Don’t Mess With Stuff You Don’t Understand !

Last Friday I was watching The Littles (our granddaughters) play with slime on the kitchen counter, fascinated by how the stuff just oozes between their fingers and drips all over the place. Then they just roll it up into a new ball, dabbing the drips into the ‘Mother Piece’ where all slime eventually goes prior to being stuffed back into the small plastic container from which it came. 

As I watched I couldn’t help but feel an urge to join in the fun but withheld myself until I couldn’t stand it any longer. Grabbing a fairly large piece of this jello-like material, stretching it, wadding it up, just letting it kinda melt, and then impulsively reached over and slapped it on Gilligan’s head.

Everyone got real quiet as Gilligan shrieked, “Grandpa, what did you do?” I thought it was obvious … I was playing a prank on Gilligan. That’s what I thought, anyway, until I tried to remove the stuff from her hair. 

Turns out that slime, at least the version I used, sticks to, and is easily removed from every known substance EXCEPT hair. Who knew? Apparently all the kids did from past experience, but they didn’t share that with me when they decided to let me play. That was a terrible mistake.

I worked really hard at removing  what I could all the while listening to many versions of how they’ve all seen it done on YouTube. I even watched a few of videos of people practicing this new art. Feeling a nervous breakdown coming on I decided I had to make a decision and settle on the Mayonnaise Solution. I would have taken photos but my hands were all sticky and no one else thought to take any so that moment was lost. Just trust me that I made a mess, all the way down to her tender little scalp. The example provided is a milder mess than mine.

Getting the Mayonnaise out and got a handful and glopped it on Gilligan’s head. and started kneading it around the assaulted area. As I worked the mess, it started turning pink, taking on the color of the slime. This gratified me because it was apparent something was happening. I continued rubbing it on the affected hairs for about 30 minutes and magically it all kind of disappeared, just like in the video. I found it was amazing and was able to regain my composure with this new knowledge.

After it was all said and done, Gilligan forgave me for being stupid and was pleased with the final outcome. 

I went to bed happy and slept nicely right up to 0500 Saturday morning.

The dogs don’t observe weekends. 

To the Moon and back

A funny thing happened the last time I was in orbit and I thought you might like to hear about it. As far as I know this information does not violate any confidentiality agreements to which I am legally bound and that’s irrelevant because I can’t remember all that stuff anyway. So, I’m sharing. I’m sharing the parts I remember, that is.

First there was the routine abduction, something I’m so familiar with now that I rarely lose conscientious when they stab me in the eye with that incredibly bright light.

They use a variant of the flash bang commonly deployed by special forces personnel on most of the TV shows I watch. I think the police also use them as a way to stun a crowd into submission. The difference is that the version they use only has the flash part because the bang aspect would draw too much attention to the other patrons at Starbucks, where they normally arrange their snatch and grabs. Snatch and grab is not my choice of words, it’s theirs. They told me. I have no idea why they use that term, but they do. So, there I was at Starbucks, the one across the street from Wal-Mart*, when Ringo (ya, that’s what he calls himself) approached me and reached into his pocket for the flash light he always carries.

“Ringo,” I said. “Do you really have to do this? I mean, I’ll just go with you. You don’t have to blind me.”

After a short pause to gather his wits, he responded “but this is procedure. We always do it this way.”

“But I’m a compliant abductee. Haven’t I always gone along with pretty much everything you’ve asked me to do?”

“A … ya … I guess. But I like using my light. It’s fun.” At that point he whipped out the light and pointed it at my right eyeball and was in the process of activating it. Just before he pressed the button I moved my spoon, which I always carry in my right hand, most of the time, anticipating events like this, to cover my right eye with the convex surface point away from me. When he pushed the button the flash ricocheted off my spoon and harmlessly scattered throughout the room.

You might think this would have caused some sort of commotion amongst all those Starbucks customers but virtually all of them were fixated on their electronic device of choice and ignoring everything around them except the caffeinated drink gripped tightly in they dominate hand. Those with laptops sometimes released their drinks so they could use both hands on their keyboards, but that never lasted long.

