The Pandemic Logs
We asked New York Times readers about the tiny details of their days in quarantine. Here’s what they told us.
Years from now, when we look back on 2020, we’ll remember the broad contours of the time, the loose narrative of a pandemic year. In an effort to remember the tiny moments that are so often lost, the readers of At Home kept log books — where they went, whom they saw, what they ate and what they did — writing down the small details that, taken together, offer a series of snapshots of everyday life in quarantine.
The puppy is 6 months old now. This week she chewed up two ballpoint pens, a pencil, an aluminum can, the plastic tokens from a board game, her blanket and the power cord to the television soundbar. We talked about changing her name from Peggy to Goat.
Eric Putman, 48, Lafayette, Ind.
Lynne hosted mah jongg. Picked up new glasses. Spaghetti carbonara for dinner.
Mark Lyons, 72, Leland, Mich.
Miranda and I took our first walk outside after more than two weeks indoors. We saw two trains and brought home two sticks, a bundle of green leafy limbs, four rocks, and a torn bougainvillea blossom. Made a cardboard “running” kite with Miranda. Took a second walk and saw four trains, and brought home three rocks. Ate lunch with my partner; informed him I was grumpy. Ate a bowl of Gorilla Munch as an afternoon snack. Completed a suicide prevention training for work. Shared a video taken of Miranda running with her kite with her grandparents. Made taco salad for dinner.
Michelle Clark, 37, San Jose, Calif.
My “remembering Dad” sunflower bloomed today.
Ann Bovee, 54, Redmond, Wash.
At my market, we are directed to a single entrance where the handles of each grocery cart have been sterilized. And, of course masks are required while inside. I got the things I needed for a barley rusk salad. No heating up the oven! About to have a “virtual appointment” with a doctor.
Doug Scott, Palm Springs, Calif.
Graduated from physical therapy today! Took a walk around the neighborhood this afternoon. It’s jeans and Birkenstocks weather, my favorite. Tonight is Evie’s first night sleeping in her own room.
Sarah C., 25, Kalamazoo, Mich.
I wore makeup for the first time in a month. Had an interview in the afternoon, hoping to land a job after being laid off in March after the pandemic started. Halloween decorations started to arrive.
SHERLLEY GARCIA, 32, PUERTO RICO
A taxi arrived at the door this morning with a gift of fresh banana leaves from our friend Nora, so that I can line a pot with them for making barbacoa de pollo later today.
Thad Mummert, 74, Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, México
Baby had sausage, cheese and Nana’s sourdough bread for breakfast. Toddlers had bread, applesauce, and barely tore themselves away from YouTube long enough to eat. I need to remember to pay the lawn guy today. And list the stroller for sale online.
Lily Rotering, 32, Fort Worth, Texas
Took Avery to soccer practice in Bay Ridge. A mile run! Got “Stayin’ Alive” stuck in my head while looking at the Verrazano. Picked up sushi. “Borgen,” episode 3. Gold rush cocktail!
Kylie Sachs, 48, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
We’re at the hospital to train staff on Covid-19 infection, prevention and control. Staff are slowly, slowly arriving to the training site. Thousands of dragonflies are flitting about the courtyard.
Emily Guebert, 29, Aweil, South Sudan
Locked eyes with a stag standing just beyond the patio in the backyard while on Zoom with my boss’ boss. Made the fancy boxed pasta for dinner.
Morgan Shockley, 30, Arroyo Seco, N.M.
Pressed my clothes for the first time in seven months. Dressed up, looked at the mirror, then video-called a friend on the right side of the Atlantic, in Nigeria. It’s been a while since we last talked, and although it didn’t quite seem like a date, it felt good to chat, chortle and gossip.
Onyinyechi Ukaire, 25, Boston
I’m allowing myself to quit a few minutes early if I get outside during the day. Worked on the back porch and saw a black squirrel.
Andrew Blok, 29, Grand Rapids, Mich.
I went on a three-mile walk alone with my podcasts and wished I had a walking buddy. Proceeded to have a bad day of takeout decisions. Will regret that later. Will I make appointments today to deal with the graying hair issue or embrace it?
Pam R., 55, Sarasota, Fla.
What? Racoons in the roof, too?
Richard K. Perrin, 83, Silverthorne, Colo.
Ate the leftover tom yung soup for lunch today. Third time eating it. Steph and Jess’s last show together for a while at Johnny Tamarindo tonight. Picked Steph a bunch of “day” flowers just because. Some wild orange and yellow ones along the roadside and a nice droopy white flower with big petals from our neighbor Daniel’s yard.
Danny Zbel, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Ran – hot (85 degrees) and humid ( 56 percent) today versus cool and windy yesterday. Passed two people. Wide berth. Could they be Covid transmitters?
Brant S. Mittler, 73, San Antonio, Texas
Today I only had to put on my Zoom shirt for 13 minutes. My one meeting went well and quickly! Back to comfy clothes. Cat gave me kisses for the first time during my Zoom meeting and I had to pretend nothing momentous was happening.
Kate Bussert, 26, Bedford–Stuyvesant in Brooklyn
Today I donated red blood platelets for a cancer patient somewhere that I don’t even know. I’m almost 78 and need to be careful. This is my way to help.
TWINKLE NELSON, ATLANTA
Walked Percy. Planted new species of dragon fruit cutting to allow cross pollination for fruiting. Split tropical plant into three new pots. Cut out old plumbing in koi pond for redesign.
Jim Ramsell, 65, San Jose, Calif.
Today, driving to my quilting group meeting, I passed the auto repairshop where I used to play poker every Saturday night.
Ellie Malloch, 76, Arlee, Mont.
Today I was delighted to discover that 1) a small mom and pop grocery store reopened in my local Chinatown neighborhood enclave. Hooooray! and 2) the fruit and vegetables were fresh and clean; and 3) the store not only had eggs, but jumbo organic eggs, exactly what I wanted, to go with 4) beautifully green chives and 5) soft and silken tofu and 6) a perfectly ripe dragon fruit, which will be my dessert. From one store, come most of my healthy dinner ingredients.
Mary Li Hsu, 62, Manhattan
Made my first smoothie bowl. No one talks about how cold it is to eat. Had it with hot tea — back and forth sensations were interesting. Cold Formula tea smells exactly like the brown Tiger Balm.
Trang Be, 26, Toronto
Produced by Jaspal Riyait and Ruru Kuo. Illustrations by Ruru Kuo.
If you kept a logbook in which, sticking to just the facts, you listed the tiny details that happen in a day that you might otherwise forget, what would today’s entry be? Tell us: firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your full name, age and location.