Postcard from the Apocalypse – March 22, 2020

I always thought that the end of the world would be a lot more fun.

So far, it hasn’t exactly been a party, and if some of the more reputable news sources are to be believed, it’s going to get much worse. Like many others, I’ve spent the last week or so flip-flopping between cautious skepticism and mild panic, hoping for the best, but also worrying that I haven’t done enough to prepare for the worst.

Every day the news gets bleaker, with ominous warnings and predictions, and more restrictions. I’m beginning to feel like that frog in the pot of water, the temperature slowly increasing by near imperceptible degrees until, before I know it, my flesh is all a-boilin’.

I guess that’s life on the edge of the apocalypse.

So, how are you fine folks?

It’s been about two weeks now since my mega-post recounting the start of my 2020. I had filled you all in on the rough start I had this year, leaving off with how things were on the upswing, save for an upcoming appointment with my endocrinologist that I was worried about.

Needless to say, things have changed a bit.

We got the word this past week that my company was shutting down production at the plant I work at for the foreseeable future, though the message from both the company and my union was ambiguous until just a bit ago. Before the announcement, the company had scheduled mandatory overtime for the Saturday, so it was quite an about-face when the word came down that instead we were laid off. The reasoning, of course, is the COVID-19 Crisis.

I had expected us to be laid off sooner or later, possibly Monday, but only because I had thought we would run out of some of the parts we need that are built and shipped from China. As far as I’m aware, that parts shortage hasn’t yet materialized, and if it hadn’t been for pressure from the medical community and our union, as well as a fear of looking like they were endangering their workers for the sake of profit, we’d still be working now.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

My endocrinologist appointment didn’t go as badly as I’d expected… it went worse. My A1C was higher than even I’d feared it would be, and though some of that could be explained by my unfortunate experience with Champix, not all of it could.

So, the good news is, he’s taken me off of two of my pills, which is great since they’re the two most responsible for preventing me from putting on much weight. The bad news is, he’s added another pill, and worst of all, a weekly injection.

Truth be told, it’s not that bad. The injection is done with something like an epi-pen, not a hypo, which makes it much easier, and it’s only once a week, not daily or multiple times a day. I suppose I should be glad it wasn’t worse, but I still feel like a bit of a failure in that I couldn’t somehow prevent things from getting to this point. I know the cards were always stacked against me, that genetically I was fated for this to happen, but I can’t help feeling that there was something I could have done, or at least done sooner, to prevent things from getting to this point.

However, looking back on that now, with everything that’s been happening in the world since, I’m not as upset about my meds situation as I was then.

The good news is that my bad endo. appointment has spurred me on to making a few more changes for the better.

I had already mentioned that I had stopped smoking using Champix, and that’s still a thing. I’m almost eight weeks nicotine-free, and the side effects from the pills that were messing me up so much are now very minimal. I’ve gotten a lot of my energy back, and have managed to curtail my appetite somewhat.

The results from my endo. appointment was kind of a rock-bottom moment for me I think. I spent the remainder of that day very down on myself, and honestly, a bit afraid thinking of what my future might be like if I don’t manage to turn things around.

The next morning, though, something just clicked. I think it finally got through to me that this is a make or break time in my life, that if I don’t do what I need to do now, it will be too late to change later on.

So, I spent the morning gym shopping and ended up joining one that afternoon.

Yeah, I’m that guy now. Though, because of the crisis, they’ve closed the gym a week after I joined it, but I’ve managed to keep up with my workouts here at home with the limited amount of free-weights I have, and my crappy, Wal-mart elliptical machine.

For the past two weeks, I’ve worked out 5 days/week, for at least an hour and fifteen minutes a day, including a half-hour of cardio. It’s a bit more intense of a workout than I was doing before I stopped altogether before our trip to Cuba, but I’m finding it pretty easy to get back into it.

I’ve also started eating much better, cutting out all but the most unavoidable amounts of sugar, and cutting way back on the carbs as well.

Surprisingly, after only a couple of weeks, I’m finding I have even more energy than I did just before my endo. appointment, and though I am pushing myself during my workouts, I’m not nearly as winded or as sore as I expected I would be. I’m sure not smoking for nearly two months has a lot to do with that. I’m in better shape than I thought I was.

