Thursday, April 30, 2020

Day 46

Day 46, self quarantine:

So I’m getting my garden.

It’s going to be challenging. There’s literally ten years of neglect back there.  It’s kind of horrifying, actually, but Saturday and Sunday are supposed  to be nice and I will be satisfied if we can just fill up some garbage bags to start.

As Gary reminded me while rolling his eyes, we have to take it slow because  I have a bad back and now apparently a bad shoulder, too.

Why do I always forget I’m old, dammit?

I was brushing my hair when out of nowhere, it felt like my left arm separated from its socket.  Naturally, I’m left handed.  I freaking saw stars and let out quite a spectacular shriek, scaring the poor dog so much he shrieked back.

Gary, not so much.  He yelled from the other room, “What now?”

A shoulder dislocation or whatever the hell this is, is some serious pain.

Oh well.  I’m not going to the doctor during a pandemic, I just won’t brush my hair anymore.  Who’s going to notice, anyway.

But I will go out back to my dreamed of magical garden, and do heavy bending and lifting.  At least in theory. 😂😂😂

See, this is the problem with all of my schemes.  I never think them through.   Also, because I’m always in denial about my age, I continue to have fantasies like a 19 year old while forgetting I’m like 89.

I’m always plotting something, though luckily most of the time it stays in my head.

Gary calls the two of us Lucy and Ricky Ricardo.  Well, actually, he calls me Lucy and he assumes he’s Ricky.

Please no one tell him he’s really Ethel.

So yeah, I’ll just hoist up those rusted barbecues, bicycles and tree limbs with my bad back and *cough* throw them over my separated shoulder and dump them...where?  The sidewalk in front of my house? 

Oh god, downtown life.

We’ll figure it out.  Trash day is Wednesday, we can drag the stuff around twice, who cares.  I’ll wrap my tattered body in ace bandages and bungee cords if I have to.

Although my biggest fear is Gary snuck a tire or two in the mix in which case I’m going to have to kill him.

But, I’m not going to think about it now.  Gary is really worried that I might get hurt further  so he’s insisting we do this together with him doing most of the work and who am I to argue?

It really wasn’t that hard to get him to come around.

Oh, also, I cried.

Woo, did I ever.  It was ridiculous, I’m not proud, but for whatever reasons, the floodgates opened.

I don’t like pulling the weeping woman card, it’s not me, and I swear I didn’t plan it.  I guess seven weeks of being indoors terrified, combined with death and job loss, finally got to me.

Anyway, Gary saw how upset I was.

So yeah, I’m getting my garden.  It just won’t be ready for a while.

I’ll settle for June 1. 😜

In other news, I continue to be in work hell but at least the days are going crazy fast. And between work and these posts, I’m writing all the time so that’s kinda blissful.

Gary suddenly realizes he’s a free man and by last night he was all smiles.  He must have told me fifty times yesterday how amazing it feels not to think about customers and bids for the first time in over twenty five years.  He admitted it finally sank in, once he got over the hurt/anger/shock, and now he’s pretty much jumping for joy.

I’m kinda jealous.

Anyway, he’s so happy he’s got dinner planned for the next two weeks and I am so there for that.

There’s talk of Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday.  I’m not even lying.  Gary got the idea we should celebrate whatever.  Eric is part of this amazing concert livestream so we’re gonna blast that while we work outside and then come in and stuff our faces.  

Sounds pretty excellent to me.

Okay.  Time to get my brain in gear for Robin Slick, paralegal. Somewhere in this house there’s a heating pad.  My shoulder and I need to find it. it Thursday?  Yeah. I think it is.

Though I’m not really sure.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Day 45

Day 45, self quarantine:

So in case anyone is wondering, I did not manage to get Gary excited to do a backyard garden project.  

I blew it, though.  My delivery was awful and ill timed.  Trust me, I’m not being a martyr. Once I saw that pic and got the idea, I couldn’t wait to spit it out even though I know Gary is not a morning person. 😎

I’ll try again today.

