Yet Another COVID Disappointment #SOL21

I frantically responded to a few quick emails and began packing my bag. Looking up at the clock, I realized I was cutting it close. I needed to leave by 2:50 to allow enough travel time. I passed a fellow teacher in the hallway and wished her a happy birthday. How have I not see her one time today? I heard the echo of the car line. 267 red, Jenkins kids you are blue, 15 orange… I maneuvered around a few students crowding the door. Finally, sunlight and blue sky. What a beautiful afternoon. The soft breeze kissed my cheeks, the blooming daffodils decorated the yards, and the new green of the awakened grass and trees greeted me. There was a skip in my step, not just due to the welcome of spring and an early day away from school, but the anticipation of receiving my first COVID vaccination shot. Hope was just around the corner. I could feel it. I have been waiting for this day for weeks.

I sat at the table with my book in hand. Waiting 15 minutes after the shot is a book lover’s dream. I shared my information with the receptionist. She was typing and clicking and searching the screen.

What time is your appointment?

3:10

Could it be under a different name?

Not that I can think of.

I have your information here, but there is no appointment time with your name.

I pulled out my phone and searched through my photos.

Here is a screenshot of my appointment date and time.

I’m sorry. I can’t give you a shot if I don’t have you down with an appointment. All the shots are accounted for. I can take down your name and number and call you if there are any extra shots at the end of the day.

My heart sank. Everything inside of me was on the edge. I wanted to burst into tears, I wanted to slam my fist on the table, I wanted to shout, “I need this shot today!” But instead I took a few deep breaths. I stood up shoulders slouching looking for the closest exit. I walked out dazed and in disbelieve. I was supposed to feel on top of the world right now. I was supposed to feel the hope of the light at the end of the tunnel. But instead, I felt like it was yet another COVID disappointment.

Stolen Moments

This is not what a typical April 28th at 4:00 looks like. I had traveled the 40 minutes to my parent’s lake house to drop off some groceries and visit at a social distance. The sun was playing peek a boo with the clouds and the wind was intermittently gusting, but overall it was a beautiful spring day. My dad had gotten the kayak’s down, knowing I would probably want to go out on the lake.

“Do you want some company, or do you need some alone time?” my mom inquired. “I’d love some company.” I answered. We headed down to the dock doing the social distancing dance with wipes in hand. I wiped down the kayak and oar and hoisted myself down into the wobbly vessel. I paddled out into the cove to give my mom space to get situated in her kayak.

We paddled, rested, paddled, rested all the way around the lake. Talking about nothing much, but everything important at the moment…when the last time we washed our hair was, how our world would be different when we could go back to “real life,” cookie recipes, dinner plans, updates on people with the virus, admiring and critiquing the houses around the lake, upcoming doctor appointments.

It was a stolen moment. A gift. A way to make the most of this time of isolation and fear. A mother and her grown daughter getting an hour of time together that will always be remembered.

A Not So Normal Trip to the Grocery #sol20

Sunday I ventured to the grocery store. I had heard the reports that people we lining up an hour before stores opened to get a chance for hot items like meat, bread, paper products. But, I couldn’t do it. I did not want to be around that rush, so I waited until noon. I wasn’t prepared with a list like normal. My mindset was, Get whatever you can to sustain your family for two weeks. I had my baggie with Clorox wipes and my reusable bags, and I was out the door.

As I pulled into the parking lot, things seemed fairly normal. I got my cart and wiped down the handle and began to the produce section. There seemed to be no shortage of fresh fruits and vegetables. Good, I stocked up on everything I could find, ensuring lots of healthy sides for our upcoming meals.

Next, I passed the bakery section. Stocking up on some fresh baked breads, because my family loves breads. Actually, that might just be me. Moving on to the seafood, I grabbed our go to salmon plank hoping for a nice day to grill out this week.

Then I encountered the meat section. Where is the hamburger? Where is the chicken? Empty. I scanned for other protein items. Pork tenderloin, stew meat, roast. I can make something with those things. Hopefully the freezer section will have some other items I can work with.

I continue on my shopping journey. The bread isle. I see a sign posted. Only 3 bread items per customer. I continue to see this sign throughout the store, in the dairy section, in the paper section. I am shocked at several aisles. Absolutely no tortillas, no paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, cleaning wipes, milk. MILK. My kids drink a lot of milk. I have to settle for two half gallons of random organic milk and one chocolate Fairlife to stay within the limit. That will not sustain us for two weeks. We will need to limit our consumption.

Several people have masks on throughout the store. I try not to make eye contact with people for fear of being drawn into a conversation. I need to stay away from close contact. I see a colleague and we exchange pleasantries and wish each other safety and good health. Every door I open, I use my wipe to protect my hand from any germs on the handles.

I think I’m finally ready to check out over an hour later. My cart is filled to the brim. I have never bought so much food. I hope people don’t think I’m hoarding. I’m trying to be responsible and get everything I can think of so I can stay home and flatten the curve.

The man in front of me has a mask on, is spraying the conveyor belt, and wiping down everything in sight. He hands me two wipes for my cart. He tells me stories of people who are sick and individuals that have died. This is not helpful. He is spreading fear. I keep taking deep breaths. I thank the cashier and bagger for their continued work during this difficult time. I exit the store hoping my family can stay away from the grocery for two weeks. So far we are on day 4, and the milk is already running low.