One Year Ago Today

I keep doing this but here’s something I posted one year ago today:

179/365

Just in case you forgot that society fell apart in March 2020 and here we are in February 2021 and it still hasn’t come back online yet.

We are only 15 days away from the one year anniversary of my last day in the office. It’s been a brutally long two weeks.

Screw you, Covid-19.

THE STIR CRAZY FILES – EPISODE 74

Today is the magical day.

Back story: I’ve been working from home for over 11 months now and there hasn’t been a single instant, not even a nanosecond, when I’ve missed commuting. Not one. I do not miss cramming my fat ass into a metal box for 80 minutes or so, working 8.5 hours, and then getting back into the metal box for another 80 minutes. I don’t miss it even one tiny little bit.

However… When I was commuting there was one day of each year that was sort of magical. It was sort of a light at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel of which I speak is winter. It does not involve a groundhog or anything like that, it only involves the sun.

My shift ends at 5:30 PM. That’s 1730 for you military time folks. During the winter, when I left the building to go home it was dark. During the summer it’s light. You know how the sun works and seasons and all of that, right? You know what I’m talking about.

The one special, magic day each year was the first day when the sun set at the same time my shift ended. 5:30 PM. The sun would, of course, be down by the time I actually go out the door, but that’s not the point. The point is from that day forward, the days were not only getting longer but I could actually perceive them getting longer. Does that make sense? Sunset at 4:30 or 5:00 didn’t affect me at all because I was inside the whole time and I didn’t actually get to experience the extra minute or so of light each day. Once the sun started setting after 5:30, I did get to experience the extra light.

So every year I would check the times of the sunset and quietly celebrate the symbolic moment when the sunset started happening after my work day.

Today is that day. It’s Friday February 25, 2021 and the sunset in Methuen, MA today will happen at 5:30 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Happy 5:30 day, everyone. Enjoy.

THE STIR CRAZY FILES – EPISODE 73: Mr Fix It

Well, this morning one of our smoke detectors started giving the low battery squawk. We needed a tried and true handy man to track it down, take it off the ceiling, change the batteries, and put it back on the ceiling. We needed a hero. Fortunately that hero was available and came through for us. That hero… was me.

Yes, Robert is so tall that when the low battery squawk starts his head is close enough to the ceiling that he can both track down the ailing unit and reach up to unscrew it from its perch. Yes, his skills are virtually endless. The biggest challenge though was getting the dying batteries out of the damm thing. Something about the model we have, they really stick those batteries in there good. I was, of course, able to prevail in that struggle, and all is well with our smoke detecting system once more.

Please, please, no applause. Just throw money.

Now if I could just figure out why my SleepWatch report from last night keeps disappearing (was it because my watch was on the charger?) and why I only managed an 8% sleeping heart rate dip last night. That is just not optimal! (On the report it labels 8% as “not optimal” so you see what I did there?)

I really need Covid to be over. Really.

The Stir Crazy Files – Episode 72: Slasher Flick

Thanks to that prick Covid, we can’t go to stores. All of our home goods needs are coming from The Amazon. (I’m thinking about referring to Amazon.com as The Amazon. I’m not sure if I like it, I’m just trying it on for size.) That includes stuff like ice melt for the driveway. I’ve bought a couple of three gallon tubs of it. The first tub ran out when I cleaned up the snow on Monday morning. I knew it was coming so I had a second tub ready to go.

It snowed last night. Just a little, barely enough to cover the driveway, but I went outside and shoveled it all anyway. Good doobie and all that shit. When the driveway, walkway, and fire hydrant were all clear I went to put some ice melt down for the instacart delivery folks who are going to be here this morning. I couldn’t do it though. The cover on the second, as yet still unopened, tub was defective. There is supposed to be a pull tab, but it was still molded into the plastic cover. I was quickly able to cut it out with my trusty Swiss Army Knife (the true hero of Covid in our house, so much so that Santa brought one for Jen and Harry) but it didn’t help. I could grab the pull tab but I couldn’t actually pull it. Defective all around.

I tried cutting the pull strip off but I couldn’t get it. My Swiss Army Knife’s first ever fail. I tried prying the cover off with a screw driver but it wouldn’t come. Finally I did what Emperor Palpatine is always telling me to do. I gave in to the hate. I channeled all of the slasher flicks I’d ever seen back in my horror movie watching 20’s and I took my knife and stabbed it through the top of the lid. I carved around the edge enough that I could pull it back to make an opening…

…and I poured the new tub into the old tub and carried on with my day.

I blame Covid. You should too.

I Forgot

I have kept track of Covid-19 case and death counts for the United States going all the way back to March 1, 2020. Originally I was pulling the national numbers from a CNN tweet thread, but after a couple of weeks I ended up on the Johns Hopkins dashboard.

Massachusetts has been releasing the state’s data once a day since the beginning so I pulled the national numbers at the same time I pulled the state’s numbers. There have been a few times when I didn’t get a chance to look things up until the next morning, so my numbers weren’t exactly “daily” but they were close enough. The totals all worked out in the end.

Yesterday was the first day since I started this back in March that I went a whole day without looking up national numbers. Massachusetts is posting at 5:00 PM now so I try to do everything then. Yesterday when 5:00 came I was up to my eyeballs in work and I missed it. For the rest of the night and most of today I was so stressed out by work that I didn’t even think of my Covid spreadsheets.

Around 4:00 today I realized my mistake. I pulled yesterday’s MA numbers and brought that spreadsheet up to date. The US numbers… why bother. For the first time since all of this insanity started, my US spreadsheet is missing a day. The numbers are accurate now as I updated today at 5:00. Today’s entry just has two days worth of numbers.

It doesn’t matter though. I feel like I let the country down. I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain.

The Stir Crazy Files – Episode 71

When the COVID-19 craziness kicked off back in March, 10 months ago, one huge corner of our bedroom was completely empty. As the lock down progressed we bought a big cabinet for stuff and we inherited a great big dresser. Now that we’re thinking of rearranging the room we had to find new homes for those two giguntic pieces of furniture. Suddenly the room is looking empty again.

It’s weird that going back to what we had just a couple of months ago seems to be weird. It’s weird that it’s weird, right? Weird.

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.

The Stir Crazy Files – Episode 69

Episode 69… hehehe… sorry

A thought on the continuing saga of lock down. We are all swearing more. A lot more. All of us. Casually, emphatically, humorously, savagely. We’re all swearing more.

We watched an episode of a new show about swearing. I think it was called Swear, oddly enough. Is that a sign that people outside of our house are swearing more too? All of America is swearing more, so much so that we need a TV show to celebrate it.

I’m okay with that. There are a lot of things worth swearing about.

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.