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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Themes Like Old Times

So things continue along, and things continue to be strange.

This has been Christmas in July Week at my house, as I love a good theme week. It has been the most successful theme week so far, although Japan Week kicked some serious ass. There is a small tree in the living room. We’ve made air-dry clay ornaments. We’ve watched A Christmas Story, the Grinch (original), and Charlie Brown. There may or may not be gifts later. They weren’t nearly as excited about Chef week, which bummed me out.

We’ll have at least one more theme week, but I may just continue these throughout the duration of the COVID. Next will certainly have to be Duct Tape Week. Felix has discovered Mythbusters and Mythbusters Jr, and of course duct tape is featured in about 90% of their episodes. He wants to make flip flops out of the stuff, and I think Stella would get into some of those videos on duct tape prom dresses. We’ll keep watching Mythbusters, too, of course. Felix and I were watching an episode of that the other day and he looked at me and said quite emphatically, “I learn WAY more watching this than I do in school.” Indeed, that may be sometimes true.

We have one more full week of “summer” before 100% virtual school starts. We have to do that through at least Labor Day, when hopefully they can go to school twice a week. I’m not 100% happy with that, but the other option- 100% at home – isn’t palatable either. I think my kids just need to see other people, especially little people. It’s just shitty for us all, teachers included. There’s no good answer.

We briefly had an African dwarf frog that Felix named Leech, but he’s no longer with us. To be fair, we didn’t have an ideal habitat for him, and tried to make do. We didn’t. My dad has since ordered us one on Amazon, and once we have it set up properly, we can try again. Fingers crossed, Leech Junior will soon be with us.

I think often about our last trip to the beach in November. That was an exceptionally great trip. I think it was truly the last time I felt great – happy and at peace with the world. I can remember sitting in a beach chair in the sand. It should have been chilly, but the sun was so warm, we were comfortable. I watched my kids for hours on that trip, collecting shells and wading in the ocean. I was able to actually relax and watch them enjoy it all, without feeling the need to hover, convinced one of them would run away or drown. I was finally comfortable that they could play and be safe. I really want to go back to that time.

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A Little Pickle In Your Throat

I’ve been wanting to write.  Truly.  But what in the world can I say?

2020 has been beyond surreal.  It’s already/only July.  I’ve got nothing major to report, which I suppose is a very good thing.  If I did have something major to report, it would likely not be good.  Everyone in my little corner of the world is alive, physically healthy, and bored to tears.  It’s hard to even talk to people anymore.  I think all of our worlds have gotten so much smaller these past few month of isolating.  I have a handful of folks I talk to most days, and while I/we crave the contact, we rarely have anything to discuss.  I go to the office once a week and to the store or Costco once a week.  That’s it.  I try to get the kids out for walks early in the morning when I can (and before it reaches triple digits), but otherwise, we’re shut-ins.

I suppose we did have some landmark moments this week.   I finally finished some intensive therapy I was doing with Felix.  There were 40 one hour sessions, and this pandemic was the best/worst time to do it.  It was best, as this was the only time I’d have the time and energy to actually work with him like that.  It was the worst, as he’s lacking a lot of the structure that might actually provide clues as to whether or not it worked/is working.  As it stands now, I’m pretty down about it, as I think I just sunk a lot of time and money (out of pocket) on something that might not have done any good.  On the positive side, Stella FINALLY got her braces yesterday.  She’s handling it like a champ so far.

This is one of those times when I need to rally, but that’s getting harder and harder.  At the beginning, I had a whole list in my head of things to do, make, explore.  My list has been all crossed off now, and I can’t seem to channel any creativity to make a new one.  We have our pop-up pool in the back, but that’s already wearing a little thin; unless it’s raining, they’re in it every single day.   They can’t seem to agree on any games to play, so unless I’m in there with them to referee, they fight and immediately run back in the house dripping wet.  We finally set limits on their tablets, which was a great step.  I’d rather them watch a movie together than stare at a tablet alone.  Speaking of, any movies suggestions?  That’s another list that I can’t seem to make.  We’ve done all the new family releases via streaming, such as My Spy, Trolls, Artemis Fowl.  I also made them watch Beetlejuice.  We did Greatest Showman the other day.  I just need ideas.  Please, please give me ideas.

Felix has already read his 2 required summer reading books, and Stella has finished one and is halfway through the other.  There was constant bitching, mind you, but it’s done.  I need to start working with them on some other things – flash cards, writing prompts, etc.  They’ve launched some kind of summer distance learning program here, but I. Just. Can’t. I cannot deal with Zoom/Teams meetings in July – not after 2 months of distance learning, and likely with some distance learning coming up in the fall.  With the way our cases here are spiking, it seems highly unlikely my kids will be going back 5 days a week – at least not at first.

