Quarantine 3

Quarantine has been a time of learning. I could focus on the more serious stuff, but I’m going to go a bit lighter for this post.

When schools closed down due to the pandemic, we found ourselves with a lot of extra time. The three hours I spent daily transporting the kids to and from school/bus stop was gone. Homework in the evenings gone. No more taking the kids to sports, church, visiting, etc.

My husband came up with a list of things he wanted to work on around the house. And my list was wanting to write regularly and catch up on my reading. Almost five months into this, my husband has done everything on his list and then some, and I’ve accomplished nothing on my lengthy to-do list.

Parks and recreation ben wyatt GIF on GIFER - by Blueterror

I have, however, done a few other things that weren’t on my list.

To start, I’ve sorta learned how to cut hair. My husband has a pair of clippers that he never really used before. He and the boy were sorely in need of haircuts, so I decided to give it a go. Neither are fans of the buzzed look, so it wasn’t as simple as putting a 2-guard on and going all over. My husband’s haircut — short on the sides and a bit longer on top — looked fantastic. Not as good as the barber he saw pre-pandemic, of course, but better than some of the other places he got it cut.

My son’s hair turned out…less good. I guess one of the big things about cutting hair is being able to movie with the person whose hair you’re cutting. And my son moved every five seconds, called the dog up to jump in his lap, and more. I ended up having to buzz it all off with a 1-guard, which he was not happy about. “Buzzed haircuts look like someone who can’t decide if they want to be completely bald or have hair,” he said.

Several weeks later, it was time for another cut. My husband’s turned out pretty good again. And Little Man? Well, he didn’t squirm around as much and ended up with a very nice looking haircut. Unfortunately, the clippers slipped when I was cutting the front, and I shaved off part of his eyebrow.

The office GIF on GIFER - by Zulkishicage

Oops. I offered to trim the other eyebrow to even it up, but he told me I had done enough damage.  (He was given some v-bucks on Fortnite, so it was quickly forgotten.) The haircut really does look good, though.

I also learned how to make some damn good cocktails. Patience has never been my strong suit, so whenever I wanted a drink, I’d dump shit in a cup and go. No measuring, no drinks with more than three ingredients, and hope for the best. As such, my drinks never tasted that great.

Pin by Natalie Casados on BACON, CHOCOLATE AND BOOZE | Funny ...

After getting a few extra bottles of liquor for the pandemic, I decided that I wanted a drink I had on a cruise. It required seven ingredients. I groaned, but realized I had absolutely nowhere to go, so why the hell couldn’t I just take 10 minutes and make a proper drink?

I did, and it was heavenly.

I’ve built up my liquor cabinet over the pandemic, got a nice blender for Mother’s Day, and I’ve enjoyed learning how to make non-shitty drinks. I even perfected the pina colada.

I also learned how to make some decent bread. Again, much patience was required, but it is well worth it.

(By the way — if you needed to lose weight pre-pandemic, taking up hobbies like making high-calorie cocktails and baking bread aren’t the best idea. The quarantine 15 happened pretty damn fast.)

Last but not least, I learned how to play Fortnite with my son and not suck. I’ve played with him  for a while now, but I was always just terrible. He didn’t mind since he liked playing with me, but he had to revive me so often that we never won together. With a bit extra practice here and there, I’ve gotten good enough to win some games on my own. The look on the boy’s face when I won my first solo was priceless. He told me over and over how proud he was of me. My heart could’ve melted.

Top 30 True Heart Fortnite GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat

Daily Writing Prompt: It Took So Long To Leave…

Today’s prompt:

It took so long to leave because…

of my dad.

You have to plan carefully when visiting my dad’s house if you have somewhere else to go. Especially at holidays. If he says “We’re carving the turkey at 1:00,” what that really means is “I’m probably going to stick it in the fryer at 1:30. It’ll be done by 2:30, but has to sit and cool a while, so we’ll probably eat at 3:00.” His turkey is amazing and worth it, but my MIL usually starts her dinner promptly at 5:00, and it that leaves us at eating and running. (Leaving an hour after eating the meal is absolutely “running” to my family. You’ve gotta sit and chat a while and then have dessert and chat some more.)

