Saturday, January 28, 2012

Long Post (Ramble) With No Pics

It was a long week. The weather conditions did get better, after the wind storm that hit us on Monday and Tuesday. More trees cracking in the wind and further power outages. Our daughter got her power back on Tuesday and she was a happy camper. The kids went back to school on Tuesday.
It was a rough week at work. Monday was extremely busy, lots of phone calls. Tuesday through Friday wasn't as bad but one of my employee's father-in-law passed away and he took the majority of the week off. Add to that the fact that at least one other person is off every day of the week (because of Saturday) and I found myself short handed by two every day. I had planned a vacation day on Friday but a managers meeting was scheduled for 7 am so I went in to work to attend and try to catch up my paperwork. I got there at one in the morning and left around 9 am.

Needless to say, I didn't get much else done Friday. Our combination microwave/exhaust hood passed away a couple of weeks ago and Mia had purchased a replacement at Sears. I went over and picked up our new convection/microwave/exhaust hood and Zach is coming over this afternoon to help me install it. Then he and I will head to Kent to watch the Seattle Thunderbird Hockey team play the Portland Winterhawks. It is teddy bear toss night so we have to have some furry creatures to toss. I am also considering visiting and ordering my new SnugTop truck cover today while a coupon discount is still good.

As you know, the Presidents State of the Union Address was Tuesday evening. Yes, I listened. Yes, kind of agree with some of his ideas. Do I think the have a chance in hell of agreeing or passing any legislation.

I am not sure that discussing politics is a good thing for my blog, but I am so disillusioned with the current political landscape that I can’t seem to keep quiet.

We never discussed politics or religion around the dinner table at our house. Perhaps we should have. As I read Edward Kennedy’s Memoir, I am struck by how this elite family discussed history, politics and religion at the dinner table. Many of the future changes that came about were seeded at this very table.

So what has me ruffled? Frustration as I watch the Republicans try to choose someone to beat Obama. If you ask me, I’d say the Republicans will not regain the White House this year. I don’t think there is a candidate on their side of the fence that can get elected.

I consider myself middle of the road. I have voted for both parties over the years, trying to base my decisions on experience, past performance, leadership, principals, and common sense. Is it just me or is there really no Republican candidate with all the qualifications? We certainly have the rich and the richer but where is the person who will make the tough decisions, stand by them and move us forward out of this quagmire that we find ourselves treading in. Sorry, but I don’t see one any better than the one already in the Presidents office.

Then there is the Senate and House full of opposition members who refuse to make anything happen. But, wait, when we had a majority President with a majority congress, we still didn’t get anything accomplished. So frustrating to watch and wonder when these elected officials are going to realize that they need to do what is right for the majority of the people regardless of their party lines.

Something tells me I’ll be waiting a really long time to see any change from the executive or legislative branches of the government.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Quick Trailer Check

We took a road trip early Sunday morning to see how our trailer came through all the nasty weather we have been experiencing. First of all, I have to say that the park made a wise decision to remove the alders around our lot. Had they still been there I believe we may have had substantial damage.

I took a picture of the lot before we stepped on the snow. We couldn't drive into the lot as the park had plowed and left a large mass of snow at the end of our entrance. We parked on the street and I shot the picture from the back of our vehicle.

Then I walked down the street and shot the lot and trailer from the side. In this picture you can see the awning appears to be slightly bowed. We took it out and cleaned off as much ice and snow as we could and put it back up. It seemed to be better. Mia is waving as she negotiates the drifts of snow.

We have a new addition at the entry to our lot. We need to name him/her. Any ideas?

All in all, we are very happy with the condition of the trailer. Of course, once it thaws we may find other issues. The inside was dry and the humidifier didn't have any water in the bucket. I didn't see any signs of rodents so I feel pretty good. Next year that thing gets covered before we leave.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

We Have Light

It is daylight and there isn't as much damage as I would have suspected with all the racket this morning. Turns out the majority of the noise was caused by ice and snow falling off the roof.

We have power. My son has power. My daughter does not and it is 47 degrees in her front room. While she is welcome to bring her tribe to our places she is choosing to tuff it out because she has two big dogs that she refuses to leave. Can't say I blame her.

I am up but I am not up. Just don't feel like doing much and it has been occurring more and more lately. And I know that sitting begets more sitting but I just don't see any reason to get up and do anything. Besides, I don't feel so great. It might be an attitude adjustment that is required. Then it could be my approaching doom. Turning 65 next month. Damn, I was hoping to wait a while longer before hitting this number.

Keep the lights on....

