Jerrie is 7, and a Plumbing Tale

Last Sunday Jerrie turned 7-years-old. That’s 7, as in SEVEN. That means Second Grade is coming up. When that happened, Diane and I looked at each other with similar questioning eyes, wondering how she did that so fast. She’s quick, we know that, but normally it takes at least one dog-year for a child to attain the age of 7. Not Jerrie. She did it in 3, I’m sure. Anyway, she’s joined her bouncy sisters in another upper age bracket and is on her way to fulfilling her destiny. We’re curious to discover what that is. It’s going to be an exciting trip.

In case you didn’t know, this is Jerrie trying out her new blanket that we dare anyone to snatch and try to call it their own.

This next bit is a going to be long, I can tell already, but I’ve got to get it out of my head. It’s getting crowded in there and I want to gather new “stuff” to think about.

Plumbers are sometimes necessary to resolve problems for which one hopes they’ve been trained to deal with, and other times they are used simply because it’s convenient to have someone else do the dirty work. Simply because I involuntarily volunteered to get a couple of new toilets for our church, I became the point person for ensuring they got installed. Although I’m knowledgeable with what’s required to install a toilet, since this was a church project, I was given permission to engage a professional. The project also included replacement of a broken, non-functioning, waterless, cold water faucet in the Lady’s Room (LR). It’s been turned off for years, literally, because it ceased to function. The set up, in both bathrooms is really old, using individual faucets for hot and cold. Old school. Since it takes a little bit of time for hot water to reach the LR, it apparently was deemed safe to assume that at least six ladies in a row could use the facility and wash their hands without being scalded. The seventh person is like a hall monitor … if they don’t burn their hands with hot water at the sink, odds are that one, or more, of the previous six didn’t wash their hands, the choice of many women when using public facilities. I have it on good authority that men ALWAYS wash their hands BEFORE using the facilities because they don’t want to get their junk dirty. They know what they’ve touched, ya know?

I digress. What’s new?

Thinking back on that seventh lady who didn’t burn her hands, when she exits the facility makes a note of who the previous six were because ladies, sadly, always have to wait in line to use public facilities. From that point on #7 avoids the previous six because they’re obviously filthy animals. Or, #7 doesn’t wash either, leaving it up to #8. It gets really complicated after that.

Regardless of who does or does wash isn’t really the issue here. It’s the broken and leaky faucet. Someone resolved the problem by turning off the water to that faucet. Simple. They probably thought they’d get around to fixing it later, or not. Actually, that faucet has been off for 10+ years so you know it was a man who disabled it. Right? I’m pretty sure that’s true, but it wasn’t me. Honest.

Given the authority to procure and arrange installation of new toilets, and a faucet, Diane took me to Costco and allowed me to purchase two toilets, just like the one I installed in one of our bathrooms at home. Get that? I, Jerrie, an old man, installed one of these toilets all by myself and it works and it doesn’t leak.

It took a bit of maneuvering to get two toilets in the back of our Camry, but I did it. On the way home we stopped at the church and I manhandled one into each bathroom, staging them for the plumber who agreed to do the job. I called two plumbers and only one called back.

Shortly after that Diane and I departed on our annual Anniversary trip so I wasn’t there to manage the work. I wasn’t worried, though, how hard could it be?

Turns out that some things certain plumbers encounter are way beyond their capabilities and in the confusion of accomplishing assigned tasks get a truly clouded sense of reality when it comes to figuring out what to charge. In this case, the plumber presented a very vague bill for $1495.00.

Upon return from our trip, I visited the plumber, who was out working on another poorly planned job, no doubt, and talked with the nice lady in the office. I explained that the price seemed overly high for a job where the major components were provided.

The plumber called me a couple of days later and was very apologetic after I explained that the toilets were not provided by him, and questioned his billing tactics that provided no detail about what materials were used. I’m sure the majority of his clientele pay without question, abiding by the popular pre-conceived notion that plumbers are just expensive, and that’s the way it is.

The result of that first contact was a $200 refund check along with a new bill containing some more detail about what was done and what materials were used. It was nice to get a refund, but I wasn’t particularly pleased with the detail and the minimal amount considering he was apparently refunding the cost he would charge a customer to procure two toilets. Having paid $150 for each toilet I was pretty sure that his mark up would escalate the price considerably higher.

