Thursday, May 28, 2020

I Miss You, Texas!

According to Facebook memories, today is the 5th anniversary of our Texas exodus. They rarely share anything that really makes me feel anything, or maybe I just don't look at them enough. Today, though, I happened to see it and, well... I'm pretty bummed. Matt and I were just talking last night about how much we miss Texas. For me, this is an every day event. I want to go back, but we haven't really got any reason to do so. We have to be where work is, but I've made sure he understands that when we retire, we're going home to Texas.

In the last five years, since we left there, all our Texas friends have moved on or left this earth. Matt's family is there, but most of our friends no longer are. It's a little bit sad, actually. But for me, going back to Texas isn't about our friends. It's about Texas. I'd love to go back to Waco, but I enjoyed living in Stepheville, too. Honestly, it wouldn't matter as long as we were in Texas. 

Still, the amount of change for the people in our lives in the last five years, it's pretty amazing. 
  • A couple we were friends with divorced and one of them, Amanda, moved to Pennsylvania.
  • One of my girlfriends, Melanie, moved to Arkansas for her husband's job.
  • One of my grad school friends moved to New York.
  • A very close friend and amazing human, Tommy, had a major stroke and passed away at 38 years old.
  • Matt's childhood friend, Terry, moved to Florida.
No one is left there except one half of the divorced couple, another woman I know but haven't seen in almost 20 years, and my in-laws.

The fact is, our lives have had some major changes since moving away from Texas. We're better off financially. We have a mortgage, rather than rent, and two fairly new cars paid off. Overall, our life is good and we've grown since leaving. That changes nothing for me. If Matt came home tonight and told me to put the house on the market, we were moving back to Texas, I'd do it without question. 

So many of our life milestones happened in Texas...
  • We got married
  • Earned 5 degrees between us
  • Matt started a job that became his career
  • We moved together 4 times in the 16 years we spent together in Texas
  • We got Chummer, Galileo, Anakin, and Chewbacca while living in Texas.
  • We lost Chummer when he was only 6 years old. 
Most of all, I grew into an adult there. We truly grew up since moving in together when I was just 20. We learned to appreciate one another and share in so many hobbies. We had uncountable hours of laughter and good times there. It's where we truly belong.

I miss you, Texas!

Saturday, May 9, 2020

The Almost Trade-In

In a fit of practicality, I thought this last week about trading my sporty hatchback for a small SUV. I went so far as to look for one that would be the right fit, check the trade value on my car, and talk with Matt about what he thought. For the record, he thought it was an awful idea and he talked me out of it. Thank fuck he knows me well enough to know when I'm being insane and call me out on it... nicely. I just wanted him to play devil's advocate. I already knew all the reasons I shouldn't trade my car, I just needed someone willing to let me bounce all the reasons it might be a good idea and then tell me why not. He's amazing at this, by the way. 

The thing is, I love my car and he knows itBeing a Veloster owner is almost a part of my identity and has been since Matt bought me my first Veloster on 4th of July weekend, 2014. The car suits me perfectly, but isn't the easiest car to drive all the time. It's not suited to handle winter without prep work (winter tires) and since it sits only 5" off the ground it's not that easy to get it in and out of some parking lots without scraping the underside. It's not a lazy driver, if that makes sense. With a 6 speed manual transmission, it's not driven passively. But, I still love it.

The reasons I was considering trading it are complicated. The car isn't practical under any circumstances. It's a toy, something fun and sporty, but not really what you would expect an almost 42 year old woman to be driving. And, I'm not driving it that much. In a year, I've only put 2,300 miles on it, which is almost nothing. It's so low that our dealer has refused to change the oil twice because I don't have enough mileage. One of the guys in our dealer's service department made a snide remark about how I don't drive it enough to enjoy it.

