Coronavirus Diaries: Week Six

April 5

The sun is out, and the temperature is mild. Amelia playing in the yard drew our attention to its shagginess.

“We should probably mow,” Chris mumbles.

“I was just thinking that,” I answer.

Neither of us have ever been a fan of mowing, not until Amelia came along and mowing came to mean an hour of solitude, listening to music, outside of the house. Now it’s one of my favorite chores.

I march back and forth across the front yard, the sun warming my face, the breeze cooling my neck. Chris and Amelia play with slingshot arrow copters on the sidewalk and wave to me sporadically. The copter shoots high up into the air, disappearing for a second, and, twirling rapidly, floats across the street. They cross the yard to fetch it, hand-in-hand. I get a whiff of hot dogs blistering on a nearby grill.

This is the perfect spring scene. Things simply couldn’t be better.

Well, yes, they could.

It’s a contradiction to feel so content in an active pandemic.

This morning, I read that Michigan has become the state with the third-highest number of cases and deaths of Covid-19, only behind New York and New Jersey. According to NPR, America has the third-highest number of deaths, closely trailing Italy and Spain. Tens of thousands of people have died in this country from this virus. No place has yet reached their peak of cases, which means there are more deaths coming. I’ve read accounts from nurses and doctors about how scary, how sad their workplaces have become, how they’ve chosen to distance themselves from their own families in order to protect them.

Their lives are anything but content.

Same for those who have lost loved ones. Those who have lost jobs. Those who have lost their sense of stability.

I am so grateful to have so far been spared any of the realities associated with this virus. I don’t know how or why we’ve been so lucky.

I also feel guilty that we are allowed to have perfect spring days like this. It doesn’t seem fair.

April 6

To-do: (1) 3 hours of library at-home work, (2) blog drafting, (3) generate content for new memoir project.

7:15 am: Husband and I overslept. Amelia is already awake.

8am: Coffee, news, and catching up on social media while Amelia watches cartoons.

9am: Coloring at the kitchen table, only Amelia’s recently become allergic to coloring, so she insists I color for her while she tells me what colors go where.

9:30am: Outside time, where Amelia demands I blow bubbles, color for her some more on the sidewalk with chalk, guide and support her as she plays with her trike, her bike, and her scooter (spoiled girl).

10:30am: I let Amelia watch more cartoons while I log into my work email, catch up on Yammer and Teams, peruse the tasks list, read some recommended articles.

11:30am: Prepare and eat lunch. Amelia insists we eat on the deck, but we haven’t got out the table yet, so one hand on my plate, one hand on my fork. No free hand for me.

12:30pm: More cartoons for Amelia. I could use this time for more work or writing or exercising, but the grocery list on the dry erase board is getting too long. I better run to the store.

1:30pm: I’m back and groceries are put away. Okay, Amelia, that’s enough television. Back outside.

2:00pm: Amelia wants to play in the sandbox. I sit next to her on the deck and open a book, but she demands I come over and make molds of doughnuts in the sand. She ignores me, caught up in her own world, but if I venture to my chair, she beckons me back immediately for more doughnut molds.

3:00pm: A round of Candy Land, a round of Go Fish, a round of Sorry (which is not fun to play with a 3-year-old). She gets out Phase 10, and we separate the cards into piles by color. She grabs the stack of yellow cards and carries it around the house.

3:30pm: Husband is done with work. He leads Amelia outside to play again. I sit on the couch and catch up on work emails again. I watch a webinar about how libraries are handling the coronavirus.

5:00pm: Assemble and eat dinner.

6:00pm: I haven’t had any exercise today, so I go for a walk. I listen to Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran. On the trail is chalked encouraging phrases like “We can do hard things” and “Perseverance creates character.” I spot wild daffodils and two mallards–a female and a male–walking together in the grass. I relish this alone time.

7:00pm: Bedtime routine for Amelia.

7:30pm: Chris and I grab drinks and popcorn and sit down to watch a movie.

9:30pm: Chris and I read in bed until we turn out the lights.

Tomorrow will have the same to-do list, with only one of those items completed for the day.

How to be a writer during a pandemic? I haven’t figured it out yet.

April 8

Yesterday morning, I had my first work video conference since this started. I saw my coworker’s faces and a small swatch of their homes–some kitchens, some basements, some bedrooms. We mostly talked about how we were holding up sequestered in our homes with our loved ones and hypothesized about how long it would be before it was safe to open the library again to the public (the answer: really long). It was nice to see and talk to people outside of my extended family.

I’ve been telling myself I haven’t really missed socializing. I like to keep to myself for the most part. I don’t have a lot of friends. My one best friend lives with me (i.e. husband) and my other best friend lives in New Mexico, so I’m used to talking to her virtually anyhow. I like my coworkers as my friends. I still have a couple of college friends in the area. I have a small circle of writer friends.

Before social distancing became a necessity, if I scheduled “friend time” with one of those groups, I was almost always dreading the commitment. I’d rather be using that time to be by myself. The only company I usually ever crave is my own.

This evening, I had my first Zoom call with my writer pals. As the call time approached, I did feel a little bit of dread, a tiny inclination to flake. But when I saw their faces and heard their voices and we talked writing and family and hardships, it felt good. I had missed my friends, even if i hadn’t realized it. I had missed socializing, even if I hadn’t realized it.