But I could be. Soon.
I’m trying to stay calm. Really.
But when my beady little eyes popped open at 6 AM, my first thought was,
With consciousness came awareness, and I remembered a few things. Like the fact that my life savings is worth about half of what it was a month ago. And I’m retired.
Like the fact that the first really progressive candidate of my life is getting smoked by a guy I could never support.
And like the fact that the world is in the grips of the most serious pandemic of modern times.
I couldn’t decide if it was good that I’d probably croak from the new virus before I end up living under a bridge, so I decided to get up.
I checked the news, because I’m stupid. I saw that last night our President gave a speech intended to reassure us. Unfortunately, between the thick layers of bullshit and the slurred speech, it was hard to tell whether everything will really be OK or Trump is taking all the Zanax left in DC.
I closed the computer and started breakfast for the kids.
The front door opened and in came my son-in-law with my grandkids.
“Good morning!” I chirped in the happiest fake voice I could muster. “How are you all?”
“Fine. Except that Ellie doesn’t feel well.”
I got four year old Ellie settled on the couch and asked how she was doing. “I have a cold.” The juicy sneeze that followed told me that this was true. As did the cough that followed it. “I have the chills.”
She closed her eyes. I clenched my jaw.
Her little brother hopped up on a kitchen chair and asked for a waffle.
I. Did. Not. Panic.
But I washed my hands. And my face, where the sneeze juice had landed. I hummed to the tune of Happy Birthday as I rubbed my skin raw.
“Happy Sickness, oh jeez.
I’ve been slimed by a sneeze.
We’re all gonna get it.
Staying safe ain’t a breeze.”
I plastered my smile back on, and went to give Johnny another waffle, a banana, a bowl of blueberries and a piece of toast. I obviously won’t be avoiding the grocery store any time soon.
My husband came down the hall to give me a desperately needed hug. I felt a little calmer, until I saw that he was dressed in a jacket and tie. My heart sank, as I remembered that he was headed to the funeral of a good friend. I worry every day about my husband’s health, and about the level of stress that he deals with in his job as a psychologist.
My anxiety ticked up a notch, but I reminded myself that everything would be OK. Paul would come home, I’d have a nice dinner for us to share. Ellie probably just has a cold, I told myself. I probably washed away the germs before they could infiltrate my mucous membranes.
I took a deep breath and sent a quick to text to my daughter to let her know about Ellie’s symptoms.
And to see how she was feeling, to be honest. Because she is 36 weeks pregnant with her third child. She’s been having contractions so we know that she’ll be having that baby any day now. Right here in our local hospital. The one in our community, where all the schools are closed because of…..yup….the dreaded virus.
The virus that might be in her own house in the sweet little nose of her very own daughter.
Noticing that I was getting a little dizzy, I forced myself to start breathing again.
I headed down to my freezer to get out some chicken stock. I grabbed a frozen mason jar.
A frozen mason jar of chicken stock.
Did I mention that I’m stupid?
I noticed that there were some cracks showing in the glass. The kids were safely snuggled on the couch and I had cleaned up most of breakfast before John asked for his first snack.
I picked up the jar to show to Paul, and a huge chunk of glass fell off. The whole jar started to slip out of my fingers, and I grabbed for it with my right hand. The entire slippery thing shattered as I grabbed it, and I found myself clutching about 40 shards of broken glass.
Bits of glass and greasy frozen chicken covered the floor. It had ended up in one of my cabinets, too.
Paul grabbed a broom and got the dogs outside as I bent to pick up the biggest pieces, cursing the whole time. (In Russian, French and Italian. I’m not a completely irresponsible old lady.)
Between the blood, the glass and the chicken fat, the floor was a huge smeary mess. It took a while, but eventually Paul and I had managed to scoop, wash, wrap, bandage, vacuum, throw out and scrape up most of the mess.
He headed off to the funeral and to work. I made a cup of “Tension Tamer Tea” and sat down with my bandaged and throbbing fingers. I was trying to tell myself that the day would get better from here. That everything was OK. That it would be fine. No need to panic, I murmured.
I gently picked a few tiny glass needles from my palm. I sipped my tea and smiled at the kids.
Then I heard a strange crunching noise coming from the kitchen.
Bentley, the canine Hoover, had found an inch long piece of glass under the stove and sucked it out and into his mouth. Because chicken.
As I carefully pried the deadly glass out of his slightly bleeding mouth, I decided that enough was enough. I gave up. I let the anxiety wash over me.
So I’m not technically in a panic this morning. But I am definitely in a “WTF-Might-As-Well-Eat-The-Donuts” frame of mind.
If you need me, I’ll be in the locked bathroom. Bathing in vinegar and bleach.