All Washed Up

Things have been falling apart around here.

Besides "The Car Wars" (oh, and the A/C in the car broke and was fixed for the 4th time!):

  • The hot water heater blew a pin hole leak in the pressure vessel tank.  Small hole + Hot Water under pressure = Huge Mess.
  • The water from the water heater warped some of the hardwood floors right there.  (The floors are starting to chill out, so we haven't gotten them fixed yet.)
  • The oven stopped working.  The stove top worked, but the oven wouldn't light.
  • My laptop's hard drive died.


And then there was the washer / dryer.

When I bought this place, it had the "contractor special" cheap-o-matics installed.  The washer was loud, and the dryer had a piece missing so that it shredded and frayed most things we placed in it.  It got to the point that we were hanging more clothes around the condo to dry than we were processing thru the dryer.  I'd hoped to replace it last year, but that didn't happen.

This year we did it.

Cora and I made up our minds, and one day we were in Home Depot, and we saw a set on sale for $300 off.  Each.

While the delivery and haul away was free, we were of course, dinged for the upgrade to the gas dryer model, new hoses and tubes, stacking kit, etc.

They fit, just barely, into the closet where the old ones were.  One of the delivery guys was a the skinniest little spider monkey of a man you ever saw.  With about 3 inches of clearance all around spider monkey boy climbed behind the old units and unhooked the old one.  And then when they installed the new one, he was behind it.  I figured that they'd encased him like the workers in the pyramids, but he climbed up over the top like one of those parkour dudes.

These are our first "High Efficiency" units so it's taking some time getting used to.

Firstly, the by the small amount of water that seems to be used for the wash cycle.  It seemed like the clothes barely get wet, but they are clean.

Secondly, is how quick the dryer does its job.  It seems like it takes no time for the clothes to dry, but they aren't even hot when we pull them out.  I guess that is a side effect of not having so much water in the washing.

And they sing.

When they finish, it's not a harsh buzz or a ding, but a happy little tune that they sing.  It almost makes laundry… enjoyable.

Not if science would just invent the auto-folding machine, we would be so set.


Coasting To Victory

Earlier this summer, my little family flew out west, and joined up with Cora's mother, sister, brother-in-law, and their munchkins for a week long drive from Seattle down the Oregon coast.

I've never been to Oregon, so that knocked another state off my list.

The 9 of us caravanned in two cars and headed out to the Pacific Coast highway, US-101.  After lunch in Olympia, we headed to Astoria.  Sitting on the Columbia River, Astoria was named after John Jacob Astor (Not be confused with John Jacob Astor IV – who took the extreme ice bucket challenge on the Titanic.  While sporting the same color scheme, this wasn't the Titanic.)


Astoria has served as the backdrop for a few movies.  Most important to our group were Kindergarten Cop and The Goonies.  We were in our hotel room, and Google mapped where the Kindergarten Cop elementary school was, while looking out the window.  Turned out I was looking out the window at it about 300 yards away.

So, we all took turns reenacting Arnold running out of the doors on his first day, screaming in frustration.


Okay, some of us more strutted after our photo-op…


We then got our Goonies on by heading to the jail the Fratelli's broke out of at the beginning of the movie.  And that's their bullet riddled Jeep parked in front.


Some prisoners weren't so lucky to escape so easily.


You can also walk up to the Goonies' house.  People live in the house, so they don't want you climbing all over, but they don't mind if you shoot pictures from out front, especially if you drop a little sump'n/ sump'n in the donations box.


And this is my little band of Goonies; The Daughter and her 3 cousins.  And there may or not be a picture of me doing the "truffle shuffle".


In the movie, the plot was that their house was going to be turned into a golf course.  While I'm no golf course engineer, I don't think the steep hills and cliffs on this side of town really lend themselves to gently rolling fairways.  Speaking of geography, the Goonies totally would have gone to the Kindergarten Cop elementary school.  You can clearly see the school from the house. (But "The Goonies" is from 1985 and "Kindergarten Cop" is from 1990, so none of the kids would have been in Arnold's class.)


And speaking of geography, there's no way those kids rode all the way to Haystack Rock.  It's like, 27 miles away, and Chunk would have died long before they even crossed the bridge over the Youngs Bay.


We didn't go straight to Cannon Beach, but instead spent a couple of days in Seaside, OR.  Our hotel was right off the beach, and I took the opportunity to get my toes in the sand.  (While I've been TO the Pacific Ocean before, this is the first time I've ever been IN the Pacific Ocean.)

Seaside reminded me a lot of what my memories are of the one time my family went to Ocean City, NJ when I was around 10 or 12.


