The city pool & polio…

Life

I find city pools, public pools, water parks, pretty much any artificially created body of water teeming with germs to be literally the most vile thing in existence. I cannot believe that I am reading reports about these facilities re-opening in some locales. Luckily, I’m allergic to chlorine and have had very few encounters with any pools. There are a handful of films set in the late 50’s-1970’s that so romanticized the city pool that I really felt like I was missing out on something. I’ve been to pools, mostly to lay out and read but I’ve never experienced the elation of diving into a packed pool on a 90 degree day. The city that I work for actually had 2 public pools that were filled in and turfed over back in the 40’s and I never knew why. Last night, I was watching a documentary on polio – I mean, who hasn’t watched every documentary on modern pandemics since this has all started? During the polio pandemic, pools and movie theaters were closed each summer for four decades. FORTY YEARS. So it makes sense that films and television shows depict going to the pool as peak childhood ecstasy. There probably wasn’t a lot to do as a kid back then and they were deprived of two main sources of entertainment for decades. Can you imagine the feeling of being able to safely sit in a movie theater in July post the discovery of a vaccine? It must have been mind blowing. Not only that, parents wouldn’t allow kids to play on playgrounds or go to birthday parties. FOR FORTY YEARS. Kids went from school to polio season, sounds like a fucking nightmare. And people just did it because they understood what they were doing was for the greater good. Fast forward 70’ish years later and people could not stay off the playgrounds for literally FOUR WEEKS.

Is COVID-19 the same as polio? No. Is there really any comparison when you consider the symptoms and long-term impacts in addition to the fatality of polio? Perhaps not but people are still dying. I think that’s reason enough for people complaining about not being able to get a haircut to shut up. What happened to people? When did we become these egocentric assholes who can’t even put on a mask to protect someone else? So a haircut or nail appointment is delayed, who cares. I don’t see a lot of people protesting and holding up signs saying that they need heart surgery or some other important service that has been tabled due to COVID (even though I know that they are out there). We are a society in which very few people have experienced real hardship and it shows. It’s truly unfortunate that instead of coming together for the long haul, we have people getting shot over face masks, purposely coughing on one another, protesting at hospitals. Elon Musk, talking out his ass. Like, come on – we are losing a war on germs over fucking haircuts.

I know that people are out there doing good too and all we can do is keep trying to take care of one another πŸ’™

β€œHard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times.” G. Michael Hopf

Apprehension…

Life

The Minnesota Stay at Home Order was set to expire Monday and the Governor announced that he would in fact not be extending the order through May as originally predicted. Bars, salons and restaurants must remain closed until June 1 but most other retailers are allowed to reopen. This is it, right? What we’ve all been waiting for. But now that it’s here, I’m not so sure. I think the human race learned a hard lesson here, Mother Nature can bring us to our knees in a matter of weeks and she doesn’t give a fuck about the economy. Are we just supposed to go back to business as usual, pretend that the way we live our lives isn’t completely unsustainable? I think we figured out real quick that it’s not just average people living paycheck to paycheck – it’s landlords, corporations, small businesses, big businesses, universities and the government. The people who are supposed to have this all figured out and provide security to the common man have no ability to do so at all. I don’t believe we are in the clear, I think the future holds a lifetime of uncertainty. Not just about what will happen with the virus or the next pandemic but job security as well. Obviously, the days of retiring from a lifetime career with a cushy pension are long over, Hell, I think my grandparents were the last generation to retire comfortably. Now we see people working well into their 60’s and often taking part-time jobs to supplement their social security benefits. I have no delusions that I will ever retire and am planning on social security being bankrupt by the time I am eligible, the government can’t just keep printing money. I also don’t believe that UBI is a good idea either, citizens shouldn’t have to depend on government for our livelihoods – we should be able to make our own way and they seem to want to make that more impossible each and every day. Squeezing out small farmers with ridiculous regulations, squeezing out small businesses by mandating minimum wage and health benefits – they’ve made it very difficult for anyone who is not ultra-wealthy to be successful in their own enterprise and it’s scary. A society that is completely dependent on their government has no freedom.

