a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: This is the World In Which We Live Now

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

This is the World In Which We Live Now

SUMMARY: COVID-19? Normal reality? Somewhere in between?

Just a day in the life of... during lockdown... Monday, April 6, 2020

UPDATES APRIL 9, 11:30AM PDT: Added a bit more to the puzzle-doing and a related photo.

  • 2 AM -- Poof! Awake! Why why why?  Don't need to visit the Little Human Mom's Room. No extraneous noises that I can  hear. Suddenly the sheets are scratchy, the pillow is lumpy. My shoulder hurts when I roll over. I roll back.

    This is not abnormal for me. I wish it were. Should not have stayed awake past 11, reading the Captive Prince books for the 3rd time in 3 weeks, where I dozed off twice with the Kindle and light still on, then slept for real--for a little while. Until 2.
  • 7 AM -- Oh! Apparently sleep returned at some point! But NOW why awake?  I feel a little chilly: Darn it, electric mattress pad turned off at some point.

    It's nice that it does that after a certain number of hours, because I'd prefer that neither it nor my bedroom furniture catch fire. BUT if I turn it on early to prewarm my flannel-clad bed, then if I forget to reset it when I snuggle into bed, this happens sometime during the night or early morning.   No choice now: I rise and release the boys from their crates.
  • 7:15ish -- Neither dog dashed downstairs immediately; instead, THEY are now  curled up on my body-warmed section of bedding. THEY don't care that it's Monday. So I have made my daily weigh-in and recorded it in my FitBit, chosen clothing (turtleneck and  warm fleece. And jeans, because always jeans), dressed, and taken care of The Usual Related Activities.
  • 7:30ish -- Down to the kitchen, open the door to the back porch for the dogs. Gray skies and rain. I remind Zorro that he needs to get off the porch to Go Pee. Chip is self-monitored
    • (Except yesterday afternoon when I heard this weird noise like Chip chewing softly on something unusual. Dashed around the corner of my desk and somedog had marked one of the cardboard boxes sitting there with Things To Do in it.  I still don't know for sure who it was  who Done the Deed, because he licks to clean it up so I have no way of knowing who left it there to be cleaned up, and I never catch either of them actually Doing It, and so I don't know whether I heard him peeing or licking. So there was some time mopping the carpet and box, applying Nature's Miracle, and so on. )
    • Put the doggie door in: The door is clean and dry, unlike yesterday morning when it was covered with rainwater, on both sides, go figure, as it's resting closer to horizontal than vertical, but it gave me an excuse to clean the glass then.
    • Stride confidently but carefully on my new-ish knee to the driveway in the rain to fetch the daily paper. 
    • I always wonder--it's covered in plastic, which supposedly can hold COVID virus for up to 3 days, and moisture and chill encourage it, so how much decontamination must I do on the bag if it has been sitting in the rain for probably 3 hours?  This is the world in which we live now.
  •  7:45ish -- What for breakfast? The Chef personally selects a prime cut of whole wheat sourdough from her personal freezer, places it into the high-tech defrosting/warming/browning device (yes! all in one device!), carefully spreads choice fruit puree from the cooling box, and pours a chilled glass of milk from only Happy Cows in California. Served at a private table. And A Baby's Arm Holding an Apple. Or, actually, only the apple.

    Eat breakfast, read some of the paper, start scrolling through Facebook on my Portable Time-Wasting Device, catch myself after not too long, and set it down.
  • 8:30ish -- I have a 9:15 phone meeting w/client manager; I've been anticipating for the last couple of weeks that, despite earlier reassurances about renewing me, they don't have the work for me that they thought they did. So, anyway, for the client: download, read, and distribute emails or respond to them, check Slack for everyone's work statuses on the teams there, do a wee bit of work.
  • 9:15 -- Meeting. Yep. 2 week's notice that contract is ending. One manager thinks there might be work there somewhere else, but nothing so far. My company is also looking for something for me. I REALLY wouldn't mind a couple of weeks off, even if it's unpaid.  But I also really need the income. With my company and my position, this is complicated. Might address in another post.
    • With the current employment environment--higher than during the Great Depression in some places, and unemployment organization overwhelmed with applications, no idea whether a job exists anywhere for me.  This is the world in which we live now. 
  • 9:25-11: Read client team's agenda for 11:00 meeting, more email, phone call, start this blog post, I dunno, work & leisure intertwined.
  • 11:00-11:35 -- WebEx team video meeting. Status, what we're working on, what our plans are, and so on. Actually well organized and efficient, with 2 or 3 instances where some funny comment got us all laughing. Important in these not-really-end times.
    • 11:10 -- OMD forgot to feed the dogs around 10! Chip gives me a gentle nudge, I pet him for a bit while continuing in the meeting.
  • 11:35 to 1:15 -- Who the heck knows? Chat w/some people at client or at my company via Slack or email.  Feed the poor patient dogs.
    • Start reviewing a website with a free How To Become An API Writer course, in writing, not dumb videos, which is exactly the kind of document that I wanted to write for my last project for the client but it turned into something else. This is billable in some form or other, because that's what I'm working on for the client AND for my company.

