Eleanor Jean DeLonais

For the six or seven of you out there who might be concerned about my lack of communication over the past 8-10 months, wondering if I’ve fallen down, keeled over, or otherwise ceased to function, rest easy. I’m OK and I’m still kicking that can down the road. Or, as my deceased friend Junior used to say, “I’m till sucking air.” Yes I am.

I don’t have any particular reason for being silent all this time other than the fact that Diane and I spent a great deal of time at her Mother’s home ensuring she was fed and safe. That was most of the last year. Just when we got used to that routine, Mom took a trip to the garage when we weren’t looking, she fell and broke her left hip. That was July 30th. She was transported to Good Sam where she was bolted back together Sunday morning, July 31st. We visited her Sunday afternoon and learned that the surgery went well and that they would begin physical therapy on Monday. That seemed too soon for me, but what do I know. Apparently that’s common procedure.

We went back on Monday afternoon and learned that PT didn’t go as well as desired. She was able to take 4 steps before her energy gave out and they had to put her back in bed. She quit eating that day creating a need to engage hospice to gently guide her home.

We wanted to take her home for her final days but the earliest their hospice team could transport her was August 7, almost a week away. They said they would continue to seek help from a private company to accomplish the transfer. Thankfully, that worked out and Mom was brought home on August 4th.

Diane and I both took up residence with Mom for 24/7 care for as long as necessary.

Over the next few days Mom demonstrated her resilience by actually falling out of bed once, and spinning herself crosswise in her bed numerous times. She was getting lots of exercise with these antics but her energy levels were minimal since she refused to eat.

At 7:30 pm, on August 7th, the day before her 95th birthday, she took her last breath on this mortal coil. We’re sure that she rushed into the arms of her loving husband, Mel, who predeceased her in 2002.

Her graveside service is scheduled for 11:00 am, August 19th at Bethany Memorial Cemetery in Warren, OR.

Combat Ear Protection

Have you seen the commercial about combat ear protection failures? Surely you have, but if not, here’s a little background. From 2003 to 2015 3M apparently provided faulty combat ear protection to the military. I’m thinking, OK, if that’s true then vets deserve compensation. Once that thought is gone my brain takes me back to 1965 when I was sleeping one deck below the aft 5″/38 Caliber deck gun on a vintage Navy destroyer. I was part of the ship’s crew on DD-808.

A little research will reveal that 1965 was near the beginning of our Navy’s involvement in the Viet Nam war. I do not know if my fellow military vets who were assigned duty “in country” were offered combat ear protection but I’m confident that all of them were subjected to a lot of noise from weapons of various types. I do know for sure that no ear protection was supplied to me or my shipmates on DD-808. Sleeping off a mid-watch while the gunners shot that gun above my head, continuously throughout the day, was difficult. This happened for months on end during our participation in that war. Those deck guns were incredibly loud and shook the entire ship when fired. Anyone on a destroyer during that time will know what I’m talking about. Exciting stuff for an 18-year-old.

Now, in my late 70’s, tinnitus is my constant companion. I can’t say for certain the noise to which I was subjected back in my Navy Days is the cause of this ailment, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t help.

Just sayin.

Wireless Bras

I heard these advertised on TV but didn’t see any commercials so I asked Diane if I could have one. You know, I like techie stuff and this one really peaked my interest. Wireless bras! Who knew?

She said, “sure, but it isn’t what you’re thinking.” So, I did a little research on Google looking for “Wireless Bras” and discovered a stunning array of choices, none of which I could use. There was nothing there that would speed up my computer, or give me more options of any kind other than peak the interest of the 15-year-old part of my brain.

So, I’m setting that interest aside in favor of a more productive line of reasoning. As soon as I figure out what that might be, I’ll let you know.

Fire!

The other day our neighbor’s house caught on fire. Our son, who celebrated his 50th birthday two days ago, saw it and went inside to find one of the neighbors just waking up from a nap. The smoke disoriented her so Jeff carried her out of the house to safety. Then he went back in to get the dogs and cats out of the house. Sadly he missed one of the cats who expired from smoke inhalation.

911 was called right away, before flames were evident, and firetrucks arrived quickly. During that short wait, the fire exploded into a major event that destroyed one end of the home before the hoses were turned off.

Here’s the progression …

The fire was so hot the aluminum window frames melted into puddles. That’s Gabby the goat, in case you’re wondering.

