Saturday, March 14, 2020


Quarantining is more difficult than I thought it would be. We explained to the kids that we'd just be hunkering down for a while—no friends, no outings—in order to do our part to slow the spread of this virus figuring it wouldn't be too hard for us to do because we're not very social people. Unfortunately—or fortunately—it was a beautiful day today and we figured we should go outside to work in the yard.

As part of our pandemic panic-shopping, Andrew picked up a pruning saw which—go figure—makes pruning so much easier. We've been trying to tackle the ivy on our trees with a branch saw, which just hasn't been working very well. You wouldn't think it would make much of a difference (at least, that's what I thought) but it really does. We (and by "we" I mean "Andrew") were able to get the ivy off all our trees this afternoon (except one that is a mix of poison and regular ivy, which we're not quite sure what to do with so just didn't touch it). We also raked up our front garden area and cleaned up Benjamin's junk collection and so forth.

But while the girls and I were working in the front yard, a couple called us over to them. They just bought a house in our cul-de-sac and wanted to introduce themselves. They seem really nice and we're super excited for where they'll be moving in because they're moving into the house our our cul-de-sac nemesis (the one who yelled at us because our moving van was parked in the cul-de-sac, the ones who threatened to call the police because James parked his car in the cul-de-sac (note: it is not illegal to park on the street here), the ones who slammed the door in Miriam's face when she tried to deliver a loaf of freshly made sour dough bread, the ones...who we just can't seem to make friends with...). We're super excited for these new neighbours.

Zoë introduced herself to them like this, "My name is Zoë and I'm four years old and my grandma is dead."

She's really great at breaking the ice.

And then when we were working in the back yard, our back-yard neighbours (with a pool!) called us over to introduce themselves. The dad has seen us playing frequently but never on a day when he happened to have his son over. But today he did so he called us over to meet his son (who has a name, and is four years old, and whose grandparents are all living) who popped over the fence to jump on the trampoline for a few minutes.

This family seems really great. The man is from Jamaica, the woman is from Japan. They just got married at the end of last year. And they're super nice.

When Zoë so tactfully said to them, "You know, I could easily just climb this fence and come swimming in your pool!" the man said, "Oh, I believe you and you are welcome to climb the fence and come swimming whenever we are swimming as long as you get permission from your mom and dad first."

They have a pool fence in addition to the fence between our yards so I don't think fence hopping will be too much of an issue, but the kids are rather excited about this promised summer friendship.

And then we returned to the front yard and a neighbour up the street strolled down with their toddler to thank Miriam for the loaf of sour dough bread that she'd brought to them (Miriam has a goal to deliver bread to our entire neighbourhood, basically). She said it was such perfect timing for their family because they had all been so sick (not with COVID-19) and their toddler had been home with pneumonia (again, not from the corona virus) for several weeks when she usually goes to daycare, so they'd been trying to work from home and tend to her and all they'd been eating was canned soup because no one at their house had the energy to do anything more elaborate and then *ding-dong* there's Miriam with a warm loaf of bread. She was very touched.

While I was talking to her (from a good six feet away; we were sure to maintain our distance), Benjamin and Zoë ran off up the street with their little besties—but to play outside, which really limits the ability of germs to spread, right? Maybe.

And then when we were coming home from our family walk, our little next-door neighbour asked if the kids could stay out and play (but we told him no because it was getting late and we had to head inside for baths).

I really don't know that we did a great job of isolating ourselves today, even though we largely didn't leave our yard. But that's kind of an interesting effect of the pandemic—it's drawing people closer together. I guess we all have this big, scary thing in common so we suddenly want to get to know each other a little better. It gives me hope that perhaps we can be Italy.

Not, like, death-rate-wise (Andrew showed me a video of a man showing the obituaries in a Bergamo newspaper and on February 9th they had about a page and a half of obituaries; on March 13th they had ten pages of obituaries) but community-wise (check out these videos of Italian serenading each other from their balconies). Perhaps we should head out on the porch tomorrow to do some singing of our own...

And we'll try to do better about limit our contact with others. We really are trying! Like I said, we're not even very social people! I just think the beautiful weather combined with the almost palpable anxiety in the air is urging people outside and then...together.

1 comment:

  1. Zoë's introduction!!!!!!!!!!! HAHA

    Yeah, I thought this forced isolation wouldn't be so bad because I am not a very social person, but I'm rather bored already. :-/ I went for my usual walk today and stopped at the park to swing for the first time in awhile. Thank God it wasn't raining today so I could at least get out of the house and enjoy some fresh air!

    Sweet of Miriam to bake bread for the neighbors!