2.052 volunteer flap

Saturday 01/23/2021

In the morning I went for a moderate walk, circling back past the farmers’ market to pick up a nummy pastry. Shortly after I got back I had email from Marcia and Kim the HR. It seems that on Thursday, one of the meal delivery persons had somehow had an injury. Could we come talk to Kim about scheduling a safety class?

In the meeting it developed that whatever the injury was — Kim couldn’t say who or what — it wasn’t hugely serious as it wasn’t reported until Friday. But then, as usual in a care facility where any injury of a resident is a Big Deal With Reports Filed, Rhonda was involved. It somehow involved the tall aluminum wheeled carts that volunteers use to roll a load of 20-30 trays to a floor for distribution.

Facilities had been involved. They had straightened some of the horizontal rails that were bent and had tsk-tsk’d over the condition of all the casters, which are pretty wobbly. Casters have been ordered and will be replaced. In the meantime, Kim has arranged for Matt of Sodexo to give a short safety talk to the volunteers, but due to Covid, we can’t gather them all at once.

Marcia had made a mailing list of all the people who had volunteered for meal delivery, with 39 names. So 40 people. Kim opined we could gather 10 at a time, so four sessions, can you guys assign them to sessions and let them know? Sure, said Marcia, Dave you can make one of those signup sheets you do?

So by mid-morning I had made a sign-up sheet so up to ten people could sign up for each of four sessions, and composed a cheerful email to our volunteers about the what and why, and sent it out to the list of names Marcia forwarded to me. Also promised to video the presentation.

Later Marcia found out the who and the what. The woman had been wrestling with a tray that got stuck on those bent aluminum rails, and somehow the tray had smacked her across the knuckles, causing tendon pain that she didn’t notice until Friday but had to see a doctor about. It’s fortunate it was no more than that. Rhonda knows how much the meal delivery program means to the people who do it, and a worse injury might have forced her to cancel it and return the job to staff.

The rest of the day was pretty quiet. I read, fiddled with my airbrush, and took a second walk.

2.051 paint, meeting, SWBB

Friday 02/22/2021

Went for the usual walk in the morning. Mid-morning I had an email saying the clear paint I had ordered had been delivered, so I went down and picked up the box from the foyer. Now maybe I could proceed with doing clear-coat using my airbrush. I moved the airbrush setup from the porch to the bathroom. I couldn’t do that with the spray cans, as the odor was too powerful. Airbrush paints are water-based acrylics.

I prepared a piece of plastic primed with a gray primer. When it had dried, I mixed up the new clear paint with just a bit of acrylic thinner to get the texture right and tried spraying it, and was shocked at what happened in the areas where it was thick.

The paint pulled back as if the primer was waxed, piled up in globs. Above and below the globby area you can see how the first couple of passes laid down ok; it is where on a third pass it got wet. Well, I would expect a wet coat to, at worst, run. Their website says put it on in “light, wet coats”. Ignoring the contradiction of “light” versus “wet”, you can’t work with something that at some critical point, is going to start crawling around like an amoeba. I’ll never let that near anything I care about. Later I realized I had a little drib of gloss clear acrylic from another company, and tried that. It was OK, at least it went down on the same primer and stayed put.

Rhonda’s 4pm weekly zoom meeting had 142 participants at the peak, but no real news. Well, 92% of residents, and 65% of staff, have been vaccinated. She reported that she attended a webinar with a number of other care homes nationwide, and the report there was 35-45% staff vaccinations, so our 65% was pretty good. But don’t expect any relaxation of restrictions soon. Nothing will be relaxed until we get “guidance” from health departments. (So the people who have been predicting we’d be back in the dining room for meals in March are likely wrong.)

At 7pm was a SWBB game. They had lost to Colorado last week, and now faced UCLA as #5 vs. #6. UCLA played them even for the first half, took a small lead at the half. In the third quarter the Bruins pulled ahead by 11 and things didn’t look good. Stanford came back to tie at 63-63 with 3 minutes left, and tied at 66-66 with a minute and a half left. But UCLA played smart, got a 2 point lead in the final seconds, Stanford had to foul and UCLA made their free throws. Loss, 66-70.

2.050 doctor, book, BP

Thursday 01/21/2021 note: 21st day, of the 21st year, of the 21st Century.

Dropped out of the aerobics class when it hadn’t started five minutes late. Kind of crochety reaction, I wish I’d waited a few minutes longer.

Anyway at 10:15 I set out to walk to my appointment with Dr. Dibiase (dee bee ah say) at PAMF. Which of course only took about 15 minutes so I was half an hour early. Anyway we talked about medications and how my BP wasn’t as low as it should be. She made a change, and also ordered some labs. I’m to see her by video next time, in a month.

