Sunday, June 10, 2018

I've Got the Maytag Blues




 To tell you the honest truth, sometimes I feel like my life is like an episode of Seinfeld, and I'm one of the characters- probably George Castanza. Even I can't believe some of the stuff that happens, and it's been going on for sixty six years!  Some time back, Jan and I decided we wanted to go down and look around in Idaho, so we elected to go in March, before the weather got good enough to work on the boat and before fishing started. We got our tickets to go to Juneau a month in advance because we wanted to take the truck over and do some shopping. In the interim, our washing machine that we had owned for over ten years decided to give up the ghost. We got a lot of good use out of it and I had no problem picking one up in Juneau while we were there, that way we'd save the freight of sending it over to Hoonah. For a few weeks we did laundry at my daughter, Jen's house. It was inconvenient, but it worked. Well, the day before we were to take the ferry over to Juneau, one of the local marine highway gals called to let me know that the ferry was broke down, and they didn't know when it would run again. Go figure. So I had to make a mad dash to the airport and hope that there was still seats available to get to Juneau. Fortunately there was- only $170.00 one way for the two of us. Lovely. So, we flew down south, forgot our troubles for a short while, and came back. We picked up a Maytag washer at Sears and made it back home. I'm not overly fond of the washing machine. It's computerized apparently, and is energy efficient, but it's kind of loud and takes a while to do the load. That is, when it worked. At the end of May, the power plant did some tests to see about some additives to make the fuel burn more efficiently. Well, something happened, and the power went off four times in one day. It just so happened that I had thrown in some laundry prior to the power going off. When it came back on, my washing machine was fried. How awesome is that? Well I found out that I have to pay up front for a new washing machine, and the insurance company for the plant will reimburse me. Hmmmmm.... So, as it happened, Sears had gone out of business in Juneau , so I had to get one from a hardware store over there. I was assured that they had the same exact  model and would send it over to me on AML, the local transport company. Only $699.00 for the washer, and another $105.00 minimum charge for freight. What choice did I have? When I went down to the ware house to pick up my washer, I discovered that they had sent the wrong one. It's not even the same brand. So, as of this moment, I'm waiting for that issue to be resolved. Meanwhile, I had to pack three baskets of laundry up the stairs to Jen's house today. Oh the joy! I decided to compose a little song about my washing machine. I don't know how to compose songs, but if ever a situation required a blues song, this is it. Imagine that someone like legendary blues singer Muddy Waters is performing it.

I had a new washer  (da dum da dum da)
But it went on the fritz (da dum da dum da)
The power plant fried it (da dum da dum da)
You know that's the S@#%S (da dum da dum da)

I got the Maytag, the Maytag washing machine blues
Yeah baby I do

I load up the laundry (da dum da dum da)
Into the truck (da dum da dum da)
This ain't no fun baby (da dum da dum da)
It's starting to suck (da dum da dum da)

I got the Maytag, the Maytag washing machine blues
You know Momma I do

I pack all that laundry (da dum da dum da)
Up Jennifer's stairs (da dum da dum da)
There's undies and shirts (da dum da dum da)
And the socks are in pairs (da dum da dum da)

I got the Maytag, the Maytag washing machine blues
Oh yes brother I do

That laundry is heavy (da dum da dum da)
Especially when wet (da dum da dum da)
But when your washer is broken da dum da dum da)
That's what you get (da dum da dum da)

I got the Maytag, the Maytag washing machine blues
Yeah Momma it's true - Oh yeah!!!!!

 So there you go. I rather doubt that it will ever make it to the top of the record charts, but the next time life turns south for you, just sing this little song and know that I fully understand what you're going through. Have a good day.

Friday, June 1, 2018

The End of the Day







  For all intents and purposes, summer has arrived in Hoonah. School is out, the leaves on all the trees have finally shown, the flowers on the salmon berry bushes are blooming, as are the Forget Me Not's. The hummingbirds have made there way  here on their annual migration north, and while the bugs haven't hatched yet, the tourists certainly have. They've arrived en-mass on the cruise ships, crowding the streets, hopping on buses and taking pictures of whatever they find photo worthy, which apparently is almost everything. After a two week stint of rainy, mostly normal weather for Southeast, we've gotten a break and the sun has been out for the past few days. It always amazes me that we can go from needing a jacket to wishing that running around nude was an acceptable practice here, all in the course of a single day. When the sun  comes out this time of year, it can be intense. Of course sunny days mean beautiful sunsets, and as of late we've had some great ones. I went out the other night to get a few pictures. The cruise ship was gone, and it had taken all the tourists with them. The buses and vans were parked at the cannery, the zodiacs and whale watch boats were tied to the dock, the kayaks were pulled up past the high tide line on the beach and all was quiet in Hoonah. Like shy little creatures of the night the local residents started coming out of their homes and going out to Shaman's Point near the cannery to watch the sunset. Cars were parked like they were at a drive-in  movie. There were more than a few cameras present as we all enjoyed the majesty of God's handiwork. As the sun started to drop behind the mountains, the temperature started to cool and the fish ducks that nest in the rocks by the tunnel circled around and found their favorite spot while the herons made their way down to the water to do a little fishing. With the setting of the sun there is a sense of peace that settles on the town and everyone seems to be content. At least for the rest of the night the hustle and bustle of the day is over and quiet can reign again.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Demanding Mistress








