Social Media is Breaking Me

I’m doing a pause on social media. I’m thinking of it as a little vacation for my mental wellbeing. And yes I know what you’re thinking. It’s probably the exact same thing my husband was when I told him this and he sarcastically responded, “There goes most of your column fodder.”

Indeed, a wealth of aggravation in which to serve as writing prompts has now left the building but I need this break desperately.

There is a slight caveat to this whole “break” business. I have to be on social media daily for some work-related projects. Then there’s the one true love of my life – my Snarky in the Suburbs Facebook page which I could never abandon. But I have successfully managed to modify my accounts so that I don’t see a lot of posts from most of the humans I know while I’m on social media

This is key because reading, really even glancing at the recent posts from “friends” was making me sad. Again, another tiny caveat – I start out angry and then morph to sad. This sadness is not just a momentary blip but an intense feeling like a weighted blanket of despair.

It’s odd but the posts that finally had me saying bye-bye weren’t that shocking. They were just so selfish and tone deaf I couldn’t take it anymore.

It started out with the incredibly moronic social media trend called “Challenge Accepted.” This is where women nominate other women to post black and white photos of themselves with lofty hashtags like #womensupportingwomen and #FemaleEmpowerment

Are you kidding me? How does sharing a (usually sexy) photo of yourself on Facebook in any way support other women or stand for  female empowerment? Short answer: it doesn’t. Good lord for most of these women the real challenge would be not to post a selfie on social media.

The comments that accompanied these photos were just as annoying. “So pretty.” “OMG, you’re still hot.” “Werk it gurl.” Yes, by all means let’s associate female empowerment with being hot. Haven’t we as women been trying to for oh, I don’t know centuries to not be judged solely on our appearance?

But sure, let’s go ahead during a raging pandemic amidst a time of racial and social injustice upheaval and post a black and white photo of our face and feel like we’re now an activist for positive world change.

The final push off the social media ledge was the unapologetic, self-centeredness of a group of mothers. Hissy fits were being had because some schools had made the decision to start the year with virtual instruction. There was extended bitching about how their children were “being robbed,” how “everything needed to go back to normal no matter what” and that they were “tired of doing teachers’ jobs for them.”

Nowhere in this “poor me” harangue was there any concern for their children’s educators or school’s support staff health. It was all me, me, me. What I want. What I need. What I demand.

 It haunted me.

I would have thought all the conspiracy theories, the blatant disregard for science, and the total absence of common sense would have been the trifecta that caused me to run away from social media but no it was the total lack of compassion from mothers for anyone but themselves that was the straw that broke my news feeds back.

What has happened to us? When did we reach the point where it’s appropriate behavior to show zero regard for your fellow human beings? Even worse we’re not just showing it but  shouting it from the metaphorical rooftop of social media and getting a whole lot of hearts and thumbs up in the process.

I need a break. A break from a world where you’re cheered for being a self-involved fool.

I’m Not an Expert But I Play One on the Internet

 

A week or two ago I wrote about how the most fundamental of science knowledge and common sense seems to be eluding a significant swath of the U.S. population. Mainly because so many people are espousing the dangers of wearing a mask due to carbon dioxide toxicity and yet medical professionals have been wearing face coverings for at least one hundred years without passing out on the operating room floor.

But, in a strange turn of events it seems that even though American’s science knowledge appears to be limited we are geniuses when it comes to math. This may appear to be a paradox because science and math are like peanut butter and chocolate – two great things that go great together.

So, it stands to reason that if you excel at math your science acumen would be above average. It’s a head scratcher for sure but let’s not dwell on this conundrum and instead focus on the surprising number of people that are suddenly gifted mathematicians.

Now, when I made this discovery I was flabbergasted, no make that shocked, because most folks will readily admit they don’t excel at math or in some cases (me) not only hate math but are still suffering from PTSD from high school Pre-Calculus.

