Tag Archives: covid

Thirteen days

And he’s negative! Only the test could tell because he’s actually more stuffed up now than when he was sick with Covid. Seasonal allergies have hit.

This “Covid suite” aka “wreck-of-a-bedroom” will get turned back into a peaceful place today. No screens. Will run fans and air purifiers all day.

The TV was one we got for my sister. K assembled that rocker from a Shaker kit (wove the seat and back and stained and waxed the wood). That was before we got married and it’s nice to remember. Usually the rocker is hidden away for lack of a good place and if that’s a metaphor for our marriage, I don’t want to think about it.

In other news, we hired a crew to paint the house. If you knew what a DIY-household this is, your jaw would hit the floor.

We get to luxuriate in having things done for us — long overdo maintenance, at that — and to enjoy a task that gets started and finished in the same week (never mind the same season or decade). It’s also a chance to notice, not for the first time, that abrasive noise is like clutter — it bothers you less when it’s yours.

I’ll work here this morning.

A movie recommendation to end. I love stories about second chances and “I Used to Be Famous” fits the bill. Very sweet.

Kushner snuck in. Do you see his malevolent B&W eye near the left margin?

Barcelona and Covid

I borrowed a friend’s super duper HEPA filter. I have three fans in position, ready to circulate the air. My husband’ll take our bedroom and bath and I’ll take one of the boys’ bedrooms and their bath. We’ll wear masks.

Because? You guessed it. He caught COVID. K spent the week in Barcelona duking it out with Tylenol and room service. He didn’t make his presentation. “It’s like a bad cold,” he said, as many do. He stayed longer than his coworkers but is traveling home now after a positive test.

I know. I know.

I stopped to buy ham so I can make one of his favorite meals this weekend: ham, au gratin potatoes, and something green. I also bought a generous pack of chicken wings to add to the chicken carcass that’s in the fridge. This batch of chicken soup has to be good, silky-good. His senses of taste and smell do not seem to have been affected.

Today is cool. A beautiful first day of fall. Finn sniffed things on our walk this morning per usual and tried to roll in some very stinky soil amendment near The Terraces which was not usual.

I listened to This American Life — about a couple that travels to Switzerland for an assisted suicide. The husband had Alzheimer’s.

Did I already post this? (speaking of dementia!)

No one understood why I didn’t want to go to Spain with K. I kept saying, “It’s because I don’t want to get Covid.”

When K gave me the news earlier this week, I laughed and said, “You didn’t have to get sick to prove me right!” (Not immediately, of course. That wasn’t the first thing I said …)

I’ll be back to answer comments from last post. I seem to be missing some of my usual mojo lately.

PCC image this week: B&W photos of men

How none of it seems to end

The list of things imposing misery right now is quite long. Ukraine is never far from mind. For many of my friends, Russia’s atrocities are personal.

Things I’ve heard in the last month from people I am close to:

My mother grew up in Belarus.

My grandparents are Russian Jews, but from areas now Ukraine.

I just found out that I have a relative from Poland who died in the Holocaust. I was named after her.

I’m have very little family history, which is traumatizing too.

My grandfather grew up in Odessa.

I didn’t realize that H’s mother was Ukrainian.

Meanwhile, it’s Monday and K has gone into the office. He will travel into Boston every day this week. It strikes me as a signature Covid experience how the familiar becomes strange and the strange becomes familiar. Example: in spite of this being my husband’s commuting routine for decades before the pandemic, it now feels a little weird, a little dangerous, a little not-normal.

Also today: I get to make a friend lunch and we won’t have to be quiet because K is on the phone at his workstation (aka the kitchen table).

And, I get my second booster this afternoon.

Age, portraits, and Covid

AGE

It’s official: I am a GOMER. Look at me with over-the-glasses sunglasses and Medicare card!

(GOMER is an acronym that stands for Get Out of My Emergency Room. Emergency room physicians well know that patients of a certain age can come into the ER with a minor complaint, only to have testing reveal major health issues. Hence, the quaint moniker.)

I start dinner prep at around 4:15. I groan getting up off the couch. I often can’t remember why I went down to the basement: to fetch something from the downstairs fridge, from the dryer, from the pile of used Amazon envelopes?

PORTRAITS AND COVID

Two nights ago my phone spit up a series of photos from early 2020. What a stunning reminder of how shocked and frightened we all were at the beginning of the pandemic. I’ll share a few. You’ll see the results of my mask-making and you’ll see expressions both haunted and grim.

April 2020

Because COVID has wrecked our sense of continuity, this review of images helps to ground me. So does the following narrative.

Two years ago, my husband had just returned from China. Mid-February we both came down with what we thought was the flu, or was it Covid? We couldn’t get tested because they said it was too long since exposure, it being a month after he returned. This, even though peers in his office had returned more recently. A dozen engineers were sick as I tried unsuccessfully to round up a test.

I might’ve sprung the $200 for an antigen test but they were too unreliable to make it seem worthwhile. I rinsed groceries with a dilute bleach solution and left mail in the garage for four days before bringing it in the house. The postman to whom we open the door because he’s a nice guy and he loves Finn and Finn loves him became a threat I silently referred to as my “sole vector of disease.” He reported that he’d never smelled so much Lysol in his entire life. I watched the red dots on the Johns Hopkins COVID chart guessing correctly that we were right behind Italy. We cancelled first a trip to Florence and then the compensatory trip to Quebec.

I’m curious what others remember in those early weeks. How long ago does it seem? How strange, still?

We approach 1,000,000 now
Hand sanitizer shelf

Handling disappointment

My adoration for the quilts of Bisa Butler and the pandemic began at roughly the same time. If you haven’t discovered her yet, you must, because she is a once-in-a-generation quilter.

Butler’s work is absolutely stunning, in construction, scale, color, and subject matter.

Her quilts document Black life with exuberant patterning and such an incredible ability to render faces and clothing without resorting to paint that she continually reminds viewers that they are 100% cloth. You squint agog wondering, How on earth does she do it?

She’s like Kehinde Wiley on acid.

Not that long ago, I vowed to myself, “When this is all over, I’m gonna see her quilts even if I have to travel to Chicago or Memphis to do so.”

So it might surprise you to learn that I just ordered a book showcasing her portraits rather than truck a few miles down Route 9 to see one of her pieces. A neighbor even lent me her MFA member card so that I could be admitted at no cost.

And still I’m not going.

Is it yesterday’s colonoscopy stopping me? Maybe. At the endoscopy center, there were half a dozen nurses, several doctors, an anesthesiology assistant or two, secretaries, and other patients. They managed risk expertly — everyone wore masks, curtains divided the gurneys, a careful protocol determined who came into the building and when. Still that feels like enough potential exposure for one week.

(P.S. Everything’s fine).

More delays in the editing process mean that I will finally spend two solid weeks polishing a query letter (not like creative writing at all!) and building a functional list of agents. I should have done this a year ago! I signed up for QueryTracker and will look into Submittable and Duotrope, two other literary submission programs. I’m going to be ready to aim and fire the second I get the last batch of edits.

Otherwise, I’ll just kill myself. I can’t keep doing this.

(I’m JOKING).

The situation reminds me of something I read in some book or other on happiness. It has really stayed with me, unlike the author and title of the book. It said something along the lines of this: except for the loss of a partner or a child, almost no disappointments result in significant changes in happiness five years out.

So in other words, if this book never sees the light of day, five years from now I’ll be dead — oops — I mean, my happiness quotient will be roughly the same as it is today.

This reminder is oddly comforting and in no way promotes defeatism.

All of this today makes me feel the fragility of life. It’s so important to breathe, and to be kind to one another, and to make haste slowly.