The Stir Crazy Files – Episode 70

This isn’t so much a stir crazy moment as it is a monthly check in. Consider it more like The State of the Lock Down.

Yesterday marked 10 months since the last time I was at my desk in Waltham. Ten. 10. 10 months. Unbelievable. So much for two or three weeks. I keep writing that same thing every month, but it’s true. Harry is half way through his senior year in high school. Bellana is a couple of weeks away from staring her fourth semester in college. Jen and I are still plugging away at working from home. Life inside the house is still going well. Life outside of the house is crashing and burning in spectacularly horrifying fashion. Jen just told me that Massachusetts is sending National Guard troops to Washington, DC. 2021 is a nightmare and it’s only two weeks old.

We binge watched The Queens Gambit and it was every bit as riveting as you’ve heard. The first Disney+ Marvel series, WandaVision, premiers tomorrow. I just read they are releasing two episodes, which means I probably won’t be caught up before work in the morning. Wonder Woman ’84 was probably not as bad as most people are saying, but it wasn’t very good. I’ve seen Pedro Pascal in three roles now. He was outstanding in Game of Thrones. He is perfect in The Mandalorian. He was horrendously awful in Wonder Woman. What the hell happened? As for Diana, wishing for her lost love? The goddess who hangs everything on some man? I don’t buy it. It’s clear what she would have wished for. She would have wished to be able to go home. Whatever. Bellana and I started watching The Stand. My favorite book by my favorite author (arguably, it’s either him or Clive Barker) has been turned into a television series and… we’re a few weeks behind now, but it’s not that good. Cobra Kai season three is out there but we haven’t started it yet. Bellana’s not interested so we’re holding off until she goes back to school at which time Jen and Harry and I will likely binge the whole season in a day.

Our Christmas decorations are down and put away. Everything except the lights outside. We had originally agreed to leave those up until inauguration day. Now we’re joining up with a little movement one of our local hospitals is pushing to leave them on for the month of January in honor of those risking their lives to fight Covid-19. Absolutely. We are on board.

One of our cars has it’s check engine light on. I am assuming it’s something to do with air leaking into the gas line, but messing with the gas cap hasn’t helped. It’s low on gas right now so hopefully it will resolve when I fill it again. Unfortunately the car also has an expired inspection sticker and I just don’t want to risk exposure for it. The other car doesn’t expire for a couple of months. That one had tire pressure warnings so I did go to a gas station to top them off. I didn’t run into anyone. It was safe.

Obligatory thank yous to folks on the ground from amazon and grubhub and instacart. You’re all helping to keep my family safe and I will never stop appreciating it.

Jen and I are still lighting candles in every room in the house for no reason at all. Amazon just delivered a big box of fresh supplies. We’ll be telecommuting by candle light for a while longer.

I’m really tired of all of this crap. The upside is that we’re about a week away from having an actual government Covid-19 response plan. It’s probably too late, but maybe it will straighten out the bullshit we’re seeing with vaccine distribution so far. Fingers crossed.

Mostly, fingers crossed that this ends soon.

Covid-19 Case Counts

I’m still updating my Covid-19 spreadsheets every day. Infection and death counts every day for both the United States and Massachusetts.

Today is day #316.

I really want to stop. I really do. I just can’t bring myself to do it. It’s devastating to watch the US go from 21 million cases to 22 million cases in four days. It’s heartbreaking to see the 375,000 deaths creep closer and closer to 380,000.

Still… I can’t stop. I feel like I owe it to the people who are sick. It’s stupid, but I do sort of feel that way. I owe it to the people who’ve died. It’s literally the least I can do.

Wear a damn mask and wash your damn hands.

High Stress

The stress level is very high today. That is expected to a degree, but it’s much higher than it should be. I should actually be relaxing a little. I thought I was going to have to go into one of my company’s buildings this week but I found out today I don’t have to. I only have to wait in the parking lot. That’s nice. That should be calming me down, and it probably is a little, but it’s not straightening me out.

It’s probably Georgia that’s messing me up. The control of the US Senate is up for grabs after all and moscow mitch is just as evil and vile as the cheeto so getting him out of the majority leader seat is pretty gigantic. There’s also the coup d’état that the cheeto and his cult are trying to pull off. The next hurdle in thwarting his idiotic ass is tomorrow when the joint session of congress certifies the electoral collage vote. What could go wrong there? Who knows. Our country is an absolute shit hole right now. Screw you cheeto, and your little cult too.

