A long overdue update…which is also quite long.

I’ve been working from home during this weird, weird time, so I haven’t had the “quarantine experience” I’m reading about online. There’s no sourdough starter in my kitchen, no Netflix binges, no creative mask-making. Just work, walking, a bit of yoga now and then, lots of housework, and too much online shopping. So, normal life, now with a mask and a whole lotta hand washing.

I’m depressed, I hate my job, it’s endless and aggravating. I’m grateful to have a job, but I hate my job. I have damn little joy in my life these days. I need a new project or three, and to make time for my mental health. So, maybe knitting is the answer.

Not knitting that will “challenge” me, I have my hated day job for challenges. I need soothing. I need a yarn and pattern that will be there for me after work, and say, “There, there, it’s all okay, feel how soft and pretty?”

I’m a proudly lazy knitter. I’ve been knitting a very long time, and while I can do short rows and lace and all manner of fancy shit, I just don’t like it. If I can’t watch TV and sip a glass of something while I’m doing it, it’s not going to get done, period. So last week I had the urge to cast on a simple sweater, and started searching patterns for something suitably mindless that would go nicely with chardonnay and Schitt’s Creek.

Oh, and if the pattern is free, all the better. I came up with this: My Go To Knit Cardigan. It appears to meet my standard of flat out mindless simplicity, but would actually be useful next winter, assuming we’re not all dead by then. I’m not using the yarn in the pattern, but my fave Florida yarn, Universal Cotton Supreme. I’ve ordered it in Ocean, which seems to be the shade of blue I’m obsessed with this year. I love this yarn, it’s light and soft and knits like a dream, and I’m hoping it will revive my love of knitting.

The pillow cover for the office? I had to rip it after I was about 8 inches in, when I discovered I didn’t have nearly enough yarn for it. Apparently my yarn stash is way smaller than I remember, which is strange. I didn’t have anything suitable for my mindless therapy sweater, obviously, and other than yarn earmarked for yet unfinished afghans, I really don’t have that much. I don’t even know what yarns the cool knitters are loving right now, I’ve been out of it for years.

But that yarn is all I’m buying for the next 30 days (other than groceries and pet stuff, obviously.) I’m done shopped out for now. I’ve finished the Disneyfication of my home office; final photos to follow, after the Etsy prints are framed and hung; this room makes me happy.

I’m watching in despair the “reopening” of everything in Florida when THIS ISN’T ANYWHERE NEAR OVER! This is insane.

Nevermind a “second wave” in the fall; we are never going to get out of the first wave. The place where I work (not my employer, which is proudly on record as not giving a flea’s fart about its employees) is being very cautious about all of this. I’ll be working from home at least into mid-June, and possibly beyond if cases spike as they may, two weeks after this mind-boggling holiday weekend stupidity. Even when we do go back, we’ll have to follow so many rules for social distancing it will be like commuting 20 minutes to sit in isolation there, and I just don’t see the point. But they’re continuing to pay me, so I’m grateful.

Our Governor DeShithead (R: UpTrump’sAss) is opening up summer day camps and recreation and sports teams without restrictions – no rules! Have at it, Florida! The dumbshit actually said it’s fine because kids don’t get this, which is so completely untrue – maybe it rarely puts them in the hospital, but they are NOT immune.

Which has put my daughter and her husband in an awkward situation – the dance studio has reopened, but isn’t following the rules it set for itself in an email sent to parents: no masks, no social distancing, and dance is one of those heavy breathing activities that is high risk. My daughter observed a large class and said Hell No to that. They’ve had to tell my granddaughter that she’s not going back yet; they promised to revisit this June 1st and see how cases are trending.

They’ve promised my granddaughter she can do swim team instead. There’s a junior team thing at the high school that is well run, entirely outdoors, and is taking this seriously. We aren’t crazy paranoid about this; just taking reasonable precautions.

