The Relatives are Quarantining with Us


Congested, crowded, over-capacity are words that currently describe my situation.

So far this week I have learned that extending the bubble is an act of courage, there is a mysterious pain in my jaw, and for reasons unknown, I’m channeling Oscar Wilde.

Here’s the deal, we’re all living in quarantine, but some of us are choosing to scan for the positive, I don’t know who these people are, but I believe they’re dangerous, keep your social distance!

If it’s true, what you see and hear depends on where you are standing, and what sort of person you are, then I’m off my game, landed in hot lava, and feeling a little flustered.

Don’t click off, it’s poor etiquette, stay the course.

My son-in-law Nic, and daughter Julie, recently sold their house in Willow Glen, and their family of five are now residing with us until they finish remodeling their new home, conveniently located across the street. They’ve taken over the guest quarters, family room, and half the kitchen.

We have discovered that our internet is not sufficient to allow for five people on conference calls at the same time, not to mention access to one’s blog, or publicizing on twitter. In addition to this requirement, writers need quiet, Bahaha.

Kelley, my younger daughter, arrived yesterday from Boston, her fiance is covering the NBA games in Florida, and Kelley has decided to hang out with us while Tim is away. She’s taken over the mermaid room, her stay is indefinite, and her special power is the ability to spread herself evenly throughout the house. It’s an art.

I was bullied into doing a ten-minute ab workout with Kelley, I can’t describe the agony that was enacted on my body in 600 seconds, there will be no belly laughing in the near future, or smiling.

My son Tony is stuck in Portugal due to COVID travel restrictions, he scored a cool job with a start-up in Lisbon, and it’s our hope he’ll be able to jump over to the states for a visit soon. We have the living room reserved for him and Thalita, with a  plush couch, and big-screen television. What’s not to like?

Dante, my youngest, has a permanent room in the front of the house, it’s decked out with a dozen or so high-end speakers (not great for my nerves), he’s converted his walk-in closet to a bar, managed to fit two lounge chairs into the tight space, a queen bed, a gaming station, and large oak desk from Mom’s estate. It’s what we call an eclectic look, but he only stays here about six days out of the month, as he travels for work, so when he’s out of town we keep the door closed, and this is calming for everyone.

I still have my sanctuary in the back of the house, a room with a view of the patio, and luxurious bath, praise be to God, although it’s become a popular hangout for the relatives. Yesterday the twins decided to host a tea party in my bed, things went south rather quickly, and somehow an entire pot of water spilled on Nono’s side of the bed. He was not pleased. He made an overarching dictum that no one but Grammie is allowed in his bed.

At least Nono has an entire office to himself with a sofa sleeper when necessary!

There’s this new program on Netflix called Floor is Lava. It’s become an overnight sensation for millions of Americans sheltering in place. It’s a simple concept, they set up an obstacle course, and participates are challenged to cross the hot lava field using recklessly placed stools, ledges, and pyramids without falling in the “hot” lava. Yes, let your imagination go wild. I have no idea why Julie and Nic introduced this concept to the children? They have taken to crossing from one end of the house to the other without stepping on the floor. It’s mayhem. They recruited Dante and I found him balancing precariously on the hallway shelf, while Audrey yells, “Grammie you just died.”

And ended up in hell!

When things get crazy I send everyone to their assigned spaces, which doesn’t really help as they tend to overlap, and no one listens to me anyway.

There are eight cars currently in need of parking spaces, the garage is stuffed with Julies’ belongings, we were able to create a path to the beer refrigerator, so calm the hell down. The cars have been situated on the driveway in a complicated matrix and now it takes an engineer for me to get my car out. God forbid we run out of milk or toilet paper!

I posted a no vacancy sign on the front porch and pray the COVID patrol doesn’t think we’re hosting a rager.

The first order of business is setting up beds for the littles. I put three twin mattresses in the family room for the grandchildren. It looks like a jigsaw puzzle, add in 50 pairs of miniature shoes, shorts, shirts, dresses, bathing suits, books, stuffed animals, and “special” blankets, and I think you get the picture.

