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Our house has never been cleaner, our yard never prettier


With the exception of History Buff, who continues to work full time as an “essential” employee at this time, all the kids were home all weekend and the weather was beautiful. We put it to good use!

Princess spent the bulk of her time cleaning the inside of the house…even vacuuming and wiping down window sills. She washed dogs, cleaned bathrooms and swept and mopped floors. (Due to her allergies, she most always does the inside work.)

Gymnast was on Grandmama duty for the most part although he helped with a few other things as well.

Princess and Grandmama

Princess and Grandmama – we are enjoying every moment we have with her as we know once she moves we will not be able to see her for a while.

Sea Cadet and I planted our first gardens of the season, created an outdoor living space and rearranged furniture to give everyone a space and a closet. History Buff is the only one in the house with his own room and closet.

Sea Cadet builds raised garden beds

Sea Cadet built me to new raised garden beds.

Veggies to plant

First crops in. If all else fails, we will have great salads!

We moved all our outdoor furniture to our side driveway and created an outdoor seating area complete with lights. Once our tree leaves come in, it will be shaded. It’s nothing fancy, but it does work for us. I enjoyed having my breakfast and hot chocolate there yesterday. And while we tried to have dinner there last night, the rain caught us and sent us back inside.

While we typically have a car parked there, we decided with the unknown length of the quarantine, this would give us some much needed separate space. We’ve got 3 hammocks (kids have them from years at camp,) one picnic table, one lounge chair and a grill. It has become my new happy place.

outdoor patio

Our new chill spot outside

We won’t be able to leave it like this forever because we will need the parking back when we start going places again. But for now, this will be a much more practical use of the space.

(Speaking of that, the younger kids’ dad did confirm, when he was here dropping Gymnast off, that he plans to give Princess a car for her birthday. So we will see if that happens…two months and counting until she can get her license.)

On the financial front, I am paying bills as they come in, but am not paying any extra on debts at this time. Just feel better with the uncertainty of the times to keep more cash on hand. I plan to do a debt update at the end of the week.

I hope you are well and not going stir crazy or driving your “quarantine” family/friends batty. At this point, we are still enjoying this time. Lots of laughter, good food and now that we all have a “work place” kids are more content to get their school work done without screeching at one another.




  • Reply Denise |

    Hope, I beg you to start taking this pandemic seriously. Allowing your son that came from a big, heavily COVID-19 infected city and traveled via airplane through one of the busiest airports in the world to spend time with your grandma is beyond irresponsible. Not only have your actions now put her life at risk, you have now potentially risked the lives of all the people in the assisted living facility she is moving to. I can’t put into words how selfish your actions are. It disgusts me. Hope, I hope you will do the right thing and alert the assisted living facility about your reckless actions so they can decide if they still wish to accept your grandma as a patient at this time. You may not care about protecting her life, but I am sure the relatives of the other patients care about the lives of their lives ones. The rest of us have made sacrifices through this… it is time for you to grow up, think of people other than yourself, and start sacrificing too.

    • Reply Hope |

      My son did not fly down…but I certainly can appreciate your perspective.
      He was quarantined the appropriate amount of time before seeing her.

      • Reply Jessica |

        Hope, that’s not even possible. Even if he drove, they would have had to stop along the way for gas, bathroom breaks, etc which means they came into contact with people and many surfaces. This is why the virus is going to continue to spread like wildfire

        • Reply Jessica |

          And to add onto this – grocery stores, Walmart, Target, etc are open for food and essentials. People are not wanting to put themselves at risk so you can buy plants and outdoor patio lights

      • Reply Laura |

        I think she was referring to Sea Cadet, but as far as Gymnast driving and being quarantined the appropriate amount of time, how did that happen when schools in Chicago didn’t get out until March 13? You are acting selfish bouncing all over town buying plants and lumber, then hopping in to see grandma before she moves in to assisted living.

        • Reply Hope |

          Thankfully, I don’t have to “bounce” all over town as you mentioned since my son works at Home Depot.
          And we are caring for Grandmama daily…going between my house and her house.
          I realize this isn’t ideal, but it’s what we have. And we are making the best of it while taking appropriate precautions.

          • Laura |

            You don’t get it. You shouldn’t be going over there. If you must, you should at least keep the kids at home.

          • Hope |

            The options are me go over there or her be alone…And leaving her alone is not an option.
            I’m glad things are so black and white in your life, but there are lots of variables here and none of my decisions are made by me alone when it comes to my grandmother – her children are completely in charge and all very informed.

