Anyone else feel like no matter how soon life gets back to “normal” you’ll never be the same?
If I never have another conference call in my life, it’ll be too soon. Calls with 3-5 people are manageable, though still annoying. But these calls I’m on with 60 people?! WHAT PART OF MUTE YOUR PHONE DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?! Look, I get it. We’re all multitasking; for some that means typing, for others it means walking the dog, doing the dishes or god forbid, going to the bathroom. The bottom line is, I really don’t care as long as you mute your phone.
And how many Zoom screen shares do I have to sit through before I stop trying to scroll down a screen that isn’t mine? I miss having two computer screens. Hell, even just one normal sized screen. Laptop work is so tedious and my eyes hurt.
I used to rush my kids to daycare on my way to work. Now every morning I walk my kids to daycare, every afternoon I walk them home – unless it is too hot. I work, as I always have – very diligently, between those two walks, but it’s different than it used to be. The whole day, the set-up… it’s different. I get up at least a half hour later than I used to, I have virtually no “getting ready” to do. I have 20-30 minutes alone to drink my coffee in peace before the kids get up. I don’t hate it, I actually love it. Working from home suites me.
My toddler has gotten so used to walking to school he actually threw a fit yesterday when we were pressed for time (because he took 15 minutes to go to the bathroom) and had to drive. He normally runs in front of the stroller his sister sits in, instead of riding. Daycare is 3/4 mile from our house – it is a nice little workout for a three year old. Of course he randomly comes screeching to a halt to point out a flower or cat or a large truck. I normally miss whatever it is he is saying as I try not to run him over with the stroller.
I take my coffee on the walk, AirPods in my ears, new running shoes on my feet – even when I’m just walking. Those AirPods and shoes are the most expensive investments I’ve made into my pandemic mental health. Namely, into this new thing I call “running”. I’ve been running 12-15 miles a week. I used to hate running. I actually do still hate running, but I’ve also found a certain comfort in the process. Even if I’m pushing a stroller, I still feel alone. Just me and my music and my thoughts. I also have a nice sports bra tan emerging. Most of all, it is what gets me out of the house. Also, those AirPods are a conference call game changer, just sayin.
I am not the person who is still out and about. These days, on an average week I leave the house, in a car, once for curbside grocery pickup. Last weekend I discovered I’ve forgotten how to correctly leave the house in a car (specifically, when no one is home). Saturday I went out for my weekly grocery pickup. No one else was home when I left. I hadn’t driven my car in six days. I didn’t set the alarm, lock the door OR remember to close my garage door. You can imagine my husband’s surprise when he got home about 15 minutes after I left. He actually called me to make sure I hadn’t been abducted or the car stolen. Face palm.
The toddler also threw a fit two weeks ago when I let him tag along on my drive up grocery pickup and he realized we weren’t going into the store. “But I wanna go inside for grow-shreeees” I can’t say I share his sentiment. This “no human contact” grocery shopping now fits me like a glove.
I can count on less than one hand the number of times I’ve been inside a store in the last six weeks. I used to visit Target and/or Nugget 4-5 times a week. Not because I love to shop, but because I’m terrible at meal planning and prepping. I’m not sure shopping in store will ever be the same. Will everyone make me nervous? Every time someone coughs will I have the urge to sanitize? Will grocery shopping become a dressed down version of Murder Mystery Theater – everyone is a suspect?
I’ve worn actual pants less times than I’ve been in a store in six weeks. I’ve put on jeans exactly twice. I have no idea if they still fit. I don’t know and currently, I don’t care. The only times I’ve worn make-up were for media events and on Easter (because, family photo). I didn’t even put on mascara for my 10 year anniversary celebration. I’ve never been so thankful that I don’t get my hair cut regularly, I have no dye near my roots, I don’t have fake nails or even a burning desire for a mani/pedi, I don’t get my eyebrows waxed… I mean, I’ve be preparing for this slothful lifestyle for years!
I eat so much chocolate every day. I’d like to blame it on stress, and that was true, the first five weeks or so. Work was so stressful and busy I couldn’t even take a bathroom break, let alone make myself something for lunch. but the last week to 10 days I have no excuse. Now I just have no self-control. I don’t even feel bad about it and have no plans to change. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so apathetic about my food/drink intake.
You’d think being home 24/7 would afford me time to cook a real dinner. You’d be wrong. Not about the time, just about me taking advantage of it. We like to pretend it is because we want to support local restaurants or that we change our mind at the last minute and want pizza, but we both know I am just a bad cook and my food isn’t worth the effort!
I have a standing conference call at 3:00 pm. I dread it every day. Half the time I get a call that forces me to jump off it. Even if the call only lasts a minute, I use that as my out to not jump back on.
We walk to get the kids by 4:30, too many days I am still fielding emails on my phone(s) while trying to push the (empty) stroller on the way there, Derek, on a last minute earbud call walking just ahead of me. I try to have all my work wrapped up by the time I knock on daycare’s door, but I’m only 50 percent successful. The nature of my job means I’m getting calls/emails/texts until 7:00 pm or later most nights. After all, the news not only doesn’t sleep, but it is like a raging toddler after ice cream until 11:00 pm on the weeknights.
Last week a reporter no less than begged me to do an on camera at 7:30 pm. I refused, but compromised with a selfie video statement, in my closet, wearing a sweat jacket. I’ve been doing my interviews in the nursery during the daytime. In the afternoons it has the most natural light, it has a beautiful soft teal accent wall and I can prop my laptop camera up on the side table that I balance on top of the ottoman – perfect height. There was a time I used to call myself a professional, now I think I am just a magician.
I don’t hate what the pandemic has done to my life. I fear for others that have weathered radical changes, and mostly – the economy. I wonder how’d I’d be handling this if I lost my job, my kids were school aged, my daycare closed or someone in my family was sick. But not one of those things have happened and I find myself living in this alternate pandemic reality. One that makes me kind of like this life – if I could pick and choose a few things to reinstate – like the contractors to finish our pool, the reopening of wineries for tasting, live music and the permission to invite my friends and family over.
Otherwise? I’m good.