April 6, 2020 7:25 pm

Face Mask

The low-grade fever I mentioned in my last post? It lasted TEN WHOLE DAYS. I never did get any respiratory symptoms, though I did have a “bounding pulse” (where you can feel your pulse throughout your whole body) and the occasional terrible headache. The pulse thing lasted for a couple of days after the fever stopped and it felt awful so I’m very glad it has pretty much gone away.

Did I have COVID-19? I have no idea. Since testing isn’t widespread and I didn’t have any respiratory symptoms, I assumed I wouldn’t be able to be tested and just waited it out at home and figured I’d try to get a test if respiratory symptoms set in, which they did not.

I was pretty much a human slug with cotton balls for brains for those two weeks and ignored the children’s schooling and all responsibilities except my tiny allotted amount of work hours per week that I can do from home. Immediately after the fever went away I looked up Duolingo and began learning Norwegian. Jeg er en kvinne og jeg heter Meggan! I have also been very tempted to buy this guide to kulning but haven’t gone through with it yet. Kulning is amazing, I watched this guide by Maria Misgeld and it really made me think I could do it.

Today marked week three of filing and certifying for unemployment and the stupid website still says “Pending Issue Stopping Payment” and I haven’t received any money. The first week is typically a waiting period (though that was waived after I applied) so I wasn’t expecting it right away, but come on! Three weeks?! I have paid into this my whole life, just let me access these funds so I can buy groceries. If you think you’ve given money to me in error, fix it later!!! You know where to find me! Bills don’t wait so I don’t see why unemployment funds wait.

A face mask with elastic ear straps and a floral lining.

I sewed Daniel a face mask today because he has to physically go in to work tomorrow for the first time in three weeks. I’m sure it’s better than nothing but I’m also sending him with a leftover N95 mask from when we redid our living room floor in 2015 because I think it’ll be more effective.

Coffee needs to be roasted and I’m glad he’s still employed, but it does make me nervous.

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March 25, 2020 5:43 pm

Schrödinger’s Coronavirus

We are, like many other people around the world, holed up in our house and have been since last Wednesday.

However, what I did not expect during this quarantine was to have developed an intermittent, very mild fever.

I feel mostly fine during the day and my temperature is always normal in the morning. Toward the afternoon, my head will start feeling slightly throbby and my temperature is 99.0°-99.4°F. I did have some mild throat discomfort (I wouldn’t even call it a sore throat as it didn’t really hurt; mostly I was just aware I had a throat when normally you don’t notice it) for the first couple of days, and a headache for one or two.

I have been quietly panicking and waiting for the other (respiratory) shoe to drop, but it’s been six days of this and it has –thankfully– not yet dropped. I think there is a smallish but non-zero chance I have COVID-19 given that there have been several tests performed in our town and all of them have come back negative, but I am still scared.

The trouble with having Schrödinger’s Coronavirus is that without adequate testing and timely results, you have to assume it is Coronavirus and proceed accordingly. With my symptoms, I doubt I’d be able to obtain a test and even if I did, I’d be doing the same things – staying at home, resting, hydrating, and not being in contact with anybody else. I’m currently unemployed (though I theoretically have a job to go back to once the immediate danger has passed) due to COVID-19 so work has not been an issue. Daniel developed a fever the day after I did, so he’s been in the same boat. We had a friend pick up our online grocery order this week since we didn’t feel comfortable leaving the house, just in case.

Wesley’s 10th birthday is today.

We had to cancel the small trip we were going to take him on for his birthday. I felt like a hypochondriac canceling it and that was only twelve days ago – now I can’t imagine voluntarily taking a trip ANYWHERE, and our Governor has forbidden nonessential travel now anyway. We had planned the trip in lieu of a party or presents because it felt like a nice, non-consumerist thing to do and I felt would probably be more memorable than whatever toy we’d buy him, but functionally what this meant was that he ended up with no trip, no party, and no presents.

I had a last-minute brainwave and remembered that our local Waldorfy-type shop does online orders and has a local pickup option. I asked a friend to get my order for me, and voila! Wesley got to open a new game (Set) and some of those fancy Waldorf giant clothespins for blanket-fort-making today. Daniel included a dozen doughnuts on our grocery order so Wesley could have the doughnut breakfast he asked for. It wasn’t the giant glazed doughnut he wanted but it was the best we could do given the circumstances.

I have a feeling his birthday is still going to be memorable but for all the wrong reasons.

The things getting me through our quarantine have been:

  • Disney+ – my first emergency quarantine purchase and it has served us well so far.
  • Instagram – I have thoroughly enjoyed watching @danielkanter painstakingly restore his entryway, @instadanjlevy cooking and telling everyone to stay home, and @roxanegay74 baking all the things. I have also enjoyed keeping up with friends and family even though we are forcibly parted during this time.
  • The NIN album “Still” which I somehow completely missed in 2002 and am making up for now.

