SHELF LIFE: My Pandemic Diary: February 26, 27, & March 2, 2021

Friday, February 26, 2021

I’m grumpy and sore but determined to have a good day. Grumpy because Christopher snored like a freight train last night, and sore because we went snow tubing yesterday which was about 100x more physical, fast, and scary ( but super fun) than I thought it would be. I reckon we slammed into those safety air puff barrier thingies at 30 mph. Over and over. A luxury for which we paid. I’m not gonna lie it was super fun. Turns out I needed to scream in the open air for 2 hours. But today I’m woefully reminded of my middle age and that Christopher will always be a better sleeper than me. Lucky sod. Anyway. 

Apart from that, I’m great. Pennsylvania is a pretty wonderful place. Kevin’s home is cozy comfortable and all we really need to worry about is what to eat and which football game to watch. It might be the perfect mental health retreat if not for my teenagers who, hourly, make me question my ability to parent. It’s like— do I discipline and control and rule by brute force? Or do I completely ignore them to preserve their life expectancy? 

Sophia in particular acts so rude and ungrateful I seriously wonder where I went wrong. I had to take stock this morning. Have I kept her safe? Fed her? Kept her warm? Dried her tears? Set her up for success? Exposed her to culture and travel? Taught her right from wrong? Held her accountable and led by example? Checks across the damn board. I know it’d be WAY more fun to live in a house without supervision where she could watch TikTok and eat Cheetos 24/7. But unfortunately, that’s not my vibe. 

I vividly remember 15 and attempt to parent accordingly. I remember my mother telling me — spitting, rather, when I was about this age, “I cannot WAIT til you move out!” Her words torpedoed my heart and sunk it to the bottom of the ocean. This memory helps keep my mouth shut, though I fail sometimes. 

The other night after a particularly horrible tantrum I told her she ruins everything. And the next morning I apologized and told her the truth. That what I meant to say is: when you act like this you ruin everything. Which is entirely true. But the former suggests something entirely different and I don’t want her carrying unnecessary grief around the next 30 years. Of course had I spoken to my parents the way she speaks to us I would’ve been backhanded into the next century. But that’s another story. 

This isn’t a tale of woe. I wasn’t abused. My children are normal teenagers with no clue how life really works because no one’s privy to those secrets until released into the wild. Anyway. Plan today is a massage and to hit up some thrift stores. If that doesn’t cheer me up, there’s no hope for me. Also, people who tell you their kids are perfect are big, fat liars. 

More later.

9:15 pm

I need to add this because I feel soooo much better. I probably shouldn’t write when I’m grumpy-sleepy because I say mean things and I don’t like to capture that stuff on paper. Shortly after the first entry we went to this AWESOME thrift store here in town. It was two floors of secondhand goodness made better by leaving the kids at home. 

Christopher and I had a blast looking at knick knacks, bad art, and some seriosuly glorious 70s furniture. If we weren’t 1400 miles from home I would’ve bought a lot of stuff today. Anyway, we came home and Kevin’s new lady friend gave us all massages, including Sophia, who immediately after was a much more pleasant human. I ‘paid’ her with a reiki session which always makes me feel better and then we went out to dinner and frankly, I’m feeling less of a brat now. Tomorrow we’re headed to Lititz and a Liverpool themed pub. I got my outfit ready. 


Saturday, February 27, 2021

Two magical things: I slept well last night. And two, Soph asked me to watch cartoons with her this morning. It’s utterly amazing what a little body work and reiki can do. Wanda asked how I got into reiki and I told her. 

Back when I was traveling to people’s houses to do readings, I kept feeling an overwhelming urge to put my hands on them. Almost like a magnetic draw to contact, skin on skin. I asked people before doing this, of course. And the type of people who get readings typically don’t mind weird questions like, sorry, can I touch your arm real quick? But anyway. Yes. That tender spot on the opposite side of your elbow connecting forearm to bicep is a big ‘soul spot’ for me. I can feel someone’s essence there. Their raw self. Anyway. 

After our massages yesterday I offered to give Wanda a little reiki session because there should always be an energy exchange. We made a little makeshift massage table with the ottoman and I used my magnolia oil and did my thing. Wanda, a lightworker herself, absorbed the energy right away and promptly fell asleep. 

The best thing about reiki apart from being an amazing healing modality is that it works while you’re asleep and gives reciprocal reiki to the healer — yay, that’s me. And today I feel the positive effects. My head is clear, my heart lighter, and the weight of the world is a little less weighty.

12:28 pm (20 minutes later)

And just like that, I have precipitated WWIII. 

I asked my daughter to brush her teeth. 

The ensuing argument was so explosive that she will be staying home today while we explore. It is equal parts punitive, self-preservation and accountability. Reiki does not make your problems go away. But it forces a change in your reactions. And may she enjoy her fresh breath and alone time.

Monday, March 2, 2021

Well here we are. The penultimate day of our little getaway. I’m fueled by 2 cups of coffee, the smell of bacon, and very pleased to say a day on her own is exactly what my little cherub needed. There was no argument yesterday when I asked her to brush her teeth and we had a lovely day traipsing thru the rain around various shoppes, squeezing into dressing rooms together trying on other people’s clothes. Thanks, Goodwill. You never disappoint. 

Then we came home and started the Demon Slayer marathon I promised Harvey who swears it’s the anime of the decade. A few episodes in, I don’t think it’ll be too painful. I made a comfortable dinner of baked potatoes, Caesar salad, grilled chicken, mac ‘n’ cheese, and roasted broccoli then opened a split bottle of cab to watch Man City defeat West Ham. It was a cozy, relaxing day. 

I’ll also say for the first time in this house, I saw a ghost. I saw a man peep around the door frame as I prepped for bed last night. He was stout, somewhat playful, and it’s been a hot minute since I’ve seen an apparition. But besides that, all is well and we needed this lovely relaxing week. The worry lines vacated Christopher’s brow and he’s back to Dad jokes. 

“Thought of you in the toilet darling,” he said.

“Oh yeah?”

“You know how I had liver and onions for lunch?”


“I did a liverpoo.”

He’s an idiot. But I love him so much. We both finished our books yesterday and switched. I was utterly delighted by The Thursday Murder Club and super loving The Secret Life of Addie LaRue 50 pages in. In fact, I’m gonna make a third cuppa coffee and go read more. There’s laundry and packing in my future but it can wait. 

More later.

5:37 pm

Okay I know it’s not ladylike to talk about pooping and tooting as much as I do but earlier in the shops I let out a silent, unoffensive little poot (you can just tell, right?) and literally 5 seconds later this lady got right up in my space and said, 

“Is that you smelling so delicious?” 

I froze. Pausing wide-eyed and terrified because, well, hello. But then she said,

“Is that patchouli?” 

and I exhale-smiled and said yes. It was patchouli + a dash of Amazing Grace. She gave more compliments then walked away. For some reason I thought that worth documenting. Slow news day. 

Actually I’m procrastinating. I hate packing SO MUCH.


You are reading select entries from SHELF LIFE: My Pandemic Diary.

Read next entries HERE.

Or previous post HERE.

Or start from THE BEGINNING.

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