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Dose of Happy: Birthday Parade

Dose of Happy: Birthday Parade

**Heads up, this post was submitted when the pandemic was just ramping up…sorry it took so long to post!**

Hey The Band,

I’ve been confined with my very sweet and very trying children for about 18 days now (but who’s counting) and we have no idea how long all of this will go on. I know many of you are in the same situation.

The first week was HARD. School was cancelled abruptly and my oldest child had a very hard time with the change in routine. Think epic screaming & crying over very benign things for several days, most of the day. They were stressed and everything was too much for them. I felt much the same way, mostly due to the constant screaming, but I refrained from laying on the floor kicking and crying (in front of the kids, anyway). I did resort to screaming (in the garage) and drinking whiskey (in the kitchen) the night the school district cancelled school for 6 weeks.

Then there came one beautiful moment in the afternoon where I was washing dishes and my children were not screaming. It was a lovely 5 minutes and I decided to peek around the kitchen corner to see what they were playing. To my dismay, it was a game called “alarm clock” invented by the 7 year old, where in the 3 year old is instructed (forced?) to say “beep beep” and the 7 year old smacks the 3 year old in the face, to press the snooze then start over again. The 3 year old did not want to say “beep beep” any longer but desperately wanted to play with the 7 year old. Now, I love that my oldest child appreciates the utility of a snooze button, but smacking the 3 year old in the face does not fall under “nice games to play” in my book. We had a talk about consent and making sure that everyone is having fun while playing and NOT SMACKING PEOPLE IN THE FACE! Did I mention that this was when they were getting along?

So anyway, things have been up and down and we are trying to get into some sort of routine with learning at home. Things are still dicey, but we are finding some moments to play and connect. I’m no longer freaking out that everything is shutting down and I’m no longer obsessively checking the news and Facebook (at least not today). I’m settling into the idea that this is going to be going on for a lot longer than I originally anticipated and our state will probably cancel school for the rest of the year. This makes me very, very sad.

We have many things to be grateful for, we are healthy and have toilet paper and bread and a house and a yard and those are not small things right now. This doesn’t change that we are all stressed, I’m worried about my grandparents, and it feels like society is falling apart. I have friends with compromised immune systems and young children, friends with mental health struggles, and my own family’s mental health struggles that we’ve been slogging through for the past year and long awaited therapy and psych appointments- that I fought tooth and nail for- that have been postponed indefinitely. I find myself cocooning into my own space and my own family to escape the stress of everything going on outside of my control. I’m an introvert. I like a lot of time alone (not that I’m getting much of that these days), but too much time in my own head and the hobgoblins come out. I’ve never been good at connecting with people, really, or maintaining friendships. Socializing is freaking stressful for me, if there is more than one other person to talk to. However, for me connecting with the larger world in some way, shape, or form keeps me grounded. It reminds me that people aren’t all bad, that I’m not all bad, that there is hope and that some things will be salvageable.

My dose of happy today came from one very small act. A mom who lives nearby posted in a Facebook group that her son was turning 2 and she was so sad that she had to cancel his birthday party. Someone suggested that we organize a happy birthday parade and all drive by their house honking and singing happy birthday at the top of our lungs. I wrote “Happy Birthday!” on some paper and the kids colored pictures to tape to the car. We tied a couple balloons to the side view mirrors and joined a parade of about 6 cars, honking and singing to one very happy looking little boy and his family smiling from their front lawn. It was small, but it was something, and my kids and I needed a reason to celebrate, no matter how small. It was fun.

I heard a quote the other day “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” I’m not looking at the stars yet, and I don’t intend to forget that I’m in the gutter, but every once in a while I’m going to try to look up.

I hope you can find a way to do that too.

P.S. Google tells me the quote is from Oscar Wilde

 

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Ask The Band: Ripped In Two

Hello, The Band,

This is my first post here. I’m just going to jump right into it.

It all started two years ago when I met a guy. He was a friend of a good friend of mine. I developed a crush on him. I started having dreams – sweet dreams – about him. These dreams resulted in more dreams. Now, I have lost count of how many I’ve had. In the latest one we were in the backseat of a car and I had my head in his lap and he was holding my hand.

