The Covid Diaries

Two weekends ago, Robbie and I took the kids to “Cat Video Fest 2020” which was basically just a feature-length compilation of cat videos shown in the classy theatre downtown, and it was there that I saw my friend Gwen.

Gwen reminds me of a hummingbird. Her petite frame and wide-eyed curiosity is almost ethereal, and she always hugs me hello and asks me about my writing. I’m not sure how old she is — maybe in her 50’s or 60’s — but I know she doesn’t have children and she likes to read the newspaper every morning.

Today I’m thinking about Gwen because two weekends ago when we sat in that theatre with the very close together seats, sneezing and coughing and leaning all over each other, none of us had quarantine or lockdown or viruses on the brain. We were thinking about cats hiding in brown paper bags and kittens in mittens, blissfully unaware that our lives were about to be TURNED THE FUCK OVER.

Arrogance, and possibly denial, kept us from considering the fact that a pandemic, Covid-19, would be here. Something about the way we live our lives keeps us from believing that whatever is happening over there could ever actually happen where we live.

Before the viral panic descended upon us, I was wrapped up in the politics of our local public school system. I was busy worrying about whether or not the locker rooms at the kid’s school had appropriate window coverings. I was focused on helping our new principal get the surveillance cameras fully functioning.

I was dealing with the individual challenges of my kids, which have recently become overwhelming. I ramped up my own therapy in response, trying hard to listen to my therapist when she said “Harmony, you need help.” She said it was time to hire someone, maybe a college kid, and I started looking.

But then schools shut down.

And now I am home with my three kids, indefinitely. No playdates. No gym. No library, no seeing grandparents, no playing at the park. Robbie is still going to work. There is no toilet paper to be found. I have a dip manicure that is over two weeks old and I’m not sure when I can go have it removed. My face is breaking out. The kids are anxious. I am anxious.

I’m trying to lean in. I am sober. I can think of this time as a gift. I can try to enjoy my home and my kids and be grateful that I don’t have to go anywhere. I can make gratitude lists, and try to make the best of it, and work on my spiritual growth.


I’m in recovery for alcoholism — which 100% ramped up when I became a stay at home mom, even though I wanted to be a stay at home mom. One of my biggest triggers is being stuck at home with the kids because I had no idea how awful it is to be stuck at home with the kids.

Yesterday reminded me.

It is terrible.

I miss the gym. I miss everything I used to do to make myself feel sane. I feel like a whiny bratty baby for complaining, but one glance at social media reminds me that we are likely to be on lockdown soon because all of you idiots refuse to stay home. We are all in the same boat, fellow Americans, and half of you insist on poking holes in the sides because you don’t believe in science.

And so, my friends, I leave you with this. Because Pepper is ALL OF US.

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Our Life Now.


My life is in major overdrive. Suddenly I have plans and goals, which is really disorienting because I can’t remember the last time I had plans or goals that reached past getting through the day at present.

I am accustomed to being in constant survival mode, because almost the entire time I’ve been a stay-at-home mom Robbie was working at a car dealership. Car dealerships can suck it. I hate them all. He pretty much lived at work while I was keeping our kids alive, all the time, and this went on for almost three full years. I don’t know how we’re still married, and I REALLY don’t know how I managed to function. I seem to have already blocked it from memory.

Now that he has a different job (working for my family — ahem) and very normal business hours, a whole new world has opened up to us. Our budget may be tighter, but we don’t miss an LSU game. We can have a social life again … well, first we have to find some friends … but once we do, we can totally hang out with them all weekend.

He took Maverick on a camping trip. They build Lego creations together and got up at 5 a.m. in the middle of the week to see the blood moon. We go on family walks and bike rides. We eat dinner together every night. I could go on and on listing the ways that our family life has improved, and it’s not all rainbows and roses over here, but it’s just really, really … nice.

It’s about damn time.

It took over a month for us to realize that we can slow down and enjoy our simple life at whatever pace we want to FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. Of course we wish we had more money to slow down and enjoy it with, but when we do things like make a campfire in our backyard and show the older kids the constellations it reminds me of why I quit my job in the first place.


At the end of the day, when we’re all together looking up at the sky and I am screaming “STAY AWAY FROM THE FIRE!!!” at my 3-year-old and “LEAVE THAT FROG ALONE!” at my 6-year-old, none of it matters. I just want to be with these people as much as I can until I’m sick of them and need to escape to Target for a few hours.

But don’t worry, I always come back.