22 September 2021

I'm Going On An Adventure

 So my work trip is next week.   The anxiety is curb-stomping any excitement I'm having right now. Super.

Kevin keeps trying to hype me up but uncharacteristically, I'm all "But..."

This is the thing:

It's a work trip.

I'm travelling alone.

Once I'm there, I'm with three coworkers. Two of which are work besties and the other I don't know at all.


It's in Vegas, which I love.  But see all the above things THEN ADD: 95 degrees outside. Then add: WORK.

It occurred to me the other day that I'm short.  Why does this matter?  Luggage storage in the overhead bin.  Kevin always does it because it's way above my head.  I mean, I can just about stand up straight underneath it.  So I think I can't go.  lol.   

Kevin said "Just ask for help" which made me snort in laughter.  You know when people are feeling generous and helpful? NOT WHILE DISEMBARKING AN AIRPLANE.  Also, I believe I am past the age of batting my eyes and twirling my hair to get someone to help me.  (damn, that used to work and I'm a little sad now)

Then there's the whole travelling during a pandemic thing.  This gave me an excuse to buy more masks.  Like I needed more but here we are.  I bought another Doctor Who one and a Puppy one.  Please shop on Etsy for masks, they have so many well-made, cute ones. So I have one for each day and extras.  This is new, trying to figure out how many masks to bring.  Also, I don't hate the anonymity. 

Kevin...the mad genius...wondered "How much would it be to upgrade to first class?"  GENIUS.  I looked about two weeks ago and the answer was Too Much.  Well, I just looked again and for $100 total: first class, window seat.  HIGH FIVE KEVIN.

Then I decided that because I'm travelling alone, I rented a car.  This way I'm not waiting for shuttles, taxis, etc.  I will go from the airport to the car, the car to the valet to the hotel.  This reduces the amount of peopling and I know that there is surveillance everywhere.  I wouldn't worry about this if I were traveling to New Hampshire.  I worry because it's Vegas.

After upgrading the flight I remembered the last time I travelled, I used the apps and what a big difference it made. With the airline app, I can check-in early with my flights.  My enhanced driver's license usually allows me to skip TSA and I'm hoping that is true for this trip.  I didn't book the trip initially so I need to do some investigating.  I also set up no contact car rental, which I've never done before.

Now it's the obsessing about making sure I have everything and packing.  I have the tendency to overpack.  Also, wild temperature swing as I go from Fall in the PNW to the desert and back again.  Plus travel and work clothes.  ALSO, I've been working from home for almost two years: I don't have work clothes really anymore.

The coordinators offered this helpful tip to attendees of the conference:

We recommend business casual attire throughout the conference. Dress Jeans are welcome. Conference ballrooms tend to be chilly, so please bring a sweater and don't forget to pack comfortable shoes.

There's just so much to unpack (intentional pun!) there.  Business casual is different in the PNW than elsewhere.  Different everywhere, actually. What are Dress Jeans?  Bring a sweater.  Comfortable Shoes.  

This conference is clearly being put on by the Golden Girls.

AND THEN there's the whole it's during Start Up so I'm trying to get everything done in double-time because I will lose a week's worth of work, during a deadline.  You can bet that I won't be making this mistake again.

Now as a coping technique, I'm making a list of things I want to see and do: 

  • The Venetian to just breathe.  If you've never been there, the air smells AMAZING.
  • The Conservatory at the Bellagio  
  • The Titanic exhibit for the eleventyth time.  I don't know that I'll have time though.
  • Get t-shirts and a burger at In & Out.
  • The High Roller Ferris Wheel.  But this too is a maybe, time-wise.  Also, this one made Kevin's eyebrows raise because: traveling alone.
I haven't been to Vegas since 2017 so I'm certain things have changed.  I'm hoping to knock some of these off on Monday before I even go to the hotel.  Then hotel check-out is well before I have to be at the airport on Thursday so that will be some time too.

I'm staying at Caesars Palace and I haven't been there before.  I am excited about that. If I were with Kevin or our friends, there would be many jokes from The Hangover but alas, not going to happen.  It's just not as funny via text.

Kevin is taking vacation days while I'm gone.  It's odd, I know, but by doing so there is someone here with Lucy and the parents.  Also, he's working on a big project so this will give him a lot of uninterrupted time and he's pretty excited about that.  I've offered to make meals ahead of time but he's declining.  I think he wants to just do the bachelor thing instead.  Among all the stuff above, I am trying not to think about the state of this house upon my return.  At least I will have a long weekend.

Oh, I just received an email from the conference.  Of course there is an app for that.  

Despite all of this *waving my hands around my head*  It will be fine.  There will be moments of fun and moments of suck.  This will be a "vacation" of sorts.  Sure, yeah. Let's go with that. It will be fine.  It will give me a good story to tell, I have no doubt.

 I'm going to play with my luggage to distract myself.

21 September 2021

I Wasted Eight Dollars - What Did Surely Take Apart Now

 Much to Kevin's dismay, I have pulled apart another cupboard.  This time he walked into the house with a tired "NOW what are you doing?"

I've talked about the junk cupboard before.  I will try to find the post and link it here but we've met me so, please don't hold your breath.

Most people have a junk drawer.  Or a spare closet or a garage.  We have a junk cupboard.  It's a weird space next to the refrigerator, which oddly was a feature for the location of the telephone. I know, times have changed. The word you might be looking for is Quaint.

Previously, there were just two big plastic bins that held everything.  Poorly.  One of the bins was stuff we used frequently enough.  It held the label maker, tools, stuff to hang things.  The other was "I don't know what this is except if I throw it away, I will need it tomorrow."  Then there were the bigger items that don't fit into a bin: the backup thermostat, the toilet repair kit.

There's also one small basket that just holds batteries.  It worked perfectly until I heard on the radio about a battery daddy and now I want one.  I don't need it, I just want it.

Finally, there's the bottom shelf.  Like the other kitchen cupboards, these are deep.  So essentially, it's useless to me because I have to lay on the floor to reach anything in the back of it.  It holds candles.  As discussed previously, I have way too many candles.  And the air fresheners for the house that goes into outlets.  And the air fresheners that Kevin INSISTED he needed for the vehicles. (that now only I use so there's that)

I had hoped to do the same thing that was done in the main bathroom cupboards.  Same boxes, same general configuration.   After Friday Walkies, I stopped at the dollar store I don't go to near groceries, hoping to get the same style boxes.  Nope.  AND all of the storage bins were cleared out; probably because start of school.

Not to be thwarted and yes, a little impulsive, I bought something different.  They are more designed for shelving in a garage but I thought it could work.  I took out everything and put it onto the island.  That poor island has had a lot of attention lately.

What, you don't have a flamethrower in your house? 

The process actually went pretty quickly, it's one of my favorite things to do: sorting and organizing.

As I progressed though, I realized that there were more boxes needed than I had imagined.  I set that worry aside and continued.  Once everything was sorted, I started to put the boxes into the cupboard.  And, big surprise: fail.  They were too long.  The one reason that I liked these boxes is the reason it failed: they were too long.  I couldn't even alternate lengthwise and not-lengthwise.  They just wouldn't fit. 

Then I figured maybe I could utilize the stacking feature.  Well, no.  Shockingly enough, something from the dollar store Did Not Work.  They were supposed to be able to be interlocked, like legos.  Not so much.  Now I'm standing in the middle of the kitchen, frustrated.

Of course this is when Kevin comes inside.  Of course.  He reiterated what I just wrote: "Something from the dollar store isn't working? Who would have thought THAT?  Why don't you just go to the *bigboxstore*."  Sometimes I wonder if he knows me at all, lol.

Well, he had come in from the shop to tell me that he had to go into town.  Perfect timing, you just thought.  Except he needed to go the opposite direction of me.  Or at least of where I WANTED to go.  After a moment's thought, he took Lucy and headed one way and I got into my truck and headed the other way.

