The Quarantimes Week #1: Is This Real Life?

March 20th, 2020

Eliza jammed a tiny stick up her nose until blood gushed out of it, then laughed. My nurse husband was so annoyed he just stared at her for a sec before stepping in to staunch the bleeding.

It’s still week one of quarantine, what I fondly consider “each of our own personal hells.” In many ways, it’s relatively easy for us to shelter in place because we’re introverts who live at the end of a dead end dirt road in the middle of nowhere. We have a huge yard and miles of forest surrounding us on every side. Staying home doesn’t have to mean staying inside, and for that, I am incredibly grateful. I’ve been planning the garden and watching the girls climb trees. I honestly haven’t even begun to miss the world.

In other ways it’s exceptionally hard. Jon is an RN at a nursing home, which is a pretty stressful job to have right now. I am fortunate to still have a full load of freelance work, but that means trying to work at home with everyone here. My mom is helping out. Make no mistake; I could not do this without her. It is a maze of priorities every day, with no time left over for Netflix, that’s for sure. And the anxiety of a global pandemic coming at us like a troupe of White Walkers, slowly but definitely, is palpable in all our moods.


Phoebe has been particularly clingy with me for the last bunch of weeks. I don’t know whether it’s because she’s going through a phase or picking up on our adult stress energy or what, but she doesn’t want me out of her sight. We are home together 24/7, so you might think that would solve the problem, but it’s becoming increasingly hard for me to isolate myself to work or, you know, go to the bathroom in peace.

After spending yesterday afternoon alone with her while Jon took Eliza to venom therapy, I had to finish up a deadline at bedtime. She was not happy and sobbed every time I left the room. Finally, I sat her down and had a very loving, tender conversation about how much I adore her and how I will always be there for her and how we all have to come together as a family and help each other out right now and that means letting daddy put her to bed tonight. She stared intently into my eyes as I delivered this impassioned soliloquy. I paused for her reply, which was:

“Mama, does the sky go on forever?”

Then another thought: “Who MADE the sky?”

My stock reply to questions like this is, “Nature.” But that only inspires the next question, which as you can probably guess is “Who made nature?” Religious folks, my daughter is ripe for the picking right now.

But seriously, is this real life? Or is this hell? If this is hell, I am at least so glad you’re all here with me.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

What I’m reading:

A snippet from my news roundup:

China continues to report a slowing of new cases. That’s after locking down tens of millions of people, widespread testing, and isolating patients. Now, businesses are reopening. Meanwhile, South Korea’s drive-thru testing minimizes contact with health care providers and an app identifies infected areas.

Italy? Screwed. And hear in Murika, we’re still on Spring Break.

I get the urge to pretend it’s not happening, but newsflash: it’s happening. If you’re wondering whether you should cancel that dinner with friends / that trip to Florida / that birthday party your kid has been so excited about, you should. Full stop.

America is a beautiful country with a lot going for it. Freedom is one of those things. It’s also our downfall. We’re so conditioned to hold our rights higher than goddamned decency and humanity that we are willing to let people die just so that our government can’t tell us what to do.

In lighter news: Opinion: I Refuse to Run a Coronavirus Home School

I really like this point of view and her candidness. In my house, some degree of homeschooling effort is critical because my daughters are five and thrive on structure and normalcy. But we are also watching a lot of TV — mostly in the morning before “school” starts. 

What I’m watching:

Some small solace to be found in the ad hoc live music postings of Scott Avett on Instagram. 

What I’m listening to:

Andrew Bird’s otherworldly melancholy is pretty perfect right now. (Here’s my Spotify playlist of Andrew Bird songs.)

What I’m working on:

Many of my clients are in the business of enabling digital work. And with everyone scrambling to work remotely, that means I suddenly have a lot of projects. I am very, very fortunate. And very, very stressed.

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One Response to “The Quarantimes Week #1: Is This Real Life?”

  1. Liz Hamilton says:

    I just really enjoyed reading your article Joslyn. Quite entertaining and real. I hope Eliza is ok, and what is venom clinic? I hope Pheobe feels more secure today.

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