November 7, 2020

Weekend Recap: Halloween and COVID Horrors

My Friday started out tough. I had spent Thursday night at J’s house, and after breakfast and taking my first few calls there, I headed home. But right before I did, J was notified that his son was eligible for a special school cohort where a few kids are allowed to come in person and then do their virtual learning in a room with others rather than isolated at home. I was really against this idea (frankly, I’ve been pretty relieved that the kids’ schools were closing up again), but we didn’t have time to discuss it because J and I both had a lot of work to do. Instead, the idea just loomed over my mind.

When I got home, more bad news awaited me. Although in my house my mom and I have agreed that we won’t be on our phones between 11pm and 6am, I came home to find her in a terrible mood, and learned that she had literally pulled an all-nighter watching the news. I was so upset. Obviously, the news is important right now and our country is in a tough spot, but my mom needs to be focused first on her health, and not getting any sleep would only make per weeker and struggle to fight off the cancer and stay strong despite the chemo drugs. well I knew that part of my mom coming to live with me would be me taking care of her, I expected that to be more physical, like cooking for her or helping her to the bathroom if she was feeling weak. But I didn’t expect to have to police her, and I felt like the parent of a teenager when I took her phone away for the day and insisted that she tried to get some sleep. She was understandably pretty pissed off at me for doing this, and I spent most of the day crying between conference calls as I tried to figure out if I was doing the right thing. Finally, in the evening, I crawled into bed with her and told her I was doing this because I was worried about her health and I needed her to take care of herself, and we kissed and made up from there.

Mom and I spent the evening making pizza and watching a movie together (The Greatest Showman, which is possibly my favorite movie of all time), and I ended the day feeling pretty happy.

It was such a relief to end the day feeling good when I felt so terrible throughout.

The next morning, I woke up and headed down to the gym for what ended up being a really awesome workout: a Jess Sims Saturday 60 Bootcamp! This was possibly the best bootcamp I’ve ever done. The treadmill blocks sounded hard (the first block was hills, the second block was interval repeats of 45 seconds at a hard run then 45 seconds jog to recover, and the third block was intervals of 45 seconds sprinting and 30 seconds walking), but was actually doable. Meanwhile, the floor was an awesome challenge that included some really tiring Turkish getups. I absolutely loved this! And I was so jazzed that I decided to hop on the bike after for a 30 minute spin class with Hannah Corbin. I was so proud of myself for doing a longer workout, and really want to get back to doing something like this every weekend 🙂

Mom was walking on the treadmill while I was on the bike, and after we both finished up, we showered and then jumped in the car. We have a bit of a tradition of going to Yaya Farms for apple cider donuts when she’s in town in the fall, and we decided it would probably be safe to pop in and grab the donuts. It was kind of a long way to drive just to get donuts and leave, but the donuts were just as delicious as I remembered, and it was a beautiful drive! Cider donuts always remind me of Indian Ladder Farms, a farm near where I grew up, where my parents used to take my brothers and I both for donuts and to play hide and seek in the hills and fields. (My gosh, parenting was so different in the 80s; I can’t imagine parents now letting their kids roam through several acres of forest!) So, a nice little taste of childhood!

Though the reason sucks, I am SO happy to have my mom out to Colorado and living with me!

We headed home and walked in the house to the delicious aroma of a pulled pork loin I had put in the Instapot before I left, using this delicious barbecue pulled pork recipe. I heaped it onto a roll for an amazing sandwich, and I was so looking forward to enjoying the leftovers (I made five pounds!) for days afterward 🙂

Next, I headed down to J’s house for Halloween. We kicked off the celebration by attempting to make pinatas with the kids, but things went a little sideways when we realized that the balloons we had picked out were much bigger than expected. We thought they would be maybe the size of the kids’ heads, but these were three foot long giant balloons that were almost as big as the kids themselves! Haha. We ended up papier mache-ing one side of the balloons, then leaving them out to dry, with a plan of doing the other side on another day. Forget Halloween; these would now be Thanksgiving pinatas 😉

We gave up on the pinatas and headed over to the neighborhood Halloween parade. A local business had arranged for some cars to be decorated like famous cars from movies (e.g., the Ghostbuster van) and go through the neighborhood throwing out candy to the kids. While it was an awesome and generous idea, the execution was a little bit less exciting, with the whole thing being over in just a few minutes. But hey – we’re all learning how to adjust holidays for the pandemic!

Speaking of which – J and I had decided that we would give trick or treating a try, as long as it was just the four of us and we kept our distance from everyone else. So after the parade, we got into our costumes and took some pics before donning our masks to keep things safe.

Well, the kid and I added a mask; J’s costume already had one built in 😉

J told me that his kids don’t normally go trick or treating for more than half an hour, but we ended up staying out much longer than we anticipated. There were definitely kids trick or treating, but it was nothing like the classic trick or treating scene in Hocus Pocus (which is what my neighborhood usually looks like for Halloween). Everyone was staying in their own groups and standing far back on the occasion that we arrived at a house at the same time. Meanwhile, while a lot of houses weren’t handing out candy, those that were had come up with creative ways to do so – from putting pre-bagged candy on a table on the sidewalk, to using candy chutes attached to the porch railings, to setting the candy on a rake and extending the rake to the kids, to dropping it in the kids’ bags from a second story balcony!