It's Not Over

The heavy snow fall that we experienced over Wednesday and Thursday began to melt early Friday morning as the temperatures rose above the freezing mark and we started to see a change to our normal rainy climate. Because they happen so seldom, we in the Northwest are pretty much ill prepared. We don't have the mass numbers of snow removal equipment or the experience driving on the stuff. And because it hangs around such a short time driving can be very difficult.

First you get the initial storm which dumps snow and brings with an arctic freeze and the icy conditions that no one likes. Compact the snow, add the ice and presto, you have a recipe for disaster. Okay, we live through a day of that. In the afternoon of the first day of the event, Mother Nature decides to dump more snow on top the compacted snow and ice. She does this in the late evening and night of the second day of the event. Accumulations of 6'' to 10" make early morning driving on the second day a real joy. Big deep ruts are everywhere. Oh, did I forget to mention the ice storm. Yes, it wasn't enough to dump the snow overnight but in the early morning to late morning, Mother Nature hits us with ice pellets. Anything that isn't moving is quickly encrusted in a cocoon of ice that is very thick. But, we live through another day as the lights go out and we find ourselves in the dark until the wee hours of the third day of the event.

I arise on the third day of this huge event and leave the house to go to work. As I walk out the door I notice that the temperature seems a whole lot warmer than the room I just left. We still don't have power, so no heat. Outside seems warmer. I walk to the car and as I do, I notice the sound of dripping and I see the results of the ice storm. Several broken limbs and trees mark my path. I get in the car, thaw it out and head off to work. The ruts in the road are deeper and harder to navigate.

I spend a full day at work as the rains come. Heavy rains. But the snow is only melting a small amount. As I leave to come home it is both icy and difficult to steer through the ruts in the parking lot. I hit the highway and things are looking up. Clear, wet pavement is what I am used too. As I leave the highway a different kind of driving arrives. With all the snow, frozen, covering all the drains in the street, the 1" of rain that has fallen today has no where to go. Combined with a partial melt of the snow, most of the plowed side streets are now rivers. When the plows move the snow off the road they do it to the side. They help to cover up the grates that lead to the drains that give all the water a place to go.

It is still dark here this morning but I can already see the ruts are still in the parking lot and on the street out front. When I awoke at 3:00 o'clock it was because I heard something crashing to the ground or into the building. I haven't gone out yet but I can guess what is happening. Last night we were told to expect high winds, gusts up to 40 miles per hour. Well, they have come and I suspect the crashing is limbs weakened by the icy storm now being severed from their tree trunks by the wind. Next up, more flooding. As it continues to rain the snow will melt. But until it is all gone, the drains will remain an issue and the roads will be rivers and small lakes.

It is so much fun I can't believe it! Tomorrow, I think I had better drive up to Gold Bar and check the trailer.

Have fun out there you lucky people who are anywhere but here....

Friday, January 20, 2012


Monday and Tuesday of this week the National Weather Service began warning residents of the Northwest region in Washington State of an impending storm due to arrive sometime Tuesday evening and leaving from 4 - 14 inches of snow as it cruises through our area Wednesday. Some areas started to get snow during the day on Tuesday, while others remained dry until later in the evening and early morning hours of Wednesday. The big day was supposed to be Wednesday and it appears to have fallen short of the predictions in most of the area. By Thursday temperatures were to increase significantly and the big storm would give way to flooding.

It did get deep in some areas and while the National Weather Service was enjoying their prediction prowess, Mother Nature threw a curve ball from the Oregon area. Engulfed in cold Arctic air, warm precipitation arrived from the south and met up over the Puget Sound region. On Thursday morning, remember the day everything was supposed to leave, we woke up to ice encrusted vehicles and frozen pellets falling from the sky. By mid-day anything that wasn't moving was covered with a thick, heavy layer of ice. Trees don't do well in ice storms and by early afternoon reports of trees and limbs down was the norm. Power outages began as hundreds of thousands lost power over the region. At one point, they guessed the total to be close to 300,000 with yours truly among the victims.

While I went to work each day, we did close early Wednesday and Thursday to let employees get home safely before it got dark and the temperatures dropped. I was up early today and as I went outside I could hear dripping. Usually a good sign. Things are melting. My car was encrusted in a much thinner layer of ice and I was able to clear it and head for work. The roads are good once you get out of your neighborhood but you have to watch out for fallen branches and the occasionally tree down on tree lined roads. On the freeway you find mostly clear sailing with the only obstacle being snow chains that have broken and ended up in the lane of travel.
I overheard a law officer discussing conditions and issues that he had run into during this two days of traveling the highways and byways. He was very frustrated with the drivers. He feared he might shoot the next guy he found in a ditch with nearly bald tires, claiming that he knows how do drive in the snow and ice, it's all those other guys you have to worry about.

