1 – 2 – 3 – Safe!

Before I get carried away with this, as I sometimes do, let me apologize for my fragrant fingers. I just applied some Avon Foot Works Deep moisture Cream to the palms of both feet to fend off dryness which has a tendency to attack exposed body parts without warning. Actually, I have plenty of warning but forget to do anything about it, normally, until time for bed. Then I don’t want to apply it because it makes my feet stick to the sheets and I don’t like that. So, I cream my feet during the day, mainly because Diane insists. Not because they are odoriferous, but because they are dry.

First thing this morning, around 0630, I attempted to place my open yogurt container, from which I had yet to partake, upon the table by my assigned end of the couch. It was dark so most of you may think that setting the container in such a manner that when released would tumble freely to the floor. It was particularly distressing because it was Peach, one of my favorites. It landed big side down which, for some yogurt containers would be a good thing, but not for Tillamook yogurt. Their big end is the one used to dip out the great tasting interior of the container. There was a small pile of yogurt next to the upside down container meaning the remainder had to still be inside.

So, I had a dilemma.

Do I make an honest effort and try to contain the spilled remnants inside the container as I tipped it over? Do I flip it fast, or flip is slow? Or, just pick it up like nothing is wrong?

I chose the latter and was pleased when I discovered that at least half of the container was full. The other half remained on the floor in two fairly evenly sized piles. I wasn’t sure if this constituted a new dilemma or was still part of the first one, but it was a dilemma, all the same.

The piles that escaped were sitting placidly on the hard wood floor, missing the carpet by mere inches. I didn’t see any visual evidence of dog or cat hair in the vicinity, so briefly considered just scooping it up and putting it back into the container and calling it good. Instead, I retrieved my spoon from the end table and, since I was already on my knees, just bent of a little and scooped spoons full directly into my mouth.

I did this for two reasons – 1) I chose to not take a chance of contaminating the yogurt that remained in the container, and 2) Diane wasn’t there to tell me it was a bad idea. I already knew it was probably a bad idea, but I’ve eaten food from the floor in the past, and I believe I’m better for it. More on that later, if I remember.

When scooping up the remains, I was very careful to not touch the spoon all the way down to the floor. Doing that would have pulled up all manner of things like 409, Simple Green, wax, and old varnish. Perhaps a pet hair or two, also. That didn’t happen. I got pure yogurt and I got most of it.

Once I’d had my share of the floor yogurt, I called Ozzie over to see if he liked Peach yogurt. He did for a short time, but quickly gave it up so Panzee could finish up. Panzee likes any kind of yogurt. She’s my official yogurt container cleaner, getting the remnants my spoon can’t. When she was finished with the floor, she stared intently at me, waiting for the container to finish the job. I ate slowly, causing her great concern, but she kept her cool, and didn’t issue any threats that would cause me to hasten the process.

Then I took my morning nap, waking at Diane’s command around 0800, alerting me that we had to leave for church in an hour.

An hour! I still had a good 30 minutes of sleep time to go, so I took it, arising precisely at 0830.

We left at 0900, picked up Diane’s Mom, Jean, and arrived at church about 0910. It’s a quick trip.

During the service, I was the designated communion assistant. Yeah, I know. That’s a little out of character for me, but I did it quite frequently and most people don’t seem to mind. My job is to handle the wine with decorum and appropriately bestow the blessing of  “Christ’s blood, shed for you.” I do that for each parishioner who choses to accept communion. Today we had communion via “intinction” so all I had to do was hold the cup as everyone dipped their wafer into the wine. It’s a simple task.

When everyone was done, we returned to the altar to replace unused wafers and the wine when the 2nd casualty of the day transpired. I bumped the wafer tray while sitting the goblet down and slopped wine all over the altar. I also soaked a few wafers. To help save me from ridicule, pastor moved toward me to cover the mishap as we sopped it up with the napkins placed there for just that purpose. Thankfully, this has happened so many times in the past, that a thick plastic cover was placed over the paraments to protect them.  So, it wasn’t the catastrophe that it could have been.

After the service, like every other Sunday, we went to the basement for coffee and treats. It’s called “Coffee Hour”, but sometimes it lasts 2-3 hours so that’s not a descriptive name for this event. But, it’s tradition, so I’ll just go with that.