I walk into "my" dollar store confidently, knowing I'll find what I needed; many of which were there last week.  And, *sad clown music*, there was nothing.  Sigh.  I walked through the store because sometimes items will be placed randomly throughout the store.  I did eventually find some and...they were fluorescent PINK.  No.

You may have just thought "But you needed them, why does the color matter? They're just in a cupboard."  And you're not wrong.  Except, I am a child and know that I would be annoyed every time I opened that cupboard and felt the glow of neon pink bask back at me.

I wanted the blue ones.

I walked back to the Shelves of Disappointment to see if there was anything I could MacGyver together.  Of course there were the clear shoebox style boxes with the lids no one ever uses.  Reluctantly, I took four of those.  There was one box similar to what I wanted so I took it "just in case".  

Finally as I'm standing there, shifting from one foot to the other because now the a.d.d. is fighting with the anxiety in my head, it occurs to me over the din, that: The Boxes Don't Have to Be Uniform.  There is no law that states the boxes all have to be the same.  

So I grabbed two cubbie sized baskets to add with the shoebox ones. Then I chose multiple sizes of these baskets in black:

Now I'm feeling hope seep back into my body.  Then the universe nudged me to notice the desk organizers that were just sitting there on the shelf, where they didn't belong.  For some reason I am obsessed with these and have used them a few ways.  "THE SPICE CUPBOARD" my brain yelled at me.  So I grabbed three of them and off I went.

There are two kinds of cashiers at these stores: mute or chatty waitress style.  I had the chatty style.  She asked if I found everything I needed and even though I NEVER do this, I said "Well, not really.  I was hoping to find some boxes that were here about a week ago."  She looked at me with sympathy, as if to say "You silly, simple girl."  Instead she said "What kind?"   I explained what I wanted and she immediately turned and cast her eyes to the "clearance" part of the dollar store. (I know, right?)  I laughed and said "I saw those. Thanks but no thanks.  Pink is not my jam."  She laughed and said "I understand."

THEN she said  "You could go to the website."  I told her that I didn't ever think to look at their website.  So, here's the trick: you can only buy in bulk.  Remember that because the holidays are on their way before we know it.

Because it was raining, like really raining, and I had just suffered defeat and perhaps victory, I swung through the starbucks to get a treat for the drive home.  Coffee and chocolate can fix almost everything.

I returned home and basically started again.  At least this time, the junk that could be tossed was already gone and everything was generally sorted.

You can't see it well in photos but here.  I used three narrow bins in the rear of the cupboard for tools, extension cords, and nails & command strips.  The basket on top is the label maker that is currently being used incessantly so it's just perched there for now.

The battery box works so well that I didn't switch it, even though it doesn't match.  The box to the left is the plug-ins and air fresheners things and to the right is supplies for the wood stove.

Clearly, from the photo, I was over this project by the time I got to the candles.  I will return to that later. The sticks are anti-theft things for the windows that don't fit nicely into any place for storage, and the stuff behind is the larger items that won't fit into bins. And the slidy things that every house should have.

I will probably label everything eventually, more for Kevin's use than mine. I know where everything is because I put it together.  Also, it won't stop the "Where is the..." so we'll see. 

Right now I call it a win. Now we'll see if it works, it looks good in theory.

17 September 2021

Don't Be Rude

 I had to draw a boundary at work this week and I hate that.  One would think that working from home would make this need impossible but here we are.

There is an advocate named Debra whom everyone dislikes. My work has had personnel issues with her but my work never fires anyone.  We have had an issue from time-to-time and I'm just all "No".  She hates that I won't engage with her, which is partially why I do it.  Also, ain't nobody got time for that nonsense.  In all senses of the internet world, she is a Karen.  (people who know me in real just laughed, didn't you?)

There is a report - a simple spreadsheet - that I regularly provide advocates.  Last year, she kept INSISTING I was sending her the wrong list. Not just insisting but telling me I'm doing it wrong. Here's my "weak" point:  I hate doing things twice due to other's ineptitude and I hate more having my work questioned when I know I'm right.

 Anyway, finally, I told my job-partner that I wasn't sending it anymore.  Job Partner intervened and did some "training" and asked to try it again. Then summer came and it wasn't a thing.  

It's a new school year and I've sent two so far. The last one she emailed me this: "Surely the list yousent me those are all other advocate's children not mine"   No please, thanks, or punctuation, or spacing, or greeting or anything, which is typical.  (in case you're wondering: English is her first language, she's in her sixties, she is educated)

So I screenshot her list, the list in the database AND the email I sent into an email and wrote: "These are your kids, here is what I sent versus what is in the database. Please reach out to your partner, my partner or your supervisor for assistance with any database, enrollment, or tech issues.  It seems like the spreadsheet is not a helpful tool.  Let me know if you don’t wish to receive it in the future."  And included my job partner and her supervisors. 

Right after that, there was a zoom meeting with all of the advocates.  We get all the way through the meeting and my job partner reverses a decision about being paperless (GAH!) 

BUT:  It is only for advocates who have a large caseload.  Immediately, Debra is all "I'm going to do THAT.  When are you going to be at the office, Surely?"   I responded that I don't go into the office on a regular basis and that it is intended for advocates with large caseloads.  (she has SIX on her caseload.  The others advocates have FIFTY)  She continues about how hard it is for HER, she HAS to do it and "After the issues you had today, I'm just going to do it."  

Luckily my speaker was off and I wasn't actually even looking at the screen.  I sat there and counted to five because I knew I couldn't fix my face, finally turned and looked at the screen like "Seriously?" and turned away.  No one else said ANYTHING.  I was disappointed; just a "Let's discuss this later" is all I expected.  We disconnected and my job partner texted me a funny response, which I appreciated but how about something right then.

That was Friday afternoon and on Monday it was still bothering me.  So I wrote to the job partner and the advocate's supervisor that I'm respectfully going to opt out of sending reports to Debra as "It's clearly not a tool that is useful to her. It's a system that seems to work for everyone else."    NO RESPONSE.  ACK.  

AND THEN.  I went into work yesterday to meet an advocate - who has 60 kids on her caseload - and Debra had left two forms - multiple pages and one with no identifiers on it - on my shelf.  Not clipped together, no note, nothing.  Well, they became separated and there was a bit of a panic.  I emailed Job Partner to say AUGH!!!!  This is Basic Office Etiquette 101 for everyone. But Debra, apparently.

Job Partner emailed everyone that I no longer work in the office and reiterated that the preferred method is email.  Debra emails To ME almost immediately: "HiSurely I dropped off some paperwork off at the office medical and consent Ibelieve but I’ll have more on Friday so if you want I’ll just leave them fornow and I’ll bring more on Friday let me know thank you"

I just...can't.  OMG.  There was pleasantry so someone has spoken to her about that. Again.  But again with the whole ignoring the process.  Funny thing: I wasn't going into the office next week and I'm gone the following week for a conference.  I SO BADLY want to say You will have to wait.

Instead I responded with "Yes, I picked those up yesterday.  Please make sure they’re clipped together so nothing gets lost.

Going into the office wasn’t on my schedule next week and I am at a conference the following week.  I will swing by on Thursday or Friday next week when I’m in town.  Otherwise, they will have to wait until I return.

It really is best to scan and email to avoid delays.  It sounds like the office scanner is fixed and your partner has been scanning to me regularly."

She responds almost immediately, not with an acknowledgement or a counter offer. But with a "Can I get a consent for my new family thank you"   Trying to point out where I haven't done my job.  Because that's how she moves through life: by deflection.  Then it is followed thirty seconds later with  "Never mind its here thank you"

This is where I turn into Nelly from Little House on the Prairie:

In my old life, I would be all "LOOK, this isn't happening."  But time has tempered that stubborn, Oh No You Didn't, reactionary response.  Also, with someone like her no response is the best response.  And I like to really pour on the big vocabulary/SAT words and professional speak with someone like her. I'm not usually a mean girl but wooboy does she bring it out in me.

