Noxious Weeds & Other Things

The first round of blackberries are ready for picking, so get your buckets and come help us get rid of them. No matter how vicious I am with the blackberry clippers, they grow back. So, we have a zillion of them. If you don’t like them for eating, it’s always fun to give them to little kids so they can smear them all over each other. That’s always fun.

IMG_0083These things are all over the place and they are very clingy when attacked. Long sleeves, long pants, hats, and leather gloves are a must unless you have are OK with pain and bleeding. The upside is, of course, they taste really good and make the challenge of picking them worth it.

My unsupervised forays into the wilderness surrounding our home have been limited due to the high temperatures we’ve been having. High for us, that is. It’s really only in the high 80’s and low 90’s, but gets into the 60’s at night so sleeping is wonderful. Since I generally don’t venture outside unless I have something important to do, like remove weeds, rake rocks, haul trees to the burn pile, stuff like that, I always wind up expelling huge amounts of moisture that must be replaced. I know this because my lovely bride makes it her mission to ensure I don’t run dry. She brings me large glasses of water on a regular basis, and I’ve learned that I can go get it all by myself, when I want, leaving her free to do more important things like cook dinner for me, or clean the house. You know, woman-type work. That sounds a bit sexist, I guess, but we have a relationship where I take care of things outside the house, and Diane takes care of things on the inside. She told me that once. It’s good to be king.

Having said that, I must share that Jeran would disagree – I’m not the king. Instead, Diane is the queen. He has no illusions about who’s in charge at my location. Neither do I, really. I just have lapses in common sense once in a while and think I’m the ruler. Diane will agree.

Diane just left to play bunco at a friend’s house, so I’m alone with the TV remote. It’s a rare event for me to have the remotes in our living room. The Man Room is where I’m free to change channels to my heart’s desire. Fortunately, Diane’s remote and my remote are just exactly alike so I know how to use it.

That’s what I’m going to do, right now. Just sit here and randomly change channels.

What fun.

Don’t forget those blackberries.

Ultrasounds, Lawn Mowers, and Lightning

This morning Diane drove me to Good Sam hospital for an ultrasound. It was scheduled, not a spur-of-the-moment thing. Nope. I called yesterday and made the appointment all by myself. I did so as a result of my last doctor visit at which I was advised to do so. So, I did. The complaint I had, in case anyone missed it, was an ache in my lower left abdomen area that radiated to the right side occupant of my scrotum. That’s my right side, not yours. It’s been there since my angiogram so I wasn’t sure what was going on. I figured doc would make an effort to rule out a hernia first, and that’s what the ultrasound was all about.

Kit was the technician who did the ultrasound so it was a bit touchy at first. I talked to her a bit, reassuring her it would be all right if she waved her wand over my scrotum because I’d lost all my inhibitions years ago. She calmed down and went about her business in a professional manner. I have to admit that the application of the warmed jelly stuff to my scrotum was quite pleasant so I scheduled another appointment for next month. Just for fun.

From Portland, we took I-5 north to Longview, Washington so Diane could show me the nifty storage buildings she discovered a couple of days ago when she took Jennie to her orthopedist where she learned that the avulsion fraction of her right ankle isn’t a recent break. So, she didn’t get a cast like she was afraid would happen. The buildings she found are exactly what we had in mind, but different. I mentioned before that we were planning to embed a storage building for the lawn mower into one of the slopped areas on which many irises used to grow until I ripped them out of the ground. Instead, the buildings we looked at are all above ground and I learned we can build, or install a 10×20 foot building without a building permit. That’s a big building. Bigger than I had anticipated. But, having one of those for the mower and lawn tools would provide enough space to remove pretty much everything that’s laying on the floor in the basement. That’s a plus. I don’t really know why we’d do that, but knowing we could is an attractive feature. The buildings, by the way, are made in Oregon from lumber that was made from logs that were shipped to China six years ago. A lot of logs are shipped from here. Lots and lots of them. Zillions, I’m sure.

From the building lot, we went back home to let the dogs out. They like it when we do that. Then we sat for an hour or so, then went to the Scappoose Fred Meyer to get bark mulch for the flower beds. We discussed the wisdom of getting bags of it, or calling Beaver Bark and having a truck deliver a load. The delivery would have been cheaper, probably, but the bags were on sale. So, we got 20 of them. Half of them we left with Diane’s Mom, Jean. She’s been wanting some for her front flower beds. Tomorrow we plan to go down and spread it around for her.

