Something Just Died in the Living Room

Adulting is running a virtual training like a boss bitch after something just died in the living room.

Let’s back up.

COVID-19 caused millions of businesses and individuals to turn to virtual platforms for learning and development. Video learning in the corporate world is a new standard as we strive to continue “business as usual.” To maintain a training program in a simulated environment, my team needed to teach our Business Trainers how to facilitate virtually.

Like the professional adult I am, I stepped forward and took the lead on accomplishing this training. I spent weeks designing a Zoom course to arm our trainers with the tools they need to successfully transfer knowledge virtually. I crafted a PowerPoint and drafted a script. I built polling questions and collaborated with others to create a seamless training experience that not only teaches skills, but also demonstrates those skills. I wanted the responsibility and I craved the visibility to advance my career. I accepted the work and the stress and was excited to prove myself.

I’m naturally an anxious individual. I’m typically very comfortable speaking in front of a group, but I over-prepare to get to that level of ease. I rehearse every slide, every line of my script, every possible question I may face, and every conceivable technical difficulty scenario the universe could throw at me.

Every scenario, except the one that actually happens.

First, I live in BFE. “Live in the woods!” They said. “It’ll be fun!” They said. Yeah. Until I can’t get a decent internet connection while working from home.

So, knowing I had a big training to execute, I packed up my office and went to my sister’s. Her internet connection is reliable, and I knew that would ease any anxiety I had around dropping off the call.

I rehearsed twice that morning before it was time to train. I had it all blocked out. I knew when I’d glance at my notes and when I’d stare at the webcam to simulate eye contact. I did my hair, painted my face, and even put on pants. I sat at the kitchen table and carefully laid my notes around my laptop. A neutral wall was my perfect background. Everything was flawless, with the clock showing 5 minutes until training time.

Prepared af, like a boss.

A dog pushed her way through the doggy door in the kitchen and trotted by me. I barely noticed. Then suddenly, a shrill bark joined by a low growl startled me. The dogs had been so good all morning, I had almost forgotten they were in here. My Doberman was standing in the corner of the room near the living room couch, snarling. My sister’s two Brittany’s were unexpectedly yipping, fighting, howling, and sprinting in circles.

I panicked.

No one had joined the meeting yet, but I muted my mic and hollered to my sister, “My training is starting! Can you take care of them?!”

She hurried from her office into the room and approached the dogs.

Then she screamed.

The entire room was a whirling tornado of barks and shouts, and my anxiety shot through the roof.

“What?!” I asked, shutting off my webcam and leaping to my feet. I approached the pack of squealing mammals and bent down to the carpet next to the couch.

One of the Brittanies had caught, killed, and brought in a bleeding ground squirrel, which now stained the tan carpet. For just a moment, my heart broke for the tiny creature, and my first instinct was to help the situation.

“Oh, my God, this isn’t happening,” I mumbled. I tried to gain control of the room as blood seeped into the fibers of the carpet, but it was no use. I didn’t have the time to be the sister version of myself. I didn’t even have time to be the damage control version of myself. I needed to remain my professional self, completely on, fully armed, ready to facilitate this training in less than five minutes.

I made a split-second adult decision.

I scooped up all my notes and my laptop. I dashed up the stairs and locked myself in the first bedroom I came to. I stood there, my mind reeling, studying the space. There was a window and pile of old Christmas decorations on one side of the room, a bed in the middle, and an empty tan wall on the other side.

I didn’t have a choice.

I knelt at the bed and set up shop, with the blank wall behind me. My knees sank in as I tried to find some form of comfort in my new space. I did my best to smooth my frizzing hair, then I turned the webcam back on.

Just as I finished reorganizing my notes, my first participant arrived, and I forced calm through my system. I may have been chaos inside, but outside I had to be a professional.

As the training progressed, I struggled to catch my breath, but kept a smile across my jaw and pressed on. About halfway through, the temperature was inching toward scorching in that tiny bedroom. As the sweat rolled down my back, I realized the register must be sealed, and no cool air was circulating into this room on the hottest day of the year. I had locked myself in a sauna and was kneeling on the floor, trying to act like everything was fine.

It’s fine. I’m fine. Everything is fine.

Adulting is running a virtual training like a boss bitch after something just died in the living room. I was breathless and sweaty, but I executed to the best of my ability, despite the unpredictable disorder that tore apart the calm aura I spent weeks fabricating. As a professional, as an adult, we must always expect the unexpected. No matter how much we prepare or how often we rehearse, there will always be things we never anticipated. It’s not these unprecedented incidents that define us, but how we handle them. That’s what makes us who we are and teaches us what adulting truly means.

And don’t worry— we managed to get the blood out of the carpet.


Mechanic Bills and Buying in Bulk

“Get your ass offline,” I messaged my co-worker when I saw her online during her day off.