Because I grew up raised by wolves and attending redneck schools.  I can go. Trust that.  But that's not who I am anymore.  I found this meme on my phone the other day and it made me think of this situation.  And the old me.

Finally, this made me laugh. I asked my job partner this question:  "What would be a better drinking game? Drink every time Debra has a question or Every time she makes it about her?"  
She simply responded with a laugh and said "Either way, we would die."

10 September 2021

A Random Bowl - Mini What Does Surely Take Apart Now

 Years ago when I was first dating Satan, I spent Christmas morning with them.  I was gifted a wooden bowl with a lid.  Mostly decorative, not of a specific useful size.  It was ... nice.  I was eighteen or nineteen so it was an odd choice.

The weird part - and I've said that so many times in reference to satan - was how emphatic satan was about this particular gift.  He kept insisting that his dad made it. Even encouraging his dad to chime in like "You made that for her, right dad?"  And like, multiple times.  

His dad wasn't handy.  I don't remember him having a wood shop.  This plus his non-committal response to his son's prompting, made me think that this was more of a He Didn't Tell Them I was Attending Christmas.  They just grabbed something that they already had and I mean, no foul.  We've probably all done that.

Because young and dumb, I didn't quite pick up on the red flag.  I just filed the weirdness back into a shortly thereafter-to-be referenced file of Weird Things that built up over three years. 

I have no idea why I packed it when I left. I wasn't particularly fond of it.  I can't remember what I kept in it, even.  Jewelry?  Or maybe I hid something in it.  I don't know, it's use is lost to time.

Meanwhile, it's travelled quite a bit.  Back to my parents, to my temporary apartment, to Kevin's duplex, to the old house and now this house.  In the old house it held fish food, back when we had a giant fish tank. (remember when those were a thing?)  In this house, it held a candle and matches in the Common Folk Bathroom for when the power went out.  

Then because Quarantine, I took it out of the bathroom because I needed the real estate.  I stood there, looking at it, and thought "Why do I even have this anymore?"  I had Swistle in my head, asking me how it felt to have it.  Mostly: Meh. 

I thought about sending it to donation.  But something in my alphabet brain was saying to keep it. I set it aside in my office and contemplated it's existence.

Eventually it occurred to me that I could stain it and see if I liked it better afterward.  It's water damaged because fish food.  It also has a bit of a fish food bouquet inside.  It has what I thought were hand painted flowers on it but now I'm dubious.  Upon further inspection, I'm not sure that it wasn't factory made.  It's not a decal but you couldn't feel the edges or see brush strokes of the "painting".  Also the flowers are uniform, which they wouldn't be if hand painted.  Maybe it was a stencil, I dunno. It wasn't shellacked or anything, as evidenced by the water damage.

I'm still in the throes of startup for work and I considered sanding the bowl while having to sit still for three hours during a zoom meeting.  Then I realized that would most likely look strange if you couldn't see what I was doing.  

This afternoon, after having a little parental health scare because why not, I took the bowl and my supplies outside on the deck.  I sanded the lid to get the water marks off first.  It appears that the grain goes two ways in this wood so my suspicion that this is factory made continues.  Also, there are no edges or places where to pieces of wood meet or anything that makes this look like it was made in a shop on a small farm by someone who we didn't know was a woodworker.  

I did get a little philosophical /whimsical/nostalgic while I sanded. I'm standing on our deck, of our lovely little house, listening to my father in law work next door, after completing my work that I do from home, and comparing to where I was upon receiving this bowl.  The contrast is dark to light and starkly different.

Meanwhile, back to reality, then I sanded on the actual bowl.  The flowers didn't budge.  I knew it wouldn't remove them but they didn't even scuff.  Hmmm.  I thought about waiting to go to the hardware store to get the stuff that removes paint but I'm not that patient.  (Hey, hi, hello, it's me)

Instead I searched "Can you stain over paint?" and found that you can but with mixed results.  Good enough for me.  I continued to sand until, frankly, I got bored.  Wiped down the lid and bowl with that godforsaken tack cloth that I detest.  Then I remembered to put down something between my project and the deck.  (Kevin JUST NOTICED the stain on the deck from months ago.  He just said "Next time just stain the whole deck".)

This is where I point out that I'm impulsive and don't always think things through. (Spoiler alert)  Staining the lid was easy because it just sat there on the railing.  But the bowl.  With the bowl, there is physics involved.  First I brushed on the stain where it sat.  I waited probably not long enough then picked it up, spun it around from the inside while brushing on stain then held it upside down and continued to brush.  Then I set it back down - upside down - on the railing, telling myself that I would be okay with noticeable fingerprints.  (I wasn't)  I know, there are things to help with this process. Or I could have made something out of whatever is handy. But that's too easy.  

Probably way too soon, I flipped it back over and used a rag to stain the inside.  Because it's inside, I didn't care about the appearance as much but I did hope that Eau du Water Creature would go away.

Then I applied the stain all over two-ish more times and let it set for a while before wiping off the excess.  It gave it kind of a weathered, aged look. Like a patina, maybe. I kind of dig it.  Then I made myself come inside and work while it dried.  I've learned that if I stay with the project, I will fuss with it and end up frustrated.

When I started it was 75 degrees outside and I worked in the sun.  I just went back out to find it's still not dry. Because it's in the shade and now 69 degrees.  I slid something underneath it and transferred it onto one of the kitchen counters to dry for real.

I still don't know what I'm going to do with it.  But at least I tried something fun.  Like most of my projects: it gave me a story to tell.  I can always donate it later but right now it's earned a reprieve.

07 September 2021

Into the Oven, Gretel - A What Did Surely Take Apart Now Story

 A new stove has been on my to-do list for the last few years. It's eleven years old and an inexpensive one.  I've replaced drip pans and one burner and I'm lazy about cleaning the oven.  So it occurred to me about a month ago that I could do some maintenance first and see if that helps extend its life and performance.

Then it took forever to remember to find the manual for it.  It's buried in Monica's Closet because why wouldn't it be.  Then I ordered drip pans and burners from the amazon because I'm not going into stores right now.  It took a week for them to arrive and they've been sitting on the dryer for a week. 

Kevin let me sleep in this morning until ten.  I think he thought I was awake already and didn't check earlier.  He asked if I got enough sleep and it's like he doesn't know me at all.  My brain decided that today was the day to take apart the stove and oven.  At least Kevin was home in case I encountered disaster, which frankly is always a possibility.

I'm a failed environmentalist in the fact that I bought oven cleaner.  I looked at the baking soda, dish soap, vinegar route but with my alphabet brain, it wasn't realistic. I'm small so it would require me nearly crawling into the oven to make sure everything was covered. #nothanks.  Also, the very last thought I would have EVER is "Hey, I need to clean the oven" right before bed; as it requires soaking overnight.

In proper Surely fashion, I have managed to spray the oven but forgot to spray the racks because I put them outside.  Out of sight, out of mind but like for real. Then I had to make the bed and start the laundry to thwart the alphabet brain and now I've ran out of excuses not to dive into the rest of it.  Well, other than I have another 45 minutes before I can touch the oven and I know I'll forget.

Ugh. Before.

Sorry, not sorry, environment

Under the hood.  This is more my style

Sidenote: my environmental karma is the asthma is not enjoying the fumes. Well played, environment.

When I pulled the stove out of its cubbie, I found french fries.  Like a lot.  Then I remembered when I was really, really sick with bronchitis/pneumonia, I spilled them and thought "I'll get those when I'm better."  Better is apparently defined as three years later.

Luckily, the cubbie part was easy to clean. Other than I scratched the floor.  I think.  It might have been that way before.  I won't know how badly until I'm all done and mop.  Also luckily, Kevin did not notice when he helped me put it back into the cubbie and made sure it was balanced.

Also: for scratches: brown crayola crayon.  I'm just saying I might know something about that.  Also: thank you mother-in-law for that tip.

I used the shop vac to do the initial sweep of the floor and walls.  Then I also did the vents on the back of the oven and the intake for the fan, etc.  I wiped it all down and Kevin came in just in time to make sure it's level. (yes, that's a thing)

Yes, Kevin's shop vacuum.  And a potion of cleaners.
And readers to see the labels so I don't die

Right now I'm waiting for everything to finish soaking and for my lungs to forgive the assault I've put them through.  I'm a little If You Give A Mouse A Cookie because well, I'm writing this instead of doing something else stove related.  Like wash the pans I found in the warming drawer.

The warming drawer below the oven...mostly known as storage for pans you don't use...was messier than I thought it would be.  Crumbs, etc.  Years ago, when I still saw my family, they gave me new pans. I needed pots but grateful. Whatever.  (good example of my family right there)  The pans have been exiled to the drawer for years.  I need to do something with them.  Well, wash them first because eew.

In my defense, I only use two pans, one big and one small. Both non-stick because I am who I am.  These are not non-stick.  #firstworldproblems  The point being is I don't need these.  I'm certain my sister-in-law or niece will want them.

Oh and when Kevin came in to help me, he asked "Did you ever apply for that *bigboxhardwarestore* credit card?"  It's not that he doesn't have faith in me but he does live with me.  

Now I am at the This Is Never Going To Be Done stage.  I've cleaned the top, the surround, behind, under, the drawer and did the first pass of the oven.  I always forget that it takes two attempts in the oven because I don't do it often enough and the alphabet brain is always saying "You missed that spot right there. Right there. And that one."

So I was standing there, really wanting to drink when I realized that I had forgotten the range hood, the fan and the light.  FML.  I should have started there but whatever.  I also pulled off all of the knobs and set them to soak for a minute. Luckily I do all of this more often than the oven so it really didn't take me long.  This isn't stopping me from whining about it.

Stove knobs, light cover and vent screen
Properly soaked in dawn soap and baking soda

Now it's the "fun" part.  Unboxing and installing the new drip pans and burners.  Kevin was very impressed that I thought to buy new burners.  I had ordered a new oven element but realized I didn't need it so cancelled the order.  I was surprised to find that there is an element on the top of the oven too.  SIGH.  I will worry about that later.  Maybe it's not replaceable. Yeah.  We will go with that.

Okay, now it's an hour later.  Dude, I need a shower.  Ick.   Instead I am eating a victory bowl of Cheerios because I forgot to eat.  Everything is put right, cleaned up, and operational again. Rosie/Geoff Peterson is buzzing around the kitchen right now. I even remembered to turn the oven on warm so the next dinner I make doesn't have an aftertaste of easy-off.

Except.  Isn't there always an "except"?

Either I ordered or they sent two of each size pans and burners.  This stove has three small and one large.  Because of course.  Luckily, I didn't toss anything out of fear of something like this.  I found the least used pan and burner....yes, I paid attention when I took everything apart...cleaned them.  If you didn't know to look, you wouldn't notice.

Kevin went to the fabricator shop for the racecar and Lucy is asleep/pouting on the bed.  I'm going to go shower then watch something dumb on television.  And Kevin is going to bring dinner home.  Just because the range is clean and refurbished doesn't mean I have any intention of using it tonight.


Nephew stopped by so he scored new pans and lids.  The new burner arrived today and doesn't fit so back it goes. The drip pan won't be here until next week.  It's odd to have a burner that gets all the way hot instead of randomly hot.  I suspect some burnt dinners are in my future. Well, more. More burnt dinners.

Then this cued my brain to look at the cupboards where the pots live.  I pulled out everything and put them on the island.  Just in time for Kevin to walk in and exclaim "What the f#$k are you doing NOW?" I don't know why he's even surprised anymore.  

The cupboards are really deep so I have everything kind of spread out among one large and small cupboards so that everything is lined up in the front of the cupboard.  I've now consolidated them into one cupboard.  I have a cookie sheet that I hate because it's too long to fit two in the oven on the same rack, I know it's easily solvable but now I have an attitude toward it.  I have multiple cake pans because when I make brownies for the parents, it takes forever for Kevin to bring it back and they've scratched every one of them.  (ugh)  I know I'm not a great baker but they shouldn't need a steak knife to cut brownies.

This also uses one of the extra baskets I bought at the dollar store so that makes me happy.  Now we'll try this system and see if it actually is workable with my brain. 

See that cookie sheet that is hanging out?
It's not my favorite.  I don't know why I kept it

04 September 2021

Short Stories

The bloggity post also known as Drafts Languishing in the Ether

 Today is an unscheduled, non-work day for me.  The database is being updated so I have nothing to do.  Why am I sitting at the computer, you might have just asked.  Because: habit. I am a creature of habit, who needs routine to function properly in society. Although I did sleep in, so that was nice. But now I'm sitting here with my coffee and croissant, trying to figure out what I'm going to do today.  I will deal with unfinished bloggity posts, that's what I'll do.

The start of school - colloquially called Start Up - has begun for me.  I had a lot of work to do for about a week, a tiny break, then a lot of work, and now another tiny break.  Next week will be back to "normal" with a regular schedule.  However, I still have a lessened caseload for right now.  I'm happy about that as I transition from working in an office to officially working from home AND zippy twist: going paperless.  Usually I would have two huge stacks of forms to process - tandemly - and now it's all online.  I think I like it.   I'm very happy about the smaller carbon footprint.

It's raining, finally.  It rained off and on over the past few days but it was more just enough to make everything damp versus RAIN. We have had a warm and dry summer so this is very welcome.  It also makes it feel like Fall and I'm ambivalent about that right now.  I do kind of want to go stand in it though.  The last time I did and my little mossy PNW heart grew two sizes.

I started the photo project again.  I find it funny that Kevin is already over it.  Stand in line, buddy. To be fair, it's spread across the coffee table and floor since Saturday night.  I have kind of lost my way by stopping in frustration those months ago. I had it in my head that I was starting a new album, once I sorted those photos again. Upon doing that, I discovered that I was wrong.  So, learn from my alphabet brain caused mistake: finish the project.

Oh, and here's a thing.  Kevin's mom had some photos that were 5x7 and panoramic sized. She had a dollar store kind of photo album that I tried to put everything in but there were too many.  And panoramic photos are cool but what do you do with them.  Anyway, I glanced at it again and had that horrible game of "She's dead, she's dead, he's dead..."  Almost everyone in the album is dead now.  YIKES.  I set it aside to talk to Kevin about because while I'm sure that she would like to see those photos, there's no way it doesn't make her sad.  Kevin had no idea what to do and just shrugged "You can ask her, I guess."  

The other day I took something over to her and brought that album.  I explained the above: that I don't have a proper album for them and that I'm sure she'd like to see the photos BUT "Pardon the bluntness, everyone in there is dead now."  I set it on the kitchen table and she left it there.  Last night Kevin mentioned that his mom told him "Surely said she didn't have room for this album but I think she just wanted me to have it." Oh my heart. I mean, c'mon.  So, I guess she was happy with her Dead People Album and we'll play along with her story.

Kevin's mom just commented on a unflattering to a certain political party meme that Kevin's childhood best friend posted.  All she said was "Not funny."  Kevin phoned to tell me, laughing like a kid whose sibling just got in trouble. (Because he did.)  Nothing like having your surrogate mom slap you down via social media.  Well, you might be thinking that it's a pretty benign comment.  It's WHO posted it that matters.  She doesn't comment usually and a quiet chastise is EVERYTHING.  Now we wait.  Does he apologize? unlikely.  Does he phone Kevin? maybe.  Learn not to post such things? unlikely.

In a quest to slightly less resent the question "What's For Dinner?"  I've tried to figure out new things to make.  One of Kevin's favorite is a breaded/baked fish, like fish sticks but a little more restaurant quality.  It is not my favorite.  It also requires the timing of having everything ready at once that I just don't possess. Then, allergic to mayonnaise/tartar sauce now.  So I finally figured out I could make what the kids used to call ChickenFish, but my version.  He can have his fish and I will have chicken strips.  The cooking time is approximately the same, etc.  And everyone is happy.  This is one of those things that one wonders that I didn't think of it sooner.

I have been listening to the Craig Ferguson Show on the youtube while I work.  I remain heartbroken some *cough* years later that he stopped doing the show.  I was more than a few episodes in when I realized I missed a giant opportunity:  When I named the roomba "Rosie" after the Jetsons, I missed the opportunity to name it Geoff Peterson and now I'm so mad at myself.

What else?  Oh, Lucy broke my nose. I KNOW, RIGHT.  We were at the coffee stand and she took a treat from one of the girls, spun around on my lap and WHAM, head-butted me.  I actually saw stars.  Both girls stopped what they were doing because I guess it made a sound.  Even Lucy was a little "wutjusthappened"   After a minute or two, I gathered myself up and continued on with my day.  I knew it had probably broken but there was nothing to be done.  It broke when I was seventeen so I remembered what that felt like and raised by wolves so I just dealt with it then too.

Sure enough, once I got home later that afternoon, my nose had bruised down one side.  I fully expected a black eye the next morning but I got "lucky" and didn't.  But it was sore and bruised for weeks. Perfect timing for mandated masking again.  At one point, I moved it around, tugged, and pulled until I heard a pop.  I assumed that I had reset it.  It rebruised so I figured that was progress.  Fast forward about a month and my chiropractor checked it and declared it set so well done me with my homegrown medical skills.

Hmmm, looking around. I think that's it right now.  First Days of School, Kevin's Mom, ChickenFish, Geoff Peterson, and Broken Nose. 

01 September 2021

Sick and Tired of Talking About This - An Update

 I'm pissy about the whole Covid thing still.  I'm avoiding social media on the whole until I-don't-know-when.  When the pissyness subsides, which is going to be a while, I suspect.  I post Lucy photos, instagram photos, and look at my notifications. That's been it for about, at least, a week.  No scrolling.

Because it never fails if I scroll, I see bullsh*t like support for the governor of texas and comments like "The medical industry is probably profiting off of mask sales."  Or the "My body, my choice" for vaccines but not women's health.  I'm just saying you could help save untold lives versus a handful so...sigh.

So then, I went to go look at someone's page because it's their birthday today.   After doing that,  suddenly I just started unfollowing or snoozing people. Hiding topics. Hitting "Hide posts like these" I think that when I finish, I will have like five people on my page.  And that's okay.

Then I started hiding ads.  I hate the pop up that asks why.  "Because" should be the only reason, which is more reasonable than what pops in my head every time it appears.  Because in my head lives a surly teenager.

Then I went down the buzzfeed quiz wormhole.  One says I'm 48 years old, which is close.  Another said that my first initial would be either E,L,R,S or W depending on my food choices.  Well, it's right if it uses my psuedonym.  Another one predicted that I was a teenager based on the apps I use.

Anyway, off topic, Big surprise.

I went to the chiropractor today because I was super, extra overdue due to quarantine, etc.  After adjusting all the joints in my body, he mentions he's never seen me this bad.  "What happened?" he wondered.  "AIR MATTRESS.  For a WEEK."  I replied.  He kind of cringed/laughed.  "That will do it." he nodded.

He asked how Kevin was doing and I gave him the update, noting to him that my report would be different than Kevin's.  Because Kevin is at the point where he wants to feel 100% and stop talking about it.  I remember this from when he was really sick.  He got to a point where he'd almost get teary, he was so frustrated and tired of being sick and tired and having to answer people's (well meaning) questions.

His perception of when he was sick has become different than mine.  When his mom had her vaccines, she slept for four days then remembered nothing.  She will tell you right now that she had zero reaction to the immunization.  Now we have Kevin who seems to have a skewed timeline as well.  It's very odd; as if amnesia is a symptom.  

So, this is where I say that his Graves Disease symptoms have returned.  SUPER.  I was helping him with something yesterday and noticed his hand has a tremor again.  I haven't seen that in years.  He's moody. He's not hungry so I'm back to buying complete crap food to get him to eat.  He had lost only about five pounds while actually sick but I suspect that he's lost a few more.

Yeah.  Covid's "just a cold"  He's "fine".  He still has a cough and still can't smell.

And I wavered over this sentence but I'm going to go with it:  Until you have had the "You know what to do if this goes sideways" conversation while waiting for a doctor's appointment, you get to pipe down with "But you're fine."  

Now in a zippy twist that I saw coming, yet was still surprised when I heard: one of my family members tested positive for Covid.  That's all I know, because I haven't heard from my family.  Looking at their social media pages, it appears that it has changed NOTHING.  

The only reason that we know of this is because a mutual friend let us know.  So, super.  I feel okay with my not reaching out to my mother. Although, I am starting to feel like the principal in The Breakfast Club:

At this rate, it will be 2022 at the earliest

31 August 2021

It's Only Nearly Dead

This was in my drafts folder.  I know something happened that pre-empted the post.  But in 2021 fashion, I can't remember which drama it was.  I think it might have been the "There's No Money in Our Account" adventure.

Anyway. it's a nice post even though it's late and I'm looking at Fall and Winter garden prep now.

Today was the first day that felt like Spring here at the house.  It's been sunny this week but it always takes a bit of time for the sun to reach past the trees to our house.  It takes a bit for everything that's been damp for months on end to dry.  

This is the day I mention every year where PNW natives seem to walk out of their houses, squinting into the sun, and remember why we live here.  The weather is perfect.  The sun is out without many clouds (there's almost always clouds here) it's warm enough to not need layers.

Yesterday I bought flowers (finally!) when I picked up groceries.  I bought five pots of multicolor annuals and one pink perennial for a gap in the garden.  I planted them last night, the first anything that I've done in the garden all year.

Today found me climbing up into the garden. Pulling weeds, trimming deadloss, raking mulch and replacing rocks that had tumbled out of place.  (either from water intrusion or Lucy or both)  I had mulch in my shoes and down my shirt.  My hair is a mess because something flying by became caught. I don't scare when it comes to bugs so I was gentle in combing out my hair.   I apologized to the spider that I uncovered while pulling away dead leaves.  The hawks and the crane were out today, as well as the robins and bluejays.  Everyone was outside and happy today.  The sun has recharged my battery.

The tulips are growing for the first time ever.  The lillies of the valley are blooming.  Some of the rhododendrens are budding, some are bloomed.  I think the hydrengas that I cut back last month are starting to make a comeback (whew!)

I was nearly finished when my father-in-law came shuffling over.  Kevin was working on the house when I heard him shout-whisper my name.  I looked up at my f-i-l was carrying a plant with red flowers.  They had bought "extra" and "didn't have room" to plant it.  My in-laws will never work for the CIA.   

The only problem was it needed water; they had bought it yesterday and it needed water then.  Yeah, buddy, it was so dry that I'm nervous whether or not it will make a comeback.  But it's in the ground and watered now.  We'll see.  It's not the first dead plant I've had and it won't be the last for sure.

And sure they gave me a nearly dead plant but it's the thought that counts.

Now I've showered the mulch off of me and I think there might be a sliver in my foot.  But I'm happy. Finally the opportunity to dig in the dirt and assess what made it through the winter was here.  The garden looks alive-ish again as we wait for everything to rejuvenate.  Including us humans.

*Points to whomever gets the quote that is the bloggity title.

22 August 2021

What Did Surely Take Apart Now - The Bathroom Edition

 This all started with a social media post about dollar store organization ideas.  It ended with I have a packing list for a work trip I'm taking in one month + a week and this bloggity post.