When we returned home, I continued my work on a poster for American Legion Post 42 that advertises our AR-15 raffle. I also made up a list with 500 slots on which to capture the names of those who purchase tickets. In case anyone is interested, they are $10 each. First prize is the AR-15, second prize is $250 cash, and third prize is $100 cash. All profits made will benefit veterans in Columbia County. The drawing will be on Veteran’s day, 11/11/14, at 11:11 am at the Veteran’s Memorial in McCormick Park in St. Helens.

Then I mowed our entire yard in 1 hour and 20 minutes. All of it. But, I have mulching blades installed. It takes about 3 hours if I use the grass catcher thingies. Also, there wasn’t much to mow. It was more about cutting the tops off all the dandelions and other random weeds. But, it looks better, just the same.

Speaking of McCormick Park … the city has a popular frisbee golf course that is going to be one of the courses used in the National Frisbee Championship. I haven’t got any details, only that it, and probably the only at the Trojan Park will be used. Trojan Park is what’s left of the old Trojan Nuclear Power Plant where I used to work. It’s also the one at which Homer Simpson used to works. I thought I’d met pretty much everyone at the plant during my tenure, but never ran across Homer even one time. I was in the IT department so guess he didn’t use a computer. That would explain it. There were a few people who, in retrospect, quite possibly could have been Homer but that’s only based on short memory snippets of those I encountered who displayed questionable behavior. Nothing definitive.

Back at home, I joined Diane on the porch just after the sun went down and we watched the lightning strikes going on in Southern Washington. You may have heard about the huge wild-fire in progress east of Seattle that was caused by lightning. It was actually four fires caused by lightning that burned together and currently covers a 400 square mile area. Lots of homes have gone up in smoke due to the fire, and the lightening we witnessed this evening doesn’t bode well for the southern reaches.

Fires like this are not uncommon and there’s really not a lot anyone can do about preventing them. How could anyone stop lightning in the far reaches of a remote forest? Fires like this have been going on since the first trees started growing. Even with all the fires going on, pretty regularly as an annual event, I once heard that there is more standing forest now than when Lewis & Clark traversed this area. The reason is, of course, that we have equipment, and brave people, who find a way to contain current fires. Back then, they just burned until they went out. Makes sense.

A mosquito buzzed us, so we retreated to the house innards, and I’m seriously considering bed. So, g’nite all. Stay safe.

Oh! I almost forgot. I really didn’t make another appointment for an ultrasound. I was just kidding. I am, however, planning to experiment with some warm blackberry jelly and ziplock bags in an effort to find a way to go to sleep without meds and still keep the sheets clean. Diane won’t be happy about this, I’m sure, but it’s all in the name of research. I’m sure she’ll see the wisdom once she thinks about it a bit.

Golf, Baseball, & Thieves

Yesterday I was forced to participate in a golf tournament at the Wildwood Golf Course which everyone in the country knows is located on the West side of Highway 30 not too far past the truck scales on the way to Portland from Scappoose. Most everyone of importance also knows that Jack & Wynette had their wedding reception in the Wildwood Club House which was located right next to Highway 30. At some point in the future, it mysteriously burned down, the golf course receded back into the forest, lost & forgotten, and was ultimately resurrected and expanded into an 18-hole course that careens through a small valley, and up and down hills. The current owner is, in my opinion, an abject jerk, so I don’t go there often. I may never go there again, for that reason. One person mentioned that he’s a “money whore,” which was confirmed by his willingness to insert walk-on golfers into the midst of the tournament we were involved in. Nice.

The tournament was a version of best ball, and it was gratifying to me that a couple of my balls were deemed best. That just means that I hit my ball better than those in our foursome so everyone was allowed to hit their next shot from that spot. I even made a few pretty good chip shots onto the green. My foursome was composed of Doug & Jim, high school classmates, and George, a person none of us had ever met until tee time. All in all, it was a good day.

