Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Kitchen floor

Here are some pictures of the kitchen floor. The white stuff is before, the others after.
I think it looks pretty outstanding.
Now if I was only done with it, but the doc told me to take it easy for a couple of days, so it will have to wait for Saturday.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Had to go visit the Dr. today.

I have been experiencing some numbness in my thumb and forefinger, along with a shooting pain down my right arm when I turn my head to the right at a certain angle.

No big deal, although it is a little weird working with my hands. This is not unusual for me. I injured my upper back/neck in high school and have experienced the same thing before. If I sleep wrong, it starts happening, but after a couple of days it works its way out. This time it has been a week, and Mrs A. nagged me into seeing the Doc.

I told the Doc I have a pinched nerve in my neck, and it should get better. She looked me over and agreed, said to take Ibuprofin. I asked if Naproxin Sodium woud do the same thing, she said for some people.

The thing about Naproxin Sodium, is that it lasts 12 hours, Ibuprofin for 4 to 6. When I take Tylenol or Ibuprofin they last for 4 to 6, and I wake up at 3 to 4 and have to take something else, but when I am awake, I have a hard time getting back to sleep. Much better to take something that lasts 12, if it works. Guess I'll be experimenting for the next couple of days.

I was supposed to get an x-ray, but by the time I got to the x-ray department, it was closed. Guess I'll have to go tomorrow. I hate to go back, but what the hell. I really don't think they can do anything for me, but I'll go through the motions.

I'm just getting old.

No whining here. Getting old beats the hell out of the alternative.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Well, I got better than half the kitchen floor done Saturday. It looks real nice, but I wish someone else would volunteer to finish it for me. I took tonight off.

L. finally called her mom on Saturday. They hadn''t talked in several months, and Mrs A. was getting real crazy about it. The last couple of times L. called, Mrs A. didn't want to talk to her, so she was afraid to call again out of fear of rejection.

We had them over to dinner, and everything went OK.

Shortly after they left there was a knock on the door. I answered it, and it was one of R's lifelong friends. She grew up without a dad, so I have been her substitute dad since she was in grade school. She and R. had gotten in a terrible fight, so she was worried about the reception she would get. She got big hugs abd we had an hour and a half of very good conversation. Mrs A really likes her, and was worried about her, since we hadn't heard from her since before Christmas.

So Mrs A awakened this morning with a song in her heart. Unfortunately it made it as far as her vocal chords. I love her dearly, but she can't carry a tune in a bushel basket. She was singing with great gusto, using both her notes. It was great to hear her in such a good mood, and I'm sure the damage to my earbones is not permanent.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday Night

This has actually been a quiet week, here in Alville, something that doesn't happen very often. When we first got together, we were both riding the merry-go-round, but we knew if we got together, it would not continue.

What we decided was, that instead of the merry-go-round, we would attempt to ride the roller coaster. We will hang on tight to each other and scream like hell in the corners.

We have survived so far, but it has not been easy.

My mom has said "It is a testament to your love for each other that you have stayed together through all of the stuff you have been through".

Some times it seems like we have to pack a lifetime of crap into our relationship.

We will survive.

On a lighter note, on Fridays at work they serve an excellent clam chowder. I usually don't pack a lunch, because I love the chowder. That doesn't keep me from making fun of it.

I am standing in line with T, and remark "Once I got the clam".

"You know, they take a 55 gllon drum of chowder, and they drag a clam through it on a string. If you are lucky, the string breaks, and you get the clam. Once I got the clam."

People were chuckling at our conversation.

As I got in line to check out, I heard T. behind me "Hey Al, I saw the clam. I didn't get it, but I saw it."

I suggested that we should start a society. The ""I saw the Clam" society. We should print t-shirts with the slogan.

"I saw the clam."

We wondered how long it would take Management to ban us.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


In her neverending quest to make sure that I do not waste my life in unproductive pursuits like drinking beer and watching sports or even reading abook, Mrs A. has arranged for the next task that will occupy my other-than-at-work time.

