So we’re all trapped at home with houses full of children and little to distract us from the intensity of daily life and oh, yes, by the way, watching the news and/or pretty much spending any time on social media will make your heart pitter patter with an anxiety that evokes inappropriate urges to day drink?
I’m calling it, folks. It’s the great return of regular blogging as we knew it that we’ve all been wistfully recalling since somewhere circa 2015.
Anyway, I’m here for it. Literally and figuratively. But mostly, literally. All 8 of us have been recalled to home duty until further notice. Our school is shuttered until March 31 (but I think we anticipate going much longer than that) and we’re getting a crash course in homeschooling with direction from our wonderful teachers and as much online material as they can produce.
Dave is working from home until further notice. Our libraries shut down a few hours ago. Yesterday afternoon the bishops across the state of Colorado made the difficult decision to suspend all public masses indefinitely, effective immediately.
In a word? It’s surreal. I tried my best to get to Mass and confession yesterday morning, sensing what was coming (you’re overreacting, honey. spoiler alert: I wasn’t) but was foiled by a fierce 24 hour stomach bug that leveled our entire family except for, somehow, the baby and the 9 year old. Since neither of them have particularly good hygiene I can only assume it’s from the psychotic hand washing I’ve been indulging in all week, the antibacterial soap obliterating my normally excellent natural defense system built of carefully acquired friendly microbes associated with wiping all the butts.
I’m joking but only because I’d cry otherwise. Do you know how much toilet paper a family of 8 WITH A STOMACH BUG GOES THROUGH? Let’s just say good thing I bought 4 extra packages on Wednesday night and looked SuPeR CrAzY because, frankly, we’ve taken a heavy hit to our stash.
Our local Nextdoor feed is filling up with predictable rancor against wicked hoarders but also advice on where to still find industrial paper towel rolls, and I wanted to meekly insert myself into the scuffle at some juncture and suggest that some of us do legitimately look like we’re stocking a survival bunker during a regular weekly grocery shop, but I held off.
I’m not afraid of the virus itself, but of the strain it may well put on our healthcare system. I’m fleetingly afraid of Benny, recently discharged from oxygen as he is, and praying that his little lungs are 100% recovered and there is no residual scarring from his tangle with RSV. I am a little concerned for my parents and my inlaws, particularly the latter because 3 of my siblings in law currently live at home and work in the medical field and, therefore may be bringing stuff back into the home with them.
I think a profound good can come from this in the form of a rekindled love and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, and a renewed belief that it really, really is Jesus. When it became apparent that we were going to lose access to the Mass yesterday, the shock and sorrow were profound. It makes me want to reassess my priorities in life and make a complete and detailed confession (when I can again) admitting that honestly, my own heart and manner had grown lukewarm and somewhat overly familiar. Babies tipping off my lap, masses in folding chairs during building renovations, being physically uncomfortable during the liturgy: all conspired to render my attention and devotion far less than what Our Lord deserves.
Let this ultimate fast of Lent 2020 be a wakeup call to us all.
Also I literally finished reading Fr. Walter Cizek’s “With God in Russia” earlier this week so let’s just say my reaction to this all has been tempered by a mental immersion in the soviet gulags.
Now, how about a random list of resources and recommended reading to get you through spring break 2020, the Coronavirus edition (not to be confused with another form of Corona virus, self induced, which I suffered heavily from circa Spring Break of 2004)
What’s that, you’d love to see something like that?
For starters, when I saw the proverbial shit was hitting the fan in terms of the local toilet paper supply, I hopped online and channeled my inner Italian mamma and snagged one of these for our kids’ bathroom. Thinking of ordering another one in case two people are using two bathrooms at once. I also grabbed some of these (shudder) just…in case.
I anticipated that Clearblue test sticks (Marquette users hear me) might become scarce as demand for stocking up spiked, so I ordered a box from Walmart.com on Thursday evening, where they were still $38/30 as opposed to $59 on Amazon (price gouging cough cough). As of this writing, both locations are now out of stock. I also grabbed (don’t laugh) 5 boxes of Wondfo test stripsto have as back up because I am confident enough in my charting that I can make do, in a pinch, using OPKs only. Since I have a lot of local Marquette users in my circle, I wanted to have extras on hand in case any friends or sisters run out.
We’re going to run out of toilet paper sooner than later, because 8 people just go through a lot. I’m taking our extra rolls out of the bathrooms and keeping them in a closet for safekeeping from Zelie, because the other day I found her saturating one in antibacterial hand soap (oh the HUMANITY) and I grieved for the dual loss.
Other than that, we’re trying to establish a daily rhythm and routine for weekdays that should go something like this:
breakfast dishes and other morning chores
Dave retires to the master bedroom to work from home
1 hour of actual schooling (taking it easy here, folks) for all 3 bigger kids (kinder, 2nd, 3rd) with little ones “participating” ala play doh or coloring sheets)
1 hour screen time/naps for mom and littlest two
sitting across the street from one another and “playing” with our neighbor friends (I’m sure this will go well)
1 hour of screen time/mom checks in on work
reading for older kids, lights out for littles by 8 pm
mom and dad’s extended happy hour until the wine runs out …
My original plans for Lent were a little less…rigorous than this, but we get what we get and we don’t throw a fit, right?
A Return to Modesty (re-read this for Auntie Leila’s Lenten book club rec and … meh. Loved it when I originally read it in college, but I don’t think it aged particularly well in terms of how much more awful culture is now than it was 20 years ago)