Peculiar Situations and Strange Sights These Days

Many of us have surpassed the month (or longer) mark of residing nearly 24/7 within our respective homes. We are glued to the newscasts, read endlessly about COVID-19 and talk to family and friends who are essential workers. Despite our deep interest in what is occurring to the world at large, most of us are experiencing this bizarre historical occurrence in a quiet containment, wondering, questioning what is really happening. We are the fortunate ones.

There has been chaos in hospitals and nursing homes. They have been operating on 24/7 high alert. There was early confusion but orderly response. Thankfully, the infamous infection and death curve is flattening and the non-stop pace for healthcare workers is slowing. They have been soldiers at war. They deserve our respect and gratitude. They have sacrificed. 

There has been loss of family members and friends. The survivors of the virus and  survivors who are now without parents, children or grandparents do not want to hear you tell them that the flu kills more people annually than Coronavirus. 

21 million food and shelter providers known as ‘Mom and Dad’ have lost their jobs. No doubt, that number will increase.

These peculiar circumstances are accompanied by peculiar sights. Some are humorous. Some are unnerving. Here are a few strange sights and peculiar circumstances these days…

  • Swing sets without swings – to reduce the risk of sharing the virus.
  • Nets and rims removed from basketball courts to deter kids playing games.
  • Empty napkin aisles and paper towel aisles.
  • Empty meat counters at Wegmans.
  • My 401K.
  • Church on the laptop.
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  • More humorous sights include grown men wearing longer hair😄. When my 23-yr son complains about how awful his hair is, I remind him that when he was 15 yrs old, he thought his hockey-flow hair peeking out from the back of his hockey helmet was “sweet” :). 
  • Children re-appearing to live in the nest… One was sent home from her university. The one we just moved to a stunning oceanside town seven states away said 3 1/2 weeks alone in her apartment was enough. With my son still here, the nest is officially full! What an unexpected Easter table!
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  • My work, my daughter’s virtual university work, my other daughter’s professional work covering our dining room…Skype classes and conference calls and laptops and phones…
  • My husband’s work strewn about the back sunroom…Zoom videos and laptops and phones…
  • Huge, electric signs on the thruway yelling, STAY HOME.
  • Broken eyeglasses that can’t be fixed anywhere but at home. I’m guarding my prescription reading glasses like they are a brick of gold. 
  • Children’s playgrounds with “no play” signs.
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  • “Currently unavailable” being stamped on products sold on Amazon such as isopropyl alcohol, disinfectant wipes, tissues…even good hand soap is a tough find. This is AMAZON. The company with “too much” of a supply of absolutely anything and everything. 
As I walked my local park recently, I observed an older woman stop in front of the American flag we walkers all lap by every 30 minutes as we round the path. She put her hand on her heart, whispered something brief and started walking again. I’ve been walking that park over 10 years and have never seen such a thing. Are we more grateful these days for our country? Its strong and protective response to this crisis?

All of us have different lives in some big or small ways as a result of COVID-19. The inconveniences may last a couple more weeks, while the economic impact may be more detrimental than we even imagine. Will the remaining anchor stores make it? Macys? JCPenney? Will the smaller ones like Ann Taylor and LOFT survive? Will our local restaurants close shortly after they attempt to reopen?

Will America begin manufacturing their own antibiotics and other medicines? Who knew that 80%-90% of all vital pharmaceuticals are made in China? Not me. Further, I’m disappointed in myself for never noticing the litany of articles from the last few years literally warning the U.S. of the profound dangers of permitting merely one country to supply Americans’ critical medicines. The implications of this are endless. 

Was this global shift in every society on every continent the result of a nefarious plan or was it purely accidental? I don’t think much about that, but others are diving into the theories all pointing to Wuhan. 

We all look forward to freely moving about society again someday. But when will we literally move about “freely”? 

When can we shop for Kleenex because we actually need some and find that it’s in stock?

As for me, I try to keep my eyes above the empty shelves, above my monotonous computer screen filled with work, higher than the frightening economic months ahead…to Him will I bow down and cling, remaining closely attached to the Vine Whose love spreads higher, wider and deeper than any rapidly contagious virus. 