It was perfect.

Yesterday I found out he’s moving away; he didn’t tell me where.

I cried for half the day. I don’t even know him very well. We’ve never really hung out socially alone before. I’ve only seen him at parties my friend has thrown. I know it must seem a little crazy to have all these dreams about someone I barely know, but I think we have some sort of connection. Now we’ll never be able to explore that.

Not to say I haven’t tried. Boy, have I! I’ve contacted him several times on Facebook…once I worked up the nerve. He was hard to reach because I didn’t have his cell number, which I finally got from our mutual friend. She didn’t exactly approve of my crush on him at first but she came around eventually.

I did get in touch with him on Facebook. He said he didn’t want to give me the wrong idea that it would be a long-term thing…which was what I’d wanted.

So now I feel horrible. I can’t make him not move, and if I tell him what I just told you, it will scare him away.

I know it’s just a crush, but it feels like so much more. It’s like my heart is being ripped in two…as cliche as that sounds. I know there has to be someone out there for me. I’m tired of hearing, “It will happen when you least expect it.”

What do you think, The Band?

What should I do?

Ask the Band : Alcoholism & The Family

Dear The Band,

I have a couple of questions about alcohol and the family.

ask band

My spouse recently divulged that they drink much more frequently than I was aware of. They’re drinking including drinking regularly at work, in a parked vehicle.

I’ve been concerned with their drinking for a couple years, but it seems they have also become concerned with their drinking now – they said they don’t feel they can just “cut back” on their alcohol intake.

They’ve never lost a job or been arrested, but they spend most of their waking hours at home drinking beer; I’m concerned about the effects it has on their health, our budget, and our family.

They are drinking or asleep or grumpy most of the time and they don’t seem to be enjoying any of it.

They aren’t interested in doing anything aside from drinking, working, or sleeping.

I know I have zero control over if they actually quit or get help.

We’ve been together for well over a decade and we have young kids.

My spouse is a wonderful fucking person – that’s why I married them, and I know they can recover from their addiction if they commit to it and get help, I’m just not sure if/when quitting is going to happen.

To be fair I drank a lot too, when we first met, but I quit binge drinking after college and only drink rarely or at social events.

Here are my questions:

Is it possible to have a healthy family life with a functional alcoholic?

How do I help my spouse and not become codependent?

 

The Great Pandemic: Dispatches From Sweden

We at The Band Back Together Project are looking for your stories of what you’re going through in the time of the great pandemic. Please share your stories with us. You can use this to login, or you can send your story to becky@bandbacktogether.com or stacey@bandbacktogether.com.

Please share this around – we are none of us alone; we are all connected. You never know who’s lives you’ll change with your words.

This post comes courtesy of an OG friend who lives in Sweden; it’s a good taste about how life is around the world, plus she promised to eat any mayo I send her way (I LOATHE mayo)

As for now, me? I’m not coughing, and I’m not REALLY sick.

Just a slight fever (37.9 in real money (degrees Celsius), which is what, 150 in your weird measures? or is that for baking muffins?), and a higher resting heart rate than usual – and way high as soon as I do something. Like go upstairs.

Takes me 10 minutes to catch my breath after such strenuous exercise.

I’m not all alone though. My daughter moved home a couple of months ago – bipolar and a masters in biology with remote studies didn’t really work out, despite how much she loves biology.

She’s got a slight cough, now and then, but again, not very bad.

We sent my partner to his flat in the next town over on the 12th of March and it seems like he got out before we got infected, thank BoB.

He’s 25 years older than I am (and I’m 52 soon), so he’s more at risk.

I’ve been working from home since the 14th, had some minor niggles last week, but the fever hit on Saturday.

So now I’m going to work a little less, I suppose, and nap more.

I’m so glad I brought my work set up home – big screen, keyboard, “mouse” which is a big stick in a holder that you spin and slide along… I think it’s called a Bar Mouse, which frankly is awesome.

Cheers, Mouse!

So that’s comfortable.

