I take the dog for a walk. The sky is gray and the air is still. There is nobody out yet. Two large dogs dart past us and we hear the thump of their heavy paws thundering down the road toward traffic. Neighbors come out in their pajamas and bare feet and coax the loose dogs back home. A single, enormous crow flies closely overhead and caws loudly three times. “Caw! Caw! Caw!” And the front doors shut again. And the quiet is back.
MH opens her Chromebook and starts working next to me on the couch. I hear her say under her breath, “Let’s see…some bacteria and…a city. Yes, that’s it.” I ask her what she is doing and she replies, “I’m combining bacteria with a city in a program called Little Alchemy to see what happens.”
“I see,” I say. “And what happens?”
“Nothing…yet,” she says.
“Is there an option for a virus?” I ask.
“Maybe. I just haven’t discovered it yet,” she answers.
MH, still on her Chromebook.
“I know,” she says. “I’ll try a container and…a city. What will that do?”
I receive a Potential Spam phone call from Mainland China. I do not answer.
“This is the perfect opportunity for me to learn how to skateboard!” P exclaims.
The boy awakens from his longer-than-usual slumber and stumbles into the kitchen to find pancakes and scrambled eggs. “Well, this isn’t the worst Monday morning ever.”
The girl twin convinces the boy twin to let her dye part of his hair pink. Work in progress.
“I am so proud!” I look over to see that MH has successfully followed a YouTube tutorial to make an origami boat for a diorama that is still due on Wednesday.
12:20 pm to 12:45 pm
I get to know my online grocery shopper, Mark, really well over discussions about how many things on my list are out of stock. He has a sense of humor, which is most appreciated. “Fake chicken nuggets in the house!” reads his last message.
3:05, 3:10, 3:15 pm
“Mom, where’s the glitter? Mom, where are the cotton balls? Mom, I need to print out a picture of George Washington’s head. And I need some chopsticks and maybe two Q-tips.”
Listening to the latest national press conference on NPR. (Now, it’s groups of ten or less.) Listening to the back-to-back voice mails from the school district, the principal from the elementary school, and the principal from the middle school. Listening to my oldest daughter ask for the umpteenth time, “Do you think we will even go back to school? Like ever?”
Mandating a family walk around the neighborhood. I almost step on a deceased squirrel at the end of the driveway. “Did it die from Coronavirus, Mom?”
Washing dishes for the third time. Folding clothes for the second. Plunging the toilet for the first time…since last night. Wishing it was due to an abundance of toilet paper, but alas, just old plumbing.
Making dinner. We took a vote. Three out of four quarantined family members are happy.
The girl twin asks her brother for a glass of orange juice at dinner. The boy twin (who now has subtle pink highlights) mumbles, “Why can’t you get it yourself?” I am actually yelling at my son for not pouring his sister a glass of orange juice. “How do you think this whole coming together in a crisis thing is supposed to work if you can’t even get your sister a glass of orange juice?!” I think I might need to lie down. I remind myself this is Day One.
I recover and remember tomorrow is trash day. I give my son a chance to redeem himself. “Can you please take the trash cans down to the curb before dark?” I ask. He looks blankly at me. “I don’t think I can. There’s a dead, infected squirrel in the way.”
My son is now taking the trash cans down to the curb.
MH finally figures out how to make “sickness” on Little Alchemy. She seems pleased.
I imagine my throat feels dry or scratchy or perhaps I’m just dehydrated since I cannot seem to stop binge eating the recently-delivered Skinny Girl popcorn. I gargle with warm, salt water and put the kettle on for tea. Just in case.
My son calls from the bedroom, “Mom? Mom…?!”
“Um, I love you and you’re the best mom in the whole world. And, be safe tomorrow.”