Love and Laughter in a Post-Normal World – April 29, 2020

Ok, so, I’ve been lazy, I’ll admit it.

It’s been nearly three weeks since my last blog post, and though I’m sure many of us living through this “Great Pause”, I should still try to keep up with my goal of posting regularly. I know we feel like we’re living a real-life version of the movie “Groundhog Day”, but we can’t let the same-ness of monotonous routines get to us and keep us from living.

Saying that, motivation is something that’s been hard to come by. If you’d have asked me a month ago how much I thought I’d get done around the house by now, I’d have given you a laundry list of projects that I’d be sure to finish by the end of April. Needless to say, the list of actual projects I’ve completed is much shorter than anticipated.

My beard is getting pretty full, though. 🙂

To be fair, getting supplies and materials if I don’t already have them on-hand has been very difficult. For the first couple of weeks, the big-box stores here in Ontario were still open but allowing only a limited amount of people in at a time. While you could still shop in the store, the line up to wait your turn meant that a fifteen-minute trip to get lumber now took an hour and a half at times.

For the last couple of weeks, though, even that’s gone away. Now you have to call in your order ahead and wait for them to give you a pick-up time when you can pull into their parking lot and they’ll load your order into your vehicle for you.

The problem there is you can’t just get what you need when you need it, sometimes having to wait days until your order comes up in the queue. And also, I’m the type of person who, especially when it comes to buying wood, likes to pick and choose the boards or sheets I need before I buy them. I want to make sure they’re as straight and defect-free as I can get.

I’m not sure the employees at the big box store would do much more than to grab the most convenient boards or sheets to give to me, and I can’t honestly blame them, but that might mean I could get home and have boards I can’t use because their badly twisted or warped, or sheets that have voids or defects in the surface that I can’t use for cabinetry.

First-World Pandemic Problems, I know.

So, what have I done? Well, I have kept up with my workouts consistently, which I’m really proud of. It would be very easy to just be lazy and start blowing workouts off, sit on the couch, and watch Netflix all day. Not being able to go out to an actual gym means I’ve had to get a bit creative.

I’ve converted the utility room housing our furnace and water heater into a part-time gym, with my little elliptical machine, my weight bench, and all of the free-weights I’ve managed to collect over the years. It’s working well enough for now.

I’ve also put in some work into the Greyhouse. It managed to survive the winter well enough, though there were some small, stubborn leaks in the roof that I just couldn’t get patched, so I just decided to pull off the roof panels and set down a layer of greenhouse plastic. Then I put the panels back on over the plastic, giving the roof a second barrier to help keep out the rain and snow.

I had to replace the vent fan in the greenhouse, as the old one I salvaged from my dad’s greenhouse quit working. The new one is still connected to a thermostat, so it’ll only start up when the temp inside gets over 90 degrees, which despite the few snow-days we’ve unexpectedly had, it’s done on a few occasions already.

And just recently, I installed some LED grow lights, set on a timer, and suspended above the mass-heater block. I’ve set the block up as a type of shelf or platform, where I can place the small pots containing the seedlings I’ve planted so that they get extra light every day.

The Hot Tub Room/Movie Theater is nearly finished. I need some nice cabinet-grade plywood in order to finish up the console unit I want to build for the area under the screen, and I still have to get around to re-wiring the sound system, but when I do eventually get around to it, all that shouldn’t take very long.

Besides catching up on reno projects, I’ve had a couple of interesting developments over the past couple of weeks.

The first was that I did get a Zoom Dungeons & Dragons game going with some of my friends, and we’ve had four gaming nights so far. I was honestly surprised at the level of interest I got for this idea, as I’d originally thought I’d be lucky to get three other people interested in participating, and now our adventuring party is seven strong, with me, the DM making it eight.

We play over Zoom, as I said, but I’ve been trying to make it seem as close to an actual table-top game as I can despite that, without spending a lot of money on subscriptions to fancy online resources. I’ve managed to find a free program that I can make and share serviceable maps through and even import small pictures into. I found several cool looking pics that resembled the characters my friends had made up for the game, and we’ve been using those to mark everyone’s progress on the maps.

