Richard Petty, PT Cruisers, and Las Vegas The Show

Today was especially hard for me because I thought my entire life was perfect in all aspects the, out of the blue, Diane told me she’d had enough of my shenanigans and wanted to be set free. So, I went down to the jail, paid her bail, and did just that. Her court date isn’t until, like June 1st, so we’ll have to come back and see what happens. Things were fine until she went to see “Thunder From Down Under.” You know, all those naked Aussies dancing and such. It was girls night out and she apparently had a really good time. It is an unspoken deal between the two of us that I will never asked what happened and she’ll never tell. I, on the other hand, had a very sedate evening sitting in our room, watching all the pretty lights until I got tired and had to go to bed. Alone. That was the first time in a very long time. Like years.

This morning, once I got her released, we went to visit Pat & Pat at their Worldmark condo on the southern part of the Las Vegas Strip so we could tag along with them to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway where he was going to make a few laps in a NASCAR race car. He was signed up to participate in the Richard Petty racing experience.

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It was a special event and we were honored to have been invited to witness his experience and share in his joy. Diane, Short Pat, and I even got to participate, as observers, in the training evolution but we didn’t get to wear fire-retardant suit like Pat did. I, personally, felt cheated on that note because there were dozens of them just hanging there. Wouldn’t have hurt if they let me wear one, just for fun. But they wouldn’t.

The training took place in the infield of the speedway which was quite a treat for us all because it’s such a huge place. Also, since it’s right next to Nellis AFB, we were treated to numerous F-18 fighter jets flying over as they practiced take off’s and landings. Pretty impressive. Diane loves that sound. Makes her swoon.

Once out at the track, each of the drivers posed next to a Richard Petty 43 car before moving on to their assigned vehicle. Our Pat was the first one out since all the other drivers opted for the additional ride along with the pro driver to get the real feel of the track.

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Then one of the drivers cranked up one of the cars on the track. It’s the one they use to take drivers on a fast ride, like 165 mph, before they do it themselves with a ride along driving coach who has a kill switch should things get out of control. The sound of that car cranking up was an attention getter on a large-scale, especially since it was only about 10 feet away from us. Very thrilling. Diane had to sit down.

Then Pat got in his assigned car and flashed a thumbs up before starting the engine and entering the track for his attempt to hit all the gates and make the 1.5 mile trip as fast as he could.IMG_1635

There was another fun looking car at the track but no amount of whining by Pat would have made it possible for the professionals to allow Pat inside the car. I don’t blame him. I wasn’t signed up to drive, and I ever whined a little. Looked like it might be a lot of fun.

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Once the ride was over, Pat exited the car and staggered back to our side of the barrier that kept us out of the pit area. Actually, I don’t think he walked at all … he kinda floated back with a really silly grin on his face which let us all know he’d just experienced the thrill of a life time. And we were there to see it. Below Pat and Pat share a moment in history that won’t soon be forgotten.
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Watch of the drivers got a video of their ride from inside the car, and I also took video of him each time he flew past us on the front straightaway. He was moving along very nicely. When it was all done he learned that he’d set a new track record for rookies of 155.3 and was immediately offered a sponsor so he could go pro. What an honor. He turned them down because he didn’t want to spoil the thrill of that initial ride and didn’t want to make it a job. Once it’s a job, it’s no long fun. It’s work.

We left the track and headed back to town. On the way the girls did a search for a nice place to eat. They came up with an Italian place called Norman’s, or something like that, that was a little ways out of town, away from the strip. It was very authentic and the food was delicious. I had my forever favorite spaghetti ala carbonara. It’s really great stuff. Diane had raviolis, Tall Pat had spaghetti and meat balls, and Short Pat had tortellini. We were all well fed and thoroughly enjoyed the meal and the visit with Pat and Pat.

Then we monied back to Worldmark and retrieve Diane’s new Impala. Sadly, it was time to bid adieu and go our separate ways. But, we know we will see them again soon once we’re all back in the Portland area.

Here’s where we stayed. It’s one of the newer Travelodges recently acquired by Hilton and added to their expanding list of properties that we can use in our travels.
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Last night was festive over at the Gold Coast Casino where we had our PT Banquet. The food was good, the service was excellent, and everyone had a really good time. One of the more interesting events, in addition to the many PT related stories people told, was that one lady, from Colorado, who bought two $10 tickets for a 50/50 raffle, won on both tickets. She got 1st prize of $350, missed on the 2nd place $225, and one 3rd place for $125. Not a bad night. What incredible luck.

