Quarantined Saturday

I decided to nix the numbers for my posts on here because I don’t want to make anyone upset about how long we’ve been inside. It’s been a little over a month, which actually when you think about it isn’t as bad as it sometimes feels. People a lot smarter than me are studying this virus and coming up with some ways to combat it. It’s still very early, but we’re learning more every single day.

I keep saying that I personally think this thing will become a lot easier when a skilled innovator decides to make something — like an easy to produce mask that filters out germs, for example — that helps us stay safe around loved ones and makes it easily accessible. If I learned one thing from watching Shark Tank, it’s the inexpensive products that everyone needs and can afford that make someone richer than they can imagine. I honestly don’t care who makes products that help us go out safely again, as long as we can. There are people who are working day and night right now, some who want to be the first to solve our problems so that they can make an enormous profit, and others who have hearts that want to help others. Either way, we have brilliant minds working on this and I know we’re going to be able to see loved ones again and enjoy our favorite activities one day.

I definitely feel weird still that my family is so close but I can’t see them. I’ve made a few trips to borrow or swap groceries, but keep my distance and stay in my car, similar to what we’d do at a grocery pickup. I’ve always been a rule follower when it comes to health and safety, so there has never been much of a question of whether I am hanging out with anyone other than my household during these quarantimes. FaceTime and HouseParty have been great apps to keep in touch with friends, and I listen to a lot of podcasts. I am a pretty typical millennial and don’t like sitting in silence, so podcasts fill that void for me.

I ordered some paint by numbers kits a few weeks ago, but still haven’t gotten them. I’m looking forward to having crafts to do, but in the meantime am doing some cooking and baking to keep my hands busy. Remember how I told you I filled in a map of the US and struggled more than someone who is nearing 30 should? I need to study that this week, and am also going to begin cramming for our 2020 election. I took a quiz yesterday to find out “who I should vote for,” and the result was actually really interesting. I apparently should take a look at Jacob Hornberger, someone from the Libertarian party.

Now, I am not into politics hardly at all. I have some moderate opinions on some of the more discussed issues, but I don’t pay close attention to politics or usually contribute greatly to conversations with friends and family, because I’ve always enjoyed more lighthearted entertainment — like which of the Kardashians I would most want to be friends with (Currently Khloe, but in the past it was Kim) or whether or not Jessica and Mark are actually looking for love on reality television.

I think this needs to change some, though. I should be paying more attention to some of the events going on in the world and really make an educated vote in 2020. For this reason, I am going to start opening my emails from TheSkimm, and begin to figure out how to get some straight up facts, rather than watching CNN, FOX, or anything of the like. Please let me know if you have suggestions of media without so much bias! I foresee myself having a difficult time filtering through news, as I think both Democrats and Republicans often make good points about how to solve problems. Reporting these days feels so incredibly emotional, which makes it hard for someone like me to decipher whether someone is speaking with an agenda or reporting straight facts. I will be updating these blogs with some of my opinions, and will appreciate having some good debates about politics. Unlike many people on social media, I will actually be someone who is willing to change her mind on issues, as I am just beginning to learn about many of them.

This will definitely be an interesting new twist to quarantine life, but I’ll feel good being able to participate just a little more in political discussions after all of this is said and done. As long as people are respectful and willing to hear each other out, it’s probably good to hear viewpoints other than your own. Right? We won’t all agree on everything, but it’s really cool that we can learn from each other.

Monday, Day 40

Mondays are always the ones where I feel a mild sense of panic. I’m not really sure why, because all the days blend together a little and I space my work out throughout the weekend as well, but I always look at the calendar when I start to overthink and notice that it’s the beginning of the week.

It’s been just over 5 weeks since I have been out in the world, and I’m still trying to take everything day by day. I see good and bad news every day, and have been able to keep busy for the most part. I currently enjoy having work to distract me, picked up playing Call of Duty — a game I never in a million years would have thought I would like — and ordered a few little crafts to do at home in the coming week. I also decided I need more energy, so since I’m no longer able to get my routine B12 shots, I got some vitamin B12 and vitamin D to start taking. I’m lucky enough to live in the suburbs, so can still walk outside some, and enjoy evenings on the back porch.