Personally, I have no issues with snow and ice. I have been exceedingly lucky in my commutes over the years and have never missed a day due to weather conditions. That being said, many folks in other parts of the country who get a lot more snow than we do, occasionally look down their noses at us and claim that we are snow wimps. Most of those places are flat. No hills. We have hills, lots of hills.

While I agree that most people from the colder regions would not let something like what just hit us affect the way they do business or live their lives you must consider one thing. While our nasty weather comes but once a year, usually a week or less, the other regions have a real winter that lasts for months. Not only do they have more experience working, playing, and driving in the stuff, their cities and municipalities are more prepared to provide them with the traction they need to get around. I am sure Boston has a whole bunch more snowplows than Seattle. And I have heard of heated runways. We don't have that stuff. Heck, we cancel flights, its easier.
So there you have it. Another winter in Seattle almost gone. Aren't you glad you stopped by.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Grand Kids And Approaching 65

So it is snowing all over the Puget Sound region, including in my front yard.

We took our two oldest grand kids to their riding lessons yesterday afternoon. Of course, grandpa sees this as a photo op, although the kids probably would disagree. Both rode ponies and showed an excellent grasp of riding skills. I should go back and take some lessons. The last time I saddled a horse and rode it was around 1968 and I didn't know what I was doing then. I was told to hang on the horse would do the work and good thing I was holding on, tight. Horses can stop and turn on a dime when they are trained to keep cattle in line. Here are a couple of pics of the kids.

Zach is one with his pony

Emily looks good on her pony

Another birthday arrives next month. Sixty-five years old. I have some aches and pains but I really don't feel sixty-five. I remember when my dad was sixty-five he retired. I have to go to sixty-six to get full benefits but it looks like I will be going beyond that age because my wife is younger than me by two years and she has to get to sixty-six to get the full benefit as well. I have had a friend of mine offer me a consulting position with her company, roaming the country in my trailer and helping new car dealer parts and service departments experience better profitability while providing top notch service. I suspect that I will contact her once I actually retire and see what she has to offer.

As I approach sixty-five I am looking back to the past and realizing that my life has quite literally flown bye. While I have never been famous or accomplished great feats, I have managed to raise a family and watch them start raising their own. While I wasn't the greatest dad living, my kids have managed to become very good parents. My daughter raises my two oldest grand kids. Her son is always willing to help and is very respectful. Her daughter is a very neat young lady. My son is an absolute joy to watch around his new son. I suspect there will be big things coming from our newest grandson.

I love my family. I enjoy seeing them and being around them. Hitting sixty-five makes me want to spend as much time as possible with them and enjoy them. So onward and upward to the future. I am really looking forward even though I am trying to find out about the past.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Life, Living and History

Over the course of the last ten years or so, I began to wonder where the heck I came from. What was my family background and who were my ancestors? My son and I worked together looking into my past as well as trying to find out where Mia's ancestors came from. So we went searching over the Internet and on Mia's side of the family we got very lucky. While we found some information on our own, our investigation led us to a gentlemen who had done the whole family tree right back to Finland where her mother's ancestors had their origins. We were not so lucky with her Dad or any of my family.

I had never heard of a diary or journal until I was in my twenties. And by then, the last thing I wanted to do was keep a journal of my daily mundane life. And I didn't ask my parents or grandparents about their background. My grandparents passed away without depositing any information about who they were or where they came from. Beyond being hard working people who raise some great kids, I had no idea about their past and they certainly didn't see the need to pass anything down the line either written or oral. While I did talk to my dad about the past, I really never got the opportunity or I didn't think to ask about my mom's side of the family before she passed away fairly early. My dad lived until just a couple of years ago and was 94 when he passed and my son and I both questioned him about his past and the family. Dad had a hard time remember much when we would ask him a question but sometimes he would just pop up with an answer or some other annotation later in the conversation or even days later.

Anyway, I digress. The point of all of this is a combination of happenings that have set me to wondering. Both my son and I have kind of stopped looking for the remainder of the family. However, starting the blog as a way to keep in touch with family and friends has actually got a family journal of sorts started. Great. It tells you what I want you to know about what I did on a given day, week or month but does very little to actually give a family history. Then along comes Christmas 2011 and my son hands Mia and I, each, a copy of "The Story Of A Lifetime". While it looks like a huge book to read, it is actually a thought starter. Filled with blank pages that have one line questions and you are supposed to insert answers by writing on the lines provided. Questions like:

What are the most important things you learned from your father?
If he is deceased how and when did he die? Where is he buried?
Tell about the first motion picture you saw?
What were your favorite radio and television shows?
What did you do in summers when school was out?

