Anxiety, unisolating, spanish.

Maxi having her occasional panic attack where she hides under our desks and shivers. We’ve been giving her some natural anti-anxiety meds recommended by the vet which seemed to have been working, but not yesterday. Jeremy wants to try some CBD. We’ll see.

Keyla, our au pair from a few years ago, extended her au pair experience an extra year after being with us for a year and moved to California to be with another family. There, she fell in love with an American and is getting married to him. They now live in Colorado. The wedding was suppose to be in Buenos Aires last November, but that didn’t happen. They rescheduled at that time for Buenos Aires in March, 2021. But that became complicated as well, so they are doing it on the day they picked in March, but they are doing it in Estes Park, CO. I texted her a little note giving warm wishes for a beautiful wedding day, and she was like – come! come to my wedding! I’d love to see you. I was caught off guard and said – oh! I can’t come, I was just going to watch the zoom feed. But then Jeremy said – maybe you should go, it should be ok. And then the thought of going is overwhelming me (in a good, delicious way). I was like – I get to take a plane ride, rent a car, see people. Eat with other people. See Keyla! Meet her beau! Go to a wedding! But I thought about it and even if it’s outside with only 20 other people, here is no way I’m not kissing and hugging Keyla and everyone if I go. How is that even possible? Honestly, for a variety of reasons, I think the wedding will be relatively well attended and indoors (can it really be outside in March in Colorado??) and how can you not eat/drink at a wedding? I thought I was going to break my isolation gently and slowly, like maybe with a dinner with two other people. But Jeremy was like – maybe you should just go big. Break it for a good, wonderful, occasion.

Speaking of Buenos Aires, initially I was hoping to go the city to see if I could get along in Spanish at all. And the answer is no. I can not. I’m stuck learning sentences in which I “know” all the words, but nothing makes any sense. I’m trying to learn idioms. All these simple sentences which don’t translate well: Whatever it is, it’s something good either way. What do you mean he’s not here? She’s around. Awesome! How far are you? He’s never as nice as us. Yes, everything, even the house. It was time to be at home. I’m home again. Actually, I am happy.

Snowman, vaccine, going back to school.

Sometimes you look outside and are surprised that you have a snowman in your front yard. It’s a good one! The snow was perfect for snowman building. And we have a resident toddler – a good combo for snowman making.

We celebrated Sofi’s tenth outside before the start of the Super Bowl. In the most exciting way I could think of pandemic-wise: with sparklers. Yes, I’m wearing one of those blanket/sweatshirt things.

We were lucky enough to secure a vaccine appointment on Monday for Edda. Edda’s teacher texted us late Friday night saying that they opened some slots at a hospital about 30 minutes away from us and kept encouraging us to keep trying with the website (we almost gave up after being stymied for 15-20 minutes). It took us about 30 minutes to get the appointment using the clunky website (kept kicking us out and kept saying no appointments available, you had to keep refreshing). Jeremy took her for her 5:50 pm appointment and they waited outside for almost an hour. We were lucky also that they had the Pfizer one which Edda is OK to take as she is 16. She qualified as Group IB tier 2, a person with developmental disabilities. Since it was the last appointment of the day, I was hoping Jeremy could maybe ask for an extra dose, but the lines were long and they were already running late and there was already a long group of people waiting to see if there were going to be extra doses at the end of the day, so it didn’t work out, but that’s fine. Jeremy is OK to wait.

She got her little sticker. We are going to give her Motrin for a couple of days. Last night, she had a hour long low-grade seizure (?) I can’t tell anymore – during dinner.

Edda is going to be the first to go back to school starting March 1st. Four days a week. We are excited and looking forward to it. A bit nervous, but still excited.

Sledding.

I went sledding with Sofi yesterday. I don’t think I’ve been sledding in over a decade. Sofi is a cool kid and I like hanging out with her and we have nice mid-day walks almost every weekday, but I have to say – it is 10000x easier to go sledding with a kid who is not your kid. There was no whining, no complaining about snow in boots or that the sled was too heavy to carry. It was pure fun from start to finish. We walked to the park, tied Max to a trash can, and went down the hill a few times together and many times just Sofi. I did go down this mini-mogul with her, which was fun when we were sailing through the air, but the landing was a little harder than I think I should ask my spine to withstand a second time.

