Went to town today to get some supplies; mostly stuff for mounting our solar panels and also ingredients for haupia (google it). Not being in any particular hurry, we rode the 11:13 bus way up to the north end of the line and then partway back again before we got off. This was mostly just an excuse to visit with Perry, one of the bus drivers who we haven't seen often enough since she started working half-days. Of course, if her half-days were afternoons instead of mornings maybe we'd see her more.
Anyway, we went to Fred Meyer's and got a few groceries and then to Pro-Build to get the solar panel mounting hardware. Then we walked to the bank to get three rolls of quarters. Quarters, when you're living in a marina, are like gold. I've been known to leave a dollar tip when $0.75 would have been plenty just to hang on to my quarters. You need them for the washing machine and dryer as well as for the showers. At a buck a load to wash, another buck to dry and $0.75 for 5 minutes of hot water in the shower, we go through quarters pretty darn fast.
Now, it might seem like these errands are why we went to town in the first place. But that would be wrong. We went for 2 reasons: to visit with Perry and to partake of the the Uptown Pub's Taco Tuesday (2 for $1). So after our shopping that is where we went.
The bar was sort of crowded when we got there but there were a couple of stools at the end. Just as we were about to sit down, a guy came out of the bathroom and was obviously about to leave with his girlfriend(?) thus freeing up two better stools. Lulu asked him if they were leaving and he said "yes" but first he wanted to say hello to "her brother" (that'd be me). He shook my hand, squeezing way too hard as some guys are wont to do. Then he wanted a hug. Uh? Well, it's usually easier to just go along with drunks so I said, "well, I guess so". He then hugged me WAY WAY too tight and whispered something in my ear. At that point I shoved him away and said something like "Enough". His girlfriend(?) apologized for him and he asked her what he did wrong. "Did I hug too tight?" And then they left. Drama over. Listening to the chatter at the bar, I wasn't the first person he apparently took to. There was a nice young red-headed kid with lots of tattoos and apparently this guy was insistent on comparing tattoos. Everyone was glad when he left. According to Garth, the bartender, the guy was usually drunk or drugged and had just recently gotten out of "the joint". He kidded the red-haired kid that he probably just missed his red-headed cellmate. This was not so funny when I thought about the fact that he hugged me, showing no interest in Lulu at all. Creepy. (Though I'm really glad he didn't want to hug Lulu. He'd have crushed her.)
The rest of the visit to the Uptown went well. The tacos were just those simple hard-shell Taco Bell types, but for $0.50 each and with enough salsa, they were a damn fine lunch. The conversation got more fun after the ex-con left. Lots of shuckin' and jivin' and general kidding around. We even learned from the red-headed kid about a low-key reggae festival down around Marcola (near Eugene) in early August. Lucas, are you listening?
All in all, as the title says, the good outweighed the bad and the ugly (which just happened to be rolled up in one guy). We're just glad we got there when he was leaving instead of earlier.
By the way, I have a question for the braintrust that reads this blog. Garth brought out this gizmo that he couldn't identify and was soliciting ideas as to what it was for. I didn't have my camera so I couldn't get a picture but here's the description:
There's a slightly rounded bronze saddle with a double hook on each end. On one hook a chain is attached. The chain can be attached at any link, thus determining how long the working part is. The other end of the chain terminates in a threaded rod that comes up through a double hook on the other end of the saddle. A wingnut on the rod allows the chain to be tightened. So, you have a rigid device with a chain that can be wrapped around a pipe of various sizes and then tightened down. In the middle of the saddle there is a threaded hole. An air valve, like you find on a tire, has been threaded into the hole. Between the bottom of the saddle and the pipe (if that's what the chain is wrapped around) is a rubber gasket.
My idea: In the event that you have a pipe that needs to be repaired but has no shut-off valve and also no way to empty it, you need a way to stop the flow of water long enough to make the repair. So, you drill a hole in the pipe upstream of where the repair needs to be made. The hole corresponds in size to the size of the threaded hole in the saddle. You then place the saddle over the drilled hole (which is spewing water), wrap the chain around it, adjusting length for the size of the pipe, and then tighten the whole shebang down with the wing nut. You then either inject air through the valve to create an airlock in the line or maybe CO2 to freeze the water in the line (would that even work?), creating a temporary plug.
Any other ideas? Garth said it was an adjustable collar for airheads who were running a little low on air and needed to be topped off. He might be right.