Tag Archives: coronavirus

SYMBOLS, SYMBOLIC or “WHERE CAN WE GET HAND SANITIZER”:

When we think back on March of last year lots of things come to mind. One of the most powerful symbols, outside of a lifetime of toilet paper anxiety, will be hand sanitizer.

We got this jug delivered a year ago. At the time I wasn’t sure how long it would carry us. So I bought materials to make disinfecting sprays for various surfaces and things we’d use around and in the house as well.

We were lucky.

Today, the jug is tapped. A symbol of the last year. And symbolic timing for it to run out.

#iamgrateful and #iamthankful we got our hands on this and … we got this on our hands. We lugged this thing everywhere and even left it out for delivery folks, neighbors, you name it.

Maybe it was crazy. Maybe it was a momentary respite for folks who came across it.

This empty container is a badge, the emptiness took effort, took work, took consistency. Took effort.

We earned the nothingness in the bottle over the course of the past year.

Which is also why I took great pleasure in smashing it. Cleaning it. Smashing it. And tossing it. There was pleasure when my foot landed on the center of the bottle and stayed and pressed and stood firml until it was near flat.

I smiled.

Good f*cking riddance.

And then I turned. With the next moment. Turned.

And went to the basement and got the other gallon I purchased a year ago.

Because it’s not just a symbol of what’s passed, it is a symbol of what fight and vigilance still remains.

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DOSE 2 or MAKE SLEEP IRRESISTIBLE

Dose 2 for me wasn’t terrible. We all react differently.

A few things that may have helped were:

1) Timing – I targeted mine for 11am, so the 12 hours until side effects typically hit happened when I was sleeping.

2) Be Tired – I worked until 11:15pm the night before and by the time I got to bed it was 1am. I was up at 630-ish so I was light on sleep by my new lifestyle going into the day.

3) Be Active – I got in 10 miles on my treadmill. Which meant my body was ready for rest.

4) Be Creative – I took a half dose of zzzzquil at 7pm and the other half at 2am.I made sleep irresistible.

At night I had soreness, aches, fever, sweats, chills, but I also couldn’t resist sleeping through most of it.

And I woke up feeling normal except for some grogginess from the meds and my arm.

Hope that helps you all.For being on the other side of this round of doses (we know we’re getting more right?)

#iamgrateful and #iamthankful

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DOSE 2 DONE or CLOSER TO POST-COVID NORMS

Got dose 2. The folks at East Brunswick Community arts Center are amazingly efficient. #iamgrateful and #iamthankful for them. (Coffee!)

And for this vaccine. And for what COVID forced me to learn more about and pay more attention to.

3 Hours: Arm starting to feel a little sore.

9 Hours: Arm a little sore. Still nbd.

10.5 Hours: Sore arm. Chills.

12 Hours: Sore arm. Full body aches. Fever. Breaking sweats every 30-45 minutes. Uncomfortable but just like the start of the flu.

15.5 Hours: Sore arm. Full body aches. No fever. Can’t sleep. Want to. Reading instead. 🙂

17.5 Hours: Sore arm. Mild aches. No fever or anything else.

23 Hours: Sore arm.

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POST VACCINE LIFE or DEEP HUGS AGAIN

Mom is 2 weeks post second dose. Mom and kids took full advantage yesterday.

They literally, leaned in.

#iamgrateful and #iamthankful for the opportunity.

I shared this in a comment below but just sharing this made me think: it’s amazing how adjusted and acclimated we’ve become to COVID protocols.

It only became apparent yesterday. When we saw some normalcy returning. Like hugs.

Our instincts were to distance, mask, etc.

We had to actively focus on giving hugs, breaking instincts, to take advantage of being around mom post vaccine.

It’s a powerful reminder of the impact the past year has had on our kids. 20-25% of Jaanu’s life has been behind COVID protocols. 1/3-1/2 of his conscious life.

It’s like me having lived this way for almost 25 years, or everything post college.

I’m floored by this reality they have.

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80.2% EFFICACY, NEAR PERFECT SURVIVAL or THANK YOU

Got my first dose vaccine today. It was the most structured and efficient healthcare experience I’ve had.

Period.

The volunteers in East Brunswick were kind, helpful, informed.

And present.

Vaccine debates in some cases, are valid. Our history with medical experimentation on certain communities is not a stain that wipes away easily.

