My youngest turns 10 tomorrow. Double digits. Normally we would be having a pretty cool birthday party with his friends, maybe even hire a gaming truck to come to our neighborhood so the kids can compete to their hearts’ content.
Not this year.
Nope. We’re stuck in the house, doing the same old, same old, as we have for – what? – the last 60 days.
Oh Lord, it’s even been SNOWING here in Ohio. Mother Nature isn’t even cooperating with us.
I can’t imagine what it must be like for a kid to go through a pandemic and celebrate a birthday, although at this point I know quite a few who have. Shoot, I’m an adult, and I still can’t wrap my head around it.
But you know what? ANYBODY celebrating a birthday in a pandemic is something to celebrate.
All told, though, it won’t be that bad. Frankly, it will be pretty awesome by many standards. We ordered a cool gift online and it’s arrived. We’ll order take-out dinner from his favorite local Japanese hibachi place and a Dairy Queen ice cream cake, you know, the kind with the chocolate fudge and crunchies on the inside. I’ll make a sign for the front yard. His Dad and I will blow up balloons overnight while he’s sleeping and cover his floor with them so he has to wade through it when he wakes up, and we’ll tack crepe paper streamers down his bedroom door, to usher in the big 1-0 in style. For extra flair, I’ll put a lip stick smiley on his bathroom mirror.
Maybe we’ll even deliver breakfast in bed, since it’s entirely possible to pull it off.
I wrote to some friends to see if they’d be interested in forming one of those car parades in front of our house so he can see his old school and soccer buddies. It’s been two months after all, and who knows when he’ll see them all again for real.
I even floated the idea of a single kid sleeping over if the parent consented but hubby nixed the idea because our other two kids will beg for exceptions we are not willing to grant, so isolated we will remain for now.
My baby is 10. He’s healthy, he’s happy. He’s AWESOME. He’s loved. He knows that.
Never in my wildest imagination did I expect this is how we’d celebrate his big birthday. But we are blessed beyond measure inside Louie Lodge, no matter how much the crazy swirls around us.
If you came looking for words of wisdom, I’m fresh out of those today. All I can tell you is somehow we are 16 days into social distancing here at home. Everyone is still healthy and in good spirits, the five of us. I count it as a miracle, a blessing of the craziest kind. Then again, Ohio is only just getting started.
We’ve been holding family dinner every night this second week at home and it has improved considerably from that first night, the one where my oldest was horrified to learn about my online honesty over our collective dinner behavior.
It’s a toss up: I really don’t want to share my children’s stories as those are theirs to tell, but I am a writer, and authenticity is my deal. So believe me, it’s hard to know where to draw that fine line sometimes. My story often includes them. And as I’ve said many times, poorly paraphrasing Glennon Doyle, if I share my foibles and my family’s foibles, maybe people will feel less like a freak for things not being perfect in their own lives. Consider it my service to you. Because really, whose life is perfect?
I digress… Back to dinner.
Each of us endures some gentle ribbing and there is ready laughter among the group. Nice. This is how it should be. I’m glad we got there.
We play “Categories” where you pick a category and then take turns naming something in the category without repeat or else you’re out. First we did presidents, and then our oldest wanted “famous battles” since he’s a war buff. We Louies went a few rounds…I’m proud of us, as obscure of a topic that normally is for our age ranges and interests. Even our youngest and our daughter could go a few rounds.
The kids clean up the dishes, and they even volunteered a thanks to their dad for cooking the meal. Our daughter baked cookies during the week and her older brother actually thanked her, without prompting from us. Do my ears trick me or have the fights subsided?
The boys play basketball with their dad and chess with each other. Our daughter does online ballet and Facetimes with her friends. My husband has a growing list of students willing to take online percussion classes and is teaching them, but he’s finding that each day feels like all the rest and the students don’t remember that they have a lesson.
I joked that we should start each day doing something like the Walmart cheer, except we’d spell out days of the week so we could tell the difference.
Give me an “S”! Give me an “A”! Give me a “T”!…..What’s that spell?
Then again, Saturday feels like Wednesday, feels like Monday, feels like Friday… blah blah blah.
I miss the old routine, as winded and hectic and insane it normally makes me feel until I emotionally overeat and blow all the weight loss progress I otherwise try to make. I cannot catch my breath any given day or week when we are all engaged in our normal routine.
