Category Archives: pandemics

New Guidelines for Living in These Uncertain Times

When this pandemic started if someone had asked me how long it would be before wearing a bra became optional I would have been hard pressed to tell them, now I know that it’s exactly six months before I unharnessed that social custom, see what I did there?

And it didn’t go down hill gradually, Monday I decided not to put one on when “going” to work. And by work I mean the corner of my living room. By Friday I was going to the Acme without it. I hesitated, but my rational was that I had on jeans and not the pajama pants that all of my fellow shoppers were wearing. I thought of it as leveling the playing field.

There are other things that have slipped in this COVID lifestyle, brushing my hair happens… um… sometimes and I definitely wear the same pair of jeans longer than I should.

On the flip side I floss my teeth EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. My dentist retired in June and there is NO way I’m going out shopping for a stranger to stick their hands in my mouth now, nope.

Other things I will not do now – eat inside at a restaurant, make out with random strangers in the subway, ride the subway, eat food off the ground or use that chapstick that I found in the bar bathroom. My life has really closed in on itself.

Back in the Bunker

I’m still alive!

I’ve spent most of the summer sheltering in place in the middle of nowhere and as Robert Frost once famously stated that has made all the difference.

I have been somewhat immune to the power of the coronavirus as its barely reared its ugly head in my former (and soon to be current again) location. My daughter and I have had the privilege of running around the woods and swimming in a lake and in general staying away from things like the news and the white house press briefings.

All of this, of course, comes with a price and that price is reverting to childhood and living with my parents. Most of the time this is fine – they are old, can’t hear very well and go to bed very early. But I still find myself rolling my eyes behind their backs and rebelling against home rule in sly but subtle ways. The difference now is that at 4:00 everyday my Mom and I have happy hour together and sometimes drink enough wine to blur the line between parent and child. I also have an ally in my daughter and my nephew who both also rolls their eyes at Nana and share private jokes with me about getting old.

My biggest fears right now are ticks and how many spiders are crawling in my mouth while I sleep… trust me that place is teeming with spiders.

This week I am home, and it is literally 100 degrees outside and I can’t visit anyone or do anything  because I’m not going out there… It is nice to see my husband (who only stops working for about 2 and a half hours every day) and pet my dog who has been woefully neglected this summer, but I’m ready to switch out the four outfits I wore all summer for a different four outfits and hit the road again.

The bunker has weathered the summer quite nicely without me –it makes sense that when my child and I are removed from the equation spaces stay nicer and less messy. Two hours after arriving at my parent’s house in June the entire thing was covered in glitter and nearly half of the porch had been sectioned off to make way for Barbie land – 30 square feet of bedrooms, shopping malls and fashion runways. In reserve it only took half that time when we arrived back to home to completely take over the living room that (apparently) had been mess-free for two solid months. I try so hard to remind my husband that the chaos and debris that follow me around is simply part of my charm – he (for some reason) does not believe me and rolls his eyes every time I try to convince him otherwise.

There has been a lot of eye rolling this summer.

Updates from the Bunker

Here in the bunker we have lost all sense of time and space – we simply refer to everyday as Blursday. We operate strictly according the laws of nature, if it’s nice we go outside, if it is not than we stay inside. We are simple folk who sometimes remember to wash their hair and sometimes have to be called out by those around us to do so. Our biggest excitement comes when new Amazon boxes are delivered.

Next week some of us will be relocating to a new bunker – because sometimes it’s exciting to clean different things than the things that you always clean. And also this bunker is getting hot and I have already sent a strongly worded email to our pool club that under no circumstances, even if they open, would be using their facilities this summer. They are not big fans of me.

I actually spend a lot of my time sending strongly worded emails these days. So much so that sometimes my husband will walk in to the living room looks at my face and say “who are you arguing with now?” He knows me so well.

Things that I love right now are: drive through convenience stores, drunk FaceTime get-togethers, the price of gasoline, audiobooks and Pinterest. Things I hate: TV, people who congregate in groups, the price of avocados, politics and cooking dinner.