This evening we went to see “Las Vegas, The Show” which is one we’ve seen on a previous visit. We chose to go again because it’s magnificent and we recommend it to anyone who has a notion to visit LV. Another draw was the theater is just around the corner from our hotel. Seriously, right around the corner.

Now we’re back in the room and will pack before retiring with the intention of embarking on our homeward journey tomorrow, a day earlier than originally planned. The lady at the front desk was ecstatic when I told her she could have her room back a day early. We need to do this so we can make it back to St. Helens in time to attend Easter service at our church.

So, I bid you farewell and have to point out that today is April 1st, and only part of what you’ve just read is true. You’ll just have to decide for your self which part.

Good night.

Spring 2013

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Spring!

It’s finally here.

Again.

It was actually ere two days ago, but I missed it. Apparently I was napping when the Vernal Equinox arrived. I do recall a few days of ‘fake’ spring a couple of weeks back, and even got my yard mowed, as some of you may recall, but I knew it wasn’t the real deal.

Now we’re a couple of days into it and things are looking up. As my fingers tippy tap across my keyboard, the sun is shining brightly and I my feminine side has urges to remove everything from the house and clean it from top to bottom.

Fortunately, for me, my masculine side, small though it may be, has the ability to override impulsive events my feminine side views as normal. That will continue to be the case as long as my testosterone levels remain steady. Keeping those levels normal is becoming more of a chore than I care to deal with, however, so I’m on the verge of doing something to correct resolve it.

I’m going to start taking estrogen. Yes, it’s time that I quit fighting the losing battle that’s costing me my menimine perspective on life, and join the winning side. I think we all come to that point, eventually, but normally that happens once there’s absolutely no hope of making a difference. Perhaps by making the change now, I will be able to leave my mark on society by joining my wife, and sharing her underwear drawer, in a quest alert the remainder of humanity to the fact that men don’t have a chance.

I want to have fabulous eyelashes, too, and cleavage that will cause men to stare so I can point out that they aren’t supposed to be looking at what’s so obviously on display. Yes, my cleavage will on display for all to see, and you can look without feeling any guilt. Yes sir!

That’s what I’m going to do, and I’m going to start right away by putting on a new pair of panties.

 

Comcast or CenturyLink

We made the switch this year, twice.

The year began with us happily chugging along with Comcast internet service and DirecTV. Then, just for fun, I called CenturyLink to see what kind of deal we could get if we bundled DirecTV with their DSL internet service. Adding home phone service wasn’t on my mind when I first called so that didn’t come up until late in the hour long conversation I had with a very nice customer service agent. Just for fun, I asked if we could get our old home phone number. After a brief search I was told, “Yes” That was the deal maker for me so I signed up for the whole meal deal. We gave that number up over 2 years ago so it was pretty amazing that it was still available.

It was good to get the old number back but the internet service was just terrible because it was sooooo sloooooow. It was like going back to dial up after experiencing Comcast’s blazing speed. I knew it was going to be super slow, but Diane was not pleased. As a result, before getting the first CenturyLink bill, I went to Comcast and signed up for their Triple Play deal. Now the internet speed is back where it belongs, Diane has to learn how to use a new remote control, and we still have our old home phone number.

Then, yesterday, I made a severe error of judgement, my first of the year. I installed Comcast’s free Norton Security Suite. I couldn’t install it on my iMac, but putting it on Diane’s PC took it back to dial up speeds and she was not pleased. When she’s not please, things don’t go well for me. So, today, after we decorated the Christmas tree at church, I uninstalled Norton while she was taking a long nap in her recliner. She was tuckered out from worry, afraid I was going to fall off the wobbly 15 foot step ladder I was using to add lights and ornaments. I wasn’t a bit worried. Ever. I’ve been on that ladder lots of times and never fell off once.

The tree looks right nice. We used all white lights and only gold ornaments. That’s a first for the church so we’re curious to hear comments. We’ve already decided that the first person to make a bad comment will be nominated to be in charge of the crew to remove the tree after Christmas.

Today I finished up a 4 day job of repairing my bathroom to keep the shower from leaking. It’s only taken me 2 months. I know that’s true because Diane told me. I did the final touches while she was taking her nap, and while I was fixing her computer. I was multitasking like crazy. Too bad I don’t have more days like this. Maybe I could find the floor in my shop. The trouble with that is that once I find the floor, the top of the work bench disappears. At this time I have neither a floor or a work bench top. It’s a very hazardous area. But, one of these days, I’m really going down there to clean it up. Maybe Monday.

