~thankful thursday~ chronologically beset

this post comes with a camp boss tea warning!

~timeline~

Saturday 3-21 Market day was long but sunny. I considered a walk on the beach before going home, but then when I drove towards it cars were swarming like a summer day, it appears we’re hosting everyone who wanted to get out of Portland, Washington, or California and not cancel their spring break plans. Our stores are already emptied out and our hospitals definitely don’t have enough capacity. Anger.

Came home, stripped and left my clothes by washer, showered, got on hangouts with Quinn to play more Taboo. I need to come up with more games… he wants to try Risk. I had sent him a picture of quokkas from Australia (they have a permanent smile and are an Australian marsupial starting with the letter Q so… duh) and he hadn’t received the text so he googled it on a new tab while our hangout was going, then screen shared with me so I could see what he was seeing. I had tried to screen share the other day and failed but of course, he already has it down.

I made Rich and I green smoothies for dinner and Rich serenaded me with the radio when Dolly and Kenny Rogers sang islands in the stream and we made lovey faces and we went on a star date, “because,” he said, “I haven’t seen a lot of you today” and held my hand and we pointed out stars to each other and hugged in the dark back yard.

~meme of the day~

The meme wondering when we will be assigned our hunger games districts tied for meme of the day with “Kenny Rogers dippin’ out in the middle of the apocalypse is the most ‘know when to fold ‘em’ thing ever.”

~timeline~

Sunday 3-22 I met Quinn at Ona beach and we walked for over an hour, played pooh sticks, hiked along the creek, looked at textural details of drift logs and he came up with a new plan to create his own jurassic park but without carnivores. We pantomimed hugging from 6-10 feet apart. I didn’t cry a lot when we got back in our cars, only a little.

zoom lens got me artificially closer than 6 feet.

Watching from a distance as husband person and his son play fire monsters in the trampoline with the girls, conflicted about their visit, their trip to visit friends the night before, their horseplay, and yet reveling in their energy, soaking in the sunlight.

County commissioner exhorts non-locals to leave, to please come back and visit when this is all over, we will welcome your business then. Not now. State parks, whose campgrounds have been full all weekend with spring break tourists, announce they will close the following day.

~Meme of the day~

Hands down, the explanation of Tot waffles.

~3-22 gratitude~

Once I absorbed enough of the sun’s energy, I took a bayou walk and called my mom. As I was sitting in the leaf litter at the base of the bayou trail with the hood of my purple hoodie pulled up, switching the phone between hands to warm the other hand in my pocket, hearing my mom talk reassuringly about her household’s efforts at isolation, a hummingbird (anna’s, male with red violet crown) visited one trout lily, then two, then three. Then this one little bird hovered before me, looked me right in the eye (maybe thinking I might be a large purple trout lily) and told me, “every little thing is gonna be alright.”

Don’t worry about a thing.

I am blessed with the ability to keep earning my paycheck from home and feel so grateful for this. I plan to spread the abundance around my neighborhood and keep supporting those who may not have as much assurance in their upcoming paychecks as I have – thinking of local artists, my dojo, and so many small businesses providing local food.

Rich and I are celebrating our 99th monthaversary today. Back before we got engaged, we used to say we’d stay together for 99 years and then at that point, we’d reassess. Since then we have upgraded to forever, but 99 is still a number that feels meaningful. I feel grateful to have gotten to spend 99 months loving such a good human.

~timeline~

3-23 Monday I read a long explanation of the differences in virus response to mitigation vs suppression, and how what we are doing in the US is only mitigation and is going to spell a lot longer time of living in this situation. Then an essay by a group of Harvard medical doctors affirming the seriousness is exactly as I understood, got chills as I scrolled down through the list of hundreds of names of MDs.

Grocery run with a serious, organized list. Customers all look traumatized, but kind, maintaining distance, taking turns, smiling politely. A lot of customers for 7am, but not that bad of a crowd if it had been after school. Certainly better than the weekend of tourists, but the empty shelves told of the weekend rush. First time ever I felt the pros of self-checkout outweighed the cons.

