Zigzag Busy Bizzy

This is my week of 1:30 pm to 12 am shifts at the Stitch Fix Bizzy Hizzy to meet our mandatory overtime requirements.

I started my night at a station called “QC South,” which is an overflow area in the back of the warehouse. As it is an overflow area, it isn’t permanently set up with conveyer lines to move workflow and some stations (like mine) didn’t even have platforms for the computer. But I did get a tagging gun so that was exciting!

A person at a nearby table almost passed out— so that was exciting too and not in a good way.

I QC’ed 18 fixes between about 1:50 and 3:20, which is still painfully slow. We took our first ten minute break of the day and I learned I was on pick direct for my regular shift. This news gave me a lovely thrill. Between 3:30 and 6, I picked 40 fixes— which is five carts. Most carts took me 20 minutes and the last took 25 out in the W section.

I gained 10,000 steps today my day in that portion of my shift.

The direct pick carts were overtaking the “garage” area of the warehouse so a supervisor asked me to go back to QC. I chose a spot (6B) on line 1 in Valley 1 because I strongly prefer tables with the lines on my left.

I ended the night with a total of 65 fixes QC’ed which is no improvement from my times last week.

Two people from my side of my valley disappeared mid-shift and the nurse returned for their personal things. Another to my right seemed sluggish and prone yo staring off into space, but that could be that person’s natural state. I can’t help but wonder if I am seeing Covid winding its way through my colleagues.

Might just be paranoia as I had Covid.

Unexpected

Yesterday was the first day of my second full week back to work since having had Covid-19. It was also the first week of mandatory overtime at the Stitch Fix Bizzy Hizzy.

I left home feeling disconnected and anxious. I had volunteered for a 1:30 p.m. to midnight shift, assuming I would be well rested and up early enough to get to work at that time. Some of my peers had taken on a 12-hour shift— 1:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.

They had so many people in the building some of us had to go to pick, which is my favorite role. I haven’t “picked” with any gusto since before my illness.

It felt amazing to be on the warehouse floor. I was peeling off layers and picking at about 21 minutes per cart of eight fixes. Again, not the fastest but decent. I walked 6,000 steps in that 2 hours and there wasn’t a moment of struggle or discomfort among them.

But when I peeled off my top layer, I discovered my tank top was inside out. I had a sports bra on so I decided to fix it. Except I got all twisted up in the pretty straps.

So my wardrobe malfunction impacted my times.

After first break at 3:30 I found myself in QC. I had a hard time getting organized and started— so it was probably 4 p.m. by the time I got rolling. I folded and packed 74 fixes. Which averaged to about 5 1/2 minutes each. I need to get that under 4.

I had told my trainer my goal was 80. I said that because Friday it had been 75 and I hit it. And I felt sluggish on Friday so logically 80 was doable.

My trainer didn’t care. My numbers have been consistent and I feel like my fixes are getting neater, my wraps better and the whole process seems to have a rhythm now.

Thanks to my time in pick, I walked more than 9,000 steps yesterday. I ate deliberately, trying to balance high doses of protein with refined sugary treats so I could get the buzz I wanted.

I took a Tylenol (just one) at one point as I did have some spinal pain. At the end of the night, my favorite nurse commented that I “looked good” and indeed I felt good— not like someone recuperating from a virus and working an 10-hour shift in a warehouse with a malfunctioning body (thanks cerebral palsy). I honestly felt good.

I weigh exactly what I did yesterday after several days of losing weight. I still need to lose at least 15 pounds. Or buy new clothes.

The highs and lows of Christmas 2020

Christmas is always hard for me. Having a second teenager, a houseful of kittens and brand new budgie chicks helps me escape a lot of the pain that surfaces during the holidays.

And no matter what I try, I can’t escape it. Instead, I work to minimize it.

And every year it gets a little easier.

It’s 9:30 pm now— I am listening to Rachmaninov on my brand new AirPods and at first I was very disappointed to discover that they didn’t have buttons.

Imagine my shock when I discovered they automatically turn on and off when I place them in my ear and take them off. And so far they don’t fall out as easily as the cheap ones do. (When I saw cheap I mean cheap— I got my previous set for $10 at Family Dollar. I had no problems with my $10 set either except I broke pieces off of them within the first couple days).

So to continue writing about my holiday backwards, teenager #1 received kitchen tools from teenager #2 and a new hand mixer from my mother-in-law. She’s baking banana bread now.

Apparently piles of cookies and fruitcake aren’t enough for her.

