The cancer removal on my ear was scheduled for May 6. When the appointment was made last month, I thought the date was too far off but I was at the doc’s mercy. In addition to the ear, they told me earlier that I had loads of pre-cancerous lesions on the top of my head but they wanted two grand to remove them.

So last week, I bought a jug of liquid nitrogen for twenty bucks and instructed my wife to get to work on the noggin’. She needed more than a little urging but I finally prevailed. She must not have followed my instructions exactly because this is what I ended up with:

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This is not the first time I’ve self-medicated. Over the last month, I’ve gone through at least six gallons of liquid nitrogen and four or five lbs of dry ice in my pursuit of medical breakthroughs in precancerous lesions. You can see I’ve been a little successful by observing the patches of clear skin I’ve gotten.

But this time, I went too far. I told Michele to push harder and longer with each 350 degrees below zero application.

But with this aggressive treatment, I now had painful blisters. I usually operate on the adage that more is better. But not this time! The blisters you see are not the only ones. The back of my head looked like foxholes on Normandy Beach in World War II, AFTER the invasion.

Remembering that my appointment to have the cancer cut off my ear on May 6, I was shocked when I got a phone call on Friday informing me that they had had a cancellation and could take care of me Monday, April 8th at 2:30 pm.

I thanked the receptionist effusively, happy that the cancer was going bye bye before it had a chance to branch out. But then I realized that I had taken over the Derm Doctor’s job on the area where I part my hair. He wasn’t going to like it. Oh well, I wasn’t going to cancel the appointment just because the doc might think I was threatening his job with my new skin treatment angle.

So yesterday my blisters and I crawled into the pickup and headed for town. My sister Lisa and husband Todd (who is also fighting cancer) called me on the way in. She had seen my blisters and wondered what I was going to tell the doctor about them. I told her I was wearing a hat to hide the blisters.

“What if he tells you to take it off?” She asked. I was ready for that possibility. “I’m going to tell them my religion requires me to keep my head covered at all times. I’m also going to tell them that the round dark spots on the sides of face were birthmarks.” Lisa (with Todd in the background repeating her instructions) told me not to lie. “Just tell them the truth.”

I informed them I was telling the truth. Truthfully, my religion is partially about maintaining my self-esteem and keeping my head covered was required at the moment to do that. And I’d had the skin on the sides of my face since birth so technically, the birthmark line wasn’t a lie either.

“Don’t lie.” They chorused back.

“OK, so what should I do?” I asked.

“Tell him you got a really bad sunburn” Lisa replied.

“Oh, so you want me to lie?” I replied. I decided I would just stick with the hat, religion and birthmark angle. They laughed and we hung up.

I was still a little early for the appointment so I called the snakeskin office just to make sure I had the right time. This operation is fairly substantial, filling all three floors of the medical building. After giving my info to the receptionist, she said they had no record of me coming in on that day and I was still on tap for May 6.

I felt my blistered head rise in temperature. I restated the fact that they had called me last Friday and set the appointment for what I remembered as 2:30. She said they had not. I said they had. She said…

Well, you get the gist. I told her I was a block away and would be darkening their door in about 30 seconds.

I parked, put my hat on and cracked the sidewalk in several places as I stomped toward their building.

Walking in, I made a beeline to the desk. We had the exact same conversation we had just had on the phone. She inserted several times that they don’t do Moh’s Surgery in the afternoon so there was no way they had called last Friday.

On the outside, I was maintaining my firm viewpoint that they were mistaken. Inwardly, I started to wonder if maybe I had dreamed up that phone call and the moved-up-to-Monday appointment.

I decided it was time to go upstairs. “I want to talk to your supervisor” I insisted. She informed me that I literally did have to go upstairs to talk to her. I turned and headed for the stairs while she grabbed her phone to inform the supervisor about the bundle of trouble on the way up.

I have several levels of dialogue I employ in situations like this. They stretch from one to ten. I was on level six as I climbed the stairs to level three.

I finally made it to the third floor out of breath. This was not good as I lose some of my impressive conversation skills and powers of persuasion when I’m huffing and puffing and hanging on to the desk trying to breathe.

The chick in charge appeared and I steeled myself for the exchange. I knew that in the 15 minutes it had taken me to climb the two flights of stairs, everything had been communicated between level one and level three. I could tell by the look on her face that she knew all about me.

