On the first month of covid, covid gave to me: more time with family.
Friday the 13th has never delivered quite the way Friday, March the 13th, 2020 did. We knew something was amiss. We had heard rumblings of Covid. We knew there were possibilities of big changes ahead. BAM! Schools closed and employers said, stay home. Let me tell you straight up, this was not a smooth transition. For the first week, my husband could still go to his office, so I was home with our 2 young boys AND working full-time. I made a schedule for our days. I ordered groceries. I raised my voice, a lot. I stress ate. I stress drank. It was not pretty.
After this initial week of shock, my husband was home with us as well. I will never forget him closing himself in the office while I worked at the kitchen island and tried to run the circus of our children. You see, entertaining 5yr old and 2yr old boys is not for the faint of heart. No single activity is going to last more than about 15mins… and that’s only if you are lucky. They wanted fed constantly. They wanted cuddled constantly. They wanted their way constantly. There were epic battles: me against them and also them against each other, if I’m honest. One day, my husband came out of the office to ask, “Do we have 20 children in this house?! Why is it so loud?!” Sigh. I was doing the best I could to hold down work responsibilities and be the gatekeeper of school work, fun having, and snacks. I was losing my mind quite honestly.
On the second month of covid, covid gave to me: time to bake cookies and more time with family.
As we settled in to this ‘new normal’ as they say, I discovered that baking cookies, bread, or any other manner of treats was bringing me joy. So bake away I did. Lucky for me, I had a decent stockpile of various flours. However, that too ran out and the flour shortage of 2020 was real time. Before I had a breakdown of epic baking proportions, I was able to make various things. My personal favorite is when Hilton released it’s chocolate chip cookie recipe. Those are worth it, my friends!
Along with the baking and eating more calories in a day than I need in an entire week, I realized I needed to start getting some exercise and finding a smidgeon of me time before I lost all my remaining marbles. I started running 3mi every other day and I did that for about 3-4wks. You would think that would have offset some of my calories consumed in sugary goodness and alcohol, but no, it didn’t make a dent at all. But still, it felt good to get out and frankly, to be alone even if for only 30mins.
On the third month of covid, covid gave to me: 10 extra pounds, time to bake cookies, and more time with family.
Despite my best efforts, I rolled into month 3 of quarantine quite literally. I had gained 10lbs. Yes, I know, obscene amounts of food and drink will do that to you. I was doing my best to cope, but the stress was eating me alive of trying to balance everything, and apparently I was eating it right back. We have to give ourselves some grace. It isn’t easy to have your world upended. Coping is different for every one of us, so I give you all permission to deal with it all any way you need to. I was still running, but now I went 3-4mi twice a week and on the weekend I would do 5-6mi. It was something and it helped my sanity, but it was a non-scale victory because none of those lbs were budging.
On the fourth month of covid, covid gave to me: surprise we are moving, 10 extra pounds, time to bake cookies, and more time with family.
Why not throw a move during quarantine/covid into the mix?! Seems like a great idea, right? We had known for a few months it was possible (and even likely), but once it was confirmed, we spent a whirlwind of time figuring out the details. We were moving about 2.5hrs away to Asheville, NC and needed to find a place to live, daycare, school for our kindergartener, doctors, all the things. We spent a few days over the next 3wks driving the 2.5hrs to look at houses to rent. We didn’t want to buy before we know where we want to be and our dream has always been to own some land up this way. The market for family housing in our new area was cut throat. Things were snatched up right away, and expensive too. With a good friend in the area, she was able to view a home before we could get there and tell us it would work well for us. Thank goodness we got that home and could move forward with all the other planning. You see, you can’t find schools and daycares until you have an idea of what part of town you’ll be in.
On the fifth month of covid, covid gave to me: adjusting to a new life, surprise we are moving, 10 extra pounds, no time to bake cookies, and more time with family.
