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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Sweete


I know this would make you laugh (except that one part that made me cry, too).

It’s never boring here. Earlier today, my husband was having trouble with his Yahoo email so I recommended Earthlink or Gmail — he's off looking for "Orgy Mail" now . . .

. . . leaving me on my own to write this very private note to you . . . shhhh . . .

Are we living in a scifi movie? What shall we call it? Pan’s Demic? starring Sir Squat Alott and Madam Boddiakes Alott, with their teenage son Barfallovu Alott and adopted daughters Koufin Alott, Chokin Alott, and Wendiend (our maybe permanent temporary foster child). It has to be fiction cuz reality is in quarantine.

Given how horrendously ill my husband and I were in February and March, it’s possible we’ve already had it – or not. That might mean we are immune to getting it again – or not. Whenever we go out in public, we wear masks because they will protect us from it – or not. We wear gloves to gather and open the mail because they offer yet another layer of protection from it – or not. To be safe, after we remove our gloves, we use hand sanitizer which will kill it before it kills us – or not. Just in case, we wash thoroughly with soap and water because soap and water will definitely kill it – or not. To be absolutely sure we are safe, we then shower in scalding hot water and scrub with disinfectant because that most assuredly is guaranteed to kill it – or not. One thing is for sure – stripping to skivvies in a 36° F garage before re-entering our little sanctuary after a simple trip to the grocery store is about as fun as streaking through Elsa’s ice palace. Brrrr!

Mostly, we stay home Alott. Fortunately, we have practice . . .

Remember when we were kids in the ‘60s and the air-raid sirens were on every street corner? And our parents would panic and scream for us to run into the house when the sirens began to blare? (Like we could hear their shouts over the wailing sirens?) They would yank us into the house and hold us hostage there for whole weekends at a time, until the “threat” passed. If we happened to be in school at the time, we just hid under our little wooden desks cuz we were told that would save us from utter annihilation. It must have all been true, as we only came out with a few splinters and a stuttering social life. Whew!

Oh, and remember that one time in 2000-something when we were told to head to the hardware store for supplies to hunker down? (That was the year I found Lewis Black [47:20] - not that he was lost - and learned that my coconut milk wasn’t really milk at all. Very disappointing news for my Froot Loops.) They told us all that year to head straight to the store to buy enough plastic sheeting to cover our houses and enough duct tape to secure it in place to protect us from that impending saran attack. What? On the up-side, that stuff lasts forever so in these times of crisis we can entertain our neighbors from a safe distance with our fabulous front porch Dexter re-enactments.

My mother would be worried and greatly displeased with 2020’s ongoing clear and present danger, if she were still alive. She was sent to the ER in March with symptoms. They put her in an isolation room and kept her there until her CV test came back negative (and they tell me that the tests are so accurate that false negatives and positives make up a mere 50% or more of them). The ongoing miracle of modern medicine shone brightly when they sent her home with the same symptoms she had when she was admitted. Turns out Congestive Heart Failure also features the inability to breathe, etc. This same brilliant bunch didn’t want to send Hospice to her house because she was “too healthy and could go on living for months, even years” . . . at 95 ½ years old, unable to breathe well, at 67 pounds and crumbling, in a pandemic. Thank God they did send Hospice, because she passed on a few days later. I’m pretty certain she doesn’t need to worry anymore . . . about anything. God bless you, Mom – I love you and miss you more than words could ever describe.

(Above: Mom at close to my age now.)

No funerals. Too public. We get it. Or got it. Or had it. Or whatever. I'm so confused.

Hubby and I have been respecting our leaders’ “shelter-in-place” request for a couple of months now. In fact, we sheltered-in-place right on through and past our wedding anniversary this year. A week later I opened my eyes to greet the morning and realized we’d been so busy staying at home that we’d lost track of time. So, we celebrated on Easter weekend instead, while mulling over what to do with the homeless Easter bunny who has been compost-diving in our back yard all winter, and who devoured every flower in our garden last summer. We contemplated our options – R.I.P. him (or her, I opted not to verify), eat him (in all fairness, it was Easter and Alott of bunnies get eaten on Easter, albeit they’re usually made of chocolate), or relocate him (to my friend Laurel’s house, because we never had a rabbit problem until I read her book The Hare, Raising Truth). While I was busy trying to avoid the decision by searching for something to watch on Netflix (12 rows of the same 10 shows listed in a different order across each row – how slick) my dear, sweet husband shored up the fence and, as luck would have it, the bunny was on the outside when he did it. Problem solved thanks to my lucky rabbit’s foot and hubby’s ingenuity. Deviled eggs and KitKat bars to celebrate!

Although sheltering-in-place is exhausting (just ask Big Daddy how the honey-do list is coming along) it’s also been a very introspective time for me. Indeed, it’s given me pause to reflect and connect with my inner child – a profound experience that’s awakened me to how much I have missed kindergarten naptime.

Amid this mess going on in the world, it’s good to turn our focus to the silver lining. Thank heaven we live in an era of high tech – shopping online and free shipping! I bought a dice cup with dice for my son and his wife so we can play dice games together via my videoconferencing program. Last week we had a 7-person game of Farkle on videophone. Big Daddy won the first game, and Swami-Mommy (that be me) won the second one. I proudly told our kids-with-kids how we got so good – “This is Gramma & Grampa’s version of a Playstation!” I think it’s a testament to my parenting skills that my kids all “get” my jokes.

And you? How are you getting along these days?

EMERGENCY ALERT: If you can’t laugh – your mask is on too tight! If you can’t cry, you probably have the antibodies. If you can’t break through your writer’s block, do it anyway!

Poem for my Mother

She ate the whites and I ate the yolks – my mother and me

Both of us tried to be good folks – both tryin’ to be

And if you joined us having tea – me in my hat

and my mom – you would see

we were made to be sisters – under the sun

having fun – now undone

separate but together – none and one

It’s a whole different world when your mom is gone.

© Jennifer Sweete, April 2020

Mom, Thank you for teaching me to love to read and write!

Sweete Quote: “I am my mother, and my mother is me, and that is A-okay."

Blogging gives me a way to keep practicing my writing while keeping in touch with you! So please do email your thoughts, suggestions, critiques, and compliments (especially the compliments) and LIKE this post. And Tweet me @TheSweeteLife!

Any typos found in this document are caused by tearing eyes. The author makes no apologies for salt water stains on your screen.


Look for my future Jennifer Sweete blog posts right here!

Need help editing your written work? I edit with you! Yes, WITH YOU!

How effective is your Indie Author marketing strategy? Ask me about my awesome Author Assist program to help you market your book(s) in 2020!

Books I am already reading or am looking forward to reading in 2020:

Pre-suasion by Robert Cialdini – Still taking my time & copious notes ... so full, so rich!

The Quarantine Cookbook by Michele & Dylan Smith

My Pandemic Recipes by Love Sunday

Homemade Facemasks by Nicholas Mitchell

Lonely in a Crowd by William Paquin

Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith

Until we meet again, keep reading, keep writing, keep dreaming!

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