I am lucky enough to have a job in which I can work from home during the COVID-19 crisis, and believe me I am grateful. That said, if you are also working from home during this time and didn’t already have a home office but are working out of your living room or kitchen, has anything weird happened? I’ll use myself as an example:
I worked in a dark living room before all this hit. I decorated it with dark, earthy tones. I never thought of doing anything else with it – in fact the very idea of redecorating typically gives me hives.
One Friday I looked around at the dark room and started seeing something else. As if my mind had been taken over by a different person, I suddenly saw the burgundy settee and thought about how much better a white TV stand with glass doors would look there – and the stand could also replace the dark brown coffee table. That was the beginning.
Later, I looked at the brown “wish I was leather” recliner couch & loveseat. Gross. I envisioned a smaller pair – and in a light coffee/tan color. Since we’d gotten used to putting our feet up, I also envisioned storage ottomans. In one Saturday I ordered the TV stand with glass shelves, the couches, and ottomans.
Then I decided the smaller sofa/loveseat needed lighter end tables – the dark brown would never work and were also too big. So I ordered those.
So now, here is what sits where the dark burgundy settee used to sit. Also gone is a huge picture behind the settee – about 5′ x 6′ full of dark, warm colors. It is temporarily being used as an “artsy” dog gate to keep my coworkers from getting to the front door to bark at everyone who walks by. Sure it looks funny, but it’s working for now as they are respecters of art.
Oh, and don’t worry about that crowded TV stand – the stuff on it is just some of the things that are going to go on the step-ladder bookshelves I ordered to go on either side of the TV stand:
Then the dark brown curtain that kept the light out (helpful during summer) just had to go. Since I’m not big on redecorating – and if you knew me you’d be shocked by this turn of events – I had no idea they made light colored black out curtains. I keep them open during the day though. More light = better.
Then I decided to pick up one of my old hobbies – painting – but learning to do it in a different way. That next Saturday I was at Hobby Lobby for what I hadn’t already ordered from Amazon. It took many tries – with many an ugly failure – but I finally started to have success. In fact, one of the paintings is above the TV in the first above picture. Here are a few:it was nice to do one that won’t actually be staying. Sometimes I reuse the canvases to make more…sanity is important.
Finally, even though I’ve not attempted to have a plant in over 25 years, I bought not one but two plants. I decided this room needed a little more life than the dogs and myself.
My co-workers (awaiting their door-person…):
In all, I’m finding the “new normal” hasn’t made me normal at all. Funny thing is, the rest of the house is the same. I didn’t get the decorating bug for any other room other than the room I spend all day in. So I’m wondering if this “new normal” did the same to anyone else – or if this living room really needed a huge makeover entirely opposite of what it had been. I do know it made the room look bigger.
Have your daily surroundings been affected at all – replaced, painted, rearranged, etc.?
All I can say is I am thankful for that STIMULUS CHECK. I don’t know that I revitalized the economy, but I did revitalize the living room!
** Update 06/23/2020 – Finished Product:
We watched a good movie today, but it frustrated me. Possible spoilers, though I try not to, if you’re a fan of thrillers you’ve been warned.
A married couple arrive at an old woodsy cabin owned by one of the spouse’s family for generations (that spouse will be referred to as “owner”). The owner shows their spouse the cabin (that spouse will be referred to as “visitor”). Among other things, the owner showed many hunting “trophies” and LOTS of weaponry.
So the couple hikes to a dangerous cliff. The visitor gets to the edge & turns to see the owner running at them at full speed. The visitor went over. The owner looks, sees the still & bloody body lying at the bottom & is satisfied. *BUT* the visitor is GONE when they get to the bottom of the cliff.
Next scene is the injured visitor. That stupid visitor is headed back to the cabin, even though there was no confusion about the owner’s intent. The only thing that isn’t stupid is the visitor uses the first aid kit.
The visitor was an optimist. Not only did they wait for the owner to return, but walked through every room calling the owners name! Seriously?! Saying “Yeah, I know you just tried to kill me but I wanted to let you know I didn’t die. I’m in here totally unprotected, conveniently bringing attention to myself so kill me any way you like from any different angle.” couldn’t have been more effective. Then they beg the owner to get help, and actually said “we can work through this – I promise.” There’s optimism and then there’s crazy. This wasn’t a ploy to buy time. This person was a zealous optimist (there were weapons & a nice Jeep out front – all accessible – before the owner returned).
