Back to Work

August 02, 2021 by Adam in Family

All is well.  We had a relatively quiet weekend of library, pizza, anime, hanging out, and the occasional walk around the neighborhood.  Emma's schedule for the fall is nearly sorted out, very science and math heavy - hopefully it's not too overwhelming.  Joanna was in a writer's conference all weekend, which was a little too Zoomy.


Ben 3D printed his Among Us character he made in class today.  Later this afternoon he had an online class on programming his robot.  Hopefully that means he's ready for school in the fall as well.

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Under the Heat Dome

July 30, 2021 by Adam in Family

We're doing another one of those heat dome things, though it looks like we won't get over 100 degrees today.  Seraph and I setup one of our old air conditioners in mom's bedroom, which she reports keeps her fairly cool.  My little back shed is staying relatively cool and the air quality is decent as the smoke from the fires are blowing the other direction.  Then there's the Delta variant, so it looks like we'll all be wearing masks again.  I keep hoping our dystopian future gets more robots.


Our family has been doing relatively well.  Joanna had a post-surgery checkup in Portland, necessitating an overnight stay for an early appointment.  All is healing up nicely.  Emma has her U of O advisory meeting today.  Ben continues to enjoy Design Engineering, returning home with mysterious blueprints with strange diagrams and names like "GOOSE" and "WM" - maybe the high school students are building a giant robot.


Work's going well for me.  I'm doing some fun work with very large databases.  I love it when things go better than expected and cool results happen quickly.  I finished my book, The Gone World, which ended in a satisfyingly surreal manner.  This afternoon work is letting us off early to go see the Jungle Cruise movie, which is one of those funny traditions our work has.  Looking forward to a weekend of hanging out with kids - I predict the library, pizza, anime, and video games in our future.  Plus more physical therapy for my rotator cuff, which is less exciting.


Emma called this morning and broke the news that she got a 4 on her Chem AP test, so full credit and going into Biology in the fall.  I'm very proud of all her hard work - it really paid off.


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Freedom Day

July 27, 2021 by Adam in Family

Yesterday was Health Catalyst Freedom Day, which just means we get the day off because our company went public.  Mostly I took Emma to her first grownup doctor appointment and then drove Ben to Salem for another doctor's appointment.  He loved getting sushi from the little conveyor belt, otherwise it was uneventful.


Joanna and I had a date tonight, though after sushi it was the start of my physical therapy for my shoulder.  It sure is weird that some parts of my body don't quite work right.  Work was good.  My book, The Gone World, is difficult to put down.  A pack of turkeys showed up in our garden this morning.  


This weekend everyone but Duncan went down to the Fair and enjoyed the animals and various homemade things - a knit octopus hat, cut flowers, and various preserves.  Ben really wanted to go on a ride, but the line was long and everyone settled for a giant block of curly fries we ate on the way back to the car.


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Birthday Shindig

July 23, 2021 by Adam in Family

Not a lot happened this week, which is something I'm always excited to write.  Ben seems to be enjoying his Design Engineering class, learning Fusion 360 and coming home with diagrams of machine parts.  Joanna went out to the cabin to take measurements and make plans.  Duncan's enjoying an update to a game he plays regularly.  Emma's hanging out with her mom, playing Scrabble and going for walks.  The lazy days of summer continue.


Tonight we're descending on the farm for a birthday shindig.  Should be fun.




Birthday Week Continues

July 21, 2021 by Adam in Family

A horde of teenagers descended on our house last night to celebrate Duncan's birthday.  They walked down to get bubble tea then played Jackbox games until cake time, followed by even more Jackbox games.  Duncan was clearly having a great time and it was neat seeing all his friends hanging out together.


I had a really nice birthday the day before, hanging out with family and eating an amazingly delicious cake.  I got some good loot as well, some practical and some entirely entertaining.


Ben's really enjoying his Design Engineering class.  He's using the same software as dad, so they'll get to talk about software and 3D printing the next time he comes over.  Ben also won an Engineering hat in class for a drawing he made.


As for me, work's going well.  Joanna and I had a lovely walk in the summer evening, stopping by little free libraries and collecting books and puzzles for our upcoming vacation.  Life's good.




Week of Birthdays

July 19, 2021 by Adam in Family

It's the start of a week of birthdays.  Festivities conclude this Friday with a shindig at the farm.  Maybe we can clean out the hay barn and put on some fiddle music.


The weekend seems to have gone by in a blur.  Saturday involved a library trip, groceries, and then a trip to the farm to slowly watch the shed delivered.  It led to a late night and scrambling to put dinner together, but we all survived and watched our now traditional Sword Art Online with our pizza. 


Sunday involved some hardcore hanging out.  My big accomplishment was putting in a shelf in our kitchen specifically for all the tea we have, right above our mugs.  Such is the price of marrying someone from England.  Joanna, Emma, and I also went on a Little Free Library walk, returning with some questionable things but enjoying the journey.  We immediately played the pirate rock band CD, which was pretty much as expected.




Cabin in the Woods

July 18, 2021 by Adam in Joanna

For months now, Joanna's been trying to get a cabin in the woods at Jennifern farm.  The site was staked out, roads were improved, foundations were dug and framed, and dead trees were cut down.  Months of delays by the builder finally ended when the shed was driven from Bend to be setup.  Seraph fortunately kept Emma, Joanna, and I entertained while we waited for the cabin to be slowly driven up the road and leveled.  I think the end result is quite lovely, though as Joanna points out "now the real work begins."




Mocha Friday

July 16, 2021 by Adam in Family

I'm still about an hour away from my Friday mocha, its sweet anticipation getting me through my morning routine.  It's been a quiet week for the most part.  Ben had a friend come up from California to visit for a few days.  Joanna continues to recover.  The most catastrophic event lately was a problem with the house's network - I think I finally tracked it down to a misbehaving router in the basement after considerable effort.


Work's been going well this week and I feel like a real programmer, using fancy techniques to talk to fancy new databases.  I also saw a doctor about my shoulder, who officially diagnosed me with a rotator cuff sprain.  It's improving with ice and Advil, with the hope that some physical therapy down the road will keep it from happening again.


I'm loving the garden and all the fresh produce that's coming in.  The flowers all seem cheerful and the walk to my garden shed is lovely each day.




Ouchie, Ouchie, Doctor Fauci

July 13, 2021 by Adam in Family

I think I tore my rotator cuff a few weeks back - I'd keep getting sharp pains when exerting myself in unusual ways.  It seemed to be improving until this weekend when I managed to bonk my head on the short door under our porch.  The bonk was fine, but I reached out reflexively and really strained my shoulder.  Since then it's been worse and I had trouble sleeping last night.  Fortunately I'm seeing a doctor tomorrow, which is hopefully the load road to recovery.


Otherwise it was a good weekend, with a touch of house projects and hanging out with kids.  Emma and I went to the library and she helped me paint a shelf that will eventually hold the sea of tea boxes in our kitchen.  Joanna continues to recover from surgery.  Our garden continues to overflow with produce.


I think Joanna and I managed to nail down some vacation plans in late August, spending some time at the northern Oregon coast.  It'll be nice to get away for a little.


Ben has a friend from San Francisco staying in town for a few days, so he's pretty excited.  It's nice that the kids are getting back to more normal hanging out after over a year of social distancing.



Mocha Friday

July 09, 2021 by Adam in Family

We're well into summer, another heat wave coming our way, though this time it's only in the low 90s.  Everything's doing okay these days, which is nice for a change.  Joanna's recovering, Duncan's dropping down to seeing his counselor once a week, and Ben starts up his Design Engineering class in less than two weeks.  Emma continues to get ready for school - I'm refurbishing my old work laptop to give to her.


It's nice to have life be a little boring lately.  Emma and I both got into a new game called Wildermyth, which seems like a basic RPG, but is more of a fantasy story generator.  Then I've got a new deck building game called Griftlands, which is pretty interesting.  We've also been watching shows with Ben in the evening and just finished Rick and Morty.  Joanna and I occasionally watch the Queen's Gambit, which is great so far.


All-in-all, it's nice to have things quiet for a change.



Last Day of Vacation

July 07, 2021 by Adam in Family

It's the last day of the official company vacation.  I made the mistake of trying to go to the DMV today, which was always as painful as it tends to be.  Plus my passport had expired, so I couldn't get the new Real ID thing.  I'll need to renew my passport (probably using my driver's license), then use that to get my new Real ID driver's license.  I brought my birth certificate as backup, but they wouldn't take it as clearly I'm a weird foreigner.


As for the rest of my time off, it's generally been a nice mix of house projects and hanging out with kids.  Joanna's been recovering from surgery and finally seems on the mend after being groggy for a few days.  The fourth of July at Jenny's was nice, just hanging out low-key in the pool with everyone was a treat.


Emma and I went down to campus and I gave her the informal tour that included tales of people LARPing in the old steam tunnels.  It's weird thinking she's a third generation student, like her father and grandfather before her.  She started looking at classes to take, like an honor's college class, a biology class, and something fun like urban farming.  I think it was also strangely reassuring to see that her familiar bus would drop her off right next to her first class.  I think she'll do just fine.





Cooler Days Return

July 01, 2021 by Adam in Family

It's been nice and cool the last couple days, the record breaking high temperatures behind us.  Tuesday I took Joanna up to Portland for a procedure, driving back in the evening while Seraph and family kept an eye on the kids.  All went well and Joanna's been hanging out on the couch with the cats, both sleeping away the day off and on.


