Archive for August, 2020

Back to the new normal

August 31, 2020

It’s Monday.

It’s noticeably darker in the morning now. Not dark yet, but not bright when I wake.

A relatively sane workday, thanks to some insane days last week. There are still big things in the wings, but I allowed today to be catching up with some of the smaller bits.

And then ended the work day an hour early to go see to a civic bit, and give blood. I did a good job of hydration and it went well. But I was preparing some zucchini after we got home and had a real sinking spell. I sat down to finish the prep, and probably more importantly, had a protein bar.

So after dinner, it may be an early evening. The lunchtime walk, will have to do for today. The walk was interesting due to the amount of activity, mostly vehicular, encountered. One of our narrow neighborhood streets had an aerial utility crew working near one end of the street, with a bucket truck blocking the road. We saw at least 2 cars enter from the long end, with no hope of reaching the far end. And the endless parade of UPS and Amazon vans. A drivers ed car working on the back around a corner move. And it’s garbage and yard waste day, so those trucks were trundling around. All I can say is I am glad we were walking.

Carl’s funny story (if you like baseball)

August 30, 2020

One of Carl’s friends is turning 60. Because they can’t have a big party, his friend’s wife (also a friend) asked to have folks send in thoughts and memories so she could put together something for the birthday boy. Carl likes to tell a story of a game that he went to with this friend, so we did a video of the recounting – and sent it over. Because this is really mostly about Carl, we also did a shorter video about how they met. But – since we have it available, I thought I would share.

It was fun putting it together, and we hope he remembers the incident as fondly as we do. I wasn’t there, so I only have the story to go by. But knowing Carl, it is entirely plausible.

Speaking of the Mariners, we do watch them on the tube. Most of the time, and sometimes at a fast forward rate if taped. The number of doubleheaders is way up this year due in small part to team protests of the racism virus and more frequently due to games postponed due to the Covid-19 virus showing up among teams. I just heard someone on the Oakland As tested positive, so the series starting Tuesday is in jeopardy. The most intriguing part of this year’s double headers is shortening them to 7 innings. The flexibility shown in reacting to the unfolding year has been interesting and refreshing.

And one of our baseball buddies tested positive and ended up spending about 4 days in the hospital. He is home now, but sounds like he is exhausted. He was not out carousing or engaging in risky behavior, so it makes me feel the need to be even more cautious. I want to have a successful trip starting in a few weeks, so need to be vigilant. That said, I scheduled giving blood for tomorrow and a flu shot for Tuesday. Not completely a hermit.

Cross-Pollination

August 29, 2020

It has been a few days, and I am going to blame warrive. The work was so consuming that I didn\’t walk for three days.ork. This week turned into a workaholic week. If I wasn’t in meetings I was trying to respond to the meetings. One in particular involved an internal group review of a consultant’s report that was very critical. I was not satisfied with just providing the critique, and spent the next 2 days trying to reorganize and provide suggestions for a better presentation. It is a technical piece, and will never have public review, but we do want a report that can be used moving forward. The work was so consuming that I didn’t walk for three days. I feel good about the result, but was more than ready for the weekend to arrive.

If you’re from Seattle, you are probably familiar with, fish from your window at the Edgewater Inn. The Beatles famously partook of this pastime. Our version this summer is pick from your deck. The tomato plants are just tall enough, and producing.

We did get out on a reasonably long walk today. Neighborhood wanderings, but weekend time meant we could get a bit further away.

One theme we encountered was dinosaurs. This particular yard is very clear about sharing their passion.

Please do not feed the dinosaurs

Rockosaurus Rex

Some donations for the dinosaur boy (or girl?)

And then we have the more usual yard. They could be just as passionate, just not as up front.

Fond of triceratops

We passed several garden areas decorated with rock art. This is obviously a relatively new addition.

And then there are the little free libraries. I almost always stop to browse. I had actually put out three books to place in libraries, but managed to walk out the door empty-handed. I found one book in a library that looked interesting, and removed it to take home, and then sanitized my hands.

Several blocks later I found a book I thought I would enjoy more. So I took that book and put the earlier choice back in its place. My Dad called this cross-pollination, and said he practiced spreading the books around on his daily walks. I am not sure if they make it home for him to read in between.

