Posts Tagged ‘grouchy and irritated’

Well, we are back from our Road Trip!, which was fabulous. Ten days of driving that paused for a five-day stopover with my parents in the middle. My husband planned the trip in such a way that we didn’t get tired of being in the car until the very end. And then we arrived home, and it was wonderful to be back in our own beds, with a weekend to recover before getting back to normal.

And then I woke up with cold symptoms and rapid tests confirmed that I have Covid. The worst souvenir. 

So far, I am feeling crummy. But mainly CRANKY. 

Cranky at myself. I always anticipated getting Covid at some point; it’s long seemed inevitable. I thought that when I finally got it, I would feel resignation mixed with relief. But I don’t. I am MAD. I got Covid because I took unnecessary risks, and that’s just a fact. Did I expect that * I * was somehow invincible? That Covid would look at the fact that I’ve been pretty measured and cautious over the past two-ish years and say, “Let’s skip her”? That residents of the rural western United States are all roaming around unmasked because Covid doesn’t exist in those areas? Apparently I did expect those things because we relaxed our typical restrictions on our trip and I got Covid. We ate out in restaurants A LOT. We went into museums and gas stations and gift shops and sometimes we just left our masks in the car. We attended events with lots of other people and pretended that the outdoor venues would protect us. I was uncareful and I KNEW I wasn’t being careful and I got Covid. So I feel cranky and mad and a little ashamed and my head feels like a stress ball that’s being squeezed so intensely you can see the little beads inside it through the membrane. PLUS I somehow forgot to do the Wordle yesterday and it RESET my winning streak.

For posterity’s sake, my symptoms: It started with a scratchy throat. So lightly scratchy that it was easy enough to write it off as irritation from staying in so many hotels (I was getting irritated with being on the road, those last couple of days; why not my throat, too?), or the change in atmosphere/climate as we drove eastward toward home. Then a day of an even sorer throat, with an irresistible tickle that could only be soothed by chain-lozenging menthol cough drops. Then a day where the throat felt better and the cough was less persistent. Now, Day 4, I am in the Head in a Vise stage. I am isolating in my bedroom, which fortunately has its own bathroom, but I am resentful and grumpy and have to get up to staunch my runny nose every few minutes. 

Covid. Ugh.

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I am sitting in my living room with a lovely view of the Christmas tree, lights glowing softly in the morning dim, and I am still feeling distinctly grinchy. What is my DEAL. We could easily blame my lack of spirit on the fact that I have to go to Costco today, the week before Christmas, because I have somehow allowed our toilet paper and paper towel supplies to dwindle to dangerous levels. Or perhaps we could point to the fact that my daughter’s school just informed us that winter vacation will begin a day early, so agitated are they about rising numbers of Covid cases in the system. And, worse, that the kids will be coming home with devices just in case we cannot return in January as planned, and need to remain remote for a while. Cue wailing and rending of garments. Of course of course I am glad that Carla’s school continues to take this pandemic so seriously. Of course I would rather keep her home than expose her unnecessarily. Of course I want to be a good community member. Of course we will be fine if we need to do a few days or weeks of remote learning. But. Anguished scream.  

However, even before this very unwelcome announcement from the school administration, I had been feeling distinctly dispirited.  Christmas music irritates me, unless it is a very specific and somehow highly elusive style of old-fashioned instrumental Christmas carols. I have wrapped maybe a dozen presents and am already SICK OF IT. I tried to read two separate Christmas books, both which came highly recommended by people I trust, and neither of them were a good fit for my reading style/current mood. We have NO SNOW, just wind, wind, and more wind. We finally put up the tree and the Christmas decorations, and somehow even they seem lackluster, even though they are the exact same decorations I put out every year.

I feel a certain level of frustration (with myself) over this lack of holiday spirit. Also, woe. I LOVE Christmastime, and I feel it slipping away from me, and I’m concerned that this is the last Christmas that will be Magical for Carla, which makes me want to swaddle myself in Holiday Joy that is on a high, dark shelf somewhere I cannot reach. Fretting about it does not help, of course; I cannot GUILT-TRIP Christmas spirit upon myself. I thought I could coax it to me with gentleness and patience, like getting a skittish cat to come up from under the couch, but so far that hasn’t worked either.  

The only Coping Thought that is working for me (currently) is that Christmas Spirit isn’t MANDATORY. There’s no law. I have done my best to do the things that will make Christmas happy for my loved ones and I can finish the last tasks I need to do but there is no law that I have to be cheery or feel awed by the season or cherish every moment. It’s disappointing, but trying to FORCE spirit upon myself is not working, so I am trying to let go. Maybe it will find me if I stop looking so hard.

In the meantime, here are a few utterly mundane updates on a variety of things. 

Christmas Tree Skirt: I ordered the Christmas tree skirt I loved from my recent post and it has since arrived. I like it even more in person than online. The fabric is kind of stiff and heavier than I anticipated, which I quite like; I don’t think presents are going to crumple it or displace it. (It did get some stubborn folds in it during shipping, but I think time and gift gravity will smooth those out.) I LOVE the red version, but I kind of wish I had the burlap one, too. Maybe someday I will be the type of person with two trees and I can get the burlap one as well.

Holiday To-Do List: Just two weeks ago, I was in a bit of a panic over all I had yet to complete. Here is a list of what I had yet to do:

I can make a nice tidy list of things we have yet to complete:

Address and mail holiday cards

Finalize purchases for Carla’s “rilly big box full of all craft stuf”

Wrap and mail gifts for sister-in-law and niece

Mail caramels to my brother and sister-in-law whenever they get here

Buy the final gift for my mother

Buy the final gift for my father

Buy all gifts for my mother-in-law

Buy all gifts for my father-in-law (including birthday gifts)

Buy all gifts for my aunt-in-law

And now, I have completed every single item on that list. Plus, I have wraps all the gifts and packed them in boxes and put them in the mail. All that’s left is to wrap gifts for my family (and on behalf of Santa). A good reminder that there is usually plenty of time to do what needs to be done. Also that panicking publicly on one’s blog is quite useful for stimulating action.

Box Office Breakdown: When last I showed you a photo of my office, it was cram-jammed with boxes. I was saving the boxes so that I had The Perfect Size for the gifts I needed to send to relatives. This was kind of ridiculous, considering I only needed four boxes. But they are gone now! Broken down (by my husband!!!) and recycled! 

My office is usable once again. Hooray!

Coffee Experiment: I ended my experimentation with drinking coffee after two days of drinking coffee. Coffee is not for me. Instead, I have been making matcha lattes with occasional forays into Christmas tea, which is a very gentle, fragrant way to enable the Christmas spirit to enter my soul should it choose to. 

