Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Stranded and Reunited - Looking Forward to Calm

We Spent One Week Together

                                                        Going Galt Status - Paused


Although our family is stuck in a holding pattern, our plans remain unchanged. Our intent is still to continue our move to North Idaho despite the Coronavirus pandemic.

I am already up north and working full-time. The rest of the clan is still in south Idaho continuing their routine as normal as current events allow.

Another Mission Call

After recently returning from a hectic church mission in Ecuador, our daughter was inspired to complete her 18-month mission serving our Lord. 

She was presented with an option of waiting and starting her entire mission over or...

immediately going back out to a new assignment and finishing her term.

She chose to return immediately (although it is understandably hard after coming home) and complete her calling as a missionary.

I could not be more proud of her.

This gave me a reason to return home to southern Idaho and spend time with her and the rest of my family (as opposed to waiting for them to visit up north.)

So last Saturday morning I began the ten-hour drive. The plan was to leave Saturday morning and arrive Saturday night. 

This would give me two full days (Sunday and Monday) to spend time with my missionary. We had to drive her to the Boise airport on Tuesday. 

That was the initial plan anyway.

Then My Radiator Hose Split

As I've come to expect, nothing goes as planned. That is why I build in redundancies into my routines and have learned to roll with the punches.

Almost exactly half-way home, my van overheated.

My top radiator hose, 5 hours from home.

My top radiator hose split in a massive way. There was no duct-taping my way out of this one.

No amount of letting it cool off and adding more cold water was going to limp me to the next town...which was 24 miles away.

La Grande, Oregon - have you heard of it?

So there I sat, on the side of a highway in Oregon.

Two hours wasted, waiting for a tow

Don't Bother Calling Progressive in Idaho

After waiting for an hour, I finally contacted Progressive Insurance about the tow request I entered on their online app. 

My request had been suspended because they could not find my location.

Of course, they did not call me to tell me that my request had been placed on hold. Luckily, I reached out to them.

After 20 minutes of waiting on hold, I finally told them to disregard. I could clearly see on my GPS then I was only one mile from a local restaurant and deli.

They, on the other hand, were having extreme difficulty on their end.

The gas station was located in a little town called Mecham.

That is where the magic happens.

My Saviors, mechanic shop owner and tow truck owner

As I pulled into the deli parking lot I could see one couple on the porch having lunch.

They are a couple out on an afternoon ride on their lovely Harley-Davidson. They were donned in leather from head to toe and I could see that they were enjoying themselves.

Standing next to the table was the deli owner. They're engaged in pleasant conversation.

As I approached, the restaurant owner greeted me with "How is your day going?"

Well, he asked. So I told him.

I said, "I've been sending sitting one mile down the road waiting for a tow truck driver for nearly two hours with no luck."

I told him about my radiator hose and my quest to get home so I can see my daughter before she left again on her church mission.

Without hesitation, the restaurant owner pulled out his cell phone and held up one finger in the air as if to say "Hold on just a minute."

He greeted someone on the phone and said "Here, talk to this gentleman" and he handed me the phone.

On the other end of that conversation was the local tow truck driver who was friends with the restaurant owner.

As I explained my situation I was reassured he would be there within 10 minutes to drive me and my vehicle to Le Grande for the radiator hose that I needed.

Hero of the Day

Now, I had done some of the footwork while I sat in my car waiting prior to arriving at this deli. I had already located the local part store in La Grande to make sure they have the proper part that I needed. Indeed, it was sitting there waiting for me at O'Reilly's.

My plan at this point was to make it to O'Reilly's with my van and see if I could fix the problem with the help of auto parts store employees. 

As I sat waiting for the tow truck driver to come to pick me up, the gentleman having lunch on the front porch swiveled in this chair and faced me.

He said, "What exactly is your car problem?"

I told him that it was the top radiator hose and it had split. I was confident I could get to it but not confident I could find the back end of it up under the dashboard.

In a similar fashion to the restaurant owner, he pulled out his cell phone and made a phone call. When the other end answers the call, a quick banter back and forth ensued.

"Hey, do you wanna put on a radiator hose today? This guy out here is stranded and needs to get back to Twin Falls."

"You can? Alright. You wanna just meet him down at the shop?"

