Archive for April, 2020

Pandemic Blog Post Attempt #387

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

Pandemic Blog Post Attempt #387

First week in quarantine.

First week in quarantine.

Ok, 387 might be a bit of an exaggeration. However, I’ve started a blog post in my head at least a few dozen times, and on paper there have been no fewer than 4 attempts.

I am having a hard time writing. Writing is where I go for self-care, stability, creativity, making sense of the world, digging deep, telling stories that have a beginning, middle, and end. Hmm. Right. Not a lot of room in my brain for those right now. All the information coming in is such a clutter these days.

We’re home, all three of us, all the time, and we have been for nearly four weeks now. We are healthy. We have food, shelter, jobs, each other. We’re ok.

David works for the University of Rochester Medical Center. In his current position he is nonessential staff and has been able to work from home. On April 13 he switches departments (this was all planned before the pandemic and is a good move back to a department where he used to work, into a new position). Once the switch happens, he becomes essential staff. So, I spent the first two weeks experiencing intense stress at the possibility of him returning to work, visions of him quarantining in the basement, and possibly contracting COVID, and me single parenting indefinitely (and quite possibly injuring myself from going solo on Oscar’s physical care), in order to protect Oscar. Last week, after many phone calls and tons of paperwork, we got word that David can go out on paid family leave starting next week. That has relieved so much of my stress. And Oscar’s. And David’s too, though David was doing a great job of staying in the present moment and not getting too far ahead of himself.

Ok, that’s the best I can do with paragraphs these days. Here are some snapshot moments, musings, thoughts, feelings from our COVID-19 lockdown:

I used to look forward to getting the mail every day. Now it is one of the more dangerous parts of the day.

For the first time in the nine years we have lived in our house, I am grateful we don’t have sidewalks in our neighborhood, it makes it easier to avoid people while out walking.

Not being around anyone else besides his parents, 24/7, is really challenging for our extroverted tween.

Being around two other people 24/7 with no break is really challenging for this introvert. But if I had to be quarantined with anybody, these are the two I’d pick.

“Homeschooling” our very socially engaged learner while trying to work from home is overwhelming. Oscar’s teachers have been great, like really great, I can’t believe how quickly and seamlessly they transitioned work to a digital platform, but fitting a full week of school work in at home each week, yeah that’s not happening.

It’s really scary having a kid with a compromised respiratory system during this pandemic.

I keep saying that my goal for us every day is to get outside for a walk, and to video chat with at least one person (especially for Oscar) that we care about. Anything that happens beyond that is a bonus.

The apex in our community might not come for many weeks. If that’s true, then everyone who will be sick then, hasn’t been exposed yet. That means our actions right now really matter.

Our last grocery shop (Instacart, we tip big, wait as long as possible in between shops, and leave thank you notes for the folks delivering) took me about seven hours. We ordered for my dad, too, so he could pick up his groceries from our garage, rather than have to negotiate his single order being delivered to the apartment complex he lives in. The ordering online was spread over the course of four hours because I was helping Oscar with school work at the same time. Then, day of the delivery, I spent most of the morning finally setting up a proper staging area in our garage—a table with a “clean” side and a “dirty” side, I wiped the whole area down, set up wipes and hand sanitizer and bins for produce. So when the groceries arrived I could sort, separate, and disinfect each item before it came into the house. Then I stripped and showered. These are the precautions we’re taking.



We started a family isolation journal on our first day all home together. We’ve each been writing in it a few times a week, as a record of these times, and as a way to process some of our feelings.

We are so grateful to not have to get up at 5:30 every morning. We’re still keeping somewhat of a schedule, getting up 7ish on weekdays, getting dressed and ready for the day.

There is more yelling, crying, and cussing, from all three of us, than usual.

The first two weeks, almost every day around 10am, David came into the kitchen where Oscar and I were usually attempting school work, and asked, “Who brought the donuts to the breakroom?” So the last two Tuesdays I made cinnamon blueberry coffee cake/bread. Yum.

My sister, brother-in-law, and 21-year-old nephew are all essential services. Nurse manager/HR & safety manager for environmental clean-up/Wegmans. They are working looonnng stressful days, running errands for people like us who can’t risk leaving the house, continuing to work on the weekends, and my sister, who is also a gifted seamstress, is making masks for her staff on the weekends.

The incredible privilege we have to be able to stay home is not lost on us. Sometimes I feel like I am not doing my part to help the community because I am staying home and taking care of my family, and not much else. Yet staying home is one of the very best things we can do for our community.

I know that I feel better when I avoid large doses of social media and news media. I want to stay informed and connected in a healthy way. Yet nearly every day I find myself consuming a large quantity of media.



On the third day of quarantine I cut about 7 inches off Oscar’s hair, at his request (well, I don’t think he requested quite that much, nor did I realize in the moment quite how much I was cutting, but in the end everyone was happy).

The people I work with are like my second family, and I miss them. I have gotten a little choked up during or after each of our weekly Zoom staff meetings.

Oscar usually does aqua therapy twice a week, and PT at school twice a week, too. We have no idea when he will be able to get back in a pool again. Or work in person with any of his physical therapists. However, he is now doing Zoom PT, twice a week with this aqua therapist, and once a week with his school therapist. And it works! He’s getting a great work out.

Yesterday morning my brother-in-law dropped a few items from Wegmans off to us, at 7:00am, on his way into work. We stood on opposite sides of our glass front door and greeted each other. It was so good to see his face. I welled up as he walked back to his car and drove away. 

Love wins the day. David keeps saying this. It’s becoming a bit of a family motto. And it’s so true. Even when I write intense posts on FaceBook that include the directive STAY HOME in all capital letters, and maybe even use the F-word. Because as much as everything we do right now is all tangled up with grief, staying home, for those who have the privilege to do so, is one of the most pure acts of love anyone can perform right now.

And still I have a hard time posting this. Some of this feels so petty, so mundane, when so many people around the world are sick, dying, so many people are on the front lines, risking their own lives for others. When so many have lost their jobs, are facing discrimination, are working low wage jobs to provide food, or—as my mom keeps reminding us—clean the hospitals where COVID is running rampant. 

But we all have a story in this. All over the world. No matter what it looks like for each individual. We are all in this together.