Our 1st Home…Office

Today was the first day that we worked from home together. We are working in separate rooms, and have claimed our personal bathrooms. The kitchen is our breakroom, and the livingroom is the lounge; only to be used for longer breaktime or simultaneous breaks.  So far, so good.

We share about our day in real time. Exchange small gestures of love from time to time. But no crossing of the line; we ARE at work afterall. Besides, we don’t want to upset HR. We impose our own no fraternization policy–and enforce it!

He gets off earlier than I do, signs off, and is ready to call it a day. I still have an hour or 90 minutes left to work. He becomes Chatty Chistopher. This may be a challenge going forward. For this week. I will just continue to monitor his behavior. While it was a good day, I wonder when we will be allowed to.go back to our offices though. Lets see what tomorrow brings ūüôā .

From the Window

Social distancing has a whole new meaning when we have lived ones in hospitals, nursing homes, and hospice care. My dad had surgery yesterday, and I wasn’t allowed to see him. Usually I drive for two and a half hours, pull up at my parents’ house, and when I open the door the scene is the same. Mom playing solitaire on her tablet, and Daddy watching the news or a game show. They both have a “big drink” from McDonald’s, and Fiona and Winnie are sitting at their feet. This time it was so different. And this time was the first that I thought, ‘one day, this will be a permanent reality’. I drove straight to the house. It was quiet. My sister had taken off work to be with Daddy, but the hospital wouldn’t let her see him either. She greeted me. She was sitting in the living room with Fiona and Winnie at her feet. No “big drink”, but a Sunkist orange pop–her favorite. This homecoming felt so strange. The smells were different; the air was different. I was overwhelmed by the thoughts that were swirling around in my mind. I needed to find something to keep me busy. I have never been more thankful to have an afternoon meeting to attend. I gathered what I needed to log into Zoom and engage in a conversation about advocating for the resources that students and families need, not just during this pandemic; but every day. I was able to think about the tremendous impact the global pandemic is having on families with financial challenges. I can’t visit my dad, but some folks can’t eat. Every school and university has gone viral, but not every home has internet access. Yet, I have filled my list with new movies to watch on Netflix and planning virtual happy hour and dinner with friends. I am unsettled and admittedly a bit nervous.¬† I know that when the veil is lifted and we are able to carry on with our normal lives, we will be looking at a new normal.

Right now, as I write this, my Daddy (like so many others) is alone in a cold hospital with strangers. I am thankful he is still here and when he comes home in the morning, my “normal” can presume. We will have coffee and a pastry and solve the world’s problems. Mom will be on the phone talking with her sister and posting her memories on Fb. My sister will be at work, and Fiona and Winnie will be beside the table waiting for a morsel of food to be shared or a belly rub. Meanwhile, a friend takes pictures with her mom through a glass window because the risk is too high to be any closer. My best friend is experiencing the loss of loved ones, but can’t be with her family due to health risks and the government mandate regarding large gatherings. Homegoing celebrations, weddings, births, graduations, etc. with 10 people or less. Some difficult decisions are being made. This is true for so many things in our lives right now. I then think about my Uncle who took a fall recently, and because of his limited mobility, he is in a nursing home. He, like my Daddy, is spending the night alone in an unfamiliar room with strangers. Until he goes home; I cant visit him either.

I don’t particularly want to work from home, but when I think about all the other challenges that folks may be having, I think about how blessed I really am. I am inconvenienced not down-an-out. For me, not being able to go to brunch or to the gym is only temporary. For some, extreme challenges and loss have taken up residence in their lives; and some of it will be permanent.

I will brace myself for the permanent changes to reveal themselves when it’s all said and done. We will adapt and learn the new ways of the world. In spite of the sickness, loss, change, stress, and anxiety; joy is found in the “socially distant” love we show one another.

