Air filter, n95 and geocaching.

So this beauty got delivered – our little HEPA air filter to increase the air turnover in the main room of the house. It’s suppose to work for five years *constantly* without maintenance. I can’t quite believe that that is the case. I just need it to work for about 5-6 more months. Jeremy was relieved and then he looked at me hopefully and said – so I guess this means that if I’m more than 6 feet away from our caregivers I don’t have to wear a mask? I sighed and said – really? What about the spirit of “we are in this together” and “normalizing masks”? He said it’s hard to breath and it fogs up his glasses. Does it seem like we are outside while being inside the house? Kind of only if you are standing right next to the exhaust of the purifier.

I sent Vince an n95 mask for his airplane trip back home in December with a face shield. It seemed like a lame care package so I threw in some sugarless gum too. (And mini-pecan pies (Jeremy made those. You can tell who is “fun” around here)).

To hide the fact that I just wanted to send an n95 mask, I went to the grocery shop and filled the rest of the priority box with things I found for about three dollars – window clings and santa hats and I got him some string lights. Snowmen in California. I thought that was funny. Ha ha – you see? I can be fun too.

My parents have been spoiling Vince – they gifted him an opportunity to assemble his own custom gaming computer. Vince and Jeremy have their own separate text stream about what parts to buy and how to put it all together. Vince really wanted a particular AMD graphics card and it went on sale sometime this week. He got up early and tried to snag one at the release moment, but it was not to be. All the bots bought them all within milliseconds. We have a fondness for AMD as Jeremy worked for them for a decade and they sent us all over the world and now they have a Asian woman as their CEO, Lisa Su. Speaking of Asian women kicking some corporate butt, I also got the goosebumps reading about Kim Ng, the highest ranking female executive in MLB. Turns out, I do care about these things. Apparently gaming computers have lights. Lots of lights.

I have a weekday geocaching partner. Sofi and I are walking most days at lunchtime to find geocaches in the neighborhood. Her mom wanted her to get out of the house. I love geocaching and I haven’t been able to do it for years. No one wanted to do it with me. I dusted off my old profile and restarted the game. My profile pic is of me and baby Edda in a stroller – so probably over 14 years ago and there were no smartphones, so I played by buying my own GPS device.

Mom’s birthday, kitchen drawers, pecan pie!

Sorry! It’s been a long time. We celebrated my mom’s 79th birthday on Saturday pandemic-style with take out from Founding Farmers and a zoom call and this enormous yard sign. My mom loved it. She is not a subtle one, that mom of mine. She wants the big sign, the big gesture, the fancy gift. We got her a small bottle of Chanel no5 perfume. One of my earliest memories is of me climbing onto the bathroom sink and grabbing a bottle of Chanel no5 from the medicine cabinet (which, to my credit, had only like 10% left) and then anointing all of my dolls with it. (I don’t think I got into very much trouble over it…) We found out on Saturday that that bottle of perfume was one of the first gifts my dad got my mom when he was courting her. And now my mom claims that my dad doesn’t even really like the smell of it. It was a fun zoom call.

Our kitchen is falling apart. We lost our dishwasher in September and have not yet replaced/repaired it. In its place, we are putting our garbage cans (this is not a good idea because who loves taking garbage and moving it all over the house? The dog.) Why are we putting garbage cans where the dishwasher should be?

Because we lost our pull out garbage can drawer. I think the rails are finally broken after over 10 years of constant use and deterring dog noses. And what’s that long wooden cabinet looking part?

Why it’s the decorative panel below the stove. This is been broken for probably about a year. But we are OK with it. LOL. Jeremy dreams of replacing the gas stove with a flat induction stove (we actually have a portable induction plate next to the regular stove which Jeremy preferentially uses over any of the gas burners) with a full hood overhead instead of the puny downdraft vent that we have now. The kitchen reno happens after all the gutter/drainage work, the carpeting work, the refinishing of the floors and, this goes without saying, college bills (another one due in 3 weeks!).

We are missing Thanksgiving. It’s the biggest holiday in our families and we usually are the ones hosting, usually 30-40 people in the house with two turkeys and rented tables and chairs. None of that this year. I’ll miss Vince the most, who will be spending Thanksgiving alone in his dorm room. I’m still trying to track down a turkey dinner for him. He said he was planning on having ramen (all the dining halls are closed). I think I can find a single meal, but friends have said – you have to order him a feast! I’m like you want me to order an entire turkey for him? If he came home now, he’d have to stay home until the new term and he wants to stay in California. So we’ll see him at Christmas. We sent him a care package – an n95 mask and a face shield for the flight home for Xmas and some pecan pies…

Date night!

We went on a 30 minute date last night. We walked to Carmen’s and Jeremy bought me some soft serve (salted caramel). He’s not smiling on the outside, but I know he’s smiling on the inside (he was trying to figure out night picture mode on his phone – this was taken in complete darkness (well suburban complete darkness, which is not very dark)).

Masks.

I did have a nice shift on Sunday – steady and busy, but nice. I had time to really be with my patients which I enjoy the most. But I had some worrisome interactions with staff – the portable chest x-ray tech came late to her 8:00 am timed x-ray for a patient of mine and apologized to be because the ICU was so busy in the morning and I looked at her and said – COVID? And she nodded. And then I had a respiratory tech later in the afternoon who I was working with to administer chest PT and she said that they were also seeing an uptick in COVID cases downstairs. Of course, this is not surprising given the news. But it’s going to be a hard winter. I’m starting to rebuild my own stash of new n95s now that I’ve decided that the ones I’ve been using since April have done their duty and should be retired.

In the spirit of increasing COVID cases, we’ve decided to treat our house as a “place of work” and are using masks in the “public” areas of house. We now have two caregivers who come and go and work with other families/kids. I had kind of mentioned this to Jeremy before the 2nd caregiver (who started last week and we love) started her shifts, but Jeremy was reluctant to wear masks in the house – understandably, because it’s our house. So we started with no masks. But then it became apparent that we should (Increasing cases, people traveling around, work situations) and honestly, the new caregiver (Tri) seemed relieved that we implemented the masking and Kitachi was totally fine with it. Jeremy is the least happy about it because the everyone else does work outside their home and is used to masking. Jeremy is like I never leave the house and now I have to wear a mask in my own house?! (OK, maybe Edda is the least happy about it. We are still trying to figure it out – to get the loops to stay on her ears, to keep the mask from getting soaking wet in 30 mins, etc…) I said that he should find something to do and leave the house sometimes. Since we have 2 caregivers, we’ll now have some weekend coverage so he can leave the house when I’m working at the hospital. We also bought a HEPA air filter machine that hopefully will come in next week and exchange the air in the main living area of the house to keep it better ventilated through the winter months and hopefully filter out the germs? Jeremy’s excited about that because he’s always thought the air quality was bad in the first floor because of all the cooking particulates and has always wanted a full house filtration system – but we aren’t getting that now. And he’s excited that the house should smell less like dog.

Biden/Harris.

Hello all from the other side of the election!

We are very excited and happy in the household. We celebrated on Saturday night with a Philly cheesesteak, pizza and a bottle of cheap champagne. We drink so little, but the $12 bottle (which has been in the fridge for at least a year (we have 3 bottles – who keeps giving us bottles of champagne?) was easy to drink. Edda had a mimosa. We finished off the bottle (I was surprised we did that!) and was happily tipsy. See? This is how happy I was – I had a couple glasses of champagne the night before I had a shift at the hospital! Throwing caution into the wind. I had a good shift on Sunday

Cheers from me to you!

BBL, Purwick, Halloween.

