March 2020

Monday 2: Right after we got our bedroom back into shape, the maintenance guy arrived to repaint the affected walls in there. I figured I would have a look at the rest of the apartment and what did I find? Yep, you guessed it, more mould. This is in the corner of of the living room, adjacent to the driveway and the balcony. Should have looked there first!

Next step, check the spare room. Yep, it’s in there too. No wonder we have both been coughing. The building owner has said that we can ignore the lease starting in April, because we REALLY need to find somewhere else to live. He will work with us to try to get us into an apartment in one of his other buildings.

I also had an honest conversation with him, during which I told him that we had been running humidifiers. It seemed logical at the time – “we’re both coughing, let’s get some moisture in the air”, which did work for a little while. He was pleased to have an explanation for why it flared up so quickly.

Tuesday 3: Meanwhile, we have signed up for Door Dash deliveries, to earn a bit of money in our spare time. The account is in Julie’s name so that wqe can balance out our income.

Wednesday 4: I ended up with a giant route today – this is the packages stacked 3 high to the ceiling in my van.

With not enough staff available to do rescues, I returned with 4 full bags, which was not too bad, having gone out with 18 of them.

Thursday 5: I spotted this notice on a fence on my route today – couldn’t resist.

Sunday 8: Oh great. I’ve stepped in dog shit.

Wednesday 11: This was the view for my lunch break today. One of my favourite spots, South Rose Hill Park, down the end of a short street and turn off into the car park.

Thursday 12: By now, the virus has started to make its impact on the traffic volume on the freeway. This would normally be crawling at 5pm!

Here’s a video of the van coming into the station at the end of the day:

The original is too big to include in WordPress, so here’s a link instead: 55MB

I took this picture from the parking lot to show off the mountain, but instead it highlights the cloud.

Friday 14: I decided to take a good look under the desk in the spare room, and found more mould, some on the bottom of the wall, but a lot on the chairs that Julie’s father had made. We dragged them out to the lounge and stood them one by one in a huge delivery box to treat them. And then we transferred the dehumidifier into that room, to let it run 24 hours a day.

Sunday 15: It was a weird day. I had been asked the day before to distribute the van keys at the parking lot, which entailed starting work at the station at 6:15, to be at the parking lot by about 6:45, and have keys, van bags and route sheets ready for distribution to the crew, so that they could depart at 7:15. I had a few dramas, but got there in the end. Hey, when someone offers me an hour of overtime for not lifting heavy shit, I’ll take it!

Then I started out with nearly 150 stops, got rescued just after lunch, and finished the rest of the route by 4pm. Checked my phone to find a request from Dispatch to help someone else. That someone turned out to be a new employee about my age, looking tired and confused. We split his remaining route and I got stuck into it. This was my last delivery, of 8 packages with a total weight of about 80 pounds, to go up 2 levels, altogether about 30 steps. I bagged them up and used the dolly to get it all up to the first level, then with a u-turn in the next batch of steps, I humped the bag up there using brute force, a few steps at a time. My knee was NOT impressed.

Monday 16: The virus has had limited impact on us personally so far, although when Julie tried to place an online order last night, the next available delivery slot was next Sunday. We simply went out shopping early, no shower, just go. And yes, the row that usually contains toilet paper was empty! We’ve stocked up a bit and should be OK.

We also went down to the well to fill one of our two water bottles. The parking lot was overflowing onto the road. For those who don’t know it, it’s on 164th St in Lynnwood and that street is BUSY! Here’s the Google Street View – it must have been pretty busy that day.

Whenever we go somewhere, we warn people that yes, we are coughing, but it’s because we have mould in our apartment. And no, we’re not contagious.

Tuesday 17: Funny what goes through your head in the wee hours of the day. I was awake at 3:30 am and figured I might as well take the water bottle and see how it looked at the well. Just one car, with a couple who still had about 10 5-gallon bottles to fill and allowed me to cut in.

Then, later in the day, Julie waited in the car while I went for an interview at First Transit, who apparently run the Community Transit express services between Everett and Seattle. His first question was, “Why work for us?” Answer: “Because I’ve already failed Community Transit’s stupid personality test.” My answer to his question of “what was I most proud of” was my description of the Honiara Project. And I got the job! Next step was Concentra for a drug screen and DOT (Dept of Transport) medical. Ah yeah, for walk-ins, it’s a 4-hour wait. Hmm, we’ll come back later in the week.

