Covid-19 isolation log – week 2

Tuesday March 24, 2020

I am trying my hardest to stay positive today, to choose my mindset. Easier said than done. The province has shut down, except for a list of deemed “essential services” including grocery stores, liquor stores, pharmacies, take-out restaurants, hardware stores, manufacturing and agriculture sectors. Construction also made the list, but independent contractors have made their own decisions. A lot of projects have come to a standstill. Evan wonders if he should be working.

Before breakfast I bake some more chewy oatmeal cookies. Evan will be returning to the city tomorrow to pick up his pay cheque and run errands for his family. He will bring some of these with him. I’ve now used up my oatmeal, shortening, chocolate chips and most of the sugar. There is enough for coffee now, but not much else. 

We have breakfast while Cordelia naps. I bought a bag of green avocados on Friday, hoping they would last the week, but none have ripened yet. I wrapped one up, hoping to speed it along, but two days and there has been little progress. I am growing impatient. It is good practice.

Evan heads to the river around 11:30 and Cordelia and I set out for our walk. It’s milder today, no wind, but gloomy and grey. Walking the empty streets it reminds me of Christmas Day: everyone’s car is in the driveway, there is very little traffic. Many people are using the time to start working in their gardens and begin home renovations. I see people in their yards, but only pass two on our five-kilometre trek. I was planning to go for a run later, but already feel fatigued. I am so worn down lately it seems.

At home I make my latte again and feed Cordelia lunch. When she is down for her afternoon nap, I start some meal prep. I ate the remainder of the pasta leftovers last night and my body isn’t thanking me for it. I roast some vegetables and make a chickpea curry. Not eating right will not serve me or my mood.

Evan returns, no fish. Both of us are feeling down and barely speak. He watches a TV show while I do a 30 minute workout. The day goes on. And on. And on.

There are 392,000 cases of COVID-19 globally. Premier Doug Ford will lower hydro rates to off-peak for the next 45 days. President Donald Trump promises America, it will be back in business by Easter.

Wednesday March 25, 2020

I wake up this morning and Cordelia is standing in her crib calling for me, “Ma Ma!” She is ready for the day as always, when I want to crawl back under the covers. For a moment I forget the reality waiting for us. But not for long.

Today the negative thoughts are loud and my chest feels tight. The skin on my face feels as though it may slide off, like pants without a belt. No smile to hitch it up again. I don’t want to say any words out loud. I move through the morning in a daze.

My avocado is finally ripe. There is that.

Evan decides to hold off on his trip to the city until tomorrow, so he goes to the grocery store to pick up a few items. We’re nearly out of coffee cream. 

He says it isn’t busy, but there is now a limit on everything: two per person. The world has become a twisted Kindergarten playground.

Later he tries to go fishing again, but the parking lot and river are packed with guys again. He turns around and comes back. We switch out and I go for my run. 

Finally, finally, a day where my legs don’t feel like lead. I hit my stride and feel reassured.

But there are too many people out. Too many people in groups. People chatting together on the sidewalk, children playing soccer in the empty school yards. I weave and zig zag doing my best to avoid them all. I hold my breath sometimes, when someone passes too close. I fear we will be punished for their behaviour. To be able to go outside right now, is a privilege. One that can so easily be taken away.

I run 8.5 kilometres and feel refreshed. 

Gas prices are as low as $0.63/litre in some areas. I notice some naive people celebrating this online. Referring to it as a silver lining, instead of the canary it truly is. I also considered going to fill up, to take advantage of the deal. The guilt of knowing what it means for our economy stops me. So many things we never used to think twice about, now cause guilt and reflection. We are forced to pause over the mundane. Maybe there is a silver lining.

Because of the number of people out during my run, I decide against taking Cordelia for a walk this afternoon.