☘️St. Patrick’s Cathedral – Ireland🍀

My daughters and I had the joy and privilege of touring St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland last August. While I didn’t share these photos last summer, it seemed very appropriate to share them today!We feel especially blessed to have seen it, as the cathedral is closed in Ireland today due to the current global pandemic. God willing, it will reopen in a couple of weeks, but for today, we can enjoy beautiful pics many bloggers are posting. 
Incredibly, I had never realized until I was at the cathedral last summer that stained glass windows served as learning tools for those who were illiterate. What an interesting historical fact to have learned about one of the purposes of stained glass windows. From the cathedral’s website: “Stained-glass windows can be incredibly beautiful pieces of art, but they would also originally have acted as an educational resource for the Church. At a time when most people were unable to read or write, stained-glass windows were used to explain the stories of the bible in picture form. To follow the story of a stained-glass window you read from bottom to top, rather than from left to right (as you would when reading a book). The story always begins with the image in the bottom of the left hand window pane, then moves to the right and the centre panel is read last.”
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy St. Patrick’s Day today!

And So She Flew….

This blog has been quiet lately, but my nest has not been. My just-turned-23-year-young daughter (one of the twins) landed the kind of job we’ve been praying for since graduation last May. I rejoiced alongside her four weeks ago that God answered our prayers BIG, but was stunned that the job was 7-states and 16-hours away (by car). Sigh.

I write the beginning of this post from the airport concourse, waiting for my flight back to the nest.

The last month has been slammed at work, then crazy at home with planning, packing and preparing. Now, this huge, life-altering event is behind us. The wheels of my return flight squeaked as they tucked under, making me want to tuck my own feet under me and squeak a bit about what a huge hole there will be in my nest…

I had finally adjusted to the bustling activity and non-stop-in-and-out of the twins returning home from university last May. Although my youngest is still away at her school, the nest was no longer a silent space. We were literally back to “Mommmmm!” at the bathroom door the second I started the shower. Whenever I felt annoyed at something, I mumbled thanks that my nest was alive with life.

My saver-daughter independently purged years worth of clothes and shoes, and thinned three giant bins of cards and notes into one. She even found her saved baby teeth and notes to the tooth fairy (“please leave my teeth and thank you”). Piles to be packed and donations to be given away were strewn throughout the house and her room.

Her room.

The Jonas Brothers. One Direction. Taylor Swift. All decorations from her youth were recently replaced with fresh paint, a new travel theme – complete with photographs of her many adventures in travel. She had wisely turned down a job a Boston a couple months ago and arrived back home ready to nestle in…accepting that it could be a lonnnnnng wait for the “right” opportunity. God has such a sense of humor.

Her and I had just hung the last of enlarged photos from her trips and our summer vacation in Scotland and Ireland when the interviews began with her current job. The room we just completed was quickly deconstructed with all the décor in boxes for her first apartment.

While the mess strewn everywhere, she began wrapping fragiles in what we wrapped her in 23 years ago in the hospital. All of us parents have these exact same, thin, worn wraps somewhere in our homes and it was too much for me when I saw them.

This baby girl is my independent one. We have a favorite family video of her loudly announcing at 2 1/2 years old, “I can do ittttt!” She did not want help. Her independence is part of her. While this is how she can go to a place where she knows zero people, this quality has also (somewhat) eased my Mama-pain over her departure from the nest.

Funny how she’s my most independent one, but she’s also the only one who still sleeps with the same “dollies” at 23 that she did at 2yrs old.

These near stuffing-less treasures went with her far away.

Though Google and Zuckerberg and Apple’s leadership were decades ahead of us in copying and saving our so-called “personal” data – long before society bothered to contemplate if snaps and posts and emails were being saved in massive data centers – and I really go off on a tangent about all of it :), I still embrace certain technologies that keep my babies and I connected. I wonder how I lived without Snapchat to show my kids something at a store. I’ve always refused to use FB despite the disappointment of my friends, but I spend plenty of time on FaceTime with my kids.

Even more than when the twins were at their universities and we talked every day, “live” technologies have officially become a greater blessing during my daughter’s first full week on the job. Snaps of her new office help me picture her there. Snaps of her food make me laugh since she loves to eat! FaceTime on lunch breaks and after work help us still “do life” together as much as we can with 7 states between us.

Though my independent one, she was quick to confirm that it would only be 7 weeks until I arrive for Easter weekend….”you are coming for Easter, right Mom?”

Well…who can say no to that invitation!?