A mystery solved and another one posed

Clark County now reports a total of 560 cases so far of the virus, up 50 since last week probably because of an outbreak in a food-processing plant in Vancouver. On the plus side, we are still sitting at 25 deaths, which means that no one else has died in three weeks, and then it was just one more person. Only 10,516 people have been tested.

Here’s a picture of my great nephew having lunch at the top. That little white dot above him to the right is Mt. Hood. It looked a lot bigger in person.

On Wednesday, my sister Sue, my great-nephew Søren, and Luke and I went hiking. It was a hot day, and we hiked up a logging road on Dunegan Mountain. This hike was not listed on any of the hiking sites but again a hike that my SIL Nancy found. Sue had been there twice before and said it was her new favorite. The hike was all uphill but at a gradual rise, so we huffed and puffed, but it was not too hard. At the end, we had to climb a steeper hill to get to the top of the mountain. On the way up and at the top, we had great views of Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Adams. The view of Mt. Adams was best on the way up but obstructed at the top by trees. This was a fun day, and we got a lot of exercise even though it wasn’t a long hike.

On Thursday I was quite lazy because I felt tired still from the hike. On Friday, I finally cut the rest of the orchard. Since then, I have been doing some weed-whacking on the slope below our house. There was so much rain in May that in no time the grass back there got to be about waist high. I went out there and worked on Monday and that made Wayne come out and do it, too. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t. In this case, I was using the rinky dink weed whacker with the battery, and it doesn’t last very long. I started with the little battery, and it ran out after a half hour. Then I put in the big battery (well, Wayne did because it is too big for my hand), and then I had to change the string, and finally the big battery gave out, actually after not much longer than the small one. So, I went in. Wayne stayed out quite a bit longer and made a lot of progress. On my  way in, I was tired and hot, and I was trying to get through the gate onto the back deck while going up the steps and trying to get past Luke, and I tripped and smashed my knee into a step. So, the rest of the day I spent in bed with an ice pack. Yesterday, I went out again to weed whack for about a half hour, which was all the time I had before the battery went dead again.

On Friday, I finally got the second package of seeds and bulbs that I had ordered the day after the first package because I couldn’t tell if they got the order. It only took the first package four days to get here, but it took the second package ten days. Saturday was our only wet day, but I planted everything that day anyway. It was just a little drippy by that time, but in the morning, we were awakened by a huge thunderclap right above our heads. During the morning, we heard more thunder off in the distance, and then later on, it just poured all afternoon and evening. It’ll be interesting to see how my beds come out, because by the time I planted the last batch of bulbs and seeds, I couldn’t remember where I put everything else. The peonies were obvious, because they were already coming up, but otherwise, just some of the flower seeds were sprouting. I could have a messy looking garden by the time everything comes up. I have now learned to make a little map of each bed.

My dogwood tree

Something else that came out this week were the flowers on my pink dogwood tree. Christine’s dogwood was in full bloom a couple of weeks ago, and mine hadn’t even started. She only lives 15 minutes away, but that’s what the change in elevation does for you. We are at 1000 feet and often have snow when they don’t have any just five minutes drive away.

I finally figured out where the empty package came from. It wasn’t from Book Depository at all, although I had to interact with another idiot customer service person to find out. I explained that I was trying to find out if the package could possibly have come from the U. K. All they did was send me the same information that came in my Amazon email. I answered, “Thank you very much for that information, which I already have. Can you please tell me if the package could have come from the U. K.?” to which they answered no. Then Sunday, I remembered that I had placed an impulsive order with a bookstore in England after receiving a beautiful flyer tucked into a book from a different place. The addresses did not match nor was that company name on the package, but I thought again about subcontracting and asked them. For once, instead of some confused answer, I got an apology and a statement that they would try to track down the merchandise through Royal Mail (good luck with that) and if they could not find it, they would give me a full refund. Unfortunately, I had ordered a used vintage book, so they can’t replace it, although they could certainly replace the stationery and notebook I ordered. Actually, it looked to me as if only the book might have come (or not come, as the case was) from that other place, so I still may get those.