Now I’m going to stop and relax.

Redneck Lederhosen & Mother’s Day

Greetings Fellow Humanaters …

Today I send you greetings from from a little known part of St. Helens where the Bavarian influence is strong and has been integrated with the area’s inherent redneck nature. Oompah bands proliferate the area in late November, most years, when they attempt to relive their heritage by drinking as much beer as possible, at as many Novemberfest events as they can infiltrate during the week long event. I know, most organized folks celebrate their right to overindulge in beer during Oktoberfest, but one year these folks had so much fun doing that that they decided to do it again in November. This allows them to continue the party for two full months. How fun is that?

Here’s what everyone wears … even the wimmen …

Classy, huh?

Seriously, now, I have to tell you what an awesome wife I have. I Have An Awesome Wife! Today, after church, we took Diane’s Mom, Jean, to the local Chinese place for lunch. They have the most excellent food and all three of us can eat for $12. Today we ordered a #4 and pan fried noodles. There was enough left over for Mom to keep for lunch tomorrow. What  deal

After lunch we wound up in Little Bavaria where I donned my special order lederhosen and both went to work scrubbing the RV. It was an all day affair. Diane’s Mom, Jean, stayed to watch the process because we tied her in a lawn chair and put her under a tree in the front yard, so she didn’t really have a choice.

Anyway, Diane scrubbed everything along the bottom, as high as she could reach, and I used the ladder to hit the high spots. The old rig shined up nicely. Had it not been for Diane helping with this, on Mother’s Day, it wouldn’t have never gotten done. Because of her helping, on Mother’s Day, I had time to put new screen in the screenless frames for our front side windows. We’re kind of in  rush because on Tuesday morning we’ll be firing up the old RV and head for Moses Lake. Things have to be done.

The last thing I did, before shutting the garage door, was tape off the front end stripes in preparation for painting tomorrow morning. That’s going to be fun, unless it’s windy.

Here’s a picture of the new wood on the door, and the old wood I removed …

It doesn’t have a finish on it yet because that’s going to happen tomorrow, too. Diane will be doing that part. She’s better at that than I am. She’s better at a lot of stuff than I am. Actually, she’s better at pretty much everything than I am. This is her, the love of my live …

It’s after 2200 and Diane said we can’t dilly dally around in the morning because we have so much to do. So, it must be time for me to go to bed.

Hope all is well with all of you.

There Is A GOD and Prayer Works

Guess what!? Lyle doesn’t have colon cancer. The doctors think the masses were simply a couple of Oregon slugs that have been clinging to his innards since their visit in June 2008. They are very persistant critters and not something people normally eat, unless it’s by mistake. I sincerely believe that Lyle didn’t eat any of them on purpose. But, you never know. He’s an adventurous soul.

So, now his kidneys are working, and he doesn’t have colon cancer. What remains to be seen is the results of the endoscopy, and the biopsy that was taken this afternoon. I don’t think this one is an Oregon slug because it’s too high up in the GI tract. It’s a known fact that it sometimes takes slugs 6 years to transit the normal 32 feet of intestines. They’re really slow. You’re guess is as good as mine as to what it is, but we all hope and pray the biopsy is negative.

Today I didn’t get real clothes on until about 1:00pm. The first time I got up was 6:00am, like normal, to let the dogs out. Then I went back to bed instead of floppin on the couch. I slept another 3 hours, the last 30 minutes of which were very exciting. I was in that zone where you think you’re almost awake, but not quite, and there were about a zillion pictures flashing around in my head like fireworks. It was amazing. All of them related to things I need to get done, and I remember stopping to study each one for a fraction of a second before it zoomed off and was replaced by the next one. Really, really cool.

Then I woke up and it all went away. So, all I remember is the event, not specifics. It was really pretty.

About 12:30pm Diane heated up some lunch and commanded me to eat. This is what she made for me …

It was really good, but it was enough for three of us. That’s a pork chop in the middle of everything, and it’s buried in brown rice.

After lunch, I was directed to the dogwood tree in our front yard because Diane wanted to see what a couple of sprigs looked like in a vase. This is what they look like …

I cut a few extras so she would be sure to have a vast array of choices for her vase. She was pleased, but she will be more please when I put all the branches back that she didn’t want. I don’t know how that’s going to work because I used a chain saw. I think I’ll just toss them on the burn pile instead. It’s empty so could use something to cover up all the ashes.

