Note to Selfie

Greetings, salutations, whatever.

Things have been a struggle lately. I’m not going to lie. First it was trying to get used to the idea of everything being back to “normal” so very, very suddenly. So many people, so much talking. I don’t know about y’all, but that has been hard. And what about the 180 degree about-face? We went from creeping around behind masks and wiping down our groceries to back out in the world, bare-faced. It has felt too fast. Shouldn’t there have been a much more gradual reentry into the world? Did we even want or need to go back to normal?

One new thing that we have been embracing (when not stuck at home) is the new taiyaki ice cream place. So, so good!

I felt strange sending my kids to camp for part of the summer. Last year, we had all summer together, whether we liked it or not. It was a strange, wonderful, awful, scary, special time. I felt as if I was going to miss them and miss that time this year, despite the fact that I’ve never had regular summers off with them. But then I ended up with a whole lot of extra time thanks to COVID. It’s been the gift that keeps on giving. We’ve been holed up at home for over a week now, with another to go. And work? Work has been a right and proper asshole about it. Rather than allow me to telecommute (**cough** like I did all last summer successfully **cough**), I’ve been forced to take leave to stay home with my minor children who are too young to be vaccinated, much less be home alone. God forbid we learn something from this whole experience, like how to be humane and compassionate to working parents/moms. But that’s ok. Because of the whole quarantine thing, we had to cancel that road trip we were going to take with my mother, anyway, so I had that leave I was expecting to use for vacation to use as sit-around-with-your-kids-stuck-at-home time.

Sorry. I’m angry. I’m frustrated. How could we learn nothing? People are so disappointing. What’s that old saying about the only thing you can count on other people for is letting you down?

It’s a cold, hard world, kids.

I’m trying to bootstrap my mood and make the best of all this. We’ve been taking walks to parks, doing scavenger hunts, and such. We’ve been doing science kits. We’ve been swimming. We’ve watched movies. Stella hasn’t realized yet that we’re not going to Memphis and Huntsville with my mom, but she’ll figure it out soon. I want to have some fun things she can remember about this whole thing rather than the trip she lost. I need to come up with some cool shit to do next week. We won’t have the time for theme weeks like we did last year, but we can do theme days. It’s just my creativity tank is pretty damn empty.

Yeah, Dude. I know.

Ideas, anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

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Better Isolate Than Never

Reentry continues. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m seriously struggling with being around so many people. I don’t hear about any studies looking at that, but it’s a damn thing. We’ve all been isolated for a year or so, and it’s now kind of creepy and irritating to be out with the heaving masses. I had to fly recently due to a death in the family, and while logically I knew I was as safe as possible (masked and vaccinated), I still hated every minute of it. I could almost see the bacteria in the air, feel the viruses. And I’m so much more sensitive to people noise now. They’re ramping up occupancy at the office, and the extra chatter sets my teeth on edge. I realize that I’m an introvert and that there are a whole lot of extroverts in the world who have been choking on all the unspoken words in their heads, just waiting to spew them out at the first available body, but damn. I clearly need to work on my resting bitch face.


We’ve also reached that point in the school year when everyone is just DONE. Poor Stella is dealing with standardized testing, the results of which will probably not be used, so what the fuck is the point? It also sucks for Felix, as the younger kids have to be SUPER QUIET so as to not bother the testing kids and their ancillary/fun classes are cancelled, as those teachers are needed for testing.


One thing we have going for us is the backyard.  No, I’m not talking about the grass that needs to be cut or the fences that need to be replaced.  The pool is now up!  Y’all, it’s amazing.  It’s a game-changer.  Sure, it always had been, but with the addition of a year’s worth of maturation, my kids now go back there after school for a couple of hours and swim without adult participation.  That is HUGE.  For the past 2 years, Felix would only get in if I got in also, or if there was an extra kid visiting.  Now?  He and Stella are so damn happy to be in the pool that my existence is arbitrary.  They swim away the frustration of their school day while I get to cook dinner and straighten up in peace. 

