Posts Tagged ‘Coronacation’

Dear Friends and Family,

The story continues, as promised. (If you are new here and need a recap, read Part 1 and Part 2.)

My birth mother Kathy and I started chatting weekly on the phone. And as you know, that’s a big deal for me. (Why do I hate talking on the phone so much?)

Topics? Large: I learned my birth father’s full name. Small: I learned we like our eggs the same way. (So that’s where I got it!)

She told me about all the family I had in the St. Louis area. You’ll remember I mentioned my mom Jeanne was from Missouri. Well, I spent my childhood visiting relatives all over the state: Kansas City, Jefferson City and also St. Louis. My favorite aunt and uncle lived in Hazelwood, Missouri — 25 minutes from my current home and 15 minutes from where Kathy lives.

It’s bizarre to think that I could have passed a member of my birth family in the grocery store.

Weird and wonderful, to say the least.

On one of our calls, I mentioned I had a dream that I had driven to St. Louis to see her. She said she did want to meet me. We started planning for Memorial Day weekend.

Y’all, this was … something. Talking on the phone was one thing. Actually meeting her was another.

She picked me up at the St. Louis airport. Her first words to me were these:

I haven't seen you in ___** years!

So yes, we have a similar sense of humor.

I’ve written about this part of the story before.

This is the day I met Kara and Lodell.

But here’s the important thing:

It was so easy. It felt right. I fit in. No awkwardness.

As George Bailey said, “What do you know about that?!

We all set about building relationships — relationships helped by my move to St. Louis.

It’s gone better than I had any right to want.

The next step? Contacting my birth father. You know: One step at time.

That’s the fourth and final part. Also the most recent. As in past six months.

Don’t touch that dial!


*Yes, I know I’m being silly. But I’ll do it again for Part 4.

**Listen, a lady doesn’t share her age — even for the sake of a story. 😉

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COVID, Day 7 (Maybe? Could be Day 4 depending on when I displayed symptoms from ‘Rona and not the booster.)

Captain’s Log

I’m feeling fine, but still testing positive.

I’ve managed not to drink away my sorrows every day, but isolation is difficult for an extrovert.

I’m not an indoor cat.

And even my indoor cat has gone loopy.

His tongue is stuck.
He went to sleep with his mouth open.


I’m sick of TV. I’m tired of social media. I’ve had enough of lonely walks around the neighborhood.

I’ve even cleaned out the freezer.

That’s how bad it is.

But I’ve eaten well. That’s positive. Haven’t lost taste or smell.

I’ve been FaceTiming people because I need human contact. (Petra knows. She got a surprise.)

Maybe tomorrow I’ll test negative, and I can rejoin society. Carefully, of course.

The good news is that I don’t appear to have infected anyone else.

Small victories.


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Dear Coronavirus:

Why are you still here? I hate you so much. I’ve managed to avoid you for more than two years (safety first!), but you finally got me.

How? I don’t know. You tell me!

Having an incubation period of 2-14 days makes tracking source difficult.

All I know is that I got my second booster Friday. By Sunday, I had a sore throat. I took two tests from two different companies. Both negative.

See? Negative.

On Monday, I felt like crap: headache, body pain. I was already scheduled to go to a new doctor to establish care.

Me: I got the second booster Friday and feel terrible today.
Her: That’s the booster. I wouldn’t have recommended you get the second one so soon.
Me: They recommended after six months.
Her: Yeah, but you don’t have comorbidities.
Me: Right.

The cough started Tuesday.

The runny nose started yesterday.

I decided to take another test.

Uh oh.

And then another from a different brand.

I was furious and mortified.

I spent my weekend living my best life as the infection vector I apparently am: garden tour and antiques fair with neighbors, dinner with a colleague, handyman direction on wall patches, “Stranger Things” with my sister, card games with neighbors.

So I had to issue various and sundry mea culpas.

It’s possible I was exposed to you on my flight home from Savannah: Two hours on the runway (weather delay), an hour at the gate (more fuel), an hour in the air. I was one of only three people wearing a mask (because, of course, you no longer exist 🙄).

I don’t know.

I do know that I had another busy week/weekend planned, including lunch for about 15 family members at my place. But now, thanks to you, I will spend the next 5-10 days on my own with just Leo Richardson to keep me company.

Leo, who also is not feeling well.

Leo, the cat who (likely) got COVID.

Gee, I wonder how he could have caught COVID. (Note: I am not kissing the cat. He was sleeping on my shoulder, and I turned my head for the pic.)

