June 2021

Tuesday 1: I took some pictures for my PT Specialist in Israel.

My walking strip. I use this for relatively fast walks for analysis. Go out the door to the path, turn right and go. You can see the golf course in the background.

My walking frame. With the strap tensioned, I can now balance a box on it, leaning forward onto the front of the frame, if the box is big enough.

The same strap, in its relaxed form, will compact when the frame is closed.

With my work bag attached with a carabiner on each end. This means that the front wheels take the weight and the bag is outside my leg range, so I’m not kicking it. And after about 6 months of wear and tear, the slides on the bottom of the back legs fell apart, and have been replaced with some pretty purple ones.

For 2 days in a row now, my colleague has been working on the boat, so I have turned up to work to find that I’m not needed and gone home with a full day’s pay.

Wow. Our apartment took on the title of the Great Outdoors when we arrived home tonight. I walked in and saw 2 cats on the floor, staring up at a squirrel running franticly back and forth across the big mirror in the living room. When I picked up Buddy, he/she took off out the door. We were both too surprised to take a picture. And then, the poor little bugger couldn’t jump up onto the concrete wall of the patio, with Holly chasing him/her. He/she quickly solved the problem by first jumping up onto my exercise bike. “Dull” is not in our vocabulary.

News from April that Duncan has earned a “letter” for his achievements on the golf course. More on this when I understand the significance of it.

Friday 4: I just happened to have a full van today, with 2 testers in the back seats, one was pinging the North tower and the other was pinging the South tower. Then there was a representative of King County in the front seat. It appears that I clipped a front tire on something, and suddenly we had the tire rapidly going flat. We could have fitted the spare ourselves, but were instructed to wait for a King County person to arrive and do it for us. Then we had to return to the garage to swap into another van and then go back to where we needed to be. Fun times.

Sunday 6: The fun doesn’t stop there. The vehicle supervisor has been in contact this weekend because two of our testers have tested positive for Covid. So there will no work tomorrow as we all go and get tested. I scrambled and made an appointment for tomorrow.

Monday 7: The test wasn’t as bad as I had thought. It was a drive through clinic near downtown Everett. Keep your windows up unless we’re talking to you, and when you do open one, it’s only an inch or so. Take the swab and rotate it in each nostril for 10 seconds. Results possibly before tomorrow, although I suspect that not everyone will be quite so diligent and since we need the whole team on board, we probably won’t be working tomorrow as well.

Tuesday 8: Today, back at work, was once again out in the mountains.

Wednesday 9: Out and about again.

My partner for the day said that this would make a great screen saver. If you do want to use it, use the bigger version here (2.5MB).

This one would make a great screen saver too. If you do want to use it, use the bigger version here (2.8MB). If you zoom right in on the ledge at the top, you can see that someone up there is wearing a white shirt.

If you look carefully at the water, to the right and about seven eighths of the way up the water, you can see a line of white coloured ducks feeding.

Yep, it’s a Hobbit house.

Meanwhile, Julie was scheduled for cataract surgery on her right eye today, so I had to quit early and get home in time to get her to Mt Vernon in time. It was rather traumatic but now that she knows how it’s done, it will be easier for the left eye in 2 weeks. She has “black cobwebs” above the eye, which means that’s all she sees when she looks up. The surgeon said it’s from the meds he used to numb her eye and it will disappear soon. She has lots of rules on what not to do for the next week. Things like “Don’t rub your eye” and “Tape this plastic patch to your eye at bedtime”….

Thursday 10: She had to go back to Mt Vernon again today for the surgeon to take a look, so again, I had to quit work early, although not quite so early this time. The cobwebs have diminished a bit. He mentioned that the right eye is looking up and left a little, which is probably what is causing double vision. Major eye surgery will be discussed in another month or two.

Friday 11: Today, we were testing the response from 2 towers in the area, which means we had 2 laptops in the van, each on a different frequency. Emily only needed to monitor one of them, so we put the other in the passengers seat so that I could see the progress as we moved. It was super cool watching a tile go from pale yellow to pale green as the laptop sent its message, and then to dark green as the tower responded. It also gave me a better idea of where we were going next.

We were working in the area near Alki. This is the view looking back towards Seattle.

In the same place, she and I thought this was a contradiction in terms. When I sent it to Julie, she said that this was good, because at least she wouldn’t get dumped there. For the record, I did not take a dump here. 🙂

Saturday 12: The balance box arrangement has been improved with the addition of 2 more straps. When they are not in use, they also dangle at the front.

This box weighs about 20 pounds.

Being home for most of the day, I had the job of tidying the apartment a bit. This was the “cute” touch.

Julie worked today and said, “Wow, the sight in the right eye is clearer and brighter”, which means: looking out of the right eye, white stuff looks white, where from the left eye, the same white stuff looks cloudy and slightly yellow. We do the same again on the left eye in 2 weeks.

Monday 14: It occurred to me that because I can’t stand for more than a couple of minutes, and was sitting in my van instead, I was missing out on the conversations as everyone else was milling around, waiting for vans to be finalised. So I decided to take my Captain America portable chair with me, and before leaving home, took some pictures, including how the levels mesh together to hold it up.

As the other vehicles were leaving, I found out that my van wasn’t going out today, so of course I came home again, on full pay. That night, I received a broadcast to all staff to say that we have finished the first round of testing, don’t come in tomorrow, you’re all still on full pay, and we might need people on Wednesday to move the vans to another location.

Julie took a picture of Holly outside. She really blends into the landscape.

Tuesday 15: Julie and I took time out today to visit the new Veteran’s Museum in Lynnwood. We’ve known about it since it opened a few months ago. The area is small (and VERY clean). We had a long chat with Carl, which ended with us taking home application forms to be volunteers, including me to do some IT stuff. He’s looking forward to having a much bigger space sometime on the future.

Wednesday 16: All the drivers and testers are now on standby at full pay until the next phase, which is expected to start in early July. We just have to available for driving if necessary, with 24 hours notice. I can live with that! Julie has asked my recruiter if she could be considered as a tester for the next round, if she can manage to work it around the Census job.

Wednesday 23: April was at the Jackson Park golf course (probably with Duncan playing there) and captured these of the new Light Rail under construction.

Saturday 26: Julie called me out to the patio to take a picture. This is what I found. Holly had ensconced herself in the table cover.

I managed to get closer without disturbing her.

Monday 28: It’s been rather hot here. Buddy has the right idea.

It’s also been a bit busy here. We both ventured out into the heat (yes, I will admit that it was hot) and went to DAQ training today, which is part of the preparation for the next cycle of testing in my job. I didn’t actually need to attend, but did anyway because I had to get her there. It’s all about the radio quality signal rather than signal strength – any transmission with noticeable background noise or static is a “fail”. Julie had problems with the answers because her hearing aids were set to highlight voice and eliminate everything else. Once she had figured that out, she could very clearly hear the noise and static, and passed the test! We start work on Tuesday next week (Monday is a Public Holiday for the Fourth of July).

Wednesday 23: They said we would be on standby and they were correct. I was called to help move the current batch of vans from Tukwila and replace them with even more vans from Redmond. I learned an interesting lesson: If I’m driving a King County Metro van, it’s considered to be a Van Pool vehicle, which means I can use the special lane for High Occupancy Vehicles on the freeways.