The Best of Times, the Worst of Times—CoronaLife Day 831

Sunday was a bit of an up-and-down day.

I have a drawing I did myself of the group The Monkees. Over the years, I got three of them to sign it. The final Monkee was almost impossible to get, but then one of my best friends got backstage passes to meet him, and offered to take my picture and get him to sign it. So I FedExed it across the country and she got it for me!

I got the drawing back home safely (her mom personally brought it home when she visited). I scanned it for safety’s sake, and then put it away somewhere secure.  So secure, that when I next went to look for it, I could not find it. I was heartbroken. So I have been searching for it off and on literally for YEARS. No luck.

I found it on Sunday.

I wasn’t even looking for it. I was cleaning up my office and going through a stack of stuff, and found a padded FedEx envelope and looked inside. AND THERE IT WAS!

I admit to some tears. I was so, so happy. And I promptly told my husband and child where it was in case I forgot again.

So Sunday was a good day.

Sunday was also the day my husband returned home from a trip. That was good, obviously. However, he was not feeling well. On Monday the COVID test came back positive.

We scrambled to take precautions as recommended by the doctors. I moved downstairs, he tried to stay in our room as much as he could, and we all masked when he couldn’t and tried to stay out of the same room. I also opened the windows on the lower floor to get fresh air circulating.

As of this writing, my daughter (who had it in January) and I have no symptoms, and my husband is feeling better.

Please be careful out there, people. My husband is the 5th person I know who traveled and ended up with COVID. Two got it days after returning home, and two others got it on their vacation and were stuck an extra week overseas because they could not fly home, incurring a week’s worth of expenses they had not counted on and missing work they had not intended to miss.

The virus is still very active, still mutating, still spreading, still killing people—which is why my blog posts still carry the CoronaLife Day tally.

Here’s hoping my daughter and I stay clear of the virus! Stay safe, everyone!

Last Week of School—CoronaLife Day 824

It’s the last week of school! The last week of school! Come Friday my daughter will be on summer break.

I have no idea why I am excited about this.

It must be a holdover from childhood, because having her home 24/7 actually makes more work for me. Mostly in the form of trying to pry her from the screen and get some exercise. She is in the “pre-teen lump on sofa” phase of development.

The good news is that I can return to my more comfortable night-owl sleep schedule. My daughter does not need me to get up with her, so I can sleep in. Which hopefully will result in closer to 8 hours of sleep than the 6 I routinely get now.

While summer is often the time for vacations, we have no long trips planned, but may take day trips from time to time. And my daughter has an animation camp in August, which will involve plenty of driving for me, as it is about half an hour away.

But overall, it should be a fairly relaxed summer.

We are in need of some relaxation, because the return to school this year was fraught. Covid was (is) still not under control in our area, so it was a constant worry, particularly since my daughter could not be vaccinated until November. The Omicron spike was terrible here, and lots of kids and teachers were out of school. My daughter caught it in January. We all caught the flu in May. My daughter was a trooper through it all, getting straight As all year. Still, we will be glad to have some quiet, non-people-y time. Hopefully the latest mini-surge we are seeing in our area will subside with the cessation of school and things will be more normal.

One goal I have for this summer is to get my daughter to make more of her meals and do more around the house. At her age, she needs to be more independent–and I’m rather tired of feeling like a maid. So that’s a summer project.

Looking forward to a (mostly) slow and lazy summer!

Do you have summer plans?

Breaking the Time Loop–CoronaLife Day 817

I don’t know about you, but ever since the pandemic started, I have felt a stifling sameness. In the beginning, isolation gave every day the feeling of a life on repeat.

Even as things have opened up, I have not felt much relief. In spite of more activity, more interaction, this pandemic’s stubborn refusal to end has lent a sense of frozen eternity to my days.

Today, for the first time, I experienced time lurching forward again. A glimpse of a future free of this disease. All thanks to some 4 and 5 year olds.

I had the pleasure of attending our school’s first-ever Pre-K Step Up to Kindergarten ceremony. The children’s young innocence was a breath of hope. They embodied the limitless possibilities of the future, a future they will help shape.

They do not remember a life before the pandemic, but their faces radiated excitement, joy, and pride. There was no fear. This world is their world, and they will have the tools to navigate it and make it better.

For now, they are looking forward to summer adventures and making new friends in Kindergarten. But I look at them and see a future of unimaginable promise.

With them, time has started moving again.