Sometimes when you spend a lot of money, you get all excited! I’m going to buy a new phone! A vacation! A piece of jewelry! A night at a famous restaurant! A Brazilian butt lift! You take a long time to think about it and carefully choose the color, location, designer, plastic surgeon. But yesterday I woke up thinking that I’d buy none of those fun things and that maybe I’d splurge on a $13 dollar grain and greens bowl at CAVA for lunch and by 6 pm last night, I was a new phone/vacation/piece of jewelry poorer. We took the van in for an oil change (the light went when we were about 1,000 miles from being home and we got to it only now) and it turned out we needed a new front axle and the 90,000 mile tune up. That was almost $1,000. And then the sewage ejection pump pumped its last load of poop from the basement to street sewage level and we got that professionally replaced. Also almost $1,000. Though I hate spending that money, I love both our mechanic and our plumber. We’ve used them for years and so many times, they talk us through the problems, tell us to save money or charge so little for routine work (I’ve had a plumbing visit come in under $50 for an hour’s worth of work and he insist that he did not need more than that) that when they come around and say – ummm, you guys really need to spend $1,000 now, we know we really need to spend $1,000.

I am enjoying some medical Halloween fun.

My ballot has been counted!

We spoke to Vince last night. He’s good. I was relieved to hear that he went somewhere with a friend – if only to the gym to pick up some swag they are giving away to celebrate the opening of it on Monday to students only. A friend! Walking to the gym! My bar is so low now. They are opening the gym to 10% capacity on a reservation only system. There is also a ChemE pumpkin carving contest that he was planning on participating in, trying to figure out how to get his free pumpkin. Also, they opened the lounges on the floors and there are little social-distancing gatherings this weekend and he’s going to try to attend the one on his hall. I stalk all the Davis instagram pages, so I found out that this little flurry of activities on Halloween weekend was spurred by the administration giving out grants for groups of students to have safe Halloween fun. And that the COVID testing had zero positives this week again. And that the Chancellor choice of a Star Trek costume is fun! He’s an engineer – so that’s good with the yellow jersey.

Friday, Silence of the Lambs, youtube.

Friday used to be my favorite day of the week. I enjoy the regular work/school schedule, but I extra enjoy the anticipation of the weekend. I love the Friday afternoon, early evening feeling starting somewhere at 4 pm when you finally give up and acknowledge that nothing else is going to get done and wander around looking for a good friend, or a good snack, or a good book. Even in my hardest working days where I worked every weeknight into the night and most days/nights on the weekends, I made it a point to never work on Friday nights. These days, I get sad on Friday. Another week passes and there is no difference between anydays. We have not made any forward progress. I’m sad realizing that maybe Vince’s second year of college will look like a no-friend isolation experience. Or that Edda won’t be able to meet her buddies at school.

I’ve been trading English/Spanish lessons almost every night with a friend (Ana) I met online. It’s slow going. When I’m in a good mood, I think it’s fun and it’ll be helpful in a decade. When I’m in a bad mood, I think that it’s not going to go anywhere because my brain is very good at forgetting and I’m unable to practice enough. Every once in a while, I’ll find a blog/story of a person who learns a language well without immersion at the age of 40 or even 60. And then I realize that they are learning their 4th language and they literally spend 15-20 hours a week working on it. We’ll see how it goes.

When I’m on top of the spanish learning, I’ll switch all my music (pop), podcasts (news) and video entertainment (easy spanish telenovelas) over to spanish. It takes about 4 weeks of constantly listening to spanish-only songs for Spotify to understand that the language switch is a real thing and start suggesting spanish only songs for you to listen to on their weekly lists. When I’m not on top of the spanish learning (90% of the time), I go back to my regular podcast listening schedule. I found a podcast called: Too scary, didn’t watch where they spend the whole time telling the entire plot of scary movies to people who are too scared to watch them. I listened to the one about Silence of the Lambs (which I did watch in 1991 and loved very much) and I realized that even though I kept my eyes open for 97% of it, the 3% of the time I kept my eyes closed, I missed key plot points that I’m learning oh, 30 years later. How did Hannibal escape exactly? How did Jodie Foster exactly kill the bad guy? I just made stuff up in my head which I was content to have made up and not question. I can no longer watch these kinds of movies. I can not add distress (even fictional) to my life. Only baking shows and bullet journal tutorials and asmr videos for me now please.

