Monday, May 18, 2020

The Doctor Resurfaces

Hello from Quarantine, NYC

Hello, dear readers! Hello! Holy smokes! I can't believe that it's been more than a month since I last blogged. Weirdly, I just didn't have the time. I've been juggling both jobs from home and trying to finally unpack and settle into the new apartment. It hasn't been easy that's for sure.

Yes, I like to work in the bathtub.
Under normal circumstances, trying to create "last minute" online course content while grading and meeting with students is hard enough. After all, good online classes usually take a month or more to develop. What I -- and all of my colleagues -- did this semester was not normal ... it was triage and it gobbled up all of my free time. Add to this the work that I've been doing as a part-time Research Curatorial Assistant for the New-York Historical Society and VOILA! I disappear for more than a month.

Besides working, Ed and I have been doing a lot of cooking. Ok, I've been doing a lot of cooking and Ed has been doing a lot of eating. As I've said in my last post, we've made the decision to stay inside and not do any shopping at the stores. We get our groceries delivered and we've been Hello Fresh subscribers since we lived in Texas. Yes, this is a very privileged position and I most certainly don't think this is a reality for everyone. However, we're trying to stay out of everyone's way while staying safe. Supermarket workers don't need two more people in their stores and the local hospital doesn't need us there. 

Bijou watching Star Wars with Daddy.
Ed has been watching a lot of movies and working on a new campaign for his RPG group. These days his group meets once a week via Zoom. It's been working out well and they been having a ton of fun! Ed's running his campaign in June and he's excited. As they say, "Where there's a will, there's a way," and this gang has certainly figured out a way! The three couples that make up our little friend group also regularly meets on Saturdays via Zoom. It's been nice to "see" everyone; however, we're all looking forward to when we'll be able to be in the same room again. 

Bijou hasn't really been affected by any of this ... well, except for the fact that we're both home and ready for a game of fetch or mid-afternoon cuddles any time she wants. If you've been following my Instagram account, you know that I've been sharing a ton of pictures of Bijou lately. It's gotten out of control, so I made an Instagram account for her! She loves the new apartment, especially all of the windows and the fireplace. 

Our Aerogarden planters, Day 1.

Our Aerogarden planters, Week 2

We ended up buying two Aerogardens to plant lettuce and cherry tomatoes. While this apartment is comfortable and relatively spacious for a two bedroom, we're having some adjustment issues. We were told that we could have a few pots of plants in the backyard, no problem. When the coronavirus forced NYC to close, our landlord moved his kids and his parents into the basement apartment in our building. Two weeks ago they fenced in the yard, preventing us and our neighbor downstairs from using it. Our neighbor downstairs has full access to the garage and the driveway, which they made into a patio area. Forget about putting any plants out there now! Yup, this was after our landlord told us that we could plant. sigh ... ah well. So we're doing the Aerogarden. Here's hoping this isn't a failed experiment.

For the most part the apartment is quiet during the week. We can work undisturbed on weekdays from the moment we wake up at 7:00 until about 4:00 in the afternoon. Since the weather has been nice, the weekends around here are impossibly loud. I chalk this up to the fact the bars are closed, there's no sporting events, and people are stuck at home. No one is traveling to stores or vacation spots. That means EVERYONE is home and making their little backyard their new "staycation" spot. 

Our neighbors downstairs have been barbecueing (grilling out) with friends almost every weekend. They always break up by midnight; however, until then, the noise is terrible. Since we're following rules and social distancing, we're stuck at home while everyone around us are in their backyards, many breaking social distancing rules and not wearing masks. And that's been the most frustrating and upsetting part about all of this: the rule breakers and protesters. 

Hiking ... when everyone else was. Masks on!
We haven't been out much since March 20th when "New York on PAUSE" began. We went to the post office to mail bills twice, went for a walk around our neighborhood once, and went for a hike twice. Ed had to go to the eye doctor and the pharmacy twice because he had an iritis flair up. We've been diligently wearing our masks and will be doing so for the foreseeable future. Staten Island is way too crowded not too, especially since the majority of people here aren't complying with the governor's or mayor's orders to wear a mask outside and practice social distancing. You see folks with masks hanging from one ear or pulled down over their chin. They just aren't getting it or just don't care. The police have been up and down our street, breaking up large parties and gatherings since this whole thing started! It's disheartening to see so many folks not able to be a part of a community and do their part. They are all too busy satisfying their own wants and desires, to hell with the rest of us. Someone at a "protest to open up" on Staten Island actually said that he's willing to sacrifice 80,000 more people to get this economy going. He thinks that those 80,000 additional people would be considered "American heroes."   Let that sink in.  He's willing to sacrifice his neighbors -- you and your family -- for a haircut or to eat in a restaurant. To him, these people are just numbers, the faceless masses he has no problem leading to slaughter. 

High Rock Park, May 1. Happy Beltane!

And this is what has been really destroying me during this whole thing. I'm good with staying home. Sure, I'm antsy and I would love to go to a museum or out to dinner with friends. I'm good with all of my events being cancelled or rescheduled -- the Coffee and Tea Festival, the 1920s Jazz Festival, Dead Can Dance, and probably Bauhaus. I'm good with staying inside and doing all of the cooking. I understand that I'm an individual who is part of a larger community. My actions not only have consequences here in my own house, they have consequences in my community and in the greater metropolitan area. The fact that some Americans can't seem to grasp this concept is frustrating. Their selfish narcism is appalling. Their armed protests and threats to government officials takes the cake. I thought we were much better than that. I was so very wrong. 

Anyway, Ed and I discovered that hiking in bad weather is better than trying to do so when it's gorgeous out. We had a cold snap last weekend and there was no one on the trails. We were able to take off our masks and wander around the woods. We even had a snow squall in the middle of May!!! While it's not ideal for hiking, bad weather is really good for social distancing while enjoying a walk in the woods.

I've been trying to eat breakfast, shower, and dress before I start any work. I'm not always successful.

As for me, personally, I'm ok. Sort of. I'm starting to come to terms with the fact that life as we knew it before coronavirus is gone and we're in a "new normal," whatever that means. Ed has his job and has been telecommuting for years. Nothing much has changed for him, except that he has been busier since his company has gotten more clients. My adjunct gig is over for the semester and my gig at the N-YHS will probably be over on June 30. Furloughs, baby. I was given one class to teach in the Fall. I guess it's better than nothing. I need to do a LOT of soul searching this summer, that's for sure.

And maybe I'll take some relaxation tips from Bijou. She's so good at it! 

So, how have you been coping with the pandemic? Do you live in areas that are opening up despite cases and deaths rising? How has your country or state dealt with coronavirus?


  1. I was teaching in-seat this semester for the first time in a couple years ... had to stop doing that after midterms, waaaah. But luckily I had already set it up to mirror the online section, so transitioning wasn't hard. I'm done teaching until the fall, so now it's back to freelance editing full time. Since that's always been work from home, I'm pretty fine with social isolating. I just miss my friends (I do see a couple of them for distanced knitting outdoors, now that the weather is warm enough. And I'm sad we've had to cancel so many things in my family, including conferences, family trips, and concerts. But we started a family RPG, with my husband as DM, so that's pretty awesome! Our area has a very low level of Covid-19, and people were really slack on masks etc. even before we started the reopening process recently. So I'm continuing to stay home. My husband was able to transition to working from home, and the university is currently planning to keep that going for most of the summer, assuming best case. That was a bit of a weird transition, but I love having him home.

  2. Sounds like you're being a responsible, community-minded adult, unlike so many of your fellow citizens!

  3. I wish I could work from home. Unfortunately I am part of a two man accounting team for a small business that supplies containers to companies making hand sanitizer, as well as contracts with medical waste companies, food processors, and some government and military contracts as well. Our company is "essential." The company has taken steps to protect us, including purchasing hand sanitizer and putting it everywhere, providing masks to all of us, and we no longer allow customers to come into the building. We've actually been busier than normal and it has put extra stress on all of us. Outside of work, I've been very careful to only grocery shop once a week, without panic buying or hoarding food. To the dog's dismay, this means no trips to the dog park recently and he's going stir crazy. As coworkers, we have gotten together a couple times in a small group to cook together and have fun. After all, we spend 8 hours a day together, so we're already exposed to each other anyway. That's helped with feeling isolated for sure. My daughter is the one who is struggling the most. We've compromised a little and allowed her best friend to come by and the girls had to sit at least six feet away from each other, outside in the front yard, to talk. They each had notebooks so they could draw and show each other. Neither was happy about it, but they did agree it was better than not seeing each other at all.
    And I live in Oklahoma, so we're being more cautious than most.

  4. I know Ontario's cases of Covid skyrocketed this week because apparently everyone ignored the social distancing rules on Mother's Day. Happy Mother's Day - I've brought you a gift you weren't expecting!

    Alberta has started Phase 1 of our Healthy Relaunch. I personally am eagerly anticipating Phase 2, which means the libraries will reopen, although honestly it's going to feel so weird actually walking in there again I might not be able to do it. And out here where we live, it's pretty much business as usual, but I think that's the case in a lot of rural areas.

    We will continue to isolate and wear masks and everything else we're suppose to, and I just have to resign myself to not being able to see my daughter and granddaughter until likely next year. At least, I certainly hope it's next year.

    Stay well, you guys! Package in the mail yesterday ... thank goodness there's never anyone in the Post Office out here either. 🖤