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Diary

Shelter-in-Place: Day 111

Not long after I posted yesterday’s update, I started feeling ill. I ended up quitting work for the day early and going to bed. I did manage to make and eat dinner, but then I went back to bed at around my normal bedtime. This morning I still felt bad so I took a full sick day and slept in as long as I could. Feeling bleh and still icky. Great way to start a holiday weekend.

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Diary

Shelter-in-Place: Day 110

Wow, okay, I haven’t posted in nearly a month, and haven’t done a true shelter-in-place update in longer than that. Way to go.

First I suppose I should say that I got through that depressive period. I had to physically go to my doctor’s office to get my prescription renewed, but he did it, and after readjusting to it I am doing all right.

It’s been so long since I’ve updated that I’m not sure it would be worth it to go through and list the few details I can pull together for each day (what I ate, anything out of the ordinary that happened). I did completely fill out my refrigerator calendar again:

A whiteboard calendar starting May 10 and ending June 20 with entries color-coded for exercise, food, paycheck, and "special".

Not a whole lot of exercise (reddish pink text) went on in May and June, as you can see. My plan had been to try and watch my way through all of Star Wars chronologically while walking on the treadmill in the mornings, but I only made it through TPM, AotC, the first two episodes of Clone Wars, and the first half hour or so of the Clone Wars movie. Maybe I’ll resume…someday. (Honestly, I am just really not interested in the “wars” part of Star Wars.)

Some nice things that happened during this time: I made cookies twice, I had two days off work for my birthday, I had a virtual birthday party with my work team, I had a virtual game night with my work team, I won three awards at work (and Sean and I celebrated with sushi), I went to the park with Heidi (both wearing masks and staying six feet apart), and I got started back with creative writing. For my birthday, Sean made me Gordon Ramsay style scrambled eggs for breakfast, I got Shane’s for lunch, and we had Outback for dinner with Cheesecake Factory for dessert. I had ribs instead of steak for a change of pace. Everything was awesome.

I don’t put the shows we’re watching on the calendar, but I can report that Sean and I finished watching all of NCIS, which is wild. 17 seasons. After that we went back and finished watching She-Ra, and now we are watching the 90s sitcom Just Shoot Me. We need to get to Picard at some point.

Here’s the calendar as it stands now:

A refrigerator whiteboard calendar starting on June 21 and ending on August 1, with entries color-coded for exercise, food, and paycheck/special

I switched the “special” things from dark purple to green so they would stand out more. One really nice thing that has happened so far is getting a new kitchen faucet. It’s a high-arc pull-down faucet; we had a regular pull-out faucet before. I like how much roomier the sink feels, and the hose is easier to deal with now (it got easily caught on the pipes under the sink before). The faucet got replaced because our old one simply stopped having any water pressure whatsoever, such that it was impossible to even clean the sink out. I thought the repair person would just fix it, but they replaced it instead!

(By the way, when maintenance comes to our apartment, they wear masks and maintain a good distance. It’s not ideal to have someone outside the household come in, but at least they are taking good measures.)

Forgot to write this on the calendar before I took the picture, but I did go on a half-hour walk with members of my work team today, virtually. We did a call-in meeting and walked in our own neighborhoods with our phones. The weather is pretty great today, and it wasn’t too hot yet at 9am, so the walk was lovely.

Another nice thing that happened recently was that on Monday, I decided to fully retract the blinds in the dining room instead of just opening them. It made such a dramatic difference!

A dining room with a table at the center and three tall windows beyond it looking out into a green forest
View of a forest through three tall windows

I’ve been retracting the blinds a lot since then. It’s so refreshing. Last night I had them open at dusk and I saw fireflies!

An unfortunate thing that has happened is that my tendinitis has flared up. It was so bad last week that I had to ask my boss to virtually meet with me so I could dictate an email to her. I’ve been doing my stretching and icing and wearing my braces since then, but it keeps coming and going. I may need to change something else, like how I sit either at my work desk or my personal computer in the living room (or both). Getting an adjustable desk and new chair at work was the main thing that worked the last time this happened…

One last thing before the tendinitis makes it impossible to type: I’ve booked a cabin for a long weekend toward the end of August! I’m hoping this will help refresh me even more…it’s hard to fight feelings of helplessness and pointlessness being trapped at home all the time. Sean and I will go get away from it all and just enjoy being in nature. I plan to try to write, but if my hands/wrists/forearms/elbows are still giving me fits then, I may just force myself not to do anything computer or phone related. I guess we’ll see. Regardless, it will be great to be in a different environment for awhile, and have a break from work!

