19 June 2022

Happy Father's Day



 You know when you're super tired and something so completely dumb makes you laugh and laugh?  We had that happen last night.  

The transition between the carpet and the hard floor has little tiny nails and one keeps snagging my socks.  It happened as we were getting ready for bed.  I clarified with Kevin that it's a nail and not a screw that's holding that transition.  He said yes and asked why.  "Because it keeps ruining my snocks."

And that was it.  Laughter until tears.  Finally the emotional dam had burst for both of us after some really stressful days.

Kevin has been fine.  His fever broke early Friday morning and he's been fever free since.  He has a tiny bit of a cough but he always has one because Graves Disease and he's just so lucky.  He says he feels just fine now, just a little bit tired.

We both tested this afternoon and his result remains positive, as it will for a few days as I understand it.  Mine is still negative, honestly much to our surprise.  I don't know how in the world of Where's Carmen Diego I have managed to avoid Covid twice.  

I have to test again on Tuesday afternoon and if that remains negative then we both should be good-to-go.

Meanwhile, I took a hammer this morning and took out my frustration on the floor so my snocks stop getting ruined.

17 June 2022

That One Hour

 There's one hour a week, usually every Friday, that I just hate.  Hate it.  

And this post will be chock FULL of privilege, by the way.

I do all my errands on Fridays.  Post office, groceries, gas, farm store. I usually start it with long walkies (over one mile) with Lucy so she'll not be a 35-pound, furry toddler in the truck.  

While this is great and good, when I get home?  Sigh, this is the hour that I hate.

Unloading everything out of the truck takes time. It takes walking from one end of the house to the other and then some, plus stairs.  There's Lucy and Lucy's stuff. Groceries and whatever else I've purchased.  Then there's the cleaning out of the truck because Lucy has fur and I have OCD.  

Then there's the putting away of said groceries and sundries.  I'm  so much not a "Just leave it until later" person.  All the while squelching the "The trash needs to be taken out.  The bathroom needs cleaned, I'll just do it because I'm standing here. Throw out those bananas. Tidy the recycling" nonsense that runs through my brain.

I make myself be methodical instead: unload everything onto the counter and sort: dry goods, refrigerator, bathroom, and other.  Then I put it all away accordingly, or I try to.  This prompts the throwing out of the bananas because now I've got more to sacrifice to the kitchen gods.  It creates more recycling.  For every "I'll just..." impulse, I have to say "No, no, you won't just..." and stay where I'm planted.

Since January, I've been employing Swistles Ennui Eradicator by buying fresh cut flowers.  Add that to the tasks that mount up during that one hour on Fridays.  Granted, it's a happy task: arranging fresh flowers but it is still one more thing, happy or nah.  (cough...super, extra privilege...ahem)

Right now there's washing being done because Covid.  The groceries are 99% put away but my truck is still a mess. Because I had to get into Monica's Closet to get an extra blanket, so now here I am tippy-tapping on my keyboard instead of putting away the remaining 1% of groceries and cleaning my truck before it rains.  

And now it's raining.

16 June 2022

Positive and Negative

Just now I was standing, in the sun pouring through the kitchen window, making hummingbird food.  Happily stirring, watching the bees in the garden, and listening to music. And I thought:

"Whew, I was anxious this morning."

What had happened was:

Kevin called this morning and his Covid test came back positive. FML.  His work provides tests and he took one.  It looks like he's on the tail end of it though.  (one bright line, one faint line)  He feels like he just has a cold/allergies but he's been sick since Saturday evening.  We've been distancing from each other and staying away from family altogether.  I've been wanting him to test but his work wife finally got him to do it this morning.  

Again, louder for those in the back: FML.

So I went and got tests from my work (what a effed up benefit, by the way) and I tested twice, both with negative results.  We were a little concerned because I've had allergy symptoms this week; thus the two tests.

Kevin said "You're just too mean to catch it" which made me legit LOL.

He caught it via work and unvaxxed coworkers AGAIN.  This time he talked to the owner of the company about This Has Got To Stop.   Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot to be done.  They're Essential Services, they mostly work outside, and most employees are from the political party of non-believers.

Meanwhile, I had to think of when the last time I saw the parents; Taco Tuesday for just a few minutes.  And who else did I see?  The chiropractor and my BFF.  Thank the universe for working from home and living a small life.  Still, though, I didn't want to have to tell any of those people that I had tested positive.

To recap from an earlier post where the family hosted a possible super spreader event:

Kevin's sense of taste has gone away.  He says not quite all the way but probably about 75% gone.  His sense of smell is almost 100% gone.  

He can't drink soda or carbonated beverages or Iced tea or lemonade. Milk and coffee are Meh.  Water is fine.  Orange juice is fine but not any other fruit juice.

