Pandemic Part 2: COVID Confessional

Hey there internet pals. How’s everybody doing? Have you perfected the art of bread baking yet? Or maybe you’ve decided the real “wonder” of a Wonder Bread loaf is you can pick it up at the store and not have to wonder how fucking long it took to prep and bake the damn thing.

I once read a quote that went something like “If you have a friend who’s recently taken up bread making, please check on them. They are not ok.” I kinda feel like the earth is currently filled to the brim with people making proverbial bread right now and unfortunately there is no planet bro pal to check on us and pry the 30lb sack of tear-stained flour from our trembling hands.

Mars

Note, I have yet to actually bake any bread myself over the past 60ish days. I’ll bake cupcakes and banana “bread” (let’s be real, that shit is straight up CAKE) until my oven is begging for a break, but bread, real bread feels like something that’s slightly untouchable and I don’t think I’m actually qualified to make it.

I heard that every time an amateur baker fucks up a loaf of bread, a packet of yeast dies and I really don’t want that kind of stanky granular blood on my hands.

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As for non baking related life, the Breh household has settled into a routine that runs like a well-oiled machine powered by goldfish crackers and Elsa’s long-winded singing to audiences of zero. Really though…

Frozen One: Elsa sings to snowy mountain.
Frozen Two: Elsa sings to empty caves.

Really pulling for Frozen Three: Elsa Live at Radio City Music Hall.

As is, the Breh days have become surprisingly short with every action packed minute scheduled down to the second, but sadly our weeks feel long AF. I’m pretty sure the lobbyists for Wednesday snuck a few extra ones into the week when we all weren’t looking because whenever I check to see what day it is, without fail, it’s mutha effing Wednesday.

The mini update on us is, yes I’m still working full time and watching my kid full time and no I did not find some magical free time to write this during regular business hours. That means, you guessed it, this blog baby is coming to you from 3am in the morning again during some recent sleepless nights.

Aside from, you know, the mountain of uncertainty and crushing fear for the future, what’s been keeping me up is the brilliant decision to change up my sleeping aids and go more natural, which means saying goodbye to the sweet elixir of ZzzQuil and hello to the sweet sounds of whatever the fuck kind of suburban animal wakes up at 2am and shrieks like a winged Game of Thrones CGI invention. 

Say what you will about gangs and shootings in the city, but since moving to the suburbs I’ve discovered whatever the hell is going on out there at night is next-level sack of scary.  

Ain’t that right, Tom?

Burbsposter

So yeah, free time is still a bit of mythical unicorn concept in my house and I’ve finally quit complaining about it and settled into an acceptance and appreciation phase. If this had happened 10 years ago I’d be going through the pandemic alone in my studio apartment where I no doubt would have already rearranged the furniture eleventy-thousand times and started playing incredibly competitive games of Uno with my cat.

RIP Babette, you were too good (and fat) for this world.

babette

As is, I have the daily entertainment of a (recently turned) 2yr old who is learning new words and full sentences every day while finding endless and unexpected ways to crack Dave and I up on the regular. I’d regale you with examples, but I think you’ll all agree one of the few upsides to not being in an office right now is none of us are getting cornered by Cathy from accounting in the breakroom as she forceably shares the “absolutely adorable” story about her son shitting on the carpet over the weekend, so let’s keep this work from home upside train chugging along shall we?

Sorry, Cathy. Put it in your diary.

One side effect of the pandemic I did not see coming has been my newfound total and utter obsession with buying all things tie-dye. I have no idea where my burning need to ultimately turn into a Grateful Dead teddy bear has come from, but I assume there’s some sort of underlying and unconscious need to return to the 90s when my biggest concern was worrying somebody on the school bus was going to see my tie-dyed Dead shirt and ask me what my favorite song was, because guys, I’ll admit it right here and now – I just liked the colorful teddy bears.

Needless to say, my closet has recently turned into a rainbow puking rainbows. I am now the proud owner of a wide range of multicolored gartmets including (but not limited to) a baseball hat, shoes, flip flops, multiple sweatshirts, tshirts, tank tops, a bikini, yoga pants and yes, even a mutha fuckin tie dye face mask, which sadly does not fit. Apparently my melon is smaller than I realized, but the face mask merchants aren’t so much down with return policies right now. 

My new collection means that on any given day, my ass can be covered from head to toe with 100% tie-dye goodness. Last week, as I was walking down the stairs for the day, Dave took one look at me and said,

“Ok, Fresh Prince.”

