More Painting, American Legion, Trojans and Beavers

The painting is done, I think, but there’s still paint left over so I may have to do more. We’ll see. Oh wait, there’s still the underside of the upper and lower porches. And, maybe even the underside of the covered area where we store all the yard tools. I suppose it’s got a name, as porches go, but it’s just “the porch outside the kitchen door” to me. Maybe it’s the “kitchen porch”. I don’t know, doesn’t matter. It’s also a covered place where all the neighborhood cats come to get a free snack pretty much every day.

So, I guess the painting really isn’t done, is it? That’s rhetorical so you don’t have to answer, unless you really want to. I tend to answer rhetorical questions all the time.

Although the painting really isn’t done, as I initially reported, I did get a lot of it done, some of it from the top of some perilously tall ladders, and from the roof. Diane was concerned much of the time because I had to dig holes to make the ladder level on the less than level portion that goes around to the daylight basement. Or, cement blocks and rocks to level things out on the back stairs. The only casualty I had was when the ladder attachment I have creates a wider, more stable area at the top of the ladder, fell off and made an exciting amount of noise that caused Diane to rush onto the porch to see if I was prone or vertical. It missed me, by a hair, but I felt the wind.

This house has a large expanse of eaves that caused me great concern because it’s all overhead work. But, it’s roller work, not a brush. Incidentally, in case I didn’t mention it previously, all the other painting I’ve done was with a 2.5 inch brush, and a 3 inch roller. The bulk of it was done yesterday and it absolutely killed my poor little right arm. I know, that’s whining, but it’s true. Though it hurt, I continued anyway because I’m on a deadline. I don’t know what it is, but I’m on one.

After painting all day, I was allowed to sit for about 20 minutes before I had to go to the St. Helens Moose Lodge for a monthly American Legion meeting. I figured it was probably a good idea that I went to the meeting because I’m the Sgt. At Arms.

I know what you’re thinking … why would any reputable organization vote me into a position like that, right?  Well, no one wanted to do it so I volunteered. Now you’re thinking, “why would you volunteer for anything? Have you learned nothing over all these years?”

Apparently not, but this exalted position comes with a really nifty pin for my hat, denoting my position as a club officer. Don’t forget, too, that I’m our church council president. I volunteered for that one, too. Guess I’ll never learn, will I? My only comment regarding all of this is that both jobs need to be done and someone needs to do them. So, I do them. It gives me a false sense of power. Some day, if I keep volunteering, I’m going to get one of those jobs that comes with a hammer.

Now, about having an American Legion meeting at the Moose Club? We do it because they let us. The AM used to have its own building but they got rid of it for some reason, a long time before I joined the club. Seems like, maybe, the building was condemned. I’m not positive about that, but my friend, Doug, knows the answer. He told me tonight that he wastes a lot of time reading my entries here so maybe he’ll help me out. Maybe not.

I’m currently watching a recording of the USC Trojans vs. Oregon St. Beavers in a Pac-12 battle. Although I’m from Oregon, and logic says I should cheer for the Beavers, another line of logic says it makes far more sense to me to cheer for a team named after an animal that cuts down trees with its teeth rather than for a team named after a popular condom, that comes in a stunning array of festive colors, I’m told.

I jest, of course.

In truth, however, I just don’t like USC. It’s nothing personal. It’s just that I’m from Oregon. I’m also a Duck fan. And, I used to work at the Trojan Nuclear Power Plant, the same place Homer Simpson worked, so what do I know. I understand that Homer is just pretend, but everything that happens in Homer’s fake life is Oregon-based, including his place of employment. Sadly, the Trojan plant has been dismantled, and the cooling tower was destroyed, but it lives on in Homer’s life.

I’m done here … goodnight

College Football and Falling Gracefully

Whether or not you follow college football, you need to know that the Ducks are pretty awesome. They won their game yesterday 66-3. I know, it was one of those warm up games, getting ready for league play, and it wasn’t the most scored by a team this weekend, but, still. That’s a whole mess of points. The most scored in a game was by Indiana who won their game 73-35. The Ducks also racked up 772 yards of total offense, a new school record, and enough to currently lead the nation in that category. It looks encouraging. The Oregon St. Beavers lost yesterday, but they still scored 46 points.

Now I must report a weekend accident and the lesson I learned because of it.

