Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

We had a very nice Cristmas Eve. The family converged on my sister Katie's house this year for celebration and the gift exchange. We met over there at 2:00 in the afternoon, and of course all the males insisted that the Seahawks game be on, although it wasn't a very exciting game. The Colts were resting Payton Manning, and some of their other players in anticipation of the playoffs, So the Hawks won pretty easily. Then we came back home and Lyk and Lisa and the kids came up and spent the night, and Rose and her boyfriend came over. Everybody had a great time.

I have the rest of the year off, so my project is to get the truck that I got for free running, but since Mrs. Alstuff has tomorrow off, we will probably go see "The Cronicles of Narnia". I read the books to my kids when they were growing up, and the movie looks like it will be good.

So Merry Christmas to the World, Peace on Earth and all that stuff.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Updates

So it is the middle of December, and we are plugging along, but just barely. Stuff keeps happening. The other day I took some Campbells Chunky Soup in the microwaveable container to work. On the label it warns that uneven cooking can cause popping noises and a small amount of spillage. About a minute and a half into the two minute cooking time, it didn't just pop, it jumped four inches in the air, blew the top off of the container, and spewed soup all over the inside of the microwave. Not only did I end up without a lunch, I had to spend my lunch time cleaning the #$%^& microwave. I wrote Campbells and they sent me six bucks worth of coupons. Hardly an apology and compensation.
Then stepdaughter calls, and the starter has gone out of the Nissan Maxima I gave her. So down to Tacoma I go. The new starter was $169.95 plus tax. I also got a new headlight, so the tab was almost $200.00. Hell, I only paid $250.00 for the whole car. They were offered $1,500.00 cash for the car, so it is worth the cost of a new starter. As we put of in I heard her boyfriend yelp and heard a zap. When we got the starter in, it would not turn over. After a frustrating 20 minutes trying to figure out what had happened, I pulled out the fuse panel, and the fuse to the starter button was toasted. I thought Nyk had shorted out between the battery cable and the frame, but he had shorted out between power and the starter button. Put in a fuse, and everything worked fine.
I got a call later that night that after running some errands, they had gone to the Laundromat and when they started, the starter wouldn't disengage. Even turning the key off wouldn't turn it off, so that means that the armature was stuck. They eventually pulled off the battery cable, but the starter was fried. I told them to take the starter back and tell them it was defective. They put in the new starter, but they have burned up some of the wiring, so they have to short between the battery cable and the solenoid with a screwdriver to start it.
Mrs. Alstuff just came in and told me that Stepdaughter is in the hospital. She just had a miscarriage. We only found out she was PG last weekend. This is two miscarriages and one stillborn from unknown causes. Gotta be hard. It is something I have never had to go through, although I was in the room when they delivered the stillborn baby, and held him in my arms, and held a crying wife as she cursed fate. Tough stuff.
I am listening to Keiko Matsui's "Deep Blue". Wonderful jazz piano.
Better go, I have been interrupted three times in the last five minutes. Think they are trying to send me a message?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

MEMEME

Stolen from The Peanut Queen

1. Name 3 people that you miss that you haven't seen in a long time.
My two sisters who live in Minnesota. They haven't been here for Christmas for a quite a few years. It would be nice to have the whole family together.

2. Name 3 things you miss about home during the holidays.
Winter. Idaho had winter, Seattle doesn't. Here we have the warm rainy season and the cold rainy season.

.3. Name 1 holiday memory that you have from childhood that you will never forget.
The year when my brother and I got bikes for Christmas. Sure, they were used, but no one could have happier.

4. Name at least one favorite book or movie that always reminds you of the holidays.
When we were growing up, I always read DR. Seus to my little sisters. I loved the word play and illiteration. I was the only one in the family that could wrap my tongue around all that fun without stumbling, so The Grinch always reminds me of those times.

5. Name your top 3 favorite holiday songs that get you in the mood to celebrate.
Nat King Cole's "Christmas Song", Bing's "White Christmas", and "Jingle Bell Rock"

6. If you could go anywhere other than home for the holidays, where would you choose to go and who would you want to bring along?
Actually Carol and I were just looking into a trip to China at Christmas time. It would be awesome if the two of us could get away for a couple of weeks. I want to see the Forbidden City, walk the Great Wall.

7. The Grinch or Rudolph? Definitely The Grinch, for reasons mentioned above

8. Formal holiday dinner or casual get-together food? Since there are around 25 immediate members in my family and another 15 in Carols, the only way to go is casual, otherwise we would both be frazzled out of our minds, and there would be no time to visit.

9. Name the best holiday gift you ever received and why?
You've seen "A Christmas Story" where Ralphie gets the Red Ryder BB gun? That could have been me, except for the having my mouth washed out with soap.

10. Describe the funniest holiday moment you've ever had. My little brother, Bill wasa always the one to tell an amusing story when we were together. SOme of them were even probably even true. I remember hin telling This story: Bill owned a 1959 Triumph TR3, which we both spent a lot of time working on. When it was together it was a lot of fun. One of his friends' wife loved that car, and every time he went to visit he had to take her for a spin. One fall day he got over to their house after dark, and took her for a spin to Golden Gardens Park. WHen they came around the corner into the parking lot, they noticed a small light that was travelling back and forth in the middle of the parking lot. They pulled up close and got out of the car. It was a mouse, running around in a circle, and the light was the headlights reflected from his eyes. They stood there mesmerized, watching this mouse run around and around in a circle. He says that he has no idea how long they stood there watching the mouse. He put out his foot and stopped the mouse, and it stopped, but when he removed his foot, it kept right on going. Eventually when he stopped it, it shook it's head and seemed to come to it's senses, and ran off into the night. He and the lady got back into the car and he drove her home. His friend was furious. "Do you know how long you have been gone?" Bill figures his friend never believed him. I found the story highly amusing, especially the way he told it. And of course I'd had a couple of Hot buttered Rums. I was never sure if it was true.
A couple of years ago I was going to work at zero dark thirty, taking a path through the ornamental shrubbery here at the "Lazy B", when I caught something moving out of the corner of my eye.
It was a mouse.
He was running around and around in a circle. Every once in a while he would stop and roll over, then go back to running in a circle.

