If We Were Having Coffee // Making Time and Mental Space

This morning is a late and slow start, as most Sundays are no matter what alarms I set, promises or threats I make to myself. I stayed up too late last night alternating between binge-watching two different show (a new low for me) and struggled to rise more than halfway out of a deep sleep.

In that zombie state I hit dismiss instead of snooze and lost an hour of daylight and since yesterday was such a lazy day, I now have twice the cleaning and writing to do. Every hour counts now. I was able to get moving fast when I got out of bed and I’ve already knocked an item or two off the to do list. It’s time to take a break and replenish my caffeine stores and catch up with you.

So, please, pull up a chair, though not too close, and fill up a cup. The sun is back out again and we are looking at very spring-like temperatures. I think winter has finally been sent firmly on her way, but here in Colorado we cannot be really sure until May. I have a new cold-brew coffee maker but I forgot to fill it last night so we’re still having the warm light roast from the French press with sweet and frothy vanilla oat milk to smooth and temper the brew. Let’s talk about last week.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was yet another in a long stream of weeks spend holed up at home under stay at home orders from our Governor. I’ve been looking at graphs and trying to follow the cases and the deaths that way rather than watching the news and it seems the curve is flattening here and the Governor insists were on track to reopen the state within the next few weeks. I’m terrified that we are going back to normalcy way too soon.

It’s hard to put all my trust in the school administration, the local government, and the federal government, especially when you get the feeling that the longer the economy is halted, and people aren’t making money, the more putting people’s health and lives at risk feels reasonable. If I had to go back to work, I would worry the whole time about becoming one of the first to get sick in a new round of increased infections as all we achieved by staying home was undone.

Luckily, I personally won’t have to head back out quite yet. Since schools are closed for the rest of the year, I have another month at least before I might be asked back. I plan to continue social distancing until then and to keep a close eye on how the virus spreads through the phased reopening of the country and depending on whether cases increase or decrease I will decide whether I want to work this summer at all.

As scared as I am part of me wants very much to return to work as soon as possible though. I miss my coworkers and I’m anxious to find out just how much life will change once the world gets going again. There are already emails being sent from my supervisors about new protocols that will be put in place including one-on-one training which will result in a lot more work for me but guarantees a lot more pay.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that despite being isolated at home away from my friends and family, and an intense snow storm and record cold temperatures, I still managed to have a delightful birthday celebration.

My wife did everything she could to make it special. She made a big breakfast, and we had mimosas to go with it. We spent a lot of the day being lazy and watching our favorite shows and a few new movies until it was time to cook dinner. We made my favorite birthday meal, crap legs and artichokes, with plenty of wine and for dessert I had a delicious almond cake.

I got some pretty awesome gifts too. I got a bone-handled pocketknife with everything you need to carve your own design in the handle. I got a cold-brew coffee making carafe. I got a neat box of matches from Strike Your Fancy, and the gift I’m most excited about, my first longboard!

I’ve been wanting to learn how to longboard for years but I’ve been too scared to make the leap and get one, now I have no excuse! I have a small street and parking lot near my house to practice the basics and after that I hope this will be a new way for me to stay active and inspired to get outside more. I only hope I win’t look too stupid and that the critical voice inside me saying I am too old for such silliness is entirely wrong.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have made the tough decision to take a break from these weekly coffee catch up posts and this coffee share will be the last for a long while at least.

Sundays are just so full as it is and there is a lot more I would like to do with them but between writing this and getting the cleaning done there isn’t much space for anything else. I have courses I would like to focus on right now and in the future even after I have to return to regular working hours and I have a lot more writing I want to do and if I want to make time and mental space I have got to let something go. I’m sorry it had to be these posts, but since I’m already posting daily updates, I figure this would be a good place to start.

I won’t be gone forever and you will still get plenty of updates from me. I’ve already been posting daily-ish journal entries and whenever I really start missing these chats I will come back. Maybe every few weeks or once a month or so, who knows.

I’m incredibly grateful for the Weekend Coffee Share community and I will still be checking in on all of you and reading your posts. Coffee is still a daily staple and on Sundays especially, that will never change.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that lunchtime has come and passed and the slippery time of the day is already getting away from me. I want to try a little experiment today and see if time might re-solidify and start making sense if I tried getting off the couch and doing something new, something more physical with it.

I hope you are still safe and that you have been able to stay home for your sake and for the sake of others. If you are one of the many deemed too essential to quarantine, I want to say a most heartfelt thank you to you and to your loved ones for the risk you have taken for us all. We owe you all a better life after all of this is over.

Until next time.

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

If you enjoyed this post, why not buy me a virtual coffee?


If We Were Having Coffee // A Greater and Greater Toll

Hello, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

This morning is a big change from the summer-like sunshine and warmth we’ve been enjoying. By the time I woke up, the flakes were already falling and the air frigid. Being stuck inside is hard enough, but not even being able to open the windows or walk past the driveway makes it all the more miserable. Still, the day is off to a good start. I’m up on time (though I had hoped for early), my phone is in another room, the T.V. is off, and I am at my desk rather than on the couch. If I can keep this up through lunch, it will be a good day.

Here, please, pull up a chair, though not too close, and fill up a cup. I’d hoped to be switching over to cold-brewed coffee by now but the mornings are still too cold and clearly, winter has not been sent firmly enough on her way so we’ll have the usual instead: a bright blonde roast steeped in the French press with lightly frothed sweet vanilla oat milk (which is becoming increasing, and surprisingly, hard to find in stores lately) to pour over top. Let’s talk about last week.

“oh god it’s wonderful
to get out of bed
and drink too much coffee
and smoke too many cigarettes
and love you so much”

― Frank O’Hara

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that time is a concept I am slowly losing my grasp on. The week flew by faster than any work week I’ve ever been through. Each morning I wake up and I have to spend an unsettling amount of time working out what day of the week it is and then attempt to orient the not only within the month and year but from the beginning of this isolation and to the estimated end, though that goalpost is fuzzy and constantly shifting.

Every week it seems my time away from work is extended farther and farther. This week I heard from the district’s administration that the transportation department personnel will not return to work until July, for our annual one-day mandatory meeting, and then not again until mid-August to start the new school year. In all, I will have nearly five months away from work. It’s more time than I know what to do with and already I feel like I am monumentally wasting it.

I’m trying to remember that no one is asking anything from me and it’s only my own expectations of myself that I am falling short of. I’m trying to remember that it’s okay not to do anything, make anything, or accomplish anything right now. It’s okay just to focus on taking care of my mental and physical health and to be honest that is a monumental task in itself.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the social distancing order is starting to take a greater and greater toll on my emotional wellbeing and this past week was the hardest one yet.

Monday started off okay. I had a plan. I had a goal. I was excited and confident. The weather was warm, the house was clean, and I felt happy to have so much time and so much to do but slowly day after day, no matter how hard I tried to begin again and again the good feelings slowly slipped away. I felt less and less excited, less and less motivated, and less and less happy about all this time on my hands. I missed my family and friends more and more and my anxiety kept getting the better of me. I started having nightmares and, because my emotions manifest physically as symptoms of an autoimmune disorder, I started to feel really cruddy.

