#222–Nothing like a deadline . . .

 

Last Friday I put in an impossibly long day, only possible because I have a deadline, Friday 13 (no less) to get my edit in for my new book—The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED, see the unusual, odd, and quirky.

I got up at 4 a.m. and hit the road by 6:30 a.m., a time I’m usually just getting up. It was still mostly dark, drizzly, and foggy—especially on headlands. Only traffic was in the towns.

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Actually, this was my first stop in Waldport for a latte.

The purpose of this trip was to finish up factchecking. Although the edit is due right away, I won’t need the photos until the end of May. But I’m getting them figured out. Some I’ll take, some I’ll obtain from businesses or public entities, some I’ll buy, and some my publisher will take.

First stop, Abe in Lincoln City. I intended to only photograph the plaque at the base of the statue. So it didn’t matter if it was raining. But I noticed that everything around Abe had changed, so I would have to take photos. There was new fencing, new pavers, and new landscaping that wasn’t even complete yet. Because of the rain Old Abe had a slate-colored patina. I may have to come back.

 

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All the plantings were gone and new everything around the sculpture.

Next stop, Neskowin ghost forest. It’s only possible to see these petrified stumps at minus tides in the winter, but I wanted to get a shot of what the area looks like most of the year. I lucked out, the rainy drizzle had stopped and fog was lifting. And the tide was out just enough for me to skinny around the poiut without getting my feet wet in Slab Creek.

I had concerns also about my legs and if I would be able to get around on beaches. I was able to as long as I watched my step and didn’t try to go too fast. It was beautiful and I got a great shot of the beach where the stumps appear and of Proposal Rock. I felt really good.

On to Hug Point, just south of Cannon Beach. It takes 3 1/2 to four hours to get from Florence to Cannon Beach. When I got there, the fog was still hanging around, but with sun breaks. I was amazed at all the people. Apparently, it was spring break in Washington and they all headed to the Oregon Coast.

I stopped to get photos of the waterfall and stagecoach road that hugs the rocky headland. But my first photos were of the adorable, unafraid black bunnies near the parking area. I wasn’t the only one taking their pictures.

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Each bunny was adorable.

The waterfall was at its best with the rain we’ve had lately. And I got a great shot of the stagecoach road too. I had to walk a bit of a distance and cross large cobble size rocks that could trip up anybody before getting to the hard-packed sand. But I did it. And the weather was so warm, I didn’t need a jacket.

Then I headed back to Tillamook and the Blimp Hangar and Air Museum south of town. I had an appointment with Phyllis Rice, the acquisitions person. We had a great visit. She handed me a copy of my story that I had previously sent. It had been checked over with some changes, which I will make. I based my story on last year’s research and some changes have occurred. She also bought 20 copies of The Crossings Guide.

Then back through Tillamook and east on Hwy 6 to the Tillamook Forest Center. I had never been there, but it is a fabulous place that I wrote about numerous times for Oregon Coast magazine. I chose it for the book because it is a first-class facility deep in the forest—totally UNEXPECTED. And it has an incredible story to tell of the devastation of the Tillamook Burn fires and the amazing recovery effort of replanting an entire forest. I checked with the person who is checking over my story, talked to a docent from a local pioneer family, saw the film “Legacy of Fire,” and toured the whole facility. Definitely worth a visit. The weather there was sunny and warm.

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The Tillamook Forest Center’s lookout tower is 40-feet tall. Great view!

Then I headed through Tillamook over to the Three Capes Loop to Cape Meares. Not easy to get to any more, since the road is closed from Bayocean to Cape Meares since 2017. It’s very  round-about and slow and the road the last half mile was terrible.

It had turned into one of those absolutely gorgeous days at the coast. Sunny, no wind and very clear. Perfect for photos. So I got a great one of the short, stubby lighthouse and of the Octopus Tree. I had to walk a distance in one direction to see the lighthouse. And on the opposite side of the parking lot, I found a trail and hiked the nearly half mile to the Octopus Tree. Some branches have broken off, but it is still such an unexpected sight.

On both the walk to the lighthouse and the Octopus Tree, I got winded on the uphill sections, and had to walk very slowly on the downhill sections. The trail was wet and mucky in places. So I walked on the edges. Easy to slip and fall. I made it safely and felt good about that.

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The view south from Cape Meares.

I was getting tired, and it was 6 p.m, and I still needed to drive three hours to Florence. I almost skipped Munson Falls, but I’m glad I talked myself into doing it. So back to and through Tillamook and south of town a few miles to the turnoff to the falls. I have never seen a good photograph of this falls, and they are the tallest  in the state of Oregon next to Multnomah Falls and very few people know about them. The state park is described as only partially developed and I found that to be true.