I'm appreciating the lazy days of summer as the kid routine is fairly straightforward.  Duncan and Ben are doing well, excited for a slightly belated bro night of sushi and YouTube tonight.  Emma's back from the coast and I went over to say hello yesterday.  Work's coming along nicely, with my big log-related feature finished up.  Not quite sure what I'll be working on tomorrow.


Looking forward to the weekend and seeing everyone for the 4th.



One Hundred and Thirteen Degrees

June 25, 2021 by Adam in Family

By this time on Sunday the flames of the heat dome should be lapping at our door.  The temperature forecast keeps fluctuating, but I've seen it up to 113 degrees, which is the hottest I've ever heard of in our typically mild valley.  Jamie and Emma escaped for the coast.  We've been checking with friends and family to make sure they'll be okay.  I think our house is generally going to be okay, though the heat pump may struggle with such high temperatures.  The basement is generally pretty cool, so we may retreat there.


There's always a new disaster, looming on the horizon.



Midweek Roadtrip

June 23, 2021 by Adam in Family

I'm taking Ben to a doctor appointment in Portland, so it's a long road trip for me today.  Fortunately I picked up a good audiobook to entertain me.  I also finished Project Hail Mary last night, which was completely engrossing and a wonderful read.  I also spent a frustratingly long time trying to fix a network cable I'd strung into Ben's room.  I eventually gave up and ordered a new one after crimping on new ends a couple times.


The week continues to be hot, but we're muddling through.  Joanna's doing a great job organizing the house and trying to get things ready before next week.  The garden continues to be incredibly productive, with lots of greens and berries coming in daily.  Work continues to settle down and shift into new things to work on.


It's nice to have everything be okay for a change.



Back from our Anniversary

June 22, 2021 by Adam in Family

Joanna and I had a lovely time at the Campbell House for our anniversary.  We strolled around the 5th street area, eating at Cafe Yumm and the ice cream place, all the while watching people from the Olympic track tryouts and ordinary Eugenians wander about.  Waking up and drinking coffee under the little gazebo was a high point.  Chatting without the pressure to go do something useful was indulgent.


The rest of the weekend was great in other ways.  Saturday was a nice hang-out-with-kids day, with enough practical things that I didn't feel too lazy.  Sunday was Father's Day, congregating with the family at Jenny's house.  I ended up with a lot of loot, including the Project Hail Mary book which I can't put down.


We've also started the first week of summer, with Ben and Duncan into their summer routine.  I need to take Ben up to Portland tomorrow for a doctor visit - hopefully I can find a good book on tape.


It's also started to become really hot, with the upcoming weekend promising to be a hundred degrees.  It looks to be a hot, dry summer and it looks like wild fires may be in our future as well.  On to the next catastrophe, I suppose.





Graduation Mocha Friday

June 18, 2021 by Adam in Family

All our kids have officially made it through middle school.  Ben walked past the front of the school to get his diploma in front of cheering teachers.  Afterwards we immediately used our Prince Puckler's ice cream gift certificate.


All the kids have moved into summer mode.  Ben's been playing with his robot.  Emma goes for long walks with her mom and fiddles with the garden and art projects.  Duncan's been making videos with After Effects and playing Genshin Impact.  Joanna's been organizing the house and trying to get gravel spread around at the farm.


Work continues to settle down, especially as we have a release coming up early next week.  Chris, our QA person is going to another team.  He's becoming a junior programmer, which is a good opportunity for him, though he will be missed.




Robot

June 17, 2021 by Adam in Ben

We got a robot for Ben's summer learning experience.  It theoretically comes with one-on-one remote classes, but so far he's figured out how to drive it around the house with a tablet to terrorize the cats.  This morning we woke up to find this note on the dining room table.




Balcony Sanctuary

June 16, 2021 by Adam in Adam's Projects

Joanna's been working hard on turning our balcony into a cozy little spot to hang out.  I've helped a bit - hauling dirt, attaching hardware, and holding umbrella pulls to be cut shorter.  The end result is phenominal.  Today I snuck out and just sat under the shade, warming my legs in the sun.  It was lovely.





Moving Into Summer

June 16, 2021 by Adam in Family

I was talking to my counselor the other day and was amazed to report that things were generally okay.  The kids seem relatively well, work was bumpy but I think things are sorted out, and the summer, while having things we need to sort out, seemed generally enjoyable.  Joanna and I get to have an anniversary getaway and maybe even a vacation later in the summer.  The whole family will be fully vaccinated this Wednesday.  Oregon is on the brink of opening up again.  I'm a little nervous about being so optimistic.



House Project Weekend

June 14, 2021 by Adam in Family

It was a pleasant, rainy weekend, full of house projects and hanging out with kids.  Joanna coordinated the gravel drop-off at the farm, hoping to get the cabin put in place one of these days.  They're still really delayed, but hopefully it'll happy before the end of summer.


I ran ethernet cable to Ben's room, which is always harder than I think it'll be.  It's funny adding more layers to the outside of the house, going over phone lines and tv cable.  Who knows what'll be strung up outside the house in a few more decades.


The back balcony now has a side awning, plants rearranged, and I held the umbrella pole while Joanna cut it a foot shorter with the sawsall.  That tool is a thing of beauty to watch in action.  It makes me want to go around sawsing all the things.



Done With Highschool

June 14, 2021 by Adam in Emma

Emma's done with high school.  She turns in her laptop today and even though she's not attending any of the graduation ceremonies, I made her put on her cap and gown and pose for a photoshoot.


I regularly tell Emma how proud I am of how she made it through high school, especially during a pandemic.  She's already doing all her college prep activities, looking through classes, and generally being responsible.  It's cool to watch it in action. 




Mocha Friday Farewells

June 11, 2021 by Adam in Family

We had a going away celebration for Nick yesterday, and learned later that day that our project manager Keith was being sent to another team.  There may be more changes, so we're all holding our breath and waiting for news.  My calendar is weirdly quiet today.  I'll probably do some training and look for more bugs.


Joanna and I also hope to have a little anniversary getaway to the Campbell House thanks to Seraph offering to keep an eye on the household.  Joanna and I haven't gotten away for ages, so it's a rare treat.  There's a possibility of a summer vacation too if the stars align just right.


I suspect we'll have a relatively quiet weekend with the kids, the last weekend of spring.  I do look forward to the lazy summer days with slightly fewer responsibilities.



Mid-Week Update

June 10, 2021 by Adam in Family

I'm feeling calmer after a somewhat stressful week.  I had a good chat with the person who wanted to hire me to do security work and explained my stress levels weren't up for it at the moment.  It feels like the right decision and now I'm just waiting to see how our team changes.  Today is the last day for Nick, who will be missed.


Emma's off with Jamie at the Oregon Gardens today.  I took Duncan and Ben for their last COVID shot last night at the Churchill cafeteria.  Taking kids to get vaccinated has been one of those things that give me satisfaction as a parent.  Lane County's risk keeps dropping - with a few more vaccinations most restrictions will be lifted.


Joanna continues to consolidate houses after taking everything back from Portland - flowers adorn every nook and cranny, making everything cheery.  They took a brief trip to the farm to survey the ever-postponed cabin, but most petted the chickens.


School is nearly over for Ben, and Emma's effectively done.  Summer plans are slowly coming together, with emphasis on slowly.



Monday

June 07, 2021 by Adam in Family

Duncan and Joanna packed up their Portland house, returning home with a U-Haul trailer full of all the things they'd purchased to make their stay in the rental more comfortable.  We haven't quite put everything away, and our garage is feeling cluttered again, but we managed to make a pretty good sized dent in our storage this weekend.


I managed some good hang out time with kids, helped mom move a table, had dad over for dinner, and did the usual cooking, laundry, cleaning to keep everyone fed and in clean clothes.  Joanna did a great job unpacking and updating the garden with all the plants from the Portland house.  Emma figured out how to send transcripts to the U of O.  Life seems full of endless little tasks.


I fretted a bit about job stuff, though I suspect I'll end up staying the course in the role I'm in.  More stress for the same amount of pay doesn't seem too keen of a deal.  But I want to go through the process and talk to everyone to get more information.



Mocha Friday Opportunities

June 04, 2021 by Adam in Family

Opportunities can be stressful.


Out of the blue one of our main security people reached out to offer me a job.  They hadn't had any applications, and it's a pretty good fit for me.  On the other hand, I love doing what I do now and I had a pretty lousy experience working security back in my PeaceHealth days.  I've been wrestling with it all day yesterday and last night - I'll go talk it over and see if it's something I'd enjoy.  It's also a weird time for our team with downsizing people and everyone seems to be applying for other positions.  The good news is that no matter what I'll still be working from my backyard garden shed.


The rest of the week is going along relatively well.  Joanna and Duncan are settling into their new routine at home.  Assorted flatpack furniture has been arriving at a steady pace - I put together a new bench for the front porch.  The garden is producing an amazing amount of food and flowers.  School is wrapping up - just a few more weeks to go.


Duncan and Joanna are off to Portland tonight with a trailer, returning with the last things from their rental.  I'm hoping I can cajole Ben to doing his math homework this weekend.  It'll be nice as always to see Emma.  I look forward to a little downtime and hopefully not worrying about career choices quite so much.