Snow, pipes, quilt.

It’s been a strange snowstorm. It started snowing on Sunday and it’s still snowing now (Tuesday morning). Accumulation has been about 4 inches… I thought there might have been a possibility of me being stuck at the hospital on Sunday – I did pack an overnight bag, but I didn’t need to stay. I was tired for my Sunday shift. The floor was relatively empty but the people who were stuck there needed a lot of care and we were short a tech. I can’t tell how I feel about anything anymore – everything is such a slog. Was that shift a terrible shift? Or was I just tired? Am I just tired for that day? Or am I tired because it’s been such a tough year? I shouldn’t have been tired, I’ve been sleeping ok. I can be upbeat for a phone call or a zoom best buddies meeting or for Jeremy or for whatever, but then some feeling of exhaustion or disassociation just washes over me at times. Most notably it happened on Sunday, when I saw on my work phone a caller-ID that meant that a family was calling for an update on one of my patients right when I had sat down to sit down for the first time – perhaps at noon or 1 pm and had just opened my favorite Ritz Bitz cheese cracker snack that Jeremy packs for me just because he knows I love them and I girded myself to sound cheerful and helpful and then I said – hello? and the daughter (who also sounded tired) and said – I’m calling for so-and-so and I just kind of froze and drew a blank and paused for much too long and then thought to myself – I can not do this anymore, but in reality said – yes? and then she kind of said in kind of an exasperated way – I’m calling for an update! And really, what could I say? Nothing had changed, but I wanted to make it sound like something interesting or good was happening. Mostly she wanted to talk to her dad, which I was able to do the next time I rounded through his room.

The water main on our street sprung a leak? burst? while I was at the hospital on Sunday and the crews worked most of the day to fix it. The were still there when I got home at 8 pm – Jeremy was like I hope you don’t want a shower, there is no water. But it was back on by the time we went to bed. We had to flush out some dirt from the pipes.

I’m making some progress on the quilting. I think I’m going to keep this one. I usually give them away!

In-person, vaccine, mittens.

I think Edda might go back to in-person school in March. They are arranging for all the staff of the special needs kids to be vaccinated first and I think Edda’s beloved teachers and paras are getting theirs this week, or maybe they have already gone last week. Edda is qualified in Maryland as group IB Tier 2 and I preregistered her for a Montgomery County clinic. It’s a little bit iffy as I think Edda, as a 16 year old, qualifies only for the Pfizer vaccine, but she’s turning 17 in March. But that still might not help with the Moderna. We’ll see how it goes. Even if she isn’t vaccinated, I think we’ll send her back if the variants don’t take over and the vaccines turn out to be completely worthless. I’m hopeful.

My parents got their first dose last Friday. They qualify to get theirs now as they are both almost 80. They were initially vaccine hesitant (they are kind of uber-late-adopters, not never-adopters) and wanted to wait a long time until they got theirs, but I think after they figured out that I didn’t die from mine (thanks mom and dad for having me be your genetic guinea pig!) and they started getting texts from their friends that they had gotten theirs, they were excited to get in line. Kind of. (I have heard many many frustrating stories from friends about how tough these appointments are to get for their elderly parents, I had offered my parents only website links and not my direct help in trying to get an appointment.) My parents got intel from friends that a clinic was happening at a high school down the street from their house and they went over and told them that they were 80 and asked if they could get vaccinated. The staff said that they had to make an appointment online and then my dad said that they didn’t know how to use a computer and that it was really cold outside (it was) and couldn’t they help them out? And they did. My parents got the Moderna vaccine.