I’m going to get through a little more work then go do some yoga to try to relax and calm myself a little. I know we’re all cooped up and in this together, and I’m going to try to use this week to catch up with a few friends and see how everyone is doing. I hope you’re having a good week, and let me know how you’re keeping busy while staying inside!

Small Business Saturday

I want to start writing a little more about other people, and how we can do our part helping from home, if at all possible. I set up a few interviews with nurses — friends and strangers alike — to tell us about what it’s like in the COVID units, but today I want to write about some small businesses worth supporting. It’s been surprisingly difficult for me to find places to support, as I think a lot of them aren’t circulating on social media platforms as much as they could be.

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Barrel Oak Winery
While other businesses pushed to stay open and keep selling their products no matter what, Barrel Oak Winery quietly closed and said that their customer’s health was their number one priority. I absolutely love a company that genuinely cares about its customers, and this winery is particularly amazing because of the love they have for dogs! It’s my favorite winery in Virginia because of all the pups you get to meet when you go to the winery. They’re currently offering free shipping and some pretty good discounts when you buy in bulk. Check out their website today to stock up for the coming weeks of quarantine.

Buskey Cider
This is one of the first places I found strictly from social media. I had been looking for a place to get a few nice summer drinks from, and Busky Cider looked promising, as they had fun flavors of hard cider like tart cherry and peach iced tea. They were super accommodating with delivery, and very friendly and appreciative of business when I called them to set something up. I later learned that they had so much business in my area that they were going to make regular trips back, which is fantastic. If you live somewhere in Virginia, check out their schedule and they are probably delivering near you at some point. They’re really hustling and deserve some good business!

Grocery Delivery
Notice how I didn’t put a company name here? I have found some people on Facebook who have done grocery runs for me, or referred them to friends and family. This is fantastic because the individual gets to keep 100% of the profit, plus the tip. It’s a difficult time for everyone, particularly people who’s livelihood has been affected, so this is a great way to really reward someone for their hard work. I also have looked into it, and it seems like certain big retailers have stepped up during this time to provide hundreds of thousands of jobs, and companies like Walmart are offering good benefits to working during the pandemic. If you use these services, just be sure to tip the best you are able. People who are working out right now deserve hazard pay, and we can provide that by offering generous tips.

All Good Things
I am obsessed with letter writing, journaling, gift giving, and everything of the like. This is the cutest website I found that opened in July 2017. It’s normally open for business in Dallas, TX, but in the meantime you can shop online and follow them on Instagram for some really fun, creative posts.

Pronto
The sisters who created Pronto opened shop in January, and have been still selling online throughout the pandemic. In short, their work does print, ship, design, social, and event branding. Their Instagram is bright and cheery, and offers a little taste of what they do in their feed.


Finally, I know some really fantastic girls who own their own boutiques. If you’re feeling like you want to dress up a little more — or find cute, comfortable loungewear — during these quarantine times, check out each of these and support a small business to update your wardrobe.

August Bay
August Bay is currently having a sale, giving 25% off cozy clothing items that are perfect for relaxing indoors while staying cute. I’ve been conflicted some days of wanting to feel cute and be comfortable, and cute sweats are a perfect marriage of the two. August Bay offers free shipping and returns for all purchases, so there’s no harm in shopping up a storm on their website.

Clothed in Strength
Clothed in Strength is the cutest etsy shop around. From inspirational phrases to Christian messages, these tees are well-made and affordable. There is currently a 15% off discount on the site, too!

Ever Row
Ever Row was created and owned by sisters, and gives the best summer vibes on my Insta feed. It actually usually has 2 stores in South Carolina, so it’s really important to shop online until they’re able to get back to selling things like usual. Right now there’s free shipping on any order. The site is super easy to navigate and fun to shop through.

