Home Sweet Home

 OK – we’re back!

Got home last night after 2300, and actually made it to bed before midnight. The dogs seemed happy to see us which is good because we weren’t sure what kind of reception we’d get. Sometimes they can be down right mean when they want to be. Not mean in a physical way, but more mental, like ignoring you, or looking out the side of their face at you without actually turning their head in your direction. It’s very disconcerting when they do that. Ozzie does it best. But not last night. He was a happy little dog.

Perhaps he was most happy because when we got to LA, Diane texted Jennifer and asked her to please turn the heat back on in the house. It was off the entire time we were gone and I think Oz got chilly. Panzee? No way. She has fur to spare so she just doesn’t get cold. Ever. She doesn’t even get very wet when it rains. I think she may have duck feathers scattered in amongst the fur somewhere.

Sleeping in this morning wasn’t an option because I Diane forced me to go with her to the VA to get my flu and shingles shots – one in each arm. It’s been 7 hours since I got the shots and now my little skinny arms really hurt. Fortunately, I had the flu shot in my left arm because it hurts the worse than the shingles shot. The reason is because the flu shot had to be in the muscle, but shingles is subdural. That simply means the flu shot needle has to be, like, 3 inches long in order to get past the layer of fat on my arm, but the shingles was only about half an inch long. There actually isn’t a lot of fat on my upper arm, and there isn’t very much muscle either, so the nurse, Beauty is her name, had to go at an angle to ensure she could get the entire needle into my arm. Then she hit the plunger and pressed it as hard as she could. I could tell because she was gritting her teeth. It kinda makes you forget about the needle pain when the medicine squirts out of that tiny little needle hole into a space that’s just not big enough for the syringe contents. That’s why she had to grit her teeth, to get the medicine to rip into my muscle fibers.

For the singles shot Beauty grabbed a chunk of that flabby area on the back of my arm, where there isn’t any muscle, pinched it up to make a good target, then jammed that little short needle into my tender skin and forced the shingles killer stuff into my arm causing the same problem as with the other shot – not enough room for the syringe contents.

Now that it’s been a few hours, you’ll be happy to know that both arms hurt about the same since the shots. The “fortunate” part about getting the one that hurts the most in my left arm is that my right arm hurts all the time any way, so now they hurt about the same. It hurts to use either of them so there’s no immediate danger of favoring the right arm over the left. Maybe in a few days I can switch back to that routine.

Tonight I must facilitate our church council meeting, as I do every month. So, there is no resting this evening until I return around 2030. I might have to go a little early, with my propane torch, so I can seal up a leaky part above the narthex. As everyone knows, there’s absolutely nothing worse than a leak in your narthex. It’s very unsettling, and makes the carpet all wet unless you can get the buckets aligned just right. Since he leak is right smack in the middle of the doorway to the basement, getting around the drips becomes a challenge for those who wish to partake of after service snacks. And coffee. It’s a Lutheran church, so coffee is an absolute necessity. I say that, then must share that our Pastor does not drink coffee. Never has as far as I know. All the other Lutheran’s in the world, however, drink coffee. Just ask one of them.

I need to rest now because my arms hurt, and I’m hungry. I believe I’ll go smash a few eggs and make a sandwich. That’s one of the things we missed while in Mexico. I know, they have eggs down there, but we didn’t want to eat theirs and we didn’t think it would be a good idea to pack eggs in the food suitcase. Diane was really thinking when packing for the trip home because she knew we didn’t have any bread in the house, so she packed the few remaining pieces of the loaf of Bimbo bread we bought in Mexico. We’re not sure if we violated any immigration laws by importing bread from Mexico, but no one said anything. Hope they’re not reading this. If they are, I know a lawyer who may, or may not, be able to help extricate me from whatever jail into which “they” decide to incarcerate me.