I turned off 101 onto a one-lane funkily paved road with scattered homes, which turned into a graveled logging road, which  turned into the state park road. It was still  single lane with potholes big enough to swallow a car. If I could’ve turned around, I would’ve. The total distance from 101 was probably less than three miles but seemed much longer. The speed limit was 25 mph. Ha! It was more like 2 or 3 mph navigating the potholes.

I was so glad I didn’t meet anyone coming in. There was one car in the parking lot. I took off along the the trail , which was in good shape with only a few mucky spots. On the one steep part, there was a hand rail. So I was good. It was about a quarter mile to the viewpoint. There were steps down to another viewpoint at the base of the falls, but with no handrails, I didn’t even attempt that part.

The falls were full and impressive in their length, even though you can’t see the bottom portion. I got what I think is a better photo than I’ve ever seen of these falls. And the trail follows the creek, which has a number of smaller falls. It was a lovely walk. I met three sets of folks coming up the trail as I was leaving and was able to let them know what a treat they were in for.

Going out on the road was just as hairy as coming in, but I didn’t meet any cars and was very relieved to get back to Hwy 101.

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When I got to Lincoln City, I turned into the D River Recreation Area—very crowded. Still warm and lovely. I parked and walked up to the highway to get photos of the sign about D River, World’s Shortest and a photo of the river. I think both will be usable.

Then I headed home. By the time I got there, it was almost totally dark, the fog was coming in, and the drizzle had begun.

As far as I was concerned, the day had been a success. I accomplished everything I wanted to as far as factchecking for my book. And best of all, I could handle the five different times I had to walk a distance whether on beaches or in the forest. Yes, a totally successful day.

Note: I will be visiting family and friends in California for a few weeks, but someone will be here with Groucho while I’m gone. So no more blog posts until mid-May.

 

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#221–On the road factchecking . . .

 

Last Saturday I was in Lincoln City, Monday Yachats, Wednesday Darlingtonia Botanical Wayside, Friday North Bend, Coos Bay, Bandon, and Sunset Bay State Park.

Once the book is written, you’re not done. At least not the way I do it. My book has 27 stories about the “unexpected” along the coast. Now is the factchecking and acquiring photos one way or another phase. Sometimes I go to museums and do the factchecking myself. Other times I depend on folks who know more than I do about the subject to read the story and get back to me. I don’t like to send stories via email cause I don’t want to see them online somewhere before the book even comes out. So I deliver stories by hand or snail mail. A few I will email but very few.

As to photos, I will take some, I will be able to have photos provided from businesses or public entities, and I may buy some from professional photographers. And, of course, my publisher, Bob Serra, may take some. He did the covers for my two bridge books and that’s why I think they sell so well.

You won’t be surprised to learn that I combined selling books along with the factchecking on these trips.

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I have four unexpecteds in one story, and all are located at Cape Perpetua.

Last Saturday, it was snowy on my deck, but the temps had risen and it had turned to slush by 10:20 a.m. when I left. Heading up the coast, I saw no snow––just periods of rain. I dropped off text and a cover letter at Cape Perpetua and then straight to Lincoln City. I always travel with food. So for lunch I picked Boiler Bay as my scenic lunch spot. Since it was between rain showers, I could also stretch my legs.

I stopped at the North Lincoln County Historical Museum and Director Jeff Syrop had the files I needed ready for me. He also had photos for me to go through. I selected one photo, and he got the paperwork ready. Then I spent three hours going through everything on the Abraham Lincoln Statue and the D River. I was able to verify what I had and to add interesting tidbits. As I worked my way through hundreds of pages of stuff and newspaper clippings, it was exciting to find truly interesting tidbits.

Before a book goes to press everything is subject to change. So on Sunday, I changed my mind about the unexpected at Cape Perpetua. I decided to flesh out the story and give it four pages instead of two. And that also meant four photos instead of two. So on Monday, I dropped off the new version at Cape Perpetua and picked up the old. I knew the ranger would not be in over the weekend.

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Whale Park is one of the quirky unexpecteds in my new book.

Then I headed to Yachats. I got photos of Whale Park and of the grounds of the Little Log Church. And I went over the Log Church story with Mary Crook, the officiate there. Then I stopped by Mari’s books. And Mari wanted more. So I sold her more bridge books. Then I headed home, as I needed to be on duty at Backstreet Gallery from 2 to 6 p.m.

