The Quarantimes Week 9: Yet Another Nadir

May 15th, 2020

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Every time someone asks me how I’m doing I feel obliged to say “Great!” But I watched a Grateful Dead tribute video the other day and sobbed for 20 minutes. I don’t even like the Grateful Dead. Or maybe I do now? I don’t know anything anymore. 

What day is it? What year is it? Why are we here? Everything seems so existential and yet banal all at once.

As we head into summer, suddenly, this situation is starting to seem endless. All of our plans have been cancelled. No friend get-togethers in sight. No traveling, no beach days, no annual Cape Cod tradition. 

I am starting to really miss my friends. At the same time, shoot me if I have to schedule one more Zoom call. I read something about how exhausting it is to communicate on Zoom because you have to work so much harder, cognitively, to use and read facial expressions and body language. This is particularly true if, like me, you have a super shitty internet connection that puts a constant lag between sound and picture. 

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My kids, on the other hand, are thriving IRL. They’re learning new things all the time, spending hours and hours outside every day, starting to read. 

I am so utterly grateful that my kids are totally rolling with this. My husband, too, despite being an RN in a nursing home for God’s sake, seems fine. In fact, I think I am the only one in my family that even notices we’re in a lockdown state. Perhaps this is because I’m the only one who can’t manage to even step outside the house more than a few times a week, between watching over two feral honey badgers, trying to keep on top of work in the spare moments, and cooking three meals two snacks and sometimes a dessert nearly every day.

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I’m in a mood. 

I have a standing weekly writers meeting with one of my clients that usually involves small assignments. This week the assignment was to write a short piece in New York Times One Bright Thing format. Here’s what I wrote about:

Recently, at her insistence, I taught Eliza how to make an egg. She pulled her stool up to the stove. With all the patience I could muster, I demonstrated how to turn the gas burner on: turn a little, hear the clicks, turn some more. Cut off a wedge of butter and slide it into the pan. When it melts, the pan is very hot. Now you can crack the egg. A little harder. OVER THE PAN! Good, now, it’s time to flip it. That was…. terrible. Try again. Lots of trial and error. Lots of cleaning up. Lots of eggs eaten in my house this week as my daughters both got deeply into the spirit of making their own fried eggs. On Sunday, my daughters brought me breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day. Eliza made the egg. Phoebe made the toast and assembled the berries. Dad made the coffee. 

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In other news…

“Mama do unicorns eat bananas?”

“Not sure.”

“Can you ask The Siri?’

Siri is a huge joke in my house and we actually only use it to amuse ourselves. Somewhere along the line, I inadvertently trained the inept AI brain in my iPhone to think I’m calling it when I yell HEY PHOEBE! Turns out, I yell HEY PHOEBE! a lot.

My kids think it’s hilarious when I yell HEY PHOEBE! and Siri responds. Of course, Siri never knows anything. 


What I’m reading:

On Vanity Fair: “If 80% of Americans Wore Masks, COVID-19 Infections Would Plummet, New Study Says.” I sheepishly remember all those years I spent wondering what was the deal with people from Japan and face masks. Touché. Their death rate is 2% of ours in good ol’ Merika. But you go on and keep complaining about your freedom! 

Get Ready for a Vaccine Information War in the New York Times. I have so lost faith in humanity. We are just not a smart people. 

What I’m listening to: 

The Grateful Dead, apparently 

What I’m watching:

I had to teach my kids about “happy crying” after watching episode 7 of Some Good News in front of them the other day.

This Snoop Dog clip that’s making the rounds turned my entire day around today.

What I’m eating:

Burnt-out mom tip: this Cheesy, Spicy Black Bean Bake recipe from NYT Cooking takes 15 minutes and is awesome for kids!

Also, made parsley and ramp pesto YUM:


What I’m working on:

For Helpshift: How Mindfulness Translates to Happier Agents and Customers

For Box: How Vistra Energy embraces a culture of change 

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2 Responses to “The Quarantimes Week 9: Yet Another Nadir”

  1. Hang in there, Joslyn. I understand that you are the one feeling the quarantine, and I sympathize. You’re doing a terrific job, I know it.

    I just scanned a photo I recalled having taken of Devon’s first successful fried egg. She was a little older, I think. Maybe six. Is that a comfort? And we were in Vermont, too!

    I’ll see if I still have an email for you and if so, I’ll send it.

    Hey, speaking of Zoom meetings, would you like to come to our Network Central Open House on Tuesday 10 AM! A civilized hour! Okay, I’m kidding.

    Being a parent is really hard, even without quarantime. You rock.

  2. Tom Bentley says:

    Joslyn, you forgot the playbook: you only listen to the Dead on acid, otherwise you miss the whole body experience. And then of course, you can go though the whole “This is your brain on drugs” with the fried eggs with more gusto. Of course, it’s probably better that you stick to coffee with the kids around.

    I got out crayons yesterday to color with, and have them on the table. Today I will color something. And I scheduled a Zoom meeting with people from the future. Hang in there.

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