April 2020

Wednesday 1: I figure we don’t need any mention of April Fools Day today. We seem to be getting enough of that from our So-Called Fearless Leader, who will be referred to in future as SCFL, because IMHO he doesn’t any more respect than that.

Saturday 4: I was delivering to a brand new housing development. On the way out, the best I could do was to hang the phone out the window. Sloppy but effective. STARTING at $2M. Wow.

Sunday 5: The I-405 freeway is still just as deserted.

On the way home, I stopped at my favourite scenic spot, partly for the sunset and partly to capture the underwater channel created by an outflow.

Wednesday 8: Meanwhile, Mr Laid Back continues to be laid back.

Friday 10: Today’s route was “different”. Instead of going South to wherever, I went East to Monroe.

Saturday 11: Today it was even more East.

I had come in this way to a property and stopped just long enough to capture this on the way out. Yes, that’s quite a deep creek.

This is a “driveway”.

Sunday 12: Internet connectivity was an issue yesterday, and again today. This kind of delay was typical.

I knew there was a “few” heavy boxes going to the same location. It wasn’t until I arrived at the location that I realised just how many. Each one weighed about 50lb (that’s a little over 20Kg) each. At 3 per dolly load up the driveway, I found out that her tyres need to be inflated a bit.

Twice in 2 days, I have been across this creek, so it was time to stop on the bridge and check out the water, which is actually a whole lot cleaner than it looks here, because you are looking through the water to the mud on the bottom.

This was a nice surprise, right there on the edge of another “driveway”.

Back to the road into the parking lot, those mountains look way more majestic than the picture captures.

They also looked even better and more majestic from where I was this week! I later figured out that I had been about halfway to them for most of the day. I just didn’t have the time to stop long enough to grab a decent picture!

I did some calculations on the way back to the station. On all 3 days, I have logged about 40 miles more than usual. Given that Monroe is about 10 miles closer to Everett than say, Kirkland, it means that on each of these 3 days, I have had an additional 60 miles of internal travel (10+40+10). At an average speed of about 40 mph, that’s about an hour and a half of extra driving in the delivery area. Which is what I’ve been saying to the dispatchers has been adding dramatically to my time for each day. So the fact that I did in fact finish the route of 120 stops today, despite the extra travel time (and finishing late), was a huge win!

Meanwhile, I had a plastic egg fall out of one of my bags today. Hm, better check for broken items as I deliver them. At the end of the day, nothing was damaged, so I finally concluded that “someone” had dropped or slipped it into the bag! Thank you, someone.

Monday 13: As I do every Monday, I walked over to the funeral home to do my weekly tasks. On the way back, I figured that the webcam would catch me somewhere, and it did. I was able to extract this from today’s video sequence.

Tuesday 14: We found this today on YouTube via Facebook, way too good not to share. The Euphonium Song.

We were joined for lunch today by April and Duncan, with Amara, Duncan’s service dog. At present, she is a puppy in training and will go on to be his constant companion, to monitor his diabetes.

With those little sharp teeth, the ball didn’t last long.

The plan was to cook the frozen burger patties on the BBQ, um, I mean Grill. OK, light a fire starter and use it to get the charcoal going. Some 15-20 minutes later, hmm, they’re still not cooked, let’s just toss in another fire starter and flame grill the damn things. That worked!

  • Lessons learned:
  • If you’re cooking steaks, use the starter to get LOTS of charcoal going. Throw the steaks in on the top rack, put the lid on and wait.
  • If you want just a short burst of heat, forget about the charcoal and just allow the starter to flame grill the food.

When Amara gets her jacket on, she is expected to switch into “work” mode.

Wednesday 15: We were out Door Dashing when I came across this on a pathway in an apartment block.

Thursday 16: Today was a delivery day in the Monroe area. This was just at the end of a new small development. It took me several attempts to get these two into the open.

And then this little guy just wandered across the front lawn and the driveway as I was pulling in. I didn’t have time to set up the camera!

I took this for the masks and gloves. Julie says it looks like us.

Friday 17: While I was working, April and Duncan took Julie for a ride to see the tulip farms to the North of us.

This a short video of the van climbing out of a delivery location. Note the chip in the windscreen, as it gives an idea of where the van is pointing.