You know what, though?  I’m pissed.  I always do anything to avoid confrontation, even if it’s at my own expense.  I didn’t used to be that way - what the hell happened?

Is being emotionally helpless and always apologetic another sign of aging?

Fuck no.  Not in my world.

So on Saturday, I’m going out there and starting the garden cleanup myself.  And if I can’t do it and he won’t, I’m hiring someone.

It’s that important to me.

Okay, I feel better now.

Speaking of houses, Eric and Natalie bought one!  Yay!  From the photos it’s huge and beautiful and I wish so much we could see it in person and be there for moving day Friday.

This virus...

I miss my kids.

I haven’t allowed myself to stress over any what ifs, but while I accept they live far away, even just a fleeting thought of any of us getting sick...

Never mind.

So I got my Arbitration Statement done yesterday.  Now on to the Mediation Statement, which is basically the same format - one is a NJ motor vehicle case, the other a PA slip and fall.

I can’t say I’m feeling it.

Can you call in sick when you work from home?

I know two people who died of the virus yesterday.

Some mornings  it’s hard to write.


Here’s to better days.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Day 44

Day 44, self quarantine 

Is Mercury in retrograde or something?

It’s not, I just checked.  We’re cool until June 17.

Then what the hell?

Everything’s okay, we’re good, but this week feels challenging.  I knew I had some deadlines at work coming up, but I’ve been crazy busy with other stuff like death and furloughs and I guess I haven’t been paying attention.

My boss called to go over our schedule for this week.

“Can you get me the Arbitration Statement today and hopefully the Mediation Statement tomorrow?  We’ll wait until Wednesday for the Petition to Enforce.”

Wait, what?  Each one of them is a major project which will spill over into a couple of days.  In my former life, I could knock this stuff out in an hour.  Complex litigation world is a whole ‘nother story.  But hey hey, I really get to write.  I can turn an accident into a gripping novel 😜

“I thought the Statements weren’t due until May,” I said weakly.

Silence on the other end of the phone.

Uh oh, what’s today?

I clicked on the calendar. Crap!

So I’m busy beyond belief.  Work wise, it’s going to be my hardest week of quarantine.

I started my Arb Statement and threw myself into it.  I liked this case a lot and could have a lot of fun with both the liability and damages sections, which is pretty rare.


I looked up.  Omg, Gary, with Jake behind him, wagging his tail.  I didn’t even hear them come upstairs.

“Hi, boys!  What’s going on?”

“Whatcha doing?”



“Oh.  Okay.  Well, if you want to take a break, I just made a fresh pot of coffee.”

I looked at the time.  It was 8:45 a.m. I’d barely started.


“I’ll be down in a bit,” I said.

Why does Gary look so sad? 

I tried to go back to my Statement but I had a lump of worry in my gut.  I made a few halfhearted attempts and sighed.

I went downstairs to check on him.

He was sitting on the sofa with Jake, laughing and watching a repeat of the Daily Show.

Wait, what’s this?  Is that Andrew Cuomo?

“Yeah.  I watch this every morning after you go upstairs,” he admitted.

And so the mystery of where Gary has been getting the news about the virus has been solved and I could not be happier.

I went back upstairs, relieved.

About an hour in...this time I heard them.

“Jake, want to say Hi to Mommy?”

Oh my God.

Haha I love them so much but they can’t keep doing this to me.  I am weak!

So wish me luck, today I am going to get Gary started on a project around here.  I’m not joking when I say I was in a really bad mood when I woke up yesterday and was kinda surprised how good I felt after I straightened up.  Usually I hate housework.  But it totally took me out of my bad head and I felt so satisfied when I was finished.

There’s so much that needs to be done around here.  I’ve never been a Honey Do wife.  We’ll get into the psychological reasons for that later, but let’s just say it’s come back to bite me in the ass big time.  We’re in strange limbo land with Gary insisting no contractors, he’ll do the work himself and me not wanting to be a nagging bitch.

Oh well.  I guess today I put on bitch face.  The trick will be doing it so nicely he thinks it’s his idea.