I just ordered a box of Stash Christmas in Paris tea to try in addition to the Twinings. “Luxurious chocolatey flavor paired with lavender and mint”? Yes, please!

Anniversary Dinner: My husband and I decided that we just weren’t comfortable eating in a restaurant quite yet, so we got “fancy takeout” (this means I ordered short ribs and my husband ordered chicken Milanese and we also each got an appetizer, instead of getting our usual pizza/Indian food/Thai food takeout) and took it back to our house where we watched football while Carla was at a birthday party. It was a surprisingly fun, lovely way to spend our anniversary. Plus, we got (“got”) to wait in the lobby of the restaurant for a few minutes while the kitchen prepared our order, and observed all the unmasked people coming in to dine there, and listened to how snarky and unpleasant the three (three!) hostesses were, and witnessed a disgruntled diner gripe to one of the hostesses about how he’d been waiting at a table for fifteen minutes and no one had come to serve him yet, even though someone had waited on a table that was just seated. It gave me just enough taste of Being In A Restaurant to realize that I have no desire to be in a restaurant perhaps ever again. 

Also, I got flowers!!! (And chocolates. They are both from my mother-in-law, but that doesn’t dampen their beauty.)

Dog Gifting: Carla would like to make special holiday treats for all her neighborhood dog friends. I have googled “homemade dog treats” several times, which turns up lots of recipes, many of which include peanut butter. But then some websites say that dogs can be allergic to peanut butter. Or gluten. I feel like we would KNOW if any of the dogs on our gift list had special needs. That seems like the kind of information that comes up, when you are a dog person. Right? But maybe not? I don’t know. My best guess is that we should just pick a recipe, make it, distribute the dog treats, and then the owners will decide if they want to feed it to their dogs or throw them away. It definitely seems like the perfect “It’s the thought that counts” kind of situation. But I don’t know! I’m not a dog owner!

If you are a dog owner/expert, would you allow your dog to eat a treat containing peanut butter? Perhaps I should stick to a different “flavoring.” But the other flavors include things like banana and sweet potato. Do dogs like bananas and sweet potatoes? Am I overthinking this? I am overthinking this. 

Awkwardness: Thank you for your support and kindness in response to my post about being the most awkward human on the planet. I am mostly over it. I have since spoken to several of the moms involved in my big foot-in-mouth incident the other day, and they seemed friendly and normal and the subject never even came up. 

What are you up to, this last weekend before Christmas? If you also have to brave Costco, you have my solidarity and sympathy.

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I am having a grumpy morning. Part of that is due to Carla having a surprise! day off of school (think broken furnace, frozen pipes kind of reason) when she was just off for FIVE CONSECUTIVE DAYS and part of it is that I got some feedback that was honest and thoughtful and nonetheless hurt my feelings and made me question my life choices and part of it is that I still don’t feel great after my booster.

I am going to tell you about my booster, for blog-record-keeping purposes, and for your own anecdotal-data collection purposes. But I want to be clear that I am GLAD I got my booster, and that a robust immune response is supposedly A Good Sign, so I am not complaining (well, a little) but instead reporting. I got my booster Sunday afternoon. I arrived at the pharmacy 15 minutes before my appointment, which is when I realized that I forgotten my vaccine card. (I did this with my second vaccine; now I have THREE vaccine cards SIGH.) The pharmacist was unfazed by my lack of physical vaccine card; I told her I had a photo of it on my phone and she was fine with that. She had me sit in a VERY little cubicle. She asked which arm I wanted and told me it was okay to take Tylenol later if I needed it; she said she’d gotten feedback that most people have a sore arm and feel a little achy starting about 6 to 8 hours post-booster. She injected me with the booster, applied a bandaid, and said goodbye.

I got the Moderna booster; my vaccines were Pfizer. By ten p.m.-ish I was starting to feel a little yucky, but that could have been the power of suggestion or the beginning of a long-weekend hangover. When I woke up Monday morning, I felt awful – achy and tired and shivery and off. My arm was very sore. My glands were swollen and painful to the touch. I had a fever of 100.9, so I took some Tylenol, fed Carla and drove her to school, and returned home and climbed into bed. I sleep for about an hour, but when I woke up, I stayed in bed, feeling yuckier and yuckier. At 2:30, I had a temperature of 101.7. When I picked up Carla, I felt so bad waiting in the car line that I kept running through little worst-case scenarios: would I pull over into the nearby parking spaces? Was my in-case-of-emergency friend still in the car line herself, so I could ask her to get Carla for me? Would we both get into her car? Did I have an extra booster seat? Did I have a mask? When I got home my temperature was 103.3, so I looked up whether I could take ibuprofen (the pharmacist had specified Tylenol, so I wasn’t sure). The CDC said I could take any NSAID, so I took some Advil and got back into bed. My bones and joints hurt. My skin stung – even the feeling of the fabric of my sweatshirt sliding over my stomach made me flinch. My eyes hurt. My neck and kidneys ached. I kept waiting for the time to switch over to 24 hours post vaccine, hoping either for the miraculous relief of my symptoms ending or for the sweet release of death. Neither came for me. As the night wore on, I felt slightly better. My skin stopped hurting, for instance. My fever was down to 100.6 when I went to bed

Today I feel MUCH better. My glands are still tender, but not quite as swollen. The site of the injection still hurts, both to the touch and with movement, but it’s not unbearable. My back hurts – but that could be from lying in bed all day. My head hurts and I feel a little wobbly. But no fever. My bones and skin are back to their normal state of only vocal when directly injured. 

AND – most important – I am BOOSTED. 

Carla gets her second vaccine in a few days (I set a reminder on my phone to remember her vaccine card!), and I am so excited for all of us to be vaccinated and boosted. It will be such a relief. And, frankly, even if we have to get boosted every six months and I have to have a day of yuck twice a year, it will be 100% worth it for the dip in Covid-anxiety I have enjoyed each time one of my family members has received a shot.  

Now, onto dinners this week.

Dinners for the Week of November 30-December 6

What are you eating this week?

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I have a case of the grumps, and I can trace each grump directly to its source, and they are all very mundane and so silly that my inner critic is standing there with her hands on her hips and her head tilted condescendingly saying, “Perhaps you should be grateful that you aren’t an Afghan refugee instead of whining about your perfectly lovely life, ever think about that, hmmm?” Well. She can eat a bee. Sometimes the only way to escape a particularly irksome grump is to share it, so here we go.