OTOH, our hair salon is doing a great job with reopening. They put out a list of rules that was quite impressive: everyone must wear a mask, you can only bring your car keys, phone, and method of payment into the salon; only the client can come in, no friends or kids; you must wait in your car until called and told to come in; you must wash your hands when you come in; no unnecessary chatter; and – this is the one that told me they’ve really thought this through – no blowouts or blowdrying for the time being. That one took me a second, but they’re being extra careful about not spraying any airborne particles. I’m still going to give it two weeks and see how things are, but I’d feel pretty safe going in for a quick cut under those terms.

I was very lucky to have had an excellent and very short cut back in March, just a few days before things started shutting down. I didn’t plan it, it just worked out that way. My hair has looked quite good until the last week or so, when things started to fall apart. (I did give my bangs a quick trim a couple of weeks ago, just to get them out of my glasses.)

And damn, I’m gray! I am eager to get another very short cut, which will get rid of most of the brown. I’ll decide then if I’m cool with the Jamie Lee Curtis look. I think I’m going to go with it.

I am also ready to do whatever I have to to get an eye exam and new glasses, up to and including holding my breath. My current glasses have never been very good and are now starting to fall apart; the finish is flaking off the frames and they’re too loose, not to mention that my prescription is way out of date. Again, I’ll wait two weeks to see what happens before I make any appointments.

Sophie’s still not doing so great, mostly. Her poop is still liquid despite two weeks plus of the steriod, but she’s comfortable and eating well and ::shrugs::.

Gidget is most excellent. Ellie is Ellie. A tropical wave is coming and it’s going to rain like hell here starting tonight and into tomorrow, but then, one day is pretty much like the other now, isn’t it?

I hope the new yarn arrives soon.

Dispatch from Pandemic Valley

It’s been weeks since I’ve spent any time with Delaney, and far too long since I’ve even seen my NC granddaughters. God knows when I’ll get back up there at this rate. I do check in with my son and everybody’s fine, they’re doing a lot of socially distanced hiking, and he’s fallen down the sourdough rabbit hole.

He was already a bread maker as well as a brewer, so it was somewhat inevitable that he’d have to study the science of sourdough and make his own starter and start experimenting with it. He taught me the word “levain,” which I’d never heard before.

Delaney, meanwhile, is showing some real talent as a makeup artist. Not an eye shadow and lipstick makeup artist, though she loves that too; nope, the girl has a real gift for special effects makeup. I get texts of images like this:

I think Halloween is going to be quite something this year.

She has grown inches and gained muscle during this time away from school, and looks 9 going on 10 instead of 8. She’s still doing online dance classes, but she’s had more time to just hang out with neighbor kids. This was deemed safe after confirming that their parents have been isolated as long and everybody is staying safe and even shops at the same Publix, so the odds of exposure to the virus are equally minimal.

Delaney got sucked into the world of dance at 3 when her mom enrolled her in a tiny tot class to wear her hyper little ass out. She had real talent, and progressed rapidly into team dancing and competitions.

Before this spring, she really hasn’t had much down time to just hang out and ride bikes with friends; dance at her level is truly an all-consuming passion. She’s still dancing, but she’s not spending hours a day rehearsing for competition this year. She’s had a chance to try new things, like drawing and creating gruesome makeup effects, and yesterday the same neighbor kids invited her to go fishing at the neighborhood lake. She caught her first fish!

When you take a dancer fishing….(yes, she is practically all legs.)

She wants her own fishing rod now.

So, when I bitch and moan about how awful everything is, and it IS awful, there are also unexpected small joys. I’ll take whatever I can get.

Staying (mostly) Sane.

I am NOT going to talk about how absolutely shitty everyfuckingthing is right now. Let us stipulate: Everything is shitty. I am NOT going to talk about how much I hate my job. I hate my job. I am NOT going to discuss how my former bewilderment about why Republicans are the way they are has blossomed into absolute rage. Seriously, they need to be electorally exterminated in November, if we’re not in a civil war by then.

No, I’m NOT going to rant about any of that and raise my blood pressure. I’m going to talk about my cheap room makeover and plans for a computer upgrade, somewhere down the road, in the After.

I have a 5 year old MacBook Retina which has since been discontinued. I understand why it was discontinued. It is truly the teacup poodle of Macs: tiny, cute and so light I could easily stick it in my purse, but impractical. At the time I was swayed by its tiny cuteness and lightness, and for my purposes it is still plenty of computer.