Mini and Mine
This is the CUTEST site for mommy daughter matching outfits. Mini and Mine was actually started back in February, right before all the COVID-19 stuff started escalating in the United States. It’s a monthly subscription service — that you can start and cancel at any time — that sends you a set of matching tees for your child and you to wear together. It’s such a fun idea, particularly for quarantine pictures in the coming months. Follow their Instagram page to see the last couple of sets — and some pretty cute mother daughter duos.

The ML Edit
The homepage says, “Cabin Fever: shop the chilly day essentials,” which feels perfect for this crisp April day. Check out the company’s Instagram feed for a good feel on what their vibe is, and feel good about your purchases, knowing you’re supporting someone’s livelihood.

Thursday, Day 36

I probably started my quarantine before you, but mainly because I was one of the people who was skeptical of whether COVID-19 was really just “not as bad as the flu.” We just didn’t have enough information to know one way or another, which was why I decided to err on the side of caution and make one last run to the grocery store for the two weeks I anticipated we would be inside.

Now it’s been a little longer than that, and I’ve had a few rough days, but am holding up better than expected. I’m mainly just being careful trying to up my fluid and salt intake so I don’t have as many POTS issues pop up.

Yesterday I went for a run because I was feeling cooped up. There weren’t any people out, as our neighborhood has been very quiet lately, and I knew I wouldn’t be going far. I ran for my newest record — 5 minutes — but I likely only went about a quarter mile. I decided to try for endurance, rather than speed, but could not push myself to go longer than one round of Kanye West’s song, Stronger. That’s always been one of my favorite songs to run to, but sadly I never thought it would be my entire workout playlist, rather than just one song out of twenty.

Anyway, I’ve decided that every single weekday I want to do at least one workout. I have been taking yoga and Pilates classes online, and am really enjoying them. Getting my blood flowing has been really good for my physical health, but it also makes me feel refreshed mentally. Staying in this much is really weird and definitely makes you feel cooped up, but I’m really thankful for the technology that’s keeping me connected right now. Online classes are definitely something I hope to continue long after all of this is done.

Nothing else interesting to write for now. Gotta get back to work, but I want to keep my countdown going on here (is it a countdown if we don’t have a number we are counting down to, but instead are just counting up?).

Monday, Day 26 — Emphasis on the Monday

Today was one of the Monday-est Mondays. There are some days and things I’m going to remember about this quarantine. Many of them have been good actually, and I feel really blessed to be married to my favorite person who can love me from wherever we are. Today, though, I’ll remember how hard I cried. I’ll remember how cool the night air felt on my skin when I took the trash out to the curb, and then how beautiful the stars looked when I happened to look up. I think that might have been God telling me that everything is going to be okay. He knows I like stargazing and that I find comfort in knowing no matter where in the world my loved ones are, they’re looking at the same stars as me at night.

I’ve mentioned before that I am really bad at remembering details (Like, bad enough that you don’t want me to witness a crime unless you’re the person committing it), but my memory going back to feelings is definitely above average. I can think back to being at the airport for Robert’s first deployment and feel the way my heart seemed like it was being ripped out of my chest. I can think back to how nervous I was the first time I told him I loved him and feel the flutters of anticipation and excitement again. I remember the joy I felt for so many of our biggest moments together, and relive it every time I read a blog post or think about everything we’ve experienced. I remember how genuinely surprised and excited I was about my friends showing up for a surprise fifteenth birthday party. I remember the feeling of going to 7-11 and getting spoiled enough to pick two treats after school — usually a little bag of barbecue chips and a Slurpee, unless there happened to be a tropical Skittles shipment in. Then it was always tropical Skittles. I remember the peacefulness I felt on every family beach vacation we took, and the excitement of our special trips to Disney. Tonight I’m thinking back to September and the vacation Robert and I took to St. Lucia before his work took off this year. It was so carefree and perfect. I want to go back.

