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Birthday Parties, Family, and Ford Focus(es)

(not to mention Enterprise car rental, which made my attendance at the birthday party possible).

On November 2, 2011 my aunt turned 80. On November 5 her family (my cousins) threw a big party for her in Chelan, Washington where she lives. I had seen my aunt in August when she came to Bend for her annual high school reunion but I hadn’t seen any of my first and second cousins in literally years (some of them I’d never even met at all).

The party was first discussed on Facebook, and I made up my mind that I would be there if I had to walk the *whole way there and back* 🙂 because Aunt Virginia is the last aunt or great-aunt I have left.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chelan,_Washington

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bend,_Oregon

The distance between Chelan, WA and Bend, OR is 356 miles each way. Now its not realistic to walk 356 miles (actually 712 miles) when I only had not quite 3 days (Friday morning through Sunday evening) to get there and back. I only have a debit card, and I had found out a month or so ago that most of the bigger car rental agencies who used to NOT let you use a debit card to reserve a car now do.

Granted, they charge you a deposit that is generally more than the car will cost in the end, but I was ecstatic that I could get there relatively cheaply.

My only other options would have been:

1) a flight from the Redmond Airport to SeaTac (in Seattle WA area) and then another flight to Wenatchee (which is still 30 miles or more from Chelan). A round trip flight from Redmond to Seattle would be close to $200.00 with another $121.00 for the Seattle to Wenatchee leg. I would have had to take a shuttle, bus, or taxi from Bend to Redmond. And someone would have had to pick me up in Wenatchee

2) taking the Central Oregon Breeze (shuttle) from Bend to Portland and then fly to SeaTac from Portland (I would still have had to take the flight from SeaTac to Wenatchee). The only shuttle stop here in Bend is a 4.6 mile trip (each way) from my house, and in 2008 when I took the shuttle I had to take a taxi back and forth from where the shuttle leaves (the taxi cost $15.00 each way not including any tip to the driver–it may have gone up in the last 3 years). Round trip fare on the shuttle is close to $100.00, round-trip flight from Portland to Seattle is $122.00, and again the flight from Seattle to Wenatchee is $121.00 round trip.

The car cost slightly under $200.00 plus gas. The Ford Focus gets great gas mileage; according to Edmunds.com it gets between 36 and 40 mpg (highway driving). The gas tank was 3/4 full when I picked it up, I filled it in Madras Oregon (about 42 miles from Bend) simply because there is not a Safeway filling station in Bend but there is one in Madras (I had enough fuel discounts from buying groceries at Safeway here in Bend to get $1.00 off per GALLON so that was good too). I had almost half a tank left when I got to Chelan, and only filled the tank when I left because I knew I didn’t have enough gas to get to Biggs Junction, OR (besides, gas prices in Biggs Junction are always higher than almost anywhere along the Columbia River gorge

http://www.safeway.com/IFL/Grocery/Home

http://www.safeway.com/ifl/grocery/club-card

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madras,_Oregon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biggs_Junction,_Oregon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia_River_Gorge

I hate flying anyway, it always upsets my stomach, and short flights upset my stomach even worse

Budget Rent-a-Car wanted a 350.00 deposit for the 3 days, and would do a credit check on top of that. In addition, I would have to make my own way there *by bus* and my own way back *by bus, taxi, or on foot*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_Rent_a_Car

Enterprise Rent-a-Car’s deposit was 100.00 cheaper for the 3 day rental, no credit check, and they would pick me up on Friday morning as well as bring me home on Monday morning after I dropped off the car. They also provided insurance for me that would cover anything that would happen (after I sold my truck last summer there was no need for car insurance).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_Holdings

It was a no-brainer to choose Enterprise. I had originally reserved a bare bones vehicle but when they picked me up Friday morning I decided to go with something a little more luxurious since it was a 6-8 hour drive. I ended up with a 2011 Ford Focus with air conditioning, GPS, automatic windows, automatic transmission, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Focus

Another thing I really appreciated was that I forgot my drivers license and Enterprise’s staff drove me home to get it.

I loved the car, except for the fact that it was a floor shift not a column shift. I kept trying to shift it with the windshield wiper control–at least 5 times!

I kept thinking of when my father had done the same thing 30 years ago when he started driving a Datsun pickup truck with a manual transmission (floor shift) after years of driving a Chevrolet Blazer with an automatic transmission (column shift). I laughed my head off when he tried to shift with the windshield wiper control; his reaction was “it’s not that funny.” And I now agree especially since I did it so many times; as far as I know he only did it once.

I have this vision of him sitting in Heaven–he passed away in December 2007–laughing his head off at me!

