Because We Can - Fulltime RVing

Journal Archive 09/21 - 09/30 2007

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September 21 Friday

It is really unbelievable just how fast the two days we work seem to fly past. Speaking of the past we really hoped our problems with the ice maker were also in the past this morning, and when Linda checked the ice maker everything seemed to be working just right. The ice buck was almost full, meaning it had been making ice all night long. The whole regular morning routine I had worked so hard to establish the past few days came to a crashing halt however when I checked under the refrigerator. There was water everywhere. Not that it was pouring down the outside of the refrigerator, but there was actually a small amount of standing water around the furnace. It hadn't gotten in the furnace but the prospect was looming that it would.

I turned the valve to shut the water off, while out of the drawer came several towels and out the window went my plans to write the Daily Journal article before going over to the Museum, because for some reason or other my enthusiasm for writing had got up and went. We had to do something to dry out that area, so we got out the 12 volt fan we carried in the way back, up above our bed, and soon it was whirling away, drying things out.

A fan-tastic thing to have

Given all that had gone on with the water under the refrigerator, it was surprising that we still made it over to the Museum with plenty of time to spare. So much so that Linda decided she had time to walk up to the Lighthouse with me when I opened it this morning. She said that she still hadn't been inside it this year, and it was time.

Tripping the Light Fantastic

Once she got her fix of looking at the light, it was time to get her fix of taking photos of the lighthouse. First it was the inside.

Reflections of the way....

Then it was the outside.

A different point of view

Then it was beyond the outside. Was there no end to the photos this woman would take?

The way things ought to be

The day passed very quickly and I hadn't realized just how late it was until coming down the stairs after a tour, there was Linda standing there. She had locked up the Museum sometime after 4 o'clock and had come up to the Lighthouse, and as soon as everyone was gone, it was once again time for photo's.

Beauty is sometimes in the eye of every beholder

Since it was our last day of work for this week, one of the jobs that has to be done is to polish the brass. It isn't a major task, but it is something that must be done. What it involves is polishing the brass hand rail that leads up into the bottom of the lens. Linda just couldn't resist taking a photo of me at work. The only problem was she didn't like the photo, so I ended up kneeling on the platform, polishing the bottom of the rail in order to give her the pose that she wanted. That is the biggest difference between us when it comes to taking photos. She waits and waits for just the right moment, then gets upset if everything isn't just perfect. I on the other hand just look at it that it is a slice of life, and life isn't always perfect, so why should the photos always be perfect.

Posed polishing photo

Once all the photos were taken, we headed back down to the Museum where another surprise awaited me. It turned out that Linda and Gaylyn had gotten to talking about the grilled tuna we had made, and the end result was that Gaylyn had driven down to the F/V Miss Irish and bought a fresh caught tuna which she had dressed out. The difference between what we buy, a single tuna fillet, and a whole dressed tuna is about fourfold, as they get normally get four fillets from a tuna, so we were talking a lot of fish.

a whole lot of tuna

We weren't sure what to do with all of it, other that Gaylyn wanted it grilled like we had the previous fillet, so we decided to grill it all tonight.

The way things ought to be

Needless to say, we had a very good dinner.

September 22 Saturday

This was the start of our free time, the four days we wouldn't be "working", and it was not going to be like the same day last week when nothing got done. The first order of business was breakfast, something I was prepared to do for a change. Perhaps it was the fact I didn't write the Daily Journal page the first thing in the morning, or maybe i just wanted to do things differently, but whatever the reason, Linda was soon eating a onion and pepper omelet topped with FF sour cream and homemade salsa. From the sounds she was making as she ate, I gathered she liked not only the fact I had fixed breakfast, but also that it tasted mighty good.

The first order of business was to fix the little fan we had been using to dry the area under the refrigerator where the ice maker water line was leaking. Testing it out, I found it wouldn't start by itself, requiring a little push on the blades to get it going. Thinking maybe a little silicone on the bearings would help, I took the guard off only to discover it was one of those cheap made in China pieces of junk that seems to the standard of the day. Eventually I did manage to get it working reasonably well, though it was obviously meant more as a toy than as a fan that could be used to actually move air. We have had it for a number of years and I still remember the first time I plugged it in (it runs off 12 volt) and the plug fell apart.

Not a fan of fans

With job one completed, it was time for for some carpentry work, otherwise known as strengthening the shelves.

Bowed but not broken

The same thing had happened to the shelves in the pantry, and I was going to use the same technique to fix these, wood screws and glue. Since we were putting some rather heavy bottles on the shelves, I decided to beef it up a little and put another wooden strip in to stiffen and reinforce them. The thin lengths of wood we had rescued from the trash at Denman proved to be the perfect size so I cut them to length using the saw our youngest daughter had gotten me for Christmas, then sanded them nice and smooth, and with Linda's help drilled the holes for the screws. The result may not have been cabinet maker quality, but it more than served our purpose.

No more curves

With that done, and when I say done, I mean done, as I barely had time to gather up my tools before Linda had everything back on the shelves (so much for letting the glue dry) and the above photo was taken. Well maybe it wasn't quite that simple, as there was a discussion about the photo. As I was getting ready to take it, I hand swept into the viewfinder and started straightening things on the shelf. My, "What are doing?" was met by a, "Straightening things up so it looks nice." Now what I wanted to do was to get the photo taken and move on to the next job, so I said, "If it was so important to look nice, why didn't you do that when you first put it back?" The answer was, "I want it to look nice when people look at the photo." My unthinking reply was, "So it doesn't matter how it looks for me, but for other people it's got to look nice." Men let me advise you that those words should never, never, ever come out of our mouths.

