Category Archives: pandemic

#sol21 March 14 Quiet Laundry

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by.

I was stopped at a light on a hill on the way to my parents house. The sky is blue today, the sun is bright, the wind is cold and noisey.

I watched as a one of those extra large playground balls rolled down the street toward me. It was weathered and pink and bumpy. I wondered if had been a bright red last spring. I wondered if it would roll into my car, and what the plan was if that happened. Would I need to get out of my car to move it? Would it pop? Could I just push it the mile to my folks’ house? It was too big to fit under the car . . .

I watched it as it skimmed my front bumper, and rolled down past the car behind me. Cars started turning down the road, blocking my view.

“I’ll never know what happens to that ball, or where it came from.” I thought as I continued to my parents’ house with my laundry.

Our washer is broken and the repair place says they can come next week. So until we get it fixed, we bring baskets and bags of laundry to my parents’ house. I don’t care how old you are, if you carry a basket or bag of laundry from your car to your parents basement, you’re basically 19. Even if one of those baskets is your 11 year old’s laundry.

An afternoon of laundry at my parents’ house felt like quiet respite. Maybe I shouldn’t get my washer fixed . . .

My dad made sure I got the settings on the washer correct, since last time I accidentally put the detergent in the spot for bleach.

My mom darned my torn sock. It’s a special sock, Mardi’s sock. I gave her donut socks last year, and after she died, I was given a pair back. These socks are holy to me, but I really don’t want them holey. (You can’t blame me for writing that. Seriously. It had to be said.)

Yea. My mom darned my sock, my dad made me tea, my laundry churned around in the basement. It was quiet. Maybe I shouldn’t get my washer fixed.

I packed up and drove home.

When I stopped at the light on the hill, I started looking out for that weathered playground ball. There is a creek and a park at the bottom of the hill, and I really hoped I’d see it there.

I mean, doesn’t a weathered playground ball deserve to retire on the water? I can imagine it floating around in the sun, playing with the ducks and enjoying the sounds of children at the playground.

But, I didn’t see it anywhere. Not in the street, not in the park, not in a lucky child’s hand.

“I’ll never know what happened to that ball, or where it came from.” I thought as I drove home, wondering about the metaphor of laundry, darning, quiet tea and a lonely lost weathered toy on a windy day.

“I’ll never know.”

#sol21 March 12 A Writer Who Can’t Be Trusted

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by.

Trust me

I’m a writer who can’t be trusted
to sit in a doctor’s office after my second covid shot
I watch like a writer
I listen like a writer
I take note.

An elderly woman parks her walker next to the vinyl chair
The nurse reaches to help her
The woman says, “I’m fine. I just have this for-“
“Security?” the nurse guesses and the woman agrees

A nurse grabs a syringe from the counter
“I like this one better now,” she says
Another nurse agrees and they laugh
“Well we get used to what we have, I guess.”
and they turn around to help the next in line

Voices from each side of the room filter in
“Hi my name is. . . I’m one of the nurses here.”
“I’m going to give you your second shot…”
“How did your first shot go?”
“You might have a little more of a reaction this time…”
“It’s normal. Chills, body aches – that’s your immune system responding…””
“Do you have an arm preference?”

A man in his eighties works to pull up his blue and black flannel shirt sleeve
as he is ushered to a chair to wait his 15 minutes
“Can I wait in the waiting room with my wife?” he asks
They agree, remind him to wait 15 minutes before leaving
“He’s going to wait with his wife,” the nurse explains to someone at the door
And it makes me feel sad to watch him still struggling with this flannel shirt sleeve, walking to sit with his wife

The two nurses are talking again
“This time is better” one says, “my back isn’t killing me this time”
“I didn’t think I could make it through the last super Saturday. All that bending.”
“I thought I might have to try it sitting down.”
“That kid behind us was sitting down”
“Well, I can’t kneel. I’m not going on my knees.”
“No. Not my knees.”

My 15 minutes are up and I walk out
I see the man in his blue flannel shirt walk to his car with his wife
I wonder if his wife is already vaccinated, or will be soon
What was that he said about why his wife came with him?
And it’s not until later do I realize there’s no way they waited their 15 minutes
and I hope he’s okay

#sol21 March 9 Pandemic Chocolate Chips

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by.

Am I the kind of person who thinks it’s okay to keep a ziplock bag of chocolate chips on the counter in an unused pot?
No. No. No. I assure you, I am not.