Things went well for the first 10 minutes or so, while I was talking with Ron. Then, without any warning, what so ever, I found it necessary to make a gesture to punctuate a statement and made it half way through before disaster struck. Standing at the table, the gesture issued away from my body successfully, but on the return to the resting position, a little bit of just one finger found the edge of Ron’s coffee cup, spilling the contents toward me in a rush of liquid. I managed to jump back, like it was a normal movement, and calmly stood there assessing the damage as Ron rushed to get a rag to staunch the flow. I had one little splash mark just below the knee of my left pant leg which I could easily hide from Diane. Thankfully, Ron chose to put creamer in his coffee today, so it was essentially the same color as my khaki pants. No one else received damage from this. I attribute this to my foresight to spill it toward me, not away from me. Even then, I think the large doily in the center of the table would have sucked the coffee up quickly. We may never know.

From church we went to Burger King, for a nutritious lunch, then to Fred Meyer so Diane and Mom could shop for food while I stayed on guard in the vehicle. They were only gone about an hour before returning with two loaded carts which I would have helped with but my seat belt was still hooked up. I even sat there and watched 86-year-old Jean push the carts back to the store. A bit of grief was bestowed upon me for that discretion. It wasn’t bad because those present recognized that it was not my nature to avoid opportunities like that. I’m the guy who always opens car doors, any doors, for the ladies in my presence. A lost art, I know, but an example I insist on displaying not matter where we are. Diane is so used to this that, when leaving the house, she goes into the garage and stands beside her car, knowing I’m right behind her to open the door. There’s just the two of us, but the gesture has even more meaning then than when done in public. It’s not done for show, but as a sign of respect. Looking back on this, I should have freed myself from my seat and done the right thing, but I didn’t. Now I must live with this flaw on my previously almost unflawed behavior. Drat!

The coffee spilling incident was #3 for the day so I figured I was pretty safe for foreseeable future. So far, that’s been true, but there is a long way to go until bedtime. Lots of stuff could happen in the next 5-6 hours. I’m pretty confident I’ll be safe until tomorrow.

Something I forgot to mention yesterday, with regard to the failed fuel pump, is that I discovered an absolutely brand new one in one of the little storage compartments on the RV. There’s even a new starter, in case the current one fails. Since there was already a new fuel pump, it’s normal to presume that the previous owner anticipated this failure. Tomorrow I’m going to install it and see what happens. I might even add some brake fluid to the master cylinder to solve that issue.

Later …

Uno thru Cinco de Mayo

It’s Sunday afternoon. A hot one. Temp is currently 81 at 7:30pm, down from the 88 we experienced in Longview, Washington where we went for lunch after church. Diane had a hankering for Sizzler so that’s where we took her Mom.

Now, for the last four days … “what,” you may ask, “has been going on?” Well let me tell you …


May 1st for us started off with Daniel’s birthday. Daniel, in case you forgot, is my first wife’s son-in-law, father of Cedric, Lydia, and Jeran, and husband to Jennifer. He turned 38.  I don’t know how that happened so fast … seems like just yesterday he and Jennifer wet just youngsters starting their married life. Now it’s been almost 20 years. Wow! To celebrate his birthday, Daniel BBQd shish kabobs and wieners. I got to see Brianna again, and met Alyssa, one of Lydia’s softball teammates who was there because they had a game right after the party. Concerning Alyssa, my thunder was yanked out from under me right at the greeting when both Jennie and Lydia told me that she had already been told about me and to not believe anything I say. Consequently, we didn’t converse much except I was able to share with them that the advantage of having a mustache when you’re old is that your upper lip doesn’t get shiny when your nose drips. That’s a simple truth.

The BBQ …



On May 2nd the WELCA ladies began setting up for the annual Bethany Quilt Show at the church. My jobs were few and simple because Diane didn’t want me to injure my right shoulder any more than necessary, so I didn’t. All I did was carry card tables to the basement and string up many of the wall hangings that were provided for display. Doing the wall hangings made it necessary to hammer tacks into the newly painted area in the stairwell, but that was OK. It’s a tradition. When things started getting frantic, with hoards of people showing up with quilts they wished to display, I was able to separate myself from whoever was giving me instructions at the time, made a dash for my car and went home to mow the lawn.

