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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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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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Diary

Shelter in Place: Day 39

This is the update for Tuesday, April 21, 2020.

I haven’t written anything creative in I don’t know how long—a week? Longer? I don’t feel like there’s much to look forward to right now. With so many people, including the governor of the state of Georgia, being shortsighted and foolish about this pandemic, it seems like shelter in place will never end. Not having an idea of when it might end makes it hard to be positive. I can’t make plans. I don’t know when I’ll see my friends and family again.

I went to the store this morning because I had a prescription ready. I covered up as much as possible, including wearing a hat and tucking my pant legs into my socks, and of course I wore a mask and gloves. While I was there I looked for a few things that we didn’t get in our curbside pickup order on Saturday and that Sean wasn’t able to find in the store when he checked that same evening. I snagged some toilet paper and paper towels (which I had been really worried about), some frozen fish and veggies, a couple frozen dinners because I figured I could make them fit in the freezer (and I did, with effort), some more dinner sausage, lunch meat, cheese sticks, Slim Jims, various Knorr noodles, two boxes of au gratin potatoes, and soy-flavored ramen.

The only thing I really wanted and couldn’t find was Knorr Alfredo noodles. I got a bunch of imitation crab, so I hope I can find Alfredo noodles online or something. Maybe the crab would be okay with garlic shells? I dunno.

I miss sushi. I’m going to look into whether any sushi restaurants are doing takeout. Maybe we can have some on Friday. That would be something to look forward to.

Today I had planned to do a video chat with a coworker and friend at lunch, but I wasn’t feeling up to it, so I rescheduled with her and spent my break watching Haikyuu!! instead, starting season 3. Seasons 1 and 2 had kind of accelerated pacing; character arcs I would have expected more time to be spent on were done very rapidly, with some even wedged in as retcons/flashbacks. It wasn’t bad, per se, but I like it when the story spends a little more time on things like that. Season 3, on the other hand, is all about a single 5-set volleyball match, the final prefectural match before nationals. They stretched things out so much that an entire episode was spent just on the opening ceremony. It’s quite a contrast to the first two seasons, but I enjoyed it. I enjoy the show in general; all the characters are really fun. I finished season 3 after work and look forward to checking out the OVA and what’s out so far of season 4 soon.

I’m at a point with a lot of my work where I have to wait on other people, which can be hard for me. I also had a lot of trouble focusing for much of the workday, I think because of anxiety over going to the store/the situation in general. I had to drink some sweet tea in the early afternoon to get myself back on track. Fortunately, it seemed to work. My brain got unstuck and I was able to make good progress on a project that involves a lot of problem-solving style thinking. By the end of the workday I was actually feeling pretty good.

After work I made frozen fish, creamy garlic shells, and Italian-style veggies (Sean did not care for that mix of veggies) and we watched Haikyuu!! and an episode of NCIS.

I went to bed feeling pretty decent.

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Shelter in Place: Day 21

Yet again I did not want to get out of bed this morning, but somehow I managed it. Since I took a shower last night after my walk I didn’t take another one…my hair is a little ridiculous but eh.

Work went pretty well. I had lots of video conferences as usual; my team has a daily standup meeting, plus I am doing a lot of training. But they were all fine. During one meeting I shared the work I’ve been doing to compile/add to some research for the new tool we’re building, and everyone seemed to be pretty impressed with it, so yay.

Yet again I didn’t really have time for a break, so I stayed sitting at my desks and just turned to the other computer (my personal one) to goof off a bit between my 11-noon and 1-2pm meetings. I actually started eating my lunch at 11, so my coworkers got to see me take a bite of turkey sandwich ^^;;

After work we had a “virtual happy hour,” which was just the larger team chatting casually. There are two managers and one senior manager on my new team, and then people under each manager. Day to day we work with our own manager/team, but we also work together on broader projects. It was nice to just kind of hang out. I already knew everyone in the other branch just from sitting near them; I really haven’t had a hard time fitting in with my team. I think maybe sometimes I am a bit too serious about how pleased I am with our company’s response to coronavirus, but honestly, it is super impressive that we are prioritizing people over profit, unlike certain other companies.

Anyway, it was a fun half-hour chat and I got to see some of my coworkers’ cute kids.

After that was over, I decided to clean up the patio and lounge around outside while cooking dinner. This was some impressive multitasking, but I managed it. First I cleaned the kitchen, then I started the roast, then I peeled and started the potatoes, and then I cleaned the patio (sweeping billowing clouds of pollen off the furniture and concrete slab and washing the tabletops with Formula 409), and then I settled in with my laptop, running back in here and there to turn things down. Once dinner was actually ready, I just stayed out there until Sean was out of the shower, enjoying the perfect temperature and the beautiful green trees around me. (And the sound of my neighbor and her kids through the open deck door right above me ;D)

Breakfast today was a banana, cottage cheese, and a boiled egg. Lunch was a turkey sandwich and Cheetos. Afternoon snack was apple slices, a cheddar cheese stick, and a small Slim Jim. Dinner was a teriyaki pork roast, mashed potatoes, and peas. Yum!

