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2023 - Week 27 - Down Hill; From Here

Posted on:July 9, 2023 at 05:54 AM

Mountains as seen from Portland, Oregon

The Hill, From Here, Down

This has been another week for sure. It’s been a good week for the most part, anyway. It’s also been very busy, and it unusual as I only worked 3 days this week.

It was also hot as hell this week. Though, thankfully, nothing like those being experienced on the southern part of the US- we don’t seem to have much risk for wet-bulb conditions.

The title of this article refers to the downward slope of the year into next year from this point on.

We’re planning one more little trip to the beach before Mikey leaves, and we have a lot of action coming up: our August is looking packed with Lou’s sister moving here, my trip to Chicago, Michael’s return to Iowa, and a variety of other events planned throughout the month.

For now, however, let’s look back at the last week. As I often will, I’ll recount this week beginning with Sunday and work my way through to today.

Sunday - The Return from Portland

We tried to come home from Portland by way of Multnomah Falls hoping to sneak in, but it was as busy like you read about. We were able to see some of the falls from the parking lot and got a feel for its proximity and other attractions along the interstate that we would want to visit.

That was the theme of the trip, after all: recon.

Ergo: task failed successfully?

We’d gotten a leisurely start packing out the hotel room and packing up the Thule. We grabbed ourselves so doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnuts Davis on the recommendation of a co-worker local to the area that let me know that the lines would be shorter. It was pretty quick in and out, overall, and we enjoyed the deliciousness that is Voodoo Doughnuts. Oz, being 12, really got a kick out of the Cock ‘N Balls 😅 (it’s at the bottom of the page).

We “saw” the falls there and made our way back into the city for lunch before heading home. We visited Fried Egg I’m in Love on Hawthorne and damn if they don’t have a super tasty egg sandwich. The vegan sausage was truly delightful. 🤤 Lou found a lovely dress at Metro Boutique while we waited for our order. It was a bit tricky to find parking around that area, but it was totally worth it to stop and check out the shops there. It was a little warm, though our iced coffee drinks from Seven Virtues did help to keep us cool, it was too bad there wasn’t more shade along that block for pedestrians. Before we left to head toward home we stopped quickly at the Fred Meyer there also on Hawthorne to grab a few things and use the restrooms. It’s a bit strange to see the armed officers in tactical vests covered in all manner of interesting gear (zip ties, price scanners).

We drove home from Portland having had a lovely experience and vowing to return. We stopped in Centralia on our way home and learned that its historic downtown is lovely and that most of its downtown shops are closed on Sundays, as you might expect from a a rural town. There were, however, a few wonderful antique shops and the local hardware store (Anderson’s TrueValue).

From there we made our way home and, among other things, we unpacked the car, had dinner, etc.


Monday was a relatively busy day, though we slept in a bit and got another “leisurely” start to the day. I checked some administrative todos on the lists, and

I ran some errands and we worked on getting the house ready for the house guests we expected for Tuesday’s celebratory events: Potato Salad Party, as we call it. I grabbed everything we needed from the grocery store, dropped off the long building array of donations for Goodwill, and grabbed some fireworks as well stopping at the post office for stamps.

Nothing much eventful occurred otherwise. We had green salad for dinner in the hopes of scrubbing all that delicious Portland food out of our system. 🤣

Tuesday, July 4th, 2023

Independence day; or, The Day We All Get Off, except for service workers and such, which is why I usually try to limit any possible purchases on such holidays. In this case, though, it seemed like a good idea to run out in the morning and get a shelter for our backyard to mitigate the suns harmful effects. We grabbed a cheap 10’ x 20’ “Gazebo” from a local grocer and Mikey and I put it together. It was easy enough to put together but I suspect, given the quality, that it will only go up a few times at the most. I might be pleasantly surprised, of course, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

Lou focused on getting delicious food ready like potato salad and such.

We had Tris and Christian come around the sound from Seattle for a late lunch BBQ meal and then in the late afternoon Moira came by with her friend Abby as well. It was a lot of people to fit into our little place, we managed to do so relatively well and without being too cramped, I think, with all the seating in the living room and in the back under the shelter.

We had, of course, deviled egg style potato salad that is, as I usually describe it, more egg salad with potato than potato salad with egg. I’d also grabbed several other “salads” (an almost offensive word to use for these concoctions, like seafood salad, and macaroni salad), an array of chips and sodas, Impossible Brats and Impossible Burgers, and a whole lot of fruit. It was a delicious lunch.

The entire experience was absolutely lovely! It was wonderful to see all the kids together, and it was a great way to end a little extended time off from work.

It was also, scientists say, the hottest day for the earth in recorded history and, from their calculations, since humanity has been around. It overtook the previous record set Monday.

I continue to watch the news that describes exactly what you would expect to give the extreme warming we’re seeing.

It seems like the long predicted feedback loop of warming has already kicked off. I hope I’m wrong and will do what I can as an individual, but I worry that there’s little that can be done at this point to stop the destruction of this Blue Marble Terrarium and, worse, that the most dire estimates of our inevitable destruction may be much sooner than we expect.

It’s hard to feel so helpless, however. While I think the evidence is pretty strong, I also feel like there are many reasons to have hope. Hope for a system that heals itself better than we expect, for a technological advancement that allows us to avert this disaster.