The new bill made me a little angry so I sat on it for a while before addressing my concerns with the plumber, again. I contemplated calling again, but decided I wanted something tangible that could be filed for future reference. So, I wrote him a letter providing far more detail that I’m sure he wanted to see. Specifically, about the price of the toilets and what he would charge a customer to provide. I also questioned his charge for wax rings and bolts, which were provided with each toilet, and $50 for caulking, and $150 for a new faucet that didn’t look anything like the one he removed, and the fact that he removed and replaced the wrong faucet. Seriously, how dumb is that? I used his cost for that faucet as a measure for what his markup was for parts. Somewhere around 100% or more I’d guess.

Addressing all of these questions, as well as questioning his ethics a little bit, I sent the letter to him and a bunch of other people. My last comment was that I would love to talk with him about everything in the letter. His response was to send another refund check for $300 with no explanation. Just a check in the mail. I suppose we could have just considered that a nice donation to the church and continue to pursue answers to my questions, but I believe we’re way beyond a peaceful solution. He got the price into the $900’s, which is still high, but not worth the stress of all the confrontation involved, in an area where most people carry guns, should I continue. We’re just not ever going to use him again and we’ll gladly share why with anyone who wants to know.

Then, I’ll fix it myself.

For free.

Like I should have done the first time.

Then we’ll just sit back and watch karma take it’s course.

Dang!

Air Filters, Eboards, Haircuts, Soccer, and iPad Pro

Today I cleaned our furnace air cleaner filters, attended an American Legion Executive Board meeting, got a haircut, had a couple of naps, and watched a fun high school soccer game, in that order. Oh, and I got my new iPad Pro, too.

First, the filters. I have to do this every month because Diane puts it on the calendar. She knows that I check my calendar every day and am pretty good about doing things listed on the calendar, especially when they are preceded by my name. Like, “Jerrie – Cleans Filters”. The first time I saw that I wasn’t sure what filters I was supposed to clean so I didn’t do it. That, of course, resulted in punishment for Failure To Comply. I quickly learned what filters were involved and have faithfully complied ever since. Now, how I clean them is up to me. Sometimes I just vacuum them off, sometimes I use my air compressor and blow all the dirt in the neighbor’s yard. Or, out into the yard. Other times, like today, I hosed them all down and left them to dry in the hot afternoon sun. Everything dried except for the two big honeycomb things that go on the bottom of the stack. So, I left them in the yard, on a chair, facing the setting sun with a soft summer breeze blowing directly into the little damp holes. That was 8 hours ago and they’re still out there. In the cold damp, dark, night. Guess I won’t be putting them in until tomorrow morning some time. I’d go out and get them, but I don’t want to. I can only hope that some weirdo filter thief doesn’t show up and take them.

Our American Legion Executive Board meeting has historically been held at 10 which is just a little late for breakfast and a little early for lunch. Today it was at 11, making lunch more likely. I had breakfast. Now, calling this the Executive Board sounds a little elegant for our small group, but that’s technically what it is. I must attend because I’m the Sgt. At Arms, keeper of the peace. Yeah, I thought it was funny, too, when they voted me into that position. I actually volunteered to do it because I knew it didn’t involve a lot of manual labor or memory recall. That, and no one else wanted to do it. That was last year. No one else wanted to do it this year either, so I still have the little thing on my hat proclaiming my position. Maybe I’ll do it again next year if things stay calm. At the EBoard meetings everyone else conducts actual business. I just eat and vote when necessary. I voted 3 times today.

After the meeting I got home in time to participate in a haircut marathon involving Diane’s Mom, Jean, Diane, Jewel, and me. We were all in line for a touch-up from the Traveling Hair Dresser which is pretty handy, let me tell you. We just do a little Rock Paper Scissors to see who goes first, then the hair cutter gets right to work and hair starts flying all over the place. Logic says we’d do this outside, on the porch, but it actually takes place on the dining room carpet. Diane likes doing it there because she has this incredible vacuum cleaner that sucks up hair like crazy. We know because we pick up tons of dog hair every week and look at them in wonder, like “I wonder why the dogs aren’t bald?” They actually lose 3 dogs worth of hair every month. I don’t know how they do that. So, picking up a little bit of gray hair from some old people once every couple of months is no big deal.

