I have something sometimes that feels adjacent to fun. But there is too much worry and sadness and distraction for it to count as fun. I have moments of calm and hope. I have moments of joy and I have gotten to have a silly moment now and again in these last two weeks, but fun has been elusive. I love boardgames. There are numerous online and physical options I could play with my housemates, but my brain is too full. I think fun for me requires something that is between focus and let the world shrink to the activity at hand.
I do have some cool new pets. Well, “pets”, I’m doing vermiculture and have worms to give my compostables to. That has been fun. They like Apple cores. They wriggle and seen to be flourishing. Trying to craft an ecosystem is cool.
I don my grandmother’s sweater as if to protect me from the world but to go into the battle of my first virtual departmental meeting I look forward to the familiar faces I haven’t seen working from home scared for the world overwhelmed doing my best soon poetry month starts what is this librarian to do? don my grandmother’s sweater feel her warmth she survived the last pandemic I imagine if she was here she would be kind and wise and help me see the good in the world there is a lot of good in the world I want to be good in the world the world feels far away it is a great sweater
I worked from home. It went well. I was productive and got to chat with coworkers. After work I’m feeling overwhelmed.
I sit on the balcony and enjoy what is left of the sunshine. Before the night falls and chill prevents me. I called my Mom. She gives voice to my fears. It makes me feel better. Less alone.
Children play across the street. It fills my heart. I cry. I don’t trust the systems we have to keep society safe. We are not doing enough and our healthcare system is going to be overwhelmed. This feels certain. I hope I’m wrong.
I took out the trash. It’s been a week since I walked away from the house.
Today ET went out and got groceries. He took pictures. Fresh produce is available, if you brave it. Laundry detergent is harder to get, unless you like bottom shelf organic stuff?
I don’t think anyone has to go out again until the next prescription for Daddio is ready at the pharmacy. Of the four of us ET is the one going out to get things, because he’s fast and strong and smart and cautious.
Today was a good day at the (home) office. I felt productive. After work I thought I needed to log in for my first synchronous online class. But no! It is Spring Break!
Oh yeah! Ready to party! In my house! Not outside! Party like it is pandemic time!
I feel silly I forgot about there being spring break. My brain keeps tossing any information it doesn’t think is ‘important’ out the window. This means my exocortex bullet journal notebook has been
I’ve been using the app MarcoPolo to have asynchronous video conversations with some folk. It’s a neat app.
I’m going to try and shovel some Computer Networking information back into my head now.
Spoiler alert. I didn’t shovel anything into my head. I set a timer and deligently didn’t do any work while it ticked away.
I went on a real cool train trip in the first half of March. I came home just in time for the world to turn upside down. I like my home. It is a good place to be. Covid-19 is trending. And I’m socially isolating with a small crew. My crew is E.T., Rose, my Daddio, myself and the two cats. It’s a good crew. The cats are fuzzy and seem mostly unphased emotionally. Both Rose and E.T. can and are willing to cook. E.T. is all hearty, often carb focused and meaty. Rose is hippy, veggie focused and delicate. The amount of variety is astounding. I’m not comfortable posting on social media about how lucky I feel and how good the food is. So I can write that here, because no one knows here is here yet and I am not going to tell them.
Folks have suggested you’re supposed to journal about this covid-19 time. I’m going to attempt to do that here.
I’m afraid this is going to kill my parents. I feel like my Dad is on borrowed time. He came to live with me after blood clots / brain bleed / epic depression. I hope this doesn’t kill him. I wish it wasn’t killing anyone. Pandemics are scary. I am glad I wasn’t raised with the notion that someone should tell me it will all be alright. I was raised much more with the philosophy – we’ll do our best and see what happens.
It is scary to write down what I’m scared of. To face it written out. My Mom is in Kansas. She splits her time between Saint Louis and her house outside Topeka. I’m worried about her, but I also know she knows how to hunker down, make do with what is on hand and get her hands on more if needed. She said she’s going to make her homemade granola. She makes amazing granola. I wonder if I could get her to live-stream cooking?
There is so much technology. I am glad I’m such a nerd. I have a lot of bandwidth. I gave my tenants wifi. I’m inclined to get a VPN so all their traffic (except netflix since netflix hates VPNs) to go via VPN. Rose said https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/ is good. My godmother asked me about VPNs and I directed her to that one. When I need a VPN I use my jobs VPN so I haven’t researched much. Rose being here is like magic.
I’m working remotely now. We just got Microsoft Teams at work. It is apparently a bit like slack, but I haven’t used slack much. It is a very good time for us to get this new tool. I think it will be helpful.
I’m taking a class remotely. The whole University went online-only, and the next week the whole campus closed. The close was on Friday. Time is moving at strange speeds. Simultaneously too fast and slow. I’m worried about the whole world and my immediate focus has narrowed to the space from my backyard to my front porch.
I’m impressed by the response of society to something so big. I’m bewildered. I’m scared.
You know the phrase, go big or go home? Welp, I thought it was an “and” so I bought a four-plex. A quad-plex? A four flat? … A building. I bought a building.
I was asked recently, how did I end up with a building?
“I bought it.”
I bought it because it was the most bathrooms I could buy for the least money. I bought it because the idea of “house hacking” intrigued me. I bought it because I have two generations of land-lady in my matriline. I bought this building because while living in NYC I wanted very badly to own an apartment. I bought it because it has good bones and stain glass windows and pretty wood. I bought it because it has four fantastic bathtubs. I bought it because I thought I would be up for the challenge.
So far I am up for the challenge, but this house has made me cry more than once.
Last weekend in St. Louis it was snowy and rainy and gross. I went to bed on the early side. My husband woke me a bit after 2 am. He was kind and sweet and prepared me for the worst. The worst wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t great, but I didn’t freak out as bad as he rightfully feared I might.
Before waking me, he had been sitting on the sofa when he noticed a dripping and looked up to a sagging ceiling. He knew what it meant and he leaped into action. He fetched buckets and a tarp. He acted swiftly and wonderfully and he woke me with kindness so I would know what was happening.
This is not our first leak. Nor is it the first time bits of our plaster ceilings have given way to gravity. After the last time, we bought a new roof.
So at 2 am I text Joe.
That morning he showed up. I asked if he wanted coffee, and he explained that NO he WANTED UP ON THE ROOF NOW. He was very concerned that *his* new roof was leaking. He went up and discovered, in the cold and the wind, that his roof was perfect. That the leak was the fault of our chimney and it is in desperate need of tuckpointing. Tuck-pointing was already on our agenda for spring, but now we know the tuck-pointing is to begin at the chimney. Joe caulked it up as best he could and the leak stopped.
Since it was the chimney with the flue to my basement Joe said we should go check on the HVAC system. This was fortunate indeed because it had rusted apart. This is a very sad picture. It was cold out, but we turned the furnace off at this point.
Joe told me to take the broken bits to a hardware store and fix it myself. He had faith in me. So I took the broken bits apart. I found detritus in the flue and I vacuumed it out. I lugged the broken bits with me to the nearest hardware store and with the help of a variety of sales folk I got the parts needed to rebuild what was needed.
This adventure took many hours (probably around 10 total). There was crying and cursing. For more than half of the day I was stubborn and tried to do it all by myself. I didn’t want to rope E.T. into the work because he had done so much the night before. He made me dinner and after that, he joined me down in the basement and when we worked together, everything got easier.
It was a lot of hard work, and a lot of frustration, but it turned out well and we learned a lot. One of the books I read before becoming a landlord said it is important to learn how to caulk. That’s what the red in the left picture is, heat caulking. And yes, caulking is a very powerful skill, but I think my big lesson of the day was that I ought not try to make do on my own when instead I can work with someone who is as handy and handsome as my husband.
I moved to Saint Louis Missouri in 2016. Around the same time, my blog got hacked and I gave up on it. Welp, I’m now resurrecting my blog. I am going to help out on a Digital Humanities Workshop at the University of Missouri-St. Louis where we introduce faculty to WordPress. WordPress is the technology underpinning this blog, and in the last 4 years it has changed a lot.
The biggest change seems to be the Gutenberg editing tool. So far, I like it.