Before you get the wrong idea, the only reason I put Sex in the title of this post is so a lots of people would get the wrong idea and read my blog. And, I just lost 75% of them right about now.
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Last week, I requested my Facebook friends to write an account of their struggles during The Great Quarantine of 2020, and email them to me. I would compile them and post my first, and only, collaborative group effort blog post. The premise wasn’t that hard to comprehend, but this is what happened:
I know Amy and Randy. We met Amy at church in Surprise, AZ. Amy is going to be the next proud owner of our Buick Encore. Once this global quarantine thing is lifted, we’re going to drive up to the Phoenix metro area, eat some Rosati’s pizza, do some shopping, transfer the title to Amy, then fly back to the Lakeside Area.
We’re hoping to be able to do that in early May.
We met Randy here in the entrance of Walmart while we were waiting for the rain to stop. If it weren’t for Randy, we wouldn’t have our two darlingpreshadorbs kit-tens. She moved back to Idaho after hooking us up with Mika and Mollie, having fulfilled her reason for being in Mexico.
Honestly, I have no idea why she moved back to Idaho, but my version sounds cool.
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Mary is a virtual friend. We’ve never met in person, and we probably never will, which is too bad. I like her more than some people I actually have met. Mary has spent a lots of time during her quarantine putting jigsaw puzzles together, despite the intense pain of gout.
Gout is a common and complex form of arthritis that can affect anyone, but in antiquity it mostly affected royalty and kings. Like, Henry VIII of England. It’s characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in the joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe.
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Little Known Fact About Me: I also have occasional gout flare-ups. And, yes, it does hurt like unto two hells.
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A few more friends of mine offered these brief updates:
I know Mike and Laurie from the golf course. Laurie’s husband passed away about a year ago. It hasn’t been easy for her. Trisha is one of my favorite nieces. She’s a nurse, so T-Bop holds a special place in my heart.
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Two people actually wrote up detailed accounts of their experiences. Denise is my favorite sister. Geanie is an American ex-pat living in the Lakeside Area. She has a small business called The Ugly Truffle. I bought some of her chocolates and candy confections a couple of times. They are seriously to die for.
Denise submitted her story first. I edited some punctuation and grammar, but this is her story in her words.
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How has COVID-19 -19 messed with me?!
In the state of Florida, they refused to do a state wide shut down, cases were growing by the minute. When I was scheduled to work on 3/24/20, I refused to go for the safety of my health. 2 days later, Pinellas County shut down non-essential services. I manage a hair salon part-time, my boss has been in the business for 33 years in the same location. Our stylists are employees, not sub-contractors. Pinellas County is very wealthy, our salon is a half mile from the Ferrari dealship. Our clients travel all over the world. Plus, many have been with my employer forever, and are old, doctoring for everything! No, I didn’t feel safe being at work.
Step 1: Sheltering at home. Hubby and I drank heavily the 1st week. Then it started to dawn on me that I really didn’t like him or myself after copious amounts of alcohol. We were all having happy hours on different patios, then the death toll climbed higher…
Step 2: Cut back/quit drinking. Both of us had medical appts coming up, so no drinking! Then there was dealing with residents in our condo complex. Most of our dear Canadian friends went home ahead of schedule. They would have no health coverage if they became sick in America. Once they got home they had to shelter in place for 2 weeks or be fined $1000 if a neighbor narked on them. And they do narc on their neighbors!
Some snowbirds, like our elderly neighbor, Sharon, is from NY. She couldn’t go home because her state was on lockdown, so she had to stay. Sharon is a social butterfly, wants crowds of people all day, every day, around her. She wasn’t taking this serious. I finally told her, as did my husband, either keep your butt at home to avoid bringing the virus home to the complex, or forget about us spending any time with you — you will have no one. Sharon has been keeping her butt at home, or shopping with one of us on a weekly outing.
Step 3: Douchebag Trumpites! We have many douchebags in Florida. They love The Donald. They Drank The Kool-aid! It’s a hoax!! Nobody is telling me what I can and can’t do. They’re violating my rights as a citizen….(fill in the blanks from douchebags’ mouth).
Beaches are closed to the public in Pinellas County and many other counties in Florida. But there’s an exception most people didn’t realize: It doesn’t apply to the douchebags that jump over barricades. They think it’s a joke when the sheriff kicks them off the beach. They go back the next day to a different location. Does sheltering at home work? Only if you have a brain. One tenant in our condos is a muscle man, steroid idiot, whose dick is as big as his brain. He’s at the beach daily, jumping barricades to work out on equipment in our parks. Go back to NY, where you’re from, you ignorant pig!
Step 4: Trying to get unemployment in a state that doesn’t want to pay it. Florida has the lowest payments and fewest weeks available to collect in the nation. You lost your job? Too bad, take a flying jump off the Sky Bridge, be homeless, we don’t care, you’re not getting a dime in unemployment. At the end of March, I tried to apply for unemployment. It took me 5 days to get registered due to the system being overloaded. I was kicked out, retired out numerous times. Finally on the 5th day, there was success! Come back in 10 days to apply for your 1st week. 10 days later the website is defunct.
They’ve had every Tom, Dick, and Harry contacting the Governor about the shit website; he put a task force together. Many Florida Crackers don’t have internet, or a computer. They had to hand out paper applications and create a site that could be accessed by phones and tablets.