The first time I did the “shift with the windshield wiper” I couldn’t figure out how to turn off the windshield wipers either. I finally stopped in the parking lot at the North 3rd street Albertsons grocery store (here in Bend) and finally managed to get the windshield wipers turned off

I also could not figure out how to control the automatic windows, they were either all the way up or all the way down. I couldn’t figure out how to completely turn off the heating/air conditioning either so I was either freezing or burning up!

Despite all the fun with the windshield wipers, windows, and the heating/air conditioning, I did manage to get to Chelan and back all in one piece, and I had a wonderful time with my family.

Great weather (cold but sunny), lots of good food, meeting the cousins I’d never met before, seeing the cousins I hadn’t seen in years, meeting my aunt’s friends (most of whom had heard of me, luckily all good things). The day of the party was also my 52nd birthday, and I was so happy to be able to afford to leave town for my birthday (it was the first time since 2008 that I had money to do that, and I really couldn’t afford the trip in 2008)

Adventures in Medications

My first really bad experience with medication was back in 2006. I had been taking Effexor for several years, went off it cold turkey because I ran out and was living 200+ miles away from my former medical clinic in the Beaverton Oregon area.

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that the withdrawal from Effexor is easy. I had agitation, headaches, anxiety, dry mouth, insomnia, cold sweats, hot flashes, and hallucinatory-type dreams that lasted for hours. After approximately a week of this I ended up having my father drive me to Bend Memorial Clinic (who flat out refused to treat me because I didn’t have money for the upfront fee they required). I was forced to walk across the street (in approximately 9-10 degree weather) to the emergency room at St Charles Medical Center

I was switched to Welbutrin since there are long term side effects to extended Effexor usage that are not good (increased blood pressure, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, etc).

The Welbutrin was a total disaster.

I’ve never been one to suffer fools gladly, but the Welbutrin made me the angriest person you could ever hope to be around (agitation and hostility abounded, I called someone on the phone a bitch BEFORE I hung up, now she was indeed being difficult but normally I would have hung up and then called her names).

My second cousin had been prescribed Welbutrin as a stop smoking aid, and had the same reaction to it. She talked to my mother about her experience with Welbutrin and my mother (who’d been on the receiving end of one of my Welbutrin-affected rages, and had told my cousin about it) mentioned it to me.

By this time I’d realized something was very wrong and I stopped the Welbutrin without waiting to discuss it with my doctor.

Now I am dealing with a side effect of generic Vicodin (Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen). On October 1 2011 I fell and banged up my right knee (no bleeding, no visible bruising, the skin didn’t appear to be broken, but it was swollen and causing pain). I went to Mosaic Medical on Monday October 3, had an x-ray on Tuesday October 4 at Central Oregon Radiology, and the knee was found to be ‘normal’ although swollen and painful.

Wednesday October 5 my hip/thigh/groin area on the same leg started to hurt. I grumbled and limped along until I could see another doctor at Mosaic Medical on Tuesday October 12 2011. The diagnosis was basically corollary damage from the knee injury in that I was walking differently (favoring the leg, using a different stance, etc) and that the difference had stressed out the muscles from the knee on up the leg into the hip/thigh/groin area.

I was given a prescription for 20 tablets of generic Vicodin (Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen). I’ve discovered that this medication helps me sleep but doesn’t do much for the pain in my leg (the pain has gotten better but that’s a function of time not the medication).

The real problem is that the generic Vicodin (Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen) makes me weepy. I could truly cry 24/7, over silly things, or nothing at all. I don’t normally cry very much and I am certainly not happy with the waterworks running 24/7

And for those of you saying, oh that sounds like menopause not a medication reaction: my most recent menstrual period stopped yesterday. I have always had long menstrual cycles (33 days is a normal menstrual cycle for me) so once in a while I have a month with no period but that is solely due to the long cycles not menopause.

I have had regular periods since I was 14 years old and the only change I see now (in my early fifties) is that they are lighter. Now that I’ve said that publicly, Novembers menses will be another one of those “can’t leave the house” disasters ROFLMAO!! I’ve only had three of those in my lifetime (one was the first month that I was on blood thinners) but three is enough.

I have them every month whether I want them or not, and as I recall the medical definition of ‘menopause’ means one year without menses (periods). I may be in perimenopause as diagnosed nearly 9 years ago but I am still having regular monthly menses.

So the weepiness is not my hormones, nor is it PMS, nor is it menopause, or anything else other than the damn generic Vicodin (Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen) and I refuse to take it any longer!

Survival Tips and Tricks, Part III

This post is about surviving when you have been in a MVA (motor vehicle accident) or are stranded in your car in a relatively uninhabited area.

