Thursday, March 29, 2018

Auckland to Chicago non-stop

Air New Zealand has announced that it will fly non-stop from Auckland to Chicago, and from Chicago to Auckland, three days a week. The cost is about the same as a flight with a stopover (usually Los Angeles or San Francisco), however, the flight is 15 to 17 hours. That’s a long flight. Still, it IS direct.

Long as this flight is, the Qatar Airlines flight from Doha to Auckland is the longest in the world, and Qantas’ brand new non-stop flight from Perth to London is longer, too [see reactions to the first flight]. Qantas flight is the first direct flight connecting Europe to Australasia, and Air New Zealand’s will be the first to connect Australasia and the middle of the USA.

This is not the end, of course. Qantas is planning a non-stop flight from Sydney to New York, and there will be more. Part of the whole point of Boeing’s Dreamliner is that it has extremely long range: VERY long flights are possible.

Back in the 1990s, I joined Boeing’s “World Design Team” which was, mostly, a brilliant way to build enthusiasm for the project, but which also asked people for their input into the new plane (which at the time was not yet named; Dreamliner wasn’t my first choice, to be honest, though I’ve long since forgotten what was).

Back then, they asked us about what we wanted (more legroom), and whether we wanted longer non-stop flights or faster flights (I wanted faster). Theoretically, a sub-orbital flight could fly much faster and arrive much sooner than a conventional flight, though there are difficulties. But the Dreamliner, capable of flying farther and using less fuel that older aircraft (like the 747s), would be cheaper to run than a suborbital plane, so that’s what we got.

Will it work? I think eventually it will, but I’ve seen no evidence that there’s a huge demand for VERY long haul flights at the moment, but maybe there will be in time. After all, seven decades ago, the “Kangaroo Route” took passengers seven flights and four days to fly between Australia and London, and people used it. However, 15-17 hours is a VERY long time to be cooped up in a flying tube, maybe too long for most people right now.

I have to admit, the ability to never set foot in LAX again is a HUGE attraction of the direct flight, but, even so, I don’t know I could stand it. I’d rather a shorter flight, a stay of a few days, then flying on to Chicago. The bigger truth, though, is that I’d much rather not fly anywhere near that long—not even long enough to fly to the USA. Flights to Australia are about all I can handle these days.

So, I’m probably not the target market for these new flights, and that means I may never get the chance to fly on a Dreamliner that I “helped” to “design”. I think I can live with that.

I have not received compensation of any kind for this post.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Full stop

Not everything in healthcare goes to plan, and sometimes they go completely off the rails. It very often happens when we don’t expect it. Or, maybe we do. Either way, we have to regroup to move forward.

This past Friday, I wrote about my first visit to a new doctor, and as part of that post, I mentioned that she put me on a different beta blocker drug, Bisoprolol. I was to take half a tablet for a week, then switch to one tablet per day. I called it off on the third day.

The first day on the new drug, Saturday, was relatively uneventful, but Sunday night I felt weird. Later, I’d describe it as feeling like my insides were like jelly: Insubstantial, wiggly, tentative. Turned out, that was only the beginning.

That night I fell asleep in my chair—not dozing off, but falling asleep. That was weird enough, but when I tried to wake up later I discovered that the phrase “I couldn’t keep my eyes open” can be literal. I thought for a time I’d have to spend the night in my chair, but I finally forced myself awake so I could finish up the chores I’d intended and then go on to bed.

The next morning I had trouble waking up and then getting up. I tried to do things (I wanted to clean the house that day), but I had absolutely no energy. None. Several times I had to sit down in my chair to rest, and the harder I pushed myself to do things (like put on a load of washing), the longer I had to rest. I felt truly awful far, FAR worse than I did on Metroprolol.

In addition to the profound fatigue and jelly-like insides, I also felt like my head was in a fog, and that I could fall deeply asleep with no effort. Sometimes my legs were heavy, other times I felt like I was walking through a marshmallow.

At one point I was so wiped out, I wondered if the Ministry might contribute to someone to come in to clean the house, since I couldn’t. I guessed I probably wasn’t eligible for a disability pension—and then I pulled myself to reality again. And, I debated with myself.

