Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas gone, Playing catch-up at work, Nargles

Cousin Don and Aaron, who moves too fast for "sport" mode.
Aaron, at Grandma's Christmas Eve.

A REALLY old Santa

The Granddaughters:

Zoe, Athena & Winter, with our daughter Tiffany, Mom of two.

Christmas is done & gone. It was a good time. Good family times.

Portland has indeed gotten more snow in the last two weeks than has ever been recorded on the ground at once before. EVER.

Thankfully, it has warmed up to the mid forties (Fahrenheit) the last few days, so that snow is pretty much just a memory now.

Uncle had to go back to the hospital Sunday, just as we were getting ready to eat another dinner. a Really unsettling combination of high blood pressure, very high heart rate, erratic heart beat, etc.

They think they've got him back to what passes for normal for his system.

He should be coming back home tomorrow.

Disturbing, but unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence for him over the last couple of years. The Hospital stays are getting way too frequent. I've lost track of how many and when over the last year or two.

Most of the rest of this week will be boat head jobs(sanitation systems) and broken fresh water systems (from the cold, not adequately prepared for by some).

The plumbing/sanitation work actually pays a lot better than the less technical, less nasty work I do on the outside of boats. There's a good reason for that. They don't build these systems to be worked on. When I get into them, I am generally in very confined spaces, with very nasty stuff, that really wants to get as intimate with me as possible. Again with the "Perversity of the inanimate" as Amelia would say. I could have provided any number of detailed photo illustrations. I doubt that's really necessary or appropriate here now. Just take my word for it.

Aside from the higher pay scale, the major gratification for doing marine sanitation is in how people react when the system that wasn't working, that they knew nothing about and didn't want to get into anyhow, is once again doing it's job(usually better than it did before it broke-how I roll :-) People who might have a reputation for being less than gracious to their own employees can be downright Lavishly effusive with their praise and gratitude for the guy who fixes their boat head. Especially if it's say, the second day out on a week long cruise, fifty miles down river from home, with the wife and teenage daughter - and both heads quit working.

How did we get from cute kids on Christmas eve to mental images of stinky non-functional boat sanitation systems?...

I guess the tie-in is that it's all part of the widely diverse patterns of my everyday life.

And still sometimes it gets to be ...just more of the same. What's the phrase - "Loonnnng stretches of real boredom, punctuated by brief periods of absolute panic" I suspect that probably says a lot more about my mindset than about my circumstances..."I suspect nargles." (luna Lovegood, from HARRY POTTER and The PRISONER of AZCABAN).

Fine then, consider this my not well laid out or well organized...or even particularly lucid version of a Sleeping with Bread Monday.

I think you can figure out the parts I'm happy about and not ....

Have a Happy and SAFE New Year's Eve.
more later.....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Stuff & Nonsense(probably)

German glass, older than dirt(which didn't exist, as a word until sometime in the 1940s)
The "Indian" Angel ornament, from our first Christmas together.

Our Christmas tree Angel. Pretty old, though young enough for electric lights, from Ginny's life before me.

This is Aaron, snow angel-ing at the beginning of this, the biggest snow storm in Portland, Oregon since 1968. Um, that's 40 years for you math majors.

It's been interesting and challenging.

This kind of thing used to be a common occurrence for me in my Wichita, Kansas days. (HI Todd & Amy!)

Not so much here in the "Rose City", city of bridges, city of the ever present, nine months of the year rain.
Cleaning snow off of my lovely wife's little Ford.

Yesterday, when there was only about half a foot of snow, round two or three, after all the previous week's snow had melted.

Yesterday's depth of snow on the Subaru's windshield. a mere 7 or 8 inches.

Today's snow on the Subaru, more like a foot or so of drift. We actually only got ....well, almost a foot here in this part of town, over some ice, over the prior snow, over some ice.

The airport here has been canceling flights like the great CATACLYSM cancelled the flights of pterodactyls...
OK, maybe not with that finality.
Many people stranded at PDX.
They are saying quite a few of them won't get flights out now until after Christmas. I very much feel for them. I was once stranded by an erstwhile charter for three days in Seattle. It was January, 1976. I was 17. Some very nice retired Pacific Lutheran University Profs came and rescued me and put me up till the next Charter came to take me to Hong Kong. 'nother story.
When I go outside, to smoke(haven't quite quit yet) I always find myself looking to the sky. I've been looking to the sky, it seems, all my life. The sky here is not as big, as expansive, as the sky back home in Kansas. They Call Wyoming "Big Sky Country". I've been there. It's got nothing on Kansas for BIG skies.
Still, when I look to the sky, especially at night, where ever I am, I am always reminded of how huge the world is, still, even in this info-age without borders, compared to me....and how tiny the world is, compared to the immensities of the universe. (I sometimes go to Science/Astronomy sites just to remind me how un-fathomably huge the universe is).

