Today 11April2023

Remembering that 111 years ago, the RMS Titanic left its last port call in Ireland (my late Grandma Wild being a few weeks old) and headed out into a calm sea. The coal strike has made a mess of the usual tidy schedule with the Titanic’s sister still in Europe. The plan is that they should pass in the Atlantic with the big three, Olympic (1911), Titanic (1912), and Britannic (1914), to cover the passage with one ocean liner in port and two out. Instead, Titanic is on the seas ahead of its sister, both headed to New York. It is cold, and to take advantage of the earth’s curve, the course is north enough to be in the ice, making it even colder and riskier. Usually, the track is full of ships, but the coal strike has reduced the count of liners. The Titanic is alone except for a few slower liners that its Radio Operator, Wilde (no relation), hears on its radio in Morse code.

It is before the stabilizers and the ship rocks. The passengers rent rugs to keep warm and sit on the cold chairs watching the sea, trying to avoid sea sickness by watching the horizon. On Titanic, the promenade deck is glassed in and not freezing–a new improvement that will soon be added to the Olympic and is already incorporated in the larger Brittanic. The ship is about five days from New York, rushing at about 26 mph (43 km/h). The passengers and crew are getting used to this new ship, the largest in the world in service.

Returning to our narrative, Tuesday’s morning started as usual, a rush to get to work by 8AM for the first meeting in Clubhouse, our non-WHQ building, for the project. I was up at 6AM and started assembling breakfast before doing my exercises and stretches–doing the whole set today. I managed to reheat the sausage from the weekend without drying them out in the microwave and have the last cold hard-boiled egg with a banana for breakfast. I complete this with coffee. I pour the coffee only to learn I forgot to turn on the hot water. Cold will not do, and sadly the ruined attempt is washed away. Redo! Breakfast is started without coffee.

I read emails and texts and consume the news from Slack channels. Coffee, another try, creation is successful, and a cup is drunk. Then, the race begins as I leap into the shower and rush through the start-of-the-day process. This includes using Utterly Smooth 20% Urea (cow pee) cream on hands and toes to delay or prevent nerve loss; strongly recommended by my cancer team (!?) and seems to have worked. I assume the Urea removes some reactive material that can cause nerve damage.

Air Volvo takes me into the wet morning with light flooding. The traffic is a bit heavy for Tuesday, with Air Volvo having to wait twice for some lights. But my arrival is within ten minutes of 8AM, and I begin the two hours of meetings on time. There are some crises of the moment, and I help bring a bit of order to Tuesday’s chaos, but I do get so turned around that I report the results of one release to the other release’s status meeting. I am forgiven, and everyone admits they are getting lost too. Three tests are running together with two nearly simultaneous tests. It is easy to forget which meeting you are in when you get updates for multiple events in multiple work tracks.

The most strange thing is that one track appears to be running for about two weeks and will soon be two weeks behind–a fantastic planning failure you don’t see often. The track is re-planning its dates now, as you can imagine. Doctor Who technology may be needed!

On technology, we had a failure-over of production. The systems are in the cloud, and there was a failure. Details cannot be discussed here, but I felt like Murphy of Murphy’s Law had joined the project.

I headed out before lunch to see Susie at Susie’s at the hummingbird house in Portland (Tigard) at Allegiance Senior Care LLC, 9925 SW 82nd. Ave. Portland (Tigard), OR 97223; phone (503) 246-4116. The rain had stopped, and blue was showing (something we seldom see in April in the Pacific Northwest). Beaverton’s Finest was out on Highway 26 and 217 to celebrate the improvement by generating new revenue for Beaverton’s Traffic Court. I assume a grumpy motorcycle cop was on 26 giving tickets out in the Oregon mist, and a police car was operating on 217 somehow finding something to ticket people for in heavy construction (I assume it is using your phone–what I was nailed before last year). I managed to reach Susie without police action.

Susie was in her chair in the living room, a shared space, with the evening staff looking a bit more relaxed today–everyone looked happy. The usual day folks are seeing relatives. Susie was delighted to see me and was pleased to call her mother, Leta. We chatted with Leta on my iPhone using FaceTime so everyone could see each other. I still use a mask at work and in the facility to keep everyone safe.

Susie was watching her favorite show, M.A.S.H., and it was about season 7–some of the show’s best shows, I think; fewer jokes and slapstick and more story. Leta and I discussed lunch and whether Oregon has the strawberry salad, a favorite, now at Panera Bread. This bored Susie, and soon she was sleeping or watching M.A.S.H.

Susie knew I was there for a short visit and I had a crisis of the moment at the shoe company, so she let me go with a kiss. We both miss each other at night. It is always hard to leave.

I stopped at Panera Bread and followed along on my iPhone for work issues. I did get my Poppie Chicken Strawberry Salad, yay. I ate it fast while reading emails and news items–I like to stay connected.

Aside: That morning, I discovered that Susie had more than $700 bills still to be paid and paid them. Later I remembered that I had paid $110 already; oh my. A $110 credit will likely be consumed as we have not yet reached our out-of-pocket maximum. We usually get that in May (Susie’s room cost is not included in that maximum as it is not covered at all by insurance).

I returned to work with my back complaining and a headache. I stayed until 4ish and saw the rain was gone, and temperatures rose to near 60F (15.5C). I arrived without issue in Air Volvo at the Volvo Cave and then rested. I needed the pain to stop and my head to clear. Within an hour, I was better.

I painted the wooden radio box for the radio project. The result, a second coat, was not an improvement. So I will sand this and try something else. I bought some recommended items to refinish the radio that I think will do better, but I need to sand the failed finish first to make this work.

I reheated the spaghetti with sweet Italian sausage and vodka sauce for dinner. Next, I watch YouTube videos from Battleship New Jersey comparing Bismarck and the Iowa class guns. It was an interesting lecture. The curator, who does the videos, highly recommended a book, and I ordered it, Battleship Bismarck, for my birthday (it is a limited printing at the Naval Institute Press).

After this, I started on the blog and drank too much tea (I made pot), and now I am bouncing in my chair. But it is nice to be smiling and writing. There have been too many tears this spring for me. So learning more about ships, writing, and working on things with my hands is good.

I have found the LEDs from my model building kits. These were selected to look like overhead lights and will be perfect, I think, for the radio face plate light. I have programmed the standard pin, 13, to turn on when the microcontroller starts. I like visual cues to tell me what is happening, and controlling the light by the microcontroller, instead of wiring it into the power, lets me know that the program has started. The original use was a lighting kit for my model of the Nautilus. I built my own circuits and used some of the parts to make my own look.

I plan to do a bit more work on the radio tonight.

Thanks for reading.





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