Feline Ghosts

Around the same time I experienced computer problems, Microsoft in its great wisdom notified my husband he was due to receive an update. This is routine for Microsoft, but not for a user who is a designer using computer-aided drafting software. The problem? The drafting software and Microsoft aren’t compatible.

The moment the update is completed something goes wrong with the drafting software. This sets fear in the heart of people like Bob. A few days passed by, and for some unknown reason his problem cured itself.

Fearing that turning off his computer would leave the door open to Microsoft, he opted to leave the computer on. All goes well for a few days and nights.

Then one morning Bob enters his office to a mystery. During the night, someone had obviously been at his computer. There were hints in the form of typed words consisting of jumbled letters. Screens popped up that were unusual. And more, I’m told. The big question was who or what had been at the keyboard.

The only other souls in our home at night are Iggy and Maggie, our cats. Now, I know Maggie loves a keyboard. She prances across mine often enough. Occasionally, she sends me into darkness. I’ve never had the pleasure or joy of Iggy joining me at the computer. He’s more of a guy cat. I understand he has been up and around Bob’s computer checking out various cubbyholes and shelves.

We’ve decided one or the other of the cats or perhaps a feline spirit danced across Bob’s keyboard that night. Often, we wonder what Iggy and Maggie get up to while we’re sleeping, and they’re off wandering around the house. Animal cams are under consideration.

Image disclaimer: The cats sitting on the window sill are not Iggy and Maggie. They are not inclined to get too close to each other. In fact, it would be impossible for us to capture an image of the two of them this close. However, the posture of the cats above is almost identical to ours.

Featured image attribution: Chen Zhao on Unsplash

Pandemic Firsts

We writers manage to find plenty to say about the pandemic. Some of it is uplifting. Some not so much. Yet, we are writing to keep ourselves sane, and so we write whatever touches us.
 
Today my husband and I experienced a first. And it brought to mind several other firsts that have happened during the pandemic. 
 
This first was a follow-up visit for each of us with our primary care doctor via Updox, like Zoom. Neither of us had had a medical visit via technology before, and so had no  idea what we were to do before, during, and after. Despite that, everything went very well.

Continue reading “Pandemic Firsts”

What I’ve Learned, So Far, in the Time of COVID-19

I may be older now than the little one pictured above, but I was once that young. Despite the differences in our ages, she and I are both learning. Hopefully, she is still learning about the wonders of the outdoors. The things I’m learning I hope she never has the chance of learning.

This last weekend I attended a writing workshop on the literary essay. It was time well spent. Writing prompts were available in huge numbers, and the words “pandemic” and “quarantine” came up more than once.

One more event via Zoom. The word “together” was used in opening statements from the facilitator. One participant spoke up to say that showing up on each other’s computer screens did not constitute “together.” I have to agree with her. At coffee and lunch breaks, we could not interact and get to know each other.

At one point, our facilitator noted that list-making was one way to prompt the mind as you start writing. I chose to list some things I’ve learned during this pandemic. I’m sure my list will continue to grow, and as it does, I’ll share it with you.

What I’ve Learned So Far

  • Sadly, it is possible for state governments to take the lead in managing a pandemic, especially when there is no master plan at the federal level.
  • You can purchase a new car on December 31, 2019, and drive it only once each week or two.
  • I can read five books at a time. Maybe more — we’re not out of the woods yet in my county in Oregon.
  • It is possible to get along without replacing the overhead light fixture in your laundry room if it’s not possible to go to Home Depot to get a replacement. 
  • Online grocery shopping is not so bad. I may like it so well that when we’re past this quarantine I’ll continue on.
  • Someone else is capable of selecting my produce and meat while at the same time pleasing me. Of course, I knew Bob could do this but he can’t go to the grocery either.
  • We’re accomplishing a great deal that wouldn’t have gotten done if we hadn’t been forced to slow down and stay home.
  • Now I appreciate how much I miss our participation in the music culture of Portland.
  • Worship continues on in this pandemic world thanks to today’s technology in live-streaming, Zoom, and many other methods. 
  • There are things I can live without.
  • I can go much longer than I thought without a haircut. Currently, I’m at month three today.
  • Sadly, I’ve learned how quickly a virus can increase the population in hospitals and the number of deaths in a city or state or country.
  • And I’ve learned how many people ignore the boundaries and guidelines for protecting each other against a virus. We are all in this together, aren’t we?

What Is There Still to Learn?

I don’t know for certain, but I can assure you I believe there will be something. And when I find out, it will be time to update the above list and I will.

And What Have You Learned, My Friend?

Stop below and leave one, or two, or more things you’ve learned thus far in the pandemic. If you’d like to be anonymous, email them to me via my Contact Page.

And a message from Mr. Rogers in honor of all those working on the front lines of this pandemic, whether nurse, doctor, maintenance and janitorial staff, cafeteria workers in hospitals, ambulance drivers, and first responders, and volunteers working food banks and in other areas.

Mr. Rogers, Fred Rogers, helpers, frontline in pandemic, remember

 

Featured Image Attribution: Photo by John Wilhelm

What Does a Calendar in Covid Time Look Like?

The sun sets, and the sun rises, bringing us a new day.
 
“Where’s your calendar?”
 
Those words request a coming together to check and synchronize our calendars. Three separate calendars need complete synchronicity. There’s the kitchen calendar, Bob’s little black book calendar, and the calendar I carry with me. Neither of us is willing to trust our important engagements to a digital calendar. I do use Google calendar for writing deadlines.
 
Yet, our habit is in the throes of slow death, and it is dying because our calendars are bare. There is nothing to synchronize.
 
Pure white is the color of the squares on the kitchen calendar. Appointments and engagements scheduled pre-pandemic have lines drawn through them. Some are marked “CANCELED;” others “RESCHEDULED.” 
 
Usually, Bob is away from home three nights a week for rehearsals with his bands and church choir. Not now. We marked those plans off our calendars.
 
Once or twice or three times each month we have a concert on our schedules. They all now fall under the categories “canceled” and “rescheduled.”
 
Our major outings are trips to the grocery store, bank, and postal box. We don’t shop in the store; we go there only to pick up what I’ve ordered online. This calls for a short ride to and from the store parking lot. The return trip can take a bit longer depending on the route Bob selects.
 
When banking is needed, Bob makes a short trip to the bank. Likewise, if we need to mail bill payments, Bob gets in the car and drives a short distance to a postal box. Needless to say, we’re saving money on fuel.
 
Our church services live-stream on Facebook on Sunday mornings. Other church-related activities take place via Zoom. I participate in a couple of writing-related Zoom events. One on Saturday mornings for a “coffee gathering.” The other is a workshop on the lyric essay this coming weekend.
 
I text our next-door neighbor to see how they’re doing. Phone calls or texts check on two out-of-town friends. Emails catch up with another out-of-town friend. Social media, primarily Facebook, keeps me on top of family happenings. There is something positive about the Internet and technology after all.
 
I’m hopeful your calendar(s) look busier than ours. Under the current circumstances, I’m uncertain how that could be. When you hear or read the news, the pace seems the same for us all.
 
My purpose in all this rambling? I wanted to commit it to our family history for posterity’s sake to prove it actually happened. When you consider how busy we are, it’s unthinkable that someone would have a blank calendar. Not to mention three!
 

COVID calendar, blank calendar, too busy, lesson learned