Tag Archives: Florida

COVID-19 Chronicles: Days 10 – 16

Apparently I am now terrible at making a plan and sticking to it… I meant to update this thing every day, but I’ve just dropped the damn ball. Probably really because there’s not that much happening when you’re self-isolating that would make a good blog entry… I wake up, I log in to work, I work for 8+ hours, I log off, I make something for dinner, play some Fallout or World of Warcraft (or both), then I take a shower and go to bed. That’s my day.

But, I guess it’s worth mentioning that about a week ago Hillsborough County was put under a stay-at-home order. Today, the entire state of Florida followed suit. So it’s like being grounded… I never got grounded as a kid, so this is a new experience for me. I think if I had been grounded as a kid I probably would have been allowed to go to school and church and, since I now don’t go to either, I guess going to the grocery store is a lot like going to church – it’s the one reprieve I get from staying at home. And that’s fine… I’m an introvert with anxiety. I don’t want to get sick, I don’t want to have to worry about being sick… and since no one really enters or leaves this apartment except for me, it’s unlikely that I’ll get sick just by staying in here, three floors off the ground, working, playing games, binge watching Criminal Minds, making sourdough bread and patching up an old blanket that’s been in my life since I was a very small child. It could certainly be worse.

And I am glad I spent the first few months in this apartment diligently unpacking and putting things away and really making this place home-like (to me). I’ve got my Star Wars toy collection all over my living room, my big oak bookshelves bursting with books in the bedroom, enough toilet paper to last about three months if I’m careful, and a much larger kitchen than I’ve had since we left Louisville for Florida. And in that kitchen I am now making sourdough bread – partially because it’s a nice thing to do (and I like cooking) but also because bread can be tricky to find right now and I thought that if I made my own, that’s one more loaf at the store that would be available for someone who maybe can’t make their own bread.

This whole thing is seriously making me wonder if I really should just get it over with and buy a house in the country, get a milk cow and some chickens, plant a garden and just live off the land. I mean I doubt I’d do half of that… the garden is more realistic for me, because I actually know how to raise one of those. Cows and chickens… not a clue… but it’s an interesting thought.

Daily Developments:

  • This is Day 4 of the Sourdough Starter. It should be ready to bake with tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll have time and energy to do that after work.
  • I managed to sew up one of the big holes in the blanket that used to be on my parents’ bed when I was a kid. This thing is older than dirt and I could probably just get a new one and be done with it, but this one has sentimental value to me and it’s so freaking soft after all those years of use. So I’ll keep sewing it up until there’s nothing more to sew.
  • Florida declared its own shelter in place order today. It lasts until April 30. I think restaurants are still delivering, but several of my favorite ones have closed to give their workers a chance to stay healthy.

Things I’m Happy About

  • I’m back to giving webinars for the first time in nearly six years. It feels good to be back in that field again and I’m always excited when I do it.
  • I unlocked flying in Legion. Finally. One more day and I should be able to unlock the “Now I Am The Master” cooking achievement too.

COVID-19 Chronicles: Days 7-9

Been a little busy here the last few days. Work is going well… I get to start training people again via webinar… something I haven’t gotten to do since I left Tampa back in 2014. I’ve been trying to get back into it ever since and, despite many twists and turns and a series of moves that took me away from Tampa and then brought me right back and sent me down a rabbit hole career-wise (for a bit), it looks like I’m heading back into the direction I wanted to go. I give my first webinar tomorrow… and while I am (understandably nervous), I am also pretty at ease… I know the materials pretty well, and I’m good at improv for the stuff I don’t know.

But enough about that. The virus continues to spread. Most of the Florida beaches are closed… I know that some of the spring breakers have gone home (but not all of them… some of them decided to stay… I’m not sure what they’re really doing since they can’t DO anything around here except go grocery shopping now that the bars, clubs, and restaurants are closed). New Yorkers are also apparently flying into Florida to escape their stay-at-home orders and the governor finally mandated that anyone getting off of a plane that comes from New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut has to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Because the governor doesn’t want to issue a stay-at-home mandate for the entire state, some local governments are taking it upon themselves to issue their own. Honestly I don’t see how that can be effective because it’s not like the virus is going to come up to certain county lines and say, “Oh… I’m banned here… I’ll go somewhere else.” And also, especially in counties that comprise big regions like Tampa Bay, it would be difficult to enforce when you have a community that depends on its ability to commute to other counties for work. Is someone living in Hillsborough county who works in a non-essential job in Manatee county (which is technically outside the “Bay” area) supposed to sacrifice their job to stay home, or are they supposed to illegally leave and risk a fine so that they can keep their job? I get the need for effort, I do, but there has to be some kind of consistency or it simply doesn’t make sense.