I’m so professional.

“I’m going!” She replied. “Just wanted to quickly log on and send the team some information… I don’t want to be the reason anything gets delayed.”

I know adulting = responsibility, but is there ever a time this immense weight lifts from our shoulders? Our work culture has evolved to the point where so many of us cannot even relax on a vacation day. Out of a 52-week year, we already only get 2-3 weeks of vacation. Why are so many of us STILL WORKING on those vacation days? Stoppit!

If something good could ever come from the ‘rona, I hope it’s that we learn to re-evaluate our priorities and re-calibrate our work-life balance.

“Fine,” I typed back. “When you’re done, log off and go day drink or play Zelda.”

“Ha. I need to get my car from the shop, then venture to Costco. Talk about a PARTY.”

“You wild animal.”

This is what we’ve become. Our days off are no longer bottles of wine and Nintendo Switch adventures, but rather mechanic bills and buying in bulk. I hope we can all find once again what really matters in life. Take care of yourself, be with your loved ones, and leave time to find those Korok Seeds in Hyrule.

“At least spending $2k on my car will prevent me from going overboard at Costco,” she added.

“Hopefully this will have your car good to go for a while.”

“Fingers crossed.”


Today, I ventured out into the real world.

And I didn’t like it.

I’ve been #adulting and working on a refinance for our home to take advantage of the lower interest rates. We close on Monday, so like a responsible adult, I suited up and left my home for the first time in weeks to get a cashier’s check for the closing costs.

Now when I say “suited up,” I mean I had to rummage through my closet in search of a pair of real pants that actually fit. Once I managed to squeeze into some jeans, I then welcomed the dystopian vibes as I grabbed a pair of gloves and a face mask.

Banks are only conducting business via drive through around here. I knew the outside world was going to be different from how I left it, but I was incredibly unprepared for the wrapped line of cars around my credit union.

About 45 minutes later, I was finally pulling up to the pneumatic tube transport and reaching for the canister. I dropped in my ID and a note detailing exactly what I needed (because I even have anxiety about executing a drive through transaction) then sent the canister away. As it flew overhead, I glanced up toward the window to see a line of tellers inside.

All eerily wearing facemasks.

I knew they would be. But nothing really prepares you for the realization that even our tellers inside the locked bank must protect themselves.

While I was out, I figured I might as well stop at the grocery store to pick up a few things and make an adventure out of the day.

It felt like I was preparing to enter battle as I situated myself in the store parking lot.

“Alright, boys.” I said to no one. “We don’t know what we’ll find in there. Best be on our toes and ready for anything. Move out!”

I marched in with gloves on my hands and a mask over my face. I grasped a cart and tried to move as swiftly as possible through the store.

When you’re navigating through produce 6 feet away from a strategically spaced crowd in masks as the intercom defines social distancing, you feel like you’re in some sort of a YA dystopian novel, and you’re eventually going to have to choose between the two guys you like, one of whom is in the next aisle.

Trying to practice social distancing while following the new directional aisles and searching for the damn bread aisle was exhausting. Navigating a grocery store during the ‘Rona is like playing PacMan. You’re PacMan, trying to collect all your groceries in this confusing maze, and EVERYONE ELSE is killer ghosts closing in on your personal space.

I barely made it out with my life.

And my groceries, of course. Can’t go home without HotPockets.

I don’t think I will be going back out there. Reality is a little too bizarre for me right now. I will enjoy the chaos safely from my own home, and play PacMan on the old N64 instead.

Stay healthy, friends.

The Forks We Find

I am officially on day “Finding Forks in my Paperwork” of quarantine.

I am officially on day “Finding Forks in my Paperwork” of quarantine.

I must admit, the two things I am doing most throughout lockdown are eating and writing. Sometimes even at the same time. And there’s nothing classier than licking molten cheese off your keyboard.

For those of us fortunate enough to be working from home, I am certain many will struggle with the transition back to normal office life after the ‘rona rescinds and we emerge from the darkness of our homes. In a way, we have been able to take a vacation from adulting. While it will be nice to rekindle a sense of normalcy and reconnect with the world, there are several things I am completely dreading about returning to corporate.

  1. I must wear pants at all times.
  2. I should probably shower daily.
  3. It is most likely not acceptable to have The Office playing in the background as I work.
  4. Pooping in a public restroom again is going to suck.
  5. A 3 pm desk cocktail is probably frowned upon.
  6. My dog is going to wonder why I don’t want to hang out with her anymore.
  7. I will be judged for keeping a party-size box of extra toasty Cheez-Itz on my desk.
  8. It’s peopley there.  
  9. It won’t be sanitary to lick the molten cheese off my work keyboard.
  10. People probably will not appreciate finding forks in the filing cabinets nearly as much as I do.