11. Name a holiday memory that truly warmed your heart.
When I was stationed overseas, one of the places I worked part of the time was Camp Mercy, which was a home for retarded kids. Most of them were abandoned. We got together and donated a bunch of cheap gifts to the kids, delivered them and sang some Christmas Carols. Those kids were thrilled. It was like we had given them the most wonerful things. None of them was disappointed or jealouse. I thought we all could learn a lesson from these kids about being happy with what you get.

12. Name your top 3 favorite TV specials that frequent the airwaves during the holiday season.
The Grinch, It's a wonderful life, and A Christmas Story.

13. Sledding, snowball fight, snow angels or building a snowman?
None of the above. Snowmobiling rules!

14. Eggnog, hot chocolate or hot cider
I suppose hot chocolate, but I'd really prefer a hot buttered Rum!

16. Favorite holiday cookie: They are all equally bad for me, since I am diabetic. So which ones will I cheat with? Buckeyes! My sister-in-law is from Ohio, where they are like the state official cookie or something. Peanut butter and chocolate, kinda like a round Resse's peanut butter cup.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Newstuff

So I've been away a while. So sue me.
Don't get me started. I dare you.
Daughter DUI
Other daughter PLEEZE give ne $200 or we will freeze to death.
Sonand wife "We reallycan't take care of my son butWHY are you insisting he go to church?"
As Blake suggests, everything falls apart, but I suggest that only those that hang together provide for the structure that makes things possible.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Overtime

So, it is Saturday, but I am at work.
Shipside support needs to be manned even if there isn't anything much going on. Just in case, like having the Fire Department available. It can make for some pretty boring days, but at least I get Time and a Half.
I haven't been up to posting much lately, as I had shoulder surgery, and I wasn't up to the challenge of typing one handed while high on pain killers. I was off work for a couple of weeks. The doctor would have liked for me to take off a third week, but I was going nuts. There are a lot of things I would like to be doing. Rebuilding the deck, working on the Z. Unfortunately they all require the use of both arms.
You can only watch so much History Channel and Speedvision. And Percocet interferes with my ability to concentrate enough to read.
We're going out tonight to Jazz Alley to see Keiko Matsui. She is one dynamic performer, so it should be good. We are taking Rose out for her 21st birthday. Hard to believe my baby is turning 21.
Tomorrow I am getting a car for Lisa (My step daughter). It is just a beater, a 1988 Nissan Maxima, but it looks good and it runs. For $250.00 it will be delivered to my driveway. I am told it needs a clutch. I know it needs a throwout bearing, so it will be getting a clutch whether it needs one or not. Who would tear off the transmission and not replace the clutch while you had everything torn apart? Don't know if my arm is up to taking on the job yet, but it I work smart I should be able to use tools to do what I would normally use muscles for.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Updates

I haven't done anything here lately, because I have been busy posting some short fiction on my other blog, BLATHERSKITE. I put a couple of short stories there. (http://blatherskited.blogspot.com/).
I have been meaning to get here and post about our trip to Moses Lake with Morning Light, but between rerouting all the cable TV connections, and moving the computer upstairs, I just haven't had the desire. Maybe this weekend. I have a bunch of pictures to include.
I need to get ready for Fall, which officially started yesterday. Tomorrow I go to get a ton of pellets for the pellet stove. After that I need to do annual maintenance on the pellet stove and clean the chimney. Sunday we are going to Church and then to Tacoma to see the grandkids, Next weekend we are going to visit Joanne on Sunday, so that really leaves only next Saturday, then I will be getting my shoulder operated on, on October 4th, so I won't be able to do much for at least a couple of weeks.
Monday I will start a new job on Wedgetail, a sorry of miniature AWACS. Don't know exactly what I will be doing, except writing assembly planning. It will be something to do while the strike lasts.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Latest

Since the last time I blogged, things have been pretty hectic.

One daughter lost her job at Downtown Harley Davidson, and the other got evicted from her apartment. I had to replace the differential and half-shafts in the 77' 280Z, and the mechanics went on strike at Boeing. I also saw the doctor about the severe pains in my right sholder, and will be going in for arthoscopic surgery to remove a wicked bone spur on October 4th.

We also went with Morning Light for a show at Maple Lane. The band had made some serious modifications to the sound system, and it sounded great. This weekend we are going for a two day gig in Moses Lake. The whole thing in Moses Lake is pretty disorganized, with no one knowing exactly what is going to be available when we get there as far as facilities and acommodations go. We are bringing along a tent just in case, and have made reservations at Potholes State Park for a camping site, about 20 miles outside of town.

Since the Mechanics are on strike, I am back at my old desk in ECAT. The company has halted any activity on the airplanes, so there really is no reason to have shipside support. There isn't a whole lot to do in ECAT either, so mostly we try to find something to do, and do a very thorough job of whatever you can find. I don't know why the Boeing Company chose to play lowball hardball with the union at this time. The last time the contract came up with the IAM, it was right after 9/11 and the transportation industry was in the toilet, aircraft sales were down, and the company stock had taken a real tumble. For all those reasons, the IAM settled for a borderline contract. Acutally they voted down the contract, but couldn't get the 2/3 majority to sanction a strike. This time, the Transportation Industry is in recovery, The stock is almost double what it was, and there is a very good backlog of orders. The offer that they made would erode the financial standing of the mechanics. They would be effectively making less at the end of the contract than they make now.

The Union I am in (SPEEA) has it's contract coming up in December, so the present state of things is unsettling, since SPEEA usually gets offered slightly less that the IAM. I would prefer not to be marching the picket line at Christmas.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Camping Trip


Here's the new tent, and Carol sitting outside it. I really liked the new tent. It was relatively easy to put up, spacious and easy to use.








Rich and rachel at the beach.











Benjamin and I chillin' on the tailgate.








Hiking in the Olympic Rain Forest.





Cooking with fire.









Azalea at the campsite.








Rick, Rachel, Benjamin, Carol,, me, Azalea, and Riley in front of the worls largest Sitka Spruce.








Picking Balckberries in the back yard.

Friday, August 05, 2005

VACATION!!!

As of 2:30 I am off on vacation for a week! My attitude improves by the minute.

Carol's son Rick, his wife Rachel, and their three kids arrive tonight from Ogden. They are going to be here for two weeks. The first week we are going camping at Twin Harbors State Park outside of Westport Washington. It is a very nice park, and we are located on the Dune side. The grandkids have never seen the ocean, so it will be cool to play in the surf. I also intend to teach them how to fly a two string acrobatic kite. Burned marshmellows, hot dogs dropped in the campfire, coffee with insect parts, smole and sand everywhere. Tall tales by the campfire light. Insect bites and sunburn.