But its downside is that it has precisely ONE (1) USB-C port. For you non-Mac people, this means it only has one pluggy-thingy that works both to charge the machine and attach anything, like a nice big monitor. This is done via a hub, which is an inexpensive little add-on, but I currently can’t charge the laptop while using it. The meter is running even as I type; and when I finish this I will need to remember to unplug the hub and plug in the charger. Not a big deal, but not something I want to live with forever.

The company I contract for sent us all nice 24 inch monitors to use with our souped-up laptops for this work from home adventure, which was awesome of them. Even more awesome is that on the weekends I can unplug the work laptop and plug in the wee MacBook via a little Anker Hub, and test this as my permanent computer arrangement going forward, in the After. It works fine.

A few weeks ago I bought an inexpensive wireless full-sized keyboard and mouse set, and I’m very happy with them. You can’t beat them for the price, and they’ve made this a very comfortable weekend computing arrangement.

I’m making plans for when All This Shit Is Over, and, assuming I still have a job at the end of this year (not a given), I’m going to trade in the teacup poodle MacBook for a MacBook Pro, and buy a monitor like this borrowed one, and that should take care of my computing needs well into retirement.

(Heh-heh. Retirement? Sometimes I crack myself up.)

Planning for the future is getting me through the present. My home office is coming along nicely. The electrician came out this week and got the two dead outlets working – it was just a loose wire in an entirely different outlet that fed those two; they weren’t entirely dead, just too weak to function. It took the very nice electrician about 2 minutes to diagnose it and 20 minutes to fix everything. I gave him a wish list of other things I need to get fixed in This Olde Condo, and he’ll get me an estimate this weekend.

After all the power was working in here, I spent a couple of hours dragging stuff around, and this room is now much more comfortable and less claustrophobic.

I have come to terms with the reality that nobody is ever going to take this damn futon off my hands. Ellie has a lovely private dining table (Ikea end table) under the window.

The printer is across the room and not looming over my shoulder, and that alone made the room seem more open. There’s a lamp on the other side of the room, which also made a difference.

20+ year old book case and cabinet/printer stand. Ikea lamp.

I’ve spent very little money on this makeover. It has mostly been about rearranging and re-purposing things I already had, but now that the electricity is working in the entire room, I’m splurging on a larger desk and a floor lamp. My current desk is just not quite enough.

This is the weekend version of the desk. The work version has a much larger laptop and notebooks and paper and it’s annoying.
Old bedroom TV and a Fire stick (no cable in this room) sits on my yarn storage bins from Target. When Delaney comes over and wants to watch her annoying YouTube stuff, she can sit on the futon and rot her brain in here.

The new desk is obviously the biggest ticket item at $139, my desk chair was $50, the rug was $35, and the new floor lamp is $33. A few cheap picture frames for Disney art I already owned, and this room is nearly done.

Nearly done, because I think I’m going to add some hanging shelving on the blank wall over the desk, and I need to add a medal hanger. Right now all my race medals are looped on the mirror in my bedroom, and it’s really cluttered. In addition to the four virtual runDisney medals I’ll accumulate at the end of the summer, we still have our fingers crossed that the Wine and Dine will happen in November. I’ve been promising myself a display rack for some time, and finally found one I adore – so of course, it costs more than my desk chair. That’ll keep for another month or so.

This room makes me happy. I’m not like many of my fellow quarantiners. I don’t have time for sourdough starter and Netflix binges. I’m an “essential worker” stuck in a (formerly dark and cramped) home office with my farting dogs, doing a job I can barely stand on a good day, and there are few good days. Long overdue improvements to my work arrangement helped my mood enormously.

But I still can’t wait to chuck it all and go work at Disney. There has to be an After.

80% Less Whining. Still Grim.

So, after I unloaded about how everything sucks (and it does, my feelings about that are unchanged), I did some stuff to make it at least a wee bit better.

The electrician (thanks to my daughter’s Dance Mafia connections, I knew who to call for skilled and reasonably priced) will come on Wednesday between 4 and 6 to revive the dead outlets, let us pray.