Here’s to the transition back, whenever that may be. Our reality is quite unpredictable right now. The best we can do is stay positive, take it one day at a time, and laugh at the forks we find along the way.

Toilet Paper and Ammo

Amid the Corona Virus pandemic, it is easy to say the world’s introverts are in their PRIME. Working from home, calling the dog a co-worker, and having the ultimate excuse to turn down plans? Boom. An introvert’s paradise. Sign me the hell up.

“How is everyone doing?” My boss asked the team over Skype one morning. It was about 3 weeks into quarantine, and I had long settled into my home office. My whiteboard wall was littered with notes and sketches for projects, my desk supported 3 laptops, I had the world’s largest cup of coffee in my hands, and I wasn’t wearing pants.

I was living my best life.

Let’s face it. Still living my best life. Right now.

Silence stretched across the call, and I had to check my connection to make sure I was still on.

“Um,” a team member spoke up. “I’m doing okay. It’s…weird.”

“Yes,” someone else agreed. “I’m really starting to miss people.”

“The social piece of things is certainly a challenge right now,” my boss affirmed.

Each team member took turns describing the challenges they were facing as they worked from home. It was clear everyone was yearning for a change in scenery and dying for some people time, and we were only three weeks in.

How fascinating.

“Kaitlin, how about you?” My boss asked me.

I fumbled to unmute myself, the delay in my response just long enough to be awkward.

I am always awkward. See post “This is Why I’m Not Allowed Outside.”

“I’m fine!” I sang out cheerfully.


Apparently, I’m the odd one in the group.

I’m not sure if I do this to myself on purpose, or if I really have no control over myself in social situations. It probably would have been easier to agree with the group and commiserate, but I was completely in my element.

“I’m set up pretty well over here,” I continued. “I just need some faster internet and I could do this forever!”

They all chuckled uncomfortably, but it wasn’t a joke. To be clear, I certainly do not wish for an indefinite pandemic which keeps us trapped in our homes. I recognize this situation isn’t for everyone, and there are those seriously struggling with isolation. But personally, I would flourish working at home full-time. My home office is considerably less… peopley.

On several occasions, my husband and I have talked about how we would thrive in an apocalyptic situation. I don’t think we’re alone…by the way toilet paper and ammunition flew of the shelves last month, I’d say there’s an entire colony of people expecting the ‘rona to morph into the zombie apocalypse. (Toilet Paper? Really? If shit hits the fan, I think wiping your ass is going to be the least of your worries.) Millions of Americans are just waiting for the moment the victims of the Corona Virus rise from the grave so they can finally shout, “I TOLD YOU SO!”

Mike and I are by no means “preppers,” and we do not actually believe the zombie apocalypse is imminent, but we do think we’d be damn good at it. I can see us farming our property and hunting the deer that pass through. We would barrel through town in a massive truck to raid for supplies, use our Doberman Pinscher for security, and develop a deadly aim with our rifles and pistols. Basically, we’d be like characters straight out of The Walking Dead, except without the senseless drama and complete inability to have a moment of happiness.

As the zombies close in, we’d be standing in the center, back to back, unloading our mags in perfect rhythm, this fantastic husband and wife team taking on hell together.

“Oh my God,” I’d shout back at Mike. “I think you just shot Carl!”

“That zombie was Carl?!” Mike would exclaim, firing another round. “Eh…he was a douche bag, anyway.”

And the best part of the apocalypse?

No credit scores.

Where Am I Going With This?

“Alright, Kait, where are you going with this?” I ask myself for the fourth time today. Adults usually have a plan. They’re normally organized. They know where they’re going.

The thing is, I don’t know where I’m going with this. I just start writing. It’s a lot like the piano for me, now. I took lessons for a dozen years. I was great. But then I went to college and the music wasn’t a priority anymore. It’s funny how we are somehow pushed to let go of the things that bring us joy when it’s time to become an adult. We don’t do it on purpose. We must learn to prioritize before we’re even ready, and sometimes things slide off the list. Take the piano for instance. Now, I can’t even play a fraction of what I used to. There are a couple songs I can still tickle out, but I can’t think about it. I can’t analyze it, because it’s not in my head. My brain has no idea how to play Fur Elise.

But my fingers remember.

If I don’t think about it

If I refuse to stop

I can still play Beethoven’s Fur Elise.

But the second I start to scrutinize the notes I’m hitting, the moment I focus too hard on the movement of my hands across black and white keys, I stumble. And I can’t start again.

Sometimes, writing is the same. My fingertips tap keys at a speed which leaves my mind in the dust. I start without an end in mind, and my hands take me forward. The words just pour out of me, and if I stop to think about where they’re coming from, I won’t be able to find them. They’ll disappear, evaporate from my tongue. They’ll be gone. It’s like an object in the dark that seems to disappear when you look directly at it. You can just make out it’s shape in your peripheral vision, but the instant you turn your head, it’s gone.