This is why the volume of people on my social media feeds that are now suddenly math experts has been quite a jolt. It’s impressive to be sure that these folks have morphed from being in a non-math centric careers their entire adult lives to suddenly sharing their insights on complex equations and data.

Nothing has summoned all these hidden math geniuses like the debate on whether or not schools should open for the fall. All of a sudden parents were posting their interpretation on data from a wide variety of sources and proclaiming that based on their findings and mathematical extrapolations that the COVID-19 transmission rate is “way too low” for schools not to open.

The dedicated arithmetic aficionados went even deeper and shared their in-depth numerical calculations on high school sports. According to these newbie math scholars, there is no significant mathematical data to show that team sports should be in any way affected by the coronavirus.

Now Bayesian probability and Diophantine equations aside I get it that a lot of parents want the schools to open.  I’m also cognizant that school district officials that have to make these decisions are in uncharted territory and probably need the skills of King Solomon and the psychic gift of being able to predict the future to even come close to making every parent happy.

There is no answer, game plan, or confluence of ideas that will meet every family’s needs or fit in with every child’s learning style. Basically, it’s a huge nightmare that we all want to wake up from.

As parents we zig and zag and then zig some more and keep repeating the phrase “stay flexible.” But what’s not helping is people all of sudden deciding they’re experts in a field they have zero education in (who knew there are so many people that know more than experienced infectious disease experts) and thinking that reworking data or mining it to reach a conclusion that fits their plan to “get back to normal” is helpful.

It’s hard to do nothing, to just wait. It runs counter to our “see a problem, solve a problem” American sensibility. But if people really want to help the only thing most of us have any real control over is embracing the best health practices to keep our family COVID-19 free.

I don’t know what the math equation is for that but maybe it’s one we all need to learn.

Embracing the Incognito Freedom

I’m on a mask roll. Yes, I realize that I recently wrote about masks so let’s call this “Masks – the Sequel.” I feel it is my duty, nay let’s make that my calling, to continue to highlight the upside of wearing masks that go beyond the obvious of saving lives.

True confession – I’m one of those people that, at first, hated wearing a mask. It felt very claustrophobic to me and my reading glasses fogging up was not a thing of joy. But, because I’ve been a parent for 24 years I consider myself a master of being able to turn that frown upside down.

This means I’ve eagerly looked for all the reasons why I should love wearing a mask. At first it was challenging and then I experienced what I’m going to call my profound mask moment.

I had been at the city pool swimming laps and was on my way home when I realized I needed to stop at the grocery store for a few items.

Now, normally after swimming I would not venture into any establishment. I would go home and change and then head back out. This is because after I have gone swimming I look like I have been swallowed whole by a sperm whale and then after getting half-way down the whale’s esophagus the creature thinks, “Yeah, maybe I am too full,” and then forcefully regurgitates me back out into the world.

But, then I remembered that I would be wearing a mask and if I kept my sunglasses on no one would recognize me. So, did it really matter that I looked like rejected whale chow? I came to the resounding conclusion that it did not.

I, cloaked in mask and sunglasses, proudly strolled into the grocery store. Well, maybe proudly is a slight exaggeration. It was more like I kept my head down and tried to get in and out as quickly as I could because did I mention I was wearing a swimsuit cover up?

My only moment of panic was when I had to take off my sunglasses and put on my readers to decipher a spice label. The divesting of my shades left me feeling exposed.

In the Murphy’s Law world in which I reside this is when I would see one of a handful (a rather large handful I’m afraid) of people I spend my life aggressively attempting to avoid.

Number one on that list is a certain elementary school PTO board member that back in the day I had a bit of a kerfuffle with. (It’s a long story best suited for another time. But details aside suffice it to say the incident still festers like an eternal cold sore.)

Well, well, well, guess who I see at the grocery store? Yep, that woman walking towards me with her cart. I quickly ripped off my readers and yanked down my sunglasses that had been perched on the top on my head.

It was then as if everything was happening in slow motion as my brain ran through various scenarios. Would the number one person I never want to see recognize me? Should I run and hide in the frozen food aisle? Do I abandon the cart and bolt for my car? Do I open my purse and stick my head in it?

