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.

Easter 2021

April 4, 2021 2:36 pm

I spent just about all day Saturday trying to get the exterior of the house spruced up and looking decent. Mowed the lawn, washed off the dirt and cobwebs, cleaned the back yard, edged the grass, pulled weeds, etc. It looked pretty nice for the five minutes before the wind blew more leaves off the neighbors tree all over the backyard. This tree loses leaves all year long, so it never stays cleaned up.

The wisteria's blooming landed just about perfectly on this weekend. It blooms before it leaves, which makes it look a bit weird, but you get to see more of the blossoms since they're not blocked by any other growth.

The Easter Bunny visited the house mid-morning while the girls were watching TV. Corinne had been planning for at least a week that we would all sit together and read Humbug Rabbit on Easter morning. So we did that and then the girls realized there were eggs outside and the game was afoot.

And a mere 15 minutes later the eggs had been collected.

Now I'm making a triple-batch of rolls to have with dinner. Jess was working on deviled eggs, but became annoyed that the guaranteed-to-work Instant Pot recipe for hard-boiled eggs failed to live up to its guarantee. And everyone has had too much candy already.

COVID-19: Part 53

January 20, 2021 7:52 pm
  • Quarantine Day 310
  • Livermore cases: 3,524
  • Alameda County cases: 66,219; deaths: 766
  • U.S. cases: 24,135,000+; deaths: 400,000+

Inauguration Day. I am pleasantly surprised to say that we got through the day without any violence. I did not expect that was likely to happen. Also, apparently many of the disconnected-from-reality conspiracy theorists are starting to wonder if their delusions are actually real since Trump slunk away this morning (the coward didn't even attend the inauguration) and Biden was actually sworn in as president (they had been convincing themselves the inauguration was an elaborate set up by Trump to seize power [why they thought _that_ would be a good idea, I don't know]).

But here's Trump's legacy: Over 400,000 Americans dead from a preventable disease because he failed to act and intentionally did the opposite of the best available medical advice. Impeached twice. Incited an insurrection and attack on the legislative branch of the federal government. No doubt a strong contender for the title of "worst president in U.S. history."

But he's gone, for the moment, and we can at least get back to a time when government is boring again.

--

The first weekend of the year we went on a hike at Brushy Peak Regional Preserve. The clouds were still hanging low over the hills which made it kind of fun (especially more fun than being in the sun).

We stopped for a rest at the top of a hill. Corinne came prepared with a book and asked me to read some while she rested. So here I am reading to Heather and Corinne.

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I went for a bike ride on the 16th and rode along part of the arroyo. I took my camera and spent some time practicing "seeing" and I managed to capture this feather floating on the water which I rather like. There were two feathers floating around--spinning and swirling across the water in the wind. So I just kept snapping pictures as they went. This one came out best.

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On the 17th we went on another family hike. This time we went up to Morgan Territory (regional preserve) which we've never been to before. There was one section of our short hike that I really liked. Trees and rocks and moss! It felt almost a little like New England. If there's more like it up there I'll probably want to go there more often, but the drive is pretty bad. 10 miles or so of one-lane road winding up into the hills. Pretty dicey passing at times if there are two wide vehicles.

Mount Diablo framed by trees in Morgan Territory

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Our friends, and former social bubble buddies, have had confirmed COVID-19 for the last week or so. We haven't seen them since the beginning of December when the health orders were tightened up and social gatherings were banned. They seem to be doing okay, so that's good.

Other than that, not much happening. We pretty much don't go anywhere, and we pretty much don't do anything. Our county is still on "purple" tier and the region is still on "lockdown" orders due to low available ICU capacity.

A Stain Upon our Democracy

January 6, 2021 4:42 pm

Today will forever be seen as stain upon our democracy.

After two months of refusing to admit his complete and utter defeat in the election and multiple attempts to overturn the results without any basis, supporters of President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol building today, broke into the Senate chambers, and were held out of the House chambers by a makeshift barricade and armed guards with weapons leveled at the attackers. One person was shot and killed, but the circumstances of the death have not been released. The photos and videos, like this one, from inside the capitol building will be burned into our countries minds for a generation.

Police with guns drawn watch as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) - obtained from NPR website.

Unfortunately, instead of a tragic failure of our nation's ability to accept disagreement, many will likely see these images as a rallying cry to escalate further--to claim that these attackers are heroes rather than traitors.

I worked from my closet this morning (as usual) and then came out to the kitchen to exercise and then make lunch. I put a pan on the stove to make a grilled-cheese sandwich and then opened my tablet to check Reddit to see that the topmost was a rapidly evolving thread about these terrorists having invaded the Capitol building after breaking past barricades and then breaking inside while skirmishing with the Capitol Police. It was unreal.

Both chambers were in session at the time certifying the results of the election. Many politicians evacuated to safe locations. People trapped inside the House chambers were issued gas masks and told to hide behind any available cover while the guards barricaded the door.

NPR, accurately, referred to them as "insurrectionists" in their coverage: "The insurrectionists interrupted proceedings in the House and Senate, as members of Congress were tallying President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory." - https://www.npr.org/sections/congress-electoral-college-tally-live-updates/2021/01/06/954028436/u-s-capitol-locked-down-amid-escalating-far-right-protests

At least one suspected explosive device was discovered within the Capitol building. (That was apparently a false report amidst the confusion of the day.) Another at the Republican National Committee headquarters. And another at the Democratic National Comittee headquarters.

Throughout all this Georgia's special runoff elections were both called in favor of the Democrats ending the Republican's control of the Senate over the last 6 years. Both races were incredibly close and this will almost certainly be used to add even more fuel to the inferno of a dumpster fire that is raging within the Republican party right now.

Trump repeated just this week the insane claims that he didn't actually lose because the election was stolen from him, despite all available evidence after two months of turning over every possible stone. He continues to fan the flames and feed conspiracy theories and his followers are no longer part of reality. I am incredibly concerned for what may happen on Inauguration Day when Trump's position of power evaporates and Biden is sworn in as president. Many of these insurrectionists are already nose-deep in delusions of grandeur that they're true patriots defending democracy (by attempting to overturn democratic elections). Assuredly some of them will engage in campaigns of violence to try and get their way.

--

Watching the Senate reconvene tonight to finish certifying the election results. McConnell called the attackers "insurrectionists" in his remarks. Schumer called out Trump for enflaming the situation and encouraging the insurrectionists to gather in DC and demand the election be overturned.

Twitter locked Trump's account for 12 hours for inciting violence.

VP Pence was the one to authorize deployment of the National Guard more than two hours into the invasion.

--

I missed earlier that shortly before the insurrection, Trump addressed a rally down the road and told his followers to go to the Capitol and stop them from stealing the election from him. He is proximately responsible for this and not just generally responsible.