From: Meridian, ID:

Yesterday was, essentially, a do-nothing day…all day. In the morning, I watched Janet take apart the drainpipe beneath her bathroom sink. She had detected a nasty odor wafting up from the sink drain, a smell that was nearly enough to make her gag…and she couldn’t rest – or use the sink – until she had found the source and eliminated it. As is the rule for bathroom basins, there was some yucky-looking stuff in the pipes, but actually not as much as either of us expected. The drain trap, itself, was surprisingly clear of hairballs and such.

(Typical sink stopper hookup.)

(Typical sink stopper hookup.)

When she also decided to remove the drain plug for cleaning, I provided a bit of assistance. I’ve dealt with those things before…taking off the mechanism connected to open/close device on the sink is a snap. Putting it back together (with no leaks and with the full range of movement on the up/down device) is…well…not so much. Nevertheless, between the two of us, we were able to get it back together without too much hassle. Which is to say, we are still married. Tah Dah!

Oh yeah, about the odor. She can still smell it, but only if she puts her head in the sink and her nose directly by the drain. My suggestion to her? “Don’t put your head in the sink!” Of course she had already tried Drano, among other things. But it didn’t seem to work that well. Strange business. At any rate, we now know that the pipes are clean. Also, since she cannot detect the odor from my sink, it seems we can eliminate the possibility that the smell is coming from something further down in the system. (Aren’t the drain traps supposed to guard against that possibility, anyway?)

Another positive thing to come from the work was, after our success in getting the drain plug up/down device working so well, I’m thinking I can fix my sink to function just as well. It hasn’t for a long time. Well, since the bathroom remodel job, I think. Actually, the faucets we chose prior to the remodel just barely worked at all in the new quartz countertop…it would have been better had there been an inch more room between the far edge of the sink and the wall. Next time, we’ll be more aware of any possible limitations in that regard. Chalk it up as just another lesson a homeowner must learn, eh?


(Official ball of the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament.)

(Official ball of the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament.)

Later in my do-nothing day, I watched the “runner up” World Cup soccer game between Brazil and The Netherlands. Quite appropriate for a do-nothing day, I’d say. I don’t mean to slam soccer – or I guess “futebol” is more politically correct these days – but c’mon, ninety minutes (and up to two hours, if overtime is needed) of 20 guys running up and down a large field just doesn’t seem the stuff of exciting spectator sports. Think about more scoring, FIFA! Rule changes…whatever it takes. If you want to really crack the U.S. market, you’re going to have to figure out something. Oh, and – probably even more importantly – you’re going to have to figure how to get 20 minutes worth of television commercials inserted within every 30 minutes of game time.

Even so, I watched the entire game, yesterday. The Dutch appeared to have it handled right from the start, and finally won it – in regulation time, thank goodness – 3 to nothing. Oops, sorry…I meant 3 to nil. The Brazilian boys just couldn’t get one into the net.

To tell you the truth, I was a bit surprised to see so many of the Brazilian players that had played in the Brazil/Germany semi-final game last week playing again in yesterday’s game. The way the announcers and fans carried on about that virtually unprecedented blowout, I half expected the team to commit seppuku, en masse. At the very least, you’d think the coaches would have done the honorable thing…and shot themselves.

I must say that while I find the game of soccer somewhat boring, I nevertheless have tremendous respect for the athleticism and all around fitness of the guys (and gals, of course) who play it. No 300 pound defenders on a soccer pitch, eh what? It wears me out to just watch them! I mean, we’re talking about an hour and a half of nearly non-stop running! Who can do that?

As to today’s game, my money – if, indeed, I were foolish to bet on such a contest – would be on Germany. Based on the offense the Germans displayed against Brazil, and considering the fact that Argentina couldn’t score a single goal against The Netherlands, I would think the odds would be in their favor, no? And, seeing as it is the final game, after all…I suppose I will try to watch some of it. Or at least catch the summary video of the scoring. (Which should take all of 15 – 20 seconds, providing it is a relatively high-scoring game.)


(Old letters.)

(Old letters.)

When I was cleaning out a garage storage area the other day – mostly to finally toss a bunch of business records I’m hoping are no longer necessary for tax records – I came across a sack full of old letters. As near as I can recollect, my mother gave it to me some time before she passed away in 2009. I’m embarrassed – and more than a little ashamed – that I had not looked through the bag sooner. Turns out, it is a treasure of family history, as chronicled by Mom and Dad (and a few others) in family letters over the years. I must assume that Mom (or Dad) was given the old mail when Dad’s parents, Ed and Mary Larson, passed away, since most of the letters I’ve read so far are written by one or the other of my parents to them. At this point, the oldest letter I’ve come across was written by Dad from Puyallup, Washington to his folks in North Dakota in the year 1938! (The big news in the letter was his recent marriage to my Mom.)

There are also letters dating from the two Pacific War campaigns in which Dad took part: Leyte, Philippines, and Okinawa. And later on, from Korea, where he served as a military advisor to a ROK engineer unit.

The task I’ve set for myself is to go through all the mail and file it in some organized manner. To begin with, I’m grouping letters written from different geographical locations…and, as you would expect, arranging them chronologically. It is rather a daunting job. Naturally, I must read each one before filing it. Perhaps one day I can get them all scanned to digital image files, or actually transcribe them to a digital text file. I know my siblings and other family members would love to have their own copy.

(A US Coast Guard C-130 "Hercules.")

(A US Coast Guard C-130 “Hercules.”)

I was thrown off a bit on my first dive into the pile because I came up with one of my own letters, written to Janet in March of 1966. (Later that year, August 6th, we were married.) The letter was written from a motel in San Antonio, TX. I don’t remember the reason for the flight as a crewman on a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft. Truth is, I don’t remember the flight, either, although I learned (from the letter) that we had made stops in San Francisco and San Diego. My best guess is that it was during the time of the Apollo space missions, for which the Coast Guard had been designated a “back up” capsule location and recovery unit. (To my knowledge, that never occurred. It certainly never occurred with me as a crewman on the CG aircraft.) Anyhow, I thought it was a pretty nice letter. Janet must have thought so, too, eh? How it wound up in a bag full of mail at my folks’ house, I have no idea. I wonder if there are others.

And as if finding one treasure wasn’t good enough, I also found a shoebox full of old photo slides. Janet had shot many of them before we were married, and after the big date we continued taking slides for some time. I haven’t even looked at any of them, yet, but we are hoping against hope that they have not been ruined by mold and/or heat. Some of them will be fifty years old!


I have to check to see what time the soccer game comes on. I’m back…looks like 4:00 PM Mountain Time.

I hope you’re having a great day. If so, keep it up.





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