challenges, Uncategorized

Christmas, Interrupted

It was just a few days after my daughter’s incredible showing at her first powerlifting competition. My strong girl, seemingly invincible as she deadlifted 403 pounds, was hit hard by runny nose, coughs, and generally feeling crummy. My sister-in-law, who she had stayed with during the competition weekend, was under the weather, too.

Testing results took a few days, but it was the answer we all feared: positive for COVID.

It was Christmas week.

What to do? For as long as I’ve been alive, both in my own family and my family-by-marriage, Christmas Eve has been the heart of Christmas. It’s a huge party full of food, singing, and a sea of presents. My other sister-in-law also has a birthday on Christmas Eve, which kicks off our yearly festivities. In addition, my husband’s family has a formal dinner on Christmas Day. Suddenly, all that was on hold. Seriously, COVID?

What to do? It is unseasonably warm. Could we celebrate outside? With masks on? Should we just celebrate without the people who are sick? All of that was met with a no.

So, we rescheduled. Our family owns a holiday-driven business. We barely take a day off during this busy, busy time. We finally found days in January where we can try to remake Christmas Eve, sort of. Christmas Day’s steak dinner will just have to wait until later in 2022.

On actual Christmas Eve day, I brought my sick daughter a care package of chicken fingers (we have a platter on Christmas Eve each year), the soup she had asked for, a stuffed stocking, a birthday cake, and my mom’s grits casserole, our Christmas morning tradition. I brought a small birthday cake to the other family houses that day as well.

We got together on google meet that night to sing Happy Birthday and Christmas Carols. Far from my usual glitter and shine as the yearly host, I was laying on the couch in my sweatshirt with my granddog on my lap. I got the giggles changing my background on the computer. The singing sounded terrible with the lag online. It was really just kind of a mess. I went to bed at 8:30 instead of refilling drinks and cleaning up and getting ready for Santa’s visit until midnight. We FaceTimed with our sick daughter as we ate Christmas breakfast.

Today, on December 26, all the presents remain unopened. I am a bag of mixed feelings. I always feel a sense of relief when my hosting duties are over. I also like getting back to normal eating and other routines once Christmas ends. I like to have everything packed up before I go back to work. I’m not sure what to try to carry over and what can be put aside until December 2022.

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll know that I often try to find meaning or purpose in what happens. Find a lesson. Relate it to the bigger picture.

But today I’m just annoyed. Grouchy. I don’t really see the purpose or the meaning. Just sharing in case anyone else is in this place. You are not alone. Judging from my timeline, I know I am not alone.

I just hope everyone is healthy for the reschedule.

Bah humbug, COVID.

perspective

Staff Shortage

I’ve been to Starbucks many times middle of the day only to find them closed. Closed due to staff shortage. Is this a thing? I mean they pay good for that type of job. This isn’t just once or twice it’s like 6-7 times now at varied locations across city boundaries. Thus my decision to write about it.

Then I share my experiences only to find Jimmy John’s sub shop has the same issues per a friend as do many other small businesses. Restaurants, coffee shops, the list goes on. How much longer will this ordeal continue? It’s frustrating to get somewhere to find a hand written on the door saying closed.

Next I went to a small restaurant. Hours are 11-3 four days a week. Very nice place but so little hours. How do they pay the rent? It blows my mind. This pandemic just waks havoc everywhere.

Maybe you were looking forward to a special treat you promised yourself. Maybe you need to meet a client for lunch. Oh that happened to me last week. Restaurant was open but only the bartender was working. Not enough staff to serve anyone. I was at a loss. Had to find an alternative space for my client. 

Keeping in mind Starbucks didn’t have seating indoors. It’s raining and you did your research to check restaurant hours before going. Geez! Now the next time suck is to call in advance to make sure staff is working but again some may not answer phone at all. Staff shortages are real.

We see teacher shortages in schools. We see shortages in offices. We see many shortages in retail. The list goes on and on. Life is complicated most days. Opened businesses that really aren’t fully operational is annoying to say the least. This pandemic is just carrying on far too long for my patience. 

mental health

Anxiety

Here we go with the next level shit show of anxiety. Life with a teen. Episode #98.

School starts any day now. We have been mask free enjoying summer for the most part. Looking forward to school and a normal beginning to a school year. Just last night we were reminiscing on how long it’s been since we bought school supplies. 2 years ago. 2019 before we knew the world was going to be shaken to its core.

We have enjoyed traveling. Although masks are still required in a plane, we have enjoyed the maskless freedoms elsewhere. The excitement of seeing friends, teachers, and others was so talked about. Then the crash. The boom. The fireworks. The disappointment. How much can these kids continue to face change and uncertainty around the biggest part of their life?

The pediatrics announcement for k-12 hot with recommendations and my teacher friends sighed and said change is on the horizon. Then the CDC guidance hit the news. Now the email, the phone call, and the text from the school. Or should I say the calls, texts and emails on repeat. Here we go again. 