At one point in the day, we spied a ship heading down the Columbia River. The water is so high that they are really visible from the porch. It’s the white boxy thing you can see amongst the trees in the middle of the picture.

Diane can see ships on the river all the time and didn’t tell me that I could, also, until we’d lived here for about 3 years. I thought that was totally unfair, but what’s a guy to do?

I found the cat lounging around this afternoon, too. She apparently thinks she’s smaller than she really is. We have noticed that she’s gained weight since the adoption because she’s eating regularly. She eats her own food outside, and Ozzie’s on the inside, when the mood strikes. Ozzie gets a little flumoxed with her about that, but she’s bigger than he is and she has some nasty finger nails.

I must now depart, per orders, to take Lydia to softball practice. Hope everyone is doing OK.

It’s Wednesday, Again …

Good afternoon. I’m finally getting into retirement mode, and learning to like it more and more. The best part involves naps. Next it’s eating. Going down the list from there, in no particular order: I don’t have to take a shower until Diane tells me to; I can leave my clothes in a heap on the bedroom floor as long as Diane wants; I can leave my shoes all over the house, because Diane does too; I can stay up as late as I can stay awake, which is normally 10-ish; I don’t have to get up to an alarm clock, just the dogs; I can go do stuff in the middle of the day, during the week, with Diane’s permission; … OK, not a lot has changed. I’m still on a schedule, just not my own. Oh well, I can still take naps. Unless there’s something I have to do.

It’s cold here. Diane made me work on the RV for a while this afternoon, between rain showers, and helped me rip the awning off. It was ripped, anyway so it didn’t matter. I wound up taking off all the brackets and everything to prepare it for reinstalling with new awning material, when it gets here. That should be Friday, according to Diane’s favorite eBay site. They’re never wrong. I’m not being facetious, here, because we’ve made some really good deals on eBay, for things we actually needed. Really. We don’t go to the eBay just for fun. No sir, not us. Well, not me, anyway.

This morning I woke up with really sore arms and couldn’t figure out why right away. I just thought it was one more thing I’d have to learn to live with every day. But, I finally determined it was just the results of catching Lydia’s pitches for over an hour last night. I did pretty good, but it’s not an old man’s job. Even so, I enjoyed doing it, and I’ll do it again. For sure. Besides, after strenuous work like that, I’m confident Diane will find enough ‘stuff’ for me to do the next that that I’ll be able to work out the kinks petty quickly. That worked today. Now I’ll just have to deal with the new aches tomorrow morning.

I just watched a little of the news about the fake Altuzan cancer medicine that was shipped into the US. And, they charged almost $2000 a vial for it which was $400 less than the “real” manufacturer charges. Kind of unbelievable, don’t you think? I think I’ll just quit taking medicine altogether as a protest. Maybe I’ll just start my own country in the back yard where medicine isn’t needed. I can use the apple tree sticks in the burn pile to make a lean to and live there with the dogs. I think they’d like to live outside all the time. At least when it’s warm. Maybe not so much when it’s cold and raining. Or snowing. Or windy. Or if it’s really, really hot. I think I just made a case for creature comforts in the form of forced air heat and air conditioning. I’d miss my computer, too. And the big TV. And the refrigerator.

OK. I’m not starting my own country for all those reasons, and because I can’t think of a really good name for a new country in our back yard.

I think, from now on, I’m going to use this method of communication, which is mostly one way, I might add, to educate the masses, by giving them one new word every day to enhance their ability to correctly, and creatively share their thoughts with other members of the human race. To start, let’s check “ubiquitous” in Merriam-Webster’s On Line Dictionary <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

ubiq·ui·tous

adj \yü-ˈbi-kwə-təs\

Definition of UBIQUITOUS

: existing or being everywhere at the same time : constantly encountered : widespread <a ubiquitous fashion>
— ubiq·ui·tous·ly adverb
— ubiq·ui·tous·ness noun

Examples of UBIQUITOUS

  1. The company’s advertisements are ubiquitous.
  2. <by that time cell phones had become ubiquitous, and people had long ceased to be impressed by the sight of one>
  3. Hot dogs are the ideal road trip food—inexpensive, portable, ubiquitous. —Paul Lucas, Saveur, June/July 2008
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Now for comparison, here’s what the “always available for editing Wikipedia” has to say …
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Omnipresence

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  (Redirected from Ubiquitous)
“Ubiquitous” redirects here. For other uses, see Ubiquity (disambiguation).
 Omnipresence or ubiquity is the property of being present everywhere. Divine omnipresence is thus one of the divine attributes, although in Western Christianity it has attracted less philosophical attention than such attributes as omnipotenceomniscience, or being eternal.
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It’s interesting that Wikipedia redirects to omnipresence which makes sense because the definitions are the same for both words in Webster’s.
Time to quit wasting your time because it’s eleventy pm.

