10 Pounds Down in 2020

In January, I made the same vow that many people make at the beginning of the year: I was going to develop healthier habits, get fit, and lose weight. I didn’t want to follow a diet plan or do anything extreme; instead, I decided that I would make small changes that I felt I could live with for the rest of my life, and see where that would take me.

I was doing really well and seeing good results….and then in the first few days of March my whole life changed when, in response to COVID-19, I was immediately transitioned to working from home full-time. A few days after that, my gym was closed down, and by mid-March Washington was under a stay-at-home order. To be honest, March felt like the longest month ever.

Early on, I sort of lost my mind as I transitioned from shopping in-store to placing our grocery orders online. I was adding all kinds of junk food to them, stuff that I hadn’t eaten in years that all of a sudden I was craving. I justified this by thinking of it as comfort food during a stressful time, but I realized pretty quickly that this wasn’t a good strategy. Determined to get back on track, I started reading blogs and articles written by people who worked at home full-time before the pandemic to get their tips on how to be successful. The overall theme was a recommendation to create a routine and stick to it.

Following that advice, Bill and I developed a schedule in which we would wake up and work out first thing, before we logged in to work for the day. I’ve continued to meal-prep my breakfasts of egg whites and veggies for the work week so that breakfast is fast and I don’t have to think about it, and we plan lunches and dinners ahead of time when we place our grocery orders. Once a week, we get takeout from one of the local restaurants we love so that we can continue to show them support.

Now that we’ve been home for over four months, our routine is solid. Monday through Thursday, we work out before work, and on Fridays we clean the house before work so that our chores are done and we can relax on the weekend (okay, so that I can relax on the weekend…I can never chill out if the house is a mess!). We still get ready and dress for work, albeit much more casually than we did when we went into our offices, but we’re not working in our pajamas to be sure. I eat the same breakfasts, lunches, and snacks at the same times throughout the workday that I did when I was packing food to go to the office. We end our workday with a long walk, to help us mentally transition from work to relaxing. On weekends, we rarely have plans anymore, but we like to take walks into downtown Edmonds.

I’m really pleased about how active we are now that we’re home full-time. I miss the dance classes I used to take at my gym a lot, but I’ve really enjoyed our walks and morning workouts. A few months before we got married in 2017, a former coworker introduced me to Beachbody on Demand for at-home workouts. I’ve kept it as a backup option so that I could still work out on days I wasn’t able to get to the gym, and now it’s a lifesaver. It’s nice having an app that gives me access to so many different workouts that I can do in around 30 minutes.

So far I’m down 10 pounds in 2020, and I am super proud of myself for being able to make progress despite the pandemic, even if that progress has sometimes felt achingly slow. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m a whole lot closer.

(Caren) White Bread Only

Not surprisingly, it seems that the only topic really on anyone’s mind is the pandemic or topics surrounding the pandemic.  It feels like the quarantine is making people even dumber than usual, like people who don’t realize you ought not use the bathroom while on video chat, but honestly are stories like these that shocking coming from a country that had to be warned by Lysol not to drink their cleaning products? There have been some truly heart-warming stories of people helping each other and a bunch of stories that make me feel like humanity is literally the worst (people protesting the quarantine, I’m looking at you). But every now and then, even in a pandemic, a story comes along that is just so crazy that I spend a solid half hour fact-checking it to make sure it wasn’t made up.

Today we’re going to talk about Caren White (and yes, that’s her real name, which is just too perfect), a woman from New Jersey who is mad at all the people who are baking their own bread now instead of leaving the yeast and flour for her, and decided to scold the lot of us via a since-deleted article on Medium. Don’t worry, the Internet heroes of the world got screen shots, which you can see in this post. The crux of Caren’s request to see all our managers is that now everyone is baking bread and so there aren’t any ingredients left for her to bake bread and she feels that this is incredibly unfair. Best I can tell, she seems to believe that people are baking this bread, taking photos of it to post on social media, and then either tossing it directly into the trash or lighting it on fire, because she doesn’t for a second contemplate the possibility that we might be, you know, eating it.

