The Pandemic Blues support group thread

One silver(ish) lining. We generally saw our kids once or twice a year when we visited or they did. This year we started Zooming around the beginning of April and meet with all three once a week for an hour or two. I think that will continue for as long as we do.

On the other hand we haven’t seen our friends here since then (except with one couple in the park a couple times during nice weather). We don’t even go to the market. They prepare an order and load it into our trunk. We were taking walks until a few days ago when the Indian summer ended and have hardly left out apartment since (except once to go to the drug store for a flu shot). Yeah, it stinks.

I hope this cheers you all up. :grinning:

Just for comparison, I’m 67 and live in a small town in the UK.
We’ve had few cases + fewer deaths and people have been wearing masks for some time.

So my combination boiler stopped working a few days ago - thus no central heating nor hot water.
Fortunately my local plumbers sprang into action, diagnosed the problem and swiftly got the required parts.
They fixed it today. :sunglasses:

Meanwhile I decided that I would treat myself and book into a local hotel so I could have a hot shower. (retail therapy! )

Well that was the idea…

Firstly, although I only asked for an hour in the room (and would just use the shower), they didn’t offer a discount. “We might need to rent the room to another person” they said. Well I was booking at 19.30 - so what are the chances another customer would appear that evening?
Next I clearly specified that I wanted to have a shower (luxury ) - but when I entered the room:

  • there was no bathmat
  • there was no hair dryer
  • the hot water pressure was so low it took 20 minutes to run a bath

OK, so when I got home I went for plan B … I decided to generate hot water to wash in.

I poured a kettle-full of boiled water into my sink and refilled the kettle.
By the time that water is ready, I have discovered that my sink plug is defective … and all the hot water stored there has drained away.

You couldn’t make it up!

Gaah that sound irritating! Few things are more vexing than being foiled in the pursuit of a guilty treat. You give in to the temptation, feeling a bit sheepish having done so and then the plan falls apart leaving you worse than empty-handed. Twice.

The last time I stared forlornly into a sink drain wondering how life could be so cruel was after I’d made a large pot of poultry stock. I’d set up my strainer and had just poured the pot contents through it. And there I stood with a strainer full of simmered-to-nothing vegetables, cartilage, skin, & bones and my drain plumbing full of disappeared stock.

I’d somehow forgotten the catch pot and had absentmindedly saved the solids, not the liquid! :astonished: :flushed:

At least you avoided a multi-day exchange of increasingly arch notes with the innkeeper about the supply of soap in your room!

This is the first time in a very long time I’ve literally laughed out loud at something I’ve read on the Dope. Man, I needed that!

Joyless and isolated. That’s it.

I’m single and live alone, too. The local Jewish Seniors agency is going to deliver me a Thanksgiving dinner the day before, which I’ll eat alone.

I read an interesting definition of loneliness the other day: "Loneliness is when you have people to do something with, but nobody to do nothing with. Just to sit in a room with someone I like who likes me and watch TV would be great.

I can’t deny it’s getting to me.

And fatter – I think I’ve gained 18 pounds this year. Went a little all-in on cooking for myself, making spaghetti sauce etc, and probably drinking more than I should because infrequent liquor runs means more booze around the house with nothing to do because pandemic. :expressionless: :disappointed:

I also have seasonal depression, in a major way. I want the holidays to disappear. For years. And this year is absolutely unnecessary.

However, I have to fly east to help my sister take care of my mom. She is old, no major diseases, but her mobility is a big issue.

I want to be there. I want to see my mom, of course, hell, I wanted to be there for my usual spring trip and an easy holiday trip.

Now it’s almost like being a fugitive. I need to stay at my sisters house in another state, get tested, wait for results, drive up to mom’s state and start the visit.

It’s only an inconvenience at first, but I have high blood pressure and diabetes. So I am scared to fucking death! I will be on pins and needles while in quarantine and while waiting for test results in another state, away from my home, doctors, etc.

If I get this goddamned virus, I will guarantee you, I may go out with the most violent rage known to diseases. I will be on FB live or something calling out every person and just being an asshole.

