Quarantine Brain Dump

We’re on Day 25 of Quarantine. I haven’t left the house once. My husband has taken care of our essential runs so far and will probably continue to do so, as I don’t want to take risks having asthma. The girl has gone to the doctor a few times, and the boy went with his dad to Aldi once. We have been able to get the majority of our groceries at Walmart Pickup (which shows zero slots during the day, but all the slots open up just past midnight, so we lucked out figuring that out). He’s able to find the other odd things (mainly meat) at Aldi or Dollar General.

BG’s COVID test came back negative. The first one got bungled by the lab, so she had to get it done a second time, plus a chest x-ray and more blood work since she is STILL running a fever. (She’s on Day 25 of a fever.) Outside of tiring out easily, being crankier than normal, and having headaches, she seems okay. She rips through the house acting like her normal self at times, and you wouldn’t know anything was wrong then. (Five minutes after the dancing or running, however, then you’d know.)

The doctor did a test for mono and what my husband referred to as a broad spectrum virus test. The test for mono was negative, and we haven’t gotten results on the latter. The doc said if she’s still running a fever this week, then they’ll have to do a blood draw with an actual needed in her arm. She’s already having severe anxiety about that, so I am hoping and praying this fever just disappears so that won’t be necessary.

And speaking of anxiety…that shit has been real. I was pretty calm about all of this initially. “Wash your hands and stay at home. Easy-peasy.” But then anxiety hit like a load of bricks, and panic attacks over this mess have been frequent. “What if I get it? I take forever to get over bronchitis, so this would be hell. And how would I keep my kids from being all over me? And, wow, it looks like I do have it because I can’t half breathe now. Oh no, must have it. And what if the economy completely fails and people fight over basic supplies (more so than now) and try to rob us to steal what we have?”

It goes downhill from there. LM’s one trip to Aldi (sigh, which won’t happen again) aside, we are doing all the right things and taking all precautions. I made masks for our family, plus a bunch of extra for my husband to drop off on the porches of higher risk relatives. I’m new at sewing and they look shitty, but they are effective, which is all that matters. I don’t know how necessary it is, but we’re sterilizing the groceries and anything else that comes inside. So we are doing everything within our control on this one, hopefully it’ll be enough. And I wish that were enough for my anxiety. Depression has been real, too. I stopped taking Wellbutrin at my doc’s advice a month or two ago, and it has been really rough. Really bad timing on your part, depression. Couldn’t you wait until we were out of quarantine? I’m taking the medicine again and hopefully it’ll take effect soon. Irritable me > depressed and irritable me.

I’ve had to resist my MIL’s attempts to get the kids. I understand she wants to see him, but we’re not seeing anyone right now. They’re high risk, but they go about freely without much care for their health (or anyone else’s health), gah. Their mentality has always been “When it’s our time, it’s our time.” (Even in hurricane and tornado warnings.) One of her other grandchildren visited from out-of-state last week, and she was NOT happy that I wouldn’t bring BG — who she knew was still running a fever and didn’t have her COVID results — down to visit. “It’s just family, so it will be okay.” Gah again, because that’s not how this virus works!

I miss people. I was trying to be more social, getting out and attempting (but failing because I’m awful at such things) to make friends before this. Being mostly cooped up at home when the kids were at school with hardly anyone to talk to wasn’t fun, so I was pushing myself. Oh well. I’ll push harder when we’re out. I think I might even become a hugger after all of this is over, so watch out, world.

Thank goodness for Facebook and memes. I never thought that’s a sentence I would write, but there it is. I desperately need that humor right now, and these COVID memes do not disappoint. And then there’s the whole Tiger King thing, which has some brilliant memes, too. That was quite a show, one that is very difficult to look away from, no matter how much you think you’d never watch such a thing.

Image may contain: meme, possible text that says 'People watching Tiger King "I can't believe people like this exist." People from South Carolina:'

FYI, my house has been pretty darn tidy throughout all of this, and I’m staying on top of keeping clothes folded. It’s easier to not have a laundry mountain when certain individuals don’t want to change clothes on a daily basis. I have not been on top of my writing, and I have a deadline in a week. Unless I can quickly pull something out of my ass, I don’t see making it.

I hope y’all are doing well and staying safe.

Boredom Quiz

The kids are watching Teen Titans, so I’ve been mindlessly scrolling on Facebook. I came across this quiz someone posted because they’re bored and decided to do a little post.

1. Who are you named after? A soap opera character.

2. Last time you cried? A couple of days ago. We were watching The Office and Jim asked Pam out on a date. It always gets me.

3. Do you like your handwriting? Nah, my handwriting is really inconsistent, so not really.

4. What is your favorite deli meat? Shredded cajun turkey. And I mean shredded, not thinly sliced.

5. Longest relationship? 16 years

6. Do you still have your tonsils? No

7. Would you bungee jump? I wanted to when I was younger. I did abungee flyer ride at an amusement park a couple of times, but not the real deal. I’d only do it now if I were super old and on my deathbed.

8. What is your favorite kind of cereal? Oops All Berries.

Image result for oops all berries

9. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? No.

10. Do you think you’re strong willed? Hells yeah.

11. Favorite ice cream? Cookies and cream or caramel.

12. What is the first thing you notice about a person? Eyes.

13. Football or baseball? Football to watch, baseball to play.

14. Favorite donut? Chocolate cream from Dunkin Donuts.

15. Last thing you ate? A Slim Jim. I’m all about that health.

16. What are you listening to? The kids watching Teen Titans Go to the Movies. This scene is absolutely hilarious, if you’re extra board and wanna laugh.

17. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Aqua.

18. What is your favorite smell? My grandmother’s powder.

19. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? My MIL.

20. Married? Yes.

21. Hair color? Brown, but I have some red highlights now too.

22. Eye color? Blue.

23. Favorite food to eat? Steak or chicken parm or pizza. I can’t choose.

24. Scary movies or happy endings? Happy.

25. Last movie you watched in a theater? Star Wars, I think.

26. What color shirt are you wearing? Brown.

27. Favorite holiday? Thanksgiving or Halloween.

28. Beer or Wine? Neither, give me a nice rummy cocktail.

29. Night owl or morning person? Night owl.

30. Favorite day of the week? Saturday.

31. Favorite animal? Penguins or elephants I guess. I don’t care for animals in my home.

32. Do you have a pet? My family has two dogs.

33. Where would you like to travel? Somewhere in the Caribbean!

Home Sweet Home

We had some concerns about coronavirus since a relative has it, but it looks like we and mainly Baby Girl, who has had a fever for days, is most likely in the clear. My husband took her to the doctor yesterday, and she has the flu and hand-foot-mouth disease. She’s on day 7 of having a fever. The doctor said she doesn’t think she has coronavirus, but sent a test off to be sure. I’m surprised at how long this fever is lasting. She’s never had one last more than 2-3 days before, but I guess those two things together are making it last so long.

We are supposed to be on day 4 of homeschool, but I decided to give the kids the day off. (For the record, Baby Girl has enjoyed homeschool, so it’s not like I have been a mean mom making her do it while sick lol! She has actually asked to do extra math on Khan Academy.) My anxiety had me up half the night, so I’m beat today, and they seemed like they could use a little break as well. Little Man is ahead in his packet anyway, plus we’ll read plenty.

I haven’t left the house since Friday other than stepping outside for a while. Cabin fever is settling in. I can only imagine how folks over in China and other countries must feel after staying in so long! I don’t know how other states are managing things, but in addition to shutting down schools, our state has ordered restaurants to be drive-through or curbside only and to keep social gatherings less than 50 people. I imagine that will be stricter in the days to come.

One funny thing about this quarantine is that the boy hasn’t played a single video game. Not one. Last week, he complained endlessly on school days because I didn’t let him play after school. He had been slacking off on homework, so I cracked down. And then when school canceled on Friday and we are pretty much confined to our houses, he loses interest in playing. Go figure!

So, not much new to report here. I hope y’all are doing well and staying safe.

Enjoy Your Plague-Cation

We went from thinking, “Maybe we should try to snag a spring break cruise for the family” a couple weeks ago to “We ain’t going nowhere…and it’s a plauge-cation, not a stay-cation” super fast.

