Friday, March 31, 2017


Pepper pauses above the water's edge

I guess I’m a little paranoid about the way the dishwasher runs, and who can blame me? We paid $280 to repair a dishwasher less than two years old. Add to that the fact that it serves a household of two who are not here a third of the year, makes the costly repair further frustrating.

So, I was finding suds in the bottom of the tub after a wash, and we decided I should call Bob the repair guy again.

“How are you running it?” Bob asked.

“Well,” I began with some trepidation, “I toss a pod in the silver basket and run the one-hour wash. But sometimes I use the ‘smart wash.’ And sometimes I’ve also used powder instead of the pod.”

“DON’T use those pods!” said Bob. “Go to the store, buy liquid soap – or powder. But QUIT using those pods!”

Basalt rosette on Snake River across from Asotin
“Bob, have you seen the soap aisle in the store?” I queried. “It’s full of pods.” (In fact, I didn’t say so, but the powdered Cascade I have now I purchased at Albertsons on clearance.)

“You aren’t looking hard enough,” Bob replied. “You can still buy powder and liquid detergent, and that’s what you have to do. Just don’t buy Kirkland.”

“And,” he continued, “that ‘smart wash’ cycle simply runs the same cycle three times. Use the ‘one-hour wash.’”

“All right,” I said contritely, feeling properly chastened.

“That’s ridiculous,” said Mike. “Any dishwasher detergent should work.”

“Yes,” I said, “but I don’t really want to chance more problems, so I will comply with what Bob says.”

Columnar formation
So, I took myself to Walmart and checked the dishwasher products. The first repair guy said I should buy Dishwasher Magic, which son Milo also recommended. I tossed a twin pack into my cart. Rows of shelves were filled with pods in a variety of brands and sizes – Cascade, Finish, and “Great Value” (the store brand). On the very bottom shelf were several brands of liquid detergents. I saw no powdered product. KW

[The words are about the dishwasher but the photos were taken Monday, March 27, as we hiked along the Snake River. (See previous post.) The basalt formations are quite spectacular.]

Monday, March 27, 2017


Asotin, Washington

I can spend a lot of time in the cabin without developing cabin fever, but Mike has to get out of the house daily, and sometimes he needs a good outing. The dogs are mostly the same way. They like to be outside, and occasionally they need to spend their pent-up energy. Well, the afternoon was nice enough that Mike invited Ken and me to hike with him at Hells Gate State Park in pursuit of a “virtual geocache.”

Geocaching Wiki defines a virtual cache as a type of geocache that involves gathering information at the cache site instead of finding a hidden container. I think it’s enough to say that we were answering questions about the spectacular basalt formations south of the park along the Snake River.

So, we parked at the lower end of the park and set out on foot in a southerly direction along a road that becomes a hiking trail. (We were directly across from Asotin on the other side of the river.) The dogs were elated! Bess and Pepper ran and cavorted while Nellie trotted along at her own pace, exploring here and there and staying out of the fray.

At one point the trail steepens but then descends right back to the river’s edge. And then I could see that we might have trouble approaching the cache site because the trail began to be muddy. Finally, it disappeared under water. To go on meant climbing through the scrubby vegetation.
“Are you thinking you can go farther?” I asked Mike. And he said he was.

“I’ll just wait here,” I volunteered and settled onto a large log to wait.

The woody vegetation was no problem for the dogs. All three of them went through easily. The humans had more trouble, and I knew I had made the right decision to wait. And – I didn’t have to wait long because in about three minutes here they came back. The trail was under water. 

I suppose we hiked a mile and a half out – and that’s a mile and a half back. One of the dogs found a tennis ball, and Bess and Pepper enjoyed bounding after it. We humans enjoyed pleasant conversation, which made the distance seem shorter. Ken described the trip he and Ginny are planning.

We dropped Ken and Pepper off, and then Mike wanted to see if he could spot the cache site from Asotin (the other side of the river). This photo shows the steep part of the trail from the other side of the river. KW

Thursday, March 23, 2017


“You’re losing your family,” a friend sadly noted.

Yes, it’s true. My sister Joni’s husband, Pat Nunan, passed away on Saturday, March 18, just four months after sister Harriet's unexpected passing,  It’s hard to face the fact that those I remember as young adults – getting married, establishing careers, having families, etc. – are now passing from this life. In a way, we can't complain. We had them with us a lifetime.

As we laid our Grandfather Portfors (Papa) to rest in December, 1971, it was Pat who remarked, “Everyone shifts up a generation now.” I have often thought of that. At 96, Papa was the last of our grandparents to leave, and with his passing my parents became the official elders of our family.

