It’s 2021 and… Attempted coup notwithstanding, not much has changed.
Which is what I expected, of course. And other than the need to lose some weight, I’m pretty happy where I am: I had my best financial year ever and my pay is the same this year, which bodes well for great savings again; plus I have a good medication regimen keeping me on an even keel, etc.
So, notwithstanding a keen awareness that thousands of American are dying every day, my life is actually pretty good.
It also helps that Aaron is great at providing the boyfriend experience — all the fun of the relationship without the drama or high emotions.
In fact, I was just discussing with a friend who has her own pandemic buddy how we’re finding it much easier to deal with any friction. We can discuss it matter-of-factly — no teariness or raised voices. We think it’s because we’re not super invested, so these issues don’t trigger huge feelings. Thus we can just address the issue calmly, and the guys respond in the same fashion, stopping whatever bad behavior they were doing.*
It’s been lovely, frankly. Why can’t real relationships be like this? (Answer: Because when you’re emotionally invested, things are often bigger deals, so you’re more emotional. And/or some people can be like I am now because they’re well-adjusted. Weirdos.)
*A few weeks ago I was saying I needed to work on losing weight. Aaron said I should have salads then. I demurred. He said it again. I said, no I don’t really enjoy them. He insisted it was good for weight loss. So I pulled back a second, looked him in the eye and calmly but firmly said, “Okay, you need to stop telling me what to eat. I know how to lose weight. I know what works for my body.” He said, “Okay, sorry.” And that was the end of that.
Aaron convinced me to start taking an EPA/DHA supplement, since it’s good for cholesterol. And I recently picked up a B-complex vitamin, since that’s good for energy. Granted, along with my allergy pill, this means I now take nine pills in the morning. But hopefully I see results enough to make it worthwhile.
I’ve started cutting down on calories. After eating my diet’s allotment of calories, my body is sending more hunger signals than it has in the past. (Probably due simply to the volume I was eating at these last few months.) I don’t believe in starving yourself, so I’ve allowed more calories than my strictest diet regimen.
Also, I stress-ate my way through the insurrection. Friday marked three days of bad sleep. To the point that I was almost crying because I was so tired. After work, I lay down and couldn’t handle the idea of getting up to microwave something. So I ordered pizza and cinnamon sticks. Then I realized I had to get up for my credit card and actually did cry a little. But anyway, I finished those leftovers on Saturday, so I’m getting back on track now.
Point being, I’ll start back to reduced calories and then reduce further later in the week. I hope to start working out next week too, but we’ll have to see how my body does initially with fewer calories before I stress it out with extra activity.
But yeah, I’ll get there. I have to. I’m too vain to pull out my larger jeans, and I’m about two pounds away from that being necessary.
(Eventual) independent mental health
I’m also preparing for ending therapy.
My therapist is retiring in May, and the thought of filling in a new person on 40 years of issues — especially the ins and outs of my marriage — just sounds exhausting.
Right now, the sessions mainly feel like maintenance anyway: check-ins to chat and make sure there are no obvious issues. So I told him that I think I’m going to see how I do without therapy. If I start struggling, being unsure of my decisions or having bad results from my decisions, I can look for someone at that point. (I may get a few names from him, so I have a place to start — if they’re covered by my insurance.)
I did say that if I start wanting to date seriously, I’ll almost definitely start therapy again. Because historically I make terrible decisions about which guys I should do that with. But maybe my friends can keep me honest on that score?
Besides, my looking for anything real could be years off. So we’ll just see how I do in May and go from there.
Impending vet bills?
Josie’s appetite has gone up significantly the past couple of weeks. She usually grazes throughout the day, and often her bowl would still have food in it the next morning. But lately she’s had an empty bowl by the time I go to bed. On Saturday, she ate all of her food in less than five hours.
Now that it’s cool in the house, maybe her body is just trying to put on fat to keep warm. But she’s never done that before, and some online searches told me that this can be a symptom of a few conditions that would need treatment. (Plus either medication or different food.)
So I’m going to monitor it a little while longer (for reasons that will be clear in the next section) but will probably make an appointment to get her seen. My bet is Inflammatory Bowel Disease, since she’s been crying a bit in the litter box and last time she did that, it was constipation.
Anyway, I’ll be taking her to Banfield, which means they’ll probably try to run a zillion tests. So I did a little research and will ask them to start with a CBC and go from there.
Cases are… not great
I really wish I didn’t have to get her tested right now because I’d pretty much like to never leave the house until the vaccine. I told my friend Leila I’m going to buy one of those fumigation tents for the house, cut an Aaron-shaped flap in it and otherwise hunker down.
I know Arizona is hardly the only state seeing a surge, but hoo boy! We have the worst hospitalization rate in the nation presently. ICU bed and in-patient bed vacancies are staying stable at 7% to 8%, but that’s statewide. I’m guessing it’s bad in the Phoenix metro area.
Meanwhile, it’s hard to quantify just how big the spike is because daily reported results are swinging around wildly — sometimes 18,000, sometimes 30,000. But we’re seeing about a 1/3 positive rate (except for that super fun day where 17,000 out of 18,000 tests came back positive) and it was around 25% just a couple of weeks ago.
Meanwhile, starting Wednesday we’ve had triple-digit COVID deaths reported each day. (Well, Saturday was 98, but close enough.) So Wednesday through Sunday brought reports of 1,077 deaths. (AZ DHS said that 214 of those were “death certificate matching” but it still sounds like they’re relatively recent deaths that hadn’t been reported yet. And, uh, even 863 in five days is worrisome.)
Aaron (and therefore I) had a scare when the friend he went to Vegas with* got a sinus infection that came with a fever. Thankfully ,she tested negative for COVID. But it was still a tad harrowing.
Delivery fees be damned, I think from now on any time Aaron and I order from food delivery apps, we’ll opt for it to be dropped off rather than save a few bucks with pickup. And I think I’m going to try to start doing contactless pickup for groceries. I’m going to have all prescriptions delivered (except for Adderall, which I have to pick up).
Yes, I’m aware that it’s unlikely that I’d get infected by someone in a store. Even if they’re not wearing a mask, we’d have to be near each other for a prolonged period. (And I wouldn’t stand near a maskless person for a prolonged period.) Or I’d have to be walking where they just were and a lot of their virus particles would have to have not fallen out of the air yet. So very unlikely.
But until things die down, I may as well avoid the risk and just suck up the convenience fees.
I just keep thinking back to an argument I had with someone in April who’d already had COVID who said that everyone should just get it and be done with it, so we could get back to regular life. When I tried to argue, he said he didn’t understand why I kept responding about deaths when he was talking about just getting people infected. We’ll be at 375,000 American COVID deaths Monday or Tuesday — and nowhere near herd immunity — so I wonder if he gets it now.
*I know, I know. I wasn’t happy about the road trip either, but he’s religious about hand sanitizer, and they steadfastly avoided people. They skipped the Hoover Dam stop because there were too many people, they went straight to the hotel, had food delivered and watched fireworks from the room. Then hiked the next two days.
How is everyone else doing so far in the new year?