      Glad that I pointed it out to my client's writing team, because there are a couple of experienced writers who don't know the first thing about APIs or programming or documentation for such, and w/out my specifically suggesting it to them, they've already started working their way through it. I expect that they and my client will be enriched by it. So, I'm not the one who wrote it, but I am the one who typed the  link to it (big win for me! Yay! Gold star! Not real gold, though--).
    • My mail-order fudge arrived! As did a mail order prescription in a plastic bag. 
    • Mailman delivered to my front porch barehanded (well, gloves wouldn't have mattered), but did he disinfect his hands before handling it here or at the PO? Fudge is in a cardboard box, and I have my little spray bottle of alcohol ready; spray the whole  thing down, cardboard as well as the plastic tape holding it closed, because cardboard can hold the virus for possibly 3 hours or longer.   This is the world in which we live now. 
    • Had lunch. Half can of spicy bean soup, hot for a cold wet day, combined with a big mug of hot chocolate. Hit the appropriate spot. Down side: Now I want a nap.

  • 1:15 -- Fudge package has been sitting now for about an hour and alcohol has dried.  I extract my 4 containers with different flavors of fudge (these folks do a PHENOMENAL job!). My order included a free flavor-of-the month, peanut butter banana, which I'd have never chosen on  my own, so I pull it out for a taste test... quarter of a pound later, yep, it's as phenomenal as all the other flavors! Shouldn't be reading paper & eating fudge at the same time.

  • 1:31 -- Call vet to give him status of the lump on Chip's shoulder from a week ago. Looking good to me (so far diagnosis is simply a fluid-filled bruise, which he aspirated, tested blood & checked for cancer indications, and it all looks fine).
  • 1:32 -- Bring this blog up to this hour.

  • 1:45 -- OMG I really need a nap. Guess I'd better let work know that I'm taking another break. The day is gray and rainy; I try to survive by turning on every light in sight, but it's just not working for me today. 
  • thru 4:00 -- oops, lost track of my time, so the rest of the day  is rough guesses. In bed, reading some, napping some, occasionally getting checked by the dogs, which wakes me some each time. Still, it's relaxing. I know that I'm really ready for sleep when I slip under the covers, put my head down, and everything immediately seems perfectly comfortable and safely enclosing.

    Fitbit tells me afterwards that I slept 1 hr 41 mins during that time, which is great, because last night I slept less than 5 hours.
  • Thru 10:00 PM -- Some things that happened--
    • I thought the yard guy wasn't going to be coming during the COVID lockdown after I paid him through May and said he should stay home if he felt more comfortable doing that; he skipped 2 weeks but showed up today with one or 2 assistants. So, while he was working out front, I went out back and started scooping poops. Seems like only a day or 2since I was out there, BUT there were little deposits everywhere! So my time sense was failing me again. It has been raining for a couple of days, so most of them were wet and heavy and partially melted into the grass, so it took a while. (I know you wanted to know all this.)  Finished just as he came through the gate. 
    • We said hi, how are you, I'm good, from across the yard, and I went back inside. This is the world in which we live now.\
    • After he left, I decided to go for a walk. (Walked yesterday in the rain with my brolly and barely a soul to be seen.)  Rain stopped much earlier, and things had started to dry out. It's about 6:30 and joggers are everywhere! My side of the street, the other side of the street, the middle of the street--   and I start wondering: 
    • If  virus is detectable for up to three hours in aerosols (exhales), then is it safe for me to walk back to the house at all? Well, I'm not going to wait 3 hours, and anyway more people would be coming-- and there is a slight breeze for dispersal. So I go back home, a shorter walk than planned.  This is the world in which we live now.
    • I did take a few photos while out. Posted a couple on Facebook. Probably spent a bunch of time on Facebook, too. 
    • Ate more fudge. Way more fudge. It is really really really good, and so smooth! Until very recent years, I could eat sugar with impunity--that is, with no detectable symptoms--but in the last, I dunno, 3-4 years, my body starts feeling wonky. Can't describe it exactly, but it happens when I've had too much sugar. So: My body starts feeling wonky.
    • I manage to have something small (because not that hungry now) vaguely healthy for supper--finish the rest of the soup, and some nuts?-- with a glass of cold milk, and now the milk is gone! 
    • So am I going to go to the store? Scary! Am I going to order & pay extra to have it delivered? Expensive, plus will still have to clean things as they come into the house! How long do I want to go w/out milk? That means no oatmeal or other cereals in the  morning. And nothing to drink with fudge! Crisis!  This is the world in which we live now.
    • Did a bunch of puzzles in the paper. Every other Sunday, they have the usual puzzles plus a bonus entire section with more puzzles. Crosswords are my main thing. For years I avoided cryptograms--did them as a kid but then they seemed like too much work. But a year or so ago, I did one out of desperation, and Lo! it wasn't too hard and didn't take too long. (The ones in the paper aren't all that challenging and give one letter for you. I typically finish them in 5-8 minutes, with maybe a max of 15 on occasion. If it's more than that, I do quit because it then *does* feel like work.)

