21 April 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not

 

Dear Diary,

I’m popping up and down from the kitchen table while I’m writing this, trying to keep Family Pizza Night on track, so we’ll see how this goes.

Today is officially Day #37 of Quarantine. They say it takes three weeks to form a habit. I don’t know who “They” are, but it’s one of those things that’s accepted wisdom like don’t go outside in the winter without your coat on lest you catch a cold — things that are verifiably, conclusively false, but things we say and believe regardless. So I suppose it’s not surprising that I feel on some level like I should be used to this by now — less bewildered, more settled, further along on Quarantine Adjustment, coming to terms with the uncertainty — but I’m not. 

Today is officially Day #37 of Quarantine, and while there are changes in me — I check the news every hour, say, instead of every 15 minutes or 5 minutes or 1 minute like I did mid-March — I’m still as back and forth, as up and down, as calm and anxious, as adrift and anchored, as in it for the long haul and ready for it to end as I was at Day #1. 

Today is officially Day #37 of Quarantine, and I still feel like I’m suspended…

Checked the pizza. Sprinkled on the cheese. Popped it back in the oven. 

Today is officially Day #37 of Quarantine, and I still feel like I’m suspended midair. Like I’m caught in that moment when you draw breath to speak, but before the words come out. Like I’m between one step and the next, foot raised and off balance and falling forward, but not striking the earth yet. Not making any real progress. I’m all Gathered Momentum but no Execution. All Potential but no Follow Through. Not because I don’t wish to move forward, but because there’s no where to go yet. Nowhere to land. The next step hasn’t materialized yet. This is the Waiting Place. 

Kids: Mom, when is dinner going to be ready? 
Me: First pizza in ten minutes?

I don’t actually know. I’m just guessing. It feels like that with everything right now. No certainties. All guesswork. People depending on my answers, anyway.

Today is officially Day #37 of Quarantine, and we’re in the Waiting Place, but I’m starting to make guesses because I need Some Sort of Plan and my kids need one, too, so my guess is that we’ll be doing this #StayHome gig for the rest of the spring and at least the beginning of summer, and maybe off and on and off and on for months after that. 

Pizza #1 — just cheese — is out of the oven.

Pizza #2 is in. I put turkey bacon on Pizza #2; it was in the fridge, and its Use By date is today. It will either make Pizza #2 a hit or no one will like it and I’ll get lots of feedback to Never Do That Again. I regularly try to sneak things into my family’s food. I’d say I get away with it maybe half the time. That’s a good enough batting average to keep doing it. 

Today is officially Day #37 of Quarantine, and I’m just throwing stuff together. “Hey! Turkey bacon on pizza! Sounds better than throwing it away!” And also, “Hey! Let’s tear up the backyard lawn for an inflatable above ground pool!” Do I think either of these are good ideas? I DON’T KNOW. I mean, PROBABLY. Maybe? Hopefully? Will Turkey Bacon Pizza and a Pool-ish Place to Hang Out make Sheltering Together kinder and funner? ONLY ONE WAY TO FIND OUT. Also, is funner a word? NO, BUT THERE ARE NO RULES ANYMORE. 

One of the children just slammed a door upstairs, so things are already funner around here. 

OH, AND THERE IT GOES AGAIN NOW. A double slam! 

The slammer descended the stairs to let me know I put too much cheese on the cheese pizza and I cooked it too long. Then he took 4 pieces. I only nodded my head in sympathy at How Terrible It Must Be to Have a Mother So Inept at Making Pizza from Scratch During a Goddamn Pandemic which I believe officially qualifies me for sainthood. YES? Yes. 

Today is officially Day #37 of Quarantine, and there are No Rules Anymore, and I am Trying to Do Good, Fun Things and Build Happy Memories, and I’m learning that partly means Keeping My Mouth Shut so I don’t Say Things I’ll Regret. 

Pizza #2 is out of the oven, and Pizza #3 — the Pan Pizza for the Grown-ups — is in the oven.

Two more children have acquired pizza for themselves and the turkey bacon pizza is a success. 🙌🏼 

I’ll take the win. 

Today is officially Day #37 of Quarantine, Diary, and I honestly thought I’d be further along on Quarantine Adjustment by now, but I’m not. Instead, I’m suspended in the Waiting Place and trying to make Some Sort of Plan and trying, also, to do kind and fun things but not always getting credit for the effort.

