Br(u)no: The Numbers Tell the Story. Quarantine Week 8

Numbers and data have been a ubiquitous part of this coronavirus pandemic. More cases of COVID-19. More deaths around the world. More unemployment. Large-percentage downturns in different sectors of the economy. These are, clearly, the most important numbers.

But numbers also tell the stories of our own personal travails, especially those of us who were able to avoid the truly unsettling statistics and, instead, hole up at home.

This is the eighth quarantine Bruno in Brno column, and the last. Day 56 will be the end. The State of Emergency will continue a bit longer and facemasks will be required for the foreseeable future. But it feels like it is time to get back to normal, whatever that will be.

So, let’s look at the stats for my family and I. Are they similar to yours?


56 — Number of days in quarantine with the wife and two toddlers.


15 — Number of times ordered from Rohlík.

10 — Number of large bowls of buttered popcorn.

7 — Number of bags of pistachios.

5 — Number of times the wife went shopping in a brick and mortar store.

4 — Number of times ordered pizza delivery.

3 — Number of times got takeout lunch from a neighborhood restaurant

2 — Number of times the wife made heart-shaped, egg-filled toast for breakfast.

1 — Number of times we had each of the following (not include leftovers): lasagna, chili con carne, pad thai with shrimp), homemade pizza, chocolate cookies, banana pancakes and visited the drive-through at McDonald’s.


130 — Approximate number of cups of coffee.

68 — Bottles of beer.

12 — Bottles of booze.

1.5 — Liters of slivovice.

1 — Number of significant hangovers.


55,000 — Approximate number of words proofread/edited for academic and professional publications.

45,000 — Approximate number of words written and published externally and internally for the software-company job.

20,000 — Approximate number of words written for

193 — Number of assignments graded for high school students.

79 — Number of essays and assignments critiqued for students from the Center for Talented Youth.

50 — Approximate number or hours spent in Zoom calls.

5 — Number of times wi-fi dropped out. The first scared me to the core of my being for two hours; the others were the same easy fix.


Hundreds — Number of times some derivation of the Czech slang words for buttocks or feces elicited shrieks of laughter between the kids during a weeklong phase in early April. (Thank you preschool friends!)

51 — Consecutive days the boy did not pee in his bed.

12 — Number of ballet / modern dance recitals for dad.

11 — My seat number on a handmade ticket for one of the dance recitals.

6 — Number of days the kids should have been making sand castles on the beach in Northern Italy before the family trip was canceled.

3 — Number of times the boy peed in his bed at the beginning of the quarantine period.

2 — Number of times the boy was given a bowl haircut by his mother.

0.5 — Proven ability by the girl to ride a bike on the backyard grass.

Countless — Number of kids’ books read, number of fights between the kids, number of times one of the kids came crying to complain about the other, number of times one was slightly injured by something and number of headache-inducing dinosaur roars.

Slowly increasing total — Number of words the girl can read and write, and number of simple arithmetical problems she can solve.

Not near enough — Number of times the kids cleaned up their toys before going to bed.


Three dozen — Approximate number of YouTube cooking and gardening videos.

Two dozen — Approximate number of games of Člověče, nezlob se! (a.k.a., “Sorry!”) and pexeso memory games.

One dozen — Approximate number of random YouTube documentaries.

Three — Number of animated movies watched by the kids.

1 — Episode of a television series watched by mom and dad.

Zero — Number of movies watched by mom and dad.

Countless ­— Number of times the kids would like to watch their new favorite nightly show, Angelina Ballerina.


1 — Number of book chapters read.

Zero — Number of entire books read.

Constant — Rate of reading in several newspapers and magazines.


54 — Number of hours spent in the garden.

20 — Meters of potato plants that will soon need to be hilled.

8 — Meters of pea plants that are starting to grow onto trellises.

3 — Number of bonfires in the garden.

3 — Number of times mowed the backyard lawn.

2 — Number of times visited a DIY store.

Infinite — Number of weeds pulled.


63 — Number of days to get in shape for a 10km Run Tour race on July 11.

Not Near Enough — Number of kilometers run. (Okay, it was only 66.)

Handful — Number of times lifted weights or did a calisthenics workout.

Don’t want to know — Number of kilograms gained.

If you were not directly affected by COVID-19, and if you endured weeks of self quarantine, do you feel that you have taken advantage of the quarantine period?

Saturday, May 2 — Day 50

In my opinion, it is depressing to look back on the quarantine period without feeling a bit of lost opportunity. It seemed like a great time to lose weight, get in shape, read books and watch movies. Instead I added a few new food dishes and a few new cocktails to my repertoire. And, most importantly, spent a lot of quality time with my children.

Sunday, May 3 — Day 51

The world is opening up. Potatoes are starting to appear. Strawberries are flowering. Peas are coming soon. Soon we’ll take the tomato plants off the window sill and plant them in the garden.

Monday, May 4 — Day 52

For the first time in a long time, I went to sleep with absolutely everything that could be done, done. (Actually, there was one essay that I could have graded. And that doesn’t include the software job, which has only increased in work and stress. And there is still work to do in the garden. And I need to store my winter clothes. Best not to think too much, lest you wake in a cold sweat.)

Tuesday, May 5 — Day 53

Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican celebration of a military victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, joined a long list of holidays and events that have been ruined or altered by the COVID-19 pandemic, including St. Patrick’s Day, Passover, Easter (Green Thursday, velikonoční pondělí), Earth Day, Burning Witches and May Day. At least we had fajitas for lunch.

Wednesday, May 6 — Day 54

Quarantine life brings about some strange confluences of events. At 4 p.m., I settled in the kitchen to listen to the incomparable Don Sparling of the Brno Expats Centre give an online talk about the Swedish siege of Brno. At the same time, my wife had an online karaoke teambuilding event upstairs. So, on the 112th day of the siege, just as the Swedes were making their final fruitless attack on Aug. 15, 1645, I heard the wife and kids singing what sounded like “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

Speaking of my family singing karaoke, there were again no first-Wednesday-of-the-month sirens. It is was the second month that the tests had not been conducted, lest it freak people out.

Thursday, May 7 — Day 55

Sent out a reminder email to all who had previously entered the Brno Short Story Writing Contest. I wonder how many stories will include the coronavirus pandemic. Fifty percent? Eighty percent? How will books and movies and culture respond to this pandemic? The deadline for the BSSWC is May 17. Click here for the Official Rules.

Friday, May 8 — Day 56

On the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, it is hard to not continue the war metaphor that has often been used to explain the global fight against the spread of COVID-19. It feels like here, in the Czech Republic and Brno, that we have reached an important milestone and it is time to start to slowly put our lives back together.

Except, of course, the war rages on in other parts of the world. And, in my opinion, it is far from over.

* * *

Do you think COVID-19 has been eradicated? Or do you expect another quarantine period soon.

Tell us about it in the comments below or on Facebook.

Stay safe. Stay well.

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