Tired choices

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Northwest living can be an actual and total grind. Seriously.

The joke around here is that summer starts after July 4 and the number of rainy, cool July 4ths I have experienced in my 50 years is pretty high. Look, it’s wet a lot up here and we all know it. BUT…

Right now the grass and weeds are growing uncontrolled because the rain literally stops for like one day, maybe two, every week and a half. As such, I am forced to make choices about what activites are going to take place outside.

Do I do something fun or relaxing outside? Or, do I do yardwork in an effort to catch up after not doing yardwork for a week/week and a half? If I choose what I want to do, that which I should/need to do suffers. If I choose what I should/need to do, that which I would prefer to do suffers.

If you choose incorrectly, it could be a long while in between being able to do either outside.

I am tired of making these choices.

How about summer start now for a change?

Towel throwing

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At what point do you just, “Throw in the towel?” Literally, if we throw the towel into the washing machine we don’t know if it will actually get cleaned or not.

At the beginning of March, we bought a Kenmore washing machine from Costco.com. It wasn’t the cheapest model, but it also wasn’t the most expensive. We decided that we didn’t really need something fancy, but one with “triple action” agitation without the agitator sounded good. We had it delivered, mostly because they would haul the old machine away at no charge and then I wouldn’t have to do it.

The new Kenmore washer didn’t work correctly from the very beginning. No matter what I did to it to try and “balance” it, it sounded like there was a body inside of the machine and that it was bouncing around inside the laudry room. When I finally did get it close to balanced it squeaked and squealed like a pig getting chased around it’s pen. It was taking two, sometimes three, “Drain & Spin” cycles to get a load dry enough to even put into the dryer.

I called the repair service. Mind you, this was a new washer and it was only two months into it.

The first guy came out and said it was the drive belt and clutch. Ordered parts. Service is covered by warranty.

Parts arrived. Second guy comes out and says the first guy didn’t actually diagnos the issue correctly and the parts that were ordered weren’t needed. Second guy dug into the machine and said, “I have been doing this a lot of years and I have never seen this part (can’t remember which one he said) in that color. I am going to replace it.” Luckily, he had several parts in his van that he said needed repaired. He left and it supposedly was repaired.

The very next load run through it again sounded like someone was in the machine. Stopped the load, tried to balance it out (which by appearances it looked fine), still banging. More loads. More banging and squealing.

So, today after work, I get to unhook the thing and haul it back to the local Costco.

I have no idea what the plan is to replace it.

Perhaps running water and some rocks in the backyard.

Drudging along

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Today marks five days of working from home while miserably sick. Telecommuting has it’s advantages, though I have debated whether or not this is actually one of them.

Sure, I have sick days I could have used. But after being away from work for more than a week because of vacation, taking additional days away because I am sick doesn’t seem fair to my team and for all intents and purposes it hardly seems fair to me…the work load after being gone for vacation was bad enough. Add more because of being sick? It would have been overwhelming!

Sure, working while sick is miserable…on top of already being miserable. But, someone has to make money in the house. Sitting around all day focusing on how miserable I feel doesn’t make me feel better. At least there is some progress being made at work, even though I am not physically AT work. Telecommuting has it’s advantages in that I can still work without being required to take those sick days off. In another setting, I would have had to burn these days. In another job, these days would also go unpaid. That would add a whole level of personal stress so I am thankful for what I have.

However, there have been several times over the last couple of days that I wondered if I was going to be able to keep drudging along. Coughing into a headset while working with a client isn’t a good idea. Constantly sniffling/snorting snot isn’t a good sound. The throbbing in the sinus region pounds out a reminder that says, “Don’t think you’re even close to relief…” The wheezing in the chest, the rattling of gunk down there in the lungs, well, that makes for a pleasant surprise when a cough actually produces something to dispose of. The light headedness after a coughing fit is enjoyable only in the sense that the desire to lay my head on the desk for a brief period of time might lead to a nap…only to remind myself that I am supposed to be working.

I have taken a nap nearly every day during my lunch break. Those are a pleasant reprieve. Only to be awakened by an alarm that says I need to return to work. Damn oppresive alarms….