I remember so well how angst ridden I was throughout Vince’s college application process. So much so that I had to remove myself from the process and leave it in Jeremy’s hands. Vince had many weekends where he was immobilized in bed, dreading actually doing the applications. I was so hung up about so many things, I could not let it go. I couldn’t let it play itself out without driving myself crazy. It was not fun. But I’m so pleased with how it turned out and I would not have predicted this at all. Earlier this year, UC Davis announced they were going to have a four year degree program for people with intellectual disabilities, which of course, means a lot to many of Edda’s friends and community. Now, it turns out, Vince is going to the university using the most innovative strategies in the country to manage covid. It warms my heart that we are sending Vince and supporting this kind of inclusive & innovative school. And Vince is really starting school now. He’s met friends that now he seems bonded to, he’s gone through some academic hiccups/struggles. He’s sure he’s at the right college. He’s figuring out how to manage both an increase in school work demands with new friendships. It’s a delight to see him grow in this way.

And finally, a Kiki spoof on Bernie’s meme. Mittens provided by Johanna.

Gender, vaccine.

I was reading this about gender and sexuality. Vince and I regularly talk about gender identity and how he and his friends are thinking about it. I understand from discussions with mothers (my age) with teenage daughters that many girls think a lot about gender identity as they grow up. I think if I was growing up now, I would also think about my gender identity, because I do not strongly lean female. Would I have been confused? I was already so confused then, it hurts me to think that I would have added an extra thing to be confused about. Being a female is not that important to me, I don’t strongly identify with being female or doing “female” or “male” things. I also don’t have body dysmorphia, I like my body for the most part. I wouldn’t, like the writer, above, change my body to be a male to have all the privileges of being male. I sincerely believe (though maybe mistaken) that women have a lot of power. And I am happy to have been able to be pregnant and have babies and nurse them. I honestly, don’t think very much about gender. I don’t think of myself as female first. I think of myself as Doris – the human. I had short hair in college and lots of people misgendered me as a boy, but I didn’t care. I wear my hair more female now only because I feel bad when other people feel bad because they misgender me because they think they’ve super offended me, but really I don’t care. I think I’d still like to buzz cut my hair and wear fun hats. But I understand that this gender thing is important to a lot of people.

On a non-gendered note: I got my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday! I was working a shift that day. I did get floated to a non-covid unit that which I happily took because it means by the time I get floated again (perhaps to a covid floor), I will have built up full efficacy of the vaccine. Floating always makes for a tougher shift. Everyone is very nice, but you don’t know who to call for help and you don’t know where alcohol pads are. And my patients seemed to all be a handful. Taking care of patients who have all their mental faculties intact or have none of their mental faculties intact are (relatively) easy to care for. It’s when they mostly have their shit together, but are just ever so slightly removed from reality (like 25% removed) that it gets challenging. They insist on things that can’t be argued with and are not true and often they know they are difficult, so they apologize, but then they forget they apologized and then continue on with peeing in the sink, accidentally dumping the dinner tray into their lap, using the call button every five minutes. I took the day off of my desk job on Tuesday to nap because I felt run down. I had a low-grade fever of 99.8 and I took some Motrin which took care of that and my pain in both arms (one from the shot and the other from my determined rotator cuff injury). I binge watched the Good Place. I have not done that in a long, long time. I went to bed and mumbled to Jeremy that I had such an unproductive day and he said – it’s been the most productive day of the whole pandemic, you are busy making antibodies to protect yourself and bring us a bit closer to ending this unending misery.

Jeremy estimates that he is 280,000,000th in line for the vaccine. He hopes all schoolchildren and college kids get vaccinated before him. Jeremy just shrugs and says, really, I never need to leave the house. So at 1.5 million doses a day, we are looking at late summer. I asked him if I should now, as a vaccinated person, take over the grocery shopping. I don’t actually like grocery shopping very much and since I’m not the cook in the family, it’s not a natural division of labor, but I’m competent at it. It is also Jeremy’s only trip outside the house ever. Once a week, he goes to the grocery store. Last week, he told me that his social interaction skills have atrophied enough that his small-talk interaction with the cashier was awkward. We decided that he gets to keep going grocery shopping.

Gene and Bette got their first shots on last Thursday. Sunday night dinner (via zoom), I tentatively made dinner plans with them in six weeks. I can’t believe it! Something to look forward to.

Coach, coffee, RA.