The coronavirus has hit my county, and we have several cases right now. We were told on Friday that the schools would be closed for two weeks, and then today the governor announced that all schools across the state would close for two weeks. Most of our schools aren’t able to do e-learning properly yet, but the teachers are supposed to be putting together packets for the kids to work on at home. So I guess we’ll finally get a taste of homeschooling, which I’d thought about doing with the kids in the past. My husband’s boss had his group working from home full-time again starting a couple weeks ago, so we’ll have plenty of togetherness.

I found out that one of the coronavirus patients in my county is a relative, and that she had visited my in-laws a few days before we did. They aren’t showing any symptoms yet, thankfully. My FIL has had such a rough time with his health that I’m not sure how he’d fare with that. He’s in his upper 70s, as well. The kids and I, on the other hand, all started running fevers yesterday. The boy hasn’t been coughing, just a fever, and the girl and I have been hacking our heads off. I’m hoping it’s just a cold, because our house is certainly not a stranger to getting the crud! We decided on Friday afternoon after we found out about my relative having the virus that we wouldn’t go anywhere just in case. We had already bought groceries (including a pack of toilet paper that we actually needed, which I’m sad to report that I learned today is single-play garbage, RIP my butt), so we didn’t have to worry about that.

We’ve been coming up with ideas for what we’ll do with all of this extra quality time we’re getting. So far, most of it involves movies. The boy wants to watch all of the Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Marvel movies. I’m too lazy to do the math, but that may very well get us through this whole thing. After I feel less yucky, I plan to catch up on some projects I’ve been meaning to get to around the house. I already caught up on my laundry, which is nice. The girl’s plan is for me to let her use my phone to play games whenever she wants.

The one single good thing about this virus stuff has been the memes. I know a lot of folks don’t like people joking around about it, but humor has always been my way of dealing with tough crap, so I’m enjoying the memes. Here are a few of my favorites:

Image may contain: one or more people, possible text that says 'When your friend starts coughing Just look at the flowers. scenesofamodead'

Image may contain: 1 person, possible text that says 'James Breakwell, Exploding Unic... @XplodingUnicorn Me: Everything in the world is canceled. I can finally get some writing done. Narrator: He did not get any writing done.'

Image result for coronavirus memes

Image may contain: 1 person, standing and outdoor, possible text that says 'Currently at the border in WV.'

Are you social distancing yet?

Facing The Blank Page

So, I got an email about a group that published a couple of my short stories in 2018 and 2019 being open for submissions again.

Ugh.

Writing has been a struggle for me. Blog writing, aside from mostly boring life recaps, has been difficult. Attempts at coming up with anything creative to post — or even finishing some of the creative ideas I had in the past — have been fruitless. Ditto with my fiction efforts.

Rarely do I sit down to write fiction and have a concrete idea in mind. That isn’t usually how my brain works. My ideas start off as bits of conversation. Some faceless character will say a sentence or two and another faceless character will respond. I’ll sit down and work on it, and before I know it, I’ll have a couple pages worth of dialogue, an idea of who my characters are, and I’ll know where I want to go. Now, just because I know where I want to go doesn’t mean I’ll finish it, but still, that’s how I work.

I don’t think I’ve sat down and outlined a book from start to finish more than a couple of times. My husband, son, and best friend half want to beat me now because I won’t work on an outline I showed them last year. I wrote 30 pages and stopped. They know how it’s supposed to end and want the rest of it, but it hasn’t happened. I’m just not built for writing anything longer than that fiction-wise (at least at this point in my life), regardless of knowing how it will end.

I don’t suppose I’ll ever teach a writing class.

The dialogue hasn’t been coming to me as much these days. My brain has been in a slump, which is so frustrating. Most of y’all reading this know how it is, because it gets that way for you, too. (And if it doesn’t, don’t tell me.) Whenever I get writer’s block like this, I always wonder how much of it’s me (and the normal ups and downs in writing) and how much of it is the mood meds holding me back. There’s absolutely no doubt that there is a huge drop-off in creativity with meds. So that, on top of the unpleasantness I wrote about in my last post, has been sucky. I talked about this with my psychiatrist last week, and he mentioned there being drug trials with LSD and the such. He joked that if he got to prescribe that, I’d have an abundance of creativity.

So, you’re suggesting I obtain illegal drugs to fix this? (Just kidding, of course.)

I took my laptop to my daughter’s occupational and speech therapy appointments yesterday. I’m pretty sure I looked like a crazy lady, because I was doing some hardcore staring at a blank page on my laptop. One of the therapists asked if I was okay, and I gruffly said yes, somewhat annoyed by her intruding on the thoughts I wasn’t having. Ha.

(I’m tempted to rename my blog using the title of this post.)

I came up with nothing yesterday afternoon. I tried again last night and came up with a few lines that I hated. More trying this morning. I came up with some dialogue I liked and wrote a few pages, but had no idea where I wanted to take it. (It was some funny shit, though, about some old ladies at a senior circle, and it made my husband literally LOL. So yay for that.)

After lunch, I sat down yet again. And then a thought turned into almost 4,000 words and 10 pages, beginning and end. (It’s a suspense-horror deal, a genre I’ve never touched, and certainly a far cry from funny shit at a senior circle.) I’m not terribly pleased with it, because I don’t think it would be accepted after cleaning it up, but it’s progress. (And hopefully that idea will lead to another, ideally a genre I’m more comfortable with.) I’ll sure as shit take that right now. And I didn’t even need LSD!

I relate to this so hard.

Image result for the office i'll start talking gif

I guess the non-pharmaceutical solution to writer’s block is simply writing, as silly as it sounds. One thing leads to another and hopefully you’ll get something you don’t totally hate.

Now, watch me jinx myself with that and go back to the blank page later night and not be able to come up with anything.

Braaaain Dump, Feb 27 Edition

Wanna know the worst thing about winter? It’s not ice. It’s not snow. It’s not even the depletion of Vitamin D and the low moods that go with it.

Does this even qualify as being snow? It’s from our big “snowstorm.”

The. Yearly. Fucking. Physical.

That’s the worst part of winter.

Our insurance company gives us a $500 “discount” on insurance if we get the physicals and send in our data. And by discount, I mean “Here’s your set price, and you’ll pay an extra $40 bucks per month on top of that if you don’t go get this done.” I don’t think they quite grasp how discounts usually work.

So, this time of year I make a post where I bitch and moan because I hate getting physicals done. No one likes it, no one likes getting their blood drawn, and no one especially likes having to weigh in and all the fun that comes with that. Frankly, it ended up likely being a good thing I went this year, but I’ll still grumble now and every year that I’m on this blog.

The paperwork for the discount is due February 28. Ideally, you go sometime in January. Much to my husband’s dislike, I put off the appointment as long as possible. I went in Monday, which didn’t please my husband, because he said that wasn’t long enough for them to get the lab results, complete the paperwork (it’s just two sheets, sigh), and fax it (fax, not snail mail). It makes him sweat bullets, because apparently $500 will make or break us. Not really, thankfully, but you’d think it is a matter of life or death or something. His irritation is kind of amusing, and I’d be lying if I said that didn’t factor into my procrastination. (She had it faxed in 24 hours.)

Monday was the general unpleasantness, plus a little extra. I’ve had a spot on the top right of my forehead for a couple years. It started out really small and pink, and then it got yucky and crusty and a bit larger and itchy. (Gross, but hey, my side swept bangs conveniently cover it.) The PA I saw a couple years ago when it came up brushed it off once and then twice. After the spot went rather 3D, I decided to get my new doctor look at it. She called it a pre-cancerous lesion and froze it off. I have to go see a dermatologist in a couple of months to check out some other moles/spots she’s concerned about and see if any of the spot she froze off grew back.

I’m very white, very freckled, and have probably had a hundred sunburns easily, so it was just a matter of time before something like this came up. Hopefully all goes well in a couple months, and this is a good reminder for me to stop being so sporadic with my use of sunscreen. (It’s also a good reminder for those of you who are kinda slack like me, so sunscreen up.) And, despite my blog name, I’m not all anxious about it. So there’s that.