I’m journaling, blogging, and about to watch another episode of The Tudors. I can’t believe Vale of FURR’s Norse Pride is going home tomorrow— and I am bringing three other kittens to the adoption fair as well.

Fern-Edie is doing well in her new home. And I am starting to hyperventilate a little thinking this might be the last night my bed looks like this:

Vale and Loki

As I came up to my bedroom to start the animals’ night routine, I noticed all three budgies were out. Mama Wink showed me that all her eggs had hatched and I watched her clean shell off her newest chick. We hope to name them Yule, Winter and Christmas if they all survive. I hope they do.

Other highlights of Christmas:

  • The big Christmas mission for the teenager’s mysterious package earlier this week was… her varsity jacket!

YouTube: Teenager opens her varsity jacket

  • We listened to some non traditional Christmas carols extremely loudly in the car. Including “The Christmas Tree’s on Fire.”
  • I earned a place of honor in this year’s Christmas Grace, “Thank you, Lord, for keeping us safe from Corona, well except for Angel.” Ever burst out laughing during a prayer? Now I have.
  • I was asked to make the broccoli for Christmas dinner. My step mom doesn’t trust anyone else with the green vegetables I guess. I sautéed them golden brown in butter with sea salt, too much multicolored peppercorns (I grabbed the wrong jar— oops!) and herbs de Provence.
  • Christmas was much smaller than usual because of the pandemic, so my stepmom decided we would get fresh cut steaks from the butcher. She even ordered one for my brother’s dog. And she wanted to grill them. The temperature dropped drastically while my dad was at the grill and then all the steaks went up in flames. I learned that a good blue cheese dressing can cut the taste of charcoaled steaks.

I guess the last thing I’ll mention is that the teenager got a pet play pen which will come in handy for our work with Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab. Of course, I’ve discovered it houses cats and teenagers.

Morning Fog

Routines in this house have changed since I contracted Covid.

Today I have completed the 10-day isolation period recommended by the CDC and can now leave the house. I want the teenager to take me to the Dollar Tree and Petco.

It’s 7:40 a.m. Because of my job on second shift and then my illness, I haven’t been up this early in probably months.

Loki and Fog

My room is typically a cat free zone. Nala, my Goffin’s cockatoo, and my three budgies (and now three budgie eggs) are in there.

But the Norse Pride ended up with me— in part because the teenager worried the Roman Pride were making them nervous and in her words they were too small to bother the birds.

The kittens, after a month in my room, decided they want to be with the big cats, so when I come in and out of my room, Vale leads a charge.

Because of this I leave my door open more soon they can come back. And now my cats and Teenager #2’s cats like to gather here. Her cats want to watch birds. My cats want to enjoy a warm bed with me and watch the birds.

Now dear Fog was my bed mate before cockatoo and before kittens. He and the three-legged old man liked to rest in my room and minded their own business.

And now Fog has taken to opening my bedroom door and joining me in bed in the morning, which confuses the Norse Pride kittens who don’t understand the magic of how a cat opens the door.

He doesn’t like the kittens— but he wants to be with me as I have my morning coughing fit. He’s got to be checking on me.

But the kittens are fascinated and confused by him and run to me. And it’s been a while since I had an 11+ pound cat in my bed. So it’s a jarring way to wake up.

I’ve also missed my Fog cuddles.

The Tudors, sweating sickness and Covid whiners

Today is day 10 of my post-diagnosis Covid 19 isolation. I am now watching The Tudors on Netflix, struck by the similarities between the Coronavirus pandemic and the 16th Century sweating sickness.

I feel like there is so much not known about Covid-19 and I suspect many people know more than they can admit. But the medical treatments, anecdotal layman wisdom and people’s behavior remind me of these scenes depicting King Henry VIII’s medical crisis.

My symptoms are still dizziness and a dry cough, a congested head and weakness. And chapped lips.

I catch a chill easily, and sometimes the smallest actions wind me.

I think the general populace puts too much security in flimsy masks, and gives not enough thought to social distancing. I think the various government tactics to curb the pandemic cater to major corporations and starve small business.

And it saddens me that people will flock to WalMart or order from Amazon, but not mail order from a small local business or buy gift cards for small merchants.

It also saddens me that so much of society can really on DoorDash or GrubHub, but not call your favorite local restaurant and order take out.

I believe I caught the Coronavirus at work, despite all the precautions to “keep us safe.” Because despite the gloves, the masks, the nurse, the sanitizer spray, and working socially distant, the reality is there are 70 or more of us in one room at the same time, unmasked, eating and talking for each of our three daily breaks.