And the Doomsday Garden in thriving. The Lettuce Shop of Horrors has been closed. We needed the space for more squash and zucchini plants, and honestly, the Louisiana sun was starting to get too intense. Oh, and I now hate the sight of lettuce. We harvested the last of it and turned it into more lettuce soup. Y’all, the last of the lettuce filled and entire Home Depot work bucket. To hell with lettuce. Anyway, I think we’ve already harvested a few pounds of green beans, and we’re about to crushed by tomatoes and squash. Send recipes now. I may have to take up pickling and canning.


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Lettuce Shop of Horrors

So how are y’all doing? It’s been challenging, thinking about a blog during all this. I had a one-year anniversary of our lockdown post all mapped out in my mind. I even had a title, “Lend Me Your Years,” but then I ended up getting my vaccine on that very day: March 13th. That was a surreal day. I got the Johnson and Johnson, so one and done. And fortunately for me, I’ve not clotted. That’s sarcasm.

This whole thing is a strange…thing. Getting back out is hard. The stuff that I would have done in a typical day pre-COVID now wears my ass out. I used to be able to bounce from work to dinner to homework to the kids’ jiu jitsu practice and still have energy left over. Now? The thought of going to the grocery store AND the pharmacy is just too much. I joke that I’ve always been a bit misanthropic. COVID has not helped that, what with the anti-maskers and such. I’m downright feral now.

One amazing thing is that since our vaccines, I got to see my mom again for the first time in 15 months!❤️❤️

But we all are facing this kind of shit. Not blog-worthy.What is a bit unusual or different? My husband’s Doomsday Garden. I had one last year in my flower bed. Given all the chaos and horrible shit going down, I planted a bunch of random stuff. We ended up buried in something called lemon cucumbers. I learned to make homemade pickles. Will has one-upped me big-time. He tilled up about 1/3 of our backyard and created a serious garden, complete with raised rows covered in weed block, with stainless steel support fencing. It’s massive. There are over 100 plants, all thriving.

We will soon be drowning in tomatoes, but now? Lettuce. I always thought of lettuce as being this delicate, fussy plant, that would rather grow in Alaska than the heat of Louisiana. Nope. This shit is like Harry Potter level, y’all. We have about 10 bunches, and as soon as you cut it, it comes right back. Mind you, it’s beautiful stuff – the fancy kind, with some leaves in red, some with delicate ruffles, etc. But I cannot even think of salad right now. We are saladed OUT. In my wisdom, I started looking for alternate recipes that might use a lot. Somehow, I stumbled on an Epicurious recipe for lettuce soup. Yes, you heard me right. Lettuce soup. On the positive side, it uses up a whole lot of my green nemesis. It doesn’t taste bad, per se, and Stella actually loves it. It also most definitely has fiber in it. Oh yes. That should not be called into question. The negatives? Well, the texture is a bit off-putting, particularly once it cools. In the fridge, it basically resembles Hulk-colored pudding. I just can’t. If y’all know of good lettuce recipes that are not soup or salad based, let me know?

Stella and her lettuce-loving spirit animal
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The Luck Stops Here

Y’all know I’m a science-type person.  I pretty much always scoff at superstition, “old wive’s tales” (with the caveat that those wise ladies often knew what the hell they were talking about, even if they didn’t have the fancy jargon and data to explain it properly), and generally anything not measurable by modern technology.  All that being said, I’m taking no chances right now.