So, I keep writing. I let my fingers move as fast as they desire, and I watch the words appear on my screen with wonder.

Where am I going with this?

I have no idea.

But that’s half the fun.

To Kill the ‘Rona

“Oh my God,” I shouted, leaping out of bed. “This is it. I’ve got the ‘Rona.” I waddled from the bedroom to the bathroom mirror and stared down my throat.

            “What are you doing now?” Mike groaned from the bedroom.

            “My throat is sore. I’ve got it. We’re infected. We’re doomed.”

            “For Pete’s sake…” Mike joined me in the bathroom and shook his head. “You’re fine.”

            “I must kill these germs before I get the virus!” I exclaimed irrationally.

            “You know, I don’t think that’s how it—”

            “Salt water! When you have a sore throat, you’re supposed to gargle with salt water!” I announced.

            “Here we go.”

            I raced from the master bath into the kitchen and tore through the cupboards.

            “Pink Himalayan Salt ought to do it,” I murmured, cracking some fine crystals into a cup, and filling it with warm water. I gargled a few times, aware of Mike’s judgmental stare on my back.

            “That’s probably not doing–,”

            “You’re right!” I cut him off. I dumped out the water and handed him the salt grinder. “Crack some of this right on my throat!”

            “…You’re serious?”

            “Come on, man, time is of the essence here!” I snapped my fingers in his face.

            Mike rolled his eyes. “Fine. Lay down on the couch.”

            I launched over the back of the couch, laid flat on the cushions, and then squeezed my eyes shut. “Do it.”

            Then I heard Mike chuckle.

I realized in this frozen slice of time between the vibrations of his voice that I made a grave mistake. In my irrationality, I completely disregarded the fact that I cannot trust my prankster husband with a task like this. I didn’t have time to react before GIANT salt crystals were colliding with the back of my throat.

            He turned the grain size on the grinder from “Light Dusting” to “Fucking Massive.”

            “ARG!” I yelled, fumbling up, coughing, cursing. “What did you do?!”

            Mike doubled over in laughter.

            “You ass!” I shouted, sprinting into the kitchen, and thrusting my mouth under the tap to chase down the colossal salt crystals clinging to my tonsils.

            As I was sputtering in the sink, Mike calmly took two glasses from the cupboard, then withdrew a frosty bottle from the back of the freezer.

            “This is no time to panic,” he lectured. “Be calm. Be cool. Be smart. Stay healthy.”

I wiped my face and crossed my arms as he poured.

“This is nothing a little whiskey won’t kill,” Mike said cheerfully.

            I scowled at him, but took the glass he offered me.

“To quarantine,” he saluted, clinking his glass to mine.

“To quarantine.”

And we haven’t stopped drinking since.


The Age of No Pants

Reasons Why I Drink (Today Edition)

The Age of No Pants

“Ah yes,” I’ll tell them, looking philosophically into space as I sink my old bones into the memory. “The Age of No Pants.”

Can we all agree it is exceptionally difficult to pretend to be an adult when the world is on fire?

I’m feeling unsettled. My mind cannot quite process the Amazon driver wearing a facemask, or the dystopian line with 6 feet of space between each person outside Home Depot because they won’t let more than 75 in at a time. The lack of paper products on the grocery store shelves is mind-blowing, and my pizza delivery was left on my porch yesterday.

Social horror aside, I haven’t worn real pants in about three months, and that is not something adults do.

I should be keeping a journal of the events taking place throughout this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, because one day, my grandchildren will ask about it, and only one thing will stick out.

“What was it like living through a pandemic, Grandmother?” (For some reason, in my head, my grandchildren are British.)

“Ah yes,” I’ll tell them, looking philosophically into space as I sink my old bones into the memory. “The Age of No Pants.”

As a writer, it is no surprise I am naturally an introvert. I was born for social distancing. I love working my day job from home. I love hanging out with my dog and spending the evenings writing and 100%-ing Breath of the Wild while I drink a couple bottles of wine.

I love not wearing pants.

But I can’t even take myself seriously when I am sitting in a Zoom meeting knowing I am a business mullet. (Professional on the top, party on the bottom.)

The Age of No Pants aside, I think the question our grandchildren will most likely be asking is not about the pandemic itself, but life before the pandemic.

“What was it like before the world changed?”

Kind of the same. Kind of not.

I don’t know what will happen next…but I do know I can feel an imminent shift. We won’t come out of this shiny. We will crawl from it, squinting in new light.


Unpredictability is the scariest part of this, I think. But we’re not alone. We might be pantsless in our living room with only our cats and dogs and a few empty bottles of cabernet, but we’re not alone.

Drop me a follow for more on #adulting and “the ‘rona.” Some relatable, light-hearted reading is exactly what we need right now!