Our New Normal

We’re too many days to count into Oregon’s stay-at-home order, and it’s impossible to ignore the tedious normalcy of this new largely isolated existence. Every day, I check the Coronavirus Dashboard and the Oregon Health Authority’s statistics (today, we are up to nearly 1.2 million cases worldwide, which includes over 300,000 in the U.S. and 899 in Oregon). Every day also brings an opportunity to find ways to soak up and send out a bit of hope and cheer through sunbursts and spring blooms (and some days we’re far more successful at contributing to the positivity than others).

Neve, her cousin, and I collected flowers from our garden and made a dozen small vases with notes to pass out to friends and neighbors. On my runs about Portland, I have found several messages of hope and encouragement. The day after we made our little flower deliveries, we woke up to a pink chalk heart on the sidewalk just outside our front door.

But naturally it’s not all flowers and rainbows in our house, I am watching more CNN than ever before (can you believe Chris Cuomo is infected with COVID-19 and his brother is leading the battle against the virus in New York, our hardest hit state? This shit cannot be made up!), stress eating and drinking with increasing rigor (inappropriately excessive servings of nacho cheese Doritos, chocolate Easter eggs – Hershey’s, Cadbury, Dove, you name it, and microwave popcorn – anything that washes down well with Busch Light and is easy to grab, go, and get back to the couch expeditiously for more media consumption), and finding irritability creeps in reliably by mid-evening. That’s when I just don’t want to hear the sound of Cary’s or Neve’s voice again that day.

Still, we count our blessings – we remain healthy and are acutely aware of being fortunate to endure no disruption to our income (at least not yet). We are grateful for friends, family, neighbors, our school, work and music/art communities, and most of all we cannot overstate our appreciation for the first-responders and health care workers confronting this emergency on the front lines. May they all stay healthy – and wishing you and yours the same!

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