Summer Planning

June 02, 2021 by Adam in Family

I scheduled Duncan and Ben for their last COVID shot next week.  Ben in particular is excited to see his friend in San Francisco that he chats with virtually on a regular basis.  That's set up in a little over a month, followed by Ben starting a cool sounding Engineering Design class for a few weeks.  Joanna's working on finding Duncan an internship with someone doing video editing.  Later in the summer the hope is that Duncan and Ben are up for visiting their dad, in which case Joanna and I may get our first real vacation in what seems like forever.


Various house and garden projects have started up now that Joanna's back.  The Subaru has a trailer hitch.  A bunch of ready-to-assemble furniture arrived for the balcony and front porch.  Ben's hoping to paint his room and has some furniture to assemble.  We'll see how far we get in the next week or two.


It's date night tonight, so good food and company are in my future.



A Return to Normal Things

May 31, 2021 by Adam in Family

It's been a nice three days of doing normal things again - we browsed inside the library for books, wandered around Hendrick's park and today Emma and I played games at a cafe.  I haven't done the first or last thing for over a year and it was a rare treat.  Emma's fully vaccinated as of today and the other two kids should be there in a few weeks.  It will be nice to put this all behind us.


Otherwise the weekend has been a pleasant mix of house projects and hanging out with kids.  I could get used to hanging out at home with everyone.





Seventeen Again

May 29, 2021 by Adam in Emma

Emma decided that becoming an adult was a bit too much, so it's seventeen again for her.  She picked out a Sweet Life cake and we piled presents around her, followed by an evening of going through my old yearbooks to contrast my high school graduation with hers.


Emma made it through the pandemic relatively unscathed and she's ready to go to the U of O in the fall.  High school is essentially wrapped up with the last AP test, so she's trying to figure out what to do for the summer.  Hopefully it's the last weird one before a relatively normal fall.




Birthday Mocha

May 28, 2021 by Adam in Family

More milestones came and went this week.  Emma finished her AP test, feeling like she did pretty well.  Now they're watching Junkyard Wars in chemistry class, watching people make improvised explosives.  Gotta get these kids ready for the next apocalypse, I guess.  I snuck over to Jamie's and had a nice long visit with her yesterday, though we're doing a full birthday party tonight for Emma.  She's turning seventeen again she says.


It's also the first week home for Duncan and Joanna.  He's been doing online counseling off and on - we don't have very good feelings about the program these days.  Fortunately Joanna pulled off a miracle and found a local counselor for Duncan using dark Facebook magic.  It's such a hard thing to manage, but it looks like we might actually be able to put something together locally out of bits and bobs.  He seems to be doing better, though I recognize there's a long way to go.


As for me, I survived a week of big team meetings, half-listening to only vaguely related breakout sessions and mostly finding a ton of bugs in our code.  Of course, now I have to fix them, but I don't think it's going to be too hard.


Excited for the weekend.  I predict lots of good hangout times and maybe a visit to the woods, which is always a treat.



Team Meetings

May 25, 2021 by Adam in Family

Duncan and Joanna are back, both looking a little exhausted. I imagine it'll take awhile to get settled in and there are apparently things that need to be packed up in Portland still, but it's nice to have them home. I moved my office back to the shed for my meetings, but I'll miss Ben as an office companion. Maybe not Leia - she's bossy and demands pets.


We did the usual team activities including Jackbox games. I survived Trivia Murder Party.




Strike Three

May 24, 2021 by Adam in Family

Duncan's program he's been with has been completely disorganized in so many ways.  First it was virtual, then that shut down and he and Joanna went to Portland to attend in-person counseling.  His third counselor left today and they announced they'd switch to virtual again.  At this point we've decided to transition to a care team of Eugene people that Joanna is working hard to assemble.  That worked relatively well with Ben, and having something long-term and stable seems better than what we're doing now.  Duncan seems supportive, so once again we're turning on a dime and Joanna and Duncan are coming home tomorrow.  The plan is to return before the end of the month to pick up what remains at the rental house.  What a weird year.


As for me, I spent the day mostly in training, learing about SLOs and SLIs and other Three Letter Acroynms (TLAs).  It's somewhat interesting from a business nerdy standpoint.  Maybe I'll even use it.  The next three days are meetings with our new uber team.  I think I'm hosting some Jackbox games, so I'm hoping that goes well.  I also learned that a person that works with our team is going to another team, which makes me a little sad.  I'm glad he's staying around, but it does seem like a time of change.


Emma has her AP test tomorrow, which is her last real school thing.  Birthday festivities follow soon after.  Soon it'll be just Ben doing school, at least for a few weeks.  Then it's on to summer and whatever that holds.



Mocha Friday

May 21, 2021 by Adam in Family

Another week is coming to an end, days full of housework, actual work, and coordinating Ben's schedule, with nights full of scifi binge watching.  It's not so bad, though I do look forward to everyone arriving later today.  It's starting to feel like Joanna and Duncan may be home permanently once we sort out transition plans.  Hopefully it's a sign that this really hard year is coming to an end.


Emma's AP chem test is next week, along with her birthday.  I'm not sure if she does much if anything with high school after that.  I remember my last summer before college - waiting with anticipation, working as a pewtersmith in the morning and reading short stories on the balcony in the afternoon.  Life is full of these strange milestones.


Work's doing okay, if a little bumpy in terms of getting things ready for release and the eventual state of the team.  I survived training last week and next week we have three days of meetings with our new, big overarching team that we're moving towards.  I've been listening to Ben's Murderbot playlist on Spotify, which is full of robot-themed angst.  It's strangely good to write code to.



Fully Vaccinated

May 20, 2021 by Adam in Family

As of today, I'm fully vaccinated.  It's a weird milestone - not the end of the pandemic, but certainly a significant step along the journey.  Mostly I'm excited to do normal things again like go out to coffee, hang out with family, and all those things I've forgotten how to do.  I imagine it'll take a few months yet before masks start to fade and people get together again.  We've got a few weeks yet before Ben and Duncan get to this point.  Feels good, though.


It sounds like Duncan plans are changing after his counselor left the program, the second one so far.  They keep dropping programs and losing people, and Duncan felt he wasn't getting much benefit anymore, so I think the plan is to set up counselors in Eugene and come back home.  Other than this latest frustration, he seems to be doing better.  Hopefully with the pandemic ending and more stable counseling in place he'll continue to do okay.  It's always so hard to know what's best.


In a weird way I'll miss the quiet Ben and I hang out days.  He's been a good coworker these last few weeks - focused on his own work, the occasional witty comment, doesn't mind me blathering on during meetings.  Still, having Joanna and Duncan back home is something I very much look forward to.  Not sure exactly when, but soonish.



Summoning Cthulu

May 19, 2021 by Adam in Family

Our cat Leia makes some weird noises.  Right after I give Leia her morning pills, we run to the cupboard for treats.  The typical meowing stops, replaced by a weird gurgling noise that human throats cannot make.  I'm pretty sure she's trying to bring back the return of the Elder Gods, probably in hopes of less pills and more treats.


Emma had a day of mostly sleeping after her second COVID vaccine.  She reported her bones and skin were too heavy in a sleepy voice over the phone.  Hopefully she's back to her normal cheerful self today, on the way to being fully vaccinated.  Her birthday is a little over a week away and the AP test just a couple days before that.  More endings and new beginnings.


Duncan's counselor was let go for reasons they didn't get into.  I wish the place Duncan is staying is more organized, but it's better than nothing and Joanna reports that he's been doing better this last week.  I keep reminding myself that this is all temporary and they'll return home one day.


Ben and I have been hanging out this week.  I signed him up for a summer class in Engineering Design which includes CAD, 3D printing, and milling machines - should be right up his alley.  I also introduced him to Super Hot VR, which he enjoyed quite a bit, deciding it was probably CIA training or something similar.  Our evenings are full of chatting about robots over dinner, followed by binge watching The Orville.  It's not so bad.



Russian Orthodox Easter

May 17, 2021 by Adam in Family

We all got together for Russian Orthodox Easter on Sunday, enjoying the fruits of Seraph's week of cooking before descending upon the delicious food.  I still have some cake squirreled away, but I fear everyone else discovered how delicious Seraph's chocolate potato cake is.  It was nice just to chat and catch up, especially with all the younger generation who are busy going to college and being very grown up.


The rest of the weekend was the usual mix of good and hard.  It was nice having everyone back for our usual routines of hearty breakfasts of waffles and crepes, pizza and science/anime, and just hanging around.  Joanna and Duncan went to a memorial service with his friend Conner who died recently.  A number of his friends from Newport Academy came down from Portland.  While visiting Conner's grave, Joanna noticed he was buried next to our neighbor Conner, who was swept away by a wave over ten years ago.  Life seems far too full of loss sometimes.


Everyone's vaccinations continue, with Emma having her second shot today.  I took Duncan and Ben to get theirs on Saturday at the Fairgrounds via Lane County Health.  They did a great job, though I'm more excited to take Emma this afternoon as the WOW Hall has live music.




Time Loop Friday

May 14, 2021 by Adam in Family

I've been watching time loop movies this week.  Monday it was Palm Springs, Wednesday it was Boss Level, and today I start Map of Tiny Perfect Things.  It wasn't entirely on purpose, just one of those niche scifi genres that had a bunch of movies come out recently.  It's a nice metaphor for this last year - waking up, working, taking care of kids, and repeating forever.  On the plus side, it feels like we might be breaking out of the time loop and into the unknown future shortly.  The CDC announced fully vaccinated people don't need masks - that'll be me in six more days.


