March 2019

Friday 1: I had a great session with Dennis and our trainer Annette, out the back of the gym area. Both of us needed to do some test lifting. His was a series of activities and mine was a simple 60 lbs off the floor onto an imaginary workbench.

On the treadmill, I now do 6 sets of jogging. While we were grabbing videos, Annette took this one as well, of me cranking it up from 3.2 to 5.0 mph. She says I have a really smooth motion.

Tuesday 5 to Thursday 7: I had a pre-planned trip to Los Angeles, to visit my colleagues at Jacks and Accessories to see how they make the parts that they supply to me at work, and to give them some help with their IT stuff. It’s a 20 stage process to create a pair of grippers!

The ONLY picture I took was of the rental car and palm trees.

On the entry into Seattle, a few more.

The I-5 disappearing under the State Convention Center.

The West Seattle Bridge going past the dock area.

Highway 99 going over the Duwamish River.

Friday 8: For today’s session on the treadmill, I had 2 sets at 5 mph and 2 at 6mph. Yep, I’m ready.

Saturday 9: After lots of to-ing and fro-ing of authorisation documentation, I am  now approved for my return to work on Monday. I’ll get an Uber into downtown to catch an Amtrak train to Vancouver. Woohoo, I finally get to ride an Amtrak!

After many years at Mike and April’s place, the stained glass picture, that used to live in a special place in Bob and Ada’s house on Whidbey Island, has finally come “home” to Julie. We have it standing in the window of the spare bedroom.

Monday 11: Not wanting to be late for catching my train, I was ready to go a bit before 6 am. Booked an Uber ride. Oh crap, he’s only 2 minutes away! Grabbed already prepared bag and dashed down the stairs. The trip went well, and I showed him how to use the Express Lanes to arrive deep into downtown Seattle. The railway station is typical grand old station. When the lady took my booking, she asked, “Would you like a single seat?” “Ooh, yes please.” The train had deep vinyl seats, two on the right and one on the left. It was not full, so I was able to move to the non-sunny side.

Mt Rainier towering over the landscape.

A great shot of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

At one point, the railway line runs between the two tracks of the I-5 freeway.

While waiting for my pickup at Vancouver Station, I figured I’d capture the action just across the tracks at Pacific Coast Shredding. That’s a LOT of metal!

Tuesday 12: Slam! Straight into it. Visit a job in Bellevue, who needed De-Tensioning gear. Done. Oops, I have a 65′ cable for them, but they need one twice that length instead. Yes, there was a good reason, which just hadn’t been explained. Call from Vancouver to pick up 100 anchors from a supplier in Lake Stevens (deep North) and take them to a job in Des Moines (Deep South). OK, Lake Stevens first, then call in at home in Everett for some supplies. Then to the job site in Des Moines, where I got the truck stuck in the mud. Then to Auburn to pick up the larger cable and back to Bellevue to deliver it. It looked like this – from Lake Stevens to Auburn is just over 60 miles, nearly 100 kays.

Getting stuck looked like this.

Wednesday 13: Took Julie to the VA Hospital for a series of tests and appointments. Good news when we got back home – one of the two apartments on the ground level has become vacant, and it was offered to us.

Thursday 14: Got to the old workshop, (what’s left of it), to find everything missing except the large furniture. Poked around there for a while, organising stuff into “going home”, “going to Auburn” and “going to the dumpster”. At one point I got so cold that I went to the local Starbucks for a decaf coffee and a sandwich. When I got back, I got a little smarter and sat in front of the heater. When Mark and Ralph finally arrived from their meetings, we got stuck into breaking down the huge cable racks and I took then to Auburn, while they went off to another meeting. I now have a bit of a handle of how it will look. Even so, after waiting for them and unloading some of their load, by the time I got home, I’d put in a 12 hour day!

Now that we’ve had a day to think about it, we decided to take the downstairs apartment. It will be great for Julie to be able to get out again, without the trauma of having to deal with the stairs.

