Yep, just like many people, the unwrapped gift not under my Christmas tree this year is Covid. I have plenty of time on my hands to tell you all about it from my quarantined mini apartment upstairs in my parents' house in Ohio. Yes, OHIO. I can't fly home to San Diego for an undetermined period of time. My husband left yesterday because he tested negative and had no symptoms. It's Mom/Dad and me at a safe distance and masked.
Here's how this started and where we're at:
12/16: I arrived in Cleveland at 4:40 pm. The big news upon my arrival was that 18 Cleveland Browns could not play in their game the upcoming weekend. I didn't think much of it since it's a big institution, and they are all very close to each other in proximity in locker rooms, meetings, practices, etc. It made sense there would be Covid outbreaks given their situation. Shortly after my arrival, my brother told us that my sister-in-law wasn't feeling "right". She took a Covid test and was negative, thank goodness. I spoke to my husband that night who would be joining me in Cleveland on the 21st. He was concerned about the Covid outbreak in Cleveland and was considering not coming.
12/17: I tried to sleep in and for Ohio standards I did. I woke at 9:25 am, well-rested and happy. At 9:27 a flurry of text messages and phone calls happened which lead us, as a family to change all of our plans from being in public to being at each other's houses to avoid the Covid surge. My sibs and I were supposed to go to Tony K's which is where my older sister hangs out every Friday. I was excited to do her Friday ritual with her and meet her people. I booked a nearby hotel. My little sister, older bro, and sis-in-law were going to meet us at Tony K's. The rest of Friday was a blur of canceling plans, rerouting to houses, canceling hotel reservations, calming my husband who was increasingly getting worried about coming out to Ohio from San Diego. As a family, we hatched a testing plan. We agreed, as a family, that we would test before we saw each other each day. My sisters and I looked at the holiday Christmas visit schedule and determined the number of tests we'd need to accomplish the safety plan. The sisters and I then went out and procured 40 tests. We determined we'd need 26 tests to get through the holiday but we got extras, "just in case." Knowing what I know now, I am glad we did. Here is the testing grid we created.
Shit went out the window around 12/23 when I got the Vid.
Side Note: My dad is retired, but when he worked, he was the director of safety for a large company. Although he did not say it, I know he was happy about this plan.
Other Side Note: My husband and brother love grids. The testing grid was quite a marvel and both of them were happy to see it. We pretty much gave the men in our family Covid boners between the safety and grids. You're welcome, men.
That night we still had our sibs night-ish. My brother stayed home because my sister-in-law was still feeling "yucky" and although she tested negative, it was best for her to stay home, "just in case". I appreciated her keeping her yuckiness away. Little sister and big sister tested negative and came over to mom and dad's house. Upon their arrival, we counted out the number of tests each family would need and put them in bags set for delivery the next day. We had wine, drinks, and giggled in the basement with my brother on Facetime.
I am not sure what we're doing in this picture but it was fun and we laughed so hard we cried, so I captured the moment.
We had my brother propped up on a gift and Bacardi bottle so we could see them better.
12/18: The plan for Saturday was to head over to my little sister's house for a slumber party with her, my bro in law and youngest niece Lyla. We'd been planning this for weeks. We all took a test. NEGATIVE. Brian made ribs and the plan was to "get down" as the Meldrum's call it. "Getting down" means you don't wipe your face or hands during a messy rib meal until the end. I got down alright.
I ate 9 ribs. They were so damn good.
I had wonderful one on one time with my youngest niece and equally wonderful one on one time with my bro in law who is a badass restaurant, digital marketer. We always have loads of hospitality stuff to talk about. We even got to talk football--Bill Belichick--specifically, until I fell asleep in the middle of our conversation. But that's another story for another time. It was a truly great visit, the best of the Christmas holiday for sure.
12/19: Sunday is for gal pals. On Friday I asked all my girlfriends to go get tests before we visit on Sunday. They all agreed, and did it, no problem. There were supposed to be seven of us at brunch. Two had to cancel because they had Covid. One canceled because her kids had the flu and even though it wasn't Covid, she didn't want to take the chance and expose us to whatever her kids had. I appreciated that level of concern for the outside world to not spread anything--Covid, colds, bad attitudes, to anyone. Of the 7, 4 of us made it to brunch. We all tested negative. We had a white elephant gift exchange. We ate each other's creations: salami roses, hummus dip, pepperoni bread, and white bean/chicken chili. Everyone outdid themselves with the food. My gal pal that hosted had my book gingerly displayed in various parts of her house. I appreciated the support in her bathroom and next to the Tom Ford and CocoChanel books.
After gal pal holiday brunch, I went back to mom and dad's house and took a nice 4-mile walk with my middle niece. The Christmas lights were so pretty and I adored catching up with her. She's in nursing school and I loved hearing her stories of what's happening in her life. We were masked and outside. She tested before she came-NEGATIVE.
12/20: I had a meeting scheduled with my 3rd niece who is also my Social Media Manager for all 3 businesses. She's crushing it and saving me so much time. Normally we meet via Zoom on Mondays at 12 p her time, 9 am my time. We were excited to meet in person. Before the Covid outbreak, our plan was to meet at Machine Gun Kelly's cool coffee place called 27 Club. However, we canceled that plan when we decided to hunker down. She came over to mom and dad's to meet in the basement. We had lunch in mom and dad's kitchen after. She tested Sunday night around 7:30 pm. She was NEGATIVE. We had a productive meeting, and it was wonderful seeing her and hearing her thoughts on all the colleges she may go to. This stud got into: Clemson, Ohio State, Kentucky, and Coastal Carolina. She's waiting to hear back from Duke and Tulane. She will graduate number 5 in her class and is a well-rounded, kind, clever, kick-ass kid. I felt so lucky to have this time with her before shit got real for Covid--for both of us.
That evening I got to do a nice hike with my aunt who is more like a second big sister--Aunt Dena. Dena and I have traveled the world together. She is interesting, kind, and loves to bike as much as I do. She even comes out to San Diego for the annual Bike The Bay ride where we ride 26 miles over the Coronado bridge. We both tested before we saw each other--NEGATIVE. We wore masks while we hiked and were outside. The hike was part mud, part poop as it was a shared path with horses. We went 4 miles. Despite the messiness and potential quicksand sink, it was fun.
Sometime between 12/19 and 12/21, health care systems in Cleveland took out an ad in the local newspaper that said HELP. This made national news. If you read the fine print, it was asking everyone to get vaccinated because those were the patients most at risk in the hospitals and the hospitals in Cleveland were overflowing and at capacity. Somewhere along the lines, the HELP. ad got misconstrued causing a bit of a national panic. It's important to read the fine print before reacting. Here's what it looked like:
12/21: Husband arrived at 4:40, the same flight that I had the previous week. A couple of hours before his arrival we got word that the 3rd niece-Social Media Manager wasn't feeling well. She had the sniffles the night before (just after she left our meeting) and now was feeling more symptoms. They took her to the ER where they diagnosed her with a "viral" infection. They ran all the tests--blood, x-ray and even gave her an IV full of fluids. The one test they didn't do was a Covid test. The doc wrote her a prescription for a PCR test but she'd have to go downtown to get it. At this point in the week, at-home tests are hard to come by and there are no PCR tests available anywhere. Good thing we got so many tests the week before. She went home and rested with hopes she'd feel better in the morning. My husband arrived to this shuffle of news and was not happy. He had predicted something like this would happen when we came to Ohio so his predictions were coming true and he was in an "I told you so" type of mood--which would stay for the next 4 days.
12/22: We were supposed to have SIBS night at my little sister's this day. Hubby and I were going early so we could hang out with sister, bro in law and youngest niece. We both tested in preparation for departure: NEGATIVE! Since Mom, Dad, and I were exposed to niece 3 the day before and she was having symptoms, we decided it would be best if we knew of her condition before heading to my little sister's house. We asked her to test and were waiting on her test result before we left to go over to little sis house.
Niece 3 sent a pic--POSITIVE. This probably means she was positive on Monday when we were meeting and eating. I was sad for her because this is her last holiday break as a high schooler. She is active in dance and has a whole crew of cool pals that she now can't see or hang out with for one last holiday break hoorah. She went to her room to quarantine. Our family rallied, as we do, and sent her log-ins and passwords for various streaming channels. My cool bro inlaw sent her a bunch of Door Dash GC's so she could order herself some food. We all sent text messages and pics in hopes to entertain her while she was held up in that room. We obviously weren't going to my little sister's now that 3 of the 4 of us had been exposed so we hunkered down with mom and dad and played hearts. When someone gets a "0" in the round, we wear the '0" goggles. The plan after this day was for all of us to stay hunkered down, in our spaces, test each day to be sure we didn't get the Vid so we could have Christmas Eve together. The whole goal was to have Christmas Eve.
12/23: More at-home time with mom and dad in our little bubble. We woke up, husband and I went on that neighborhood 4-mile walk. We showered, put our PJs back on, and played hearts. I had a glass of wine and started feeling woozy. My nose was running. I was sneezing. I didn't feel great. I was paranoid so I took a test, NEGATIVE!
Over the next couple of hours, things got worse. I was exhausted, chills, sweats. I put myself to bed around 8 pm and told my husband to sleep in the other room. As I fell asleep I was sure we would have to cancel Christmas Eve.
12/24: When I woke up, I was surprised at how great I felt. I slept for 10 hours straight.
I felt much more optimistic because I felt so good. Just to be safe, and even though I took a test not even 12 hours prior, I took another test. MY TEST WAS POSITIVE! Christmas Eve was canceled. My husband was infuriated and could barely be around anyone. I instantly went to the bedroom upstairs and quarantined myself. Mom/Dad/Hubby all tested--NEGATIVE. We planned for a Zoom Christmas. We canceled both my and hubby's flights. He couldn't find a flight on Delta so he booked a flight home on Southwest. He has a chronic pulmonary and respiratory illness so he needed to fly home while he had no symptoms and tested negative so he could be at home with his medical team in case he developed symptoms or eventually tested positive. Mom has COPD and is at high risk. Dad is a pancreatic cancer survivor and is at high risk. Having me in the house with Covid is high-level danger. I offered to go to a hotel but mom said no, stay here. So, here I am, in my upstairs "apartment" quarantining, staying away from mom and dad, going down, and grabbing items off the stairs while in my mask. Covid doesn't feel great. Hubby is still mad but home safely.
Experiencing Covid is new to me and I find myself looking on the internet for answers. I will update the blog on a daily basis with info, my experience, and anything I find that might be helpful to you. If you have any helpful tips or hacks, please send them to me. I am all ears and totally open to ideas.
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