Holiday Update

Apple closes down its corporate operations between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. I added a couple of days to either end of the break to give myself just over 2 weeks off, starting yesterday. And just in time, because I was pretty much out of gas a week ago.

So what’s new?

Debbi and I got our COVID booster shots in early December, which was a relief. The sites around here to make reservations are all terrible, especially the ones for pharmacies which require you to answer a long list of questions before telling you there are no appointments available. We tried a drop-in clinic near our house but the wait was at least an hour. It’s been bad. A friend says that Stanford Health has been a good experience – it’s just about the only site I didn’t try.

I’ve actually had 7 vaccine shots this year: 3 COVID, 1 tetanus, 1 influenza, and two shingles shots. I had negligible effects from all of them, except for the shingles shots, each of which took me out of work for the next day. It wasn’t a horrible experience (I have friends who said they were flattened for several days, especially after the second shot), but it was a bit rough.

Meanwhile, Debbi has been having occasional eye problems, which came to a head this morning and turned out – after a trip to the ophthalmologist – to be a bad case of dry eye, essentially her eyelid chafing on her eyeball. She’s slowly getting better, but it’s been a rough day for her. We’re glad it turned out to be a common and easily treatable problem and not something exotic or chronic.

We put up our outdoor Christmas lights the weekend after Thanksgiving, over 3 days. It’s getting a bit harder to put up the lights each year – for me, anyway, as I go up and down the ladder – so spreading it out over 2-3 days is nice. We’ve been seeing more and more lights going up around the neighborhood each year, which is nice. We probably have one of the larger displays – especially since we don’t have any inflatables – but we don’t compete with anyone. We just do what we want to do.

But then we started to get rain last week – our first rain since the big storms back in late October – and the circuit breaker for our lights started tripping. Strange since that’s almost never happened in the 10 years we’ve been putting up lights here. I had figured I’d need to unplug things to systematically figure out where the problem is, but as it turns out I went out to rake along the boxwood yesterday afternoon, and decided to raise up the net lights on those bushes so they weren’t so low to the ground, and the breaker didn’t trip during the showers last night. So maybe that was it somehow. Who knows.

We also put up the (artificial) Christmas tree, which delighted the kittens, who have been happily playing under it (and one time in it) since then. Until.

So Debbi’s wanted to replace our laundry baskets for a while, but we haven’t been able to find stackable baskets which fit in the space we have for them in the stores we’ve checked in the area. So she finally ordered them from Amazon. And they arrived.

In. Four. Separate. Boxes.

Obviously Amazon’s packing machines don’t have the concept of stacking four laundry baskets in a single box, they just grabbed each one, packed it in its own box, filled the extra space with brown paper, and shipped it to it. (It’s entirely possible that humans did this but didn’t notice the full order – possibly because depending on how the system works, four different people might have packed the four baskets.)

Anyway, aside from four large boxes (promptly recycled), we also ended up with a huge amount of brown packing paper, which drove all three cats bonkers for a couple of days, even Jackson, which has been pretty hilarious. And it’s distracted them from the tree.

(I imagine the pandemic is really testing the efficacy of our recycling programs, since our household is generating at least 50% more paper recycling than before the pandemic. No doubt many households are generating even more.)

We are not going away for the holidays again, and wouldn’t be even if Omicron hadn’t reared its ugly head. (Omicron looks like it should substantially accelerate the endgame of every human on Earth contracting COVID in the next few years, so that’s fun.) Hopefully next summer we’ll feel safe enough to go visit our families for the first time in over two years, but we’ll see.

Anyway, over the next couple of weeks I plan to have some downtime, do some house chores, hang out with Debbi, and get some kitty snuggles. The rain is supposed to stick around through early next week, which is nice – not only do we need it (ho boy do we need it) but I love rain. In particular it looks like it’s going to be a Wet Christmas, just like the song says.

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