My Year 2002
January / February / March / April / May / June / July
August / September / October / November / December
On January 8, I went across the street to the Thai Café, which had replaced the Russian cafe, and had the God Bless America special (in honor of 9-11) - stir-fried veggies with rice and peanut sauce. I had discovered Thai food. It is healthy, well balanced, and delicious (at least at the place to which I go, Thai Café). I have gained new friends in the people who serve and have served there as well. See the Chai Thai Cuisine page.
In January I made contact with Marvyl (Sawyer) Powelson, my cousin once removed by e-mail and we exchanged genealogy information.
On January 23, Ernie came and hooked up the audio for my DVD drive.
On February 2, We had our Ward Chili Cook-Off. Bob picked me up about 5:50 pm. We went down to the chapel and found no one there yet. The missionaries arrived right away and then we found out that the Chili cook-off wasn't until 7 pm. Bob and I went to Jeff's and Bob left a note for him as he was not home. We drove around a bit, stopped at a construction equipment yard, and then returned to the chapel. Bob took a short nap in the van before we went in. I took some photos while we were there. We didn't start eating until about 7:30 pm. I had three kinds of chili and found Bob's to be the best, and mildest, of the three I tried. We had corn bread, cheese, onions, sour cream, and orange Tang as well. The winner, a newcomer to the Ward, won a peach pie. Bob took me home by 9 pm. I downloaded the photos I had taken. I made a disk with some photos for the Shermans.
On February 22, I took the buses to Providence for my MRA. I got there ten minutes early. I filled out some forms and then they took me back to where I could change into gowns - one in back, one in front. They had a locker for my personal effects. They laid me down on the MRI table and put a cushion under my knees for support. They put an IV connection on the inside of my elbow so they could inject a “contrast medium” fluid to help them see what the arteries look like. When they put me all the way into the “tunnel” I found that I had very little room. I didn’t have to rest my arms on anything they were basically pinned against my stomach. They put some earphones on me so they could talk to me and I could hear them. The machine is very noisy when it is operating. They also let me listen to the radio through the earphones. At times I was asked to hold my breath. At one point I was told we were nearly done. I was told to hold my breath, then suddenly, it felt as if someone dropped some cold wet Jell-O on my elbow and side. I called out, “I’m wet.” I figured it had something to do with my IV, but I didn’t think I was bleeding because that would feel warm. They pulled me out and found the tubing had popped out of the connector. The connector has a one-way valve so the blood doesn’t come out. They put the tube back, and they put me back in. Well, it happened again. They brought me out and replaced the tube, and taped it down really well. I went back in one more time and they were able to finish doing the scan of my kidneys. I did notice that it seemed to get more difficult to breathe. What I think was happening was I was not breathing out all the way so stale air was staying in my lungs, and this was because I was tense about the problems they had been having. After I got dressed again, I went to the Food Court to get some breakfast (about 9:30 am).
On March 29, I submitted my poem, How Goes the Year? to a poetry contest at Poetry.com, making me a published poet.
On April 1, We had a meeting to introduce us to John Balloun, a salesman in training, also representing InsureMart, a corporation from Nevada, which has acquired Agency Automation. He will be learning about what we do and what we think we can be doing. Clyde said we are doing a better job of getting things out on time.
On April 15, I mailed the tax returns. At the end of the work day, about 5 pm, Clyde gathered the programmers all together and told us he had gotten an email from John Balloun telling him he should tell us all we were “dismissed”, and that Clyde should not encourage us about future employment. We all talked together a bit and decided that since Clyde was no longer connected to Agency Automation that we would all return to work on Tuesday until John told us in person and let us know exactly where we stood. I remembered being fired from K-Mart back in 1973 and then having them say I quit. There was a hearing and I won, but I wouldn’t want to go through that again. The next day we were all back at work, and worked through the day, until John showed up about 3 pm. He explained that the money coming into the company wasn’t enough to pay the expenses and that was why everyone was let go. He would be talking to any of us who would like to work and choosing a few to carry on the work, eventually, and hopefully, others could be rehired, depending on how profitable the company was. The following day I went to the office and downloaded the Unemployment Handbook from the Internet while waiting for John to show up. When he did, he talked to Ken first, then me. He indicated that they couldn’t afford me at that time, but to keep checking back, either with him, or with Jan.