   Anyone who has ever had a boat can understand the title of this post. I've spent the last week with the boat in dry dock, sanding, patching, painting and caulking it, plus replacing zincs. Aside from the usual yearly items like those mentioned above, I had to order spruce 1x6's to replace some of the bin boards down in the hold that had started to rot. They hold the ice into separate bins and you can't afford to be out on the water in a storm and have the load shift because some bin boards broke. That's not all that needed done though, oh no,no, no. That was just the least expensive project. Last year my engine started over heating whenever I pushed it above trolling speed. I tried all the simpler things to do, hoping I wouldn't have to replace the water pump, but all to no avail, so I had to replace my thirty some year old water pump, for about $650.00, plus labor. I noticed last year that a guard near the stern of the boat had developed a gap between the guard and the plank that it was protecting. The cannon balls frequently come up and hit the boat in the area of the guard, so it's really necessary to have. Well, some time during the end of the season, the troll wire got caught in the space and pulled the guard off. Fortunately I'm good friends with the local shipwright who happened to have a three foot piece of iron bark that he fashioned a guard out of. Earlier in the year I replaced the electrical fuse panel that has been on the boat since I bought it in 1990. I guess I can count myself lucky that I haven't had even more expensive projects to do this year. Every year I wonder what will happen next. In the time that I've owned the Bonnie J I've had the forward and a after decks replaced, put in new fuel tanks, had the gurdies re-built, an unknown number of planks replaced, a new bow stem put in, the transmission re-built, new aluminum bulwarks and hatch cover, a new aluminum mast,replaced the steel hay rack with aluminum,replaced the stove with another used stove which needs replaced again, put in a new bunk and cupboards down in the focs'le, replaced all the hydraulic lines and the electric clutch on the hydraulic pump, I've put in two new hydraulic motors for the long line drum,installed sound proofing in the deck over the engine, replaced the muffler, replaced the three blade prop with a four blade and done an oil and filter change every 200 hours. That's about 102 oil changes. I always wonder where all the money goes, but in retrospect, I can now see. I understand that I bought an old wooden boat, and so replacing planks and whatnot can be expected, but I had no idea that I would be replacing every other thing on the boat. The thing is, I'm not alone. Every boat owner, if he's going to maintain his vessel goes through similar things.  The guys on the Deep Sea are re-placing at least one plank and re-fastening a bunch of others. Of course there will be painting and zincs to do, and God knows what else. The big catamaran has got a crew on board cutting out big chunks of aluminum from the sides and welding in new. I'm sure they're missing out on some big bucks hauling tourists around, but the Coast Guard won't let them go out until they meet all the safety requirements for a boat that takes passengers for hire. Good idea. You don't want to be out looking at whales and all of a sudden be right in the water with them. It would be like the Jonah experience, if you were lucky. The boat on the other side of the Zaba is hauled out putting a different engine in. Last year he was on his way outside during one of the best coho years ever, and the engine that he'd had rebuilt broke down and he needed towed back to town. The boat's name is the Lucky Star. Not sure that's a very good name for that boat. The bottom line is, boats are expensive to own. Between the moorage, the fuel, the maintenance, and the frustration involved in keeping them running, you have to wonder if it's worth it. I guess it must be, I still own one. Like the saying goes, the two best days of a boat owners life is the day he buys his new boat, and the day he sells it. So be it.



