Category Archives: Life

And Now for Something Not Necessarily Completely Different

Holidailies asks: What new things did you do, see, or experience this year?

I answer: Well, that’s a loaded question! A knee-jerk reaction is to say “a global pandemic,” but it’s really not the first one of my 54-year lifetime. The Hong Kong flu pandemic, which was an H3N2 flu, happened in 1968, when I was 2 years old. Not that I remember it, but my siblings do. Then there was the swine flu pandemic of 2009-2019, which was an H1N1 flu—a new strain of the virus that caused the Spanish Flu and the pandemic of 1918. However, it’s the first time I’ve ever had to adjust my lifestyle for a pandemic, and it’s a safe bet that many people on the planet can say the same thing.

Not all of the changes have been unwelcome. I don’t miss commuting, the morning rush to do hair and make-up, and bras. I’m fairly introverted, so it wasn’t a big deal for me to stock up and stay home, and I have yet to get bored. I do miss happy hours, Sunday brunches, group hikes, and holiday parties, however. Last December was a bit of a whirlwind with holiday gatherings, a day trip for a city hike around Philadelphia, and a party hosted by one of my fellow hikers. It was more social activity than I normally had, and I was just getting the hang of filling up my calendar and then boom, everything stopped. I know I’ll see everyone again, and I look forward to the time we can all whoop it up, although I will probably need to brush up on my social skills first because I’m used to just blurting whatever is on my mind to Inigo.

My little therapist.

Also worried about the fate of democracy in America, which is a first for me. But let’s not get into that, except to say that after I am done moving I would be more than happy to donate my boxes and packing materials for the current occupant of the White House to use when he is evicted.

Ah, this list should have been longer and happier. My New Year’s Resolution for 2020 was to take three trips, with three rules:

  • One had to be purely for pleasure
  • One had to be somewhere I’d never been before
  • New York and Baltimore didn’t count, as I’m from Long Island originally and in normal times I try to get to Baltimore at least once, if not twice, a year for a girls’ night with some friends

I could mix and match—I could travel somewhere I’d never been before for work and I could travel somewhere I’d been before purely for pleasure to visit friends, or any other combination, but one place had to be new to me and one trip had to be just for fun.

For 2020 I figured there would be at least one work trip, one to San Antonio and possibly one to Philadelphia. I’m a little bummed about not going to San Antonio because next week I would have been at La Cantera Resort and Spa, at least during the day, for a meeting that is one of the highlights of my professional year. But after my last experience in San Antonio, maybe the silver lining is being spared another bout of lead legs.

I also wanted to take two pleasure trips, as well, both to places I’d never been before: Either Arizona or Michigan to visit friends (or maybe both), and to Finland to be a tourist and see Poets of the Fall, a band I fell in love with six years ago.

So much for all of that.

And the award for Buzzkill of the Year goes to…

Not sure it will happen in 2021, either. It really depends on how the pandemic goes. I’m not all that optimistic, but at least moving to a less expensive apartment will enable me to put aside a nice travel fund for when the the time comes.

Someday, boys. Someday. In the meantime, I have my memories of ProgPower 2019 in Atlanta to keep me going.

Here’s one of my favorite songs of theirs. It came out in 2017, but this year they’ve been doing one song a month in a special series and they premiered this one on my birthday, so double whammy of yay. I love the message, and it’s so utterly fitting for what we’re all going through with this pandemic. Consider it an aural hug from me to you.

Moving Into 2021

What is the definition of insanity?

Aside from counting votes over and over again and expecting a different outcome, I mean.

It’s announcing that you’re doing Holidailies when you haven’t been able to complete one in four years! But it’s tradition, so here we go…

When last we left off, I was preparing for a move. That move is taking place on January 4. Just can’t handle the noise and bother of my current building anymore. It’s one thing to have mediocre soundproofing when you work outside the home, but telecommuting during the pandemic has been pretty awful. There was also a flood a few weeks ago, the third major one I’ve seen in this building in five years, although this time it didn’t affect me.

Also, that pool renovation that I mentioned a couple of entries ago? It was supposed to be done by now, plaster laid, tiles placed and glazed, and pool winterized, and lo…

They didn’t even find Hoffa.