“Oh, man,” said Ringo, “now I have to do this the old way,” at which point he reached over and grabbed me by the ear, a universally known method of forcing compliance, and marched me right out of that coffee shop and into the waiting sedan at the curb. All the way I was yelling “Ow, ow ow …” but he just qualified his action by adding, “Wait until your Mother finds out what you’ve been doing,” which is just another proven method of forcing compliance. No one wants to upset their Mom.

Once in the car I greeted to George, Ringo’s accomplice, who was always the driver. Also in the car was Brucette, their suductress, who is only put into play should all other forms of abducting fail. Brucette was very good at her job but she’s never had to work her wiles on my because I’ve always gone along nicely. That’s why I couldn’t figure out why Ringo and George had to make taking me such a big deal.

The sedan sped away from the curb before I had a chance to buckle up and I was slammed into the back seat just as I was about to sit. After speeding around a corner, onto Highway 30, I found myself unceremoniously draped across both Ringo and Brucette’s laps. Brucette thought it was an opportunity to practice her art and started brushing the hair out of my eyes and rubbing my back. I tried to extract myself from her embrace but she held me in place (she’s very strong) even when Ringo grabbed my ear again tried to yank me to a sitting position. But Brucette held on tight. Consequently, the pain was exquisite and at the same time comforting. She was that good.

“Brucie,” said Rambo quietly, releasing the tension on my ear, “let him go. You know the rules. Passengers in vehicles are required to wear seat belts on this planet.” She bowed her head a bit, looked up at him demurely, then reluctantly let me go. That was scary. I know how George drives so getting a seatbelt on was imperative.

Just as I heard the seat belt click into place I also heard the squeal of tires, the prelude to an impending crash.

When I woke up I had no idea where I was or how long I had been napping. It must have been a while because I was aware of the reduced gravity which could only mean I was on the Mother Ship. Again. Just once I wish they ‘d let me enjoy the trip up but, nooo, they had to stick to their stupid doctrine. When full awareness finally dawned on my abused body I heard a swish as the bathroom door opened and Brucette stepped out of the shower … … Oops. Gotta stop and help Diane find the waffle iron. Apparently we’re having breakfast.

I’ll get back to this later. Maybe tomorrow.

The Mother Ship

I opened this because I was sure I had something profound to share but all that comes to mind is stifled with a confusing blur of naps, trips to the bathroom, meals, and trips to various places around town. That means I’ll have to share something that may or may not be true because I’m just not sure any more what’s what.

One interesting things is that the alien abductors are getting new ships. I learned this, I think, during my last trip up from my friend Arnold. Yes, they have names like ours but that’s only because they got them from watching TV. In their native language they all sound alike, to me. Arnold came from “Happy Days,” in case you’re wondering.

A few months ago Arnold told me that he was from the Aquarius constellation so you can imagine my surprise when scientists recently reported their findings about Trappist-1, the dwarf star around which 7, yes seven, earth-like stars orbit. Normally that would be a coincidence but I don’t believe in coincidences. I look at it as validation of what Arnold told me, and it would explain why we look so much alike.

I look forward to my next trip up so I can see what kind of equipment they are getting to replace the fancy things they already had. I asked him what they were going to do with the old ships and he said they would probably donate them to various governments around the world like they have in the past. Donations of this sort are the source of much of the new technology we enjoy. If you are a fan of some of the new gadget oriented TV programs you are probably aware of the technology these actors supposedly use. Just know that it isn’t fake stuff. The actors don’t know this because, well, they’re actors, but the folks who make create the shows have input from the mother ships, taking advantage of this large stage where they can showcase some of the things to come.

What fun. Perhaps I’ll be able to expand on this further after my next visit with Arnold unless they forbid it. Normally they don’t care what we share about our trips to the Mother Ship because they are confident that no one will believe them. I’m especially curious to find out how long it takes for Arnold’s co-workers to transit to and from Trappist-1 and to find out what they call it.

So, when I return with more info on this, believe me or not. Your choice.

