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.)

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.