My calamity Janes have landed.

I think it’s fair to ban scooters from the house even though Cora claims, “the halls are very long Grammie.” We’ll have to paint when this is all over.

The kitchen has become a hot spot, as one would imagine, I can’t seem to keep the refrigerator full, or the sink empty, and besides no one is hungry at the same time, so it’s become a pandemonia express around here. Mangiamo!

We’re still pretty buttoned-down in California (a COVID hot spot), and I’ve been managing with wine, but there are limits to that sort of therapy.

What I need is retail therapy, a real store with things I can touch things, clothes I can try on, and trinkets to tempt me. I want to browse, grab a coffee, carry bags to my car! Is that asking too much?

I didn’t think so.

Here’s my current philosophy, when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. Thankfully I was able to convince Jeff to restore my Amazon priveledges or God knows what I’d resort to. Etsy?

I want to be totally transparent, my name is Cheryl, and I’m an Amazon addict.

I need parental controls!

The other day I learned that Spanx makes swimsuits. I know, Spanx, the tummy flattening line. Who knew?

I got so excited, I immediately checked my Amazon account (even though I was stretching the internet, no bun intended), and yes indeed they carry the swimsuits. Not that I wear swimsuits all that often, it’s more about the idea of a Spanx bathing suit hanging in my closet, but let’s not muddle the issue with endless details.

After putting three very stylish suits in my cart, you’ll be happy to know I did not proceed to checkout, I’ve enacted a self-imposed 24-hour hold on all purchases. We’ll see how long that lasts?

It’s the intention that counts.

This morning I returned to my blissfully full Amazon cart, and decided on one style of bathing suit, which I believe will complement my mature figure, and had it sent to the lake house. When I have things sent to Lake County I save a ton on interest. Well, not a ton, but like two percent. It’s something, I saved $1.16, and now I can put my guilt to rest. Of course, I put the rest of the suits in the “save for later” file, with the 300 other must-have items I have stashed there.

I don’t know about you, but there is always something to clean out in my life, now it’s my “save for later” cart. I’m such a Kondo fail.

But let’s not dwell on the negative. Oscar Wilde says anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination. He also said I can resist anything except temptation. Bahaha, I think I’m his reincarnation.

Let’s talk about Looney’s shopping fails, shall we?

It all started with a silk pillowcase I received for my birthday from my age phobic children who now all happen to live with me. They claim this one pillowcase will keep me cooler at night (a plus for postmenopausal women), my hair will stay cleaner (interesting), and it prevents wrinkles (no one has explained this phenomenon but let’s assume it’s a cogent claim).

One damn pillowcase and let me quote my Dad here, “when it seems to good to be true, it’s too good to be true,” but Oscar adds the truth is rarely pure and never simple.

Anyway, this got Larry thinking about the current state of our pillows, subpar is a good description. They are atrocious, overly loved, flat, and lacking any discernable appeal. I can’t explain why ALL our pillows have collapsed at the same time, it’s like the stock market, only I’m not losing any sleep over it.

So we’re watching Ozarks one night, and in between episodes this ad comes on claiming to have “the best pillows in the world,” or your money back (too good to be true?)

Larry says, “I going to order those pillows right now.”

“Honey, I like to squish my pillow before I buy one, what if it’s too hard.”

“We’ll never know until we give it a try.”

“It does have a money-back guarantee?”

He places an order without the 24-hour waiting period, do you see how the rule applies to only a select few?

After weeks of anticipation (pillows being a non-essential commodity), and endless shipping delays, the pillows finally arrive. We’re giddy with excitement, Larry rips open the packaging, and out pops a bushel of new pillows. I squish one. They’re bigger then they appeared on television and lumpy as no-knead bread. I’m not convinced.

I gently unwrap my silk pillowcase and reverently slip it over one of the new pillows.

