Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Walking and Caulking

Greetings Earthlings.  Summer has returned to the GPNW for a few days.  Then the rain starts.  This winter is predicted to be a weak La Nina, which will bring this area a colder and wetter weather.  It will make the south west warmer and dryer.

Jim continues on the path.  The arc of recovery is curvilinear.  Some days are better than others.  The cane is a mixed blessing, it makes the walking easier, but it’s painful on the hand and arm.  We’ve done some longer walks in downtown Bellevue.  We’re both tired of the trail outside of the park.  Bellevue has turned into quite the urban center.

This is a photo of Bellevue from a long time ago.  Jim remembers when it looked like this, he moved here in 1952.  It was a small town back then.


Here we are today.  I will say that the tall buildings in Bellevue are more interesting than many of those in Seattle.  They tend towards the tall big square buildings.


Look at the blue of that sky.  We see this in the fall.


More shiny buildings.


There are many galleries selling art.  This is pretty.  Judging by the looks of the gallery, I think if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.


Sign in front of a cafe in Old Bellevue.


Today we spent some time spraying the bay doors with the hose.  We think possibly we can see where the water is running down into the bay, but we’re not sure.  In the end, we caulked everything.  Maybe something will hold back the leak.  It’s supposed to start raining Friday for four days.


Jim is doing the really difficult part.  The caulk kept dripping off the under side of the door.  Notice all the pink sidewalk chalk on the bay door.  It’s now on our hats and shoulders of the tee shirts.


Other than this, I have zippity doo dah all to report.  I believe I will close with a picture of chickens.

silkie chickens

Friday, September 22, 2017

Dog Love

This was posted by a blogger I read.  He lives in Wales.  I just love this picture.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sponges and the Fish Hatchery

First off, let me just say that the sponges in the storage bay have exceeded expectations.  It’s surprising to me how much water they’re trapping and holding.  The white basket to the right of the compressor has two sponges under it.  That basket is fairly heavy, and teaches us that the weighted sponges pull up more water than do the unweighted.  The two sponges to the left of the compressor are also sucking up a lot of water, as that is where the leak seems to deposit said water.  Since I took this picture, we used sidewalk chalk on the gaskets to see if we can determine the point of infiltration.  Failing that, Jim will have to sleep in the bay during the next rain storm.


Yesterday and today we went over to the fish hatchery.  The fish were way more active yesterday, but I only had the point and shoot so pictures were not great.  After they spend time throwing themselves at the weir, they get tired.  Eventually they’ll give up and just wait at the bottom until the fish ladders open.  This guy was catching some air – good jump, sir!


The fish ladders are closed, but since there is rushing water, the fish want to swim up stream.  They throw themselves at the gates.


I took this from the top of the gate.  That’s a fish coming up out of the water.


Once they go up the fish ladder, they’re held in big tanks.  Yesterday they were very rowdy in the tanks, throwing themselves into the air.


This is another holding tank, look how far out of the water he is.


More fish on the weir.


Notice how red this one is.


Most of the fish currently at the hatchery are Chinooks.  They are just enormous.


After the fish, we walked a loop through Issaquah and went by a house with a white picket fence and an arbor. They have an impressive display of climbing roses.


The weather people are saying it will not rain tomorrow.  That will be good.  We lucked out on both trips to the hatchery, as they were between rain squalls.  We just had another big one go through, so all my sponges are back hard at work.

Doesn’t it seem like the world has just gone off the rails?  Between the hurricanes, the earthquakes and the man made miseries there is just so much pain in the world.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Day Three of the Rainy Season

There is NO WAY we will ever live in the GPNW again.  NO WAY AT ALL!!!!  It started raining Sunday.  Rain here is different than rain in other areas.  It doesn’t just cloud up, rain, and then the sun comes out.  Nope – the clouds hover in the trees, sometimes it mists, sometimes it rains, then it stops for awhile, but it never clears and this goes on for days and weeks and months.  Last winter the area had four feet of rain, which was a record.

Anyway, the climate is just gruesome, I’m cold, I’m wet, and I want to be gone from this place.  I realize it would be better in a house, but what would you do all day with the rain?  Every year we get sucked in the the wonderfulness of July and August and start thinking maybe it wouldn’t be so bad…….  but it would.

This was Sunday during the day.


Today at noon.


The hedge across the street is about to start shedding leaves.


So, if we buy anywhere I think it’s going to be Tucson.  A lot will depend on what Jim can do after this surgery.