I’m trying not to get too excited about the changes I’ve made, though. It’s only been a couple of weeks, and who’s to say that I’ll be strong enough to keep all of this up for very long. I’m hoping I can, at least as far as the smoking goes, if not everything else as well. Maybe the fear I felt after my appointment, coupled with the lurking dread of having to live through a pandemic will finally give me the push to make these changes permanent.

So, as I said, I’ve joined a gym, but of course, because of the crisis, they had to close temporarily a week after I signed up. I’ve been doing my workouts at home, trying to match what I had been doing there as best as I can with what I have on hand. I’m trying to re-work my daily schedule, to be able to fit in my workout and still get things done around the house and get some writing in before having to go to work (though as of a few days ago, I’m off work for the foreseeable future as well). I have to make staying healthy a priority, as much as it may take away from other projects.

Beyond that, I’ve slowly gotten back to working on projects that I half-abandoned a few months back. With the warming weather, I’ve managed to get out to the greenhouse a bit, though now that winter is nearly over, there’s no real rush to get the heater finished any time soon. The conversion of the rear half of our hot tub room into a movie theater is also progressing – I’m currently working on making a nice, rigid screen, and hope to move on to building some cabinetry for the room soon.

So, since I’m off work, and like most of you, I’m assuming, I’m housebound as well, I’m trying to find things to do to occupy the empty hours. I know I should take the time to really focus on finishing my current writing project, but without the eight hours of physical activity going to work provides me, I really can’t just sit in my office chair all day long, it’s not healthy for me.

So, I’m trying to get back into a writing routine where I sit and hammer out 250 words, and then get up and do something else for a while. If I can do that at least four times a day, I’ll be back up to my 1000 words per day goal, and hopefully well on my way to finishing this draft, so I can get back to editing the last one. I have managed to write another six thousand words since my last blog post, which is less than my goal, but still not bad.

The story is still progressing well, with the protagonist (one Captain Canuck) slowly making his way towards the climactic battle with the antagonist(s), where all of the details of the dreadful situation he’s found himself in will be revealed. It’s a pretty standard super-hero story, probably a bit cliché and trope-ish, but if I keep up with it beyond this first draft, hopefully, I’ll be able to come up with some novel twists to punch up the story-line.

Otherwise, I’m just trying not to focus on thinking about how much worse things can get. Like everyone else, I suppose, I’m just trying to take things day to day, not dwell on what I’m missing out on, and trying to make the best of things here at home.

Most of the events I was looking forward to attending in the next few months have, of course, been canceled, and the remainder will probably follow suit. A good friend canceled his house party for this weekend, the Movement Music Festival that I was really looking forward to has been postponed until September, and as far as I know, Penguicon is canceled for this year. I have another concert in April, Squarepusher, and a comedy show in May that I haven’t heard anything about yet, but I’m sure they’ll be canceled or re-scheduled as well.

If nothing else, this time in “lockdown” will give me the opportunity to finish a few projects (I hope), maybe start on a few new ones, and connect more with my family here at home. While I am missing some friends that I had previous plans to meet up with, I can always connect with them online, and surely make plans to get together after this crisis has passed.

The rest of the family is in the same situation as I, off work and housebound. We haven’t faced any deprivations yet, as we’ve managed to be able to stock up on what we need, without going overboard like some and panic buying or hoarding. We’ve laid in a good supply of what everyone seems to be rushing to buy, but we don’t have closets filled with toilet paper. Hopefully, things won’t get too much worse as far as being able to get supplies, and the panic shopping will die down.

I’ve heard and read a few stories about people acting like animals towards each other over the stupidest things – punching each other over the last pack of toilet paper, or spitting at or yelling at service and retail workers as if shortages are their fault. I know it’s unlikely, but I do really hope those people behaving like savages will have the opportunity to reflect on their behaviour when this is all done and feel a profound level of shame as to how they acted.

Well, that’ll be it for my first post during this apocalypse. I do hope you’re all well and safe. We will get through this, and I look forward to seeing many of you in a few weeks. I’m sure someone, somewhere will have an awesome party we can all attend when this is all over.

 

#NaNoWriMo

Final NaNo Word Count – 56,095
Current Word Count – 76,203

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