VA, Costco, Michaels, Fred Meyer, & Lydia

Today I paid another visit to my psychiatrist at the VA clinic. She officially said that I’m not nuts after all and that I didn’t have to come back unless I wanted to. She was very nice and we had a good rapport. Apparently I speak a bit of her language. Anyway, we severed ties because she’s moving on to greener pastures with her skills. I can’t say that I’ll miss her because I’ve only seen her twice, but it was meaningful and we accomplished my goal of ridding my life of Ambien. By January I should be done with it.

Now all I have to do is lose about 30 pounds so the Diabetes Police will leave me alone. All I have to do is quit eating. Simple.

We returned home by way of Costco, the one on Jenkins Road, where we enjoyed a festive lunch of very large hot dogs. $3.00 gets you two of the foot longs plus two refillable drinks. Can’t beat that for a decent meal. Ok, ok, … it’s processed meat, I know, but it’s still a decent meal. On the plus side, I only had half a cup of soda instead of a full one with a refill, like Diane did.

Then we stopped at Michaels so Diane could get some important things. She let me stay in the Buick and rest. And read my book. On my iPad. Then we had to stop at Fred Meyer to get yogurt. She let me stay in the Buick there, too. Gas was only $2.27 but we didn’t need any. It’s cheaper at Freddie’s than it is at Costco.

One of the things she got at Costco was a dead chicken in a plastic box. It was all broiled and brown and I figured it was destined to be our early dinner. I was correct, as I am many times throughout the day. One of us may disagree on that point and that’s OK. I know I’m correct, like I am many times throughout the day. Again, there may be disagreement, etcetera.

Once home, my job was to dismantle the chicken while Diane made a festive salad. We had to hurry because I was tapped to return Lydia to Hillsboro for her weekly goalie training session. I did it because both Diane and Jennifer were booked for a hot bunco party, something they do once a month at various homes throughout the area.

Lydia and I had a very meaningful conversation on the trip over since it was just the two of us. We don’t get that kind of quality time together very often and it was good. I learn stuff. Today it was that one of the qualities of a good male friend, for a girl, is that he will hold your hair back when you throw up. Every time. She was sick, you see, during a teen conference thing for church and thought it would be more fun to throw up out side on the street than inside in a toilet. The male friend, I’m told, is sweet on Lydia but it’s been made very clear to him that she likes him like a brother. Still, he tries. During this learning evolution she consumed 17 of the 20 chicken nuggets we got at McDonalds on the way out of St. Helens. She only wanted 10, but for another $.50 we could get 20 so I opted for the bargain. It worked out.

Now I must stop. This is post 690. Maybe not a big deal to many of you, but it is to me. Thinking about all those words makes me tired.


When you see that name, I bet the first thing that comes to mind is “Gilligan’s Island”. Six years ago, I would have thought the same thing. Now my first thought is about Gilligan, our Granddaughter who just turned six years old on the 5th. Since we were in Mexico at the time, we deferred our celebration of her special day until this afternoon.

This is her when she turned 5, but she still looks exactly the same.



Gilligan has always been a little drama queen and her parents have taught her many things that most kids her age don’t know … like the bones in her body. She pretty much has them nailed. She has all of her emotions down pat, too. Just name one, and she’ll gladly display it quite convincingly. Needless to say, she’s adorable, and a ton of fun.

She’s a budding model who just needs an agent …



We were at Fred Meyer shopping and while transiting through the fruit bins, I told her to drop and give me 10 … so she did. I actually didn’t expect it, so was quite surprised.


I was surprised too, later, that some angry mom didn’t call the cops on me for child abuse. Gilligan didn’t mind, and she could just as easily told me no, but she didn’t because she loves me. And I love her.

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 …

Dog Bites, Rugs, Dentists, & All My Children

Diane’s had enough of Panzee biting on her tail, and said she’s getting to smell pretty bad. I suggested that it would be OK to take her to the dog groomer because Ozzie gets to go about once a month. Panzee has never been so I think it’s about time. Now, however, we need to wait for her tail to heal where she’s removed all of the hair from about a 4-inch patch. In an attempt to help her out a little, before we realized she’d ripped all the hair out, we gave her Benadryl because the vet said we could. That was information for Ziva, but it works for Panzee, too. That seemed to help a little with the incessant biting and chewing. Then came the odor of blood, which Diane can smell, but I can’t. Luckily, Jeff and his friend, Marc, came by so we had extra hands to find out what was going on. I tried to look, by myself, but Panzee reminded me that she’s got really big teeth and she’s not afraid to use them. There was no touching the tail. No way. It took 220 lbs of Jeff laying on her to keep her from biting me. Instead she nipped at Jeff’s cheek a few times which was just fine with me. She didn’t break the skin so we know it was just warning nips.

With all the manhandling, the tail was accessible so Diane squeezed about half a tube of antibiotic salve on the wound then we put down some gauze and wrapped it up with paper tape. When it was all done it looked like Panzee had a scrunchie on her tail. She didn’t seem to mind, once we let her go, but last night, after everyone went to sleep, she slipped it off the wound so she could lick it. We switched from Benadryl to aspirin yesterday to help her with the pain. That’s OK, too. I checked. Since she relocated the scrunchie we decided to get her to the vet for a professional decision about how to proceed. I’m guessing she’s going to wind up with one of those Elizabethan collars. She’ll hate that.