On April 18, 2002, I stopped at the Paperback Exchange and got The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting Your
Own Business. I think it’s funny that the author left it ambiguous whether he meant a complete idiot or a
complete guide, and whether the idiot was the author or the reader. The book cost me only fifty cents since I
had almost twenty-five dollars in credit from when I got rid of my Star Wars books (the store requires fifty
cents per book in cash, or I would have gotten it free). I thought I might have a better chance of starting
my own home-based business and making it work for me than getting a job that would give me the income that I
need to support myself and pay my debts. The book is almost four hundred 8” x 10” pages long and would take
some time to absorb and internalize the material in order to use it.
One day, as I was picking up the living room, I rested on the couch gathering the energy to start in again when I saw a bee diving down toward me. I thought it was a honeybee and I raised my hand in a protective movement. I got up to see if I could find where it went. I saw it again briefly, and then it was gone. Then I saw a wasp sitting on some papers in front of the couch. It looked like maybe it was injured. I started looking for one of my three fly swatters, but couldn’t find one. I turned off the heating system and tried closing all the vents. I think I closed them all except one that has no fixture in it - just a hole. The wasp wasn’t too injured as it flew to the top of the curtains, and then spent some time on the fluorescent light on the ceiling. I prayed for help with handling the situation, and I got the strong feeling to open the front door. I was thinking that probably wouldn’t work, but I opened the front door anyway. The wasp flew to the doorway and landed on the glass panel. I took my walking stick and pushed the outer door open and it flew outside. I closed the door. Apparently, God cares even for insects.
I attended a Job Fair in North Portland, saw "Fellowship of the Ring", and used the Library computers to check for jobs on the Internet. I also saw "Star Ward Episode II".
When I went to pay the rent, I visited with Judy, Clyde, Jan, and Mike. I gave each of them one of my 3x5 résumé cards. John Balloun, Jan Mulholland, and Mike Leonard are all there was to Agency Automation then. Jan was handling the customer service as well as a lot of the programming. They planned to hire a hardware person and were planning to move the operations to an office much closer to downtown.
For a couple of weeks I had a large spider hanging around. After about a week, I named it Archie (but it’s probably a female, since it is so big). He/she found a place at the top of the wall behind my computer monitor and hadn’t moved more than a couple of inches either way since. I took a picture by holding the camera about three inches from the spider with my “grabber” and hit the button on the camera with my walking stick. I learned what Archie eats - moths. I had quite a few of them in the house, small, narrow, dark-colored moths. Neither the spider, nor the moths are shown in any of my books.
By the end of May I had set up the swamp cooler in the living room window.
When I went to pay the rent, I discovered the downstairs of the building was mostly empty since Agency Automation moved to the Columbia Insurance building near the River. My good friend Bob Lowell and his wife moved away with no particular destination in mind.
I read the Harry Potter books so far and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Ernie came up near the end of July to visit. He also helped me reconnect my DVD drive.
After checking out job openings at the Library one day, I met a young man on the bus wearing a Regal Cinemas shirt. He was going to work at the theater on Division and K-19 was showing so I decided I would try to see it. When I got there I found that it was not showing until 7 pm (it was 1:55 pm). I decided I would see Spy Kids 2 instead (it started at 2:20 pm), but when I got up to the ticket window I looked up at the board to remind myself what I had decided and asked for Stuart Little 2 (well, they both start with “S” and end with “2”). When I got to the auditorium the picture had already started (it started at 2 pm). That’s when I realized what I had done. I took a seat in the front row. I know that’s too close, but that’s where they put the seats for wheelchairs. Anyway the movie was really good, and I’m not sorry I made the mistake (maybe it wasn’t a mistake, huh?). Right near the end of the movie, I saw a mouse silhouette move across the bottom of the screen. I’m still not certain if it was a real mouse, or something they put on the film, but I wasn’t the only one who saw it.
On August 22, about 2:15 p.m., I went out on the porch to watch for the President’s plane. At 2:28 p.m., I saw a plane coming in from the East. Through my binoculars it appeared a medium grey in color (I had expected a silvery color) and had an American flag painted on the upright tail. I got to observe it for less than a minute before it dropped below the tree level. I was sure it was Air Force One. But later on the NEWS they showed Air Force One on the ground at the airport. It was white with blue stripes and a flag on the tail. They said the President was 15 minutes late, so the plane I saw was not Air Force One after all (probably had extra security people). It was disappointing. For a while, I thought I had actually seen the President’s plane. If I had waited an extra 15 minutes I might have.
While waiting for my ride to church one Sunday, a man turned onto the street from Halsey, did a U-ey, and parked next to the curb. He introduced himself as Eric Youngberg, said he had gone to school with my sister, and asked if I had been married to Janie. He had recognized me from the 80’s. He said he had gone on his mission when Jane and I were in his Ward in Salem. I asked him what Ward he is in. He said he had left the Church a long time ago. He was friendly, and I didn’t ask him if he was in some other church or not.