Jeremy found a biking coach of sorts. He found a friend who is willing to look at a training plan that Jeremy makes up and talk about it and give feedback. Jeremy likes to talk about and through things which I didn’t quite understand when I married him. He works through problems by talking about them for a long time. So sometimes my job is just to listen to him even though he already knows what he wants to do. It’s a lot of talking, so I’m grateful for this friend to help with the talking-about-biking-with-Jeremy part of my life. I’m actually not very good at listening. It’s my poorest skill, I’m always tuning out and turning inward to my own thoughts, so I have to make an effort to really listen. This doesn’t just happen with Jeremy. I’ve had co-workers tell me – I said hello and you walked right by and you didn’t answer! and it’s true, if I’m focused on something, I will just tune out the rest of the world and focus on my thing. I never talk through the solutions to my problems. I just want to decide and then do the thing I decided to do. And I like to tell no one what I decided. But since Jeremy is going to talk about his biking with another person, he spent the morning making a spreadsheet and a 4 page report on his last 5 years of bike training. This, to me, seems a bit obsessive. But it’s what he likes. I don’t even really like collecting data on my exercise, I just like chasing a particular feeling or effort.

Jeremy’s old coffee maker broke, so he replaced it with the exact same model, but in yellow. He paid an extra $10 for the yellow one and was so pleased by this splurge.

My shoulder is hurting more than I’d like to admit. I can still do many things, like even yoga or some lifting, but it’s sore and wears me out. It hurts to take a carton of milk out from the fridge – kind of like this weighted full arm extension hurts. Sometimes when I get hurt, I can get pessimistic and think I’ll be hurt forever. I’m not an optimist.

I tried to convince Vince to sign up to be a RA next year, but he’s excited to live in an apartment with a kitchen. He told me last night that he misses cooking and wanted more control of what he eats and so would really enjoy a kitchen. I get that. But I think he’d be an excellent RA. I did get him to sign up to be an orientation leader. They advertise the position as one week= $1000. And Vince admitted – I say that I don’t like icebreakers, but really, I kind of love them. (I know he loves icebreakers lol). And his school starts so late that being on campus a week early shouldn’t cramp his summer style.

Press releases, quilt, last Xmas gift.

As soon as Jeremy wakes up, his phone is in his hand. Today, he was reading the press releases from the EPA and DOE welcoming members of the Biden-Harris administration. Lots of familiar names for Jeremy. He thought about, but didn’t apply for a job. He has mixed feelings about this.

There is backlash for the Lander appointment.

I’m starting to quilt again. I showed this to Jeremy and he took a look at it and he complimented it profusely and then acknowledged his bafflement as to why anyone would do this. So much work! And the pieces are so small! What can I say? It’s relaxing.

New administration and the post office is working again. My last Christmas gift arrived yesterday. Ordered on Dec 10th, made it to within 10 miles of me by Jan 1st and then delivered to me yesterday. It’s Vince’s gift, now I need to mail it to him.

WHO!

Back in the WHO! Back in the Paris Agreement! Back to having daily press conferences with coherent agendas! Fauci going to meet with the WHO! What a relief. Everything seems possible when before, it all seemed impossible. Will Doris learn Spanish? Yes. Will Jeremy learn to shuffle dance? Yes. Will Edda’s seizures be manageable? Yes. Will I be able to find the mouse hole? Yes. Will we all be vaccinated in the next 100 days? YES YES YES. This feeling will be fleeting, but I’m taking it now and embracing it with a full heart.

I spent the day yesterday mixing work, watching the news, and celebrating. The afternoon was filled with a raucous, internalized, mostly-one-person gala where I listened to music and danced in the house – first starting with a whole slate of Sousa Marches (so many of them!) and then winding around to Bruce Springsteen, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Madonna, James Taylor, and finally settling on John Mellencamp.

And that poem! Gorgeous! Life with art, beauty, meaning and love. It is all possible.

Jeremy served a celebratory dinner. Beer for Jeremy, hard apple cider for me, and full strength orange mango juice for Edda (she usually gets 1/3 strength everyday for her Miralax, I think full strength is too much sugar). All in champagne flutes (and as these things go, one flute is already broken now).

And for super celebration, Jeremy made a batch of cookies. Shhhh. Don’t tell Jeremy I ate the rest of the Reese’s peanut butter cups earlier in the afternoon during my own personal celebration.