But let's begin at the beginning.  Kevin needed a thermometer when he was first getting sick.  At 5:15 in the morning.  We have two, I know where they are, but at 5:15 in the morning I'm not at my best.   I found it, after a "That should be easier to find" comment that earned him a sleepy glare.

This is where I say that I have a little container/organizer that holds Cold Stuff.  Cough syrup, saline wash, cough drops, and yes, the thermometer.  It was 5:15 AM, KEVIN.  Oh, and quick tip: don't hover when it's that early.  It's just not a good idea.

To be fair, to someone who lives in this house but doesn't worry about these things, the container is at the back of one of the bathroom cupboards.  So, yes, to the untrained eye - it looks disorganized.  But it's not.  The fact that I have a dedicated and organized container for Cold Stuff should be all the evidence I need, but here we are.

What IS disorganized is the basket in front of said Cold Stuff.  It's a simple large plastic basket that has stuff thrown into it haphazardly.  Stuff ranging from extra toothpaste and deodorant to attachments to Kevin's shaver to first aid kits.

I don't enjoy the storage in our bathroom because there just isn't enough shelves.  And, fun fact about me: I hate stuff on the counter.  Hate it.  Especially if it has labels from the store.  I know, I know, I'm abnormal at best.

Fast forward two...no, three weeks now...and I was scrolling social media.  One post was about using dollar store containers for more organized pantries and refrigerators.  Yes, I was talking about the bathroom. Keep up.   I made a little list of things I might like to try then spent some time off and on thinking about if any of those would work in actual reality.  

Because Lucy now expects to go in the truck with me whenever I leave, I have to plan my trips into town.  Yes, she's a dog and not the boss of me, but really she is.  She is good for three stops and after that, she is a thirty-pound hairy toddler.   However, Kevin is home today and even though I didn't feel like taking the hour it would take to go into town, I did. Kevin bribed her with a treat as she sullenly watched me back out of the driveway.

There is only one dollar store nearby that I like.  It's tucked in the back of a quiet shopping center and it's never busy.  Also, one thinks of a certain demographic when imagining a dollar store and that is not always the case at this particular store.  Not judging but it's nice that it's quiet there and organized.  Most of those stores are neither of those things.

Right now all the school stuff was out so I was in luck with finding baskets, organizers, and containers.  I knew that I probably overbought but I also knew that I would most likely want to go get more of something else once I started this.  I was right and wrong.

And, of course, I was IN IT and forgot to take before photos.

I believe you have to make a mess to clean a mess so I started with pulling out everything and putting it on the counter.  I will never not be surprised at how I will put something in there thinking "I'll deal with that later" and then never do.  Half empty lotion bottles is the prime example.

First I went for expiration dates.  Then I consolidated what I could from multiple containers to one. (lotion, shampoo, dixie cups)  Then I organized by need.  Extra and refills are first, first aid and Cold Stuff are last.  We went from one big jumbled basket with stuff piled over/on/around it to this:

(Psst, Swistle: That's another lotion that I bought because I liked it so much)

One would think I would continue to the medicine cabinet and my stuff but nope.  I had a big basket to use now.  I pulled apart the bathroom cleaner and supply cupboard instead.  This is where we discovered the cheap toilet paper I bought at the beginning of the pandemic and kept "just in case", a bathmat that Kevin hated but I kept, and way, way too many rags.

So this was converted from a possible hazmat site to a nice little cupboard again.

Now, Surely I would do the medicine cabinet and my stuff next.  Nope, don't be silly.  Next was our travel go-bags for toiletries.  Before the pandemic, we were gone a lot over the weekends so I have a consistently stocked go-bag of toiletries.  Also, I have lots of extra stuff like empty bottles, half-used toothpaste, hotel lotions, and just random stuff because reasons.  Some of which is in the drawer of the common folk bathroom, in the cupboard I just organized, and my medicine cabinet.

I laid out a towel on our bed and just dumped everything out onto it.  Then I restocked our go-bags and had to determine what is good to keep, to replenish, and what is unidentifiably old.  Remarkably this didn't take long.  But it did prompt my alphabet brain to begin thinking about the trip I'm taking in 36 days.  Next thing I know I'm at my desk printing a packing list and adding items onto it like "inhaler" and "reading glasses"  Also, I have to find a bag/purse because I don't carry one in normal life.

Okay, so.  That was done, for now.  It will give my brain something to play with in the middle of the night.

Now I return back on task to the main medicine cabinet, which is super organized.  It's stuff we both use daily so there's nothing extraneous stored in there.  Now let's look at my medicine cabinet, which is a little plastic crafts organizer and a shower caddy in the cupboard where I can reach everything.

Not that I wear much makeup, but I did have more makeup from pre-pandemic, being presentable to other humans, days.  I assume it's expired and not something I will resume using so into the trash it went. 

I have two perfume bottles, about half full, that were given to me but I don't wear.  I keep shuffling around those and I really should do something with them.  And there were more travel sized lotions, I don't know why.  

After a little bit of reorganization, I have an empty drawer. For more travel size lotion, probably.

Country, dusty blue trash can from the 90's. No one can see it so I don't care.
Well, until now.

Now I can relax...hahahahahanope...because I know I have mostly everything for my trip. (I just ordered a travel mirror and made a note not to forget my inhaler)   
Also, the bathroom is more organized than ever before.  Even Kevin can find something now.

Here is the main bathroom, with no products on the counters and perfectly organized cupboards below:

Oh, I didn't do the pantry after all.  It's pretty organized already and I just can't bring myself to empty cereal or chips into separate containers.  I admit that the idea looks good, it pleases the alphabet brain, but the a.d.d. is all Get Away From Me With That Nonsense.

I did organize the drawers in the refrigerator, even though it's hardly worth mentioning. Other than I mentioned it at the beginning of this most fascinating tour through my OCD mind.

it's difficult to see the containers in the drawers but they're there

I had intentions of posting a link but Pinterest is a wormhole that I don't have time for and the original idea must have been on tiktock - also a wormhole.  Just search "Dollar Store Organization Ideas"  :)

Also, keep in mind that there are only two of us in this little house, both with alphabet brains.  These are not judgy suggestions.  They are a Hey, I saw this and tried it and it worked ideas.

21 August 2021

Still This Happened - Part One and Two

Apologies for the long and winding post:

From early this week:

I woke up a little asthma-y this morning.  It's probably just from the change in the weather and wildfire smoke.  It is probably because I'm still winding down from last week.  But, what if? What if I'm actually sick?  Now, that train of thought isn't usually like me.  Not at all.  AT ALL.

This is what Covid does to you, though.  It makes you hypervigilant. 

I have two more days of quarantine from the general public.  I've put away the bed in my office and moved back into the main bathroom.  I've done more laundry in the last two weeks than ever.  Every surface has been sanitized multiple times.  The last time the house was this clean was when we first moved into it.  I had to force myself to put the wipes, etc. away.

Because we had Covid in this house. And I keep being vigilant, even though we were for almost two years and Still This Happened.

I've "snuck" out to take Lucy for walkies at the little park and it feels strange.  Usually there is no one there, or at worse - people at a distance.  Yesterday, I encountered a little family with two kids. Two kids who found hidden rocks and wanted to tell me all about them.  I kept a distance but felt sketchy doing it.  Then at the end of the walk, we encountered another little family.  The little was hesitant with a stranger (good girl) but their giant derpy dog wasn't so it drew them closer.  I felt a little guilty being out and about and a little icky because I feel like I'm Typhoid Mary right now. Even if I'm asymptomatic and vaccinated and quarantined.

Because we had Covid in this house. And I keep being vigilant, even though we were for almost two years and still this happened.

And re-acclimating to peopling is going to be a thing AGAIN.  Super.