I know that it takes maybe a couple weeks to fully adjust to a new drug, so I felt presumptuous to be rejecting the new drug so quickly. But then I remembered I was supposed to double the dosage on Saturday—in the middle of a four-day holiday weekend—and I thought, if I felt so profoundly awful then, how much worse would I feel on a full dose? With no doctor available to change anything for a couple days.

At this point I was distraught, and even felt like crying, and then my resolve took over: I was going back to my old drug whether the doctor agreed or not. This would be non-negotiable.

I rang the office, then spoke with the nurse who then talked with the doctor who agreed with my plan. I resumed my old drug, Atenolol. This morning, the first day on the previous drug, I felt dramatically better.

For me, the moral in this story is to ALWAYS trust your body, no matter what. We’re the only ones who can judge what we’re feeling, since much of that is subjective and not measurable by doctors. We have to trust our gut (often literally) and do what we need to do. This is actually the first time I’ve done that.

Beta-blockers are terrible drugs. Medical professionals, focused, as they are, on protocol and strong evidence and consensus approaches almost always focus on what good those drugs can do for the body, according to protocol, strong evidence, and consensus approaches. But they often fail to balance living with life. This is where we come in, and we must always demand better than what doctors offer.

In this case, the doctor hoped the new drug would be better for me, and had no way of knowing how I would respond, or how they would affect me. Once I told them how bad they were, they responded. Maybe there’s a better drug for me—or, maybe I already have the best I’ll ever have or, as I put it last time, that what I already have may be “least awful of all the drugs”. And that, to me, isn’t good enough.

So, what to do? I don’t know. I’ll try the one or two other drugs available, probably, and see. I am NOT optimistic. I thought about scheduling a second opinion with a private cardiologist (since it would take months to get an appointment through the public system, if I even got one), but aside from the high cost of going private, there’s no guarantee that they’d be able to think beyond the protocol, strong evidence, and consensus approaches used by other doctors.

Back in November, I wrote:
Recovery from any health issue is a journey, and so is making improvements designed to prevent problems from developing in the first place. But sometimes that journey encounters washed-out bridges, cul-de-sacs, and all sorts of other things that that slow or even stop the momentum. Working out why it’s happened is important, but recognising that it will happen from time to time is probably even more so.
This incident was one of those inevitable off-road incidents. I know a drug caused it, and maybe another one will be better. Maybe not. I have no idea what the way forward is if there’s no better drug, but that’s for another day. If I’ve learned anything about this journey, it’s that it’s always one step at a time. Sometimes those steps will be forward, sometimes not, but the most important thing is to concentrate on each step, not the one after that.

And so, on to the next step.

Important note: This post is about my own personal health journey. My experiences are my own, and shouldn’t be taken as indicative for anyone else. Similarly, other people may have completely different reactions to the same medications I take—better or worse. I share my experiences because others may have the same or similar experiences, and I want them to know that they’re not alone. But, as always, discuss your situation and how you’re feeling openly, honestly, and clearly with your own doctor, and always feel free to seek a second opinion from another doctor.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Māori option time

Every few years, following a Census, New Zealand offers Māori people the opportunity to choose which Electoral Roll to be on: The General Roll or the Māori Roll. The video above is the TV ad announcing that the Māori Electoral Option to change electoral rolls will begin soon.

The point of the Māori Electoral Roll is to ensure that Māori people are represented in Parliament by setting aside some seats in Parliament for Māori people. The number of Māori Electorate seats is determined by how many voters are on the Māori Electoral Roll. This affects the number of General Electorate seats, too, since Parliament is limited to 120 seats. The census determines the boundaries of all electorates by ensuring the population of electorates are similar.

The Māori Electorates were created in 1867 because (white) conservatives didn’t believe that Māori people were fit to serve in Parliament, so a separate system was designed as a way to ensure Māori representation without forcing conservatives to allow Māori people into their midst directly. This also got around the problem of property ownership: In those days voters had to own a certain amount of property, and Māori owned property collectively. Proponents considered the Māori Electorates a temporary measure to last until Māori adopted the European individual property ownership model. Ironically, the first Māori elected in under this system were also the first members of Parliament who were born in New Zealand.

In the 1860s, and for more that a century afterward, it could have been difficult for Māori people to win in majority European electorates. But as times changed, and more Māori people entered Parliament through the General Roll—especially since the first MMP election in 1996—conservatives have resumed their calls for abolishing the Māori Electorates. Most on the centre-left say that the decision on when the seats will be abolished is up to Māori themselves.

