Perfect Day from the Home Office

The day started perfectly with one of my favorite things—I was able to hang my laundry on the clothesline outside. I find that peaceful and meditative and it gives me great satisfaction.

My home office was a very crowded place. In part, because I moved to the sun porch to enjoy the nice sunshine.

I made two amazing poached eggs on a baked potato for lunch.

And the teenager took her scooter and the neighbor’s dog on an adventure and texted me gorgeous photos of her day.

And finally — I saved the best for last— the teenager sent me a photo of my truck. Periodically the construction company puts this Grad-all truck up for sale and I really want it.

Here’s a better photo. I love this truck so much I keep a photo on my phone. I do. I really do.

And if you want even more silliness; this is the day I told my daughter I wanted this truck.

Video: I want this truck

Life amended: Update after week one of preemptive Coronavirus quarantine

It’s Saturday morning. A time when my blog entries normally focus on my birds flying around my room, cuddling kittens and sipping coffee in bed trying to forget the stress of the week.

The vernal equinox came and went and I didn’t even acknowledge it.

My normal two-week schedule at the office is 75 hours as a salaried development officer in a human services non-profit. I worked 86 and am trying not to add more hours this weekend.

Our CEO made the decision to close our buildings completely for the next week, assuming our facilities have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus. So we will be working from home.

I love working from home, so that’s not an issue for me.

And in general, the pandemic brings me a sense of calm. The empathetic side of me relishes the slow down of the world. It brings me peace.

The only real worry I have right now is my right foot. I thought I had a splinter. My daughter, whose eyesight is way better than mine, assured me no. But it still hurts, and I think it’s been almost 2 weeks. And the ball of my foot is painful and swollen.

I started soaking it in Epsom salts and in my impatience this morning, I clumsily lanced it and am soaking it again. I still believe something is in there and will cause an infection if I’m not prudent.

Bandage and betadine next.

Fog

Of course I have helpers.

Misty

But they have gone on to do their own thing…

Hard to believe these guys were feral.

The first Pennsylvania death from the Coronavirus happened in the hospital where my daughter and her father were born. Cases are now here in our county. And all of the neighboring counties.

I urge you all to remember that every time you come in contact with anyone, you are also being exposed to everyone they have been near.

I know I am healthy. I know I am not in a high risk group. But I don’t want to carry this illness to anyone I care about. I don’t want to be the reason someone else dies.

I don’t want to see the economy and our quality of life degrade to the level of some dystopian fantasy novel.

That will happen soon enough because of overpopulation and global warming.

Overpopulation and Global Warming.

Let that sink in.

So, I downloaded the list of life sustaining businesses allowed to be open at this time. Beer distributors and Wawa made the cut.

Target made the cut. (They have groceries, health items and CVS pharmacies.) But I hear from my former Target colleagues that families are treating it like an outing and bringing the whole gang. People are shopping for bikinis.

We’re in for a long road.

Hear me, bikini people?

Through tired eyes

I. Am. Exhausted.

March was shaping up to be an exhausting month at work before it even started because of all the grants I had to finish— I forget how many so we’ll round to ten. And a couple needed reports.

Then we added a couple last minute important government opportunities and dealt with some EITC issues… if you don’t know what EITC is don’t worry about it, it’s a Pennsylvania tax program for corporations that benefits education.

And then we hit the state emergency of Corona virus/COVID-19 shutdown.

My employer has the largest full-choice food pantry in the County and we serve hundreds of households every month. We educated about a hundred people daily in our classrooms. We serve students in the schools. Provide assistance to walk-ins, existing clients and referrals.

So this has changed everything. The CEO is scrambling. Meetings are going virtual. Our educators are looking at distance learning. Our food pantry staff and volunteers are bagging food instead of letting clients shop.

And now we need to design a schedule and a work plan to use our homes as offices.

Ideally, we no more than 3 people in our admin building at a time. (There are only six of us.)

Tomorrow I have to take the old MacBook Air into the office and hope I can get it to connect to the remote server. Otherwise, I am not allowed to work from home.

And I forgot my journal on my desk, and my planner, but my planner I can survive without. But my journal? Noooooooo!

Every morning, I get up, pour a cup of mostly decaf coffee and write in my journal while the cats eat. Not having this ritual will be upsetting.

