3/31/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

My parents came by yesterday. I don’t talk about them much because they have the right to decide whether they want their information online.

Still, over they came. They walked forward and deposited my and my son’s birthday presents on our porch. They stepped back. I unwrapped them: a framed pencil illustration my mother drew of our son, and a beautiful Schwibbögen. My children crowded around me in the doorway and excitedly waved and yelled about schoolwork and the new computer game we’ve been playing as a family, Stardew Valley.

My parents put up a good face. I held my new baby in the doorway as they drove away, waving his little hand for them. I doubt they saw; they probably barely saw well enough to drive if they were crying as much as I was.

I think IT -as Mike calls the Coronavirus crisis- has finally hit most of us. One of my sons came in last night around 9. He sat on our bed. “I’m scared,” he said.

“Oh? Did you have a bad dream? What are you scared about?”

“I don’t know. Just scared.”

Trying to uncover the fear did nothing, so I quickly switched tactics to enumerating everything safe about his situation. We have family, a safe area, a warm house, brothers to take care of him. He calmed enough to sleep in his own bed.

As I was drifting off to sleep later*, I heard and felt the slight change in air pressure that meant our bedroom door had opened. One of my older sons stood in the doorway.

“Son? What’s wrong?”

Bearing his about-to-cry face, he came to my bedside. “I’m scared.”

I hugged him and held him. “It’s okay, Son. It’s okay.”

“Thank you, Mom.”

We walked back to his bed together. I gave him a Melatonin and tucked him in.

…Which might explain why several of us slept in this morning. I awoke to feed Baby at 8ish; finished and got ‘ready’ to pick up a prescription by 10 a.m. Everyone but we parents and my early-riser was still asleep. Costco’s automated phone message played its usual bit, then had a slightly louder recording tell how they have new hours for the warehouse, including a special time for seniors to shop. People picking up prescriptions do not have to wait in line at the door -just tell the guards associates at the exit doors that you’re picking up a prescription and they’ll let you in.

I haven’t written about Costco yet. Usually, it’s my home away from home. I like to go there when we travel, and Utah boasts the world’s largest Costco. Friends have even teased that I ought to travel to all of them and chronicle my adventures.

When I went there to stockpile toilet paper and water three weeks ago (okay -kidding), people were a tad tense. A few, like me, knew what was coming and were purchasing a few extras. A week later, the store had imposed limits on supplies. A few days after that, signs dotted the columns and tape lines dotted the cash registers and waiting areas so that we might stay 6 feet away from each other. Lines formed to get in, separated by cones and pallets; lines formed to check out, enforced by Costco employees.

Today, plexiglass barriers are screwed to the front of all the cash registers. Some workers wear face masks. The receipt-checkers at the exits have clipboards and gloves. No one touches your membership card. Everyone furiously wipes down counters and computer equipment. They spray shopping carts (trolleys) with a pink solution out in the parking lot.

I saw a pregnant woman of Indian features and dress wearing gloves and a dentist-style face mask. They’re probably not doing much for her, but I’d be doing the same in her shoes.

Next on my errands was the post office. They had tape on the floor as well, plus a sign outside about keeping 10 or fewer people in the waiting area. The woman at the desk wore a face mask and she also sat behind newly-installed plexiglass.

Perhaps we ought to start living in personal plexiglass houses.

The oddest part of my experiences is something Pete pointed out in his comments on my last update: people are avoiding any interaction. Told to be wary and stay six feet away, we are also avoiding nonverbal cues that indicate safety. We are not smiling, laughing, reassuring, or talking. I guess we need to learn to be friends …from a distance.

Which is why I find comfort in the snippets of sunshine. A woman asked another woman at Costco where she’d gotten her package of Charmin toilet paper** from; I heard them laughing at whatever the response was, and I smiled at their smiles. The secretary for my sons’ school asked how we were all doing when I called about a registration issue. My friend and I talked on the phone.

I felt like giving up that day we had the earthquake. I’ve mostly stopped obsessively checking the United States Geological Society’s latest earthquakes page since, and was handling each day too busy to dwell on the larger implications of what we were doing. Today, however, I’ve returned to some of that anxiety. The novelty’s worn off, I suppose. We’ve purchased all the extra food we can eat. We’ve got a rough schedule for schoolwork at home. We’ve even finally started a nap routine for the baby. Now, though, comes the most difficult part: facing the long dark of Moria.

But wishing IT away hasn’t worked for most of us. Assuming IT wouldn’t come didn’t work very well, either. My son’s speech and behavior aide last year told me they were working on his Sphere of Influence; what he could control. Me, I can’t control IT. I can’t control the world’s response. What I can control is me. I can still control much of what my family does and is exposed to as well.

