Chapter One Hundred and One: Ma’am and the Lucky Charms plumber…

Why is it that everything happens to break during quarantine?

We now have one working toilet so  Confused  Husband thought it would be a good idea to bring home Indian food. Hours later a situation occurs that is slowly turning into a scene from Les Mis in front of the bathroom door. I don’t have the bandwidth to participate in a Hunger Games event to win the “use of the bathroom”. Teenage son decides it would be grand to hold a debate where each of the “Need to use the loo candidates” could campaign as to why they should get first dibs on the toilet. While they were practicing their campaign speeches I took full advantage and utilized the empty loo.

I then dropped out of the running for office of occupancy of the bathroom and continued my night. Sometimes I question my choice of quarantine people, I mean I know they are my family but, is there like a quarantine rule that you have to quarantine with them?

The next morning, we have a massive leak that runs through our dining room chandelier like Niagra Falls.  I have teenage son come view it, kind of like a “Stay-cation’ type event.  I also worry about the thought of having to bring in a stranger during quarantine and find it extremely unnerving. Of course, being the Charlie Brown family, we get a senior version of the Lucky Charms leprechaun as our plumber. Red and grey hair askew, with the height of an elementary school student. Mask intact he hems and haws at our plumbing situation. He also informs us that his plumbing partner has Coronavirus. I feel so much better now! he is sweating like a nun in a cucumber patch, and all I can focus on are his Coronavirus infected sweat beads dripping on my floor.

The Lucky Charms plumber also has a spontaneous chuckle instead of a period at the end of each statement. I don’t see the humor in our leak. He is also small enough to fit into the access panel for the bathtub. For a moment, I picture him setting up his home in there. Between his purging about his ill workmate and plumbing lingo, all I can focus on is his what I now consider sinister chuckle.

Teenage son actually ventures out of his room cave to inform me that his bed is broken and the shaving bottle cap has accidentally been flushed down the toilet. WTF???

I wonder how many murders will have been committed during quarantine?

I hear that sinister chuckle, and fantasize that I could murder the leprechaun and stuff him in the access panel. I know he fits in there, so I wouldn’t have to chop him up.

Teenage son and Confused Husband are a whole different situation. How could I successfully dispose of them? These are my thoughts during quarantine and I am not afraid to share…

Chapter One-Hundred: Ma’am’s take on commercials during quarantine…

I have consumed hundreds of hours of TV being in quarantine lockdown. I now consider myself a commercial connaisseur. Take note of how each commercial has the same dramatic melancholy background music.  It is like the national commercial theme, swelling as if John Williams has written it himself. The crescendo of violins, clash of symbols, its all so intense.

The people in the commercial looking pensive on either a bike ride, picnic, or looking out the window of their beach house while a soothing narrator informs us that if you have these symptoms and are suffering then take a pill a day it will get rid of your ailment!  The music tempo becomes sprier, and you can hear the ecstatic build up in the narrator’s voice. The people on the screen no longer look whistful but they become more animated and energetic as they dance around, laughing while riding their bikes, and getting romantic during their picnic. The narrator then drops the side effects bombshells: may experience: oily discharge, migraines, rashes, diarrhea and or constipation, tooth loss, blindness, and or deafness, BUT for a brief moment you may be happy and your heartburn will be gone!

The commercials have you believing that all of these horrific side effects are worth it in order to get rid of your heartburn! They also have you thinking that perhaps you have this condition based upon these symptoms! I usually find that I have at least three out of the five symptoms and wonder if I should get a prescription! I am gobsmacked by the names of these pills as well! They either sound like a fancy Italian Countess, a snazzy French restaurant, a perfume, hip baby moniker, or a Greek God! Names like: Codinza, Fleurava, Jardinde, Allegra, Primolut Nor, Zalaphlon, Bacillus, I mean I have to sign up with Rosetta Stone just to pronounce them!

I also question how happy the people in the commercials seem to be! How can a man be smiling over erectile dysfunction? A woman acting sexy as the narrator looming in the background states that she is bloated and having hot flashes? Do the pharmaceutical companies really think we are this dumb?

I also want to know why every little twinge, ache, rash needs a pill? I mean Confused Husband tried to pull that restless leg syndrome shit with me and  I not being a doctor and not even playing one on TV informed him that his legs were atrophic due to non-use during the quarantine., all he needs to do is become vertical and walk.

Bad enough we have to worry about the pandemic! Now we may have all of these other ailments to worry about on top of this! Some of the commercials make having heartburn worse than the present plague!

I don my mask and gloves and venture out for my walk, all the while the looming commercial theme plays over in my mind like a bad song. I fall victim to the subliminal messaging of the commercials, noticing symptoms as I walk.  Thank goodness my walk of doom is interrupted by another lone masked walker informing me that a swarm of Monster Bees was spotted on Constitution Avenue! Now I have another thing to focus on…

Chapter Ninety-Nine: Ma’am wonders about emerging from the cocoon…

When we all emerge from our quarantine cave cocoon looking like Tom Hank’s character in the movie Castaway. Flocking to the hairdressers, barbers, nail salons, in droves. Will we be able to not break out in a panic if someone isn’t standing six feet away from us? Will we scream out”social distancing!” like a bad case of Tourette’s? Also, I have noticed the irony of “six-feet” (apart as well as under-just something to ponder and stress about!)

Putting makeup on the bottom half of our face will be another challenge because we won’t have a mask to hide the lower half. We will have to remember to wear pants as we will not be sitting in a Zoom activity but be verticle and walking.  Shaving our unused quarantine appendages AKA – legs. Or perhaps be hairy crabs unable to walk upright due to atrophy will be the norm.

Can we do this? What about Netflix withdrawal?

I contemplate this scenario and these questions as I watch my family of couch potatoes. Can we assimilate back into society? Can we view life from neither the left, right, nor middle part of the couch? Will our dog be able to relearn that he is now not going on hundreds of walks a day?

Are we now socially defective?

The idea of carrying on a normal conversation that doesn’t involve the vocabulary of toilet paper, Lysol spray, and hand sanitizer will be a formidable task.  These are the million-dollar questions. Will we fail at this?

I have huge doubts about myself and my family. If lethargic, unmotivated, quarantine teams were in the Olympics, my family would be taking home the gold. How can I brag about how wonderfully my family has fit into the realm of quarantine couch potato-ness? How this is perhaps their true life’s calling? No need to take Acts, Sat’s etc.. they have found their career of Couch Potato- ism…

Chapter Ninety-Eight: Ma’am is starring in her own Groundhog Day movie…

Since quarantine, every day seems like Groundhog day.  Remember the classic movie with Bill Murray?  The weatherman wakes up and EVERY DAY is the same? Well, I am living it! Every morning I awake, I kind of already know what is going to happen! Coffee, shower, grey sweats pulled on, and Netflix.  All of the Netflix shows meld together. Lars, Bjorn, and Heinrich are all looking and sounding the same to me. I can’t keep up if its Dutch, Finnish, Norweigan, or Swedish, and oh, don’t forget Icelandic being spoken!

My grey sweatpants remain the standard quarantine ensemble. I even watched a full hour show before realizing I still had my mask on! Even our dinners are tasting the same. Gone is the excitement of trying new recipes! Now, I feel like a short-order cook at Waffle House!  All etiquette rules are out the window! No more dinners at the table! Some are on the couch, others in front of the computer!  pretty sure that the other night, Confused Husband even took his dinner into the bathroom to have some space away from us!  How much new conversation can one have with people they are sequestered with twenty-four seven?! What do we have to say to one another? How was your day on the left side of the couch?

