Well That Was a Week

The big news this week in our area were the eerie yellow and red skies due to the marine layer lofting the smoke from fires up north high into the atmosphere. (More here.) It was yellow and dark most of the day here in Mountain View, but further south and north the skies were red and much darker. But the air quality at ground level was actually fine, it just made for a from and foreboding rising every time one looked out the window.

The apparent end of the world was overshadowed for me because Jackson started showing signs of conjunctivitis again, meaning I guess the respiratory infection some of the cats had a month ago isn’t entirely gone. So we took him to the vet and got some meds. We couldn’t take him in until the end of the day, so I spent much of the day looking out at the dire heavens, and worrying about our boy. So we’re going him two meds for a week and then we’ll revisit. It remains to be seen whether the others will also need meds, although Edison started showing signs of eye trouble today. Sigh. I was really hoping a month after finishing the last round of meds that we were done with this.

(Despite the dramatic coloring, our weather was greatly overshadowed for the rest of the country by the disastrous wildfires in Oregon, which have been about as bad as anything I can recall in California.)

Unfortunately the marine layer moved out of the area by Friday, which meant the smoke came down to earth, and our air quality has been lousy for the last couple of days. Even worse up in San Francisco, I think. But we’ve basically been sitting inside, running the house fan and occasionally and A/C (the outside temperature did hit 80°F today, and the sun even came out). I don’t think anyone really knows, but the best prediction I’ve heard is that we won’t get relief (in the form of winds blowing the smoke elsewhere) until at least Monday.

Of course, the best thing would be for the fires to get put out. California firefighters have been doing a heroic job of containing the fires – the three large ones around the Bay Area are almost completely contained – but the whole west coast and several inland states have been set ablaze and things are bad.

Anyway, hopefully next week will be better. On top of the pandemic, this week was just nuts.

The Stayest of Staycations

Originally the plan was that this was the year we’d take lots of trips. I haven’t taken many vacations the last few years, largely because I’ve been working on some exciting and rewarding things at work (most notably Xcode’s new build system, and support for Apple Silicon Macs), so we’d mainly just taken our annual trip back east to visit our families in the summer. But this year we’d planned to do that, and go to Hawaii, and maybe visit a friend in Portland, and maybe go somewhere we hadn’t gone before, such as Seattle or San Diego.

Well, we managed to get a trip to Disneyland in. And then the world ended, courtesy of COVID-19.

But, I still had lots of vacation time saved up, and was getting close to our vacation cap, so after taking the odd day off here and there, I decided to take last week off.

Originally I’d figured I’d spend some time walking around outdoors, and hopefully make a trip over to the coast when I could visit the seashore with fairly few other people around. But that was before a freak lightning storm a couple of weeks ago touched off enormous wildfires around the Bay Area. In particular the CZU Lightning Complex lit up large sections of the mountains between here and the Santa Cruz coast, which wiped out historic FDR-era buildings in Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Other coastal communities asked people not to come to the coast since they were where affected people were evacuating to (I have a few friends & cow-orkers who were in evacuation zones from various fires).

So, a staycation it was. And mostly inside because the air quality was often quite bad. I went out for walks when I could, sometimes with a bandanna just to filter the air particles a bit, but I tried to avoid the worst times. And I put running on hold.

I spent a lot of my vacation playing Magic Arena, leveling up on the constructed ladder. I made Platinum, which was pretty nice since I wasn’t trying that hard. Still a long way to go if I ever want to make Mythic, though. Someday, maybe! I also played a bunch of Overcooked 2 on our Switch with Debbi and her sister, and we’ve been getting pretty good at it.

My other project was to sift through the stack of old – in some cases very old – Apple hardware I had sitting around unused, and figured out which pieces I could trade in for gift cards. I got through most of them, and the trade in process seems pretty nice: Apple sends me prepaid boxes to ship them back in. They also have a recycling program for stuff which isn’t worth anything, but you have to find a box and pack it yourself. For that I decided I’ll just take it to our community E-waste center, which is where I usually took such stuff. All of this made me feel accomplished, but it took a while because pulling serial numbers and info off of the old, often wiped-clean machines was not simple. Collect this info before you wipe your devices, kids!

