Coronavirus Diaries: Week Nine

April 26

The weather was beautiful today: warm sun shining but refreshing breeze blowing. A great day for flying a kite, which Amelia wanted to do all day long. In the evening, while potatoes were roasting in the oven for dinner, I sat on the front porch, propped myself up on the brick facade, and read a book while Chris and Amelia fought with the kite across the street in the open field.

I had gone to the store that day, and for the first time, it didn’t look like the world was ending. Most things were decently stocked. Still, as the weather starts to turn, I’m anxious to secure vegetable plants for our summer garden. I have a feeling that everyone will have the same idea I do, and I don’t want to miss out. But this is Michigan and planting before Memorial Day is an ensured death wish for gardens, so I’m trying to be patient.

April 28

Even though the governor extended the stay-at-home until May 18, there was still a lot of talk on our weekly work Zoom meeting about what we’ll have to do to stay safe when we inevitably have to return to work: gloves and masks and the buddy system for curbside pickup and disabling every other computer so people stay the proper distance from each other and sneeze guards on the info desk and wiping every surface we touch before and after we touch it. So much disinfecting and hand washing. Storing returned books for 72 hours before we even think of touching them.

I know we provide a service and that service is severely missed. I know–I miss it probably more than anybody. But the procedures for going back sound insane. And it sounds like they might drive us all insane in the process.

April 29

I was on Teams call today with a bunch of other librarians; it was training for readers’ advisory, which is a fancy way to say we help you find a book to read that you’ll like. I didn’t have to talk. I didn’t have my microphone or my video on. But Chris was taking a phone call in the office and Amelia was watching a show in the living room, and I couldn’t really hear my own computer. So I plugged my earbuds into my head so I could focus.

Ten minutes in, Amelia shouts to me, and I have to take out my earbuds and get out of my seat and go into the living room, where she tells me she wants more pretzels. I rush to fill her snack cup and then get back to my seat in front of my laptop at the dining room table.

Five minutes later, I hear Amelia’s little voice shouting to me again through my headphones. She’s decided she doesn’t like the episode that’s playing and wants me to change it. But she doesn’t know WHICH episode she wants, so I have to list them all for her. She chooses one, and I go to start it, and then she says, “don’t want that one.” MAKE UP YOUR MIND, CHILD. I’VE GOT THINGS TO DO.

I’m impatient. I’m annoyed. I’m flustered. I may be missing out on important information because Amelia needs something unimportant.

It reminds me when I was trying to teach online when Amelia was a baby, how frustrating it was to try to work when Amelia constantly needed things from me. If I hadn’t been in a training, I wouldn’t have been the least bit bothered by refilling her snack or helping her choose a new show. But because I was trying to work when she demanded attention and care, I was suddenly so inconvenienced.

And then I feel like a bad mom AND a bad employee all at once.

April 30

I’m almost done reading The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See, and it’s a fabulous book, but it was hard to read at times because it was so violent and sad. It documents the hardships on and occupations of a Korean island called Jeju. The people there see many tragedies and lose many loved ones, and it’s actually helped me feel a tiny bit better about the coronavirus. At least our killing is coming from something we can’t control, something that is just doing what it exists to do instead of people turning on people, instead of people killing each other. At least a virus can’t torture or rape or mutilate.

But then a group of armed civilians rushed the state capital today, and maybe the virus isn’t the only thing we have to fear right now.

May 1

Wow, I can’t believe we’ve spent the entirety of a month sheltering in place. I can’t believe the whole month of April was confined to our home. It’s looking like May might be the same.

But today the weather is beautiful and warm and I feel calm and hopeful that we will make it through this just fine.