Day Forty
There is nothing like the moment in the kitchen after the dishes are done, when I’ve left a zoom call with friends, and I’m waiting on my daughter to come downstairs to watch tv.
I wonder why Colin’s so quiet? I
I wonder why Katy’s taking so long?
Is the dishwasher making a weird noise?
Does Sophie look more tired than usual?
These moments are when I think, I really need to do yoga or consider drinking more wine.
We’re on Day Forty, my friends. I”m still looking at Facebook, waiting on Kate, which is what I was doing quite a bit of the time before all of this.
I should go see what Colin’s up to.
He’s probably making masks out of surgical tape and medical gauze or cleaning the linen closet.
I’m going to check, anyway.

Today, I was part of a conversation with some amazing women who do amazing things. My mom even said, when I told her about them, “you’re lucky they have chosen you to be part of their lives.”

I am blessed to know so many amazing people, and that these amazing people return my calls, laugh at my jokes, include me to their zoom meetings, and will invite me into their homes, for holidays, dinners, games, and just because. They have good wine, better snacks, and we get each other, in a way I haven’t felt in a long time.

But, sometimes, it’s hard to know where I fit in.
I’m currently not working at Quincy College, currently unsure what my next steps are going to be, or where I want them to take me.

I bring to the table funny stories about life with Colin, and heartwarming anecdotes about Katy still letting me into her room, even flop on her bed, and sometimes, talk to me, (this morning, she told me I needed a shower. I’d just hiked the Blue Hills.) I bring to the table good table manners, excellent taste in music, a sometimes irritating and occasionally helpful cheerful demeanor, muted first thing in the morning for most of my friends, and I’m willing to be the one who decides which restaurant and what time- Not critical skills at the moment.

I know it’s not good to compare yourself to others, the doors that have closed will open to amazing opportunities, I have a house, a husband, beautiful kids and the very best dog.

I know all of us have been pretty close to where I am now, at one point or another.
I know this, in my head.

But in my heart, I feel like I”m running the Boston Marathon and, somehow, find myself alone, lost in Cleveland. Everyone’s talking about Boston, and I’m wandering around Cleveland hoping to get home for the

byForty-One Days- and not the best of them.
(The flute recital, not mentioned, which should have been mentioned, was amazing.)

Today, I was part of a conversation with some amazing women who do amazing things. My mom even said, when I told her about them, “you’re lucky they have chosen you to be part of their lives.”

I am blessed to know so many amazing people, and that these amazing people return my calls, laugh at my jokes, include me to their zoom meetings, and will invite me into their homes, for holidays, dinners, games, and just because. They have good wine, better snacks, and we get each other, in a way I haven’t felt in a long time.

But, sometimes, it’s hard to know where I fit in.
I’m currently not working at Quincy College, currently unsure what my next steps are going to be, or where I want them to take me.

I bring to the table funny stories about life with Colin, and heartwarming anecdotes about Katy still letting me into her room, even flop on her bed, and sometimes, talk to me, (this morning, she told me I needed a shower. I’d just hiked the Blue Hills.) I bring to the table good table manners, excellent taste in music, a sometimes irritating and occasionally helpful cheerful demeanor, muted first thing in the morning for most of my friends, and I’m willing to be the one who decides which restaurant and what time- Not critical skills at the moment.

I know it’s not good to compare yourself to others, the doors that have closed will open to amazing opportunities, I have a house, a husband, beautiful kids and the very best dog.

I know all of us have been pretty close to where I am now, at one point or another.
I know this, in my head.

But in my heart, I feel like I”m running the Boston Marathon and, somehow, find myself alone, lost in Cleveland. Everyone’s talking about Boston, and I’m wandering around Cleveland hoping to get home for the afterparty.

I have the sense of direction of a ninety year old drunk from Medford, waking up alone in Los Angeles, who lost his glasses on the flight.

But I am determined as hell, so I’ll get there.

And if I don’t, I’ll jump on Katy’s bed until she makes me laugh or figures out how to throw me off.