I also did a bunch more clean-up in the study, and it’s looking pretty good now.

Beyond that we did a bunch of random stuff at home: Worked on a puzzle, I made my favorite Indian dish, played with the kittens, had a socially-distanced happy hour with a couple of Debbi’s friends, and so forth.

Not exactly where I’d wanted to spend my vacation time, but I expect I’ll take at least a couple more such weeks before we have a vaccine, so, shrug. I realized by the end that I had been pretty burned out at work, so I really did need some downtime.

If all goes well, a year from now maybe we’ll be back visiting our families again. If Incompetent Racist Impeached President Trump is reelected, it might be another year or two after that before things start getting back to normal.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. I love our home, but this has been a lot of home.

Kitten Update

It’s been over two months since Simon & Edison joined our family, so it’s time for a kitten update!

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first: You may recall that they had upper respiratory infections and kitty conjunctivitis when they arrived, which we treated them for. Well, it turns out it was worse than that: The infection they almost certainly had from the start was kitty chlamydia, which we learned when their big brother Jackson’s right eye started watering and got hecka inflamed. We found out because we took him in to get tested.

So the three boys were on antibiotics for three weeks. We decided not to treat Sadie and Roulette because neither of them had showed any symptoms, and both of them had been avoiding the kittens (and Roulette avoids Jackson anyway). It was a bit of a risk, because if it turns out one of them was infected, then we’ll get to do this again, for all five of them. So of course every time I see Sadie sniffle I think, “uh oh”. But Sadie is a sniffly, slightly-drooly cat anyway, and she hasn’t shown the eye watering that all three of the boys showed. It’s been a week and a half since we finished their meds and none of them seem to be showing any symptoms, so it seems we got away with it.

The other downer is that a couple of weeks ago we were watching The Mandalorian, while the kittens were playing hard, when Edison jumped down off the top of the cat tree and must have twisted his ankle or something because he stopped putting weight on one of his rear legs and went and hid behind the couch. We put a stop to playtime for the night and corralled him and took the kittens up to their room and closed the door and left them alone for half an hour. Then we checked on them and he was limping, but he was using the leg again. So we decided to let it go to the next day, and while he was favoring the leg he was using it, and it wasn’t stopping him from running around. So we’ve kept an eye on him, and will probably ask the vet to take a look when we bring him in for their next shots. He was less adventurous about jumping for a while, but maybe it was psychological. Recently he’s been back to his old self, getting all kind of places, so hopefully it was something small.

We have another appointment for them to get their next round of shots in a week so we’ll have the vet check them out and make sure they’re okay. Fingers crossed!

Anyway, end of bad news.

The good news is that both kittens are growing up and are now in that delightful time where they’re able to do more, and they’re interacting with us more.

And stealing our chairs.

You may have guessed that they’re no longer confined to a bedroom. We staged letting them out, first giving them play time upstairs – usually with Jackson monitoring or even playing with them – and then giving them supervised visits downstairs. Next we let them out all day from morning til night, putting them back for the night. And finally last weekend we left them out overnight, which predictably ended up with us being kitten-piled at 2:30 am, but otherwise they seem to have adjusted well.

Jackson, somewhat to our surprise, is quite fond of the kittens. At first when they’d run up to him he’d tackle them too hard and they became wary of him, but after a week or so he figured it out, and the kittens would look for him whenever we let them out of their room. Simon in particular loves Jackson and would rub up against him whenever he first saw him after being released. We eventually caught Jackson and Simon sleeping together, with Jackson roughly grooming Simon and Simon purring away in happiness. The next development was hearing cats running around the house and spotting Edison chasing Jackson through the dining room. That chase ended with a hiss, I think because Jackson didn’t think a kitten could keep up with him, but they’ve had some chase time since then and it’s gone well. Jackson sometimes gets a little tired of the kittens and finds a place to get away from them, but mostly they get along great.

Simon can be a little winky sometimes.