That night I slept for a total of three minutes. I have a kink in my neck, and my jaw is sore, but I’m willing to give the new pillows some time to settle down. It might be the death of me but as you know I already died in the hot lava.

Days go by, my jaw continues to deteriorate, I think I’m clenching my teeth all night because I’m so uncomfortable? I can hardly chew or talk (Larry’s chalking that up as a win), and I haven’t slept since these lumpy monstrosities arrived. Irritable might be a good word to describe my current mood.

I’ll give it one more night because I’m an optimist under normal circumstances.

Night three, it’s 2:00 am, I’m wide awake, and tired of playing solitaire on my iPhone. I get up, tiptoe down the hall as not to wake anyone, and rummage through Larry’s office in search of my old pillow. I find the blessed, flat, overly loved headrest, the one I’ve dreamed upon, and slobbered on, the one I was about to throw away. Unforgiveable, I toss the “best pillow in the world” across the room, slip the silk cover gently over the old one, and fall into bed.

Bliss, miraculously the pain in my jaw has eased, I can speak again, and the kink in my neck is yesterday’s news.

I hear Larry on the phone the next morning, “yes, I ordered four pillows and want to return them all.” There is a pause.

“No, I do not want to try the condensed version.” Another pause.

“We prefer feathers. Thank you.” I love a man who knows what he wants and sticks with it.

More news about the new roommates, snakes, spiders, and fireworks coming soon, but for now we’re congested, crowded, over-capacity, staying loyal to our middle-aged pillows, and looking forward to celebrating the 4th at the lake with the extended Oreglia clan and my swanky new Spanx bathing suit.

Here’s to our lady, and the beauty of independence, let’s hope the irony is not missed on my children!

I’m Living in the Gap, catching up on my sleep while not wrinkling, one-word silk.

What words currently describe your one precious life?


  • “When women are depressed, they eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It’s a whole different way of thinking.” Elayne Boosler
  • “Buy what you don’t have yet or what you really want, which can be mixed with what you already own. Buy only because something excites you, not just for the simple act of shopping.” Karl Lagerfeld
  • Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. Oscar Wilde


Leave a Comment

  1. Cheryl, you are hilarious, love how you slip in OW 🤣 I’d go crazy with that situation but I am 65 so therefore can only spend three days (including nights) with anyone but Al and really I’d rather they live across the street! That is so cool! I went shopping in real store for,the first time in five months yesterday and discovered the dressing rooms are closed for my protection. So I am taking half of my loot back. No Spanx bathing suit, but I did buy more bras without underwire 😁.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Cynthia! Sorry I’m delayed in responding, I missed this one! Thanks for your kind words, it’s been quite a ruckus around here but we’re all surviving and enjoying our time together. We know this is rare and most likely won’t happen again. So glad you got out of the house, sometimes that’s all it takes to shift my mood. Love the less restricting leisurewear while we SIP! Be well my friend, C

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So much wit in one post. No expresso before blogging! Loved the 600 second workout, if you can still eat dark chocolate, you’ll be okay – test as needed.
    Lava show is inspiring, I can see that happening. Chalk out on the driveway a course and see if that helps – time them while carrying water!
    Love that Oscar Wilde quote – one of my favs.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello, so good to find you here in the comments! BaHaha, “no expresso before blogging,” that’s good advice! I have now completed 5 of those 600-second workouts and I see absolutely no difference in my anatomy! Thanks for the fun suggestions, “time them while carrying water,” of wine to Grammie! Be well, stay safe, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It takes multiple shoulders to raise a family, I’m grateful for the strength I’m surrounded by!

      The strange appeal of Lava is alarming, clearly we’re all getting a little bored!

