Love and Life in a Time of Coronavirus

Taking out the recycling before Coronavirus and you see your neighbor:

“Haha! Oh my god, I swear we aren’t alcoholics, we just had people over!”

Taking out recycling during Coronavirus and you see your neighbor:

“Haha! I swear to god we didn’t have people over, we’re just alcoholics!”

It’s weird times, no?

And yet life, in it’s eternal capacity to do until one day it doesn’t, just keeps on going.

For us, that meant we woke up to this yesterday, from our lovely children:

We’re lucky parents

I hesitate to mention this, because y’all will think I’m putting on for effect here- but they hung that banner after we went to sleep so it could be a surprise in the morning. They also cleaned the kitchen and living rooms and made us gifts. They’re just magic-pixie-helper children and I must have done something pretty great in another life to deserve them in this one, I tell you what.

I do worry about my capacity to sleep through teenager hijinx in a few years if I can sleep through them cleaning for an hour and getting out the ladder to hang a sign, though. Because I slept like a baby through all of that.

We had a fantastic anniversary. In usual fashion I was severely one upped on the gifts, but that is pretty par for the course over the last 16 years of marriage (21 together). After work we made dinner together, played a game with the kids (Apples to Apples- it’s funny how often the 4 year old wins the hand considering she can’t read), we drank champagne, and then the husband and I played chess while the kids watched Harry Potter- perfection.

Let me say this: if I have to self isolate through a pandemic with someone, I’m glad I had such good taste all those 21 years ago.

And THEN last night we also got to sleep in our “new” bed! We have completely rehabbed our bedding as the sheets and comforter were… wow. For one thing, I don’t know how many times the little one had gotten ahold of a Sharpie over the years, but the way the old comforter tells the story it was at least four times. The cats had shredded the corner of the sheets- and I realize that one of those sheets we’d had when I was pregnant with the oldest… and she’s 13. They were torn and threadbare, also stained up from pen and had been bought on clearance from Target because they were a pretty ugly orange color.

This is our main anniversary gift to each other- all new bedding- we got a down comforter, a linen and cotton duvet cover, and a sheet set from a company we became familiar with from a bed and breakfast we visited in Seattle (9 Cranes Inn, we shall miss you- they closed soon after our last visit there). Comphy Sheets website They are “make me wanna vomit expensive” but are one: worth it. And two: gonna last forever.

Here’s the thing. We got the duvet cover and the sheets in white. Like a fancy hotel! And then I realize, right now, that I am not post menopausal and that I do like drinking coffee in bed and goodness all that bright white fabric is intimidating on a whole new level when compared to the last stuff.

It is, I must say, (stain anxiety aside) freaking magical and I never plan on getting out of bed again. 10 of 10, would totally create new cloud bed again.

On the garden side of things the husband is ALMOST done with the brick patio install (nothing like endless pandemic hours to get a project done!) and we are so excited to move onto gardening and getting plants in the ground and the yard in shape. The small and temporary plot because I was almost about to miss the tomato planting window so threw something together as it couldn’t wait any longer- that plot holds 2 sun gold tomatoes, a black cherry tomato, a Tycoon, and hmmm… one other large tomato and it’s drizzling right now so I won’t run out and check the tag. Sunbrite I think. I also planted a zucchini in that too small plot, but am planning on letting it spill outside the bed and head itself over to the shed.

So. Many. Weeds. Don’t judge- those particular ones come out SUPER easily once they are a little bigger and you can pop the whole rosette outta the ground- if you try when they’re young like this the stems are too brittle and you won’t get the roots. Also I didn’t feel like it.
The roses and larkspur are having a real moment- which allows for the largest rose arrangement I’ve ever made. These are Souvenir de la Malmaisson, Madame Alfred Wegman, and Belinda’s Dream roses. How many pink roses do I need, you ask? More than this, obviously, because there are 3 more out there that I didn’t even cut flowers from for this arrangement. Not to mention the red, purple, or yellow ones…

I count this in the garden section here, even though they still actually live in a bedroom (in a cage, we’re not heathens) thanks to the inexplicably wet and cool evenings we’ve been having.

Mine is 1,000% a rooster.
IMG_1774 3
They move VERY quickly from stage 2, lemme tell you.

I am positive we have 3 hens and a rooster. We love them all and I promise I will find Truffle the rooster a good home.

The oldest narrowed her eyes when I said that and asked me if I was just saying that and was actually going to kill and eat it. And look- I’ve never felt so attacked by something so plausible before, but I PROMISE he will literally find a good home- we are not eating our pet. We’ll rehome him later, because they’re only 3 weeks old and you aren’t supposed to definitively be able to tell until about 5 months, but sheesh. Larger comb, larger legs and feet, and the only one with wattles? Come on. We know.

In other news- Easter happened and my capacity for taking quality family pictures knows no bounds:

 The other pictures were blurry. The case of Modelo under the front table really captures the moment.

And finally, you ever play the game at a bridal shower “Who has the weirdest thing in their purse?” Someone pulled out an extra large bottle of Elmer’s glue once. Good times were had by all.

Well let’s play the “Who has the weirdest thing in their house during the pandemic” game. I will tell you though, I would totally win this and it wouldn’t be with the chickens in a guinea pig cage as a brooder with a heatlamp clamped on a highchair.

So bear with me as I go through this.

Y’all know how I wrote about gravestones and cemeteries before right? (here and here oh right and here) So. It’s always been an interest. The styles, the history, the snapshots into other lives and times. And, recently I’ve been getting more into it while also not letting it turn into too much of weird obsession or anything. But like… yeah.

Why yes that is a book on epitaphs and my Association for Gravestone Studies member newsletter, why do you ask?

All this is a bit of a long winded way of saying- I’ve been paying attention more to gravestones lately, and understand their importance. So this past December while we were out of town and at the funeral of my husband’s friend, his aunts and I wandered a couple of rows over after the service to their parent’s grave. And then a couple of more rows over to my husband’s cousin’s grave who had passed away the year previously. And it did something to my heart that day, standing at her grave with no headstone and only the faded aluminum temporary marker. My husband’s aunt mentioned that their other sister’s family had been struggling, and were still trying to afford a headstone, but were finding it difficult. I imagined that aunt, as a mother, not able to afford a gravestone for her daughter for over a year. This sat with me for a couple of months.

Now, being a loyal member of the AGS and the grandchild and child of one time grave diggers I happen to know- you don’t have to buy a headstone from the cemeteries. They’re WAAAAY cheaper to buy directly. This is not, I think, common knowledge. So that is why, nosing around a headstone manufacturer out of California’s site, that I found a DEEPLY discounted one to the nature of almost 80% off. The last one as it was a discontinued size. It had doves on it.

I ran it by my husband’s aunt and offered to buy it for her if she liked it. She LOVED it.

And so I bought a headstone.

And then the pandemic hit.

And then they shipped the headstone to the billing address and not the shipping address.

And that is how I have a headstone sitting in the corner of my bedroom during a pandemic which is just the WEIRDEST thing ever.

It reminds me of the game Paper Boy for Atari from the 80s and how there would be the random house with gravestones in the yard.

Why did I play this game that much?

So that’s my house right now.

Chickens in one room, fancy hotel looking bed in another… with a gravestone next to the closet.

It is just as weird as it sounds, I promise.

And one final thing that I found funny- a picture one of my husband’s friends sent him while driving past the gentleman’s club in their hometown:


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