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Shelter in Place: Day 20

Purple azaleas, April 2, 2020. Copyright Heather Meadows.

Oof.

I did not want to get up this morning. When my alarm went off at 6:30, I set a timer for 20 minutes and went back to sleep, and when that went off, I did it again. I only ended up dragging myself out of bed because I really had to pee.

Green trees, April 2, 2020. Copyright Heather Meadows.

Work was good. I ate

  • a banana,
  • Greek yogurt, and
  • a boiled egg

as I worked and attended meetings, finishing that breakfast around 11. I meant to take my lunch break from 11:30 to 12:30, but I got super involved editing an Excel spreadsheet (sometimes I just really enjoy doing that sort of thing) and ended up working on it until after noon. Since I had a meeting at 1 and another one at 2, I didn’t take a break until 3, when I finally stepped away from the computer to relax in bed with my writing laptop.

I’ve been doing that all week, and it’s very cozy to be all snuggled up in bed with my new giant pillow. It’s especially nice today, as the temperature dropped precipitously overnight. It was 40° out when I got up this morning. It eventually got up to 68°, but the apartment was chilly the whole day.

I didn’t end up writing anything, but I did a tiny bit of editing on the story I’ve been working on, so that was good.

Me in my balaclava, April 2, 2020. Copyright Heather Meadows.

After work I took an hour-long walk. This time, I wore a balaclava.

I bought the balaclava way back in November of 2018. I was thinking it would be good to have for walking/jogging in the cold. However, I threw it in my pile of workout clothes and never actually used it.

It’s obviously meant to help you keep warm, so it was perhaps a poor choice for 70° weather, but it made me feel better to wear it while being outside. There were lots of neighbors out, and only three of them (a family) were wearing masks. For the most part, everyone did decent social distancing, though one woman and her dog walked kind of close to me twice. (I turned my face away.)

Pink azaleas, April 2, 2020. Copyright Heather Meadows.
Stairs and a Japanese maple, April 2, 2020. Copyright Heather Meadows.

I didn’t get super uncomfortable in the balaclava. I was able to drink water by pulling the bottom hem out and sticking the straw of my Camelbak inside. At one point either a bug or some sort of plant detritus flew inside the mask and kept tickling my nose. And it did get warm; my ears actually got sweaty. But it wasn’t terrible, and I felt a lot less anxious about being outside. I know the balaclava wouldn’t protect me from someone coughing or sneezing in front of me, but maybe it would help with particles still left in the air from someone who coughed earlier. And at the very least, it made most people want to keep their distance.

There were lots of blooms to take pictures of today: azaleas, dogwood trees, redbud trees, and trees with pink flowers that I’m having trouble identifying.

Large flowering dogwood, April 2, 2020. Copyright Heather Meadows.

Someday I’ll get back to uploading to my photo site, but for now the blog will do.

When I got back from my walk, I took a quick shower and then started on dinner. I forgot to take meat out to thaw yesterday, so I cooked frozen fish fillets and made Alfredo noodles and mixed veggies to go with. Tomorrow we’ll have one of the Kroger teriyaki pork roasts we love.

The walk cleared my head and made me feel really good. I’m so glad we live in such a beautiful area, and that I’m able to walk through the neighborhood while safely practicing social distancing. If I couldn’t be outside at all, getting through this pandemic would be a lot harder.

Me in my balaclava on a bridge, April 2, 2020. Copyright Heather Meadows.
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Shelter in Place: Day 19

I’m starting this update a little earlier today, so hopefully it won’t take a lot of my time to finish this evening.

So far today I have eaten:

  • Greek yogurt
  • a banana
  • a boiled egg
  • a bowl of maple and brown sugar oatmeal
  • a turkey sandwich (on wheat bread, yay!)
  • Cheetos
  • sliced apples

The first three items were the breakfast Sean packed, and then I was still hungry and the apartment was cold so I made the oatmeal. Now I’m on my break, sitting in bed like I did yesterday, and I just finished eating the lunch Sean made.

Had another brain-melting morning of meetings, so I’m just kind of relaxing and recovering from that before jumping back in. I wanted to do some writing during this time, but eh. Maybe after work, or maybe tomorrow.

I have several works-in-progress that I need to get back to, including one with an actual deadline, but I’ve really been enjoying the story I started recently. I hope I can wrap it up pretty quickly and actually post it; it’s been awhile since I posted something.

~

The rest of the workday went well. We had a big meeting to discuss the whole coronavirus situation and what the company is doing, and I got a little teary-eyed. I love where I work, y’all.

It’s just below 60° out. The apartment is chilly. I’m gonna take a walk. I’ll try for an hour since I skipped the walk yesterday. (Unofficially I’ve been thinking it would be best to get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, so that’s where that came from.) I hope something new is blooming!