Food is eaten to survive, not to necessarily enjoy.

There are certain smells and tastes that send him over.  We had to change his deodorant brand because it would make him wretch if he caught a whiff.  Meanwhile, he still can't smell my perfume or anything else enjoyable.

He was ten months out from his original Covid adventure and now we're starting the clock all over again.

AND THEN, because there's always an AND THEN, yesterday morning we got a call from a friend that one of our friends was hospitalized with Covid and underlying conditions.  They had discovered him unconscious and not breathing during the night.  

He lives with and cares for his elderly parents and his mom's intuition kicked in during the night.  She checked on him and found him, otherwise he would have probably been gone in the morning.  He'll be in the hospital for a while and will recover with hopefully few deficits.

I cannot WAIT for a day that we're not talking about this.  It feels like that day never will be.

Thankful for free testing.  Thankful his case is mild and that I've dodged it twice. Thankful that our friend was discovered in time and will recover.  Thankful for vaccines that made the mildness and immunity possible.  

14 June 2022

Like Lockers but Smarter

 I am fascinated by two things that people have: tattoos and stickers on laptops.  I want both of those and am always curious to see what people choose and why.

I know what tattoo I want and where I want it.  I just have to go do it.  I had set a tentative deadline for my fiftieth birthday but then the pandemic hit so not so much.  Now I just have to do it.  Knowing me, I'll just wake up one day and decide to go.

Meanwhile, less invasive: There's an envelope in my desk where I've been hoarding stickers for a while. Stickers for my laptop.

Wait, so my Canadian friends say "decals" instead of stickers.  They EYE ROLL SO HARD at the word "stickers"  And it's pronounced "deck-all" not "dee-Cal".  I am going to use the colloquial "stickers" here even though it makes me wince every single time.

I  just couldn't quite commit to using these stickers though. I was raised that you don't decorate anything important like books, windows, etc. (weird rules in that house, lemmetellyou)  In tiny rebellion, I have decorated all of my refrigerators though since I left that house. 

Most of my laptops have been either from work or laptops that we shared or used for the racecar.  Now we each have newish laptops so there's nothing stopping me now from using those stickers.  Except for over-thinking.  Kevin, meanwhile, didn't realize you could put stickers on a laptop and was ALL UP IN THAT shortly after that discovery.

When my BFF K sent me a snap of the progress of decorating her laptop, I was compelled. I took out that envelope with excitement and encouragement.  There were less stickers than I remembered, which makes me wonder what exactly I was remembering or if they just made their way to the refrigerator instead.

I had stickers from The Bloggess Book Club and the Human Rights Campaign and the Titus Podcast plus two Doctor Who stickers. Clearly, that is not enough.  Then I discovered more Doctor Who stickers on the etsy.  I ordered a batch of those.  Then once they arrived, I ordered another batch because I loved them so much.  I ordered some sunflower stickers and some tiny bees in honor of Swistle.  

Work has been GAH because it's the end of the school year and the advocates - without fail - wait to the literal last hour to finish up stuff.  So with that and waiting for my "extra" stickers delivery, I've been toe-tapping for the time to work on this project.  

Why, yes again, I am still absolutely over-thinking this.  I feel like I have to have All The Stickers in order to begin.  But I keep ordering more and we all know how that's going to turn out.

Friday was a challenging day, full of errands and a stop at my old office which never fails to depress me.  Once I finally finished late in the afternoon, I pulled out all of my stickers and began arranging them.  A treat for persevering through the week.

Now I have too many stickers.  

Then I remembered that I really really wanted one that featured Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Finish Each Day".  Well, predictably, that added a few more stickers to my order.  (society6 is an amazing site, btw) This is, obviously, the solution to the above stated problem.

These stickers arrived today, much to my delight and excitement. Now I can call this project done...probably.  I just need to not browse for any stickers. Like, ever. #unlikely

This is a lot of melodrama for so few stickers

Now returning back to the general direction of the opening paragraphs.  While thinking about the stickers and the process of which to choose and which to save, it occurred to me.  Decorating laptops has become the Grown Up Version of High School Lockers.  Some people don't decorate at all, some people put minimal effort into it, and some put everything into it.

Like high school, I am in the middle category.  My locker is the third one from the left.

Actual 1987 senior-year
high school lockers

07 June 2022

Happy Birthday - A Rant

There were 41 people at a birthday party next door this time last week.  FORTY-ONE.  The age ranging from toddler to sixties.  Why, you’re probably wondering. Why in the name of Where’s Waldo would there be such a large gathering during the pandemic.

Every Memorial Day since I don’t know when, there has been a gathering for Kevin’s birthday.  The very first time I met him was at one of those parties.  There was a large group of friends and everyone went four-wheeling and camping.  So that's about 34 years at least.