Just as I grabbed a breath to begin, she told me to follow her. I trailed her back into a room, still trying to grab some oxygen.

“We’ll operate on you here” She said kindly.

Right about then, I saw this sign on the wall. I was grateful I had kept my dialogue at level six instead of ratcheting it up to nine or ten.

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If I hadn’t I might have ended up in a straight jacket or jail cell instead of a far more friendly operating chair.

I forgot about breathing and started being amazed that the approach I often take had worked. It usually doesn’t and my wife always tells me it never does. But it must have. I was sitting in the op chair with my hat on.

A nurse appeared and asked for my hat.

“Can’t I keep it on?” I asked. “I’m not comfortable if my head’s not covered.”

She said she was sorry and grabbed my University of Virginia Law School cap. Little did she know one of my sons had attended the school in Charlottesville. Little did either of us know that a few hours later, Virginia would win the national college basketball championship. Or maybe she did and that’s why she wanted the hat.

When she saw my dome, she asked what had happened. I was tired of confrontation at that point so I just told her I was trying to save a few bucks and take care of the pre-cancerous lesions myself. She took the news better than I thought she would.

Soon, the doctor appeared and said “I’ve got to see this!” I thought he just wanted to see the guy who had been causing all the trouble. But when he zeroed in on the big bubble blister I was sporting, I realized he was sizing up his competition. He handled it quite well and said “Very interesting.”

The next couple of hours flew by, far better than I thought. I even started worrying what doctors do when they’re operating on a patient that they were at odds with. Do they start cutting perfectly good body parts out of the cantankerous curmudgeon to sell on the black market? Do they throw a bunch of bad bacteria or canker sores into the wound just so they can charge you more to fix it?

But it was great. Everyone was friendly and efficient. I especially liked the vibrator the doc put on my ear. My ear was shaking so much that I didn’t even feel the needle go in. I decided I’m going to buy a vibrator and use in whenever I get in a painful situation (which is quite often). I wonder if they make a vibrator case I can wear on my belt so I have it at all times. Whenever I break a bone, I’ll have the vibrator on hand to take the pain away. I might even be able to use it for a defibrillator since I’m sure sooner or later I’m going to need one.

They had to cut a chunk of skin off behind my ear to transplant on the jag they took off my ear.

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I have to admit. This is the best looking portrait I’ve ever had.

I drove home and told Michele the story. I was still amazed that I was able to walk in off the street and get operated on. This outfit was awesome. They screwed up and still made it right. I was glad they recognized the fact that I was not trying to scam them.

This morning, my phone rang. It was a recorded call stating that I had missed my dermatology appointment yesterday. I called them back. They told me the appointment I had requested last December and reaffirmed last Friday had been missed by me.

All of a sudden, everything cleared up. We were in Arizona for Christmas and I called up a couple of dermatology clinics in the Tri-Cities. They were booked up for several months. A few days later, one of them called and scheduled me for January. I called the other outfit back and cancelled, telling them that I had gotten in somewhere else. They said that was fine.

Then I went through the extended process previously outlined in this blog. When the cancelled clinic called me Friday, I just assumed it was the doctor I had been working with since January. I don’t know why they jumped back in and scheduled me for yesterday.

I guess I’ll just keep my mouth shut and leave things alone since my cancer is gone, I’m taken care of and never once told an untruth about my appointment and UVA hat all through yesterday’s events.

 

 

 

 

 

So I went to the doc a little over a week ago and he cut off a chunk of my ear. Said I would get a call if it was cancer. The week went by without a call. I was elated. Once again, I had beaten the odds.

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But yesterday my phone rang and guess who? A robocall. I called AT&T and lodged a complaint that I know will go nowhere and produce zilch-o results. I hung up, started a couple of augers and crawled inside a grain bin.

I felt a buzz in my pocket and saw it was another robo call. With the slight possibility it wasn’t, I answered.

It was the doctor’s office announcing I had cancer. The nurse could hardly hear me because of the noisy environment I was in. I could hardly hear her because I was immediately in shock and denial.

We scheduled an appointment for me to go in and they would start wacking away on my ear until they ran out of cancer. The situation was a bit disconcerting but like most of my last 8 years, I had corn running. The augers took my mind off the C word (cancer) and put it on the other C word (corn) for a bit.