The burning house happened during a visit by our Winnebago Friends. The guys came to work our RV which was immobile because the parking brake was on for such a long time that the rear shoes rusted to the drums. There is a lot of information on the internet about this “common” problem, but none of them worked for me. I was stuck. In order to make the brake drums more accessible I figured jacking up the rear end and putting it on jack stands. Sitting low makes it really hard to get under it to work.

I borrowed a air jack and jack stands from cousin Don and Jeff got busy getting one stand in place. It lasted a little while before the ground gave way allowing the RV to slide about 12″ to the left (looking from the rear) toward a retaining wall. Another foot would have made contact. So, that plan was nixed and we left the RV resting on about 4″ of wood which turned out to be enough for the Winnebago Guys to wiggle under and do their magic.

Finding the solution took about 30 minutes for those guys. A small flat pry bar and a pipe wrench were the key to success. By prying one shoe loose, the RV was once again mobile.

Then we addressed the problem with the leveling jacks. They wouldn’t work. That was an easy one, too, but I wasn’t prepared to do simple. I, like many people, dive right in to a problem figuring it was extremely difficult to solve. Although all the literature I read pointed out the need to have 12 vdc available at all times for these things to work, it never occurred to me that the batteries might be the problem. Turns out that was it. Adding some distilled water to the offending units and letting them charge over night. solved the problem. Yea.

So, the RV is fully functional. We celebrated by getting a condo in Seaside where we could just kick back and do nothing for 3 days.

Smart Printers

The other day I got an email from the manufacturer of Diane’s new printer telling me I should plug it in so they could talk with it. The reason, they explained was to honor my desire that Diane should never run out of ink. So, I plugged it in.

Before I could do that, I had to find it in the old computer room at our house. It was on the floor next to Breezie’s (our cat) table on which she sits so she can monitor the movement of ducks in the front yard. She just likes watching them, never chases them. I don’t think she considers them even a tiny bit tasty. Plus, catching one involves work and usually ends with a mouthful of feathers which are difficult to spit out.

When I found the printer I wished HP would have told me the cat puked on it from her perch. Surely that could be done. I mean, it keeps track of it’s innards, why not its outards? This is what I found …

I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that it cleaned up and currently looks brand new.

Guess What!

It’s that time of year again where the sun came out for a while and caused pretty much every green thing in the area to spring forth with pollen. Because of that, Diane finds it necessary to spend most of her time indoors so she can breath. It’s really sad that the sound of a lawnmower anywhere in the neighborhood causes her to hurry inside and make her rounds to ensure all the windows are closed. It’s that serious because the fragrance of mown grass pretty much shuts down her ability to breath comfortably. I really didn’t know it was so severe when I bought her that new riding lawnmower but I got a really good deal and couldn’t take it back. So, I’ll mow the grass.

Now that the worst is over she is on a mission to replant all the pots that have been gathering dust in Mom’s garage all winter long. I know this was going to happen when Diane showed up with bags of dirt in the car when she picked me up yesterday.

There were 3 each of these bags but I left 1 each at our hill house the remainder were transported to Mom’s creek house.

This is why I call it the Creek House. It has a creek running through the back yard. Milton Creek to be more specific. It’s very peaceful.

This is Diane hard at work with one of her dirt bags. Doesn’t she look great?

There were 3 each of these bags but I left 1 each at our hill house the remainder were transported to Mom’s creek house. Before we could get the bags into the Hill House we had to navigate our way around Gabby, our neighbor’s guard goat. Our garage door was left open, for some reason, and she came in to get out of the rain. She’s pretty crafty. Actually, she’ll go through any unguarded door she encounters, including the one to our RV. So, we generally keep doors closed.

Last Sunday, Mother’s Day, The entire Walters Clan came to visit. We are thankful to be close enough, geographically, that visits are simple and often. This time they brought Jessiah, a Grand Nephew on Daniel’s side of things. Jessie is about the most calm baby (8 months) I’ve ever encountered. Mr. Mellow. It was a treat, too, to see Pastor Jeran who is home from school (Corban University) for the summer. He’s going to be the Youth Pastor for the family’s church all summer. He was surprised that they plan to pay him to do it. I have no doubt he would have done it for free. He’s that kind of guy. So, he’s going to be getting a lot of experience in a church he’s been going to for a lot of years. The congregation was overjoyed with the announcement that one of their flock was coming home to teach. We heard there was a standing ovation for him. We’re happy for him.

