Chickens, Bearded Ladies and Other Hazards of Staying Put (More Notes from a Quarantine.)

While going out has it risks at the moment, staying home is not without its own hazards. Here are a few I’d be on the lookout for.

  1. My almost-eighteen year old announced he was growing a Corona-beard. Apparently, he isn’t the only one and WOULD THE CHILD WHO TOOK MY TWEEZERS TO REMOVE A SPLINTER PLEASE RETURN THEM? Check your chins, ladies. As my dear friend H. likes to say, unless you want to look like that character from the Greatest Showman, now is not the time to take your eye off the ball.
  2. The same almost-eighteen year old was supposed to be launching a senior exploration project which he now has to do from home. When an administrator on the grade-wide Zoom call suggested planting a vegetable garden as a project idea, my caffeine-addled brain jumped several giant leaps forward and it was all I could do not to unmute myself and scream, “CHICKEN COOP! CHICKEN COOP!” While I am definitely NOT the first person to decide that ordering chickens was the perfect antidote to the Great Quarantine, I do have to admit that I’ve wanted a coop since the minute we moved into this house and I took note of the narrow side garden and told M it would be perfect for a chicken run. (I may have also said a dog run, but that ship has sailed unless someone can find a breed of dog which lays eggs.) I currently have an online shopping cart packed full of delightful little chicks and while M has warned that it’s risky for someone like me (What? What?) to pass off my hopes and dreams to a second-semester senior, what could possibly go wrong?
  3. Speaking of grooming (beards), my wise middle-school daughter once told me that I didn’t have to worry about having a completely asymmetrical face because our eyebrows should be more like sisters than twins. After four weeks inside, my eyebrows don’t even look like cousins by marriage.
  4. While we are now in possession of toilet paper (some of it is single ply and dear Lord, why does everything have to be so hard?), who knows how long the current supply will last – which is why I am not abandoning the pile of clothing which I was willing to cut up for scraps and neither should you! (As for those summer pants I mentioned… Who hasn’t bought white jeans in a final (no return) summer sale? Who hasn’t bought those white jeans from a company she’s never tried before and hence has no idea how the sizing runs and oh, the sizing is European? No worries, I’ll just pick the number that makes me happiest. (I was apparently taking all sorts of risks before the Great Quarantine.) So when I tried the white jeans (again, why?) on last week and could not get them past my knees, I lay down on the bedroom floor and cried. Then I picked my sorry self up and told myself that this is not the time for weakness and threw the jeans into the emergency toilet paper pile.)
  5. To add insult to injury, next week Passover begins, as well as Easter and a whole host of festivals, none of which require a mother who has been home with her children for a month to soak her oven racks in the bathtub. (If the Hebrews knew that by leaving Egypt they’d have to start boiling their silverware and pretending to like almond macaroons, I think they’d have cut their losses and headed back.) Passover cleaning has always been a hazardous, cruel joke, but now it comes at the cruelest time (and yes, in the Cruelest Month) and if I have to take a bath with my oven racks I’m not going to make it.

I’d write more but I have to go and build a breeder in which we are supposed to be housing the chicks for a month – indoors – while their feathers grow enough to keep them warm outside. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll just let the little critters nest in my beard.


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