Pssst! I have a huge secret.
I discovered something so amazing it’s not possible to keep it to myself for another second.
Well, the truth is almost everything is difficult for me to keep to myself, I’m aware of this proclivity, let’s move on.
Not to promote conspiracy theories, but I’m in a mild state of dilapidation, and I suspect it’s related to COVID. Not the disease itself, but the repercussions of going 110 rounds with COVID, and still no identifiable champion.
My endurance is waning.
Let me explain. At the onset of all those COVID restrictions I was down with the flu, or COVID (who knows, no testing was available). It was before the word COVID could be found in the urban dictionary, before this batty virus was able to rearrange American society as we know it, and insist the entire world wear masks, which somehow morphed into a moral issue?
Now I feel naked without one.
In my delirium (back in March of 2020), I checked my work email, and there was an emergency notice from the administrators stating if, at all possible, we needed to come in on Monday to address our classes on how, where, and when we would be meeting virtually for an undisclosed period of time. As a country, we were determined to flatten the curve on this viral infection even if that meant we would be sheltering in place until I was eligible for social security benefits.
There were a few problems with this whole executive order. One, I had never even so much as participated in a zoom call and now I had to explain it to my students. Two, I had no idea how to set one up and where exactly this virtual meeting would take place. Three, I was sick as a dog, nauseous, hives, and other things, but apparently, I needed to get out of bed and back into the classroom for what would be my final goodbye.
To be fair my school sprung into action and offered us a ton of instructional opportunities to learn the Zoom format, to set up our accounts, to upgrade our equipment along with our lesson plans. It was all a bit of a scramble, with unexpected bouts of anxiety for those of us not gifted with technical acumen.
But I showed up, we figured it out, all I can say is my students were enormously gracious.
Around the same time my daughter and her family of five moved in with us temporarily, first, she stole my contractor who was ready to start our long-awaited kitchen renovation, so she could remodel her home, and second, my entire house morphed into a giant toy box. For those of you new to my blog, my daughter has three daughters, at the time the twins were three and the oldest was five.
All four of the adults now living under the same roof were working remotely, which required an internet upgrade, not to mention establishing boundaries, and quiet zones. Nic had the dining room, Julie set up her workstation in the kitchen, Larry had his own office with actual doors, and I found an old board in the garage which I turned into a desk by laying it across the arms of a chair in my room. Oh, and one of my granddaughters was attending school remotely, which was an absolute fiasco. The start and stop times were as complicated as a rocket launch and all I can say is two hours of daily homework for kindergarten was more than our bandwidth allowed.
It was challenging, to say the least.
Daycares were closed, which meant the added bonus of two three-year-olds underfoot, there was no toilet paper to be had, in fact, the shelves at the grocery stores were practically empty, and most of our normal services were shut down.
On a positive note trips to the dentist were discouraged, we could now order margaritas to-go, and collectively we lowered our grooming standards to weekly showers and no shaving of any kind.
This chaotic scenario seemed more like a Saturday Night Live skit than a valid reflection of my life.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, my husband started wearing a headband.
Oh, and my other daughter’s wedding, still in the planning stages, an epic event to be celebrated in Lake County, had to be canceled.
There was plenty of stress to go around.
Somehow we survived. I even wrote a naive post about all the things I would miss when we actually managed to flatten the curve, not comprehending this virus would still be ravaging our community two years later, but I digress.
There were memorable moments on a daily basis that I tucked away in my heart and never wanted to end like the sound of little feet running down the hall, snuggles every morning, endless giggles reverberating off the walls. And then there were those other moments like when the dog was attacked by a wild possum in the middle of the night, I was screaming so loud I woke up the entire neighborhood, kids crying, dog yelping. It was a night to tuck somewhere else.
And let’s not forget the time I bought $40 worth of the wrong shrimp, that was catastrophic, adult children can be merciless when you buy cooked shrimp instead of raw. I still have PTS from that little episode.
The miracle is coming up, keep reading, just a few paragraphs to go…
Anyway, life goes on, I had to accept my anxiety would remain in high gear for quite some time. Then like Job, this strange rash started growing on my legs. I’ve had it before, it’s called eczema, my doctor advised I extricate myself from my entire family, including the dog, and it would go away? Tempting.
Then the vaccine became available and as a teacher, I was one of the earlier recipients. This is when my rash morphed from splotchy eczema to this massive, constantly itching, raw patches of flesh that just kept getting bigger and bigger.
I went back to the doctor and he took a sampling of the skin from one of the patches, which left a huge hole in my leg, and sent it off to UC Davis for testing. When it came back it was decided that I had graduated from eczema (healable) to psoriasis (autoimmune disease).