By Friday I was ready to explode in a rage or to sink fully into despair. The problem isn’t being confined to this space. It isn’t being cooped up. It’s the lack of people. It’s the lack of distraction from the self.

I’ve made so much progress toward loving myself more and enjoying solitude and time alone with myself and my thoughts, but this is pushing all that progress to the limit and threatening to undo it. It’s not that I don’t like myself, but like being around anyone else, myself and I, we need to take occasional breaks.

Without time away from myself or I get irritated and angry. I start noticing all my own flaws and nitpicking my little mistakes. I start to really dislike myself without the perspective offered by a little time apart and a few friends or coworkers to reinforce what I know, deep down, is good about myself.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week wasn’t as great of a writing week as the one before. I got a few pieces out but then the words were harder and harder to find and so was my energy and my focus. Still, it feels good to have written anything, and it feels good to know that every day I can try again if I fail.

I have worked out a kind of routine that helps get me started. I start by waking up before 7 and before my wife. I need time to wander around the house and do a little thinking by myself. I get dressed, wash my face, and brush my teeth. I drink a glass of cool water and take my meds and supplements. I check on all the plants and take care of the pets, clean a few dishes and make coffee.

(I do not check the news during this time. I’m learning that catching up on current events or checking social media gets me out of the introspective mindset I need to be in.)

I do all the little things I know I am going to want to do instead of writing first thing so I won’t have to feel guilty and so I won’t be tempted to procrastinate then I head to the “creativity room” and do my best to avoid distraction for as long as I can. Obviously not every day is a good writing day, not even most but I am writing more and writing better so I know I’m heading in the right direction.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that tomorrow is my birthday!

Unfortunately, I won’t be marking it with my usual zeal. Most years I’d spend this time new tattoos, touring museums, exploring new restaurants, and seeing friends and family for celebrations all month long, but this year it’s just going to be my wife and I.

She did her best to make it special though. We have a few clusters of crab legs in the freezer and artichokes waiting to roast—two of my favorite foods! We have bottles of wine chilling and almond cake for dessert. I hear rumors of gifts hidden around the house and we have movies to watch and board games planned to play. I’m actually looking forward to this low-key observance.

So, today is my last day of being 34 and think I’m going to miss it. I’m not quite ready to move into the mid-30s and to be so close to 40 but time marches on and each age offers its own kind of wisdom and happiness in exchange for the one you are being asked to give up. I think 35 will be the first year I feel finally fully grown up. I have worked hard this last year not only to overcome so many of my little fears but move out of my comfort zone from what is easy to what could be better.

Yes, 34 was a good age to be and I will miss it but 34-year-old me set 35-year-old me up so well I know that only more good is on the way and I can begin another trip around the sun with confidence and peace.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the rumbling in my stomach let me know it’s lunchtime and the rising fear of rambling on more than is pleasant or welcome are clear signs it’s time for me to finish my cup and go. It’s time for lunch and, afterward, I’d like to create a sense of normalcy by going about a pared-down version of my usual Sunday preparations.

I hope you had a good week. I hope you have been able and willing to stay inside both to protect yourself and your loved ones and to keep others in your community safe as well. I hope you have what you need and that you have found ways to cope, to feel less alone, to feel less afraid. I’m here if you need me.

Until next time.

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

If you enjoyed this post, why not buy me a virtual coffee?

If We Were Having Coffee // The Best We Can Do Is Nothing

Hello, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up. 

It’s getting easier to wake up early again it the mornings, though my will power is still unreliable and my energy levels are unpredictable. I’m not sure if it’s my body or my mind that is the problem, which I suppose is just me trying to figure out whether the failing is my fault or not. I’m leaning toward not, but it’s still frustrating not only to be stuck inside but to be so lethargic too.

I managed to get up early today, but I only moved to the couch and laid down and then back to the bed to sleep again. There are actual things I have to do today, so I had to force myself up after a while. I reminded myself that not all is bad and that the day is not lost. The sun is out, and the weather promises warmth and the smell of nature coming back to life all around.

Here, please, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. I’m throwing the curtains wide and opening all the windows. I have a fresh batch of blond roast brewed from the French press and silky smooth vanilla oat milk to add a touch of sweet flavor. Let’s talk about last week.

“There is nothing like being left alone again, to walk peacefully with oneself in the woods. To boil one’s coffee and fill one’s pipe, and to think idly and slowly as one does it.”

― Knut Hamsum

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week like many before has been a hard one. Many of us are on lock down, stuck indoors and doing our best to stay well and sane.

I’ve hardly left the house at all these past weeks and though I’m coping the very best I can, but each day is an emotional roller coaster. One day I will be just fine bearing the bad news and the uncertainty admirably, and other days I feel like I am suffocating under my fear and anxiety. The bad days are growing more frequent as the news grows more dire, the warnings more insistent, and the long-term trajectory pushed further and further out.

This week it was announced that school districts all over the city will complete the remainder of the year remotely. For the people like me who work in transportation or other departments deemed nonessential to classroom to classroom learning that means an “extended stay-cation” as my boss put it in the email. The district has promised to pay all employees until the end of the school year, but there is some debate about when that is.

I know I’m still one of the lucky ones and at the very least I have months to go before I really need to worry, but I am planning ahead now. Luckily with the lock down comes reduced spending.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that another big change came this week when the CDC and the Governor announced recommendations that everyone who ventures out to grocery stores or anywhere that social distancing becomes difficult should wear a cloth mask or covering over their nose and mouth. Yesterday we had to run to the home improvement store and today I picked up some provisions for my mom to celebrate her birthday on her own.

Both times we wore our homemade masks and both times I noticed increased anxiety while it was on. I thought I would feel better with it on, more protected and I guess but it was very much the opposite. I felt even more in danger. I couldn’t breathe and I wanted to be out of the house even less than I already had to be. We’re thinking of postponing our grocery trip for the week as long as possible as coronavirus cases are expected to peak.

We don’t have a lot of food, but we can last a little while. My hope is that later in the week we can order essentials for delivery or pickup to reduce our exposure inside of the store.

The more I think about our circumstances, the state of the world, and everything that has changed in just the last month, I feel a sort of mental vertigo. I just can’t comprehend it. Mentally, I can only manage a very shallow examination of the present situation. Any more than that and I run up against disbelief, grief, and fear. I keep thinking how fragile everything turned out to be and how close to absolute ruin we all really are.

I want to believe it won’t come to that. I want to believe we’re all in this together and that no matter what there will be people to help my wife and I should we need it. I’m also working out how we can do the same for others while we are okay, but I think right now the best thing we can do is nothing.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I miss my family and friends very much. I did not think it would be so hard when everyone is just a phone call or social media post away, but these digital half measures don’t feel anywhere near the same.