On the way home I followed Doug home so I could check Carolyn’s computer to see why her Gmail wouldn’t appear. She wasn’t there when we arrived, but her computer was energized so I hit a few keys, clicked the Gmail icon and it popped up quite smartly. When Doug saw this he went, “Hmmm. She must have figured it out.” Then we sat in the living room and visited for a while. Then I went home to play in the dirt for a while before cleaning up to attend Lydia’s soccer game.

Before getting dirty, I took my mid day pills. Shortly thereafter, we went to Diane’s Mom’s, Jean’s, house for a visit where I promptly fell asleep. Then we went to the soccer game which wound up in a 2-2 tie. They played against the 14U rec league team and Lydia played goalie the whole game. Since it was a practice game, and most of those on the 14U team are in-coming St. Helens freshmen this year, the goalies switched sides at half time. The second half Lydia had to block against the varsity team and that’s when she gave up the two goals. But, she blocked about 20 shots. She did good.

Back at home, I had a hard time staying awake so decided to go to bed. It was then I discovered that I had taken my sleeping pill, the dreaded Ambien, somewhere around 3 pm. So, the erratic behavior Diane witnessed was totally not my fault. I slept through the night anyway, which surprised me.

This morning I got back into my morning nap routine and didn’t go out to get dirty and sweaty until 10 am or so. Consequently, I only got about 4 hours in before it was deemed time to eat lunch. We had Taco Bell tacos, always a favorite.

While writing this, I got a text from brother Jack, who is in Arizona with his first wife at this time, watching Sage pitch against a California team at the Cincinnati Reds training field in Phoenix. Sage, as you may all recall, is Maryssa’s boyfriend who is going to play for the North Carolina Tarheels after he graduates from high school next year. He’s a talent to watch. Click his name to check him out – Sage Diehm. A little more research revealed that Sage is the first Idaho baseball player ever recruited by North Carolina. Last text I got from Jack indicated that one of Sage’s teammates had hit a triple, driving in one run so it was 1-0. Nothing since so I have no idea what’s going on now. The suspense is killing me, but I’m not going to beg for an update. Nope. Just not going to do it.

I’m going to have to go rent a large piece of equipment from Don’s Rental so I can move some dirt around a little, leveling the area next to garage in preparation of installing a load of gravel that doesn’t squish up when a car drives over it. That’s wheat we have right now is squishy rocks. They are all round, which was intentional, to allow for good drainage into the pipe I installed some time back. Now I want to park something on it, like one of the old motor homes, or my truck, and need non-squishy gravel so it will remain level. To get the equipment home means I must spend a bit of time trouble shooting my truck to find out which ignition wire I dislodged the last time I drove it so I can get it started. I’ve already cleared this event as one that isn’t technically “working outside” since I’ll be inside the truck, so I’m good to go. Just need to work up a little more motivation. Might even see about getting the old ’73 RV fired up. Or not.

You may have heard about the crime spree going on around town these last few months. Thieves are going around during the day, knocking on doors so see who’s home. Those who aren’t get robbed. Those who are home are asked questions about someone they are looking for, wondering if they are inside. Last I heard, about 60 homes had been robbed. Sadly, the spree has extended to our quiet little dead-end street. Since we have Panzee, a large barking dog who greets family, friends, and strangers with the same intimidating welcome, I doubt seriously if anyone would be motivated to break into the house in our absence. But, you just never know. To be on the safe side, we decided it would probably be a good idea to lock all the doors, to everything, when we leave. In the past we’ve failed to do that many times.

So, any of you who may be compelled to visit our house when we’re aware be forewarned that Panzee, Breezie, and Ozzie have been training as a team to take down anyone they don’t know. It will work like this … you enter the house, via any access, and Panzee will make a concerted effort to rip your testicles off while Breezie takes care of your eyelids. Oz will gnarl his way around your ankles, severing your Achilles tendon, allowing it to snap up into the calf of your leg accompanied by an incredible amount of mind-numbing pain, ensuring you cannot flee the scene. In the unlikely event you are of the female persuasion, Panzee will go for your neck and face. If you have large breasts, you may want to wear a really tight sports bra because they’ll probably get in her way. Breezie’s and Oz’s missions do not change. I do not feel there’s a need to post this information outside the house because the dogs will make their presence known at the first hint of a foreign presence.

