Saturday, August 31, 2013

Straight Outta Compton

I love it when people applaud when I walk into a room. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Of course, "brown stuff" makes me feel pretty warm and fuzzy too and I think my audience already had plenty of it by the time I arrived. (After a few belts, I was caught up.)

Family reunions are great. It's all about recalling memories from the past and creating new ones.  (A little Jack Daniels doesn't hurt. A lot can, however, and probably injured more than one this weekend.) The stories are old, tired, and known to all but they're all repeated anyway and everyone obliges with their roles: the storyteller, the subject that flushes with affected embarrassment, and laughter in all the right places.

That's my favorite part, the laughter, and we got plenty of if. I would call it good exercise but we definitely ate more than we laughed so I'm not sure it counts.

There were eleven of us - definitely not a family reunion world record. (I've been to another family's reunion where each branch of the family designed their own t-shirt that included names on the backside like a football jersey just so we could keep track of who was whom.) But, our small numbers are scattered to the four corners of the lower 48 so getting together can be logistically challenging. (Who's the geographer on staff at YAME? Ask so-and-so where the center is so we can meet there next time. Unless it's Kansas, in which case my vote is Hawaii.)

The elusive GRC was there although we've seen more of him lately than in years past. Even More Elusive BT was there which was very cool. AT, was there too, putting us all to shame in the pursuit of trivia. All the The Siblings made it which is a special treat because they have a certain language - like the secret language of twins - a vibe, a rhythm that's baffling, infectious, and a delight to be a part of. (The in-laws had their own secret language that roughly translated to "how do we escape?")

We managed to avoid charades this year, for the most part, which resulted in a sigh of relief from more than one family member. Although, when you think about it, the game is a lot like karaoke. No one really wants to do it but, in the end, everyone has a great time and the game usually results in the creation of more family memories. (No one can forget "Fargo, North Dakota.") Instead, we engaged in a rousing tournament of Mexican Dominoes. And by "rousing" I mean there was cheering, side betting, crowd waving, and a come from behind win by .... someone. (The "brown stuff" clouds my memory.)

There was rock stacking, the creation of cairns - art, if you will. (The problem with hanging out with artists is they feel compelled to create stuff all the time.) Ah, but what happens when the art, once created, is destroyed? Is it still art - as in, in the (mind's) eye of the beholder - or just a pile of raw material? I submit to you, it is still art even if known only by those who viewed it: its creator, the photographer, and the lady who walked down the beach with her little dog. Thankfully, there's a digital record and when I get around to it, I'll put some pictures here.

Thanks to MC and JT for putting this all together and for bringing all the linens. (Speaking of linens, GRC has his own special linen which will be part of all future reunions, I hope.) Thanks for herding all the cats, too, when it came to finding places to eat. We had some good food and some very impressive company. (" husband retired at 43, and did I mention that I look younger than people think?") And special thanks to JT for the pink flip flops!

And then there was The Grump, dapper in his smart shirts, suspenders, and hat. He's a really cool dude, if ever I saw one. Although, I did find all his work avoiding work rather confusing. It was effective, however, in that in working so hard he effectively avoided work. But you would never know it because it looked like he was working the whole time. A master, he is, to be sure.

We are on final approach to PDX so I have to sign off here. Great to see everyone! Can't wait to do it again sometime soon!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

E Lynn St.

Photo credit: Kellie
My apologies to anyone who's been checking in on Three Sheets. I left town without my notes and you know how I like to be accurate with these things. As soon as I get home I'll try to get the Roche Report wrapped up and I'll let you know.

This is going to be a very busy weekend, however. I will also be reporting on the Second Annual Cornhole for Cash Tournament at The Meadows and the NFL Fantasy Draft, also being held at the Meadows. But, I'll do my best.

Thanks for cruising by.

(I think East Lynn Street would be a good name for a blog.)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Yesterday's Photo

Sunset over the Columbia River
This is the picture, or one of several, that I meant to insert yesterday only my phone's SD card wasn't going to give it up. I'm supposed to un-mount the SD card before removing it but then I have to turn the whole thing off to get it out (because it's under the battery) so I figured, What's the point? I just turned off the phone, pulled out the SD card, and inserted it into my netbook.

Netbook said, "What SD card? I don't see anything."


So I put the SD card back in the phone and the phone said, "What SD card? I don't see anything."

CRAP! When was the last time I backed up my photos?

I just didn't have time to deal with it so I just ignored the problem and hoped it would go away.

Luckily, it did. (Magnetic disturbance, I tell you.)

Did I mention I can also hear what television shows my neighbors are watching? Urban living. Last night I saw two guys literally trying to herd a cat. We could hear a cat meowing, loudly as if it was injured. Not a let-me-back-into-the-house meow. More of a someone-just-ran-over-my-tail meow.

Two concerned neighbors went out into the courtyard to round the animal up. What started out as concern for the cat turned into some macho let's-pretend-we're-commandos game as they excitedly shouted instructions to each other and dove in and out of shrubbery in their effort to capture the animal.

The cat wasn't much interested in being caught.

I don't know if they ever caught the cat. I went back to my TV show and turned it up loud enough for the guys in the courtyard to follow along so they wouldn't miss anything.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

So Moved

We've moved to a new location in Vancouver although it didn't take as much effort as moving out of the last one. This place is bigger but louder.

It's three stories, this condo. Garage on bottom floor, kitchen/living in the middle, and bedroom/bath on the top. (All singular. There's still just one of each, although the garage is new. We didn't have that before. Didn't have a washer/dryer either so that's a definite improvement.)

The kitchen is big enough to actually cook in it, although I managed before. I found if I pulled out a drawer and placed a cutting board on top, I could increase my working space. Once my ingredients were chopped, I could slide the cutting board between the top of the microwave and the cabinets beneath which the microwave was housed. You know, those four inches there.

This new place has counters. Space. It's nice. And there's a deck so we can have a grill.

Speaking of decks, that's where I am now. On the deck which is off the kitchen overlooking - well, nothing. A sidewalk, a narrow street, and the next door neighbor's living room. Lots of next door neighbors' living rooms. (Or is that livings room?)

From this vantage point I can see that my deck is the only one without the back end of an air conditioning unit. Anyone else on their deck, should they choose to forgo the A/C and actually sit outside, would be listening to the buzz of their air conditioning unit whining to keep the indoors cool. But they're not out here. They're in there, staying cool. I have A/C but it's mounted elsewhere. So, when I sit on my deck I don't have to listen to my air conditioning unit. I have to listen to all of theirs.

I try to imagine it's bees in a field of wildflowers.

Then, there's the train. There's one going by right now. The train doesn't bother me. The only thing between me and the railroad track is a another row of condos: My deck, a row of condos, a street, then the train. I can hear what sounds like air compressors in the brake system. Is that what that is? It's all freight so it's a lumbering, slow noise. Sometimes, there's a metallic squeal. But they don't blow the horn here so I don't mind.

It's the planes that are the loudest. Seems we are in a flight path. Do real estate agents have a deal with the Portland International Airport to shut down the airspace or reroute flights when they're showing a house? I wonder, because I don't remember the planes on the two times I visited the condo before we moved here. Now we know why the units have air conditioning. It drowns out the airplane noise. Of course, when the F-15s take off from there, there's nothing that will drown out the sound. Not that I really want to. Those suckers are cool.

There's an industrial park nearby with semis going in and out but they don't make much noise to speak of. Not when we're speaking of F-15s.

And the sailboats on the Columbia River don't make any noise at all.

Trains, planes, automobiles (oh, yeah Hwy 14 is just on the other side of the RR tracks), trucks, and sailboats. That pretty much covers it.

But then, one block away, opposite in direction from the trains, we can do this:

*picture a pretty picture here because my SD card just puked so I can't show you last night's sunset, my feet in the sand, toes in the river*

GRR. Tomorrow's project....

Friday, August 9, 2013

Magnetic Disturbance

We walked into town and found a fuse for the stereo and figured out how to remove the stereo unit from its housing. Man, there are a lot of wires back there! One of the wires is the Aux Out. Currently, this connects to an iPod adapter so we can play music from an Apple device. Useful, if you have an Apple. We have Android devices.

Actually, I do have an iPod Touch but without an internet connection it doesn't do much. We're experimenting with the Hot Spot through our phones which works well enough as long as we have cellular service. But, now that we found the Aux Out, we could trace that wire behind the wall and under the couch and replace it with an adapter to play Pandora straight out of the phone. Not sure if it's worth the trouble, especially if we can't turn the stereo on in the first place.

We replaced the fuse and still don't have power. We have a small, dripping leak in the cockpit sink that triggers the sump pump to do it's thing on a fairly regular basis. Hubby thinks we may have burned out the pump earlier when we unplugged it and let it go dry. It pumps, but not well. This may not bode well for my shower this morning.

