Quarantine, Day 15

28 March, 2020
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<–  Me, Day 1 of quarantine.

I bought a new vacuum cleaner, and went zizzing all over my house. Ta-daaa! Over the next several days, I turbo-cleaned my kitchen, sorted the recycling, fixed my bike,  and spent countless hours preparing lessons. I even made time to read for pleasure while keeping up to date on every development with regard to COVID-19.

Remy and I took walks whenever weather allowed. <SIDEBAR> We’ve taken three walks through the park, and he’s had not a single meltdown. I’ve been able to talk him down from flipping out each and every time we’ve encountered another human. And we’ve seen the lot, trust me: bikers, walkers, runners, people mowing their lawns, getting in and out of their cars, walking their own dogs, talking on their front porches, playing at the tennis courts…humans in every stage of moving about. How about that!?

There was one time when he tried to reverse course and run the other way, but I talked him out of it while continuing to walk. But no barking, no running around me in circles, no freakouts. That particular behavior was definitely a worry for me. At 65 lbs., boxy and built low to the ground, if he wants to reverse direction and run away, he’s dragging me with him — likely headlong into a swan dive. (Ask me how I know this. mrgreen ) This dog is seven years old, and completely hard-wired to act like he’s acted since puppyhood, when he was obviously unsocialized at the very least. </SIDEBAR>

So, I ordered my groceries online for the first time. I’m picking them up tonight at Buehler’s, here in Ashland, after placing the order two days ago. Since then, of course, I’ve thought of eight more things I forgot to add, but adding them now would mean another wait…maybe I’ll try another place. I’m not accustomed to thinking ahead like this. *bonking self repeatedly on forehead* Gotta plan better.

 

Fast-forward to Day 15. I look like this. –>

What the world? You’d think that since I’m home nearly 24/7, the place would be gleaming and I’d have arranged all that great multi-window “virtual choir” music to put online with my singers looking super-stylish, doing a captivating, life-changing a cappella tune on their own…

Yeahno.

I’m the rat on the right.

Totally cool event here, though: I actually saw my sons, in person, this week! Only for a moment, and from a safe social distance, but I clapped eyes on them. That brightened my little corner.

I hope your corner is bright today, fiends. Since it’s supposed to rain for the next 22 years, I will tackle the upstairs bathroom and bedrooms. With my new vacuum cleaner. cool

Much love.

Quarantine, Day 9

22 March, 2020
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Fiends: I’m test-driving a new comment plug-in. Could you give it a go if you have something to say today? Thanks, and sorry for the problems of late…

The first eight went by pretty quickly, filled with lesson planning, house cleaning, dealing with contract negotiations issues, laughing on text and Facebook with family and friends, catching up on some TV shows, playing with Remy, missing my grandsons, watching the daily press conferences by the governor, cooking, and reading. Lots and lots and lots of reading — mostly about COVID-19.

I keep the coronavirus live updates page on CNN running 24/7 on my browser; it’s become somewhat of an obsession. If I see a number next to the tab, I know there’s a new story to read. Unlike some of my friends, I never tire of reading about this crisis. It doesn’t wear me down at all. Rather, with each story, I’m re-energized to keep doing my part, and to encourage others to do theirs (don’t get me started).

FYI — I’m calm, and feeling fine; no symptoms of any kind. I’m confident that so far, I’m dancing out of the way of this thing.

The downside, besides no contact with my sons and grandsons? I can’t ride my new bike. Devin, one of my students (and a 2020 graduating senior for whom I’m heartbroken), came over and put it together for me, for which I’m eternally grateful. Since that day, I’ve just looked at it. I got on it once and tiptoed around the garage floor on it, but it’s been either raining or cold (or raining and cold) almost every day since, so no ridey-ridey. Blah.

You mean you’re not leaving?

