The morning started with me waking a few hours before my alarm and proving hydration. I kept waking up and going to sleep for the next two hours. Finally, the alarm on the iPhone brought an end to this cycle. I had to take Air Volvo to the mother ship today–it had a tire alarm, and a service light was demanding a visit to the mother ship. So I had scheduled this before my weekend visitors were coming–today.
I logged on to the shoe company and my own accounts and read the email and Slack messages. I was busy in the morning. While doing this, I had a bagel and some of yesterday’s coffee–I had made some late last night to help when I was too tired. The coffee is Fair Trade coffee from Equal Exchange and promised to help the farmers who grew the coffee by paying them a decent exchange for the coffee. Yes, liberal coffee and every cup makes the world just a little bit better.
I dressed and started my Zoom meetings with the camera showing my office with Lenin looking down. My new office is really working out for me. I feel much happier working in my own space.
It was a planning day, so I joined the department Zoom meeting, chatted with some folks, and then listened to the overall agenda for planning. We plan the work for the next set of sprints (a sprint in our group is two weeks, and we often do seven in a row before making the next plan) and then vote to accept the plan. It is a fantastic process with folks hooking up to figure out what they need from each other to finish work. Further work is the planned development and needs to be sequenced and spread across the sprints to balance the workload to the resource (people and systems).
It may sound silly, but we do this to know what we should be doing and who we need to work with. There is so much that always needs to be done, so something cannot be done, or we need to solve a critical path of resourcing. It can be a geek-fest of mixed properties. One vote against the plan sinks the plan, so it is vital that everyone believes in the plan and understands it. As you can imagine, I have been that one vote.
Next, headed out in Air Volvo to Herzog Meiers Volvo (the mothership) and turned over the vehicle for scheduled maintenance and anything else they could find. I added an alignment if the tires were intact despite the warning light. I wanted them to check everything and do the 45,000 updates and clean-up.
I had a Lyft back to the house from the mothership. The driver and I chatted about the world and how everything is scary, but after reading about World War Two recently, I told him that we do not seem to be so stupid as to return to a World War, but he was less convinced. He pointed out the crazies like Putin and Kim in North Korea, and I had to say they certainly matched the template for certain twentieth-century leaders. I wished the driver well and thanked him for the friendly chat. I also noticed that he was careful and drove within the speed limits, and I gave him five stars later.
I returned to work and then ordered lunch through GrubHub from Gyro House. I had the ground beef and lamb Gyro with extra spice sauce and feta. It is not as good as New York City (see Greek Kitchen), but pretty good. The pickles are delicious.
I did some work and organized the guest bedroom between things. I managed to change my 401K to 10%, and I will increase other before-tax items to decrease my salary so I can get some tax efficiencies. This is part of the plan to cover the over $8,000 a month in medical expenses I have now. That is after insurance. This year I will have paid over $120,000 in medical costs. I will try to get some tax efficiencies by claiming that while reducing my salary to increase the amount I can write off.
On the subject of spending money, Volvo called and sent me a Lyft, a very untalkative guy, and soon I was paying $1200+ for maintenance. That is a lot of money, but this was the fuel injector cleaning and all of that, which adds $600. I was happy that the car did not need any service and the tires were good. The brakes and tires will likely need to be replaced next year, but they are suitable. Excellent! The super detailing is next month, making it feel like a new car. Instead of buying a new one, I just have Air Volvo super detailed (Detailed is an American term that means cleaned, polished, and renewed–every detail is checked).
As I was already halfway to hummingbird house, I left the mothership and took the cleaner and better handling (I was noticing a slight loss of power before) Air Volvo towards Metzger Park and Susie’s place.
Susie was happy to see me. She threw off the blanket in the recliner and wanted to head to the park. She twice asked to head to the park when I first stopped on the porch–fearing it was too hot. Nope. Susie wanted to enjoy the trees and see all the folks in the park. We chatted with some folks and waved at lots of little people who were too young to be in school or at least too young to be in school all day.
We called Leta and reached her. She and Susie chatted for a while. I noticed while they talked that the trees in short distances were becoming grey and, to some degree, indistinct. You can’t see this smoke, but it is dissolved in the air and makes the air less clear. So you see it in distances as a greying and loss of detail. The fires are in the south, and the bad air is still not here, but the smoke is starting.
The forecast is for medium-quality air in the valley on Thursday and later this week. The air quality at the park and near Susie is green and was good when I was there.
We are the blue dot. We are tonight already in the yellow.
Soon, I needed to be home to clean and finish work. I said goodbye to Susie, who wanted to go home with me, but agreed that the hummingbird house would be safe for her. I took Air Volvo back to the Volvo Cave.
Back in my office and signed into work, I worked on a few crises of the moment and saw one de-escalate, finally.
Next, I headed out with some games in the car. I had to reload them as I took them out when sending Air Volvo to the mothership. I met the choir folks at the hot church and played board games with Zophia while they practiced.
I won the games. Zophia almost caught me in our fav of Azul. We are still getting the scoring right, but we like the game. Zophia, this time got caught with many more dropped tiles in these games. Azul is a game of pattern matching and themed on little tiles–It is highly recommended.
We played a rough game of chess next with my silicone pieces. Rough in that neither of us was playing that well. I took Zophia pieces, but then I would get going too fast and lose mine in exchange. I still managed the end-game and marched a pawn to become a queen, and the two queens finally caught Zophia’s white king. I then set my king on the table, and Zophia threw the pawns at it until it was knocked down–something you can do with a silicone set!
Howard, our music director, is back from a holiday in the UK. He had a great time and showed me some pictures, and recommended the fish and chips. He also, seeing all the games we play, showed me how he plays Othello (the board game) on his phone. It was great to have Howard back!
The choir practice was done, I returned the games to Air Volvo, and I headed home. I then cleaned the shower in the main bathroom. It is clean now. I will clean the 1/2 bath, the one I use attached to the master bedroom, on Thursday.
I finally wrote the blog. Thank you for reading.