I've been taking my temperature when normally it wouldn't occur to me.  Right now I'm playing the fun game of Is it a Covid? Hot flash? Humidity? Hypochondria?

I'm scheduled for a rapid Covid test tomorrow and we're assuming that I can go back to normal afterward.  Today, though, I need to go to recycling.  Today the landscapers are coming to the house. Today is the day I go into my actual office. But nope.  Recycling will have to wait, I'll distance from the landscapers, and I'm skipping this week at my office.  

Because we had Covid in this house. And I keep being vigilant, even though we were for almost two years and still this happened.

Kevin is about 75%.  He's back to work - more on that in a minute - and is trying to do light-duty, manager-y kinds of things but that isn't the nature of his work.  He isn't back to full speed here at home either.  It's taking all he's got just to work.  His sense of smell is still gone.  Every once in a while he thinks maybe he can smell something but I suspect it's more sense-memory than actual smell.  He's a little forgetful and has a definite memory gap from when he was sick. 

He has a cough, as expected.  Surprisingly, it takes me back to when he was really sick.  I regularly remind both of us that it will go away, eventually.  Nothing like a little illness PTSD sprinkled into this mess.

He's still sick enough that he asked the landscapers to mow the yard.  Anyone who knows Kevin in real life just gasped. That is not Kevin.

Gigi asked about the coworker.  Well, there's zero remorse there. It came up and the guy just shrugged it off.  I wondered if some of it is pride about being wrong about Covid but even after being very sick himself AND making people sick around him, he still thinks it's NOTHING.    Kevin did admit that it's colored his opinion about him and it may affect their relationship.  It's reasonable; because of the coworker's willful ignorance and recklessness, Kevin was really sick.  He's a better man than me (obvs.) because I still want to throat punch him.  

I posted a Lucy photo, twice, on the social media with a reference to being quarantined.  Just low-key and trying to find some humor in this humorless situation.  Most of our friends and coworkers already knew anyway; I wondered if that would prompt any sort of anything from my family.  That would be negative, ghost rider.  So any guilt I feel about not reaching out is, like, gone. 

But because they're antivaxxers, they have convinced themselves that it's not a big deal.  There's probably a little "See? It didn't matter that you're vaccinated, you still got it and you're FINE."  To which I would reply "He was not EFFING FINE.  We were not FINE." (and we're back to the throat punching visualization)  And, can we just acknowledge not only the health aspect of this misadventure but the psychological one, as well?

Because we had Covid in this house. And I keep being vigilant, even though we were for almost two years and still this happened.

*fast forward*

I tested negative for the 'Rona on Thursday.  I admit that I was more nervous than I thought I would be.  Usually I am a Assume It's Fine human but in this world, right now, one can't just assume.

As instructed, I emailed the results to my doctor and she responded 

"Congratulations! What a relief!  Ugh this is all so terrible!"

Then I posted on the social media, this meme with the caption "Nice try, assassins. #getyourshot #noseriously"  Again, trying to low key make a little light of a heavy few weeks.  

There was only one comment, wanting to debate the vaccine but in a respectful way - other than we disagreed.  Only one person liked that comment, which surprised me a little.

  I replied with my opinion 

 This person is not good at reading social cues (for real) and continued.  Again respectfully, wrong still but he tried.

  I have a two comments rule when it comes to debating a sensitive topic, so I replied with the below subtle warning:

 He stopped, as intended and it's all good.  I don't mind respectful disagreement; I do mind mis-information.

So now, two days later he's chatting with Kevin.  The cough started and he commented with concern.  Kevin explained how easy it is to get and keep a cough; walking through the whole sick, diagnosis, treatment, recovery process.  The friend was surprised and amazed.  Now, perhaps, he has a little more understanding about where we are coming from.  And how important vaccines are for the world around you and not just you.  

To quote the internet: I'm pretty tired of being part of a historical event.  I'm thankful that he was just a number in the diagnosis column and not the fatality column.  We're both planning on getting the booster shot.  

Because we had Covid in this house. And we keep being vigilant.

14 August 2021

We Got Lucky - A Covid Story

 I've written parts of the post a few times over the past week.  I can't decide how to open it.  Wait, it's not *bad* news but it's also not great news. When I started it, I was in the anger phase.  Now I'm in the Frustration phase. 

I'm just going to go with the original opening line:

So, I had to fist bump my husband last night as we were saying goodnight.  No, it wasn't a "job well done" or a joke.  It's because we have to quarantine away from each other.  Yep.  Separate bedrooms and bathrooms, distance in common spaces, stay home. Quarantine.

He has Covid and he's been really sick.  At first we thought maybe it was a cold but after two nights of also high temperatures, fatigue, and heart palpitations that he didn't tell me about, it was obviously Covid.

Because someone he works with - whom he can't avoid - refuses to get vaccinated, Kevin has Covid.

To quote two of my friends: Almost two years spent doing the right thing and STILL Covid happened.  Thank you sweet, tiny. 8 lb. 6 oz baby jesus Kevin WAS vaccinated.  Because if he wasn't, I suspect this might have been a very different story.  That isn't hyperbole, that is para-phrasing Kevin himself.

Not to mention thank the universe for the timing that he didn't expose his parents or any other members of the family.  Or his friends.  It was pure dumb luck that it worked out that way.  Had it been the weekend prior, the number of exposed would have been so much higher.  That would have ruined him, knowing he infected someone. It's a hit I don't know that he would get up from, frankly.

This is how it played out:

He's been really sick since Friday night, became symptomatic on Thursday night with what sounded like a cold.   His temp has wavered from normal to Super HIGH but seems to have leveled out but still a temp.  It can be kept at normal range with meds, until the evenings when resistance is low.  It reached "we're going to the hospital" levels at night but meds brought it down to a soothing 102.  He didn't disclose that he had episodes of dizziness and heart palpitations, which is just super.  

We went to his clinic Monday where they screened him, said they were Capital C Confident it was Covid, and tested him.  His lungs are clear and that's the most important part: keeping them clear. The next morning the positive result arrived with a phone call to advise us to shut everything down.  Luckily, we already had so there wasn't panic, other than the kind that comes with a Covid diagnosis.

Right now he has a tickle-like cough, he's TIRED, and a little forgetful.   And he is one of the lucky ones that has lost the sense of smell.  He's happy it wasn't taste too but it's bumming him out.  Also, he's been advised that while he feels okay today, tomorrow can start all over again if the Covid wishes to.

Because someone refuses to get vaccinated, Kevin was probably the sickest I've ever seen him and this includes radiation treatment.

Now let's circle around that he has an auto-immune disease.  Colds and Flu of any kind irritates the scar tissue in the area where he had radiation.  He will, no doubt, have a cough for a long time.  Because coughs are great to have during a pandemic.

Now to the math part: Because of the Graves Disease, his "normal" temperature is 95 degrees. I had to literally write a scale so we knew what it actually was.  I'm not good at math on a good day, let alone stressed and tired and decimals.  We have to tell the doctor/nurse every time that he has Graves Disease so they can adjust the actual temperature. So this can get complicated.  Imagine, seeing a thermometer and you're all "Oh, it's only 100 degrees."  Nope, it's 103 and time to worry.

Side note: he is in remission with his auto-immune disease.  He had radiation and takes daily medication to keep it at bay.  He is not on an immunosuppressant.  So any comments of "Oh, he was already sick" will result in me throwing something at your head.  Other than Covid, he's perfectly healthy.

During his screening, they didn't want to unnecessarily test me.  But they said it was required if he tested positive.   The next day, while he was still on the phone with his doctor with the results, I called mine.  They said to go to the Urgent Care and just walk in.  Ummm, how about no.  I did a search and there is a drive-through testing site that makes it  Super easy.  Super EASY.  24-ish hours later, I had a negative test.  Whew. 