So thanks SO MUCH for your continued presence in all of our lives.

(Sarcasm is my love language.)

Your new BFF,
Typhoid Mary
‘Rona Beth

*Manic Street Preachers’ ninth studio album. Worth a listen.

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Dear People with “Just a Cold,”

Maybe you do have a cold. But also, you might have COVID. Let’s recap the Omicron symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Congestion and runny nose

That’s right: Also symptoms of a cold.

So before you get around anyone, TAKE A COVID TEST. They are available in stores (you can use your FSA/HSA), and there are free testing sites all over the place.

If it’s positive, ISOLATE, FFS.

And let’s be clear: You shouldn’t be around anyone if you have a cold either.

It’s because of one of you that my son and sister in law had a lonely Christmas.

Gideon hung out with some friends. Two days later, he didn’t feel well. Typical cold symptoms. We sent him to his room. Tested him: positive. Then Eddie, Dominic and I tested ourselves: negative. We waited a day. Tested again. Negative. Waited. Tested. Negative.

Only then did we feel like we were safe to be around other people.

Even though we didn’t have any symptoms.

See how that works? Protecting others?

We just tested again to be safe.

Waiting for results
Still negative

But Christmas 2021 is the one Gideon will remember as the one where we made him wear what amounted to a HazMat suit to open his gifts.

Poor Positive Gideon

I haven’t ever gotten Coronavirus [knocks wood], and I don’t plan to get it. I’m not taking chances.

The bottom line: If you think you have a cold, get tested anyway. Don’t be a Typhoid Mary.

Somehow this manages to sum up this Christmas.


* To the tune of this classic.

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Dear Friends and Family,

As many of you know, I’ve been taking what I’ve termed “murder-prevention trips” during the pandemic. As I’ve mentioned, I’m an extrovert who likes to travel. The pandemic was hard for me for those reasons, as well as the fact that my children and I were all up on each other trying to work/study.

(First-world problems, I know. We did not have nearly the issues that many, many other people had. But this was my reality, and I’m acknowledging its difficulty.)

I’m not an indoor cat.

Look at what Dominic got me (on his own!) to commemorate my latest trip:

When he is good, he is very good indeed. (And when he is bad, he is horrid.)

Where did I go? England. Boris said I could.

Plus, my favorite band was playing their first gig in a billion years (i.e., 18 months).

I am such a huge Anglophile — constantly amused and/or impressed by the things I find. This jaunt was no exception.

An all-in-one station. You don’t even need to move your hands. Genius!
If it’s needless, why is it there?
Ew! No. That’s an assault on humanity.
I asked the waiter what this was on the saucer. He said, “Flake.” I said, “A flake of what?” It’s chocolate. We Americans don’t have that.
I love that it’s a “Demand” button instead of the more polite “Call.”
I’ve never seen a toilet shaped like this.
Well, OF COURSE there will be nudity. It’s the UK and “naked” is in the title.

I’ve promised Gideon a birthday trip there in May, COVID willing. Maybe he’ll be as delighted as I am with the cultural differences.

Have a great week!

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Dear 36-hour Tina,

Thank you for always choosing time with me as your birthday present. I can assure you that I love the annual family trip to Cape Cod for the Fourth of July.

This year was rough for everyone. We ALL needed the long weekend.

I haven’t laughed so much in a while.

It started on the way there.

The airline staff made the announcement about early boarding for parents traveling with children in car seats.

Me to Dominic: What if you were your size, but you still had to sit in a car 
Dominic: (Snorts)
Me: Safety first!
Dominic: His bones are brittle!

We got there expecting nice weather so we could hang out on the beach. I don’t know why. Even a cursory glance at the forecast would have told me to expect indoor activities. And I’m a meteorologist! Yes, I’m suitably embarrassed. Like I said, I packed aspirationally, not realistically.

Thankfully, you had Cards Against Humanity, Family Version.

It started with this:

What killed Old Joe? 

Continued with these:

Soon, you were laughing as hard as I was.

And don’t forget the saga of the stick wine (aka Baboon Wine). (I still don’t remember how that name came to be. It’s because I had too much of the stick wine, I know.)

And wearing a “comfy” for an evening stumble walk on the beach.

I enjoyed all of it.

It was great to see you and hang out with Matt and the kids. I’m totally cool with Elsa and Gideon getting married. 🙂

Hope to see you in March!


