It’s been a minute since I last really wrote. March started out rough and just kept on going. But I’m determined to bring life back to a sense of normal and that includes writing. I’m going to ease my way in by starting not with the trauma of March 2021, but instead what kept me going.
I got my 3rd stimulus, I’m not even sure when, and did a lot of important things with that money. One of those things was to set aside money for my 2021 garden. I hesitated to garden this year. I won’t have Robin’s help and it just feels overwhelming knowing that I alone am in charge of making sure things like watering it daily happen. But those who love my made it clear I needed a garden, so I set the money aside.
Then in the thick of things in late March, I started planning. My first goal was the little flower bed out back that sits along between the back porch and patio. My hibiscus and rose from last year didn’t make it. But surprisingly, my blueberry bush is already showing signs of green. After hemming and hawing over it for a bit, I decided to plant two more blueberry bushes with the goal of having a thick wall of blueberries about 3-5 years from now. Next up was mulch. Only, last year when I watered my bushes, the mulch in the bed kept floating away. So I decided this year I would buy and install edging to keep the mulch into place.
Again, I am really glad those who love me made me set aside money for my garden from my stimulus. I set aside way more than I need for plants and pots and dirt. Which means I can do little things beyond those that encourage growth. I bought two beautiful sets of wind chimes because I wanted a set for my garden, but I won’t be able to hear them from my room, so I want a set for there too. I also bought this 3-foot high birdbath that will live amongst the plants. I’m going to put rocks at the bottom of it and turn it into a bee watering station. Because there is no life without bees, so we must do our best for them always. I also bought a compost bin with my tax return so I can make good rich dirt. I’m already filling it with things like eggshells and produce that went bad before we could eat it. While my garden will feed my belly, the things like the wind chimes and bee watering station will fill my soul.
Next up, as soon as it’s consistently above freezing at night, I have some pots of herbs to put out. I put 3 out about a week ago, but was over eager and it froze a few nights in a row. I should have checked the weather. They may still live, but I bought 3 more just in case. If anything I’ll have twice as many. Otherwise, I still have the 3 new ones.
I’m waiting to see if my strawberry survived. It’s too early to tell. In the meantime, I’ve decided that one strawberry plant is not near enough and bought myself a fancy stacking pot system.
I bought the 4 petal in purple and that bad boy will be able to hold 20 strawberry plants. As an added bonus, it’s compact enough that if my strawberries can’t survive the Ohio winter, I can pull them inside. That said, there is a strawberry farm like 5 miles from here, so I have every reason to believe my berries with survive and thrive.
I’m about 5 weeks off from being able to buy any plants for my garden. Mother’s Day is when I’ll begin in earnest. I have big plans for this year’s garden though. I’m going to grow beefsteak tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes for all my red sauce needs. I’m growing Thomas some jalapeno peppers. I’m growing cucumbers for Iris. And finally, Sammy will get a pot of flowers as payment for helping me.
I’m depressed right now. March 2021 was nonstop trauma. I’ll be ok, but I’m using this garden and planning for it as self-care. I’m deeply looking forward to dirt under my nails and I grow and eat my efforts.
So I am officially working now. I’m a senior caregiver with a international company, though they are franchised out.
I started a week ago and spent a few evenings (I work 3pm to 11pm – mostly) with a really nice lady who had just had emergency surgery. By the time I got my turn with her, she was mostly recovered. She was well on her feet in a way that you wouldn’t think a 91-year-old would be. She was for the most part able-bodied, and her mind is as sharp as a tack. I spent most of my time with her reading beside her, refilling her water as needed. It was a really relaxing way to get my feet wet.
By Monday of this week she was well enough that she didn’t need us any more, and good for her. She was a delight to work with, but I’m glad she’s feeling better.
My new case is a little more challenging. She is 90-years-old and about 80% able bodied, though she is slow getting on her feet and uses a chair lift for stairs. But she gets around. The catch is she has dementia. So she’ll present a unique challenge.
I’ll just have to be patient and persistent. I spent a few hours with her Tuesday while she was in someone else’s care, to get to know the case, her needs, and my way around the house. I will officially take over the 3-11pm shift on Thursday. I’ll be with her 5 days a week.
This is subject to change at any time, but this seems to be where I’m stationed.
I’m feeling pretty relaxed about the challenge ahead. I’ve been around dementia patients before. I know to just go with the flow and not add to the confusion in her head. I know how to place ideas in her head that she’ll develop and claim as her own as the day progresses that will allow me to make sure she eats, bathes, etc.
In closing, I present one of the sunflowers the local birds planted in among my lilies. Some people would be bothered by this and pull it all. However, I myself am an agent of chaos, so I support the birbs in their gardening efforts.