Masks required. Students, faculty, visitors are all included. Vaccinated or not, rules apply across the board. Such a blow to the teen again. All the excitement turned to not again. This sucks. Why even bother going?

Now the decision is again in front of you. Digital learner or in person? Everything you wanted in person was stripped away. You suck at online school but it’s been your norm now for 1.5 years. Isolation. Masks. Rules. Anxiety. Stress. So much. It’s too soon.

Panic and fear have set in. Some offices are re-closing. A trade show postponed. More shifting. More headaches. How do we all continue to cope in such turmoil. What is next? How would you feel as a teen?

As I put this post out there on the web I am capturing a moment in time. A feeling of chaos. How different will I feel when I reread this 5 years from now? I wonder. Topic may be controversial and some may have opinions but since this is my blog I choose my content and conversations.

adventure, featured

Snack and a Smile

A snack and a smile used to be Southwest Airlines’ claim to fame on flights. Or so their snack pack advertises. That’s all in the past.

Today, life is different. We fly with masks. No mask no fly. They announce it multiple times. They also announce a numbering system overhead regarding snacks. This is a new protocol for me since my last flight a few months ago.

1-Coke

2-Diet Coke

3-7up

4-water

No need to take down your mask to order. Instead you have the finger. And yes you choose your finger. A 8×11 laminated sign with pictures and numbers to order. I guess it’s idiot proof. I really wanted to capture this with a photo but the flight attendant didn’t look amused. The sign is funny to me but probably ingenious to others. No smile with your snack this trip. That’s false advertising on my snack pack! No smiles. Seems like the trend for trips in the future.

Maybe there will be a middle finger for #1 for the jerk in front. Maybe the silly mom will hold up the peace sign to get her Diet Coke. Maybe four sideway fingers from this girl for some water. How did we even get to this point?

Now that I’m here trapped in my middle seat, listening to my AirPods to tune out the crying baby in front of me. My drink came covered with a fun fact napkin. Love the marketing amusement Southwest! I learned another fun fact from Southwest. Looks like the new slogan is mask up. Cheers to a great trip.

Maybe the next time I fly maybe I will have a touch screen to order my drink and snack. Cheers to mask life. Cheers to travel. Cheers to the lady next to me whose sweaty leg is sticking to me. Cheers to the crying baby in front. Cheers to my daughter sleeping on my shoulder. I can smell her morning sleepy breath through my mask. Gross! Cheers to the turbulence that is keeping the napkin moist on my drink. Really that napkin was to keep the airborne germs out out of it. Another Southwest value add.

Mask up. Travel. 

mental health, perspective

Dust in the Wind

This past 15 months has been a train wreck on so many levels relating to school work for one of my kids. The train wreck has left carnage of a new kind spewed in or around my vicinity. My home. My email. My car. My inner circle. Just in abundance in my life.

When did it all begin.

Out of school without notice last year. The unknown. That’s when it started. 60 days. We got this. No it’s 90 days really. Or maybe 120 days but who’s counting. Not me because it’s temporary. Pain is temporary, right?

Into a summer semester for two classes to get ahead. Sounded simple pre-pandemic when it was arranged. Of course, in ordinary times taking extra classes is no big deal. Add a pandemic and your world is shaken to the core. Isolation. Digital learning when you need human interaction. Anti-glare glasses are now needed due to extended learning time online.

Back to school in fall of 2020. Out of school again after a few weeks. Rules change. Deal with it! You pull yourself together to get through that semester. Back to school again in the new year. Fresh start you think. Fear, anxiety and so much more as kids drop like flies in your class for being contact traced. A ruler is now a measuring stick. If the ruler says you are quarantined, off you go. No questions asked.

Fear. Shock. Isolation. Anxiety. Back online you go. What other choice do you have. More self-learning. More self-discipline. Is that too much to expect at my age? 

Shut out again. No people. Lack of purpose. Why do I need to do work. Digital sucks the life out of me. Kids are mean on Zooms. I can’t ask questions. Learning is hard. I’m depressed. Learning math remotely. Learning an advanced foreign language online. I feel alone. Lost. Depressed. Anxious. Scared. Failure is not an option. Or is it? Who cares. Who really cares. I was put in this box. This virtual box.

My parents hound me. My teachers hound me. It’s never ending. The counselors are over burdened. Expectations are still high. Everyone cheats. What is right? What is wrong? Is it over yet? Did I even pass? This year really sucked. It sucked for my kid and it sucked for my family.

Summer break. A reset button of sorts. Travel. Fun. No have tos. That’s what the doctor ordered. That’s what mom needs. That’s what I need. 

I need my friends. I need my social connections. I just want to hang out at the mall again. Maybe go to a movie. Maybe just not being trapped in the pandemic bubble. The virtual bubble.

College is in sight. My gpa needs an inflation pump. I need my sanity. I’m not alone. Many have side effects from the pandemic. Everyone has their own story.

Cheers to summer vacation and the shit that is in rear view. All of it. Good riddance. All I see is dust in the wind.

A special shout out to those of our readers from Singapore. We appreciate you visiting.

Bye Felicia!