When my daughter was born 16 years ago in March, I remember thinking, “Great! March is a good month to have a birthday because nothing ever happens in March.” Well, except for St. Patrick’s Day. Then the pandemic hit and an entire birthday weekend went out the window. Or down the sink along with all the hand soap.
We are only humans so after the initial disappointment of cancelling her sweet 16 bash, we adapted and started slowly keeping our distance. We also upped our handwashing rate from three times a day to 33 times now probably.
Then we dusted off the old Kitchenaid mixer and Dutch oven. And we started cooking and baking. A lot. The kitchen had been my refuge a lifetime ago before life and parenthood took over. With all this downtime, I’ve experimented with so many good recipes and renamed them. The lockdown lemon cake was picture-worthy but not lemony enough, according to my daughter. Then there’s the social distancing sourdough starter which is akin to waiting for the cable guy to arrive. And this is why people buy and not make sourdough bread. Don’t even get me started on the pandemic pork belly which my daughter refuses to eat. #toughcrowd
All baking and cooking aside, we are blessed to be together. The hurried meal times, quick car trips and the hustle and bustle of everyday life now seem to be a thing of the past, replaced by leisurely walks in the neighborhood and simpler choices (printed or plaid pjs; shower in the morning, evening or not at all).
But I’m still going to get myself some isolation ice cream when this is all over.
As one of the Staff Photographers for the Ventura Breeze my main activity was to photograph public events, and with sequestering in place there are fewer publics to photograph. For some of us sequestering is saving some money, driving around town less means purchasing much less gasoline, Shopping for a whole week instead of when needed saves gas and shopping money, the entertainment closures is saving me money, and non-essential stores closed is saving money. Overall, this sequestering order is saving money for some.
Mornings aren’t that different. We get up early, play with the dogs, make coffee, tidy the house etc. Okay, one little thing – we didn’t used to spray the newspaper.
Then comes the Big Question of the day: do we need to go anywhere? Usually it’s no. We are both in the Shelter in Place category due to age or health.
No bird rescue, Garden activities, trail hostings, classroom helper, event booths, all the things we enjoy and fill out days with – darn. No board meetings – okay, that’s not so bad.
So what do we do all day? He tore his car apart, fixed it, then planted a veggie patch. I have been reorganizing, finding projects, baking, picking up books and taking them to Little Free Libraries. And I read. And sit outside watching the birds, clouds, insects.
And social media has gone from entertainment to necessity. We keep up with family, friends, causes and so on. We have a ZOOM meeting tonight!
But as a rule no evening events either: talks, concerts, plays. We don’t have a TV, so aren’t tempted to sit around and watch it. We read, listen to music, and of course the Big Question: do we need to go anywhere tomorrow?
You know that “time” we always wish we had to do…whatever. Well, now we have it. And are we doing those things we’ve put off? Me – not really. I’ve been doing stuff, but not really the stuff on my every-growing list. I am finding that my attention span is shorter now, which means my motivation is too.
The first three weeks of stay-at-home I was already there, recuperating from pneumonia. So that slowed everything to a crawl temporarily. I am just now starting to get back in gear.
I’ve done a good bit of reading, of course. That’s what I do most of. Netflix is my friend. I’ve even finally tackled a few bits of organization – pulling out old papers to shred, compiling some records that have been drifting about in myriad places instead of where they should be. But that’s slow going.
I enjoy cross-stitch needlework and finally started a big project that’s been on my to-do list for several years. Who knows, I may even get it finished!
In some ways, this isolation has been a good thing. A chance to regroup, rethink and establish priorities. I needed that. Just wish it hadn’t happened in this way.
I’ve spent the last fourteen years in virtual solitary confinement, working my trade as a graphic artist. A downturn in business required me to seek part-time employment, which came to me in the form of being a cashier at a grocery store a couple of towns over. I’ve gone from seeing maybe one or two people per month to maybe one hundred and fifty or so a day,
Alfred J. Lewis