"Great, I'll let him know. He will need to get towed into town and stop to get the radiator hose."

"Oh, you wanna pick it up for him? I'm sure that's fine. I'll have them meet you directly at the shop."

And there it was.

All of my immediate problems were solved within 5 minutes by visiting with 2 gentlemen at a deli in the middle of nowhere.

It all went exactly as planned. The mechanic fixed not only my split radiator hose but also spotted a bad timing belt.

That timing belt could have been an entirely separate catastrophe. 

It cost me about 5 hours total but I was back on the road to my final destination in southern Idaho.

I ended up sleeping at a truck stop for the evening now that my timeline was majorly altered. I got home at 8am Sunday morning instead of 10pm the Saturday night. 

Until We Meet Again Missionary

I enjoyed two full days with my family, including my missionary.

Once again, I drove my daughter to the airport to wish her luck on her mission. This time she is headed to the Jacksonville, Florida mission.

I'll take that any day over the Guayaquil, Ecuador mission. She learned a lot there and saw things she'll probably never see again but I wasn't exactly comfortable with the risk factor. 

Now she's in hurricane alley and I feel much better.

Prior to her leaving we got some daddy-daughter bonding time. I took her shopping for a comfortable house robe. We ended up in a Target shopping store in Twin Falls. The prior stores we attempted to patron were all closed. 

There was a power outage in town and the local power company had informed the local businesses that it would not be back on any earlier than 6pm. So all of the 8-5 shops just closed for the day.

But not Target

Someone at Target was smart enough to install a backup generator. Remember my comment about redundancy earlier?

So you can see in my picture that not all the lights were on in the store. We actually used my cell phone flashlight a few times to look at items. 

We found a nice robe and even some comfy slippers. Mission accomplished, for me anyway.

I will see her in person next April-ish. Maybe in March. I can't keep the dates straight anymore.

But she gets to "call home" at least once a week.

Technology now allowed video calling so it is almost like talking to her in person. 

The Return up North

We spent the night at our home in Filer on Tuesday then headed out bright and early for North Idaho.

This is the first time anyone besides me has seen the rental home we will be staying in when we move everyone up here.

It is smaller in all regards than our home down south. The biggest threat to our sanity will be sharing one bathroom between seven females and me. I'm sure I will lose that battle every time.

Four days have passed with minimal disruption. Just the usual accusations of who borrowed who's stuff and why didn't they put it back.

Although I had to work (money still needs to be earned), they did get to explore CDA and Spokane. 

On Saturday we went for a terrific hike up Forest Service Trail #17. 

...as usual, my blog post has rambled on. I take too long to finish one post so I'm stopping here. I will continue our story in the next post.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Rain Storm in an Alpha Wolf 29QBL Camper

here’s a quick little video while I’m stuck in a camper at a camper expo in Post Falls Idaho.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Stepped Outside of My Bubble Today - Holy Cow!

Wandering the Grocery Store Aisles - Amazed...

Going Galt Status - Paused

Plans Remain Unchanged

Although our family is stuck in a holding pattern, our plans remain unchanged. Our intent is still to continue our move to North Idaho despite the Coronavirus pandemic.

I am already up north and working full-time. The rest of the clan is still in south Idaho continuing their routine as normal as current events allow.

Progress - Landscaping in the South

Wifey has continued to beautify the landscaping in hopes of improving our curb appeal. She actually has achieved quite a bit in the past few weeks:

  • All goat head weeds and other obnoxious plants have been pulled and removed. Both front and back yards have been cleared.
  • After a good, solid watering, granular weed killer has been spread to kill any remaining unseen weeds and hopefully prevent future growth. 
  • Grass seed and fertilizer were then spread several days later to start greening up both yards.
  • Our eldest daughter brought over excess brick she had dug up in her backyard. It now has been laid to form a nice backyard fire pit for aesthetic appeal.
  • Other brick was used to line the front of our home to add a definitive border. 
  • Similarly, brick was used to separate front yard from driveway
  • Flowers were planted along the width of the home facing the main street. 
  • 2-4-D (kill-all) will be sprayed in the gravel driveway to prevent the growth of weeds there. 
new fire pit in the backyard
fish-eyed but shows new flowers in the front
brick border separating front yard and driveway
happy wife sharing her triumphant story

Overall, I was quite impressed with my little cherub's hard work. That's the stuff I like to do around the house but my work is still imposing a mandatory 14-day quarantine on any employee who leaves town.