In the event you are still compelled to pay us a visit, please ensure you have the name of your next of kin somewhere on your body. Since the back of your shoulders probably will remain undisturbed, it would be a great place to tattoo that information. Alternatively, if you are opposed to tattoos, please have your partner in crime use a permanent black marker to help you write this information on the inside band of your underwear. If you don’t wear underwear, the waistband of your pants will suffice.

Better yet, just ensure you have proper ID on entry.

Good luck.

Now I must quit for today and go outside, by request, and climb to the top of a 24′ extension ladder to replace one of our outside security lights.

Eyeballs, Weeds, & Jerrie

Monday morning I did something I haven’t done in about 4 years — I got up at 0530, fed the dogs, then went to work. It was a test, to see if I could actually do it and I think I passed.

Getting to work was a short trip, not like before when I inserted my vehicle into the mass of others heading toward Portland, making the road look like a red snake weaving itself down the road. No, yesterdays trip was only about 30 feet into the back yard where I selected appropriate tools and continued our work on the weed hill that used to contain a bunch of irises. What I’m doing out there is peeling off the top 6 inches, the part that contains the incredibly mass of interwoven grass that’s been growing there since time began. Lots of it comes off in large mats, some in small, but they all come off with lots of resistance. Lots of it. The kind that’s makes one sweaty in the extreme.

However, beginning this work at 0545, or so, was OK because it’s nice and cool then and it takes longer to work up a good sweat. Still, I didn’t like it. That’s too early to be headed to work, even if it is only outside the back door. So, I”m not going to do it any more. I’d rather have my morning nap.

After the morning workout, I cleaned myself up and Diane drove me to the VA in Hillsboro for my annual eyeball exam. I passed, but learned that retinas, like skin, wrinkle with age. At least mine do. So far it hasn’t impaired my vision but I’m on the lookout for anything funning happening to the things I look at.

Yesterday, Jerrie was 3-years-old. My how time flies. To celebrate the event we contracted with Diane’s Mom, Jean, to use her back yard so the kids could run willy nilly up and down Milton Creek which runs through her back yard. It was a good plan and it worked to perfection. The kids had a great time wading and jumping in the water while those of us more advanced in age enjoyed sitting and visiting in the back yard. It was great.

Jerrie & the cake …

DSC_1870

Baylee, Gilligan & Jerrie blowing out the candles …DSC_1884

A new jeans jacket from Aunt Jennie and Uncle Daniel. DSC_1891

Girls in the water …DSC_1819

Gilligan doesn’t stand still for very long. Jumping is her ‘thing’ …DSC_1814

Baylee is a bit more subdued, but still a poser …DSC_1795That was yesterday. Today I put on my American Legion hat and participated in a flag raising ceremony to officially open the Columbia County Fair. In all, there were approximately twenty of us lining the path to the flag. Our shipmate, Frank Weber, WWII veteran who served aboard the Colorado during the Big One, raised the flag. He’s 89 now, and retired as a Navy Chief Petty Officer. He’s a very spry guy and I’m honored that I share a connection with him as a chief. In his spare time he manages a Navy Museum in his Scappoose home. He’d love it if you stopped by to look it over.

Also at the fair opening were county Commissioners, state Senators, and Representatives for Columbia County. It was fun to be involved.

After the ceremony I joined Diane and her Mom, Jean, to go look at flowers. Just like every other time we’ve visited the fair, we wished we’d bottled up a few of our flowers to display. We always forget until we see those on display. We have pretty ones, too. Next year, by golly, I’m going to remember to enter a few of my photos for judging. Just for fun. Maybe I’ll make a doily, too.

Lydia was working in the Dairy Booth so I visited with her a bit, using it as an excuse to obtain an extra malty chocolate malt for my sipping enjoyment. An ‘old’ friend, Julia, was there, too. She’s a college girl now. Not long ago, as is true for all the young men and women I know, they were little. All of them. It’s sad that they have to grow up, but good to know they are growing up quite nicely.

I got to visit with Bree, too. She and Lydia are friends and, Bree says, I’m her replacement Grandpa. I’m honored. It’s always fun to see her.

Then we came home, it got dark, and now it’s almost time for bed.

G’nite.