One photo deserves another and since the Coast Guard was out practicing in the high waves that were rolling in, I decided to go take some more photos. It was either that, or have my head chewed off.

Having fun

As you can tell from the people watching the action at the bottom of the photo, I wasn't the only one who noticed what was going on. The last job was trying to find the source of the water that was leaking from the ice maker, it was coming from up where the water supply line enters the freezer, but on the outside, then reading the on line maintenance book only to learn the only way to get at it was by removing the refrigerator. That was when I had the brilliant idea of checking to see what kind of warranty Norcold has, and wonder of wonders it is for two years, meaning it is a warranty item. Some days are good, and some days you get lucky, for today I will take luck.

September 23 Sunday

We had a big day planned for today as the Tsalila Festival was being held this weekend, something we had attended last year and were looking forward to this year. The first thing I did upon arising was to tackle the Daily Journal and just 82 minutes after starting it was up and posted. I'm still fighting with my need to make it "perfect" as opposed to just getting it done, but time does provide training, or at least I hope it does. While I was typing, Linda fixed breakfast, Uncle Sam cereal, FF, SF vanilla yogurt and home made, SF blackberry sauce. Was that ever good.

She even washed the dishes, then patiently waited for me to finish with my writing. Speedily, and I do mean speedily, getting dressed once I was finished, we headed of to Reedsport and church at the Church of God. We had learned last Sunday that a candidate for their associate pastor position would be visiting this weekend, and figured he would be preaching a trial sermon just like had always been done in the Presbyterian churches we had attended most of our life. Not so, no sermon at all from the candidate. He and his family were here to see if they would be a good fit for this church. It once again helped us realize just how narrow our vision of religion and religious denominations is. Given the problems the church we attended had with the ministers the congregation picked versus the wonderful pastors the denomination would supply to be interim pastors, maybe there is something to a method like this. It's a very big world out there and it is an eye opening experience to see some of the parts we never even imagined existed.

Once church was over we drove down to the Discovery Center area where the Tsalila Festival was being held. It started at 11 o'clock this morning and our timing was perfect. Another good thing about arriving earlier in the day is the parking. We got a spot even closer than the one we had last year (this year we knew where to go) and it wasn't long until the family model was doing her thing.

Come one, come all

Our first order of business was to check and see what was here this year, and there was one thing we quickly smelled out.

Fish sticks

They serve a traditional salmon meal, which we passed on last year, but were looking forward to this year. Here is a closeup of the salmon being slowly roasted over the alder fire. We also got lucky as we were standing there looking at the process, as a young woman who was working at the festival came up to us and started describing what they were doing. We had thought the fish was smoked, but she said it was being slow baked, also there would be virtually no smokey taste since the alder wood was very dry this year. Plus, as the fish cooks it forms a thin crust which keeps the meat moist.

Head and all

That was more than enough to convince us to eat here this year, so we headed over to the the ticket booth, where we not only bought full meal, $14 tickets, but also bought festival tee shirts. Lest you think we have gone on spending spree, the shirts were from last years festival and were only $5 each. As soon as Linda saw them she knew she wanted one, since the design was based on the fish prints we had seen being made last year. As we left the ticket booth we saw there was a story teller program in progress, so we sat down and for the next 45 minutes were thoroughly entertained by the stories and songs of the past. The highlight was the wonderful story of how the hummingbird got the bright red feathers down its throat, they aren't called ruby throated because they green throats after all. Once the program was over I talked for a brief moment to the story teller and asked him what made the wonderful sounds that came from the two rattles he used. The answer surprised and delighted me. They were the spirits of his ancestors singing along as he sang since the songs he was singing were the same songs they had sung.

How many times have I written those lines about the link with our past and those who came before, and as I looked into his face, I realized that I truly did understand what he was saying.

A very special person

Next it was time to visit some of the various educational displays. Here is Bob learning about the types of tools they used, they being the various peoples who inhabited this area, and it turned out that just as the Petrified Forest was an area where different cultures came together, so is this area. As we walked away, we talked about how much we have learned about our country and the people who have lived here since we gave up living in one location and decided to live in a house on wheels. It is history, but so very much different from the words in a book you were forced to study in high school. I feel sorry for the people the people who say, "history, who cares", for by doing that they give up much of themselves.

Learning about the past

Our next stop was at the booth all the kids want to sit at. The one where you get to "try" and make an arrowhead. Last year Linda had expressed some interest in trying our hand at this, but I was looking at it as a thing for kids and so we didn't do it. Then came our two months volunteering at the Petrified Forest and many was the time I wished I hadn't have been so negative about doing this. This year proved to be just the opposite, I was the one pushing to do it and Linda was holding back. Having really learned my lesson last year, I sat down at the table and asked the man doing the teaching if big kids could do it also. We immediately knew from his answer that he wished a lot more big kids would do it, so soon both Linda and I were trying our hand.

Both the tools and the process are deceptively simple, so with the eagerness of youth we plunged in.

A very special helper

I had only been sitting there for a few moments when I realized that I was truly meant to be here doing this. The little boy sitting beside was the son of the man who was the instructor. Raven was a very special little boy, special in the same sense that out grandson, Justin is special, and at first the father was talking to Raven telling not to touch me, to put his glasses on and a hundred an one other things that a special needs child must be reminded of. It only took a few seconds for Raven and I to connect and in a small way, it gave me the opportunity to sit there beside my grandson and act like a kid once again. It brings tears to my eyes to type this, it was that special, and it once again reminds us to take a chance on life as you never know where it will lead.