Stupid Computers, Ears, Lions International, Jerrie, and Popcorn

Before I get carried away here, I need to add something about my trip back to Best Buy to retrieve my old computer. You know, the one that broke? Well, when the Geek Guy tried to refund the $80 because they couldn’t find any data to transfer he ran into a problem that required help. I won’t bore you with the details, like normal, but will cut right to the chase. The problem he was having was that when he brought up the purchase Best Buy’s computers had reworked the totals because the computer I bought the day before was on sale that day. So, in addition to the $80 refund I got an extra $200 due to the reduced price. What a deal, don’t you think? It almost made me want to go out and buy something else that I could return. But, I didn’t. I counted my blessings and left happy.

Here’s another update on the computer problems. I may have mentioned that I had perfectly good back ups on a 4TB drive I used for that purpose, and that the failed computer, as it gasped for life, felt the need to inform that backup drive that it was leaving and that no more backups were in the works. As a matter of fact, it told the backup drive that the backups it had could be summarily dismissed. So, bowing to the superior knowledge of my Apple iMac computer, my 4TB Western Digital My Cloud drive somehow made all those back files just disappear. Stupid My Cloud. Why would it believe a dying computer?

But – the new computer, the replacement, could access the drive, but I wasn’t going to trust it for future backups. Nope. Not a chance. Instead I set up the new Seagate 1TB drive that I purchased for the Geek Guys to use for transferring data. It works great and it’s dedicated with a direct connect with a USB 3.0 connection. Also, since the new computer so easily found the My Cloud drive, it also was able to drill down to the ‘Jerrie’ folder where there just happened to be a “Documents” folder that still had all the documents I thought I’d lost. Literally hundreds of them including one folder that holds a bunch of short stories I’ve written over the years. Those files were there because I apparently had the foresight to manually copy them from the old computer before it started losing it’s memory.

Life is so much better now that I have my Documents back. Sadly, the other thing that would have come in really handy is the Key Chain file which held all the passwords for pretty much everything I access. I’m guessing I’ll survive without it, but I really like all those passwords. Some of them I’ve had for years.

Last Wednesday I attended my first Church Council meeting in a year. Prior to that year off I served on Council for six consecutive years. For some reason I agreed to return for another round of abuse and was at Wednesday’s meeting to see what was in store for me.

The main order of business was electing new officers. Before any nominations could be made I spoke up and volunteered to be the new Secretary. One of those going off council was the Secretary and I can take notes. And I can type. I did this to also eliminate any possibility that I might be nominated for a position that had responsibilities. The ploy worked and I avoided getting a real job. Lucky me.

On Thursday I skipped coffee with the guys at the Kozy because I needed to study for a mess of tests I was going to have at the Vestibular Lab at Good Sam. I’ve mentioned this previously, I think. It’s all about the body’s system that helps keep us vertical, and makes us spatially aware. It’s pretty important, I hear. The testing took 2.5 hours and I appeared to pass them all. In the end I left with the knowledge that mechanically I’m kind of OK, so whatever it is that’s making Jerrie almost fall down is probably something going haywire with my tiny little brain. The Doc didn’t actually say that, but there’s really not another option.

During the vestibular testing I learned some amazing things about what they test and how they interpret the results. Bottom line, these folks can perform their non-invasive tests on newborns and discern if the child has any kind of hearing impairment. Really. A newborn. That just blew my mind. They do it with puffs of air, clicking noises, water, and stick on monitor terminals. One of the tests that checks the ability of the Cochlear to convert sound waves into electrical impulses that can be interpreted by the brain. My doc said they used to do this by sticking a needle through the ear drum then used that needle to induce the needed sound waves. Thankfully, there’s a new toy in town that does the same work simply by sticking a ‘thing’ in the ear canal.

OK. Enough of that. I’ll learn more at some point in the future after Dr. Brown reviews the tests.

Yesterday was a long one. I mentioned that Ahmed, our Pakistani Grand Son, a foreign exchange student staying with our daughter, Jennifer, gave a stellar presentation at our last local Lion’s meeting. Because he did such a great job, he was invited to attend the Oregon Convention in McMinnville. It was an all day affair that required we leave home at 0630 in order to be there by 0800. One of the first things that happened during registration was we all received stick on mustaches. I’m sad that Diane didn’t wear hers for the photo. Nifty, huh?

