Food, Quarantine, Uncategorized

I thought it was Wednesday

Again, this is how it must feel when you retire and don’t have a solid schedule to follow. I’ve been in the deadline-oriented business of advertising, publishing and now marketing since 1989 (gasp) and I only know how to do things that have crazy deadlines. I’m used to schedules, planning, checklists, meetings and producing art/web/ads/social/etc on a daily basis. One of my co-workers said, work has been her identity for over 30 years, and to be at home, with “free time” (wtf) is simply outrageous and hard to come to grips with. I can relate.

Staying home is throwing me for a loop. And, the fact that I’ve been cut down to 2 days a week at work has me wandering the halls of my house and actually… cleaning stuff! Side note: Anyone need a freelancer in any capacity during the next few weeks, let me know. 🙂  Though sadly, everyone is suffering and unemployment is skyrocketing, and I still have to count myself among the lucky ones.

Thankfully, those that I work with, and those in my family, and close friends are all well and are dodging the COVID germs like actors in the Matrix. I went out to the store today and for the first time had the full arsenal in my car and full gear on my person (ok some was DIY, like the mask, because I’m not going to take a mask that might be needed for a healthcare worker… I’m not that special.)

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Yes, no makep, ponytail, looking like a weird suburban cowgirl. Ugh!

me: Jack I’m going out.

Jack: Can’t you just order food online??

me: I looked, and everything is backed up for days, the food comes with a short expiration date and frozen stuff is generally not frozen anymore. I would rather get in and get out with what we need.

Jack; You’re wearing that?

Sigh.

Yes I went to the store looking like that and let me tell you, I was the normal looking one. People had full on hazmat suits and face shields (the employees), and most of the customers had ventilation masks on and gloves. I did have latex gloves on as well. Those that didn’t have any protective gear on can probably count themselves among those that simply haven’t taken this seriously enough yet, or haven’t been near any of the trauma. Being near NYC, having family members that are in the trucking business, and reading the news from NY and NJ, well you have to face facts. It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

Please take precautions and be safe. It’s ok to look weird or even silly, if that’s what keeps you safe. A nod to my favorite Podcast “Crime Junkies”… they always say “Be weird, be rude, stay alive!” (look them up… you will binge listen, trust me)

So, to pass the time, and as I may have mentioned in my last post (seriously it was just the other day and I can’t remember if I mentioned this or not, so I’m a big fat liar…), Jack and I planted a small garden indoors, consisting of Tomatoes, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, and Green Beans.

Jack: Stop calling it Zucchini, it says Black Squash.

me: Same thing, look at the picture. (he looks at me with a frown because he’s color blind).

Jack: Really?

me: The photo is actually dark green Jack and that is zucchini.

Jack; Black Squash.

me: Fine.

Here’s what the little garden looks like today. I swear if you stare at the plants you can actually see them growing. They move fast!!

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Complete with fake sun 🙂

Jack: You know that’s not a seed starter tray, it’s my old Lego Star Wars Advent calendar tray?

me: Huh? Oh, hmmmm… well it did the trick. (did not realize that!)

Anyway, Jack looked like a proud parent when he saw everything blooming. We used to do this when he was really young, but in recent years, I would simply buy plant already at 6″ or so to save time. But, I have to say, taking the time to grow something from the earth, with your own hands, gives a very unique sense of satisfaction. (I hope the cats don’t eat the plants or dig in the dirt!!).

Oh, you asked about the cats did you? No you didn’t, but I’m going to switch gears. Here’s what my laptop looked like awhile ago when I decided to start this blog. Oy!

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And then she tried to look pitiful sitting on the chair. haha. Both cats are cleaning now on different kitchen chairs and Moca is snoring (really loud) on the couch. She had a few good walks today despite the HURRICANE FORCE WINDS HERE IN CT. OMG!! It’s insane out there. First we have rain and chilly wind for days, then the sun comes out and the wind gets ferocious. Hellooooo trying to enjoy being furlougheddddddd! 😐

I’ve heard from most of my friends that they are cooking major 3 meals a day, from full breakfasts of homemade bagels, to full dinners of lasagna, homemade pizza and, like me last night, full roast chicken dinners! It literally took two hours to prepare and cook, and we ate it in about 7 minutes. It’s a thankless task being a cook for a family (even if that family only consists of one 15-year-old at the moment!). This is partly why I could never fully be a stay-at-home mom. It’s too hard. Really it is. I give full props to those of you that chose to have more than one child. (I know you must be slightly mad, but I get it!). One kid keeps me busy 24/7. I go to work to have a bit of a vacation actually. I can get coffee, sit and answer emails, I don’t have to clean anything (usually) and I’m not a full time waitress or chauffeur. Work is easy compared to parenting full time at home. I bet a lot of you are realizing that as you try to sneak to a quiet place in your home to work remotely, right? The cats and dogs and kids all know you’re there, and they suddenly all need you desperately.