Had the visitor been a pessimist? Really short movie. They’d have regained consciousness at the bottom of the cliff and thought “Well, I guess this is where I’m going to die.”
If the visitor had been a realist? The only thing they’d do remotely like the optimist is use that first aid kit – but they’d have entirely different agenda.
The realist would have gotten the rifle first, plus all other weapons and the ammo. No use leaving that stuff around to be used on them, right? Everyone knows “Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice, shame on me”. A realist would know they’d once loved this person, but that was then-this is now. They’d also know it wasn’t going to be left at attempted murder.
I am a realist. Today I was talking to the TV saying “The gun is RIGHT THERE!” and “Why aren’t you walking with your back to the wall?!” and “Does that jeep have keys, idiot?!”. My husband is so easy going and never gets too worked up (not even road rage!), that he didn’t get my frustration. I tried explaining using a tactic that DID NOT WORK AT ALL:
I said “Okay so if I needed to kill you in self-defense, and we’re in this room, plenty of opportunity. For instance, we’re a couple so I know about your bad knee. See this lamp – small at the top, heavy base at the bottom? I can swing at your head and knock you out or hit that bad knee, buying me some time. The heavy bronze picture frame? Same. The heavy candlestick? Same. All three of those things are in 3 different areas of the room, so no matter where I am I can get one and at least hurt you just enough to get out. So I’m saying anything can be a weapon – and that idiot is walking through an entire house with real weaponry.” The funniest part? Not only was he still confused, but said “Why are you talking about taking advantage of my bad knee and hitting me with lamps, candlesticks and picture frames?!” I said “Baby, only if you go nuts and try to kill me.” That seemed to work.
The moral of the story
There are optimists, pessimists and realists, yet none of the 3 types are perfect. Optimists are great – buy only to a certain extent. It’s a little sad to be a pessimist, but I suppose life is an unexpected surprise when it’s not handing them lemons. Yet of the three types, should you one day discover you married a PSYCHO who is trying to kill you? That’s when it’s best to be A REALIST.
We’ve all heard the negatives during this whole thing. And of course people complaining of cabin fever & boredom. So I decided to focus on the positive – as was my motto for 2020 (it just figures this would be the year I chose to “be positive”).
That said, here are some positives of working from home – in no certain order:
Your pets may have been upgraded. This depends on your career. If you’re a physician, they’re not just pets, they’re also physician assistants. If you’re an attorney, your pets are now also legal assistants or paralegals (& so on and so forth);
The third co-worker. If you’re working at home with your spouse or significant other, it would be perfectly acceptable to use an inanimate object as a third co-worker. He or she will take the blame for everything, thus saving your relationship. Let’s say your “co-worker” is a stuffed animal you name Bob. You can say things like “We’ve got to talk to Bob about leaving his dishes in the sink – without even rinsing!” Blaming it on Bob will make you a team thus avoiding conflict and unwanted office drama. What’s Bob gonna say? Not one thing.
“I basically LIVE at the office!” will be something you can say – because it’s true. Not to mention it sounds much better than “I work from home”.
Casual Friday is EVERY day – and you set the limits as to how casual.
Surprise office visits are a thing of the past. Your boss or client’s surprise appearance at your desk (typically just as you were about to head to the restroom) just don’t happen in your kitchen or living room. If they do you have an unusual relationship with your boss and/or clients.
Never miss that package. Order something that will be delivered and requires a signature? You’ll be there- and the delivery guy KNOWS you’ll be there. Little chance of him leaving that infuriating note that says “Sorry we missed you” (especially when you know good and well you were home). Mhm.
You’re going to learn a lot more about your spouse/significant other (S/SO) if you’re now working with them. Face it, their work peeps see them a lot more than you do. You’re about to find out if they 1) Are that annoying person with the fake laugh that says things like “let’s circle back” and “we’ll touch base”; 2) Have more patience with their co-workers than they do you.
You can put out a memo banning all office relationships if you get totally annoyed with your S/SO. The above paragraph regarding finding out who they are at work could totally warrant such a memo.
