The good news is that our daughter Samantha is COVID negative. The bad news is that both of her parents have COVID. Since we live in a two-bedroom apartment, Samantha is the one who must try to isolate.  Howard is home for what we both hope will only be a week. His “office” is our bedroom. His sliver-of-a-desk is the top of our radiator, which means the room must remain freezing all day in order not to blow away legal documents and fry his laptop.

Speaking of his laptop, every time I go to my dresser for essentials (think bras, panties, socks and exercise clothes), I trip over the electric cord and must stop to plug it in again. After a few days, I should remember to step gingerly.  Yet somehow, I’m still not accustomed to the idea that our bedroom—formerly a place to relax and unwind—has become an obstacle course in Alaska.

Samantha is holed up most of the time in her happy-green bedroom where she is not-so-happy eating breakfast and lunch.  For dinner, she eats in the kitchen while we eat at the dining room table more than six feet away. Although Samantha has been a good sport, she is clearly anxious and sad about having both parents sick and becoming almost as isolated as we are. Our daughter’s, voice, acting and exercise coaching has been cancelled, due to our home becoming a temporary leper colony.

In between isolated meals, I am constantly opening and closing windows, turning the heat on and off, spraying Lysol and wiping down the kitchen cabinets. Cleaning and laundry must be also be handled by me because we must protect our housekeeper from the highly contagious omicron. Although Howard and I are not especially sick (think sniffles, scratchy throat, mild cough), we must protect others from contracting COVID.  So far, Samantha is testing negative every day. Could she be immune?

“When can I hug you again?” My affectionate daughter asks. “When will you test negative?  Text me on Saturday and let me know if I can kiss you goodnight.”

Sigh. “Will do.”

“I hope you and Daddeo can go out for your usual Saturday night dinner,” she adds hopefully.

“Me too!” I am trying to distract myself from my anger against the pandemic, which is a waste of my limited energy.

Instead, I focus on feathering my nest. But when the red slip covers for my dining room chairs, arrive from China, they turn out to be hideous. Unfortunately, Amazon has no information about the supplier, and it seems impossible to return them. I let go of this frustration along with the loss of $62.00 in order to purchase a second set of slip covers online.  These are a nice shade of red, but only four of the six slip covers that I ordered and paid for arrive. I call Amazon AGAIN, and they “reassure” me that the missing slipcovers will come in February or March.  Meantime, two chairs remain naked and exposed to the elements. I worry about stains and fading.  Not such a big deal but a constant reminder of the challenges of nest building during COVID

Another challenge for this Mother Hen is our refrigerator. The ice maker doesn’t work. I’ve written, emailed and called Liebherr and their repair service Happy Home Appliance (truly a misnomer).  After six months of a “new”, “luxury” refrigerator and five attempts to fix the ice maker, I’ve rarely enjoyed the convenience of ice.  During this time period, I had back surgery and my husband’s foot was run over at a gas station.  Ice would have been nice.

Today I have no symptoms except a sinus headache and the loss of taste and smell.  I’m waiting out my COVID isolation period wondering if Howard and I will test negative after 5 days. Or will our isolation last longer?  Five days, ten days or twelve? When can we safely hug our autistic daughter? When can Howard return to the office?

Every day I read the Times about all the new COVID cases, the scary surge in hospitalizations, the mental health problems and waiting lists for psychologists.  Sometimes I can’t make myself read beyond the headlines but when I do, I feel more anxious and burned out.

Happy New Year!


Like What You're Reading?

Subscribe below to receive alerts when I publish new articles. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!