Christmas in...March?
50 Hikes Project: Thoughts on an Album

COVID-19 Experiences So Far

I have often wondered, when I read historical fiction set during periods when my grandmothers were alive, what they thought about them. My grandmothers were born in 1910 and 1911, so they were young children during World War I and probably only had vague, if any, knowledge of it. But they were in their twenties during the Great Depression and in their thirties—having their families—during World War II. Why didn’t either of my grandfathers, who would’ve been right in the middle of the draft age, get drafted? Did they grow victory gardens? How were their lives impacted by rationing? What did they think of having babies during the middle of a world war? How did they help with the war efforts? Did they have any friends who went to war? Did they pay close attention to the war or was it just background noise to their regular lives?

It has always bothered me that none of my ancestors wrote down much of their history. That bothered feeling is one of the impetuses behind keeping a blog. During the 14+ years of The English Geek, I’ve written about my response to many social issues. Maybe no one in the future will care, but it makes me feel a sense of…fulfilling a responsibility, I guess. Clearly, the COVID-19 pandemic is a huge social issue right now, so I wanted to write down how it has impacted our life so far.

Kendell was already working from home, so for him this hasn’t been a huge change, at least as far as work goes. He works in the two-window bedroom, which has been the computer room for a long time. The PC is in there so that is the computer he uses, along with his work laptop. He had three heart doctor appointments in March and they were all cancelled until it is safer for heart patients to gather in groups again. His heart doesn’t make him more susceptible to catching it, but if he did get it he would have a harder time recovering.

I am mostly working from home. For the past two weeks I’ve gone into the library once and then spent the rest of my work hours at home. People get puzzled at the thought of librarians working from home, but unless you work at a library you probably have no idea how many projects we work on. Yes, helping patrons is a big part of our job, but we still have a lot of non-patron work that keeps the library going. I am working on rewriting all of the discussion guides that go with our book group sets. We have more than 175 sets so there is plenty to be done. I have my laptop set up on the desk in my scrappy space (the old desk I inherited from my grandpa Fuzz), which is in the one-window bedroom. I like the other room better because it has so much more light, but my tables and supplies work better there. In my non-work time, I’ve been scrapbooking again, but I think next week I am going to work on a table runner and some masks to donate to hospitals. I have been blogging less because I usually write my posts in the morning and that’s when I’ve been working.

Haley’s job is considered essential, so she is still going to work. She said that her hospital has cancelled all non-emergency surgeries and is working on getting everything stocked and ready for a large influx of patients. Austin is recovering from pneumonia so he is staying in their apartment. Three cats, one bedroom…hope it is going OK! We are keeping in touch with texting. I am trying not to worry about her being in a hospital during a pandemic. (But I worry anyway. Even though worrying won’t change it.)

Jake is still living at home and we have been so grateful he is here. He works for a call center that manages rentals and is able to work from home. For him (as for me), working from home is a mixed bag. The reality of never leaving “work,” because work and home are at the same place, can be draining and emotionally problematic for both of us. He is spending time at his friend Geoff’s house to get away. Mostly, though, we’re glad he’s here because he doesn’t have to deal with the stress of paying rent or finding groceries. I’m glad we can take care of him.

Nathan is still in Monterey doing his guard training. I think this has been the hardest for him (or maybe Kaleb). His classes are done online now, which isn’t an ideal way for him to learn, and the base is on lock down. (Meaning he can’t leave at all.) We are helping by sending care packages. Haley sent him a hammock and he’s found a little spot in some trees where he can hammock and read. I sent him cookies, art supplies, and books. We talk on the phone, text, and sometimes I even remember to check my Snapchat!

Kaleb…whoosh. I don’t have any little kids so I can’t say for sure, but I feel like this is hardest on teenagers. He out of all of my kids is most involved with his friends. He LOVES spending time with his friends, especially playing basketball. So, now that school isn’t meeting and he is doing his assignments online, and he can’t hang out with friends except for online gaming (they are all playing Fortnight together a lot), he’s kind of sad and frustrated. I haven’t done a great job at getting him on a healthy schedule and I’m going to work on that this week, but the has been good at staying on top of his schoolwork. He and Jake both use the computers downstairs, and I am really glad we have enough technology for everyone.

For the most part, we’ve been able to find the food and supplies we need. I had already stocked up on toilet paper, which is one of the things that people are panic buying. I’m low on paper towels but we really don’t use those very often (a habit from my childhood…my mom wasn’t a big paper towel user!) so we’ll be OK. We got lucky one Sunday at Costco and found both rice and flour, and another day I got a bag of sugar. Rice was worrying Kendell, so I’m glad we found some just so he won’t worry about it. Sometimes we’ve gone to Costco and they’ve been out of milk, eggs, butter, and bread, but we’ve still found them on different days. Baking supplies are especially hard to find, and it took me two weeks to find brown sugar, but, again…with patience you eventually get what you need.

My friend Wendy had to self-quarantine so I’ve been bringing her groceries when I go out. We also have been helping Cindy out with getting groceries. We bought a just-in-case bag of basmati rice, before we lucked into getting the kind we like better (Calrose sticky rice), so we gave that bag to Jeff. Whenever I go to a store, I check for baby formula because that is really short right now, too. I think that helping others has been one of the positives of this experience.

My biggest struggle has been stress eating. I just can’t seem to stop snacking. Like Kaleb’s schedule, that is one of my goals this week for things to improve. I need to end it now, at the start, before it gets to be a real problem.

What about you? How are you recording your experiences with the pandemic? The details I wrote today are the broad strokes---there are so many other small stories I could also tell, so maybe I will write about it more often here. I also want to think about ways I could photograph this experience. More next week?!

Comments

CarrieH

I agree, I think it is important to write about this time. Part of me would like to ignore it, to just let it pass without too much comment, but I also think that someday when we look back on this we will wonder what we were thinking, how we filled our days and how this experience changed us. Love to read your thoughts, thanks.

chiswickmum

yes, please, more next week. I am trying to think of things that are different and note them down. Having you do that too as a much more observant person would be a great help. I live in the UK, so our experiences will be slightly different but still relevant and interesting.

The comments to this entry are closed.