So, Being a Major Coronavirus Hotspot Wasn’t Enough, Florida?

Apparently we might be having a hurricane.

I live inside the western edge of the cone, so we might just get the outer bands/lots of rain, but it’s too soon to feel safe. We all have Post Irma Stress Disorder, when it was supposed to skim the west coast.

The latest projection it’s going to show up at 2AM on Sunday, because of course it is. And my job includes me being on a storm team, so Monday should be delightful.

If I have no power, I have no idea what’ll happen. We’re all still okay, Gidget got her hair done today so she’ll look way better than me if I lose power. I’m getting excited about how my gray is growing in.

Tomorrow is August – I’ve been working from home since mid-March. Florida still fucked it all up royally, and now DeDumbshit is opening the schools, putting my family in direct danger, and I’m in a constant state of rage because it didn’t have to be this awful, and it’s only going to get worse.

Tomorrow will be all rage cleaning, all the time. Charging chargers. Finding flashlights. Freezing blue ice thingies. Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst. I think we’re okay here, but who the fuck knows?

Nearly August.

I’m sorry about my failure to keep up with this blog; every day is just so boring, redundant, and depressing. Florida is in deep trouble, thanks to the Fucking Republican governor and Fucking Republican legislature. If anyone ever, ever, “Oh, but it’s both sides” at me again EVER, I may choke the living shit out of that person. And that’s all I have to say about that.

So, it’s almost August. I will be working from home at least until after Labor Day, and at the rate Florida is imploding, I’m wondering when we’ll ever see normal.

I set some August Goals for myself, and then got depressed AF because the goals are all chores and drudgery. Yes, I really do need to clean out the closets and clean the baseboards, but when that is ALL you have for weekend plans, it’s incredibly depressing.

Disney World has reopened, and the people whose opinions I trust are very happy with the way they are handling social distancing, cleaning, and enforcing masks. I would feel more comfortable there than I sometimes do in Publix, especially when a Maskhole performance artist shows up.

I was in Publix a few days ago when a couple entered – in their 50s, he’s in a HeManGunzEagleFlag t-shirt – no masks, and they’re walking slowly through the store, sashaying, really, eyes sliding side to side, waiting for someone to say something. Nobody did, so their performative freedumb shit was wasted. We generally have a very high level of mask compliance in the few places I go, so performative mask defiance stands out as the childish crap it is.

I also play this private game on Facebook, where when someone in one of the boards I follow gets all outraged/whiny/claims they can’t wear a mask for medical reasons/shares “true stories” about the danger of masks, etc., I click through to their main profile, and yep: Flag, Eagle, Jesus, GOP. Every. Fucking. Time. These people are plague rats at this point.

So that’s a very sweary way of saying I would not be afraid to visit Disney World, because Disney knows how to do is crowd control and sanitation, and they don’t hesitate to eject miscreants. Even before this, their cleaning game was above and beyond, and they’ve stepped it up from there.

They’ve also instituted a “park reservation” system to restrict access to a limited number of guests each day, and changed a lot of other experiences to make them socially distanced.

I definitely would not make a special trip from out of state to visit Disney right now, especially if it’s your first visit or a once in a blue moon trip, because things are different and limited, but all the reports back from my trusted sources say they felt perfectly safe with the distancing and masks and hand sanitizer, and had a good time. I still won’t visit until it’s not this blazingly hot, but Disney also extended all the annual passes very generously and my family all got what added up to an extra five months.

And hell, for those of us who already live in a disastrously failed state led by Gov. Delusional, Disney would be the safest place we go all week.

So, in other utterly mundane news, I am finally wearing my new glasses, which took over two weeks to come in, and my breezy young Doctor of Optometry with her magenta-streaked hair was correct: I am wearing my new glasses as I write this, no computer glasses needed. My sunglasses are equally perfect. As they should be, because they cost an arm and a leg – not the frame, my prescription.

I went with the same frame for both my regular glasses and my sunglasses, classic ladies Ray-Ban frames. I did this because Facebook shared an old picture of a trip to the beach, and I realized that the Ray-Ban prescription sunglasses I was STILL using were SIX years old, and had survived the ocean, swimming pools, theme parks, etc. I’ve had three more expensive frames turn to crap on me in the last six years, while these remained like new (except the prescription did need updating). As the optician who fitted me said, they’re the Timex of frames.

My old glasses were total crap and aren’t even fit to keep as an emergency backup pair, as they are on the brink of falling apart, so now that I have a new, GOOD prescription, I’m going to try buying glasses online, just because. I’ve ordered some try-on frames from Warby Parker. I should get my five free try-on frames on Monday. I’ll share that experience, because I’m definitely intrigued. I’m blind as a bat, and emergency backup glasses are a basic survival thing. I don’t have any old glasses that I could wear to identify my granddaughter, let alone drive or work, so let’s see what Warby Parker can do. They say they can do progressives; I’ll give them a shot.