Love,
Jules

At the end of an online barre class, the instructor played a song by FINNEAS, my favorite new musician.
Most people I’ve asked, (this means my friends and my kids friends,) don’t know who in the hell FINNEAS is.
I was thrilled.
Hearing a pop song, played during an online exercise class, that I have listened to a million times already, was the high point of my day.
Thank you #BostonPia.

(He’s also Billie Eilish’s brother and producer, but I didn’t want to mention that except in parenthesis because I don’t want to diminish his work as an independent artist.
I also don’t know why he spells his name in all capital letters)

I’m including my link to his video for my favorite song below. He spends the whole song staring moodily into the the distance, except for the one bit where he pulls his shirt over his head. It is a beautiful, so maybe just listen the first time so the clip doesn’t ruin it for you.

Stay strong, and amazing.
Jules

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjmBLCbTgDo

I spent thirty minutes trying to center the drapes on the curtain rods.
An hour was consumed when I dusted and wiped.
I cleaned out my closet, and put away my high heels in a box I tucked deep in my closet.
Katy came over to me in the midst of one my rants-
“Why am I always doing all of this alone? You are on Snapchat and I”m-”
And she said-
“Mom, the house will still be here tomorrow, the mess will be here tomorrow, and so will we. And I’ll help.”
She folded me into her arms and hugged me until I didn’t want to strangle her.
Then I spotted a stack of papers, an empty cat food can, a dirty napkin, and some cheerios under the kitchen table. (I spend the majority of my time oblivious and it serves me well, until it doesn’t.)
I started again, but I’m not going to repeat the language I used, but she reached around my shoulders, and let me lean in on her shoulder.
I know she just didn’t feel like helping me clean the damn house, but I admire her tactics.
With love passed on from Katy to me to you,
Julie

I spent thirty minutes trying to center the drapes on the curtain rods.
An hour was consumed when I dusted and wiped.
I cleaned out my closet, and put away my high heels in a box I tucked deep in my closet.
Katy came over to me in the midst of one my rants-
“Why am I always doing all of this alone? You are on Snapchat and I”m-”
And she said-
“Mom, the house will still be here tomorrow, the mess will be here tomorrow, and so will we. And I’ll help.”
She folded me into her arms and hugged me until I didn’t want to strangle her.
Then I spotted a stack of papers, an empty cat food can, a dirty napkin, and some cheerios under the kitchen table. (I spend the majority of my time oblivious and it serves me well, until it doesn’t.)
I started again, but I’m not going to repeat the language I used, but she reached around my shoulders, and let me lean in on her shoulder.
I know she just didn’t feel like helping me clean the damn house, but I admire her tactics.
With love passed on from Katy to me to you,
Julie

 

I’m at home, fussing about having to cook and opening a laptop, and you are kissing your kids goodbye and heading out to take care of the rest of us.

I’m sitting down with my family and you are eating takeout, gulping coffee, sliding some dollars into a vending machine, or looking for an open place that serves takeout and will let you use the bathroom.

I’m at home, trying to decide between sweat pants and yoga pants, and you are donning face masks you might have warn the day before, and gloves. You might have to wear that face mask for ten hours straight, on the job. You are probably worried the masks, the gloves, the sanitizer might run out.

I’m at home, dancing with my daughter.

You can’t kiss your children when you come home, until you’ve stripped off your clothes, and showered. After all that, you might not even be able to creep into their rooms to watch them sleep. You might be stranded at work, because there is just too much to do, not enough of you and too many of us.

There are so many of us, and you are on the frontlines of an impossible battle with an invisible enemy. You are working to keep us healthy and home.

Some of you are working to send some us back home from the hospital, and have witnessed what most of could never imagine. I would not last five minutes in your shoes, and yet, you go back, and do what you do.

I will never really know what it’s like for any of you, or how you do it, especially now. I know that this is a debt I can never repay.

I will do my best to make choices each day that support the work you are doing.

I am home, and hope that soon, you’ll be home, too.

Thank you.

