January 2021

Wednesday 1: Here we are, Happy New Year, with 20-20 hindsight, and I’m working a 12-hour shift.

Cancel the stuff about not being able to use my San Serif font back in September. It must have been a one-off, because it’s working now!

Thursday 2: It’s raining here. This is the path on the opposite side on the building from us. Again, we’re so lucky to be in the apartment that we are in. Click on the little diamond in the bottom right for the full effect. Click it again to come back here.

Wednesday 6: A sample of the awesome view from a client’s home, looking out over the valley of the Snohomish River. It’s even more spectacular when the snow on the mountains is visible.

Thursday 7: Oh, yay! Someone just picked up on the surgery date being while the surgeon is on holidays and the date has been pushed back by 2 weeks, to February 4. At least it will give me more time to arrange appointments.

Sunday 10: Every now and then, the Fire Dept conduct a test to show that the hoses they are carrying on the truck can reach all the way from the bottom of the car park (which is either where the hydrant is, or as close as they can get without getting jammed up) all the way out to the back fence. They did, just like they always do.

Thursday 14: Julie has been slowly working through the convoluted Federal Government process of establishing the civilian equivalent of a security clearance, so that she can work in a Census job as a fingerprint operator. Wait, what? The Census was in 2020 wasn’t it? We were out doing a bit of shopping and grabbing some lunch today, when Julie received a phone call from the Regional Recruitment Coordinator for the West Coast, including Hawaii and Alaska, to say that she wants Julie in Vancouver (Washington), in a week, for a week. It produced a whole series of reactions:

  • Yikes, you really have got the job!
  • Crap, how are you going to get there?
  • Oh….  I’ll have to drive you, what shifts am I working?
  • You’ll be staying and working at (classified) – let’s look that up.
  • Bugger, it’s got stairs. Ask if you can have a ground floor suite.
  • Email her back. “Yes, of course you can!”
  • Not really classified, but I don’t want it to be redacted. Hee hee.

So now here we are, juggling dates and times on multiple calendars to make sure nothing overlaps.

Meanwhile, I got called in for two emergency shifts to care for a young man with MS. Now I know why Doris was so dedicated when she was working for the MS Society in Canberra. Seeing him stuck in either a wheelchair or his bed, and incoherent for most of the time, is pretty brutal.

Saturday 16: Given that I’m going to be house bound for several weeks next month, I have started a process to change the way I remake the removal packs at the Funeral Home, so that I can do the job at home. I started with bringing home a roll of shrouds and a box of other bits (ZipLock bags, gloves, ankle tags) and testing whether I could use the bed to fold the shrouds. Unrolling each one turned out to be relatively easy, as well as being a great upper body exercise, because the static between the plastic and the blanket causes them to stick together. The roll doesn’t escape because it is placed so that it unrolls on the bottom and rolls towards the pillows. Because I’m sitting, the rest of the folding process is easier than when I’m standing at a bench at the Funeral Home.

All the bits that I need, gathered together.

For now, I take the box of completed packs in each week and update the containers there. Hopefully when I’m house-bound, one of the staff can come to me to do that.

Sunday 17: We bought some fairly potent catnip so that the feline team could chill out a bit. After I sprayed some onto the recently acquired scratching post, the result was dramatic! This is the first time they have been this close without hissing.

Friday 22: From the client’s home, just over 2 weeks later, the sun came out over the mountains AND there was no fog in the valley.

Sunday 24: I took Julie to Vancouver yesterday. We were about 20 minutes on the road when I remembered that I didn’t have my evening meds, but were tight for time & decided to keep going. Come the evening, I was tired but still not able to sleep, and in considerable pain. AT some ridiculous hour of the early morning, I couldn’t take any more, threw my stuff in the car & headed for home. I was most of the way home when I dropped off and rather suddenly came awake when the car bounced off a concrete barrier. That woke me up! The external damage is minimal, but the impact upset a lot of the fancy stuff that makes it such a pleasure to drive – Cruise Control, Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Traction Control.

Tuesday 26: I happened to be looking for something, browsing back to June 2008 and came across me being excited about having a download speed to the house in Holder of 15 Kbps. Yes, Kilobits per second. One of my recent tests at the apartment showed a download speed of 242 Mbps. Yes, that’s Megabits per second. 15,000 compared to 242,000,000. Admittedly, that was ideal conditions from the cable router to an ethernet cable to the laptop, but it shows how times have changed, or maybe that Internet access is so much better in the USA.

We are now both in Vancouver. The wife of my client (the only client I have left) was overly concerned about the potential for snow, and had called the office to say that she was doubtful about my ability to get up her driveway, which looks like about 40 degrees from horizontal, and had left a message that she was considering canceling my Monday shift. The result was that the shift was indeed canceled, bit I didn’t see it because I didn’t look, and I turned up anyway. With Julie already in Vancouver since Saturday, I figured I’d go with the flow and leave earlier than expected. While getting ready at home, I checked my calendar and found that the only reason I planning to return to Everett on Wednesday was to care for the same client, I called her and asked if they could manage without me then as well. “Yes, go and enjoy the break.” So here I am having a real holiday for the rest of the week.

Since the Toyota is sufficiently unhealthy, but can still be driven, April agreed to swap vehicles. Thanks, Babe! While Julie was working, I decided to go check out the mountains and test out the 4WD. Pleased to say that it works well.

Oops. No, not me. Temporarily abandoned.

At least the snow had the decency to wait until I got back before starting.

Wednesday 27: Julie was not working today, so we decided to both go play in the snow. We followed roughly the same path to get up there.

Then went a little deeper and higher, to the Grouse Vista Trailhead, which was my goal yesterday. The fresh snow was 12 to 18 inches deep here. 

Of course, beware the yellow snow.

Great views.

Friday 29: Today I drove to Salem to visit my former colleagues at Rose City Post Tensioning, who now operate Pacific Post Tensioning. We had a great conversation and concluded that I might be able to help them and get paid for it. On the way back, I peeled off into a rest area, where I found these.

Sunday 31: We drove back home uneventfully. Whew.