Story 29July2022: Friday

I decided to take a break and write this Saturday morning. I am now in a rush, of course.

Friday is a work-from-home day at the shoe company, so there was no morning rush. I slept into 7AM and then went slow, cleaning up and dressing at 9ish. Breakfast, eating while listening to yet-another status meeting at 8:05, and break off at 8:30 for another overlapping status meeting that leadership decided should be overtopped of the production support status meeting and still has on Fridays. Fridays are supposed to be Zoom-free, but the project seldom follows the rules like this. It can be frustrating.

It is a summer-hours at Nike WHQ Friday; even with the project trying to horn in on that, I did manage to break away at 11:30ish. I made grilled cheese with chicken soup from a can for lunch. Again, trying to economize and reduce my meat intake (which failed later–but it was sooo good).

I packed the computer, cable, blue-tooth speaker, and Nemo’s War board game and headed out in Air Volvo. Nemo’s War is a solo board game that has been through a few Kickstarter projects and add-ons, which is my recommended purchase on Kickstarter. I then drove to hummingbird house without issue going across Beaverton and skipping the downtown section with its 20MPH zones. Folks were driving very slow in light traffic.

Aside: Games that have changed to a 2nd edition and had multiple Kickstarters are usually a good buy. Nemo’s War is a solo game (it tries to provide a multiplayer add-on–forget it) that has you play the storied captain from Jules Vernes’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The game is complex, the rules thick, and, like many solo and cooperative games, is controlled by a card deck with an elaborate set-up. Once I got the rules and set-up down, I enjoyed stopping by a bar, getting a table with plenty of light, and drinking a beer while pretending I was Nemo.

I reached Susie’s without incident. There is now a big red stop sign message on the entrance door. Covid-19 is still running through the place, but Susie is negative, and I tested negative too. Deciding it is essential Susie gets a visitor, I entered and was welcomed. Vanessa was the nursing aide today.

Susie was happy to see me, and we decided to go outside even with it approaching 90F (32C) in the sun. Vanessa got Susie into her wheelchair while I put my laptop in Susie’s room with the equipment I had brought. It is too hot for a running computer to be left in the car!

I quickly got Susie and me into the shade at a nice bench, for me, in Metzger Park. It was a hot but glorious sunny July day in Western Oregon. Still green with the butterflies and dragonflies everywhere and the forest fire smoke absent, so far. The heat had reduced the number of people playing in the park, and only the kids were running around. The adults moved slowly and looked a bit stunned. We did see two brave guys, one older, playing basketball covered in sweat–but the tennis courts were empty.

From our shading spot, we called Susie’s mother, Leta, and then called her aunt Joyce in North Carolina. Everyone was happy to see Susie in her bright shirt and outside in the shade trees. Nobody had as hot of weather as we did, but Michigan is always humid–something we don’t usually have, humidity. While warm, we were very comfortable in the shade–but temperatures were climbing, and it was time to head back in. Usually, our temperatures will rise one to two degrees an hour on 100+ days. You can actually feel the change with the low humidity, making you bake even in the shade.

Back in the cool house, we headed to the activity room. While Vanessa got Susie comfortable and safe in a recliner, I set up the scene and the laptop to play a movie. I keep a screen there for Susie. Plus, Susie has a nice TV set in her room on cable. And she has Alexa on the house account to play her music and anything else. I was joking with Venassas that she should order pizza with Alexa or anything else (the name is set to ‘Echo’ for all the obvious reasons). I think, as I have not tested it, that Alexa can only put something in your cart on Amazon. They have Alexa play music for Susie to get her started in the morning.

The movie today is a new one Susie has not seen before: The Lost City. This new movie stars Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe with Brad Pitt and is reworking an old film, Romancing the Stone (which has aged poorly). Daniel, using a primarily American accent, is the bad guy and manages to be creepy and passive-aggressive simultaneously. Sandra and Tatum are the focus and do a great job moving the story. Susie loved the movie, and I think a bit relieved to get to see a new film.

It was 3:30 now, and time for me to leave, and Susie’s face fell. She tried to be brave but was not ready for me to go after the movie. It is always heartbreaking to leave. Susie was distracted by Vanessa, and Vanessa promised they could always call me if she needed to talk to me. Vanessa talked about lunch and other mundane items with Susie; you can tell how well trained and good at their jobs are the folks of hummingbird house at moments like this. I left, haunted by the look on Susie’s face, but I kept going. Susie recovered and was talking about a snack with Vanessa when I left. Good.

It was 105F (always overstated) by Air Volvo, but it was hot inside on the black-on-black leather. So I crossed Beaverton with the AC at max! I reached the parking garage, not wanting the car to heat and willing to pay 1 hour an hour to not experience the prolonged afternoon heat when returning to Air Volvo.

I headed to Central Tap and grabbed a table and a few beers. I played Captain Nemo for the next few hours. I needed to unwind a bit between work and home stress. I was just becoming a stress puppy (beginning to like endless stress–“Stress me again; I am a good boy.” Pant. Pant). So I felt a bit more normal with some spice bar mix and two summer beers. Nemo’s War played better (I also think I got lucky) and avoided the immediate loss conditions by trying to mix my actions. I had to learn how to score as I never got this far and reached the “Failure” level for ‘explore’ styled Nemo (the game allows different settings for Captain Nemo play options and scoring). I was still proud.

I enjoyed the game more this time as I have learned enough rules, so I seldom have to look up rules now. The mechanics and choices are also more familiar to me, so I know when I have to start focusing on sinking ships. I spent too much time in this game upgrading the Nautilus (but who would not want all that gadgets?!) than exploring and causing revolts (yes, Captain Nemo is a force to resist the imperial powers running the world back in the late 1800s). Next time.

Lastly, I headed to the Mexican place, Pepitas. They were busy, and I got a seat, after being ignored, as usual, for ten minutes–don’t be offended. They do that to everyone. I went to the bar as it was just me. I sat at the very end and was far enough away to feel OK. I had Fajitas, the steak version. I wanted something good after all the veggies and low-meat meals. The waiter asked me again, and I said “steak” and then looked annoyed and asked again. The music was making it hard, and we both wore masks. She was saying ‘Tortillas,’ but I heard ‘Fajitas,’ we both laughed when we figured it out, and I answered correctly this time ‘flour.’

I had a diet coke which did not go well with dinner, but after drinking two beers earlier, it was best to slow down. A group took the chairs next to me on the bar, but we managed to still not be that close. My dinner was terrific, and I soon left.

It was a short trip home in Air Volvo, and I was soon asleep, a bit early for me. I needed some rest and to unwind a bit. So I practiced self-care: Beer, games, Fajitas, and a good movie with my gal.

Thanks for reading!

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