31 March 2020

Now Taking Appointments - Barbershop Update

Okay, I am going to have to hide the scissors and clippers. We are drunk with power over here.

Today is the first day in three days that I haven't taken scissors to my hair.  I am willing myself to leave my hair alone EVEN THOUGH MY TENDRILS STILL NEED TRIMMING.  (it's still a ridiculous word: tendrils)


Kevin used the shears again on his hair.  It turned out, of course, perfect and we hate him a tiny bit.   It was longer than he liked it so now that he was feeling brave, he trimmed it shorter. 

He wondered aloud "Like, is it good enough that I don't have to pay to get my haircut?"  Remarkably, YES. It is good enough.  Boys have it so easy.

I did my first big cut on Sunday...what day is it, even?...  Swistle asked which method I used and I felt silly that I left that most important part out.  But of course I did, because I am me.

I did the pony method first.  I brushed it over my head, gathered it at the peak of my forehead and gathered it again about three inches from the ends. (this one was in a different video so a little false reporting there. Well done, me) 

It looked okay.  But as the day wore on, because I have baby hair, it was getting static-y and tangled, like when it's been layered.  (which is almost what has happened)

And OMG, Kevin went into flopsweat when I told him I cut my hair.  He mentioned that it looked nice and I said thanks, I just cut it.  Dude had panic in his eyes.  Made me LAUGH because, you know: Fair.  Now he knows how I felt when he asked for my help.  Sometimes Karma is instant.

The next morning, I did the two pony thing and it's not as easy as it looks.  Or I was just overly-anxious about it.  You try and decide which. 

Because parting my hair on top of my head is easy.  To continue the part in the back though is a hand-eye coordination skill I do not possess.  I did the best that I could and then had the same hand-eye coordination problem with angling the scissors.

This is where I do say that I am ambidextrous.  In this situation, that came in handy.  (Ha! PUN!)  It was the actual measuring and angling that I struggled with.  Finally I turned away from the mirror and just committed.  Because I realized that I can just blunt cut it again if I screwed it up. 

It's so much better!  I'm so happy that I did it.  And yes, of course I want to do MORE.  But eventually I will run out of hair and have to move.

28 March 2020

Let's Play Barbershop

I just finished the second week of my work quarantine and this is the third day of the state wide Stay Home decree.  So, of course I cut my hair.

Kevin started it, to sound like a grade-schooler.  Last night, unbeknownst to me, he took out his clippers and started cutting his hair.  I learned this when I heard him, with a tone of panic/regret, call out for me to help.

I walk into the bathroom to OMG, hair everywhere.  Bless his heart, he had plugged the sink so it wouldn't go down the drain and had pulled up the rug.  Nonetheless, there was still hair on every surface.  I guess I have nothing but time on my hands now so add this to the list.  He tried.

He needed help trimming the back, where he couldn't quite reach.  I have never, ever, done this so I am immediately anxious.  He demonstrates by zipping the clippers through his hair like nothing could ever go wrong.

I took a breath and began to trim his hair.  This is where I say he has Perfect Hair.  Like, seriously.  It's thick and soft and always lays in place.  So the goal was to just make it even.  I tried my best then gave the clippers back to him.  He continued then stopped to make sure there wasn't any thin spots or weirdness.

This is where I find myself combing my fingers through his hair like some kind of stylist to make sure it was even.  I asked him to just stop for now and look at it again in the morning, before he gets any more impulsive than he currently was.

Of course he ignored me. As I would have, if situations were reversed. (stay tuned)  I had to walk away because this whole thing was giving me anxiety.  I got the broom, dustpan and whisk broom and brought it back into the bathroom.

He had gotten into the shower to rinse everything off, leaving the bathroom a wreck.  I started to try to process how in the name of Where's Waldo I was going to clean this up when he said "No, I'm getting the shop vac."   That's a start but I knew it wouldn't get everything.  And hair is one of those items, like styrofoam, that keeps showing up days later.

This is just the sink portion, omitting the other sink and the floor

True to his word, he cleaned it up as best as he could.  I cleaned the bathroom this morning and it wasn't terrible.

And his hair is freaking perfect.  Boys have it so easy.

I was overdue for a haircut when this adventure began two weeks ago.  I've already trimmed my hair on the sides, where bangs used to was.  Tendrils, they're called but that sounds so Romance Novel.  The burnt portions of my hair are still growing back in but mostly everything has returned to normal. I no longer have Ed Grimley bangs.

ed grimley | Martin short, I love to laugh, Snl skits

While we were watching television, I googled how to cut your own hair.  Of course right now, there are all kinds of current posts/videos of how to do just that.  I watched a handful of them, found the most common way to do it, and set the intention of doing it in the morning.

I was actually a little excited to try this when I woke up this morning.  I think maybe that's an effect of being home for two weeks. Kevin had left to take Lucy to get treats and us coffee. So I knew I had about fifteen minutes of peace and quiet to finish this.  No pressure.

I showered, brushed out my hair and followed the directions from the videos. (How To) Deep breath and cut, cut, cut.  I took off about two inches.  I was tempted to take off more but followed the advice I gave Kevin last night to just wait to see how it turns out.

It's not awful.  It's not perfect.  I am satisfied, for sure.  I will probably also do some more tomorrow.

