Ohio COVID-19 Journal Day 27

By the grace of God, the five of us are still hanging strong here at Louie Lodge, today being Day 27. Here’s what I know:

The organization genes run strong in my 12 year old daughter. She has taken it upon herself to start cleaning out drawers and cupboards in the kitchen, God bless her. You know those utensil drawers you can’t quite close because it’s overflowing with stuff? Marie Kondo would be proud.

I’m so grateful we all have a small, adorable Maltipoo to keep us company in this craziness. One of our favorite nicknames for her is Pupperton, which sometimes morphs into Snuggleton, and recently after a bath: Flufferton. Just in case someone in the house isn’t feeling all that snuggly, we have our pup to turn to. Seriously, thank God for her.

There’s no getting around it: March was a sobering month but nothing like the prospect of flipping the calendar to April with the frightening thought that some of us won’t live to see the end of the month. April 15 in the US is predicted to be the peak and as we entered the month, April 19 was supposed to be Ohio’s peak.

However, the Ohio models show that our social distancing efforts are working. We might be a week or two out from the peak which has plummeted to 1,600 new cases a day from recent estimates of 9,800 per day.

That’s incredibly good news. We are flattening the curve. To quote Dr. Amy Acton:

Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio Director of Public Health, April 6, 2020

School resumed remotely, in some fashion this week. The kids received their assignments from each teacher as of 9 am Monday in an online portal our school district uses, and they have a week to complete them. Teachers are holding “office hours” to answer questions and some have posted videos to explain concepts or lecture. It’s not quite the same thing as the real thing of course but we’ll see how it goes. I doubt they will return to physical classrooms this academic year. Some kids in our school district do not have access to computers but they can get access to district-provided Chromebooks which is wonderful.

Dance classes have resumed, fully online too. Ryun continues to pick up a few more private students for online classes and my work continues online en force.

I really haven’t left the house other than the occasional walk with our dog. What I have done is taken the time I have otherwise spent writing using it instead to connect using Facebook Messenger video calling with a friend in Moscow I haven’t spoken to in over 25 years, and I’ll be doing the same with another friend in London this upcoming weekend. And I probably ought to do the same with another 30-year friend in Japan since they just went into a state of emergency there. It’s amazing that technologies exist to allow us to do these sorts of things.

And as if things weren’t interesting enough, we awoke at midnight to the emergency signal on our cell phones advising us to take immediate shelter in the basement, which we did for 30 minutes while an F1 tornado promptly touched down in our town. We were spared but a few houses a mile from our house did not fare so well.


A few things brought a huge smile to my face this week, as it did for a lot of people. The first Randy Rainbow’s tribute to Andrew Cuomo. If you haven’t seen his parodies, you are missing out on some seriously clever entertainment. The part where he mentions Chris Cuomo made me belly laugh for a full five minutes. Did I ever need that.

And for the record: seriously, Chris has got to pull through.

A local cartoonist whose name I wish I knew so I could give credit created this parody of Governor Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton using the theme song from Laverne and Shirley as the basis.

I strongly recommend John Krasinski’s Some Good News, already on Episode 2, which brought tears of joy to my eyes in that it allowed me to remember when I saw Hamilton on Broadway.

And finally for the pure feel-good vibe of it, is this family lip-synching to Hold My Hand. Watch Dad. I mean, daughter is pretty darn good but the tree that apple fell from is impressive!

Seek out the joy, peeps. Seek out and share the joy in these crazy times.


Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Ohio COVID-19 Journal Day 8

Feeling a little more somber today. Heard from another friend of mine, a doctor. She read yesterday’s blog post but stopped when she got to the part about the joys of working from home. She admitted it was because she felt a little jealous.

This news gave me pause. I felt sheepish, ashamed, because let’s face it: she doesn’t have that luxury. No one in the medical industry has that luxury today or in the foreseeable future. This particular friend of mine has gone through two separate instances of chemo from ovarian cancer, and yet here she is on the front lines of the pandemic, selflessly serving others.

She shared how she sees many older patients in her practice, some of whom look forward to their doctor appointment because it’s the only social interaction they get all day, or even most days.

If you’re struggling with these new restrictions, think of the elderly people in your life. Think of the doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, other hospital, hospice, and elder care workers.  Think of the daycare workers who are working with kids while juggling the risks and restrictions placed on them, every day let alone today. There are all kinds of people to think about, to thank.

We need to support one another, however we can.


In another one of those incredible, perspective-inducing memes:

Your grandparents were called to war. You’re being asked to sit on your couch. You can do this.


