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.


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.

Mariner’s Home Opener

July 31, 2020

And we are there.

Sort of. But at least we are in our seats. And the first in the outfield. (There are a lot more now. )

We’re the really white ones

The Mariners managed to keep a few opening day traditions alive, including a Make-a-wish kid run around the bases first. A few days ago, but I don’t think they want to expose a medically fragile child to a bunch of ballplayers.

At least 2 MLB teams have players who have tested positive. The season is still on, but we’ll see if it continues, especially without a bubble. Flexibility in scheduling is currently the key.

Carl’s over 60 team continues it’s socially distanced practices, but it is becoming increasingly likely they will not have a season. I think the guys are enjoying the exercise and camaraderie. Carl is about the only one who wears a mask while playing. But they do keep their distance.

Walking continues to be my primary exercise.

Crossing the bridge from campus to not campus. We have been doing more walking in the early evening, and less at lunch. It’s okay, but I think we are out during the highest temperatures of the day.

We are not walking this evening, because, Opening Day.


July 28, 2020

No just incredible loudness.

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year. We might have hit 90, but it did not include midwest level humidity.

Work, work, work, work.

In the last mid-afternoon meeting of the day when … the power went out. Ok. But that meant the internet also went out and I was unceremoniously booted from the meeting. And, after almost a minute all of the smoke alarms on the main floor went off.

It was so loud, Carl, who was outside, thought the noise was coming from several houses. We pulled the batteries out of the offending detectors, but they continued to chirp. A bit quieter, but still annoying. I have not figured out why they went off. It was not the batteries, we tried putting in new ones to no effect.

We finally decided to get out of the house and into the heat. And the power came back.

We walked anyway, logging over 3 miles. Probably the hottest time of the day, but it did cool down as the sun went down.

Today was about 10 degrees cooler, and no power outage. Yeah for small victories.

From a walk over the weekend.

Mariners’ Game 1 of 60

July 25, 2020

AKA Bang the Trash Can Slowly.

The Mariners get to start the season against the cheaters, otherwise known as the Houston Astros. And Justin Verlander.

It’s been a different experience.

The first game is on the road about half the time, so not unusual. But we would almost always be with our baseball buddies.

Carl and I are watching on our own.

Smashed cauliflower for dinner. Maybe not traditional baseball food, but we did have sausages with yesterday’s Washington/Yankee rainout and the Dodgers/Giants rout.

We managed to squeeze in a 7,500 step walk between work and first pitch. We taped the pregame and will catch up on any interesting bits later.

Yesterday I wanted to see Dr. Fauci’s first pitch at the game in D.C., and did. But they had already completed the lineups, anthem, and whatever else happened. Then they broke for commercials and didn’t get back until after the first batter was on first base. Pretty bad. Hoping they get their act together. And the first pitch kind of went sideways, but I don’t think any less of the doctor.

I guess I am used to the game’s traditions and pageantry on opening day.

The Mariners scored the first run, but alas, not the last …. several. Still there were some highlights. I watched the pre-game after the game had ended. Pretty good, and as the Mariners have 10 Black-Americans on the roster, it made sense to focus on the BLM movement, and what it means to them.

Happy Opening Day

July 24, 2020

Yes, a few teams played yesterday, but the Mariners start today.

Carl getting ready for his shortened season, if we ever get to phase 3

Pedal to the metal, hope the kids are ready.

Sights of the day

July 22, 2020

Today was heavy on the work side. Add in a drizzly morning and I only had a few hundred steps by 6:30. That was when my after work, non-work meeting ended. I was on to my next chore, ordering groceries, when Carl asked if we were going to walk.

I am now over 7,500 steps.

Work breakfast

Work lunch

Baseball, front walk style

Favorite political sign so far, and I don’t usually like political signs

And now to do that grocery shopping