  • I am living in filth. My lovely, creative, crafty daughter has crafted our house into a trash heap. (I trust that you will understand I mean “likes to make crafts” here rather than “deceitful and cunning.”) Her gorgeous brain is constantly coming up with things to make and build and decorate, and I love it. I do. I am astonished by the things she thinks up and astounded by how she can bring them to life with scraps of plastic and bits of cardboard and copious amount of glue. And yet despite my pride and delight in her crafty pursuits, I have begun to feel like I am living in an actual garbage dump. Carla has an entire designated craft cabinet in which to stow her materials, but the results of her work end up everywhere. Little tiny seashells made into crabs. Skewers turned into swingsets and chopsticks and the legs of little clay beings. Cardboard shelving units and apartment blocks. Toys wearing clothing made of paper and string. Purses made out of plastic and cloth and clay. Little bits of paper that now represent dog food, toilet paper rolls, confetti, Barbie workbooks. There is no place to PUT these creations, and of course each one is rare and precious, so we have designated a section of the dining room (which is never, ever used for dining) as the Craft Waiting Area. But do the crafts wait quietly in their area, until such time as Carla deems them ready for the great Outdoor Craft Storage Compartment? No they do not. They migrate. And, with them, creative detritus piles up. Sheets of foam that have been cut into jagged lace. Broken bits of pottery. Plastic baggies. Pencils. Scissors. Sequins. Stickers. Chunks of clay. Slabs of dried glue. Q-tips. Empty play-doh containers. Rocks. Fluffy rainbow pom poms. Barettes. Three sets of needle nose pliers. Pencils, markers, paintbrushes, and pens. Corners and slips and strips of paper. Plastic baggies filled with scraps of paper and broken crayons and tiny rubber bands and bits of yarn. IT IS A GARBAGE DUMP. And, have I mentioned, every single scrap of anything is PRECIOUS and USEFUL and NECESSARY. If ever I suggest moving any of these items into the trash, Carla collapses in tears of betrayal and shock.
This is a photo I took several weeks ago, and it isn’t anywhere near as bad as things were this morning. Picture this doubled.
More detailed look at all the bits and bobs. Note the scrap of masking tape on the wall, there for no reason at all.
  • My family and I continue to require sustenance. Dinner continues to seem like an alien concept. I continue to suffer from meal-amnesia. Since Monday, my family and I have eaten tacos three times: I went to the grocery store with literally only the single idea for a meal this week (tacos), hoping that the shelves would shove meal ideas at me (they did not) (except, I guess, in the case I am about to describe), and when I walked in, there was a display of everything a human could need to make fish tacos, so I bought those things and we ate fish tacos Monday, leftover fish tacos Wednesday, ground beef tacos Thursday, and, on Tuesday, the chicken shawarma that I had planned and purchased for the first week of October. Yes, the broccoli managed to survive that long in my crisper. I have absolutely NO IDEA what to make for dinner tonight. My in laws are back next week (for two weeks), and I doubt that they will be as amenable to Tacos Every Day as my husband and child are, and yet I have no ideas. Food is a mystery. And even though I have catalogued my own meal planning here for several years now, and have multitudes of recipes both in my online files and in the files in my kitchen… and despite having access to both dozens of cookbooks AND the internet, I have no ideas. None. If you were to press a recipe into my hands and say “Make this,” it would surely gradually dissolve into gas and float away on the air.  

  • My husband is giving me guff about holiday cards. It is no secret, either here or in my marriage, that holiday cards are MY FAVORITE PART OF THE HOLIDAYS. I love to send them, I love to receive them. I love them. I thought this was well-established. I thought that my husband, who doesn’t give a goat’s beard about any of it, had nonetheless fallen in line. AND YET. I requested that we go somewhere pretty this weekend to take a family photo for holiday cards, and he grumbled that he doesn’t WANT to do holiday cards. They are stupid and a waste of time and money. While he is entitled to his own grumps, of course, I am feeling CRANKY AND STUBBORN. This is My Thing. Why is he objecting? It will take an hour, maybe, to find a spot and take a serviceable photo. I will do the card-options-narrowing-down work, and offer him a few to choose from. I will send them out. It is not a big drain on him, time-wise. Money-wise, sure, it’s not super expensive. But it’s not going to break the bank. Why can’t he just bend to my will? Why can’t he just fall in line? WHY????? (We have taken exactly two (2) photos of the three of us since summer of 2020. Neither is holiday card worthy, you will just have to trust me. And I would slap a bunch of photos from throughout the year on a card and call it a day in a frosty second, but my husband always, always hates those kinds of cards when I mock them up, and despite the fact that he is making the whole thing harder than it needs to be, he and I still feel he gets a say in a card representing/featuring him that goes to all our friends and family.)

  • Our health insurance is being downgraded. Oh, excuse me: “improved” and “enhanced.” I get that my husband’s company is a business, and they need to find ways to keep costs down, blah blah blah. And I get that I am very fortunate to have access to health insurance at all, and the means to pay for it. But I am still DEEPLY ANNOYED. Mainly because my husband’s hospital system is trying to spin it as a benefit when it clearly is NOT. They sent out this piece of direct mail giving us a heads-up about one of the changes to the insurance plan, which is that they are going to now “leverage” the hospital system’s own pharmacy system. Isn’t that great?!?! Aren’t we so happy?!?! They alluded to benefits from this change: We are now going to “get the best medication outcomes.” What the fluff does that mean? We will now have the “convenience” of using hospital pharmacies (NOT convenient, unless you are at one of the FOUR ON-SITE PHARMACIES in a 100-mile radius) or mail-order (NOT convenient if you have a necessary daily medication that happens to be a controlled substance and may not be available via mail order). And we will have “one card” for pharmacy and medical insurance coverage. Wowee, what a benefit! (Eye roll.) I suppose they do also allude to lower costs. There is also a black box notifying us that we need to stock up on medications so that the switch to the new plan doesn’t affect our prescriptions. Is this even possible with the medications we have? WHO KNOWS. And then it says to go to the website of the new company for more details. But the website does not have ANY USEFUL DETAILS for non-members. This does not feel like they are “expanding and enhancing” my healthcare benefits, that’s for sure.

  • We still have not completed my gallery wall dream. I have been saying for years that I want to have a gallery wall of photos/paintings in our living room. And my husband keeps jumping on and off board. The artwork and empty frames that I had chosen for the gallery wall have been pushed up against the dining room wall (see above) for months and months now, and I think I may have to admit defeat. It is not going to happen in this house. My husband has no interest in helping me plan, but I will need his help to execute the whole thing, and I just don’t know if I can summon enough umph to see it through. So I am summoning grump instead.

