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My Charmed Life: Pandemic Edition

From Charmed: Tales from Quarantine and Other Short Fiction

By Caren Hahn

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Day 1 of Isolation:
Hello My Charmed Life tribe! Anyone else feeling whiplash from the way the world has turned upside down the past few days? Schools are closed and all my kiddos are home. Hubby’s work is moving toward telecommuting. I know everyone’s feeling pretty anxious about it all, but I’ll be honest. I’m just excited for some great family time!

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that our life can get pretty hectic between B’s gymnastics training (check out her latest championship win!) part time job at the animal shelter, and make-up vlog, R’s traveling basketball team, volunteer work with the homeless, and accelerated aerospace prep middle school program, and the twin’s year-round soccer schedule and YouTube channel. Not to mention my part-time business and Hubby’s traveling for work!

I was just telling Hubby the other night, “I wish we could just slow down a little and take time to connect!” You’ve probably seen my tips for How to Connect in the Drive-thru While Grabbing Dinner Between Practices, or my ever-popular, Get Quality Time With Your Kids By Standing Over Them Creepily While They’re Sleeping. So you might think that our family’s got this all figured out. But the truth is, we struggle just like you! And although there were tears about canceled classes and competitions and complaints about how “Being home is the worst!” I’m sure that we’ll emerge from this two-week closure with stronger relationships and deeper bonds!

I’d love to hear how your family is handling isolation. Leave a comment below about what’s working for you!


Day 5 of Social Restriction:

Calling it “isolation” doesn’t seem right when I’m home with five other people. Hubby is home now too, and while he’s loving the commute, he’s already searching Amazon for sound-proofing insulation. Ha ha!

But seriously, I forgot how much noise we can make when we’re all home at once. It’s so delightful! I admit there are a few downsides. I’ve learned I need to portion out snacks during the day or my pantry will soon look like the shelves at our local grocery store. (I went out today for the first time and was shocked by what I saw!) [image]

On a related note, does anyone have tips for finding toilet paper? Share below! Me and my followers will thank you!

We’ve finished our first week of homeschooling, and I have to tell you, I have so much respect for public school teachers! How do they teach full-time AND clean the house AND do laundry AND make nutritious meals AND run a business? Clearly we don’t pay them enough.


Day 8 of Shelter-in-Place:

What an adventure this has been! Here at My Charmed Life, we’re sheltering in place and only allowed to leave the house for grocery trips, medical trips, and exercise. Fortunately, we have a lovely state park not far away so the kids and I packed up a picnic and took our bikes out yesterday. Hundreds of people had the same idea and it was so good to see other faces. Don’t worry, we still stayed six feet away from others! Even in the restrooms! (Check out my Social Distancing While Using Communal Facilities video here!)

Thanks to motleyandcrue who reminded me after my last post that in an ordinary world teachers don’t have to be full-time parents at the same time they’re teaching. I hadn’t considered that teachers get to focus on only one age group who are learning the same thing instead of having a classroom full of different ages with different needs. That makes me feel so much better! I was beginning to think I wasn’t cut out to be a stay-at-home-mom-teacher-coach-tutor-governess!

I’m actually grateful for the regular routine of homework. You know I always limit screen time for my kiddos, but it’s been tempting to relax those rules with everyone home and struggling to fill their time. Homework has helped keep us on track! I refuse to let my kids’ brains rot in front of the TV. If you’re struggling to stay firm, keep fighting the good fight! We’re in this together!

What are you doing to keep your mind actively engaged? Leave a comment and let me know!


Day 12 of Stay-Home-Save-Lives:

Apparently we aren’t actually in a Shelter-in-Place order. But I’m not sure what difference it makes since they’ve closed down all the parks and we keep getting angry emails from the governor telling us that if we don’t follow the order he’s going to keep extending it. Clearly he doesn’t have four children with cabin fever, a husband who just got laid off, and more than a dozen school teachers emailing him wanting to do Zoom calls three times a week! No, he gets to go to work every day and spend time with people who know how to hang up their coats and clean up after they make a sandwich! (And have you noticed how his hair is always perfectly trimmed…? Mm..hmm…I thought so…)

Someday we’ll look back and be grateful for the time we have together. Just last night, B told me that she couldn’t remember a time we’d all done a puzzle together. Okay, she might have yelled it angrily in response to my invitation to join the rest of us, but still. I was moved.