After the universally-maligned phenomenon that was the Great Dumpster Fire of 2020, I’m pulling out all the stops.  I have a skull wreath that my mom bought me ages ago, and I decorate it for whatever season is upon us – or whatever strikes my fancy.  I hereby decree this the season of “international good luck.”  I ordered good luck charms from multiple cultures across the globe.  One might work, right?
My mom also sent me the David, Patron Saint of Ew candle.  I figure that kind of goes with the theme.
On January 1 (yesterday), I cooked all the supposedly lucky food: cabbage, black eyed peas with pork, and corn bread.  I had read something about 12 grapes, but I didn’t have that.  Instead, I drank the champagne last night that I didn’t drink on New Year’s Eve due to awful weather (and going to bed by 9:35).  Since champagne is a grape-based product, I figure I ticked that box as well.
I think we all realize things won’t be magically different over the course of a few days, but I gotta have hope.  We’re about to pop out for a quick overnight surprise trip for the kids before things get back to the new, new normal next week.  I hope y’all had a happy-ish New Year celebration.  Now no one be assholes.  We need all the good karma we can get. 
I leave you with Felix, doing some kind of dance of supplication to some force out there. Surely this must also be lucky.
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These Roots Are Made For Walking

No, this isn’t a post about poor hair upkeep.  I’ve long since given up on that and embraced the gray.  This is a post about my annual Christmas aftermath.

I adore Christmas.  I’m one of these people that does a lot of gift acquiring early and always is fully decorated no later than the end of Thanksgiving weekend.  This year, I even started putting some odds and ends up earlier than that, as we all could use a little cheer this year, no?  
Christmas came and went.  I think both kids felt pretty good about it all.  Felix cannot wait to get his greenhouse ultimately positioned, a “floor” put in (we’re thinking roofing tiles), and a small bench.  He wants to hang out there and commune with his plants.  Stella is absolutely dying to go shopping.  Those gift cards and that cash are just calling to her like the world’s loudest siren (the ones that would sing boats to shipwreck….not the ambulance version).  
But once Christmas is over?  I want it all gone.  Done. Put the F up.  I want it ripped out by the roots and banished.  I want it to look like the Grinch just rolled by, with not even a trace of pine needles on the floor.  This year was no exception.  This year even felt a bit more violent for some reason. 
As much as I adore the smells and colors and lights, I love how clean and open and airy and new everything looks and feels once it’s all gone.  Mind you, my house is not anything approaching “spartan” or “modern and clean.”  I’m a tchotchke kind of person.  I’m a “I will hang my kids’ pictures on my walls” kind of person.  But I’ll be damned if for about 24-48 hours my house doesn’t feel clean and open and elegant.
The day after Christmas, we headed to my in-laws’ river house to hang for a couple of nights with my BFF, M, and her son.  Her son turned 8 today, so this was a substitute for a party (we’ve been in each other’s bubbles for months now).  The kids got to be out in the fresh air, take a nature walk, and those that were willing could  kayak.   It was nice, but any mom knows that traveling like that isn’t really restful.  There are still meals and messes and arguments to referee.  Don’t get me wrong: the trip went great, but it wasn’t really “restful,” particularly 24 hours after Christmas.  Anyway, all women and children left late this morning (Will stayed behind for some quiet, whatever the fuck that is…no, seriously, he’s working from home and it’s actually better for him there, as we don’t have to listen to his conference calls which drag on ALL DAY while we make serious but failing efforts to be quiet).  Despite my desire to just lay on the couch and watch bad non-holiday programming, I completed the Christmas purge.  My tree is naked in the backyard until recycling starts, and Will can handle the inflatables when he gets back.  
It always feels so perfunctory, Christmas, once it’s over, particularly given my zeal, nostalgia, and excitement at the beginning of the holiday season.  I always feel a bit guilty about it.  But mark my words, come next November, I’ll be whistling carols and sneaking out Santa figurines.  
Now who’s ready for New Years? 

