Results Are In: Back to Work I Go

Guess who’s test results came in today and were negative?!

That’s right! Me.

This means two things: a) I’m full time again {praise the gods} & b) I’m required to go into the office starting Monday.

While I am beyond grateful for remaining employed during all this and getting full time again…I’m a bit concerned about going back. I mean, as of now I’m the only one in the company who’s been tested meanwhile everyone else has been required to go into work like normal.

Back in March when I was first put on ‘work from home’ notice it made more sense since I’d just returned from Washington state and my area wasn’t on lock down yet. Fast forward almost two months though and we’re in an entirely different realm now. So for them to still have everyone coming in is…jarring? Bonkers? Confusing?

It’s strange how before my results came in I was looking at it from the perspective of: well, I don’t want to put anyone at risk; but now my perspective has become: aren’t they putting the entire staff- including themselves at risk by having everyone come in to such a small space?

Wary that I might be a bit biased, I spoke to my father and partner to get their opinions. My father was particularly annoyed, saying it didn’t make sense to have me be the only one tested under guise of “not knowing who I’ve been around” when the same could easily be said for the other employees. My partner also agreed, but added I should wear a mask into work.

So at the end of day there really is only one question: am I planning on going back into the office?

The answer? Of course I am because I need full time hours. Is the job something I could realistically continue to do from home? Yes and the past several weeks have proven that, but they want me in the office so into the office I go.

Photo by Damir Kopezhanov on Unsplash

Back to Work: Getting Tested

It’s finally happened.

After roughly a month and half spent working just over half-time from home; my boss’s boss has agreed to let me back full time! All I have to do is get tested for COVID-19 and show proof of a negative result. Easy enough, right? Well luckily I was able to both find a place willing to test asymptomatic subjects and schedule an appointment pretty quickly.

Fast forward to this morning and I was on the road for my swab test where things started to feel…pretty surreal as soon as I made it to the grounds.

So, my testing location was at a public park refitted for drive-thru testing. The moment you entered you were met with army personnel who instructed us to place our driver’s license and confirmation number on our dashboard. Once done we were allowed to join a single lane queue through the park. Eventually we hit the first checkpoint where more army personnel verified our names and appointments before writing “R” on the corner of our windshields. From there we continued along with personnel scattered about directing flow of traffic until we reached a big tent. Only about three cars were allowed underneath at a time where pairs of army and medical personnel were waiting. Here we put our cars in park while the pair determined our names, located our medical kits, each verified it, and then placed it under a windshield wiper. Next was the final checkpoint which consisted of three smaller tents. I was directed to the middle one where an army professional took my medical kit and read it over before checking if my phone number was accurate. After confirming, I was allowed to pull up a bit where a medical professional in full protective gear motioned me to park and roll down my window. They handed me a form explaining how to obtain my results then told me to sit back against the seat and look straight ahead.

For anyone who doesn’t know: the swab goes up your nose. And when I tell you I’ve never experienced anything like it…I’m not lying. It wasn’t necessarily a sharp pain, but it wasn’t a dull pain either which was mind boggling to me because I needed it to make up it’s mind. My eye was watering; I actually had to close my eyes at one point just to brace for it to be over, and when they took it out I kind of coughed/sputtered even. All around I’d just say it was pretty unpleasant (since I have no way to really describe it) and understandably so.

What made me feel bad was when they apologized for my (probably wild) reaction, meanwhile I just wanted to say, “No, thank you for testing me! Ignore me! I’d do it again!” Did I say this? Unfortunately, no. Instead I sort of laughed out of bewilderment which made them laugh a bit, so I’ve got that going for me.

Truthfully though, the most stressful part aside from securing an appointment was easily the forty minute drive there and back which is practically nothing. When it comes to things feeling surreal; however, it definitely had to do with all the army personnel. I mean, besides the maybe fifteen medical professionals I spotted- the rest were all army. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. I just don’t think I’ve ever seen so many in one place not on a base (if that makes sense).

Everything ran super smoothly though. My appointment slot was 8:30. I arrived close to 8 and was on my way home closer to 9. Now I just have to wait a few days for my results and hope I’ll be able to work full time again.

Photo by vadim kaipov on Unsplash

Quarantine: Looming Productivity

As far as I’ve seen, there are two dominant lines of thought when it comes to quarantine.

There’s the somewhat aggressive: if you aren’t productive and emerge from this with a side hustle, some new skills, and successfully started those plans/dreams you’ve been putting off then the problem has always been you. And then the more lax: you just have to take it day by day; it’s okay not to put pressure on yourself with everything going on so long as you manage to stay afloat.