      UPDATE April 9: The San Jose Mercury News, because it has hardly enough to fill the daily Sports section, has instead been filling another whole page with just puzzles! Sports have stopped. All sports. Tennis, football, hockey, golf, at high school, college, pro levels. All of it. This is the world in which we live now.
      Doing puzzles to avoid doing actual work or anything here at home that needs doing. Today is a day in which my stress level is high, can't concentrate, can't make even smaller decisions for the most part, feel completely incapable of functioning. 
  • Pondering: It has now been 6 days without driving anywhere (back then, it was to the vet and get a few groceries). It was 9 days before that (groceries and Farmer's Market). And I think 10 days before that. I'd rather have it be more more more days w/out breathing other people's air or touching things that other people touch.  This is the world in which we live now.
  • 10:00 -- Agreed with dogs that it's time for bed. But-- OMG, did I give them dinner?  I struggle to remember and can't, and I see that I didn't give Chip his mealtime medication. So I give them each about 1/3 of a meal and figure it won't kill them to have extra or to have a little too little this evening.
  • 10:20 -- We are all tucked into our beds and crates. I read some but again doze off while reading, then eventually put that away and turn out the light, and it feels like reasonable sleep. Hope so, since the last couple of nights have been iffy. But I did get that nap in the afternoon--.
    • Update next morning: 6 hrs 47 min sleep per Fitbit. Pretty good, for me.

Related images--

Walked in the rain the previous day. No one around.

Zorro with newspaper in its plastic bag

Who just stole my warm spot on my bed??
Chip resenting having his photo taken with the shaved spot from his shoulder-lump work.

UPDATE APR 9: Sports section with normal half page of puzzles plus
a whole 'nother page because there ain't no sports nowhere nohow!


  1. Very interesting! I am glad to know I'm not the only anxious one with loss of focus and memory out there. In fact I was going to write a post about just such things, but I got distracted reading blog posts and then I realized that I don't get notice of yours and I hadn't been over to visit you in awhile and then I got absorbed in your post about your day and realized that I am not alone, which made me feel much less anxious..so maybe I don't need to write that post after all.

    Yesterday it was sunny and 70, the first 70 day this year,and it was so wonderful...walking in the neighborhood I really wanted to be somewhere more exciting, with a camera...but can't do that now days. Today it is grey and snowing, probably part of the reason I am feeling more anxious. My poor little goldfinches, with their partial yellow and green feathers are hunkered down trying to stay warm and fed. I put up the hummingbird feeder yesterday, a bit early, but spring has been early, so I figured it's possible. Now hail is pounding on the windows and I hope the hummers are still down in Ohio! Strange times we are living in for sure!

    1. My sister said, way at the beginning, KEEP A DAILY DIARY because this will (hopefully) be an unique, extraordinary time for the entire world. I managed it for a day or 2 and then, just haven't had the energy.

      We are definitely not alone in feeling this way. Another friend posted a short note today about contemplating going to the grocery store and what they could live without for the time being.

      Lots and lots and lots of FB posts on masks, finding them, making them, their effectiveness, etc. Now that CDC has officially said that yes fabric masks are helpful.

      I'm glad that I'm not dealing with freezing temps-- it's cold enough in the house as is, for me; I try not to turn the thermostat past 68, but that's in the living room and my office is huge and has only one heater vent, so I've been pushing it higher, but still cold & using a blanket at my desk. It's 59 F outside and overcast, looks like it should be raining but isn't, and it isn't forecast. It's not like that's super cold, but I feel more sensitive to it not being able to go anywhere. Sometimes when I'd get cold like this, I'd use it as an excuse to get in my car with its wonderful heat and go shopping somewhere or hiking somewhere. Now, my other choice is bed with the heated mattress pad.

      Thanks for commenting--I wasn't sure whether my memory glitches are related to all of this, so yep it's good to hear that it's not just me. Hope you start seeing your lovely birds again soon.

  2. I added another paragraph and another photo. They are tagged with a red UPDATE.