A neighbourhood

I think it is COVID loneliness creeping into everyone’s lives, but this summer is the summer of love in our little neighbourhood. Everyone comes out to chat when you are out doing yard work. People have been offering to help with our fence… Basically, if you are outside you are going to spend half of it talking.

The attached neighbour (we live in a duplex) and I have said more to each other in the last week then I have for the last 6 or 7 years she has lived there. She is super nice.

I imagine this is what life was like back in the pre-phone days. The only people you could regularly interact with were close to you, so you found things in common to talk about. We hash it out about the weather, my growing baby and the excitement surrounding it, hubby’s work and how that is going… There is also a teenage boy across the street fixing his beater car to the sweet sounds of classic rock. My sister is visiting and he has discovered she is basically an uncertified mechanic, so he comes and knocks on the door every afternoon to see if she can come play. It’s adorable.

It is nice to wave to everyone as we walk the dog. I feel so safe and warm and fuzzy. I hope it continues after quarantine ends.

Magic Marker

So. Say you have a child colouring on the floor…. OR a full grown adult using a sharpie to mark out a pattern on fabric. Let’s not get stuck on the details. SOMEHOW you have sharpie all over your beautiful laminate flooring. What do you do?

Well, your husband googles it and then begins colouring the floor with a dry erase marker. What?! You freak out- and then he begins wiping it away with a rag and the sharpie is gone! BLACK MAGIC!!

I’m telling you people, this ‘hack’ actually works. Keep it in your back pocket, you may need it. Obviously try in inconspicuous place first- unlike my man who just jumped right on in. Also use a colour close to what you have, we used red on ours.

Road trip

I am 17 weeks pregnant and the world is exploding with COVID-19 terror. Currently, I am sitting in the sun on Vancouver Island, visiting my in-laws. It is so warm and comfortable here it is hard to remember to be afraid. Then you open Facebook (or god-forbid the News) and everything feels like its crashing down around me.

I’m terrified of the journey home. The ferry and Vancouver are basically population central. I don’t care if I get sick, I’m young and healthy, but what about the baby? Its as big as a large onion apparently, and its mother decided to drag it on a plague infected road trip. In hindsight, maybe not the best choice.

I’m definitely not one of the toilet paper hoarders but I can’t say I’m not worried.

On a happy side-note I am being absolutely spoiled by my in-laws. Good company, delicious food and even some yarn way nicer then I would ever buy. Also I made it through the whole 2-day trip down without major psychological incident. One emergency panic stop and that was it! I have also being going into town with my mother-in-law with very little discomfort. I needed a nap yesterday when the walls got a little melty but so far its been great!

Being pregnant is certainly agreeing with me.

My People

So I have recently found the best facebook group I have ever been a part of. It is called bipolar disorder memes, inspirational quotes, and music. There is rarely quotes or music. Just dozens and dozens of memes. Some of them are soooooo dark, some spot on, and some cry a bit while you laugh.

If you have a thick skin and can take joke I highly recommend you check it out.

Here’s a sample of a few more PG memes:

Our December 1st Tradition

Our boring old ‘regular’ house:

Our special fancy ‘Christmas’ house (many hours later!):

Some of the little details I love:

There are so many things I can’t show them all! We get our horde via gifts (the beautiful dishes) and our annual ‘Christmas clearance section’ score (‘fat baby Jesus’ and ‘fat Santa’).

My husband makes me wait until the first every year. It’s slightly annoying but I will admit it does make things pretty special.

If you haven’t decorated yet throw on this song. It’s impossible to not get in the mood!

Idle Chat

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When I was younger and working or going to school fulltime (sometimes a bit of both) I would always get so frustrated with people who chatted. I just wanted to get in and out of a store quickly as possible so I could get home to study or sleep. But to my horror, the little old lady in front of me would inevitably begin an in-depth conversation with the cashier. I think cashiers are trained to chat a bit, make people feel welcome and listened to, but I would always be dancing in place silently begging them to hurry the fuck up.

Now as a member of the chronically lonely club I am on the opposite side of the argument. If cashiers DON’T talk to me I get annoyed and dub them ‘rude’. Sometimes the 5 minutes at the till is the only human contact I have in a day. Also getting there and shopping are so monumental to me it seems fitting to be rewarded with a little idle chatter.

Yesterday in the ill-named “express lane” at Walmart two older couples, one on either side of me, began talking. In the past I would have been reading a book- but now I joined right in. We talked about the economy, Jimmy Pattison, and why the self-check out is destroying lives.

I am so lonely I now feel inclined to talk to just about anyone about just about anything!

Luckily my husband will be coming home on a more permanent basis (meaning only going away a few days at a time instead of weeks). He uproots my schedule and routines but I wouldn’t change it. Having someone to bounce your ideas off of, someone to talk about the future with is priceless. I have so much sympathy now for the widow living alone and I will never brush off her conversations again.