This quarantine, I’ve felt so much love. So. Much. I am crying writing about it now — oh gosh. I need to stop. I’ve made some really fond memories, despite all the uncertainty and weirdness that is surrounding all of this. I’ve had some anxiety here and there, but held tight to loved ones and been able to push through these 26 days while still being so joyful and content. Day 26 is the most difficult so far. I know I’m lucky about that, though.

I need to remember how lucky I am that we all have our health still and keep praying for the people who don’t or are fighting this battle for us. I’m tired right now, but we’re all getting through this together. It’s weird how many people can all relate to each other’s feelings right now. A lot of people seemed to have a very Monday-y Monday.

Thursday, Day 22

This morning I wrote about how shockingly well I am handling all of this. Tonight, I’m crying about it. I think this is kind of typical of everyone right now.

I’m sick of being stuck inside and am dying to go on a normal date, missing my family and friends, and would love to be able to look forward to the beach this summer — or even just spending some time outside. I am scared for the health and well-being of loved ones and strangers alike. I am dying to go to Trader Joe’s to get my usual favorite snacks, and I don’t want to keep seeing how different life is by watching the news. It all feels like a weird dream. The beginning of this feels so long ago now.

All of this is incredibly confusing. Like, how did we get to a point where people can’t go outside? Anyway, this morning I wrote a much more lighthearted draft, and want to still offer some of that sentiment, even as a comfort to myself right now.

First, I have done the whole quarantine thing before — or at least it felt similar to me. When I first got sick with POTS I could barely sit upright, much less go do my normal activities. I created a new normal that gave me as much joy as I had in my 22 years before getting sick. It wasn’t always easy and I often missed things about having a healthy body, but I was still able to be happy, despite the earth-shattering change. This change was actually even bigger than the pandemic feels because I was so used to being an athlete and out in the world, but literally could not leave the couch or go from floor to floor in the house more than once in a day. Now I at least can stand up to cook, go to the basement to exercise, and play hide and seek with my dog. Lesson one, you can have joy in the face of adversity.

Another thing POTS taught me is that circumstances change. That’s lesson two of learning to deal with a life-shattering change. The first year I was so sick even going to the grocery chore was a difficult to impossible task (read: me lying on the aisle floor until I could stand again without passing out). Over time I was able to run errands. Then I could go out to dinner. Then I worked my way up to doing things like trips with friends or walking around the beautiful city of DC. I still can’t run or anything, but I can walk for an incredibly long time without feeling dizzy, my pain is decreasing astronomically, and I can drive for an hour at a time! I’ve really come a long way. My new normal did keep changing, and I’ve been able to work with it every step of the way. Things change, and even if they’re slower than you’d like, you learn a lot of lessons along the way and can still be joyful.

Finally, the most important thing in life will always be your loved ones. For this I am sure (Insert Nunzio voice here, Robert).

I’ve always known this, but having any kind of health scare definitely changes your outlook. It’s funny because I do definitely think taking things for granted is in our nature. When I was really sick I always thought I would never take little things for granted if I was lucky enough to get better, but sure enough, things like going out on walks with my dog weren’t aren’t appreciated and I haven’t taken advantage of the fact that I can do yoga now. It’s weird being so separated from everyone, and I think this experience will change the way we spend time with others. I hope we are more present and cut more time out of the day to be with people, and take the time out of the year to travel and visit our long distance friends and family.

Anyway, I think we all need to remember that this is going to ultimately be just a blip in our lives if we can all come together and support each other. I pray that we can get things under control sooner rather than later, and that we can all be tough together. I know this isn’t easy, but I feel like it will be similar to my past experience in that we will appreciate more in life, worry less about trivial things, and learn to be joyful through every stage in life. There are a few things I’m incredibly grateful for right now, and I know I’m being looked out for and taken care of, which is really comforting in this strange time. I hope you can find some things you’re thankful for in this transition time, too!