Not Just Your Garden-Variety Neurotic Smartass.

Shaking Off Slackerdom.

Good morning! It’s a rainy day here in the hood, and I woke up at four to a kitten kneading my armpit.

Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie/The Postal Service has been doing live acoustic shows from his home studio every night, and I’ve been watching them every morning. It really puts a great spin on my day, because I’m a huge fan of both bands.

Yesterday I got my ass in gear for the first time in a hot minute and cleaned out all of my dresser drawers, my closet, and the large cabinet in my room; and I wound up with five stuffed-full trash bags of clothing that either doesn’t fit or that I just don’t wear. Five bags! Needless to say, my closet is finally manageable; but I couldn’t part with a single concert t-shirt, so there’s still a sizable amount of clothes for me to lounge around in.

It felt really good to do something productive and not just sit on my ass watching Netflix all day, but I was so busy all day and so tired that I passed out on the couch at 6:30 and didn’t wake up until midnight, thereby missing a Zoom meeting with some good friends I haven’t seen in a year or so. I was PISSED.

There will be other meetings, though, I’m sure, and we created a group chat as well, so I’m glad to be a part of that.

I’m also listening to the radio constantly, which is great because I haven’t really done it in a while; and I’m hearing some fantastic new music and also some recorded live shows that WXRT has been playing. It truly helps the clear the pall that’s been cast over the world at this point in time.

Today I’m going to give the house a decent cleaning, and finally vacuum my dog hair-coated rugs. Pro tip: don’t get a light tan dog that sheds like a fiend when you have dark carpets.

Right now I’m just sucking down my morning pot of coffee and listening to The Red Hot Chili Peppers on the radio with a cat in my lap, and I’m glad to be safe in my home.

I really can’t express how grateful and in awe I am of all of the healthcare workers and first responders who are on the front lines dealing with this mess, and also the people I might not have really thought too much about; including truck drivers, food service workers, and grocery store employees. I’m so thankful for all they’re doing.

The rain has stopped, and the birds are singing outside, and it’s almost time to get in gear. Have a great day.

Quarantined.

Good morning! So, what’s happening with everyone during your respective quarantines?

I am not: reading anything of consequence, showering daily, wearing actual clothes, Working on my novel, doing laundry, or making my bed.

I am: binge watching The Office, preparing to dye my hair some weird color, constantly screaming at kittens (BECAUSE THEY ALWAYS GET INTO THE WIRES BEHIND THE TV ARRRRRGH), doing some light redecorating in my room with some odds and ends I had, and stress eating.

I also cook and clean the kitchen and things, but those are basic tasks. (Not that taking a shower isn’t a basic task. I’m just in Slob Mode.)

It’s an incredibly hard and uncertain time for so many people, and I guess if ihad anything to say it would be “Help people, and have the good sense to receive help if you need it.”

Stay safe.

During Which I Put Aside My Pride.

We are terribly short on funds in Casa Trance right now and could use some supplies. The state is now on lockdown and I can’t get rides anywhere. Even if I could, I’m not sure how I’d afford anything.

I don’t normally beg for money and I realize that a lot of people are in the same position as me right now, but if you can donate any small amount, I’d truly appreciate it.

My PayPal is jennifahbloom@gmail.com, and my cash app is $trancejen. Thank you so much.

Tales From the Deathbed.

Good morning, friends. I am in quite a state right now, as is evident by the thirteen hours of sleep I got (and sorely needed) last night.

Every winter I get sinus infections and bronchitis. This probably comes from being a stupid smoker (and now, instead, a stupid vaper), so I just take my antibiotics and deal with it.

This time, though, I have a horribly deep chest cough and my asthma is so bad that I am unbelievably short of breath even after hitting my inhaler. I called my doctor the other day and told her what was going on, and she said that since I wasn’t running a fever it didn’t sound like COVID-19. She kindly called in some super strong antibiotics and an extra inhaler to my pharmacy.

I still feel like shit, though. I’m more tired than I’ve ever been in my life, and not being able to breathe is aggravating my seizure disorder. Fun all around! So, I’ve just been sleeping most of the day and all night, too.

I thought about going to the hospital to get checked for pneumonia, but I’m guessing that the local hospital is as overcrowded as fuck right now, so I’m just going to hope that these antibiotics do the trick.

I just wish that I wasn’t so exhausted, because I have a huge pile of laundry that needs my attention, my floors need to be vacuumed, and my house is in general disarray.

I have been watching a movie every morning, though, so that’s been a nice little treat. How is everyone coping with self-isolation? Are you working from home now, or do you still have to go out and interact with people?

