where did I put that brilliant idea? I know I had one just a minute ago…

I can’t lie, I’m getting burned out. I’m trying not to let it happen but it is. I’m bored with being home so much but at the same time the idea of going “out” to do the things are allowed now just kind of freaks the hell out of me. Aside from the weekly grocery run this weekend we did go and get massages, and that was a Very Big Deal.

But the woman we go to is incredibly careful, in all things, and works out of a very small shop. We had to keep our masks on while she did the “face up” bits and then when we flipped over she had a pillow case contraption under the headrest that meant we could take the masks off. Everything thoroughly cleaned even between L and I. And it was heavenly to have a massage again. Yes, I am spoiled, but I was 100% willing to wear the mask and follow guidelines.

My big outing this morning was to campus, which even though it’s closed I was able to get onto because I’m considered “essential personnel.”

I’m not excited about that designation though it appears to come with perks. Not many.

But my trusty little laptop was being a little bitch and I figured it had something to do with not connecting to the MotherShip on campus in too long, and I was right. It had something like 20 Windows updates to run and it finally, after several weeks, fully acknowledged my new password. I was only there for a few hours but it was time well spent. She’s purring like a kitten now.

Wedding stuff is coming along nicely. My attire is all here – dress, shoes, headband, and jewelry – with the exception of what I’ll need to wear under my dress, and I’m not entirely sure how I’m handling that what with not really being able to try things on. I’ll figure it out. Lancelot’s kilt and whatnot have all been ordered and will hopefully be here in plenty of time. My flowers are here and they’re beautiful. We’ve got our application for the marriage license almost done (I need one stinking date!!!). The biggest thing yet is to decide where we’re having it.

I have been knitting some, still on the damn entrelac scarf. I’m starting to think it might actually be legit cold weather wear instead of a decorative piece. I need to see how it looks with my winter coat.

Tonight I’m thinking I might embark on a totally new adventure – quilling. I’ve been seeing all of these amazing things on Pinterest (BANE OF MY EXISTENCE!!!) that I really want to try. I mentioned it to L and showed him a kit I’d found on Amazon, and so the kit showed up the other day. I’m hoping that because it doesn’t have to be quite as precise as origami (I hope?) that I’ll be able to do it. Pics if I can make it work!

I’m still futzing around in the kitchen, trying to use the food we have on hand and not buy a ton of stuff. Are any of you trying to clean out the pantry in creative ways?

trip to nowhere

I find myself wondering these days, a lot, how I used to do all of the running around I used to do. Granted, at that time my mom lived here and she took care of a lot of the house stuff, but still. I used to actually drive to see my therapist every other week, and to the grocery store on the way home from work sometimes, and out shopping just for the FUN of it. What the hell people? Just thinking about those things exhausts me now.

I do have to say, I’m really glad that I’m still driving to pick Lancelot up every morning. I’m starting to hear stories about people who aren’t starting their vehicles often enough or letting them run long enough when they do having trouble with their batteries dying. It’s not good. But I have my short little trip every morning to go fetch my honey and bring him home. At least once a week we do a grocery run. It’s not much, but it helps.

I talked to one of my faculty friends yesterday and she mentioned how she feels like now that we’re working “remote” (which is fancy talk for working at home) she’s working way more hours than she used to. She said that she’s been working at her dining room table and it’s just too easy to neglect breaks and she finds herself working until much later in the evening.

Where are we going and why am I in this damn basket?

I am not doing that, not at all. I’m taking breaks regularly, I have to, my butt gets numb. I’m also trying to take an actual Lunch Hour every day. That’s usually my last opportunity of the day to visit with L before he goes to bed so that time is precious to me. But I also know how important it is for my mental health to step away from this desk and not stare at a screen.

So for anyone else out there working “remote” right now, here are my tips for surviving having the office follow you home:

