Part IV

4/7/09 - Hard to believe, but it's been FOUR YEARS since I retired from the FAA!!  The time has just flown by!

I did finally get my EMT Certification and have been chasing down more and more ambulance calls. Early spring seems to be the time of the year when people start falling off ladders or hurting themselves in other ways outdoors.  In the last two weeks alone, I went on 3 ladder-fall calls and one chainsaw accident.  Also, had another call requiring CPR the other day (he didn't make it - unfortunately, CPR only has a success rate of less than 10%).  It's all still very rewarding, and one day I really hope to have a winner in the CPR game. 

Bill and I are starting a garage project down on Serpentine Avenue soon.  The concept is a 30' x 30' building that will be basically a two-car garage with adjoining storage/workshop space.  But, as usual, these things start to take on a life of their own, and I have been deeply involved in the permit process and everything that goes along with it.  Because of the proximity to the existing septic system, I had to have the tank inspected and pumped.  Then there was the fee for the Draftsman to put the plans together, permit application fees, survey fees, road-approach permits, and so forth.  Soon I will have almost $4,000 in the project and have yet to remove the first scoop of dirt!  I'll be sure to put some pictures up on the Web as soon as we break ground.

Michael has been approved for a work permit in Australia, so he should be OK for the next four years.  Alicia and the kids were also approved and that took a lot of anxiety away from the situation.  The kids are now enrolled in public school and we're hoping they all do well.  Meanwhile, Bill continues to work on his big project south of town and it is finally beginning to take shape.  Click here to see a ton of pictures. 

 5/25/09  -  Between the Fire Department, helping Bill with odds and ends on his projects, and working on the garage project, I've been busier than I would like to be lately!  But things are coming along nicely, and Bill and I even got to set half the forms for the garage today, so we're that much closer to calling for the cement.  After that, it will probably be late in the summer before we start on the framing, but that's OK.

Teddie and I took the camper to Salt Creek recently as a spring shakedown cruise.  We hope to take an extended camping trip soon - down to Oregon, out to Idaho, up to Montana, and then back to Sequim.  Should be fun, and we're hoping that diesel fuel prices don't spike before the trip begins.  After all the work that's been going on around here, it will be nice to relax for a couple of weeks or so.

6/20/09  -  Returned from our Montana trip earlier this week - it was great!  Diesel fuel remained reasonable for the entire trip (even cheaper than regular gas), and the truck ran flawlessly!  Sandy and GG behaved themselves, and the weather cooperated.  We saw a lot of beautiful scenery on the trip and covered a little over 2,000 miles.  We were pleasantly surprised at how nice it was in northwestern Montana - especially the area east of Flathead Lake.  I don't know what the winters are like there, but the summers are magnificent. On the way home, we left the trailer at Arlington as I will live in it during the July Fly-in.  All told, a great little vacation!  You can click here to see snapshots of the trip.

7/17/09  I survived Arlington again!  Went out on a Sunday and spent a couple of days getting the radios hooked up and making sure we had everything we needed in the Parking Tower.  Wed and Thu we were cold most of the day. Fri and Sat were hot!  Sun was cold and miserable (airshow was canceled that day). But, all in all, it was a fun time and we worked a LOT of airplanes while the weather cooperated.  Then I brought the trailer home and we spent a couple of days cleaning it out and getting it ready for our next adventure - whenever that might be.

The garage project is making some headway.  I hired a few guys to help and we poured the foundation a couple of weeks ago.  It came out a little rough, but will be good enough for a garage.  A few days after the pour I went back and pulled out all the forms and cleaned that mess up, so now we're ready to order material for the framing and start driving nails!  Looks like one more project to keep me from finishing my airplane this year!

9/22/09  Returned from a 3 day motorcycle ride through the Cascades a few days ago.  Alan and I covered about 780 miles - mostly in perfect weather.  We did have one portion where we rode for an hour and a half through the rain, but the rest of the time the weather was very nice and the ride enjoyable!  Now the Goldwing is cleaned and covered, and back in the hangar where it will probably remain for the rest of the winter.

Looks like I will be slowing down for a little while now - I will be having knee surgery on my left knee soon.  All those years of hiking in the mountains, combined with stomping around with 70 lbs of fire gear on, are taking their toll.  Should be a quick and easy operation, though, and I'll be back to "normal" in just a few weeks..

