EVERYONE HAS A STORY - Week Five
March 28th – April 3rd
DON'T MESS WITH COVID
It was finally time to leave temporary housing. The new home had been sanitized, boxes were all sealed, the 2-car garage was a holding facility for the overflow, and not one square inch was available to relax. We still had two more vehicles to unpack once we vacated our current location. Both my niece and nephew were called to work that morning, but we all prepared for a move to actually transpire. Everyone wanted to spend the first night in the new house, but it was a matter of logistics and timing. All the food had been transferred the day before, with just the bare necessities left behind in the pantry to last one day. The little one was great at entertaining herself, and as long as she had her dolls to play with, and an iPad to watch her favorite program, she was happy and busy.
Almost as as afterthought, and with no fanfare, I pulled the trigger on the release of KEEP FOREVER on Saturday, March 28th. The date had been selected on KDP, where all Amazon books are uploaded, all data had been verified and checked multiple times, and I had done my best to keep social media updated. It was a lackluster release, but there was no need to wait for the scheduled release of April 30th. Everything was ready and thankfully, without a physical venue, a virtual launch was a viable option, not just for me but many other authors as well. To celebrate, I took one last walk by myself, accompanied by my phone and a Spotify playlist I had created to share with my readers for the launch.
Even though the lagoons had been closed, the streets were open, the few people I passed were respectful of the social distancing guideline, and a friendly nod was a welcome interaction. I wandered toward the entrance of one of four lagoons, close enough for a distant shot of the water. When I first arrived, I anticipated many opportunities to enjoy these spaces, but the world kept shutting down, one comfort level at a time. I had only come once the first week, barely long enough to capture the quintessential Hawaiian landscape, where I used the backdrop to model both my novels, and got some great shots for my Facebook and Instagram posts. At that time, just two weeks earlier, it was teeming with tourists, locals were free to meander in and out of the hotel properties, it was hard to find a place to park at the coffee shops and restaurants, and the vacation vibe was alive and well. It all happened so quickly, and the emptiness reminded me that the world was in the middle of a global re-set. None of us mortals, no matter how wealthy or powerful, had any control or answers as to what our planet would be like once the pandemic had run its course, if it happened at all. I double-backed, turned up the volume, and listened as I had done many times in the past to ‘Bridge over Troubled Water.’ No other song in all my years of listening to music, lifts my heart and mood like this one. It would never get old.
Sunday morning we woke up, finally, in our new surroundings. Nowhere to sit, nowhere to walk, a mountain of work looming for all of us. I spent the first two days unpacking and organizing the kitchen, at least twenty-five boxes, each one packed with dishes, glasses, pots, pans, vases, bowls, utensils, wrapped individually, by experts a month earlier. I filled just as many large, lawn-leaf bags with the paper that had been used, stood on chairs and step-stools to reach the boxes at the top of the pile and were too heavy to lower to the floor by myself. My niece and nephew had a grueling couple of days ahead of them at work, and my goal was to prepare the kitchen where we could enjoy family dinners, even though we were still surrounded by a house full of goods and unpacked belongings. It seemed like an endless task, and even though I worked six hours one day, eight the next, it appeared as though a dent had hardly been made.
As more and more workplaces and industries were shutting down or making revised schedules, by Tuesday, my niece and nephew had more hours to spend at home. More hours to arrange, sort, unpack, hang pictures, arrange furniture, do laundry, clear the decks! My great-niece, reunited with all her toys, played by herself for hours as she reacquainted herself with stuffed animals, Barbies, play kitchen and food, books, and art supplies. All new deliveries of food or necessities were quarantined first in the garage for three days, then wiped down with a sanitary solution prior to unpacking. Am I sharing anything unusual here? Anything that, by now, the whole planet has not become accustomed to? Hand-washing bordered on compulsive, walks were kept private and short, and the looming question – when will this end? – was anybody’s guess.
As the news reports worsened, so did my daughter’s condition. She was able to mask the symptoms of her dry hacking cough for a couple of days with Mucinex and was in contact with the COVID-19 Nurse hotline. At 37, she was told that she was not old enough for a test, and if she was not in need of a ventilator, there was nothing that could be done for her. She had one good day and even went for a bike ride, but that was just an interlude to the constant hacking, sweating, and lethargy. All of these symptoms could be assigned to a number of other illnesses or virus’s, and it was still suggested that it most likely bronchitis or allergies. And who wants to go to a medical facility to find out? And she’s there and I’m here, and my imagination which is normally very active, became even more hyper.
I wanted to get excited about my book release, checked the numbers periodically, but even though I wanted it to do well, it seemed inconsequential, not only to my life, but for the readers as well. Gratefully, they now had thousands of books to download on Kindle. I offered both my Kindle titles free, as did a host of authors, which was a great collective gift that could be shared by thousands of people worldwide. KEEP FOREVER would take care of itself, one way or another. It was in the hands of the universe, I reasoned.
By the end of the week, the house had been unpacked, and every conceivable method for storage was utilized. My nephew is expert at putting things together, whether it be with a hammer or computer program, and the extra garage shelving that had arrived with their goods was eventually filled, better vertically than horizontally, where two cars would eventually need to be parked. Regardless of this time in our history, and my small portion of the experience, I am fortunate to be safe. My niece and her family will soon be able to enjoy their neighborhood again, meet and greet people at the community pool, find playmates for their little girl, and carve the next decade of their lives as they had imagined. Life will bloom again.
My daughter had two good days in a row and says she is feeling much better.
A walk around the neighborhood, or to the beach, by myself or with my family, is a glorious experience.
Even though I don’t have access to my computer, files, or normal activities, that doesn’t mean I can’t be productive. I have written 8500 words so far of my third novel.