We cancelled our subscription to Disney+ and Netflix and signed up for YouTube premium. This means that I gave up unlimited movies for YouTube with no ads. Every person I mentioned this too gives me the eyeball and says huh? What can I say? The boys wanted the youtube. Jeremy and Vince both watch youtube the most. I watch nothing. We still have Amazon prime, so I’m limiting my movie watching to that single platform.

And now we enter the final weekend before the election. Jeremy has yet to drop off his ballot in a ballot box. It’s not that he’s procrastinating. It’s that he wanted to bundle it with an errand and I think he literally has not left the house in over a week.

Good, iPhone 12, Megan.

I’m feeling good. I know lots of people are feeling bad, but I’m feeling good. How can you not feel good when Biden is campaigning in Georgia?! The time to feel bad was about four years ago when one realized that we were headed down this crazy, destructive path as a country. Did I foresee exactly all the terrible things that were going to happen? No. But did I know that bad things would happen. (Also, I’m furious at RBG. She should have seen this coming and been smart enough to step down when she could have sealed her legacy. Now a lifetime of work undone in less than 3 weeks. A weakness in the ego there. Or the opposite, the ego was too strong.) Also, Ruby died on post-election-day one in 2016, so how could that not have been the worst day ever? Now we are just lying in the bed we made for ourselves, covered our own shit and just continuing to smear it all over our body hoping that someone (perhaps the voting public. perhaps aoc) will help us get out of this humiliating situation. I voted by mail. Vince voted by mail from California. Jeremy dropped his off at the ballot box. My parents switched their vote from Trump to Biden, information which my mother offered up at last week’s zoom family dinner after 3.5 years of not talking about politics. We had to cut off political talk because I needed to still be OK to be in the same room with them and my parents love talking about politics. And I didn’t want to be mad at my parents, but I mostly was sad because this poor judgement on their part four years ago throws all of their other judgements that they have made for me, about me, to me into questionable light. Maybe that should be a relief.

We got my parents matching iPhone 12s last week to upgrade them from iPhone 6s. The iPhone 6 came out in 2014, so they both used that phone until it was literally dying. We promised them the phones for their 50th wedding anniversary in August, but were patiently waiting until the release just now. My dad had called three weeks ago and said that his iPhone 6 couldn’t charge well and/or hold charge well. Then we realized that my parents hadn’t been backing up their phones for years (they don’t like paying for backup stuff), but they figured it out and started paying 1-2 dollars a month to back up to the iCloud and then the phones came last week and the transfer over to the new phones went relatively smoothly. During the three week phone-starting-to-die and the new-phone-release-period, my dad would sporadically text us, when is the release date? When is the announcement date? What about preorders? (Apple keeps the dates quiet for a long time). I want the red one. No I want the blue one. It doesn’t come with a charger?! Honestly, it was kind of cute. I had been irritated that I was spending all this money to upgrade them, but on the day that they got them and unboxed them on zoom and got them all working, I did get a rush of happiness. The same rush of happiness one gets from giving a 3 to 7 year old exactly what they wanted for their birthday. Also, during the unboxing of the phones, my dad casually mentioned he was admitted overnight to the local hospital 3 days prior for a stroke workup. I was like – a stroke workup?!!? You didn’t tell me? He replied, there was nothing you could do, so I didn’t want to bother you. (He has a droopy eyelid and went to the eye doc who sent him to the ED for possible stroke. They did all the imaging at the hospital. It’s not a stroke. It’s a droopy eyelid.)