They said I would miss it, miss that crazy schedule. Gretchen Rubin said it best:
“The days are long but the years are short.”
What I didn’t expect – at all – was a respite from that craziness, years before it was to happen.
I mean, now it’s just a new type of craziness.
Now I just wake up, sit in that chair in my home office for several hours of the day, participate in web conference call after another, thinking about how I am as disappointed in the appearance of my neck as Nora Ephron was about hers, watch the number of infected people in the world, the US, Ohio, go UP UP UP…
The US is now #1 in the world. I wonder if that’s what Trump meant when he says we’re “winning”.
That’s me being sarcastic. He’s a complete and utter disgrace. Thank God there are adults in charge elsewhere in America.
I spent the week personally connecting with people via web cam as much as possible. My brother-in-law, a cousin who was hospitalized recently for post-surgery complications, two friends from high school I haven’t seen in years and years in a first-ever virtual happy hour (highly recommended), another couple of friends who live alone, and another long-time friend who got increasingly, noticeably wistful as we talked.
Our conversation struck me the most. We talked about our loved ones and spouses who fit the early-defined category of “most vulnerable”, and strategies to protect them. What would happen if one or both of the parents in a family were knocked out for a period of time or permanently. How most certainly we would know someone who would die – very likely many – including older family members who are and are not heeding the orders for social distancing and the surprise younger people who otherwise look like a picture of health.
I heard fear in his voice, anger that some employers were putting people at unnecessary risk in an attempt to stay afloat. I sensed it in my own too. It’s almost like you can feel the Grim Reaper moving in slow motion throughout our communities. Who is he going to take next?
I mean shoot, I have a firefighter cousin who works every day with healthcare providers, other caregivers, EMTs, etc. and he admitted that several of them are “getting their affairs in order”.
Mother of God. That sent chills down my bones.
To all of them, these many essential workers, I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart.
It’s a war. We need more masks, more personal protective equipment (PPE), more beds, and more ventilators. We need healthy caregivers of every kind. I don’t see us reporting these numbers anywhere, not percentages or capacity or shortage or anything. Not in Ohio yet. Maybe they are scrambling to put it together. Maybe the numbers are abysmal and they’d rather report it when there is hope of the numbers being reassuring. Who knows? But data is key.
I hear talk of ramping up production of necessary items, but I don’t see the president ordering it to happen. Instead I hear a president in disbelief over the numbers of equipment being requested in New York in anticipation of a surge yet to come, and see him appearing to withhold the necessary aid. Are you freaking kidding me?
Why does it feel like the commander in chief is aiding and abetting the enemy?
Oh, because he is. Wittingly or unwittingly. It doesn’t matter. He is.
It will sicken me endlessly if when millions of Americans become ill and die. This did not need to happen. A leader doesn’t dwell on the “mess” he claims he inherited. A leader would go about fixing it if he thought it was a real problem.
Aaaaargh…I said I wouldn’t go there. I wouldn’t talk about 45. But how can you not at a time like this?
I did encounter a funny post, from someone who said she learned a lot about her spouse working two weeks from home during this age of social distancing. He microwaves food items for exactly 44 seconds.
When she asked her husband why 44 and not 45, his response was, “For Obama.”
The wit in things like that give me joy.
And with that, I bid you adieu while I gently coach my daughter why we will not adopt a baby otter any time soon, no matter how cute they are.
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.
1. I touch my face constantly. Actually, that’s a lie. I have incredible self-awareness about my habit of face-touching.
2. People in this house drink a ridiculous amount of milk. We had three gallons two days ago. Now we’re down to our last half gallon. Under normal circumstances I would cheer that my kids drink milk. But now? I really don’t want anyone to step outside for it. They can eat dry cereal. We’ll send a single forager when we truly run out of necessary food and the way this kitchen and pantry are stocked, that could take a few days. Or weeks.
3. 15 people have signed up for online drum lessons which is not anywhere near my husband’s normal 40-student private teaching workload but it’s better than nothing and it’s way more than I thought! Today is the first day he’s giving it a go. Maybe he can open up his services across America for that matter.
