Eye of the Storm (Plague, Day 134, July 14, 2020)

Since extreme social distancing and vigilant mask-wearing worked, COVID rates are down around here. Restaurants, doctors, malls and businesses have opened up. Because I’m concerned that things will get bad again in the fall, I’m frantically trying to get in all our routine doctor’s appointments and other mundane chores before things shut down again. Yesterday, we had three doctor’s appointments.

The first up was an orthopedist appointment for myself. It took three weeks to get this appointment. In the first week of our shutdown, I managed to tear a tendon in my right arm, when moving heaving frozen meat around the freezer. Such a lame injury. It was a meat injury. It was a COVID-related injury, because I’ve never had such a full freezer of meat before. Pathetic. I need physical therapy, so I have to schedule that appointment later this morning.

On Sunday, Ian began complaining about extreme pain in his right ear. I took him to the Urgent Care center. The doctor couldn’t fix it, but said that he could see a big ball of gunk in there. He told us to get an emergency ENT appointment for Monday.

In the parking lot for the ENT, we followed the new safety protocols — sit in the car, wait for the staff to come out with forms, and then stay out there until we get a call to come in. Masks, air purifiers, hand sanitizer. Doctor Lee finally got in front of Ian’s right ear with a strong light and tweezers; he pulled out three balls of black gunk.

Ian has a fungal infection in his ear, which was probably caused by extreme use of ear buds. For entire days, he is either using them to hear his teachers on virtual school, to play video games, or to listen music. Then he wears ear plugs when he sleeps, so he’s had objects of questionable cleanliness in his ears 24/7 since March. Another COVID injury. Antibiotics for his ears and new listening devices for the kid.

The schedule was packed for the rest of day. We had a routine neurologist tele-visit, where we tinkered with Ian’s medication again. Another contractor came to the house to give us a quote on fixing the floor in the common area, after the Great Poop Disaster. An editor and I went back and forth on the final revisions of an article. I spent two hours making a huge pot of chili that will hopefully last for two dinners.

I am reaching burn-out levels of exhaustion. Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night with the list of chores swimming through my mind. Wide awake, I began checking out floor tile at Home Depot at 3:00 am. I need to make some changes around here.

But we also need to prepare. And not just by getting mundane chores done, before things close again. What happens if the economy tanks this fall?

I’ve been talking with a lot of contractors this past month. In addition to the repairs on the ground floor, I was getting quotes on new siding for the house.

Contractors tell me that they’ve never been so busy before. I can’t get them to return my phone calls, because they’re making serious cash redoing the mansions. The stock market is still strong. And other people are spending big bucks on home repairs.

However, I don’t know how long this will last. Steve is worried. What happens when the stimulus money ends? What happens if schools don’t open? We might need liquid cash. So, even though parts of our house are falling off, we’re going to put off the major repairs on the exterior until the spring.

But I know that I have to pace myself. I need work-COVID-home life balance. So, I’m building in some me-time into the afternoon. With music blasting on my rubbing alcohol-dowsed ear buds, I will do some laps around the town duck pond this afternoon.