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Greenhouse and Ham

So it’s Christmas Eve day.  I suppose holidays are always a time for all the feelings.  This year, I think that’s more true than ever.  
We were supposed to have met my mom in Texas a few days after Xmas.  It was the first time all year I would have seen her.  We had to cancel it for a variety of reasons – most COVID-related.  Any other time, we could have and would have found a Plan B, but this year it’s just not possible.  Luckily, we hadn’t told the kids.  They’re spared that disappointment, at least.  It also occurs to me  we’ve had my dad here the past 2 Decembers.  Not this year.  I know I’m not alone.  Lots of us can’t spend time with those we’d love to see.  
Of course, others are carrying on as if nothing is happening.
Even the reindeer is being responsible
Nope.  Moving on.  I’m trying to be positive.
Santa will be arriving in under 24 hours. Somehow, Stella still believes at 10 years old.  Of course, at 10 years old, Santa has a hard time finding “exciting” things to leave under the tree.  From what I hear, she’ll be getting a “gift card tree,” full of gift cards from everywhere from Michael’s to Old Navy to Starbucks.  It’s not as exciting for Santa, but I suppose it’s more important that the kid is happy, no?  But Felix….
This is going to be his Red Ryder year, y’all.  He is getting a greenhouse.  Santa found a kit that builds out to a 5’x5′ greenhouse, complete with shelves.  His head is going to absolutely explode.  My mom got him a subscription to the Succulent of the Month Club, and he’s already excited about that.  Now, he’ll have plenty of space for his green buddies.  
The weather here is a pain in the ass.  Sure, it’s gotten colder in the last 24 hours, and will continue to be so for the next couple of days.  The wind, however, is gusting such that my inflatables would take flight like the Macy’s parade balloons if I turned them on.  So while it’s festive and cheerful inside, outside we’re rocking a serious 2020 Humbug kind of vibe.
I am, happily, done with work for the year.  I decided I wanted to just spend time with my kids. Don’t really  know what we’ll do and part of me thinks I’m crazy to volunteer for Togetherness, but there we go.  
Anyway, not the most riveting blog.  Not the most riveting year.  I hope wherever you are that you have the happiest Christmas you can have under the circumstances.  
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There’s Snow Place Like Home

Since it’s officially December, I suppose we can get into full Christmas mode without pissing anyone off.  I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out fun and special things to do to round out a rather un-fun – albeit special year.  And in case it’s not obvious, in this instance, special doesn’t mean good. It’s the opposite… kind of like when Hitler was chosen as Time Magazine’s Man of the Year for 1938.  
Our halls have been decked for over a week already, and we often find ourselves singing carols, often incorrectly.  Y’all, we have gotten some serious mileage out of Frosty.  One morning, in particular, we discussed the issue of Frosty being a smoker.  Stella’s take was “duh, he has a pipe,” whereas Felix wasn’t sure what a pipe was for but felt confident Frosty was a non-smoker.  Surely Frosty wouldn’t have such an awful habit?  This led to a remix of the classic in the vein of “Frosty the Snowman, had some dirty, filthy lungs.”  As Stella joined in it became apparent that like her brother, she was fuzzy on some details.  Frosty’s pipe was a “popcorn pipe.”  More hilarity ensued.  The next morning we had to wonder what a more appropriate version would be for the state of Louisiana: Frosty the Mudman?  Mudsy the Bogman?  Regardless, the real Frosty wouldn’t fare so well down here, even in our current cold snap.  These poor, poor Cajun children.
I mean y’all… we’ve even had to wear jackets lately!
But back to Christmas. I’ve sent a pile of cards to the extent I’m out and am waiting for more. We still have our annual Zoo Lights that we can do, as that’s safe enough.  They decorate the zoo with all kinds of light displays and you walk through ooohing and aaahing over the lights.  We do it every year.  We will soon be opening our holiday crafting sweatshop.  The kids’ school is asking families to make decorations to send in as a way to bring the community together.  I love this idea!  Normally, there’d be the annual holiday assembly with the singing and class parties with almost as many parents as kids.  This year?  Nope.  And it sucks.  I have yet to meet Stella’s core subject teachers, and the only reason I know Felix’s is because Stella went through 2nd grade there and you just get to know folks.  And as much as the holiday musical is like the Hunger Games for parents (there is SERIOUS competition for seats, with many of us getting there at least an hour early only to find out the first 5 rows are already taken), I’m going to miss it.  The music teacher always chooses such cool and unusual songs.  I still remember the one Stella sang in – I think – 3rd grade….Something about the shallow bay and horses and bananas.  It was catchy.