I had the next to last haircut because Diane told me to get in the chair. I didn’t lose much because it was cut pretty short the last time I had a haircut. Like a buzz cut. Really short. After that I was really tired so stretched out on the sofa and took a few naps while waiting for the next event of the day. I had more than one nap because continuity was interrupted by the UPS lady who delivered my new iPad Pro, an email from Jimbo wanting to know when we were going to go golfing again, a phone call from John to arrange a golf date, and various other noises throughout the afternoon. The result of all the interruptions is that I’m obliged to go golfing three times next week. That’s unheard of for me because nine holes a week is usually my limit. Now I’m going to do 36. Should be interesting. Wonder if I’ll get better as the week goes on. I also wonder if I’ll be able to walk by the end of the week. We’ll see.

During some of my awake time I set up my new iPad. Diane said I needed a new one because the screen on the old one is cracked a little from an injury it received from a drop that I have no memory of. Interesting. One I make the transition to the new unit I’m going to set it up for Diane’s Mom, Jean so she can use it. She doesn’t know this yet and we already know it’s going to be a hard sell because she thinks things like the iPad are too complicated for her to use. We think once she sees what it can do she’ll have a changed of heart. She’ll be connected to the world and will be able to follow Diane and me during our travels, getting all the fancy photos we include sometimes. And Facebook! That will really yank her eyes open. Diane will set up a new Facebook page for Mom. She conquered the Comcast remote control so we’re confident she can handle an iPad and all the notifications one gets on Facebook. Should be fun.

In the evening, before the sun set, we headed for the St. Helens High School soccer field to watch our Lady Lions play against the Astoria Fishermen. Now, right away I saw a problem with the Astoria team name. I mean, this is a team of young ladies and they still call them Fishermen. Shouldn’t they be Fishergirls, Fisherladies, or a more generic Fisherpeople? That would certainly be the case if the ACLU ever hears about this. That’s an opinion, of course. The ACLU might not give a hoot. What’s happened with all the PC stuff about gender specific tags? Whatever … our girls played a great game, for the most part, and won 2-0. The score should have been more like 15-0 because our girls kicked the ball over the opposing net about 13 times. In the second half Lydia, our goalie, only got to touch the ball whenever one of her team mates kicked it to her. Oh, there were a couple of close calls, but Lyd fended them off with the help of her best defender, Ceiarra. Morgan, the first half goalie did a lot of standing around, too, and made some good stops to keep Astoria scoreless.

At the game we were blessed with the presence of the lovely Georgie and her lovely Mom Jacqui. I just learned that she reads this stuff so had to name her. Georgie graduated and we miss seeing her play. She’s very good. Just saying. Rumor has it that Georgie and family will be moving to England at some undisclosed future date where she will attend college and major in soccer. We believe this is possible for her because of the uncanny life-like British accent her Mom uses. And, more probably, because  her Mom is really British and they have lots of family still in the Old Country. We look forward to their move so we will have a place to stay when we visit England one day.

It’s almost Eleventy PM now and everyone else in the house is already in bed. I’m watching a recording of the Denver Broncos Carolina Panthers game. Looks like the Jags are going to take it home so I can probably just fast forward to the end of the game to see the final score and go to bed myself. After all, the dogs will undoubtedly wake me up in about 5 hours. Yes, they’ve been edging the time back closer to 4 am lately. I can hardly ignore them since Ozzie is on the bed and he fronts for the big dogs by licking whatever isn’t under the covers until I get up. Consequently, I’m careful about what I leave exposed when I close my eyes for the night, which is just what I’m going to do now.

G’nite.

 

Parades, Old Guys, & Yogurt

Yesterday was the opening ceremony for the Scappoose Summerfest aka Sauerkraut Festival aka Scappoose Pow Wow. I add all those “aka’s” to give you a bit of history for the event from its beginnings. The entire time I was growing up, for those village events I remember, it was the Scappoose Pow Wow Parade. The reference, of course, was to the Scappoose heritage that has a distinct Native American association. Our High School mascot was always an Indian caricature fondly called Ichabod. With all the bru ha ha going on about offending Native Americans, the focus changed from that heritage to another one of Scappoose’s finest exports, sauerkraut. The exports were from the Steinfeld’s Pickle plant which was located conveniently across Highway 30 from the Scappoose Elementary School making it an easy target for school field trips. Seinfeld’s did well in Scappoose and I remember seeing their products for sale at many Navy commissaries during my Navy career. Most notably was on the island of Guam.

