Gilligan’s 10th Birthday, & Other Stuff

Yesterday was Gilligan’s 10th birthday. Already, she’s 10! We all find it amazing. To Celebrate, Lydia and Ceiarra took it upon themselves to make it more special than normal by taking her home with them to make cookies and feed her dinner. Jeran cooked the dinner, shepherd’s pie, which everyone loved. Diane and I showed up later to give her our good wishes, a bag of presents, and to love on her a bit, before the big girls whisked her off to a movie. Girl’s Night Out. She was in heaven. Actually, all of the girls were giddy with joy. It was great. The mood may have been enhanced by the drinks they all got at Dutch Bros on the way back to the house. Who knows?

I regret I didn’t get a selfie that included Diane.

Ceierra snuck in a big cookie with a candle and #10 on it.

Then it was off to the theater.

 

It was a good evening.

I had another intimate encounter with my table saw this morning. Everything was going just fine, cutting little narrow pieces of wood for a reason yet to be determined, and I was on the last one. I very carefully pushed that last piece into the whirling blade along with my left thumb. For some reason it just felt correct to push it a tiny bit further, right up to the point where my reflexes kicked in, in response to the severe pain, and automatically yanked my hand away from the saw. Because of my vast experience with injuries like this, I pinched it really tight, not looking at it, and went upstairs to face the music with Diane.

She heard my exclamation, which I emitted involuntarily, and asked what I’d done. When she saw me holding my left hand above my head, she just grabbed her car keys and said, “c’mon, let’s go,” so we did.

Unfortunately, it was only 11:10am and urgent care doesn’t open for business until noon. I stopped on the clinic side of things, where non-bleeders are readily helped, and was told, “We don’t do stitches here.” So, I went around the corner and grabbed a seat near the registration window so I’d be first in line. Which  was, right at noon.

Diane was with me and spent part of her time spreading newer magazines around the waiting area. She found them in some boxes in the basement and has been meaning to drop them off for the last year or so. She makes them all neat on all the tables. Makes me proud.

I was ushered to room 3, the one I normally get at urgent care, and I was prepped for action. The doc came in and we had a nice chat while she stabbed my wound with nummy stuff. That first one really hurts, a lot. Then she stuck it about 10 more times around the perimeter of the wound. I just sucked air through my teeth and dealt with it, knowing that I’d earned it.

It’s been about 6 hours since I did it and it’s beginning to throb a little and I know it’s going to get worse. It always does. I know this kind of stuff.

So, here it is … not quite to the bone, but close.

As you can see, I dressed for the occasion.

Seven stitches.

Ready to party.

Another part of this story involved  the yearly reunion for USS Cleveland crew members. This year it’s in Portland and today there was a bus tour out the Columbia River Gorge. Diane and I were both going to go but Diane had a need to stay home and help her Mom, Jean, with someone making a bid to clean her windows. That meant I would have to go alone with all those old shipmates, getting up and out the door by 0730 to do it. Somehow getting out of the house that early wasn’t appealing so I opted to stay home and make another attempt to get the bathroom put back together. While the doc was stitching me up, Diane said, “I should have sent you on the bus.”

In closing, I must report that I finished cutting the pieces of wood, and I remembered what they were for. Next task is to install all of the baseboard pieces that I also cut this afternoon. Just to show you that I don’t need no stinking opposing thumb on my left hand. No sir. I don’t .

Take a Knee

I’ve hesitated to chime in on all the commotion about NFL players not standing to honor our flag during the National Anthem because I think it’s just stupid. The clearest definition I’ve heard about why Kapernick started this was to protest black oppression. I’ve heard all kinds of discussions that support those who choose to kneel and I can only respond with a mess of opinions of my own.

First, I believe the vast majority of those who think kneeling for our national anthem are not of my generation. I’m old. When I was in school, the first thing we did as a class, to begin each day, was put our hands over our hearts, face the flag, and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Second, my first career encompassed 27 years in the United States Navy. When leaving a ship in port the last thing a sailor does is salute the flag. Upon return, saluting the flag is the first thing they do. On all US bases world-wide colors are observed twice a day: 0800 and Sunset.