My hair is baby hair, super fine and not thick.  So a mistake is easily noticeable.  However, I remembered that I still have a chunk of hair growing back from the whole fire adventure.  I was prepared to see unevenness, highlighting that fact.  But Viola!  It's not bad:
(Swistle, this is a different photo than I sent you.
This is completely dry hair and sans toilet in the background, lol)

I will try it again tomorrow or in a few days.  It's still longer than I prefer but now is not the time for drastic experimentation.  And yes, it's time to color my hair again.  There's no hurry there, I am not seeing anyone for another four weeks.

A fun game to play if you're bored: google your first name and glamour shots then click images tab. You will not be disappointed:

27 March 2020

In Two Hour Increments

It's Friday today, right? 

Time is a construct.  I have never felt that concept more than Right Now.

I am trying to keep a schedule of some sort during this adventure.  The issue with this is that not only am I dependent upon having structure, my brain fights it.  I know that I NEED structure but unfortunately I tend to REBEL against it.

So it's with great humor and irony that I realized I have finally settled upon a loose schedule Just In Time for the weekend.  This means I am starting not quite at square one on Monday but a little bit.  Like Square Two.Five.  It seems to break down in approximately two-hour increments, strangely.

I send Kevin off to work at 5:30 each morning.  I am a Very Good Wife.
I immediately go back to sleep.  Sometimes I will watch television but usually I am sound asleep again easily.
Lucy wakes me up by 8:30 usually.  I don't know how she developed this schedule but here we are.
I shower, dress, and get coffee.  This week I am still going to our friends coffee stand but next week, I will be making my own. 
I wake up the house: turn on the lights, make the bed, start laundry, put dishes away.

Then I sit down at my desk. This goes a few different ways:
If I haven't checked social media on my phone, I will usually do a deep dive on the computer.  Answer/write emails, respond to the facebook, and browse the dumpster fire that twitter can be.

My "work" days is no less than 20 minutes to 2 hours daily.  Once I get settled and started, I've found that those two hours go by really quickly.  This is a good thing and I hope it continues. I was worried that the novelty would wear off. To be fair, it still might.

Once work is finished, I tend to try to write on the bloggity or just in general while I am in that work mindset.

Today I decided to act on something I've intended to do since January.  I signed up for a class on Coursera: Intro to Philosophy.  I've been listening and reading about Stoicism so this felt like a good starter class to support it. So far, so good.  It's presented in easy, bite-sized classes so it feels very doable.

Now Lucy tends to want to nap around the 3:00 hour so I try to take that time to watch a movie or read a book or play a game.  Something other than just mindlessly watching whatever has stacked up on the dvr or scrolling through social media on my phone.

I've been walking to the mailbox so that fulfills time spent outside and exercise.  Next week, I am going to purposefully plan yoga instead of just fitting it in whenever or wherever the mood strikes. (11:30 at night while Kevin slept was the latest, just in case you wondered)

Finally, Kevin usually phones about 5:00 to say he's on his way home.  Usually this prompts me to clean up any mess I've created, shut down the computer in the office, and start dinner. 
Then once he gets home, life reverts back to normal: dinner, dishes, television, sleep.

We're trying to keep the weekends the same.  Chores, projects, relaxing.  Starting now there will be no trips into town for dinner or shopping so we'll see how that goes. 

They say that a habit is grown in thirty days.  I have at least four more weeks of this whole working from home situation. Frankly, I've been told to plan for longer but I am focusing on the initial six weeks so that I don't get overwhelmed.  The point being is that I've added the philosophy class to keep my brain engaged while I'm home and I have added the intention of scheduling yoga on the regular next week.

I'm trying to frame this as an opportunity to grow new habits and to make the most of this really weird, daunting situation of not being able to leave the house.  It would be so easy to just lay down on the couch and watch endless television and scroll through my phone apps.  But that is not going to do me any good, either physically or mentally.

So, the question being: what have you...are you...doing to spend this unusual time?  I find it helpful to hear how others are spending their time, not only culling ideas but also feeling a sense of solidarity.

AND, and, and it's perfectly okay to say "Lay on my couch and watch television and scroll through social media."  Everyone has their thing.

26 March 2020

It's Only Been Four Days - A WFH Update

Okay, this is the third day of actually working from home.  Monday was a wash because it was all moving, set-up, and design.  Tuesday and Wednesday were mildly successful.  Now know that the bar is set pretty low:  I am hilariously required to work No Less Than Twenty Minutes and No More Than Two Hours Per DAY.  How that timeline was derived, I have no idea. And yes: hashtag/blessed.

The first two days I did okay with keeping a schedule, as much as my alphabet brain will allow.  Today, though, man, I am on the struggle bus.

I slept in more than usual.  I think it was a little bit of crash after Monday and the anticipation of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy decree.  And it's raining again.  Because of course it is.

Eating remains a problem.  I have forgotten to eat every single day today.  Coffee consumption, however, is On Point.  I usually get hungry around 2:00 and then debate eating a meal versus just a snack because dinner will be soonish.  I have to figure this out.  I'm thinking an alarm on my phone at noon-ish.  And YES, I KNOW, it's a ridiculous problem to have.

Two issues that will be ongoing are: Kevin and Lucy.  Lucy wants in, then out, then in, then out.  I can leave the door cracked so she can come in but she comes in like a Navy Seal so the door is left wide-open if I am not paying attention (because Working).  This will work itself out, it's just annoying.

Kevin is going to have to figure out that for right now Home does not Equal Available.  Bless his heart, he's got a LOT on his plate right now but after the FOURTH Call today, my patience had waned. There might have been tone. Okay, there WAS tone.  Unfortunately, for me, this call was legitimate because the parents needed something.  Sigh...

Again, this is a good problem to have. Because Waaahhh, my husband calls me during the day to check in.

