Monday, April 27, 2020

Afternoon Excitement!

Before and after pictures. I was pulling out of my drive, heading out to Mom's to take her some stuff, and I saw smoke billowing on the next block over. At first I thought it was the store where I work, but it was a garage on the block between us. 

I had to keep driving or get parked in (by people that were definitely not social distancing!), so I kept going. The fire trucks were just leaving when I got back to town. It looks like the house is okay, maybe a little roof-singe, but since they weren't attached, they were lucky. Their new "plastic" fence didn't fare so well, though. Which just shows how hot it was. The family (and their two dogs) are all okay, although the dad had to go to the hospital for a burn on his ankle.

I guess that broke up the tedium for a few people.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Around the House 2

One of my favorite things-- my Unicorn Hex sign. I should have tried to take a picture that actually shows how large it is. (1 yard wide). 

My first job, the kind where taxes were actually deducted, was waitressing at a local restaurant. It started out as a Dutch Pantry, but by the time I worked there, it was just The Pantry. I worked there during my Junior and Senior years. And then I worked summers and holidays through college. 

When the owner remodeled, he took down all of the hex signs and I grabbed onto this one. I collected Unicorns back then and this was the ultimate prize. It's hung on a wall in every house I've lived in ever since.

(I wish I had a better picture, but back in the stone age, before digital, you never knew what you were going to get until it was too late!)

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

I Can Finally Call Myself an Author!

Started in 1981 as something to do during study hall, Headphones and the occupants of The House became companions that lived in my head, their stories growing and evolving over the years. In 2013 I decided to give them new life and prove to myself that I could finish something. The result was an online serial that ran from January 1, 2015, to January 1, 2016. To call it a vanity project is probably generous. But by the end of the year, I was getting 100 hits a day from readers around the world. For someone who grew up without the internet and social media, it was exciting. Early last year I decided to rewrite it into a publishable book. The problem was, it was too long for one book.  My solution? Make it into a trilogy! So I introduce, nearly 40 years in the making, Headphones!

Book one: 
In from the Cold introduces Headphones and a group of friends who are going about their lives while not truly living them.  

Book two:
Sunshine Smile is heat and healing–new love blossoms, a new enemy schemes.   

Book three:
Fall Out will break your heart, but only for a moment. 

Shared from my Author Blog. 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Around the House

I Should Be Laughing adopted the idea of posting things from our environment that make us happy from Mistress Maddie and I've been seeing a version of it going around FaceBook, and I think it's an excellent idea! 

I love The Mighty Boosh. It's a silly British program on the outside, but it became so much more to me. I suppose I was just at a point in my life where I needed to make some changes and it made me look at things differently. And even better, I connected with people in other countries who shared my love. Artistic people, both of the drawing kind and the writing kind. A couple of years ago I bought some cards from those artists through Redbubble and found a beat-up shadow box at a garage sale-- and promptly shoved them into the "to do" pile. Now that I'm home (doing the self-isolating thing) I'm pulling out those old projects. A nice day and a can of white spray paint was all I needed. And yes, it makes me very happy.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

The Five Stages of Grief--or Is That Guilt?

Grief. Anxiety. These are what I’ve been dealing with the last few weeks. And now I can add guilt. And it completely caught me by surprise.

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            I’m a grocery worker. It’s a business that I enjoy for the most part. I like sales and I like the challenge of deciding what to sell, how to market it, and how to display it. But the last few years have been difficult for me because I’m blue in a red area. It didn’t use to be a problem. And really, this post isn’t about politics but I’m just going to say that I’m not as much of a people-person as I used to be. I do as much of the “behind-the-scenes” work as I can at the store, leaving the socializing to the other floor help.

            On my downtime, I like to cruise social media. I’m old enough that I didn’t grow up with the ability to easily reach out and connect with people from other countries. It’s an amazing thing and I learn so much. And several months ago, the chatter was about the virus hitting China. Common sense said it would spread and I planned ahead. I stocked up on groceries and refilled my prescription medicines at the end of February. I stowed away a little extra cash. My husband and I prepared, even when the people around us ignored it. And, as we all know, when it hit, it hit. Things at my little store went crazy. Our crew is small and we were overburdened, not taking breaks and cutting our lunches short. But it was our duty to take care of our community, and we did it.

But I’m not going to say I was happy to be there, because I was not. From the very beginning, a large percent of our customers treated it like it was a party, nothing but a big joke with toilet paper as the punch line. But the Governor had shut schools and people were scrambling. And then he shut “non-essentials” so the scramble continued. This wasn’t like when a snowstorm is predicted with everyone grabbing extra milk and bread. Our shelves were as empty as I’ve ever seen them and the supply chain had been broken. We had to begin to limit quantities. And still, they acted like it was a joke or an inconvenience.
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            I became angry and tense and sick to my stomach. I turned my back when I had to walk past a customer, holding my breath as if that would help. I had a bottle of sanitizer that I carried with me and I went around several times a day with soapy bleach water and washed handles and flat surfaces. I’m not germophobic—I routinely handle raw meat with no problem. But it began to feel like I had this ticking time bomb in my body. I didn’t know when it would go off or how powerful the explosion would be. It might be nothing more than a firecracker but there were equal chances that it would be a stack of dynamite. Every breath I took felt like I was inhaling poison.

And still there were customers who refused to take it seriously. Customers that came in every day and walked around, pushing a cart down all of the aisles, talking with everyone they knew, only to buy 3 or 4 items—because they were bored. My chest grew tighter and tighter until I started having chest pains. I was so tense my muscles hurt and spasmed. I couldn’t sleep. I was nauseous and sometimes on the verge of tears. In short--I was a hot mess!
It wasn’t just myself and my husband that I worried about. I began to really feel the chasm that existed between me and my parents. Although they live far enough away that I don’t spend a lot of time at their house, I’ve always been available when they needed me. And suddenly, it wasn’t safe. They are in their ‘80s and Mom has COPD. I couldn’t risk it. And that knowledge made my chest tighter.

My husband was worried about me and we discussed it for two days before deciding we would go into quarantine. I was nervous about asking, but my boss was very nice about it and my husband was able to take a leave-of-absence, and so on April 1, we withdrew. Retreat is more like it. I felt like there was a battle happening and I was losing. A man in the store said to me one day, “Thank you for your service.” How was I supposed to respond to that? My brother, he’s a soldier. He served overseas. “This isn’t the same,” my brain yelled as I awkwardly thanked the man.

So now I’m home. And I found out that a couple more from the store have taken leave for health reasons. But still, there’s this guilt--that I’ve left my coworkers to deal with what’s going on--and it’s a heavy burden. A little voice keeps whispering “selfish” except, why should I feel like that? I do no one any good if I get sick from stress any more than if I get sick from the virus. If I stay healthy, then I can go back later and take over and let them rest.


I worry about my friends and family that work in medical fields. They can’t bow-out like I did. I’m in this bubble now, one I’m sure many of you feel. I’ve become an introvert and I’m here with my husband and son, so it’s not as hard on me as I’m sure it is on others. I want to do something for those who are still in the “trenches”, realizing probably the smartest thing I can do is stay out of their way.

All I can say is “I’m sorry. I wish I could have been stronger,” as I work through my grief and guilt.

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