Metatalktail Hour: Who is New In Your Life? July 18, 2020 2:10 PM   Subscribe

I can't speak for other people, but I miss seeing some of the people I usually see. At the same time I've been seeing some new people, either because they're on my same-y walk route, they're in a place that I am in, maybe they're doing an online thing that I've attended, or maybe they're just a new author or poet or actor or performer or activist that I've discovered. They may not be a person at all, maybe a pet or a plant our an outside animal you've been glimpsing during time at home. Who is new with you?

As always, this is a conversation starter, not limiter; feel free to just chitchat, just no politics please!
posted by jessamyn (retired) to MetaFilter-Related at 2:10 PM (102 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

So many juvenile pygmy nuthatches! But then we moved a little bit away, and now they don’t come around any more. Hopefully they will find us again, like the chickadees did.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:12 PM on July 18, 2020 [6 favorites]

I'm not relocating to Massachusetts for the summer which means I'm in Vermont. Which means a whole new environment of fans and climate control. And I have an exhaust fan in my bathroom which plugs into the one outlet which means I have to keep the bathroom light on, So late at night there is a MOTH FRENZY in my bathroom window which is a thing I haven't seen here before. And it's fascinating, in a time without a lot of novel stimulus. So I've been taking pictures and looking them up and learning some stuff about moths. I didn't have this in mind when I made this post, but it does fit.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:23 PM on July 18, 2020 [14 favorites]

I acquired some new plant pals, to replace previous succulents murdered over the course of May and June. Here’s hoping for better luck, friendos.
posted by Klipspringer at 2:32 PM on July 18, 2020 [8 favorites]

Rita at the UPS Store is new in my life.

I went in recently to ship a package. I almost NEVER ship packages. In fact, one of the few times I ship packages is for the Metafilter Secret Quonsar. So a few weeks ago I went to ship something and I give her my phone number and she looks up my info.

"Jim 'Bondcliff' [last name]?"

"Uh... yeah... that's me."

"What's the deal with your nickname?"

I then go on to tell her about my internet friends and mountains in New Hampshire and we have a lovely conversation about all sorts of things.

The next time I go in she looks up my info again.

"Oh yeah, Hi Bondcliff!"

She tells me she remembers me because I'm one of the few people she's dealt with who isn't grumpy and stressed out and rude. I tell her that it is important, now more than ever, that people are pleasant, especially to people in her sort of position.

We then go on to have another very lovely chat.

Also since the things I've been sending out lately were going to MeFites (or former Mefites) she always asks what the recipients nicknames are so I have to tell her.

And that's the story of why the nice lady at the UPS Store is the only other non-Mefite human on Earth who knows me as Bondcliff.
posted by bondcliff at 2:34 PM on July 18, 2020 [103 favorites]

I you have to send me something just so you can tell her about your friend, the undertaker.
posted by ColdChef at 2:52 PM on July 18, 2020 [71 favorites]

One of the few positives of the pandemic — don’t get me wrong, far outweighed by the negative, my partner has had a fever for 120ish days* — is all the new ways of interacting with people is much easier for me as a socially anxious extreme introvert. People stay far away, there’s not as much small talk, a mask makes it easier for me to relax about my facial expression, food delivery is left at the door, curbside pickup means shopping doesn’t give me as much of a big letdown like it would if I was around other customers and talking to the checkout person.

I am chatty and friendly, though, so I like these small interactions a lot. My favorite microinteraction last week was during grocery pickup. I had all my windows and trunk open and there was a luxury SUV a few spots down and the grocery runner came out carrying a very small bag and said sarcastically “here’s your single container of hummus!” and then walked by my car muttering “WHY even place an order, just for hummus” and saw me looking amused in my rear view mirror and gave me a big grin and I laughed and shook my head and he continued on.

*I feel like I should clarify her doctors have told her it’s okay for me to do things like grocery pickups or other curbside store pickups without risk of spreading anything, though of course I am still masked and keep as much distance as possible.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 3:01 PM on July 18, 2020 [12 favorites]

The friendly dudes at the snack bar* I started going to despite it being in the same location and near me since forever. Amazing burgers, kebab and fries every single time. Like have you ever had a burger so moist and tasty it made you appreciate life itself?

* Snack bar is such a generic wikipediafied term for a classic Swedish grill.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:45 PM on July 18, 2020 [7 favorites]

My new kidney!

Some of you may recall that I turned down a kidney transplant match at the end of March, which at the time felt as if it were well into the COVID crisis but was only the beginning. Taking on surgery at that moment felt entirely suicidal. I'd fully braced myself to lean deep into my four years of dialysis (and counting) and wait at least another two years for a match, but when another call came in May, it felt like a miracle in progress and so I took it.

Because of the virus, I was alone getting wheeled into surgery and alone throughout recovery. The medical team couldn't have been kinder, but it's weird not to have family support right there with you, and everyone was masked up so I never saw their faces. It was an odd time to be in the hospital.

Surgery went perfectly, but after I got home, an existing moderate kidney-related complication was immediately worsened from the powerful immunosuppressants, with some of my labwork dramatically zooming off the charts. Unable to keep any food down whatsoever, I found myself quickly dropping weight and fully resembling Christian Bale in The Machinist, and getting weaker and more exhausted by the day. This led, mercifully, to another short-notice surgery in June, with another week in the hospital while my new kidney freaked out about the trauma. Bloodwork and biopsies and so much awful hospital room TV. They took my parathyroids and a family of alien masses that had colonized there, so now along my throat I have a neat, fading vermilion 4" scar that for all the world looks like I narrowly escaped the French revolution.

But the surgery worked and I'm home again. Bloodwork is resolving. Kidney numbers getting more stable. The medicine makes my hands tremble unstoppably, but I can walk a mile now, slowly, but without stopping. I sleep like a log after, but still. Dialysis dulls you in every sense of the word, and my eyes are bright again, my memory and recall clearer. It's, yes, miraculous. With COVID, I rarely leave the house and I think it'll be at least a year before it's remotely safe to come out again. Antirejection drugs leave you absolutely nothing to fight it, so I'm embracing the hermit life more than ever.

People here at Metafilter have been so kind and I owe so many of you cards and replies, and I hope to get started on that soon. I have no idea who my donor was, but I think about her and her family often. Perhaps there's a way to find out someday and thank them properly for my life and my renewed chances.

I love you all.
posted by mochapickle at 3:58 PM on July 18, 2020 [224 favorites]

The lovely teenage pool lifeguards. Our pool is open, with rigid precautions (time block sign-ups, masks everywhere but in the water, etc.) and the young people who work there are the friendliest, warmest group of people - they learn the kids' names, they never fail to greet anyone they see, they look out for the members and guests in what seems like the most sincere way.
posted by Pax at 4:01 PM on July 18, 2020 [9 favorites]

Uhhh my physical therapist? I see her twice a week, which makes her the person I see most often after my partner.

On preview, holy shit mochapickle! That is fabulous! Congratulations on your shiny new future! I am so, so happy for you!

