Two Single Women

Two single women with too much hair, two generations, locked in a tiny house with one barking dog, one virus and no vaccine. A scriptwriter would never write the movie of our life, mine and Meg’s, my twenty-one-year-old daughter, even though it has the set-up and tension for a real blockbuster.

It’s a classic story of fear and friction. Of tidy and untidy. Of chill and stress

There will be no movie to memorialize our time together. Why? Because we didn’t murder each other and so nobody cares. At least not in a big-screen way. In the small-whispered way that women talk to women, though, people want to know: How is it going? How is it that one of you didn’t knife the other?

It hasn’t been without drama, I assure you. Meg got Covid. I humanely collected twenty-five mice and rehomed them on my daily walks with my dog, Peanut. Meg watered the plants every day, unbeknownst to me. Every. Day. So, there was the water damage to deal with. And because we have the same crazy mane, the amount of hair that has been collected in our shower drains – well, let’s just say, if highways were made of hair, we would be millionaires.

More than drama, though, there has been much education.

I learned that my hair, even on a really good hair day, looks absolutely no different from when I’m having what I think is a horrendous hair day. I learned that Meg is in love with the anarchy of raccoons and that watching a raccoon on TikTok, trying to get something out of a mailbox may have actual anti-depressant, serotonin-releasing benefits.

I’ve discovered that she is super-sensitive to Peanut trying to protect us from the mailman who wants to deliver the world to our door. When he barks, it’s one of the only times Meg cusses like her mother. Genetics. Am I right?

I learned that I never, ever get ready for a Zoom meeting early enough to be actually prepared for it, and that gives Meghan major anxiety. I’m trying harder, but you guys, grooming is not my forte.

For the last year, I’ve been living as if I am Meg’s twenty-one-year-old roommate. Or, maybe she’s been living like someone in her fifties. Her dad says that when this pandemic is over we will have merged into one thirty-year-old woman. And what a woman that would be, he says.

That homogenized woman would be good at boundaries (Meg) and, after this year of cooking for two, no longer burns herself on every pan (me). This merged woman would be passionate about understanding the influence of our prevailing culture on minorities and women and would watch too many Harry Potter TikToks while eating only Cheez-Its. She would be an expert on aging face serums, tweezers that get the job done and how to shut a door by kicking the crap out of the way and not looking in the room.

The pandemic has been a frightening and confusing time. if I think too much about the loss of so many lives, it swamps me with grief, but if life had galloped along at a pre-quarantine pace I’d never have known that my adult daughter as intimately as I’ve gotten to know her, and she, me these past twelve months.

[Tweet “The pandemic has been a frightening and confusing time. if I think too much about the loss of so many lives, it swamps me with grief, but if life had galloped along at a pre-quarantine pace I’d never have known that my adult daughter as intimately as I’ve gotten to know her, and she, me these past twelve months.”]

How did we do it?

I stopped being parental and we let each other be the weirdos we are. This is not advice. This is us.

What I want to know is how other people kept their sanity. How other people didn’t murder their people in their sleep. I’d love to hear it if you want to share it.

Oh boy, I just got a notification on my phone that I have a Zoom meeting in an hour. So as not to stress Meghan out, I’m going to try and get ready. Much February love to you.

[Tweet “What I want to know is how other people kept their sanity. How other people didn’t murder their people in their sleep. I’d love to hear it if you want to share it.”]



  1. Samantha Hoffman on February 23, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    Love this!

    • Ann Garvin on February 24, 2021 at 1:16 am

      Love you. Thank you for editing my words and making them better.

    • Mary Ellen Latela on February 24, 2021 at 4:17 pm

      There was a time when I had a very part-time job visiting homebound church members, so I shared my 1BR apartment with my newly graduated daughter. Space was limited but this is where her college girl habit of staying up nearly all night, making up for lost sleep in midday meshed perfectly with my early to bed, early to rise trip to my writing space at the public library, take out for lunch, some chit-chat. She of the long wavy hair and bright eyes made up for an interview and or a job search, then her waitress job 6-10 PM. I took over the bathroom, read the mail, and did some editing, washed clothes,etc. After 4 months she moved to Missouri to continue her studies, and the place took on the silence of a monastery.
      Then I began to write down the moments to remember.

      • Ann Garvin on March 16, 2021 at 12:48 am

        This is super interesting. You must have missed having her presence around you. I’m so glad you wrote those moments down. xoxo Thank you for sharing this.

  2. ginger on February 23, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    This brought me so much joy.

    • Ann Garvin on February 23, 2021 at 10:44 pm

      I’m so glad that it did. That is my goal!

  3. Barbara McGrath on February 23, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    This sounds a lot like my daughter (30) and me. We’ve fared really well and we both have lots of hair too!!! Really enjoyed this Ann!

    • Deborah on February 23, 2021 at 11:24 pm

      Do you have those things with the brand name Vastar? They look like long orange zip ties that snake down the drain and boy, do they pull up the hair!

      • Ann Garvin on February 24, 2021 at 12:41 am

        YES I do have those. I also have something like a stick with velcro covering it that is gross and amazing.