For people with that context, we hear you. Vaccine debates that anchor in personal freedoms and misinformation, I struggle with. My understanding of freedom doesn’t start and end with what I can and can’t do, it acknowledges that my freedom must respect everyone else’s as well, and more importantly, is governed by civic responsibility. But above all, this brings me one step closer to the people I love.

Full stop.

And I thank everyone who made it and today possible.

#iamgrateful and #iamthankful for the vaccine. For science and for how fast these came to market as a result of vaccination advancements since H1N1.

We’re one step closer to being closer to our loved ones and loving our loved ones more closely.

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EFFICACY or SERIOUS ILLNESS AND DEATH

We’re not looking at the most important health statistic when it comes to vaccines

.(Quick Pause: I recommend signing up to some amazing newsletters. VoxCare gives a great perspective on where we are with the vaccine.)

Today they sent out the best summary I’ve read about vaccinations, specifically about each company’s vaccine and the impact on efficacy vs perhaps the more critical, serious illness and death.

In summary, efficacy is what was easiest to test for immediately in a controlled way (did people who were vaccinated get COVID-19).

But as time has lapsed, we’re now seeing that regardless of efficacy, all vacciness appear to do an excellent job of protecting against serious illness and death — meaning, as of now, any vaccine you get appears to help you not get COVID-19 (from 65-95% of the time) and if you do get it, will make it easier to weather, less painful to tolerate, and ultimately help you avoid death.

Which…is like the Flu (though with greater efficacy than recent flu vaccines).

There’s a great thread on varints; and the discussion around AstraZeneca’s vaccine and how South Africa and the UK have taken different stances on the vaccine (SA stopped using it, UK continues to) brings the debate about efficacy vs severe illness and death to life while also introducing a topic for a different day: variants.

The most powerful chart is one from Dr Ashish K Jha who I’m sure you’ve seen on TV in the past months; where he lays out the power of the vaccines.

https://twitter.com/ashishkjha/status/1356079020878786561…

#iamgrateful and #iamthankful for people like Kelsey Piper at Vox for this kind of writing and framing. I’m not savvy on the healthcare side but clear writing like this brought to life with simple data and live examples to help contextualize and make sense of what matters is hugely important. I feel smarter every time I read this newsletter.

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SCAVENGER HUNT or DOCUMENT YOUR GOOD DAYS

After being up until 5am on work and life; up at 7am with flower shaped cranberry muffins. Pancakes. Oven baked fried chicken. Homemade disinfecting cleaner. Homemade foaming hand soap. And a splurge on basement and backyard play equipment that should delight the kids and help them through; help them navigate through, all of this. Full house cleaned. A work proposal and a creative piece of content out tomorrow morning faster than I’ve ever seen this stuff turned before. And ready with a schedule and incentives to exercise for the first time in 5 weeks starting tomorrow. Tonight, wrapped up by 830pm.

But the highlight was this scavenger hunt we put together. The kids worked together. Each solved 3 clues. It was fun. And great to see them troubleshoot together.

Going to finish my scheduled work, grab a beer, and should be asleep by midnight. For the night. #iamgrateful and #iamthankful I wanted to make today great and I think we pulled it off. You don’t always have good days so celebrate them when you do. Document them so you remember they’re possible.

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PDA | Butting Up Against the Limitations of Language or Thank You, My Children

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I’ve been trying to write this post for 3 weeks. I’ve tried many different hooks and patterns. I’ve tried to be simple. I’ve tried to be poetic. i’ve tried analogies. I’ve tried to be detailed. Yet every time I got about 350 words deep, I’ve leaned my head back away from my laptop, frowned, selected all of the text in the editor, and hit “delete”.

Nothing I can write does my feelings and my appreciation for you, justice. Nothing.

I have no words. There are no words. Language is limiting. As I understand it, there are over 1,000,000 total words in the English language, over 170,000 in current use, and on average, a person uses 30,000 of them.As I told your Mama when I proposed to her: “even 1,000 poets, writing 1,000 words a day, for 1,000 years can’t capture what moved me to propose to her”.

Now; for the second time in my life, I find myself verbally helpless; trying to find a way to bridge how I feel with the few words available and the even fewer words I know.

I don’t know how to capture what I’m feeling in words; in a way that you will read them at some point in your future and understand the weight of the feeling and the sentiments behind them.

But what I know, is that it won’t be for a lack of trying.

Anaiya. Jaanu. Buhboo.

For all of my worth as a human being: thank you.

There will come a day in your future; maybe a few, where you’ll wonder if you are up to the task. If you can pass some obstacle in front of you. If you can conquer some challenge. If you can go some Seussian places you want to go.