And of course the forward driver's side storage bay is leaking again.  We can't figure out how it's getting in.  It runs down the inside of the bay door and then jumps onto the floor of the bay.  The tops of everything in there are dry.  Currently we have eight large sponges on the floor soaking up water.  We go out a couple of times a day and wring them out.  I'll still end up with the shop vac removing water, but there's no point in doing that until Friday when it finally quits raining. This is proving to be a pretty good stop gap measure.  What's really weird is that it doesn't leak when the RV is washed - with a pressure washer no less.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Walking in Ikea

The last week has been difficult for Jim.  As you no doubt recall, all the impingement that was occurring was preventing the nerve from firing and stimulating the leg muscles.  Now that the nerve is no longer trapped, it’s waking up and rediscovering its environment.  How does a nerve say hello?  It hurts.  It hurts a lot.  So the pain in the back of the thigh and calf has been pretty bad.  We’re walking anyway.   On the bright side, his left calf no longer looks like he had polio.  There is more muscle mass and more definition than before surgery. 

We had to be in Renton this morning, so after lunch at The Lemongrass restaurant we decided to go to Ikea.  If you are in this area, I highly recommend The Lemongrass.  It’s Vietnamese food, and most of the people in there are native speakers.  It’s really good.

Anyway, Ikea has done a massive expansion.  I think they bought some adjacent buildings, tore them down and added parking.  They also added a second floor to the building.  The bulk of the additional inventory seems to be kitchens.  They have a lot of kitchens on display.


Kitchen faucets in the foreground, refrigerators in the back.  They carry a lot of small refrigerators.  If one were building a tiny house, I would look here for for food storage.


The cafeteria has been moved upstairs and enlarged.  There are now two serving lines, with more food offerings.  The meatballs still look terrible, however.  See the wheeled conveyance in the middle of the photo?  That’s a tray cart.  You can put three trays on it, put food on tray, push cart to table, and grasp your child with the other hand.  Pretty smart.


They have a lot of everything.  These are the throw pillows. Our couch pillows are deteriorating.  We bought a duck feather insert and a cover for it.  Jim likes it, so next time we’re there, we’ll get another one and the two old ones will go over the side.


When we were living in North Carolina, we bought Jim a chest of drawers at Ikea.  After years of thinking we needed heirloom quality furniture, we decided that was stupid.  All a dresser needs is functioning drawers and the ability to keep the underwear in nice stacks.  We were saddened to see they no longer carry the one we bought back then.  It was pretty. 

This is the area where you pick up your items, ready to be assembled by you, the home owner.  This is one of many rows.


Ikea offers a lot of level walking.  It’s also good for wheel chair bound people who need an outing.  When Jim broke the pelvis we would go and fondle the merchandise just for something to do.

Other than this, I have nothing of import to convey.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

My Current State of Aggravation

First off, let me just say that I realize that my problems are first world problems and that things are worse in Texas and Florida.  However, I am still aggravated beyond belief.

Yesterday we got a mail drop.  In it was a notification from National Interstate notifying us that with great regret they are no longer in the RV insurance market.  We’ve been pretty happy with them and are not looking forward to a new carrier.  Unless we take steps, we’ll be automatically reassigned to Safeco.  Does anyone have any experience with them?  Does anybody like their insurance company? 

Then there is the Equifax breach.  I don’t remember ever thinking to myself that I would like for three nameless, faceless entities to collect data on my spending habits and who knows what all else, and use that data to influence whether I could buy a house, rent an apartment or get a job.  However, if they were bound and determined to do this, wouldn’t you think they could at least secure the data? Apparently not.  From my perspective there are two great whanging points of danger from the breach.  With your SSN, hackers can file tax returns and get refunds under your name, and they can apply for social security benefits.  I called social security to ask how to prevent this, and they said to open a myssa account.  Because I have credit monitoring, according to the social security people I have to go to an office and do that in person. 

Do you think that you can just go to the social security office and get help?  No.  Wait times are measured in hours.  I called to make an appointment at the Bellevue office.  Do you think I can get an appointment?  No.  They can only schedule out to November 7, and there are no appointments available between now and then.  I managed to get one in Tucson, but I’m not sure we’ll be back by then.  Do you think I can get my credit monitoring people on the phone to get them to cancel the service so I can establish a myssa account?  No.

Anyway, go establish a myssa account at and protect your social security benefits.

Back to the security breach rant.  NYT published a good article today on how freezing your credit reports is not the total answer to dealing with the breach. When you freeze a credit report, you’re issued a PIN for when you need to unfreeze it.  The Equifax PINs are based on the time and date you got the freeze.  Any hacker worth his salt can figure out your PIN.  Go here, read the article.  It’s very informative.

