How I Survived the Coronavirus. I mean a Night with my Family.

Most people right now are very paranoid about the Coronavirus. Some individuals have just now learned, at thirties years old that yes, you have to wash your hands. Even more folks are flocking to Costco to drain the shelves of toilet paper and cases of water. Who doesn’t have a water filter on their sink? Is it really worth getting into a fight over a case of water at Costco? Besides that, being in line behind 300 crazed poopers at Costco was emotionally draining when I just wanted to stock up on big ass bottles of Kirkland pinot grigio. The world has quite simply gone mad. And here I am, in the Southern California mountain town of Running Springs just trying to figure out how many hours I can stand to be in the same room as my older brother. My family may just be a bit kooky and that’s before the Coronavirus germs invade our small town and we all go mad with this pandemic. In our family, we never settle for the ordinary. Like in 1992 when we dressed up all our cats in their Christmas best for this family Christmas card. This was back in the day before the digital camera and it took an hour of angry cats wearing Santa hats hissing and struggling to get this perfect Christmas card shot. Check out the eighties coke bottle thick glasses; Epic.

Flash forward twenty-eight years to the year 2020. Our family had dinner, a chance for me to finally meet my almost one-year-old niece, and The Fam was going over a decision on whether to cancel the family cruise to Baja coming up in the next month, or risk a Corona Ship. It was family meeting time, with no Santa hats this time and plenty of Mom’s amazing baked beans.  We all converged on the kitchen around my parent’s first grandchild and also the food, obviously.

My dad, in the meantime, was filling the brand new fireplace with lead paint covered wood that he had saved from when my parents redid their porch two years ago. The fireplace was just recently finished and my parent’s yard has been filled with mountains of lead paint covered wood in which I’m sure families of toxic rabid raccoons live, for the last two years until the fireplace feature was completed. Have I mentioned my dad may be a hoarder? I asked my older brother if he was at all concerned about his daughter, Baby Violet breathing in the fumes from the lead paint laced wood filling the living room and he told me that paint fumes are great for babies. I’m really unclear if there was any sarcasm present. After about an hour of his attitude and the fact that he’s always right even when he’s feeding his baby a Big Gulp soda and a giant bowl of baked beans, I was ready to make the excuse that I might have the Coronavirus and I had to leave faster then you can say Purell. I may not be a mother but I do have three cats so I think I know how to keep things alive and I threw out my two cents. I feel like a gassy baby is not a happy baby. He told me she enjoys farting and crying. My children may have four paws and lick their butts but I think I maybe be the smarter parent here.Image may contain: possible text that says 'No toilet paper or water on the shelves, events being cancelled, people being crazy, it's like a Bernie Sanders test run...'

After my older brother explained to me all about the Coronavirus, including some things that I’m pretty sure even the CDC does not know, I was exhausted from listening to him and ready to fall into bed. I wished him luck with not stocking up on toilet paper in order to stick it to the man, and was off to bed.  I was planning to spend the night in the granny flat my younger brother and his wife live in underneath my parent’s house. I usually stay in the guest room but my older know-it-all brother, his wife and bean-filled baby were sleeping in that room. And even though my truck driver insomniac dad showed up exhausted, three hours late after driving everywhere from Arizona to Las Vegas to Los Angeles, after dinner time, he told me he would be staying up late watching t.v. Sleeping on the couch in the living room was not an option either. Dad also told me he had a doctor’s appointment at seven a.m. and had to actually go to bed early but I know what his life-time with insomnia was like and was taking no chances. Knowing my luck, he would stay up all night watching John Waye movies and I did not want to dream about the Duke while napping on the couch. I fell into the guest bed exhausted at ten. Two hours later, I awoke to the sounds of what I can only guess was a John Wayne themed party going on in the main house above my head.

My sister in law is a night owl and it’s so normal for her to stay up until four a.m. or even dawn every morning reading. I don’t know how on earth she does that. I love the mornings, and the sunrises so very much.  When I stumbled out of bed, bleary-eyed, exhausted and made my way towards the loo at midnight, I muttered to her “Is this why you don’t sleep?”

“What is your dad possibly doing up there?” She asked me with a look of sheer confusion. It sounded like he was either line dancing or possibly bowling. I had to wonder if he was racing his snowblower collection through the living room. How on earth was he making so much noise? And how was my little brother, in the next room, sleeping through this ruckus? When dad staggered through the door at six a.m. he looked exhausted from driving since dawn that morning. How was he possibly even still awake, much less learning to ballroom dance or doing a Richard Simons Sweatin to the Eighties workout tape?

“It’s never like this! I have no idea what is going on up there!” My sister in law told me. And then she read her book until dawn. I, on the other hand, wanted to sleep at midnight, as most people do. She was nice enough to find me some earplugs from my brother’s tool chest but they couldn’t block out the sounds from right above my head. I’m pretty sure, my dad and Richard Simmons were doing squats and Sweatin to the Eighties for the next three hours. My little brother was in the next room also trying to sleep, he does construction and gets up early and my sister in law and I were shocked he was able to sleep through the mayhem from above.

For hours and hours, keep in mind I was positive that my hoarder dad was going back and forth from the garage to the living room, counting his eight-tracks, or his extension cord collection or possibly just chasing the cats around the house with the leftover nineties Santa hats. (I mean, he never throws anything out; it was very possible)

At four p.m. the next day, my sleep-addled mind had already told this story to numerous friends under the heading; What is worse for my body, Coronavirus or breathing in lead paint fumes?

Here’s our family after breathing in lead paint fumes for a few hours.

That evening my sister-in-law called me to tell me that all the ruckus the night before wasn’t even my dad! It was bean-filled Baby Violet! She was powered by beans and Pepsi and running amok (Or crawling amok, I mean she is a toddler) through the living room. So I guess the moral of this story is;

A. Dad should throw out all his Richard Simmon’s Sweatin to the Eighties Eight Tracks.

B. Don’t feed your baby a vat of beans before bedtime.

C. Spend time with family while you can before we are all self quarantined for the Coronavirus and can not enjoy family dinners with toxic lead paint smoke ambiance.


  1. Younger Brother

    Life Under he Woodyard’s: We can actually track who is home, where they are in the house, and often what they’re eating based entirely on the sounds of them stomping on our heads in the main house above us and through the scents that come in from their heater that we tapped into.

    PS the new wood burning stove is designed to prevent anything but Ed (ie lead painted wood) from spilling its plethora of chemically goodness into the house. That said, Dad keeps adding boards that are too big to the fire, and leaving the doors open while the backside burns up…

  2. Jacqui Berry

    So funny! and yes the world has gone mad! I went into my local store and the whole loo roll aisle was EMPTY – what is going on! Other shelves were empty too! I love the photos and your family sound just like mine! Enjoy your time with them and I look forward to seeing more of your posts! Thanks for linking up too. Jacqui x

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