When I finished inside the bin, I started thinking outside the bin about the implications. I probably wouldn’t have a problem if I hadn’t stirred up the growth (see a couple of posts ago) with my homemade remedies and turned it into a hornet’s nest. But now, like always, my theoretically ingenious solutions turn the smallest problems upside down into monster disasters.

Because of my primitive extraction methods, the basal cell carcinoma had probably moved out of it’s little apartment just above my earlobe and was moving into a big mansion named Ben.

Just because I made it mad. Bummer. I’ll throw in a picture I’ve already posted just so you remember how angry the little sucker looked.

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I decided I had better put my things in order. I’ll begin by first making my bed.

Then I’ll let my wife know of the recent developments and the fact that she better start looking around for a replacement. I always thought I’d go first but the odds pointed toward a sudden accident rather that a lingering demise.

Next, I better start once again cleaning up several properties I own that need a major spring cleaning. I don’t want to leave my wife and her new partner with messes that they’ll have no idea what to do with. I do not want to do anything that would mess up their honeymoon.

There’s no way her new husband will be as brilliant and ingenious as I in disposing of mass amounts of metal, rubber, spare parts and several hundred other classifications of truckloads of materials that I’ve paid through the nose for over the decades. I’m just grateful I’ve already spent several years (literally) in the clean-up mode. Maybe this will be my last project.

At the temple last night, I ran into a doctor friend who lost one of his ears in a car wreck a few years back. I informed him that soon I might look just like him. If I’m lucky.

If my doctor starts wacking on my ear and doesn’t hit non-cancerous ear material before he runs into my head, I’ll have an important decision to make.

Should I tell him to keep going? At this point, I think he should. I’ll tell him to not put the brakes on with his turkey-carving implement until about the halfway point which is an invisible center line of where the tip of my nose is located. This isn’t what I’d prefer but might prove beneficial in several ways…

  • I’ll lose some weight
  • Hopefully, the portion of my brain that brings about some of my goofy decisions will be gone. If that portion is on the other side, I’m in trouble.
  • Since half of my mouth will be non-existent, this will probably cut down on my food consumption. Maybe I’ll finally get back down to my desired healthy weight of 180 or so.

Last night I ran into another friend who asked about my ear injury. I told her the details which brought on some alarm. I calmed her by saying at this point it could very well be a non-catastrophic incident. But then as I left, I said “Ta-Ta for now. It’s been nice knowing you.” I guess maybe I’ll start using those lines as my parting words whenever I talk to a friend.

I’m glad our county has just elected a coroner who is a good friend of mine. I have peace of mind knowing that he’ll keep people from desecrating my corpse, at least until it is six feet under. After that, let the dancing begin.

At least I won’t have to scramble around and write my life story. In fact, I’ve got scads of boxes of Recovering Idiot that probably won’t be gone before I am. Maybe Michele can save some money on funeral programs and pass out books.

May 6 is the day they start chipping and excavating. Wish me luck.

I’m going to bypass tradition and start at the last of today and work backwards toward this morning.

Stopping at Winco in Richland this evening, I got a wild hair to see if this outfit would sell my book. I moseyed on over to the customer service/alcohol dispensary and asked for the manager. The lady called for Chris to hasten thither. I stood and waited. A guy came out of a side door and headed my way. I figured maybe it was Chris. I took a step sideways to try to get a better visual angle at his name tag. Suddenly I heard a very loud tinkling kind of crash in very close proximity to my location.

My sidestep had taken my body mass toward a multi-layered shelf full of liquor and other adult beverages. My heart sank as I realized I might be paying for a sizable quantity of booze without the benefit of inebriation.

Every bottle and can on all three rows was overturned, hanging over the sides and just generally looking drunk. I began grabbing those items that looked like they were ready to hit the floor. A Winco employee ran over and we started standing all the containers back up.

I muttered to the guy that I was sorry and ended by telling him that as always, me and alcohol just didn’t get along. Not a drop was spilled.

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Chris showed up shortly after. He couldn’t help me but referred me to Never Never Land, just like all the other chain stores have done. It’s also known as the home office.