It's also been a week of online training for me.  I have a lot more sympathy for all the kids out there, as learning via a screen for hours on end is a little soul draining.  The material is interesting and the intructor is fine, but it's challenging maintaining focus and engagement throughout the day.  Fortunately today is the last day.


As for the rest of the week, it's been relatively uneventful.  Joanna texts from far away Portland.  Emma calls daily.  Ben and I watch The Orville.  He's also gotten into VR again, so I've been dusting off games like Accounting Simulator that he was a little too young for the last time he got into VR.


Then there's the weekend, with Russian Orthodox Easter.  It'll be nice seeing everyone a little more.  Duncan and Ben also get their first COVID shots on Saturday, starting the clock when everyone in the family is vaccinated.




Mother's Day

May 11, 2021 by Adam in Family

It was a somewhat rough weekend.  Duncan had a hard night Saturday night and most of us were up pretty late keeping an eye on him.  Joanna got the second COVID vaccine Saturday and was pretty miserable Sunday, holding off going back to Portland until Monday.  One of the highlights was going out to the farm, sitting in a big field next to the tree, and chatting maskless with all my family members that I haven't really seen in a year.  The weather was nice, the company was good, and taking a couple hours to do nothing in an otherwise stressful weekend was lovely.


I'm trying hard not to add work to my list of stressful things.  I've got a week of class, learning about big data (not our cat in this case).  People are applying for various jobs in the organization as the reorg continues.  My current plan is to try and stay where I am, though the situation may change as it evolves.


On the bright side, I just scheduled Ben for his first Pfizer vaccine this Saturday.  It's nice to finally have the end of this pandemic in sight.





The IKEA Effect

May 11, 2021 by Adam in Ben

I've been hanging out with Ben quite a bit with Duncan and Joanna up in Portland.  We went through The Expanse and have started on The Orville.  Apparently I'll be rewatching all the major scifi shows of the last ten years.


He has the smallest of the bedrooms and has always had challenges with storage.  Joanna got him a wardrobe from IKEA, which of course required assembly.  With a little impatience on his part, the living room was turned into an assembly floor.  I provided the muscle, tool organization, and occasional pointers, but otherwise he put it together himself.  I had to explain The IKEA effect, which I suspect drove him onward.  He finally finished it, in an odd corner of the room that doesn't quite fit, but it's majestic anyway.




Vaccine Mocha Friday

May 07, 2021 by Adam in Family

I'm surviving my post-COVID vaccine symptoms, which are mild if a little annoying.  My stomach feels out of sorts and I'm a little tired, but otherwise I'm just taking it easy today.  I had my mocha, which was nice, helped Ben with math, worked a little, had my arteries ultrasounded, and I'll be off to slowly treadmill before lunch.


The Eugene household of Ben, Leia, and I continue on.  I haven't been pushing school too much, though I think he occasionally attends classes.  Yesterday was Jackbox games with a friend from Argentina and another from California.  I played a little Monster Train as I was feeling pretty worn out, stopping only to make a meal from Purple Carrot for the two of us.


I think the Portland household of Joanna and Duncan has been a little rougher this week.  Things aren't going as well as hoped with the new program and we're not sure what the next steps are, if any.


I look forward to the summer and life hopefully starting to return to normal.  This weekend's Mother Day at the farm is a step in that direction.  Maybe I can see Sam.  Getting out and about in the world again seems like waking up from a long, strange dream.



Second Dose

May 06, 2021 by Adam in Adam

And today I had my second dose.  I feel a little funny, but nothing too bad.  Same person at Wallgreens - he made some comment that everyone he was seeing today was getting their second shot.  It's nice to finally get to the end of this thing, though theoretically it'll be a couple more weeks until we can go out into the world.


Work's been a little stressful lately.  Our team has been asked to shrink by two people, which is quite a bit from our current five.  There are good openings within the company and there's a reasonable chance I'll stay where I am, but it still means our team is going to change.  I've really grown to appreciate the people I work with - work has kept me sane this last year and has been one of the few things that has been relatively stable and calm.




May the Fourth Be With You

May 04, 2021 by Adam in Family

The weekend was a mix of exciting, frustrating, and relaxing.  Joanna forgot to close the garage door, so someone walked in and stole our electric chainsaw.  They didn't take any safety gear, but fortunately didn't take any batteries either, so hopefully they can't hurt themselves.  The police came and we gave them the camera footage, but it seems unlikely anything will come of it.


After a hearty breakfast, Duncan's friend Nichole came over and we all headed down to the library for an outdoor murder mystery.  It sounded cool, but sadly turned into a march around downtown for an hour, giving up, and going for bubble tea.  At least Duncan had a good time hanging out with a friend and the usual pizza night was much appreciated.


Sunday was somewhat relaxing - a little homework, watching Ben and Emma play games, Duncan playing Minecraft with his dad, a walk with Joanna, puttering in the garden, and a movie in the evening.  It's always hard when Joanna and Duncan head to Portland, but we keep doing the best we can.




Polaroids at Dawn

April 30, 2021 by Adam in Family

Ben woke me up this morning in a hopeful way, asking if he could go on to the balcony to take pictures of the sunrise.  We hung out in the crisp morning air for a long while, chatting about the trees and the clouds and the city around us.  I watered the balcony garden, which is doing very well.  Taking a moment to appreciate the world around us was much appreciated.  Too much this week has been frantically crossing things off my list or rushing to another appointment.


Duncan and Joanna come home tonight, along with Emma from her mom's.  Our quiet week will get more exciting and perhaps a little messier, though I miss everyone when they're away.  Tomorrow we've got a murdery mystery around the library to solve, along with a multi-part mailed murder mystery that Ben got for his birthday.  Should be entertaining.


I picked up mom from the airport - it was nice to see her again.  I had a physical this week, which went well, though of course my doctor wants more tests to make sure everything's okay.  I suppose she'll want me to stop sniffing glue next.  I get my second COVID shot next week too, hopefully doing my part to get Lane County back from the extreme risk category.  It's nice to finally feel like this disaster is coming to a close.




Visiting the Farm

April 26, 2021 by Adam in Family

Weekends are always a whirlwind of activity in contrast to the usually quiet weekdays.  Duncan and Joanna arrived Friday afternoon, Leia becoming silent again and Data excited to be home, flopping down in the middle of the floor.  We did our usual routine of fancy breakfasts - waffles Saturday and crepes on Sunday, along with pizza and anime/science Saturday night.  Duncan hung out with a friend.  Joanna did some work on the farm.  Ben, Emma, and I went to the farm Sunday to play with chickens and walk through the woods.  Dad came over for dinner Sunday night, entertaining Ben in particular with tales of aviation, space, and engineering.


Today's a little frantic with endless work meetings, taking Ben to and from school, getting mom from the airport, and trying to get some actual work done.  I think I'm finally understanding this complicated feature - my brain is full of numerators and denominators and filtering now.




Photoshoot!

April 25, 2021 by Adam in Emma

Emma and I had a photoshoot this morning, getting something ready for her senior picture.  The one in front of the azaleas was the best looking, but I was fond of the cabbage background myself.




Mocha Friday

April 23, 2021 by Adam in Family

I never would have gotten a Spotify subscription for myself, but Joanna likes it and got us all a family subscription.  Little did I know just how many sea shanties were out there, not to mention bluegrass covers of Eye of the Tiger.  I try not to think too hard about all our subscription services, but this one has turned out to be pretty cool.


Life continues, with all its ups and downs.  Duncan knew the South Eugene student killed in a car accident this week, rooming with him at Newport Academy.  We talked to the kids' parents over Zoom earlier this year.  Too many losses this last year.


At the same time, Ben's doing great in math and shooting for an A+. His enthusiasm for French isn't quite there, but he's doing okay in art and science.  He's also been a good sport this week, going to endless appointments, helping with dinner, and being a scifi binge watch buddy.


Emma calls every day - we chat about chemistry, gardening, and the ordinary things we do each day.  Joanna, Duncan, and Data arrive for dinner tonight.  It'll be nice to get the crew back together again.



New Normal

April 22, 2021 by Adam in Family

Life seems to have a steady stream of new normals.  Joanna and I chat over video and exchange text messages throughout the day. 


Ben and I have our computers nearby. He'll occasionally laugh at my meeting comments and I have to explain that my local coworker was amused by my Shrek joke.  Monday Ben cooked dinner and served me the last of the birthday cake, which was very nice.  We chatted about helicopters on mars, talked about school, and continued our epic Expanse watching spree.


I occasionally get away from my desk sneak outside into our garden which is in full bloom.  I put up the hammock an briefly tested it out before work called me back.  I've got interesting little problems and puzzles to work on, as always.


Tomorrow brings the whirlwind of Emma, Duncan, and Joanna, not to mention Data.  Leia's personality has changed with everyone's absence.  She's far more vocal, unfortunately in the middle of the night sometimes, and very needy in terms of pets and attention.  I can sympathize.



Vaccinated

April 19, 2021 by Adam in Emma

I took Emma down to get her first COVID shot.  It was at the WOW Hall, which normally does a lot of concerts, so it was way cooler than Walgreens where I got mine.  The live band was nice, as were the bleachers and general ambiance.  They seemed more organized than Walgreens, with a timer for the 15 minute wait.  Mine was a chair in the store and it was up to us to leave after 15 minutes, or I guess gasp for air and stumble to the nearest employee.