This will not quite catch us up to date on my quarantine adventures. I’m writing this a couple of weeks in advance so unless I can see the future, I can only share what’s come to pass by this point in time.
Day 37 of isolation
A day almost like any other. Some animal crossing. Some Avatar.
Today was different because I played in the dirt. Repotted my succulents and aloe. Pulled dead leaves off my greenery. I’m eagerly awaiting flowers on my rose and bush sized impatiens. Both have been pretty heavily trimmed down so it could be awhile. But they both usually bloom for me all through the spring and summer. It was nice to get my hands dirty.
Day 38 of isolation
Time slipped away from me and I had a false memory of already writing this, so I’m a bit late. This is Friday’s record.
Today was the first of many Fancy Fridays. I encouraged those of us living in isolation and depression and fear to break out the special occasion niceties like fancy dresses, grandma’s china, and that bath bomb you’ve been saving and make Friday the special occasion that never comes. All as a means of increasing serotonin production.
I had a handful of participants this week. I’m hoping for even more next week!
Today was Iris’s 21st birthday. We don’t really drink much in my household on account of alcohol being triggering for me. But we did have something put away to celebrate.
Today was also me and my wife’s 17th anniversary, though the first celebrated as a lesbian couple.
There was much to celebrate all around!
Day 39 of isolation
I think I’m writing these early the next day now. Which does allow me to reflect on the entirety of the day in question.
I made blueberry bread today out of what was supposed to be muffin mix. It needed a few more minutes in the oven than what I gave it, but the stick came out clean in the couple of pokes I gave it so I couldn’t have easily known. I did bake it longer than the muffins were supposed to bake. I knew that much. Oh well it was still tasty.
I’m reading a book on BPD as an academic pursuit. I’ve read a lot on BPD in the past, but never a book by psychologists written for other psychologists. I’m on a quest for self-discovery. (I guess I should remind/inform those who don’t know, that I have BPD.) I’m also trying to make up for a lack of ability of going to DBT, which would be helpful right now for reasons beyond the pandemic. The books I’m reading are Marsha Linehan’s books on how to run a DBT program. I’m hoping that by combining my psych degree, the fact that I’ve sat through many DBT programs, and these books I can sort of jog my memory and start applying the skills and such on my own. Either way, this current book I’m on is very insightful in ways I don’t wish to discuss on tumblr. I have a mental health blog elsewhere for that.
The weather was really nice so I dragged an old comforter outside and read under the tree out back while the kids played. It was nice!
Day 40 of Isolation
Fuck. They say it takes like a month to build a habit. But we’re over a month in and this is falling apart.
But honestly, it’s not that I’m forgetting. There are just fewer and fewer unique things to blog about because I’ve already done all the new things. Day 40 was utterly ununique.
Day 41 of isolation
Why for the love of the gods is my family expecting me to keep track of such stupid things such as how many kickstarts I’ve had today? I am but a loveable but dumb orange ginger cat. I can’t be expected to know how to count. Especially not when the days and kickstarts are running together.
Day 42 of isolation
Found no answers
I was up until almost 6 am last night. Slept until almost 1 pm and not well. Today threatened to be a wash on the productivity front. But I somehow turned into a super adult.
My first bit of money from unemployment hit and it had back pay. So we’re set financially for the next month with more on the way to add to it. We were also able to get some things for the house and for entertainment as the days dragged on. We bought a copy of exploding kittens which will be here Thursday. I’m looking forward to playing that with Sammy.
I also did some super responsible financial-based adulting and earned at least 100 adult points. I’ll spare the details but I made managing my budget 10 times easier in a way that will help my credit score. So that’s good.
I also tried to watch my Netflix DVD of the week but the disk was poorly formatted and I had just about reached the climax when suddenly I couldn’t get it to play the end. A replacement is incoming. I’m feeling emotions about this. Patience isn’t one of them.
Today was overall a success though, I think.
Day 43 of isolation
The game Exploding Kittens will start wars and can heighten the quarantine experience… I’m not stuck in here with them… they’re stuck in here with me! Adding Unstable Unicorns to the mix very soon. A house simply isn’t a home if it’s not an active war zone.
Day 44 of isolation
I was awake for about 3 hours total.
Day 45 of isolation
Today I became a proper sword lesbian.
Day 46 of isolation
The game Unstable Unicorns delivered. I learned the hard way not to play card games with the 12yo after his meds have worn off. This is not the type of war I signed up for!
Day 47 of isolation
We gave the 8yo a used 3DS and her own copy of Animal Crossing New Leaf earlier this week as a super early birthday present. She turns 9 at the end of the summer, but we need her to be able to entertain herself now. She’s loving Animal Crossing, but one of her favorite things is coming over to visit me on my island.