Teachers who are teaching remotely: “I accidentally left my work at home” is no longer valid. Boom. Score: Teachers: 1 Kids: 0
Your ironing board may finally be proving its worth. If you’ve never had an office, it’s a perfectly acceptable desk (with adjustable height!). So to all ironing boards who haven’t shined in the past, it is time to rise up!
Zero commute. You can avoid that rush to work. It’s now walking to your kitchen table or couch. Even if you oversleep- waking up at 7:59- it’s still possible to get to work on time. If you REALLY over-sleep and are late for a conference call or Zoom meeting? Just say “Sorry, the hallway traffic was unexpectedly congested.” They’ll either be so confused they won’t question it, or hear you say “congested” and think you’re sick.
No being ratted out by your co-workers for arriving to work in your jammies and Spider Man house shoes (should you should choose to wear that). In all likelihood, your co-workers are not in business attire either – and if they’re the 4 legged kind they’re likely wearing no clothes at all – so there’s that.
Stay strong ~ Be happy ~ Cover your mouth when you cough
Kids can be so mean. When I was a little girl my feet turned inwards when I walked. To add to that I had almost no arch. So I had “special shoes” I had to wear every day. Because no one thought as much about kids then as they do now, there was zero style to special shoes. They looked like little white ankle booties. In other words, they looked like baby shoes.
I was the only child for a while. I was about 4 or 5 and bringing all my best toys outside to entice other kids to play with me. Some would stop, but the first thing they’d do is say “You wear baby shoes!” They’d only stay to play if one of my toys caught their eye – so I tried to have as many outside with me as possible.
Around this time, my parent’s beloved chihuahua, and my mother’s first “baby”, Pedro, passed away. He got in a fight with a Doberman over a female dog. Even if he’d won he couldn’t have mated with her – he was too little. But chihuahuas think they’re Dobermans – until they don’t. One well-calculated bite from that Doberman and it was adiós for Pedro. Knowing chihuahuas, Pedro probably started the whole thing, but tomatO/tomaHto, right?!
(This is Not Pedro)
(Not the ender of Pedro)
(Ferocious, but again, Not Pedro)
On that day Daddy made a decision. He would never again have a little dog that could die in a dog fight. He didn’t share this decision with my mom for reasons which will become obvious.
Months later, unbeknownst to my mother, he set his plan in motion. Then had a few beers and brought home a “surprise” he said was for my mom. A surprise she wouldn’t have asked for in a million years. She wanted a little lap dog, but Daddy walked in with an 8 week old Great Dane. At 8 weeks he could already fill a grownup’s lap. She was so much less than thrilled. Way less. That didn’t make him any less ours. He was named Smokey Joe, or Smoke for short.
Great Danes grow so fast you have to give them special vitamins for their bones. Smoke was no exception. Wouldn’t you know that ours grew to become the largest Great Dane in the state at that time – weighing in at 175 pounds (& he would reach 185 later).
(What mom wanted vs what she got [that’s not Smoke])
So our little suburban backyard housed a dog the size of a small horse who could pick up a BASKETBALL with his mouth. In 24 weeks he went from about 20-25 pounds to being his full height and weighed about 100-110 lbs. He’d reach 175 within the full first year.
(Again, not Smoke [wait for it….])
Our backyard connected to neighbors on 3 sides with a chain link fence between us. Imagine being our neighbors. If not dealt with daily, do you know what a gentle breeze means? Nothing pleasant, I assure you. It was as if we had a full grown man crapping in our yard – a lot! To keep the neighbors happy meant Daddy had daily yard duty. Cleanup on aisle 5 done by a man with a very weak stomach – daily.
Of course Mom fell in love with Smoke, which was awesome because Smoke turned out to be my very best friend. When I was being a little goblin, she’d have to spank Smoke first BEFORE she could get to me.
A dog can make things better. Even things that you, or in this case my Dad, didn’t realize needed improving. One, if Dad went out of town, no worries because we had the biggest, most protective and ferocious looking guard dog EVER. But the biggest problem he solved? I had a best friend – a huge guardian – until the day he left this earth.
Even though he ran me over in his excitement when I came outside, leaving me flat on my back, I loved him. Despite being at tail-height and him having a wagging tail that felt like a stick whacking me in the face repeatedly as he circled me, I loved him. Know what else? I didn’t have to drag my toys out anymore. Smoke drew the kids in – they always wanted play with this horse-sized dog and I was the only kid around that had one. Best of all? No more comments on my shoes. I was now greeted with “I like your big dog….does he bite?” I guess I don’t need to tell you that for some kids the answer to that last question was “sometimes he does” (but he never did, I was just being a little goblin – again).