Smell of purell may be a future anxiety trigger, feel of rain shower exiting the store a welcome relief, air entering my lungs realizing I had been shallow breathing the whole time in the store, tears and raindrops mingling. Mild anxiety still surfacing in the form of breath holding and tears. Applied the hand sanitizer before closing the car door, touching steering wheel or gear shift. The only thing I didn’t find a replacement for was toilet paper, but am trying a random odd rice brand and got bison instead of ground beef. No pepper jack, but we can easily live with medium cheddar for our nachos for the time being. Got extra cheese, coffee, half and half, a box of my favorite tea (no echinacea to be found), comforts. Came home, shed outer layer of clothes, scrubbed in, sanitized my way back out: doorknobs and car handles, steering wheel and gear shift, then carried in groceries and washed hands about five times, a solid twenty seconds each time, while unloading and putting them away.

Finally felt ready to reheat second cup of coffee, add half and half, cuddle with Bart and type words into this growing journal of COVID-19 living.

Risk with Quinn in hangouts from 12-1:30 was a sweet oasis in my mid-day. Bart kept sprawling across the board on my side, but no cats were messing it up on Quinn’s end. We paused the game but he already has almost all of Asia as usual.

Executive order issued by Governor Kate Brown to shelter in place; defines essential and non-essential and the precautions that must be taken by essential workers.

The Olympics are postponed.

~3-23 gratitude~

Rich and I took a mailbox date and bayou walk when he got home. While we were standing and gazing out on the bayou lookout, it started to hail, but then a rainbow stretched over the whole vista.

Went into my office/Quinn’s room when the living room felt too crowded and arranged my office nature photos around the desk to look at. Eagle flying one unbroken line photo to remind me to write and defragment as apparently anxiety fragments me as much as depression. Butterfly – I am not taking this class for a grade. Dolphins – lithe and free and graceful and strong and purposeful and empowered. Hummingbird; joy. Web; we are all connected. Urchins and anemones; grounded in the ocean.

I think it’s nachos for dinner.

~timeline~

Tuesday 3-24 I had two morning tantrums, at least internally. One was due to thinking I would need to go out to the store again and the anticipatory anxiety it brought (until Rich gently corrected that misunderstanding), and one while taking out trash bags and feeling overwhelmed at the many hand washings required throughout that process.

Read “hold the line” essay by a “lowly epidemiologist” which re-explains why we need to stay home and some of the biology, psychology, and reality of all this. How “seemingly small social chains get large and complex with alarming speed. If your son visits his girlfriend, and you later sneak over for coffee with a neighbor, your neighbor is now connected to the infected office worker that your son’s girlfriend’s mother shook hands with…. conversely, any break in that chain breaks disease transmission along that chain.” The psychology of having to know we will feel like we can relax when we see the curve flattening, but that it will not be time to relax yet, not for a long time.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about glove wearing and hand-washing at my lab job, and have perfected what I call the Michael Jackson method of protecting myself with a glove on the hand that is holding the chemicals, but protecting everyone else by turning the doorknobs with my other ungloved hand. It is reaching a new level of overthinking where details like not bringing my phone to the store with me or anything extra at all are all occurring to me… lots of overthinking of all the steps and points of contact.

~meme of the day~

“Be like this little piggy” with arrow pointing to the second toe on a baby’s foot.

~timeline~

Risk part two at lunch. Mama plays defense, Quinn still looking like he will dominate, to be continued tomorrow.

Transition two minutes later to All Hands webex with NWFSC, and then another two minutes came in a third call from D clarifying today’s lab methods for her heavy workload. Explaining about flash freezing larval arctic cod samples in liquid nitrogen, and how it is important to remove water from the tube before doing so, that too much water would result in the tube exploding upon coming back out of the liquid nitrogen, but also acknowledging that removing the water was a very difficult thing to do. Made my best attempt at explaining how to get as little water in the tube as possible in the first place, and looking to my right at a pile of legos in my “office,” settled on, “If your tube contents are about the depth of one lego or less, you should be good. But wear your safety goggles.”