Trials and Tribulations

April 19, 2021 by Adam in Family

We continue to muddle through, as best we can.  Duncan had a hard weekend and we weren't quite sure if he needed a different level of care, but we opted for the existing program as that's where he seemed to be doing best.  He and Joanna headed up to Portland again this morning and hopefully things go better this week.


As for the rest of the weekend, Ben celebrated birthday festivities with Chloe and Francis, eating cake and going to an escape room with a Russian biohazard theme called the Red Scare.  They didn't escape, but I think they enjoyed themselves.


Ben, Emma, and I hung out quite a bit, watching shows, playing games, and generally having a good time.  Ben's been working on art projects, getting some fancy china for his birthday that he's been attaching clay fingers, eyes, and mouths too.  It's creepy, but awesome looking.


Joanna continues gardening projects and is quite happy at how much produce has appeared recently.  I was compelled to eat freshly harvested greens in my salad, which was quite tasty.


Lots of running around today.  Ben's headed to school shortly.  I'm taking Emma in for her first COVID shot.  Hopefully things quite down by this evening, just Ben, Leia, and I.





Fourteen

April 14, 2021 by Adam in Ben

Ben turned fourteen today.  We were trying to figure out what he could do today that he couldn't do yesterday, and apparently it's the minimum age to work in Oregon.  I'll see if the coal mine is hiring.


He's had a lot of changes lately, from surgery a couple weeks ago to the start of hybrid school.  Plus it's just been the two of us and our cat Leia for most of the week.  He's been doing remarkably well, healing nicely, catching up with homework, and really enjoying his two days of in-person education.  He's been watching a lot of science videos and chatting with friends online.  We'll wind down our evenings with The Expanse or some of the news/comedy YouTube shows.


Today will probably be pretty low-key.  I was going to pick up some goodies at Sweet Life and we'll eat sushi in front of the television for dinner.  The weekend will have most of excitement, from family birthdays to an escape room with his cousin Francis and a longtime friend from school.



Hybrid School

April 12, 2021 by Adam in Family

Hybrid school starts today, one of those funny sci-fi terms we invented for the pandemic.  Ben's the only one actually attending this afternoon, and only for a few hours.  I'm not sure how academic it'll be, but I suspect it'll be good for the kids to get together again.


The weekend was busy, but generally good.  I managed to pour some concrete around the hole created for the sewer clean-out.  I helped Ben get through his math and science homework, making an experiment on conductivity that was fairly interesting.  I was feeling under the weather after my covid shot, so I took it easy Saturday, but was feeling perky by Sunday.  Most everyone who can have a covid shot has had their first one at this point, with the exception of Emma who has to wait another week or so.


Duncan seems to be doing okay, playing on his computer and hanging out with a friend for a long while on Sunday.  Joanna did some gardening.  I helped with laundry, cooking, and cleaning, along with our usual pizza and hearty breakfast traditions.





Road Trip Mocha Friday

April 09, 2021 by Adam in Family

I made myself a mocha and hearty breakfast this morning as Ben and I are hitting the road to Portland soon.  He's got a doctor visit where hopefully the tubes will be taken out.  I haven't given him any pain meds for a few days, which I suspect is a sign that everything is healing up nicely.


Yesterday was a bit of a whirlwind, getting my covid shot, running errands for Joanna, and having a brief walk with Emma.  Somewhere in there I managed to get some work done, make dinner, help Ben with two science and one math assignment, and read a few chapters of the latest Murderbot book.  Life feels busy but good.  I'm excited to see Joanna today and get everyone home for the weekend.  Our weekends tend to be equally full, but I'm hoping we can have a little downtime here and there.


I continue trying to get everyone I can scheduled for their vaccine.  Emma's signed up for the 19th.  I pestered Jamie until she signed up for a shot today.  I know Emma really wants to go on a train trip this summer with her mom and grandma, so I'd like to think I helped a little to make that happen.



The Beginning of the End

April 08, 2021 by Adam in Adam

Just got my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.




Escape!

April 07, 2021 by Adam in Family

Our kitty Data is a big weirdo.


He learned somewhere with doors and cupboards that sometimes if he paws long enough, it'll open and he can go through.  Because of this connection in his little kitty brain, he spends his days staring out the window at birds and squirrels, scratching away at the window until he gets tired and goes to sleep.


I have a lot of sympathy for Data.  Escaping the house into the wide world is deeply appealing these days.  Yesterday was warm enough for shorts and a t-shirt.  I snuck out to water the garden and soak in the sun.  Tomorrow I have my first COVID-19 shot - it feels like we're finally seeing the beginning of the end.



It's also our traditional bro night/date night tonight.  I think I'll get sushi for Ben and I and turn over YouTube to him so we can watch weird videos.  We've been spending our evenings watching The Expanse, the second time for me.  It's a great space show and I'm catching details I missed the first time through.


Ben's also caught up in math and we did forecasting for SEHS as well.  He picked some electives around drones and aviation, and I think we may try to get him in the robotics club.  He's also recovering nicely from surgery - we've stopped the pain meds and he has a follow up this Friday, hopefully to remove the tubes and be declared ready for service.



Easter Weekend

April 05, 2021 by Adam in Family

Despite all the whirlwind activity of the weekend, it feels like things are picking up.  Friday afternoon was spent cleaning the house and doing laundry, along with excitedly flushing all the toilets thanks to our repaired main sewer line.  I picked up Emma and a tired Joanna and Duncan arrived for dinner.  It was nice seeing everyone together again as our days are more scattered than usual.


Saturday started with hearty waffles and other breakfast goodies.  Emma wanted to build a cold frame out of scrap wood.  I made her do all the work, from pulling nails to using the circular saw.  At the end she triumphantly showed off her nice box, waiting for an old window to be put on top at her mom's house.


Somehow along the way I decided to tidy the under porch area, which turned into Joanna and I in a cleaning frenzy.  It's one of those projects that kept spawning more work instead of less.  We assembled the wet/dry vac, threw out old garbage, got another car load of donations ready, and generally got to tasks we've been ignoring for a decade or two.  At the end of the day we were exhausted and satisfied with our progress.


Easter Sunday started with crepes and whip cream, along with plenty of coffee.  I wasn't quite as enthusiastic about projects, though Joanna headed to the farm to finish pounding rebar into the foundation.  I managed to hang out with kids a little, continued Ben's surgery aftercare, and helped get Joanna and Duncan ready for their return trip to Portland.


Joanna put together an impressive Easter egg hunt, carefully segregating eggs by height so that Duncan could get the high ones, Emma the low ones, and Ben didn't have to stretch far due to surgery pain.  The best part was the puns written in most of the eggs, which the kids read all together in the living room.  I think they liked those even more than the chocolate and money.


Duncan managed some quality hangout time with friends and I lended him my old work laptop as he wanted to do some video editing while in Portland.  Hopefully we'll have a better sense as to how long he'll be in this program.  We all want Duncan to be okay, and I'd love to have everyone at home too.


I think all is going as well as can be expected these days.  I carefully checked the COVID-19 eligibility and after doing a little math, my BMI is .1 into the overweight range.  I thanked the extra whip cream I put on my crepes and signed up for a vaccine this Thursday.





Back Home

April 02, 2021 by Adam in Family

Ben and I just got home after a whirlwind couple of days.  Seraph was a lifesaver, taking care of the kitties and even doing the dishes.  The sewer issues have been resolved for the time being.  Most importantly, Ben is doing well after his surgery and though he was pretty achy and tired the first day, he seems more back to his normal self today.


We headed to Portland Wednesday night, getting to this funny Airbnb place in Beverton.  Since it was our traditional bro night, we left Ben and Duncan to watch YouTube while Joanna and I went for a walk through the urban forest trails near the house.  It was nice to be able to spend a little time together after being apart since Sunday.  We stuck Ben into the walk-in closet, which was big enough for a mattress.  The rest of us crashed out in the main kitchen-living-bedroom and woke up at 5 a.m. for surgery the next day.


There was a suite of cheerful providers that got Ben settled and ready to go.  He'd worn his full Nasa regalia, which entertained them all.  After they took him away, Joanna left to get Duncan ready to go to his program while I hung out in the waiting room, writing code and getting periodic "everything's okay" pages on a little pager they gave me.


A little before noon he was awake enough that a single parent could go back.  I headed in and chatted with a very groggy Ben.  He was mostly pain-free, but pretty sleepy.  After napping a little we got the whole aftercare tutorial and went home to stick him in a recliner where he mostly stayed until this morning.  Other than being nauseous at first and his throat hurting, he had an okay first night and slept really well.  This morning he seemed much more his usual self.


Right now we're decompressing after the long drive and some lunch.  I have some unpacking and cleanup to do.  If I'm feeling enthusiastic I might grab some concrete to patch the place where the sewer line cleanout valve was installed.  For now, it's just nice to take it a little easy for a moment.





Help, I'm Trapped in a Sims Game

March 31, 2021 by Adam in Family

I remember when the kids used to play the Sims games, controlling little people in a little house.  Sure, the kids would start with the typical work-and-buy-stuff cycle.  Inevitably, though, they'd be selling pool ladders and making elaborate mazes to the toilet.  The poor Sims would embarrass themselves or die horribly.  It was apparently greatly amusing.