Wow, it is so great to hear good news. Thank you.
posted by HotToddy at 4:02 PM on July 18, 2020 [5 favorites]

Oh, mochapickle, that is so wonderful to hear! A mile is huge!
posted by Pax at 4:05 PM on July 18, 2020 [3 favorites]

Do characters in a gacha game count? If so, I've met lots of new people.
posted by betweenthebars at 4:12 PM on July 18, 2020 [3 favorites]

I mentioned in another post going to a fabulous outdoor lunch here. A few months ago, because they weren't going to be able to open properly for the summer, they started a farmers' market -- you order online on Wednesday, and pick it up on Saturday. Michael, who directs you on where to pull up to get your stuff, and his wife Chef Erin, who did not make fun of me for ordering only wine and cheese one week, feel like my new best friends because for weeks and weeks I hardly got to talk to anyone else in person.
posted by JanetLand at 4:41 PM on July 18, 2020 [4 favorites]

Oh mochapickle I am SO HAPPY. I remember the utter gut punch of your comment a few months back, and I’m so glad you got a second chance so soon. Hope recovery continues to improve apace!!

Mary Tyler Moore is new in my life. I’d never watched her show before, but on a whim my husband played me the first episode not too long ago and it is SO GOOD. I had no idea!
posted by obfuscation at 4:45 PM on July 18, 2020 [12 favorites]

I’m still in my city/state’s Crafters Against COVID-19 piecework mask making project, and I haven’t met anyone involved because we pass everything off in sealed dated ziplocks just in case, you know. But I know some people by their craft, now - beautiful top stitching, or absolutely steady fast production, or neither of these and plugging along anyway. And we’re all enjoying the wild variety of fabric and bewildered that mass production hasn’t made us useless yet.
posted by clew at 4:56 PM on July 18, 2020 [14 favorites]

mochapickle, I am so glad to hear you’re feeling better, holy cow — you got through so much during the pandemic making it all MUCH harder. I hope you continue to feel your health restored with no further setbacks! Thanks for sharing the joyful news about the kidney here!
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 4:57 PM on July 18, 2020 [5 favorites]

We’ve been trying to do our part to support craft beer in Japan, having been involved in or adjacent to the industry long enough that we’ve built some solid friendships in it, so we’ve been ordering a lot of beer online, enough that the nice delivery guys who bring it to us have begun recognizing us and that any package coming from refrigerated delivery is going to be beer. They’re really pleasant about it, and from time to time they ask us questions about the different beers, like what company they’re from, or with one, a single hop mosaic ale, what mosaic meant (it was written on the shipping label).
posted by Ghidorah at 5:04 PM on July 18, 2020 [7 favorites]

The Gilmore girls have graced our evenings with snappy chatter, and my bicycle guilted me into riding it regularly, so my weight is going down instead of up, which is nice.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:12 PM on July 18, 2020 [7 favorites]

Woot mochapickle!!! what a saga.

Um. I am going on a distanced walk with someone I met on OKCupid tomorrow morning. I had to move on with my dang life. I'll report back!
posted by wellred at 5:13 PM on July 18, 2020 [19 favorites]

I haven't met a single new person since at least March. I've barely seen anyone I know for that matter. I think that I'm to have to re-learn all my already meager social skills once this is all over.
posted by octothorpe at 5:45 PM on July 18, 2020 [16 favorites]

Greetings to mochapickle's new kidney! Welcome to MetaFilter, you hard-working little bean!

There's me, and the cats. I go to work Monday through Friday, at the hospital. I Zoom call my mom on Sundays. She's on the other side of the country, and she's having a pacemaker placed this week. So, you know, I worry.

It's hard.
posted by shiny blue object at 5:46 PM on July 18, 2020 [16 favorites]

I haven't met a single new person since at least March. I've barely seen anyone I know for that matter. I think that I'm to have to re-learn all my already meager social skills once this is all over.

That sums up my experience to a T.

Mochapickle, that is such great news to read.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:51 PM on July 18, 2020 [3 favorites]

Great to hear mochapickle!
posted by Windopaene at 5:54 PM on July 18, 2020 [4 favorites]

Well, mochapickle's new kidney just made me cry, so there's that.

I can still count on my fingers the number of times I've left my house this year, because I was stuck at home before being stuck at home was a thing, so I haven't met anyone new. But! My family dynamic is new and I love it. My husband traveled A LOT for business in the before time, but now he's home every day and it's had such a huge impact on his relationship with our kid. They've finally truly, deeply, connected with each other and, y'all, I've been waiting her entire lifetime for this.
posted by Ruki at 6:31 PM on July 18, 2020 [35 favorites]

I've decided that going to the dog park in the nearby small town is a sufficiently low-risk activity with a huge upside for my very exuberant pup. I think I've gone 4 times now in the past couple of weeks, and I'm starting to get to know a few of the dog park evening regulars.
posted by drlith at 7:06 PM on July 18, 2020 [9 favorites]

This is kind of random but... I was heading to Trader Joe's and there was a line to get in. I was coming for one item, Ghost Pepper potato chips. I buy 4 or 6 bags when I go so I always have them. Anyway, I asked the worker at the front of the line, the gatekeeper, how long was the line. He said 15 to 20 minutes. I was willing to wait IF they had them in stock. I said that I was coming for one item. He looked at me, never saw me before, and said, "We have ghost pepper chips". I waited on line and got 6 bags. On the way out I asked him how he knew. He just smiled and said that he loves them too and knew I was a fan. Now when I go, I always look for him at the store and we have a 2 minute conversation about how things have been since my last panic stock up.

Shout out to Bobby from TJs if you are reading this.

(I do buy other items there, but there are special trips for the ghost pepper chips.)
posted by AugustWest at 7:50 PM on July 18, 2020 [27 favorites]

mochapickle! I'm SO happy for you! I clearly remember you turning down the transplant in March and I was so sad for you. I am so pleased to hear your recovery is going well now - and you can see better! and think better!

Hello to mochapickle's new kidney, and welcome!

posted by kristi at 7:54 PM on July 18, 2020 [9 favorites]

I haven't met a single new person since at least March. I've barely seen anyone I know for that matter. I think that I'm to have to re-learn all my already meager social skills once this is all over.

I highly endorse QuarantineChat
posted by Going To Maine at 7:57 PM on July 18, 2020 [6 favorites]

... if you want to practice social skills, that is. Clicked post too soon. Low stakes, practice chatter.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:59 PM on July 18, 2020 [4 favorites]

Holy shit, mochapickle! Another kidney offer 2 months later? That is a miracle!

I'd like to send shoutouts to:
(a) the folks on Crone Island Slack, with particular shoutout to AwkwardlyOwl who let me join her new theater group, which has been amazing to do.

(b) Thanks to her passing on a notice for an online play festival, I got into the festival and now made friends with the playwright of the play I was in. I've been doing two other play readings of hers and helping her come up with ways to improve them. This has been great.

(c) I did manage to recruit one friend into the theater group, and he recruited a few more and introduced me to a friend of his that I have really hit it off with, and in addition to plays, I introduced her to the playwright and we've been reading Shakespeare and plays recreationally.