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At least my footwear is fancy.

Dear COVID-19,

We’ve been living with you for about a year. You’re a terrible roommate. You’ve affected the health of 115 million people, killing 2.56 million of us.

You’ve negatively affected almost everyone’s mental health. (I’d like to meet someone who has not been affected.)

I know you’ve affected mine. I’m an extrovert who likes to travel, so …

Here is the truth:

I am not an indoor cat.

I never wanted to be a housewife.

I did not choose to be a stay-at-home mom.

I think it is important to be honest about the situation you’ve put us in. We all tend to put a brave face on things, but let’s not.

Let’s pull back the curtain to see the man behind it.

Things I’ve normalized that I do not want to have normalized:

  • Doing laundry on my lunch break.
  • Wearing glasses almost always because of all the screen time I’ve had this year.
  • Putting on eye makeup if going out, but not lipstick.
  • Putting on lipstick if staying in, but not eye makeup. (No one can tell behind the glasses from Point 2.)
  • Wearing pants without zippers.
  • Accepting slippers as my primary footwear.
  • Understanding that I will have a harder time finding energy on cloudy days.
  • Recognizing that a change of scenery means answering emails from the kitchen instead of the living room.
  • Lamenting the lack of privacy. (High school from home for the boys = I’m never alone!)
  • Having to look at my phone to figure out what day it is.
  • Sitting all day.
  • Not seeing people in human form.

These are small issues compared to loss of life noted above, but they are still issues.

The bottom line: It’s not fun to have you around.

It’s time for you to leave.

As they say in the South, “Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.”

Beth (and everyone else in the world)








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Dear Parents of Teenagers,

Is it normal for them to want to spend time with you?

Dominic got jealous of my trips with Gideon, so he asked if we could go somewhere together.

My head immediately exploded.

I’m not complaining. I just don’t remember even wanting to admit I had parents, let alone be seen with them.

When I asked him where he wanted to go, he had no suggestions.

Me: I know you don’t want to go hiking in a state park like Gideon and I do.
Him: No.
Me: What about a city like Chicago or Philadelphia for the weekend?
Him: I have a gamer friend in Chicago.
Me: I’m not going to go all the way there and hang out with you and some gamer person you barely know.
Him: What about a road trip?
Me: Sure, but no more than four hours. I can’t do a car trip longer than that.
Him: I’ve got it!
Me: What?
Him: The towing museum!
Me: 💀

Back story:
When we all went to Chattanooga after Thanksgiving, we kept passing the International Towing Museum on our way to other, better known, sites such as Ruby Falls and Rock City. It became a joke:

One of us: Will we have time to go to the towing museum?
Another: After all, it’s the reason we are here isn’t it?

Like that. A joke. Because a TOWING MUSEUM?!

Dominic is CLEARLY my son, with a well-developed appreciation of the absurd.

So we went to Chattanooga last weekend.

I let him drive.

I let him pick a place to eat.

I let him pick the movie. (General Grievous is my favorite Star Wars character outside of the Han/Chewy duo [bromance].)

I let him sleep in.

I didn’t comment on the fact that he changed under the covers instead of in the bathroom like a normal person.

I did choose one activity: The incline railway. As many times as I’ve been to Chattanooga, I had never ridden it.

We were very interested in the Centennial Exhibits …

… until we realized it was just a few photographs along the hallway to the bathrooms.

After the railway, it was time for the main attraction: the towing museum.

The majestic quality of this museum necessitates its own post.

To be continued …

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Dear Tim Sweeney,

I know you don’t need my thanks — you’ve got $5.3 billion to give you comfort — but I do appreciate you. Without you, there would be no Fortnite. And without Fortnite, I wouldn’t have had this weekend’s bonding experience with Dominic.

Dominic had his friend Dylan over (COVID bubble FTW), and Gideon was at work. They were playing something together, but Dominic died in the game. Dylan was still going.

Dominic, emerging from his trash heap room: Do you want to play Fortnite?
Me: Me?
Him: Yes.
Me (shocked): Sure. Give me a few minutes.
Narrator: She did not want to play Fortnite, but knew she likely wouldn’t be asked again.

Let’s call this the fear of the Cat’s in the Cradle Phenomenon.

So he logged me into Gideon’s PS4.

Then he gave me Gideon’s headset and controller.

But that came with a warning:

Him: Don’t tell Gideon. He doesn’t like people touching his stuff.
Narrator: She told Gideon the second he got home. The response? “You played Fortnite without me?”

