Working From Home

musings 9 months into working from home

I chose this March to finally paint my house. Or rather, I decided to paint the kitchen and living room. I spent a chunk of February scraping the popcorn off the ceiling(the spackly kind, not the tasty exploded corn), and was really nearing coming to a decision about what paint colour I would go with. Anything was better than the ketchup mustard and zombie skin combo my house’s previous owner decided to paint the place. Nothing says “Let’s Eat” like a kitchen the sickly green-beige of a Scooby Do villain.

If I had to do the popcorn again (and I do… in three other rooms)… I would do it SO very differently. Don’t trust that it can be vacuumed up! don’t do it!

A critical thing to note is that in order to paint my kitchen and living room, I had to move all of the things from there to the two bedrooms… so when the world started talking about lockdowns and working from home, I found myself frantically racing to finish painting so that I could set up a (LARGE) desktop computer somewhere other than in my bed or in the bathroom, the only two spaces in my house that weren’t stuffed with furniture or covered in drop cloths.

Gollum, as portrayed by Doodle, in the zombie-beige kitchen. The lighting doesn’t do it justice.

Covid got me to pick a damn colour (purple!) because it seemed very likely that the paint store would close at any moment.

Covid also gave me free labour in the form of a sibling laid off and living with me through the spring lockdown. Thank goodness, because she was able to progress the priming and painting while I was at my office during the day. By the time it was official that I HAD to go home, I had the ability to lay out my living room and include a desk area.

Why yes, I don’t have a real desk…

The first few months working from home were full of the constant overwhelming anxiety of the whole world going to hell in a handbasket, compulsively refreshing online news outlets, paranoia that I wasn’t being productive enough and would, at any moment, get fired, finding yet more dust from taking the popcorn off the ceiling, and melting in my un-airconditioned house in the summer.

Now that I’ve mostly acclimatized to the hell-in-a-handbasket element, and we all have rules to follow to keep each other safe, working from home has grown on me.

I can listen to my music without headphones, and no one can sneak up on me.

The coffee is MUCH nicer, though on the down side, I am paying more for coffee and cream than I was when I was only drinking the free stuff available at my office.

Pajamas/sweatpants/yoga pants. While I did try out camp “dress for work so you’ll do work”, I quickly decided it wasn’t for me. I really like being able to sit cross-legged in my office chair.

Functional breaks – when I need a few minutes to think on a problem or just be not-facing-a-screen, I can fold laundry, check on my plants, play with the dog, do downward dog, or any number of other things that aren’t limited to things-that-are-appropriate-at-work.

I miss being able to swing by my coworkers’ desks to catch up, but I mean… look at my new office buddy!

The couch directly beside my work area.

Where necessary – lunch naps.

Also where necessary, but less healthy… going back to work after taking the dog out at 5pm.

What was your biggest adjustment to working from home? What’s your desk setup?

The Window into my new Obsession

When I moved into my newly purchased home a few years ago, my realtors gave me a moving-in present. It was a beautiful kind of canoe-shaped slate grey concrete pot full of artfully arranged succulents. It was actually from my old landlord’s new plant store!

I looked down at the beautiful little leafy things, and thought, “Poor bastards.”

Then I thought, “Maybe when they die, I’ll use this pot to keep fruit on the counter.”

It is a very pretty pot, very my aesthetic. And a similar colour of grey as my ‘green thumb’. I have purchased an assortment of plants over the years to no avail. I turned a wavy fern into a crispy-wavy fern. I caused a tiny cactus to explode into green goo. My lucky bamboo was not so lucky.

The only thing that has survived my care long-term is african violets.

Seriously… just stick a leaf in some dirt and wait… a lot of months. Voila, fuzzy leafs!

That was, however, before I moved into a house with a full sun south-facing window. To my utter astonishment, the pot of succulents not only survived, but thrived to the point that I needed to split a bunch of them and repot sections.

It was very satisfying.

Next, I got an indestructible vine cutting from a friend, who assured me it would take whatever light or water I chose to provide it with.

From there my collection has grown…

Angel leaf begonia

And then covid happened, and my hobby became a larger part of my house… and grew some more…

Some of these plants, it turns out, actually needed less than 100% light, so a move from the south-and-west-window corner was required

And… well…

It’s not a problem if no one is getting hurt by it. Right?!

Hello World (v3.0)

3 years gone, but we’re just going to keep swimming

Hey all, it’s been a while (years) since I’ve posted, but I’ve decided that new year new post seems like a plan. Especially since there’s no way to start the new year off with a half-assed attempt at going to the gym. Instead of buying a year of gym membership, of which I’ll use between 3 and 5 days in January, I figured I’d stay home. For once, it’s actually better for my health.

Why did I stop writing? Eeeh… nothing terrible. Life. Living alone = having to do all your own cooking and cleaning, and then there’s the draw of the couch and the tv and scrolling endlessly through social media… we’ve all lost hours to that particular Lotus blossom, right?

I seriously considered starting off on an entirely new blog, because there are a few people I know in person who started following this one near the end of my consistent writing schedule. We’re instead going to pretend that there is no one from my off-line-life checking in on this, because self-consciousness slows my roll.

While we’re pretending years didn’t go by between blog posts, I’ll still give a brief update.

Gwynn’s love of mud – eternal

The dog is dogging along. He has loved the pandemic, as it allows him to nap on the couch beside my desk while I put in my working hours. He’s 11! This makes people’s “… months?” response to his age just get better and better. He’s slowed down a bit, but he’s still enjoying his long walks and hikes, as well as some fun agility lessons.

The family is good now, though we went through a very rough stretch. My mom is down a kidney, my sister is up a kidney. One of the other health scares proved insurmountable, while the other few did not.

As mentioned in one of my most recent posts, I did move out of the city, and am loving it. I’m curled up between mountain and waves (well… “mountain”), with trails galore and an outdoor activity for every season. Since moving north, I bought a house, took up curling (the most rural-Ontarian winter social), and discovered that my green thumb wasn’t black, it was just severely challenged by living in the twilight of old-growth trees and woodlands. Living in a 15 year old suburb means that my back yard is South-facing and Full Sun. Yes, the lovely people working at the annual gardening club fundraiser sale were very excited. Indoor plants are also delighted with the lighting.

Covid – my sister got temporarily laid off at the first shutdown, and moved up to my place for a few months. This was great, as living alone during the most isolated part of covid would have been a lot more challenging. It was also great because I had chosen early march to start painting my house, and having a second person there to help with it meant that painting got finished in time for me to set up an at home work station. My work switched to being fully from home, and while some people have gone back into the office, I have not yet. With round two in full swing, I think it’ll be another month or two before I do start working in-office part of the time, but we’ll see!

Directly beside my home-office chair

What’s the new game plan, Stan?

Short stories will definitely recommence. I’ll find some new writing prompts, reconnect with some old ones and get back in the habit. Drag myself from my giant funk of apathy and do the things I enjoy doing.

House and DIY and Crafts – Having my own place means I’ve actually gotten to do some things like switching out lights and doing my own garden beds. I’m planning to do more of this, and you might see some posts documenting things I’ve done around the house. Also sewing – I’ve recently taken up sewing (along with everyone else, I’ve been making masks, but am also trying to expand into clothing and things).

Thoughts on de-popcorn-ing ceilings? Dusty. But at least I was fashionable while doing it.

I plan to start posting more frequently about things I enjoy. This is likely to include:

Podcasts – I upped my walk lengths by adding podcasts to my listening habits, and am a bit addicted. I try to support them where I can, and figure that I can improve my support of them by recommending them to you all! I listen to a pretty broad range of things, so if podcasts are a thing you like, at least one will likely be up your alley. Unless your alley is true-crime. I just can’t get into that.

Books – I’ll likely recommend books and series that I’ve read. If you’ve written a sci fi or fantasy novel, and want an honest review of it – definitely reach out! I would prefer if it’s available on the library system, because I’m really trying to keep the volume of things I own down.

Angel-wing Begonia

Stuff – as mentioned above, I’m really trying to reduce my buying wherever possible, but when I do find a thing I like and that genuinely works well, I’ll bring it up! Stay tuned for Lexy’s rant about the amazingness of Aftershockz Trekz Titanium. This is not where I’m suggesting people who make things send me their stuff for review. I genuinely… do not want stuff. Unless it’s plants. Want me to review your Hoya Carnosa Compacta? Send ‘er on over.

This is all, I guess. Seeing as how this is set up to post on new years’ day, and assuming I get a flock of visitors, let me end on this:

“The same boiling water that softens the potato will harden the egg.”

– unknown

I try to remember that when I start stressing about resolutions or healthy habits or whatever. Be kind to yourselves!