Just before Winco, I continued my book crusade by stopping in at a Bible bookstore in the Uptown shopping center. Just before that, I stopped in at another Bible bookstore in Kennewick. Both establishments were nice to me but I felt like a fish out of water since they were Christian bookstores. This may be a surprise to some of you but I’m also a Christian, specifically a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

I’m aware of a few of the rather stark differences between the two camps, especially from their point of view. For this reason, as I shared a brief synopsis of the book contents, I did a full disclosure and notified them the flavor and brand of the church I attend. I didn’t want them misled.

Neither threw me out. Both suggested I leave a book and their manager would let me know. As I walked out, I wondered how long it would take them to throw it in the dumpster.

Prior to the religious stops, I stopped at the Bookworm. The owner told me to leave a box of books and she’d see how they moved. She didn’t throw me out either. Before I got out of the store, a lady bought one of the books I’d just dropped off. I saw the owner’s right eyebrow go up about an inch and a half.

Pre-Bookworm, I stopped in at Ranch and Home. I left a box of books there in December but they got shoveled into an area that looked like a salesman’s outer darkness. It just didn’t seem like a good merchandising spot to me. I figured the entire stock I had left would be waiting for me to carry them back out when I returned.

I walked to the aisle they were in before. Everything was changed. I walked around. I asked employees. No one knew a thing. Finally I found Elvira, the sweet lady I had left them with.

“Where’s the books?” I asked. “They’re all gone.” She answered. I argued with her and then told her to quit playing with me. She repeated again that they were gone.

I was shocked. She said they sold out  a month ago but didn’t know how to get in touch with me. It was cool. I danced a little jig with her and then carried two more cases of books in and restocked their shelves. This time, the books went in a much better location. All in all, it was a pleasant surprise.

Earlier, I dropped two more boxes off at Country Mercantile. This book deal isn’t dead yet.

And now, for the highlight of the day. I hit the dermatology clinic for a look at my ear. The doc said “Yeah, we gotta get that thing off.” I asked him what it was. I was hoping for something like a benign cyst or a mad freckle. He said “It looks to me like basal cell cancer.”

Now this is the first time anyone has ever accused me of having cancer. I didn’t know how to react. He didn’t act like it was a big deal which sort of set my mind at ease. That is until I thought of my dear brother-in-law Todd who is in the fight of his life with cancer right now. That got me a little stirred up.

He said “We’ll send it to the lab. If we send you a letter in three or four weeks, you don’t have cancer. If we call you before that, then we’ve got a problem.”

I was a little bothered but then decided that I would take steps to alleviate the entire situation.

I just won’t answer my phone if they call me. I am so grateful for smart phones so I don’t have to guess who the caller is.

I just hope I didn’t get things too stirred up with the Basal crew when I liquid nitrogened, bread tie strangled, dental flossed and toothpick winched up the mound of them and then lastly, stuck the dry ice on their home base for a good fifteen minutes. Them Basal’s are tough.

I’ll be praying for a letter instead of a phone call.

Stay tuned.

I’ve made a post or two that hasn’t notified my Facebook friends. You might look back at past posts just in case you missed something. I flipped a couple of switches and hopefully fixed the problem. Now for a long overdue post…

Two things are certain. This is my first post in a month, too, Or three.

Secondly,  this is going to make a few of you sick and the rest of you queasy.

A year or two ago I started noticing a bump appearing on my ear. It kept getting bigger and bigger. Several people called it a goiter. Goiters emanate from thyroids. Since my thyroid isn’t in my earlobe, it ain’t a goiter. I guess it must be an earitator.

Finally, after getting sick of being called a goiter carrier, I decided I better get it checked. In another couple years, it is on track to be as big as my head. Besides that, it could be cancerous.

Being an inventor, always taking things into my own hands and mostly because I hate paying outrageous fortunes to the medical profession for goiter removal, I decided to take it on. Myself.

I bought three gallons of liquid nitrogen and gave it the cold treatment. Didn’t do a thing.

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The above scaley photo is what the earitator looked like after I froze it down to 340 degrees below zero. It was tough. No contraction. No reduction. No satisfaction. My apologies for the excess skin and baby whiskers.

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A few days later after no visible change from the liquid nitrogen, I decided to break out the big guns and found a loaf of bread wire twister upper. After tearing the middle part off, I wrapped the wire around the goiter wannabe. All it did was make it mad. It got red and really started thumping me with pain.