I saw a meme today that made me spit my coffee out because it’s pretty damned true for me and a lot of folks living on disability:

Heh. Take care, and stay safe. I’ll be here, increasing the dent in the couch.

LEGO Mania.

My daughter played with LEGOs pretty hardcore, as is obvious by the brutal scars I have on the bottom of my feet from stepping on them (I can’t see worth a shit). She always liked the little mini-figures and the superhero sets.

I was absolutely a LEGO kid, as is likely evident from the scars on the bottoms of my parents’ feet (we had shag carpeting). I was even privileged enough at one point in my young life to even be gifted the LEGO castle, which was one of my fondest dreams (that and the LEGO Death Star, which was unreasonably expensive but terribly cool).

I spent years playing with that castle – making the knights rebuild it brick by brick, lowering the little drawbridge on its tiny strings, imagining attacks by vicious LEGO dragons.

I also built little homes, schools, tree-lined streets formed with the large plastic lane-printed street squares, and I occasionally popped the heads off of my mini-people just to see how far they would fly. I had tiny cars with working wheels, tires with real treads, itty-bitty working steering wheels, and miniature taillights.

I spent countless hours sprawled out on the living room floor on my stomach, clicking little bricks together. Sometimes a friend would come over and we would LEGO it up, but I was perfectly happy just to play by myself in my imaginary plastic world.

I eventually grew out of my yen for the tiny blocks as puberty set in, but I still get a pang when I see LEGOs on the shelves at Target or at a toy store. (And wow, have they gotten pricey.) It takes me back to lying on the green shag carpeting in my shorts and a tank top, putting flags atop my castle and feeling perfectly content with the world.

I miss that.

Happy Sunday.

Apocalyptic Behavior.

I wrote briefly about the Coronavirus and some of my concerns the other day. I wasn’t concerned enough, apparently, as I went out Wednesday night for bingo and drinks, and now here we are: all socially isolating and in a national state of emergency.

I watched most of the Trump press conference yesterday and wound up turning it off after all the corporate advertising and Pence’s ass-kissing moment; but I still stand by the fact that we were so slow to react to all this as a nation that it’s pathetic.

The emergency relief bill still has to be passed by the Senate, and Mitch McConnell is out of sight.

Fuck yes, I’m concerned. I’m concerned about myself and my family and friends, and I’m concerned about everyone. I’m concerned about the elderly in nursing homes who now can’t even have visitors to brighten their respective days. I’m concerned about people with autoimmune diseases who cannot fight this virus like healthy people. I’m concerned about out-of-school kids getting fed. I’m concerned that I might have to start wiping my butt with pot holders.

Most of all, I’m concerned that since America was not on the ball for this one, it’s going to get much, much worse before it gets better.

So, if you’re scared and frustrated and angry, you’re not alone. I think most of us are feeling these things.

I am trying to just breathe, keep the house clean because Jasmine’s friends are over a lot (something that probably needs to stop), and wash my hands.

I’m used to self-isolation so that isn’t bothering me much, but I can see how having your spouse telecommuting, your kids off school, or being shut in when you’re typically on the go all the time could be trying. I think that patience is key.

As far as getting tested, my daughter and I are thinking about it because we’ve both had deep chest colds for a while now. If my insurance will pay, I will go get tested in the interest of keeping my family safe.

Unfortunately panic buying is probably going to continue, so I’m also trying to be judicious in my use of supplies – particularly toilet paper. I’ve certainly cut down to only the squares needed, and I don’t waste.

I bought a Brita filter so that we won’t have to buy bottled water (which is in short supply as well as a huge waste of plastic), but it won’t fit my 1940’s-era faucet. So, we are looking at new kitchen faucets. The sprayer is broken on mine anyway.

I think the key to all of this is to be always mindful yet not panicky; and to also be considerate of your fellow humans, because if you yourself have symptoms and are not getting tested you are doing the people around you an enormous disservice.

Also, everyone is scared. Just be nice. That should be a given.

I’ll be writing some sort of funny shit soon. I promise. Take care.

Corona-Free.

I was seriously sick yesterday with a fever, aches, a nose running like a faucet, a cough, and a sore throat. Jasmine is sick too, and has been for a few days.

Naturally I assumed that we both had Coronavirus, because when I am sick it is usually the worst possible thing.

Today I feel much better. I have no fever, my throat doesn’t hurt, and I learned that the Coronavirus causes a dry cough, not a wet cough like I’ve had. I’d say I’m safe from this pandemic so far.

