COVID Vacation and a Sad Kitty

I was more irritated than concerned when the school nurse called earlier this year. Every time Connor coughs too loudly within earshot of particular people, especially in this era of COVID, he gets sent home sick… and has to have a doctor’s note to return.

My third-grader with allergies got sent home from school because of a cough and runny nose.

I understand the need for precautions, but it doesn’t make the experience any less annoying. This time, I decided to be extra thorough. Not only did I take him to Urgent Care to get evaluated, but I also requested the molecular (PCR) COVID test required by the Health Department for him to return to school. Even though they diagnosed him with an ear infection, so he had an alternative diagnosis. Even though he tested negative with the rapid test. Just to cover all bases.

Our path down the COVID flowchart took an unexpected turn when the PCR test came back positive.

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Year In Review: 2020

We’ve all spent the past year living through a global pandemic that’s destined to be at least a footnote in the history books. It’s upended everyone’s sense of normalcy, changed social interactions, wreaked havoc on some sectors of the economy, and cost many their jobs or their lives.

My family has been lucky: our jobs are stable, we’re all healthy, and COVID-19 mainly just means an upheaval to our routines. I’ve been working from home, Connor finished out second grade from home and started third grade with a hybrid of remote and in-person learning, and Aaron spent most of the year working longer hours and adjusting to having us at home during the week.

Even though 2020 was a Very Different Year Indeed, I still kept track of most of the things I usually do, and I certainly couldn’t leave this bizarre year undocumented.

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Dose Number One

I got my COVID-19 vaccine

Thanks to what’s known as a Closed Point Of Dispensing, I was able to receive the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine this morning, via my employer.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to be vaccinated… but there are so many others much more at risk than myself who should, by all rights, be getting this protection before me. My husband, an “essential worker” in the shipping industry, has been working as usual throughout the pandemic, and he’s unlikely to get vaccinated for weeks or months yet.

I’m scheduled to receive my second dose in four weeks, at which point I should only have a 6% chance of contracting and exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

(My birth control pill only had a 3% chance of failure back in 2011, though. Just sayin’.)

Merry Christmas 2020

Merry Christmas from Aaron, Diana, Connor, and Mei!

It was weird to have Christmas as just the three of us, but we made the best of it. Connor played his new Nintendo Switch Lite, we played a game of Pictionary Air as a family, we texted family and friends, and we ate ham and sweet potatoes and rolls and homemade cranberry sauce and fudge and cookies.

A Very COVID Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving cactus Aaron’s grandmother gave me over 20 years ago tends to bloom at odd times. This year, it’s actually in full bloom on Thanksgiving Day.
These sparrows are thankful that I haven’t gotten around to stowing the birdbath yet.
We usually do Thanksgiving out at a buffet, but not this year.
We usually have my Mom and Aaron’s brother over, too, but not this year. This year, it was just the three of us.

I tried something new and prepared the turkey sous vide, which made for THE most flavorful and moist turkey I’ve ever eaten. Outside of the candied sweet potatoes, though, everything else was store-bought: the Meijer cranberry relish, the Stove Top stuffing, the King’s Hawaiian rolls, even the Meijer pumpkin pie.

The rest of the day was pretty chill. The guys played Dave Mirra on Dreamcast while I sewed Connor a new pair of pajama pants, we had Thanksgiving leftovers for dinner, and we called my Mom to wish her a Happy Thanksgiving.

As with so many other things this year, it was different, we dealt with it the best we could, and it actually didn’t turn out so bad.

A Long-Overdue Brain Dump

It happens on the regular: I put off writing about what I need to write about because I have other topics I “should” be posting, like the monthly cataloging of the blooms in my garden, or the annual missive to my son on (or around) his birthday.

Screw that. I keep this blog around for me. It’s no longer the angsty ramblings of a twenty-something who’s trying to keep in touch with all of her friends at once. This is the public journal of a middle-aged working mother. Basically, it’s a lot easier to find references to life events after the fact using an indexed database of words than it is to rifle through a handwritten journal.

