…but we’re grateful for folks who visited us a few months back, including my cousin Ann Marie and her boyfriend Jacques who were visiting from Minnesota…

Old visits with Ann Marie and Jacques!

…and our good friends Mel and Kyle who were in town from California.

Old visits with Mel and Kyle!

Those are from December,

-Shady

…I figured I’ll post a few things I’ve been meaning to post for awhile now. And at least in a few instances, “awhile” means “years.” So get ready to check out some new/old stuff!

First up, big thanks to Milan and Dori for these sweet Pee-wee Herman pins. They gave them to me back in… I don’t remember. And considering every day now feels like an entire season it may as well have been literally forever ago.

Pee-wee Herman pins from Milan and Dori... from forever ago!

So thanks (super late), guys!

Just wait until I get to the stuff from 2017,

-Shady

Thomas McKenzie... AKA Smokin' Joe Blow.

…formerly known in a previous life as Smokin’ Joe Blow, wrote this fantastic article for The Seattle Collegian.

Such a long way from Pen & Think,

-Shady

Now hanging in our hallway.

…for this Chicago magazine article, as shot by photographer Jason Little.

The best kind of memorial,

-Shady

Back when I was living in Columbus, Ohio my friends and I started a quote wall. Whenever a bit of brilliance (or otherwise) poured out of someone’s mouth, somebody would yell “Quote!” thus nominating it for Quote Board status. The quote then had to be seconded by someone (it almost always was), and then it would be written down to be forever immortalized on the Quote Board.

This is the modern-day equivalent of that classic piece of my past.

QUOTE BOARD:

Grey: “Daddy, West just told me that penises don’t have car washes.”

West: “No they don’t!”

– Grey & West, 3/15/20

The first double quote,

-Shady

Yeah. Apparently so.

To be honest, I don’t know what this post should be. I can’t really say anything here that hasn’t been said a million times over the past week: wash your hands; avoid people; sneeze into your elbow, etc.

Instead, I guess I’ll bring you up to speed on how things unfolded for us.

As it did for most of us, everything unraveled pretty quickly. For us, shit got real on March 11th when, while on her way to work, KB got an email saying not to come in because someone in her office building had tested positive for Covid-19. Later that day, the NBA postponed its season, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson became the first celebrity faces of the virus, and Trump issued a rambling press conference that left us all with more questions than answers.

I woke up Wednesday feeling one way, and went to bed feeling another.

At the time, and still as I write this, my mom and sister were in Ireland together. My mom was supposed to come back sooner, but my sister was stay through the month of March. Not wanting to leave my sister alone during this insane time, my mom opted to stay until they could come back together. Of course, there was some confusion after Trump spoke on the 11th (big shock, I know) as to whether they’d even be able to get back home. Thankfully, at least for right now, they’re flying back together next Tuesday. Fingers crossed.

KB is now working from home, and the kids are out of preschool and daycare. Of course, I’ve been working from home for a long time now; this coming July will mark 20 years since I quit my job at The Other Paper in Columbus, Ohio. That is, if we make it to July, I guess.

If you know me, you know I’m a hyper-social being. Occasionally to KB’s chagrin, I love being surrounded by people all the time. I love hosting parties and impromptu dinners and drunken viewings of shitty movies. And so the thought of self-quarantine and social distancing admittedly bums me out. Because people make me happy. They always have.

In fact, last weekend we had to cancel a visit from a family of four who were coming to stay with us, and this weekend we were supposed to have ten guests staying here. Yep, you read that correctly. If this whole pandemic thing hadn’t happened, our house would have 14 people living in it right now. And the fact that it isn’t happening makes me sad.

I haven’t had a Jack Torrance type of freakout yet, but who knows, it might happen! Obviously, by that I mean I might start talking to bartenders who aren’t there, or seeing naked grandmas in bathtubs, not trying to hunt down my family with an ax.

One of the good things to come out of all of this is that we’ve taken part in numerous group video chats. Over the past week, KB and I have both caught up with old college friends, as well as friends in Los Angeles, Des Moines, and even friends living right here in Chicago.

I love these folks.

We’ve also been FaceTiming with my mom and sister every day.

Pandemic funny faces.

Pandemic funny faces.

And so, in some ways, we’re connecting with a greater number of people than we normally would, which is a nice way to break up these very long days. I swear, last Thursday felt like the entirety of winter.

Grey’s preschool is also doing a daily video conference with all of the kids from class, which is a good way for her to briefly reconnect with kids she would normally be spending the entire day with. It’s not the same, sure, but it’s just enough to keep those ties in place.

But where do we go from here? I don’t know. I wish I did. Like everyone, I hope that someday soon we can get back to normal, and not spend every waking minute wondering about where we’re headed. But for now, I guess we just keep on going. Because what else can we do? This new norm will one day morph into a new new norm. For now, let’s just focus on getting there.

Stay safe. Stay sane. Stay healthy.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull,

-Shady

"Blarg" reader Betsy! In real life!

…meeting a longtime reader of The Blarg, Betsy, a few weeks ago.

I’ve admittedly been slacking on updates lately, but we’ve been trying to connect for awhile now, and so it was nice to finally be able to meet in person after only communicating online for years.

The internet is a cold beast, but I always welcome and appreciate the real-life connections that can come out of it. Also, Betsy gifted me some whiskeys, which just served as a cherry on top.

Making friends out of e-friends,

-Shady

"The Devil In The White City" by Erik Larson.

Fleabag, but I’m now on to The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson.

Gonna put the lotion in the basket next go around,

-Shady

Back when I was living in Columbus, Ohio my friends and I started a quote wall. Whenever a bit of brilliance (or otherwise) poured out of someone’s mouth, somebody would yell “Quote!” thus nominating it for Quote Board status. The quote then had to be seconded by someone (it almost always was), and then it would be written down to be forever immortalized on the Quote Board.

This is the modern-day equivalent of that classic piece of my past.

QUOTE BOARD:

“If I’m going for a mister I want a peanut.”

– Beth, 2/7/20

The original… not the baby,

-Shady

February 19th, 2020: Katherine Bryja Shady

February 19th, 2020: Justin Robert Shady

February 19th, 2020: Grey Danger Berlin Bryja Shady

February 19th, 2020: West Rebel Wilder Robert Bryja Shady

February 19th, 2020: Heisenberg

Three-hundred and sixty-five days later.

Again, we’re doing something like this.

Ten years worth… and we lost two since this time last year,

-Shady

PS: Here’s what the big picture looks like.

Old Poop!