The process itself involved starting with an unshaped piece of obsidian, mine was semi-rectangular, while Linda's was more rounded, then by slowly flaking away tiny pieces, to transform it into an arrowhead. They start you out on very small pieces and here is Linda working on hers.

A little old knaper at work

We both spent a good bit of time making our creations the exact shape we wanted and in the end they were actually quite good. To say that we were proud of ourselves would be an understatement. Here are the tools we used, a piece of leather, copper tool to do the flaking and the finished piece. When the instructor said mine was a birdpoint I knew exactly what he was saying and and when he added it was good enough to hunt with I felt the pride of craftsmanship.


The only problem with that photo is that it doesn't have anything in it to give proper scale. To give you an idea, it is about as long as the fingernail on my ring finger. We had one last thing to do before we left the Festival, which was to eat one of the baked salmon meals. Served with corn on the cob, corn bread, and baked squash, it was delicious beyond words. The moist salmon has a slight open fire taste and the whole meal was something we would have fixed at home because it was South Beach Phase 3 all the way, however there is no definitely no way we could have duplicated the taste.

Fabulous food

Back home, Linda checked on her Ebay items, then it was time to check on the rocks we were tumbling. It's been 10 days since she started and it was time to either start polishing them, or change out the grinding grit.

First grinding

Having never done this before, we decided to err on the side of caution and elected to give them a second grinding, so here is Linda following a recipe of a different sort.

A little of this and a little of that

Speaking of recipes, I tried a new out for dinner. It had been such a fun day that I got completely carried away and told Linda that since it was Sunday and the women in her family didn't cook on Sunday night (it apparently started with her grandmother) I would fix dinner. Here is the result, a layer of FF refried beans, a layer of homemade guacamole, a layer of FF sour cream and a layer of homemade salsa, all South Beach healthy of course. To eat it, we used microwaved corn tortillas (one minute on each side) to scoop, or rather to shovel this into our mouths. This was a can of beans and two avocados, the next time it will be half a can of refried beans and one avocado, sure it was painful to eat so much, but sometimes you just have to suffer.

Food for the masses

September 24 Monday

Not much planned for today in the way that we had things planned for yesterday, but then everyday can't be Sunday. It's interesting that Sunday is associated with happiness, whereas Monday morning and feeling blue is more the norm. That may have to do with going back to work after having the weekend off, or maybe there is another connotation, but whatever it is, this is not a blue Monday for us.

Once again Linda was up early even though she didn't have to be, and her big, beautiful smile seemed to light up the coach. I had been thinking that Sundays events deserved more than the 'one hour get it done treatment' as far as the Daily Journal was concerned, and so decided to really write as in days of old. It took a while, a little more than several hours to be exact, but I liked the result. I guess that makes it okay, but I don't want it to become a habit.

Since I was reverting to some of my old ways, Linda decided to do the same, in the breakfast category that is, so she cooked oatmeal. It had been ages since we had fixed it and was it ever good. Whether it was the oatmeal itself, which is cooked with FF milk, not water, or the toppings of blackberry sauce, Stevia, chopped walnuts and cinnamon, it made us want to look forward to more mornings like this in the future.

Come back, ya'll come back ya hear

As we were finishing up breakfast Linda noticed something going on out near the point of the triangle. It was the Coast Guard helicopter and there was what appeared to be a ladder dangling down from it. Was someone being rescued? We didn't know, but the speed with which Linda grabbed the binoculars made me think that if that was what it was and the Coast Guard needed help, she could probably turn into Superwoman.

Look. up in the sky

Once the helicopter rose high up in the air it looked like they had someone in a cage suspended under the chopper. It was later when Linda was talking to Gaylyn that she learned what was really going on. There is a horn down on the point that sounds every few seconds to give an audible warning to mariners. This horn is only operated between the early part of May and the latter part of September and what we saw was the Coast Guard removing the horn at the end of the season. It was fun watching them and besides, when we really think about it, we didn't want to see them doing an actual rescue because that meant somebody might have been grave danger, something we'd rather not have happen to anyone.

Heading to shore

With all that excitement out of the way, it became a routine day. Of course in our life no day is routine in the sense of repetition, day after day, so to put a little of that routine back, Linda did the laundry. After all, isn't Monday the tradition wash day? Then while I fine tuned a few things on my computer, downloading a new program to write the Daily Journal, Linda packaged up yesterday's Ebay items and we headed off to the Post Office. She prefers to go to the Post Office in Reedsport because she can get an itemized receipt as opposed to just the basics at the back of the the convenience store Post Office in Winchester Bay. As for me, I was downloading the program because the one I had been using, (I've used it it since late May), decided to wipe out several paragraphs I had typed over the past several times I've been writing the Journal. I knew I wrote them, it was just when I was going back over the post to rewrite and edit it, they were not there. Not good, especially when the postings are as brief as they are.

Well, that's enough of my problems, which I hope are going to be fixed, and soon I found myself helping carry packages into the Post Office. I had previously mentioned the set of stamps showing the Pacific Coast Lighthouses and when I was standing there watching Linda I noticed something hanging on the wall above her.

The frame is hung crooked

Next it was time to do something that we had never done before.

