Home in the time of COVID.

Home in the time of COVID.

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.— Maya Angelou

Miles and Mommy “at work.”

Enforced stay-at-home because of the corona virus is not how I imagined it would be. Don’t get me wrong. I am well-suited to be a homebody because I love my house and have worked from a home office off and on throughout my professional career. So when the edict began on 3/16 for remote work, I was excited. I was ready. T was also going to be working from home. We had a plan—me upstairs in my cheery bright space. He in the 70s basement man cave. Which suits his video editing work, thus requiring a bit less light.

I am technologically prepared with my work laptop, monitors, iPhone and headsets. I’ve had fun ramping up my Skype and Microsoft Teams skills which are the vital lifelines we use to stay connected. FaceTime for we Apple folk is also a saving grace. Zoom, hailed as the holy grail of group meetups, has been banned by our company IT Gods. I support this wholeheartedly, toeing the professional line. Personal use, that’s another story…

Luckily, T and I both work for the same company but in different business units.We joke that our home is the company’s north annex—homage to our suburban locale. Convenient for our team to have ready access to the fella who creates our videos.

It’s a treat to share lunches with my beloved every day. We’ve swapped commute time for leisure time. We have the luxury of sleeping in a bit longer during the work week. More personal time is perhaps the best gift of this damnable pandemic.

Calvin keeping T company in the Man Cave.

Our sweet, quirky pets provide us joy. Calvin Kitty “works” with Daddy lounging on his cozy braided rug. Miles Elroy, our black lab mix “comes to work” with Mommy. How lovely it is to share our space with them. Even when I holler, ”SHUT UP MILES,” as he alerts us to every dog, person, mailman, delivery truck rolling by our home, most often when I’m on a conference call. Even when Calvin’s bathroom break fumigates the man cave with a picante “aroma.” (Luckily, my dearest has a less developed olfactory sense than I.)

What I didn’t anticipate was how difficult it’s becoming to stay positive, even for we who have the sunshine gene in our DNA. The news and most everyone we talk with share the contagion and death numbers, grocery shortages and frustrations. Our Baltimore son Alex can’t stop over anymore. We talk regularly with both Adam and Alex, and shout across the lawns to neighbors passing by. I miss people. I miss my hair stylist.

Now, food shopping is done by willing strangers from my online lists. Our favorite nature haunts with Miles are forbidden so we try to find new routes in our little community. I’ve mostly abandoned Starbucks as the lines for the drive-through are too long and the customers too cranky. Do people really think honking horns at those who inadvertently cut the line from the main entrance is going to do anything? It just irritates we who are trying to be chill patiently awaiting the caffeine reward ahead.

Still, as we remind ourselves, these are first world problems.

We are sanitizing everything, including us, although not the pets—yet. That’s tedious. The circle is closing in with each passing news report and governor’s edict. Now we must use the small stash of paper masks and jerry-rigged bandannas on the rare occasion we have to venture into a store. Online orders stay on the back porch for several hours after a wipe down. Just in case. Because the guidelines are ever evolving on how the virus spreads.

My beloved and I fall into the age risk group, as our sons so lovingly point out. In the same breath as they say, “ but of course you guys don’t act that old. And are super healthy.” Well, there’s a bit of humor to savor.

Our 89-year-old aunt with health issues is sheltering with my sister and brother-in-law in Florida. Her trip started in early March before the virus breakout began in earnest. Now she’s stuck. I can only pray the virus passes them by.

So much of our fun life has been canceled. My BBFs daughter’s Vermont destination wedding in March (postponed until spring 2021), aforementioned nature hikes, the Wizard of Oz concert with the Baltimore Symphony. Our family reunion in July and potentially the Pan Mass Challenge ride in August which means our Cape Cod vacation is off. The business impact means no revenue which means layoffs and possible permanent shutdown. PMC will survive because it’s massive and they raise gobs of money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute—as in 717 million dollars in their 40-year history.

T and I reassure each other by counting the blessings the pandemic hasn’t touched. We have good jobs with the means to purchase food and necessities. We can help our kids with cash when the needs arise, and support hard hit non-profits. We have a beautiful home. Not bragging here, dear reader. Just sharing gratitude for our present circumstances.

Mediterranean Chicken Casserole—T’s favorite!

So, what are we to do? Try to roll with punches. Embrace gallows humor when we can’t take it anymore. Keep to our new routines. Walk our pooch.Get more sleep. Make delicious healthy meals. Appreciate work and our colleagues.

Enjoy our favorite TV shows. Support our local economy with Instacart grocery deliveries and occasional curbside takeout. Have Zoom meetups and calls with our circle, reassuring each other, one day, we will be back together.

I’m taking my own advice dear reader and heading out for a walk with Miles. I wish peace for you all as we soldier on to brighter days.

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