The vaccine has arrived. And I wish it were — what do they call it— a reactive vaccine vs a mRNA vaccine. Perhaps I am old-fashioned in my thinking.

So I suppose I am grateful to have caught Coronavirus and see how my body reacts. I have had the chance to develop my own antibodies. And no one else in my family for sick so I am also grateful for that.

I am deeply saddened that others have not had the same privilege that I have. I am saddened that people I love have lost people they love.

It is a confusing time.

So my best advice would be to do your own research, think about how viruses work and make the decisions that keep you and your family safe. And care for your neighbors and support local business in ways you can.

Quest for Watermelon

So first off… I am very excited to announce that one of the teenager’s teachers applied to adopt a cat from Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab, the organization we foster with.

Obviously a very handsome guy!

In other news, tomorrow is day 10 of my Covid isolation and my main symptom is still extreme dizziness. And whenever I have a hot beverage or some of that boozy egg nog I sweat like a pig.

In amusing symptoms, every morning I get up and my right foot hurts and is very difficult to walk on.

Now, let’s talk about Wawa. My Wawa (which is less than a mile away) now delivers. Through Door Dash I believe.

I have been craving watermelon. So I ordered watermelon ($3.39), my favorite coffee (cafe con lèche) and a breakfast bundle (4 egg sandwiches, a half gallon of chocolate milk and a bag of doughnuts for $22.99). Delivery fee was $2.99 and I gave my driver a $6 tip.

The order arrived hot, and quickly, the driver was super pleasant. The staff couldn’t determine if I wanted sausage on my sandwiches (2 were supposed to be bacon and two sausage) so they made two bacon and two without meat and put sausage on the side.

I like that kind of problem solving.

But they missed my chocolate milk and my doughnuts for the teens. Now, if I hadn’t spent $40 on this order I might not care. And I am extremely grateful that they brought my watermelon. Being in Covid isolation is hard.

And the eggs tasted so good I ate both the meatless sandwiches.

I navigated around the app trying to find my mistake or someone to contact. I eventually had to fill out a form. Let’s hope I hear from them.

Update: talked to my local store. They were pleasant and gave me the number for corporate. Corporate had me on hold four minutes and promised to send me an electronic gift card.

Snow Shenanigans

Greetings from day 9 or 10 of my Covid life. We had a pretty sizable snowstorm yesterday that reminded me of my childhood.

If you look carefully in that first picture you’ll see a cute little Nissan 4-door. It had North Carolina plates and like a real Southern Belle the owner tried to drive over all the snow.

My teens are now out back shoveling the garage and I’ve exhausted myself loading the dishwasher. My main Covid symptom today is extreme dizziness. I’m sick of every beverage I’ve been drinking — 1-2 liters of seltzer a day, 32 to 64 ounces of herbal tea and 1-2 cups of coffee.

And while my appetite is fine, I have at least one bowl of soup a day so I can get even more liquid.

Yesterday the teenager asked her dad to bring me a good old-fashioned NY style pizza which I ate for lunch, dinner, midnight snack and breakfast.

The teenager also asked me to record different cats’ reactions to the snow.

Misty: Misty fights the snow and Misty goes for a walk in the snow

Opie: Opie says no to snow

Vale: Vale explores snow (to apply to adopt Vale— visit Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab. Vale’s adoption page)

Fog: Fog in snow

Venom et al: Swarming the snow

In other fun news, the Roman Pride explored the snow from the safe confines of their room: Fosters try snow

And if you’re curious how the Romans are progressing— Romans in the morning

Hopefully these cute tuxedoes will be ready to adopt soon.

And Loki of the Norse Pride acts like a little puppy: Loki plays with the cockatoo (to apply to adopt Loki… Loki’s adoption page

Day 4 of Covid isolation

Sunday. Next Sunday at this time my isolation period will be over.

I feel stiff and exhausted, and I have a weird rash that makes my hands burn and itch like crazy but all-in-all Covid symptoms are minimal today.

The most exciting thing we did today was play with foster kittens.

Vale got to wear a sweater.

For information on adopting Vale, click here.

Vale and his brother Loki are both available at Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab.

Some fun kitten videos:

Harness training Vale

Hermes and Vesta

The Roman Pride and Hermes

This is really a good amount of fun for me, but as we got Vale into the sweater we got a text that my dear cat-loving former world colleague was bringing her homemade egg nog.

The teenager has taken a liking to eggnog, but as of most of the younger generations, she’s never had the real thing.