While not a banana, I had a rogue vine appear and make a single fruit. I pulled it before our first frost, not knowing what it was – zucchini, cucumber, pumpkin. Turns out it was a juvenile pumpkin, and not delicious.

Stella and I currently have a Girl Scout day camp next Saturday, complete with masking and distancing.  We’ll probably do some kind of ugly cookie baking afterwards.  My friend M and I are still too scarred after trying to do gingerbread houses with our collective 3 kids 2 years ago, so are trying to think of less-harrowing alternatives.  What are y’all up to?  Any cool ideas for what you and your kids are doing?
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Bleeding the Witness

Do y’all remember the Noid from the Domino’s Pizza ads in the 1980’s?  Avoid the Noid and all that.  I guess the promise was if you chose Domino’s, you wouldn’t be annoyed by late pizza.  If you’re a Gen Y, Gen Z, or Millennial, you won’t remember that and it sounds stupid.  It was.  But it’s really the perfect introduction into a description of my morning. 
Stella was exposed to a known positive COVID case at school before Thanksgiving break.  I got the call while in carpool on that Friday.  What was really surprising  was when the nice lady told me that while Stella couldn’t come to school until December 3rd, her brother was to come back at the end of the break (today) unless anyone developed symptoms.  I was rather gobsmacked at the time, but this morning it really hit home.  What the actual fuck kind of policy is that??  I kind of back-burnered that until today.
Stella, enjoying the free dress policy that comes with distance learning
My children are 7 and 10.  That means, they’re still pretty gross.  Sure, they’ve come a long way in that department, but I still regularly catch them trying to get the other one to smell their breath.  Germs are free-flowing around here, even with much more frequent handwashing and disinfectant wipes.  And call me a slacker, but I’m not going to have my entire family mask in the house for 2 weeks because one kid was around a positive case (while at school, wearing a mask).  Maybe I should.  I don’t know.  I just went with my instincts.  No one has had any symptoms of anything except bullshit allergies. No fevers.  We can all smell and taste stuff.  I think we’re good. 
BUT the policy – loosely termed – is the same: only one kid has to quarantine.  In theory, if one kid had the cooties, would not both kids be theoretically cootified?  Seriously.  I want to know.
So I had to take Felix to school this morning really quick, as Will had an early meeting at work.  No biggie, except I’m not prepared to leave my 10 year old home alone.  Maybe I’m just old-fashioned.  Who knows?  Anyway, Stella had to ride with us, and got out of the car briefly to let Felix out and to help haul his 40 pound booksack out of the car.  She’s my muscle. In the meantime, I was having a panic attack, as Felix was having a nosebleed.  He gets those sometimes when the weather changes, and had had one in the night.  I cleaned him up and swabbed the nostril with vaseline, my usual approach.  He was fine for a couple of hours, but right as he was putting his mask on, bleh.  Blood everywhere.  He soaked the first mask.  Luckily, I had some disposable kids’ masks in the car for emergencies.  This qualified.  He soaked the first disposable.  I had it stopped and his second disposable on when he got out of the car.  I mean, what do you do in that situation?  I really have no idea.  There’s no playbook for nosebleeds during a pandemic.
As Stella and I got back home and she was logging into school and I was logging back in to work, I get a call from the school. Shit, I thought.  Felix’s nose.  Nope.  It was the principal, wondering why Stella was at school?  I replied that she was not, that she was here logging on to do virtual.  She apologized and said someone had seen her on campus.  I replied that I had had to bring her to take Felix – I had no choice.  She was very nice and understanding about it, but…
What kind of bullshit is this?  Look.  I get it.  COVID is real and we do take it seriously.  But this school “policy” is fucking stupid.  I’m hoping Will can be around the rest of the week to help, so that Stella won’t be “busted” on school grounds.  But she’ll still have to come with me to pick Felix up in the afternoon, so I’m sure I may get side-eyes or another call for that.  I want to follow the rules with this thing, but there need to be some, and they need to involve a unified, common sense approach.  
Do any of y’all live anywhere where this school shit makes more sense?
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Weird and Loathing