To make this something close to a proper shelter-in-place update, here’s what’s been going on today:

  • Breakfast: boiled egg, Greek yogurt with frozen blueberries
  • Exercise: 1.12 mile walk from 9 to 9:30
  • Snack: a cup of leftover crab Alfredo
  • Lunch: turkey sandwich with pepper jack cheese, Lay’s chips, and sweet tea

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Diary

Ugh

Not having a great time at the moment.

I ran out of my antidepressant on Thursday morning, and I have no idea when my pharmacy is going to refill it. I’m skating around my usual depressive thoughts of “what is even the point of anything?”, wanting to dive into them and indulge in misery but also knowing that it won’t help me.

I feel like I should document stuff but I also don’t feel like documenting stuff. I’m tired and nothing seems worth doing.

That’s it, I guess.

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Diary

Shelter in Place: Day 77

What a nice day. First of all, it’s Friday. Second of all, several nice things happened today.

I’ve moved my photo-editing laptop out onto the dining table in place of my writing laptop, because I can write just as easily on it, and because I really want to get some photo editing done. I’m years behind on it. My writing laptop can still be used in bed, on the treadmill, or at the kotatsu.

Today I spent my lunch break moving all my latest photos off my phone and camera onto the hard drive, so I’ll be ready to do some editing when the time comes.

After I finished moving photos, I went back to work and made big strides on a task, then led a committee meeting. Then my team gave me a little virtual birthday party! It was just us hanging around on video chat, but it was fun. We talked about the Big Chicken and my boss and I talked about what it was like working for the TV station in Augusta, where we first met.

We hung up around 5:30, just in time for me to get ready for AJ and Connor to arrive. They were on their way to Florida for Connor’s paid summer internship. When they got here I met them at one of the apartment complex’s grilling areas and we social-distanced with masks on. It was so good to see them. We had a nice long talk. I gave AJ his Christmas present, the one that didn’t arrive in time for me to bring it to Kentucky at actual Christmas, and I also gave them a bag of homemade chocolate chip cookies which they devoured immediately (shifting their masks to do so, heh). AJ also brought me back my cooler, which I had forgotten in Kentucky when I went up there for a camping trip in October.

They’re going to try to stay overnight near a beach and actually go to the beach in the morning, being as safe as they can of course. I hope it’s not difficult for them to do so.

After they left I came back to the apartment and sanitized myself and my phone, then made dinner: beef casserole with noodles and rice. It’s a recipe I’ve made before and Sean and I both really liked it. We’re having it with mixed frozen veggies as per usual.

It’s the weekend, and tomorrow’s my birthday! Sean and I plan to get Outback for dinner and Cheesecake Factory for dessert. I’m really excited :)

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Diary

Shelter in Place: Day 76

This is the update for Thursday, May 28, 2020.

It was a pretty good day. I had to present some information at an all-hands meeting for work in the morning, so I got up and showered and dressed nicely and even put on a necklace. If you know me, you know that I am not a fan of public speaking, by which I mean I am terrified of it…but it actually went really well. Being on video chat instead of in a room full of people is very helpful. I put my script on the monitor where the webcam was and looked that that instead of anyone’s faces. Several coworkers sent me private messages afterwards to tell me I did a great job, which was amazing. I apparently didn’t look or sound nervous at all.

The rest of the workday went similarly well, and I had time for a lunch break too. Then that afternoon I had a therapy appointment. I was in a good mood, but I tried to recount how horrible I felt on Tuesday, because that seemed important. My therapist praised me for using coping mechanisms and riding out the low feelings. It was a nice conversation.

After that I made dinner, which was a pork roast with stir fry veggies and rice. We hadn’t done that combination before (or maybe we just hadn’t done it in a while?) and it was super delicious. We watched a bunch of NCIS until bedtime.

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Diary

Shelter in Place: Days 74–75

This is the update for Tuesday, May 26 and Wednesday, May 27, 2020.

As you saw in the massive almost-the-entire-month-of-May update, I have been going through some mood swings. Sometimes I’m fine and other times I’m terrible. Tuesday was a bad day, but writing everything out made me feel better towards the end of it.

For breakfast, I had a bowl of cottage cheese. For lunch, I grilled myself a chicken breast and covered it in what was left over of the barbecue sauce I made from scratch. I ate it with leftover mixed veggies and leftover mashed potatoes.

The LED light bars I ordered to light my china cabinet arrived, but I just took a picture of the box and didn’t do anything with them. I spent most of the day on my computer being depressed and writing that update.

Dinner was frozen fish, butter noodles, and more mixed veggies. I’m getting tired of this blend but it’s really the only decent one Kroger has besides stir fry. (And for some reason they no longer sell stir fry blends without noodles or rice or seasoning in them. Ugh.)

Today I was back to work. I let myself snooze for half an hour before getting up and getting ready. Sean took a shower shortly after I got up in preparation to get groceries. Since he hadn’t made me a breakfast or lunch (the first miss in I think this entire time), I ate the rest of the cottage cheese while working. I helped him a little bit with the grocery list and he offered to pick me up a smoothie on the way back from the store, which I eagerly took him up on.

Work was exhausting. I spent my lunch break coaching a colleague about a job, meaning I didn’t actually have a break. Sean made me a sandwich and chips and I ate those while working. I had two afternoon meetings, one a touchbase with my boss and the other a weekly planning meeting. By the end of it I was too tired to think.

When work was over I lay down on the couch and played with my phone for a little bit, then fell asleep, and I didn’t get up until 8:30. Since then I have been tidying up and making a late dinner. It’s now 9:22, so I guess there will be time for one or two episodes of NCIS before I go to bed for real, assuming I don’t end up staying up super late thanks to that nap.

I hope tomorrow I have time for a break. I also hope I have the energy to do some writing. I haven’t done any since Sunday.

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Health News

Please stay home

In a new piece in The Atlantic, Ed Yong breaks down how COVID-19 in the US is “not one crisis, but many interconnected ones,” and how that will make it difficult to overcome, especially given the misinformation we are receiving from our own government. I recommend reading the whole thing.

The virus isn’t lying in a bush, waiting to pounce on those who reemerge from their house. It is, instead, lying within people. Its ability to jump between hosts depends on proximity, density, and mobility, and on people once again meeting, gathering, and moving. And people are: In the first week of May, 25 million more Americans ventured out of their home on any given day than over the prior six weeks.

I spoke with two dozen experts who agreed that in the absence of a vaccine, the patchwork will continue.

America’s Patchwork Pandemic Is Fraying Even Further

This paragraph neatly summarizes my frustration:

Prevention is physically rewarding in the long term, but not emotionally rewarding in the short term. People who stay home won’t feel a pleasant dopamine kick from their continued health. Those who flock together will feel hugs and sunshine. The former will be tempted to join the latter. The media could heighten that temptation by offering what Lincoln calls “disparity in spectacle.” Fringe exceptions like anti-lockdown protests and packed restaurants, she says, are more dramatic and telegenic than people responsibly staying at home, and so more likely to be covered. The risk is that rare acts of incaution will seem like normal behavior.

America’s Patchwork Pandemic Is Fraying Even Further

And then there’s this:

“When this outbreak began in China, everyone said, Thank God it’s not here,” Jha says. “It moved to Western Europe and people said, They have government-run health care; that won’t happen here. Then it hit New York and Seattle, and people said, It’s the coasts. At every moment, it’s more tempting to define the other who is suffering, as opposed to seeing the commonalities we all share.” But as the virus spreads, Americans may run out of others to discriminate against.

America’s Patchwork Pandemic Is Fraying Even Further

All you can do is cry-laugh, honestly.

Here’s some information that struck me:

It seems to take an average of four or five days, and a maximum of 14, for an infected person to show symptoms. Those symptoms can take even longer to become severe enough for a hospital stay, and longer still to turn fatal. This means that new infections can take weeks to manifest in regional statistics. May’s declining cases are the result of April’s physical distancing, and the consequences of May’s reopenings won’t be felt until June at the earliest. This long gap between actions and their consequences makes it easy to learn the wrong lessons.

America’s Patchwork Pandemic Is Fraying Even Further

The article is packed with stuff like this. Go. Read. Learn. Let’s face this together, okay? Let’s do something so this doesn’t last forever.

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Diary

Shelter in Place: Days 52–73

haha, the last update was posted on May 4, and it’s now May 26. Amazing.

I wrote this on May 18:

I’m doing okay, except not. It’s super weird. I’m going about my business, working, doing creative writing, eating and sleeping properly. But there’s low-level anxiety at all times, and I feel trapped. My birthday’s coming up, and I’m getting a nice four-day weekend, but I’m unhappy because I can’t go anywhere. I want to leave. I want to be somewhere else.

Now I’m at the end of that four-day weekend, and I’m feeling pretty crappy. I have gone on one walk, and I went to pick up food a couple times, but otherwise I’ve just been in the apartment…unsurprisingly. I did get a burst of writing done on one of the days, but it wasn’t on my WIPs, it was all new ficlets. Yesterday (Monday) I did a little cooking (that worked out) and baking (fucked it up) and watched NCIS all day. Today I am severely depressed and it’s really frustrating and annoying.

Anyway, here are some bullet-list updates for every day since May 4 based on the photos I took.

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Diary Health News

Shelter in Place: Days 50–51

This is the update for the weekend of Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3, 2020.

I spent most of my time this weekend working on a piece of writing that is past due. I made considerable headway on it, but it’s still not quite done. Unfortunately I’m not feeling well today. I took a sick day and I am not sure I am up to accomplishing much of anything beyond feeding myself.

The weather was beautiful this weekend. I went out in it twice, briefly. On Saturday I drove to Shane’s to pick up my lunch curbside. On Sunday I drove to Smoothie King to get smoothies for Sean and me (they also do curbside pickup now). I didn’t go for a walk or anything, and I didn’t sit on the patio, but at least I got to see some green. I should have gone for a walk on Sunday like I did last weekend, but I didn’t get up early enough to feel comfortable doing so. People are out in force now, as if the pandemic were over. It’s not over, y’all.

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Diary

Shelter in Place: Days 45–49

This is the update for Monday, April 27 through Friday, May 1, 2020.

Well, I apparently didn’t feel like writing journal entries this week, so here’s stuff pieced together from memory and photos. Basically it’s a lot of work, food, and watching TV. That Rona Life.

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Diary

Shelter in Place: Day 44

This is the update for Sunday, April 26, 2020.

When I got up sometime after 8, I didn’t feel like doing much of anything. However, yesterday I told myself that I should take a walk today, to try and prevent the depression I’ve been having the past few Sundays on lockdown. So despite my reticence, I got dressed in workout clothes, had a little breakfast, put on my balaclava, and headed out with my camera and a water bottle.

I decided to go to the neighborhood walking path that runs alongside a nearby street, then take it down to a longer trail that I’ve been on before. To the left, it starts running along a creek but then veers off and leads all the way to a park. To the right, it runs along the same creek, but until recently it ended in a construction zone. My new boss also lives in this area and she told me last week that the trail is finished now, so I went to check it out. I was really interested to see where it would come out.

The walk ended up being 4.87 miles. It took me over two hours; I did a lot of stopping for photos. The trail was amazing! It runs along water pretty much the whole time, with lots of rapids. It’s below street level and surrounded by trees, so it doesn’t feel nearly as urban as it is, even when you walk under an overpass and see street art. It’s relatively flat the whole way, and also mostly straight. And the scenery wasn’t just trees and water (although that would have been more than enough for me); there were also flowering trees!

When I got to the place that had been under construction before, I found that there is now a parking lot and rental bicycles, and around the corner from that was a different trail that continued along the creek. At the start it’s a wood bridge with super high walls that I could barely get pictures over, though I could see over and through it. The bridge eventually gives way to regular ground and a lower fence.

After a ton of beautiful rapids views, the creek narrows, and the trail winds through some buildings and comes back up to street level. I was surprised to see where I came out. I would have had no idea all that green space was below the street in that area. This is a big reason I love living in Georgia—it’s just so beautiful, and there’s nature everywhere. All of this was within walking distance of my apartment, and there are even more trails, some I’ve been on and some I haven’t. It’s amazing.

The trail ends when you get to the street. I could have turned around to go back the same way, but it would have been longer than just taking the streets home, so that’s what I did. I got to see lots of beautifully maintained flower beds along the way.

I was able to avoid getting within six feet of the people I saw out, though I’m starting to wonder if anyone in Cobb County has heard of walking single file. Walkers and joggers alike who are traveling abreast give the impression that they can see no possible way to avoid being next to each other. Just…one of you slow down, or speed up, and allow plenty of passing room! It’s not rocket science!

I’m really glad I went for that walk. I got home feeling great, and after showering and sanitizing everything I felt really refreshed.

I decided to try to get Shane’s again. The online ordering for pickup was still wonky, so I picked the delivery option, which took me to the service provider’s website: DoorDash. I’d never used it before so I had to set up an account, but it was super easy. It was also fun that I could see where my delivery driver was. I got my barbecue chicken tenders, mac and cheese, potato salad, and gallon of tea, and spent a contented afternoon eating, listening to music, and messing around on Twitter.

That evening I baked another batch of chocolate chip cookies, my third since shelter-in-place started. For dinner we had hot dogs and scalloped potatoes from a box, because I was tired!

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Diary

Shelter in Place: Day 43

This is the update for Saturday, April 25, 2020.

This was a really productive day.

Some time ago—months?—I decided to go through the closet in the second bedroom. It was around the time I was putting Christmas away, and I just wanted to reorganize to make it easier to find things, and get rid of things we weren’t using. I pulled everything down from the shelves and sorted it into groups, then took a load to Goodwill and put back the things I knew I wanted to keep. That left a bunch of Sean’s things, mostly computers, computer hardware, computer peripherals, and computer technician tools, but also a crate of comics, some binders, and miscellaneous software.

For a while I had all this stuff sitting on the bed in the second bedroom waiting to be looked through, but the clutter started to get to me, so I dragged it all out into the living room and piled it behind Sean’s desk on our two folding tables. (To do this I also moved the bar table into the dining room where the Christmas tree goes, and took the mirrors down from that wall. I need to hang the mirrors up again—I know exactly where I want them—but I haven’t gotten around to it.)

Anyway, I think the clutter was overwhelming for Sean (it certainly would be, and was, for me) so it just sat there after that. I finally decided that I’d go through it myself, not to get rid of anything but to just sort it better and put it back in the closet.

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Diary

Shelter in Place: Day 42

This is the update for Friday, April 24, 2020.

I felt completely rested when I got up this morning, which was pretty impressive given that I was so worn out last night that I had to nap for like three hours. I guess the nap helped! So I got right up, had my shower, had my breakfast, and got started on my day.

Breakfast was Greek yogurt with frozen blueberries and a boiled egg. I also had a little tiny bit of cottage cheese. For lunch I did some writing again, yay! I also had a ham and provolone sandwich, baked Lay’s, and sweet tea. For a snack I finished off the pork roast and mashed potatoes.

Work went okay. There were a lot of meetings, including one where I explained a flow chart I’d made and another that was a group brainstorming session, but I’m not as exhausted today as I was yesterday.

For dinner we ordered sushi from Sushi Huku and had it delivered. It was so good to have sushi again, omg.

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Diary

Shelter in Place: Day 41

This is the update for Thursday, April 23, 2020.

I did not want to get out of bed this morning. I did two 20-minute snoozes, finally getting out of bed about 11 minutes into the second one. Didn’t have time for a shower, so I pulled my hair back into a ponytail (it is just barely long enough to still do this).

Breakfast was cottage cheese, a banana, and a boiled egg, and I also made some powdered cocoa. Lunch was a Hillshire bistro board (the one with an egg in it), and I ate that while working. I took a late lunch break at 2 and heated up a couple pieces of leftover roast and some mashed potatoes, because I was still hungry.

It was windy and rainy when I got up, but by around noon that was over, leaving the sky overcast. I usually open the blinds in the office to let sunlight in while I’m working, but there wasn’t much today.

Work was good. I am organizing a lot of information, and that’s taking some brain power, and then I also conducted a meeting today, and that drained me completely. It all went very well, but it was super tiring! Once work was over I went to bed and napped until 8pm.

Dinner was stir fry veggies and chicken with rice and soy gravy. I didn’t actually have stir fry veggies so I used the “Mexican-style” mix. Fortunately it still tasted good.

As usual we watched NCIS while eating. I was really enjoying an episode where Gibbs was going through a lot of emotional turmoil over his ex-wives, but then that story arc’s bad guys killed one of them, and not the one they introduced in that arc but Diane who I absolutely love, so that put a huge damper on the whole thing. If they could stop fridging women for Gibbspain I would really fucking appreciate it.

I should try to tally who all has died in the name of Gibbspain…by which I mean being killed by someone, not like dying of old age. The only man I can think of off the top of my head is Mike Franks, but on the woman side there’s at least Shannon, Kelly, Kate, Jenny, and now Diane. Bleh. (Other women have died, but not necessarily to hurt Gibbs directly.) This all makes me think of how Person of Interest fridged Joss Carter by shoehorning in a last-second romance between her and Reese before killing her. He had already literally lost a love to a bad guy, kicking off his extra-judicial law enforcement activities; the same thing happening again didn’t even serve a story purpose.

I know that in some cases the actresses want to leave the show, but you don’t have to kill them to achieve that. Ziva in NCIS is a great example of how you can organically have a character leave the main cast without killing them.

Anyway.

I stayed up until midnight thanks to the nap, but adding the nap to the regular sleeping time comes out to about my normal amount of sleep, so I think it was fine. And I feel pretty great this morning (I’m finishing this post the next day, lol).

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Diary

Shelter in Place: Day 40

This is the update for Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

Woo what a milestone! 40 days!

Today was fine I guess. In addition to the cottage cheese, banana, and boiled egg I had for breakfast, I heated up a leftover mini meatloaf from last week because I was pretty hungry. For lunch I had a sandwich and popcorn and actually did some writing! Work went pretty well; I had a productive meeting and learned a lot.

For dinner we had frozen dinners because I was tired and cramping. We watched a bunch of NCIS and then went to bed. And that was pretty much it.