Now I have to get busy jacking up the RV so we can remove the rear wheels and, with the help of some savvy friends, figure out a way to release the brakes so we can use the rig. As it sits, it’s not going anywhere.

Later….

Weird Stuff

Before I get going, I hope the 4th was with you recently. Sorry I missed that.

I also hope you all had a rousing Cinco de Mayo.

That’s about it for real life things so I’m going to just ramble about some of the stuff rattling around in my head. Considering the quantity of “things” you’d think the sound would be muffled a little bit, but that isn’t the case. Makes my ears ring, it does.

First on my list is that I’m baffled by all the goings on about people who are confused about what gender they really are. Whatever I share here is just my opinion so please don’t get upset about any of it. You have three choices at this point: 1) Keep reading and don’t judge me for my opinions; 2) Keep reading and get all judgmental about what I say even though my words are not directed at anyone in particular; or, 3) Stop reading and use your time in a more productive manner. What I say doesn’t mean a thing in the long run.

I’m ok knowing that I was ‘assigned’ male as a gender at birth. I’m pretty sure the doctor who delivered me really didn’t struggle with that assignment because the evidence was right there in front of him. I was a little boy. Pretty simple. I don’t think he had to consult with my parents before checking the “M” box my my birth certificate

A lot of time has passed between my birth and how I see the world now and it makes me wonder hope some people think that newborn people need to be assigned a gender. Aging seems to have lowered a veil over my view that blurs the lines between men and women. Old people start looking alike when they get my age so maybe I need to change my pronouns to keep up with the times. That won’t happen, of course, because I’m quite content using either a urinal or sitting on a toilet. Guess that makes me non-binary when it comes to taking a leak. I’ll just continue to be “that guy” until my story is done. That’s when I’ll find out how important all this confusion in society is and whether or not I should have paid more attention.

“Jerrie! Have you been reading the news?”

“Of course I have. Where are we and who are you?”

“I’m God and, if you’ve truly been reading the news, you are a weenie, and you are on outskirts of Heaven.”

“Really!? I used to have one of those when I was little but it seems to have retracted into my body recently. Maybe if I could lose a little weight it might reappear. I didn’t know Heaven had outskirts.”

“No, that won’t work. Once it’s gone, it’s gone, but that’s OK. You don’t need it. Every location has outskirts, even Heaven.”

Back to my non-binary condition … that’s something that has been taking over my body most of my life. It was just a transformation that I really didn’t have control over, and I didn’t find it important enough to worry about. The reason is because I’m married to a most terrific person — my binary female wife. We’ve discussed pronouns, briefly, and I quickly learned that she isn’t fond of being called “it”, “they”, or “them”.

“Hey, It,” I said. “Please bring me a glass of water.”

Or, “Hey, They,” I need a doughnut.” I kinda like this one because it rhymes.

Those just don’t work for either of us, although I’ll respond faithfully to whatever pronoun she chooses to call me; I just need a little warning so I know what to expect.

That’s just a small sample of possibilities, I know, but pronouns are no longer a topic of conversation for us. We’ll just forge ahead with the common knowledge that we are 50’s kids who weren’t given the opportunity to question our genders. Although, I do enjoy wearing a frilly pair of panties once in a while. She’s not a fan, of course. I know this because I used to ask permission and she always responded with “no!”. So, I just don’t ask any more.

I believe I’ve dug this hole plenty deep and should stop before it caves in on me.

Have a good day.

Another Adventure

This time of year for Diane and me is devoted to celebrating our Anniversary. Normally it amounts to us communing with nature by sequestering ourselves in our motorhome near the beach. The ocean air is like a healing balm for Diane. It makes her happy, and anything that makes Diane happy, makes me happy.

Sadly, we had to venture forth without the shelter of the RV because it decided it wanted to stay home. In a roundabout way, it told us that it’s been setting for so long that it’s going to take more than a twist of the ignition key to pry it from its parking spot next to our garage. The exclamation point to that was when she locked up her brakes and refused to let go. Everything else works just fine, but nothing we did would convince her to take us to the beach.

So, we transferred all the provisions to the car and drove ourselves to the land of the healing ocean air. When we return we’ll get busy and convince her that she really should go with us the next time.

Since we left our accommodations at home, Diane made reservations at a couple of condos, in the vicinity of the friends we were supposed to be “camping” with that would just have to do for, this trip. The first one was for 3 days in Newport, Oregon.