Before doing that, however, I had a chance to say hello to Floyd who was make rounds on the new lawn mower that he purchased for the church. It works so nicely that I knew I’d never be able to mow my yard again unless I did some maintenance on my mower.

So, the first thing I did upon arriving home was to get all my gas cans and go get them filled. This gave Panzee an opportunity for a ride, which she loves to do. Once back at home, I removed the mower deck from the tractor, drug it out into the back yard, and power washed it, removing thick layers of grass that had been accumulating for about 5 years. I’ve been meaning to do this every year, but it didn’t happen until May 2nd.

The blades, three of them, were about as sharp as the edge of a sidewalks from all the large rocks I’ve chipped away at over the years, so I decided it was time to make them right. I ground on them until many parts of them were shiny with new marks from the grinding wheel, reshaping the flattened end to one that was fairly sharp, giving it a much better chance of cutting grass instead of ripping it out of the ground. I couldn’t wait to get it back together to see how it worked.

It worked so nice that I could hear the tick of each blade of grass as it was plucked from the lawn and hurled up the exit tube to the grass catcher with no resistance because I had removed the sheet metal screws that was holding the two pieces of tubing together and replaced it with duck tape. Duck tape always works. It was like new. Jerrie was happy.

Doing all of that, and mowing the lawn, took pretty much all day, and I was seriously tired. So, I rested until Diane returned from working at church. She was seriously tired, too.


May 3rd was the first day of the quilt show so Diane had to be up and gone early to finish preparations. To make sure she was up on time I had a 0715 telephone appointment with my VA doctor to see how things were going for me since cutting back on my medication. It’s been fine, thank you, but my shoulder hurts really, really bad most of the time. This affliction occurred years ago when I saved a cat’s life by not stepping on him while walking barefoot down basement stairs in the dark. It’s a short story but I don’t have time to report it here. Besides, I think I’ve done that before. So, my doctor told me to go get a xray of my shoulder when I had a chance. Since Diane wasn’t available to drive me right away I made a command decision which was, thankfully, OK with Diane, to go on Monday. After talking with the doctor I had a little nap then went back to the church with Diane in case there was something I needed to do to help with the quilt show. I stayed until lunch because everyone knows there is nothing quite as good as Church Lady Food (CFL).


Here’s what the church looked like before all the little old ladies in the NW started crowding the isles …



… and here the Queen Bee Quilter’s Chair, and some of her work. The QBQ this year was someone many of you already know … Wynette, my brother Jack’s first wife. Thankfully they are still on speaking terms. Wynette worked really hard to get a lot of quilting projects ready for this show and everyone was excited about her displays.


Here’s some pews full of Wynette’s efforts …


Here’s Wynette …


Here’s Diane taking a break during the festivities … and if you look close you can see my little chicken legs in the mirror …


She did great …


May 4th was the 2nd and last day for the quilt show and things were a lot more calm. I was called in to perform a little emergency maintenance when someone cracked the toilet seat in the ladies rest room. I used my ACE rewards card to obtain a special deal on the replacement. Turns out the one I installed was exacry like the one that broke. Hope it lasts a while. I stayed for lunch because I just couldn’t pass up all that CLF. After lunch I went home and took a nap. I didn’t mean to take a nap. I sat down to think about all the things I needed to do and it just happened. I probably should have gone with Jennie to Clatskanie to watch Lydia’s game, but I didn’t. Instead, Cedric and I went back to our house for some quality time together. He promptly fell asleep on the couch while I watched various TV shows in the Man Room. Jennie stopped by on her way home to get Cedric and they visited for a while. Lydia had a great game. She pitched the entire game and hit a grand slam. They won the game 16-1. Nice. Before they got here Cedric woke up and decided he was a bit hungry and wanted salad. I retrieved tupperware containers of various vegetables and he was amazed that they snapped together. His comment was, “now my life is complete!” Funny how tupperware can affect some people that way.



