This took a year & life is very different now

This took a year & life is very different now

Last year I made the decision to take the kids to Universal for spring break. The Sprout is a huge Harry Potter fan and as they age out of theme parks (and as we hunker down for more savings), I thought it was best to plan a last hurrah of a vacation as a Christmas surprise. Of course, booking during Spring Break was way too expensive and we found we could tack on a weeklong cruise in February for almost the same price as Universal during Spring Break. So of course, we ended up booking in February.

We all know how this story ends. By the time Spring Break came around, the government was telling Canadians to come home as soon as they could and things started to slowly shut down. I had friends who got stuck in foreign countries scrambling to get home and then we all ended up in lockdown.

And here we are now.

Truth be told, nothing really changed for Mr. Tucker and I in terms of our day-to-day life. With winter raging outside I generally am housebound during the winter months. The only thing that changed was that the kids were home. Since the order that schools were closing happened on the eve of March break, all seemed normal to them as we allowed unfettered access to devices as well as played games, read books, and watched Netflix – like much of the world was doing. Come the end of March Break I stuck up a schedule (hope springs eternal), signed them up for Khan Academy and we went forward into quarantine.

Of course, it’s now almost 8 weeks since we’ve been home and so much has changed. We now have masks we ordered from Almost all of our purchases are delivery or curbside pickup, aside from Mr. Tucker’s monthly Costco run for medication and supplies. We go for walks but mostly stay inside, and our social lives (like all of our social lives) have moved to online meetings. Still – and probably hilariously – one of our New Year’s Resolutions was to not eat out at all in 2020 and since Covid-19, that hasn’t even been an option for us.

The thing is, when you have a pre-existing condition or disability your life changes dramatically. When the pandemic started the first thing I knew right from the beginning was: there is no way I will ever be prioritized for a ventilator. Even though disability rights advocates were starting petitions at the callousness of denying disabled people the same rights as able-bodied people, I knew that it didn’t matter. Even if the rules changed, the decisions wouldn’t come from a bureaucrat. Fates would be decided by overworked doctors and nurses facing down the difficult decision of who gets to live and who gets to die. We had already seen this play out in Italy and I knew that it was a real possibility that if things got bad enough here it would happen in much the same way.

So we hunkered down, found all our travel size bottles of sanitizer. Mr. Tucker wiped down every surface after he shopped, and we had a stringent protocol when he came home. Life just changed. Life changed for all of us.
I am grateful that we’re both not working full time right now. Mr. Tucker works for a company that hosts online meeting software and so you can imagine his workload right now. But the kids are home and need some guidance to complete the online work that’s assigned to them. Still, we’ve chilled out a lot more since the beginning. While we still limit access to devices to the weekends, they do their homework, classroom meetings, and Khan Academy online & we don’t restrict access to those things. There are books, art supplies, puzzles, and games for anyone to access at anytime so we’re trying to keep things as calm and laid back as possible.

We’re all exhausted and burnt out about being on top of each other all the time. While Mr. Tucker has his basement office & the girls had their rooms, I felt constantly like I had no where to go. So I found a recliner on a second-hand website which Mr. Tucker picked up for me for a song (whilst respecting social distancing rules), a friend gave me a reading light, and I carved out a corner of our bedroom where I could go and relax when the kids were in the common areas & I needed some peace. So things are working out.

As for us, we are happy spring is here and that this didn’t all begin in the fall, when the dark winter starts to close in. We’ve made sourdough for a couple of years now so I’ve happily become the purveyor of starter & I’ve have sent a long many an email of tips and tricks. We made the decision last year to buy as much of our food as locally as possible, so we’ve been lucky to weather all the hoarding (aside from toilet paper & sanitizer). We have freezers full of local meat, buckets full of flour and oatmeal, we get our eggs from the farmer up the street, and we have a weekly vegetable delivery. We had always talked about doing raised bed gardening so we’ve built beds and are looking forward to gardening with the kids all summer. As well, our pool will be open over the next couple of weeks so we won’t feel as confined to the house. So there are some things to look forward to over the next little while.

Of course, there are a million and one places you can go to hear the worst of the worst news and I am no stranger to the anxiety that comes from deep-diving into that quagmire. But now, I’ve resigned myself to just reading the headlines of major newspapers – informed but not too informed – and keeping busy at home. But I am not going to go into that here, preferring to focus on the positive. I love that so many people are taking up old-timey crafts now that they have the time, space, and boredom to tackle new projects such as baking, knitting, and gardening. I love that neighbours are helping each other with groceries, sourdough starter, and seed sharing. People are starting to see the value in supporting local farms and buying from local businesses that it looks like independent book stores are poised to take over market share from amazon. Even in the worst of times, the best of humanity shines through, and if the research is to believed, this is typical of humans when chaos hits. It may be a little while until things relax again but I’d like to think we’ll keep some of the good bits that came out of all this. One can hope.

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