Let me set the stage for you … we have underground sprinklers that kinda work, enough to get the bushes around the house nice and wet, along with our front porch. Diane found a need to turn them on yesterday afternoon because she didn’t think the water bill was large enough. She’s given up on watering the yard, which has turned a nice khaki color, my favorite color. The only thing that grows in it are random dandelions. Not many, but enough to make it necessary to lop their tops off once in a while.

We have 4 sprinkler zones in the front that are layed out in an odd pattern … one zone has about six sprinklers on it and they all overlap a great deal, and one only has 2 sprinklers on it. The latter is the one that sprays the porch, and also sprays Diane’s side of the bed if she forgets to close the window on her side of the bedroom. This has been tested.

She only lets each zone run for about 10 minutes, then switches. After turning them off, she called me to the front porch to look at something but I can’t remember what it was because when I stepped onto the porch my feet slipped right out from beneath me, causing me to go airborne for a brief moment in time.

It’s really amazing how much data your brain can accumulate while you are in an unplanned free fall, no matter how short. For instance, as my feet slipped, I did a swift calculation as to about where I might land. I had to take into account that there are three cement steps in the landing zone, so I had to run through the calculations a couple of times to make sure they were correct. By the time I was done with that, I was about halfway down and I was looking up at the porch light. It reminded me that I need to switch that old thing out for the new one that’s laying on my table saw in the basement.

Knowing the steps were going to complicate things, I just decided to land on my elbows, mostly on the left one because it’s the worst one I have, anyway. Plus, I remember what happened to Jack’s wrist when he fell off a truck and tried to block descent with his hands. Yes, I didn’t fall nearly as far as he did, but it still crossed my mind.

About that time, my left elbow hit the top step about the time my rear end hit the third step, as planned, to distribute the impact a little better. Then, all of my parts slid the rest of the way off the steps allowing the back of my head to clang against the top step.

Then, all was still. Diane was standing right next to me the entire time and didn’t make one move to stop my fall. She just watched. Admittedly, however, it happened pretty quickly so she didn’t have time to think about it. She just said, “do I need to call 911?”

I layed there a bit, taking inventory of my previously moving parts, and discovered that I could feel pretty much everything except most of my left hand. That concerned me because I didn’t want a broken wrist like Jack. But, I hadn’t heard anything snap, and I could move my fingers without pain, so figured I dodged that bullet. Part of my hand is numb all the time anyway, so a little more wasn’t a big deal.

Though I didn’t lay there very long, it was long enough to actually get kind of comfortable. But, my head started to ache so thought I better move. Plus, Diane was still asking me if she should call 911. She didn’t take my pulse or anything. I guess I was blinking and breathing so she figured I was probably a good judge of whether or not I needed emergency treatment. I actually am pretty good at that and used to be on a first name basis with all the folks at Urgent Care here in town. Most of my severe injuries were accomplished while I was home alone thereby creating a need for me to either dial 911, or just drive myself to Urgent Care. The latter was always the easiest, and quickest, so that’s what I did.

Finally, figuring I wouldn’t know what didn’t work correctly until I tried to stand up, I sat up and jump to my feet. Yes, that’s what I did. I may have even say “Olay!” when I did it, but I’m not sure. I do know that on the way up I didn’t experience any debilitating pain, which pleased me, so told Diane, “No, we’re not going to the emergency room.” I wasn’t bleeding and nothing appeared to be broken, but I wasn’t really sure how hard I hit my head, so stayed awake for a few hours to make sure I didn’t fall asleep, while Diane went to bed to read.

Don’t get me wrong, she was concerned, but not as much as a normal wife might be. She’s used to me injuring myself in odd ways much worse than this simple little fall, but I am getting up in zone where falls like that can cause serious damage. Apparently I’m part of the ‘Lucky Group’, so far.

My elbow hurt a bit, but feeling was returning to my hand. Oddly, too, my right shoulder and arm weren’t hurting and they’ve been hurting for weeks. Maybe I fixed it, somehow.

So, “what’s the lesson?”

Don’t wear your worn out Crocs out on a slippery wet porch unless you’re going to take tiny little steps and walk flat-footed. I knew that’s what I was supposed to do because I’ve slipped on the garage floor before, but never fell down. There aren’t any steps in the garage though.

Today I figured I’d be black and blue, but that didn’t happen. Can’t even see marks where I landed. I felt cheated, somehow, by going through all of that and not coming out of it with even a little evidence that ‘something’ had happened.

Maybe tomorrow will be different. I’m going out with the Lion’s Club to plant flags around town tomorrow morning in honor of Labor Day, so I better get to bed.