If you are traveling by vehicle (car truck SUV etc) and you are or plan to be in relatively uninhabited areas, there are several things (plans, preparations, supplies) that are essential to your survival in an accident or stranding (I am talking here of an accident where there are minimal injuries or no injuries at all)

1) Before leaving on a trip check your vehicle thoroughly. Is the gas tank full or are you planning on buying gas at the beginning of your trip? If the vehicle needs an oil change do it well BEFORE the trip. Is your spare tire inflated to the proper amount of psi? Are your other tires also inflated to the proper psi? Do you have a tire gauge to check the pressure? Do the so-called little things (headlights, horn, hazard flashers, air conditioning, heating) work properly? Is your tire jack easily located and can you operate it yourself? Do you even have a jack? Do you have a lug wrench? Can you use it to remove the nuts from your tire rim if needed? Do you have foam sealant or a portable compressor and plug kit? Do you have a GPS unit in your car or is your cell phone equipped with GPS? Do you know how to use it?

1a) Before leaving tell somebody–anybody–where you are going, when you expect to get there, and what route you plan on taking. It’s a good idea to check in with this person (cell phone, landline phone, text message, email) when you get to your destination. Consider if you want this person to notify the authorities (police, sheriff’s office, etc) if you haven’t checked in by a certain time.

2) An in-vehicle survival kit should include a working cell phone, jumper cables or a portable battery booster, extra water, extra non-perishable food, extra DRY and weather-appropriate clothing, extra shoes/boots, ~dry blankets~, extra vehicle maintenance items (such as oil, gas, transmission fluid, etc), a *first aid kit*, a fire extinguisher, flares, warning lights, spare fuses, flashlights (check the batteries inside, and carry extra batteries too), gloves, hand cleaner, clean rags (changing a tire is dirty work!), your auto club card or roadside assistance information, your insurance information, disposable flash camera (or digital camera) for documenting an accident for insurance purposes, a small tarpaulin, $20.00 in currency and coins, a credit or debit card, pen and paper, maps of the areas you will be in, large (33-40 gallon) bright orange or florescent green garbage bags, and extra supplies of any medications you take on a daily basis. Depending on the area you are in or the time of year you are traveling, bug repellent of some kind might come in handy.

If you will be driving in the winter add another DRY blanket, a winter hat, chemical hand warmers, tire chains and tow strap, snow shovel (collapsible one is fine), ice scraper, matches and/or a lighter, and cat litter. You could also add a small camp stove or barbeque grill with appropriate fuel, and collapsible pots and pans for cooking some of the non-perishable canned food (soup, chili, canned vegetables etc) that you also have in your kit.

Some of these items will be stored in the trunk or cargo area of the vehicle, while others will be on your person or in a wallet or handbag.

3) Don’t leave your vehicle unless its unsafe to stay (its on fire, looks or sounds like it might explode, go over a cliff, etc). The vehicle is a ready-made shelter and also makes you more visible to on-ground or in-air searchers. Your contact person may not know what clothes you are wearing, but he/she should know the make model and color of your vehicle–and that is the information they will give to law enforcement when it comes time to look for you. Your vehicle may have GPS installed, if so authorities will track the car not you. Leaving the vehicle also can lead to you becoming disoriented or lost.

4) If you must leave the vehicle, use it for everything you can before moving on (and have a plan for moving on before you do so–studying a map BEFORE you leave can tell you where the next town or source of shelter, water, or food may be). Oil and gas can be used as fire starters in the winter. Seat belt webbing and the foam from seats can be used to make some very ugly (but warm!) winter boots. Do you really care how ugly something is if it saves you from losing your toes to frostbite? That extra food, water, clothing, blanket, etc in your survival kit–if you can carry it take it with you. Be sure to take the matches and/or lighter with you too, as you may need to build a fire later on. Building a fire without matches or a lighter can be done, but it is very hard work. Take the tarp and garbage bags with you too if you think you will need to build a shelter as both are excellent for making leak-proof shelter roofs. Leave a note in the vehicle that can tell potential rescuers when you left and what direction you are heading.

*First Aid Kit* recommended items for first aid kit
1) assortment of bandages (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_aid_kit
2) gauze
3) antibiotic ointments such as Neosporin
4) Face mask
5) Tweezers (plastic or metal)
6) Needle (for removing splinters)
7) Antiseptic wipes or sprays for cleaning dirty wounds
8) Cotton Swabs
9) Medications such as antihistamines, pain killers, anti-diarrhea medications, aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc.
10) Water purification tablets
11) Disposable gloves
12) Trauma shears or scissors
13) Cotton Swabs

~Dry Blankets~

I emphasize DRY blankets because of my own experience with a not-so-dry wool blanket that had been stored in the back of my 2001 Chevy S-10 pickup truck. In January 2011 I was traveling from Bend Oregon to Eagle Creek Oregon (approximately 200 miles one way) when my heater suddenly stopped working. I was wearing crop pants, a short-sleeve t-shirt, and Crocs. I had not brought along even a sweater, much less a coat! The outside temperature was in the mid 50’s to low 60’s so I was FREEZING to put it mildly. I got the blanket out of the truck bed and wrapped it around my legs. It was NOT completely dry and it smelled pretty bad (wool tends to smell when it gets wet) but it kept me warm–if not comfortable–for the last hour or so of my journey (a friend gave me a non-wool blanket for the trip home, and another friend gave me her Champion sleeveless fleece vest to wear too)

The Knee Bone IS Connected to the Thigh Bone!!

And I know that title makes very little sense. Its a song here in the USA that really has been on my mind for the last 10 days or so.

On Saturday October 1 2011 I fell down while walking and banged the holy living crap out of my right knee. I was walking on asphalt, attempted to sit on a curb between the sidewalk and the Safeway parking lot, lost my balance on the way down, and landed on both hands and one knee. Much anglo saxoning (otherwise known as unladylike language aka CURSING!!) occurred, and the knee hurt like blazes.

What surprised me about the situation is that there was no visible bruising or bleeding and the skin wasn’t broken even though I had a LOT of pain and swelling–enough pain that on Monday October 3 2011 I went to see a doctor at Mosaic Medical.

After a physical examination of the knee on that Monday, and an x-ray on Tuesday October 4 2011 the knee was found to be ‘normal’ I guess swelling, limping, discomfort, and pain is considered ‘normal’ after a fall — at least in the medical world. They did prescribe Vicodin but only at night because of the sedative effect.

On Wednesday or Thursday (11/5/2011 or 11/6/2011) I started having a LOT of pain and discomfort in the upperest part of the thigh (in the area between the groin and the thigh).

My immediate assumption was that I had a bad skin rash or infection in the area, because that has happened before in that area of my body. Also the fact that the Vicodin was not touching the pain led me to believe it was something other than a muscular or bone injury. But I couldn’t see or find any evidence of said infection or rash.

So I grumbled and limped along until Monday October 10 and finally called to make another appointment with Mosaic Medical.

I saw one of their doctors yesterday and it turns out that ‘The Knee Bone IS Connected to the Thigh Bone’ LOL

What that means for me is that I was unconsciously walking differently in an attempt to compensate for the knee injury.

The different stance, more reliance on my non-dominant left leg, and attempts to minimize the pain/discomfort of the knee caused unusual stress on all the muscles from the knee up to the thigh/groin/hip area.

The hilarious thing is that I am supposed to ice the knee and heat the thigh/hip area (I said to the doctor, I don’t think I will try to do THAT simultaneously!)

This has played merry heck with my plans to start using the exercise bike again. I suppose I can still use the dumbbells and try to get my upper body strengthened while I wait for my lower body to heal

Short-Sighted, Stupid, and Insensitive

The Oregon Department of Transportation (hereafter referred to as ODOT) has outdone themselves, and not in a good way.

http://www.ktvz.com/news/29284274/detail.html

First off, if it really did cost $7500.00 a month for cleaning and maintenance –which I doubt– why did they not ever try to outsource the job to a private cleaning and maintenance service?

Even if the private cleaning service had to drive up from Salem or Portland they probably would have charged less even including transportation costs. Hell, even if they drove from Warm Springs (48 miles each way) it probably would have cost less to privatize the work.

If these people ever thought out of the box, I am sure that in this economy they could have found someone in the village of Government Camp–6 miles each way–to do the required work for much less (and the commute would have been massively shorter too).

I find the comment about ‘deterioration of the 50-year-old building’ to be rather disingenuous as you would think some of that $90,000.00 yearly tab for cleaning and ‘maintenance’ could have gone to dealing with that deterioration over the last 50 years.

Or perhaps the time and money that went into maintaining this page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Government-Camp-Rest-Area/217178974968410) would have been better spent by dealing with the deterioration.

I mean really a Facebook page for a public restroom? You can see how popular the page is (NOT) with 4 (yes just four) likes!!

Somebody at ODOT apparently has too much time on their hands or is intelligence-challenged or both.

Secondly, how will they deal with the “deposits” left alongside the road and behind the trees by desperate motorists? Urine isn’t that problematical (it can be smelly though) but feces are a different story.

Perhaps they could take a lesson from Bend, Oregon who pays 22,000.00 a year to clean up goose shit (it might be a bit cheaper to clean up a years worth of human feces since the goose shit carries a lot of nasty diseases requiring suiting up http://www.i-dont-think-so.com/?p=603)

The only bathrooms between Warm Springs, Oregon and Portland, Oregon are marked “restrooms for customers only”

Some enterprising private supplier from Rhododendron, Zig Zag, or Government Camp should install pay toilets, or even porta-potties, between Government Camp and Portland (in my opinion, the porta-potties would be an excellent way to get ODOT to reopen Government Camp, as the bad press from travelers along Highway 26 would be horrendous!). Pay toilets at 10 cents or 25 cents per use would still be cheaper than using the restaurants/gas stations/stores etc.