A Willy-Nilly Week–CoronaLife Day 761

I’m having one of those weeks where I’m doing a little bit of everything. Makes it hard to focus.

Attended a Township meeting.

Visited the library.

Went grocery shopping.

Got my daughter a new passport.

Was close-contact exposed to Covid.

And I still have a ton of things to do.

Why do my to-do lists never seem to get smaller?

I did manage to approve the online proof of the public version my genealogy book. I ordered a printed copy, and if that looks okay, the book will be available May 1st.

Next week should be quieter (spring break), and my intent is to get through the edits of Pharaoh’s Stone my co-author sent me.

Hopefully I won’t have Covid!

What have you accomplished this week?

Ups & Downs – CoronaLife Day 677

As the saying goes, life has its ups and downs. This week my daughter tested positive for Covid. She’s doing okay, mostly just congested. She had one day she felt terrible, with a horrendous headache, but that was the second day of symptoms and has eased off considerably. Now my husband and I are waiting to see if we get it from her.

So that’s the down.

The up is that the genealogy book I am working on is nearing completion! Remember how I had thought I would need to cut a whole lot of pages to fit it into an affordable price range? The text of this book was clocking in at a whopping 290 pages, while the earlier book I did was only 180. Therefore, I spent a few days trying to cut it down, despairing of ever getting close.

Then I had a bright idea. I decided to look at the final PDF of the first book, to see what the final page count was after I added all the photos, trees, and title pages. I almost fainted, because it was 500 pages! I immediately knew that even with all the inserts added to the 290 pages of text, this book would not be 500 pages. Which meant I did not have to try to cut any text out!

What a relief!

I will finish compiling the PDF tomorrow, then I need to upload that to the printer so I can get a cover template for the book. The final large project will be designing the cover once I have the template. I already know what I would like to do for the cover, so it will just be a matter of getting it done. Then I can send it off to be printed!

Almost there.

How’s your January going?

Happy New Year 2022—CoronaLife Day 663

Happy New Year, everyone! I feel a bit like life is just on repeat: here in NJ we are in the middle of a COVID case spike that dwarfs the original wave in 2020. When the pandemic started, I began the counting of CoronaLife Days. I never thought I would still be counting the days almost two years later.

2021 was in many ways, a year of waiting for me. Waiting for illustrations for my YA book. Waiting for the proofread of my genealogy book. Waiting for this pandemic to end. Lots of waiting.

My hope for 2022 is that it will be a year of action as the waiting ends. I will get my illustrations. I will get my proofread. Both those books will be published. And I hope with all I have that we will also finally see this pandemic burn itself out, and life can return to normal—although with over 826,000 dead and hundreds of thousands more permanently disabled from COVID, life will never again be normal for many of our neighbors.

Living in the uncertain limbo of the last few years has been stressful for me. Many times I have just wanted to scream from sheer frustration. I am hoping this year I will find some relief, and that I will have the mental and emotional space to work creatively again.

I wish you and yours a safe and happy New Year, and hope 2022 will be healthy and productive for you!

Illness in the Time of COVID – CoronaLife Day 572

So on Friday my daughter started complaining of a sore throat, stuffy nose, headache. I had all the same symptoms, too. In a normal year, we would have just shrugged it off as a back-to-school cold making the rounds.

But this is not a normal year.

For all that many activities have begun in a more-or-less normal fashion, this year is still not normal. It is normal-ish. In many ways, having an “almost normal” year is more disconcerting and disorienting than having a wildly divergent year, like last year was.

When things are nearly normal, there is a tension you never escape. You cannot relax fully, as you could if things are truly normal, yet you feel like you should be more relaxed than you are. But this normal-ish environment keeps throwing small bumps and curves in your path and there are still challenges to be met and managed. It is almost more exhausting living in this so-near-and-yet-so-far zone than when everything was upside down. Or maybe it’s just differently exhausting.

So we both had colds—but all these symptoms are also Delta COVID symptoms. We took an over the counter at home test, which are not terribly accurate for non-symptomatic cases but should register something if you are actively symptomatic, as we were. Completely negative. A relief.

For school, though, if you have COVID-like symptoms, you need to get a negative PCR test (the really accurate DNA-based type you have to send into a lab). It was impossible to get one over the weekend, so I got one on Monday. Then we had to wait to see how long the results would take to come in. Even in a normal year, I would not have sent her to school on that Monday, because she was not feeling great, and on Tuesday I probably would have kept her home, too, just to let her recuperate. But I was worried that she may end up having to stay home feeling fine while waiting for the test results.