 

Trivia

This is just an aside to share a little trivia about all the blogs I’ve made since November 2011. I’ve been wanting to capture them in a way I could compile them for  a while now and learned I can just copy them enmasse from WordPress into a Word document, photos and all. I was amazed. This is a good thing for me because it provided me a way to find out just how many pages of drivel, and how many words of wisdom, I’ve actually shared in that time.

Turns out it’s in the neighborhood of  …

  • Pages                 1,058 (font size 12)
  • Words             231,758
  • Characters    1,223,234 (with spaces)
  • Paragraphs          5,180
  • Lines                 21,199

… or thereabouts.

But who’s counting?

I had absolutely no idea that I knew that many words. Go figure. No wonder my fingers are numb.

Soccer, Softball, & LeBron

I may have mentioned that I’m not a huge fan of soccer and determined that the reason is because I didn’t understand the rules. Then Lydia gets heavily involved, claiming as her favorite sport, so Diane and I have been going to lots of games. I learned that those in attendance, who understand what’s going on, are more than happy to share what they know which is handy because I’m not shy about sharing my ignorance of the game. I’ve learned a lot and, on my very own, determined that soccer is more about strategy than anything else. I could be a wrong determination, but I like it because it makes sense. Having a little talent in how to pass the ball back and forth helps in the overall process of advancing the ball down the incredibly huge field with the intention of getting it past the opposing goalie.

Then, along came the World Cup. Everyone got in a frenzy when the US made it past some big soccer countries, advancing passed the first rounds. It was amazing to watch it unfold. It’s hard to not get caught up in all the hoopla because it’s a little infectious.I resisted, however, as did Diane, and we stumbled across an ESPN channel where Team USA was involved in another kind of World Cup.

It was softball. Much more fun to watch because things actually happen. We found it very peaceful to sit in our recliners and watch the USA ladies advance through the ranks and make it to the title game.

We watched them squeak by Canada in one of the early rounds 5-3 last Thursday, then got all comfy to watch the USA-Japan game Friday evening. Although ESPN programming indicated the game was scheduled to view, they apparently found it far more important to blister the airwaves with a table full of analysts giving their unwanted and unnecessary opinions about where Lebron James would choose to play basketball next season.

Seriously, who gives a rip? Folks in Cleveland do, I’m sure, but to pre-empt the USA vs. Japan game in favor of conjecture seemed to be a bit of over-kill, in my humble opinion. We checked the channel every once in a while, but the softball game was never shown. It was disappointing. I kept track of the score via the internet, but finding a source for that information was not easy. Apparently it wasn’t a big deal to anyone but us. In case you’re interested, our USA Ladies won that game 8-1. It would have been fun to watch.

Then, yesterday, they played against Mexico at 10 am. We didn’t get to watch that game, either, but it wasn’t ESPN’s fault. We simply had to honor a commitment to help clean up in and around our church. It would have been a good one to watch, though, because USA only won 3-2. But, they won and advanced their record to 5-0. Yesterday evening they played again at 5 pm against Chinese Taipei. We watched that one and it was a sad day for Taipei. The USA was home team so lead off and our first two batters were hit by the pitcher. So, two pitches and we had two on base. It just got worse from there. The score was 10-0 after 2 innings and was stopped after 4 innings when it went to 14-0. That win put USA at 6-0 with a chance to win it all against Canada this morning in the title game.

We didn’t get to watch that one, either, because we went to church. But, I kept track and learned that Our Girls beat Canada 5-2.

So, USA wins!

Just for the record, we suffered through the last 15 minutes of the Germany vs. Argentina World Cup finals, watching the clock creep past the 90 minute mark, then 100, until around the 113th minute, or so, and FINALLY!, Germany scored. I didn’t actually care who scored, but it was gratifying to see that one of the teams did. It was quite a celebration with Germany fans jumping up and down all over the place and Argintina fans sobbing about the loss.

I’ll say it again, that I’m not a real fan of soccer, but I have to admit that single goal was a thing of beauty. The way the ball was kicked in from the left, fielded with a chest bump, then kicked deftly passed the goalie before it could hit the ground was pretty awesome.