I’m giving myself a terrible Yelp review

Becca’s day 45 pandemic diner menu

Breakfast: Cereal, but really it’s just the end of 3 bags. I call it stale cinnamon toast crunch raisin bran cheerios surprise. The surprise is that you have to eat it dry because I need the last of the milk for my coffee.

Lunch: BLT – no wait just a BT um… this tomato isn’t very good and there isn’t any bacon. Here – have this bowl of mayo but lick it slow it’s all there is until dinner.

Dinner: hot dogs on white bread – we are out of ketchup though your condiment choices include cocktail sauce or red Thai curry paste. The hot dog will be served with a side of bag salad – you need to pick out the good stuff, there is no dressing.

Dessert: What now?

Ramblings from the Bunker

I have lost track of what day it is – I only know if it’s a work day or a non-work day, last week I got excited for Friday but then I couldn’t remember why… My bangs have still not grown out long enough to tuck behind my ears and I’m thinking of just covering all the mirrors in the house with heavy black fabric.

I have started walking five miles a day – for both exercise and escape. I’ have been doing this consistently for a week now and have managed to gain 4 pounds. Four pounds! This seems wildly unfair especially since I haven’t changed any of my eating habits.

I’ve been having a lot of strange coronavirus related dreams – including one night when I discovered that the Keebler elves had created a vaccine and I had to go get it from them, it was hard because I barely fit inside that tree.

I have started some weird habits since being home, for instance I make my bed every day. Every day – I have never done this before, I will miss it when the world resumes a semblance of normalcy.  I have also cut down on the amount of coffee I drink – it seems to only take me half of what it used to to get me going, probably all of that energy I had to exert putting on pants.

A Public Service Announcement

Rules for online shopping during the Pandemic:

–          Pay attention to the quantity of what you are purchasing. I now own enough ketchup and popcorn to last the rest of our lives

–          Abstain from constantly refreshing your order summary in Amazon to see when items will arrive – this will drive you crazy. Everything takes a long time.

–          The more puzzles you buy the more puzzles you will be forced to put together

–          If you buy enough books you can use them to build a prepper bunker in your backyard

–          Literally all of these things can be avoided if you don’t shop online while intoxicated.

April Fool’s in the Bunker

Here is a list of the April Fools pranks that Jason played on us this morning:

  • The coffee cup cabinet was full of plastic Easter eggs that rained down on my head at 6:00am
  • Lucy’s toilet paper roll was taped together with packing tape
  • All of the keys on my keyboard were popped off and put back on alphabetically
  • Lucy’s bathroom sink was taped closed
  • The bottom of my optical mouse was taped with packing tape
  • The default language on Lucy’s iPad was set to Spanish

Clearly this man needs some hobbies (and less packing tape).

Bunker Life*

My hair is a mess, my bangs are too long to be down and too short to go back. I have hair like Ray in Star Wars but not in a good way – in a way that looks like it was done by a toddler with one good hand.

I feel like I am failing at a number of things right now – like why aren’t my closets clean and how come only half the laundry has been put away? Why aren’t I planking more often or taking free master classes? I have one totally arbitrary goal everyday – to get the coffee table cleaned off and I’m even failing at that. Actually I’ve failed so bad that I’ve finally hauled out the requisite pandemic puzzle. Its the puzzle that you do when your family doesn’t have anything left to talk about beyond what you are all having for dinner.

Its seems to be shedding season, or we are just petting the animals too much? Either way everything in the house is covered in multiple layers of fur. You open a door and the entire floor seems to move. I could vacuum everyday and still it would pile up. Just to be clear I do not vacuum everyday but I could… vacuuming is the worst.

Last Sunday Jason smoked a chicken and I spent the entire week making it in to different things – a pot pie, fajitas, salad… I hate this chicken so much. I thought that we would be prepared for the long term because we have a freezer full of chicken downstairs – I am currently regretting this idea.