In other general unpleasantness, there’s me. I know that comes as a shock to y’all, since I’m a ray of sunshine, but it’s true, I am prone to bouts of unpleasantness. This one is likely a bipolar thing, which my psychiatrist is trying to help me get back to my version of normal. (And my normal is so not normal normal, but it’ll do.)

His suggestion last month when we talked and I told him about the unpleasantness (read: mild depressive moods, bad anxiety, shit sleep, and severe irritability, hence the unpleasantness) was to reduce one of my meds. I’ve been taking Wellbutrin along with Lamictal for a while, like almost two years I think, and it made things so nice for the most part. The Lamictal helped a lot, but the Wellbutrin did a good job of leveling out the depressive moods I was prone to.

After reducing the Wellbutrin throughout January and most of February, I saw the psych again on Tuesday, and he decided to take me off of it completely. I was reluctant, because I worry that changing things could make things worse. And maybe this is just a small hurdle I need to get over and things will get back to my normal soon. And if I stop taking it now and things get sucky then…blah blah. I stopped it, though, because this guy is good and the reasons he gave made sense. So, we’ll see what happens over the next few days.

(So maybe I’ll be steering this blog back to mental health stuff for a while.)

I have been bitten by the reading bug in 2020. It’d be nice to get bitten by the writing bug or the cleaning bug, but this bug has me reading.

  • You
  • Hidden Bodies
  • Todd Fisher’s My Girls
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
  • This Boy’s Life
  • The Rooster Bar
  • The Storyteller
  • Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking
  • Carrie Fisher’s Shockaholic

This has been a nice break from all the autism reading.

Two things: First, I’m obviously on a Carrie Fisher kick. I adored her, and as a fellow bipolar person, I am fascinated by her life. Second, about half of my reading list has been bio stuff, which I don’t usually do, but I’ve enjoyed it.

What have y’all read this year, and so you have any recommendations?

Cruise Fun

I’m so thankful we got to get away for our 3-day cruise! And I really missed the kids, so three days away was enough. (Although they had me rethinking that an hour after getting home and fighting and stuff lol.) But, as a cruise addict, I’m ready to get on a boat again and am planning. (Never mind the fact that we already had one scheduled for June for the whole family.)

Cruising isn’t for everyone, I know, but I love everything about it. If you want a few days with literally no responsibilities and nothing to worry about or take care of other than your kids if they’re along — and don’t mind being on a crowded ship in the middle of the ocean — then cruising is the best.

Cooking? Don’t have to, there are restaurants and buffets and snack bars and free room service around the clock. There’s so much variety, too, although I eat literally the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. Cleaning? Don’t have to do that, other than put away your clothes and the such. (And if you don’t do that and your kids leave their shit out, the room steward will take care of that, too, as we shamefully discovered on the first family cruise when they came to take care of the room earlier than we expected. That didn’t happen again.) Entertainment? Round-the-clock entertainment such as music, comedy shows, trivia, games, water slides, the casino, and more is right there. And omg, someone bringing me all of the boozy drinks I can stand.

Cruise life is the best life for me.

Our port on this trip was Nassau, which I’ve been to several times. We usually do a beach day, but we opted for doing a self-guided walking tour of Nassau this time. We walked down to Junkanoo Beach so we could get a taste of the ocean and hung around sipping on daquiris for an hour and then moved on. We saw a bunch of old cathedrals, toured a chocolate making place, and visited some other places, but our favorite was touring the rum distillery there. After touring, we settled in at the bar and got the best drinks of our lives. The pina coladas were amazing, and I’m pretty sure I’ll never have one that well-made again (until we go back). A lot of rum settled in at the bottom, and it actually tasted very good (I usually hate the taste of liquor on its own). I barely made it through my first one before buzzing and had to sit there for a while to finish the second.

We ended up walking about five miles around Nassau, according to my iPhone, and saw so much. My feet were swollen by the time we got on the boat, but it was well worth it. My husband and I both agreed that was our favorite visit to that port. Since we’re planning on only 3-day cruises for our personal trips in the future and Nassau will be the only port for such a short cruise, we want to do something similar each time. The plan next time is to hit up as many museums. They have a Pirate-themed escape room that looked like a lot of fun, too.