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Many people spoke, some of them were very good, we had lunch, and we (Diane and I) voted for new officers for District 36-O. Another thing that happened was all the First Time convention attendees were forced to go to the front and stand in a row so folks could look at us. Hank captured us.

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As the day wore into afternoon, and our time away from the house entered the danger zone for leaving the dogs alone for so long, we bid our adieus and headed out the door. We missed the entertainment, I hear, but we also got home before dark.

My Lion sponsor, and past District 36-O Governor, Hank, received an award. I got to document that. On the left is the Lion International Director, then Hank, and the current 36-O governor (the reason for the stick on mustaches).

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On the way to our vehicle Ahmed had to stop and get a photo with his new best friend who was sitting on a bench outside the facility.

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Now, for som totally unrelated information that may or may not interest you. First is a photo of our youngest Grand Daughter, Jerrie Anne Diane, (my and Diane’s namesake) during a class event on Valentines Day. Jerrie is sitting on the floor in front of everyone. That’s my girl.

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Next, and last, is a photo of popcorn we had the other day. Diane has become addicted to popcorn for her evening snack. Although it’s theater microwave popcorn, we put butter on it anyway – half a cube for a bag. Then it’s really good. Sadly. our microwave is losing it’s mind, probably because it was hanging out with my old computer during the night. Anyway, it cycles through all of it’s options, just for fun, while we sit in the living room. That wouldn’t be so bad except it beeps every time it changes something. Sometimes it gets really busy. We’ve been waiting for it to quit totally, but it still perks along. Even so, it seems to get confused with the ‘Popcorn’ button once in a while, popping the corn for only a portion of the allotted time at something other than full power. The result is a bag that only half popped. That happened the other night so Diane added some more time and just let it run until the popping stopped. Doing this pretty much fries all the corn that’s already popped. So, I popped her another bag which worked just great, and I ate the burned one. It wasn’t too bad.

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That’s all I’ve got.

My Brain

I guess it’s time to come clean with the results of the CT Scan of my head. That was administered at 0945 on Friday the 13th. It took us an hour to drive to the hospital and took about 2 minutes for the tech to do the test. That meant we had lots of time to do ‘stuff’ in Portland. First up was breakfast at Elmer’s Pancake House. From there I don’t remember what we did. Shopped, I think.

Apparently that short CT scan worked because my doctor left a message on our home phone at 1110 requesting that I call so she could talk with me about what the scan revealed. Since we were roaming around Portland I didn’t listen to the message until we got home, after the doc’s office was closed. Then I had to wait until Monday because I didn’t want to talk with the office’s answering service over the weekend.

I have to say that I was a little concerned hearing from the doctor so soon after completing the test, and that allowed my little brain to go through all kinds of gyrations and permutations about the possible results. Seeing all that going on im my infected head put me into overdrive which just made it worse.

So, I had Diane take me to town and drop me off at the Pastime Tavern and told her I’d have the bartender call her if I didn’t think I could walk home. She was happy that I didn’t just take the truck, like I’ve done many times in the past. I quit doing that when they moved the jail from the old court-house to the Sheriff’s Office on Old Portland Road. The old location was better because it wasn’t such a far walk for her to come bail me out. So, she dropped me off and I’m sure she was hoping I’d just forget our home phone number. But, I fooled her because a long time ago I had the number tattooed just above my left knee so I can read it when I’m sitting in the bathroom.

The evening of Friday the 13th, however, didn’t result in an arrest. Nope. I just sat around talking with people, drinking beer, playing pool, and pushing away all the touchy-feely women who seemed to think they could make it all better. Well, I’m here to tell you that I don’t put up with that kind of undisciplined behavior and I told them so. The fellows to whom I was kabitzing thought for sure that CT Scan was going to turn up something really terrible because at least 4 of the hand on ladies were easily 2BB’s. That’s code for 2 Beer Beauty. It means that after only 2 beers she’s a keeper. Normally it takes 7 or 8. So I’m told.

Anyway, after talking with the guys for a while I just decided to walk home and save Diane another trip. I’m that kind of guy, always looking for ways to make things easier for my one and only Love. Yes sir. I’m that guy.