Text check-in around 4pm with my girl D:

MB: how’s your ten-hour day going?

D: oh best believe it’s lit. my fail from earlier pictured above lol (picture of tube of larvae with extra water)

MB: so lit! ok so a little taller than a lego… did it explode?

D: i got it way lower than that. no i didn’t have any explode!

MB: ok great job!! You’re killing it!

D: thanks for the encouragement (laugh emojis) sos

MB: while you are doing these the next few rounds, if you take any awesome pictures of the process or successful sub-lego results, we can add them to that SOP.

D: successful sub-lego results has me DYING lol. haha just lab things.

MB: (laugh emojis) your sos calls are making me feel marginally useful in my new lego-encrusted office.

Husband person got us more pizza for dinner, and I was in the middle of making a salad for the grownups when D called one more time, our fourth and final work call for the day, and we laughed about the absurdity of her long hours as we supposedly shut things down. She is rising to the occasion beautifully and I called her wonder woman.

Our county commissioner Kaety has been on the radio so the stay home, save lives measures are being broadcast loud and clear.

The girls asked us to play Uno last night. I played, but cringed as I was handed a yellow four that had just spent time in someone’s mouth. The observation that kids, and adults, don’t like being told what to do.

~gratitude 3-24~

Grateful for Mom’s homemade soap, the lilac bar at my kitchen sink is really getting a workout, but it is lasting through so many hand washings, continuing to foam majestically, not drying my hands out too much, and comforting me with the scent of spring lilac blossoms on the way and the thought of the dear  hands that made it.

~timeline~

Wednesday 3-25 Ani DiFranco shared an article concerning how pandemics amplify the inequalities already present in society. It has already been on my mind how the current situation is terrible for families of alcoholics, families with abuse dynamics, families with domestic violence. Being stuck at home with so many things that can trigger addict/abuse behavior is a nightmare. And then there’s the more first world problems presented by income inequality; the choices a majority of families will make of who works, who takes care of the kids, become a return to the 1950s, even if two-income household partners get along and don’t have abuse stress.

One favorite uplifting post today was Dr. Elvis L. Francois from Mayo Clinic singing Imagine with one of his colleagues Dr. William Robinson on piano.

The cats are loving the bed as my alternate work venue. Bart is on my lap and Lisa at my feet. My “desk chair” at Quinn’s desk is not exactly ergonomically appropriate for me, but it will only be a temporary office situation for me.

Started a 21-day abundance meditation challenge. Though I don’t need any additional challenges, and I will not take that class for a grade, it came my way passively when I was already doing daily meditation and seems like a good way to practice mindfulness.

PPE donations are being requested by our local hospital and I am trying to encourage my lab peers to do the right thing.

Rich came home at 10:00 as planned and although I had thought I would be in a meeting then, I was not. I do have a meeting at 10am, but it’s on Thursday, and today is Wednesday. I am one of the lucky people still working, leaning more heavily on google calendar than ever before, and even so, I am a day off already.

Today’s Risk session was number three, and there is still no end in sight on this game. I kept joking to Quinn, “now it’s really going to take me a while to get back Asia.” I had most of Asia, briefly, at the beginning of the game, and now he has it with a pile of troops on every territory. I really do stink at Risk, but it’s making him happy and therefore it is making me happy. It’s a good way for us to connect while we’re doing this insane tele-parenting thing.

I’m a lot more even keeled than last week, but I still feel like an agitated bundle of jangled nerves, not quite getting the hang of new routine nor a handle on a meal plan yet. Rich is dealing with me and my angst so well.

Now it is night and I am boiling water for a cup of calm tea.

Thursday 3-26 My connection got cut off about seven or eight times during lab meeting. Someone wanted to share pets at the end so I showed off Bart.