My 10 days are up, the website is defunct, and is now directing everyone to the new and improved site! How fun!! Back to the drawing board, you have to start from zero, creating a brand new claim. Today, I should have been requesting wages for the weeks I haven’t worked, not setting up a new claim…
I think they hope you just get fed up and commit suicide, rather than dealing with the assbackwards government.
Step 5: Finding Zen! I walk 5 miles a day 3-4 times a week. I am trying new recipes or making family favorites I haven’t made in sometime. I’m reading daily, luckily our club house has a small library in it. I’m binging on Netfix and Amazon Prime. Go Tiger King!! I’m sheltering in place. I’m praying — daily, hourly, anytime I have anxiety knocking on my door. My son-in-law in Chicago has all the symptoms of COVID-19, and I pray for him, his family and for all of us that we see the rainbow after the storm, the light at the end of the tunnel — that we will experience some sort of normal once again.
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Again, save for some minor editing, this is Geanie’s story:
…in my particular situation, my COVID isolation actually began before COVID… so I need to start there.
On February 26, just a short time before we all began paying serious attention to COVID-19 and what was going to be expected of us, my husband passed away. I had just spent 3 weeks at his side, day and night, providing hospice care. From the very moment he was gone I had never felt aloneness of this depth before in my life. I also knew that after watching him slowly die knowing there was nothing I could do — I knew that I could not stay in the home we were renting. My first morning after losing him, as I left our bedroom to pass through the living room on my way to make coffee, all I saw was my sweet Roger still laying in the hospice bed, dying all over again. There was no way for me to stay there. There was no way for me to grieve properly and heal if I had to see that every time I walked into the living room. So I moved, immediately.
I found a little apartment and within 4 days of losing my husband, I moved. What I didn’t realize was that I was the only tenant in this brand new apartment complex made up of 14 apartments. I also didn’t realize the apartments were in a cellphone dead zone. Looking back I understand why I didn’t know these things. It’s amazing that I was even able to function enough to actually pack and move as I did. But here I was, and still am, in a deafening silent concrete complex with no one else around. Of course I immediately ordered internet access so I could at least have noise from the TV and have access to at least have a way to stay in touch with family and friends. That took 2 full weeks. Those 2 weeks were maddening for me. For one, since I was in a cellphone dead zone, I had no choice but to always remain at the apartment so I could let the internet provider in for installation. They couldn’t call me to let me know. And neither could anyone else.
Imagine how happy and excited I was once it was installed. I wouldn’t have to stay in this concrete graveyard all the time anymore! I could spend time with my friends, my family, here. I could begin my grieving process, my healing process, with the help of others.
But, just as I was looking forward to moving forward, COVID-19 struck and we were told to isolate.
How could I grieve? How could I begin healing my soul? We all need others in our lives to help us get through the grief and help us heal. For the first time in my life, I was living in limbo. And now, in addition to having my heart lying at my feet in a million pieces, I was a prisoner to a virus.
I’ve not found a way to move on. I’ve not found a way to grieve. I know that if I were to allow myself to grieve in the midst of this isolation, in the midst of this fear of COVID-19, I’m afraid my tears and my fears will never end; that I may end up a basketcase. Why? Because grieving alone can be very harmful. Grieving alone is torturous. Human beings were built to be consoled. Here, all alone, in this concrete graveyard, isn’t consoling, it’s just a reminder, every moment of every day, of just how alone I am without my husband.
Am I coping? Sure, I’m coping. I’m coping by putting every emotion, every tear, aside. I’m waiting for my time to come, my time to grieve, my time to move on. It’s not now.
I spend my time keeping up with all that is going on in the US via television. I keep up with all that is going on here at Lakeside with my friends and others via Facebook. Oh, how I appreciate those posts that bring a little smile to me! So many have reached out to me, checking on me, offering their love and support. I do so appreciate that, too. But there is nothing that can replace an actual physical hug when you need one. So I’m warning all my friends…. Just as soon as is possible, you better be ready with those arms of yours, because I’m sure gonna use mine. And yes, I’ll cry.
I’m coping by remembering every single day that this is not what my sweet Roger wanted for me. I remember how he would support me and push me to be the best I can be. Sitting and drowning myself in sorrow would be so easy right now, but I know that is not the woman my husband knew, not the woman my husband loved. And to be less than how he thought of me would be an insult to the great love we shared for 20 years.
I’m coping by not coping. I’m coping by leaving myself in limbo. I’m coping by knowing that as each silent, isolated, lonely day goes by, I’m one more day closer to the end of this nightmare. Every night when I go to bed, I am thankful that the day is over; only because I know I’m one day closer.
And every morning I have just one thing I do to try to start the day out right. It may not last, but at least I try every morning. I sing to my little Boo. Boo is my dog. He’s a little Pekingese. Here’s what I sing:
🎼Momma’s 🎵little Boo Bear,🎶Boo Bear, Boo Bear. 🎶Momma’s 🎵little Boo Bear, I 🎶love you, Yes🎵I do, I really🎶love you.
And I give him an awesome belly rub and body massage. It starts both our days out right.
That’s how I cope. By starting the day out right and ending it happy that another day of this nightmare is over. What happens in between the two, well, is very hard. But I will just keep coping, in limbo, for now. My time will come and I want to be ready for it.
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Yeah, that was a bit of a tear-jerker, wasn’t it.
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Thank you to everyone that contributed something. Thank you to Denise and Geanie for stepping up to the plate and knocking one out of the fuckin’ park.
Until next time, stay calm, stay sane, and stay safe.