There are 380 pages of questions that require answers. Thought starters. And since I have no journal or diary it is going to be very hard to answer many of the questions. In fact, I intend to use WORD to make notes to answer the questions prior to writing one word in the book.

Another incident occurred that got me thinking about how nice it would be to that a journal or diary. I download a book from the library to my version one Kindle called, "True Compass: A Memoir" by the late Senator Edward Kennedy. It is the life story of a man who struggles with being the youngest of a group of successful individuals and how those individuals molded him into the man he became. They all had journals.

And as unfortunate as it may sound not one in my families ever mention the fact that it might be a good idea to keep a journal of my life and what happened as I grew to manhood and beyond. I am by no means a particularly old person however the memories aren't as vivid as they were say 50 years ago so I am going to have some issues getting the facts out.

And then, as always, there are things done in the past that are best left in the past. Kind of like, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas". You get the idea.

So as I move forward into 2012 and beyond, I will be trying to dig out some of the memories of the past and write them down for prosperity. This could get really interesting or be totally boring.

It sounds like everyone is having a pretty good start to 2012 from the blogs I follow. Again, I apologize for not comment on a lot of what I read. Many times I don't have an opportunity to look at the postings until the weekend and as you can well imagine there have been as many as 200+ postings in on week. If I could look at them daily it would be much more manageable.

We expect to spend the afternoon with our two oldest grandkids. We are taking them to their horse riding lessons. Should be fun and a photo op.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.....even with no pictures.

Friday, January 13, 2012


I woke up at 2:30 am and as it is typical for me, I wasn't able to go back to sleep. Now, as I type this log, my eyes are heavy. It is 7 am.
I am taking a three day weekend and after yesterday I don't have too much planned. I went to work early yesterday and was working in the receiving department when I tripped over a box and down I went. There was no point in trying to stop the fall. Regaining balance was out of the question. So, as I went down I turned and landed right on my wallet. My wallet is big, thick and solid and combined with the impact sent a enormus pain up my back. At first, I thought perhaps I had broken my hip. But the pain subsided and I was able to get up and walk without a whole lot of pain. It hurt but not so bad I couldn't work so I finished the day and came home to three days off and a nice hot bath.

Every time I rolled over last night, my hip reminded me of what an idiot I am and finally would not let me go back to sleep early this morning. My left "cheek" hurts pretty good and the small of my back and the muscle going down the back of my leg don't exactly feel normal. I don't understand why I am suddenly loosing my balance from minor trips and such. This is the second time that I have gone down in the receiving department. Come to think of it, I was filling in for the same guy last time I fell and hurt myself.

Mia has to work today so I will likely spend the day on the mend. I might go to the gym later but I wouldn't make any plans to meet me there because it is a "might". We have a dinner with my brother-in-law tonight and some plans with the grand kids tomorrow. Sunday I'll be resting peacefully at home as Mia goes out with her girlfriends for a cooking light party.

I am looking forward to this time off.

Hope your having fun and looking forward.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Rambling On

It has been sometime since I posted anything. I have been very busy with work and trying to get over this awful virus that has attacked Mia and I. I think we are finally on the mend.

I finally figured out to get library books to my Kindle for PC but couldn't figure out how to get them from the PC to the actually version one Kindle. Since version one doesn't use a true internet connection you can't sent the books directly to the Kindle. I just discovered the USB cord that is build into the charger. So cool, because you can download the books from the computer to the Kindle through this cord.

I am so tired of watching the debates. These guys couldn't lead their way out of a brown paper bag. As I approach retirement, I fear that I will loose my social security because the politicians are starting to call it an entitlement. Entitlements are something you can nullify with very little thought. I have the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. In my pursuit of happiness I have worked many years in my adult life putting money into something now called entitlement. The amount of money that I have input is huge. And now the folks in our government want to dispose of the program and keep my money? I don't think so. I want my money back. I don't need any interest, just give my money back. But no, they can't do that. They expect the next generation to pay for my benefits same as I did for earlier generations. And there is the problem. Generations vary in size. And now, with many very good paying jobs already in other countries we don't have the population base to pay for all the old folks who will hit the social security payroll in the next few years. It is a very scary time to be old and I don't like any of these guys.

On a brighter note. I went down to the local truck accessory shop yesterday to investigate a topper for my Silverado. I am looking at covering the bed of my truck so I can carry stuff around and have it covered and relatively safe from the outside elements. I look forward to this new addition.