Category Archives: Coronavirus

Blessed art thou, Gd of our universe… THANK YOU JAPAN.

In the interest of full disclosure, we got a bidet toilet seat for our wedding anniversary. My youngest could not get the name straight and initially referred to the bidet as the “Dubai,” which made sense because one of the seat’s marvelous functions (and there are many) is that the toilet seat is heated. Heated! That may not sound like much but there were many winter mornings here in NYC when the kids were looking for me – they look for me by standing rooted in one spot and shouting my name over and over again, with increasing, panicked volume – only for me to shout back, “I’m just in Dubai warming up!” (Speaking of NY winters, what is the point of a sixty degree day if it’s going to be followed by a 25 degree day? The chickens woke up to frozen water and would like to know.)

I could wax rhapsodically about this Toto toilet seat (thank you Japan!), but there are times when you just don’t use the seat and its many life affirming functions and you want to go the old fashioned toilet paper route. (Sometimes you just forget it’s there, even with a warm bum.) All that is fine until you reach for said toilet paper and your hand falls onto a roll of gritty, pulpy SINGLE PLY. I do not, for the life of me, why you would install the Cadillac of toilet seats and then adorn it with prison toilet paper. Nobody owns up to putting in the toilet paper, but it keeps coming back, even after I threw several rolls of it out into the hallway. M has now hidden the single ply in the bowels of the basement, so if it returns, there really are elves in the house.

And yes, the reason we have such toilet paper is because we are apparently celebrating our one year COVID-versary by using up all the things we bought in a panic. Every few weeks we get a small package from China with a single, squashed roll of toilet paper I bought ten months ago in a complete frenzy not fully understanding what it was that I was buying. I cannot imagine doing anything with these lonely little rolls other than taking them camping and using them to make a fire.

(Also, on the subject of things we bought in a panic, I don’t think I can eat all the dried beans. There are just too many.)

I want to know. What did YOU buy in a panic that you know find yourself staring at, full of consumerish guilt and misgiving?

1 Comment

Filed under Coronavirus, covid

Nightmares, Jello, and other notes from a Quarantine.

You would not know it from reading these pages, but I was doing alright. I mean, there were periods of rage, bewilderment and sheer what-the-fuckery happening to me on a daily basis, but more or less I was fine. I could have won a gold medal for number of times unloading the dishwasher in a single day, and even though we are living in pajamas, I was enduring marathon laundry sessions befitting an outfit-changing Southern debutante (seriously, people — what is it that I am washing exactly?), but I was ok.

Until I wasn’t.

After a close assessment of the goings-on around me, I’m pretty sure that I can blame Passover, but I can’t be one hundred percent sure it wasn’t the children’s fault. Either way, Passover ended, and I put my kitchen back together. (For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, just know that for some reason celebrating the Exodus involves changing over all our dishes, silverware and pots and pans. Also, excessive amounts of potato flour.)

And then I sank.

I sank for a few days, which involved me opening the fridge, closing it and climbing into bed. It involved me walking downstairs, making eye contact with all the people who needed me, and then climbing into bed. It involved answering the nine million requests which came my way each day, even the ones that came to me while I was in the bathroom with the door locked (side note: if you can slide a note under the door then you can probably answer the question yourself), and then climbing into bed. I climbed into bed but did not rest. I just lay there swimming in a sea of jello sadness, which is the best description I can think of. (I hate jello. I would rather have been swimming in a sea of rice pudding, but I had no say in the matter.)

And then, the dreams. I know we have all been sleeping strangely, and #CoronaDreams is a real thing, but as my cousin H. likes to say, when I get really anxious, the Nazis visit and last night I had such an awful, vivid Nazi dream that I woke up gasping for breath, and I think it had more to with my state of mind than with the fact that Yom Hashoah begins tonight, but I could be wrong about that because lately I am wrong about many things). I decided to get up and leave the Nazis in bed and when I got back a few hours later, they were gone. (I don’t know where they went, but if they came to your house next and screwed up your dreams, I’m truly sorry.)

Maybe it’s because we all thought it would be over by now. Maybe it’s because Spring is a pretty evil season to begin with (it’s raining/it’s sunny/it’s raining/it’s sunny) and it’s not like there’s much about summer we can anticipate. (Yelling, but in sundresses and shorts?) Maybe it’s because suddenly everyone wants to garden and all of the plants and seeds I buy every year are SOLD OUT. (Come on people, I’m not buying your baking shit, can’t you just leave my plants alone?)