Back when we’d meet at his house to go out to a restaurant on the weekend on occasion, he’d tell us, “Meet here at 6:00. I’ll be ready.” Nah. He was (and I assume still is, but we haven’t been over there since early March) always messy from working on something outside, in torn jeans, a white t-shirt that was no longer white and should’ve been tossed years ago, and dad sneakers. So our choices would be “wait 45 minutes for Dad to get ready” (which isn’t so bad if you don’t have hangry kids) or “let’s go somewhere Dad can go dressed like this.” Not that the last part really matters anyway.

That’s better than when I was a kid. When I was young, we’d have to wait for him to come up from the pasture, and back then he cared more about his appearance, so we’d wait for the shower, too. And sometimes if he knew we had to leave somewhere at a certain time, he’d disappear about 10 minutes beforehand saying he had something to do that would take five minutes. Five minutes would quickly turn into an hour.

I’m a stickler for being punctual, and my dad’s lack of being aware of time often drives me nuts. My husband is the same way. My son is also the same way, hence racking up a record number of tardies in elementary school. BG is usually good about doing what she needs to get out the door at a certain time, thankfully.

It also took so long to leave because of the goodbyes.

One Does Not Simply Walk into Mordor | Know Your Meme

Basically this except, “One does not simply leave my father’s house.”

There’s no going, “Well, I’ve enjoyed the visit. Love you and talk to you later this week.” If you do that or hug everyone present any less than five times, then someone must be mad or sick. By the time you’ve said your goodbyes and given hugs multiple times, plus talked about the other random things that popped up, you’ve probably left 30-45 minutes later than planned.

I’ll tell you, I’ve had my problems with my dad over the years. Some major ones at times and some minor ones still. But I hope when my kids are adults that they say it took so long to leave because of good stuff like that. (That last paragraph, not the parts where leaving the house to go eat took forever lol.)

Daily Writing Prompt: The Last Text You Sent

In my efforts to write more, I’m going to start using random daily writing prompts. They may not make for fantastic posts, but at least I’ll be writing and writing about more than just life in quarantine.

Today’s prompt:

Use the last text message you sent as today’s writing prompt.

I send lots of memes and funny pictures, so technically the last message I sent was something I saw online.

In case you don’t watch The Office, that’s Kevin. From The Office. And he’s carrying his Kevin’s Famous Chili. All is well in Kevin’s world in that moment in the parking lot. He made some chili that his coworkers are fond of, so he’s thinking he will be the popular guy in the office for the day. And considering how his love life has been going, he needs the bump in positive attention and confidence.

Well.

In 2020 fashion, this doesn’t work out too well for Kevin.

Because there's nothing better than starting an episode with poor ...

And here’s the clip of the opening with Kevin’s Famous Chili.

If you didn’t watch it, he commented, “It’s probably the thing I do best.”

Oof.

I thought that meme was pretty funny, yet accurate. While I’m not the biggest fan of New Years Resolutions, nor do I subscribe to the idea that New Year is a fresh start, it kinda felt that way in 2020. It was a brand-new decade, after all, as well as an election year for those of us in the US! Many of us were all Kevin with his chili in the parking lot. Hopeful, eager, excited about what the future brings, etc. (And maybe others would be more like the unpictured Angela, who is a vegetarian and wouldn’t have cared too much about Kevin’s chili and just carrying on about her daily life.)

And by mid-March, the chili fell in the floor. At first glance, it’s bad, but maybe not that bad? Perhaps some of the chili could be salvaged. But now we’re in August and that chili is all over the floor, the carpets stink and need to be pulled up, and no one got any yummy chili.

I could totally go for some chili right now.

And if you want the last actual text I sent, it’s:

Get me the fresh ones.

This was in reference to cinnamon rolls (my husband was at the grocery store). You’ll be happy to know that he did, indeed, get me the fresh ones instead of the ones that expire soon. Unfortunately, they were 2020 cinnamon rolls and were too sweat to eat. Yes, there is such a thing!

Join me for the Daily Writing Prompt if you want! Share your last text in the comments below or create a post of your own if you’re struggling for writing ideas. Link back here so I can read it.

Dammit, Meredith

We didn’t end up having our visitor. Gotta say, I’m relieved. I want to help where I can, but I’m glad we didn’t have the exposure. I’m also glad we didn’t mention it to the kids, as they would’ve been crushed.

I’ve been busy today. I sewed 20 masks for my daughter’s school. Since masks are required, our district has been asking people to help out. I donated a bunch to the district office to distribute already, but since the girl may be going in-person, I wanted to make sure her class/school has plenty. I’ve also been getting a bottle of hand sanitizer here and there, so we can donate that to her class, too. The good stuff is finally in stock again. I never thought I’d be so happy to see Germ-X or Purell on the shelves. That watery garbage sanitizer practically took my breath away.