At 5p.m. the sun comes out brilliant and warm. I cannot resist. I load her into the umbrella stroller and we set out. The streets are strangely empty. I suppose many have retired for dinner. This suits us fine. Cordelia refuses to wear her sunglasses, taking them off her face at every turn. I try not to walk too long toward the sun, but it feels so good on my face and lifts my spirits. I can almost pretend it is a normal spring, that the beach will soon open.

I think back to those early days of postpartum when Cordelia and I would go to the boardwalk every day. I would drink my coffee and read a book while she snoozed or watched the waves. It feels like a lifetime ago now.

We walk around the square, and I read the various signs posted on business doors: many handwritten notes of apology, promising to be back soon. Some have printed the official government declarations, while others post nothing at all. It is assumed.

One of the restaurants previously offering takeout has shuttered completely now. As they use up supplies, I expect many others to soon follow suit.

Evan stays at the river most of the afternoon and into the evening. You can’t waste a day like today, and tomorrow promises rain.

They say Prince Charles, heir to the British Throne, has the disease now. No one is immune. Cases in New York are now doubling every three days as we all watch in horror.

Thursday March 26, 2020

Another foggy, grey day. I suppose it is March. At least it isn’t snowing.

Evan heads to the city first thing to run some errands. I clean the house for what feels like the millionth time this week; scrub the floors, disinfect the bathroom. It’s hard to keep a clear head in a messy room.

When Cordelia wakes up from her morning nap, we take the car for a drive. It hasn’t been out in over a week. I fill the gas tank for $30. As we head out of town the three cars ahead of us turn around- no where to go, just like us.

Cordelia eats her lunch and I notice she has a second tooth erupted. What a week.

We go for a walk and I am dismayed to see even more people out in groups, standing together chatting on sidewalks and porches. As the initial fear and excitement over the virus fades into normalcy, people relax.

This, despite the government threatening up to $750,000 in fines and jail time for disobeying instructions. For three generations we’ve become accustomed to a freedom that is ingrained in our psyche. This is our right. It’s not easy to take that away.

Back at home Cordelia has a gift from her grandparents: an Amazon order. I know others are wiping packages down with Lysol and storing them in the garage for 3 days. I decide against this. 

I may regret it later on. 

It is a mega blocks alphabet train. She is ecstatic. We play together on the floor until Evan returns.

I do a strength workout and then go for a speed run. Earlier, I tried to order some heavier dumb bells but they seem to be sold out everywhere. I wonder if the purchasers are keeping their epidemic fitness resolutions, or it’s just Jan. 3 all over.

I’ll just have to wait.

I’m grateful I started half marathon training before this all began. The habits I’ve worked hard to create this year are serving me well.

We watch the news at 6 and at 9, but I can hardly pay attention anymore. It’s more of the same. Cases rises, the United States is in crisis. Everyone is running out of supplies. But 3 months in, China seems to have recovered. If we’re smart, we might get summer after all.

Friday March 27, 2020

With everyone home the house gets messy quickly. This is hard for me. I spend so much of my day tidying. I cannot focus in clutter. I cannot unsee dirt on the floor. I am a hamster in a wheel. 

The day passes more or less the same as it always does. Evan goes fishing, I play with Cordelia, work on my course and do a workout.

I block my half-marathon training into my agenda. The race is in October and I plan to be ready, even if I have to run the distance down a country road. 

Later in the afternoon the sun comes out and the three of us go for a walk. More businesses have further reduced their hours. Evan says he wants to order some takeout soon, to show our support.

I start to wonder how many will make it to the other side. A new fish and chips restaurant was getting ready to open around the corner from our house- I hope they make it.

After dinner I put my phone away and we rent a movie online: 1917. It feels like an age since I sat and watched a movie start to finish without getting bored or distracted. So many movies are disappointing now.

By the end I am filled with emotion. All the complaints and dismay over our situation, the comparisons to older generations going to war— are unfounded. This doesn’t come close and I feel ashamed. 

Ours is a small price to pay. 

