family life

a day in the life of pandemic

Every once in awhile I share a day in our life. This would be an interesting time to remember: the first pandemic of our lifetime.

0540 I’m awake. Thank you Violet for being my alarm clock. Time to get you outside and free the chickens. Cluckingham Palace is waiting at the door.

0550 The air is crisp, yet warm, so I can have coffee overlooking the river and Queen Elizabeth mountain. I journal my feelings, my plans for the day, then plan my greenhouse order for the homestead landscaping. Eat a green smoothie found in a jar in the fridge.

0700 I plan my grocery order and send to my husband. Chat with my 17 year old before she goes to her online physics class (in her room). Eat a piece of sourdough with butter.

0915 Chat with my 11 year old. He slept a long time and had rosy cheeks when he woke, so I thought he might be sick too. Message a friend about temporary enclosures for potential broiler chickens I’d like to raise this year. (Can’t raise my own meat birds if I don’t have somewhere to house them: cause everyone eats chicken, birds, dogs, other chickens.)

09:32 Read a Chapter of Tom Sawyer with my son as he builds Lego on the floor. Send a podcast interview letter to fellow podcasters, I rewrite an old blog on grade 8 & 9 kids and write new blogs on pandemic routines and advice.

10:00 11 year old walks the dog by running her on the zip line.

10:30 17 yo goes to ballet class in our dance room downstairs.

10:38 Still no sign of my 14 year old daughter. She was sick yesterday with a sore throat, aches, and feeling feverish.

10:52 Field a neighbour’s offer to share mulch. 11 year old asks to search for snails since the rain is coming. (He’s finished his journaling, poetry memorization (Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost), and his writing poetry project. He also did his math: adding and subtraction mixed fractions.)

11:00 14 yo wakes in stupor, shocked what time it is. I prep her breakfast. (She’s not allowed in the kitchen.)

11:45 The 14 year old brings the 11 yo an umbrella in the pouring rain. No 11 yo is found and no snails are found either. I rinse and rerinse a sink full of dirty socks, then I do the same for my son’s bathtub filled with dirty clothes (the washing machine stopped working the day before we were quarantined).

12:25 14 year old not up to studies, and asks if she can watch documentaries in bed. Yup.

1:04 Leftover lasagne soup for lunch then the power went out just as I’d asked my 11 yo to make a fire in the fireplace. Sitting with ginger snaps and lukewarm tea and our afternoon reading: A Wrinkle in Time for the 11 yo, Agatha Christie murder mystery for the 17 yo (after she walks the dog), and documentaries on the 14 yo’s bed (cause she’s got a cellular phone and is also sick). I read recipes on cheddar pretzels, cinnamon raisin bread, and seedy bread.

1:19 Fourteen year old sits outside with biology textbook to finish reading and prepping for exam on Saturday.

2:08 I write a message to my goddaughter as she is getting married in an intimate ceremony in Chicago next week). Something old, something new, something borrowed (hopefully not the virus), something blue.

2:01 Electricity returns. I feel sick. 17 yo watches documentaries. (It’s that blue moon in June, or April, where we all feel the cold rain in our bones and a change in routine is necessary. We almost NEVER watch documentaries during the day.)

2:26 Still not feeling great, so I putter outside. Violet and I do another garden walkthrough, change the chickens water, check for eggs, pin the tomato cages into their garden spot, pull out wood for the fruit orchard gate. Paint chicken princess names: Lady Di, Sarah & Duchess of York.

3:05 Discuss chicken fence order with the hardware store. Not 3′ wide chicken wire, instead 4′ chicken wire. Message friend about broiler chickens: does she have a chicken tractor? I read on broiler chickens: they are a. very gross (how can one be grosser than a laying hens? Apparently, be a broiler chicken.), b. they will pick on the laying hens, c. they won’t leave the feed bowl, but poop beside the food bowl and each other. I love eating chicken, but do I really?

3:27 11 yo has Zoom playdate with friends. I hear him discussing a new game he’s going to download and he watches his new friend with a new PS4 game. I walk our private hiking path for an hour with Violet. (She’s tired when we start because she’s already had three walks today.)

4:24 Receive grocery order. Sanitize my farmhouse mudroom sink. Bathe produce in vinegar and water. Unpackage prepared boxes carefully. Wash meat and put in freezer. My pantry and freezer are officially where they should have been before this pandemic: filled with things we use every day. I will now maintain the same…forever.

5:25 Make crepes with all those extra chicken eggs. Crepes and homemade apple pie filling. (We also make more soufflés, eggs benedict, and jalapeño egg salad sandwich).

6:05 Everyone has their screens and settles in for a long winter’s…I mean…the house gets awful quiet and everyone is on a screen somewhere.

6:35 Much frustration from 11 yo as his game won’t download properly. Maybe it’s the computer.

7:00 Have a glass wine, listen to the 100th year celebration of Chicago Symphony Orchestra and read “The Innocents” by Michael Crummey. Walk with Jim and Violet to the river.

9:16 Say goodnight to the chickens, turn out their light. Say goodnight to my 11 yo, turn out his light. Yell upstairs to the girls, Sweet dreams.

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Teresa Wiedrick
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