I miss going to work where, even though there was so much stress, there was also so much laughter. My friends were there and when I was sad or needed anything, they knew just how to pull me out. I’m lucky that I am not completely alone, but people need friends as much as they do their spouses. Life is good here, but we both need more.

It isn’t just that either. April is a special month for me and as hard as I am working to accept it the truth is still hard to swallow. I will be spending my birthday here alone. I still have my wife and we’ll still make it special together, but I can’t help feeling a little bummed about it.

And it isn’t just me either. My mother’s birthday is next week, and she will be celebrating alone too. I did find some way to celebrate her though. Today we picked up some food from a local brunch place that included a “mimosa kit”. We got her a cake and some flowers and a small gift. I quickly dropped it all off and left. I still have to limit contact and keep her safe. There is no way of knowing who the asymptomatic carriers are now.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that in the meantime I’m just trying to keep my mind busy and find a way to pass the days.

These last few days, and for the rest of April, I’m participating in the WordPress Daily Discover Prompts Challenge. So far I have been able to write and post something every day, though with the errands and this chat I’m not sure I will make it today. I’m giving myself permission and forgiveness to miss a day if I have to. I don’t want to stress myself over something that is meant to be a stress reliever, and I don’t want to ruin the fun either.

And it has been fun, or exciting anyway. It’s amazing how easily I was able to get back into my groove and find the ideas even if I couldn’t find the time to write them exactly as I wanted or the best I know I could if I had more than a day. But that’s okay too because I have realized something quite freeing and comforting about writing recently, you can write about the same thing more than once. I can take theses ideas and these half-cocked attempts and try again and again until I get it right.

So, this is more than just 30 days of blog posts, it’s 30 days of ideas and inspiration I am pulling out of myself, the hardest skill in writing to cultivate by far.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that even in the midst of a global pandemic Sundays never seem to lose that old Sunday feel. There is still so much to do, even when there is nothing at all to do. Sundays around here are almost exclusively for cleaning. We’ve been out a few times, and it’s important to disinfect plus with so much time at home the clutter and mess seem to grow at twice the rate and if you let the mess grow to large, it can consume you. Cleaning is the most immediate cure for most woes, you know?

I hope you had a good week, but I know the reality is most of you probably didn’t. I hope you are at least well, that have been able to stay home, that you have been paid and if you haven’t, I dearly hope you can file for unemployment or that governments at all levels all over the world find a way to support you, their people.

Until next time.

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Julien Labelle on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Holding My Breath

Hello, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up. 

Sundays are turning out to be the hardest days of the week. The others run together now. I do nothing but what I have to and what I have the energy for, but expectations still exist on Sundays, expectations I can’t meet. I got up early enough, and I made an effort to take care of myself first. I’ve showered, dressed, and eaten, that’s more than I do most days now already, but what else should there be to the day? When Mondays are no longer Mondays, it’s hard for Sundays to feel much like Sundays should. Still, somehow, the chores and weekly preparations help, and copious amounts of coffee and a friendly chat will get me through.

So, please, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. The sun is shining outside, but the air is still chilly. It’s not quite far enough into the spring to prompt the switch to cold brew so I’ve got the usual, light roast grounds (packed with a little extra caffeine kick) stepping in the French press and frothy sweet oat milk to smooth it out. Let’s talk about last week.

“Coffee meant something to people. Most found their lives were miserable without it. Coffee was a lot like love that way.”

― Sarah Addison Allen, The Peach Keeper

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that every week this month has been harder than the last, and this past week was no different. 

The entire state of Colorado is now under a stay-at-home order. Not much has changed for my wife and I since we’ve been sheltering in place since the schools closed for an “extended Spring break” weeks ago. This week we had to go out three times, and each time it was healthcare-related. I had to be seen for severe pain. (Don’t worry, I’m okay now.) I had to go to the clinic for my regular infusion, and I had to head to the pharmacy to pick up medication.

Each time I took every precaution but to be honest it terrified me to be in what, to my mind, is the most likely place to pick up the virus. Thankfully, I should not have to go out again for anything healthcare-related for another month at least! 

Grocery shopping continues to be a source of anxiety. We’re no longer going on the weekends and instead are planning on trying to get what we need throughout the week. We’ve, thankfully, got enough toilet paper to get us through the coming week, but food stores are always only planned for a week out. I’m constantly worried we won’t be able to get what we need due to other’s panic buying or that the supply chain will collapse and there will be nothing for anyone to buy.

I’m a little less worried about my loved ones. More of them have been given the opportunity to work from home this past week, and some of those that have found themselves temporarily unemployed have been able to find work. They are all still feeling well too, but knowing that symptoms can take anywhere from 2 to 14 days to show after exposure means I’m holding my breath, playing the waiting game, and hoping that we all stay well.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that figuring out how to spend my days, how to fend off boredom, restlessness, and irritability have become foremost in my mind.

I’m happy and thankful to have my wife and my pets here with me. I think if I had to isolate on my own, I would be a lot looser with the guidelines. I wouldn’t be able to help myself from going out, from seeing family, from the urge to be near people. I’m glad to have a home that is warm and loving, but the place isn’t very big and there are moments when the walls close in and suddenly we are on top of each other. It’s helped to make use of other rooms. It helps to wear headphones and escape. It helps to make sure the time we are together is quality time and not just time spent next to one another, but in wholly different worlds. 

I’m surprised to find that the longer this goes on, the more I miss not just my close friends but even acquaintances and strangers. Humans truly are social creatures and even those like me who consider themselves to be on the introverted side of the spectrum need to feel the presence and sense of peace and protection that comes from being around large groups of people. I miss work. I miss my favorite stores. I miss movie theaters and restaurants not for the places themselves but for other people frequenting those places. 

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that from day to day I am slowly developing a new routine, but it has been hard not to be dictated by cravings and mood swings. I’m had to go back to setting alarms to make sure I not only wake up early enough to make use of the day but to go to bed early enough that my circadian rhythm won’t receive too much of a shock whenever the world does return to normalcy and I return to work. 

Setting reminders to do things like eat or take medication helps too. It has helped not to wear pajamas all day, and to spend an hour or more unplugged and cleaning or completing projects. I’ve been taking care of my houseplants, re-potting, diving, propagating, and fertilizing them all in turn. They are all loving the attention and I’m seeing fresh growth all throughout the house. I’ve been reading a lot too. A few weeks ago the end of It by Stephen King felt impossibly far away, but today I have only a little over 150 pages left! 

I’m slowly making my way through all seven seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and re-watching some of my favorite movies to keep from obsessing over the news all day. For now, I’m allowing myself a quick catch up in the morning and I watch New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s press conference, which I have found infinitely more informative and reassuring than anything the President has to say. In the evening I check in with our local news and hear any updates from our own Governor Jared Polis, who I think is doing a wonderful job leading our state.

