March 13, 2020: Quarantine Start Date
That’s the first day that we – myself, husband Chris, son Phillip, and daughter Heidi – began self-quarantining due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was a Friday. I remember because the day before, on a Thursday, the kids and I went to Hobby Lobby and a few other stores. It’s burned into my memory as the last day of “normal” life!! That evening, our governor announced school closures starting on Monday March 16th, due to the novel coronavirus.
I learned enough about epidemiology in college to know that this virus was no joke and things were about to “get real”. The pandemic was serious enough to cancel school, and there was at least one COVID19 case in our county. We didn’t send our kids to school that Friday March 13th, even though that was the last official day. Instead, my knight-in-shining-armor husband made a heroic trip to the grocery store, and then we all went for a hike.
Week 1: The Honeymoon Period
3/14 - 3/21/2020
Oh the kids were stoked the first week of quarantine! No waking up for school! Spring break is a week early! Two weeks of spring break! It was quite blissful for them … for a few days.
My husband Chris is a professor and this was finals week, so … Surprise! Every class has to take finals online now! Being an excellent engineer, Chris was already prepared for this. Still, he had to remotely proctor the online exam for students, each one in a different place, with unique hardware and Internet connection issues. Oh, and did I mention that Chris was working out of our home office with two energetic kids in the house? Yeah, it was stressful for everyone.
After final exams were given and the dust settled from that, we were pretty relaxed. Before COVID19, we were super busy with work, school, and other activities. With none of that “life stuff” to worry about, we enjoyed weekend of relaxation and no stress about the upcoming work/school week.
On a side note, Heidi and I were both sick – me first, then her. Was it COVID? We may never know. Afterwards, we realized that all four of us were sick in succession, starting around March 10th and ending around March 25th.
Week 2: Spring Break Heartbreak
3/22 - 3/28/2020
Winters in Central Oregon are long. By long, I mean that our local ski resort can be open as late as July 4th and the last frost is mid-June. So, every Spring Break, our family tries to go somewhere south/warm. And we look forward to that trip from the day after Christmas until the end March (Spring Break!!). Last year, we went to LA, Pasadena (Chris had a conference there), and Santa Barbara – it was amazing. In 2020, we were scheduled to go to sunny San Diego for the first time.
In early March, as COVID19 cases began to spread across the US, we realized the trip wasn’t going to happen. I canceled our plans a couple of weeks before our Spring Break began, so we knew ahead of time we weren’t going. When our departure date (3/21/2020) came, we sadly didn’t have our bags packed, didn’t pack lunches for the road, didn’t yell at each other to “Just get in the car!!” … didn’t start our road trip south. That morning – that’s when we we started to feel trapped. As if on cue, it snowed for a couple of days.
We more or less fumbled through “Spring Break” with a loosey-goosey schedule of getting outside, working puzzles, cooking, eating … some drinking for the 21+ members of our household. Hey, it was Spring Break.
Week 3: Back to "School" & Blues
3/29 - 4/4/2020
April 1st was the day! The day our kids started online school, with their bona fide teachers (not me – Hallelujah!) leading them through actual lessons. We had been in two weeks of #stayhome already, and the novelty was wearing off. I’ve never seen the kids so excited to get on their school-issued iPads and start learning … or … talk to human beings that are not their parents or sibling.
With the kids occupied at least a few hours every day, I had some time with my thoughts, and Chris could work uninterrupted for a while. We both got depressed at various points during this week. I felt aimless, unmotivated, like I wanted to sleep for a couple of weeks. Fortunately for our kids, at least one of the adults in the house was positive most of the time.
The kids had highs – getting to “see” teachers and friends online. They also had lows – Phillip and Heidi really started to miss their friends, carefree bike rides around town, etc. Thank goodness they have each other!
Traffic has definitely decreased since the COVID shutdown, and this I like. We used to have a hard time crossing a major road near our house. Not anymore! I’ve noticed more wildlife nearby – or maybe I’m just more aware of it.
Week 4: Settling In (or "Hunkering Down")
4/5 - 4/12/2020
In the last week (or two, by time of writing), it feels like we’ve all come to terms with the stay at home situation. Instead of lamenting about not being able to go to the park, Chris and the kids assembled a basketball hoop for our driveway. For the first time since quarantining, we ordered takeout pizza from one of our favorite restaurants, 10Barrel (OG Pub). On Easter, we enjoyed hunting eggs in our yard and watching our home church service online. We even went to a friend’s house with our kids, all enjoying each other’s company, socially-distanced in the front yard.
Chris and I try to limit the amount of news we consume and enjoy things like spring weather, each other, talking to our far-flung family, more peace and quiet.
Speaking of peace and quiet, or lack thereof … The kids have re-discovered enjoying each other’s company. That’s code for: They are ridiculously (irritatingly) loud and boisterous together. Phillip and Heidi have a ball together! It warms my heart – and annoys the crap out – of me to watch and listen to them.
We Follow The Curve
My husband received the Change Curve graphic below from his employer. It’s interesting to find out – in hindsight – that it was spot-on. Here’s our progression, by week number:
- Week 1: Shock and Denial
- 2: Frustration
- 3: Depression
- 4 and 5: Experimenting and Decision-making
- 6 and beyond: Integration??
April 2020 and Beyond ...
Oh yes, there is a “new normal.” We are taking the good (simpler living, no sleepovers – yesss!) with the bad (not being with friends and family).
If you’re reading this, I hope that you are settling in to whatever changes have happened in your life. Feel free to comment on what has been good, bad, or ugly about your experience.
Until next time … we’ll be online schooling, working out in our garage, cooking, and building stuff with stuff.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. The information I provide is based on my personal experience, education and study of dietetics, human nutrition, and biochemistry; and my experience as a runner and athlete. Any recommendations I may make about exercise, nutrition, supplements or lifestyle; or information provided to you in person or on this website are for information purposes only and do not take the place of professional medical advice.