I did not realize that my work computer has a Focus Assist app.  I am considering setting it up for the whopping two hours a day that I am working.  It's just too easy to scroll on over to the interwebs on a regular day, let alone while working at home.  See: Exhibit A: this post

I am enjoying the posts on social media, seeing how people have configured makeshift workstations, and complaining about their "coworkers" (children, pets, spouses), and the struggle to find a normal. I have wondered how the transition is going to go when we all have to return to our actual workplaces.  AND how many of us actually WILL return to our workplaces.

For instance, I am finding that 90% of my job CAN be done while at home.  5% of the missing percentage can be fixed and the remaining 5% is that pesky required personal interactions.  So, if I find a groove and make this successful, then a person wonders about negotiating working from home forever.

But it's been four days, out of six plus weeks.  I should probably relax at this point.  And remember to eat.

Supervisor would like to have a word with you

25 March 2020

Not The Usual Enemy

Monday Washington State received a "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order.  It's less than a Shelter-in-Place order but pretty doggone close.   People are ordered to stay home, work from home if possible, and no traveling unless it is essential, like the grocery store, pharmacy, or medical appointments. It's effective as of tonight at 11:59 and will/can be extended if the need warrants.  OR be strengthened to a Shelter in Place if people continue to make poor choices.

I will say that listening to the proclamation on television was one of those "Where Were You When..." moments. It was disorienting to have the Governor conduct a live broadcast at dinner and to hear that you are hereby ordered to stay home for an indeterminate amount of time.

We are lucky: My home office is 100% set up and I've been figuring out how to work from home.  Kevin's job is categorized as essential so he continues to work. (he does have the option to opt-out at any time)  They are putting many protocols into place to keep everyone safe in the meanwhile.

I am the designated human for the parents from now on. Kevin is worried that he will inadvertently carry something home to them. Whereas I am now home all day by myself.  Even with that, we are limiting interactions to emergencies and IT support.

I *think* I am ready to be home for two weeks. It feels like I have the groceries, toiletries, and supplies we need.  It's not a big deal if it isn't, trips to the store are allowed.  However, it is recommended that only ONE person shop.  This makes Kevin happy because now it's basically The Law that I have to go shopping alone.

It's difficult to gauge how this will go.  The numbers are increasing each day but they are hoping for a plateau soonish as it feels like we were ground zero.  For my mental health, I am focusing on just the two weeks and will figure it out if it is extended.

It is weird to say "goodbye" to friends and coworkers, knowing it could be a while before we actually see each other again.  It feels like we're buckling down for war.  I guess it's not a stretch that we ARE.  It's just not the usual enemy.  It's almost worse.

Because the enemy is almost, simply, us.  We are the carriers. We are solely responsible for ending or spreading this germ terrorism, if you will allow some hyperbole.  So, Stay Home, Stay Healthy
It is 100% on us to fight this in any way that we are able.

I am including Governor Inslee's email below for those who might be interested. I am pleased that he is our Governor.  It could be - and is in some states - so much worse.

To defeat COVID-19, we're hunkering down.

Last night, I issued an order to every Washingtonian: "Stay home, stay healthy" for at least the next two weeks. Let me take a moment to explain to you why and what it means.

Washingtonians are required to stay home unless they need to pursue an essential activity. All gatherings are banned for social, spiritual, and recreational purposes, and all businesses are closed except for essential businesses.

We made this order to protect our friends, families, and communities from the spread of COVID-19. The more people who stay home, the more lives we'll save. That part is simple and clear.

While this order means we are strictly limiting our physical interactions with one another, I want to make an important point about what you can still do. You can go outside to go to the grocery store, for a medical appointment, or for essential work duty. And because enjoying the outdoors is critical to supporting your mental health, you can still go for a walk or a bike ride or garden in your yard. And this is absolutely the time to call your loved ones or video chat with an old friend.

This is a challenge unlike anything we've ever seen. But we'll persevere together, as Washingtonians, united in the fight of our lives.

Very truly yours,

Jay Inslee

22 March 2020

Like Finding Gold

Yesterday I went to pick up a grocery order.  Thank all the gods that I started doing that way before it was cool.  First though, I had to stop at another grocery store and go inside.  It's the higher-end store where I buy produce and bakery goods.

First off, it's Spring but the weather is still moody.  As I got out of the truck, I felt my chest start to tighten and I thought "I can't cough. I Can't cough. I can't COUGH."  It subsided and I continued into the store with that fun little mantra.

The deli person is always so nice and I chatted with her from a safe distance.  Picked up my fruits and vegetables then went to the canned goods to pick up some stuff for the in-laws.

As I came to the end of the aisle, there was a young man standing there looking befuddled.  He was late teens-early twenties at the most.  "I...I just like FOUND this...?"  I looked at what he was holding and it was a 4-pack of brand name toilet paper.

He was stunned. "It was just sitting right here." he gestures to the end cap.

"Well, it's your lucky day. Take it. Someone left it for you.  Like a leprechaun, a toilet paper leprechaun."

He was hesitant.  He wasn't sure he should take it.  "Dude, take it. Take it and run. You found it."

Still he hesitated.  Bless his heart.  I continued walking away and hoped he would take it.  And wondered why it was left, randomly on an end cap and no where near where the paper goods aisle was located.

I picked up one more thing then thought "I will go look and see if there is any toilet paper stocked."


The store hadn't even stocked the shelves but left the shipping boxes on the floor and open.  The brand names were all gone but the store brand was plentiful.