 

On Wednesday before being on duty as a docent at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum from noon to 4 p.m., I stopped at Darlingtonia Botanical Natural Site and verified my information with the interpretive signs and took some photos. The skunk cabbages were at their peak and absolutely beautiful. The Darlingtonia not so much. I’ll be back in May or June when they’re in bloom.

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The skunk cabbage was at its peak.

On Thursday afternoon, I called and emailed some unexpected places for factchecking on the south coast plus I called a few places that carry my books. I set up meetings with folks at two unexpected venues, left messages at two others, and two bookstores wanted more books. I tweaked all the stories involved and wrote cover letters. I finally stopped for dinner at 9 p.m.

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On Friday, I got packets ready with cover letters and copies of stories as well as the invoices and books for the bookstores. I headed out about 11 a.m. and it was cloudy but warmish. I tried to get gas at Freddies, but so was everyone else. This was, after all, spring break for most schools in Oregon. It took three tries, but I finally got gas. Then I headed south.

 

First stop was Books on the Bay in North Bend. Harold wanted more bridge books. Then onto Bandon. I stopped at the Bandon Historical Museum and met with Director Gayle Nix. She had run a copy of information for me about the Legend of Face Rock. I told her about a conflict I had in various spellings of a name I would need to use. So she dug up an old obituary, and we solved the mystery. You’d have thought we won the lottery. In researching something, you feel like a detective and when the mystery is solved, it’s a great feeling.

I love the cooperation I’ve been finding with folks at museums and interpretive centers and other venues. Of course, it helps when you call ahead and find a time suitable for both parties. It works wonders. Just popping in cold with no heads-up is a no-no in what I’m doing both for factchecking and selling books.

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This was all made from plastic debris found on the beach.

I stopped at Washed Ashore in Bandon and dropped off the packet and took some photos. What they do with plastic debris found on the beaches is just incredible.

Then I dropped off books at WinterRiver Books in Bandon. One of my favorite bookstores on the coast.

At both bookstores I told about my new book that I hope to have ready by Christmas. And both Harold at Books on the Bay and Grover at WinterRiver thought it sounded like something that would sell. And Mari at Mari’s Books is also eager to see it. Getting a bookstore’s take on a future book is always a good idea, and preselling your next book never hurts.

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Cape Arago Lighthouse.

Then I headed north and turned off on a back road to Sunset Bay State Park. I saw lots of logging in progress. I arrived a few minutes before 4 p.m. and the folks had just left Sunset Bay, so I headed to Shore Acres and caught the folks just as they were leaving. They will see that the packet gets to Sunset Bay. In my new book, I will be including the one spot along the coast to see the Cape Arago Lighthouse from your car and figured the folks next door at Sunset Bay State Park and/or the Coast Guard, who are in charge of the light, would be able to do some factchecking. I mailed the story to the Coast Guard before I left town.

Then I headed home. It had been a very successful day from my point of view.

As far as factchecking and photo acquisition, I have all the central coast stories either completed or in process and the south coast about halfway to that point. Next week I’ll continue the south coast and work on the north coast. I have a tentative trip planned to the Tillamook area next week. So the fun continues. I’ll keep you posted.

 

 

 

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#220–Some of my favorite things . . .

 

In “The Sound of Music,” Maria sings to the children about some of her favorite things that make her feel better when she’s feeling bad. Whether I’m feeling bad or not, these are a few of my favorite things.

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It just isn’t breakfast without grapefruit.

Grapefruit––I have a grapefruit half every morning with sugar on it. It’s the only thing I put sugar on or in. I absolutely love eating grapefruit. To me, it’s like a zen experience. I go into a zone when eating it. If the phone rings, I wouldn’t dream of answering until I finished my grapefruit. Whenever I had to take migraine medication, I had to skip grapefruit that day. And when I was on chemotherapy, I had to skip grapefruit for FIVE MONTHS. Grapefruit was one of the things I missed most during chemo. So this is a great way for me to start my day, and I appreciate every single bite.

Cloudy or overcast days––If I’m going to be outdoors, I prefer it to be cloudy or overcast. I’ve had at least 30 skin cancers, including one bad melanoma. And I sunburn easily. Besides, I don’t like hot weather. So for all these reasons, I’m not a fan of sunny days unless I can stay indoors. Then I enjoy the sunny weather.

If I’m going to be outdoors, I’d rather it didn’t rain or have more than a gentle breeze either. So cloudy or overcast days with moderate temps and very little wind fill the bill for me.

Some folks have SAD. They actually get depressed it the weather is rainy or stormy or gray. That’s not me. Some of my favorite days are gray.

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I love to sit and read in the daytime.