Of the two I outwardly agree with the latter. I mean, everyone is going to react to quarantine differently and there are so many factors playing into it. There’s the diminished human contact, anxieties over livelihood/health/mortality of yourself and others, etc. It just seems strange in my opinion to put out a mindset telling others how they should manage their “newly found time”. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand this mindset might work for some and more power to them- I simply feel it creates a subtext of pressure almost.

Having said this, initially I was handling quarantine fine- the same way I’m sure plenty of others were. I was still at home, harassing my mom, hanging with my dogs, and binge watching television. My hours were cut, but I was just happy to still have a job.

As time went on; however, I moved out (great timing, I know) and then it really started to sink in.

Now, this isn’t a complaint of having to be cooped up at home with all my amenities or anything like that. I’ll admit working from home with just your cat all day and no one else around is…lonely to say the least, but at least my partner stays on weekends plus I call people…A LOT. On the contrary, this has more to do with that first mindset I mentioned which could easily be just as annoying.

I apologize in advance.

You see, for a long time I’ve wanted to write and on the surface a quarantine seems like the perfect time, am I right? Well I thought so until I realized I have no real muse for anything- and it sucks. I feel like I’m wasting an opportunity to really power through getting some things rolling. Could this also be rooted in insecurities revolving around my writing? Yes and thank you for calling it out, but we shan’t be going into it today.

On one hand I’ve spent my time setting up my new place and taking over my mom’s plants (I’m up to seventeen, guys…help). On the other hand I’m trying not to think about how I’m going to manage expenses with such a cut in hours. On the third hand I’ve discovered the show Portlandia and it’s doing real wonders for me (highly recommend).

I suppose the real trouble is since I’m working from home the option to write is literally always right in front of me (just staring me in the face asking why I’m not doing anything). Truth be told, the only real step I’ve taken so far is to re-signup for Tumblr.

Anyway, this was definitely a weird rant of a post and if you made it this far then hopefully I made some sort of sense.

I hope everyone manages to stay safe, not go too stir crazy and finds something to brighten their days.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

A First: My Own Place

Sitting in my very first place having my first solo meal…I have to admit it’s kind of surreal.

I’ve had solo meals while living away from home in the past, but I was always in student housing which isn’t exactly ‘being on your own’ if you know what I mean. This time is an entirely different animal though. I’m on a lease, the internet is in my name, I have the numbers of both our landlord and handyman, AND I’m registered with the HOA.

It’s full on adulting time. Out of the nest. And it didn’t hit me until I started reheating my dinner.

My lovely partner’d found reasons to stay every night since the move in, but ultimately had to go, thus leaving me to my first night alone.

I keep looking back to my cat sleeping on a recliner I managed to snag and every time he’s still there- snoozing away. He’s not going anywhere because it’s just us. Even after I finish eating and cleaning he only perks up at the sound of dishes being put away. When I head to bed he trots along, hopping up to take my partner’s side. His head is snuggled against my side as I type with his little snores filling our space.

His first few days were a bit stressful, but he finally seems at ease. So at ease in fact, that he’s gone back to sleeping perpendicular (special thank you to the power of foresight for upgrading to a larger bed).

All in all it’s a new chapter and while it may not be starting in the best of global circumstances…it’s starting all the same and it’s mine.

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Working from Home: Back to the Cave!

What. A. Day.

Where do I even begin on this…? I guess we’ll take it back twenty four hours when I got the amazing news that: my hours were being bumped up by four (I’m truly happy and not being sarcastic); my company is buying out my contract thus making me permanent; AND starting today I was allowed back in the office!

Side Note: I’d been working at home for almost three weeks at this point since returning from Washington State mid March.

Needless to say I was PUMPED this morning. I might have been a little slow to rise, but I once I was up I kicked it into high gear. I put on some work clothes, took my cat to his veterinary appointment, then went off to work with my box of supplies and everything. When I got there my coworkers welcomed me back and caught me up to speed with the organized chaos which had become my desk. I met with one of head bosses to get an update on my employment; made sure my pay wouldn’t be taking a cut, then filled out the I-9 and W-4. I was able to fall right back in the groove while clearing the build up on my desk…the day was just flying by and I was feeling not only super productive, but also had peace of mind at being outside house for a bit.

Then the other shoe dropped.

Without giving out too many details I’ll sum it up by saying other head boss noticed my presence and immediately took issue with it. Within twenty minutes of him spotting me I was dismissed for the day to work from home until…who really knows. I said okay, let the other head boss know, then said my goodbyes before heading back on home.