I was really impressed by the creativity!

However, after about an hour of what I felt was pretty safe fun, we passed a large group of six or so kids who were trick or treating together but not wearing masks. We weren’t anywhere near them, but seeing a group like that reminded me that not everyone was necessarily being as careful as we were. What if those kids were also touching multiple bags on the tables when picking their treats? Or coughing all over them? The unfortunate part about COVID is that it’s really hard to ensure you’re keeping yourself safe; you have to trust that other people are doing their part to keep you safe. When I see people acting irresponsibly, it reminds me that so many people are treating this as a joke, so even if I’m doing my best, as long as I’m not completely locking myself in my house, I am putting myself (and my mom) at risk.

After I saw the kids without masks, I was kind of on edge, and that continued when we got back to J’s house – with me stressing about the kids washing their hands anytime they touched the candy they collected. I know that COVID isn’t that transmissible on surfaces, but those kids without masks really spooked me, and it took me a little while to calm down after.

Fortunately, the rest of the night was pretty low key – I made a yummy chicken pasta dinner with Trader Joe’s autumnal harvest sauce, and then we all watched Hocus Pocus, my favorite Halloween movie of all time. Neither J nor his kids had seen it before, and I was a little disappointed that the kids didn’t love it as much as I did at their age. J pointed out that there is a certain vibe to 90s movies, which I had never thought about before but he was totally right about. I wonder if the Hocus Pocus sequel will have that same vibe, or if it will be more current? The three of them may not care, but I am super psyched for it!

The next morning, I woke up and was worried it was going to be super cold like it had been the week before. I dragged myself out for what I thought would be a short run, figuring I’d supplement it with a Peloton cardio or bodyweight strength class after, and I even stuck to J’s side of the neighborhood (which is only about one square mile) rather than taking the route that gets me to a longer loop. But it was really lovely out, and I ended up running lines back and forth down each and every street, covering 10 miles by the time I finished! I think it was really daunting for me to think about doing a long run, but when I thought about going shorter, it wasn’t a problem. I was so glad I made it out, and even more proud with how far I went (though I skipped a Peloton workout after).

The rest of the morning was a bit blah, as I found myself at loose ends; fortunately, things picked up in the afternoon. J likes to take an afternoon nap when he can, and I usually use that time to curl up in bed next to him with a book – which is so luxurious! And after our nap, we took the kids out for ice cream.

Y’all know I never say no to ice cream!

We came home and did a Zoom call with a few of J’s friends, and played a group game of Among Us. Have you played this game yet? It’s a mobile game that’s kind of like Clue, where there is a secret killer (called the “imposter” in Among Us) and you have to figure out who it is… except the imposter is one of you. It takes place on a spaceship, and everyone races to complete tasks while hoping the killer doesn’t come after you, and trying to pick up clues for who is acting “sus” (suspicious). The kids love it, and I quickly grew to like it too – especially since I was pretty good at playing dumb so no one suspected I was the imposter 😉

That said, the original plan had been for J’s friends to hang out with all of us in person, and I felt pretty guilty that I was the one pushing for us to do it remotely instead. I had a ton of fun, but… did everyone else? Would they have preferred to be in person? I hate playing these COVID guessing games, even when I’m pretty sure I’m in the right with my level of caution. But I definitely keep going back and forth, and wondering if I’m being too paranoid and everyone is irritated with me. With COVID, I constantly feel like the goody-two-shoes teacher’s pet I used to be when I was a little kid… that everyone else is more relaxed and I’m strictly adhering to rules that no one else cares about. I really miss the spring lockdown, when everyone was on the same page and being careful, rather than everyone having COVID fatigue and not having the discipline to keep up with what (I’m pretty sure) we should still be doing.

Anyway, we kept the kids up pretty late for dinner after the game, and we were all pretty tired due to daylight savings, so I was happy to go to bed when the kids did on Sunday night. It had been a rather rough weekend both mentally and physically, and I was eager for a good night’s sleep to start the week off on a better note!


2 thoughts on “Weekend Recap: Halloween and COVID Horrors”

  1. Laura, I totally know how you feel with the Covid thing and the uncomfortableness of being a goody-two-shoes. I just watched the last couple episodes of HBO’s Love Life last night and this subject was part of those episodes. It made me think about Covid. I think you’re doing the right thing and that’s a part of your personality that I admire. Don’t worry about what people think. I was actually surprised that you even ate in restaurants a few times, haha. My dad always says that he’s very risk-adverse, which is a great way to put it. I mean, doesn’t that sound like a positive trait? Nothing is worth more than our lives and it’s not embarrassing to admit that.

    1. I am definitely very risk-averse as well! I will need to check out Love Life – it sounds like a really cute premise and I love Anna Kendrick!

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