Which is why I’ve decided project #1 is our backyard.  It’s a tiny plot big enough for a barbecue, table with umbrella and chairs and a couple trees but since the kids moved out ten years ago, it’s a nasty, overgrown bicycle graveyard.

Suddenly the ability to swing open the sliding glass doors from my living room to a real garden with blooming flowers and herbs seems crucial.

And Gary adores gardening.  Every Mother’s Day he fills our window boxes in the front of the house with plants and he grows tomatoes underneath.  I jokingly call it his ghetto garden.

He’s got a whole back “yard” to have fun with!  I’m going to remind him today.

That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it.

I’m going to ask him to recreate this picture 😂😂😂


Monday, April 27, 2020

Day 43

Day 43, self quarantine:

So how do you know if you have PTSD?

Are the symptoms waking up at 4:00 a.m, feeling nauseous beyond belief and like your life is spinning totally out of control?

Or am I just going into drama queen hypochondriac mode permanently?


I got triggered watching the news before I went to bed last night.

Philadelphia school children will have to wear masks when they return to school this fall.

Omg.  Is there a sight more heartbreaking?

Of course there is.  But this is now in my top ten.  I went right to a mental image of young Julie and Eric in elementary school wearing backpacks and masks and couldn’t shake it.

I know, I know.  It goes against everything I preach.

I should have shut the television off at that point but I continued to watch, and lucky me, at 11:00 at night I learned the CDC added new coronavirus symptoms making you eligible for testing: chills, repeated shaking, muscle pain, purple spots on toes...

Purple spots on toes?!

Oh.  It’s a sign of blood clots.

Blood clots?!

What the hell kind of disease is this?  

It’s really feeling like the end of the world.

So I probably didn’t go to bed in the best mental state.

Once I realized I wasn’t falling back asleep at 4:00 a.m., I went downstairs.  Apparently that was my next mistake.

Up until this weekend, my years long  routine has remained the same, even all through quarantine.  I wake up hours before Gary on Saturday morning and straighten up the downstairs.  Once everything is all clean and beautiful, I eat a bowl of cereal and watch one of my taped food tv shows as a reward to myself.  It’s an especially great plan this time of year during my favorite food porn show, Top Chef.  I sit here all zen and proud of myself in my clean, pretty living room.

I guess this Saturday I skipped part one of the Saturday plan and went right for the Honey Nut Cheerios.

What’s insane is that I didn’t even realize it until I came downstairs this morning.

How did I not notice it yesterday?

Holy hell, it’s such a mess in here that I can’t even count on newly unemployed Gary to straighten up, he’ll do a half assed job and make me nuts. Omg, he’s so messy!

So right now, I’m debating my choices.  It’s 5:30 a.m.  If I start now, I can have the downstairs looking great by 8:00 a.m. easily.

Just in time for me to head upstairs and start work. Grrr.

If I don’t do it, though, I’m going to sit here getting more progressively upset by the minute.  I can’t function in chaos like this.  And I’m going to end up taking my anger and resentment out on Gary, when just a little over an hour ago I was tossing and turning in bed, crazed with worry that he might get the virus.  I’m not gonna lie, I went down a pretty dark path mentally, as one does at 4:00 a.m. in the quiet dark.  Especially if one is a stark raving lunatic.

It’s what drove me out of bed.

Okay, I think I’ve worked this out by writing about it.

Just call me Susie Homemaker 😜


I know it’s an oxymoron, but Happy Monday.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Day 42

Day 42, self quarantine:

I overslept this morning.  That never happens.

Okay, I did stay up to watch Brad Pitt advise us not to drink disinfectant on Saturday Night Live.  Maybe that’s why.

Or maybe I just wanted to stay in bed with the covers over my head and not come out again until this is over.

Gary and I are fine but I’m an over thinker and he just got furloughed.  The thought occurred to me that if Gary could get laid off with a virtually recession proof job after twenty five years, then no one’s job is safe, not even mine.  And while money isn’t an issue and I’m mulling retirement, anyway, every time I pictured myself getting the same phone call Gary got, my stomach sank and I felt really queasy.