Meanwhile, I’m living as near to the 50th parallel north where I think the weather will be the safest for the longest. I’m doing what I can to be prepared, and remembering that I’ve been told about many possible ways that we could suddenly find ourselves unalived such as M.A.D., asteroid strikes, global pandemic, and the sudden inversion of our atmosphere as examples.

On that somber and depressing note, however, I’ll move on to…


Wednesday was my first day back to work since the middle of the previous week and it was really hard to try to get back into the swing of things.

After work I took the kiddos to check out the local YMCA. Michael worked out on the cardio machines while I took Oz swimming.

After that I had my Infinity RPG gaming session again, after our having missed the previous week. The was fun as always and I’m excited for our next session when I think we’ll get to do some good fighting.

Lou chatted with some folks to get started with some volunteering with the Red Cross! It’s very exciting and she’s extremely excited to have the opportunity to try to help make a difference.


Thursday was, as always, a flurry of activity.

Lou had more meetings and, while walking home, found a loose dog running around which she, of course, brought to our home. It was, surprisingly, not as bad as you might expect to have brought a strange dog into our home with our 6 month old puppy still struggling to refine his social skills. She was, however, a lovely German Shepherd / Siberian Husky mix (named Merlin it would turn out). The whole thing was exciting and had a very happy ending when the owners were located and came to pick her up.

For me it was a lovely afternoon because after work I took Michael (and Ollie) on a hike at Illahee preserve.

Mikey has been wanting to get more hikes in while he’s here and I was happy to get him out for a few miles on the trails. It was a beautiful afternoon in the trees despite being oppressively hot in the sun. It was actually rather comfortable hiking at a pretty quick pace.


I was able to get our 2013 Mini Cooper Countryman S into Max RPM Motorsports for an oil change last minute. I’m just over the date and just under the miles for my next proposed oil change and, after the trip to Portland in particular, I wanted to get it serviced.

I had a couple days of the the fan running after I’d shut off the engine before our trip but, interestingly, it seemed to stop doing that since.

It turns out, however, that there was indeed a coolant leak and they needed to replace the thermostat and some hoses, etc. Such is the way with aging used vehicles, of course, but it’s still frustrating. Unfortunately that meant that they were going to keep the car over the weekend.

We’ve been, also, looking for vehicles for Lou for some time now given her increasing need for transportation for herself. We’d been talking about taking the plunge on the PNW’s unofficial brand: Subaru

We decided to give Peninsula Subaru a try and the experience has, so far, but both pleasant and exactly why I hate buying cars through car dealerships despite literally working for them for years through my employer 🤣

We looked initially at a 2006 Subaru Baja but quickly dismissed that due to its need for service and our desire to get a slightly newer vehicle. We ultimately landed on a 2015 Subaru Outback that we’re pretty excited about.

I’m not thrilled with the pricing in today’s market despite being somewhat better now than it had been post pandemic. But we got a pretty good car for a pretty good price and now Lou is substantially more mobile than she’s been since our Bronco Sport was totaled.

I had several interesting chats with the folks that work there and ultimately I get the impression that they are decent people there, so I am really hoping this entire experience works out for us. They do seem like the sort of car dealership that will try to maintain a good relationship.

We’ll see how delivery goes, however, before I really decide to pass judgement.

But now we’re truly PNW folks: We own a Subaru 😆 It’s either that or a Tacoma / 4 Runner

Saturday, today

That brings me now to today. We have a 2022 Subaru Outback as a loaner and after a delicious breakfast of “eggy tacos” I ran up to the UPS store to return some Amazon items. So did every other person ever. There were more than 9 folks in line and only one person working the counter, so I ultimately decided I’ll run this errand another time 😅

In the afternoon I decided to take a hike and Lou seemed excited to get me and the kids out of the house and practically pushed us into the Outback and sent us on our way.

Lou helpfully suggested that we try the easy “Big Tree Trail” at the Keta Legacy Foundation’s Rhododendron Preserve. I’d been meaning to get there for a while and absolutely love that area of the woods. We decided to do exactly that and it is a beautiful place. The “Big Tree” isn’t really the main attraction, in my mind, but it is pretty impressive. It’s an enormous Douglas Fir that stands very imposingly over the neighboring trees. It’s a gorgeous place for a little quiet meditation, as are the several streams nearby.

It was a beautiful way to spend a hot afternoon. The trail is a heck of a descent down to the tree meaning you’re return trip on the little 1.5 mile out-and-back trail involves a fairly steep incline back to the parking area.

In all it’s a super lovely place and I’m glad we have the opportunity to visit. 🥰

As we left we loaded a couple of Adirondack chairs with a free sign on them at the house on Seabeck Highway near the entrance. We’d seen them coming and they looked like they’d be pretty good after a pressure washing. We’d seen them coming in and vowed to snatch them up if they were still available.

Turns out the Outback is rather roomy and spacious.

Lou made a delicious meal of “Chik’n Parmigiana” for dinner 😋 and after completing their chore, Oz was excited to come pressure wash the chairs. It was really satisfying to spray them for sure.

This evening Mikey and I watched Evil Dead Rise on Max. I’d not really heard great things about this entry, but honestly I thought it was pretty good. There were some typical Evil Dead silliness and it was truly over-the-top- but I actually liked it better than the previous entries as I’m thinking bout it.


That’s it, an accounting of our week.

I’ve done it again, another completed weekly post as committed.

I’m really on a roll

As a closing thought: People, broadly speaking, are terrible. People, individually, in general, are wonderful.

Do your best to be wonderful!