Last fall she decided that we needed new flooring in the kitchen. Although I valliantly attempted to delay this major chore, we went out last week and bought new flooring for the kitchen.

It came in last night, and I went down to Home Depot and picked it up. It is sitting out in the music room, mocking me.

I suggested to Mrs A. that I should take off today to consider the best way to install this flooring. She told me that I want to stay home every day. I said that was fine with me, I could stay home every day if she insisted.

I want to go play with the new flooring, but the packages very plainly state "Not to be opened until the day of usage".

It is free floating composite flooring that snaps together like Pergo, but is made to look and feel like stone. The color is Copper Slate, which has a kinda beige background with copper colored highlights. It will go real well with the white oak cabinets and antique copper handles I put in last winter.

Guess I know what I'll be doing this weekend

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

What Tangled web

Sometimes thing happen that are such a web of events that they just seem more than coincidental. One thing happens that causes another that causes another, and all the sudden, years later, an unexpected result comes of it that it seems there is a larger thing at work.

But I ramble. Something I am good at.

This starts quite some time ago.

My son was in the process of a trainwreck of a first marriage. I got a call, and he was being kicked out of the house by CPS. It seems his stepdaughter had accused him of peeking at her in the shower. She was 11, and hated him. I won't go into all the details or anything, but CPS in their normal heavy-handed manner decided he had to leave.

I let him move in here, knowing the allegations were probably false, but not denying something might have happened.

His first wife was a complete slob. I refused to go see my grandkids because the house was such a pig sty that I couldn't stand seeing them living like that. Instead, I babysat the kids at my house. I have wonderful memories of getting up on the weekend and sitting with them in a big chair, one on each side, drowsing in the morning sunshine while reading the Sunday funnies..

Because the house was unfit for human occupation, once my son was out of the house, they declared her an unfit mother.

By this time the girl had admitted that what she had said was not true, but it was too late. The kids had been taken by the State.

My son could not get custodey, so the kids were placed in Foster Care. I took V. Some very nice people took the two younger kids. The oldest, the daughter who started this series of events went to stay with her great grandparents. I did my best to make sure that everyone was safe and taken care of. No one else in the family seemed willing to step forward and do anything.

I tried to work with the oldest daughter, but she was totally out of control. Any time anyone tried to set limits for her, she went the other way.

She was pregnant at 14, put in a State House for kids, ran away, was taken back. I tried to get her what help she needed, but you can't help someone who won't be hepled.

Eventually we lost contact.

Some months ago she started calling here to try and get back in touch with V. By calling from an unlisted number, she eventually did. She is 18 now, employed, and engaged to be married.

We had her over, and let V. go spend the weekend with her, being very cautious the whole time.

When she was over, R. was here one time. They had stayed in some contact over the years, and since they both had troubled pasts, they hit it off.

She has memories of me being a "Kick ass" grandpa, and realized over the years I was just trying to do the best thing for her. When she bought a used car, she brought it over to me to check out. I told her it had a blown head gasket, and pointed out a couple of other things wrong with it.

She took it back to the lot with a "My grandpa says" attitude, and they agreed to fix it for free.

When she and R. got back together, she reccommended R. for a job where she worked. R. went in for an interview, and was hired.

Is it all just coincidence, or was there a larger thing at work? Bread cast upon the waters, does indeed return in time.

I don't live my life on the principal that my every attempted good deed will be rewarded, but it is fulfilling to know that some times, good comes from them.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Got nothin' here

Just another day. The most that happened today was that I went to book rooms at the Kalaloch Lodge and the prices kept coming out WAY higher than I expected.

The attack of the fine print demons.

Although this is the off season, and prices are lower in the off season, the little bitty asterisk leads to the caveat box, which says that off season prices only apply Monday thru Thursday.


So I either pony up the extra salad or give up on Kalaloch.

