Thursday, April 2, 2020

Bits and Pieces of Now

Yesterday Matt, my mom, and I were supposed to fly to the east coast. My stepsister was getting married in DC. We were going to celebrate with her and take in museums and monuments in the city before setting off to Shenandoah National Park.
As recently as March 12th, we still thought maybe Matt and I would be able to make it happen, though in retrospect that was foolishly optimistic yearning. We could see the writing on the wall and were in denial. My eldest sister lives in Seattle and, as the situation rapidly escalated there, she called on the last day of February urging us to buy some extra food and supplies. Matt works for our county health department where they’d been starting to prep and stockpile supplies going back to January.  I largely ignore the news and had my head, admittedly, in the sand.  Italy was a sucker punch for me that sealed the deal.  Not only was DC off the table, but the excrement was hitting the air conditioning, to borrow a phrase from my beloved Kurt Vonnegut.
It is almost embarrassing to have to admit how much I was apparently clinging to my “it couldn’t happen here/to me” mindset.  It makes me feel dumb, but it’s the truth.
Was that really just three weeks ago? When we canceled the trip and battened down the hatches?!  It seems so much longer, as if each day has stretched. Or as if the planet’s spin has slowed, drawing out the days.  Time truly is such a relative thing. I really came to appreciate that when I started going to the gym. One minute of squats is nothing, but you should hear me moan about one minute of burpees.
The wedding has been postponed, along with, well, just about everything else in life.
I’m making the most if it, as I do.  That isn’t to say that I’m not anxious or worried. It’s hard not to be. I just try to focus on other things. More productive things. Things more directly under my control.  Plus, while I certainly miss concerts and dinner parties and all the rest of my usual hustle-and-bustle, it wouldn’t be completely honest if I didn’t acknowledge that I’m enjoying the unscheduled, steady quietude of my current home based experience, too.
We planted the garden with the early crops. I finally finished the curtains for our bedroom. I read a lot. Matt and I play a lot of games—board games, old school Nintendo, and darts, mostly. We have even carried on with our Tuesday night bowling tradition thanks to the Wii. We’ve been eating some incredible food, taking extra time on it. My family has been delightfully adept at engaging each other through remote, technological means. My cousins even created an online game room so folks can play Whist—with our family-style house rules. I had my first ever video chat with my dad. There have been a few nights spent around the backyard firepit. I’ve played my guitar until my fingers ache. The cats love our total lack of weekend and evening departures. They think this is the best thing that ever happened, I suspect.
There’s plenty to do. I’ve certainly said that I have too many interests and not enough time in the past. And here we are. The time has come. Plus, it’s important to remember how blessed we really are. We’re both still getting paid. We have an emergency savings account. We have full cupboards. We’re healthy. We have so much that enables this household to work, even if it doesn’t feel as easy or normal as accustomed.
We’re settling into this new, relatively temporary pattern of living.
Matt has been picking up a spot of overtime— he reports this is the first time that has ever happened in his life. It’s obviously a busy and stressful time for all those involved in healthcare, even those behind the scenes, like Matt. He works in the purchasing department and it has been a tricky time making sure all the needed supplies are available.
[Sidebar:  I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for medical professionals, nurses especially. This is all the more so in the current climate. Blessings of health and strength upon all the doctors, nurses, techs, therapists, etc. of the world!]
As for me, the library—the whole campus—is closed, more or less. It’s a sad-looking ghost town. Students are still learning and professors are still teaching, it’s just all online now. Initially I was still going to the library, but was directed to work remotely starting March 12th. I felt quite clumsy at it for the first week, but I have settled into it there, as well. I am still able to help students obtain e-books and digital copies of articles. I’ve been compiling statistics and updating policies and manuals. I discovered that listening to webinars and other online training is significantly more enjoyable with a snuggly warm cat on my lap. I set up a little desk under the picture window and like it so much—the light is great and so is the birdwatching—that I might leave it when I return back to work. It’s a lovely space to make art and write postcards, too. Working from home is not the same in just about every sense, but it will do. I am going to be an expert at all of the tricks and shortcuts on my phone by the end of this thing. I do all of my telecommuting from our teeny tiny iPhone since we don’t have regular home internet.  I’m learning so much.  Boy!  Aren’t we all?!?


  1. Hi Beth,
    ...hoping you and your family stay well...your curtains are pretty...we're staying in and using Facetime and Zoom a lot to stay connected to family and friends...
    ~Have a lovely day!

    1. Thanks! I dig the new curtains a lot.

      Be well, friend!

  2. Oh Beth, I liked this post! Honest and some sadness, but overall, yes, I agree: we have so much to be grateful for!

  3. Also, I thought you as a librarian would get a giggle: we had a big stack of books checked out in March because that's usually how we roll when our library suspended everything - so we now have bonus reading material for who-knows-how-long!!

    1. We extended all of our due dates to May 8 back in March. And then on the first of the month I extend them again until September! Who-knows-how-long material indeed!! All my interlibrary loan users are especially stoked.


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