I've been holed up in a two bedroom apartment for three days with my wife and our 4 year old, who is literally bouncing off the walls. It's actually been not too bad for me. Ginny has been down with migraine/nausea/low grade fever for a couple of those. She got back up to help assemble and decorate our artificial tree(economic, not aesthetic decision). Bless her holiday heart.
This season of the year I am always reminded, as I'm sure many are, of so many Christmases past. Fifty of them, on down through the years, some better than others. But...All with that more sweet than bitter feeling of belonging, of wanting the best for friends and family, of generally love and good will - at least on my part, and I prefer to think in the hearts of most.
I wish not for the Norman Rockwell fantasy Christmases so well ingrained in the hopes and expectations of our naive youths, but for the sense of belonging and of hope that comes with the Meaning of Christmas. I not much of a preacher. But, thanks God, for this and everything.
Thus endeth the nostalgic, possibly sappy ramblings of a middle aged Guy.
Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

worried about the humming bird

I'm worried about the humming bird.

A sudden cold snap turned it 20 degrees F with a 25 m.p.h. wind - wind chill about 5.

The humming bird's sugar water keeps freezing up.

I know they have to eat about every fifteen minutes or so, especially when it's sub-freezing.

I realize that for many of you, this is just normal December weather. For Portland, it's not.

We got about three inches of snow and frigid temp/wind chill and you'd think the world had totally ended. I grew up in Kansas, where this is normal December weather, and I hated it as much as any of the born and bred Portlanders. It's supposed to stay this way all week, with more snow Wednesday and Thursday. We have hills here. People slide all over them.

Did you know that you only use chains on the front tires of a Subaru Outback, and not at all if you have the P225-60-R-16 tires(which I have). So what are we supposed to do when the highway dept calls for mandatory chains or studded tires? Stay home? Well, that would be nice, if one could afford to take snow days off.

One from the Ironic file - A semi tractor/trailer carrying road de-icer juice slid on freeway and overturned spilling deicer all over the road. It shut down the road all day....and the winter god's laughed.....

Thanks God, My Aunt & Uncle had in-the-house work for me to do today.....just getting over major sinus infection, I don't need to be out in this crappy weather any more than absolutely gotta.

9 days till Christmas. Am I ready? Oh hell NO! Not even close. As long as I get the ittle-bittys taken care of, I'll be Okay. .. and the Missus, but she knows the situation.......

Like I think Barrack may have said "It's the economy, Dumb-ass!" Ok, he didn't really, but I bet he's thought it about a bu-zillion times lately.

Got a warm home & bed. Been staying well fed. my dog wears Keds, never ever trust Feds.....

Okay, that last couple of parts was just for fun....I don't have a dog.

The economy is so sad/bad/mad that Powell's Books have requested that their employees voluntarily cut back on their hours so they won't have to lay anyone off for Christmas.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Life in the goofy lane.

There are pros and cons to Aaron's being in early school now.
pro: He's picking up new things from new teacher & kid influences.
Con: He's picking up new things from new kid influences.
Last evening I got a call from his older brother, I think on behalf of his older sister (who has two daughters, one just four months Aaron's junior, the other two & one half. It's seems there was some reference made to "putting a baby in someone's belly". Granted, I had a fever at the time the call came in, but my reaction was kind of like "OH great, and so it begins". I admit. I've been taking the coward's way out today and waiting for AAron's mom to come back from migraine land to deal with it.
Today I went to the doctor's - again. Now I've got a sinus infection. oh great. It's kinda hard to do my job when bending over is a very bad thing as to face pain. And still there's the fever.

Picked up Aaron this eve. Told him about the doctors and getting a couple of different shots(ok, 3) to which he loudly proclaimed "OH-MY-GOD!" "Don't say OH-MY-GOD!, son, say OH My Gosh". "ok" We drove around a little while in the neighborhood, delaying getting back out in the main rush hour traffic, and looking at Christmas lights.

Dad- "GOSH".

AAron- "OH-MY GOSH!'"
42 times in roughly a half hour.

ok, maybe it was only 4o times.
Christmas gifting is going to be very lean this year.
I'm sure that's the same for many, just doesn't make the parental "wish I could do more" any easier.