Love in the Age of COVID-19

If you have a chink in your relationship armor, there’s nothing like a pandemic with orders to shelter at home for 60+ days, to test whether or not it’s going to make your connection weak enough to break.

These last several months have been stressful, there’s no arguing that. Because of what I do, when given the choice to stay home, I almost always will choose to stay in. If we can get a meeting done just as effectively over an UBER Conference line, I vote for the conference call every time. Now, of course, we have no choice but to substitute conference and Zoom calls for anything that was originally meant to be face-to-face. It’s great, but if you had asked me 6 months ago whether or not I’d attend a video conference without make up; I’d have said, “HELL NO!”. Now I can’t remember the last time I actually applied mascara. It’s a bit bizarre.

The video conferences leave the opportunity for significant others to walk through the background, attempt to involve you in conversations that have nothing to do with you and are of little importance, and introduce small moments of PDA into the video. Some offenses are more egregious than others, of course, but mine always seems to find ways to end up in the background.

It’s quite possible this is my Nana’s “X” 😉

It’s also pretty difficult to find personal, alone time right now. I have locked myself in the bathroom, sat on the stairs, organized the crawl space in the attic and just laid low in the bedroom all day on Saturday or Sunday. I nap during the day, yet he finds reasons to bust in and try to engage me in something he finds exciting, such as how “awesome” the infused butter he is making really looks/smells. Sometimes he just wants to tell me that someone responded to something he posted. Other times it’s something so fucking stupid that I want to throat punch him, but I’m so groggy I know that my arms won’t move that swiftly.

I’ve tried to pull up everything funny, romantic, serious, or otherwise sexy to get the partner into the mood, but nothing works. He’s just focused upon why his company is getting away with not closing down even through it’s not considered “Essential” and making treats for people that have anxiety. I’m just about to lose my mind. I can’t even remember the last time we were intimate or how often he’s actually slept in our bed rather than on the living room sofa. If this doesn’t end soon, it may actually end for me in a very sad, sucky way.

I hope that you are all having a better relationship experience during this lockdown than me and most of my friends have been having.

Any tips for coping?

We’d all love to hear them.

QuarantEaster 2020

The year that Easter Sunday felt the same as every other Wednesday….under the “shelter in place” order and keeping myself occupied under the order to shelter in place.

QuarantEaster

This Easter was obviously a bit different from any other that I’ve ever experienced for two reasons.

  1. COVID-19
  2. It’s the first I have not spent with the family of the person I was with romantically; whether we were together or not. (yes, though my ex and I were separated last year, I still spent Easter with the family…)

The woman we rent from is extremely skilled at taking advantage of people, so she had my boyfriend working on installing pavers for the 5th day (in total) since last fall, for absolutely no compensation other than pizza (it’s a trade he’s now essentially taught her after she promised to pay him xx dollars a day; and then claimed to not remember that once the work was done….) and I was busy sewing masks for friends and family 19 hours a day like a poor 9 year old girl from a third world country all weekend. So, Easter felt like any other day under the order to “shelter in place”.

I had the idea to make surgical caps and masks the first week that people were panicking, long before we were ever lead to believe we’d be isolated for months. But, then I thought that it would be in poor taste and didn’t want to offend anyone. (I have an existing Etsy page where I sell hand knit baby blankets, hats, scarves, and cotton totes…). Suddenly, 5 weeks later, the CDC reverses their initial directive on wearing masks and EVERYONE wants 2 or 20.

So, last weekend I pulled out my old crafting fabric stash and sewing machine; and got to work. My sorority sisters immediately began requesting masks, 2 and 4 at a time and I’ve been head down at the machine ever since. It’s been great getting reacquainted with an old friend and doing something that provides not only a little peace of mind but now a required item, to my friends and family.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve discovered Chilean Sauvignon Blanc comes in a box, which I think is excellent. It’s nearly summer NZ Sauvignon Blanc weather, whether we can go out and do anything or not. As soon as it begins to warm up, I am all but done with Pinot Noir until I need a sweatshirt again.