And now we have another puzzle. This morning I looked at the mail that Wayne collected from the mailbox yesterday, and we got a not so charming message from someone popped into our mailbox. (Just this really irked Wayne, because he’s always saying it’s illegal to put something in a U. S. mailbox, although of course people do it all the time.) Now keep in mind before you read this that we live in the country, not in any kind of official neighborhood or incorporated town or village. The note said, “Please cut and maintain your fence line. A Neighbor.” Now, we have the largest piece of fenced property in the neighborhood except perhaps the farm at the end of the road. I’ve never noticed whether their place is fenced or not, but ours is fenced on three of the four sides. We don’t keep any animals, so it’s not like our cattle are getting on the road. None of our grass is on the road or anything. It just looks messy. I usually trim along the orchard, because it’s right in front of the house, although I have not done it this year, but I have never been down the rest of the road and around the block with the trimmer. Nor does it look like anyone ever has. This fenced property includes a largish pond and a full pasture. So, what I want to know is, why would anyone care if it wasn’t trimmed? The only neighbor I’ve ever known to trim along his fence line is the family across the street, and they have about six boys who do it. I am further offended by the note itself. If there is some kind of problem I don’t know about, why could this person not have presented himself or herself at our door to tell us about it? Or even signed the note? Or sent us an email? As far as I know, we’ve been perfectly pleasant to all our neighbors, including the time one of them came and asked if someone could cut down one of our trees that was overhanging the road. Wayne says not to worry about it, but it bugs me that someone would do that. Although there are a couple of houses in our neighborhood that look more suburban than rural, most of them don’t, and we don’t live in a neighborhood where we’re required to keep the appearance of our house at a certain level. Finally, that’s an awful lot of fence line, and we’re 69 and 74 years old. The fact that we’ve been weed-whacking our backyard for three days and it’s still not done should tell them something.

So, someone appears to be a busybody unless there’s something I don’t know, and if there is, I wish someone would tell me. I asked Maja about it, but she was just shocked. We do have one new neighbor from Portland, and it’s possible that they’re still mentally stuck in suburbia, but I don’t want to assume it’s them.

Finally, I have seen both our beaver and our goose family this week. I’ve seen the beaver beavering back and forth across the pond, and one morning when I was walking Luke on the road next to the pond, I looked over and first saw the gander and then the goose with at least two goslings next to her. So, that is nice, because every year we get some sort of waterfowl down on our pond, and so far I have never seen the babies.

I got one of those “Memories” pictures today on Facebook, and it was of the beans and onions I picked last year on this date. No sign of any beans this year. The only thing I’ve picked so far are salad greens. I don’t know if that’s because it’s rained so much or because the forest has grown so much since last year that I’m not getting enough sunlight in there. I know I have a problem with that.

And that’s it for this week.


Last Wednesday, I was getting ready for our hike. Maja had told me she was bringing along a friend, so I was taking bags out of the back seat of the car. (We have enough grocery bags back there to get food for an army.) Then I noticed that there was about a quarter bucket of dirt in the back seat. I have no idea how that got there. So, I went around the car to get the brush out. As I returned around to the other side, my phone dinged from inside the car, and I thought I should look at the message to see if Maja was telling me that they weren’t ready yet. In any case, on the way over, I stepped wrongly on the edge of the asphalt driveway and fell flat on my face. My husband had to come out of the house and get me a chair before I could get up. By the way, the phone message was just something unimportant, like a “Yes” from Maja.

Here’s the path we walked on our Wednesday hike. It wasn’t a difficult hike, but almost all of the return was uphill.

I went on the hike anyway, even though my right foot and left hand were hurting. We went about four miles on the Bells Mountain Trail to Cedar Creek, a hike we hadn’t taken before, out in the Yacolt Burn. My foot hurt all the way, but not too badly. Then when I took Maja and Autumn back to Maja’s house, I had been driving and I had to get out of the car. I don’t think they even noticed, because they were talking to each other, but after my foot was rested a bit from driving, I could hardly walk!

I went home, and Luke was so excited to see me that he wouldn’t leave me alone. The result was that after I got my foot out of my hiking boot (no mean feat), he kept stepping on my foot. It didn’t seem to be swollen, but it had a red mark on top of it and it hurt like crazy. I ended up going back to bed, just to be able to keep it up and not have to deal with Luke.

By the next day, I was hobbling, but it was better. However, my hand, on which I had landed, hurt so much that I couldn’t do very much with it, not even work the pump for the liquid soap. I was surprised, too, to find how often I use my left hand. It was slightly swollen, too.