I of course spent a few hours earlier this week buying her cute clothes and some furniture for her house. I’m rich enough in the game that I can spoil her.
I’ve also started playing scrabble go with my friends. I’m about evenly matched with the bulk of my friends so that’s nice. If anyone wants to play me drop into my messages and I’ll see if I can figure out how to find people.
Day 48 of isolation
After spending a solid year talking about buying a hibiscus bush but always talking myself out of it for reasons that just don’t hold, I finally made the purchase. They aren’t even really expensive. While making said purchase, the wife expressed their lifelong desire for a lilac bush, which also isn’t expensive, so I said fuck it and added it to the order.
I’m also being bought those hanging planters and tomato plants grow for Mather’s Day. Which this year will be celebrated in May so that the tomatoes will have plenty of time to grow and fruit.
The need to garden while in quarantine is real and valid.
Day 49 of isolation
Today I did the lord’s work and picked the best version of Hallelujah out of all the versions I could easily find. Of course, that meant sifting through 23 songs and narrowing it out down. But, while 23 contestants stood before me, only one won.
In less controversial news, we finished the 8th disc of Avatar: The Last Airbender. We have what looks like 2 episodes left, but I’m betting at least one of them is a two-parter. Hopefully, we’ll finish it tomorrow.
Day 50 of isolation
Today’s 2 episodes were actually 5 episodes, so that was a thing. But we did actually finish Avatar: the Last Airbender. It was really good. In all my time on tumblr and all the ATLA memes, I only had 1.5 portions of the last 4 episodes spoiled and didn’t at all really know how it ended. So it was all unexpected, beyond simply knowing it’s a happy ending. It was really really good!
Day 51 of isolation
The younger kids saw Grandma for the first time in a couple of months. She had some masks for us that she bought from a coworker. It was I brief visit with limited contact, but her house is a safe zone due to my sister, who is 5 years post liver transplant, living there.
Day 52 of isolation
Finally made myself sit down and finish B99 today. Or at least what we have of it so far.
I also almost finished catching up on Ducktales. I have 2 episodes left. The plan is to watch the rest of that tomorrow.
But honestly, having spent the day watching things, it might be a while before I can do that again.
Day 53 of isolation
I gave my feet a spa day. They make these foot mask things that you wear for like an hour and then toy rub all the gunk in. Your feet think about it for a couple of days and then start peeling like crazy. It’s gross, but the end result is healthy and pretty feet. I’m also bored. So why not.
Robin and I had a fight today. Which is hardly news. But this one might have lasting consequences. I don’t really want to talk about it at all except to those I seek out myself. But I suppose if I’m keeping a quarantine diary, I should mark it down.
Day 54 of isolation
Each day is a week long and yet I accomplish nothing.
I’ve also done something horrible to my sleep schedule. I’m repeatedly seeing dawn most mornings. Either because I was up past it, or up before it. It’s like a cycle between sleeping not at all or too damn much and the sunrise is almost always involved. I need to fix this. Mostly because I’m suffering. Otherwise time is fake.
Day 55 of isolation
Today, with guidance from a friend, I finally fixed my bathtub drain. We’ve been fighting it off and on for the entire 6 years we’ve lived here. Maintenance has snaked that drain so many times, just to partially fix it, and then it stops right back up after a couple of months. But today? Today I may well have fixed it for good!
Also, I’m learning about myself that I have a love of writing and mailing letters. Pretty stationery. Fancy stamps. Wax seals. My heart on paper! I just love it!
Day 56 of isolation
It was a few days late, but I got tomato plants for Mather’s Day (spelled like that intentionally since I’m nonbinary and celebrate birth mothers and fathers day as does my wife). Since I’m allergic to any tomatoes that have been preserved we decided me growing my own was the way to go for sauce and salsa. I’m super excited! I love growing plants! These are my first food-based plants and the first of anything I’ve attempted outside.
I also bought a surprise rose bush, which is honestly not really a surprise to anyone. My wife’s response is that they are surprised I only bought one.
Though to be fair, I have a hibiscus bush and lilac bush that’ll be here any day now.
Day 56 was a good day!
Oh! And I took all 4 kids to the park! We walked a trail away from people and played in the creek! It was a good muddy adventure for all!
Day 57 of isolation
The rose is now in the ground. She has good soil, confirmed worms, and blood meal. She should be happy.
The kids attempted to dig a hole to China but got distracted by worms. Each tomato plant got a worm, the rose was given more worms dir her immediate space. And there are now two worm condos made of Mason jars full of soil and leaf litter, with a worm each.