To help counteract the Grumps, I will share two goods:

  • The other day I went to a Work Event. I was very anxious about a) being around a bunch of people at a restaurant and b) feeling self-conscious about all the weight I’ve gained since I last saw these people and c) worrying that my much-increased social anxiety would make me panicky and weird. I went out and bought an entire new outfit; I haven’t had to don Office Wear regularly since 2016, and I have since been hard at work “expanding and enhancing” my size, so I had nothing remotely appropriate to wear. I got a pair of black dress pants and a burgundy sweater at Talbots (for 30% off! plus 10% off for joining their rewards program! plus $10 off for joining their mobile mailing list!), which helped tremendously. I felt like I looked put together and appropriate, and like someone who would be totally competent at doing freelance work in the future. But, even better, the event was GREAT. It was outdoors, everyone was vaccinated, and I hadn’t seen most of the attendees in five years. People gave me hugs and seemed genuinely excited to see me and we had comfortable, easy conversations and the whole thing was super, super lovely.

  • I have hacked away at some of the trash heap. Just now, I got a surge of Living In Garbage-related energy and tackled both the Dining Room Trash Heap and Carla’s craft cabinet, and threw a LOT of stuff away, but also organized everything. It doesn’t look good, but it looks significantly better, and now feel much less Strangled By Junk. Hopefully I can persuade Carla that I kept most of her things and simply organized them all in a way that looks like I threw most of it in the trash (I did throw a lot of things in the trash – but really, WHO NEEDS ten plastic baggies filled with tiny bits of paper and string and the cottony ends of Q-tips? The garbage bin, is who.) I need to take a similar approach to her desk in her bedroom, and then we’ll really be rocking and rolling.
At least it is all contained to the giant slab of cardboard now. If I move the artwork and frames down to the basement, it will look even better.

Tell me your grumps, if you’ve got em.

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Sometimes the day just seems to fall apart before it’s even really gotten going. Like today, when Carla was late to camp because we (I) forgot an essential at home and we had to turn around to get it. 

And then I went to Target to return some ill-fitting water shoes, and decided to pick up a couple more pairs of jean shorts for Carla because she prefers jean shorts to anything else. And there was a big display of Cat & Jack shorts that said “comfy jean shorts $10!” Under the sign were multiple piles of jean shorts, in multiple colors, and I looked suspiciously at some of the tags that clearly said $15 instead of $10… but Target is notoriously bad about many things that involve any sort of detail orientation, so I grabbed two pairs. Target also makes it nearly impossible to see what you are being charged as each item goes over the scanner: the only way to do it is to stand back by the conveyor belt and stare over the checker’s shoulder at their computer. Of course, I missed seeing the shorts scan. And I am terrible at math, so I thought maybe the final price was a little high, but could be in the realm of accurate? (I grew up in a state with no sales tax and have NEVER SINCE been able to figure it out.) I even asked the checker if the shorts rang up as $10 and he looked and said yes. This is a very long and boring story!

As I left the store, I looked at the receipt and one pair had indeed rung up as $15, so I went back in and asked at customer service what the deal was. And they shrugged and said, “Well, the display meant that THESE comfy shorts are $10, but not all of them.” And while I was trying to parse that in my head, I nodded and shoved the shorts back in my bag and left, and then fumed all the way home about not simply returning the shorts when I had paid $5 more than I intended to pay for them. Or at the very least saying what I wanted to say which was, “Well, that is a deeply misleading sign.” 

Anyway! Home!

To discover a giant leak underneath my kitchen sink. All of the cleaning supplies and trash bags and extra Scrub Daddies were completely soaked. 

And while I was removing each item and then drying out the cupboard and trying to diagnose the source of the leak (why? how? I am not equipped for that nor for addressing a leak should I find one), the pest control people CALLED ME BACK.

Which just added to my hatred of this morning because I had specifically asked – via email (after I had responded, via email to an invoice, and he left me a garbled voicemail) – that the guy EMAIL ME INSTEAD OF CALLING.

Not only is he boldly ignoring an explicit and reasonable request, he is trying to retroactively change the pricing terms we had discussed before I had the pest control people come out to deal with a Wasp Situation. And I was Very Frustrated and Sharp with him on the phone, and told him that I didn’t mean to be sharp, but I was dealing with a leak and this was not a good time (why did I answer the phone? why did I bring home the $15 shorts?) and would he please EMAIL ME all the rates that we had discussed, and instead of saying, “Sure,” he said, “Oh I understand completely, give me a call back when it is more convenient.” NO. EMAIL ME. OMG. 

His reasoning is that their rates change, so I guess he didn’t want to commit to something in writing. Which a) is bullshit and b) can’t he simply spell that out in the email??????

I did finally persuade him to email me, but it took an increasingly strident and near-tears additional request.

Oh, and now that I am writing this out, I do think he finally agreed to email me what we’d talked about (EXACTLY) so that I could talk it over with my husband, which in retrospect seems VERY condescending and sexist and jerkfacey. I mean, I was being quite short with him, but wanting to see a list of rates rather than having to remember all the specifics shared during a conversation, especially when I am otherwise distracted, is a reasonable desire and not an example of my poor feminine brain being unable to compute simple numbers. And if I didn’t absolutely adore the guy who comes to do the application of pest spray, I would find a new pet control company in a heartbeat. 

These things are all handle-able. They ARE. None of this is the end of the world, or even, taken individually, that big of a deal. I am not despondent, just frustrated. Frustrated because of these things and because today was supposed to be my one day this week to do some writing. (Does venting to you count as writing?)

Frustrated, too, because I am in a phase where everything seems to be falling apart: our fridge is still on the fritz, which means either an expensive repair or a new fridge; the shade in our bathroom no longer goes up more than a few inches; the WASP SITUATION; there is a stain on our front siding that I scrubbed off last week and has since reappeared, indicating a potential leak inside our soffit; we need to paint/stain/do something to both the trim on the front of the house and the playset in the yard.

And Father’s Day is this weekend, along with two birthday parties Carla is attending, and I am meeting a friend for her birthday tomorrow, so I have a million presents to wrap today/tomorrow and, this weekend, lots of good, wonderful reasons to not be writing. But it is all feeding the frustration. 

And Carla’s birthday is coming up and so there are a bunch of things to think about for that.

And my in-laws are visiting next week.

Anyway. It’s just now ten o’clock and I am already DONE with the day.

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Despite a) truly glorious, early spring weather, complete with sunshine and birdsong and blooming forsythia, and b) a brisk morning walk with a friend in said beautiful weather, I am cranky. For no substantial reason!

(I DO have to go to Target, and go inside no less, to procure some Easter candy. And I am dreading filling the plastic eggs with… whatever it is I normally fill them with. Candy? Maybe the Easter Bunny will upgrade to some dollar bills. The prospect of a Target trip is not super cheering.)

(Yesterday I had to make multiple phone calls, AND I deep cleaned the bathrooms, so perhaps I have some residual grouchiness from that?)

