Story 20Aug2022: Busy Saturday

My alarm on my iPhone woke me at 6:30. I could have slept in, but I wanted to finish the blog in the morning and try not to be too late to see Susie at hummingbird house. So I was not in a hurry. I made breakfast in the kitchen and then carried the plate and water to my new office in the back of the house. It is nice to have a place to work again. I also started finishing a load of laundry by putting it in the drier.

I spent the morning reading some emails and writing the Friday blog. I managed to be late to see Susie, almost 11 by the time I finished the blog, showered, dressed, and got organized to leave. I do not return to the house on Saturdays, so I must load the car with everything I need.

Air Volvo had a tire alert, but I suspect it was a temperature or sensor glitch. I reset the tire monitoring system, and the warning went away. I called the mothership and left a message with the service department to see if they could move up my appointment from September (!) to August. I would forgo the loaner car if that could enable the change. I have noticed the alerts on my cars (and all the Volvos) seem to sense the Nike bonus deposit and light up within weeks on the money appearing in my account. Thus, I was not at the least surprised that the tire light went off.

Safely arriving at hummingbird house, Susie was delighted to see me, but I saw some extra-legal lane changes while driving through Beaverton, with one car changing all the lanes in front of me. We had tax business to get done first. A Metro tax needs to be paid; we owe interest and 20% for missing this new tax. I had no idea about it, and with the events of 2021-2022, I am not surprised I missed the tax as I did our taxes in the middle of chemotherapy. Susie needed to sign the tax form. We practiced, and Susie could not remember how to spell her name, and the scrawl was not recognizable. I gave Susie the Metro tax form, and she put her mark on it, and I then signed her name next to it. I am sure that will do; they just want the money anyway. We both signed.

Aside: I will need to sit Susie down and practice some writing. She could make out a drifting signature before that sort of matched her signature. My lawyer believes I will need a guardianship for Susie, but that is expensive and time-consuming, so I have deferred it as the medical expenses are more important than this.

I wrote the more than $1,000 check and then sealed up the envelope, supplied and addressed by the CPA, and will mail it soon. Next, it was cool, 68F (20C) outside, and the sky was gray with clouds but little chance of rain. We made a short trip to the park next door, Metzger Park. Susie’s mother, Leta, and her sister, Barb, were at a Monet exhibit in Detroit, and we could not reach them for the usual call. So we called Zorida to say hello for a few moments.

Susie dressed warmly today, but soon the park was getting too cold for us. It is strange to be cold in August in Oregon!

We returned to the hummingbird house and got Susie comfortable in a recliner in the activity room with Vanessa’s help (Vanessa working a long shift on Saturday as our nursing aide). I picked the movie Atomic Blond, as the music is from the 1980s and is an action spy thriller. Susie liked it and enjoyed all the music.

Atomic Blond is set in 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall and has some fantastic recreation of Cold War Berlin and the emotion of the spies that now see the end of their way of life. Charlize Theron does fight after fight and is busy exploring the more direct side of spycraft. I liked it, and Susie liked the music and stunts.

Evan showed just as the movie hit the credits. I was cold and had even used a blanket for part of the movie. Vanessa took Susie to lunch and then to a nap. I said goodbye with a kiss.

Evan and I met for lunch in old Beaverton and tried out Top Burmese Bistro Royale for lunch. I had the pumpkin curry (vegan) and a Kingfisher beer I later learned is made in America now. It did not taste like what I remembered. Evan tried a beef curry.

We tried a new tap house, Rain Drop, and had a beer to help pay for the table. Next, we set up the board game Vindication. It was a long game this time, and Evan managed to keep his lead all through the game, and a last-minute Monster card gave him the game by one point. Vindication has a random end-of-game trigger, and these accumulate as players score. Had I been able to trip the end-of-game sooner, I would have won with all the masteries I bought. Still, Evan played well and deserves credit for his win by collecting rewards for visiting the various cool places on the board–also randomly determined. It was hard to lose by one point. Next time!

Notice the round scoring tokens; yes, blue is one point behind!