I think this is a wake up call, it wouldn’t be wise to go back to how things were. We need to become self-sustainable, self-dependent and self-reliant. For me, Monday won’t be back to business as usual – it will be hoarding my assets now more than ever so that I can get out of this cycle of working for someone else so that I can have money to spend on stuff I don’t need only to the benefit of those who don’t need more money. I thought that I had learned this lesson after the 2008 Recession and yet, here I am. My only post-pandemic plan is freedom πŸ’›

The old normal wasn’t normal…

Life

Hearing that more businesses within the service industry are being given the green light to reopen elates me but also gives me pause. I’m glad that more folks can get back to work but also concerned about the risk they are being put at. If you’ve worked in the retail or service industry in America then you know that calling in sick for work is frowned upon. I’ve work(ed) for three major retailers and while I rarely called in sick or missed shifts, I know firsthand what it feels like to get guilt-tripped into going in for a shift while sick. It’s scary how normal this is, I waited tables for a restaurant in Minneapolis whose policy was if you didn’t have a fever or diarrhea then you should be at work. This culture runs deep within the service industry and I think we can all agree that this is not acceptable any longer (nor was it ever).

Unfortunately, for those of us who grew up working service jobs, this mentality stuck with us. At my former corporate office job, we wouldn’t take sick days but would work from home instead. It’s not unusual for people to be in the office coughing and sniffling at work during flu season, even at my current workplace. It’s bizarre to me that staying home when you aren’t feeling well has to be so stressed, this is what we should have all been doing in the first place. Employers should be required to offer sick time to all employees from their first date of employment. It took me 3-years to start accruing PTO while working for JCPenney and I think I started at .89 hours. That means it would have taken me 16 weeks to accrue ONE paid day off. One. After 3-years, I could request a day off while working for a huge corporation. Funny thing is, I graduated college shortly thereafter having never taken a day off and they had to cut me a check for 2 hours of PTO when I left that job πŸ˜€ Now, the obvious argument is that if you want a better benefits package then you should get a better job. I think that all of the people who live by that mantra have figured out how much they depend on these ‘low-skill’ workers and I hope that their mindset has changed.

I am thankful that I have a good job now with better than average paid time off and an awesome boss who would never make me feel guilty for being gone. Even now though, over 10 years into my career, I still feel guilty about taking a sick day. I often check my email and voicemail even if I am at home sick even though there isn’t any pressure from my boss to do so.

As someone who is trying to be a more conscientious consumer, it’s past time to start holding companies accountable for how they treat their employees. Minimum wage workers are an integral part of the huge profits these corporations make each year & should be treated as such. If a company can’t afford to pay their employees reasonable benefits then they should cease to exist (looking at you JCPenney). I’ve been watching very closely what corporations have been doing to safeguard their employees well-being through all of this and there are some that I will definitely not be giving my hard earned cash to any longer. I think it’s the least I can do to support those who are expected to do so much for so little 🀍

Working From Home is Ruining My Home

Life & Style, Uncategorized

I will preface this by saying that I know that I am extremely lucky in that my employer has allowed me to work from home & that I have not my job because of all of this. A lot of this satirical and meant to be humorous, also though, I’m sick of working at home.

Outbreak Regular

The first day working at home was a struggle, my internet was just not equipped to handle all of the things that I was suddenly trying to do. My laptop (we do not have work issued equipment) was struggling too. I use some beefy software for my job and suddenly my zippy little laptop was hardly loading. I had to upgrade my internet to the fastest I can get in my area & I had to pay an additional $99 installation fee! I also purchased additional storage for my laptop just to get it in working order. All to the tune of a few hundred dollars. Now, I know that I’m saving money on gas but my new internet costs 3 times as much as I spend on gas monthly so it’s not a wash for me. I improvised a desk and pulled a sofa table into my bedroom but now am looking at needing a chair since we aren’t going back to the office any time soon. And then what will I do with said chair when we go back to the office? I don’t particularly need an office set up and will put my furniture back where it actually goes.

