that confirmed the location. The entire facility was fully engulfed in flames and Highway 30 was closed to all traffic. The local power company had to cut power, too, because the flames were licking at the lines. Not good. Also, the road closure occurred in the middle of the annual Hood to Coast walk/run and all the walkers had to be re-routed. Just one thing after another. Local businesses have come to rely on the extra revenue created by the increase in traffic through town so re-routing the walkers/runners was a potential financial loss because of the extra folks hired, and the extended hours they worked. For example, Jennifer works at Safeway and was put on the midnight to 4:30am shift … our Safeway isn’t normally open all night, but this night it was because the Hood to Coast Runners were scheduled to come through at midnight.

Due to the diligence, and hard work by the local firefighters, the blaze was extinguished, and the highway reopened to traffic before the the runners arrived, so everyone was happy. Everyone, that is, except Terry, the Les Schwab manager. We know Terry. I’ve been buying tires from him for many years. So the fire hit a personal note with us.

The entire store was lost, including 4 vehicles that were inside being worked on at the time of the fire. It was really, really bad. The only upside is that no one was injured. For that, we’re very happy. The only real downside for us is that I have a $100 credit on my Les Schwab account. I was going to take the old Chevy truck down there for new tires. Now I’ll have to wait until the Grand Opening of the new store when it’s rebuilt. I’m just guessing it’s going to be rebuilt, or course. We’ll see.

Sorry for all the somber news, but that’s all I have right now. It’s not a subject that I can take lightly because of the huge potential for injury by all the firefighters and police involved with taking care of everything, as well as the financial loss by the store owner. No doubt they are insured, but it’s still tough to deal with.

Here’s what it all looked like while it was in progress …

… and this is what it looks like today …


Now it’s time to quit and plan my strategy for helping them rebuild this thing because the truck really needs new tires.

Speaking of the truck, I drove it down to Jennifer’s and Dan’s to pick up the remnants of a couple of bushes they cut down, and transport it to our burn pile. It took me two trips. During the process of cutting the branches down to size, I was stung by the one remaining bee from the nest they discovered a few days ago. I think I mentioned it in a previous entry. Now I have this nice welt on the back of my arm. Then, after transporting all the dismantled branches, I finished my trip through the front yard with “Grandpa’s Weeder” to remove all the dandelions I could find. Now the front yard looks like a combat zone … holes everywhere. I’ve been seriously thinking about fertilizing that yard one of these days. I’m told, by the owner of a computer I resurrected yesterday, that doing so would easily rid the yard of all the weeds, moss, and clover.



A Redneck In Connecticut

So, here I am in Connecticut. When I left Portland this morning, it felt pretty good to have on my long sleeved shirt and jacket, and it was OK on the flight to Atlanta. Once there, however, things took a turn for the worse as the weather decided to get really hot. It was about 90 degrees there. When I boarded the plane for Hartford, most of the sweat had dried so it was just a thin crust all over my body. I was still a little wet so let the blower blow on my head and down the back of my shirt until I was dry all over.

Then we got to Hartford. It was only 88, here. We arrived at 5:30, right on time. I was able to connect wirelessly while aloft (for $12) so I frantically searched for someone in Connecticut to extract me from the airport on arrival. Niece Susan responded saying she would do it. Then she went to a wake for a family friend and didn’t get there until about 6:30. She was, of course, extremely apologetic, which was entirely unnecessary because she was doing me a favor. I was grateful. I knew she was going to be late so I wandered around inside the airport for a short time, then went outside. It was 88 degrees. I immediately started sweating again, liquifying the crusty substance I obtained in Atlanta, and it started running down my back, into my pants. It was an unsettling feeling. People behind me were starting to talk. This gave me motivation to continue on out the door, into the sweltering heat. After about 45 minutes I stopped sweating, and was actually starting to become fairly comfortable, then Susan showed up and ruined it all with her air conditioned car.

It was comfortable in Susan’s car. I stopped sweating, and we had a nice visit on the way back to Lyle & Ruth’s house. Just before we got there she said, “Oh ya. Grandma’s A/C quit working today but we put a fan in your room”, which caused trickles down my neck in spite of the A/C. But, that’s OK. I’m not here on vacation. I actually have a purpose. Really, I do. And, as soon as we walked in the door the significance of that purpose was made even clearer when we learned that Ruth had been taken to the emergency room by Martin & Sarah. Martin is Carol’s husband, and Sarah is the granddaughter emergency room RN. I may not explain all the names to you who don’t know these folks, so if you’re curious, just ask and I’ll answer. Honest.

Upon my arrival, those in the house were: Cheryl, Allen, Carol, Heather, Laura, Larry, Valerie and three great grand children (one is Susan’s, the other two are Laura’s). I think that’s all. We all sat around the kitchen eating area and ate whatever the ladies put on it. It went well. It was the first meal I had today and it was really good. I ate a lot of vegetables, too.

Every once in a while Sarah would call from the hospital to give an update on Ruth so we were able to follow her progress through the emergency room process vicariously. They thought for sure she has a UTI, but they were waiting on labs from the results of the phlebotomist’s efforts, and they were scheduling a CT scan. It didn’t sound good because of all the stress and trauma she, and everyone else, has endured over the past few months, and especially the last few days.

Finally the CT scan was done and it was determined that Ruth has diverticulitis. She’s coming home with a box of meds, and strict instructions to be good and rest. That’s going to take some serious discussion because Ruth will not rest until all the details are in place.

Having heard the news, and learning the diagnosis, everyone went home to well deserved rest. So, I am alone in the house, waiting for their return. At this moment it’s 11:11pm. I’m sitting in Lyle’s place at the table, where I’ve been all evening, and now that the voices are gone, I can hear Lyle’s voice above the din of the quiet, calling my name in order to tell me something, or laugh about something someone said. He’s at the kitchen sink rinsing dishes, and getting things ready for tomorrow.If I were to go into the basement I know I’d see him sitting at his computer playing solitaire, or saying, “Jerrie, come’ere. I want to show you something.” So, I go, and we share memories, and anecdotes until that memory fades, and I’m called to another place in the house where he lives in my mind.

He’s nowhere, yet he’s everywhere I look. Sitting here in his place, I see him at our house when he and Ruth visited. He’s playing cribbage with Dad on 3rd Street, posing for pictures on that old couch with us, his brothers, giving Mom a huge hug just for fun, and on Johnson Ridge looking at Mt. St. Helens … All of these memories are proof, to me, that we are all immortal. As long as we have memories of our loved ones, they will continue to live forever. Pass it on …

Prayer Request

My big brother, Lyle, is having a difficult time and is currently incarcerated in a hospital in Connecticut. He could have made things a bit easier by choosing a hospital a little closer to us but that apparently wasn’t an option. The diagnosis is colon cancer composed of 3 masses. Lyle is 87. Please send good thoughts toward the East Coast.


Day Six – Carlsbad & Nothing Else

No picture for today because we didn’t do much. Just lounged around in our jammies until afternoon. Ate breakfast around 1000 and the maids visited us to clean at that time so we visited with them while we ate. It was a joyous event. I ate four eggs and about nine pieces of bacon and a pound or two of potatoes. It made me extremely full. I wouldn’t have voluntarily eaten that much but Diane’s back in the mode where I have to eat whatever she doesn’t want, even after she’s taken it all by herself. Being an extremely good husband I, of course, do what she tells me even if it means I will probably never, ever, be able to wear my 36″ waist pants again. Ever. So, while we were out we dropped by a local Goodwill and got me another pair of 38″ jeans. Now I won’t have to run around in my underwear any more.

Most of our time outside today was spent along the Carlsbad and Oceanside seaside. While traipsing around one of the yacht basins we stopped at a little coffee shop to pay way to much for some of the worst coffee we’ve probably ever had in our entire lives. In the lingo of the land, it was pretty gnarly. I drank mine out of spite, but Diane couldn’t finish hers. Thankfully, that’s the one thing, today, that she didn’t make me finish. Thank goodness. I’d’ve never made it through two of them.

Tomorrow we’re going back to San Diego for another lunch buffet. Seafood this time, and we’re meeting with another DD-808 shipmate to do it.

Tonight is going to be a challenge because our new next door neighbors are young, very noisy, and spend a lot of time on their balcony, going in and out of a very noisy sliding patio door. If they don’t drop the noise level in the next 20 minutes (2200) I’ll have to take my life in my hands and go bang on their door to ask for a little peace and quiet. Either that, or take my sleepy meds.

What It’s Like Living In A Cave (in the winter)

Simply said, it’s cold! Sure, it’s 62 in the house, but when you’re used to 68-70, it’s cold.Really! It is!. To compact the frigid indoor weather, we’ve been living in the Man Room with a tiny little space heater. Today, however, Diane has migrated to the Girl Room with her own space heater because she has contracted a terrible cold and, being the stellar person she is, has chosen to not subject me to the presence of her germy exhalations, sneeze-like, or otherwise. Bless her efforts, but I’ll probably catch it anyway because I always kiss her good morning and good night.

