Today has been a harder-than-normal quarantine/work from home/restless day.

Kinda ranks up there with the fits Philip threw recently about doing schoolwork.

What’s wrong? I asked with a gentle but heavy sigh.

“Quarantine! Coronavirus! Not being at school! That’s what wrong!” he snaps at me on the iPad, flicking his head back and forth with a condescending sneer.

Sigh. The entire world feels that way, Kid. The ENTIRE WORLD.

But who can talk sense into a third grader who is in quarantine? Not me. Nor you. Maybe his mom. His world consists of his adults, his stuffed animals, his iPad, and his classmates and teachers on a computer screen. To him, they all seem happier than he is. Which makes him feel more miserable and more annoyed.

So he hides in his couch fort with his light sabers sticking out from between the cushions, and places a sign out front that says “Do Not Disturb” scrawled out in his shaky 8-year-old handwriting.

I totally get it, kid. Totally get it. We all get it.

Today was going to be “easy” for me. The To Do list seemed completely absolutely do-able. Write some things, edit some things. Nothing completely mind blowing. I was going to finish editing OMR notes from last week’s meeting, then move on to editing the two batches of photos from last week’s field work (!!!). Address some emails, edit some docs.

It’s 12:15. I’ve been on the computer since 8:30. Around 9 a.m. things started going downhill.

Painstakingly, I finished the notes but my fingers were having a terrifically awful time finding the right keys all morning, causing me to mash down on my keyboard way too many times out of frustration.

Whatever cold/allergy/sniffles I have are driving me crazy.

I engaged in conversation with my coworkers over Google Hangouts, which isn’t really #PandemicLife for us, since we’ve been teleworking together all over the Pacific Northwest for the past 14 years. I lamented about today’s lack of motivation. They said to take care of myself, do something happy for myself.

You mean eat chocolate cake and do yoga?

“omg all the chocolate cake and yoga,” one replied.

I read emails. I checked the news for stuff to share on our social media channels (zilch).

I looked up the AirBnBs in Port Townsend that we walked by last night, so I could see what they looked like inside and how much they were going for.

I read a New York Times article about how we should check on our extroverted friends these days but really, the article is about how we’re all doing in month three of quarantine and (spoiler alert!) we’re not doing OK.

I posted it to Facebook because a) I knew others out there who felt like this and b) sure, why not, I was looking for some sympathy. Vanity does not bother me anymore. What’s make up and proper clothing and whatever people think of me? Not much. What’s whining and complaining about something we’re all feeling these days? Who cares. We’re all in the same boat.

I went into the kitchen and pulled out the cake keeper, containing the remaining quarter of a double layer chocolate cake with buttercream chocolate frosting, all components laced with coffee and made from scratch by yours truly – Jeremy’s birthday cake from last weekend.

While bent over his computer, he glances my way.


Yes, really. I’m having a really bad day. I want chocolate cake. I do not care.

“Tiffany. You don’t want to do that. It’s lunch time.”

I do not care.

“You really don’t want to do that. Do you want a hug?”

Sigh. Yes. But that means I have to put down the cake and come to you.


So I do and I go over and I get big squeezy hug because they always feel good.

Then I put the cake away, take a non-drowsy allergy pill and go back to my desk.

15 minutes later, he comes out of his zillionth teleconference meeting and pops his head into my office area.


Hey, I respond slumped in my chair.

“Tiffany. Take a nap. Or go for a walk. Stop looking at garbage on the Internet.”

It’s too early for a nap and I’m not tired, I grumble, while he steps out into the backyard for some fresh air.

He’s really good at doing these kinds of things. Like, taking care of himself with mini breaks.

I am not. I apparently prefer to torture myself first.

But I get up and follow him outside, then slip on my yellow gardening shoes with the cartoon chickens on them and decide to pull weeds for 15 minutes. That helped. Then I thought about lunch. That one sandwich place is finally open again, and I decided that’s what we’ll do for lunch, calories be damned. (I’m on the Noom program right and yes, for those who are wondering, it’s really working – 5 lbs. in 5 weeks., on track to lose 5-7 more by mid-July!).

I went in and found him deep in another call, so I inspected a few blood oranges in our fruit basket, peeled one that was questionable, and it definitely was, so I peeled another and gingerly ate some of the dark purple slices that were past their prime, partially dried from overipeness.

Then I dug out a scoop of peanut butter from the jar with a spoon, licked it like a lollipop, and sat back down at my desk.

The second he got off his call, I proclaimed, “We’re going to Howell’s for lunch!”

Those 10 minutes of inhaling that turkey, cranberry, bacon and Havarti on a baguette were blissful.

I finally moved my computer from the dining room table to the couch for the afternoon. That made a world of difference. I cranked out those emails that took no time, as they should have, and then was able to dive into editing a project proposal for a few hours.

Maybe it’s that dining room table.