I learned my brother John is building a new log house in Viola, Idaho while they live in an RV temporarily.
Near the end of September, my Dad was hit by a car. He was on his electric scooter in the crosswalk with the light in his favor.
It began to get cold in October after an especially hot August. I qualified for Unemployment Benefits for another six months.
On October 30, 2002, I used make-up crayons to draw a Jack-O’Lantern on my face for the Halloween Carnival at the church. I took the bus and arrived at the church about 5:30 pm. I helped by putting pitchers of water out on the tables. As I had expected, not many people arrived by 6 p.m., so dinner didn’t start until about 6:30. I got to visit with several families. The Bishop was dressed as a cowboy. One of the Mueller girls was dressed (I thought) as an elf-queen, but when I talked to her about her costume, she said she was a she-werewolf. One of the younger boys was Harry Potter. One of the taller young adults sitting across from me was dressed as a Jawa, including the glowing red eyes. “Aren’t you a bit tall for a Jawa?” I said. There were lots of little animals running around, a couple of Spiderman look-alikes, and a witch with glowing green hair. There was a cheerleader with the letters P M S (Parkrose Middle School) on her outfit. I don’t think they were thinking when they named that school. Later I remembered that they renamed my old Junior High, “Parrish Middle School” - same initials. The most common comment I got on my costume was “scary.” Charlie Hill said it looked “nice.” Dinner was very good. I brought two cans of pickled beets as a salad. The potatoes were very large. I saw them cutting one up that was nearly the size of my shoe. There was chili (which I had with my cornbread), a Salmon steak, casseroles, garlic bread, dinner rolls, Jell-O salad, lemonade, and desserts. I had one cookie and a piece of apple pie for dessert. Because dinner started late, everything else was started later. There were no board games, or scary stories as originally planned, but there were lots of games for the younger kids, and prizes. There was no judging for costumes and carved pumpkins either, as originally announced. They had the Trunk-or-Treating in the parking lot. When it was all over, Brother Dethman drove me and my walker home. Sister Kunz sent a dinner box home with me to eat later. After I washed the make-up from my face and hair, there was a knock on the door. The Tracys had come by with another dinner box for me.
I took the bus to the Amtrak station and bought round-trip tickets to Salem for Thanksgiving. The man at the counter told me the magnetic strip on my debit card was gone, but he was able to use the card to pay for my tickets anyway. On the way home I stopped at Albertsons and ran my card through the ATM machine. The magnetic strip worked fine.
I took the Halsey bus to the Amtrak station with about an hour and a half before my bus to Salem was to leave. They loaded a couple of trains, and then, about 5:25 p.m. (my bus was to leave at 6 p.m.), they announced that those with tickets for the 6 o’clock Salem bus should board the train immediately at gate 7. So I went to gate 7, showed my ticket, and boarded the train. As far as I know, I was the only one who boarded the train at that time. I took the only empty seat in the car, which was the handicapped seat, and we were already moving toward Salem at 6:30. One side of the car had single seats, and the other side of the car had double seats. I sat on the aisle seat on the double seat side. Because mine was the handicap seat, it was set back to the wall to make more space in front of the seat. There was enough room to have my walker in front of me, and I did. The passenger in the window seat was a lady who spent most of the trip reading, but did talk to me some. The movie was Stuart Little 2, but I didn’t pay much attention to it. The train stopped somewhere north of Milwaukee for about fifteen minutes so another train could get off of the track ahead of us, and then we resumed without further interruptions. We arrived in Salem at 6:53 p.m. I got off the train with my walker, and because I thought Jim would be looking for me to get off the bus, I went all the way around the station first to make sure he wasn’t parked somewhere nearby. He wasn’t. I sat in my walker at the corner of the station where I could see Jim’s van from whichever direction he might come. I visited with another man who was waiting for the bus to Eugene, and having described Jim’s van to him, he was the first one to see Jim enter the parking lot. Jim drove me to his place. I had a sandwich (hamburger bun, chili, sliced meat and cheese) for supper with Jim, Debi, & Patrick. Patrick no longer can be mistaken for a girl. He still has long, blonde hair, but he has long sideburns, too. We watched Star Wars Episode II, but Debi was coming and going to the kitchen, Jim went to bed an hour before it ended, and Patrick fell asleep watching it. Debi & I finished watching it, and then I went to bed in the computer room just after midnight. Thanksgiving Day morning I couldn’t go back to sleep after I woke at 6 a.m., so I read in my scriptures