I think I'll double check the budget. I'm sure I can find a few extras in there somewhere that we can do without.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Back at it

I'm still having trouble with Blogger. For some reason, I can't add a post from work. It just won't connect to the dashboard.

At least it will now let me add comments. It wouldn't let me do that last week. Any improvement is good, I guess.

My head was still over at the Lodge. I just couldn't seem to get engaged. Good thing there wasn't a whole lot to do.

We are planning our next excursion. We ususally go to Lake Quinault fot our anniversary (April 9th) but I think we are going to go to the beach instead. There is a resort at Kalaloch that has a bunch of cabins for rent, and they are critter friendly, so Molly can come along. The rates aren''t too bad in the off season, a little over a hundred bucks a night, so it will be comparable to Lake Quinault.

The only thing to consider is that we are going to Maple Lane with Morning Light the weekend before, and we might be a little worn out.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Lake Quinault

Here are some pictures I took this morning on our morning walk.

First: Proof positive that it does sunshine in the Rain Forest. even in the Winter

The little bird in the picture is no bigger than your two thumbs put together

We saw five large salmon going up this stream. I don't think they can make itup the falls. Atleast none of them did while we were watching. The fish were about three feet long and probably wieghed around 15 lbs.

The trail along the edge of the lake. Moss growing on everything. It was so peaceful and quiet. A few birds chirping the background lap of small waves on the shore.
Very restful. Just what the doctor ordered.
We had a wonderful dinner last night. Braised salmon for two, served on a cedar plank, with Lobster mashed potatoes, and seared vegetables. A berry cobbler with vanilla ice cream for desert. We waddled back to the room and went into a food coma.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


No big romantic thing today. I have reserved rooms at The Lake Quinault Lodge for the weekend. Mrs A. wanted to have a drink tonight to commemorate the 4th anniversary of my proposal, so I bought her a bottle of the best Rum I could find.

My mom is coming over to take care of V. this weekend, so Mrs A. and I can get away for a quiet weekend by ourselves. I am SO looking forward to a quiet weekend. The nice thing about going away is that you can't feel guilty about sitting around not doing anything if that was the whole purpose of your trip. We will probably go for a nice long walk in the rain, but that is about it.

And NO I'm not going to go into any detail about what other things we have planned!

Monday, February 12, 2007

New Bolgger sucks!

Basically because I had no choice, I was forced into the new blogger. I am less than happy with the results.

I cannot access my blog(s) other than at home. At times it is impossible to post comments. When I was assimilated, one of my blogs (STAR) lost significant content. STAR is the book I am working on, and Chapter One just disappeared. I have backup, but that's not the point. What if I didn't? Chaper one is just right.

Had a very nice weekend with Mrs A. I have promised to redo the floor in the kitchen. I had heard of a product that is like Prego, but in immitation stone. Only available by special order from Home Depot. A little expensive, but it is for OUR home, so on Saturday we went to take a look.

We settled on Copper Slate. It is like slate but with tan and orange colors. It will reflect the antique copper handles on the cabinets, while rflecting the Oak cabinets. It should look great. The stuff won't be available for a week to ten days, so I have a momentary respite from the honeydo list. I'm quite sure Mrs A. will find the next thing that needs to be done.

R. called today to tell me she has found a job. I am thrilled. It starts at $11.00 an hour and has full benefits. Paid sickleave and vacation, health coverage, Dental benefits. Please, God, help her through the first couple of weeks.

The whole job thing is such a weird bunch of coincidences that if I didn't already, it might make me believe in God.

More about that later.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


The Peanut Queen requested that I show a couple of my pictures, since I put in my MEME the other day that I have actually sold a couple.
Most of my stuff, I give away, but here are a few I had hanging around.
The photo's aren't that great because they are in frames and there is a lot of reflection, but you can get the idea.
They are not long on pretty, but that wasn't what I was looking for.

Friday, February 09, 2007


This is a picture of our Grandson, Benjamin. When Mrs A. went toUtah at Christmastime, she took this picture at the airport when she was coming home.

