Good grief, here we are already, approaching the last four weeks of the year. Maybe that’s why I have those fluttering feelings of panic in my chest.
No, this year the panic is more likely linked to a sense of ‘where did all that time go’?
I can’t be too hard on myself, it’s not like I’ve wasted this year. I wrote a book, or at least the first draft of one, although I haven’t done anything recently about editing it and preparing it for release into the world. I have taken up and put down yoga only to pick it up again. I took up running and am still holding onto it, toying with it, tossing it casually from hand to hand. I’ve written 129 blog posts to the end of October. All this on top of working at home since mid-March. Things have changed this year, and I wonder whether with news of a vaccine on the horizon, whether things will change forever or if people will stampede to go back to their old familiar ways in 2021?
Have the old ways been broken for good?
Our broken internet got fixed on Monday – the internet company guy came, and simply replaced the router and we’re good to go.
However other things broke this week.
Our oven blew up.
OK, so it didn’t actually blow up, that’s me being over dramatic.
But while heating up our simple dinner of fish fingers (don’t judge me), something tripped the master fuse and all the power in the house went out. We switched the fuse back on and 10 minutes later discovered our oven was no longer hot and no longer cooking the fish fingers. Luckily the grill still worked and happily the problem seems to be with the heating element, which is “easy” and “cheap” to replace. (I use these words advisedly.) Cue husband spending hours on YouTube watching oven repair videos, then with his head deep inside the oven, trying to unscrew the back plate behind which the heating element lives. The screws were not obliging, being covered as they are with the residue of nine years of baking. I’m not saying I haven’t cleaned the oven at all in those nine years. I’m saying life it too short to be worried about how clean the inside of your oven is.
Our cat is broken.
(Again, I’m over-emphasising this for dramatic effect.)
We took our cat to the vet this week and despite having to stand outside the vet surgery in the cold for over an hour due to social distancing rules (I’m not complaining, it was a sunny day!) it was nice to be out, despite having an unhappy cat in a box complaining while we waited our turn. I’ll say up front we have a great vet. He always runs late which may be annoying for some but for me it’s a sign that he actually takes the time he needs to do a proper examination of each animal. And he did a long examination of our cat, sending us home with some cream for his ears (possible fungal infection – yuck). He also did some blood tests for a potential thyroid problem. This has the potential to be expensive not just now (cat blood tests are not cheap) but ongoingly expensive because (and the blood test results have already come back and confirmed this) he needs regular medication to manage his thyroid condition. He’s 17 years old. We just want him to live his best life as long as he can.
My running is broken.
This is a more complex problem. On the one hand, I realise that running once a week is not enough to maintain the necessary level of “puff” to keep my running tolerance at 30-40 minutes. This week I ran a very slow 2.5 miles in 30 minutes and was all out of puff. On the other hand, that clicking I’ve been feeling in my ankle is probably a tendon thing, possibly caused by running, with potential to become a bigger, ongoing problem, so I’m not trying to keep my feel still and not rotate my ankles. No clicks. And much as I don’t like taking pills, I’m going to take some ibuprofen for the next few days so see if I can’t reduce the swelling in my ankle caused by (a) running and (b) me twirling my foot and making my ankle go click. I might also be approaching the time for getting a new pair of running shoes, since the ones I used in the summer fell to pieces and the ones I’ve been using this autumn have holes in them (but not in the sole yet – that’s important when it’s muddy out.)
My job has broken me.
I’ve had a very low energy week this week. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got stuff done, but it’s all been done while feeling like I have weights tied to my hands and ankles. My engagement and motivation levels are nil. Not a good week to have a friendly catch up with head of my team. I told her how I was feeling, that I have become too much of a specialist at something very niche and that it feels like no-one else will ever hire me. (Yes, very gloom and doom, but that’s how this week has been going.) She did come up with some suggestions, and again I got that line about We don’t want you to leave, you’re a key part of the team which my line manager gives me every year at appraisal time when I talk about being disengaged and wanting to move to another job.
It’s possible I’m feeling broken at work because my sleep has also been broken this week.
I’ve had three nights in a row of tossing and turning and not being able to drop off, and when I do drop off, I wake up at four-something and cannot get back to sleep. And while I’m lying there not sleeping, I’m plagued by stupid thoughts like, I could get up and do yoga. I could go downstairs and read a book. I could switch on the laptop and do some book editing. I could get dressed and go out for a walk. Tonight I’m going to make a ‘nest’ before I go to bed: put together some things in the living room, so I have somewhere to sit, and something to do if I can’t sleep.
We broke our jigsaw.
To put it more accurately, we finished jigsaw no.3, and made a video of its destruction. While celebrating completion of no.3, Husband looked at ebay and saw he’d won another jigsaw. That’s no.6? And the next day received jigsaw no.5 in the post. We’ve started no.4 already – another London scene.
Yes, the long winter nights of jigsaw look set to continue beyond this lockdown – and perhaps all the way through to the next one. Because there may be a dip in infection rates after this lockdown ends, but with Christmas and New Year celebrations coming, I am expecting there will be another spike mid-January. (Although if the government’s speedy reactions from the past are anything to go on, it means it will probably be February before there’s any reaction and imposition of lockdown.)
This week I heard that there will be five day Covid travel amnesty for Christmas. Maybe I’ve misinterpreted it, but from what I understood, you can move about the country and interact with other households but only from 23-27 December. So everyone in the country who wants to go home to see family has to travel on those five days only. (I think if you were going to Northern Ireland you get an extra day each side.) I’m trying to figure how this will work, especially when trains are already running a reduced service, and reduced capacity on those services that are running. Also – have you met people? Have you seen how well people have done the right thing so far? And does the government expect that people will follow this guidance? I’m grateful to not have to travel anywhere this Christmas.
How was your week, readers? Did anything in your house break?