Third, closing a rest area that is very close (6 miles) to a well-known (and heavily used) wintertime resort right before ski season is remarkably short-sighted. Then again, this is the same state that has no problem paying $22,000.00 per year to clean up goose shit!

http://www.timberlinelodge.com/more-info/
http://www.timberlinelodge.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timberline_Lodge

USPS: There’s Reasons for Their Problems

This is another very personal rant about the United States Postal Service.

On September 14 2011 I received a notice about a parcel that needed to be picked up at the Bend DCU.

This is problematical for me as I have no transportation other than BAT (Bend Area Transit) buses, and none of them go anywhere near the Bend DCU (it’s 3/4 of a mile each way to walk there). This week our temperatures have been in the high 70’s and low 80’s (also I don’t get off work until around 11:00 am when it is starting to really warm up).

Supposedly the USPS redelivers, and you can either fill out the notice they leave you or you can do it online (https://redelivery.usps.com/redelivery/landingView.do

I filled out the form online the evening of September 16 2011. The parcel was not delivered on Saturday September 17 or on Monday September 19 so I amended my request on Tuesday September 20 2011 to add “second request, please redeliver on Wednesday September 21” I’d also tried calling the Bend DCU twice on Tuesday morning; nobody answered.

I say that the USPS supposedly redelivers because its been almost a week since I filled out the form and not only do I not have my parcel, today I received a ‘final notice’ that the item will be returned to the sender on September 30 2011 if not picked up. What is the point of offering a service that the Bend DCU and the postal carrier can’t be bothered to even acknowledge, much less provide?

I edited my request again today for all the good it will do. It’s obvious that the Bend DCU and my carrier aren’t going to deliver the parcel!

Since the parcel doesn’t require a signature, I gave the second notice to my poor long-suffering park manager (Larry) and he’s going to try to pick it up for me (he has transportation other than shanks mare LOL)

ETA: when I got home from shopping the box (beads that used to belong to my grandmother, sent by my aunt) was on my chair. My roommate said it was sitting inside the screen door (which tells me that Larry picked it up, the USPS is not allowed to open screen doors when you aren’t there).

A week later and 3 redelivery requests……….I can’t believe that the USPS thinks they are doing a good job!

Survival Tips and Tricks Part II

This post is about surviving indoors, say in a power outage or flood situation.

Things to have on hand just in case: (don’t expect to be able to buy these if the threat is widespread, stores tend to run out fast if a hurricane or other natural disaster is forecast)

Flashlights, with extra batteries.
Battery operated radio or television, with extra batteries
Candles and matches (or a non-electric lighter of some sort)
Non-perishable food (shelf stable or canned food that can be eaten without cooking if necessary)
Perishable food (this may need to be purchased shortly before a forecasted event, or it may be the contents of your freezer and/refrigerator)
Cooler and ice
Water — recommended amount is 1 gallon per person per day
Card games, board games, craft items, books, magazines (especially important if you have children, if stuck inside the house they will probably get bored easily)
Non-electric kitchen utensils (such as can openers)
Barbeque grill with full propane tank or charcoal briquettes (could also use a camp stove which is usually powered by a small propane tank) DO NOT USE ANY OF THESE INSIDE THE HOUSE DUE TO FUMES.
Extra supplies of all required medications
Extra supplies of all special health items such as eye glasses, contact lens solutions, and hearing aid batteries
Extra clothing (1 set of clothing per person per day)
Extra pair of shoes (1 pair for each person)
Extra blankets, comforters, or quilts (may not be necessary if you heat with wood or gas, or if your emergency situation happens in the warmer months)
Extra sanitation items (such as moist towelettes and toilet paper)
Extra food/water and other supplies (such as medications) for pets
Working cellphone and/or corded landline phone (cordless phones do not work without electricity)
Cash, coins, credit/debit cards, identification
Extra tobacco or cigarettes (if you smoke; nobody wants to be around you if you can’t smoke!)
*First Aid kit and manual
Laptop with working battery
Extra supplies for infants (diapers, wipes, formula, pumped breast milk, bottles, pacifiers, etc)
Extra supplies for toddlers (diapers, wipes, pacifiers, etc)

Don’t leave your house unless and until its declared safe to do so. Unless your house has been so damaged that it is not safe to remain, it provides shelter, some warmth (as compared to being outside), and protection from the elements.

