Rhymes with Systemic

~40 years from now~

“Grandma, what did you do during the pandemic of 2020?”

“Well sweetheart, mostly I let laundry pile up and surfed the internet in pajamas until 2pm, but I did put in a row of okra that one time.”

Truly the next Greatest Generation.

History feels weird when you’re living it. The days are filled with just going about our normal business and wondering how in hell any of this is memorable… and yet.

  • The great TP shortage.
  • The real fear, with deaths mounting.
  • The worry about contagion and how to keep ourselves and our family safe.
  • The constant wonder if you shouldn’t have grabbed another 6-pack 12-pack of beer to last through the 2 weeks you think you planned correctly for on the last trip to the grocery store.
  • And yet there are still no eggs.
  • There is no school. This has yet to sink in.
  • I continue to work. For now.

Is this going about our life in self quarantine some kind of denial, or is it just that humans are incredibly capable of adapting to the conditions they’re put in? Is it like a gas conforming and filling whatever vessel it’s put in? Is it? Sounds like some kind of meditation mantra: “Be a gas and conform to the shape you inhabit. Fill it. Feel it. and breathe out.”

In the midst of all that I have bursts of survivalist/ Victory Garden/ Great Depression style prepping where I buy acorn squash, okra, and green bean seeds. I buy, on a last trip to the store and now that it’s restocked with meat, plenty of chicken and stew meat and a roast and vacuum seal all of them in meal sized portions for the freezer. I wonder if I’m going to have to supply the older neighbors with food in the coming weeks… and then we go on a family walk and those same older neighbors are having a block party on their front porch and not social distancing. God dang it, neighbors take this crap seriously! No acorn squash for you!

And then I haven’t like, ACTUALLY planted most of these seeds yet.

We hold the 11 year old’s birthday during the pandemic- and let me tell you have I never been more thankful to have ordered presents early for once. My husband ordered her a guitar, and since she is my fellow space lover, I ordered her an authenticated meteorite that fell in Africa in the 1990s. (This cost all of 9 dollars. Astronomical! {snort}. Took a month and a half to deliver, but still. STILL!) She also wanted an alarm clock which now seems… yeah. What does she set an alarm for?

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Painting party results. We didn’t have canvasses, so the husband cut pieces of boards to paint on. I can almost feel that future nostalgia!

There was no birthday party with school friends, so we tried to do it up as a family. Painting party, spa night sitting around in robes doing face masks while watching a movie. During the day my husband took her out to go fishing as there can’t be a better form of social distancing than sitting in a canoe. She had a great time. And now… well now she has the memory of a birthday in pandemic.

Is this creating history? Is this it? Or is the real history something else that still awaits?

And I feel like I should really be getting after it so much more than I am- but I’m not. Putting in 2 rows of okra damn near killed me earlier this week. I am still recovering from being sick. Digging up a 4’x4′ section of garden and amending it with sand and a half a bag of precious composted manure had me DRENCHED in sweat and exhausted. I am still coughing. Was it allergies? Damned if I’ll ever know probably. But it sure is taking a while to get over. It’s been 2 weeks since I got sick and no one else in the family is sick… so I’d say I’m just being a wuss and it was allergies… because 2 weeks would have shown us if it was the other thing.

And yet… I was exhausted putting in okra? I set this worry aside for another day and just try to take it easy to get better. Soon. Will be soon, I’m sure. For now the lingering cough takes on slightly more than normal weight in a really annoying way.

In other news we’re anxiously awaiting Buff Orpington chicks… wondering if we’ll be able to get them on Tuesday before a more extensive stay at home order takes place- it feels like a race. The children are excited and I stand by this decision. I also wonder if I’ll be like this as I watch chickens shitting everywhere in 6 months:

The Office

And I wanted this.

But eggs. And is like FFA?

I am also not the only one to have this idea, it seems. According to the feed store they sold out of over 500 chicks last week in less than an hour after they arrived. They open at 7am on Tuesday. The chicks arrive at 7:30am. The older girls and I will be staking out the feed store at 6am like they’re iPhones. or the new Star Wars movie. But like… for chickens. This is just part of the new normal right now.

in other news I wrote an article for one of the professional magazines in my field about working from home. It got picked up for their newsletter and will get published next week. Tip # 4 was not to work from your bed or couch. Tip #5 was to change out of pajamas. I wrote the article sitting in bed wearing pajamas. Somehow this perfectly encapsulates this past week for me.

Stay safe. Be well.