I’m also turning 50 after Xmas. My stress level is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. It’ll be sleep aids every night through January 2nd (the best day of the year) if I survive this crap.

I can empathise with those stuck at home alone.
I’ve basically stayed home since April (as I’m in 3 risk categories: age / obesity / recent operation.)
Only five people have crossed my threshold in that time: two in a support bubble, my cleaning lady and the plumbers (see above.)

I’m keeping in touch with friends via Skype (and e-mail.) Board games can work using Skype.

I’m playing multi-player computer games with fellow enthusiasts using Steam.

Online bridge is available (I use Bridge Base Online.)

My characters on Lord of the Rings Online have gone up loads of levels.

Finally one long-standing friend is running a one player D+D campaign for me (and I’m going to return the favour.) We’ve agreed that all maps will consist of 8x8 squares (each 10’ per side), so the combats are rather like Battleships:
“The Giant in A3 is throwing a rock at your Cleric in C1…”

I’ve never done any of those games. Can you suggest one for a tech-savvy newbie?

I am kind of an introvert by nature. I do miss going out to restaurants or watching movies in the theater, but I’m better mentally equipped than some to handle being home all the time. I’ve been working from home since March, and though I miss interacting in person with my coworkers to a large extent, I love WFH for the most part.


I’m at home 24/7 with 2 teenage boys (15 and about to turn 18) who are bouncing off the walls. The 15 yo, a straight-A student, is sick of doing school through Zoom and wants to physically go to class. The almost 18 yo is dead set against going to college but has no other plans, so he is done with school with no job and no direction. He’s getting very bored, restless and panicked about what he’s going to do with his future. Oh yeah, and he’s a hardcore trump fan who watches right-wing media sites all day and constantly says stuff to me like “answer me this dad: if the election wasn’t rigged, why did (insert conspiracy theory of the day here)”.

The other day I was having a Zoom meeting with my department at work, and the 15 and almost 18 yo broke out into a screaming, throwing things fight. It was pretty embarrassing and stressful. That is not a rare event. My home office is upstairs and they are downstairs, so whenever I hear something that sounds like a distant scream while I’m working, my teeth clench, I tense up and run downstairs to see what fresh hell has broken out. I think I have some mild PTSD from breaking up fights.

My wife, after being allowed to WFH early on, has been back at the office for several months now, so I’ve been alone with those two all day. But her work is about to let everybody WFH again. So thank God, at least we’ll be able to take turns refereeing fights while the other is on a Zoom call.

Oh dear. :anguished: You DO have it rough. I’m so sorry.

Thanks ThelmaLou! It does feel good to vent a little bit in this support group.

And, I don’t want to politicize a non-political topic, so I’ll spoiler-blur this:

Imagine how much higher my anxiety was during the ‘Election Day (Week) 2020’ thread than just being worried that we might get another 4 more years of trump madness. I was also afraid I’d be trapped with a triumphant teenage trumper rubbing his reelection in my face constantly :scream:

Seriously! Do you ever wonder how that changeling turned up in your household?

Pleased to help - though I should warn you I’m 67 and the games I play date back decades. :wink:
They are still very playable though. :slightly_smiling_face:
They are also turn-based, which makes multiplayer easy to run.

Heroes of Might and Magic 3

The game provides dozens of maps, with various Town types already in place. (You can’t build any more Towns.)
Each player takes charge of one Town type on the map, which has associated fantasy troops.
For example the Castle has Archers, Griffins and Monks, whilst the Necromancy has Skeletons, Zombies and Vampires.
Troops are only moved by Heroes, who each have individual skills.
Each turn lasts a day and more troops are available each week.
The idea is to explore the map, gathering resources and improving your Town.
Most games are won by capturing all enemy Towns, though some are won by finding an Artifact before everyone else.

There is an excellent Strategy Guide, though it’s out of print and thus expensive:

You can buy (and run) the game through Steam:

I host the Heroes game, which means I load the game through Steam, select a saved game and ‘invite’ my mate(s) to join.