Like everyone, we’re gearing up for Thanksgiving.  Obviously it won’t be quite like the Thanksgivings of the past.  That’s ok.  I’m trying to make that ok.  Last year, we were at the beach with my mom and stepdad.  It was probably the best week I’ve ever spent at the beach, and it was definitely my best Thanksgiving.  That’s been one of my COVID “if I had a time machine” touchpoints.  
Stella is under quarantine.  Someone in her class tested positive, so she’s definitely stuck home.  She’s not symptomatic, and seems chill about the whole thing.  She mainly got pissed that her friend wasn’t going to be able to spend the night over the break.  This friend has been in our bubble for a while, but quarantine changes everything.
Anyway, now for some random.
When life gives you lemons, lemonade and all that.  When COVID gives you a ton of leftover Girl Scout cookies, you can make pie crust and fill it with lime curd.  Sorry Shortbreads, but you make a pretty damn sweet pie crust.
It kind of seems inevitable that the kids are going to end up back on virtual at some point, other than Stella’s forced quarantine virtual school most of next week.  I hate that.  Stella’s grades were a full letter grade below normal during distance learning, and she’s rebounded completely.  She just learns better in person.  Felix, who is back in the magnet school this year, was finally starting to gel with some of the other kids.  For a while, I was getting worried, as he seemed to spend most of his free time talking to adults.  Now I hear about games of Duck Duck Goose and jumping in leaf piles.  I hate that both of them might lose that momentum.  I understand why it will happen, but I still hate it.  
I have to say I’m starting to get pretty angry about people who aren’t acting right about this virus.  I can’t even understand why there’s any question about it.  And I have to say I blame the adults.  The kids were fine.  They went to school  for 8-9 weeks without problem.  Once the bars and sporting events opened back up… Maybe the kids should be running this show.  I am waiting for Stella to straight up holler at some Karen in the store with her mask under her nose.  My girl gets seriously PISSED about that.
I had the neatest discussion with Felix last night as I was putting him to bed.  First, he wanted to hear about when he was born.  He wanted to know exactly what I saw.  I had to describe the light in the OR, the table I was on, where they put him once he was out. It was an odd little talk.  That led to him proclaiming that he was glad he wasn’t a girl so he wouldn’t be cut open in order to pull a baby out (I didn’t try to tell him there was another way for kids to join the party), and that he couldn’t possibly take care of a baby since he couldn’t drive or shop for food.  That’s when he told me that his life plan (other than being a scientist and winning a Nobel) was to live here with me in this house forever.  He wouldn’t believe me when I promised that one day he wouldn’t want to live with me and would find a person he wanted to spend his time with and set up his own household.  Here’s the neat part: he said he wanted to make sure that person was weird like him.  He didn’t say it in a negative way.  He was embracing that shit.  That made me so happy.
I hope y’all stay safe and have the happiest Thanksgiving you can muster.  Don’t undercook your turkey.  Call the ones you can’t be with.  And wear your fucking masks.
Oh! For Halloween, Felix was Isaac Newton suffering from mercury poisoning
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Bubble or Nothing

Yes, I’m still here. The COVID hasn’t gotten me, nor has the latest 16 or so hurricanes we’ve had around here. Can I just get an “amen” when I say this year has got to f’ing go?