Miraculously, literally a gift from the heavens, she just walked right by me. Masked and sunglassed up I was unrecognizable. My relief was so potent I got giddy in the spice aisle. It was then and there I celebrated the mask and its gift of sweet, sweet, incognito freedom.

 Meet the Mask Enforcers – Advanced Middle-Aged Moms

There’s a lot that has surprised me about people’s understanding and reaction to the coronavirus. Before COVID-19 I thought we were a fairly intelligent country.

More than 90 percent of Americans over the age of 25 have graduated from high school and almost 33 percent of Americans over the age of 25 have a college degree. In the history of our country we’re the most educated we have ever been.

Yet, in the midst of a pandemic we’re stupid, really stupid.

You need to look no further than the mask debate to realize that common sense and the most basic understanding of science has vanished from sea to shining sea.

Lord help us all when people think they can’t breathe with a mask on because of the carbon dioxide build up and yet in the same non masked breath say that masks are futile at stopping the coronavirus because the virus can permeate the mask.

Pick a lane. If a mask can trap carbon dioxide (which the mask you would wear to the grocery store cannot) then it can trap the COVID-19 virus which is 500 times the size of an oxygen molecule.

Also, for the love of basic brain function, ask yourself if all of the medical professionals that wear face coverings daily are perishing from a mask induced carbon dioxide toxicity? The answer to that is a solid no.

Honestly, I’m most disappointed in my demographic – the advanced middle-aged mom. Let’s get real here, we should be the smartest person in every room. We set the example for everyone else to follow.

We have years of wisdom. We’re savvy, resourceful, have survived parenting teenagers and have shepherded at least one child through the college admissions process and dorm move in day which means we’re resilient and battle tested.

But in person and on social media all I see are mothers fighting the mask mandates. I’m seriously perplexed. Women are the guardians of the safety and survival of humanity. Our “go to” is to be in a constant state of worry about e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

In a pandemic you would think this demographic – the demographic that has their entire family geotagged via their phones for 24/7 tracking purposes (including heart and pulse rate) would be not just team mask, but team mask with a vengeance.

The AMAM’s (Advanced Middle-Aged Moms) should be all over wearing masks especially since we have a superpower – guilt which can be used for maximum mask enforcement. There is nothing quite as potent as mom guilt. It lingers and gets lodged in our children’s brains. It affixes itself to their very soul. They can’t escape it no matter how hard they try.  It’s like an omnipresent festering forcefield.

Joining guilt in our AMAM arsenal is shaming, cajoling, and throwing down the maternal gauntlet of assorted escalating threats. In the hierarchy of telling people what to do moms are the supreme ruler.

It doesn’t matter if your kids are technically adults, especially since the odds are at least one of them is still on your cell phone plan and/or you’re paying their car insurance, the advanced middle-aged mom has the authority to make their progeny mask up.

Sure, masks aren’t fun but you know what else wasn’t fun? Making our children use a car seat and then ride in a booster seat well into the fifth grade. But we enforced that rule and we put the classic mom spin on it  – “I’m making you do it because I love you so very much.”

We need to take that love and bring it! Advanced Middle-Aged Moms heed the call. This is our time. Our skill set has never been required more. It’s up to us to embrace science, to use that mom common sense that runs boldly through our veins and has kept our families safe. We are the stalwart leaders of Team Mask.

America we are coming to save you – one guilt trip at a time.

*I got my Snarky in the Suburbs mask at www.anniesbarn.com. The very creative owner is a friend of mine and she has a lot of unique masks and a bunch of other super fun stuff. Even if you’re not shopping for masks check out her website. It’s a snarky hoot!

A Sprinkling of Silver Linings

I think we can all agree that so far 2020 has been annus horribilis. (Shout out to my high school Latin that I haven’t used in 40 years.)

If you’re one of those people that can find a silver lining in a pandemic then I salute you because I can’t. Sure, if pressed, I guess, I can come up with some positives.