The electorates are becoming something of an anachronism, and it’s difficult to see how they could not become irrelevant in time. For example, the Deputy Prime Minister is Māori, as is the Deputy Leader of the party leading government, the NZ Labour Party. Labour has a record number of Māori MPs, and represents all seven of the Māori Electorates. The Leader and Deputy Leader of the NZ National Party (the Opposition) are both Māori; National is on record as wanting to abolish the Māori Electorates.

All up, this is good progress—not the end, certainly, but progress toward fair representation nevertheless.

The video below is from the Electoral Commission and is intended to explain the Māori Option is more detail. The important thing is that the option is open to anyone with Māori ancestry—the specific amount doesn’t matter, just that they can trace it, they know their iwi, etc (this is known as whakapapa; see also Wikipedia’s explanation).

People of all other ancestries can only choose the General Roll (Māori can choose either). Voters on either roll get two votes: One for the person they want to represent their electorate in Parliament, and the other for the Party they want to form government. Everywhere in New Zealand is covered by both a General Electorate and a Māori Electorate, and on Election Day they share voting places. So, there’s a lot of literal overlap, even though the rolls and electorates themselves are entirely separate.

Some day the electorates will be abolished. I have no idea when, especially because there’s no groundswell demanding it—not from either Māori or Pākehā. Public opinion can sometimes change quickly, but unless that happens, there will be no change any time soon.

The Government has set up a special site to help with the process: maorioption.org.nz

Friday, March 23, 2018

A new direction

Today was my first doctor visit of the year, and it was with a new doctors’ practice. The change was necessary because of distance alone, but I also felt it was time for new eyes, new perspectives, and new ideas. I think I may have satisfied all those goals.

The doctors I’ve been going to for many, many years are located on Auckland’s North Shore, which is an hour’s drive from here on a good day, and much longer on a bad one. The last time I went, it was an hour and a half drive. I said at the time:
However, the doctor is—under ideal circumstances—about an hour’s drive from home. That’s not too bad for a quarterly check-up, but what if I get sick? Driving an hour (or much more…) when I’m sick doesn’t seem like a great idea. That’ll be a project for the new year, as will a round of the more comprehensive blood tests, something I usually get done once or twice a year.
So, my due diligence was first to look at realistic travelling distances, and the closest practice is 20 minutes in good traffic (which means almost any time other than morning commute). They were also spoken of highly on the Facebook group for our community, which is a thing—a grain of salt kind of thing, but a thing worth at least considering, nonetheless.

As it happens, I got my annual comprehensive blood tests this past Tuesday, so I had current data. The tests were actually pretty outstanding: Everything was normal, apart from my “good cholesterol” which is too low and has been declining for months. That, in turn, drives down my cholesterol ratio, which is bad. One of the main reasons that remains low is that I just haven’t felt up to getting any exercise, and the reason I've been less physically active than usual, is all due to the beta blocker I’ve been on. And that was where I most wanted a change.

At the new practice, they took measurements and my history, and then I met with the doctor. I’d already told the nurse why I was changing practices, and she asked if I had any health concerns, and I replied, “beta blockers”.

The doctor talked to me about it, and before I had a chance to say how they made me feel, she ticked off all the symptoms I’ve complained about: Tiredness and memory/focus problems, chief among them. But then she did one thing more: She explained to me why I’m on beta blockers in the first place. No one has ever done that.

I knew that people who’ve had a heart attack are put on the drug to help their heart heal. I didn't have a heart attack. I also knew that they’re used for irregular heartbeat (and migraines, even). But it turns out that when someone has a heart attack, part of their heart is damaged, as we all probably know, and when someone has a blockage like I did, part of their heart is weakened. As a result, one half of the heart isn’t strong enough and has trouble keeping up with the healthy part.

Beta blockers slow down the heart, ideally to no more than 70bpm or so, so that that weakened part can keep up with the strong part. This is almost certainly a permanent requirement (or until new treatments become available). So, she said, the trick is finding a beta blocker that balances the life-saving properties with having a life.

She put me on a different beta blocker drug, Bisoprolol. I’ll take half a tablet for a week, then switch to one tablet per day. If I tolerate all that, I can renew the prescription twice (she gave me one month at a time). If not, I’ll contact her and try a different drug.

This is the first gradual introduction I’ve been offered, which is a nice change. The bad thing about this is that if I can’t tolerate it, or it’s not better, it will cost me another doctor visit to try a new one, plus another prescription dispensing fee ($5). Or, it’ll cost me that $5 twice more if I do tolerate it.

Here’s the thing. I’m not expecting any miracles from this drug (though I hope to be wrong about that), but I do like that she both gets what I’m feeling, and is willing to change drugs to try and find one that doesn’t make life miserable. Maybe I’ll be lucky with this drug, maybe I won’t, but she at least understands what I want, why it’s important, and what can be done. I honestly feel that’s more than I had been getting.

I now understand so much that I didn’t until recently. My lack of focus, my memory problems, my lack of “oomph” to blog, podcast, make videos, etc., I now know were all directly caused by beta blockers. That also means I have a standard by which to judge these new drugs: If I don’t feel up to blogging or other creative things, if I don’t feel up to going for a walk, if I don’t feel able to focus on tasks at hand, then I’ll know the drug is a failure.

I hope that this new drug will be it. I want so badly to feel like myself again, and to be able to engage fully with life and all the wonders it has to offer. But I also worry, of course, that this new drug won’t do any of that. Or the drug after that. Or that I may be left with being required to stick with the least awful of all the drugs and forced to learn to exist rather than live. What then? Well, that’s a problem for another day, because it may never happen. First things first, and all that.

As I was leaving, the doctor remarked to me that many people on beta blockers think they’re experiencing dementia, and that’s it exactly. I was scared that I had early-onset Alzheimer’s or something. “No,” she said, “it’s the drug”. Like I said, she gets it.

The main thing for me right now is that I feel listened to and understood, and that the doctors are willing to work with me to achieve the best result. I think it just may work out.

Important note: This post is about my own personal health journey. My experiences are my own, and shouldn’t be taken as indicative for anyone else. Similarly, other people may have completely different reactions to the same medications I take—better or worse. I share my experiences because others may have the same or similar experiences, and I want them to know that they’re not alone. But, as always, discuss your situation and how you’re feeling openly, honestly, and clearly with your own doctor, and always feel free to seek a second opinion from another doctor.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Sometimes tips really work

There are tips and tricks we learn about on the Internet, and whether they’re called “hints” or “life hacks” or whatever, they may or may not be believable. Sometimes we try the tip, other times we don’t, but sometimes those tips really work. This is one of those times.

Earlier this month, Nigel and I had lunch in a café, and I ordered a coffee, as I always do, and it was a little bitter. So, I added a TINY bit of salt and the bitterness was gone.

I heard about that on the BBC Two series, “The Secrets of Your Food”, which was broadcast here recently on TV 1. The episode was about humans’ taste ability. Co-presenter Michael Mosley was talking about how chemicals interact to form or alter what we taste, in this case talking about coffee, and he suggested adding a bit of salt if you get a bitter cup of coffee. That day earlier this month was my first chance to try it out.

I was sceptical it would work, even though I had no reason to doubt the chemistry at work here, so I wasn’t expecting much. But it was kind of amazing how well it worked, and without making the coffee taste salty (it was only a very little salt I added).

I may be the only coffee drinker who didn’t already know this, but I decied I’d use it from now on. Even the best barista sometimes makes a bitter cup of coffee, after all, but I’d proven that there was a way to make sure that won’t be an issue for me in the future.

Today I had a chance to verify my evidence. I’d gone to Waiuku for some routine blood tests, just as I did exactly one year ago today. And, just like that day, I went to the café in the same building for—literally—break-fast (they were my annual fasting blood tests). I had a MASSIVE cup of coffee (pictured above, with cutlery beside it to try and provide a point of reference). The coffee was slightly bitter—not badly so, but enough that I noticed it. So, I added the teeny, tiniest bit of salt and, yet again, the bitterness was gone.

This was only my second trip to Waiuku, and it didn’t impress me much a year ago. In fact, the town didn’t impress me any more today, however, I may have judged the vampires’ facility and the nearby New World supermarket a little too harshly: Both were better than I thought at the time.