After lunch I put in the request for the video appointment (later granted, although not in the time interval I requested, but a week later), and made a firm appointment for the lab work. I have to be fasting, and will drive to Sunnyvale for that on Monday morning.

Oh, and the Palo Alto Dental office called to offer a hygiene appointment. I had thought from their site that they weren’t doing hygiene until June, but apparently not so. Anyway, got that scheduled.

With nothing to do, I decided to haul out the novel again. See if I can make the opening more grabby. Or I might possibly just self-publish it this time. Spent an hour going over the file of notes and back-story, and tidying up the folders where all the related stuff has accumulated.

At the doctor’s office I studied some posters about taking your own BP, and asked her about it, and found out I’ve been doing it wrong. I have been doing it sitting on my bed, with the test arm relaxed on my lap. Turns out it makes a difference, you are supposed to have the arm elevated on a table. (But the nurse doesn’t actually do that when she takes your vitals at the office.) Also, the first one in the morning? Immediately on arising. Get up, urinate, take BP. I’d been waiting until after I’d been up an hour and took my shower and all. Also wait 30 minutes after eating — I’d been taking it right after lunch and supper.

So I start a new regime of taking BP, with arm supported on the kitchen table, after arising and 30 minutes after meals. The first two I did that way are significantly lower than I was getting. Maybe I will hold up the meds tweak she suggested, until I have a few days of data.

2.049 inauguration, deskwork, meals

Wednesday 01/20/2021

In the morning, instead of going for my walk first thing, I stayed in my seat and supervised the presidential inauguration. I was really worried that Trump wouldn’t go — but he did, quietly — or that something ugly would happen during the ceremony — but nothing did. So after all the drama, just government as usual after all.

At 10 I could relax and go for my walk. After lunch I did some desk work. Yesterday I received my printed tax workbook from the tax accountant. So I opened that, and also logged in to their site. Prior years we have filled in the workbook electronically, on the accountant’s site, as well as uploading all the 1099s and other docs through their system. No mention of that in the package that came by mail, so I wrote an email to Katie, the person I’ve dealt with the last couple of years, asking about that. I have never met Katie except through email. So I was pleased to see that she was “employee of the quarter” or such and had her picture on the site. She’s a cute 30-something blonde, which is nice to know.

Another thing was to reply to a note from Chris Johnson, who had cut my and Marian’s hair since the late 1970s. (Yes, really, we started with her while our IBM group was located on Sand Hill Road. Scott would know what year that was; I’m just going to guess 1978.) I got a postcard from her yesterday announcing her retirement. She lives in Grass Valley, and for the last several years has driven down to a shop in Ladera Center to practice 2 or 3 days a week. Marian really liked Chris, loved to trade stories and recipes with her. Marian and I went to her for haircuts a month or so before Marian died. I went to her alone throughout 2019 and maybe twice in 2020 before the lockdown. But that will be it; I’ll probably never see her again. I wrote her a nice note, while sniffling and wiping my eyes.

A package arrived today, looking as if somebody had been playing soccer with it.

As I believe I have mentioned my breakfasts are meal replacement shakes. This is a hang-over from 2015-2018 when I played a meal replacement expert online and posted review videos on YT. I’ve been having mostly KetoChow because of their wide selection of flavors. But since about 2016 I have been aware of another small company (except for Soylent, all meal replacement companies are small) based in England, Genesis foods. I’ve exchanged a few emails with the founder, Joe Barrow.

In December, Genesis announced they were now able to ship anywhere in the world. Well, heck, I’m curious; I ordered two sampler packs from them. And that was what was in the rather distressed box. It took 14 days in transit. The contents were in fine shape.

So now I have 24 meals in 12 flavors. Unfortunately earlier in the day I mixed up five breakfast shakes in KetoChow. I only have 5 blender bottles, so I can’t try any of these until at least Friday.

Joe makes a big deal out of the fact that all their packaging is not recyclable but compostable. Degrades in 60 days, they claim. But how does it taste? What’s the texture like? We will see.

2.048 vaccine

Tuesday 01/19/2021

Got my shot. After the cardio class, I sat around sanding the clear coat on the three MG parts that I sprayed with the Tamiya can, reducing the wrinkles and craters. And of course managed to sand through the clear and the color on a couple of edges, so there’ll be touch-up to do.

At 11:15 I was called to go downstairs. Got the shot. Decided not to go late into the writers’ group zoom. After lunch I took a nap, and a moderate walk. Filled out my menu for next week and dropped it off. That was about it for excitement.

I was very impressed by the first real public action by Biden/Harris,

Simple, effective, touching. I wonder who actually planned that? Nice design. Okay, totally meaningless in any practical sense, but the presidency is not always about practicality. Symbols mean something. A serene, quiet, symbolic action is the exact opposite of the preceding administration.