Only nuisance is that being 160 cm tall (5’3”? maybe?) and having a desk that doesn’t lower, means that the chair is at it’s absolute top level (at least I have that, right?) and a foot stool that’s the hight of my sofa to keep my legs from dangling.

And nobody there to watch how funny that looks…

And work… we’re in the medical device industry, but since no planned surgery goes ahead ANYWHERE, sales have tanked.

And for emergency/trauma, people can survive without our products, even if they’d benefit… So.

Management are cutting their salaries by 20%, and ask staff to voluntarily cut ours by 10%, for 3 months. You don’t have to, and you won’t be punished if you don’t. I like that they lead by example, and that they do all they can to not have to let anyone go, even if it’s going to hurt a little.

Nothing compared with the company going under though, and having a job to get back to when things return to normal is quite motivating.

I agreed to it.

I hope it helps.

Spring is arriving, with a surprise overnight snow, the other morning. So there’s that. Isa power-cleaned the patio during the weekend, it’s a whole new colour!

But today, she’s tired.

We don’t have complete lock down, our leaders trust that most of us are sensible, and follow the recommendations (stay the fuck home!), and so far, it’s not too bad. Anyone who can work at home does. No more than 50 people allowed in one place, which seems to work.

I see people about, but then I don’t really go anywhere. The shop is pretty normal. We have toilet paper.

I mean, if people ignore it, they will of course put stronger measures in, but so far, not terrible.

Well, except Stockholm. Those people seem to think they are above the rules, which shows in the infection rates… (3.5 x the second worst region).

But maybe they learn. They are also learning that no, you are indeed NOT WELCOME at your summer house, because a) you come from an infected region and x) DON’T TRAVEL and 19) it’s a sparsley (sparesly? s’Parsley??? few people.) populated region where they go, and the hospital has NO capacity for extras, let alone the locals.

And as in the rest of the world, low stocks of face masks, disinfectant, protective clothing. Someone figured out that you can use overhead projector film to make visors, but then some bureaucrat said, hey that’s not been tested and approved, so you can’t use them.

I say screw that, it’s better than a naked face.

Hum. This turned out long. Sorry for the ramblings. If i were a blogger, I might have posted it. If you want to use it for the Band, feel free. Or not. You know.

anyway.

Love, hugs, and I’ll be happy to rescue you from any mayo that comes your way!

Maria, way over in Sweden and all.

The Great Pandemic: The Heartbreak & Hope

We at The Band Back Together Project are looking for your stories of what you’re going through in the time of the great pandemic. Please share your stories with us. You can use this to login, or you can send your story to becky@bandbacktogether.com or stacey@bandbacktogether.com.

Please share this around – we are none of us alone; we are all connected. You never know who’s lives you’ll change with your words.

It’s 3AM right now.

Of course I can’t sleep, which isn’t really new for me, but it seems new right now. Now, the things that keep me up all night are the unknown, the terrifying, and the huge.

These are the scattered thoughts, flitting around my brain – I’ve got to get them out of I’ll explode. Well, maybe I won’t, but I know I need to talk with someone other than my wife. She’s so patient and loves me so much but she needs a break.

Maybe we all need a break, but here goes what I’m thinking about.

There are so many things.

Just. So. Much. Pandemic.

I have friends that I love dearly. DEARLY. They are in Manhattan right now (currently a hotbed for CoVID-19) & I’m so scared that I might lose them.

I have family that are immunocompromised and/or are in a higher risk age bracket. I’m terrified that I’ll lose them too.

I, myself, am immune compromised! OMG! CRAP!

People are talking about comparable periods in recent history so we have some sort of frame of reference for how to act. Some are talking about 9/11, others are talking about the Great Depression (which my parent’s lived through), but it’s really not like that. I briefly considered the Cuban Missile Crisis based on the major fear we’re all trying to live through.

But it dawns on me: the early 80’s and HIV/AIDS crisis – originally called GRID (gay-related immune deficiency) – we’ve been through this – the fear, the isolation of sick people in hospitals, not understanding what was going on, what to expect, who would be sick, and how they would become ill. The lack of available medical treatments. And the fear; all the fucking fear.