Been there, done that. No thanks. 

Here's the listing, if you are able to share it with your network of friends. 

Moving on up North

14 days couped up in a house by yourself tends to play havoc on your emotions. Well, maybe not everyone but you can see the effects on me in the whining I did in my last post. 

The daily infusion of jogging around the high school fixed most of it. I'm up to three miles every three days. Walking on the days in between. I began using one of my favorite phone apps called C25K. 

the road leading into the local high school

Couch to 5K is a running app that starts out mostly walking and incrementally works you up to being able to complete a 5K (3.2 miles) run or race. 

My wife and I started it last winter around October. By New Year's we were ready to sign up for our first 5K race. 

But there were none to be had at the time. 

Then "The Rona" hit and I moved up north. All bets were off there for a little bit on daily activities. 

But now, when I go for a walk, I see deer every single time I go out...literally.

And I take pictures every time and send them to my daughters on our group text. I hope they get a thrill every time they see one like I do. 

There are 2 or 3 that sleep in my backyard

I am a big fan of old barns. There is no shortage of them up here in North Idaho.

love the green prairie surrounding the barn

this one was just amazing...and huge.

And Today, the Grocery Store

Now, I'll admit I haven't been grocery shopping in almost two months. I brought enough with me to sustain for a while. But I also don't eat very much.

The difference of feeding a family of eight and then only having to stock the pantry for me was a big change. The foods I brought with me ended up being enough to sustain for two months. 

I still have quite a bit to choose from but decided to visit the grocery store this morning for perishables.

Like cheese. Holy smokes.

One little block of cheese, granted it was Tillamook, was $9.49 for a block. And it wasn't a big block, mind you. 

One package of bacon was also $9.49 per pack. The days of me cooking a whole package for one giant bacon sandwich are over. That's for sure. 

and this is NOT the fancy bacon... that was $15/pack

I'm pretty miserly when it comes to food. My wife chides me for buying cans of sardines.

Yes, they aren't the most appetizing but for the cheap price per ounce of protein...I'll figure out how to make them tasty...someday. 

So on this particular visit, the prices for most things were too high for me to pull the trigger. I just couldn't spend $4 on a can of soup. Or $5 for a bag of chips. 

The only "comfort" foods I bought was some hard-shelled candy. I found an aisle in the back of the IGA that sold $1 bags of "old fashioned" hard candy.

Butterscotch candies are a long time favorite of mine. Sometimes to my family's detriment. Like the time Bella choked on one in church when she was about six years old. Nothing a Heimlich couldn't solve.

Other than milk and sour cream, I'm set for a couple more months now.

Coronavirus - Healthcare Worker Perspective

I continue to be amazed at the differences in opinion (and fact) in the media and public. We may not know the real facts on actual death count or where this virus really came from, but one thing is for sure - it is killing people. 

At last check, America is up to 60,000 deaths. But that number is skewed for several reasons. I won't get into that here. But to be safe, we are still asking patients to wear cloth masks when they enter our hospital. 

Most people comply. I've had one guy pretend I wasn't offering him a mask. He refused to wear one for his x-ray exam. 

Then there's the people who wear one but don't cover their nose. Or pull it down to talk so you can hear them. 

Whatever your take is on the coronavirus, it isn't going away anytime soon. I'm happy to report we have opened the doors back up on our hospital. Things should return to semi-normal this month.

I tend to agree with Mike's model that we'll see some return to normalcy this summer but it won't last long. Especially with the coming meat shortage. 

We'll continue to see protests and clashes in the big cities as the food shortage gets worse. Another reason I moved up here to Idaho six years ago. 

My mom lives in Gilbert, Arizona and I worry about her safety. I have invited her up when she's ready. She kind of has the same issue I do: what do I do with the house I own and can't sell?

A Parting Photo

As I wrap up another post, I'll leave one of my favorite pics so far. I do wish I knew where to go in town to get the best pictures like this.

I'm sure there is some mountain lookout that I don't know about yet that would have been the best place to capture this rainbow. But until I find it, this image from town will have to do.

Thanks for visiting my blog.