Julie

Day Thirty Six

April 19, 2020

 
Tonight, I am grateful the kitchen is clean, and there are leftovers in the fridge, tucked inside Tupperware. The dishwasher works and is working, and I’m done with food for the day. Deciding what to eat, looking for basil, or finding the hidden parmesan, taking into account what everyone else wants to eat, cooking, plating, remembering to put Frank’s Hot Sauce by Katy’s plate, and eating.
 
I’m exhausted.
 
Tonight, I am grateful that Sophie is waiting by the door. Katy is upstairs putting on pants. The snow has melted, and the night air felt good on my skin when I stepped outside.
 
Tonight, I will walk around the block a few times, with my girls. We will talk about tomorrow, Chem homework, and what I was like at sixteen.
 
Or we might not talk at all.
 
Tonight, I am grateful to spend the rest of the evening in the company of my daughter, who is fine when the world is quiet.
She doesn’t feel conversation is as necessary as coffee. I do.
But tonight, I’m grateful I’m breathing, and that Katy still holds my hard, from time to time.
 

Day Thirty Five-

April 18, 2020

 

My friends post funny stuff, important information, photos, questions, sometimes, just check-ins or asks for recommendations about restaurants, learning at home, or where to find toilet paper.

There are sad stories of loss, and warnings from people working on the front lines who know far more than I, and deserve more than a sentence.
There are the people announcing the loss of someone they loved.
There are inspirational quotes, and old wisdom, and poems that steal my breath and give it back.

Some offer glimpses of family life- descriptions of walks in the park, cooking dinner, and video clips of first steps or birthday cakes.
Some are just a sentence or two, stolen from someone else, posted during a commercial or while waiting for someone to make popcorn. We don’t all have the same same of humor, but mostly we do.

I just post.

My updates are glimpses into moments, conversations, temporary revelations, offering tactics that seem to help me cope. I don’t think anyone’s coping. But I leave a lot out.

I’m okay. I have a home, groceries, friends, books, Spotify.

My daughter and son- I already talk about them all the damn time. Remember, you are only hearing my point of view.I don’t agree with all of their choices, but that’s not a blog, that’s a miniseries.

Today, at Tedeschis, I embarrassed my daughter by lingering at the counter, to talk about the fact we were buying instant coffee for some challenge on Instagram.
There were people behind me, I’d left some of my cash at home.

But I was so happy to speak to the woman at the register about this silly internet recipe for Folgers crystals. Katy almost died, but recovered by the time we got home.

When I write my daily reflections, I am selective. I don’t want to bring anyone down, overwhelm, I try not to seem smug, whine, or linger on what seems to be evident. I choose not to be political because I am angry, and leave it to those who are more informed than I.

FYI- Sometimes, I spend hours on Facebook reading reviews for products I’ll never buy.

Lately, I shower every three days, my eyebrows are a mess, and not in the supermodel way. They are a hirsute jungle of proof I don’t care.

When I brag about cleaning, I clean. This translates into I wipe the counters with a dirty sponge sprayed with a product that smells good and cost too much at Whole Foods.

I cried in the morning for a half an hour for something I’m not going to tell you about, but I moved on in an hour because it was tiny, in the wake of everything.

I never liked Whole Foods, and I miss it so much.

Day Thirty Four

Katy and twenty-six flutists just performed their annual recital on zoom.

We sat in the kitchen, and heated up a frozen pizza while waiting her her turn. She played “Scarborough Fair, and it was beautiful.

I just heard that there is the possibility of layoffs tomorrow where I work.

I drank wine while I watched Katy, Madeleine, Brynne, and all the other performers step up to their computer’s camera, lift their flute’s and play their melody.

I may get laid off; I may not. This is not unique to me, my college, or Massachusetts right now. We are all facing nightmares of different varieties.

Even if I don’t have a job, there is music. There is zoom, and people sharing the screen who laugh at my jokes, sometimes.

Life is not only one thing.

Tonight, I choose what makes me sad and what to celebrate.

Tonight, I celebrate the people I love. My cupboard is well stocked- I have rosemary and thyme, chicken and apples. Some day, I will explore faraway places, and these days, if someone is tortured by memories of the one that got away, it’s pretty easy to track them down.