  • Find a way to stay connected to your coworkers, particularly the ones you enjoy. Say hello to them just because you can; it’s good for everyone.
  • Keep as many of your regular routines as possible. For example, I get up at the same time and take a shower every morning. I also typically dress very similar to how I would have for the office. I’m not wearing makeup much these days but I do wear jewelry. It makes me feel like I’m working.
  • Another item from the “keeping routines” category – if you used to stop for fancy coffee on your way to work, figure out how to make it at home and then do that. I’m having iced lattes every morning and the only place I stop is my fridge.
  • Set yourself a regular schedule in terms of hours. Stick within the guidelines your employer sets but then make sure you aren’t working a 12 hour day unless that’s what you’ve been told to do. Seriously, unless you’re an hourly employee and they’re paying you overtime, do not do that shit to yourself.
  • Take time every day to enjoy your hobbies or at least something that makes you feel good. I haven’t been knitting much because the skin on my hands is is way too dry, but I’ve discovered that cooking for L makes me feel good and is just another kind of creative outlet.
  • I realize that not everyone has the luxury of having a space that can be dedicated for an office, but I find it helps me a ton. It allows me to quite literally “leave” work at the end of the day or when I need a break. There’s something about that physical separation from the rest of the house that helps. Plus, I have my office decorated in a way that I find very calming while still encouraging productivity. It’s actually one of my favorite rooms in the house.

We’ve been told that our campus will remain officially closed through June 1st at least. My guess is that we’ll be closed the entire summer though it really is just a guess. Fall semester will allegedly be back to at least partially on-campus but I’m not sure how they’re going to make that work. In a way I’m hoping to be given the option to continue working at home, at least for the majority of the time. As much as I found myself fighting this system when we first started I find now that I really do enjoy it the majority of the time.

What are you all struggling with most right now? Let’s see if the power of crowd-sourcing can help find solutions for all of us.

the smell of a plan first thing in the morning

I will make a plan for you Mama! I am good with the computer!

In all fairness, this is not first thing in the morning. First thing in my morning was probably around 3am with Dogzilla woke me up to go out. She was slightly more gentle about it today. We started by squeaking the toy that Garth had thoughtfully left on the bed for us. Once she realized I was half-conscious she put her paw on my shoulder and looked at me.

Have you ever just known that a dog was looking you square in the face even though it was near pitch black in the room? It’s a scary thing, even if that dog is a 21.6lb black puppy with very curly hair. And it’s scary because it’s the look that means “I will pee on this bed if I have to, try me.”

I digress, as usual.

I would love to have a plan today but it’s Monday and I’m still a little wore out from the weekend. We had dinner with Mom and R on Friday night, mostly so I could deliver her Mother’s Day flowers a little early.

She loves fresh flowers and this big ol’ arrangement had a little bit of everything in it. What you can’t see in this picture are the cluster of Stargazer Lilies on the other side. She’s carrying a bouquet of those when she gets married next month.

His smile really is what I fell in love with. He’s such a gentle soul, and a good son-in-law. Those flowers were overly full of cold water and he wore a significant amount of that on the drive over.

Anyway, Saturday we took the pup to the vet for an allergy issue, ran errands, then I ran all over the neighborhood because the pup got out and was being obstinate. Good times. And then on Sunday we did brunch here at the house. I made a breakfast casserole that my mom and L really like and a batch of peach bread pudding. It was a lovely morning.

Aren’t they adorable together?

So are we. And yes, now that my hair is short in front I’ve decided it can be curly because I’m not interested in fighting with it. I’ll leave you with one last delightful little image…

This is my kitty and I loves him lots.

it’s a thing I do

I was finally able to get my hair cut today and DAMMIT did I get it cut! The front is way shorter than it was because it had gotten so fucking long that half the time I could only see out of one damn eye and it annoyed me. ANNOYED. So today I told my stylist to hack that shit off, and the shit was hacked, and I’m happy. It’s cute. And Lancelot likes it, so that’s all that really matters I guess.

Yes, it’s May and I’m wearing a sweater. The wind has been blowing like an F5 tornado here and it’s cold. I don’t like to be hot but I’m also not keen on being cold in May.

I’ve still been doing my meal planning stuff and apparently doing a good job. L has loved every meal I’ve made. Granted, he has kind of low standards if you ask me, but still. I’m doing my own invention tonight and I have high hopes. I’ve got pork chops in the crock pot with a can of Coke Zero (it was lingering in the fridge, don’t judge). I’m about to go add a healthy amount of chunky cherry jam to it. I’m thinking it would work well with sweet potatoes but I don’t know if I have any.

Wish me luck!

These two are lazy. This is where they spend damn near every afternoon. Once L goes to sleep they get bored and hang out with me.

planning a wedding during a plague

Ok, so this isn’t quite a plague, more a pandemic, but still. We’re getting married in August and I’m hoping like hell that I have enough time to pull this off.