Thanks to yewnicorn72 for your concern about us being out with strangers at local parks and hiking trails. I’m so glad to know you’ve done so much research into how contagions spread! I will definitely read the helpful articles you sent and share them with Hubby. There’s no manual for how to survive a global pandemic and we’re all learning together!

Do you want to know what’s helping me get through this? I’ve found my time of solace and renewal in the shower. Those of you who have followed The Great Water Heater Debacle might be surprised to hear that. But apparently I’ve cracked the code, because over the past few days every shower I’ve taken has been piping hot! It’s such a therapeutic time for me as I just relax and let all the stress wash away. It’s my little COVID-19 miracle and I’ll take it!

What simple pleasures are bringing you joy today?


Day 14 of Stay Home:

Okay, tribe, this might be my worst day yet. I’ll really need some support on this one. I can barely even see through the tears as I write this.

Hubby shaved his head. Shaved it! All those beautiful blond locks are gone! No more man bun. No more beachy waves.

Now he looks like a lab experiment. [image]

I asked him how he could do such a thing and he just shrugged and said he was bored.

So learn from my tragic tale. No matter how bored you get, don’t do anything that you’ll regret living with six months from now! (That also applies to making babies.)

I feel so much more human when I take time to do my make-up and hair every day. It’s the little things that matter! Don’t forget that the person who most deserves to see the best version of yourself is YOU!

Some of you asked if my hot water heater is still working well, and I’m happy to report that it is! For me, at least. Hubby and kids aren’t always so lucky. But I’ve gone almost a week with endlessly hot showers and loving it. Even the tap always seems to run hot for me. Hubby’s asked me to keep a water journal to figure out if there are certain conditions contributing to the phenomenon, but I confess that I keep forgetting.


Day 21 of Quarantine:

I only have a few minutes while the twins and R and B are all on their phones or watching Netflix. Yes, I’ve succumbed. We’re in survival mode now. I barely know what day of the week it is, let alone whose homework is due when. I’m sure when we emerge from quarantine, we’ll learn how to be human beings again, but right now we’re embracing the zombie apocalypse.

I hesitate to share this next part because I don’t want to jinx myself. But, you know how I’ve been the only one in the family to be able to count on hot water for almost two weeks now? Well, I’ve noticed another pattern that has me curious.

It’s the toilet paper.

I’ve been nervously watching our supplies dwindle and haven’t found any in the stores or online. We were down to the last package yesterday and I was already considering which of our old t-shirts could be donated to the cause (don’t worry! I know better than to flush them! Ha ha!). But that’s when something strange happened. I took the last roll and put it in my bathroom, and made a mental note to go out to the store the next morning. But then I forgot and when I went to the cupboard for another roll, there was one waiting for me. The feeling of deja vu was so strong, I just stood there stunned! Since then, every time I go to the cupboard there is always one beautiful, plump white roll of toilet paper waiting to be used.

Now, I can hear you thinking, “She’s just confused. We all have brain fog these days, it’s totally understandable.” But I swear to you I’m not making this up. I got suspicious after a while and asked Hubby to get a roll. When he opened the door, it was empty. But I swear to you that WHEN I OPENED THE CUPBOARD RIGHT AFTER HIM THERE WAS ANOTHER ROLL!

Maybe I shouldn’t share this, because I’m afraid it will stop happening. But I wondered if any of you are noticing the same thing?


Day 23 of Crisis Living:

Apparently this isn’t technically a quarantine. Thank you to sallyandlinusforever for setting me straight! I’m not even sure what to call it anymore, but we’re definitely feeling the pressure. B has given up on her athletic training and makes chocolate chip milkshakes for breakfast. R has locked his bedroom door and the smell coming from it burns my sinuses. The twins have turned into a rumbling tornado of destruction, and Hubby has started working out to my Zumba videos.

On top of that, I’ve been paying close attention and the phenomenon that started with the hot water has gone beyond toilet paper. So far I’ve identified it with milk, cereal, eggs, laundry soap, and a few other necessary staples. If I need them, there’s always just enough. And when I go back, the carton has replenished or the jug has filled again just enough for the next use. Hubby worries that I’m not getting enough fresh air and that’s affecting my memory. But even the kids are starting to notice. B now holds out her cereal bowl right next to mine so I can pour directly into hers once I’ve finished with the jug.

So far it doesn’t seem that any of my tribe have experienced this in their own homes. But I appreciate jean24601’s concern that this is an elaborate hoax and I’m simply trying to increase my following. Nothing could be further from the truth! I’m just as stumped as the rest of you, but trying to show gratitude every day for these little blessings when they come!

(In case you wondered, I tried it on both mine and Hubby’s wallets and it didn’t work. Go figure!)


Day 30 of Prison:

Let’s be honest. This is never going to end. We’ve been stuck at home for so long we’ve forgotten what it’s like to wear clothes that don’t start with the word “sweat.” On the plus side, I now remember what my natural lashes look like and have rediscovered my natural hair color. (It’s shocking, friends!) Just keeping it real here at My Charmed Life!

I wanted to update you all on the miracle that’s taking place in our home. I feel like I owe it to my faithful followers to not hold back. In fact, thanks to the outpouring of responses from so many of you, I’ve been led to a fascinating article by Dr. Eurus Sherringford who first named it the Widow of Zarephath Power. Or WoZP for short.

Apparently the first documented occurrence of WoZP is in the Old Testament. (Who knew?) You can read more about it here. Basically, a prophet asks a starving widow for food and because of her faith, her oil and meal never run out while everyone is starving from a famine. I remember that Bible story from when I was a little girl. (Honestly, I thought it was lame that they had to eat cornmeal pancakes for every meal. Ha ha!) But now? I’m just glad that in 2020 the phenomenon includes hot water and toilet paper!

What amazes me about Dr. Sherringford’s research is that the phenomenon isn’t as rare as I thought! Apparently there have been other instances of WoZP in ancient Egypt, Meso-America, the Great Irish Potato Famine, and even as recently as WWII! And every single time it was the woman of the family who was given this power, no one else. I’m so privileged to join the ranks of such a special sisterhood!


Day ?????:

I wish I could apply WoZP whenever I want to whatever I want. Gas tank for the van? Cadbury Mini Eggs? Kids sleeping? I can think of a few uses when it would really come in handy.

Because so many of you have asked, I’ve uploaded a few videos showing how it works.

Hot Water Challenge
Peek-a-boo Toilet Paper
When Good Milk Goes Bad
Soap Sud Surrender



Month 3:

I’ve been so overwhelmed by the outpouring of support I’ve gotten as I learn the limits and benefits of my new WoZP ability. My WoZP YouTube channel has already reached over a million subscribers! I know it’s not quite Avengers-level, but this power has saved our family during these hard times. I’m also so happy to know it’s brought some of you peace, hope, and a reason to have faith again!

Rest assured that I’m no great spiritual guru. I don’t know why I was chosen for such a special gift. But due to popular demand, I’ve started a new website where you can sign up and I’ll pray for you or a loved one. Your first three requests are free! (After that, it’s a low monthly subscription which comes with bonus content — including a special fast once per quarter!)

Long time follower seamusoflattery has raised an interesting question about whether the power will only last until the pandemic ends or Hubby finds a job. Rest assured that I’m just grateful for it however long it lasts! I’m only glad to brighten the world a little with my story, and have no intention of exploiting a divine gift.

In the meantime, check out my latest videos, Too Much of a Good Thing: When WoZP Gets in the Way of Minimalism and WoZP — Blessing or Curse?

And as always, thanks for following!

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About Caren Hahn

Caren Hahn writes relationship dramas in a variety of genres. With deeply empathetic characters and richly layered plots, readers of her fiction will enjoy an emotionally resonant experience. And have some fun along the way.

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