When not in the Girl Room Diane is in the Living Room hunkered down in front of the fireplace. Sadly, I didn’t far picture of her ensconced in my Mom’s old rocking chair, wrapped in a blankie, wearing boots, and shivering. She looked adorable.

Tomorrow the lack of indoor heat will be resolved because the Furnace Guy returned with a viable offer. Still overpriced, but what can a guy do? It’s cold.

The new furnace is a Trane XV95 80,000 BTU, 2-stage, variable speed fan, gas guzzler. The “team” will be here at 0830 tomorrow morning to begin the installation. We’ll have heat by noon at the latest.

I kinda whined about being cold, but the weather has been just terrific. Here’s the sunrise that greeting me this morning …

That little puffy cloud in the middle is hovering right over Mt. Hood. Quite spectacular. All of the Weather Guys are telling us this weather is going to continue for the next ten days. Nice, but early February. Apparently the 14 inches of snow we had was the extent of our winter. And, it only last about 3 days. I rescind all of my complaints and  whines.

Since the weathers going to be non-precipitating for the next week, or so, I retrieved the old Winnebago from it’s tiny little storage closet so I could do some work on it. As soon as I got it home, I went to work on the exhaust system was a little loose in the rear. There was a sleeve over a section near the rear. When I tried to tighten the u-bolts holding the sleeve, I discover the reason it was loose … the end was rusted off and there wasn’t anything for the sleeve to clamp on. Now, I know the vast majority of you, who take the time to read this drivel, find anything about Winnebagos fascinating, but I’m afraid that’s all I have for you on this subject. That, and the liquified container of dryzair slid off the dash, where I foolishly placed it. It was OK, though, because it landed on Diane’s side. I can say that because she’s vowed to never drive it. I’m in command of the RV. I sopped it all up first thing when I got it home. I used a dog towel to do that.

Jeran had a doctor appointment this morning to find out what might help his ADD, ADHD, or whatever it is that causes him to act out a little in lass. It’s tough on him. Jennie said the doctor doubled his fish oil intake as they’ve discovered that fish oil has proven to produce remarkable improvements in children with this affliction. When she told Diane about this she added that “may you should have Dad do the same.” You, know, like double up my fish oil. Like that would help. I can’t remember to take my fish oil once a day so why would she think I could rememberer it twice a day? She really should keep an eye on me because I was taking her vitamin D for a long time thinking they were my “new” fish oil pills, just 1/3 the size. Turns out that wasn’t good for me. Apparently too much vitamin D makes a person mean, edgy, paranoid, and suspicious. I had no idea because I thought I felt pretty good. I do, however, feel even better now that I’ve been banned from the vitamin D bottle. Diane hid it from me and made me put my fish oil pill bottle on my computer desk.

i’ll be back tomorrow with a report on how the new furnace installation went.

Our Furnace Quit

Bummer! Just when things were looking up, the furnace decided it wasn’t going to use any more gas. The fan still moves the air around, but it’s the same old air and it’s getting colder. We figured there was going to be a problem when the most recent gas bill was double the previous one. We do, however, tend to keep it warmish in the house, as older folks do. Actually, it’s not that cold right now, and we have a gas fireplace that works just great. Thankfully, the fireplace is in the room where we spend the majority of our waking hours. Well, there and the Man Room. The furnace guy is going to be here between 2-3 this afternoon so I’ll probably have to clean the house. Diane hates having strangers come in the house unless it’s just been cleaned. The 8 mile trip to the house for the furnace guy will only cost $99.95. Then they will tell us what’s wrong and has to be replaced. I’m guessing it’s going to be the entire furnace because it’s about 20 years old, at least.

I was up at 6:30 this morning, with the dogs, but had to wait until 8am to call the furnace folks, like Diane told me to. I took my phone into the freezing garage so I wouldn’t disturb Diane as she was still sleeping. Once that was done, I made coffee. That’s a noisy process because Diane insists that we grind the beans within 30 seconds of putting them into the pot. This, also, must be done in the garage as the grinder runs for 19 seconds. Everything in the pot has to be prepared ahead of time to ensure I make it within the allotted 30 seconds after the grinder stops.

I always make 12 cups of coffee, and used to be very precise about how much water I put in. There are lines on the pot and the reservoir to help with this, but I discovered that you can actually pour as much water in there as you want because there’s a nifty little hole in the reservoir, just above the 12 cup line, and all the excess just runs out on the counter. Then it becomes a cleanup project with helps keep the counter very clean around the coffee pot.

