A sign things are “normal”

backyard downtown Palm Springs
Our old backyard in Palm Springs with a view of Mt. San Jacinto

When we lived in Palm Springs, Calif. which is one of the hottest spots in our nation — next to Death Valley — we used movies as an escape from the heat. It didn’t matter what was playing, we’d find something we were mildly interested in. It got us out of the house where we spent most days.

Then COVID hit and movie theaters were closed. I missed movies a lot. I loved the smell of popcorn when you walk through the theater doors. I loved the few hours sitting in the dark, watching the big screen with unbelievable sound.

I remember writing during the shutdown that the first thing I wanted to do when things reopened was go to the movies.

Fast forward to September 2022 — and we hadn’t been yet. The reason why? I was uncomfortable sitting in the theater with a bunch of strangers. Once we moved, the theater was a 30-minute drive, not a few blocks. The Phoenix area has 6 million people, rather than the 48,000 of Palm Springs. Whenever I looked online, the theaters were full.

Labor Day was packed at the beach. We went early and left when floods of people set up their umbrellas and chairs. We came up with the brilliant idea of going to the movies!

We saw Top Gun. I loved every minute of it. I felt like it was a milestone of getting back to “normal.”

What was first on your list to do post shutdown?

Have you heard of “Quiet Quit?”

beach view from Overlook Park Summerland.
View of the beach from the park below our Vrbo.

With more and more employees being called back to the office, jealousy is bubbling up in the workforce.

Companies are pleading with employees to come back to the office and are plying them with goodies like gift cards, swag and cash bonuses. I read that this is not sitting well with the employees who worked in the office throughout the pandemic.

If they are truly upset, they may “quiet quit.” I’ve seen the term before, but didn’t know what it meant. Today I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that explained it called “These Workers Were the Bosses’ Favorites. Now They Feel Jilted by Callum Borchers.

What’s waiting for people heading back to the office after Labor Day? Jealous looks from the underappreciated colleagues who returned long ago

“Tension is a real risk with this group,” says Kristie Rogers, an associate professor of management at Marquette University. “If we’re not paying attention to those who have been around a while, making sure that their efforts were valued and continue to be valued, there could be some division that undermines the purpose of bringing people back in the first place.”

She adds workers who believe their in-person contributions are not sufficiently rewarded may quit or “quiet quit,” staying in a job but doing only the bare minimum. 

Keeping everyone satisfied is especially difficult since many workers feel empowered to resist office callbacks and expect new perks in exchange for showing up. Those who’ve long been working in person can hardly be blamed for resenting the incentives—why weren’t they offered sooner?—even though the benefits are available to all.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/these-workers-were-the-bosses-favorites-now-they-feel-jilted-11661977719?mod=life_work_lead_story

It sounds like a mess to me. Jealousy in the workplace is awful. I should know. I was jealous in my 20s. I found out that a new hire was making much more than what I was paid. Yet, I had experience, a college degree and more responsibility. I didn’t “quiet quit.” I QUIT!

Then, I was on the other side. When I worked with my husband in financial services, I would leave earlier than others to pick up our kids from school and get them to swim practice. I was on the receiving end of dirty looks. But it was the deal we had.

Have you ever experienced jealousy at work?

What are your thoughts about quiet quitting? Have you ever worked with someone who did the bare minimum?

What do you think about working remotely versus showing up in the office?

COVID on my mind

Rainy day
The backyard where I’m hanging out in isolation.

I was talking to my son on the phone and he didn’t sound well. He sounded congested and he was coughing.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“I’m pretty sure it’s allergies,” he said. “But I’ve had trouble breathing at night for the past few days.”

After he hung up the phone with me, he called back to say he had taken a COVID test and he tested positive.

I told him to call his doctor and he said he would, and he had to call other people like his PT that he had been around in the past day or two.

Because he has asthma, he is a high risk COVID patient. The doctor gave him an RX for an experimental antiviral. Currently, he’s in bed miserable. I’m hoping the drug kicks in soon and he shows improvement. Yes, I’m worried.

Next, I got a phone call from the mother of the bride from the wedding we went to on the weekend. She sounded awful and said she tested positive for COVID too. While we were at the wedding, we talked to one guest from overseas who said his wife traveled all the way for the wedding only to test positive that morning. So she was in bed and flew halfway around the world for nothing. I’ve heard of a few other people who came down with it, too.

A neighbor called and asked me out for lunch. I told her I will wait a few days. I don’t feel like I have COVID, but on the other hand, I’ve been exposed. I think the polite thing is to stay in for a few days and make sure I’m not coming down with it and test.