You see, Caren doesn’t eat store-bought bread like the rest of us savages, and she can’t fathom why we’d suddenly rise like a lovely loaf of sourdough up to her food social status and decide to make our own. In her mind, the people around her are just bored IG influencers who don’t stop to think or care that her children might have to have their organic peanut butter and home-canned jelly sandwiches on Wonder Bread like barbarians.

I can only imagine what it’s going to do to her one day when her son (who I’m very confident is named Kyle) comes to her and stares her boldly in the face while declaring that from now on he’s only eating frozen corn dogs and drinking Mountain Dew.

Before deleting herself off the Internet forever, or until the backlash dies down, or whatever, Caren had the final word by declaring she wasn’t surprised by the response to her post since we’re all a bunch of entitled assholes who need to learn to share. Which is really sort of a perfect sign-off for her, because what could be more of a Karen trait than thinking other people are the entitled ones?

 

 

Looking Back on Two Months of Quarantine

It’s been nearly two months now since Bill and I began working at home exclusively, and over a month since Washington state initially gave residents a stay at home order. As of yesterday, the stay at home order will last until May 31st and then things will begin to reopen slowly in a four-phase process, with an estimated three weeks spent in each phase. Our company is taking a particularly conservative approach to having employees return to the office to work, and right now the earliest we would be going back is September.

Bill and I are incredibly lucky and I am grateful for that every day. Our lives are different of course, but our situation is about as ideal as I think anyone could hope for given the circumstances. Unlike so many, we are able to comfortably work from home and we aren’t worried about money during this time. Our local grocery store offers curbside pickup and so every week I can go online, fill out an order, and then pick a time to go retrieve it. My groceries are loaded into the back of my car for me and I don’t have to worry about walking through stores among people who either aren’t paying attention to or don’t care about social distancing precautions. And since we don’t have kids, we’re able to focus on our busy professional lives and spend our weekends unwinding, without worrying about entertaining (or educating!) small people of our own creation. I’ve seen people online joking about divorce rates going up post-quarantine, but for us the additional time together has brought us closer and strengthened our bond.

I know not everyone I work with is happy to be working remotely full-time, but I have to confess that I’ve come to really appreciate it. I love being able to sleep later, I don’t miss that 5am alarm or the hour or more each way I’d spend in traffic driving back and forth to the office five days a week. Now, instead of getting up before dawn and rushing to get a shower and get on the road before traffic hits its peak, I wake up to the sun and spend the first half hour of my morning working out before I take my shower and log into work for the day. There’s a moment in the mornings, when I’m fresh out of the shower and making my coffee before I check emails, when I always feel calm and accomplished and ready to take on the day. September feels like a long ways away, but I know time will fly by and I know I’ll be sad when I don’t have that moment in the mornings anymore.

Like a lot of people, we are home a lot more than usual now and we’ve been trying to put that extra time to good use. We’ve enjoyed watching movies and discovering new shows together, and we’ve been doing some projects around our condo that we’d intended to get to for ages but never seemed to have the time for. We replaced the light in our dining room, and Bill has been going through the house and changing out all of the outdated-looking brass fixtures for more modern matte black ones. We now have new doorknobs, hinges, and door handles, and it’s amazing how much of a difference those changes make in how the house looks. I love our condo. I’ve lived in some houses I liked a lot, but this place is by far my favorite.

I’ve always loved baking, but I just never seemed to find the time and motivation after a long work week. Now though, I’ve been having a great time trying out different recipes and experiments every weekend, and have produced (and consumed) far more cookies than any person probably should. Thank goodness for those morning workouts!

For the most part I feel like I’m in a really good place mentally amid the chaos of this pandemic. I’ve accepted that it’s a wait-and-see situation and the only thing I can do to be helpful is to follow the stay-at-home orders, so I’m taking that very seriously. I’m trying to stay focused on doing a good job at work, keeping our house clean and comfortable, and enjoying all the good things I have that I’m so grateful for.

