where wildly different is perfectly normal
How do you laugh at this magnitude of chaos?
How do you laugh at this magnitude of chaos?

How do you laugh at this magnitude of chaos?

Welcome to the House of Chaos, now located on the lovely island COVID-19 in the Pandemic region! I’m sure it will take your breath away! Take care entering, as it is built of toilet paper rolls, hand sanitizer, and the books and projects I’ve been meaning to get to for…hang on, gotta use my toes…nearly 19 years. It’s a little tighter here than usual, with all of us working from home, but it’s really not that dissimilar from the homeschooling years. None of us have left the house in a week, and unless we run out of wine or gin, no plans to leave this week either. We’ve been ordered to remain here until at least April 7th, and I fully expect this is our “new normal” for the foreseeable future.

What’s the signature meal on this island o’fun? The Fluffernutter. A little sweet, a lot nutty, it’s the Sandwich Generation brought to your table! Eat the crusts, they’ll make you whistle. Because a global pandemic needs a little local excitement, my parents moved two weeks ago. They had two homes on the market for over a year each, so Murphy’s Law made extra sure they would all close within a few weeks of each other, with moving day right as the frontal breezes of a pandemic began to blow across the yard. The garnish on that popular sammie is my dad’s health, which has again begun a slow decline similar to that of last fall. For those of you keeping track, that leaves my mom alone unpacking two homes worth of stuff in a smaller house in a new neighborhood with a husband whose Parkinson’s meds are making him wonky and whose kids can’t come over and help because of the aforementioned global pandemic.

I gotta have a little chat with the activities manager on this island.

So I’m trying to be lighthearted about it all, but in reality I’m struggling. I’m grateful my family is still healthy (KNOCKWOODLIGHTACANDLE), that we’re able to work and e-learn from home, that we’ve always had several weeks of food and household items stored. I’m really grateful that the boys are older, because if we’d been ordered to isolate at home a decade ago I’m sure…well, let’s just say that it would have been bad for my long term mental health. With the attention span of dust mites, I find myself staring into space for long stretches of time, or mindlessly playing games on my phone; I decided awhile back to stay off social media as much as possible so I’m not endlessly scrolling bad news all day, plus I just don’t have the tact nor patience to deal with idiocy. I’m sleeping, but not well nor deeply, and dreams are thankfully not nightmares, just the standard oddities my brain cooks up for my evening entertainment. I have a chronic headache, aching jaw, and ringing ears, all courtesy of my stress-related TMJ. I have also added pounds to my already padded physique, so thank god isolation dress code is all the yoga pants and hell yes we honor the Saggeth during this time of trial.

I also feel more than a little uneasy, poking at the absurd with my humor stick, but that’s my main coping mechanism. I laugh to keep from screaming, because if I start screaming I may not stop. But it’s getting harder and harder to find anything to even giggle at, much less a full throated guffaw. Group chats and texts and sharing memes and nightly comedy viewings help. Oh, how I wish Netflix was streaming Cats, because watching that using the service’s new group watching option, with the adult beverages flowing, would most certainly get the laughs roaring.

Today was better, calmer, in the House of Chaos on this COVID-19 island. And while that was a relief, it’s far too disconcerting to relax. It’s as though the earthquake has hit, and the aftershocks have become routine, but the usually roaring surf is rapidly pulling out to sea, leaving a dreadful quiet behind. That’s when you know that things are about to get much, much worse. That the tsunami is gathering strength, with its eye on that island in the pandemic region.

And that no amount of laughing will keep the screaming away.


  1. Hugs. (Digital, at the mandated 1.5-2m distance). If we don’t laugh, we will scream.

    I am reminded of the story of the Duke of Northumberland, who in 1553, when all his allies deserted him after he left them to defend their city, fell to his knees and laughed when he was arrested for treason.

  2. I will say that as I was helping my husband with some business stuff (patience for which requires a stiff drink) I saw your email come in and it was a bright spot in my day. For if anyone can poke snarky humor at a ridiculous situation, it is you. THANK YOU for that! I’m with you, if I’m looking for things to be thankful for, the fact that I am self-quarantined with a teenager and not a 6-year-old is definitely on the list! I feel for my friends with young children. Much love to you, and a healthy glass (bottle, case…) of wine for happy hour. Thanks for making me laugh.

  3. You are amazing and you can do this! We have shifted the school to online, as well as all my tutoring. This is Spring Break week though, but I am not sure why since we were all off last week when they shut down all schools in the state. So I feel ya. Course for me all the kids are home with their parents, not here with me. But I can honestly say I miss every single one of them! Here is to hoping life gets back to our own sense of normal soon!

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