I’ve decided that checking any other outlets or reading any other speculative pieces only adds to my feelings of anxiety, helplessness, and fear. I don’t need opinions or maybes right now. I want facts. I want a plan. I want to know what is being done and what I should be doing only. If you are feeling the same, I suggest you adopt a media diet like mine. It may be bland, but at least it’s nutrient dense.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that by the next time that we chat it will be a whole new month. Time is passing fast now and faster the longer we live in this isolation. It’s comforting, knowing that, come what may, we are moving quickly toward some kind of end. It’s terrifying too, for the same reason.

This morning Cuomo said that everyone is afraid, even those who must man the front lines and risk their lives to care for the sick and keep society intact. He meant to reassure us all that the way we feel is normal. He meant to make us feel a little less alone. We may be separated now but this worry, this fear, and this end, whatever it looks like, unites and connects us all.

I’ve been thinking, or hoping rather, that all this disruption, and fear, and death won’t be in vain. I’ve been thinking about all that has changed and all that could stay “changed”, if we wanted it to. I hope that when we finally begin to see the light at the end of this tunnel and are allowed again to return to each other, we stay as united as we are now that we have to be so isolated. I hope we remember not just what is important, but who. I hope we rethink everything now that the flaws in our institutions and economics have been laid so bare.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that doing nothing turns out to be the most exhausting activity of all. I’ve been allowing myself one short nap a day, should I need it, and it seems I always end up needing it after all.

I hope you had a good week. I hope social distancing hasn’t been too hard. I hope you have the food and necessities that you need and that you and your loved ones are well. I hope you know I’m here for you, and if you are one of the many deemed essential and have been asked to risk your own health for us all, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Until next time.

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Dmytro Davydenko on Unsplash

If you’re looking for this week’s song, from now on I’ll be adding them under the “music” tag rather than in the Weekend Coffee Shares.

If We Were Having Coffee // One of the Lucky Ones

Hello, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

The days have been running into one another lately, and time has ceased dividing into recognizable or manageable segments. That is to say, I almost forgot today is Sunday and when I did realize, it took some time to remember what that means. So, it’s been a late start and then a slow start, but at least I started at all. Social isolation isn’t good for the mind, body, or spirit but virtual chats help, venting, unburdening, and sharing helps, coffee helps.

So, please, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. I have the usual: coarse blond roast steeping in the French press with frothed sweet vanilla oat milk to compliment the mellow brew. Let’s talk about last week!

“Take a shower. Wash away every trace of yesterday. Of smells. Of weary skin. Get dressed. Make coffee, windows open, the sun shining through. Hold the cup with two hands and notice that you feel the feeling of warmth.”

― Charlotte Eriksson, You’re Doing Just Fine

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was strangely both the quietest week and the most nerve-wracking I’ve ever had. My wife and I are doing our best to practice social distancing and have hardly left the house except to buy groceries or to walk the dog. It hasn’t been easy to be away from work or to be away from our friends but I’m grateful to have someone I love and like to spend this pandemic with.

For the most part we’ve been cleaning, or watching movies together. She’s had some work to do from home and while she works I sit across from her and try to write. I’ve been reading too and catching up on missed podcast episodes and new albums from artists I like.

It hasn’t been a time of perfect productivity or even self-care, though. I’ve been struggling to keep up anything like my usual schedule and failing to muster the motivation to create a new one. It’s hard to do anything with a threatening cloud of depression and anxiety hanging over your head. It’s hard to be productive when you feel compelled to check the news constantly. It’s hard to get out of bed when you miss your friends, and every event you had been looking forward to through the next few months has been cancelled.

Still, I know this is for the greater good and that makes it easier to bear. I know that eventually a feeling of normalcy will return to daily life, and eventually we’ll find a way through this so we can return to being the social creatures we naturally are.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that around the middle of the week I received an email from the school district with the news that this extended Spring break is being extended even further. Now I won’t be returning to work until at least Monday, April 20th now. However, the Governor made a statement the same day expressing that the likelihood of the school year resuming at all this year is growing increasingly unlikely. I believe that I will be away from work through the end of May at least, and probably through much of the summer too.

I’m glad I get to stay home, to keep myself and my family safe, and I’m glad I will be paid for this time, even though I can’t even work from home. There are opportunities to help out though, and I am considering volunteering to do something for the community. My district is delivering meals and books to kids across the city and they’re asking for help. I’m conflicted though. Many of my medications affect my immune system response, and my wife has asthma. I would hate to get sick and I would hate even more to bring it home to her.

We’re also exploring ways to help through monetary spending and donation. We’re going to continue ordering food for delivery to support local restaurants and businesses, and I’d like to contribute to Project Angel Heart and the Colorado COVID Relief Fund too. We’re going to do as much as we can, but I wish we could do more. It’s hard not to be able to fight something so big, something you can’t see, something so unstoppable. My heart and my deepest thanks goes out to those who are doing more. The medical community, the retail and janitorial workers, the journalist and other news staff, and even our elected leaders who are risking their lives and the lives of their loved ones to fight this for us.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that not everything was cancelled this week. On Tuesday I attended a CPR Instructor class. They took plenty of precautions. We were asked to wash our hands every time we left and reentered the room. We were then asked to use hand sanitizer and for the afternoon portions of the class we were asked to use gloves. We each sat 6 feet from one another and we could not share mannequins or any other equipment and at the end of the class we disinfected everything we’d touched with rubbing alcohol.

I was very nervous about the class itself, but it turned out to be a lot easier and a lot more laid back than I thought it would be. I did learn a lot, but I feel confident both in my own skills and my ability to teach adult and infant CPR, first aid, and the use of an AED. Now I’m only nervous about following the American Heart Association guidelines to keep my instructor certification. I have to submit the paperwork properly and timely, and I will have to be observed teaching as well—eek!

I was supposed to take a four day Crisis Prevention and Intervention Instructor class next month too, but according to the website all classes have been postponed until further notice. Oh well, it’s not like I’m working right now anyway and I know that as soon as it becomes possible I will get my certification.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that even though we may not be able to go to the movies, or restaurants or out to bars with our friends we are trying to get out into the neighborhood as much as possible. The weather has been cold and dreary these past couple of days and on the first day of Spring we saw the first major snowstorm we’ve had in over a month, but there has been sun in between and the temperatures are forecasted to rise again this week. We’re taking the dog for long walks whenever we can.

My wife is getting out more than me. She goes in the early morning when it’s too cold for my liking, but I’d like to take my turn in the sun nearer the afternoon this week. I had hoped that we would be able to get some hiking in, but the Rocky Mountain National Park has closed and many of the trails close to the city are reportedly overcrowded and impossible to practice social distancing on. I’m still looking for a quiet place for my wife and I to to immerse ourselves in nature and forget for at least a little while all the surrounding terribleness.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that self-care is so important right, but it’s proving harder than ever to find the motivation or energy to remember what it is I need right now. It’s harder to remember to shower, to eat, and to take my medication than it ever was when I was working those long and stressful hours. It’s harder to go to bed at a decent time, to wake up early, to clean up and to stay off your phone.