I have to admit that I did feel relief upon seeing it.  I mean it's ridiculous on a whole new level that toilet paper is a COMMODITY.  The inability to get it was worrisome though.  There was sign that stated "No more than two per customer" so I took two.  I was thinking one package for us and one for the in-laws.

Around the corner comes the young gentleman. "Oh, you had the same idea I had!"  Followed by: "Oh look! There IS more. I CAN take this."  Again, bless his heart.  He gave me a little faith in humanity and made me want to call his parents to tell them what a fine young man they've raised.

I went to check out and people were mostly, kinda, doing the six-foot rule.  It's such a simple thing to do that I don't understand how people don't do it IN THE NORMAL WORLD.  Personal Space, people.

The store installed giant sneeze shields, like you see on salad bars. I was impressed with their proactiveness.  I asked the cashier what she thought and she confessed that she loved it.  "Even without the flu going around...(she lowers her voice)...sometimes people are so rude and ... (lowers her voice even more)...they don't have nice smelling breath."

"Well, I am Team Leave Them Up after this.  It only makes sense to keep people safe."

I left and loaded the groceries in the back of the truck.  This is where I say that the straps from towing it were still in the back so it looked like I was prepared to transport a body, which made me laugh.

After parking at the pick-up center, I went and tried to organize the back of the truck so I could fit the incoming groceries. I actually HID the toilet paper on the second backseat of the truck.  I felt silly doing so but Nothing is Normal Right Now.

There was a little vindication when the delivery boy mentioned how weird people are being.  He said "It probably wasn't a bad idea to keep that out of sight."  We are living in the End Times, sheesh.

Last stop...shush, I am social distancing...I picked up dinner at a Mexican restaurant we love.  How weird it is to stand in the middle of a usually super busy restaurant and it's EMPTY.  I tipped heavily and thanked them for being open.  They were very grateful for the business so GO GET TAKE OUT, PEOPLE!

Finally, I arrive home. Kevin is excited about the toilet paper as if I had just brought him home a new puppy or car parts.  "It's dumb how excited I am about this" he says.

"Well, one pack is for your parents and the other is for us."

He stops, thinks.  "How about...and I feel bad about this...we keep both?  So we have it and then we'll share if we need to."  He is warring with himself over toilet paper.  Sigh.

"That's fine."  I'm not going to debate this and spin him out anymore than he already is doing to himself.

"Well, Brother & Sister say they have plenty so everyone is take care of. If it comes to that." He offers.

"That's fine." I reply.

"Now, where do we put it? It feels like we should HIDE it." He laughs.

"GO OUTSIDE." I tell him, laughing.

So, that's how it's going here at Surely's house. A little faith in humanity, takeout Mexican food is good, and we have toilet paper.

21 March 2020

Star Date Six, Status Update

Okay...what day is it today? Saturday?  Okay.

Kevin had to work today because his work is overwhelmed with business.  Construction, composting, and landscaping goes on, despite what feels like the end of the world  But him being gone on a Saturday just adds to this strange world we're living in right now.

I did not move my work office home yet. It looks like that will be on Monday.  There was a delay due to a staff person's exposure.  It will happen next week though because whew, this is rough.  AND I remembered all the plants in the office are going to need sunlight and water. Poor things. 

I have to go pick up groceries tonight because as of last Tuesday, that was the earliest pickup time available. And now there are NO times available for picking up groceries. At any of the stores. So, that's concerning.  And toilet paper remains an issue.  SO FRUSTRATING.  At least the stores here are designating early shopping hours for the elderly and medically fragile folks. 

So far of the tasks I designated for this time, I have cleaned the oven. I posted on the facebook that next time I will just move or allow it to finish burning.  What a miserable task that is.  If you're wondering, I didn't get a self-clean oven because I had one and it terrified me.  Also, the whole house smelled forever afterward.  So as gross as cleaning an oven can be, that wasn't a choice for me again. (do not apply logic, save yourself!)

I broke the rules and cut my hair today.  I was overdue for a haircut before this adventure began and I just could not handle it one second longer.  And yes, I am going to YouTube how to trim the ends during this adventure. I KNOW IT'S A BAD IDEA.  But it will give me a good story to tell.

Mostly I have kept to a schedule. I live in my own time zone, according to my friends, so it is a plus/minus 30 minutes, usually.  I can't remember what I was doing the other evening and Kevin asked me why I was doing it Then versus Later. "Because I NEED a SCHEDULE". 

First, I give you permission to call me any name you choose upon reading this:  I keep forgetting to eat.  This is a prime example why I need a schedule. I forget to eat even though I have food in the house.  Coffee in the morning, water throughout the day and then...  Also, I'm trying to pay attention to the Am I Really Hungry or Just Bored. 

I  take a photo of Lucy every day and post it on the facebook.  It's just a fun way to mark off the days on the calendar, keep my friends entertained and LOOK:

I try to accomplish a project each day.  Today is just my regular weekend chores so that's boring but necessary.  It's easy to think "Oh, well, I am home all week so I'll just do it later." But I've met me and I need to do it today.

Two realizations: 
I need to go back to work so Kevin will stop calling me all.day.long.  OMG, I love him and he's a good guy but Stop Calling.  I know he's just touching base, and he's worried. If we had just started dating, I would find this charming.  He has bluetooth but I do not because I AM HOME. So when he calls, whatever I am doing has to stop.  Anyway...it's a good problem to have. 

I am going to resent shoes when I have to wear them again.  I had this issue when I returned to work after having months off.  By the time I return to work it will be warm enough to wear my converse again so that's happy.