No where in any of my activities that relate or refer to a flag was I required to kneel. Nope. When in uniform, and I heard the national anthem, I saluted the flag. When in civilian clothing, I placed my hand over my heart just they way I was taught.

For the naysayers out there, perhaps you view all this repetition as a form of brainwashing. I agree. Taken to the extreme, I believe all forms of teaching involve a bit of brainwashing to drive a point home. I know that for me to retain pretty much anything requires repetition. Lots and lots of repetition.

I think those folks who kneel for the anthem didn’t have the kind of education, and/or exposure that I had as a child or in the military. And you know what? It’s OK. We have that right, correct? Laws have changed over the years to the point where we don’t have to participate in any kind of ceremony to which we object, for any reason. It’s kind of like going back to live in a commune during the 70’s when pretty much everything was just plain OK. So I’ve heard.

The NFL can kneel all they want, to protest … to protest … what was it they’re protesting? … oh, ya … they are protesting President Trump’s comments about them kneeling for the National Anthem. By gosh, they’re going to show him, aren’t then?

Huh. I don’t think Kapernick had that in mind when he took a knee, but that seems to be what it’s about now.

Funny how things change.

 

Steaks and Dog Food

This afternoon I heard the dogs arguing in the living room and had to go see what it was all about before the fur flew. It’s true. The argument was escalating to that point. Actually, it’s only Ziva growling, but it’s a bit scary for me because I know that if they tangle, I’ll have to get between them. They have substantial teeth which makes that move risky for one of us.

When I got to the scene of the event here’s what I found …

That’s an open, and empty, food pouch that the big dogs don’t get to eat. Normally. It belonged to Ozzie. Now, had they ripped the package open from the top instead of the bottom I may have thought one of them retrieved the empty packet from the garbage but the way it was open gave them away.

Perhaps the dogs used this as a teaching moment to say something like, “Jerrie, CLOSE THE STUPID CUPBOARD!”

Or, maybe it was simply them showing off what they can do and to get a sense about how upset I’d be with what they did. You know, not so mad, they could do it again some day. Really mad, they could do it again some day but not too soon.

About the steaks … they are the ones Diane bought to take with us to Detroit Lake last week. They were rib eyes and would have been really good BBQ’d. The problem, as I’m sure you guessed there was one, we left for Detroit Lake Sunday afternoon but didn’t find the steaks in the car trunk until Tuesday. So, they were incarcerated in an unrefrigerated car trunk for over two days. Still, when I picked them up they both still looked nice and pink, and they weren’t warm at all. When I pierced the plastic in which they were encased, I didn’t detect any odors that smelled like spoiled meat and neither could Diane. But, she said e-coli could still be lurking around in there and that I should throw them away.

I just couldn’t do it. They were so pretty, and I really like steak. So, I lit the BBQ and cooked them. Still no suspicious smells, but I cooked them a little longer than the normal 5 minutes a side anyway. Brown all the way through. No red.

So, I put one of them on a plate and started easy with little teeny bites to see if anything happened to me. I ate slow, chewing each bite until it was so well masticated that it could easily have come fresh from a really good blender. Suitable for ingestion by someone with no teeth.

I’ve got to admit that it wasn’t all that satisfying. It took me a while to figure out that it was probably the dried onion I used in lieu of the seasoned salt I normally use which was still at home on a shelf in the kitchen.

Diane’s words about e-coli started rolling around in my head about the time I got half-way through the steak. That, and the wrong flavor of the meat, convinced me that I probably shouldn’t be eating any more steak right then. I kind of lost my taste for meat and decided that common sense dictated that cease and bow to my bride’s superior knowledge about such things.

Then the wait began. I figured it wouldn’t take long for the stomach cramps to begin and was torn between calling an ambulance right away, or just wait for the pain to begin. I decided to wait. I waited for 3 days and nothing happened.

Apparently I’m immune to e-coli, or whatever else could be wrong with meat that should have been totally spoiled due to lack of refrigeration.

Yup. I’m immune. It’s been 7 days and I’m going with the option that e-coli normally strikes 3-4 days after exposure.

That part about e-coli taking up to 10 days to make itself known is a myth.