My foot was fine by Saturday, but my hand still hurts today, although it gets better every day. I skipped Luke’s Saturday class, however, because you do all the work with the leash in your left hand. The right hand holds the leash but doesn’t do much. Monday, there was no class, but I went over to my friend Christine’s for our mini pack walk. Three of us were there, and after the walk around her neighborhood, we sat on her back patio and had coffee and cake while the puppies romped. Well, Lola, Nancy’s little Havanese, felt more comfortable under her chair, while Duchess, Christine’s small poodle, alternated between running around in circles in the garden with Luke and getting up on a chair so she could dominate him.

Here’s Luke on Christine’s lawn, Memorial Day, 2019. You can tell this isn’t our lawn, because it actually has grass and nothing but grass.

By the way, for those who are wondering what Luke looks like these days, Christine took some really nice pictures of him, better than any of the ones we have. He is looking quite handsome these days, and is sometimes acting more grown up.

We had a return on Friday night of our poltergeists. They hadn’t visited us since the winter, but always on Friday nights. Last week, kids were shining flashlights into our living room window after dark. It could tell it wasn’t an accident while they were running around the woods with flashlights. They were definitely shining them in our window. Then, this last Friday night, Luke began barking hysterically and kept barking. At one point, I opened the door and thought I heard a dog barking. It is a sad fact that our neighbors across the road, who let their dog Eddie run around loose for months as a puppy, now have him tied up all the time, and he never stops barking. However, the sound was coming more from the other side, so I told him it was Rosie. Later, I realized it was coming from too close to the house to be Rosie, who is now restricted to her yard by an electric fence.

Luke kept barking, and then twice I heard noises that sounded like someone knocking on the side of our house. So, finally, I picked up our powerful flashlight and went out the back door. They knew I was coming this time and I heard at least one kid run up the ridge on our property and climb over the fence to the Scotts’ property. Then I stood next to the house and listened to them. There were probably at least four kids there, and they were making noises to try to get Luke to bark. Some of them were whistling, and one was doing a fake dog bark, and one was saying mean things that put my teeth on edge, the kind of thing that makes kids laugh but makes adults want to smack them. I waited until I was sure where they are, and then I hit them with the flashlight. I couldn’t actually see them, but they ran away.

This time, I called the Scotts’ house and talked to one of their mothers. It’s a whole gang of kids, and I’m not sure who most of them are, but one of them, at least, belongs to the Scotts. She said she thought her kids were home, but then she said, “A bunch of them just ran out of the woods. I’ll talk to them.” I hope this stops, because it’s starting to border on harassment. Luke barked for at least an hour that night.

I am starting to do a good cleaning of the house getting ready for my guests arriving next Tuesday. Karen is arriving from Michigan and Ray from Denver. Later that week, we’re going to Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. What fun!


Things that have gone wrong since we got here

I have been waiting to show you a picture of the truck we drove from Texas. It wouldn’t import into my iPad when I was posting from there. But I finally have internet access.

  1. Just to recap, we had to drive a HUGE truck from Texas and my husband hit some poor guy’s car at the gas station. The truck was fine.

    One ginormous truck
    One ginormous truck
  2. My husband was in the hospital for three days, starting the day we got here. (Tell me why they have designed this style so that the text is indented but the numbers are not. I don’t think I can control this.)
  3. I noticed my heart was beating rapidly every night but thought it was because of the stress. It turns out that during the medication fiasco (which I might have forgotten to mention—the packers packed all our daily medication in a box and then didn’t know where it was; I thought that my husband was taking care of it, but he wasn’t), when we had to reorder our medications, one was forgotten, my blood pressure medicine. I didn’t have any for a week. I found out about it the day that my husband got out of the hospital, when I mentioned my problem and he told me. So, after midnight one night, we spent an hour trying to find a 24-hour pharmacy and drove to Vancouver to get my medication refilled.
  4. The internet guy took more than two weeks to come and troubleshoot our internet problems. He was finally here today. It took him hours to get things straightened out, so this is going to cost us a fortune. BTW, every single day the internet company told us he was coming. It turns out he only works in our area two days a week.
  5. I bought a very expensive leather couch only to find a scratch in it when it arrived. (Believe me, this is a very minor problem.) The guy fixed it today.
  6. I bought a dryer with a pedestal. When the dryer came, the pedestal was damaged. I had been waiting two weeks to do my laundry, and I got a choice between sending the dryer back or keeping it BUT NOT USING IT, as the policy was that they would only install a new dryer on the pedestal when it comes. So, tomorrow I’m taking my laundry to my niece’s.
  7. The guys who are supposed to help us empty our pods were too late to come tonight. They aren’t coming for three more days, but again, this is very minor compared to some of the other things.
  8. My Medicare prescription program turned me down because I didn’t answer some mail I don’t even know if I got. Believe me, things have been chaos around here. So, I got to spend the first three hours of the day on the phone with the prescription program, our retirement agency, and the federal government. Apparently, it’s against the law to move at the same time you retire (just kidding).
  9. A small complaint, but my husband’s idea of unpacking is to take everything out of a box and cover some surface with it. This is called “organizing,” and apparently a week later the things are still being organized. I have cleaned off the kitchen counters three times now.