But, I've dropped into a sort of depressed funk lately that's making me doubt whether I deserve fun and sporty. Which, makes no sense, and I know that. But, I still feel it. So, I looked for a car I could almost straight trade for, a high end 2018 Kona with a lot of the features my car doesn't have, like an automatic transmission, heated seats, and a moon roof. Consolation prize features to make me feel better about trading a car I love for something less. But, I couldn't bring myself to go much further than window shopping because even in a brain fog, I can still see enough to know I would regret it.

So instead, I took the Veloster out of the garage yesterday and showed it some TLC. Do you know that when I was a kid, washing my parents car was my favorite "chore." We always had such a good time playing in the soap and water. Turns out as an adult, hand-washing your car is actually work! It's the first time I've hand-washed it since buying it at the end of March 2019. I also scheduled an appointment for my windows to be tinted and am looking at a set of wheels to replace my stock wheels. I absolutely do deserve this car which, by the way, is actually paid off in full. If I'm going to drive a toy, I'm going to play a little bit of dress up along the way.

Soapy - 5/8/2020
PS. I am 100% aware that this post is full of crazy. Welcome to the inside of my head. :\

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Wearing a Mask

I decided that even though most people in Cache Valley, and in Utah in general, aren't really taking this whole pandemic thing seriously, I'm still going to try to do so. The grim facts are that as of today, 28,000 American's have died from this thing; more than any other country in the world. We're in a bad place, but I'm trying to do my part for the health of my community. So, I ordered a cloth mask online (actually, I ordered three, but two haven't come yet). The CDC recommends wearing them, so I'm going to wear one. I know it's not going to keep me from getting it, but if everyone would wear a mask, the spread would slow. I'll wear a mask for you, you do the same for me, and together we protect one another. That sounds like a great plan... if only people would actually do it.

A couple of people around town have started wearing them now, but they still get seriously strange looks. In the midst of a deadly pandemic, people are still judging others for covering their damn faces. I tend to be sensitive to those sorts of things, in general. Anxiety keeps me from wanting to be seen or do anything to draw attention to myself. But these aren't normal times and I've decided that however self-conscious I feel about it, I'm wearing the mask. 

Of course, that will only be when I go out and I can't remember the last time I actually left the house. We went out to get grocery pick up a few times in the last month, but I haven't gone in anywhere in a long time. Pretty sure I haven't gone anywhere at all since around the 5th or 6th of this month, and I have no plans to do so anytime soon. But, as I've said before, Matt does. He went to Wal-Mart for meds yesterday, and I'm terrified that he brought it home with him. The same way I feel when he comes in from work. But, I know I'm not going anywhere if I can help it. I'm sheltering for as long as I feel threatened, which may be for a very long time if the news is to be believed. 

This thing is kind of turning into a pandemic/quarantine diary lately, so I'm going to stop here. I'm trying really hard to write about the day-to-day of this thing that's having such a major impact on my life, all our lives, without it devolving into a narrative about fear. Easier said than done when this thing has me so afraid.

Mermaid mask from @Mertailor on Instagram

Monday, April 6, 2020

Unwilling, Not Unable

I don't know how this post is going to turn out. I feel like I want to write about the pandemic, but I'm so crippled with anxiety about the whole thing, it's hard to get the words out in an organized way without devolving into negativity and near-hysterics. I tend to catastrophize when things are good. When things are bad, and in this case they are very bad, that tendency to catastropize becomes uncontrollable. I don't know how to handle my fear about this without immediately going straight to the most awful possible outcome. 

As of today, Utah is one of only 9 states still not issuing shelter-in-place orders. I have no idea what our idiotic governor is thinking, but his complete and total willingness to disregard the health of Utah's citizens is appalling. It's not only irresponsible, it's disgusting how little regard our state government has for our public health. But, it's not just our governor who isn't taking the public welfare seriously. There are still Utahn's saying it's a hoax, it's just a flu, it will pass, they're still going out and living their lives. They're talking about their civil rights and how the state government doesn't have the right to take away their liberties. I'm baffled and terrified. 

