I guess this is the new normal now? It was two years ago last month that Washington wildfires had their smoke smogging up Seattle so badly that it looked like Los Angeles, and I really could not remember Seattle ever looking so bad in all the 17 years (up to that point) I had lived in Seattle. And then, just last month, wildfire smoke drifting down from British Columbia created the same effect. Not content with this happening only once this year, Central Washington wildfires have stepped up again.
I rather love that picture I posted yesterday, in a bittersweet way. I was hardly the only person posting pictures of the sun as it appeared through the smoke yesterday. I thought I was pointedly going to avoid doing it myself just because so many others were. I decided I would, however, get another skyline photo of the smoke, and I liked the angle from Pine Street while I cycled home, just east of the bridge at Boren Avenue. The sun happened to be perfectly positioned for inclusion in the photo. I had no idea it would turn out so perfectly -- the sun picked up shining through the smoke in a specific way by my iPhone camera that made it look like a flaming meteorite headed toward the city.
That building under construction is the Hyatt Regency Hotel, on its way to 45 floors and 500 feet in height, will be the largest hotel in the Pacific Northwest once finished. According to the Seattle Times, the largest hotel north of San Francisco is currently the Seattle Sheraton -- which itself only laid that claim once its second tower (25 floors, 265 ft) was added in 2007. Prior to that, its original tower stood alone at 34 floors and 372 ft since 1982, Seattle's largest hotel was The Westin, which added its second tower (449 ft, 47 floors) that same year -- 1982. Its first tower had stood at 397 ft and 40 floors since 1969.
The Hyatt Regency Hotel is on the former site of the Greyhound Bus station, which relocated to its current spot near the SoDo Light Rail Station in 2014. I learned of the Greyhound station's exact location the hard way when I inadvertently had Ivan get off a bus at Pioneer Square Station while accompanying him to the Greyhound station after he visited shortly after moving out in January 2015. Anyway, this location for the Hyatt Regency doesn't seem all that prime, being just a few blocks west of I-5 from Capitol Hill and three quarters of a mile from the waterfront. It is, on the other hand, two blocks from the Washington State Convention Center, and will soon enough be only one block from the Convention Center expansion, which is intended to be built directly above the north entrance to the downtown Metro tunnel, which is currently open-air and which you can look down into while walking past it down Pine Street. That building itself will rise 11 floors and 200 ft.
It'll be so exciting to have all this new space in which to attract businesses and conventions, while the world is literally on fire! I just looked out the windows from my desk while writing this. It looks even worse now than it did yesterday. Usually it's a beautiful view of Puget Sound. Right now I can barely see West Seattle two miles across the bay through a thick haze of disgusting smoke. Blech.
At least it might rain over the next few days. I sure hope it does. Temperatures ten degrees above normal in September is not my jam.
. . . You know what? I'm starting to think it may be time to stop being blasé about my lack of a disaster kit, and actually become more prepared. I mean, I guess I could sort of rationalize: climate change exacerbates natural disasters involving both water and fire (current air quality notwithstanding) that are not likely to affect Seattle the way Houston is currently being affected. Seattle's greatest threat is from a huge earthquake, the chances of which remain unchanged regardless of climate. That, on the other hand, does nothing to change how smart it would be for me to be better prepared. I should at the very least get several gallons of water and, perhaps, store them in the storage locker down in the garage. I really have no space for them anywhere in the condo.
Shobhit had an unusual work shift yesterday, which ended mid-evening, at 8:00, and so he was home around 8:30.
In the meantime, after cycling home, I made myself pizza bagels for dinner, and watched the Netflix original comedy special by Marc Maron as I ate. I watched an episode of HBO's Insecure after that, and then did a little bit of reading. I prepared a Tandoor Chef naan pizza for Shobhit with some added ingredients I chopped up while chopping toppings for my own dinner. I timed it perfectly, too: literally out of the oven within seconds of him coming in the door. But, he wanted to take a shower first. He'd had a second shift right before that afternoon / early evening one and had been working for twelve hours.
He ate his pizza and we did the New York Times crossword puzzle. Ivan hung out in the living room with us while we did that, after being in his room for much of the time before Shobhit got home. I had thought perhaps Ivan and I would watch a movie or something but he came out of his room too late for that. And once Shobhit was back on his news shows on his laptop, which I could not deal with while trying to read my book, both Ivan and I retreated to our respective bedrooms in short order after that.
Tonight is the one night this week that both Shobhit and I are home all evening, since Shobhit picked up two extra shifts both last night and tomorrow night. It's also the second of two days off during the week that Ivan has but I have no idea what he'll be doing. I should be receiving my next two Netflix DVDs in the mail today so maybe we'll watch one of those.
I found out today that Harvey will be a new broker contact for me here at work. Harvey being the guy who helped Elin train me when I was hired in 2002, who I think is safe to say was beloved by many in the office -- and especially in the Merchandising Department -- and who moved on to another job in 2004. In the meantime, he's divorced, remarried, had a kid -- even had a nearly fatal cycling accident colliding with a car, and showed up to his own wedding totally bruised and beaten up. All of that stuff is years-old news now, but from after he left PCC. He sat in the cubicle next to mine during the two years we worked together.
I guess now, 13 years later, we come sort of full circle. I expect to have regular contact with him again soon. It's funny how life can bring surprising turns, often rather pleasant ones. This makes me think of Ivan, actually -- when he moved out after living with me for eight months from the end of April 2014 to the beginning of January 2015, and he moved to Olympia to attend Evergreen State College, I accepted it as fact that not only would he never live with me again (that never even crossed my mind as a possibility), but he would never even live in Seattle again. And, here we are. He moved back in at the end of November last year and has already lived with us more than a month longer than he did the first time. His intent is to move out in the fall of next year, which means we expect to live with him for another year at least. But, obviously, you never know when and how things might change.
I mean, consider Shobhit himself -- when we first got together, I certainly had no expectation of it turning, six years later, into a six-and-a-half-year long distance relationship, and that we would finally get married in the middle of that. And regardless of what troubles we still regularly have, I really feel like our relationship is by a huge margin healthier now than it ever was in those first six years before he moved to New York. I will likely always feel that living apart for several years was actually good for us. I never in a million years would have thought that even possible when we first got together.