I can't wait. No computers no internet no television. I will be taking a cell phone, but I'm hoping we don't have service unless we need it.

Pictures and camping tales to follow!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

NewZ

My 77 Datsun 280Z was in a car show last week, so I hurried and put my new exterior rear view mirrors on for the show. When I got the mirrors, the Z Store included a new catalogue. In perusing it there were several "I gotta have that" moments. Consequently when the opportunity to work this weekend came up, I saw Z parts in the budget.

When I was taking a break, I called up the Boeing Classified ads on-line. There I ran accross an ad that said "Free: 1978 Datsun 280Z, must be moved by Friday 07/22/05."It was Saturday, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I called the phone number, and the car was still there, so I went after work to take a look at it. I fugured at the very least, I could use it for parts.

The car was complete, less the battery, and had been running when it was parked for restoration. It had good rubber all the way around, and the body was fairly straight. They had sanded and primered the hood and front fenders. I told them that I would be back with a tow truck after work on Sunday.

So I dragged it home, and immediately after this post, there is a picture of it. It has several parts I can swap to my 77, like the center console and the factory mags, but I think I can, with a minimal investment of time and money, turn it into a daily driver.

Last night I hooked up a battery, but it wouldnt turn over, so I got a remote starter, hooked it up, and turned the key on. It turned over freely, but wouldn't start. When I sprayed a little started fluid in the intake it fired up for a second, but quit. I pulled the fuel line and there wasn't any (fuel that is). I can hear liquid sloshing around in the tank, so either the fuel pump is bad, or the wiring is bad. Neither of those things is any big deal, although I would rather it was the fuel pump, although that will be more expensive, but I have spent the last year and a half chasing electrical problems in the 77 and am tired of wiring.

I still haven't figured out when I will be able to replace the deck off of the living room.

Monday, July 18, 2005

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

OK, so maybe that's an exaggeration. Maybe it was more like "It was a real good day, it was a real bad day", but that just didn't sound right. Besides, everyone remembers the opening lines of "A tale of two cities". What a great opening line, one of the best ever. Maybe not as good as "In the beginning God Created the Heavens and the Earth", but equal to any other first line. How about "Call me Ishmael"?

At any rate, Saturday was one heck of a day. Morning Light just completed their second CD, so Saturday was the CD release party, and a free concert at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle. Carol and I were up at 4:30 so we could be in Kenmore at 6:00 to start packing up the equipment. It was cloudy, cool, and drizzling. In otherwords a typical Seattle summer day. As we always do, we said a little prayer asking the Lord for his help and inspiration (and a little good weather). By the time we got the stage up it was clearing, and by the time the band went on stage at 1:00, it was clear with a few clouds. After lunch when they started the second set, it was clear and getting hot. About that time my skin started to feeling tight, and when I checked it it was turning red. OOPS! By the time we put on the sunblock it was to late. At work Laurel was calling me "Lobster Boy" today.

The concert was fantastic. The band, despite a few technical problems, was right on. Their normal gigs are in Penal Institutions, so usually everything is very structured, and we only see the band members and our fellow roadies, so it was great having a big family get together complete with spouses, kids and dogs. Frisbees, barbeque, watermelon and good fellowship.

Carol is a lot lighter skinned than I am, so she burned worse. She is currently a study in various shades of pink.

On the way home from a very good day, we were in a car wreck. I was trying to do too many things at once, like accellerate, change lanes and watch traffic in front of me. I noticed an opening in the HOV lane, so I was trying to move over, check my blind spot, and keep half an eye on traffic in front of me. Between when I looked to check in front of me, looked in my rear view mirror, checked my blind spot, and looked back, traffic had stopped. I was already 75% in the HOV lane, and I made it 90%, so when I hit the car in front of me it was a glancing blow. No one was hurt, but the car I hit , hit the car in front of him. So rather than going home to relax, I had my daughter come and pick up Carol and Vincent and Molly our Shi Tzu, while I stayed with the car until it got towed.

Between the accident and the sunburn I didn't get a whole lot of sleep Saturday night. I was unsettled and nauseous on Sunday, from nerves and sunburn. Sunday we were celebrating my birthday, which is actually today. So I barbequed steak and shrimp-ka-bobs, although I didn't eat a whole lot. I had consideable help, so there wasn't a whole lot left over.

When I got up to go to work, the battery on the "Z" was deader than dirt, so I thought "Hmmmmm, it's my birthday and my backup car won't start. Maybe it's a sign that I should take the day off." But that was just too easy a copout, so I threw it on the charger on 35 amp quick charge, but it still took almost an hour to get it to where it would start. So I was an hour late for work.

One of the gifts I got for my birthday was a set of external rear view mirrors, so when I got home tonight I put them on the "Z". The "Z" is going to be in a car show on Thursday so I wanted to make sure the new mirrors made it on. It was hot and sunny, so I didn't want to be out in the sun too long, but the installation wasnt too difficult. The mirrors look great. I will post a picture when I get the time.

That's all for now

In the words of the immortal bard Tigger "TTFN".

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Jazz Alley III

So, for the third weekend in a row, we went to Jazz Alley again last night. This time it was to see Acoustic Alchemy. I wanted to see them last time they were in town, but we had something else going that weekend, so we missed out. I was determined not to miss them this time, even though it was a strain on the budget to go out three weeks in a row.

It was well worth the expense. They are such a dynamic group. I have admired their work for a long time. I hear them on the local Jazz station on the radio, and they have such a complex mellow sound that has layers on top of layers, but revolving around two exceptionally tallented acoustic guitar players. One plays steel strings, the other nylon, and the stuff they can do is amazing. I have played both, but know just enough to leave me standing there shaking my head and wondering "How the hell did he do that?" They just came out with a new CD "American/English". Go buy it. The band is MUCH better in person than on the CD. You miss the whole Jammin' thing, and all the solos that you get in a live performance. They really had the place jumping last night, and received standing ovations. Great performance!