I’m trying to shift my focus from being a working and productive individual to being a feeling and needing human being. While isolating myself for the greater good, I can’t forget to keep myself safe and healthy too. The old routines may be gone, and new ones may be hard to pin down, but time has to be made and effort given to the remainder of the basic human needs, if nothing else.

It helps to practice gratitude too and to find new ways to connect with people I care about. I’ve never been good at picking up the phone, but this past week I’ve tried a little harder. I am checking in with family and with friends who are still expected to work and as far as I can tell those close to me are safe and sound too. I wish more people could take off from work, and I wish more people could be assured financial stability the way my wife and I have been. I’m one of the lucky ones, and remembering that goes a long way toward keeping a positive perspective.

It helps too to remember that nothing is being asked of me during this time except to stay home and to stay safe, and if that means not asking much of myself either than that is what I will do. The days might be made of little more than some writing, some reading, some walking and a whole lot of rest and that’s okay. It’s okay to do whatever I want, whatever I need, and to do nothing at all too. It has to be okay.

We all have to remember that nothing is being expected of us right now. Nothing but doing our best to stay well and to keep each other well too.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the day is wearing on and the coffee and the chat have been helpful it’s reminded me of all my fears, frustrations, and failing. I’m starting to feel down, anxious, and overwhelmed. It’s time I return to distracting myself again. It’s time to zone out, to forget this pandemic, to fix myself a drink, and lose myself in a show or a book for the rest of the night. Tomorrow will bring more news and more changes and I need to be ready, emotionally.

I hope you had a good week. I hope you have been able to isolate yourself, to stay well, and to stay sane. I hope you keep in touch with your loved ones and never forget you are not alone. We are all in this together, even if we must deal with it apart. I hope you know I’m here for you.

Until next time.

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

If you’re looking for this week’s song, it’s here in its own post. From now on, I’ll be adding songs under the “music” tag rather than in the Weekend Coffee Shares.

If We Were Having Coffee // A Little Claustrophobic and Crazy

Hello, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

I was up early this morning, but my internal clock is so thrown off it took me a while to get moving. I’m so thrown off by the social changes, cancellations, and disruptions that I can’t grasp what I should be doing. I suppose that’s because there isn’t anything I should be doing. This is the most relaxed Sunday I’ve ever had. For the first time there is no Monday to plan for, to panic over, to resent or look forward too. There is no beginning to the week and no end, there is no order. I’m free floating this Sunday and I’m not sure at all how I feel about it.

So, please, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. Everything else may be uncertain, but there is still coffee to ground us. In an effort to hold tight to the familiar I’m brewing the usual: blond roast grounds steeped in the French press with frothed sweet vanilla oat milk to sweeten and temper. Let’s talk about last week!

Sometimes when you had nothing at all and it was raining and you were alone in the flat, it was wonderful to know that you could have something even though it was only a cup of black and bitter coffee.

― Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was chaotic and completely disorienting.

Most of the week was spent worrying about the novel coronavirus outbreak, both at home and at work. My wife and I are both at-risk or vulnerable individuals. She has asthma, and I have a chronic condition that requires medication to suppress the immune response. She’s already been fighting off a tough respiratory infection, and I’ve had to fight to stay healthy on both fronts. I’m shocked I haven’t caught anything…yet.

At work we started the week by putting out hand sanitizer and hanging new signs in the bathrooms. Then we started disinfecting the buses on a daily rotation and wiping down surfaces, keyboards, and door knobs multiple times a day. By the end of the week though the virus had become more widespread and prevention seemed too big a task to handle so the district I work for and the surrounding districts all announced they would be extending Spring break by a week or more.

I honestly think the district did the right thing. Even if we could have prevented the virus from spreading through our ranks, the panic was rising to levels just as dangerous. We could not effectively do our jobs with all the time required, for cleaning and covering routes would become too great a task as more and more employees opted to use their paid leave to stay home.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I feel incredibly lucky to have been given this time off. Normally I work straight through Spring break but the district has said no one, absolutely no one, can come into their buildings during this time. I’m also very lucky that the district has agreed to pay me during this time off too. It won’t be as much as I usually make, but it will be something and that is so much better than what many people will get during this crisis.

Actually, now that I think about it, it might turn out to be more than I would normally get paid! On Friday, even though the district was preparing for the closing and everyone was busy cleaning, my boss agreed to go ahead with interviews for the new job position they had been working on putting together for me and my team. I won’t say it was the best interview I could have given, but I did well enough and have been doing well enough in my current position that they offered me the job!

The only problem is, the pay hasn’t been finalized so though I will get back paid for this time I am off; I have no idea right bow what the hourly rate is that they will be paying me at. I’m not complaining though. I know it will be more than what I’m making now.

I’m very excited to start this new journey. Much of the job expectations and responsibilities are in flux and my time and I will essentially be “making it up” as we go along. I’ll get to go on doing what I love and to start doing more of what I have been dreaming of doing too. I’m proud of myself, and my whole team for finding a way to make our voices heard and for pushing and pushing and pushing until we got what we knew we deserved. I’m also beyond grateful to work for people who push me and who see my potential and believe in me even when I don’t.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that at first the idea of having two weeks in a row (at least) away from work sounded wonderful, but two days into this forced “staycation” and I am already feeling listless and lost. I’ve never had this much time off of work, and I’m not sure how to spend it, but I do know that I don’t want to waste it. I want to spend it doing all the things I always say I’d rather be doing when I’m at work. I’d rather be writing. I’d rather be reading. I’d rather be spending time at home, with my wife, with the dog. I’d rather be completing projects. I’d rather be sleeping.

So, that’s the plan, and the prayer is I don’t lose sight of that and waste this precious gift. Starting today, I’m back in my “creativity room”. I’ve been working on my “calendar, to-do list, and log book” strategy I adapted from Jeff Huang using Google docs and calendar. So far it’s working. So far I have been able to keep on top of tasks, events, and thoughts without the system itself becoming a time suck. I plan to write a proper and thorough post about my system once I’ve been at it for a few months and have worked out all kinks and worked in all the tweaks to make the system work for me.

My hope is that the system will keep me on track and motivated during this time of directionlessness.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that social distancing is going to be a lot more difficult to achieve than it would seem on the surface. Normally when I am off I savor the time to be away from people but looking ahead to all the alone time, the time cooped up; the time staring at these walls is making me feel a little claustrophobic and crazy. People need people and though my wife is here with me, I know we’ll eventually get tired of one another. People need other people, you know?

Yesterday we ventured out to the grocery store for snacks and other inessentials, to see the state of the world, and to be among other people. I know the risk we took and the risk we put other people at, but apparently there is a difference between choosing to stay indoors and being forced to stay indoors and the latter quickly becomes unbearable.

