This week has been really different – so much is changing in my life! My role at work has changed quite a bit due to COVID19, and there’s also the major lifestyle change that where I used to fly all over the country 50 weeks a year, I now haven’t set foot on a plane since March. Meanwhile, I have a new boyfriend (and his kids) I’m adjusting my life around, and on Tuesday, my mom moved in with me. All of this is stuff I would never have imagined in February; it is certainly interesting living in This Unprecedented Time.
Mom got to Colorado on Tuesday, and we spent the week starting to settle in with each other. Tuesday through Thursday were great, but Friday had its ups and downs, particularly since both of us are nervous and stressed about the chemo that will begin next week. Mom is going through what the doctors call “chemo light”, but… it’s still chemo.
Hopefully the reaction will be milder than “full chemo”, and the doctors told us that Mom should even be able to drive herself to and from her weekly infusions. But we just don’t know how she’ll react to it, and that’s why we decided to have her come live with me – so that if it doesn’t go well, she has someone to take care of her rather than being on her own. It also means we can be together for the holidays, which is a wonderful treat after going nine months without seeing family at all!
Anyway, while I’m thrilled to have Mom with me, that doesn’t mean the adjustment is all sunshine and roses. Mom and I had a few little spats on Friday while I was working, but things got better Friday after work, when we took steps to start making my mom a bit more independent. As soon as I finished my last call of the afternoon, we headed out to test drive a car for Mom!
Driving to Longmont was really weird, because the Calwood fire had turned the sky a very odd dark orange color. (In fact, the light coming through the windows of my house was such an eerie orange in the afternoon that it caused me to text my best friend and ask if we were in the middle of the apocalypse!) Going from my house up to Longmont was heading straight toward the fire, so it definitely got worse as we drove up there – not only was the orange sky creepy, but the ash also made it dark, so I couldn’t see all that far ahead while I was driving. Such a creepy, terrible change from our usually bright blue Colorado sky!
The car turned out to be a bust, so we quickly turned around to head back home. (On the bright side, this visit helped steer mom away from Volvos, and we decided to focus on Subarus going forward.) And on the way back, we stopped at Avery Brewing for me to pick up the free six pack I won this week!
Since the pandemic started, Avery has turned their usual Monday night group fun runs into a virtual series – log at least three miles on your own, send in a Strava link or other proof, and you get entered into a drawing to win a free six pack of beer. I’ve been participating in this almost every week since March, and have won four six packs. Thanks, Avery!
Once we got home, though, Mom and I put the six pack in the pantry and turned to a different drink – wine! Mom was advised to avoid alcohol once she starts chemo, so while she’s not much of a drinker anyway, we thought it would be nice to sip red wine together for one of the last times before she goes totally dry. I heated up some frozen Macaroni Grill penne rustica I had been saving for a special occasion, and we put Emily in Paris on Netflix. I know Emily in Paris is getting panned for being cheesy and unrealistic, and I agree with all of critics about how vapid it is… but sometimes my mom and I love watching light, no-thinking shows like this (see: how much we enjoy watching Fuller House together). It was a really fun night cozying up on the couch and relaxing!
The next morning, I slept as late as I could, and didn’t hit the gym right away when I woke up. I was saving my energy for the Peloton Big Four ride, which didn’t start until 8:30am. Basically, a bunch of people at the Big Four accounting firms (PwC, Deloitte, EY, and KPMG) have started a little competition. The leaders pick a specific recorded class and we all get on our bikes at the same time, competing to see not only who can get the highest score but also which firm can get the highest participation. For this class, we had over 500 people riding at the same time! I really love how Peloton allows you to feel like you’re part of a community even when you’re home riding by yourself.
For my part, I pushed really hard in the ride and was amazed and proud to set a 30 minute class PR by 36 points! I think it probably helped that my mom was walking on the treadmill while I was riding, and we kept cheering each other on and giving each other air high fives across the room 🙂
I did some core and strength to round out my workout, then had a protein bar for breakfast since it was so late and I didn’t want to spoil lunch. But as it turned out, Mom and I ended up staying home for lunch rather than going right out the door to car shop after breakfast.