Sadie and Roulette… it’s a work in progress. Sadie I think has been trying to figure out how to play with them, but has been having a hard time finding a way to do it without wapping them with her paw. It’s funny because she and they all have their spaz-all-over-the-house moments, but they haven’t played chase yet.

Meanwhile, I think Edison is looking for his special big cat to love, the way Simon has Jackson, and he’s chosen… Roulette, our grumpy 17-year-old cat who has spent most of the time since the kittens arrived under our bed. Fortunately we quickly identified that she came down to eat and use the litter, and finally she started coming down to hang out with us in the evening. But Rou would really like to be an only cat. Which is why Edison giving her the hard sell has been so funny: Sitting near her, watching her, trying to sneak up on her and lie next to her or lick her head. She is getting less belligerent, but I don’t know whether he’ll win her over. But he’s trying so hard. It would serve her right if he does, though, since that’s basically the hard sell that she gave my cat Jefferson when she was a kitten.

We’ve been trying to promote acceptance by giving everyone wet cat food together. Roulette and Simon are both very food-oriented, and Jackson and Edison will also join in. Sadie is not really food-oriented and often sits and watches.

As you probably know California has been wracked with wildfires for the last couple of weeks, and the air quality combined with unusually warm weather this month has led us to keep the house closed up and the A/C on for most of the time since we released the kittens for good. So they haven’t really gotten the full experience of sitting in windows and watching things outdoors. They’ve gotten a little of that in the last couple of days, and it seems Simon is a sunbeam cat, while Edison is going to be the one who tracks every little thing that goes by outside. Hopefully we can make sure that doesn’t include him.

The best part is that both of them like to snuggle with us, and each one will spend time sleeping on our chest or sometimes our lap. Edison in particular will sometimes get up and visit each one of us, sitting on our chest for a couple of minutes purring away before he goes back to whatever he was doing. And sometimes we wake up in the middle of the night with one of the cats snoozing next to us.

Despite the hiccups, these are still great kittens, and I’m really glad we got them.

Farewell, Fitbit

Back in 2012 I bought Debbi a Fitbit One for Christmas. Early in the next year Debbi bought one for me. We’ve been using them all this time, but this month my device finally gave up the ghost, first the button started being finicky, and then today it just shut down and couldn’t be resuscitated, even though I’d charged it just a couple of days ago.

For context, the Apple Watch didn’t come out until April 2015, so for over two years these were the only activity trackers we were using. And they seemed to do a pretty good job of tracking steps. I think I peaked at somewhere over 24,000 steps in a day in Las Vegas once.

For most of that time my daily step goal was 9,000 steps. I would usually beat that goal by a few thousand steps on running days, but I set it to be achievable on non-running days, which it usually was.

It was interesting to contrast it with my Apple Watch once I had both of them. A couple of years ago something happened so that my Fitbit thought I was running significantly faster than my Watch, and I suspect something was amiss with the Fitbit, measuring the distance I was running differently. Looking at the activity map it thought I zig-zagged all over the place, likely accounting for the discrepancy. Since I assume both devices were getting the positioning information from the same source – my iPhone – I’m not sure why they were so different. Even if the Watch has more accurate GPS built-in, it doesn’t explain why the Fitbit’s measurements suddenly changed. It was weird.

Fitbit had pretty good customer service, too: Both of our Ones died at some point – I think Debbi’s died twice – and each time they sent us a new One. Hard to argue with that. So I guess our current devices are really 5-6 years old, not almost 8 years old. Still, not a bad run for a tiny device with a presumably small battery. And mine has gone through the washing machine at least twice.

Our friends with Fitbits have mostly switched to other devices, and Fitbit has discontinued the One and as far as I know only makes wrist-based devices these days. And, well, I have my Apple Watch now.

So, farewell, noble Fitbit. It’s been fun.

The Last Crest

This is an entry about toothpaste.

I’ve been using Crest toothpaste for as long as I can remember, presumably because one or both of my parents used it when I was a kid. Sometime in the 90s, toothpaste manufacturers (or are they extruders?) started diversifying their products, and after trying various kinds, I eventually settled on Crest tartar control fresh mint gel as my preferred product.