The original is too big to include in WordPress, so here’s a link instead: 108MB

April and I swapped vehicles for the day, as it’s much easier for Julie to get in and out of the Dodge. I got to take the new Jeep to work and they had the Dodge. Amara liked it because she had her own special place to sit.

Sunday 19: I guess she was going to pop up at some time! Her way of keeping in touch, perhaps?

Julie called me outside tonight to see something. “It looks like a star, but it’s too bright”, she said. My first thought was, “That’s Venus” and I was correct. Apparently it’s been particularly bright lately.

I figured it would show up on the webcam, and it did. Look carefully about two thirds of the way across, at the top of the screen, above the light.

Tuesday 21: Julie said that she’s never seen Buddy quite so well bundled up.

Driving back home from a Door Dash today, we spotted this on the rear wall of a building, which turned out to be a local church.

On today’s Door Dash, we ended up in the Arlington area. When Julie needed a pee, we stopped at the freeway Rest Area and I found this.

Thursday 21: Today’s route took me even further out to the East, almost to Sultan. With the combination of not quite as many stops and the added travel distance of the “Rural Route”, I managed to finish it without assistance.

At this delivery, I asked the lady if I could grab my phone from the van and come back to her front lawn to take a picture. She agreed, and mentioned that you don’t actually see this view until you are at the house.

Thursday 23: Another hairy video of the climb into a delivery location.

Again, the original is too big to include in WordPress, so here’s a link instead: 104MB

Friday 24: Meanwhile, back at home, Buddy had a long visit from Ludo. Julie says they were both reaching up and patting the window, but she wasn’t fast enough to capture video.

Saturday 25: Work have now put me on the “Milk Run”, where there are a handful of people that move mis-sorted stuff to the correct stations. I start out from Everett with a pile of stuff and travel to Seattle, Renton, Kent and Sumner, usually returning from them with a similar pile to unload. The hardest part is the loading and unloading bags of stuff that doesn’t necessarily want to stack easily.

Today, while in Sumner, and being on lunch break anyway, I sought out Julie’s old apartment and took a picture for her – the small one upstairs on the left.

You’ve seen this picture before, looking out over Puget Sound, but not with the spectacular sunset.

Sunday 26: From April. Amara doing what comes naturally, taking Snickers for a walk. She has his lead in her mouth.

Tuesday 28: This is where I go on the Milk Run.

Oh, yay! I’ve just realised, when (not if) Mt Rainier erupts again (which may or may not be in our lifetime), the lahar flow will take one of several paths, of which I have drawn in three of them, and one of them takes out Sumner, Auburn, Kent, Renton and everywhere in between.

For some perspective on that scenario, see what Mt Pinatubo did back in 1991 here and here.

Family get-together at April’s place.

Wednesday 28: While I was getting dressed this morning, Buddy had a visit from Ludo. After several attempts, I managed to capture a half decent video.

Here’s the link to the original: 51MB

On the Aussie Motorhomers forum, which I started way back when, someone figured out that I was in the US and asked where. When I replied that we are in Seattle, he asked that if ever I was in Kent, could I visit Karen at the KOA Campground and convey a hello from him and his wife. As it happens, I go that way on every Milk Run, so today I used my lunch break to do some poking around. Called in and surprised Karen and also checked out the area where this whole story started, at Boeing building 18-28. Here’s a screenshot from Google Maps satellite view. 18-26 is the gray roofed building, and Julie and I both recall walking up the covered pathway to building 18-26 (with the white roof) to get lunch in the cafeteria. So today, I found my way to the area and took a picture in the direction of the arrow.

OK, I see the end of the pathway, but the building is gone! In its place, there’s a fence around a drainage pond. Wow, things change!, but then it is nearly 20 years since we were there.

On the way back, I finally managed to capture the working that is on all of the illuminated signs on the freeways.

Arriving back at the station later, I came across a mannequin dressed in the Amazon branded and/or safety gear that we should all be wearing. On the way out a little later, someone had placed it in the “Go stand in the corner and don’t come out until you’re told” position.

Friday 30: This is from the daily loving up session between me and Buddy.

When I saw my outgoing load for the day, I knew I would need to do some creative packing. Closed the rear doors, packed the van from the back forwards, then opened the doors for a picture.