What Happened on March 29th?

Thursday. Hmmmm. There is no memory of this day, yet, so I must have been unconscious all day long. Perhaps something will come to me as I scribble. If not, I’ll ask Diane because she remembers pretty much everything, especially if it’s something I screw up. Earlier today she told me that I had to start being nice to her in my blog entries, and I said if I did that I’d just have to stop writing it. She said, “No, you can’t stop,” so I’m torn as to what to write about. “Literary abuse” is the ultimate form of flattery from my point of view. That, and If I only dwelled on the really nice things she does, I’d never have enough words to document them. Or time.

I see the Idaho Cate’s summarily ripped down the tree next to their house that’s been growing there since about 1776. When we visited there, just last week, Jim mentioned that he was having it removed. He was illusive about why but I’m pretty sure his rake broke and he’s tired of picking up the leaves one at a time. So, it was either buy a new rake, or cut down the offending tree. I do not know when that happened which causes me concern because I dread sharing things about which I do not have all the correct information. That rule does not apply, however, to the things I fabricate. Since most of the stuff I share is fabricated, I guess there really is no rule. So, I’ll just tell you the tree was cut down last Tuesday. If that’s incorrect, I suspect someone will dispute it. If they don’t, it must be true.

Today Diane and I got up before the dogs for a change. I, for one, am tired of them deciding when it’s time for us to get out of bed. That, and we had to have me at the VA Medical Center in Hillsboro by 8:30 am. To do that required we leave the house by 7:00 am because it’s a work day and the weather was supposed to be horrendous this day. But, the traffic was light, and the weather wasn’t bad so it was an easy trip. These conditions caused us to arrive 45 minutes early so we visited a local Burger King for a breakfast sandwich. It took forever to get it, then they got Diane’s sandwich wrong twice in a row. We probably won’t visit that one again. It’s the one by Kohl’s on Cornelius Pass Road.

I checked in for my appointment at 8:15 am, learned the appointment was for 8:45 instead of 8:30, and we both read our books in the waiting room until 8:50 am at which time Diane departed to visit her favorite store for an hour or so. I was left alone … for over half an hour before they called me to my exam room. The Doc and I talked for a while, and she poked and prodded various parts of me, and determined that I should have physical therapy on my right leg and neck (that Jim broke). This physical therapy will take place at the main VA Hospital on “Pill Hill” in Portland. That’s the location where Portland’s huge cable car goes from the Willamette River. It’s pretty impressive. Here’s what it looks like pulling into the stop one morning at the top of the hill. This is from their web site because I couldn’t find the one I took.
The mountain in the middle is Mt. Hood, the one I take lots of pictures of throughout the year. I suspect you’ve seen a few of those. There was a lot of controversy when the tram was being proposed because it goes right over a whole bunch of houses and the residents were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to walk around naked in their back yards once the tram started because people wouldn’t be looking down on them all the time. So, the developers added a seat for a guard who ensures riders DO NOT look down during the ride. If they do, they are immediately ejected. If they don’t, they’re allowed to buy pictures, taken by the camera on the bottom of each car, at the end of the ride. I, personally, didn’t find the pictures intriguing, and thought the $48 price was a little high for only 8 pictures. I’ll never do that again. Diane said so.

After my appointment was over, about an hour later, I fiddled around for a bit, then called Diane that she could some get me whenever she wanted to. She was at Goodwill. She finally showed up and we motored home, picking up the motorhome on the way once we got to St. Helens. It started up just fine, something I was concerned about. Now it’s parked in the driveway, waiting for us to do more “things” to. It will have to sit there until the next storm passes that is reported to be the one that will put us over therecord for rain in March since 1957. I was in the seventh grade. It’s a vivid memory for me because that’s the year the 1957 Chevy Impala, the most beautiful car in the world, was built. This storm is going to drench us tomorrow.

I wore my new suspenders today. It’s nice that they match a variety of shirts Diane allows me to wear. Here’s what they look like …

Diane finds them to be much more fashionable that my yardstick suspenders. So, I’ll save the yellow ones for work only, and trips to ACE. They’re kinda hand for work because they are actually accurate for measuring things and if the measurements are a bit off I can stretch them a little to make up the difference. Pretty handy.

