Quarantine Diary, Week Two

Saturday, March 21, Day 8:

A lot of laundry today. A little bike riding. A quick grocery run that will, I hope, get us through the week. The shelter in place order took effect at 5:00 pm.

I spend a lot of time wondering what the world will look like on the other side of all this. Different, obviously, but in ways I can’t imagine.

I think there’s been a complete failure of leadership the last 60 or 90 days. Carolyn told me two months ago all this was coming. The doctors she works with saw this pandemic in January. It is either a knowing lie, or unforgivable incompetence to now claim no one could have predicted this.

My guess is that as we begin to emerge from this, trends and timelines will vary wildly from state to state. States like California and Ohio have been far more proactive than Texas and Florida. There can’t be a national outcome when there isn’t a national response.

Sunday, March 22, Day 9:

It’s been 11 days since I last shaved. Josh says I can go a couple more days. Carolyn would prefer I shaved yesterday.

Between the dearth of personal grooming, the abundance of white stubble on my chin, and the ice cream-heavy diet of the last few days, I could possibly one day make a living as a department store Santa if my career goes sideways.

It snowed today. The weather is doing its part to enforce the Shelter in Place order.

***

Back to work tomorrow. So many things up in the air. Agendas that had been set two months ago do not seem particularly relevant. But there is still a job to do. I work in communications, and there is definitely important information to be communicated. Sometimes multiple times per day. I shall continue doing what’s asked of me. Every industry everywhere is touched by this, and a big part of what I do is keeping people in one particular industry on top of things.

Monday, March 23, Day 10:

The ice cream-heavy diet hasn’t been as bad as I’d imagined. I actually weighed three pounds less this morning than when this all started. Chalk that up to atrophy, rather than healthy living. Atrophy, of course, is the same diet that took me from 205 pounds to 185 during Josh and Lia’s first year of life. 12 months of not sleeping really peels the pounds away.

To my credit, I’ve kept most of that weight off since then. I tipped the scales at 187.5 this morning. I could probably drop another half pound by shaving this rat’s ass of stubble of my face, and boy would that make the wife happy.

Eventually, it will come off. But not today.

Rough day today. Carolyn had to teach a class online, which did not go well. Servers were overloaded, and additional hours were required. I had a conference call in the morning, and more editing in the afternoon. The kids suffered from want of attention. Josh, especially. Being the lone boy means feeling left out more often than his siblings. I took a couple breaks in the afternoon to play some games with him. I wish I could have done more.

I’ve left the house three times in the last two days, which is three times more than would be ideal. One of those trips was unavoidable. The others were a product of impatience and poor planning. I need to do better. I wouldn’t easily forgive myself if I brought this damned virus into our house. And now that the President is very clearly hinting that people should get back to work soon, it’s that much more important to do my part in quarantining for as long as that’s allowed.

Of course, I’ve got a wife with low white cell counts and three young kids, one with asthma. I’ll be coming off quarantine on my clock. Not the President’s.

(All of which makes the three trips in the last 48 hours even more inexcusable.)

Tuesday, March 24, Day 11:

It was quiet today. The kids spent a lot of time on their Kindles. They periodically took turns on the computer, doing school work their teachers have dedicatedly set up for them.

It was another gray, dreary day. We played a couple hands of Uno after dinner.

I haven’t heard many updates about local cases of COVID the last few days. I’m sure there are some. I’m more concerned about the national trend line. That, and the idiocy of wanting to send people back to work and school with the virus so rapidly spreading. And the blasé nature of some pundits saying that grandparents should be willing to die to keep our economy on track. It’s a completely false choice. Going back to work isn’t going to save the economy when tens of millions of more people become sick. The economy won’t be saved when our health care system collapses under stress because we couldn’t just stay the f–k home for an additional three or six weeks.

These people don’t imagine it would ever be them. It’s my kids whose grandparents they’re willing to sacrifice. Well, my kids have already lost a grandfather way too early. They get to keep the other three around for a while yet. So says me.