My book club was cancelled this week due to the hostess having COVID rebound.

It seems weird to be this far along from 2020 and have the pandemic rear it’s ugly head.

Have you heard of an uptick in COVID lately? Or is it just the people around me?

Wedding bells are in the air

1950s bride and groom
A photo from my mom and dad’s wedding in the 1950s.

We are driving six hours to a wedding this weekend. I’m a little concerned because I think it’s outside at a winery and it will be around 100 degrees. Hopefully only the ceremony is outside and the reception will be inside. We will see.

During COVID shutdowns, weddings were postponed. Now we are getting a plethora of wedding invitations.

The last wedding we went to was in February 2020 — right before the shutdown. We learned after the wedding that the father of the groom was hospitalized and put on a ventilator with COVID. That was scary but thankfully he recovered. I felt sick a week later, but that was before tests were available. I may have had it — or not.

My daughter was a bridesmaid in Montana recently. The next weekend she was at a wedding in Utah. The third weekend was a bridal shower in Los Angeles. I thought that was a bit much, because the three brides were all on the college swim team together and friends. Many of their guests overlapped. That’s quite the wedding gauntlet.

My kids are at that age. Their friends are getting married. Their friends’ parents are our friends — so we are getting invitations, too.

According to Forbes Magazine “The U.S. Expects a Wedding Boom in 2022.” No kidding. Written by Tanya Klich, she shares the data on the boom:

There will be more weddings in the United States in 2022 than any other year since 1984, according to a new survey by The Knot. The wedding planning site estimates that some 2.6 million weddings will take place this year, a boom that follows a record number of cancellations, postponements, elopements–and lots of Zoom nuptials–during the past two years. 

“Weddings are, without a doubt, back to pre-pandemic levels,” says Hannah Nowack, Real Weddings editor at The Knot.

While some couples will certainly continue to host small, intimate micro-weddings and minimonies, wedding vendors, venues and planners note a return to traditional ceremonies with larger guest lists. In the second half of 2021, The Knot saw the average guest count climb up to 110. In 2022, the average number of guests is projected to be 129, which is in line with pre-pandemic numbers, when the average was 131. “After so many months of planning, and time spent away from loved ones, these couples are eager to reunite and celebrate with a blowout bash,” says Nowack.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyaklich/2022/02/14/a-wedding-boom-is-expected-in-2022/?sh=68d0ec3b117c

I can’t imagine what a wedding would cost today with the increased prices of food, flowers, and supply chain issues. There’s something else I noticed….more and more wedding invitations are online with links to bridal registries. I haven’t received any thank you notes, either. Maybe it’s too soon.

Are you getting more wedding invitations lately? How many of your friends postponed weddings due to COVID?

Me and my hubby on our wedding day next to Aunt Ann and Uncle Luciano.

The things we believed — at first

masking with fabric
When we first were wearing masks, I used quilting fabric, which we now know isn’t that helpful. Here I am at the park in Palm Springs by my old home.

We spent Father’s Day at our friends who moved unbeknownst to us from Palm Springs to a mile from our new Arizona home. We played bocce ball, cooled off in their pool and ate a delicious dinner of bbq’d pork ribs.

At some point in the conversation I mentioned that we took Vitamin D3 every day because it’s supposed to help protect us from COVID.

My girlfriend’s husband who is a newly retired doctor said, “Where did you hear that? That makes zero sense. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. How do strong bones help with COVID?”

I humbly replied that I had read it everywhere. I couldn’t point to a specific source, but it was a common theme I heard repeatedly from people I knew and news sources.

When I got home, I googled it. Early on during the pandemic, researchers believed that Vitamin D helped. Now there are extensive studies that show there’s no evidence or correlation that Vitamin D protects people from the SARS virus.

I thought about other things that have changed through the last two years as scientists learned more about the dreaded disease.

First, we were told that it could last on objects for hours or even days. This resulted in our city pool being shut down, playground equipment and the tennis courts closed to the public. A few skate parks in Southern California were filled with sand to encourage social distancing.

playground equipment with yellow tape
This was the playground equipment at our park during the shut down.

Now we know that the virus doesn’t sit for hours on inanimate objects and it would have been healthier for kids to play on the playground — rather than being isolated in their homes.

A friend of mine would unpack her groceries from the cart and wipe them all down with bleach or alcohol before she loaded them into her car.

I know a lot of people who told me they’d strip off their clothes inside their front door when they returned, jumped into the shower and washed their clothes. That was especially true for people who were “essential workers” and had to work with the public.