I think the coffee pot is done so I’m going to quit this and go get a cup. If something interesting happens with the furnace guy, I’ll let you know.

Long pause …

It’s a lot late, it’s dark, and I’m sweaty.

The furnace guy, Don, showed up early and determined that our furnace is trash and it’s amazing that we’re alive. He didn’t actually say that, but the implication was there. Our heat exchanger is cracked which is the reason for out huge gas bill for last month. We solved that today by turning off the furnace for good. Thankfully, the temperature today was around 50 so it really wasn’t too bad. A little chilly, but nothing a fuzzy blanket couldn’t resolve.

After the furnace guy left Diane’s Mom called. I couldn’t hear what she was saying, but on this end things got pretty lively with serious carrying on and lots of daughter to mother “don’ts” and “shouldn’ts”. Turns out that Grams, who is 84, hauled out an 8 foot step ladder, hooked up all the flex and fixed hoses toy the shop vac, and started vacuuming her roof. It’s had about a zillion maple whirligig seeds on it for a while now. Today she’d had enough. The only reason she called was because the furthest piece of fixed hose fell off and was on the roof. So, I jumped in the car and went to the rescue.

By the time I got there she had removed the piece from the roof using her broom. So, I got her longest extension cord and blower and proceeded to blow those little suckers off the roof. It took be a couple of hours and I finished just as it was getting dark. That’s the part that made me all sweaty. I can’t take a shower, yet, because I need to go get Lydia from her basketball practice in about half an hour.



This isn’t for the squeemish. The following is a detailed account of how I happened to be blessed with the 12 stitches depicted above. I believe I reported this incident in a previous (old) blog entry so if you read that one and find discrepancies, the old one was incorrect.

It happened a long, long time ago. In a land faraway. It was a clear day and the stars were shining brightly. Rain was pouring from the sky. Somewhere in the distance, a dog barked …

While living in our previous home, it was determined that we needed to replace the kitchen flooring. The simplest way, for me, was good old peel-n-stick tile. As luck would have it, doing this requires proficiency in the use of a very sharp object to make cuts so tiles fit snugly around various obstacles.

In this instance, I used a box cutter with a new blade. I had permission to do this because Diane was in the house, and Joshua, a foster child at the time, and an honorary Grandson, was helping me. He was about 10 at the time and Diane figured he could dial 911 as well as anyone if she wasn’t immediately available.

Well into this project, there became a need for Diane to accompany our oldest Grandson to the local Urgent Care, leaving me and Joshua alone. They left in such a hurry that Diane didn’t have time to give me any instructions on how I should proceed with the project. Joshua and I conferred, and agreed that we didn’t receive specific instructions about NOT continuing. So, we continued.

We had about 30 minutes of uneventful progress, and were on the very last piece I had to cut. Cutting, as I said, involved the box cutter and a steel framing square to ensure all the cuts were straight. I held the square down with my left hand, and had adopted a method of scoring the tile on the first cut, with light pressure, then doing another cut with more pressure. Safety was my primary concern. Really, it was.

On that last cut I did the first light cut, then the second, and added a third for emphasis, kinda like an Ole’ move that the deed was done. On this third cut, the box cutter veered off the desired path, crossed a very short section of the square and connected with the tip of the pointing finger of my left hand. I swear to this day that is was like a laser guided weapon.

Upon hitting the soft portion of my finger, the blade smoothly sliced into the tip of the distal phalanx of my left index finger. Since bone is very hard, the blade was forced upward, but it didn’t stop cutting. It sliced through the outer edge of my fingernail and continued toward the interphalangeal joint. The joint deflected the blade away from my finger thereby avoiding further injury and the requisite stitches.

All of this happened in less than the blink of an eye. Zip, and it was done.

Immediately recognizing the pain of serious injury, I pinched my thumb against the wounded digit, and raised it above my head. This also happened very quickly because I was fearful of getting blood on the floor. Diane would have been livid had that happened. Joshua got a little wide-eyed at that point, and asked what happened.

I went to the sink and held my left hand in front of me, still pinching very hard. But, I knew I had to look to confirm that the pain I felt was worthy of a trip to visit a doctor. I slowly released the pressure and blood gushed into the sink giving me all the proof I needed that, indeed, there was a trip to urgent care in my near future. I reapplied the pressure, rinsed the blood off, grabbed a handy dish towel, released the pressure, wrapped my finger and reapplied the pressure. That was quickly done, too, as I was to learn later.

