I Traveled Across the Country During a Pandemic

I left this post in draft mode for a month. Like many people in the United States, my life took a wild turn a few weeks ago as I planned my final days in California. The Covid-19 pandemic halted my move to Traverse City, rendered me homeless, and has taken my husband away from our family- indefinitely. There were a few weeks in March where I disassociated and can’t remember much. For the sake of sounding too dull, I’ll leave the details in the past- it’s not like I can remember them anyway.

Despite all the trauma and fear, there are a few wonderful things that happened- many of which I did not speak about openly on my blog beforehand. Life feels like a tornado. But the big news is that I’M PREGNANT. AGAIN. FOR THE FINAL TIME. I’M NOT DOING THIS SHIT ANYMORE. I had intended on rolling out this news story once we found out the gender, but we had our gender ultrasound during our move. So here I am, pulling this rabbit out of a hat several weeks later. He’s a boy. And we’re naming him Ares. We typically do not reveal the names of our children until they are born but since circumstances have changed, it feels inappropriate to keep the exciting (and typically, private) news to ourselves. The third baby has been far kinder to me than the other two. But he is due in mid-August and I hear Leos are not typically kind to anyone in their young years, so we’ll see.

Regardless of all the shit that keeps happening, I have had some amazing experiences that I would otherwise never have had. I’ve looked to government officials for guidance, our president for comedy, and the Department of Defense(DOD) for instruction. As a parent, I often find myself in situations where there are unfortunate and unfair options to choose from. In March, I was faced with the worst decisions I have ever had to make as a parent.I woke up early on March 9th. Grocery shopping is always shitty at the Commissary so I prefer to do it on Monday. I noticed it was busier than usual and many of the typical items were low. People were walking around in a daze in the Toilet Paper aisle- picking from the worst and most expensive options. I made light of it, choosing the shit-option to the inflated-options. The meat counter associate that I usually exchanged banter with explained that they were shutting down for a “remodel” and they were nearly out of all meat, poultry, and pork. The beans were gone- along with the rice, the water, and most of the paper products. I rushed through my shopping trip, cracking jokes with my kids to make them laugh. Their laughter makes me calm when I’m nervous.For the rest of the week, I feared the worst. I called friends and family and explained that it only took 2 weeks for Italy to shut down their country. I knew that our move was going to be impacted. Most of them brushed me off. On Friday, March 13th, the DOD explained their intentions of a travel ban that would not only stop our move, but prohibit me and the kids from leaving. The language of this travel ban stopped the movers from taking our belongings from our home that had previously been scheduled for March 25th. Our house was due to be sold and we learned that California offers no sellers protections to help them in situations like these.

The last 2 weeks in California were spent fighting with military housing, applying for apartments, requesting an appeal to continue our travel, and packing up our house. Since the DOD halted our orders to move, there was no sense in them sending movers out- so they left us with no options and no guidance. We learned that our travel waiver had been approved on March 24th. Our original move date was the 26th. Our house was being sold on March 30th whether we had our belongings packed or not. Thankfully, we were able to find a (shitty) moving company through the Navy’s resources and they packed our items (poorly) on the 26th.2 weeks from the date of learning about the travel ban, my family stood outside of our home and said our final goodbyes. Exactly 2 years to the date of purchasing our home, we were leaving it. It felt surreal to drive away from a place I poured my heart and soul into for years. It felt careless to be taking my kids across the entire country during the middle of a pandemic. It felt selfish of me to have my mother-in-law fly out to help me on the drive when I knew she could get sick just by being in the airport. But it has been 2 1/2 weeks since we arrived in Michigan. I self-quarantined with my children at my parents home in Mid-Michigan for the initial 14 days. Neither us, nor my mother-in-law, have symptoms of Covid-19. I am so thankful for her selflessness and concern in our travels. I could not have traveled 34 hours in 4 days without her. Not with 2 kids. Not during a pandemic. Not while being 20 weeks pregnant. 

