Part III

2/25/07 It looks like little Gigi has FINALLY figured out what she is supposed to be doing, and became pretty much house-trained several days ago. It was as if it happened overnight and we are very relieved.  There was even some discussion about perhaps considering adopting her out if it didn't work out, but now things seem to be going OK.

I had two Fire Department classroom sessions this week and it looks like things will work out well there.  It will be fun learning some new skills and being able to give back to the community a bit, and I'm looking forward to getting more involved.  Meanwhile, work on the airplane continues, albeit slowly.  I try to spend a couple of hours on it every day or two, although there are plenty of distractions.

In about a month, I will have been retired for 2 years!!  Where has the time gone?!!  It seems more like 5 or 6 months, but I can't imagine ever wanting to go back to work for a living again.  We still miss our dear friends in Hawaii, and a few times I have missed the warm weather, but we are very happy living here and being able to do as we choose each day. 

3/12/07 A rough couple of weeks!  I flew to Oklahoma City on the 27th of February and returned home on the 7th of March - - with the "Oklahoma Crud" - a flu-like cold that is just now starting to go away.  I've had this before and it's not a fun thing.  Anyway, while in OKC I hung around with Michael and his girlfriend, did a lot of poking around at his shop, and tended to some family business.  We did find time to make a platform for an airplane lift I'm putting together, and I'm anxious to have him ship it to me so I can assemble it.  This will allow me to raise my plane about 30" in the hangar, thereby making it much easier to work on and walk underneath!  I'm anxious to get it painted and mounted on the lift.  Also, Michael is sending me a band saw that he no longer uses and that will be very handy when it comes to cutting aluminum and small parts.  Who knows - one day I may actually be done with the little plane and flying it!!!  No matter, as I'm having fun just puttering around with it.

I missed several (6 out of 9) Fire Department classes due to Oklahoma and The Crud , but hope to make them up very soon and get back on-track.  So far the training has been very basic, but interesting.  Lots of discussion about the various types of fires, methods of combating them, and Department chain-of-command. 

Gigi started regressing in her house-training and was very bad the day after I returned home - FIVE accidents in one day!  Bad girl!!  But since then she has been trying to do better and there is still hope for her.  As I type this at

Max and Isabella have some fun with markers (washable!)

 my computer, she is sound asleep in my lap and I wonder how I could ever be angry with her.  Cute girls DO get away with more!

3/19/07  It has already been almost two weeks since I returned from OKC and I'm still feeling the remnants of the cold I caught there!  For some strange reason I don't seem to be able to rebound as quickly as I could when I was 25! 

Went flying to Port Townsend today with Kaz, a fellow who rents a C172 in the hangar next to mine, and had an enjoyable lunch.  Kaz is Japanese and used to be a 747 Captain with Japan Airlines - a very nice fellow.

Fire Department training has been most interesting and I still enjoy being a part of it.  Last week we mainly concentrated on the SCBA - Self Contained Breathing Apparatus.  Like SCUBA, but without the Underwater part.

Gigi awaits the Mailman

Very neat equipment.  I hope to be able to attend all the remaining classes and we should complete training around the 12th of May.  The guys at the station seem very nice and are willing to help with our training, so it should be a good opportunity to learn new skills and meet good people.

Teddie and I begin Italian language lessons in Port Angeles next month.  Class meets one night a week for 10 weeks, and we're hoping that we get more out of this class than the one we took in Honolulu a few years ago. 

4/7/07  Still hanging in there with the Fire Department.  The last couple of Saturdays have been killers - climbing up and down ladders with hoses and axes - but it has been fun and interesting.  Also, I've been able to do some flying lately.  Alan and I tried to go to Skagit in a C172 last weekend, but had to turn back because of poor weather in the Sound.  We tried again a couple of days later and the weather was perfect and the flight smooth.  Haven't had much time for my airplane, although I did finish constructing the lift and it looks/works pretty good.  Now that the weather is warming up, I plan to start spending much more time at the hangar and progress should come a little quicker. 

Gigi is still having "accidents", although they have become pretty rare lately.  We weighed her on a postal scale the other day and she topped off at 6 lbs. 10 oz. She's still a lot of fun to play with and has unlimited energy.

We spent three weeks removing the tall bushes from between our house and the neighbor on the west side.  We could only get two at a time on the trailer, so every Monday we cut and loaded two, and then dumped them on Saturday.  The area looks pretty good now and I'm glad to be done with the yard work!!