for a while. About 7:40 I went out to the living room and Patrick was up playing a handheld game on the couch. Debi fixed us French toast for breakfast. Jim got up after 9 a.m. Somehow the conversation turned to my fish, and Jim remembered he had a fish tank (actually two). He cleaned one up and gave it to me. Its base is a 12” octagon, has a light and a pump in it, and the tank holds five gallons. After Jim got himself ready, he drove me to Becky’s before he went to get Gary and his kids. Dad was in his walking cast. He was not doing a lot of walking yet, but he did make it up the stairs to eat Thanksgiving dinner with the rest of us. We had chicken and ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, veggies, rolls, and for dessert, pie and ice cream. Mom, Dad, Becky, Jesús, Amy & I played Score 10 while Horacio watched football. Later, we had pie and ice cream while watching Star Wars Episode II. I went to bed in Jesús’ room. I used one of the couch-back cushions to raise my pillow. The next morning, I got up about 8 am. Jesús and Amy were already up and were being quiet. Becky had already gone out to do some shopping for Christmas presents. Horacio had not slept well, so he was still in bed. I fixed toast for Jesús, Amy and myself for breakfast while the kids watched Harry Potter. Jesús had already had cereal. When Becky got home she fixed mashed potatoes and eggs for Amy & I. When Harry Potter was over, I went with Becky and the kids to stores. Becky had to return an item she had bought at Shop-Co, so she took Amy into the store then three minutes later I took Jesús in, and then we switched kids. I looked for a DL2016 battery for my Cassiopeia, but they didn’t have it, so I took Jesús back to the car. When Becky and Amy came out, she put the gifts in the trunk, we drove to another part of the parking lot, and all went into Win-Co. They didn’t have the battery I wanted either. I asked Becky if there was anything I could get to help out with food for company. She suggested pies. I found a twelve-inch apple pie for under seven dollars, and a smaller apple pie with “no sugar added” (with Dad in mind). I also got three boxes of granola bars at a lower price than I had seen in Portland. We made another stop at Blockbuster Video so Becky could rent a video for Saturday. We got home by 2 p.m. Ernie arrived and we visited with Mom & Dad first. We had chicken sandwiches for lunch. Later, Jim, Debi, Patrick, Gary and Morrighan arrived. We had sandwiches, a casserole, and other things. We had pie and ice cream while watching the video that Becky had rented, Ice Age. I had never seen it before. It was very funny. Ernie stayed until just after ten, when he had to leave to pick up one of the others with whom he shares his house. On Saturday, we had cereal and a banana for breakfast. Amy is doing really well with her reading and writing for Kindergarten. She can even read my cursive. I have agreed to write to her, and she will write me back. Becky took the kids to Bible Book House to see a magician, and I watched my video, Monsters, Inc. with Mom & Dad, though they were both napping at times during the video. I offered to leave the video with them so they could see the whole thing later, but Mom was afraid she would forget it was mine and put it in the library. Becky said the kids would like to see it, so I left it with Becky. We had sandwiches for lunch. Becky returned with a couple of extra kids from the school, and baked a pizza. I joined them for lunch while they were watching Ice Age. Mom drove me down to the Amtrak station and waited with me for the bus to arrive. We watched a train arrive. Mom seemed to be impressed by it; It was a double-decker. My bus arrived just a few minutes later. I waved good-bye to Mom. The driver put my walker under the bus and I carried the fish tank on board with me. I had two seats all to myself (most of the passengers did). I saw Mom’s car leave the parking lot before we left. I napped about 20 minutes, and apparently nodded off again as I missed seeing the temple. We arrived in Portland at sunset. The sky was pink, gold, and blue. We had left Salem at 3:20 p.m. and arrived at the station at 4:15 p.m. The driver said we were 7 minutes early. I walked to the Tri-Met stop (4 blocks away), but just missed a bus. I waited for the next one, and got home about 5:30 p.m. The temperature in the house was 63 degrees and I turned on the electric heater. After unpacking, I set up the new fish tank. The fish didn’t look all that lively. I think I should have gotten one of the weekend feeders for while I was gone, but I thought the anacharis would be enough. I added the water and a water conditioner, moved the plants and rocks into the new tank, and later, I transferred the fish to the other tank. The light in the center of the bottom works really well. It reflects back from the water surface above. I went to bed in my own bed again.
My smallest goldfish died and I bought six more goldfish (Goggles, Calvin, Sylvester, Sharkey, Sid, and Manny) to add to my new tank.
While I was at Becky's, I noticed a new sore had started on the amputated toe. I cleaned it and bandaged it as best I could on my own.