- Are we smart or what? Shortly before we left on our trip to Arizona a professional handyman from our church helped us install new, more eco-friendly toilets in our condo. And…….we decided to add a bidet hose to one after I read about the damaging environmental effects of using too much toilet paper. During this time of coronavirus when toilet paper can be hard to find it appears that installing our bidet was a stroke of genius!
Out in the garden at her personal care home with my aunt on one of my visits last year
- I know many people have been sending me comments about how they like the positive tone of my daily self-isolation updates but full disclosure……… I wept yesterday after talking to the residence coordinator at the seniors care home in Saskatoon where my 97-year-old Aunt Viola lives. I have been looking after her and taking care of all her affairs for a number of years now. I was told I need to stop all the outside services I have put in place for her- the foot care to keep her comfortable- the physiotherapy to prevent her from having another fall- the twice a week visits from a nursing service to help her stay alert. Those visiting nurses read Aunt Vi the letters I send her because her hearing makes communication by phone difficult. Those nurses provide me with weekly updates on how she is doing. All the activities at the care home she enjoyed- bible studies, concerts, cooking experiences and crafts are cancelled. Now she will stay in her room and be looked after by the skeleton staff who will give her the best care they can. I asked the residence coordinator how her employees are doing. She said they are stressed, overworked and worried about what their contact with such a vulnerable population could mean for their own families. It was enough to make me start crying and I had to hang up the phone.
John and Dave engaging in a mock fight on the site of the historic Plains of Abraham battle in Quebec City
- My husband’s cousin John calls to see how we are doing. John and Dave are both blessed with a wicked sense of humour I think they may have inherited from their Oma. Listening to the two of them make clever jokes about the current dismal situation on our planet had me laughing out loud.
- We are finding it is important to have certain rituals to mark our long days in isolation. One we have instituted is that just before 4:30 Dave makes us each a cocktail, usually a Ceasar or a gin and tonic and then we watch Jeopardy together. It’s our version of a coronavirus happy hour.
In my housecoat with my older son as a newborn
- Another rule I have instituted is that I must get dressed before noon. Since the first time I leave the condo each day is for our nine o’clock evening walk in our deserted neighbourhood there is really no reason to get dressed till then, but I have found my day is better if I put on some clothes, comb my hair, even use a little lipstick before noon. I remember how when I was home with my first baby and overwhelmed by all the things I needed to do to take care of him that I had the same rule. My goal was to have both of us clean and dressed by noon.
- A Facebook post from an international school teacher in isolation in Wuhan notes that for the first time in many years she can see the sun, smell the spring blossoms breaking out on all the trees, and hear the loud chorus of birds. She is now allowed morning runs and can actually do them because breathing in the air of Wuhan is no longer hard on her lungs. My brother says satellite images from before and after the coronavirus outbreak in China illustrate how the ensuing shut down of factories and all kinds of travel has made a remarkable difference in the air quality over the country.
Last year one of my stories was in a Chicken Soup anthology called My Amazing Mom.
- I have written a new story to submit to Chicken Soup. It is a publication my writing style seems to suit. I have had quite a few stories published in their anthologies and you actually get paid decently- something that is becoming rarer in the writing world. There are lots of other writing projects I should be working on but somehow crafting an uplifting, inspirational kind of story seems to be what I need to do right now.
- I had an absolutely marvellous long conversation with our nearly eight-year-old grandson in Saskatoon via Facetime. He told me about all the things he had learned earlier in the day while watching a Magic School Bus episode about the brain. He explained the plot of a kids’ version of Oscar Wilde’s The Ghost of Canterbury he is reading. My grandson goes to an all-French school so he is quite proud about reading this chapter book in English. He confided in very grown-up tones that the story might be too “intense” and not “appropriate” for his nearly four-year-old brother. His Dad was reading his little brother Charlotte’s Web instead. He also showed me some drawings he is working on inspired by a set of French graphic novels he is reading about a young girl who finds a magic amulet in her great grandparents’ house.
- I make myself go the Fox website each day to see how folks who trust that media outlet’s perspective on the news are having the current pandemic explained to them. I note they are doing regular interviews with television personality Dr Oz who is giving viewers the notion that there are viable and effective treatments for coronavirus. I contrast that with yesterday’s article in the New York Times by one of my favourite columnists Nicholas Kristof who writes in a very balanced way about both the worst and best-case scenarios after interviewing the leading epidemiologists and pandemic experts in the world.
- My younger son drops off his father’s medications which he has picked up at the pharmacy as well as some groceries he has purchased for us. We exchange I love you’s through the closed door. I start to cry again when I think about how long it may be before I get to hug my son.
Two Squares of Toilet Paper
Happy 95th Birthday Aunt Vi
I’m In Chicken Soup