“Why wasn’t your husband traveling with you?”


Well. The funny thing about the military is that, despite the pandemic causing an insurmountable challenge to civilian families and military families alike, the military will ultimately protect their most valuable assets; their service members. This does not include the wives and children of those service members- not the wives with a broken leg, about go into labor by herself, not the children with special needs- just the service members. I’m not saying this to be resentful, I’m just being honest. Although our next station is in Traverse City, my husband and I drove our separate ways when we reached the end of our road. He headed East for training while the rest of us traveled North to Michigan.

I mentioned difficult decisions and shitty choices earlier on. There was never an option for us to stay together. The day before our waiver was approved, we were informed that ships were going under quarantine indefinitely. This is fairly public news at this point, so I feel comfortable saying that. This does not mean that anyone is sick. But this does mean that I’ve watched many of my friends say goodbye to their husbands this month. I’ve cried over the USS Theodore Roosevelt multiple times and the lack of help for sailors who contract this virus. I’ve prayed to God for the safety of my own husband who spent the last few weeks quarantined on a military base. I’ve looked to the actions of people in Michigan with outrage and bitterness as they pretend the limitations of our civil rights has only impacted them. If they only fucking knew. If they only had the insight to someone else’s life and the impact this has made on our entire country. They are so selfish and so misinformed.

The travel ban is inevitably being extend yet I am thankful for so much in this new life I have. I have toured the country with 0 traffic jams. I drove through Zion National Forest in Utah. I woke up in Carbondale, Colorado. I witnessed my mother-in-law interact with her grandchildren for what is perhaps the longest she has ever been around them in their entire lives. I never took my children into a public space during our trip (with the exception of potty breaks). We arrived safely to our destinations. We are all in good health. My parents are kind enough to allow us to stay in their home while we search for another. And my house in California is sold!

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I am so happy that families are spending more time together. I am thankful that people are compromising and learning to be more self sufficient. I am proud of my generation for stepping up and forfeiting their conveniences and learning to live life at a lower means. We all are sacrificing for the greater good. Please continue to do what is best for the whole as opposed to the few. Please prioritize the health of others over your modern conveniences. In order to protect the few, everyone must continue to do the safe thing- stay inside.

A.

PS DO NOT FUCKING TRAVEL ACROSS THE COUNTRY. I DID THIS BECAUSE I HAD TO, NOT BECAUSE I WANTED TO. I ENCOURAGE YOU TO STAY THE FUCK HOME AND NOT BE AN IDIOT. 

True Entitlement

Spoiler Alert: It’s not generational.

 

I get so tired of hearing shit like, “well, I didn’t know her husband was hitting her-” or “he didn’t act suicidal” whenever bad things happen to the ones we love. I’m even more exhausted of the retort- “well, how did you KNOW THEY WERE REALLY HAPPY? Why didn’t you physically implant a tracking device into your friends’ asshole until you were certain?!”

Ok. Maybe people don’t really say that last part. But it’s increasingly apparent to me that the only time these dialogues take the stage is when something doesn’t go as planned. This is what true entitlement is. It’s not a millennial thing.

It’s a social thing. Entitlement is a learned behavior that is caused by watching billions of people over share tiny pieces of their lives through social mediums. This isn’t a conspiracy. I’m not going to site Michael Moore here. This is how we, as a culture, forgot how to see with our eyes. This is how the majority of a population became so distracted by filters that they evolved to see things more pleasantly than reality ever intended. The bottom line is that we are not entitled to the most intimate details of someone’s life. You do not get to use someone’s instagram account to justify when good/bad things happen to them.

I recently stepped away from social media. Not entirely, I’m not a living in my basement with the lights off- don’t worry. I didn’t delete all of my accounts. I didn’t stop checking in on my friends. But regardless, I still felt the break was necessary. I suffer from a disorder that you might be familiar with- it doesn’t have a name, to my knowledge. However, it’s characterized by feelings of frustration that are often triggered by people who overshare stupid details of their lives that I don’t give a fuck about. Let me know if you think of a word for that kind of thing.