I did learn things like my Internet has a lot in common with a teenager who wants to sleep all day and when forced to do some hardcore chores has a breakdown. This also educated me that while paying for high speed internet I’m getting more of a “high speed occasional, when I, sort of, feel like it which isn’t very often,” experience.

Yes, before you ask I aggressively reached out to my internet provider and I would rather get 100 nasal coronavirus swabs than have to live through that again. I finally had to go to the nuclear option which was to get my son to hard wire my home office.

This called for him to brandish a drill and lasso 40 feet of computer cable through our upstairs hallway which now resembles a mad scientist’s lair.

Maybe another silver lining is that I did have some self-discovery moments. About two months into the lock down I had an epiphany that I hate cooking dinner. In fact, I think I’ve always loathed cooking but tried to tell myself I didn’t by using excuses like, “I enjoy cooking and just hate cleaning the kitchen.”

But no, I would rather clean the kitchen than have to cook dinner. My least favorite three-word sentence now is, “What’s for dinner?”

What I do like is baking. Baking enriches the soul. Cooking dinner not so much. It’s a thankless, repetitive task.

Sisyphus instead of being forced to eternally push a boulder up a hill only to watch it roll back down should have been given the task of cooking dinner every single night during a pandemic. There’s a real Greek God worthy punishment.

I guess it’s also silver lining-ish that I now know what my husband and I will fight about in  retirement. Having both of us home almost 24/7 has resulted in some extremely terse exchanges.

There’s been the melt down over someone (not me) putting condiments in the designated (by me) beverage section of the refrigerator. I can’t be wrong about this because who wants pickle relish and stone ground mustard mixed in with beverages? It’s just not done.

Then there was the sprinkler war. My husband (insert eye roll) doesn’t approve of how I water our yard. (Just to clarify for anyone that is confused right now. We do not have an in-ground irrigation system. This means every summer we’re the fools yanking hoses and sprinklers all over our yard.)

I prefer the sprinklers of my childhood. The ones that sway gently back and forth. My husband likes the lawn spike sprinkler. It’s the kind that shoots out across the yard making a rat-a-tat-tat sound.

There’s also the issue of sprinkler placement. Apparently, I’m lacking in “geographical sprinkler management skills.” This led me to tell my spouse just where he could put his rat-a-tat-tat sprinkler.

We also have fought over fabric softener usage (#TeamFabricSoftener)and utensil placement in the dishwasher. For the love of god, wooden spoons and spatulas go in the top compartment. Why is that so hard to understand?

Wooden spoon drama aside, I’m a little bit impressed with myself that I could find that many silver linings or maybe they’re more like Teflon linings. Good thoughts that won’t stick.

Dear Snarky – When a Grad Party Cancellation Gets F-Bomby

Dear Snarky,

I’m so angry at my family! My daughter’s very small high school graduation party was scheduled for this weekend and now I’ve had to cancel it because so many of my family members are idiots. They’re not following any of the coronavirus rules and my brother and his girlfriend were at that packed Lake of the Ozarks pool party.

I sent out an email telling them that “due to their behavior” the grad party was off for the foreseeable future. O.M.G. the responses I got back were ridiculous. My brother even cursed at me, like the F word cursing.

I need your help because right now I hate my family. How come they just couldn’t say something like, “Okay, can’t wait till it’s rescheduled?” Or, “Keep us posted.” But instead I get pot shots at my intelligence, and F bombs.

I plan on emailing them back and letting them all know I didn’t appreciate their reaction. What is the best thing to say to get my point across?

Signed, Still in Shock

Dear Shock,

It times like this that we have to look inward at our own actions and think, “Hmm, is there a different way I could have worded that party cancellation email? And as I’m sure you already know the answer to that question is yes.

Because you seem like a smart person I’m going to conjecture that you took great delight in calling your family out on their actions. You had to know that by sending that email that cast aspersions on their behavior you were going to stir up some drama.