In all fairness, not quite 4 months is not a lot of time to plan a wedding EVER. There are a lot of moving parts, details, vendors, and just plain other people involved. And I have done this whole “wedding” thing before – three other times to be precise – but never with so little time to get everything ready. And never during a global pandemic.

The first time I got married I had a few years to pull things together. I had the big white church wedding with a catered reception at a hotel and the gigantic fancy cake. We divorced three years later.

My second wedding was done in the back yard by a Justice of the Peace. Much smaller and low-key, I wore Birkenstocks with a sundress. I had less than a year to plan, but still a reasonable amount of time given how small. I was with him for ten years.

My third wedding was planned rather quickly and took place at the courthouse. It was my least favorite, mostly because my groom was drunk during the entire reception, and for most of our marriage.

So I’ve had a variety of experiences.

This time we’ll be having an officiant (I’m not sure what else to call her) and have a custom ceremony, somewhere near trees. (I’d like to be more specific but I don’t even know yet.) I’ve ordered my dress and it actually looks more like a wedding dress than anything I’ve worn in many a moon. I’ve ordered jewelry that I think will go beautifully with it. I’ve ordered flowers that are artificial – wood – that I’ll be able to keep long after the ceremony. And I’ve been ordering everything now because it still might not arrive in time. Because pandemic.

I’m still hoping (HOPING) that we’ll be able to have the ceremony. Right now they’re starting to loosen the restrictions here but that could change. We aren’t planning to have a big ceremony with a lot of people but still. And I already know that the reception may not be until weeks or months later. I’m fine with that.

I’m going to marry my knight in shining armor, that’s what matters to me.

life is just plain interesting

First things first, the recipe from yesterday turned out phenomenal. This was chicken tenderloins, Famous Dave’s Rich & Sassy BBQ sauce, and a 20 oz can of pineapple tidbits. I made some regular old while rice and put in some ginger and served it over that. Super tasty. It met with Lancelot’s approval this morning.

Pippy was just pissed that I refused to share with her. Tonight’s menu selection is baked pasta with Italian sausage red sauce. And cheese, lots of cheese.

So things have been pretty good around here, a little light on the sleep but otherwise not too shabby. My mom is getting married in June and I am beyond excited for her. Earlier this year Lancelot had indicated that he wanted to get married, but wasn’t sure when he would ask. The time had to be right.

I waited. And I waited some more. And then this morning…

The wedding will be at the courthouse (almost certainly) on August 12th, our two year anniversary.

why is meatball tuesday not a thing?

While I was trying to get the dog to come in the other morning, something that’s becoming more of a challenge, I managed to get this picture of a bumblebee in the grape hyacinths. And that’s good because those flowers are being destroyed by the dog. If she’s not digging in the beds she’s laying on the flowers, sunning herself. I’m not exactly impressed.

In other news I have pretty well lost track of how long I’ve been doing this “work from home” thing though my research this morning suggests it’s been since March 23rd, so that’s roughly 1000 weeks, right? Don’t get me wrong, I feel very fortunate to still be employed and earning a salary, totally. I’m not exactly excited that we’ve been told we’ll be operating like this likely the whole summer. Not thrilled.

I have to admit that it’s nicer now that I have a proper office space to work in and I have an extra monitor for my laptop. That’s actually helping a lot.

The house is coming along nicely. The only area that’s still being worked on is Lancelot’s man cave, formerly known as my office in the basement. He’s got a LOT of DVDs and books and we still haven’t moved everything in yet. It’s a process. But progress is being made.

So here’s something those of you who have never been in a relationship with someone who does shift work have thought of – meal planning, how? Consider… I work days and so eat my final meal of the day around 6pm. He works nights and so eats his final meal of the day around 10am. I hate cooking for myself and I don’t want him to have to cook for himself.

My new criteria for “dinners” are that they make enough for both of us to have at least one meal, preferably two, are considered at least a little healthy, and that they reheat well. I am not finding this as easy as I had hoped I would. Enter the Crock Pot.

Some of you may know this culinary wizard as a slow cooker, same thing. And it is my new best friend. Right now I have a batch of meatballs cooking that I will later throw over mashed potatoes. These are frozen meatballs taking a bath in beef broth, cream of mushroom soup, and Lipton’s beefy mushroom soup mix. I have high hopes for this.

building a life worth living

There’s a tenet in DBT that basically says you should be trying to build yourself a life that’s actually worth living, based on what’s important to you. It’s a weird concept for many of us with mental health struggles, but it’s well worth embracing. I’ve been trying to remind myself, a lot lately, that the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel is that life worth living and I alone get to decide what’s included.

