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.

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.

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.