The above picture was just taken by my computer, without my prior knowledge, and shortly after I woke up from a nap to recover from my grueling day. Diane took a nap, too. The dogs didn’t nap quite as long as we did so, once again, they are dictating when I get up. Actually, Jennie did that because she called right at the end of my nap to see if we wanted to drive back to Cornelius with the family to see “Mirror Mirror”. I respectfully declined for us.

Now it’s 6:32 pm and time to seriously think about going out to kill something for supper. If I lived on a farm, that’s probably what I’d do. But, I don’t, so I won’t. Instead, I’ll forage in the freezer for something, or wait until Diane decides what I should eat. Maybe I’ll just have a PB&J and a glass of milk. I really like that.

Nothing came to mind regarding yesterday, so I can only presume that we just skipped Thursday for some reason. I’ll probably never know why.

Quitting now …

Lydia is 13 !

I believe I mentioned in yesterday’s blog entry that today is Lydia’s 13th birthday. Turns out I was correct. To celebrate, we had an early dinner at our house that featured 3 kinds of dead chicken and about 25 baked potatoes. Some of the potatoes were HUGE. I regret I didn’t take a picture of one of the potatoes. Instead I got one of Lydia during a moment when she wasn’t moving, trying to keep me from getting a picture …

She’s ready for softball practice wearing her absolutely most favorite pair of glasses. Actually, they’re prescription goggles, and she hates them because “they look dumb.” All the adults in her life disagree.

To prepare for this afternoons festivities, Diane, Jennie, and Jean (Diane’s Mom), went shopping. Cedric, Jeran and I remained home with strict orders to clean the upstairs. So, I did. I removed all the portable chairs from the living and dining rooms, then used Diane’s $10 Rainbow vacuum cleaner to suck up all the dog hair we’ve been collecting. Once that was done, I energized the carpet scrubber and did the same areas again. While I was doing that, since it was a really nice day, I turned off the furnace and opened a whole bunch of windows to help the carpet dry quicker than it normally would. Even with all the windows open, I conjured up a lot os sweat from the efforts. After I recovered from the heart attack, I verified that the carpet was, indeed, dry, then put all the furniture back where it belongs. Then I went to the basement to do some serious damage to the laundry room.

First, I removed the washer and dryer, placing them amid the other “stuff” scattered around in down there. Then I donned my plumber’s hat and disconnected the rusty laundry tub. I’ve been wondering for a long time what might be under it, and today I finally found out …

As near as we can tell, it’s a pair of women’s underwear from the early 60’s. The crusty parts are dead bugs. Pretty gnarly, huh? I asked Diane if they were hers and she denied it.  Can’t said that I blame her which is why I predated them to an era before we lived here. She made me throw them away.

Jack and Wynette also came up and I was allowed to get a picture of him to show you the difference between him and Jim …

Right off the bat the main difference everyone can see is that Jack has his eyes open. Oh, and for those who don’t know Jack, he’s Jim’s younger brother, and he looks an awful lot like Gene, don’t you think? Younger, for sure, but there’s a similarity. For the comparison to Jim, you’ll have to check a previous blog entry. I don’t remember when I did it.

So. The stage is set for a marathon tomorrow, but I won’t be able to get much done because we have to go to Portland. Maybe on the way home we can discover a new laundry room sink for practically nothing. That would be good. Practically nothing. Nothing would be even better, but that’s not likely to happen. We’re going to lunch at the Village Inn for our monthly meeting of “The Jerry’s,” of which I’m one, even though the other two spell their’s incorrectly. Verbally, we’re all exacry alike.

Jennie returned from softball practice with Lydia, they boxed up all Lyd’s treasures, got everyone in the car and headed home. They dropped Diane’s Mom, Jean, on the way. They didn’t realize it for two whole blocks before they went back to get her, then took her home.

Now the house is unusually quiet, with the exception of the large TV on which Dancing With The Stars is on with the sound running around 197 decibels. That’s a guess. It may be more.

Now it’s time to quit.

Day Nineteen – Nampa to St. Helens

Diane went to bed about 8:30 last night to ensure she was ready for the ordeal ahead of us on the final leg of our trip home. Since the weather was so screwy we didn’t know what to expect so Diane had to be ready for anything. We were released from the grasp of Nampa’s gravitational pull and attained orbit at 8:45 am PST.

