Party Time

July 3, 2022

Yesterday actually lasted until early today. It has been quite a while since I have willingly been up so late. And completely undocumented.

The day had many parts.

Part 1. Morrning. Watering the raspberries, strawberries and tomatoes. Coffee. A brief look at a newspaper. All normal. Then picking up, straightening, putting out guest hand towels, and making a list of a few still needed items. Shopping for said items. Set up screen in the yard (see prior post). Locate plates, napkins and utensils for later.

Part 2. Afternoon. Take Carl and Dennis down for the Mariners game and drop them off. Return home. Set up chairs in the backyard. Do a little work.

Watch the Mariners tie the game in the eighth and win in the ninth. The best part about the ninth was, with runners at 1st and 3rd and one out, the As had the infielders drawn in for a double play PLUS brought an outfielder into the infield too. And Raleigh , Mariner catcher, hit the ball into the ground, it bounced over the pitcher’s head and two of the 5 infielders went for it and one misplayed it off of his glove. The ball never left the infield, and even with 6 defensive players there were no outs recorded.

Early evening. The boys return from the Mariners game. Tables arranged on the deck, dishes for serving food chosen, and snacks set out. The biggest effort here was setting up the projector to run the films. There was a misstep, literally, that pulled out a cord from an end piece. Dennis, intent on fixing the issue, requested a soldering iron – which we did not have, followed by super glue – which we did. Running extension cords is always interesting. It requires leaving the door to the basement open, and still a few feet short of our goal. And then a three prong end required, which our short extra extension cord did not have. I know we have an adapter, but I could not find it. Finally remembered we have all of these short extensions called surge strips, with multiple 3 prong receptacles. Set up finally completed.

People arrive. A smaller group than many years, but all interested and engaged. Food is brought – pulled pork, corn bread and coleslaw. I ate more than I should have. Lots of talking. And finally the sun was low enough.

Evening. Film show. 3 films. The first was from the 40s I think, teaching kids proper baseball form. The second was from 1984, featuring the San Diego Chicken. The chicken was about as much baseball as there was, although a ballpark was the scene for him being late for work. The film was about the high price of energy, describing how higher prices change you buying habits, supply and demand, and finding alternatives. There were some cute touches, like the Chicken’s home/coup. And carpooling in a truck loaded with other chickens in crates. The third film got back to baseball, showing pitching styles and tips featuring 3 major league pitchers. Newhouser of the Tigers is the only name I can recall. Probably because he was one of Rey’s friends great uncle.

Late evening. Mingling and talking. And more film watching… inside. One of our guests, Mark Handley, filmed a lot of footage of friends at the Kingdome, at senior league games and elsewhere. He has recently loaded the raw footage onto an external hard drive. He brought it over and plugged his computer into our TV. Viewing our much younger selves was a hoot, and carried us well past midnight. We only stopped because none of us thought an all-nighter was a good idea. One of the parts we watched was the last baseball game in the Kingdome in 1999. One of the few pictures I took showed Carl and Rey, engaged in baseball talk during the pregame.

Carl, Rey, and one of the Hasslemania boys

Late night. Bringing the important bits inside.

Early morning. Bringing the less important bits, that you don’t want rained on too much, inside.

Still to do. Take the screen apart and put the chairs away. And deal with leftovers.

It was fun. And it may be one of the last backyard baseball shows. Dennis is the driving force and continues to push forward, but is slowing down here and there. Maybe I am wrong, and we’ll still be seeing his films in 5 years.

Putting it together

June 26, 2022

Yesterday’s chores were plant centric. Today’s were tool centric.

First up was a new coffee table. We have been using the table we had for the kids when they were small. Not the small chairs, although I can get my hips into them. But the table. Based on the kid’s ages, it is well over 30 and well used. We will not be getting rid of it, just relocating. The new table has a lift top, and a bit of storage space underneath. Magazines come to mind.

Before cleaning up the detritus from the packaging.

The base was put together last night. It went fairly smoothly until the last step when one of their pre-drilled holes did not quite line up. The last step was adding hinges and placing the top. We waited until the morning to attack it with a clear head. Definitely a 2 person job, and 3 would have been even better. And the first attempt we put it on backwards! But it is now done and functional.

And the cleanup of packing materials filled our garage bin for the first time in a while.

The second build took us outside into the hot sun. We reassembled a “screen” for movies in the backyard. Our projectionist friend is coming up next weekend for some baseball, and to put on his mostly annual backyard baseball film festival.

On its back for now. Less than 45 minutes from garage to completion

This is the 3rd year for this screen. After year 1 I made some pencil notes on the pieces. Year 2 I made more specific notes, in pen, so there would be no confusion on which piece went where. There are only 7 pieces, but it only works one way.

After recovering from the heat doing more mundane financial chores we ventured out for a walk. The breeze and shade here and there made it bearable for us northwestern hot weather wimps. And to avoid adding more heat into the house we got takeout Thai Crispy Chicken. Mmmm.

Off Kilter

June 25, 2022

How I feel today. Life goes on, but with clouds on the clearest, warmest day of the year.