These are the folks saving my sanity right now :)

I love this thread idea! I feel like if I ever wrote some book about pandemic life, those are the people who would get the dedications in it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:21 PM on July 18, 2020 [11 favorites]

It's a long story and I won't name names, but I was adopted when I was 6 days old, a long time ago. My parents always let me know that they got me at the baby store. They were fine when I figured out and corresponded (via USPS, no internet back then) with "BioMom". I never figured out who "BioDad" was, and our correspondence dropped off after a couple of years. But that was a question mark I was okay with. "BioMom" seemed cool at least, that was nice.

Fast forward a few more decades, and right before covid became big news, I lost my father after years of dementia and aphasia. That was fine; it was time. Condolences trickled in via email and facebook. Then I saw a tab highlighted on Facebook pointing to messages from people not on my contact list. Never noticed that before! Turned out the top one was "BioMom"s husband (not "BioDad") who said that BioMom would like to meet me, and give him a call. The message was from months before. Wow, strange turn of events! So I called "BioStepDad".

Nice guy, accomplished musician, has played with lots of Famous-famous people, had some fun stories; we set up a later phone call with BioMom. (That went well. We've spoken a few times since. We plan to meet when covid's over. That's new-ish persons #1 & #2 in this story.) Before we hung up on that first call, though, BioStepDad asked me, "Did [BioMom] ever tell you who your biological father is?"

"No, she didn't! She sidestepped that question whenever I'd ask."

"Would you like to have that info?" he inquired further.

"Sure! Should I get a pen?"

He laughed, "No, you won't need one. He goes by the name [REDACTED], he's the [INSTRUMENTALIST] for [LEGENDARY BAND I GREW UP LISTENING TO]. Have you ever heard of him? We were roommates back in the sixties."

" . . . "

ANYWAY, we've talked on Zoom quite a few times now, and really it's weird, because I play the same instrument and look just like him. Only my band, while also still in existence, remains in obscurity. BioDad's band was gonna play in my town right as everything got shut down, and I had five VIP passes! Near miss. But we plan to meet once covid's over, and it'll be much better. Meeting people backstage is the worst.

So: lose a dad, gain a BioMom and a BioDad, and a cool BioStepDad. Three new people in my life!

That's not how the grieving process is supposed to go when your dad dies, I am told.
posted by not_on_display at 8:48 PM on July 18, 2020 [127 favorites]

Close the thread, because no one can top not_on_display & mochapickle's stories.

Here's to improved health!!! And to new family.
(But sorry for the loss of your adoptive dad, not_on.)
posted by NorthernLite at 10:07 PM on July 18, 2020 [12 favorites]

In the past 118 days I have had physical contact with exactly three people (my wife, my dentist and my dentist's assistant). I miss hugging my family and kissing my friends on the forehead and giving little kids rides on my shoulders and a bunch of other physical interactions with my fellow human beings.

But I (in California) have a brand new pen pal in Stockholm, Sweden and we've exchanged a couple snail mail letters with more to come. We've been talking about hiking and tabletop roleplaying games and our favorite Sandman story arcs. The letters take forever to get from the US to Europe but talking to a new person has been great.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:17 PM on July 18, 2020 [9 favorites]

I've met a lot of new people while volunteering at a few food banks over the last four months.

The other day I was taking a short break in the parking lot, eating a granola bar, and I hear from across the way "So THAT'S what you look like!". It was the manager, who had never seen the lower half of my face.
posted by Gorgik at 10:32 PM on July 18, 2020 [18 favorites]

Ahhh, mochapickle, that's wonderful! So happy to hear.

jessamyn, thanks for this metatalktail topic; it's something I've been thinking about a lot! I miss so many things about pre-pandemic life, including aspects of my social life, but I often think about how I am lucky to have gotten closer to new people, and reconnected with old ones, while this has been going on. Most notably, I now attend a few recurring trivia nights, where I've gotten to meet lovely friends of friends. I've also gotten to know people in my local political group better. And I've gotten closer to a few people I mostly know via twitter; two of them have lent me books now, my own personal library delivery service! I also have some coworkers who are entirely new to me and a boss I previously knew socially but am delighted to work for now. As with a lot of things in my life (and no doubt this is the case for everyone), there are tradeoffs; so many things are terrible now but I also feel so lucky, and I'm not sure that I'd trade the things I have now for the ones I miss. (Personally, of course; I would trade a lot to have the world not wracked by coronavirus.)
posted by ferret branca at 10:36 PM on July 18, 2020 [7 favorites]

I started seeing a new physio after strict lockdown ended in May, like HotToddy I see her twice a week so she is definitely the person I’ve seen the most. She is so kind, and explains why she does things a lot more than the previous one. I also switched to a new rheumatologist who is equally kind and understanding, it makes such a difference having a medical team who are this supportive and try so hard to help.
posted by ellieBOA at 10:45 PM on July 18, 2020 [9 favorites]

The answer I was going to write was much crankier until I read mochapickle's comments, so now I'm much more chipper.

I had a doctor's appointment on Monday (I have them quarterly and I'd skipped April's due to the pandemic) and realized that my doctor pressing on my liver and pancreas and whatnot and checking checking my reflexes and such was the first human contact I had had in exactly 120 days. Alone with him (both of us masked, but about four feet apart) for 15 minutes, I realized it was also the longest sustained contact I've had with another person in all that time, the second-longest being occasional (and momentary) interactions through plexiglass with grocery cashiers. I miss my friends. I miss my friends' babies. I miss chatting with random toddlers.

I'm a HUGE extrovert, so I'm "Not great, Bob!" a good deal of the time. There's nobody actually new in my life, and I'm not an animal person (notwithstanding the adorable Life On Earth Twitter account). However, there's a guy at the grocery store on the corner who remembers me as "popcorn girl" from December, when I was looking to buy popcorn for my new hot-air popper and he directed me to the right aisle. Since then, every time I walk in, he mentions the popcorn and also recalls aloud one of the various times he's seen guys randomly hit on me inside or outside of the store (which is always a weird, unexpected happenstance while I'm focused on something like comparing salad dressings). He always says, "I can't believe that guy thought he was getting with the popcorn girl" in a way that manages to be sympathetic and not creepy.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 10:51 PM on July 18, 2020 [22 favorites]

Congrats, mochapickle and not_on_display! Good and interesting things do happen in a locked down world!

Nothing much to report, here. The closest thing to new people in my life is I finally signed up for Disney+ so I could watch Hamilton, and I've watched it like three times already, and that's pretty much it. Still going to work to watch an empty building, masking up for the outside world.
I got new flea collars for the cats, who remain my only physical contacts. I bought a couple of mini Baby Yodas so the package would have something fun in it, and not just flea collars.
And if I have done the math correctly, I may be able to pay my credit card off by the end of the year. I guess the things we get excited about as grownups really are different.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 11:20 PM on July 18, 2020 [7 favorites]

I'm about to meet a whole lot of new people after my summer holidays, as I just resigned at my current company since I got an offer from my previous employer. It's been seven years, so I expect at least half the people there to be new. I'll only get to wave at them from a certain distance when introduced, though.