Fun Ideas to Pass the Time in Quarantine

Although it depends somewhat on where you are in the world, odds are you’re in quarantine right now as we experience a pandemic. My company put out orders to us to work from home a month ago, and in the state of Washington the stay-at-home order from our governor was just extended through May 4th. Work has definitely been keeping me busy, but two months (or maybe even more) is a long time to be at home.

For anyone like me who is suddenly finding themselves with more time on their hands, all this time at home can get boring, so I thought I could help out by coming up with a list of fun and easy ideas to do while in quarantine. I encourage everyone to try them all and report back on the wild success of each one.

Give yourself a makeover. Just because you’re not going out doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to look fabulous! Now’s the time to give yourself that haircut your normal stylist always discourages because “that really just wouldn’t go well with your face shape” (as if a Mohawk doesn’t look good on EVERYONE). It’s totally okay if you don’t have nice scissors, just go get the ones from that block of knives in the kitchen. It’ll be fine. If you’re doubting your own abilities, you can soothe those nerves with a few alcoholic beverages first. You’re going to look so pretty!

Sign Up for Nextdoor and become your neighborhood’s unofficial sheriff. Depending on the positioning of your home and windows, investing in a pair of binoculars (that you ordered off of Amazon, NOT that you bought in a store…but you know that!) may be optimum. Watch your neighborhood like a hawk and immediately take to the Internet to report any instances of walkers who aren’t maintaining six feet of distance, people riding bikes on the sidewalk, or any other mayhem you observe. Be ever-vigilant. Ignore any haters; or, even better, accuse them of being toilet paper hoarders. You do not need to know if this accusation is true because it’s the Internet and you can say whatever you want.

Create a YouTube channel and post a video of yourself reacting to the movie Frozen. Then share the link on all your social media accounts so that your family and friends can have a lovely time watching you croon ‘Let it Go’ while tears flow uninhibited down your face after you’ve consumed a bottle and a half of Merlot. Trust me, you will become super famous and everyone will love watching it. I suppose this would be a good moment to give the disclaimer that I’ve never actually seen that movie but I’m still confident in this idea.

Call your mom and confess all of your more sordid secrets from your teenage years. Mom will have a blast hearing that crazy story about the time you told her you were sleeping at Janet’s house, but really you were getting drunk on Smirnoff straight from the bottle and puking in a field. Note: if you still live with your mom it might be a good idea to skip this one.

Play a game of Monopoly with those you’re quarantined with. It’s the wholesome game that never ends badly.

My Ten-Year Blogiversary

Ten years ago today, I was inspired to start writing this blog as I prepared to change my life forever. I was packing up all of my belongings and getting ready to move from my home state of California to Washington – a place I had only visited twice in my life on vacation. Looking back, I’m a little surprised that my then-timid self was actually brave enough to make such a drastic move, but I think I knew something had to change. I was working a job I hated and my life felt stalled. And so, I took a huge leap of faith and left behind everything and everyone I knew to start over.

At first, it was hard. I desperately missed my family and friends back in California, and I was sort of in shock trying to adjust to the dreary and rainy Seattle weather. That year, summer came particularly late and I remember driving to work one day in early July, wearing jeans and a sweater, wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into and feeling convinced that I’d never be truly warm again. But, things quickly improved – I began making friends, and I started being offered opportunities at work that never would have been possible for me had I stayed in California. I began to see that the decision to move had been a good one, even if it took some getting used to.

Even though so much has happened, it feels like the last ten years have flown by. Very little of my life is the same, but that’s okay because I’m in such a better place now. Of course life isn’t perfect but it feels pretty close, and I am grateful for all of the people that have come into my life and made it better, for all the experiences I’ve had, for all that I’ve learned. I have no idea what the next ten years will hold and honestly it would be nice if time would slow down just a bit, but that’s not usually the way it goes.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me and read my little blog and left comments over the years, it means so much to me. And to my friends I have met in the blogging universe, I love you and I’m so very grateful we have each other!

