What is a weekend?

March 28, 2020

As of today, I have been home for 15 days, with the exception of two car rides and one socially-distanced visit with Mom.

mom and me, outside, at a depressing distance apart.
I brought my own chair.

I gave up giving up Facebook for Lent, because 1) everything is Lent now and 2) there are a lot of acquaintances on there and I wanted to make sure that they’re still okay. And while there was a GOODLY amount of Coronavirus panic on there, babies are being born, pets are being adopted, and birthdays are still happening. At least this tamped down political chat. EVERYONE is against what the government is doing/not doing. No matter what.

We had a departmental Zoom Happy Hour yesterday, which was fun, considering I had to mix my own drink. Rum and Coke Zero – I had 3, which was 2 too many. We are being challenged to do a Tik Tok dance for next time. I, queen of Bad Decisions, am down for this.

screenshot of a zoom conference call with video
The best coworkers, minus 2.

My NYT crossword puzzle streak has hit 50! I think it’s because I have finally picked up on their weird tricks and quirks and have committed the name of Nick and Nora’s dog (Asta) to memory forever.

50 day crossword puzzle streak

Things I am grateful for:

  • Everyone in my sphere is still healthy.
  • Despite some early bumps, I believe we as a country are starting to try to attempt (all of those mushy qualifiers chosen on purpose) to get ahead of this virus.
  • WM and still have jobs that can be performed from home and are still being paid our full salaries.
  • TNP has extended our remote work date to April 20. Personally, I don’t think we’ll be back in until May.
  • We are saving some money from not commuting and not eating out and applying that money to our credit card debt.
  • The dogs continue to live their best lives with us home. I have never seen a more contented pile of dog.
  • My sprouts are growing. This weekend I’m replanting some into larger pots.

Like last time, you can bounce after this photo of adorable sidewalk art in our neighborhood if you don’t want to read about some down times I’ve had. Ciao!

Found on our lunchtime walk.

Despite the gratitude list above, I have been crying off and on for a week and a half straight, caught in a loop of despair and catastrophic thinking. I’d go outside, see my yard, be thankful for it, and then break down sobbing that I’m going to die. I’d go inside, WM would hug me, I’d feel better and then break down sobbing that he’s going to die. Repeat, repeat, repeat. No matter what I did (measured breathing, meditation, walks, things with my hands) I couldn’t break out of it. I’d avoid the news and be okay, but then someone would post a “PEOPLE ARE DYING IN PAIN ALONE ON VENTS” image in the middle of their Instagram story and I’d immediately crumble.

After days of denial (because if one can’t be anxious and depressed during a fucking pandemic, when is it okay to be anxious and depressed?), yesterday I finally called my doctor’s office and scheduled a telehealth appointment. After a lengthy chat, he prescribed me some medicine, and I’m starting it tonight.

I’m noting this here because there is a stigma around getting help for anxiety. If I had broken my arm, I’d certainly mention my cast and pain medicines. This is no different. I have a job to perform and a little household to keep running and no matter what lies ahead, I need to be at my best for it.

This weekend I’m going to stay off of the internet as much as I feasibly can and give my emotions some time to heal. (She says as she posts this to the a website and Twitter and Instagram.)

Be well, be healthy, be smart.

is it worth it? can I work it? Can I put my thing down flip it and reverse it?

Life, Quarantined

March 24, 2020

Another random jumble of observations…

With the exception of 2 short car drives, I haven’t been out of the house since Friday, March 13. Today was day 7 of working from home. And life is starting to fall into a functional routine among the dysfunction.

scribbled self-portrait,
Self-portrait from an Instagram meme. Doritos are my security blaniket.

I wake up at 7:30am on workdays instead of the usual 5:45am. I’ll log onto my work laptop a little before 8:30am. My home office is in great shape. I bought a little USB switch to plug my mouse and keyboard into. The switch connects to my home desktop and my work laptop. This way, I don’t have to crawl under the desk twice a day anymore to disconnect/reconnect my peripherals.

Work is fine – there’s a lot to do and I’ve been very productive. When I start feeling overwhelmed (which is often) I can take a few minutes away from my desk and stand outside. It’s nice, even if it’s raining. WM and I walk around the neighborhood at lunchtime. A few things have changed about our walks. One, everyone is very cognizant of the 6 foot distance. And two, everyone is MUCH friendlier than ever. We’re all so thrilled to see other faces these days. I finish work at 4:30 and instead of having an hour to commute home, I stand outside and breathe. I am missing out on some reading time, but that’s okay. I’m having trouble concentrating on books. And then we cook dinner.

I made this BBQ chicken pizza from scratch!