I cleaned up no less than 3 messes per day (per pet!) since being home. It’s like they know you’re there to clean up so they feel ok about it. There will be the shredded tissues (thanks Moca), because Jack and I are having major allergy issues since being cloistered in a house made of 3 types of fur. There’s the odd vomit (which one did THAT??) Orange = Moca, Brown = Luna and Chunky = PoBo. Don’t ask. This does not really happen regularly when I’m at work. I mean, there is the occasional morning when I have major messes to clean up and I’m late for work, but that’s few and far between. This has reached a new level.

So, tonight we have mega leftovers of chicken, potatoes and carrots… plus I made a massive batch of roasted kale (recipe below because you simply have to make this and it’s really the most perfect recipe for one of the healthiest foods!) Check after the photos…

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When you buy your kale, let it sit in the veggie drawer for a few days (and up to a full week) to get extra dried out and slightly wilty. Then do NOT wash it. Remove the thick stems and break the pieces into good-sized chunks. Drizzle with Olive Oil and salt/pepper. Make sure to spread everything out so they don’t really overlap. Here’s how mine looked going into the oven.

Roast at 350 degrees for about 8-9 minutes.

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It kind of looks like the photo above.

THEN – take it out, stir it around to redistribute the leaves and maybe flip them around a bit. Put back in the over for maybe another minute, to a minute and a half. They will start to get dark, but you don’t want them to get black and burned.

I then turn the oven off, and crack the door open. This way the heat comes out but the kale is still drying out. After about 10 minutes or even longer, you will have crispy, melt-in-you-mouth kale chips.

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Yum!

Jack: I’m not eating that.

And, for the record, I hate cooking. Hate. Now baking… that’s another story. I’m going to try another cookie recipe tonight. I’ll let you know how it goes. Jack has offered to help. I called him on his phone, even though he’s just upstairs. It’s the only way I can communicate with him efficiently. Sigh. It saves me yelling and going up there and knocking, and … waiting… Ok…I guess I’m just lazy. So yeah, there you have it! Life with a 15-year-old!

I hope you’re all still doing well and not making any unimportant trips out just because it feels like a free vacation day mid-week. Stay inside and stay safe!

 

 

Conversations, Sleep, Uncategorized

Sunday, Boring Sunday

Ok, let’s be clear. I’m not the one that’s bored. And technically Jack is still, sort of, sleeping so he’s not actually bored…yet. I released Moca into his bedroom and shut the door and could hear the muffled yelps from Jack as he was stunned awake by the exuberant pitbull with a love for burrowing under the covers. Time to wake up whether you want to or not!

I’m wondering if this is what it feels like to be retired. It must. I’ve been working remotely for about a week and a half. By the middle of last week I was losing track of which day it was. I thought Wednesday was Thursday and then didn’t realize it was Fri-Yay!  ??? What’s happening??

Well, for one, our typical schedules are WHACK and Jack and I are trying to co-exist in the kitchen on two different surfaces, each covered with our own working piles. We do want to be in the central area of the house, rather than sheltered away in our rooms. It would just feel even more weird to do that, though we would get the privacy we need. I think we like arguing about things so it makes us happy to share the smaller space and then nitpick each other to death LOL!

When I have to get on a “conference call”, which is now a glorified Facetime chat where we all complain about our hair and the bad lighting, while shushing pets and muffling the phone to answer our rude kids’ demands, Jack tries to banish me to the other end of the house. He can’t concentrate. Hmmm. He’s wearing the mega-expensive ear pods, which during normal times allow him to effectively ignore me when I call him for anything, like walking Moca, or folding his laundry. He can’t hear me for chores, but when I get on a call, suddenly it’s too loud for him 🙂 So I take the call in my bedroom, trying to angle myself so they all see the nice wall and not the pile of laundry on my bed, or the dog that’s sleeping on my pillow. Some people think that’s gross, but it’s a part of life with a pitbull. Who’s with me on that!!?? Moca really does think she’s a human, and that’s just slightly above her thinking she’s a cat.

So, the days are all blending together, work has been getting done but in such a different fashion, and instead of being peppered with interruptions at your office door, or a quick buzz on your phone extension, I now need to get up, walk down the hall, make sure my hair is somewhat brushed, or stuck under a baseball cap, etc. It takes way more time to be interrupted at home. I can’t turn back to my computer and continue typing to show how busy I am! 🙂  And, because the times are so strange, and we’re all dealing with the abnormal situation here, I want to talk to people more. If I call a vendor, I might stay on the phone for a half hour! How’s the family, how’s business, what can I do to help, etc etc. Things are just different and they are going to continue to be different for quite awhile.