Might I suggest you listen to JACK FM while you're home.  The commercials are limited so it's almost the only terrestrial radio stations that I will listen to.  The point being is the music is mostly upbeat and fun, (80's, 90's and some 00's.) I listen to the Vancouver station because it's closer than Seattle and the reception is better.  Also, it plays Canadian bands too, which I love.  Like this gem: Soda   It also keeps me from just sitting down and watching television all day.

Lastly, GO OUTSIDE.  Remember to go outside and breathe the air, Feel the sun on your skin.  I have been walking to the mailbox now that the weather isn't crap.  I've spent time outside with Lucy and I just feel better.  So, go outside. Even if it's just standing out there for five minutes. Do it.

One work week complete. Five to go.  We can do this.

20 March 2020

Like Reading Old Diaries

I have a back-up email account that I use for stuff that I know is going to generate spam or when I need anonymity. It's SUPER rare that I check it.  Today was one of those days. BECAUSE I HAVE TIME ON MY HANDS.

I had to cancel a subscription that I set up for one of my nephew's Christmas presents.  I forgot the email password and had to reset it.  Then I had to swim through all the spam, ads, and stuff to actually find what I needed.

As I scrolled through my inbox, I noticed the dates. It goes as far back as 2007.  Holy Buckets.  Nothing like a little time travel when the world already feels upside down.

So, I liberally hit the delete button and read a few emails and wondered why I had emails with photos attachments. It occurred to me that this was before google photos, etc.  My solution way back then was to email photos to myself.  Well, add that to my To-Do list: save or cull photos.

This reminded me that my niece was just telling us that she had switched from an android phone back to an apple phone.  To her utter dismay, apple - in all of it's wisdom - downloaded all of her data from her previous apple phone from 2011.  Yikes.

She said it was like finding and reading old diaries. There were texts, messages, photos.  She said it was embarrassing, and sad, and a little fun.  I am feeling the same while browsing through those old emails.  And it just occurred to me that I didn't look through the Sent Folder.  Yikes. B.R.B.

Yep, it's like reading old diaries for sure.  Emails to friends long gone, work emails and personal emails that made me forget just exactly how much 2003-2009 SUCKED.  Like epically, Gone With the Wind level sucked.  Finding emails for payment arrangements, loans, medical records, work stuff, personal drama.  It makes me remember that as much as being home for six weeks is not fun, those years were So Much Worse.  Perspective gained.

On the other hand, I found emails from internet friends that I had forgotten I had (the emails, not the friends) it's where I originally had bloggity stuff directed to so I could see the beginnings of this whole adventure.  The photos are fun to see too.  (adding those to my to-do list)

So, if you're stuck at home for an extended period of time like me, this is either a suggestion or a dire warning.  Do with it as you will.

19 March 2020

Learning to Put on Your Seat Belt

So, yesterday (Tuesday) Kevin phoned from work. Someone had heard from someone who had heard from someone that possible Shelter-in-Place was going to be enacted soon.  He was trying to fact check and, I think, just wanted a soothing voice of reason.  I feel like even if it's announced today, there is still no reason to panic.

However, Kevin still insisted that he come home and we go back into town to "get some extra stuff."  Sigh.  Shopping at 6:00 pm is never optimum but in this situation it's going to be futile.  If it makes him feel better, here we go.

Town is a former shell of itself.  The store itself was a little busy but not crazy.  Everyone was quiet but everyone was also extra polite.  So, that's nice. Even with that, Kevin announces "I would pay $20 dollars EACH TIME to never have to shop again."  He's just not a shopping kind of guy and to be fair, I hate it also.
I will admit it was disconcerting to see empty shelves. I've never experienced that on this scale. When I started to feel that little tickle of concern, I just reminded myself that This Wasn't The Last Grocery Store Ever. 

The only thing we weren't able to get was toilet paper.  It's so frustrating that it is still a thing.  Measures have been implemented to limit the amount of purchases, but shelves are still empty.  Just the psychological impact of seeing empty shelves increases the sense of panic.  Truly though, truck deliveries happen every day. Factories are still working. To quote my surrogate brother: "We are not flooded, there wasn't a hurricane. People are still working."

What I did find interesting is that this is going to force us to broaden our perspectives.  Your preferred brand is unavailable, you try a different one.  Your usual frozen vegetables aren't available? try the Italian or Stir fry mix instead.  You get to figure out what you can make with the ingredients on hand...I literally considered the stir-fry thing last night. Pre-Pandemic Me would have never had that thought, like, ever.

I have been working on reducing my environmental footprint even more now. I've noticed that I'm using more rags and less paper, I'm using less paper over all.  I have been putting Kevin's sandwiches in a plastic container (this isn't pandemic related but I still want the credit)  I'm starting to think about making things last versus the mindset of "Meh, there's more at the store."

One of the other things I realized is that we are reverting back to the 1950's as far as shopping is concerned. Stores aren't open 24/7 anymore. I suspect that many of them may not revert to that business model.  Stores are sharing their day-olds and "expired" products with the community.  The elderly and fragile are getting the attention they deserve.  Neighbors are helping one another and coordinating efforts to make sure everyone is okay.

People also seem to be "discovering" people again.  Our heads are out of our phones and our computers.  Families are home together and trying to learn or remember how to do just that: be a family.  Neighbors are home and getting to know each other again.  We are getting to know our service workers and our first responders.  Because we all need each other more now than ever before.