6/4/07 I just don't know where the time goes - it has been almost two months since I last updated this page!!  Oh well - here are the highlights of what's going on:
- Completed the Fire Department basic training!!  It was a struggle, but all 11 in the class hung in there and made it to the end.  Tomorrow night is "graduation" and then we are officially Volunteers!
- Have been doing some occasional flying with Alan and Bud.  Flew to Roche Harbor for lunch a time or two and that was fun.  Kaz (the guy who flies the C172 in the hangar next to mine) wants to take me to Port Townsend for lunch, so I'll probably do that next week.  Also, I'm still flying the rental C172 a bit, and it's nice to keep my hand in it.
- Wednesday I'm driving to Seattle to help Ed bring some furniture back over to his house in Poulsbo. 
- Thursday I'll be going to Arlington to attend a three day Light Sport Aircraft Repairman/Inspection certification class.  It's not really needed for my plane, but will be good information to learn.
- We went camping at
Sol Duc hot springs a few days ago and that was fun.  It's a beautiful area of old-growth forest about 60 miles from here and was very peaceful.  Only problem was that dogs are not permitted on the trails (they are afraid cougars will attack them), so we didn't get out and about as much as we would have liked to.  Click here for a panorama picture at the waterfalls.
- We're trying to clean up the last remaining area outside the house, so today we brought in a yard of gravel and put
it in the East walkway and moved the firewood out.  Another 2-3 yards of gravel should take care of the whole area. Then we are going to build a Cedar 10'x8' Garden Shed in the area to store all our lawn junk in.  We ordered the shed at Home Depot today and will have to build it when it arrives, but that should be pretty easy compared to all the work I put in on the hangar workshop.
- Gigi is still providing challenges!!  She's up to 7 lb, 3 oz, now and is usually very well behaved.  But, she can't seem to go longer than a week without accidents and then usually has 3 or 4 of them before settling back down to being good again.  Also, she has chewed the tassels on a couple of Teddie's handmade pillows, and Teddie was not at all happy about that.  Having a puppy can be fun but it's not always easy!

6/18/07  Today was a special day!  I got up at 4:30am and drove to Port Angeles, and then carpooled down to Olympia with about 15 other guys.  Once there we joined up with a group that was flying vintage WWII airplanes to Port Angeles split into three groups.  I went with the group that climbed into the B-25; the others hopped on the B-17 and B-24.  We then all flew to Port Angeles - sometimes at tree-top level!  Alan was kind enough to arrange a seat for me in order that I might experience the type of environment my father was in during the war.  Although my father flew in a B-26, the B-25 also has two engines and approximates the size and feel of the 26.  It was a great flight and a wonderful experience!!

Later this afternoon we took Sandy and Gigi to Obedience School out by the Casino.  Tomorrow night I have Drill out at the Firehouse, and on Wednesday Kaz and I are flying the C172 over to Port Townsend for lunch.  Also, I have put in a call to a local yacht club that is looking for crewmembers to assist in their weekly sailboat races.  Maybe I can fill in some of the gaps between activities by working on my airplane!!  At the rate I'm going, I'll never be finished with it!!

7/5/07  Teddie and I started a new little project a couple of days ago - a cedar garden shed.  We bought a "kit" from Home Depot (it was just a bundle of wood and a set of plans) and have been laboring to get it together.  It's looking pretty good now, and I hope to have it pretty much done before leaving for Arlington on Sunday, but don't yet know if I'll be able to get that far with it.

On Tuesday I showed up for Fire Dept drill and got to drive the big truck for about 40 minutes!  We practiced pulling hoses out and setting up, and drove into town for fuel and then back to the fire house.  Overall it's no bigger than my truck/camper combination, so it wasn't difficult to maneuver it around traffic.  I really wanted to sound the siren, but we couldn't do that this time! Also, I'm still waiting to get my pager so I can start showing up at a few fires.

7/25/07  Once again we survived the Arlington fly-in!    It was a long week, with 12 hour shifts in the Ramp Tower, but everything seemed to work out well and there were no complaints (that I know of).  I came home sunburned and exhausted, but did have fun while there.  Also, Teddie and I got to attend a 3-hour seminar on airplane fabric covering and we both found it very interesting.  It will be especially helpful whenever we finally start to cover the Challenger.

