Can’t Catch Me, ‘Rona

Hi everyone, I hope you are healthy and virus free. I may not know your name, but I have been praying for everyone to make it through this this pandemic and the extensive economic impact related to the shutdowns it has caused.

Like so many others, Hubby and I are living under a stay at home order from both our county and city. Hubby teaches at a local community college and got an extra week’s worth of spring break while officials and tech got their ducks in a row. He will be teaching all of his classes online from home starting Monday. He’s been working hard to get ready since making a shift from seated Physics classes with labs to an online platform for both has taken a lot of prep and creative thinking. As always, my brilliant, hardworking guy has it all in hand and is ready to go.

Meanwhile, I’ve been labeled “vulnerable” and the only “essential” thing I can do is help prop up the local economy. Hubby has been pitching in and we’re taking our duty very seriously. For example, we’ve driven through Andy’s Frozen Custard on three occasions in the last couple of weeks for Thin Mint concretes.

The following is a collage of snapshots showing how we’ve been riding out this unprecedented time in history.

Hubby’s days have included cycling and projects and then more projects and cycling. Oh, and probably like everyone else, a lot of surfing of both the inter-web and channel varieties.

I’ve been hobbling along with Salonpas pads stuck all over my legs trying to get my MS related muscle spasms under control. I’ve also managed to get some sewing done, including the cat-themed wall art, with a bit of help from my two favorite felines. Our new house has a lovely patio out back and I have been been putting some miles on my new rocking chair, “See-Saw”, every chance I get!

A lot of time has been devoted to loving and being loved by, well, CATS.

I love to bake and have taken advantage of having my favorite taste-tester home with me every day. Scones, bread, muffins, biscuits–we have more bread and baked goods in our freezers than Panera!

What joy it has been this spring to watch the birds come to our feeder and move into the three birdhouses we have in our backyard! I have enjoyed snapping pictures of all the different varieties and then editing them. We have a pair of Eastern Bluebirds nesting in one house, sparrows in another, and juncos in the third.

We’ve had a mild, rainy spring and the trees and shrubs have started blooming and budding everywhere. It is beautiful to see all the colors painted across the landscape, whether rain or shine. As the back of our house faces due east, it’s been a treat to watch the sun’s orange glow as it spreads across the sky in the mornings. We added some color ourselves this week with a few flowers for the beds.

I hope you have been able to find joy despite the ‘Rona fear that has gripped the hearts and minds of the world. I encourage you to turn off the constant news feed and find a way to enjoy the people in your home and your surroundings. Remember God’s promise after the flood, “As long as the earth endures, springtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease” (Ge 8:22). It’s true, regardless of ‘Rona, springtime has come just like God promised. May we all live in the light of God’s promises, not in the darkness of the fears in the world.

Hunkering Down

As Covid-19 spreads and the race to flatten the curve accelerates, the restrictions and confinement many find imposed upon them sounds pretty much like everyday life to many of us living with Multiple Sclerosis or other debilitating diseases.  We’re used to rarely leaving home unless someone else drives us, and filling endless hours by ourselves at home, day in and day out.

If you’ve started feeling stir crazy and like you’re under house arrest, the feeling will ease up somewhere around the end of the fourth or fifth week.  It might take a little longer if you aren’t already a homebody. After you’ve finished all the projects around the house you’d been meaning to do but hadn’t gotten around to, you’ll enter phase two otherwise known as Netflix Binge Watching.  This lasts only as long as either, A) you hit your own limit of slothfulness and drooling, and your once comfy jammies grow so tight your seams start to rip OR B) your loved ones can’t handle your funky odor, your cheese curl tainted fingertips, and having to preen Apple Jacks from your oily hair anymore.  If you or a loved one have already entered Netflix Binge Watching take courage, phase three is all about self-improvement. You won’t be able to resist the urge to do something to better yourself after all that slovenliness. So, you’ll do something to make up for it, like trying to learn a new language, take up painting, try your hand at beekeeping, attempt to learn how to play an instrument…you get the idea.  This is going to be a tricky one because this stage usually requires going out and spending a lot of money for all the bells and whistles required to do whatever kind of self-improvement you’ve chosen. Let’s hope Amazon doesn’t end up having to limit deliveries to nothing more than “essentials” just as you enter this phase of confinement. Hint: You may need to be mindful of this possibility and purposefully rush through the first two stages 😉.

At any rate, you’ll know you’ve reached the final step in accepting and adapting to your captivity when you wake up to a limited list of things to do but manage to accomplish them to the hum of some unbeknownst internal circadian rhythm.  Everything just sort of falls into place and POOF, your day has passed without really knowing where it has gone.  

Naturally, you’ll be glad when all this self-quarantine business is over and you can finally get back to your “normal” life.  Shhh…you can then quietly but permanently shelve all those Portuguese workbooks and apps you bought a few weeks back and of which you never got past lesson two.  Once your freedom to come and go as you please is restored, you won’t take for granted your reinstated liberty anymore. You’ll remember how it felt to be stuck at home for days on end with nowhere to go and nothing to do.  Hopefully, that will be the closest you will ever get to understanding just a fraction of one component of what it’s like to live with MS.