I am moderately worried about an outbreak of the virus in my immediate area, but I am washing my hands regularly and taking vitamins and not touching my face (which is harder than one would think); and I really don’t go many places. I think the hoarding of Clorox wipes is extreme, and it also royally screws over immunocompromised people who really need them. I don’t even know what to say about the hoarding of toilet paper. Were folks just not wiping before?

Makes you wonder.

Have a great day. Wash your damned hands.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.

Good morning! Yesterday morning I went to Hyde Park to pick up trash out of a vacant lot through which kids walk home from school. I went with friends, and we met another friend out there who was organizing the volunteer work.

The lot was littered with junk – broken beer bottles, chip bags, countless plastic cups and water bottles, and even a ripped-up Disney Frozen tent. We collected big trash bags full of junk all morning, and then went to lunch at Medici’s, which was excellent.

I enjoy doing community service – it’s so personally rewarding, and it’s great to help out in any way possible. However, all the bending over and reaching has left my thoroughly trashed back and out-of-shape body stiff and incredibly sore, so I’m writing this while lying on the couch, zonked on muscle relaxers.

Oh, the pain of herniated discs. The fun never ends.

I’m very glad I went regardless, because A) I sorely needed to leave the house for something other than errands, B) it helped alleviate the mental health issues I’m currently going through, and C) it felt great to do something productive and positive.

Have a great Monday. I’ll be on the couch.

I Am Lite FM Old.

Yesterday my mom took me to the grocery store, as she does most Saturdays. When I got in the car, the music was uncharacteristically loud, and Lionel Richie’s”Lady” was playing. I of course got into groove mode and started singing at the top of my lungs and rhythmically swaying in my seat.

“Jenny, you should listen to this station! It’s Lite FM! They play a lot of stuff you would love!”

I scoffed. Lite FM. Sure, I could get down with some Lionel, but I listened to WXRT, which is Chicago’s best station. It plays a wide variety of rock, “alternative”, and indie.

Still, we listened on, and I… I liked it. They played “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper. I can’t argue with that. They played a lot of songs I remembered and liked. I knew all the words to every damned song I heard.

I have no problem admitting that I’ve gotten older. I’m 46 – and don’t you fucking dare say that I’m OLD, I’m not OLD, I’m OLDER; I have an almost-22-year-old daughter, and I’ve been through some shit. I realize that I’m no longer 23 with a hot body, and I’m ok with that for the most part. (Most of the time. I have my days.)

Still, hearing some stone cold jams that I really loved on Lite FM really fucked me up. Was I going to start wearing sensible shoes, too? Or get myself a shiny tracksuit and a sun visor? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHEN WOULD MY PREMATURE AGING PROCESS END??

I came home, looked down at my super-high-waisted mom jeans, and sighed. It’s inevitable. You’re going to see me in a floral sweatshirt shopping for Linda Ronstadt records.

Please be kind.

Fuckbrain Should Be In the Dictionary.

My psych meds have ceased to do their respective jobs entirely, so I’ve been something of a hot mess – going to bed at five PM, eating either too much or not at all, crying inconsolably – the usual depressive bullshit.

Yesterday I lost it entirely. I had a bad panic attack and was slamming my headboard with the flat of my hand (not wise – it still hurts) and screaming at the cats to “GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY ROOM!”

I’m generally not a raging psycho, so this was certainly abnormal behavior. Afterwards I sobbed for hours and finally fell asleep at about five PM. My daughter took off to her boyfriend’s for the night, probably terrified of Crazy Mom.

Naturally I feel awful. I sent her a long apologetic text this morning, but I received no reply. She’s probably still asleep, or just still pissed.

The cats have forgiven me, since I feed them, scoop their litter, and give them toys. Simple. I wish my daughter was that simple.

I had a long talk with a friend that goes through similar issues early this morning. She gave me tremendously good advice. She told me to get a notepad and make lists – little things I am capable of accomplishing through the day and the week.

We made plans to go downtown on Sunday and help some people clean up a vacant lot so that it can eventually be a place for children to play. I need to do more things like that. Community service. Helping others and staying out of my own fucked-up head. I’m really excited about it.

I’m also going to attempt to bump up my shrink appointment and also, at the advice of both of my friend and my daughter, get a new therapist. I was getting nowhere with my old one.

All of these things give me hope. Even though my financial situation is absolute garbage and I’m stressed out to the gills, depressed, and anxious; my family and friends continue to support me and are there with far more love than I could ever hope for.

I’m so thankful.