~

I was out for an hour, but I stopped a lot so it wasn’t like I was walking the whole time. I went down to the river, then out under the bridge to the community walking path, then back up the street and back into the other side of the apartment complex, and finally home. I saw pretty flowering trees and bushes, and I also saw some foxgloves in bloom, which I think I hadn’t seen before. They were right in front of a self-storage sign, but in a tasteful way ;D

Tonight’s dinner will be mini meatloaves, Julienne potatoes from a box, and peas. I made the potatoes first because they had to cook at 450° for 20 minutes, then put the meatloaves in at 350° for 45 minutes. Halfway through that I started the peas. I like timing the meal to all be done at the same time, but given the different oven temperatures and times, this was the best solution I could think of.

While cooking I did a little housekeeping on my social media accounts, and now I’m about ready to settle in and eat. I’m gonna sign off here and enjoy the rest of my evening.

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Shelter in Place: Day 17

Pink azaleas, March 30, 2020. Copyright Heather Meadows.

Ugh.

I was up too late and I’m tired today.

…and the above was all I wrote yesterday, so here’s the update for March 30.

As yesterday-morning-me mentioned, I was up too late due to the whole grocery situation. Since I’ve been working from home, I’ve set my alarm a half-hour later than usual, so it went off at 6:30. I don’t remember if I snoozed or not but it’s very possible, especially since I didn’t shower that day. (I shower every other day, typically. More if I have been out in coronavirus.)

Flowering tree, March 30, 2020. Copyright Heather Meadows.

I was a bit early when I got to my desk, so I swiveled over to the photo-editing laptop and tried to start this blog post. I didn’t make it very far, and I ended up switching to playing games on my phone (Words with Friends with Mom and The Arcana). Then it was 8 o’clock and time to start work.

It was my first official day at my new job. I have transitioned from a copywriter to a marketing analyst. I’d done a little bit of training already and attended several meetings, but this was my first real day on the job. I had two morning meetings, after which my brain was basically Velveeta. I have so much to learn! I tried to switch gears and write on that story at lunch, but I apparently needed time to mentally recover, so no writing occurred. I also tried to think about what I would need to do for dinner that night and what I needed in order to go for a walk after work, but I simply could not seem to figure anything out, lol.

Deer amid green leaves, March 30, 2020. Copyright Heather Meadows.

After lunch I had a one-on-one with my new boss, and we talked about what resources I need to get caught up. She told me it would take awhile and that nobody on the team knows absolutely everything, so I shouldn’t stress about it. That was nice to hear.

The rest of the day went pretty well, but I was thoroughly exhausted by the time I finished work. I went for a short walk, around the apartment complex a bit and then over to the parcel lockers to pick up a package that had arrived. (It was The Rise of Skywalker, which…deserves its own post.) On my way there I saw a deer! I heard all this rustling in the forest below the bridge I was walking over. Thinking it was too loud to be a squirrel, I wondered if a dog was down there, but when I looked it was a pretty doe! She didn’t run away even when I stupidly said “Well, hi there!” to her. I managed to get a digital-zoom picture of her looking up at me. Can you see her?

COVID-19 social distancing sign from the US Postal Service, March 30, 2020. Copyright Heather Meadows.

When I got home I opened the package and threw it away, then washed up like crazy in the bathtub. Then I made dinner, which last night was butterfly shrimp (from frozen), creamy garlic shells, and peas. Someone on Twitter had mentioned a show on YouTube called The Great Pottery Throw-Down, so we watched an episode of that before switching to NCIS. It was really nice; I enjoyed it a lot! The format is very similar to Great British Bake Off, and I learned a lot about ceramics. Someday (when coronavirus is over, I guess) I want to take a pottery class.

At around 9:40 or so started getting super emotional, apparently due to exhaustion. I stayed up a little longer for no good reason, then finally went to bed and slept like the dead. All in all, not a bad day, but I probably should have gone to bed a little earlier.

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Shelter in Place: Days 0–15

I’m not sure I’m more likely to get COVID-19 than anyone else—I’m not immunocompromised or over 65—but I really, really don’t want to get it, just like I really don’t want to get regular flu. I’ve had heart failure twice (2007 and 2016). I’m not interested in putting my heart through stress like that.

The American Heart Association currently says:

The virus could affect heart disease patients in several ways, said Orly Vardeny, associate professor of medicine at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System and University of Minnesota. 

The virus’s main target is the lungs. But that could affect the heart, especially a diseased heart, which has to work harder to get oxygenated blood throughout the body, said Vardeny, an adviser on the ACC bulletin. “In general, you can think of it as something that is taxing the system as a whole.”

That could exacerbate problems for someone with heart failure, where the heart is already having problems pumping efficiently.

What Heart Patients Should Know About Coronavirus, March 24, 2020; retrieved March 28

So yeah…I’m taking this very seriously. Not going anywhere is super difficult for me, but it’s better than getting coronavirus (or helping spread it to others). I have been doing my best to strictly “shelter in place” since March 14, not leaving the apartment at all if I can help it.

The second time I had heart failure, I did daily update posts. While I’m not actually sick right now, being stuck in the apartment all the time is wearing on me, so I think daily updates might be helpful. I’ll have something to do (during the times when I’m not working or doing chores) and I’ll end up with a record of the experience. So here we go! I’m starting a bit late; following is a recap of what’s gone on so far, from March 13 until now.