Who knows? Either way, I can say that whatever it was began to lift this morning when I woke up (I did go back to sleep eventually and if I dreamed, I certainly don’t remember it) and realized the kids would be on some kind of schedule because school was returning and that meant I could also go back to work. Maybe it’s because it hasn’t rained yet today (sometime I wonder how I survived seven years in Seattle and then I realize that I almost didn’t). Maybe it’s because M made dinner last night while I hid in the bedroom and all I needed was a night off. (Ok, maybe I need one more.)

I hope this week is better. I hope that the daily grocery-slot lottery I play ends with a win and not the constant rejection to which I have now grown accustomed.

I hope the Nazis leave us all alone.


Filed under Coronavirus, Quarantine, Sleep, Sleep, Sleeplessness, Karma, Marriage, Uncategorized

And then we lost power. Dayenu. (Notes from a Quarantine.)

We were muddling along here. We made it through the Passover cleaning and Passover prep, two seders and four of the eight days of Passover and I was feeling pretty smug about things, which is usually when it all goes to shit around here. (In hindsight, the smugness was probably matza constipation — I was just all bloat.)

And then we woke up to what felt like a hurricane this morning. Ok, so we’d spend the day inside. No walks, no kicking a ball around outside, whatever. It wasn’t like the girls were fighting. It wasn’t like they were tearing each other’s hair out. It wasn’t like they’d been fighting for about six weeks straight. It wasn’t like rain was lashing against the house and there was nowhere I could go to escape the sounds of high pitch shrieking. It wasn’t like someone had started biting. Again.

You see where I’m going here.

And then the power went out. I was cleaning up from breakfast, which feels a lot like cleaning up from lunch, which is almost identical to cleaning up from dinner because it involves me alone in the kitchen after everyone has scampered off like a guilty rodent. I stuck my head outside, looked up the downpour and said, DAYENU. Take away all our friends and family. Terrify us. Cancel school. Cancel basketball. Cancel everything except for laundry. (I mean, really – you couldn’t just cancel the effing laundry?) Make us dependent on grocery delivery which is intermittent, unreliable, and no, I do not want your shitty toilet paper substitution or 200 turnips. Have us start dressing like bank robbers if we need to leave the house. Keep terrifying us. But really, you’re going to ask me to shelter in place with my kids in a blackout? It’s pouring outside and nobody is allowed to take us in, and really, who would have us anyway at this point because I’m pretty sure we’re like those pet rabbits that have been ignored, whose teeth grow over their mouths and who turn wild and feral and suddenly they’re not cute bunnies anymore. It’s been six weeks. I think. We are no longer cute bunnies. We are de-socialized and feral and now I have to drag out the candles and go all Laura Ingalls, and not in the good way — because do I love me a prairie dress.

I tried not to think about the meat in the freezer. I tried even harder not to think about the hospitals in the Bronx which had people on machines and hoped that this was not widespread and that generators were working for people who needed them.

But what I was really thinking was — dayenu. Enough already. We obviously are suffering nowhere near as much as so many around us, but that is cold comfort when you are pulling children off of each other, icing bite wounds and making a meal in the dark and suddenly everyone wants to open the fridge even though you keep screaming DO NOT OPEN THE FRIDGE.

My 18 year old, came down, looked at the candle-lit lunch offerings and I momentarily worried he’d eat my 9 year old because he was never going to be full on quinoa and what was left of the fish. The floor is filthy. My feet are cold. It is still raining.

(The one perk of no power is no Zoom b/c we are preserving battery life and all of that and apparently I’m unable to use my inside voice on Zoom. M has taken to following me around the house shushing me. “You sound like my grandmother,” he said. “You don’t need to yell.”

Really? You’re going to invoke your grandmother while I’m on Zoom, already traumatized by the sight of my face plus ten years?

“Listen, buddy,” I said to him. “I’m not gonna lie. I have no idea how this Zoom thing actually works, but I do know this. If I don’t yell the loudest, my zoom square will never light up.”

At this point M opened his mouth to speak but no words came out. I’m assuming this was because I had trumped him with my knowledge of the inner workings of Zoom.)

