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:

04 August 2021

Hide and Go Seek Happy

 The little park where Lucy and I go for walkies has a group who hides painted rocks for people to find. Looking for them is a fun thing to do while you're walking the pathways.  It's a silly, simple thing for them to do and it makes people - me, I'm people - happy.

I try to leave the rocks there when I spot them.  I just feel guilty about taking them when I know someone else will enjoy it as much/more than I will.  I know, I know, I have issues. Some are beautifully painted, some are silly, some are obviously painted by little hands. 

There are two that I couldn't resist bringing home: one is cute bee and one is a Seahawks.  The Seahawks one is a paper weight/place holder on my desk and the bee one sits with my rock, shells and feather finds on the window sill.  Oh, wait, three rocks. The other is a small mandala that I don't know how I spotted but I did.

Yesterday Lucy and I were doing the walkies thing and I just wasn't in the mood.  I had work to do when I got home and knew I had to be in the office today and everything was just making me feel itchy.

This park features old growth trees and logging remnants from the early 1900's.  There is a group of stumps along this path where there are spaces carved out for the loggers to slide in boards to stand on while sawing the tree down.  Many times there are rocks hidden in plain sight there.

I've walked past this stump hundreds of times and
never noticed the eyebrows.  I'll look closer next time.

Yesterday was the mother lode.  Yesterday was my favorite, like, ever:

Yep, it's the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie mouse.

I actually gasped and mentioned to Lucy how perfect that was. (she wasn't as impressed)  It is one of my all time favorite children's book and I refer to it all the time.  The mouse and I are very similarly wired.

Because: issues, I told her that we'd leave it there for a little one to find.  We were halfway through our walk and for the remainder of it, I kept thinking about that perfect rock.  

So we circled around again - much to Lucy's delight - and I brought it home.  The Universe had spoken, it was meant to be mine.  It's a medium sized rock, smooth and heavy.  The painting is perfectly done.  It was worth juggling Lucy's lead, my phone, and the rock for the rest of the walk. (don't put heavy rocks in your shorts pockets, just a little tip from me)

It's sitting on my desk because it makes me happy to look at it.  It will find a home somewhere eventually but right now: it's front and center.

To quote Gregisms on the ticktock: Find Your Joy.

01 August 2021

Pandemic Whack A Mole - Raising Parents Edition

Washington state just reinstated indoor masking, as did part of the lower mainland in British Columbia.  It doesn't bother me, because frankly: I have become attached to my masks. They have become a bit of a binky for me. Also, it was still required at my work when I went into the office so I never truly let go of it.  I don't mind the requirement at all, I just wish they would have left it in place month(s) ago.  And that it was country-wide but 'Merica.

I've mentioned before that my bio family are mostly anti-vaxxers.  This equally does not surprise me and frustrates me.  I won't go on a rant about it; because I could FOR DAYS.   I will summarize instead: I'm puzzled by the arrogance of "knowing" more than all of the scientists worldwide. 

So, of course, there is an upcoming birthday celebration at my mother's house.  Not only do I not want to go because I'm enjoying my mental health, I don't want to go because I don't want to carry something home and kill Kevin's parents.  I know, I'm super selfish.

I've been mulling how to decline yet another invitation.  Add to it that Kevin wondered how much of my hesitation was simply that I didn't want to see my family.  Ummm, yeah.

Then it occurred to me: I have a doctor.  An actual medical specialist at my disposal.  I felt a little dumb when I realized it, all I have to do is send an email and ask for guidance.  How did I not think of that before?  

So I did yesterday.  I presented the situation as best as I could, stating the family structure here and our vaccination status.  Then I explained that bio family are anti-vaxxers and what shall I do with this invitation.

Honestly I thought that I would get a "Meh, pay attention but go ahead and go."  That is not exactly what I got.  I'm going to post it here so you can make your own determination:

RE: Non-Urgent Medical Question

I appreciate how careful you are trying to be with the Covid epidemic! I am particularly concerned with the delta variant and the increasing cases in the County.
I am so glad that you, your husband, and your parents are vaccinated.
Of course, the safest thing would be to decline the invitation.
That being said, if you are vaccinated, I think that a reasonable option would be to attend the party if you wear a mask and if the party is outside.
Even though the vaccine is highly effective, there are breakthrough cases. I would be concerned about a breakthrough case that you could spread to your parents. I do think spending time outdoors and masked would be very safe and unlikely to cause a problem, given the multiple layers of protection (vaccine, outside, masking).
I am not sure that I would go to an indoor party.

Okay, well then.  I'm glad I asked because I felt vindicated in my hesitancy. I was also a little surprised at the whole Not to an Indoor Party part.  This was written prior to the reinstatement of the mask mandate.  And yet, I really shouldn't have been surprised.

I phoned my niece and explained what the doctor said and all's well that ends well.  Apparently my mother had expressed hesitation and the niece was changing the location and size of the party.  

So, I thought we were finished with this topic.

Kevin came in a little while ago, quiet.  Finally he just states that "Mom is going to the casino tonight."

Because my brain isn't booted up fully yet, I just flatly said "Okay."  Meaning I'm exhausted with this reckless nonsense.  Kevin took it as approval at first and expressed surprise.  Then my synapses started to reconnect and I clarified: "Of course she is.  It was nice knowing her."  

The casino is not a good idea for her BEFORE THE PANDEMIC.  It's too overwhelming, smoky, populated, etc.  But sure, go when there's a pandemic resurgence.  

In case you wonder "What harm can come of it?"  Here's the summary of her fragile medical health: COPD, multiple strokes, Peripheral Arterial Disease, Vascular Dementia, GI feeding tube.

Then add into she can carry it into her home, where her stroke victim with AFIB and a pacemaker, and with atrophied heart disease, husband lives.

So then I was trying to work it through my brain.  I remembered listening to Atul Gawande on a podcast talk about end of life with elderly people.  His example was a woman who would sneak cookies that she wasn't supposed to have.  She kept getting into "trouble" at the care facility.  His point was "She's old, she's at the end of her life, if she chooses to die by choking on a cookie and She's Happy Eating The Cookie, then let her do it."

Well, then there's that, I guess.  It doesn't matter that it's such an unbelievably reckless thing to do.  If she's fine with exposure to herself and to her husband, then I guess that's her consequence.  

However, it's not a consequence that she understands.  She fully believes that she is fine to do these things pre-pandemic; let alone now in the middle of one. So add the incapacity to make a reasonable decision into the mix.  It's not lack of knowledge because CNN is on their television all.the.time.  It's the Raising Parents thing again where they behave as if teenagers and there's nothing you can do about it.

In the meanwhile, I'm not going into the parent's house for the next 7-10 days.  I don't know what Kevin decided about that, he was considering it the last we talked about it.  We're going to assume she'll/they'll be fine but I'm keeping myself safe in the meanwhile.  It's all I can do.

It's stupid stuff like this that is keeping us in this purgatory.  To quote the interwebs: We Didn't Just Spend 18 months in Quarantine to Do This All Over Again