As Kelley would say, “give me the spark notes Mom.”
Well, life sorted itself out, as it tends to do, the kids eventually moved into their own home across the street, we finished our kitchen remodel, and I retired at the end of the last academic year. But all of this had no effect on my rash. It just kept itching, spreading, and looking ghastly.
The skin doctor put me on a hydrocortisone cream to ease the discomfort of the rash, it did nothing but make everything look angrier, and more pronounced, if that were even possible.
There is actually some good news, I’m working my way to this revelation, but the details are pertinent (Yes, I tend to exaggerate).
Regardless, I attended a wedding recently, in beautiful Carmel Valley, which was tricky because my outfit had to cover all my rashes that have migrated to the most difficult places, which translates to a full-length pantsuit with cap sleeves. Lovely. I looked like a cat burglar. I have to add the wedding was as if a fairytale, complete with handsome groom, and stunning bride.
But here’s the miracle I’m so eloquently trying to explain, we received a goody bag at the welcoming reception, which included various things representing the bride and groom’s families. Nuts from Virginia, GiaDomella wine, chocolates, glasses, corkscrew, water, etc. It was all gathered in this adorable bag. But the surprise gift came from the groom, he works in the cannabis industry and the gift bag included a bottle of CBD oil (Care By Design).
None hallucinogenic, but I still handled it with immense caution, and wondered if this was actually legal in all 50 states?
I didn’t know anything about this oil so I tucked it back in the bag and opened the wine instead!
A week later I’m telling my sister about the oil and she says I should put it on my rash.
I’m like, “why?”
Nancy says, “it can’t hurt.”
I repeat, “it can’t hurt.”
So that night while we’re watching Breaking Bad (we missed the whole craze when it came out so we’re checking it out now and we’re mildly traumatized by the number of bad decisions the characters can make in every episode?) I took my time rubbing this possibly illegal drug all over my little patches of rashes.
And here’s the thing. The itching completely stopped. For the first time in a year or two, I was itch-free. I felt almost like a normal person who didn’t need to reach down and scratch her legs every two seconds.
I told Larry, “I need a case of this oil and I don’t care what laws you have to break to get it.”
He said, “we will buy you two cases if it keeps working.”
“I could be a poster child for the cannabis industry.”
“Honey, they’re trying to sell the oil.”
So then I started worrying about the side effects. I mean this is procured from an illegal substance, and I have no plans to star in the Orange Is the New Black series, and if it’s contraband it might be dangerous. Right?
The first study I found claims that after mice ingested huge amounts of CBD oil they did experience some liver damage (if I drank the equal in Koolaid it would probably have the same effect) but with further research, I found out rubbing it on your skin is not the same as drinking it in a shot glass, and the effects are negligible.
In fact, one study claimed there was no amount that you could rub on your skin that would be harmful.
Good to know.
While I was researching I found out there are additional medicinal benefits to using CBD products. It has anti-inflammatory properties, it relieves discomfort and nausea due to cancer treatments, it reduces the more severe complications of COVID-19, there are anti-aging proponents, it calms chronic acne, and one study claims it prevents some forms of cancer from spreading.
It’s as if all our problems can be solved with one sweet little herb, but the studies are limited, it’s a new industry, so don’t go running to the doctor for your marijuana medical card just yet.
I didn’t want you to be the last to know.
The Mom Questions:
Question number one
“Mom, do you own a pair of pants?”
I know where this is going so I remain quiet. See, my kids would prefer I wear normal clothing, such as a pair of jeans, maybe a t-shirt, and a matching sweater. EVERY DAY!
I’m retired, which translates to yoga pants, my new uniform, my go-to outfit, DAY IN AND DAY OUT. PERIOD. Besides, they’re ridiculously accommodating, if you know what I mean.
I say as innocently as possible, “I have pants, I just don’t prefer them.”
Don’t you love it when your kids call you out on your own shit? Neither do I.
I ask Larry, “Hey, how do I look?”
He says, “with your eyes.”
Question number two
“Do you have to smile when you talk?”
“I don’t know. I don’t look at myself when I talk.”
“You look ridiculous.”
“Good to know.”
I’ll say this in my defense, I don’t smile when I’m mad.
Question number three
“Why don’t you join a writing group? You need to get you out of the house.”
“Honey we’re in the middle of a pandemic, gatherings are highly frowned upon. ”
“You’re going to become one of those Agoraphobics.”
“That sounds like my community.”
I get the look.