Making bargains often an ill-fated endeavor

I've been playing a little game with fate lately.

I'll accept that I couldn't be with my mom when she took her last breath because I had the chance to say goodbye to her the day before.

I'll accept that Dan's cold prevented us from having an outdoor prayer service for her, as long as he doesn't have COVID-19.

Guess what? He does.

We were convinced he didn't. After all, I had the same cold - with the very same symptoms - the week before and I had tested negative.

He received an email with his test results late Nov. 9. He didn't even have to say anything. One look at his face and I knew.

We had talked about what we would do if one of us got COVID and had agreed we would all stay together. Isolating didn't seem to make sense.

Then we read the instructions from the CDC on how quarantining works. The 14-day period starts 10 days after the infected individual experienced the first symptoms. If Dan isolated, Ainsley and I could cut a full week off our quarantine. So upstairs to the bedroom he went.

It's been an interesting week and a half. Dan has been well enough to continue working. I'm stationed with my laptop in the dining room and getting used to hearing our wood floors squeak as he paces back and forth, his favorite thing to do while on the phone. Ainsley has been engaged (I use that term loosely) in remote learning from the family room.

I know there are families who must quarantine in much tighter quarters, and I should be thankful we all have space in which to comfortably work. But at times I wish we had an office above the garage, where I would be less accessible for questions about when a clarinet lesson takes place or requests for mid-afternoon snacks.

I am grateful that I have a job I can do fairly easily from home and co-workers willing to help make this time more tolerable for me. Last week they put me on speaker phone during the Thursday morning envelope stuffing session (for out-of-town subscribers) so we could chat about the latest episode of "This is Us" and share our theories on how Maddie's obstetrician and his daughter are going to be relevant to the story line.

Shortly after the call ended, Ainsley walked into the dining room to ask me whom I had been talking to. I told her I was on speaker phone with the office for our Thursday morning "This is Us" recap. She responded with an epic eye roll before leaving the room.

I've tried to appreciate the humor in moments like that. Other times I've felt all this is just too daunting, especially with the emotional roller coaster

I've been on lately.

But I can get through it, I've reasoned in my little bargaining game, so we can have our neighbor over for Thanksgiving dinner and head up to Saugatuck Friday for our annual Thanksgiving weekend getaway.

Well, the neighbor politely bowed out after hearing about Dan's positive test, even though our quarantine will be over.

And with Gov. Pritzker's announcement Tuesday that we all should stay home, we're seriously questioning our trip. (Although we might drive up, stay in the house all weekend and then drive home, just to have a change of scenery.)

I think fate is sending me a message. The odds are not in my favor. Acceptance is just that - acceptance - and not part of a bargain. I'll have time to ponder that more - if we can just get up to Michigan next weekend.

- Pamela Lannom is editor

of The Hinsdalean.

Readers can email her at

[email protected].

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean