Day Five of COVID-19 Quarantine: How to not kill your domestic partner

Domestic Partners
A reminder that we’ve figured this out since 2003.

So we’ve been home since the weekend. Okay, technically I have been home since 2010. Laura has been working from home since Tuesday.

Random observations

The load on our wi-fi (FIOS) is significant. We are being careful to turn off devices to minimize lag time. That’s slightly annoying. We are also keeping devices, especially our phones, fully charged as soon as possible. I charge my portable batteries regularly.

Working from home with pets
Some cats and Ana help Laura do her work

Cats do not comprehend the meaning of “I’m working, go away” not even a little bit. Laura started out on the sofa, but was so exasperated with her ten million helpers that she fled to the kitchen table. They fled with her, but seem to be content sprawling on the cat tree in that room and simply monitoring her. The giant spray bottle of water next to her laptop seems to help.

I was right. Early on, I ordered wipes to put in the car and had an arm pump moment of triumph when Laura acknowledged that I had been right. Say it again for the people in the back.

Social distancing is hard. We did fine at the vet office and when I ran into Starbucks for a respite treat. But in the aisles of Walgreens, it was crazy. I was trying to find a specific supplement my gastroenterologist ordered for me because I’m struggling with a gastric virus (day 13.) I looped the aisle several times because I didn’t want to walk past anyone. There’s a sad irony in the dude literally holding dozens of boxes of various supplements and herbal tinctures not giving anyone a chance to stay six feet away from him.

As we got back into our car after the trip to the pharmacy and gas station, we caught wind of two older men starting to quarrel over who honked a horn at whom. I was like “chill, dudes, it is not worth it” so they both glared at me. I am willing to take a few glares to avoid having to break up an old man fight while maintaining six foot distance. I would have tossed my cold Starbucks drink on them and then pelted them with plastic containers of Friskies to stop them. It didn’t get that far.

We’ve been ordering from local restaurants – so far, Nicky’s Thai Kitchen and People’s Indian Restaurant. We decided to buy gift certificates from the other small restaurants we patronize to get that money into the economy and hedge our bets for lots of dining out post-COVID-19. We are also preparing meals at home using the ingredients on hand and considering what can be frozen or reheated.

COVID-19 Precautions
We have no gloves so Ledcat improvised to retrieve the daily paper from the front stoop.

We’ve been temporarily caring for a cat colony while the regular caretakers are in … Europe. Fortunately, they are healthy over there, but there’s no way of knowing if they will be back as predicted or not. So we’ve been making a plan to be able to continue caring for these cats (six total that we know of) especially since there’s no water or electricity at the site so we have to carry everything in and out, including sanitation supplies.

Two of our foster kittens are still struggling with a non-specific virus. They aren’t eating well and their temperatures keep spiking. They’ve been to the clinic five times in 18 days. Fortunately, the clinic has good social distancing protocols, but they are also overwhelmed with making sure the resident clinic cats are placed, the cats at the various pet stores are repatriated to foster homes AND dealing with the influx of pets being dumped at shelters in response to the erroneous belief that cats and dogs can transmit the virus. And that’s BEFORE kitten season is in full swing.

Maisel and Lennon have a potential adoptive home. We can’t safely figure out how to do a meet and greet while keeping social distance. They are fine with us as long as necessary, but if we can move them to their permanent home it will create room in our house for two other foster critters. We are waiting an official call on that.

It is weird to watch General Hospital in the living room while Laura is working in the kitchen, especially when she parrots their dialogue in an exaggerated voice.

I hope someone tells me what my virus is soon. I’ve had all sorts of tests and multiple telehealth consultations with my gastroenterologist and my PCP. I’m grateful for those tools, but I’m frustrated by the lack of answers. And a little scared that something is seriously wrong. I’m also anxious about my asthma because I know I’m short of breath. My PCP told me nebulizers host the virus so I should hold off using it unless it is incredibly necessary.

My therapist’s office is using teletherapy. My therapist left Persad Center and went to East End Therapists in Squirrel Hill. Teletherapy is interesting. We have challenges with microphone volume and such, but it is better than nothing. I have been using my phone rather than my laptop so I can introduce my therapist to my pets. That’s fun.

I feel better when I see Dr. Rachel Levine or Governor Wolf on the screen.

Rick Santorum Photo
Lesbian blogger Sue Kerr with then Congressman Rick Santorum during her 1991 internship

I am sad that my new project, a artistic residency with a political consulting firm, has been delayed. But we’ll hang tough. It is a small loss in terms of being a delay. It would be a serious blow for art if we have to abandon altogether. We need art.

If you can help us with the foster and feral cats, we would appreciate it.

We have a crowdfund set up here.

We have a wishlist set up here.

For anyone cramped in at home juggling work and kids and housework and more, my advice is to set up a plan and some boundaries. Laura works in the kitchen, I’m in the living room. I also go upstairs to the kitten room. We discuss anticipated phone calls or teleconference ahead of time to minimize disruption. We spend time in different parts of the house to recharge our isolation batteries. We take the time to touch base each day about our health and remind ourselves of our privilege, being careful not to take any of this for granted. We discuss meal prep and household tasks day by day. We have a gentlewoman’s agreement that any talk that seems rude is presumed to be urgent and we’ll discuss the niceties later. So when a kitten escaped his crate, when I took an unexpected phone call and shouted “BE QUIET” or when she says “Susie Kerr, report to the kitchen” – we give the benefit of the doubt.

Rest in power all victims of this disease. It is horrifying to think of your lives and deaths being reduced to data points and more horrifying to realize how we could have done better to protect your health. I am so sorry that we’ve failed you. You can’t read this, but you are in my prayers and thoughts.

Transgender Epidemic Violence



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