Do I understand the concern? Of course I do which is why I wasn’t trying to plant my feet and say “I feel fine and should be allowed to stay“. Have I already quarantined for well past the recommended fourteen days? Yes. Has anyone who lives with me shown any symptoms? No. Does any of that really matter? I don’t necessarily think so.

Things are hectic right now and to me it would not only be selfish to argue, but unnecessary since I already have everything I need to work from home. If anything I think I was just kind of bewildered by the situation because of the spike in tension when I thought it had been a communal decision.

Weeelp. Back to working from home and listening to deep dive videos on YouTube!

Photo by Djurdjica Boskovic on Unsplash
P.S. I don’t drink coffee, BUT I couldn’t pass up the cool coaster in this picture!

Dungeons & Dragons: A First

Disclaimer: Technically, this is not my first crack at DnD. A few years back I tried with a couple friends who I’m sure would be very quick to agree when I say I wasn’t that into it. I created the character and everything, but when it came time to sit down I just didn’t have the confidence to really roleplay…BUT fast forward to being on quarantine and when my partner asked if I wanted to join his friends’ campaign- I thought: why the hell not?

And with that out of the way let’s jump right in!


PREPARATION

So the first step was to create a character. We used DnD Beyond to get it sorted which was perfect for a beginner since it really takes you through the steps and explains everything while also offering links, so you can open a bunch of tabs on the lore (i may or may not have done this). For those of you don’t know; there are so many freaking combinations you can do in this game it’s insane, but I eventually decided on an Air Genasi Rogue. If you were to ask why I chose that particular race and class then you’d be waiting a while because I haven’t a clue haha.

For some reason I guess I thought we created out character’s backstory as we went through the campaign (don’t ask me why I thought this) and I was dead wrong. The DM informed us we needed to have the backstory fleshed out before game play which meant I went RIGHT back to DnD Beyond to learn more about the Air Genasi!

Side Note: just because you’ve selected your items does not mean they are equipped! make sure to equip!!!


GAME PLAY

In my experience, things tend to be slow to start when everyone is trying to find their groove and I’d say it was certainly true in this instance on my part. It was really cool to hear how everyone was getting into their characters to the point where I was so enthralled I actually forgot to introduce myself!

We played for roughly three and half hours which is far more than I was expecting, but now I can see how one session can go on for way longer. I mean, you just get so caught up in what’s going on that unless you experience burnout then what’s to stop you? Now I for one DO experience burn out (as I learned this past Saturday), so when the DM felt we reached a good stopping point I was internally grateful. This doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy myself though. We killed some orcs; I was able to negotiate for more gold; everyone was hilarious…It was solid.

My only real concern is I’m not as up to par as the others with verbal role playing which I already saw coming and am confident will kind of dissipate the longer we go. The other thing I think held it back a bit was; we’re using a group audio to chat and there are some minor bugs which can make it difficult to catch everything someone says/hear those who talk a bit quietly/the cutting out when more than one person talks at once. None of these things are that big a deal in my opinion since we managed pretty well, but I would say if anyone is doing a remote campaign then those would be the audio bugs to lookout for.

All in all though I’m really curious to see how things progress in the campaign since the DM said we’d already wildly flipped the script of what he expected us to do!

P.S. The way the dice determine everything in the game is honestly my favorite part. I don’t know if it’s because we’re using a virtual dice roller and I’m having to “beseech” the algorithm or what- but I love it.

Photo by Alperen Yazgı on Unsplash

Quarantine Revelations:Toxicity

With the way things are right now I don’t really see a point in talking about my personal day to day. I mean, plenty of us are experiencing variations of the same thing, so what more can I possibly add. Right?

For instance, in my case there are only three important (if we can even call them that) points: I was put on a ‘work from home’ order two week ago after returning from Washington state; with budget cuts I’m now working part time; everyone will be moving out of my home in a few weeks.

See my point? None of that is very worth noting aside from my privilege/luck of having a boss who fought and succeeded in keeping me employed (thank you *****!).


With all that out of the way I wanted to talk about something I’ve come to realize in these times of deep “self reflection” or what I like to call: I now have no distraction from self reflection and over thinking. So, what is this thing I’ve discovered about myself? Well, I’m pretty sure I’m a toxic friend and it’s put me in a position where I think maybe all this social distancing would do me good in kind of stepping away from things and out of tropes…if that makes sense?

I guess given all the added stress on everyone right now I’d rather not add unnecessary fuel to the fire.

