May 30, 2020

Seventy-four days...

Today marks seventy-four days since my lock down began.

For seventy-three of those days, I haven't worn any jewelry.  I don't know why - there was no conscious thought behind it.  I just didn't.

This morning as I was getting dressed to head into the office (I've been going in for a couple hours on the weekends to get things done that I can't do from here), I reached for my watch, rings, and earrings.  I even spritzed on some perfume - another thing I haven't done for seventy-three days.

It felt normal-ish.

Although my ears, it appears, seemed to think those very light hoops weighed a ton.  Eventually though I forgot I had them on - again, normal-ish.  Until about ten minutes ago, when my ears began to rebel and began to itch - so I just removed them.

I guess my ears just need to get used to the earrings again.

I can't remember when I gave up on the contacts though.  But it's been a long while now since I've put them in and am wondering if I will ever wear them on a daily basis again.  I guess we shall see...so to speak.

I do remember WHY I gave up the contacts though.  I ordered a counted cross stitch kit.  Yes, I am teaching myself how to cross stitch.  You'd be surprised at how much time it can kill when you get on a roll.  I had to take the contacts out in order to see what I was doing.  So I found it easier to skip the contacts, wear my glasses all day and just take them off when I'm doing the cross stitch.

The first two projects (neither of which I plan to keep) came out okay.  I'm on my fourth project (the third had to be set aside for a bit because I screwed it up SO royally that I had to remove all the stitches - I figure that was a very ambitious project so the fourth project will hopefully teach me enough to go back and re-start/finish it...eventually - if I don't get bored with this activity first).

I ordered lunch from our local Mexican restaurant today for curbside pickup.  As I waited, I noticed there was a large sign on the door stating that only 80 patrons could be inside at any given time.  And as I waited, I watched several people walk up and go in - all without protection and all without giving it a second thought.

I wonder if it will ever feel normal to go out for lunch again?

Actually, a co-worker called me yesterday to see if I wanted to meet for lunch.  I explained I was still staying in - but I will admit I was tempted for half a second.  And I'm praying that she is being safe while out and about.

Technically, I had a dentist appointment last Wednesday - one that had been re-scheduled twice during lock down - and I called and re-scheduled it for August because, even though I know they are taking precautions, I just didn't feel comfortable about going.

I wonder if it will ever feel normal to go to the dentist again?

Heading into a grocery store or a drug store when absolutely necessary garbed up with the mask makes me jittery.  Seeing all the unmasked and unconcerned (seemingly) masses really ups the jitters.

Will it ever feel normal to walk into a store - unmasked - again?

Really though, what I wonder about the most is whether or not I will ever feel comfortable about going out, for no real reason, again?

May 26, 2020

My world is getting pretty small...

I finally finished painting the chairs and tables for the back porch and am quite pleased with the result.



It's amazing how much larger the porch appears when the pollen is swept up and with the jolt of color.  Yes, Juli, I realize that the black tables will be a pain with the pollen.  But honestly, the dark brown color that was their previous iteration was no better.  I figured whichever way I went there is no way to stop the pollen...it will always come.

I have determined that an outdoor rug is now needed.  Yes, I realize, that will be a headache unto itself.  But this is what happens when you leave me at home unattended.

For now, we are ignoring the fact that the porch rails are filthy.  Truth be told, even when cleaned they look filthy.  Personally, I think they need to be replaced.  Again, being left home unattended...

I realized today *just* how much smaller my world has been getting over these many, many weeks.  Today, I had to drive into Town (vs. the much smaller "town" that is our "Main Street" five minutes down the road either way.) to pick up my contact-less, curbside wine order and I was annoyed by the fact that they don't deliver out here. The big Town is about 20 minutes - give or take - away.  And to think, I used to do that at least TWICE a day driving to work and back; never thinking anything about it.  On the weekends God only know how many times I would travel into Town and back.

I do have to admit - despite the annoyance of having to drive into Town - I am loving the whole delivery/curbside delivery thing.  I'm really hoping that this little "perk" will continue when this *waves hands around wildly* whole thing is over.

But then, news stories like this pop up over the weekend, along with pictures like this...

Not much social distancing going on here!  AND barely any masks!

 and I am thinking...this thing is FAR from over.