One of the reasons I quit was that the staff was taking turns being 40% furloughed, and sales are really not looking very good (due to COVID). The previous time sales were noticeably down, we in R&D had to lay off 10% of the workforce. I barely escaped the axe then, and I expect when the end of this year comes that our corporate masters will have a good long look at the amount of R&D they can afford. I think they will do the (very) short-term economically beneficial thing a lay off a lot of people or close down our offices. So I jumped ship back to my previous employer, which is in a growth phase and will be for a couple of years.

Which is all too bad, really, as I was part of a great team. At my previous employer's it was good, but not great. But I can certainly live with "good".

Everyone I've talked to from work had been mulling over the same thoughts as myself, so maybe the offices will be just an empty shell come New Years, all without having to fire a single person...
posted by Harald74 at 11:25 PM on July 18, 2020 [4 favorites]

I've managed to somewhat boost the early bonding stage with some folks I was hoping to become friends with (normally we'd see one another at in-person social events every 1-2 months, but we've probably Zoomed at least eight times since March and played some games/done some activities that wouldn't have been possible at our usual in-person hangouts), which is nice as they are cool people. I've also been having some more-frequent lovefests with older friends, the kind where we have a lot of love for each other but also busy lives and annual-at-best meetups with occasional asynchronous texting in between. More calls and reminders why we're still friends after all these years from those folks has been lovely.

I feel all of you who are concerned about social skills degrading, though. In the pre-pandemic times I was pretty skilled at coming across as close-enough-to-neurotypical in person, particularly compared to when I was a kid. I'm less drained in some ways from not having to fake that consistently throughout the workday four or five days a week, but now it's like the moment I slide the webcam cover back over at the end of a call, my natural blank-ish affect don't-wanna-be-social instinct takes the reins again, and that guy has had the equivalent of unrestricted wandering-around-naked within my personhood for months now. It's gonna be hard to cram that part of me back in the box when the time comes, but given that my company has committed to supporting remote working until at least the end of the year, the time isn't coming particularly soon.

My desk at home is right near the window that gives me the most viewing potential of the most beautiful neighbourhood cat (extremely endearing face, with a triangle of black over one eye and a triangle of ginger over the other, plus a white triangle over the mouth area; pleasing body shape, moderately plump with comparatively short legs; body markings are white underneath and black/ginger/tortoiseshell splotches all along its back, which make it look like a koi carp or from some angles a piece of tofu nigiri; it is such a beautiful cat, I love it).

Also, because I'm home during the day now, which is my partner's prime lawn-mowing time, I get to go out and meet all of the small frogs he saves from the maw of the mower; they are adorable, and I had no idea our garden attracted so many frogs. Gonna get some ferns for them to enjoy next time we go garden shopping.
posted by terretu at 12:54 AM on July 19, 2020 [10 favorites]

Three bunnies and two cats. I've never lived with bunnies before. They are interesting companions! I have especially bonded with one, an absolutely enormous lad. He butts me for fuss and nibbles my sleeve companionably. The cats are nice but not as nice as my cat who I have had to leave.

I also have a new snail-mail penpal who I'm hoping to meet soon. We met on the queer dating app Lex. I'm trying not to get my hopes up.
posted by Balthamos at 2:41 AM on July 19, 2020 [6 favorites]

This is not new people (though I do think I know some people differently and better since All This) but I have just started the process of being referred for assessment of possible ADHD. This was initiated by a question I asked about procrastination two years ago and a couple of people mentioning ADHD in the replies, and, more recently, some of the answers to someone else's question. I am somewhat freaked out about this, and the referral process is likely to be very lengthy, but it will be good to get it checked out.

There are some really great comments in this thread - very glad to hear from everyone.
posted by paduasoy at 2:46 AM on July 19, 2020 [6 favorites]

Came back to add that at the start of lockdown a MeFite sent me a mask she had made; I have worn it a lot and it always gives me warm thoughts to remember that she sent it.
posted by paduasoy at 2:55 AM on July 19, 2020 [8 favorites]

Congratulations, mochapickle! I am just so glad to hear this.

One of the regulars from the bookstore started messaging me while we were closed. She is still hard-core isolating but I hope we will get together. Hearing from her has reminded me of the reasons why I haven't quit up to this point. Although I quite likely will have to soon, just because of how the reopening has been handled.

My partner is working from home and he hates it, but it's been interesting for me to see. He's discussed his job with me quite a bit in the past, and I know some of his co-workers, but hearing him talk to them on the actual job I can see how patient and supportive he is with them. The other day I said, "Wow, you really are good at that job." He said, "Well, yeah."

But mainly, I came to say how happy your news made me today, mochapickle!
posted by BibiRose at 5:13 AM on July 19, 2020 [5 favorites]

We have new neighbors who just moved into one of the more interesting houses I have seen in Philadelphia. It's a trinity (3 floors with one room on each floor) which while not exactly common there are a decent number in our neighborhood. So what is really interesting is that the entire property is in the interior of the block. The only way you can get to the house is by going through an arched tunnel that runs through half of the first floor of the house next door to ours.

In addition to that, it has a monstrously large yard (3-4 times the footprint of the house itself) for center city so it is like a private little oasis hidden within an entire block of rowhouses. I really wish I knew what caused someone to build this little isolated house in the middle of this block.

Anyway, the young couple who previously lived there moved to a larger house as few blocks away as the house was too small for their plans. The new neighbors are an older couple who are downsizing and moving to be closer to their grandkids in South Philly.

They just closed so they haven't moved in yet but they were over there on Friday and I was able to meet them and their family. They seem nice and the grandkids were suitably impressed by our tortoise who roams our backyard during the summer.
posted by nolnacs at 5:30 AM on July 19, 2020 [11 favorites]

My library was closed for two months, and within that time I managed to become pretty close friends with a coworker—we started regularly texting each other pictures of our pets, new recipes we were trying, and just chatting via text.

That evolved into brainstorming about ideas for virtual library programming, and now we’re five episodes into a recorded biweekly book discussion program that is getting patron views and positive feedback! Now that the library has somewhat reopened, most virtual programs have been scaled back, but we’ve been asked to continue with ours. So—I’m growing professionally and I made a new friend! Win-Win!

And—mochapickle, I am SO HAPPY for you!
posted by bookmammal at 6:15 AM on July 19, 2020 [14 favorites]

Date report: totally nice and respectful of my pandemic related preferences. We plan to hang out again! Also good looking!
posted by wellred at 8:27 AM on July 19, 2020 [16 favorites]

This is such a great thread. Mochapickle's news in particular is fantastic, and I wish you and your new body part the very best!

My new thing is: comma butterfly caterpillars. The hop vines have grown past the window of my study/guestroom now, and yesterday I counted four black-and-white spiney caterpillars just on the section I could immediately see.