I have been staring at the same data set for two days and finally feel like I have it correct and a template to move forward with (and actually a map of the template, because this data is complicated.) This template is the equivalent of building the playdough fun factory that I can now press the rest of the canisters of data playdough through to extrude it into the star-shaped tubes (or whatever shape) it is meant to be. I have spent a lot of the two days with my legs under the covers and with at least one if not two cats, my coworkers, on the bed with me.

In Risk, Quinn is back to owning all the continents except the Americas, but I have a pretty good pile of troops in Alaska, Venezuela, and Greenland, so we may be playing for 40 days and 40 nights.

The family visit has ended and I am so relieved. I love them but this was really a struggle for me, the dissonant collection of personal realities under one roof.

A Stir Crazy friend compares notes with an Essential Employee friend; Essential points out that some would gladly trade places with Stir Crazy, but Stir Crazy is feeling regret for the first time about living all alone. I think everyone has their own challenges with all of this. Nobody is off the hook. I think it is giving people an opportunity to find some empathy.

Breweries and distilleries are making hand sanitizer. Factories are retooling to make face shields. Gap, Nike, sports gear companies are making masks, scrubs, gowns. Tesla is making ventilators.

~Meme of the day~

“For those who have lost track, today is blursday the fortyteenth of maprilay.”

~timeline~

Friday 3-27 A return to better ergonomic teleworking conditions and “sanitized sanity” a phrase coined by Lauren; wrapping up a productive week, all things considered.

Commented to Rich this has really helped me break my hangnail chewing habit. My hands look great despite being a little dry from so much washing.

~3-27 gratitude~

I am feeling grateful that I can isolate now, other than Rich going to work, but he works outside on a boat with welding/cutting torches so nobody gets close. (He is my definition of hot, in case you were wondering.)

Quinn is staying with coparent for now. I am pleased I can start counting days, though I am not exactly sure how many I am counting to. It still feels better to be on day one than not even counting yet. Perhaps in 14 days, Quinn will come home. I don’t need to work outside the house at all now, including for the farm. They are down to just veggie box pickup format.

Rich and I got takeout from our favorite local Italian place last night and lit candles and had date night at home. Trying to maintain some sense of our normal routine. Trying to help see our local businesses through this crazy time. I am buying a painting for Rich’s birthday from a local artist friend who normally sells at farmers market but can’t do that for now… since I can work (grateful to have that going for me) I feel like these are ways I can spread the love around. But this is our community and they give it right back… the food last night is four nights worth of dinners… plus soup, salad and 2 pints of gelato for dessert!

Alberta’s last stand

Two sessions of Risk with Quinn, because it’s Friday. During the first one, he took over South America, and during the second one, he whittled me down to just 15 troops left in Alberta. The second session took a while because he was eating handfuls of the goldfish I had sent home with him after our hike last Saturday, and would pause for long intervals in between dice rolls, just to drive me bonkers. His dad says the game sessions are doing a lot of good for Quinn, that he looks forward to them every day, and I can say the same is true for me. During one turn, a goldfish cracker had fallen on the board and since my troops were the matching yellow ones, Quinn said my territory was having its troops augmented by “the Navy.” Then between goldfish eating and processing speed, when I asked him at one point if he was attacking the next territory, he said no, he had not gotten that far yet, that he was “chronologically beset.”

I don’t believe I’ve ever one time in my life used the word beset in a sentence and here he is, thirteen. And what a turn of phrase to utter at no idea o’clock on a blursday in Maprilay. We are all indeed chronologically beset. I freaking love my son and I am so grateful for him, for the technology that is keeping us connected, and for his expansive vocabulary that makes me laugh so hard.

1 comment to ~thankful thursday~ chronologically beset

  • lau

    Amazingly written as always babe. The tone perfectly reflects this time. Love the meme of the day and gratitude dispersed.

    Chronologically beset

    Deep sigh

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