I wish it really were the end, but it is the end of my Coronavirus Diary. Fourteen months of fear and sickness and political shenanigans. I’m vaccinated, and I’m done.
Remember when it was impossible to buy toilet paper? Paper towels? Hand sanitizer? Disinfectant wipes? When the frozen food aisle was decimated? When bread was a treasure to be found? I do.
Remember when the (previous) president told us to drink bleach? To inject disinfectant? That it would be gone by Easter 2020? That the flu killed more people? Several news organizations put together the biggest lies about the pandemic, directly from the president’s mouth/Twitter account. These are a few that really pissed me off:
“It’s going to disappear. One day it’s like a miracle – it will disappear” (not so much)
“Anyone who wants a test can get one” (again, not so much until lately)
“I don’t think it’s hoarding, I think it’s maybe worse than hoarding.” (on hospitals needing PPE and respirators)
“The US was the ‘most prepared country in the world'” (maybe if you were living under a rock for the past year you would agree with this)
If I sound angry, it’s only because I am. Over half a million Americans are dead, over 3 million dead worldwide. Millions more Americans refuse to get the vaccine, ensuring that herd immunity will not happen. I personally only know one person who said they were not getting the vaccine, and I am very happy that she recently changed her mind. On the other hand, seeing Darwinism in action should be interesting. The anti-vaxxers and the people who refuse to wear masks? I hope they survive.
During the pandemic, I baked. A lot. I gained a ton of weight from all the baking and cooking and not moving. I still have my sourdough starter even though I decided I don’t like sourdough bread anymore, but I just can’t bring myself to kill it. Privileged white lady that I am, I was able to use my stimulus money to buy new kitchen appliances, and I donated some money as well. It was my greatest pleasure to massively over tip my delivery people, from Instacart to GrubHub.
I was basically a hermit for the pandemic. I rarely shopped in person. I only left my house for work two mornings a week, and for the most important doctor and dentist appointments. I cooked all our meals until fairly recently, when we started getting takeout on occasion. I’ve been masked anytime I left my house or when I had a delivery. I utilized curbside pickup whenever possible – thanks, Target! I haven’t set foot in a Target for well over a year. Remarkable to think about.
My son and daughter-in-law bought their first home and had a baby. They’ve only been married two years this June, but being cooped up 24/7 for over a year is like marriage on steroids. It either exacerbates any issues, or in their case, brought them even closer.
Interestingly, at the beginning of the pandemic there was an uptick in divorces: “By April, the interest in divorce had already increased by 34% in the US, with newer couples being the most likely to file for divorce. In fact, a full 20% of couples who had been married for five months or less sought divorce during this time period” (The National Law Review.)
The NY Times reports, “Some divorce lawyers and relationship experts said that the uncertainty of the pandemic and financial concerns are two reasons couples are staying together.” Yes, the divorce rate is now lower. According to the Institute for Family Studies, “the U.S. divorce rate has hit a 50-year low” and that was in 2019. The IFS is a conservative think tank whose goal is to strengthen family and marriage, so this statistic makes them look like they are reaching their goal. While I am no expert on statistics, there is an old expression that I learned in college – statistics don’t lie, but statisticians do. So while I am sure that all the news reports of the lowering divorce rate are probably true, I’m not really buying the 50 year low.
My husband and I qualified for the Moderna vaccine given by Publix because we paid our doctor to fill out the form stating we are medically vulnerable, which we both are. The first vaccine went off without a hitch. We both had sore arms for a few days but that was it. The second vaccine was a bit more difficult. My husband was just super tired for a day or so. He napped, and was fine. On the other hand, the next morning I went to work thinking I was fine, just a bit tired. By 10:00 I was feeling like crap. My body ached everywhere, and I started getting the chills. My boss offered to come in early so I could go home, but I stuck it out for the last hour. I drove home with the heat blasting in my car and shivered the whole way. I got home, put on my warmest pajamas and crawled into bed. My husband got me a couple of blankets, which helped, and I fell asleep. I slept off and on for 24 hours. The chills went away after the first day, and the exhaustion took another day. I started feeling somewhat normal two days after the vaccine, so I decided to take a shower and change the bedding. But by the time I got out of the shower, I was exhausted and had to lay down again. Crazy tired. I sort of dragged my butt for another day but then I was fine. And you know what? WORTH IT! I am finally starting to feel like life is going to get somewhat back to normal.
Two weeks after my vaccine, I made a hair appointment and a manicure/pedicure appointment. I hadn’t been to either shop since February, 2020. I was nervous about it, but double masked and hoped for the best. I’ve been coloring my hair myself because I can’t stand the gray, but it was a real pleasure to get it done professionally again. And to get it cut! And styled! My hands have been a mess. I loved the Color Street stick on polish, it was easy for me to do, but I hate having short nails. A pedicure seems like pure luxury at this point.
I am so happy to look like me again! It’s the little things in life that tend to make me the happiest. Meeting my vaccinated friends that I haven’t seen for over a year for coffee in the park. For dinner outside (I’m not ready to eat inside a restaurant yet.) I would love to have friends over for dinner, maybe on the patio?
Two and a half weeks after our 2nd vaccine, my husband and I went to Jeep Beach in Daytona Beach. We’ve gone every year for the last 6-7 years, except of course, last year. I must admit I was expecting to see most people at the event not wearing masks. But we only saw a few people anywhere in Daytona wearing masks. That was sort of shocking to me. I complain about how some people don’t wear masks where I live, but this was like there was no pandemic. Some old lady even pointed at us and told her husband, look, they are wearing masks. We were the freaks for sure.
We had a reservation at a beautiful hotel on the beach. The Jeep Beach event is held at the Daytona Speedway, so it’s all outdoors. There are lots of restaurants with outdoor seating, especially on the beach, but we didn’t have any luck getting in to one. We ended up getting take out and eating all our meals on our balcony. The view was spectacular! It was our first vacation in over a year, and all two and a half days were perfect.
This past year taught me a few things. My husband is the best man I know. My children are smart and thoughtful and compassionate. Depression runs in my family, and while I don’t think I was depressed, I definitely suffered from what I was calling ennui. Then the NY Times told me it is actually called languishing.
Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.
That about summed it up for me. I have also spent the last 14 months feeling somewhat agoraphobic, and I think that is going to take some time to get over. I’ve been scared of getting Covid. Even worse, scared that my husband would get it or one of my kids. Scared of leaving my house. Scared of all the idiots I see running around without masks. But my family is all vaccinated now, and that feels like the beginning of the end. Thank God.
As always, thanks for reading and stay safe!