When It Rains, It Drips. And Drips. And Drips Some More.

It’s never a good thing when it rains inside your house.

Particularly when it is raining inside your kitchen.

Seriously, I am not joking.  I really wish I was.

I first noticed the water on the kitchen counter a couple weeks ago.  I did not think a lot of it at the time.  I had just wiped down the counter a half an hour before, and thought that maybe the sponge that I used had been wetter than I realized. 

Two days later, the same thing happened.  Again, I had just wiped down the counter a half an hour before.  But it just seemed weird, since I have wiped down the counter a million times and not had this problem.  I started thinking about it, and realized that in both instances, Nathan had just taken a shower in the master bathroom.  The master bathroom directly above the kitchen.  I think you see where this is going.

So, I climbed up on a chair and felt the ceiling.  But it felt dry.  Then I noticed this weird spot on the ceiling.  It was about the size of a penny and the best way to describe it is that it looked like a dimple.  I touched it and thought it maybe felt a tiny bit damp, but before I could come to a conclusion, my finger went right through the ceiling.  Leaving me with a penny sized hole in the ceiling.  Hmmmm.

I was rather suspicious but did not want to jump to conclusions, so I put a container on the counter directly beneath the hole.  The next time that Nathan took a shower, I ran down to inspect the counter and container.   But they were bone dry.  Mysterious.

I began to think I must be hallucinating and the water must have been from wiping down the counter after all.  I almost forgot about it, until Sunday.  Nathan was taking a shower, and I was downstairs watching TV.  And then out of the blue, I heard a steady trickle of water.  I ran to the kitchen, and sure enough there was a stream of water running through the hole in the ceiling into the container on the counter.  Great.

You may be surprised to hear that the water leak is not my primary concern.  It’s highly inconvenient that Nathan can’t use that shower, because it has built in seats, and when you have four broken toes it certainly makes it a lot easier to shower.  Instead he is stuck with using the other, non-handicap friendly shower.  But that is not my primary concern either.  The contractor and plumber are coming tomorrow, and it sounds like a one day job.  So I am also not worried about having my house torn up or having to leave during repairs.

No, my primary concern is the answer I got from our townhouse management office when I informed them of the problem.  Because guess what?  The leak may have surprised me, but they weren’t surprised at all.  I believe their exact words were, “This is actually the third house this has happened in.  We think it must be because we’re at ten years, and now everything is starting to break!”

Well, that’s reassuring.  We already know these houses have a problem with psychotic, malfunctioning carbon monoxide detectors. (Don’t ask.  It’s a very long and traumatizing story that results in me living in constant fear of anything that sounds remotely like a smoke alarm).  Apparently now they have problems with leaky master showers.  Does this mean the sagging ceiling in the living room is next?

I guess we will find out when my treadmill falls through the ceiling.


Tale of the Toes

For those who don’t already know, Nathan had an accident last week involving a seventy pound fork from a forklift and his left foot. 

I got a call last Wednesday night that he was being taken to the ER by ambulance.  I met him at the ER, where the doctor diagnosed him with three broken toes on his left foot (the 3rd, 4th, and 5th toes).  Apparently this is a pretty impressive feat – most people don’t manage to break this many toes at one time.  Apparently before I got there, one random nurse came by and remarked, “I’m not on this case, but I heard there was an impressive foot that I needed to see.”  His foot looked so weird, the 4th and 5th toes were just limp and hanging out to the left, and the 3rd toe was off to the right.  In the 4th toe, the x-rays showed that the bone had been completely sheared off.  At the ER, they buddy taped everything together and wrapped it up in a makeshift cast.  They gave him pain meds, a tetanus shot, crutches, and instructions for follow up care.

He has had a pretty miserable past week.  The official diagnosis may be broken toes, but he might as well have a broken foot.  He can’t walk because he can’t put any weight on it at all.  He is stuck on the couch, and is in a lot of pain despite constant elevation and ice.  It’s ironic how sometimes we get so busy that we just wish for a weekend where we could sit on the couch the entire time if we so choose . . . but forcefully being stuck on the couch is unbearable.  The crutches bruised his underarms, and the tetanus shot didn’t do much to help the arm situation.  He has been up the stairs three times – once for a shower, once to keep me company while I folded laundry, and once just to prove that he could do it.  Going up the stairs is slow and tiring though, so we are trying to do everything downstairs.  Despite all of this, he managed to stay in pretty good spirits.