Some of you might not remember but this situation is kind of tantamount to when required seatbelt use was enacted. Everyone fussed, then everyone started doing it.  Then friends/family would remind "Put your on seatbelt."  Until it just became a habit that everyone has and it seems unusual when you hear someone wasn't wearing theirs.

I guess my point is that as awful as this IS, maybe there will be a shiny side when it's all done.  Maybe we won't go back with our heads in our phones, not paying attention to what we use, and how we shop.  People are remembering (or in my case: learning) how to make things from scratch again. People are being more mindful overall.  That is the shiny side I hope to see continue.

18 March 2020

Day One Blended Into Two

Well, friends today marks the first  second day of six weeks being home.  I am not sick. NOT SICK.
I work for the schools so here in Washington State, we are home for six weeks. At least.

I am lucky that I will probably be paid. I am returning to my office today to move my entire office to here at the house.  THEN it gets creative. I can work from home as long as my caseload allows.  I am guessing about a week's worth of work.  Because if we're not doing direct service, little work is generated for me.  After that, then it's a mandatory vacation.  *this is where I say that I'm lucky/blessed/blahblahblah

My friend asked me what I am going to do for six weeks and my reply was a sigh and "Probably be really grumpy."  There was a status check yesterday afternoon and I replied "BORED" with a picture of the television.

I just had the world's longest winter, full of holidays, snow days, and winter break.  The last thing I wanted was MORE time home. Now, to up the challenge level:  there is nothing to do.  Restaurants and stores aren't open.  Town looks like a former shell of itself.  There is quite literally nothing to do.

Okay, *hand clap*  I have to have some sort of a plan.  Swistle talked about this on her bloggity and we talked together about how there has to be a schedule.  I remember that from when I was home for months.  Get up at relatively the same time, eat at the same time, have an activity planned, daily chore schedule. In this case: work.

I had a small list of projects I could tackle while off and now I'm reconsidering. There was a funny yet realistic thread on the twitter addressing how humans have the tendency to make said lists then end of doing None Of It.

Here's what I am thinking:
Bank Instagram photos.
Write....shut up, I will.
Work on my photo project because it got shelved by doing both of my mother's projects.
Clean the oven...especially since I caught it on fire the other day
Work in the garden, if it ever stops freezing.  It was 30 degrees this morning.
Normally I would have "See my friends" but nope.
I told Lucy I would take her for walkies if the weather ever turns nice for more than five minutes.

I thought "Oh, this would be a good time to take care of annual physical, mammogram, etc."  Ummm, no. This is the exact wrong time to do any of those.  For a smart person, sometimes my brain betrays me.

And really, what am I actually going to get done?  Watch a LOT of television, surf social media, play Wordscapes and Farmville.  Read the stack of magazines that has accumulated again.

But for now, there will be some actual working from home happening.  I am unsure how that is going to play out but I'm here for it.

The next bloggity post will be an update to this update. NOT SICK. I repeat: Not SICK.

16 March 2020

You Seem Grumpy

I swear to all the gods that the question "Are you grumpy?" will make me grumpy in less  time than it takes for those words to dissipate into the air.

Clearly, I have had a recent interaction with my in-laws.  Wanna hear about it? Oh, good. I am glad you stopped by.

They have flip phones.  Cheap, sh*tty little flip phones because that's what they wanted. They did not want smart phones.  I just paid off the second one this month.

My m-i-l's phone was the one she managed to put into airplane mode and "can't hear" it ring.  I fixed both of those issues a few weeks ago.

NOW, she can't hear when people talk.  Unfortunately, on many levels, this is true.  It's not loud enough.  FML because I don't want to go buy another dumb flip phone.

Two things:
She has a smart phone but she doesn't use it.  Except for games.  My b-i-l gave it to her without asking anyone what we thought.

She wants one of those Jitterbug phones.  She is convinced that is the Only Phone that will work. Because the television says so.  However, where we live, there might not be adequate reception.  AND, we're back to spending money on a phone that most likely she will deem "not working" in a minute.

I suggested that she try using the smart phone.  I asked her two things: Do you know how to use it? YES.  How often do you actually TALK on the phone? NOT MUCH.  So, barriers are low.  She frowned at me, because again: that's what we do when we don't get our way.

Now, let's talk about groceries.  Because of the pandemic, they are wisely staying home.  I SO NOT WISELY offered to set up a pick up grocery account for them.  Kevin told them that we need a list and their credit card.  About three reminders later, she phones and asks if I need to know the Brands of the things she wanted. "Only if you want me to get what you want. Otherwise, I'm going to choose whatever the best buy is"  She said that was okay.

I meant to screenshot the list and in my state, I forgot.  No brand names except two items:  Blue Lamb dog food...it's Blue Buffalo and Husky garbage bags...which are contractor bags.  Otherwise, it was choose my own adventure.

Oh and 2 gallons of milk...no type of milk
and 2 lbs. of butter. No type or brand.

I phoned my f-i-l for clarification and that was a mistake. Well, he knew 2% milk and brown bread.  The butter was "in a blue box".

Finally, I just gathered up my laptop and walked over there.  Please for the love of god show me what butter you need, I say. Four sticks of butter in a white and gold, regional brand butter.  Close enough.

Okay, that task is finished. Whew.

AND THEN, she says "The internet isn't working."  SIGH....

For how long? I foolishly ask.  "Oh, for a few days."

I tried to explain that she needs to tell us right away. Also, that everyone is home right now so the network is probably slow and overloaded.

"And my facebook isn't working."


I sat down and trouble-shot the tablets only to determine that they are worn out. They are both a few years old and one of them has a near full memory.  I explained this to them.

