I often tell people that our family is Covid-cautious, but what we really are is Covid-paranoid. Between Matty’s health stuff and my worst fear of losing my sense of smell/taste (can you imagine not smelling cheese?), we just really didn’t want to risk it. So, we wear masks all the damn time, we do Instacart (even though you know how I feel about Instacart) instead of going to the grocery store, we’ve only gone to one restaurant (once in Maine, moment of weakness) and one movie (an exception I’ll make only for Zendaya) in an empty theatre in the last two and a half years. I’ve skipped bar nights, dinners out, concerts, and indoor gatherings with friends who are less Covid-conscious. But with two kids in public schools, I guess you can run but you can’t hide. Covid is a horror-movie serial killer and you are the C-list actor who’s listed in the credits only as “screaming girl.” Last week, there was yet another Covid outbreak at George’s school, so they asked us all to test before sending them on Monday and he tested positive. We went about our day for a few hours using my tried-and-true Denial™ Method before having a come-to-Jesus moment where we realized we couldn’t just pretend this wasn’t happening.
Once again, friends swooped in like magical cranes of benevolence. In this case, it was the wonderful Lobel family offering up their ski condo in NH as a safe house for Matty to try to escape the plague. I felt like a selfless hero, sending my husband to safety while I agreed to singlehandedly brave one kid in solitary (the SHU being the toy pit in this case), one who needs to be dropped off at school at 6:40 am every day, and two dogs, one of which requires round the clock supervision lest she stress-pee on any available rug-like surface.
Hazy went to school, and she would visit George (masked) every day in his cell from a distance, and they would play Minecraft together. We tried to eat some dinners outside together, and George would call me from our landline and tearfully request strawberries, which I would leave outside his prison (toy pit) door. I also made him his favorite lunches and dinner (pasta and pasta, respectively) and left them outside his door. It was depressing. The dogs knew something was up and wanted to hang out with George all the time.
On Thursday morning, Hazy had a sore throat and I had a pit in my stomach. She tested positive. When I texted Matty to tell him, he had tested positive too. I went to an urgent care place and got an official test. Neither the doctor nor I could believe it was negative. He basically told me I was the Chosen One and should immediately disapparate to somewhere You Know Who (Covid) couldn’t find me: in other words, the condo in NH. So, Matty and I agreed to trade places (I’m definitely the Billy Ray Valentine); I would go to the ski condo and he could be the selfless hero. That way, the kids wouldn’t have to live in solitary confinement and I might maybe avoid Covid (knock on wood). And so began my Covidcation.
Here’s what I’ve done so far:
Guys, I couldn’t even hug my Covid-infested children before I left them. It was very much like those prison phone calls you see in movies with one person on each side holding their hand up to the plexiglass, only we had no plexiglass, and I had to keep shouting, “Keep your distance!” This is definitely going to lose me some points in the Mother of the Year competition I was so close to winning.
Sometimes my mother-in-law texts me, “How is everyone doing?” and I’m like, I’m not sure. I haven’t talked to them yet. But I’m sharing a “sharing size” bag of Peanut M&M’s with myself, so that’s going well.
I know I brag a lot about how great my friends are, but is it really bragging if it’s about someone else? I feel so extremely fortunate to know people like the Lobels who will loan you a LITERAL HOUSE. Then there are my friends who have brought brownies (Barb & Caroline – I did an extensive taste test and you have tied for best brownies), gourmet dinners, coffee and donuts (from the already-sainted Chans), and a goody bag of gifts for George including a much-needed rat skeleton. (Recurring theme, Rosa?) My friend Sarena even tailored her meal to my ridiculously picky kids, when she could have just been like, “How about you just boil some pasta and pour a jar of sauce on it, jabroni?” which is what I may have done after some of the responses I sent to her inquiries on my children’s “tastes.” My friend Becca made a quiche so good that Matty, who usually just eats to live and has literally never once done a happy dance for food/might be a robot, said, “this is pro level shit.” My friend Diane texted last night to say she’s making us soup. These friends are taking care of my family when I cannot, and if that’s not what community is, I don’t know what is.
Taken Covid tests.
My nostrils have been penetrated more times than a…you know what? I’m not gonna finish that. In the last week, I’ve tested negative at home three times, negative at the doctor’s once, and negative in my Covidcation home twice. Each test feels like I’m on the Maury Povich Show with some psycho skank that’s tried to entrap me and I’ve found out I’m not the father.