After stopping for our last experience with fairly inexpensive gas, we joined the Westbound folks on I-84 at 9:05 am PST. Since I was truly disabled at the time, being on my third day of a severe headache and hip injuries, which were sustained during my volunteer effort to deliver meals to everyone in Nampa last Monday, I was unable to drive at the beginning of the trip. That suited Diane just fine as she would have driven anyway. As is my custom I asked her every 10 miles if she wanted to drive until she became cranky, at which point I ceased offering my services as a relief driver so she could read her book and rest for part of this journey.

As we departed the Nampa area, and entered Oregon, the sun came out full force and lulled us into a false sense of security for what we would experience this day. The bits of sunshine dwindled rapidly as we departed Baker City at 11:11 am, became a steady falling of snow in La Grande, then turned to severe blizzard conditions as we entered Ladd Canyon.

Since Diane was driving, we were able to negotiate this treacherous stretch of I-84 very quickly, following the tracks in the snow of the only person out there who dared go faster than her. After realizing the snow wasn’t going to let up any time soon, Diane slowed down to the posted 65 mph speed limit to lesson the chance of sailing over a guard rail into one of the abysses that appeared randomly on one side or the other as we climbed the mountain. During this stretch we stopped at a rest area so I could call my VA doctor and arrange a visit at some point in the near future to address the injuries I sustained in Nampa. It took about 30 minutes to make contact with a real person and relay the needed information and to receive a promise that someone would call me back within the next week or so.

At 12:14 pm PST we were 23 miles from Pendleton and the temperature had dropped to a toe numbing 28 degrees, and it was raining. Then it turned to horizontal snow There’s nothing worse than horizontal snow and that’s all they get up there. On top of the pass, the snow allowed us about a 100 foot view of the road ahead which Diane considered to be plenty of time to plan an alternate path around whoever might appear in front of us, and it worked well. She’s a good driver.

There were times, however, that I wished I had an extra pair of depends so I could make the entire trip without getting too chafed. The snow got worse and worse as we advanced to the decline that led to the valley in which Pendleton, Oregon resides. We attained the 6% downgrade at 12:26, and sailed on into Pendleton for lunch at Stan’s Steakhouse. But, it was closed, so we ate Italian at the little Bistro across the street, and didn’t regret it. It was a nice stop and we were rejuvenated. Having sufficiently recovered from my injuries, to the point where I felt competent to drive, Diane allowed me to do so. I drove and drove for hours, and only nodded off once. Diane was busy reading so didn’t notice. Finally, we got to The Dalles where it was determined we needed ice cream, hopefully from a DQ. Agnus gleefully provided us the correct path to the facility and we got the drinks of our choice, then Diane resumed driving. I had spun down the distance to about 70 miles or so, and was very pleased with myself, as well I should be.

The gas tank alarm dinged as we entered Portland so it was deemed to be a good choice for us to stop at Fred Meyer in Scappoose to replenish our fuel. We got there at 5:25 pm PST and Diane drove right to a pump and got the tank filled. Once the pump quit no one appeared to take the hose out of the car so I walked around and did it myself. Right at that time the annoying person behind me started beeping his horn in an effort to make me hurry because he was needing diesel and it was located at the pump we occupied. I went back to talk with him, and try to calm him down, but it did no good. I was forced to have Diane pull ahead so this person could get his coveted fuel.

Once at the pump, he got out of his vehicle and started yelling at me, blaming me for the delay when, in fact, it wasn’t my fault at all. After sparring verbally for a short time, we hugged, and and everything was alright. It was alright from the start, actually, because the “yeller” was Jack, my brother. It was good to engage him in conversation as the first person we talked with upon entering Scappoose. Wynette was shopping or we would have greeted her, too.

After leaving, we sailed on home to St. Helens with no problems. The house was still standing, and the big dogs were barking their welcome through the cat door in the garage when Diane rolled up the door. They were happy to see us, and we were happy to see them. After watching a couple of shows, while eating a PB&J supper, we retired early. Jennie and Lydia had returned Ozzie a while earlier so he was being needy and had to curl up right in front of the book I was ready while waiting for my meds to kick in.

Day Eighteen – Snowbound

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Here we are, trapped in Nampa for “who” knows how long. Yesterday it was sunny, bright, a little cool, but really pretty. That was at the ball game in Emmett. It was snowing when I got up this morning and it’s been snowing all day, until about 30 seconds ago. It was terrible. Jim made me leave the house with him to go visit his Burger King Old Guy Group (BKOGG) for coffee and we could hardly see where we were going. Thankfully, Jim was was driving and, apparently, it’s ok to straddle the yellow center line in Idaho. He didn’t really have to because the roads were actually clear, but I’ve come to realize that he just seems more comfortable driving when he’s cozied up to that yellow line.