The real pictures:
This is us on his first night, then 6-8 weeks later. You can see in the latter picture that I’m a much happier girl – even though I’m still wearing “baby shoes”. And my buddy? He never noticed those shoes. If you look close at right, he has his big foot on top of mine. There’s no such thing as “personal space” with your best friend. LIFE. WAS. SO. GOOD.
That’s the honest truth – if you listen.
The title of this comes from years ago when my daughter, age 5, wanted a “Flying Barbie”. The commercial showed Barbie flying and sang about her wonders. At the very end a man’s deep voice quickly said “Flying Barbie really doesn’t fly”. The next time we saw it I made sure she listened to the man at the end. She decided she didn’t want flying Babs anymore.
Ah, the disclaimer voice…that wise and knowledgeable voice saying words of wisdom you rarely hear. For example, you’re driving and hear you can lease a brand new expensive car at an unheard of low monthly payment. All you hear is that you can get a $60-75k car and drive it for 2 years or an extended 45,000 miles for $375 per month. All you see is yourself in that car. While you’re busy NOT listening, that wise voice is telling you: 1) $10,000 is due at at signing; 2) your credit score must be at least 950; and 3) it doesn’t include tax, tag, dealer fees, markups – basically any other charge they add. However, it’s said at 25 times normal speaking speed.
Now here’s the flip side. When it’s NOT sped up you almost wish it were. Yes, medicinal TV commercials, I’m looking at you. It was nice back in the day when medical companies couldn’t advertise. Then, when they got the initial green light, it was confusing because they couldn’t say what the medicine treated. You’d see a happy couple walking on the beach and it would end “Ask your doctor about [medicine name].” So they fixed it! Now the condition it treats is named but the possible side effects must be said IN FULL and SLOWLY. Given all possible side effects I don’t know why they bother. I saw one for acne medicine. One of the side effects was ANAL LEAKAGE. I am not making that up. Maybe it’s just me but I’ve got to say NO to that possibility. I’d rather have acne – at least you’re prepared for that. Try explaining why you have to leave work and change pants all of a sudden. Seriously, ANAL LEAKAGE?! I’d rather be called Pizza Face than Poopy Pants any day of the week.
So my point is that both fast speaking disclaimer voice and slow speaking “possible side effects” voice are pointless.
So where would this voice of wisdom be useful? I’ve got an idea. When I’m at the…..
“Avoid when hungry. YOU are hungry. You will never eat that.”
“This is not recommended for people on a diet. YOU are on a diet.”
“Product knowledge is encouraged. YOU do not know what this is PLUS you cant even cook.”
“Over-stocking discouraged. YOU have 1,000 of the same type cleaners at home – none used.”
“Not recommended for those under 5’10” in height. YOU are short.”
“Put that down unless you want to look pregnant. YOU are 5’2″and it would look all the more ridiculous as that ship has long since sailed for you anyway.”
“Possible side effects include an upset husband and low bank balance. YOU know one cute outfit shouldn’t cost $500.”
“These shoes should be avoided if you plan on activities such as standing or walking. YOU stand and walk all day. YOU also have 15 cute yet barely worn shoes just like these – bought while not listening to me.”
1) Flying Barbie really doesn’t fly; 2) You can’t lease a $60-75k car for $375 per month; AND 3) Some acne medications can cause anal leakage.
You’ve been warned.
No offense to those of you that have these things on your car, I’ve just never understood them. I’ve never read one that helped me learn needful information. I have almost run into a few cars trying to read a small print bumper sticker. Small print ones should be illegal (says the near-sighted woman).
I really don’t get people who put them ON their car – that just ruins the paint. Regarless of placement, there are some that boggle the mind trying to figure out why you’d have them. I’m referring to bumper stickers that tell me all about the following:
Again, no offense, but I really don’t care what school your child attends. Also the ones boasting about your child getting all A’s or being on the honor roll? If it looks worn and weathered that just makes me think your child was the model child at one time but maybe went down a different, darker path as I see no new ones.