"Well, my birthday is coming up so we'll just get one then."  Because just buying a new one is the solution to all of the things lately.

My f-i-l was a little "Wait, what?"

I intervened and said that I would research what could be done and get back to them. "Don't buy anything yet."

Oh, and upon looking at her facebook account, I noticed she friended a stripper and followed a conservative fake news site.   She didn't, mind you, the magical elves of the internet did it.  Add monitoring her facebook to the list of things to do while I'm off work.


She says "Are you grumpy? You seem grumpy? Are you grumpy at us?"


Again, nothing is a flipped switch like being asked Are You Grumpy.  I explained that no, I wasn't.  I will admit that I wasn't jazz hands happy so I may not have seemed "normal."  Well, normal to them.

"Yes, you are."

"No, I am not. Don't put that on me. I'm fine."

"You are too. Don't you think so dear?"

Again, my f-i-l is taken off-guard.  "I'm not getting into it." he says.

I explained that I would look into both her phone and a tablet and left before she could insist any further.  And, I will be picking up toilet paper and kleenex for her at the store because you can't order those items for pickup.

Now, of course the brother-in-law's truck is in our driveway. He's talking to Kevin in the shop so I can only go into the house and be now legit grumpy.  Because if I were to say anything in the presence of the brother, nothing good can happen.

Instead, I sat down with my amazon account and looked at tablets.  After talking with Kevin, we decided to just buy her a new tablet.  WE will buy her a new tablet.  Kevin phoned his dad to make sure it would be okay. "Just DO it. " he said.  He, too, is over this whole thing.

So, that's the grocery part solved.  Mostly.
The tablet part solved, on Friday.
The phone issue will remain unsolved.  We're not buying another flip phone, but I will look into the jitterbug phone tomorrow with little hope of it working out.  The solution will most likely be her learning how to use the smart phone that she already owns.

And, yes, NOW I am grumpy.

15 March 2020

This is Next Level

On Friday, I had probably the worst day I've had in a long, long while.  I posted on social media about it, trying to make light and reframe the situation but no matter how I looked at it: it was just a really.bad.day.

Starting Tuesday, with thousands of others, I am out of work for six weeks. Longer if the pandemic escalates.  Not only home for six weeks but it is unclear how or if I will be paid.  I have sick leave and vacation to cover this but that's not how I want to play that out.

Then on the way home, my truck broke down while getting on the freeway.  I'm grateful that it happened while getting onto the freeway and not ON the freeway.  I could get the truck to a safe place to wait for Kevin to come rescue me.

Now the funny part because we need some happy up in here.

I had to pee when I left.  I figured it was less than 10 minutes to my house, it would be fine.
IT WAS NOT FINE. About 30 minutes after I left, I so, so, so had to pee.  Had.to.PEEEEEEEE.

I went through all the scenarios: whether or not I could walk somewhere (no, not safe) peeing myself (it's leather seats) considering googling how long before your kidneys explode, remembering when I was a small kid and my parents opening two doors on a four-door station wagon so I could pee and not be seen (parked too close to the guard rail and it's four-wheel drive, too high), peeing in the ditch. (there are Dept of Transportation cameras on all on-ramps)
When Kevin phoned to tell me he was minutes away, I told him I had to pee and it was becoming an emergency.  "Walk to the gas station" was strangely his first response. (he always says "Stay in the car until I come" if something like that happens.)  Then he said "Can't you just pee on the side of the road?"  I was all "UM, NO sir."

And then I HAD TO.  (it's okay to laugh, I was)   I was not going to pee in my truck.

I got out, hopped a big guard rail, walked down into a ditch where no one could see and peed. It was terrible and good at the same time. Terrible because I AM PEEING IN A DITCH ON THE SIDE OF THE FREEWAY and good because Holy Mother of GAWD I had to pee.

Oh, and guess who wore tights and her kicky boots to work.  THIS GIRL.  Guess what's not good to wear when you have to hike down into a ditch? Kicky boots.  Guess what's not easy when you have to pee outside? TIGHTS.  Or Either of THESE when you have to climb over a tall guard rail.

Seriously: FML Friday.  

AND OF COURSE, this is when Kevin pulls up and I'm in a ditch peeing.  OF COURSE.  Once he knew I wasn't dead, he laughed.

After I was done and sitting safely in a nice warm truck, I phoned my BFF and said  "I'm fine but super quick I have to tell you something that will make you laugh."  
"Okay..." they say, not quite believing me.  


There was Stunned Silence then an intake of breath and then LAUGHTER.  "Of course you did." they say.  Nothing surprises my friends most days.  Although this is Next Level, even for me.

So, next time I have someone tell me that they've had a bad day, I am going to ask them one simple question: Did you have to pee in a ditch?

07 March 2020

Consequences of Happy Birthday Wishes

The other day was my sister's birthday.  Wait, she has a sister? you may have just thought.  I have a friend whom I call my sister.  Because when we were in high school, people SWORE we were sisters so we were all "Meh, okay, we're sisters."  She is the one who helped me disappear so we will forever be sisters.


I texted her happy birthday and send the social media happy birthday and didn't really think about it again.  Then I happened to bump into her wife at the grocery store.  She was buying my sister's birthday cake.  I asked where she was and she said "Oh, she's sleeping in the car."

Hmmmm...this is where the devil in my brain gets creative.

"Do you have a minute? I'll hurry and get my stuff."

She agreed and described which car they were in.