And as the world is currently very weird and a little anxiety-inducing, I will close this post by encouraging you to go to this link and watch the quarantined couple who recreated a horseback ride because it is hilarious and we all need a laugh right about now.

 

 

Let’s All Stay Home and Wash Our Hands

Lately it seems like the only thing on any of our minds is COVID-19, the pandemic that has been rapidly spreading around the world. The first case of it identified in the United States happened to be in the same county I live in, and the majority of deaths in Washington state were in a facility not too far from the office where I work.

The company Bill and I work for announced that it would require any employees who could do so to work from home for the rest of the month starting on March 5th. At the time, I was simply proud to work for a place that cared so much about its employees that it would take such an extreme precaution. Now, although I’m still very proud of my company, I understand that the precaution of keeping us home wasn’t extreme at all, and was a foreshadowing of things to come. Today the work from home policy was extended through the month of April, and I don’t know that I even believe we’ll be going back to the office in May.

All of the schools in Washington are closed for six weeks. Restaurants and bars are now closed too, with the exception of those that are able to convert to takeout-only. It makes me feel a little better to see the state taking things so seriously, but it also makes my heart hurt for people whose jobs can’t be done remotely and who are now suffering financially because of this crisis. It makes me very thankful for my own job and that I’m able to do my work here at home without worrying about how I’m going to pay my bills. Not everyone is so fortunate and I think at this point I have absolutely nothing to complain about.

Bill and I have been getting into the new routine of working at home full-time. Although social gatherings are strongly discouraged, going outside is still okay and we’ve had some nice sunny weather here in Edmonds in the last couple of weeks. We’ve been taking advantage of it and getting outside to take long walks every evening. Our gym is closed indefinitely, so instead we’re taking advantage of streaming workouts that we can do in our living room and making sure we work out before we log on to work for the day. We’re trying to stick to our normal weekday meal routine, although I will admit that this is where I’ve struggled a bit because it’s just so easy to grab a snack when I’m home all day!

A couple of weeks ago people were hoarding bottled water and toilet paper; now they’re hoarding food. I usually love our weekly trip to the grocery store but now it makes me frustrated and anxious. I can’t plan any meals beforehand because I have to see what the store actually has before I can decide what to make. I’m hoping that the initial rush to stock up will be over soon and things will be more readily available, but at this point I just don’t know what’s going to happen.

Last week was our third wedding anniversary, and we still wanted to celebrate while also following the strong recommendations to practice social distancing. We ultimately decided to take a drive over to the Olympic Peninsula and visit Ruby Beach, the place where we got engaged in 2015. It was a cold, clear day, and we were able to enjoy a road trip together. I think it turned out to be one of the nicest days we’ve spent together in awhile, and we’re hoping to take another day drive somewhere else next weekend. It helps to get out of the house while safely staying quarantined in our car.

Things seem to change daily so it’s hard to predict what will happen next, but we’re trying to make the best of things. Until all of this quiets down, I’ll be hanging out at home, enjoying my stash of pizza rolls, diligently washing my hands, and avoiding looking at the balance of my 401(k).

Be Nice to the New Kids at the Gym

In October 2010, my friend Angela finally coaxed me to go to Zumba with her after months of asking (read: borderline harassing) me to go. It was a special night for her: she had her Weight Watchers meeting that evening before Zumba class, and that night she achieved her goal of 100lbs lost. Because I knew she was close to the milestone, I went with her that night to cheer her on. What I didn’t anticipate was that I would immediately fall in love with Zumba – so much so that I did back-to-back classes that night. I’ve been doing some sort of dance fitness ever since.

It’s January, and for a lot of people that means New Year’s resolutions. This can be evidenced by the once-empty parking lots at gyms that are now packed with cars and the influx of new faces in workout classes. The gym I belong to is pretty well-attended no matter what time of year it is, but even I have seen an increase in class sizes when I go to dance. And it’s easy to gripe about having to park farther away, or needing to arrive earlier, to accommodate these new people who may not even stick around into mid-February…but instead, I think it’s a good idea to be welcoming to those people and to be excited that there are new people who are doing good things for themselves to kick off the new year.

