Keep Calm And Kerri On:‘Locked Up’

Keep Calm and Kerri On:‘Locked Up’

Dear Friends,

Well, it finally happened. After nearly a year of playing it safe, and keeping our circle small, our family found ourselves in quarantine!

If you’ve had to “officially” be in quarantine, it can be an experience. That formal order from the department of health is a little alarming! It’s like something out of a movie – so official, full of warnings, and what will happen to you if you violate the order. They don’t even say anything warm and fuzzy like “we wish you well” or “we hope you and your family stay healthy and safe”. I get it’s an official notice, but would it be the worst thing to throw in some false sentiment?

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I got the distinct feeling that a COVID SWAT team was watching our movements from down the street, ready to escort us home if we took a step off the property. It’s also a little disconcerting that our neighbors haven’t noticed that anything was wrong, or reached out to see if we’re ok. Our vehicles haven’t moved in over a week and while my husband has taken the dog out, no one has seen me or our daughter. And what about my morning crew at the gym? I have been going regularly at 5 am for months now … no one there is wondering what happened to me? It’s like in Avengers, ‘Infinity Wars’, when half of the population just evaporates into thin air and everyone goes on with their life. Do people think I evaporated? To make myself feel better, I am just going to assume they figured I am in quarantine.

Trying to get my home office ready for an extended period of time was a bit of a task. I used to keep an office in the house, but over the years, it turned into Grace’s “crafting” room. My daughter has a unique ability to create wonderous bits of art out of anything and everything. Bits of ribbon? Don’t throw that away – she can “use it”. Old cereal box? She can ‘use’ that too. Packing peanuts, styrofoam, bags, buttons, string, leftover wrapping paper, cardboard tubes, egg cartons … she ‘uses’ it. She also has an extensive supply of tape, glue, and a hot glue gun. There’s evidence of this “hobby” all over the carpet, which will need to be replaced if we ever hope to sell our house one day. Gobs of old slime (that she made during her “slime business” phase), markers, paint, bits of things that got “accidentally” glued to the floor. And the glitter … so much glitter …

I have temporarily taken back the office. I even dug out my old printer, and after a painful hour, I was able to connect it for wireless printing … only to find that the ink was dried out. To top it off, the only copy paper I had was bright pink and canary yellow, because Grace “used” my good white copy paper for her various projects.

Many of you have worked from home remotely since all of this began, nearly a year ago. I have been fortunate to not have to do this, and I say that knowing that many of you have adapted to and are enjoying this. I am not one of these people. Yes, I appreciate that my job allows me the flexibility to do this, but how do you do it? Especially those of you with kids or spouses at home at the same time?

They’re bored. They’re always hungry. They’re constantly “popping” in to see what you’re doing. In fact, my husband just “popped in” to “Hey babe, what are you thinking you might make for dinner?” Um … it’s 3:00 in the afternoon … I don’t know! I’m working on my column, I have a meeting in 30 minutes and I am trying to figure out what needs to be done by the end of the week. Not thinking about dinner at the moment … “I’ll let you know” is all I say.

Meanwhile, as they raid the kitchen every moment they get, I am trying to stay as far away from the kitchen as possible. As I said, I haven’t been to the gym in over a week, and I am determined to avoid the “Quarantine 15” during my confinement. And because my husband sees I am not really getting up from my work, he thinks he is helping me by offering me food throughout the day. Earlier he “found” a box of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies in the freezer (which I had hidden there so I could enjoy when I wanted, but not easily accessible – good job, Indiana Jones), so he brings them to me and says “Look what I found?!” and leaves them on my desk. ARGH! I ate half a row, and then promptly took the box back to the freezer and reburied it, until “Junior” goes exploring again.

I do want to give a shout out to the Department of Health. They call us every day to ask how we are feeling, and they always ask if we need food or cleaning supplies. I think this is fabulous! I am lucky that I have family and friends who are awesome and have been dropping off things that we need, food, wine … you know, the essentials! And we did our first Instacart order the other day, which was wonderful. But I know not everyone has a support system or people who they can count on for food and supplies. It’s pretty awesome that our department of health does this, and that if we needed something, they would give us help. The DOH has dealt with so much this past year, and I am sure the daily calls are tedious, but everyone I have spoken to has been kind, thoughtful and never make me feel like they are rushing to collect information.

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Quarantine isn’t a vacation (at least not for me), but I am thankful to have a great support system, a dedicated staff keeping things afloat at the office, and that I have made it this far without a major blowout with my kid or my husband! To all you hard working people trying to make the best of it, and trying to avoid the kitchen, I give you props!

I am counting down the days until I can return to work, but for those who have figured out how to make this work, you are a Rockstar!

Be well, Chenango.

~ Kerri



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