Kinda makes you forget about the previous 2 hours of 0-0 and confirms my thinking that soccer games shouldn’t have their clocks count up to 90, but count down to 0, just like other games that use clocks. I think there’d be more of a sense of urgency by the players if they could hear the crowd chanting, “5 … 4 … 3 … 2 …1 …0’, as the clock times out. Instead, it’s “87 … 88 … 89 … 90”, plus whatever the referees determine to be added to the clock for stoppage of play (I think). Most of those are caused, I’ve learned, from some very, and not so very, convincing drama by the players.

I especially liked the guy that bites other players. That’s a nice way to promote the sport, don’t you think? Wonder how many kids he has.

Jennifer, Lydia, and Jeran visited us this afternoon to recap their fun stay at Camp Tadmor this past week. They arrived with a DVD of all the events so we watched it and had to agree it is a pretty awesome place. In order to watch it, however, I had to hurk a DVD player up from the basement, after finding the remote, and connect it to the TV. Our old sound system had a DVD player, but it had a stroke and died quite dramatically a few months ago. We’ve been trying to save money for a new one, so we can hear the TV, but dentist and medical events seem to be more important. One of these days all our teeth will be gone and we can get one.

Digging in the dirt … again

It was really nice and cool at 0500 this morning, perfect for dismantling weeds with minimal chance of heat stroke. Too bad I didn’t take advantage of that like I said I would. No, instead, I lounged on the couch, waiting for the coffee to finish. Since that didn’t happen until Diane attained a vertical orientation and went to work waiting on me as is her custom. She takes really good care of me and I appreciate it immensely. End result, the coffee wasn’t done until around 0830.

After chugging that first cup of coffee, followed quickly by a large glass of water, I donned my dry work clothes and headed outside to resume the battle for our back yard. We’re gaining because we’re using a flanking maneuver I read about in a comic book. You can’t beat the weed back by going at them in a lineal manner, like from left to right, because they will just fill in the gaps behind you as you progress. No, you must work from both sides as well as the top and bottom of your designated target area, moving back into previously weeded areas to pick up the stragglers. Conducting this war in dry weather is grueling because the weeds are so imbedded it’s like trying to rip apart a sidewalk to release them. They are much easier to pry from the soil right after it rains. It’s messier, for sure, but far mor easy.

Knowing this, logic says to water it all down before the assault but doing so adds considerably to the household deficit which is already in the trillions of dollars, as every knows. Still, it may be less expensive, in the long run, if I simply hook up one of my laser-guided sprinklers and douse the area for a short period of time, exchange my common work attire for a stealth swimming suit, and swoop in when they are least expecting me.

Sounds like a plan. For the moment, I’m recovering from this morning’s mission which left everything I’m wearing, soaking wet, a sure sign that I’ve exuded more than my allotted amount of perspiration for the morning. Rehydration is in progress. When my heart attains a more normal rhythm I will put on my cowboy hat and make one more dash into the war zone to retrieve the tools I left behind. I’m not worried about losing them because weeds do not have opposing thumbs. All they can do is surround things, making it difficult to extract. It’s sad, in a way, because you can almost hear little screams as their roots are pulled from the ground.

I know this battle will continue until I die because all those weeds need is just a teeny tiny little bit of root to remain in the ground in order for them to cover the landscape as soon as you turn your back. They love it, too, when it’s raining really hard, keeping us in side. It’s really annoying to look out and see them pointing and waving at us, sharing something humorous with their siblings, as we stand trapped inside, watching them grow just willy nilly all over the place.

The possible solution is a holistic weed killer Diane discovered that we’re going to try. Chemical warfare isn’t my normal choice for war but using holistic methods seems, to me, to be OK. It’s kind of a religious endeavor if it’s holistic. It’s made using 1 gallon of vinegar, 2 cups of Epsom salts, and 1/4 cup Dawn dish soap. Mix it all up, put it in a sprayer and share it with all your weeds. Their demise, I understand, is fairly quick and painless.

I’ll let you know if it works on black berry vines.

Now I must go perspire a little while longer.

Weeds & Teeth

We had a beautiful sunrise this morning. The dogs woke me up just in time to see it at it’s most orangey so I know it’s true. It doesn’t last very long so the dogs have to really be on alert to ensure I don’t miss it.