Remy and I have had a great time bonding through this. I think he can’t believe I’m actually not walking out the door every morning. His routine has been disrupted, but I’m pretty sure he likes it. It’s worked out well, since my sons aren’t visiting, and sister Mavis (his adored caregiver while I’m at work) is unfortunately laid up in the hospital with pneumonia right now. sad

Into the great wide open (of the park)

After dinner last night, we ventured to the park for a walk in the windy, 29-degree temps. It felt more like -29, but he loved it. Wore him out and paralyzed my face. I’m not sure what the weather calls for today, but I think we’ll give it another go this afternoon. It’s good for both of us to get out.

I can’t remember a time when I was alone for this long. Isn’t that funny? Even when I’m traveling solo, there’s always company of some kind, on a train or plane, or in a taxi or bus or restaurant. I don’t mind it, but it does highlight the Thriller’s absence in a big way. What I wouldn’t give to be kicking his butt in Scrabble right now (after which he’d kick mine in chess).

I hope you’re all handling things as well as you can, and that everyone in your world is healthy and safe. Let’s try to keep it that way!

Much love.

COVID-19 don’t care

17 March, 2020
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He cares not what your opinion be. He scoffs at your wrong-headed “it’s just the flu, people!” vociferations. He pooh-poohs your complaints about how this is going to hurt the economy and cause horrible hardships to families.

That’s the way of a soul-crushing epidemic, fiends. It’s a never-ending, relentless assault on everything we take for granted: mobility, choice, certainty, even hope. It’s a wake-up call of the worst order. So…time to wake up. I implore you to consider the following:

  1. Getting mad at state governments closing stuff down is pointless and a waste of your energy.  I live in Ohio, where the governor, absent any cogent leadership from Washington, took matters into his own hands and started issuing shutdown orders after consulting with doctors and public health experts. He took no prisoners; thousands of people’s livelihoods were instantly affected — especially those in the service industry. But what do you do when your job is to serve the greater good? You shut it all down, and then address how you’re going to help people survive.
  2. It’s cliché, but true: Science doesn’t care what you believe. Our opinions, as our days, are as grass. For many, our faith keeps us going, but science rages on in the lane beside us. And keeps up. Don’t ignore what the CDC says because you think you know better.
  3. Fuh cripesake, think of other people. I know people who are continuing to party like it’s 1999, because they’re A) unafraid, B) not at high risk, and C) staying away from old and sick people, so it’s fine. I submit that all three of those reasons are foolish and dangerous. We’ve all seen the infection models and medical projections. Go home and stay home, unless you have to be at work, in which case your employer should be allowing you to take maximum precautions for your own protection, and that of others.

I feel terrible for my seniors at school. We have to come up with an idea whereby prom and graduation can still happen. I just don’t have any ideas myself yet. But I will. That, and I’m surrounded by smart people who will come up with something. In the big scheme of life, rescheduling a prom and a graduation ceremony (and my show, oy…) are small things, but they are very real and loom large to every 17- and 18-year-old I know. My shriveled, black heart hurts for them.

So, while our epidemiological Honey Badger don’t care, I am convinced we can get through this crisis together, all doing our part. I’m starting with the attic today, and working my way down, slowly and without much urgency. What all are you doing on this lovely Tunesday? Anything I should know about?

Chipotle is offering free delivery. Hmmm….might think about that for dinner.

Edit: My comment counter seems to be broken. You’ll need to click on the title of each post, then scroll to the end to read or write a comment. I’m on it…

Où est la boulangerie?

4 January, 2020
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The view from our apartment

Mais oui, mes amies. smile

After thinking long and long about whether or not to even take the smallest of Odysseys this summer, and if I did, where would I go, I decided that life is indeed too short, with too many places left undiscovered. So, after considering a repeat trip to England, I hit up my fiend Suzanne over in the Netherlands and asked her what she thought about seeing Strawberry Fields with me this summer, while using Amsterdam as a “home base.”

She said that was fine, and then, almost as an aside, said, “Maybe we could take the Thalys high-speed train to Paris, too.”

