Covid Updates (part 1)

I reckon I’ve been writing about myself a lot lately, so much so that Keaton won’t stop telling me that the blog has gotten totally gayass. Ok, fine, maybe I have been writing about myself…but, when you’re locked up all day without much anywhere to go, you start thinking about yourself more than you do about your buddies and even your girlfriend. And don’t forget that the ‘introspection’ blog was Joyce’s idea, not mine. I know it was still pretty gayass, but, maybe 40 years from now, I’ll have grandchildren I’ll want to tell about the Plague of 2020 and how we all had to shelter at home for two months. They may not believe their papaw (yeah, my grandkids are gonna call me papaw)…so I’ll have the blog to prove that I wasn’t making it up.

Still, there are a lot of people I write about besides me, so I thought I’d update you on how they’re handling the quarantine. I haven’t seen any of them since the order went into place (the only people I have seen are Keaton, Joyce, Lucas, Noah and Cody), but we’ve been doing our best to keep in touch by phone, text and email. We haven’t done much video chatting…it never seems to work as well as you think it would, and our one attempt at a Parrots session with everyone online at the same time was a disaster. We ain’t never gonna try that again lol.

I’ll start with back home.

I’ve told y’all already about Meemaw self-isolating. Tennessee hasn’t had the same kind of stay-at-home orders that we’ve had in California – they’re fuckin nuts, but they’ve already opening up much of the state – so life has been a little more normal back there than it has been here. Even with the shortened quarantine, though, life’s been pretty crazy and stressful. Dad, Mom, Portia and Cordelia have been at home together, with Dad working from the house. Mom works at a school running the library, so she’s gotten laid off, which has made money a little tighter. They’re still ok, but Mom’s a little antsy from not being able to work. She likes her job, she likes the kids, and she likes giving them books she thinks they’d like to read. As for my sisters who are still at home, Meemaw’s opinion is that they sit there all day on their phones doing nothing lol. Y’all know the expression “stir crazy”? I think that “stir lazy” is more like it. Even I caught myself taking two naps yesterday lol.

The one of my sisters who’s been kept busy is Melanie Kate, since she’s got my two nephews to deal with. After only one day of having to teach them at home, she texted me that teachers ought to make $1,000,000 a day for what they do. I think she’s gotten a little better at managing the boys since then, but she’s still finding it a challenge. Jared’s tried to take some of the pressure off her, since his business is at a standstill (the less people that are in their cars, the less people are gonna want their trucks customized), but she says he gets in the way as much as he helps lol.

Back here, things are mostly ok for the Parrots, but there are exceptions. Sloppy Joe’s got a grandfather in a nursing home, and everyone’s super worried about him. As for Sloppy Joe himself, he’s trying to stay in touch with his ‘nice’ girlfriend on video chat (I don’t want to think too closely about that lol), but he’s real scared of the virus…like so scared he’s using the pizza ATM thing they got at Little Caesar’s. The closest any of us has come to getting the virus this far is Josh’s wife, but it was a mild case and she just stayed home and in bed while Josh took care of her wearing a mask and gloves. He said she said the worst thing about it was that she had no sense of taste. So even when she asked Josh to make something that she was craving she couldn’t taste it. That does sound pretty freaky. Both Josh and Sloppy Joe are still employed and working remotely. Sloppy Joe likes being able to work in his pajamas (duh – lol), but Josh can’t stand ‘going’ to meetings on Zoom. He says it’s total bullshit…but a paycheck is a paycheck, especially these days…and he’s also been stressing over a sick wife.  Josh also told me that our honorary Parrot Dylan is doing okay in his new home with his new wife Jacqueline, although I reckon she’s not all that new anymore as the wedding was on Christmas Day.  It seems both like it happened last week and forever ago.

Of our centerfielders, David is also working from home, but they’ve cut his hours, so he’s in some trouble financially. He’s better off than Dave, however, since Dave’s a waiter and got laid off even before the stay-at-home order went into effect. He’s getting some unemployment, but unemployment sucks for people who make most of their money from tips. Both of them were looking forward big time to their stimulus checks, and, like a lot of us, found out that $1200 doesn’t last very long…even if you don’t have to worry about paying your rent for the time being. (For those of y’all who don’t live in LA County, they’ve put a moratorium on evictions for as long as the quarantine lasts, and then you get a year to pay off your back rent once we get to go outside again. Still, that’s gonna be tough for a lot of people.) So Dave’s in a pretty bad situation, and he’s pretty down about it when I check in with him. I think he knows he’s going to be okay: like me he’s pretty sure that he’s gonna have a job to go back to once things start looking like normal again, but, for the time being, he’s sailing through some mighty choppy seas.

Speaking of choppy seas, what about Travis? I haven’t written anything about him since me and Keaton visited him in the hospital right after Christmas, but I’ve been in touch with him pretty much every day, although sometimes it’s just one or two quick texts. He was doing a little better after he got out of the hospital, but, around mid-February the roller coaster started, and finally him and his parents decided that maybe he shouldn’t be at home with them for a while. So he’s in a place for ‘residential treatment’ for people with psychological disorders like he’s got. I haven’t seen him since he got there, since the quarantine went into effect just a couple days after he checked in. From how he describes it (and from the photos he’s sent), it’s not too bad a place, although it’s anything but fancy and probably not exactly what he’s used to from home. He’s got a roommate and they make them do chores and stuff, but they provide meals and have group therapy sessions…and he’s allowed to work with his regular therapist and psychiatrist.

Only there’s a problem there, since no visitors are allowed during the crisis (I reckon the place is like a nursing home in one way: if one person catches the virus, everyone’s gonna get it), so he has to talk to his therapist on the phone…which he says is nowhere near the same thing as being in the same room as her. He says he’s dealing with that like he’s dealing with the whole thing…and he thinks he made the right decision going there…but he also says he’s tired of having his mental health be the most important thing in his life.

I’ve tried to explain to him what Meemaw always says, that your health needs to be your first concern, and I reckon that applies to both your physical as well as your mental health. If he doesn’t get his disorder under some kind of control, he’s not going to be safe in the outside world and he’s never going to get on with his life. He’s dropped out of all his PCC classes: he was ok with going to school online for a couple weeks, but then he decided that was bullshit and he’s just going to wait until things are normal before he goes back to school. Y’all know I believe in a college education, and the sooner you get one, the better, but, in Travis’ case, he’s probably got enough on his plate with his mental health. Maybe it’s lucky that he can take a break from school to focus on that. From what I understand, that’s the whole point of going into the place he’s at now. I hope they’ll allow visitors soon, since I like spending time with Travis (and me and Keaton worry about him a lot)…or maybe he’ll get out sooner than that and we can go to…

I was gonna type ‘another Dodger game’, then I realized what I was saying lol…

I’ll get to telling y’all about everyone else tomorrow.

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