Gigi continues to give us headaches and we are running out of options with her.  She does so well in the house-training area for so long, and then she completely reverts and starts having accidents all over the house.  I can only imagine what this place must smell like now, although our friends have been too polite to comment on it.

Our travel trailer has developed a small roof leak and we are weighing our options there too.  The trailer is pretty old, so we're considering buying something new.  We'll see how that works out.

I hope to spend some time working on the plane this afternoon.  I spent about 4 hours at the hangar the other day but doubt I got much more than 45 minutes' work done!  People kept dropping by to see how it was going, shoot the breeze, and ask questions.  But that's part of being in the aviation community and I don't mind the distractions.  It would be nice to get something done, though.........

8/15/07  Well, we took care of the trailer.  We sold her to some folks down in Gig Harbor and bought a 2004 Fleetwood Pioneer!  The new trailer has a slide-out unit, plus all the stuff the old one had, and is in much newer condition.  We plan to take it to Salt Creek next week for a few days.

Gigi is still our little challenge, but we can't imagine getting rid of her these days.  Teddie's theory is that the robins that have been nesting in the garden may have dive-bombed her and made her afraid to go outside, so now we bring her out front a few times a day and she is doing better.

Alan and I are leaving on Friday for a few days around the state on our Goldwings, and should be back home by Sunday night.  I've planned a circular route on secondary roads and through several National Parks, so it should be a good ride as long as it doesn't rain too much.

The Fire Department experience has been going well.  Still no fires to fight, but I've been answering the pager on aid calls and have gone to a few so far - stroke, difficulty breathing, bicycle accident - it's always something different and you never know what to expect when you show up.  So far, so good! 

8/19/07  A tragedy in the family - Teddie's father passed away suddenly yesterday morning.  It was totally unexpected, so we are still trying to cope with it.  As I write this, we are in a hotel in Seattle and will fly to Texas tomorrow to be with the remainder of her family.  I was in Leavenworth, WA, when I got the call, so it took us the rest of the day to make it home.  Services will be Wednesday in Borger, and Michael and Alicia will be driving up from Oklahoma City.  Bill and Lauren were going to make the drive out from New Jersey, but I suggested they make the trip at a later time when it would be more of an enjoyable vacation for them.  We did appreciate their offer to attend the service, though.

10/13/07  It has been a very hectic two months!  Teddie and I flew to Texas for a week to attend Ted's service and to spend some time with Teddie's Mom.  Then, three days after returning to Washington, we were off again - this time to New Jersey for about 5 days, Italy for a few weeks, and New Jersey for a few more days.  At the end of that time, I returned to Washington (on the 5th) and Teddie went back to Texas for a week and came home on the 11th.  Right at this point, neither of us wants to go anywhere for quite some time.  I hope to have our Italy log up and running in the next few weeks, and will put a note here when it happens.

11/7/07  Still working on the Italy log, but it's coming close.  Meanwhile, I've been keeping pretty busy with the Fire Department, both attending weekly drills and going on ambulance calls.  I have no EMT training, so my involvement in the ambulance calls is limited to carrying bags, moving victims, holding doors open, taking reports, and the like.  It has been very interesting and every call is different.  Most of the calls are for sick people, although we got one for a drunk who fell off his bicycle, and another for a drunk who got out of his car on a rural road and fell into the ditch.  Also, a few weeks ago several of us went down to Bremerton for "live fire" training and that was pretty neat - huge flames rolling across the ceiling overhead as we crouched on the floor ready with the fire hose.

Went flying yesterday (solo).  Took off from Port Angeles (CLM) and went over to Sequim (W28) for two really lousy touch-and-goes.  Then circled the house, circled the Fire House, and followed the coastline back to Port Angeles for a really smooth landing (finally!).  I'm trying to stay "current", but it's hard. 

Teddie and I attended an airplane fabric-covering class in Puyallup a week or so ago and that was fun.  Now we feel pretty confident that we can safely cover my little airplane when the time comes.  The hard part is going to be the painting, but that will be the very last thing we do before the final assembly and flight testing.

I bought another car a few weeks ago - a Ford Focus.  Diesel fuel around here is running about $3.60/gallon, and the truck uses plenty of it, so I decided an economy car would be good to have.  I still plan to keep the truck, but will use the little car for all the day-to-day stuff.

