Back in January, fillyjonk wrote about three years of COVID. The first case of COVID in the United States occurred in that month. But it didn’t really affect me until March 13.
I’ll back up to when I retired on June 30, 2019. my wife and daughter were home from school, but come fall, I had the run of the house. I’d read and write in the morning, exercise and clean in the afternoon. It was glorious. And after Christmas break, more wonderfulness.
My wife and I went to the cinema often. I saw Cheap Trick at the Palace Theater in February 2022.
The church production of Once on This Island occurred on Sunday, March 8th, with the afterparty the following evening. Choir met as usual on Thursday, March 12.
But the buzz was out that everything was going to shut down after Friday the 13th. At 4:30 pm, I rushed to the Pine Hills branch of the Albany Public Library with my daughter. I WANTED to take out ten videos for me, but she wanted to get a few, so I checked out seven Marvel Cinematic Universe films I had not seen. Sure enough, the library was closed on Saturday and for months after that.
The annual hearts game at my abode occurred as scheduled for March 14; some people came, but others begged off, which I understood intellectually, if not emotionally.
School at home
After a week of figuring out what to do, school districts made laptops available to students, and remote learning began. My wife specifically was disappointed (too weak a word) when then-Governor Andrew Cuomo mandated that the spring break be canceled. The rest of that semester was a slog.
One thing I insisted on is that my wife teach in the old guest room. Otherwise, every time I went downstairs, I was in her classroom. In hindsight, it was a great decision, as she held her church session meetings and other private conversations there.
My daughter was engaged in school for about a month, then not so much.
Starting March 22, my church began having services online on Facebook, a feature that continues to this day. Early on, it was okay; better than nothing.
I was feeling very isolated. Starting in April, I started calling, on the telephone, people who I hadn’t spoken with for a while, some of them for years, even though they live in my metropolitan area. It was a worthwhile project. I completed two calls daily until Memorial Day, then one per day until August. By this point, I was also phoning people I used to see weekly at church.
Meanwhile, my father-in-law, Richard, was dying from lymphoma and passed on April 22; his funeral was 13 months later. His death led to weekly family Zoom meetings, which ended abruptly over political differences at the end of June.
I did start having regular ZOOM meetings with my sisters, which have continued.
I had expressed interest in working on the 2020 Census in mid-2019. But it wasn’t until the summer of 2020 that I learned I’d be trained to work, as I wrote about here. It was more difficult than it was 30 years earlier because it started later in the year. COVID did a number on this enumeration.
My wife, despite her trepidations, had to return to school in person and teach both online and classroom, which was way more work for her. My daughter opted to stay home to do school, which was probably a suboptimal decision.
Church was still remote, though some section leaders recorded music in an empty church on a Monday, and it was shown during the service. Specifically, some previous choir recordings were shared, especially on Christmas Eve. Watching myself sing instead of actually performing brought me to tears.
We watched a few events online. Frankly, though, way more offerings were available than I wanted to consume. I watched a few movies and plays, but most didn’t capture me.
2021: the vaccine!
When the vaccine became available, I wanted it yesterday. There were priority lists. My wife got her first shot in February 2021. I kept checking places for availability but found none that didn’t involve traveling hundreds of miles.
Finally, I logged onto the CVS website again on March 1 at 6 a.m., and Pfizer vaccines were available the next day! I got my first shot, then my second three weeks later. Minimal reactions other than a sore arm for a day.
So on April 6, my kindergarten friends Bill, Carol, Karen, and our friend Michael went to an outdoor restaurant. A sign of normalcy!
I went to a few movies in person, and maybe a half dozen people were there.
The library was quasi-open, and the FFAPL offered remote book reviews online or in the Bach branch garden. It was hard to hear outside because of the wind and, sometimes, the neighbors.
The church is back!
Finally, in June, the church began meeting again, masked, distanced, but in person! We had a coffee hour in the parking lot. Then in October, the choir started rehearsing, though we didn’t sing at service until late November. We did sing on Christmas Eve. I was so happy I probably wept.
But after the holidays, the surge put us back to red/orange, and the church went back to remote. I thought I’d be okay, knowing intellectually it wouldn’t last long, and it didn’t. But I did end up in my sad place for a time.
Since then, and possibly before that, I’ve been checking the COVID status of Albany County and nearby Rensselaer County, which have been in lockstep. I’ve also been obsessively reading related medical news, such as this: RSV Vaccine Succeeds in Phase III Trial of Older Adults.
Fortunately, we sang again in person by February 2022, though Black History Month adult education, which I was in charge of, was primarily remote.
COVID, you SOB
In August 2022, my daughter, my wife, and I all got COVID, probably the Omicron variant. It wasn’t awful, but it was inconvenient.
That’s essentially it. I’m seeking to get past it all. I still refer to events as before or after COVID, and I usually have no idea what happened when after March 2020 unless I look it up. Heck, I probably forgot several things.
Still hate ZOOM, and I use the term generically, for meetings, especially events. My ability to focus in front of a screen with 13 or more rectangles is diminished.