Politician and supporter

We don't understand everything that is going on as far as the politics in Douglas County where the Lighthouse is located, but we do know enough to understand who is supportive of the coastal areas and who is only interested in what can be gotten for the inland areas, i.e., Roseburg. Marilyn Kittleman is good for this area and so to make a really long story short, we ended up standing in the Price n Pride parking lot listening to her make her announcement that she plans to run for re-election in November of next year.

A very special politician

One of the things I have been attempting to do with my Lighthouse tours is to challenge (the word the National Park Service uses is "provoke") people to go back to their own communities and get involved in saving those things that are going to be lost to what we call progress. I don't say it, but I think a more accurate term than progress would be greed. In one small way this was our local involvement in doing that same thing. Marilyn supports the coast and the different ways they have overcome the hardships cause by the demise of the timber industry. The fact they didn't whine and cry for handouts from the State and Federal governments, but instead, started promoting what they had, to build, if you will, a new base for the local economy. It is just the opposite over in Roseburg where it is a what can they do for us attitude rather than what we do for ourselves. The way each of us looks at these things is our individual choice, but if all we ever do is complain and never take action, then we will blame everyone and everything but the real reason when things don't go as we would like. The fault lies within ourselves.

September 25 Tuesday

If you had asked us what we were going to do today when we first got up this morning the answer would have been on the order of, she: work on Ebay, he: mess around with the computer. The actual events of the day proved to be quite different from those first thoughts, though they did incorporate those endeavors.

I had thought about walking once again this morning, my old body having more than recovered from my trek of last week, but unfortunately something which hardly ever happens caused me to pass up the opportunity, my lower back was hurting. Try as I might, I couldn't come up with anything I had done yesterday which should have resulted in this situation, and hopefully it it will quickly be gone. I can't say this never happens, especially since it is happening now, but it is so infrequent as to border on never. I decided to look upon it as 'good', at least in the sense that a little pain is good for us, it reminds us we are indeed human.

Fixing breakfast fell to me today, Linda being so excited about what was happening with some of her Ebay items that she wasn't going to be good for much of anything else for a while. The result was another egg omelet consisting of two extra large eggs, two pieces of diced Canadian Bacon, bell peppers, onions, garlic, thin slices of Mozzarella cheese and cilantro. This was divided into two equal portions and then topped with FF sour cream and fresh salsa. Sure, it is an old standby of ours, but was it ever good. Besides we are always varying the ingredients enough to give it a new twist, and as always, it is also a very healthy meal.

Linda, your omelet is ready

After breakfast, I wrote the Daily Journal article and then showed Linda how to navigate the new software program I had installed so she could edit it. As is always the case, when you try a new program, you can accept all the defaults and use it just as it comes, or you can try everything out, messing it up good. As you can guess, the latter was the course I took. The bad thing was that I did mess it up, the good thing was that while figuring out how to get it back into some semblance of usability, I actually learned many of the things it can do. Those little things that otherwise you would never know about. It may have wasted the morning, but it was a good way to waste the morning.

Maybe it was guilt, or maybe it was a desire to forget my aching back, but whatever it was, I was soon tackling several projects that while not pressing, have been on Linda's mind for a while. The first was to plug the rear TV back in so we could watch it. It had been unplugged when we were at Quartzsite last winter to cut down on the amount of electricity we were using while boondocking in the desert using the solar cells to generate our electricity. Then because we got out of the habit of having it on, it was left that way. Lately Linda has been staying up watching her shows out in the living room and I thought maybe she would like to be able to watch from the the comfort of the bed in the warmth of the electric blanket. That is why you see me in this 'almost' impossible to get into and out of place, reaching for the 'almost' unreachable plug.

To reach for the unreachable.....

Once the TV was actually working, it dawned on us that we could watch two different shows if we wanted since there was a cable hookup at the site. It took a little fiddling, actually a great more than a little fiddling but eventually we had the cable hooked up and Linda was a happy girl. On our last work around the coach day, we had fixed the shelves in the hall vanity, so now it was time to do the same thing to the bathroom vanity. The problem was essentially the same, too weak of a method of fastening the reinforcing strip to the shelf for the length of span and the weight placed on the shelf. Once I had taken down the first shelf I could see it was more than just those two things, they had not placed any staples out near the end of the reinforcing strip and also, one of the staples had missed going into the wood.

How not to do it

While it is hard to tell from the photo, but in the center of the wooden strip you can see the particle board splitting. I would think that whoever had assembled this shelf would have noticed, or at least whomever was assembling it. Maybe the operative word here is think, something no one was doing that day.

The shelves fixed, it was on to the next project, though we did pause for a moment before deciding to take it on. By now it was 4:30 and nearing quitting time, but I think Linda has learned that if I were to stop, who knows how long it would be before it would be time to work on it once again. The idea was deceptively simple, build a small shelf under the bathroom sink to increase the storage space. As it turned out, the design was easy, it was the assembly that proved to be the problem. RV bathrooms are certainly not the epitome of spaciousness, in fact the epitome of economy of space is the only way to describe them. Couple that with my aching back and it made for a most difficult time.

No space to work

You have no place to put your legs and feet, you have the cabinet doors limiting access, you have no light, and because of your body position you can't see what you are doing, and even if you could see, the angle of your head makes it impossible to focus through your glasses. Take your glasses off you say, then you are back to not being able to see. Fun is not the word to describe the emotions that installing that little shelf summoned up in both myself and Linda. Eventually it was installed and was I ever thankful for that moment, not because it was done, but because I could finally straighten out.