May 15, 2020

Today's project (realizing that "today" might be finished tomorrow)

This morning seemed to be shaping up as a very slow work day - which is fine, because I am planning to head into an empty office tomorrow to take care of a few things.  Seriously, this working from home thing is working very well for me - when this all went down, I would have said this would NOT work for me.  I also acknowledge, my situation is different from a lot of people's experience.

The other day, I had decided that this would be a good time to paint the rockers on our back porch.  Now, it must be said, these rockers are over twenty years old and although they've been cleaned a time or two, the paint was in a sad, sad state.  As I wondered, out loud, what color I should paint them, The Husband chimed in with, "How about a teal?" to my utter shock. 

I must clarify.  When we built our first house he had a VERY strong opinion that the walls should be painted a beige-y color.  I acquiesced...for a bit before I re-painted the living room with Tuscan-inspired yellow...which eventually grew on him.

So, apparently, after many years of marriage color has grown on him.  And, actually, I had been thinking about teal for those chairs.  I immediately headed over to the Target website and they had the perfect color of spray paint - so I promptly ordered five cans...plus four white cans; because you always need white spray paint.

I started with this, lightly sanded, cleaned but sad looking chair (this was my "test" chair).

Actually, this one is one of the better looking ones.
 It was selected as a "test" chair based on it's proximity to the door!

After it was sanded, cleaned and finally dried I moved on to the painting portion of the day.

After the first coat...I LIKE!

I sent the photo to The previously, color-averse Husband, who approved.  And then...I looked at my hands.  And sent this photo to The Husband saying, "Obviously, I didn't think through the ramifications...I'm going to need a new manicure!"

Never have I seen a teal-hued french manicure before...

What I didn't take into account?  How many cans of spray paint it would take to cover ONE chair.  Two coats on the top half of that one chair (the bottom still needs to be painted) later has me trying to calculate how many more cans are needed for the other two chairs.

But then I started thinking...should I paint each chair a different color?  Or should I paint two chairs teal and one coral?  Or should they all be teal and the table white?  Or the table black?  Decisions, decisions.  But by the time this is all over, the back porch is going to be riot of color.


May 13, 2020

Virtual business meetings - just as much of a waste of time as in-person meetings

Back in the "before" time one of the things I despised the most was meetings.  In my opinion, ninety-nine point nine of meetings are a huge waste of time.  So, it stands to reason, that in the "now" I was thrilled to realize that most meetings were being disposed of...

Only to discover, that people are now embracing Zoom, Skype and Team meetings and conference calls - UGH.  Luckily, I've been able to dodge most of them.

Until today.  Yesterday, I received an email from an unknown person that began with "Hi Legal Team!" It was interesting to note that the majority of the people that this particular missive was directed to are not, in fact, part of our "Legal Team."

I immediately forwarded the email to one of the attorneys and paralegals that I actually like and respect, to see if they knew anything about it and to make sure it wasn't some sort of fishing expedition.  My favored attorney responded that this was actually a project being spearheaded by a very non-favored attorney.

It stands to reason that this non-favored attorney didn't give anyone a heads up before this random email...that just the way this person operates.

Eventually, I responded asking for clarification - because obviously these people operate the same way as the non-favored attorney.

The clarification I requested was met with a response for a Team meeting.  Dear God in heaven!  I finally agreed to a conference call - wherein I quickly discovered all of it could have been dealt with in a quick email.  *sigh*

So I wrapped up the call by saying, "Fine.  I understand what you require.  Just send me the questionnaire and I'll return it ASAP."  Only to be told, "Great!  We will be scheduling training in the next week or two - we'll get back to you."

WHAT?!

I do NOT need training on how to fill out a questionnaire!  Sure, I'll admit some people might "need" training (eye-balling the non-favored attorney) - but the majority of us can figure out how to fill out a questionnaire, I would think.

Frankly, I think the "consultants" feel that if they don't have "face/meeting" time with the client they aren't earning their hefty fee.  For me, I feel like I will gladly pay your hefty fee if you leave me alone!  Send me your request, I'll respond and we are done.  Is that too much to ask?  Apparently so.

I have a feeling I will be unexpectedly unavailable during said training.

May 10, 2020

Give them an inch...

A few days ago, our Governor, proclaimed that a 5:00 pm this past Friday North Carolina could proceed to "open" to Phase One.

Yesterday, around 4:00 pm, my company sent out a company-wide email that provided guidance to returning to work.