Part of the reason I stuck with Zumba is because I received a warm welcome and a ton of support from the class regulars. Had I been treated like an outsider, I probably wouldn’t have lasted very long. And the same idea goes for new gym members. They deserve to be in the gym and in classes, just as much as we regulars do. They paid the fee to be there, they are looking for what we’ve found – a way to get exercise that they can commit to, that doesn’t fill them with hate and dread. So don’t be an asshole to new people at the gym. Show them kindness. Make room for them in classes. Show them that they’re welcome. It’ll help them become regulars themselves.

 

The Break Room Dolphin Needs a Home

“Someone left a dolphin in the break room.”

“Huh??” is the only reply I can think of. I’m on the phone with a project manager at work, and the subject of this particular phone call is not exactly what I was expecting. 

The PM continues. “Yeah, a stuffed dolphin, in the break room on my floor. They left it here the same way they leave their leftover food out for people to eat. But it’s a stuffed toy.”

I consider this for a moment. What motivates someone to pack a stuffed dolphin along with their lunch box, ultimately with the goal of discarding it in the office break room? “Are you sure it’s been abandoned?” I ask. You never know. Maybe whoever it belongs to brings it every day as a lunch buddy and they didn’t realize that Flipper had been left behind.

“It’s been here for a couple of weeks,” the PM confirms. “It has a sign on it that says ‘Free’”.

“People are so strange,” is all I can muster, because again, I’m rather at a loss for words over this. It’s not unusual to find ‘help yourself’ signs attached to items in the break room, but normally the giveaways are leftover sandwiches from a lunch meeting, or fruit from someone’s garden. Stuffed toys up for grabs is definitely new territory in our office.

“And, V, it’s….it’s kind of dirty,” the PM continues, a hint of disgust in his voice.

And because apparently my cubicle is turning into the island of misfit toys, within ten minutes of hanging up the phone the PM comes bounding down the aisle, clutching the stuffed dolphin by its dorsal fin (I’ll have you know, I wrote ‘dorsal fin’ but then Google’d it to make sure that the fin on the dolphin’s back really is a dorsal fin and it IS, so go me). He’d wrapped a paper towel around it first so he wouldn’t actually have to make contact with the dirty fuzz and risk getting whatever diseases it may be carrying. The thing was decidedly grubby, but not so much so that a trip through the washing machine wouldn’t set it right, which you’d think a person would do before bringing it into their place of business and offering it up as a giveaway.

I  have no idea what to do with this stuffed dolphin I’d been presented with but my boss jumps into action, grabs it by the paper-towel-clad dorsal fin, sticks it into a cardboard box, and closes the lid. For ambiance he affixes a paper printout of a beach to the front of the box, I guess so that the dolphin will feel as though it’s been returned to the sea.

I suppose I should feel good about the fact that we gave the poor dear a home…but when I walk by the box I notice that he’s starting to smell just a bit and I wonder how long we’ll have a dolphin in a box in our row. All signs point to for the rest of my career, with any lingering smell being blamed on someone’s lunch.

 

 

I Would Like a Pony

For years, when I’d have meetings with my boss he’d wrap things up by asking me if I needed anything from him, to which I consistently replied that I would like a pony.

Now, I have no idea what I would’ve done if he’d actually produced a pony at any point over the years. My friend C has ponies and through her I have learned that they need lots of attention and space to roam around and do pony things. You cannot keep a pony in a cubicle and I already have cats at home and there is no room for any more animals. I think on some level I was just issuing my boss a challenge to procure something for me that was unprocurable; he was not ever going to be able to fulfill my request and he and I both knew it and I like to think I was letting him off the hook by not asking for real things like a raise or better insurance that were also not procurable at the company we worked for but that were a lot more reasonable to expect him to give me, thus making things uncomfortable for both of us if I were to ask for them. And so, every month we’d meet and every month when he’d ask me what I needed I’d reply that a pony would be nice.