It was pretty nice and only 6 miles from South Beach State Park where we were supposed to be. That’s where Les & Sophie, and Cliff & Susie were staying. Although they were parked near the beach, we had a pretty nice view from our condo.

Our time was spent visiting with out friends, like we always do which makes me wonder how we could possibly come up with MORE things to talk about. But, we always do. And, we eat really good meals. Each couple is responsible for cooking one dinner for the group during the course of our stay. We eat quite well. When it’s our turn I campaign for beans and weenies but it never happens. Instead we have stuff like pork loin, or steaks, and things that go with them. One of these days I’ll get my way but it will have to be on a trip that lasts longer than 4-5 days.

After Newport, we moved up the coast to Neskowin and checked in to the Proposal Rock Inn. It’s a building full of individually owned condos that are rented to folks to help pay for the mortgages when the owners aren’t using them. The one we got is on the 3rd floor so I got my exercise carting all our stuff up some pretty steep stairs. We’ll be here for four days so I guess this will have to do.

The others moved to Winema Beach. Literally. The RV parking spots are almost right on the beach. Perfect for riding scooters, if you have a scooter.

That’s what Les and Cliff did, without me, because I didn’t bring my scooter. They are only about 3 miles north of our condo and rode almost all the way to us before turning around to go back.

With Les leading, Cliff kept him in sight while enjoying the sights while scooting along near the surf line. Then danger struck when he saw something shiny on the sand. Stopping to investigate, he bent over to pick it up and was hit with a rogue wave which pretty much soaked him and drowned his scooter.

He had to push it about a mile back to the RV because the electric motor was (apparently) full of sea water. That’s not a good thing. He’s a crafty mechanic, however, and will no doubt resurrect it once he gets it home. Right after he replaces the microwave in the RV. The microwave went belly up in Newport.

I arrived for dinner at Susie’s and Cliff’s a little early so had time to get the full story about the scooter trip, but had forgotten about the demise of their microwave. During the course of getting things ready for dinner, Cliff picked up the dinner rolls to put on the table and suggested Susie warm them up in the microwave. Susie didn’t miss a beat and told him, “good idea. Why don’t you get on your scooter and drive them next door and use Sophie’s microwave?” It loses a little retelling that, but it was hilarious at the time.

That’s about it for now. We’ll be back home in a couple of days. I’ve received numerous suggestions about what to do with the RV to make it release the brakes. The best solution involves large hammer. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

Cheers!

Happy 54th

That’s Happy 54th Anniversary to me and my lovely bride. I think that’s a pretty good milestone for me and my first wife. We’ve been to a lot of places over those years, seen a lot of pretty nifty things, made memories to last a lifetime, and met some incredible people who are scattered all over the USA. Lots of those friends are located near us in the greater Portland area which makes it easier to stay connected, even though this electonical age keeps people in touch 24/7.

Diane had an anniversary trip all planned that included many days at the beach, rain or shine. Sadly, the RV became unpredictable causing us to modify our plans a little bit. The RV issue is that it will not move forward or back. Really. It won’t move either direction. Well, it moves a little bit, but not much. Just enough to give one a little hope before it seizes up again. Because of that Diane cancelled all the campground reservations she’d made and got us rooms near the locations we had planned to park the RV. That was necessary because we planned to visit with our Classic Winnebago RV Club members, even though none of us currently own a classic Winnebago. But! All the members, except Diane and me, still actually have Winnebagos. We are renegades, we are, and it’s OK. Even though Diane and I will be spending our nights in a cozy room we’ll still be able to spend time with them gathered around propane campfire, wrapped in blankets and hoping it doesn’t rain. Then we’ll all retire to our respective rooms. Then, do it all over again the next day. I’m sure that may sound perfectly boring to most of you but it’s actually fun and very satisfying. It’s OK to get old and share our days with friends.

That part of this story will continue tomorrow and I’ll report on it later.

Today, while watching the evening news we watched as President Biden boarded his very large airplane in Portland and head for Seattle. As the plane soared into the air Diane and I looked at each other, then headed to our back porch. You see, our house is almost directly under the flight path for plans going from PDX and SEA. Turns out Joe wanted to get a look at our place on his trip north. I believe he even waved at us as he and his entourage flew on by.

