COVID-19: Part 45

September 26, 2020 11:23 am
  • Quarantine Day 194
  • Livermore cases: 880
  • Alameda County cases: 20,346; deaths: 395
  • U.S. cases: 7,009,000+; deaths: 203,000+

Our air has finally cleared (though plenty of fires still burn throughout the state). We had actually blue skies this week for the first time in what feels like months.

I decided it really need to be fall around here so I bought some fall-themed t-shirts to wear and ordered an 8-foot tall, artificial maple tree and set it up in the living room. It also lights up. I didn't really care about it lighting up, but that's what I found and it actually creates a nice ambiance at night. I can turn the tree lights on and my fake fireplace lights and it makes the living room a bit cozier. Jess ordered some new curtains and hung up her fall, crocheted things garland. So it feels a little more like fall around here and not perpetual March.

We went and got flu shots yesterday. The drive-in clinic took an hour and a half and Heather had a full-fledged freak out when it came time to get her shot, but we made it through.

I've gone to work on site a few more times recently to get some more things done. But I've mostly been continuing to work from my closet.

Two weekends ago (Sunday the 13th) Corinne had a fever after complaining of joint pain the day before. The advice nurse told us to keep treating her symptoms and to call back if she got worse. Her fever continued through Monday, but she seemed to be fine by Tuesday and she's completely fine now. No one else has exhibited any similar symptoms.


My friends group tried to play more Dragon Strike on Thursday but the technology was not cooperating so we couldn't do it.


Since last weekend was Jess' birthday we didn't play the final Dragon Strike adventure, maybe we'll do that tomorrow.

Jess' Birthday 2020

10:47 am

Jess wanted to go to the beach for her birthday. So we packed into the van with our social-bubble buddies and headed out to Half Moon Bay. We pre-ordered some sandwiches from Subway and ate lunch next to the ocean.

The girls had a blast playing in the water and people were generally pretty good about distancing and mask wearing. The parking lot was full, but it didn't feel really crowded. Maybe that's because it was foggy and you couldn't see very far down the length of the beach.

Corinne eventually got cold and fell asleep hunched over on the sand.

Then she decided that on me was the only acceptable place to rest.

Once we'd had our fill of the beach we went to get gelato. This was a tactical mistake. The gelato shop was up the road away from the route home. And the way back was bumper-to-bumper traffic of people trying to head home from the coast.

So a short gelato trip added over an hour of additional drive time to get home (which is only about 1 hour anyway). But we eventually got home at which point it was dinner time. We had to parallelize our remaining celebrations in order to get things done in time for the girls' bedtime. Jess got the girls bathed while I heated up some chicken strips for them to eat. Then Jess blew out candles (all 40 of them!) on the cake I made and opened presents. By that time our dinner order was ready so I went to pick that up while Jess got the girls in bed.

Jess decided that my birthday cake is so good that she should have it for her birthday too. So that's the cake I made--chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, complete with Kyle's special, vanilla-cream filling.

And that's 3 of 4 family birthdays this year celebrated under the ongoing stay-at-home order and it looks like Heather's will be the same.

COVID-19: Part 44

September 9, 2020 8:55 pm
  • Quarantine Day 177
  • Livermore cases: 822
  • Alameda County cases: 19,004; deaths: 297
  • U.S. cases: 6,310,000+; deaths: 189,000+

The fires immediately near Livermore are all out at this point. But many are burning throughout California, Oregon, and Washington. A massive amount of smoke is suspended in the atmosphere over the entire West Coast. Today, our light levels didn't exceed twilight except briefly around 4PM we peaked at ~160 watts/m2 solar irradiance (a normal day at this time of year would be ~775 w/m2). It was incredibly dim and the light was very orange. I tried to get some pictures with my phone, but it didn't capture the color and I was too busy working to spend more time with the real camera.

The air is also full of ash. So much so that you could actually see in the air while standing outside. Also the world had the quiet of a light snowfall when the particles in the air dampen sound. It was all around a very weird day. Here's the ash on my car this morning:

Oddly, the air quality at ground level actually was pretty good. And since the sky was blotted out it was also quite cool. So today we had the windows open for the first time in 2 months.


Over the weekend it was really hot, about 110F on Sat, Sun, and Mon. Megan wanted us to try to fry an egg outside. So I put my baking steel out in the sun and after an hour it was up to 154F. I cracked on egg on it around 3pm and let it "cook" for about 2 hours. It never really cooked so much as dried up enough to hold its shape.


I still haven't finished preparing the final Dragon Strike adventure, so that hasn't occurred yet. I'm getting there, but there's still more to do.


School's been going pretty well. Heather has been doing a great job of being responsible for her class time. She gets logged in for all of her meetings throughout the day without any muss or fuss which has been incredibly helpful. Corinne hasn't been super excited about her class meetings, but luckily the school schedule recognizes that kindergartners will struggle with online classes so her morning meeting is 20 minutes and each day she has a small-group meeting of 35 minutes. She works on individual work throughout the remaining time. So Jess has gotten to step into the role of teacher, especially for Corinne, but for Heather as well.

It's not ideal, but it's working, and it's a better solution than having a bunch of people get ill and either end up in the hospital or die just for the convenience of doing schooling in person.


I don't see how trick-or-treating will be a good idea for Halloween this year. It may be time for the Halloween Witch to join the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. She'll travel the country "trick-or-treating" by leaving a bag of treats for kids who wear costumes and tricks for those who don't. I guess we'll see. Maybe we'll miraculously get the infection rate down and it won't be an issue, but the latest modeling suggests things will only continue to get worse for the length of the modeling window (out to Jan 1st at this point).