Saturday, March 26, 2011

Still here in Birch Bay, Washington



Saturday, March 26, 2011                                                                                                                                              Lorraine’s report

Just wanted to let you all know we are doing okay. We survived a long stretch of cold, snowy, wet, windy, gray gloomy weather. It was down to 12 degrees one night here soon after we arrived here in Birch Bay, WA, with the northeaster blowing out of Canada’s glaciers for a few days. Dave and Sandy, I know that isn’t cold for you all, but coming from Yuma, it was for us, especially in a motor home.

The first 16 days of March we had rain every day, along with strong winds, I wondered if it would ever stop raining. La Nina hasn’t let up here yet, although the jet stream has dipped and this week found the rainy weather over California. Mt. Baker has record snow levels of over 280 feet deep.

I’m happy the weather has changed and the lows are now above freezing, down to 38 last night, still lots of rain off and on. But at least we’ve seen the sun several days, and one day it even reached 62 degrees, a virtual heat wave. Everyone sure needed that bit of good weather.

The trees are starting to bloom and I’ve seen daffodils finally blooming. Spring is finally arriving here in the Pacific Northwest and the local residents are grateful for its coming.

It seems the winter wasn’t bad until just after we arrived we’ve been told. January was mild and not very wet.

Chuck has been back at work since February 28th. I know it is still hard for him to get up so darned early, 4:30 and at work by 5:45 or so. His learning curve was really steep, what with all the rules and regulation changes for the government. It is probably the result of the Gulf Oil Spill last year. The one saving grace is I think he enjoys seeing all his former co-workers and friends.

I picked up the stomach flu, several times I think, and was down for almost 3 weeks with it. I’m happy to say I think it is finally gone, although there are still several forms of the virus still running rampant here in the area. Thanks to Sandy A for calling and cheering me up, during that particularly tough day.

I’ve been cleaning out every nook and cranny while Chuck is at work, and when I’m up to it.

We’ve been lying pretty low, and on weekends Chuck has been working on trying to find the water leak. I think he found it today and he is waiting to check it, to make sure it doesn’t leak anymore. Yea!!!!

Our friend, Tim came over several weeks ago and fixed the lighting problem in the bathroom. Thanks Tim, it was nice to meet Irene, too. Chuck has been keeping the hydro hot going by adding antifreeze every few days, until we can get that fixed.

We spent the day after St. Patrick’s Day celebrating with my sister, Thelma and her family. And before Chuck went back to work, Richard and Sandy, friends we stood up for at their wedding in June 09, took us out to dinner with their family.

So that is it for us. I sure will be glad when the weather starts being nicer and warmer than it is now, I sure missed the sun!

Until next time……Lorraine


3/26/11                                                                                                                                                                             Chuck’s report

Boy is the time flying by, what with this work stuff going on.  I have become used to doing stuff when I wanted, not planning on doing it only on my days off.  And tired, boy do I miss my afternoon naps. 

Hard to believe we’ve been here over a month already.  And the first week/10 days were were still in the grip of old man winter.  We were able to stay warm, even when it got to 12F outside one night with 25 MPH winds, that’s cold for us.

But there are signs of spring now, trees, bushes and such flowering and it doesn’t get below freezing every night, just once in awhile.  But we know we are in Western Washington, that’s for sure, rain, clouds and gray days.   They tell us they had somewhat good weather in January and early February and the worst of the winter weather was after we got here, good timing huh!

I’m back to work now and like I thought, the hardest part is getting up early.  I get to work a little before 6 but at this time I’m only working 10 hour days so it’s still daylight when I get off work.  In two weeks I’ll be switching my schedule from days and will start working nights.  That’s when the turn around starts so I’ll be working 12 hour nights, seven days per week.  I’m not looking forward to staying up all night, that will take some getting used to as I haven’t been up past midnight in a long time.  But after a couple of shifts it doesn’t matter if I work days or nights, I’ll soon get in the groove.

Another old timer, O’D (Tom), retired shortly after I did and moved to Porto Rico.  He also came back to help with the permit process, his second time back since he retired.  He is the permit guru, having done it during turnarounds quite a few times.  He will be working day shift while I will be working the night shift.  But it is nice to have someone going through the same learning curve as I am, misery loves company or something like that I guess.  And he found some coveralls of his from 20 years ago and he can still fit them.  I can’t fit the ones I used when I retired  3 1/2 years ago, they’ve shrunk. 

It is nice to see all the folks back at work, I surprised myself by how many names I actually remembered.  I must say some of the things they say the remember me doing and saying isn’t quite the way I remember them, they LIE.  I wasn’t as mean as they insinuate and the stories they tell, well as I said, they LIE.  But it’s nice to see them anyway, I’m having fun.

I had to do some updated training both on the computer and sessions with the trainers so I could be qualified.  And they have changed a lot of the procedures and policies since I left and I have to learn them also.  I notice I don’t catch on as fast as I used to and sometimes I have to go over what I thought I knew yesterday but it’s getting better. 

I am trying to re-learn the unit, I thought I would never forget it after working here for 36 years but lots of it is gone.  At least it isn’t like having to learn something totally new, it’s still there somewhere, I just have to get it to the front.  But there again, sometimes I’m surprised at what I remember or at least how quickly some of it returns. 

I’ve also had a couple of issues on the motor home I had to work on.  We developed a water leak under one of the slides and I couldn’t find it.  I called the factory and they confirmed we don’t have water lines there but there was water leaking none the less.  You would think I could find it, this place isn’t that big but no joy. 

Today I finally decided to find it or else.  I disassembled part of the cabinets, took out some drawers and crawled around.  I finally found where the water was coming from, a water fitting was buried under some expanded foam way in the back of the cabinet.  I was unable to stop the leak by tightening the fitting so a quick trip to the hardware store was in order.  I bought a new section of hose, installed it and now everything looks to be dry.  Lucky for me, the leak was coming out into the basement though a hole so the floor didn’t get too wet and buckled, whew.  But why did they put a fitting there anyway, beats me?

Lorraine has been under the weather a bit since we’ve been back, guess the bugs here are different than the ones we were exposed to down South but she said yesterday she thinks she is now over the worst of it.  Sure hope so, seems she gets over one and catches another right away.  She has also spent some time cleaning out the closets and such, she now has some room, here’s hoping she doesn’t feel the need to shop and fill those empty spaces.  But what she’s done looks good.

Our friends Joe/Alice own two lots here and kindly allowed us to rent this one from them while we are here.  They drove in last Friday, came in from down South too.  And guess what, they are cold too.  But it is nice to see them and visit with them too.  Joe has also accepted an offer to work during the turnaround, not sure when he will be starting but he got his training in this week and is ready whenever they call.  So not sure if he will be working days or nights with me. 

Lorraine has tickets to fly down to California for our grand daughter’s birthday on April 15th.  Susy called the other day and said Kaitlyn is really excited that Nana will be there for her birthday party.  I will not be able to be there, still working for a few weeks after that. 

I didn’t realize I needed to write a blog, Lorraine just told me about it earlier this afternoon while I was putting the cabinets back together.  I didn’t think I had anything to write about and after reading this note, I still think that, ha.  So guess I’ll add some pictures and get this posted.  Once again I don’t think we will be updating every week, in fact, I’m sure we won’t.  But we will post if something happens that warrants a posting, just don’t count on it.


That’s a bit of snow, seen from our front door.  Cold too. 

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Here is a picture of our rig during one of the sun breaks we’ve had.

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Mount Baker in the back ground, lots of snow there this year. 

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Tim and Irene over for a visit.  Lorraine caught Tim working in the bath room.

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Showing of the green while we were at John/Thelma’s for Saint Patrick’s day dinner. 

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Another nice sunset, at least it isn’t raining. 

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Lorraine took these pictures on Saturday, signs of spring. 

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Alice and Joe taking a break from shoveling gravel at their place.  We are renting their second lot while we are here. 

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And that’s another one down the drain.

Thanks   Chuck