We brought hand sanitizer, used wipes for surfaces and carts, avoided standing too close to others, and were careful not to touch our faces until we were safely back home and had washed our hands thoroughly. It was good to get out, but it was nerve-wracking too. I may have gotten it out of my system for the next few days at least.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I already had a couple of appontments and events scheduled for this week and though it was a hard choice to make I’ve decided to honor them as long as the establishments I’m patronizing are open.

I have a CPR Instructors course on Tuesday that is, according to the Training Center’s website, still on. There are additional precautions and guidelines being observed. As soon as I enter, I will have to wash my hands and before going into any rooms I will be required to use hand sanitizer. I’ll have my own pocket mask and one-way valve and will have to use gloves and alcohol during the class itself. I almost wish they would just cancel class rather than require all these extra steps.

After the class, I have tickets to a St. Patrick’s Day movie event at my favorite theater. I’m debating whether or not to call and ask for a refund, but we have been looking forward to this for a long while now. The theater sent out an email earlier in the week with all the extra precautions they are taking right now including sanitizing the arm rests and tables between showing and all door knobs and surfaces throughout the day. I plan to bring my own wipes and more hand sanitizer along too.

After Tuesday I will probably adhere to stricter social distancing guidelines but so much has already been cancelled for me that I can’t, I won’t, give up any more unless I have too.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the sun has moved on to the west windows and though I have nowhere I have to be and no work week to prepare for, there is still a lot I want to accomplish. The house needs the same cleaning and it wouldn’t hurt to start the week with the same preparations. I can’t let myself stray too far from the usual routine, you know?

I hope you had a good week. I hope you and those close to you are well. I hope you have the luxury of working from home, or of not working at all during this outbreak. I hope you have someone sweet to isolate yourself with and if you don’t I hope you know you can always reach out to me if you need someone to talk to.

Until next time.

Jumping Off the Moon // Mac Ayres

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Only the Beginning

Hello, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

We’re having another late night coffee date. I’ve had to spend the day cleaning and preparing for the week all on my own. I’m used to splitting the chores with my wife but she’s still getting over a nasty cold and knowing she has to go into work tomorrow I thought it best I take over all the usual duties while she rests as much as possible. And now that the house is nice and clean, the laundry is washed and folded, the week’s breakfasts are prepped and dinner is cooked and eaten, I can finally sit down and take a little time for me.

So, please, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. The weather was so warm earlier that I was craving a little cold brew but now that the sun has gone down I think I’ll steep some blonde grounds in the French press and enjoy some creamy foamed vanilla oat milk over top. Let’s talk about last week!

The coffee is warm, this cup is yours. I want to be someone you can’t live without.

― Charlotte Eriksson

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was an easier one than I’ve had in a long time. Mondy thru Friday doing my usual work and coping with the usual stress but Thursday and Friday were carefree almost to the point of being boring.

Grades kindergarten through 8th were off and that means a lot less routes were running and a lot less of my coworkers were in. Those who were there had only one route to do and spent the rest of their time sanitizing buses and the break room. The class I had been working with had CPI and CPR and First Aid classes so I was off the hook for training. I spent most of my time catching up on our equipment inventory and correcting or creating paperwork for the work I have done for the past few weeks now. Everything must always be documented.

The break was nice. I had been feeling I had lost interest and enthusiasm for my work. I stopped caring. I started feeling irritable, resentful, and exhausted by my work. I stopped taking it seriously. This break, though small, reset me somewhat. I feel ready to begin again Monday, or, at least, I feel ready to finish the work I have been doing for months now and to move on to doing something new.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that though work was easy enough home life has been a bit of a struggle. My wife has had this cold since last Tuesday and that was about the last time I had a good night’s sleep. Her cough is pretty bad and in an effort to allow me some rest she has been spending the night on the couch and I have stayed in our bed.

Unfortunately, I can still hear her and even when I can’t I am still awake worrying about her. It’s a routine respiratory infection I’m sure but her asthma complicates it and every day I expect her to get better and she only seems to be getting worse. We’ve agreed that if there are no changes by tomorrow she is going into urgent care.

Of course everyone keeps asking if she has coronavirus. They say it with a laugh but I can tell they are all only half joking. I can hear the fear and panic in the question. I laugh back but the truth is I wonder too. Of course i know the chances of that are impossibly small but the media keeps reminding me that there is no way to know how many people have it and that any minutes now the epidemic will become widespread. The truth is part of me wonders too and I am just as afraid.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this coming week is going to be one I savor. It’s the last one before the district goes on Spring break and the last normal work week I will have before the classes I have coming up and the work trip around the corner.

The worst of my work will be done by Wednesday. That’s when the class of new employees I have been working with finally takes their tests and moves on to working with other trainers. The last class I trained was finally released Friday afternoon and the next class will begin elsewhere too. It looks like very soon I will have the peace and quiet I have been craving and I need it too. My anxiety is sky high and rising by the day.

After this week I will take my CPR instructor class and almost directly after I’ll be heading off to Texas for a conference. The class terrifies me because I hear I will have to get up in front of the other attendees and pretend to teach one section of the course. The trip terrifies me because I have never been away from my wife for so long and I’m afraid of how much I will miss her. I’m afraid of both because when I get back things will start changing quickly for me. I’m afraid because it is all only the beginning.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the sun has long gone down. I’ve long finished my coffee, and my beer too. It’s long past my bedtime and though I don’t expect to sleep well I know I have to try to get as much rest as I can.

I hope you had a good week. I hope that Spring has come early and that you have found time to enjoy the warmth and the sun. I hope you are well and thet you aren’t worrying too much about the coronavirus and if you are I hope you turn off the news every once in a while and make time to breathe. I hope you know it will be okay.

Until next time.

Bloom // bLAck pARty

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by nomao saeki on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Moving Too Fast

Hello, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

This Sunday hasn’t turned out at all like I thought it would. I thought I’d spend it out of the house. I thought we’d be chatting a lot earlier, and I thought I’d be feeling a lot more stressed out, but I woke up to late to write, then my plans all got cancelled, and I was able to clean, meal prep, and take a nap at my own slow pace. I thought maybe we wouldn’t get to chat at all. I thought maybe I didn’t have the time or the energy but I want to try. I know in the end a little coffee and conversation always helps.

So, please, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. I had hoped the sun would stay out for a little longer but the clouds came in quickly signalling that snow is moving in for the night. I’ve already seen a few flakes blowing in the window. Oh well, spring is on the way. I know because I’ve been craving cold brew coffee again but winter is still here so it’ll be a hot brew instead straight from the French press. Let’s talk about last week.

A little coffee. A little sunlight. Your troubles will get smaller.

― Richard Webber

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was as stressful as always but this time I’m not complaining. I felt better, more energetic, and enthusiastic about my work. I felt not just willing to work but happy that there was work to do and that I had a body capable of getting it done.

Another new class of employees started and this past week they began their training with us to learn how to work with Special Needs students. This class’s is going well but there have been some bumps and frustrations along the way. Unfortunately, being as low on the totem pole as I am I’m at the mercy of nearly everyone else’s wants and opinions about how things should go. I have had to adjust and bend to nearly breaking to accommodate the changes and the class’s schedule has had to be pushed, and pushed, and pushed back and I suspect will have to be pushed some more before the end of next week too.