Once a week, we get takeout to try and keep the local businesses afloat. Tonight we had wings from PJ Whelihan’s. It’s funny — I miss bars. I never even went to bars often but I miss the conviviality. I bought a gift card from Elixr in Center City Philadelphia with the hope that will make up for the Friday morning business they’re not getting from me. But I feel guilty. I can’t send money to every business that I’m not using.

Around 8pm I Facetime Mom to see how her day went. I miss her. We’re only 3 blocks away but it could just as easily be 300 miles. When the weather warms up, I hope we’ll be able to hang together outside more.

These cookies were AMAZING.

Each weekend I bake something different. This weekend’s baking project was Smitten Kitchen’s peanut butter cookies and they are delicious and really easy to make. Next week I might try chocolate chip muffins.

WM repainted the main bathroom in a dark gray color that I was initially on the fence for but ended up liking. Once the light fixture and towel bar are installed, I’ll take a few pics. A small bathroom remodel seems so mundane and possibly tone-deaf but it’s normal and I cling to normal like a lifeline.

At TNP, we were supposed to go back to work on April 1. I don’t think that’s going to happen. WM’s school is closed indefinitely. And my followup mammogram from my stupid cancer scare in October was postponed from April until May.

If you feel like reading about my anxieties, do continue. If not, you can bounce after this adorable picture of the dogs. Please be safe and stay home if you can.

dog in sunshine
These two goobers continue to be elated that we are home. I love this picture of Ollie because he looks 100 years old. He is possibly about to butp.

I’m nervous about catching this. I’m nervous about watching my loved ones catch this and then waiting 7-10 days to see if it turns and they have to go to the hospital. I’ve read too much information but still know next to nothing. Some days I just want to go lick a subway handstrap and catch it so I can be done with it and go back out in the world. NJ is hit hard (thanks, NY) and it’s going to get way worse before it gets better. But every day and every week we (me, my loved ones, you) can stave this off is a day and week closer to when the smart people who are working 24/7 to figure this out will have a vaccine. And every day/week we stave this off is a day/week where we’ll get better at knowing how to treat it.

By the end of the day my throat and chest are tight and my shoulders hurt and I feel like I’ve caught it. Unfortunately, when I’m physically stressed, my throat, chest, and shoulders tighten up. Hooray. I take my temperature once a day.

And here is where I show you my true colors and what an awful person I’ve become: every person who is out partying on beaches or cramming into airports in Salt Lake City or going against CDC/WHO advice is not only a risk to us (me, my loved ones, you) but they’re also one more human lab rat that the docs get to practice on so that by the time we get it, we’ll receive better care. I know I am wrong to feel this way and if you have any meditations/mantras/etc that can help me be a better human, please drop a comment below. I try, I really try, to be compassionate but every day I see idiots partying or holding insipid and blustery press conferences my heart hardens and I hate myself just a little bit more.

Please be safe. Please stay home.


Right now, it’s like this

March 20, 2020

No doom and gloom this time.

I’m in a much better place than I was a few nights ago. I didn’t pop back into Twitter until this afternoon. I restricted my news. And I came across a link in a post (MetaFilter? Reddit? Not sure….) explaining the mantra “Right now, it’s like this.” I don’t know if every thing will be like this tomorrow, or in a month, or in two months. But right now, it’s like this.

And so, we carry on.

Okay fine, I did take my temperature today because my allergies have been causing sniffles and a dry throat and I was starting to panic. My temp was 96.8. I normally run 97.6 so I’m actually lower than usual. Immediately, I calmed down.

I think I did well in my first full week working from home. I mentally checked out at 3:30pm today. That’s alright. I’m getting my work done and (I realize how woo this sounds) I’m trying to honor my mental health a bit more. At 3:30pm I needed to walk away from spreadsheets, and I did.

WM and me, walkimg
We cute.

We are taking lunchtime walks — it’ s ritual I look forward to. I have never seen so many people walking.

Which makes me wonder: once this is all over will our society become a little less overscheduled?

The dogs are living their best lives because we are home with them. Even Murphy is blissed out.

two dogs, mildly grumpy
“We’d be more blissed if you made room for us on the sofa.”

This started pre-US-pandemic, but my NYT crossword puzzle streak is at 42 days.

screenshot showing 43 day crossword puzzle streak
And Friday puzzles are fairly difficult!

I’ve had the app for a little over a year, and everyone said if you stick with it your win percentages go up and your completion time drops. It’s true!

Weekend plans? Who the hell knows? WM is doing a lot of work around the house — he’s been replacing doorknobs and painting the upstairs bathroom. Maybe I’ll steam clean the carpets. Maybe I’ll break out the sewing machine. Maybe I’ll make cookies. The world is yours when the world is limited to your property line.

To all of you panicked people out there, I’m with you. Stay home as much as you possibly can. You’re doing great. Right now, it’s like this.