One of the letters to the editor in our local paper yesterday included a very detailed set of suggested instructions for how businesses should re-open, down to the number of people who should be allowed in a beauty salon at any given time (2), how many people should be allowed in the gym and for how long (10, for one hour), and how diners should be separated in restaurants (with roped-off tables and at least 2 barstools’ worth of distance at the bar).

I have to say, I’m envious of the people who feel that kind of certainty right now. I am the exact opposite of this letter-writer: I have absolutely no idea how everything should proceed and I feel totally dependent on people who are smarter than me to figure it out, which of course is difficult because not everyone can be trusted to truly have our best interests at heart and not everyone is in agreement on what our best interests actually are.

It’s becoming clear that we will all have to find our own way through this mess, there will be regulations and guidelines but ultimately it’s going to come down to our individual situations and perspectives and decisions, right? Which: UGH. Oh, I know, how inadequate is it to type a Cathy cartoon groan but just UGH UGH UGH. That’s all I’ve got: ugh.

John is gone on a rafting trip and while I do not share his fortitude for being on the river and camping in spring’s capricious weather — rafting in the rain seems grim as hell— I’m deeply jealous of his opportunity to be completely unplugged from the news and digital distractions for a few days.

We had been on a family hiking kick which I think we’ll pick back up when John’s back: a daily trek up a steep hill has been a weirdly fun ritual. Sometimes we try and beat our fastest time, sometimes we just have the goal of getting there. It’s a chance to be grateful for working lungs and the open sky. I don’t know what tomorrow is going to look like but I’m so grateful for my little crew, and I guess I’ll just keep ughing my way along and hope for better days ahead.


14 Responses to “Ugh”

  1. Mary Clare on May 12th, 2020 2:02 pm

    Lots of uncertainty over here too. For someone who likes to plan, its terribly annoying.I’m trying to go with it. Right now travel for vacation and work trips for a few months from now are up in the air. It’s looking increasingly like everything is cancelled or should be.

  2. Amy on May 12th, 2020 2:15 pm

    There’s your Mother’s Day picture right there. :)

  3. Anonymous on May 12th, 2020 3:10 pm

    This interesting article, written by a scientist with a PhD in microbiology and immunology, made me think about transmission potential a different way, beyond the whole “stay six feet apart and try not to touch stuff” thing.

    It makes some situations seem a little less scary, but increases my unease about others (like going back to the office, or any enclosed space where I’d be breathing anywhere “downwind” of a potentially-infected person, since 6 feet doesn’t seem to be very effective, like, at all).

  4. Shawna on May 12th, 2020 3:11 pm

    Well heck, I didn’t mean to be anonymous! That was me!

  5. Mary on May 12th, 2020 4:34 pm

    I am mostly happy that I don’t have to make those decisions. The scientist/nurse in me thinks that we need to take as much time as possible before we open back up because I don’t want more people to die. However, I speak from the privilege of being able to keep working throughout this whole thing, so my personal economic situation has not changed, and my family’s has not either. So am I really an “expert?” Not so much. It’s really scary, no matter what choice is made.

  6. Kelly on May 12th, 2020 9:15 pm

    I was going to post the same article as Shawna. I read that one last week. I like how it’s chock full o’ science, but still written in an absolutely digestible way for the average person. It made me feel way more comfortable about going to the store for essentials than I had. But yeah, it made me realize I just don’t see any way that our schools are going to be able to open safely in the fall. Interestingly, I read it the same day the CDC recommendations for how that should happen were leaked and the two are so completely opposed. Basically they wouldn’t slow the spread pretty much at all.

    Also, holy crap, your boys. Just amazing to see them looking so grown up. <3

  7. TP on May 13th, 2020 2:09 am

    Ha! I live in NZ, we’ve been very lucky to be able to “go hard, go early” in our COVID response and our Prime Minister/Director General of Health plus various other scientists have all done a great job of explaining the what/why/how of our response and what we can expect to be able to do during each level. BUT. There’s an election coming up, and an abundance of people who think we went too hard, too soft, need to open faster, or slower and it would all be so much better if we just listened to them! Ugh. Humans suck sometimes. Makes me super grateful to have people like you I can tune into, who totally get it.

  8. Kim on May 13th, 2020 5:30 am

    USC (the South Carolina one, not the cool one in California) where I work just enthusiastically announced campus will reopen for fall classes. The optimist in me thought yay, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The cynic in me was like, Sure – they’re afraid of the drop in enrollment & they are underestimating how much it will take to get the safety measures in place. I can hardly believe I’ve been home for two months already.

  9. Shawna on May 13th, 2020 5:54 am

    Unlike USC, universities in Quebec up here (McGill and Concordia) have just announced that classes will be mostly online this fall.

  10. Stacy on May 13th, 2020 7:02 am

    Right there with you, virtual fist bump to the Ugh of life right now, … grateful as hell for working lungs, sunshine, seeing my kid’s smiles.

  11. Nine on May 13th, 2020 7:44 am


  12. Sande on May 13th, 2020 8:01 am

    I keep telling my type 1 diabetic husband that the government is not going to do what’s best for the public. They’re proving it on the daily. We have to do what’s best for us because they’re putting money over lives. We are in Arizona and our shelter-in-place expires on, gyms and public pools opened today. Bars and restaurants are able to open. The governor talks about following CDC guidelines yet I believe the first guideline is slowly reopen once cases start to decline and in Arizona we haven’t even met that guideline yet. But here we are opening full force. So the message I’m receiving from the government is keep yourself safe because we aren’t going to. Business as usual.

  13. Jamie on May 13th, 2020 8:37 am

    WHEN DID RILEY BECOME A MAN. OMG. I feel super old. Ugh.

  14. Meg on May 14th, 2020 7:49 pm

    That is one beautiful picture.

    I’m in Australia, and we’re lucky that our instances of it have been relatively VERY low. Of course, any death is still horrible and unnecessary.

    The public schools have been doing online learning, with kids able to go if their parents can’t look after them. The schools started up again with face to face teaching last week, with big plans for the kids to only come in 1 day a week each, with social distancing, cleaning, etc.

    I was tentatively OK about her going back; the longer she waits, the harder it’ll be for her to adjust again, it’ll be good for her to get out of the house, the risk really is quite low because kid to kid transmission is low and generally most kids get mild cases of it, and we’re staying away from my inlaws who’re both over 70, and come on, idiot, you can’t keep her at home forever.

    They started on Monday. My kid went for her day on Tuesday. Wednesday night we got a notification that there was a teacher who’d been diagnosed at her school, ffs. That was quick! Turns out that my kid wasn’t in close contact and so we don’t have to isolate her and us, but holy shit that was a pretty scary, pretty guilt-ridden, 18 hours before I got confirmation.

    And, of course, I feel horrible and guilty for the people who WERE in close contact with that teacher – and for the teacher, who must be kicking themself.

    Have told kid she’s not going back to school till she’s 30.

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