Next weekend we will be playing roadies for the Christian rock band Morning Light. They are giving a free public concert at Golden Gardens Park on Saturday. Two performances. It is also their CD Release party. It will be a lot of work, but a lot of fun, too. As always their message is that it is possible to have a good time without drugs and alcohol. Check the side bar for their website. You can even catch a glimpse of yours truly and my lovely wife Carol in the Backstage Pass section.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

MRI

I think I mentioned that I screwed up my sholder in High School throwing bad curve balls, and I have suffered the consequences. Last January, I hurt my right sholder again, and it doesn't seen to be able to recover on it's own, so I went to see the doctor. A shot of Cortisone didn't help, so it was off to the specialist for x-rays, and then to the Super-Duper-Specialist for an MRI (Magnectic Resonance Imaging). This is supposedly a pain free experience. Well I am here to tell you otherwise. Yes the actual MRI is painless, but they spent 45 minuted injecting special dye into the joint of my sholder before we got to the painless part. As I told them "I am not sweating like this because I was exercising".

Fortunately, the internal application of minor amounts of alcohol might get me to the point where I can sleep tonight. With being basically sleepless on the Fourth, not getting more that five hours last night, and probably not a whole bunch tonight, I guess I will need a 20oz Diet Coke with Lime tomorrow morning to get "Yump Started" as my Scandahovian friend would say.

I suppose I am facing surgery if I want to get it fixed, but CRAP I don't want to do it, but I can't even skip stones with my grandkids or play catch. Sure I don't throw things for a living, but I shouldn't have to give up that whole part of my life.

"Go not gently into that dark night, sweet Horatio."

"Go down gently, Go down silently.
I'll go down screaming 'Give it back it belongs to me'."

Monday, July 04, 2005

Jazz Alley II

I heard that Robben Ford was going to be at Jazz Alley this weekend, so it was dinner, drinks and a show again on Saturday. Carol wanted to know if we could afford ir, and all I had to say was "If I can't afford to go see a show and have dinner when I want, what the hell am I working for?" We spend most of our disposable income on kids and grandkids, so they can just cut back their expectations for a while. Besides, next weekend Acoustic Alchemy is going to be there, and I am not going to miss that show. When they were in town last year, I had other committments.

I have one month left to get things done for when Rick and Rachel and the kids are here for two weeks. I just hope Carol doesn't obsess too much about the house. Martha Stewart living will never feature our home, but it is comfortable and functional and I like it the way it is. Sure, there are things I would change if I had several thousand dollars to spare.

Today is the Fourth, and I can't help but stop for a minute and think about a small group of determined men who dared commit high treason against a tyrannical and opressive rule by a physically superior group of people in a foreign country, to inspire a belief in freedom that has changed and inspired the world. I also worry that the country that was born of opression and the desire for freedom has come to the conclusion that it is our responsibility to enforce our will throughout the world, whether we have justification or not. There was no smoking gun, no WMD. So, shame on all you newly discovered Conservatives who have abandoned your principles to cower behind your big daddy and declare "My daddy can beat up your daddy". That doesn't make him or you right. Whay kind of loyalty do you profess when you turn tail at the first sign of adversity and join the very forces that create the atmosphere of distrust and suspicion that makes things ripe for ferment? Go bow to your newly found gods of power and oil.

OBTW, just in case anyone thinks to claim higher ground, I am a disabled Vet who served our country proudly, and I support our troops, no matter what insanity our leaders have gotten them into.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Jazz Alley

Carol and I both like Jazz Alley: http://www.jazzalley.org/, which is listed as one of the planets top 100 Clubs. They always have high quality performers, and the Club is well run, serves good food, and there isn't a bad seat in the house.

Last night we went to see Dianne Schuur http://www.dianeschuur.com/content/albumthirteen.htm with The Carribean Jazz Project. She is a two-time Grammy award winning vocalist and they are a Grammy award winning band. Together they make for a pretty dynamic performance. She has this amazing voice, with a three octave range, and although she only did one number on the piano, she plays a mean jazz piano. Scat singing has never been my favorite part of Jazz, because everyone who thinks the are a jazz singer attempts it even though they aren't worth a damn. But when it is done right with the right band by the right artist, it is something else. Dianne Schuur is one of the few who really do it right. At times when she is scattin' you can't tell whether it is a musical instrument or her voice, but what the hell, her voice IS a musical instrument.

"Deedles", as she is known, was in fine voice, and the band was hitting all the right notes. It was a lot of fun. And a good dinner and a couple of T N' T's didn't hurt the situation at all.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Father's Day

I know, I am delinquent again. Father's Day was Sunday, and this is Tuesday, but since my dad passed away a few years ago, I guess he isn't waiting for this.

Dad was born and raised in New Mexico, up around the Four Corners country. His usual mode of transportation was horseback, up until the time he could afford a motocycle. In his years growing up he worked part time as a genuine old fashioned Cowboy, helping drift a herd of mixed stuff to summer pasture. His first job was working in a Trading Post on the Reservation. Since he spoke Navaho and Ute as well as Spanish and English, he often would translate letters for the locals into English to send off to whatever Bureau needed whatever. The very first thing he bought with his wages was a turquois ring, which I have. It's a little small for me, but I can get it on my little finger. Every once in a while when I am thinking of him I will get it out and wear it.

Seeing as he had worked as a cowboy, he adopted that taciturn strong silent type mentality represented so well in the movies. It was the one thing about him that always irked the heck out of me, that he wouldn't tell stories about himself. What we learned, we learned from others. I have a copy of a picture of him at 19 dressed in black, astride a Harly Davidson, black hair slicked back and one leg drapend oh so casually over the gas tank. There had to be some hell raising going on, but us kids never got to hear about it.

I didn't always get along with him. He was a staunch Catholic, and I got to where I didn't like the church. I still don't, but dad's faith was unshakable. I guess that divesting yourself of your parents is a part of growing up. The idea is to have it as painless as possible. It wasn't too dificult for me. Uncle Sam decided he needed me over on the other side of the world, but that is another story.

There were seven of us kids, every one independent, opinionated and intelligent. I do have to say that my folks must have done something right, as there is not a one of my sibligs that I don't consider a sucess in their own way.

After I got out of the Service, I got together with dad for a guys night. He came over and spent the night, and we got a gallon of wine. By the time we got through with it he had forgiven me for every wrong I had done, and I had forgiven him for every slight, real and imagined. We were never best buddies, but we got along and understood each other. Sometimes I really miss his plain down to earth common sense and dry sense of humor.