I had had some fruitcake for breakfast— her great-grandmother’s recipe made by my mother-in-law. My in-laws have a really delicious fruit add. I brought some to work last year for Mr. Accordion and he shared it with the office Christmas party, a decision he make have regretted.

And now this.

And I used some more of Bill’s gift card to order wings from Deux Wings on GrubHub. I am not a fan of wings, but the teenager is. I rather enjoyed the mac and cheese and amazing French fries.

From Deux Wings, great food

On TV today, I started My Mad Fat Diary and Ink Master.

24 hours in my Covid life

Friday, December 11, 2020

I received my diagnosis this morning, after realizing on Wednesday that the symptoms I had attributed to my everyday health problems.

9 p.m.: after spending most of the day in bed, I finish Netflix’s The Crown and start Hillbilly Elegy because I see Glenn Close is in it.

10 p.m. I turn out my light and go to bed early, struggling to get comfortable because of the muscle and joint pain.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

2 a.m. I wake up, can’t get back to sleep. I play on my phone. I close my eyes and imagine myself drawing healing energy out of the cosmos and suddenly a vision of ocean waves floods me.

Around 3 a.m. I fall asleep again

8 a.m. I wake. I need to pee. But the way my body feels, the walk to the bathroom seems impossible. And I know once I walk out my door, the cats will want food.

8:30 a.m. I return to my room after using the bathroom. The kittens escape. I leave the door open so they can return and cats come in and out.

9 a.m. Some friends text to see how I’m doing. I respond and now I’m exhausted and need a rest.

9:30 a.m. the teenager is up. I asked if she can bring me coffee after I rest. She says sure.

10 a.m. I rest and she brings coffee. And my medicine.

10:30 a.m. I finish the coffee and engage in a Facebook discussion about Covid, sparked by a friend who chastises those who don’t wear masks and don’t want to abide by the mandate of no indoor gatherings. Sobaka’s mom offers to get me groceries at Shoprite. I ask for coffee.

11:00 a.m. I shower and feel human again briefly. I am grateful for these new soap products that contain eucalyptus. My other neighbor texts she is at Dunkin and wants to know my order.

11:15 a.m. I discover one of my closest friends has symptoms of Covid but hadn’t received his test results. I feel awful convinced he got it from me, but he assures me we might have gotten it from the same place. Now he has to cancel his surgery that was scheduled for Monday.

11:30 a.m. I’ve annoyed the teenager. I’m watching the cats frolic and check on the neighbor who came over for coffee earlier in the week. Her son left her home because he’s afraid I exposed them.

11:45 a.m. The teenager is chastising me for having an absurd method of organizing my tea. I’m going out to the porch to wait for my Dunkin’.

12 Dunkin arrives. I go back to bed with Kittens and a sugarplum macchiato

12:20 enjoying my Dunkin’, watching kittens play (Sugar Plum Macchiato and kittens )

12:30 p.m. more texting with friends, despite large macchiato am feeling fatigued. Watching the cockatoo pick through the leftover parakeet food I gave her.

12:50 p.m. done uploading YouTube videos. Debating watching TV versus napping like the kittens. Kitten video: Loki And Vale play

1 p.m. I decide to curl up and nap like my foster kittens. They snuggle up to me but as a side sleeper I find it impossible to get comfortable. As I face my left, my right hip, knee and even ankle burn. I roll onto my back and it feels like every vertebrae in my spine is protruding. I lie still and wait for everything to calm down. My knee is the only thing that refuses to settle.

1:10 pm I’m restless (probably from the caffeine). I remember my neighbor is out grocery shopping with my credit card and that I should have my ringer on in case she encounters a problem. several friends are texting— one had symptoms like mine and is still waiting on her Covid results. The cats are laying on me as if to force me to sleep.

Another friend texts and mentions egg nog and I am excited that my former colleague is making some homemade egg nog and bringing me a quart or two. My knee still burns as does my right sinus under my eye. I need to pee.

1:15 p.m. headed to the bathroom. The birds are oddly still.

1:25 p.m. I watch more of Hillbilly Elegy. There are some intense scenes of drug abuse, domestic violence and child abuse.

1:45 p.m. the teenager brings me some Twizzlers left over from Halloween, I ask her to let the cockatoo out for a few minutes, and my dad calls to check on me.

1:50 p.m. watching more of Hillbilly Elegy. I can’t believe Glenn Close’s performance. She’s magnificent. The older she gets the more beautiful she is. The kittens sleep at my feet. The cockatoo sits nicely on my chest.