    • Ann Garvin on February 24, 2021 at 1:22 am

      So good to hear from you. I’m glad you are still reading me 🙂

  4. elaine durbach on February 23, 2021 at 9:33 pm

    Jealous of all that hair. And of you having a daughter…though i have a 26-year-old son living with us, who’s losing his (long) hair faster than I am (his father’s balding gene, despit’s those stories about it coming through the mother). He’s been really good about quarantining with a tiny pod of friends, but yesterday NJ legalized pot and that was too much to withstand. He’s out somewhere puffing in public.

    • Ann Garvin on February 24, 2021 at 1:23 am

      Understood. I mean it’s been a tough, smoke free time. Good for him.

  5. Brenda P. on February 23, 2021 at 9:53 pm

    I have had my 50 yr.old son and 49 year old daughter living with me (not COVID relate). Definitely a learning experience. My son has kept me informed of every political persons comments and actions, every news story, and every days weather report across the nation. My daughter is a cat person and I have a large puppy. He loves her no matter how much she yells at him. Her cat doesn’t like my cat or dog, but wants to rule them. Dining issues solved by everyone buying and preparing their own meals. They pay a portion of utilities and other costs, take turns emptying the garbage and taking trash and recycling bins out for collection. No matter the conflicts we still love each other and will survive. I had to have total left shoulder replacement and I would not have survived without their love and support. It has been nice to get to know them as adults. But… I will be happy to have my house and pets to myself when they move out.

    • Ann Garvin on February 23, 2021 at 10:46 pm

      Wow that is a houseful. I’m so glad they are there with you, for whatever reason that is.
      Thank you for sharing this. It’s was so fun to read.

  6. Tiffany Yates Martin on February 23, 2021 at 10:19 pm

    Always enjoy your posts so much. And I can relate to the hair thing! 🙂

    • Ann Garvin on February 23, 2021 at 10:46 pm

      I saw your before and after pics 🙂 Your hair is glorious.

  7. Maggie Carrao on February 23, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    I am all by myself. Since I’m an introvert and have almost daily contact with friends and groups via Zoom, that’s okay. But the comradery (sic) would have been nice! Love reading you.

    • Ann Garvin on February 23, 2021 at 10:38 pm

      Thank you! And yes, the comradery is lovely but we need people!

  8. Angie Olstad on February 23, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    This brought joy to me today! Love and miss you two! ❤️

    • Ann Garvin on February 24, 2021 at 12:42 am

      Awww thank you. I”m so glad it did. I miss you too. I’d love to see you when this whole thing is over!!!

  9. Brendee on February 23, 2021 at 11:25 pm

    My husband and I have been sharing our home office for nearly a year now. We both work for different companies. In the beginning it was like a newlywed moment – having lunch together, sharing thoughts on how to approach a work dilemma, and learning from each other how best to do a Teams virtual meeting. Well, as time went on, I started to resent doing all of the cooking. I mean, even June Cleaver didn’t cook Ward three meals a day, seven days a week. I suggested that we implement the equal opportunity kitchen. Basically, each of us are on our own during the day for food and I would continue to cook dinner each night. My meals during the day are well balanced and healthy, while my office roommate thinks drinking a pot of coffee is a meal. The dog has become my new best friend, and only comes to me when he needs to be fed or go outside. I passionately dislike all of these Team meetings. Recently a colleague asks me if I was back in the office as they could hear my office roommate on his Teams meeting. I started to throw wads of paper at his head to let him know he is being too loud. We continue to make this work as neither of us foresees going back into the office in the very near future. Needless to say, we have experienced a lot of togetherness. I am grateful that we continue to like each other … well, like each other on the weekends.

    • Ann Garvin on February 24, 2021 at 1:18 am

      I visualized this entire story and enjoyed every minute of it. Thank you!!

  10. Bill Gilliland on February 23, 2021 at 11:35 pm

    More and more I’m convinced you are the modern day version of Erma Bombeck. And as such, its time to bind these essays together and publish. The world needs more laughing out loud!

    • Ann Garvin on February 24, 2021 at 1:17 am

      Without a doubt one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.

  11. Susan Gromis on February 24, 2021 at 1:31 am

    I love this….and the fact that you didn’t murder each other through all this! Hearing others’ stories on how they have coped – or not – with the past year’s chaos has had a cathartic effect that tells me “I am fine, and I have survived this far!”

    • Janice Ulrich on February 24, 2021 at 1:02 pm

      Good morning Ann! Making friends with authors like you has brought joy and excitement to me throughout this year. I can’t thank you enough for opening up your life and helping me laugh, love and be part of your community. Brush on and flaunt your wonderful muppet hair!

    • Ann Garvin on February 24, 2021 at 1:29 pm

      YOU are fine. You have survived!! I’m so glad you are here Sue. 🙂

  12. Cheryl Tessier on February 24, 2021 at 1:50 am

    Ann, this was delightful. Just like you, and Meg. And even Peanut!

    Thanks for brightening my day. Hope to see you soon. Weather’s getting warmer!