The charts did mention something about a magnetic disturbance up here so my current theory is that all will be righted when we get back to the Lake.

Hubby didn't want his coffee this morning. I could have made less but I thought it would be more efficient if I just drank his share.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

123rd Meridian

Yesterday we crossed the 123rd meridian and things didn't get much better. But not much more expensive either so I figure we're ahead, all things considered. (Knocking wood on an all-fiberglass boat is a challenge. We are only halfway through our cruise.)

We discovered that the source of our bilge pump problem had to do with a stuck float valve. As in all such discoveries the telling of the tale can begin with the line, "Ask me how I know this."

When we turned off the bilge pump we incapacitated the shower sump. Every time we showered or did dishes, the waste water would flow to the shower sump until it became full - which didn't take long - and then it overflowed into another bilge compartment.

Over the last two days, we noticed the sinks were draining slow so we took a look below and found quite a mess. We turned the pump back on and used a hand pump to pump the water from the bilge to the sump as the pump happily pumped the sump overboard.

All this before we had our first of coffee so you can imagine how thrilled we were.

This exercise seemed to have corrected both problems - the sump and the bilge were drained and the float switch seems to be working so we didn't have to disconnect the pump again.

I would count this as a win except we blew an in-line fuse on the stereo yesterday. We've seen the back of the stereo before but it wasn't easy. All we have to do is pop off a speaker cover, unscrew four screws, use a dental mirror to see the back of the thing, decipher the spider web of wires back there only to discover the fuse is really under the dinette which only requires a wrench and a really small person who fits under the seats. Shouldn't take more than a six pack to figure out but then we have to find a Kenwood fuse in a marine town. Only a few gnashed teeth and rent garments should fix the problem.

It's better than commie pinko liberal brown bats, though.

Friday Duck

N48 32'.196
W123 00'.909


N48 37'.207
W123 00'.195

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Nice Landing

Kenmore Air, previously referenced


This is the link for the webcam where we are. Checkout is 1pm our time. I expect we'll be floating by between 1 and 1:30.

Blue hull, white bimini, "Double Jack." Traveling with "Sun Lover," black hull, black bimini.

Looks like there's still a little fog out there.

The 48th

N48 30'.804
W122 54'.936
We get north of the 48th parallel by boat every year or two. We like it here but we don't necessarily like getting here. There's always fog to contend with and that's no fun in an express cruiser with no radar. The temperatures are cooler here and while we might complain about the heat on Lake Washington, it's better than complaining about wearing a sweatshirt and jeans in August.

And something always goes wrong. It's not saltwater, per se, that our boat seems to be allergic to. We do fine south of the 48th. But every time we get north of that line, there's a repair bill involved. So far, repairs are expected to be minimal. Our VHF antenna is shaking loose of its bracket - or whatever it is that attaches it to the radar arch. (Go figure, we have a radar arch and no radar.)

We also have a bilge pump that's convinced we have water in the bilge and won't stop pumping. There is a little water down there but it appears to be old water and not sure where it came from. (Had an impeller changed out a short while ago and some work on the drives when the boat was pulled a couple weeks ago.) It wasn't pumping before we crossed the 48 and now it won't quit.

As any pilot knows to do, we hit the cancel button or, in this case, we unplugged it. There's a backup pump down there so as long as we don't take on a lot of water at any point during the week we should be fine.

Speaking of pilots, I just looked up to see a float plane tying to the dock. (Kenmore Air) Cool.

We'll be up here through Thursday, I think. Then we'll head south of the 48th for a couple days in the Puget Sound area, and then we'll end up back on the lake for the weekend. We should have cool evenings and sunny afternoons. Fog in the mornings. And, hopefully, small repair bills.

I'll let you know if we pass any webcams.

Friday, August 2, 2013

View From A Train

Hubby witnessed the following graffiti as he was recently traveling:
I hate vandalism, irony, and lists.

Waste, Not

Throw something away today and tell me what it is. Don't spend a lot of time thinking about it. I'm sure you have something that you can get rid of. Just take a look under your sink. Don't worry about using the last two tablespoons of lotion that's been sitting there for over a year. Don't even think about recycling the container. (I know, I know... just do it, okay?) Do not pass GO and do not collect $100. Just pick something and get rid of it.

Ah, feel better?