I wore cloth masks such as the quilting fabric in the photo above — and my husband wore a bandana.

What are some of the things you did when the pandemic first hit that you later found out weren’t effective?

bungee swimming in pool
My daughter using the bungee in our backyard pool since the city pool was closed.

You never know what tomorrow brings

Yesterday it started snowing! The prediction was 100% rain, not snow.

It’s Wednesday afternoon and I’m sitting in the dark. I’ve decided to write a post for tomorrow, while my laptop still has juice. I’m using my iphone as a hotspot so I’ll be able to post this.

You never know what tomorrow will bring, so I decided to jump on this while I have the chance.

My daughter asked me to come up and take care of her. She’s in quarantine with COVID and there’s nobody to help her with daily things like laundry, groceries, going to Target, etc. I booked a ticket for tomorrow and she found me an airbnb down the street from her. My son, who lives close by, isn’t cleared to drive and isn’t walking post foot surgery.

She said she’s not going to infect me. She’ll ask me to run an errand and I’ll leave it on her doorstep. I can do her laundry at my son’s house or a laundromat (she doesn’t have a washer and dryer.) And I can walk Waffles.

I wanted my daughter to stay with our friends in Santa Barbara for another day to make sure both she and Waffles were up for the drive. I’m glad she ignored my advice and left on Tuesday because by Wednesday a winter storm hit closing roads and freeways. She could have been stuck.

So off I went to my PO Box and to the store to pick up a few last minute things for my trip. I opened the garage door and discovered it was snowing. It started snowing harder and coming at me sideways. I wasn’t sure I wanted to drive to the Post Office or store. But then I thought, you never know what tomorrow will bring. I better do it now. I’ll be leaving town tomorrow.

While at the store, my husband called and said the power went out at our house. I told him I’d check with the power company when I got home. As I drove down the street to our neighborhood, I wondered if the clicker to the gate would work?

Fortunately, someone manually opened the gates to our neighborhood and I drove on through and parked the car in our driveway. It stopped snowing and raining altogether thankfully as I brought in my groceries and mail.

Now I’ll use my iphone as a light in my closet to pack for tomorrow’s adventure. I’m learning to not procrastinate or find excuses.

Are you prepared if the power goes out? Are you prepared to handle the unexpected like a freak snow or a last minute trip to help your child?

No more drama for the momma

I had a terrible night’s sleep last night. Here’s the short version:

My daughter got COVID, she wasn’t at home but was with our friends in Santa Barbara. Our dear friend was making my daughter homemade chicken soup when Waffles the Pug got into the chicken bones.

My daughter decided to not “wait and see” but rushed Waffles to a nearby vet.

She sat in her car while the vet’s aide brought Waffles in. I was on the phone with my daughter, alternating with our friends in Santa Barbara for most of the night. They let her take him home and wanted him back first thing in the a.m. He does indeed have chicken bones in his belly.

It reminded me of another post I wrote about Waffles called “What is it about pugs?”

Here’s an excerpt:

Waffles the pug
Waffles.

My daughter called at 8 a.m. yesterday freaked out because Waffles wouldn’t eat breakfast. If you know anything about pugs this is a serious sign something is wrong. I asked if she’d taken him for a walk and if he’d eaten some grass. She said, yes, he ate grass and threw up but he was still obviously in distress.

I asked if she was taking him to the vet. She said they were on the way to the emergency hospital.

That evening she called me crying hysterically. Oh no. They gave Waffles an ultrasound and found a mass in his small intestine. It wasn’t moving so they’d have to operate. They also told her it was risky because he’s a pug and they don’t always do well with anesthesia. They said he’d die without the surgery….

More Waffles History:

Last year when Waffles was with us during COVID shut down he ate half a package of pork chops that my husband put in the sun to defrost — styrofoam and plastic wrap included. He ate poisonous berries from the ficus tree and ended up in the ER. When my daughter was in college, he ate an adderall one of my daughter’s college friends had dropped on the floor. Another ER visit.

Waffles the pug
Waffles the pug

It’s not like he’s not well taken care of, but he is incorrigible. It literally takes one second for him to put something he shouldn’t into his mouth while you’re not looking. My daughter is blaming herself. I’ve told her it’s not her fault.

Waffles as a baby pug
Baby Waffles

I guess it’s a good question. What is it about pugs? Also, as a mom, I’d like to scale back on the drama in my life. I’m terribly worried about my daughter’s health as well as Waffles.

Have you had an animal who is incorrigible and always getting into trouble? What kind of trouble? For my fellow pug owners, do yours act like Waffles and try to put everything in their mouths?