Hi. I am Bugle. I am a Karen refugee originally from Burma. Now I live in Utica, New York. I just want to share things that I am doing and things that I am learned to make during Covid 19 Quarantine time. Since Covid 19 has spread, most companies and restaurants have been lockdown and everyone has to stay home unless they have important things to do outside. For me, I did not stay home since Covid 19 has started. I did Door dash and Grubhub delivery every single day. Delivery was so busy, and I made good money every week. Mostly, I start doing delivery around 4 pm to 9 pm. The reason why I do delivery in the evening because I have an online class in the morning and sometimes, I have an appointment with my STA 101 professor. My parents did not want me to do delivery during Covid 19 pandemic. I was thinking, if I do not do this work, and risk my life, I could not pay my tuition for next semester.
Here are things that I learned to make during quarantine time. The first thing that I learned to make is steamed pork bun. The first time when I started making steamed pork bun, it turned out really bad since I did not know how to mix the ingredients and the flour. But I tried to make every Sunday night then it now turns out good and delicious. Another thing that I like to make is steak. I love steak. One last thing is I tried to make an apple pie. I remember when I worked in Rome owl wired company, one of my American friends brought apple pie and he gave me two slices every day. His apple pie is so good. He made it by himself. That is where I started to like and eat an apple pie. And I now try to do make it but it still doesn’t turn out good. I will keep making until it turns out as good as him.
May 18, 2020
Alexa chimes at 8am. I roll onto my back. “Alexa, stop!”
I lay in bed, my arm pressed over my black silk eye mask to block out the watery morning light seeping in through the floor to ceiling blackout curtains. Sidney snores softly, back pressed hard against my side.
Eventually, the urge to pee drives me out of bed. I tear off the mask and toss it on the bedside table, next to the empty stainless steel water bottle, remote control, and the grey ceramic bowl I ate rocky road cheesecake out of last night. I grab my phone as I stumble to the bathroom, blinking at it until the screen comes into focus.
As I pee, I sort through emails, deleting newsletters and ads. I scan through a term sheet from an investor in one of my client companies, and quickly reply to the CEO — received, doesn’t look good, will send more thoughts later.
Back in bed, I check Slack and my calendar, setting reminders and making a mental list of what I need to accomplish. Sid turns over and looks at me. “Mama, where’s my guitar? Where is it!”
“Good morning, Sidney. How did you sleep my love?”
“Where’s guitar Mama? And Bear and Elmo?”
I hand him the purple dog guitar from the floor by the bed, and we find Bear buried in the covers and Elmo on the floor on the other side of the bed. Sidney sits in bed strumming the guitar as I look at Facebook, enjoying the momentary hit of dopamine as I check my notifications. Seventeen posts on my daily post from last night. An article on deaths inching closer and closer to 100,000. A post from a friend a friend who’s an ER doctor in New York, detailing symptoms and intubations and the terror of life in a hospital at the center of the the pandemic, alongside a plea from a local nurse for more mask and PPE donations.
Betty calls around 9:15am, 6:15am for her in Hawaii. At first I’m worried; it’s odd to hear from her early on a Monday morning, but she’s just calling to check in.
We usually talk once a week, but time has stretched out and lost it’s shape. We don’t need to spend a lot of time catching up though. She sees my Facebook updates and I get daily emails from her cataloguing the minutiae of her day. She started those emails last year when my uncle was in the hospital as a way to ground herself, and has continued past his death, documenting her first year of widowhood after a forty year marriage. I’ve amended the practice for my own brief daily Facebook update and photo montage as we Shelter in Place. We agree this is important for our own mental health, and that it seems to help others too.
As I chat with her I get dressed. V-neck rainbow striped t-shirt, black joggers, sports bra and cotton underwear. A quick brush through my hair, tinted moisturizer, and a swipe of rosy balm on my lips and cheeks make me zoom ready.
We hang up around 9:45am, and I quickly put together breakfast. Microwaved brown sugar instant oatmeal for Sid with milk, loose leaf Earl Grey tea with honey and cream and an almond milk protein shake for me.
I bring everything to the couch, stepping over firetrucks, MagnaTiles, and tableaus of toy cars and little people, and call in to my first meeting of the day with one of my clients. I power up my computer as we chat about our weekends, muting while I put Peppa Pig on YouTube for Sidney.