I saw a comma or two last year, but it looks like they're really flourishing this summer. Commas aren't rare, but they are beautiful; and the caterpillars don't eat enough to hurt the vine, so that's OK.

(Also, in new/old news: I recently got my childhood bedroom curtains out of the box they'd been in for years, got them cleaned, hemmed them and hung them in that room. The hand hemming was SO BORING, but now they look perfect. I don't know if it's sensible to be this happy about curtains, but right now I am.)
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:41 AM on July 19, 2020 [6 favorites]

Not so much people as ... dogs.

We have a very large front porch and I've set up a small workstation on the porch where I can sit with my laptop and work in the lovely breeze. In the months of doing this I've gotten to know SO MANY of the neighborhood dogs. The young puppy who is getting better walking on the leash. The older dog who is slowing down but still l likes the good sniffs. The big fuzzy dog who has been through several haircuts in the past few months. The mutt and jeff pair of dogs that desperately want to chase the chipmunks. And the big scary dog walked by the big scary dude who was always scowling but who has slowly started to smile a bit as I wave at him and the doggo from the porch every day. (Dog is still pretty darn scary looking though.)

I don't know their names. I haven't really spoken with any of them. But we see each other every day, and there is a nod or a smile or a half-wave. Its made me feel much more like a part of the neighborhood, honestly.
posted by anastasiav at 8:47 AM on July 19, 2020 [13 favorites]

We have a new cat. A 16 year old whose family had to give him up when leaving the country. But, since I'm living several thousand miles from my spouse at the moment, I've only actually met the cat through video chat so far. Which is a very odd phrase to say. (cat tax.)

Otherwise, I haven't met anyone new for a long time. I've gotten to know the people who run the local bodega a lot better in the last few months. I'm not sure we're friends, exactly; however, I know more about their family than I those of many of my work colleagues.
posted by eotvos at 9:56 AM on July 19, 2020 [7 favorites]

All the raspberries we planted two years ago are VERY HAPPY and producing in abundance, and, possibly relatedly, we have an entire warren of bunnies in the yard! They hop around and play with each other right outside my office window and it's delightful.

Also 23andMe finally coughed up a half-sibling for me, so... that's been weird. But I think not_on_display won that particular category :)
posted by restless_nomad (retired) at 10:13 AM on July 19, 2020 [12 favorites]

I got a new job a few weeks ago (yay!) and the team I'm with has been soooo nice and welcoming and super appreciative of my work. I'm on zoom calls with them every day, getting to know each other, joking around, 'meeting' each others pets. having a job has lifted my spirits way more than I would have expected, in part due to my interactions with these people every day and in part just, like, feeling useful.
posted by supermedusa at 10:41 AM on July 19, 2020 [8 favorites]

oooh and TIL that the adorable little feathered golf balls I see flitting around my neighborhood are Pygmy Nuthatches!
posted by supermedusa at 10:43 AM on July 19, 2020 [5 favorites]

My backyard is teeming with dragonflies and damselflies! I don’t know whether they’re new or coming to my attention because I’m always home. Either way, they’re new to me, and they make me happy.
posted by centrifugal at 11:48 AM on July 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

Last year, a bat somehow got into the apartment 5 times in two weeks. Quite sure it was the same bat as I perfected a routine for exit. Bat flapping lands, I open my deck door and lower lights, crouch and it's out. all seemed quite amicable. haven't had a bat this year.🦇

but I want a beagle.
posted by clavdivs at 11:59 AM on July 19, 2020 [6 favorites]

I don't even know where to start. I seem to be thriving despite everything going on.

I had a bunch of really challenging stuff happen at my previous home just as the lockdown was starting including a just in case self-quarantine and negative test, and then a parting ways with the friend I was living with. And we're still friends.

Before all of this went down I was already wanting to move on for a number of reasons, including better access to work opportunities and just a little less rural isolation.

Well, I found that. For the first time in something over 10 years I live in a proper home where I have access to a full kitchen, bathroom, laundry and my own private space all in the same place and it's wonderful. I have furniture and dressers with clothes actually put away in them. I still live in trees, and there's a huge raven circling overhead and croaking so loud it's echoing off the trees and hills. I can get to work on my bike and the ride is beautiful and glorious.

I ended up getting a job trying to save my favorite bar and restaurant and I do everything from scrubbing toilets to full cooking shifts to shopping and inventory. Heck, I designed the menus and pandemic-friendly signage and have been doing food photography.

I took stock at one point about two months in to these rapid changes in my life and realized I had actually done some kind of work for 45 days without a single full 24 hour day off to just chill and have some quality alone time.

It's an incredible amount of hard work but it doesn't suck. I love this place, my crew and team. I'm motivated by the idea of helping keep the venue alive until we can have music again. I miss dance parties and live music so much it's like something has been torn out of my soul that I didn't know I needed so much.

I'm feeling safer and more comfortable than I have in a really long time, perhaps my entire adult life. It's remarkable and strange and a huge blessing considering everything going on.
posted by loquacious at 12:08 PM on July 19, 2020 [43 favorites]

Tyler the youtube fencing coach is the new man in my life. I’ve been doing his videos. Some of his stuff is too much for my 61-year-old knees, but I do what I can. It helps me feel like I’ll actually get back to fencing someday. I’ve been Zooming with my fencing buddies, but I miss stabbing my friends.

Also, I’ve started growing microgreens from a kit. They start out wrapped in paper, and they look a little like Jiffy Pop when they push on it before you tear the paper off. They are super easy to grow, and they grow very fast. I’ve become a huge fan. I also bought a kit for a friend who’s been supplementing my grocery deliveries by picking things up when she goes to the store.
posted by FencingGal at 2:02 PM on July 19, 2020 [10 favorites]

mochapickle! I am SO glad to hear that you're feeling better! And that is an amazing story, not_on_display. This is a wonderful question.

My dog Taco has had a rough go of things this summer (was badly attacked by, and then about 3 months later had his nose bit by my neighbor's dog, who is about 5x his size. The second time was 75% Taco's fault), so he's on a first-name visit with all of the techs at my vet.

I just started year 2 out of a 3-year term on the Board of my church, and we have had a few meetings with the new group for this year. I have been acquaintances with both new people, but I really enjoy getting to know fellow congregants on a deeper level.

My dad had a stroke last week, and just got out of the hospital today. I've talked to him and my mom on the phone this past week more than I have in years. Luckily, it was fairly minor and he should recover quickly.
posted by Sparky Buttons at 3:10 PM on July 19, 2020 [17 favorites]

mochapickle, I am so very happy for you! And not_on_display, wow, that is a hell of a story.

Probably the most important new person in my life is the nanny we hired. I’d been resistant but AskMe made me rethink, so when a personal recommendation came my way I jumped on it. It’s been so good for Little e to have company again.
posted by eirias at 3:14 PM on July 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

Sparky Buttons: whoa! I’m glad your dad’s prognosis is good.
posted by eirias at 3:16 PM on July 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

Aw, Sparky Buttons, that all sounds so hard, glad your dad is on the road to recovery.
posted by ferret branca at 3:17 PM on July 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

I am working my first-year advisees to pick their classes for their very first semester of college. It's going to be a weird one; some of them, and some of their classmates, are stuck abroad and will not be able to get to campus. Many classes (including mine) will be mostly online. Some classes will have an in-person component that will be little like a regular classroom experience... socially distanced and strange. Everyone, of course, is worried about whether students will be safe in the dorms. We are gambling that our small size and below-average enrollments will work to our advantage (for once... maybe).

