Thursday, April 16, 2020

Chugging Along in My Personal Rut

Ugh, you guys, right? I think it is Thursday, but I really can't be sure because every day is like every other goddamn day around here. I mean, knock on wood and all, because if shit changes up it probably means someone is sick or the world is ending. Who can know for sure though?

My day usually starts with me rolling out of bed around 9. I spend a couple of minutes debating whether I want to wear workout leggings or sweatpants for the day. In a daily fit of optimism, I usually put on the leggings, which comes in handy around 4pm every day.

My first task of the morning is cat litter scooping. See, April is my month to do it, which has actually turned out pretty well, because it gets me outside every single day.
Photo of my  house's outdoor garbage nook where we keep our garbage and recycling bins.
Ah, fresh air!
From there, I move to my spot on the couch where I check my phone and eat my breakfast.

Photo of my breakfast: a can of Diet Coke and 7 pills
This breakfast keeps me from killing myself. It also helps my joints.
I run through my daily phone tasks, like checking Facebook where I can see memories from one year or five years or eight years ago that assure me that once there was a time when I really did leave the house on a regular basis. Instagram shows me people pretending to do really well in their tiny apartments. Then I check my email, where I learn about the number of COVID-19 cases in Harrison County, Indiana.

Screenshot of an email from a Harrison County Case Count noreply email address about number of cases in that county. A sentence at the bottom tells me that if I want to manage the way I receive the messages, I need to login to my account.
I don't live in Harrison County, Indiana.
See, there are people with my (married) name all over this fucking world who sign up for things with reckless abandon using my email address. I regularly get personal emails from people thinking they are inviting some other Jean to parties and stuff. Once I was invited to cat yoga in Pennsylvania, to which I considered going. There is a French Jean trying to sign up for PayPal who keeps trying to confirm MY email address as theirs. They are lucky that I am a good person. There's a Jean somewhere with a subscription to Country Living in serious arrears because all the invoices come to me and I can't stop them unless I can login to their account.

Which brings me to Harrison County, Indiana, which is doing a spectacular job of keeping their citizens informed during this time of crisis. Seriously. So many emails. I also have to login here if I want to stop these emails. Fortunately, I have Jean's email address, which I used to retrieve her user name. Unfortunately, I need to answer a security question before they will let me reset my password. After extensive research into this person, I am still unable to guess where is the city where their mother and father met. Lord have I tried! I also sent a pleading email to the only address I could find associated with their site, to no avail. I've finally reached acceptance.

From there, I usually wander to my computer, where I check Maryland stats for COVID-19 cases and try to remember that these aren't numbers. They are PEOPLE.  It's usually about 10am by this time, which is usually the first instance of Quinn asking what is for dinner.

The hours between 10am and 3pm are usually my productive hours, with a hard stop at 3. It's really hard to get anything done after that. I spend these hours either working, writing (it's 1:07 right now!), or pretending to do stuff while sitting at my desk. If I'm not sitting at my desk, I will take a nap and a 10am nap is really not good for anyone, so it's better if I'm sitting up.

I also use this time—my productivity time—to check my kids' homework, make lists of my kids' homework, harass my kids about their homework, and check to make sure my kids turned in their homework. My friend Teach Mama created an amazing organization sheet that is the only thing keeping my kids on the positive side of a passing grade.

Photo of a spreadsheet listing classes and assignments due
It's so simple, but nothing I would have managed to create on my own.
It is usually after I finish my important daily tasks that I fall into my mid-afternoon pit of despair.

Photo of me lying on my side on a bed looking defeated.
Every day.
I spend that time mulling over all my worries, anxieties, and do a thorough inventory of my flaws. I also wonder if there is any candy in the house that I don't know about and where it might be if there is.

From there, I remember that I am wearing workout leggings for a reason and I usually do a workout. To combat my almost complete inertia, I've been trying to find really hard workouts to do—something that will make me sore the next day. For the most part, I've been pretty successful. I've grown to really enjoy that first stiff, muscle soreness stretch in the morning.

By now it's 4 or 5 in the afternoon, which means two things: (1) my cats start thinking it is time for me to feed them and (2) clearly after I shower I am putting on pajamas, not clothes.

I used to workout later in the day, so my upstairs cats now associate my finishing a workout with getting fed, so they start throwing tantrums when I commence post-workout stretching.

Two photos: on left Pickles sitting on a green yoga mat next to my outstretched leg; on right: me laughing because Pickle is butting up against my head between me and the camera
Pickles does his part to help with the stretching though.
Their efforts are for naught though because 4 or 5pm is not actually cat dinner time although sometimes their desperate little furry faces convince me to pity feed them.

Photo of Sharky the white cat staring up at me desperately
I mean, c'mon.
Try walking away from that face. It's harder than you think.

Post workout is sitting time, so depending whether I want to let myself fall asleep or not, I'll try to read on the couch or work on a puzzle at the table. I can usually get in a solid 15 to 20 minutes of reading before I nod off. I have yet to fall asleep on a puzzle.

Then comes dinnertime, when Alex—who still has to go in to his office—and I play an elaborate game of chicken to see who will give up and make dinner first. There is no winner in this game. Especially not Quinn, who developed his own idea of what he wanted to eat way back before productivity time and is now disappointed that he is being forced to eat yet another veggie, chicken, and rice dish.

After dinner it's all milling about and watching television and playing video games until we all eventually give up and wander to our beds. Usually I'm the last one to go to my room because I have to wait until Alex goes to bed to watch the TV I like but he doesn't, which is most of what I like. Don't get me started.

Despite being nearly unable to keep my eyes open at 6pm, 1:30am is the time I lie in a dark room and think about all the things in the world that I have to worry about, which, it turns out, is a lot of things. So far I've always finally been able to fall asleep until the next morning, when I get to wake up and evaluate how successful the prior day's workout was in making me sore today.

What now? Workout leggings or sweatpants?

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Gray Centers

For every silver lining, there is a giant, dripping, fucking dark gray cloud. Welcome to my post about how March was the longest 600 days I've ever been through. Oh, and in case you were feeling optimistic, April shelter-in-place is TWICE as long as what we've already done.

Photo of gray clouds

Everything sucks and here is why:

There has only been one day. It began millennia ago and will end long after we're all dead and rotted away. Is it seriously only fucking Wednesday? OH MY GOD.

Everything is cancelled. Which is great right up until it's the one goddamn thing you wanted to do this spring and that was go see Jesus Christ Superstar at the Kennedy Center but it's in April, so you can't do it and also you have to donate the cost of the tickets so the great nonprofit theatre in your area doesn't have to shut down, so you're out $200 AND you don't get to see one of your Top 5 musicals.

You can't pretend to not be around when someone calls. Because everyone knows that everyone else is sitting forlornly in their homes staring at their phones all fucking day, so when someone calls and you text back to explain why you can't talk, it has to be for ridiculous reasons, like "I was playing a board game with my family," which everyone knows is a bald fucking lie because no one likes to play board games with their families during normal times and we certainly don't want to play Monopoly with the same people we spend twenty hours a day staring at.

Did anyone in my family ever like each other ever? Based on the bickering in my home, we have all hated each other since day one and as soon as the governor, who probably lives in a bigger house with fewer people than us, sets us free, we are all going to depart for separate vacations. The only thing I hear more often than "Can you not?" is "Stop fighting, you guys." Neither phrase is effective.

Pandemic pounds. It turns out that when the longest distance you walk is from that one couch to the other couch and your only stop is at the kitchen where you can eat your delicious, delicious feelings, you gain weight.

You can't pet dogs. And when you do get outside to go running or walking and you pass someone with a dog, you can't pet that dog, because no one's leash is six feet long and whereas in the previous world, dogs were all blase about being petted by strangers, now that's all they seem to want to do, so they are all desperate and lungey and sad and that makes it even worse because it's not just that you don't get to pet the dog, but you're disappointing the dog too.

Your kids don't leave for the school day but you still have to harass them about homework. On Monday, which was the first day of distance learning in our school district, I spent ONE HOUR figuring out what my kids needed to do and looking at the videos the district said I needed to look at and making sure that my kids were aware of their assignments and each of them spent five fucking minutes doing work. IT SEEMS UNFAIR.

Everyone will deliver food to your door except for the one place you want to deliver food to your door. Yesterday I got all sad about missing ice cream and my friend was all, "you can get that delivered," so I got my kids all excited about ice cream and had them submit their orders on DoorDash and kept saying things like, "Ice cream will be here in 24 minutes! Ice cream will be here in 18 minutes! Ice cream will be here in 17 minutes!" and then, just after I said, "Ice cream will be here in six minutes!" I got an email from DoorDash that my order was cancelled and the driver texted me to say that the store was closed, so I wasted that poor guy's time AND I got my kids, who had not been thinking about ice cream at all, to REALLY, REALLY wish that they had ice cream.

The line for the drive-through Starbucks is all around the building, out onto the street, and around the corner to the other street. Actually this one amuses me because I don't drink coffee.

It has become abundantly clear that I am an asshole. See above item.

Oh, also, people are sick and we have the worst president we could possibly have in a time of crisis, and people are evidently running out of toilet paper, and crisis, crisis, crisis!

Maybe April will be great!