On the way home I stopped by Diane’s Mom’s (Jean’s) house to use the bathroom but it was late and she wasn’t up. Fortunately, her property borders Milton Creek and it’s dark back there so I decided to take advantage. I didn’t have a choice, really, because Mom’s house is about halfway between the Pastime and Home.

The creek was rolling along nicely, and lots higher than normal with all the melting snow and rain, so I was very careful when I approached the water and made my way to a flat cemented area. I went there because I figured the rocks along there would be slippery and I’d no doubt wind up falling into the water.

Falling in wouldn’t really be a problem because the creek really isn’t very deep. It was, however, flowing very fast so dealing with the current would have been a challenge I didn’t want to face. That, and I really didn’t want to get wet.

As I was relieving myself the lights went on in the house directly across from where I was exposing myself. Before I could put myself back together I saw this bright flash that caused me to lose my place in space. The result, of course, was that I fell in the water and was swept away on a fairly long winding journey to the Columbia River.

I did everything I could to stop my forward motion but nothing I grabbed would hold me. I just managed to rip things from the banks as I swirled and swiveled downstream. Giving up isn’t normally my nature, but I decided to just relax and enjoy the ride even though it was dark and I couldn’t see much. That really didn’t matter, though, because most of my relaxing was staying afloat so I could continue breathing. I’m a fairly good swimmer so it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. At this point, I have to admit, that it really scared me when I fell and I’m sure I wet my pants. By the time I made that realization, it was a moot point because I was wet all over.

After rushing downstream for 15-20 minutes, it kind of got to be routine so I was pretty sure I would make it to the Columbia, and calmer water in pretty good shape. I got so relaxed with all the bumping and such, that I pulled my iPhone 7 out of my hip pocket. I was surprised that it was still there, to be honest, and I was very happy to discover that it really is water proof. I turned it on and checked my email as I glided under Highway 30. Then I opened bejeweled which really relaxes me more. Currently I’m on level 221 and I have 6,055,170 points. That’s an absolute truthism.

Finally, just as I finished another level, the current took a brief turn for the worse as it intersected with the Columbia, and I made an abrupt left turn towards Astoria, 62 miles away. I closed up my phone and returned it to my hip pocket and planned my escape from the river at the St. Helens Marina down by the Old Court House, where the jail used to be.

Staying afloat on my back, to conserve energy, I made paddling motions that would aim me for the docks. Knowing that the current could easily suck me under the pilings, I remained very alert as I approached the first dock, but got sucked under it anyway. Luckily, that put me into calmer water, but I still banged my head on one of the boats that always seem to be parked there. By the time I came to my senses I’d been sucked under all the docks, and 11 of the 13 houseboats that populate the marina. At the 12th houseboat I became entangled in a net that halted my progress downstream.

Getting out of the water in that flimsy net was a real chore and I know I was making a horrible racket. My thought was that perhaps someone would hear me and come to my aid. They eventually did, but only after I made it all the way onto the deck of the houseboat.

The owner finally came out to see what was going on, saw me, and went right back inside to get his gun while I just lay there trying to catch my breath. I was pretty tuckered out so I wasn’t too concerned about the gun.

Standing there, pointing his pistol at me, the owner looked around and discovered the net that had saved my life. His eyes went wide and he yelled at me, “You ruint mah net!” which, in fact, I had so I didn’t argue. I figured the manner of his speech and his excited manner didn’t have room for me to try to explain just exactly why I was laying there on his deck. Next he got his phone and called the police to report me as trespasser which is a terrible crime in St. Helens. At one point, while talking to them, he covered the the microphone portion of his phone, leaned toward me and said, “What’s yer name?” I promptly said, “My name is Doug O’Peal, but you can call me Jerrie.”

“How the hell do you get ‘Jerrie’ out of Doug O’Peal?” he bellowed in a questioning manner.

“It’s my mother’s maiden name,” I replied, calmly.

“Your mother’s maiden name was ‘Jerrie’?” he asked, with his eyebrows raised.

“Yes.”

“What’s her first name?”

“Diane.”

“Diane Jerrie?”

“Yes.”

