follows is a series of posts I made on Facebook during the shut-down
phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. My husband and live in Central
Florida where it’s not as bad as some other spots, but because
of our age and his underlying health issues, we’ve confined
ourselves almost exclusively to the house, only braving the
supermarket with masks and gloves when we absolutely have to. It
occurred to me that humor is a pretty good way to get through tough
situations, so I wrote these hoping to lighten things up a bit for my
friends and family. If at the end of reading these you conclude that
I’m more than a little weird, I won’t tell you you’re
What follows is a rant similar to what others may be sharing as the
stay-at-home recommendations continue, and is in no way an expression
of ingratitude for my husband and I being healthy so far. Thank God
for that! So this is a rant. It is only a rant. Had it been an actual
self-centered bitch session, I would have smacked myself upside the
head with a frying pan.
My husband insisted I take a leave of absence from work because he
was concerned I might bring the virus home, and since he's 72
with chronic bronchitis and a heart condition, I agreed it was a good
idea. But there's a serious side effect, the one few people have said
anything about, and here it is: He won't. Stop. Talking. Even as I
type this, he is talking about some guy's bathroom. Just before that
he was complaining about China. And before that, he was giving a
speech about how the government should be run. Before that, it was a
lecture on Schwinn bikes and how he could get a speedometer for the
antique Apple Crate bike he got at the flea market. And before that,
I got to hear the ENTIRE PLOT of a movie he watched last night (which
was the only time I was left alone long enough to do some writing).
not entirely sure he's taken a breath yet.
my friends is a... okay, now I'm being given a full description of
someone's roof tiles, complete with hand gestures, and any second
now, he's going to say the same thing in a different way. He has no
idea what I'm doing and hasn't asked, but typing this is the only
thing keeping me from throwing my coffee cup at him... if the guys in
white coats and a huge butterfly net wandered by my house, I'd put on
a filter mask, run out into the street, and start making squirrel
noises just so they'd feel compelled to cart me away to the blissful
silence of a padded room...
Monday night. He’s still talking.
21, 2020 – 2:13 am
about to go to bed, but I'm having second thoughts, thanks to the
ongoing saga with my live-in, life-sized, male version of Chatty
Cathy. And why the second thoughts? Because last night I dreamed I
was being chased down the street by a pissed-off biscotti. Maybe
because my husband is Italian. I don't know. But I'm staring at the
bed with trepidation not too dissimilar to that of a virgin on her
wedding night - you know, that whole fear-of-the-unknown thing (not
that OTHER thing). What strange creature will jump out at me in
Dreamland this time? Pasta in a straitjacket? Dang.
21, 2020 – 3:17 pm
words (okay, three, but two of them are hyphenated): FLESH-COLORED
EARPLUGS! Yessss!!!! I'm saved!!!!
just got a pop-up that said, "Stop harassing Malware."
Seriously? I have never harassed Malware in my life! And how would
they know.... oh. Never mind.
the continuing tale of The Man Who Talked Too Much, I came to a
horrifying realization. This, by the way, has nothing to do with the
fact that he gave me a twenty-minute TED talk on Hot Wheels cars
while I was trying to go to the bathroom... TMI? Sorry. Anyway, I
heard him go outside, so I went into the kitchen to make the coffee,
and was staring out the window as I filled the coffee pot at the
when I realized why my husband put up the privacy fence. I mean,
yeah, it's a good way to block out stuff you don't want to see in the
neighbors' yards and all that, but I suddenly knew a deeper, darker
purpose for all that expensive fencery was at play. My husband is
skinny—that's not why he put up the fence but it sort of
relates. He was watering the plants wearing nothing but a tee-shirt
and Fruit-of-the-loom briefs, the three remaining strands of his
hair-flap waving gently in the morning breeze.
I mention he's skinny? What would be whitey-tighties on anyone else
are the equivalent of Austrian curtains on him. Not that I'd object
to being that thin myself, but I digress. It occurred to me that the
true purpose of that fence was so he could romp through the garden in
something that barely contained, er, him, and not worry about
becoming a meme on Facebook or going viral on YouTube because some
neighbor with a cell phone caught him out there like that.
am I sharing this? Probably because he has since come back inside and
I need to distract myself from what promises to be a lengthy
explanation about the advantages of keeping small monkeys to make
monetized YouTube videos.
would formally like to thank my son for installing in our house the
world's most effective alarm clock. It's called the Rebel, and is
unique in that it has a severe overbite, something alarm clocks are
not known for. Without fail, the orange cat that lives next door
saunters along the sidewalk every morning at 6:15 am until it is
sitting right in front of our living room windows. That's when the
Rebel Clock goes into action, throwing itself violently against the
window while shouting a clearly enunciated "Woof!" at said
amazing "woof" sound can be heard by every recording artist
working in a sound-proof studio within a ten-mile radius of our
house, so trying to sleep while this alarm is going off is
impossible. As a result, I have decided that once we can feel safe
about going about our business as usual, I will make sure I set all
my appointments for early morning, since I know for sure I'll be up.
Granted, that usually means up on the ceiling where I've splatted
after being awakened in such an intense manner. My husband is looking
into getting one of those flat snow shovel things because the spatula
isn't quite big enough to pry me out of the popcorn (yes, our house
is that old that we have popcorn ceilings).
thank you, son. I will never have to worry about missing an
right, I admit it. If there was a three-acre field with only one hole
in it somewhere, and I was walking across, I'd somehow find that hole
without even trying and fall in. So while the rest of the world is on
lock-down, I'm on fall-down. As I lay half on the driveway and half
on the lawn, bleeding gently on the cement, I stared up at the sky
and contemplated the mechanics of stepping on the one corner of a
half-empty trash bag that had something round in it, causing me to
lose my balance and crash to the ground. Not my most graceful moment
considered the possibility of needing to go to the hospital, but
pictured myself getting infected with the lovely virus going around
and within days, shuffling off this mortal coil. What would my
tombstone say? "She Lived, She Tripped, She Died..." or
maybe, "Here Lies A Victim of Vile Trash Baggery..." Hmm.
All of which became moot when my husband, The Man of a Billion Words,
wandered out of the garage and asked me what the hell I was doing
lying around on the driveway. Apparently I wasn't that badly injured
if he didn't notice a river of blood pouring from my severed, well,
okay, scraped leg. But hey, cement burn is nothing to snicker at,
I'll have you know.
after brushing a nosey ant off my left cheek and rolling onto my
side, I managed to get to my feet, despite an urge to channel that
I've-fallen-and-I-can't-get-up lady. I limped inside, glaring at Word
Man's back, bandaged myself up, and now I sit here, acknowledging the
possibility that were there only one rock on the entire planet, I
would somehow stub my toe on it.
Calm down, I'm talking about the town in Pennsylvania. When you get
woken up in the middle of the night with a foot cramp that won't go
away, odd thoughts often drift in to keep you company while you
contemplate amputation. When I was a kid, my parents would drive to
Pennsylvania to visit my mom's brother and his family. It was part of
our summer vacation, and during my much younger years, the sign we
passed with the word "Intercourse" several feet high never
meant anything, except that we were closer to the end of an
incredibly long trip, giving my brother and I hope that we wouldn't
murder each other in the back seat before we got there. We were still
visiting when I was a teen, and by that time, I was wise to the ways
of the world... well, no, not really, but I knew the word
"intercourse" also referred to something that would assure
me a VIP ticket to Hell if I indulged in it.
speaking of Hell, that's another town, this one in Michigan.
Purgatory can be found in Maine (I guess that's the Catholic end of
the Bible Belt or something). So why was I thinking of these places?
I have no idea. But as I was hobbling around the living room in the
dark (I didn't want to risk waking up my husband - he would probably
start talking, and I doubted I could survive that, too), I found
myself wondering if there were such a thing as a flatulent butterfly.
Yes, I need help.
I considered how bizarre a butterfly fart would sound. Could you
imagine being at that Butterfly Encounter in Oviedo, FL and one of
the little critters lets loose? I guess it would be a tiny,
high-pitched "Ffftttt!!" Yeah. Okay, I'm getting another
cup of coffee now and taking an aspirin. After reading this, you may
need one, too...
made the coffee. I sat down to answer an email. Himself came bopping
out of the bedroom, grabbed a cup and poured, turned around, and
started with, "Can you believe... " Paralyzed, I sat and
listened, one eye twitching at the coffee maker. When he stopped and
left the kitchen, I launched myself out of the chair, the paralysis
gone, and got some coffee, praying he would put on a pair of pants.
Sat down, started checking Facebook... and he was back.
can't believe... "
glared at him (still in his underwear).
am I bothering you or something?" He gave me one of those arch
not at all. I was just..." Yes, you are, in fact, and please
put some pants on.
if you will, a sequoia-sized oak tree in the autumn wearing
Fruit-of-the Loom briefs. The leaves have turned and are starting to
fall. Soon, a pile begins to grow, and before long, the mound of
leaves is four stories high. Now look carefully under the bottom
layer. You'll see two bleary eyes blinking up at you. That's me,
buried under the mountain of words my oak-tree spouse has released on
considered climbing into the vegetable bin under the bottom shelf of
the fridge and quietly shutting the door, but realized he'd see me,
climb into the bin next to it, and start giving me a dissertation on
the life and times of Romaine lettuce as I try desperately to stuff
grape tomatoes into my ears...