There are actually a lot of others who, like me, have found themselves sequestered on a full-time basis owing to some disease.  If you end up going through some or all of the stages I described above, I think you will come to a deeper appreciation of the strength required to live life within the confines of the same four walls day after day.  Kudos to all my comrades who have the strength to go on living life to the fullest under difficult circumstances. I don’t know what the name of your kind of Strong is, but mine is MS Strong.


It’s been a long time ago now, but our family used to have a dog when I was growing up.  I was in 4-H and one of the adults involved had an overnight doggie daycare that not only offered kennel services but also training and handling classes.  So when she said she would hold obedience lessons as a course through 4-H, I thought it sounded fun and signed up with our little dachshund named Fozzy.  

It was a good thing Fozzy was cute because we weren’t too far into the first lesson before it became abundantly clear that he didn’t have much going on upstairs. Initially, the trainer thought it must have been me doing something wrong, I was probably no more than 13 years old.  I remember her coming over and taking the leash to do some one-on-one coaching with me while everyone else worked on SIT and STAY using pavlovian conditioning. However, she couldn’t get Fozzy to understand either and eventually gave the leash back to me and advised me to “just do the best you can”.  

Fozzy and I worked hard together for weeks trying to master SIT and STAY before finally finding some success.  Unfortunately, once he eventually got it and we moved on to another command, he started getting it confused with SIT and STAY and we were right back to square one.  Over and over we practiced but to no avail. We finally gave up on trying to learn a third command and went back to relearning the first two. Sadly, Fozzy and I never successfully graduated from doggie obedience school.

All the same, SIT and STAY ended up being pretty useful things to know.  Screaming SIT kept Fozzy from running into the street when a car came down the road.  STAY helped us break him of slipping out of his collar and running around like a crazy chicken with us following in hot pursuit all over the neighborhood every time we took him outside to do his business.

Little did I realize then just how hard it would be for me as an adult to conquer these two seemingly easy commands. The absolute hardest thing for me to do since this ordeal of living with MS started has turned out to be the only thing Fozzy ever successfully mastered.  I unequivocally and categorically have an impaired capacity, coupled with what I strongly suspect to be a willful disdain, for learning how to merely SIT and STAY. Time and time again I push and push and push my body WAY too far until my legs enforce a coup and SIT and STAY are obtained by browbeating me into submission rather than a graceful acquiescence on my own part. When I see a project that needs to be done, everything in my brain sort of snaps and I cannot make myself quit until it’s been accomplished.  My world is so upside down with MS that this crazy disease has even found a way to punish me for having a driven, solid work ethic!! (Well, that’s how I see it anyway. My hubby simply thinks I’m deranged when this happens 😉.)

Once again, I found myself at this all too familiar crossroads yesterday.  As I was moving and sorting through boxes in the garage looking for the birdseed I knew had to be out there somewhere, I heard the firm voice of reason saying, “Woman, stop! You are getting too tired. SIT and STAY in a chair for awhile or else your legs are going to give you fits of spasms and you’ll battle with obscene levels of fatigue for days.”  However, at the exact same time, I could hear my own placid but neurotic voice whispering, “There’s just a little bit more to do. You’re almost done. Keep going.” Which voice did I ultimately end up listening to? Well, I’ll give you a hint. As it turns out, Fozzy was smarter than me.

Adventures in Moving House

Well, the deed is done. We moved and have been in our new house for exactly one week! Mercy, moving created a strange brew of fevered, paradoxical feelings. We were always somewhere between excitement and dread; anticipation and foreboding; exhaustion and exultation; and daydreaming about what we were going to do in our new house, then mixing it with the reality of our bank account.

Thankfully, once our old house sold we had about three weeks to pack and get ready to move into our new house. As you know, I struggle mightily with fatigue related to my MS. My Hubby was super busy with work so I created a plan of attack and paced myself to get everything packed and labeled for the move.

The day of our closing finally arrived and we celebrated by having dinner with Hubby’s Mom!

We closed on a Friday and had arranged for family and friends from church to help us move boxes on Saturday. We have such wonderful people in our lives! I sat in a chair and directed traffic so everyone knew where they were going. I’m pretty sure some child labor laws were broken.

Our Cornish Rex cats, Laudy and Pip, made the transition to the new house swimmingly. They hung out in our master bath and closet during the move, then came out once everyone was gone to check the place out. Our new reclining love seat provided a much needed place to take a break. There was little rest for the weary though. We worked hard Sunday afternoon to clear paths and locations for our furniture.

The movers arrived Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. to load up our furniture and appliances from the old house to take to the new. I stuck to my scooter all day in order to make it through the day.

I had done pretty well Saturday and Sunday managing my energy, but I was really struggling to keep going by Monday evening after everything was finally in our new house. Both the cats and I were turned around and upside down.

Somehow everything in life seems to happen all at once. It turned out that my first full infusion of Ocrevus just happened to fall on Thursday of last week, three days after we moved. I expected, and was correct, that I’ve been extra tired since getting the drug. I purposefully allowed myself to work past what I knew was good for me in order to get as much done as possible before the Ocrevus took me down.

Slowly, I’m recovering from my treatment and our new house is feeling more and more like home. I do a little bit each day and my hubby does a whole lot each evening. We’re hoping this is the last move we ever have to make. But even if it isn’t, what I love most about my home is who I share it with 💕.