Growing in both numbers AND size! We’re chronicling our experiences during the #COVID-19 lockdowns, quarantines, and other restrictions. Special credit to Mayya S. in Herndon, VA, who came up with the idea for us to share our experiences.
Care to join us?
Norma Wallace: A Little News from Bend, Oregon
I am 75 and yes, definitely staying home. I feel fortunate that I can get out and walk in the forest and ride my bike on trails. I have friends in independent living or assisted living who may not even get out of their rooms. Meals are brought to her so she can’t even move around the building. All of these residences are like that.
Creative use of technology, for our age group, is new to many. But we as a group are learning. Church services are streamed, piano lessons are given online, and a Tai Chi instructor is giving free lessons on YouTube. My younger neighbors are going to the grocery store for me and others. I can email them my list if I want to.
I can’t say I don’t have my bad moments, but I am doing OK.
Oregon is hurting a lot because so many people here work in the service industry or other industries where remote work is not an option. Oregon is between two states that have had many coronavirus cases: California and Washington. I know it is not as many as so many places in the world.
My heart goes out to all affected.
Sunny in Frederick, Maryland: Mother Knows Best
The coronavirus has me thinking about my mother. The anniversary of her passing is in a few days. A time when I pause, take a breath, and think about the life lessons she tried to teach me. Lessons I poo-pooed when she was alive because…well, because she was my mother and I wanted to do things my own way.
“Always keep lots of food, toilet paper, and light bulbs on hand. Oh, and make sure your car’s full of gas. You never know when something may happen, and you can’t leave the house.”
I’d give her a smart-aleck eyeroll, then say, “Why should I worry about gas in the car if I need a full pantry because I can’t leave the house?”
Cue her eyeroll.
This repeated exchange never incited me to abandon my love of buying the basics of life on an as-needed-basis. Being from Texas, I’ve become a global cowgirl who likes living light. Open my refrigerator or kitchen cabinet, no matter where I’m living, and it looks like locusts have come and picked me clean.
Well, Mother might not have been able to get me to change my ways, but Corona—we’re on a first-name basis now—sure has. I’ve had to nail my doors and windows shut to keep the locusts out of my larder. They know Babette’s feast is in my house now and they want their share.
I can’t wait ‘til I can fling open my doors and windows and live lean and light again. It’s hard to accept that Corona is just doing what it was born to do: make us sick, even kill us. And that I must have a healthy respect for its commitment to its purpose.
But, as is always true, there are blessings in every challenge. For me, every time I open my refrigerator and see the abundance of food in there, I am blessed to think of Mother and her love of wanting to keep me safe should the end times come knocking at the door.
I do admit, however, I can’t quite work out the wisdom in having my gas tank full. It’s not like I can hop in my car and see Corona in my rearview mirror. I guess that’s a lesson for another end time.
Tina F. in Fairfax, Virginia: She’s on a Rant
I woke up positive, ready to start a daily list of to-do items. This will give me a sense of accomplishment and should trick my psyche into believing I’m busy. However, I just sat thinking of where this #corona madness is taking us. The media is talking about the domino effect of staying home, keeping kids out of school, closing restaurants, shutting down borders.
Now California has declared a total state shutdown, what does that mean? Anyone in #California reading this ready to comment?
God! This is maddening because the questions just keep coming…
- Where do we draw the line of essential personnel?
- Are the police patrolling the shutdowns walking 6’ apart?
- What about the home deliveries we are all taking for granted? How long will they last?
Is Amazon ready to deliver our packages via drone? That would be cool, right? I’m sure they already have this idea on the books. But are the people—who work in the factories making our products—even going to work? What about the people who make the boxes we receive our package in, are they working?
Restaurants are temporarily closing their doors, but are still expected to pay rent. How are they expected to survive? Some have implemented curbside pick-up, but what if we cannot go out and pick it up? Maybe we should designate the drivers as essential personnel so they can deliver the restaurant takeout orders.
And what’s up with Netflix!!! They are negotiating with the EU to not broadcast in HD because the systems are overloaded with binge-watchers.
I know that these are all first-world problems! I think there is a lesson here, though. Maybe we can finally appreciate all the people who work so hard, behind the scenes, to make our lives so easy. However, I can’t stop thinking of how many people’s lives will be ruined. No wonder the level of anxiety is high. We have no control over this situation, nor its outcome.
I will take a deep breath and go back to my to-do list.
RJD in Beirut, Lebanon: Cat Corona Tales
I woke up with a headache every day this week. I tried to figure out what it was from and alas, it clicked: it is from too much clean air. Inhaling this much oxygen after years of pollution is giving me a headache!!!!