(I say this ironically, of course, because I’m nearing the 1 year anniversary of my blog- ya know, where I share intimate ideas and details of my life with people I don’t even know. But even here, you will not find me sharing details so intimate that they would be better reported to a therapist. I digress.)

The reason for my stepping away from social media is quite simple. I do not feel compelled to share my life right now. It’s partially because I’m pregnant and I am enjoying the last few months of privacy before I have none. But it is also because I find life difficult to focus on when I’m preoccupied with the happenings of others.

I don’t believe in much, but I believe in myself. It’s hard to believe in myself when I’m focused on everyone else. A friend recently opened up to me about their difficulty being “present” in their life. I can see this exact issue in myself, whether it’s because I’m messing around on facebook, distracted with housework, planning a family trip- I’m never exactly where I say I am. I’m trying this new thing where I don’t let funny memes distract me from the importance of the moment I’m living in. I’m going to continue my absence online in hopes that I can become more present in life. I hope this means that I will be writing more, but I also hope this means I’m away from my desk more.

A.

 

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Morning Sickness

I am pregnant. 22 weeks + 1 day. Maybe I should have written about this sooner- just to give my readers a little more insight as to what is happening in my life right now, but you’ll have to forgive me. Because I’ve already forgiven myself.

As a pregnant woman, growing in the age of social media, I have found myself trapped in one of the most unforgiving stages of my life. I’m not quite sure how it became this way. I have heard stories from so many women of past generations, speaking about how they lost themselves in pregnancy: the most guilt-free period of their lives. I wonder when that period ended.

I have been “blessed” with morning sickness, a diet of saltine crackers and bile. If you’ve ever had morning sickness, you know that it does not end once the clock strikes twelve. It ebbs and flow with every smell that passes your nose, every change in temperature or increase in humidity. It comes back when the sun gets too bright and when your husband touches his fingers to your skin. It wakes you from dead sleep and pleasant dreams. Every sound too loud will send you sprinting for the bathroom. It makes it impossible to gain weight for your baby, clean, cook, go to the grocery store, work, or change the toddler’s diapers. But you have to. Because you are a mom. And you have been “blessed” with morning sickness.

I spoke out about this a lot with my first pregnancy, begging for relief, suggestions, compassion:

“Try ginger tea”
“Try ginger candy”
“Try ginger ale”
“… Crackers, water, bread”
“Just eat whatever you can to feed the baby”
“Just smile through it, you have too many obstacles ahead to start complaining now”

Doctors told me it would go away after 13 weeks. In my first pregnancy, I was “let go” from my job for having missed one day of work. I stayed home, vomiting bile when I couldn’t hold down water. I sat in a dark room, cringing at the sight of any bright light, any scent other than my own. At 13 weeks it got worse. I was prescribed medication that I could not take for (proven) fear that it would give my baby heart defects. More advice:

“Go out for a walk”
“Stay out of the sun”
“Talk to your doctor about ____ medication”
“Aren’t you worried that drugs will hurt the baby?”
“Try smoking weed”
“Weed will give your kid brain damage”
“Why can’t you just suck it up”
“I wish I was that thin when I was pregnant”
“You should really be gaining more weight…”

The last time I got sick during my first pregnancy was 35 minutes before my son was born. It was just water. My son weighed 5 lbs 12 oz, born at 39 weeks. I gained 10 lbs throughout my pregnancy. I lost 3 of them during week 37. I walked out of the hospital weighing 5 lbs less than I did before I got pregnant.

I am 22 weeks + 1 day today. I have gained 2 lbs since getting pregnant. And last night I broke blood vessels throughout my entire face while vomiting. I have been “blessed” with morning sickness. And no, I have not found relief. I do not want your suggestions. And most of all, I do not expect compassion.

A.
Morning Sickness