But the new students are so excited about starting college and they don't seem to care how unusual it is going to be. They tell me about their goals for the future, and their passions, and the things they have been struggling with at home, and the things they envision for the coming years: sports, clubs, reading, writing, drawing, programming, playing music, dancing, making films, performing experiments, getting internships, studying abroad... I hope we will be able to do right by them.
posted by BrashTech at 5:05 PM on July 19, 2020 [6 favorites]

I've lived in the desert for twentysome years, but a couple weeks ago was the first time ever that I caught the blooming of an Arizona queen of the night. It was a beautiful surprise, and I'm hoping to see this new friend of mine again next year.

(I really appreciated reading through this thread! Thanks everyone for sharing, and helping make my world feel a little bit bigger, too.)
posted by mixedmetaphors at 6:03 PM on July 19, 2020 [13 favorites]

I fixed a back taxes issue, I hadn't turned in my declaration 2 years running, and even though I had to pay a small fine, it came out in my favor, so I just got about 2K dollars deposited in my bank account, which, while not new, is nice.
posted by signal at 6:46 PM on July 19, 2020 [8 favorites]

So I've always had an affinity with cats, but unfortunately haven't had a cat for many years. But I am very fortunate to have a yard, and after the lockdown started, there was a day I heard a frantic yowling and saw a cat half-clambered up a tree, but then it ungracefully fell down and ran off.

The lockdown continued, and the cat started to just stop by and seemed very insistent about wanting to be petted, but I was flummoxed by the lack of credible research related to coronavirus transmission and cats, and also, this is Not My Cat. Yet it persisted, and I researched.

Then, I got a foldable adirondack chair and put it out in the yard. And the cat seemed to think OMGYESOBVIOUSLYTHISISFORMETHANKYOUHUMAN [cat tax]. And because I am not able to maintain my yard well, it is a luxurious buffet-style hunting ground for the cat. She is also seemingly forever entertained if I wave some of the tall grass with poofs on top around like it is something to hunt.

Then there was a night, when I was aching and tired. The cat was outside, insisting on being petted, and while I was still wary, I basically just gave in and sat down in the chair. And the cat dove into my lap, purring and kneading and being completely ridiculous and sweet (I totally took a shower and changed clothes, etc afterwards). But this cat is ridiculously sweet, and while I dread the day she brings me something she's hunted and I need to pretend like I'm eating it to not hurt her feelings, so far, so good. I feed her Taste of the Wild kibble, remind her to drink water, and her coat is getting shinier. And I call her "Shmoops," because that is the name that seems to best suit her [cat tax].

And then last night, another cat showed up...
posted by katra at 7:28 PM on July 19, 2020 [25 favorites]

I've never been a fashion maven, but I'm suddenly wanting to buy all the cool masks, just to wear something different every time I go out. If I'm doing several errands, each stop gets a different mask.

Favorites include a few from Diop, some from local maker (who does ship) Cover Your Face, and random astronomy ones I've found on Amazon, but I'm saving this one for cooler temperatures.

Trying to decide how to keep wearing a mask after this ends. It's gonna end, right?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:52 PM on July 19, 2020 [8 favorites]

katra—you know you’ve been adopted, right?
posted by bookmammal at 7:53 PM on July 19, 2020 [7 favorites]

Our first child, Paul, arrived on June 10th. He is named for my mom Paula who died in May 2019. I see him make some of her faces already and it fills me with joy. The lives of my partner and I were pre-shrunk by COVID and we are adjusting fairly well to parenthood. I am sad that my mom doesn't get to know Paul, but she lived a good life full of dignity, service, and sacrifice and she felt lucky. She would be so sad to see the way that the frayed ends are coming apart in the USA this spring and summer.
posted by Kwine at 8:00 PM on July 19, 2020 [28 favorites]

I've met more live snakes in my month in SE Arizona than I would have seen in five years back in Massachusetts. Both western diamondbacks, mind, and both very dangerous. Respect. But they are gorgeous creatures.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 8:48 PM on July 19, 2020 [6 favorites]

I guess I'm a new people, sort of. I joined here 10 years ago (to the day!) as Homeboy Trouble, but... I don't know that it's a problematic name, but I don't know for sure that it's not problematic.

So I'm Superilla now, looking forward to the next 10 years and more.

But mostly I'm glad to hear mochapickle is now a fellow kidney recipient. Tell your loved ones if you want to donate your organs, folks. It's the greatest gift in the world.
posted by Superilla at 9:13 PM on July 19, 2020 [17 favorites]

Congratulations Kwine on your new little one!

Me 'n Mr. Icing have been doing click 'n collect at the grocery store since mid-March. The last few weeks, maybe a month, we've had the same cheerful woman hand us our groceries. Last Friday, she saw us approaching and scooted in to grab our chilly stuffs and happily yodelled "hullo lemon and mr. lemon!". It was like being in a bar again, without the sticky floors and tilty bar stools. It kinda made my Friday.

One of the neighborhood cats has had a pair of ginge kittens who prefer to wander on our long driveway and frighten cars into stopping. They are at the "my fur sticks out straight from my body" stage and are clumsier than I thought possible. When does cat-like grace appear? They've made a small, lumpy area between the lemon bushes and the Japanese maple all their own. Mr. Icing leaves tiny bowls of water and small dollops of cat food for them. I'm fairly sure he's going to leave a toy there soon.
posted by lemon_icing at 9:26 PM on July 19, 2020 [9 favorites]

Well, I got a new job and my coworker pool jumped from 3 to 30, which is a huge deal for me. My whole goal prior to quarantine was to date and make new friends and then, like so many other people, that went away. Now I have spoken to more new people in one week than I have in 6 months. It's... Awesome. And draining. But I think I have friends on the horizon, which I really need, and the opportunity to be healthy again, which honestly hasn't been possible for well over 12 years. It will be bizarre to meet all these people in person come 2021.
posted by Kitchen Witch at 9:35 PM on July 19, 2020 [11 favorites]

Also, also! I may be able to join my very first D&D campaign! The degree to which that thought leaves me breathless is actually kind of embarrassing but hey! So what! Roll for initiative!
posted by Kitchen Witch at 9:38 PM on July 19, 2020 [7 favorites]

The newest person in my life is the one we grew ourselves, and it's awesome and draining and amazing and tiring. She is amazing though, super cute, even when she spits up milk spectacularly all over her father, requiring both a full sheet change for the bed and an outfit change for him. Babyfeet, having caused all the chaos, promptly went to sleep!

She's been here 2 weeks and it's already hard to remember what it was like without her.