The thing is, though, that there haven’t really been very many life events to record this year, with the global pandemic and all. No tropical vacation, no visiting friends and relatives in other cities, no local bands and food trucks downtown, not even any photo walks along the river.

I guess that’s one reason why I haven’t been sitting down and pouring out the contents of my brain lately: there hasn’t been anything that I especially wanted to record for posterity, or to share with others by crossposting to Facebook. I sew stuff, I grow stuff, I work, I pretend to be a badass martial artist, but it all feels like Groundhog Day.

And now autumn is settling in.

The fall foliage is beautiful, and I’m definitely a big fan of hoodie weather… but I’m solar-powered. It must be the string of chilly, overcast days that are getting to me.

Or maybe it’s the sameness of every day working from home and supervising my son’s remote learning. Maybe it’s our geriatric cat pissing on the carpet by my sewing machine, instead of her litter box, making one of my primary hobbies difficult if not impossible for the time being. Maybe it’s that jowly, puffy, saggy, tired, worn-down face staring at me from the bathroom mirror every morning. Maybe it’s my Krav Maga class getting pushed later and later in the evening, so that I leave for class about the time I’d normally be starting my son’s bedtime routine, meaning that a) I feel like I can only go once a week for his sake; and b) when I do go, I’m already tired and not at my best by the time class begins.

Maybe my brain meds need adjusted. Maybe I need more than just brain meds. Maybe I need to get off the brain meds.

Maybe everybody in the world is having a hard time right now, or maybe it’s just me.

One Of Those Weeks

Work has me burned out, the weather’s been miserably hot, and I’m not looking forward to returning to the office as much as I’d expected.

Add to that the general stress of the global pandemic, getting used to the “new normal,” wrestling with wanting to stay home and safe but also venture out and do the few things I and my family enjoy, and trying to explain to my son why he’ll need to wear a mask at science camp and at school…

At this moment, I’m content to be relaxing in my sunroom, listening to the rain, feeling the breeze, drinking a cider, and watching darkness fall.

Just breathing.

Return To Worksite

Today was the day.

After 17 weeks of working from home, I drove in to the office for my first half-day on-site since the pandemic forced us all to quarantine.

My Totoro calendar says I was last at my desk on Monday, March 16.

I was one of three people present today in my team of nine total. To maintain appropriate distancing, we’re all rotating days in the office. I’m planning to be in the office on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, and more often when I can.

When the Stay-At-Home order was enacted in Ohio, and my department started working from home full-time, I wasn’t sure how I was going to take to it. Even after the first four or five weeks, when I finally got myself into a proper routine, I was chomping at the bit to get back into the office. It would have been quite a stretch for me to believe I’d get to a point where I prefer working from home… yet, here I am.

For one thing, I find that I’m more productive in the afternoons when I don’t have to plan around my evening commute. Working from home gives me as much time as I need to finish the last task of the day without needing to wrap up all the loose ends and prepare myself to come back to it later. I can’t just stay late in the actual office downtown, even though I might like to, because I need to get home and be the responsible parent to my almost-nine-year-old once his Dad leaves for work.

I’ve really been enjoying the extra sleep I get every morning from not having to get up in time to wrangle my son and then drive to work. My internal clock has gotten surprisingly good at waking me up around 7:10am.

Alas, that’s now when I wake on weekends, too.

Having the option to work in any spot in my house is a luxury I’ve taken for granted. I’ve gotten used to being able to choose my setting: the sunroom, the home office, the kitchen table. I found myself wishing for a change of scenery this afternoon, and for some fresh produce to snack on.

I go back in tomorrow, then work from home Thursday-Friday, then I’m in the office all next week while Connor’s at science camp. It’s going to be weird.

Everything is weird now. Even the things that used to be normal.