There is a lot of irony in a pandemic, if you know where to look. I think there’s a lot of different ways people are handling things, and that includes me. I have a lot more time alone with my thoughts lately, that can be good or bad on any given day. Believe me, I am sick of thinking about it all, and then writing about it, but material is hard to come by unless I open up my own can of worms, which scares the heck out of me.

When all of this ‘Rona was still new to us, and the first shutdown thing happened, there were a lot of people that I saw that made good use of that time. I was not one of them, but my intentions were pure. I was working at Costco at the time, which is across from Menards in my town. That place was as busy as we were, people were getting after projects they had been putting off. I have an older neighbor that works there part time, it’s his Retired Guy Gig. He told me stories about how it was over there, and the word insanity came up a lot. All those folks did a lot of projects, and they should be proud of themselves. I kind of wonder as they are sitting in their newly remodeled spaces if they wish they had paced themselves. Things aren’t getting better at the moment, and once those Christmas lights are up, you are stuck with a lot of Hallmark Holiday movies.

I did not use my extra time well. I had plans. Purge the closet, and donate stuff. But nobody was taking donations at the time, so I didn’t. Organize my kitchen space, which is small and could stand to be more efficiently arranged. Not done. Probably worse than it was. I have a bunch of accumulated junk, I don’t use it, and I don’t need it. It was suggested I sell it on Marketplace or Craig’s List. Fantastic Idea!! Nope, didn’t do that either. It just seemed a little overwhelming, and I didn’t want to. Anyone else kind of screw the pooch on your “extra time” plans?

I know I am not alone in that. I mean really, nobody knows how to plan for pandemic free time. There is no handy guide to it that I am aware of, and if there is, it isn’t available on Amazon that I have seen.

It’s like this weekend off thing too. It’s now a part of my thing, something I was always so sure that I would love if I could just get there in life. Well, I am here. I have the time to enjoy my weekend. And there is nothing going on. No concerts, parties are cancelled, events aren’t happening. I am aware that places are still open like bars and restaurants, but the job change has introduced the idea of having to budget more, so I just can’t afford to spend my weekends in those venues. Straight cash all the time is no longer my jam. The disposable income is not so disposable. Go figure, I have the time to act like a real non-service industry person, and I can’t do it right now. Thanks ‘Rona.

If it weren’t for the ‘Rona, I could conceivably still be working in the restaurant business. So I wouldn’t have the time I always wanted, and now have, that I don’t do anything with, really. Zelda gets more attention, so it is all good for her. The approach of holidays especially is strange, because my family always had extra holiday time off that I just didn’t have. This year, I have it, actually. No Black Friday nightmare shift at the restaurant for me!! Yay! But we aren’t doing anything, thanks again ‘Rona. The way Christmas and the New Year fall this year get me a few more long weekends! But that is going to be more subdued with my people too. ‘Rona is ticking me off.

I believe there is always something to be thankful for, I truly do try to find the bright side whenever I can. I am incredibly thankful I have been able to maintain full time employment throughout this situation, many I know haven’t landed as well. I am beyond grateful that my current situation provides me paid time for holidays, earned time off, and the other benefits you just don’t get in the service industry. It has been a beneficial situation for me to adapt to. I am the luckiest person I know some days. So I am certainly not going to complain, but go figure, you know?

Please get through this stretch of winter, and holidays as healthy, physically and mentally, as possible. The little things do really make a difference, even if you can’t quite see the tangibles of it immediately. If you are lucky enough to be somewhere that closures are not affecting your employment, count those blessings. If you are in a position to donate to a food program or even one of those Blessing Boxes, please consider picking up a couple of items next time you grocery shop. I think a lot of people are going to be in for a hard winter. I hope that the upcoming season has blessings on top of blessings for you, but if it does not, look for something positive, and please ask for help. There is no shame in saying “I just can’t do this right now.” There are many resources, and if I can, I will help you find them. Please don’t get caught in despair, it can get better, I promise. I want to be a positive force, which is not always easy, but if I can, I will find a way to help you keep that head above water. I found earlier this year that I have more resources than I ever could have realized, and while my to do list has not gotten done in this crazy pandemic, my get it done for others list looks promising. I want us all to come out of it, together, and as safe and sound as possible. Strength comes in waves sometimes, and if your wave seems to have retreated, reach for my hand, I will help you find a way.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and if it isn’t what you hoped it would be, or you can’t be with who you hoped to see, it is still a time to give thanks that you are still here, and that you are surrounded by more good than you maybe realize.

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