A Whole New World…

I want to be where the people are, but hey, I now work from home.

Yesterday I went to the building formerly known as the office, to clean out the few things I needed to retrieve from my work station in response to the GYSO mandate. (Get Your Shit Out.) It was definitely eerie to pull into the nearly empty parking lot, and greet the guard at the front desk, who cheerfully told me I was the THIRD person checking in to the floor that used to hold…I dunno, well over 100 people every day? More?

I collected my wee box of shit, said goodbye to the other two people present, one of whom I like very much and will probably never see again, as we are both contractors and he sees an end to his role coming. I left feeling oddly unsettled, like leaving the building meant I no longer had a job. I still have a job for now, and in general things are looking better, but I really don’t know what is going to happen in the next year.

It wasn’t just my workplace, the entire office park was a ghost town. Businesses are figuring out that they can function just fine with a remote work force (or couldn’t and closed) and all those big office buildings full of cube farms really aren’t needed. I don’t know what the hell that means for the future of commercial real estate, but I’m very glad I don’t work in commercial real estate.

So, I now have to think about making a more permanent home office. First I have to get the six foot cat bed the F out of the way, and soon, and then I’ll shove furniture around for a while, and figure out what I really need.

In the meantime, the Disney Store online had a sale. I currently have multiple bags of various dog treats on a shelf in my kitchen. They are going to have a cookie jar now; they’ll stay fresher and it’ll look far more classy. The Disney Store also had a very adorable 101 Dalmations cookie jar which would have been more suitable, but it was more expensive even on sale, so I decided to save a few bucks and stick with the classic Mickey theme.

The whisks were stuck in an old jelly jar. This is way classier.
And I don’t know why, but I just really needed a Mickey Mouse coffee scoop.

I’m very happy with my kitchenware, it fits with my mostly neutral/black and white kitchen gadget theme in general, but it makes me feel a smidge happier.

Sophie woke me at O Dark Thirty again. I was so tired, I just put her on the floor and rolled back into bed – use the potty pad, explode, whatever, I NEED SLEEP DAMMIT! She peed on the potty pad, did not explode, and patiently waited until I surrendered and got up at around ten to six. She was hungry, and needed all the treats. This is why we need a treat jar.

A storm front is coming, and The Dancer is dancing in Tampa tomorrow in another competition, against 40 girls in her age group. My daughter is tired already. Send them good thoughts for safe travel and performances to make it worth the trip.

Working From Home…forever.

So, the place where I work (not my employer, I’m a contractor) has decided that a LOT of their workforce can work from home, and they are working toward making it so. Tomorrow morning I will go to the office building I haven’t set foot in since mid-March, 2020, to pack up all my shit and take it home.

I’d barely moved into that cube after taking the position in December, 2019, so packing up my shit will take about 15 minutes, but some of those people have been in their spaces for many years, and they are about to embark on a major purge.

The concept they are moving toward is an online reservation of “touchdown space” – meaning, if you really have to be in the office to meet up with people for a thing, or need to be in the physical building for whatever, you’d reserve a desk for the day or a few hours, bring your laptop and other stuff, then take all your stuff home with you, and somebody else could reserve that space. We will no longer have cubes, let alone offices.

My guess is that they’ll figure out that they need half as many spaces as they have now and sublet a floor or two in the next year, if they’re lucky. Either that or a lot of rented space will be let go, and those people will be rolled into the space reservations in the building they own.

On the one hand, I appreciate that this company is taking the lead in transitioning to a non-office-based workforce, because I think this is how white collar work is trending.

I have had absolutely no problem doing the job I HAAATE from home, it sucks exactly as it would if I’d been in the office, but I can also care for my elderly sick dog and no commute, so WIN!

On the other hand, I live in a two bedroom condo and my second bedroom is now going to be my office, so I have to figure out how to do the tax deduction stuff (for last year too- I abruptly realized that) and also get real about making it a more comfortable office space.

Step One will be getting rid of the ancient but still in excellent condition futon. It’ll be free to a good home, I just have to rope some suckers into helping me dismantle it and haul it down to the garage. Because while I will I put it out as free, I sure as hell ain’t going to let strangers in to my home to pick it up.

Ellie will be devastated as she’s the only one who uses it, but she’ll just have to suck it up. She can take her fluffy ass to any of the other soft, comfy things she sheds all over the rest of the day.