Thora has been having daily meltdowns, and I think it’s a combination of being hangry and all the upheaval to her life. Her kindergarten teacher was out on maternity leave for the last couple of months and was supposed to return after spring break. With the extra school closures (we’re off until April 20th at the earliest) I think there’s a distinct possibility she won’t get to see her beloved teacher again this school year and I’m so sad for her.

She is otherwise having a great time on quarantine – crafting up a storm, making her own math worksheets, playing with LOL dolls and narrating her entire life out loud.

The most difficult thing for me has been the overwhelming noise. The other night, Daniel tried to play me The Gambler by Kenny Rogers because I was insisting I’d never heard it, and Thora began loudly narrating the fruit snack math she was doing and Wesley took that opportunity to galumph through the house like a herd of elephants and I burst into tears. I knew it was silly so I started to laugh too, but it really was so overwhelming that my brain short-circuited and I cried.

Speaking of crying… this upcoming paragraph is a whole series of blog posts unto itself, but I grew up in a family where feelings were not a thing and you don’t talk about them and also you don’t have them. Outwardly displaying my emotions feels like an enormous, manipulative burden on other people, so I try my best not to do it, and part of me prides myself on not burdening people. The thought of crying in front of other people is so tremendously embarrassing!!! I still have flashbacks to the time I was so thankful for my coworker who stepped in to help while I was recuperating from my leg break that I blubbed in front of everyone at the company holiday party (it was mostly therapists, but still). I don’t often cry in front of my husband.

I sobbed in my car after Elizabeth Warren dropped out of the presidential race. I had gone to a slow flow yoga class and silently wept during savasana and then I got in my car to leave and just… lost it. Full, heaving sobs about sexism and injustice and patriarchy and all of it. I’m still not really over it, to be honest. I don’t know that I will ever be.

I knew that a Trump presidency would be bad. As the meme says, I did not have being unemployed and forcibly shut in my home during a global pandemic on my personal Bingo card, but I knew it would be bad. This administration’s response to the pandemic is actively making the problem worse and I just feel like my brain cannot comprehend A) how bad it currently is, and B) how bad it’s still going to get. We are nowhere near the end and I am terrified he is going to insist we reopen businesses and schools to boost his own investments and I’m really afraid of what that will do to us, collectively, physically and emotionally.

This has been an enormous brain dump of quarantine thoughts, but I am also genuinely interested in how everyone else is doing. I’m still too unfocused too read anything so I’ve mostly been trawling social media to keep busy.

Are you suddenly homeschooling? Unemployed? How are you holding up?

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May 30, 2019 1:06 pm

DIY Fluorescent Light to Flush-Mount

When we bought our house in 2015, the hallway lighting situation was grim: an old, painted-over inset fluorescent light was the only light source. It took several seconds to come to full brightness once it was turned on, and it looked very dated. I wanted a regular flush-mount light in its place.

The before.

I had been complaining about several house-related projects I wanted to start but didn’t know how to do, and Daniel told me to just pick something and go with it, so I did! I started by researching how to replace a fluorescent light with a standard flush-mount one, and then I took the step of ordering a new light fixture.

To start the demo, we turned off the power at the breaker, and then ran a box cutter around the frame of the light to cut the old layers of paint free. Once that was complete, the edging came off and we were able to remove the diffuser and the fluorescent tubes as well. Then we pulled out the entire metal housing box and were left with… a giant ceiling hole.


We took a break for about a week to allow product orders to arrive and to formulate a plan. I did a lot of Googling and asking my dad and assuming we’d figure things out.

As the gallery above indicates, we installed the electrical box, cut out a circular hole for it in the drywall patch, installed the wood supports, dry-fitted the drywall patch, screwed in the patch, and then used drywall tape and joint compound to patch the ceiling. Whew!

I let the joint compound dry overnight, and then after work the next day I sanded all the worst lumps and ridges out. I didn’t think to buy any ceiling-specific paint beforehand so I raided our shed to see what the previous owners had left behind. There was a partial gallon of old flat white interior paint that was weirdly thick/grainy and kind of separated but you know what? It was a holiday and the paint store was closed so I just went with it.

Patched ceiling!

It’s not perfect and I will need to actually paint it with good ceiling paint at some point in the future, but several rooms in our house could do with some ceiling paint as well, so eventually I’ll get the good stuff and commit to doing several rooms. I was not going to do that for this project.

My haphazard 1.5 coats of paint dried quickly, and then it was time to install our flush-mount light! I got the Geometric Diamond Ceiling Light from Shades of Light designed by Young House Love, and an LED Edison bulb to go in it. The bulb is a little yellowy for my taste but it’ll do for now!

We did it!

I am so pleased. I’ve been thinking about doing this since we bought the house, but had assumed we didn’t know enough to do it. Turns out that flying by the seat of your pants can sometimes work!

It’s so nice to have a regular light! It feels like such a simple upgrade but I think things like this make a house feel a lot less dated – there’s no way someone would choose that fluorescent light for this hallway if it was a new build, and this way if we ever want to change out the light in the future (or if we ever sell and new owners want to!) it’ll be a piece of cake and won’t involve a two-foot wide ceiling hole.

I keep walking by to admire it!

Matte black everythinnnnng!
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