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.

April 8, 2020

I have the time - but finding the words is hard right now

I keep trying to post...and then delete every single time.

Everything is so off kilter that trying to find words is...hard.

Suz's post today reminded me - thanks to the pandemic, Man-Child has been calling The Husband to figure out how to feed himself.  I have to admit, every time I hear The Husband explaining a recipe, I have to smile.

Man-Child has always wanted to learn how to cook things but never followed up on it.  Now he has to - and is discovering that it isn't as hard as he previously thought (says the woman who doesn't cook and really has no interest in learning now - although, based on a recent conversation via text with a friend, it appears I have picked up some knowledge via osmosis when I opined about why her baked macaroni and cheese isn't as creamy as she'd hoped - my opinion was later verified by The Husband).

Based on the same text conversation I found at least one reason that my working from home is fairly easy.  I'm here alone.  She, on the other hand, has two teenagers and a husband as her daily co-workers.  I don't have anyone here chewing loudly or doing other things to make me crazy...except on the weekends and...I'm not trying to work then.

I find myself tearing up at the most random things.  There is a local jewelry store that is running the MOST cheesy ad.  An ad that, in normal circumstances I would mock endlessly.  But now?  Now, every single time I hear this ad about how "everything is going to be okay!" I find tears in my eyes.

I know that, eventually everything will be "okay" or "normal" - but I ponder how things will be changed.  Because you and I both know, things WILL be different in the future.  How we conduct ourselves.  Our cleaning habits.  Our greeting habits.  And many other things - it will all be different.  How all that plays out remains to be seen.

In the interim, wash your hands.  Physically isolate.  And, most importantly, stay safe.  Sending virtual hugs to you all.  We'll get through this...somehow.