Quarantine Diary

Saturday, March 14, Day 1:

I slept well last night: a change from the previous several nights.

I think it’s because the worry had lifted. Once the Governor announced schools were closing, once I spoke with management at work about working from home, once my family and I actually entered our little bunker, all the what-ifs sort of vanished, no longer keeping me awake for hours after the lights went out.

And so here we are. Last night was pretty close to a typical Friday. We watched our weekly family movie (Josh’s turn to pick; he went with Rogue One). We had pizza for dinner. I made popcorn.

Today is a little different. There’s no figure skating. No baseball lessons. No activities of any sort requiring us to shuttle kids around town. We’re working on putting together a schedule of what will eventually be the Daily Routine. The kids have been well-informed this will not be a two week vacation of Mario and TV.

But for now, it’s just Saturday. And there has been a lot of Mario and TV. And laundry. And pancakes.



We got our first confirmed local cases of COVID. Three people, all from one family. Reason to believe they contracted it abroad. Either in Florida or overseas. Either way, it’s here now.


Sunday, March 15, Day 2:

I was wrong about the local cases of COVID. Two people, not three. Different families. And one case has no immediate connection to anyone who’s been abroad.

What I remain correct about it that it’s here. It probably has been for a while. The second patient, in a story in the paper, detailed the last week to 10 days leading up to her symptoms, test, and diagnosis. She sits on the Park District Board. Interactions with hundreds of people. How many degrees of separation between her and me? Between her and Carolyn? Three? It’s a small town.


Here at the house, it was a laundry-heavy day. Some picking up. It’s still the weekend; the totality of what we’re in for hasn’t fully set in. Tomorrow’s the first real day. We’ve drafted a schedule for the kids. Some reading time, picking up time, play time, schoolwork time, etc. It’s a work in progress. Everything is a work in progress. We’ll see how it goes.

Monday, March 16, Day 3:

It wasn’t too bad.

We didn’t stick to the schedule as well as we might have, but we kept the kids busy with things other than tv. I got a reasonable amount of work done, with only a moderate amount of distraction. It helps that I have a very definite agenda for what I need to do for work these next two weeks. There are weeks when that isn’t the case.

Carolyn conducted a couple science lessons, and watched an educational program about how viruses like this Novel Coronavirus work. Unfortunately, the program had the effect of frightening Josh, so I’m not sure how many more such home lessons we’ll have.

In other news, there are now visible lines where my wrists meet my hands, marking the abrupt change in skin texture that is the result of washing my hands hundreds of times in the last week. Lotion can do only so much when it inevitably gets washed off 30 minutes after application.


Tuesday, March 17, Day 4:

Illinois voted today. Some of it did, anyway. Turnout understandably appears it will be down from four years ago. (Interestingly, it appears to be up in Florida.)

I voted last week. My preferred candidate will not win the nomination. In fact, she’s no longer even running, but I voted for her anyway.

It was also St. Patrick’s Day, and we had our traditional meal of Taco Tuesday.

My work has shut its doors through the end of the month. I imagine it will go well into April. So I continue working from home.

Several major upcoming events for work are also canceled/postponed. The economic fallout has barely begun, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about my long-term employment.


We got our bikes out in the afternoon and I rode around Washington Park with Nora and Josh.

Wednesday, March 18, Day 5:

Same shit.

Thursday, March 19, Day 6:

The first day of spring. It’s a rainy, gray mess. The back yard is a mud bog. Terrible day. TV did a lot of kid-sitting today; Carolyn and I both had conference calls with work at different times.

We had our first local COVID-19 death today. I don’t know details, but when they announced the first cases the other day, one of the patients was a 71-year old woman who’d been admitted to ICU.

I’m closer to my 71st birthday than to my 25th. Sigh.

Friday, March 20, Day 7:

One week down. Who knows how many weeks, or even months, to go.

The governor issued a “shelter in place” order today. It goes into effect Saturday at 5 pm. The kids’ school announced it would remain closed at least through April 14. No similar announcement from work, but it’s hard to imagine the office reopening any time soon.

Nora had a brief breakdown earlier. Maybe that’s too strong a word, but she came down from bed, crying. She’s worried about her grandparents. She misses school. She’s upset that her birthday might be forgotten, or at least that it’ll happen while everyone is still on quarantine. She’ll be fine. She is fine. But she’s a thinker, and sometimes when the lights go out, being alone with your thoughts is not a great place to be.

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