4/4/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

Today’s my son’s birthday. We were planning a birthday party for him, before. “You know this year you get to have a big party, right?” I’d said to him. “Make sure you’re thinking about what you want to do and the friends you’ll want to invite.”

Fortunately, my baby-surgery recovery and our other birthdays made it so we didn’t get past that point in conversations. I didn’t have anyone or anything reserved. We hadn’t invited people. All that happened is that, when Utah’s governor first announced the schools were closing, my son asked, “What about my birthday?”

“Well, we’ll plan to have it after school’s back in session. If things go longer, we’ll have it in September.”

Looking at maps of the spread of Coronavirus, I’m thinking we’ll push his party till next year.

World map showing countries with COVID-19 cases
Global case numbers are reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) in their coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation reportexternal icon. ©2020 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Another event’s been affected by all this, for us. Kev (my husband) and I were planning on our first-ever trip to Europe. We had to commit to going last year, and have been paying toward it. I’ve also been stressing about it; thinking and praying about whom to leave which boy with for three weeks.

Although the organizers have not officially told us this is the case, we think it will be cancelled. More than the money is the idea that I was *this close* to something that’s been on my bucket list since I was a girl. Not much is still on that list, mostly because humans haven’t developed self-aviation.

Birthday parties, vacation plans, weddings, funerals, baby blessings, Disneyland, the dentist… all cancelled.

We’re not the only ones affected. A friend complained about missing their family cruise. Another listed all the concerts she couldn’t attend. What whiners, right? There are people dying after near-suffocation from a disease they contracted at Wal-mart.

But, we are not trying to be shallow. We are dealing with massive change.

My favorite example of this, pre-COVID-19, is in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. <Spoiler Alert> Planet Earth is bulldozed to make way for a hyperspace expressway. The protagonist, Arthur Dent, escapes with Ford Prefect (an alien in disguise) just before the bureaucratic aliens known as Vogons blast us to nothing. Arthur is an Everyman. When Ford tells him what’s happened, he can’t grasp that Earth and everyone on it is gone.

“There was no way his imagination could feel the impact of the whole Earth having gone, it was too big. He prodded his feelings by thinking that his parent and his sister had gone. No reaction. He thought of all the people he had been close to. No reaction. Then he thought of a complete stranger he had been standing behind in the queue at the supermarket two days before and felt a sudden stab: the supermarket was gone, everyone in it was gone! Nelson’s Column had gone! and there would be no outcry, because there was no one left to make an outcry! From now on Nelson’s Column only existed in his mind. England only existed in his mind. A wave of claustrophobia closed in on him.

“He tried again: America, he thought, has gone. He couldn’t grasp it, He decided to start smaller again. New York has gone. No reaction. He’d never seriously believed it existed anyway. The dollar, he thought, has sunk for ever. Slight tremor there. Every ‘Bogart’ movie has been wiped, he said to himself, and that gave him a nasty knock. McDonald’s, he thought. There is no longer any such thing as a McDonald’s hamburger.

“He passed out.”

I remembered this quote as I drove around on my once-a-week errands, feeling a slight jolt at empty restaurants and neon signs about what part of which business was open. I remembered the quote while we watched LDS General Conference this morning; while the camera panned over an empty exterior shot of the building where 21,000 people would have been meeting.

Mormon NewsroomGeneral Conference, April 2019. Thanks to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for the picture.

Surreal.

The good news is that I think I’m through all the Stages of Grief now. I skipped from Shock to Depression, swung back to Emotionless, and am now resigned to Acceptance. My family and I are still here, are fine, and are just staying home. I can stay here in my own, four walls. I don’t need to worry about what if because those who are in charge have removed the stresses I had, outside of my four walls. If IT can stay outside those walls as well, then we’re set for months.

And, we’re making lemonade out of lemons. My son and his brother set up a Minecraft server and invited his classmates. We’ll wait and see what happens with Europe. The LDS church leaders are broadcasting from a small room, with their chosen speakers sitting six feet apart.