The conversation, such as it was, deteriorated from there until, finally, the police arrived to find us verbally engaged with the guy still holding his thumb over the phone’s microphone. I guess he forget he was on the phone with the police. They weren’t happy about it, either, because they came in full tacitical assault mode, not knowing what to expect. Lots of flashlights and yelling people. Soon the contents of all 13 boathouses were standing on the walkway connecting all the houses to the shore and it quickly devolved into a party.

Five of the guys got out their guitars, a little blond highschool girl dragged out a complete set of drums, and one of the wives just happened to have a huge bass fiddle. The hoedown was on.

While that was going on I told my story to the police and it was evident they didn’t believe much of it because, I had to admit, it was a bit far fetched. So, just to make it easy on themselves, they cuffed me and hauled me away for trespassing, and for ruining this guys illegal gill net. After depositing me at the jail I have no doubt they returned to the marina to participate in the party.

Jail was no fun at all. I never is no matter how many times you wind up there. It always sucks. The only really good things about it were I got to take off all my wet clothes, I discovered that I didn’t have any contraband stuffed in my butt, and I got a nice set of clean orange overalls and a pair of socks.

I’m just gonna skip to the chase right here and get to the really bad part of the evening. That’s when I had to call Diane and ask her to please come bail me out again. She wasn’t really surprised but I was surprised when she agreed without any negotiating at all.

After all the paperwork was done, I was released into Diane’s custody. They let her keep the handcuffs and she made me wear them the rest of the night, chained to my table saw in the basement. It was not a good night.

I made it through to Monday, chained to that saw, and she finally let me loose to use the bathroom and to call my doctor about that CT Scan. Instead of talking with the doctor, they made me an appointment for Wednesday the 18th at 0725 in the morning. So I waited. Patiently.

On Wednesday, at 0725 in the morning, I was at the office and talking with the doctor. She’s really great, and I like her, so of course she’s moving to another state to practice medicine and I have to find another primary care. But, that’s not important here. She told me that they didn’t find anything catastrophic on the scan, but they did find some (insert really complicated Doctor Words here) that are common in people my age. She converted the doctor words into something I could understand. Apparently I got many small areas of dead blood vessels in my brain, none of which indicate that I’ve had a stroke, or that I’m failing due to alzheimer’s disease. I just have little shrivled up veins that aren’t a concern.

Really? Dead blood vessels in my head and I shouldn’t worry? Well, OK. I won’t worry. What’s the point? It is what it is and the only downside, apparently, is that the areas damaged in my brain are important to those who don’t wish to be injured. That’s just a guess, of course. I definitely have the injury problem but I think it’s in my genes, not because of some little dead blood vessels.

So, there you have it. My brain is fried.

I’m sure no one is surprised.

Cheers.

OH – PS – none of the foregoing is true except for the doctor’s analysis.

Did I Turn Left, Right, or go Straight?

I’ve figured out what’s going on that makes me appear to be off-balance and cause me to walk into walls.

It has to do with our multi-dimensional universe. What’s happening is this – when I turn a corner I partially step into another dimension where my leg, on the side I turn towards, is a bit shorter than I’m used to. For instance, if I turn left, my left leg moves into the other dimension as I turn the corner, then when I move to take a step forward, the shorter leg causes me to move to the left instead of straight. Once I realize what’s happening, I return to normal. Well, kinda normal. The same thing happens when I turn to the right, with my right leg.

The reason my leg seems shorter is, I suspect, because by not transferring completely into the other dimension, which is normally transparent to the traveler, my body is a little out of sync with what I perceive to be the natural order of things. It’s been proven, somewhere, that when a body completely transcends the boundaries into another dimension they are replaced in the vacated dimension by a duplicate that chose a different path.

It’s only logical that dimensions are accessed when we come to a point where we must make a decision. In the one that to you is reality, you turn one way, your duplicate does not. Look at it as if you split into two people at the point of decision and you actually go both directions. You do this over and over throughout a normal day and never realize it. Until you get old and apparently lose the ability to completely transfer your entire body in the direction you chose.

I only know when this happens to me when I go to look for something right where I know I left it, but it isn’t there. It’s not there because I’m in another dimension. There are two ways to return to the proper dimension where the missing item dwells. One is to dwell on the misplaced item to the point that you become fanatical about your inability to find it. Eventually the nature of dimensions gets tired of your whining and returns you to the proper place in space. The other way is to just ignore the loss of the item because you know it will be returned at some point in time.