Friday 15: Again at the workshop, took the smaller pieces of timber to the dumpster, tidied up and swept the place and headed for Auburn. After a vain attempt at putting the racks back together the way they were, I went for Mark’s solution of simply using the bases and standing the cables on them, held in place by a “hook and chain” arrangement. Here’s what it looked like after I tidied up a few more things. The blue cables in the foreground are 350′ long, that’s over 100m!

Then off to deal with another emergency.  Headed in the direction of the workshop, before stopping first at the Ace Hardware near it to do some shopping: Flex Seal to stop the rainwater leaks, a Clapper Switch to make it easier to switch the light on, a Dehumidifier “with a hose” and  some hook and chain sets. The solution for those ended up being 4 sets of a 7′ length of heavy chain, two heavy eyelets and two carabineers. The eyelets get screwed firmly into the wall, the bottom one connects permanently via a carabineer to the bottom of the chain, and the top carabineer connects permanently to the top eyelet and clips into the relevant chain link to create a sturdy loop around the cables. The remaining chain just dangles over the cables. An elegant solution to the specification, I thought.

The emergency was a job in the University District, where the Pocket Formers supplied by us had a shaft that was too big to fit into the holes already drilled into the forms. It resulted in another trip to Lake Stevens (deep North, remember?) to acquire some. By then, it was getting late and knowing that the job site would have guys working on Saturday, I simply went home. Another very long day.

I also have a spare WiFi router hanging around at home. Testing at home showed that it didn’t need to be connected to the Internet to provide a connection between the laptop and a printer, so the plan is to install it and a printer (probably the one from home) in the connex. Then when I need to do an emergency print (a Bill of Lading for example), I can simply switch the laptop to the connex WiFi network, and print!

Saturday 16: On the road early again to deliver the materials to the site, only to find that they had the same dimensions! OK, not much I can do except make some phone calls and go pick up April. We met with the manager of the apartment complex to look at the apartment that she has chosen. Together with Julie, we mapped out moving days. If her approval comes through on time, on Sunday next week, we plan to clear out the storage unit into her apartment. On the following Saturday, we plan to move into the apartment, while we have “Two Mend and a Truck” available, we’ll hopefully get them to move some of April’s really big stuff from Mike’s garage.

Sunday 17: Apart from being St Paddy’s Day, it’s also April’s 40th birthday. We celebrated the day with her and Duncan, including lunch at Red Robin. But first, we bought her a giant balloon. When I took her “home”, I took this picture first, then paraded it around the foyer inside, so that everyone knew it was her birthday.

We I got it home, I let it loose in the apartment, much to Buddy’s amazement.

After he started chewing on the ribbon, we took it outside and let it go, off into the atmosphere.

Next we have a series of pictures of the development of the connex.

Monday 18: An extra half size cable tray in place, the far end starting to take shape, the shelves have been assembled, and the no longer needed timber has become decorative flooring, for now at least.

Tuesday 19: After a visit to the hardware store on the way home yesterday, the chains are in place, tables assembled, printer installed (way down the back in the corner), plywood cut and placed in the second shelf, and the beginnings of a hanging wall, where “stuff” can be hooked onto the chains, out of the way.

And down the other end, keeping the cords for the light and heater from pulling the power pack over.

Enough room for a miscellaneous storage, rubbish, recycles, and then if there is a job box (or a stack of them) inside (the same footprint as the template), there is a 30″ (about 75cm) narrow point.

Wednesday 20: Remember, I bought a Clapper Switch? It has a 2-pin socket and the main light has a 3-pin plug. The solution was simply to buy a cheap light fitting and bulb and rig that to the Clapper. Open the door, clap slowly twice and the light comes on, which is enough to see inside to walk in and manually switch on the main light. Also a good excuse to get power down to the second table.

More ingenuity, Using a layer of 4×2 offcuts to create a platform for the pallet stacker. Each box was very close to 60lb. Damned if I was going to lift them if I didn’t have to! Slide on, slide off.

And another adaptation, replacing the carabineer on the top connection of each cable stack with a simple S shaped hook. Easier to use and just as effective.