(We ARE supposed to go from low-seventies to low-thirties in the next day or two, so there’s that. Plus, it is QUITE WINDY and you know my feelings about THAT.) (Grump grump grump.)

Well, crabby mood or not, we must eat. I skipped my Dinners This Week post last week because I just couldn’t BEAR to think about food or plan any meals or cook. My husband is very agreeable in times like these, so he put up with leftovers, scrounging around, and takeout for several nights. And then HE planned this week’s meals (except for tonight’s tacos, which were a Carla Request). By “planned” I mean that he suggested things for me to cook, but that is indeed helpful because planning the meals – thinking of things that we haven’t eaten too recently, that don’t take a million years to cook, that will make at least some use of food we have in the house already, that two-thirds of us will eat and not hate – can be just awful.

Armed with my husband’s meal plan, I went to the grocery store after my lovely, not-de-grouchifying-in-the-least walk. (I am sure my friend found me RULL PLEASANT.) I did not want to go to the grocery store. Yet I really needed to go to the grocery store. We had run out of half and half, people. HALF AND HALF. I have been putting MILK in my tea like an Agatha Christie character.

Probably it was good that I was able to go to the grocery store on a cranky day. Grocery shopping puts me on edge as it is, so I’m putting the crankiness to good use, at least. And then I could really glower at the frozen foods case where the pancakes are once again MISSING and sigh dramatically over the dearth of regular-old large eggs (I do not need extra large eggs or jumbo eggs or super jumbo eggs, thank you very much) and stare in a pointedly Very Patient Way at the woman who was ambling – AMBLING – in a zig-zag fashion down the aisle, making it next to impossible to pass her on either side. 

I did buy myself some flowers, which helps. 

And I bought ingredients to make cinnamon rolls, which I DO NOT NEED to make, but which sounds like a very festive Easter morning breakfast. Because if there’s one thing a home visited by the Easter Bunny needs, it’s more sugar. Well. If my husband talks me down from the cinnamon rolls, at least bread flour and cream cheese keep for a good long while.

I stood in front of the beef selection for a Very Long Time because my recipe calls for chuck roast and my choices were chuck EYE roast or chuck SHOULDER roast or some other things that had the word CHUCK in them but not the word ROAST. I wanted to CHUCK a ROAST right at my husband for choosing the recipe, I’ll tell you that much. Google did not help. I did not have the recipe on me, because it is in a PHYSICAL BOOK, not on a website, like it’s 1953. I see I am getting a little shouty. At least I did not shout at the beef selection. I finally asked the meat monger – a young woman, which pleased me – and she very decisively told me that the chuck EYE roast would be best for my stew purposes, so I went on my way. (I was very glad she’d said chuck EYE roast, because the recipe called for 3 to 3.5 pounds of chuck roast and not a single roast in the entire case was 3.5 pounds. They were all 2.25 to 2.75. But! I did find ONE ROAST that was just a squeak under 3 pounds and it was the chuck EYE roast.)

Carla and I – after much deliberation – are planning to make macarons this weekend, as our Easter baking project. They will be filled with lemon curd and buttercream as per this recipe (although I bought the lemon curd in a jar), but will have speckles per this recipe. I am very, very exhausted by even the prospect of Holiday Baking Projects. But perhaps by the weekend I will feel more chipper about the idea. Anyway, I had to buy a huge giant container of cream of tartar, even though we only need a pinch, because I had failed to check on our cream of tartar situation at home. Let me tell you, my face fell when I saw a little container of cream of tartar in the spice cupboard. Fortunately for all involved (me and the cream of tartar), it had expired in 2014. 

For some reason, I have had a craving for cinnamon gummy bears. I don’t think I have had a cinnamon bear for… thirty years? And I am fairly sure that I would eat a total of three of them and then be satisfied for another three decades. But the craving is strong. So of course I cannot find cinnamon bears anywhere. Grouse grouse grouse.

This isn’t so much a grocery store report as it is a catalog of things that irritated me whilst at the grocery store. 

Grocery availability has gotten so reliable (aside from pancakes) that I didn’t even LOOK for some of the things that I normally bought in duplicate just in case – was there any pepperoni? Who knows! My preferred taco seasoning in my preferred little jar is still out of stock, but I can buy it in the envelopes so it’s not a BIG deal. And the taco shell shelves seemed a little patchy, but I still only purchased a single box of taco shells. What did that meme say last year? “The earth is healing”? (Is “the earth” in this scenario me or the grocery store supply chain?) Now we just sit and wait for Suez-Canal-blockage-related shortages to start. 

Dinners for the Week of March 30-April 5

  • Tacos
  • Mulligatawny Soup – This was my lone suggestion for the week, simply because we have mire poix pre-cut in the freezer AND because I picked up another loaf of sourdough bread at the grocery store. Sour toast will pair very nicely with some Mulligatawny.
  • Slow Cooker Balsamic Pork Tenderloin – I got my husband some feta and he already has some sundried tomatoes. I will make rice and caramelize some onions to serve with the pork. Easy peasy.
  • Guinness Stew with Side Salad – I bought some Guinness for St. Patrick’s Day, because I had never tried it before. Turns out I do not care for it. But my husband pointed out we could use it for stew, and indeed we will. I found a recipe in The Best International Recipe cookbook, from the editor’s of Cook’s Illustrated (which is different from America’s Test Kitchen in some way but I do not understand what it is). Why is it “recipe” instead of “recipes”? Just to tug my toehairs, I guess. Also, holy Slovenian sausage, this cookbook is PRICEY. I sure as sugar did not pay $66 for this cookbook and neither should you. 

What are you eating and/or baking this week? Or, if you feel like joining me in a Celebration of Crabbiness, what is getting all up in your grump today?

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This post is half grousing/fretting, half meal planning, or maybe a little quite a bit less meal planning than grousing. I am just preparing you, so you can scroll down past the cranky part or click over to some other more cheerful blog. And also if you have grouses/frets, I am in a very empathetic mood, so please do share. 

Anyway, I woke up this morning in a grump. There’s nothing WRONG, per se. It’s just, you know – everything. Yesterday, I had two mildly irritating experiences that aren’t worth describing and really come down to Pandemic Life Adjustments and Everyone Is Doing the Best They Can.  (Okay, I will briefly describe one: I had to wait for nearly an hour, as in 50+ minutes, for my curbside Target order; normally the wait is like 5 minutes tops.) (Here is the brief run-down of the other: Carla’s school required me to buy a last-minute hole punch – I got the request yesterday, and the hole punch was needed yesterday and will be needed again today – and I cannot locate one; I even WENT IN to WalMart to find one and still couldn’t; so Carla just has to do without, which is fine, it’s not a big deal.) There’s nothing I can DO about these irritating experiences, and I really do think everyone is trying their utmost best, but they are still irritating. 