Completed shelf

I won't be doing the other side for quite some time, if ever, but at least Linda is very happy. The other thing is that when it was cut out and laying on the floor prior to assembling and installing it, everything fit together perfectly. Heck, you could barely see the the crack between the two edging pieces. When you no longer have your shop, your clamps, jigs, etc, the reality of the finished product is something different. I think one of the defining moments in this new life was when I realized that things don't have to be perfect, they just have to be experienced. This little shelf is a prime example, it is functional, it works just as Linda wanted. It doesn't have the look of fine cabinetry, but who cares, Linda and I are the only ones who are going to see it. Maybe that is what we spend too much of our lives worrying about, what others will think. I'd like to think in some small ways I've moved beyond that in my life, and that to me is a good thing.

September 26 Wednesday

It is a back to another volunteer workday today, which means no work, just a lot of fun (something that was certainly not the case when I worked for necessity in our former life). It may have been a new day, but I still had memories of yesterday lingering because I was still more than aware that I had a back. One part of me said all the bending to install that shelf yesterday should have been good for my aching back. The other part said: you stupid idiot, how else did you think you would feel this morning. I'm just going to hope it is the former thoughts which will prove to be correct.

Aches and pain aside, I had one job to do, which was to write the Daily Journal, something which was also compounded by the lateness of the hour (meaning that for once I slept in, not waking until Linda's radio came on at 7:30. Of course the sound of it change my state from being sound asleep to being fully awake in that one heartbeat. The distaff side of the bed, however, remaining in seeming blissful ignorance of the new sounds intruding into the room. In a small way it is a good thing to have happen first thing in the morning, a gentle reminder that everyone is different, we all act and think differently given the same situation or stimuli and I lay there for a few seconds more I remind myself that the people on the tours today are not all as excited about the lighthouse as I am.

It was only a few seconds later that I realized I had better get up and get going in spite of what my body was telling me, especially if I was going to get the Daily Journal written and up before it was time to open the lighthouse. That meant breakfast once again fell to Linda, the poor thing having to fix both breakfast and our lunch. Whether she muttered anything during that process or not, I was oblivious to whatever it might have been, concentrating solely on my writing. I will admit the oatmeal was very good, though she probably thought I could have been a little bit more effervescent in my praise. It was nearing time to head over and open the Museum when Linda finished her editing, and with her heading off I started the FTP transfer to get it up on the server. Of course this would be the morning I would have a couple of glitches happen, meaning it took longer than usual, my mistakes caused by hurrying too much, not the programs, with the result I showed up a few minutes past opening time. We usually get over to the museum 10 to 15 minutes early, so today was real exception to the norm. Of course it also had to be the day that Gaylyn was standing there when I walked in. Let's see, an aching back and showing up to work late only to find the boss there waiting on me, I decided to be the optimist and trust that things could only get better.

Of course my first task was the same as always, to open the lighthouse, an activity which always results in a special time of communion with the past.

You light up my life

I often write about my time with the light, but that is not the only time I spend, there are also the people who served the light, just as I do now. One of my favorites is Headkeeper Oscar Wiren, and I always pause for a few moments in front of his photo to dwell on the exploits of this man and form in my mind which of those times of his life I will relate to today's visitors. This man lived a life that was almost unreal, but to have a glimpse into it you'll have to come on one of my tours.

There are men, and then there are real men. This is a real man

This proved to be a good day for tours, not only because the weather was nice, but also because there were many people who where genuinely interested in lighthouses. The questions people often ask may be something I was not going to talk about on this tour, having already covered it in an earlier tour, or planning to talk to talk about it in later tour, that's the problem with 5 or 6 hours of information and only having 50 minutes or so to give it in. One of the keys to look for are people who are wearing clothing with lighthouses on them, you just know they are going to ask questions. On one of the tours today was a quite elderly lady who spent most of her life working with glass and she was a joy to have along. Not because of the questions she asked, but because of the comments she made. It was once again one of those magical moments when the group and I listened spellbound as she related some the details of glass and glass making. In a way it was the truest form of the term "living history", she had lived it, and now she was relating it to us. A truly special time for all of us who were there.

Tour guide at work

The day flies by so fast when you are having fun and as always, I was having more fun than one person should be allowed to have. As I was approaching the Museum after a tour, I glanced at my watch, and much to my surprise, discovered it was already 2:42 and I hadn't eaten lunch yet. Like I said, I was having more fun than a person should be allowed to have. It's also funny in way, because I don't look at my watch when I am giving a tour, using it simply to mark how much time has passed. After literally gobbling down my turkey rollup I walked out to meet the next group had received a pleasant surprise, Our friends, Ron and Terry, who have the Hitchitch website, the premier site for everything you ever wanted to know about fulltime RV information, plus more fulltimer blogs than you can ever read, would be going on this tour.

No space to work

The last word of the day: my back, sometime during that first tour of the morning it just miraculously stopped hurting and I never did feel it again during the day. In a lot more ways than one it turned out to once again be a great day.

September 27 Thursday

That pesky backache was back (no pun intended) when my eyes first popped open this morning. Unfortunately that wasn't all that was back, so was my newly developed habit of sleeping past sunrise, that is if two days in a row makes for a habit. Bottom line was that I didn't get started on writing the Daily Journal until such a late hour that I was unable to get it finished before it was time to head over to the museum, but lets not get to far ahead in the story.