Reading––I love to sit at my favorite recliner in the living room with my legs up and read chapter after chapter of a good mystery. Most days I have places to be or things to do and don’t simply sit and read. In the evening, I will give it my best shot but often nod off.

The other day, I played hooky from my to-do list and spent all afternoon reading. I loved it, but felt guilty. That dates back to when I was growing up.

I loved to read as soon as I learned how. But if my mom saw me reading during the day, she’d find some chores for me to do. So I learned to hide out if I wanted to read. If it was warm, I’d go climb a favorite tree or sit on the garage roof. That’s where I read some of my favorite books. In high school, I wised up and put a book cover on my reading-for- pleasure books. That way, mom thought I was studying. Do you remember or did you even have book covers for textbooks?

Wearing socks with sandals––I love wearing sandals because my toes don’t bug me. Since undergoing chemo, I have had some residual neuropathy in my toes, especially my big toes, and closed-toe shoes aren’t much fun to wear any more. But sandals don’t keep my feet warm even in the summer here on the coast. So I wear socks with them.

I happen to enjoy socks and have quite a collection. When I travel, I often buy socks as souvenirs. So I enjoy wearing my socks with my sandals.

Having a cat­­––I love having a cat. They don’t need to be walked morning and night, and they generally stay happy if fed and given some attention. Groucho does like me to stick to a routine. He is very vocal, so I usually know what he wants. I love playing with him in the evening, watching him bat at whatever I’m dangling for him to hit. He gets so excited he even snorts and gnashes his teeth.

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Groucho enjoys the new tub too.

Wherever I am, he’s nearby. If I’m at the computer, he’s usually in my lap. When I’m in the kitchen, he’s often stretched out in the middle of the kitchen floor. And at night, he’s curled up somewhere on the bed. He makes a great companion.

I could go on, but these are a few of my favorite things.

A few weeks ago, I did a post on “Life’s little frustrations.” Well, now I’ve balanced things out.

 

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#219–My big day . . .

 

Although I had sent out invites to everyone I knew that I thought might be interested in attending the 2nd Saturday Gallery Tour reception at Backstreet Gallery, I didn’t expect a big turnout. Only a couple of people actually said they would be there. Most had somewhere else to be or lived away from Florence. I really didn’t expect the out-of-towners to be there but wanted to share the good news.

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2nd Saturday Gallery Tour and reception for featured artists Judy Fleagle and Meredith Draper.

Every 2nd Saturday Backstreet reception honors one or two of the gallery artists, and this was my first time to be so honored. I was sharing the honor with Meredith Draper, the vintage watch artist, who also spins wool into yarn and then weaves it into beautiful scarves that are also on sale at the gallery. She has terrific photos on cards there too. I just have my books there.

Meredith, as the gallery person in charge of window displays, told me she was giving me the whole front window and then helped me get my display together. I had the idea to put the bridge poster of McCullough coastal bridges in a sandwich board configuration facing both out the window and in and flanked by photos I had taken over the years of various McCullough bridges some facing out and some facing in. And my books would be interspersed.

Meredith’s husband, Charles, made two 12- by 18-inch copies of the bridge poster on fabulous paper from the large file I had on a flash drive. Then I took them to Pacific Frameworks to be mounted on foam board and hinged. This project was not cheap, but I’ll be able to use at book fairs in the future.

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My window display featuring McCullough bridges.

I may have had the idea for my window display, but Meredith made it happen. After spending three hours going over a decade of digital photos, I found 22 and put them on a flash drive and gave to her. She selected a dozen and ran them off on good photo paper and then mounted them with frames and backing that she ordered for me. I reimbursed her for them. I was only too glad to have her recommend what to order and to frame them. She had years of experience; I had none. I did write up descriptions of each bridge and mounted them on the back of each photo and on the front on the plastic sleeves that protected each photo.

On the first Tuesday of each month display changes are made. And Meredith spent at least two hours getting my display just right. I love what she did, and it will be there for all the world to see until April 3.

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Erin Leonard and me at the reception.

For Meredith, the reception was not a big deal because she has been the featured artist many times before—not so me! It was a first. I was thrilled and excited to be so honored. The evening before, my sister called to wish me well on “my big day,” and an out-of-town friend sent a dozen yellow roses.

I was also in charge of the reception, as I am for every other one. I do the ‘odd’ months and someone else does the ‘even’ ones. I did all the ‘check on this and check on that’ responsibilities prior to the event and got there early enough to help in set-up and stayed through take-down. During the event, the ‘even’ reception chairman took over, and I will do the same for her next month when she will be unable to attend her month’s event.

