Lockdown: Spin cycles

Walk / Don’t Walk

I skipped walking for the first night in more than a week, mostly in anticipation of laundry, which I am doing right now in my (now) usual spot. Last week’s Grand Central Station coming and going freaked me out a tiny bit, and I was confused because the week before I’d only encountered those two ladies who came in for the last hour of my time.

I realized (too late) that the week before last, I’d been here at 4 on an early Tuesday, while last week I was there at 3 on an early Monday. Of course. Sunday is laundry night.

So I’m here now, off to a later start than planned, on an early Tuesday again. One guy just left and another is finishing up now, so here’s hoping?

I’m slightly disappointed I didn’t get my walk, but more because I enjoyed the streak than because my body and mind felt the need to go. I think both felt a night off was appropriate, if not preferable.

Zooming into uncertainty

At work Monday, we had our first virtual all-staff meeting via Zoom. My company’s been using Zoom for years, since we have people on Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii Island, and the nature of our work dictates a lot of face-to-face meetings. We sometimes have all-staff meetings of our 100 people, with a few people Zooming in. This would be the first where all participants would be calling in.

It mostly worked. With everyone on mute, our leaders took their turns saying what they had to say. Some people IMed their questions, which our moderator tossed to the speakers when appropriate.

Then they unmuted everyone. I called in via phone (rather than web) and of course I had myself on mute from my end. You can tell a lot of people didn’t do the same. The cacophony of background noises was incredible. I kinda hope someone was recording the meeting so we could play it back some day, because it was truly comical. The idea was to unmute everyone so we could have an open Q&A, as we usually do at these meetings. It took just under a minute for us all to realize this wasn’t going to work.

Back to all-mute, and questions via IM.

You could feel the tension. People are worried about their positions, echoing some of the concerns I’ve expressed in this space. I wonder if that’s the vibe everywhere in this country, among people still lucky enough to be working.

After the brainstorm

I spent all weekend with two projects bouncing around in my brain. No actual writing on either, but lots of gestating. Then when I sat down at the keys Monday, they both kind of just rolled out of me. Revisions to the 30-second PSA came first, and I was pleased. I was even more pleased when they came back with revision suggestions and one suggestion made the entire thing better. A word had really been bothering me and I’d been unable to find something that worked better. Without my mentioning my discomfort with the word, someone suggested just deleting it. Yessss. I don’t know why the writer is often the last to think of that.

I negotiated to change back two small edits and got my way, and the piece is stronger over all, if for no reason other than its brevity.

The other project was a set of thank-you letters to donors, to be signed by our company president. It’s become a regular part of my job, to write new sets of letters every few month for our president, the president of the university, and some of the university’s units.

Our president and the university’s president were unhappy with my last set. I got too metaphorical on one set; I was too specific on another. This threw me a little because compared to letters written by someone else before I started doing them, these were pretty dang good. But it’s not my signature at the bottom, so I get it. I’m writing on behalf of someone else.

The challenge (as it ever is in all my work) is not to sound like everything else. In these thank-yous, you want donors actually to feel thanked, in a way that doesn’t sound like the chorus of other thank-yous these people receive.

I submitted a set I feel pretty good about, but after the hits I took on those last two sets, I no longer write these with confidence. It took the equivalent of two entire working days to write the letters I submitted yesterday, which is probably too long.

“Kale was a bad idea”

Monday I kinda skipped breakfast because of that early staff meeting (something I almost never do!), snacking later on chips and dip. Ugh. Lunch was two frozen burritos (I’ve found a brand whose ingredients list doesn’t read like you expect on frozen prepared foods). Dinner was about a pound and a half of steamed brussels sprouts in garlic butter.

The article I linked the other day by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt made me feel better about getting takeout, but oh, ugh, bleah. I’m still tense as heck when I’m out around others. I’d like to support local businesses but unlike certain lieutenant governors in other parts of the nation, I’m unwilling to die in order to save the economy for someone else’s children. And I’m certainly not willing to kill for it.

I’m on a mini-mission to finish the abundance of fresh produce in my fridge before it turns. Someone didn’t exactly panic shop last week, but someone might have gotten a little ambitious with veggies at Costco.

Making a list

In addition to more of those letters I have to write and a couple of proposals to get to fundraisers, I’m hoping to find time today to do my census and taxes. This past year was the least complicated money year I’ve had in a verrrry long time, so I’m absolutely filling out the short form.

I also have a Nielsen form to complete. A couple of months ago I got a dollar in the mail with a Nielsen survey, promising $10 if I completed the questionnaire and sent it in. So I did it and got a $10 bill in the mail some time later. Monday I got a radio survey to complete (I haven’t opened the envelope yet so I don’t know if there’s the promise of cash) and I’m all in, either way.

Brief connections

I traded a few texts with Crush Girl early. Then my coworker Sylvia a few times about today’s meeting. A couple of short FB Messenger exchanges. I think that’s it. It feels like enough.

I think I need to make a little bit of an effort to reach out to a few others. Will add to my to-dos for Tuesday and Wednesday.

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