Oddly, no matter which choice you make, whine about it, or forget about it, it takes the same amount of time for the universe to right itself. I’ve timed it so I know this is true.

OK. I know. Sounds crazy, right? But, I am unable to prove me wrong.

Now I’m going to intentionally transition into a different dimension by going to bed and commence to dream about that other reality where one of the other me people traded all that ENRON stock I had for Microsoft and Apple stock before it all disappeared. I’m doing really well in that place.

Cheers.

Chaos and My Brother

OK, folks. I just gotta tell ya that winter is getting old around here. We wound up with about 12 inches of snow a few days ago after multiple sub-freezing days, and it’s still here. This morning it was 12 degrees out there at 6 when my bladder alerted me to an urgent need. The dogs, of course, were rarin’ to go plow through the snow in search of critters that may have passed through the field during the night. The cat, however, doesn’t have any interest in going out to play in the snow. I don’t think she’s been outside for three days now. We think she’s kinda hibernating because she sleeps all day and all night and hardly eats, except for the residue from our yogurt cups. So, she’s ingesting only what she can use to ensure there’s no need to poop. Wish I could do that. Sleep all day, I mean.

Bottom line, this isn’t  very Oregon-like weather for our neck of the woods. Ya, I know … we don’t live in the woods, we live on the outskirts of town. I should have said that, “our neck of the outskirts of town,” I guess, but it just doesn’t have the same ring.

Twelve degrees! Maybe I should talk about something else.

Since most of my time has been spent inside I decided to tackle some inside projects that have been hanging around for a while. OK, for years. Considering my predilection for leaving tools in exactly the last spot I used them, it’s hard to find stuff sometimes. Well, like all the time, actually. I go in my shop and look around thinking that, “One day I’m going to straighten this all up.” Well, making a committment to work on finishing some projects makes it a necessity now.

The first thing I did was sit down and make a plan, listing all of the things that needed to happen to, say, saw a board in half. The ‘board’ in question is actually one of six I need to cut to finish the oak trim around the three windows we had Anderson install a couple of years ago. This is the lumber I have left to do them, but I need two 1×5 12′ boards for the big window. Ignore everything except the nicely stacked boards on the folding table up front.img_1553

Before looking for the boards, I had make room on the floor so I’d have a place to put all the stuff I’ve piled on the saw since the last time I used it for building Diane’s pantry drawers. That table saw will hold a lot of stuff.

The stuff on the floor included two or three Avon box lids full of all sorts of screws and bolts that I’ve not been able to part with over the years. I sat on the floor and went through them all, pulling out only the ones with phillips heads, or the shiny ones that need a flat blade driver. The rest I dumped into an empty Avon lid. The ones I kept went into a much smaller bucket. The assumption is that I’ll eventually find that bucket during the final stages of this cleanup.

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Then I removed everything from the work bench I started modifying in 2008. I removed the top boards, which weren’t fastened down, to eliminate that tempting horizontal surface. My original plan with that section of work bench was to make it as tall as the table saw, which it is, so I could use it as a outfeed extension of the saw. That would make sense if the bench wasn’t against the wall so now I’ve decided to lower it more and make it 29 inches high so I can sit at it and do stuff. That means I need to take it apart so I can trim off the excess. I’m talking about that thing in the back with the green paint on it. It used to be a ping-pong board.

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To trim off the excess means I need to unload the saw. To unload the saw I need more floor space, or another table, on which to stack it. Or, I can just add it to the other side of the work bench and no one will ever know.

Before I can use the saw I will need to remove all the excess stuff to Diane’s room so she can go through it to see if there’s anything of interest to her. She can’t do that right now because she’s busy going through old magazines so we can take them to recycle. She’s been doing that for about a week. There were lots of magazines but she’s done an excellent job and now there are just a few. I went through some of my magazines, too, and did purged most of them.

My ultimate goal for the work benches, both sides, is to build sliding draws, shallow ones, that will hold stuff I’ll actually use. That’s where most of the stuff in boxes on the floor is going to go.