To lighten the mood, here is a cat photo from the freshly cleaned room of the teenager:

And an unboxing of this months treats— a Universal Yums box from Brazil (featuring Nala, my naughty Goffin’s cockatoo):

Universal Yums March 2020

Just another Saturday

I woke up this morning worried about things I can’t control, and to a cat coughing up a hairball somewhere in the darkness of my room. It was 4 a.m. and to get myself back to sleep, I keep imagining a cleansing white light.

I imagined the white light getting brighter and brighter. It filled my house, came up my stairs and saturated my room. It brought me calm and helped me get to sleep.

I finally gave up on sleep around 7 a.m. but laid in bed until 7:30. I got up, fed the cats, started a load of laundry and cared for the birds.

Then I finished the first season of Hell’s Kitchen while folding clean laundry and hanging wet wash.

I had a piece of toast, put dishes away, washed the pots and pans, and scrubbed the kitchen counter (even the trivet and the toaster— have to periodically get those crumbs out of the toaster.)

And I found what could be very handy if COVID-19 ends up in my neighborhood: a bottle of Hibiclens the doctor told the teenager to use in the shower before her surgery in November.

My college professor neighbor and I had coffee on her porch, while I was clad in my African dress that I bought in Djibouti for my trip to Somalia.

I vacuumed the sun porch. Did some necessary paperwork. Gave Nala, my Goffin’s cockatoo, a shower. Scrubbed the tub, but not as well as I would have liked.

But I didn’t strip my bed or play with my new make up.

This evening my other neighbor took us to dinner at La Bella’s as a thank you for watching her dog.

Amazing Bread

The teenager decided to compliment our server every time she came to the table. I had chicken penne vodka. The child had seafood spaghetti vodka. The portions were ginormous and the seafood seemed good. I’m not a seafood fan.

See those bumpy calamari?

I think I’ll have enough leftovers for TWO lunches. As with the teen. And my neighbor. And then my neighbor took us to Owwowcow for ice cream. I got cinnamon bourbon.

The food was scrumptious but made me sad because I’m still having mild dental issues. My neighbor is looking at a root canal so we’re a good pair.

And now we’re home. Roomba is vacuuming my bedroom.

The teen is trying cone incense for the first time. She tried to pick natural varieties that wouldn’t burn my eyes and sinuses. She asked me what to burn, so we went for the cleansing sandalwood— vanilla sandalwood to be exact.

I used to use sandalwood soap to bathe before I practiced rituals and vanilla is a very pure, comforting flavor and scent to me.

I asked the teen, who now has her own altar with her own selected candles on it, why do you burn incense?

She answered, “because it clears my sinuses and helps me focus.”

Good girl, I thought.

My first Ipsy Glam Bag—pre-unboxing

March 2020 Ipsy Glam Bag and my cat

As you may have been able to tell from my posts about dentists (Tooth and nail) and budgets (Budgeting and Budgeting, part 2), I had a hard week. Not to mention the whole Do I have high blood pressure? issue. So I’m going to lighten it up a bit tonight— we’re going to “unbox” my Ipsy Glam Bag.

And if you noticed that odd photo that is the featured image for this blog post that is Fog, the feral kitten we trapped last trying to get to Nala, my Goffin’s cockatoo. Fog is getting sooooo big (as is her brother, Misty) but the teenager didn’t believe me when I said they’d doubled in size.

March 2020 Ipsy Glam Bag without my cat

But anyway… it’s Friday night and I had to work late unexpectedly so by the time I got home, the teen was leaving to have dinner with her grandparents and spend the night with her dad.

Which means I get to have Vanilla Coke Zero and peanut butter pretzels for dinner. I gave one to Nala. Well, more accurately, she demanded I share.

And here is a funny video of us: Nala tries to open a peanut butter pretzel.

But back to the Glam Bag. Focus, Angel, focus.

So I started the dishwasher, and a load of laundry, and took my peanut butter pretzels and my Diet Coke out to see if my neighbor wanted to unbox my Ipsy package with me since the teenager wasn’t home. My neighbor is an economics professor and faces a midterm deadline. I thought it best not to bother her. Nala and I ate our pretzels and opened the makeup.

We also kept Fog at bay, while her brother frolicked in the basement.

Then my neighbor texted she had coffee ready at 6:30ish at night. That’s pretty wild for my Friday night.

I walked out the door and met my other neighbor, whose adorable Yorkie-Maltese mix likes to visit instead of go for a walk. We all went to the professor’s house and even the dogs got to visit.

