Apr 7, 2020

Life Interrupted

Could just be a list of things we are baking and eating, but  should probably be more than that.

Indicative of my mood: Some blue skies and pretty trees, but also lots of rain clouds,
scattered showers, moderate wind, and a yard full of trash.
"How are you doing?"
What everyone asks and what everyone wants to know. Frankly, now more than ever, it's incredibly relevant because without people asking and cheering and encouraging, we're ALL DOOMED!! (Dramatic much, Emily?)

Usually I answer "Oh, you know...quarantined with five kids and what-not. Homeschooling! Teenagers!" And then we talk and laugh so we don't cry.

March 4. "State of Emergency to exist in California as a result of the threat of COVID-19"

Early in March my friends from our San Francisco days started discussing an upcoming Ski Trip to Vail. Taking place the weekend of March 12th, it had been in the works for months. Doug and I had decided we couldn't/shouldn't/wouldn't attend. Too expensive, to soon after our family vacation, too hard to find a sitter...the list of reasons not to go was long.

Yet, as the time approached, I started feeling seeeeeerious FOMO. One of the couples who would be on the trip tried to talk us in to going. I started thinking about it. I asked Doug if I could fly in for one night. Or maybe two nights. He started thinking maybe we could both sneak away. A family ski trip had recently been cancelled freeing up the vacation budget.
We miraculously secured babysitting. We made plans. We actually bought plane tickets for early in the morning on Friday March 13.

March 11. (Exactly 9 years after the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami coincidentally) News reports weren't looking good. People in California were starting to clean out store shelves and Doctors in Utah and Missouri were being told not to leave the state on threat of 2 week quarantine

I was feeling sick to my stomach.
I woke up the morning of the 12th and said a short prayer: "Heavenly Father, should we go on this trip?" The sick feeling remained and a dozen not-good scenarios popped immediately into my head. I called Doug. "I prayed about it. I don't think we should go." He replied "I did too. I don't think we should go either."
We cancelled our tickets and by that night it seemed like the sky was falling. At least in the state of California.
Three couples backed out. Four couples ended up going on the trip and they all had a blast. But by that Sunday, stores and restaurants in the area were closing, and the ski resort shut down the next day.

[At this point in my writing the other day, I was interrupted and had to leave the room. Now it's a few days later and I'm determined to finish this post regardless of how many times a kid walks in.]

March 13. Last day of school for my kids.
(How can I homeschool with no preparation and no warning? How do I manage the tech and the teachers? How do I regulate screen-time? How do I get my husband to help when he has his own plans? What about my senior? Will he still graduate on time? How can I get my teens to step up and be helpful? How can I get my littles to chill out and go with the flow? How do I explain why this is happening and what it all means?)

While the world is unravelling, I am getting into Emergency Preparedness mode. Ever since Japan, I'm pretty paranoid on a normal day. Now, I'm buying #10 cans of White Flour in bulk (24 was the final count I believe--I have since given several away) and ordering massive quantities of Yeast on Amazon. As well as a solar oven--one of the main Prepper essentials I had never bothered to buy. Doug assures me he has plenty of masks at work and we probably won't need them anyway so I don't buy any. "Regrets, I have a few..."

March 18. Last full day of work for my husband.
(How can this actually be happening? Can they actually stop him from working? Is there any way he can safely keep working? How long will our savings last? How long can we pay our bills and our mortgage? How long can we afford to pay the cleaning people to not come? How long can we all be in the same house together without going nuts?)

I request that Doug order a cord of wood. He does and builds a giant structure to keep it dry on the side of the house. Once that is done, he starts an incredibly labor intensive project of painting the Library in the middle of me melting down about homeschooling. No wait, the kids are melting down. I'm still fine at this point. Visitors, vacations, and events have been cancelled as far out as June, and life as we have known it is slowly coming to a grinding halt.

March 22. Governor of California issues a Shelter in Place Order.
(I get a text with the news. I feel a slowly creeping overwhelming feeling of panic. I get up and leave family game night. I immediately text a friend "Can you please pack up and come live with us immediately? I can't do this!!" I start reading news stories and sign up to receive the newspaper for the first time in 8 years.)

In the aftermath of the Earthquake, I did a lot of writing to process my emotions. I wrote a lengthy and fairly dramatic blog post seemingly every day.