What, you didn’t think a drama queen like me would do something insane like that?  Ha ha, then you don’t know me at all.  I wrote an entire one act play yesterday.  

Anyway, by doing that little exercise in masochism, I knew that despite his carefree attitude and denials, Gary wasn’t just shrugging it off, either.

You always want to leave on your own terms.  Not just in
terms of your job.  I’m pretty sure that’s a rule for all of life, too.

Wow.  Another lesson learned while confined.  Give it up for quarantine!

Yesterday, I read over this journal and had yet another epiphany, one I’ve unfortunately had before and must have forgotten.  Most of the time, my writing voice was lighthearted.  Coronavirus isolation was like summer camp.  I cracked jokes and talked a lot about food.  I took everything seriously but tried to make this experience  enjoyable.

On Friday, I woke up happy with my only concern being should Gary make pizza or should we order one.  And with one email and one phone call, everything changed.

Death and change are inevitable.  There’s no escaping either - your life can be totally turned upside down in seconds.  You can only control how you react.

And that is why we must live in the moment and appreciate everything we have because everything is so god damn temporary and fleeting.  As a neurotic mess, it’s so much easier for me to always look at the glass half empty.

It’s not.

I’m gonna work on that.

We ended up ordering pizza from a place in the neighborhood we last tried a few years ago.   We only remembered not hating it.  I dunno, maybe our higher power was listening, our no contact, curbside delivery arrived within twenty minutes, steaming hot.

It was glorious.

I took a pic - look at it!  One bite and it was like strolling on the boardwalk.

I don’t know what today holds but I do know we have leftovers.  Few foods make me as happy as reheated boardwalk style pizza.

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Day 41

Day 41, self quarantine:

Yesterday really sucked. There’s no sugar coating it.

The email arrived at 10:30 a.m. from our law firm’s founding partner.

“It is with great sorrow and regret that we inform you of the death of our friend and long time invaluable member of our staff...”

Oh, no.  This is one I never saw coming.  I tried to process the news but it was like I stepped outside my body and this was happening to someone else.

I sat at my desk for several minutes, wanting to go downstairs and hug Gary, but I felt paralyzed.

As I’ve mentioned, I work for an Orthodox Jewish firm.  It’s small, with only five attorneys, and to say it’s incredibly family oriented would be an understatement.

When I first began working there three years ago, after being ravaged by fifteen years of bad career choices, illness, and an early retirement I realized was a major mistake, I was so relieved to have found a “normal “ job that the first six months I worked there, I literally never left my office unless it was to visit the ladies room.  I kept my head down and worked and didn’t socialize.

Bill’s office was directly opposite mine only I never saw him and I was never introduced.  I would later learn he kept crazy hours - sometimes he wouldn’t come in until early afternoon but he would stay until late at night.

So the first few months were a mystery - I had no idea who was in the office across from me.

I literally never saw him.

Or so I thought.

But I would hear him loudly on the phone, and he had a unique, old school way of talking - like he was from another century.  I would hear him introduce himself to people, he had an Irish last name.  I began to picture him in my head.  He had a ruddy complexion and long white hair and looked like a poet.  The only question was, what was he doing working in a law office handling referrals?

Sometimes he was so loud and his speech so affected, he annoyed me.

And after overhearing him a few times, I realized that despite the very Irish last name, Bill was an Orthodox Jew.

Who was this guy?  Why did I never see him?

The answer would be revealed shortly when we had a fire drill and had to exit the building.  We congregated outside, waiting for the firemen to arrive, when I heard someone say, “Hi, Bill!”

Yessss!  I could finally see what he looks like!  I swiveled around, expectantly.

Wait, wut?  

I stood there staring like an idiot.

The guy who spoke like an actor in a Shakespeare play animatedly talking in Hebrew and shaking hands was the huge, seven foot tall African American man I’d seen limping around the office.

Woo, lesson learned.  Never stereotype.

Bill and I became friendly.  He was an interesting guy, definitely from another era though he was actually six years younger than me.  He lived alone, had all kinds of health issues and had trouble walking.  The office was his life.