Hmmm…

So, after a few moments of consideration: Let me take you down, ‘cuz I’m going to…Paris.

The last time I saw Paris (enough with the song quotes, promise) was in 1976. I remember going to the Louvre, shopping up and down the Champs-Élysées, eating at a restaurant called the Hippopotamus, seeing (but not climbing) the Eiffel Tower, visiting Notre Dame Cathedral, and getting all sticky munching on watermelon sold by a street vendor. I recall nothing about where I stayed. Isn’t that sad?

Well, that won’t be the case this time. Suzi and I scored a great little flat on AirBNB, for a super price — much less than what we would’ve paid for a week of hotel rooms. *fist pull*

The gardens of Versailles

While plans are still loosey-goosey, we’re looking at day trips to Normandy and Versailles, and lots of side trips to off-the-beaten-path cafes, neighborhoods, and old artist haunts, as well as hitting the major tourist stops. It’ll be a very busy week. And fun. I think the Thriller would approve.

I will endeavor to lose 20 lbs. so I can gain it all back in seven days.

Vive la France! Vive la norriture!

wink

Requiem

24 December, 2019
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As I sit here working on Dinner Theatre arrangements and thinking about the last two years, my thoughts, of course, turn to Michael, and all that’s happened since his death on Christmas Eve 2017.

I suppose I’ll think these thoughts for a long time:

  • I miss his smart-aleck sense of humor, and how he drove us all crazy with his nonsense on the regular. I miss our talks and bantering, with me telling him he’s so full of crap, it’s a righteous wonder he has blue eyes, after which he’d laugh himself into a coughing fit.
  • Sometimes I resent having to make all the decisions myself.
  • My sons and sister are wonderful, of course; I don’t know what I’d do without them. But they do have to go home, and and as much as I tell myself — and everyone else — that it’s fine being alone, many times it’s not.
  • At times, I feel cheated out of the plans we had for when I retired from teaching: the traveling, the acquisition of more Aussies to love and raise, enjoying our grandchildren, spending time with family, and maybe picking up and moving to an exotic locale someday.
  • I still occasionally vacillate between self-pity and anger, albeit with periods of absolute joy and fun with my family, friends, colleagues, and students. I just wish he could be here to share it all.
  • I wonder if he can hear me when I talk to him, or if he’s frustrated that he can’t answer me.
  • I miss how he loved his own children, and remember fondly how he also loved my two sons — and their sons — like they were his own.
  • I will always marvel at how, during the six months between his diagnosis and the end of his life, he never once complained or gave up. There was one incident around Thanksgiving 2017 — and only one that I remember — when I walked into his room to check on him, and found him on the edge of his bed with his head down, struggling to breathe. I sat next to him and asked him what I could do for him, and he whispered, “I don’t know, sweety; I think this might be it.” But that was the only time. He was and remains the strongest person I ever knew.

I think I’m still trying to figure out this “moving on” thing. I’ve tried stuff that definitely didn’t work, and I’ve tried just letting things go and endeavoring to find joy in whatever time is left to me. Not sure I’ll ever master my thoughts during the alone times, when everyone’s gone home. Remy still provides me with snuggles and laughter and companionship; I don’t know what I’d do without him, either. I sometimes wonder if he remembers Michael. I hope he does. I hope many people do; I know I will forever.

There will be joy for me in the holiday season again. There is joy now, actually, as long as I’m busy and doing my thing. I don’t want my family/friends/students to ever think that I don’t enjoy their company and all the crazy things we do together, because I do. It’s probably the singular thing that keeps me on the rails. But it’ll never really be the same, and I guess I don’t want it to be, because it would mean I’ve shut a door. Can’t do that.

I plan to visit him at the military cemetery next week. I hear they’ve put beautiful wreaths on the gravestones. I’ll take a photo.

Meantime, I will enjoy my family at this special time of year. I hope you do, too! Hold everyone close. Tell your spouse and kids you love them.

I’ll also try to write to you more often. I miss it. smile

Until next time…