Scheming for some herbs began. Turns out basil in with the tomatoes will help keep bugs that eat the fruit away. And help attract bees.
I was informed with 4 hours to spare that I was in charge of dinner and panicked due to the fact I can’t cook. When I panic I hit default. Which is exactly why we now have enough chicken noodle soup to feed a village. Soup for days!
Day 58 of isolation
Plonts. Lots of plonts. So many plonts. 2 more plonts coming in the mail soon! The hibiscus and lilac shrubbery I ordered some 2 or 3 weeks ago get here on day 59.
I’m super excited about this situation I’ve found myself in.
Day 59 of isolation
The hibiscus and lilac bushes aren’t here yet.
To no one’s real surprise my wife caved, with minimal effort on my part, and let me buy the blueberry bush I’ve been eyeing.
I have created an amazing spot to hang out in my back yard. You’ve seen bits and pieces as I’ve put it together, but now it’s 95% complete, and all that’s left to do is figure out a patio table. Maybe an umbrella.
Here is the view of my patio and porch from the back of the property.
It’s a good little spot with chairs that can all be pulled to the porch or patio as needed. If you look at the chair on the right on the porch, you’ll see a comforter that we pull out to where ever if we want to layout and sun or read or play card games.
Here is my tree at the back of the yard. I love this tree with all my heart. I love reading under it. Playing games under it. Just watching it change through the seasons.
Of course, there is the food garden. Which is lovely. The basil has mites but I know how to treat for them and will very soon. Just a little bit of dish soap in warm water. I just need to get my hands on a spray bottle.
Of course, there are Sammy’s petunias. But I’m also trying my hand at growing lavender from seed. We’ll see how that goes. I might need to send up a prayer or two.
We have a nice warm and full sun spot to brew sun tea for Robin.
My shrubs are in the ground finally!
Robin’s lilac already has some green to it. I have high hopes it’ll grow this summer and give us blossoms next summer!
It’s worth mentioning that this beauty is around the front of the house. It was the only thing I did out front, which is otherwise complete as a result of the work of former tenants.
My hibiscus is in the ground. It is small. So small. They sent me a baby but that baby has great potential! I just need to nourish it!
I laid out that mulch by myself! Mulch is in fact not expensive at all. At least not the tiny bit I needed. And the bags weren’t super heavy. So I took pride in my garden and laid the mulch myself. I also dug all the holes in the ground for the shrubs. I put a lot of sweat into this garden!
My little blueberry bush is already showing some promise. I don’t know that I’ll get a lot of fruit this year. But hopefully I can keep him alive and thriving.
My rose bush is also bare-root, just like the hibiscus. I’m paranoid it won’t grow. I gave it everything it needs, but I struggle to believe what is essentially a complicated stick will take root and flourish. I might have to send up a couple more prayers. Maybe burn a candle about it.
I also now have a little bee watering station in with the garden. I want my little space to be as bee-friendly as possible. I need the pollinators, after all!
Finally, we have the finishing touches like the citronella candles to keep mosquitoes away. And a certain 8yo enjoying a root beer under the warm sun.
Like I said, all that’s left to do it get my hands on a patio table. I may or may not get an umbrella too. With the porch right there for shade, I’m less worried about creating a shady spot on the patio portion. Though, I might see about getting a second, little table to set drinks on for the porch too. I guess we’ll just see what I can find!
My next project is setting up bird feeders for my budding bird watcher of a 12yo! I’m still collecting the supplies now.
Ok. Starting from the back. The three on the left with the cage, as explained in me last post, are Roma tomatoes. The one on the right in the black pot is cherry tomatoes.
The two pots immediately in front of the Roma tomatoes are sweet basil. Two plants in each pot.
To the right, immediately in front of the cheery tomatoes is a strawberry plant. It’s baby and might not thrive. And even if it does thrive we’re going to have to fight the skunks and raccoons off.
The final pot there on the right is curly parsley. It’s kind of limp so I cut the worst of it off and it’s hanging up to dry. I’m hoping what’s left will double in size. I want a parsley bush. I’m going to need a parsley bush because the 8yo has declared it a tasty snack.
My rose, named Joy, is in the ground. She has fairly decent soil, lots of worms, and a few handfuls of blood meal. She’s a happy baby. In a few weeks, after the hibiscus is in, I’m going to buy a bag of mulch and cover this bit of earth.
Finally… Sammy went to the garden center with me on one of three trips and made friends.
Meet Sammy’s petunias, Patricia and Lucifer.
She was really good and didn’t beg for a million things. So when she fell in love with the section of petunias, I wasn’t capable of telling my budding gardener no. (Pun intended.)