New Floors!

July 5, 2021 11:50 am

After almost 9 years, the task to replace the worn-out carpet in the living room & hallway as well as the peeling-up roll-vinyl in the kitchen finally found itself at the top of our priority list for home improvement projects. We also did the hall bathroom and the laundry room.

After several weeks of research we narrowed down the product line to a Luxury Vinyl Plank product in a faux-wood finish. It looks good, has a nice non-plastic feel to it, and is supposed to be super durable.

In terms of color we would have liked something light, but warm. Apparently warm is not fashionable at the moment and "greige" (grey/beige) is. So we considered a bunch of options looking for something with a grain we liked, a beveling we liked, and a color we could live with. We saw some really nice colors in the showroom only to discover that in our own lighting they looked very different.

We eventually picked a Shaw Floors product which is branded as "Invincible H2O - Charleston Place Plus - Coastal Path" by Carpet One. It's marketed as waterproof and virtually indestructible. It's warrantied against tears, rips, gouges, stains, cracking--pretty much everything for as long as we own it.

But enough of the text, on to the pictures!

Before:

During:
As they began ripping up the carpet in the living room and hallway, we discovered that underneath was old hardwood in a nice honey stain. It was in not terrible shape, but not great either. Out it came so the floor could be leveled properly for the LVP. And $1000 worth of OSB later, the subfloor was ready to go.

I was still working out of my closet and the hall bathroom was torn apart, so we all did a lot of climbing in and out of our bedroom window to get around the house.

After:

The bathroom needs to be finished by having the pedestal to the sink reinstalled and the transitions from LVP to carpet need to be finished, presumably that will get done next week.

A whole lot of stuff got stashed in the garage and our bedroom during the project. And since the house was already torn apart, and it was very apparent how filthy the carpets were, I rented a carpet cleaner on Friday and spent Saturday getting everything nice and clean.

Now we just have to put the whole house back together.

Gilroy Gardens

11:41 am

With at least the adults vaccinated and pretty much everything being outside we decided to take a trip down to Gilroy Gardens. We figured a Thursday (June 24) would probably not be super busy and then it turned out that the high was only ~77F. So it turned out to be an extremely pleasant day. Not too crowded; nice and cool.

We got there right at the open and managed to get on the paddle boats before the line got long:

Then it was over to the cars:

We wandered throughout the entire park, including a few hidden paths we've never seen before. We got the girls to go on the Timber Twister roller coaster which they both vowed never to do again. We ate ice cream and churros and soft pretzels--and ridiculously expensive pizza for lunch.

And back to the cars for one last ride before heading home:

Season passes at Gilroy Gardens are about the cost of 2 trips, so we were considering whether to make it a staple of our summer or not. After having gone through the whole park and seeing that the girls' interest in the attractions is beginning to wane somewhat we decided it would be a one-time trip this year. So instead of getting season passes, the girls got the sparkly narwhals they were goo-gahing over (which were not as ridiculously expensive as we thought they'd be). We don't know how or why, but our family has a thing for narwhals.

COVID-19: Part 59

June 15, 2021 6:25 pm
  • Out-of-Quarantine Day 1
  • Days spent in Quarantine: 455
  • Livermore cases: 4,345
  • Alameda County cases: 85,865; deaths: 1,225*
  • * The number of Alameda County deaths is lower than the previous posts. It seems to have been revised downward, but I have no details about that revision.
  • U.S. cases: 33,303,000+; deaths: 597,000+

The Alameda County Public Health Department is currently reporting that 59.8% of eligible Livermore residents are fully vaccinated and 72.1% are at least partially vaccinated!

The CDC is currently reporting that 51.4% of the eligible U.S. population is fully vaccinated and 61.5% is at least partially vaccinated!

Today California lifts most remaining public-health-related restrictions throughout the state. No more capacity limits or distancing requirements.

Mask requirements are still in effect for all persons in higher-risk locations like healthcare facilities and mass transit. Fully vaccinated persons no longer need to wear masks when indoors (businesses may still enforce their own rules, but may not prohibit wearing masks). Unvaccinated persons are required to continue to wear masks indoors. However, I don't think it likely we'll see much adherence to that since just saying, "I'm vaccinated" is enough to meet the state's enforcement guidelines. Mass gathering events also have some additional restrictions.

Hopefully the rates of vaccination and immunity acquired via prior infection are enough to keep things under control so life can go back to normal.