I can honestly say, I met both announcements with dismay.

Yesterday, I ran to the empty office building to catch up on a few tasks that can't be done from home.  Based on the amount of traffic I faced, I decided to drive by the local Marshall's that, in normal times, was always hopping, just to see whether or not local North Carolinians were staying home.

Sadly, they were not.  The parking lots were packed.

When I stopped at a grocery store to pick up a few necessary items, most of my fellow shoppers were wearing masks.  The sad part?  They all seemed to think that those masks afforded them super-powers.  They had no problem brushing by me (and each other) in very close proximity.  At one point, I lingered at the end of an aisle, patiently waiting for one person who needed to examine each and every box in that section, as I stood there - clear to anyone paying attention, that I was following the six feet apart protocol - a woman came up behind me and passed right by me and proceeded to stand very close to the other shopper while she reached for what she was looking for.  *sigh*

What also unnerves me is the people who aren't wearing their masks properly - i.e., they aren't covering their nose.  The whole purpose of wearing the mask is moot then.

At any rate, it's Mother's Day here in the US.  Man-Child is planning to come for a socially distant dinner - and that's a very welcome Mother's Day gift indeed; the only way it could be better is if I could hug him.  He has asked several times just when it will all go back to normal.  Sadly, none of us know the answer to that yet.  At least we won't be dining in the garage this time - the weather is glorious and we are planning to meet in the backyard - so there's that.

April 28, 2020

A pandemic bit of gratitude.

Thank you all for your kind words regarding the yard.  The possibilities that this yard offered was one of the many reasons that we chose this house a few years ago.  And yes, it IS a lot of work.  What you can't really see from the pictures in the last post is that the big bed - and the other beds have been neglected horribly.

And that's where the gratitude comes in - this pandemic, while definitely terrifying, has given me a chance to actually spend time out in the yard.  And the time to appreciate the beauty.

In the before time, I spent the majority of my time in the office.  Only able to do yard work and/or appreciate my peony or my roses on the weekend.  And really, who wants to spend their entire weekend doing yard work, chores and errands?  Not me.

In the now, I can spend an hour or two (or four) out in the yard getting things done (which, unfortunately means the house is a wreck!  At this point, I figure, I'll deal with the house on rainy days!) while the weather is nice - not hot or humid yet.  Which shifts my work hours a bit.  Sure, I may spend a morning laying out cardboard and mulch; but then I find myself spending the afternoon and late evening working past my normal "quitting" time.  And Saturday or Sunday means a few hours in the office by myself doing some tidying up (dealing with mail, etc. - basically stuff I can't do from home).

Today found me mulching a portion of one of the beds and I realized...I am actually enjoying this new work/life balance so much.  And this from someone who actually likes her job.  I am enjoying being able to take care of things around the house whenever rather than waiting for a weekend.

I am REALLY enjoying watching the peony's progress day by day.

I realize that I may be in the minority here - but fortunately for me, I'm here alone all day.  I am not having to supervise a child's education - or chase a toddler around the house while trying to work.  I am not having to deal with a spouse trying to have a conference call while I'm working, supervising school work and chase a toddler.

So while I still find myself in a blind panic when I have to venture into a store - wearing the face mask makes me more panicky than if I wasn't; is that just me? I wear it because I know I should but still - MORE panicky - I am able to see some of the benefits of this slowing down of life for me.

And while I'm ready to show this COVID-19 to the door ASAP; I'm also hoping that the standard business model will change drastically for most corporate offices.  We are seeing how beneficial our staying home is to the air quality - not to mention our wallets - our Shell bill just came in - it was only $50-ish versus $200 plus.  And then there is the flexibility to handle home issues when it is convenient for the employees; not confined to weekends and weather.

From my perspective, our company is continuing to chug along just fine with the majority of us working from home - the snags I have run into are few.  I'm hoping those running the companies are seeing this as a new benefit to offer employees and that they run with it.

You know what else I will be taking full advantage of even when this is all over?  Curbside delivery and home delivery.

That is AMAZING.

Yes, Amazon was all over the home delivery from the beginning.  But looking around at the various, local businesses that were able to switch over, seemingly seamlessly, is astounding.  Let's also hope that this practice continues after this pandemic is behind us.