I have to admit, I’m a bit rusty when it comes to the rules for D&D, and I’ve never run a 5th Edition game before, which is the rule-set that we decided to go with, so I have made a few mistakes in running the game and we’ve had to look up rules on the fly to settle some issues. On the whole, though, it’s been a lot of fun, despite a few instances where some minor arguments broke out, and I do hope that this game-night continues when they do eventually start to lift the quarantine.

The other interesting development is that I’ve become somewhat of a target for what I’m calling the “Tinfoil Hat Brigade”.

A couple of weeks ago, I reached a threshold with a Facebook friend’s “New World Order” style “Covid Conspiracy” posts and posted a rant of my own. In my rant, I called out all of my conspiracy-minded friends to basically just STFU, stop peddling useless and dangerous information, follow the directives for quarantine, and stop perpetuating all of the BS that the governments of the world had created Covid 19 in order to rob us all of our rights.

The post got some very complimentary feedback from my friends, and one asked if I could make it sharable. I had originally posted it as a “Friend’s Only” post, so I had to change it to a “Public” post for her to be able to share it, which I did. That particular friend lives in the States, though, so after she shared it, the post started to get a small bit of attention across the border, as others started to share the post on their Facebook as well.

While the overwhelming majority of the replies to my rant have been supportive, it has drawn the attention of some people who, let’s say, disagree with my sentiments. While there have been a very few of those in disagreement who have offered up cogent and well-thought-out points and opinions, backed up with sources, expressing an alternate point of view, the overwhelming majority of the people who’ve had issues with my post have fallen into the “New World Order”, “Immigrants are Stealing Our Jobs”, “9-11 Was An Inside Job”, etc., variety.

I’ve been trying to ignore most of those people, but every once in a while one of them says or posts something so stupid that I can’t help but get pulled into an argument with them. Thankfully I haven’t received any death threats or anything, and my Facebook Profile is set to “Private” so anyone who’s not on my Friend’s list can’t get much info about me. Thankfully, things on that front are finally starting to die down.

So, writing. That was supposed to be the whole point of starting this blog, after all.

The writing is back to going in fits and starts. I’m having some trouble again managing my time, some days getting a lot done on my other projects and doing very little writing, and other days hitting my writing goals but doing little else.

I’m just shy of 90,000 words now, and finally at the point where the climax, the final conflict between the protagonist and the antagonist is about to begin. It’s a very exciting point in the story, and I know how I want it to go, I’m just finding it difficult to sit down and actually put the words on the screen.

In the time Before Covid, lol, when life was the “old” normal and I had to go to work and do all those other things, I seemed to be better at finding the time to write. Now, even though I have empty hours I could easily fill with writing, I just can’t seem to crank out the volume I used to do consistently.

Maybe I just got into a good routine, and when that got interrupted, I wasn’t able to adapt to a new one. Whatever it is, I hope I can get beyond that. Our “Return to Work” date is currently set for May 19th, unless something changes, and it would be nice to go back to work with this draft finished. It’s an entirely do-able goal, but not the way I’ve been doing things lately.

Thinking about the way things used to be makes me wonder if they’ll ever be that way again. The unfortunate truth is that no matter when the quarantine restrictions start to get lifted, it will take many more months before life begins to resemble anything we remember as “normal”.

No matter when the restrictions begin to lessen, it will always be too early and some will get sick and die that didn’t need to, and it will also be too late and some businesses will close that could have been saved. There will never be a satisfactory outcome for either side in that argument.

And even after the stores open back up, and the schools start again, and we can return to work and go out to eat or go grab a beer, people, a lot of people, will continue to get sick and die from this.

It’s entirely possible that no matter how well I adhere to the quarantine restrictions, how well the people I live with adhere to them, I may catch this damned virus, even die from it, before a vaccine or a cure comes along.

Or even worse, someone I love could.

I think about that more than I probably should.

So, on that note, I hope you’re all taking care of yourselves, and each other. Please stay safe, and do your best to stay healthy. I really do want to have a chance to see you all in person if and when this is all finally over.

 

#NaNoWriMo

Final NaNo Word Count – 56,095
Current Word Count – 89,926

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