So I am putting up Buster Sign for a couple weeks.
I’ve been preparing to move apartments; Roommate Russ and I were kind of “encouraged” to give up our apartment by a new landlord who bought out the building in May. Fortunately Roommate Russ and I have a new space, and the end of July is my last day in my current place.
For Roommate Russ this was a hassle, but a manageable one – he had only been there a year and change and didn’t have THAT much stuff, so he is already in the new space. But for me…I’d been in our current space for fifteen years, and accumulated much more in the way of just….stuff. The new place is a little smaller than our old one, but has much less closet space, so I’m in an absolute orgy of sorting and purging of things before I can even properly begin packing.
And let’s not forget my broken knee, kids! Oh, and did I mention the old apartment is on the 4th floor, and there’s no elevator?
There are some signs of helpers and hope, though – a couple of co-workers have offered to help with some toting of stuff to donation centers, and are even claiming some furniture I need to give up; I have a few neighbors coming to help as well. But this is all going to be taking some priority for the next couple weeks, so I’m going to have to wait until I’m more settled in the new place to watch the next film. But just a couple weeks, fortunately.
On Sunday afternoon I watched my next film. On Monday – the day I planned to write the review – I unfortunately had a bad fall while walking to work, and have broken my kneecap. I am now forced to spend the rest of my week keeping my leg as still as possible until this following Monday, when I can get surgery to stabilize it and then start proper recovery.
As a result, my review is going to be an eensy bit delayed, hence my throwing up Buster Sign. Come Friday I may go stir crazy and try a draft anyway, but for now I’m still figuring out how to maneuver myself to and from the bathroom without Roommate Russ having to tend to me. (I think I got it, fortunately, which is a bit of a relief for us both.)
(I am cross-posting this with my other general blog.)
I usually only declare Buster Sign if the blog is having a technical crisis; but if the current state of the world doesn’t call for Buster Sign, I don’t know what does. I just wanted to speak to how I was doing and give people space to check in.
….Miraculously, I not only am doing okay, I think I may have lucked into the best of all possible paths through this pandemic. I’d lost a job mid-January, and was spending most of the ensuing few weeks on a job hunt. By mid-February, that job hunt narrowed down to some leads in a business park that’s only three blocks from my house; I live very near a decommissioned Navy shipyard that New York has been turning into an industrial and business park, with about 450 different companies working there – many of them tech companies, media, or food-oriented. Lots of artists have studio space there, there is a distillery and a winery, some movie soundstages, and even some small manufacturing companies. I was hired in late February (not by the soundstage, and I suspect that would have been a bit too perfect if I had), and started there the first week of March. I was thrilled about the new commute; instead of dragging myself onto a subway and riding an hour each way to get to work, now I have a pleasant 15-minute walk each way on largely quiet streets. Maybe I pass the occasional jogger.
But then news of the Coronavirus started spreading, and people were realizing just how bad it was going to be. And I realized that I had been taken out of the subway system right before it had become a danger. I thanked my lucky stars and kept walking to work.
Then New York started shutting down. First companies were shutting down of their own volition, encouraging everyone to work from home; Roommate Russ works somewhere where they require everyone to work from home. My new boss also gave me the option to work from home if I wanted. I thought about it; but I’ve decided to keep going in, partly to give Roommate Russ a quiet apartment during the day, and partly because my work space is actually a decently safe distance from other people even when everyone’s there. And a week ago most of the other people in my office did start working from home; there were probably several dozen people in the office when I started there my first day, but now it’s down to about ten. Most people are working from home, but there are a couple of people who have to head in – and a couple of stubborn folk like me who prefer going there. I’m actually less exposed to people at my office at this stage than I am if I stayed home. And even more miraculous – the company I’m with is considered an “essential business”. So it will stay open.
My biggest worry was that I went to New Orleans in late February, right before starting work (when your 50th Birthday is the same day as Mardi Gras there’s really only one thing you can do about that). The day after I got back, I felt something like the beginnings of a cold, but I dealt with that by horsing down several zinc lozenges and willing myself out of it; I didn’t want to call in sick my first day at work. A couple friends joined me in New Orleans, and one of them said he also had a bit of a cold too; so I probably caught something there. But it passed within only a day. And I am now past the window where anything stronger I may have caught in New Orleans would have shown up – and I continue to be fine.
This doesn’t mean I’m totally unaffected, of course. Other than going to work, I’m hunkering down as much as possible; grocery runs and park excursions, and that’s it. I try to keep a good healthy distance from people even at work, and my grocery runs have been for oddball things like coriander seed, so I stay well clear of the whole toilet paper scrum. I went for a bigger shopping run yesterday, and noticed that the store had set up barricades around most of the meat department and were letting people in one by one, like it was a velvet-rope nightclub; however, one section was left open. I discovered that that’s where the store had funky sausages and more exotic meats like duck breast, wild boar, and rabbit. I took a look at the big line of people waiting for ground beef and chicken cutlets, then at the nearly-empty sausage-and-exotic-meat section, and then picked up a pack of merguez sausage and was on my way. When the meat runs low in the house I may be back for the ground bison. Roommate Russ and I have joked that Anthony Bourdain may be guiding our food choices from the afterlife.
Good thing, too, because cooking has been one of the ways I’ve been coping. I’ve got an overstuffed pantry even at the best of times, and a huge collection of cookbooks. I also promised myself that I would be using a lot of the things I have this year, if only to clean them out and make room for new things. So social isolation has turned into an excuse to amp up the cooking and baking like whoa. ….We’re just about done with the pumpkin bread, brownies, and lentils de puy salad I made last weekend, and today’s menu includes three totally different curries, chickpea-flour crepes, chocolate cookies with cacao nibs, and an amazing mocha cake (to which I’m going to add some espresso chocolate chips I’ve been wondering how to use).
And I am still going to keep on with the movies. I’m working on my latest review, and am exploring a couple of special events which those of you out there could join in. (I need to explore the technical angle first; I’ll keep you posted.)
I’ve realized that I’m very, very, very fortunate. I’m very aware that others are not so lucky and are struggling; I’m trying to think of ways to help, above and beyond just being a responsible citizen by staying home as much as necessary. I’ve been blessed, but I’m still in the fight with everyone else. Mrs. Miniver was about England’s reaction to war instead of disease, but I think the last scene still speaks to what we’re all going through.
So…starting now, if you see me post this image, this means I’ve run into a spot of technical difficulty of one sort or another (in this particular instance my computer is acting all weird and is being diagnosed by a very generous friend tomorrow).