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.

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