Tomorrow is my birthday, which you all know because of the outrageous celebrations you have planned. We decided to carve out some time for it on Saturday, even though my actual birthday is on Monday, since Skylar could actually give about twenty-five seconds to celebrate with me.

Skylar's big board exams are in like three weeks so he hasn't spoken more than three full sentences to me since about February. He has started about a thousand sentences, but he's only fully completed three. We spend the majority of our day working from home in adjacent rooms where, if you were eavesdropping, you might hear:

Skylar: Hey . . . [twenty second pause]

Eli: Yeah?

Skylar: I was just . . . uh . . . thinking . . . [twenty more seconds]

Eli: What were you thinking, Sky man.

Skylar: Huh?

Eli: What were you thinking?

Skylar: [non-sequitur humming a Taylor Swift song that is presumably not directed at me]

Because I'm an exceptional and flawless human being with golden locks of hair that have literally prevented wars, I have been very patient with this. I saw it all coming two years ago when he started medical school. I knew I'd live a quiet and lonely existence while he studied for this test.

What I didn't anticipate was being cooped up in the house during the entire three months he would be laser focused on this thing.

A couple weeks ago on Strangerville Meg was like, "yeah, this social distancing thing is tough but imagine living alone during this," and I was like "totally" but then I got thinking about it and I realized that I am basically living alone during this except there's a ghost that I have to cook twelve meals a day for.

Part of my coping during this time has involved a crazy amount of running. Seriously. I have never run this much in my life. I've gotten to a point where I am going on 12-15 mile runs every other day now.

And I know what you're thinking. "OMG Eli. You are a perfect person with long beautiful legs and remarkable ability to light up a room with your smile. Also, your jawline is perfect and we love the shirt you're wearing today."

And while that crap you all thought about me is true (and I'm super embarrassed and I'm blushing and stuff), to be clear: I'm not running so much because of dedication or anything. I'm doing it because my alternative option is to sit in the house where Skylar will start and not finish sentences directed at me from 7:00 AM until midnight, his study hours. I'm not kidding you about that study schedule. That's truly not an exaggeration.

What's been making the running thing worse, though, is I've become obsessed with my iPhone health tracker, which tells me how many steps/miles I go each day. And it charts it out and everything so you can see graphic evidence of whether you are becoming a better or crappier person. And every day I look at this thing and I'm like "yesterday I took 21,341 steps so today if I take fewer than that, what does that say about me as a person and whether it's possible to love me?"

Well, Skylar read the room on that so for my birthday he got me an Apple Watch.

Side note, before I got married I always thought gift giving within marriages must be super weird because if you have combined finances receiving a gift basically means you bought yourself a birthday present. I'm here to confirm that it is, in fact, weird. But also, it's fun to open a box and see what thing I've bought myself against my own will?

Skylar told me the Apple Watch would keep track of all these metrics I've become obsessed with, but it would do it without me having to carry a giant phone in my right hand for a 15-mile run.

What he didn't anticipate is that this device would give me a whole new thing to start obsessing over because, friends, Apple Watches take your pulse!

You guys. I have spent 24 straight hours staring at this thing and trying with all my might to slow my heart down. I literally woke up every hour last night and frantically checked my sleeping heart rate to see how I was doing. I hit a low of 42 beats per minute, but then when I check it I get an adrenaline rush so my heart ends up spiking to like 70.

It's all very thrilling. And kind of terrifying. And I'm pretty sure my heartbeat is being broadcast to the Illuminati so they can control my political beliefs.

But I don't care. I may not have a husband who speaks to me, but I have a new budding relationship with a piece of technology wrapped around my arm.

I feel alive again.

Please enjoy some Strangerville:

This time in Strangerville, our brains are turning to mush. And a woman receives a very strange letter from somewhere on the frontier.Story:Mystery Letter, by Jocelyn HenricksProduction by Eli McCann & Meg Walter

~It Just Gets Stranger