Insomnia has reared it’s ugly head this week. It’s so hard to sleep knowing you’re doing the same thing over and over and over again with little chance of a different result at the end of each day. I’ve started re-watching Parenthood, which is a nice way to fall asleep. I find it eases me into more pleasant dreams than other series. I’m also grateful for the release of new seasons during this pandemic, such as Ozark (Netflix), Home Before Dark (Apple TV+), and Killing Eve (BBC). Parenthood was my “Thirtysomething” when it debuted all those years ago. and now I look at This is Us as the new Parenthood.

As for the change of month, it seems impossible that it’s already the second week of April. How did we get here and whose hand basket are we in? Please, stay home friends so that we can get back to our “new normal” as quickly as possible. I really need to get out and see my girls (and male friends, too) before I go completely and utterly mad.

How are you all coping?

Regardless, please be safe. We’ve already lost far too many people to this crazy virus. Let’s not lose any more.

These COVID-19 Days

I work from home. That’s the way it’s been, for the most part, since around January of 2000. Working from home means being able to pull yourself out of bed in enough time to be online (if your employer tracks that sort of thing), respond to the first client email you receive or be on your first conference call of the day. Whatever the situation, you learn, you adapt and you make it work. You create a schedule that works for you, your co-workers and your clients; and that’s all that matters.

When it comes to events, doing what I do means you can be on-call 20+ hours a day. I’m in the NYC area, so I have clients across the country and in Canada. When they call, you pick up the phone. Unless, of course, you are on your honeymoon, giving birth or in the hospital. It’s what we do. We are the event specialists and we take client service very seriously.

In this current environment it’s been a challenge. Some clients have dropped off the of the face of the Earth, some want even more contact and others have been furloughed; which is sad. When you make a connection with someone like that and you create some really great work, it’s tough to see them let go. Even if it’s just temporary. I’ve tried to keep lines of communication open with my favorite clients, making sure that they are safe, healthy and doing ok. But, some of them just haven’t responded and that worries me and also makes me a bit sad.

My ex is in a unique position as a producer, song writer and recording engineer with a home studio. His clients, of course, have all either cancelled sessions or postponed for months; some indefinitely. I feel bad for him. I have other ways of creating an income but that’s pretty much all he is equipped to do. He is also in care of our two dogs, a 14 year old male dachshund and a 9 year old female beagle. I manage expenses for their vet care and help with other needs as they come up. Since I know the woman I rent from, she agreed to let them visit me from time to time, which I appreciate. They have been my life since …. wow … for years. I couldn’t have children, so they became my focus. They are my loves.

I am looking forward to being able to pick them up, squeeze their furry little wiggly butts and be annoyed with their usual stuff again.

These weeks have been challenging, not because I haven’t been able to leave my home but because I haven’t been able to travel to see my best friend in the southwest. I had to rearrange a trip to Phoenix because my friend’s Mum is wintering with her and she had chemo two years ago. I can’t go visit my family in New England. I have two nurses that work with the elderly in my immediate family, my Dad had cancer 3 years ago, my Mom is a type 2 Diabetic … my best friend works in a nursing home … it’s really tough.

We’ve been able to have groceries delivered on a relatively regular basis. At least once a week. We’ve been able to keep ourselves stocked (like sane people) with toilet paper, water, paper towels, cleansers … coffee, water and other sundries.) I can get wine delivered thanks to Drizly. I’ve had plenty to watch and binge, luckily.

I’ve been knitting my tiny, fat little white hands off; there’s been no shortage of yarn deliveries here.

But, I do miss the occasional dinner and drinks with my friends and colleagues.

I hope that you are all managing. Being safe. Staying healthy.

Currently binging Ozark and anxiously awaiting the new season of Killing Eve.

What about you?

Ginger Problems

I grew up in a tiny, rural New England town in close proximity to Canada. So close, in fact, that we often walked across the border as children as though we were crossing the street. The towns on the other side of the border closely resembled their American counterparts save the official language.

It was English v Francais.

The area where I grew up was bordered by a very small French Canadian outpost, one of the only concentrations outside of Quebec. If you traveled 30 minutes in any direction away from the epicenter, you encountered the usual English Canadians that most of the world is familiar with. The “oot” and “a-boot” crowd, that we have all so lovingly made fun of over the years. (Thank you https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_City_Television for all the laughs you provided over the years!)