Went grocery shopping.
I haven’t gone grocery shopping for *just myself* since 2006ish. It was glorious. Part of me was like, be an adult, eat healthy. That’s why I bought salmon, asparagus, hummus, broccoli and baby carrots. A bigger part of me was like, YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS NOW YOU CAN BUY ALL THE THINGS, which is why I bought a “party size” bag of Ruffles (party for one?), a tub of french onion dip, a box of totally inorganic Kraft mac & cheese, a box of ice cream sandwiches, and three bottles of wine. In separate, but related news, I bought a whole pie for myself.
How bad is the Covid? Are they drinking enough fluids? Have they eaten a single vegetable? Is anyone making sure Rosie doesn’t pee on all the rugs? Is anyone feeding the Avengers (fish)? Speaking of the Avengers, has George noticed that Bucky died? Why hasn’t Matty texted me back? Is Matty watching Ozark without me?
Missed my family.
I thought it was my dream to be by myself for a week, eating french onion dip, drinking wine, doing puzzles, watching whatever I want. But the truth is, it’s kind of lonely. I miss Hazel’s commercial impressions (she does all the major insurance commercials), George’s outbursts of “ah NOOB!” (inside joke), and bantering with Matty. He is my favorite person to banter with. I miss doing lappies with Rocky when he puts his head in my lap and making Rosie thump her tail just by looking at her.
Covidcation’s not actual vacation, so I still have to work. But it’s crazy how productive you can be when you don’t have to walk any dogs, put away any dishes, do any laundry, drive to any practices, or plan any meals. You don’t really need a meal plan when you have a box of mac & cheese and a whole pie.
Did a puzzle.
Fine, I’m always doing a puzzle, but I didn’t realize how much I missed being able to do a puzzle without feeling like I really should be doing something else – making dinner, cleaning the house, making sure Rosie doesn’t pee on any rugs, delivering strawberries to a Covid prisoner, etc.
I got here late Thursday night and so far I’ve finished reading I’ll Show Myself Out (literally laughed out loud and cried too), listened to Book Lovers (very cute and enjoyable), and started reading The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels (clever and funny).
When I’m home, I always have to get up with Hazy (5:45), walk the dogs (5:45), go to bootcamp (6:20), or get up with George (7:00). But on Covidcation, I can sleep in! I thought I’d sleep in so late on the weekend, but it turns out my body just wants to sleep until 8. So reasonable and unlike me!
Watched bad movies and good TV.
Guys, there are SO MANY things to watch! I could have a one-year Covidcation and not have enough time. So far, I’ve watched Senior Year (predictable but I laughed), a so-so Netflix romcom I can’t remember the name of (she’s a wine seller who goes to Australia!), binged a bunch of Conversations with Friends (strong work on Joe Alwyn, T-Swift), and rewatched the first episode of Alias (I forgot how much happens in Episode 1.). At home, we’re so busy with life stuff until about 9 pm, and then we’re so tired and Matty and I agree on very few things to watch (playoff sports, Barry, Ozark, and Archer).
Had a fat shame-off with Matty.
If you can’t banter with your husband, may as well text with him, right? Were we writing each other sweet nothings about how we missed each other and prayed for each other’s health? No. I got mad at him for refusing to save me a piece of Becca’s “good shit” quiche and then he fat-shamed me for eating a whole pie by myself. Joke’s on him because I haven’t eaten the whole thing. Yet. I’m too full from all the chips and french onion dip.
Went to a party.
Fine, it was a Zoom Blookit party and it ended badly because George ended up getting upset that some of the questions Hazy wrote were “unfair,” and I have to agree a little bit. Take this sample question:
Which is the proper spelling?
C) deez nuts
D) DEEZ nuts
Granted, any answer was technically “correct,” but I spent a long time thinking about that one, and time is money in Blookit! Also, if you’re questioning our parenting based on this particular quiz, you’re not alone. (I went with D for the record.)
Just look at deez nuts (sorry).
A huge thanks to my community for once again lifting me up, to Matty for being the selfless one (again), and to my kids for being troopers. I can’t wait to come back home as soon as my family isn’t contagious or I finish this pie, whichever comes last.