Actually the pain in my back was more like an awareness rather than a hurt, so it wasn't all that bad. There was something which was bad and it was the new software I was using to write the Daily Journal. It had worked great the other day, but for some reason I was all thumbs today, even to the point of managing to delete a portion of several paragraphs when trying to do a little editing. The problem being that I didn't notice my little faux paux until after I had saved the changes. Not good, not good at all. I just love this program however, which is called Quanta Plus, so I think I will use it with the KDE desktop tomorrow instead of the Gnome desktop I was using today. It was written to work with KDE, and maybe I will have better luck. So much new, so much to learn, but if it wasn't for challenges what fun would there be.

Linda was a real jewel once again this morning, doing double duty fixing both breakfast and lunch as I struggled away at the computer. I have to think she could easily guess from my muttered comments that things were not going as well as I would have liked. One thing she has done is to have this green pepper and onion omelet down pat, especially using the FF sour cream and homemade salsa to give it a southwestern twist.

Eggs on the half plate

Since the Daily Journal article had not been completed by the time we needed to head over to the Museum, I had to take the computer, mouse and power adapter along with me. Add to all that our lunch cooler, etc that I normally carry and I felt more like one of those mules that packed loads out of the area in the 1850's than a 21st century lighthouse guide. Once over at the Museum though, just when things should have gotten better they didn't. I was late for the second day in row, I will admit it. Not late as in late, but late as in not early, which shouldn't normally cause a problem but somehow managed to this morning.

The first couple throgh the door wanted to go on the lighthouse tour, and they wanted to do it right then. Here I was, looking like a pack rat returning to the nest after a night of foraging, my mind on the unwritten words for the journal and it was time to start work. It was like having that big project with the totally unrealistic time schedule dumped on you the first morning after returning from vacation. There is no way the human mind can shift gears that fast, a fact that was brought to my attention as walked out the door with those visitors. "Don't you need the radio and keys to the Lighthouse?" were the words Linda said. The same words that stopped me dead in my tracks. "Ugh, sure, yes I do", was my more than a little flustered reply. I could only try and imagine what those two visitors must have thought about the bozo who was going to talking to them about the Lighthouse.

Actually things rapidly improved and by the time we were standing in front of the Lighthouse I was in full stride, or at least I thought I was until I noticed I was still Holding the metal lighthouse tour sign in my hands. The one that I should have hung on the nail way back at the upper end of the parking lot. That was when I realized the people I was talking to had no idea the sign should have been hung way back there, so I just carried on, then when I reached the door to the Lighthouse, excused myself for just a moment while I carefully placed the sign where it had never been placed before, then carried on with the tour. That's not something they teach you in tour guide school, it's only something the best guides intuitively know, (said as I pat myself on the back).

The rest of the day went fairly quickly, my back never once hurting until the early afternoon. When you deal with the public, you take what you can get, and did I ever get a doozy. There were only two people on the tour and talk about lack of enthusiasm and personality. These people would have caused the Energizer Bunny to have a power failure. Or put another way, on a personality scale of 1 to 10 they rated a -5. I don't give up easily, but by the time we were on the Storage Landing inside the Lighthouse and I had been unable to get a word out of either of them. And if you ever go one of my tours you'll know that's as close of an impossibility as there is. It was when I started up the final set of stairs to the Watchroom that I noticed my back was hurting. They weren't only figuratively a royal pain, they were literally a royal pain.

The next tour proved there is balance to the universe as it was once again only two people, but they were exact opposite of the couple on the previous tour. It was at the same point in the tour that I realized my back was no longer hurting and I knew why. Some people, by their very nature drag you down, while others lift you up. I'd lifted that first couple up until my back hurt, but now I was being lifted up myself. I especially liked the story one of them told about enlisting in the Coast Guard, and that he was allowed to pick the duty station he was to be assigned to as part of his enlistment package. He had always wanted to go to Hawaii, so he chose duty on an Lighthouse in the Islands. The only problem was that between the time he enlisted and he actually had to report, they had automated the lighthouse. Suddenly it wasn't him picking his duty station, it was the Coast Guard assigning him to a station. He ended up serving on the Great lakes on an Ice Breaker. And I thought I was having a bad day. I could hope that I brought a little joy to the life of the two people on the previous tour, but irregardless, my back never did hurt again the rest of the afternoon.

Why it's all worth it

Once the "workday" was over, we headed back to the coach and I was just in the process of starting to change my shirt when Linda said she had an idea, "How about going out to eat?" I was completely wrung out after all those tours, not because of the physical effort, which even though it does involve climbing a number of stairs, is actually quite easy, no, it is the mental effort that tires me out. My goal is always the same, give our visitors the best tour I possibly can, and that is not something which happens by magic, it takes a lot of effort and energy. Every tour is different in number of ways (otherwise I'd get bored) and the thanks both Linda and I receive from people for the job we do and the courtesies we show them are more than enough compensation. Given all that, I readily agreed with her, eating was an excellent idea, so down to Griff's we drove, where we ate seafood. We both came to the same conclusion about our food, Linda had the Crab Louie and I had the Halibut Nuggets, we'd eat somewhere else next time.


September 28 Friday

This was going to be the first of four days off and we were both looking forward to it, however it got off to a little earlier start than I had planned. That woman I'm married to could sleep through a hurricane, oh, it would wake her up for a moment, but soon she would be back asleep. For me, just a few drops of rain is enough to put all my senses on full alert. That is just what happened at 3:47 this morning, and I fought it until 4:20 when I gave in and got up. Once an early riser, always an early riser I guess. My biggest fear was that the rain had knocked the MotoSat off line as it sometimes does during rainstorms, but all was right in the electronic world so I spent some time investigating the intricacies of the new program I am using.

In general it wasn't raining very hard and at times it would even stop completely, but of course the damage had already been done, here I was fully awake and that was where I would remain for the remainder of the day. Starting early also meant I could get the Daily Journal written and published this morning, meaning I would not repeat my error of yesterday. I was also able to get the KDE spell checker to work exactly the way I wanted in Quanta Plus, so you could say I was sitting rather fat and happy.

That was just about the time Linda came out from the bedroom and made me instantly aware of what mood she would be today with the greeting, "Good afternoon", followed by a huge smile. It wasn't that late at all, in fact the sun was still up. Not only was she smiling, but she plunged right in to making breakfast, a delicious bowl of oatmeal. As you know, good things have a way of turning to tatters even as you hold them and that was what soon happened. She had decided to make the bed before getting dressed and one of her bare toes encountered something that it shouldn't. It wasn't a pin or tack, it was water, and not on the tile, on the carpet. To say she came into the front of the coach in an excited condition would be an understatement.

It only took the slightest touch on my part to confirm her suspicions, the carpet at the edge of the slide out was wet. One thing leads to another and before long I had the bottom drawer out of the bathroom vanity, plus the bed open and the cover removed, all in order to check just what was damp and also to what degree. It turned out that most of the dampness was in the area where the drain and supply lines for the washer passed under the bed. Try as I might, I couldn't feel any water on the lines themselves, so we just propped up the bed to make sure it wouldn't accidental close and put the little 12 volt fan to work.

The rest of the day went by quickly enough, there was one trip into to Reedsport to mail more Ebay packages, which also included stops at Ace Hardware, the local Friday farmers market, Safeway and the thrift store. I thought we did pretty well at the first three, Linda voted for the latter three, and as you can tell, food was the common link. My exception was a couple of drill bits, while hers were two pair of pants (single digit size she proudly pointed out) and two very pretty tops. That's what 2 for 1 days will do, but now she's got to decide what to get rid off to make room for them, after all our little closet only holds so much. Maybe I'd better prepare myself for comments about some my things and the fact that I don't really ever wear them, so why don't we get rid of them. Women and clothes, they were made for each other.

Safeway had their pears' on sale for $1 a pound so we picked out two each of the Bartlett, Bosc and Red varieties. Now we will have to let them fully ripen, plus we already have a pretty good idea how most of them are going to be fixed. For now here's the list the ingredients, then later after we fixed them, assuming they turn out like we think they will, there will be more details. The ingredients are: a ripe pear, bittersweet chocolate, Crême de Cacao a la Vanille, and water.

We also picked up six quite large avocados for $1 each, plus lots of other veggies. The lady at the farmers market had some magnificent looking scalloped squash and we are definitely looking forward to enjoying them. So many good things and so few meals to eat them. Speaking of meals we decided to combine lunch and dinner into one meal, having gotten the aforementioned rather late start to the day, with the plan calling for a big plate of refried beans topped with guacamole. The only problem was that try as we might, we couldn't find any refried beans at the Safeway. We could have driven back across the street and bought then at the Price n Pride, but instead decided to make them ourselves.

Back at the coach, while I chopped ingredients for the guacamole, Linda busied herself turning a can of Kidney beans into the best refried beans we have had in years. A long time ago I used to make the refried beans we ate, but somewhere or other that endeavor was dropped. Now Linda had picked up the baton and had zoomed on ahead. Isn't it funny how little things can make such a big difference?

The best stuff on earth

As you might expect, we had a difference in taste preference when it came to the salsa topping. Linda is not a big salsa eater, so when we buy salsa, it is my choice, which lately has been chipotle because I enjoy the smokey flavor. As you can tell, based on this photo, that there is a member of the family who does not like her food with a smokey flavor. But spitting the plate, it allowed her to enjoy what she likes and let me still have my smokey salsa, making everyone happy and also full. This is now the second time we have eaten this dish and at the rate we are going, it is going to become another of our standard meals. You'll also noticed I didn't moan about too much food this time, even though we still made it with a full can of beans and two avocados. Now I am sure that had we eaten lunch I wouldn't be saying the same thing, so we will have to see what the next time brings.

In the evening Linda made some vanilla pudding to go with the last chocolate bean brownie, then headed outside to take some photos of the Lighthouse while it set. Unfortunately her camera skills and the skill level required by the camera were on two different levels, but I have promised to give her a lesson very soon. Looking at the photo's I believe she had all the right settings as far as the camera was concerned, it was just that she was using slower shutter speeds which required a tripod for the best results. Maybe we will have some twilight photo's of the Lighthouse to post tomorrow. She did get one nice silhouette of the coach and that is what we will leave you with for this day. This is the Life we live and we realize that we are indeed lucky to be able to live it.

Good night

September 29 Saturday

At least it wasn't raining when I awoke this morning, which was good for the ATV folks who come out for the weekends. It also means we will probably have to listen to the sound of those pesky little critters buzzing around most of the day, that is if the weather is warm enough to have the windows open. I could tell it was a Saturday right off since there was no concentrated effort on my part to get the Daily Journal written in a timely manner. Based on Linda's behavior, however, you couldn't tell it was Saturday, since she was bright eyed and bushy tailed at an unearthly early hour this morning.