I’m writing this sitting in bed in pajamas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Texas Garden in March and the Pandemic

You’ll forgive me for the unoriginal blog title, I’m still a little foggy-headed over here. I’ve been sick for a week, thereabout.

Last Thursday I cancelled a work trip to Florida on the day I was supposed to go since I woke up with a fever and cough and an insanely painful sore throat. Went to the doctor, no strep, no flu, and was told “even if we wanted to test you for coronavirus we couldn’t” since there were no tests available. Cool.

Now, the red oak tree that covers half our house was dropping so much pollen last week that my car looked yellow, and this sore throat thing seems to happen every year in spring, so when the lab work also came back as no bacteria or other known sore throat viruses, I chalked it all up to allergies. And I did start feeling better in a couple of days. And then I got worse again. I started to feel it in my sinuses, and then the world tilted and I got vertigo just trying to sit up straight. Fun.

A tele-doc appointment earlier this week (only way that doctors office would “see” patients not suspected of coronavirus) and they called in an antibiotic for what appears to have progressed to a sinus infection and ear infection (the cause of the vertigo). Couple of days of that later and I’m starting to feel better and more steady on my feet.

Needless to say having this very normal early spring sickness has made an absolutely wild start to the pandemic. Because normally I would have taken off sick this week, but instead felt I had to muscle through the sickness and vertigo as best I could what with being in management and all… as well as having taken a couple of days off for the original spring break we had so didn’t feel I could do it again so quickly… before life turned into this long dark spring break of the soul. (quasi Douglas Adams reference there.)

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Or bounce from one to the other and back. Neat!

As for us- well. I worry for my friends and extended family, especially the ones with compromised immune systems. But for me, it’s been pretty great having the husband and kids around all the time and we all seem to be managing just fine. You know who I worry about though, aside from those I know and can put a face to? Oh man do I worry about the women and kids who have abusive spouses and families. This must be such a nightmare for them trapped in self isolation with that. My heart hurts sometimes to think of that.

But what can we do aside from our best, right? We breathe. We move on. I’m so surprised to not see any of the “Stay Calm and Carry On” memes or images that were all over the place a few years ago… because it’s good advice.

God. I can’t talk about this whole thing without seeming like a huge jerk though, you know? Because those posters were for the goddamn Blitz… and this is me staying in my comfortable house for a while. You see? You see the swings from normalcy to emergency? The mind doesn’t really know where to land now does it? Or maybe it’s just the vestiges of vertigo… WHO KNOWS?!

And I go- how far is too far? In the prep for this… was the packet of acorn squash seeds too much? Is that ridiculous? Should I be turning the whole yard into a Victory Garden now or like… will this blow over in two weeks and I should be planting zinnias?

My husband is resisting that I’d love to get chicken pullets for the children (for the children) but goodness wouldn’t having something to focus on like that be good for them in the months ahead when they’re doing school from home? And also… there are no eggs in stores so… yes? Will we be dressed all in calico in 18 months and thanking our stars for these backyard chickens as we cook over an open flame in the backyard? Or will we be trying to line up chicken sitters so we can go on a normal family vacation and they’re a huge pain in the ass? Who can say?

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They look like this though, so god I’d give my right arm for some right now…

And I know- I KNOW- that all of that is ridiculous and honestly it isn’t where my mind is all the time. But the mind does stray there, doesn’t it?

Sigh.

Weird times, ain’t it?

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Weirdly picturesque, no?

The backyard is still ripped apart for the patio install. The grass has needed to be cut a few times. The husband has gotten on the river a couple of times. The older girl absolutely SLAYED it catching fish, as did the husband when he went solo. (23 bass!)

While they were on the river the 4-year-old and I went and fed ducks and walked in the park.

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Fuck. Her shoes are on the wrong feet. I just noticed.

Were any of those beautiful ducks in that picture above her favorite? Nope.

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Her favorite was this asshole in the foreground who bit her twice. Hell if I know.

When we went back a few days later that black Muscovy duck saw her and ran right up to her and she was so excited- so maybe they actually are friends and they were love bites?

It has absolutely POURED here a few times too, including the loudest clap of thunder I’ve ever heard that sent dogs, cats, and children scampering to our bed. And driven us inside on days we’d rather be outside and delayed the patio install some more.

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Slowly but surely. It’s a good pandemic project, honestly

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The tomatoes are in, along with some radishes and a petunia the youngest picked out.

The rest of the garden is in bloom though, and it is really proving to be a beautiful spring.

It’ll all work out okay.

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It will.