Outbreak Regular

Kids (not mine, we have quite a few who live in the building and they’re out in the hallway constantly), package deliveries, my neighbor’s doing yard work. I didn’t realize how quiet the office is and how loud my living space is. I don’t notice it when I’m home probably because I’m busy living and probably making more noise than I would at work anyway. I consider my building to be unusually quite for an apartment but it’s driving me nuts at the moment.

Outbreak Regular

Being in the office and working with a fairly flexible department, I can take a break whenever I want to/need to. Obviously, if I go to the restroom and my boss stops by my desk then he would just swing back knowing that I would be back shortly. Now however, I take my phone to the bathroom in case someone calls because I don’t want them to think I’m slacking off. It’s like I’m working all of the time when my workload hasn’t increased drastically.

Outbreak Regular

My ‘office’ is in my room, well it is now – before I set something up I was just sitting in random places. When I go to bed, it feels like I am sleeping at work. When I wake up, I’m immediately at work. It’s this really warped feeling that I hope goes away when we do get back in the office.

Working from home is definitely a personal preference as I am finding out. Some people love it and some people really struggle – I’m struggling. It’s just a chore at this point and I feel like I’m constantly at work. Unfortunately, I think that the attitude from some of these employers is that we should be so lucky even having the choice to work at home. I get that but I’ve never sought out a job that allows for work from home because it just doesn’t appeal to me. It’s like none of use should expect anything from our employers now because thank God they are still paying us. Kind of a shitty way to feel, honestly. Since this will be the routine for the foreseeable future, I will keep trying to make the best of it. It is nice to get chores done and out of the way during my lunch break so then I can enjoy the evening. I generally eat pretty well but having time to make a nice salad for lunch or time consuming dinner is a treat and I am sure that there will be things I miss when we are no longer at home.

I hope that you’re happy and healthy and just doing the best that you can, let me know what life changes you are working through at the moment.

🧑

Trash Talk & Some Products I’m Getting Rid Of

Clean Beauty, Random

Another beautiful spring day, we’ve really been treated to fantastic weather lately. I’ve been enjoying the deck a lot, getting my urban garden off the ground – update to come. I don’t know if nature is just thriving with humans being in lockdown but has anyone else noticed some monster bees where they are? I appreciate the bees but I’m also allergic to them & they just seem massive this year. I’m excited that they are interested in my plants though, I hope this means that my garden will be a success. I’m still cleaning, organizing & reorganizing because what else is there to do?! I’ve got just a handful of empties & a few things I’m tossing because I don’t like them.

Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Cream – There’s still a good blob to use up but almost there. I hate that I love this stuff but there are few creams this rich that don’t feel greasy. It smells like summer but in a refined, sultry way. I’m not repurchasing as it does seem overpriced & I have a LUSH body cream that I need to use up.

Pyunkang Yul Acne Patches – these were pretty good, I like how thin they were. Not terribly expensive & very effective at helping treat red spots.

CeraVe Eye Repair Cream – I like this stuff a lot & almost always have some on hand. It’s a simple cream that just hydrates but I think that ensuring the undereye area is properly hydrated can help with the appearance of fine lines and dark circles. It’s not very expensive but is decently effective.

Tula Eye Renewal Serum – I wasn’t crazy about this product. I like the consistency but I didn’t notice any change to the puffiness of my undereyes. I also think that it irritated my skin a bit. It’s overpriced at $52 for .5 ounces, especially as it did nothing for me.

Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum – I felt like there was a good reason that I never bought into the hype around this product. This is a deluxe sample & there’s nothing special about this serum. I’m about halfway done with it, I haven’t noticed any changes in my skin texture. It feels nice but so does plain hyaluronic acid.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation – I’ve fallen out of love with this brand almost completely. I’ve used a lot of her products & while they’re good, I just don’t think that they’re magic or worth the price tag. I think you need to have really good skin & attractive features already to use her products successfully. Which makes sense as she is a celebrity makeup artist. This foundation is just a caky, clumpy, pore accentuating mess. I do enjoy the Magic Cream but the makeup just isn’t for me.

Good Molecules Priming Moisturizer – Actually a nice, lightweight moisturizer that does prep the skin for makeup but it broke me out! It’s almost 3/4 full & I’d love to pass it on but think those days are over in light of Corona.

Some keepers, some duds but they all can’t be winners. I hope you’re having a beautiful day & just doing the best you can πŸ’›

 

How About a Ghost Story…

Random

I’ve had the most difficult time trying to stick to a sleep schedule. I’m going to be wrecked when we go back to work. Living alone & staying up well into the twilight hours gives me the creeps, I don’t know why I keep doing it. It’s especially creepy when you think you’re being haunted. I’ve mentioned my elderly neighbor who passed away before but things have still been weird & since I can’t sleep, I’ll creep you out too πŸ˜‰

Going on two years ago, my elderly neighbor passed away in her apartment & wasn’t found for awhile. Our kitchen & living rooms are on the same wall, I never heard her much anyway so sadly, I didn’t notice that she had died. I did run into her often, she was always pushing this metal cart filled with coloring books, children’s books & other goodies that any grandma would have on hand for her grandkids. She would always say that she was off to see her grandkids or that they were coming over – she was a genuinely sweet old lady. I did notice her absence but figured that she was on an extended visit with the grandkids. Then one day, my kitchen just started to feel off. I’ve shared photos of my kitchen before, it’s bright & cheery, filled with colorful decor but it started to get this dank feeling I couldn’t shake. It was late fall, I chalked it up to rain and started burning candles and baking to make it feel cozy again but nothing worked. Now, I had an acupuncturist tell me years ago that I was an empath. How he knew this, I have no idea. Do I believe it, no idea but a few days into my kitchen feeling weird, I got sick. I never sleep in my bed when I’m sick & prefer to lay on the couch. Typically, my cats sleep wherever I am but I noticed that they were sticking to the back rooms of my apartment which started to give me the willies. I was home sick for five days over a weekend, on two nights I woke to my stove’s overhead light being on. My couch faces my stove, it’s incredibly unlikely that I would have left it on then laid down but figured I was just out of it from being sick. This entire time, my neighbor was the last thing on my mind but had I been paying attention, I would have realized that her apartment had been dead silent for nearly two weeks.

Fast forward a few days later, I’m finally back at work feeling fatigued but otherwise well enough. I’m pulling into my apartment complex & the coroner is parked outside. I felt like everything was suddenly slow motion, my breath caught & I knew immediately my neighbor had died. I stopped by the office to check in with the building manager. She had been sitting in her rocker, in her living room for just under three weeks. I was sleeping in my living, basically right next to her for at least four nights. He said that he started to worry when she hadn’t been to the office to chat with him & was the one to discover her. It was all around just really tragic.

Eventually he started to clean & renovate her apartment as she had lived there for going on ten years. However, I noticed that the unit sat vacant for quite some time. When I asked the building manager if he was struggling to find a tenant, he said that he wasn’t able to locate any relatives so her stuff was still in the apartment. I was shocked, when I mentioned her grandkids he said that she didn’t have any family that he knew of. I’ve never figured out if she was lying or if she was struggling with dementia. I used to work in memory care & didn’t notice any signs that she wasn’t completely lucid. Maybe she just didn’t want people to feel sorry for her, I dunno. At any rate, weird things kept happening while the unit sat empty. My stove light would be on when I’d get home, the cats still wouldn’t hang out in the living room & had taken to staring at my front door at 3 am. I’d inexplicably be awake & find them all crowded near the front door night after night. Sometimes I stay in bed, refusing to look at the time because I know what time it is & where the cats are . The kitchen still feels off & I almost never sit out in the living room.

