HUNKERING DOWN – PANDEMIC DAY ONE – THREE

Photo Credit CDC

Not sure where this is going to go, but it feels like history is being made so I want to document this… if I can keep up.

After a short trip to Maryland (via an airplane -oy) on Thursday, to celebrate with my brother and Chabad’s 10th anniversary, I returned Friday morning to my kids still having school despite schools closing left right and center. Cases of Covid-19 increasing across the nation and in Mass specifically, the anxiety level is higher than I ever remember.

My wife has thankfully stocked up on perishables and I’ve gotten some basics over the past weeks from Costco so we are pretty stocked up on supplies.

The debate to close Shul for Shabbos was deep on my mind, particularly after a number of non-regulars reached out to see if we were having services. Kiddish after services I had already cancelled. Then I found out that the rabbinic council of orthodox rabbis in the Boston area had cancelled. (It seems that there is a larger amount of cases in that area perhaps due to the fact that many in that community are connected to some who attended the bio-gen event in Boston, where someone was infected and inexplicably infected a disproportionate amount of others.)

After speaking to a Rabbinic Authority and local medical expert, it became clear that while I didn’t want to, I needed to remove myself from the equation and close up. So we did.

We found out that our daughters school in Brooklyn was now closed but her dorm remains open until Monday. We need to get her home on Sunday. Two kids still away from home, in New Haven and in Grenada Hills, CA… meanwhile they are still at school… we will see.

Cancelled our Shabbos guest and hunkered down with our neighboring Chabad Rabbi and family from Chelsea.

From the moment the Shabbat candles were lit and put our phones and devices down the anxiety abated and we were able to relax.

It was a lovely Friday night dinner. Everyone was in bed at a reasonable time, and woke up late as there wasn’t the usual rush to be ready before Shul.

After sleeping more hours than in a long time, awakened and had a chance to do a whole bunch of studying while the kids played and ate. And ate, and ate again.

Shabbat morning. We went to Shul ourselves and prayed. My wife and 4 kids who are at home. Prayed a lovely service. Made kiddish and had leftover Hamentashen and came home for the Shabbat meal.

Grabbed a Shabbat nap and then we all took turns.

Dads went for a walk while moms watched the kids. Came back and switched. Moms out walking while dad’s watched the kids. Got in some more studying while the kids played in the backyard.

As Shabbos drew to a close and we did Havdalah, I really did not want to got to my phone. It could not possibly bring me good news. I was right.

The pit in the stomach is back, but I am confident that we will get through this together yet separately.

Tomorrow is another day, lets see what excitement that brings.

There is a planned bris for twins in Burlington…. let see what happens?

Day #2

When Shabbat ended we went into full panic mode. Our daughter in NY had no ride home and our son in New Haven either. Within a few hours, we had these details in place but now it was after midnight.

I got late confirmation that my bris of the twins was still on for 10:30am in Burlington the next morning. Everyone is freaking out about the Virus, so this would be my first bris with face masks and a minimal amount of guests.

Late to bed and early to rise. Got a lot of my daily studies done early and was able to leave to the bris in peace. The brisim took a few hours, till both brisim were done and babies were safe. Grabbed a much needed Starbucks on the way home.

Both, older children who had been in environments where presumptive coronavirus cases had been confirmed were coming home, so there were a few things I wanted to take care of before they got home.

Came back and did a great four mile run (10 1/2 minutes mile) got my juice flowing.

Son dropped off, and a while later my wife picked up my daughter from her dropoff point in Brookline, but she was legitimately coughing. We decided to call our doctor who suggested we have her swabbed. That journey took us 3 hours while they said she is fine and her lungs are clear and she does not warrant a swab. (I think there needs to be more tests so that they are not nit picky about testing her, and giving the rest of us more relief from worry.)

The upside of my day was that I was able to avoid much of the news that is foreboding and filled with impending disaster.

Tonight, 6 of 7 kids are at home. Tomorrow we will all be home.

Highlight of my day, the “family meeting” at dinner that we will not be on devices all day. For the next month, we will need to have special time for learning, praying, playing, getting outside, chores cleaning for Passover and more. 

Will that work? No one knows. 

Day two was filled with many distractions that were a blessing in and of themselves.

Hello, day three. What drama or relief can you bring?

DAY THREE – 3

OK, closing out day three. The market crashed nearly 3000 points today. Afraid to even look at the damage. I repeat the mantra.. over the long haul it all bounces back and even higher. Said that three times and I am not looking back.

Woke up late. That was nice. Simply nothing urgent pulling me out of bed. Once I got up, the older-younger (not the littlest but not the older ones) kids were already up. Decided to play hooky a bit. I figured this would be a good time to go stock up on meat in Boston, and get a large Starbucks on the way and hit the bank. So with the wife’s blessings, I did.

Came back a couple hours later and we did a family davening at Chabad. We all went in the car around the block and prayed. Together. Something we’ve never done until Corona. It was unusual but also special. We did a little charity and Torah study after our family service. 

Family dropped off, I went back to the office to do a bit of work. More playing hooky.

Came back a bit later and had lunch. Did my half hour watch of the kids. That is another thing my wife instituted to keep the peace. Each person 14 and older has a half hour window where they watch the kids.

Exercise, a key component to staying healthy sane and calm, but now it was only 36 degrees and I couldn’t ditch yet again. So, I bundled the younger two in coats, gloves and a blanket in the jogger carriage and went for a 4 mile run. They were kvetchy and I anticipated it so I brought chocolate and of course it did wonders. 

Came home, sit ups and pushups and time to work on dinner. Grilled some food, and we sat down as family. Minus mendy, who will be arriving tonight. Everyone shared their best moments of the day. I have to to admit, that I was a flake today and let my wife carry the heaviest lifting. But overall it was a great day. Videos were kept to a minimum.

The BIG deal of the day is that tomorrow most of the kids have some form of online school. We will see if we have enough broadband to make it happen. 

The scary news. More cases of people getting sick are starting to show up. My sisters father in law is hospitalized (Rabbi Goldstein from the story tapes) though it seems that he is stabilized but only after being intubated. Depending which report you follow.

I really stayed away from FB and internet news much of the day. I find that to be very helpful.

Stayed very present and mindful and that helped as well.

Tonight, all 9 of us under one roof. Praying!

Let’s see what day 4 brings.

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