Civilization IV

I also play Civilization IV through Steam.
This 2005 game is similar to Heroes apart from a few differences:

  • you build the Cities on the map yourself (using a ‘Settler’ unit)
  • the units are all based on historical Civilisations e.g. the Mongol Horse Archer or the Greek Phalanx
  • you do scientific research, which allows more advanced troops and City buildings
  • there are opportunities to have different Civilisation civics, culture and religion
  • there are several ways to win: conquest; building a spaceship, geographical dominance etc.

Hope that’s clear - do let me know if you need more information.

Ooooo… much to ponder here. Thanks! Your age and the age of the games are no deterrent. (I’m 5 years older than you. :stuck_out_tongue:)

Ugh. That sounds awful. I have a 15 year old and a 13 year old (both boys) at home. Both of them sit in their room watching YouTube when they aren’t doing their online classes. The 13yo was a straight-A student in the Before Times, and now that he’s doing online work his grades have slipped a little. He’s just not liking this distance learning environment.

The 15 yo … I don’t know what to do. He has no desire to do any school work, has no ambitions at all, and so of course most of his grades are abysmal. Indeed, the last day he was in school physically – back in March – all his teachers and I and his mom had a big meeting about his lack of engagement and how we could start holding him accountable. We had a plan all mapped out, and then the next day the governor announced that schools would be closing. He has yet to go back to F2F learning. So, it’s been a HUGE struggle. I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted fighting him to just keep his grades above water. He’s also lazy, so I have to remind him to brush his teeth and take a shower and all the rest of his normal ADL’s. I’m sick of it. I actually suspect he has Asperger’s but my wife won’t even entertain that notion.

Just picking up on one point from your post - I have Asperger’s and was only diagnosed aged 55. (When I was a teenager, my parents had no information and no chance of understanding my behaviour. But they were wonderful.)

You probably know that Asperger’s (like autism itself) is a spectrum. So I can tell you about myself - but it may not precisely reflect your 15yo…

Growing up, I always had great difficulty making friends. I didn’t understand most standard social clues (for example, I didn’t look people in the eye when talking to them.)
I was intensely interested in just a few things and could concentrate for long periods of time on them e.g. reading, chess and maths. (No computers when I was a lad :wink: , although I relished them when they became available.)
I had to be urged to do any household chores. I suspect that if a chore could be made into ‘completing a pattern’, I would have done it willingly (e.g putting things away in the right place.)

I’m sorry your wife is nervous about Asperger’s. I managed to turn my intense focus into great success both at work and leisure.

I was a computer programmer, computer lecturer and finally a full-time chess teacher. I’ve won three national chess titles and reached the final of a national D+D tournament.

Sorry to hear about your own troubles with your teenage boys, Lancia. Sounds like we’re pretty much in the same boat. My older one has emotional issues as well-- he was diagnosed with OCD several years ago.

A month into the lockdown, this past April, he convinced himself he had Covid (he didn’t-- didn’t even have so much as cold symptoms that I could tell) and went into a full-blown panic attack meltdown. But these days, one strange benefit of his pro-trump beliefs is that he now is convinced that Covid is nothing to worry about, so he’s been somewhat cured of his germophobia for now :roll_eyes:

Failure to keep oneself clean is a common sign of depression. As is failure to engage with whatever used to be at least a little interesting. Such as school.

Just one more stressor on top of the rest. Figuring out how to get him professional help, or to get yourself professional help for coping with this crappy situation, might be a good first step.

Do the teachers suggest having an evaluation done? They are often good at sensing that something is going on, even if they can’t put their finger on precisely what. Sometimes an “educational evaluation” is more tolerable for a reluctant parent to allow and it will still find useful information while keeping some peace at home.

Sorry that his mom is struggling with looking for answers. It’s understandable but sticking one’s head in the sand doesn’t make the problem go away. Just lets all of you beat your heads against a brick wall when “consequences and discipline” doesn’t change things for the better.

I speak from raising 3 kids with special needs worth of experience.