This is the week that the novelty of staying home started to wear off. The new normal is setting in, and with it, a heavy dose of longing for the comforts of the old normal.
Day 8: Tuesday, March 24
I had a hard time motivating myself to get out of bed. I started the day by scrolling Twitter and reading up on all the idiots not staying the fuck home. The longer this goes, the more that I selfishly think to myself that our wedding is going to be completely fucked.
Jimmy came in at 10:30 and told me that getting dressed would help. It did. I made us breakfast while he made coffee.
I settled down for work. One of my bosses sent me two things that needed looking into on the office website. One had an easy fix, the other seemed out of my league. I sent him updates and worked on some blog posts for a bit.
Later that morning, I chatted with Jimmy about how surreal things are. It does not feel real. There’s no green fog in the streets like the Ten Commandments movie. (A classic.) And yet, people are being stubborn like Pharaoh and not changing.
My brother called and talked to me about why São Jorge, the island my family is from, was a coronavirus hotspot in spite of being one of the smaller islands. According to Steve, a tour group went on a cruise to Dubai in early March (a century ago), got exposed to the virus, and weren’t taking quarantine seriously.
Specifically, the son of the guy who owns a bunch of grocery stores tried to go to the post office, got shooed out by the woman working there, only for him to pull a “Do you know my daddy is?” on her.
Ugh ugh ugh. For the first time, I’m glad my grandparents are no longer with us.
Later that afternoon, I was rooting around for a pen and Jim turned from his meeting to tell me that I was making too much noise. picked up my things and took them into the kitchen, but since the WiFi signal back there is weak, I couldn’t do much.
Instead, I went into the bedroom and the hour of Animal Crossing (and hopping on Discord with friends) I scheduled into my day turned into two and a half hours so that I could stay out of his hair. Oops.
I eventually made it back into the living room, got back to work, and even got to meet one of his coworkers and her cute dog. He apologized, I accepted and told him I understood, and we carried on with our day.
Day 9: Wednesday, March 25
I woke up that morning feeling a little ambitious, so I decided to make a second attempt at making eggy in a basket. This time around, I didn’t crowd the pan and made one at a time instead, which was a far better decision. After I cleaned up breakfast, I put some chicken in a balsamic marinade for dinner, put on a face mask, and settled down to work.
Or rather, I tried to settle down to work. Last night my laptop wouldn’t hold a charge, so I plugged it in overnight and prayed for the best. No such luck: my battery picked the most inconvenient time to fail. And because it’s a 2015 Macbook, there’s no easy fix to that can be done from home.
With my ability to work throttled even further, this was when my mood really started to go downhill. This is why you shouldn’t tie your self worth to your productivity, kiddos.
Instead, I poured my nervous energy into cleaning my makeup brushes (a chore I hadn’t done all year because I am a filthy animal) and some laundry. With that done, I hopped on my Switch to play some Animal Crossing.
I wound up playing with one of my cousins for a while. Diana goes to college out of town and she’s sheltering-in-place with her boyfriend who works in a hospital. While he’s kept separate from patients and there are safety protocols in place, the reality of our current situation is far more real to her than me.
She still made some Zoom University jokes though, so she seemed to be in good spirits.
After that, I hopped on Discord to play Dungeons & Dragons with my boys. This week, the party was in town after making it through a submerged temple with a ton of loot. My character, a tiefling wild magic sorceress whose ancestor is the Demon Lord of Indulgence, lived up to her bloodline by treating herself: she went shopping for clothes (but like, magical clothes because she can’t wear armor), ordered expensive food and drink, took a fancy bath… and seduced one of her teammates.
It was a good time.
Day 10: Thursday, March 26
I got out of bed at 10 am spurred by one goal: I need to get out of this house before I go crazy.
It was about time for our weekly grocery run, so I had that going for me. Last week, Jim only had a vague idea of the few things we needed, but this time around, I made a list in my bullet journal so that we wouldn’t forget anything.
My first stop was to pick up some things we ordered ahead of Academic Pantry, aka my favorite downtown coffee shop. They’re doing pickup orders only now for coffee, but they’ve also transformed into a bodega to pick up groceries. I grabbed a little jug of their pandan cold brew and some of their jams for my morning breakfast. They have produce now too, which they didn’t during my last trip. Good to know for next time.
After that, I headed to Zanotto’s, which was more picked over than it had been during my last trip I wasn’t able to find even half of what was on our list, so I decided to risk a trip to Safeway to see what they had.
Our nearest Safeway had been a disaster area on the day that the shelter in place was announced so I was expecting more of the same, only to be pleasantly surprised to see that nearly everything on our list was in stock. I managed to find everything but toilet paper and and ice cube tray.
With the shopping done, I headed home, tossed my clothes into the laundry, took a shower, and got along with the rest of my day.
Day 11: Friday, March 27
Today was another rough morning. I left my bullet journal in the car after yesterday’s grocery run and my laptop was still useless, so I didn’t really have anything motivating me to get moving. I eventually got up to take a bath but even then, I sat there marinating and ruminating instead of trying to get my day started.
I got two texts that eventually got my day rolling. The first was from the bridal shop where I bought my wedding dress. It arrived! I could either pick it up now or wait until April 7 to pick it up. I chose the wait option because April 7 is my birthday, but deep down, I knew that the wait would probably be longer.
The other text I got was from my brother, who was taking me up to take a socially distanced walk. We met up at the Municipal Rose Garden to walk some easy laps before sitting down six feet apart to catch up on things.
We had a good people watching view of the fountain, where we watched social distanced people in pairs and the occasional small family walk the garden paths. Eventually, a few clusters of well dressed people walked into the garden. Among them was a couple that looked about my age. The man was in a suit and the woman in wore a gorgeous floral dress. When one of the group pulled out a judge’s robe and I saw the bouquet in the woman’s hands, Steve and I realized what was happening: we were witnesses to a wedding. (Insert your own “Love in the Time of Corona” joke here.)
I always cry at weddings, so I wasn’t surprised at myself once the waterworks started. A huge wave of catharsis hit me as they exchanged their vows. No matter what happens this year, that will be Jim and I this October. We will find a way to become husband and wife on October 3rd, just like we planned, and we can figure out the extra details later.
Honestly, a quick exchange of vows at the Rose Garden with only our immediate family sounds more appealing at the moment than the larger ceremony and reception that we have planned. October is close enough to feel close, at least in wedding planning time. However, things are changing so quickly that it’s hard to think about anything that far away.
Our faith and hope in humanity restored, Steve and I headed over to grab a pick me up at Crema before we parted ways. We accidentally parked in the residential lot, but it was mostly empty and we’d be in and out, so we figured it was fine.
Alas, we were mistaken. As we got back into the car, a woman who lived in the condos chewed us out. “This parking lot is for residents only,” she sneered from six feet away. Because I am a people pleaser, I immediately responded, “Oh, sorry about that! Thanks for letting me know!”
Again, the parking lot was mostly empty. But hey, in a warped way, maybe it’s good that people are still petty and aren’t letting the current crisis change them. Good for them.
Steve and I went our separate ways after that. I headed home, inherited Jim’s Chromebook, and did my best to get through the rest of the day
Days 12-13: Saturday & Sunday, March 28-29
Another Animal Crossing and chill on the couch weekend. I opened Twitter when I woke up, caught myself, and then deleted it from my phone for the weekend. While it’s important to be informed, it was constantly consuming the news was feeding my sense of apathetic fatalism and I didn’t need that.
I watched two good videos over the weekend about that from two of my favorite YouTubers that I’d like to recommend. Sarah Z’s video on The Doomer and Tiffany Ferguson’s analysis of how we’re consumed by productivity helped me better understand the two things fueling my anxiety right now.
Jim slept in on Saturday and built our second kitchen island on Sunday. We had another Zoom call with his folks on Sunday night, which is when we often head over to their house for dinner.
Day 14: Monday, March 30
One of my friends out in Virginia messaged the D&D chat asking the California folks for lockdown tips since his state was about to issue a shelter in place order. I was once again struck by the How isn’t evenyone not living like this? thought, but we chimed in with a lot of things you’ve probably heard by now: don’t hoard, toilet paper is not flushable, order and shop from local places whenever you can, etc.
I added something that came to mind as I was reading the chat in the kitchen while Jim and I were making our coffee: if you and your fiancé don’t already have separate working spaces, try and create one. My desk is set up in our bedroom, but it’s currently stacked with office things and books that I was planning to purge. My goal this week is to make it a functional workspace so that Jim and I don’t have to be in the same room all the time.
I got back on Twitter to check in on things and they were not great. Joe Biden not being held accountable for a sexual abuse allegation? Gross. Our local shelter in place order being extended until May 1st? Gross but expected. (So much for picking up my dress.)
But hey, the Backstreet Boys blessed us with a homebound version of I Want It That Way and I got to make a language pun, so this morning’s Twitter session wasn’t all bad. I decided to keep the app on the second page of my phone so I don’t have to see the red notification number of doom unless I want to.
Two weeks of spending almost 24/7 in the same space was starting to take its toll on me and Jim, so I spent the afternoon in the back of the house doing laundry (so much laundry.) and setting up my office area in the bedroom. I’d staked out a sunny corner of the bedroom as my space when we moved in, but my desk and shelf was stacked with books and other office things, so it wasn’t really an effective work space. I boxed up the books for donation, put away my makeup, and finally made the space into a place where I could work.