The Serpentine garage project is still moving forward, although at a very slow pace.  Most of the framing is done now, and once we complete the front and rear gable walls we can start applying the siding and roofing.  I keep hoping to get it all enclosed before winter sets in, but it's anyone's guess as to whether or not that is going to happen.  Here's a little video of "framing day":

 9/29/09  Could it be that Father Time is starting to catch up to me??  Last June my knees started hurting and the pain got so bad by July that I was limping around.  I eventually went to the doctor and he told me that he thought I Rheumatoid  Arthritis.  Seeking out a 2nd opinion, I received a diagnosis of a torn meniscus in my left knee.  An MRI confirmed this, so I had surgery on it last week and am on the mend now.  If it works OK, they will probably start talking about doing the right knee eventually.  Meanwhile, Blue Cross sent me a letter wanting to know when "the accident" was, and who else might be paying for it.   It's always something!

1/24/10  This web page is really suffering - it has been almost 4 months since my last entry!

We survived the holidays last month, and even had a surprise visit by Michael a few days before Christmas!  He didn't tell us he was coming - he just showed up in the driveway one evening.  Naturally, it was great seeing him again, and it was fun having the 4 of us together for a few days.

My knee is doing OK and there seems to be no need to perform the operation on the other one (at this point). I'm taking it a little easier on the knee during fire drills, so maybe that will help.

Bill and I have been putting in a few hours each week down at the Serpentine garage project and it is slowly starting to take shape.  We're still a week or two away from putting up the siding, but we're moving in the right direction.

I did make it back to New Jersey last year (October) for a few weeks and that was enjoyable.  Our next family get-together will probably be in the spring when we all meet in Portland for Sam's graduation.

My other project has been the complete revamping of my computer room, including bamboo flooring and repainting.  Retirement is just so busy!!

6/25/10 Six months since my last entries - I need to keep up with this better!!

We decided to take a road trip recently, so we packed up the dogs, loaded the trailer, and headed out for six nights.  Our first two nights were spent in Leavenworth, the next two in Lake Chelan, the next one in Easton, and the last one at Lake Goodwin.  Then we left the trailer at the Arlington Airport and drove the truck home via Whidby Island and Port Townsend.  It was a nice get-away, but we were glad to finally be home again.  With diesel fuel costing up to $3.50/gallon, it might be quite a while before we take another road trip.

Work on the Serpentine garage/workshop continues.  We how have all the exterior walls, doors, and windows up, so it is fully enclosed and usable.  Next week we hope to finish a few minor details and then call for the final inspection.  Once that is completed, we should be able to forge ahead with trim, painting, and general landscaping.  Later in the summer we will start with the interior work - wiring, insulation, and drywall.  Bill has already used the shop for a project or two and it looks like it will be a handy place to work and hang out.

My Fire Department involvement continues, although at an irregular pace.  Back in April I averaged a call every day of the month!  But things were quiet in May and I mostly just attended weekly drills.  June has been about the same. I did get to drive the Engine in the Irrigation Parade again this year - this time with Mom up front and Bill and Lauren and the kids in the back. 

Nothing new on my little airplane.  Absolutely nothing - I haven't touched that project in a year or so.  I keep hoping to get caught up with other stuff and get back on the plane, but it hasn't happened yet.

The Arlington Fly-In is coming up soon and I will be volunteering for that event again.  Long hours in the parking tower, cold winds in the morning, steamy hot temperatures in the afternoon - should be a lot of fun!

I was going to try to keep up with this page a little better, but that hasn't happened yet!

The Arlington Fly-in went well, although the numbers were down this year.  Higher fuel prices and an uncertain economy combined to keep a lot of people away.  But we had fun and the event was well-received.  I plan to attend and help out again next year.  Meanwhile, you can click here to read about the upcoming event.

We made it to Italy in September and had a great time!  You can go to my "TRIPS" section and click on "ITALY 2010" to see all the details and some of the pictures.  The trip involved a stay in New Jersey on the way out, and again on the way back, so we got to see all the family while we were at it.

Alan and I managed to get in a quick motorcycle trip at the end of the summer.  We rode down the coast to Lincoln City, OR, and then turned inland for a while, and finally northbound until reaching the Columbia River.  Then it was back to the west to Portland, and north to the Peninsula.  We were gone for about 4 days and didn't encounter any problems on this ride.

The shop project down on Serpentine is looking a lot better, as we now have the outside painted and electricity installed.  I'm in the process of putting up insulation now and we hope to apply the sheetrock shortly thereafter.  Of course this all means work on my airplane is still at a standstill, but my goal now is to resume hangar work in the spring and make some good strides on the little plane.  We'll see.........

Another long delay between entries!!  No excuses.