May 5th, Sunday, church. More CLF at coffee hour while Diane counted all the money from   the offering. I actually forgot about that part because I was supposed to help. Instead, I was busy talking to people, and I knew most of them. After all that was done Diane trapped me and her Mom in the Buick and took us to Longview for lunch at Sizzler because that’s what she was hungering for. I like the Sizzler salad bar because it has fried dead chicken and I really like fried dead chicken. I ate a lot of it then had ice cream and I wasn’t even hungry when we got there. I just ate to be polite so Diane wouldn’t have to eat alone because her Mom didn’t eat. The day was absolutely beautiful making the drive to Longview along the Columbia River incredible. Being a native I took it all for granted and read a book on my iPad all the way. After dropping of Jean, Diane’s Mom, we returned home and sat on the porch for a while, enjoying the afternoon breeze. Then, as evening approached, we decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo by having a Taco Bell dinner. I had my normal … 3 crispy taco supremes, and 1 chicken burrito supreme. I mentioned I love dead chicken, didn’t I?

Emergency Rooms, Coyotes, and Roofers

Where have I been? Does anyone know? Since my reality isn’t the same as everyone else’s I could use some help to ferret out the “pretend” areas of my life and reconnect with a common reality that’s apparently shared by everyone else. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy flying around in my reality, most of the time, but sometimes it gets lonely because the only others I see there are captured in their own “moments” and do not communicate well.

Yesterday I was ejected into the ‘real’ world when Diane’s Mom was transported to Good Sam from urgent care in St. Helens for cardiac “issues” related to a “possible” heart attack. We followed the ambulance, and Jennie, Dan, and kids arrived shortly after we did. After monitoring her in the emergency room, for the requisite 3-4 hours, she was admitted for the night and scheduled for a stress test this morning at 0800. After Jean was settled in her room, we all headed back to the ranch, knowing she was in good hands.

Once we got home, being the optimists we normally are, we packed our bags for our trip south which was to begin today. First stop Medford, Oregon. Diane and Jennie are on their way to the hospital as I type so they can be there during the stress test and get first hand knowledge on what’s going on. Me? I had to stay home so I can go to church this morning and answer the questions everyone will have about Jean. Lydia is going with me to play body guard. And visit with her friend, Briana.

Now, about last night …

We packed and puttered around here until almost midnight like we normally do the night before leaving on a trip. The dogs went out and returned quickly for their nighty treat. Couldn’t find the cat, which isn’t unusual, so closed up the house and went to bed.

Shortly thereafter, 3-4 coyotes started yipping in our back yard. Diane let Panzee out on the upper porch so they could ‘talk’ for a bit. Apparently Panzee convinced them to depart, because they did after a very noisy conversation. At times like this, Breezie is a concern because she’d make a pretty nice coyote snack. I know, that’s probably not an appropriate thing to ‘say’, but it’s true. This morning when Diane got up, Breezie was meowing at the basement door, so all is good. The coyotes probably spied her behind the basement patio door which caused all the ruckus. She doesn’t flinch much so that no doubt added to their frustration. I can just see her down there, sitting by the patio door, one hind leg sticking straight up in the air, licking away with an occasional pause to look a coyote in the eye then back to licking.

Since the coyotes are prowling, Breezie will have to spend her nights indoors. The problem with that is, if things turn out OK for Jean, we may not be here to ensure that happens and she may not always magically show up when one of the kids checks the house. In those cases she’s on her own, but she’s a tricky cat that survived outside for a year on her own.

Throughout all of this added turmoil, add the noise created by 15-20 guys ripping off your roof and replacing it … in three days. They started last Thursday and finished Saturday afternoon. Pretty amazing to watch and very very loud the entire time. They did a great job and we’re confident that our house will not leak for the next 30-40 years. That will be a comfort when we’re sitting on the porch, watching the sunrise behind Mt. Hood, when we’re around 100 or so.

Now I must go shave and get ready for church. I have an hour before I pick up Lydia. Since Diane isn’t here, most of that time will be spent looking for the things I need to accomplish my task.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day. If we manage to hit the road today, I’ll be in touch. Actually, I’ll be in touch whether or not we hit the road today. I have gizmos that help me with that.