I found myself an English speaking kid growing up in a very French-Canadian, Roman Catholic town; bearing an incredibly Irish last name with Protestant roots. I moved into the Valley from one of the larger satellite towns as a young girl, extremely perplexed by the bizarre religious and familial bonds that all of the kids seemed to share. I was a very intelligent, witty, artistic and talented kid. I could have been the next Oprah, though, and everyone in town would have still looked down upon me because I’d arrived in town as A) A Protestant (Poor girl, she’s misguided, it’s not her fault, but we still have to hold it against her to teach her parents a lesson… shame …) and B) a child descended of anything but a Franco-American heritage that only spoke English. Those were really the only two strikes you could have against you in this area, but if there might possibly be a third that could ensure your condemnation to solitary; it would most certainly be red hair. [See blog title for confirmation that my childhood was one, long, living hell … ]

There were a handful of other redheads in town. This included a few people that had managed to abscond with most of their wits into adulthood, and three other kids aside from me between K-12. I still remember thinking that I [we] were coursed to forever stand-out, and would never be able to just blend in with the crowd. I grew up thinking that I was almost “cute” but that I’d never be pretty or beautiful like other women with “normal” complexions and hair coloring.

I had a couple of crushes in high school but never a real boyfriend. I had no idea that the world viewed redheads as exotic until I was in my mid-twenties, living in the NYC Metro area.

I won’t lie. I felt oddly vindicated.

Also, if I’d known the kind of “power” I held as a “ginger” back in those days, man I would have made the most of it. To this day I still can’t believe that many people out there thing that we’re pure evil. So much for education and freedom of information thanks to the world wide web. Superstition is very much alive and well. even in the Western World. It honestly blows my mind.

Every once in a while I meet someone who things that I can hex or curse people; depending upon the person and how they interact with me, I may or may or may not play along. A redheaded witch you want? A redheaded witch you will have. It’s incredible to see people that are supposed to be Ivy League educated believe that somehow I have effected another’s life for the worse. I know I shouldn’t do it, but it’s so easy that sometimes I just cannot pass up the opportunity for a good laugh.

We are currently living through a unique health crisis. I am a type 1 diabetic, and therefore a part of the “susceptible” group of people with a compromised immune system. I try to use common sense and continue doing what needs to be done – drop off packages at the Post Office, go to the Pharmacy, grab a few necessities here and there; buy I swear that I’m the receiving a lot more “looks” right now than I ever have before.

Man, we really have issues in this country, don’t we?

I’m going back to Binging Netflix and drinking wine. I hope you are all safe, healthy and remaining relatively happy during this time of containment. It’s not much fun, but if it keeps you illness-free, I think it’s worth the effort.

Be vigilant, don’t panic unnecessarily and try not to hold all the things your family is doing right now to you annoy you against them when this is all over.


Surviving the “Chinese Virus”

My Irish is up. Sometime yesterday you may have noticed that our self-proclaimed “War-Time President” renamed COVID-19 the “Chinese Virus”.

Seriously.

As though it wasn’t bad enough to be living through the initial botched response that cost us all precious days in the fight against this monster, we now have to suffer this insult, too. One of my dearest friends happens to be Chinese AND a nurse in NYC. The backlash against the Asian community has been reprehensible. Even City Council members have been recorded spouting racist rants and public transportation riders caught publicly harassing fellow New Yorkers of Asian descent; and this was all WELL-PRIOR TO THE PRESIDENT SETTING A DEPLORABLE EXAMPLE TO CONTINUE THIS RACIST BEHAVIOR.

To those of you that believe he is the light, the way and the future; what in hell are you thinking? Do you honestly feel that it’s okay to spit on your next door neighbor all of a sudden because they are Asian? You DO realize that is what happened in NAZI Germany, right? Hitler gradually took hold of the media, established his policies, and told everyone that Jews were evil. People fell in line and later on, members of the SS, the military, soldiers in the camps; when charged plead innocent because they were “just following orders”. Just keep that in mind the next time you curse this virus and “the Asian backs it rode in on….”

I’m not saying “his Bronzeness” is Hitler, he’s not anywhere near as clever as that piece of Evil shit was; he’s just ignorant enough to have given license to the underground bigots, racists and neo-Nazis that have been biding their time to reappear. Something has to give, someone needs to step up and shut down his rhetoric, and put these assholes back under their rocks where they belong.

Listen, it happens every few years, a virus mutates and spreads. Guess what folks, we’re lazy. We need to be better, more vigilant and definitely more hygienic. Stop shaming and blaming and finger pointing. AND for the LOVE of Oden, don’t allow this guy to feel like it’s okay for him to do any of it.

I don’t often have much to say when it comes to politics, but this is so absurd I can’t shut up. I’m a sarcastic redhead in self-isolation with NO ONE TO FREAKIN’ TALK TO. It was bound to happen.

There, I said it.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled daily crap. Errr, wait, maybe not crap. In light of the toilet paper shortage, that may be perceived as insensitive.

Stuff. Stuff might be the better word here…

Be kind, check on your elderly neighbors and for the love of all that is good, please practice healthy social distancing.

The World: Cancelled & Self-Quarantined

COVID-19 hysteria peaked (let’s hope) this week, and what a week it was.

Every project I was working on from sports, to music to awards show red carpets – all cancelled but one. Coachella was moved to October and so far, SDCC remains in place, thankfully. I’ve joked about it for years, but who knew that people could really be so stupid? If we didn’t believe it before, there’s no reason not to, now.

Forests will suffer for centuries from the baseless TP and paper towel hoarding that took place this week. Fuck, even Amazon ran out of toilet paper. That’s when you know shit’s serious. I understand, people assume they will have to stay in their homes for two weeks and won’t want to go out, so the “smart” thing to do is buy a 10 or 70 week supply of bathroom tissue, all the hand soap they can carry, hole up and practice schadenfreude.

Now, I enjoy the dark gems in life as much as the next guy; hell, I spent most of last year consuming ALL of the foreign language crime/suspense series that Netflix could serve up and still wanted more, but this level of panic rivals that of Orson Welles’ 1938 Radio Broadcast of The War of the Worlds.

The radio play was extremely realistic, with Welles employing sophisticated sound effects and his actors doing an excellent job portraying terrified announcers and other characters. An announcer reported that widespread panic had broken out in the vicinity of the landing sites, with thousands desperately trying to flee.

At least these folks had a somewhat legitimate reason to be spooked, though. There’s no excuse for the way we’re acting right now. We’re supposed to be advanced, intelligent, informed and resourceful; aren’t we? For Christ’s sake, if extraterrestrials came upon us now, they’d think we were morons!

People, we have a very serious issue in this country, we DO NOT LIKE TO WASH OUR HANDS. That alone has probably caused far more illness than we like to admit. Because we have issues with handwashing and subsequently began getting sick so often, our society started to demand “a pill” to treat everything whether it could actually help or not. Our doctors threw antibiotics at us for years to appease our miserable asses. As a result, we have incredibly dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria, highly transmissible, lethal viruses which seem to appear every few years and just the latest in pandemics: novel coronavirus COVID-19.

It’s funny, SUDDENLY you close-talkers don’t want to stand too close, don’t want to touch anyone, you can’t bear to think about jamming into clubs elbow to elbow and sweating all over each other, or going into a public restroom, Where you once may have run your hands over every freakin’ surface in which you encountered, you force yourself to keep your hands in pockets.

Oh, so … NOW you want to bump elbows with me to mitigate possible germ transfer?

*Queue maniacal Ginger laughter*

Please. I’d rather just flip you the bird, exchange NO pathogens, release a bit of my pent up aggression in the process and call it a day.

And of course, this furnishes just one more reason for all those women who have absolutely no business hovering over a toilet, (oh, and you know who you are) to justify spraying urine 10 ft. in every direction when using a bathroom outside of their home. (Honestly, some days I’d rather put my ass in a urinal than attempt to find one useable toilet in a woman’s restroom.) You know you don’t have the thigh muscles, so just lay down a few layers of toilet paper, sit and save all of us that must come after you the trouble!

I mean, you just bought 300 cases of toilet paper; if there was ever a time you could afford to carry a roll with you, this would be it.

On Being Funny…

The tiny rural town I grew up in had a grand total of 5, (yes FIVE), redheads while I was in school. I learned from an early age to deflect the kids’ silliness (it wasn’t really cruel, just stupid) and names with humor. Was I the class clown? Sometimes, but unintentionally. I was just quick-witted and well-read. I’m not sure this still applies but back then, a fast comeback could shut someone down more effectively at that age than anything else.

I am a child of the late 70’s that came of age during the 80’s so books, MTV and magazines were the only windows onto the world that lay beyond my little New England town. I was fortunate in that I had the ability to retain an incredible amount of the information I encountered each day; regardless the subject. Little did I know that would be one of the biggest reasons I’d find success later on as an adult. At the time, however, everyone around me just thought I was a freak.

I didn’t mind, though. I liked being a freak.

I could bridge the gap between the metal heads, the academic/smart kids, athletes/jocks, losers and drama geeks and nerds. I had friends that spanned the entire spectrum. To this day, my circle of friends still aren’t sure how I was able to cross so many of those lines; but I did.

My real passion in HS was music and acting. I was thrown into the gifted and talented program for both as a sophomore. I was also gifted with a sense of humor and an impeccable sense of timing. We entered drama contests, many of which I was part of and left with individual awards. I made friends for life being part of those competitions. I think people assumed that when I left to go to college, I was leaving to go to LA and make my attempt at acting. SO much so, that there were crazy rumors flying around for a couple of years. Some said that I had gone to LA and was successful, but not so successful that I’d landed a role that anyone would recognize yet. The rest of the rumors basically had me as a failed actress making porn in the San Fernando Valley. [HA! Honestly, I couldn’t even be upset. I was so impressed that these small town people knew the San Fernando Valley was Porn Central, I couldn’t even frown!]

Neither happened, of course. But looking back, I do wish I had attempted something in entertainment. After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained; right?

I’ve met so many people that are amazing stand up comedians, entertainers, vocalists, musicians and actors over the years. Doing what I do can be so much fun. I occasionally get to spend time with very talented people that tell me I have talent, too. I just smile and nod, thank them and continue to listen to what they have to say. I’d rather listen to them than throw up lines and attempt to impress successful people. It’s not my style, nor do I think it’s my place to waste their time with my musings. If I can make someone laugh, smile or forget about the shitty day that they’re having, even for five minutes; that’s good enough for me.

A Monster Revealed

A few months have passed. Life has thrown a few curve balls my way, ones that I never expected. I’ve been trying to figure out how I got here and how to deal with the situation I find myself in. Some days I’m resolute, others I’m at a loss. It’s very unlike me.

The man I’ve been seeing has a mean streak. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a man spew the kind of vitriol that so easily escapes his lips when he gets angry with me. It’s disarming, looking at the handsome face, trying to rectify the ugly human that he becomes with the lovely man he can be. I think I finally understand how my mother felt when she suddenly found herself in an abusive relationship.

The sad fact is, as I sat with him last summer meeting a number of his friends for the first time, I received a lengthy message on Instagram from a stranger. Unfortunately, I read it. I truly wish I hadn’t because nothing has been the same since that day.

She told a lengthy and detailed story about how truly deplorable he can be, sending screen shots of text messages he sent using language that, at the time, I simply couldn’t imagine he was capable of summoning, let alone using.

She also included photos of a deep handprint that he had allegedly left on her buttocks the last time he slept with her just a couple of months before we met.

I was torn. I have never let my past color my judgement of someone and I do believe that everyone is entitled to the benefit of the doubt. But for some reason, this really stayed with me. It was for that reason when I found myself on the receiving end of the first verbal attack, I wasn’t sure what to do. He got slightly physical with me that day, grabbing my face and squeezing extremely hard and grabbing me by the arm so tightly that I screamed from both the pain and the shock of the deliberate actions.

The source of his anger that day? He went through my old phone while I was at work and read all of my correspondence going back as far as 4 months before we had even met. He found conversations, old and current that he didn’t like. He lost his temper, even spit in my face, but when he saw me cowered in the bedroom crying harder than I can ever remember crying, he collapsed in a heap of tears. His apologies went on for days. It appeared to be an isolated incident, we agreed to let it go and things seemed okay.