Maybe one way to get through all this is ask one of your gays who lived through this what it was like back then: we’ll tell you to stay fabulous, keep on loving, and protect you and your loved ones at all costs.

My son’s school wants us to do internet learning with him. Are they stinking crazy? I’m not going to do that with him! He’s scared too – if I’m up at 3AM with all these thoughts, I cannot imagine trying to teach my kid but I will help him to do is best and help him if he needs it. I cannot imagine doing any of this homeschooling stuff people are doing – my son’s got enough on his little plate. He’s 13 – I can’t even IMAGINE being his age and going through this. If you think for even one minute that these kids think this is some type of extended vacation, you’re wrong: these kids are as scared as we are.

Every night now, around 7PM, people around the world are going outside, clapping and shouting and making noise for all these healthcare – and other essential – workers right now. These brave people put each other in actual danger every single day that they go to work. They’re exhausted. They’re overworked. They don’t even have the proper equipment to do their jobs safely. I mean, people around the world are SEWING masks for them.

This is insane. Absolutely insane.

We don’t have enough toilet paper and we can’t find any. All of the stores are out they don’t know when they are getting more. I guess we are going to have to start sewing toilet paper too.

What are people without homes going to do?

How do they stay safe?

What about people in prisons?

\How do we keep them safe?

CoVID-19 sucks.

This is the most bizarre experience of my life. I alternate between denial and absolute terror 23 times a day.

I went grocery shopping earlier today & it’s clear that people are on their last nerve.

It took all of my mental energy to get through that.

I wore a mask and gloves when I went out, and as a woman passed me and saw my mask she said me, “You know, if you’re healthy, those masks aren’t going to do anything for you anyway.” I acted like I didn’t hear her. Maybe the mask isn’t going to help. But it isn’t hurting her.

People are scared. Let it go. Have some compassion for each other.

That’s what I say to her in my head.

Then, I realized she is under unimaginable stress too. I gave her compassion and I changed my mental response to her – I reminded myself that she’s scared too.

There’s world-wide uncertainty right now & we’re all grasping for a feeling of control. She is too; she’s scared like the rest of us.

Maybe the way she is navigating her fear is wanting to know more than other people; she needs that right now. And so I mentally forgave her because I totally understand where she is coming from.

There is a beautiful sense of solidarity happening too. I think that it’s appropriate for me to be positive and hopeful here now. People all over are jumping in and helping. Delivering food and meds to people who can’t get out. Delivering food to hospital workers who are not able to get breaks to go out and get food for themselves. People are giving out free lunches for families who depend on the schools for those meals.

It’s quite beautiful.

I am so fortunate too.

I have a roof over my head, and no threat of losing that (at least right now). I have an amazing wife that is on this journey with me, and who is solid when I need her to be.

I get to be solid when she needs me to be, and that helps me just as much. I have an amazing son who is challenging and fun and healthy. I have food in my belly and no threat of losing that.

I’m fortunate. I’m privileged. I am also grateful. I don’t take this for granted.

I do have hope. And I do believe that everyone around the world is doing their very best to take care of each other.

What an amazingly strange time to be alive.

The Great Pandemic: The The ‘VID/The Flu & My Kid

We at The Band Back Together Project are looking for your stories of what you’re going through in the time of the great pandemic. Please share your stories with us. You can use this to login, or you can send your story to becky@bandbacktogether.com or stacey@bandbacktogether.com.

Please share this around – we are none of us alone; we are all connected. You never know who’s lives you’ll change with your words.

Last week (or was it 2 weeks ago – I’m not being coy – I honestly don’t remember) my dad called me, which is about as rare as me saying “I heart mayo” because I loathe mayo with the energy of a thousand suns. It’s not that we’re “not okay” or something, we just don’t have much to say to each other – he’s in California, I’m not. But, being alive in the Great Pandemic means you’re generally reaching out to people who you don’t normally talk to.

I’d expected him to say that either he or my mom had gotten The ‘VID because they’re old and they have multiple comorbidities.