I'm asymptomatic and I have a few more days in the danger zone. They wanted us to self-quarantine in this tiny house for ten to fourteen days since symptoms AND ALSO AFTER 24-hours asymptomatic AND feeling "normal".   I've moved out of the main bathroom and I’m sleeping on the air mattress in my office.   I have to retest at the end of the week and it's recommended that I stay away from humankind until I get the results.  Not required, but suggested; which I will because I couldn't inflict that onto another human.  I couldn't sit in that space, knowing that I was arrogant or selfish enough to risk another humans health and safety.

Because someone didn't get vaccinated.

Then there's the phone calls. The doctor's offices, the state health department, calls to work, friends and family to let them know and/or keep them updated.  It's all exhausting.  

And then the hoping there is no long-haul effects for him.  i.e. the loss of smell.  The cough. Hopefully those subside, but excuse the pun: I'm not holding my breath.

Now let's think about the details no one mentions:  Everything is extra because we can't share towels, bathrooms, kitchen space. The the massive amounts of laundry I've done in the past week, bedding that has been washed multiple times, the bedding on my temporary bed.  The sanitizing of every surface in the house. The stress of having to think "Don't touch the remote" or "Don't touch the refrigerator handle." and having to remember to use the other bathroom. Eating separately. Not riding in the car together.  Now my office is a studio apartment instead of my office.  No one mentions the stress of that.  Or the loneliness or how not to let the sick person feel like a pariah.

All of this because someone didn't get vaccinated.

Then there's the worry on the family members.  This has easily shaved a year off the Parents lives.  The only shiny thing from this situation is that the mother-in-law has finally realized that the pandemic is not over and she shouldn't just go around like it is and not expect a consequence.  Her son becoming sick had much more impact than any doctor, news reports, or anything we would ever say.

We were also lucky that this didn't financially impact us.  This isn't to humblebrag, not at all. It's to highlight that so many, many others aren't so lucky.  We have sick pay, I work from home, we can afford extra loads of laundry and an extra order of groceries.  Many others have none of that and even if they recover, the after-effects financially will last for years.

All because someone didn't get vaccinated.

I've had to stay off of social media during this because there is a video being circulated that espouses more anti-vax propaganda; of which has been flagged, pulled down, and banned on the youtube.  But that happening doesn't unring the bell, the people don't change their mind or suddenly post "Oh, sorry, that was misinformation."  At the same time, the state is beginning mandating vaccines for health care workers and some people on my friend's list are outraged.  Because 'Merica.

It's taken everything in me not to post "WE HAVE COVID IN THIS HOUSE BECAUSE OF YOUR SELFISHNESS AND ARROGANCE"  I will never understand how people disregard doctors and science worldwide. Not just here in the states, but worldwide.  It's not just mainstream media, it's everyone's media.  It's nearly 700,000 people dead just in our country and millions with long haul symptoms. So, yeah, staying off of social media for a little while until the need to verbally, and well, physically, punch people passes. It's a good time to just post puppy photos and not scroll. 

Which brings me to this:  My family remains anti-vax.  I haven't notified anyone of Kevin's diagnosis because sigh...it just doesn't matter.  They won't change and I don't need to hear their nonsense or faux sympathy.  Also, this gets me out of any family function until everyone is vaccinated, which is going to be never.

Because we're not doing this again.  We got LUCKY this time.

All because someone didn't get vaccinated.

08 August 2021

A Happily Paid Expense

 So, we hired landscapers.  What had happened was our non-family neighbors gave a really good recommendation to my father-in-law and he hired them.  But wait I said WE hired landscapers.  Yes, we did.   Firstly, my f-i-l hired them to care for my b-i-l's yard and we don't want to talk about that because it requires cursing and frustration.  


Weeks later, after they finished cleaning the sh*tshow that is next door, they came over to our house.  It's a husband and wife team and they're both really nice; she's the alpha and he's the "yes ma'am".  She does the designing and detail and he does the big work. 

I walked them around the property, focusing on the backyard and the lower property. (we live on 1.5 acres, and it slopes three levels from the driveway down to the creek)    I told her don't worry about the rock garden and she was legit disappointed. "We'll see" she says.   I will admit to taking certain glee when she said "This is so much nicer than next door. This is so well taken care of, why do you even need us?"  *PREEN*

Kevin hated that he was home because he feels (like I do) all Lord of The Manor working in his shop while they worked.  But now they've been here a few times and he's excited.  He realized, I think, that they're doing better work than either of us will ever do. Also, he saw how happy it made me. 

We also learned the difference between having actual landscapers versus someone who just weed-whacked.  They're both detail oriented and have presented ideas that I love.  I think I can learn A LOT from her and  I never thought I'd be this excited about landscapers. This feels like a Milestone and it is something I will gladly pay for forever.

 And if you're thinking this is an unneeded expense and privilege, this is where I tell you how much they charge.  They were a little hesitant when we asked and they said "$15 an hour for him doing the large labor and $25 hourly for BOTH of us working."  They were uncomfortable, like we were going to say that was way too much.  Instead, we tip heavily because OMG, so inexpensive. As Kevin has said, "I wouldn't do it for that amount."

They made my little misfit garden lovely, like I had envisioned. They are going to work on the cascade - planting ferns and groundcover around it. 

Just the weed whacking that takes half a day and is not at all easy because it's on hills.  The care of the area we ceded to the County for the creek is taken care of instead of haphazardly being mowed by my father-in-law, making me anticipate one day seeing it all mowed down on accident.

Kevin and I are continuing our annual tradition of disagreeing about what needs trimming and what doesn't. I finally told him to stop trying to control nature; which didn't know what to do with and walked away.  Made me laugh.  So she has started - and shown me - what/how to trim things back that have suddenly taken off growing now that summer finally arrived.  They will return to make sure the garden is ready for winter, which is something I've never been able to do.  I'll probably even remember to plant bulbs this year.

The knowledge that I've gained is almost as big of a pay-off as the work being done by someone else.  She explained that most of this garden is on a steep hill and there needs to be rocks or something to help hold everything where it is placed.  Now I've been collecting small pieces of driftwood and medium sized rocks from walkies on the river to plant along the way.

Now in the time it's taken since I started this, it's been about a month...probably longer now.  The garden is so happy.  The lavender is blooming so the bees are super happy.  I've seen hummingbirds flit around the flowers. Suddenly, there are a lot of white butterflies.  Everything is so pretty right now.  Then this friend arrived:

I keep buying flowers, even though I'm running out of room.  The goal I had set for myself was to have something pretty Spring through Fall.  Then something green all year around, thus all the shrubbery and ferns that last through the winter. She instructed to not buy any more shrubbery and had a bit of an eyebrow raise with the last purchase.

I have the tendency to notice an open space and want to fill it; not thinking that these things will grow out and fill said space.  But then I will notice that I didn't have any red flowers, then I bought an orange flower because it's weirdness caught my eye.  Purple is predominant, especially since I keep buying lavender. So I bought yellow flowers.  AND, this year one of the hostas bloomed and I didn't even know it did that.  Purple and while blooms that look prehistoric. 


Then, while doing dishes, I noticed that there is mama robin in our butterfly bush.  Last year when I was attempting to trim bushes, I knocked down a bird's nest.  It broke my heart because I don't like killing living things, be it animals, bugs, or plants.  I put it back as best as I could but assumed that it would be abandoned.  It appears that she has returned and rebuilt.  She'll pop out of the bushes, hop around throwing bark and mulch around, looking for food.  Lucy doesn't bother the robins, it's like they signed a peace accord.

Panoramic photography is wonky

The other day, while watering, I thought of my paternal grandfather who died when I was fifteen.  He had a huge garden, both vegetable and flower.  I wasn't close to him but I do remember playing in and being in awe of his garden.  Then I remembered there are photographs of my maternal grandmother with her flower gardens.  I had a little full-circle moment; even though assuredly they didn't have landscapers.  Also, I see where rock gardens are apparently genetic: