Silver Lining Playbook, Excerpt from the Newsletter (Plague, Day 25, March 28, 2020)

Latest newsletter: Silver Lining Playbook, Apt. 11D, March 27, 2020 Subscribe here.

Hi all!

We’ve been in our bunker for two weeks now, with only the briefest interactions with other people on milk-runs at Stop and Shop or at the drive-in lane at Dunkin’ Donuts.

The reason why we’re home in the bunkers is horrible – a global pandemic, which will endanger the lives of millions and possible usher into a giant recession. Already, 3.3 million people filed for unemployment insurance last week. Millions of kids aren’t being educated. My friends with small business are faltering. 

The virus cast its shadow over my family this week, as a beloved uncle passed away from unrelated issues. With the social distancing imperative, we are unable to mourn together as a family. His wife couldn’t hold his hand in the hospital, until the very last minute. 

But being a basically happy person, I can’t help but seeing signs, here and there, that all this social distancing is a much needed reboot of our very complicated, busy, self-involved lives. 

Even though we’re social distancing from the rest of the world, Steve and Jonah and Ian and I are social un-distancing from each other. We’ve spent nearly every minute of the past two weeks together. We haven’t spent this much time together, since Jonah was a small baby and Steve and I finished our dissertations full time. 

After that one year of togetherness, we’ve all gone our separate ways. Now, Steve works and commutes twelve hours a day. Jonah’s got his frat buds and his seminars at college half the year. Ian has school and summer camps. I’m here, as always, working in my little office, going to spin class, and maintaining the business of a house and home. I’ve got my own daytime friends and activities that don’t involve the others. 

But all that is over. No spin classes. No PTA meetings. No Wall Street offices. No train commutes. No band class. No International Relations lecture halls. No frat drinking fests. No sushi on a Friday night. We’re just here hanging out together and living off my cooking. 

Not going to lie. There were some adjustments. And adjustments are still happening as we decide whose job gets priority over unloading the dishwasher and whether we should badger the college kid to not fall asleep in front of Netflix on his laptop every night. But we’re working out the kinks with fewer flare ups and more cooperation. 

Maybe our lives had gotten too complicated. Maybe Ian has too many after-school activities, and Jonah had too much on his plate at college. Does he really need an internship this summer? Not really. Is there any reason that my husband should go back to his office, with its three-hour daily commute, when he gets everything done here just fine? Maybe I’ve put too much pressure on myself for professional success, when there’s a pretty awesome spot in the backyard to stare at the birds and the plants. 

The New York Times has a good article about how one party in Westport, CT helped to spread the disease. “The Westport soirée — Party Zero in southwestern Connecticut and beyond — is a story of how, in the Gilded Age of money, social connectedness and air travel, a pandemic has spread at lightning speed.” So no more parties for us; our weekend calendar is empty. 

Without weekend dinner plans and jaunts to museums and shows, we’re just chilling out. So weird. 

Now, I have to draw a line with all this domestic splendor somewhere. For me, it’s board games. Don’t talk to me about Jenga or whatever. I’m not even listening. I might occasionally bake, but I’m not breaking out any muffin tins on a daily basis. 

In our own way, we’re social un-distancing quite a bit. If we’re not in the kitchen making a complicated soup, then we’re taking walks around the neighborhood, watching Mario Cuomo on CNN, or on our devices in the same general area. For us, that’s a good thing.

Be well! Laura

32 thoughts on “Silver Lining Playbook, Excerpt from the Newsletter (Plague, Day 25, March 28, 2020)

  1. Less than a month ago, I was whining about how haaaard the kids’ spring schedule was: random track schedule and Sunday night youth group for the 9th grader, speech twice a week (with homework) and religious education for the 1st grader, and volunteering, music lesson, choir stuff and senior stuff for the 12th grader. I have scrupulously avoided overcommitment for many years, but the kids’ stuff somehow exploded this spring.

    Well, I don’t have any of that to whine about any more.


  2. We just got two packs of surgical masks in the mail today from Ali Express, which ships Chinese stuff. (They came in very Chinese packaging.)

    If anybody has qualms, this is not coming from the US medical supply chain. The prices seem fairly reasonable for surgical masks.


  3. Husband and 1st grader are working on making a house-shaped bird feeder.

    Husband ran off the online design on his homemade CNC router. They’re gluing it together.


    1. I went to the grocery store today. Plenty of everything except paper products, cleaning supplies, frozen vegetables, and flour or yeast. Just some self rising flour. But, plenty of meat, fresh vegetables (I bought raspberries and tomatoes), rice (in large >5lbs bags) dried and canned beans, canned vegetables, pasta and canned tomatoes. Really, not bad.