(I don’t really strongly about paste vs. gel, but I’ve tried both cool mint and cinnamon flavors, and say “no thank you” to both of them.)

Back around 2013 I noticed that I could no longer find the gel in stores, so I turned to Amazon, which sold them – either directly or through third parties – in batches of 5-to-10 tubes. Annoying, but whatever. I also learned that you’re only supposed to use a pea-sized blob of paste to brush your teeth with, and while I still use a little more than that, cutting down made the tubes last a lot longer.

Unfortunately, my reprieve seems to have reached the end of the line: Amazon no longer offers this product, so I assume Crest has stopped making it. Which means sometime in the next week I will crack open the last tube of my favorite toothpaste, and sometime in the next eight months or so it will be gone. Alas.

Crest does still make something similar: Fresh mint gel+paste mixture with baking soda & peroxide whitening with tartar protection (and doesn’t that just roll off the tongue?). I bought a tube, and will try it out when this last tube is gone. It will probably be fine. Maybe just a touch weird, I don’t know.

I guess I should blame the millennials for ruining my favorite toothpaste, but probably it’s just good for me to try something new. Kind of.

Welcome Simon & Edison

Did you ever find yourself mostly stuck at home for months on end and think to yourself, “This would be an excellent time to adopt some kittens”?

Well, we are, and so we did. Meet Simon and Edison!

Simon is the brown tabby, while Edison is the black fellow.

We met them because one of my cow-orkers was fostering them, and we went over to visit a few weeks ago (pretty much the only people we’ve visited indoors since shelter-in-place started in March), and we thought they were pretty adorable. But, color-wise, they fit in with our three current cats, Roulette (calico), Jackson (gray tabby with white), and Sadie (white with orange tabby markings). And they had fun, playful personalities. So we decided to adopt them!

They are not brothers – Edison is about a week older than Simon according to their records, and they’re about two and a half months old. Simon has had a rough first couple of months, with some sort of bug that suppressed his appetite, and a foxtail or something in his right eye which left an ulcer. But he seems to have recovered from both, and is a little behind Edison in size and weight.

We brought them home two Mondays ago, and they’ve been mostly confined to a bedroom since then. And holy cow they are just about the most high-energy kittens we’ve ever had, other than maybe Blackjack. They zoom around their room and play and play and play. They’re changing practically every day, learning to jump higher, complaining that I’m not scooping their litter enough (we put a larger tray in the room after a couple of accidents), finding their meows, learning to snuggle, learning to clean themselves. Some switch flipped in Simon a couple of days ago and he’s become a lot more assertive, which has been adorable.

We’ve given them some supervised access to the rest of the upstairs, which they find delightful. They’re also very interested in the big cats, though only Jackson is interested in them so far, and somewhat cautiously, although we’ve played with all of them at the same time. Sadie will get a glimpse of them and then run away, while Roulette doesn’t like the cats we already had and I think is in denial that we have more.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t all been fun and games.

We took them in for their first appointment with our vet, for which they did very well. Both have put on a bunch of weight since they arrived (Simon is going to be a roly-poly guy, while Edison is going to be long and lean). That’s good, but less good is that they both have upper respiratory infections, and also conjunctivitis (or something like it). So we get to give them both meds for the next week and a half, and have to keep them separated from the other cats – and likely also change our clothes when we visit them – to keep the others from getting infected (especially Roulette, who will be 17 later this month; Jackson and Sadie are 7 and can probably deal with an infection if they contract it). Aside from the hassle for us and the disappointment for the kittens, it also means it will be a couple of weeks at least before we can start integrating the household.

Hopefully we’ll all come out the other side okay, but it wasn’t a great start to the long weekend.

As for the names? I’ve had “Edison” in my back pocket for decades waiting for the right cat, and I think this is the right one. We talked through a bunch of other names and both liked Simon. Of course, these are my fourth and fifth cats whose names end in “-on” (Jefferson, Newton, Jackson), so next time we’ll have to add a little more variety. But I think these names suit these kitties.

So despite the speed bumps, we’re very excited about these new additions. I’ve felt since they arrived like these are exactly the kittens we were meant to have.