We finally headed down to Japanese Car Connection in Denver, which specializes in Subarus (now that we’d zeroed in on those) – they had a bunch that Mom wanted to see. Turns out, Mom and I are both snobs about the inside of cars: we liked the newest fancy model best, even though it had just as many miles as some of the older ones. Problem is, neither of us knows anything about cars, so we didn’t know what to look for mechanically, even though we knew the engine was the most important thing and the rest was cosmetic! We stayed at the dealership trying to make up our minds until 4:30, but since the dealership closed at 5pm Saturday and didn’t open again until Monday morning, we figured it gave us more time to think about it – and also time to line up a mechanic for a second opinion without someone else buying it in the meantime.
After the dealership, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things, and then my mom drove me over to J’s house for the evening before returning home herself. Due to my mom’s arrival, I hadn’t met up with J since Monday, and I was so glad to see him again! I made dinner for the whole family (chicken parmesan meatballs and spaghetti), and we all curled up on the couch to watch Wonder – a movie everyone but me had seen. Oh my gosh, I loved it! My only regret was that my mom wasn’t with us to watch, since it was exactly the kind of feel-good movie she loves. (My mom is pretty concerned about COVID19, and while we’ve discussed that she is comfortable with me continuing to see J and his kids, she doesn’t want to meet up with them in person herself yet.)
Once we put the kids to bed, J and I settled in for a cozy night on the couch eating some special treats and watching TV – some old episodes of The Office, which I hadn’t seen in years. It was so funny! I was glad for a bit of nostalgia 🙂
The next day, I woke up early and headed out for a run. I had checked the temperature before I went over to J’s, and smartly packed both gloves and a headband… but when I actually got out on the trails, I found that wasn’t quite enough. I was super cold! I didn’t understand why, since temps were in the 30s / 40s – cold, but not frigid, and usually running warms me up a lot.
In spite of the cold, though, I was having fun exploring J’s neighborhood. While I originally set out to do just 4 miles (two miles out, two miles back), I kept tacking more and more on, until I ended up arriving back at his house with exactly 10 miles completed. Double digits, yay! But it’s funny to me that after my ultra, even this distance feels like a short easy run. I wasn’t pushing the pace except for the last mile (7:37), and the 8:50 pace I averaged for the rest felt fairly relaxing.
However, while I usually start a wintery run cold and then my body warms up with exertion, on Sunday, it did not. Over the course of my run, my hands and face started going more and more numb, until I was that awkward runner who was responding to other people’s “good morning” greetings with mumbles because my lips wouldn’t move. By the time I got home, I felt like a popsicle, and while I hoped I would feel better after a few minutes inside warming up, I actually started feeling worse as my heart rate dropped. My fingers felt even colder, and now they started to hurt a ton – which made me feel like I was going to either cry or throw up (or maybe both). When I complained to J, he all but shoved me into the hot shower, and I ended up staying in there for about 20 minutes before I felt better. But at least I felt better! That was weird and scary. (A friend later pointed out that the humidity was really high, which is unusual for Denver, so that may have been why it felt so much colder than the thermometer.)
But post run? We made Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Rolls for breakfast with the kids, which were really delicious… though also a little bit sweeter than they needed to be. I want to scour the web and see if I can find a way to bake these myself and make them a little bit lighter and healthier, because I’d love to enjoy them more often than just after a ten mile run 😉
The rest of the day was pretty relaxed, but after dropping the kids off at their mom’s in the evening, J and I headed up to my house to see my mom for dinner. Three more days till she starts chemo meant she could enjoy a glass of wine with us, and I had a lovely night making this phenomenal mushroom lentil gravy for dinner and then cozying up on the couch with my mom and J and watching Fixer Upper. I am looking to many more cozy nights with the two of them this winter!