Social Distancing Day 14: Striking a Balance

So here I am sitting on my sofa with Bella and Ashok snoring beside me much like the person who began this social distancing journey two weeks ago. I think I may have even eaten the same takeout from Caffe Tosi’s complete with Creme Brûlée for dessert. But I’m not really the same person on the inside. At that time, I didn’t know what this would be like. Toilet paper supply dwindling, I thought we might fall into a great crisis and, by this time, the world would be at its end. I’d be using Runner’s World magazine pages as combo reading material/toilet tissue. Or, maybe it would be over as quickly as it began with everybody making fun of the dire predictions that turned out to be ridiculous.

Caffe Tosi at the beginning of the crisis… Caffe Tosi in the middle. If it ain’t broke…

Thank heavens I purchased some at-home hair coloring so I can touch up my gray roots. On Instagram, all of the stars are lamenting their mistake of not getting their hair colored or cut right before this started. Alec Baldwin is about to start cutting his own hair. To be honest, he does look a little rough. I am almost out of dark chocolate, and my favorite supplier is closed. I sit at my dining room table every workday in an uncomfortable straight-backed chair. I am sick of back-to-back meetings. It seems like work is actually busier during a stay-at-home pandemic.

One of my friends made a sign for our webinars at work…..

The benefits have begun to rack up as well. I’m saving lots of money since I don’t really have any place to go. Two spring trips were canceled, so I pocketed that cash. I try to get groceries only when I really need them, and online retailers are running lots of specials. I’m talking to lots of friends and having fun teaching them how to use video chat. Everybody is learning something new. My alumni group – composed of many senior citizens – have flatly refused using webinars for meetings. But, yesterday, I got an email from one asking if we could hold our next meeting via the web. Gone are the excuses about looking bad on video or not having time. Nobody cares what they look like in this day and age, and time has become plentiful. We just have to look presentable from the waist up unless we take a walk outside.

I’m watching free Keith Urban concerts on Instagram….

The lack of a routine has turned me into a lazy bum. I try to walk most days, but I can’t seem to muster up the energy for anything more intense after sitting around all day. Today, I had to drop Bella off to get her teeth cleaned, and the vet is offering curb service. After taking my charge card over the phone, a vet tech brought my cat out to the car. Ashok looked at us like we were crazy. It must seem really odd to her that my life is spent completely at home now and almost completely sitting on my ass.

There’s curb service at the vet, but my babies are doing fine….

With the extra money I’ve accumulated, I’m trying to be more generous with the people that I interact with for deliveries and services. I’m also stocking up on necessities like quart-size bottles of hair product and generous amounts of supplements and pet food. If we do start having supply issues, I want to have the necessities without having to fight crowds. I still have another week’s supply of food, so I hope I’m good for a bit. The toilet paper, though. is a problem. The generosity of strangers is getting me through.

One of my employees is making masks for the hospital. (Don’t even ask me what I think about the local hospital not having enough masks at the BEGINNING of the crisis.) Several of them have kids at home, and they are now regulars on our webinars. Me and my supervisor are single, and we spend our time pulling our hair out trying not to go crazy on our own. He is panic-decorating, the decor in his office improving as each day passes. As for me, I ate ice cream for awhile but then had to throw it in the garbage because I could draw a direct link between my insomnia and panic and my ice cream consumption. My lack of tolerance for vices is driving me crazy. You’d think I could tolerate at least one bad habit during a global crisis.

Trying to eat healthy for my immune system

I’m staying in gratitude for my health except for the occasional panic attack that strikes me as I lay my head down to sleep. At those moments I worry about what would happen if I got “it”, or, even worse, if everybody else got “it” making the world an awful place to be. Oddly enough after my experiences with being laid off over the years I’m not too worried about the economy. It always seems to rebound in time. And, if something like that came to pass, there’d be a whole bunch of us in the same boat. People are pretty resilient if they can keep their health. My acupuncturist gave me an immune-boosting treatment last week and sent me home with immunity-strengthening herbs. There are no guarantees, but if I go out, it won’t be for a lack of trying.

How are you making it? Are you afraid? Making the most of the quiet time? What do you miss the most about the good ole days?

9 Comments on “Social Distancing Day 14: Striking a Balance

  1. Can we video chat tomorrow?  I don’t know how to do it but I know how to do facetime?  Is that the same thing?

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  2. Great blog, Sharon! As you know, getting back from our one year of circumnavigating the world, we came back home on March 11 just in time for the madness to begin. As we left New Zealand and then Hawaii, the last two stops of the year, it felt as though doors were slamming behind us. Our plan upon our return had been to make a sweep through Baton Rouge visiting family and friends, including John’s four grandchildren born in our absence – triplet girls and a boy. We were able to meet the baby boy before things started to close down. Then we planned to move on to see my kids and old friends in Atlanta, then make our way to North Carolina for our niece’s college graduation, after which we would go west for a summer in the national parks. Instead, we are sheltering in place at an Airbnb with the address 250 Normal Place. I know – the irony is hilarious! We are here for at least a month and may renew. Future renters of this place in late April and May have, unsurprisingly, cancelled.

