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Making Quarantine Work — Whether You're Stuck At Home With An Ex Or A Classroom Pet

Three-year-old Auggie helps take care of school parakeets Copernicus and Galileo.
Samantha Clarke

When Dani and Logan first broke up last year, they weren’t in a place financially or otherwise where it made sense to separate their lives completely. They shared a lease on a one-bedroom apartment in St. Louis’ Tower Grove South neighborhood, and their breakup was a pretty amicable one as far as breakups go. So they stayed put for the time being and made it work.

In February, they talked things through and ultimately decided to extend the lease a while longer. But then a pandemic hit. And while it’s one thing to share living space with an ex, it’s quite another to have to shelter in place together for weeks on end.

“We’ve refound out all the reasons the relationship didn’t work,” Dani has said. The two of them have also found the experience not as difficult as others might assume, though they do have their spats — more now than they’d had in months.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, Logan and Dani — who requested use of their first names only to protect their privacy — joined host Sarah Fenske to talk about how they’re making it work.

The pair agreed there have been some struggles.

“I’m a pretty powerful introvert, so being around pretty much anyone 24/7 is hard for me,” Dani noted with a laugh. “But I think that we have kind of found ways to both let each other know whenever we need space but also found really creative ways to use our own space and kind of take space even if we’re in the same room.”

Dani’s been coping with the situation by going on drives, getting out to the park a lot and spending “hours at a time” on the back porch. And those strategies have been greatly appreciated by Logan from a roommate standpoint.

Sheltering at home during the COVID-19 crisis has given LB (on the table) and April (peering up at him) a chance to get to know each other under the supervision of their parents, Rachel Lippmann and Michael Collins.
Credit Michael Collins
Sheltering at home during the COVID-19 crisis has given LB (on the table) and April (peering up at him) a chance to get to know each other under the supervision of their parents, Rachel Lippmann and Michael Collins.

“We’ve been broken up for almost 10 months now, so I think we have this level of mutual respect and understanding where we can just be like, ‘Hey, I need space from you,’” Logan said. “And that’s not something that was easily said in our relationship, so I feel like it’s, like, healthier now.”

The talk show team also heard from a family in south St. Louis that wound up sequestered with their son’s class parakeets. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Samantha Clarke and her household already had two dogs, Bacon and George, as pets. But when their toddler’s school closed, another mom at the school had a favor to ask.

That family had agreed to keep the class birds over spring break. When that short-term commitment suddenly turned into something else entirely, Clarke stepped up to take the parakeets — for the foreseeable future.

“I’m a yes person, so when it was presented to me I was like, ‘Sure, let’s do it,’ and my husband thought I was crazy,” Clarke said. “He’s like, ‘You know I said no.’ I’m like, ‘No no no, it’s fine. I said yes.’

“But I actually really like the ritual of taking care of them. They’re kind of delightful. … Sometimes it sounds like we’re in a zoo. Like we’re in a public place. You know, it just kind of adds an element of, ‘There’s other warm bodies in here and we’re not totally alone,’ and you know, if something were to happen to me, what would happen to the birds? So it’s just that whole, like, gives you a small little other purpose.”

Clarke’s son, Auggie, attends Villa di Maria, a Montessori school in Kirkwood. And with his new pets chirping in the background, he joined the conversation briefly as well.

Take a listen:

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Joshua Phelps. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.

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Evie was a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.
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