*BUT* there’s the more practical aspect of not having bumper stickers about your child(ren) and that is this: Let’s say some perv who likes kiddies is behind you – and they’ve noticed your bumper sticker and maybe they see it as you’re pulling into your neighborhood. They know your neighborhood now, but the worst? They could LIVE in your neighborhood (if you live in suburbia there’s a creeper within a mile from you guaranteed). Now they know you have a child and possibly even their name. Maybe that they have a pet named Tigger. You’ve given them more information than they need – and for what? Yuck, right? Indeed. I have a dark sense about anything involving kids. In fact, my [now grown] children have each told me that I instilled so much anxiety regarding strangers that I’ve made them socially awkward meeting new people. My response? “Sorry. But did your picture wind up on the news with a tearful me pleading for your return? No. I’d rather you be ALIVE and living with anxiety than no longer being with us OR living your life trying to get over some horrible incident you lived through.” I never gave mine the choice of not knowing. That’s because MY biggest fear was their being taken (doesn’t every mother think her kid is the prize?!). I let them in live in la-la land in other many ways, but not when it came to strangers. My youngest said to my response “Okay, but Mom when you told me if I walked to the house and some car slowed down to suddenly go cross-eyed, drool and make my body start twitching was a bit much”. Okay fine. It’s just whatever. I still think as far as quick strategies go it was a good one and they’re still here. But I digress.
What You Stop For:
These are just silly to me. “I stop for yard sales” being one I recently saw I’ll use that as an example. It’s good to know you’re going to stop, but how often do we pass yard sales? The fact that you like to yard sale in your spare time does me no good. This is especially true since I’m most often on the road going to work alongside others doing the same. It’s doubtful you’re going to suddenly stop at some yard sale and call into work “sorry- gonna be late- passed a yard sale and you know how I stop for those.”
The Church You Attend:
Now this is going to hit some the wrong way but let me just say this: I appreciate and applaud you for showing others that you love your church so much you’re willing to have a bumper sticker- but let me warn you of one thing- with that comes responsibility. Case in point (and this is a true story, cross my heart): One day I was headed down the interstate and was in the middle lane. Speed limit was 70 and I was doing 80. Anyway, this lady gets so far up on me that I can see her face as she is clearly screaming at me. Suddenly she pops out to the left, passes me and flips me off. A precious moment, right? Even more precious? Her bumper sticker that said “Follow Me to [my church]!” Not a good advertisement for her church, right? So let’s just say that if you’re a good person who suffers from road rage- and there are many- you should probably refrain from dragging your church into it with you. Avoid the awkward “I’m sorry, we recently got a call and we’d like it if you removed our bumper sticker from your car.” I mean it *could* happen and wouldn’t you want to just crawl under a rock? But the VERY WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN? That “Small World” scenario that sometimes kicks you in the teeth. You didn’t recognize them but they actually attend church WITH YOU. They saw your screaming face and recognized it. Then you flipped them off and they thought “oh well that can’t be [insert your name].” BUT THEN they saw your bumper sticker and they. just. knew. That’s going to be a fun little conversation when they say “I think you passed me on 459S the other day.” And no, you won’t be able to deny it – it was your face, your exact car and your church bumper sticker. Game over.
Who You’re Voting For (or did):
Do you remember a time when that was a private thing? Oh, the bumper stickers were there but that’s about it. To me there’s nothing sadder than seeing your tired, sad “Bernie” bumper sticker. A man who never made it to the “finals”. No offense to his supporters, but I don’t need to know who you’re about to vote for or who you did vote for. Never have I ever (there’s a game in there somewhere) heard anyone say “You know, I was going to vote for [insert candidate], but I saw a bumper sticker this morning that changed everything.” Seriously, why are these timely things so important that you need to stick one to your car?! I don’t get it.
Your Opinion on Abortion:
Sure, most of us have one but I don’t need to know yours while we’re driving. I am neither saying I’m pro or against abortion – would it matter if I did? Would it change your mind? That said, why is it important to know where you stand? The majority of us don’t even know you. People have been shot in the face for cutting others off in traffic and you want to drive around with your opinion on an emotional “hot button”?! I don’t get it.