Anyway, Steinfeld also made sauerkraut so that became the theme for a while but the company was sold, the pickle plant was torn down, and big homes were erected ending the era of Steinfeld forever. Now it’s just another neighborhood that older residents point out to new comers with the caveat “that’s where the old Steinfeld pickle plant used to be.” An interesting point is that even during Summerfest events you can still find Sauerkraut Ice Cream for sale. Not something I’d buy unless I happened to spend a considerable amount of time at the ever-present beer garden first.

Last year I marched with 9 other old guys at the front of the opening parade down 1st Street, all of us wearing our VFW and American Legion hats, and each of us bearing one of the following flags – American, Oregon State, POW/MIA, VFW, American Legion, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The prime requirement for flag bearers was that they had to be able to walk half a mile. Those who couldn’t, rode in a flag bedecked trailer pulled by a beautifully restored Bronco owned and driven by one of my golf partners, Junior. We did OK during that parade, even though we didn’t do well keeping in step, but we got it done.

We did the same thing again this year and were blessed by the presence of a Marine recruiter, SSgt Copeland, who knows everyone in the county. Having an active duty Marine with us was great because he wore his uniform and made us look especially good as we marched smartly down the street. While lining up, I made sure I got next to SSgt Copeland for the trip because I was pretty sure he was well-trained in CPR and could toss me in following trailer should the need arise. It didn’t, but it’s good to be safe.

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SSgt Copeland is holding both the Navy flag (mine) and the Marine Corps flag so I could exit ranks to snap these shots. What a great guy.IMG_2007

I’m happy to report that everyone made it through the parade in fine fashion and we did a respectable job of remaining in step thanks to the efforts of a young Afghanistan survivor who called cadence for the entire trip. He was the left man in the back row so, unfortunately, some of those in the front ranks couldn’t hear well enough to appreciate his efforts. Our back row did an exceptional job, making up for those who were audibly challenged this day.

After the parade we disbanded and went to the Scappoose Veteran’s Park where numerous vendors were plying their wares. The American Legion group was there to sell raffle tickets in an attempt to make a little money for us to assist veterans, our primary purpose. One of the items is a Mossberg 500 Tactical Shotgun. We had a discussion about where to get the raffle tickets printed at one of our meetings and me, not having learned raising one’s hand during such discussions sometimes results in situations involving a lot of work. Consequently, I created the tickets, printed them, perforated the tear off portion, and cut them all up. There were 500 of them that are being sold for $5 each. The raffle drawing will happen on Veteran’s Day, 11/11, at 11:11 am. If you want one, let me know. The raffle will continue until all 500 tickets are sold, or the drawing date arrives. Second prize is $200 and third prize is $100.

My ticket format, which I plagiarized from the quilt raffle tickets I made for Diane, allowed me to get 10 to a sheet. Perforating the stubs, and cutting out each of the tickets required 15 trips to the paper-cutter for a total of 750 manual evolutions. It took a while. This is what the progression looked like during one of my mandatory rest periods …
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One of the fun things that happened in the vendor line was when I encountered Terry & Jen in their Yo Place Frozen Yogurt Wagon. You can check out their ‘real’ Yogurt Shop here. They coached Lydia’s softball team for a number of years so we got to know them well. This wagon is unique to the West Coast and was designed by Jen. She is truly an entrepreneurial pioneer. It was good to visit with them and enjoy their product on this 100 degree day.IMG_1994

On another note, I believe our multi-talented hydrangea is on the verge of blooming. IMG_1992Have a great week !

Golfing & Stuff

Last Friday I joined three friends in the annual Portland Rose Festival Blue Jacket Golf Tournament. None of us had ever participated in this event previously, so it was a bonding event. We had no expectations of winning anything with our stellar play, but what the heck. We gave it our best shot. Besides, it was a scramble, meaning a best ball event where we all hit then chose which one of the four was best, then we all hit from that place. The selection process continued until someone dropped their ball into the cup. Fun stuff. With a little creative math, and the use of purchased Mulligans, we finished at even par for the event.