This was at the point in my career where I was working in customer relations handling complaints that were filed against my company with regulatory agencies, which I still look back on as the best time in my professional life. My team consisted of six of us hourly kids, our boss, and an analyst who did reporting and also has mad Photoshop skills. To work in anything regulatory when you’re on the being-regulated side of things requires a certain sense of humor, but throw in customer complaints and if you can’t find ways to have fun you’re going to burn out real fast. Our team indulged in a fair share of mischief, and when you put together eight smart people the pranks are next-level.  I don’t think anyone would be surprised to learn that my slight fixation on ponies worked its way into those pranks, like the time that I went to Kmart and bought a bunch of pink My Little Pony wrapping paper and proceeded to wallpaper my coworker Bob’s cubicle when he took a vacation day. Now, before you feel too terrible for him, know that he got his revenge by dumping fifteen pounds of dried rice in my bottom desk drawer the next time I went on vacation.

Eventually, not being able to get things like raises and better insurance led me to take a job at a different company that did offer such things. I missed an opportunity when I took my exit interview too seriously and forgot to mention that I was disappointed in the lack of ponies I had been provided throughout my tenure there. C’est la vie, I suppose. At first I continued the joke of asking for ponies from my new bosses, and although the odd request did get me some laughs I ultimately got tired of it and have since stopped using it. And so I can take zero credit for what happened when I attended an all-day training class last week and….was given a pony.

Oh yes, I was given a pony. At work. 

The ponies were a part of a team-building exercise in which the training class attendees were split into groups. Each group was given its own pony, and the point of the game was to answer questions about the training material correctly in order to “run a lap” of a “derby”. The group to complete ten “laps” first would win the race. My group did not win, but I felt as though I had won the grand prize when we were told that a person in each group could have the pony for their very own. Much to my delight, I wanted it very much and the others in my group wanted it not at all and so the pony was all mine.

His name is Al CaPony.

I considered naming the pony Sarah Jessica Parker as she has quite the horse face but was informed that I was being mean to say that and so. Al CaPony.

And this just goes to show that dreams really do come true. 

Good Things During a Hard Time

I seem to have taken something of an inadvertent blogging haitus, first for a lovely reason (a much-needed vacation), followed by the much-less-lovely reason of spending the last week caring for our cat Oliver, who got very sick on the last night of our afore-mentioned lovely vacation.

Bill and I went to bed early on that last night, knowing that we had to catch a morning flight home and wanting to get as much sleep as possible. Around 11pm in Chicago I woke up and checked my phone, which I normally do not do, but I think I wanted to just be very sure that my alarm clock was in fact set. What I saw made my stomach lurch: I had three missed calls from M, my friend and cat-sitter, who had texted me to let me know that something was wrong with Oliver and that she suspected he’d had a stroke.

There’s not a lot that can be done when you’re two thousand miles away from your sick pet, but I did what I could. Trying not to panic, I reached out to my friend and the love of Oliver’s life (seriously, the crush this cat has on her is adorable) Jill, who is our vet tech. She tried to comfort me and also recommended an emergency vet for M to take Oliver to. I talked to M and relayed the recommendation, and she bundled Oliver up and took him in. I called the airline and switched Bill and I to an earlier flight and then had nothing left to do but to try and sleep for an hour before we had to leave for the airport.

It was a long, long morning. In the cab on the way to the airport, I kept the window rolled down so that the air was hitting me in the face the whole way there. Normally I hate that sensation but for whatever reason it felt good then. On the plane I was too jittery to sleep, too anxious to eat, and too unfocused to read or pay much attention to anything. Ultimately I opted to close my eyes and listen to music, just hoping that time would pass quickly and I could get to Oliver.

As far as the time it takes to get from plane to baggage claim to airport shuttle to car, that Monday morning was actually one of the quickest experiences I’ve ever had. We had landed a little before 9am which put us on the freeway right at the tail end of morning rush hour, and luckily traffic wasn’t terrible and it didn’t take us all that long to get to the emergency vet. When we were led back to the kennel where Oliver was, I had never felt so relieved to see him.