My earlier misjudgement of the New World was because we’d only moved from our old house not yet a month earlier, and I was still used to the New World I went to there, and that one is a much nicer store. A year later, I no longer have that same frame of reference/point of comparison. I liked the Waiuku store much better than I did last year. Even so, I can’t imagine making a trip there to go to that store: There’s literally nothing else in Waiuku (apart from the vampires) to draw me there. Same time next year?

The vampires in Waiuku, however, went up in my esteem. I’d gone to Pukekohe and found their vampires’ facility was small, cramped, and the waiting room was crammed with people, apparently due to understaffing. I quickly calculated that the waiting time would be about an hour, and I was late leaving home, so I was so hungry that I was in pain. I left with all my blood.

The vampires have three locations within a 25-30 minute drive of our house, and I’ve now been to all of them. I wouldn’t choose to go to Pukekohe again, so it’s ranked last, despite being my favourite of the three towns. In second place is Waiuku, which was reasonably fast and not crowded. In first place is Takanini, which is bigger, has good parking, and plenty of shops nearby that I might want to visit. My all time favourite was the tiny location in Beach Haven on the North Shore, but that’s more than an hour’s drive away (more than that most days).

So, Waiuku wasn’t exactly a draw for me, but the vampires, breakfast, and New World were all good. But I was most pleased about verifying that the salt in coffee thing really does work, and my earlier success wasn’t a fluke.

Sometimes those tips really work.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Small treasures

Going through things stored away can yield many surprises, from ephemera that stir up long forgotten memories, to accidental “over purchases”, to lost “I’ve been looking for that!” items. Sometimes, we find treasure.

The photo above shows the current New Zealand coins I found recently when going through boxes in the garage. It was part of my garage reorganisation project, but it was also accidental: I opened a lightweight box to see if I could combine the contents with another, and I found the basket I mentioned.

The basket was mostly junk—EFTPOS receips, old grocery lists, that sort of thing. They’d all actually come from a drawer in my bedside cabinet, but when we changed cabinets some years ago to ones with one less drawer, I had to clean out the old drawers. Except—and this is shockingly unusual for me—I was so busy that I just didn’t have time. So, stuff ended up in that basket. Then, I topped it up with new stuff. And then I forgot about it entirely.

Yesterday, while I was on the phone with the customer service people for the company that hosts my AmeriNZ Podcast website, I decided to go through the basket (I talked about that phone adventure on my latest podcast episode). It was probably the only way I’d have gotten to that task so soon, actually, so it turned out well.

As I said in the Instagram caption, I also found discontinued NZ coins that had a face value of $4.60, though their only value now is as scrap metal, as I said above, or to collectors. Or to John Green.

And then there was that stray US penny. I have no idea why it was there, but I have a few US coins, mostly left over from holiday trips, or even a few I had with me when I arrived in New Zealand way back when (well, 1995, actually). They’re not of a whole lot of use in this country, oddly enough.

The Australian coins used to be another matter. It used to be common to get Australian coins in change, since their 20¢ coin was the same size as ours (they get their $1 and $2 coin sizes backwards, however; ours are right). Since we changed to new, smaller coins, that stopped Australian coins circulating in New Zealand: No one confuses them anymore.

I’d like to think that some box somewhere has a stack of banknotes waiting to be discovered, but that will only happen in an alternate universe: I never put aside bank notes because, unlike coins, they’re useful.

Coins just arent very useful anymore. I no longer buy candy from the corner dairy, so having a few coins in my pocket isn’t at all necessary (which is how they eneded up being dumped in a basket in the first place). Time was, you could take coins to any bank branch and deposit them, but a lot of branches now are mainly offices to meet with loan officers or whatever, and they send coins away to be cointed—and for a fee, of course.

There are actually plenty of things that an ordinary person might buy with coins, but New Zealand is rapidly moving to a cashless society, so finding a use for coins is becoming harder. In fact, I don’t actually know what I’ll do with the $15.30. Maybe I’ll put it in my car for when I want a soft drink.

This process of tidying up the garage has meant going through a lot of things. I haven’t found much cash, but I’ve found a lot of useful stuff, ncluding stuff I bought, forgot about, and bought again, and other stuff I’ve forgotten about. Some of the stuff has remined me of things from my past, and that’s been interesting to me. Not all the small treasures I’ve found have been monetary.