Not only was the goiter look alike mad, but the pain made my entire ear and face get red.

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It got to hurting so bad I released the wire tourniquet after a sleepless night and took a softer approach. My ear and face returned to their natural color but the goiter was still ticked. Floss and half a toothpick later, I had the goiter lassoed and choked down with a friendlier noose made of plastic. It still hurt and was redder than ever.

A day and a half later, after looking sideways at everybody I met so they wouldn’t see my just-invented medical device and steal my idea, I took it off. The pain was intense and I was almost at the end of my flossy rope.

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Goiter was mad. What more could I do? I had hoped he would fall off but my pain threshold was maxed out. Now I had a dark red bulb on my ear. I now know exactly how Rudolph felt.

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The next day was church. I did not want to mingle among the masses and be called Rudolph and Goiter in the same sentence. So I had Michele apply some of her makeup.

Now I looked like all the women in church. Nobody called me Rudy or Goit. Everybody called me Ben so I know it worked. It was surprising they didn’t call me Benita.

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I had one card left. Dry ice. Dry ice isn’t as cold as liquid nitrogen but it’s still chilly–100 degrees below zip. I bought two pounds of nuggets and stuck those suckers on this tough bump. For a good fifteen solid minutes. About halfway through, I called up some Google images about dry ice injuries.

People who have put their skin in contact with dry ice for more than a few seconds end up with severe blisters and injuries. This new info kinda scared me. I started having visions of a old guy looking a lot like me sporting a large gauge hole in his ear, just like the young folk do for decoration.

But Goiter was tough. I froze him many times over. He turned a little white and spit out some blood but was still there, bumpier and redder than ever. After 2 lbs of dry ice, I gave up and called the doctor.

I’m going in tomorrow and do it their way. I hope they don’t ask why the bump is so mad.

I’m going to try to get all the bang I can get for my buck. I’m going to see if they will sign me up for disability payments since my right earlobe has been rendered pretty much useless. If they won’t do that, maybe they’ll give me a handicapped sticker for my car.

If they don’t do that, I’m going to leave, pretty ear-i-tated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Finally, after months of silence, a post and then another.
Sorry. Ben Been Busy. Here you go…
If you’ve read my book, you know that at one point in my life I was broke, homeless, without a phone and Sleepless in Seattle. It was not a good time. Luckily, I was able to avoid freezing to death, broke the downward cycle and returned to my home. It made me much more emphatic for those who are down on their luck and without a casa.
So this morning, having been released several months ago from being the Ward Mission Leader in my local ward, I decided I would write up a short account of what happened over the past year. I didn’t do this on my own. I keep getting emails from the powers that be requesting this info.
First off, I needed the names of the young missionaries who have served in our ward. The young Elders live with us and yet I can barely keep up with their names, let alone remember the guys who were here six months ago. And after just yesterday having forgotten where I had left my primo pickup for the last 2 weeks, I knew there was no way I could remember all the names.
I decided I would go right to the source and contact the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Mission office. I looked for their phone number and noticed that there were some Google Reviews attached to the Kennewick Mission website.
I decided to check out the reviews. I saw they were all 5 stars except for a 1 star review. I wondered about the one star so I clicked on the disgruntled reviewer. Here’s what I found…
Washington Kennewick Mission
8202 W Quinault Ave, Kennewick, WA 99336 
Not an overnight mission
 
I chuckled, realizing that the guy had probably found the “mission” in the phone book, walked or drove at least a few miles and then couldn’t find a bed in the place and for sure no coffee on the stove. From his point of view, they deserved just one star.
I feel for the guy as I can tell he struggles. In fact, I helped out a homeless guy for several months one winter by providing room and board for him. He was happy for a roof over his head and I was happy I owned a roof.
And even though the LDS “mission” couldn’t help him, they do have avenues of assisting folks like him.  The LDS Church gives tens of millions each year in helping people and communities down on their luck.
It’s just that their idea of a mission and this homeless guy’s idea of a mission are not in the same ballpark.
I then decided to check out his other reviews and comments. They show a tale of sadness and humor, telling his story from his point of view via the stars and comments.
Chiawana Park
2020 Rd 88, Pasco, WA 99301 
Restrooms are locked
 