I didn’t expect the words that spilled out of his mouth next: “we think Ben either has The Flu or CoVID-19.” I got the details, sparse as they were from them and tried, again, to reach my kid, but because he is a teenager, his phone is often off, which actually makes zero sense now that I’m typing it out, but that’s just the way it is.

ANYWAY.

That made his phone being off all the more concerning. But, I’m a good (wo)man in a storm and I’m all about fact-gathering rather than fear mongering or falling prostrate at someone’s… feet? Prostate? I’m not sure where I was going with that.

He’s in the same state, but not the same county, so I called that county’s health department and after I got through about 46 minute message telling me all the shit I already knew about The ‘VID (and pathogens in general), I was asked to leave a message. My guess is that that recorded seminar makes most people hang up, but I was in the car and had literally nothing else whatsoever to do.

I left my message and expected a return call about… let’s say NEVER? I figured they’d be hammered by everyone in the county to dispel some of the more outlandish things that Trump has said, so imagine my surprise when I got a callback.

Without having spoken with The Kid, I couldn’t really speak to what the symptoms he was facing were. His fever. His cough. But I did explain that he was safe and self-quarantined, and being a hermit and a teenager, had no thermometer OR desire to leave his hidey-hole. She sounded relieved.

When she was asked when he should get tested (this was when we all believed that we’d be able to get tested), she informed me – not unkindly – that “they’re not doing tests for “normal” people.”

Which is, I guess how another – WAY WAY WAY QUEEN OF BLOGS – blogger got herself tested twice (because two is better than one!!) and every asymptomatic celebrity who wants one can be tested in multiples. Me? I’m an OG blogger who’s been radio silent for years now – and my spawn aren’t special enough for a test.

But whatever. Only mildly bitter.

(lies)

The other nurse confirmed what I’d thought: stay in quarantine for 3 days after the fever broke (he doesn’t have a thermometer, I was thinking, but okay). Don’t go out until the cough is gone. All the other infection control protocols were in place, so yay. Oh, and the county hadn’t had a SINGLE confirmed case yet.

I wanted to yell “BECAUSE THERE ARE NO CELEBS AROUND THERE, ASSHOLE,” but it’s not her fault so I kept my grousing to myself. And, I guess, now to you.

Because I was unable to access The Kid for a couple of more days, my dad and I spoke daily – The Kid was on an upswing, then downswing, then up, then down. Finally, The Kid, Himself, called me. I told him what I’d learned from the health department (nothing I didn’t know EXCEPT that you have to have a platinum vagina to get tested). He said he’d called the hospital at one point a couple of days before, because he was coughing so hard he’d pass out.

Awesome.

The gist of it was “suck it up buttercup, you can’t come to the hospital with a cough,” which threw me through a loop.

AWEsome.

I’ve been texting with The Kid and he’s still got the cough and is doing a sleep-eat-play (video games before he passes out again) – cycle, which I’d been doing the week before. Whelp, without the video games.

He has his piano keyboard so he’s keeping busy, but he’s now, like the rest of us, falling pretty depressed. Like him (and I’d be guessing a good number of you as well), I’ve been struggling to even get off the couch. Today marks my first day back on the computer doing something other than watching the dwindling amount of traffic on the road and all of the incantations of My 90 Day Fiance – FOR THE SECOND TIME – which is just absurd enough to keep me from becoming a total slug.

(most days)

TL;DR

My kid sounds like he had CoVID-19 but was to normal, per the health department (who also stated that there were no confirmed cases in that county) he was too normal to be tested.

The hospital told him that if he had a cough – one of the dangerous-this-may-kill-you hallmarks of CoVID-19 – he couldn’t come into the hospital.

So my kid likely had CoVID-19, but it’s unlikely we’ll ever know,

He’s depressed now, I’m depressed, hell, everyone I know is depressed.

But, I dragged my ass to the computer to give you a taste of what it’s like in my world.

Now we need to hear yours: we are none of us alone; we are all connected.

Please, login here, or send an email to becky@bandbacktogether.com or stacey@bandbacktogether.com to let us know what life is like in YOUR world.