Day 14: It Gets Real

This is Monday.  Normally I turn on my cell at 7-7:30 am and within 60 seconds various tones notify me of new emails or texts.  Working a Saturday to Wednesday shift, Monday is when most of my contacts respond to various communications from the previous week.  EVERYONE is in the office on Monday.  Today, all the organizations I work with are sheltered in place some since the week of 3/16.  The flow of work and communication is showing a noticeable difference.  It’s no longer a racehorse jumping out of the gate at 7:00 am.

This morning my silent phone feels a bit eerie.

1) an observed joy- Enjoyed the Palm Sunday live stream with the church; many of the parishioners displayed clipped fern leaves, a palm-like stalk found in almost every Northwest yard, for the occasion.  Later that evening Zooming with my family, a phone call catch up with a writing friend, was touching as well.

2) a real concern- Two of my friends believe the lockdown will be extended into June or July.  I REALLY hope they are wrong. As a social worker, I understand that people and families in crisis live in a pandemic-like state constantly, with no foreseeable end.  The common suburbian- in crisis -is an unstable animal.

3) a personal challenge- I want to increase my walks from 4-5  a week to twice a day.

4) one personal success (no matter how small)-I’ve tackled my file cabinet, and I’m doing better about leaving a pile of dishes in the sink.

5) a random thought (no matter how silly)- How long in lockdown before I vacuum behind the bookshelf? There is a spider web back there amongst the dust bunnies and a forgotten hair tie. It is a guardian of all things hidden and forgotten.

Here is my current mood expressed in a pandemic meme.  It’s a shout out to all the ‘effin’ people over 70 I see in the grocery stores rocking the isle without a mask with a “death can not touch me” attitude, meanwhile…

 

 

Day 5: Miscounted Stock of TP

The Daily Dose of Internet is one of my favorite chill channels.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  It is difficult to NOT watch too much TV during the lockdown.  As a lover of zombie movies, I noticed there are MORE zombie and epidemic movies lined up in my Hulu and Netflix this month.  One of my favorites is “Kingdom” from South Korea.  Just like the way they reacted to the coronavirus of today, the South Koreans in the show systematically wreck those zombies UP!

Edit: toilet paper roll count is 27.

1) an observed joy- Yesterday I received an inquiry from the Opportunity Council and the local food bank if any of our families would like to have a box of food from the food bank delivered to their homes. YES! Two of my moms cried tears of relief over the phone when I shared the news with them.  (I’m crying again thinking about it.) It is never a good time to be poor, more so during a lockdown. The trauma level double folds.

2) a real concern- I am concerned about my case families. They all have kids, little to no income. Searching for jobs during a pandemic is discouraging, to say the least. Bellingham is a mix of have and have-nots like most American cities.  However, in my 52 years, I’ve lived in 8 cities, and Bellingham is one of the most giving communities I’ve had the pleasure to live in.   Regardless, every day of this lockdown the vice grip twists down on our nation’s lower and struggling working-class tighter and tighter.  I will continue to search for opportunities for the families during this time.

3) a personal challenge-  Once again my brain is not in full pandemic mode.  At the grocery store the other day, I stopped in the aisle before the checkout lanes, thinking I forgot something.  While I was in my own head, my peripheral vision noticed a wide-eyed woman standing, staring at me.  It took me a second to figure out why.  I was standing in the middle of a space, with less than 6 feet on either side for her to get by me.  She patiently stood there waiting for me to wake up and move to the right to let her pass.  Thank you lady for your patience.

4) one personal success (no matter how small)- I read for an hour, prayed for 20 minutes and meditated for ten minutes.

5) a random thought (no matter how silly)- The community board appears to have an increase of “found” pets.  Are people kicking their pets out due to the costs to feed them?

Here is one of my favorite photos. Be safe. Be healthy. Be patient.  Be well. -spl

Day 4: Stay Home. Stay Healthy.

On March 24th the governor of Washington State declared the “Stay Home. Stay Healthy” mandate.

