I knew from the news and talking to friends and family that life in Ohio would be very different when we arrived, but I wasn’t fully prepared. Social distancing wasn’t really happening when we left Cairo. We started teleworking, alternating our days at work and at home, our kids were home from school but still playing with their friends, and we were still enjoying hanging out with our neighbors.
The morning after we landed, Governor DeWine announced that anyone arriving to Ohio should self-isolate for 14 days. We had already basically planned to do this with my parents and my brother since they had all stopped working. My mom purchased groceries for our rental house and had it all set up for us. We knew to bring our own Lysol wipes and toilet paper, but she had our favorite foods and an impressive selection of beer for JR waiting for us.
Pretty quickly we realized we needed more food, so I tried to order on Instacart but deliveries were several days out. We called S, a college student and family friend, to ask if we could pay her to buy our groceries and run other errands for us. She was up for it, so that was helpful although not cheap.
I went on a desperate hunt for Aperol, because I really wanted to make an Aperol Spritz. First issue was that my college shopper is underage. No problem, I have family members that work at the drive-thru. Thank goodness for essential workers! My joy was short-lived because they didn’t sell it and had never heard of it. My mom, bless her, started making calls. She called Jerry’s, a bar/restaurant in town, to see if they’d sell us a bottle. They didn’t have it, but the woman who answered said if we found it at Buehler’s she’d be happy to pick it up for us since we were quarantining. #smalltownperks. No luck when we called Buehler’s. Then my mom called a spirits store in the next town and huzzah, he had it! He let me pay over the phone, then I drove over and he loaded it into the trunk with zero contact between us. A quarantine victory!
I still checked the Instacart app each day, and one day it gave me a delivery option within 5 hours. We quickly filled a cart and then I watched in awe as a shopper was assigned and started chatting with me while he bought my groceries. The technology! He sent me a very kind personalized note, and messaged me when items I’d requested were out of stock.
It’s possible he thought I needed extra prayers because of all the ice cream on my list.
My feelings have been all over the place lately (State Med if you’re reading this, I’m totally stable! Promise!). I’m relieved to be home. I feel an immense sense of hometown and state pride right now, this feeling of everyone coming together to try to do the right thing, that we’re all in this together. And then I feel sad and scared that this is all happening, wondering what will happen next. What will it be like in a week or a month or 6 months?
We couldn’t eat together with our extended family on Easter, including my Grandma M (the one we usually live with when we are here), so I dropped off a plate of food for her. I opened her garage door and walked up to the steps to put down the plate. The door into the house has a window on top, so I could see her walking up to it. She waved at me, I smiled and signaled at the food. I yelled “I’m sad. I wish I could hug you.” She said “I know. It’s okay.” I started to cry but didn’t want her to see me getting upset so I waved and then walked back to the car. I could not have imagined a scenario where we would be forbidden from visiting with and hugging our loved ones.
Funny timing that while I was writing this, my friend B (lover of a good hug!) shared this with me. I look forward to the day when things are back to normal (normal-ish? new normal?). I just want to give some hugs.