Yesterday was the ill fated trip to the Bellevue social security office.  After giving up on that, we went over to Bellevue Square for lunch.  Then we walked around for a bit.  The skyline is just amazing.  This is all new.


The park near the shopping mall is very pleasant.  They have dedicated much of its space to water.  It’s a pleasant aspect, but it’s not useable by humans.


The ducks love it, however.


This is the construction site at the end of our street.  In the back right, you can see the quarry.  It’s visible now because all the trees are gone.


This is the new stream bed.  They rerouted the creek.  It has taken months to get this far along.


Jim surveys the new stream bed.  I would really like to know how much this cost.  There are two new huge culverts and the road has been torn up more than once.  Traffic has just been a nightmare.


I liberated this from Twitter.  It was taken in Germany, but I can’t remember which airport.  Anyway, you can really see the wing tip vortices.  I thought it was a pretty cool image.

wing tip vortex 2

So that’s what’s shaking in the GPNW.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Doing Time in the GPNW

Could things be any more boring than recuperating from surgery?  No, I think not.  Jim continues to make progress.  He’s cut back drastically on the drugs and this time it appears to be tolerable.  Three days in a row he walked up the hill and back.  Today was somewhat painful afterwards, so we’re thinking maybe we should alternate the hill with a flat route.  He was out for 45 minutes.  I have no idea if that’s good or bad, the medical professionals won’t provide targets.  They just say go as far as you can, safely.

It’s so weird being here in the GPNW with our gloomy skies, a few spits of rain and no wind, knowing what’s heading toward Florida.  It looks like the west side of the state is going to bear the brunt of it.  I feel bad for the people who are about to lose so much.  It’s made even worse by Jose following so closely on the heels of Irma.

I saw this on Huffington Post.  Twenty five years ago when Hurricane Andrew came ashore, the zoo put the flamingos in the restroom.  This time they have their own concrete enclosure.


Other than this, I have zippity doo-dah all to report.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Dark Days in the GPNW

We woke up to yellow/grey skies and ash covering the pickup and the RV. The winds changed, blowing smoke out of eastern Washington to here.  The arrival of the smoke and ash happened last night, at the moment the winds are dead flat calm, so this atmosphere will be with us for awhile.
This is a terrible picture taken with my cell phone this morning at about 8:15.  It gives the general idea of the color of the sun and sky.

sun is pink

I scraped this from a facebook post put up by Friends of the Columbia Gorge.  The camera is currently positioned facing the Cascade Locks to give a live view of the Eagle Creek fire.  This is not the only fire burning in eastern Washington.


It does seem like the entire world is on fire, under water or under siege.
In Myanmar, 125,000 Rohingya refugees are walking barefoot through sucking mud to get to Bangladesh.  Daw Aung San Suu Kyi seemingly has not lifted a finger to prevent the military from destroying their villages and murdering the people.  The military says it’s retaliation for resistance by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.  This is ethnic cleansing.

Here, in the US, we have our president vowing to deport all the Dreamers who came here as children despite the fact that it will cost our GDP somewhere around $105 billion dollars over five years.  Enlightened self interest would suggest that we not do this evil thing.  He’s also threatening to cease trade with countries that trade with North Korea.  That would be China and Saudi Arabia to name two.  Where does he think steel comes from these days?  China.  He wants a trade war on top of everything else.  And let us not forget the cost to clean up Houston and after this weekend Florida with Hurricane Irma on the way.  Despite these looming expenditures, he wants to give the rich a tax break.  I don’t think good things are ahead for this country.  It’s a good time to be old.

On the not dark side, Jim is doing better.  Drug consumption is down and walking distances are up.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Things Are Not as Bad as They Were for Jim

Wednesday and Thursday were just horrible.  At one point I was seriously considering taking Jim to the ER at Valley and getting him readmitted to the spine floor.  His back muscles had started spasming and it was really painful.  Friday was better.  We managed a trip to Costco and a big grocery shopping at Safeway.  That included some walking since we park at the far end of the parking lots to avoid door dings from other cars.  Today’s pain levels are better than yesterday.  Jim is now down to oxy every 6 hours instead of every 4.  We’re not sure how to continue the taper.  Longer time intervals or fewer drugs?  It’s a difficult choice because if it was wrong, pain ensues.

The allergic dermatitis is not as itchy and it’s not as red as it was.

So, we’re pretty happy things are better.


It’s hot again.  The high today is supposed to be 90.  90! In Seattle.  I guess the old, cold and wet summers are a thing of the past.