Benjamin insisted on helping her with her luggage, so here he is with her carry-on.

The trust and innocence in those eyes almost revives my hope for mankind.

We all start out with such eyes, but over time they become jaded and untrusting.

Oh, to be able to see the world through those eyes again!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Vending Machines Promote Insanity

Every day when I get to work, I go down to the vending machines and get myself a 20 0z. Diet Coke with Lime.

Some like their caffiene warm, I like mine cold. This is not an optional activity. I NEED IT!

So I always make sure I have a couple of ones and some change. This morning I had the required $1.35, so I ambled down to the automated chaos of the vending machnes.

Everyone has had bad experiences with vending machines. Taking your money and giving you nothing, product hanging up in the machine, not giving you the right change.

My favorite was when you ordered a soda in the old machines that filled paper cups, and the cup failed to drop. You watched helplessly as the soda and then the syrup and your money went literally down the drain.

Today the vending machine took a dislike to the dollar bill I fed it. I have no idea what it didn't like about that particular bill. It was practically new, unwrinkled and seemingly free from defects.

I checked it, turned it around and tried it the other way. Still no, again, no, again, no.

In the midst of this I remembered one definition I had heard of insanity: Doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

As if by telepathy, the machine must have sensed my thoughts, because it accepted the dollar bill. Same machine, same dollar bill, same everything, different result.

Pschological studies of rats showed that the most powerful way to reinforce behavior is with a random reward/punishment system.

The rats were placed in a cage with a lever. When they pressed the lever they some times got food, sometimes got a shock, sometimes got nothing. The rats would sit there and press the lever until they collapsed from exhaustion. Even more than the rats that got rewarded every time they pressed the lever.

So in the bigger rat race we are being programmed for insanity by machines through a random punishment/reward system.

And don't tell me it's a coicidence.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


I was tagged by
  • An Exraordinary Woman in an Ordinary life
  • with this MEME.

    The recipient is to reveal five little known facts about his or her self. Got to put my thinking cap on for this one.

    First of all: I am a published poet. Just barely. I have had several things published. Nothing extaordinary, but still, my words on paper, published by someone else. I don't count internet stuff. Some of it I have put here when I run out of anything to say.

    Second: My first love tried to comitt suicide. Took a bottle of pills. It left me devestated for years. I was walking around talking and functioning, but I was in a state of suspended animation. She left a note. It wasn't me she was running from, but her parents. She was 18, I was 19. For years afterwards she was in my mind, and every time I thought of her the bottom dropped out of my stomach and my throat got tight.

    Third: I have actually sold a couple of paintings. I dabble with art. I had a chance to go professional at one point, but I had a family to support, so I went for stability and a reliable paycheck. Every once in a while, I get a wild hair and drag out the art supplies and do something, but it's been a couple of years since I have done anything more advanced than doodles. One of my co-workers once compared my notepads to the journals in MYST. I love doing creative things with my hands. My latest effort was to repair a sadly damaged accoustic guitar. I carved a new nut and bridge out of mamoth ivory, reset the fretboard and restrung it.

    Fourth: I am a voracious reader. I have to have something to read. If I didn't have a book, I'd read Magazines, or newspapers. If I didn't have them, I think I would read soup can labels and cereal boxes. I have read thousands of books, and my library at home contains several hundred.

    Last: I proposed to Mrs A, on Valentines Day. It will be four years next Wednesday. It was at the Lake Quinault Lodge. I have reserved a room there for the weekend after Valentines Day. My mom is going to watch V. that weekend, so we will have a quiet weekend away by ourselves (With our Shi-Tzu Molly, of course). We will be in the boathouse again, since that is the only part of the lodge where you can take a pet.

    Tag, you're it, whoever you are.............

    Tuesday, February 06, 2007

    What a tangled web........

