down my rabbit hole: more memories of the 2020 quarantine

As I plod through my own microcosm of survival during the COVID crisis, I found that my attempts to internally process it all were falling short. Daily experiences of “the new normal” have been driving over my hyper-sympathetic nature like a tsunami. But I have a family that continues to grow, and relationships begging to be maintained. Life has not frozen in place; the gears of human existence have simply shifted to another stage of what living looks like. So, now I am attempting to ride atop this tidal wave of change and emotions by compiling what I see and hear and feel, and what I am learning about myself and others along the way.

Cheering for my son as he took his first unsteady laps of our street without training wheels, and the affirmation that life does, indeed, go on.

The joy and gratitude from watching the cars file into our church’s food pantry donation “drive-by”, as our congregation had risen to meet this need.

The survivor guilt I feel each morning knowing that, despite the risks involved, twelve miles down the road I will find a job waiting for me that provides social interaction and a paycheck.

Attempting some normalcy for our scared, homebound pregnant coworkers, by having a virtual baby shower complete with Amazon drop-off of their gifts.

The sense of helplessness in knowing the best way I can help my parents and in-laws is to stay away from them, despite the sadness that is evident during phone calls, Facetime and the occasional social distancing visits in the yard.

The virtual appointments with my patients, who display an array of confidence versus intimidation at the technology, and most of whom are just grateful to have a friendly face to see and lean on for a few minutes.

Wondering how history will judge us and our response to this period of suffering, compared to the previous generations who had to face the Great Plague and the 1918 Flu, all while living in a much less advanced world.

Watching my children dream together during their weekend “sleepover”, and the overwhelming love and serenity I feel in witnessing such an innocent moment in their lives.

Pouting and whining to myself as I watch one inch of gray roots turn into two, while psyching myself up to have my family do my dye job, and repenting for my vanity at the consequences of being over 40.

down my rabbit hole: Memories I am collecting during the 2020 Quarantine

Driveway chalk hopscotch that transformed into a Dora the Explorer-meets-American Ninja Warrior obstacle course.

Witnessing the growing bond between my children, as they homeschool together and become each other’s primary playmates, despite the six years separating them.

The great respect and gratitude I have for my husband, as he struggles daily through managing the kids while he continues a full-time job that was never meant to be virtual.

The amazing maturity developing in my daughter, as she becomes the primary homeschooling teacher for her younger brother.

The heartbreak over my son’s ongoing disappointment that he cannot rejoin his friends at school.

Hubby breaking up a homeschooling argument between the kids over whether or not “How I will become Batman” is an acceptable essay on future career goals.

The joy of watching my friends appear in a Brady Bunch-style grid, as I overcame my tech phobia and embraced my first steps into Zoom.

Listening to my extended family sing Happy 1st Birthday to my niece as we gathered to celebrate from inside 6 different homes.

Pinning my sewing project on Facetime while gossiping with my mother, since we couldn’t have our girls’ sewing night in person.

Packing my freezer like a jigsaw puzzle to fit the one-pack-per-family chicken breasts during the meat shortages.

Checking and rechecking every store I enter, hoping that the elusive TP and paper towels will appear, and instead finding what seems like a quarter mile of empty shelving (did they really carry that many paper products before?)

Standing in 45 degree rain for over half an hour, waiting to get my official almost-first-in-line toilet paper from Sam’s Club.

Walking away from the one-at-a-time line at Joann Fabrics, after no one went into that store in 15 minutes (who ever spent only 15 minutes shopping in Joann’s?)

The suspicious looks given to people either wearing masks or not wearing masks, depending on where you go.

The painful bewilderment of going to the store and wondering how many of us in the building could be Typhoid Marys.

The act of love and friendship involved in handing someone a handmade sewn face mask.

The mostly universal “we’re in this together” attitude of kindness that I find in most of the places I must venture.

The “Roosevelt Fireside Chat style” daily press conferences by Governor Cuomo on YouTube, which have become my news lifeline and the calming, reasonable voice I look forward to daily.

The protective, possessive act of supporting favorite local restaurants by ordering takeout, just because you can.

Watching the adolescent diva’s bedroom turn from day-glow hot pink to dark moody teal, as if with the paint strokes, the last vestiges of girlhood were falling away in favor of the young woman that has emerged.

The happiness in my families’ voices when they greet me as I walk in the door after work every day.