Come on, you can’t act all innocent and hurt feelings now when you knew something like this was bound to happen. That said, you have every right to cancel the grad party and based on what you told me it was probably in the best interest of public health to do so.

But you could have channeled your inner Miss Manners and said that due to ever present current Covid-19 concerns you have decided to postpone the party for a later date.

As for emailing family members back that were jerks – just don’t. It’s not worth your time and since emotions seem to be running very high I fear it might result in more cursing and name calling. I will suggest that when you do have the grad party that you take the road less traveled – the high road – and show your family the type of gracious behavior you wish they would emulate.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. 😉

 

Bored In Dream Land

I’m not a dreamer. Yes, I have dreams as in hopes and wishes but as far as dreaming while I sleep I’ve never been someone who remembers my dreams and then likes to start a morning conversation with, “You are not going to believe the dream I had last night.”

Yes, I know everyone dreams while they sleep. Some studies show that at least two hours of our nightly slumber is dream filled. The fact that I can’t remember my dreams used to bother me because I was certain that my nocturnal musings were probably epic. After all, I have a very active wide-awake imagination so I just assumed that my dreams while snoozing would be that times a million.

I was shattered to recently discover that I’m a boring dreamer. Yes, I’ve begun to remember some of my dreams and all I can say is that they’re beyond dull. My dreams are like the guest at a party that you try to avoid because you don’t want to be trapped talking to the most uninteresting person in the room.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but my dreams hurt my feelings. Who wants to have dreams that are about as exciting as your Target shopping list? Also, and more importantly, I’m insulted that my slumbering brain is so unimaginative. It’s not that I want nightmares but come on my brain should be doing better than recipe dreams.

Yes, that’s right I’m dreaming about recipes. I would be okay with that if my recipe dreams included some excitement like I was a pastry diva or master chef. Also, technically I’m not even dreaming about actual recipes. I’m dreaming about recipe websites.

Am I okay?

Really, am I because whose imagination when given free range stagnates on recipe websites? Oh, and it gets worse because these dreams are a little angry. I wake up mad and it’s not because I wasted dreamtime on websites. It’s because the recipe websites are lacking in the speedy delivery of recipes.

If this doesn’t make sense to you let me explain that a plethora of cooking blog/recipe purveyor websites seem to attach a novella to every single recipe. This means you have to scroll through about 3,000 words before you get to what you’re looking for – the actual ingredients and instructions.

Worse, those 3,000 words have nothing whatsoever to do with cooking. If I search online for the “best lemon pie” chances are before I get to the recipe I’ll have to endure a mood piece about the emotions the pie evoked because the color of the custard reminded the baker of a bridesmaid dress she wore in 1998.

Honestly, no one googling “lemon pie” cares about the tales of a bridesmaid. (Although a dress the color of a good lemon curd does sounds like a winner.)  Most people just want the recipe.

I most especially want to see the recipe if I’m standing in the baking aisle of the grocery store with a mask on that’s fogging up my readers as I search on my phone for lemon pie ingredients.

I talked to a friend about my boring dreams that leave me angry and she said to blame it on the pandemic. Her theory is that my virus anxiety is manifesting itself into drab dreams that reflect our collective state of boredom and that my anger being directed at the recipes is actually towards the coronavirus.

She might be right, but honestly upon further reflection I think my subconscious is telling me, “Girl, you really need to get a life.” As for my irritability well who wouldn’t be a little steamed about having to endure online ramblings about the “bridal luminosity” of lemon custard?

 

Quarantine Curious

Here’s what my current life situation has succumb to: I’m wasting time being abnormally curious about why all the fire hydrants in my neighborhood have been painted gray.

Is it primer? Is there some kind of new fire hydrant design initiative where everything in the burbs must adhere to a gray, beige or greige motif? Is it an artistic statement that reflects our current pandemic mood – dreary with a side of blah?

I even called the my city public works department and they didn’t know. So, then I called Water One and I’m still waiting to hear back from a real live human being. I also did a Google search of “Why is my fire hydrant now gray?”