    We are near the LSU campus and lakes so we take long walks around the lakes every day – I do regret that my bike is in Atlanta with my daughter – now would be a great time for nice long bike rides. A local yoga studio is offering occasional virtual classes which are also available as videos. I enjoy these most days. I have a contractor position with a law firm writing support letters for business immigration candidates to get work visas in the U.S. The work is still coming in, however, I know that can’t go on for much longer.

    John and I are cooking excellent meals with lots of fresh vegetables in our little kitchen. A local weekly farmers’ market has temporarily switched to a drive-through and we restocked our larder on Thursday. Our place has no dishwasher or washer, so we hand wash dishes and also hand wash our clothes in the sink, something that became normal during our year abroad. Sometimes we watch free Metropolitan Opera broadcasts or we play Scrabble. I talk to my daughter in Atlanta almost every day. She lives alone and is working from home, missing her daily contact with people in the office, just as you are, Sharon, and is also missing the company of her friends and their weekly Taco Tuesday evening.

    A couple of days ago, we had a nice outdoors ‘social distancing’ visit with a friend in her late eighties. She is a very active woman, president of the local music club, on the board of the symphony, teaches Sunday school and a bible study – she has a non-stop schedule during normal times but now, at her age and unable to get out, she is noticing she is beginning to have issues with balance and mobility. This pandemic is affecting the oldest among us in ways far beyond their risk of contracting the illness.

    We are working on our taxes with our CPA via phone conversations and emails, and are making future financial plans in a completely changed financial environment. We learned earlier this week that our accountant, a wonderful man in his forties, was recently diagnosed with ALS. Since his diagnosis last month he wants more than anything else to travel with the time left he has to do so, but he can’t because of the pandemic. This is truly heartbreaking.

    John and I are grateful for our health and our ability to be together and support each other. When one of us is down, the other is there with a kind word and a hug.

    It’s interesting, Sharon, that your message is one that we keep hearing from others: ‘I’m not that worried about myself, but am concerned about others.’ So many are doing what we can to support each other, which is a beautiful thing to see in a tough time.

    • Thank you for your note. And, yes, I had not thought about how being stuck inside could tap out your energy and good health that is dependent on activity. I imagine we will see that during after action reviews of this crisis. I know it impacts me, and I’m relatively young in comparison. It also encourages me to get up and get moving today.

      I’m so glad that you guys were able to get your year of travel in and then arrive safely back into a circle of friends. At our age, every moment truly does count. And I’m also very happy that you found a wonderful soulmate in John.

  3. My oldest son Jacob is driving from Portland to Oakland this weekend, to help my daughter Grae move to a farm she’ll be working on in southern Washington. My home is midway between Oakland and the farm, so the plan was for Jake to stop here to spend the night on his way south, then he and Grae would spend a night on their way back north.
    As I was finishing up my Thursday evening run this week, I was blindsided by the realization that I would not be able to hug my children when they come. That we would need to wear masks and stay six feet apart from each other, and that, indeed, it might be prudent for them not to stop here at all, since I work in healthcare and four of my coworkers at the clinic are out this week with COVID-like symptoms.
    I stumbled blindly back into my home, gulping back sobs, while my chest felt ripped in two.
    I get to see these two children twice a year, if I’m lucky. And yes, I know they’re adults, but embracing my babies is the most joyful and solace-inducing experience I know. My love for them is beyond words.
    The struggle. The pain. It got real this week.
    I texted my kids about my situation and the potential safety issues. Grae and Jake decided they would still spend the night here, practicing social distancing and everyone wearing masks. I disinfected the crap out of my little townhome, but it still feels risky. And my heart is still aching.

    Beyond this acute pain, the chronic, ongoing feeling of impending doom or danger is the most unsettling part for me right now. I’m a hermit by nature, so social distancing is almost a norm for me. But the feeling that something dreadful and unknowable and malignant is hovering over and around and between us makes it hard to relax; my chest and shoulders feel like a guitar string wound too tight.
    I can’t help but ponder the overwhelming number of people around the globe for whom this edge-of-frantic inner life is a norm (due to chronic poverty, civil wars, drug cartels, corrupt governments, etc.) while most of us Americans are “living our best life!” over here, feeling safe and sound most of the time. I hope I can take a modocom of understanding from this experience that it will help me support others more effectively in my work, and elsewhere.
    Getting outside for short runs and hikes, yoga, and meditation are my saving graces right now.
    And remembering that there is a Loving Presence choosing to be with us in the midst of this insanity. In those rare moments of stillness, I become aware of It breathing over me:
    “Peace, daughter. Peace.”

    • This is beautifully written! You should have your own blog. I think you articulate your feelings in a way that moves people. Big hugs to you. These are really hard times for a bunch of reasons. I love the way you take care of yourself.

  4. All healthy here.
    I’ve taken over the dining room table as my “office.” I’m sitting in a strait back chair that get’s uncomfortable after a few hours.
    And my days seem busier also. Maybe we are trying to make up for working from home?

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