Fans

August 18, 2020

I remember using an oscillating fan in the bedroom to try and cool off hot and humid nights growing up in the midwest. Here in Washington it just doesn’t have the sustained hot conditions that would result in a consideration of AC, which I generally don’t like. But we do have 2 fans. The first is a box fan that has been moved around for a few decades. The second, and now favorite, is a tall oscillating fan, with 3 or 4 speeds. This fan came into our lives when we were living in an apartment for 6 months, and most of our belongings were spread between 3 storage units. The apartment was brand new, but didn’t have good air flow and would get really warm. Even on cold days. It was much easier buy a new fan than to try and extract it from the stuff of our lives. In the end it is lighter, quieter and more flexible in its coverage than old boxy, but we still keep him around.

The fan is quieter, but still creates a backdrop sound that can inhibit clear communication. Example: Ad for Red Lobster, heard as Lead Lobster. That’s a whole lot of claw.

It is also spider season. Going out in the morning I can encounter 5 or 6 just trying to do the watering. On our walk yesterday evening we kept seeing great webs just off to the side.

Carl being a web backdrop

I am not a spider fan, but am not too put off by them either. I attribute this to many trips to the outhouse in the morning that included running with arms pinwheeling to clear the webs strung overnight from the path.

Picking tomatoes is usually a reach through webs too.

Caprese salad

And today I am going to add zucchini to the harvest list.

Little ball zucchini

Hot day

August 16, 2020

This is me after a 3-mile walk.It’s in the 90s today, after 80s yesterday.Other than the walk, our activities have been contained to the morning hours.Carl went to a distanced baseball practice. He hit fungos, batted and pitched. And wore a mask. While the players were staying apart, Carl was the only masked player. I worry, some. I trust him to be cautious.I watered here and there, trying to get the right hoses for limited relocation over the next few warm weeks. We have 4 hoses. The newest full size hose that can reach all across the backyard. It is used for the raspberry patch, nozzle for tomatoes, kale and other individual sites, soaker hose for landscape and zucchini, and an oscillating sprinkler for the lawn. This hose has stout connections and does whatever is asked of it.Then there is a newer spiral hose. I thought it would be light and easy to use, and easier to store. It is light and easy to move around. But it has a small diameter and enough pressure loss through the hose that what comes out of the hose is a trickle compared to what comes out of the faucet. But stretching the hose and turning the faucet all the way on, allows the oscillating sprinkler to water the parking strip, which is narrow.Hose number 3 has a larger diameter and flows well. But it is too short to reach the parking strip. It is currently used for the main part of the front lawn, with the faucet barely on.Hose number 4 is the grand old long, heavy hose. It is likely decades old and has a big diameter and is long enough to reach anywhere. But it is heavy and I think all of the other hoses were an attempt to stop lugging it around. Today I decided to try using 4 in place of 2 and 3 in the front. But I discovered a nozzle on the end that I couldn’t budge. My guess is that it’s less than stout fitting was stepped on at some point, and the nozzle is stuck on a not quite round fitting. I will use vice grips for better leverage, and if that doesn’t work it is gone and we will be down to 3.And I went to step 2 on the garage reorganization. I hung a ladder! It was just putting up two brackets, but there was measuring involved. I was only able to put up set of brackets due to avoiding the garage door track, and staying above the concrete wall.

Ladders, almost as many as hoses

There is a similar wall on the other side, but it is currently blocked by boxes, serving as a friend’s storage unit.I also got rid of one bicycle, given to a neighbor.

Sameness

August 15, 2020

The days, weeks and now months are flying by. The sameness is making it difficult to remember the day of the week and what I had for lunch yesterday.

Except that we just finished having yesterday’s lunch leftovers for dinner. Matzo ball chicken soup. Yesterday’s lunch also included latkes and corned beef and pastrami hash. The occasion was the periodic distance gatherings on the patio. The normal 3rd baseball buddy was not in attendance, he was being tested for the C-19, after having a cough for the last few weeks. I am fairly certain it was at least two weeks since we have been 6 feet from each other.

Yes, 6 feet apart

Today we took a late morning wander through a neighborhood we have never walked before, Windermere.

Entrance to the Windermere enclave

We drove to a market where we intended to purchase some ice cream, on sale. We parked on the street and took off on foot. In pre-C times there would have been a bus ride to get us to a remote starting location, but not right now.

It was nice to walk down some different streets, even if they were not that different, they were different. It got pretty hot today, into the 80s, but it was not the hot part of the day yet.

Carl repurposed a sign from a part (thrown out) to add to our window menagerie.

And we are well into another puzzle, with a breakfast theme. The last one completed was about the Post Office, such an important institution.

Enough said. Tomorrow it’s supposed to get into the 90s. Outside activity should be early or late.