4. My youngest cried because his favorite Nintendo game was somehow deleted off his Switch in attempts to upgrade it or apply a patch. Like Christmas day, every kid in America is likely downloading software from Nintendo and it’s crashing their servers. It’s the end of his world, you know.
5. My butt still really hurts from sitting on the newly assembled bar stool in my makeshift office after 1.5 days so I moved all my home computer equipment out of my real home office into the kitchen so my work equipment could move in. My home office doesn’t have a lot of desk space but at least the faux leather Ikea chair is comfy. I can’t imagine eight weeks with a bruised tailbone. I suspect that will be the least of my worries. It’s a lot louder on the main floor with the kids.
6. It’s St. Patrick’s Day. No parties and parades this year other than the line of cars at Cleveland Clinic waiting for COVID-19 testing. Ohio polls are closed per order of Dr. Acton in defiance of a judge’s order to remain open. I think the judge is wrong. I hate the idea of delaying our primary election, but these are not normal circumstances. I wore green today though – does that count? Then again, I’m on day three of the same outfit that wasn’t green on day one. LOL
7. My kids are just winging it now. I haven’t outlined “enrichment” activities for them, but I will be doing so over the next few days. I’m going to see if the ACT tutor we hired for our oldest can coach him over the phone since her schedule may have opened up. His certainly has. He’s pretty ticked that he doesn’t have the final quarter of the year to improve his GPA. Dude: we’ve been telling you about the significance of your GPA since 8th grade. You pick THIS QUARTER to pay attention?
8. Today we learned of the first person on the corporate campus of my employer who is presumed to test positive for COVID-19. By virtue of the fact that I was not emailed directly about this individual, they did not work on my floor, but I get around. We have a few thousand people on campus, and they hail from all over northeast Ohio, some driving up to 45-60 minutes to get to work. Today’s news was inevitable. HR will notify us if we’ve come into contact with someone who tests positive or is presumed to be.
9. I have no plans to wear makeup during the next eight weeks. I am fixing my hair because it’s short and I don’t need a reminder that I look like Keith Richards every time I look in the mirror. LOL Despite wearing the same clothes for the last three days, I am sporting fresh undies. The best is no bra. NO BRA for the next several weeks. Girls, can I get a hallelujah on that one?
10. No, I haven’t started that walking or yoga or tai chi routine. My husband started tai chi on Friday (“Hug the moon,” he coached me). I think that’s kinda cool.
11. Other than the normal kid fights, we’re doing ok. As we laid in bed last night, my husband admitted he is a little bit scared. I’m cool headed about it. I haven’t cried. I cry over everything but this? No tears. Not yet. I’m surprised I can fall asleep ok. Then again: no symptoms. I do feel like I should make quite a few phone calls though.
12. My youngest reminded me of his entrepreneurial and humanitarian tendencies, “Um, Evan S. and I at school heard that you can make, like, $500 million if you come up with the cure for the coronavirus so we’re going to use science and do it. If we split that 50/50,” long pause inserted for effect, “we both get $250 million so I’ll be able to pay for my own college.” My response? “Dude, if you discover the cure for the coronavirus, people will come to YOU for college.” LOL
13. Seriously, if you’re holed up in your house for an indefinite period, what are you going to do with this once-in-a-lifetime precious time of yours? Will you better yourself, connect with distant loved ones, tackle that home project you always said you would, or help the elderly and lonely in your own community? What do YOU plan to do? Even if you plan to rest – and that’s valid in its own right – what do you plan to do? I’d love to hear from you.
As of today, March 14, 2020, it’s everywhere: coronavirus or COVID-19. I figured I would attempt to post frequently to chronicle what life is like in Ohio dealing with this but with a caveat.
My professional work involves helping my company deal with enterprise risk, and believe me, COVID-19 qualifies as one as it does for so many other companies. As a result, I’m part of a larger team that is handling what our response is as a company to this event.
However I am not an official spokesperson for our company, so you won’t hear me divulge details about what we are doing as a company. Maybe one day I’ll write a book or short story about what that has been like but for now, let me just tell you about life in Medina, Ohio.
Earlier this week, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. That same day, the governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, held a press conference about the situation in Ohio and he’s held one each day since with Dr. Amy Acton, the Director of the Ohio Department of Health, by his side also delivering remarks in a clear, calm style. One of Gov. DeWine’s directives involved the closing of public schools for a minimum of three weeks and the ban of mass gatherings of 100 people or more.