You will wonder. You will pause. You will hesitate. You will question.

And when you do, I want you to read this. And then, I want you to call me. On the phone. Over whatever device is in vogue when that challenge presents itself. And when I’m past my life while you’re still living yours, close your eyes and picture me. Reading this to you.

There is absolutely nothing you can’t do. Because at age 6 and age 3, you took the greatest punch the world has seen in over 100 years. You took something that crippled towns, cities, states, countries. You took a haymaker that brought humankind to its knees. In days. To our collective knees.

You took that. And you brushed it off your shoulder in a way that would make Aaliyah, Jay-Z, Barack Obama proud. You wiped a drop off blood of your lip in a way that would make Bruce Lee, and every Saturday afternoon Kung Fu theater hero (as well as your Dada Fua) proud. 

There has been so much discussion about the lockdown the world has experienced post COVID-19. Coronavirus. Corona – why us? There’s been some discussion about how resilient and adaptable human beings are. How if you had told us 3 months ago the way we’d be forced to live now, we’d never have been able to imagine it; and we certainly would have denied it would be possible .But when it happened, we adapted, and here we are.

Yes. Adaptable. Resilient.

But none of us are doing this adaptable thing, this resilient thing, with your grace.

And that is precisely where I lose all ability to express myself.

I want to tell you how one night you went to bed, ready for the next day. Your ordinary next day. An Alexa alarm. Breakfast and drop-offs. School and play time. Somewhere between 9 and 10 hours, a super majority of your life, for a super majority of your days each week, you were immersed in a world that we got glimpses of when we opened your backpacks, checked logs and updates from your teachers, hears mentions of when you had the time, energy and interest.

One night you went to bed, ready to do all the things we told you that you had to do. When we dropped you off at daycare. When we celebrated your first day of school  Make friends. Play nice. Listen to your teachers. Eat your meals. Be strong when you’re being bullied. Find strength when we aren’t there and when you feel like nobody else is, however fleeting. Do all these things because they are the most important things for you to learn now.

One night you went to bed knowing the next day was going to be filled with all those things.

And when Alexa woke you up that next day, we told you that wasn’t happening anymore. We told you that schedule, that way, wasn’t going to be the way. For a while.

If that had happened to me, I’d have needed a lifetime to plan, and a lifetime to prepare, and a lifetime to adjust; and I’d go through the motions and I’d do what I’m supposed to do.

But I don’t think, ever in my life, that I have operated with your grace. How can someone be so strong, so unwavering, so staunchly making progress, while doing so in a way that seems so effortless, so natural. You see, when I look at you, I don’t remember the way our life was 5 weeks ago. Because when I look at you, and observe you act, and watch you interact — I am only convinced that the way we’re living now is the only and obvious way we have been living all along.

When I look at my calendar. When I talk to people at work. When I read the news. Tonight is Sunday. Week 5 of quarantine. Poised for an even longer and more isolated road ahead. Into a new normal. Never returning to the way life was before. And it can be overwhelming.

When I look at you, though.

It’s Sunday.

What are we doing today, Buhboo?

Thanks for grading our worksheets, Buhboo!

Yay, we get to watch a movie, Buhboo!

I didn’t like my dinner, Buhboo, but I’ll eat it for you, Buhboo!

When I’m with you, it’s Sunday. It’s just Sunday for you.

And you’ve found a way to make it “just Sunday” for me too.

You can’t see your friends. Except, maybe from across the street. You can’t hug your Nana, Nani, Dadi, Tito Foi. Your Mamu is living with us, upstairs, in the guest bedroom and the best you can do is let him know when you’re downstairs so he can step out to get the tray of food we’ve left outside his door.

You can’t go to the park. You can’t go for ice cream. You can’t go to Charlie Brown’s (yeah, by the way, we need to talk about how for most of your childhood your favorite restaurant was a terrible chain restaurant that indicates you share a palate and a thirst for ambience with people born in the 1940s).

You can’t go to school. You can’t go to Tae Kwon Do. You can’t go to Dance Class. You can’t go to Bagels 4 U. You can’t go to Genus Boni. You can’t go to Shop Rite and you definitely can’t get the free cheese handouts there and at Whole Foods. You can’t … do … everything that brought you joy.

Yet you’re still, full of joy.

You are. Absolutely full of joy. It is because of you, I wake up with a bounce in my step excited about what we’re going to do today. Because of how you ask your questions, I focus on what we can and will do today; not what we can’t or can no longer.

