A Week Later

So things are a little better this week than they were last week. The better-half and I had very little reaction to the Pfizer vaccine #2. We took naps, but we probably would have done that anyway.

The situation at work is improving. I’m still not 100%, but I’m digging into what I can control and trying to be a collaborative partner. You can’t go around saying you want to partner with others and then not do it when called to do so. I made the decision to not remain permanent work from home when we’re able to return to the office. My team has my support to stay home and my new boss supports that decision. I feel like I need to be visible and available to both office dwellers and to my remote team. In making that decision, I am really hoping to get an upgrade from my tiny cube. I never really understood why putting a manager in a tiny cube made any sense. It just made me run around the building booking conference rooms for private meetings. That’s not going to work if we’re a hybrid office–the demand for conference rooms will be even higher.

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You Take the Good and You Take the Bad

The better-half and I got our second Pfizer shot on Thursday. We’ll be fully powered up by April 22nd. That’s the good.

The bad is last Tuesday I found out my department was decimated. Two of the senior leaders in the department were terminated. One of those senior leaders had a fancier title than I did, but we’re peers and have the same rank in our jobs framework. Two other employees were told they have 30-60 days to either find a new position internally or get the hell out. Yes, there are severance packages, but that doesn’t make any of this OK.

Honestly, it is hard for me to not be suspicious that I’ll be the next to go and whether that’s in 6 months or 12, I really believe I won’t be staying. I think once I make the transition happen and get the new world order set up, I’ll be the one getting the talk. Everything we accomplished in the last year seems to be for naught. We were more productive and made a lot of smart choices. As it turns out senior leadership had this idea in their heads for more than a year and it makes everything seem futile and dishonest.

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25 years

We celebrated our 25th anniversary a little differently this year. My parents invited us over for dinner on the Saturday before. It was nice to hang out. They are fully vaccinated and we are getting our second shot in early April.

For the actual day, I made a mix tape of songs from 1996. The better-half gave me flowers and chocolate–two things that are pretty spot on. I gave him a 3-D card. These photos are, as usual, lacking.

We started our celebration with fancy cocktails. Well, the glasses were fancy. Amaro and club soda for me and a Manhattan for the better-half.

We haven’t made this dish since 2002-ish, but it has lived large for us for all of these years. It is steamed halibut with herbs over roasted potatoes with a mushroom sauce. It does not look like much, but it tastes so good. The mushroom sauce really needed more than the stick blender and I’m sure that’s exactly what we said a decade ago. Maybe next time we’ll remember to do that to make the sauce more like a sauce.

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Construction Project

Beginning in mid-September through early October, we pulled apart our deck. It always felt like someone built a stage and built it poorly. We started by pulling a small section to check for rot.

There was a reason why that section of the deck always felt bouncy. It wasn’t supported correctly and sat on the ground so no surprise that we found rot.

We tore off the whole section of the long steps (these steps lead to the backyard) and the short steps (these steps are used to get to our gate and then the street). We removed the corner that bounced and then rebuilt the steps and in the case of the short steps, repaired the stringer too.

When we removed the corner, we had to pull two concrete pads. That was fun. Not really, I’m kidding.

Renting a jack hammer to break up those concrete pads was fun, really and truly.

We have already replaced the railing posts and handrail. We haven’t completely finished that piece because wire rails are stupid expensive and we just don’t feel like dropping $1K right this minute. We also need to power wash the main part of the deck and build a skirt to hide the view under the deck. This shouldn’t take long, but we need it to be warm enough to power wash and then put down sealer.

We power washed, sanded and sealed the deck. We also built a skirt and planted some Lenten roses and hostas.
Deck planting

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Snow on January 31

It snowed about 3 inches on Sunday. We were so excited. We’ve had some flakes today but it’s too warm and so the melt has begun.

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I Know Why the Caged Plant Sings

Our cat bites plants and thinks anything in the house is all hers. One Christmas she hopped on the table and ate some of the festive greenery. Turns out some of that was poisonous. She vomited and, thankfully, did not suffer any consequences other than the vomiting.

We have a few plants that are mostly outdoor plants except when we enter winter. I have traditionally put those plants in our guest bedroom closet because it has a window. The house and that room face south. The placement of the house is the reason we can have solar panels. It is not an especially good environment for plants who would prefer dappled light. So every winter I hope for the best.

This year we made plans for the plants and with the arrival of the poinsettia, we ramped up the plans. It isn’t fancy and was built with scraps (except for the wire and some brackets):

The plants seem to be less shocked and I hope they begin to recover from the several months they were in direct sunlight (the philodendron always sits there):

I do not think Lucy cares what’s in the cage and I haven’t seen her on the counter yet, but that doesn’t mean we need to be complacent.

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It’s all fun and games until you attempt to overthrow the government

First he grabbed ‘em by the pussy, then he put children in cages, then unrolls long list of terrible things, and then fomented a coup. What does it actually take to impeach and/or imprison this guy?

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Because it is rainy, misty, drizzly today, we’re leaving up our outdoor lights until things dry out a bit. Everything else is put away and the metric ton of needles has been swept and vacuumed. Like last year, we put white lights over our backdoor/windows and will leave those up until February. Or whenever we start having more daylight. It helps make things cheery.

Tomorrow we’re back to a regular schedule. I will miss the naps.

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Merry Merry

Of course it was a small Christmas this year. My parents came over for breakfast and we exchanged gifts (The Macallan for her and a large format Guinness and an oil can Fosters for him). My mom brought over a poinsettia. We haven’t had one in years and I’ll worry about keeping Lucy away from it after we take it off the mantle. It is very pretty though amongst the Christmas cards.

We had a family Zoom mid-morning and then my parents went home. We watched Wonder Woman 1984. We were less than impressed and a little disappointed. The first movie was so good. This one got lost midway through. Kind of like 2020.

We were at my parents for Christmas dinner and it was a very pleasant evening. We did some reminiscing and talked about current events. Even though my dad is in some stage of dementia, he held his own during the conversation. I have to tell you that as awful as 2020 has been, it has been nice to hang out with my parents all year. Whatever insanity my father had been carrying around for over decade is gone and now he is happy to spend time with us.

I took off a couple of days before Christmas and all of this week. It’s nice to not have to sit in our guest bedroom all day staring at a computer screen. This may be my last post of the year since I’ve been so bad about updating the site. In a complete departure from the rest of the end-of-year posts, I don’t have a list of concerts/shows or even a favorite. There was one show this year and our neighborhood hosted a Porchella in October. If you don’t click the link, it was a live music walk. The weather was amazing that day, the music was wonderful and the joy was real.

Merry Christmas and happy 2021. It’s going to be better.

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Small Thanksgiving

The better-half and I hosted my parents for Thanksgiving yesterday. My mom brought over a very delicious turkey breast she made in her crock pot, corn pudding and apple pie (bonus jars of apple sauce too). We provided roasted brussels sprouts, sage sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce and a lemon meringue pie. We had never made a lemon meringue pie, but it tasted pretty good. We need to work on our whipped meringue…practice makes perfect.

The weather was beautiful and we ended up opening several windows and ran our Blue air purifier. Safety protocols were on our minds and we are uncertain what Christmas will hold. We were able to Zoom with my sisters and their families.

So the holiday was different, but it was also OK. The better-half and I found a new stuffing recipe and learned how to make a lemon meringue pie. My father got to feel useful by disposing of some concrete we busted up as part of our deck redo and my mother got to relax on a major holiday.

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