      • Reply SCM1959 |

        Hope, your son was most assuredly not quarantined for the appropriate length of time. The appropriate length of time is 2 weeks. You just told us last week that he was arriving on Sunday. That was yesterday. Or, if you meant he arrived LAST Sunday (don’t think so), he has still only been here one week. Not two weeks.

        Not to mention … where exactly did you quarantine your son? Do you understand what quarantine means? By himself in a closed room with hopefully his own bathroom and if not, he has to totally scrub down every surface every time he goes in there … including the toilet.

        You mentioned somewhere that your X husband drive your son here. Did you let him inside your house? Did he interact with your daughter?

        Very scary for your grandmother who is in such frail health — for her to be exposed this way.

  • Reply Jennifer |

    Your son isolated himself with people who isolated themselves too for 14 days?
    That is the only true way to keep your grandma safe
    One person needs to commit to her care and they need to have isolated for 14 days

  • Reply Cheryl |

    Hope you said on March 14 your son would be coming home that Sunday which is the 15th. That is only 9 days. I thought quarantine was 14 days. You really need to make sure your grandmother is fine before she leave your home.

  • Reply Hairy guy |

    How was Gymnast quarantined for the appropriate time? You edited your March 14 post to say that you had just been informed he was coming to see you since his school had been canceled. That is not 14 days ago. He would not be allowed to come into my work nor see anybody from that timeframe. That’s not ok. Are you being truthful? The quarantine should cover those traveling from a high exposure area like Chicago, not just air travel.

  • Reply Shanna |

    HI, Regarding the isolation, on your March 14 post you stated G would arrive Sunday (the 14th was a Sunday) so I am assuming that is the day he arrived. The necessary time in isolation prior to seeing the elderly would be 14 days. I know this because I have a child currently in isolation per the CDC and the health dept near her college. There is no way he should already be visiting an assisted care facility. Please please take this seriously. All assisted care in California is on full lockdown from any visitors (or is supposed to be) so allowing a high school aged child from a COVID hotspot to go to an assisted care facility less than a week after arrival is a bad idea. I appreciate that your small town has not seen what the larger towns are seeing, but using common sense here is paramount.

  • Reply Nancy |

    Denise, if you had concerns you could voice them kindly. You are incredibly mean and rude and you owe Hope an apology.

    • Reply Jessica |

      Um, no. Suggesting that people follow the guidelines so that others aren’t dont DIE isnt “mean”

      • Reply Hope |

        I think it’s tone.
        And I’m not sure the recent “attacks” and “blame” would be considered suggestions.
        But I also understand the concern.

  • Reply Denise |

    The CDC recommends a 14 day quarantine period. You yourself said your son arrived to your house on the 15th ( see your post here on the 14th where you said he would arrive ‘on Sunday’, which was the 15th). Your son did not properly quarantine and now your grandma and anyone in the assisted living facility are now at risk. I am sorry to sound harsh, but in this case your actions could have dire consequences to others. I have a grandma in such a facility and I would be devastated if she were to get this due to the carelessness of others. Please, please, please start taking this virus seriously.

  • Reply Den |

    I am horrified by all these nasty comments. In times of emergency and stress we should all be kinder to each other, not meaner…..

    Maybe instead of thinking the worst of Hope, we could all think the best of her. There is NO WAY she would ever put her Grandmother at risk.

    And the next time I’m in the grocery store with my two carts of groceries (yes, I have 5 kids and that is a normal shopping trip) I would appreciate if people wouldn’t make nasty comments under their breath about me hoarding stuff.

    Get a grip people!

    • Reply Jen |

      Except she did. And continues to. And is going “lalalalalalala, no I didn’t”.

      • Reply Hope |

        “lalalala” really? Interesting.
        My kids would disagree, they would tell you I’m one of the most down to earth, serious people.
        But I also know our limitations of what we can and can’t do.

        • Reply Mrs. H |

          I get that your situation may require you going to visit/care for your grandmother. However, Gymnast has definitely NOT been quarantined the appropriate length of time, so you are therefore, not quarantined either.

          So, when you do go to your Grandmother’s, it is important that you maintain the strictest handwashing/sanitizing/social distancing you can manage. Your children DO NOT HAVE to visit. And they certainly don’t need to be putting their faces in her face to take selfies.

          Perhaps you feel safe because your immediate area doesn’t have a confirmed case yet. In all likelihood the virus is circulating in your community and has not been diagnosed.

          The recommendation to ALL AMERICANS, regardless of location, is to start living our lives as if we have the virus, because many of us do and don’t know it. Can you honestly say that is how you and your children are living your lives right now? If not, you are putting your grandmother, and a lot of other vulnerable people, at risk.