Tuesday, May 1, 2018

A Morning Prayer



  What do you do when you want to talk to a friend or place an order or make a complaint to a company? For many in this country, it's as simple as picking up our cell phones and talking or texting. There are a lot of phone plans available with a variety of services and prices. When you need to place an order you call or text and it's done. Chances are you aren't going to talk to the president of the company, unless of course you yourself are someone very important who has some clout.When I receive a bill from the credit card or electric company or phone company, they may send it in the mail to me, but they recognize me by a number that I've been assigned. I may not get credit for paying the bill if I forget to put my account number on the check. It's not like that with God. Just so we're sure, I'm not talking about some unknown spiritual concept floating around out in the universe somewhere, I'm speaking of God the father, God the son and God the holy spirit. The trinity. You can't pick up your phone and call Him.There's no texting Jesus. The holy spirit doesn't have an 800 number, but that's good. There's no charge to speak to God. You can speak  as often as you want, as long as you want and about anything that's on your mind. Are you lonely, afraid that you'll never find the right person to marry? Tell the lord. Maybe you're married and having a rough time of it. Your spouse isn't who you thought they were, you're fighting all the time, you're unhappy. You can tell Him. He already knows, and what's more, He really cares. Perhaps you've lost your job, your health, your loved one or feel like you're on the verge of losing your sanity. You don't have to be in church to pray. Kneeling isn't a requirement. Long, flowing spiritual sounding phrases won't get you any bonus points. Have you ever been in a jet that's experiencing turbulence? I guarantee that there's a lot of praying going on by the folks buckled in those seats, and it might be as simple as " Lord save me!" Perhaps you've prayed sincerely for something in the past and it seems like your prayers weren't answered. Your loved one died, your spouse left you for someone else, your kid is making poor life choices- you felt like your prayers were ignored, so why bother any more? I wish I had answers for you. I honestly don't know why some prayers are answered and others aren't. Or at least it appears that they aren't being answered. Even Jesus, in the hours before he was taken to Pilate and beaten, humiliated, and hung on the cross asked God to spare him that fate, but he wasn't spared. Sometimes the answer to our prayers is no. We can't see what tomorrow will bring, but God knows, and isn't it good to be in touch with the one who does have all the answers? I like to watch Dr. Charles Stanley on Sunday mornings. His many years of walking with God has given him wisdom and insight, and in a few words he can cover a lot. I'd like to share a simple morning prayer that he sent me.

                                                           Father,
 Thank you for this new morning and the privilege of beginning this day with You. As today unfolds, give me wisdom to handle every situation I encounter. Let my speech be seasoned with grace and my thoughts pleasing to You. I'm grateful to know that regardless of where this day takes me, You will be right there with me. There is no shortage of good things in Your presence.

Help me to live with my mind set on things above so that Your light would shine in my life and Your name would be glorified.

Amen

I like it. Short; to the point; no flowery speech;  no thees and thous. When it's prayed sincerely, I think it's a prayer God can answer. I hope that if your prayer life is lacking, you'll reestablish your talks with God. He'll be delighted to hear from you. God bless!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Back yard visitor






  A few weeks ago as I was eating my breakfast I happened to look out the dining room window and spotted a Sitka Blacktail deer walking through the side yard. I had a mouth full of cereal or toast or some such thing, so all I could do was point and  make sounds like a cave man while I danced around on the floor. Eventually Jan figured out that I wanted her to look out the window before the deer disappeared. As it was, it made a bee line for the garden out back and proceeded to chow down on some dandelions that had just sprouted. Why is it that weeds are among the first plants to show their fuzzy little green heads? One way or the other, the deer didn't mind a bit. He spent the better part of twenty minutes nibbling the leaves down to the nubs and then making his way slowly up the hill. I had my own personal weed- eater. I do wish he'd been a little more aggressive and pulled the dandelions out by the root. He (or she) I couldn't really tell which, was really delicate though in his eating habits. It very deliberately avoided some variegated ground cover that was growing along side the weeds and took only the dandelions. It kept looking back at the street with every little noise and I was expecting it to bolt at any minute. However, it didn't get too alarmed and continued to work it's way up the hill and into the woods out back. It's not uncommon to see deer in town, there is plenty of area with cover and food for them, but I usually don't see them in my back yard. I do recall hearing a noise on the side of the house a few years ago though that woke me up. We have our fuel tank on that side of the house and unfortunately, on occasion there have been some less than honorable folks who have been known to steal the fuel out of people's tanks. I got up and looked out the window in time to see a nice deer standing in my neighbor's yard. It passed through mine and brushed against the back of the house- clumsy oaf. I'm not sure where the deer are going to be going soon. The bears are out of hibernation and are starting to roam around. Spring is kind of late getting here, as it is in some parts of the rest of the country. I haven't seen any skunk cabbage yet, something they eat to get the digestive track back in sync. I imagine they will find any winter kill deer out in the woods and whatever else they can dig up. They're omnivores and will eat just about anything- even diapers at the dump. One of Jan's co-workers had her dog attacked last week, so everything is fair game. I just hope these little guys can stay out of their way, and that the bears don't take a liking to the weeds at my house.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Trivia Night