Three Months Inside

A week or so ago marked three months since I started working from home, and just a little less than that since the Bay Area started its shelter-in-place policy. Debbi started working from home about a week after I did.

As I’ve chronicled, it was rough for the first few weeks, some better than others, but we’ve mostly gotten used to it.

We were doing “happy hour” video chats with friends for the first few weeks, but those have tailed off, though we did one with some neighbors and some former neighbors last weekend. We’ve also done some in-the-driveway evening drinks with other neighbors, using our six-foot folding table to separate us. Sadly, they’re going to be moving at the end of this month, as their landlords wanted to raise their rent, and they found a place closer to where they work. We’re going to miss them. I think their landlords may be in for a surprise, as there are a couple of vacant rental homes in our neighborhood.

The county has been gradually opening things up. Construction started up again a few weeks ago, and the house across the street from us has gone from little more than a foundation to the plywood exterior going up. Other new construction is moving along, too.

Over the last few days, retail businesses are opening up as well. Diamond comics distributors had closed for several weeks, which meant no comic books, but they’re ramping up again and I’ve driven down to pick up my books at the curb the last couple of weeks. Supposedly I’ll be able to go into the store tomorrow – with up to four other people so long as we distance ourselves. Restaurants and game stores and other retail are also opening up – we picked up lunch today and saw a few people eating at outdoor tables at downtown restaurants. Ditto when I picked up coffee today. Meanwhile, the city may close the main street downtown to allow restaurants to set up seating there. (By the time I publish this, the city council will probably already have voted.)

Is it too early? My gut says ‘yes’, but a lot depends on whether the measures to keep people separate work. I do most of the shopping for us – Debbi comes with me to the farmers market on Sunday, and not much else – and what I see is pretty iffy. Safeway supermarkets aren’t very diligent about enforcing masks, distancing, or the one-way arrows in their aisles. I encounter lots of clueless people. By contrast, I went to Costco this morning for the first time since shelter-in-place and it was smooth: Everyone was let in promptly at 10 am, everyone wore masks, almost everyone was keeping their distance. Granted, it was a Tuesday morning and not a Saturday afternoon, but it made me hopeful. I also went to the nursery to get some pots and plants and it was great too. (In case you’re wondering why I wasn’t at work, I took the day off.)

We’ve had a couple of heat waves in the last few weeks – it got over 90° today – and we’ve been glad of our air conditioning. On the other hand, it got cold over the weekend. Strange days in more ways than one.

We’ve been cleaning up our study, buying new furniture and making it a more usable space, and getting rid of a lot of stuff (like, two bankers’ boxes worth of paperwork from my late mother). I’ll likely do an entry about it when we’re all done, but progress has been going pretty well, just more work than I’d expected.

On another front, we’re thinking of getting kittens, since if we’re home all the time it seems like the perfect time to have kittens. And frankly, Jackson and Sadie (who turn 8 this fall) really need and deserve kittens. On the other hand, Roulette (who turns 17 next month) didn’t like these kittens, and has gradually been showing her age. Last night she peed on our bed, though it may have been because we’d closed the door to kick Jackson out so she couldn’t get to the litter. So, I don’t know. I don’t want to have her slowly decline and end up waiting 2 years, either.

So, it’s been a time. I know lots of people have had it a lot harder than we have, even people with jobs, and maybe we’re lucky we haven’t caught COVID-19 (or maybe we have – who knows?). In two weeks Apple has its developers conference, which ought to be an odd experience as an entirely-remote affair.

Now that summer is here we’re gently mourning our vacation plans for the year, which included visiting family, going to Hawaii, and maybe to Las Vegas. But I doubt there will be any non-essential travel in our future for at least a year (and, frankly, any essential travel probably won’t be for happy reasons, if it happens).

I imagine these entries start to sound like a broken record after a while, but so it goes when you’re mostly at home. I hope everyone reading this is doing as well, or even better.

Quar Wars Day

Debbi’s birthday falls on Star Wars Day, which is convenient since she loves Star Wars, especially the original trilogy. In these days of shelter-in-place with no vacation plans for the foreseeable future, we decided to both take the day off.