Toilet Paper Caper Part 3: Mission Complete

It started with a premonition. We visited General Dollar last night and Sgt. Price the “Cutter”. No luck with either of them and no leads. Whilst making our way back to camp, bewildered, tired and hungry; we were just about to wave our white flag. But wait, retired Master Sergeant, J. Allen, message in that Ft. Sam’s in Jeff City would get a shipment in on Sunday. She would nab the TP for us and place in the reserves. This was good, but not great¬†news. Jeff City was just too far; we were uncertain if we could make it before our current supply ran out. Alas, we slept on this decision and were hopeful that by day break, we would have another solution. I awakened refreshed! I say, it came to me in a dream that Sgt. Price the “Cutter”, who was closest to our camp, would have the TP. I saw doubt on my partner’s face. I mean, a dream, ha! I would have probably laughed too. Nonetheless, we prepared ourselves for the day and hustle over to see Sgt. Price, “The Cutter”. We were braced for disappointment. This feeling was all too familiar now. I guess my premonition was wrong. No TP here either! Alas, a voice in the distance. ‘Excuse me, they have some down at Camp Republic West, Walmart.’ Could it be? Did my premonition lead us to meet this Friendly who one might call the–The Enlightened One? Do we trust her or is this a trap? But this was no chance meeting. We then made haste and journeyed on. Upon arrival we immediately begin to feel excitement as we see civilians leaving with TP in their possession. We enter and split up for efficiency. We arrive and to our surprise, what had once been empty bunkers now contained what we had longed for! TP!! Oh happy day!! The Elightened One did not lead us astray! Victory is mine! Sweet, sweet victory! We head on into town to celebrate. The crusade has ended and it is time to enjoy the spoils of war. Moral of the story is that perseverance, faith, hope and persistence will prevail in the face of adversity! Toilet Paper Caper: Mission Complete

Toilet Paper Caper Part 2: Once again, it’s on!

6:30 am, we mount up and journey to Home Depot Station 11. We are sleepy, but hopeful. Determined not to be defeated, we descend upon the orange steel doors. To our dismay; no TP in sight. But we did discover where all household cleaning items are in abundance with maximum purchases of 10. We turn about and quickly move down old Glenstone Road to Lowe’s Landing. Omg! This looks promising. We were greeted by Friendlies who quickly informed us that there had been no TP seen there for days; and that there may not be any for quite some time to come. This left us with no choice but to visit Mt. Menard’s. This would be my maiden voyage. Having traveled Chestnut Expressway to this massive structure, excitement builds once we approach and I see the beacons of light shining through the large windows. These lights were the siren song of Mt. Menard’s as they lured us inside and sealed our fate. There were traps set down every aisle. We dodged deals and doorbusters and remained focused on the mission at hand. Wait, what’s this?! A moose riding a zambonie-like machine that is leaving floor wax in its trail. What does the enemy have planned? What is this distraction? In the distance, we spot it….end caps FULL of TP. We approach with caution. We have been out a long time. Our caffeine is waning and our bodies are weary. Could it be? No! PT; loads and loads of PT (aka Paper Towels). An enemy disguised as a Friendly tries to convince us that we will go into quarantine indefinitely and there won’t even be deliveries. And then he says it; they may never get another delivery of TP again! We’re smarter than that. Oh, we will be back again. We plot our next move, but first; refuel! Alas, a First Watch tower is in our sights. With bacon and coffee, we accept our defeat on this day. Oh, TP hoarders, you may have won the battle; but you have not won the war! We will be victorious! Part 3 soon, but first, a proper nap and new strategy. We will ride again!

Toilet Paper Caper Part I: The Quest

1am, it’s on! First to Denny’s to fuel for war; the conditions are unstable. Who knows how long we will be trekking. Next, Walmart at Camp Campbell. We strike out. There are signs that TP once existed, but that’s it; none to be found. Redirect, and decide to forage for non-perishables, fresh fruit, veggies, and meat for rations. Onward to Fort Walmart Independence. We survey the area; the scene is some better. A Friendly asks if we are just passing thru, we respond in the affirmative and continue to marvel at the damage down each row. Shelves empty, frozen food destroyed, fresh meats–obliterated. What’s this? Kleenex disposable fresh wipes? We shall both get our 2 packs each and check out separately. Stick it to the establishment. Ha! Take our haul back home. Will rest, refill the canteens and head out at daybreak. Got a tip from another Friendly upon leaving Fort Independence. At 6:30, we shall ride again! Stay tuned for Part 2!

Good morning, Beautiful. How are you?

