Without buying a pandemic puppy, or an air fryer, and without having another baby, I survived the world’s closure in 2020 and 2021. Impressive, right? If only I could foreshadow some winning lotto numbers in the way I foreshadowed the planet’s shutdown…

Four years ago, I bought my son a dog for his eighth birthday. That pup fast-tracked his way through the school years and in the thrust of a global pandemic found himself “enrolled” in virtual 4th Grade, learning everything about The Silver State (aka The Sagebrush State, aka The Battle-Born State). Did you know Nevada has much more to offer than Vegas – and The Raiders?

Lunar Crater National Natural Landmark, in central Nevada, has been used by NASA to train astronauts. I learned that fact during my son’s first half of a year-long full remote school. He, our dog and I passed figuring out how to complete the US States Project via online (rather than shoebox) and were promoted to the final year of elementary school.

Our family’s ‘birthday pup’ had a good grasp on the 5th Grade curriculum, but then April came and, ‘Twas the night before my son and I returned to full in-person school and work, respectively. That put Roo (aka Rocky) in a mood.

So if I didn’t expand my family, or kitchen appliances, during pandemic’s peak, how did I manage to survive 2020 and 2021, thus far?

For one, I acquired new skill sets, like how to trim my dog’s nails. I learned that in the way that we all learned how to do things in quarantine: by watching YouTube videos.

But why stop at the dog’s nails? With my nail salon shut down, I perfected my non-dominant’s [hand] ability to give myself a manicure. Actually, “perfected” is too generous. It’s more like quarantine improved my left hand’s ability to put polish on my right hand, so that it doesn’t resemble the way it would look if a 4-year-old put make-up on me.

Unlike the self-manicures, my stay-at-home-COVID-accomplishments weren’t all so vain, even if quarantine brought about my, ‘season of selfies.’

I proudly survived (and kind-of-kept-my-cool) the first time a preteen boy called his mom, ‘Bruh.’ Subsequently, it’s also the last time my son called me that.

I finally came to accept that I don’t know all the lyrics to Flo Rida’s, “My House.” That fact, however, didn’t stop this single mom from carpool karaoking/rapping with Flo Rida, fully entertaining/irritating her tween and their dog that were sitting in the backseat of the car on the family’s, “COVID-to-nowhere-but-at-least-we-are-out-of-the-house” drives.

One of my greatest discoveries in 2020 was noise-cancelling headphones. The instant I experienced the magic of them, I went online and added another to the shopping cart. With his (son) and hers (mom) noise-cancelling headphones, it felt less like Fortnite Battle Royale had come-to-life in my living room. And when it came to write such things as this column, I could put my headphones on, play [Jason] Aldean’s newest on repeat without annoying my son, or our dog, and happily get lost in the mechanics of the English language.

I bet the people living in the neighborhood that I chose to take my first motorcycle ride, wished they had noise-cancelling headphones. COVID – shmovid…I finally checked off a bucket list item with a 2020 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special Edition.

Surviving a pandemic without buying a puppy or air fryer, and without having a baby? It’s 100% possible. But if my methods of survival have yet to impress you, well, then, here’s another great achievement from my stay-at-home days of 2020 and 2021: I didn’t wear yoga (or pajama pants) on the daily. That’s right – I predominantly quarantined in jeans, as well as, the occasional wearing of stilettos to do such tasks as baking cookies, vacuuming and rolling the trash and recycle bins down the driveway to the curb on trash pick-up day.

About the author: Suzanna Parpos works in the field of education and is a freelance newspaper columnist. She is the author of, “A Year on Route 30: One Mom’s Collection of Essays” and “Awakening the Blank Canvas: A Collection of Essays Continues.” She lives in Framingham, Massachusetts, where she is known for the moon-shaped Greek cookies she bakes and delivers around the city, while wearing stilettos and her camouflage Red Sox baseball hat. Visit her site: www.suzannaparpos.com.


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