Hard winter happy?

It’s 1 a.m. I’m exhausted. In pain. But pleased.

We were supposed to get one to three inches of snow.

I’m 90% sure Mama Periwinkle hatched another baby. Video: Sound of baby budgie. Anyone want a parakeet?

I managed to get to work on time, and ended up in QC again. QC hurts. But I didn’t take any meds and decided to see how it goes. Hit 24 by first break, pain level was only a 2. By meal, the pain was at 4 and I was slowing down. By last break, I was at 69 and it should have been 78.

One of my superiors came over after that break and said I was doing great and that my efforts and progress were not unnoticed. I spoke honestly, and this particular person also has a disability that hinders his mobility. And he said it might be possible to split my shift between QC and pick. That would be amazing.

By the end of the night, I hit the same number I did last week— 91— but I almost broke under four minutes per fix. And I got a cool mask….

So now my pain is about a six. Last week I felt really bad after hitting 91, my body hurt.

But Fog had some cuddles for me.

Fog

Mood brighteners

I have a gift of stressing myself out even on the best of days in good circumstances and this very bad habit causes more harm than good.

So, yesterday I talked to a very friendly and helpful mortgage broker through Quicken Loans/Rocket Mortgage. And by today I managed to doubt the whole idea. It’s not resolved yet… and my concerns about it are so minimal. I would instantly pay off my car and still have the house paid off in ten years or less. But the payment is $50/higher than what I am paying now (and would save me $150/month total versus what I pay now).

Realistically it would be better for me to keep saving and pay off the car with cash. I’m in casual conversation with the broker about it. If it’s already too late, so be it.

But I woke up at 6:30 am today thinking about it.

And then it was snowing. I shoveled, with teenager help, but still managed to hurt my back. But good news is— I hurt my back in the normal spot and not a different spot as has been happening at work.

I ran an errand this morning and it was messy out. The snow kept falling. I had to slide my way into the garage with an oil truck backing down the alley toward me and I thought, “maybe I should stay home.”

So I called out.

Even though it’s pajama day at work and I already had on my Cat in the Hat fuzzy pants.

But it does feel good that no one makes you feel guilty for calling out. We have to “call out” via email and it’s usually a pleasant exchange.

As soon as I did, the plow went through.

Sigh.

I ended up watching some of MTV’s Catfish while cuddling the cockatoo. I then took a brief nap.

I struggle amidst the stasis of life right now to stay connected with friends, get the adult interaction I need, somehow be Mom and keep the house clean and kids fed.

But between my change in physical fitness, my weight gain and my being unable to break this new binge eating habit, my mental health is suffering.

To combat this, I’m going to make a list of things I can do at home when I am in a weird mindset.

  1. Make a cup of coffee
  2. Pet a cat or work with one of the foster kittens
  3. Arrange outfits for upcoming days
  4. Pick up a book
  5. Witchcraft/Tarot
  6. Sketch
  7. Text a friend a compliment
  8. Play solitaire
  9. Edit my book(s)
  10. Meal plan

Snowy sillies

The snow started later than anticipated and my day, my bedtime, started with our weekly garbage pick-up happening at 2:30 a.m. I guess they were trying to get ahead of the storm.

And after “picking” last night, my pain and my mood improved drastically. Though I did binge on junk food again. Sigh.

But these last few months— between Covid and the new job— have really made me realize how much pain changes you.

But today… work is closed due to snow. But Joan texted that her Fix came and we opened it together on Zoom.

Photo by Joan

The teens did the shoveling, and we had some omelettes for brunch. Then this afternoon we filmed a video on our silly Valentine’s treats. The impetus of the video was some rose soda I purchased at Lidl. Our reactions: Video of Valentine’s Treats

First we played some Mille Bornes, the car-themed card game.

My own personal Groundhog Day of failure and snow

Despite my ever effort to the contrary, every night I perform worse in QC at the Bizzy Hizzy. I start strong and on target, but somehow by lunch I’m falling behind.

And after meal I’m in pain and feeling tired and defeated. So it gets harder and harder to catch up. I feel unseen and lost.

I woke up today determined to achieve greatness— I did a small strength training exercises and some physical therapy stretches for my lower back.

Dressed a little edgier than I usually do and took the teens for coffee…

After all, I found a coupon.

Stopped at CVS to take advantage of their buy one, get one 50% off over-the-counter painkiller promotion ( and paid with my health savings account debit card). I put my faith in naproxen sodium and a good attitude.