  13. Pam Gardner on February 24, 2021 at 2:10 am

    I am ALONE with my dogs.? I cannot murder them but many days question my sanity.

    • Ann Garvin on February 24, 2021 at 1:31 pm

      Alone is so hard Pam!! I’m so glad you have your dogs. I hope you are hanging in there. It’s such a tough time. I’m so glad I have Meg but I see you!!

  14. denise on February 24, 2021 at 5:33 am

    I’m home with my husband and a fifteen-year-old, and off-and-on my middle, the twenty-two-year-old–he went back to college and will graduate in May (3 undergrads and a Master’s). My oldest will also graduate (DPT), but he’s married and lives with his wife.

    I’m more subsisting than winning it. I’d say books and Hallmark Channel have kept me from totally losing it–I’ve lost it a few times. My writing has suffered. I lost my home office to them.

    Curly hair, don’t care. But, I do–that’s where I buy spendy products. lol

    I miss my gal pals and hugs.

    • Ann Garvin on February 24, 2021 at 9:10 pm

      Understood and I see you.
      It’s such a weird time and so hard to keep it together. But, on the outside it looks like you are very together!!

  15. Donna on February 24, 2021 at 6:13 am

    I am in my mid 70’s an live with my husband and my 54 year old son. This has has been such a challenging year! Each of us has spent time in the hospital (no COVID, thank God!). In February 2020 I had a total reverse replacement of my left shoulder. Recovery has been a challenge. My son is the complete opposite of me on the political spectrum, and that has been a trial for both of us, communication has been difficult. I am absolutely ready to get out on a warm sunny day, walk for a long time, and meet my girlfriends for a drink. We, however, have had snow and temps in the single digits and everyone I know is staying safe at home. It has been like a horrible version of Groundhog Day. Bill Murray, where are you?? Blessings to you and yours, Anne. You have been a light in the darkness, and are much appreciated.

    • Ann Garvin on March 16, 2021 at 12:54 am

      We all need that light sometimes. I’m SO GLAD you found a light here. 🙂
      I hope your shoulder rehabbed well and you are on the mend. I”m ready for drinks with girlfriends too and I think this is as close as it gets sometimes. 🙂

  16. Sandra Margolese on February 24, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    I loved this, Ann, and I love the photo of you and Meg! Adorable!

    My husband and I are still best friends, after months of quarantine. Our sanity solution:
    I seclude myself in my writing room for several hours every day. Sometimes I even manage to write! He supports me and whips up lovely meals in the kitchen, shakes my martinis, and braves my perimenopausal meltdowns, both physical and mental.

    As for the hair, I have more than enough for two, and our Draino supplies are dwindling.

    Thank you for spreading so much joy through your stories. All the best to you, Meg, and Peanut!

  17. Ann Garvin on February 24, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    I’m so glad you are here and you are one lucky woman and your husband is one lucky man. So happy the internet has brought us all together.

  18. Kate, aka Evelyn Ann Casey on February 25, 2021 at 7:04 pm

    Loved your take on life in the covid lane. Thanx for sharing!

    My husband and I have always been happy that we tolerate each other’s quirks, but during covid, the quirks have become a rare form of entertainment. With only each other to poke fun at, my winter/dry/electric hair elevates breakfast into many a joke about fingers in light bulbs and flyaway frizzes. I prefer to consider that I may be a reincarnated Einstein. I get payback when my husband attempts, but never quite succeeds, in keeping time to our new favorite dinnertime music–50s jazz. Did you ever see anyone strum spaghetti as if he was playing the bass?

    So that’s how it’s going down in our house! You asked!

    • Ann Garvin on March 3, 2021 at 6:46 pm

      Asked and answered. I love it. That’s fantastic. 🙂
      So much fun.

  19. Candice Wagener on February 27, 2021 at 6:25 pm

    This is beautiful, Ann. I remember last March thinking “Oh my gosh, my family is going to kill each other” when I realized we would all be crammed into our 1200 square-foot house all day, every day. There have been arguments, angry words and tears, to be sure. But there have also been many more moments of joy and laughter and fun than I ever could have expected.

    I’m so glad you and your daughter are able to spend this time together. You look like twins 😉 I hope all is well with you. I can’t thank you enough for doing that writers workshop series with Tim last spring. That was most definitely a bright spot for me during a very trying, anxious time. I’m doing it this year — I’m writing the damn book! Hope our paths collide again soon. xoxo Candice

    • Ann Garvin on March 3, 2021 at 3:36 pm

      How did I miss this lovely, lovely note. I’m so glad you found me, we found each other. I’m so glad Tim and I did that series. It was so reaffirming and fun and wonderful to connect. Thank you for being part of my community!!

  20. Margaret Ghielmetti on March 9, 2021 at 1:23 pm

    Dear Ann – What a delightful, real, HUMAN share. I smiled, laughed, and sighed. Look forward, always, to your posts! And your hair is gorgeous. Never change!
    xx Margaret

    • Ann Garvin on March 16, 2021 at 12:46 am

      Thank you!! I don’t think I could change 🙂 Everyone is stuck with this version. So glad you are here!!

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