Air Force One

Sorry it’s not a better photo but I only had my iPhone available and this is that photo blown up a little. Now we’re famous.

On that note, I’m going to sit here and finish Season 8 – Episode 3 (“From the Ashes”) of “When Calls The Heart”. We kinda got hooked on it and have been binge-watching for the past few weeks beginning with S1-E1. It’s a fun show. You should try it.

Procrastination and Other Stuff

That’s me, for sure. I’ve waited just a couple of days beyond the two month mark of my last post, but I suspect no one missed me. Still, it may come as a surprise to some of you that I’m still alive. I am old, after all, and old people tend to die sometimes.

The pandemic has been tough on all of us but things seem to be slowly getting back to normal. Diane and I still wear masks when we go to stores and we choose to avoid Portland unless there is not choice about it.

dot dot dot — The above opening was written on April 1st then I apparently got busy doing a bunch of other stuff. Consequently, I unintentionally validated what a procrastinator I truly am. In my defense, you’ve got to believe me when I claim that my head was very busy all this time, filled with good intentions, but none of it triggered a need to activate my sore, busy fingers … until now.

We’ve survived COVID, so far, but it’s apparently sill causing havoc in many other parts of the world. Masks, although carried in a purse, or pocket, are rarely used. Even so, it appears, to me, that people are doing a better job at keeping their distance from one another. That works for me. To enhance that action I quit taking showers. Seems to work OK, too.

Diane is still tending to her Mom most of the time, and I’m still the cook. This has been going on since October and Diane is well past the point where a break is necessary. So, she contracted with a professional care giver which will allow us to take the RV out for a short trip to the beach. Right after we made these plans, it snowed 4″. In April! For Portland it was the first measurable snowfall in April in records history. Weather is pretty screwy all over the US so we plan to just deal with it and make our trip anyway. Should be fun.

Big Brother Jim turned 85 (I think) a few days ago. I waited all day, then a couple more days, for him to call me so I could wish him a happy birthday. Yesterday I gave up and called him to find out why he hadn’t called, and to make sure he’s OK. Turns out he took a trip down his driveway a while ago, literally. Smashed up his glasses, broke his arm, and pretty much caused a huge intake of breath from the family and friends who live in his vicinity. He explained the even in great detail for me and I was able to visualize every frightening step of the way. Bleeding profusely, he said he crawled to the back door and pounded on it seeking help, which he finally got. Now he’s got a problem with the blood stains on his driveway which probably won’t come clean.

He’s well into mending, and actually found humor in it as he looked back and shared with me. I think we both agreed that at his age falling isn’t a good thing. He promised to never do that again. I hope it’s true, but I’m skeptical.

The other day we gathered at The Old Spaghetti Factory for a late lunch with our PT Cruiser Friends. One couple had moved to Florida and were back in the area for a visit so our leader chose that as a reason for us to gather once more. That, and the fact that COVID restrictions had eased making such gatherings legal. A good time was had by all and Diane and I were able to visit with some folks we hadn’t seen in years. Turn out that some of those folks actually read this blog which surprised me. Because of that I felt compelled to get busy and at least say “Hi” to everyone. So, “Hi!” everyone.

I’ve been having trouble maintaining a stable BS level. To help with that I’m intimately involved with a VA Pharmacist and a VA Dietician to help and guide me. Diane knows and it’s OK. All the visits are virtual so all we do is talk. One hand thing I learned was that the little BS meter the VA gave me is actually a bluetooth device and, with the proper app, will send all BS info to my phone. I don’t remember how I discovered that because no one told me. When I shared that with the pharmacist she went, “huh. Didn’t know that could be done.” I’ve had this meter for years and spent countless hours writing down all those numbers only to discover it could be done automatically. Since discovering that, and complaining to my pharmacist that, since I’m only an amateur diabetic they only allow me 50 test strips for a 60 day period and they want me to test morning and night. The math doesn’t quite work for that so they upped count to cover my need. Now I take tests pretty much any time I want and my tiny little fingers are suffering from it. All of them are covered with little scars on the ends from needle pokes. They don’t seem to hurt as much as they used to so I think I pretty much killed all the nerves in my finger tips.

The clock on the wall tells me it’s time for me to trek down the hill to Grandma’s House so I can feed her. That’s a need because I’m the cook for all meals. Did I say that before? I also need a cup of coffee to kickstart my day.

Hope all of you are doing well. Stay safe and keep a light on for me.