12/19/07  I just don't seem to be writing on this page as often as I used to, but I attribute that to the fact that there just isn't much "newsworthy" going on around here.  I did get to fight my first fire recently - a woodshop about a mile from my house - and that went well.  Also, I'm still going on ambulance calls and enjoying that a lot.  It's especially nice in that I don't have to be there all the time, but can show up as I please.  Next week I've signed up for two days of ride-alongs that should be good experience, and will be a chance to get to know some of the career guys a little better.

The little Ford Focus has been doing very well and I've only filled up the truck once in the past 10 weeks.  It's nice to have the monster pickup for hauling stuff around, but the Focus does great for the day-to-day puttering and ambulance-chasing.

Not much has been accomplished on my little airplane lately.  I did do a little more on the tail sections, and Teddie and I still hope to cover them soon, so that will help.  My target to fly is still mid-summer (2008), but that means I need to get serious about things in the next couple of months.

Little GG is still being very challenging!  Although she seems to be trying to be good, she continues to have the occasional accident (latest was today).  It is soooo fortunate for her that she is cute and loving!

1/14/08  Another year has gone by!  Sometimes it's hard to believe that the time is passing so quickly!  GG is still trying to be a good girl, but continues to have accidents - average of once a week. 

My latest project is a partition wall in the garage.  the west half of the garage is pretty small and has a flat ceiling about 8' off the floor.  The east half has a very tall ceiling and is much wider.  So, I thought it would be nice if I could seal off and insulate the smaller west portion and be able to heat it and use it in the winter for small projects.  This week I framed, insulated, and sheet-rocked half of the wall, and I hope to finish the other half when I return from NJ. Since being retired, we've done several projects and it seems I enjoy having one in progress at all times.  Not much is getting done on my airplane these days, though.

Tomorrow night I will attend "EVAP" class in the little town of Joyce (about 50 minutes west of here) and that will be the last step towards being able to drive the fire engine.  I'm still chasing down Aid calls and they are usually pretty interesting, although you never quite know what to expect when the pager goes off.

2/18/08  So much to catch up on!  I went to NJ on January 16th and returned to Washington on February 6th.  Then, about a week later, Bill and Lauren called to say they were seriously thinking about moving out this way!  Dialog continued for a week or so and now it is certain - they will be moving to Sequim!!  We are in the process of purchasing a house about 4 blocks from ours where they can live.  Our offer was accepted today, so tomorrow we begin the mortgage process and then will start getting the place ready for them.  Lauren and the kids will fly out next month and I will fly back to NJ to help Bill drive the vehicles cross-country.  Once he arrives in Washington he will have to hit the ground running and find employment right away.  This certainly changes a lot of our retirement plans - hopefully in a good way.

2/28/08  The house sale is going well and we should close on or before March 11th.  The place needs a little work, but it should make a nice, comfortable home for Bill and Lauren and the kids - they are very anxious.  To see some pictures of the place, click here.  In preparation for the move, we purchased a small cargo trailer (6 x 12) that Bill and I will pull with the van.  It's going to be a long trip, but Bill and I are looking forward to getting it over with so they can start to settle down here in Sequim.

Meanwhile, projects at the house continue.  My garage partition wall is finished for now, but will require further sheetrock work on the "outside" when the weather warms up.  Teddie is utilizing the wall already by refinishing some Captain's beds that she bought for the kids.  And now that closing is imminent, I plan to go over to the new house and do a little outside cleaning up to make it more presentable for Bill and the family.

3/5/08  A nice change to our upcoming road trip - Michael has decided to join us mid-way.  So, Bill and I will leave NJ and head for Oklahoma where we will spend a couple of days before continuing on to Washington with Michael.  Right now we're planning 3 days to OKC and then 4 days to Sequim.  It will be good to have Michael along with us, and it will be especially nice for the brothers to spend some time together. 

3/31/08  What an epic trip that was!!  Bill and I took three days to drive to Oklahoma City, with him driving the van pulling the trailer, and me driving Lauren's Honda!  Once in OKC, we spent two days repairing axle damage to the trailer and enjoying Michael and Alicia's company.  Then Michael and Brandon joined us as we pressed on to Sequim. As the temperature warmed, we had some problems with the old van overheating, and stopped three times to make repairs.  But eventually everything ran good and we soon encountered the Rockies.  Four days of pretty heavy driving finally saw us pulling into Sequim, and still in good spirits.  Having conquered floods, rain, mountains, closed highways, ice and snow, and long days, it felt good to be home.  Michael and Brandon return to Oklahoma on 4/2 and Bill and his family can finally get settled in here in Sequim. 