Both of us did lots of gardening, cooking, and went to the beach. We move on to work topics — roles and responsibilities, accounting processes, budgeting, a new chart of accounts where we get bogged down in the details. I have to call her back after my 11am call with a banker to finish our conversation.
By 1pm, I’m throwing together some lunch for us — Sid doesn’t want a rice bowl, so he gets carrot sticks, a banana, two cheese sticks, Ritz crackers, and more milk. I have hummus, muhammara, baba ghanoush, falafel, and a dolma leftover from our takeout Turkish food a couple of night before, over warm brown rice. We both drink lots of lemon water.
We move outside to the deck for the afternoon calls, where I huddle on a camping chair looking out over the wildflowers and fruit trees in the backyard. More bankers and bookkeepers, a call for a grocery store board I’m on. The store almost closed down in February, but COVID has been good for a few kinds of businesses, and groceries are now booming. We’re figuring out curb side pick up, and how to turn our prepared foods into grab and go offerings.
Sid plays in the background, pouring water from bucket to watering can to cups and back again, bringing me a bottle of paint to open, or a flower or lemon from the yard as a gift. I lose him once or twice, muting myself and calling his name until he pokes is head out of the van or says, “Yes Mama,” from behind a bush. In between I answer Slack messages and send out a few emails, finally getting back to the CEO about the poor investment terms around 5pm. It's been gnawing at me all day, this feeling that we’re being taken advantage of alongside the worry that if we don't get investment in soon, the company may not make it. Which impacts me financially, and fifteen other people too.
After I wrap up, we gather shoes and sweatshirts and climb in the car. We stop at a friends’ house first to pick up dinner. I brought them green garlic potato soup and mini cheesecakes yesterday, today I’m picking up bbq chicken, homemade baked beans, and lemon cake for our dinner. Sid wants to go to the beach, so we head to Rockaway, parking a block away since the beach parking is closed, and walk over in our masks.
On the beach we pull sand toys and a blanket out of the bag that lives in the car for our frequent visits. I sit with my phone in hand, writing and snapping pictures of the sunlit ocean and Sidney playing with his buckets and shovels. I check Facebook again, catching up on the what the President and our governor said in their press conferences today. Looks like restrictions will start to slowly be lifted over the coming weeks. After an hour, Sid says, “Time to go home Mama.” We pack everything up in our beach bag, and meander back to the car.
At home again, Sid plays with trucks while I do dishes. The CEO calls and we chat about the terms and decide how to respond as I pick up toys with Sid’s help and heat up our dinner, adding leftover rice and a salad of greens from the garden with cucumbers and radishes. Sidney picks at the rice and beans, and ends up having an apple, a cereal bar, and yet more milk and cheese sticks. I let him have a few bites of cake for dessert.
I relax on the couch, reading a romance novel while Sid continues to arrange his trucks and cars, stopping occasionally to play guitar or chat with me and Bear and Elmo. I text with friends about their days — the stresses of life in quarantine, of being pressed in from all sides by fear, disease, and work. Around 9:30pm, Sid says, “Time to go night night Mama.”
We give Hannah her kong with peanut butter and meds and wash a few last dishes. As I finish cleaning the kitchen, I step on a shard of glass from a bowl I dropped the night before. Me foot bleeds on the floor as I cry. Sidney gets me a napkin to wrap around it, and climbs onto my lap for a hug. “You’re ok Mama.”
We change into pajamas, brush our teeth, and get into bed. Sid gets three books — tonight it is “Night Night Struction Site,” “The House in the Night,” and “Max.” We both know all of these by heart, so I ask him to “read” some of the pages to me too. Finally we curl up in bed, me reading my novel on my kindle while he tosses and turns and eventually falls asleep on his belly with his butt in the air.
Around 11pm, I go back out into the living room. I clean up the last of the toys, eat the rest of the cake, and finish my writing for the night. I make my daily Facebook post.
"Day 62. Not so bad as Mondays go.
“Had a nice conversation with my aunt to start the morning off, then jumped straight into work. 5.5 hours of work calls between 10am and 5pm while Sid played and watched TV. Quick beach trip, a delicious dinner gifted to us by a dear friend, writing, and some chores.
"I stepped on a shard of something and my foot is bleeding. I’ll live, and Sidney kissed it to make it feel better."