At our Purim party in March this year, I saw Bill struggling to get his meal together from the makeshift buffet set up so I helped him with his platter.  Later that day, I got an email.

“Dear Robin:
Thank you for your help during the meal.  It was so very kind.  I really appreciate it.  You should always be blessed for your mitzvah.  Please have a great Purim.  Bill.”

When no one heard from Bill for a couple days this week, which was completely out of character, the police were called to do a wellness check and sadly discovered his body.

There was no autopsy, but it is believed his death was caused by Covid-19.

He was a lovely, lovely man.  Our office is devastated.

After I got my shit together I went downstairs to tell Gary and get my hug.

But the day wasn’t over yet.

As we were sitting there talking and Gary was giving me the usual pep talk about death and change, his cell phone rang.

He answered Hello and then walked into the kitchen.  Something in the tone of his voice made me turn down the radio so I could eavesdrop.

I heard him quietly repeat the word “Okay “ several times in a weird, not very Gary tone of voice.  And then:

“What should I do with the computer?”

My heart sank.  Seriously? After 25 years?


Listen, as we both agreed after the shock wore off, up until coronavirus, we had a plan.  Gary was going to retire in August and I would follow a year or two later.  It wasn’t until quarantine that we talked about other options, and really, we still hadn’t come to any decisions.  We were waiting until the pandemic was over.

Anyway, because Gary’s office was unaware of his retirement plan, they “furloughed” him until October.  This is actually awesome news and in retrospect, the best thing that could have happened.  Now I don’t have to worry about him going back to work too soon in what is clearly a dangerous virus breeding  environment and now Gary gets to check out retirement in advance while collecting unemployment.  Trust me, he has no interest in returning to his job in October.  As of yesterday, he’s officially retired from plumbing world though he tells me he’s going to look around for something “fun.”  

And my transportation to and from work when it reopens is now no longer a problem.

See?  Every cloud does has a silver lining.


I’m really going to miss Bill.  And next week is going to be challenging, with my newly retired husband sleeping in and no longer tethered to a laptop.  

But you know what?  I can do this.


Friday, April 24, 2020

Day 40

Day 40, self quarantine 

Whoa, day forty.  Even an organized religion hating heathen like me knows the biblical significance of that number.  Forty days is the number used to emphasize times of trouble and hardship.

So if you believe this stuff:

When God destroyed the earth with water - you guessed it, it rained for forty days and forty nights.

Goliath taunted Saul’s army for forty days before David arrived to slay him.

You know I had to hit Google for this Bible info but I knew it was there and  there’s a ton more but I’m too lazy and disinterested 😎.  

You get the picture though.

Anyway, forty freaking days. We made it.

So one of the fascinating things I keep talking about are the subtle and not so subtle changes I’m noticing in Gary and me as a result of being in isolation together even after all these years as a couple.  I still get freaked out every time I walk downstairs and see Gary sitting at the dining room table with his laptop.  He’s lucky I don’t mistake him for a stranger and clobber him from behind with one of his fancy pans.

But nothing prepared me for last night.

I was doing my usual evening sofa sprawl Twitter surf and following along while Donald was doing his usual  unhinged presser.  Naturally I was making faces as I read my Twitter feed and naturally Gary asked me “What’s wrong?”

“Oh, nothing, just Grandpa Crazypants telling everyone if they inject disinfectant  and ultraviolet  light into their bodies it will cure coronavirus,” I replied, expecting Gary to sigh and walk out of the room.

“What a crazy motherfucker.  The only people dumber are his supporters.   How about the way he threw Kemp under the bus?” he replied instead.

Wait, what?!  I stared at him with my mouth open.

“You know about Governor Kemp?”

“Yeah, another genius.  Let’s head down to Georgia for haircuts, tattoos, and body bags.  But who I can’t believe is that fucker Mitch McConnell.  Dude looks and sounds like the Grim Reaper.  Cuomo burned his ass, huh.  I really like him, the guy is compassionate.  Why the hell isn’t he president?”

Excuse me?  This is Gary talking?  The guy who one month ago watched hockey 24/7 and refused to watch the news or discuss politics?