I knew that was going to happen. When I saw three guys show up for what is arguably a six- or seven-guy project, I knew they would barely finish demolition by Thanksgiving. I doubt they are going to be able to finish this project this year. Once the ground freezes, they’re going to have to cover it up and wait until spring.

Besides, it’s a renter’s market. I live in a young part of town, and many of the 20-somethings moved back home with their parents, particularly if they were in graduate school as classes are all remote now. I’m sure a lot of people moved out for financial reasons as well, although I’m not sure how much unemployment has affected my area. Point is, a lot of the buildings here are hurting for tenants, so rents are anywhere from $300 to $700 less a month than they were before the pandemic, and property managers are offering incentives like a month free of rent, free parking for three months, waived application fees, and so on.

So I went about touring exactly one new building, applied for exactly one new apartment, and lo…

Did someone say “food influencer?”

Or, that’s what mine will look like when the renovation there is over. But the current finish, which is more of a maple brown with brown and black speckled countertops, isn’t bad, either. And people, there’s an island. Never had one of those before and am looking forward to concocting concoctions on it. Guess I need a couple of bar stools, too.

The landlord will paint two accent walls free of charge—you could have knocked me over with a feather when the property manager told me that—but I have no idea what I’m doing in terms of picking out paint colors. Apparently enough people like that particular shade so much that they tell the landlord to go ahead and paint their doors the same way, but I might do a wall of the dining room a warm shade of blue to match my dishes, and then one wall a dove gray in the bedroom. Or maybe the blue for the door and the dining room. Decisions, decisions!

Yet the biggest challenge is finding a sofa. Apparently the world has gone bland because all of the major furniture stores seem to carry nothing but beige, gray, dog-doo brown, beige, beige, gray, beige, or gray. If you want color, you have to go to a boutique and pay three times as much and wait twice as long for delivery. Minimalism is in, I guess, but I’m a Libra. We don’t do drab. In fact, I got so irked by the lack of affordable, colorful choices that I considered just getting a beige sofa and going off the rails with a slipcover.

HEH! Just kidding. Mostly.

I will have a better idea when I go to showrooms in a socially distant, mask-wearing kind of way this weekend. If I can’t find anything I like, I can always order something online and take my loveseat with me while I wait for delivery. (After looking online for about an hour last night, of course everything I am interested in has a three- to five-month wait.) My three-seater is shot, but the loveseat is still okay as it hasn’t been used as much. Not like I’m going to be entertaining any time soon, thanks COVID.

In the meantime, I bought a new mattress and box-spring. Like my current sofa and loveseat, my old ones were 20 years old—five years past the guarantee—and ya know? No. Let the movers take them to wherever bedding goes to die and take the dust and dander of ex-husband and lovers past with them. Thanks, Congress, for the economic stimulus payment!

This is a downsizing. I’m losing about 100 square feet—giving up the den and the extra half-bath—but I’m okay with that. Not taking my banged-up old desk with me (again, 20 years old, and it’s held together with Gorilla Glue at this point), and have already relegated to the trash bin several bags of stuff I’ve carted up and down the east coast. My coffee table is lift-top and my dining table seats 6 without the leaf, so meh, no need for a desk or accompanying chair. In fact, I’ve written more articles with my notes spread out on the dining table than at this little 36″ x 28″ desk. Point is, no one could ever accuse me of being a hoarder.

Bedroom furniture is also on the list, but after the move—nightstands and probably a bachelor’s chest. I know black furniture is bad feng shui but it will go with my bed (black-painted brass), so that’s what I’m looking for. My apartment-warming gift to me might be a pair of bird lamps for the nightstands.

Need to get area rugs, too. Never had to worry about that before as I’ve always had wall-to-wall carpet. At least now it will be easier to clean up after this guy, who often flings as much food as he eats:

Who, me?

At any rate, big changes are afoot at Chez Zenzalei, and it’s going to be a busy December. I may have peaked with this first Holidailies entry, but I never did claim sanity, so see you here tomorrow. Maybe.