Quarantine Scenes (#282)

I dunno about everyone else, but I can’t write for shit these days.

There is no concentration in the time of coronavirus. Not with husband and child sharing less than 1200 square feet with me. If the kid isn’t demanding food, attention, or help with school work, the husband has a conference call on speaker phone. (I don’t understand three-fourths of the conversation, but I’ve learned that most engineers have social skills similar to toddlers. Both equate volume to getting their way.)

If the kid is playing an online game with friends (or without friends) there are shouts of anger and despair.

I haven’t been alone in a month. No, not even in the bathroom, because dog and cat know how to open the door.

Map of Doom

But it’s not just the noise. Even before quarantine, I was concentrating more on coronavirus than writing. I spent way too much time staring at the Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Map of Doom or reading the latest articles on COVID-19 showing me that Andy, Blood Type A Asthmatic Male, is destined to be a coronavirus casualty.

I grew up in a shattered home, with a dead parent before age 15. I absolutely know that there’s a catastrophe lurking around every corner. I’m convinced that if I can gather enough information and foresee every potential tragedy, I can personally avert those disasters.

Because it’s the bus you don’t see that’s gonna hit you.


I have lists of potential posts. I’ve started multiple posts. I’ve finished exactly ONE. I’m supposed to be wrapping edits on my latest YA Fantasy novel and sending it off to a sensitivity reader.

I’m not.

The only thing I’m excelling at is Instagram posts of Andy’s amazing dishes and dog walking. (Also eating Andy’s amazing food.)

But there are two things that I’ve enjoyed during quarantine. One is a fantasy book series called The Tarot Sequence by K.D. Edwards. His characters cope with trauma through humor and that’s my jam. So is the excellent banter, because good dialogue is hard to find. Edwards is on Twitter, and he will occasionally put up little scenes showing how his characters are coping with quarantine. I read them avidly while awaiting Book III.

My other enjoyment is a blog by Heather Mason called 2 Summers. She’s coping with quarantining all alone in South Africa and has blogged every. damn. day. She’s got all the solitude I lack, but struggles with the flip side: loneliness. The loneliness of being far from your home country while all hell is breaking loose. The loneliness that comes when cats are your only company (but at least hers let her pee in peace).

Between Heather and K.D., I found the inspiration for today’s post and future posts. I’m aiming for at least 5 a week, mostly short little vignettes à la K.D. Edwards.

Because maybe everyone else is having trouble concentrating, too.


Quarantine Scene #1:

Andy’s French fry operation.

“I smell french fries!” Baby D declared, running into the kitchen. He didn’t really believe it, though. Fast food and fries had been the first casualties of the quarantine.

Baby D’s jaw went slack and his eyes grew round as he eyed the golden pile of fries on the counter.

In awed tones, he whispered, “We…we have a french fry maker?!”

Andy answered, “We have a fryer.”

I added, “It’s been in the garage for a while, since we were trying to eat healthier.”

“We have a french fry maker!” Baby D caroled, dancing out of the kitchen. “A french fry maker!”

Andy yelled, “It’s not a french fry maker! It’s a fryer! I am the french fry maker! I peel and cut and fry! I AM THE FRENCH FRY MAKER!”

Snatches of song floated down the hall: “Weeeee…haaave…a french…fryyyyyy maker!”

Andy shook a basket of fries at me. “Gah!”

I said, “Wait until he discovers it’s also a doughnut maker.”

Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

22 thoughts on “Quarantine Scenes (#282)”

  1. Stay sane! These days, sometimes that is good enough to aim for.

    Ha ha ha, “I am the French fry maker.” Too late.
    Homemade doughnuts sound delicious. I never even knew one could make them at home!

    1. Homemade doughnuts are soooo good! Cook’s Illustrated had tips and recipes this month and Andy made good use of them.

      Yes, I am trying to be okay with everyone simply emerging from quarantine relatively unscathed.

  2. Imagine my surprise as I happily read through Autumn’s blog, as I always do, and suddenly find my own name! Thank you, this cheered me up. And I can taste the fries and doughnuts. xoxo

          1. Actually it heats up the kitchen far less than the actual oven, so we use it in the summer a lot to help reduce the amount of heat, along with the sun oven I bought for baking. You can use it for fries, any type of chicken, shrimp, skewers of beef/vegetables… pretty much anything you can fry you can put in the air fryer(I have not tried out fish yet, although I would imagine salmon steaks would do nicely).

            I bought mine on sale at Amazon since I didn’t want to pay full price. Since I got the 6 qt. family version it is pretty portly though, so it does take up counter space, not sure how’d it do for donuts though…you’d have to do some experimentation for sure.

  3. Hey, I have a fryer too. Somewhere. Gotta find it! My craving is pizza. I made my own (from scratch! I had yeast!) It was good but not the same as our fav pizzeria which had completely closed. I went back on line to find out they are doing “touchless” curbside pick up. I’m in heaven. (Yes I sang it hallelujah style to my husband!) Tomorrow is the day. One reboot is that the simplest things make me happy. Now that D knows you have a fryer, who knows what will turn up! Does he have Andy’s cooking skills? BTW everything I write is tempered by the virus. How can it not be. Nothing is the same.

    1. Wow, where will you find the time to go hunting for that fryer?!

      It’s funny, my sister and I were talking about how we are suddenly so much less stressed because we don’t have all these sports/ activities to get our kids to. People are like, “When are you available to talk?” and I’m like, “Well, Tuesday is no good, because I’ve got a spa day with the girls and I’m getting my hair done on Wednesday and then I have a meeting–OMFG, call anytime, okay?!”

  4. We also have a fryer. Also located…somewhere. And dammit if I’m not suddenly craving fries!!

    I can’t focus on the news. It would drive me insane. Just gotta plod through one day at a time and try to look at the bright side of life. And, I might have to start following you on Instagram!

  5. Hang in there Autumn!! I hear you on the lack of concentration bit–and I don’t even have a kid running around! I think it’s hard to really focus on anything when the world outside is melting down. I’ve found it really hard to do my WFH job.

    Hats off to 2summers for writing everyday. So impressed.

    Will also check out that book. Would love to get a reading list from you someday!

    1. I need to do more reading lists or blogging about books. I am on Goodreads, but that site can be such a hellhole I don’t put up long reviews.

      It’s nice to know others are having a hard time, even pros like you, Mary! How is the Dr. Husband holding up so far?

  6. PSCS gave me two hours yesterday to finish a small freelance job. I went back to the bedroom 45 minutes later and said, “I can’t word for shit. I know what I have to do. It’s easy work. But I can’t make my brain finish a sentence.

    (I *did* eventually get my brain to work, but it took WAY more than two hours and several more breaks. In other news, binged the last five episodes of The Daleks’ Master Plan.”

    1. I can word for a little while. Or word little projects. But a 300+ page novel is hard. You have to hold the whole concept in your head while editing, sort of like a tapestry, because if you snip one little thread/ scene in one place, the whole thing may unravel elsewhere.

      And I can barely manage short blog posts. Which is like Rainbow Loom.

  7. I had seen the doughnuts picture on Instagram and I just realized the little balls are the doughnut holes. Haha! I think the last time I ate a doughnut was over a year ago, when I got mad at my husband and then he said sorry on WeChat and I went back home with a 6 pack (of Dunkin Donuts, not of the muscle kind).

  8. My focus is frazzled right now too. I feel your crowdedness and I’m only here with one other person, an adult. The only reading I’ve tried to keep up with during this at home experience is reading blogs, and I’m not doing a great job of that. I’m tired and fully rested at the same time. But we’re healthy so I’m attempting to take this all in stride. As are you, it seems to me.

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