I have probably forgotten a few things, as it seems as if something goes wrong every day. I feel like I have my own personal thundercloud over my head. On the positive side, today was beautiful, sunny, and in the 60’s. Yay for the Pacific Northwest!



Oregon > Washington

We left the small town in Oregon where we stayed overnight very early on the 17th. It was drizzling, but after a few hours it cleared up and became a beautiful autumn day as we drove along the Columbia River Gorge.

I drove the truck in the morning, but later we split up so that my husband’s brother could be sure to make his flight out of Portland. He had cut it so close that we didn’t even have time to go see our place first.

My husband and I met up in the small city about 10 miles from our new home and drove to the house together. But as soon as we arrived, I advised him to go to a clinic, as his hand was looking bad. We had just enough time to greet my sister, who drove up just as we were leaving.

Well, our bad luck held, because the first thing we did upon arriving at our new home was get sent to the emergency room. With the tempting offer of a dinner of salmon stew waiting, instead we got to sit for several hours waiting to be called.

Finally, my husband was admitted to the hospital so that he could be treated with intravenous antibiotics. I got to drive to my niece’s house in the pouring rain.


Great news

Goodbye soon to our beautiful view of the creek.
Goodbye soon to our beautiful view of the creek.

We have sold our house. Of course, it’s early days yet, so things could still go wrong, but on Tuesday we got an offer and we counter-offered, and on Saturday we agreed on a price. Our neighbor is buying the house, cash, and so we can go ahead and start putting our plans in place. We can now set my retirement date.

Of course, my knee injury has slowed down our packing impetus, because my husband doesn’t seem to do any work unless I do it, too, and most of the last week I spent with my feet up and an ice pack on my knee. So, now we have to get to work, whether I’m up to it or not.

As a bonus, we also got an offer on our Fort Davis property on the very same day. This property could have been on the market for years, but we have already settled on a price. Looks like we’ll be moving within five weeks!

A setback

Best laid plans of mice! I had a great idea to do a big push towards opening our house for sale the day after Labor Day. To that end, I asked for a couple of days off work, and I sat down with my husband and we made a list of all we had to do to get ready. Then we prioritized the list into 1’s through 5’s, so that we could work on anything in the 1’s, say, until they were finished and then go to the 2’s. Of course, the first thing my husband did was pull out a bunch of stuff that wasn’t even on the list. But I kept my mouth shut and finished two of the (admittedly easy) 1’s.

This is a picture of my poor knee, twice as large as usual.
This is a picture of my poor knee, twice as large as usual.

That was on Saturday. We stopped working around 4 and took a trip to Costco. When we got back, I took some sheets out of the dryer and started with them over to the bedroom to fold them. That was my fatal error. I forgot I had put a box just at the turn from the kitchen into the living room that was waiting for my husband to move to the pod. I took a header over the box, literally flew through the air, and landed on my knee. When I turned and looked back, the box was at least 10 feet behind me.

So much for my plans. I have done nothing but sit around with my foot up and go to doctor’s appointments. I don’t think anything is broken, but I can’t really do much work until the swelling goes down. And for a different reason, I am not allowed to take NSAIDS, which means that all I am using are topical treatments, ice, heat, Aspercream. Sigh.

On the good news side, we have already gotten an offer on the house. On the bad news side, it’s way too low. We are countering today.