So I was able to mingle and socialize during the whole time. It was not a big crowd but a steady crowd. There were always folks I knew to talk to and some of them came just because I was being featured. So I was very pleased, and I’ve never had the time fly by so fast at a Saturday reception. I even sold a couple books.

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Erin Leonard bought one of my bridge books. She’s been threatening to for years!

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Jeff Lovejoy played some of my favorites.

 

The weather was great, at least until the last half hour or so when we were hit with a couple showers, but that was it. Soon it was back to decent weather. And the music was great. Jeff Lovejoy played keyboard and sang, and a lot of the songs just happened to be my favorites.

The food was also great. It was the second time to have Fresh Harvest do the catering, and they outdid themselves. There were four items. One was a mini reuben and another deviled eggs. My favorite was the mini chicken salad on croissant sandwich, and the dessert was puff pastry bites with melted Brie drizzled with a choice of strawberry or raspberry preserves. Doesn’t that simply make you drool! Anyway, the deviled eggs and puff pastry bites ran out before the end of the reception, but I lucked out. I got to take home a few reuben and chicken salad mini sandwiches that were left over. So I was a very happy camper.

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Rhiannon Nickerson from Fresh Harvest is the main one responsible for all the wonderful food.

All in all it was a lovely reception, and I had a wonderful time!

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#218–Dream comes true . . .

 

Ever since 1985 when I moved to my home north of Florence on a ridge and saw the bathroom with a large window with the best view in the house, I’ve wanted a soaking tub.

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Lovely setting, but not a good soaking tub. And by the time the window was removed, the upper part had grown cloudy.

 

There actually was a tub there, but a typical 5-footer that only holds about 9 inches of water where I could get part of me soaking, but never enough of me. And the water would cool off too fast. And the window would steam up; then I couldn’t see the view. If I put on the fan to clear the window, it would cool off the room too much. So I was never a happy camper with that tub.

 

My neighbor has invited me over to use her hot tub from time to time, and I’ve really enjoyed soaking all of me in it. But I prefer an indoor tub. Hot tubs are kept quite hot; I won’t need to have such a hot soak. And I would prefer not to have to go outside, especially in winter. And after a nice relaxing soak, it’s not fun to have to  dash across the road and then take a shower before returning to a relaxing mode.

 

So after doing some research, I decided a walk-in tub was best for me. Not only will I be able to soak, but it has water jets. First, it will help the soreness and stiffness in my legs that have been a problem for the past couple of years. Second, I can get into and out of it easily and safely, which I could no longer do with the tub I had. And it has an inline heater to keep the water warm.

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Testing it out before it was installed.

 

But it wouldn’t be easy installing a walk-in tub in my house. It has two problems, getting it to the bathroom and then creating a workable space once it’s there. In the space where it would sit, there is already a tub with tile around it, and the new taller tub will extend into the window area. So this bathroom is going to need remodeling in addition to tub removal to make it work.

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The chairlift has been removed and is lying down upstairs. Only the rail remains.

 

And the best way to get it in the house and upstairs is through the front door and up the inside stairs, not to have to carry a big, bulky, heavy tub all the way around the house and up the back, outside stairs. The back stairs, however, are wider and do not have a chairlift blocking the way. The chairlift on the indoor stairs would have to be removed in order to bring in the tub in the shortest, most efficient way. (The chairlift had been for my late husband, but works for me as a dumb-waiter to carry heavy stuff upstairs.)

 

Most people would not remodel a bathroom just to have a soaking tub and dismantle, albeit temporarily, a chairlift on the stairway. But they are not me with my desire for a soaking tub. So when the opportunity came along, I wasn’t about to let these hurdles stand in my way. It was also suggested that I might want to consider a new, larger hot water heater. This project was going to cost more than I anticipated, but I could afford it because I had recently come into an inheritance with enough to cover it.

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Smaller window and remodeled wall. Still old tub.

 

The actual project began when I met with the American Standard sales person last December. He measured and told me the hurdles we would have to overcome. Within days, I met with Randall at Siuslaw Glass and Mirror. He came and looked and measured inside and out and ordered a smaller window. In January, he removed the large view window and replaced it with the smaller one. Then he built up the wall and new windowsill. After that, he added new siding outside and painted it with primer. Lastly, he added insulation between the new studs and put green drywall inside and for the new sill.

 

Then a week later, I had a new, larger hot water heater installed. I was ready. When American Standard called, we set an installation date for later in March. But earlier this week, I received a call to see if I wanted it installed the next day. I said that wouldn’t work, but the next two or three days would. So it was scheduled. I then received a call from Maynard from Boise who would be doing the installation after traveling to Florence from Klamath Falls where he had just finished installing a tub.