Today Lucy asked me “how do you multiply fractions?” and “Mom, why are you drinking so much wine lately” I couldn’t answer either of those questions.

*Like thug life only more isolating

Sleeping With One Eye Open

I am alive! I am in the same clothes that I wore yesterday and maybe the day before that. I have only left my house to either walk the dog or to go to the grocery store. This past Monday the grocery store was much more crowded than I felt comfortable with and in full disclosure I may have gotten into a fight with a woman in the wine aisle – I was not my best self but in all fairness neither was she.

At home I have been changing the cat litter more often than normal and when not doing that I am emptying the dishwasher – feeding 3 people 3 meals a day creates a lot of dishes. Work, chores and obsessive news checking has taken up most of my energy – there are streaming work out videos and a large primed canvas downstairs mocking me right now.

Lucy is being pretty good about her school work but looks for any excuse to procrastinate – this morning she made me tell her everything that I know about typewriters, dental floss and what the center of the earth feels like. I am a sucker for this and end up turning in to Cliff Clavin at the breakfast table… I was 10 minutes in to an explanation of how and why the qwerty keyboard was invented when I realized I was playing right in to her hand – if I was a cartoon there would have been a giant lollipop over my head.

If anyone is excited about this lock-down it is our animals, the dog especially is loving the constant attention. The cat though… I’m fairly certain he is plotting to kill us in our sleep.

Day 4? Day 5? Day 15?

Moral in the house is waning, or at least it was until we realized that Netflix has released a new season of Boss Baby. Online school started today and Jason has one again retreated to the basement. Once we start math though, I’m going to lock Lucy down there with him.

My bangs continue to grow out in a weird and awkward way that doesn’t even submit to the hot air brush anymore. I might need to resort to wearing headbands soon.

Last night we taught Lucy how to play monopoly and she kicked our butts – I’m attributing it to the fact that she was the only one of us not pandemic drinking. I woke up to an empty bottle of lagavulin on the kitchen counter this morning and warned Jason that if things continue this way he may be forced to drink the blended scotch soon. It is dire times.

In the Bunker day 3

The only good thing that I can attribute to the corona virus so far is that it is giving me ample time to grow my bangs out without anyone seeing that weird awkward stage where you have to pin it back with a random bobby pin.

This morning I struggled out of bed at 5:30 and made way to the grocery store so I could avoid interacting with people and get there when they open. Also, with the recent closure of the state wine stores I was hoping to restock my quickly dwindling wine supply. But you know what I learned today? Apparently there is a PA law that says no wine sales before 8:00a.m.. 8:00! A.M.! PA residents take note!

Lucy technically had a day off of school today and even though I tried to make up work for her to do she saw right through it and by 10:07a.m. she was bored bored bored. And what I should have done is opened any of the 500 links people have posted online to “keep your kids from getting bored while stuck at home” – we should have mixed up some bath bombs or created giant bubble frame in the back yard but instead I let her watch the Simpson’s – like a dozen episodes of the Simpson’s and if that’s not educational I don’t know what is.

Jason hasn’t been spotted for two days, he went to get something out of the basement on Saturday…

Lock down

Yesterday my employer (in an abundance of caution) closed our office and all but essential employees are working remotely until the end of the month – I am far from “essential”. By sheer coincidence I have been working from home since Tuesday, that’s four days and I’m already sick of myself.

I don’t want to get in to the virus and debate over whether or not we are responding correctly, I want to talk about how I tried to buy tampons at target last night and how that aisle was virtually empty. I want to discuss whether the 11 bottles of wine I have is enough to get me through without murdering my family (whom I love very much and don’t really want to kill unless I HAVE to).

Very much like my “updates from the couchside” I’m going to be writing for the next two weeks about how life is “inside the bunker”. Today my husband is home, working in the office – I can hear him on a conference call and I already want to bash his face in for destroying my peace and quiet. Today is day one.