NSFry Hand Sanitizer - Meme on Imgur

The girl had an appointment with her neurologist yesterday. Last year she was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, and she has to do yearly visits. She was supposed to go a few months ago, but ya know. She had to have a full body exam to look for cafe au lait spots and tumors, and my husband quickly discovered that BG chose to ditch her underwear before going.

DAMN IT MEREDITH WHERE ARE YOUR PANTIES? It's Casual Day | the ...

(The compression underwear is a new strategy to keep her from putting her hands in her pants all the time. They’re like bicycle shorts and tougher to get into. Sigh.)

My husband said her body was clear of any tumors and some of her spots had faded away. He said the doctor seems skeptical now of whether she has NF. My husband was diagnosed as a kid, so that factored into BG’s diagnosis. She had many of the classic clinical symptoms — large head, small stature, clumsy, freckling in odd spots, and a bunch of cafe au lait spots. Between that and my husband’s diagnosis, that was enough for a clinical diagnosis for her. I told my husband he should get genetic testing done, and if he’s clear, then she would be, too. That would be awesome, as that disease can be pretty awful. (Google if you want, I’m not going to post the pics of the severe cases here.)

My husband and the girl’s conversation yesterday:

BG: Why am I going to the doctor?

Husband: To get a check up for neurofibromatosis. [Details on what it is and the symptoms, including clumsiness.]

BG: Clumsiness? So Mommy has it, too?

Oof.

On other medical stuff, at the girl’s well visit last week, her doctor and I discussed medication to help with the extreme tantrums. They’ve been bad and tend to be more violent lately. (I’ve had my share of bruises over the past few months, and my husband and son have had a bunch of bites.) Her doctor is going to try her on an ADHD medicine and see if that helps. I hate, hate, hate the idea of this, but I’m willing to give it a trial to see if it helps there. It has been a year since we first talked about it, and we opted to wait to see if therapies and another year of development would help (and was also hopeful that the tonsillectomy would since she’d sleep better), but it hasn’t overall. Fingers crossed on that.

Three days of posts in a row. B-)

Changes Are A’ Coming

It has been quite some time since I played the blog name change game. I actually set up a new WordPress account, thinking I’ll just get a fresh start and maybe that would help with the writing. I don’t know how much sense that makes, but it did at the time.

And now I’m thinking maybe a blog makeover here, where I’ve been for six years, would be better. I wouldn’t have to refollow everyone and all that. Does it make sense that it would help with the writing? Still probably not. But hell, it’s worth trying.

Writing has been my outlet for a long time, and it is also one of the few social outlets I have. I have a couple of friends I talk to regularly, but those conversations have been getting shorter and shorter since there really isn’t much to talk about. And lord, Facebook is just awful and frankly contributes to some depression. (That might sound odd, but I’ll explain more about that later.) So much for social media being a great outlet for social interaction during a time of isolation. It’s important to be active on here, through posting, reading, and commenting to have that outlet.

I’m also going to go through my old posts and see what’s worth keeping up and what’s not. Not that anyone goes through old posts anyway, but whatever. It’ll be part of the process and might even spur some ideas for new posts.

So, yeah, some changes are coming. And hopefully it’ll be worth it.

Mindy Kaling GIFs | Tenor

(I’m so optimistic!)

A Post To Remember – 6 Years

I dunno what’s up with that title. I was going for classy, because I imagine a post acknowledging having a WordPress account for six years deserves a certain amount of classiness, but it just comes off as corny.

The Office Classy GIF - TheOffice Classy MichaelScott - Discover ...

No, Jim, it probably isn’t.

So, corniess aside, it has been six years since I created this blog. I didn’t make my first post for a couple of months, but here I am, six years later, close to 700 blog posts (only a small fraction are still visible to the public), and at least another 100 deleted out of cringe.

As I’ve said before, this started as my therapy blog, but it has never been just that. I’ve probably made more posts about stuff with my kids or life in general that therapy/mental illness stuff. It has been a good place to vent, work out problems through writing (even if they’re deleted now, it helped to post at the time and get some feedback), chronicle my kids’ childhoods, and even share creative writing a couple of times.