Yesterday a coworker bore the brunt of my anger. I did calm down, and apologized then and again today.

We went to the Ballard FC soccer game last night. USL Division 2. Carl wore his pussy hat. I wore my pride hat. He got more compliments.  And Ballard FC won, it was a fun game, and good distraction from the news of the day.

Today’s distraction was yard work. After months of rain, the dry has arrived. Weeding was foremost last week, and pruning. Carl dead headed our 3 rhododendrons. That chore is done, but so much pruning still awaits. I also started building a cage around our strawberry plants. Last year the 3 plants we planted had a few, and they were all eaten by critters. I want a harvest, even if it is modest.

Fenced

This morning I charged the battery on the hedge trimmer. But I got distracted by other plant needs. We picked up 2 tomato plants at the farmers market. It’s a bit late, but I am a fair weather gardener and Junuary kept me out of the garden.

Worked some new soil into the planter, planted and watered. One looks a bit scraggly, but maybe it will perk up. Also added the critter guard. This would not stop a determined entity, but hopefully will be enough that they just move along. Something was talking bites, and sometimes whole tomatoes a few years ago. And one of the neighborhood cats likes to use our planters as litter boxes.

Planted, staked and fenced

Back to the strawberries this weekend, to try and put a lid over the fence I put up last week. It is rather a Macgyver contraption, using bits and pieces of stuff we already had. There is one more thing I want to add to the strawberries, and that is a tray like thing that keeps the berries off of the ground.

Lidded

And, because it is hot and not raining, I watered the raspberries for the first time this year. It is going to be a small crop. I waited too long to prune and … But I also picked the first four, and we ate them.

What did not get done was any hedge trimming. Maybe tomorrow. It is really our neighbor’s hedge, and it is really taking over on our side. It acts as a fence between the yards, but it’s been a few years and the current owners don’t trim our side. The prior owner who planted the hedge would have it all trimmed.

The real reason this blog has been quiet is primarily WORK. And it continues.

One of my coworkers is retiring in 2 weeks, after 39 years. I will miss her dearly. I feel like we grew together over the years. We had kids near the same time, who all have their own kids now. And she is setting a great example of how to retire. Give at least 6 months notice, help hire/train your replacement, and continue to work more than 40 hours a week, right up to the end.

Angel, really although a bit devilish

And all normal house stuff continues.

And the Mariners continue to play at a level that doesn’t require their fans to pay for post-season tickets.

And all of the grandsons continue to grow!

Carl continues to make sure I am fed and watered. He was going out with friends one night and left me taco fixings.

I wonder if he really thought I didn’t know where we kept the grater.

I need to try to post more than once a month. We’ll see how that goes.

NYC

May 23, 2022
Close to landing, about 20 days ago

This was a working vacation. That meant I continued to go to meetings and even gave a presentation or two. These were done in one of the two rooms on the 11th floor with wifi and places to sit. Only on a few days did work work come close to 8 hours.

Apartment view. Queensboro bridge and Manhattan

Then there was the I am here to help work. A few feedings of the small child, diapers here and there, but mostly I was providing support so the new parents could provide those baby-centric tasks. That meant washing bottles and pumping equipment, into the sterilizer, out again, and repeat. Trash duty, dishwasher duty, bathroom duty, sweeping, make coffee and help with shopping.

Dishes being done in the background

And don’t forget the cat. Feeding and trying to keep him quiet and out of their bedroom in the morning. This cat opens doors readily and complains when it is blocked. He managed to defeat most of our attempts, except the weight blocking the door. Of course he could still jiggle the handle, which is where my duties came to bear.

Master of all he surveys
Theo starting his duties as the older brother, demonstrating how to open doors

Walked to the waterfront twice, the grocery store more often and a few trips to the post office. There were a few days I don’t think I strayed from the apartment.

A boy and his toys
But I don’t need to burp

Carl arrived on day 16 to lend a hand and to meet grandson number 3.

And then Allen’s mother Germaine arrived as well for a few days. It was great to catch up and share Elijah.

Manhatten and the Empire State Building as a backdrop
Germaine and Elijah bonding

Today we will get an Uber back to JFK and wing our way west. This will be the first visit to NYC that did not include a subway ride!

JFK time for the return
I’m number 1, although Theo may disagree

Packing

May 2, 2022

I have been packing little by little for the past few days. My cousin was talking about packing over the years, and it got me thinking. Our family used to have a fairly stressful start to vacations because there was a lot to do, and we were all doing bits,but maybe not coordinated. Eventually we got into a rhythm of who would be doing what.

I was lead packer.

How many days/underwears do I need?

X number …

They would gather and I would fit. Others were in charge of food, toys, books, whatever. Being the west coast family we were usually limited by suitcase size. The car trips seemed luxurious in terms of space available.

When the kids moved out, so did most of our suitcases and duffel bags. Most we don’t miss because they did not have wheels. I do have 1 suitcase that may not get used again, at least on public transportation, but I can’t bear to part with. My Mother’s suitcase that she used, including her trip to Europe after college with three friends. One of the friends, an artist, did a drawing of the four – and the suitcase is included, showing the sticker for the boat crossing. The sticker is still in place. I did used to use the suitcase, it has traveled many miles.

