IMG_0609God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change: God, have I mentioned I don’t like change. Lately, I feel like crying, except I don’t think I deserve to cry. I’m healthy, have a roof over my head, food in the fridge. So I have to quarantine myself, big deal, Cry Baby. Others have it worse.

All is eerily quiet now, the new normal sound around the complex — great for writing. It hasn’t always been this quiet, especially with the pony-sized dog living above us. Nine years ago, our upstairs neighbor Doris brought home a cute little Labradoodle. Day and night, 2:00 a.m., Lucy ran back and forth, claws scratching across the wooden floors like she was sliding into home plate. And when she chased a ball, I’d swear there was a bowling alley overhead. When Doris would leave, Lucy suffered from separation anxiety. I’d use a broomstick handle to knock on the ceiling to try and get her to stop howling. I’d phone Doris, go upstairs and knock on her door, but Doris never answered. A couple of Christmases ago, Doris came down with a box of Sees Candy, a peace offering — an apology. I had to forgive her and learn to accept this situation as community-style living.

The Courage to Change the Things I Can: My husband eventually installed a ceiling fan and a white-noise machine with ocean sounds. Things seemed calmer. I learned Doris had been giving the dog tranquilizers when she left for Wednesday night square-dancing. I still cringe and sleep with a pillow over my head when I hear Lucy.

COVID now barks louder than Lucy. Doris is afraid she won’t be able to take care of her dog during this pandemic. She’s given Lucy to her daughter. Hallelujah! All is quiet on the western front once more.

And so I’m minding my own business, hunkered down with my first cup of morning coffee. Place is looking nice. Television’s off. Suddenly, I hear zapping. The lights in the dining room flicker on and off like something out of Poltergeist. Is the virus now inside the walls?The zapping stops. I hear dripping and then a rush of water seeps from the floorboards across the newly installed Pergo. NO!! (We’ve just finished remodeling this 70’s relic condo). I scream. My husband rushes in to see the freshly-painted walls buckling, the ceiling weeping. About-face, he’s out the back door to shut off the water valve. Upstairs, Doris’s water heater has sprung another leak. Jeff heads up. “Where’s your mask?” I scream. “Just call her?” Doris never answers. She’s afraid of us.

And now, we must act fast to stop the spread of mold. All of our precautions (quarantine, masks, gloves, Lysol, grocery-deliveries, staying away from family and friends, Zooming) will zoom out the window as masked and gloved workers come in and out of our small 800-foot-living space to remediate the damage. The room we were so proud to have cleared out finally (my writing refuge during this pandemic) will go back to being a storage space for all the water-displaced furniture and furnishings.

First, my novel’s failured launch because of Corona and now this! Seriously, does the universe really not want me to write?

And the wisdom to know the difference: I can just hear Wise-Old Mother Nature saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” F***k that. Right now, I’m so tired of being strong, holding it together. I just wanna cry.

I say surely ignorance is bliss. If not, why do we have leaders full of wisdom now telling us they have no answers except to get this country back to normal. If that’s not an ignorant statement, then what is? And how are we supposed to get back to normal? It’s not like I can just sit outside in the 102-degree heat (does it kill the virus?) or run over to Starbucks to do my writing! Don’t get me started. This is just my rant, and I know the broken water heater upstairs is simply the camel that’s broken my back!

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference!

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