I think it started with a bag of mini chocolate chips my daughter liked to add to her yogurt
with granola and fruit
Then the kids started throwing chocolate chips in their hot chocolate this winter,
which was cute.
I noticed the chips started staying out on the counter only recently,
and the ziplock bag in a pot thing?
That started just last week.

Am I the kind of person who had some of those chocolate chips, with a dollop of peanut butter on a spoon?
Yes. Yes… I did that just this afternoon.

Am I the kind of person who thinks those chocolate chips would look prettier
in a big mason jar?
I mean, if they are going to be on the counter . . .

If you can’t beat ’em,
join ’em.

#sol21 March 8 – Before That, March 8th

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by.

March 8th

March 8th. 
spring is in the air 
for now. 
Kids are out on wheeled things 
"spring break" is two days off later this week
Kids and I really wish we were going somewhere. 
Any. Where.

Before that, 
March 8th - 2020 
we drove to Georgia 
mountains and hikes and family time and laughter and fireplaces and wine.
Our last pre-pandemic normalcy. 
We knew something was happening - 
but not really. 
We clorox-wiped the vacation house, we didn't go to crowded places…
but it felt normal. 
We even brought the dog! 
Our Georgia trip felt like family in a cabin, 
but not a cabin-fevered family.

Before that,
March 8th was Finnegan Foxy Feinberg's birthday. 
Always during spring break, 
He’s always at the "Pet Resort" for his birthday. 
Our spring breaks were never fancy, 
but they were breaks. 

Before that, 
March 8th marked the anniversary of my father-in-law's death. 
A day to remember him, 
gone now for over 20 years. 
A character 
we wish he had seen our wedding, 
We wish he had met his grandchildren. 
Every March 8th I will remember him and feel lucky that I got to know him.

Before that, 
March 8th was just a normal day.
I'm sure spring was in the air sometimes, 
other times there were blizzards. 
I'm sure life looked normal - headed on a vector I didn't notice
just living life.

Now I wonder. 
What will March 8th look like next year? 

March 8th 2022
March 8th 2023
March 8th 
March 8th
What will the March 8ths of the future have in store for us?

#sol21 March 6: Hate

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by.
I don't believe in hate

she said hate is like this coffee cup
you keep staring at the coffee cup 
saying "wow that's some terrible shit." 
just put the coffee cup away

and since I don't believe in hate
that should be easy

she said to push away hate
with nuggets of gold
fill yourself with nuggets of joy that feel light and joyful
and there won't be any room for hate

and since I have a video series all about joy
that should be easy

I'm just wondering if maybe
I might be allowed to 
smash the coffee cup 
ground first
watch it 
break into a million pieces
before I vacuum it away and look for those nuggets

#sol21 March 3: An announcement

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by.

L wanted to get out of the house.

“Shopping with you is my favorite!” is what she said to entice me to go to TJ Maxx.

Later it was “I love you mama. Do you think you can help me buy just a few of these things?” to entice me to buy her a few things.

I don’t love shopping during a pandemic, but we have masks, and don’t stay long.

I don’t love going out at night ever because, well… night time? That’s supposed to be pajama time. But, I do like spending time with my almost-leaving-me-for-college daughter. Also I noticed a sign that it was the right thing for me to do.

Like literally. A sign. Get it?

TJ Maxx is a fun place to be. And I do enjoy looking at the notebooks, and wandering around telling myself that I can enjoy looking at the inspirational signs, but I don’t have any space for them. Even if they seem perfect.

I kinda wanted to stand there and make TJ Maxx decorative sign poetry … like book spine poetry… Could be fun, no?

As I wandered around the store, a young man’s voice came over the loud speaker. He was thanking us for shopping and telling us about some deals. He sounded so happy about these announcements, and it brought be back to my store announcement days: The summer after my freshman year of college when I worked in the lingerie department of Boscov’s.

Man did I love when I was supposed to make those storewide announcements. It was the best part of my job.

I wish I were one of those people with really specific memories to share – because as I walked around TJ Maxx, I thought about how I’d love to tell you how I made those announcements decades ago. But, I don’t even remember if I picked up a phone to do it, or if there was some weird microphone. Did I have a quota of announcements I was allowed to make? Was there a time where someone told me not to make so many or such long announcements? Did I look at that week’s flyer to help me say what I needed to say? Did I make the announcements only about lingerie? These questions will never be answered.