A nice consequence is that the people that I've known the longest (my parents) are here doing care giving. They came just before harsher lock downs were announced (on the road here!) So they're here for a while and it's nice.
posted by freethefeet at 9:44 PM on July 19, 2020 [21 favorites]

r_n: I found out i had a half-sibling, too! Forgot about that part. Both of us had also been only-children up til recently. And, BioHalfSibling is about year older than my son! I haven't gotten in direct contact with BioHalfSibling yet—they's in med school, so I don't wanna disrupt their flow too much, but we are friends on FB.
posted by not_on_display at 11:38 PM on July 19, 2020 [7 favorites]

Congrats, freethefeet!
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:00 AM on July 20, 2020 [4 favorites]

Mochapickle, I am so glad for you! And huge congrats to you, freethefeet! (And have fun at your new D&D campaign, KitchenWitch!)

As for me, I have been taking advantage of the fact that many conventions have moved online. In a normal year, I never attend cons -- it's always too expensive to travel, and it always feels like too much of my limited vacation time -- but this year they've got all their events happening online, which I find much more accessible. I'm very much looking forward to meeting some new folks over the virtual gaming table at GenCon next weekend!
posted by ourobouros at 7:21 AM on July 20, 2020 [4 favorites]

- During some isolation-induced genealogical research, I discovered a distant ancestral connection to Virginia Woolf

- We met a loveable cat on our street whom we have nicknamed The Galloping Chongus
posted by Beardman at 11:34 AM on July 20, 2020 [9 favorites]

I can't say I have met new people, but there are new depths of connection to some of those I interact with. Broadly speaking, I work for a hospital and have been on-site throughout this whole experience. I would say no more than 15% of us have. They keep yo-yo-ing about who needs to be on site and who does not. So, there is kind of this core group of us that have grown closer because we've been here through it all.

Also, so many people have just lost any sense of pretense and are willing to say "This shit is hard, y'all." Honestly, it's refreshing.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 4:56 PM on July 20, 2020 [6 favorites]

> We have new neighbors who just moved into one of the more interesting houses I have seen in Philadelphia. It's a trinity (3 floors with one room on each floor) which while not exactly common there are a decent number in our neighborhood. So what is really interesting is that the entire property is in the interior of the block. The only way you can get to the house is by going through an arched tunnel that runs through half of the first floor of the house next door to ours. In addition to that, it has a monstrously large yard (3-4 times the footprint of the house itself) for center city so it is like a private little oasis hidden within an entire block of rowhouses. I really wish I knew what caused someone to build this little isolated house in the middle of this block.

nolnacs, it actually sounds like a relic of the early development of South Philly. A lot of streets originally had much, much deeper lots, and people figured out pretty quickly that they could build a house on the backlot, let the tenants use the alley for access, and make some extra money. In much of Queen Village this evolved into straight-up tenement housing awfulness. But also, some of the larger rowhouses were actually not residences, but light industry (like millinery) with showrooms on the ground floor, and people built actual separate residences behind them.
posted by desuetude at 8:55 AM on July 21, 2020 [6 favorites]

I have been staying with friends and helping them do the grocery shopping for their street. One of their neighbours is new to me, although very much not new to the planet, because he turned 89 last week.

We got a lemon cake and a bakewell tart and hosted him for tea and birthday cake in the garden, and he brought over one of his many stamp albums (he is a SERIOUS collector -- the albums are all mapped out with images he's printed from eBay of the stamps he hopes to find one day). He's a man of few words, but it was lovely to see him light up when he talked about his collection. I am moving on to stay with another batch of friends from this week, but I will be thinking of him often, especially if I find any of the stamps he's looking for.
posted by Orkney Vole at 12:24 PM on July 21, 2020 [7 favorites]

We got a dog this spring and walking around the neighborhood and the dog park, we now meet all the doggos. We've met Blue, Lily, Diesel, Bailey, Gus, Punkie, Tora and so many others. It's occasionally tainted when their owners don't distance properly (Why in the year of our Lord 2020 would you possibly think I want to shake hands?) but it's mostly pure sunshine.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:30 PM on July 21, 2020 [6 favorites]

mochapickle, love to you and I am so happy for you! You are one of the people that I hold dear (at a distance) and having stood by with 2 other friends during the kidney transplant I am extra thrilled that it is going well for you. You're already walking a mile, that's impressive!

And (((((Sparky Buttons)))))) hang on in there.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 2:49 AM on July 22, 2020 [4 favorites]

After 125ish days, my new hire finally started. Amid the pandemic her visa papers took 95 days for approval - which was 5 more than the government's SLA. Then it took about 20 more days for her immigration card to actually be in her hands... But! Now my team is fully staffed.

Maybe I'll be able to get her trained up and my projects back on the rails by the end of August.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:59 AM on July 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

First real date: good. Second real date scheduled for Saturday, as I am doing new job, classwork, many things and neither of us is interested in pushing it. Maybe it'll be nothing, but having a decent date with a stranger is unusual, to say the least, in my experience, so, hey.
posted by wellred at 5:24 AM on July 22, 2020 [5 favorites]

I became a homeowner last month, and having a yard (tiny and urban as it is) is a very new and exciting thing for me and my dog.

I was in my living room Monday evening and out of nowhere this horrible noise started in the front yard. Sounded like a wounded animal, maybe a lovesick cat. Just a terrible gutteral yowling noise. My dog's ears were perked up. I glanced through my blinds and didn't see anything in my yard, but the noise kept going. It was so close.

It went on for another full minute without stopping, so I went out onto my stoop to investigate. That's when I notice the little kid next door (I'm in Chicago, our houses are THISCLOSE together) also out on his stoop, facing his front door making this awful noise.

I call over to him, "hey, are you all right?"

He pauses the noise and calmly says "yes."

Ok, guess he's fine, I turn to walk inside. But then I venture, "why are you making that noise?"

He stops for a sec and just says, "I don't know."

So I left him to it. Seems like as appropriate a response to 2020 as anything else.
posted by phunniemee at 5:34 AM on July 22, 2020 [24 favorites]

Bizarrely I think I'm in the process of making a new friend? I was doing some volunteer work at a textile reuse and recycling nonprofit, and I met another out-of-work theater person. We found each other on insta, and seem to be edging towards friendship.

Meeting new people in these times just seems weird as all hell. But it gives me hope.
posted by mollymayhem at 7:42 AM on July 22, 2020 [8 favorites]

nolnacs, it actually sounds like a relic of the early development of South Philly. A lot of streets originally had much, much deeper lots, and people figured out pretty quickly that they could build a house on the backlot, let the tenants use the alley for access, and make some extra money. In much of Queen Village this evolved into straight-up tenement housing awfulness. But also, some of the larger rowhouses were actually not residences, but light industry (like millinery) with showrooms on the ground floor, and people built actual separate residences behind them.

This is in Society Hill so it I'm sure that it wasn't far off of what you describe in QV during the early 1900s.

However the perplexing part is that I am pretty sure there was never an alley there. The house is oriented toward the west while the rest of the block is oriented north or south. The other interesting part is that property appears to be the combined back lots of two different rowhouses.
posted by nolnacs at 9:29 AM on July 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

New in my life?
A missing oak tree, that actually belonged to my neighbor. But they're 75ish and on a strict budget. It was a threat to my house, and to be constructed garage.
2 HVAC units. 1 of which still couldn't keep up, so we added a powered-vent to our upstairs. Now missing, the dream of the new garage.
A widened sidewalk, and beautified front yard.
A little car jumpstarter, a looong set of jumper cables, a car battery.
A drastically shrunken savings account. I have felt like Janet vomiting pennies for the last month.

But I'm lucky, and I know it. I have a job, it pays well, isn't currently in jeopardy. We don't have children, so that whole pile of upcoming stress is vastly lightened for us.
posted by DigDoug at 10:26 AM on July 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have felt like Janet vomiting pennies for the last month.

I had to look that up. Egad.
posted by JanetLand at 11:28 AM on July 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Neighborhood vegetable swapping.
posted by Oyéah at 6:43 PM on July 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've been zoom-tutoring a second grader (now third-grader) in math since about mid-April. She lives just outside of Boston and her mom wanted some extra support. We've been working on adding and subtracting two- and three-digit numbers, and we meet for two hours a week. Over the summer, we decided to do math once a week, and read a book once a week. I gave her a few suggestion - Mr. Popper's Penguins, The Phantom Tollbooth, Dinosaurs Before Dark, and Dealing With Dragons. She picked Dealing with Dragons, and we're halfway through the second chapter. It's fun reading one of my favorite books with someone who's never read it before, and it's been nice to feel like I'm helping out, and connecting with some folks I wouldn't have met otherwise.
posted by ChuraChura at 9:03 AM on July 23, 2020 [7 favorites]

On that note - if you have suggestions for elementary school appropriate chapter books that have girls of color, especially Black girls, as main characters, but are also joyful and fun, I would love to hear them!
posted by ChuraChura at 9:05 AM on July 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

Dating update: he ended it, but not without saying how hot I am, so I've got that for me which is nice.
posted by wellred at 9:28 AM on July 23, 2020 [7 favorites]

Mochapickle, what splendid news!

Right now, the who's new is town workers who wrecked mature landscaping and took several feet of my yard to make the ditch huge. I think it's massive overkill, and I talked to the town manager and others, who assured me beforehand that it wasn't going to be a big deal. Pissed off homeowner and taxpayer. Public works rules the town and they aren't great at it.
posted by theora55 at 10:27 AM on July 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

Shmoops update: This morning, Shmoops was standing outside my door, and then stepped back to reveal a seemingly stunned yet intact and coiled garden snake. So I purred, and pretended to eat, and distributed many pets, and then when Shmoops was looking away, I put on my gloves and scooped the snake up, checked it over, and placed it gently in the tall grass (it has since moved on). Shmoops seemed somewhat aware and maybe a bit miffed, so we played a round of chase the tall grass with the poofy tops. Apologies for no snake tax, but it all happened rather quickly.
posted by katra at 11:59 AM on July 23, 2020 [5 favorites]

Our new kitten Floyd (named so in honor of George) has been growing like a weedy weed. I weighed him at 5.4 pounds on July 17, and he was up to 6.1 when he went in for a vet visit on the 21st.
posted by notoriety public at 12:55 PM on July 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

ChuraChura: For your new third grader friend I recommend Polly Diamond and the Magic Book. It's a really sweet way to learn about language and words' different meanings: Polly writes something in the book and it magically happens (nothing scary).
posted by Orkney Vole at 1:32 AM on July 24, 2020 [3 favorites]

Plants count too? I heard that. My favorite new "plant" is this brand new jar of Blueberry Headband I'm smoking. I'd wager it's very good for depression. My dispensary just got some of the flower in stock, and it works exactly like the other forms I've tried (oil/shatter): it makes me (and my group of friends I play cards with) quite happy and giggly—every time. It's also extremely fluffy after it's ground, to the point where you need to be careful breathing around it lest it go airborne. It's good stuff, Maynard!
posted by heyho at 3:09 PM on July 24, 2020 [4 favorites]

So, I never do these things correctly but this is close enough. This is not about who's new in my life, but my brother just got a new addition in his life.

So my younger brother, who's in his fifties, has Down syndrome, though he's pretty high functioning. And he's had a cell phone for a long time, but never a smart phone, he didn't want one. He lives on his own a couple of states away and we were talking on the phone a few weeks ago and I asked him if he needed anything and he said yes, could I help him get Internet.

I said sure, and I got information about his cable provider and I called them up and asked if they could add Internet and a wifi modem to his account and charge it to me, and they told me that the only way they could do that was if he used their app and added me to his account, or if he went into one of their stores and added me there. But he doesn't have a smart phone or internet, so how is he going to use their stupid fucking app, and I didn't want him going into one of their typically crowded stores, so I thought fuck them, I'll figure out another way.

Eventually I went online to my cellphone provider and bought him an iPad with a sim card and put him on my plan. I had it sent to me so I could set it up for him, creating his very first email address, and adding all the streaming apps I already pay for and adding him as a user. Then I stuck a post-it on it with his passcode and then I mailed it to him. He got it on Wednesday.

So I called him today to make sure he got it, and he did, and he was delighted. He loved it. He loved the weather app, and the movies, and the Internet, the glorious Internet, where he could see if restaurants were open or had takeout before walking there, where he could watch old hockey and baseball games, and where he could see sex. Yeah, he told me he found porn, too.

He thanked me effusively, and I'm sure there are going to be quite a few future support phone calls where I'll have to help him set up his financial apps, and navigate privacy and security issues with him, but today was a great day. At 54 my little brother met the Internet this week, and to relive that experience and pure astonishment with him was pretty cool.
posted by Stanczyk at 5:54 PM on July 24, 2020 [39 favorites]

This is a great thread. Good vibes to SparkyButtons and mochapickle and congratulations to freethefeet. And not_on_display, wow!!

New things in my life (good):
My little garden! I've not used it much all the time I've lived in this apartment, because I usually work such long hours; but while stuck at home I have been enjoying a brief daily potter with my very random selection of plants - I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing though. Might be something for an AskMe post in a few weeks, but it's not really a conscious project. Part of me wants my garden to suddenly look like something on the #tinygardens hashtag on instagram, but most of me is practising going with the flow and figuring it out as I go along.
My neighbour - I've known her to say hi to for a long time, but lockdown has made us friendly. I wouldn't say we'd ever hang out, but we do have nice little chats on the porch. It is nice to have one friendly face in the vicinity, especially considering...

New things in my life (bad):
... Other neighbours. They yell and stomp constantly and their little kid keeps chucking his toys and food out the window into my garden. We're in the UK and lockdown is easing, which means Mom and Kid are out for longer these days, a big relief for me - and I reckon for them too.
posted by unicorn chaser at 3:47 AM on July 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

Stanczyk, you are a hero, and reading about you helping your brother made my day better beyond measure.
posted by vers at 11:27 AM on July 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

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