The school thing…At least for us, it’s been impossible to get any kind of equilibrium – to feel like our feet are under us. Just when we adjusted to 100% virtual (which was no treat), hybrid started. I thought hybrid might be better. Just when we adjusted to hybrid (which was really no treat), 100% face to face started….For 4 whole days. Then we got a day of 100% virtual (thanks to Hurricane Delta) followed by a 4 day weekend for Fall Break. Fall Break is when we normally meet my dad at the beach, which wouldn’t have been happening for a multitude of reasons anyway, but it still pretty damn depressing. Regardless, I just want – no, need – my kids to go to school 5 days a week for just a few weeks. Please? We just need some routine here. My ADHDers don’t deal with this shit well. And I can’t stomach distance learning with them. By the end, I was having imagery of crocs/gators in death rolls in the water. I’m not sure who was the reptile or the prey in those visions.

(Please note that the bitching above was on behalf of ALL of us – kids, parents, and teachers.)

It’s Halloween time, and y’all know that’s my favorite. I just can’t get into it this year. I’m not even 100% sure we’ll be allowed to trick or treat in my city. Our parade has been cancelled, and what festivals they are having have been adjusted to “accommodate the virus.” And I get it. I do. But some of those precautions also suck the soul out of stuff. I’m so sad about Halloween. Stella’s getting older and I feel like the damn virus is stealing her last “little girl” year from me.

I had to finally bite the bullet and pull my kids from jiu jitsu. I had held on cancelling our membership, as it was such a great experience and so good for my kids. Stella, especially, was really starting to “get it.” She was starting to kick some ass. I had thought we would maybe going back once the kids were back in school, because why not at that point, right? But at school they’re masking. Even Felix is in a mask all day, and apparently they’re masking at recess as well (although I understand they can’t actually have/use playground equipment). We took Stella out of town for her birthday, since parties are out. We ended up in Biloxi, and despite the establishment’s regulations that all guests should be masked, we ended up in the elevators every time with a crowd of anti-maskers. I was so uncomfortable. I was so PISSED – that people would get in an elevator with children like that without a mask. Would wearing a mask for 3 whole minutes kill them? Anyway, that showed me right there that I’m not comfortable being close and cozy with folks not in my bubble who aren’t masked, so obviously full-contact sports are out for now. But it was awful. I actually teared up when the professor sent me a screenshot showing me he had cancelled our membership, and again when I hung their gis in the back of their closets. A victim of the COVID.

My work is heating up. I had a few pretty big inspections that got cancelled when we shut down, and now it’s pretty urgent that they get done. They’re all out in the Lake Charles area – those poor folks who have just been beaten up twice by weather. I went over there for another inspection a few weeks ago, and it was what you’d expect. There were huge piles of debris. Everything had that post-hurricane palette of tarp blue and dead vegetation brown. I’m sure it’s only worse now. For those of y’all far and wide, consider even a small donation to a charity in the Lake Charles area. Those folks have endured the unimaginable.

I thought the summer was bad – those endless days, with each day blending into another. My kids and I had a good little routine, though. We’d get up pretty early and eat, then sneak out to a park for a quick walk. We’d all settle in for some work. I’d try my theme week stuff when I was inspired. We’d get in the pool in mid-afternoon. We’d watch movies. It was boring and some days sucked, but it got to be comfortable. I think I’d take that kind of comfort back again. Even though they’re back in school, nothing feels right. It’s certainly not comfortable. I want to be able to go and eat lunch with my kids every once in a while. I want to talk to their teachers in person. I want to volunteer. I miss my Girl Scout troop. We’re trying the virtual thing, but it’s just not even close to being normal.

I don’t even know how to wrap this up, other than to say I hope y’all are coping better than I am at this exact moment in time. I’ll be better tomorrow, or even in an hour. No guarantees I stay that way, or this way. I just want someone to guarantee me that things won’t be this way forever.

Felix quite frequently shakes his fist and snarls, “COVID.” I think we can all relate.

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