Plus, I am still having self-conscious feelings about our holiday cards. I know I mentioned this before, but I stuffed all of them into their envelopes yesterday so I was looking at them for a long time and I just feel like they are BAD and DUMB. I mean, my husband thinks they are cute, and I trust him, so hopefully I am just being overly precious about them? There is the possibility that he is Not Hurting My Feelings, but really thinks they are dumb… although… that doesn’t really sound like him. But the borders just seem SO uneven and the pictures are blurrier than I originally thought and I am a little uncomfortable that we are wearing Santa hats in our photos; but OF COURSE THAT IS STUPID. No one cares! Our Jewish friends do not care if we are representing Christmas in our cards! And our card is kind of light-hearted – it’s the three of us on Zoom, and it references social distancing. What if it’s too light-hearted for some people? Or feels like we are making light of the pandemic, which has been much harder on so many people than it has for us? And then, on the back, there’s a message that is a little more serious in tone, about hoping everyone is safe and healthy. And I’m worried that the tone shift is too severe? What if people think I’m being super over-serious about everything? And then on some cards I’ve written little messages like “Merry Christmas!” or whatever and that feels like adding to the mixed message-ness of it all? Plus, I look old and my nose looks weird. And OMG NOBODY CARES. But what it comes down to is that I am having to force myself to send them out, rather than feeling happy about them. 

Plus, this morning the kids in Carla’s class did an opening discussion about things they are grateful for. It was very sweet, but the things they listed (my siblings, because I can play with them even if I can’t play with my friends; being safe from corona; the world) kind of broke my heart. 

Pluscheery frivolous post material aside, I am increasingly anxious about The State of Things. The emails my husband gets from his hospital system are increasingly… upsetting. I mean, aside from the graphs they send out regularly, illustrating the steep upward climb of Covid cases and ICU patients, there have been some bland, semi-vague missives that to me seem like “covering the bases” types of emails. NOT THIS EXPRESSLY, but like, along the lines of, “Hey, you may be in a specialty totally removed from emergency or respiratory medicine but just kind of gird your loins for the possibility of maybe jumping in if we need you? Kthanx.” or “By the way, at some point we may need to shift hospital stuff to your clinics because we are running out of room. Byeeeee.” Again, this is not exactly what they are saying, and again, I think this is more like the hospital system making sure their doctors are prepared for any eventuality. But it is not a confidence-builder, you know? 

Okay. Grumping and worrying do nothing. NOTHING. Let’s go for some Cheering Thoughts:

First, I have SO MANY great cookie ideas to follow up on. This does not mean I have TOO MANY or even ENOUGH, so please let me know if you have a Must Make Holiday Cookie I need to consider.

Second, Remote Learning is going… okay, so far. I’m not going to say it’s good, because it isn’t. But it’s so much better than it went last spring. Carla is doing great and, now that the teachers have had time to prepare and some experience with online teaching, the school days are so much better organized. It still feels impossible to complete all the necessary work during the day, and neither of us is getting any exercise (where to fit it in???) (do not say wake up earlier), and we are both in Carla’s room/office for pretty much the ENTIRE DAY EVERY DAY but still, it is Much Better. And supposedly she will be back in school, in person, in early January… but even if not, we will at least have a two-week break in there. 

Third, I finally finished not one but TWO books I have been reading for literal months. One of them was really good, but had a slow start; the other was interesting but the author’s voice wasn’t my style. Anyway, I finished them, which is a good feeling. AND now I can start the three books that are next up on my to-read list: Mayflower: Voyage, Community, War by Nathaniel Philbrick, which I received as a surprise from a friend; The Searcher by Tana French, which my husband ordered for me on a whim; and Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, which I bought for myself. I am really excited about all three, and this anticipatory which-one-should-I read-next stage is delicious and fun. 

Fourth, back to food, this week includes both (the beginning of) Hanukkah and my wedding anniversary, which means some special meals. Perhaps I will make the special meal for Hanukkah and order takeout for our anniversary. Also I have some repeats from last week because I am lazy Super Flexible.

Dinners for the Week of December 8-14

I also have some extra cranberries leftover from Thanksgiving, so I may make these cranberry crumble bars and send some to work with my husband. 

What are you eating for dinner this week?

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If you are up for feeling ranty about something completely inconsequential in The Grand Scheme, please join me for a VERY long and ranty rant. I am Super Peeved right now, so I am putting it all down here and releasing the peevedness into the universe so that it will leave me alone.

Our final payment for our car was due on Tuesday. We exchanged that car for a new car the previous Saturday, meaning that we did not need to make the final payment. But we forgot that our automatic online bill pay system was on top of things, and was ready to make the payment for us.

The instant we realized this – middle of the nightish Monday – we figured out how to stop the payment. I called the bank on Tuesday, first thing, and they stopped the payment. We could see in our account that the money briefly left… and was then returned.

Great. Easy peasy.

Wednesday, we received an email from the car company saying thank you for your payment. Sigh.

I called the bank and explained what happened. Nope, they said. We can see that you stopped the payment. See? Right there? In your account? It was stopped.

Okay, great.

Yesterday: An email from a Third Party Online Bill Pay Service, which pays bills for our bank. They had submitted the payment to the car company, but our bank would not release the money to pay them. Because we had, you know, STOPPED THE PAYMENT. So our online bill pay service is now suspended and we are on the hook for the money that they paid, even though we supposedly stopped the payment. (The bigger of the two issues is the suspended bill pay service. We have four automated bills coming up before the end of the month, and, okay, I guess if the solution is “just write four checks” it’s not THAT big of a deal. But it is ANNOYING.)

(I have not yet called the car company, to see if they can simply RETURN THE MONEY for the car we no longer own.)

I called the Third Party Service. I sat on hold for 17 minutes (yes I am counting because I am PEEVED) before someone answered. She was polite but not friendly. I explained my issue to her. She needed my social security number and email address and birth date and verified that she could not see any issues.

But… I got this email, I told her. An email that says our service has been suspended.

Nope. She can’t see that there is any issue with my bill pay service.

But… this email.

We went round and round for a bit. Finally, I asked her if the fact that the email went to my husband’s email address was significant. Aha. Yes. Apparently, even though the money with which we pay our bills comes from a joint account, my husband is the one who set up the bill paying system under his name and social security number. Therefore, I cannot make any sort of decisions for the online bill paying system. My husband needs to be the one who calls.


Me: Okay, what are your hours?

Third Party: 8:00 to 5:00. In fact, we are closed right now. [What? Why did they answer then?] [Also, it was past six, so they must have been operating out of a different time zone, which is kind of a relevant detail.]

