THANKSGIVING

I work on a team that has many of my co-workers located in mostly two main locations: Vancouver and Los Angeles. The LA folks are out this Thursday and Friday for their version of Thanksgiving, leaving us Vancouver folk to close out the week by ourselves.

In particular, most of the people I work with on the team are America-based, so I’m going to be mostly working by myself for the rest of the week. I welcome the quiet end to the week. There will be no meetings, emails, random Slack messages to derail my work. I can just power through the things I need to get done before everyone comes back on Monday.

It can be a bit weird when parts of your team take different holidays than you. The reverse happened in October when I was out for Thanksgiving and the LA people had a regular working day.

I’m looking forward to some peace and quiet tomorrow!

LIKE NEW

I am quite happy with my new floors. It certainly wasn’t cheap to have this all done and I’m aware that I could have spent less money if I had shopped around a bit. I didn’t want to take the risk of going with less a reputable flooring company however. The company I went with was voted the best for floors in my local area, for what that’s worth.

It feels like I’m living in a new apartment. I probably should have replaced my floors a few years ago. The only benefit of waiting this long was that flooring technology evolved from laminate flooring to more robust and fancier versions of vinyl plank.

Now that I have new floors, I’m looking at which robot vacuum I want to buy. Bare floors work really well with robot cleaners. I am excited to get one!

NEW FLOORS

I had to wake up at 7am to be prepared for the flooring contractors to arrive at 8am this morning. That’s nearly three hours earlier than my usual wake-up time, so suffice to say that I am tired is an understatement.

Nevertheless, I have new floors now. They look great but I need to go to sleep.

SKYTRAIN

If you can see the image above, it shows you the last time I used public transit before the pandemic started. It was a Wednesday and I tapped my transit card at 6:20pm as I left Skytrain station close to where I live. I was coming home from work. I would not commute to work for the rest of the week because, my manager made it optional for my team to come into the studio. Then on Thursday, a company-wide directive instructed everyone to not come into work until further notice. I have not returned to the studio since.

Because I began working from home, I didn’t need to use public transit five days a week. Because of the pandemic and because I wanted to err on the side of caution, I stopped using public transit all together. Whether it’s buses or train cars, when it’s busy, you are packed in tight with people and frequently ventilation is poor, especially on buses. It just didn’t seem smart to subject myself to such conditions when I didn’t need to.

I started driving more and last August, I bought a much newer car that was more reliable and more safe. Sometimes the car is more convenient but other times taking the train is the better choice. It can be faster and you don’t have to worry about parking.

On Friday, I had to get downtown by 6:00pm to attend a dinner. I worked almost to 5:30pm. If I wanted to drive, I would have to contend with people driving into the downtown core for a Canucks hockey game and also Lions football game. Then there is the question of parking. Friday night is busy most of the time but it would be extra busy that night.

I made the decision to take the train into the downtown core. I had been thinking about taking public transit again on and off for a few weeks now. Since the pandemic started, I am now fully vaccinated and the vaccination rates for the Vancouver proper area is quite high. Masks are also required at all times on trains and buses. There has also been no evidence of mass infection events linked to a single trip on the train. It seemed to me that while the risk was non-zero, it was probably low.

I dug out my transit card which took me a minute. I had to go online to see if I had any money on it. In the past, I purchased monthly passes but there was no need to do that with work from home. Luckily, I still had $16 left on the card. That would be enough to take me downtown and back.

I got dressed and I made my way to the train platforms. I had not been this close to the platform is almost two years. It felt familiar and comfortable but odd at the same time. As I approached the gates, I tapped my card. The gate said, “Card Updated” after I tapped.

I walked on through and there I was on the familiar train platform. Again, it was as if nothing had changed but then again, so much had changed. In the time since I was last here they replaced old 1980s LED signage that announced when a train was arriving. In its place was full-colour, high resolution signage, that could display more lines of text and thus more information.

Since it was rush hour, there were many trains in service, so a train was pulling in as I entered the platform. I was also going west, as most people were going east, increasing my chances of having a fairly empty train car. I went to the last car at the end, which is usually less crowded. I was rewarded with a seat near the end of the car, with no one around me.

As I sat down, it felt like putting on an old glove. It felt alright. I did the actual math and it was 1 year, 8 months, and 8 days between public transit trips for me. The ride downtown was uneventful and almost mundane. It reminded me of why I loved taking the train before the pandemic. It was fast, convenient, less stressful than driving, and allowed my mind to just wander.

I don’t think I’ll start taking public transit everywhere again but if I’m going downtown again, it will definitely be a consideration.

LAST PACKING

As my work day wraps up tomorrow, I’ll be able to pack up my desktop computer, monitors, and peripherals. I took Monday and Tuesday off so I’ll have time to deal with my flooring installation.

I’m gonna put some stuff in my car on Sunday night because I can’t think of anywhere else I can put it. Maybe a blanket, some pillows, and a few other miscellaneous things.

I’m excited to get new floors but I know I’ll have to endure some inconvenience for a few days before it’ll be all done.

FURNITURE UPDATE

I no longer have a couch nor a coffee table anymore. It got hauled away this afternoon. With my impending flooring installation coming up, it made me think about how much easier it would be to install the floors without my couch or my coffee table. These two items took up the most area in my living room. I also have had these two items for about ten years. With new floors, I thought it was a good time to also get new furniture.

There is now much more room for the flooring installers to work with, so that should go smoother. The interesting thing is, I haven’t chosen any replacement furniture yet. I did go look at some couches and coffee tables last weekend but nothing stuck out to me as the perfect couch or coffee table. One was the perfect size but the armrests had no padding, so you could feel the wood underneath and it was very uncomfortable. Another felt great but was much longer than my old couch and would probably be way too big for my living room.

The search will continue and I hope I won’t be couchless for too long.

MAINTENANCE

My Internet provider is supposed to be doing maintenance for six hours tonight and during this time I won’t have access to the Internet. The network is supposed to be down already but so far it’s still working so I’m trying to hammer out this post before it finally goes.

I’m a little annoyed it’s a six-hour maintenance window but I guess it’s better than having it during the day. I feel for anyone who works from home during the night.

MAKING MONEY

The Vancouver Canucks are currently a very bad hockey team. It may be more fair to say they’ve been a bad hockey team for a better part of a decade now. They are especially bad now however.

They recently went on a three-game road trip and lost all three games, two of which they surrendered seven goals. I thought about betting against them on the second game but I held back. I shouldn’t have done that. Instead, I bet on the third and last game, which they lost by a score of 5-1.

As bad as the Canucks are, there is surprisingly an even worse team in the league right now, the Phoenix Coyotes. They play tomorrow and I am very tempted to bet on that game as well.

In this economy and inflation levels, we all gotta dig deep to make some extra scratch.

ONE WEEK

In one week the installation of my floor begins. I’m still not exactly sure what to expect since I haven’t been given any instructions but I know it would be wise to clean and pack up my belongings before the installers arrive.

I’ve procured several boxes and moved most things that are loose into them as much as possible. When I mean loose, I mean things that are just laying around on a shelf, on a coffee table, or things like that. Since they will need access to every inch of my living room and bedroom, they will need to move my furniture around. Things like bookcases and shelves will need to free of items before they can moved.

It feels almost like moving homes since I have a bunch of boxes in my apartment, packed with my belongings. Some items will need to be unpacked until at least Friday, like my computer since I need to do work until the end of the week.

Once next Monday comes around, I’m gonna try to put as much stuff in my kitchen, on my countertop, and in my bathroom (including in my bathtub).