Aside from improving my mental health through writing, I don’t think I had any long-term blog goals when I started. No “X amount of views” or “X amount of followers” or whatever. And with no more than I post now and with how things have changed so much, I wouldn’t dare look at my stats.

For whatever long-term goals I did (or didn’t) have, I can tell you that I wouldn’t have imagined being in a place where I’m barely writing. Especially with so much extra time on my hands.

To wrap up this post that tried to start out with a joke and ended up flat, here’s to another year in the WordPress world. Six years. Hopefully the seventh is a bit more productive! (And less pandemicky.)

Best Leonardo Dicaprio Martini GIFs | Gfycat

(Upon proofreading this, I swear, I should just change Eeyore to my avatar lol.)

Decisions

The school district released their plans. The first option is all virtual for the semester, with two days of teacher instruction online for grades 2-12. And the other three days would be working on assignments. The other option is two in-person days per week, with the other days working on stuff that’s online. (Half of the non-virtual kids would go two days and the other half would go the other two days.) The kindergartners and first graders would get packets and do no virtual work.

Our district has put student safety as their top priority from day one, and this plan definitely reflects that. And I know it has to be tough as hell to try to find something that will work for most people. From what I’ve heard, the students can’t do Zoom or other virtual meetings without a parent present on camera at all times, so I don’t know how likely any social interaction time is.

We’ve already signed up the boy for virtual, so he’s tied to that through January. (People aren’t allowed to change after submitting.)

I’m torn on whether to let the girl do the two-day option. Aside from chatting with a kid for a few minutes at a drive-through birthday parade, she hasn’t interacted with another child her age since mid-March. That just sucks. That would suck for any kid, but she has ASD, and getting some social time is important. Add to that doing all the learning by packets again, and well, that’s just rough. The girl is smart as a whip, but it’s like pulling teeth to get her to do anything.

The schools are going to enforce mask-wearing, distancing (which her school will be able to do especially well with since the classes sizes were small to begin with), and disallow any activities that could increase spread. They’re also doing temp checks and some other stuff that I can’t remember right now. There will be just a handful of kids in her class, and they would stay in their classroom all day, except for recess. (But no shared equipment even then.)

My husband is leaning towards letting her go for the two days. I just don’t know. The things I listed are important, but are they important enough to take the risk? We have until Monday morning to decide.

The ABCs of Me

So today is equal parts new post and old post. I found a post from a few years ago and thought it would be fun to see what changed and what has remained the same. My original answers and commentary will be in regular font, and I’ll bold my new answers. Y’all should participate, too, because I know some of y’all are bored.

A: Age | 32 / 36

One more year and I’ll be in my mid-thirties, pretty much. Excuse me while I go buy another pair of Converse sneakers and add some more blue to my hair to make myself feel younger. / I guess I’m a year or two from my late 30s now. I have more Converse sneakers than ever, but no blue hair.

B: BIGGEST FEAR | Something bad happening to the kids or my husband. / Something happening to my family…nothing changed there.

As a bonus and more lighthearted “biggest fear,” I’ll say that I’m also afraid someone will try to force feed me something nasty, like zucchini or grits. / For a lighter fear, there’s my dad sending me a shit ton of links on the amazing Trump. Ugh.

C: CURRENT TIME | 10:13 p.m. / 1:19 PM

The kids are in bed. Hallelujah! / The kids are watching TV again. Oops.

D: DRINK I LAST HAD | Tea sweetened with Splenda. / I’m ashamed to say that it’s a can of Coke. Much like I’ve promised for the last few months, it’s my last one, I swear!

Ugh, diets. But at least I sorta get my sweet tea fix. And, hey, I’ve lost 6 pounds from the first of the year, so that helps. / I gained 13 pounds in the first three months of quarantine (testing out lots of food and drink recipes was not a good thing) but have dropped a few since slowing down on that. Dropping Cokes would go a long way.

E: EASIEST PERSON TO TALK TO | The therapist. / My best friend. Stopped seeing the therapist 2-3 years ago, and I miss those sessions.

F: FAVORITE SONG | Put Me Back Together by Weezer / I posted something other than Hanson?! Wth. Um…my current favorite song is Hanson’s Lost Without Each Other. It gives me a nice energy boost.

G: GROSSEST MEMORY | Baby Girl pooping in the tub. And eating her poop. / It’s still BG eating her poop. That situation eventually turned into a book, though, so I guess thanks, BG?

