Outbreaks and Breakouts: A Survivor’s Log

Outbreaks and Breakouts: A Survivor’s Log

Whew! Is it just me or is this week like a thousand years long? Lately I’ve been thinking about outbreaks and breakouts.

I don’t want to talk too much about THE THING that has Twitter wound tighter than a Jack Russel Terrier these days, but because this blog is, among other things, an accounting of my life, I don’t want to not mention it either. So, I’ll just throw down a quick update to keep people from worrying about us before delighting you with a fun little something for Throwback Thursday.

Yes, Dan and I are both high-risk when it comes to this coronavirus junk, but for now we are doing fine. I’m a little miffed I couldn’t buy a single box of fucking Kleenex or a roll of paper towels this week, but we have plenty of everything that isn’t a paper product at the moment. And a friend is sending us some tissues to get us through. [Waves at Jenn]. As you can probably imagine, we couldn’t stockpile goods on an SSDI income even if we wanted to. So it was inevitable and unfortunate that we’d run out as the pandemic reaches us.

Thankfully, we had sunshine and temps in the fifties Tuesday. We sat on the patio for a bit and soaked up some sun. Boomer chewed on a stick, and Izzy perched herself on the bird bath pedestal. (Can’t wait to set the basin on it again. C’mon, Spring!) The neighbor was out with her Yorkie. It was a comfort to hear Sammy barking incessantly at us through the privacy fence for ten minutes straight. No sarcasm. When things get too quiet, you can hear the apocalypse ringing in your ears.

But onto other things. Yesterday, for some reason, I decided to look up my husband’s old blog. It’s still sitting there on Blogger even though he hasn’t touched it in years. I thought I’d reminisce for a while. That’s when I came across this unflattering photo of me from July 2010:

When Dan took this picture, we’d been doing the long-distance thing for about a year. He was still living in Milwaukee, and I was in Indianapolis. I had time off from my job at the synagogue for the 4th, and so my dog and I took a road trip.

We did typical Fourth things—grilling out, getting frozen custard at Kopp’s, and hanging out at various points of interest along the lake shore. At one point, we were walking through an overgrown section of trail near Grant Park in South Milwaukee. It was the hottest of hot summer days. It was the humidest, swampiest, overgrownest swath of land. Dan was leading the way, and Taubensee (2000-2013) and I were lagging behind him. Everything was so just humid and swampy and overgrown with foliage. I think it must have also been the first day of MoquitoCon or something too.

Have you been to Wisconsin? The mosquitoes in that state, y’all—MOTHER OF GAWD!

Anyway, I prayed out loud for the trail to end, like someone or something could help me, remove me from that god-forsaken place. “It’s just a little bit farther,” Dan said. He wasn’t mad, but you could hear the “I don’t understand what the big deal is” in his voice. I smacked my forearm, smearing bug guts all over me. My face was so itchy. Overcome with frustration, I yelled, “AAARRRGH!”

It was just too much. Relinquishing what dignity I had left, I impulsively smacked myself in the face just as we were approaching the end of the trail. The pain was a welcome distraction from the itching, from the tickle of insect feet on my skin, and from the high-pitched buzz of tiny flapping wings in my ears.

When we reached the end of the trail we no longer had to walk single file. There, Dan turned around, glimpsing me for the first time since we’d started down the path.


“I’ve been saying!” I all but screamed. The itching was unbearable; the longer I went without antihistamines, the nearer I was to delirium.

“Yeah, but—” He just couldn’t find the words.

“How bad do I look?” I asked.

“Umm,” he hesitated. “You’re beautiful, but let’s skip Pick ‘N Save and just get you home. OK?”

LOL. I showed him this picture just now while writing this post, and he apologized to me again. “I still feel really bad about that.”

Don’t forget: Who You Gonna Believe is unlocked for everyone to read through March 31! Check it out.

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