Now, the negative side of this is that it was 90 degrees on Friday and just brutally hot. Our hottest of the year so far. The weather tradition for this time of year, Rose Festival, is for chilly days and typically rain, especially during the Saturday parade. Not this year. Consequently, I lost a lot of sweat that day, sweat that I don’t normally release into the atmosphere, but I really didn’t have a choice.

The tournament was held at Heron Lakes Golf Course which, as everyone knows, is located pretty close to the Portland International Raceway. It’s also close to the Portland Expo Center. And Marine Drive. Down by the Columbia River. Here’s why it’s called Heron Lakes …

If you look closely, there’s a Blue Heron even with Doug’s hat. This was common.
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They could just easily called it “Goose Lakes Golf Course” …IMG_1877

but that doesn’t sound quite as classy.

Here’s the group who weathered the weather and survived the day.

Left to Right: Doug, Me, Lyle, & Jim.
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We’ve already talked about doing it again next year but who knows what next year will bring. Then, there’s Clyde Lewis, “Ground Zero” talk radio, telling everyone the world as we know it will end on October 7th. I have no idea what that means, but it makes me wonder if I should be making plans for next year.

For today, I’ll just plan on getting to bed a little earlier than normal so I can wake up in time to accompany Diane to the parsonage for another marathon day of transforming they place. While I was golfing last Friday, she spent the entire day working on this by herself. She’s a trooper and I’m blessed to have her in my life.

Cheers

Parades, Relatives, & Injuries

We watched an episode of “Black Box” the other day to see if it’s something we’d find interesting while all the shows we REALLY like are on hiatus for the summer. We decided it wasn’t a show we would watch with regularity, but one of us came away with new-found knowledge that made them believe I was, and always have been, a Confabulator.  That is me, of course, a person who practices Confabulation. I can hardly deny the label since I readily share that not much I say, or write, can honestly be viewed in a serious manner. Also, I kinda like the way the word rolls of my tongue … it’s just one of those words that’s fun to say.

Here’s a question for you … when relatives come to visit are they considered “company”? I ask because whenever we have company it’s necessary for us to clean parts of the house they will probably never see, but you just never know. With relatives, however, they can show up any time so there might not be time to clean. Then, there are relatives who make it known that they will be arriving on a specific date which casts them in to the role of company. It’s very confusing and I think there should be some sort of rule about how much effort people should put into making company comfortable. Complicating this issue is when seniority seeps into the equation. Should lower ranking relatives receive the same kind of attention as high-ranking ones? Something to ponder …

A couple of days ago it was raining so I wasn’t allowed to work outdoors. Instead, I went downstairs to reacquaint myself with various aspects of my shop area. It’s been neglected for a while … well, since I dismantled half my work bench … and needed some attention. I also needed to look things over to see if I remembered where some of my favorite, though rarely used, tools currently reside. It’s a known fact that tools move around all by themselves when ignored for a certain amount of time.

It took me a while to get started because, as is my nature, I couldn’t help but just stand in the middle of everything, looking around, trying to devise a plan that made sense. I do this all the time and it only bothers me a little bit. After a few minutes of staring at “stuff”, I give up and just start moving things around in a Zen kind of way, seeking satisfaction in locating things from one place to another until it just feels right. My ultimate goal was to get the floor clear so I could clean it up a little. Most of it was just sawdust and tiny bits of wood, one of which had retained a nail that used to attach it to another piece of wood. By the time I discovered that last piece, most of the floor was clean so I was able to call a temporary halt to the proceedings after pulling it out of the bottom of my left shoe. Even though I was wearing my comfy foam-soled shoes for safety, the nail penetrated all the way through into that crease where the ball of my foot turns into my big toe. It hurt a lot and caused me to immediately halt the downward pressure of my left foot, an act that would normally cause me to tumble. Oddly, this time I retained my vertical stance and was able to extract the offending nail with relative ease while standing on one leg. I know. You find that hard to believe. Me on one leg. But, I did it.

Then I limped upstairs to find a source of brighter light so I could assess the injury. Diane caught me before I got to a chair and said, in a manner that might make one feel as though they do stuff like that all the time, “what did you do now?”

I said, “I stepped on a nail.”

She said, “do you need a tetanus shot?”