Here's to you dad, wherever you are. I was proud of you all the way to the end and beyond.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


New flooring in the spare bedroom Posted by Hello

The cabinets on the other side Posted by Hello

Here are the cabinets with the new veneer, and new smoke hood Posted by Hello

Just another day

I haven't recorded anything here lately. Pat of it is just procrastination, but I have also been busy with other things. Last time I made an entry, I was stalled out remodeling the kitchen, which, thankfully is pretty much done now except for putting the final finish on the cabinets. Man, will I ever be glad to be done. I started in December.

My baby (the 1977 Datsun 280) has been dead in the driveway with an electrical problem. Finally after a couple of months of frustration I managed to find a broken fusible link. It wasn't fried, just had an internal break in the wire, which wasn't even visible. I only found it by running the fusible link through my circuit tester, and I could see the meter needle fluctuating.

I also have put the floor in the spare bedroom. I only have to put in a filler strip around the edge and put in new molding, then start moving in furniture.

As soon as that is done I need to start planning what I am going to do with the deck off of the living room. The whole deck needs to be torn down and replaced. I have never cared for the design of the current deck, so here is a chance to completely remodel it. I want to expand it enough so it can also be a carport as well as a deck. I need to figure out the dimensions so I can run some numbers for the cost.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Rock Man

I was surfin' the BLOGs the other day and ran across one titled "Stoner", which reminded me of a poem I wrote in my mispent youth.

ROCK MAN

Smoke a pound of Marijuana
Take a hit of speed or ten
Drink that booze, guzzle Beer
Tom you little Stoner.

But some day soon you'll do your last
Of one more hit, or one more blast
But live today, forget the past
Tom you little Stoner.

You'll come home late and find your wife
Waiting with the butcher knife
as she begins to take your life
Tom you little Stoner.

They'll put you in your muted grave
and leave your soul for God to save
above your head the stone engraved
"Tom you little Stoner".

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Kitchen

I am getting close to finishing the kitchen, but got derailed by putting in the new smoke hood. When I tore out the other one, like most things in the house, it proved to be a lot more work than I anticipated.

The old smoke hood had been cut down from a larger smoke hood, to 30". Consequently the switches and exhaust flue were nor centered, but about four inches to the left. Consequently the hole in the shelf is also four inches to the left. The new smoke hood has a centered hole, so I knew I had to make a new shelf.. When I took the old flue down, I was flabbergasted. The tube was attached to a blank wall! There was no hole. I knew there was a vent attached to the wall on the outside, but when I tore things apart, it was four inches to the right and six inches lower than where the flue was attached.

The new smoke hood can be vented to the outside either through a 7" flue out the top, or a 4" by 6" hole out the back, The vent location in the wall didn't allow me to use the 7" circular duct, so I have to use the 4" X 6" vent, which means patching the old hole and cutting a new one, shimming the new one. When I was presented with all of the problems my forward progress kinda stalled out.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

SMOKE FREE!

Back in February I quit smoking. I have tried to quit numerous times. As I have always said "Quitting smoking isn't hard. Heck, I do it a couple of times a week". The last couple of years I have made a couple of attempts to quit, but they didn't last. Last time I got the patch. I did great as long as I had the patch, but when the patches were gone, I went right back to smoking. This time I used the patch for a week, and after that just went cold turkey. There was only one time when I went around checking ashtrays to see if I had left a butt somewhere, but it passed.

Since I am diabetic, I really needed to quit. Smoking constricts the blood vessels in your extremities, and with the diabetes already lessening the blood flow, you stand an increased chance of losing a foot or leg. I rather like all my parts, and don't want to give any of them up. I had an uncle and a Great Aunt who lost a leg because they smoked and didn't control their diet.

As a consequence of quitting smoking, I also gave up beer. I have always said that it is a part of being in correct ballance. If you have a beer in one hand, you need to have a cigarette in the other to ballance. Besides,alcohol dilates yor blood vessels, so I figured that would cancel out the nicotine. Giving up the beer has proven to be more of a challenge, because the correlation is not as direct. But the doctor put me on a different diabetes medication, and it discourages drinking. I never was a heavy drinker, I just like a beer in the evenings when I get home.

Guess I'll give one of the non-alcoholic beers a try.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Confession

I have to confess........I have been surfing the BLOGs and not leaving comments. I know it's kinda like being a peeping Tom. You sidle up to the windows of someone elses life, peek in (hopefully without being caught) and take a peek at a litle piece of their soul. When you've had enough you go on to another window. Or maybe you return to one you've already peeped in.

It's addictive.

So I confess my sin, and apollogize to all of you out there. Tommorow, I may be peeking in YOUR BLOG!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Capsules

Cast iron mind corset
Impenetrable non-thought process
Reality in a tin cup
Begged from street corner blind men
All is watersplash

Sweet cream thought love
Alone in neon speculation
As darkened earth-roots
Pierce a rock
Seeking satisfaction

Burning skyhook
Unilateral concentration
For only five dollars
You too can see
The face of GOD

Capsules
Swallow enough
And you're bound to die

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Last Down Day

Once every eleven days, we have a day in the schedule when there is no airplane in my position, so it is called a down day. Today is the last down day, because they are stepping up the production rates. So let's have a moment of silence for the last down day (Zzzzzzzzzzzz)

I had my physical yesterday, and everything was good, except I had to break down and get a shot of cortizone in my right sholder. I screwed it up in high school throwing too much crap when I was pitching. I had this wicked knuckle-curve that would start out like it was going to hit the batter in the head, and it would break down and to the left, and if I had thrown it right, be a called strike. I remember seeing a guy bail out of the batters box for what ended up a strike. Anyway I have a torn rotator cuff, and every once in a while it gets bad enough that I have to get a shot. For a couple of days after I am not sure if I did the right thing, but after that, everything is good for a couple of years.

I didn't post anything on or about Mother's Day. On Sunday I was too busy DOING Mother's Day to write about it, and afterwards I just didn't get around to it. Sunday after church, we stopped off at DQ for lunch, and Carol gave in to temptation and got a big Sundae. She had been fantasizing about ice cream lately, being on a diet and all, so I more or less insisted she suspend the rules for one day. Afterwards we went to the Movies to see "Sahara". It was a very entertaining movie. I have read all of the Clive Cussler books, so I was prepared to be disappointed, but I enjoyed it. The only detail that really bugged be was that the "sidekick" Al Giordino just didn't look like a swarthy Italian. He looked more like he was Irish. But that is a small complaint. The story didn't follow the book exactly, but the things they left out would not have played on the big screen.

Afterwards I barbequed a rolled Sirloin Roast and a good time was had by all.

