NOTE****** I take this pandemic and everyone’s safety VERY seriously. This blog is not meant to diminish the dire situation we are currently experiencing. However, a little humor in the worst of circumstances goes a long way to relieve stress, so I hope you can enjoy reading a bit of tongue-in-cheek comic respite.
“We’ll spray you down with Lysol in the garage when you get here from the airport. Then take your clothes off, and we’ll put them into the washing machine. I’ll give you a robe, and you can go upstairs to shower”, I read from my sister’s email discussing how we would handle my arrival from Florida to her home outside of Chicago for the Thanksgiving holiday. It was at that point in the email that I began to question whether I had made a wise decision to travel for the holiday.
It used to be easy. In August, I would make my November airline reservation, email the information to my sister, and forget about any of it until about a month before my intended arrival. At that time, we would get excited, start planning the food shopping and craft projects I would do with my great-nieces and nephews. They always looked forward to my fun projects which consisted of cookies made to look like turkeys, ice cream cone tepees, Pilgrim hat candies, and a variety of other creative activities.
This year, 2020, the year of a deadly Global Pandemic, was different. It took a lot of soul searching for me to even make the decision to travel. Having battled back from two life-threatening incidents in a year, including multiple hospitalizations, I had to decide if my desire to be with my family was worth risking my life. I decided it was, figuring that if I caught the Coronavirus and died, at least I would have seen my family before I checked out.
That was before the massive spike in cases this week and my sister’s email, which did not stop at my shower. She went on to say that, because of the danger of me bringing the virus with me from the airport, we would wipe down my suitcases with Clorox wipes, she would make sure my brother-in-law washed his hands thoroughly after he schlepped them upstairs, we would all wear masks in the house, and sit across the room from each other in the den. ( I guess I should mention that I was planning on staying for 10 days.) No hugging each other or the kids.
I am famous for my stuffing. If I do say so myself, it is the BEST I have ever tasted, ever, anywhere. Period. My family agrees, and look forward to diving into it every Thanksgiving. However, my sister continued in the email………….”We won’t let you chop any of the vegetables or touch the bread.” She said I could direct the operation, but she would prepare and serve all of the food.
As you know from my Pajama Blog and Pandemic Friendship Blog, I have been very careful, limit my exposure to almost no one, and never go out without my mask. BUT, to spend 10 days in my sister’s house in virtual isolation from her and the kids seemed hardly worth all of the effort it was going to take to get me there. Which included a mask, a face shield, a wearable air purifier, and wiping down every surface I touched in the airport and on the plane with sanitized wipes.
Her email went on to describe the massive spike in virus cases in Illinois, the daily changes in protocol and travel restrictions, and the new requirement that anyone traveling to Chicago from out of State must present a document certifying a negative COVID test within a certain time frame.
Understand that I am NOT complaining about any restrictions that are designed to slow the spread of the disease and keep us safe. And I certainly don’t want to contract the virus and bring it to my family. What I AM saying is……………..Am I nuts? Am I really going to suit up like an astronaut, expose myself to germs lurking in every molecule of the atmosphere, only to sit at the other end of the room from my family and not get hugs from anyone except the dog? Don’t get me wrong. I love the dog, but……………….
So after reading the email and watching the news detailing the new cases spiraling out of control, I decided to pull up my big girl panties, act like a responsible adult, and cancel the trip.
I called my sister to tell her, and with her voice breaking, she said to me…………. “But I was only kidding. I was being sarcastic. I didn’t really mean any of it.” Ah, the dangers of misinterpreting the written word. There is no “sarcastic” key on the keyboard.
After a reasonable discussion, she agreed that it was safer for everyone if I stayed home. A vaccine is imminent, and I do not believe there is a law that states we can’t have turkey and stuffing during a springtime or summer visit. Besides, if we postpone my visit until then, my son from California will be able to come!!!!
Guess what else? I saw my primary doctor today for a check-up to see how I was doing in my recovery from this past year’s health crises. He said I am doing great, and under no circumstances am I to travel anywhere until this pandemic is over. Do you know what that means? My Bubble Buddies are going to have the best Thanksgiving stuffing they have ever tasted. I guarantee it.