September 2020

Friday 4: We are both looking for work (again).

The next step towards working for Home Instead Care was today for fingerprints, scheduled for 8:30. Meanwhile, yesterday, I got an invitation to join a Zoom meeting to learn a bit about a job working from home, starting at 9:30. Panic! What if they overlap?

So I turned up at IdentoGo for the fingerprints at 8:00. There were 2 other people there and I noticed that their appointments are 10 minutes apart. I mentioned my situation to the lady, and asked whether they would have me out by 9:00. “Definitely”, she said. Then the guy who had registered in front of me walked out, so I got his spot, right then & there! I was out by 8:10.

Then I had the Zoom meeting, along with about 8 other people scattered across the country. Still not too sure about it, specially with the starting pay rate of $8.25 per hour. Meanwhile, Julie applied for a civilian military job at the Navy Base, just for fun, knowing full well that she won’t get it because of her age and the amount of time since she left the military. It refreshed a memory from our time in Canberra, where the US Embassy had advertised a “done deal” job, and were blindsided by there being a US Citizen AND former military person applying for it. When she left the interview on that one, she fondly remembers the Marine Officer giving her the thumbs up, along the lines of “job well done”.

I also had to scramble to buy an Ethernet cable, so that I could use that instead of the wifi in the apartment (for security reasons). Cruising through Walmart, I came across some masks, which would have been very handy for remembering what day it is, but the colour scheme put me off, specially the pink one that looks like female underwear.

I even updated my profile again, this time with glasses on.

Later in the day, there was a email waiting for me, inviting me to an orientation at Home Instead Care on Wednesday. Woohoo! The results on my background check must have come back pretty quickly. Good timing too, as I’m not too sure whether I want to be doing the up-sell thing. It was a good opportunity to see what a Zoom meeting looks like though.

Sunday 6: Over the last several days, I have worked on recording and uploading a 10-minute video of my “window” to the Window Swap website. You may or may not see it there. In the process, I captured two hummingbirds. This one was there for a full 90 seconds.

This one just came and went.

Thursday 10: My new job has started with a bang. A 4-hour orientation yesterday at the office, followed today by a 4-hour shift today at the home where I will be working, caring for a man with Dementia. There was so much to get through that the 4 hours ended up being 5. Starting next week, I will be working Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 12 hours each, and 4 hours on Sunday morning. The Sunday is a bit of a push to get them out the door and off to church, then make the bed, finish the laundry, vacuum and tidy up, then go home.

Since it had been so full-on, I figured I’d go find some water where I could come back to earth. This little lake had a sign on it, along the lines of, “take a reading and text it to us”. Trying not to feel irritated, as I often do, that everything you see in the picture, except for the spot where I am standing, is “owned”, I did send them my reading, and instantly received a reply, thanking me, informing me that the previous reading was a week ago and was 0.10 feet higher than mine, and referring me to their website here.

And on the same day, moseying along looking for a spot where I might be able to see Puget Sound, I came across this.

OK, I’ve seen lots of Private Roads, let’s take a quick look anyway, until this.

After checking out the location a bit more (later) I can see why they might be a bit protective.

Sunday 13: A few days later, things have settled down a bit at work. I got talking to the lady who comes to the property to keep the garden under control and mentioned blackberries (which grow wild here BTW, and are not poisoned as they are in Australia), and she said she would get me a bucket of them sometime soon. She did that yesterday. It would have been pretty easy for her, as she was trimming the bushes anyway, to drop some of the trimmed branched into the bucket. This is the result of the process of emptying out the branches, picking the fruit and putting the branches back in the bucket. Julie had already bailed out after stabbing her fingers one too many times. Those thorns are SHARP!

And the messy kitchen bench. Yes, the bench did come clean with a bit of scrubbing, and as I write this, half of them have already been incorporated into a very nice yogurt parfait for lunch.

Monday 15: I’ve been driving through what looks like fog a whole lot lately. On Saturday night, coming home from work, yes, it probably was fog, but this persistent yucky stuff is smoke haze from the bushfires in California and Oregon. Compare it to the clarity in the videos of the hummingbirds.

It’s funny how having a new job and a new challenge can alter one’s attitude. Over the last 2 days, I’ve been doing my “there must be a better way” analysis of the ways I do things without thinking. For example, putting a t-shirt on someone else, where I had been putting the shirt over my clients head first, but then found it was getting caught on his elbows. After I experimented with Julie and then looked at how I do it myself, I concluded that it’s so much easier to put the arms in first! Update: Even easier to go over the head first, because he can lift his arms up! Duh!

And I had been brushing his teeth after getting him partly dressed, only to have him dribble toothpaste all over the clean shirt. My solution to that one will (hopefully) be to brush them while he is sitting in the shower chair, still wearing a shirt, before I take it off and start the shower. Then it doesn’t matter how much mess he makes. Update: The Occupational Therapy person suggested that we try to maintain his routines. He always enjoyed standing up while showering himself – OK, let’s shower him while is standing, not sitting. The expression of joy on his face when the warm water runs over his back is another gem. In theory, he can brush his own teeth – Let’s try that too. He swallows the toothpaste anyway!

And I am enjoying the down time in between the 3 days of 12-hour shifts.

Sunday 27: I must have been busy for the last 2 weeks. On the very first day at the new job, I was in the kitchen looking after my client while some family members visited. The wife of the client said, “Yes, he’s a keeper.” Since then, she has explained that comment. I get on well with him, and it’s taken me a few weeks to figure out the priorities during the day. For example, get him out of bed and over to the bathroom, (get him cleaned up if necessary) and let him sit on the toilet for a while, while I make the bed and start the laundry load, and then get him showered and dressed. It makes her happy when I get done the activities that are important to her personally. In all, it’s an easier job than some of the ones I’ve had here, although it would be a whole lot better if my right knee wasn’t swollen to nearly twice its normal size. This picture was taken last week, and it’s now even worse.

And just to complicate things, we are now moving out of our mouldy apartment. We’ve been gearing up for it for a few weeks, including me doing my usual organised thing of drawing up a scale layout, so that we could put big heavy things “on paper”, before they go “on floor”. Click on it for the larger version.

Monday 28: OK, it’s official, we are moving out. The fairy lights (and the hummingbird feeder) came down yesterday.

Now you see it (top left).

Now you don’t.

This morning, we’ve been seeing hummingbirds turning up and then leaving. You can almost hear them saying, “But it was here yesterday.

I’m having trouble with the WordPress media library. The pictures will be here when I fix it.

And the new apartment is “Go for launch”. I called in at the end of the day for some pictures. All that is missing is the dishwasher, which will probably turn up tomorrow.

From the front door. Love that carpet colour. Ah, there’s the cable connection.

Left towards the “dining” area.

From there, through the kitchen to the bathroom.


Closet near the kitchen.

Kitchen cupboards, lots of them.

Looking out towards the dry part of the patio, roughly 8ft x 5ft.

And looking at the whole thing. All we have to do to make it safe for Buddy is to board up the gap between the last paling and the fence on both sides.

There are variations of Sam here too.

And we have the correct amount of supervision.