The dirt is soaked from the storm last night, but I push through. My dog is out with me while I garden today—usually she prefers to sleep in until about 8, so it’s an unusual occurrence. I stop her from stealing my gardening gloves and she stares at me with such dismay that I start singing to her. “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen—nobody knows my sorrow,” I croon, and she immediately goes inside, which is a stinging indictment.
I live paycheck to paycheck. It’s not ideal; all of the finance books I’ve read and advice I’ve solicited advise strictly against it, and I agree with them, except I need to pay my bills and continue to live in a house and eat food, which puts a little bit of a damper on my saving plans. “On the upside,” I texted to a friend, “I’ll finally get to really see what my actual spending necessities are, since I can’t waste money on frivolous things.” Turns out my actual spending necessities leave me with $200 a paycheck. I resist immediately spending it on gardening equipment.
We’re celebrating Good Friday and off for the day, but I can’t stop myself from logging on for a little bit to work anyway—cleaning up loose ends as I normally would on a Friday, checking in on various lists and people, taking a few steps here and there to make next week smoother. I promise myself I won’t do it for longer than an hour.
I finally make myself get up and stop working—only a little later than I promised myself—and as a reward go all out on breakfast: coffee, orange juice, fancy scrambled eggs and toast and sausage patties.
Sometimes self-care looks like a nap in bed at noon with the dog.
I eat lunch outside today, curled up in the hammock with my dog and a Lean Cuisine I dumped out into a bowl. It’s nice out—the storm blew in kinder temperatures, and it’s breezy, so the dog spends most of her time with her nose pointing into the wind, catching whatever scents it carries her way. When I finish I stay in the hammock, reading a book until the sun finally comes out from behind the clouds.
My eyebrows have finally gotten out of control so I decide to go ahead and try my own hand at plucking them. I am reminded quickly of why I don’t do that—one, I’m a weak sensitive child who can’t stop my eyes from tearing up; two, despite the thicket of hair follicles to choose from, I immediately choose the one that ruins the arch of my right eyebrow. Natalie, my amazing and talented esthetician, I am so sorry for ruining your hard work. Also, I miss you.
Like the night before, I spend the evening on the patio with my roommates and some snacks, arms dusted with crumbly dirt from making the last adjustments to the new garden bed. Before all of this I can’t remember the last time I spent time outside in the evening, talking time away. It feels good, makes me feel settled for a little bit.
It’s time for a new episode of Drag Race, so my roommate gets out the wine and cheese and I Facetime our friend, who usually comes over every Friday. We set it up and watch together, and if I turn my head just right it’s sort of like she’s sitting on the couch with us, like normal.
Up a little later than usual tonight, but I managed to bust through the teeth-grindingly hard portion of writing I was working on, and words flowed out like a geyser (or a badly-opened bottle of champagne). I immediately text a friend, who serves as a beta reader of sorts, to get in the document and read it, which I only do when I’ve either written something blindingly terrible or something I really, really liked writing. Thankfully it’s the latter this time. It makes me feel happy and buoyant. I don’t know that I can sleep now—but it’s better to stay awake from joy than from worry.
The Corona Diaries is a joint project of the Renaissance Publishing Staff. Each week during the series, a different member of our staff will share their day-to-day experiences with working from home, social distancing and the other ups and downs of living through the pandemic.