Anyway, I might be starting to feel better. It’s only been five actual work days, and probably five actual days of being positive (I don’t really know since my symptoms got worse after my last test and I refuse to waste a test if I am nearly 100% positive I know what I have). I’ll test again tomorrow to see what the status is. That’s give me a direction about whether or not I can return to the office early next week. I’ll follow that up with another test on Sunday, just to be sure it is safe.

Keep your heads down.

Holding on

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Been a little over a week since the last post. Since that post, it seems I’ve had to enter survival mode. That might be a bit of a dramatic statement, but that is definitely the way it feels.

So, the Celebration of Life mentioned in the last post was nice. Still hard to believe and the grieving process moves in waves. Just when you think you have gotten past it and moved on, something triggers it. Not so much for me, but others in the family. I wasn’t as close as some.

The gathering of family and friends from near and far created a an issue that some probably foresaw or at least could have been predicted. As such, there were lots of people around and one (at least that we know of) tested positive the day after the gathering. Obviously, that means lots of people from all different places we in close proximity and exposure was inevitable.

Two people in the house now have tested positive. I haven’t yet, though the evening after I tested negative I got the chills really bad. However, I am pretty positive I am now positive. Waiting on more tests to confirm that, but it seems a logical conclusion.

It’s now been two miserable days of discomfort. But, so far I can say that this equals probably the worst cold I have ever had. I had Mono back in college – it almost feels like that.

Anyway, that’s the latest update. Hunkered down, trying to rest, work from home, and stay hydrated.

Long Break

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It’s been a while since I have written anything. Almost two weeks. This post likely won’t be all that profound, so don’t get all excited. I am not sure when the next post will be after this, but there will be more. Just things to sort out.

Last week was one filled with bad news. Sudden, unexpected, tragic death in the family. Shock. Disbelief. All those sorts of words could be used. Probably lots more.

Vacation to Arizona had been planned for months. It was going to be a time of relaxing and family visiting. Earlier this week, we left for Arizona. Only the relaxing and family time has been upended with stress, grieving, and uncertainty. Family we were coming to see is now broken and trying to hold it together. There is much to do while here and there is no relief for the weary. To end it all with a Celebration of Life, well, let’s say this is the worst vacation ever.

I have been sick with the flu or a cold the last couple days. Trying to power through it wasn’t working, so today was a rest day. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Anyway, an explanation for the absence.

Hug your loved ones.

You never know when the last time is, indeed, the last time.

Retained stiffness

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Or maybe it’s retained soreness?

Last weekend I began working on building a planter by the new patio. It’s going to be one that has a short retaining wall to keep the soil and such contained. But, to get the project started, I had to dig out the area first. That part wasn’t actually as much work as I expected (the soil was mostly sand) but there was still a couple hours worth of shoveling and wheelbarrowing the soil away.

Once the initial groundwork was done, I put down weedblock fabric and the shoveled and wheelbarrowed drain rock to form the bed of the area where the planter is being created. Again, it went faster than predicted. I then sorted retaining wall blocks already on hand to see what I had versus what I was going to need for the plan in my head.

I stopped at this point though, for several reasons. One, it was starting to get late into the evening and my stomach was telling me it was time for dinner. Two, it was getting much cooler since the sun had gone down over the horizon. Three, my body was really sore already.

Here we are three and a half days after I worked on the project and I am still feeling the soreness, stiffness, pain(?) of the weekend’s work. I can probably chock all this up to the fact that I am “old-ish”, out of shape for such a physical activity, and well, it’s hard work. But, mostly because I am out of shape.

Not that I will probably do anything much about it. I am just complaining.

I want to try and work on the next steps this week after work, but I am not sure the weather will cooperate and a holiday weekend is fast approaching. There are likely other chores that will need to be tended to first.

Cookies tossed

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Last night was miserable. I started feeling a little dizzy around 5:30-6:00pm. I decided I better take it easy and retired to the couch for the evening. When I closed my eyes the world would spin like I was in one of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups, the ride at Disneyland. So, I tried to watch the TV and hope that it didn’t get worse.

It was about an hour later that I realized that my stomach was not good. Here comes the TMI portion….one trip to bathroom for the runs, then 20 minutes later a trip to toss the cookies (there goes some of dinner!). About 40 minutes later, more dinner and a toilet full of vomit. Needless to say, my stomach was not a happy camper!

I normally have a pretty iron stomach, so if I am tossing my cookies I know something isn’t right. Perhaps I picked up a little food poisoning after stopping at a DQ on the way back from eastern Washington the previous night. I haven’t a clue.

