Can you believe I started writing this blog a month ago and never finished? I sure as hell can. It’s been forever (what’s new?). This year is almost over, and the sad reality of a COVID Christmas season is upon us. I know I thought I had corona virus back in March, but I guess I was mistaken, because I actually tested positive for Corona last month, in October. Cheers fam. I survived unscathed… apart from the fact that four weeks later, I can still barely taste or smell. But if that’s the small price to pay for not being critically ill, well by God I’ll take it! So yeah, if you follow me on Instagram and wonder why I haven’t been cooking as much, it’s because for the last few weeks I haven’t been able to taste or smell ANYTHING. You could have held dog shit or the world’s most expensive perfume under my nose a couple of weeks ago, and I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference because I wouldn’t have smelled either. As far as taste, that is also coming back. Two weeks ago I could only taste extreme salt or sugar. I couldn’t taste spicy though or sour. I could eat chocolate or Nutella and it would just taste sweet, but not chocolaty. I still can’t really smell or taste coffee. Thankfully, my sense of smell of taste and smell are slowly coming back… SLOWLY.
Leading up to my positive diagnoses, I had a slightly elevated temperature and felt a bit “off” for about a week prior, but I thought it was the change of seasons. Honestly, a common cold would normally include worse symptoms than what I experienced. My throat didn’t hurt, but felt a little “tight.” Kind of like when you first turn the A.C. on when summer hits. I had no body aches, no cough, no real fever (my temp was like 100 degrees one day, but I thought it was because I was hungover). I knew that I needed to go get tested though, when I lost my sense of smell and taste one night… since normally I have the sensory capabilities of a bloodhound (I can usually smell if someone had one drink 6 hours ago and what the neighbor two floors down is cooking). I went to a walk in clinic knowing I was going to test positive, and sure enough I did.
Needless to say, I wasn’t very hungry for the first couple of weeks that I couldn’t smell or taste, and much to my entertainment, I lost a few pounds. This was the only upside. Sadly, after I tested negative, I went home to watch my sister’s kids for five days (like all day and overnight… not just “babysitting”), on top of also working from home. The stress of this arrangement caused me to senselessly binge eat for five days straight and gain back all the weight I’d lost plus some. I can never win. I am honestly just thankful that I didn’t pass the virus onto my sister or to my niece and nephew, because they are the only people that I hung out with (other than my live-in boyfriend) for the week leading up to my diagnosis. I am also thankful that I lost my sense of smell and taste, otherwise I might have never gotten tested and unknowingly passed it onto my parents.
SIDE NOTE (after watching kids and basically being a single mom for 5 days):
If you are reading this and you are a mom, I applaud you. Legit props to any mothers out there, especially working moms. I don’t know how you do it, because I was ready to off myself numerous times throughout each day that I watched two kids, and I was so damn tired each night that it was honestly all I could do just to scroll through Instagram after the kids were finally asleep. Kids and motherhood are a beautiful thing for some people, but I’ve decided I am NOT cut out for that life. Furthermore, we all know that moms do like 90+ percent of the work when it comes to child-rearing and keeping the house clean and running functionally, so like, extra extra props to all of you.
Anyhow, despite this last month that is both a total blur and a total shit-show, I’ve still been cooking (just not regularly posting what I cook). Because I have been cooking for so long now, I know how much of and which seasonings and ingredients to add, regardless of whether or not I can actually taste/enjoy the finished meal. It’s a true gift…. possibly the only thing I was gifted with in this life, besides my twisted sense of humor.
I don’t think that we are going home for Thanksgiving this year do to COVID cases picking back up and my boyfriend’s work schedule (and mine). It’s honestly not that tragic for me. Having worked a few years of retail in the past, I’ve missed a couple of Thanksgivings in my life, and I can honestly say that there are some upsides. I won’t have to dodge questions about why I don’t have any turkey on my plate. I also won’t end up binge eating for 4-days straight, which is usually what happens on any given weekend spent home (the stress of being with family, coupled with the availability of my favorite snacks, paired with the boredom of being in a rural town always sends me into a tailspin…). Honestly, missing Christmas is much more tragic… I’m hoping that doesn’t happen.
Also, my sister and her family will be overseas, so that really takes away from the joy and excitement (kids really do make holidays better…my mom wasn’t lying). I think I’ll do a vegetarian or pescatarian Thanksgiving for just me and my boyfriend here in the city. I will plan to make all of the sides (mashed potatoes, *mushroom* gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, etc.) and then do either a fo-turkey, or lobster or scallops as the main dish. I mean, you can’t pour mushroom gravy over seafood, but l’ll improvise and adjust all the dishes once I know for sure what the game plan is. My favorite Thanksgiving dishes were always stuffing and green bean casserole – both of which I have perfected in the art of making vegan, so that’s a done deal.
As the pandemic drags on into the 10th month, and winter is fully upon us, the outlook seems bleak. The days are shorter, and we have complete night by 4:30pm each day. The impending doom of another shutdown/lock-down is also making anxiety and stress levels go up across the world. With everything being so dismal, it is important to take time out (when we can) and take care of ourselves (to the extent we can). I mean, if I was really taking care of myself, I’d probably need to see a therapist weekly, start hitting the gym, and stop drinking wine. But, alas… since these things aren’t possible in the time being, I resort to long baths and painting my nails. One of the worst things about the entire last ten months has been the fact that none of us (most of us) don’t really have anything to look forward to (or so it seems).
It’s hard finding motivation to take care of yourself when you aren’t regularly seeing people or socializing. I find myself asking “what is the point?” more often than not. I miss being able to have future plans that I looked forward to – concerts, travel, parties, etc.. I know that these will come back one day (hopefully sooner than later), but in the meantime, I honestly don’t know what to look forward to, because even weekends kind of suck now.
Anyhow. The way things are going, I am prepared for a very emo holiday season. Christmas is normally my favorite time of the year. This year is not looking so bright or merry with cases picking up all over the globe and everything shutting down again. Things were so promising for a few months – why the fuck couldn’t we keep it that way?! I’ll tell you why – because we got careless and sloppy and now we are all paying the price (myself included in this demographic).
I am scared about getting laid-off if things haven’t improved by early next year. I am also scared about another shutdown of restaurants/bars here in NYC, since my boyfriend and most of my friends are working in the hospitality industry, and have either been out of work for months, or will be out of work again. Scary fucking times ‘yo. But honestly, what can we do? I guess all we can do is take it day by day and to appreciate the little things in this life. Or, rather, appreciate the important things.
If you have a roof over your head (even if you’re scared of losing it in a couple of months), food in your fridge and in your belly, a small network of friends or a family who you know will help you out when times are tough, and if you are healthy, you are doing better than most of the world. Be thankful for all of these things that you might regularly take for granted. The worse this world gets, and the more uncertain my future is, the more thankful I am for even the things I used to take for granted (my health, my *sometimes dysfunctional* family, the people who love me unconditionally, having food to eat, etc.).