Gosh, this blog posting hiatus has lasted a little longer than normal. My initial thought was to recap what I’ve missed writing about in the last month, but honestly, in a way it’s been very little — much of the same, day in and day out. Work from home, school from home, see my parents in person, go for solo bike rides, watch movies, play games. Instead of a comprehensive review, let’s just skip straight to the highlights reel.

I trashed my parents’ car. Okay, that’s a bit strong, but in the middle of January, Dad and I took his car to go for a hike along a scenic but extremely narrow and windy road called Chuckanut Drive. He asked me to drive on the way home, and I agreed. We often trade off driving on daytrips like that. Not five minutes into the trip home, I misjudged where the passenger side of the car was and sideswiped the cement barrier. Nothing else happened; I kept the car under control and we proceeded home safely. Unfortunately, the brush with the cement barrier had deeply gouged both door panels. We paid the nearly nearly $4,000 to replace both doors. Ouch. Fortunately we’re good for it, but that’s certainly not how we intended to spend that money.

At least we got some great views on our hike.

Larrabee State Park Mt. Baker
Mt. Baker as seen from the Ridge Trail in Larrabee State Park.

We played D&D. Ian is creating D&D adventures for us specially. Benji plays Barrion, a Wood Elf ranger who has a pet flumph; I’m Last Leaf to Fall, a Tabaxi monk with no particular skills (due to my abysmal dice rolling during character creation). Ian started us at level one and is gently easing us into D&D. Mostly we all have fun, and Benji enjoys preternaturally lucky dice rolls that balance out my generally poor rolls. We hope some day to play with more than just the three of us… after the pandemic, so maybe next fall.

I redecorated my office. I’m going to write an entire blog post about it when I’ve finally got all the pictures and decorations up, but here’s a sneak peak of the coolest part so far: a lamp Ian salvaged from his grandpa’s office casting artistic shadows on my freshly painted royal blue walls.

Office Redo: The Lamp
Lamp shadows in my redecorated office.

We introduced Benji to Rummy Royal. I loved playing Rummy Royal when I was a kid, and now Benji is old enough to understand (theoretically) poker hands and the card counting phase. He plays on a “team” with someone — often my mom — and despite having the worst poker faces ever, they win pretty consistently.

Rummy Royal Poker Face
Let me introduce you to the concept of a “poker face.”

Win or lose, I’m honestly happy to play a game that is genuinely fun for adults as well as kids. Most of the time, Benji wants to play Among Us variants he invents, and I’m coming to deeply, viscerally despise even the phrase among us. Grammy introduced him to the video game of Among Us, and now Benji spends all his time playing Among Us-style games with pieces cadged from a variety of board games; with Legos; with stuffed animals; with pencil and paper, drawing it out; and acting it out with us adults whenever we allow it. He watches Twitch recordings of people playing Among Us with Ian and constantly talks about what he watched. Schunk, the sound he makes when pretending to stab someone, is one of the most common sounds I hear on a daily basis. I’m heartily sick of Among Us, and extremely ready to move on.

We read plays aloud. My sister and brother-in-law have organized a few live readings of plays — Timon of Athens, Merry Wives of Windsor, and, at my request, Importance of Being Earnest — with some friends of theirs a couple times a month. It’s a bit odd but somehow also really fun, just sitting and reading these things with a group of people we don’t even really know.

Everything else carried on as usual. The strange thing about this pandemic is how every day feels a thousand years long, yet looking back they feel like no time went by because each blends into the next so seamlessly. We have a routine: Benji wakes up and plays 30 minutes of Pokemon Shield; we go for our family walk; Ian and I work while Benji does synchronous school and plays by himself. Some days my mom picks him up for a few hours midday; other days he goes to my in-laws’ house; a few days a week he has his French lesson with my uncle; he video chats with my sister. I go for bike rides and play with Benji. Ian plays on his computer or phone when left alone, or with Benji. Our weekly routine varies little.

I’m thankful we have jobs, a home, and family. Everything could be much, much harder than it is.

Politics, oh my gosh. Normally I don’t talk about politics here, but I have to note that on January 20, Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States. Seeing him sworn in, I immediately felt a burden lifting. I teared up when listening to Kamala Harris become the first woman vice president. I appreciate every normal thing this administration does: issue guidance on mask-wearing (two masks, with the surgical one inside and a snug-fitting cloth one outside), speak out against the coup in Myanmar, work to pass major pandemic relief.

Then the second Trump impeachment started, and it’s sucked the political oxygen out of the room. Fortunately, it’ll probably wrap up soon; unfortunately, no matter how good the Democrats’ case (and what I listened to sounded compelling), Republicans will acquit Trump to appease their base. Thanks to spineless Republicans desperate to retain power, Trump slithers out of the consequences of his actions yet again — and the foundation is laid for a more competent future strong man to finish destroying our democracy.

I’ll just try to appreciate these last two to four years while Biden tries to hold things together. After that, I don’t hold out much hope.

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