Wednesday, March 25, Day 12:

My mood is very cyclical when thinking about this disease. Sometimes, most of the time, I’m comfortable. We’re doing what we need to (that’s the family “we,” not a national “we.”) We’re being careful.

But sometimes, I think of Nora’s lungs, and I wonder how strong they really are. No matter how far she goes in this life, she’s still a 28-week preemie, and those lungs… She’s perfect in almost every way. But the lungs. She gets frustrated that she can’t run as fast, or bike as far as her friends, or her younger brother. She sometimes resents carrying her asthma inhaler everywhere. Even when she’s on the ice, when she’s at her absolute happiest, it’s there by rinkside, in case she needs it.

To her, it’s an inconvenience, and occasional embarrassment. To me, it’s a reminder of how she came into this world weighing barely two pounds.

***

Speaking of how Nora came into the world 12 weeks early, somehow the conversation at dinner turned to her twin brother. This happens every so often. It’s something Carolyn and I don’t want to discourage. But talking about Ben sometimes isn’t something I’m equipped for. It’s probably what has me in my particular mood tonight.

Anyway, the dinner time consensus is Nora thinks it’d be great to have someone in the house who understood what it’s like to be a fifth grader *in the Year 2020*, and Josh thinks another boy would be good for when the sisters are playing hospital or something. I can’t disagree.

Thursday, March 26, Day 13:

I’m not afraid of getting COVID-19.

I’m a little afraid of getting it now, while the hospitals are inundated. Now, while the doctors and nurses are nearing the (considerable) limits of their ability and stamina. Now, while respirators and ventilators are too few, and patients too many.

***

A co-worker had a baby just last week. I spent 78 days with Nora in NICU, I watched Ben die, and I still can’t imagine how scared I would be to have been in a hospital now, with a newborn infant. Fortunately, they’re all back home now.

***

It was just another day here. Doing my work the best that circumstances allow. The kids are doing their best to get through the days too. We’re all doing our best.

Josh asked me to sit in his room with him tonight until he fell asleep. He’s worried about something, but he can’t or won’t say what. He used to do this every night for at least a year after Carolyn’s seizure/cancer diagnosis/surgery. It wasn’t until he learned to confidently read on his own that he stopped asking and would just read himself to sleep. But tonight, he asked again.

I don’t know how much he knows about Coronavirus. Some, I’m sure. We try not to have the news on when the kids are nearby, and he’d be uninterested even if we didn’t. But he’s a smart kid. They’re all smart kids. And I’m sure he’s talked with Nora about it. And Nora definitely knows enough that it worries her, so whatever she may have shared now apparently worries him too.

***

Today would’ve been Opening Day for Major League Baseball. At least this plague has spared me the sight of Mookie Betts in a Dodgers uniform, leading me to the sight of my son as a Dodgers fan. For now, and the immediate, if not foreseeable future, the Red Sox remain the only team for whom Mookie has played a Major League Game. That’s… something, I guess.

Friday, March 27, Day 14:

Takeout pizza Friday has been replaced with homemade pizza Friday, and the trend might continue long after the quarantine is lifted. Honestly, the crust is a little singed , but tell me this doesn’t look at least a little like something you’d get out of a wood-fired brick oven in New Haven:

I’ve been better the last few days about not leaving the house. We ordered next week’s groceries online. Unfortunately, so has everyone else. The next available pickup isn’t until Tuesday, and we won’t make it that far without milk. So I did have to make a quick grocery run. But overall, we’re doing our part.

What we haven’t done well is keep the kids engaged throughout the day. I think the school district is going to start moving more toward online learning for the next several weeks, if not the remainder of the year, so we’ll have to get better prepared for that. We just received an automated call from the district earlier about distribution of online technology for families that need it. This, just a couple days after we were asked to participate in a survey about our online capabilities at home.

I’m glad they’re taking these steps. I don’t think they’d be taking it if they believed we’d all be back at school in just another couple of weeks.

So I guess what I’m saying is, buckle up friends. After two weeks of lockdown, this party’s just getting started.

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