With Joanna and Duncan in Portland, I've been doing the cat feeding and taking Ben to appointments, along with the typical work-and-make-dinner things.  Unfortunately the main sewer line started backing up again and the plumbing company that was going to schedule a more long-term fix haven't called back.  This has led to stress and frustration, along with dishes piling up and scheduling time to shower at mom's house.  I'm pretty sure an elaborate maze to the toilet will somehow appear next.


I'm doing my best to manage.  I've started packing for the Portland trip.  I went to bed early and woke up early to go for a run.  I'm pretty sure I can manage a shower during a gap between meetings and appointments.  Most of all, I'm hoping I can get in touch with the plumbing service and get repairs scheduled.  That would make it all better.



Strange Days

March 29, 2021 by Adam in Family

I moved my office into the house from the back shed over the weekend, taking over Joanna's desk on the main floor.  It's just Ben and I, along with the cats, rattling around in the big, empty house.  Joanna and Duncan are up in Portland, having moved into a nautical-themed place for the foreseeable future.  Duncan will have started his first day, though it's with the same counselor he's had virtually the last few weeks.  Hopefully he can settle in okay.


We deliberately tried to have a low-key weekend, though we were only partially successful.  Saturday was beautiful, luring us outside to plant things in hanging baskets and do some yardwork.  I was feeling pretty good until I realized the main sewer line had backed up and the basement toilet was overflowing.  After frantically plunging and stressing out, our savior Nate arrived and cleaned things out.  Unfortunately we have roots growing through the main sewer line, so we've got some more work to do before it's completely resolved.  In the meantime, we're cheerfully taking showers and flushing toilets.


We all got together for a Jackbox game after dinner before Joanna and Duncan hit the road.  Duncan's shirt won, though Joanna wrote the tagline and I did the art.  It's somehow fitting.




Mocha Friday

March 26, 2021 by Adam in Family

Duncan's having a hard time and we're looking to make some changes again.  Though it's still in the process of being worked out, I think Joanna and Duncan will head to Portland this Sunday so that Duncan can go to an intensive outpatient program.  It's the one he's enrolled in virtually at the moment, but it's not as effective and they seem to be closing it down due to lack of counselors.  While it's another big disruption to our family, it's clear that Duncan needs more help than he's getting and doing things virtually isn't working out very well for him.  The thought is that Joanna can rent somewhere long term and come back on the weekends.  Hopefully I can figure out how to water the plants, feed the cat, and get Ben to various appointments.


We've put everything else on the backburner as we figure out next steps.  We'll probably try to finish the foundation of the farm shed.  Joanna has some 4x6's to frame the gravel that's going to be dumped.  Once that goes in place we need to dump gravel on the road to make it passable and then we just need to have a cabin plopped into place.  Hopefully it's all generally manageable even if Joanna's away most of the time.


As for me, I continue to heal from my two days of too much exercise.  My muscles are a little sore, I have a couple broken blisters that look gnarly, but a few more days at my cushy desk job should get me back to normal.



Hole Digging Vacation

March 24, 2021 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I've had the last three days off, the last two of which I've spent digging a big hole for the foundation for Joanna's little cabin at the farm.  It's back breaking work, with thick, clay soil.  Last night I came home exhausted, then weirdly woke up early and headed out for more until noon today.  I have the bulk of the digging done, along with axing roots and generally clearing things up.  I think we'll have to frame it as it's at a pretty significant slope, but we're closer than we were.  Tomorrow I leave my hole digging vacation behind me and return to work and relax.


Ben got contacts today and is very excited.  It reminded me of getting glasses when I was little and noticing contrails in the sky for the first time.  Emma's trying to figure out what she's going to do with her free time now that she's going down to a single class.  Duncan hung out with a friend last night to sit around the fire and roast marshmallows.


Life is still bumpy from time to time, but a couple days of hard labor was strangely uplifting.




Spring Vacation

March 23, 2021 by Adam in Family

I'm taking a few days off from work to hang out with kids and get some work done around the house and at the farm.  Kevin came to visit the kids, the first time in over a year.  They mostly hung out at our house, playing video games, doing art, and occasionally going out to eat.  Ben in particular had a good time, which was nice as they hadn't always gotten along.  It felt good to see the kids reconnect with their dad after so long.


Emma and I spent a fair amount of time just hanging out.  She's down to a single class now, so the months before the U of O are likely going to be pretty quiet.  Monday was the designated "hang out with Emma day."  We picked up Metropol goodies and hung out in the basement playing Magic the Gathering, Coup, and a lengthy Call of Cthulu game.


Joanna hired a couple guys to help cut down trees at the farm and they did a great job.  Plans have switched to try and bring the cabin from the top of the hill rather than the bottom, taking out the fence and putting in a gate.  It should be much easier to get in there.  Emma and I hopped the fence and wandered down to take a look.  There's a big osoberry bush by the site, which is apparently a native plum - small and bitter, but an early bloomer that was prized by the native people.


I think I'll be out there today, digging and leveling a pit for gravel.  The hope is that when it comes time to put down that little cabin, we'll have a place for it.



Schools out for Springtime

March 18, 2021 by Adam in Family

The kids all finished school for the week, with no school tomorrow and spring break next week.  Despite serious senioritis, Emma snuck in all A's, pending a chemistry test grade.  Ben has done well in math, which we do every night, and okay in science.  Duncan dropped a couple classes and will hopefully pass the rest.  At the end of the day, getting all these kids to the end of the pandemic alive will be our biggest measure of success.


Joanna continues to work through the challenges of getting the cabin placed, with plans changing as other plans shift around.  I think it'll all work out in the end and we'll have the beginnings of a little orchard before too long.


I ended up watching coworkers write code and gave them advice for quite awhile today.  It's known as "pair programming" in the industry and I felt useful while not actually having to click and type at all.  I'd like to think my endless wisdom was enough to make today productive for everyone involved.



Back at It Again

March 15, 2021 by Adam in Family

We had a busy weekend, going out to the farm Saturday with all the kids.  Joanna kept working on site prep.  Ben brought a friend and suckered them into helping clean the hay barn even more.  It's coming along nicely and might actually be habitable before too long.  We also had some quality chick holding time.  Ben discovered the gyroscopic stabilization of chicken heads and we decided they'd make great camera operators with head mounted cameras.


Otherwise it was the usual mix of laundry, cooking meals, and helping kids get homework done.  Somewhere in there I managed to play Zelda: Breath of the Wild and watched Emma play a little Luigi's Mansion 3.  Both were fun escapes on a rainy Sunday.


Work is going well.  We're slowly working towards a release next week, trying to get everything in before a code freeze.






Mocha Friday

March 12, 2021 by Adam in Family

I managed to get my annual bloodwork done, right under the deadline of the insurance discount.  What funny things we do as part of these systems people create.  Of course, the order wasn't processed, but fortunately they decided I wasn't sneaking in off the streets to get my blood drawn for funsies.  I also was supposed to have counseling this week, but their system decided to cancel after their web site broke and wouldn't let me click a button.  A quarter century working in healthcare and some things never change.


We're all hanging in there, looking forward to those vaccines being available.  I think we'll still hunker down for spring break, but more people are talking about trips and adventures sometime this year.  That would be most welcome and I suspect half of America has the same idea.


Work's going well.  Ben and I got through a ton of homework last night.  With sunny, warm weather promised tomorrow I suspect we may go out to the farm.  I also picked up a couple Switch games with an odd "thanks for working here four years" mini bonus this week.  Should be fun to play on rainy Sunday.



Pandemicversary

March 11, 2021 by Adam in Family

The unofficial start of the pandemic was a year ago.  I vaguely remember everything shutting down, people hording toilet paper and kids leaving school for good.  Joanna persisted a month or two before shutting down the office.  Kids started the dumpster fire of remote learning.  Date nights became "fake nights" and then rebranded as "bro nights" when we couldn't go out to eat and instead got takeout for everyone - the kids watching anime on Netflix and Joanna and I puzzling in the basement.


We also were struck with a nasty upper respiratory virus around the same time, switching to getting groceries delivered to the house.  Joanna asked on Nextdoor if someone had a battery for our thermometer so we could take our temperatures.  It magically appeared later that day, one of many kindnesses in those early days of the pandemic.  Joanna later got an antibody test, so it probably wasn't COVID, but we were certainly on edge for awhile.


Months passed and the new normal kept changing.  The younger kids had a really hard time with social isolation.  Family dinners dwindled and stopped.  My weekly tea with mom turned into masked visits on the patio.  Kevin's visits to see Duncan and Ben were put on hold.  Joanna started cutting my hair.


Winter was the hardest.  Duncan's mental health dwindled to the point where we sent him away for help.  It was the first Christmas without both my bio kids.  The days seemed short, dark, and the end was forever on the horizon.


In the last few weeks, the onset of spring and hope has been coming fast.  Duncan is back, more cheerful and armed with a variety of coping skills.  Ben seems to be doing better.  The farm has become a center of activity and promise.  In person schools are starting to open.  Those most at risk in the family have had their vaccines.  Emma's getting ready for college.  Mom's planning a trip to see Sadie.  It seems likely I'll get my first COVID-19 shot by the end of next month.


It feels good to have hope again.



