I know this next bit might sound more like a Kafka short story, but we weren’t living a real-life simulation of “The Trial” (though it was, indeed, a tribulation). To our abject horror, it happened again: Right as we rolled our cart into the check-out line, there was an announcement. “The credit card machines are down,” a disembodied voice boomed over the grocery store loudspeaker. “The store will only be accepting cash at this time.”
It’s one thing to forgo a grill and some greenery. It’s another thing to voluntarily set yourself up for a Donner Party experience on the eve of a global pandemic. We had to find cash.
We decided it was a bad idea to leave the cart behind—what if by the time we got back with the money the store was empty? So, Kelsey posted up in the produce section, and I went off into the wilderness to find funds.
But here’s the thing: when everyone wants cash, cash is hard to come by. And we’d really overfilled the cart; we needed a lot of cash. I’ll spare you the details, but it took me almost an hour and visits to three separate ATMs to get enough money to make groceries. I may or may not have cried in the parking lot of a CVS. (This is one of those mistakes to laugh at, not learn from.)
In the end, we were able to get what we needed. But our spirits were broken. Told ya this would be relatable!
Task: Make a schedule (lest your days bleed together into one giant blur).
The rest of the week was mostly a blur, and so were tasks two to thirtylevenmillion. My parents are both immunocompromised (my mom’s in her 70s; my dad’s a diabetic), so I ran errands for them and made sure I had enough of my own medications. (I’m asthmatic. And I take a daily allergy medication. And I have Sickle Cell trait. And I’m allergic to the two most common and effective classes of antibiotics. All this is to say: I’m not really meant to survive in the wild.)
Kelsey and I rearranged the living room to make working and playing in the same space easier—and, hopefully, to avoid that weird invasion-of-personal-space thing that always happens because even though this house is huge and there is absolutely no reason to be touching another person ever, the 5-year-old’s foot somehow always manages to touch the 9-year-old’s hand and now everyone is crying, ohmygodwhyarechildrenlike this?! We dug the hula hoops and jump ropes out of the closet behind the washing machine, pumped up bike tires, and bought a volley-ball. We washed everyone’s sheets.
We never did get the grill, but we did manage to do one other important thing: make a schedule for school days.
The kids’ school is officially out until mid-April, but New Orleans has the highest coronavirus infection rates outside of the New York metro area, and there’s a good chance everything will stay shut down through the rest of the school year. Gone are the days of a kid-free home from 7am-3:30pm. No longer will kids be worn out from recess and the one-and-a half-mile walk home from school. For at least the next month, our regular routine will have to change. Drastically. Here’s what we came up with.