Aside: I have described Vindication often in the blog. You can find more information here: Vindication. It was made here in the Pacific Northwest, and I know the game designer and had some input into the final game. As a Kickstarter game, its buy-in price has ballooned (all of the cool add-ons that attract folks to Kickstarter increase the price) to $349 (you can still get it from Game Steward). I have bought my copy piece by piece over the years, one Kickstarter at a time, and so have not noticed the high price. The next game I played at Richard’s is the same story: Wonderland Wars. The Kickstarter version retails at over $300 if you can find it on eBay or other secondary markets (Game Steward is out of stock).

As I hinted, after lunch and a good game with Evan, I headed out to Portland and Richard’s house. I was dead tired, and I am not sure if it was the two beers, lunch, or all the stress (i.e., taxes, Susie’s health, learning to live alone, mailboxes, IKEA furniture, and so on). I managed to turn off too soon, and Air Volvo provided a tour of Portland, Oregon. Portland is recovering, I noticed, and while homeless and graffiti still suggest there is much to do, I know my new tax payment will help (Metro Supportive Housing Services (SHS) personal income tax) as it is directed to these issues. Painful, as I could use the money, but our joint responsibility is to help. Remember, we are all in this together–nobody gets off the planet alive.

I was just a few minutes early for the 6PM game. I did get some fries and a shake at McDonald’s in Portland to help me wake up. Shawn and his wife-to-be from Milan, Italy, Valorian, and Richard, were ready to play Wonderland Wars–I had no time to watch a how-to-play video, so I went into the game cold. I got the randomly assigned Jabberwocky to play, a famous but minor character in Alice in Wonderland, while Shawn was Alice, Richard the Mad Hatter, and Valorian the Red Queen.

The game is new and has all the bling of a Kickstarter version, plus the gorgeous art and larger components we now expect in new games. The game is a mix of resource management and dudes-on-a-board we see on higher-end Kickstarter, with Richard having painted the miniatures in cartoon colors. It also adds a bag, and the resources are tokens placed in a bag. The main action is divided into the Tea Party and the War. You collect four cards, with each character having a unique power to get more cards, or in my case, as Jabberwocky, I could poison a card. The cards give you upgrades, quests (for victory points), and resources. Many of the resources are helpful tokens for your bag. In addition, you can ally with famous and less well-known Wonderland characters (many with a figure). The figures are a few inches tall and have a cartoon look.

After that, we did the war portion of the game. We would battle for control of various territories in Wonderland by drawing power or madness from our bags of tokens. You can always stop; each draw could be madness (a damaging token) or something good. Many of the tokens you would have earned in the Tea Party. While I was lost for much of the game, my last place score clearly showed this (I also had trouble concentrating); I truly loved the mix of various game systems in a clean and well-thought-out game. We did bounce to the rules often, but the rules checks were all for exceptions. Richard’s copy is lovely with the painted figures, and I look forward to playing it again–I will resist the $300+ to get my own copy and paint the figures.

Aside: Richard’s figures were slightly dulled by the clear coat. The metal colors were no longer shiny to his great unhappiness. I have seen this before in figure painting. I now use very light coats of flat clear coats as many contain a white material that fades the underneath work. Mr. Hobby Mr. Super Clear Flat is my go-to, and this was after being disappointed by other sprays. The higher price, expensive and imported from Japan, had stopped me from using it, but I had a few figures’ tan colors turn gray. I noticed that Mr. Hobby’s products were mentioned in all the high-end model-building articles and videos. I have used them with great results, but always light coats!

I was tired and stopped, unusual for me, at 9:30 with the completion of Wonderland Wars, and drove home without issue. However, I did stop by the 24-hour open lobby Post Office in Aloha and mailed our tax forms and payment (done!), and got home and ramped down soon.

I managed to write a few words on my Dungeons and Dragons 5E adventure; I believe you need to make progress every day or lose the momentum you build up. I completed a chapter of The Second World War by Anthony Beevor, and another 100,000 people died on the Russian front and from the expansion of the Holocaust in 1941. It is nightmarish reading and has clarified some of the Cold War policies and Human Rights focus of the twentieth Century for me.

Hoping not to hear the screams of WW2, I fell asleep and dreamed instead of working.

Thank you for reading.

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