“It’s time to hunker down in order to win this fight. 
So, tonight, I am issuing a “Stay Home” order to fight this virus. This is Washington’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. This includes a ban on all gatherings, and closures of many businesses, unless those businesses are essential to the healthy functioning of our community, or are able to let employees work remotely from home.”

https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/stay-home-stay-healthy-address-transcript

I’ve decided to start an online journal, at least one paragraph a day during what I call “the lockdown.” Also, I am challenging myself to daily list the following,  1) an observed joy, 2) a real concern, 3) a personal challenge 4) one success (no matter how small) and 5) a random thought (no matter how silly)

Somehow, my employment luck returned.  Since 2008, I struggled to find a job that offered longevity.  Last spring, I landed two jobs that are listed as essential during the pandemic.  The anchor job is in social services, working with families that are experiencing homelessness, the other is an administrative assistant position with a local Presbyterian church.  Both organizations are a true joy to work for.  The folks are calm headed, skilled, knowledgable, resourceful, dynamic and community-focused—perfect people to work for during a global crisis.

Although I am not dressed like a character in the Road Warrior, I do feel like one from time to time–washing my hands like a warrior! wiping down surfaces like a warrior! Offering 6 feet of social distancing…like a warrior!  You know honestly, leather is easier to wipe down than cotton blends, just saying, if on the other end of all this we emerge draped in, like, leather togas or something, I’d be cool with it.

So, here I go…

Dearest journal,
Day 4 of the lockdown. 48 rolls of toilet paper. Phone on wi-fi to conserve data.

Great gobs of gratitude! My regular paycheck came yesterday.  I am feeling very thankful and fighting the urge to cash it, put it in a sock under the mattress.    I’ve been working from home for my housing job since Monday, March 16th as the organization started to observe a shelter in place policy.  I grabbed a few essential files and my laptop, wiped down my desk with Clorox wipes, covered my pen holder and stapler with tissues, laying them to rest, and drove home.  This week, somehow, I feel busier than usual.  I’m hopping from zoom meetings, webinars, text and email conversations, between two laptops and my cell phone, throughout the day to keep the momentum of projects previously started.  All the organizations I work with are functioning from home offices and somehow–miraculously– it is ALL working.

1) an observed joy- The crabapple tree framed by my bedroom window is showing the earliest green leaflets, bright green dots of spring.

2) a real concern- If the paychecks stop do I have enough food to cover the time between cash on hand is exhausted to unemployment relief arriving?  The problem being the time range between these personal events is unknown; 2 weeks? 3 months? …unknown.

3) a personal challenge- remember to wait to grocery shop after 9:00 a.m.  I hopped into the car to get cream for my coffee this morning about 8:15. In the parking lot, I realized it was the senior/high-risk shop time, went back home.  I have moments when I forget everything has changed.

4) one personal success (no matter how small)- I convinced two cousins and my brother, all living in a county that touches King County, Seattle, to have a zoom conference this Sunday, check-in, share stories, and hopefully,  uplift our spirits.

5) a random thought (no matter how silly)- for future elections, what if people could vote electronically through the pay point interface at the grocery store?


My friend Carla Shafer shared this video.  Her experience and the video moved me.  Please share if you are able:

On May 19, 2012, in Catalonia (Spain) a flash mob formed of local musicians showed up to play the “Ode to Joy” movement from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. You can view it at this link:

I cried as I watched it. I’m never sure what this kind of tears is about, maybe it comes from early childhood fears of being left alone, or maybe I hold some recent suppressed sense of loneliness. And it doesn’t matter. What matters to me is that I feel the feelings as authentic and as a release, and I am not embarrassed or ashamed (another carry-over from childhood).

I am grateful to have music from unexpected places. Lately, I’ve heard the Seattle Symphony’s streaming a free concert, and the Bellingham Symphony shared their dress rehearsal live on-line.

https://www.classicfm.com/composers/beethoven/news/beethoven-9-flashmob/

Youtube:  https://youtu.be/kbJcQYVtZMo

 

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