I will probably spend Wednesday evening (assuming they’re successful) dragging furniture around for hours, until I have this room the way I really want it. I’m not entirely sure what that will look like at the moment, so this is definitely an ongoing project. The current configuration is based on the reality that only two of the four outlets in this room work, so all of the things that need electricity are on two walls and kind of mashed into a corner.

Then I can decide what to do about better lighting, etc., because dammit, I am not going to surrender this room to the job I hate, and I’m going to set it up for the life I want.

But we are not there yet, and I don’t know when we will get there.

I really, really, really need new glasses, and I’m totally willing to wear a mask, hold my breath, dip myself in disinfectant, whatever, at this point.

I walked a 5k today. My time was godawful, like an 18 min mile, but I’d forgotten about the “hills” on my chosen course. Yes, FL has hills, though they’re not like real hills, more like long uphill grades you don’t notice until you do.

It was the first of the three virtual 5ks I signed up for from runDisney. My daughter signed up too, because we were both deeply bummed about our plans being turned upside down, and there may have been wine and texted enabling involved. I’d gotten my refund for the Star Wars race and was so damn sad, I jumped in on the three virtual races. I know virtual races are generally silly and if you want to cheat it’s basically buying the medal, but I’m doing this on the up and up. I will continue to walk/run a bit 5x a week and see how my pace improves over the next three months. Today was cool, 68 degrees, but humid AF, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens over the next three months.

Never mind your whining, woman! How are the dogs?

Sophie had returned to the “high pressure hose liquid diarrhea,” despite two rounds of two different antibiotics. I do love our new young vet. She’s about 5 ft. nothing and looks like a Disney Princess, very pretty with huge brown eyes like Jasmine. I’m sure she is not 30 years old yet, and she sends texts about her patients after hours. We discussed Sophie via texting, and decided to put her on steroids.

As a layperson/dog mom, I’m hesitant to suggest steroids, because vets tend to push back because side effects. At this point:

Sophie is 11. She’s definitely blind. I think she sees light and shadow, but that’s about it. This is a sad thing in an 11 year old Boston, especially one who loved TV and squirrel and golfer watching as much as she did. I’m not sure about her hearing either, and the other day I found a random tooth, it had just fallen out of her mouth. No blood, just a dried out molar. So she’s not aging well already.

We’ve always known that she’s an oddly shaped little dog, and over the last decade vets wondered aloud about how she could walk, did she jump, did she play? Yes, Yes, and Yes. She was fine until she wasn’t, she’s slowed down a lot, and that’s all very sad but she’s also quite content with her life now.

But she is currently, to put it as succinctly as possible: SHITTING HER BRAINS OUT. Let’s try to stop that before we worry too much about the effect on her life expectancy, shall we? Young vet was totally on board, and Sophie went on prednisolone yesterday. Already the liquid fire hose of foul smelling poop has slowed.

Meanwhile, in still more bad news: my granddog, Cosmo, who is only three, has been diagnosed with a high grade mast cell tumor, with a grim prognosis. Longtime readers of my old blog may remember that my other granddog, Dudley, also developed this cancer, but in his case it was removed and he had years of normal life. Cosmo is only THREE, and his is more serious. Prognoses vary, but it’s all bad: as little as four months, up to maybe a year with treatment.

Baby Cosmo

As I’m writing this I’m texting with my daughter. They’ve made the hard decision to not try any desperate chemo and radiation treatment, which, by all the available research, might buy a year or two. In this situation we can actually be grateful for working from home; Cosmo has all of his people with him every day, and he’s still feeling fine. He will be loved and pampered and have all the belly rubs.

God, 2020 has been a fucking awful year, and we’re not even halfway through it.

Can we just all admit that this sucks? Friday Rant Edition

I’m sorry I went silent; I’m healthy, my family is healthy, I’m still getting paid. We are lucky and I know it.

I realized the other day why working at home is hard for me under these circumstances. It’s because “the office,” is now COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!

I’ve already survived a freaking brain aneurysm that was at least partly caused by work stress, and one would think that this would have earned me a nice easing back into a part time job reading to preschoolers or something. It did not.

I am back in a stressful kind of job as an “essential worker” (yet still a contractor) and now I’m doing it from what was to be the cute, fun and classy Disney-themed home office I’d planned, where I’d write and create and have some fun. Little fun happens here. Mon-Fri, my desk is occupied by the office laptop. People who used to contact me via my desk phone or email now call my cell and text me. The job is coming from inside the house.

I have survived my post-nearly-dying-at work return to corporate America by learning to compartmentalize. For years I’d perfected the art of leaving work at the office. I really, truly could leave the building, start my car, and not think of work again until I sat at my desk at the office the next day.

We’ve been working from home since mid-March, and right now it looks like we’ll do it through May. I’m happy that the place I work has a healthy skepticism about these reopening plans, and will be keeping a watchful eye on the situation. But I realized this week that I’m really sick of having a job I already hate inside my house. I start the week in a fairly good mood, and by, oh, mid-day Thursday, I’m at fuck it, let ’em fire me. They won’t, because I’m doing a good job with a job nobody wanted to do, go me, but, yeah. I don’t like having work shit contaminating my fun Disney-themed home office. And I realize that this is a really privileged thing to whine about, because I’m getting a paycheck.

And I realized I’m mourning the life we had before, the life that will always be changed by this experience.

Settling in for the long haul.

So, Florida schools will not be reopening this year. Not surprising and also wise, and it’s nice that our dimwitted Trump-ass-kissing governor is not entirely up Trump’s ass to the point that his ears are submerged. He can be backed into a corner and forced to do the right thing if enough people yell at him. Yay.

I don’t have kids in school (duh) but I do work in a place that has lots of young parents, so I suspected we’ll be working from home for May, too, at least until the school year would have ended. Who the hell knows anymore?

I’ve been gradually making improvements to my home office. I now have a rug. This rug was a deal, for real. I paid, like, $35 for it, and it’s now unavailable from that seller and is only available for $88.

Seriously, it’s worth $35. It’s basically a mat, not a rug, but it works for me because my desk chair tended to roll too easily on my slick floors and I feared that I’d sit down one day and the chair would squirt out from under me and I’d bust my ass. It’s hard to tell in this picture, but the cheap rug and the equally cheap futon cover have the same muted aqua-ish color, and the two Disney prints over the couch pick up very close shades of aqua here and there, and it looks like I actually planned this. I did not plan this, but I’m delighted by the happy accident of a non-plan coming together.

I need a few more minor things to make this fully functional. I have had two dead electrical outlets on the opposite wall from the desk for, OMG, years. This was way down on my hierarchy of needs, but now that I’m going to be sitting in this space for at least another month I really need to get the whole room working. I will move the printer across the room to the currently “dead wall,” add better lighting, etc. But all in all, I am very, very lucky and I know it.

My office mates are sort of adjusting. You’d think that after a month of this they’d be used to this new routine, but they’re not. Sure, they look all relaxed here, but the reality is if I get up to get a drink or go pee they all have to follow me to see where I’m going, and it’s utterly exhausting for them. They can’t relax until the work day is over, dinner has been served, and they can compete for space next to me on the living room couch. That is normal. Mommy home all day on the computer is NOT normal.

None of this is normal. Even the animals know it.

I’m So Over This: Saturday Edition.

I am fine, I’m still getting paid and I’m healthy and all in all, I’m incredibly fortunate. But I’m so fucking over this.

I have been doing fairly well with walking regularly, meaning 4-5 times a week, barring early conference calls. In fact, when I go back to work, if I ever go back to work, I need to adjust my hours so I can get a couple of miles in the morning. It truly makes me feel 30% less stressed throughout the day.

This was to be my shirt for the Star Wars 5k that will not happen. I came across it the other day while looking for yoga pants, and felt a wave of deep sadness. It’s such a small thing in the vast sea of awful, but dammit. I really wanted to wear this shirt for a picture with Chewbacca.