The night before we re-watched Knives Out, which we saw in the theater in January and enjoyed tremendously. It holds up very well on re-watching, partly because it’s funny and lively, and partly because knowing what’s coming throws a different shade on some of the earlier scenes.

Debbi made pancakes for breakfast before our current set of eggs expired, and we turned on the original film, as some TV station was showing episodes 1-8. And, well, watching them is most of what we did for the day. We’d talked about driving to a nearby park or trail to go for a walk somewhere other than the neighborhood, but neither of us felt like it. So we each went for a local walk instead, and otherwise had a lot of couch time.

I picked up lunch from our local Hobee’s, which reopened for take-out a week or so ago, and for dinner we picked up from QBB. I puttered around doing a few chores, and Debbi got calls from friends and family, but otherwise we watched five Star Wars movies: The original trilogy, The Force Awakens, and The Rise of Skywalker, which other than Rogue One are the five best films in the series. (It’s ironic that we watched and enjoyed Knives Out, because its writer/director Rian Johnson also did The Last Jedi which is as joyless and glum as Knives Out is otherwise. Some people think it’s because it was produced by committee, but I also think it’s much worse than the two Abrams films. I’m perfectly happy to not see it again, as with the prequel trilogy.)

So, it was a low-key but pleasant day. If nothing else, we’re grateful that COVID-19 waited until this year to strike, so we still have the fond memories of Debbi’s awesome 50th birthday weekend from last year (which somehow I never did an entry about). Small favors, etc.

Anyway, happy birthday to Debbi! Hopefully we can do something more exciting for it next year.

Coffee Maker Follies

Yesterday morning we discovered our coffee maker had died. Which was annoying since we had bought this one just last summer. Doubly annoying because, you know, we’re in the middle of a global crisis and often it’s hard to get moving without coffee. Yesterday morning was a big rough. Plus it was Monday.

We’d had an 8-cup Black & Decker coffee maker with an insulated carafe for, oh, 8 years or maybe more before it started showing signs of the end last summer in that the coffee was not hot enough after brewing. I think it was the second of that model we’d owned, and they no longer made it anymore. But they did have a 12-cup model which looked very similar (this one seems to be its current iteration), so we bought that.

We liked the thermal carafe because it made it simpler not to have a heating element under it, and this model seemed to work well. But yesterday when we turned it on, the light for the button came on but nothing happened. There was no indication it was trying to push water through, or heat it, or anything. It could be that the water intake was blocked, but it felt more like some electronic problem so that the button just wasn’t triggering anything to happen. No help in the manual, of course, and Debbi said it had a bunch of negative reviews on Amazon.

So I headed to The Wirecutter to look at their recommendation for best drip coffee maker. But, not wanting to spend $200 on a coffee maker, I went instead to their recommendation for best cheap coffee maker. They recommend a Mister Coffee Easy Measure, but rather than waiting a few days to get it delivered from Amazon or Target, I instead drove over to Target (wearing a bandana) to buy one myself (along with a couple of other things I’ve built up on a list, including Neosporin for a nasty scrape I gave myself on Sunday). Their web site said they had two items in stock.

Target was pretty dead on a Monday morning in the middle of a pandemic, which was nice since it meant I could be in-and-out. Or, rather, I could have been except that I couldn’t find a model that looked just like the one on the web, nor did I see any models with 2 items in stock. Very puzzling! They did have plenty of Mister Coffee models available, so after looking at them for a bit I chose one that looked like basically the same thing – but of course I can’t find it on Amazon to link to it. Weird!

So I brought it home and set it up, and it seems… acceptable, if not great. A few observations:

  • The reusable filter seems nice in theory, but it’s one more item that needs to be washed. It appears to support using normal disposable filters, so which is better, using disposable filters, or using water to clean the reusable filter? Probably I’ll opt for the disposable.
  • The clock doesn’t work. It had lost almost an hour of time after sitting for about 12 hours. That’s not great. Fortunately we don’t need to program it while we’re home all the time.
  • The first pot of coffee tasted strong to me. The sparse manual says that it considers a cup to be 5 ounces, but I think our previous maker considered it to be 6 ounces? But its manual doesn’t say. But if so, then I am using a little more coffee than normal. I guess I can adjust that, but you’d think this would be a standard measurement! It also means this coffee maker is 16% smaller than expected (60 oz rather than 72 oz). Sheesh!