My mom is 78, and lives by herself, but we kids keep track of her. Since we had a full day planned on Saturday, I dropped off a plant and card on Saturday and stayed and chatted for about an hour. She is an amazing woman. Managed to raise seven intelligent, opinionated kids and retain her sanity. When I was going through the process of adopting Vincent I described her to the social worker as "June Cleaver, but without the pearls and skirt".When I was growing up, I thought all families were like us, with a mom that stayed home, a dad that worked, they loved each other and provided a stable nurturing environment for their kids. It wasn't until I grew up and got out in the world that I saw what carnage Family can cause to each other.

Monday, May 09, 2005

For Clyde

I had this Lead Man, named Clyde Sparks, who always referred to people as monkeys in suits, so this is for him:

For Clyde

The mustachioed organ grinder
and his hire-suited charge
cavorted at the waterfront
beside a rotting barge

And when the day was over
each received his due
the man he kept the cup of coins
the monkey kept the fruit

I was never sure when it was done
and we divided up the loot
whether it was I that ground the organ
or wore the monkey suit.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Sunday morning

Carol and I have been attending Calvary Community Church for the last couple of years. Well, she has been attending for about five years, and I have been going since we met. I feel so CONNECTED with this church, more than I ever have with any church. When we met, Carol was living in Bonney Lake, and the church was in Sumner, maybe five miles away. Now we are liveing in Seattle, and Sumner is a 45 minute drive on a good day.

So we are church shopping. Today is our second attempt at finding a new church that we like. It is fortunate that most churches nowadays have web sites, so you can eliminate the ones that don't fit you own personal set of preferences. There is so much variability in style and substance that it is difficult to find one that feels right. We tried a different church, here in Renton for a while but I didn't care for the pastor, and thought there was too much music and not enough teaching. Small things, but enough that I was not comfortable. The purpose of church is to worship God, and attest to your faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Master. The surroundings are not as important as the act. But it sure is nice when everything comes together just right and you feel that moment of connection with The Lord and the Congregation.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Update from the Ozone

Spent two hours in the Dentist's chair. The entertainment value is way over rated, but the drugs ain't bad. Seriously though, I had permanent caps put on six teeth, and it wasn't much fun at all. Home and a Percocet made things some better, but I really don't like Percocet that much. It puts me in a lala land where I am feeling no pain but I am dizzy and can't sleep. Can't take the stuff and drive. Can't read. About all I can do is sit there and watch TV, which I don't usually do, because most of the time TV isn't worth watching.

As you can see from the pictures, I have completed the Kitchen Cabinets. That is not to imply that I am completely done with the kitchen. I still have to fab a closeout panel for above the sink, do some tile work, and put in a new smoke hood, but the veneer work is done.

My face feels like if I went to look in the mirror I would see Jason looking back at me with the hockey mask. Think I better go watch reruns.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


Me on the left, my brother Bill in the center, my brother Larry on the right. The main reason for publishing this was to show how dark the cabinets were before I reveneered them. And besides, it is a good picture of all three of us. Posted by Hello

Similar plate we got for Christmas Posted by Hello

New Plate we bought at Cannon Beach Posted by Hello

More cabinets Posted by Hello

Newly veneered Kitchen cabinets Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Internet Frustration

Carol's son Rick and his family live in Utah. We don't get to see them very much, living here in the northwest cornewr of the map, so we decided to fly them up in August, when Rick has vacation. The grandkids have never seen the ocean, although you could classify the Great Salt Lake as the last vestiges of an ocean. At any rate we are going to fly them up and the can stay with us for a couple of weeks and visit and we will go to the ocean and camp out for three or four days.

So I got on the computer to book the flights up here and back home for them. I have used Travelocity for the last couple of years, and have no complaints with their service. I still have no complaints with their service, but it took me about an hour to work my way throught all of the stinking pop-ups and bullshit to complete the process.

The internet service providers are going to have to find a way to GET THIS CRAP OFF OF MY COMPUTER. And I mean for free. The public is only going to be inconvenienced for so long and then it will go back to the old way of doing things. I mean, how many times recently has someone broken in on your phone converation to try and sell you Viagra?

The ISPs had better beware, because we will only put up with so much crap before we find a different way of doing things.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Beemer

My daughter, Rose had this beater BMW. A 1982 320i that was pretty good transportation except for when the left rear wheel fell off (not once, but multiple times). Once I figured out what the problem was and fixed it, it became reliable wheels. Back in January, someone stole her car and trashed it. After they were through joy riding, they put a brick on the gas pedal and turned it loose. The police said it flipped five times and took out a trafic signal control box before ending up upside down in the median. The car was destroyed. Since we only had liability on it, she was just out, and since she is only 20, and supporting herself off of a job selling motor clothes at Downtown Harley-Davidson in Tukwilla, it was up to the National Bank Of Dad to come up with the money for a new beater.

She called up in a panic Monday night, because she had received a bill in the mail from the City of Tukwilla for $13,000.00 for property damage caused by the crash. I told her that she is in no way responsible for paying the bill since the car was stolen. The city is just trying to find somebody to stick with the costs. It frosts my butt that they are trying to stick her. After all, she reported the car stolen and they have the police report, so it's not like they don't know. I told her to just pass the bill along to her insurance company.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Wedding

As you can tell by the picture, we went to a wedding this weekend. My daughter Roseanna's good friend Brittany got married on Saturday. Weddings always make you stop and take a look at your own relationship. I hope that Brittany and Azel are doing as well after a couple of years as Carol and I are. They are so young (20) to be getting married, at least from my perspective. So much to look forward to, so many trials and triumphs.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Vincent

Vincent is my granson, who is 12 years old, whom I have adopted. I love him a lot, and want to see that he gets a fair start in life, but like all parents, I worry.

Vinnie just went and got "World of Warcraft" to play on the computer. It is a live interactive medieval game, and you can join with you friend on line and explore this huge on line world. Vinnie about drove me nuts tring to get the game. At first I was against it because there is a subscription fee of $15.00 for two months. I could just see me getting stuck with the subscription fee forever.

At any rate, Vinnie traded in hix Game Cube and a couple of games for "World of Warcraft" and a couple of months of subscription, so it was something he did all on his own.