I am afraid to change things up and have a Murder Mystery dinner, because there may be a real murder! I compare it to being on our own desert island in the middle of the city. Instead of jungle sounds and ocean waves, through open windows from the sidewalk below,  we hear things  shouted out like:” Target has hand sanitizer and toilet paper!” ” Put a mask on!”  It is like the Town Crier has declared a Royal event.

I am tired of watching tutorials on baking sourdough bread, home facial masks, garden cocktails, the perfect roasted chicken. I want to go to a restaurant and pick my cocktail and food from the menu, not turn into Laura Ingalls Wilder and have to forage and make my own. I am LAZY! I am not ashamed to admit this! I don’t want to sit in front of my computer and have another friggen ZOOM event! How many more times do I have to look at the screen and see the Brady Bunch type pattern of people in their little squares talking, yelling, and freezing over each other?! Plus we know most of us aren’t even wearing pants! Which is awkward in itself!  What more can we possibly say to one another?! Oh, I watched Netflix and since my grey sweats are in the wash, I am pantless! I’ve got NADA!, RIEN!

Who are these people posting stuff like: “Living the dream?!” all dressed up, perfectly coiffed and smiling?! I look like I have been held for ransom in the Amazon for a year! What about the ones starting their own businesses??? HOW??? Quarantine Wine,(made by two sisters who apparently had a vineyard in their backyard.) What about the douchebag who cut an album titled; “Love in the time of Coronavirus.” and plays sultry songs on his sax, in his bathrobe perched from his fire escape! WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE????!!!!

My writer friends and community are all being productive! I stare at their Twitter posts in awe! Some are on their second WIP, others are querying and entering writing contests. I am liking their posts making comments, giving them positive reinforcements with GIF’s like: “Go, Girl!” “You got this!”  whilst I sit in my grey sweats like a loser. The only hope I have is tomorrow to start a new, like Bill Murray’s character I will wake and attempt to begin again, what have I got to lose?

Chapter Ninety-Seven: Keeping up with Coronavirus Jones’ quarantine…

I have a great friend she is earthy-crunchy and calm. For example, when we go to the park and get hungry, while I search for a food truck, she forages and grazes like a goat off of edible flowers, berries, etc. Out of all my friends, she can survive this quarantine. She is like Mother Nature. We have Zoom cocktail time. Our group of friends is all chugging down wine and excited! I am thrilled to have put on lipstick for our big Zoom moment. ( Which in itself was a chore!).

My earthy-crunchy girlfriend shows us the new dining room table she has whittled from a fallen tree near her home. The Elderberry wine she is consuming is her own brand started from the small vineyard she has manufactured in her garden after watching a tutorial on YouTube. She drinks from the hand-blown glass she has blown herself. The wreath of flowers in her hair (which of course she made) is from her wildflower garden which she plotted over the past month. She informs us losers that tomorrow she is making scented candles. WTF???!!!

Then she asks me what have I been doing during this quarantine time? I sheepishly say:” Writing!” No need to elaborate that I was writing on Yelp complaining about our cold pizza that Skippy the pizza delivery boy left on our neighbor’s porch in the rain, and telling potential future customers to NOT order from there again!

I then brag about how I am learning Finnish ( no need to share not via Rosetta Stone, but via Netflix whilst binge-watching Finnish crime shows). She seems impressed and asks me to say something in Finnish. I say my go-to line:

Lars on sarjamurhaaja( Lars is the serial killer) Bjorn ei pidä poronlihasta, minkä vuoksi hän kuristi Elsa( Bjorn doesn’t like reindeer meat, that is why he strangled Elsa.). My Earthy friend seems impressed!

I now have bragging Tourettes. The braggadocious bending of the truth flies out of my mouth! ( I blame the Rosé ) Like a Real Housewife Of New York Rosé all day!

My Pinnochio diarrhea of the mouth continues. Listening to this Kilamanjaro mountain of lies shames me. I am a runaway train of lies. If my truth was discovered, my true reality of sitting in my Coronavirus uniform of grey sweats binge watching Netflix and eating whatever wasn’t nailed down. I would be mortified! I continue with this diatribe of sin. Sharing ONE true fact, how I ate Pistachios. I lie and say that I grew from my Pistachio garden (do Pistachios even grow in a garden? Tree? Bush?) If I were a real Pistachio farmer I would know this! WTF?! I would have been better drinking Almond milk and saying I milked an almond(must Google later: Can you milk an Almond?)

I a little too forcibly say how I have created an International film club( which in reality is my friend/ neighbor watching British movies most of them consisting of starring Hugh Grant. Whilst we drink coffee and comment on how we want to live in England.

I am noticing all of my friends laughing hysterically. I am caught in my web of quarantine lies. Like my Scandinavian criminals I have become so fond of when caught, I began the ugly cry and my apology tour. Instead of confessing to having fed Olaf the poison herring because he slept with my sister and I liked him and was jealous of Stine the handsome police Captain. I through tears share my shame. I am a Coronavirus quarantine failure! Anderson Cooper will not be doing a ” Hero in the time of Coronavirus” special on me. I will instead be the poster child( I mean middle-aged poster Loser on Coronavirus quarantine failures.) It is my walk of shame and me and my bottom half consisting of grey sweats is walking it. Yes, on top I have on a fancy shirt and statement necklace, but the bottom half is my ugly grey sweat Coronavirus truth.

I am shocked and frankly outraged watching my friends howl with laughter at my lowest point.

Finally, I end my soliloquy of sin. Mother Nature with her damn wine, handblown goblet, and perfection, speaks through giggles and informs me that my sound has been cut off and they haven’t been able to hear a word I have said! She chimes in how it was like watching a crazy silent film! Between my mouth moving a hundred miles per minute, and my hand gestures it was like watching a Charlie Chaplin flick she announces through hysterics. Then she points out once I began the ugly cry, I emulated Clara Bow which sent them all over the edge with hysterical laughter.

Well, well, well, the Zoom God’s have smiled upon me, protecting me from my self. I breathe a sigh of relief. But, wait, what kind of friends do I have that laugh as I am bearing my soul?! I even made the effort to dress my top half for them!

I guzzle a huge chug of wine and start by telling them all about my new found hobby of …

Chapter Ninety-Six: Ma’am a quarantine entrepreneur…

Okay so perusing through lifestyle blogs during quarantine has been enlightening! Turning brown bananas, mushy avocados into facial masks, scrubs, etc… don’t even get me started on what you can do with oatmeal! Forget these people showing you how to make banana bread( yawn!) I am going to make myself the ultimate banana/avocado/pomegranate/sugar mask and at the end have the skin of a newborn! Gone will be the wrinkles, crevices, age spots, pores!  I will look ageless! This is sooo exciting!

Mixing it all together in my blender I am actually smiling! Positivity! Quarantine can be a good thing! I am learning new skills! Also, my soon to be mud mask smells DELICIOUS! I read on my newfound skin guru’s MadEson’s blog. ( I smile at how clever and daring  she must be to spell her name with a Capitol E in the middle!) MadEson says adding yogurt to your mask smoothie cannot hurt! I dig around in the fridge and find some semi expired yogurt. Who cares if it has a greenish hue? It’s going on my face!

Oh! MadEson the SMARTEST millennial I have ever read is also mentioning Tumeric as a face mask ingredient! I find some unopened Tumeric with a good before 2000 expiration date( again I say out loud to reassure myself, as I sprinkle more than half of the bottle),  “It’s going on the face!” Wow further down the post my intelligent guru mentions paprika! I throw a dash of that in as well and blend away! I am on a roll! Visions of my future entrepreneurial enterprise enter my mind! I will become the middle-aged skincare with ingredients from your kitchen guru! The Louise Nevelson of the face masks! although my mask is really lumpy! I trust MadEson!  I throw some honey in for good measure and scent. I am happily blending away!

Confused Husband and teenage son enter the kitchen for their usual hourly grazing time. They watch my cornucopia of blended items. Assuming it is for them they get out crackers and chips for this unusual dip their short-order chef is creating. I have an EPIPHANY! I can make my mask and whatever’s left can be their dip! I will kill two birds with one stone! I AM BRILLIANT!  I scout in my fridge for more expired or soon to be items! I realize this is how Lewis and Clark must have felt! I am on an ingredient expedition and I feel GRAND! 

Visions of a Martha Stewertesque empire pop into my head! Who would have thought I  would become an entrepreneurial success story during quarantine? I must practice my speech when those people from Shark Tank are praising me on Anderson Cooper’s 360 show! I will sit there and modestly smile and drink in all of my accolades! Nodding while they profess my making lemonade out of lemons spirit!  Plus, I will be a good 20 lbs lighter due to Confused Husband’s lack of foraging skills at this time. Yes, it’s a win, win for all!

Hours later, all I can say is all of my entrepreneurial dreams have been tossed down the toilet along with the remnants of the mask/dip from the blender. My face is stained from the Tumeric/ Paprika. I look like an Oompa- Loompa and Lobster have bred. I have hives from what  I suppose is from some of the expired items. Confused Husband and son after ingesting my ” “Found ingredients dip” have used up their toilet paper allotment for the week in several hours. They are not happy campers! 

I am in the process of sending that millennial imbecile MadEson a nasty email with the promise of a future lawsuit! How could I have trusted someone who has a capital letter in the middle of her name??? 


Chapter Ninety-Five: Ma’am has new Coronavirus quarantine activities, well kind of…

During the lockdown, most are trying to make lemonade out of lemons. Some are learning a new language, others are Zoom exercising, studying Zen yoga, or perhaps learning how to make the most perfect chocolate Soufflé. Everyone is being creative in their own way… Everyone that is except in this household.

If Netflix binging was a competition this family would be the reigning champions! I think we have watched every single International  Scandanavian serial killer crime show series ever made. From these, we have planned our future overseas trips. As Confused Husband has pointed out, the closest he has gotten to Scandanavia is IKEA.

We enjoyed the serial killer show that took place in Reykjavík Iceland so much that we decided that will be one of our first stops. We now know how to say “help, thanks, blood, murder” in Icelandic so we should be good!  We also know how to say:” This reindeer meat tastes different!” “Call Ketell and tell him to meet us at the bar!”

Next, we are headed to  Denmark, where we will walk in the footsteps through the city of Copenhagen, where Denmark’s ladies of the night were last seen before they disappeared. On the case the handsome Detective Hagan Agner. We know how to say:”I am not a streetwalker, Are you going to murder me?” in Danish, so we should be able to get around. From there we will head to Norway where we will visit the cute little village where the Norweigan serial killer cooked, and then served his victims to the locals out of his cafe. We have learned from Season One how to say: “I would prefer a Krumkake instead of the Herring”. From Season Two we learned: “Do I look like a prostitute? “, “I need a police officer because I found a dead body.” “I don’t think Lars killed himself!”  So we should manage fine in Norway.

Heading out of Norway into  Stockholm Sweden,  we will visit the bridge where the lead detective’s partner Elsa (who was also his secret paramour) was pushed off by his wife to her death. We also can speak some Swedish with words like: “help, you did it! guilty, strangulation”, and several sentences such as:” Do you think that Steinar killed Bjorn?”, “Tell Fanner that he needs to interrogate the Butcher.”

We will end our Scandanavian Serial Killer Tour in Finland. Into Helsinki, we will venture! Visiting the port of Helsinki where Väinö the local mobster held Inspector Kokko’s daughter  Aune in an old shipping container as a hostage. We know how to say: “Where is my daughter?” “I will ruin you!” “You are the Helsinki Godfather!” “Someone get me a coffee!”  in Finnish.

Perusing these conversations, I must say in a way we are learning NOT one but FIVE languages! Maybe it does pay to be a Netflix binger?!