I can however tell you that I loved making those announcements. It was almost a dream come true, almost as good as it would have felt to have gotten to work a grocery store cash register, or be allowed to click the library cards into the library card punch when I worked at a library. Those are a couple of my biggest never-realized dreams: the cash register and the library punch card. But making an announcement at Boscov’s? That’s on the dream list. Almost.

I wanted to find the TJ Maxx announcer and tell him he should write down this experience for later. But, then a candle caught my eye, and also the soft soft shirts, and more notebooks. . .

#sol21 March 1: Old Witch Hands

Slice of LIfe

Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by.

Old Witch Hands

I can't stop thinking about the way that old witch hands look in fairy tales
fingers wrinkled (not just skin)

my acupuncturist says that the cysts I have on my pinky fingers are on my heart meridian
because my heart is broken (not just bent)
warted - I guess

so I tell her that I can't stop thinking about old witch hands in fairy tales now
"You mean they are just broken-hearted?" 
I sob at this thought 
I empathize even more than normal with the witches - 

(because that's what I need now - more empathy
for witches) sarcasm intended

"There are lots of reasons not just heartbreak, Ona," my acupuncturist tells me

I tell her that it's not fair
2020-2021 is hard enough without my fingers 
erupting with heartbreak

she tells me to 
"Would you rather have a heart attack or a cyst on your finger, Ona?" she asks me. 

she's right, but I can't stop thinking about the witches in fairy tales.

What will you do with it?

Slice of LIfe

Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teacher

For some reason I’m thinking about wine tonight…

A few weeks ago I was at Wegmans at the end of the day and I threw some of their $6 wine into my cart before getting into line. I only do this when the “alcohol permitted” lines aren’t long, but the week is.

A woman approached me and scootched her mask down below her chin. She had an accent, heavy and thick. She spoke in a loud, friendly, slightly halting voice.

“Did you take — this?” She said as she held up a bottle of wine. Her friend stood a few feet behind her.

I must admit, I was taken aback. I wondered if she was asking me if I took it out of her cart. I have this mild, irrational fear that I will accidentally take someone else’s cart, or put my stuff into someone else’s cart. And even though I’ve never worried that I’ll take something out of someone’s cart, it seemed plausible because of her tone.

“Did you take this? This? From there?” She pointed at the wine display. Her friend walked over to the display.

“Oh. Yes. I did.” I was still confused, but didn’t feel like I was in trouble anymore.

“What will you do with it?” She asked me, leaning in. Her friend looked at me, intrigued.

“What will I do with it?”

“Yes, what will you do with it?”

This is when I wondered if I might be on some sort of “teacher caught buying wine on a week night” candid camera show.

I thought for a moment, about my week, my day, my remote coaching job, my remote learning kids, the world, the coming election. I thought about the $6 wine in my cart. I looked at the woman and her friend and raised my eyebrows, still trying to figure out what this was all about.

“I’m going to drink it!” I said with a big, not too-sarcastic smile. I think I might have taken an imaginary swig from the bottle.

“You will drink it?!” She said, as she turned the bottle around to show me the list of foods on the back. “But. All of this. Here.”

Finally, I understood. She just didn’t know if the wine was a drink or an ingredient!

“Ahhhh!” I said, with that feeling of relief you get when you finally understand. “I think those are the pairings… the things you might eat with the wine!”

I would like to note that I did not add that I actually prefer my wine with a bowl of chips or popcorn.

Now every time I get a bottle of wine, her voice comes back to me.

“What will you do with it?”

Blank Page Published: A Slice of writing

Slice of LIfe

Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

Blank page, typed and then deleted.
Type, delete, type delete.
I’ve done this before.

A few things I almost wrote about, but then erased…

I deserve an adulting award for ordering mulch today
I’m failing as a mother, #screentime
Sitting in the sun begs the question, is it summer yet?
I miss a lot of people and things right now.
I think I have a cold. It better be just a cold.
Filled out my mail-in ballot today. Hope I followed all the rules. There were a lot of rules. I will send it when my stamps come. It’s so odd to order stamps to be mailed.
Voting makes me feel like I need to pay more attention to the news.
The news makes me feel like I need to go back to bed. Under the covers.
This Groundhog’s Day life is devoid of usable slices. Boring, but also too raw.
Man it’s hard to have a friend dying during a pandemic.

I told myself to write on Tuesdays, though.
Keep up the habit, build it up
Remember that I love to write.

Remember that I love to write.
Remember that I love to write.
Remember that I love to write.

I still don’t know if I’ll hit select all – Delete, or