Waves of grief pass thru me at the strangest times- driving the car, walking the dog, cooking a meal- during mundane day to day activities that are as familiar as the freckly on my thigh, or the sound of my mom’s voice.

What I am grieving?

I’m not a traveller, so I can’t say I miss getting on a plane. I’d like to get on a plane, but that can’t be it.
I don’t go to many parties, just enough so that when I’m invited, I usually say yes, and try to bring something nice so I’ll be invited again. But it’s April, not exactly party season, and there’s Zoom. I can drink what I like to drink, in my living room, with my friends, in their living rooms. It’s not ideal, but…
I love my job and I’m working from home.
I’ve probably seen more live music online than I have in the past five years.
There is my deep and abiding appreciation for food other people make, and ordering takeout is considered community service, so I’m doing my part.

I miss anticipation.

I miss going thru Monday knowing I had plans to meet Maggie for CardioBoxing and cocktails on Wednesday night, preparing for high school students to tour the campus at QC, and trying on clothes the night before, in an effort to be relatable, professional, and weather appropriate.

I miss checking the menu on High School lunch on Tuesday, and deciding to skip out of the office on Thursday for an hour to eat chicken or meatballs.

I miss helping Katy get ready for a recital, and looking forward to seeing friends I only see at recitals, school plays, football games, or the Fruit Center.

All I look forward to now is this being over.

There is no date.

No one knows what over will look like.

I haven’t been able to tap into eager anticipation for some vague time in the distant future.

Tonight, before I go to bed, and after I walk the dog, I’m going to plan something for tomorrow.

I haven’t figured out what, but it will have to be more significant than making bread or trying a new workout online.

I’d love suggestions.

I need to look forward to more than coffee in the morning, and getting thru another day.

I’ll let you know how it works out.

Love,

Julie

 

Since this whole stay the #$$%^ at home thing started, my sixteen year old daughter has been assigned, from time to time, the occasional role of my Best Friend Forever.

(I don’t think she would agree with this label, at any time, ever. I rank below Maurice the cat and every single friend in her contacts on her iPhone. I would be concerned if she felt the same.)

I’m not going to go into details, she might catch me, not talk to me for six hours and I might die.

But I think it’s safe to say Kate and I have different definitions of time, and do not always share the same priorities.
We don’t agree on the amount of urgency required in folding clothes that have been sitting on the table for 32 hours.
One of us feels that sweeping is not important since no one is going to come into the house ever again.
These are not unusual battles between parent and child. and would typically be resolved just before bed, when Katy realized she needed a ride in the morning, or I remembered I needed her to go to a friend’s house after school.

But in the midst of Covid 19, this minor squabble meant I had to exercise alone in the living room. There is no one to ask me to make popcorn when I sit down to watch tv. It turns out, I don’t mind standing behind Kate while we work out, our tiny space felt kind of empty without her. And, without her company, I think I”ll sit down with a book.

We’ve been home together for a month.

For the first time since she was ten, I’m allowed to sit on her bed and to talk to her while she wakes up, even share a pillow. When my back went out, she scolded me about trying to go walk the dog, even though she knew she would have to walk the dog. It was pouring, cold as hell, with 20 mile an hour winds. (We love Sophie very much, but when the temperature drops below 30 degrees, and the wind howls, she’s the dog.)

Right now, Katy is upstairs reading Stephen King, and probably didn’t even notice I turned the music all the way up during the work out.

I owe her for walking Sophie, which is far more important than sweeping, because it’s definitely going to be a little while before we entertain. And honestly, no one has ever visited because I keep such an impeccable house.

I’m heading upstairs to initiate peace talks, but I’m keeping her cell phone until morning. Or that’s what I’m telling myself right now, though who confiscates the device of their BFF.

I guess a Mom does, but right now, I’d like to spend a little time with my friend.

I can wake her up with a list of chores, a healthy breakfast, and offer to listen to her point of view in the morning.

Love,

Jules