The Door Slammer reappeared in the kitchen.

He’s sorry for what he said about the pizza — it was good, after all — but he was hangry, and he was upset about something his friend said in an online game, and he thinks he’s just anxious in general right now, and he said thank you for making dinner. All that unprompted.

I said it’s OK, and thank you for the apology, and I get it, and we’re all a little off right now.

So today is officially Day #37 of Quarantine, Diary, and I suppose I thought ALL OF US would be further along on Quarantine Adjustment by now, but we’re not. I need to remember we’re all suspended in the Waiting Place together, and we’re all trying to make plans, and we’re all trying to be kind but not always getting credit for the effort. Me. Greg. The kids. All of us.

For now, though, I’m going to grab a piece of pizza — and probably a beer — and let the rest go.

With love,

ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
7 comments
  1. Yes, definitely sainthood. Yes, we’re in mid free-fall. (I’m humming Tom Petty, thanks for the earworm, right?) Yes, more grace — always more grace. Yes to backyard above-ground pools. It’s hard to keep grass green and healthy anyway.
    I’m still wearing my pajama top (under my sweatshirt), I haven’t showered today (or yesterday), and I’m halfway through a good, strong, local craft beer. That, and since morning I’ve only had coffee, brownies and pecans. Pandemic Life. Grateful for Enough. And gosh, I miss my grandkids and my friends.

  2. I am not an alcohol person, but my son was up repeatedly last night and screamed at me for 45 minutes about having to take a nap today. I get that his routine is off, but geez, right now I could go for a ladies night out a nice chilled glass of white wine… although, it’s only two in the afternoon.

  3. I thought it took 6 weeks to get used to a new habit… I don’t want to find out. So I’ve only been confined for three weeks. And then two. And now two more. We never get at 6 in total like this, do we?
    And wow for the apologies. And as usually you impress me with your mommying and cooking and I’m not mentioning your writing which is keeping so many of us sane-ish or at least helps so many of us to hang on knowing we are not alone and we can do both/and and there are others waving, so thank you. Again and again.
    I went to bed “early”. Fell asleep around 23.00 – it is 03.20. I got up because I though there was no point lying in bed doing nothing for more than two hours, is there? So will try to do some work now. Who knows. Sorry for taking up so much space here.
    Hug and looking forward to read your next HonoLulu’s adventures stories and such.

  4. I love that your kid apologized! That’s hard for them. It’s hard for us in fact. Great job keeping food on the table, kids appeased, working hard to keep them busy and healthy and yes, fed. I feel blessed to be able to work from home full time, blessed that my kids are able to work from home (or his girlfriend’s parents’ home in my son’s case – just glad he’s out of NYC!), worried because Boeing brought back their people yesterday and we think it’s too soon and he doesn’t want to go but he is… and we’re all just discombobulated right now and that’s the way it is. I miss eating breakfast out and last week I wanted to go for Mexican food and a margarita SO BAD but I want everyone not to die even worse so here we are. I made tacos. Not the same oh well. Stay well!

  5. I work in an industry which is melting down. Ditto my husband. We obviously don’t believe in spreading the risk around. My husband’s employer deems them “essential” so every day he goes out and comes back in. We all hold our breath. I get to stay home, “working” and “helping” my kids with their online learning. I take it hour by hour, set drinks time at no earlier than 5:45 p.m. and bite my tongue. A LOT. So far I have only thrown one temper tantrum. Well, maybe three. The rest were tantrums I shut down. I have decided a normal will not be established. I will stumble from day to day, holding it together by mere threads. So long as I don’t completely lose my crap, I declare victory. Some days are good; some are bad; some are very, very bad. I know we are getting up tomorrow and doing it all over again so I can either coast with it or I can fight with it, disrupting my entire household. I am a parent so I pick coasting. Good luck to everyone.

  6. Kudos for kids apologizing and acknowledging that we’re all in a weird place! Kudos for moms all over trying to not say things they’ll regret!! And grace to all who stumble while trying to do these things!
    You deserve a “home made pizza making while in times of distress” award. Because even in times of glee, pizza from scratch is a daunting expedition. Did you know you can actually ruin grill thermometers if you get the ceramic grill up to say, 600′? Or whatever is above the thermometer reading… Ruins the crap out of some pizza too. I mean, I heard. From a friend. 😉
    Waving in the not too dark today….

  7. I’ve been singing “Let It Go” for weeks. I hear you.

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