One thing that hasn’t been suffering is my Doomsday Garden.  I’ve been blanching and freezing tomatoes, and have an insane amount of lemon cucumbers.  My new fascination?  Making pickles.  Rachel Ray has a fantastic quick pickle recipe, and we’ve eaten bowls of them already.  Who knew?  And I suppose eating pickles is better than the other crap we’ve all been eating, amiright?

I don’t know, y’all.  Some days I really feel like I’ve got it all under control – that my kids won’t really remember what they’ve missed, only the time spent snuggled at home or out at the parks feeding geese.  But sometimes, we are all just sad.  Stella is able to articulate it.  Felix not so much, but I can tell he’s off as well.  He, in particular, gets really anxious on the days I have to go to the office.  When we’re out walking, both of them insist on having physical contact with me.  It’s sweet, but I also think it shows that they’re aware that things aren’t right.  We talk about the COVID.  We’ve had some good talks about the protests and why they’re happening.  They need to know this stuff, but I also want them to know the world can still be a beautiful place.  Some days you just have to look a bit harder to find it.


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Look Who’s Stalking Now

And so the pandemic continues.  I’ve quit counting how many weeks at this point.  Really.  I’m not sure if there’s a point.  I have had anxiety unlike any I’ve ever experienced in my life, or at least for this duration.  You know that feeling where you have to stop and just take a deep breath because your chest feels like it’s frozen up and your ribs don’t want to expand?  And no, it’s not pain.  It’s just that sense of urgency.  I’ve had that a lot. 
It’s  the uncertainty of it all.  I know I’m not alone.  But the lack of knowing what’s going to happen with my kids has tipped me over an edge. 

I’ve had zero guidance from work – only rumors, one of which was that we were supposed to ramp up to 50% occupancy starting next week.  My sphincter tightened quite a bit at that, as we’ll be cobbling together childcare this summer and it would be nice to have some kind of time to make arrangements.  I finally got kind of angry about it at the office today.  While, sure, the powers that be cannot predict what this virus is going to do, they COULD be a bit more communicative.  That wouldn’t hurt.  Anyway, I finally walked into the office of a bigwig and basically threw myself on his mercy, wanting some kind of guidance or reassurance that folks such as myself with young kids would be accommodated to some degree.  He’s a nice man and was very kind.  I actually left his office feeling better than I have in 3 weeks.  I haven’t been gasping for breath as much.

Right before I went rogue and jumped 3 links up the chain of command. Oh, and Etsy has some fantastic masks!

In other news, I think I have cell-phone elbow.  I guess I’ve been watching stuff on my phone and playing silly games too much.  My right elbow hurts.  That’s dumb.  I’m going to call it COVID elbow, as that sounds less pathetic.  I did look it up, however, and it’s a thing.  I need to become more phone ambidextrous.  

I have started reading more, which feels really good (and gives my COVID elbow a break).  I finished Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, and she may be the best thing that’s happened to me in quite some time.  I had heard of her, but hadn’t had the chance to really read much of her stuff.  I’ve since ordered her other 2 books.  Y’all should read this book, if you haven’t already.  I’m late to the party on so many things.

And in the realm of creative COVID problem-solving, I’m pleased to share that thanks to a bit of social media stalking, I have found the man who cuts my son’s hair, as well as the hair of my bonus child. His mom, my good friend M, and I have been lamenting that our boys can’t see anymore.  Will made me cut his hair (and I did so for years), but his head is basically one giant cowlick, so if things are a bit wonky, it doesn’t matter all that much.  The Dude has good hair – hair that I would massacre if I tried to deal with it.  So, it was either learn to make wee little man buns on my son’s cranium, or figure something out.  Hence the stalking.  I, of course, didn’t have the nerve to contact him, fearing he’d think I was a psycho and never cut the Dude’s hair again.  Thank glob for M, as she had no hesitation.  Yada, yada, yada, this fantastic barber is making a house call tomorrow evening; he will be cutting both boys’ hair in the wide open air of my driveway.  We (M and I) are quite proud of ourselves.  Someone should give us a real challenge next time. 

I was kind of on the cusp of taking the kids out and about a wee bit more.  Last week, I did take them to a bakery so I could pick up our “We Survived Distance Learning” cake (oh yes I did).  It was the first public building they’ve been in since March 16th.  They did great, and actually followed instructions to the letter. They wore their masks.  They touched nothing.  They stayed close to my side.  I was thinking maybe a bit of freedom was in order, maybe we could start to loosen the bonds. Then I read about the MIS-C, and our state has 13 current known cases with one dead.  That’s a big fucking NOPE.  Just nope.

Hang in there, y’all.  Any creative COVID problem-solving stories?

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