Me: Well… My husband is not available during those hours. So what kind of information can I get you that would allow me to talk to someone about this issue?

Third Party: Sorry. Only your husband.

Me: But he isn’t available.

Third Party: He doesn’t have to “be available.” All he has to do is get on the phone at the same time, WITH YOU, and confirm that you can handle this without him. [I am paraphrasing.]

Me: I’m so sorry, I must not be being clear. My husband is at work during the hours you mentioned. He cannot make a phone call during that time.

Third Party: He doesn’t have to MAKE A PHONE CALL. He simply needs to be ON THE PHONE while you are on the phone so he can authorize you to take over.

At this point, my frustration boiled over. My voice got high pitched and shaky. I was near tears. I told her how I knew it wasn’t her fault, but I was really frustrated, we had stopped the payment in advance, this shouldn’t be an issue, and we have a JOINT ACCOUNT FOR PETE’S SAKE, I have as much say over the disbursal of the money in that account as he does, so WHY can’t I talk to someone about fixing this problem?

She repeated a) that they are now closed and b) that he doesn’t have to be AVAILABLE, he just has to be on the phone with me long enough to give them permission to talk to me.

So I thanked her, hung up, wrote a bunch of all-caps texts to my husband (who, at 6:37 pm was STILL AT WORK because that is how things are for some people, in fact, for LOTS OF PEOPLE, this can’t be the first time a human has needed to conduct routine business during non-business hours?!?!?!?!), and called the bank.

My thinking is: I called the bank on Tuesday and stopped the payment. Whatever happened next is THE BANK’S FAULT and they should fix it.

My call with the bank started well. The customer service rep was very friendly and nice.

I confirmed with him that we had stopped the payment. Yes, we had. Then I told him my whole sob story, including that Third Party wouldn’t let me untangle the mess and I hoped that he, Bank Guy, would be able to fix it, considering that it was something that happened AFTER I called the bank to stop this payment.

He was totally going to help me. He first did some sort of poking around in the background and then explained to me that only my husband had enrolled in the online bill pay service, which was therefore tied to his social security number. I was not enrolled in online bill pay at all, he informed me. So for obvious security purposes, Third Party couldn’t deal with someone who wasn’t my husband. He said it had nothing to do with our having a joint account. I found this information useful and thanked him.

Then he started… talking around the situation. Saying things like, “And they were saying that they needed to talk to your husband because it’s his information, and then he could easily tell them that it’s okay for you to handle the rest of the conversation.” And, “It’s totally frustrating that things like this happen, ma’am.” And, “You did everything right on your end and it seems like things got a little mixed up.” You know, being really empathetic and showing that he understood the situation. 

Finally, I figured out that he was no longer just trying to be nice. What he was saying was, HE couldn’t help me. (I literally had to ask him, “Are you saying that you cannot help me reinstate my suspended account?”) I still had to deal with Third Party. Which meant that I still had to somehow get my husband on the phone between 8:00 and 5:00. 

I lost it a little. Not angry – just, you know, high pitched voice, shaky, sweating, near tears. Delightful. And I told Bank Guy that my husband CANNOT MAKE THAT WORK. He is NOT AVAILABLE. And I also said, “I did the right thing, right? What happened after I stopped the payment? Why did it not actually STOP?” And he gave me some B.S. answer about how the Third Party system must have gotten confused. I tried to say, Well, since I STOPPED THE PAYMENT, then I think it is up to the bank and the Third Party Bill Paying Service to work it out.

That is when his tone shifted. Nice, patient, empathetic Bank Guy was done with me. He started speaking very slowly and loudly.

“Just to clarify, your husband doesn’t actually have to be on the phone,” he said over and over. (Which, what? YES HE DOES, that is exactly what you are saying.) “He can be on a three-way call with you, and tell Third Party, ‘you can talk to my wife.’” 

“He isn’t available during the hours they are open,” I said.

“I’m QUITE SURE HE GETS A LUNCH BREAK, MA’AM,” the guy said, very slowly and loudly.

At that point, I took a very deep breath, thanked him, and said goodbye. 

Listen. I am not saying that my husband deserves special treatment. He does not! But I AM SAYING that there are probably LOTS OF PEOPLE who are not available between those very specific hours, and that it is ridiculous that they cannot talk to me and YES I KNOW SECURITY CONCERNS BLAH BLAH BLAH I AM JUST MAD, OKAY? 

And I am not exaggerating about his availability! My husband has seventeen patients tomorrow. If he gets to eat lunch on any given day, and that is never certain because he is almost always running late, he scarfs it down between phone calls to patients, or while he is reviewing pathology reports, or while he is writing his patient notes and recommendations. Sometimes in a day he does not get to use the bathroom. He typically leaves the house at sixish and comes home around eightish. This is just how it is.

But, just to realllllly address the skepticism, let’s say he HAS a free five minutes. Is there a guarantee that we will get through to a customer service person in that small timeframe? NO. And do you REALLY think that they are going to let him bark, “Talk to my wife” into the phone and leave? NO. He will have to do all sorts of identification verification stuff before they let him go. So even if he could find a few minutes during his LUNCH BREAK – OMG I am apoplectic about that phrase for some reason – it’s not necessarily going to be enough time. 

PLUS – PLUS!!!! – there should be a SOLUTION other than “just make a three-way call.” What if he were out of the country? What if he were sequestered in jury duty? What if he were dead? (God forbid.) (I am being hyperbolic because I am PEEVED.)

I guess the moral of the story is that I need to be automatically ON EVERYTHING. But man is that frustrating! 

And also! Can we all agree that this is, in fact, THE FAULT OF THE BANK? That THE BANK should be working with the Third Party Bill Paying Service to figure out how to get them their money back? Because I STOPPED THE PAYMENT. I even called back the next day and confirmed it! And they verified it by looking at my account! 

I want THE BANK to call Third Party between the hours of 8:00 and 5:00 and DEAL WITH THIS. 

Man. This is why middle-aged white women get a bad rap, right? I am so worked up about this that I want to go nuclear. I want to call the bank and talk to A Manager. I want to immediately and forevermore remove all our money – checking and savings and money market account – from this bank to another bank. Maybe I am being entitled and unreasonable. But right now, my vision is so clouded by how INFURIATING this all is, that I can’t see that. 

My next call, as soon as they open, will be the car company which apparently got our STOPPED payment. Perhaps they can return it to the Third Party and everything will go away. 

Now I need to go take some calming breaths so I can talk to the car company without shrieking.