He showed me what all the buttons on the controller did.

Him: Push this one to jump.
Me: I won’t be jumping.
Him: OK. Just look and move and shoot.

He helped me set up my avatar. There is a mind-boggling array of choices. It took longer to choose my getup than it did to play the game.

Once that was done, we started the game. He took me to a quiet place so I wouldn’t get killed while I was learning how to play.

I managed to pick up some weapons, steal a truck, and fix my arm after a storm.

Dominic gave me his medical kit.


During all this, I heard Dylan through Dominic’s headset:

Dylan: Is she any good?
Dominic: Yeah. She can run and follow directions.

Mostly, I followed Dominic. He was very patient. At one point, I said I liked the music that was playing.

Dominic: That’s not good music. That’s a bad sign. We need to get out of here.

The game didn’t last long. Someone sniped me while I was swimming across a lake.

Then it was time for Dylan to go home.

Dominic, coming in to shut off the game: That was good. You’re a lot better than our father.

That made me feel all warm inside.

(Sorry, Eddie.)

So thanks, Tim, for creating something that led to a a few lovely moments with my prickly teenager.


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Dear Readers,
You all know how I love a good guest post. Well, my friend Revell — you know, my taxidermy partner in crime — wrote a doozy. Here is his end-of-year rant that he is permitting me to share. He echoes many of my same sentiments and is nothing if not authentic (edited slightly for format and references that might get him into trouble). You might agree with him, you might not, but it is a wild ride full of the F word (be warned). Enjoy!

Just a Yearly Update
By Revell

2020 … What the actual fuck? What even happened this year besides complete. Utter. CHAOS???

I don’t think I have ever been tested and pushed to this extent in my entire life, and I don’t doubt for a second the same for you! This may have been the most growth I’ve ever had in a single year or maybe as a human being in general.

This pandemic has had me question every aspect of my journey. Here’s a few key points I learned:

  • Hold on to your loved ones, celebrate life, and don’t EVER think twice about being 100 percent authentically YOU.
  • Don’t underestimate your personal power and know that WE REALLY ARE stronger in numbers.
  • Speak up for what’s right, call people out on their bullshit, keep friends close who also call you out on your bullshit, be held accountable, and don’t ever stop pushing to be a better person.
  • Being fired does not mean you were in the wrong or that you didn’t kill it at your job.
  • You can be in love with more than one person.
  • Mental health is real and you are not crazy.
  • Georgia is fucking BLUE!
  • Know your self worth, and don’t let people or corporations take advantage of you.
  • No matter how cute and adorable, small powdery moths are not your friends and will potentially eat everything you own.
  • Do not trust Nanna without a mask.
  • Love your family unconditionally, especially when they make it through COVID alive! FUCK — when YOU make it through COVID alive!
  • Dental care is still wayyyyyy too fucking expensive, and even when you try to be proactive about self care and the insurance money you paid into, you STILL get fucked! Well, unless it’s your cat and every tooth needs to be pulled at the most inconvenient time possible. So yeah! FUCKED!
  • Give yourself opportunities to grow and make yourself uncomfortable.
  • When someone laughs at your dreams or ideas and tells you they are not possible, just prove them wrong.
  • Peanut butter and Ramen noodles will keep you alive in a pandemic.
  • Credit Karma is an app and also part of being an adult now.
  • White men are still the worst! Especially fuckin’ Boomers.
  • Bernie’s campaign was smeared by the Democratic Party … AGAIN!
  • This country was founded on slavery, and if you’re not jaded, you’re obviously. NOT. listening. Fuck a confederate monument.
  • Socialism means all we want is healthcare … in … a … pandemic! Weird right?
  • I’m a queer, loud, unapologetic abolitionist with no regrets!
  • Well, one regret: that antique mirror at that one estate sale I decided not to buy on my credit card with money I didn’t have. Def a regret!
  • Fuck fascists, centrists and the “American dream.”
  • Trans women ARE real women!
  • When you’re starving in pandemic, just EAT THE FUCKIN’ RICH!
  • Harry Potter is fucking canceled, and J.K. Rowling ruined my childhood! What a TERF!
  • Still bitter about Taco Bell not selling potatoes.
  • And who knew that Paris Hilton’s vote-or-die campaign had such relevance now in 2020. The reality is vote, or FUCKING DIE!
  • And last but not least, BLACKLIVESFUCKINGMATTER!

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