Today’s session of the BKOGG was in full session when we arrived so we had to sit in the riff raff section at one of the small square tables. In lieu of an introduction, Jim made me stand up and tell everyone who I was. Some of them I remember meeting before so I was not a total stranger to all of them. Walt sat next to me and we talked for a long time because everyone else was ignoring us.

Jim paid for the coffee, so while he had his wallet out I ordered a breakfast sandwich. It was good.

After this mandatory visit was over we fought our way through the parking lot blizzard, cleaned the snow off the windows, and headed back to the house. This is what the road was like…

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On the way Jim and I discussed the benefits of him purchasing a wireless router for his house so I wouldn’t have to go to the hospital for a wireless connection to send my blog, and check my email, and such. Since he’s chosen to remain relatively uneducated in the new world of technology, it was an easy sale. There was no benefit for him, of course, except for the opportunity to spend $50 on something he really didn’t need. But, as I pointed out, it would be nice for his neighbors.

When we got home lunch was ready so we ate. It was lasagna and very good. I regret I failed to take a picture for you but I’m sure you all know what lasagna looks like.

After lunch we bundled up again and drove to Best Buy to check out wireless routers. We wound up in the Costco parking lot so just went in there to see what they had. They had nice ones, but more expensive than I was willing for Jim to spend on something that would only benefit me. And Steff & Bob, and all the kidlets. So, we braved the weather, again, got in the car and drove to our original destination, Best Buy. They had exactly what I nee… what Jim needed to make me happy,

We installed it as soon as we got home and I was amazed at how easy it was to set up. I gave Jim the instructions and he hooked everything up, so there’s hope for him yet. Amazingly, there was no setup routine required. It just worked! The password is “melodicsocks134”, in case you’re wondering.

We were going to go to another softball game this afternoon, but the snow storm caused everyone a bunch of unnecessary concern so they cancelled it. Perhaps the team from Mt. Home had a little worse weather than we did. Probably a good idea. So, I donned my cozy jammies and began to work on this.

That’s about it for today except for this picture of the Idaho Cate’s back yard a few minutes ago,..

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… and Jim watching TV …

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OK … so I wasn’t done. I fell asleep on the couch with a pillow over my head to stifle the headache Jim gave me yesterday. He’s been making fun of me ever since I sustained the injury and I’ve toyed with the idea of sewage in order to obtain some monetary compensation for the attack. But, he’s my brother so sewage isn’t really an option. Instead, I’ll just add another picture of Jim watching TV, then there’s a little more.

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Sometime around 6:32 pm Bob, Steffani, and Maryssa showed up for a visit knowing that it’s our plan to depart the Plains of Nampa tomorrow. By the time they arrived, all of the snow had melted and it was about 50 degrees. I’m guessing, of course, but it wasn’t as cold as it was earlier so I think I’m within 10-20 degrees. So, it’s only right that I capture these events herein for posterity and to provide you with a couple more pictures of people we don’t see very often.

Bob was very quiet on arrival but the women, all four of them, became equally noisy as if they were have a contest to see who could be the most disruptive. I’m not sure there was a clear winner, but it was entertaining.

Steffani brought he CD with pictures from Jim’s & Donna’s 50th wedding anniversary from 3-4 years ago that we’ve never seen. She tried to upload them to a web site, using the newly established wireless web site at 1923 Mass, without success, learning, in the process, why she hadn’t done it previously … the files are too big. So, I think I inherited the CD to take home and try it from our house, using my non-Lenovo computer. Hopefully it works so I won’t have to be shamed for having an iMac.

Here’s a picture of Steffani trying to upload the pictures …

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I visited with Maryssa for a long time while she was trying to do her homework and got to hear her read a few of the papers she had written. They were very good and I could only think that she wasn’t sure I could read. However, I learned that it’s nice to have someone read to me and reminded me of the things Lydia and Cedric have read to me over the years. Maryssa wasn’t getting much homework done, you might have guessed. Here are some pictures of Maryssa studying …

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Sorry it’s a little fuzzy, but I think the glare from her gleeming hardware dazzled the camera.

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Notice the iPod in the delightfully lime green cover … she claimed she was researching something.
A little later she stood up to move around a little and found a melted chocolate in her pocket which she promptly ate. Now everyone’s leaving so I have to quit.