Edit: Now I have called the car company. The customer service person asked if my husband had authorized me to handle this — eternal screaming — and I said yes, and he said fine. Then he submitted my “request” to, you know, not accept money that we do not in fact owe them, to a “team” for “review” and told me that it should take 3-5 business days for us to get our check. He was by FAR the nicest customer service person I dealt with this entire time, but I could tell he was a little suspicious of my motives, even after I explained why I was so anxious to get the payment back.

Now I am going to go clean the bathrooms. There’s nothing like a little righteous anger for making it Very Satisfying to scrub toilets and shower pans.

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Indignant Update: IT IS NOW SNOWING.

We had actual honest-to-goodness sunshine yesterday, and temperatures around 70 degrees, and Carla and I played outside for THREE HOURS and I got a horrific sunburn and now I’m really grouchy. The grouchiness has to do with my being so careless as to forget to wear appropriate sunscreen and also with my inability to sleep due to the fact that my chest, back, shoulders, and arms are so sunburned that I could NOT find a comfortable sleeping position. Plus, I am irritable that I am in such discomfort – and, not to mention, I look RIDICULOUS because the sunburn is all streaky and uneven and the same shade as my red T-shirt – purely because of MY OWN IDIOCY.

Anyway, I am in a very cranky and judgmental mood, so I thought you might join me in being extremely disapproving and critical this morning. Surely there is SOMETHING that fills you with disapprobation, no? Perhaps it is my overzealous use of capitalization, perhaps any of a million other things you could rightly judge me for.

  • Carla likes to go bike riding in a nearby school parking lot. It is just down the block and, obviously, there is no one at school these days. So it’s the perfect big, empty space for her to ride around in. But increasingly often, we are finding TEENS gathering there. Now, I expect that the Stay at Home Order is especially tough on teens. And that they should probably get props (are we still giving props? is that too 1900s a term?) for being creative about socializing. But zooming into a school parking lot and then setting up a sort of tailgating-esque situation that doesn’t appear to separate its participants by more than three feet MAX… well, that just makes me feel crabby. Some of the teens have been better than others about maintaining distance. But I definitely witnessed one person exit a car and enter another car and I can’t imagine that two people quarantining together would drive to a parking lot, separately, only to then get together in a single car. I am watching you, teens. Not in a creepy way. Just in a very impotently condemnatory way.
  • And SPEAKING OF the school parking lot, which I know we have no actual claim over: People have been using it as a cut-through. If you think of the school as being on a corner, with a busy road as the northern border and a busy road bordering the east, and our street lying on the school’s southern border, people are using the parking lot to cut off the corner intersection. There’s a stop sign between the school parking lot and my street, but people are ZOOMing through the parking lot and then ZOOMing straight through the stop sign and I am getting Very Peeved. People live here! And drive past! And ride their bikes! This is not your own personal shortcut!
  • When I went to pick up pizza for dinner last Friday, there was one customer inside the store already (two-customer limit, for the interior of the store), and two customers in line after me (outside). Of the four of us, I was the ONLY person wearing a mask. Then I had to go INTO Target to pick up an online order, due to some sort of oversight on my part (I was NOT PLEASED), and so! many! people! were just wandering around without masks! A man and his THREE tween/teenage daughters walked into Target without masks on! The staff inside had masks “on,” but not covering their noses, or hanging loosely around their chins. I am trying not to be TOO judgey about mask wearing; I ordered my mask online and it took a couple of weeks to arrive. My husband ordered a mask several weeks ago and it just now is “being prepared to ship,” whatever that means, website. So I get that not everyone has easy access to masks, and that even if you are trying to be a good mask-wearing member of society that you might not have one on hand. (I had to turn around halfway to Target — when I discovered that I had somehow not ordered the curbside pickup, but instead the inside pickup; what is going ON with my brain? — and go home for my mask; now I have my second mask in my car, waiting for just such an occasion.) But also you can make a mask out of ANYTHING; my husband made me a makeshift mask out of a dishrag and two hairties before I had my real masks in hand. So please. WEAR A MASK.
  • And ALSO, why are people SO OPPOSED to wearing masks? Listen, I acknowledge that there are probably cases where wearing a mask is not possible. But probably, for those people who CANNOT wear a mask for some reason, masks for the REST of us are extra important. I have seen horrifying news stories about mask-related violence and I don’t get it at all! If you don’t have a medical reason for not wearing a mask, JUST WEAR A MASK. Yes, they are uncomfortable. Yes, they look odd/ridiculous/scary. And yes, they make me feel claustrophobic and trapped and damp around the mouth area. But if they can help slow the spread of this disease or even just make people feel a teeny bit more comfortable, WEAR A FREAKING MASK.
  • Going back to being critical of people at the pizza place: I’d placed my order in advance online. You can specify a pickup time, and I’d said 6:00. I arrived at about 5:50, and waited until 6:00 on the button to go into the store. The very kind but harried staff person who took my name said, “Okay, just a second.” And maybe all of four minutes later, he handed me my pizza, and apologized for taking so long, they’d been so inundated with orders, and he appreciated my patience… And… It was probably 6:04 at the latest. Which makes me think that OTHER PEOPLE had been rude to him which makes me feel so angry I could cry. This poor guy, working in a hot restaurant for probably not very much money, providing a very helpful service to all of us in this time of need, putting himself and his family/roommates in potential danger, and having to keep up with what I imagine is a lot of business. And for someone to be RUDE to him? Obviously this is all conjecture and I have no idea what, if anything, happened at all. But I am ready to LEAP FORTH with indignation at the slightest non-provocation!
  • There was a centipede on our kitchen floor the other day. As I approached it, I informed my family – with solemnity and sorrow – that I was going to squish it and flush it down the toilet. They protested. Yes, yes, I am also of the mind that we should return a creepy crawly to the great outdoors if we can, if we can being the operative phrase and also containing multitudes of unspoken caveats, including but not limited to if we can without being crawled upon. I told my family that they were welcome to intervene, and transport the centipede to the outdoors themselves, but that I wasn’t going to risk it. They valiantly recommended ways that I could capture and transport the centipede. Again, I demurred. Again, they protested. Finally, my brave daughter leapt up and said she would extricate the centipede from certain-death-by-squishing and put it safely outside. But she took too long trying to find an appropriately stiff piece of paper and the centipede started to run away. I tried to waylay it and it crawled on my hand and then fell to the floor and made for the no-mans-land beneath the refrigerator so I squished it. I am very irritated indeed about the way the whole thing went.
  • In addition to the centipede, we had a silverfish sighting. READ THE ROOM, CRITTERS. Perhaps they are well aware that I can’t exactly call the exterminators at this moment, and so are taking advantage of the situation. To which I say, in a tone of utmost withering disdain, I expect opportunistic behavior of humans but not of YOU.


What or who’s behavior has you putting on your prissy pants these days?

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