Back to the present. I am traveling solo for this leg of the trip. But will be followed after a bit by Carlos.

I found myself starting to do his packing as well. Not too much. Just gathering the few bits and pieces into the staging area.

Some habits are hard to break.

The build up to the trip has been the usual. Working voluminous hours to get as much done as possible in the normal environment. Even though there will still be work done on this “vacation”. I have at least two meetings on Wednesday. And I realized too late today that I don’t have any headphones… I have the luxury of not needing them at home….

I made lists starting last week and got through most of the important or time sensitive items. Like staking the raspberries, but not dismantling the 30+ year old exercise bike.

And of course, the reason for the trip

And to see Ashlan and Allen again.

Working Weekend

April 30, 2022

Spent the morning working on work. I still have a list of work items that really should get done before Tuesday. That’s when I leave to meet the newest member (not by much) of the family. I did go into the office on Friday and spent about half the day unpacking. The office is cleaner and looks more organized than before.

And there is a list of home projects that also need to get done, so while the sun was shining this afternoon we made hay. Or at least staked the raspberry patch and did some weeding. The raspberry patch staking is good enough to hold until I return. I needed a few more zip ties for my loosely held together structure.

Flexible structure

Carl weeded dandelions and I hoe weeded general weeds in one area that I started on last weekend. But I noticed some of the small wild strawberries were trying to come back.

In another bed the strawberries we tried to start last year are appearing to be ready to make a go of it. There were a few berries last year, but all eaten by critters. We’ll see what happens this year.

And there is some garlic perking along.

The real read of our weekly efforts is in the compost bin.

Reasonable. Enough to pull to the curb.

In honor of the sunny afternoon, one of Carl’s breakfasts from last week.

Grandkids, just because.

I believe insatiable was the word
Interaction during a diaper change during a video chat

Finally, on the Covid note, I have received 2 different notifications of short (<15 minutes) exposure to someone who reported they had Covid. This is through a Washington State app that uses telephone location tracking to see who was near the phone of the person who reported they were positive. I took a home test after the first notification. And I will take a test the night before I am supposed to leave. Double boosted and I wear a mask more than most, so hopefully all will be good.

Stresssssss

April 27, 2022

So today started out with a bunch of frustrations. All tech related. Signing up for a new place to get tickets, but despite setting up accounts, error messages abound. I both started and ended my day with this trial.

When I decided I really needed to get to work, my home second monitor was connected, but not to work. Work from home involves using a Surface with a slightly larger second monitor. The second monitor makes up for the diminutive size of the surface screen. IT was able to direct me to the setting to solve this situation, although I have no idea how it got changed.

The alternative would have been to go to the office. This is currently on the 2 days per week schedule, but this week has been disrupted by the carpet replacement.

End of my cleaning
End of the Carpet Layer’s cleaning
With the new carpet installed

I will be in on Friday and get to unpack.

Then I will be out of the office, remote remote starting Wednesday. I get to remember sleep disrupted nights and help with Elijah.

Although he’s sleeping in almost every picture, so how much work can he be?

❤💤

Flowers and Sunshine

April 24, 2022

Ballgame today. Day game. No rain.🤞

And it’s little league day.

Today has been great so far. Worked in the raspberry patch, added dirt cover, and weeded another area. 😁 Of course I saw so many other garden chores in the offing, including a place where a neighbor’s bamboo is starting to grow into our walkway.😐

As I was leaving to walk to light rail I took note of the walkway tulips, probably at their peak.

And of course

Welcome

April 23, 2022

For the second time this month we get to welcome a grandson to our family!

Ashlan and Allen’s first, now joins Becca and Rey’s 2 boys.

Everyone is healthy. So we are happy. Ecstatic even.

And on the baseball front, Miguel Cabrera got his 3,000th hit in Detroit today. Mariners are currently leading the Royals, but it is only the 4th inning.

Today

April 17, 2022

I went to a Mariners game today. That in itself is not unusual. What was unusual is that I went by myself. I sat in our seats, but none of the normal seatmates were in attendance.

I managed to get myself there because 1) it was a day game, 2) the sun was out (it was still cold), 3) using light rail meant no parking, 4) it was only my 2nd game of the year.

Sun is almost to my seat.

And they won! Got to see the starting pitcher’s (Brash – what an excellent name for a professional athlete) first win.

On the walk home from the light rail station I spotted fire trucks on the block before ours. A ladder truck to boot, with the ladder up in the air. There was no smoke in evidence, but there was the requisite group of neighbors gathered together. They all clapped when the ladder finished its descent. I wondered if they still rescued cats out of trees?! Continuing on to our block I crossed paths with a neighbor and her daughter and asked if she knew what was happening. She said that one of the houses was sponsoring an Easter party and invited the Fire department, and they came! What a fun time.

I’ll take today’s fire truck over the homeless man in the intersection any time.