It’s all right though. I’ve found my happy place and maintained a sense of Zen and calm throughout it all. I can only do my best and anyway, I am paid by the hour. The more they push the better for me.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I had my second infusion appointment for the new medication I have been on and I am happy to report that I am still feeling good and there have been so side effects or adverse reactions beyond more fatigue.

There was a bit of bad news after a phone visit with my doctor a few days later when I mentioned that though I was feeling good I could tell it wasn’t 100% yet. She worries I could very easily slip back into a severe flare and to help keep that from happening she has put me back on steroids. The only silver lining is that it isn’t the hard stuff. This time I’m put on something a little milder with less side effects and more suited to long-term use.

I’m halfway through my loading doses now and very soon I’ll only be visiting the infusion center every other month. I’m also coming off another medication and hoping to come off of a third shortly after. This all has me feeling very optimistic but as that optimism grows the dark doubt underneath it compound. Every medication so far has failed and the flares always comes roaring back worse, and worse, and worse than before. I can’t stop wondering when, not if, the next bout of pain will come.

Still, I know even if that pain comes it will be okay one way or another. This week I met someone else with ulcerative colitis in real life for the first time. He’s much older than me and has had the surgery I believe I am on my way toward and he looks healthy and happy. I asked him my questions, which he answered readily, and at the end of our conversation he offered me one piece of advice: not to try so hard to be strong, to recognize when I am losing the fight, and to ask for help often. These words were just what I needed.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this weekend was a rather quiet one. Friday night my wife and I went out for a little impulse shopping. The weather was nice, for the end of February and the sun has been setting late enough that we can begin to venture out past our regular routines and enjoy more in the evening than just T.V. and sleep.

I spent most of Saturday on the couch. I took my meals there, and in between I took a couple of naps. I’m not entirely sure whether I needed it. I can’t tell if the fatigue was mental or physical but I know something kept me from making the most of my day off and I’m profoundly disappointed over it. Sure, it felt really good to do nothing at all for a day but I have a feeling it would have felt much better to accomplish something, anything, instead.

I managed to rouse myself from the funk by the time evening fell. We had plans with a group of friends to celebrate a few birthdays. We made our way downtown for dinner and drinks and then afterward we put our thinking caps on and worked as a team to beat the clock by finding clues and solving puzzles at a local zombie themed escape room.

We did our best, but we weren’t able to find the door code before the clock wound down. Half of us had never been in an escape room (including me) and we did choose the hardest room. Maybe we were a little overconfident, and it sucks that we lost but we still had a really good time.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I can hardly believe it’s a new month already. February is a short month, sure, but the whole year seems to be flying by too. The whole world has been moving too fast for me lately.

Part of it is the long hours I’ve been working, the chaotic schedule and the rapidly shifting role I’m playing at work and the end of the school year fast approaching, but part of it is everything else too. It’s social media, it’s the news cycle, it the election, the corona virus, the stock markets crashing, the economy on the verge. It’s all the anxiety and anger on the internet and the airways.

I’m trying to slow down, to unplug and decompress. I’m trying to take care of myself, to keep a level head, to be rational, and to stay calm but perspective is hard to come by and I the world is wearing me down. I’m afraid of the new normal and for the next worse thing that seems to come around the corner every day. I think I need some time away. A vacation is becoming less and less something I want and more and more something I’m in desperate need of.

I don’t know how we can all keep up this pace. I don’t know how the world can continue like this before something gives and that big bad thing we can all feel coming finally arrives. OR maybe nothing is coming, and it’s only this state of being so aware and informed that is driving me, and everyone else too, a little crazy. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all get away for a while, all at once?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the sky has long gone from dusk to dark and dinner time is giving way to dessert. It’s time for me to do the work of enjoying the last of my weekend and readying myself the start of the work week.

I hope you had a good week. I hope February was good to you. I hope you enjoyed your leap day. I hope wherever you are the world isn’t moving too fast for you and if it is I hope you know that you can step off the ride whenever you like for a little perspective and a little peace.

Until next time.

Unwind // healy

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Izzy Rivi on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Bubbling Below the Surface

Hello, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

It’s another late start here this morning. It’s been late starts for over a week now despite the restful nights I’ve been having. It seems there is a new kind of exhaustion plaguing me. The weather isn’t helping either. Snow is falling in big, slow flakes this morning and is forecast to continue throughout the day. It’s going to be an indoor day which is just fine. I have plenty of chores and projects around the house and a few writing and reading things I want to do too.

So, please, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. I’ve got the usual: blond roast grounds steeped to maximum strength in the French press with frothy vanilla oat milk (or soy if you prefer) to pour over top. Let’s talk about last week.

“Coffee doesn’t lie. It can’t.”

― Howard Schultz, Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was short, stressful, and, somehow, surprisingly fun.

We were all off on Monday for President’s Day. I am coming more and more to understand the four-day workweek movement. Three days off from work seems to be the perfect amount with one day to get out and have fun or see friends and family, one day to run errands or complete a house project, and a third day to either devote to personal pursuits and passions or to do nothing at all if you need.

I spent a day with my wife and her family, a day doing nothing but reading, and a day cleaning and getting ready for the week.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the holiday meant the work week started on Tuesday, but not really. Our district always has the day after President’s day off too but some of us are given the option to come in and start projects or catch up with projects that have slipped through the cracks. I spent it completing my Heartsaver Instructor Essentials Online course and cleaning up equipment and paperwork that had started piling up. It wasn’t the quiet day I had hoped for but it was a nicer way to start the week.

Wednesday was the real start and rather than feeling disappointed or dragging my feet at having to return at all my coworkers and I found ourselves joyful and quick to laughter instead. It was the most fun workday I’ve had in a long time and just what I think all of us needed. Sadly, it didn’t last, and Thursday and Friday lacked the same vitality and vibrancy.

A lot of it came from our employee shortage and differences and unfairness across teams coming to a head. We’re all feeling burned out, defensive, and angry. The slightest inconveniences, misunderstandings, or criticisms feel like the last straw and no words or advice or comfort are helping. These problems have been bubbling below the surface for so long that there is no longer hope for change or willingness to resolve. Egos and stubbornness are running rampant and though I’ve managed to keep my head the negativity and hopelessness are draining me.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this weekend I was able to get out and forget about all of that gloom and cynicism. Friday night I hung out with my wife at home gorging ourselves on mediocre pizza and catching up on all the dumb shows we missed during the week. It was a calm and comforting end to the chaos.

Saturday we had plans to head south to Colorado Springs for a family event but there were issues with timing and coordination and we weren’t able to make it. Not wanting to waste the gorgeous weather (or the time spent getting ready) and knowing there was another snowstorm rolling over the mountains and heading right for us we decided to blow off all the things we should do and go impulse shopping together.

