Quarantine Week 4

This isn’t how I meant to spend April tenth. It’s not how any of us expected to spend April tenth.

Some things haven’t changed since my last update. For example, homeschool is still the worst, although this was April vacation, which made me so happy.

Writing is still a challenge, but I’m getting caught up in Lioness all over again, and my excitement has allowed me to push past some of the things that make writing hard. The fact that this has been April break has not only lessened the strain of homeschooling, but it’s given me a lot of free time to write, too. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m worried bout my productivity falling off again until summer. I have to get my kids through June fifth, and then we can FINALLY stop homeschool. (I don’t know what happens in August–we’re a hot spot that has had success with flattening the curve–Santa Clara County, CA–but that doesn’t mean that life will be normal in August.)

In my part of the country, toilet paper, paper towels, and baby wipes continue to be difficult to find. I was lucky enough to stumble over this package yesterday at a Walgreens, when I went to pick up prescriptions. But my family is just really lucky that we got our monthly delivery of toilet paper a week before quarantine and the run on toilet paper began.

I’ve been grocery shopping about once a week (down from my popping in every other day for just a few things here and there) and each time I go, things are different (apart from the tp etc shortage, which is consistent). I feel like in some ways things are starting to even out, but in others things are still in short supply.

I took this picture today. In the last week my grocery store has made aisles one-way to try to cut down on traffic jams. Of course, almost no one was obeying them, but I’m giving them points for trying to mitigate the spread.

They don’t allow you to take re-usable bags into the stores anymore. I had stopped using my bags, and had been feeling a bit bad about the waste of taking store bags until the stores banned re-usable bags.

Safeway has someone at the door–I think they’re limiting the number of people in the store at any given time. There are lines on the ground outside the store to wait to enter. But I was lucky today and there wasn’t a wait to get in. I read that Target, Costco, and Walmart are also limiting the number of people in the store at any given time.

Between living in Asia for seven years and still being in the slow buildup of local friends, connecting with my friends via text and call is nothing new to me. But the kids have had to learn all these new technologies (that they took to like a duck to water) and not every friend is available via every type of tech, and there are friends they just don’t have much contact with.

My eight year old and I came home from a walk to a note on our driveway from a friend of hers. So in the picture above, eight is drawing a message in reply. My eleven year old has also drawn a note on a friend’s driveway.

I have a ton of coronavirus memes and parody songs to stay entertained with, of course. This is a favorite of mine.

I sometimes (usually) write contemporary stories, and like many writers, that has raised the question of “do I include coronavirus in my romance novel?”

I have come down on the side of “not yet.” We don’t know how long this is going to last, what the impacts are going to be, and FOR ME it feels a little irresponsible writing it into my books. It’s writing from the center of the hurricane and you don’t know what the fallout will look like. It will be callous to put your long distance lovers story against high unemployment, a crashing economy, and a presidential race.

Related– because it’s an election year, there are Dem/Rep enemies to lovers stories, and that just feels gross. Sorry, your denying people’s humanity isn’t us having a difference of opinion, it fundamentally changes–lowers–my opinion of you. There’s no coming back from ‘women shouldn’t have abortions’ or gross statements about immigration or people of color or poor people. I care about people and you care about corporations–BTW so so glad the CRUISE SHIPS are going to get bailed out while college debts hangs over millions of heads, and erasing that debt would have a much bigger impact that saving floating petri dishes. So, you see, just as D/R enemies to lovers stories are just in incredibly poor taste, and I feel like coronavirus love stories are equally in poor taste.

So for now it’s just lalala, what pandemic? Which, honestly, makes writing a good escape, too.

How about you? How goes quarantine for you?

Life in quarantine

My life

Did you know that Shakespeare wrote King Lear during a quarantine? Well, I do now. To which I say Shakespeare wasn’t the primary caregiver of two children who are suddenly home until May 4th (but probably the rest of the year).

Well, The Lioness and the Mouse isn’t exactly King Lear, but editing is going. I’m working on a couple of other projects, but nothing worth sharing about yet.

My writing sanctuary is now a little more full these days. I’m trying to figure out what time of day now works to get my writing done (right now my kids are having “P.E.” so I’m stealing the time at my kitchen table, which had been my favorite writing spot ). My partner and I are trying to figure out who works where so that he can do his meetings without being bothered and I can get my work done without being bothered. I was thrilled when he decided our youngest daughter’s room was the best place in terms of light, privacy, and a power strip that wasn’t already full. That leaves our bedroom and bathroom to me (I hate using the kid’s bathroom–it’s messier than ours).

The fact that I was a teacher for five years (six if you count student teaching) is completely irrelevant. I used to teach middle school math, but today when my oldest had to figure out the height of a triangle based off the base number and the area number. I’ve taught how to do this. I don’t remember it at all. My husband stepped in, and he found out that our daughter hasn’t been watching the instructional videos, so it’s not surprising that she was struggling so much.

The fact that I was a teacher doesn’t matter to my eight year old when I told her she could add more details to her story (which was like five sentences). I was on my bed, so she faceplanted, then rolled around whining “I don’t want to” and then “I don’t want to be an author.” I suggested to her teacher that he do a call a week where the kids could connect, and my daughter was rejuvenated by the contact with her friends (and has now added details).

Speaking of becoming an author, my oldest is writing a Percy Jackson fanfic with two or three of her friends in GoogleDocs, which I think is the coolest thing ever. When I was in high school, I subscribed to a Mercedes Lackey fan zine called Queen’s Own, I think. (I Googled and I couldn’t find the name, which makes me a little sad.) One of the features of the zine was finding pen pals, which I did. My penpal used the name Jaila, and I used the name Lyria. We began a joint fanfic, but one of us would write a chapter and then we had to mail it to the other person. Neither of us had access to a word processor or computer, I guess, because I know it was all handwritten. I’m so sad it’s lost to the sands of time—it was such a product of our ages and the 90’s and how much we both really wanted a talking horse.

I think for me one of the biggest struggles with confinement isn’t the confinement (I”m an introvert, and I already worked from home), it’s dealing with my eating disorders in this context. One of my coping mechanisms over the past two years has been to not eat. I’ve definitely had that, and I’ve missed some meals. But I try to remind myself how awful the experience of refeeding and attending a partial hospitalization program was and that has forced me to eat something at least even when I don’t want to. That’s my anorexia in action. My ARFID (avoidant restrictive food intake disorder) means that I have a relatively small amount of food I consider “safe” to eat, and most other foods incite anxiety and nausea. When I grocery shop, I carefully plan out what I’ll buy and cook in advance. Now I have to go to the grocery store and wing it, which is really stressful.

But you know the hardest part of doing quarantine with an eating disorder? How everyone is joking that the quarantine will make you fat. Eating Disorder patients are already on edge just like you. But when you joke about getting fat, it wakes up the part of us that we fight against every day. Please think before you post.

Okay, less heavy…

Anyone else just realizing how much they touch their faces?

How are you coping with quarantine? Are you quarantined? It blows my mind that like half the country is just out there living their lives. It’s so alien and surreal.