As Connor and I sat idling in the loop line at school this morning, the stickers on the vehicle next to me caught my attention.
I couldn’t quite make out the dates, but it looked like this woman’s sister passed just a couple years ago.
Normally, an SUV bedecked with a memorial would stoke my empathy and curiosity, but only for a moment. Maybe it was because I sat there behind this Lexus for a good five minutes before the school began letting kids in, but something about this memorial just got me right in the feels. I think it was the added touch of the customized license plate that finally did it for me.
Sometimes rear-window memorials seem overdone or gaudy, but this just struck me as… genuine?
After we all drove around to the side entrance and I waited my turn to pull forward, I watched the kids climb out of their Mom’s car.
This year’s custom calendars arrived just in time! Honestly, I usually procrastinate to the Nth degree on calendars, so much so that I tend to set the starting month as February instead of January… so getting the calendar before New Years Day is kind of a big deal.
Now I just need to get my Mom’s shipped off to her (along with her Christmas presents and photos of her grandson and whatnot) so that it maybe possibly arrives before February.
It’s a typical Sunday morning: Connor’s in the La-Z-Boy, playing on his tablet — sounds like Angry Birds at the moment — and I’m sitting on the couch, taking care of random stuff on my laptop while doing laundry.
“Mom! Wanna watch these piggies go into orbit?”
Connor jumps out of the recliner and beelines for the couch, bumping the “vintage” coffee table with the wobbly leg, sloshing some coffee out of my cup.
We both freeze and stare at the coffee puddle for a moment. It’s not bad — just a splash. I smirk at him.
“As soon as you grab some paper towels!”
He tosses his tablet back into the chair and runs into the kitchen. I pick up my sewing notebook, which now has a quarter-sized coffee stain on the current page. No biggie. What little coffee has pooled on the page drips off as Connor returns with a few paper towels.
We blot up the spill. Nothing’s ruined, no one’s mad, no worries. I tell Connor I’ll take care of throwing the wet paper towels away in a minute, and he goes back to the chair to get his tablet.
“Hey, Mom,” he deadpans as he walks back to sit next to me, “wanna watch your coffee go into orbit?”
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.
Funny how I’ve slowly joined the throng of bloggers who don’t really blog anymore. My husband jokes that he knows something’s bothering me when he reads about it on my blog (and I’m pretty sure he’s the only person who reads it if I don’t cross-post to Facebook).
It didn’t used to be like that. Before I had other responsibilities (e.g. parenting), I would blog almost daily. Granted, that was also before everyone had smartphones and was online, so it was pretty much an entirely different world. Back then, I wrote about my life in the kind of excruciating detail you’d share in person over coffee or other adult beverages. Nowadays, I think twice (or even three times) before posting any Personally Identifiable Information, even though my blog is set to have search engines ignore it.
It also doesn’t help that I accidentally nuked all of my (incorrectly-applied) WordPress theme customizations recently, and that I completely forgot how I tweaked my photo editing workflow on desktop for dealing with the Apple-specific HEIC image files that Photoshop won’t open. Oh, and I’ve been using my widescreen monitor as a second display for my work laptop, but plugging that HDMI cable back into my tower is a royal pain in the butt. (Luckily, I have an HDMI switchbox arriving next week that will solve that annoyance.)
I know that a regular brain dump is vital to my mental health. I know this, yet other things keep taking precedence. Hobbies like gardening or sewing used to be the main culprit, but now that I’ve been stuck at home for the past two months*, other responsibilities and tasks are more immediate. Our dishwasher broke at the very beginning of “coronavirus season,” as my son calls it, so a non-trivial amount of time goes toward washing dishes lately (split between myself and Aaron). I spend some time planning my workday and Connor’s remote school day. I spend 15 minutes outside weeding while Connor watches his evening TV. Once Connor goes to bed at night, my brain is pretty much done. I might do some reading, or watch Netflix with Aaron when he’s not working, or watch YouTube by myself if he’s at work, or play Spider Solitaire on my phone — something sufficiently mindless to wind down for the day.
If I were the avid journal-writer I used to be, this would be the perfect opportunity to capture what life is like during this Very Unusual Time. Granted, I do still write a snippet every night before bed in the Exist app, so I at least have a brief snapshot of each day.
…As interesting as THAT might be. eyeroll
We have at least four more weeks of the stay-at-home order here in Ohio. School will be remote for the remainder of the school year (ending May 28 for our district), and I’ll be continuing to work from home for that time. It remains to be seen what kind of daytime options Connor will have this summer, but I’ve signed him up for four weeks of Cub Day Camp and one week of science camp so far. If I need to work from home during the times when we don’t have anywhere for him to go, I think my boss will be amenable to me working from home, now that we have the infrastructure (and company-wide precedent) for that sort of thing.