I ended up with a “houseplant toolset”, a beautiful young split-leaf philodendron, and a new book, Borne by Jeff VanderMeer. There was plenty of window shopping too, a trip to Starbucks, and a stop at our favorite burger place before heading home to get cozy and watch The Lighthouse, a back and white horror film from my favorite studio following two lighthouse keepers losing their minds on a remote island in the 1890s. It’s not for everyone but I still highly recommend it.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that health-wise I’m feeling somewhat better.

The cold I had been fighting is nearly gone but I have lingering congestion that is driving me crazy. I’m not entirely sure that the cold is to blame though. I’m leaning more toward early allergies or a side effect of the new medication I started the Tuesday before last.

This coming week I’ll have my second infusion appointment and a few days later a scheduled phone visit with my doctor. I have very little to tell her which is the same as good news I suppose. I’ve had a watchful eye out for side effects or returning symptoms and so far all I’ve had this runny nose. It’s frustrating but I’m not complaining too much. I would take a little runny nose over the severe sinus and throat pain I felt just over a week ago or the ulcerative colitis flare I was fighting a month ago. Compared to all that I’m feeling right as rain again.

Searching my support groups I’ve found others who suffered cold-like symptoms after starting the same medication and they’ve given me hope that within a few doses (which is actually a time period of months) the side effects should clear up. 

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it’s getting late. The snow has stopped, and the sun has long gone down below the horizon. The house is clean, I’ve eaten dinner, and now it’s time for dessert and the latest episode of The Outsider. It’s time shut my mind down and let myself forget about the rest of the world for just a little while longer before the work-week begins.

I hope you had a good week. I hope that you are feeling well. I hope you remember to wash your hands frequently and that you know to take a little zinc at the first sign of a cold. I hope that you’ve noticed the sun rising earlier in the mornings and setting later and later every evening and that gives you hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that spring is on her way.

Until next time.

C’est tout // Clay and Friends

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Alex Loup on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // A Hopeless and Enduring Romantic

Hello, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

I hope you don’t mind another late-night coffee chat. Most Sundays I’m up before first light but a late night last night meant a late start this morning and as a result a late day all around. Not only that, but it’s family day again—at my in-laws this time—and leaves very little time to spend on chores, to-do lists, or slowly sipping coffee all day, but it’s okay.

The weather is gorgeous and to be honest I’d rather get out of the house, see the sun, and spend some time with people I love than worrying about the workweek, or cleaning, or even writing or reading. And anyway this weekend is a long one so there is no need to rush any of it. I may not have been able to give you the day but we have all night and plenty of caffeine.

So, please, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. I’ve got a light blond roast steeping in the French press and a bit of cold frothed sweet vanilla oat milk to pour over top. Let’s talk about last week.

“For more than three decades, coffee has captured my imagination because it is a beverage about individuals as well as community.”

― Howard Schultz, Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was a hard one to get through but it wasn’t work that made it so hard for a change.

More than a week ago I felt myself coming down with a nasty cold. I had a sore, raw, and dry feeling in my throat and even worse fatigue than usual. I did my best to rest and drink plenty of fluid throughout last Saturday and Sunday but by Monday I could barely get out of bed.

I had an infusion appointment for my new medication Tuesday morning and I worried that if I wasn’t feeling better by then I would have to postpone. There’s a waiting list for this medication so I opted to take Monday off from work and spend the day sleeping on the couch, drinking plenty wof fluids, and taking all my medications and supplements. By the evening I really was feeling better and my appointment the next morning went ahead as scheduled without issues.

But Wednesday morning I woke up feeling like I’d been run over by a truck and I only got worse, and worse, and worse. The sore throat turned into a cough and the worse sinus pain I have ever had in my life. I ended up with headaches, congestion, swelling around the eyes, jaw pain, and muscle soreness. My whole body hurt!

I’m not sure if it was the cold getting worse or side effects from the infusion or, more likely, some combination of the two but I’m really hoping it won’t be like this every time. My next appointment is less than a week away so we’ll find out then.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that though I was still miserable by Friday, I did my best to keep my spirits high to celebrate Valentine’s Day with my wife.

We’ve been together for too long now to make a very big deal out of the day. There are no flowers or chocolates, teddy bears or little boxes of jewelry. No, not since our early years have we felt the need to make material gestures out of our love. Nowadays we make reservations some place nice and enjoy a few drinks and a nice meal together.

This year my wife broke the rules a little and ordered a nice lunch to be delivered to my workplace but she swears it was because I was sick not because it was Valentine’s Day and therefore not a violation of our tradition or agreement. I’m skeptical but because it was so sweet I’ll allow it this year.

For dinner, we tried a new Peruvian place that opened up around the corner. My wife has been wanted to go there, but the menu intimidated me and I’ve been stalling for a while but Valentine’s Day felt like a good time to put on my big girl pants and try something new. I’m glad we did too because the place was amazing. The food and drinks were delicious. The atmosphere was intimate and cozy. The service was superb, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

I know most long-term couples don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. I know most people consider it a commercial holiday meant for young or new love but I see it as something bigger than that. It’s a day to celebrate love—all kinds of love!—and though we do (or should) celebrate our partners and our relationships every day it still feels good to spend one day a year celebrating it all together.

I love the cheap gifts and the grand gestures. I love the corny cards, the packed restaurants, and the sappy way we all look and talk about each other. I being in love and being around love, but that’s just me, an admitted, unashamed, hopeless and enduring romantic.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that taking two days off of work didn’t make the week feel any shorter. With the snow day last Friday that made five days away from work and meant there was a lot to catch up on.

The new class of employees is just about through my portion of the training and I’m already looking ahead to the next one. I had been told they would start this coming week, but it looks like I’ll get a chance to catch up on other duties I’ve had to put to the side these last few months. Maybe I’ll get back to riding routes for a while too. I have been missing the kids. And maybe I’ll remember to make some time for myself and get back to long lunch breaks to read, write, and take walks in.

Oh, speaking of reading, I have made significant and surprising progress through my current read, It by Stephen King. The book is over 1,100 pages long and I do not want it to cause me to fall behind in my reading goals so I’m devoting an hour at least every night to the tome. I’ve just about made it to page 300 and so far I like it but damn is it bloated. Luckily King’s prose swings between delightful and suspenseful so though I think this story could have probably been told in half the time he holds my interest nonetheless.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it’s very late now and if I have any more coffee, I won’t sleep at all tonight. Staying up sounded nice at the start but this cold is still hanging on and I need all the rest I can get if I hope to return to the world by Tuesday.

I hope you had a good week. I hope wherever you are the sun has been out, and the snow has melted. I hope you are feeling well and if you aren’t I hope you get well soon. I hope that you had someone to love and be loved by on Valentine’s Day and if you felt alone, I would remind you that there are so many kinds of love in the world, love between friends, love between siblings, parent’s and children, and love of the self, and all deserve to be celebrated too.

Until next time.

Wood v2 // Felly

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Alex Loup on Unsplash