I said, “no” because I think they last for about 10 years and I know, for sure, I’ve had about 5 of them in the last 10. I should be free of the fear of tetanus for the rest of my life.

“OK, she said,” lets see it. I removed my shoe and searched my new white sock fo signs of blood, but it was clean. Taking the sock off, I searched the area of penetration but couldn’t see anything that could possibly cause the amount of pain I felt on first contact.

“Squeeze it,” she said, so I did. After a bit of time, a tiny drop of blood was produced. It was hardly worth the effort. Still, it was necessary to install a small band aid to ensure I didn’t get blood on any of the numerous rugs scattered about the house. At this very moment, even though it’s been a few days, it’s very uncomfortable. It feels like part of my sock is wrinkled up under my toes, even when I’m barefoot.

After getting my bandage, I went back to work, relocating things from the floor to the top of my unfinished work bench in an effort to create some space on the floor so I could move around without shuffling my feet. Once that was done, I went to work relocating some large boards that were leaning against the front of my table saw. To do this required that I bend at the waist a bit, just enough to move my forehead into a nicely cut 45 bevel on a piece of the old mahogany baseboard laying on top of my table saw. Since I’ve had lots of experience with injuries of this type, I knew it hurt enough that I should apply immediate pressure to ensure I didn’t get blood in my eyes. Thankfully, Diane was in the room next to me, so I didn’t have to go seek a mirror to asses the extent of the damage. I just went to her and, as soon as she completed her customary eye roll, removed my hand and asked it if was bleeding. It was, but not as badly as I feared. There was blood, but from more of a scrape instead of a cut. It didn’t even need a band aid, but it got a bit of antibiotic salve which stings, by the way, when it melts and runs into your eye. Blood doesn’t sting at all.

Today I participated in the Scappoose Summerfest parade in, of all places, Scappoose. I was one of 10 flag bearers who led the parade directly behind the first police vehicle on the mile long parade route. I wore my American Legion hat, but could have just as easily worn my VFW hat because the flag bearers were a combination of both groups. I waited my turn and took the last flag available, which turned out to be the Navy flag. I found that interesting. Leading the parade were the American Flag, the POW Flag, and the Oregon State Flag. Behind them we remaining seven toted, from left to right, the VFW Flag, Coast Guard, Air Force, Army, Marine, Navy, and American Legion Flags. One of the younger guys with really long legs kept a verbal cadence going, but some of the shorter vets had a hard time stepping out as far as he did. Consequently, some of us got out of step once in a while. We made it to the end, however, and deemed it to be a good day’s work. It was fun being up front like that, and seeing the respect displayed to us and to the flags. Directly behind us flag bearers was a trailer full of local vets being pulled by Junior’s nice red Bronco, top down, even though it rained a bit.

On the way home I got a call from our friend Tom and learned that all is well in Hillsboro. That’s always good news. He said Linda is spending an inordinate amount of time on her feet because she’s so busy cutting hair so I might have to think twice about adding to her burden by choosing her as my new barber. Mine left town. The last haircut I had was at Camp Pendleton a few months ago. Diane thinks it’s time for another one.

Now I must stop and help search for the lost “suck it” bag. That’s the one you can put a duvet in and suck all the air out with a vacuum cleaner to make it take up less space. Neither of us have any idea where that bag went, however.

Plus, not having a clear definition of what status lower ranking visiting relatives have, in the way of special treatment, we have to stick to the current norm and put clean sheets on all the beds, paint a room or two, and power wash all the sidewalks. That must all be done today, if it’s going to get done, because they are arriving tomorrow.

Later …

46 Years, Lions, & a God Moment

Yesterday was Easter so after church we had our traditional free for all lunch for anyone who wanted to show up. Pretty much. In attendance were Jean, Me, Diane, Jeff, Daniel, Jennifer, Cedric, Lydia, Brianna, Alyssa, Jeran, Gilligan, and Baylee. Those are family members. You may question, Brianna, and Alyssa, but we count the kid’s friends as family. Also there was our friend Ron, from church, and our friend Gretchen who stopped by on her way home from Rainier. Gretchen and I worked together at PGE for many, many, many years. She’s still there, working hard.

The bigger kids, including Jeff, scattered candy filled plastic eggs all over the yard, front and back, for Gilligan and Baylee to find. There was no method to the distribution process, and no one had any idea how many of those eggs were scattered around so I have just cause for believing eggs will be showing up the next time I mow. After everyone left yesterday I found two. Today I found a couple more. I’ll get a better count with the mower because they’ll make a lot of noise as they go flying up the grass catcher tube.

Yesterday was also Adolph Hitler’s birthday, in case anyone was wondering.

The absolutely best part of yesterday, however, was that it marked the 46th year of wedded bliss for Me. Yes, just me, because I’m sure all those years weren’t blissful for Diane. Most of them, maybe, but not all. I know that’s true because I’ve been told. Thankfully, for Diane, the blissful part has been mostly on this end of the calendar. It just keeps getting better. Really, it does. Ask her.

After all the activity yesterday, it took us a while to wind down, then we watched the Blazers beat the Rockets in overtime. That caused an emotional outburst of adrenalin that didn’t go away until after midnight. So, there we were, laying in bed with our iPads at 0004 this morning. Diane’s checking her Facebook and I’m reading my book. I hear a little ding from my iPad and a little note pops up from Diane wishing me a Happy 46th. We’re like 15 inches apart, and she sends me a text. It was great, and I answered her back. Getting old and knowing how to use technology is quite fun.

Today I pulled weeds from the flower bed out front. We’ve both been working on it during the sunny days, a little at a time. This morning, when Diane told me today was the last sunny for the next week, I donned my pulling weed clothes and got to work. Diane stayed inside because that kind of outside activity isn’t kind to her immune system. Additionally, our neighbor was mowing his yard which is worse than simply touching weeds. So, I was on my own, and that’s OK.

I got everything pulled across the front, but not all the way around the corner. That was my goal, actually, so started gathering all the tools scattered in my wake so I could put them away. The net results of my efforts filled the little trailer I pull around with the mower when the grass catcher isn’t attached. I do that for fun sometimes. Just hook it up and pull it around the yard. Sometimes I put something in it and move it to another location. Just for fun. Really. Makes me feel like a real farmer.

Just as I began gathering my tools, it started sprinkling. That’s the rain that wasn’t supposed to arrive until after dark. So, thanks to Karma, I chose the exact right time to end my task.

Another good reason for ending it was because we had a Lions club meeting to attend. Diane was scheduled for the program and had Mary from SHEDCO lined up to speak. So, we got there early in order to be there when she arrived.

Shortly after we arrived a strange gentleman arrived so I introduced myself. I do that. His name was David. Expecting Mary as the only stranger for the evening, I asked about her and he said Mary had to cancel. This led me to believe that he was filling in for her as the SHEDCO speaker.

Then Mary showed up and threw both Diane and I into a momentary fit of mental frenzy as we tried to figure out what was going on. The reason turned out to be that Diane and Andy swapped program dates because we weren’t going to be in town on Diane’s assigned date. So, Diane wound up with today, but Andy forgot and arranged for David to come speak. David, or Dr. David Krier, founder of Volunteer Voyages, LLC, came prepared to give us a pictorial presentation about his organization. All he needed was some A/V equipment. But, we don’t have anything like that. All we had available was a screen that’s always there in the back room of the Village Inn Restaurant where we have meetings.

So, we had two presentations available: David, who had a flash drive but no A/V equipment, and Mary who, gee, had a laptop and a projector. David and Mary had a little discussion and cleared things up as to who would present by determining who came the farthest. That would be David who lives in St. Paul. The one in Oregon, not Minnesota. Mary lives in St. Helens.

So, the double booking worked out great for everyone, even me. David gave his presentation using Mary’s equipment, and Mary sat and watched. The real upside for me is that I was able to secure Mary as the speaker for our May 5th meeting. That’s the day I’m responsible for the program. She was a really good sport about the circumstances.

We call things like that a God Moment.

Superbowl XLVIII

Before I get going, let’s talk about Roman Numerals. They’re pretty to look at, sometimes, but why complicate a simple number like 48? It’s not too difficult to figure out the number until you get to “40”, because “X’s”, “V’s”, and “I’s”‘ are pretty straight forward. Then at 40, they toss an “L” in there to confuse everyone. Forty is “XL” which means 50-10. No, it’s -10+50 because the X comes before the L. Then, when you get to 50, it’s just an L all by itself.