That was quite a lengthy, sweary babble, and I didn’t even tell you about Gidget’s agoraphobia. I’ll have to tell that this weekend.

15,300. That was Sunday’s new virus count.

Today, 12,624. So, yeah, this is going GREAT! Florida is I think #4 in the world now? in new COVID-19 cases? We are the third most populated state in the nation but we are running away with this virus, due to a high population of Fox-watching assholes and a truly worthless governor.

And that’s the reality we have to live with, somehow. Or die trying.

I’ve found that the thing that really is keeping me grounded is just 30 minutes of outdoor exercise a day. It’s hot AF here, heat index of 105 by midday, so I go early when it’s just hideously humid.

Usually it’s a walk to the “top” of the gently rising street near my neighborhood and back; it’s about 15 minutes up and back. I definitely feel the difference in my energy and mindset for the rest of the day. If I skip it, I’m much more miserable.

Over the last four months of working from home I shifted my morning alarm from 5:30 to 6, and sometimes 6:30. I’m turning it back to 5:30 tonight, so I can get out and walk at 7, after coffee and critter care, and shower and dress and be on my work laptop by 8.

Because the place where I work (not my employer, I’m a contractor) has slowed the “Return to the OFFICE!” plan. They’d done a sort of soft reopen with a handful of people on my floor. Within a few weeks they had to backtrack.

One of the first to return was exposed to the virus outside work and reported it; doesn’t have it at the moment, but is home and isolating again. So they sent everybody else home and deep cleaned the entire floor again, and let the first pioneers come back.

Phase II of the return to work plan with a few more volunteers is “on hold.” I was not a volunteer:

1) I’m not an employee so fuck that noise; and

2) I’m over 60 and a brain aneurysm survivor, so fuck that noise twice.

I’ll go back when they tell me I must, but they really are being very cautious. I expect to be working from home through the next three months, if I manage to stay employed. The financial damage of this is something nobody really wants to talk about yet, but as a contractor, I know I’ll be the first overboard if the budget gets bad and heads are cut.

This weekend sucked, as all weekends suck now, but I did follow up on my incredibly sweaty walk by purging crap and rearranging stuff, and putting stuff in my car to take to Goodwill at some point this week. I rearranged my small eating area in my kitchen, and flipped the bookcase of cookbooks and miscellany with the tiny cheap table and chairs. It opened up that space so much, I can’t believe I took this long to do it.

Behold! Floor Space!

I can’t believe how just switching a tiny table and chairs and a bookcase opened up the space so much. That tiny kitchen table is really just overflow seating and can sit on standby along the wall. I don’t use it myself, I prefer to sit in the larger dining area off the living room. I have parked children in the kitchen very infrequently, so tucking it out of the way and dragging it out when needed will work just fine. I hope children get to sit here again.

And it’s so weird to actually wonder when that could happen again.

So, tomorrow is Monday again. Month FOUR of this shitshow. It’s exhausting and depressing and endless, and Florida is in freefall with no leadership.

The long catch up I promised, though I may be too tired to swear.

First, I bought some sharp new knives on sale on Zulilly, and they are awesome! I’ve cut myself twice, and am typing this with a bandage on my left index finger! So excuse the typos I don’t catch.

Sorry I didn’t update for a while, but it truly is Groundhog Day, and I’m depressed AF. I spend my days in my home office doing work I dislike, with snoring and farting dogs. I have no life outside work. I went to the eye doctor (finally) last week, and it felt weird to be doing something normal.

Florida is in freefall. I started jotting the daily new coronavirus count in my journal at the beginning of May, and it’s startling to look back at how on May 1, when I started the latest volume, and we hit 500 new cases a day! Wow! We hit over 11,000 new cases one day of the weekend, and today we were over 7400. Every Day. My county had a bare handful of cases in May, now we have thousands.

Our governor has been doing near daily press conferences which are truly bizarre. He’s disconnected from reality, in a truly scary way. Florida is doing GREAT!! Pay no attention to the soaring numbers of new cases, that’s just because we’re doing so much testing! [Narrator: No we’re not.]

It’s not a big deal, because the average age of new infections is falling, now it’s going wild among young people who barely know they have it! [Narrator: And often work in public contact jobs and are spreading it every fucking where.]

So, as I mentioned in my brief and not very sweary post last night, my daughter called me to rant, and we ranted for quite some time. The entirely unqualified Republican Commissioner of Education issued an edict yesterday: Schools MUST reopen on TIME in AUGUST! Counties WILL provide a plan to do this!! Oh, and he’s going to cut funding for online education – force those kids back into the classrooms! Nevermind the risk to the students and teachers, exactly how are schools going to stay open when teachers are out sick? And what about the teachers and aides who are my age, with health issues?

Shit, Bank of America closed 50- FIFTY! – local branches this week. I’m just guessing here, but I have to think that the people who still do their banking in person are more aware of the virus and also probably wash their hands more than the average 1st grader.

Local bars and restaurants reopened by order of the governor, and many had to close again because – I know this will really come as a shock- their staff promptly got sick, and spread it among customers.

The governor’s disconnect from reality is just breathtaking – cases are soaring, and we haven’t even felt the impact of the 4th of July insanity yet, when the beaches were open at his order, and crowded, because “If they’re open, it must be safe!” I’ve been saying for weeks that the virus will impose reality, but damn, it’s going to get really ugly.

via GIPHY

And I may dislike my job, but of course I’m grateful to have it, and to still have a paycheck. I’ve been saving money as much as I can, which is somewhat easier when I never fucking go anywhere. I’m tired, pissed, and getting increasingly depressed because I really cannot see how this is going to end, but I absolutely know this didn’t have to be this epic clusterfuck.

So, now that I’ve done my very restrained rant, what else is going on?

I got a haircut a few weeks ago, we wore masks, the sanitation in the salon was top notch, and I felt safer there than I do in Publix. My stylist was a hoot – when I told her I was thinking of going gray, she started lifting my layers to see what had grown in since my last cut/color. “OOOH, this is going to look really nice!!”

My hair is short, like Jamie Lee Curtis short, so I wasn’t concerned when she started enthusiastically whacking away at the overgrown mess it had become, trying to free the silver. But it became apparent that there was no way all the brown could be gone at once, not without an actual buzz cut. So what I have now is…kinda like a calico cat? The hair on the sides is mostly a nice bright silver, I like it a lot. The rest is a graying brown mix. We estimated two haircuts to get rid of the last of the brown.

And the brown is mostly old color, which had gone brassy from all my time in the sun in the last few months, so my stylist suggested I get some purple shampoo. I had never heard of purple shampoo, but Amazon provided. It comes in all price points, but since I had never tried it I decided not to do the pricey stuff I’d never tried. I went with the ol’ reliable L’Oreal. I’m impressed! It really did kill the orange tone of the brown, and I look less calico cat. But it’s not cooked yet, so no pictures yet.

I also got a long overdue eye exam. I’ve been dealing with near daily headaches and eyestrain, which is another reason I’ve been scarce around here. I saw a new doctor, who I’m pretty sure is a few years younger than my favorite boots. She had magenta streaks in her hair and a breezy attitude, but she knew her shit.

I’m now all about the young doctors!! She did a quick, efficient exam, informed me that I have baby cataracts, but they’re not a problem and just wear sunglasses and maybe a hat when I’m out in the sun.

When I asked her about computer glasses she looked at me like I’d asked for a butter churn. She said all she has to do is adjust the progressives (she explained how, but I can’t repeat it accurately) so no need for a separate pair of glasses! “Didn’t anyone tell you this was possible!?”

I said no, I’d never been offered that option, and she rolled her eyes and tossed her magenta hair, “Well, that’s ridiculous. I’ll fix that for you.” She reached into a drawer and pulled out lenses and told me to hold them over my existing glasses and read her computer screen, and holy crap! I could read her computer screen!

So, yeah, the last three eye doctors I saw with their 30+ years of experience can bite me. I’m now all in on the millennial doctors with magenta-streaked hair.

My new glasses and new prescription sunglasses should be done the week after next. My highly special prescription and expensive lenses take time.

So that was half rant and half positive things, right? It’s as good as I can do right now.

Sophie is finally acting like her old self! Really her old self – like playing with toys and bouncing around, begging for treats her old self. I had to yell at her when she was shit-talking ELLIE as I was getting on a call! She was dancing around the cat, trying to get a game going!

Fingers crossed this lasts a while. I swear I will change NOTHING in her environment, down to the same filtered water in the same water bowl and exactly the same diet.

Gidget is still enforcing social distancing like she’s Dr. Fauci’s secret pen pal, but she’s still super cute and the goodest of the good girls.

Ellie is always Ellie.

Oh! I forgot to confess my stupidity!! Remember how I thought I’d have to upgrade my Mac to get the setup I wanted? It was another case of my tunnel vision – I didn’t think it through. I spent $40 on an upgraded hub that is now connected to the borrowed monitor AND the teacup poodle MacBook, and it feeds power to the poodle!!

So to sum up: I’m happy with the going gray progress, new glasses are on the way, Sophie’s doing well, Gidget is keeping us all safe, Ellie is her lovely self, and I don’t have to upgrade my Mac! Even in this dark, insane time there are bright spots.

Another Long Catch-up. Warning: Many, Many Swears.

So, I’m still alive, still working from home, Sophie is actually doing better (fuck, why did I put that in writing?)

I am in Florida. Yeah. It’s bad; really bad, and worse because we have a seriously incompetent governor. DeSaster is the dumbest motherfucker in the country. Even the country’s next dumbest Trumper governor has finally required masks statewide in Texas, but we are truly FloriDUH. Our governor is celebrating that the average age of new cases is much younger now! Because they don’t get really sick, yanno, and only a few of them DIE, and only a few more end up on ventilators, and hey, let’s roll the dice, open the schools, open the beaches, whoo-hoo!

Sorry, was going to write an actual update. My daughter called me and has been ranting for an hour.

More tomorrow, maybe.

2020 is just exhausting.

In every possible way.

Today I gave myself the day off; I did a little necessary housework and that is all. Tomorrow I need to get out in the world and get gas and put air in my tires, and go to Publix (grocery store). My poor car has barely moved since March. I’m working from home and will be for at least the rest of the month. The grocery store is less than two miles away, and I really haven’t gone anywhere else.

Coronavirus cases are spiking in Florida; every day the number of new infections is worse than the day before. We broke the 2,500 new cases in a single day mark yesterday; a new high. But screw it, this is so boring! The governor says it’s fine, let’s open everything! Bars, gyms, movie theaters – go for it! Mask wearing has decreased as well, right when it’s even more important that we do what we can to protect ourselves and each other.

I live in a neighborhood with a lot of seniors, older than I am, in their 70s and 80s, and I am just shaking my head at their total disregard for their own safety – no masks, little social distancing with a lot of them. Not everyone – one man I don’t even know alerted me that Publix had both boxes of disposable masks and plenty of hand sanitizer on hand when he’d been there earlier. I said, “Now if we could just get people to use them.” and he agreed.

Our Governor DeShithead has declared that schools will reopen in August, because – and I’m not joking he really did say this – it’ll be safe because kids don’t get the virus!

Because that’s what schools are, you know, buildings full of just kids roaming around with no adults present, so no risk! And kids can’t get it [yes they can] and certainly can’t get it and bring it home to their parents and grandparents, right?

Local school districts greeted this statement from the governor with caution, as in “Yeah, we’re still evaluating what we’re going to do.” At the rate new cases are climbing, I’m thinking this will all sort itself out by mid-July, and not in a good way.

Meanwhile, I’ve decided that I really need to get a couple of things done before shit gets even worse. I have a haircut appointment for Monday evening. I mentioned before that the salon I go to has a solid plan in place and is taking precautions, and I feel reasonably comfortable with going in for another quick, very short cut.

The first time Maria ever cut my hair was in March, days before everything shut down. She had snipped away so quickly I had no idea what I’d end up with. It turned out to be the best haircut EVER, and it was such a perfectly balanced cut it grew in very gracefully. It has taken over three months to finally look unkempt. Fingers crossed that she can recreate that perfection; it’ll get me through the rest of the summer if necessary.

I’m semi-committed to going gray, but honestly, that’ll depend on how I feel about it when much of the remaining brown is chopped off on Monday. If it looks as I hope it will, bright and silvery, I’ll happily embrace the gray. But if it looks dull and steely gray and I look all faded and tired, I’ll slap color on it without a second thought, and try again next year. I am fine with gray if it’s a pretty, bright, silver-gray. If it looks like that dull, battleship gray, well, that’s why we have hair color.

I’ve also made an appointment for an eye exam; again, they’re taking all the precautions, and I really can’t put this off any longer. My glasses are on the brink of falling apart, and my prescription is way out of date, and I stare at computer screens all day. I am definitely feeling the eye strain.

Arlo the new baby puppy is the smartest little bugger ever, and he’s definitely not going to stay a little bugger. He went for a shot the other day: 8.5 weeks old, 13.5 lbs. The vet said part Catahoula was a good guess, but his face doesn’t have his grownup shape yet. I reminded my daughter that Great Danes also come in that dark merle coloration.

Whatever he is, he’s a handsome little devil and sweet as they come, and has been a breeze to train – he’s mastered sit, is learning down, and taught himself to ring the bell at the back door when he needs to go out. 8.5 weeks old. He’s a baby genius.

The rain finally stopped long enough for me to meet him the other evening, and holy crap, I’m so glad I adopted adult dogs (and cats). He’s utterly precious, but utterly exhausting.

I had offered my too small, cheap old desk to my daughter because with everybody working and schooling from home, they needed all the work space they could get, and it finally stopped raining long enough for them to come collect it. My son-in-law brought Arlo, and I held him on his leash while they got the desk. It took about five minutes for them to pick it up, carry it down, and load it into my daughter’s SUV.

In that five minutes, Arlo and I had done at least a dozen, “No, that’s not food” “What’s in your mouth?” “Drop it!” samplings of leaves and sticks, considered chasing a squirrel (the leash was a deterrent) and he generally wore me out. He was in constant motion and needs constant watching, like a hyperactive toddler. I was very glad to hand his leash back to his daddy. He’s utterly adorable and will be a handsome and very intelligent dog, but holy shit, I’m too old for a puppy.

Another Long, Random Update.

Someday I really need to get my blogging act together.

Anyway, you four people who still read this mess:

My daughter’s family had to say goodbye to Cosmo, as they’d known and braced themselves to face for the past month. The mast cell cancer absolutely tore through him in the last days, with new tumors appearing overnight. Our lovely young vet told my daughter she’d cried when she’d read the pathologist’s report, because he was just SO young.

But Cosmo taught us all good lessons about living in his brief three years: he lived every damn day with such joy, and whatever he did, he just WENT for it, with all of his energy. His life was short, but we are all better for knowing him.

And it might seem abrupt, but their new dog already found them.

My daughter put her name out on various rescues and shelters within a hundred mile radius, and says that within a minute of hitting send on one, got a call, “I think we might have your puppy.” They drove to Gainesville, met said puppy, agreed, and brought home a 7.5 week old hound mix they’ve named Arlo, for both The Good Dinosaur, and the legendary Mr. Guthrie. I hope the music legend doesn’t mind. This Arlo is very smart and a Very Good Boy already.

Arlo is a mix – his mom was dumped at a shelter with her three newborn puppies – and while she appears to have been a true Heinz 57 of pit bull, hound, possibly shepherd and God only knows, it appears dad was a Catahoula, because Arlo is the picture of a Catahoula and so are his siblings. Daddy’s genes were strong in this litter. They looked absolutely nothing like their mom, as if purebred dogs were just randomly inserted in her womb. But he does have his mother’s sweet, gentle eyes.

The minute I saw that face and that gorgeous merle coat my crazy dog lady breed encyclopedia brain went to Catahoula, and yeah, I think Daddy was.

I haven’t met him yet, it’s been rainy AF here. Cristobal may be making landfall in Louisiana, but he’s been raining here all weekend. Last night we had tornadoes, and it’s pouring here again. It’s thundering and pouring as I type this.

Tomorrow is Monday, again. I wish I had the energy to write pithy political stuff about current events, but Jesus, it’s just so damn insane. The protests this weekend gave me hope, as did local governments rejecting federal “help”. As of today, there are still protests, but they are peaceful and uplifting, and give me hope. Even the new, bizarre fence around the White House has been turned into a public display of peaceful protest. And the Mayor of DC is a badass leader.

I have no idea what is going to happen between now and November, let alone between November and the Inauguration. If we survive this, can we please fix that archaic shit? There is no reason in this modern age to elect a new government in November and not let them take office until the end of January. Tighten that shit up to 30 days, please. We aren’t carrying packets of documents on horseback. And about that Electoral College? Same issue. It might have made sense at the time it was established (it didn’t; it just appeased the slave owning states) but now it has been used twice just in my recent adulthood to install the loser of the popular vote, and both times with disastrous results.

2020 has been a freaking disaster movie so far, but God loves us and gives us puppies.

2020 Just STOP.

This isn’t about current events, because there’s not enough swearing to even begin on that shit.

Cosmo’s mast cell is spreading like wildfire. Worst case scenario. He’s losing weight rapidly, diarrhea with blood, and he pees clear water – he doesn’t even realize he’s peeing, and when he does, he feels terrible about it. He’s vomiting and dry heaving at random. His heart is still in it, but his body is breaking down rapidly, faster than anyone expected. The pathologist’s report had estimated four months. It’s been a month since his surgery.

My daughter took him to the vet this morning, and the vet agreed that it would be a wise plan to give him a few “best days ever” with love and treats and as many walks and sniffs as he can enjoy, and then, next week…. My poor daughter will have to hold a beloved dog for the last time, for the second time in 3 years.

He’s only THREE. I am so sad.

Sweet, funny little boy. (This was in his healthy puppy days.)