The garage reorganisation project has been difficult, and mostly extremely ordinary. Sometimes, though, I find treasure. Those are good days. Coins, however, are optional.

Monday, March 12, 2018

AmeriNZ Podcast 337 ‘Resolution' is now available

A new AmeriNZ Podcast episode, “AmeriNZ 337 – Resolution” is now available from the podcast website. There, you can listen, download or subscribe to the podcast.

This episode gives the resolution to the story from the previous episode, as well as an explanation of the barriers I had preventing me from blogging and podcasting.

The five most recent episodes of the podcast are listed on the sidebar on the right side of this blog.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

The Difference Between Australia & New Zealand

The video above is by Jordan Watson for his “How to Dad” YouTube Channel (currently some 186,000 subscribers). The video takes a humours look at the differences between Australia and New Zealand. While some of them are somewhat “in jokes” between the two countries (especially his wrap-up), it nevertheless really does talk about some differences.

Watson’s channel has received a lot of attention. In the video below, from TEDxChristchurch last year. It includes his first video, which began the rest. He talks about how everything came to be, and shows more of his sense of humour. He also has a really good message at the end.

And all that’s more about New Zealand, too.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

We were counted

The deadline for completing the New Zealand Census was midnight last night, though millions were done in the days leading up to the deadline. Yesterday evening, the TV ads promoting the census became more and more frequent, eventually alternating with other ads on at least one channel. And, then it was all over.

We did our Census last night (final screen above), mainly because we kept forgetting to do it or were busy with projects in the days after we got our online code. We filled-out the census online, just as we did with the 2013 Census. This year, however, instead of using a computer, we used my iPad; to be honest, part of me wanted to test whether their site really was “device friendly” as they promised (it was).

First, I filled out the form for the dwelling. Mostly, it was pretty standard questions: How many storeys? How many bedrooms? Is there kitchen? Is there running water? Electricity? How many lounges/living rooms? (the trend in modern homes is to have two, a more formal lounge and an informal rumpus or family room).

One dwelling question unleashed the mocking powers of social media: It asked how many conservatories we had “that you can sit it”. I read that and instantly though, “WTF?!” I’m a potty-mouthed thinker, apparently. The thing is, New Zealand houses aren’t known for having conservatories, certainly not like British houses seem to be, and I haven’t seen any sudden trend to add them. So, like everyone else, I wondered what the heck they were on about.

There were technology questions, too, asking whether we had available for our personal use (and not exclusively for work): A phone, a mobile phone, an Internet connection. I noticed that they no longer ask if we have a fax machine, probably because hardly anyone does anymore (we got rid of ours a decade or more ago).

The dwelling section seemed much shorter than in previous years—until I saw the personal form, which was fairly miniscule. Most of the questions were about work, health, language(s) spoken, etc., and the religion question:

This Census or the next one in 2023 will probably show New Zealand as majority “No religion”, however, as I always point out, “no religion” doesn’t necessarily mean literally no religion: It often simply means no particular religion. The census doesn’t drill down any further to see what people mean when they answer “no religion”, as I did, and some commentators have taken that to mean New Zealand is mainly an atheist nation. But the census results cannot be used to make that determination—ALL we know is that the category chosen by the largest segment of New Zealand by far is “no religion”, though Christians of all sorts combined together made up more (I talked about that in more detail in a 2013 post).

So, sooner or later, the clear majority of New Zealanders will identify as having “no religion”. I can already hear the inevitable wailing and gnashing of teeth about that will be coming from the usual suspects, but after a short time (maybe 10 minutes…) New Zealanders will move on and it won’t be a topic anymore. When most New Zealanders choose to identify as having “no religion” it will mean they won’t care that most New Zealanders identify as having no religion. And, once an issue is settled, we always move on pretty quickly.

There was one final thing that struck me as potentially interesting. Our individual forms asked how we're related to each other, and our option was "husband/wife, civil union partner, defacto". When you consider it already asked us our gender, and we'd said we were "legally married", it would be possible to work out how many same-sex couples there are, and in what sort of relationship formalisation (if any). However, it didn't ask specifically about sexual orientation, and the gender question was binary, so the chance to find out more details about New Zealanders was missing. Even so, it will be possible to get some of the missing information.

And that was pretty much the Census this year. Shorter than it has been, easy to do, and, now, over. Can’t wait to hear the results!