I got home, retrieved the laundry and the kitten from the basement, and fed my mini-pride of lions before hanging the laundry.

Nala joined me while I hung wash, watching Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen. Roomba vacuumed my room.

Now I’m in bed, taking a breath, playing a little Words with Friends and listening to kittens play. I’m going to watch more Gordon. Hell’s Kitchen is not my favorite but I finished Kitchen Nightmares on Hulu, as I also finished 24 Hours To Hell and Back.

I can’t find any more Hotel Hell and for some reason, The F Word is starting to bore me. I think it’s because Gordon Ramsay is a nice guy on that program.

More on that another day. I’m hoping to formally review Gordon’s shows one of these days.

Gordon has inspired me to try harder with my cooking. Last night, I actually trimmed my chicken, made a marinade, and chilled the chicken in the marinade before cooking.

The marinade was:

  1. Low sodium soy sauce
  2. Honey
  3. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  4. Minced Garlic
  5. Fresh Ginger
  6. Water
  7. Sesame Seeds
  8. Lemon Juice
  9. Sesame Oil

I cooked that, and sautéed a bag of broccoli slaw in the leftover marinade and reheated some leftover rice and seasoned roasted chick peas I had made earlier in the week. It was delicious.

But remember that Glam Bag?

I promise I’ll play with it tomorrow. For $12 I received:

  • A studded teal bag (it matches my room!)
  • A full sized eye shadow
  • A full sized chapstick/lip balm
  • A sample nail polish in a mild creamy cafe au lait color
  • A sample “hair mask”
  • A sample primer
  • A sample body lotion

Wednesday night update

I have a plethora of potential topics to blog about but none of them feels right for tonight. It’s Wednesday, which means quasi-deep cleans for the bird cages and garbage collection.

The top two topics on my mind are sharing my “frugal hacks”/budgeting process and my journey with my blood pressure which is also connected to my cerebral palsy.

But they are such serious topics.

The teen just suggested cats.

Oz is jealous

Both the boys—our cats who turn 9 this month—are in my room right now. I just got done with the roomba and am waiting for the “white” laundry to get done in the washing machine.

I didn’t sleep well last night but I also did not dream. My shoulders are so tense they hurt. But I had a really peaceful productive day at work.

I mixed the last of my coffee from Jamaica with some decaf and, if Dunkin made my drink correctly, my afternoon latte was a decaf. Only caffeine today came from a half cup of coffee.

Meals today… 3. Content not too bad. I totally forgot the connection between high blood pressure and sodium so I’m being more cognizant of that.

Breakfast: mostly decaf coffee with half and half, 12 ounces water, one everything bagel toasted, half with roasted red pepper hummus, half with Brie.

Approximate morning water: 50 ounces.

Late morning treat: decaf black tea with Yogi ginger tea.

Lunch: iceberg lettuce salad with purple cabbage and carrots, leftover dark meat from a rotisserie chicken, some real bacon crumbles, some imitation bacon bits, some processed chicken bites (three popcorn chicken size bites) and blue cheese dressing.

Afternoon: 20 ounces tap water

Meal break: iced coconut (unsweetened flavor) latte with skim milk, light ice and one pump caramel and about 10 gummy bears.

Supper: grilled cheese on cheap stoneground wheat bread, made with light mayonnaise instead of butter, with cheese from last night’s cheese platter and tuna. Vegetable was baked sweet potato fries. Another 12 ounces water.

Vitamins: multi, zinc, calcium/magnesium/zinc combo and B-complex.

As for other pet news, Nala is peacefully cuddly today and seems to be filling in feathers nicely.

Nala, my Goffin’s cockatoo

And in exciting news, Fog, the newest member of our household almost voluntarily got into my lap. She also rolled onto her back and let me pet her belly until I got tired of it.

Six weeks ago Fog was a feral kitten who had never been indoors!

Misty (on the teen’s lap) and Fog

Grateful

This week has been awful but beautiful.

When things get harder, I have to see the magic in the world.

A coworker brought muffins and French butter from Wegmans.

Another coworker came over for a grapefruit margarita.

My daughter and I didn’t see eye-to-eye, but I know she knows I love her and I’m proud of her.

The kittens…

Fog and Mist(ofelees)

And Nala has played with all her toys, she hasn’t plucked recently and went to sleep without someone in the room with her.

Thank you to everyone who supports me.