Ryan, Dennis and Jen

World's best waitress-  Bev

Sandy, Anna Faye, Buddy and Donia and her husband

Paul, Mary and Terri



Barbie- one of the owners



      Last night, as almost every Wednesday night has been for the past year or two, was Trivia night at the Icy Strait Lodge. It's  a good opportunity to get out of the house, especially in the long, cold, dark winter months and mingle with some of our fellow Hoonah citizens. Sometimes there will be a team made up of fishermen who are here for the King or Tanner crab season, and often there are folks from out of town who are associated with the clinic who help to swell the ranks of the local clinic staff and add to the cerebral well being of their team. We have folks from all walks of life playing- forest service personnel, a former school superintendent, teachers, fishermen, tour guides and whale watch captains, and some everyday folks who just want to come out and mingle and have a good time. Our local post master, Mark Smith is usually the one who asks the questions. I'm not always sure where he gets his questions from. There is usually something about geography, science, history, possibly politics, general knowledge, books or literature, including children's books, movies and sometimes something from the bible. I happen to sit at a table that usually does pretty well. Dennis has a lot of general knowledge, and is quite familiar with geography, Ryan knows movies really well, Terri has a handle on a variety of subjects, Jen is familiar with children's literature, and Jan and I are the two oldest folks at the table. Chances are at one time we knew the answer to a number of the questions, but we just can't remember what the answer is. It's probably a really good thing to be testing the old brain cells now and then, part of the use it or lose it philosophy. All the teams have names. We've been a number of different names down through the weeks, The Soggy Pants, No Depends, Trivia Knights, Muddy Socks, Hoonah Hookers and last night we were the No Ruben Gang. Dennis, the city manager has a fondness for Rubens, something that I have trouble wrapping my  head around. How can a sandwich with corned beef, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing all on rye bread possibly taste good? It's beyond me.Paul and Mary K. are usually the Cerebellums, but last night Paul wasn't there. However, Mary was joined by Candy,  a Stanford graduate, so they took on the name- Half a Brain. The clinic group were the Hoonah Honey's last week, but I can't recall who they called themselves last night. Howard, Dwight and one other retired fellow were I believe calling themselves The Mentally Challenged. They usually do pretty good, but sometimes I wonder if it isn't because they can hear our table discussing the answers. Frankly, I wish I could read lips for those times when we're stumped and I'm certain that the Cerebellums have the answer. There is one fellow who usually shows up by himself. His last name is Murphy, and he always goes by the team name Murphy's Law. I don't believe he's ever won, but he's always a good sport and seems to enjoy himself. There is always a first, second and third place winner's circle, and the lodge hands out gift certificates with various percentages off of meals and drinks to the winners. It's good business all the way around. Last night the competition was fierce, and we came in fourth place out of seven or eight teams. The Half  a Brain team won. It's hard to imagine how many points they would have racked up if the other half of the Cerebellums was there.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

90% Wimpy




  I stepped on the scale today and saw the numbers flying by like a one armed bandit in a Las Vegas casino. I won't tell you where they finally stopped, but I can assure you, there wasn't any jackpot when they finally did. In all honesty, I don't believe the scale. No, I'm serious. I think I need to put in a new battery or something. The day before yesterday when I stood on the scale, it said that I was two pounds heavier than the day before. Then when I hopped on yesterday, low and behold, I had miraculously lost four pounds. Today it claimed I had gained five pounds and a few ounces. That's malarkey! This winter I've been on an exercise routine that involves walking on the treadmill for twenty minutes, doing some stretches with a three foot dowel to keep my arms from seizing up, and doing three sets of lifts with some ten pound dumbbells. Dummies. I seldom have soda anymore, preferring instead to drink unsweetened ice tea. I use 1% milk on my cereal and in my coffee. I don't use sugar on my cereal, with the exception of brown sugar on my oatmeal. Of course cereals like Frosted Flakes, Count Chocula, and Lucky Charms are sweet enough without sugar, but I don't care because I haven't eaten any of that stuff for years. I did drink a half a beer last night at my daughters house, but it was a Miller Lite. Almost every afternoon lately, I've been taking the dog on a walk out around the airport. I'm not sure how far that is, maybe a half mile trek and granted, by the time he stops fifty times to sniff and spray, we aren't moving too fast, but it is exercise. I've heard that muscle weighs more than fat, which is great, but when I look down at my gut, it's obvious that it's not muscle that I'm seeing. I spoke to my doctor at my last physical about any procedure that could redistribute the fat that was encompassing my stomach perhaps south a few inches. He just laughed. I guess that's every senior man's pipe dream. I'd kind of like to go swimming some time, but I'm too embarrassed to be seen in public without a shirt on. To say nothing of the swim trunks. I don't expect to look like I did when I was thirty. It would be nice, but not realistic, but I would like to see a little more tangible results from the routine that I'm following now. What I don't want to have happen is to go somewhere warmer and then not have the energy to go outside and do anything. I can stay here and be a couch potato. In any event, welcome to the world of aging. It's quite a trip. Do what you can now to make the transition into old age as painless as possible. Eat your veggies, get some exercise and make good friends who will tell you the truth, because you sure can't believe that stupid scale.