I hustled through the rest of my shopping and OF COURSE the person in front me was having troubles with all.the.things.  Member number entry, I think she paid with cash and credit, she needed a specific bag. I am not a patient human and I'm CERTAIN there were a few teenage-girl level heavy sighs.

Finally, it's my turn. I pay for my stuff and remember to get cash for Kevin.  This is where I say I don't carry a purse. I hate them.  So I put everything into the shopping bag.  It was only one bag.

I walked out into the parking lot and my sister's wife rolls up gently, stops, and unlocks the door.  My sister is awakened by the click of the lock but still isn't quite sure what's happening.  I popped open the door and loudly called out "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!"

My sister makes me look and sound prim and proper.  She said thank you...eventually.  Just as expected.

So, happy that I got to see her and be devious, I continued on my way home.

This is Friday.  I didn't have to go anywhere on Saturday but I did have to go shopping on Sunday.  So resentfully I went the twenty minutes into town to run two errands.

And this is where Karma comes to visit.  I cannot find my debit card.  I look all the truck, through the bag, called the store. No card.  Karma.

I was able to complete one errand then had to go home, unfulfilled.  I'm laughing because I deserved this and if you remember, I was having a super weird week.  This was just right on par.

Kevin, however, is not seeing the humor in this.  "You are very calm for someone who lost her debit card" he remarks two or three times.  I had called the store, I had checked our account, and I had looked everywhere.  It was gone, there was nothing to be done.

On Monday at lunch I went and ordered a new card.  "It happens all the time" the bank human reassures me.

The rest of the week was okay but I had to remember how to use cash.  I never, ever, have cash on me so it was an adjustment for sure.  I don't pay attention to how much coffee costs, I had to walk inside the gas station, I ran out by Thursday.  I was a mess. 


Happy Birthday, sister. It was totally worth it.

04 March 2020

You Might Know Me From My Hits...

Thanks to GiGi for the writing prompt. "You Might Know me from My Hits"   I've kind of hit a wall this week with too many things going on at once.  

On the interwebs, people were tweeting "You might know me from my hits" then listing things they repeatedly say every.single.day.multiple.times.a.day.until.they.die

Believe it or not, my life is pretty simple so I had to think about it. 

At work:
I am an advocate at work, who supports other advocates and managers in making sure that littles have their well-child exams, dental exams, immunizations, screenings, and other things that support or ensure their health, growth, and development.  It requires one single form and sometimes a Veronica Mars level of investigation.  My chart toppers at work are:

Do we have a current consent?
Do we have a current consent?
Do we have a current consent?

Do I have to go to that meeting?

How can I help?

Tell me. To clarify: my office is the one where many people come to vent, problem solve, etc. So I hear on-the-daily "Can I talk to you for a second?"

At home:
At home, well, that gets a little complicated.  I'm a part-time stay-at-home wife, I am a reluctant-on-both-sides caregiver for my in-laws, and the treat-giver/door-opener/driver for the puppy.  My #1 hits at home are:

You're my girl (to Lucy)
I can't hear you
Your parents...
Give me a minute.

On the Bloggity:
Here on the bloggity, I am all of the above plus a written representative of my alphabet soup brain. The old standards you will hear here are:

I know, right?
My point is...

02 March 2020

Pink Straws

This time last year we lost our friend, Stacy, in a tragic accident.  Not only did I think of her over the weekend, I think of her every time I see a pink straw.

Stacy was one of the first barista's we ever met.  She had Kevin's number from go. Those two would just harass each other endlessly and love it the entire time.  Not only at the coffee stand but also in the middle of the CCU of the hospital. It didn't matter the location, their jobs were to insult and tease each other.  (To clarify: Stacy was a registered nurse and consulted on our behalf during one of Kevin's mom's stays at the hospital.)

So, what's with the pink straw?

Know that if you see a man with a pink straw in their iced drink or coffee, he's probably a jerk to baristas.  That is their way to get back to men when they are rude or harassing them. Subtle, yet genius.  Because if you're a d*ck enough to be rude to cute girls at the coffee stand, then a simple pink straw in your drink is going to ruin your day.

One day Kevin came home and he had a pink straw in his drink.  I was a little "Wut?" about it. Then Kevin explained that Stacy gave him the pink straw because she knew he would have to explain to his guys at work why he had a pretty, pretty pink straw.  He had sassed her and that was her revenge.

And so this went on for days/months, if Stacy made his drink: it had a pink straw.  It didn't matter if I picked it up or if Kevin did. Pink straw.

Then we noticed one day that the other girl was giving Kevin a pink straw.  He thought it was a coincidence and moved on with his life. Then it happened again.  And again. 

Finally, just curious, he asked the girls why he was getting a pink straw.  He wanted to make sure that he wasn't inadvertently rude or what.  They laughed uncomfortably and said "Well, Stacy said that we had to give you a pink straw when you come through."

Kevin was nonplussed, laughing in disbelief.  "She did, huh?" 

The girls were worried that he would be mad and he assured them that he wasn't.  But it was on now.

So, if he knew it was Stacy working, he would wait for the car in front of him to pull away then he would honk.  Just to be a brat.  At 5:30 IN THE MORNING.

And the pink straws continued. As did the honking.

All too soon, Stacy left the stand to do her grown-up job.  We were really sad that she left but was excited that she had achieved her dream of becoming a nurse full-time.

It's been YEARS since Stacy worked there and the girls continue to give Kevin a pink straw.  It's actually written down in Stacy's handwriting on a note pinned to the wall in the stand "Give Kevin in the white truck a pink straw."

Stacy's been dead a year now. And the pink straws continue.  I think of her every time I see one.