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Letters from Home in the Time of COVID

these will be amazing memories ... eventually ... one day ... maybe?

Mike Paulus

 

How’s it going, Chippewa Valley? I’m fine.

Like many of you smart, attractive, industrious people reading this, I’ve been working from home for the past few weeks. And by “from home” I mean “from the rock-hard kitchen chair I pulled out to my wife’s petite sewing table upon which she keeps enough spare fabric scraps and extra pairs of scissors to choke a majestic blue whale, the world’s largest animal. To death.”

Yes, I know I’ve got it good. I shouldn’t complain about little things. So many people are in peril, their health and/or livelihood held ransom by this awful, worldwide sickness. Like I said, I’m doing fine. I have so much for which to be thankful.

What a blessing these weeks have been. I’ve gotten to know my immediate family so much better thanks to all this time at home! Truly a silver lining amid the hideous COVID-19 virus cloud.

Thanks, COVID-19. You’re the best.

For example, did you know that if you talk to your cats every single time they walk by they will eventually learn English and will one day talk back to you? My wife sure thinks so!

And do you know how many different Christmas songs a 13-year-old girl can adapt to everyday things like making instant oatmeal, going to the bathroom, or simply sitting on a couch? So many different songs! So many different, loud Christmas songs about armpits!

Hey, guess how many times you need to remind your kids to wash their hands for 20 seconds before they just do it every time? I have no frickin’ clue! I’ve never seen it happen. All day long, I’m like ...

Me: Did you wash your hands for 20 seconds?
Kid: Yes.
Me: Really?
Kid: No.
Me: Why not?
Kid: I forgot.
Me: WHEN THE HOSPITALS ARE OVERWHELMED I’LL TELL THEM IT WAS YOUR FAULT.

All glorious damn day. For some reason, they don’t take me seriously. And yes, I’m kidding. Because I wash their hands for them.

Truly, everyday life has transformed. We’re all seeing the world in a different way. Our routines are as forgotten as the emerald ash borer. Remember the emerald ash borer? That used to be a thing. Good times.

Truly, everyday life has transformed. We’re all seeing the world in a different way. Our routines are as forgotten as the emerald ash borer. Remember the emerald ash borer? That used to be a thing. Good times.

Oh, have you tried grocery shopping in the past week? I thought it would have calmed down by now, but no. People are still posting to Facebook from the middle of Woodman’s like they’re journalists embedded with ground troops charging across a flaming Iraqi oil field.

And there are pallets of toilet paper in the produce section. Next to the citrus.

OK, let’s talk about doorknobs. They’re dangerous. Knobs, handles, levers. Electronic keypads. All of them are waiting to infect you with the virus. If you touch a doorknob, you’re basically having a long, sweaty handshake with every other runny-nosed, coughing person who’s also touched that doorknob. And they probably held onto it long enough to make it nice and warm.

If you need groceries, and you go out in public – where the doorknobs live – wear gloves. Two pairs. And then oven mitts on top. And then use your feet. To push your wife at the door so she opens it for you.

And yes, in case you were wondering, I did just Google “kinds of doorknobs.” That’s how dedicated I am to this work I’m doing from home, kind reader.

My advice is to stay at home where the worries are at the very least familiar. And right now, “familiar” feels good. “Familiar” can get you through the day. “Familiar” can fend off the anxiety we’re all feeling. And yes, we’re all feeling it. Together. On our own but together.

And if familiar, everyday comforts elude your troubled mind, step outside. In daylight or moonlight, step outside and stand still on some solid ground. Close your eyes and feel your body press down against the earth. The earth is heavy. It’s heavy with pain and sorrow. But it’s also overflowing with courage. And hope.

The whole world is still out there, people. And it’ll be there tomorrow, waiting for us.

Stay safe.