      1. I bought a bird feeder at Xmas and a bag of birdseed and finally put it up in February and used up almost all the seed. I forgot that I had a little left in the bag until a few days ago, and I put it out, and within 24 hours I had a lovely Mr. Cardinal. Now I need to go get more birdseed…


      2. Wendy said, “I bought a bird feeder at Xmas and a bag of birdseed and finally put it up in February and used up almost all the seed. I forgot that I had a little left in the bag until a few days ago, and I put it out, and within 24 hours I had a lovely Mr. Cardinal. Now I need to go get more birdseed…”



    2. Yes, there continues to be plenty of food. We will be looking for eggs & milk tomorrow, but will survive if they are not there.


    1. Tulip said, “I’m annoyed by the Sussex’s. Why, in a pandemic, are they continuing to travel around?”

      I have a fair amount of patience for a youngish couple with a baby trying to figure things out after leaving jobs with the family business, but STAY AT HOME WHILE YOU DO SO, THANK YOU!

      Do they have nobody close to them to point out that it looks (and is) terrible to be travelling so much?


  4. I find my efficiency substantially degraded working at home: no secretary, no high speed printer, no files, etc. And it’s very strange having nothing to do really. I had bought the first season of Game of Thrones to watch on rainy summer weekends but I started watching it two or three nights a week. A novel experience because I really don’t watch TV except sports.

    The Sussexes: a grade B movie actress and a young man of no known talents who doesn’t want to work in the family business but wants to keep drawing a salary (which isn’t possible in a public company, as it were). Can they eke out an existence being famous for being famous? It has worked for some (Paris Hilton, the Kardashians), but it’s hard to pull off.


  5. So far, I am in sympathy with Megan & Harry, and have little sympathy about the royal family (recently reading about the nazi ties of Elizabeth II’s uncle, not to mention my disgust at Harry’s own uncle). I consider the royal family to be equivalent to Hilton/Kardashians/ and don’t care of M&H develop their own brand. I don’t know if they’ll be able to, but I really don’t care about that either. Honestly, if the Palins can “eke” out an existence, aren’t Megan & Harry going to be able to do the same?


    1. I have a lot of respect for Queen Elizabeth. I want to smack anyone who is mean to her or uses millions in public funds w/out being willing to do the required work for it. Harry and Megan seem to have no redeeming qualities. She didn’t even look good in her ill fitting dresses that she wore last week.

      I’ve already started seeing petitions on twitter demanding that US not pay their 20million security bill.


    2. So, I think Megan is beautiful and like her sense of style. And, I have no strong feelings about Elizabeth II, except that I doubt that she is worth the money that is spent on her. Interesting that one would have strong feelings about Elizabeth, strong enough to say “harry and megan seem to have no redeeming qualities” have certainly have done nothing worse to their grandmother than her own son has.


  6. I think it would be pretty dreadful if QE2 didn’t pay for Megan & Harry’s & Archie’s security and something happened to them as a result.


  7. I have no more desire to spend time defending Megan & Harry than I do to defending Jennifer Gates or Georgina Bloomberg but I find the vitriol directed against them bizarre.


    1. i find it bizarre that anybody likes them, so we’re equal. I honestly don’t care if they want to live in UK or whether they do charity work for the gov’t. I do care if they get all the benefits of being a gov’t personnel, but does not work for it and actually tries to parlay that position into private gigs. They applied for diplomatic privilege here. What? They have millions. They can pay their own guards and their traffic tickets.


      1. Laura said, “They have millions. They can pay their own guards and their traffic tickets.”

        Not nearly enough millions for full-time life-time security for each of them.


      2. Meghan Markle has a large fanbase among black women, especially the black romance writer community. Jasmine Guillory’s book “Royal Holiday” involves a character who is a stylist for a royal who is not named but is obviously MM.


      3. The should be next against the wall, unless they are former News of the World reporters in which case they should be first.


      4. “She is loathed by gossip websites”

        Yes, but I generally find that gossip about men is accurate and gossip about women isn’t. 😀

        No, seriously, what I am talking about is not how good or bad a person she is. I’m talking about what she represents to a large segment of society.


  8. Day 7 of homeschooling: We have reached the “1st grader eating generic Trix while watching 18 minute teacher math video” stage.

    On the bright side, the 1st grader thinks that generic Trix is the Best Cereal Ever!

    (I originally bought the fake Trix as math manipulatives, along with fake Froot Loops and real mini-Goldfish crackers.)


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