Covid19 – The Lighter Side of Isolation

One big difference between men and women is that when women say “smell this”, it usually smells nice.

It’s been a week, and it’s getting tense on the home front. Isolation with my husband is making me crazy. 

I know. I should be a good sport about this, and I am. But my husband and I have different opinions (which is not unusual) about sanitation rules and disinfection. 

First, you need some background. I was an OSHA instructor for dentists for over ten years when the outbreak of HIV and AIDS swept across the US and the rest of the world. (It was during that period OSHA regulations were written requiring ALL dental employees to wear gloves and face masks during treatments and change them with each new procedure). What I learned myself, and later taught to dental practitioners, makes me highly sensitive to infection control and disease transmission.

My husband, on the other hand, is known to drink out of the dog’s water in the car, dries with the dog’s towel if it’s close when he needs it, uses his fork to feed the dog at the table and thinks dog hair is a clothing accessory . Let’s just say, my hubby is definitely not a germaphobe.

Because of these apparent differences, hand washing is an issue in our home. Alan, my husband of 50 plus years, is not an enthusiastic hand washer. On the contrary, he uses a couple of tablespoons of lukewarm water, a smudge of soap and rubs his hands just long enough to hear the word “Birthday,” once. (You know, we’re supposed to wash our hands until we’ve sung Happy Birthday all the way through.)

I, on the other hand, wash my hands until I’ve sung “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Like a surgeon, I use my elbows to turn the water off and on and hold my hands erect until dried with a sterile towel. (I’ve watched a million episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and Trapper, John M.D.)

No amount of coaxing, enticing, inducing, teasing, pleading, tempting, bartering, cajoling, needling, or sweet-talking is going to change my husband’s ways. His actions make me ask, “How can anyone so smart be so dumb and stubborn?” I texted my daughter-in-law about my frustration. “Big chief makes his own rules. I am but a squaw, good for fetching water and tanning buffalo hides.”

Your husband is the perfect person to tell your secrets to; he won’t tell anyone cos he’s probably not even listening.

While Alan comes and goes from work, his job is considered “essential,” I take care of the house, wiping down all the counters, changing towels, and spraying Lysol on everything. (I wonder if my cough has anything to do with all that spray?) 

The TV clicker is another point of contention. If you don’t have clean hands, the clicker is going to be dirty. Right? I think so, so I spray it with Lysol regularly. “For goodness sake, Paula, you’re killing me with all that alcohol spray.” “Better that than Covid19,” I say in defense.  

We keep busy to ward off boredom. I’ve cleaned out the refrigerator, edited all my contacts in my phone and laptop, organized all my cupboards, filled two bags of items for the Goodwill, and written several articles for our office blog. I’ve texted old friends and emailed all kinds of people that deserved communication. Actually, I’m running out of projects.

This is our rescue dog, Chico. Alan always says, “He’s keeping us alive.”

The one family member that loves our isolation is Chico, our dog. He’s a tummy-loving lush who paws us constantly for more attention. Honestly, he hopes this home-stay lasts forever. Chico is getting four or five walks a day (the buildings near our high-rise are practically empty), and since I’m cooking more than usual, he’s getting fat. (Whoops…I mean he’s weight-challenged.)

Speaking of fat, I am going to send China a bill for my Weight Watchers’ tab when this whole thing is over. I’m being modest when I say I have gained 10 pounds. Food is my only pleasure. (Sorry, Alan.) Why in the world would anyone hoard toilet paper? It’s Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix and wine I worry about. 

We are beginning to memorize the words in commercials. “Hello. I’m Mike Lindell inventor of My Pillow. Thanks to your support, you’ve helped My Pillow become one of the most successful businesses in America.” See, I told you so. And, when you begin to think that Flo, from Progressive, is a personal friend, you know it’s time to turn off the TV. 

All kidding aside, we have nothing to complain about. When you think about the young men and women who have gone off to war, leaving home and family…some for years, facing life-threatening situations daily and returning injured and maimed, being cooped up in the comfort of our homes is a minuscule sacrifice, indeed. Or, when you think about the courage of a young child, like Anne Frank, who hid with her Jewish family for two years in an attic to flee Nazi persecution, putting up with each other’s quirks, is nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Stay safe, friends. 

We’ll get through this and be back to work and wish we could take a few days off before you know it. 

Virtual hugs to you all.…Paula