Several Americans seemed to think the news about the virus was overblown. These sentiments certainly seemed to fall naturally along the massive political divide in our country, but not exclusively. Plenty of Ohioans thought school closings and mass bans were totally uncalled for.
I sensed something different. Maybe it’s because of the nature of my work, or my natural inclination to take things more seriously than most people. I already knew the reasons why the infection numbers in the US were so low in March is because we didn’t have enough test kits in the US to confirm presence of the virus.
For the governor to ban mass gatherings of so few people meant they already had reason to believe it was far more prevalent in our state than they were officially able to say. After all, Ohio was one of the last six states to begin testing for the virus. As of today, 26 Ohioans are confirmed with the virus, with over 10 times that many under testing.
Immediately people wondered how to handle daycare for their children, especially the young school-age kids. Several large companies in Northeast Ohio are prepared enough to send their white collar/ knowledge workers home to work for the same period of time, but there are plenty of jobs that simply do not allow for that luxury. Ohioans were simply plunged into emergency mode in short order. Grocery stores sold out of toilet paper, Clorox wipes, and hand sanitizer immediately.
So all three of my kids are now home for three weeks, one of which was our already scheduled “spring break”. It doesn’t sound like the school districts will be mandating any form of education during that period of time, unlike blizzards where some packets are sent as homework.
Our kids were initially quite happy about that. It initially felt like an extended Christmas vacation to them. My daughter gleefully announced that she and her friends had already planned a bunch of sleepovers until I burst her bubble, explaining that we are being asked to engage in social distancing and our family is taking that very seriously. I mean, she had a fever earlier this week, and my youngest had glassy eyes, sniffles, and a dry cough that developed literally overnight. Sure, it could be seasonal allergies, but who really knows.
Ohio, or maybe even the US altogether, is trying to avoid being in Italy’s situation today, a week from now. Our daughter is pretty angry with us for cramping her social style. Maybe her friends don’t seem to understand the situation. Maybe their parents haven’t chatted with them, gotten through to them, or believe themselves the gravitas of what’s being asked of us all. I’m chalking her reaction up to preteen attitude for the time being but it doesn’t make it easier to deal with.
I am working from home for that same period of time. And let’s be clear: I’m an introvert. In a very weird way, this is an introvert’s dream! I don’t have to physically interact with large groups of people for a while. Cool with me. I need a serious recharge as it is. I was really looking forward to spring break for that very reason but perhaps this season will give us a chance to change a lot of things about how we live our lives.
Our official spring break vacation and planned family trip is cancelled. We had planned to take my oldest on some college visits to see what universities he might be interested in attending when he graduates public school, but it seems as though most colleges have cancelled extracurricular events and released their students for an extended period of time, so we’re not traveling to these colleges, not in the near term. You could see the look of disappointment on my son’s face but it was mixed with a solemn, growing awareness of just how serious the whole situation is for life to come to a grinding halt.
The way Governor DeWine put it, which was so incredibly wise, is “Is it necessary? And is it necessary now?”
So we’ll stay put. With very few exceptions, most of us are not leaving the house for three weeks. My husband will head out to get groceries. My oldest has joined him to do it but maybe that isn’t the best idea. It’s a good life lesson to see empty shelves in the stores and execute Plan B, but I’m worried about the exposure each is getting by being out and about.
And this is where it gets interesting: my husband is president of our church. Churches are exempt from the ban inasmuch as they are encouraged to hold services online, and many of them are. However, we’re Orthodox Christian, unchanged (i.e., “old school”) in our administration of communion that we share a chalice and a spoon with everyone in church.
Our priest reminds us that the church over millennia has made it through pandemics before. We’re told to have faith that receiving communion is life-giving, it cannot harm us in anyway as it truly is the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our church is overwhelmingly populated by people over 60 with all the underlying medical conditions that make them high risk individuals to a novel coronavirus. Like many churches, we struggle to pay the bills inasmuch as we are one of the better off Orthodox parishes, so a drop off in attendance is likely to result in massive deficits.
Money isn’t the biggest concern, nor is it the only one. Our bishop is visiting from Detroit this Sunday compelling many of us to attend to greet him. We were supposed to also welcome a second bishop from Kenya as our church raised money for an orphanage there, and he flew to the US to thank us tomorrow. However, he had to return to Kenya while the US and its rapid changes in travel policy this week allowed for him to do so.