Anyway, back to Haystack Rock, we didn't walk all the way to it, but got pretty close.  It was a bit overcast and grey, and there was a bit of sea mist in the air.  So I got a shot of my 3 beachcombers.  (My two plus the middle munchkin.)


And to totally embarrass The Daughter, here's her mother, smooching her in public.  But also, a bit of trivia, that cliff behind them is where the lighthouse restaurant was in "The Goonies" and also the site of the school carnival in "Kindergarten Cop".


And now, a little more "road" on this "road trip".  (PS – The photos are not necessarily in order.  I could order them properly, but we all know I'm too lazy to actually do this.)

Anyway, this is us at Cape Foul Weather.  Slightly before she was born, Cora took a trip down the Oregon Coast with her family (do I need to spell it out people), and her mom remembered stopping here, so, between our trip down and back, we missed finding it twice.  We were about to give up on our third try, when we thought we'd try what looked like an RV park for a bathroom, and found ourselves at Cape Foul Weather.


Just up the road from C.F.W., we pulled off at a scenic outlook and got this tree that was growing bent due to the constant onshore breeze.


And this sweet old bridge.


We also stopped at the Sea Lion cave.  It was pretty cool.  But unfortunately, since it was in a cave, and flash photography was forbidden, most of the pictures didn't turn out so well.  Anyway, this was my favorite shot.


There's actually a light house WAY out there on that point if you zoom in far enough.  It's the Heceta Head lighthouse outside of Florence.


Up the coast is the Yaquina Head lighthouse.  It's near Newport, and located in an outstanding natural area (it's called the "Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area") with a visitor's center and gift shop.


And the lights of my life outshine the 1st order Fresnel lens atop the tower.


Down the staircase from the light house is Cobble Beach.  The beach is covered with millions of round basalt rocks.  The Nephew really liked it down there.


The rocks were cool and rolled under your feet as you walked.


Some people loved the beach, but didn't enjoy the "walking on marbles" feeling so much.


From the light house, we could see the sea and saw it smash against rocky outcrops.


Some other rocks could have used a good rinsing by the sea.


Which leaves me wondering if that's really rock, or just a huge pile of fossilized bird crap.


In addition to the natural scenic wonders, we also toured the Tillamook cheese factory.  We had dinner, watched them make some cheese, sampled some cheese, and ate ice cream.


While there, we stayed at the Shilo motel.  We'd been seeing them all up and down the coast, so how bad could it be, right?  Do you remember the story of "The Bozeman Inn" from about 3 years ago?  It wasn't that bad, but you did get the sense of time travel.  We were issued metal keys, there was no elevator in the building (okay, it was only 2 stories tall, but it did kind of make the luggage carts moot), and the TVs were old CRT TV's from the 90's.

And there was an odd smell.  But there was an odd smell all over (remember, there was a working dairy, so I think the smell was just my dairy air.)

Definitely shy away from the Shilo.

And speaking of lodging, if you are planning the trip, make sure you book your night's stay early in the day to avoid getting the "No room @ the inn" treatment.  Sure it worked out for Mary & Joseph, but it might not work so well for you.  And if you are thinking of driving US-101 pulling, say, a vintage Airstream trailer, make sure your driving skills are up to snuff.  The road is twisty and narrow and the sun streams through the leaves of the trees dappling the pavement and leaving the road a deathly patchwork of depth destroying light and dark patches.

And now something completely different.

We stopped at Denny's in Tillamook, and The Daughter order the Peanut Butter Cup pancakes.  They were as tasty as they looked.


And, to wrap up this story, this guy was just begging me to take his picture.


One the way back, we swung up through Portland and hit Voodoo Donuts.  Whatever you've heard about how good these donuts are is wrong.  They're better.  So much better.


I Lost My Drive; Not My Yen

And I was doing so well, and then came July!

The perfect storm of our anniversary (4 years already?  Only 4 years?), a 2 week vacation, and then my hard drive crashing so hard my laptop wouldn't boot (thank God for backups).

But, in looking thru my loose change a while back, I found a quarter that didn't look right.  It's not that you can look at a back of a quarter these days and tell anymore, but this didn't look right, it had two heads.

But I flipped it over, and what I assumed would be good old George, and it was "100".

I was starting to feel ripped off until I Googled it.  Turns out it's worth about 97¢.  Hey, I just made 52¢.

Yen-1 Yen-2

I can handle that kind of exchange.

Now that I've almost gotten the computer back up and working right, I hope to start posting again on a more regular basis.  I'll fill you in.

Especially about the vacation.  Road trip down the Oregon coast.