So, you may find me writing from within a circle of salt. Still, at least I’m still alive. And writing.

©2020 Chelsea Owens, including photos of the Schwibbögen and Costco
GIFS © GIPHY

*Okay, I was really playing Candy Crush. They’re offering infinite lives all week, which is brilliant for keeping people in.
**Charmin Ultra Soft toilet tissue is worth more than gold right now…

47 thoughts on “3/31/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

  1. Sorry Chelsea. For all the distance, especially with your new baby. These days are so strange. We have enough, we are living, shut in with family. It could be a lot worse… still I can barely get myself to comment on WordPress these days. My family is fine, but the world I see is not the world I knew. And I just want to curl up and cry.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Nicely written, Chelsea. I am in the same boat but my parents are here with me. A doubled edged sword. Its nice to have them and the company but I have to deal with their high levels of anxiety and paranoia as well as my hubby’s and my boys. Stay safe and look after those boys of yours.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Let’s turn it on its head, this is only scary because it is the first time. One day soon there will be a vaccine and this will be a blip, we will have memories of that time we taught eachother, that family and kindnes are so much more. Maybe our values will be different, our needs will not be the same. Making memories, the tiny moments will become engrained in our daily lives. If the Virus had been identified sooner the science had been sorted we would not have grounded ourselves in empathy, connection, or trust. Many children will have a better sence of where safety is (within the family) following guidelines/rules is not stiffleing their personality or independence , but protecting them. We get time, time to enlighten, to stop and value what we have … time (if we use it the best way) to read together share a simple meal and value the time we have been given. I have been fearful and am for those who will or have run out of funds for basic things, jobs that are lost, and lives. But as you say we can only change what we do and how it effects others. I was so proud that your shared love; through the door way, worked. It is bloody hard but very special and your family will remember and be pleased for those moments. Xx they may have had a sad edge but you or they will have that to hold onto. Good job! *high five*

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great read. IT does, at least have some benefits. Slowing down our lives, seeing the actual world beneath the one that we are accustomed to seeing. And people are now showing signs of fear when in small spaces with others. I have seen two older men in supermarkets turn away as if shunning my approach and appearing to want to walk through the wardrobe of the shelves stacked with goods. IT plays games as well. Stay safe.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Apart from son I have not had eye contact with another human probably in over 2 weeks. Being careful will allow us to avoid shopping for another couple of weeks (maybe longer). But I’m dreading the thought of venturing out again. I like your idea of staying inside the salt. I might opt for the silver paper over the head. It must be so so tough for you with your baby. My heart goes out to you. But the vast majority of us will get through this. Then we can venture out into the new world. A world hopefully which has learnt it’s lessons and we smile more often at our fellow citizens. xx

    Like

    • Gary! I had to rescue three of your comments from SPAM -or maybe four. WP is at it again, I suppose.

      Yes, I’m worried with the baby. My parents and parents-in-law are in the older category that’s higher risk, so we’ve not interacted with them, either. It’s been tough.

      Like

  6. We are cocooning big time. I have ventured out once to the ATM. With the library closed and my pantry sufficiently stocked going out has little meaning.
    I lift up families in prayer with children—it is scary.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We are on spring break this week, but I do have lesson plans ready to go once we “return” to school. I keep mine as simple as possible since families are under so much stress and the Internet is wobbly for many of my students. What are you doing for school for your kinder?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ayaa…I’m sorry that you couldn’t even hug your parents and that your kids are so scared. But you’re being there for them and handling the anxiety was perfect. So many people try to “brute” force the fear away rather than just gently re-frame how it could be looked at.

    I hope Utah doesn’t have another earthquake (we’ll see about Cali just taking them for you).

    Also…Stardew Valley is amazing and one of my favorite games. Always awesome to see others playing it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tough times. If my parents weren’t older and I didn’t keep getting stress colds, I’d probably not be so paranoid.

      Looks like Idaho is taking our quakes lately…

      😀 My son used a cheat/hack tonight to get an iridium sprinkler. He got two more expensive items before he finally obeyed my instruction to stop cheating!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m not sure why my spam filter sent all my fellow WordPress folks to purgatory but I have you back now so life is good. I hope all is well with you and yours. I’m considered an essential business (growing food is kind of essential…) so I’m able to get out everyday but still have little face-to-face with my friends and family. I haven’t had to deal with grocery stores or Costco, but Home Depot has started limiting the number of people in the store at one time and everyone has to go through the contractor’s door. Oh well…

    I have discovered that having allergies allows me to get through lines quickly (or get kicked out of them) as I cough and sneeze a lot this time of year…

    Liked by 1 person

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