Spring is finally coming and the days are getting longer.  It was a pretty mild winter, so I have no complaints.  I've been spending a lot of spare time working down at the shop and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.  All the sheetrock is up, as is the insulation, and the interior doors and windows are trimmed out.  Yesterday I installed a garage door opener on one of the doors and a couple of weeks ago I had a second driveway excavated so we will have a place to park the travel trailer.  Now I'm waiting on Bill to mud-and-tape the sheetrock and then I will do the painting.

Speaking of Bill - he completed his Fire Department Recruit Training and will graduate this evening!  He has had fun with is and is proud of his accomplishment, as we are proud of him.  Soon he and I will be going out on "calls" together.

Mom will be coming to visit for a week this summer, and we are looking forward to that.  At the end of her visit I will accompany her back to New Jersey and then hang around for a week before returning to Washington. 

The grandkids are growing up quickly (despite my plea for them to "stay like you are" for three years)!!  We are enjoying seeing them grow and develop their own personalities.  Both of them are good kids, so we're hoping they don't present the usually teenage "challenges" as they pass through those years.

My poor little airplane continues to sit in the hangar untouched!  Now that the shop is almost done, I hope to return to the airplane project and, perhaps, actually finish it one day.  Stand by.....

A little update on stuff....

Bill finished his recruit training and has been enjoying his time with the Department.  Shortly after completion, he went on two structure fires - on the same day!  He has also been to a vehicle fire, and his first (and only) Aid call was with me on a suicide.  Pretty gory, but he did just fine.  Now Bill is involved with the Tech Rescue group and he enjoys that a lot.

My shop still needs mud-and-tape, but that will probably have to wait until this winter (or beyond??).  This week I am having the driveway cemented, so that should go a long way towards cleaning up the outside. 

Nothing new on my airplane.......  ;-(

Mom came out for a visit this summer and I returned to NJ with her and stayed a week.  Was great seeing Anne, Rob, and the rest of the family again.

Alan and I took a 2-day motorcycle trip to central Washington this summer.  We had a VERY hard time finding a motel the first night, so we returned home the next day instead of staying on the road for longer.  It rained on us all the way back to the ferry, but it was a fun ride nonetheless.  We continue to fly here and there in his Stinson, and that is always fun.  Last flight was to Roche Harbor last weekend.

The Arlington flyin went well this year, although the attendance numbers were down.  This might be the last year that I run the parking tower - just too much trouble and expense getting my trailer over there and back.  We'll see.

It seems like my posts to this little retirement page are getting further and further apart.  Maybe it's time to hang it up and just let this go - we'll see.

The past 9 months have been pretty routine - just more of the same old stuff.  Still doing EMT stuff with the Fire Department, still riding the motorcycle, and still not getting much done on my little airplane!  Every year I claim that this will be the year to get it done, and then nothing happens. 

We did make some changes down at the shop, though.  Bought a 20' cargo container down in Tacoma and had it delivered next to the shop so we'll have a place to store all our tools.  Right now it's bright green (with EVERGREEN emblazoned on the side), but we plan to paint it to match the shop exterior so it will not stand out so much.  Also, built a small greenhouse just behind the shop so Teddie will have a place to grow her tomatoes and such.  And, we're parking the travel trailer down there too.  All in all, it's looking a little like Sanford & Son live there, but the neighbors haven't complained and we're trying to keep the lawn neat and the place cleaned up.

One recent change here - we bought the house next door to ours last week.  The owner (who lived in Renton and never really occupied the place) passed away last year and his son inherited the place.  We planned to sell, but then the place experienced a propane explosion which did significant damage.  We made him an offer which he accepted, and now we're trying to get the place fixed up well enough to rent or sell.  Just what I need - another project (and another house)!!

It's difficult for me to believe that it has been over 7 years since I retired!!  It has been a great time, though, and I have enjoyed every minute of it.  Although I greatly enjoyed the years in Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest has been good to me and I feel very comfortable here.  At this point, I cannot imagine living anywhere else.

Sorry this log entry has been so bland, but that's really a GOOD thing!  Too much drama and excitement would mean a life of turmoil, and that's not what I'm looking for. 

We finally got the place next door all fixed up and rented (as of Sept. 1st).  The Tenant seems like a nice fellow, so we're hoping for a relatively trouble-free environment over there.  We retained the RV parking area and the large storage room.  Right now I'm keeping a couple of motorcycle in the RV area, and we have boxes and boxes of "stuff" in the storage room - junk left over from the previous owner.  One day we will have to sort through it and see about getting rid of it.

I bought another motorcycle about two months ago - a 2008 CanAm Roadster.  It's a rather strange looking bike with two wheels in front and one in back.  The Goldwing was getting to be too difficult to handle, so I decided it was time to think about a trike.  Washington State is one of the few places (perhaps the ONLY) in the country that requires a special endorsement for trikes and sidecars.  It took four trips to Port Angeles, and one to Silverdale, to get all the testing done and obtain the endorsement!

I did skip the Arlington Flyin this year, as mentioned above.  It was nice not having to make the trip over and spend all the time at the event, but I did kind of miss the activity and the Parking Tower experience.  Oh well - time to let others "enjoy" the experience now.

Scanning through the logs above, I don't see mention of the car I bought last year.  Although the Subaru was a good little car, I longed for something of German quality.  I wound up trading Soobie in for a 2011 BMW 328i sedan with about 6,500 miles on it (a dealer loaner).  It's just like new and drives very, very nice.  Only problem is that the Dealer is in Bellevue; about 2 hours from here.  As long as it doesn't need to go in for maintenance very often, things will be OK.

Last weekend I rode to Anacortes to attend the annual Oyster Run Motorcycle Rally.  What a great time!  I've never seen that many bikes in one place, and everyone seemed to be well-behaved and enjoying themselves.  Here's a video I took while walking around town:

Well, the CanAm shown above is GONE.  As hard as I tried, I just could not get used to the dynamics of the bike; especially when going around curves on the highway.  After the Oyster Run a group of us met here in Sequim and rode up to Hurricane Ridge and around the local area.  The next day Alan joined up with us in Port Angeles and we all rode out to Lake Crescent and down to Forks.  We said goodbye to the group and as they continued south, Alan and I turned back and rode clockwise all the way to Silverdale where I looked over some Harleys.  Riding back to Sequim, I decided the CanAm just wasn't going to do, so the next day I drove it to Lynnwood (the Silverdale Dealer was closed on Mondays) and traded it in on a Harley  (see a picture in the TOYS area) which I then drove back to Sequim.  It's really pretty (lots of chrome!) and has a MUCH lower center of gravity than the Goldwing, meaning it will be much easier for me to control.  One of these days I'm going to be too old to be out motorcycle riding, but I hope that day doesn't come for many years!

We're planning a quiet Christmas this year.  Tomorrow Bill and his family will come by for dinner and then on Christmas day we will go to his house for brunch.  Always nice to spend time with Bill, Lauren, and the kids (who continue to grow up way too quickly!).

The Fire Department recently honored me with the annual Citizen Achievement Award, which I am very flattered to receive.  There are many in the Department who do more than me, so I was especially humbled to receive the recognition. 

Our two poodles continue to be the highlight of our days.  Sandy is, and always has been, the best little dog we've owned - she turns 13 tomorrow!!  Gigi is certainly the sweetest and continues to be a loving little friend.  She is asleep in my arms as I type this now.  Without a doubt, she is the most people-oriented dog we've ever owned.

I can't believe it's been exactly a YEAR since my last entry.  Maybe it's time to hang this up and move on to other projects - we'll see.

It has been a busy year, although nothing of major consequence has taken place.  The kids are still growing like weeds, there have been several motorcycle trips, the rentals continue to challenge (2 are vacant as I write this), and my involvement with the Fire Department is very slowly backing down.  I turned 70 back in September and decided that's just too old to climb a ladder while wearing 75 lbs of gear and holding a chain saw.  So, now I am "non-combat" which means I'll do pretty much anything as long as it does not require me to wear the breathing apparatus (SCBA).  Soon I will probably back out a little further and just focus on EMT calls.

We finally received some visitors this year - friends from Hawaii came out a few months ago, and my sister spent a week with us back in October.  Sure was good seeing everyone!

Contrary to my good intentions, no work was done on my little airplane this year.  We'll see what next year brings, but I have quit making promises.

This "update" makes it sound like it was a very dull year, but that's not the case - it was just very routine.  Here are a few snapshots taken during the past 12 months:

Mom's new dog, Charlie.  He's a Maltipoo, and has proven to be a real handful for Mom.

A rest stop on our ride up into Canada and back.  Great trip!

Camping on Hood Canal.  Very scenic location.

Izzy (Isabella) graduates from grade school while Bill and Lauren proudly look on.

I try to look cool on our ride to Fort Flagler in August.

Anne and Mom enjoying time together during my trip in April.

That's all for now.  I hope to write more often, but we'll see.......... 

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