So I sat with my headache and pondered what my 5 cats do during the day. They seem to not like our quarantine because they are making me feel like I am in their way! When I first wake up, they amass in the kitchen to go out to our garden for oxygen. I now go with them and look at the sea and mountains. The cats are not pleased. Then they gather around empty food bowls; I have my coffee. They look at me as if to tell me it’s time to go to work, but I stay. They play with one another with their toys; I check news and social media and play my daily word games. The cats get bored and take a nap; so do I. They find me still there when they wake up. They lick their coats and have their daily grooming; I shower. They stare with the “when do you plan on leaving us alone?” look that cat people will recognize. Have I become a cat? 🤔
My headache persists. Oh, that O2, I miss the pollution!
Roula B. in Falls Church, Virginia: Lockdown with a Sidekick
It’s late morning on Saturday. Today we heard of our first #COVID-19 death in D.C. The headlines are grim and negative any way you look at it, but it’s a beautiful spring day outside and friends and family are closer than ever with their long-distance encouragement and humor.
As per normal, my son went to spend the day with his dad. He’s usually scheduled to stay overnight every other weekend, and this is technically not a sleepover weekend. However, I asked (assertively!) that he sleeps at his dad’s tonight and every single Saturday (if not more) until school is back in session. Being hijacked by a 10-year-old boy 24/6 during this global virus lockdown is turning parts of my brain to mush. I hardly have a moment to myself and barely a claim to the TV and my own phone.
My son and I seem to have only one set of close friends who haven’t “isolated” yet. We’ve been meeting up with this mom-son pair at one of the sparsely-attended nature parks or playgrounds the last couple of afternoons. We even committed to keeping up this little outdoors escape for as long as we can. Kids need to play with other kids OUTSIDE. If the virus doesn’t hurt them, quarantining them will. Moms/caregivers need adult time and fresh air, too! So being outdoors, for all of us, is short-lived freedom.
We have other friends who frown at us for continuing to go out. Life can’t just stop, you guys. That’s what we call death. “No man is an island,” right? Let’s not allow the loudness of the media and government to turn us into islands once this whole thing is over, ok? Promise me? I don’t want to give up hugs forever. I don’t want to imagine a future where people don’t touch and kiss and interact unless they are less than a few feet away.
I keep receiving all kinds of assignments from my son’s teachers at school. Online this and online that, as if kids need more reasons to be on screens while holed up indoors. Parents were assured that none of the work is “required” until closure decisions are revisited after April 14. So I responded to my son’s teacher that my kid will only be doing 20 minutes of math worksheets, 20 minutes of reading, 20 minutes of writing, for a total of 1 hour a day. He will also practice his instrument for 10 minutes. The rest of the day we’re going to wash our hands, play, eat, walk, fight, binge-watch, get outside, wash our hands, eat, and try not to injure each other before sunset. He and all children can easily survive a skip in academics, even a year-long one. There will always be time for learning, but development and growth are happening right now and can’t be put off.
Healthy development and human interaction, not a social studies project, will shape human beings forever.
I’m doing my best to keep screen entertainment to a minimum, but it’s very tough because it’s a good babysitter when I need some sanity and tidiness. Kids can produce a volcanic pile of clutter after being home with no screens for 4 hours. Yes, it’s worth it, but it’s messy and maddening.
Hope you have a nice weekend, son. I’m gonna reclaim the TV now and watch Contagion to see how this nightmare might end.
RafifJ in Malaga, Spain: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Week 1 is done. Of course, I have all sorts of moods and theories and questions. I continue to have the ups and downs that come out of anxiety and the unknown. Soon I will write a post specifically about the potential for social, economic, and political transformation in the wake of #coronavirus.
But right now I don’t want to go there.
Until I can articulate my more somber thoughts, I’m goings to focus on having fun during lockdown in #Spain. And here are some ways I’ll do that:
I ordered ping-pong paddles so I can convert my dining table/office into an extraordinarily competitive space for Adam and me. We’ll use stacks of books instead of a net. Nightly matches!
But wait! There’s more! In case moving all that furniture to accommodate ping-pong doesn’t get us into shape, I ordered weights so we can turn our living room into a temporary gym.
But wait! There’s even more! We are scheduling a dance party via Zoom next Saturday evening with friends and family around the world. So far, Virginia, Maryland, Montreal, Toronto, Beirut, Malaga, Torremolinos, and Barcelona will be represented. JOIN US.
And until then, there’s Clapping Time.
Comments and guest posts welcome!