I alternate between the gritted-teeth “I’M FINE!!!” and actually feeling normal for a bit, then I go to Publix and don’t feel fine or normal at all. I had a decades long habit of popping into Publix on my way home from work to pick up a day or two’s worth of meal ideas, and now that’s simply not possible. Publix is now limiting access to the store; we have to line up outside and a person is let in as one comes out.

I’ve realized that for the foreseeable future I’m going to have to plan out a week or more’s worth of meals, order online, and pick up my groceries. Again, it’s a small thing and lots of people already shopped a week or so at a time, it’s not a major hardship, so I don’t want to sound like such a whiner, but yeah, I’m whining a bit.

I’m sitting at a ergonomically dubious desk in my home office for hours, doing a job I still dislike, and by mid afternoon I’m not sore, exactly, but I just feel…weird, physically and mentally. I’m very, very lucky to still have an income, and I know it, but this is hard. It’s not so much the job, or even working from home, but it’s the lack of normalcy in my non-working hours that is draining me mentally and emotionally.

So, what’s good right now? My daughter found a u-pick blueberry farm in Clermont, where u-can’t-pick right now, but you can order online and make a pickup appointment and they bring them to your car.

2 lbs. of blueberries is a lot of berries, even when they’re absolutely huge. In addition to just eating them, I’ve made two loaves of lemon blueberry bread, and I think today the last of this load may go into blueberry cobbler. That sounds easy and comfort-food-y.

Southern Hill Farms also has peaches. Another trip to Clermont may be in order.
Lemon Blueberry Loaf – it’s a good, basic recipe, though not as lemony as I’d expected.

So, enough whining from me, I know why people read this: HOW ARE THE DOGS???

After months of no issues, Sophie’s intestinal woes are back. I picked up metronidazole over a week ago, it has done nothing. I’m pretty sure she’s fully blind now, and I swear she’s depressed about it. She sleeps a lot. Her appetite is still good and when I can persuade her to go outside she enjoys a leisurely sniff of all the things, but yeah, this is hard.

My poor girl.

Gidget is fine, but in dire need of grooming. I’m questioning her alleged Chihuahua – Yorkie heritage; she’s starting to look like an Ewok. I can give her a bath and trim her face and “sanitary region” a bit myself, but yeah, she’ll be in dire need of professional help in another month.

What’s tiny and fluffy and smells like a musty old rug??

We’re all hanging in through this weird, weird time. I hope you all are too.

I’ll update more this weekend, I swear.

I’m still working from home, and I’m grateful for the paycheck, (and hey, isn’t it awesome how the US ties our health care to employment, so we just threw 10 million people out of work and also off health insurance during a pandemic?)

As I’ve mentioned, I’m a contractor and have been for years, and normally it’s fine, but this week two things happened: I participated in a conference call with the company where I work (not my employer) and heard what they’re doing for their employees to help them out, and I got an email from my own employer.

The contrast was, um, striking. The employees are getting cash, extra paid time off, flexible schedules where possible. Someone asked if the company would do anything for the many, many contractors who work alongside the employees, and the answer was, “We’re trying to keep them working.” In other words, nope.

My own employer, source of my paycheck and health insurance, emailed us to say that they’re not doing anything extra for us, but hey, if our contracted positions go away we can always apply for unemployment, and good luck with health insurance. So, yeah, that was this week.

By yesterday I really could feel my nerves fraying; I think we’re all just starting to wrap our minds around the fact that the normal we knew before is never going to come back in quite the same way. We’ll get through it, most of us, but we’ll never be the same.

A friend shared a wonderful, darkly hilarious and profane essay by Chuck Wendig on Facebook. I’ve shared the link to it below; go read it. The entire essay resonated with me, but this part in particular:

” You cannot meet abnormality with increased normalcy. It just doesn’t work. There’s no countermanding it that way. We’re told we can be more productive, that we’re all work-from-home now, but lemme tell you: this isn’t your average way to work-from-home. This isn’t how to accelerate productivity. It’s like being told to work-from-home during a locust plague and a forest fire.

Read the entire excellent essay here.

Adjusting to the Abnormal.

Arrgh. I haven’t updated in almost a week. It’s been a period of adjustment.