But… I digress… the county I live in has proposed instating a stay-at-home order AS WELL AS a curfew. It hasn’t passed yet, but I expect it to tomorrow, which means there is likely more WoW and Fallout time in my immediate future.

Daily Developments:

  • See above information about the curfew… will probably pass tomorrow.
  • Milo likes to play fetch during the day. I cannot always play with him, but he makes a point of throwing his little toy around on his own (then staring up at me pathetically) when I can’t participate.
  • I finished the book I was reading in two days. It’s not because I have a lot of spare time (though I kinda do), but because it was a page turner and I didn’t want to put it down.

Things I’m Happy About:

  • Oddly, this virus is the reason I’m getting to start doing webinars again, because our other trainers are too busy to handle them all. Believe me, I wish that there was another good reason for this, but I told you, I’m trying to see the positives in this.
  • Slept pretty decently the last couple of nights. This is a true achievement for me.
  • Only about 1-1.5 more days until I’ll have unlocked flying in Legion. This is something I wasn’t going to do because honestly it takes forever to do now, and I didn’t have a whole lot of time but that, obviously, has changed.

Insanity

That housecleaning project I started over my birthday – I finished it, and then I decided that if I was going to clean the parts of my house that I could see (my literal house this time), then what better time to clean the parts of the house that most people did not see?  When I moved into my apartment here, I brought with me four bedrooms worth of “stuff”… most of it stuff I haven’t looked at since I got here.  And so I made a new rule – if it was a box I hadn’t opened since I got to Florida, I was going to toss it, and its contents, without looking in it.  Obviously if I hadn’t looked in it since I moved here, I didn’t need it, right?

When I told my mother this, she expressed her opinion that not at least “looking” might be a mistake – what if I threw away something I’d regret throwing away?  I laughed at her, and purged my bathroom in such a way that if I had been trying to keep something in those boxes (I knew they were mostly expired cosmetics), I’d be out of luck.  I wanted this project done… and there is something cleansing about throwing away junk I don’t use.  And then I moved on to the closet in my bedroom – tossing things I didn’t need, reorganizing boxes, relocating Satine’s litter box and filling that empty space with the extra boxes that had been littering the corner of my dining area for over two years.

I decided that while I was at it, I’d do the hall closet – half of which is occupied by the furnace and water heater, the other half cluttered with cleaning supplies and, you guessed it, more boxes.  I started by pulling out the boxes first.  I hadn’t touched them since I got here.  Two I kept – they had bathroom décor in them from the three bathrooms I’d had in Indiana.  I don’t have three bathrooms now.  But I liked this stuff, perhaps I’d have more than one bathroom eventually (if not, I am convinced  thatI will have failed as a human being).  That stuff stayed.  Two other boxes were prepped to go.  And then, hearing my mother’s words in my head, I decided it might be worth it just to look in there.

After all, I am no stranger to mistakable purging.  Last year, when writing my books, I was searching high and low for some materials from my past to use as a supplement to what I was writing.  I knew I’d kept them – old letters, school notes, a journal, particularly, that I’d shared with an ex-boyfriend of mine as we tried to work through a high school long distance relationship.  There would be good stuff in there.   I remembered seeing it in the house as I was packing up my things but for the life of me, I could not remember whether it had ended up victimized to the purging I was doing or if I’d packed it in a box. Having not found it when searching everywhere for it last year, I was assumed I’d destroyed it, and I was so mad at myself.

And then, yesterday, in that box, toward the middle, hidden underneath a windsock that my ex mother-in-law had given me, was a manila envelope.  And the journal, still in the same condition it had been when we stopped writing in it.  I won’t lie.  I squealed a little.  In those pages lies the biggest part of the second half of my senior year of high school.  In that envelope hides letters from old lovers, prom photos, winter formal dance pictures, birthday and Christmas photos from 1999 and 2000 with boyfriends  – ones that existed before I began doling out nicknames to all the exes as they progressed in succession.  I found all of those things, and even birthday cards from my nineteenth and twenty-first birthdays – cards from a person I was not even supposed to be talking to, who I’d gone to so much effort to keep in contact with.

I spent the larger part of that day reading through all of these archives – the “contraband” as I call all of those things from those days – things that survived the purges of pissed off adolescence, purges that survived my marriage, purges that surprisingly survived the move.  Memories flooded back the way that they haven’t in a long, long time… I was taken back to a place where life wasn’t so complicated – though it certainly seemed complicated at the time.  Was I happier?  I can’t say that for sure – things were different then.