If you’re wondering how I know I’m a toxic friend; such as if I was told in some way or snooped or something… I suppose the answer is no. It’s more: I was having a conversation with a friend about an issue we had and certain verbiage they used kind of struck a cord in me. Think of a light bulb moment, but instead of discovering Shirokuma Cafe you get hit with a wave of ‘I really must be trash‘ & ‘I’m surprised they haven’t chucked me‘.


On a completely unrelated note I was told I may or may not be adjusting well to quarantine and lack of human contact. Do I agree with this? No idea. I’ve been viewing it as a lesser issue in the grand scheme of everything happening right now. Is this the best stance to take? Who knows.

Anyway, this was my attempt at articulating my current thoughts and feelings in a way which hopefully made sense. I went back and forth on how to possibly close out the post for a while, but I think I’m going to have to just end it here.

Yackety Yak: Dramatic

What is something you think you’re dramatic about?

Dramatic on the inside? Or do you mean outwardly dramatic?

Well now obviously both.

Okay. So inside my mind I’d have to say texting and outwardly…going to the gym, I guess.

Why texting?

Oh that’s easy. I don’t like how we’re in a stage where it’s assumed we’re always available. It’s like always being on call and then I feel pressure to respond right away out of this mix of social obligation and fear they might get upset or it might be important. THEN there’s the flip side where if certain people don’t respond after an arbitrary time period or I don’t hear from them for a while- I go down this thought process of “they must not like me anymore because I’m a garbage person”.

…Well…that was…a lot.

Saying it out loud felt nice though.

Yeah?

Yeah, I guess it’s the idea of saying something out loud and seeing if I agree with myself.

I guess I can relate to that, but I try to stay in the mindset of; “I know everyone has things going on and no one is beholden or always has to answer to me”. People will get to me when they can or want to OR they might forget or choose to ignore me. Regardless though I just have to keep doing my thing.

That seems kind of melodramatic, but I was dramatic so I get it.

I think the real thing boils down to the friends or people you feel insecure with. You said it yourself; it’s with ‘certain’ people.

True…Do you have anyone like that?

I think we all kind of do whether we want to admit it or not.

Dragon Con!!!

It’s official people! As of last week I’m going to be experiencing Dragon Con for the first time!

I’d definitely heard about this convention before, but…I guess I took the name literally and just assumed it was a “dragon convention”. Don’t know what that means? Don’t worry because no one else did either! So in my mind I was picturing scale armor and everything related to dragons be it shows, movies, books, comics, games, etc.

Turns out I was partially right since it has those things, but I also missed the bar because it pretty much has everything. I didn’t realize this until I met my partner who goes every year and summed it up as, “five days of nonstop convention and partying“. I’m not going to front as if I’m a big partier, but the idea of going to largest convention in my region for five days… Let’s just say it’s time to get these cosplays ready!

So far I’ve decided on Shego (just ordered the wig), Princess Kida (the costume is in process), Miles Morales (my partner gave me the site they use for full body suits), and my favorite of Dracula’s brides (gotta save one as a secret).

I know the convention is a little under seven months away, but I’m so excited! I’m definitely planning on taking pictures and possibly a video…well we’ll have to see about the video, but why not?

Photo by eniko kis on Unsplash

Yackety Yak: New Year’s Resolutions

How do you feel about New Year’s resolutions? 

Am I…supposed to have feelings about it? I mean, I think they’re fine. 

You don’t think the ‘new year- new me’ trope is kind of overplayed? 

Not really. We’re raised to quantify everything from days to weeks to months, so when the clocks hit midnight on New Years it’s like the literal and metaphorical reset. Now personally, I’m more in the camp of: if you want to change something you shouldn’t put it off for some symbolic date. You should do it when it’s best for you and usually that isn’t January first. 

So you do think it’s overplayed…?

No, no, no. I’m saying I lean more towards a different camp nowadays, but I still fully support the new year’s resolution camp. The New Year equals fresh beginnings and I completely get it. 

Have you ever completed any New Year’s resolutions?   

Um…I think this is the first time I’ve started something shortly after the new year and have been able to keep it up. BUT, a large part of that is because I have an ‘accountabilibuddy ’ who I exercise and meal prep with. 

Interesting. Most people I know usually try to tackle it alone. 

And that works for some people, but not with me- at least when it comes to fitness and health. I  also have a checklist of things I want to do this year, but they don’t require habits to form or anything like that. 

And you included those in your resolution’s list? 

Of course. Don’t you? 

No, but I think I’m going to start.