Hope everyone had a good weekend. In a couple of days it’s back to school for the kids. They’re real happy about that.

Grout and Mascots

The grout has been applied yesterday and I really thought we would get around to sealing it today, but turns out it needs to cure for 48 hours before sealing. So, that won’t happen until Tuesday or Wednesday. We can get the necessary baseboard molding and top rail for the wainscoting done then, too.

Tomorrow is out because Lydia is playing soccer in Milwaukie, her first high school soccer game. We’re all going, on the road at the mind-numbing hour of 8 am. On the way home the team is stopping for lunch at Fultano’s in Scappoose where they have the back room reserved so the girls can watch the Portland Thorns soccer team play their game. Daniel is a little bit concerned because the Oregon Ducks season opener is tomorrow afternoon, also. He’s hoping one of Fultano’s many TVs is tuned in to the Duck game. I plan to be watching it here, in the comfort of my own home. Unless, of course, Diane has something else she thinks I should do.

Speaking of the Ducks …  I think it’s pretty nifty that U of Oregon is the only college team to have a Disney character as their mascot. Walt Disney personally approved Oregon’s use of Donald Duck as their mascot in 1947 based on a handshake agreement between Disney and Oregon athletic director, Leo Harris. This is true. I looked it up.

Now, about all those offensive Native American names and logos used by Oregon high schools. I suspect they are also used by many other schools, high school or otherwise, but the Oregon controversy is more personal for me. The state has ordered all public Oregon schools to end the use of Native American names and mascots by 2017 or lose state funding. OK, I get it. Apparently Native Americans have been in an uproar for a long time because of the demeaning names, like Indians, Warriors, Braves, used by schools for their team names. So, it’s going to end. I believe this movement is nationwide, but I’m not sure. What I’m curious about is what the pro teams are going to do. Like the Washington Redskins, for instance. Or, the Atlanta Braves. Kinda makes me go “hmmmmm.” This is a bit personal to me because I went to Scappoose High School, home of the Scappoose Indians. I can honestly state that the entire time I attended high school, all seven years, I never once really associated our team name, or mascot, to Native Americans. It was a name. Perhaps, to satisfy the department of educations dictates, it should be the Scappoose East Indians. It was, after all, Columbus who tagged Native Americans with the Indian name because he thought he was, gee, in India.

I think all of the controversy could be resolved if we just eliminated animals and kinds of people as sources for team names. Instead schools can use only inanimate items, like Rocks, Bricks, Stones, Sticks, Pebbles, Branches, a disease, or any type of flower. The Scappoose Sunflowers has a nice sunny ring to it, doesn’t it? Or, perhaps, the Scappoose Salmonellas?

It gets worse, the more I think about it … like the Pittsburgh Pansies … had to say it. Or, the Denver Daisies, Georgia Gladioli, Ohio Oleander, California Calla Lillies … Sorry, but bet there are better ones running around in your heads right now. Care to share?

Time to quit and head for bed since I won’t be able to take my morning nap tomorrow.

I hope everyone has a safe Labor Day weekend.

Fires, Trees, Pope Francis, and Food

The skies all over Oregon are filled with the smoke of numerous forest fires burning around the state. It’s sad to see all those trees burn but, you know what? There is more standing forest now than there was when Lewis & Clark visited the area. The cause, lightening, is still a common cause, but the reason we have more now is because we have brave people, with excellent equipment, willing to go out and fight the fires. Back in L&C’s days, they just burned until they went out on their own.

Speaking of all those trees – Why aren’t more of them logged and milled in the USA? Maybe they really are, and we just don’t know it. What I see in our neck of the woods, on both sides of the Columbia River, are HUGE water front collecting facilities for logs that are loaded on cargo ships which are destined for the other side of the Pacific. Some rumors I’ve heard (conspiracy?) is the many of these logs are transported to huge ships, outside our 12 mile limit, that make cheap plywood and return it to the US for sale. I don’t think that’s true, but it’s an interesting concept. They really do, however, get carted out of the country by the boat load. Literally.

When writing this stuff, I have begun to research what my fingers report, and continually find myself going down ‘conspiracy theory’ paths. Some are quite involved, and interesting. Fun reading.

For the record, if anyone who reads this works for the government, I don’t believe any of that conspiracy theory stuff. Not me. No sir. I think the government is full of honorable people who have my personal well-being very high on their list of priorities … right below their pay raises, private medical plans, raiding social security, screwing up the medical world, figuring new ways to get taxes from us for which there is no need except to line their pockets. All of these yahoos should take a page from Pope Francis’ book on how to conduct yourself when in a position of power. He’s really something and kinda makes me think it’s OK to be Catholic.

Actually, it is OK to be Catholic … or anything you wish to be along religious lines.

Although we are far away from the current forest fires in Oregon, our sunsets are much more dramatic because of the smoke. We can smell the fires burning, too.


OK – I cheated because I don’t have a current picture of a smoke affected sunset. This one is a sunrise. I like it because you can see the crescent moon over Mt. Hood. And, it’s not even a summer sunrise – it’s from November 2010. Still, it’s pretty, even though it’s a little ‘ho hum’ by Oregon standards … yawn … (take that, Jewel).

Just as I sat down to do this, about 3 hours ago, the smoke alarm went off so I knew supper was ready and had to stop. We had tri tip steak. Very good. I like it because I don’t have to gnaw meat off the bone. We also had beets and smashed potatoes. I regret not taking a picture for you, but here are some previous meals you may have missed …

DSC_3944 DSC_2504 IMG_0159 DSC_6924 DSC_6843 DSC_5529


Diane just told me it’s midnight and time to stop. Last time I looked it was only 10 pm. Guess I’m not a real clock-watcher anymore, like I used to be …


Golfing, the Ducks, and Rain …

Summer is over in St. Helens, Oregon. I know that’s true because the weatherman said so and I believe pretty much everything he tells me. Actually, he told Diane, on the evening news, and she told me and I believe everything she tells me. Not believing her isn’t an option.

When the rain started our satellite dish took a brief hit, scrambling the pixels for a bit, but straightened up quickly so I could watch the end of the game where the Oregon Ducks dismantled the Arizona Sun Devils. The game started badly for the Ducks with a fumble which was recovered by the Sun Devils who scored on their first play from scrimmage.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Ducks scored then converted for an 8-7 lead. All of this took about 90 seconds off the play clock. For the remainder of the first half the Ducks punished the Sun Devils for that first fumble by scoring 43 unanswered points.

During the second half the Ducks backed off, playing pretty much everyone on the bench. Nick Aliotti wasn’t happy, I’m sure, because the Ducks remained at 43 but the Sun Devils 2nd string scored 14 more points. Final was 43-21. Ducks are awesome. Now the only unbeaten teams in the Pac-12 conference are the Ducks and the Beavers – both Oregon teams. How about that?

Now, about the rain … during the first 15 minutes the sky dropped about 3 inches of rain in the area. Not all in one place, but over a large area, and if it was squeezed together into a smaller area I’m sure it would be at least 3 inches. I’m really not sure how they measure rainfall. I think it has something to do with an empty tuna can.

Most of the day it was nice and clear. I even went golfing with the Peal Brothers this morning. I did my normal terrible, but it was fun because I hit some incredible drives. They were straight and everything. Just like they’re supposed to be. That’s about as good as it got because I apparently can’t hit anything that isn’t setting up on one of those little tee’s. I’m told it’s illegal to use those in the fairway.

After golfing badly, I came home to work on the Blue Bago, but Diane called and invited me to a Burgerville lunch with her Mother. I never turn down a Burgerville lunch. Today I had a Pepper Bacon Cheese Burger with lemon ade. That’s a change because I normally have a chocolate milkshake which isn’t good for my fake diabetes problem.

Now, don’t think that last statement means that I take diabetes lightly. It’s just that I’ve been told I’m borderline and until a specific determination has been made it’s not a real problem I can deal with. I have a hard time dealing with intangibles.

This afternoon, after lunch, I put on some old work clothes and went out to wash the top of the Blue Bago to see what it looks like. When I started it was pretty much black all over. After I scrubbed it with Dawn and water. Turns out one of the previous owners had painted the roof with pink snow roof. Without the dirt it looks mighty festive. Also, it looks great and is nicely sealed. I don’t think it’s leaked for a long time and don’t expect it to leak now. I guess we’re going to find out.

I washed the roof today because I knew it was going to rain tonight and I have work to do underneath the bago … like reconnect all of the gas lines and find out why the system doesn’t work. Being underneath, I won’t get rained on. See, I’m thinking ahead. I won’t get rained on, but my back will probably get wet from all the water running down the road. That’s OK as long as I figure it out.

Now I must rest.