I should have known better.

That was last fall. I’ve been living with a constant barrage of insults; physical, verbal and emotional abuse. His favorite game to play is stringing me along as though he wants to have sex, only to throw the conversations he found upsetting in my face when I attempt to follow through.

He won’t leave. Unfortunately just before he blew up I asked him to move in. His name is on the lease, something he enjoys reminding me of every opportunity he has. I keep asking, though, hoping that he will finally grow tired of the game he’s playing with me, and move on.

In the unlikely event that actually happens, I will be sad but know that it was for the best. I am afraid, though, he’ll just stay here until I finally pick up and leave. Something I feel I need to truly consider, seeing as this has gone on rather consistently since the end of September.

Almost a Year

Somehow … as they say … things change but they stay the same.

I can’t say anything has really stayed the same in the months since I’ve moved out of my soon-to-be ex husband’s home. But I’ve been slowly digging myself, the very basis of who I am, out of the hole in which I buried myself over the years I was married. I’ve been going out. I’ve made a very close friend, something that I haven’t had locally in a long time. Most of my close and best friends are dispersed across the country. It’s so wonderful to have a dependable female friend so near. I hadn’t realized how much I missed that until I found it again.

I flirted with dating. That friend I’m so fond of and another acquaintance convinced me to sign up for Tinder back in February. I won’t lie, I was a few drinks in when I decided that was a fantastic idea. I awoke the next morning with over 200 “likes”. I was immediately overwhelmed and had no idea where to start or what to do.

I chatted with a couple of guys, and met a couple within a few weeks. No names shall be used here for the protection of those that both *pleased* and disappointed me.

The first guy I met was an incredibly intelligent, well-established and extremely fucking hot guy in his 40’s. Damn. Divorced for about as long as I had been married, he was a Dad and a commercial pilot. Upbeat, always positive and extremely funny – I was so happy that we connected.

The problem with seeing someone like that, of course, is the fact he’s busy. And, doing what I do, I can be working at all hours. Coordinating times to get together was rough, but we managed to keep each other laughing and turned-on while we were apart.

In the end, we only saw each other a total of 6 times, but they were all fantastic. If it hadn’t been for our jobs, we might have had a nice summer fling.

There have been others, of course. Some were frighteningly quick to obsess. They had to be sent off in the worst way, for which I feel truly terrible, but these guys refused to take what I was saying seriously. I wouldn’t call them stalkers, but they definitely showed the tendencies.

I’ve been very focused upon work these days. Things have been busy. My job has always been a bit larger than life. The two years leading up to the split, work was crazy.

Oh the stories …. but that’s for another time.

To be continued ….

Single Again

I really never expected to be married, then I was. It lasted a few years. We had a lot of fun together, then it wasn’t very happy anymore. He retreated to his corner, I to mine.

A few short weeks later a mutual friend bought a house and was worried about finding a tenant for the apartment he had to rent. Someone let him know I was looking and he shot me a text. I took it, sight unseen, and moved in 3 weeks later.

One day last year on a Sunday morning, standing in the kitchen, he blurted out that he wanted a divorce. Shocked? Sure. Only because I thought he’d never say it. I knew it would come eventually, but I thought I would be the one that would have to vocalize the words.

I miss my babies – not human babies – because we really don’t have a lot of those anymore in this day and age; but the furry kind. We agreed they would stay with him only because the only thing that was changing about my life was everything, and taking them would be a difficult transition. If they remained there, the only thing that would be different for them would be my absence.

I’m getting used to the silence.

I found it was more difficult to tell our friends and family about the separation than I thought it would be. My parents were upset. Honestly, I think my Mother loves him far more than she has ever loved me. Once we were married she started calling and emailing on a regular basis. Until then I was lucky if I received a call on my birthday, well actually, about a week after my birthday. Someone would remind her and then she’d call.

But, I got through it and here I am. Exactly where I was when I first moved here 25 years ago. Wondering if I’ll ever actually find someone in this ridiculous city with whom I can share this extraordinary life I have come to live.

Stay tuned, I’ll tell you a little bit about it.

All names will be changed to protect the guilty, not so guilty and guilty by association.