Pandemic Diary: 21 Feb 2021

The saga of scheduling a vaccination for James has begun. First the website crashed the day his age group (65+) opened up. Since then, he’s tried several times a day to get through all the prompts to the scheduling option only to find that, although there are lots of openings for the first shot, there aren’t any available for the second one. And they won’t let you schedule the first one without the second. He’s talked in person with our local pharmacist, and over the phone with another human being, but still no go.

There’s no waiting list, so he just has to keep calling over and over, hoping to hit the jackpot. We have no idea why second shots aren’t available yet, and why you can’t schedule the first one without the second. I’m guessing they want to keep people from getting one and thinking they don’t need the next. Without the booster, your immunity is only about 50% rather than 95%. So we won’t get this plague under control unless people get both shots.

But the lack of a waiting list is preposterous. The vaccine roll-out is definitely improving now that Biden’s in charge, but it’s still disorganized and nearly impossible to navigate. At this rate, I won’t get mine until June.

We’ve just begun a conversation with Jesse about a way to spend Easter together. She’s already fully vaccinated, and pray to God James will be by then, so we might be able to find a way to do it safely for Mike and I, because it’s not likely we’ll be vaccinated before April 4. I’d be happy to sit in a chilly park 6 feet away from them to be able to celebrate together. I’ll just bundle up.

Pandemic Diary: 16 Feb 2021

It’s been a while since I felt motivated to write here. Beginning a new year knowing it will be just like last year for several months or all 12, or even worse given the new strains that are appearing. It made me feel totally exhausted emotionally, so I had no energy to engage with it in writing. But it’s time to get back to reflection.

At least we have a mature adult back in the White House. That lifts a huge weight off my feeling life. It was a horrible trip there, but we made it. Now we wait for the next neo-Nazi attack. I’m sure there will be one.

Louie has come up with a game to play during our zoom get-togethers—he calls it “Chaos”. We set up a whiteboard that we can all draw on, then Louie draws a city and has me draw a house. For some reason I haven’t figured out yet, he draws a fried egg in the middle of the city. Then Gwad starts drawing lines and boxes all over the screen, playing the part of chaos, while Louie erases them as fast as he can. He’s been wanting me to be “on his team” lately—I guess maybe being the house and his teammate makes me a safe place amidst the chaos. And he feels totally safe with Gwad, so it’s a way for Louie to deal with the chaos of his world right now in a safe place. We have a great time playing, lots of laughs, destroying the chaos with fun.

His most telling quotes from yesterday’s game:

  • “Chaos levels are high today.”
  • “Fighting chaos has never been easier in my life!”

I’m glad we can make this all a little easier for him. I can’t imagine what his sensitive 7-year-old soul is going to take away from this pandemic time.

An early Chaos adventure.

Pandemic Diary: 21 Jan 2021

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in yesterday as our new president and vice-president. They did a great job with a pandemic-limited ceremony, using videos from all across the country and territories as a virtual parade. Then there was an evening celebration with a few singers and speakers live at the Lincoln Memorial, and others on video, along with segments dedicated to ordinary heroes. And the most incredible fireworks display I’ve ever seen! It took place behind the Washington Monument so it was mirrored in the reflecting pool that stretches from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. It was programmed to Katy Perry singing “Firework”. It was way better than the usual round of inaugural balls! And I bet the Bidens and Emhoff-Harrises were a lot happier, too. Dragging around to all those balls must be absolutely exhausting, at the end of an already exhausting day.

It’s more than a relief to have Trump out of office. I feel like I can be proud to be an American again, instead of sick with shame. I’m hopeful for the changes Biden & Harris will be able to make now that the Democrats have a slight majority in the Senate, putting Mitch McConnell out of the power seat there. Plus, Harris is the deciding vote in the event of a tie, so we should be able to get some things passed. Like more COVID relief money for small businesses and individuals to help both them and the economy. And at least a move towards a better health care system and more equitable distribution of wealth. And, thank God, an improvement in foreign relations.

On a sad note, the COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. is now over 400,000. And infection rates are climbing rapidly again due to a new coronavirus variant that’s more contagious than the first one. It doesn’t seem to be more deadly, as far as they can tell at this point, but it does mean a higher infection rate and more strain on the healthcare system that’s already well beyond overloaded.

Yesterday was a ray of light in the darkness, though. It was just what I needed right now.

(I’ve always thought of Katy Perry as a lightweight pop star, which she was before. But this performance knocked it out of the park. I’ll have to start giving her more credit now.)

Pandemic Diary 10 Jan 2021

Didn’t think I’d still be writing this in 2021. Looks like I’ll be writing it for most of this year, too.

I couldn’t write anything last week because it was all too awful. We’re setting record highs for COVID deaths at 4,000/day. And on 6 January, Trump incited a mob to storm the Capitol building where a joint session of Congress was completing the final ritual of confirming the Electoral College votes. Trump held a rally outside the building an hour before the session started and told his followers to “fight” for their rights. So they stormed the Capitol, smashing through bullet-proof windows with flagpoles and wood from the barricade they’d crossed. It was a sight I never imagined seeing here in America.

There’s a lot to say about it, but I don’t want to write that much. This song by Nanci Griffith from the late 1980s has been in my head all week.

Pandemic Diary: 30 Dec 2020

Second-to-last day of 2020. We’re having a Zoom gathering to remember Mick this afternoon. I read a great article (transcript of a podcast, actually) about how to mourn the loss of a loved one in this time of isolation. Like all disruptions, this gives us the opportunity to break out of old habits that maybe aren’t serving us as well as in the past, and find new ways to do things. One of the benefits of Zoom living is that it allows people from all over the world to participate in something, not just the people who can travel there at that time. It’s definitely not as satisfying in terms of sharing physical affection—it will be heartbreaking not to be able to hold my sister and niece in my arms. But at least I can attend. If I had to drive 5 hours to get there, it would’ve been much more difficult to participate.

Zoom living is the new normal. We have to be creative in how to do it well.

Mick and Michael Anna Fambro