In short, Let Your Bumper Sticker Tell Me These Things:
1. You’re a horrible driver who doesn’t signal when turning;
2. You have no insurance;
3. You’re an avid gun-toter with inexplicable road-rage;
4. Your car has parts that may or may not remain intact as you drive;
5. You often slam on your brakes for no known reason
I’ve seen ONE bumper sticker that made me smile. It was on an older model large truck and based upon the driver (yes I had to look at him), I believe he was serious business about this topic. His bumper sticker read “ACID RAIN BURNS MY BASS!” with a large mouth bass in the background. I’m not sure about acid rain, nor what it does to bass (though I’m sure it’s not good), and I’m sure he didn’t feel it was a funny bumper sticker, but it made my ENTIRE day.
Yes, I am easily amused by the little mundane things- I find humor in everyday things that we’re all used to dealing with but don’t think about. Stop and smell the roses but if there are no roses, just stop and laugh at the silly things you see each day. Believe me, there are sooooo many things to laugh about.
Oh – and do NOT even get me started on the occasional “BABY ON BOARD!” that used to be so popular (you can still find every now and then). Does it mean one day I’ll be driving insanely crazy, see one of those and think “Oh wait…I better slow my insane role and drive super careful because THAT CAR contains an infant.”? Probably not.
Maybe my upbringing was different from yours. I was brought up in a southern home. That said, there was just a rule regarding food. The last piece isn’t to be touched – unless there was “just enough” and Daddy wanted it. But to be fair, that wasn’t a “Daddy makes the money, Daddy rules” sort of thing. My sister & I were little goblins with eyes bigger than our stomachs. We’d have taken the last piece of something and picked around it and ruined it for any adult. But beyond that, it was something instilled in us. No matter if everyone said they didn’t want that last piece- whether it be chicken, a plate of steaks or pizza- you still didn’t touch it. It was rude.
Fast forward to something I heard on the news today. In a town about an hour north of here there’s a buffet that offers crab legs. They’re said to be so good people stand in line for 20 minutes or more awaiting each batch. So the other day, the crab legs come out & some guy loads his plate and gets way more than his fair share. Standing behind him was a mom with hungry children in tow. Now I want to think the best of this mom for two reasons. One, she did what we’d all feel like doing; and two? Well when someone has the chutzpah to do what we all feel like doing then I say kudos to her.
Maybe it was having her kids behind her and forgetting she was in public, I don’t know. All I do know is that what happened next was solid GOLD. I wish I’d been there to see it. The mom takes a pair of tongs and whacks the man with them – yes she did! So to defend himself what does he do? He keeps his tongs in hand and wards off incoming blows and deals some of his own. Picture it. A modern day sword fight. With tongs. Over all you can eat crab legs.
Now let’s be clear. Sometimes the phrase “all you can eat” throws people off. It doesn’t mean take all you can while others are waiting for the exact same thing, right? It doesn’t mean your $10.99 is worth more than theirs and doesn’t mean you can have the “lion’s share” of one particular item. I have to think this particular gentleman did not have a strong southern Mom. I bet he ate the last piece of everything if someone said “No, I don’t want it” because in the south, 9 out of 10 times that isn’t true. We want it but we know better than to take it. Of course when this happens, when we say we don’t want it and someone actually does take? Inwardly we think “ill-raised heathen”. I’m just being straight with you. It’s what we do, say and think. Some won’t admit to it but let’s be honest. Southern people- you know you DO want that last piece but you just don’t. *Unless you’re at a buffet, no one is looking and then you totally take the last one because it’s a buffet and it’s up for grabs. But I digress..
The end result? Police were called, both parties admitted to having gotten away from themselves. The man [ill-raised heathen] was shown wearing a couple bandaids on his head so no one could view the blood where the mom had gotten him with the tongs(!). Both are being fined and the mom was charged with 3rd degree battery. Yes, with crab tongs. Probably not her weapon of choice, but she’s lucky that’s all she had or her hungry children might’ve wound up not only missing those crab legs but missing mom due to a prison stint.
So in summary, if you’re from the south you know this and if you aren’t just learn it. We love food. We LOVE food. Look at health statistics in the south and you’ll get it. But we also have manners. Very good ones. So just know that some southern mom may decide to discipline you should you show your ill-raised heathen manners in a buffet line. Also, in NO SITUATION WHATSOEVER should you take that last piece. Never. Ever. So you see that last piece of food…have reverence for it. Respect it. Because that piece is NOT for eating!