And, for the record, we got 2 pints of Lopez Island ice cream. Mint Chip and Chocolate Amaretto.

Almost like Work

August 8, 2020

I spent the better part of today seated in front of a computer. The difference was it was our home computer instead of my work computer. I usually do the bills on the weekend, so that was normal. And tracking our expenses, also normal. And then there was going through about 100 emails that were saved, or really, just not read/deleted. Most I had decided to put off when they arrived, until I had time. Today was that time. I didn’t react to all, but put them into positions other than my email inbox.

And then there were the two pesky medical “bills” that can’t seem to get resolved. One is from an out of network provider who can’t manage to get their bill to our provider for determining what part we need to pay. I will pay when they get it processed, but every few months we get a letter asking for our Medical Plan information. This is for services from last year, sheesh. And for some reason our provider is sending out a second set of Explanations of Benefits for some chiropractic visits last year. Over a year ago and the EOBs are different! I will have to call. I paid all of those bills and don’t understand why I keep getting new and different statements. It’s exhausting.

But yesterday, between endless sessions editing a document, we got to zoom with my Dad! On his 93rd birthday. The first time I have seen him in a year. And he got to see his great-grandson. Oh, there were others involved, sisters and a brother in law and Corwin’s parents. Without those others it would not have happened, so thanks to them.

The distance visit got me moving to take a long visit back to MI, but not for several weeks yet. Plans are in motion. I was sure to fly Delta using our credit from previously canceled flights. But Alaska had a BOGO sale going, ending today, and it was too good to pass up. We still have another year to use the credit. I am counting on being able to travel next year. We also booked our quarantine apartment for the first half of our time away.

Other exciting news is that the raspberry crop is diminishing, but the tomatoes are ready to take their place.

And after many, many, years, an accidental duplicate Costco purchase is finally used up. Or at least into dispensers. I honestly think 1 gallon bottle is over a decade old.

One more puzzle done. And so am I.

Busy Day

August 2, 2020

A group I am in asked us to set a “long-term” goal (6 weeks). And then each week we can report on our progress, or not, or change, it’s very flexible. My long-term goal was to reassemble a weight machine we have had for many years. We took it apart when we vacated the premises for the remodel. We have been back for almost 4 years, so it’s about time.

The first 2 weeks when I reported my progress, my report was no progress. I was determined to not have the same response this coming week. To be true, the weight machine is still in pieces. But like all good projects, getting started means some other projects have to happen first.

Where the weight machine should be

The weight machine is the white pieces

In this case, the weight machine needs a place to live. The location of choice was occupied by a bench, which could be shifted closer to a wall, except for 2 bicycles that have not been ridden in a decade. The 2 bicycles could move to the garage, they should really find a new home, so to make room in the garage. The garage has space, but it is cluttered and not fully organized.

Today’s work was focused on the garage. Two long ladders, excess vinyl siding, and pieces to an outdoor movie screen. One ladder is a tall, old wooden extension ladder, and very heavy. The other a much lighter, aluminum extension ladder, but a bit shorter. The vinyl siding is left from the remodel where the kitchen was extended. I would not use vinyl siding, but replacing all of the siding on the house was beyond our budget. Vinyl siding pieces are long and flexible, making wrangling them interesting.

This is where I actually had some fun, figuring out how to wrangle, and make them more manageable for the long haul, and found a reuse for trash. The siding had been in a cardboard box, about 12 feet long, and disintegrating. The first step was to get rid of the cardboard. Step two was to get the 3 vinyl siding pieces to hold together. I actually just tied string around them at 4 places. Now they move, almost as one. Then there were the 5, equally long, mounting strips. And a moment of inspiration from a newspaper bag floating around the garage, which I tried to fit around the end of the mounts. It fit, and we have several newspaper bags that had not been recycled yet. The mounting strips are now encased in a series of 8 newspaper bags, taped at the joints. And they move almost as one.

Vinyl mounts in newspaper bags. The wood pieces make an outdoor movie screen.

This may sound like much ado about a little vinyl, but it was the key to the rearrangement. Control of long things.

I have plans to make this new arrangement better, by hanging the ladders on the wall, and maybe some of the screen parts. To that end I bought some hangers, but ran out of steam before I got it all done.

The exercise machine is not rebuilt, but there is now space.

Future rebuilt weight machine location

And the garden is progressing. The first tomato is almost ripe, and the zucchini leaves are well established.

And made a pot of lentil chili to complete the day. For tomorrow, always better after a day. And half is in the freezer.