    • Reply Jessica |

      But she IS putting her grandmother at risk. We are seeing it with our own eyes

  • Reply Ellen |

    You are being extremely irresponsible with yours, your kids’, and your grandmother’s health. Honestly, everything you have said and posted has sounded selfish. The moment you found out that Gymnast was out of school, it sounds like you jumped to get him back to you without taking anything that is happening serious. I live in IL. Our numbers are growing by the day. We had an elderly person die in an assisted living facility and they infected infected 22 people that lived in that facility. 22! There is no way that Gymnast has been quarantined for the right amount of time. Even being driven they would’ve stopped for food, gas, bathroom breaks. With possible exposure at every stop. A week, if you even waited that long, is certainly NOT enough! Now you’re stopping to buy plants? again putting yourself and whoever went with you at risk of exposure. Is that really necessary? I really don’t understand you. God forbid something happens to any of your children or your grandmother. You would only have your selfish way of thinking to blame.

  • Reply SMS |

    I live in NJ, in the most heavily COVID-infested area in the nation and I have not been out of my house in weeks except for infrequent grocery/pharmacy stops and then early in the morning. I was horrified to see the photo of Princess sitting close to Grandma. And then there’s Gymnast, as multiple people have already said (sometimes a bit too nastily). Hope, you are really not getting it. This is SERIOUS.

  • Reply Troy |

    First time commenter here! Panic and fear sometimes cause us to be mean and nasty to one another, and I totally get it! But although we may not agree with Hope’s decisions, I think we should just calm down and try to be civil.

  • Reply vicky |

    Wait, who’s looking after Gymnast and where is he living? He and dad are under quarantine for 2 weeks and it sounds like he only arrived last week. Also, since they drove down how did they make it that distance with no stops for essentials like meals, gas, and bathroom breaks? If they lived that close to you then why were flights involved to see him last year? When dad mentioned buying Princess a car did he say it to you in person or did he text from the car? If in person then shouldn’t you be in quarantine too? None of this makes sense to me.

    • Reply Hope |

      His dad is in IL. He is here with me. His dad drove him down after we decided the flight I had already booked was too risky.
      They drove straight through, something his dad is well versed at since he is now a trucker.
      Her dad has mentioned several times he was going to buy her a car, that’s been mentioned here several times. But we have found that reality can be different than what he says, so we wait.

  • Reply Linda |

    Hope, you are doing fine. Love your new outdoor space. Glad you are enjoying your time with the kids and your grandmother. I prefer to share a positive outlook and be kind, even if I disagree. Each person commenting both positive and negative is ok. We will all get though this. Kindness can be catchy!

    • Reply Hope |

      Definitely agree. I am loving all the kindness I see in our own community especially being such an impoverished area.
      The world is changing and to me, the changes are not all bad.

  • Reply Drmaddog |

    I would like to offer a different perspective on this series of comments.

    I think that what most people are responding to is the inconsistencies of Hope’s posts. The details and supposed facts of what she posts simply do not stand up to scrutiny. She contradicts herself versus prior posts and commentary as well as the posts she makes on other social media sites. And many times she just does not reply at all and simply ignores.

    The problem is that before, it was just her and her family and her own financial state, none of which affect anyone in any real way.

    The issue now, and why we are seeing such emotion injected into commentary I would guess, is that Hope’s choices directly affect others outside her nuclear family.

    • Reply Hope |

      I think one thing to take into account is that often posts are delayed. Or written ahead of time.
      And yes, things change.
      And there’s a lot of life that is not written about here on BAD. So looking at the snapshots of my real life on my personal social media accounts is going to be different than looking at it from a financial standpoint.

  • Reply Cindy |

    You should really look at how New York doesn’t even have enough room in the morgues for all the dead bodies. Bodies are literally stacked in refrigerated trucks. Any NY news website is full of articles about how quickly this spreads and how lethal it is. The Army is setting up field hospitals, the Navy is sending out a vessel to be used as a hospital. Illinois is potentially the next hot spot. Your ignorance is astounding and putting others in extreme danger. This ‘do what I have to do’ attitude of bending quarantine rules etc is not ok and perhaps looking from that perspective you will understand why people are so upset.

    • Reply Hope |

      I have heard. My best friend’s husband is a doctor so have heard alot more details.
      I’m so grateful that we don’t live in a “hot bed” area, at least for the time being. And more importantly that I was able to get my 14 year old out of one before it became worse.
      As I told my kids, many times in fact, if we are going to face hard times, we are much stronger together than apart. And that has always held true for us.

  • Reply Cindy |

    I would challenge you to read this article and still stand by your ‘quarantine’ choices.

So, what do you think ?