January 2015

Well, it’s kinda Happy New Year, but not just yet. Feels really strange, as the clock on my laptop is set to AEST, so that I can keep a handle on shipping for the eBay Store, which of course doesn’t exactly correspond to any celebrations going on here. We’ll catch up soon.

It’s been below freezing overnight for most of the week, so roads and car parks have been salted. Where the water drips out of the gutter at the front corner of the house and forms icicles. Where it then drips onto the front landing, just outside the front door, which is in the shade all day, it forms a patch of ice. You can’t really see it in the first picture, because the ice is so clear, but it becomes obvious in the picture from later in the day when the icicles start falling off.

Julie’s been out shopping (as you do), and has bought a really nice black suit jacket, plus 2 pairs of matching pants in different sizes, to allow for weight gain and/or loss. Of course, they had to be shortened, but even that was much cheaper than back home. She will look very spiffy if and when she gets an interview.

Most of our forays have been local, including sorting out necessary local banking stuff, which is virtually impossible to do from Australia, although we are planning to go tomorrow (New Years Day – are you confused yet?) for a tour of Whidbey Island, just to check out the lay of the land. We may also go as a family to find some snow to play in.

We went, we discovered. At La Conner, Julie found the scallops (without the roe) that she had been desperately seeking, while I had salmon in Batter. Such a nice way to eat salmon. On Whidbey, we briefly checked out some rental housing and came home via the ferry.

This morning, Friday (which is really Saturday), Julie was outside having a smoke and stuck her head in to say it was snowing outside. Wow. It got heavier for a while, then petered out. Exciting nonetheless. Mandatory video has been uploaded.


Saturday, we took a drive up to the nearest snow. Quite an experience, driving on snow, especially after we saw a recently overturned truck in the ditch on the side of the road. But first a look at the river.

We stopped at the Big 4 Camp Ground and decided to walk up the the Ice Caves. I am quite sure that is was considerably more than the 1 mile stated on the directions! Julie discovered just how unfit she is, but did manage to keep plodding along until we got there. And of course there were the inevitable snowballs.

The picture in the next panel is our external fridge on the balcony, just out side the door. Probably colder than the fridge in the basement, and a whole lot easier to access.

Well, the end of this holiday certainly didn’t turn out the way we had expected. On Tuesday evening, Julie had a bit of an issue getting onto the plane at SeaTac, which resulted us being rebooked by our wonderful United employee Megan to similar flights the following day, then she wheeled Julie out through the airport in a wheel chair, and on the way, handed me a voucher for overnight accommodation at the local Marriott Hotel, and gave me her mobile number, before ensuring that we successfully boarded the hotel shuttle bus. OK, we though, we’ll leave tomorrow. Except that overnight, the migraine that hit me rapidly developed into severe vertigo. I tell you, it is truly scary to have the entire room spinning around, as you work your way, hand over hand along the end of the bed, grab for the wall, work along that, then dive for the shelf containing the basin, hoping that you will spin just enough to land successfully on the toilet. I did, but I have no idea how I managed it, let alone the process of getting back into bed.

Next morning, the basin proved to be my true friend as I covered it with bile from my now empty stomach. Needless to say, at that point we decided that it was time to call 911 and get some help. I was surprised to find that the first responders were a team of 3 medics from the local Fire Department, closely followed by an ambulance crew. They transported both of us (Julie in the front seat with the driver) to the nearest hospital ER, which was the Highline Medical Center in Burien. Then followed various consultations, tests for a stroke (negative), a CT scan, all of which were inconclusive. They released me with scripts for an anti-nausea medication and some Valium, which turned out to be pretty much the same one as I was already taking. Wow, two of those in the evening gives you a REALLY good night’s sleep.

The next morning, we were somewhat of a celebrity couple, which I guess makes sense when you get carted out through the foyer in an ambulance trolley. I have to admit, the staff were fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble, and even the Head Chef asked after my wellbeing at breakfast. We got to know the bar and restaurant staff, the reception people and our housekeeper very well over the next few days. We had already re-booked to leave on Saturday, but on Thursday, wisely decided to extend that to Sunday. The good news is that we managed to be still at the hotel on Saturday night to watch the Seahawks win the NFL championship, coming from behind in the last quarter to equal the score, and scoring a touchdown in overtime.

We made it back home on Tuesday and I made it back to work on Thursday.

Early in the following week, we moved all of our stuff into the new facility on the other side of the base, a process that took all day. Since then, I have been alternating an early day shift with an evening shift, switching each week. It’s really weird having the whole morning to myself, to sit and chill and talk with Julie, or work on the bus, and then go off to work, arriving long after she has gone to bed.

My little helper, What would I do without you?

After a massive effort over the Australia Day long weekend, and with the assistance of my work colleagues Scott and Dan, the bus has a new ceiling. It’s finally starting to transform from a construction site into a motorhome again.

Meanwhile, Julie has finally given up looking for work and has tried to make the transition to regular housewife, with such activities as doing the washing, letting RoboCop vacuum the floors, prepare lunches (or dinners, depending on my shifts), make sure Angel and Buddy are healthy and as free from fleas as possible( a genuinely uphill battle at present), and generally try not to be too bored.

Awesome panorama of the coast.