I mention that one of the things my husband and I have been doing
during this crisis is cleaning the garage? It's almost finished, but
it was quite a chore. You know how most people who are not
Martha Stewart usually have several piles of laundry to deal with?
I'm ashamed to say I had neighborhoods. With subdivisions. Hence the
38 loads I washed during the first week. But ta-da! It's done, and as
a result, several interesting things came to light, not just the
garage floor ("Oh, look, honey, cement!").
first thing was that three decades of guilt over most of the mess in
that part of the house being my fault was dispelled. Once the laundry
was done, about 99.99% of what remained was his
stuff. Ha. In
fact, he's still trying to find one of the walls we know has to be
holding up the garage roof.
second thing was that my husband has more clothes than Imelda Marcos
had shoes. I mean, he could open a thrift store with the tee-shirts
alone! I ran out of shelf and drawer space trying to put them all
away after that horrifying week of laundering, and I'm still tripping
over the neatly-folded piles of jeans, socks, and undershirts stacked
on the bedroom floor because there was nowhere else to put them. And
we all know tripping over things never ends well for me.
third thing was that apparently, a man can't have too many screw
drivers. When I pointed out that he couldn't possibly need
twenty-five flat-heads, thirty-six Phillips heads, fourteen
star-heads, nine sets of hex keys, and five electric screwdrivers
with interchangeable heads, he gave me a look of disdain and said
each one had a unique purpose. Ha. And here I'd been using a butter
knife all these years. So I tried to apply his "logic" to
the number of pots and pans I own, and got that same look. "A
pan is a pan, and a pot is a pot" he said. I almost demonstrated
the difference between my Farberware skillet and the cast-iron one,
but didn't think it was worth potential jail time to make my point.
I had to acknowledge that... sorry. I have no idea what I was about
to acknowledge. He's been telling me for the past ten minutes about
his plan for mowing the lawn. A plan? Dude, just go out and mow the
lawn! In case you're wondering how I've been getting away with typing
this without him thinking he was being ignored, I don't have to look
at either my hands or the screen while I type (old-school typing
skills are awesome). So he's getting my now-customary glassy-eyed
stare and frozen grin as I nod, type, and lose total track of what I
was about to say.
use your cell phone in the dark to play a game while you’re
trying to get drowsy enough to go to sleep. I’m sharing this as
a public service, especially for those who live in Florida. Why?
Because you may suffer the same disgusting fate as I did last night:
I was, minding my own business, playing a match-3 game in the dark,
hoping to bore myself to sleep. I’m sure the three cups of
coffee I consumed an hour earlier had nothing to do with my insomnia,
but I digress. Anyway, just as I was about to defeat the level I was
on, a freaking bug, no doubt attracted by the phone’s light,
flew up my nose.
bolt upright, I blew furiously through my offended nostril, but the
stubborn little cretin had lodged itself firmly within whatever
mucous membrane had been flashing a “Vacancy” sign. I
blew again. I jammed a finger up there, desperately praying I
wouldn’t have to hire a spider to go in there and get it.
this was going on, I was apparently too involved in my dilemma to
notice the look my husband must have been giving me. He had been
sleeping. Now he wasn’t. How did I know? Because as I finally
located the teensy interloper and was dragging it out, kicking and
screaming, I heard, “What the hell are you doing?”
on.” I got out of bed and zoomed off to get a tissue. Yuck.
Bleh. But it was finally over, and my nasal passage was blissfully
bug-free. Getting back into bed, I collected what was left of my
dignity and told him a bug had flown up my nose.
silence. Then, “Stop playing games on your phone in the dark.”
Because, you know, I hadn’t just figured that out myself. He
turned over and headed back to dreamland, but I swear I heard a
controlled, snorted laugh. A moment later, I realized what I must
have looked like during the entire incident, and went hysterical,
eliciting a growl from my now sleep-deprived spouse.
my penance today is to listen with genuine attention to every one of
his twenty-minute chats, even if he gives one of them while I’m
on the throne. Sigh.
was born in New York City in the early ‘50s, and grew up loving
to read. That soon translated to writing my own stories, which I have
continued to do. I am also a musician who used to perform but later
became a voice, piano, guitar, and music theory teacher. My husband
and I have lived in Central Florida since moving here in 1986, and
have loved every minute of it. I am currently a writer of fiction in
various genres, so this kind of blog writing is new to me, but
exciting for that very reason.
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
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