Our priest will never tell people to stay away; he simply cannot. My husband also, as president, cannot tell people to stay away either. All he and the board of trustees can do is communicate with parishioners that they’re doing everything they can to sanitize the facility properly. Nevertheless, some parishioners are very nearly hysterical over the health implications that could devastate our long-time parishioners, our family and friends by gathering for liturgy during this holy season of Lent.
It’s a very tough situation to be in. I will readily admit that my faith is weak. I believe what the scientists are telling me. And all Ohioans, all Americans actually, have a very real opportunity to take all necessary measures to “flatten the pandemic curve” as we are guided to do so we don’t overwhelm our healthcare system. In this regard, Ohio’s governmental response is sound even if it is possibly too late to really help.
God bless the doctors, nurses, laboratory/testing team, other medical staff, EMT, police, firefighters, government officials, and anybody else I am missing who are on the front lines dealing with this issue. These people are not getting all the rest they need and they are at risk of becoming ill themselves. They need our prayers.
In other news, my husband teaches percussion on contract at a few of our local school districts and teaches private students in our home music studio. At first we thought we’d continue lessons as the studio is physically large enough to keep adequate distance between the people present, as it’s usually two or three persons at a time at most. We sent a message out to the parents and students saying as much.
But literally in the span of a few minutes of him, as studio owner, having sent that message, I felt incredibly uneasy about promoting an environment where we were not adhering to the social distancing concept. Even though we are sanitizing the studio and planned to do so throughout these days, I couldn’t bear the thought that we might be a source of the virus or a transmitter of some kind.
Within 90 minutes of telling our students and their parents that we would remain open, we notified them that we would go on physical hiatus for three weeks, to match the governor’s orders. We explained that my husband would be available to teach online, but I doubt anyone will take us up on it.
Between the studio closing and the schools closing, we just lost 1/3 of our monthly income. Now mind you, we are among the very fortunate that this situation simply means we adjust some of our financial habits, hopefully temporarily. I literally logged into our bank online and changed some of the bill paying and investing for the next few months. We’ll get by. But we had to explain to the kids that we’re taking a financial hit and our normal habits will need to change.
It makes me think of all the people impacted by this: the restaurants, hairdressers, small business people, therapists, librarians, etc., who are out of work or likely to experience a significant drop in business. I hope we can weather the storm but so many Americans live paycheck to paycheck. I don’t know how this will work without massive social, educational, financial, and business disruption not to mention the health kind. We will need to look out for one another. I contacted some of my neighbors, a few who are elderly and may not have family close by to help them, to offer our assistance should they need a grocery run or a pharmacy pickup.
I hope to God that this crisis makes America wake up and realize we have got to fix the way healthcare works in this country. There are easier and far less expensive ways of providing outstanding health care than the crazy system we’ve allowed to grow here unchecked, like tangled weeds in a garden.
The pantry and freezer are stocked, the finances are adjusted. The laundry is caught up, deep house cleaning is next, and then I am setting up my office away from the office in a separate room of the house to ramp up for the next three weeks and be as productive and helpful as possible. Work priorities will have to be shifted as this is not business as usual.
I even called the first of my two sisters to coach her to be serious about that “if you’re over 60, don’t leave the house” thing. I don’t think even she quite got it until I called her. And she, of all people, is a retired former hospital laboratory worker in charge of safety practices at her hospital. And the virus is present in her county. It didn’t click with her until I called, and maybe it still really hasn’t.
My oldest, a teenager, has already informed me that COVID-19 is already being called “The Boomer Remover”. That made for a groan-worthy laugh but it hits hard since so many of my extended family are boomers. And then there is the Coronavirus Barometer Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. If he dies, we’re all gonna die, because that dude could likely survive a nuclear holocaust along with the cockroaches.
Really bad jokes aside, our kids have had a talking to and have been challenged to do something to enrich their minds and hearts during this unprecedented time. We told them we want them to be able one day to tell their grandkids, with pride, what they did with their precious, unprecedented gift of time.
In the meantime, this experiment with the five of us at home full time for three weeks and probably more, is on. Stay tuned.