But at some point Zoom will be up and running again — and the lights have just flickered which means we will also soon have heat and maybe all the meat has not gone off. During a brief light flicker, I walked past a mirror and I caught a glimpse of myself. I’d allowed one of the girls to do my makeup in the first hour of the blackout and I look like a cross between RuPaul and Baby jane

Maybe the lights need to go out again.



Filed under Coronavirus, Passover, Quarantine, Uncategorized

Where to hide the eggs, cutting up your summer pants for toilet paper and other notes from the Great Quarantine.

I’ve shared some basic rules of quarantine, but what you really need to know is that to NOT do.

  1. Do not spray brunette dry shampoo all over your head right before you go on Zoom (or FB Live or any of it) without checking your ears. A certain someone did just that and turns out brown-tipped ears is not a good look for me.
  2. Do not pull out all the leftover dregs from your refrigerator at lunchtime and ask people to put back or toss what they don’t eat. Because when you check back in on the pile of food a few hours later it WILL STILL BE THERE but it will look even worse and you will lose your mind and yell at people for 30 minutes before you put it all away yourself.
  3. Do not call a family meeting because nobody will come and because we all are basically living one never-ending family meeting and oh-my-god why can’t I just pee alone?
  4. Do not expect a locked door and a PLEASE GIVE ME THIRTY MINUTES TO TAKE THIS CALL IN SILENCE to ever work on any child.
  5. If you were not a baker before you will not become one now because apparently even in a quarantine you still need to measure crap like baking soda and also, baking soda and baking powder are apparently NOT interchangeable. You’re welcome.
  6. Do not start limiting people’s egg intake unless you are fully prepared to hide the eggs. Also, do not hide the eggs without writing down where you hid them because you had no memory before this shitshow took off and you’ll have even less when it’s over.
  7. Do not freeze a banana in its skin. I do not have anything more to say about this. Just don’t do it.
  8. Do not Google ‘alternatives to toilet paper’ without giving yourself a good 20 minutes for a meltdown. (Because you will see crap like, “You can even cut up old, soft t-shirts into squares.” Let me tell you right now that if I have to start cutting t-shirts for the near-adult men in this house to start wiping their asses with, I am going to have to be institutionalized.)
  9. It’s important to exercise but do not go overboard and try squats and lunges for the first time in a decade because then you will not be able to climb stairs or even walk and this will slow you down when you are asked to fetch things like crayons and snacks and drinks and when a certain child calls you from his bathroom because he has run out of toilet paper, you consider telling him to cut up his t-shirt while he is sitting here.
  10. Do not spend 23 days in an elasticated waist and then choose this time to go through spring and summer pants with a button. I mean, you can do it, but it won’t be pretty because there is no way in hell those pants are going to fit you and you will just end up cutting up those pants for emergency toilet paper. This is especially true if those pants are white because that color sucks for pants and is just perfect for toilet paper. (Also, learn from my mistakes and STOP looking at your self from behind. Just stop. That ship has sailed.)

It’s been 30 minutes which means it’s time for me to eat something again. Buh-bye summer pants.


1 Comment

Filed under Coronavirus, Quarantine, Uncategorized

The Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020, the Silkwood Shower … and Other Notes From a Quarantine.

After almost three weeks of being virtually entirely reliant on food delivery, yesterday I woke up early and headed to the store. I went in search of toilet paper. I went in search of toilet paper and came home without toilet paper and I don’t need to tell any of you why that is. Apparently Americans are currently wiping their bums at an alarming rate, because you can’t find the stuff anywhere and I’m starting to get nervous and may or may not have just purchased some dodgy TP on Ebay.

I’m pretty sure I spent the entirety of my time in the store touching my face, so once I got home from the store, I promptly stripped down and reenacted the Silkwood shower scene, which for those of you too young to have any idea what I’m talking about is this:

Image result for silkwood shower

I had assumed yesterday’s shower was my big grooming effort for the week, but alas I spoke to a NYT reporter about life in quarantine/extreme social distancing (day 21!) and the paper sent over a photographer to photograph us in our natural habitat (from a distance) which mostly involved me unloading and then loading the dishwasher and washing my hands while singing nothing because there are no songs left for me to sing.

