Friends.

I gave Vincie little gifts everyday over Thanksgiving day weekend so he would have a little entertainment (I think the campus is pretty empty now – no dining hall service over the holiday and they encouraged everyone who wanted to go home to go home and stay home). I gave him this little Lego Friends set…. I don’t think he’s watched much of Friends, lol. I just really wanted it for myself. Please send some loving thoughts to friends of mine – being a grown up means that you understand that bad things happen to lots of people and really, there is nothing you can do about it besides offering up a hot dish and giving hugs (which have been terribly ripped away from my arsenal of comfort – when was the last time I hugged a friend? I haven’t hugged a friend since March. A stranger? I did it months ago at the hospital when I had a patient who was crying in front of me and couldn’t stop crying and then was profusely apologizing for being unable to stop crying. What is there to do in a pandemic? I gave her a full-on PPE hug). I wish comfort to you all, take care of yourselves.

Vaccine, shelving, lights.

I had a hard-ish shift yesterday, but never did I feel like crying. Six rooms with two discharges and three admissions. (We are still doing elective surgeries! I wonder if we will keep doing those. I like them, they are usually easy patients.) Only one patient was unstable-ish and required many, many phone calls to the hospitalist – at least the hospitalist was easy to work with and easy to contact. It would have been better if they were all stable. I like all my patients stable. The most interesting thing was I found out from an OT that it sounds like we can get the vaccine in about three weeks. I’m not exactly sure of the priority, I no longer provide direct care to COVID patients, but I wonder if the whole hospital staff will get priority, or if there will only be enough doses for the people who regularly work in those rooms. (My mom is a bit freaked out about me taking it first-ish, but I think I’m ok with it. As long as Fauci says ok, go for it.)

Jeremy spent the weekend in the garage. He wants to create a workroom in one of the bays. We need more storage and wall space in the garage for this workroom to happen, so he designed a large shelving unit using SketchUp. Once the design was done, we needed to pick up all the wood from Home Depot. I had a very nice staff member on the phone from HD explain to me that there was no reservation system for their rental trucks – that we’d have to call every hour to see if there was one on the lot and they can’t hold trucks for you and you can hold one on the phone with a credit card, but some people might if they were feeling nice. But! But it turns out that all the trucks are in the parking lot when they open at 7 am. So Jeremy was at the HD at 7 am, rented the truck and then started to shop for the wood. So the truck was rented, sitting in the parking lot for a good 45 minutes before any wood got loaded into it. But it was still a good deal.

And making a table for this saw.

Jeremy still impresses me all the time. He is a theorist coming from a family of liberal arts majors. When I first met him, there was no way he would have done anything like this, but here he is, making drawings, putting together jigs and taking advice from my dad! He might, before this project is over, put screws into the concrete floor. We’ll see how that goes.

So many of my friends took pictures of the Christmas trees they put up over the weekend. We did not do any tree stuff, but this morning, we pulled out all our decorations to make Jeremy’s zoom background more festive. So there is that. Call him sometime!

Thanksgiving.

Happy end of Thanksgiving weekend! Jeremy wanted me to clarify two things – 1. He was hurt that I portrayed him as some anti-masker in the aftermath of the air purifier purchase. He really mentioned it only once and then immediately agreed to wear a mask all the time when there is someone in the house. Basically, he agreed to wear a mask in the house even though he really doesn’t want to. And he wanted to note that when I relax, I go to my bedroom by myself to relax (no mask required). When he relaxes, he goes to the kitchen and does kitchen stuff which is now considered “public” and he has to wear a mask when he relaxes whenever one of Edda’s caregivers is in the house which is like 80% of the time Jeremy spends in the kitchen. Anyways, I was at the hospital on Friday and some of the nurses work at Georgetown and showed me the surgical masks they get there which are these Fluidshield non-fogging masks. They were raving how comfortable and sturdy they are. So I ordered a box for Jeremy, hopefully they will solve his fogging glasses problem. And 2) that we usually don’t have 30-40 people in the house for thanksgiving. It’s always almost more like 40-50. lol. Jeremy loves hosting Thanksgiving. And he did it again pandemic style. Jeremy made turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and we hosted the DC family food exchange.

Our garage was the exchange point.

Excuse the mess our garage is in, please just feel the love.

We had a lovely multi-generation, multi-location zoom call. A small remembrance for Carla which we have not been able to have. There are a bunch of new littles (who aren’t really that little) that not everyone has met. They put on their Halloween costumes and entertained us all. We did have a small after-party with just the DC cousins which may or may not have involved some tipsiness and silliness. And then we ate a lot of pie and more pie with whipped cream and then went to bed.

I went to work on Friday at the hospital – I only dry heaved a few times before I got into the car as opposed to dry heaving many times the shift before. So many things have changed in the 10 days or so that I had off between shifts! No more visitors. And all the premixed antibiotics which were refrigerated are now mix at point of use (I’m looking at you zosyn and vanco), so I spent a bit of the shift looking for those in the wrong places and calling pharmacy many times. I’m relieved that the vaccine development is going well. And that there seems to be an end to all this even though it may still be half to three-quarters of a year away. Though I doubt that this is the last of the pandemics in my lifetime. Maybe 15 years until another one? That’ll put me in my mid-60s, prime vulnerable age.

Old papers.

In all our house re-arranging, we came across my old college notes in a dusty box in the basement. I was thrilled because I was convinced that I had thrown it all away in a fit of decluttering when I was pregnant with Edda, but it turns out, I threw a lot away, but I kept the important bibles. I know all this stuff is meaningful only to me, but I had that warm feeling of happiness in my chest going through this stuff and thinking about Vince going through all the same material thirty years later. It looks so old – time – y. I’m pretty sure this syllabus was written on a word processor, but I remember you had to pick up all the handouts at the top of the lecture hall each week. I was so naive in 1990. Even about school, which I loved. I did not know the professors were “famous”. I thought their only job was to teach me physics/chemistry/math. I didn’t know who the people were teaching the recitation sections (grad students), I think I remember thinking – where did they find these young-ish people who were often so bad at teaching? I did not know they were not there to teach me, that they were their to do their own research work. I thought college was centered around undergraduates – and in some colleges undergrads are the star, but not at the school I went to.

I did not like physics, I spent a lot of time sleeping in physics class – and only years later did I learn that Prof. Lewin was apparently famous for being not only a great researcher, but also a great teacher. And then yesterday I learned that MIT stripped him of his emeritus title and wiped all his lectures off of the open courseware because he it came to light that he was harassing women students (online most recently, but probably off line as well prior to online harassment opportunities).

The class I loved the most freshman year was organic chemistry taught by Prof. Kemp. I think they did not yet have very good chemical structure drawing software, or else Kemp didn’t want to bother formatting it all and just hand wrote all the problem sets. I loved learning from him, all his notes were color coded, and I found organic chemistry like a dance of electrons, with its own rhythms and flow. I spend many happy library study hours practicing chemical syntheses pathways. Anyways, I found out yesterday, the Prof. Kemp passed away from COVID in early summer after some years of dementia. It was sad and lovely to read the obit, to learn a bit more about one of my favorite teachers.

I can’t do any of this work anymore. I don’t remember any chemical reactions, multivariable calculus, I don’t remember any of those pesky light equations. I barely even remember the names of the equations – Maxwell’s, Grignard, etc. I looked through some of my old exams and marveled how I once knew how to calculate all the things I could calculate!

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.