What I discovered in the midst of all of that discovery, and what I marveled at most of all, were the undertones of those letters.  There I was, eighteen years old, still in high school, just graduating, at camp, and finally leaving for college.   I didn’t have all the answers then – I knew and readily admitted in these entries that I didn’t have all the answers.  I was still questioning where I stood on religion, where I stood on my morality.  But in the grand scheme of things, my philosophies on life, my philosophies on love – twelve years later, those are still the same.

I wrote these entries in the same handwriting that I have now (perhaps a little less messy – I had not yet gone to college and was not yet frantically trying to take notes from rapidly lecturing professors).  My outlook on life, probably thanks to what I went through in 1997, is, for someone that young, very developed.  I’d held the world on my shoulders at that point for four years.  I had learned a lot, I had grown up because I was forced to grow up.  I’d dealt with very grown up issues, and while maybe I would have dealt with them differently as an adult, I was (and am) satisfied that I did everything that I could and maximized the resources that I had.

I do not want these boyfriends back – I do not love them anymore.  But their words, all echo through these letters:  “Thank you for the sacrifices you make for me every day.”  “Thank you for coming into my life.”  “Thank you for doing the things you had to do to make it possible for us to do this.” “Your selflessness blows me away sometimes.” “…even though you weren’t that interested in what was going on, you hardly complained.”  And these words reflect the things that I have always tried to be: unselfish, dedicated, loyal, thoughtful.  It was what I wanted in another person then, it is what I want in another person now.  My philosophy is and was to never ask for more than what you are planning to give in return.  I have carried this with me since 1997, at least, when I began to figure out who I was, and I apply this to my relationships, romantic and otherwise.  It has worked for me – not always in that I get out what I put in.  Largely, I do not.  But that when it all crashes down around my ears, I know that I did everything I could and I gave everything I had.

I wonder, especially recently, if it’s been enough.  It seems like the older I get, the more relationships I get into, it is recognized less and less – or what I have to give is not ultimately enough and they continue to ask for more out of me.  And yet I still give, and I give, and I give.  Because that’s what feels right.  And because, ultimately, it is what I think makes a relationship successful – you go into it not asking yourself, “What can I get out of this.”  Rather, you ask yourself, “What can I give to someone else?”  If two people are asking the same question, then it works – the investment you make is given back, with interest.  My philosophy remains unchanged – I don’t get into relationships trying to get something out of them.  I still give everything that I have – to the point that I stretch myself thin, too thin, and I begin to wonder how much more elastic I have in me before I snap and break.

I guess, in the long run, I needed to find these things.  I needed to re-read this stuff, not just to supplement the plot of my books, but to reaffirm my belief that I haven’t really changed that much.  The optimism I have now is the same as the optimism I had twelve, thirteen, fourteen years ago.  I needed to remember that, once upon a time, I was doing these things.  I knew what made relationships work and I put everything I had into them, the same way that I give everything now.  I didn’t have as much to give then, but comparatively, it’s not really so much the amount that you give in this case, but the overall ratio of what you give versus what you can afford to give.  I can’t lie and say I’m not jaded, though I try desperately not to let it show.  I am jaded.  I have spent the last fifteen years putting everything on the line for the people that I care about the most, risking everything at times, giving everything at others, ending always with the same result – empty handed with a few more good stories to tell.  Someone once said the proof of insanity is that a person keeps repeating the same mistake over and over, hoping for a different result.  Maybe I am insane.  I very possibly may be.  But on the other hand, if it is insanity to treat someone else the way that I myself would like to be treated, then I don’t think I want to be sane.

Recently, I met someone; someone who stood out, who grabbed my attention, who I could not get out of my thoughts.  And after giving it much consideration, a characteristic thing for me to do, I decided to let myself fall for him.  I decided to embark on another journey.  And, at least for the moment, this journey may be the hardest of any that I have undertaken in the past – the challenges here are great, the physical distance between us is massive for the moment.  And this is unlike anything I have ever tried before – but maybe that’s what I need: a change, to distance myself from the ordinary and try something new.  I believe firmly that all of the experiences we have had in our past prepare us for our future.  I am strong.  I can handle a lot.  And I believe that the overall gains to be had from this journey will more than compensate for the initial bumpy road of waiting for this distance to close – this is a bumpy road that is out of either of our control.  (See?  Optimism again.)  Maybe this is a brick wall that I keep throwing myself into.  I don’t know.  But if I keep running into the brick wall, then eventually it has to give, right?