Another work-from-home week is in the bag, and it’s almost starting to feel…normal-ish. I’m getting into the routine of conference calls and dog walks and emails and another dog walk, and stuff is getting done, mostly.

I’m horrified and paralyzed by what is coming. Florida is going to be the next epicenter of this pandemic, partly because our governor is a Trump Worshipping Dipshit who lives in fear of pissing off his Orange Overlord. So yeah, it’s all a fucking disaster, it’s terrifying, but all we can do to stay sane is follow the advice from the CDC and smart people, and try to survive.

Disney is closed for the foreseeable future. This is personally heartbreaking, this has never happened before (like so many things we’re living through) but the economic effect on THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of residents of Central Florida who were either directly or indirectly working for the Mouse is almost impossible to imagine.

So we’re all crazy, all over the world, but unexpected things are happening too, as we try to find our way through this.

Check it out: I built myself a desk chair! It had been sitting in its box since I ordered it in February as part of the office makeover. I admit I was not looking forward to assembling it, but after week one of working from home, I had a sore neck and knew something had to be done, so yesterday I faced the assembly challenge.

It was a breeze, and I needn’t have feared it. The assembly was really easy and it is comfortable, with decent lower back support. The casters are smooth and solid, and the pneumatic seat adjustment is better than my chair at the office. This counts as my major accomplishment of the week.

But that was nothing. My daughter dragged out the old and barely used sewing machine I gave her at least a decade ago, and she is teaching herself to sew clothing. Without a pattern. This is like witchcraft to me; I could barely operate the damn machine without injuring myself and never could sew a straight seam, and found the whole sewing business incredibly frustrating. So the machine sat in my closet until I gave it to her, when it sat in her closet, because she didn’t have time to mess with it. Now she’s making clothing without a pattern, guided by a sewing blog.

Actual, wearable clothing, created without a pattern. Witchcraft, I tell you.

I’ve been crocheting granny squares again, and then got a wild hair and decided that what the futon in the office really needs is piles of smooshy handknit throw pillows.

The pillows there are from IKEA, and while they’re cute enough, they’re kinda blah. I don’t want to spend money on Disney-themed pillow covers right now, but I do have a fairly substantial stash of yarns leftover from other projects, and I can re-cover those IKEA pillows with something less bland and mass-produced. I’ve dug out some leftover Cascade Sierra cotton. I think the first one will be neutral cream, but in double seed stitch so it’ll be all texture-y, and it’s a mindless thing I can do at the end of the work day.

I did order a rectangular pillow form from Amazon when I ordered more of my weirdly-sized AC filters today, because my nice new chair would be even nicer with a cute pillow for my lower back, because the days are long and Grandma’s back isn’t getting any younger.

So I’m knitting, my daughter is sewing, and my granddaughter got a similar wild hair and decided to teach herself to draw Manga-style cartoon characters. As with everything this child decides to try, it turns out that she’s quite good at it, and her mom’s going to order her a sketchbook and some real pencils so she can learn shading. (She’s using a #2 pencil and a lined spiral notebook right now.) Her dance studio is sharing lessons on Zoom and YouTube, so she’s been able to dance a bit. Online school starts next week.

So we’re practically a freakin’ Jane Austen novel here in Pandemic Valley, with our crafty-ness and artsy-ness and dancing and educational activities; all we need is a lovely country house and invitations to socially distanced garden parties, where we will nod at one another from six feet away, and sip punch while wearing gloves.

Even the dogs are benefitting from this enforced confinement. Gidget has decided she likes people just fine as long as they maintain proper Social Distancing. She’s much braver, and even talked shit with my neighbor’s asshole Chihuahua. He always does that “lunge and bark fiercely” thing when he sees my dogs, to the embarrassment of his mother. Gidget used to hide behind me, but she now runs toward him and barks sternly, then prances into the house for a treat and a “Brave Girl!”

(Although this newfound courage still applies mostly inside the neighborhood. I tried taking her for a walk around the block again, she spotted two ladies and a dog coming from the other direction and she turned around and headed home. The world outside the four streets of our condo community is still a Nope.)

Cosmo, my daughter’s Frenchie, is going on so many walks around the neighborhood he’s finally learning leash manners. See? bright spots!