So anyway, first impression is three stars, probably fine if you need a coffee maker but don’t go crazy over it. I expect we’ll replace it again in the next year, and maybe actually spend more than $50 this time. I’m sure all my friends who are more coffee connoisseurs than I am are aghast that we didn’t do that in the first place.

Quarantine Days

Today is the start of my eighth week of shelter-in-place, and Debbi’s seventh. This entry might be a bit repetitive, but it’s helpful to write it out sometimes.

I realize that we’re both incredibly fortunate. Both of us have jobs, and we’re both able to work from home. We live in a nice neighborhood where we can get outside and enjoy the weather (which has been excellent lately, maybe even a little too warm). It’s not really “quarantine”, though that’s what we’ve been calling it, but we can still go out when we need to. We cook at home most of the time, but we’ve been getting take-out two or three times per week. I mostly run errands during the week when there are fewer people in the stores (yes, I wear a mask), but of course we order a lot through the mail, too.

Most of my friends seem to be in a similar fortunate place. I worry that as quarantine continues that this will change. Heck, it could change for us. But I try not to think about that much. I do have a few friends who are having a hard time of it, one in particular who’s been writing about his family’s struggles, and it can be pretty hard to read.

Working full time at home has been weird since I have typically tried to keep my work life and my home life very separate, and this blurring of the two has been a bit uncomfortable. On the other hand, it does keep every day from feeling the same, and it still makes weekends feel different since I have a chance to relax.

Or, I can get a bunch of stuff done. This past weekend, I plowed through a bunch of bills and other work in the study, then did a whole bunch of yard work. Pretty productive! But in reality I’ve been alternating productive weekends with lazy ones.

We’re rather bummed that our anniversary restaurant, Don Giovanni, is closed for quarantine, so we want to find something else to do for it. We have a few ideas, but it won’t really be the same.

Anyway.

We’ve also been watching a lot of TV and movies (Star Trek: Discovery! Mary Poppins! Lots of Harry Potter and Star Wars and a little James Bond!), and reading (John Scalzi‘s latest, The Last Emperox). I text with several friends as well as my sister, and I’ve been trying to call my dad every other weekend or so.

The cats seem to have adjusted to the new normal. Roulette, our old lady, hasn’t really changed her routine much, although she’s discovered the sunbeam in the guest bedroom has returned. Sadie mostly loves when one of us goes up to the library for a conference call, especially my morning meeting when the sun is coming in through the window. Jackson has learned that I have a ribbon by my computer in the dining room and comes in between 2 and 3 and agitates for play time. Once I tire him out he often curls up on the dining table and sleeps. Sadie also sleeps in the dining room, on the chair with the seating pad on it, which was my attempt to make those chairs more comfortable to work at. (It didn’t work, and I brought the chair down from the study instead.)

I’ve mostly been ahead of the curve in picking things up for quarantine (for example, we have flour and yeast that we haven’t even opened yet). But the one boat I missed was getting hair cutting supplies. I have an item on order which should arrive in about 2 weeks, by which time my hair should be about 2 feet long. Or maybe just feel that way.

So, life marches on. Shelter-in-place for our county has been extended through the end of May, and I think it will be mid-June at the very earliest before restrictions get significantly relaxed.

It’s of course a bummer that our vacation aspirations for the year are almost certainly washed out. No trip back east, no Hawaii or Portland, or Vegas trips. I’m glad we went to Disneyland when we did. My hope at this point is that there will be some occasional loosening so that we can go to the coast, and maybe even spend a long weekend in Half Moon Bay or Monterey, or even San Francisco. Just getting away from home for a little while would be nice.

But I don’t know. Until we have widespread testing available – and the Impeached President Trump administration seems to be in no hurry to arrange for that, and realistically there’s no one else who can – I think we’re all going to be stuck here for a long time.