I told Joshua to come with me and we headed for my car. It’s really “our” car, but Diane let’s me call it “mine”. Fortunately, for Joshua, he had relatives who lived between us and urgent care, so I dropped him there, saving him from having to visit the waiting room.

At urgent care, I got all checked in and patiently waited my turn. The pain was becoming excruciating, causing me to invoke the age old method of pain relief of sucking air loudly, and often, through my clenched teeth. My hand, of course, was planted firmly on top of my head. There was a little girl in the waiting room who appeared to become quite frightened by all of this, but she was saved from life altering trauma when I was called into the business end of urgent care.

The nurse who escorted me to my room is a friend of Diane’s who’s name, oddly, is Diane. I was allowed to lay down and let my left arm rest on a handy table that was provided, and release the pressure on my finger. It was at this point I discovered the dish towel had hardly any blood on it which I knew would please my Diane. Nurse Diane didn’t care because she was more interested in the wound.

She let it bleed for a little while, making sure all the little blood vessels were working OK, then she stuck a needle in my finger near the metacarpophalangeal joint. She did this numerous times, injecting lidocaine to numb my finger. It felt like my finger was swelling up as she did this so I looked. Indeed, it was swelling up to about twice it’s normal size.

Then she got this really small, thick rubber band and worked it down my finger to the metacarpophalangeal joint. When she let go of the rubber band it cut off the blood supply to my finger and the bleeding stopped. My finger started turning white and she said she could leave the band on there for 45 minutes without killing my finger. While laying there, watching my finger die, my daughter, Jennifer, appeared in the doorway. This caused me concern because she tells her Mother everything. I was curious, too, to know how she had tracked me down.

Lydia, daughter of Jennifer, was a Girl Scout at this time. Girl Scouts sell cookies and Jennifer was the Cookie Mom. Lydia had sold cookies to Joshua’s relatives, the ones I dropped him at on my way to urgent care. This was the day they were delivering cookies. When they arrived at Joshua’s location they were surprised to see him and more surprised when he told them that I’d cut off my finger.

Jennifer went directly to urgent care and we had a nice little talk. Most of it was pleading with her to not tell her Mom what had happened. I knew, deep down, that, being a good daughter, the only choice she had was to rat me out. So, she did, but I didn’t immediately detect the ripple effect of that conversation.

The Doc finally appeared, with only minutes to spare. When she entered the room, looking at my chart, she said, “Jerold Bradley Cate.”

I said, “Yes, but you can call me Jerrie.”

She said, “No. It’s Jerold Bradley Cate. Get used to that, and tell me what happened.”

Now, every man knows that, when anyone uses all of his names, something bad is going to happen. In this case, it already had, but I knew there was great potential for things to get a lot worse. She had all manner of tools and sharp instruments at her disposal so I thought it would be prudent to do pretty much everything she told me to do.

We started chatting and I learned that she was the doctor who treated my Grandson, and visited with my Diane during that process. Apparently Diane gave her enough background on me that she wasn’t at all surprised to encounter me this fine morning.

I watched as she calmly stitched the flab of finger back into place. Two of the stitches were through the attached part of my fingernail making me admire the fine manufacturing abilities of whoever made such a sharp needle. When she was all done the ridges of my fingerprint were perfectly aligned. It was quite magnificent.

Then it was time for the leak test. That’s when she cut the rubber band that was killing my finger. It was very interesting to watch the blood flow back into my finger, turning it back to a normal color. The stitches held nicely, and not a drop of blood escaped.

I was released and sent home with a prescription for some pain killer, but I didn’t go get them figuring I better just get used to the pain. On the way I picked up Joshua and shared the story with his relatives.

Once home, Jeff called to see how I was. He found out because after Jennifer called Diane, Diane called him, telling him to have me call her when I got home. Jeff and I had a fun conversation about being clumsy and accident prone, which we both kinda are. We laughed and enjoyed the moment.

Soon, however, it ended with my promise that I would call his Mother right away, which I did. Her phone rang twice before she answered with, “Jerold Bradley Cate, what did you do?” She’s never been one who gently eases into a conversation.

“Well,” I said, “the good news is that my tetanus shots are up to date.”

“What’s the bad news?” she replied.

“I have 12, new, incredibly complex stitches,” said I, “and my new gloves will live to fight another day.” I added the part about gloves in an attempt to steer the conversation away from talking about the injury, but she tricked me.

“You weren’t wearing them, were you?” she responded.

“No,” said I.

“Why,” said she.


“Why because.”

“Just because.”