Perhaps I should start a fund …

To end this, I’m including a couple of pictures from the trip. The first one was taken while we were waiting for the airport shuttle to arrive. The shuttle, by the way, was a very nice tour bus instead of a crampy little van like we had the day we arrived.

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This next one is two of the 4 ‘greeters’ we met each morning when heading for the stairs or elevator. The rest of their families is scattered all over the place. They really aren’t a bother, but if you stop to look at them for very long, they come right up looking for something to eat.

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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.

Changing Plans, a New Roof, and My Ditch

Now I must be serious, at least for a short time. Most of you know that’s hard for me to do and will tolerate this diversion from the norm, so I only ask those of you who wound up here by mistake to please have patience while I make an attempt to shift some gears.

For some reason, at this point, speaking about gears, I’m compelled to insert a “vrooooooom” right here. Silly, I know, and it’s not going toward the serious side of things as I had intended.

The serious “stuff” is that Diane and I made a decision to remain on this side of the Rocky Mountains the remainder of this year. The original plan, as of this morning, was to drive to Charleston, SC to attend the annual USS Cleveland reunion, but some things got in the way of those plans, taking a trip east out of the plans. Therefore, we will miss seeing Charleston, as well as points north, as was our desire. To those of you in Connecticut, whom we love to pieces, we send our regrets. There will be another time, we promise.

Our roof is going to be replaced beginning next Thursday. From start to stop it’s going to be a 3-day event. Pretty amazing to me because it’s a total ripoff and replacement of 3 layers of shingles. Tons and tons of shingles. One of the biggest cost factors is disposal of the old material.

We’re extremely happy that Mark’s Custom Exteriors could rearrange their schedule to accommodate us before we have to head south on Sunday. Even though it’s cutting it close, we’ll be here to ensure every nail is hammered in properly. I’m going to do that be wandering around on the roof, putting a little “x” on each one of them with my handy magic marker. No nail gets covered up until I “x” it. Normally that would add 2-3 days to the job, but I’ve been practicing this and have devised a way to do it without all that bending over, or crawling around on my hands and knees. I’m simply going to pre-“x” them before they’re loaded into the nail gun. I know, it seems kind of pointless doesn’t it? But, just for fun I’m leaving some of the nails blank just to see if someone comes to get me to “x” it. I seriously doubt they will, and I will not complain because that would just be silly. Who would do something like that?

In a precious entry I reported that I was being allowed to rent a small excavator to enlarge the ditch I dug, manually, that’s intended to drain water away from our driveway, and keep it out of the garage. I know the ditch works but it needs to be deeper and I’m just flat out of the energy required to hammer my way through all those rocks and roots. As it is, I’ve succeeded in killing the tree whose roots I severed to reach the back yard, so it’s something I’ll have to address before the floods loosen it all up and it topples into the neighbor’s yard. It’s OK that I killed it, because I was going to cut it down anyway … it has a terrible knot-forming kind of disease that just doesn’t look good. The birds love it so Diane was kinda wanting to keep it, but I sood my manly ground and killed it anyway. Actually, I didn’t mean to kill it. It just kinda worked out that way. Apparently it’s OK because I’m still sleeping inside.

Weather … we haven’t had any measureable rain for the past 2 months. That’s unheard of in Oregon. We always have rain, right? Most people believe it rains in Oregon all the time. We get our share, for sure, but it’s a bit sparse this year. I think most of it was recently dumped on Louisiana and the surrounding area. The folks who moved here from California, and there are more than a few, think it’s just fine that we’re not having any rain because that’s what they’re used to. Real Oregonians, however, do not thrive well in dry weather. We get all wrinkly and it’s not pretty. We need moisture. Thankfully, Diane is an Avon representative so I have unlimited access to all kinds of moisturizers when I need them. Lots of them make me feel pretty, so I use them on rainy days, too.

I think it’s time to terminate, now, since I totally lost track of where I’m going with this. Truth is, I never had any certain direction in the first place. Just like normal.