He wasn’t pleased – on an IV, wearing a recovery cone, and clearly not feeling very well at all. His head was tilted, his eyes were darting to the left, and he was shaky and couldn’t stand. But he recognized us and started meowing as soon as he saw us.

We now know that Oliver developed what’s called vestibular disease, a condition that caused him to lose coordination and to become very dizzy. Basically, it was like having really bad vertigo. It’s unlikely that we’ll ever know what caused it, and there’s not much we can do to help him feel better other than give him medicine to treat motion sickness. During the first few days that we brought him home, we literally never left him alone. He struggled to stand and walk on his own, so we had to help him when he wanted to eat or when he needed to use the litter box. At night I dozed on on our couch with him by my side, so that I would hear him if he needed to get up in the night. Bill and I took turns working from home so that one of us could be with him all day.

It’s been a week and a half now, and Oliver is doing better. He’s still wobbly and his head is still slightly tilted, and we don’t know if those things will ever go away or if this is his new normal. We’re relieved to see his personality coming back though, and he’s able to walk around without our help. At night after he eats his dinner he comes into the living room and meows at me to put him on the couch, just as he always used to before he got sick. Bill bought a dog playpen that we’ve converted into a little house for Oliver by filling it with blankets, pillows, a litter box and a bowl of water, and for now that is where he sleeps at night. We positioned it right next to my side of the bed, so that he can see me and meow for me if he needs me. He seems to like it and settles right in at bedtime without complaint. Eventually I’m hoping that he can be out at night with our other cats, but for right now knowing that he’s in a soft, cozy place where he can’t accidentally hurt himself helps me sleep a lot better.

I could have a poor attitude about what happened and complain about how much the situation sucked, and it totally DID suck, but I’ve tried really hard to find the positive in all of this. Looking for the good in things really helps with the anxiety that I’ve been feeling since I saw that text message that something had happened to Oliver. I’m so, so thankful for M, who is not only an amazing friend but the best pet sitter I could ask for and who stayed calm and took care of my boy even when he scared the crap out of her. I’m also incredibly thankful for Jill and Dr. Chris at Fifth Avenue Animal Hospital, who love Oliver as much as we do and treat us like family, not like clients.

This experience also made me grateful for Bill and our marriage. When we said our wedding vows we of course included the vow to love each other “for better or for worse”, and the last couple of weeks have shown us both. Our vacation together was a high point; having fun together when we were each relaxed and able to be our best selves. And in the worst of times, when we weren’t sure our kitty was going to make it, we made a great team and supported each other and Oliver every step of the way. I truly think I might have lost my mind if I hadn’t had Bill by my side.

Our family and friends came together to show us lots of love and support, too. I didn’t tell many people what was happening while we were unsure if Oliver was going to get better, but those I did confide in offered me so much love and comfort. To those of you who texted and called, it meant everything to me. Seriously, it helped keep me going when I felt exhausted and low and scared. Last weekend both of Oliver’s “aunties” came to visit him (and brought presents for me, which made me feel spoiled). Those visits gave me something to look forward to while things seemed bleak.

I’m also so thankful for my job and that both Bill and I were offered so much compassion by our bosses. We were allowed to work from home to be with Oliver, which is a huge luxury. I’ve had jobs in my life where I had to be in the office every day, for very specific hours (including mandatory overtime). If I had still been in those jobs I would’ve had to take time off without pay to stay home with my sick kitty, knowing that I was going to be written up for doing so when I did go back to work because you can’t file for FMLA to stay home with your cat. I’m so relieved that we were able to just focus on Oliver and not have to stress about money.

Even though I would have much preferred for none of this to happen to my kitty, I tried to make the best of a tough situation and now I’m just so relieved that he’s improving. I wish I knew for certain that he’s going to be completely fine and that nothing else bad is going to happen, but life doesn’t work that way so I’m focusing on the good moments now and enjoying them. Right now every day I get with him is one I was afraid I wouldn’t have, and for now that’s enough.