I have now lost count of the number of weeks we have been on some level of shutdown, with only two or three memorable forays into the outside world. As with many bloggers, I am looking at the changes this pandemic has made to my lifestyle. Take a look at these notes from my experience and let’s compare.
For the basics, I am working at home, and still set a morning alarm. I get dressed, even. Yes, every day.
Some of my worst habits are actually paying dividends. Like buying supplies for a home improvement project that gets put off until I forget what I was going to do. The payoff is when I find an unopened package of two N95 masks sitting right where I left it longer ago than I will admit in public. One each for Mrs. JPC and me, to be used in our rare ventures into the great outdoors. Had it been a 5 or 10 pack (and had we been younger than we are), I would have donated them to health care workers. But just two hardly seemed worth it.
We were already well set for disposable gloves. For reasons explained below, we are still working through a 500-count box of food-service gloves that have actually been quite handy in the decade we have had them. I think we may be down to the last 350 of them, though.
I have written before that we belong to both Costco and Sam’s Club. A One-package-limit on toilet paper is not a problem when that package has something like thirty rolls. It’s like that with eggs too.
We have discovered that Sam’s delivers. Costco might too, but Mrs. JPC discovered this about Sam’s first. We have gotten a couple of orders. Coffee is an essential, by the way. One evening we were drawn into their website and drooled over candy. There were something like 300 choices, though many of them were sold out or were available for in-club purchase only. There is nothing like an evening spent jonesing over the idea of mega-packs of Zagnut bars (for the Mrs.) and Hostess Donettes (both chocolate covered and powdered) for yours truly.
Another benefit of the SamsCo lifestyle is that we have fairly generous quantities of staples on hand. No, not the metal ones for your Swingline, but the stuff like butter, sugar, flour and canned soup. And taco seasoning. I have been amazed at how quickly I have run through a pack of 20 or 25 flour tortillas. But perhaps I shouldn’t be, seeing how easy it is to do the “taco treatment” to leftover meat of all kinds. Beef? Chicken? Pork? It just doesn’t matter – when you have tortillas, salsa, cheese, and canned diced tomatoes to add to your taco meat, every day can be Taco Tuesday.
Cooking has been fun, sort of a puzzle. Some meat gets pulled out of the freezer and the research starts. What (besides tacos) can be made with it. The 1 1/3 pound of ground chicken turned itself into some fabulous chicken meatballs. And because there is lots of dry pasta and multiple bottles of sauce available, a good time was had by – – two.
Upon running out of bread we had lots of flour and such. Yeast, however, was a problem. But . . . beer bread!
Not all of our culinary experimentation has gone so happily. Mrs JPC found a recipe for cinnamon rolls made with Bisquick. I was skeptical. Fan of industrial, processed food though I may be, it has been my experience that nothing good comes from a box of Bisquick. But we made them. And I turned out to be right. We tried to work our way through the result (“maybe if I try another one, I will find it more appetizing”) but we finally gave up and threw out the half remaining. I should note that baked goods have very rarely seen the inside of our trash can. Fortunately, there was brownie mix to soothe our disappointment.
My, everything seems to have been about food up to now. Perhaps this is why I have been avoiding our bathroom scale. Let us move on to other things.
Crucial items can change with household needs. Spring is here and it will soon be time to start cutting grass. My transition from paid lawn care to self lawn care has worked out well for a pandemic, and it is time to fire up the new mower. The spring oil change is on the to-do list, and there are still 3 quart bottles in the garage from when we had a car with an insatiable appetite for the stuff and I bought it by the case. But who would have figured that my new mower would require – an oil filter? I am not about to spend all the money for my first-ever new riding mower and not take care of it, so it will be necessary to mask-up and go buy an oil filter. Grumble. No, wait – Amazon to the rescue! Which brings the benefit of additional delay without the guilty feelings that often accompany it.
One of my duties at Church is that of Lector – I am one of those people who gets up to read the designated first or second reading for the week. There are enough of us at my parish that I get on the schedule about once every 4-5 weeks. My preferred times are at the 5 pm Mass on Saturday or the 11 am Sunday. Because the 8 am Sunday is not widely favored, I often find myself slotted in there. So when our Archdiocese cancelled public masses, the first scheduled date I get out of was – – – an 11 am reading? I would have felt much better about getting out of an 8 am time slot. I wonder if if anyone would have accepted a trade for a mass we are not going to have anyway?
Easter was spent at home for the first time in memory. We did, however, manage to assemble a “Zoom brunch” which involved a traditional family Easter-morning favorite in three different kitchens at three different locations, to be consumed simultaneously via videoconference. Though a not-great substitute for a real gathering, it was amazingly fun.
I had been complaining about not having any large snowfalls this past winter. Getting snowed-in is like a little holiday – everyone else is snowed-in too, and the world seems to slow down just a bit. I have learned that getting “virused-in” slows the world down too, and a lot longer than just a couple of days. At least I don’t have to go out and clean the driveway.
Vintage poster from publicdomainpictures.net