Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has ordered everyone to stay home. Whoo hoo! I’m a homebody anyway; writing , walking, baking, reading, gardening. The best things in my life happen here.
Not so much for my husband; a university professor who is suddenly working from home and adapting his lectures to on-line learning. “Every day is the same.” “I’m tired of wearing the same clothes.” “I’m eating/drinking/sleeping too much.”
I, on the other hand, am adjusting to him. Now quarantined together for the foreseeable future, working from home for me has become a little more complicated.
I’ve been writing from home for years. I know very well that being home and working from home are two very different things!
Lately there has been a spate of “how-to-work from home ” posts everywhere. My pro tip? Don’t overdo it. You can’t really work all the time. Better to figure out what a productive day for you is (for me, its usually 4-5 hours) then call it a day.
I am lucky to have a dedicated home office. My husband has migrated to our oldest son’s bedroom for recording his video lectures. We’ve found ourselves with lots of time to spend together- binge watching Netflix (we just finished Unorthodox and we are half-way through Julian Fellowes’ soccer-themed drama, The English Game) and taking walks around Crystal Lake.
So far, so good. Over these past couple of weeks, it seems to me that everyone is friendlier. We’ve brought out the wicker furniture and started having drinks on the front porch again where we smile, wave and shout hello to our neighbors as they walk by. And now that the schools are closed, it’s nice to hear the sound of the children playing in the afternoon. I read that kids are going on teddy bear scavenger hunts with their families- so I’ve enlisted two of my adult children’s teddy bears to help in the cause.
Another fun community activity was coming out on my front porch last Friday at 7PM and participating in the Massachusetts “Clap Because We Care Event” to support essential workers on the front lines of this battle. There was a round of applause and quite a lot of whooping and hollering even in my normally quiet neighborhood. This week I hope there is an even bigger turnout.
Since mid-March, each week brings something new to the covid-19 crisis: a travel ban, social distancing, state-wide lock downs . This week, the CDC recommends that we wear masks when outside our home. So I’ve brought down the sewing machine from the attic. I’m doing a Scarlett O’Hara and making masks for my family (I used this pattern from the New York Times) from spare curtain fabric. I’ve got the time.
Many of us suddenly have an abundance of time. It’s a little disorienting. I’ve lined up a few long -avoided projects for the coming weeks; reorganizing the pantry, a bathroom refresh, reseeding the backyard. These are anxious times. All we can do is to control what we can.
Because the pandemic will end. And we will get through this. Looking ahead, I’m hopeful that this crisis will bring us together. Actually, I’m quite sure of it.