Wednesday 18: There were 5 of us as extras today at work, meaning it would take 5 people failing to turn up for all of us to get a route. Everyone turned up, so I headed back to Concentra, to be told that the wait was about 2 hours. Hey, I’ve got nothing else to do, I’ll wait. I got in 4 hours later. Apparently my blood pressure was at the very top of the allowable range. Hmm, I’ve been waiting for 4 hours, what do you expect? Didn’t say that out loud though. I struck some snags with my “heart condition” and some of the meds I take, but they will hopefully get sorted out by assurances from my doctor and cardiologist. I’ve printed the 300 page book on the CDL (Commercial Driver License) process and started studying it.

Friday 20: With some time on my hands, I called in at First Transit to let the boss know that there MIGHT be a hitch in my medical, and he told me that with all the virus uncertainty, they have had a hiring freeze imposed on them by corporate, and that I will on the first available training course. Yay, at least I have more time to pass the CDL (Commercial Driver License) test!

Spring has sprung here.

Late birthday dinner for April.

Hmm. Do you think we should recycle this bag?

Saturday 22: I suggested to April that this would be a great place to test out the Jeep. Strange, she didn’t like that idea.

Sunday 23: More mould. This came from an area in the corner of the living room where all the Internet stuff is.

Monday 24: Shopping today. This area was for sugar. I must admit that so far at least, we have not had any issues keeping our fridge and freezer stocked.

Tuesday 25: We got an Amazon delivery today. On Julie’s profile there is a polite request for the driver to knock first and if there is a response, wait for about 15 seconds for her to get to the door. When she did (I was in the bathroom, so couldn’t get there myself), he was still there and did exactly what I do – handed the package to her at arm’s length.

On that note, we have all been given a letter to carry while working, indicating that we are involved in an “essential business”.

Thursday 26: I came across a novel execution of Social Distancing today. I was stopped at a stop sign when two girls walked across in front of me, each holding onto one end of a piece of plastic pipe. It took me until they had fully crossed the road to catch on, and I called out, “Aha! Six feet!” They were delighted that I had caught on so quickly. Pity I didn’t take a picture.

Friday 27: I have driven past this spot at the end of the working day for months now, and the fence with locked gate around a set of stairs has always intrigued me. So today, I stopped and took a picture.

Then used my Site Marker mapping tool to drop a marker at the location of the gate and see the bigger picture. First, using the Street view to make sure it’s in the right place, and show the extent of the fencing.

Then the view from above. The road going through he middle is Glenwood Avenue. I could see from using the Terrain view that the drop from the house to the street is about 60 feet.

And to seal the deal, the satellite view.

And an update about 6 weeks later, for another view, where I was sitting in the car right next to the fence. There’s the house, and the one next to it that is visible from the road.

So – likely answer: The stairs have been there for a while, providing access from the road below to the street up the top. When the house was built, they didn’t like the idea of people being able to walk up into their back yard, so it got closed off. Maybe it was easier to build the fence than to rip out the stairs, or possibly to leave them there as an emergency escape route.

Saturday 28: I am frequently surprised by the local wildlife, in this case, a bunny. Unfortunately, not a brilliant picture, because Julie and I have swapped phones, so that she could have the bigger one, which is easier for her to read, but it also has the better camera.

Sunday 29: I knew that the quarantine measures were having a real impact, but this view of the I-405 freeway this morning really slammed it home. Granted, it’s Sunday, and the traffic is not the log jam that it is on a weekday, but this is truly exceptional. And yes, I did set it up relatively safely. The phone was already on its magnetic holder. Simply poke the camera app, rotate the phone to the right and click. And there was no-one else around anyway!

Monday 30: We continue to do battle with the mould in the apartment. I have yet to haul the big trunk that serves as a tool box out of the far corner of the spare room. Meanwhile, we have the dehumidifier running in there, but it blows the dry air straight up, which then gets the fan rotating slowly, with a very annoying click sound. This is the temporary fix, just high enough and stable enough to stop it from moving.

Tuesday 31: I stepped outside to see this little critter on the side of the wall, which apparently they quite often are. By the time I had whipped the phone out, I had to make do with this picture.