My COVID-19 Time Capsule
I found out about COVID-19 back in January when it was in China. I didn’t think much of it because it was not affecting me here in the United States. Fast forward to two months later and life as I knew it is completely changed.
I was sitting on my couch at home in Bucks County, Pa., during spring break when I felt my phone vibrate. I read an email from the president of Penn State University, Eric Barron, that said students will not be returning for the remainder of the semester. Our classes would be held online.
My stomach turned. Selfishly, I wanted a better ending to my final semester in college.
The weeks that followed were something no one has seen before. Businesses shut down. Funerals, weddings, graduations, and proms cancelled. Gas stations and roads empty. Masks and gloves are the new normal. Standing six feet apart from the guy in the line at the grocery store is now a rule. Social distancing, which includes staying in our homes, is the best hope we have of saving lives.
COVID-19 is emptying roads all across the nation. In Bucks County, Pennsylvania route 611 is empty on March 17 at 7:03 pm. The shell gas station only had one car, which is abnormal for this gas station. Hopefully, everyone is in quarantine so this virus can fade out. #Covid19GlobalView #comm481virus
On March 16th, Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania announced that we were ordered to stay at home. There is no leaving our homes for anything but essentials like food or the doctors. My main concern was protecting my step-dad, Pat McAnally.
Pat was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, about 13 years ago. This disease affects the lungs, which means if he gets COVID-19, he is more likely to experience serious complications. My family and I are doing everything we can to protect him. Staying at home is key. If we need to leave the house to go to the grocery store, we are wearing a mask and gloves.
We have created a new normal at home. During the week, we are working and finishing school. Mom cooks dinner each night and on occasion, we play a card game after. On the weekends, we enjoy cocktails on the deck. If there’s no wind, we will go down by the fire and listen to music. Our house on the weekends is called “the bar on the hill.” My sister came up with that name because we are located on top of one.
We take turns going to the grocery store about once a week. Our house is always stocked with food, but mom is definitely getting tired of cooking so much. My sisters and I do the best we can to help her out so that she can relax a bit too.
On some nights, usually the weekends, we like to support small businesses and order food, whether its pizza or cheesesteaks.
We all chip in on the house cleaning. I usually have the job of cleaning my room and all the floors in the house. My sister, Rachel, cleans her room and the bathrooms. Then, my mom will take on the rest of the house.
We have had to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, Easter, and soon, a graduation in quarantine. My sister Rachel turned 23 on April 3. Before COVID-19, we would have gone out to dinner at a nice restaurant and enjoyed a cocktail. Instead, we ordered a pizza, had a Zoom call with extended family, and sang happy birthday.
My grandparents celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary this month as well. My mom, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, and I did a drive by celebration. Normally they would be in sunny Florida on the beach enjoying the sand. We wanted to celebrate in some way, so we drove by their house with signs and cheers to help brighten up their day. In the 57 years they have been married, they have never stayed home on an anniversary.
Easter was very enjoyable for us. We baked, dyed easter eggs, sat outside, roasted marshmallows, had an egg hunt, and laughed a lot. Normally, Easter would be at my house anyway, but it was definitely different without my extended family. We tried not to dwell on it though.
Some days are hard because we feel like we're stuck and isolated, which in some ways we are. We are all experiencing fear of the unknown. Not knowing how long we will be here, or when we will be able to go back to work.
But some days are so fulfilling too. Being able to spend this time with my mom, step-dad, and sisters has been such a blessing. We have all gotten to know each other like we never have before.
To be honest, I was nervous when I found out we’d all be quarantined together for this long. I didn’t think we would get along as great as we have. But it’s been better than I ever could have imagined.
Overall, my time in quarantine has taught me a lot. I’ve learned to never take anything for granted, hug my friends a little tighter, and that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
After 42 days in isolation these are the games we have decided to play as a family:
2. Left Right Center
4. Tic Tac Toe Flip Cup
5. Rummy 500
6. Cards Against Humanity
8. Guess the Sound
9. Capture the Flag