A Terrible Discovery

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Okay. Those of you who know me well understand my love affair with bread and baked goods. I basically live for them. Like really. Sometimes baking something keeps me from hurting myself. Taking baked goods to my friends and those on my care team makes me feel warm fuzzies.

But tragedy has struck.

I have been having troubles with my bowels for a year or so now. And for the last few months I have developed a lot of gut pain that increases throughout the day. I tried cutting out coffee, then alcohol, then both. My symptoms didn’t really improve physically, but my anxiety did so now coffee and booze are only as a special treat.

Then one day I had tons of carbs. Cereal, sandwich, pasta and bread. That night I was literally in tears with the pain. It felt like barbwire being dragged through my guts. And it slowly dawned on me what the problem was- gluten. Fuck.

I didn’t want to believe it. So I did a few days no gluten as a test.

And I felt better. Double fuck.

Uggggg. What do I do now?!

I see many hours of no-gluten baking research in my future. If anyone has a good recipe please post the link. My fingers are itching to have a wooden spoon in hand.

White Bread

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I have been accused of being too ‘white bread’. Of following gender stereotypes. Of adhering to the ‘American dream’.

This is garbage.

I WANT to cook and bake for my husband and friends. I LOVE being in the kitchen. It’s definitely one of my happy places, no anxiety, no stress, just me enjoying myself. I never feel hard done by or forced to be there.

Sure, cleaning sucks no matter how you slice it, but I would rather do it then have it build up for weeks before my husband has a few spare minutes. He is crazy busy. It makes me feel good to do these things for him. I want him to feel relaxed when he comes home. Also, I know I can go into a full-on tailspin when things get out of hand, so I just do a little regularly for my own sanity.

Yes, we have bought a house in a suburb-like community. We have two cars. A dog and a cat. We are living the dream right? Only if the dream involves hunting and growing a lot of your own food. Or composting all year round with our vermicompost.

I can see why from the outside our life looks like a page from a 1950’s catalogue. But from the inside it is something we have settled into because it works for us. My anxiety keeps me home so why not make that home as beautiful and comfortable as it can be? I can’t explore the world physically so why not culinarily? I struggle to meet friends for coffee so why not develop the perfect scone recipe and invite them here?

Everything I do has a reason. Sure, it’s a bit boring- a bit ‘white bread’. But joke’s on you.

I make most of my own bread.

Hurricane Husband- the fall out

My husband came home from work. And things have been nuts.

I love that man more then anything in the world (including my cat, but don’t tell her that), but he is like a hurricane.

Some of it is not his fault- he does have to lug around and then store a spectacular amount of gear. Since he works from home my once organized cold storage now overflows with (sometimes wet and often needing repairs) hip-waders and DIDSON computer parts. My cozy TV room now has a slight smell of fish and pine from the chainsaws and (also damp) piles of data forms. His office spills into the hall; helmets and camera parts.

I let him have a day to sleep and eat home-cooked food (moose of course, sick of fish). I even rubbed his back and pretended to be fascinated by the ins-and-outs of a fish wheel. I was genuinely interested in the health of the stocks this year. Ten years ago I didn’t know there were multiple types of salmon, now I know an embarrassing amount about their lifecycles.

Also, being a superb wife, I went hunting with him for a day. I love walking in the woods. I doesn’t bother me a lick when we ‘get skunked’, aka come home empty-handed. We ate sandwiches and chatted. We got some grouse so Dexter could use his inbred desire to retrieve. It was nice.

The next day I put on my bossy pants and forced him too clean, dry out, and organize his mountain of shit. There was some resistance, but after he saw what I had managed to do with his office in 2 hours he was much more motivated.

It took two full days to do the shop, cold storage, and TV room. That’s how much equipment this man has! As he passed me things I secretly threw out some of them- like pieces of trim and wood shorter then my forearm (I mean really?). We had to have a 5 minute negotiation about some lengths of aluminum that had a some point been cut to 10 inch lengths and were now likely useless.

He was shocked to learn that most of the cardboard boxes on the shelves were close to or completely empty. With the new Tupperware he condensed things down dramatically leaving space to get things up off the floor.

The stuff he still needs, waiting to load into the truck.

It’s amazing what good organization can do! Our basement is now lovely again. I spent all morning cleaning and it’s like a new house down there now (thought I did have to use a significant amount of febreeze to eradicate the fish smell).

It was a hard couple of days. We argued and made up many times. We hugged and drank too many cans of Coke. But I think we are both stoked about the results.

Today we are taking some time apart, me at home cleaning and writing, him out hunting with a friend. I am looking forward to when he gets home. I have missed him over the last 5 months, his visits were never long enough. I am glad I can start relying on him again. I am glad to have my partner back.