Let It All Fall Down - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

May 6, 2020

Let It All Fall Down

Shady characters

Today was interesting.  Before reviewing it though, let’s pick up on something I omitted yesterday: we have masks!  We didn’t really worry about this much in John Day because there were so few people and encounters, and almost no one wore them in public.  Here though, the scene is different and more sober.  Masks are commonly seen, if not yet universally worn.  We decided we needed to acquire some, but where?  

We messaged our host upstairs, and she promptly brought a pair that somebody had sewn for them downstairs and dropped them on the table outside our door.  Nice!

Mine is frustrating though - or rather, I’m frustrating.  I apparently have defective ears, with a shape that won’t hold the mask on.  Within three seconds of wearing the mask the straps start pulling forward and flop over my ears.   We had to hurry to take the photo below before the mask fell off again.  Not sure what to do at this point, since I don’t think cosmetic elective ear surgery is allowed yet here in Washington.

Would you trust either of these shady characters? No, I didn’t think so.
Heart 1 Comment 6
Gregory GarceauI've started wearing a mask (bandana over my face) to the grocery store. This morning I asked The Feeshko, "Do I look like some kind of bandit?"

"Yes, you do," she responded.
"Good. That was the look I was going for."

Scott, were you going for the Hannibal Lecter look?
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Gregory GarceauCould be! I like this - they conceal so much. A shame I can’t breathe though.
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3 weeks ago
Jen GrumbyClassy!

Have you seen the updates on Oregon.gov?

Sounds like masks will be required more frequently. I still feel it's unnecessary to wear them outside where we are .. just not that many people out and about and pretty easy to maintain distance.
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyWe have been following Oregon’s news. So far at least our state is really cropping up as one of the stars. The whole west coast and its sane trio of governors should just secede. Build a Wall!!
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3 weeks ago
Susan CarpenterGo Cougs!

I envy those with sane governors!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Susan CarpenterBack when I was in college at the UW, we tended to be dismissive of the ‘cow colleges’, as we called them then. It looks like a great place to get an education to me now though. And what a stylish logo!
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2 weeks ago

A trip to the Safeway

It’s a wild day today: significant rain is in the forecast and there’s a strong wind advisory, with gusts to 40 mph.  Biking is out of the question, since we have the option of just sitting it out.  We’ll do errands, starting with Rachael’s early morning trip to the Safeway.  We’ll let her tell us how it went: 

I went shopping at Safeway at 6:30, driving about 3 miles in pouring rain and heavy winds.  I had a very full cart with a lot of great food we haven’t been able to get.  I was checking out when I realized I’d forgotten my wallet.  The very helpful clerk was able to save the transaction and keep the groceries in a cart so once I could pay I just had to check with him.  I had my phone so I tried to set up Google Pay at the store.  It seemed to work but when the transaction was processed, it was rejected for suspicious activity.  I called Scott and had him call the credit card company.  They said they fixed it but then it rejected again.  The store then put the groceries in a walk-in refrigerator while I drove back to the bnb and got my wallet.  

On the way back to the store 
I noticed I didn’t have enough gas to make it back so I got gas at Safeway before getting the groceries.  It was self serve and it was very cold, rainy and windy.  My debit card, not the credit card that was rejected, was denied twice at the pump so I went inside to pay and it was rejected again so I used still a different card.  It turns out the card had expired.  I went to pay and get the groceries, which went great because of the great staff!  

When I got back home, Scott called the credit card company again and it turns out that the only way to get the account restored was to provide several documents including a social security card for Scott which he doesn’t have, so we canceled the card.  I then called about the debit card and found out it had been mailed to the wrong address so they are sending a new one to Elizabeth’s address.  I also applied for a new credit card with the same credit card company we have a second card with that will also be delivered to Elizabeth.  This is why you should always have multiple cards and you should make sure you have your wallet before going shopping.  I guess I should have had coffee before going to the store!  I didn’t get home with my groceries until after 9 AM.

So this was a disaster.  3 hours to go to the grocery store, ending with two invalid credit cards.  Rachael doesn’t go into how frustrating it was to try to get our Capitol One card unlocked.  I couldn’t quite believe they really needed me to provide my social security card to prove my identity.  I haven’t carried it for decades.  I asked if an alternative documentation was possible, such as my passport, but no.  They helpfully suggested that I could contact SSA for a replacement, which I imagine would just fly right now.  We finally just gave up and decided to cancel the card and take our business elsewhere.

Rachael also didn’t mention that this left us with the tedious chore of contacting all the organizations we make automated payments to through this card so that we can give them new payment information.  It’s amazing how many of these there are - utilities, websites, magazines, charities.  Our list is up to 29, and I suspect we’re still missing a few.  We got through to about a third of them today, but we’ll be at it awhile.

Did you ever read or see Bonfire of the Vanities?  Or see the film Meek’s Crossing?  It feels like one of those horror shows.  Take one wrong turn, make a wrong decision, drive through the wrong neighborhood, and your life is ruined.

Heart 1 Comment 8
Steve Miller/GrampiesI think most cycle tourists will have a credit card horror story. Our own favourite one involves French HSBC. They were geared up, in the normal way, to send the replacement for an expiring card to our home in Canada. But we were in France. The only way they would vaguely consider changing this was for us to send a FAX (FAX?) to our branch in Paris. By the way, with HSBC, if you type in the PIN wrong three times - three times ever, over months or years, the card is dead and nothing, nothing can revive it!
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3 weeks ago
Rachael AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesThat’s amazing that after 3 times of typing the pin wrong the card is dead! I definitely won’t be getting that card.
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3 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanMeek's Cutoff - a great film, filmed in eastern Oregon.
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanOh, right - Cutoff, not Crossing. It was a great film. And filmed in Oregon, authentically. The trail ran not that far south of where we were biking in John Day. I was reminded of it when I was reading up on the Harney Basin.

An interesting fact: James Terwilliger came across on the Cutoff. His wife also was in his party, but died in the crossing.
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3 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanThis was an awfully frustrating day for you both I'm sure but for some reason reading this made me laugh out loud several times. So, for what it's worth, thank you.

Years ago Andrea and I had our cards frozen for some stupid reason when we were in Luang Prabang, Laos. The credit card company wouldn't deal with it online and told us we had to call them on the phone. We didn't have phones. In those days calling from Laos on any phone was next to impossible. We spent many days and lots of money using a travel agent's phone just trying to get through, which, finally Andrea did, but not me. It was right at the beginning of a 4.5 month trip but I was able to go without a credit card. Very frustrating ordeal. I think we all have stories like this. It was just your turn.
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3 weeks ago
Jen GrumbyUgh! What a frustrating day! Sorry you went through this and hope you an trudge through the rest of the auto-pay updates quickly.

Maybe all of our bad weather and extreme tire mishaps helped prevent credit card fiascos on Undaunted Porridge (?)
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyFrustrating, but good for a laugh. We only included it so people will feel sorry for us. We’re feeling guilty about having such a good time in these dire times, and needed a bit of adversity.
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanYou and Andrea win. That’s a way worse horror story. Today’s was just The latest in a long series of plastic money fiascos, including the time last fall when the ATM ate our card in Moura, Portugal. It’s why we’re always wrapped with multiple layers of backup protection now.
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3 weeks ago

A trip to the Emergency Room

So the great credit card fiasco consumed most of the day.  At least it wasn’t a riding day and we’d have been just sitting around the house anyway, but still.   By mid-afternoon though we broke away from all that fun and dialed up our friend Lynn for a lengthy conversation to discuss the dismal state of the world.  Afterwards, noting that the skies had cleared up, we decided to step out for a stroll through the neighborhood.

Until Rachael looked down and noticed that blood was sleeping through the wrappings on my injured leg.  We opened me up, and sure enough I’m bleeding noticeably.  Alarming, and the first time this has happened since the date of the attack.  I call the hospital in Moscow, find that the Wound Clinic is closed for the day, and then after tightly rerapping my leg to stop the bleeding I drive over to Moscow to visit the emergency room.

As usual, I receive excellent care.  By chance, the doctor on call this evening is the director of the wound center so I feel confident I’m in the right hands.  Naturally the bleeding has stopped in the meantime, but he assures me that I did the right thing in coming in.

They irrigate the wound, scrub it down, and have me flex my leg various ways to put the wound under tension and make it bleed again.  Nothing works, and the bleeding doesn’t resume.  A good thing, obviously.  He has some theories about what happened.  As he noted in the instructions he sent home with me, “the wound now has what is called hyper granulation tissue.  This is friable and bleeds pretty easily.  A little bit is okay, and should go away in 20 minutes with elevation and pressure.”  He also gives me his personal cell phone number so I can call him if something more serious happens, but he thinks I should be fine.

All in all though, not the best day.  Tomorrow will be better.

Let It All Fall Down

Sing a song for the Wrong/And the Wicked and the Strong/And the Sick, as thick as thieves/For the faceless fear that was never so near/Too  clear to misbelieve . . .

Let it fall down, let it fall down/Let it all fall down/Let it fall down, let it fall down/Let it all fall down.

My friend Frank, who regularly sends me songs I’m sure he hopes will make their way into one of Rocky’s videos some day, passed this one along this morning.  It’s one I’ve never heard before, but it so fits the frustrations of the day and the enraging state of our country right now that it seemed fitting to share it today.  It was written during the Watergate Era, and feels as timely now as it must have back then.

And, it’s from his album Walking Man.  Since there’s no cycling activity to report today, that’s fitting too.

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Comment on this entry Comment 6
Bob DistelbergI have to say that the first time I went into a supermarket with a buff pulled up over my face, I felt extremely self-conscious, kind of like I was getting ready to rob he place. Fortunately, once I got inside and saw (as best as I could through my foggy glasses) that the majority of the people were masked, I felt a little better.

Now, three or four weeks later, it looks very odd to see even a single person in the store without a mask. How quickly we adjust.

Incidentally, I have one ear that seems to have a similar problem. Must be lack of muscle tone...
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bob DistelbergMuscle tone! Of course. I haven’t been keeping up with my ear wiggling exercises. Thanks for the tip.
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3 weeks ago
Jen GrumbyYeeesh, you two!

That should be enough adversity for your stay in Pullman.

Hope this hyper granulation phase of healing is brief and that it doesn't cause any more trouble!

As for the mask .. if you have a mini-bungees and a spring loaded cord lock you can fasten the 2 ear cords together and tighten behind your head. Ron will send a photo of his mask.
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyThanks for the tip! We were thinking staples, but this does sound better.
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3 weeks ago
Rachael AndersonTo Jen GrumbyGreat idea! Unfortunately we don’t have a spring load cord; however, I always have multiple safety pins of different sizes and had one I couldn’t put on the back of the mask. Hopefully, it won’t come open and stick him in the head. Fortunately, he very rarely will need to use I and he also has a bandanna.
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3 weeks ago
Susan CarpenterQuite the day! I'm glad everything ended heading in a more positive direction.
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2 weeks ago