The pain was bad tonight, even with the naproxen sodium and I almost cried a couple of times, perhaps due to the emotional frustration more than the pain. Or it could be because my period is due tomorrow and I heard Wilson Phillips on the warehouse radio “Hold on.”

“Hold on for one more day.” (If you don’t know the song… Wilson Phillips “Hold on” on YouTube)

“Break free from the chains.”

I finally leave the building and the snow is falling faster than I can brush it off my car. I take the highway home hoping the state will tend and clear it.

The snow plow was behind me.

Directly behind me.

Got home, barely made it into the garage, shoveled.

And poured a stiff drink.

In the morning, I am giving a friend a ride to the doctor.

Foods of a snowy day

We woke up today with the snow falling as anticipated… I came downstairs to discover that Mr. Mistofelees stole the baguette from the top of the pantry amid the pots and pans.

I trimmed around the cat-eaten morsels and prepared a platter of baguette, hummus, olives, dates, cocktail cucumbers, molasses bread, jam and goodness knows what else as a light breakfast.

Why a light breakfast? Because I promised the teenagers I would make poached eggs on crumpets for second breakfast later in the day. I learned two things:

  1. I forgot that I always toast the crumpets before adorning them with ooey gooey imperfect-looking poached eggs. I served untoasted crumpets and that was gross.
  2. Teenager #2 hadn’t ever had poached eggs before— and the egg won approval.

I used the opportunity to taste-test Supercoffee, which I purchased at Wegmans in part because I didn’t feel guilty about the $3 sticker price because I used a gift card my mom gave me for Christmas and this was my one splurge. I’m surprised a didn’t buy a $10 chunk of strong Brie.

Here is my review of Supercoffee… spoiler alert: it didn’t impress me with flavor, but now, an hour after finishing it, my right hand is bright red and really warm.

Click the image above to see the video

Friends, food and fun

The last two days— when not paying bills, shoveling snow, fighting pain and surviving work at the Bizzy Hizzy— has been a blend of chores and silliness.

I took Teenager #1 for a drive yesterday to navigate city streets made narrow by snow and drive in whatever slop we could find so she could experience driving on snow and ice in a controlled manner.

She asked for something from McDonalds so I got her an iced coffee, and I wanted to go to Dunkin across the street for my iced coffee.

I ordered the coffee on the McDonalds app and no lie— it took 45 minutes to make it through the drive through. At Dunkin, I got a cold brew with cream, the coconut flavor shot and one pump of the pink velvet syrup.

Yes, they have the pink velvet syrup in things other than the pricey pink velvet macchiato.

At work in the Stitch Fix warehouse, I tried to get a picture of the inflatable Valentine’s dinosaur…

And I got assigned to QC. I assembled 89 fixes and was very grateful when my Tylenol and ibuprofen managed to numb the pain in my spine. I listed to two IT innovation podcasts featuring data science, algorithms and Stitch Fix.

After taking Minerva of the Roman Pride to FURR’s cat adoption event at Petsmart, teenager #1 and I went to Wegmans across the street. Now, we are expecting snow again tomorrow AND it’s the Super Bowl so of course, it was crazy.

But it sure made this generic bologna sandwich taste amazing.

A social worker friend and I discussed budget tactics, loan amortization and the influence of white privilege in the disability sphere.

Then our neighbor and our favorite little dog stopped by. We finalized dinner plans to go to our favorite local diner— and wow was it lively tonight.

Not only did we have the brand new waiter (whom they hired instead of teenager #1), but there was one guy who looked like his mask came out of a BDSM scene and a sweet little old lady wearing fingerless gloves who sent back her omelette so many times they ran out of egg whites.

The poor new waiter dropped food on the floor and broke at least one plate, didn’t have any grasp of the menu, was slow as molasses, and could not keep track of the condiments. But don’t worry, we were patient.

Apparently my request for a tuna melt on rye confused him, because he had to return to the table to confirm that I didn’t want a tuna melt and an order of rye toast.

And during one of our trips today, we fished the Yuengling out of the yard that teenager #1 tried to throw to the neighbor as he was snow-blowing.

After all that, and much trademark cackling, we finally did the soda taste test video we’ve had planned: Weird Sodas (Ramuné in melon and strawberry, Major Melon Mountain Dew and A-Treat Pumpkin.

That’s some real pandemic excitement.

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