SIDENOTE: at said party decades ago, is where I learned that Kevin and his brother were brothers.  I honestly thought they were joking. I called bullsh*t until Kevin confirmed it.  They didn’t look alike, they certainly didn’t act alike AT ALL, and nothing about them seemed like brothers.  It turns out that at the time, while they were part of the same friend group, they themselves weren’t friends per se.

Back on topic:

After a few years of not having a birthday party and against our wishes, Kevin's brother planned a birthday party for him.

Kevin has said that his Covid gift is not having birthday parties.  He's been CLEAR that he doesn't want one. FOR YEARS, even pre-pandemic.  His brother said that a friend put pressure on him to have one and it's also the littles 16th birthday. 

He claims that he didn't know that Kevin didn't want a party. Anyone who knows Kevin knows he’s not vague. He simply cannot be vague.  He said that he told his brother “I don’t think it’s a good idea.” He said “The parents can’t go.”  He said “We just skipped the holidays and now because it’s been a month, things have changed?”  To which every other human being on the planet would be interpreted as “No.”   

I saw red when Kevin told me.  He thought it was because of the whole Covid thing...and it was...but it was more that his brother made it about himself and didn't honor Kevin's wishes of NOT having a party.  Then he blamed it on peer pressure, instead of just owning it.  His brother purposefully put him in a terrible situation, knowing that people would be there and Kevin would be required to make an appearance.

But this is where I say that it's a very big birthday, he's turning 60.  So something should be done but it should be Kevin's choice.  Also, this birthday is bothering him more than any other.  READ THE ROOM, Kevin's brother.  ALSO, I mentioned to Kevin that Did it occur to him to CHECK with me?  No it did not.  

My original idea was to rent a camper and go camping but because pandemic, nothing was available. I was looking at Airbnb and dog friendly hotels until he mentioned this was happening.  If I have been able to make anything happen, we would have been gone.  Trust that I was tempted to still make something happen.

APPARENTLY, the party was supposed to be huge.  Someone accidentally let it slip that it was supposed to be all the cousins and our friends. It was "just" 41 People and his brother claims that family showed up uninvited. (more accurately: not told no when asked)  There were cars parked in OUR DRIVEWAY because there was no room next door. He still considers this small. “Not like it has been before.” Ignoring that he assured Kevin that it was small and not to worry and then act like Kevin didn’t have eyes.  

The logic is that the party is outside which is unrealistic.  It always rains that weekend and it did in the morning. Also, the guys will be standing in the garages. There was no plan for the parents, beyond taking them food and people visiting them from the yard.

And, let's make it about me: I'm exhausted being in this position, constantly having to make choices to keep myself and my family safe. This also kind of puts me in the Wicked Witch of the West category because it IS Kevin's birthday and I don't want to curb-stomp any happiness for him.  

During the party, Kevin reports the brother did the passive aggressive "Where's Surely? Why hasn't she come over?" and you can bet it was loud enough for people to hear. I know Kevin had told him so that's total bullshit. Trying to make me the weirdo.

Kevin also said that people asked where I was and everyone understood my decision. He phrased it nicely as "She's not comfortable in large groups yet and she checks in with the parents and doesn't want to expose them."  He also said he got to tell his Covid story to someone and added that not only is the sense of smell and taste gone, it's now worse. Which it is, I just learned the night before at his birthday dinner. He hadn't told me yet.  Happy Birthday, Kevin.

Instead, Lucy and I ate dinner with the parents so they would have company and not feel left out.  The mom really wanted to go but Kevin put his foot down.  His dad showed zero interest in going, which is interesting to me.  The mom said to me: “I just wish I could see the new deck” (not new, they just cleaned it)  “I wish I could see the cousins” (they visited from the yard)   “I don’t want everything to stop because I can’t come…”  Yeah, that wasn’t heartbreakingly sad at all.

However, one of the justifications of the brothers actions from his mom was "Well, I don't think the siblings watch the news so they just don't know how serious it is."  I changed the subject because I just can't.  

There was a defense of the party in the way that "most" of the people were vaccinated. When I asked how we knew Just How Much Vaccinated everyone was, then that point stalled. Then I said that we did know that one-third of the party WASN'T.  ONE THIRD.  

There was still a group of 41 people in a confined space.  Outside with a canopy so yes, technically outside but not really. OPEN AIR MEANS OPEN AIR. AND 41 PEOPLE on a deck that was really crowded 

At the beginning, Kevin said that he understood if I just stayed home entirely. He admitted he wasn't sure what to do and that it was a terrible situation.  Not only the very idea of it, but leaving out me and his parents as well.  He stood at the  edge of the deck, far away from everyone. You know, just how everyone wants to spend their birthday party. Oh and also without their wife.

