A Boston couple moved into a new place the week of lockdown. Here’s how they kept their sanity.
Jeff Richards
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One of the ways to test the durability of a romantic relationship is to move in together, but if you really want to live on the edge? Move in together amid a pandemic.

When Jeff Richards and his boyfriend, Alex, made the decision to move into a new apartment together, they had no idea that their city of Boston would go into lockdown just a few days later. During their quest to find the perfect place, they'd considered getting a one-bedroom but ended up picking the two-bedroom option—a decision Jeff says the couple is thankful for each day. Alex, a lawyer who is now working from home for the foreseeable future, converted the second bedroom into an office.


Another thing they're grateful for? The Tide Cleaners laundry service located inside their apartment building. The service is contact-free and controlled via phone app; all you do is put your items inside of a special locker, program in a security code and go on about your day. When the items are ready, you receive an alert. Easy peasy.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Jeff says that amenity was a huge selling point; they were intending to take advantage of it before the pandemic began. However, when Covid-19 struck Massachusetts, the Tide brand mobilized Tide Loads of Hope to provide free laundry and dry cleaning to Front Line Responders and their immediate family, something that Jeff calls a "lifesaver." Tide Cleaners spared the couple the added stress and expense of having their belongings professionally dry-cleaned.

Jeff, who works as a Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, told Upworthy that his "biggest concern was that I signed up for this [by working at a hospital], but Alex didn't. So, I felt like I didn't want to bring the virus home, and the one thing we could control was cleanliness."

At the hospital, Jeff's primary role is to assist an Interventional Cardiologist with things like stents and heart valve replacements. On a normal day, he wears a full-body length lead apron weighing 8 lbs.; since March, however, he's also required to add on PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and a backpack containing a PAPR (powered air-purifying respirator). The respirator uses a blower instead of lung power to draw air through the filter, allowing healthcare workers to breathe more naturally with a constant airflow while working in hot and humid environments.

It's important to take every necessary precaution, and Jeff operates under the assumption that every patient he encounters has Covid-19. Still, wearing all of that protective gear for 12 hours is exhausting.

At the end of each shift, Jeff changes out of his scrubs at the hospital before heading home. Upon arriving at the apartment, he strips down at the door, wipes down his phone, badge, and keys before putting it all inside of a UV light sanitizer, and heads straight to the shower.

His biggest concern was keeping the things in their shared living space virus-free—blankets, bedding, heavy winter coats, and regular clothing—which is why having access to the free cleaning service took the mental load off Jeff and Alex, allowing them to concentrate on staying healthy.

"We were definitely going through a lot at once," Jeff said. "The hard part was that we both have very demanding jobs that require all of our focus, so adding the mental exhaustion of Covid was just a lot." Their community has been outstanding, however, rallying together to support those working on the front lines. Restaurants around the hospital provided bagged breakfasts and lunches to hospital staff, and food trucks handed out snacks and coffee in front of the hospital.

"One of the most touching things I've seen in the last few weeks was on the pathway leading from the employee parking garage to the hospital… people covered the walk with encouraging signs of thanks and wrote notes of encouragement."

By the end of the day, Jeff and Alex are just ready to park themselves on the couch with a glass of wine and shut their brains off. Thanks to Tide Cleaners, they have one less thing on their to-do list.

To support this effort and other programs like it, all you have to do is keep doing what you're doing — like shopping for laundry detergent. Turn your everyday actions into acts of good every day at P&G Good Everyday.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

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Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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