Apparently back in 2017 that was a hot topic in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I know this because my googling took to the front lines of that riveting discussion. Based on my deep dive I now feel confident saying that the gray on the fire hydrants is most likely primer.

Bonus – I learned that most cities repaint their fire hydrants every 10 years, so you’re welcome for that bit of knowledge you never really needed to know. Although, I can see it coming up as a Jeopardy question.

I fear a side effect of this current life situation we’re all in is that I have become hyper curious about stupid stuff. Four months ago, I can assure you I probably wouldn’t have noticed the gray fire hydrants.

In fact, four months ago, I was in D.C. not only using the Metro but gripping a plethora of mass transit handrails. I guess I’m lucky to be alive because I’m certain that metro handrails are bacteria and viruses happy place.

I imagine the handrail as a kind of germ rager with lots of co-mingling and hook ups. In my mind it looks like a single bars with 2 for 1 drinks and free appetizers. So, basically just a cauldron of infectious disease mayhem.

If only I knew that it would be my last time to ever touch a handrail with my bare hands and not have a panic attack while using approximately a cup of hand sanitizer to wash away my fears.

I kind of feel like I should be cherishing the memory.

Of course, my rampant inquisitiveness has extended to coronavirus issues as well. I’ve even come up some brain teasers.

For example, if someone is wiping down a shopping cart with a dirty rag that has been used on other shopping carts is that shopping cart really clean or have the germs just enjoyed what amounts to a ride on a Tilt-a-Whirl?

For those of you who don’t remember the Tilt-a-Whirl is an amusement park attraction where you spin around in a bunch of different directions while experiencing the majesty of centrifugal force and gravitational pull.

Just in case you’re stumped the answer to that brain teaser is no the shopping cart isn’t clean and yes the germs have enjoyed being spun around and being tossed from cart to cart.

Brain teaser number two is did I walk up to the person using the dirty rag and say something?

No, I did not because while I’ll admit to being the Covid-19 police at the start of this journey I’m now experiencing enforcement fatigue and control what I can which is the health practices of my family.

This is why I think I’ve gotten curious about the mundane like the color of fire hydrants. It’s a safe, non-scary topic to explore which is comforting because it means for a brief moment in time I wasn’t thinking about washing my hands.

 

 

 

Can a Patriot Rescue Us from Quarantine Brain?

The word patriot is not what it used to be. A mere five years ago if someone was called a patriot I would assume they were talking about a Paul Revere-esque figure and the whole, “One, if by land, and two, if by sea” declaration. You know like a real spirit of 1776 patriot. Of course, there’s the New England Patriots but I’m talking about the non-NFL franchise use of the name.

To that end it seems like the word patriot has lost its original luster and gravitas. I think that’s because I hear it all the time. It’s a word I always thought should be saved for special or worthy occasions like your good china and silver because you don’t want to wear it out or God forbid tarnish it.

Also, I’ve been pondering is it cool or even proper to call yourself a patriot? It seems to me that patriot is a moniker that should be bestowed on you rather than you bequeathing it to yourself.

These deep thoughts arose from where else but social media. When some cities began lifting their lock down orders my newsfeed was resplendent with acquaintances calling themselves “patriots” for going to malls, restaurants and in one case a nail salon. It left me thinking these folks might need to look up the definition of the word.

Yes, you’re out and about but I don’t think ordering a club sandwich with mayo at a restaurant in San Antonio, Texas is exactly a “Remember the Alamo!” moment.

And this might just be me but I’m almost certain going to get a mani/pedi should never be considered an act worthy of labeling yourself a patriot. What’s the battle cry? “Don’t forget to pumice my heels!”

I admit to feeling unsettled by the hubris. Seriously, in what universe does stuffing your face or getting your cuticles massaged give someone the right to act like they just defused a dirty bomb and liberated a small country?

But, you know, whatever. I’m just going to chalk it up to the lasting effects of “quarantine brain.” This is where your reasoning skills have been impaired due to not enough cognitive engagement with the outside world.