Tomorrow I’m going to hit Publix as soon as it opens, with a list and a plan. I’m going to be working from home until mid-April at the least, and the company is preparing for this to be a long slog. I’ve been eating somewhat decently, but rather randomly, and it’s been pretty carb-heavy.

I’m going to go through my recipes and improve my diet: more fruit and vegetables, more salads. Publix has done a great job of keeping the produce department stocked in the last week or so. I’m going to become like one of those bullet journal YouTube chicks who has all the meals written down – in my case, it’s so I remember what I bought and why I bought it. I’m going to try really hard not to waste anything, so meals will be simple, and as fresh as possible. I’m craving berries, salads, and iced coffee.

This weekend I’ll check in with the Asheville contingent to find out how they’re coping. I know they’ve been hiking a lot.

So we’re coping, creating, trying to make the best of all of this, but damn, I miss normal. I wish I could feel confident we’ll ever have normal again.

The First Weekend in Captivity.

My downstairs neighbor was sitting outside again, alone, when she called to me. Her company had gone home, and she was visibly more relaxed and pleasant. So I’m going to chalk up her weird behavior to the tension of house guests that overstayed their welcome and were on her last nerve, and forgive and forget.

The work laptop and the Elderly iMac (circa 2011) traded places, and I had my desk back for the weekend. I’ll swap them again in the morning, but it’s important to me to have MY STUFF in its normal place during my personal time. When this is over, assuming there is an “over,” and assuming I still have a job at the other end, all things I cannot count on at the moment, I’m buying myself a new, bigger, better iMac. I have been saving toward one, but under the circumstances I think I’d better hold onto that cash.

I cleaned the house like a madwoman, including deep cleaning Ellie’s bathroom. A large cat with hairy paws tracks litter everywhere, and it’s gross.

Before the virus hit the fan, so to speak, I had started turning my spare room/”office”/general crap catcher into a Disney-themed home office, and finally hung the Disney themed art I’d collected at various festivals.

Snow White is a digital image I got for being a passholder, or credit card holder, or something. The Walt Disney quote actually came from Amazon, which is a surprising resource for cool Disney art.
I bought this print at this year’s Epcot Festival of the Arts. This artist also has a really cool print of Walt and Steamboat Willy. I covet it, but I’m not buying art at the moment.

At the time I had planned to create a Disney blog as well, but that’s on hold.

And we had confirmation that the runDisney Star Wars Weekend has been canceled. Not postponed, not “to be rescheduled TBD,” but nope, it’s not going to happen in 2020, and we’re giving everyone their registration fees back.

That’s both disappointing to me personally, because I was excited about that 5k, but an alarming sign of how long we may be living like this. Although Disney World is officially closed through the end of March, they went ahead and sent the college program kids home when the parks closed, and now the cancellation of a major event in mid-April is a clue that they don’t anticipate reopening anytime soon.

It’s the uncertainty of everything that is the hardest to deal with. I have put the balcony project on hold for the time being. I can’t be sure how long I’ll have a paycheck, so yeah, that nasty old carpet can just stay there for now. If I do get laid off, I may tackle it myself. The idea of ripping up something I hate feels really satisfying and would be a great stress reliever.

In the meantime, while I wait to see what the future will bring, I’m going to organize my photos and plan my Disney blog, because this will be over someday.

I couldn’t find a taker for the old futon, so yeah, I have an office couch.

It’s hard to see the posters over the couch, sorry about the glare, but they were actually quite cheap and cool and from Amazon.

I’m Old. How old are you? I’m old enough to remember Eastern Airlines. And the coordinating Delta poster from 1971? How could I resist?

I’m on a no frivolous spending program for the foreseeable future, but I foresee some classy Disney themed throw pillows replacing the existing ones from Ikea. I think this one and this one would work, and I can see myself knitting a few pillow covers to mix with the Disney-themed pillows.

So, I have some plans to cope with this weird new world. Tomorrow, back to back to back conference calls start at 8:30 a.m., and we’ll get an update on the company’s plan on how we’ll cope, and yeah, it’s all totally fine!!

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