The final slice 2020

Back on March 1, when I started this year’s “Slice of Life,” I could have never predicted what this month would bring.  Sure, I knew that the coronavirus was out there, and that it posed a threat to many.  I had been told by a co-worker to make sure I had a supply of essentials–toilet paper, basic foods, medicines.  I followed those directions, with a bit of fear and a bit of humor.   It wasn’t like I was wasting anything–we’d use those things no matter what.  But, a world where we were forced to stay at home?  It didn’t seem possible.  And, yet, that’s where we ended up–in this impossible to imagine new world.

Just yesterday, we marked 14 days since my older daughter came home from college in New York City.  So, essentially, our strict quarantine is over, and now we move to a shelter in place, which is actually going to look exactly the same.  Except for maybe a little less fear.  Because, truth be told, I’m still living with fear. (Lat night, for instance, I had food poisoning.  I knew it was food poisoning because I knew I shouldn’t be eating old salsa I found in the fridge, but I was still worried.  What if it wasn’t food poisoning?)

Anyway, this is my final slice for 2020.  Here’s to days when we don’t live in fear.  May next year’s slice of life reflect a simpler, less fearful, era.

A big day at our house.

This morning, I heard a very loud, ongoing noise coming from in front of my house.  It sounded like a motor, but a motor that had something wrong with it.  My dog and I went to the front window to see what was going on.

A neighbor who lives across the street was using a weed-wacker.  Something was obviously wrong with his weed-wacker, because the noise it was making was not normal.  Molly and I continued watching for a few minutes until the man gave up using his obviously malfunctioning weed-wacker and took it into his back yard, presumably to return it to the garage.

That was most exciting part of my day.



I started my workout today…

Yesterday I vowed that I would start working out…..tomorrow.   I even went so far as to find what looked like a promising work out routine and email it to myself.  Research complete, I popped some popcorn, poured a cold one, and settled down for a movie.

This morning (big surprise) I did not want to work out.  I avoided it all morning, but early this afternoon, overtaken by boredom, I went to the basement, opened my laptop. found the email I had sent myself and I started the workout–a 30 minutes “beginners” workout.

Ten minutes in, I took a break.  We recently had some work done on our basement, and it seemed like a good time to admire it.

Ten minutes later, I resumed my workout, promising myself that I could take another break if I needed it.  As it turned out, I did not need it, and I finished my thirty minute workout in a cool forty minutes.

The guy running the workout announced that I had done “Excellent work!” (It’s weird that he knew that since he’d recorded the workout months ago, but whatever) and encouraged me to come back tomorrow.

Maybe I will.

My Strange Addiction

Admitting you have a problem is the first step.  And, I’m just going to come clean and admit this.   I am addicted to Tik Tok.

My teen daughters enthusiastically approve, as do some of my middle-age woman friends.  Which makes me think that this quarantine situation is bringing us all together in some really weird ways.

Anyway,  I now feel like I should probably reach out to all of my students who I made fun of for their TikTok love over the past several months. Maybe I’ll make a TikTok, wherein I apologize for all my TikTok hate.

I’ll get right on that, just as soon as I finishing watching these cat TikToks.  #cats #catsoftiktok #socute #catsmove

Tiger Love

I keep hearing about this cute kids’ show “Daniel Tiger,” so today I got bored and turned it on for a quick watch. Except, ummm, I wasn’t actually watching “Daniel Tiger,” but instead was watching “Tiger King.”  And, well, that’s a completely different show.  That being said, they are both actually equally captivating (though to totally different audiences) because I spent pretty much the whole day watching the series.

I highly recommend. “Tiger King.”  Unless, of course, you’re a normal person.  Then I highly do NOT recommend it.

As far as my family goes, though, I can report this.  My husband has already looked up the Illinois zoo that is briefly mentioned in the show.  “It’s an all cash zoo,” he reported to me.  “$6 for adults. $3. for kids.”

“Oh?”  I was just being polite.  I’m not really interested in supporting this industry.

“Yes, but they don’t open until June.”  He sounded disappointed.

“We aren’t going,” I told him.  I was resolute.  But then I turned back toward the t.v. screen.  Two tigers were pouncing on one another in their cage.  An audience watched, charmed and thrilled, from the other side of the metal bars.

“They’re awfully cute,” he said.

And I had to agree.  They were awfully cute.  And rather tempting.

My first memory

I am empty of ideas, so I’m going to write about my first memory.

Here’s what I remember.  My mom was holding me on her hip and we were in a large crowd of people.  My mom said something to a woman in front of us and the woman turned around and started screaming at my mom.  The woman had a sign in her hand.  Like a sign on a stick.  It was very intimidating and left me scarred for life.  

Here’s what I’ve pieced together about that incident.  When my mother told the story, she said she had asked the woman to move her sign so she could see the president.  I never thought to ask her where we were or why we were there,  but I do remember that we stayed at my grandmother’s house that night.  My grandmother lived in St. Louis.  I recently (like today) got bored and did some quick and easy research.  Apparently, Nixon spoke in St. Louis to the National Jaycee Convention (I actually don’t know what it was called, but I’m too lazy to go back and look up the real title) in June of 1970.  I was two and half years old in June 1970, so I must have been a regular genius of a toddler for this to stick in my memory.  My dad was a Jaycee, so it makes sense that he would have been there.  My parents were big Nixon fans (unwaveringly so) so that also makes me believe that that is where we were in the incident happened.