If you must leave, make a plan beforehand
1) Where will you go and how will you get there?
2) What will you take with you? Many of the above items are still necessary if you are leaving by car or on foot.
3) Communicate with someone that you are leaving and where you are going–take your cellphone with you if you have one. Make a plan to contact them when you get to where you plan on going and give them an expected time of arrival (if you want them to notify authorities if you haven’t called them by a certain time, be sure to tell them to do so)
4) If possible, take your pets with you (on a leash or in a carrier) when leaving. If not possible to take them with you, leave them plenty of food and water.

Personally, I have a wood stove and a small barbeque grill so that cooking most food would not be an issue for me or my roommate. The wood stove also makes staying warm a non-issue.

* recommended items for first aid kit
1) assortment of bandages (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_aid_kit
2) gauze
3) antibiotic ointments such as Neosporin
4) Face mask
5) Tweezers (plastic or metal)
6) Needle (for removing splinters)
7) Antiseptic wipes or sprays for cleaning dirty wounds
8) Cotton Swabs
9) Medications such as antihistamines, pain killers, anti-diarrhea medications, etc.
10) Water purification tablets

Survival Tips And Tricks, Part I

What can I do so that I am not that person who is standing in the grocery store looking at the picked over shelves and wondering how I’m going to keep the family warm if the power goes out in a blizzard?

That was a line from a blog I subscribe to (http://www.frugalupstate.com/)

The East Coast of the USA has had hurricanes, tropical storms, power outages, flooding, and a minor earthquake in recent days. Other regions in the USA are currently dealing with drought, forest fires, blackouts, thunderstorms, and other natural disasters.

The blog post from Frugal Upstate got me to thinking about what I would do to survive if faced with a natural disaster. This is part one (of I don’t know how many LOL) of my ruminations, detailing the natural disasters that I could presumably be faced with.

The natural disasters most likely in eastern Oregon (where I live) are:

1) wildfires* which are also known as forest fires (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wildfire)
2) wind storms (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storm)
3) thunderstorms (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderstorm)
4) rare earthquake tremors (in the past earthquakes have been along fault lines in California (south of us), Washington (north of us), and Idaho (east of us) with the most recent one being the Nisqually earthquake occurring on February 28 2001 in the Seattle (WA) area
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_Nisqually_earthquake)
5) drought (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drought)
6) flash floods (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_flood)
7) blizzards http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blizzard
8) ice storms (also called freezing rain) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_storm)
9) sub-zero and/or below freezing temperatures,
10) white-outs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whiteout_(weather))
11) blackouts or power outages http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_outage

Another threat that covers nearly all of Oregon and the neighboring states of Washington, Idaho, and California is volcanic eruptions

1) Mount St Helens in Washington State last had a major and very destructive eruption in 1980 but still releases gases, ash, and pyroclastic flows.

While this volcano is not geographically located in Oregon, the ash eruptions from the 2001 incident were carried by wind currents as far away as OKLAHOMA!!*

*http://blog.seattlepi.com/thebigblog/2010/05/14/how-far-did-the-ash-travel-from-the-mount-st-helens-eruption/
*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_St._Helens

2) Mount Hood in western Oregon is still considered an active volcano but the likelihood of a major eruption in the next 30 years is estimated to be between rather low at 3% to 7%*

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Hood

3) There are many other potentially active volcanoes–both *shield volcanoes and **stratovolcanoes–in the Pacific Northwest region including but not limited to Mount Jefferson (OR), Mount Adams (WA), Three Sisters (OR), Mt Bachelor (OR), Mount Rainier (WA), Mount Shasta (CA).

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shield_volcano
**http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stratovolcano

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cascade_Volcanoes

All of these severe weather conditions or natural disasters can make survival difficult.

All of these can affect you no matter where you are or what you are doing. For example, a lightning strike can hit you through your computer as well as if you are outside under a tree!

Some of the weather conditions can create corollary problems, such as an ice storm which snaps tree branches and the tree branches take down power lines thereby causing a power outage.

Drought can cause flash flooding when drought stricken land gets too much rain and can’t absorb it all.

Earthquakes, windstorms, thunderstorms, and flooding can cause power outages.

Stay tuned for Part II, where I discuss ways to stay safe and what to have in your ‘disaster preparedness kit’

I Think I Will Stick With Papa Johns

I am addicted to pizza. Now that I have no transportation I generally order online from Papa John’s (partially because they have great pizza and partially because I get an emailed discount code almost every day). And because I order so often, all of the Papa John delivery drivers know where I live.

Today however I wanted Pizza Hut’s pizza rollers. I also found out that they carry my favorite (and most unhealthy) soda: Mountain Dew (and not that diet crap either! LOL).

I went online to PizzaHut.com and I ordered a side of pizza rollers with no sauce, a large pan pizza (Veggie Lovers), and the smaller size of Mountain Dew. Almost as soon as the order was sent, I got a phone call from my local Pizza Hut telling me that they only had the 2 liter size of Mountain Dew. I said that was fine and we agreed that I would just give the driver the extra dollar that the 2 liter size of Mountain Dew was going to cost.

My order was scheduled to show up at 5:20. At 6:00 pm I get a call from the delivery driver that he can’t find my address.

All of a sudden I remembered one of the main reasons I stopped using Pizza Hut in the first place: they would try to deliver my pizzas, sides, desserts, drinks, etc to the other side of town. Apparently there is a mobile home park called Century Drive Mobile Home Park at 141 SW 15th Street, while my mobile home park (Suntree Village) is at 1001 SE 15th Street. The two mobile home parks are 3+ miles from each other.

When I used to call in the orders (rather than order online) nearly every time they would hear SUNTREE as CENTURY. I personally don’t see the similarity of the two names.

I gave the delivery driver the usual information: on SOUTHEAST 15th between Reed Market Road and Wilson Avenue, turn at the main Suntree entrance where there is a huge pine tree and a Suntree Village sign, (I discovered later today that this sign also has the address on it which is germane to what the driver said when he actually delivered my food), go up the hill and turn right into the first cul-de-sac.

What really frosted my behind was when the driver got here–over 30 minutes late–there was NO apology. In fact, he tried to blame the whole mess on me and he had the nerve to say is 1001 SE 15th Street REALLY your address? Well considering I’ve received my mail at 1001 SE 15th STREET UNIT 122 for almost 6 years now I would say that it is REALLY my address.

Perhaps if he doesn’t know his way around Bend, he should find another job. And if he does know his way around Bend, he should learn to treat paying customers with courtesy–and take responsibility for his own actions.

To add insult to injury, of course my food was barely warm. And my Mountain Dew certainly wasn’t cold. It was warm enough that I gave up and drank the Diet Coke that I already had in the refrigerator.

I walked to the corner store a couple hours after the pizza debacle. I am in bad physical shape–and coughed most of the way to the store–so on the way back from the store I sat on a flat rock that is under the big pine tree. That was when I noticed that the address of the park is on the Suntree Village sign (the very sign where I told mr. rocket scientist rude pizza delivery man to turn). I guess in addition to being rude and incompetent, he either cannot or will not read!

I can’t help but compare this lousy customer service from Pizza Hut with the local Papa John’s store. They brought me regular Coke twice when I had ordered diet–the first time they went to the store up the street and bought me Diet Coke. The second time they sent the driver back out to my house with Diet Coke and we exchanged bottles. Both times they apologized profusely.

Traffic Blues

So today was one very busy day. I worked for 2 hours and then spent the rest of the day running around. In my case, ‘running around’ involves several short walks and numerous buses.

Pedestrians seem to be lower than pond scum here, even though Bend prides itself on its ‘green’ attitudes.

I have come to the conclusion over the last few months that a lot of the drivers in Bend, Oregon are inconsiderate (at best) and total idiots (at worst). Some I might even say appear to enjoy terrorizing pedestrians. Obeying traffic laws…..hmmm that appears to be a total joke too.

This rant has been brewing for a while.

On August 1 2011 I was on the #6 route Bend Area Transit bus on Reed Market Road, waiting for it to turn onto SE 15th Street.

Some idiot (and that is one total insult to other idiots!) decided the bus was in his way. He/she/idiot pulled around the bus (the bus was not over to the side of the road, the bus was in its proper lane) and then had to cut right back into traffic in front of the bus to avoid a head-on collision with westbound traffic.

The bus driver had to slam on the brakes not once but twice. I was sitting in the first row behind the wheelchair seats (which were down rather than up) and I was leaning forward because my grocery bags were sliding. I almost went face first into the wheelchair seats both times. And if the wheelchair seats had been in the up position I would have gone face first onto the floor of the bus. Bus floors are not soft landing spots, buses are made mostly of metal LOL. For that matter, bus seats are not soft landing spots if you go face first into them either! Can we say CONCUSSION, boys and girls? I am pleased to say that the bus driver got the license number of the idiot and reported him.

The bicycle riders on SE 3rd Street aren’t much better when it comes to pedestrians. Most of the ones I saw on SE 3rd Street today were riding on the sidewalk (which is NOT legal here in Bend unless they are *delivering newspapers or other business messages*–which these people were NOT) and were furious with me because (OMG) I was sitting on the sidewalk waiting for a bus. There are shoulders/bike lanes for these people to ride in, and I couldn’t even see if the bus was coming due to an overgrown shrub in front of A Greener Cleaner without either standing up (for darn near 40 minutes) or sitting on the sidewalk.

Insisting on riding a bike on a sidewalk whether or not there is a clearly marked bike lane or shoulder is not only insensitive to the needs of the pedestrian population, it may well be illegal.

http://www.ktvz.com/news/27892224/detail.html

http://www.stc-law.com/bike_sdwlks.html

Well maybe Bend Area Transit aka Cascades East Transit could put some seats (similar to the one at the stop near the Shell gas station on Hwy 27) at all the stops so pedestrians who are waiting for a bus would have a place to sit other than the sidewalk, but that isn’t really germane to THIS rant!

What amazes me though is that the bicycle riders on 15th street use the bike lanes and are much friendlier towards pedestrians (they say hi to me, they wave at me, they don’t give me dirty looks)

Almost everyone in a car, truck, SUV, etc on SE 3rd Street was speeding and/or tailgating. And lets not talk about the people who are STILL talking on their cell phones while driving despite the horrendous accident that took the life of a 16 year old boy.

http://portlandattorney.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/16-year-old-biker-crushed-to-death-by-truck-in-bend-or-accident/
http://www.ktvz.com/news/28664955/detail.html
http://www.bendbulletin.com/article/20110727/NEWS0107/307279999/

I also jaywalked across SE 3rd Street today. I was going to Mountain High Coins and Collectibles to sell some coins (got $13.35 for those of you who care ROFL!) and there’s a bus stop directly across the street from them but the nearest crosswalk was 3 blocks back (Wilson and 3rd, Dutch Bros, Del Taco, Arby’s, Hong Kong Chinese restaurant).

I waited until the northbound traffic cleared, walked to the (empty) turn lane, and waited again for the southbound traffic to clear. So I am not perfect, but my ‘crime’ didn’t endanger anybody but myself (unlike the bicyclists and motorists mentioned in the rest of this post), and I did it intelligently if you ask me.

Then there was the person on the street leading out of Fred Meyers (the corner where Sterling Savings, Elite Fitness and Education, and Taco Time are) that thought he had the right to be in the crosswalk (he was making a right turn onto SE 3rd the Taco Time side of the street) even though I had the right of way (pushed that button and got the silver walk signal! I am a law-abiding pedestrian most of the time). I will give him this much: when he saw me start walking across the street he backed up so he was out of the crosswalk (otherwise I would have either had to walk on SE 3rd Street itself or go behind him).

Too bad for me but lucky for him that the crosswalk enforcement mentioned in the article below wasn’t in effect

http://www.bikearoundbend.com/2011/03/pedestrian-operations-crosswalk-scofflaws-beware/

But that’s nothing compared to the rocket scientist at the corner of SE 15th Street and the main entrance of Suntree Mobile Park (where I live).

There is a bus stop at Bronzewood and SE 15th Street that is a 5-10 minute walk from my house. It is on the opposite side of the street from the manufactured home park where I live so I was standing slightly off the sidewalk on the side of the road (in the bike lane, or on the shoulder, whichever terminology you prefer). I have done this numerous times before today with no problem, and I always wait until traffic–in both directions–has totally cleared before crossing the street.

Yes, again I am technically jaywalking. So???? The cops can arrest me (*maybe anyway*) as well as the bicyclists that insist on riding on the sidewalk since all of us are breaking the law (again maybe I am and maybe I’m not, as the [admittedly limited] research I’ve done shows that Oregon doesn’t have jaywalking laws). I have contacted the Bend police department to get clarification on the jaywalking and biking on the sidewalk issues.

Received this from the Bend Police Department today

Jaywalking. Pedestrians should try to cross the streets at intersections only. However there is no State or City Code stating they can’t cross in the middle. Crossing against a red light may result in a cite.

Sidewalks. Depends on who and how. There is no bike riding on core downtown sidewalks. In other areas the age, ability and reasons must be considered. In any event riders must give pedestrians the right of way.

http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070129/NEWS/70411008/-1/NEWS0103

Since I don’t want to die or even get slightly injured in a MVA (motor vehicle accident) I always stand well back from the traffic–especially as most of the traffic on this stretch of 15th street is NOT respecting the speed limit.

This — I can’t think of what I want to call him — made a point of getting as close to me as he possibly could without actually hitting me. What I find the most odd about this is that when he got up to the turn into the Expressway gas station/convenience store/car wash/espresso stand he was properly back in the lane, almost in the middle of the lane–since he was making that turn into the parking lot, he could have continued riding in the bike lane or on the white line that demarcates the bike lane. I think either he was driving under the influence of something (drugs or alcohol) or he deliberately terrorized me.

I think perhaps I would be safer walking up 15th to Reed Market and crossing at the light there. However, idiots will be idiots — and I don’t like feeling penalized when I did nothing wrong.

I have a bad case of pedestrian RAGE!