He installed the program when we got home from Oregon, and he is like obsessed with the game. He would spend his every available moment playing Warcraft if we would let him. His two chores are to take out the garbage and wash the dishes, but we have to pry his fingers off of the compter to get him to do them. He was getting so obsessed that I figured I had to set some limits, so I limited him to four hours a day, ending at 7:00. His bed time is 10:00 on school nights, so that gives him a couple of hours for friends and homework and chores. I figure that's pretty fair.

I had a Meatloaf sandwich and a drink at about like 8:00 last night and went to bed about 9:00, but the sandwich and the drink didn't get along, so I tossed and turned with heartburn until about 1:00. I finally got up and went downstairs to get some peptobismal at 1:30, and here is Vincent out in the kitchen. I asked him what he was doing, and he said "Getting a drink of Water", which wasn't exactly a lie, because that IS what he was doing at that exact moment, but I looked over and saw that the computer was loggong off, so I knew he HAD been playing Warcraft. When I asked him he readily admitted it, but what I really didn't like was the was he was sneaky about it. Anyway, his punishment is no more WARCRAFT for the rest of the week, to include the weekend. That also means he can't go over to his friends, because they would just play the game over there. Next time two weeks, a third time, and I will take the game off of the computer.

This isn't about playing Warcraft, it is about trust and boundaries. It is a parent's responsibility to set boundaries, and kids constantly test the boundaries. I guess it's almost a duty to constantly push the boundaries. It is a part of becoming an entity separate from the family. I sure don't expect a kid to grow up without getting into trouble, and as long as we deal with it straight up and honestly, we can get through anything. The real issue here is trust. Carol and I have to get to bed early (By 9:00) so we have been letting Vincent stay up after us, as long as he gets into the sack by 10:00. I guess we will have to curtail that, and insist that he go to bed at 9:00, when we do. At least for a while.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

New Pope

Well, the World has itself a new Pope. I am disappointed in the Cardinals and the Church. Here was an apportunity to bring a new voice and a new direction to one of the most revered and ancient organizations on the face of the Earth. John Paul had dragged the Church, kicking and screaming, into the 20th century, so now they are only a hundred years or so out of date. Here was a chance to elect a leader to bring them in the 21st Century, and they fumbled the baton.

I was raised Catholic, but I no longer am. I AM a Christian, and a believer, but I have grave issues with the Catholic Church, starting with contraception. Here is a little bit of the logic, or lack thereof that disturbs me:

The Church is against contraception, although a good number of it's Priests turn an unseeing eye to the practice, the official policy is against it. Mortal Sin, Eternity in Hell. Flash to Africa, where AIDS is running rampant. Unprotected sex is a ticking time bomb, but protected sex is a condemnation to Eternity in Hell. Talk about Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

The new Pope's stance on contraception is conservative. I wonder if he can discern the difference between Contraception and Self Preservation.

I suppose like any newly elected Official, I should give him a 100 day period of grace before I pass judgement, but the early indicators is that he is a Conservative Traditionalist that would like to drag us all back to the 17th century.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Home Again!

Just got in last night from a week on the Oregon Coast. Check out the sunset photo below. My family has a time-share Condo in Rockaway Beach, which is about 15 miles north of Tilamook. The building is so close to the beach that you can watch the waves from inside the room. The sunset photo was taken standing inside the condo with the sliding glass door to the balcony open.

The weather was typical for spring. A little bit of everything. Sun, wind, hail. We only had one day that was bad enough that we didn't feel like going out and doing anything. We hiked the Tilamook Spit (8.2 miles), went up to Canon Beach and did the tourist bit going through the shops. They have some very upscale merchandise there. We bought a ceramic plate there. Maybe I will get around to taking a picture of it. It matches very well with a plate we already have hanging on the wall. Vincent and I went out and flew my two string kite. We got pretty good at flying it. I like to fly it as close to the wind as possible, then slowly get it to come down, touch the ground, then bring it back up.

On the way out of town we went to McMinnville to the Air Museum to see The Spruce Goose. The Spruce Goose is the largest airplane ever built, with a wingspan bigger than a football field. It is almost impossible to get a picture that captures just how big it is, but I included a couple. We spent about three hours in the museum. I was impressed. I am a member of The Museum of Flight in seattle, and the museum there was a rival for the quality and quantity of exhibits.

Then we went south to Coberg, which is right outside Eugene, and spent the night with my cousin Ginger and her husbald Pat. The have a lovely home, and it is beautifully decorated. Carol was practically turning green with envy. Our place is still in midst remodel, so we are a couple of years away from where their place is.

Tomorrow is back to work, back to first shift. While I am not looking forward to getting up at 5:00 in the morning, it will be great to see Carol every day now.

SR-71 under the wing of the Spruce Goose Posted by Hello

The Spruce Goose Posted by Hello

Sunset from the balcony of out condo in Rockaway Beach Oregon Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Good News!

Kinda a frustrating day today. My "baby", the 1977 Datsun 280Z, decided to quit in the parking lot of the Credit Union today. It was running just fine when I shut it off, but when I went to start it back up, nothing. Not even a click or anything. It was like there wasn't even a battery in it. After a couple of hours of frustration, a friendly tow truck driver helped me track down the wiring issue, But I was three hours late for work.

When I got to work, good news was waiting. We are going on vacation on Friday, and will be gone all next week. When I report back to work, it will be on first shift (WOOHOO!!!!!). I will never be a big fan of getting up at 5:00 to report at 6:00, but it beats the heck out of being on second shift and never getting to see Carol during the week.

Stained glass ceiling in Patzcuaro Posted by Hello

How Often do you get to pat a god on his bare ass? Posted by Hello

Carol and I walking the Avenida de los Meurtos at Teotithuacan, Mexico. Posted by Hello

This is the Tibetan Magnolia in my front yard, in full bloom. Posted by Hello

Monday, April 04, 2005

Flashback

Today is Carol's birthday, and the beginning of a hectic week, but it always brings to mind the same week, two years ago.

Saturday will be our second aniversary We met on August 24th, 2002. We went out to Jazz Alley to see Karrin Allyson. I had the new york steak, she had salmon. The show was great,a good time was had by all. It started a wild ride that culminated with our marriage on April the 9th 2003. It was quite a ride in between, and afterward as far as that goes. I won't say it was love at first site, but damn close.

In January, when we came back to my place after spending the day down at her place in Bonney Lake, we walked in to find that my house had been burglarized. I am not a person that places a great deal of value in "stuff", but there was one thing that was stolen that cause my heart do drop to the bottom of my stomach.

I had just spent weeks going to every jewelry store in the south end of Seattle, as well as a couple in North Tacoma to find the perfect engagement ring. After spending over $5,ooo.oo on an absolutely perfect 3/4 carat diamond, I was denied the privelege of asking Carol to marry me in the regular way, because she was sitting right there on the couch when I gave the burglary report to the police. She didn't have any idea that I had bought a ring, and here I was telling the police that it had been stolen. As much as it bothers me that we were burglarized, what really pissed me off was that I lost that one and only opportunity to ask her without her expecting it. Of course the fact that I had just purchased it, and it was not on my homeowners insurance was bad, but it wasn't the money it was the loss of the moment that angered me.

It is really strange, but the only thing that was recovered was the engagement ring. I guess that some things were just meant to happen.

We set a Date for April 9th. Since we are both over 50, and have both been married before, we didn't want to make any big deal of it, so we just made a date with a judge.

The Sunday before we were to be married, we were down visiting her dughter Lisa, who was seven months pregnant. When we were leaving she told Carol that somethng didn't feel right, and she was going to see the doctor on Monday.

Carol got the call at work, and the baby wasn't showing any vital signs. They would be taking the baby on Wednesday after running a bunch of tests and who knows what else. Carol stayed with her daughter on Tuesday, and I joined her at the hospital on Wednesday. I was there in the delivery room when they took little Xavier from his mothers womb, and I stood in the halway with Carol in my arms as she sobbed and wanted the know "WHY??". I held the perfectly formed little body in my hands and asked the same question. They never did figure out why he died. There wasn't anything wrong that they could determine as a cause of death. It still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.

So we were faced with a delima. Do we go ahead with the wedding?

We decided that the right thing to do was the right thing to do, regardless of the circumstances. If you allow yourself to be steered away from the path every time you face adversity in life, you will go nowhere and achieve nothing.

We spent the night on a cot in the Hospital, to be there for Lisa, got up early, went to my place, got dressed, met the judge and got married. Grieving and rejoicing at the same time. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, and did some of both.

In life, you can ride the merry-go-round and try to be as safe and sane as possible, or you can ride the biggest baddest roller-coaster you can find, and hang on tight in the corner, be there for each other, and scream your lungs out. I don't believe in taking the safe path.

If life is like a car race, you should come throught the last turn in a four wheel drift, jump out of the car, exhausted and thrilled to the core, and yell "WHAT A RIDE!!! What's next?"

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Sunday Downtime

Monday is Carol's birthday, so we went to Jazz Alley in Seattle to see Shamekia Copeland. Jazz Alley was voted the best Live Music Venue in Seattle in 2004, and Shamekia is a Handy award winning young (26) Blues vocalist and an excellent entertainer as well. The food was great and the show was great.
So we slept in this morning and were a little slow out of the sheets. Oh well. birthdays don't come around all that often.
I now have the veneer done on the upper half of the kitchen cabinets, and the doors done on the bottom half. After I get done with the veneer, there is still the fill and final finish to do, but things are coming along nicely. I'll publish a picture when I'm donr. Too bad I don't have a "Before" picture, although I do have one of my brothers and I in the kitchen from a couple of years ago with the cabinets in the background.
Next Friday we leave for a week on the Oregon Coast. The family owns a Time Share condo at the Rockaway Beach Resort which is about 15 miles north of Tillamook. We trade around out three weeks a year, and Spring Break is coming up so we have an oportunity to get out of Dodge for a week. A badly needed week, I might add.

Here's my sweetie, Carol. This is taken on the spit at Tillamook, Oregon, in the middle of an 8 mile hike. Posted by Hello

Friday, April 01, 2005


The two right in the middle are Carol and I. We are "Roadies" for a Christian rock band "Morning Light". Good Music, good message. good times. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Hump Day

Here it is Wednesday already, and I haven't accomplished much of anything this week. I am puting new veneer on my kitchen cabinets. I have all of the cabinet doors done, still need to do the drawers. It is kinda a big pain in the ass, but I am far enough along that I can see the end in sight.

I want to get the kitchen done before I go back on first shift, which is tentatively scheduled for April 18th, but we are going to Oregon to the beach for a week the 8th thru the 15th, so I have like a week to get done. I don't think I am going to make it unless I go all out this weekend.

I made a major tactical error with the cabinets.

I have this big old barn of a house (2850 sq. ft.) on three floors (Or two floors and a daylight basement if you prefer). The original structure was built in the late 30's, and a top floor was put on it in the 70s. The guy that did the rebuild didn't have the best materials or skills. It's not like it is in danger of falling down or anything, just that whenever I go to fix one thing, I find three of four other things that need to be fixed along with whatever I set out to do.

An example is the downstairs bathroom. My daughter Rose was taking a shower, when a portion of the shower surround fell in on her. It had pulled loosed from the wall, but when I looked at it, I couldn't just put it back on, because the wall behind it was rotting away. It had not been sealed properly around the edges, and water was working its way in behind the surround. At any rate, I had to section the wall up three feet all the way around, and put in a new shower surround. While I was at it, I put in a new mirror, vanity, replumbed the sink, rewired most of the bathroom, and put in new lighting fixtures. Three monthe an a couple of thousand dollars later, we got the full use of the bathroom back.

Then there was the upstairs bath. But that is a different story.

I was redoing the spare bedroom upstairs, when my lovely wife Carol and I got into a discussion about the kitchen. The kitchen cabinets were covered with this really cheap dark walnut vinyl. We hated the cabinets because they were so dark they just sucked the life out of the room.

I told her I would "reskin" the cabinets when I was done with the spare bedroom. She went "HUH?" so I said "You know, reveneer the cabinets." "HUH?" So I took her out and shower her a spot between two cabinets that had a 1" filler strip between the cabinets. She looked at it, grabbed the bottom, and tore it off of the cabinet. Next thing I knew she was out there with a putty knife and a hammer, and we had no veneer on the cabinets.

I called around and got some 10 mil white oak veneer, and a gallon of contact cement and started pulling the cabinet doors off one at a time, taking them down in the basement, reveneering them, bringing back up and remounting. The bad part is that the fumes from the contact cement are wickedly nasty. I was getting higher than a kite even with the basement doors wide open. I finally had to buy a high quality respirator. The high wasn't so bad, but the headaches afterwards were killer. Besides I probably don't have any brain cells to spare.

Some day I am going to learn when to keep my mouth shut.

Or maybe not.