All that being said, yes.  I have my down days.  I miss going to a restaurant.  I really miss having my favorite people over.  I miss having lunch with my favorite colleagues.  I miss...well, I miss ALL of it really.

But I'm finally able to enjoy my space - at my own pace.  My little slice of heaven - and that is a bit of gratitude that I have been able to wrench out of this nightmare that we are currently living.

Stay safe.  Wash your hands.  And look for the good bits where you can find them.  Virtual hugs to you all.

April 26, 2020

How to forget what's going on in the world...for a bit anyway.

My plan today was to take advantage of the nice weather and put down mulch in a couple of the badly neglected beds.  Tractor Supply to the rescue!

They are offering curbside/no contact service when you order online.  So, early this morning I ordered ten more bags of mulch and received the notification that it was ready for pick up.  When I got it home, The Husband unloaded it and scattered the bags around the areas that needed the mulch.

The very first area that I was ready to tackle first needed to have a VERY crowded hydrangea bush removed (I think whoever planted these items so close together; either didn't read the tags or didn't understand how big these things would get).  I knew it would be a job but I didn't expect it to be A JOB.

We toiled for hours to get that beast out of the ground - it didn't help to have the large camellia and the equally large other shrub right on top of us as we worked.  At some point, during this endeavor, The Husband remarked that at least this project was taking our minds off the pandemic - it's true, we were so focused on our task, we hadn't even thought about it or anything else for hours.

When I finally wrenched the final piece of the root ball out of the ground, I threw it down, glared at it, called it a bad name and said, "I won!"

The remains
Thanks to The Husband's brilliant idea of using a fulcrum to help lever that beast out of the ground.  If he hadn't thought of that, I'd still be out there wrestling with it.

Needless to say, this project exhausted me - and I know I'm going to feel it tomorrow - so the mulch will have to wait.

But since we are in the yard, let's see what is blooming, shall we?

I took most of these pictures a few days ago.  My peony is getting ready to burst into a riot of color.


Those rose bushes that I neglected to cut back this winter are overloaded but gorgeous.


That big bed in the back that I always mention - this is only half of it!
On Friday afternoon, I happened to look up from the computer and noticed that at least one of the peony buds had bloomed!  I raced outside with my clippers and brought one in to grace my "desk" and give me joy as I continued to work.


Yes, working in the yard can sometimes be exhausting but the fruits of your labor make it all worth while.

And when I do get back out to put down the mulch?  I will be VERY satisfied that the hydrangea bush is gone. 

April 24, 2020

Shortages on random things

Yes, we all know that any and all paper products or basic cleaning supplies are in short supply.

But here's a few random things that are also in short supply.

For the longest time, nail polish remover.  I couldn't find it anywhere.  Happily, I finally chanced upon a bottle; so I'm set in that department, for now.

My current search?  Leave in conditioner.  Yes, I can find leave in conditioner that comes in a spray bottle - this is not what I'm looking for.  I prefer a cream-type and the supplies are depleted EVERYWHERE.  Why?!  I can only surmise that the curly haired community - deprived of Ulta, are descending upon all available open retail outlets and sweeping the shelves clean.

I turned to Amazon - as one does.  Yes, there are some available...for a price.  One seller is selling a two pack of one of my (lesser) preferred brands for approximately $26 dollars.  People...this product retails for about $4 dollars at Target.  Can you say gouging?  I may have to report this seller to Amazon.

The other product I'm on the prowl for?  Dawn dish soap - the non-concentrated kind.  Explain to me exactly WHY dish soap cannot be found for love or money?  I'm fairly certain the majority of the population do not wash their dishes by hand.  Even *I* don't wash the majority of my dishes by hand; but I like to have it on hand for the occasional hand washing event.

And speaking of Amazon - I ordered a refrigerator replacement filter last week.  Yes, I understand that some orders are taking priority right now - and I'm fine with that.  But according to the tracking, this item has been "delayed in transit" since last week.  No other information than that.  Where is it?  If I don't receive it tomorrow, I will insist on a refund.  Which irritates - I'm supposed to stay home; hence the ordering from Amazon.  If it doesn't arrive, this will necessitate a trip to a big box store - which isn't stressful at all right now (insert sarcastic font here).

Since beginning this post, I have found my second favorite brand of leave in conditioner on Target's website - and have placed an order - of course, the brand is not available IN store so - finger's crossed that it actually shows up in the delivery.  We shall see.