H: HOMETOWN | Somewhere Rural As Fuck, South Carolina / Same. My husband still will not entertain the idea of moving somewhere less hot.

I: IN LOVE WITH | My husband / Same.

J: JEALOUS OF | People who have their shit together. / Dammit, same again. Some days are great, others you’d think that I haven’t been doing the adult thing for very long. Starting to realize that’s pretty typical, though.

K: KILLED SOMEONE? | Nope. / No…and wth kind of question is this?

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L: LONGEST RELATIONSHIP | The husband. / Still him. And also my relationship with Coke. It’s been on and off again, though.

We’re coming up on 12 years together and 10 years  married. / Make that 16 and 14 now. (I can math!)

M: MIDDLE NAME | Something everyone mispronounces. / Gee, that didn’t change, either. Maybe I should’ve read through all of these ABCs before redoing it.

N: NUMBER OF SIBLINGS | 5 / Still 5.

O: ONE WISH | That Baby Girl would stop throwing shit on the floor. / That people would pick up after themselves. 

No, not actual shit, lest you assume that from the earlier comment. But all her food. Namely bananas. Sometimes I miss picking up a piece of banana, which gets dark and slimy super quick, and stepping on those makes me die a little inside. / Everyone in this house has the ability, but chooses not to most of the time. Clutter/mess makes my anxiety increase, so this drives me nuts.

P: LAST PERSON YOU CALLED | My husband. / Still my husband.

As someone who rarely talks on the phone because of sucky hearing, I pretty much only talk to two people on the phone: my husband and my mother-in-law. / Some things never change. *Cue Anna from Frozen 2 singing*

Q: QUESTION YOU’RE ALWAYS ASKED | When are you going back to teaching? / What are you doing now that both kids are in school?

I. Am. Not. Asking me this repeatedly is not going to change that. First, I have my children. Second, I’d never, ever teach English again (save for extenuating circumstances, and even then, my license has lapsed). It took years to get comfortable saying “ain’t,” and I’m not giving that up. / Chauffeuring. When you live rural and the kids go to schools that are 25ish minutes in the opposite direction of your house, do sports, and one has weekly therapies, driving consumes a lot of your time.

R: REASON TO SMILE | We might be getting snow this weekend. / I’m getting my haircut this week and am trying a new style. I got it cut back in January or February, and it is a mess now. Roots everywhere, too. I know, I know, pandemic and all, but the lady who cuts my hair wears a mask, I wear a mask, she makes people stay in the car until it’s their appointment time and no tagalongs, and I’m getting the first appointment of the day. 

S: SONG YOU LAST SANG | Pork And Beans by Weezer / A parody of I Just Can’t Wait to be King from Lion King. I was trying to make the girl laugh and succeeded.

What a Great Year for the Dundies We Got to See Ping and We Heard ...

T: TIME YOU WOKE UP | 7 a.m. / 8:30

U: UNDERWEAR COLOR | I don’t know. / orange

V: VACATION DESTINATION | On a boat. / I’m still stuck on cruises being the best vacation ever. I don’t care where it goes.

I don’t care if it’s somewhere tropical or not. I like to go on cruises, so put me on a boat and I’ll be a happy woman. Plus, I love to randomly yell out, “Look at me, ’cause I’m sailing on a boat!” People think it’s cuter when Little Man does it, though. / Still all of this.

W: WORST HABIT | Overthinking things. / Still this and also picking at the skin around my nails. Yikes.

X: X-RAYS YOU’VE HAD | Not an easy question for someone who is clumsy. / Here we go again.

I think I’ve only had a few foot x-rays, an arm x-ray, an ankle x-ray (yep, I’m separating that from “foot x-ray”), a knee x-ray, and a couple hand x-rays. / In the past four years, I’ve had another ankle x-ray, foot x-ray, and leg x-ray. I broke my damn leg on a cruise a couple years ago. Still love them, though.

Y: YOUR FAVORITE FOOD | Chicken parm. And Steak. And chocolate. / I’m still all about those foods.

Now I’m thinking “fuck this weight loss thing, I’m gonna go buy food.”

Z: ZODIAC SIGN | Sagitarius. / Obviously that wouldn’t change.

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Eh. Some of that’s true. Some isn’t.

If you’re reading this, congrats, you made it through to the end! And unless you suck with alphabets, you knew that when you hit the zodiac part. Whoo-hoo!