The latest from LDS General Conference: Church membership tops 16.5M; afternoon session begins with a virtual vote
(Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) General Conference begins at a small auditorium in the Church Office Building with top leaders socially distanced amid the coronavirus pandemic. ©2020 The Salt Lake Tribune

I’ll bake a birthday cake and make enchiladas from the ingredients I picked up from my store order yesterday. I’ll wrap the presents our postman delivered. I’ll remember to look at this from my son’s perspective, because all he wants is a happy birthday.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

What do you hope for?

I’ve always wanted to fly.

I’m not talking airplanes, either. I’m talking: self-automated, magic flight. In my childhood nighttime dreams I’d run -fast, faster, faster!- till the momentum or movement or fairy dust accelerated my hopeful person into the sky.

I have other dreams, of course, but I fear to share them. I fear that voicing my wants, desires, and wishes will result in disaster. If, for example, I’d always wanted perfect vision, I wouldn’t tell anyone. Telling another would surely result in Fate crashing a car into mine and causing blindness, afflicting me with a genetic condition that affects sight, or causing one eye to randomly fall out.

Hey; it could happen!

As you can see, I’ve a real problem looking forward to things. From a psychological mush of my parents using upcoming events as rewards I might lose; my always putting others before me in true, selfless motherhood; and a desire to avoid the pain of disappointment, I do not anticipate positive events.

Instead, I numb. Instead, I cry. Instead, I sadly shelve my glowing orbs of potential dreams and tell myself to look elsewhere.

Elsewhere is safer.

And yet, I do have dreams. I think. Waaaaaay back in high school, our teacher had us make a bucket list of things we wanted to do in life. Mine included traveling to Europe, learning another language, and …I don’t remember.

Wishing and anticipating and doing were so much easier then -you know, before I had to wait for the ol’ money tree to produce something besides sour grapes.

How about you? Have you ever had a dream? Do you still? Do you share your dreams, or hold them like secret treasures?

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Here be what I wrote in the past week:
Wednesday, October 30: Opened up about the elephant in the room in “Depression and Donuts (and an Elephant).”

Thursday, October 31: Shared my first entry in the Halloweensie contest, “Midnight.”

Also, wrote an entry for this year’s contest, “Scampy Mouse.”

Friday, November 1: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Ruth Scribbles!

Saturday, November 2: Announced the 50th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is FIFTY (go figure). PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, November 3: “The Healthy Benefits of Popcornopolis,” in response to reading the front of my favorite, very unhealthy snack.

Monday, November 4: An inspirational quote by Charles Bukowski, in the form of his poem.

Tuesday, November 5: “Since the Bombs Fell: Three.”

Wednesday, November 6: Today.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Sunshine, Lollipops, and Blogger ‘Awards’

Kevin Parish at What Words May Come gifted me The Sunshine Blogger Award. Thanks, Kevin!

Sunshine

Here are Kevin’s questions:

  1. What verbal graffiti do you use too much? (Examples: Like…Well anyway… I know, right… Huh… Umm…)
    Ummm… Huh… I don’t really know.
    do know that I have detested “I know; right” since it first cropped up, so you shan’t hear me say that ever.
  2. What is your favorite color?
    I’m rather fond of winter shades: dark burgundy, dark blue, dark green, dark black, etc.
  3. Do you love, hate or couldn’t care less about professional sports?
    This may shoot me in the foot in terms of followers, but I am not a professional sports fan. I love to watch anyone who is a master of his craft, so I do enjoy the occasional match. Frankly, I find rooting for a team pointless since the members are not even native; they might very well be originally from the opponent’s home state or be traded there next season.
  4. What’s the name of your longest-time best friend?
    My husband is my longest-time best friend, and his name is Kevin Owens.
  5. What’s the funniest nickname you have ever heard?
    Like H.R.R. Gorman, I’ve a better story about a real name. My husband worked with a man who legally changed his name to something like Captain Yam*. The guy was a bit socially awkward as well, as in showing up to work every day in something like a bike helmet awkward**.
  6. Do you have a nickname that you can/will share?
    My mother called me Munkey as a child. Word is that I looked like a monkey but she made it sound slightly cuter than that. I also liked monkeys. Darn sticking-out-ears…
    saray-jimenez-WJw9ml1EAEk-unsplash
  7. Have you ever started laughing really hard just by thinking about something? If so, and you can remember, what was it?
    Oh, yes!! Occasionally I will engage in a comments conversation on WordPress and my friend or I will say something downright clever. I’ll think about it and laugh for days.
    I think one of the latest ones was betwixt me and masercot (AKA Charles). He mentioned Dr. Suess in response to my blog post on picture books.
    Me: “…Fish in a tree is hard to believe.”
    Him: “The worst was when they hopped on pop, right after his kidney surgery…”
    Me: “You must not hop post-op?”
    Still laughing. Though, I laugh whenever I read one of Charles’ blog posts as well. He’s dangerously funny.
  8. What are three of your “bucket-list” to-do’s?
    1. Write and traditionally publish a book.
    2. Visit Europe.
    3. Learn the violin.
  9. Would you rather have a lake house or a mountain chalet or something else?
    I’m more of a mountain chalet type. We once stayed in a house in Montana for a family vacation, when I was a child. The whole thing perched right on a lake and gave me anxiety that it would simply tip in at any minute.
    jose-rago-p_GHMLqX2Iw-unsplash
  10. What country would you live in if you couldn’t live in the one you live in now?
    I like Gorman‘s answer for this, too, but I’d probably choose Canada.
  11. Do you believe that people can change? Why or why not?
    I do believe people can change, and see that they do. Honestly, different life stages and circumstances force a lot of change on us whether we like it or not. It’s those who are able to initiate change that I admire, and those able to take surprises in healthy directions.

—–

Mostly I use this next part to introduce any of my readers to any of my other readers whom I find excellent to read. The main snag is that I’ve already ‘nominated’ a fair number here, here, here, here, and here. If you’re looking for some great sites, scroll down to the bottom of those links and also check out these:

  • Kat of The Lily Cafe. She writes, she mothers, she reads; she’s amazing.
  • Frank Prem, the poet. I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned him before! Frank has the gift of capturing voices in the poems he pens.
  • Robert C. Stroud of Mere Inkling. Primarily writing from observations of C.S. Lewis, Stroud expresses and expounds upon various interesting and informative topics.
  • Almost Iowa. I can’t find his real name right now (if he gave it), but these all seem to be hilarious recounts of experiences in …well, almost Iowa.
  • My Mindless Drivel. Another excellent writer, mostly sharing life stories and thoughts on how things ought to work.
  • Charles of Legends of Windemere. He’s an author and all-around good guy. We also seem to share opinions on …Bad Boys?

If any of you whom I’ve named get the notification and wish to respond, here are my questions:

  1. If you could be a type of cheese, which would you be and why?
  2. What is the strangest fact you know?
  3. Who inspires you the most as a writer?
  4. If you were King of the World for one day, what change(s) would you make?
  5. What’s your favorite cheesy joke?
  6. Who would win in a mud wrestling match: broccoli or a potato?
  7. What is the first thing you think of when you see the word collywobbles?
  8. What is the best letter of the alphabet?
  9. When two roads meet in a yellow wood, are they dirt or paved?
  10. Could you live without your left thumb? What if you needed to give something a two thumbs-up rating?
  11. What’s your favorite salad dressing and whoever thought salad was a good idea in the first place?

—–

RULES:

1. Use the sunshine blogger award logo

2. Give thanks to the blogger that nominated you

3. Answer the 11 questions given to you

4. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions

Photo Credit:
Saray Jimenez
Jose Rago

* This is not his name, but is close.
** This is not what he wore, but is again close.

©2019 Chelsea Owens