In other news - as of this morning, North Carolina's Governor Cooper has extended our lock down until May 8th...for now.  A move that I actually applaud.  I think it's far too early to start easing restrictions. 

Where ever you are - stay safe and wash your hands.

April 13, 2020

A non-pandemic post full of randomness

First of all - thank you.  Right after I hit publish on the last post, I began to wonder - should I have mentioned that we had Easter together?  What if people don't understand that we went above and beyond to avoid any type of cross-contamination? 

I promise, we did.  Is this just where we are now?  Questioning every move we make?  Unfortunately, I think so.

Second, thank you Kari and Nicole for asking about the storms.  We are fine.

Luckily, I woke up extra early today because I went to bed extra early last night.  At any rate, around 5:15 am, my phone sent a Tornado Warning - Shelter in Place Now alert - had I not been awake, I would have slept through it - unless The Husband heard, and heeded, it (most likely not).  This meant that The Husband and I found ourselves hunkered down in the hallway for about 20 minutes.

This is when we discovered that this house was built with my proportions in mind.

We discovered that when I sat down on the floor with my back against one wall and my feet stretched out that I fit the width of the hallway perfectly.  I would have had him take a picture but 1) I was still on my first cup of coffee and not in a blogging frame of mind and 2) I just woke up and you don't need that kind of horror.  But it was pretty funny.

Once the warning was over, everything was fine.  We still had some rain and wind - which dissipated as the day went on - but it was an "eventful" start to the morning to say the least.

When I texted Man-Child later in the day - as his county was also included in the warning - he slept through the whole thing.  Like mother, like son, it seems.  It's a good thing a tornado DIDN'T touch down in his area.

Another thing I wanted to touch on - The Husband is currently cleaning out the freezer.  Apparently, at some point last night he put a bottle of chardonnay in the freezer because we didn't have an already cold bottle on hand.  And, unlike me, he is above putting ice in his wine... the snob.  Can you envision where this is going?

He then either, promptly forgot about it or fell asleep on the couch - I, of course, was already asleep and had no idea this had happened.

This evening he opened the very over-stuffed freezer and can you guess what he discovered?

If you guessed that the bottle exploded you get a gold star!

Because of his food hoarding tendencies (go ahead and search the blog using the term "hoard") that freezer has needed a good clean out for a long while now.  Which he has been avoiding. 

But with the explosion of glass and frozen wine every.single.item needed to be brought out, assessed, rinsed and either tossed or put back in - with the result of a nice, clean freezer and someone's eyes opened a little more about how wasteful hoarding can be.  I do agree that it is nice to have extra on hand - but, generally, he tends to go overboard.

In other news - I currently DESPISE the little ditty that my washing machine AND my dryer "sing" after every load is complete.  This is the result of listening to it every day, at least TWICE a day for who knows HOW long now,  since we are washing towels, clothes that went out into the public, etc. every day.  So much so that I am *this* close to digging out the manuals to figure out if I can disable that cheerful, little ditty.

April 12, 2020

Easter 2020 will be a memorable one...

Happy Easter!

I was fairly certain that Man-Child wouldn't come - as he has been adamant about not seeing us as he is terrified of the possibility of contaminating us.  And I was so sad about that.

But The Husband - and Man-Child's love of all traditions - lured him here; which made me happy.

And this was how we had dinner together.


We were SO happy to see him!

Yes, in the garage with a giant table between us; because our forecast called for rain, so we couldn't eat on the back patio.  He refused to come into the house and made me take his dishes using napkins.  He was hyper vigilant that we wouldn't come in contact with any possible germs.

And while it WAS great to lay eyes on him, to visit, etc.  It was sad that it came to this...Easter dinner in the garage.  On the plus side, at least I had cleaned out the garage a few months ago, so at least we weren't surrounded by junk...just garage stuff, which isn't exactly the ambiance I am looking for in a holiday dinner.

We made the most of it; but it was a bit melancholy...especially since there were no hugs or kisses.  And he stayed that far away (see above) from us the entire time and instead of coming over to spend the day, he came about an hour before dinner and left about an hour after.

So, yes Easter 2020 will certainly be memorable...but I'm thinking that next year we will be back to our original festivities, I hope.  But I will count this visit as a blessing because despite it all, we were together; and apart.