2.047 vaccines

Monday 01/18/2021

Started my usual walk more promptly than usual, at 8am, so as to be sure to be back in good time. At 10am, we who volunteered to help with the vaccine clinic met for orientation. I and my neighbor Steve were given radios and dispatched to the 2nd floor at 11am. Periodically over the next hour a person in the lobby would radio us and say, send down three more. We knocked on people’s doors and sent them down to the lobby to get vaccinated. Reminded them to carry the vaccination card they got with the first dose.

By 12 our parts were done and we handed off the radios to other volunteers to do the fifth floor. I believe the clinic went very smoothly this time, not the drama and delay of the first one.

That was the excitement for the day, I didn’t do much else. Burned through some TV off the DVR. On Masterpiece, Miss Scarlet & the Duke series. Tried it; got bored. Too obvious and melodramatic. Nature, on the Alps. The voice-over was just such heavy, over-dramatic, purple prose I couldn’t stand it. Another delete. Back to Netflix tomorrow.

2.046 HMB, SWBB, paint

Sunday 01/17/2021

In the winter, the plants don’t need much water (big discovery). But my daphne is almost in bloom. Its buds have opened very slowly over a couple of weeks but one is finally showing color.

About 9 I got in the car and on a whim, drove to Half Moon Bay. There I just walked up and down the length of the main street. There are still a lot of shops although only the deli and coffee shops were open at this early hour. I got back home by 11, just in time for the Stanford Women against Colorado. Colorado played like it was their last game on earth, and with 30 seconds to play the game was tied. Then Stanford got a score, so up by 2. There was a turnover and Stanford had the ball, with a lead, and a few seconds on the clock. All they had to do was inbound the ball and run the clock out. Unfortunately for them, a Colorado player anticipated their inbounds pass perfectly, stole the ball, down the court for a layup; tie game; overtime. And in overtime, Stanford lost by two points, 75-77. Their first loss of the season; they are now 11-1.

In the afternoon I experimented with clear-coat spray on pieces of the MG with highly unsatisfactory results. Despite all I can do for cleanliness, tiny craters open up in the finish.

The orange peel is undesirable but could be sanded out, except that the very last thing I want to do, is to to have to sand every tiny piece of this car. The most important pieces have convex and concave curvatures, etc. But those scattered little dimples? They are openings in the coat, and if you sand them out, you’ve basically removed the clearcoat.

I have ordered a different brand of gloss clear acrylic, a liquid meant for use in an air brush. I am giving up on the rattle-can clear by Tamiya, even though reviewers said it was the best.

Yesterday and today I did some writing on an essay for the writers’ group but the way it came out, it isn’t really appropriate for them. Or anyone.

2.045 taxes, paint, mostly tech

Saturday 01/16/2021

Started with a modest walk which wrapped around to the Saturday Farmers’ Market which was actually there, for the first time since before Christmas. So I got a Chocolate Hazelnut swirl, yay.

The red light on my phone was blinking. The message was from my neighbor, Dr. Margaret (as her email address has it) who was having big trouble uploading pictures to Sutter Health. We met in the lounge with her laptop, ipad, and phone. It took a few minutes for me to understand the situation.

She was having some minor skin rashes and she wanted to consult a dermatologist at PAMF prior to our Tuesday Covid shots. The best PAMF can do for her was a televideo consult at 3:45 today. So far so good; but the dermatologist would need some pictures of the rash, please take some and upload those using the following full page of detailed instructions.

Well, she had take 6 pictures with her phone, but hadn’t been able to work her way through maze of the Sutter Health website to upload them. She had moved the pics to her MacBook Pro, but the first problem seemed to be they were in the wrong format. She had mistakenly had the phone set for video so what she had was six, one-second video clips.

OK, I can handle this. I just opened each one in QuickTime Player and did command-shift-4 to take a screen grab of the contents of the Player window. Now I had six .png files. What next? She showed me the very dense wall-of-text instructions from Sutter Health and I quickly noticed that the first instruction was, open our Sutter Health app; but the second instruction was, you must do this on a phone or iPad, you cannot use the Desktop or Laptop version.

I cannot find words sufficient to express my contempt for Sutter Health. But OK, we have usable pics on the laptop. How do I get them to the iPad sitting here? I google syncing photos and find out I can do it over wifi but first you have to connect the iPad to the laptop by USB and tell the iPad it is ok to trust that computer. Do I have a USB cord that will connect an old iPad to a very new MacBook with its goddam thunderbolt ports? I do not.

OK, let’s do it the stupid way: I’ll use Mail on her laptop and send the pics to herself, and open it in Mail on the iPad. Here ensues some comedy. I send the mail twice addressed to drmargaret, and it doesn’t show up. What? Then I send a test message to myself with CC drmargaret, and the CC appears instantly on both machines. I have no idea why, but ok.