Weekend of Adjusting

March 08, 2021 by Adam in Family

It was the first weekend with Duncan back.  He spent a lot of time hanging out with friends and catching up on computer activities.  While he seemed a little worn out at the end of the weekend, things seemed to go well.  We did watch anime instead of science during our traditional pizza eating Saturday night.  We also needed more food on the table for meals.    The kitties were happy to have more pets.  We were happy to have Duncan's humor and good nature around.


I was feeling a little under the weather, but managed to do all the usual things - making hearty breakfasts, helping with homework, and quality hang-out time with kids.  Joanna made it out to the farm both days to take down the stuck tree and cut down five or six more.  There are still things to do to prep the site for a cabin, but it feels like we're well on the way.  Next weekend we may try to make it out there with the kids.  Rumor has it Seraph has little chicks now.




Mocha Friday

March 05, 2021 by Adam in Family

The prodigal son returned, with Joanna and Duncan getting home late morning yesterday.  Christmas presents were immediately opened, followed by tech support helping get the new keyboard installed.  Duncan got his computer setup and had a friend over for a long while, making art in the basement.  Ben baked a delicious cake that morning, which we all ate and told him he should never make again because it was so good.


The rest of the day was mostly getting settled back into the routine of things.  I'm not sure if school will start today for Duncan - we're still playing next term by ear, which is coming up fast.  He does seem cheerful and optimistic, if a little worn out by all the changes yesterday.


It's hard to believe that only a couple weeks remain in the term.  Theoretically Ben and Duncan return to school a couple days a week soon after it starts.  Emma's going down to a single class.  Time keeps moving along and things that seem to take forever finally do happen.




Mid-Week Changes

March 03, 2021 by Adam in Family

Joanna picked up Duncan this afternoon - they're driving south on I-5 as I type this.  The plan is to stop somewhere soon and finish the journey tomorrow morning as otherwise it's quite a long drive.


Ben's new desk arrived today, which he immediately wanted to build.  Other than a few pointers through the frustrating bits, he made his desk and we moved all his computer stuff over to it.


Joanna left a variety of sweet notes hidden throughout the house before leaving, which have been entertaining to periodically discover.  Otherwise it's mostly been Ben and I being bachelors, though I've endevored to eat semi real dinners.  We started watching the Neil Armstrong movie First Man, which is great.  Presumably we'll start watching Chernobyl again tomorrow.




Corpse Removal Weekend

March 02, 2021 by Adam in Family

Joanna headed up to northern Washington to fetch Duncan.  It's quite the journey, so she's taking her time.  It'll be nice to have Duncan around again, and even more importantly I'm glad that he seems so much more cheerful than before.


We all had a pretty good weekend.  I helped kids with homework, Joanna put in some time gardening, and lots of Deep Space Nine was watched.  Sunday we headed to the farm, chatting with mom, Seraph, and the gang.  I took Emma and Ben up to the old hay farm where we continued to clean things out, including an old mummified opossum that Emma accidentally grabbed.  Still, it's looking quite nice and the kids are enthusiastic about further improvements.  Joanna cut a couple of the bigger trees, though apparently they got stuck on the way down.  More YouTube videos on the subject were being watched - I went to bed Monday night to the sound of chainsaws on Joanna's phone.


Ben and I have a bachelor's night tonight, though I'm trying hard to not just eat cereal.  Hopefully we can watch something fun after we finish up math and science.




Mocha Friday

February 26, 2021 by Adam in Family

Lots of small updates this Friday.  It looks like Duncan is coming home next week, which he seems very excited about.  We had a brief meeting about it on Wednesday and he seemed generally cheerful.  Leia, our older kitty, likely has IBS and needs daily pills to control it.  I continue to help Ben with math and science and he's generally caught up.  Last night he was building a little LED circuit just for fun.  Emma's getting through all her classes and looking forward to the weekend.  Joanna started Forestry classes this week and is headed out to the farm to try and feed things through the chipper.


At this point, I think all of the 70+ people in the family have had at least their first vaccine.  Looking forward to the rest of us getting it in the months ahead.



Midweek Updates

February 24, 2021 by Adam in Family

The week is moving along at a zippy clip - hard to believe that March is right around the corner.


It looks like Duncan is quickly approaching the point where he's coming home.  Maybe next week, depending on how things go.  There's always a complicated little dance between the therapists, insurance, and us that seems to happen at the end of these things.  We're excited to have him home and hope it goes well.


I was heartened to hear Hanni got her first vaccination.  COVID rates in Lane County keep dropping and we moved from extreme to high risk recently.  It also looks like hybrid learning will happen at 4J, likely in April.  I think that'll be good for the kids.


Otherwise it's been a generally uneventful week.  Joanna signed up for a forestry class and is planning on clearing the cabin site instead of hiring someone to do so.  I got Ben and Joanna watching Chernobyl, which is both terrifying and compelling.  I suppose it's a nice comparison with our current situation - at least we're not wading through radioactive water, trying to open valves before a nuclear power plant explodes.



Productive Weekend

February 21, 2021 by Adam in Family

Much was accomplished this weekend, which is extra satisfying as it was mostly Joanna doing the work.  Saturday morning we started the day with a fine breakfast of waffles, mocha, and the like.  Joanna practiced cutting down some tall arborvitae in our back yard with the new electric chainsaw, followed by some frustrating moments with the new chipper.  The kids were chomping at the bit to go out to the farm, so we drove out, followed by Joanna a little longer.


The new chainsaw worked pretty well taking out some of the shrubbery around the old hay barn.  Ben and Emma cleaned up quite a bit of the weird things, exhuming a number of old kid toys buried in the mud.  We swept up and took down some rotting paneling, plus removing the main door which was bent and couldn't open.


In the meantime Joanna cut down a number of the dead trees around the cabin site.  I think we'll skip paying someone to do the work as we were feeling increasingly confident after the outing.


Today was more garding, though closer to home.  Joanna mulched most of the arborvitae and planted the strawberries in the new bed we made for them.  I hauled up some soil to the balcony planters.  It's not quit done, but I think we're well on our way to being ready for springtime.


The kids finished up homework and Emma took a long chemistry test.  We occasionally took video game breaks for our entertainment.  Now they're cooking us stirfry for dinner, which is a magical thing.




Mild Winter Mocha Friday

February 19, 2021 by Adam in Family

Our power and climate has been fine this week, but much of the country is dealing with power and water outages along with the freezing weather.  Ben's been making science videos about earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis, so preparing for future disasters continues to linger in our thoughts.  It looks like our roof only has another year or two in it, so I'd like to add solar when we replace it.  I look forward to getting the cabin up and running, if only to have somewhere to go during the inevitable alien invasion and undead uprising.


Otherwise it's been a pretty quiet week.  Work's been good.  Ben's catching up with homework.  Duncan seems to be doing well.  Our chainsaw and chipper finally arrived, so we may go out to the farm to work on clearing things out for a cabin and orchard.



Happy Pancake Day

February 17, 2021 by Adam in Family

Yesterday was Fat Tuesday, which means making crepes for dinner. It was a little last minute but they turned out well. It's probably good we only do this once a year.




Tuesday Work Week

February 16, 2021 by Adam in Family

I'm back to work after a three day weekend.  I had big plans for my day off, but kept being thwarted by minor things and I ended up not doing much other than hanging out with kids, helping with homework, and getting a run in there somewhere.  I did hear from my mom that she'd gotten a COVID vaccine - she was at Safeway and they had a few left over after vaccinating employees.  Someone flagged her down and asked her how old she was.  It's nice seeing people in the family getting vaccinated.


Joanna also put in a bunch of work into our raised beds - the garden is looking really good lately.  We're also starting to talk about big house projects such as painting the house and replacing the roof, not to mention refinishing the wood floors sometime.  I try to leave such things in Joanna's capable hands as I get a little anxious thinking about all the things that need to be done.




Happy Valentine's Day

February 14, 2021 by Adam in Family

We're having a very low-key Valentine's Day.  Joanna's off in the yard doing more gardening work.  Yesterday we put together the various new raised beds, though most of the work was Joanna and I just assisted.  It's looking really good so far and I'm excited to see things start growing.


It was also a talk-to-all-the-kids weekend.  Duncan seems to be doing better, out of quarantine though it doesn't matter much as virtually everyone had covid.  I got Ben caught up in science.  Emma had a bunch of homework too.  Monday is weirdly off for me, though I suspect I'll just do yardwork and help kids with things.


It's nice to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.



Forest Adventures

February 09, 2021 by Adam in Family

We all went out to the farm on Sunday.  Seraph and Joanna worked on clearing brambles and cutting down trees while I took Ben and Emma to explore.  There are huge parts of the farm that are hard to get to.  There's an old hidden road, a big patch of dead trees, a couple creeks, and a patch of wild roses.  It's fun thinking of the possibilities, not to mention just tromping around.




COVID Mocha Friday

February 05, 2021 by Adam in Family

We got the news last night that Duncan's last PCR test before leaving quarantine was positive.  I think that means they're separating him from his roommates who tested negative and he has another week or more before some type of normalcy returns.  He wasn't happy with the news and I'm glad they're keeping an extra eye on him.  I'm thankful for the staff, who keep showing up, and the administration for not closing down.  It's been eye opening just how quickly covid spread through the place.


It sounds like 4J is going to try very hard to open up schools for hybrid learning relatively soon.  My guess is that middle and high school would start in April with the new term.  We've turned completely around with our feelings about school and want at least the younger kids to go, if only to be around their peers.