Yesterday we unrolled the ‘new’ 9×12 carpet Diane got that I don’t think I’ve mentioned. It’s mostly purple and is for the living room. We unrolled it in the garage then she made me vacuum it 15 times – on each side! That’s true. With the good side down to start, I ran the vacuum over the back to knock as much dirt loose as I could. When I folded back one side there was an incredible amount of fine dust on the floor. I vacuumed that up, unfolded the part I’d originally folded, then folded over the other end and repeated the process. I did that 15 times before there was no evidence of dust. I did this in lieu of shampooing it which, it turns out, was a stellar idea because it would have just coalesced into mud, I’m sure. Before the last go round with the vac we replaced the bag. I’m here to tell you that it was super full and weighed more than any vacuum cleaner bag I’ve ever had the pleasure of changing. I bet it was 10 lbs, a testament to our eBay vacuum.

Now the rug is rolled up and stored in Lydia’s room until we decide if we want to move furniture around in the living room again. Right now there’s a large plastic matt on the floor, the kind people put outside their Winnebago’s to keep as much dirt out of the rig as possible. It’s mostly purple, too.

This morning I had my scheduled cleaning appointment at the dentist. After my hygienist, Cheryl, was done I talked with Dr. Grimm and arranged to have one of my teeth pulled. It’s one I never use so I decided to get rid of it. That’s going to happen in September. I figure by then I’ll be able to save enough money to have it done.

At lunch I read my book, on my iPad, like normal, and Diane was watching All My Children on Hulu, on her iPad. She uses headphones while watching All My Children so it won’t annoy me. Then all the sudden she started shouting out random letters, and various cast names which concerned me. I watched for a while and figured out that she was answering questions that were being shown on the screen. She finally realized that I was perplexed with her tourettes-like behavior and started answering the questions silently, occasionally pumping a fist in the air to indicate a correct answer. After that it was much easier to concentrate on my book. After she was done she removed her earphones and asked me a question. I shouted the answer. She smiled, an indication that I wasn’t in trouble for being rude, that she understood that I was merely replicating the manner in which she was spouting her answers to her quiz. Then all was quiet. Lunch was done and it was time for me to get back to work.

At the bathroom, on which I’ve been working forever, I managed to get the new valve installed and one of the four exits connected to the tub filler spout thing. Jennifer was my guiding light, keeping me focused to get that far. I’m using PEX to connect it instead of using copper tubing. PEX is much simpler. There’s no danger of getting burned and I already had the tubing. Just needed to get the connections. Right now I’m three connectors shy of success. ACE didn’t have the ones I thought I needed so I just purchased some that I randomly removed from the racks. Tomorrow I’ll take back the ones I didn’t use and see if they have the ones I really need. I’ll figure it out, one way or another.

Now dinner is done and I’m sitting in the Man Room with Lydia and Jeran who are watching Merlin on Netflix. Diane and Jennifer are at either Safeway or Fred Meyer, cruising the isles, shopping for things to eat.

It’s a good day to be me.

Gilligan … almost 5

Today Diane and I took Gilligan, our granddaughter, shopping to celebrate her 5th birthday. She won’t be 5 until October 5th, but since we’re not going to be home it seemed like a good thing to do. The original plan was to take the entire family, but that was ruled out because taking Gilligan and Baylee out in public together is apparently risky. So, we settled on Gilligan alone. By herself.

Grandma brough a festive crown for her to wear, we got her buckled in, and were off.


On the way to the store we stopped for lunch at Ichabod’s where Gilligan ordered a turkey sandwich on wholewheat, “yellow butter only.” When she got it she promptly dismantled it and feasted on the turkey, ignoring the bread. It was OK because this trip was about her, not about proper eating habits.

After eating we trekked on over to Fred Meyer to get Batman’s Jail, her choice from the moment she got into the car. Holding my fingers, she led us up and down a few aisles and finally found it. Not something normal little girls would like, I thought, but she was so excited about it, how could we deny her.

Having that treasure secured, we went to the other end of the store, to the dresses, to satisfy Grandma’s desire to get her something pretty.

Along the way she tried out a lot of the furniture, blessing us with one of her signature poses.


Once there, Gilligan pulled the first dress she saw off the rack and deemed it the one she had to have. It was the prettiest, most expensive, and most inappropriate one in the entire store. She has a knack for this, we decided, and went about the task of altering her decision to include something more appropriate, but still pretty. We found several, explaining that the first choice was one that could only be worn once in a while, but the many others we offered up could be worn for pretty much any occasion. We even tossed in a matching hat.

She delighted in disappearing into the clothes racks, behind us, when we were distracted by the dresses and other pretty things suitable for little girls, bringing to rigid clarity the reason why one at a time was plenty for us old people. Had Baylee been along, we would’ve never kept up. They are busy little people with devious minds. But, she was always close by, and blessed us with her physical presence when asked … sometimes twice.


Finally, she relented, deeming her 2nd choice the better of the two, and we were off to the cashier.

Since she had so much energy, I encouraged her to hop on one foot as we went, which she did for most of the way. Once we got to the produce section she decided to do pushups. I told her to “give me 10,” which she promptly did.

On the way home she decided she’d like to see some cows so Diane drove to the places where cows normally hang out, but there were none to be found. With a sigh, Gilligan determined that cow trappers must have taken all of them and that The Pie Man was in charge. Not sure what the Pie Man reference was it took only a little coaxing the figure out that the Pie Man made cow pies out of the cows provided by the Cow Trappers.

Once home she proudly marched into the house with her treasures, showing her Mom Batman’s Jail before anything else. Heather knowingly said, “Uh huh,” and related that Jeff had recently told Gilligan that she couldn’t have it. This points, once again, to the devious side of things because I’m sure she’s going to look at her Dad with her little head cocked, a gleam in her eye, letting him know that, “yes, she could have it.”