Vicki's View From Quarantine

We’ve all heard the old saying:  You can’t go home again.

I believe I now know where that saying originated.  Come.  Take a journey with me . . . And keep in mind, I’ve been watching A LOT of The Golden Girls marathons in the last few weeks.

Picture it:  The United States.  The spring of 1918.  The influenza pandemic hits the United States like Babe Ruth going after a hanging curveball.  I wasn’t around then, but I’m going to assume that they – like us – decided that staying away from as many people as possible was probably a good idea.  Grown children returned home, say from college or something, and were quarantined with their parents.  After several weeks of, shall we say “togetherness”, I imagine most of the mothers of said grown children thinking to themselves (if not walking out into the middle of a desolate corn field to scream it to the heavens at the top of their lungs):  “YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN!”  But I digress…

Ok.  So the only verifiably accurate thing about that scenario is that, in the spring of 1918, the influenza pandemic hit the United States.  And maybe the rest of it was just me projecting some of my own current thoughts and feelings.

How ‘bout this quarantine thing?  Am I right?

Anyone else going through a similar situation?  Our daughter, Hannah, came home from college for her spring break in the middle of March – just before the world, as we knew it, went bonkers.  Social distancing. Self-quarantining.  Sheltering in place. Schools shut down.  Classes all online until further notice.  Things have just gotten worse.  But I don’t have to tell you … you’re all going through the same thing.  Her spring break – that we were all looking forward to – is now turning in to some sort of cosmic test, I fear.  Let me explain. . .

Our daughter has just completed her Junior year in college.  This past year, she was not living in a dorm, but was renting a nice little house for herself and her trusty companion, Rylee the cat.  Now, as Hannah grew up, I happily noticed that she had inherited/absorbed some of my organizational skills, etc., and perhaps taken them a few steps to the extreme, (she will even tell you that she has OCD), but now that she has been back in our house for this extended amount of time …?  Well, let’s just say that having another woman in the house trying to run MY house as she had become accustomed to running HER own house?  No bueno.

I mean, come on!  We spent all that time coming to terms with being “empty nesters” and BLAM-O!  Our nest now has three adult birds in it.  Not funny, universe.  Not funny.

So yesterday, the youngest bird says, “Mom.  I want to tell you something before you notice it yourself and get mad.”   Uh-oh.  Stay calm.  “Ok …?”, says the mom bird, her voice dripping with trepidation.  Daughter bird continues, not seeming to sense the danger,  “I completely straightened up and organized the hall closet.  It was driving me INSANE every time I opened the door!”  Ok.  Whew.  Not as bad I was imagining.  Except that, everyone in the house is always asking ”where’s the _______?” and if the mom bird now has no earthly idea where things are THE WHOLE HOUSE IS GOING TO FALL APART!     Ok.  Take a breath.  Could be worse.  I mean, she’s cleaning.  And organizing.  And straightening up, after all.  She didn’t get bored and tag the garage door with spray painted graffiti.  “Tagging”.  Yep.  That’s what the kids call it.  (I’ve also seen far too many episodes of the show Cops recently …)

Ok, truth time:  I’m thrilled that Hannah is home right now.  And though it has taken some adjusting (on all our parts), this quarantine situation has been a blessing in many regards.  We are getting to spend so much time with our 20 year old daughter at a point in her life when time with your parents isn’t typically a priority.  Together, the three of us have found shows to binge-watch,  played Uno and Yahtzee tournaments, had interesting conversations about her classes/homework/upcoming school year and her future – that we may not have carved out the time to have pre-virus.  And yes – although sometimes a tad trying in these close quarters, even her self-diagnosed OCD has proved to be motivational for me as well.  Hannah has inspired me to tackle projects that I probably would have only considered briefly before abandoning the thought and sitting back down to watch The Golden Girls, had she not been here.  Most importantly, we are getting to spend quality time getting to know this amazing girl all over again.  The last time she lived in our house full-time, she was a high school senior and reliant on us for almost everything.  Now, we’re getting to know the self-sufficient, hard-working, conscientious, young woman she has become.  I wish our son, Max and daughter-in-law, Korinne, were here, too, instead of being so far away in Chicago.  I’d give just about anything to gather all my baby birds close and take care of them and know that they are safe.  But we have Facetime and texting and check in with each other often, so that’s helping … a little. Although they are working and going to school from home during their shelter in place, Max and Korinne started a “family quarantine game” in which they have assigned each of us our own day of the week.  On our day, we share a link/video of a song that we like with each other via our family group text.  By then end of this, we should have quite the impressive Family Quarantine Playlist to enjoy!

P.S.  If you ask my husband, our daughter is my “mini-me”.  Now he’s living full-time with TWO of me:  one completely pre-menopause and one menopausing up the whole joint.  Maybe someone should check in with him?  He definitely deserves a boat after this is all said and done.  (If that last part could just stay between me and you, that would be great though).

Be creative.  Learn something new.  Find a way to help others during this time.  Do something kind for YOURSELF each day.  Stay home.  Stay safe. We WILL get through this together, and who knows, maybe after hitting this “reset button” for a time, we’ll all be better and closer for it.  Most importantly – stay in touch – with family, friends, and loved ones.  Check in on each other.  If you’re having a hard time right now, please reach out for help – contact a professional, a therapist or clergy member.

FACT wants to remind you that WE are here to help, as well, by reminding you of the Small Business Recovery and Disaster Aid programs offered to members:  FACT’s Small Business Recovery (SBR) Program was developed to provide financial assistance to small businesses that have been adversely affected by a sudden problem which is beyond their own control – and this is certainly one of those times.  *The goal is to provide $250 in immediate aid to applicants who qualify –without a lot of paperwork or red tape. Although a small amount, it can sometimes be enough to hold off bankruptcy or to pay the one bill that threatens to push a business over the edge.

FACT also sponsors a program designed to get money promptly into the hands of affected members when a natural disaster occurs.  The goal is to help with your basic needs during those trying days which immediately follow a

+ hurricane
+ tornado
+ flood
+ fire
+ or other disastrous event, including acts of terrorism

*Like the Small Business Recovery Program, up to $250 may be paid without proof of loss … no forms to complete, no need to stand in a long line.

For more information on these benefits or to request aid:
Call 1-800-USA-FACT (1-800-872-3228) or email cservice@usafact.org

or join FACT now by clicking here!

*The Disaster Aid Program is not insurance.  Payments are charitable in nature, disbursed at the discretion of the Disaster Aid Committee and as funds allow.  The Small Business Recovery Program is not insurance. Payments are benevolent in nature, disbursed at the discretion of an independent committee and as funds allow. Payments are available only for conditions which manifest themselves 61 or more days after the effective date of your FACT membership.