And not only that, hang on, how does he know all this stuff?  I know he said he checks out a little international news after I go to bed but I’ve been half awake the last couple of nights and I heard what he’s watching and no way did he get his information from that.

Is he going online during the day while he’s working on his new laptop?  Gary?  The guy who hates the internet and thinks it’s government mind control? You know I had to ask.

“Of course not,” he snapped.

Oh, really?

“Then how do you know about Cuomo, McConnell and Kemp?” I asked suspiciously.

“I get this stuff by osmosis,” he said.  “I just listen here and there.  You can learn things without an iPhone in your hand all day,” he added, giving me a pointed look.

I don’t know, I’m not buying it.

He’s got a secret source and I’m gonna get to the bottom of it.  

In other news, I’m really happy it’s the end of the work week. Other than profoundly missing my kids, I’m in a pretty good head today.  

I mean, c’mon, it’s pizza night.

I may even wash my hair.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Day 39

Day 39, self quarantine:

So yesterday was one of those rare, “Your every wish is our  command, Robin” days and I was so there for it.

Literally a few hours after I posted I was staying home until at least Memorial Day no matter what, my boss texted me that the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas was closed through at least Friday, May 29, and therefore we could expect the same.  In fact, his “conservative” opinion was we would return to work  June 1, but it could extend beyond that.


It’s not that I think the virus is going to simmer down, I think we’ll have a much better idea of just how safe it is to venture out and what additional steps, if any, we need to take.

So that was a huge psychological relief for me.

And then...and I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad or anything, I was doing my usual I hate this fucking laptop banging my head on the desk, thinking to myself, “Man, I’m hungry, what do I want to eat”...when I’m not even lying, Gary appears in the doorway of Julie’s room I mean my office and oh my god, he brought up coffee and two slices of warm Jewish apple cake.

Warm apple cake.  Who does that spur of the moment? And how did he pull it off?

“Did you make this?”  I sniffed the air suspiciously.  I’m like a truffle pig.  If there’s something in the oven, I’m all over it in two seconds no matter where I am.

“Nah, I bought it at Whole Foods during our weekly smash and grab.”


“How did I not know this was in the house?” I asked, with my unibrow arched.

“I hid it from you.”

“What?  You hid cake from me?  What am I, ten years old?”


I laughed.  He’s right.

“Rob, we both know if you knew there was cake in the house, if you didn’t eat it the minute you saw it come out of the bag, you wouldn’t be able to sleep until you did.”


I still hide chocolate.  I’m hiding it from myself since it’s just the two of us and Gary rarely eats it.  If I have, say, a bag of salted caramel Lindor truffles and they are sitting in front of me on the coffee table, I will eat the entire bag in one sitting.  If I hide the bag in the jar on top of the bookcase (ooh now you know where I hide my stash) I would have to walk across the room in front of Gary to fetch one, after telling him I was too full to finish my salad at dinner just five minutes ago.

Even though he could care less and wouldn’t say anything.

I guess I really am ten years old.

Seriously, the reason our relationship has survived is we’re both addicts.  Hey, we grew up in the sixties - we have addictions that even extend beyond drugs and alcohol.  You don’t even want to know 😎

We’re both deeply flawed but we never lost our ability to laugh.

So yeah, in case anyone is wondering why else I’m not in a hurry to return to the real world, what job offers a coffee break with laughter and warm apple cake?

Hmmm.  Actually, mine kinda does.  The founder of our lawfirm is 80 years old and still very active.  Usually on Mondays, he walks around the suite with a big box of treats, stopping by everyone’s office to chat for a second and drop off a snack.  It’s really very charming, except for one thing.  The first year I worked there, he’d come around with Snickers and KitKats.  I don’t know what the hell happened, but he switched over to granola bars.

Feh.  That’s not candy.  If I want to eat styrofoam packing peanuts, I’ll save the boxes from my online purchases.

I still think it’s awesome he does this, though.

Sometimes it’s the little things, huh.

If you’re keeping track, Happy Thursday.