2:30 p.m. I finished the movie, which is based on a memoir of the same name. No wonder some of the scenes were so disturbing— real life is often more painful than anything the mind can make up. My cockatoo keeps dozing off.

2:40 p.m. time to use the bathroom again and see if I can get this sleepyhead bird to go to her cage.

2:50 p.m. Sobaka’s mom is at McDonald’s so I try to place a mobile order but the GPS on my phone knows I’m still at home so the McDonald’s app is fighting with me. Gives me a funky code. It really is amazing what one can do from a sick bed with a credit card.

2:55 p.m. sneezing again. Forgot my tissues downstairs

3 p.m. watching some YouTube videos while the teenager finishes vacuuming and cleaning her room.

3:15 p.m. we received our McDonald’s order and our groceries. I distributed food to the teens by dropping it outside their bedroom doors. You can tell Sobaka’s mom isn’t a coffee drinker because she bought the cutest little can of coffee. She bought us orange juice with extra vitamin C and zinc! Now that is thinking! She also got me a big old chunk of raspberry coffee cake.

3:20 p.m. In trying to get the groceries into the kitchen and the food to the kids, I forget that our cat Fog shot past me onto the sunporch.

3:50 p.m. After watching Canadian dietician Abbey Sharp’s review of Kelly Ripa’s diet, I lie down for a nap. Instantly the kittens start playing and my feet become civilian casualties.

4 p.m. The teenager comes into my room to chastise me about the cat. Apparently the Christmas tree (which was unbalanced and the two teens had tried to stabilize it with a rope tied to a plant hanger) is now on the floor. I’m sorry, but the reality is that I don’t care.

4:05 p.m. I don’t think it’s even possible TL sleep but my eyes hurt so I will try. Maybe listen to a podcast. I check my playlist. I see episode #2050 of Car Talk has posted. Yes! I will listen to this!

4:30 p.m. Another friend texts to check on me

4:40 p.m. Despite how tired I feel I can’t sleep. The teenager brings up my clean laundry and I hear chuckles and conversation from downstairs. Both teenagers are cleaning. I am starting to get cranky and bored. I guess I’ll watch more television. Maybe I should try and play a video game on my phone. My favorite comedian at the moment is Jim Breuer. He happens to be next on my YouTube list. (Jim Breuer “Playing with Kids.”)

4:45 p.m. the cockatoo is screaming at me

4:55 p.m. the friend who got me thinking about egg nog texts again

5:05 p.m. more random YouTube. I might be getting hungry.

5:30 p.m. M texts to check on me, inquiring about my oxygen stats. Asks about my fatigue and joints.

5:35 p.m. teenager two comes to ask if I have dirty dishes (I don’t) and makes me a fresh cup of tea

5:50 p.m. Gayle texts. The video I posted to YouTube earlier has reassured everyone that I am recovering.

6:15 p.m. suddenly remembered I never updated the bios for my foster kittens to post online

6:35 p.m. off to use the bathroom before I sneeze

6:50 p.m. made a funny video with Nala and Vale: Cockatoo dancing with kitten

7 p.m. heated up some leftovers

7:10 p.m. eating alone in my room

7:15 p.m. brief text with M— as he is a medical technologist I asked him if the virus starts by attacking the weaknesses I already had in my body. He replied that I have “an excellent understanding of virology.” I also realize that except for tired, I felt normal going down to make my dinner.

7: 20 p.m. my neighbor in the other half of my house texts. The Covid test she got yesterday since I made her coffee earlier this week came back negative. Lots of friends texting all at the same time.

7:25 p.m. teenager #1 comes to visit. She plays with Nala-bird.

7:35 p.m. a crash downstairs. Teenager goes to investigate— Vale goes with her.

7:40 p.m. Teenager brings Vale back. I think I hear my neighbor’s car. Nope. But apparently this is what I do now.

7:45 p.m. I think I might have hives. I’ve been noticing them all day but now I’m seeing them instead of feeling itchy. Suddenly I have a coughing fit.

7:50 p.m. bathroom

8 p.m. guess I’ll watch more TV

The beginning of an official Covid diary

Yesterday my doctor informed me that I have Covid-19, to read about the symptoms that led me to get a test you can review my blog entries from the last few days.

I’m too tired to rehash it all. I sleep a lot and lay it bed watching TV on my iPad. I don’t feel feverish, but I have trouble staying warm.

My main symptom is intense muscle aches and joint pain so getting up and moving is hard and exhausts me.

According to my doctor I can reenter the world and return to work December 21. My employer says I should wait until December 28.