Sunday, October 11, 2020

Sweat/No Sweat

I’ve been doing a daily nighttime diary for 14 days for Carnegie Mellon University: “Help Us Learn about the Impact of the Coronavirus on Individuals, Couples, and Families.” It asks me what Covid-19 measures I do, what activities I’ve done during the day, and whom I’ve interacted with and for how long. Then it asks how I’m feeling, both emotionally and physically. I recommend the study.

Most days, the only person I’ve seen in 24 hours is Tim, and most days – especially bad weather ones – we’re in our house for a lot of the day. That’s usual for me, but Tim has always been a coffeehouse or daily athletic club, get-out-of-the-house kind of guy. That’s not possible now. Our house is our only inside place. Our only inside place.

Usually, we inhabit the house very nicely together. This surprised me, but I’d had to adapt to his invasion presence when he retired, so this was old business. I go downstairs, he stays upstairs. I am so grateful for this space!

But with Covid-19, how Tim and I occupy the house is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.

It started with his little 8-minute workout routine. I’d hear his phone beeping and he’d start jumping or sitting up or hopping or stopping. It was so cute! I offered assistance: “Why don’t you use the old ensolite pad I still have? Oh, what about those weights I got for exercises when both my legs were broken (and haven’t used since)?” 

Little by little, those eight minutes grew. Tim rediscovered the monkey bars on the ceiling in Sophie’s old room – which has been My Precious Space for years – and he’s added pull-ups to his workout. He comes in while I’m writing on the computer and he grunts and lifts and sweats right behind me.

He moves from room to room on his now-hour-long circuit. Hopping things seem to happen in his office, but stretching things seem to happen in the living room. I’m not sure where he does the giant blue ball things. Or the lunging things. (I’m downstairs and just hear thumps.) And now, there’s The Box.

I only exercise outdoors, period. Indoors, I may interrupt inactivity to do things, but the general backdrop is inertia. For me, Covid-19 means there is no consequence to laziness; if I don’t know what day it is, everything can happen tomorrow. Tim does Covid-19 strenuously and in motion. Outdoors and indoors. He just finished building The Box.

I love boxes. I love a good, clean box with a snug-fitting lid. A box just the right size for whatever contents. I am a Box Person. Boxes hold things.

Tim’s box is empty. It’s 18 inches square, wooden, beautifully crafted, and empty. He jumps onto it. Yes, he stands in front of it and jumps up vertically and lands on the box. Apparently, according to YouTube, it’s a Thing.

I stood in front of the box. Nothing happened.

I don’t even know what muscles to tell to move to make me jump up vertically like that.

Now, if you can see where this is going, it’s obviously about more than a box. I have to adapt to living with someone who is doing Covid-19 very differently from me. In the same house as me. I can’t just tell him to stop jumping and sweating and hopping and sweating and lunging AND SWEATING all over the house.

Omigod, what happens when it’s winter and the windows are closed?!?

I have to appreciate that Tim’s taking care of his health and wellbeing in the best way. (The Carnegie Mellon researchers would be very impressed.) I have to appreciate that he just purchased a giant floor mat so his sweat won’t land on the carpet. Finally, I have to appreciate that just because I am a slug, I do not have any moral authority to begrudge the non-slug in my midst (especially when the non-slug doesn’t complain about my craft supplies invading the common space). We share this Covid-19 interior space, and I    have    to    adapt.

Uh, oh. This might be harder than jumping onto that box.


  1. Informative and entertaining!

    Thank you.

  2. Good for both of you. You are doing what you need to do to get through this. It's harder than it looks.

  3. Haha! Excellent. We are all making accommodations for covid and it's kind of working well. I've had a chin bar for soooo long, and all this equipment waiting for me to use in my downstairs bedroom. My house is built on a slab, so I have a good floor under me, with nice carpet on top. Covid has put me downstairs using the equipment in there. I don't have a box, though. I do miss my plyometrics and may need to find a box for that. I want a soft box, though because I hurt myself on hard boxes. owie! Good for you both for making covid lemonade. lovethejourney~lupe

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