Let me just say this, and I hope you’re all ok with a bit of profanity: I’m pretty sure that when this article comes out I’m gonna look like an enormous asshole, which is all but impossible when a photographer comes into your home and you’re pretending that your own little corner of disfunction is anything but that. (When you’ve basically only been in the company of your own family for 21 days, interacting with a stranger is awkward. Also, try convincing your now-sixteen year old son that the best way to celebrate his big birthday is with the very family members who he’s been penned in with for three weeks, a random photographer and a tub of Clorox wipes.)

I’m also going to look like the kind of woman who thinks it’s ok to show up for a photo session in leggings and a dirty black sweatshirt that was clean hours ago but is now covered in all the food I’d been shoving into my mouth all day. In my defense, I thought I’d upped my game by removing the regular leggings I have been wearing nonstop for 21 days and put on the shiny pair I save for special occasions but I’m pretty sure there was a piece of pasta stuck to my butt the entire time, so shiny or not I’m still gonna look like an enormous asshole with penne on my backside.

I cannot say anything else about the pasta or all the rest of the rest of the food I consumed today because there is just so much of it and I couldn’t even tell you what I ate. Except for a chickpea pancake. I have decided that if I eat chickpea pancakes once a day I’ll be balancing out the meat consumption in the house and counteracting all the other crap I’m consuming. So far, being a smug vegan does not seem to be working. I feel revolting. All the time.

We awoke to snow here in New York, which seemed to taunt us for the first hours of the day. Every time I looked out the window, the snowflakes (which eventually turned to freezing rain, because why not?) seemed to whisper — oh, you want a snow day? oh, I’ll give you a snow day! In fact, I’ll give you about 21 days in a row. How about them apples?

I do not like them apples. I do not like them at all. I may have wanted a snow day but I didn’t want this. And now there is photographic evidence of this endless snow day… and plenty of it is of me unloading the dishwasher and of me washing my hands.

Which I’m about to go and do again, and while I’m at it, I suggest you do the same. Also, check your butt. I think you have some rice stuck to it. You can thank me later.




Filed under Coronavirus, Quarantine, Uncategorized

I Don’t Want To Hear About Your Child Prodigy (Notes from a Quarantine).

We are finishing our third week of quarantine. To be specific, we have completed two weeks of quarantine and almost one week of Extreme Social Distancing, which is beginning to sound like a reality show nobody should go on ever again, for the rest of time.

Much of the world (although inexplicably, not all — I’m looking at you, dumb as hell spring breakers in Florida) is now in it with us. I don’t mind all the texts, emails and phone calls, asking for suggestions for how to manage a houseful of kids who seem to eat one long meal, which begins at breakfast and ends hours after I want to go to sleep.

What I don’t need to see is any more pictures of your child prodigies. Please. Under the best of circumstances, it’s annoying, and at worst, it sends parents like me into a what-the-hell-did-I-do-wrong tailspin. I don’t think you mean to annoy, at least I hope you don’t … but please, it’s just too much.

If your child has painted a Michelangelo on the ceiling of your living room, keep it to yourself.

If your child has sculpted the Thinker out of slime, silly putty, and the last drips of conditioner in the bottle, keep it to yourself.

If your child has cooked your entire family a four course meal and then (wait for it) correctly loaded the dishwasher, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY keep it to yourself.

If you’re wondering what my own little prodigies are doing… it ain’t that. I live with six other people, five of whom like to puzzle. One, like his mother, does not. He does, however, have the habit of STEALING a single piece of the puzzle (in full view of his siblings and father) so that he can swoop in when all the hard work is done and finish the puzzle off. Personally, I think it’s a fabulous idea. I only like to get involved at the very end. But this time, the little prodigy (ok, he’s not so little and is currently eating half a cow for lunch) LOST THE LAST PIECE of the puzzle.

So, while you may be looking up at the Sistine Chapel, this is the kind of crap I have to look at.

See what I mean? For every time you post about your marvelous offpsring, I am moving a pair of shoes from the middle of the kitchen (why God, why?), peeling glue off the kitchen table (all this crafting may very well be the end of me) and scraping once-banished slimed off the sofa.

There are no masterpieces. There is only mess, work, and more work.

Be well everyone, and go wash your hands. If you need me, I’ll be loading the dishwasher


Filed under Coronavirus, Quarantine, Uncategorized