Finally, my building manager let me know that the unit was being rented but only as of this February. He said most of her stuff had been donated, no family ever responded to the public notices he had published. I was relieved, it would be nice to hear some movement in there, I thought it would help the atmosphere of my apartment as well. Sadly, it hasn’t & my kitchen still feels gloomy, the living room a bit sad & so completely silent. If it weren’t for running into the new gal a few times, I’d assume that there’s nobody over there.

I don’t think she’s malicious but maybe a bit bitter that nobody noticed her absence. I get a tingly sensation when I turn my back to the living room wall & scoot down the hall to my bedroom. I wholeheartedly believe that she’s still here, pushing her cart of children’s goodies up & down the hallway.

πŸ–€

Friday Thoughts…

Life

Fair warning, I will mostly be complaining in this post so if you are feeling down or particularly joyful – maybe skip this one πŸ™‚

Buttey Honey Regular

Not that I loved working for the weekend but Friday doesn’t feel like Friday anymore. Working from home makes almost everyday feel like Friday because pre-Corona, that would have been a Friday luxury. Since every day feels like Friday, the next day always feels like Monday. I’m in this weird Friday/Monday time warp where it’s Monday morning then Friday evening every monkey flying day. It’s exhausting.

snakes

Buttey Honey Regular

Unprecedented, novel, uncertain, tumultuous, new normal – these phrases and numerous others must be stricken from the lexicon. We get it, many of us have never experienced something like this in our lifetime, we don’t need a reminder. Also, new normal? Do we remember what the old normal was like? Aside from the pandemic, the world was pretty much a shambles. I mean, at least a plus side to the pandemic is that it’s so traumatic that it’s taking our minds off of the current events that were were current events pre-corona. I’m going to stop saying pre-corona now πŸ˜‰

Buttey Honey Regular

My place of work has started very preliminary discussions around what going back to work will look like, mostly because our shelter in place order expires on May 4 & the assumption is that some restrictions will be lifted. Plexiglass shields and temperature checkpoints are some of the precautions being discussed. All I can say is that I hope that the antibody testing becomes widely accessible because I think I already had corona.

Buttey Honey Regular

In mid-December I became extremely sick with a respiratory illness that I ended up being sent to the ER for (I needed additional testing, not admitted or anything). They didn’t know what I had, I was sent home with steroids, an inhaler, an antibiotic and saw a respiratory therapist for a month for nebulizer treatments. I was sick for weeks & had complications with lung inflammation for even longer. I have pleurisy in my right lung that causes pain when I’m running or working out still. It was chalked up to a case of pneumonia but now I’m wondering, if corona has been in the US for longer than experts knew then some of us have likely already been sick. Better believe I am getting that antibody test as soon as I can. It would be nice to know so that I can start my MS treatment again which has been stalled since mid-March and indefinitely since the medication I take is immunosuppressive.

Buttey Honey Regular

I do believe that each day that we get through is another day closer to this new normal and that makes me feel a little less anxious. I still have a job, I’m starting my urban garden and Amazon donated 250,000 euro (is that what it’s called still) to a bookstore charity. Some days I feel like everything is going to be alright & other days I feel like nothing will ever be the same. Perhaps it won’t, being a natural introvert who loves being at home, even I have felt a yearning to take a trip or wander through a mall window shopping. I cannot imagine what people who do these things on the regular are feeling. As soon as the travel bans are lifted, I’m getting my passport renewed and I’m going somewhere. I mean, maybe just to Idaho but I’m going.

I hope that you are making it through the days, stay safe wherever you are πŸ’›