So, Phase 3 of 2020 consists of the post-Bits Out era of September through November in which I worked so, so, so much that I almost had a meltdown. The summary is that work was unbearably busy, so much so that it caused me to work 10-hour days or more non-stop, get stressed out, gain weight, feel frustrated and exhausted, be mentally drained, feel trapped in a perpetual state of stress, not work out and generally feel like crap.
Two days before Thanksgiving, I was so stressed out that I almost curled up in a ball on the floor and cried. The next day, in my weekly meeting with my manager, I said I need help. Usually, my busy periods come and go, but now that I’ve been beyond busy since June, it seems that those peaks and valleys have leveled out and it means that I have more work consistently than I can manage. I need someone to help take some of my duties off of my plate so I can keep my head above water. He totally understood and said he would look into finding someone with capacity to help me.
I know this won’t materialize until February at the earliest, but at least progress is being made to expand me from a team of one. My boss also pretty much told me that I WILL take off the week between Christmas and New Year’s to decompress. Because we get Christmas Eve and Day and New Year’s Eve and Day off as company holidays, and all four of those days fall on Thursdays and Fridays, I could not pass up only having to take three days of my own personal vacation to get an 11-day break. Twist my arm. But DAMN do I wish I could’ve taken advantage of that by traveling!!
Anyway, in addition to working way too much, here’s what the fall brought.
I finally returned to the Erie Rec Center to start exercising again in October. I used to go at least twice a week to the water aerobics classes at night. Since COVID, the evening classes are cancelled, but you can schedule appointments to walk around in the lazy river and soak in the hot tub. It feels SO good to walk around and have the river all to myself. No noisy kids playing in the splash zone (it’s totally closed), no annoying women talking through the entire water aerobics class (every. single. time.)…just me working out. I’m trying to go now at least twice a week.
I also attended my second live concert of the year. The Goo Goo Dolls decided to do a live streaming show and it was amazing. I quite enjoyed sitting at home with a clear view of the stage, no driving, no parking, no drunks, no weather and no deafness to contend with. I sat at my craft table with my BOSE mini speaker for good sound and made a Halloween bracelet while I watched the show. I could get used to this kind of concert!!
I also ventured out to another jewelry-making class. This time it was a helm’s chain maille weave and it was super fun. Here are my most recent bracelet creations.
Halloween and Our Hallowversary
Clearly, we were not going anywhere to celebrate our 12-year Hallowversary. Instead, we spent the day with family who had a cute little cake for us.
At night, we walked around our neighborhood enjoying the very creative Halloween decorations and methods to distribute candy. COVID has definitely brought about some interesting inventions, one of which is the candy shute. Several of our neighbors bought large stretches of PVC pipe and hung one side low to the ground at the foot of their driveway and the other end up on a ladder. Kids put their candy pails at the low end of the shute and the adults climbed up the ladder and put the candy in from a safe distance so it slid down into the pails. GENIUS.
And of course our former pigeon neighbor did a spectacular display, this time as a skeleton war scene.
Here are some other impressive and fun displays around the ‘hood.
Attempts at Socializing
I also did venture out of the house twice for scrapbook retreats. In October, I met up with friend Cathy in Colorado Springs for a retreat at a hotel. First, we made an appointment to shop at Simple Pleasures, my favorite scrapbook store.
At the retreat, we had fun and got a lot done, but neither the attendees of the retreat in the large conference room nor the guests at the hotel felt like wearing masks or distancing. It was scary and uncomfortable and I’m not sure we will go to one of these retreats in the spring.
The second retreat was at a hotel near the Denver airport much closer to home. Organized by our friend Kim, I (usually) go to this retreat twice a year with friends Lisa, Pam and Vickie and this one felt much safer. We scrapped in our hotel rooms, not in one large conference room, so we had much less interaction with other scrappers we didn’t know. Lisa and I had just enough space to work and from time to time we visited Pam and Vickie and ate meals with them. Kim had a little shop set up too to purchase things from. It worked out just fine.
In addition to the above scrapbook retreat, I attended a virtual bees wax lip balm class through Boulder Valley Lifelong Learning. It was taught by the Bee Chicas, a local group of female beekeepers who are passionate about raising bees and producing natural honey and wax products. I got to make a few tinted lip balms and it was fun!
My 45th birthday was spent online with friend Cathy watching scrapbook classes from a Crop and Create event we signed up for. This was through Scrapbook and Cards Today who usually do the event in person across Canada (remember Saskatoon?). This was their very first virtual scrapbooking event and it was spectacular. They mailed us our goodies over a month in advance consisting of class kits, make and takes and a bunch of free products from generous sponsors. They held live Facebook sessions all weekend that rotated between live prize drawings, pre-recorded classes, live Q&A sessions with the instructors and make-and-take tutorials. I still have one final class kit to do.
I got lots of great birthday cards and gifts too, including this bad-ass set of tentacle earrings and ring from JC. To go with my tentacle necklace we bought me in San Francisco, of course. Winning!
We spent Thanksgiving like we always do with JC’s parents and nephews, but it was different this year because we broke tradition in many ways.
- We did not hang out at his parents’ house, but ours instead. We don’t have space for six people to dine, so we had to sit three adults at our kitchen table and three kids (JC and his nephews) at a fold-out table in the great room! But my mother-in-law insisted on me borrowing a tablecloth and placemats so we weren’t completely ghetto.
- We did not have lunch at Murphy’s Taphouse, which we have done for the past few years. They were not open for the holiday, fearing that they would be shut down due to tightened COVID restrictions. They were right.
- JC cooked the food instead, which we ordered from a local meal delivery place in Denver that we like. He had to cook the turkey from raw and did a great job. The meal also included sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing and cranberry relish, plus a pumpkin pie.
- We forgot to watch a non-traditional movie. Oh well.