Life with a smile: Quarantine trampolines and other lapses in judgement

Published 1:59 pm Friday, August 28, 2020


Captain’s Log: quarantine month five, day four. I appear to have lapsed into a fugue state sometime in the past several weeks and lost the capacity for rational thought. This is the only explanation I can think of for why a trampoline was delivered to our house today. It came with a sprinkler attachment. Pray for us.

Look, I really thought things would be better by now. Maybe it was ridiculous naivety on my part, but way back in March, I truly didn’t think we’d be still be avoiding human contact as much as possible come September. 

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But here we are. Future anthropologists and economists are going to look back on this summer and map some really strange trends. Millions of people are out of work, but bike sales are through the roof. Campers and RVs are hard to come by, and good luck trying to purchase an above-ground swimming pool. 

It was a summer of large — and somewhat questionable — purchases, born of a sort of reckless desperation as we stared at our calendars that were alarmingly blank for months on end. What on earth were we going to DO all summer?

Half my friends bought swimming pools. The other half bought puppies, because we all went just a little bit crazy this summer.

I held out as long as I could, heroically turning aside thousands of requests for a backyard pool, a zipline off the roof, and a pet bunny. Really, children? A bunny? Have you met our dog? My daughter insisted it would live in her room, as if this would solve all the potential problems of bunny ownership. 

Even without a zipline, we had a great summer, with lots of swimming in other people’s pools, plenty of popsicles, and more TV than is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

But now we’re gearing up for fall — and there is no end in sight. Socially-distanced picnics on the lawn are losing their allure. Zoom playdates are so April 2020. And, as my son succinctly put it the other day: “I have done everything there is to do in this house.”

So I bought a trampoline. It was a ridiculous purchase. Trampolines are big and expensive and not exactly safe. Plus, numerous friends in the neighborhood already own them, which had been my big argument against purchasing one in the past. No, I’m not going to spend hundreds of dollars on a trampoline. Go to Parker’s house. 

Except we haven’t been able to go to Parker’s house for nearly six months. 

So I bought a trampoline. Assembling it was a nightmare. The sprinkler system is going to result in astronomical water bills. Someone is surely going to break an appendage before the end of the year.  And I have no regrets.

The kids love it. We’re talking three or four hours a day of nonstop bouncing. They play games, they sing songs, they choreograph jump routines together. Their only disappointment is my lackluster participation in the bounce fests. “Come jump with us, mom!!” 

I tried to make vague allusions to the fact that repeated childbirth makes jumping challenging, but got only puzzled expressions. I cut to the chase and explained that I might pee on their trampoline if I jumped too much. They quickly ushered me to the sidelines and now allow me to spectate in peace. 

I suspect that the fall will be more challenging than the summer. There are more expectations and more schedules to manage and the cumulative weight of isolation only grows as time passes. But we have a trampoline. And we do not have a bunny — or a puppy. So I think we’re positioned well for success.