After my morning nap, Diane and I went out back and got busy ripping weeds out of the ground. Her efforts were restricted to the edge of the patio, where the mower never goes, and I chose to dismember the four rhododendrons, one large bush with no name, a couple ferns, and a few smaller plants I’m not familiar with. I didn’t cut them all down, I just trimmed them from the bottom up until I could comfortably sit under them as I pruned without branches knocking off my cowboy hat. I wear that hat because it covers my ears nicely, keeping them from being fried by the ever increasingly hot sun. As a consequence of using this method for trimming, there is a nice distance between the bottom branches and the ground leaving no place for rats to hide. I use a similar method for pruning trees … I cut off all branches that touch my head when I drive under it with my lawn mower.

There’s more to do, but I had to quit so I could keep my appointment at the dentist. Today was teeth cleaning day.

So, I got my teeth cleaned. Along with it, I got an attaboy from both the dentist and my hygienist. Even though I do a good job taking care of my teeth, they still charged me a small fortune. The reason, I’m told, is because I’m on periodontal maintenance due to the fact that I used to be a little cavalier about brushing, flossing, and stuff like that. So, a normal $100 cleaning job costs me $260. I had a long discussion with the girls at the front desk about this, and the fact that instead of getting it done every six months at $100, they insist I get it done every four months for $260. Add in the dentist fee, and some x-rays, it balloons to $360. Prepaying, and being old gets me a 10% discount, which helps, and I’m only going every 5 months instead of 4. So, it’s a compromise.

Now you all know I have diseased teeth and gums and are probably wondering why Diane has kept me around for so long. It’s really not as bad as it sounds and I’ll pay the price because I plan to keep at least 8 or 9 of my teeth until I die at 111. That will require lots of flossing and brushing.

I’ve bared my soul to you and find it necessary to stop before I began to weep a little.

July 4th Update

In addition to omitting some crucial information from the evening of July 4th, there has been a new development in the form of reduced physical abilities of one member of the household caused by over exuberant efforts playing catch with a much younger person who can throw pretty hard.

1st, the 4th …

As darkness began to fall, we noticed that people were making themselves comfortable in the back yard of our next door neighbor. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be unusual, but, considering that the house has been vacant for over a year, we found it interesting so I went to investigate. First, I looked to see what kind of vehicle was parked out front and determined that it belonged to Jack & Barbara, a young couple we met while they were checking out the view from house in the dark. This time they brought all three of their young children, and two older people who were obviously related in some manner. My guess is they were the grandparents, but I don’t know from which side.

I approached them by walking south down the west side of our garage, between our respective abodes. Since I ripped down the rotten fence between our properties, gaining access to the intruders was a simple matter and it quickly became apparent that they were, indeed, Jack and Barbara. Barbara was carrying their youngest son, Asher, and one thing led to another until we invited them over to help eat some of the enormous amount of food lying around in our kitchen. This gave them an opportunity to compare the view from our deck to the deck of the house they are considering as a their next home.

When Barbara walked into our home carrying Asher, who is 11 months old, she was accosted by Lydia & Maryssa who snatched the child out of her hands. Barbara didn’t appear to mind as Asher was passed back and forth between the girls and Cedric, who has a way with little kids. Asher wasn’t complaining about all the attention at all.

After visiting for a while, we sent Jack & Barbara on their way back to their prospective new home with a Ziploc bag full of watermelon parts. That was my idea, because no one else was eating it and it was a good watermelon. They left Asher with the kids and I’m pretty sure it was intentional because she returned briefly with his blanket, alerting the girls that he was probably going to fall asleep pretty soon, and he did.

It was an interesting encounter. If they truly do end up being our neighbors it will be a good thing. They are good kids. I know because I googled them.

Now, about the physical aspect of my current situation … I’m sure all the aches and pains I’m experiencing were caused when I play catch with Maryssa and Bob. That was three days ago, but the injuries are just now manifesting, serving as an abject lesson that I’m no longer 50 and can’t treat my body as if I were.

Therefore, when it comes time to play catch with Lydia, or Cedric, I will be more careful and throw underhand all the time instead of waiting until my torn rotator cuff rises up to get my attention.

My back hurts, too.

I also have a stomach ache … and Diane is fussy with me about all of it. I should have kept it a secret. She’s probably going to make me go to school tomorrow anyway.

It’s not as easy to be 70 as I thought it would be. Guess it’s time to act my age.

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