Normal, for those of us that made it through unscathed. Our family is healthy. Our extended family is healthy. 582,000-720,000 people died in the past 16 months in excess of the expected number of deaths during that time frame (according to the CDC data). The Imperial College London's paper from March 2020 warning that without mitigation measures the U.S. could lose 2.2 million people doesn't seem impossible.

We still have a disturbingly large swath of the country insisting none of this is real. The virus isn't real, but if it is it's just like the flu so it doesn't matter; the vaccine is a secret conspiracy to inject them with microchips; being asked to wear masks is just like the holocaust, the whole thing is a liberal plot to destroy democracy (somehow, there's not logic involved). None of those statements are exaggeration on my part. There are people making those claims on a regular basis. Some guy in Georgia shot and killed a cashier at a grocery store yesterday because he was asked to wear a mask. It's so messed up.

In other news, in contrast to the stock market collapsing back at the beginning, the stock market has been just constantly climbing since March 2020. It's up 79% since then, which is ridiculous.

I'm still working from my closet. The Lab is formulating a plan for returning on site. Last I heard they'll be phasing people in throughout the summer. The blanket telecommuting agreement has been extended through September.

--

I've just been taken some time to read through my early blog posts in this series. Man that's a wild ride. I think I'll get those printed into a little book.

Kyle's Birthday 2021

June 13, 2021 10:52 am

My birthday this year was also the penultimate day of school for the girls and a remote-learning day. I worked from my closet for the morning while the girls got their schoolwork done and took the afternoon off. After lunch we went for a short walk at Sycamore Grove mainly as an excuse to get out of the house. The weather was probably the coolest I've had for a birthday in over a decade with a high of about 65F.

Our Sycamore Grove "hikes" rarely make it further than the hollowed out tree about a half-mile along the trail. But it makes a good stopping point and fun pictures:

After our walk in the park it was time for the girls' art class. Jess dropped them off and I sat on the couch and read a book while the house was quiet.

Once the girls were home from art class I opened presents!

Japanese, wooden, animal knick-knacks
All 3 "Castle Panic" expansions! Ahhhhhh!

With presents opened it was time to figure out dinner. I drove out to the Cheesecake Factory to pick up food--the spicy chicken chipotle pasta is yummy.

And, of course, after dinner was cake!

Bonus picture of Heather with her eyes crossed:


After work on Friday we went to Boomers! and played miniature golf to celebrate my birthday and the end of school.

Yesterday, Saturday, we went over to some friends' house and played a board game. With vaccinations going into effect and infection rates dropping life is starting to go back to normal.

Corinne and I got 2 pandemic birthdays, but it looks like Heather and Jess will only have one. Alameda County moved to the yellow tier this week and California is still planning to lift most remaining state-imposed restrictions this week on the 15th (there will still be some restrictions on mass gatherings). Messaging has been unclear and I'm not sure if Alameda County will retain any restrictions beyond the state's or not.

COVID-19: Part 58

June 1, 2021 8:17 pm
  • Quarantine Day 442
  • Livermore cases: 4,323
  • Alameda County cases: 85,335; deaths: 1,648
  • U.S. cases: 33,093,000+; deaths: 591,000+

Jess got her 2nd-dose of the Pfizer vaccine just over two weeks ago. So she is now considered to be fully vaccinated. Alameda County still has not moved to the yellow tier yet, but that's apparently not going to matter anymore. Despite most of the state still being in the orange tier, California is dropping almost all restrictions on June 15. So I guess that will be the end of our stay-at-home orders which have been in effect for 442 days so far.

According to the CDC's data, California is doing the best in the nation for 7-day case-rate per 100,000 right now--substantially better; so that's really nice to see. California has a rate of 10.2 cases per 100,000 over the past 7 days. The worst states in the country are Colorado (92.3) and Washington (90.2).

We had friends over this past weekend, inside the house to hang out, for the first time since this started.

The Lab is starting to put together a plan to bring people back on site. They're planning to phase people in throughout the summer rather than just saying, "okay, back to work now."

We booked a beach trip in August with the expectation that things will stay under control. The only weekend the hotel we like to visit in Fort Bragg had any availability was the 2nd-to-last weekend before school starts again. Everyone wants to get out and do stuff again, so everything is booked everywhere. That's going to make trying to do anything difficult for awhile.