The aftermath–I am still kind of afraid of  “peace protesters” to this day.  There’s a lot of irony in that.  There’s also a lot of irony in the fact that I have that memory from all those years ago, but that I can’t remember if I ate breakfast today.

This is what I’ve become

Our dog has figured things out.  We pretty much only leave the house now to take her on walks.  Now, every time someone puts their shoes one, she gets excited.  She’s going to be sad when this is over.  Eventually.

We also have two cats.  A nice one and a mean one.   They are either best friends or worst enemies–roles that change back and forth throughout the day with little or no notice.  In order to keep our animals out of the living room of our house, we have it gated off.  One of our ycats (the nice one, who is not only nice, but who also does not scratch furniture) camp jump the gate and get into the living room.  Our mean cat is also rather, um….  Well, she’s fat.  (Probably  because she steals all the other cat’s food)  and because of her heftiness she cannot leap over the gate.  That was our intent because, in addition to be fat and mean, this cat also likes to scratch furniture.  (At this point, you are probably wondering why we keep her.  But the truth is this cat exceptionally cute.  And, let’s face it, cute matters.)  Anyway, it has come to my attention over the past 1.5 million days of quarantine that the nice cat tends to spend much of his day in the living room while the mean one cries at him from the other side the gate.

I have always thought I’d grow up to be an old cat lady, and this blog entry pretty much assures me that I am well on my way.

Night walking

Oak Park’s sidewalks are full and it’s become an issue the last few days.  Well, according to social media it’s become an issue.  I’ve been staying inside during the day because… see above I don’t want to deal with the sidewalk sharing issues that have begun to occur.  I figured that walking at night would give me a chance to walk alone. I was right.

It was after 8,  so my husband and I took the dog out for a walk.  The streets were silent.  My neighborhood is usually a busy place.   But last night, like the streets in Ray Bradbury’s short story The Pedestrian, our streets were empty.  There were no happy peals of laughter and calls of “good-bye!” as visitors left a house.  No teens hung out in yard or on corners.  Few cars drove past.  The gate on the neighborhood playground was locked shut with a chain and padlock.  A sign beside the gate announcing the park’s closing seemed extra and unnecessary.

The dog continuing to urge us onward, so we continued on our way, passing the lit windows of all our neighbors.  I continually reminded myself, “They are all inside.  They are all safe,” but I knew I was lying.  The weren’t all safe.

We passed the home of a neighbor with an immune compromised toddler.  The home of a neighbor with an immune compromised young adult child.  The home of a neighbor who is going through chemo.  She’s fighting stage four breast cancer.  And now this, too.  We passed home after home after home, and at each one I looked at their windows and knew that whomever was inside was also living in this unreal new world.

At nine o’clock a church bell’s toll could be heard in the otherwise silent darkness.  I knew what that bell signified, and I could not stand the otherwise silent street any longer.  We turned and walked home.

Change is….bad?

We switched things up a bit this week.  My younger daughter is now on “spring break” and my older daughter is back “in” school.  I, meanwhile, am still “in” school since my  “spring break” doesn’t start until next week.    It doesn’t seem like this new situation would be such a big deal,  and I fully expected things to move ahead normally, but that was not what happened.  There was much arguing around here, possibly some screaming, and I think I actually heard an object thrown at one point.

Tomorrow is another day,  I’ve worked out a bit of a schedule to keep us further apart.  Even though I think one of my girls is craving more time together, the other is most definitely looking for some alone time.  I will try to make it work by focusing some extra time on my daughter who is needing companionship, and giving space to the other daughter.  This whole day has been a flashback to a time from about ten years ago, a time I thought I missed.  Until today.  But, tomorrow is another day.

Waving Through a Window

When she was away at college in Manhattan, my daughter Claire could stand in her friend’s dorm room at Fordham University and wave to her other friend in her own dorm room on the other side of Lincoln Center at Julliard.  They found it amusing and whenever Claire was in her friend’s room she would call Chante, hoping she’d be home and available for a quick wave from across the way. Now Claire is home in Chicago and Chante is living on a friend’s couch in New York City, and I don’t think I’m being overly dramatic to be saddened by the fact that, even when they go back to school next year, the opportunity to wave to one another across the iconic Lincoln Center is gone forever.

When Claire was little, she used to wave to her best friend, Maggie, who grew up across the street from us.  Now, they are both home in isolation and, in a way that is eerily similar to the way they used to look at each other when they wanted to play with each other but were too young to cross the street by themselves, they stand and wave at each other from their front windows.  

Today, I heard my other daughter, Paige answer her phone.  “Oh, you’re here now?” She asked the person on the other end, and then I heard her rushing out into the hallway.

“Wait!”  I called to her.  “Who is that?”

“Claudia!” She answered.

“You are not going out there!”  I called back, wondering how it was possible that Claudia, whose mother runs a very tight ship, could possibly be breaking our current “shelter in place.”

“I know!  We are just going to wave through the window!”  Paige answered.  

And that’s what they did.  Paige stood in our window, and Claudia and her sister stood well away, out on the sidewalk, waving.

And then Claudia and her sister walked on down the sidewalk, the brief get together over.  

It reminds me of the song  “Waving Through a Window” from Dear Evan Hansen, that I’ll link right here even though the sentiment of that particular song is actually the opposite of what is happening in our lives right now.  But I like it, so here goes…