Awesome. Just maybe put it on your phone and try not to overthink it too much.  

Yackety-Yak: Dreams ii

I had a dream where my teeth were falling out.

…WHAAT? I thought that was just something people used as a dramatic example. You actually had that dream?

Yep and it was wild. It started with pain in my jaw, then I could feel how loose some of my teeth were. Next thing I know I’m taking teeth out with minimal effort because I’m scared I might choke.

Go on…

Some of my teeth weren’t even coming out in one piece. For some only the top half came out or even less. I could feel blood pooling in my mouth, my cheeks were puffed…Then I eventually woke up waiting for a dentist I know in real life to help me.

I’m going to be honest with you: that’s terrifying.

Is it weird I didn’t think that?

One hundred percent. So what did you think?

I was just glad I woke up, I guess. I also got really curious about what those dreams mean.

Did you look it up?

Yeah, but the answers were all over the place. It could mean anything from saying something I regret; needing a nudge for me to say something; having to make a major decision soon; having trouble sharing my thoughts; stress; a fear of aging; insecurity; grinding my teeth-

So basically anything.

Hahaha; more or less.

Well, all I’m going to say is I better not have a similar dream now that you’ve told me because I’ll be paranoid for days. And I mean it.

I make no promises.

…I’ve never felt more pressure to go to the dentist.

Agree.

Disagreements

It’s very rare my mom and I have a disagreement. Maybe once every one to three years we have a blow out, then after a few days we reconcile. Since our last blow out; at least two years ago now, I made an effort to not bottle things up and effectively voice my opinions with her without freaking out- specifically if she threw out the tried and true “you’re too sensitive” comment or some variation of it.

Now putting aside the dismissive everything about that phrase and how it makes me go from 15 to 70…I’ll get back on track.

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Vasilopita!!!

If you have no idea what the title of this post means then do not fear because the first time I heard it I didn’t either.

Vasilopita is a Greek tradition celebrated on New Year’s Day where a family or group cut a loaf of bread or cake to see who managed to get the single coin baked inside. Whoever has the coin has luck for the whole year.

In my family it’s my step-father who cuts the cake, then everyone selects a piece for themselves. For anyone who isn’t present at the time; we wrap a slice and set it aside.

In 2019 I wasn’t around for the cutting, so a few days later I opened my saved slice and guess what I found…That’s right! I found the coin!

Looking back on 2019 I can truly say there were some not to great moments (which are always going to happen) and there were a lot of really awesome moments: I found a job with an amazing work environment. I’m in a relationship with someone who loves me and trash t.v. I went to New York City for the first time. I went back to Chicago for New Years. I got to experience snow. I met my savings goal for the year. My skin cleared up a lot…It was great.

But 2019 is over and you know what that means? Time for VASILOPITA!!!

This time we waited until my siblings and I were all back together to cut the cake and do you know who won? ME. AGAIN. Reigning champion over here and I was one of the last to pick a slice!

Anyway, I know this is a super late New Year’s post, but here’s to 2020!

P.S. the uproar from my siblings when i found it again was hilarious

Photo by Matt Hoffman on Unsplash

Motor Vehicles: return of the unfortunate expense

Have you ever had a feeling something was going to happen and then it did?

In my case it was; you guessed it- car related. About a week about a week or two ago I decided to take my car to the shop once I received my tax refund. There wasn’t anything wrong with my car at the time. I just knew it had been a while and wanted a full maintenance check since I recently decided against applying to graduate school. Everything was going fine until a few days ago when the ‘check engine’ light came on.

I immediately went into overdrive and finagled it so my car was in the shop the very next morning.

Was there one thing wrong? No

Was there two things wrong? Nope.

Three? Still no.

Let’s just say it was enough to where the car stayed overnight and with an estimate of $1,700 worth of repairs. Luckily it wasn’t an engine issue so I was able to pick it up the next morning, but that also meant I needed to cough up that estimate.

Honestly I’m glad I caught it at the stage it was in (even if it wasn’t great) before things got even worse. There was definitely some initial shock at the price tag, but once it subsided I buckled down to figure out the best way tackle it. Of course this comes at a time when my car insurance payment is just around the corner along with a credit card bill, but you just have to ride with the wave sometimes.

Cars continue to remain the bane of my melodramatic consumer existence and my goal remains to live in a place where I can live without one. Until then though I’m definitely going to the auto-shop more regularly and not those quick oil-change places. Time to really treat my car like the life line it is for me right now.

P.S. I don’t think I ever gave my car a name or if I did I can’t remember it….maybe it’s time?

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash