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Integration back into life – day 2

3/4/2020

What a day.

Today was an interesting one.

Our plan was to wake up, clean the apartment, and for me to get a hair cut. We then would have two interviews within our home with a lunch break in between. Once finished, we were going to split up. Rachel would go off to visit a friend, I would go to visit my brother.

Except that’s not how the day played out at all. Broken cars, stressful thoughts from quarantine, stigma, and a lot of sub-conscience thoughts. Many people are making decisions on who we can and cannot see, and people we know are afraid to be around us.

Getting ready for interviews!

We both woke up around 0800, still groggy and not quite caught up from the past month of disorienting quarantine. Before, we would go to sleep around midnight to 2am, and wake up around noon with knocks for breakfast, temperature checks, housekeeping, etc. We never really had a constant sleep schedule. Now, we can go to sleep at a regular hour and train ourselves back into reality.

We cleaned our apartment – a seemingly never ending wasteland of nic nacs, suitcases, and laundry from our trip over the first few hours of the day. After the hard work, I was ready to get my haircut.

Yesterday, Rachel’s car broke down.

Plot twist #9001!

Today, I went down the garage, ready to get back into my 2018 Acura TLX, excited to hit the road in what felt like a brand new car after quarantine. There was just one thing..

My car was 100% dead.

I was wishing I had a battery charger at that point!

Keys? Dead. I manually opened the door with a key, but was stuck in a fun situation when the door locks wouldn’t work when I pressed buttons, the garage wouldn’t open, etc. Not having either car working had Rachel and I begin to think about the quarantine. We weren’t able to go anywhere, similar to the ship and Lackland. The stress from thinking back to the quarantine hasn’t really hit me until today.

Boost, please! People to see, places to be!

I called AAA to give me a boost, and headed to the dealership to get a rental car and get a replacement battery. We had interviews scheduled throughout the day, but still needed to get my car fixed + find a wheel lock for Rachel’s car. This was too much to handle in a day, so we moved all interviews till tomorrow.

Rachel stayed behind while I went to the dealership. At the dealership, I was wondering if anyone would recognize me and be concerned. My service manager was professional about the quarantine, and due to clearance by the CDC he wasn’t worried at all. He and I have been pretty cool with each other since I met him in 2018. More on the dealership later.

I tried to find wheel locks at various places for Rachel’s car with the part number + a picture, but was turned down everywhere. Our only option was to cut the wheel locks.

How about the best meal in a month?

With the rental car ready to go, I hit the road back over to our home to pick up Rachel, get some grub, and head to National Tire & Battery. After lots of driving, we headed back to the apartment to take a nap.

Chili’s! Triple dipper appetizer – you should try it next time you go! It’s my favorite.

Right before napping, Remy made his place RIGHT where I was going to lay.. silly dog.

The social stigma is real.

Around 1800, I headed to the dealership to drop off the rental car to get my car back, which had just finished service. I noticed that everyone was tucked into their office, and no one walked up to me to help as they usually do every single time. When I walked up to a desk to drop off the keys, I found my service manager who greeted me with a smile and a handshake.

He informed me that word had got around about me being quarantined, and that people were very concerned about me being around. This was the first time that I ran into social stigma in person, and presumably not the last.

I saw my brother for the first time in two months.

I visited my brother and his fiancé at their home to talk about wedding plans. He wants to march in Mardi Gras style and have me playing clarinet. I taught high school/middle school for several years, and played gigs every now and again before I was put on night shift. Sounds like a fun plan! They will be married in October.

I got to see their cats – one of which I rescued as a kitten during nursing school. It was a pediatric Headstart clinic. I heard a meow walking in, and didn’t think much of it. On the way out four hours later, I heard it again and pulled this little guy out! His first thing was water from Chick Fil A.

Meet “Groot!”

All in all, today has been a bit of a rougher day at the Torres home. We experienced stigma, some stress related to thoughts of the quarantine, and just in general are looking over our shoulders in case someone realizes who we are and is afraid of us.

We’re home, but it doesn’t feel like home quite yet.

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