400 Days

The last time I left my house for more than a moment was February 23, 2020. When the San Francisco Indie UnCon finished at the Holiday Inn on the edge of Chinatown, I was already coming down with the bad cold/flu/light case of covid that would keep me home for the next two weeks. By the time I started feeling better, San Francisco had closed its theaters, banned gatherings of larger than 20 people, and was headed into lockdown.

In the last 400 days, I’ve gone on a handful of walks around my neighborhood and one delicious walk on the beach. Other than that, I haven’t left home.

There have been some highlights. I learned to make a spectrum of ice cream. (Blueberry coconut was my favorite.) I mastered making homemade pizza. I developed a hummus recipe. My husband bought an Instapot and learned to make scones and empanadas. I now have a house cocktail.

Thanks to E. S. Magill, I took Sarra Cannon’s HB90 Planner course, which helped me figure out just how much I had on my to-do lists. She got me started on the path toward actually doing some of it.

Like so many other artistic projects in my life, thinking about what I wanted to have accomplished before I die inspired me to put together a collection of my short stories. Unsafe Words came out in September last year.

Thanks to the inspiration and collaboration with Emerian Rich, the Spooky Writers Planner was published in December. Having my very own planner system has been really helpful in motivating me to get stuff done so far this year. I’m excited to see where it will take me next.

I went to so many fascinating events online: from a survey of Japanese ghosts to a lesson on how to discover and safely explore a cave to a history of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic to a lesson on Protective Magic at Treadwell’s Bookstore to a slide show by the Cockettes to book events with V. E. Schwab, Chanel Miller, Charlie Jane Anders, Meg Elison, Alia Volz, Armistead Maupin, and a whole lot of new-to-me authors. I took a class on how to lead a walking tour. I took a class on using self-hypnosis to unleash creativity. I’m learning how to write a talk for the Odd Salon now.

There have been lows, too, the same ones that everyone has had to contend with. At least three of my friends have suffered through Covid, although I suspect others did too without testing positive for it. Those three were sick enough that I was frightened for them. My elderly parents didn’t grasp the dangers and weren’t as cautious as I would have liked, but they are now fully vaccinated. All the events I wanted to attend last year were rescheduled or canceled, or both.

I’ve struggled more than I expected with isolation. I’ve seen one friend in the last year because I bought one of his paintings for my husband’s birthday. I saw another friend when she brought me a pumpkin because my family didn’t think it was safe for me to go to the pumpkin patch. A lot of my life before 2020 was solitary, especially since my kid started to suffer from migraines four years ago, but I was able to write in cafes and walk in parks and get out to see friends. Zoom, as much of a blessing as it has been, is not substitute for real people.

After a year, my house still isn’t organized or even tidy. I’ve had a rough time focusing on books, so my to-read shelf still overflows. I have a writing practice finally. I think I’m on track to finish 3 more books this year. But I still feel like I’m surrounded by chaos.

Last Tuesday, after 8 days of trying to schedule an appointment, I suddenly got my first Covid vaccine. It made me really sleepy and sluggish for four days, but I was thrilled to feel like it was working.

My husband should be able to start fighting with the scheduling system this Thursday. My kid becomes eligible on April 15. With any luck, we should all be vaccinated and able to leave the house by sometime in June.

I hope we’re free before 500 days have passed.

Recipe for Loren’s Liquid Sunshine cocktail

Start with homemade lemonade:

1 cup juice of freshly picked lemons

1/2 cup of sugar

8 cups cold water

1 shot elderflower liqueur

1 shot gin

Add ice cubes and a spring of mint.

About Loren Rhoads

I'm the author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, as well as a space opera trilogy. I'm also co-author of a series about a succubus and her angel. In addition to blogging at CemeteryTravel.com, I blog about my morbid life at lorenrhoads.com.
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8 Responses to 400 Days

  1. Wow, you’ve gotten a lot done during lockdown (except maybe that TBR pile!). Yay, you got your first shot! We have gotten our first shots, too, and our second shot is next month.:-)

  2. You have been very productive, Loren, but then nothing seems to stop you. It has been a crazy year. So glad you got that first shot -sorry it affected you but it was working. May the rest of your family get theirs soon. We will survive this pandemic! Take care. May you be writing in cafes soon.

    • Loren Rhoads says:

      Thank you so much, Jo Nell. Waiting for the end of quarantine seems like it’s telescoping ahead of me, but I know others feel that way too. Soon, I hope!

  3. Anniqua says:

    You have stayed calm and creative throughout it all and made it such a communal effort.

    • Loren Rhoads says:

      Having other people to write with has been such a lifeline! And it’s brought me in touch with your wonderful work, so that’s an extra blessing.

  4. jeffbaker307 says:

    I hope it’s over soon too!

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