Luck was with us, and we got the results on Tuesday. Negative, so back to school on Wednesday!

This is illness in the time of COVID, especially when you have an unvaccinated person involved. Schools have to be extremely careful to avoid an outbreak, since most of their population is still vulnerable. In five weeks of school, we have had 3 (unrelated) cases. I am thankful for the precautions our school is taking, and also thankful we live where testing is easy to get and free of charge.

Here’s hoping we don’t need to do this again anytime soon!

Travel in the time of COVID—CoronaLife Day 488

This past week, my family traveled to North Carolina to visit family and attend my niece’s wedding.

The wedding was beautiful—full of love and fun, which is no surprise given that the happy couple are loving, warm, generous, fun people. Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves.

We had a great time at the wedding, and it was wonderful to visit with family we hadn’t seen since Christmas 2019.

But traveling with an unvaccinated child is fraught these days.

Rest stops were in and out fast. Meals on the road were eaten in the car. Hand washing and masks were a must.

North Carolina as a whole was only 38% vaccinated when we went down. The area we visited is likely below that average. At the wedding, only 3 people were masked—my immediate family.

So while we had an absolute blast at the wedding, I am hoping we don’t pay a high price. I am counting the days until we are past the 14-day incubation period.

We returned home to find our state’s case rate rising, the transmission rate at 1.08, and the dreaded Delta variant exploding.

I’m so sick of this.

Mask up. Maintain distancing. Get the vaccine. I don’t know about you, but I am ready for this to end. At the current rate of vaccination, we will not reach herd immunity until March 2022. A full 2 years after the world shut down.

Let’s kick this thing to the curb, so we can all breathe—and travel—freely again.

Just Keep Swimming—CoronaLife Day 439

I am now fully vaccinated, so I have ventured to places I have not been for a while. I spent 3 hours clothes shopping for my daughter last week (we won’t discuss how much I hate clothes shopping), and I also went inside the library for the first time in over a year!

My child, however, is not old enough to be vaccinated, so we still have to be careful where she is concerned. After much consideration of transmission rates in our state and area, and seeing the case rates falling, we have decided to let her go back to swimming classes at her pool. A tiny step toward normalcy.

This week was her first week back, and seeing her in the water (and rocking the breast stroke) was heart-warming. She was nervous about going back, being around so many people. But it was good for her, physically and mentally. It will help ease her into next school year, when she will be back in the classroom.

These small moves to normality are encouraging, and welcome, but we are not quite at the end of the tunnel yet. Caution and respect are still needed. We are almost there—just keep swimming.

A Year in Flux—CoronaLife Day 404

Last year was the year things stood still. The pandemic brought life as we know it to a screeching halt. Even though essential life functions went on, everything felt like it just…stopped.

This year is a different year. It is a year of flux. Life is changing, the world is changing. As we move back toward a more normal life, everything feels in motion.

We need to take time to look at what we want to go back to, though. The pandemic, the year of slowing down, has changed the way many see the world. Some people really like working from home, wasting less time commuting, spending more time with family. Some businesses are seeing the value of people working from home, and thinking about changing their business models. Many of us realized the value of the family and friends we were cut off from for so long. Many people’s priorities shifted, because it is true that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

The pandemic gave us a chance to really look at the world we live in. It highlighted so many things that need to be addressed. Workers deemed “essential” who don’t make enough to pay their bills. Decades of medical inequity that left minority populations exponentially more vulnerable to the virus. Income inequity that allowed the better off to stay safely home while the poor exposed themselves to the virus every day. A rise in violence against Jewish people, and Asian-Americans, and Blacks—some done by the very people supposed to protect our communities. The mental health crisis that is deep in our culture and that is exploding with the pandemic stress.

Some things that used to be “normal” should never be normal again.

Normal didn’t work for so many people in our society. We have a chance now to do better, be better. To build a society that truly reaches for the ideals America was built on. As we rebuild from the pandemic, we need to figure out what parts of the old society are worth saving—and what parts we want to build from scratch.

This pandemic showed in glaring spotlight that a large portion of our nation does not understand social responsibility. They do not understand that with freedom comes responsibility, that individualism does not mean ignoring the needs of others as long as you’ve got yours. Like it or not, we are all connected—what we do impacts others. The pandemic showed us that, too.

A rising tide lifts all boats. Let us strive, in this year of flux, to make sure that as we rise from this pandemic, we leave no one behind.

WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien