Juggling Sickness, Stress and Stuff

I just let my husband out of the bedroom.


Now, get your mind out of the gutter people...he has been in quarantine.


My husband caught Covid.


I casually mentioned it in a previous post, but I'm going to revisit it.


He was on a business trip over Spring Break, and fortunately for us, figured out what was going on before he exposed us all.

Hubby was positive...

So, for the past 12 days, I have slept on the couch, and have kept him “locked” away. I've masked up anytime I've come near the bedroom door, where I have brought him food, and cleaned up the remains.


He could have come out sooner, "per CDC guidelines" but he was still symptomatic (and testing positive) so why take the chance.


We celebrated our 29th anniversary on other sides of the house.


It hasn't been too bad...except for sleeping on the couch.


The boys have rolled with it, chatting with him via video chat at bedtime.


Fortunately they are old enough to understand what is going on and old enough to pitch in. They have helped out here and there with chores, and have been good at "playing nice" and doing as I ask.


This is a big deal with a couple of teenagers (well 1 teenager, and 1 almost teenager who acts like he is one).


Of course, this is all happening not only on spring break, but also I was worried about the tick bite and the Traprock trail run.


Now, more than a week later, my legs are no longer sore, and the tick bite seems to be ok.


It's just the stress of it all.


However, it has given me a deeper understanding of what some people have to go through everyday.


Not everyone is as fortunate as I am. This is just a temporary setback. A minor inconvenience. A “first world problem.”


I have a full time job, and I can work remotely quite often. I can be there for the boys and my husband, and not miss work.


I'm home in the evening to run someone over to Karate or Scouts, or help with homework.


It is an inconvenience, not a way of life.


My job is important to me. Yet, in the grand scheme of life...it is a luxury. Museums are awesome and I love them, but if they went away...few would care as much as I do.


I believe museums are essential, but many do not. I believe they are important in building strong citizens, and compliment traditional schooling. There are so many things we'd miss out on if it wasn't for museums.

An early 19th century Windsor chair, that is part of the collections I helped moved recently.

Anyway, if my job went away, went “poof,” we'd still be "ok". We'd have to make some tough decisions, and cut back, but we would survive.


Our tough choices would not be between food or the mortgage. But rather, we are going to eat more chicken, and not get take out as often.


My job allows the luxury of not having the boys come home to an empty house. And better yet, they don't have to fend for themselves for dinner.


One thing that I have experienced in my new position is how I look at "things." By things I mean everyday items I take for granted, but also the conveniences I enjoy. As I dig through artifacts and historical records, I realize that many of these items are random. They don't give a full picture of just what occurred or who these people "really" are.

We can gather some information about these folks. Census records can provide information about where they may have come from. Later censuses can tell us if they spoke English, if they went to school, or if they were a citizen. It can tell us if they owned property, or rented. What their occupation is.


Many artifacts in museums are "saved" either because they were "fancy" and probably used sparingly--think of your China--or because they were thought of as "keepsakes".


Today, if something breaks, we chuck it out. Then, they probably used it until is could not be fixed anymore.


The item may have been saved because the person who happened to "collect" it was wealthy, and had enough disposable income to collect it and save it.


And because the stuff that was saved is usually the nicer stuff, we may think that is what people had, what people used. That those items can tell us about the people who lived here.


Items found on an archaeological dig at the Prudence Crandall Museum. One of the museums I work at now.

Probably not.


Definitely not.


It only gives us a small fragment of life in the past.


That's why when an archaeologist finds a "privy" (aka toilet / outhouse / trash dump) it can be a treasure trove.


I am also learning about how to "teach" this information to those who come into the museums. Museum education as I've mentioned before is not my forte. But what I am learning by reading, webinars, and talking to other museum educators has really opened my eyes about how we exhibit the stuff, and the stories we tell about it.


Man I love working in museums!

It's amazing the conversations you can have in a museum about stuff. And...everything can wash away...political differences, race, gender, Covid status. People just talk about what they see, what they experience. And, even if they disagree, it is civil and courteous.


It will be very interesting to see how this pandemic will be viewed in museums in the future.


Staying at home the last 2 weeks and not being able to go visit the museums as I should, has given me some time to really reflect on my blessings. And reinforced some of my beliefs, and brought into question others.


Just as museums should do.


Hopefully, I be back out in the field in a few days, helping to bring collections back into one of the museums that has been going under a 2 year (and long overdue) restoration. I can't wait to get back into the space, because that is where I get inspired even more.


I swear those old buildings and collections talk to me.


And, I will hopefully continue to test negative...and my husband too.


Because I really miss my bed.

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