Without shelter-in-place orders, people won't stay at home. Hell, even in some places with shelter-in-place orders, people aren't staying home. When we went out to get our grocery pick-up, there were just as many people out and about as ever; maybe more. Our little town's residents aren't bothering to stay at home and our mayor won't take action to force it. Matt had to go into Wal-Mart for his prescriptions and there were tons of people inside, walking right up to/by others without another though, standing in groups chatting. A few folks were wearing masks, but mostly just families out shopping like there's not a goddamn global pandemic.

This is the thing I'm struggling with the most: The community's unwillingness to care about itself. It's not an inability, it's an unwillingness, which is a matter of choice. It is absolutely and completely inexcusable to me that the people here pretend to care about one another and to be part of a religion that pretends to care about the community, while completely disregarding public health warnings. This, beyond all the other issues the pandemic has brought, is horrifying and disgusting. I despise pretense. If you don't give a flying fuck about others, don't pretend to, it's easier to swallow.

It doesn't help that it seems like there's no real way, even if you do stay home, to completely avoid it. It stays on surfaces for extended periods of time, so if you get grocery pick-up (we do!) or deliveries, you've run the risk of carrying it inside your house. As part of the supply chain, Matt's an essential worker, so he's coming into contact with hundreds of people a day. He's potentially bringing it inside the house every single time he comes home from work. He's worried, but he can't do anything about having to go to work.

I've been trying to do my part to minimize our risk by staying the fuck at home. Thank goodness I have the luxury to do that, with a job that allows me to work at home for the last two and a half years. I bought myself a cloth mask online, which I'll start to wear when I go out, and maybe even sometimes when I'm home so that I can break the habit of touching my face and hair. I'm considering sleeping in the guest room, too, because I'm afraid Matt's crawling with this stuff after being out in society all day. So far, he's objected to that idea, so I haven't had the heart to sleep alone in there. I might have to bargain by telling him it's that or he has to shower at night before getting into bed. He's incredibly difficult to bargain with, so we'll see.

This thing feels like it's never going to be over, and maybe it won't. It could be my inability to see past catastrophe to a light at the end of the tunnel, but this feels like it's world changing. I know I'm not the only one who feels that way, but I feel kind of alone right now. I feel simultaneously like I'm over-reacting and under-reacting. I think I would feel better if we actually lived in a state that cared about the public welfare, in a place where people were less concerned about their individual selves than they were about their neighbors. Maybe tomorrow will be the day our pathetic governor will grow a pair and start to give a fuck, but I doubt it. Maybe tomorrow will be the day that our neighbors realize this is serious and stay home, but again, I doubt it. At least I know that I'm not one of the assholes, that I'm doing my part to protect them, even if they won't do the same.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

It Was Just a Little Earthquake!

We had an earthquake around 7:15 a.m. last Wednesday morning. It's been so long since I was in a substantial earthquake, it took me a minute to figure out what was happening. My desk is a little wobbly, because it's cheap, and I had just spun to the side in my chair. It took me a bit to figure out that it wasn't me who was moving anymore, it was the earth. And this earthquake went on for what felt like forever. It shook for a long time.

It was only a 5.7 quake, but naturally, everyone was freaking out. Rumors started flying that we might be about to have a 9 point earthquake in the hours following, businesses were evacuating and sending their employees home from work. It was kind of chaos. Part of Salt Lake City lost power, Utah's COVID-19 hotline went down, an angel on the SLC Temple lost it's trumpet, and people were shouting from the rooftops that the world was ending. Apparently an angel on a church breaking is a bad omen? 

But, for fuck fucking sake, people... Utah has earthquakes all the time. They're not usually quite that big, but they happen. It's a lot like California in that way, earthquakes happen, they're a fact of life. This COVID-19 pandemic (rightly) has everyone in such a mess. Add an earthquake to it and everyone loses what's left of their minds. But no one was hurt, there was no 9 point earthquake, and while some people were displaced, overall it was a relatively minor incident. 

I honestly don't think we can take anymore disasters right now. No more bad needs to happen just now, we've had our fill for a while. 2020 is seriously messing with us. It did make Wednesday interesting, though.