“Buhboo, what’s our plan for tomorrow?”

What an absolutely beautiful question; Warren Berger would adore it. “What is our plan for tomorrow” is more intrinsically hopeful than “What are all the things we can’t do tomorrow that we could have done 5 weeks ago?”

It’s been 5 weeks, and you’re still asking beautiful questions.

You’re making me see the beautiful.

Your laughs fill our house. Your cries do too; but if we were to put them on scales, there would be no contest in terms of which direction we’re tipping.

I’m also watching you grow.

Anaiya: Yoga. Dance. Math. Reading. Mentoring. Eating. Breathing. Guiding. Defiance (I mean, you absolutely hate to lose at a level that would make Michael Jordan proud.) Love. The way you clutch my arm, at bedtime, at wakey time, and at so many times in-between, and hold it like it’s the last arm you’ll get to hold and hug on earth. I can’t help but feel that some of that has nothing to do with me, actually; you’re holding my arm so tightly because it’s the one place where all that’s been taken away from you is manifesting. And riding your bike with no training wheels. Yeah, that happened.

Jaanu: Dance. Gibberish. Letters. Tracing. Troubleshooting. Putting away dishes. Cleaning. Defiance (I mean, you absolutely hate being told what to do.) The way you proclaim to every person who’s ready to hear you that they are “the greatest in the history” is tagline and catchphrase I hope you never lose. I can’t help but feel that you’re expressing that as a way of defining a new baseline for history, and helping people find positivity and feel special in this altogether new way of being.

I’m words, sentences, paragraphs in; and as you can see, I’ve written so much, and I’ve said so little that captures how proud I am of you. How honored I am to be your Dad, your Buhboo.

1,000 poets. 1,000 words a day. 1,000 years.

Even when, as a family, we experience the most extraordinary of losses, you find a way to bring love, to comfort, to hug and support — videos weren’t designed to have this kind of impact and sincerity. You have managed to make video feel human and intimate.

Consolation is something you give to people. After loss. After disappointment. Right now, as I read what people write and say and share; I feel an excessive amount of consolation. I see a world full of people acknowledging loss and disappointment and sadness; and from that, trying to force a rose to bloom from concrete.

Consolation is what I see and hear in every interaction.

Except the ones I have with you.

With you, it’s “just Sunday”.

With you, it’s “what IS our plan?”

With you, it’s not resilience. Or adaptability. Or perseverance.

With you, it’s not about the new normal.

With you, it’s just what’s next. Your ability to make everything that is, seem natural; and to make what’s next, seem possible. Is what makes me, so uncontrollably humbled and so infinitely proud, and so eternally enamored.

Thank you.

So when that hill, or that mountain, or that sea, or that valley, shows up in your way. I want you to call me. On your phone. On your <<unnamed device>>. On your memory.

And I want you to hear me. Loudly. Clearly.

The world handed you the worst the world has handed anyone. And you flicked, brushed, dusted, and resumed.

Thank you, my children. Thank you, my kids. Your Mama and I wish the rest of the universe had you to wake up to, you to bring tomorrow’s schedule to, you … to look forward to.

Because then, they’d all be as happy, as proud, as hopeful, as we are.

(And just as speechless.)

How much do I love you? More than anything.
How long will I love you? More than forever.
When will I stop? Never.

Ever.

 

 

 

 

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MY GREATEST WORK or PAISLEY PARK

Every morning for drop off we start with Anaiya who has a drive thru drop off. We pull up, the teachers take Anaiya out, and we drive off to drop Jaanu off. Kudos to Campbell/Moss PTO and Moss School for making this happen by the way — it’s magic.

For the 10 or so minutes while we’re waiting in line for drop off, we have a karaoke/dance party in the car. Anaiya usually requests Frozen. Jaanu always requests whatever Anaiya just played.

I’ll try to insert something. To mix it up. Build a bridge to some musical taste beyond soundtracks to animated films. Pop. Safe Hip Hop. Who knows. Nothing sticks more than a day; and we’re back to Disney.

Well. Except this week. Jaanu lets Anaiya have her Frozen 2 soundtrack. She gets out of the car. And floating, rising, arcing over the headrest from the back seat, landing in my ear and settling deep in the most important place in my soul, I hear Jaanu utter the following words:

“Buhboo, can you play Prince?”

#iamgrateful and #iamthankful for what sticks. There is a park that is known … Paisley Park is in your heart. And I think, now it’s in his. Amen to my life’s greatest work.

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