Whew! We made it! You do not even want to hear about the nightmare of a move we had. Oh, you do? Ok, I’ll give you a brief overview. The movers showed up late and somehow had not been told they would be helping us to actually pack items. After an hour or two of negotiations and disdain, they finally started to pack. We had been told they would be able to pack us and move us all in the same day. We had also already made several trips to be sure we had moved all of our clothing. I had worked hard to pack as many things as I could and to organize similar types of items for it to make sense. None of that mattered. Long story short, I drove the 2.5hrs alone with our 2 sons and we stayed in a hotel overnight. My husband stayed behind to witness the ridiculousness that ensued. Things got broken, a truck got left behind, my husband had to physically help them move himself, they ran over our new neighbor’s mailbox, and they didn’t leave the new house until 7am the next day. The 2nd truck wasn’t delivered until the following day even. You can’t make this stuff up.
What choice do you have but to take a crazy situation, laugh about it and move on the best you can. It took a couple weeks of constant work to get things somewhat organized and put away. The storage here isn’t the best, so a lot is down in the creepy basement waiting until the day we’ll need to shuffle through containers to find what we need. Needless to say, the focus has been drawn away from baking into surviving on whatever we can, in whatever way we can.
On the sixth month of covid, covid gave to me: allergies that look suspicious, adjusting to a new life, surprise we are moving, 10 extra pounds, no time to bake cookies and more time with family.
Boy! The stress of it all! It definitely took its toll and I was feeling lousy. I felt sure it was allergies. When my allergies get bad, I get a sinus infection, which often leads to vertigo. Yee haw. I was plumb tuckered and was having a tough time functioning. There were no moments to rest, but constant action needed. All that stress, then allergies, then more stress. I needed a break, but none was in sight. After feeling rundown and crumby for a while, I decided it was time to be sure it wasn’t covid. I didn’t think it was, but I wanted to be sure. The test was not nearly as terrible as I anticipated and it came back negative within 48hrs. Phew! Close one! Here I am 2 months later and I still have congestion and the occasion cough. Vertigo seems to come and go every couple of weeks. But it is so much better and I think my stress level going down a smidge has helped a lot. Maybe living in an old house is part of it. Maybe I will have a new type of allergy situation here in the mountains. I’m not sure, but I’m still beyond thrilled to be here.
On the seventh month of covid, covid gave to me: craving time with friends, allergies that look suspicious, adjusting to a new life, surprise we are moving, 10 extra pounds, no time to bake cookies, and more time with family.
7 months. 7 whole months. We’ve been faced with uncertainty and some level of fear for 7 whole months. We’ve lived life in a sheltered way for 7 whole months. For 7 whole months, we’ve covered our faces, cutting off our smiles from the world. Do you know the science behind smiling?! The feeling and hormone boost YOU get from smiling is one thing, you can still smile with your mask on. However, smiling is a chain reaction and YOUR smile positively impacts the hormones of others… and makes them want to smile. It’s like yawning, totally contagious. 7 months without seeing the smiles of other people. Woof. 7 months of feeling cut off from so many people we cherish. The saddest thing is, it has started to feel ‘normal’ to just hunker down at home 95% of the time. It has started to feel ‘normal’ to only hear from people via text messages. Sure, I’ve moved a few times: small town southeastern Ohio, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Columbia, and now Asheville. Sure, I have friends scattered in every one of those places. And of course, I’m sure my friendships are different than someone who has lived in the same town and known the same people for 30yrs+. However, it is really heartbreaking as a social person, to have that part of my life cut off. I miss seeing my friends. I miss laughing with them. I miss HUGGING them. It seems like we’ve all gotten so wound up in our own solitude and the duties of protecting our kin that we’ve maybe neglected friendships a little bit. How can we fight against that? How can we break free safely to share time with those we care about? How can we make friendships the priority they deserve to be?
7 months. It isn’t over yet. 7 months with more to come. 7 months has changed us all in various and unique ways. Now, we get to choose what the next 7 months is going to look like, even if we are looking at it from behind a mask.
How are you going to take control of your next 7 months? What lessons from the last 7 months are you going to take with you?