Smoke City For Less
1057A George Washington Way, Richland, WA 99352 
Response from the owner a year ago
I think you are talking about the koko nuggz which are chocolate jars (a gag gift item that looks like weed). We do not sell weed at any of our locations. The chocolate on the other hand is very tasty 🙂
McCurley Integrity Chevrolet Parts
1325 N Autoplex Way, Pasco, WA 99301 
Paid for a part I didn’t want and didn’t get my refund
 
Metro by T-Mobile
3600 W Clearwater Ave Ste D, Kennewick, WA 99336 
Unlimited data for $50 a month
 
Zintel Canyon
Kennewick, WA 99336 
Can’t sleep there
 
Rodeway Inn
1520 N Oregon Ave, Pasco, WA 99301 
Applied for a job. Didn’t get hired and got moved to a room with a broken bed
 
Washington Kennewick Mission
8202 W Quinault Ave, Kennewick, WA 99336 
Not an overnight mission
 
Safeway
2825 W Kennewick Ave, Kennewick, WA 99336 
High prices and a security guard that makes you leave at night
 
Albertsons
5204 W Clearwater Ave, Kennewick, WA 99336 
Poor selection
 
REACH Museum
1943 Columbia Park Trail, Richland, WA 99352 
Heated restroom. No soap on the dispenser
 
Chipotle Mexican Grill
1102 N Columbia Center Blvd, Kennewick, WA 99336 
Good food. High prices
 
McDonald’s
1409 N Kellogg St, Kennewick, WA 99336 
Can’t even get a burger for $1
 
Tri-City Union Gospel Mission
112 N 2nd Ave, Pasco, WA 99301 
Spat out the undercooked chicken and walked out so I didn’t have to kill a man
 
Gold’s Gym
151 N Ely St, Kennewick, WA 99336 
The water stinks just like all the water in the city and I couldn’t even get a hot shower
 
A-Z Auto Repair LLC
1401 W Kennewick Ave, Kennewick, WA 99336 
Paid $800 to fix my coolant system when I only paid $450 for the car. Now I’m burning oil
 
Yoke’s Fresh Market – Kennewick
1410 W 27th Ave, Kennewick, WA 99337 
Smelled like a toilet
 
Columbia Point Marina Park
Riverfront Trail, Richland, WA 99352 
The restrooms are locked
 
Perfect Circle Construction
6320 W Clearwater Ave, Kennewick, WA 99336 
Minimum wage
 
McCurley Integrity Mazda
1230 North Autoplex Way, Pasco, WA 99301 
I paid for a part I didn’t want and never got a refund after returning it
 
Keewaydin Park
204 W Keewaydin Dr, Kennewick, WA 99336 
The restrooms we’re locked just like every other restroom in the city parks
 
Unemployment Tax Services
4310 W 24th Ave, Kennewick, WA 99338 
You can’t apply for unemployment in the office and the website kicks you out too soon. When you call you can’t get through to talk to anybody
 
Vintner Square
Richland, WA 99352 
Wildhorse Resort & Casino
46510 Wildhorse Blvd, Pendleton, OR 97801 
It’s nice when you can win. Other than that I wasn’t impressed
 
Green2Go Recreational 21+
214307 E SR 397, Kennewick, WA 99337 
Got weed that tasted like piss and they wouldn’t take it back
 
Santiago Estates Cherry Hill
2917 W 19th Ave, Kennewick, WA 99337 
Fiesta Foods
115 S 10th Ave, Pasco, WA 99301 
A-1 Automotive & Repair
620 E 3rd Ave, Kennewick, WA 99336 
$800 to fix my coolant system when I paid $450 for the car. They better live up to their lifetime warranty
 
Yachats State Recreation Area
Yachats State Park, Yachats, OR 97498 
Atomic Foods
1212 N 4th Ave, Pasco, WA 99301 
Smells like meth
 
Finders Insurance
3400 W Clearwater Ave, Kennewick, WA 99336 
Safeway
1616 W Northwest Blvd, Spokane, WA 99205 
Motel 6 Tumwater – Olympia
400 Lee St SW, Tumwater, WA 98501 
McDonald’s
2721 W Kennewick Ave, Kennewick, WA 99336 
The food was good and the children survived so it was a good day