6/9/08 Been a while - everything here is fine.  Bill is starting to get some business, Lauren is almost full-time at Home Depot, and we're getting to know the grandkids better every day.  Although regular gas is now over $4/gallon, Alan and I decided to take a little motorcycle trip the other day.  We left on Saturday and headed across Puget Sound on the Edmond ferry, turned north up I-5 and then east on highway 20.  Eventually we headed north into British Columbia and stopped at the scenic town of Penticton.  Coming back the next day, we went west on highway 3a and then highway 3 - what a lovely area!  Overall, the trip was about 730 miles and we encountered no problems along the way. It's nice to be retired!

8/29/08  Returned from our Alaska Cruise the other day!  You can click here for my Cruise Report.

9/13/08  Well, it's official - I am now "old"!!  On the 1st of the month I became eligible for Medicare and started drawing my Social Security - all $204 of it.  Almost half of it goes away immediately to pay for the Medicare Part B coverage, so there isn't much left to party on.

Other than the cruise, not much has happened around here to merit writing about.  Bill and his family continue to get settled in as he hunts for new jobs, and I continue to enjoy retirement and stay involved with the Fire Department.  I finished a RIT (Rapid Intervention Course) this week and it was pretty strenuous.  One evening of class followed by two full days of exercises (jumping out windows, carrying others down ladders, etc.).  Now I'm pretty sore and bruised up, but the class was good and I learned a lot.  On the 24th I begin EMT class, and that will last until Dec 7th.

The weather has been VERY nice around here lately - I need to start sticking around for Septembers, rather than going on trips!  We know the days are getting shorter, and will soon be turning colder, so we're enjoying it while we can.  I'm thinking about taking the motorcycle out for the day tomorrow, as it will be time to store it in the hangar for winter one day soon.

9/23/08  Three days ago, Michael and his gang left for Australia!  Although he has been thinking about it for some time, it still came as a bit of a surprise when he announced that they were all going to Australia to live, work, and perhaps become citizens!  He sold most of his belongings, put the house and the shop on the market, and away they all went.  They are pretty much planless at this time, but hope to figure things out as they go.  They are in Sydney right now, but intend to drive north to the Brisbane area in the next day or two.  Stand by for further developments on this one!

10/1/08  Michael and his group are still exploring Australia and seem to be having fun.  Although Internet access has been spotty for them, they are still able to send/receive text messages on their phone, so I get mini-updates from them from time to time.  Right now they are staying with a friend near Brisbane, but plan to head north in the next day or so. You can go directly to Alicia's pictures by clicking here.

My EMT class is in its second week and remains interesting.  Much of the stuff they discuss I have run across already - either through Teddie's nursing or by attending ambulance calls this past year or so.  Between classes and study time, my poor little airplane project is really suffering.  When class is done I will have to make a concentrated effort to get some stuff done on the plane so I can complete it in mid-summer 2009.

11/11/08 EMT class is going well and beginning to wind down.  We have about three more weeks of class and then we take the state certification exam and (assuming I pass) that's it!  I've learned a LOT, and I've learned that there is a lot I don't know.  It has been a good experience and I hope to be able to put it to good use in the future.

Michael and his group are now settling down in Rockhampton, Australia.  They have spent weeks driving around the continent and exploring the east half of the country and finally took a job as Project Manager of a small company in Rockhampton.  He can't begin working until he obtains his work visa, but hopes to have that taken care of soon.  Meanwhile, Bill is going to be doing a fairly major house-rebuild here in Sequim and that should keep him busy through much of the winter. 

1/25/09  Another new year!!  Seems like I just got used to writing 2008 on my checks, and now I have to learn all over again!

I returned from New Jersey last week, where I spent the previous three weeks visiting with my Mother, brother, sister, and various nieces and nephews.  It was the first time I can remember being "home for the holidays" in 40+ years!  The weather was pretty brutal, but it was also bad in Sequim, so I didn't miss anything.   It was really nice being back with the family again and the three weeks flew by quickly.

I received a call while I was gone saying that I did pass the EMT exam, so now I'm just waiting for the card to arrive. Meanwhile, I'm attending Pump Operator class this month, and this will enable me to drive the Engine to future fires. As always, training with the Fire Department is enjoyable and a good way to pass the time.

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Page last modified on 11/09/2017