      Thanks for reading, commenting, and supporting, I’m enormously grateful Diane! C


    1. Thanks for the comment Bhagyashree! It’s a little chaotic but we are truly having a “gala” time! It would be hard to shelter in place alone, I hope you’re staying in close communication with your family and friends! Stay safe! C

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I can ‘hear’ the rumpus from here…how do you do it? Very funny post, Cheryl. I am currently gripped watching Ozark (as you suggested) most evenings. May I just say that I didn’t realise at the start that there were three series and they are talking about a fourth! ❤ to you all…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jane, my world is currently wild and crazy, but I’m thrilled our shenanigans humored you! Glad you’re enjoying Ozarks, I hadn’t heard that were making a 4th season! Yippee, Larry and I will be back in business! Much 💞 to you and yours! C

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh Cheryl!
    I loved this look into the chaos that is your home/life. Just the right mix of humor and wit, sprinkled with little bits of info. Wow! How rocking is your world that your daughter and some grandkids are moving in across the street!? Jealous. My kids are scattered to the wind.
    Internet not sufficient?!? Don’t you live in the epicenter (seismologically a bad choice of words) of Silicon Valley? Where even the Gigabytes have Gigabytes? Can’t you get an Orbi or something and then add a few bucks to your monthly and experience a T-75 (just made that up) type situation?
    A few questions…. Will Tim be in the NBA “bubble” in Orlando? Will he be quarantined for the entire NBA season? Keep us posted if he has any hot takes.
    Did anyone ever explain that in the quest for fitness, one should start with the 5 minute abs? If you start full on with the complete 10-minute program, you are much less likely to do it again, defeating the purpose. 300 seconds is way cooler when you are starting out (I did the maths!)
    Congrats to Tony on the cool job. I suspect he will be able to visit in February/March. Though the flu will be out and about, and maybe we will lock down for that.
    As far as who in your family has got it down, if we visit, I want Dante’s room (JK!)
    Thanks for warning Gail about the Spanx swimsuit. She went with something else, and it rocks!
    Loved your thoughts on Wilde, though I confess it made me think of an esoteric, pretentious Smiths song (Cemetery Gates.)
    As an FYI, you have amazing powers. I will have you know that Gail gave me Pillowcases for our Anniversary. (I thought this was some kind of subliminal homage to my bedroom prowess,) but was a little disappointed that no, she merely got the idea from you. Thin pillows rock!
    With regard to Sylvia, I love her song with Mickey “Love is Strange.”
    Anyway, thanks for this post. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I thought of this song after seeing the No Vacancy sign. Gail and I both like it, but it may be for sentimental reasons.

    “Without wine, there is no joy”….though it is better shared with friends. Miss you all.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mike, Mike, Mike ~ I howling here over your comments and observations. You are hysterical. It’s been a little crazy around here lately and I needed a good laugh. We finally got the keys to the new house and we’ve been in rip out, take down, pull up mode ever since (refer to today’s blog). We are overjoyed they’ll be living across the street, it’s as if a dream come true. We’re very excited to see how they’ll transform this charming home.

    We did solve the internet issue with a booster thingy! We were all complaining up at the lake and our neighbor said he’d come by with a solution! He’s our current savior! We’re all grateful not to be dropped while making zoom presentations! It was a $75 doohicky! Amazing.

    I wish I read this earlier about the ab workouts, I’ve done 6 of these monstrous workouts with Kelley and I do not, I repeat, I do not have a flat tummy yet! What the hell? I am enjoying the group workouts where we all race for the patio when finished for a glass of wine. That might be part of the problem!

    I saw a pic of Gail’s new bathing suit! She does rock! I ended up with a new tankini and I’m pretty pleased with the fit. I think at my age it’s all about the cover-up!

    Had fun channeling Oscar but I’ve moved on this week, diving into a great book called Olive Kitteridege, by Elizabeth Strout, Gail might love this!

    So glad you two are enjoying the silk difference while sleeping! I’m pretty sure I’ve avoided at least three wrinkles and the softness is very soothing. Makes for some good rest.

    Missing you all, we’re up at the lake this week, wishing you were with us! Love, Cheryl


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