Tonight, Julie called me out to the balcony, explaining that it was a supermoon coinciding with the equinox. I grabbed the good camera and took this. Click on it a larger view.

Thursday 21: The finished product.

Saturday 23: As Julie and I prepare to move to a ground floor apartment in the same building, we appreciated the energy of April, who came here with Duncan on both days of the weekend, and blasted through the packing. In the process, we acquired a new shelf ornament.

And outside, I stood there for a whole minute videoing this little guy, then took this picture so that I wouldn’t miss him altogether. Just seconds later, he launched himself mid air across to the top of the wooden fence in the background.

Monday 25: Last week, the minor sprain of a muscle high on my left hip left over from rehab blossomed into a full blown issue. I happened to mention it to my new work colleague in Auburn, who suggested using some CBD Oil on it. At that point, willing to try anything, I acquired a muscle relaxing cream containing CBD. Even the first dose sparked a dramatic improvement, and over the weekend, I applied it several times a day. Today, if I just relax and forget about it, I am walking very close to normal. I just happened to pull the card out of the dash cam, thinking I had captured a plane coming in over the road I was on, to find that I didn’t have it working at that time, but I had recorded 2 different occasions where I had walked away from the truck on Friday. That is one serious limp.

Wednesday 27: I was called to a job in Ruston, which is the bit that sticks out to the North East from Tacoma, where there a whole series of buildings in varying stages of completeness. This is one that I worked on 18 months ago.

Wednesday 27: On the last 2 weekends, April and I have avoided the freeway traffic while taking her home, by taking the southbound tunnel underneath the Seattle waterfront. We had been debating whether there is a northbound one. Yep, there is, and here it is, courtesy of the dash cam in the truck.

Thursday 28: Today’s excitement was receiving the keys to the new apartment. I took a tape measure and some masking tape down there to map out the living room. Here’s the grand plan, subject as always to amendments.

Looking from above the kitchen bench, the kitchen table in the centre. On the left, a really BIG cabinet, with my dad’s old work table to hold all the Internet stuff. On the far wall, the couch with its two side tables. On the right, a china cabinet.

Looking from the left, the kitchen table again, the china cabinet and Julie’s display case.

From the table, the couch and side tables.

From the window, the big cabinet and Internet table.

Friday 29: The techo strikes again. The Internet is working. I ran a speed test. The result was 170 Mb/s, which is pretty good, since the line speed is 150 Mb/s. The table went in there exactly as planned. Most of it will be hidden by the large cabinet. The weird pattern on the router is simply a reflection from the window.

Saturday 30: Today is a big day. The Comcast tech is due sometime between 10:00 and 12:00, to install the new service. It looks to me like he won’t have to do much! After he finishes, I’ll bring the router back upstairs, so that we have that kind of speed available where we need it.

The bedroom walls have not been repainted, despite an assurance that they had been done. That should now happen on Monday. Meanwhile, we can’t fully populate the bedrooms, which means there’s going to be a BIG pile of boxes in the middle of the living room, and there’s no point in moving the bed until the painting has been done. The end result: Everything that we don’t need for daily survival will get moved and we’ll hang out in 304 until the heavy lifting guys come on Tuesday. Since the second bedroom is destined to be my home office, it looks like we might have to get a storage unit for everything that’s not essential. The good news is that we have help from our neighbors in 305, which is a pleasant surprise.

The Comcast tech arrived and was pleased to see and hear it was under control. He took measurements of the cable signal and left.

I turns out that Don, our favourite maintenance man, will be doing the painting. He’ll try for one coat tomorrow and a second coat on Monday.

April and I went to the end of year celebration for Duncan’s hockey team. He received the David and Goliath award for his efforts at recent tournaments.

Sunday 31: April, Duncan and I took time out to go play a round of mini golf.

Later in the day, I went downstairs to do some planning on how things will fit in my home office.

Two tables forming an L-shaped desk.

The chests under the window.

The desk, with filing cabinet underneath.

You can see where Don has done the pointing component of the painting, ready for a full coat tomorrow morning.