On a personal note though… calm down, fatty. Stop stressing over things you can’t control.

In closing:

Let’s go Georgia (clap clap clapclapclap).

12/30 Random

Tomorrow is New Years Eve. I have to work. We never get NYE off. We get Christmas Eve off, but never NYE. Why don’t I ever put in for that day? I don’t know… I guess I’m just responsible. Idiot.

Speaking of work, late next week I am going to be issued a new computer. A laptop this time. 16+ years as a desktop user and I’m making the switch. Actually, we’re all making the switch. At least that’s the rumor. The company is going laptop across the board. I’m actually the last of my group to get one. No more trying to find an open desk when I travel between buildings.

Traveling between buildings is actually the issue here. I actually have to do it in order to pick up the lappy. I have to go to the building in Canton. I don’t want to. Not even a little bit. I haven’t been in a work building since March 13th and I was really hoping to stay out until I got that second dose of one of the vaccines. I have to do all sorts of health checks before I can walk into the building, and I have to wear a mask the whole time. It’s safe, I just don’t like it. I’ll only be in there for 15 minutes or so. Still… I’m freaking a little. Just a little.

Speaking of work things that don’t have anything to do with work, I’m sitting at my desk finishing up lunch, typing this little postie and listening to music. My iPad is streaming to our new pair of HomePod Minis. It’s a really sweet little setup. I set my entire iTunes library to shuffle. It’s been running since a bit before 9:00. If I leave it on for a few days it still won’t have repeated a file. It just played a song from a Boston music compilation CD (Pipeline!) by a great band called Christmas. I thought to myself, I wonder if they are on Apple Music. I brought it up and searched and… yeah, shoulda known better. Naming your band Christmas back in the ’80’s might have been a cool move. Naming your band Christmas in the ’20’s when no one goes to record stores anymore and everyone finds your music by searching in one app or another… not a good move.

The kids are coming over tonight. That makes me happy. The kids are spending New Years Eve at their dad’s. That makes me sad. It’s the price we pay for having them at our house Christmas morning, but it still makes me sad.

Okay, it’s 2:00 so I need to get back to work. Lunch time is over. Back to it, red head.

One Tiny Missing Detail

It just dawned on me that Covid-19 has taken something away from me that I used to look forward to. It’s a teeny tiny detail, but I didn’t get to experience it this year. Note: this is not a complaint at all, just a comment.

I’ve mentioned on this blog (one or two thousand times) that I have a long, painful commute to work. Thanks to the Covid lock down I haven’t had to make that commute in over nine months. This is a good thing. The silver lining to our personal Covid nightmare, if you will.

Traditionally speaking, there is only one day each year in which my horrid commute is actually pleasant. One day out of the roughly 260 business days over the course of a year where I don’t really mind the drive to and from work.

That one day is the last business day before Christmas. On that day, there is never any traffic. I get in the car, hit the highway, and I’m in the parking lot in record time. It’s brilliant.

Today is the last business day before Christmas. Again, I’m not complaining. It’s just another little thing that I always looked forward to (on the rare moments that I actually thought about it) that I don’t get this year. Obviously my commute today was better than any other year. I just sat down and started working. I’m just saying, okay?

The Stir Crazy Files – Episode 68

Quinoa. It’s not all the same. Who woulda thunk?

When I was still going to grocery stores I bought quinoa from what we’ll call Brand A. When I cook the one dish I know how to cook I put one cup of quinoa into two cups of boiling water and it takes about 15-16 minutes for the quinoa to absorb all the water.

For most of our lock down, instacart has been bringing us quinoa from what we’ll call Brand B. When I cook the one dish it takes about 9-10 minutes for the one cup of quinoa to soak up the two cups of water.

After months cooking with Brand B, instacart brought us Brand A again. Hooray! Not that it is better tasting (thought I think it might be) but just because it was fun. Unfortunately I was in such a groove of needing 10 minutes that having it take 15 completely threw me off my game.

In true stir crazy covid spirit though, I can’t help but wonder what the difference is? Why does one brand act so different from another? I mean, I can get two brands of onions and they cook up pretty much the same way. I can get two brands of chicken and they cook up pretty much the same way? What’s so special about quinoa, and is one brand normal and the other not? Is 15 minutes the industry standard while 10 is some kinda freakin’ freak?

Enquiring minds need to know.

There is a Difference

I am way too loose with the word quarantine. I use it interchangeably with lock down and I really shouldn’t. They are two different things. Lock down is when you shut down your social activities in order to help keep everyone safe. Quarantine is when you suspect that you may have the virus and shut yourself in to absolutely keep everyone safe.

The end goal is the same, it’s just that lock down is much more abstract than quarantine. Lock down is a concept, or a mind set. Quarantine is your responsibility.

I need to stop using quarantine when I mean lock down and vice versa.

The Stir Crazy Files – Episode 67

I’ve mentioned this one or two (thousand) times before but when the lock down started we vowed (well, that’s too dramatic a word but it works) that we would make the bed every day. After a few months my company made a suggestion that if you’re from home in your bedroom you should keep your bed made. Two good reasons to keep the room looking neat.

I made the bed this morning. While doing so, I very nearly did the single most impossible thing a human being can do. I nearly, very nearly, made the bed while the cat was sitting on it. I pulled up the sheet on my side of the bed while Patches was sitting on Jen’s side. I walked around to Jen’s side and Patches walked back to my side and I did the sheet again. Same thing with the blanket. I did one side while she was on the other. As I was grabbing the decorative pillows to finish the bed making job, Jen walked in the room and Patches the magical kitty jumped off the bed to go say hello to her.

I was that close to completing the single most impossible task ever.

The Stir Crazy Files – Episode 66

Execute Stir Crazy Files Order #66. What? Oh, sorry…

I’m feeling trapped. It’s rough today. I think it’s more than just the lock down. I think it’s the weather and the thin little sheet of ice that is covering everything. The Christmas lights are on, it’s warm and cozy inside, I have every thing I want and need and all I can think of is going outside. It’s barely above freezing out there but I want out. I want to go to a restaurant and a concert and a music store that sells Gibson guitars and Fender amplifiers.

In the immortal words of Tiny Rick Sanchez, “Let me out. Let me out.”

The kids will be coming over tonight. That is good. It should cheer me up. It does, definitely, but I still want out. I want to go outside. I want to go for a drive and have a destination. Come on, let’s end this pandemic thing and go out and see the world.

Let me out!

(having said all of that, I am most definitely not going out. I am, and will remain, a loyal observer of the lock down. I will keep my family safe and healthy if it’s the last thing I do)

Cautious Optimism

The United Kingdom has approved one of the Covid-19 vaccines (Pfizer’s? I think?). They are starting to work on actual distribution.

There is suddenly a very tiny pin prick of light at the end of this long, black coronavirus tunnel.

The United States isn’t there yet. I’m not sure what the FDA’s timeline is, or even if they have a timeline yet. I’m not sure what Pfizer and Moderna need to do to proceed. I’ve heard that first responders and elderly folks in homes will be the first Americans to receive the vaccine. I’m good with that. After that, I don’t know what the rumors are. I hope my step son and his immune deficiencies will be near the front of the line. My weight problem puts me at risk too, but I want him taken care of first.

It’s still going to take months for that tiny pin prick of light to grow into an opening big enough for us to walk through, and it is WAY too early to start making plans. Still, we have a high school graduation in the Spring. We are hoping to go back to Disney World in the Summer.

I’m spending my lunch break today listening to a podcast where two part time musicians are fantasizing about getting their bands back together in the Spring and what that’s going to be like. I don’t want to look that far ahead. I don’t want to get optimistic. I don’t want to start fantasizing. But… that first band practice is going to feel like a victory parade. We’re going to play like garbage and it’s going to be the most enjoyable rehearsal in the history of rehearsals. The first gig… when we can fill up a room with friends and family and music lovers and people from all walks of life… that is going to be a celebration like no other. That is going to be an amazing experience. I mean, yeah we’re just a silly cover band, but it’s going to be a wonderful thing.

Don’t get cocky, Robert. Cautious optimism is all you get for now. Maybe stop thinking about that tiny little point of light at the end of the tunnel. Try, at least.