While summer technically ended in September with the autumn equinox, for me it felt like this weekend marked the end of the season. A big reason for this is that we’ve had an unusually warm summer, which lasted with highs in the 90s well into October (The Weather Channel says the temperature here hit 93°F on Oct 17, and was in the 80s and high 70s for a week thereafter). Even with air conditioning, it was a long summer. But climate change will probably make this the new normal – perhaps for the rest of my life. Pour one out for the Bay Area summers of highs in the 70s.
I took Friday off from work, as the pandemic means there isn’t much to use vacation time on other than staycations. I slept in a bit, and then went over to Byxbee Park in the Palo Alto Baylands, which was a delightful walk. I walked for about 20 minutes along the bay (more or less – it’s still pretty marshy around there), and then came back and hiked around the hills in the park. The hill reminded me a lot of the dry areas in Hawaii, with brown grass and scrub, and scenic views of the bay. I’ll definitely have to go back next time I want to do a longer walk. Although if we get some rain in the next month, it might look pretty different if the plants start waking up!
After my walk I drove up to our vet to pick up some medication for our cat Roulette.
Rou – who turned 17 in July – had had a rough week: Last Sunday after a normal morning and early afternoon, she suddenly slept for most of the next day and a half, didn’t seem able to jump like before, and was peeing outside of the litter box. She got a little better by Wednesday, but still didn’t seem quite right. She was also having a little, well, leakage in other places she slept, which would not be that big a deal if one of her favorite places wasn’t between my legs in bed overnight. So I’d picked up some puppy pads to lay down in a few of her normal places, and also ordered some waterproof blankets.
We talked to our vet on Thursday. We didn’t really want to take her in unless we had to, because the car and the vet really stresses her out (and we couldn’t go inside to the vet with her because of the pandemic). Our vet suggested that she might have arthritis, which might be getting worse as it gets colder, so she prescribed some meds for that. We’ve started her out at the lowest level, and it seems to be helping: She’s able to jump more, and she’s curling up more normally, not sticking her legs straight out as much. And while she’s not always hitting her litter, she’s doing better than she was last Monday. And she seems fine with the extra blanket I have over myself at night.
She still seems to be basically happy, so hopefully we can keep her comfortable.
Yesterday we filled out our election ballots and dropped them off, and then got ready for the evening.
Halloween for us is usually a pretty lively evening, as some years we’ve gotten 300 kids or more. Our neighborhood I think attracts kids from surrounding neighborhoods – and even cities – to be driven in. It’s not really a big deal for us – Debbi enjoys seeing all the costumes, especially of the young kids, and we buy a bunch of candy and when we’re out we’re out – but this year of course we had no idea how many kids would show up.
So I bought a couple of bags of candy and we divided them up by putting 2 or 3 pieces each into a plastic snack bag. Then around 5:30 Debbi laid a bunch of baggies out on our front steps. I cleaned off our wooden glider and sat there, while Debbi brought out a folding chair, and we sat on the front porch to say hi to people as they went by or came up to get candy.
Some friends stopped by and hung out in the yard for half an hour before they drove around to look at Halloween decorations (something we did on Friday night). Otherwise we had a steady trickle of kids until about 8:15 pm, with maybe 50 to 60 kids coming by. Most of the kids were younger and accompanied by their parents, and almost all of them were wearing cloth masks and/or keeping their distance from other people. So it seemed pretty safe for everyone involved, and we felt pretty good about having helped them have a positive Halloween experience.
Our award for “best costume” was a girl – maybe 11 years old or so – who went as a jellyfish: She carried an umbrella which had streamers and strands of mini LED lights hanging from it, with frills around the edges. It was a neat look.
Today we made our weekly run to the farmer’s market, and then mostly sat to watch football. But I did go out to mow the lawn for what will probably be the last time this year. Our lawn has been getting a bit ratty, between the clay-like soil getting bumpy, and the drought a few years ago killing off some random patches around the edges. Now we have a zone of sprinklers which isn’t working, and that grass is dying, too. We’ll probably have someone come in and at least fix the sprinklers and spot-patch the lawn, although I’m sorely tempted to just get the whole thing re-sodded.
Anyway, it’s been a long strange summer around here. I’m looking forward to winter and hoping we get some good rainfall to stave off another drought. But I know the winter is going to be rough for the nation, as it will signal an end to outdoor dining for restaurants in many places, and I bet the inability to do things outdoors will lead to even wider spread of COVID-19.
I dearly hope Joe Biden can win the Presidency on Monday. I think he’ll not be a lot more than a caretaker President, but anything would be better than the incompetence of the Racist Impeached President Trump administration, whose lack of leadership has lead to over two hundred thousand American deaths. Otherwise I expect we’ll be stuck in quarantine until at least some time in 2022, if not even later, as I doubt Trump and his sycophants are capable enough to spell ‘vaccine’, never mind organize distributing one.