I do have to say that Springtime is probably one of the best times to be working from home, though. I can watch my favorite part of the year as the greenery pops up and the first blooms open ALL DAY LONG, not just briefly before and after work and on the weekends. (I feel bad for Aaron and Connor, though, who are both dealing with major seasonal allergies. Spring is NOT Aaron’s favorite season, for sure.)
* deep breath *
OK, brain dump successful.
I’m going to make writing in general a priority for the coming weeks. I’ve made it a priority to spend at least 15 minutes outside every day (I’m totally solar-powered), so perhaps making this a secondary priority will add to the mental health boost I so desperately need during this time of extreme weirdness.
When we brought our 15-year-old cat, Mei, to the vet for her med check this past August, we’d been noticing that she had trouble jumping on and off of our bed. We didn’t really think much of it — I mean, fifteen is geriatric in cat years, so we’ve been expecting her to get a little creaky.
Imagine our surprise when the vet tech came out and showed us where one of her front claws had grown into her pad (aka toe bean). She wasn’t getting arthritic at all — her foot hurt. We felt so bad… and not just because we had to pay for a subsequent round of antibiotics so she wouldn’t pick up any nasties from walking around in her litter box with a cut on her foot.
We haven’t been quite as diligent at monitoring her claws as the vet suggested, but I did take note when I heard Mei’s claws clicking on the kitchen floor last week. Aaron picked up the unsuspecting cat and plunked her on my lap to check; sure enough, not just one but several of her front claws were overgrown. One looked like it was starting to rub, but hadn’t really broken the skin yet, but two or three were long and thick enough that she was having trouble retracting them.
I’d never seen anything quite like it. I didn’t take a picture — I had my hands full of cat — but the claws were thin and curved, like an old LP record that had been busted into thirds. Google Image Search isn’t even giving me any examples of exactly what I saw.
Luckily, a Google search by Aaron revealed some sage advice from KittyHelpDesk.com, wherein we learned that older cats’ claws tend to grow faster, and the sheaths are harder to shed. We didn’t have any pet nail clippers, but the human nail clippers worked in a pinch.
Mei was not pleased, but over the next couple of days, we managed to get all of the overgrown nail sheaths free of her front claws. (The back ones were fine.) We also ordered some cat claw clippers from Amazon, and are going to have to make a weekly habit of checking and clipping her claws. With plenty of reward treats, of course.
To close, here’s a one-minute video of me petting Mei. Consider it your daily moment of Zen.
The school district had already called the two-hour delay the night before, so I was already planning to drop Connor off at the centralized before-school Extended Time location used for weather delays and cancellations. As it happens, I overslept like stupid, so we hadn’t left the house yet when my pocket buzzed with a school cancellation notice.
I decided to work from home and let Connor have an actual snow day.
I used part of my lunch hour to go watch Connor play in the snow.
After lunch, I went back to doing actual work. Mei was super confused about why all of her humans were at home.
Connor played Atari with his Dad for a little while before he went out by himself to play in the snow. I finally called him back inside at 5:00pm, at sunset, and he still asked me why he had to come in.
I’m glad I threw Connor a bone and let him stay home for an honest-to-goodness snow day. He had a total blast.
Once again, I find myself with time to kill between appointments. Googled coffee shops between Point A and Point B… and here I am, at a new-to-me coffee shop that is so popular on the first snowy day of the season that I had to wait for a seat to open up.
We’re supposed to get at least two inches of snow this afternoon and evening — possibly up to five inches. For the first snow event of 2019-2020. Of course I would pick today to take a half day off for a chiropractic adjustment and a thyroid ultrasound.
To be honest, I’m a little nervous about the ultrasound. I feel like my thyroid nodule has gotten bigger — in fact, I was having trouble swallowing a few months ago. I’m not sure if my voice has truly gotten more hoarse or if I’m imagining it.
The worst case scenario would be a hemithyroidectomy — removal of the left lobe of my thyroid. Then I’d have a synthroid medication to add to my current cocktail of antidepressant and ADHD stimulant.
I’d rather not.
The snow has been falling steadily for the last hour or so, at least. I’m not convinced that I want to drive out to karate class after the sun sets and the roads freeze up good and proper. I’ve almost made up my mind to skip… but it’s still three hours off. We’ll see.
Update: Doc says my thyroid is still fine — the nodule is 3.4cm or so in diameter, which is about the same as the last scan.
Also, we are so not going back out tonight. The roads are a sloppy mess, but it’s pretty to look at.
I’ve been using the Exist app for over two months, and it’s almost everything a data nerd like myself could hope for. It pulls in data from the four corners of the interwebs and aggregates it to give me a picture of how various factors affect my mood, my sleep, my weight, etc.
It’s also handy as a nightly microjournal, since I log my mood and a quick note. I haven’t decided if I’m going to make this a regular lazyblog category, but I do like the idea of sharing this quick summary of the past week.
All in all, last week was a good one. I especially enjoyed having Aaron home from work for a vacation week. 😀