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Door frame and door were removed.

 

Tuesday evening, Maynard came by to scope out the job. He decided that he could dismantle the chairlift and put it back together, since he had done it before.

 

He arrived Wednesday morning. First thing, he removed the door to the bathroom—frame and all. Next the toilet was taken out. Then the chairlift was lifted off its rail. Now for the big job. He started on the removal of the tub made of porcelain/cast iron. He had a powerful saw that was very loud and took a long time, but it made a cut all the way through. But the tub wouldn’t budge. So he had to cut out a section, which made it possible to get his hands inside and gain some leverage. Finally, it started to loosen, and he got the sections out. Boy, did it look strange to see wall studs and insulation and no tub.

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Old tub out,

 

When he went to lunch, he also bought some conduit to run wiring from the fuse box in the garage around the house and to the bathroom. He got it all installed. By then, it was early evening and a helper arrived to help carry in the walk-in tub that had been sitting in front of the garage all day. They got it to the bathroom doorway and it was not going to fit. The drywall needed to be cut about an inch. After that, it slipped right through. The walk-in tub had arrived in the bathroom.

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With the chairlift removed, going up the stairs was not difficult.

 

The helper left, and Maynard reattached the chairlift before he left. So much was accomplished in one day.

 

 

 

Thursday was stormy, so all work was done inside––mostly plumbing. Moving the plumbing around to the opposite wall and attaching hoses and checking for leaks on the tub took a lot of time. Putting on faucets and other stuff on the tub and making sure everything worked took more time as well as moving the tub into place, leveling it, attaching it, and installing the drain so that it could dry overnight.

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There was so much to do before it could be put into place.

 

 

 

Friday was cloudy but no rain. So Maynard ran six wires through the conduit and connected them to the fuse box in the garage and at the tub end where wires were sticking out of a wall-plug-size space.

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From coils of wire  lying on the upper deck, Maynard ran the wires into and through the conduit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the electrical was completed, it was time for the moment of truth. He closed the tub door and ran in water and then tested the quick drain motor. Everything worked with no leaks.

 

 

 

Then he cut sheets of acrylic to form the backsplash and to form the new windowsill. By late Friday, the tub was just about finished. The finishing touches would be added Saturday along with the installation of a new toilet.  A  free new toilet was part of the deal.

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Some caulking and adding trim are all that’s left to be done.

So tomorrow night I may just take a soaking bath in my new tub. I can hardly wait.

 

 

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#217–The ups and downs of a single day . . .

 

Yesterday was the day I had been looking forward to for the past couple of years. But I almost blew it. I had a feeling it was going to be a strange day, when I looked out the window in the morning and it was snowing at 41 degrees. Huh!

Yesterday was the day I was going to finish the edit to my latest book The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED—that which is odd, unusual, or quirky! I had my last two locations to write about. I really got going on it last year at this time, but from last May through this January I didn’t work on it at all. But I got back to it this February.

In the morning, I kept responding to important emails and phone calls. I was not getting to my last two write-ups. I was getting frustrated, but I was also hungry. No wonder, it was 1 p.m. So I stopped to eat. I took some food out of the fridge and put on the counter. Then I stepped back—without looking—and stepped on the cat’s tail. He let out a yowl. He hadn’t been there just seconds before, but I know to look and hadn’t.

I tried to shift my weight off his tail and lost my balance in the process. Down I went! What a helpless feeling when you feel yourself falling. I hit on my right rear with a loud thump and then hit my head on the cabinet door under the sink. My head and hip hurt. Neither good!

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This is where I fell. I hit one of the cabinet doors under the kitchen sink and damaged it.

I lay there for a moment and thought, “Oh, my God, what’ve I done!” I figured I’d broken something and neither of my phones were on me or within reach. But I didn’t feel any terrible pain. I didn’t move. I didn’t panic. I took stock.

My hip and head were the only parts hurting. I tried moving everything gingerly at first, and it appeared that nothing was broken. Then I carefully sat up. Again I moved everything carefully and stayed put for a couple of minutes. Nothing seemed to be getting worse. So I thought I’d try to get up, but I couldn’t do it from where I was.

So I moved onto my knees—so far, so good. Then I crawled around the counter into the dining room and by using two chairs hoisted myself up. Again, I took an assessment. So far, so good.

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I used a chair from the table and one from the counter to hoist myself upright.

