A common joke I see online and in chats with friends is “What day is it? Does time have any meaning anymore?”
It’s like being on vacation but in the worst way. The normal rhythms of the week have been so thoroughly destroyed that in my daily stand-ups with my engineering team this past week I had to ask what day it was without any irony. I did not honestly know if it was Thursday or Friday. The fact that Monday of last week (March 16) was a fairly normal day (schedule-wise) is unfathomable to me. It feels like the time when there was daycare and my wife worked by driving to campus was a decade ago – some fuzzy memory of the good times way back when. Now? Now we have always been at war with SARSCOVID-19.
Had a hard time getting up this morning. For some reason I have a hard time getting to bed at a reasonable hour and going to sleep. And this is then compounded with needing to feed and/or comfort the teething baby god multiple times in the night. It also doesn’t help that the weather has once again shifted – going from raining to sunny and dry and back to raining again. Those kinds of shifts always seem to drain me of all energy. I’m sure the constant drumbeat of the severity of the current crisis isn’t helping.
Since the Teething One is currently resisting naps, we’ve taken to rotating who takes him out for long walks in the stroller. Yesterday we went for a walk as a family and it was incredibly nice. So weird to see so many smiling faces and people enjoying the nice weather AS FAMILIES instead of just random pairs of adults or kids. I commented to my wife that it is a real indictment of our lifestyle that without this crisis, the four of us likely would have stayed in our house with the three year old watching TV or playing with her toys rather than going out for a walk. Then again, if it weren’t for the crisis, we’d probably also have had a playdate earlier in the day or one of a billion endless birthday parties for the three and four year olds from her daycare where the kids play until they’re overtired and the parents commiserate about their stress or frustration surrounding whatever their kids are doing this week.
Today I took the walking tour. It was nice. It gave my wife a chance to get some bonding time with the three year old (who got to have her nails painted for the first time ever since now we don’t have to worry about daycare’s ban on the practice). I took the Teething One out in the jogging stroller and walked semi-randomly through the neighborhood for a little over three miles. I walked up and down streets and through the park across the street. Things were much more subdued today. I saw fewer families out. I did see a few people violating some closure rules. Folks using basketball courts that had signs indicating they were closed. A trio using the weight and calisthenic equipment that was similarly marked closed. I think it’s dumb, but I understand the impulse. People are searching for some semblance of normalcy and if your normalcy comes from working out or shooting hoops, I get it. But these aren’t normal times and I think this is why this crisis is going to drag out for up to a year rather than several weeks (well, that and the complete lack of testing going on).
The three year old continues to enjoy the non-stop TV. We don’t have a yard so there’s only so much we can do with her. I took her out on her bike in the afternoon and am so proud of how well she did. She got going pretty fast – fast enough that I had to start running to keep up with her. She’s growing up so fast. I take some solace in the fact that she probably won’t remember this and her brother definitely won’t. Such a weird time.
The TV has become a constant sound in our house. At any given time during the day, you can probably hear Duck Tales or PJ Masks or Superhero Girls on in the background. It’s something that I grew up with, but having not had cable or even hooked up bunny ears for TV in ten years, it’s not something I’m accustomed to anymore. It’s weird to think that I grew up in a house where that cacophony was the norm – the background radiation of my childhood, well all the way through my thirties actually.
My wife amazes me through all of this. I know she feels the stress of the Weird, but she has thrown herself into supporting her students. She’s reorganized the classes that have moved from in-person to online and is setting up support groups and activities for her students and for colleagues. Tonight she took part in a virtual happy hour with a group of professors from various schools. Meanwhile I, the extreme extrovert of the house, have my chats with friends and little else. I’m sure that’ll earn me a raised eyebrow in my next therapy session.
It isn’t all bad. I’m trying to take advantage of the topsy-turvy schedule to do things that would have been seen as out of bounds in the past. Pete from FloatingRumShack is having one of his Twitter tastings soon and I’m going to order the rums I need to participate and actually do that – even if it ends up being early morning for me.
It’s interesting. In a recent conversation I was talking about the possible need to “put RumDood on the shelf for a while” because I needed to put that energy into just being a dad and doing my job. It’s something I haven’t wanted to do because being RumDood literally saved my life a decade ago. It’s an identity I joke about putting on and taking off, but it’s an identity I’ve been able to lean on in times of need and that I’ve used to grow a great deal. RumDood is how I met my wife for christsakes. And now it may be different, but I think it’s a good way for me to keep a small sliver of sanity through The Weird – and maybe help my friends do the same. It’s a nice thought if nothing else.
I did actually manage to make a cocktail tonight. I should add it to the registry at some point, but tonight was actually a riff on something from my notebook of recipes that’s basically a Rum Boulevardier: The Inherent Vice.
1.5 oz Rhum Agricole Blanc
0.75 oz Blanc Vermouth
0.5 oz Aperol
0.25 oz Campari
2 dashes Grapefruit Bitters
Stir, strain into a coupe. Grapefruit twist.
Tonight I did this with some Hampden Estate Jamaican Rum instead of the Agricole (because I’m OUT of Agricole Blanc). It’s freaking amazing. I don’t think I like this more than the agricole version, but it’s damned good. I heartily recommend it. And if you make it – either version – let me know what you think.