Saturday March 28, 2020

I start today feeling anxious. It’s pouring rain and I need to do our weekly grocery shop. Cordelia’s teeth are still bothering her and she was up every hour last night. I am exhausted.

Online grocery pickups are booked until next Friday. Loblaws changed the rules this week so you can’t modify your order after placing it. I can’t decide a week ahead of time what we’ll need or want. I just hope the store isn’t too busy. 

It doesn’t appear busier than usual when I arrive, but there is an attendant counting customers as they enter. Like a bouncer. 

I go as quick as I can around the aisles but more and more people arrive and I see the line up to the cash is getting long. The entire time I’m in the store, panic is sitting on my chest. I buy too much, I feel scattered, I doubt my selections. I get in line. There are now round red stickers placed strategically on the floor leading to the cash. Stay on your circle. Follow the rules. 

I notice some have still brought their bins and bags. A manager is lamenting this, explaining to another customer how gross this is, even on a normal day. 

There are Plexiglas shields across every cash register now blocking staff from patrons. 

When I leave the store a cue has formed outside in the rain. Others waiting to be allowed in. I hurry away.

When the rain stops, Evan goes fishing and I try to work myself up to taking Cordelia for a walk. But cannot bring myself to walk these same streets again. Every day this place seems to feel smaller— more like an island. We’ll go tomorrow if the weather improves.

I make a batch of Rice Krispie treats, then do a workout while Cordelia naps. Evan returns home fishless again. 

Cordelia’s emotions swing frantically from joy to tears and frustration. Her little body fully possessed by each feeling as it comes. In a way, I am jealous. It’s been a long day for both of us.

I haven’t taken any photos or video for her grandparents today. I know they will ask. 

Later, I decide to make a full dinner, instead of relying on meal prep or things from the freezer. I forgot how much work it is. I make mushroom pork chops for Evan, oven roasted rainbow trout for me, risotto, asparagus and a simple salad. The end result is worth it and we will have leftovers for a few days. It feels good to eat healthy when everything else is uncertain. 

I haven’t listened to the news really today. It improves my mood, but also causes me to forget what is happening. I read an article in the New York Times before bed and its contents disturb me. I am so grateful to live in Canada and pray the same doesn’t happen here.

Today Canada has 5,600 cases, the United States 123,000.

Sunday March 29, 2020

Today I find myself stopping often, trying to remember what day of the week it is. I wake up in the morning always with a sense of confusion. Though we are becoming accustomed to this new way of life, the bewilderment remains in those early hours. And the fatigue. 

Cordelia has entered another developmental leap. This coupled with cutting two new teeth has made sleep scarce for both of us. I am more exhausted every day.

On some level I am grateful to be up by 7:30 a.m. Were it not for my responsibilities, it would be easy to fall into a routine of waking around noon. Another small thing to keep me grounded and focused, as hard as it may be some days. 

Cordelia has her breakfast and we listen to The Current and 9 o’clock news on CBC. When Evan gets up, I make our breakfast. Both of us lament the rain and fog. Not that it matters, where would we go?

When the skies clear, I still find myself unmotivated to go for a walk. Warmer weather makes me itch for a road trip – to pack up the car and head North. To my favourite place. Evan and I discussed going back to Lake Superior in May, before my maternity leave is over. That trip will have to wait, like all trips.

The afternoon passes slowly. I work on my course and do an hour workout. The endorphins make me feel better temporarily, but the sensation of needing to stretch- to spread myself out, doesn’t go away. 

I leave my phone on the counter for most of the day. I stay off social media and don’t read the news. This helps my anxiety. One day last week my recorded daily screen time was over six hours. I found this disturbing and enlightening. Today it is less than two hours. I resolve to continue with this.

After dinner we watch a new documentary on Netflix. It is so enjoyable we watch three episodes before turning in. I savour these moments when I can forget. When things feel normal.

I hope for good news tomorrow.

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