I may have a different story to tell in three days.

Detroit Lake State Park, Pacific Crest Trail, Sauvie Island, and Home Depot

We spent last week out of the country camping at Detroit State Park. That would be the reason you haven’t heard from us in a while. Our parking spot was close to the lake and gave us ideas about a family event next summer since all those sites are big enough for many tents.

Detroit Lake is known for good fishing, something neither Diane nor I do. Catching fish involves cleaning them, unless you give them away. We find it much easier to just lay around and watch others fish then go to the store when we want some for ourselves. It’s a beautiful place.

We took walks multiple times a day. Per the rules, all dogs had to be on a leash so we complied. I just didn’t hang on to Ziva’s all the time.

During one walk Ziva had a notion that she was some sort of water dog who liked ducks and was moving in on this one swimming away.

Once we talked some sense into her she got out of the water then walked briskly down the docks to a slip where the ducks were just sitting. Of course they bailed off and I honestly thought Ziva was going to follow them. But, apparently dog sense prevailed and she just watched them swim away. Odd that she liked the ducks because she didn’t give the numerous geese in the area a second glance.

There are nice trails like this all over the park.

After one long walk around the park lasting a couple of hours we returned and discovered that I left my keys in the RV door. I did that, of course, so I’d know where they were.

It rained almost the entire time we were there but that was OK. It was the first real rain we’d seen in almost 3 months. The dogs didn’t mind it either, but it kept us busy drying them off.

Went to Sisters one day to look around. It’s a neat little town. Almost like moving downtown Seaside from the beach to the high desert. Very touristy kind of place. On the way back we took a walk on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Since it was snowing we didn’t go more than a couple of miles up the trail before Ziva’s feet got too cold to continue. It was pretty chilly. Turns out she’s a warm weather dog. I had to carry her back to the car.

The area was burned off at some point in the past, not from recent forest fires. But, it gives you an idea how fire can decimate the environment and makes us appreciate those who fight the fires all the more.

On the way home we stopped at a Home Depot to buy baseboard material for our hall project. It was Diane’s idea, a good one, because we had the motor home with plenty of room to carry 20 foot lengths of material. As it turned out, we only got 8 foot lengths because that’s all they had of the kind Diane wanted. Still, it was nice to not have to figure a way to carry all that stuff home. Ziva and Ozzie enjoyed the shopping trip, too. Ziva even helped me tow the cart around the place.

OK, so Ozzie wasn’t so hot on riding in a cart but he had to. If Diane would have left him on his leash he would have stopped and peed on every display he encountered. We know that’s true.

Before leaving on our trip, my good friend and golf buddy, Doug, drove down to our back 40 to save some apples. He said his apples are all gone and the deer need some to eat. So, he picked a few.

Saturday we participated in a beach cleanup on Sauvie Island which is in the middle of the Columbia River between Portland and St. Helens. About half of the island is farmland and the other half is a wild life preserve. There is no mention in the history books about this beach where Diane signed us up to clean.

During the summer Collin’s Beach is a pretty popular place for the brave at heart. The link contains a photo of me that I didn’t want to use but Diane insisted.

After we cleaned up the litter we stopped at Kruger’s Farm for some fresh veggies. They have great prices on pretty much everything they grow. This sign in the store caught my attention and thought it would be a good way to end this.

The sign was there, but I didn’t see any chickens.

Looking for Trouble

The other day on my way out the door to go golfing, Diane asked me if I’d eaten anything. Of course, I hadn’t, so I grabbed a handful of Costco bacon bits, 3 truffles, and a cracker I found in my chair. Those, and a cup of to-g0 coffee, and I was ready. Sadly, I was late for my tee time because I made the crucial mistake of telling Diane what I had. Apparently my choices do not count of valid food choices. So, I had a bowl of cereal.

Later the same day, checked the in and out temps on the catalytic converter on Lydia’s Envoy. Not having a tool specifically designed to do this kind of work, I chose to use Diane’s instant read meat thermometer. It seemed to be the same on either end so I figure the catalytic converter wasn’t working properly. As a result of this finding, I removed the catalytic converter and inserted an 18″ piece of 3″ ABS pipe in its place.

I know, it’s illegal to remove a catalytic converter, but it’s temporary because it’s going to melt then the exhaust will get really loud. I’m hoping that it will hold up for short trips around town. I would have used heavy-duty PVC but didn’t have any. It’s thicker and takes longer to melt which would allow for longer trips to, say, Warren, or Columbia City.

That’s it for today. I need to get to Kitchen Kaboodle before they close so I can get a new meat thermometer for Diane.

Later

My 1,000th Post, or Why my fingers are tired

This is my 1,000th blog entry and I thought I should make it special. In what way, I don’t know, because I don’t consider any of my entries special. They’re just a bunch of words I string together in a manner that I’m still not sure I understand. Sometimes they make sense, sometimes they don’t. It’s a crap shoot. Still, I do it and I wonder why, perhaps like some of you may do. I’m not about offering advice for anything. I just share the mishaps I encounter during a current project that typically lead to some sort of injury to some of my favorite body parts. I constantly receive encouragement to keep writing leading me to believe that those folks enjoy reading about all those times I needed stitches. Or, maybe it’s because I have this one particular finger that’s had a total of 25 stitches for three different wounds over the course of the last 55 years. It’s true, and all three wounds were in close enough proximity that the resulting scars intersect. It’s evident that this finger, my left pointer, is poking around in the wrong places when it shouldn’t be.

Having people suggest that I keep producing this stuff makes me feel obligated to do so and also makes me suspect that I’m filling a need for them to be entertained. I’m OK with all of that. Sometimes I do stupid things on purpose just to see what happens. According to my wife, Diane, it’s not a proper way for a 73-year-old to conduct himself. Not healthy, either. But you know what? It’s kinda fun so I ‘spect I’ll keep going a while.

Last Friday I visited some of our Winnebago friends who came to spend a few days in St. Helens at the Elks Club. In case you don’t know, most Elks Clubs all over the US have hook ups for RVs and Camp Trailers that don’t cost much. No sewer in St. Helens, but there’s water and electricity for $15 a night. Plus, you’re parked next to a restaurant and bar that’s just a short walk away. Friday was pot luck night for the campers, however, so I represented me and Diane for the BBQ hamburger meal. Diane didn’t go.

Well, she went, actually. She went a lot because she and our daughter, Jennifer, spent the day together doing girl stuff which included lunch at a local restaurant. The food is generally good, as it was on Friday, I’m told, but both of them encountered some sort of bug that acted suspiciously like norovirus. Consequently, when the girls got home to their respective habitats, they went, and went, and went, without going anywhere except the bathroom. All the while that was going on I was sitting with our friends enjoying my hamburger, beans, and potato salad. I believe I got the better deal.

By the time I got home, Diane was much better but wouldn’t be full speed until Saturday. She communicated with the girls and the decision was made for all of them to come to our house for early dinner on Saturday. It, too, was a bit of pot luck which is always great because of the variety you get. For our part, Diane dug around in the refrigerator and found some hamburger that still smelled OK and decided to make meatloaf. For those who shun beef she went to either Safeway, or Fred Meyer’s, for some dead chicken parts they cook. I like their dead chicken. Actually, I like anyone’s dead chicken. It’s very tasty.

Now, I have to clarify here that I specify ‘dead’ chicken because we all know that there are many chickens out there that aren’t dead. Like those that live in our neighbor’s back yard. I need to make that point because I’m not a fan of live chickens but I’m not the kind of person who would go out of their way to make them more likable to my way of thinking without just cause. At this point in time the resident rooster is pushing the limit. Some of the hens are apparently special kinds because the feathers stick straight out from their scrawny necks looking as if someone has grabbed them by the feet, wrapped their hand around their neck, and apparently tried to stretch them a bit. Kinda like this …

Kinda weird, right? Now, the rooster of this little flock doesn’t have a robust crowing ability, as you might imagine. He crows in a feeble way like he’s on his last leg. So, that’s kinda like entertainment for me.

Our Winnebago Friend Gathering (WFG) this time of year is normally held at the fair grounds in Hood River. That plan was nixed when some idiot child tossed a firecracker in a ditch and started the Eagle Creek Fire and burned up over 30,000 acres of prime timber along the Columbia River. There was grave danger that the Multnomah Falls Lodge would burn but the fire fighters kept the flames away.The freeway, I-84, was closed and remains closed because of the fear of trees falling on the road once the rain starts. Because of that, the Winnebagos came our direction instead.

For our dinner, I chose to use our china, crystal, and silverware because it needs to be used. I set the table so I used pretty much all the silver so folks had enough tools to choose from for the items they were eating. No one complained and everyone had a good time.

You’ll notice that Diane isn’t in the photo. That’s because she rarely sits down during meals like this. Instead, she always up getting one thing or another like most hostesses I know. In the photo, left to right, are: Susan, Cliff, John, Less, Sophia, Terry, and Carolann. That’s me in the middle, with the big head.

This is everyone. I apologize for not getting a better photo of Diane, and I will surely hear about this one, but it’s what I got. I think she was sharing, during group discussion, how her day went on Friday. I love my wife. Mainly what we were doing in this formation, was watching the news of Hurricane Irma and how the weather was affecting folks in Florida. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Florida and Texas are drowning while Oregon and Washington burn.

Here’s a better photo of Diane …

It’s always fun to watch the news people during disastrous events like the floods because they encourage all the residents to evacuate then news teams go in and stand in the flood so they can get their pictures taken. It’s even more fun when the wind is blowing over 100 mph. Gotta wonder what motivates those people. Why do they feel the need to put their people in danger to show the masses what a stiff wind, filled with pelting rain, will do to unsuspecting people. Maybe it’s some sort of punishment for low performers. This only happens for water related events. Apparently the news people are smart enough to NOT show up at a forest fire and demonstrate the dangers related to them. Nope, that’s when they shift to one of those protest rallys that seem to pop up that don’t seem to have a valid point. The most recent one in Portland, today, was the Anti-White Nationalist Rally. I guess it was just a matter of time before something like that jumped out of the ground, huh? For those of you who don’t live in the Portland area, here’s a Protest Rally Schedule of events across the country that may interest you. If you attend any of them, we expect you to report back with information about what you learned at whatever rally you attend.

OK, now that I’ve actually put that rally list out there, I think, Really?! There’s a web site for protest rallys? I guess those folks who don’t have anything productive to do on any given day need guidance, and this is it.

Now it’s getting late. Ziva was happy when folks went home so she could reclaim her spot on the couch. She loved our visitors, but they were sitting on her couch.

Goofy dog.

Oh, ya! It rained Saturday night. Just enough to put a very slight green tinge on our brown yard. First rain in about 3 months.

I hope everyone had a safe weekend. Now, get back to work. I need my Social Security Check.

Thanks

The Air We Breath & The Demise of a Tree

Our normally excellent air in the Pacific Northwest has been polluted by all the forest fires burning throughout the state. There is ash raining down everywhere and breathing is at your own risk.

That isn’t a complaint – it’s a simple fact. Although the air in St. Helens is compromised, we are not dealing with the threat of evacuation due to fires as are many, many areas of the state. Last night fire fighters were close to losing the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge in the Columbia River Gorge due to a fire started by a 15-year-old child playing with fireworks. The lodge was saved but the fire remains un-contained as I write. In the blink of an eye this fire, named Eagle Creek, has consumed well over 10,000 acres of forest in the gorge and has caused closure of I-84, the main freeway artery from Portland through the gorge. Closure is from Troutdale to Hood River.

It’s a mess. I’d say visibility is less than a mile at our house.

Regarding the tree … it’s the tree that participated in our power outage during the last wind storm we had in December 2015.

Some more of it fell off the tree a week or so ago so the power company decided it was time for that tree to bite the big one and sent Asplundh over to take care of it. It was a two day job.

After cutting off, and grinding up all the limbs, they were about to haul it all away and dump it some place. I only begged and pleaded for a short time before the foreman decided that we could keep the residue which we intend to scatter all over the place around the house. Now we don’t have to buy bark dust.

Actually, I didn’t have to beg at all. They were glad to leave it for us.