Standing out in the spring sun, thanking God that spring still comes to cheer the planet, despite the apprehension and loneliness we are all experiencing.

scenes from This Ludicrous Life: Pain med questionnaire

So, I was going for evaluation at a pain management office for a “degenerative disc”.  Because of the opioid crisis, they screen everyone for signs of drug dependency. (This is not my issue, I’ve still got stuff left from my 2017 surgery).  I had a hard time behaving myself while completing their screening questionnaire, however, which is meant to be straight-up serious.  Here are the highlights. (No disrespect is intended to any who have struggled with addiction or mental health issues….):

1) HOW OFTEN DO YOU HAVE MOOD SWINGS?  So, do you mean per week or per day?

3) HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU FELT IMPATIENT WITH YOUR DOCTORS?  Need to discuss, I’m an RN…..

4) HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU FELT THAT THINGS ARE JUST TOO OVERWHELMING THAT YOU CAN’T HANDLE THEM?  Um, I have a full-time job and an adolescent….

5) HOW OFTEN IS THERE TENSION IN THE HOME?  Um, I have a husband and an adolescent….

8) HOW OFTEN DO YOU FEEL BORED?  What does the word bored mean?

12) HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU FELT A CRAVING FOR MEDICATION?  Whenever I have to take my kids into Kroger with me.

14) HOW OFTEN HAVE OTHERS TOLD YOU THAT YOU HAD A BAD TEMPER?  Do I have to answer that question to receive care?

*PSA: Fortunately, I was filling out my form in pencil, because my husband made me erase all my answers.☹️☹️😬

scenes from This Ludicrous Life: things I never expected to say

Your tongue should not be touching your brother’s face.

Why are there dry erase markers in the bathroom, you ask? You don’t want to know.

Hubby, you’ve mixed up my underwear and our daughter’s.

We are not using Satan as a character in stories, ok?

I am not interested in discussing your butt.

Oh cool! Fireball whiskey is only 100 calories!

scenes from This Ludicrous Life #2: Flashback- The Spit

From tonight’s You Can’t Make This Stuff Up parenting corner:

(yelling erupts from across the house)

Adolescent Diva: “The Little Prince peed on the floor!”

Prince: “No I didn’t! I spitted!”

I walk to the kids’ bathroom, where the little prince is sitting on the toilet (he really should get more privacy) and the diva is standing in the doorway like a beat cop ready to give report. She points emphatically at a single square of toilet paper lying on the floor beside the toilet, with a clear wet spot spreading in the middle.

“Walk in that direction!” I order my adolescent, as I point my finger behind me towards her bedroom. As she stomps off, I take a step further into the bathroom and stare at the wet tissue square.

“Did you pee on the floor?” I ask my son.

“No,” he replies, still on the toilet.

“Did you spit on the floor?”

“Yes.”

“Don’t do that!”

“Okay.”

I walk away.

Later, I walk back into the bathroom with my son to give him a bath. The square of toilet paper still sits on the floor, the wet spot has now expanded. My son’s reaction?:

“Ew! That toilet paper is still on the floor!”

Really?

Introducing The Cast: The Little Prince

3) The Little Prince.

– My school-aged son.

– Total momma’s boy (and I love it).

– Amazing memory. Musical talent. Can build any LEGO set we put in front of him. Thinks he’s Batman.

– Loves reading about Egypt, tornadoes, predators, David & Goliath, Captain Underpants…..(Who is this kid?)

– You know the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes? Yeah….God used Calvin’s blueprints in forming this little guy…..

– Has a talent for wrapping older females around his little finger. Heaven help us when he figures out how to do it with girls his own age!

– Finds his imaginary world much more interesting than real life.

Introducing The Cast: The Adolescent Diva

2) The Adolescent Diva.

– My teenage daughter.

– Brilliant. Beautiful. My ray of sunshine (except for first thing in the morning).

– A complete and total Hot Mess, covered with a mane of curls. She appears to be the color commentator for the Drama-Drama-Drama Sports Page at her school.

– Can take the boys down in the Gaga Ball pit, much to the boys’ surprise. Her favorite slogan is “Real Princesses Save Themselves.”

– Very Right Brain-Left Brain. Talented artist. A permanent Principal’s List student, she has the potential to run an architecture firm or win an Academy Award for Set Design.

– That is, if she can ever find her pencil, her jacket, her water bottle, the mandatory note from school, her shoes…..