Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The bright side of staying home

COVID has induced major disruptions to my life - both personally and professionally - but trying to see the bright side. As I hold positions at two institutions, one administrative and one clinical, I am both in the work-at-home camp and the radioactive-don't-touch-anything-when-I-come-home-from-hospital one, afraid to hug my kids (and, oh, I'm a hugger), although I sneak in a low kiss to the middle of the back from time to time when I'm 14 days out from possible exposure because I would wither from the lack of affection giving.

I see how Facebook, scary as it is, can understand my innermost desires and thoughts these days as I'm pitched ads for 1) scrubs; 2) pony-o hair accessories; 3) premium lounge wear; 4) at home hair coloring kits; 5) hair growth serums (gee thanks, what are you trying to tell me?); 6) weighted blankets - I totally impulse purchased that one; 7) fashionable fabric masks. Also, why have I NOT been wearing scrubs all of these years post residency? Why? Why have I worn nice clothes to the hospital ever? It seems like an anachronism now. All those germs.

So, the bright side of #stayhome:

1) More family togetherness outside. Not going with just plain family togetherness (maybe too much of that) but it's the outside part that's been a difference. Since we are trapped at home all day many days (although husband still must go to work), and kids no longer have their intense sports practices, we've been going out to exercise as a family daily. Taking walks, some of us run together, playing soccer or baseball at the field. We used to do this before but now it's daily. Now that I've played soccer for the first time in my life on a women's adult team (different post!), I can actually pass the ball (kind of) to everyone else! Kind of! In that general direction! This outside togetherness has been source of family joy. (Except for the time I took a walk with the kids and we were on a sidewalk next to a busy street, and I kept scaring the bejesus out of them, yelling at them to stay away from the road and walk in single file so if a car came veering off the street, they wouldn't be killed. I don't think they want to walk with Mama on that street anymore.)

2) We're closer to our neighbors. Similar to the above, we are seeing our neighbors outside more too and our desperateness for human interaction makes the heart grow fonder for visible people, even if >6 feet away. On my daughter's 15th birthday the other day, I messaged a number of neighbors to see if their families could come outside to surprise her with birthday wishes at a specified time. Everyone was "in." We got our daughter out onto the front porch swing and family by family came by and wished her a happy birthday. Daughter marveled at how many people knew it was her birthday and did not realize it was coordinated. One family came by on a walk and then serenaded her by singing Happy Birthday in Spanish. Another dad had his toddler daughter on his shoulders and she had a karaoke microphone, singing a series of songs for her. Another family came by with a huge poster and stopped on our lawn to sing her Happy Birthday. Daughter finally caught on that maybe this was a conspiracy --and was touched. And embarrassed. But mainly touched.

3) Greater oversight of kids' development. Stay with me here. School is a blessing. Teachers are a blessing (and saints too). But, I didn't really know what they were learning exactly and didn't know other ways they were developing to the degree that I do now. We spent many hours apart each day and a lot of it was a black box, except for those rare "parent lunch duties" where I completely appreciated that School is a blessing and Teachers are a blessing. For this window of time (that I hope is not so prolonged...), it's kind of nice to know what they are learning, how they are approaching the concepts, their questions, their curiosity. Don't get me wrong: I have lots of frustration too about this homeschooling situation, could certainly fill a few other posts, but there are some a few a rare number of good things too.

4) Familiarity with the diversity of toilet paper options. I blinked during the beginning of the pandemic and toilet paper was no longer present anywhere. I had to resort to buying various toilet paper varieties from Home Depot that I had never seen before, including business-grade rolls that do not fit on the toilet paper holder and individually wrapped rolls like you see in hotels, just with lower paper grade. Using these alternatives has made me feel unusually resourceful and like I'm roughing it a little - you know, making me humble and all. Like I'm in a developing country or camping or something. But I'm doing it! And it's not that bad.  I also purchased in desperation these paper towels that you pull from the middle of the roll and are massively wide. It's been kind of fun to use these rolls, even when they get to the end when they no longer stand up due to floppiness and must lie dejectedly on their side while we keep pulling out the middle. I'll miss these guys once normal supplies are revived. Luckily, I have many of them still to work through.

5) Outdoor living space revival. As it was becoming clear that we would be staying home for awhile, I finally took steps to make our porch and backyard deck more livable. It's been a dream of mine to have a porch swing and we just pulled the trigger and did it. Now I love our swing! Plus we got chaise lounges for the back. Hanging out at home has become much more pleasant.

I'm sure there's more - less traffic, comfy pants, gas savings? Now I'm reaching.

What are yours?


  1. Well, one of our neighbors had a gathering with some friends inside her house about a month ago. And the ones on the other side hosted a birthday party for their five year old with friends who came over. So we aren't talking to either family anymore. The ones across the street are new to the neighborhood and have continued pretending they don't see us when we are all outside at the same time. I am going to be so happy to move away! I will say that I have enjoyed seeing more of my family though, so there is that.

    1. Sounds like there's still hope for good future neighbors so wishing you that...glad you are enjoying your family time.

  2. Love this post! My teen's mental health has never been better. She is not sleep deprived and loves being away from school's toxic social scene. The pressure to be socially accepted was just too much for her. She told me the other day, "I feel happy." Happiness has eluded her the past few years. We spend so much more time as a family now indoor and out. I finally have time to train the kids to do chores and develop life skills. I no longer feel like a hamster on the hamster wheel. Workload is less at work and I get home still fresh and ready to engage with the kids as opposed to before when I collapse on the couch after work and tell them to leave me alone. I know a lot of families are hurting from the financial strain, health/death issues related to covid. We feel so grateful for our situation.

  3. I totally resonate with your comment about neighbors! I wrote about the vast variety of neighbors we see last week on this blog, but in general, we've talked to more neighbors (from a distance) during this pandemic than ever before! It's really nice.

    1. It *is* nice. Glad you are enjoying that too.

  4. Such a great post! I empathize with the scrubs. I'm never going back. My phone fits in the back pocket and I can put so much water and snacks from the Dr. Lounge in my lab coat it's like "Why did I not do this more?" I won't never dress up again, but will definitely mostly wear scrubs. It's fun finding cute t-shirts at Kroger that will go with them, since that's the only physical store to shop at right now (I've been doing way too much online shopping too).

    Glad y'all are doing well, KC

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