Things to be grateful for 4/19 – 4/25

Dapper relaxing on the table

1. Our cats are still happy and healthy.

April 21st, 2020 tornado warning alert for the Bronx, New York City

2. We did not get wrecked by a tornado on Tuesday.

IRS “Get My Payment” tool success message

3. We finally stopped getting the “Payment Status Not Available” error and were able to enter our direct deposit information with the IRS for the stimulus deposits.

4. I talked to our ISP and got an upgrade from 100 Mbs to 300 Mbs and we’re paying $20 less a month than before. The price is locked in for two years. I’m not even sure what to do with all of that bandwidth. It might be my imagination, but streamed shows on Netflix seem to be clearer.

5. We have our health. Based on symptoms posted online, we think we probably had mild cases of COVID-19 in February. We were both experiencing the same weird symptoms at the same time, like both having weird lower back pain, muscle aches, fatigue, etc. Our social circle includes someone who had recently traveled to Hubei Province in China. I guess things could have been a lot worse for us. We’re still doing fine, though, even though we know quite a few people who aren’t.

6. I rediscovered and am having fun with some PS4 games I haven’t played in about 6 years. I never even finished GTA V and I haven’t finished the cop story in Need For Speed Rivals.

7. I’ve been seeing a lot online about mental health issues during this crisis. I was thinking about that a few days ago, wondering how being stuck inside is complicating the usual rise in mental health problems during the winter months. It’s already so gray, cold, and depressing outside and now we can’t even go outside. It felt great to just open the windows yesterday and I’m enjoying walking around in crowds in GTA V. LOL. Anyway, staying strong mentally.

Ordinary men hate solitude. But the master makes use of it, embracing his aloneness, realizing he is one with the whole universe.

Lao Tzu

Things to be Grateful For 4/12 – 4/18

Last week, I added a section to a blog post I made where I listed a few things I should be grateful for in the previous week. It seemed like a pretty good exercise, given the situation. I think it’s something I’m going to try to continue on a regular basis with once a week lists. Even after this pandemic is over, I think I could benefit from reminding myself of all of the good things that happen over the course of a week and meditating on them for a bit.

  • I reread The Red Badge of Courage and it made a lot more sense to me now as an adult and an Army veteran.
  • I’m continually grateful that the New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library have such a large catalog of audiobooks and eBooks that I can borrow through my phone.
  • I discovered free online courses from Harvard. The certificates aren’t free, but it still seems like a pretty good deal to me.
  • The cat we rescued, Mama Cat, is finally starting to improve. She is suffering from some kind of skin condition that we’ve been treating with antibacterial/antifungal wipes. We gave her a bath and she’s finally getting fluffy enough to pick up and pet. She’s super grateful for the affection.
A 9" round cake pan half filled with fresh baked brownie.
Fresh baked fudge brownie in a 9″ round cake pan.
  • I baked some kick-ass brownies.
  • I found a really cool horror anthology on Amazon Prime Video called Hitokowa: The Killing Hour that is kind of cheesy, but in a great way.
  • Honda Financial Services allowed us to defer our car payments for two months, so we’re relieved of that burden until June.
  • My wife and I are both healthy and we’re eating well, which is more than many can say right now.
  • We have lots of toilet paper.
  • Our cat, Dapper, is super happy that we’re around all the time.
One of our cats, Dapper, trying to get attention.
  • I’ve been reading more by Stoic authors and the stuff makes sense. Here’s a quote by Epictetus that is still very relevant:

There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.

Epictetus

There’s an element of this in Buddhism as well, where you’re encouraged to live in the present moment. Or maybe I’m mixing that up with Western mindfulness? I’ll have to do some more reading.

Finding things to do while stuck at home during the coronapocalypse

De Blasio was throwing around the idea that there might be a “shelter in place order”, basically restricting all movement except essential services I guess, but Cuomo said De Blasio was basically full of crap and there was no such plan. Apparently, shutting down New York City is off the table, probably more for logistical and enforcement reasons than anything. How do you shut down a city this size? Would the police even attempt to or be able to check everyone still out to see if what they’re doing is authorized?

Maybe? I imagine it’s easier to have the NYPD crack down on businesses that aren’t following the shutdown order than it would be to try to police millions of people out on the street.

That being said, I’m stuck at home anyway, because my work requires me to be in venues of 50 or more people and gatherings that size are currently banned. I could go out and screw around and hey, maybe I will, but today I was at home using the time to try to catch up on some things.

Basically, I was just cleaning and doing chores. Laundry, sweeping, mopping, sanitizing surfaces, dishes, cooking for my wife who is working remote. Digging out old Christmas hand sanitizers and Wet Wipes from the closet.

Small containers of holiday scented hand sanitizer from 2018. LOL. And some Wet Wipes. We ordered 4 of those when the pandemic was first getting started.

I spent time with my cats. I even stayed in bed for an hour this morning after waking up because my cat Dapper was resting on my arm. Why not? Not like I had anything that pressing to do and she always gets upset when I leave.

Dapper snuggled in next to me on the bed this morning

I updated my resume, Indeed, and LinkdIn. I transferred downloaded photos from my phone to my laptop.

I finished The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath and started reading East of Eden, by John Steinbeck.

I put a bunch of extra time into studying Japanese and Spanish on Memrise.

I want to do some more reading tonight. Maybe I’ll play a video game. I’ve been meaning to get back to The Witcher III on my Switch. But really I’ll probably wind up shitposting on Twitter, Pleroma, and Facebook.

Now what? I need to get out of the apartment for a while tomorrow to work out. While that’s still allowed. The gyms are closed. I guess I could do something here in the apartment and go for a bike ride.

I’m not sure how I’ll feel if this goes on for a few weeks, but right now, I’m set. If the chores run out (and with the tax deadline looming and plenty of other cleaning to catch up on, that’s not likely to happen) there’s always Netflix, video games, board games, and books.

Thumper: December 27, 2008 – August 3, 2019

Thumper's face

It has taken me a while to post this because it is such a hard thing to do. It was hard to look at her photos. Hard to think about all the good times we had together, and hard to deal with the fact that she’s no longer with us. It’s hard to type this because a public acknowledgment is so final.

We adopted Thumper in early 2009 in Singapore. Just over a year ago, Thumper was diagnosed with cancer. Saturday she lost her fight. The cancer had spread to her chest cavity and it was filling with fluid. She could no longer breathe well enough to move even two feet without collapsing and gasping for air. Watching her struggle and suffer and slowly die in front of us was incredibly painful and it was unfair to her to let her slowly suffocate to death.

On Saturday we took her to the vet to say goodbye. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Making the choice and then physically doing it. Putting her in her carrier and walking out of our apartment on Saturday morning was a really bad experience. Holding her head while she took her last breath is something I’ll never forget. I’d honestly rather go back to Iraq in 2003. It was less painful and less stressful.

Thumper was a blessing on our lives and helped us both through some tough times and became the spark of joy that lit up our home. The apartment feels empty without her. The last few days have been very tough for us and for Dapper, Thumper’s sister. Dapper has known Thumper since Thumper was a kitten also. Only her nemesis, Cheesecake, seems pretty good about things since he’s 2nd favorite instead of 3rd favorite now. But seriously, he’s acting weird too. They both look for her. Sometimes we do too.

RIP Thumper. You will be missed. Thank you.