Yesterday, my mom took Nathan to see the orthopedic surgeon, which was his first major follow up appointment.  The first important piece of information from this appointment was that he actually has FOUR broken toes.  The big toe is broken in two spots as well.  I am not sure how the ER missed that one, but at least it explains the constantly changing color, bruising, and sensitivity of the big toe.  The orthopedic surgeon thinks that the big toe protected the 2nd toe from breaking.  The second important piece of information is that the big toe and 3rd toe will eventually heal on their own over time, but the 4th and 5th toe will need to be surgically repaired.  The third important piece of information was visual, as the surgeon unwrapped the bandage-cast that Nathan’s foot had been in for 5 days, and they got a look at how his foot is doing.  I warn you now, this is a pretty bad injury, and this picture is pretty gnarly.  If you don’t like to see colorful bruising and gross injuries, well . . . don’t look and keep scrolling.

1-Nathan's Foot 003(1)

  My mom was gracious enough to take pictures so that I could see how his foot was doing, since I couldn’t be at the appointment in person.  The color and bruising seems worse than when we were at the ER last week, but his toes are at least not so far in the opposite direction.

Nathan will have surgery this Thursday afternoon to insert pins into the 4th and 5th toes.  This will help them to heal properly and in line with the other toes.  He may not retain full mobility in them, but he will be able to do regular activities like walk and run.  Luckily, your 4th and 5th toes aren’t as crucial as the other ones.  After the surgery, they will give him a walking boot, but it will still be another week or more of no walking, and even then he may still be on crutches for a while.  They will take the pins out in July, about three weeks after the surgery.

The stinky thing is that the surgeon unwrapped a lot of the gauze that you see on Nathan’s foot in the top picture, because he wanted Nathan’s toes to get some more air.  Unfortunately, this leaves all the injured toes partially exposed and provides a lot less protection against sensitivity.  This makes it more painful for him to even get up on the crutches to go to the bathroom, change clothes, put on ice packs, etc.  To add to that, they have some pre-op instructions that we have to follow to avoid staph infections, which includes showering the night before and morning of with special soap.  Unfortunately, both our showers are upstairs, and that’s a lot of travel and stress for a sensitive foot.

This whole ordeal has been stressful and scary, but I am just glad that he did not get hurt worse.  We said our wedding vows, “in sickness and in health”, and the sickness part just hit us a little earlier than expected!  But I like being responsible around the house and taking care of my husband, even if I may be a little overprotective of him at times.  My mom, dad, and brother have been a HUGE help since I don’t have vacation time at my new job yet.  They are taking him to all of his appointments, helping me run errands, and just get things taken care of.  Monday night, I even made the homemade pizza that Nathan cooks for me every Monday (all on his instructions, of course.  I am not the cook in this family!).  It wasn’t nearly as good as his, but it WAS edible (and for me, that’s a pretty big accomplishment).

So, send some positive karma out into the universe on Thursday that his surgery goes well! (And also, that we have two successful trips up the stairs on Wednesday night and Thursday morning for the pre-op showers.)


Flashback Friday: Father’s Day First

“Flashback Friday” is a new series of posts I am going to start here on the blog.  I got the idea a couple weeks ago as I worked on typing the memoirs of my adopted grandfather Nick.  Nick comments about how he has a hard time remembering specifics about some of the stories (for example, someone’s age at a certain time, where they were born, and so on).  This isn’t really surprising considering that Nick turned 97 last month – 97 years will give you a lot to remember!  And for most of his life, they didn’t have the things like computers or the Internet or digital photography that make it so easy for us to capture our lives today.  So it’s not surprising that he has things he has forgotten.  But one thing I have realized as I read and type his stories, is how easy it is for us all to forget – even someone like me, who is only a quarter of Nick’s age.  We live such fast paced lives, we don’t stop nearly often enough to take it all in well enough to form memories that even last a few years.  It’s amazing how much I don’t remember already, sometimes I feel like I have completely blanked out three quarters of my life.  Who knows what I’ll remember when I’m 30 (just the thought of it makes me shudder with fear), let alone 60 or 70?

And that led me to the idea of Flashback Friday for the blog.  I have a feeling that as long as the world exists, the Internet is not going anywhere.  I feel safe in storing my memories electronically in my blog (and backed up on my computer).  So, just as radio stations play Flashback Friday lunch hours, I am going to have Flashback Friday here, featuring some sort of memory I have that I want to remember down the road.  I can’t promise they will be 100% accurate memories, so I apologize to family members in advance for details that I remember incorrectly.  As stated, I have forgotten a lot in my twenty-some years, and of course when you talk about childhood memories, kids see everything happen a lot differently than adults do.  I won’t post every Friday (as you may have noticed, I am a sporadic blogger), but perhaps my lovely family will get on board (hint, hint) and send me some of their own memories to share on a Flashback Friday when I am too busy to blog.

In honor of Father’s Day this weekend, the inaugural Flashback Friday is about my own dad.


I love this picture.  But I will not be writing about it, because guess what? I don’t remember it. What I will tell you about today is one of my earliest memories of my dad that I actually do remember.

My dad used to drop my sister and I off at daycare every morning when we were in pre-school and kindergarten.  We had this routine that we did before he left daycare, which we called “the jump”.  Basically, my dad would hold our hands in his, help us jump in the air and do a somersault mid-air before coming back down to the ground.  I don’t remember how this routine got started, but I remember it was a lot of fun.  I also remember that all the other kids at daycare thought it was fun too, saying, “I want to jump!”, and every morning kids would line up to take turns doing the jump with my dad.

And that is how I always remember my dad, as the fun and popular dad.  My friends always thought my dad was cool.  When I got to high school and had friends and co-workers who had my dad as a teacher, they would all say how awesome he was and how he was their favorite teacher.  (On an unrelated note, they all also thought he was ten years younger than he actually was – congratulations on the youthful good looks, Dad!)  Sometimes when I invited friends over to our house for the first time, they would always comment on how they weren’t sure what to expect in coming over to the teacher’s house, but that my dad was actually surprisingly fun and easy-going for a teacher.  It’s a huge part of the reason that he is a such a great track and cross country coach – kids who might not normally do sports give it a try because they like my dad. 

So, happy Father’s Day weekend to the coolest, most awesome dad on the planet.  I love you!


A Little (Big) Piece of History

Nathan has Mondays off work, so today he took advantage of the nice weather and took a motorcycle ride to the coast.  He rode to Waldport first, and then up to Agate Beach in Newport to take a look at a piece of history that washed up on the shore there last week.


For those who may not have heard, last week a gigantic concrete and steel dock from Japan washed up at Agate Beach.  It is 19 feet wide, 7 feet high, and 66 feet long.  According to MSNBC, it is the largest piece of tsunami debris to reach the US so far (most of the debris is not anticipated to arrive until winter).  When it got here, they tested it for radiation and found none.  Since then, it has become quite the tourist attraction. 

Nathan said there were a ton of people at the beach today, and that there was a constant stream of people walking to and from the dock.  They have state park employees out there to make sure people don’t climb on it (that is the white truck in the third picture).  Nathan said that was probably a good thing, because even as an adult he was tempted to climb on it.  He and his friend overheard the parks employee telling someone that the way they tested for radiation was by scraping pieces off of the side of the dock.  Nathan didn’t touch it (despite what the scientists say, it’s still hard to shake that fear of radiation lurking in the back of your mind), but sort of wishes he had.  He didn’t see the plaque with Japanese writing on it, otherwise he would have taken a picture of that.

For a little perspective on just how big the dock is, he took this picture with people standing next to it (hello, random tourists!  thanks for visiting my blog!).


It may not be quite as large as the freighter that got beached off of Coos Bay in 1999, nor as entertaining as the Oregon Highway Division’s botched disposal of the dead whale in Florence in 1970.  But it is still a piece of Oregon Coast history nonetheless, and I think it’s pretty cool that Nathan got to see it up close.