Jack has gotten into the routine of schoolwork, chores, Xbox. With breaks for food and the bathroom and occasional shower. We’re saving a TON on water this month. Ahem.

When I ask him to PLEASE please please turn off Xbox and come down to do something, anything with me (cards? ride bikes? draw? movie???) he usually slumps on the couch while simultaneously exhaling… I’m bored! Like, he didn’t even sit down yet and he’s bored. It must be strange for him too… no crowded school halls and classrooms, no after school rowing gang, no friends over, no nothing! Xbox is his social outlet and it does make me happy to hear him cracking up while talking to his friends and playing. He is very loud also. OH, funny story… the other night I heard him talking to someone whose voice I didn’t recognize, and I’m like who’s the creepy sounding guy, uh-uh no way is this happening. So I headed up to his room and barged in. Then I realized it was his dad on speakerphone LOL! Jack was making wild hand gestures to shoo me out as they talked about which weapon did what and does this blah-blah-blah make this happen and how did he know that, etc. Sigh.

So, yeah, maybe he’s not bored at all and maybe I am. 🙂 Longest post in a few months, eh?

me: Jack! It’s almost 10, time to get down here and eat breakfast!

Jack: (muffled mumbling)

me: It’s getting late, come down and get some breakfast. (I go upstairs and check to see if he’s up, Moca is still in his room from when I let her in to jump on him at 9:30 hahaha).

Jack: Stop letting Moca in here, she just waits by the door and it’s annoying. It’s only 9, why are you waking me up?

me: It’s almost 10…  Want to watch a movie? Harry Potter? I’m in the mood for a marathon today.

Jack: (silence)

I think he went back to bed. Sigh.

Well, I have a big list of chores ready for us, and plans to cook a few meals… our seedlings have started sprouting (mostly the beans). So maybe it won’t be such a boring Sunday.

Let me know how all of you are doing out there! Be safe and try not to be too bored today! Make it a great day somehow!!

Conversations, Health

3.19.20

I’m currently listening to Jack upstairs on Xbox talking to his friend from England. It seems like a regular night, except he would never be allowed to play Xbox on a school night. Tonight isn’t a typical school night. So much has changed since my last post it’s hard to wrap my head around it.

The only thing I see or hear about all day long (unless I stop listening) is the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). In January we hadn’t even heard of the virus and were celebrating Jack’s 15th birthday. In February we were still praying for Australia to stop burning. In mid-Feb, at least here in CT, we really started to hear the news of the virus spreading. But still, it was “so far away.” Is t it always? Until it’s right in your back yard.

I flew out to California just in the nick of time and made it back by March 2nd just before the shit really started to hit the fan.

Now, just two weeks later, we are working 100% remotely, schools are closed, and you fear going to the grocery store for milk. We’ve all stocked up on food and supplies. We are being very selective about who we will see in person, even avoiding our own family members. The infected numbers are rising and people are beginning to die very close to home.

Jack and I have hunkered down in a sort of uneasy truce. I’m all “we are going to keep a similar routine during the week” and he’s all “I don’t have any school work whatsoever to do!” Which has been true up til now. Enrichment … that was all we could do for studies… and let me tell you, that will only go so far. This boy needs structure and will thrive on it. I’m very glad our town finally handed out the distance learning protocol, at least from a few of Jack’s classes. He was hard at work at 8am. (Luckily we didn’t have to get up at the god-awful hour of 5:55) This is much more humane!

And, since I don’t have to drive to work, and then home again for lunch, I’m saving an hour and a half of driving each day. Woohoo!

Jack: Can I go play Xbox now?

me: It’s 10am Jack, Sheesh!

Jack: But I did all my work.

me: We have to keep a regular schedule so go read something.

Jack: I don’t have anything left to do!

me: On school days you—

Jack: It’s not a school day because we don’t have school!

me: I have some chores for you then.

Jack: On school days I don’t have chores! Ha!

Repeat this in various ways about 15 times and you’ll almost be where I am mentally right now. 😱

Jack spent some time with his nerf guns, dug out some old army guys and set up a battalion for the cats to knock over, he has cooked dinner twice and baked a banana cake, he vacuumed and cleaned a few toilets. These are things that wouldn’t have happened a few weeks ago. I’m going to try and be thankful for the little things. We’ve been forced to slow down, which is exactly what we needed.

For now, we will look fir the silver lining… we are healthy, settled in comfortably at home and currently wanting for nothing. Many are much worse off than we are. I have nothing to complain about. Except when Jack and his friends hold impromptu remote kazoo concerts. (Don’t ask)

I hope you are all safe as well and getting through this tough time as best you can. Keep looking for the silver lining, which is time with your families that you most likely would not have gotten under normal circumstances.

Peace and love from our house to yours!

(Gotta run, Moca is playing with a piece of cat poop again for the 2nd time today!!!!)

Gahhh!