So, off to bed I went. Preparations were made just in case I found that I couldn’t make it to the bathroom… The room only spun for a little while and it wasn’t long until I was out.

A storm came through last night so other than about 30 or so minutes in the middle of the night, I slept most of the night and slept pretty well. Perhaps I was a little extra tired? Maybe. Perhaps my kneck is really really out and I was feeling the effects of being misaligned? I suppose that is possible too, though that doesn’t explain the evacuation of the bowels…anyway…

This morning, it seems things are back to normal. Coffee has been consumed and I haven’t had any issues keeping it down at this point. I guess it was just a passing storm in the stomach too.

End nearing

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The end of the staycation is here. It seems like the week (plus) went to fast that it is hard to think it was a week. I had so many plans, so many projects to work on, so many things to…well, get done.

As I ponder the return to work tomorrow, I wonder if I should just relax today or use the day productively and end the week with a bang. I have a few more projects that need to be done, so I could work on those. I wouldn’t finish any of them, but at least I would have made a good start. OR…I could just use the day to relax and just shuffle some papers around, clean up the email and desk at home. I can’t really decide what I want to do today.

I was successful in knocking a couple of the projects off this list this week. It wasn’t like the vacation wasn’t productive. However, several planned projects that I would like done outside didn’t get done, but it is raining today and I don’t really feel like going out and getting wet and muddy. I have a few small projects in the house and garage that I could do, but the motivation seems to be waning today…

So, I think I’ll mix it up and do some relaxing and small things today. Nothing that requires a lot of effort. Mentally prepare for returning to work tomorrow.

Does anyone else like to have a “buffer day” between vacation and returning to work? I have discovered that I kinda like it and purposely planned it that way. It’s a good way to make that transition, I think. What do you think? How do you like to use the last day of your vacation?

Line drawing

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Some people have a pinchent for drama, for creating their own problems, for causing more trouble than they’re worth. Sometimes those people are family members, sometimes they are just friends or acquaintences.

In all seriousness, how do people live that way? You would think that it gets really old, really tiring. I know it does for everyone watching. Everyone who is watching the sh*tshow from afar. Everyone who is mouthing “WTF?” in their heads. Everyone throwing their arms up in silence as the comedy of errors repeats itself over and over and over again….

At what point do you draw the line for banging your head against a brick wall?

At what point do you stop talking yourself blue in the face because listening, understanding, and following through were just never learned or reinforced?

At what point do you wash your hands of the situation, the people, and just move on?

At what point do you stop cutting off your arm or any other appendage to help?

At what point do you stop bending over backwards to even make suggestions?

All rhetorical questions, but questions that have to be asked any time someone you love (or maybe just even yourself if you are reading this) goes through any of the above exercises. You hate to see people flounder, but at what point do you just draw the line and say, “I don’t care any more?”

Comedy of errors…you can’t help but just laugh at how ridiculous some people can be.

Guess I’ll just grab a beer, make some popcorn, and watch it all over again.

Horizon gazin’

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I am finding myself not being too productive these days. Admittedly, I have a crapload of stuff to do at work and the list of “to do”s are adding up at home. It doesn’t really matter though. I am looking forward to the future and I have been diagnosed with “short-timer’s disease.”

That’s right! Vacation is on the horizon and the short-timer’s disease is real. The rest of this week and a half day next week is all that remains to arrive at the 7.5 day vacay. It’s been a long three months since the last one and I can’t wait to knock some things off the list at home.

Concentration, gone. Focus, kapoot. Productivity, none.

Anyone feel me? Anyone else seeing a vacation on the horizon and just want to check out of everything before it actually arrives? Who’s with me? Who is struggling to get there?

It’s on the horizon people. There is light at the end of the tunnel and that ain’t no train.

Anyway, just thought you should know, and be envious…

Not really doing anything special. I was supposed to be soaking up the sun and taking in some baseball in AZ, but the late arrival of Spring Training cancelled those plans.

So, stay-cation it is. I’ll try to find some balance between knocking off list stuff and having fun. We’ll see how that goes.

Truth be told, I’d rather be riding off into the sunset with the whole work thing, but I’ll setting for a vacation for now. I have my eyes on the horizon though. Keeping my head up…