This time, I sit down to write and nothing happens. The words don't pop into my head anymore. And even if they did, I only have approximately 3.2 minutes of uninterrupted time before the next kid bursts into the room with a problem only mom can fix. (The four people he passes on his way won't do at all.) (Literally right after typing this, I get interrupted...)

{First Interruption: Gray -Wants Confiscated Nerf Gun back.}

Today I called a friend and she said "How did you know I was sitting in my car hiding from my kids?" Approximately six minutes later, they found her.

I feel like I'm in a Mental Fog and the only rays of sunshine are hopeful Instagram posts from Church Leaders and, ya know...hilarious Internet Memes.
(Jimmy Fallon and John Krasinski are really helping to keep the blues away, too.)
"Schooling" has ebbed and flowed. Some days great effort is expended. Some days I give up in under an hour and we quit for the day. Some days the sun comes out and we all jump on the trampoline. Some days Mom stares out at the rain and wants to cry but doesn't. Those days it's hard not to medicate with carbs but raising my Blood Sugar to diabetic range won't help anyone.

{Second Interruption: Linc wants cuddles. Cuddles duly promised for after bath and before bed. It has officially begun. Once the "Interruption Train" has left the station and the family has collectively noticed my absence by way of bat sonar and The Force, it is only a matter of time before I become the number one tourist destination in our newly constricted Grand Tour.}

I told myself when this all started happening that this time would be different. That this time I would be calm and cool and collected in the face of adversity.

I would NOT lose it at/with/in front of my kids. I would NOT stress my days away and let my negative thoughts run wild.

And this time has been better. I am definitely short tempered some days, but not as bad as in 2011. I have had more moments of calm collectedness. I carve out moments to be with the boys individually. I try to say "yes" to requests even when I'm mentally screaming "GO-AWAY-AND-LEAVE-ME-ALONE-FOR-THE-LOVE-OF-HUMANITY" in my head. I'm reading more bed time stories and morning time stories and middle of the day stories and giving all the cuddles asked for...and not asked for.

But still...there are still those moments of trying to hide from the children and struggling with every fiber of my being not to fight with my newly unemployed husband as he offers suggestions (sometimes helpful, sometimes not) on how we should be doing things around here.

(All while keeping his own schedule, pursing his own projects, and escaping to work periodically for emergency patients. {I escape to my phone and Instagram frequently, I just don't have the benefit of being away from my kids at the same time.})*

I keep telling my children: "This is a crazy situation!! We can come out of it BETTER or WORSE! We can get closer as a family, or farther apart (farther apart sounds great right now.) We can get better at a hobby, or waste time on things of no worth!

{Third Interruption: Linc wants to tell me about his Bathtub epiphany about the fizzy color tabs: You can mix them to make new colors!!}

{Fourth Interruption: Gabe demanding a hug. Not all interruptions are bad.}

(Adding movie of the time lapse I started a few minutes ago when I started working on this post and noticed the pretty clouds)

{Fifth Interruption: Sam is calling my name but my office light is off and he hasn't found me yet...only a matter of time. **5-seconds later** He wants to know if I want to watch "Big Fat Liar" with him. We compromise on "Emma" after littles are in bed. Post Edit: We actually watch "Robin Hood" with Kevin Costner and Snape.}

(Adding accurate dates to post now that I'm no longer taking time-lapse.)

{Sixth Interruption: Linc-his tummy hurts and he does NOT need to go poo-poo. "It's not that!"}

And now I've completely lost my train of thought. Were we done? What was I talking about? I don't even remember!
Oh yeah.
How are we doing?

"We're fine! Ya know...Quarantine Lyfe!"

*I should mention that I truly and passionately love and adore my husband. I appreciate that he painted the Library, planted a garden, does Math and Science with the kids, bakes, takes care of the chickens and a few days ago he even helped me deep clean our closet. If he would just do what I want him to do at every minute of every day it would be perfect! [KIDDING!!] It's fine. (It really is.) We'll be just fine!

{Seventh Interruption: Linc is ready to be tucked in. Doug calls me from downstairs at the same time. And now I'm finished.}


KT said...

Emily, I love this post so much. I wanted to comment like a week ago but ....too many interruptions, uggh! Thank you for being real . . for making the rest of us feel good about how things are going instead of making us question why we can't do/be/function better. Keep blogging!!!

acte gratuit said...

Thanks Katie! I does help to know we are all struggling along together!!!