Ohio Governor Mike DeWine asked people to hang the American flag as a sign of solidarity, presumably because many of us might not have an Ohio flag, cool as it is with its pennant shape. The previous owners of our home had a flag pole in the yard but it was broken and became rusty so we pitched it several years ago. I will have to make an effort to hang our US flag somewhere on our house this weekend.

In today’s press conference Lt. Governor John Husted reminded us that tough times reveal our character. He spoke of a grocery store fight that broke out between two customers over toilet paper. Toilet paper. As much as I’ve joked about it, it’s not worth fighting with a fellow citizen.

Contrast that story with the one about a state employee, a technical guy who worked tirelessly to launch the state’s coronavirus unemployment benefits web page even while a close family member was dying. He chose a selfless act of service for his fellow citizens in a time of crisis over personal tragedy.


I sit in my house today wondering if my throat feels funny, like my glands are starting to swell. Maybe my imagination is running wild. It worries me. I realize I’ve been in a happy little bubble, but I really need to brace myself in case it bursts in the coming days.

This last week, my coworkers have all reliably shown up for work on conference calls like I confidently assumed they would, but it hit me: we will start hearing stories about people who are falling ill. People we know. The rumor mill is running with the name of an infected high school student in our community of roughly 27,000 people. Will it get more real when we hear that news first-hand from someone?

Is it more real now that the first Ohioan has passed from this virus? The numbers in Ohio and the US are really starting to jump. I’m not surprised at the numbers as we’ve been warned they would, and warned that we are just beginning this upward slope.

What if yesterday was Week One of Eight? What if it is Week One of much longer?


We are hearing reports that China and South Korea are slowly beginning to return to normal, but their societies are quite different than ours. I’m not an economist but I know America increasingly runs a small business and gig economy. How resilient are those to a pandemic? A few of my learned business friends are quite concerned about the long-term economic devastation about to hit America if this drags on longer-term.

One of those people is my best friend from college, Greg. I dreamt about him the night before, so I took it as a sign to Facetime him last night. We caught up for the first time after several months and I didn’t care that my face was sans make-up. He is hunkered down in his Manhattan apartment with his new fiancé and their two cats.

They pretty much can’t leave, and they haven’t for two weeks now. It’s impossible to step outside in New York and be six feet apart from people. He shared how the EMTs came the day before to take away his neighbor who couldn’t breathe.

He’s thinking through the logistics of packing up their lives and cats and traveling to Ohio to live with his elderly mom in the country for a few months until New Yorkers get the all clear. He figures he’ll be there to help his mom should she have a medical emergency, fix things around her house, and step out for fresh air by walking in the woods. He has the financial luxury to take a couple of months off from his work.

We talked daily in college, mostly to get through honors accounting homework and deal with our tough, formidable professor together, but just as often our talks turned to life and the future. Greg always called me “dear” and could finish my sentences for me, but despite all that, we always agreed to politely disagree about money.

Greg thinks we’re headed to a great depression of monumental proportions. I know exactly what kind of dominos need to fall for that to happen, and part of me knows he’s right about that, but for now I’m still hanging onto hope. If China and South Korea can emerge from this, maybe we can too. There will be casualties of the real and metaphoric kind, but I won’t mourn that yet. That time will come but not now.


Speaking of being hunkered down, I see many references to people reflecting on the dignity of Anne Frank, hiding in a 450 square foot space with her four other family members for two entire years, trying to avoid being heard and captured.

Perspective. We can do hard things.


Ryun and I need to do a better job of explaining that to our kids. Believe it or not, we finally sat down for family dinner last night and it wasn’t quite the Norman Rockwell moment we would have liked. Our kids had nearly a full week of free-for-all without curfews or much in the way of chores so the mere thought of gathering at the same time daily for – egads – a meal together was a crimp on their freedom.

I wanted to use the backside of my hand on each of them. I didn’t. I whipped out the old, “in my day we didn’t have the luxuries you did…” diatribe but it rang hollow. Eye rolls in every direction.

It was time to appeal to a higher good within them.

In between bites of spaghetti, they learned that for the rest of their lives, they will be asked, “What did you do during the pandemic?” and we explained we wanted them to be proud of their answer. Ryun and I suggested enrichment activities that – get this – each of them enjoys.

I may as well have told them the internet was dead. Or asked them to amputate an arm and return their electronic devices to owner. Not a proud parent moment. We have some work to do at Louie Lodge.

In closing, I leave you with this today, author unknown but full of grace.


Photo by Luis Melendez on Unsplash

Ohio COVID-19 Journal: Day 6

Today I used up the last square on a roll of toilet paper in the powder room on the main floor and it hit me: we should number the rolls remaining in the house and keep a tally on the dry erase board in the kitchen, like our own little Louie Lodge Doomsday Clock. And then gather solemnly to play taps when another one spins, freely, its original mission in life complete.

After tossing the empty roll in the trash, I sang the first verse from Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” while washing my hands, followed by a re-creation of the dancing in the jail scene of The Replacements. Alternatively, I’ve heard we should try a verse of “Old MacDonald”, “Happy Birthday”, or “The Stars and Stripes Forever” (we are a music family, after all), or even better, the Lord’s Prayer (now that’s a good one). This reminds me, I really do need to listen to Rita Wilson’s quarantine playlist on Spotify.

After I wrapped up work for the day, my husband Ryun, the extrovert, asked me if I was itching to be out among people. Me, the introvert? Dude, I’ve been practicing for this moment my whole life. True, I’ll be itching for a road trip when this is all over, but honestly, I feel a tiny bit more renewed each day I spend it in my Louie Lodge cocoon.

NOW would have been the time to binge watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. And uh, no thanks, Netflix. Are you seriously streaming Outbreak? Groan.

It’s really kinda hard to think this isn’t the end of times when you learn there was a 5.7 earthquake in Salt Lake City earlier today. That happens to be home for my mother-in-law. (She’s ok, the house is ok…) I mean, really. The governor talked of counties releasing people from jails. What’s next? The Cascadia fault line collapsing? Massive power outages? [God, if you’re listening….? That’s not a dare or anything, I promise.]

I do continue to catch Governor DeWine’s daily press conference.  Major shout out to the sign language interpreters. The woman with glasses is fun to watch: she is a human emoji. Even better, my PC froze right when she was making this move that looked like she was casting a Harry Potter spell. The look on her face was priceless. She deserves an Emmy.

Can I tell you how nice it is that a soft, warm, snuggly, 1-year-old, puppy-sized Maltipoo named Zoe hangs out on my lap for part of the day while I work? And Zoe is Greek for “life” which is a lovely reminder these days?


My spirits remain high. Same with the kids. We’re all still healthy. Ryun is busy teaching his lessons. A few more parents and students took him up on online lessons. He doesn’t want to advertise more broadly than his existing student base, in solidarity with other musicians who might be hurting right now where gigs and schools are cancelled, and online lessons might be the only form of income they have.

Can I tell you I looooove how thoughtful he is about that sort of thing? He never ever wants to poach business from a fellow musician under normal circumstances and certainly not now.


On the topic of food…

Our fridge is packed to the gills but I’m trying to figure out whether a leprechaun bestowed it with vending machine capabilities because it magically produced a fresh, new gallon of milk I swear wasn’t there yesterday.

Ryun hid the brownies in the house because we’re tearing through them like they’re speed pills. He thinks I don’t know where they are. Now I’ve hid them in my tummy.

I miss Kind bars. They were all out of them at the stores. Thank God for the Girl Scout cookie supply chain. I may or may not stress-eat Samoas and Do-Si-Dos.

Heads will roll in this home, so help me God, if the lunchmeat in the fridge goes bad before we make a dent in it. Seriously. Hubby does the grocery shopping, but he also buys entirely too much food that can spoil simultaneously.


Speaking of grocery shopping, pro tip: see if your favorite store has an app or an option to “scan as you go”. Our store, Giant Eagle does. It’s GENIUS. Ryun scanned each item as he shopped, paid/checked out on his phone, had a store employee check his bag at the exit, and bypassed several incredibly long lines of people at each register on his way out the door. No wait. It will be neat to see the wealth of ingenuity that comes of these times.


This whole pandemic is no laughing matter but you gotta give props to the people who can joke at a time like this.

Mel Brooks and his son Max made a video about the importance of social distancing and it was perfect.

I swear I don’t have a fixation on Keith Richards, but I have to share this one:

And then there’s Betty White. I don’t know if she legit took that hit in the Snickers commercial a few years ago but she has GOT to survive this or I will cry.

Saw another great meme yesterday: we’ll see if the anti-vaxxers put up or shut up now!

One of my teacher friends shared a Facebook post that her children are engaging in the following enrichment activities: AP laundry and spring cleaning, honors dishwashing and yardwork.


And now for the macabre….don’t judge me. Don’t say I didn’t warn you either.

Ryun and I chatted again before bed last night and yeah, thoughts turned to what would happen if either of us died. He expressed his distaste for an open-casket service for himself. He’d rather be cremated but I had to explain, now that he’s converted to Orthodox Christianity, that they don’t permit cremation.

And the whole open casket viewing thing? I don’t even know….is that just an Ohio/western PA thing? Or a Catholic/Orthodox thing? The more exposure I get to other Christian faiths and wakes over the last few decades, it seems like nobody does that but us. Are open caskets passé? Are we that old school?

It’s important to remind you that he’s a musician and operates a percussion studio. He’s just as well known for being a classical timpanist as he is a jazz drum set player. We’ve got a lot of equipment: timpani, marimba, drum kits, xylophone, etc., mostly so he could practice his chops these many years.

As I laid beside him and thought about his wishes, the conversation got weird, totally my doing. Thank God he loves me.

“You know hon, I could always take the head off one of the timpani drums and bury you in there. For that matter, if you don’t behave, I’ll just stick you inside a bongo. Oh, I know! I’ll put you inside of a set of maracas. Maybe we’ll preserve your teeth and add them in for a little extra percussion,” as I wiggled in bed and pretended to shake an imaginary pair. We are a musical family, after all.

It was twisted. I’ll grant you that. I howled like a hyena while he shook his head at me and buried it in the pillow, “Aw, that’s just great.”

He approved this message.

Hang in there, folks!

Ohio COVID-19 Journal Day 4

That’s a wearable panda head on the “desk”. Random stuff like that is all over our house.

The home office is set up. I holed myself up in the basement away from the official office inside our home because 1) the kids are less likely to come talk to me here (I said less likely…believe me they have visited more than a few times already today!), and 2) the computer in the kitchen literally ran out of memory the day the WHO declared a pandemic so that leaves the iMac in the office available for the kids to use. I don’t think I’ll be making it to the Apple store anytime soon to remedy the iMac problem.

I bought myself a new barstool from Target, something I had been meaning to do for a while now. I really meant to buy a few of them for this long bar in our basement, part of a bigger effort to spruce up the downstairs after we replaced the carpet but I have been really slow to getting to it. And wouldn’t you know, the seat on this thing isn’t all that comfortable. I may need to come up with another solution here. I mean, I’ve got a lot of cushion on my own tush but sitting on this chair long term isn’t going to cut it.

It was otherwise a decently productive day. I was able to concentrate a bit more than last Friday when, seriously, a 1000 thoughts of every single kind were swirling in my head.

It sounds like we social distancing we are asked to do will last about eight weeks or so, until mid-May, and the tail end of the “curve” could hit in July or August if I’m to believe #45.

I tend to dismiss whatever words come out of the individual who currently occupies the White House. You may have discovered from earlier posts or simply knowing me that I’m not a fan of his before or certainly since this latest crisis. However I won’t dwell on him.


High praise is due to Governor Mike DeWine and his Director of the Ohio Department of Health, Dr. Amy Acton. Believe me, until about four years ago, I wouldn’t call myself political at all. The 2016 election changed that, and now I find myself in the unprecedented position of being more vocal than my husband, the political junkie. I can’t say that I had a lot of gripes with DeWine other than he’s Republican and I tend to vote/lean Democrat – and if I did have them, I am not recalling them at the moment – but he and his team are handling this whole event so very well, down to how he signals actions that he might take in a couple of days before he officially takes action such as closing the day care facilities in the state.

I like that he gets that their decisions will result in saved lives. I like that he is basing his decisions on science, and that he actually listens to the experts. And Acton? She explains things thoroughly, calmly, clearly, with analogies like I tend to do at work. It makes me smile to see Acton in action. (Yes, I went there. I said it!) I hope she is elevated to a role on a national level as we need her.

Part of me is a tiny bit wigged out that she is likely my age and a grandmother, but I won’t dwell on that for the moment. Bigger picture….looking at the bigger picture.


While I worked, the rest of the family did an initial wipe down and sanitizing of surfaces – doorknobs, light switches, handles, pulls, banisters, keyboards, phones, keys, mice, appliances, remotes. The kids are going to understand what is entailed in official spring cleaning at Louie Lodge before it’s all said and done.

If our state officials think that 40% of us Ohioans will get this virus, that means two of the five of us will. Or at the worst end of the statistics, 70% of us will get it, which means possibly four of the five of us. Maybe all of us. Maybe none of us. I explained that to two of our kids today. I also explained that if any one of us ends up hospitalized, chances are good that the rest of us won’t be able to visit, and if it’s one of them, they will need to be brave while there and do what the doctors and nurses say. I warned them they could be given a mask or maybe even a tube to help them breathe. What do you do? Do you tell them or not? I’m worried I won’t have time to explain that to them before they are rushed away. If they get rushed to the hospital, it’s because they can’t breathe, and that’s not the time for them to hear or understand what to expect. I feel like I should warn them. But my youngest is nine, and no lie, he was a bit wigged out. I don’t have time to read how to explain this to kids. I’m doing what I feel is right for our kids, knowing we know about their emotional maturity and intellect to handle these sorts of things.


God, I hate this, but we’ve always tried our best to have age appropriate talks with our kids. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be having THIS conversation, though.

Until next time…