I was kinda nervous about coming up with the flu or another virus, but so far we’re fine. I didn’t see anyone so much as cough, and there are sanitizing stations everywhere. I still had a little bit of the crud when I got on the boat (I’m not contagious, it was still lingering from January), but started feeling good by the evening and didn’t take my medicine the whole time. Of course, now that I’m off of what should be germ central, I’m all congested again. I think all of the rum helped me fight off the crud, so I should probably start having a rum drink or two to keep the crud away. (Or maybe, just maybe, it was the Vitamin C in the drink. Hmm.)

In closing, great time, great fun, and totally rejuvenated.

Birthday Boy

It’s the boy’s 12th birthday. How is he that old? How are we just a year from him being a teenager? Where the hell did the time go? I swear, it was just yesterday that he was letting me dress him in a cute little black and white striped polo shirt, blue jeans, and black and white Converses for his first day at preschool.

(Now he does not let me dress him at all, at least not without a fight, and certainly won’t agree to polos or jeans on his own. Who the hell hates blue jeans?!)

The cake is in the oven. It’s a lemon cake, and it isn’t even from scratch, not that I’ll tell the boy that because he says he doesn’t like box cakes. (He also is blissfully unaware that my much loved strawberry cake is from a box, albeit not made with the box recipe, plus it has fresh strawberries.)

He had a birthday party with some friends on Saturday. We did an escape room for the first time, which was super fun. And it’ll probably be even more fun when my husband and I do one on our own as a date night, because those kids were unorganized and didn’t even get the first clue until the end, when the kid running it told them they missed it. But they finished with time to spare anyway, of course! Those are four super smart kiddos, though, so I’m not at all surprised.

One of the kids he invited is the girl I suspect he likes. Watching them together on Saturday made me think this even more, and I’m pretty sure it’s a mutual thing. It’s funny–this child is so unaware of personal space. If he’s sitting next to you at the table, then he’ll more than likely be half in your lap, because it’s like some kind of magnetism takes over that makes him be uncomfortably close to you. This was the case with his female friend, and she did not tell him to move. In fact, she was leaning into him and grinning, so that’s how I know.

It all went well, although I was kind of worried we’d get kicked out of the restaurant for those kids getting so loud. Lots of laughter, lots of obnoxiousness that you’d expect in a few sixth graders, etc. They had so much fun, though, although a nasty headache was settling in on the way home from the loudness.

Sunday was the family party. And I was kind of worried we’d get kicked out of that restaurant for BG and her cousin getting so loud.

There was one glorious moment when LM was opening his presents. He got a card from one of his grandparents, and it had money and a little tube inside.

“I know how you go through Chapstick,” she told him, “so I stuck a tube in there for you.”

I couldn’t see it clearly, but knew it did not look like Chapstick. After he was finished, my brother picked it up to look at it, since he didn’t think it looked like Chapstick, either. It wasn’t.

Image result for cold sore medicine

(Not the actual tube, but close enough.)

We both realized at the same time and about died laughing. My MIL wanted to know what was so funny, and I told her between gasps that she hadn’t bought her 12-year-old grandson Chapstick, but cold sore medicine. And boy was she embarrassed.

“I meant to get Chapstick! I know he isn’t doing anything to get cold sores!” LM doesn’t have the first clue about cold sores, but he knew she was embarrassed, which was enough for him to tease her and refuse to give it back.

Fun times.

Tonight it’ll just be the four of us. LM requested filet mignon for supper, so my husband is handling that. Mr. Fancy Pants. He already knows what we’re getting for his birthday since his list was so limited. I had exhausted my non-list ideas for Christmas and couldn’t come up with anything else. He asked for a new BB pistol, an Apple watch, and a cat. We can’t get a cat right now, which I told him, but I did get the other two items. (Albeit not an Apple brand watch because that went over our limit.)

I did not want to get him a BB pistol, but my husband was for it, so he’ll have one. (He has the typical BB rifle most boys get, and I confiscated that after he accidentally shot his sister in the face a couple years ago. My husband was supposed to be supervising, but didn’t supervise very well because he was letting him shoot at targets IN THE DIRECTION of where he was playing with BG. Wtf?) Hopefully no eyes are almost put out with this one, sigh.

Time to move on, so happy birthday LM!