Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Pt. 1 - How We Got Here.


I had big plans for this blog. BIG plans. Winter was starting to fade out, and I had this list of exciting (at the time) posts to share to bring this blog to life as I slowly shut down my old one. Now I can barely get myself to pick up a book anymore. Life shifted so incredibly quickly.

It's not all bad.

In fact, I have a lot to say about it. I've been keeping a quarantine journal and writing in it as often as I can remember. I want it to be done in my handwriting so that it's a truly from-the-heart keepsake for the future, but I've been thinking about sharing it here.

Sorry that I went through the trouble of branding my blog for all-things-books and I'm morphing it into a quarantine journal for a minute, but that's where life is at right now.

So, for starters, I keep a mini-journal of sorts going on my Instagram. Follow the hashtag #NSHquarantined for that. I'd explain the hashtag, but....no, I won't. :) I'm for sure going to be pulling those photos for these posts, so, sorry for the redundancy but the captions and sentiments are all different and still worth the double-view.

Before I get into the actual days of quarantine, here's how life shaped up after my last post.

Last walk before quarantine.Matt came home from his work trip on the evening of March 5th. We spent the weekend collecting a few more essentials - toilet paper, paper towels, gatorade, cat and dog food, coffee. We took the kids for a bike ride over the weekend, and even then - before everything shut down - it was weird. There were groups of people out, but everyone would take a really wide berth around each other, and they'd look up suspiciously as you passed them. What was with that? My Dad mentioned the same thing about the grocery store - that everyone one who walked by would look up and make eye contact with you. Scanning for signs of the virus, or what?

It was a nice walk, though. Not too cold, sunny, evening settling in. The kids were in a great mood. Though current regulations haven't banned us from getting fresh air in our own yards or anything, I didn't realize this walk would be the last time the whole family (dog included) would be able to get out and explore the outdoors.

On Monday morning, Matt woke me up saying that I should spend the week stocking the house and doing whatever I needed to get ready for the possibility that the kids would be done with school. I'm not sure where his confidence in this opinion came from, but he was absolutely positive that it would be their last week. He sent me some extra money to load us up on groceries, and I visited a store every. single. day. that week. Tops (our grocery store), Target, the dollar store, Trader Joe's, Tops again. I reminded my kids daily to bring their things home - thermoses, snow boots, workbooks, gym clothes, instruments - bring it all home. As the week wore on, rumors flew through the district about closing, and the grocery stores continued to get stranger. Toilet paper was impossible to find, checkout lines were 45 minutes long, and every single head in the place would whip around at the sound of a cough.

On the 13th, I was scheduled to run the craft center in Kindergarten, and I was greeted by a class that was missing 6 kids. Some parents had already decided to keep their kids home, and the ones still there, along with their teachers, were all whispering and antsy. I talked to my son's teacher about the possibility of schools closing, and she hadn't heard any more than I had. So much was still unknown.

Last trip to the grocery store before quarantine.I decided to stop by the grocery store again on my way home. I grabbed some meat, yeast, and a loaf of bread. What a combo. I stood in an express checkout line with my 7 or 8 items for a half hour while I waited for massive orders to be scanned and paid for. It was the last time I set foot in a grocery store - or any store, for that matter.

The next morning, my kids were all scheduled for haircuts. Nothing had closed, but so much was unknown that we really didn't know if it was smart to go. We decided to go ahead with it and just be extra cautious - I brought hand sanitizer and we used it about 10 times each while we were there. We coached the kids about not touching things and keeping to themselves, and we got through it.

Sitting in the waiting area, scrolling Instagram on my phone while the receptionists whispered about statistics and cleaning practices was the last experience I'd have out in public.

We stopped for gas on the way home, and that was that. We decided that we were prepared enough and it was time to officially isolate at home (despite the schools not making their decision just yet, but that was coming the next day). As of this writing, it's been 45 days. Which feels like a wild number, because it doesn't feel like it's been that long. At the same time, it feels like we've been in this winter-spring transition for an eternity, so I'm really not sure how the math and timing all works out. I think we can all agree that life is just a bizarro twilight zone at the moment.

Back with day zero of my journal tomorrow!

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