60 Years Young

Today, I want to wish my dad a happy birthday as he celebrates a HUGE milestone – turning 60 years young!


One of the things that I love most about my dad is that no matter what his age is, he is young at heart.  My dad still goes for 8 mile runs, for fun!  My dad is funny, wise, and optimistic.  And despite all the gray hairs that we have given him, I still think he looks younger than his actual age.  I can only hope that when I am 60, I am living life as fabulously as he does.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

And as a bonus for anyone reading this, please enjoy a picture of my dad in his element – the Power Nap (at my wedding, no less).  Perhaps that is how he maintains those youthful looks . . .


photo copyright by Daron Jackson



We’ve all been there.  We’ve all had that favorite product, the one we were so reliant on that we never even thought about what we would do without it.  And then comes the day (and it’s always a day when we are especially in need of said favorite product), when a retail sales representative utters those terrible words: “I’m sorry, but that product has been discontinued.”  And a little voice inside us screams, “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!”

Every failed product has one thing in common – there weren’t enough customers buying it.  Another thing they seem to have in common is that often, I am one of the few consumers who DID buy the failed product.

My hair seems to be the primary victim of product failure.  I have very thick, wavy, opinionated, and temperamental hair.  It responds very poorly to most products (in addition to yelling and cursing).  Whenever I happen to trip across a product that my hair actually LIKES, I stick with it.  The first product to go was my Sunsilk Curl Crème.  That was some pretty amazing stuff.  When it was discontinued, my hair and I went through a three month rough patch until I managed to trip across a gel that seemed to work reasonably well.  But that was NOTHING compared to what happened when my Herbal Essences leave-in conditioner was discontinued.

The loss of my leave-in conditioner (which I used daily, no matter what) sent my hair into a tailspin of craziness.  I was desperate.  At first, I thought Target must just be out, because they are always out of everything that I need.  So I went to Walmart.  And Kmart.  And Safeway.  And Fred Meyer.  And every other Target within a 50 mile radius.  I tried online shopping – no luck.  At this point, I would have gladly paid $20 for a single bottle.  Finally, my desperation drove me to the Herbal Essences website, where I found that the No-Frizz Leave In Crème Conditioner was no longer part of their product line.  Being me, I e-mailed customer service asking if perhaps they had any stock left that they would be willing to sell to me.  I even offered to buy a case full, if that was an option.  Their response was to send me a coupon for Garnier Fructis.

Sadly, the loss of my beloved hair products was a sign of things to come.  Since then, I have been informed by Macy’s that they no longer carry my favorite jeans (and an extensive internet search confirmed that no one else carries them any more, either).  I have become very fond of two pomegranate flavored beverages, neither of which lasted more than six months in stores.  And my beloved Excedrin has been pulled from shelves, so with every headache I have had to debate whether or not it is severe enough to warrant one my last few precious Excedrin pills.

But the icing on the cake came the other day, when I walked into Victoria’s Secret with money to burn, and every intention of leaving with some new (and nearly full-price) bras.  “Excuse me,” I said to a sales associate, “Can you tell me where to find the Biofit Demi?”

The sales associate said, “We no longer carry that style,” and went back to folding underwear (clearly not noticing that I was going into a state of shock and on the verge of hyperventilating).  I only wear one style of bra, and this is it.  I don’t really know if I can adequately put into words how distressed I was at this news.

“Uh, excuse me.  But what?  Do you have them online?” I was feeling rather panicky.  Long story short, the salesgirl was highly unknowledgeable about their online offerings.  She was also highly unknowledgeable when I asked if they carried a similar bra that I might find acceptable.

Needless to say, all I left with was a free pair of underwear, but at checkout I was still upset enough that when the checkout girl asked if I found everything okay, I complained, “No, you discontinued my bra.”  Luckily, the checkout girl was slightly more knowledgeable about her company and told me that they did discontinue it, but that I should come back in two weeks because they would be bringing the remaining discontinued Biofit Demis back for the semi-annual sale, and in the meantime they also still had some online.

So, I hope no one was expecting extravagant Christmas presents this year.  Because in two weeks, I plan to spend all my extra money stocking up on as many bras as I can get my hands on.