Do you see this vicious circle I’ve created for myself? It’s just terrible, but I’ve made it work. I just want it to work better now that I’m more infirm and prone to dancing sideways once in a while. Extra stuff on the floor doesn’t help that at all. If I used my cane like my doctor ordered I would be better off, but that would leave me only one hand to stack stuff. Here’s some more chaos that I must deal with.

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Then, when all that has gone away, I must find time to do something with these old windows I salvaged from the old house we moved out of in 2007. Yeah, they’ve been in the basement that long.

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Yesterday Diane and I braved Highway 30 and drove to Portland to honor my appointment for a CT scan at Good Sam Hospital. It took us about an hour to get there, normal, and it wasn’t a terrible trip. Lots of ice on the road making it pretty lumpy. From the time we parked in front of the hospital until we were back in the truck was a total of about 20 minutes. The scan took about 2 minutes. The rest of the time was spent walking to the imaging desk, and checking in. The scan was ordered to see if there was anything in my head. I’ve had them before and, at that time, there wasn’t anything there. That should confirm what a lot of you may think about some of the things I do and say. Nothing there.

From Good Sam we headed to Hillsboro for breakfast at Elmer’s, then, thinking ahead, we went to Costco for toilet paper which we knew we’d need as soon as we got back home. The toilet paper and ‘other’ stuff only cost $400! It snowed at Costco, too.

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The trip home was tricky because Cornelius Pass is closed so road crews can remove all the trees that succumbed to the extra weight of snow and ice. That meant we had to take Highway 26, bad on a good day, all the way into town to hook up with I-405 then Highway 30. I was driving or I would have taken photos.

We stopped and visited Diane’s Mom, Jean, before going home to make sure she wasn’t out of food and that she was weathering the storm OK. She was, and she’s in good spirits. A tough Lady for sure.

By the time we got home the dogs had been alone for almost 8 hours, and the cat was sitting on the front porch. The cat was not a happy camper. We didn’t know she was out when we left. Maybe she’ll start checking in and out like the dogs do. They never get left outside.

When we got home Diane insisted that ‘we’ give Panzee a bath because she smells terrible. So we (I) took her to my shower because it’s got a low threshold so I didn’t have to pick her up, and it’s a confined space that she can’t escape from. It was touch and go for a while until she discovered that the warm water felt pretty good and rubbing the soap into her incredibly thick fur was pretty much like great massage. Then she relaxed and allowed me to rid her of much of the odor she carries arround with her. The only way to make it all go away is to shave her bald, but Diane won’t let me do that until spring.

Then I cut her toenails and made one of them bleed so much that I’m sure she now hates me. Once I feed her it will all be OK. I had to follow her around the house for about an hour wiping up bloody spots until it finally stopped. I felt pretty bad about it and will most definitely be more careful the next time. Please don’t turn me in to the ASPCA.

Now some good news about a bad thing regarding a topic about which very few of you are aware. My older brother, Jack, was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. How long ago, I do not know. I just knew something was different but it wasn’t something I was going to grill him about. That would have been counter productive, so when we talked I did my best to avoid negative issues. We talked and argued like we’ve always done.

After the initial diagnosis it’s my understanding that it was presumed that the cancer was in his bones and lymph nodes. With this news he and Wynette made their way south on a scheduled trip to Arizona to visit with their Grandson and their new Great Granddaughter Kelly. It’s my belief that nothing could have delayed that visit.

For some reason he recently had to get different health insurance. In order to get tests he needed he had to have diagnosis from an in plan doctor. So he started over with the preliminaries. Finally, last week, he had a bone density scan and a CT scan. The end result, after all that insurance company hassle, he was told his cancer is confined to his prostrate. Not in his bones. Not in his lymph nodes. We are all incredibly happy about those findings.

Yes, there are still mountains to climb on Jack’s journey, but with these recent findings his mountains just aren’t quite as steep, or tall. They’re manageable and he’s tough as nails. His family and friends will continue to pray for his health and understanding about what is going on in his life, and we plan on witnessing a miracle when it all just goes away.

Please join us in that effort.

Thanks.