The good and the bad about being locked down with family is that in most cases you’re with people who either share your mindset or don’t but because they value their mental happiness pretend to agree with you. This can give you free reign to bluster nonsensically and then think you might a genius.

I personally wouldn’t know what this is like because my family’s hobby is, with glee, telling each other that we’re wrong. I think the polite term for this is debating so I’m going to pretend that’s what we’re doing. But enough about my family’s interpersonal dynamics let’s focus back on quarantine brain.

I’m certain that’s what has led to so many of the totally asinine postings I’ve seen on social media. You know the ones I’m talking about where you think that perhaps a well person check might be needed or someone has over imbibed and is now keyboard happy.

The worrisome part, besides the postings, are the people that agree in the comment section thus fanning the flames of  “morons unite” even more. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say it’s been an inferno of ignorance. Common sense during this pandemic is going up in flames.

Yes, I realize that stupidity shared online is nothing brand spanking new but truly I think it’s reached new heights and my diagnosis is quarantine brain.

Perhaps a patriot can ride to our rescue. Hopefully one that has done more than eat a sandwich.

A Failure at Masking My Anxiety

I swear I wasn’t going to write about the coronavirus. I wanted to write about something that would take everyone’s mind off of our current situation. The problem is I have nothing, nada, zero, zilch, else to talk about. Like everyone else my whole existence is being dominated by Covid-19.

I will say the coronavirus has taught me a few lessons about myself. The most eye opening one is that I’m the most annoying member of my family.

 I always thought in any crisis situation I would be a combination of Rambo and Wonder Woman. Fierce, strong with some kick butt superpowers. It seems I’m none of the above.

Instead I stand before you as a woman who has abandoned any semblance of grooming, hasn’t worn an article of clothing that requires a zipper or buttons in a month, obsessively reads about the coronavirus and then tops that off with having an anxiety attack while manically wiping down every surface in my home.

My only superpower seems to be the ability to clean the kitchen 24/7 while yelling at my family, “Would it kill you to put your plate in the dishwasher!”

So yeah, I’m basically a hot mess.

In a surprising turn of events the family member that I pegged as “least likely to survive a crisis” is doing the best. My daughter, someone not known for her go with the flow charms, is calm, focused on school, handwashing, and enjoying “not feeling judged about laying around.”

I wish I had her Zen because the CDC recommendation about wearing masks has further ricochet up my stress levels which quite frankly don’t need to be topped off.

It seems I’m officially pandemic challenged because I’m a failure at making homemade masks. Trust me, I did my due diligence. I watched at least 10 YouTube tutorials for making your own face masks.

I got out bandanas and hair ties, followed the folding and gathering instructions and was all set to keep my family safe. The only problem was not only did my homemade face masks look less than virus worthy they were painful to wear.

Hair ties behind your ears is not something your lobes were meant to sustain for any period of time. After five minutes it felt like my ears were being slowing eviscerated off my head. It was then and there I decided I had to attempt to sew on straps.

To say sewing is not my strong suit would be a vast understatement. I’m the person that can mess up sewing on a button. Sure, I can do but if you look behind the button it’s a mass of knotted thread that resembles a pile of miniature spaghetti noodles.

But if there was ever a time to kick my sewing into high gear it was now. I got out a needle and thread from one of those hotel sewing kits I had stashed in my junk drawer and found some ribbon and started “Operation Mask.”

When I was done I was quite proud of myself. I had made a mask with a jaunty ribbon tie. This feeling of accomplishment lasted all of 20 seconds. That’s how long it took for me to put the mask on and attempt to tie it. I say attempt because one solid tug on the ribbon pulled it right off.

Sigh. I admitted sewing defeat and announced to my family that everyone would be wearing ski gaiters when they left the house. On the plus side, the gaiter covers most of my hair so that’s just another excuse to continue to lower the grooming bar.

Wow, look at me turning a negative into a positive. Maybe I’m getting a little Zen after all.