Last year right after my birthday in September, I grew¬†bored¬†with the dating scene in Columbus.¬† I wanted to someone¬†to not necessarily marry, but to become friends with, share a meal every now and then, talk to, and spend time with.¬† Determined to prove that a beautiful, intelligent, compassionate, career-driven girl can have it all–I took to the online dating sites.¬† This was not my first time swimming in the online sea, but this was my first time with realistic goals in mind and a mature approach.¬† I¬†dove deep¬†and passed through¬†those profiles swiftly, working to¬†read between the lines and decipher the¬†bs before I¬†took the bait.¬† All of those detective shows and my favorite “Fatal Attraction” had given me the skills I needed to avert getting caught on the line of a sport fisherman who was looking for nothing but a good time and was fishing for nothing more than to catch and release.¬† I did happen to stumble across one man in particular that caught my interest and was worth a closer look–I took the bait.

For ease in communication, let’s refer to this man as “Mr. Scripted.”¬† Mr. Scripted and I dated for several months.¬† He checked the boxes….college educated, handsome-ish, great career, has kids but I actively saw him providing for them, he was chivalrous, generous, and kind.¬† Oh yea, and he thought I was the cats meow!¬† (I mean, but seriously, who wouldn’t?) ¬†Wow, I thought!¬† Now, we’re cooking with hot grease!¬† Well, Mr. Scripted was just that–SCRIPTED.¬† The very first text I received every morning from him while we were dating was, “Good morning, Beautiful, how are you?”¬† I thought it was sweet for about 2 days.¬† Then I wondered was he just cutting and pasting?¬† Was he sending this out in mass text form to other women too?¬† Did he really want a response or did he just feel this was something that women want everyday?¬† Whatever the reason, I found it extremely annoying and lame.¬† I asked him to call me more and lets talk on the phone.¬† I don’t like texting, but instead he kept texting.¬† I noticed he text everyone he was in regular contact with.¬† But since I’m not 15, texting is not the way to my heart.

You know where this is going.¬† As time went on, the dinners, the gifts, the compliments meant nothing.¬† If I didn’t suggest it, we didn’t do it.¬† He never wanted to try anything new, his conversation was stale, and quite frankly he was just BORING!¬†¬†I found myself bored and looking for a way out with the least amount of damage.¬†Right after Valentine’s Day, he texts me to tell me that he “hurt himself”.¬†¬†What grown man¬†tells a woman that he “hurt himself” with explanation?¬† What self-respecting grown man does this?¬† Well, I didn’t respond in the fashion that he liked and he just lost it.¬† I thought, GREEEEEEAT!¬† Like Tony the Tiger!¬† I will use this as my out (since nothing else I’d¬†tried previously had worked-oh and I had been trying hard).¬† He wanted me to keep asking questions to find out what happened, and I was busy at that particular moment and stopped asking.¬† I figured if he wanted¬†me to know or needed some help then he would let me know. Boy was I wrong!

Fast forward to Thanksgiving eve 2015. I bump into¬†“Mr. Scripted” at the grocery store.¬† He tells me that he’s been thinking about me but he was too afraid of rejection so he didn’t call.¬† Umm, okay, Mr. Scripted is definitely not Mr. Confident. ¬†Well, he asks can he call me (which really means text me) because he owed me an apology.¬† Why did I agree?¬† Sigh.¬† Nonetheless, he “calls” and he explains that his injury was actually quite serious and he took his anger and frustration out on me.¬† I had some words for him about that situation,¬†but I¬†let him know I was long over it and had moved on. He asks¬†will I¬†meet him for dinner.¬†¬†He really is such a nice guy, just not¬†THE guy for me.¬† What’s the harm in having friends? So, I agree but¬†with the caveat, “This dinner does not mean I am trying to date you.¬† I do not want to date you again.”¬† He agrees.¬† Well,¬†then starts texting immediately where we left off last year…”good morning, beautiful, how are you?¬† Good afternoon, beautiful, how’s your day?¬† Good evening, beautiful, I hope you had a nice day.”¬† Ughghghghghghghgh!!!!!!!!!¬† Noooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!¬† I CAN’T!!!

Long story short,¬†I was caught¬†either being too nice, or boredom and I saw him¬†two times after¬†we reconnected.¬† Now, I ignore all of those texts thinking they will stop–yet they continue.¬† I asked him to ease up on the “beautifuls”–I have a name.¬† He¬†now omits the word, but sends the same¬†scripted message.¬† I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but I think I will have to take a page out of his book of scripts this week and tell him:¬† “Listen, it’s not you, it’s me…..we can still be friends.”¬† That’s a¬†timeless script I can use to¬†once and for all¬†cut the line and throw this one back!¬†¬†Wish me luck!