Using that logic, I think 1 thru 10 in Roman Numerals should be something like IXX, VIIIX, VIIX, VIX, VX, IVX, IIIX, IIX, IX, X. That way you get the X in play before you are allowed to use it all alone, just like the L.

I suspect Roman Numerals are used in conjunction with Super Bowl games as a link to gladiators times. They are kind of like warriors, after all. However, I’m pretty sure those playing pro football never considered leaving college early to join the military. Maybe it’s all about timing, or that there is no longer a draft.

The Draft should be resurrected. I mean, how is it fair that the only people getting killed in conflicts are volunteers? I thought we were an equal opportunity country. I think anyone running for any position in politics should be required to have served in the military before being allowed to run. Just a thought.

Yesterday I registered on a new website. After giving all the particulars we got to the security question questions to be used for access. One of the first ones on the list? … “What was the first name of your first boyfriend?”

I was stunned!

I’ve never been in a situation where that question was ever asked of me. I know, it’s 2014 and OK for anyone to have a boyfriend, even me, I suppose, but, I didn’t know what to do. There were lots of other questions I could have chosen, even one asking to know the first name of my first girlfriend, but I was stuck on boyfriend. There were three questions I had to answer, and that was a choice on all three. Getting passed that first question, however, was proving to be difficult.

Ultimately, after a long delay, I entered “Jack”, so I could move along. For the next question I chose girlfriend and entered “Jack”. For the third, I selected pet, and entered “Jack”. I’ve done this before, you see, to check if the program you’re working with is paying attention. Generally, in my experience, they aren’t. You can use the same word, or name, for all of the security questions and register just fine. If you do that, you won’t have to remember a lot of different things. On some web site registrations I’ve been born, and married, in the city of “Jack”. One syllable. Easy to remember. I suggest everyone use “Jack” for all your registrations from now on.

How many times do you think Peyton Manning said Omaha yesterday? I’m guessing it wasn’t as many times as “omygawd”.

Joining us to watch the game were Diane’s Mom, Jean, Jennifer, Lydia, Brianna, Haley, and Jeran. Cedric joined his friends at the Columbia Theater here in town to watch the game on the big screen. The kids’ youth pastor, James, took them and stayed through the first quarter. Then he joined us at our house until half time. He’s a really nice young man and the kids love him. Thankfully, he wasn’t at the house when Diane handed me a bowl of cashews and said, just as everyone quit talking, “here are your nuts.”

She rendered me speechless, not an easy thing to do. Making it worse was that I was the only male in the room of 7 people watching the game so it was pretty evident about whose nuts she was speaking. Worse yet, three of them were barely teenagers. And everyone laughed. I think Jennie started it when she snorted. Had I done something like that I would have been told to knock it off, or that it was inappropriate, something I hear a lot, but no one said anything to Diane. Even her mother laughed.

Now, about that game … #1 offense against the #1 defense, as it should be, and the #1 defense won. A new record was set, in the process, when Seattle scored 12 seconds into the game without ever touching the ball. Well, Peyton didn’t touch it either, so I guess he can’t be blamed. It doesn’t get much better than that, for me.

I actually like Peyton, but I’ve never liked Denver. That comes from years of living in Southern California cheering for the San Diego Chargers. Denver was the enemy during those years, and it’s never really gone away. Silly, I suppose, but that’s just the way it is. For the same reason, I have a Portland Trailblazer T-shirt the has “Beat LA” on it. Any Blazer worth his, or her salt knows that means “beat the Lakers.”

Back to Peyton … though I wasn’t looking for the thrashing Seattle gave Denver, it was gratifying to see they were up to the task. I admit I was a little disappointed when Denver finally scored, then made a 2-point conversion. Was that to prove a point? Like, “See, we can do it!”

In the end, going for that two points allowed watchers to witness virtually every way a team can score in a football game … it was like a clinic …

  • a safety
  • a kick-off return
  • a punt return
  • a pass
  • a run
  • a pick-6
  • a field goal
  • a 2-point conversion

Did I miss any?

For food, Diane made a big pot of taco meat which was used exclusively for DIY nachos. It was, as it always is, very good. I love nachos. Whoever invented those should get a bonus, or something.

We also had nuts, as I mentioned.