I walked to the bathroom and took an Advil. Then I took a couple of squirts of Hemp Oil Spray, which I’ve been using since Christmas and has made it possible for me to walk almost normal after sitting for awhile. Previously, my one leg just wouldn’t work for up to a minute after about an hour or so of sitting or lying down, and I’d just have to stand and wait. When I did start to move, it was a poor imitation of walking—sort of a hobble. Well, with the spray, I was doing much better. After the fall, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have a couple extra squirts.

My other go-to fixers are the magnets. So I got out my special fabric tape that I can cut to size and cut a chunk. Then I placed the two magnets and attached to my right butt where it hurt.

Then I went back to fixing lunch. I remained shaky until after I’d eaten and turned on the TV and watched a program to get my mind off me. It worked. My head no longer hurt and the hip pain wasn’t there unless I was in the act of sitting or bending over. Once I was seated, I felt okay. I was so lucky. I could’ve broken something, like a hip or knocked myself out or gotten a concussion. It was definitely a wake-up call. I need to keep my phone on me and check out the various LifeAlert systems that are out there and get one. I am 76 and live in a house of stairs and a cat. Duh!

After lunch, I felt good enough to head for the computer. Within three hours, I had cranked out the next to last piece for my book. Then I spent an hour going over and over it. When I felt good about it, I took a break.

When I’m writing, I’m in a zone and don’t pay attention to anything else. So after returning to normal mode, it was a chance to assess myself. When I stood up, I could tell I was stiffer than normal but no worse otherwise. And my head didn’t hurt at all. I headed to the kitchen for a snack and found that my head had broken the cabinet door under the sink. Guess my old head is harder than I thought.

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My head knocked loose the inner panel and as it came apart in back, two pieces ripped off. Who knew!

When I came back to the computer to do the last one for the book, I had an email to edit a small piece for Backstreet Gallery. I’m the “official editor” there, so nearly everything is run by me before being posted or sent out. That only took about 40 minutes.

So then I started on the last piece. I reviewed all the notes and research material and planned how to put I together. Then I got started on the last of 27 places that will be in the book. I finished at 8 p.m. I was tired but pleased that I had stuck with it.

Putting these pieces together for the book has had its ups and downs too. I started with 35 and the list changed many times even after I did the research last year. I wrote a piece a week ago about the award-winning Brandy Peak Distillery, located on a back road down by Brookings and the only legal, outdoor, wood-fired still in the United States. I used research material from last summer. When I went online to see if anything had changed, I found a letter to everyone telling about how after 23 years, the business was closing and no longer open to the public. Damn! I had to delete it all! Couldn’t use it now. And another one on the south coast is apparently for sale. Hmm!

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This stack holds 27 files of research.

For the next six weeks, I’ll be factchecking, visiting, and gathering photos for each of the 27 places I’ve written about. I want everything to be accurate before I send to my publisher. I hope to send by mid-April and he will edit and when there are no more editing changes to be made and all the photos are acquired, he will lay it out. At that point, I become the editor. After trips back and forth between us until there are no more changes to be made, it will be ready to send to the printer. And I’ll have 1,000 copies printed. I hope to have them in my hands by the end of September for the Florence Festival of Books, but if not, I’ll settle for having them for Christmas sales.

So although I fell and scared myself, I apparently will be okay. (Not so the kitchen cabinet.) And I completed the last two segments for my book, in spite of it. Yay!!!! I always feel good when I complete a writing project. It was definitely a day of ups and downs. And one I will long remember.

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#216–Life’s little frustrations . . .

 

I’m usually pretty easy going. Not much pisses me off. But there are a few things that really bother me. And I’ll bet I’m not the only person with these frustrations.

Caps & lids

I have arthritis in my thumbs and I have had for years. The upshot is that it’s no longer fun to open anything. I have a couple of helpful tools intended to pry off lids, and I have knives and hammers that I use when the helpful tools don’t work.

I try to get medications and supplements without childproof caps. I only have one prescription that I take, and I don’t notice the lid at the time of purchase because it’s closed up in a bag. Most children above six don’t have trouble getting those caps off, but I simply can’t press down while turning at the same time any more.

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And a bunch of pills went down the drain.

I got so frustrated a few months ago after trying and trying and trying without success that I banged the large container of 180 pills on the faucet. Lo-and-behold, it opened. But the stopper was not pushed down in the sink and several pills went bye-bye down the drain. Enough to stop it up! Really dumb, I know. I pried a few out but not many. I simply left it, and used the other sink in my bathroom for the next couple months. By now, they’ve disintegrated or worked their way through, and I’m back to using my usual sink.

