Life is just plain weird these days. All of our usual routines have disappeared, short of doing laundry, making meals and watching television. Even our dachshund Toby seems to sense there is something different. We are giving our daughter Hannah and her husband a three-hour break from kids each day (don't worry, they were quarantined for about ten days beforehand) so they can work from home. Noah, Lena and I play board games, do puzzles, watch movies like Mary Poppins Returns and fix lunch. Last week, Lena and I baked chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and banana bread. You can tell they are feeling adrift. Noah very much misses his kindergarten teacher and feels sad. Lena, who kept up a full schedule of schoolwork, violin lessons and after-school sports, is doing on-line lessons and reading at home, but she misses her friends and the stimulation of the classroom.
Since Alison is a store support team trainer at Whole Foods, she's with lots of people. Each day, she puts the clothing she's worn in the wash and takes a shower first thing when she gets home. On the chance that she has inadvertently exposed Booker, we can't be with him. The other night, they pulled in the driveway and we talked from a distance, which actually served to make him feel sad. He plays Fortnight with his friends, walks his dog and hangs out with his stepdad Matt, but is bored and frustrated.
I decided to cancel our every-three-week cleaning lady, Veronica, because we don't know what she may have been exposed to in other homes she cleans. However, I paid her because I know she depends on the income. This means we need to dust, vacuum and clean the bathrooms ourselves. Andy and I decided to order take-out from local restaurants at least once a week to help them stay in business. It gives us a break from cooking and we've been able to enjoy Mexican, barbecue and Greek food from our usual haunts, but without the social stimulus of being in the restaurant with others.
COVID-19 has reached Rowlett, with about 10 cases so far, although there are more in surrounding areas. I expect that number to increase. Pretty much everything is shut down here. I miss being able to go to the library, buy groceries, get a haircut or manicure, go to routine doctor's appointments and do errands. Even though we're taking every precaution and staying home, I have a certain amount of anxiety that makes it hard to settle down at night. I worry about my youngest brother Dave, who is an emergency physician in Ohio.
I suppose the most difficult aspect of this situation is that no one knows when it will end. Life will be altered in ways we can't even predict when this nightmare is over. Stay well, my friends, and stay home.
I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.