More importantly, I get to decide what’s NOT included.

My relationship with my sister has always been tenuous, even back to when we were kids. She likes to have her own way. No, actually, she always insists on having her own way. When we were young she would hit if she didn’t get what she wanted. As she grew older she used words. Mean, spiteful, hate filled words.

I have to stop to insert a bit of happy news. My mom is getting married. She’s known R since they were 9 years old, he’s a very nice man, and I have never seen her this happy before. I am 100% over the moon excited for them, and so is Lancelot. Hell, so is everyone who knows. Everyone except my sister and the kids.

Somehow she’s convinced that it’s possible to cheat on a dead man. I don’t get it. R’s pastor doesn’t get it. “Til death do you part” means that when one of you dies the other is no longer married. But, not in H’s mind.

Over the course of the last week all hell has literally blown up. There’s been screaming, crying, cursing, and declaring people dead. That’s the point at which I blocked her number and decided that I really don’t need this bullshit.

I’m fairly sure that it’ll be a very long time before I see my nieces again, if ever. H has always used them as a weapon, and that’s unfortunate. I just can’t tolerate the hate she keeps spewing. Sometimes walking away is the victorious thing to do.

Pippy says that sitting on people is also victorious.

In other good news, this is my last day of work for a whole week. Lancelot and I had originally had this week off to dog sit while Mom went on a trip, but that was before the world went sideways so now we’re going to use the time to start moving him in officially. I’m very excited about that.

I’m hoping that once life settles into a bit more of a regular routine I’ll be able to start knitting again. Right now by the time I finish working for the day I have just enough energy to make something to eat, watch a little news, and then crawl into bed. Once we get things cleaned out and organized, oh and moved, I think that’s going to help.

On a tangent, does anyone else live somewhere you can now get cocktails to go with your carry out order? L and I did carry out fajitas from our favorite Mexican restaurant a few weeks ago and got blue margaritas to go with them. That is one of the odder, yet nicer, things to come out of The Rona.

out da window

Needless to say, some things just aren’t improving much. It’s getting scarier to go to the store, and even when you do go, they don’t have all of the stuff you’d like to get. Like bread. Or toilet paper.

Seriously, what the actual fuck is up with the toilet paper thing???

But I digress. I’m still trying to get my shit sorted out, both personal and professional. Work is still taking place at home and it sounds like we’re about to the point where we’ll be shutting the campus down officially and entirely for awhile. Suits me just fine. I’m getting used to working in leggings and tennis shoes. Plus, I have a seriously hunky new co-worker.

Lancelot is moving in. Wait, no, that’s not quite right. L has basically moved in. We don’t have all of his stuff here just yet but we’ve started working on that, slowly. He’ll be totally moved in by the end of May.

This is happening faster than we anticipated but we’re both very excited about it. The dog is particularly excited.

Anyway, it’s something good that’s happening but it is change. So much change lately, seriously. Yesterday I had my therapy appointment over something very much like Zoom. It was weird though still fairly effective. Totally better than no therapy at all.

So I’m still working on figuring out what I want my world to look like, but that’s ok. I’m happy and that’s all that matters.

what is normal anymore?

I get up around 4:30am, like normal. I make a cup of coffee, like normal.

That’s pretty much where any resemblance to my old existence ends.

I might watch a little news, though honestly I don’t remember the last time I did. I might get the dishwasher emptied, though often that waits until closer to my lunch break. I shower and put on comfy clothes, something I used to only do on the weekends. I go pick up Lancelot, which is typical, except I never used to have to drive through a check point.

And then I get home and work in my basement, using two laptops instead of one with two additional monitors (so much nicer), and I don’t usually actually see another person in the flesh until dinner time.

This is not a great arrangement for me. I’m not terribly extroverted but I do enjoy the company of people, nice people anyway. I miss my friends. I miss the distraction of someone walking into my office just to shoot the shit for a few minutes. I miss being able to share my happys and sads with them. Fuck, I miss having a reason to wear nice clothes and put on makeup.

I’m glad that I’m safe (so far) and that no one I love has gotten ill, please don’t get me wrong. But I’m going to have to figure out what I need to do to keep from going completely bat-crap crazy. Suggestions are welcome.