    Mrs. A. and I were in this e-mail war yesterday. Things worked out eventually, but it took basically all day to work things out. It took me forever to get a handle on what was going on. The twists of logic it took were Byzantine to say the least. It goes this way:

    On Saturday,we went over to Mrs. A.s sisters. It was Mrs. A.s nephews birthday. On the way we stopped at Starbucks to get a gift card. Of course, Mrs A, had left all her money and credit cards at home, so I had to pay.

    When I got my wallet out, Mrs A. noticed that I had a picture of my grandson in my wallet. As we arrived, she asked "Does it hurt you that I don't have a relationship with your kids?"

    "Yeah, it bothers me you can't get along with them."

    Wrong answer. I implied that she might have been at least partially at error.

    That started off three days of unpleasantness.

    We had a decent time at her sis's place.

    Going to Church on Sunday, she started in on me. I asked her why she was trying to pick a fight, and got the usual female answers "If you don't know I'm not going to tell you" Very prickly day on Sunday.

    Then a shitstorm of e-mails yesterday.

    You don't understand. I have been hurt, you never listen to me, you think more of your daughter than you do me, blah, blah, blah.

    Your daughter comes around all the time. You will come and go at her beck and call, but my daughter won't come around at all. I think she is afraid of R. and her friends.

    The AHA! moment.

    She hasn't seen or heard from her daughter in a couple of months. The last couple of times L. called was before Christmas, and Mrs A. refused to talk to her.

    She had seen the picture of my grandson, The Inevitable E., then seen her sis's family in a nice birthday party, which got her to thinking about her daughter and her grandkids.

    I sent her back a VERY carefully worded e-mail pointing out that the very last words out of L.s mouth as she left were "I miss my mom, I want my mom back"

    It's too bad they don't have a phone, and we don't have their address, or I would bundle Mrs A. into the Blazer and hold her captive and drive her down to Puyallup to see the kids.

    But the logic chain I had to go down to get to what was really wrong was exhausting.

    Monday, February 05, 2007

    Charlie Musselwhite

    Friday night was the Charlie Musselwhite show at the Kirkland Performance Center. Charlie and his band are on tour to promote his new CD "Delta Hardware Co." the CD has been nominated for eight Handy awards.

    The show was everything I expected and more.

    First of all, Charlie is Charlie, and if you know enough about Blues to hook up to one of his shows, you are going to get what you expect to get. He is comsumately Professional. He can take a simple piece of steel and reeds and turn it into a mighty communication tool of magical proportions. The thing about any CD is that it doesn't have the soul of the moment in it. The solos, audience participation. Even a live album can't really catch the essence of the moment.

    What surprised me was the quality of his band. They were excellent, Chris "Kid" Andersen is an amazingly accomplished guitarists, and his solos brought as much response from the audience as did Charlie's. The drummer and bass player provided solid backup.

    The only things that were not perfect were the sound system, which had some feedback problems, and the fact that although they were on stage for an hour and a half, I WANTED MORE!!!

    Friday, February 02, 2007

    Not Half Bad

    Mrs A. and I have been going to counseling for the last six months or so. It's not that our relationship is bad, it's that there has been soooo much CRAP going on around us that we needed some help staying focused and some validation that the things we were doing were the right things.

    Last night was probably our last visit, unless some big crisis slinks over the horizon. Things are going OK. Not that everything is OK, just that we are comfortable with our ability to handle them. The counselor was a big help. He actually enjoyed seeing us, because we were a rare exception, a couple who was pulling together and obviously cared very much for each other, but just were going through some tough times.

    So afterwards we went to Redmond Town Center for dinner. It was nice, although the restaraunt was awfully crowded for a weeknight.

    Tonight we are going to the Kirkland Performing Arts Center to see Charlie Musselwhite. He is a killer blues harmonica player who has been around forever. I've never seen him in person before although I have three of his CDs. We have also never been to this venue before, so it ought to be a trip.

    Hope y'all have a great weekend, and in the words of that 60s band, Canned Heat:

    "Don't Froget To Boogie!"