 

 

 

Last week, it was the lid on a container of almond butter that tried my patience. I tried the usual tools and nothing worked. I got out my hammer, which often does the trick. Not this time. So since it was not a glass jar but a plastic container, I got out the serrated butcher knife. I sawed my way around while holding it over a large bowl. It was quite runny, so as soon as I could, I let most of it run out. Then I finished cutting through and got out my trusty tiny spatula and got the rest of it out. I eventually got it all into a container of appropriate size and put it away.

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When all else fails, get down the big knife. I never could get the lid off.

Then the cleanup began. Imagine runny peanut butter. It was all over the knife, the two parts of the original container, the bowl, the spatula, and everything I had touched in the process, including my cheek and nose. From start to finish, it took a half hour to get into my almond butter and get it cleaned up. I’d almost forgotten why I got it out in the first place.

Computer upgrades

Once I have a new computer and have figured out how to do that which I need to do, it seems like it’s time to upgrade. And I don’t want to because I’ve just gotten used to it and feel comfortable. Besides, some upgrades don’t make things better, which I would think would be the whole point of an upgrade!

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Not another upgrade!

I don’t like the upgraded iPhotos on my Mac. Before, I could take photos and as soon as they were saved, I could insert them in my blog post. Now, it’s as if they are not there. I can go into the file and see them. But when all the photos are there to choose among for inserting, they are not there . . . yet. They will be tomorrow! Now how is that better! And before, when I wanted to insert, I would have certain categories to choose among and then select from just those. Now, I have to look through the thousands of photos I have just to find the one I want. It takes forever. How is that better!

On my email, after a few warnings I get the message that my email will no longer be serviced unless I upgrade. So whether I want to or not, I have to. And, again, not everything is better.

Right now on my computer is a message to “Upgrade to High Sierra: Enjoy the latest technologies and refinements to your favorite apps.” AARRGGHH!

Computer ads

This method of advertising is insidious! Just a few at first. Then gradually more and more ads come at you on the computer. At first, it was along side or above or down below. You could click an ‘x’ and it was gone.

Now I click to go to my blog site and another advertising site pops up behind it full-page video complete with sound.  And when I’m researching something on the web, I’ll click to go to the next section of the website and another page of advertising will appear on top of what I want. Fortunately, a click will remove both of these.

What’s most annoying are the small ads that appear at the bottom, right-hand corner. It’s a video with music and voice until you hit the mute. But the video will continue until a count-down gets from 10-1 to an ‘x,’which you can click, and it will disappear. Be a little slow, and the 10 reappears and the count-down starts all over again. These make me want to bash in my computer! I try never to buy whatever is being advertised!

Email promotions

One of the joys and necessities as a non-fiction writer is to be able to do research online, instead of having to make lots of phone calls and trips to the library. I do still factcheck with phone calls and actual trips (when possible) to the sights written about before publishing, but doing the initial research online saves endless time. However, some of the places I’ve researched, now have me on their mailing lists, and I get endless updates on a regular basis.

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The top four arrived in a 40-minute period. Three or four times a day, I delete many emails advertising a new product or promotion.

But the research I do in my personal life generates even more emails. I went online to find out what kind of car I wanted to buy last spring, both new and used. I ended up checking out dealerships throughout the state. I also checked out car insurance companies to see how mine stacked up to the competition. I now get daily emails from dozens of companies. Some were part of my research, but some were not.

Last year, I bought a new TV here in town and did my research in Consumer Reports—not online. But I needed a TV table to set in on. Every company I checked out online is sending me info nearly every day on their latest promotions. And the same is true of catalogs whenever I order anything. And it doesn’t have to be ordered online. It happens even if I order by phone or mail. I also get emails from catalogs I’m never even ordered from.

And I get daily updates from Esmerelda who wants to tell my fortune and the Cardinals Baseball team whom I’ve never followed. I have no clue how I got on either of their lists.

Every day, I have to delete 10 or 12 emails several times a day. Very frustrating!

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Endless advertising emails are driving me nuts!

Bad grammar

As an editor, I have a hard time not editing everything I read. But some mistakes bother me more than others. Like when certain words get mixed up with others. “Close but no cigar” as the old saying goes.

So here are the ones that make me grit my teeth:

  • anyways instead of anyway (spoken)
  • your instead of you’re (on signs)
  • whose instead of who’s (written)
  • are instead of our (spoken)
  • its and it’s mixed up (written)
  • there, their, and they’re incorrect (written)

I’ll bet you can relate with the computer upgrades and endless advertising on computers and in emails. If you have solutions, please share. In the meantime, hang in there!

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