The result was an early breakfast that was: 1. fixed, and 2. different. I can't say that I have ever had Uncle Sam's cereal covered with blackberry jam for breakfast, but that was what we had. Maybe my use of the terms "bright eyed and bushy tailed" to describe her condition was just a tad over optimistic. Perhaps, sleepy eyed and partly awake may have been the better description to have used.

That didn't mean she was out of it, just that she wasn't fully into it. Maybe it was the food that got her going or maybe it was the argument we had over something totally unimportant and by now long forgotten, but whatever it was, she was soon involved in a labor of love. She has always had her hobbies and the latest is hot fix embellishments. Translated into common English that means she like putting sequins and other sparkly things on clothing.

Lady at work

It takes only a glance to see just how serious this work is, notice her glasses laying on the mouse pad? Lest you think this is something that she rarely engages in, there was another incident which took place later in the day that confirmed her eyes aren't what they used to be. What happened was she found herself in need of the date of a birthday, so to the computer to look at her Palm database she went. The only problem was that she hadn't used it in such a long time that the sync program on the computer needed to be reinstall to get it to work. Then she had to attach her Palm to complete the install which was where the real problem occurred. She couldn't find her Palm. After an extensive search accompanied by much muttering, it was located. Of course the batteries were dead, so they had to be replaced, again with much muttering, then when it was finally hooked up to the computer, she needed to enter the serial number off of the Palm. That was when the mutterings became vocal enough that even I with my severely restricted hearing could partially understand what she was saying.

It took awhile to decipher some of those terms that probably haven't been used since the days of the salty sailors of the old square rigged sailing ships, but in the end I realized those numbers she was trying to read were simply to small to be seen. Buffeted by the blasts coming my way while I was hunched over my computer, I wasn't about to offer any comment given the current state of affairs. Suddenly it grew quiet, which could be either good or bad, but looking up at last I could see it was good. She had solved the problem of those dainty, delicate, dim digits.

One smart woman

Linda was also bound and determined to get the damp carpet in the bedroom dried out, so once again she set up the fan on the chair, then to provide some added drying power, she set the heat pump at a high temperature and closed the doors. All this was enough to remind me that I hadn't taken a photo of what was happening yesterday, so back into the fiery furnace I went.

Drying things out

We spent the rest of the day doing next to nothing, something we, or at least I, accomplished quite easily. We, or I should say she, made the Beef Burgundy for supper, which we ate with crackers, peanut butter, and blackberry jam. (My contribution to that effort other than eating to much of it was to cube the beef and open the bottle of cooking wine.) Once again it proved to be delicious beyond words and proves the point that the best cooking is simple cooking. Made in the crock pot, there was enough for one more meal thanks to Linda saying that we had eaten enough just when I was really getting warmed up. Yes indeed, it was that good.

After dinner we headed back up to the Lighthouse to take some more photos, only to have the batteries run out of juice after just a few shots. In a way it was good they failed, because I wasn't having any better luck than Linda at getting the photos she wanted. It was only after returning to the coach and downloading the photos that I realized I had used too long of an exposure time. They say the third time is a charm, and the next time we take photos of the Lighthouse it will be the third time, so maybe......

The light at night

By the way, you can see the beams from the Lighthouse playing off the trees in the background in the photo, something that really has to been seen to be appreciated. We finished off the evening with dessert, just as we always do, tonight with fresh baked chocolate brownies using whole wheat flour instead of black beans like we have been having the past several nights. It's not that we don't like the bean brownies, in fact we love them, it's just that the family dessert chef wanted to fix something different. Something that we hadn't had for a while, hence the new brownies. You will notice that her desire for something new does not include the exclusion of chocolate, meaning I think her definition of dessert includes the word chocolate. Life, meant to be lived.

September 30 Sunday

Maybe "rainy day mornings always get me down" is what some people say, but that is not the case with us this morning. Of course rain wasn't quite the proper descriptive term for what was happening outside. Downpour, cloudburst, monsoon or frog strangler would have probably been a more appropriate term.

Raindrops keep fallin'

As we looked out, we had to feel sorry for the ATV folks down below us, it wasn't a day that they were going to enjoy. And not only was it raining, the wind was also blowing, the large fir out the front window was shaking violently at times as it was buffeted by the winds coming in off the ocean. Maybe it was the change in the weather, the drop in barometric pressure, or maybe it was just plain laziness, but whatever it was, I had little to no motivation to write the Daily Journal, though later in the day I not only finished the article for yesterday, but several others as well. The other thing was the heavy rains were causing the MotoSat to lose contact with the satellite, so there was no uploading or web surfing to be done, but I think the latter affected Linda more than it did me.

Since I couldn't seem to get any words out, I opted to fix breakfast, my usual omelet of green pepper and onions, topped with sour cream and salsa. There was no Mozzarella cheese, I having gobbled down the last of it for an afternoon snack several days ago, so the taste wasn't quite up to the usual level, but it sure hit the spot for Linda; she didn't have to cook it, nor do the dishes. Of course all this put me behind in the getting ready department, and the icy stare I was receiving from my spouse let me know exactly what her thinking was. I believe it could be put into her own words, words she oftentimes uses to express her feelings at the moment towards me, "I'm not in the happiest mood right now." It wasn't like I was doing it on purpose, but that didn't matter to her, I was doing my usual thing, but as it turned out, we weren't late, but rather, actually a little bit early.

Sign of the times

There was a guest speaker today, a m