Coronavirus Diaries: Week Eleven

May 9

Chris called Costco earlier in the week to ask when they would be getting more play sets, because play sets are like gold bars now. There’s only so many, and it’s hard to get your hands on one. The person said to check back on Monday, but Chris didn’t trust them for some reason, so this morning, he went to Costco at open, saw another dad with a play set on his cart, asked where he got it, and managed to claim one of the five play sets they had in stock. He had to rent a UHaul to bring to home.

This thing is four big heavy boxes and a double slide just wrapped in plastic. Once built, it will be three stories tall and have three swings and three slides. It’s ridiculous: a child’s dream come true.

We opened up the boxes to get a feel for how difficult it will be to assemble, and I immediately felt overwhelmed. It looks like so much work. The box says it takes between 8 and 20 hours for an average Joe to assemble.

As I look at all the parts sprawled in the side yard, I can’t help but wonder if this is really necessary. We have two decent sized city playgrounds within walking distance from our house. But it might take all summer for those the be safe to play at again.

Still, it seems a little wasteful to build this huge wonderland for our single daughter. After this is all over, she’s seriously gonna need to make some friends to share it with.

May 10

Ever since I moved away for college, I’ve been telling myself how unimportant holidays are. Not the celebrations themselves, but the days they fall on. Because it isn’t always easy to schedule birthday dinners when I live three hours away from the birthday boy or girl, and it isn’t possible to celebrate traditional Christmas Eve simultaneously with two families on opposite sides of the state, and because my mom’s birthday is just before Christmas and my mother-in-law’s birthday is sometimes on Mother’s day, and then Chris is a father now, so we want to do what he wants on Father’s day instead of what his father wants or my father wants. Holidays don’t have to be only one specific day. When they are, we can’t do everything, and we can’t please everyone.

So for a long time now, I haven’t worried too much about what day we do what. It doesn’t matter to me if we do a birthday the weekend before or after, or if we smush two birthday celebrations together. It doesn’t matter if we do Thanksgiving on the following Friday or Saturday or Sunday, so long as there’s turkey and pie whenever we do it.

And as for Mother’s Day, well, I learned my first year as a mother that Mother’s Day is never going to be as relaxing or luxurious as commercials make it out to be, so even though Chris kept calling it my “special day,” it was like, whatever, it’s just Sunday. Give me some pancakes and a little alone time and a lot of hugs and a card and then a nice dinner and some good booze, and I’m set.

So Mother’s Day in the time of Covid really wasn’t all that different for me. Amelia did let me sleep until almost 8am, and I got to go for a bike ride and read a little without disruption. Amelia had one meltdown, and the place we got take out from forgot to throw in my key lime pie, so it was pretty good, but it wasn’t perfect, but what Mother’s Day is?

May 11

I still have routine oncologist checkups after my brush with ovarian cancer three years ago, but my April appointment was pushed back to May, and I expected them to push it back again, but they didn’t. They just said not to bring guests and to wear a face covering.

The future of face coverings has been on my mind a lot, mostly because our planned trip to Disney in September still seems to be a go, with the caveat that we’ll likely have to wear masks in the parks. In Florida. In the heat. And I hate that idea. I get hot wearing my mask for 20 minutes while I grocery shop. I don’t know how people with glasses are making it work with the constant fogging.

Besides being uncomfortable, there’s just a general weird feeling about wearing masks. Even though it’s not the least bit dramatic–it’s actually a very simple solution to staying healthy–my mind can’t help interpret it as dramatic, as though the air isn’t safe enough to breathe (and in some ways, I suppose, it’s not). And if the air isn’t safe enough to breathe, then we must be living in some post-apocalyptic, frightening, hopeless world.

When I went to my oncology appointment, though, that wasn’t the case at all. I was greeted at the door by a woman with a thermometer, and she seemed almost apologetic that she had to inconvenience me with taking my temperature. The receptionist was all business as usual, even though she, too, sported a face covering and I found myself standing further back from the counter than I normally would. My nurse was joking about her computer freezing. My oncologist and I were swapping stories about how hard it is to eat healthy during Covid. It was all so normal, I forgot I was wearing a mask, and I never actually felt hot.

I expected human conversation with face masks on to be short, abrupt, to the point. I definitely didn’t expect kindness or joke-telling or general everyday banter. Granted, this was a doctor’s office, and they thrive on good customer service, but it didn’t feel like they were going out of their way to be nice. It felt like they were just being their nice normal selves.

I guess just because the mouth is covered doesn’t mean the world is ending.

May 12


K: If you could have anything in the world for lunch today, what would you have?

J: Haha. Uh…not sure. What are you gonna have?

K: Probably avocado toast. Okay, time to walk the dogs. Conclude random awkward Tuesday texts! (Swirls cape mysteriously over face, leaps from building like Batman or something)

J: GIF of Blake Shelton saying “WHAT JUST HAPPENED?”


K: Jenny. Jenny. Are you ready? Get ready.

J: Haha What????????

K: Your sandwich is out for delivery.

J: Aw you are so sweet! I can’t wait for my surprise!

K: Oh, man, this is exciting. I can watch William driving in real time. He’s heading south! Go, William, Go!

J: GIF of a woman shouting excitedly

K: He’s hesitating at 44th St. TURN LEFT WILLIAM! GO EAST!

K: Ope, he did. Now south on Eastern.

J: GIF of Ross Geller slow-clapping

K: He’s approaching 52nd! JENNY. GET READY.


J: Um, I think he gave me the wrong order.

K: ?

J: Image of food. Look at all this food! Not just a sandwich!

K: Oh, that’s correct!


K: GIF of Brittany from Glee snapping her fingers with the caption DEAL WITH IT.

J: I love you. You’re the best.

The rather funny thing is I was just thinking about how people are doing parades for people’s birthdays or graduations or dropping surprises on porches for neighbors and how I didn’t think that was something that would happen to us or we’d participate in. We really don’t have many close connections here. I’ve always been a bit introverted, kind of a loner, and I don’t mind not having a community, at least until I find myself in a community and realize how nice it can be. So most of the time I’m not sad about not having many people to connect to. But sometimes I get a little sad about it.

And then my best friend goes and orders me a surprise lunch with enough food to feed my whole family for three meals. Not only that, but my daughter keeps getting packages in the mail from her grandparents, and my neighbor actually has dropped off a plate of cookies on our porch once. So maybe I do have more community than I thought I did.

May 14

Things I haven’t done since Covid (besides the obvious) that I normally do:

I have not watched the news

I have not moved my purse from its hanger

I have not plucked my eyebrows (looking pretty scary about now)

I have not gotten coffee from anywhere but my kitchen

I have not put gas in either of my cars

I have not touched my makeup or jewelry

Thing I have done since Covid that I normally don’t do:

I have been painting my nails, and in weird colors, too: yellow, then orange, and now rainbow colors. It strangely makes me happy for some unknown reason. I wonder if I’ll keep doing it post-pandemic.