I want a better cheap desk and chair. I can get by with what I have for a while, I’ve been using it for a year, but after I get Ye Olde Futon the hell out, I’ll have room for a corner desk and a ton more space. I’ll play around with rearranging the room after the world’s largest cat bed is out.

So, we are about to embark on year TWO of this, and it’s no longer a temporary COVID thing. It’s the future. I think I’m okay with this, overall.

Sophie’s liquid diarrhea has returned. Again. And my work day was so absolutely batshit crazy I had no time to make an appointment for Gidget’s annual checkup. She needs the heartworm blood test and a fresh prescription for heartworm meds. After I get back from “cleaning out” my nearly empty cube I’ll definitely schedule that.

I need to schedule some fun. I’m seriously lacking fun.

Okay, so I didn’t post over the weekend….

First, Sophie: She’s back to her normal. She’s feeling better, has more energy, but I’m grateful to be working from home, because around 3 this afternoon she woke from her all day nap and began pacing around the house, so when I got out of yet another virtual meeting I took her out. I’m lucky to be working from home under the circumstances, it’s saving me a lot of paper towels and gross cleanup.

More on the working from home thing when I know more, but there’s a chance this may be a permanent situation, at least for as long as this contractor gig lasts.

I get my second Moderna shot a week from this Friday, and based on the feedback from those who already got their second shot I’m planning ahead with easy meals and plans to do absolutely nothing that weekend.

I’m just too tired to rant about Gov. DeShithead. Just assume that he’s doing absolutely the wrong thing in every possible decision, and you’ll be right. More ranting if I ever have the energy again.

Meanwhile, here’s some dance stuff. I can’t share the videos, but I can share still photos.

From my granddaughter’s solo to “Stand By Me” performed by Florence + the Machine (an absolutely beautiful song, I love Florence Welch’s voice so much):

The aerial that freaks me out.

She’s standing, left.
Also on the left.

The colorful group dance was my favorite, their costumes had “feathers” along the arms, so their bird dance was very colorful. I wish I could share the video, it was a lot of fun.

Again, I’m brain-fried from work, and I’ve been in this chair since 7:30 a.m. If this from home thing is going to be permanent I’ll need a better chair. This office was set up for a temporary arrangement, and this $59 chair wasn’t meant to be used 12 hours a day for over a year. Yet, apparently that will be my future.

Life is Utterly Exhausting.

Sorry for not updating everybody; I’m just brain-fried from work. In case I haven’t mentioned it in the last 20 minutes, I hate my job with the white hot heat of a million suns. It is both stupid and complicated, uninteresting and stressful.

First: Sophie has made a fine recovery from whatever it was that she suffered for days. She’s still not great, but she’s better, and at this point that may be as good as she’ll get.

I was not imagining how sick she was. In addition to the slasher movie spraying diarrhea attacks, she wasn’t eating much, she threw up a couple of times, her breathing was shallow and labored and she slept nearly all the time. She was still drinking water, so I decided not to call the vet right away. I have some suspicion that the vet’s well meaning attempt to wean her off the steroid onto a less harsh medication is what triggered the whole thing. We will have to talk about that. I know long term steroid use isn’t good, but every time we taper her off, she gets worse, to the point where “long term” thinking is probably not relevant. I would rather she have maybe a slightly shorter life with a better quality of life than keep making her sicker trying to make her better. She turns 12 this month, which feels “young” for a small breed, but the lifespan of a Boston Terrier is, depending on the reference, anywhere from 11-15 years.

But because she was so sick, I decided to skip goat yoga on Saturday. (Let’s just say the prospect of coming home to scrub dried diarrhea from louvered wood closet doors was horrifying enough to make me reconsider. I’d already done it twice last week.) My daughter and granddaughter went and had an absolutely wonderful time and want to do it again. I’ll definitely join them.

Tomorrow is a holiday at the place where I work. I don’t get paid holidays, but I’m so effing sick of everything to do with them, I don’t even care about a short paycheck. I need the three day weekend. I swear I will update for real this weekend.

Sophie Update.

It’s not good. She’s not eating, she’s throwing up hours after eating, large, mostly digested clumps of food just silently appear. She still has the diarrhea, but it has tapered off in frequency, probably because she’s not eating much. She’s mostly just detached, sleeping a lot. She still gets up to get water and even still uses the potty pad, so she’s still trying. But damn, nothing has worked. The vomiting is a brand new thing, but she is staying hydrated, so for now I’ll just let her sleep and see if she rallies again. But it’s not good.

Gidget’s New ‘Do, and Will We Ever Be Normal Again?

This girl is exhausted after spending an entire two hours at the groomer (mostly because Mommy had a conference call and couldn’t pick her up as soon as she was done). She is not exactly half her size, but a lot of what had looked like pudge really was just fluff. She’s ready for summer.

I need a haircut too, at least a reshaping. I wasn’t thrilled with my last cut, it was too tight on the sides and a bit too long and floppy on top. All I want is to have all the layers nice and even all over my head, okay? Why is this so damn hard?

Maybe my hair is just getting crappy in my old age. I’ve always had very fine hair, but a lot of it. Getting past 60 I can definitely see it’s nowhere near as thick or healthy as it used to be, at any length. Between the awkward haircut and my limp hair, I’ve been bummed.

So I consulted my oracles: Google and Buzzfeed, as well as Amazon, and decided to try this stuff: Pura D’Or. I’ve only been using it for a few days so I can’t speak to whether it’ll actually grow new hair or anything, but I do notice my hair is looking bulkier, so I’ll take it. It’s expensive, obviously, but it really only takes one pump to get a ton of rich lather/conditioner. Super-long hair might take two pumps, but even so, this really will last a long time.

Now that Gidget has a summer hairdo, I need to make an appointment to reshape my own.

I’ve updated and posted my resume, because, yeah, the job still sucks. I realize the odds of finding a new job over 60 are slim to none, but if I don’t try, the odds are obviously zero.

On a related note: I’m getting better at dodging conversational land mines with my co-worker (the one who asked me about the quack “doctor” peddling dog dewormer as a cure for COVID). It was a close call. The following happened over IMs, thank GOD – face to face, I might not have been able to control my face.

We were talking about work and then he mentioned that he was getting his first dose of the vaccine, and I said I’d just had mine on Friday, all perfectly sane conversation. I said maybe we’d be back to normal this summer, if the spring breakers don’t screw it up for everybody….still fine. He said something about the stupidity of that behavior, it’s too soon, etc. Still fine…. Opening up too soon…yep, still in agreement.

Regarding everything opening too quickly, I said, “I think it was Dr. Fauci who compared it to spiking the ball on the five yard line.” I thought I was making a common football analogy, appropriate to the conversation.

Silence…we’re doing this over instant messaging, so I saw ………dots of him typing something…erasing….typing something else….erasing….

Then he finally wrote, “I don’t know, I just don’t trust him.”

You could have heard the tires squealing in my brain as I reversed away from this topic, because I have to work with him, but I really, really wanted to ask WHY anyone would “just not trust” a world-renowned expert, but share links to discredited nonsense from right wing media on a variety of subjects.

And I had just answered my own question, so ABORT!! ABORT!! BAT-TURN! GET OUT OF THIS! Let’s just talk about work again.

It’s so unfortunate that we are here, constantly trying to avoid conversational land mines because we no longer share a reality. We had actually had a rational conversation, a shared reality, until I said “Fauci.” It was like some sort of trigger word. It was particularly weird since I was just saying something we had already agreed on: We could be at the end of this if we don’t screw it up by opening up too quickly. This is, God help us, apparently a “liberal” position these days, and he was in agreement…until I used the wrong name.

We are not going to be what we thought was normal again, are we?

Quick Update.

This was another exhausting week, even without the work shit.

Sophie was put on a new food and a new med. One, or both, violently disagreed with her. I seriously thought she might not recover from the extreme and horrific diarrhea she suffered the first day. I actually took pictures of the third blast, just in case the vet’s office thought I was overreacting. I won’t share them here because yeah, you don’t need the visual.

She exploded. Bless her little heart, she tried to put it on the large potty pad I keep in my master bath dressing area for small dog relief while I’m working, but that was impossible. There was poop spray on the pad, and off the pad 360 degrees. The spray extended 3 feet. It was on my closet doors (thank GOD they were closed or I’d have lost shoes I’d only worn once or twice). It was on my bathroom door, under my bathroom door, and sprayed into the tiled area of the bathroom. She did this THREE times on Wednesday morning before 10 a.m.

When I called the vet’s office after the first dramatic day, I spoke to a tech who was calmly dismissive of my concerns about diarrhea, “Oh, that happens when you introduce new food!” And I tried to describe that this wasn’t a puddle of runny poo. This was horror movie poo. This was slasher movie level, but instead of blood spray we had watery diarrhea.

I thought it might be the change of food, so I put her back on her former prescription food (I had it on hand). I gave her a second dose of the new med on Thursday, and three hours later we had another Dramatic Incident. Apparently it wasn’t the food, it was the new medication.

I read the insert that came with it, and oh hey, the most common negative reaction was…DIARRHEA. So…the vet prescribed it for a dog with chronic diarrhea?

I am exhausted with this…SHIT, in every sense of the word.

Otherwise, my stimulus money hit my bank account right as promised. It’s a small dent in what I’ve had to spend on vet bills, and my car needs tires and brakes, and and and, but it was nice.

I got my first Moderna vaccine yesterday, and aside from a bit of soreness at the vaccination site I’ve had no reaction to speak of. I know the second shot can be more intense, so I’m glad mine were scheduled for Friday afternoons.

Ellie is splendid. Gidget gets her hair done on Wednesday, thank God, because she’s a grubby little blonde Ewok. I gave her face a trim with my small needlework scissors so she could see where she’s going, but our beloved groomer says she’ll find the cute little dog in there, not a moment too soon.

Can You See Me?

I know, this sounds like one of those weird needy tweets where people ask if “Anyone is seeing my tweets?” I swear this isn’t that. I’ve been in a conversation with a reader who says she can’t see any of my posts past January 6th. I’m thinking it is something in her bookmarks or whatever, but now I’m wondering if it’s something in my blog settings that I’m going to have to sort out.

So if you’re out there, could you just say, “Yo!” “Present” “I hate your stupid blog” whatever? I promise this isn’t a nefarious way to collect a list to spam or anything, I’m way too lazy for that.

This is what progress looks like.

So, I got up yesterday morning and decided to try the Publix website for a vaccination appointment – my first day eligible under Florida’s rules. After about 20 minutes of no access, I decided to take a shower and see if I could get in later. Nope. So I got dressed, applied various wrinkle creams, went back into my office. Still nope, and then, while I was about to give up the screen changed and flashed: Make Appointment! So I did.

I get my first dose of the Moderna vaccine at lunchtime on Friday, at a Publix that isn’t MY store, but is maybe 20 minutes from here. The second dose is scheduled for another Friday, same store, same time. So easy.

Gov. DeShithead, the Evil Vaccine Concierge, is rapidly losing control of his stranglehold on vaccines. Orange County, next door to me, has opened up availability to all first responders: cops, EMTs, etc. etc., while the state rules still restrict vaccines to first responders over 50 years old. I’ve heard tales of vaccine locations “going rogue” and vaccinating anybody who shows up at the end of the day, before the day’s doses expire, or changing their own qualifications to accept more people.

We are seeing daily progress on so many things. The IRS website says my stimulus money will hit on Wednesday. I texted with my daughter last night and asked her if she qualified for the payments to help with child care and stuff. She hadn’t heard of that, so she Googled and yes, they do. Lots of bigger things that will help a lot more people are rolling out.

Elections matter. Both parties are NOT the same. When the people vote, Democrats win, and shit gets done. This is why Republicans are all in on voter suppression bills right now – they know they can’t win on policy.

My daughter found baby goat yoga nearby. I need baby goat yoga.

Random Things, Part II

So, my mood has shifted from depressed to a glimmer of hope to HOT DAMN! in the space of a few days:

The American Rescue Plan has been signed, and help is going to start rolling out immediately. Direct deposits of stimulus payments are already hitting bank accounts.

Vaccinations are running way ahead of schedule. I’m eligible to sign up next week. I’ll try for a few days to get one nearby, then I’ll take my daughter’s advice and sign up for the drive through at the convention center. It’s a pain in the ass to get there, but I have a personal goal of getting the first shot in the next two weeks.

In the past week I’ve been contacted by three recruiters about job opportunities – none of them were suitable for me, but it’s just the idea that things are moving again that gives me hope. It also gives me great motivation to fit into my work clothes again.

I have now been working from home for a year, and the few times I ventured out for something work related it was into the field, where I was wearing hardhat/vest/boots/jeans/safety glasses, no makeup or jewelry, and let’s not even talk about my sweaty hardhat hair. I am NOT office ready. If my dream employer came out of nowhere to offer me a six figure job if I could show up for an interview in 48 hours, I would collapse in a puddle of despair.

If I get a call about a job worth pursuing, I would need a new, work-appropriate interview outfit for a Woman of a Certain Age. I have no idea what that looks like, because did I mention I have lived in jeans and have a hardhat and steel toed boots and a fluorescent vest in my car? And I gained 10 COVID pounds this year? Yeah, this is dire.

I need to learn what women my age wear in a professional environment in this climate these days. I need to lose the COVID 10 and 5 or so more. The return to Daylight Saving Time will make that easier: I MUST WALK DAILY. IT IS NOT OPTIONAL. It’s sad how I lost my motivation for daily walking when Disney had to refund my money on two runDisney events in a row last year. I’m holding out hope that this year we may be able to do the Wine and Dine in the fall, but in the meantime, my ass needs to fit my summer clothes.

I’m knitting again, sleeping better, and genuinely feel like a corner has been turned. Not that everything is awesome instantly, but damn, we are, at last, heading in the right direction, with a real President. (I’ll spare you my rant about Republicans, because, yeah, fuck them.) We have a real President, a new and awesome Attorney General, and he’s already been briefed on the Capitol Insurrection.

I finished my very basic TV watching shawl, (meaning I can knit something like this while watching TV, not that it’s to be worn while watching TV) and it definitely needs blocking. I rarely make things that need blocking, so tomorrow morning I’ll improvise: beach towels on my bed, pat it into place, pin with whatever I can find, and shut the door so the cat doesn’t destroy it while my back is turned.

Gidget’s groomer took a break for a month. She’s fabulous and her clients were glad to wait for her. I’ve joked for years that she had a license to print money with her teeny-tiny shop in the back of a veterinary clinic. I call it the grooming speakeasy, if you don’t know who she is and aren’t given directions, you’d never know it was there. Every time I dropped Gidget she had at least 10-15 dogs on deck for the day, at say, $50/head minimum, big dogs and fancy hairstyles cost more. But she was working her ASS off, barely took any time off, and I guess push came to shove and she just took a break. She’s back, thank God, I didn’t want to have to try to introduce my small neurotic dog to a stranger.

Gidget will see her next Wednesday, and may I say, not a moment too soon.

Tiny Blonde Ewok.

Sophie is not doing so hot. She’s stopped responding to the steroids and antibiotic, the pressure hose diarrhea is back. She’s got me up at 5 two days in a row, desperate to get outside. She has periods of acting happy and like her former self, but it’s fewer and farther between. I am not sure how long this decline will go on, or if a change of meds will help her rally again. I can say I’m very grateful for that $1400 stimulus money. I’ve spent more than that on her in the last year. I feel guilty for thinking of the money, but yeah, I have to think of the money, as well as her quality of life. I thought we’d found a combination of meds that was working, and then it stopped working.

Delaney is dancing at a competition in Tampa this weekend. They actually had a decent livestream, and I was able to watch her solo today while working. She did great, and did her first aerial in a performance. (An aerial is one of those hands free forward flip leaps, a no-hands leaping cartwheel that terrifies her chickenshit grandmother.) She “got her aerial” in rehearsals months ago, but it’s one thing to do it in the security of the studio and another to do it on a strange stage in a strange city, under the bright performance lights. I needn’t have fretted.

She nailed her performance, as usual. She got a great score but was disappointed that she didn’t place. The competition, especially from her own teammates’ solos, was fierce. Their team really is a powerhouse, and though her grandmother loves her fiercely, I don’t think she was robbed. She was great, two of her teammates were better. That’s just how it goes when you’re dancing at this level; these kids are really something. They’ll dance their group dances tomorrow afternoon.

She’ll need to make a decision at the end of this season if she wants to go on dancing at this level, or shift her focus to swimming. She’d also like to learn piano. Grandma is biased. I don’t see much long-term value to this sort of dance, it’s fun and great exercise and she’s learned a lot of discipline, but it also costs a lot in time and money and isn’t going to help pay for college. Competitive swimming, OTOH….