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When he’s right, he’s right.

No member of the Breh house is safe from my need to spread the word of tie-dye. Warning: Incoming adorable toddler picture….

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Dave is next. He just doesn’t know it yet. 

The other unforeseen side affect of pandemic has been my newfound higher level of commitment to running. I’m getting pandemic prison strong and with any hope, by August I’ll be fully capable of outrunning the virus.

Yes, that’s a thing. Shut up.

With the cancellation of my June half marathon and the inevitable cancellation of the Chicago marathon, I don’t have any actual races to train for, so my new goal has been to watch as many hours of vintage trash MTV as possible while logging treadmill miles. Running and MTV really do go together like peanut butter and jelly. That is if peanut butter tasted more like sweaty tears and jelly left a bit of an untreated STD taste in your mouth.

To be completely honest, I’m not ashamed in the slightest to admit my love affair with MTV, specifically anything Real World/Road Rules related, runs DEEP and when you’re stuck in a house forcing yourself to run, is there really anything more relatable than watching 20-somethings stuck in a house running from adult behavior and responsibilities? 

Last week I watched two millennials get into a fight where one attacked the other with ketchup. Why? Because the offending girl had a FEAR of ketchup. Yes, she has a self diagnosed case of the condiment creeps. Tell me you can find that kind of quality entertainment anywhere else. You just can’t, so I’m in. All in and getting pandemic prison stronger for it.

Thank you, MTV. Please send me a tie-dye branded t-shirt in exchange for this highly valuable endorsement.

This one. Please and Thank You.

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If I’m counting correctly, so far on lockdown we have missed the chance to properly celebrate Easter, Mother’s Day and Quinn’s birthday. I did the best to rectify the birthday situation by throwing Quinn a virtual Zoom tea party birthday because nothing says two like baby’s first Zoom meeting.

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I’m not gonna lie, the entire experience, while fun to see a lot of familiar faces, was awkward as fuck and lasted all of 10 minutes while Quinn power unwrapped about 20 gifts wondering why the opening credits of the Brady Bunch were starring at her. 

I am however thankful that a 2 year old’s memory of a birthday party is about as good as my recollection of any given weekend night I had in college, so she’s not going to miss what she didn’t get. There were balloons and a cookie cake and a dumb frilly dress with matching tea party hat, so I feel satisfied I checked all the boxes and will not be losing my mom card while on lockdown.

At the end of the day all Quinn really wanted to do was get naked and eat cake, solidifying her role as the true lockdown spirit animal within all of us. 

So she did. 

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While it’s tough to find a more positive way to end a blog than with naked cake eating, I’m going to challenge myself here because amidst all the bullshit and the crappy days and the working my ass off for less money, something really amazing has happened over the past couple months. 

It’s no secret that I’m a pretty big Vonnegut fan (basic intellectual bitch, checking in! So it goes…) complete with a tattoo and healthy novel collection

tat
(This photo is dual purpose – go ahead, check out that sweet sweet tie-dye)

But on top of the standard fan appreciation I also have one of my favorite quotes hung at the top of our stairs

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It reads: “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” -Kurt Vonnegut

To be quite honest, I’m not sure I can perfectly pinpoint even a dozen of those moments from the past year prior to two months ago. I’m sure they happened, but life was so noisy and we were always rushing to get in the door or out the door and trying to squeeze 20lbs of day in to a Ziplock sandwich bag, so there was very little time to stop and take notice of all the incredible shit going on around me.

But over the past 60 days, things have gotten quieter and I’ve collected more moments than I can count and easily rattle off at will. They’re usually teeny tiny and messy and completely unexpected, but I’ll be damned if they’re not mother fuckin’ perfect.

Sure, there will come a day when I drop Quinn off at daycare followed by dropping Dave at the train and carrying on my route to work. The routine is there, hanging in the distance waiting for us when we’re ready. But right now, spending 24/7 with the two people I love the most even when we’re in the middle of a dishwasher emptying stand-off or tantrum over why I’m sitting on the wrong couch cushion, (gonna clarify that one is on Quinn, not Dave) is something I’ll never get the opportunity to experience again in my life, so I’m grateful. Fucking grateful.

And I hope you are too. 

Peace out from the pandemic! Here’s hoping the next time we chat we’ll all be a bit tanner and have long forgotten bread exists in any setting other than safely nested within a plastic bag protected by a hard working twist tie. 

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