Pat -- quirky sense of humor
I thought Pat’s obituary said it so well: “His family remembers him best for his consistently sage advice, his quirky sense of humor and his calm, dependable support in any situation.” I don’t think I could summarize my memories of Pat any better than that.

Joni -- cute girl with a beautiful smile
The obit also observed that Pat married "a cute girl with a beautiful smile," Farrol Joan 'Joni' Walrath. It was June 11, 1956, and marriage happened for Joni and Pat just the way it was supposed to in that era. They both finished their educations, graduating from the University of Idaho and leaving campus to get married a week or so later. They found an apartment on the second floor of an old house in Moscow. Soon after, Pat began his banking career at First Security Bank and Joni taught school in Potlatch.

In my memories, registered when I was six, I see a lot of young adults, who are now our elders and gradually passing from our lives. Sometimes I wonder – how did we get here from there? Seems like yesterday, but someone told me it was a long time ago. KW

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Honestly, there could be a dead body here.

In the previous post, I spoke of geocaching with Mike on the Snake River near Chief Timothy Park. I captioned one of the pictures, “Honestly, there could be a dead body here.” The place stunk (fish smell) and we saw a tennis shoe. I thought it was an eerie place.

Well . . . in today’s Lewiston Tribune is the headline, “Body found in Snake River near Chief Timothy Park.” No, it really wasn’t the exact spot where we were. The body was found a mile or two further west, but my experience still seemed a bit prophetic. 
The remains, badly decomposed, have not yet been identified. If they have an inkling of who it might have been, they aren't saying at this time. KW

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Honestly, there could be a body here.

Late Friday afternoon (March 17) Mike invited me to accompany him to pick up a geocache near Chief Timothy on the Snake River.

“Let’s see,” I asked myself, “should I go geocaching, or should I exercise?” So, I said I’d go with him. Bess and Nell went, too.)

It had commenced to sprinkle a bit, but I took the camera anyway. As Mike logged the cache, a train came along, adding a bit more interest to the available photo ops.

Keep looking -- you'll find it.
Friday morning I reported to Bob, the appliance repair guy, that our dishwasher was running smoothly but leaking. He ordered a new sleeve for the wash motor and came back Saturday morning to install it. The dishwasher is now running and not leaking. Mike wonders how long it will last.

I remarked to Mike that we didn’t do well with this go-round of appliance purchases. I’d wanted them for years, but in the end, we acted too quickly. Nevertheless, it used to be that when we bought something new, we could expect it to be relatively problem-free until it began to wear out. Appliance selection was a matter of styling, features, or brand preference, and manufacturers wanted to please the consumer. This is no longer true.

Down river
Actually, I began to notice this phenomenon in the ‘70s and ‘80s with my parents’ appliance purchases. In the late ‘70s, Mother replaced her GE built-in double ovens, which had been trouble-free for 15 years, with a Thermador unit. She and my dad both liked to cook, and she thought they would enjoy this “upgrade.” So, she had her cabinets remodeled to fit the new Thermador ovens. Friends were thrilled to get her old ovens for their remodeling project.

Train comes into view
But – those Thermador ovens were lemons from the beginning, and what’s worse, there was no one in our little town – or our region – who would work on them. I felt so badly for her. Sometimes I think you just have to be philosophical about these things and buy again, but Mother wasn’t about to do that – just as Mike isn’t. She limped along for the rest of her years in that house with the situation the way it was.

My parents also replaced the coal furnace with an electric one, which was a spur of the moment decision made in frustration. Naturally, it was bad news when the electricity bill arrived. In an effort to heat more efficiently and economically, they bought a heat pump to recirculate the air – or whatever heat pumps do.
Train headed down the Snake River

“The air from this vent is cold!” I remarked one winter day when I was visiting.

“No it’s not,” Mother replied as she pulled on her sweater. “It just feels cold. It’s really warmer than it feels.” Hmmmm. Now, I could be in real trouble if I argued with Mother, so I said nothing. But I felt sorry for both of my parents spending winters in that cold house. In fact, nothing could be done. Those heat pumps were lemons from the beginning and the consumer was stuck, though my dad tried valiantly to find a fix.

I used to blame my parents’ problems on their ages, but now I’m not so sure. Neither repairman said, “Well, you know, at your ages, you just can’t expect things to work right for you.” But Bob, who has been in business since 1977, said quite a bit about today’s decline in quality and service. 

As Mike says, “Why can’t anything work right?!” KW