I pestled through Edda’s medication mortar yesterday morning. Have I been giving Edda, along with her Keppra, a small bit of ceramic as well?

The CSA keeps on coming. Someone mentioned to me that she called the CSA bounty “her vegetable homework” which I took to immediately. Now I call all CSA vegetables my vegetable homework.

I went on a walk with Megan yesterday. Megan is Edda’s special needs teacher who has some time off for medical reasons (she feels great and is recovering well) and so we got to hang out mid-week, mid-day (unusual for both of us!). Maxi got to come along. Maxi was so excited to go to a new place. We also sat outside at CAVA for lunch where I saw masked ladies-who-lunch (of which I was one for the day) give each other big hugs and say “it’s been so long!!!”. Hugging is not part of social distancing. I had to give up hugging everyone, I do enjoy hugging as a greeting. But no longer. I only hug Jeremy. And Edda and I snuggle at night. Maxi found a bunch of uneaten food in the decorative planter next to our table and surreptitiously ate it while I was distracted by my lamb bowl. She seemed pleased with herself.

Sleep, math.

Jeremy and I have been figuring out our new routines without Vince around and with Edda’s homeschooling schedule. Our Edda-care did get compressed and rearranged a few times during the pandemic, but has remained steady for most of the summer and into the fall (although it is about the change again now). Edda has care for most of the workday (9-5), but it still is about six hours a day shorter (6-8) than we are generally used to in the normal running school year. The thing that is hard for both Jeremy and me is our ability to get enough sleep. We have the time, but neither of us sleeps as well as we’d like. Jeremy can’t fall asleep and I can’t stay asleep, though my inability to stay asleep is less severe than Jeremy’s inability to fall asleep. For me, the new thing I’m doing is I’m trying to get up at the same time every day. I had gotten into the habit mid-summer to “sleep in” on the days that I wasn’t working at the hospital. If I was working, no matter how bad the night of sleep was, I’d get up at 5:30 am. But on the days I wasn’t working, I’d try to sleep in until about 7 am to make up for all the bad sleep I was having. And this wasn’t working that well for me. So now I’m trying to get up by 6 am at the latest on the days I’m off. It’s better, though it means that I’m getting up earlier than Jeremy (who is trying to sleep in from not falling asleep until 1 or 2 am). I know lots of married couples have out-of-sync bedtime and waking routines, but not Jeremy and me. We’ve always gone to bed at the same time and gotten up at the same time (save for a few Sundays here/there).

Vince reported back that he got a 90 on his math midterm and the average was a 70. He is “feeling good”. Academically, Vince’s college experience has been eye-opening for me. It’s only now that I realize how brutal my own college academic experience was. Vince’s classes all have weekly quizzes to check on progress and comprehension. They’ll drop the lowest couple of quizzes. Two or three exams, no final. Maybe dropping the lowest exam. They tell you about the help you can ask for. Now there are so many resources, anonymous youtube teachers willing to walk you through a diff eq problem. On the other hand, my class experience usually concentrated down to a single midterm (maybe there were 2 exams and not just a single midterm) and cumulative final, each worth half your grade. I’m not sure what happened if you had a life crisis and couldn’t make that test. I never found myself in that situation or I never acknowledged myself to be in that situation. Oftentimes, I couldn’t figure out something and I was too shy to admit I didn’t know how to do something and then struggled a million years to figure it out. When I think back on the school part of college, I mostly think of it fondly because of course, I was competitive and I wanted it to be difficult and to work hard against a high standard, but I also remember pockets of being depressed a lot, having GI issues for weeks/months, and having a low grade cold all semester. I’m sure it was from not resting enough, or being too stressed out or whatever. I could recover from it all so well then! I had only myself to think about. I don’t think my heart was broken then, but my heart now is broken in a million pieces and I’m not sure I could survive now if you dropped my back in my old college routine. Maybe I could. Maybe I would be fine by taking it all less seriously than I did then and have a better time.