On the iPad I figure out how to move the pics from the email into the Photos app. Now then, let’s get this uploaded. I open the Sutter Health app on the iPad and look for what I’m supposed to see, a “Questionnaires” button or tab. There are 16 buttons on the first page, all similar in size and color, and it literally takes me four tries before I spot the one with the little text label “Questionnaires” (and no it is not the button with the “?” icon). OK, the directions say to tap that, and then tap “Add Documents” and then tap “Photos from library”. Should be all downhill now! I tap Questionnaires. The iPad shows a spinner for a few seconds and then says,

Error at server. Please try again later.

And again. And again. Dr. Margaret (who before she retired, was a GP at PAMF for many years) is getting impatient; she calls the dermatology department and is rather scathing to a nice young lady who says their computers are very busy with all these calls about the vaccine. By now it is after 12. I take the iPad back to my room and proceed with some other work, every minute or so tapping the Questionnaires button on the iPad. About 1pm it goes through! I go to Dr. Margaret’s door so she can watch as I tap Add Documents, and Photos and bingo, there are the six photos, I select them, I click upload and whatever else to finish the session, and and give the iPad back to her.

Later, around six, I stop by her door and ask, and yes, she had a very productive telephone consult with the doctor who could see the pictures.

The work I was doing in the middle of the day was starting to collect input to my 2020 tax return. I made up a spreadsheet of charitable contributions. Then I was going to download 1099 forms from Schwab, but when I logged in, they only had a form ready for one account. The other five said “expected by 2/22”. Well then, I guess I’m off the hook for a month, eh?

I also sprayed clear-coat on two small pieces of the MG. One I screwed up, putting it on too heavy and getting a run. The other baffles me; the paint coat is good except a number of little pinholes opened up in it. I had washed these parts in mild soap, rinsed and dried them. So I don’t know what happened. I have to sand them down and try again.

At the right moment in the afternoon I took a picture of that poinsettia again, with the Nikon. Compare to the iPhone picture of yesterday.

In the evening I watched the US Figure Skating Championships, Lady’s Free Skate. Local star Alyssa Liu got bumped down to fourth.

2.044 SWBB, meeting

Friday 01/15/2021

After I did the three-mile walk, I tidied up a bit, carrying my recycles and trash to the dump station on our floor.

At lunch time, 12:30, it was time to watch Stanford take on Utah. Stanford pulled out a lead of a dozen early and pretty well cruised to a win.

Later I took a short second walk, during which I spotted a nice poinsettia(?) with the sun on it.

The iPhone camera was not really up to handling the extremes of brightness in this picture. I may go back with the Nikon tomorrow, if I remember.

At Rhonda’s Friday meeting, there wasn’t much news. There was a lot of discussion about the upcoming second vaccine clinic, what we needed to bring and so on. Rhonda herself and others on the staff had fever and fatigue after their second shot, so they were at pains to warn us all. (On the other hand, Santa Clara County says older people have had lesser reactions.)

Anyway if we have any symptoms we are to report them and isolate. “If you have a fever, it is probably a reaction to the shot, but it might be Covid. So you isolate until (probably) the symptoms resolve in a day” said Rhonda. They are suspending housekeeping for Tuesday-Friday next week, anticipating they will have a number of people isolating with symptoms.

I have signed up to volunteer for the first day. The second, Tuesday, is the day I get my shot.

2.043 tech

Thursday 01/14/2021

Did the morning cardio class. At 11am I met with Eva to continue sorting out her new Macbook Air. I had hoped I would be able to install the driver for her HP printer, but unfortunately I couldn’t do that from the lounge. I would have had to go into her room which is not allowed, virus rules. So she will have to get an IT person from the staff, who can get permission to enter her room.

I helped her sort out most of her problems with Mail. I really don’t like Apple’s Mail app, and use it as little as possible. Unfortunately a lot of people here use it. She has a problem that stumped me until later: she has two email accounts, one at GMail which she prefers, and one at SomeOtherISP I forget which, and the latter is the address that many of her friends know.

Mail presents these accounts as two separate in-boxes. So she has to click on each inbox in turn. Surely there must be a way to have all mail come to one inbox? But I couldn’t find it while sitting with her. Later I found out the only way, is to log into SomeOtherISP (and what are the odds she remembers that password?) and use its web interface to make it forward all mail to her GMail account. Then anything sent to eva@SomeOtherISP.com will still show up in GMail. Maybe someday I will try to get that set up for her.

That was about it. I took two walks during the day. The weather has warmed; it is over 60 on my deck. Which means that I can spray clear-coat on the MG model parts. I think I will do that Saturday when the forecast is for warmer still. I am very nervous about that.