The brother is upset that Kevin is upset that I am upset.  He tattled to his mom the next morning.  Who then, in turn, wanted Kevin to fix it and Kevin actually told her no, which was a zippy twist that I didn't see coming.

AND THEN THERE'S THEIR DOG.  I tried to keep Lucy home for most of it but I took her to the creek to see the kids.  Of course their dog starts body slamming and pawing at Lucy.  Now she's with Kevin but I suspect she'll be home soon.  Kevin's BFF brought their dog, who Lucy LOVES but they can't play because of the other dog intervening and being dominate/aggressive.

I know this is long but to add to the absurdity, one of the attendees is a friend-adjacent to Kevin's BFF. He literally and actually lives in an RV down by the river and is an alcoholic and smoker.   His brother invited him because they saw each other the other weekend.  (meaning then his brother would have a "friend" that wasn't Kevins)

So THEN, this is where I tell you that one of the friends posted photos on the facebook and TAGGED ME.  He tagged everyone in the family.  Then I got a notification that my niece saw and liked it and then a cousin.  I ended up untagging myself from it.  I just don’t need the drama or to be notified that this whole thing happened in the first place.

The point though is that now if my niece mentions it to my family, then I'll get to hear - or my mom will - "Well, they had a big party at their house, why won't they come here?"  Kevin suggested that I call my mom to "check in" then casually mention it and clarify that I wasn't there.  HOWEVER, that will just give gossip and judgement fodder to the family and I don't need that EITHER.

Then when I called my mom, I had the realization that why do I even care?  It’s not like their opinions are important to me.  It’s not like I owe anyone anything.  I just didn’t mention it at all.

My s-i-l posted photos (like I would, usually) on social media and I just Can't Even.  I did eventually look at the post and there were photos for the kids opening our presents to them, like that is some sort of consolation prize.  I didn't comment nor like her post.  Oh, and then this happened: her niece – the only one NOT at the party – commented “thanks for the invite”   Yeah, that’s not uncomfortable AT ALL.

Kevin and I had an emphatic discussion about this whole mess the next morning and it came up only one more time after that.  His brother did not come over at all, that next day and has made himself scarce.  I don't know if they've talked about it and Kevin had already it out with his mom about constantly defending his brother and expecting Kevin to fix it.  Sadly, she won't remember that today but at least Kevin got to say the words.

I'm still pretty mad but the UPSET part of it is fading.  I told Kevin I can't believe that his 60th birthday party happened and I wasn't there.  I don't think he quite REALIZED that until I said it.  I mean, he knew, he understood, but the whole That Was A Big Moment I Missed didn't quite occur to him.  I’m going to quote my BFF, because she summed it so neatly that it could have just been this whole post: 

Kevin had to spent a special, difficult, milestone birthday in a way he did not want to spend it, and in fact had specifically said he did not want to spend it and that he had to spend this celebration being careful, being worried about being close to people, being worried about getting sick, being worried that he might end up infecting his parents/wife, being upset that his wife/parents were by necessity excluded—and balancing all that as the Guest of Honor at a party he didn’t even want

We don't have another holiday now for a long time, which is good because I just can't. I told Kevin that I have nothing to say to the siblings that is going to be appropriate.  I am honestly not sure that I'm going to be able to get over this.  And what's extra terrible with raisins on it is that Kevin is in the middle.  

My guess is that eventually his brother will be over here at one point and make a "joke" or a "You could have come over" comment and I won't be able to hold my tongue.  Frankly, I think that's what needs to happen.  Kevin is worried that I will destroy the relationship and that's both fair and unfair. The brother did a really terrible thing and there is zero consequence for it other than my helpless anger and frustration.

One last thing: in therapy it is said that if a person has a Big Reaction to something, it’s not usually The Thing that is happening right then but something historical rising to the surface.  If you’re hysterical, it’s historical was the quote. If a person is having a lot of really big feelings about something that maybe doesn’t necessarily require them – it might be worth investigating if it is indeed historical.  

I found this very interesting when I read it, not necessarily because I have big feelings often. It's just a different perspective on why something upsets.  The point is I tried to apply it to this situation.

I poked through my feelings and was all Not that, not that, maybe that, and continued to mull.  Then in the middle of the night, I had a realization.  I’ll say it again: traumatic childhood.  What had happened was: this was just another situation in my life where adults made unsafe choices with little to no regard to anyone else. While I – grownup me and small me – get to idly and helplessly stand by. NEAT.

Finally, I'll mention that one of Kevin's crew guys is currently at home with a bad case of Covid.  So Kevin was no doubt exposed...and we're not sure when.  It's been over seven days since the party and to our knowledge, everyone remains healthy.  They dodged a bullet, maybe.