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.

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.

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.