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By Melissa Martin

I am grateful for the option of working from home and getting paid, unlike others who lost jobs or filed for unemployment. However, working from home via technology was a newfangled experience for me. I don’t do Snapchat, Instagram, or Tic Tac. I mean TikToc.  

Excerpts from my work-from-home quarantine schedule and diary: 

Day 1 – This old dog can try to learn a new trick. I will practice using the remote tele-video system to work from home. I will look on the bright side: no commuting means more time for sleep; saving money due to eating lunch at home; wearing comfortable clothes day and night. I will prepare and prevail. I am woman—hear me roar.

Day 2 – Eek! You mean I have to look at my own face in the corner of the screen throughout the entire day. Argh! That means wearing makeup and fixing hair. Oh! You mean the person on the other end can see my messy home office space on her/his screen. Oaky. I will prepare and prevail.

Day 3 – Monday. I get up early in the morning to shower, dress, and eat breakfast. Adorn a nice shirt and jeans. Open laptop and work. Press the correct keys. Connect without glitches. I did it! Cook a nice dinner. Watch the evening news. Read online newspapers. Email, text, and talk to others about pandemic. Go to bed at usual time. 

Day 4 – Same as Monday.

Day 5 – Same as previous days, but go to bed later. 

Day 6 – Get up a little later. Drink coffee. Eat oatmeal. Shower and makeup. Throw on sloughy pants and a nice shirt. Turn on computer and camera. Cook a nice dinner. Watch the evening news. Read online newspapers.

Day 7 – Get up later. Drink coffee. Grab a protein bar. No shower, but wash hair and use some makeup. Change into daytime lounge pants, oversized shirt and cover with sweater. Turn on computer and camera. Cook a nice dinner. Watch the evening news. Read online newspapers. Talk about pandemic.

Day 8 & 9 – The weekend. Relax, watch some TV, text friends and family, read newspaper, backyard with pets, cook a nice dinner. Stay in yoga pants entire weekend. Listen to podcasts and favorite music. Stay up later. 

Day 10 – Second Monday sheltering at home. Get up much later. Drink coffee. Shower and no makeup. Make veggie soup in crockpot. Keep night pajamas on and wear sweater. Turn on computer and camera. Push computer to back of desk and hope coworkers aren’t wearing their eyeglasses. Watch meaningless TV and no news. Stay up too late.

Day 11 – Repeat above behaviors with intermittent showers until the weekend. Eat the reminder of Easter candy that I hid from my spouse. Binge watch funny animal videos. Trying to prevail. 

Day 15 & 16 – The weekend. Lots of rain. Clean house, bathe dogs, take a nap. Argue with spouse over who has to go to grocery store. Throw leftovers and canned food into crockpot and call it ‘stew surprise.’ If you keep a candy bar in each hand, you can’t accidentally touch your face when you venture out to pick up staples.

I took a mental health day off from work to have a heart-to-heart chat with my couch during self-isolation. “You have to go,” I proclaimed. Over the years, the poor thing has endured being chewed on, peed on, and vomited on by my dogs. The seating arrangement had to come to an end. Couch told me to keep the decorative pillows. No use for them in a sofa-assisted living facility. 

What day is it? Where am I? Am I in the Groundhog Day movie? Please open up the world so I can return to my office. I miss structure and sanity. And bakery bagels. I need a vacation from the quarantine, but no traveling allowed as of yet. 

Folks, there’s absolutely nothing funny about the coronavirus pandemic. But being quarantined at home can get weird, wacky, and witty.  

Melissa Martin, Ph.D. is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Ohio.

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