Happy Holidays from the Quarantine Trenches

Dear <Firstname>,

I started this holiday newsletter in August, which seemed like it should have been the end of the year already, or in case I didn’t survive the Quarendemicopalypse.

Hope this finds you as well as can be expected considering the new unprecedented normal challenging times we are facing, enduring, navigating, and surviving; the collapse of the economy; and the ongoing sequestration orders. Unexpectedly, I’ve found a few things I like about lockdown.

For example, I’m finally getting one of those trendy ombré hairstyles! But not because I’ve mastered the art of hair dyeing. My highlights are growing out and my standard-issue brunette locks are peeking through. Think I should I Instagram it?

After 20 years in the same home, we’re exploring new areas of my neighborhood these days: the alleys. With sidewalks too narrow for social distancing and public parks closed, I’ve gained a renewed appreciation of the wide range of garage door types out there and how people store their garbage cans. Who knew, I feel like a tourist in my own hometown these days!

I’ve started Zooming with people I’ve never met and might never have met without that intoxicating combination of free web conferencing accounts and excruciating boredom. I secretly rejoice when I see our Gen Z nieces and nephews online with their cool kid backgrounds as we yell “Unmute yourself!” every few minutes.

As a home office veteran (I prefer to think of myself as a “Terrycloth Collar Worker”), I feel secretly vindicated that everyone finally knows how it feels when a neighbor randomly turns on her chainsaw in the middle of a call. And I’m getting a lot of love on my carefully curated backdrop, as I watch cats and kids jump in front of some impressive refrigerator magnet collections.

The consequence and advantage of quarantining with a lifelong tinkerer, with a garage full of parts and pieces and a home improvement project list rivaling a James Michener tome, is freshly painted bathrooms, new towel racks, and some kind of spray bidet, which gives new meaning to the photographic phrase “point and shoot.” We’ve gone Euro-chic and I’m all in. Is this Instagram-worthy?

Besides, I don’t know about you, but I now know exactly how much toilet paper I use in one month. One double roll lasts a month. With eight rolls left, I figure I won’t have to leave the house for six months, at least not for TP.

Given the critical role of coffee in our household, I have California’s Safer at Home order to thank for our new pump espresso maker. Although it cost the equivalent of 111.11 Grande Pumpkin Spice Lattes, I reason that only equals 2.13 trips to Starbucks every week for a year to break even. I further assuage my conscience by thinking of all the Breville and Amazon workers employed by my purchase.

Humor has kept me sane. If I could only mainline my weekly diet of cartoons with a side of memes, sprinkled with TikTok videos, I’m convinced I could leap a locomotive faster, look more powerful than a tall bullet, and fast rather than bound a speeding building. Or was it the other way around?

I suppose I could obsess about restrictions to my liberty, but then I might miss a micro-gratitude moment. A warm bed. Shoes. The smell of fresh paint. That I still have the ability to express myself and create and strive and grow, quarantine or not.

Virtual hugs and air kisses from the quarantine trenches!

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Working mom. Resident poet. Clandestine cookbook author. // www.savvyfriendspress.com

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Jessica C. Williams

Jessica C. Williams

Working mom. Resident poet. Clandestine cookbook author. // www.savvyfriendspress.com

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