Joanna's off for a couple days, staying at a place at McKenzie Bridge to have a little break.  Ben and I had a tasty dinner, worked on homework, and watched some shows before turning into bed.  I started reading the fourth book in the Murderbot series, which Ben raves about.  It's a treat to read for fun.


As for the weekend, we'll get Emma tonight and try to get out to the farm.  I just need to make it through work, which has been a little more exciting than normal after our latest release.  There are always a few bugs to sort out.



Beginning of the End

February 04, 2021 by Adam in Family

Dad's had his first vaccine.  Jenny and Robbie are getting theirs soon.  In theory mom, Bob, Yayoe, and John all get theirs soon too.  Eventually it'll trickle down to the rest of us, and it looks like even the kids will be able to be vaccinated by summertime.  I'd love to be able to get Ben and Duncan back to school at least a little - the rates are slowly dropping and we might hit the magic threshold soon.  I'm not sure if Emma will go in person, especially as she just has one class next term.  I think it would be good for the younger kids to attend, for both their mental health as well as academics.


Duncan's hanging in there.  I think he might get out of quarantine today, where he's been mostly stuck with his roommates.  Fortunately he really likes them, though I think he's still having a rough time.  So many kids there have covid at the moment that they're not able to do a lot of the normal things very well.


Joanna headed off to McKenzie Bridge for a couple days, leaving Ben and I to hold down the fort.  I got a little excited looking up all the cool maps of the farm today.  The slope map gave clues to where streams were and what places were relatively flat.  I may end up taking Emma and Ben to survey things even more carefully - doing some tree identification and soil samples.  It's science if we take notes and write down numbers.




Chicken Attack!

January 31, 2021 by Adam in Family

Our neighbors have free-range chickens.  I'm not sure it's entirely legal, but they wander around, pecking at yards, and today decided to cross the street and hang out in our yard a little.  Data thought it was the coolest thing ever and watched intently out the front window.


We talked to Duncan yesterday after a couple hours of parent meetings and the like.  He sound okay, though okay has a fair range from really bad to getting by.  Most of the kids there have tested positive for covid at this point.  Because he's been in quarantine after his roommate tested positive, he seems to have missed it so far.  There's been a little too much drama over the last couple weeks and I'm hoping he's developing some resilience, though this wouldn't have been my preferred way to do it.


Today had a lot of helping Ben and Emma with math, as well as hauling buckets of soil up to the balcony by rope.  The giant troughs are slowly filling up for Joanna to use.  We have a lot of yard projects going on in preparation for spring.


Tomorrow work begins again.  I've got to tweak our notification system to do more complicated things.  I keep pondering the best option at weird hours of the night.




Quiet Week

January 29, 2021 by Adam in Family

It's been a relatively quiet week, at least as quiet as it gets these days.  Ben was making a science video about plate tectonics and used Joanna and I as props.  Work's moving along nicely towards a release.  Emma finished her mittens and has moved on to a hat, having learned enough about knitting to improvise a design.  Joanna's been enjoying her new Switch in between gardening projects - the troughs are on the balcony waiting for more soil.


My life is pretty routine. I wake up and make coffee and tea while listening to NPR, have some oatmeal and read the paper, then deliver morning beverages and head to the backyard to work.  At lunch I run and watch a show.  Then it's helping with dinner, usually assisting with Ben math, and sneaking in some video games before settling in to watch a show or two before bed.


There's enough novelty sprinkled in there to keep us on our toes.  Data terrorizes and amuses us with his hijinx.  We're usually celebrating some holiday, birthday, or half birthday most weeks.  Wednesday has become the de facto date night with takeout and puzzles.  It's a pretty good life.



Tromping Around In the Woods

January 25, 2021 by Adam in Family

Saturday was my running-around-everywhere day.  I picked up library books, got a COVID test, picked up groceries, helped move some garden project stuff around, and later that afternoon went out to the farm to help Joanna clear brush.  The COVID test was due to a mild cough and headache - I'll find out Tuesday, though I suspect it's just a cold.  The farm is coming along nicely and Joanna continues to get more equipment to get things ready.  I was a little worried when she started looking at portable sawmills, which are apparently a thing.


Ben enjoyed chopping things with an axe.  Emma liked looking at mushrooms. I took them down to the hay barn to explore the garbage in there.  Apparently there's a magazine from the 80's slowly decomposing.  I bet that place could be cleaned out and turned into a cool and useful structure.


Sunday was more low-key.  Since Joanna had a birthday on Friday, we all got to play with her main gift, which was a Nintendo Switch.  Everyone played a little Animal Crossing before the end of the weekend.



Cyberpunk 2077 Endings

January 25, 2021 by Adam in Adam's Games

I finished Cyberpunk 2077, which was high on my list of games I was looking forward to.  It was a good game that didn't quite live up to the hype.  I loved the world and some of the storylines, which felt very much like my vision of cyberpunk in the 80's.  The endings weren't quite as satisfying as I'd like, but they wrapped things up nicely and I can appreciate bittersweet finales.




Birthday Mocha Friday

January 22, 2021 by Adam in Family

It's Joanna's birthday today.  Ben's making a cake.  We're getting Thai for takeout this evening.  I've got presents squirreled away and ready to go.


For whatever reason, it feels like things are actually okay at the moment.  While not all the kids are okay, things continue to improve.  Joanna is having a great time planning a little cabin in the woods, working with builders, clearing brush, and tromping around the property.  We've also got some home gardening projects, with garden beds to build and troughs to put on the balcony.  We're all looking forward to spring.



Quiet Weekend

January 19, 2021 by Adam in Family

It was a quiet three-day weekend.  Joanna left for a getaway Saturday after some zoom parent support groups through the place Duncan is staying.  Emma, Ben, and I settled in for a couple days of eating goodies, watching shows, playing video and board games, and occasionally catching up on homework.  The most exciting thing we did was take Data outside to explore our backyard.  Later he knocked over a bunch of plants to get a better view of the squirrel feeder, so I'm not sure it improved his demeanor at all.


Joanna came back for dinner with plans for a little writer's cabin in the woods.  There are decisions to make and things to coordinate, so I think it'll be awhile yet.


Back to work for me.  I suspect bug fixes and table sorting await me.




Sea Shanty Mocha Friday

January 15, 2021 by Adam in Family

I'm greatly heartened that sea shanties are back in style, with the Wellerman going viral on TikTok.  These are the things that are keeping me going through the rainy days of winter.  I've been spending my days writing code and moving data around, while the evenings are spent helping Ben with homework, doing chores, and watching shows.  Ben's been on a dessert-making spree, treating us yesterday with a tasty chocolate dish and later custard pie.  Plus he made dinner and caught up with math, all of which are appreciated.


We've got a three day weekend coming up.  Joanna's spending a couple nights in a cabin by herself to get away for a little.  I'll be wrangling Ben and Emma, probably through video games, movies, and generally hanging out.  Should be fun.



Sadness

January 12, 2021 by Seraph in Cortez

Our bunny Luna died this morning. We could tell she was sick when we got up this morning, but it progressed quickly. It's been tough for all of us. Even the dogs were uneasy all day. Isa and I filled a box with cedar, and Robbie and I burried her under an apple tree on the farm. 



Garden Beds

January 12, 2021 by Adam in Adam's Projects

Last weekend, Joanna put in a bunch of work getting the garden beds in.  We hauled dirt, spread sand from the old sandbox, and generally got things ready for planting again.  It was satisfying, one of those small victories in an otherwise hard year.  The beds have a gap of a foot or so of air between the beds and the ground, hopefully preventing roots from getting in and choking out the vegetables.  Here's hoping for the best.




RetroPie

January 08, 2021 by Adam in Adam's Projects

I asked for a Raspberry Pi for Christmas, which is a low-cost tiny computer that runs Linux and is used for all sorts of interesting projects, from weather stations to garden watering systems.  One thing people do with it is run old video games using emulators, and there's a well-known community to support it.  After mulling over options, I also bought a lift-top coffee table.  It took the duration of Monty Python's Holy Grail to assemble the thing, but it worked pretty well and nicely fit the old monitor and speakers I had laying around.


Yesterday I finally drilled holes for cables and finished putting it together.  Ben was my beta tester, playing old Atari games and a little Sonic before we had to stop and make dinner.





Back to Work

January 06, 2021 by Adam in Family

The kids went back to school yesterday and I had the day off.  I responsibly spent much of it doing practical things like taking down the Christmas ornaments and moving dirt into garden beds.  I still managed some video game time, playing through Cyberpunk 2077 and enjoying myself.  Ben made cream puffs, much to our enjoyment.  Data alternated mischeviously eating things he wasn't supposed to and sleeping in cute positions.  I'm a little envious.




New Year

January 04, 2021 by Adam in Family

After working for a couple days, my second big vacation of the season kicked off again.  For New Year's Eve we did our usual watching of Japanese boy bands and commercials, along with drinking virgin Piña Coladas.  Since then we've mostly been hanging out, occasionally accomplishing something useful.  Joanna continues putting in the new garden beds, with occasional help from myself and the neighbors.  Otherwise it's been lots of watching Star Trek DS9, video games, and the like.  Other than the final touches, I put together a video game coffee table for playing old video games.  Ben and Emma did a bit of homework.  Joanna survived another Costco run.


So far, 2021 is doing okay.



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